New Balls

This week Baroness Neville-Jones, our Minister of State for Security and Counter-Terrorism spoke about her vision for the future of British society. Muslims, she said, must be made to feel they have a long-term stake in the country. Funny. I have the impression that’s the very thing they’re already confident of. I have the impression we’re simply waiting to ink in the date.

In June Lady Neville-Jones will be relaunching PREVENT, the government campaign set up after the 2005 London bombings to avert the radicalisation of young Muslims. You can read the PREVENT Guide for Local Partners on-line and I recommend it for the next wet Sunday afternoon. It’s a masterpiece of govspeak, littered with ‘targets’, ‘key deliverables’, ‘good practice’ and, inevitably, ‘vulnerable individuals.’ By ‘vulnerable individuals’ she means those who enjoy all the benefits (literally in many cases) of living in Britain but have a monumental Muslim chip on their shoulder.

I’m not saying that PREVENT Mark I was a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. Multicultural food festivals were enjoyed by many. Several imams were grateful for the opportunity to attend communications and awareness workshops. Basketball hoops and new pingpong balls were airdropped into deprived inner city areas. But these things do cost money and you know, what you do for one group… I’m amazed the Hindus aren’t out on the barricades demanding new balls. And what about the Wiccans?

Having had a good old kvetch about London in my last post, where am I off to tomorrow? Right. A funeral, though not a tragic one. At 88 he was more than ready to go and the only sadness is that as a doctor who made it his business to ensure his patients died comfortably he was not accorded the same consideration in his own last days. I’m glad my mother, a nurse of the Hattie Jacques school of ward management, didn’t live to hear about it.

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