Oh no, not another camera up the jumper film by Dispatches, the tiresome and fevered Channel 4 documentary strand.
At the risk of adding to its viewership by giving it publicity, I’m featured – or rather, smeared – in it tonight. The programme is a pop by Dispatches at Muslims – like the previous tales they have put out about the supposed enemy within plotting to turn Britain into some rainy and windswept Islamic republic.
Stop chuckling. According to Jim Fitzpatrick, a New Labour minister and, coincidentally, my opponent for the seat in Poplar and Limehouse in the forthcoming election, the Islamic Forum of Europe has infiltrated his party and become a secret party within the party.
A sort of Militant Tendency with the Koran and keffiyehs who believe in jihad and sharia law. Fitzpatrick has a substantial bee in his bonnet about this and a track record, to boot. Last year, he had a much-publicised row with the East London mosque when he walked out of a wedding there after he and his wife took objection to being segregated by sex. As if he didn’t know that was custom. Now it seems he wants to alienate the few remaining Muslims who might vote for him in a constituency where they are 40 per cent of the electorate.
A speech I gave in the mosque after my last election victory was secretly taped and has been obtained by Dispatches almost five years on. The IFE were, in fact, one of several groups who helped in my successful antiwar campaign and I credited them for their help – as I did to all of the other groups, from Greens, Liberals, Tories to Trotskyists, who helped my defeat of a pro -war MP.
I don’t know who is or isn’t a member of the IFE, and I have only the haziest knowledge of what they stand for, but the organisation has never approached me for help or attempted to influence me. Again, my lawyers are watching.