I watched as Lord Pearson asked his question in the Lords and I felt both ashamed and disgusted. The spectacle was of our leaders, supposed statesmen, sleep-walking into oblivion. To put it politely, members of the House dodged the facts. Lord Pearson's question was partly about the implications for sharia in England once the Muslim population has increased tenfold. The government spokesperson brushed it aside and assured members that sharia will have no place in our legal constitution and framework. Really? But it is operating here already - in cases involving marital law among Muslims for instance.
Members took turns to denounce Lord Pearson. This being the Lords and not the Other Place, there was no shouting and screaming or the use of in-parliamentary language: just the quiet and sardonic, smarmy dismissal of Lord Pearson's case by people who clearly thought very well of themselves and were very confident in their bien pensant delusions. Baroness Tonge remarked to the effect that, when we're considering the preponderance of particular groups and classes of people in this country, we ought to look at the effects produced by the number of people called Pearson. This was beyond sarcasm. It was monstrous.
The Bishop of Leeds accused Lord Pearson of lying. "My Lords, does the Minister agree that a prerequisite to any intelligent discussion of Islam or any other religion should pay attention to the ninth commandment, which is that you will not bear false witness against your neighbour?", he said.
All the facts produced by the ONS, together with their implications and consequences were studiously ignored. After seven minutes of this relentless evasiveness and clear unwillingness to perceive the truth, when the truth was staring them in the face, was frightening. The words that kept coming back into my head were, "But if the blind shall lead the blind, they both shall fall into the ditch."
And it is a very deep ditch.