Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tonight on Culture Clash

Tonight on 18 Doughty Street we’re going to be looking at an art installation at Tate Britain which has certainly caught the eye of the media – artist Mark Wallinger’s recreation of Brian Haw’s so-called ‘peace protest’ which has been a permanent feature of Parliament Square for the past few years. A much-needed retort to a warmongering government, or a ghastly eyesore and the work of a misguided eccentric, depending on your point of view, the protest has been copied lock stock and barrel by Wallinger and stuck in a gallery with the aim of saying – well, what exactly?

But first we’re going to discuss an event which, oddly, received virtually no press coverage at all. A couple of Saturdays ago, the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone sponsored a one-day conference at the QE2 Conference Centre which asked the question World Civilization of Clash of Civilizations? 5,000 people came to attend seminars and meetings, and to listen to a debate between Livingstone and Respect party member Salma Yaqoob on the one hand, and Middle eastern expert Daniel Pipes and writer and Culture Clash regular Douglas Murray on the other, on whether the West and Islam were set on a collision course. No prizes for guessing who was arguing what – but the event certainly acted as a valuable barometer of the state of mind of the rainbow coalition which surrounds Red Ken.

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