Why the Lib Dems?

A few days ago Liberal Democrat spokesperson Kishwer Falkner attracted some media attention when she stated that Muslims should have “broader shoulders” when it comes to issues of free speech such as the Danish cartoons – a statement that Osama Saeed rightly dismissed as “patronising drivel”.

I missed Kishwer Falkner’s speech at the Trafalgar Square rally against Islamophobia on 11 February (I’d sneaked off for a coffee). However, a contact has provided this account: “She came on directly after Azzam Tamimi and attacked him from the platform for his lack of ‘self restraint’ (without of course specifying what this meant). She ended her tedious and patronising speech with the inspiring slogan ‘Moderation is more important than militancy’ – and walked off to a chorus of boos.”

I notice that another leading Lib Dem, Evan Harris MP, is billed as a platform speaker at the so-called “March for Free Expression” in London on 25 March, which has been called basically in support of the right to incite hatred against Muslims.

I can understand why Muslim communities have been alienated from Labour by the actions of the Blair government, but why anyone should regard the Lib Dems as any sort of alternative beats me.