The attempts by Jack Straw’s apologists to pass off his comments on Muslim women who wear the full face veil as an attempt to initiate a discussion are beneath contempt.
Mr Straw knew exactly what he was doing and why.
The Leader of the House had seen John Reid stage a political stunt in east London, using Muslim community leaders as a backdrop for TV cameras and enlisting the involvement of a seriously unwell convert to Islam to rant and rave at him for primetime news coverage.
Mr Reid then took full political advantage of the stunt to flaunt his “courage” in declaring that there would no no-go areas for his campaign against Islamist extremism.
Most of the media came along for the ride in the latest example of government ministers lecturing Britain’s Muslims on how to conduct themselves and how to ensure that their children behave.
All of a sudden, the Home Secretary was a statesman waiting to happen and, on the basis of telling Muslims where to get off, a possible candidate for Labour leader.
Put bluntly, Mr Straw saw this and wanted his turn in the spotlight, possibly as a prelude to standing for Labour Party deputy leader.
What a condemnation it is of the current state of politics today that the best way of gaining media attention and plaudits is by putting the boot into a religious minority that is based, largely, on ethnic minorities.
Editorial in the Morning Star, 7 October 2006