I supported Mrs Thatcher’s response of cutting off diplomatic relations with Iran and giving Rushdie unlimited protection: I even wrote to my MP saying the government was pusillanimous in failing to prosecute those demonstrators who called for his execution. Yet I never could stand the man, and found his gracelessness and ingratitude overwhelming at the time and since.
It’s patently absurd that he should be given a knighthood for his largely indifferent literary achievements, though I wouldn’t have minded if he’d been given one for having been persecuted. I suspect Blair might have had a sofa moment after a difficult meeting with so-called representatives of the Muslim community and decided to put two fingers up to the Islamists, and didn’t think of the consequences.
Personally, I can’t decide who was more hypocritical: Blair for dispensing a knighthood allegedly for literary services when it was for everything but or Rushdie, the übercritic of Britain, in accepting it. Either way, I think it’s a bit thick that it’s the effigy of our innocent Queen that is being burned.