I arrived in London early this morning for a conference about libel tourism and other efforts to suppress criticism of radical Islam. Because of the success of those efforts, publicity for the event–which is taking place in a semi-secure, undisclosed location–has been circumscribed. I expect it to be at least as informative and enlightening as the conference on Free Speech in a Age of Jihad that Andrew McCarthy and I organized last spring. The New Criterion published edited versions of the presentations and a selection of responses from the conference in a special pamphlet this summer, and it can be yours (while supplies last) for a modest sum by clicking here and following the directives. Tune in a day or two for a report on the proceedings of the new conference.
Meanwhile, I am happy to see that Sarah Palin has lost none of her fizz in crossing the Atlantic. Gordon Brown has said he wishes his government to maintain a dignified neutrality with respect to the American Presidential election(never mind that he endorsed Obama himself), but it turns out that no one is paying any more attention to him about than than about anything else.
Hazel Blears is not, I’d wager, a name known to many of my readers, but she has the distinction of being the Communities Secretary for Mr. Brown’s government. Speaking at a fringe meeting of the centre-left party at Labour’s annual party conference in Manchester, Ms. Blears described Palin as “horrendous.” And why is that, Hazel?
“I just think there is so much anti-politics — not just in this country but around the world.”
“One of the reasons why Sarah Palin has been such a phenomenon is because she’s anti-politics, anti-Washington.”
Hazel Blears may be wrong when she describes Sarah Palin as “horrendous”–maybe she meant to say, “Dangerous to the prospects of socialistically inclined politicians like me.” But I when it comes to explaining the PP–the Palin Phenomenon–I feel a bit like Henry Higgens listening to Eliza Dootlittle discourse about the rain in Spain. “She’s anti-politics”–more precisely, she’s “anti-politics as usual.” Right you are, Hazel! She’s “anti-Washington.” Right again, Minister! That’s one of the reasons citizens across the country are clustering around the McCain-Palin team. People don’t like politics as usual. They don’t like the big-government Washington establishment. I am gald to see that bureaucrats like Hazel Blears are beginning, however obscurely, to cotton on to this enormous fact.