Alex Massie

Beyond The Lunatic Fringe

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So, yes, there's been a mini-hiatus around these parts. Cricket and an unexpected trip to Edinburgh for a first meeting with my godson were largely to blame. Plus, you know, idleness. Anyway, we return to consider this remarkable passage:

The Salmond/Saeed axis is not merely a disturbing sign of Salmond’s own prejudices.  It has a potential strategic significance that goes beyond Scotland. The Brotherhood’s strategy for Britain is to promote separate Islamic development, declare sharia-only enclaves and infiltrate mainstream institutions as a springboard for Islamising the entire society. Since Salmond’s aim is to make Scotland independent from the rest of the United Kingdom, with one leap the Brothers could achieve an Islamised country on England’s border.

Scottish voters might be getting more than they bargained for: a Caledonian caliphate.

Astute readers will recognise that this frothing must be the work of Melanie Philips, whose yelping frankly seems better suited to the United States than the United Kingdom. Anyway, the occasion for her dark warning about the "Ismalisation" of Scotland, is the establishment of something called the Scottish Islamic Foundation which, not surprisingly, has been criticised ("its moderate members notwithstanding") by the folks at the Centre for Social Cohesion (about whom I know little, other than Philips is a great fan and that their name creeps me out).

But while I can quite believe that the Scottish Islamic Foundation may contain folk whose views I might consider unsavoury, it seems somewhat unlikely that "with one leap" Scotland could become an "Islamised country". For one thing, there are only 42,000 muslims in Scotland, or 0.84% of the population. They're going to have to breed awfully fast if they're to mount a coup...

Anyway, as arguments against the idea of independence go, the notion that the SNP would somehow turn Caledonia into some kind of Afghanistan is entertainingly loopy but not, I think, altogether convincing.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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