Nick Clegg attacks Policy Exchange for “offensive” and “underhand” briefing

From Politics Home:

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has attacked thinktank Policy Exchange over its call to boycott the upcoming Global Peace and Unity event in London.

The thinktank had circulated a dossier questioning apparent extremist background of several of the events speakers. However Mr Clegg, who is due to speak at the event accused the thinktank’s director of “bizarre and underhand behaviour”, and questioned the validity of the evidence.

Nick Clegg’s letter reads:

I am writing to ask you to retract an offensive dossier that Policy Exchange has been privately circulating condemning the Global Peace & Unity Event scheduled for the coming weekend in London.

This is the fourth year of this conference. It will be attended by 30,000 people and is geared towards promoting harmony and dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Policy Exchange briefing I have seen seeks to raise alarm over a number of the speakers planning to attend the conference. The accuracy of the allegations is variable, with a notable lack of evidence to support many of the claims.

In particular I was appalled to see ‘evidence’ quoted from the Society for American National Existence, an organisation which seeks to make the practice of Islam illegal, punishable by 20 years in prison. I need hardly point out how illogical it is to attempt to criticise one set of extreme views by citing another.

My concern is not limited to the facts in the document, however. Your attempt to raise a boycott of this event by privately briefing against it is bizarre, and underhand behaviour for a think-tank supposedly interested in open public debate. The information you are disseminating is extremely narrow in focus and as a result tars with the brush of extremism the tens of thousands of Muslims who will be in attendance.

Of course, no-one should condone violence or bigotry. But neither must we allow the repugnant acts of a minority of dangerous individuals to be a reason to deny the one million British Muslims – and indeed all other members of British society – the right to meet together to celebrate faith and discuss the importance of peace. The sad truth is you play into the hands of the men you seek to discredit, driving further the alienation of the majority of Muslims who see themselves mischaracterised everywhere they turn as would-be terrorists.

That a think-tank professing to promote ‘a free society based on strong communities [and] personal freedom’ would act to undermine tolerance across our society worries me greatly.

The space for debate is currently filled with few voices, a fact that extremists capitalise on. If we are to truly achieve a society in which all peaceful members are free and equal, that space must be filled with reasoned and principled debate. That is why I shall be speaking at the conference, not hiding from open discussion. We must challenge publicly the ideas of those who propagate terrorism and instead promote the cause of peace and freedom in Britain for all citizens.

I therefore urge you to withdraw this briefing and to call off any plans to circulate it further. I also suggest that if you want to make a positive contribution to this debate that you step out of the shadows and make yourself heard.

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88 Comments

  • Mark Littlewood 24th Oct '08 - 5:45pm

    Why was the Policy Exchange briefing private anyway?

    Why not just make these accusations public?

  • It can’t possibly be him. I’m sure we’ll find out though.

    What underpins Nick Clegg’s approach is an Islamophobia very similar in nature to that which he criticises in SANE.

    SANE evidently think that religious Muslims in the US are, by and large, supporters of terrorism, theocratic totalitarianism, and extremism.

    Nick Clegg has evidently looked at the line up of extremists and nuts assembled for the GPU conference and thought: oh well, I guess that’s just what Muslims are like.

    If it turned out that a Christian or atheist had said any of the things that court documents and broadsheet newspapers report the GPU speakers as saying, Nick Clegg would call for an inquiry into the worrying growth of fascism in the UK.

    Muslims in this country largely reject the politics represented by the GPU speakers. However, huge efforts are being made by Islamist groups to recruit them to it.

    For Nick Clegg to endorse GPU like this betrays British Muslims.

  • Mark Littlewood 25th Oct '08 - 5:41pm

    Geoffrey:

    Lawrence is right on the freedom of speech point. We support the BNP’s right to freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean that Nick Clegg would be obliged or wise to attend a BNP rally to debate immigration.

