The Neoconservatism in Michael Gove and Celsius 7/7 (1) – His “Inspiration”


In a previous blog I set out how government proposals which scrap the Human Rights Act and propose the curtailment of legal expression via the Counter-Extremism Bill are intertwined. I have also in the past explained how the assault on civil liberties is founded in neoconservative thinking.

In this series, we will delve deeper into the views held by our new Justice Secretary, Michael Gove as articulated in his book, Celsius 7/7, with additional commentary explaining the neoconservativism underpinning the statements where appropriate and the impact it has thus far had on the good Britons of this country.

In this first part, we will briefly examine the people who shaped his disturbing worldview.

“Pre-existing Prejudices”

The historian, William Dalrymple, in his ripping critique of the book entitled, “Islamic Terrorism – A Global Crisis of Understanding”, completely tore down Gove’s erroneous assumptions. It is certainly worth revisiting key parts of his review. Declaring Gove “an ill-informed pundit tailoring information to fit pre-existing prejudices”, he wrote,

“A prominent example of the sort of pundit who has spoon-fed neocon mythologies to the British public for the past few years is Michael Gove. Gove has never lived in the Middle East, indeed has barely set foot in a Muslim country. He has little knowledge of Islamic history, theology or culture – in Celsius 7/7, he just takes the line of Bernard Lewis on these matters; nor does he speak any Islamic language. None of this, however, has prevented his being billed, on his book’s dust-jacket, “one of Britain’s leading writers and thinkers on terrorism”.

“Gove’s book is a confused epic of simplistic incomprehension, riddled with more factual errors and misconceptions than any other text I have come across in two decades of reviewing books on this subject. 

“Throughout Gove’s book, neocon myths are reheated and served up, despite being long discredited… At the heart of Celsius 7/7 lies the idea that the Islamists are motivated by a deep hatred of freedom: as Bin Laden noted in his 2004 broadcast, if that was so, “Why did we not attack Sweden?” Instead, it is specifically to fight for freedom from US interference in the Islamic world that Al-Qaeda was formed: “We have been fighting you because we are free men,” said Bin Laden in the same speech. “Just as you violate our security, so we violate yours.” This was echoed by Mohammad Siddique Khan before 7/7: “Your governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world . . . Until we feel security, you will be our targets. And until you stop the bombing, imprisonment and torture of my people, we will not stop this fight.””

Despite these gaping intellectual holes, Michael Gove’s book has been instrumental in shaping Tory policy. Dalrymple wrote at that time, “that this book was named as the one most taken by British MPs on their summer holidays”. Geoffrey Wheatcroft in his insightful comment piece noted how the powerful lobby group, Conservative Friends of Israel, had signed up most the Conservatives. Upon signing up, Gove’s neocon/Zionist manifesto against Muslims globally is, wrote Wheatcroft, “given to every lucky person who joins the CFI.” It is worth adding that Wheatcroft himself called the book a “Muslim-bashing diatribe”.

Neocon Boy’s Network

Looking at Gove’s “Acknowledgements” section before even delving into his book gives an indication toward the type of understanding which has been successfully disseminated as truth in Government.

Right from the off, George Wiedenfeld is cited as the “inspiration” and idea for the book. Gove calls him a “man of great wisdom and humanity” who he is proud to call “a friend.”[1] Weidenfeld is currently the president of the Board of Trustees for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. As I highlighted in a previous detailed article, Weidenfeld is a Zionist who has co-signed, alongside extremist neocons, a pro-Zionist petition which states that, “Israeli land concessions, will never bring peace”. As we shall see in the following parts of this series, this is a line echoed by the Zionist Gove. The petition, published by the rabidly bigoted, anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute run by the chief financier of transatlantic Muslim-hate, Nina Rosenwald, also postures a supremacist assumption, stating that “only a cultural revolution in the Arab world can achieve [peace].”

Amongst the list of editors Gove thanks “in particular”, is Daniel Finkelstein. Finkelstein, a senior Conservative peer was the editor of the Times, as well as chairman of the right-wing, neoconservative London think-tank, Policy Exchange. Michael Gove founded the neoconservative think-tank Policy Exchange in 2002, and is notorious for fabricating receipts in order to prove “extremist” material was being sold in Mosques. The report was authored by anti-Muslim Denis MacEoin who has been on record to state that he has very “negative feelings” about Islam.

Investigative journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed has described Finkelstein as a “close confidant” of David Cameron. Ahmed also reveals that Finkelstein has,

“…expressed his pride in providing a platform for racist far-right extremist views, and leading figures who have promoted such views. He sits on the board of a controversial little-known American think-tank [Gatestone Institute] that has endorsed calls for the forcible depopulation of ethnic minorities and Muslims in parts of Europe, and published discredited racist myths such as the idea of “Muslim no-go-zones.”

