Comments from Jewish UKIP politician Jeremy Zeid about the lack of white faces in Ilford and the “ethnic cleansing” that brought it about remind us of a warning in a book published in 1996 by Samuel P. Huntington.
His seminal work, The Clash of Civilisations, set academic tongues wagging. It also helped explain, to those interested in the Middle East, the many different ways in which Israel is on the front-line, and it set the scene for the politics of the 21st century.
It was written in response to one of his former students, Francis Fukuyama, who said that with the end of the Cold War, the battle of ideologies had been won, that western liberal democracy would prevail, and that there would be no more conflict.
Huntington disagreed, saying that people’s cultural and religious identities would be the new source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. These ‘cultural wars,’ he said, had been fought for centuries, and would be fought for centuries to come.
“The fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be ideological or economic,” he said. “The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.”
He added: “The principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilisations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilisations will be the battle lines of the future.”
Different cultures will always fight, then. And in Harrow, UKIP seems to want to lead that fight in a different direction.
Why? For what purpose? Does Mr Zeid think we are worse off for different colours of faces he sees walking down the street?
Does he feel that his local WH Smiths has being invaded, with prices driven up, as the white faces have been driven out?
More generally, does Mr Zeid not think that, as a Jew, our community owes a small debt of gratitude to the UK’s acceptance of those from different cultures?
Does he not realise that Jews know a little something about ethnic cleansing? And that they don’t treat the term’s casual usage lightly?
More importantly, does Mr Zeid represent today’s clash of civilisations? Has he and his party, which has an unfortunate habit of strafing whole races and religions with its stray sound-bites, barged its way to the front in this cultural showdown?
If so, are we now being led by these yesteryear generals asking “why the bloody hell should they apologise”?
If so, where are we being led? And if we don’t speak out against their hate-filled bile, are we collectively only as good as them?
Food for thought, as the clock starts ticking for next year’s general election.