    I don’t know enough about the details of this event or the individuals involved. But on the basis of the limited evidence I have seen, then I’d say:

    1. If the Policy Exchange document is broadly accurate, Nick probably shouldn’t attend the event. If he does, he should be super-critical of these people/groups.
    2. If the document is basically wrong – or irrelevant, then he has probably doen the right thing.

    I’m inclined to assume Nick has done the right thing. He has acted decisively – and in public. And the fact that the Policy Exchange document seems to have been intended to be private rings some alarm bells for me.

  • Mark Littlewood 25th Oct '08 - 7:01pm

    Geoffrey – I think the reasons for not speaking at a BNP rally go beyond the lack of floating voters in the audience.

    LaUrence (!) – I wasn’t suggesting Policy Exchange should steer clear of this debate, just that the manner in which they have communicated their ideas implies a lack of confidence/certainty in what they are saying.

  • Geoffrey’s line on this is an absolutely defensible one. I think that there is value in attending events like this IF, and only if, you do so specifically to challenge the speakers, in terms and not in some vague thematic way, on their views.

    For example, if Nick Clegg were to have turned up and condemned ul Haq for stating that a suicide bombing of Sir Salman Rushdie would have been “right”, I would have been very impressed indeed.

    However, to turn up and say “oh, I’m against extremism all right, and Islamophobia too, thank you and goodnight” is worse than pathetic.

    The other thing to think about is this. Talking to people with whom you disagree is great. However, if those voices are politically marginal, you have to be VERY careful that, by doing so, you’re not legitimising them.

    This may be a large conference. However, I do not believe that the majority of Muslims in this country share the extreme political beliefs of those of a large number of these speakers. For them to get on a platform with a Minister, a Shadow Minister, or any frontbencher, is a real coup for them. It means that they’re in the big time.

    I would like to see both the Islamophobia of SANE and the extremism of many of the speakers at this event condemned in terms.

    After all, isn’t this what liberals should be doing?

  • Are we saying that if we don’t agree with views of a few attendees, we should boycott the whole event. Some of the comments on this link are frankly bizarre and offensive. The Policy Exchange, who are very closely aligned to the Tories, seems to have successfully stirred up controversy over this event, and some people seem happy to play into their hands. So why aren’t they taking Tory MPs and Government Ministers to task for attending this event? My own view is that we need to ensure we are all fully engaged with all Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims and non-Muslims attending this event, deserve more respect than that. The same accusations and mischief making was attempted for the Islam Expo event, where all political parties were represented.
    I think you’ll find that Nick will be addressing the event on our common values, issues that affect us all, and above all on the need for dialogue, tolerance and Peace. Something that seems lacking by some contributers to this link…..
    So here’s a list of the people you have not listed who are also speaking, some are (surprise, surprise) controversial :

    Yusuf Islam
    Abdul Wahid Pedersen
    Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury
    Jermaine Jackson
    Reverend Jesse Jackson
    Tony McNulty MP
    Jack Straw MP
    Simon Hughes MP
    Nick Clegg
    Sir Ian Blair
    William Ernest “Bill” Rammell
    Moazzam Begg
    Sir Iqbal Sacranie OBE
    Lord Sheikh
    Shahid Malik MP
    Dominic Grieve MP
    Ahmed Zakayev
    Zareen Roohi Ahmed
    Salma Yaqoob
    Tony Benn
    John Rees
    Lord Nazir Ahmed
    Sadiq Khan MP
    Stephen Timms MP
    Richard Barnes
    Imran Khan
    Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari

  • Clegg's Candid Friend 26th Oct '08 - 12:17pm

    “… Imran Khan …”

    But “palling around with cricketers” doesn’t quite have the same ring …

  • Laurence Boyce wrote (quoting Cat Stevens):

    “Under Islamic Law, the ruling regarding blasphemy is quite clear; the person found guilty of it must be put to death. Only under certain circumstances can repentance be accepted.”

    This is simply an accurate account of what Mr Stevens’ religion teaches.

