Not Bright's Blog II

Martin's second guest blogger of the week is Sunny from Pickled Politics

You have to give it to the Conservatives in America - they have balls. At least they are willing to go out on a limb and prove their big cojones. The latest such contender is the author Dinesh D'Souza with a new book called The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.

Straight from the Ann Coulter camp of provocatively titled books that leave no doubt about their slant, he is in no doubt that liberal America's crusades in favour of abortion, feminism, adultery and a breakdown of family values has led to, erm, Osama Bin Laden and his crew.

In her view for The Nation, Katha Pollitt states:

Muslims fear the West is out to foist its depraved, licentious, secular "decadence" on their pious patriarchal societies. And, D'Souza argues, they're right. Working mothers! Will & Grace! Child pornography! Our vulgar, hedonistic, gender-egalitarian, virally expanding NGO-promoted values so offend "traditional Muslims" that they have thrown in their lot with Osama and other America-haters.

You may consider D'Souza to be slightly loopy but he isn't alone, even on this side of the pond. Only a few months ago the writer Melanie Phillips published Londonistan, making a similar claim that Britain's moral and cultural decay contributed to the growth of Islamism, and blamed an unholy trinity of "militant gays, feminists or ‘antiracists’".

Coming back to D'Souza's book, a review in the New York Times wasn't so favourable either. Alan Wolfe says:

D’Souza has fallen on hard times lately. Political correctness and affirmative action — the issues he has addressed in inflammatory ways in the past — no longer inspire the same passion. “The Enemy at Home” is clearly designed to restore his reputation as the man who will say anything to call attention to his views; charging prominent senators and presidential candidates with treason can do that.

Ouch! If you want a more amusing and simplified put-down, you could watch him being interviewed by Comedy Central's rising star Stephen Colbert.

But at least D'Souza is consistent when he says, "American conservatives should join Muslims and others in condemning the global moral degeneracy that is produced by liberal values."

It has always been a great source of amusement to me that British and American conservatives, for reasons of political expediency rather than rational consistency, have constantly scare-mongered about Muslim values even when they so closely mirror their own (a point Sarfraz Manzoor alluded to earlier in January). I wonder how long it will take for the Daily Mail to come to its senses. Paul Dacre could always read Dinesh D'Souza's book.

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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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