Nowadays I tense up slightly every time I find myself in a Central London crowd. And — call me a racist and report me to the Commission for Racial Equality — I automatically examine every young Muslim coming my way.
Is he carrying some work tools or a gun in that satchel? Is it food or a bomb in his Sainsbury’s bag? Unlike Mr Osborne, I’m a civilised man, so I don’t go beyond looking with apprehension. But I can understand his action, even if I can’t excuse it.
It’s not Islamophobia that has put the electricity of fear and tension into the atmosphere, but Islamic terrorism. So surely our response to the Finsbury Park attack should distinguish between action and reaction.
Both may be reprehensible, but it takes a broken moral compass to suggest they are equally reprehensible. Or else it takes a conscience warped by what some call political correctness and what could more appropriately be called our civilisation’s suicide wish.
This is a dangerous disease, and our prime minister is showing advanced symptoms of it. She assigned an equal measure of “hatred and evil” both to the Finsbury Park attack and the numerous and more deadly acts of Muslim terrorism that had provoked it.
The former, said Mrs May, is “every bit as insidious and destructive to our values and our way of life” as the latter. That’s why “We will stop at nothing to defeat it.”
Nothing, Mrs May? That’s good to hear. So let’s begin by admitting that we’re at war – not with alienated loaners on cannabis, not with Islamists, not with Islamofascists, not with Islamic fundamentalists, but with Islam.
This war has been going on for 1,400 years, and it has had lulls alternating with flare-ups. We’re going through a flare-up now, and unless HMG does something about it, people like Darren Osborne (no relation to George) will.
If they start doing it en masse, that could spell disintegration of public order, with vigilante justice replacing the rule of law. And then, “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”
When Enoch Powell thus quoted Virgil in a similar context, he was instantly vilified, and our progressive press still sputters spittle at the “rivers of blood” speech. But, even though Powell didn’t have specifically Muslims in mind, he saw the dangers of multi-culti diversity.
His moral compass hadn’t gone haywire, as Mrs May’s has. If she really will stop at nothing to defeat violence, she should start by stopping the Muslim action first, and the reaction to it second. This isn’t just a temporal sequence, but a moral pecking order.