    Laurence Boyce further wrote:

    “We’ve lost the plot Meral, and in so doing it is we who have played straight into the hands of conservative Christians or racists, who seem to be the only people prepared (cynically in their case) to consistently criticise Islam”

    Not quite. Peter Tatchell is happy to criticise Islam, and has found himself ostracised by what remains of the “left” for so doing.

    To his shame, David Icke mouths not a word of criticism of Islam (though he is happy to lambast Christianity and Judaism), preferring to pretend that Islamic fundamentalism is an invention of the Illuminati. True, the US foreign policy crowd promoted militant Islam as a counterweight to communism, but it had to exist in the first place before they could do that.

    BTW, the Kurdish militias are busily expelling Christians from Mosul. No doubt those pious Christians in the State Department and Pentagon will be racing to the rescue.

  • The problem here, is that Policy Exchange is, as you say, a Tory aligned think tank. There are, in all main parties, politicians who are seriously concerned by the attempts of very radical groups, to get mainstream play.

    With the GPU Event, and Nick Clegg’s defence, they have scored a huge victory. All credit to them. The supporters of suicide bombing, the urgers of victory to Hamas, the wife beating advocates, will now be able to say: We Are the Muslim Mainstream. Look, they’ll be able to claim: when Islamophobes tried to condemn us for these views, the Liberal Democrats came to our defence.

    That is, incidentally, PRECISELY what SANE claim. Their line is that this sort of politics is an expression of the essential nature of Islam.

    If we are to condemn them, rightly, as Islamophobic, then we have to be prepared to say, that speakers who do voice these views are extremists, and are to British Muslims as the BNP are to White British people.

    Andy Hinton:

    I will finish, if I may, with a reiteration of this point: To urge a boycott of an event just because there are people with dodgy views at it is bonkers. What Policy Exchange are arguing here is that we shouldn’t talk to people with views we disagree with

    We should talk to people we disagree with.

    The point in talking to them is to explain, specifically, why we reject their politics, and to urge them to embrace ours.

    There’s no shame in such an approach. It is, after all, what they are saying to us at dialogues such as these.

    However, you CANNOT stand on a platform with people who advocate these views, without saying, in terms, and specifically, naming names, that we oppose them.

    Did Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg mention the views of any of these speakers? Because if all they said was “Hi We’re Liberals, Be Liberal, Goodbye”, that is no challenge at all.

    Seriously. Ask yourself whether you can think of any other conference in which political views as extreme as those that have been listed here have been expressed, at which you’d be happy for a Liberal Democrat to speak?

    David Irving’s neo Nazi group has had a conference recently, in which participants had views every bit as obnoxious as those that you identify as coming from reputable sources. Would you have been happy for the LibDems to send a speaker along to that shindig, to ‘challenge’ it?

    What is different here?

    The only differences I can see is that

    - This was called ‘Global Peace and Unity’. So it is a question of branding, merely;

    - This was a religious group. But so what? Merely subscribing to a religion doesn’t excuse a person from having extreme politics. Cf Ian Paisley!!

    - There were a lot of people at the Event. Well, that’s worrying. You should be worried that you, as a political party, with liberal and progressive ideas, can attract less grass roots support than people who believe that that Holocaust was a hoax, and that 9/11 was a grand conspiracy.

    This is, in a sense, evidence of the defeat of liberalism. Liberals should be tearing their hair out about it…

  • At our party conference in Bournemouth, EMLD held a fringe meeting – ‘Talking to the Enemy’, where a panel of speakers including Ed Davey, Muslim speakers and Chair of LD Friends of Israel, debated whether we should be engaging with Hammas, Iran, and even Al Qaeda. As Liberal Democrats, the majority felt that if we are to ever have peace, we have to start with a dialogue. If we adopted the attitude of some contributers here, we would never have had the Good Friday agreement.
    Equally to suggest that Nick Clegg should have refused an invitation, along with politicians from the whole political spectrum of mainstream political parties, is not one I would support. If we as liberals and democrats walk away from these types of events, which are organised to promote greater dialogue, understanding and harmony, then we leave the platform to extremists. I think the one million Muslims in the UK, who because of a handful of extremists, are subjected to growing Islamophobia, and alienation, deserve our engagement and understanding and tolerance. I am not going to reply to individuals,(no disrespect) but that is simply my point.

