George Monbiot writes: Sir Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square should be removed to a museum. All busts and portraits of the great man in parliament and the prime minister’s residence should be taken down and placed in storage. Why? To discourage his successors from slipping their tiny feet into his shoes.
Churchill was right when he claimed, in June 1940: “Upon this battle depends the survival of … our own British life.” Those who have borrowed the sentiment are in most cases wrong. The Taliban, al-Qaida, Saddam Hussein, Isis, Islamic extremism: none of these were, or are, existential threats to the life of this country. But all are inflated until they appear to be so, invested with almost supernatural power by prime ministers hoping to be cast in bronze. This inflation, as we discovered in Iraq, has consequences.
On Monday, David Cameron maintained that confronting Islamic extremism is “the struggle of our generation”. We must pursue this struggle in the spirit with which we “faced down Hitler”. Yes, Islamic extremism is real. Yes, it creates genuine problems and presents genuine threats. But to claim it as the struggle of our generation suggests a total collapse of perspective. [Continue reading…]