In an exchange with Ahmed on Twitter, Finkelstein confirmed that he “enjoyed” Douglas Murray’s speeches and found them “stimulating and worthwhile”. Murray, if we recall is on record as stating, among other racist, fascistic statements that, “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board”.

Dean Godson is referenced as a person who “helped shape [Gove’s] thinking”. Godson is now the Director of Policy Exchange. The aforementioned report by Denis MacEoin, which attacked inter alia, the Muslim Council of Britain, was overseen by Godson. Once exposed, Godson had attacked the BBC for airing these concerns, accusing the BBC of “appalling stewardship of Newsnight”. During the 1980s Godson served as a Special Assistant to the US Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman. Lehman would go onto to become a signatory for the war-mongering neoconservative think-tank founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, Project for New American Century. The American neocon and war-advocate David Frum has called Godson his “friend”. Frum is also the Chairman of the board of trustees for Policy Exchange. Frum was the speechwriter for Bush, the author of the infamous “Axis of Evil” claim in Bush’s 2002 State of Union address and co-author of the book An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. He wrote this book with the architect of the Iraq war and fellow neocon Richard Perle.

For the sake of brevity the following are the names of key individuals who also influenced Gove’s thinking.

Oliver Kamm, credited by Gove, the self-described “pro-war leftie”, is a left-wing neoconservative. Noteworthy are his views on the widely condemned 2003 Iraq war.  He has previously written that,

“Iraq was the most far-sighted and noble act of British foreign policy since the founding of Nato. Mr Blair’s record exemplifies foreign policy ‘with an ethical dimension’.”

The Iraq war was based on Machiavellian deceit, and pursued personal interests and an effort towards a domestic “closed society” (this will be discussed in depth in follow up blogs). US Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, said about the Iraq war back in 2007:

“People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.”

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan added in his 2007 book: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

Stephen Pollard also comes in for a mention. The editor of Jewish Chronicle, Pollard has been described by Eliot Weinberger of London Review of Books as an “anti-Muslim hatemonger”. During the onset of the Iraq war, Pollard cynically wrote:

“I am a warmonger. I am bloodthirsty. I am rabid. My friends want only peace and harmony, but I want to wreak destruction and killing. I want to see British soldiers doing the Texan moron’s dirty work for him.”

Pollard is a senior fellow at Civitas, a “think-tank” which has produced anti-Muslim reports by noted Christian, Caroline Cox.  In addition to believing that Muslims are compulsive liars, that Islam is a warring faith and Jihad is the conquest of the world, Cox, since 2005, has been a co-president of the Jerusalem Summit, a hardline pro-Israel advocacy outfit, which brings together neocons, evangelicals and Zionists. She also invited anti-Islam, far-right politician Geert Wilders to screen his inflammatory film “Fitna” and launched Sharia Watch, a bigoted organisation spearheaded by far-right extremist Ann Marie Waters.

William Shawcross also makes an entrance as a key “shaper” of Gove’s seemingly empty cranium. Another advocate of neoconservatism, Shawcross has defended the Iraq war and human rights-violating Guantanamo Bay. Whilst whitewashing Zionist crimes, the anti-Muslim Shawcross has stated that,

“Europe and Islam is one greatest most terrifying problems of our future, I think all European countries have vastly, very quickly, growing Islamic populations…”

Shawcross, in the “Acknowledgement” section of his book cites, Douglas Murray, and the far-right terrorist-inspiring “Mad Mel” Melanie Philips as having helped him.

Finally, we have the neoconservative hate-preacher, Douglas Murray. Murray’s colourful views are well-documented. Having someone like Murray as a person who has “shaped” one’s thinking speaks volumes about the person being “shaped”.

We have then a conglomeration of anti-Muslim, Zionist neocons contributing to and moulding the thinking behind a book which has been thoroughly propagated amongst the Tories, and given rise to policies which have discriminatorily targeted the Muslim minority, using subversive cold-war-era tactics. With this strategic direction, tainted by the darkness of the billion dollar Islamophobia industry, has come the creation of all the instruments and divisive terminologies which prop this anti-Muslim thinking: Quilliam Foundation, Henry Jackson Society, “moderate Muslims”, “extremism”, “Islamist”, “radical Islam” and an obsessive focus on “ideology” as the sole reason for the world’s ills.

The bigotry which emanates from this circle of influence manifests itself as the contorted text which Gove has produced. In the next part, we will discern Gove’s infatuation with ideology and his anti-Islam monochromatic (good/bad) construction of the Muslim.


[1] Gove, M., Celsius 7/7, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2006, p.141

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