  • The thinking might be that Muslims are so embattled at the moment, that to take on those with extreme politics who are participating in this event will inevitably give succour to Islamophobes.

    I don’t think that’s a meritless concern by any means. Certainly, if you seek to criticise those like ul Huq or Qadri, you have to be enormously careful to do it in a way that does not legitimise groups like SANE.

    However, to do anything that appears to endorse speakers like these, leaves the field wide open for the bigots on both sides.

  • The problem here is not simply those who happen to be on the platform.

    It is the fact that a suicide bomber, a Hamas supporter, a 9/11 truther, a Holocaust Denier, a wife beating advocate and so on, have been invited by an organising committee which has hugely dodgy politics.

    The whole point of this event is to showcase extremists alongside mainstream politicians. The intended rhetorical effect is to position these extremists as moderate voices.

    The message that is being communicated is precisely the same as the BNP: that Muslims in Britain do not regard these views as extreme.

    The sad truth is this. If you are a political moderate, you have neither the means, nor the organisation to put on a huge event like this. I do not accept that, merely because the GPU event is dominated by extremists, that extremism represents the true face of British Muslims.

    But you have to ask yourself. What are you going to say to the Islamophobe who looks at the panel of the GPU event, and says: this is, in fact, what British Muslims do believe? You can’t say “these views are extreme and unrepresentative”, because your party leader has just appeared on a platform with these people.

    How will you be able to oppose those with the mirror image of these peoples’ politics on the White far right? They will be able to say to you “You were happy to speak on a platform with a Muslim Holocaust Denier, so why not us?”.

  • David T writes:

    “It is the fact that a suicide bomber, a Hamas supporter, a 9/11 truther, a Holocaust Denier, a wife beating advocate and so on, have been invited by an organising committee which has hugely dodgy politics.”

    I have never tired of telling people in the 9/11 Truth Movement that they should have nothing whatsoever to do with (1) Islamists and (2) Holocaust deniers. Some listen. Others don’t. Those who don’t, I challenge you to read David T’s post. The 9/11 Truth Movement is now being lumped into the same category as suicide bombers, wife beaters and Holocaust deniers. Cheney will be laughing all the way to the country club.

  • Yeah, but when have you ever been at a LibDem conference, at which the main speakers – that is, the ones showcased by the Party leadership on the Main Stage – included people who advocated suicide bombing, praised Hamas, launched vexatious law suit after law suit claiming that the WTC were brought down by missiles shot from planes disguised as passenger jets, and so on?

    Does it not occur to you that the reason that so many of these speakers were invited by the organisers of GPU is that this is what they, themselves, believe?

    The whole point of this conference has been to put characters, whose politics has until now been marginal an extreme, and of the sort that you can only really find in the zanier corners of the Internet, on the same platform with Ministers and Shadow Ministers.

    The preconceived notion that many people have on this thread that muslims are more likely to be influenced at events like this by extremists than by moderates suggests both a low opinion of muslims and a lack of confidence in our own liberalism.

    Well, did Simon Hughes or Nick Clegg name any of these preachers of hate, and condemn them in their speeches?

    If not, how precisely did they take them on?

  • Rather grand claims have been made here about the merits of “dialogue”. Apparently we may even have a new Good Friday in our time.

    Well, will the party release a transcript of Clegg’s speech?

    Never mind other mainstream parties. Surely, if you are a “liberal” party, at the very least Mr Clegg specifically condemned Mr ul Haq’s recently and publicly expressed view – speaking as a prominent Pakistani politician – that the murder of Salman Rushdie would be “right”?

    Or did Clegg reject the Holocaust denial of Yasir Qadhi as repugnant?

