Savage discovers emails about his UK exclusion order

John O'Sullivan:

THE latest twist in the saga of how the British government banned talk-radio host Michael Savage from entering Britain is straight out of the sitcom "Yes, Prime Minister," in which a Machiavellian civil servant, Sir Humphrey, repeatedly manipulates PM Jim Hacker into foolish decisions with subtle arguments that Jim never quite grasps.


So it would've been if a shrewd old mandarin like Sir Humphrey were still running the Home Office in Whitehall. He'd never have made the elementary error of putting the real reasons for banning Savage in a confidential e-mail. He'd know that the final destination of confidential Labor government mail is the front page of the conservative Daily Mail.

Which is where the internal Home Office e-mails relating to Savage's exclusion from Britain ended up this week.

Savage himself is owed most of the credit for exposing this latest farce: He decided to fight his exclusion by launching a slander suit against the home secretary (the hapless Jacqui Smith, who has since resigned amid an avalanche of gaffes), and then obtained his own list of incriminating e-mails as part of the legal process.

These e-mails are fully as silly -- and damaging -- as anything in "Yes, Prime Minister." One makes it explicit that Savage is being named as an excluded person "to ensure that the names disclosed . . . are not all Islamic extremists." Another reveals that the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Foreign Secretary David Miliband are "firmly behind" this "naming and shaming."

A third e-mail (from a civil servant who seems a potential Sir Humphrey) prudently warns his bosses that all this sounds too much like "duplicity."

Indeed, it does. The list of "named and shamed" included not only Islamic "extremists" but also two Russian skinheads imprisoned for 20 racial murders. What had Savage done to justify including him in such company?


It had another low political motive as well as that of appeasing radical Islamism -- namely, attempting to discredit conservatives by associating them with extremists and political criminals. Exactly the same tactics -- "guilt by association" and "guilt by exclusion" -- were later used against Geert Wilders, the anti-immigration Dutch politician. Whatever flaws of taste or opinion they may have committed, neither man posed any threat to security, the British way of life or even community tension.


There have been many attempts at false moral equivalency since 9-11 and this is just one of the sillier attempts. There have been other attempts to lump critics of Islam in with the Islamic religious bigots, even though those critics have never suggested genocide against Muslims much less participated in it.

What Savage has exposed is a sickness within the liberal mindset in the UK. The liberal culture there is at war with self defense and with anyone who criticizes the liberal thought police. While I am not a fan of Savage, he has performed a great service by exposing this duplicity.


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