I have been working as a doctor in the NHS for the last ten years. For the most part, my friends in healthcare know that I have been (and continue to be) a significant advocate for what is known as Quality Improvement in Healthcare.
There is a science behind Quality Improvement, a whole thought process which takes the practitioner from identifying a problem to developing what is hopefully a sustainable solution. Following a structured process is vital, otherwise you run the risk of developing a solution which is entirely unsuitable for the problem that you identified at the beginning.
Ill-thought out interventions lack sustainability, credibility and nearly always cause more problems than they are designed to fix.
“We will be absolutely clear about the people and groups we will not deal with because we find their views and behaviour to be so inconsistent with our own.”
~ Counter-Extremism Strategy document
Following on from my previous blog, I take brief look at the Counter-Extremism Strategy which has been published to much neocon fanfare and celebration. Most of the measures have been either already implemented unofficially, or announced as upcoming proposals. I have covered these parts in detail in the following blogs:
In short, it’s the usual inevitable neoconservative mix of Machiavellian fear (“dangerous”, “poisonous”, “harmful”, “threat”, “extremists”, “Islamists”!), double speak (protect freedoms by curtailing them/“targeted powers” which are “flexible”/claiming “not about Islam” but advancing only “liberal” Islam), and irrationality (the Strategy is based on the PM’s assertions rather than empirical evidence, whilst conflating crime into the extremism discourse), not to mention implicit association with negative cultural practices with Islam and Muslims (or the phantom menace that are the “Islamists”), adding to the stigmatisation of the Muslim minority.
Any additional points? There are few which twiddled my whiskers as they say. Below is my elucidation of those points.
The Government’s Counter Extremism strategy was published today following reports in the weekend papers about £5 million in funding being put aside to fund groups “to build a national coalition against extremism – in communities and online” and mention of the strategy including measures to ban “hate preachers from using the internet or working with children”.
The strategy published today is much the same in content as the report by the Prime Minister’s Extremism Taskforce which has laid much of the groundwork for what has since followed in policy announcements about tackling extremism. The criticisms levelled at the Taskforce report, about its lack of evidence base to validate assertions made and its overreliance on the notion of “ideology” being at the root of radicalisation are all repeated in the strategy published today.
The strategy also reiterates much of what we have already heard from the Home Secretary, Theresa May and the Prime Minister, David Cameron about the Government’s “crackdown” on extremism, with its conflation of integration policy, on “boosting opportunity and integration”, and racialised, essentialist assumptions about Muslims and “illegal cultural practices” such as forced marriage, honour killings and female genital mutilation.
The references to a review of shari’ah tribunals in the UK sits uneasily in a strategy supposedly about championing British values and celebrating the “vibrant, buoyant and diverse” British society that has been cultivated over the years.
More strange is a citation which presents evidence submitted to Baroness Caroline Cox as evidence of “extremism” – this is the same Baroness Cox who invited Geert Wilders to the UK and said of Muslims, “Islam is using the freedoms of democracy to destroy it”. There is a certain irony in making mention of individuals with extremist connections in a strategy about “counter-extremism”. Odd too that the Extremism Analysis Unit which is supposedly the holy grail in identifying “extremists” missed the likes of Baroness Cox and her association with the notoriously Islamophobic Gatestone Institute. A case of civil servants asleep on the job?
Is your doctor spying on you?
Foreign policy considerations as a root cause of anguish and concern have time and again been thrown out the door to be replaced with an asinine theory propounded less by experts in Islam and more by opportunists awaiting their government pay-cheques. The conveyor-belt theory to radicalisation is as odious in profiling people based on belief as the Third Riech’s policy of “Germanising” Jews, and with it, the unchecked, illiberal and heavily prejudiced floodgate of normalising surveillance, invading privacy and creating an atmosphere of suspicion, has been opened.
Of course, accepting foreign and domestic policy considerations as reasons for legitimate grievance means opening the doors to government scrutiny, something the current regime has minimised, violating principles of liberal democracy and emulating tyrants like the Bashar al-Assads of this world.