    Or did he just waffle?

  • I would like to try a mind experiment, in which a White Christian group put on a conference, branded as a ‘Peace and Understanding Conference’, which invited some bishops, Norman Tebbit, some fringe US politicians like (say) Ron Paul and some zany but mainstream journalists. Let’s say Peter Hitchens.

    Then, along side those speakers, they invited

    - David Icke
    - Alex Jones, the far right conspiracy theorist
    - David Irving
    - an Alaskan Independence Party speaker
    - A representative of the ‘Surrendered Wife’ movement
    - A neo Nazi who had called for the assassination of a liberal white author for being a ‘race traitor’

    Would you

    - Be happy about your party leader appearing on a platform with these people, because Norman Tebbit and Ron Paul were mainstream politicians

    - Want your party leader, if he appeared, to condemn the racism and bigotry of the other speakers?

    This is a mind experiment, for which there is no true parallel. That is because you wouldn’t get any bishop, or indeed any mainstream figure – even somebody like Norman Tebbitt – to agree to speak on a White Christian platform like this. They would have the sense to know that only an organising committee of extremists would invite people like this along in the first place, and would steer clear.

    Why does Nick Clegg not have the sense to realise that, if the event includes people like this, then there is something very wrong with the event?

  • It sounds as though David T is a neocon whose real purpose here is to throw mud at the 9-11 Truth Movement by falsely linking it to Islamist and neo-Nazi extremists, and to smear David Icke as a Nazi.

    The 9/11 Truth Movement is simply a loose collection of people who question the official account of 9/11. No more, no less. They range from full-blown conspiracy theorists to those who merely express doubts about individual segments of the narrative. While some Islamists have become involved in the Movement, all the people I know who attend the events (and I have attended one of them) are democrats and civil libertarians with broadly liberal views. Some are politically naive, of course, which plays into the hands of the likes of David T.

    David Icke is a guy who writes books, gives talks and runs a website. He is a civil libertarian with a liberal outlook on life, and has not a single racist, sexist or homophobic bone in his body. To smear him as a Nazi, as David T does, is a hideous libel. The man may say a lot of crazy things, but there is virutally nothing he has in common with David Irving (apart from being a man and having grey hair).

    David T, who are you?

  • I tend to agree that David Icke is not a racist. Jon Ronson interviewed some of his audience in a show some time back, and although it was very clear that many of them thought that the trans dimensional lizards spiel was code for ‘Jews’, it is obvious to me that Icke does in fact believe that the world is being run by bona fide shapeshifting lizards.

    My guess is that he’s mentally ill. I don’t think that is a libel. It is evident from simply looking at him.

    Now, as for 9/11 conspiracists. I don’t think that a 9/11 conspiracist will inevitably, or even probably, be a racist. Some ‘Truthers’ obviously are. However, my experience of Truthers is that they’re just as likely to come from the nihilistic Chomsky left, or simply be people who took the X Files a little bit too literally. Some 9/11 Truthers are also just people who had specific doubts: for example, about why WTC7 collapsed. Now we know the answer to that question, let us hope that they can re-engage with reality.

    The other thing about conspiracy theorists is that they tend to be monomaniacal, and regard the peddlers of other conspiracy theories as their greatest enemies, e.g.:

    “People who argue that the world is being controlled by the Freemasons, the Jews or the Bilderberg Group are crazy. In fact, they’re probably agents of the Bavarian Illuminati, who I can prove are secretly controlling the world via flouride in the water system…”

    I don’t think that there is any polite way of saying this, however. If somebody tells me that David Icke is a grand fellow, my immediate reaction is that they’re a little bit nutsy. I therefore try to avoid them.

    This is generally a good lesson in life. Evidently not one that Nick Clegg has learned!

  • William Rodriguez, the offical 9/11 truther of the GPU, has also been invited to the East London Mosque to share his wisdom.

    Here is part of his story, admiringly told on Yasir Qadhi’s web site.

