Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Guardian: The far right wants to exploit the Westminster attack. London won’t let it

The Guardian: The far right wants to exploit the Westminster attack. London won’t let it

by Nesrine Malik

"This time, the right wing was waiting in the wings, almost grateful that the imaginary fears it had been trying to provoke had become real ones. There was no respect for the dead, dying and grieving, there was just an opportunity.

In a way, you can roughly trace the growth of the hate industry along the lines of the reaction to the three Islamic terror attacks in London since 2005. I remember after 7/7, van drivers hurling abuse at random people on Edgware Road, London’s main Arab street, but not seeing or hearing that hatred promoted by politicians or the media. By the time the soldier Lee Rigby was murdered in 2013, things were already changing, as a cohort of professional terror-response agitators hesitantly ventured on to the scene. Yesterday, they were fully arrived. The so-called Overton window – the mainstream range of ideas considered politically or socially acceptable – has shifted so much to the right that we are now subjected to the disgraced Tommy Robinson’s views on the attack in mainstream news organisations.

This industry is burgeoning not because our awareness or possession of the facts has improved when it comes to such attacks, or our knowledge as to what motivates them or how they can be prevented, if anything we are more ignorant than ever. It is because over the past few years an infrastructure of hate promotion has been established and incorporated within the mainstream. Radio shows on national stations, columns in popular newspapers, networks and relationships in the media that can get you on TV from your living room within minutes. As politicians who had been crawling on the floors of Westminster and witnessed a police officer who protected them perish appealed for calm, an entire industry was ramping up to take over the airwaves and foment the opposite."

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