Sunday, November 13, 2005

New terms, old cliches noted

In a post Friday titled "The Home Office suicide note," Melanie Phillips noted the release of a report on the anti-terror bill now before Parliament. The report, which had been requested by the Home Office, shockingly found that the bill would create (quoting the Grauniad article Phillips links to) "a 'significant chill factor' in the Muslim community, censor those who criticise British foreign policy and drive extremists further underground." But wait! Guess who predicted this frostiness:

The fears were voiced [the Guardian continues] by the Muslim community working groups set up by the Home Office to prevent the growth of extremism after the July terror attacks. The warning centres on the remaining provisions in the proposed legislation--such as the ban on the "glorification" of terrorist
acts--that are likely to become the next focus of parliamentary dissent after Tony Blair's defeat on holding terrorist suspects for 90 days without charge. . . .

The Muslim community's police and security working group report makes clear that many believe the present anti-terror regime is already excessive, and that the measures risk provoking further radicalisation of young British Muslims.

Ms. Phillips, in case you couldn't guess, is not happy about this. Read her whole post, of course, but a couple of the recommendations of these Muslim "working groups" tickled the Drunkablog's festering liver. Among other things, the report called for

[a] rapid rebuttal unit to combat Islamophobia, a better reflection of Islam in the national curriculum, and the training of imams in ‘modern’ skills.

It's the "rapid rebuttal unit" that stuck out, not that the others aren't peculiar. But I'd never heard the term before, so I looked around and, of course, it's everywhere.

For example, a while ago EURSOC noted that the European Union had set up a rapid rebuttal unit to respond to attacks on the proposed EU constitution (that worked real well); the second commenter on this post recommends that Microsoft form a "rapid rebuttal unit" to counter "misinformation" about its products (that would definitely work real well); and Britain's Labour (as they say) Party apparently had its very own rapid rebuttal unit--until they replaced it with, naturally enough, an "Attack Unit" (and advertised to fill the unit's top position: "Head of Attack").

Update: By the way, another much-loved blogger cliche checkmarked on the Drunkablog life-list: "Grauniad."

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