    Does Mr Clegg have any researchers?

  • I think it would be helpful if we clarified whether the GPU event to which Clegg has accepted an invitiation can more accurately be described as a rally or as a debate.

    Until that point guilt by association is akin to smearing, tarring and feathering by an ill-informed lynch mob intoxicated by the sound of our own voices.

    After that point publication of the transcript of Clegg’s contribution would answer any critics as to whether he is attending to support fellow speakers or the principles which they represent.

  • David T wrote:-

    “My guess is that he’s mentally ill. It is evident from simply looking at him.”

    Do you have a medical degree? That’s something I thought one had to possess before one could diagnose mental illness.

    I can assure you that it is indeed libellous to call someone mentally ill without justification, not that Icke gives a monkey’s what you think of him.

    “Now we know the answer to that question, let us hope that they can re-engage with reality.”

    Actually, we don’t. Just more propaganda, that’s all. And we don’t have answers to a number of other things, either. But I expect you know that.

    “The other thing about conspiracy theorists is that they tend to be monomaniacal,”

    But you’re not.

    “This is generally a good lesson in life. Evidently not one that Nick Clegg has learned!”

    Ah, right. Nick Clegg says David Icke is a grand fellow.

    A couple more things:

    (1) Can you attribute your quotation (the one in italics)?

    (2) I have never met anyone who takes David Icke seriously who thinks he is referring to Jews when he talks about shape-shifting lizards. Unless Ted Heath and Tony Barber were Jewish.

    (3) I take it you are a neo-con?

  • After that point publication of the transcript of Clegg’s contribution would answer any critics as to whether he is attending to support fellow speakers or the principles which they represent.

    I agree.

    I once took part in a debate at which my opponent was the Nazi, Lady Birdwood.

    I agreed to take part, when the original opposing speaker dropped out. The debate organiser therefore proposed to allow Lady Birdwood to speak unopposed.

    Accordingly, so that this would not happen, I agreed to speak against her. I wouldn’t truely have been debating her, because frankly, I have nothing to say to Nazis, other than they must be opposed.

    In the event, the meeting was cancelled, after the Socialist Workers Party disrupted it. I note that John Rees, of the SWP, has spoken at the GPU Event. How things change.

    Now, I would be hugely impressed if Nick Clegg turned up at this event and took the opportunity to condemn Qadri, oppose Rodriguez, and take on ul Haq: not in some vague waffly way, but in terms.

    If, however, he merely waffled about the unity of humanity, and how peace is good, and extremism bad, then this is – as Laurence puts it – stamping a pass-book, with nothing to show in return.

    I mean, if I’d spoken at the Lady Birdwood event, and merely said:

    “Let us all live in harmony. All men are brothers. We should all put aside our differences and work together for the glory of Britain”

    … I wouldn’t have opposed her at all, would I?

  • Yes, I agree – there’s not much left to say until then. I apologise for holding forth on a LibDem blog, and for being slightly more verbose than is necessary!

    You’re right: ‘white’ isn’t necessary. I was thinking of ‘White Supremacist’,and ‘Christian Identity’ politics: and conflated the two. There were white converts at this event. Indeed, previous events have included Yvonne Ridley, whose bizarre political journey ended in a newspaper article in which she praised Al Qaeda in Iraq!

    However, a parallel might have been a Christian event, at which Stephen Green of Christian Voice and Bishop Akinola (of ‘gays not fit to live’ fame) had been invited to speak. Although they’re mild in comparison with those who have spoken at GPU.

    As to this:

    “within global Islam, the views of some of the extremists in question are not as outlandish and marginal as the views you suggest”

    Well, I’m not sure about that. Islamist parties – except in Gaza, and the very mild Islamists in Turkey, both special circumstances – are overwhelmingly rejected by Muslim voters worldwide, wherever they’re given a choice. Even in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood does not command a majority of support. And in Bangladesh, Jamaat e Islami – whose supporters appear amongst the participants in this event – are loathed as war criminals who slaughtered Bangladeshi patriots in their War of Liberation.

