That Was The Year That Was

A. Millar has posted a review of last year’s events in the UK at Hudson New York. Some excerpts are below:

UK Rundown 2010: Shaken but not Stirred
by A. Millar

With an election having taken place in May, 2010 should have been the year in which politics took center stage. Instead, the pressing issues of the day were largely ignored during the campaign period, as they have been for the last decade. Partly as a consequence, 2010 turned into the year in which politics spilled over into the streets.

Welfare cuts were, perhaps inevitably, an issue that the parties somewhat tackled. Still, students — the base of Britain’s third party, the Liberal Democrats — expressed their outrage at the university-fees hike proposed by the coalition government (of which the Lib Dems are the junior partner). The students were also whipped up into rioting throughout November and December by various socialist organizations — a situation that appears to have remained off the radars of both the authorities and the media.

As former University College London student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up an airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, the year also began with perhaps some unfortunately rhetorical questions about radicalization in the UK. Islamist extremism and terrorism, both attempted and actual, were more in evidence in 2010 than ever before, except of course for 2005, the year of the 7/7 London attacks: throughout this year, members of the banned extremist organization Islam4UK were especially visible. Islamist infiltration in the UK is less easy to detect, but the surface was scratched enough — especially by center-Right newspaper The Telegraph — for it to have been periodically exposed.

If the authorities were shaken by Abdulmutallab’s attempt to murder Americans, apparently they were not all stirred to grasp the extent of the problem in the UK. Others were: 2010 saw a rise in the number of anti-Islamist protests, held across the country, largely by the English Defense League movement — described by Prime Minister David Cameron as “terrible people.”

December 2010 brought yet fresh embarrassment, with a virtual repeat of December 2009: Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, a former student at the British city of Luton, carried out a suicide bombing in Stockholm, killing, however, only himself.

With special attention to radical Islam in Britain, some events are more dramatic than others, although they all tell us much about the broad state of the country. Other important events, such as the general election, occurred, as well as some that are minor, but which may give a more complete and nuanced picture of Great Britain today.


The extremist group Islam4UK is banned. Former Islam4UK leader Anjem Choudary appears on BBC chat show the Daily Politics [video] following the ban, describing it as “a waste of time.”

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) calls for the Burka to be banned.


Islamic preacher Abdullah Hakim Quick speaks at Kings College University, London. He has reportedly previously denounced the “filth” of Jews, and asserts the (Sharia Law) death penalty for homosexuality.

The Telegraph reports that the governing Labour Party has been infiltrated by Islamic extremists: “The Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) — which believes in jihad and Sharia Law, and wants to turn Britain and Europe into an Islamic state — has placed sympathizers in elected office and claims, correctly, to be able to achieve ‘mass mobilization’ of voters.” (See October.)


Geert Wilders screens Fitna in the House of Lords, at the invitation of Lord Pearson (UKIP) and Baronness Cox. Wilders tells the audience: “As you undoubtedly all know, better then I do, also in your country the mass immigration and Islamization have rapidly increased. This has put an enormous pressure on your British society. Look what is happening in, for example, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford and here in London. British politicians who have forgotten about Winston Churchill have now taken the path of least resistance. They have given up. They have given in.”

A group of “wannabe” Islamic militants calling themselves “The Blackburn Resistance” are convicted of terrorist offenses.

With an election set for early May, Britain’s political parties begin campaigning. David Cameron unveils his “Big Society” theme for Britain.


Respect Party candidate George Galloway is attacked by three Muslim men. According to his spokesman, “They were shouting ‘kafir’ [infidel], which is very insulting, and that Mr Galloway deserved to die. They were very aggressive and then they lunged forward towards Mr Galloway. I would certainly consider it an attack.” Galloway is a well-known pro-Palestinian campaigner often considered to be pro-Hamas (Galloway denies this charge).


David Cameron calls the anti-Islamist protest group the English Defense League “terrible people” and says they will be kept under review, and “if we needed to ban them, we would ban them or any groups which incite hatred.”

A general election is held on May 6. The election results for the three major parties are:

Conservatives 307 seats.

Labour takes 258.

Liberal Democrats 57.

Several smaller parties, including the Democratic Unionist Party, the Scottish National Party, and Sinn Fein, also secure a number of MPs. The Greens Party wins its first seat. Caroline Lucas, a member of the European Parliament for the South East of England since 1999, and a former Oxfam advisor, becomes the Greens’ first MP. The Times calls it “an historic victory”.

With no party having an outright majority (over the other parties if their votes are combined), the result is a hung parliament. The Left-wing Lib Dems negotiate with both Labour and the Conservatives to see if they can make a deal to become a part of a coalition government.

Gordon Brown formally resigns as Prime Minister. In his resignation speech he says that “Above all, it was a privilege to serve. And yes, I loved the job not for its prestige, its titles and its ceremony — which I do not love at all. No, I loved the job for its potential to make this country I love fairer, more tolerant, more green, more democratic, more prosperous and more just — truly a greater Britain.”

David Cameron announces that the Conservatives and Lib Dems will form a coalition government. The press dubs it the “Con-Dem” government.

Roshonara Choudhry, 21, attacks Labour MP Stephen Timms in his surgery. She stabs him repeatedly in the stomach, apparently as “punishment” for his voting in favor of the invasion of Iraq.

Minister for Security, Baroness Neville-Jones gives her first television interview to the Islam Channel [video] — the station had been previously accused of advocating marital rape and backing extremist Islamist organizations.

The Home Secretary announces a cut of ten million pounds to the counter-terrorism budget.


The press reports that radical Indian preacher Zakir Naik will speak in London and Sheffield. Naik has said of Osama bin Laden that “if he is terrorizing America the terrorist[…] I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist[…] If [bin Laden’s] terrorizing a terrorist he is following Islam” [video].

Charles Farr, Whitehall’s top security adviser, meets with Dr. Naik’s representatives, assuring them that he will “put himself on the line” if necessary, since he believes that “to exclude Dr. Naik would be wrong.”

Home Secretary Theresa May bans Dr. Naik from entering Britain.

Douglas Murray notes in The Telegraph that the chair and vice chair of the Conservative Party’s Conservative Muslim Forum had earlier presented a check for 5,000 pounds sterling to al-Khair, one of the charities hosting Naik, at the launch of Iqra TV, another sponsor of the Indian preacher’s “peace conference.” This, Murray suggests, shows that “groups like the Conservative Muslim Forum within political parties are not merely an embarrassment, but a liability.”

For the second half of the year, see the original article at Hudson New York.

Hat tip: Vlad Tepes.