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     British Politics: The End of Shame and the Stiff Upper Lip



Two episodes in recent British history have shown that the face of British politics has changed well beyond what anyone could have expected. The slick business orientated New Labour government might well be recorded in future historic accounts as the most substantial betrayal of the British working class, and the fuel price protests have shown that the British Isles are no different from the rest of the world: If you push people too far, they will have to push back. The stoical British stiff upper lip might mean that you can push them that little bit further than other nations, but there is a point of no return.

The years under New Labour have shown that democracy is a farce, and that the people not only do not have say, but are not even listened to. However, organised protest depends on backers with muscle, and they usually have their own agendas. So when the media, the new King makers, take on a cause, one needs to be very cautious for what ends they do so. Big Brother was once fiction, the fear of a society controlled by TV monitors in every place. Today, Big Brother has become entertainment, and nobody worries about being recorded scores of times day in day out by CCT cameras, or having themselves profiled on the basis of information collected about them through the internet. Big Brother has become a friend, and we have become numb to the dangers.

Believers know that Allah is watching them, and the certainty of faith may enable some to remain immune to some of the trends of post-modernity. However, the society in which we live, still affects us, and our capability of putting up resistance is greatly reduced by the continuing destruction of the social fabric of our own communities. Individualism promises greater freedom but results in increased vulnerability.

Muslims in Britain can be seen fighting for leadership rather than for a cause. Many will be pleased with concessions, compromising on principle. Within the different political landscape the Islamic Party of Britain has degenerated from a political movement to a think tank and pressure group. We have the ideas, the programmes, but we do no longer have the commitment of people keen to battle for the truth. We live in a society where everybody is preoccupied with their own problems. We take on issues for immediate benefit, not for the greater good. People wanting to buy a house will worry about halal mortgage lending. Parents of young children will worry about Muslim schools. Those who have bought their houses, will not bother about helping others. Those who were unfortunate, will forget when things get better. Even ex-prisoners arenít concerned about stopping other youngsters getting into drugs and troubles. Most of Muslim Britain is no longer different than the rest: We have become equally selfish.

The fuel protests only worked because they stopped on time. Had they persisted, people would have turned against the protestors, not wishing to sacrifice personally. A sound society stands together in times of hardship: A trouble shared is a trouble halved. Post-modern society has once more glorified the law of the jungle. When things get tough, people will turn on each other. A fragmented society of this kind is, of course, much easier to manipulate.

The sad lesson of history is that we do not look for a remedy until the pain sets in. Those who recognise the symptoms of decline early, are dismissed as scare-mongers. Allah has chosen Muslims to lead the way, yet we follow the trend. If we do not break away from the madness sooner, rather than later, we do not deserve the label of being the best of mankind. We will be going down with the rest.

At this time of cynicism and low electoral turnout, when the difference between shades of political red, blue and yellow have been blurred beyond recognition, there is a growing need for an alternative and a strong moral stance. Never before has a project like the Islamic Party of Britain been so relevant and imperative. Yet never before have Muslims been as disinterested and lacking in support. We will continue to offer a vehicle for action, but we cannot substitute that action with pretence. We pray Allah awakes the believers from their self-content slumber.

Author: Islamic Party of Britain
Date Published: October 2000

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