    But yes, there is a certain amount of zaniness in the politics of many Muslim countries.

    As for Britain: I do not think that extreme views are representative of the mainstream of British Muslim politics. There’s a certain over-representation of such views. And, let’s face it, the GPU Event, and IslamExpo were both well attended. But polls show that most Muslims oppose this sort of political extremism.

    What I think you can say, is that those who push these extreme views are absolutely desperate to break into the mainstream, and establish themselves as leaders of British Islam, and the intermediaries of the State in dealing with ‘their’ community. I am afraid that the LibDems will have helped them in that mission.

    There’s another thing.

    There’s a line of though, pushed by the likes of Alistair Crooke, that we need to establish ourselves as the friends of Islamists, abroad as well as at home. Abroad, because

    - they are rough diamonds, who are genuinely struggling for liberation, and whose occasional harshness is merely a cultural trait and nothing to be worried about, and in any case, they’re going to be the next government of the region so we better start getting friendly with them now, and even helping them out, unless they fail and Al Qaeda picks up the slack; and

    - they are a bulwark against Al Qaeda taking hold in the UK, because they’re genuinely supportive of jihad, but crucially oppose it in the UK.

    The first argument may have some merit. After the UK had infiltrated and nearly destroyed IRA/Sinn Fein, we had to do a deal with them.

    However, how would we have liked it if we had also recognised Sinn Fein as the rightful leaders of all British people of Irish extraction?

  • publication of the transcript of Clegg’s contribution would answer any critics as to whether he is attending to support fellow speakers or the principles which they represent

    Oh please do publish the transcript. It is obviously central to many issues being discussed here.

    Why, by the way, is there still no transcript, or even a summary of the message, when Mr Clegg has been so keen to put pen to paper on behalf of the GPU before attending?

    For now, I must say that the “does he support” bar suggested by Oranjepan is disappointingly low.

    Does Mr Clegg actively oppose apologists for the (hopefully never successful) would-be murderers of Salman Rushdie? And what about Holocaust deniers? Or 9/11 truthers spreading poison in East London?

    He had a fine opportunity this weekend. Did he take it?

    If not, when will he?

  • Did any one cared to attend the GPU? I have been attended GPU FOr 4 years with my wife and three children and loved every minute of it. The atmosphere was great and it was so good to meet muslims and non-muslims from all over the world. There were speeches, relegious as well as political from people of various back grounds including speakers from christian, jewish and hindu religion. There was comidy, Nasheed song concerts, exhibitions, markeet stals etc. Every year we look fdorward to this event.
    Only seepch that i have objection to was that of dominic greives. tory shadow minister, who made unsubstantiated allegartions against some speekers. On one side he was talking about freedom of speech in this country but at the same time asking to ban certain people from speeking at this event. simply because he didn’t like their views.
    overall it was a great family event which we enjoyed greatly. looking forward to next years event.

    D. Khalid Mahmood

  • Once again, David T is dishonestly associating the 9/11 Truth Movement with Holocaust deniers and supporters of terrorism. Is he taking a break from the McCain campaign, perhaps?

  • Laurence – are you sure that this was a wise statement to make? I don’t disagree with you. I’m just concerned that you’re about to be told how the gvt controls you by sending radio messages to the fillings in your teeth, etc.

  • Chris Blackburn 28th Oct '08 - 10:14am

    As a liberal democrat, I am very surprised my leader or any other British politician is attending an event which ranks them alongside Jews Against Zionism and the 9/11 Truth Movmement.

    Does Nick Clegg believe that 9/11 was a ZOG plot?

    Policy Exchange was right to publish the document and now the media must make sure they cover every dripping piece of fantacist venom that comes from mouths of those speakers.

    It’s a serious lack of judgement for all senior politicians concerned; Nick Clegg, Jack Straw, Tony McNulty, Simon Huges, Stephen Timms…..

