Why Jack Straw should be replaced

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An anomaly in the British structure of Government is that members of the Cabinet can also hold seats in the Parliament. We know that most politicians are eager to hold onto their positions of power. Jack Straw, the Foreign Minister of England, recently rationalized (and in a sense justified) the riots occurring throughout the Arab world over the issue of the Mohammed cartoons by  this absurd statement:

If people looked at these cartoons and were to replace the images of the Holy Prophet with images of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary, they can see that, even in our culture, if they were directed at the Judeo—Christian traditions, there would be similar outrage.

Of course, one cannot imagine this happening in the Western World. Christian symbols are routinely mocked (see "Piss Christ"). Why would Straw make a statement that appears so nonsensical and craven?

We know that European governments face a rapidly growing Muslim population and also have monetary reasons to curry favor with Arab nations. However, sometimes the devil is in the details.

Foreign Minister Straw's Parliament seat is an area that has a hugely disproportionate Muslim population —even by England's standards. In his last election, he faced a

"surprisingly tough race to retain his normally safe seat in Blackburn, a northern constituency with a heavily Muslim population...."

Indeed he referred to the heavily Muslim district that he represents during a question and answer period at the US State Department.

Might it be wise for Tony Blair to find another person to run Foreign Affairs during a time of extreme tension with the Muslim world? Perhaps someone who does not owe his position in Parliament to Muslim voters? He should either resign as Foreign Minister or give up his seat—at the very least, to shield Blair and his government from charges of favoritism.

Ed Lasky   2 06 06

An anomaly in the British structure of Government is that members of the Cabinet can also hold seats in the Parliament. We know that most politicians are eager to hold onto their positions of power. Jack Straw, the Foreign Minister of England, recently rationalized (and in a sense justified) the riots occurring throughout the Arab world over the issue of the Mohammed cartoons by  this absurd statement:

If people looked at these cartoons and were to replace the images of the Holy Prophet with images of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary, they can see that, even in our culture, if they were directed at the Judeo—Christian traditions, there would be similar outrage.

Of course, one cannot imagine this happening in the Western World. Christian symbols are routinely mocked (see "Piss Christ"). Why would Straw make a statement that appears so nonsensical and craven?

We know that European governments face a rapidly growing Muslim population and also have monetary reasons to curry favor with Arab nations. However, sometimes the devil is in the details.

Foreign Minister Straw's Parliament seat is an area that has a hugely disproportionate Muslim population —even by England's standards. In his last election, he faced a

"surprisingly tough race to retain his normally safe seat in Blackburn, a northern constituency with a heavily Muslim population...."

Indeed he referred to the heavily Muslim district that he represents during a question and answer period at the US State Department.

Might it be wise for Tony Blair to find another person to run Foreign Affairs during a time of extreme tension with the Muslim world? Perhaps someone who does not owe his position in Parliament to Muslim voters? He should either resign as Foreign Minister or give up his seat—at the very least, to shield Blair and his government from charges of favoritism.

Ed Lasky   2 06 06