Monday, 19 December 2011

The state we're in


The strange idea of making the ugliest towns in the UK, “shit towns,” as one author put it, into cities goes on. Wolverhampton was thus adorned recently, and still looks pretty much the same despite this fairy dust. Beautiful and picturesque contenders such as Luton, Croydon, Medway, Southend and Blackpool, are hoping to be chosen in the Queen’s diamond jubilee year, and other elements have caught on to this strange egregious trend.
Lutfur Rahman the ambitious Mayor of Tower Hamlets is trying to get his area of east London turned into a separate city, or more I suspect into full secession from the rest of the UK.
He has just persuaded the Mayor of Philadelphia, the aptly named, Michael A Nutter, to write to the Queen praising the borough’s (non-Islamic) heritage because the Liberty Bell was cast there in 1752.
This is all a little worrying to those of us who still see London, “flower of cities all,” as one entity although sprawling badly, and wonder how part of a city can be hived off to make another city.
Of course over here we all know that the idea is for Lutfur Rahman to extend his power over what has become his own Islamic fiefdom. But do his American friends know this?
As so often seems to happen the Americans are well meaning but naïve – and one has to ask again, why can’t they read up a few facts on a place before they go and start messing with it?
M A Nutter looks as if he might belong to the Nation of Islam brotherhood himself, but whether he does or not I doubt if he has ever read Private Eye’s accounts of Rahman’s greed, his gross spending on his own office, worse than any MP would risk these days. Or worse still newspaper reports on the state of things inside the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets.
In April a woman was prevented from working in a pharmacy because she wasn’t fully veiled. There has been a prolonged, violent attempt to turn this part of London into a “gay free zone.” Adverts showing women in skimpy clothing are banned. There are constant calls for Sharia and the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation says that Tower Hamlets is ruled by “Talibanist thugs.”
Last year there was an organised protest against Christmas, calling it “Evil.” Extremists in Tower Hamlets say they are going to “take the fight to the enemy.” That’s us and moderate Muslims.
If they get city status, over the other ugly contenders, it will be an interesting place to visit, probably with its own strict dress-code, passport and currency. The government would never be daft enough to allow it – would they??

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