  • Laurence Boyce is wrong. There is no connection of any kind between the 9/11 Truth Movement and Holocaust deniers, tenuous or otherwise. But there is, I would add, a connection between Holocaust deniers and Laurence Boyce – some of the former live in Cambridge.

    In my opinion, there has thus far been no convincing “official” explanation for the fall of the three towers. That is where we stand today. Laurence Boyce, using his mean skills as a cheap propagandist, will immediately accuse me of claiming that 9/11 was an inside job. I will preempt him. I claim no such thing. Look up the post and you will see what I do claim: the “official” narratives thus far do not convince.

    David T is a hypocrite. He sneers at David Ikce for believing in human/reptilian hybrids, but is quite willing to seek electoral support from people who believe that God made the world in 6 days in order to keep the US government in Republican control.

    David T – Do you believe that God made the world in 6 days? Your heroes, Bush and Cheney do. Do you?

  • “Chris Blackburn” is yet another dishonest propagandist who seeks to smear the 9/11 Truth Movement as anti-Semitic.

    Or are “Chris Blackburn” and “David T” one and the same person?

  • Andy Hinton:

    I assumed (wrongly and unwisely) that everyone would understand what “Chris Broadhurst” was driving at.

    Chris Broadhurst wrote:

    “Does Nick Clegg believe that 9/11 was a ZOG plot?”

    “ZOG” stands for “Zionist Occupation Government”.

    This is a clear attempt to smear the 9/11 Truth Movement as anti-Semitic.

    If the 9/11 Truth Movement really was a bunch of looneys, and its claims wholly devoid of merit, why do the likes of “Chris Broadhurst” feel the need to do this?

  • I simply wouldn’t go anywhere that listed Tony McNulty as a speaker.

    But I guess that would rule Clegg out of the Commons, so he is unlikely to follow my advice. I advise the rest of you to follow suit, however.

  • Oh and after reading Sesenco’s comments I would like to add my belief that Elvis is alive, and currently singing in a bar in Shoreditch every other Wednesday. I saw him last week. Fact.

  • Whelan, do you believe that God made the world in 6 days? Your friends in the White House do.

  • That is an outright lie, and you, Mr Sesenco, do not deserve to call yourself a Liberal Democrat. In actual fact, I think you will find the White House elite are all descended from the original worshippers of the great Cthulhu.

  • Whelan, do you get a badge when you join the “Dick Cheney Worshippers Club”?

  • Erm, I think you will find it is the
    “Dick Cheney Worshippers’ Club”. And, yes you do.

    Do you get a badge when you join the “I’m a conspiracy loon” cult?

  • Whelan, are you on tea-break? Writing Sarah Palin’s robocalls must be exhausting business. Still, as long as you telescope everything from the Pre-Cambrian to the Pleistocene into 6 days, you’ll please your mistress.

  • I like the way you have linked me to your spurious creationism counter-argument, despite the fact I was merely ridiculing your 9/11 truth delusion nonsense.

    Do you find it exciting to imagine a conspiracy?

    Elvis did. Or, indeed, does. Get yourself down Shoreditch and we can ask him if he has access to the CIA files.

  • And here am I scratching my head trying to work out what Elvis has to 9/11. Only a neocon troll can find a connection, I guess.

  • Yusuf Islam is also irresponsible in his freedom to speech – he should know how powerful words are and how they can be misinterpreted.

    Whether or not he loses respect for being inconsistent we should still reach out to people who are prepared to work together.

    I think I prefer Richard Thompson anyway.

  • Chris Blackburn 29th Oct '08 - 9:03pm

    For the record it’s Blackburn and no im not David T.

    If the senior politicians had stood on a platform with moderate Muslims or moderate Islamists- that would have been fine to me, probably not to Islamophobics. However they were also billed with a lunatic fringe who were pushing conspiracies. That is very poor judgement.

  • One of my old favourites this one from back in the days that I was still a member of the LibDems.

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