November 04, 2010

Last month, Tony Blair’s half-sister-in-law Lauren Booth announced that she had converted to Islam following “€œa holy experience”€ in Iran. It was the latest attention-seeking stunt from an attention-seeking clan whose members always contrive to be spectacularly wrong.

Lauren’s dramatic dumping on her heritage is akin to her father Tony Booth’s fecklessness, wooden acting, and whining socialism, and her half-sister Cherie’s choices in husbands, friends, politics, and property advisers. Like phone booths, the phony Booths always look and smell unsanitary.

Lauren’s conversion has been greeted with hilarity. Her father scoffed: “€œI mean, come on, the girl doesn”€™t have a spiritual bone in her body.”€

He added that Lauren hates her Jewish mother “€œalmost as much as she hates me. So maybe that’s what this is all about….It is time for her to grow up and stop playing the victim. She’s 43, for goodness sake.”€ Lauren’s back catalogue of down-market journalism, during which she rubbished her brother-in-law while trading on his name, won”€™t help convince anyone of her seriousness. She has joined many organizations in her well-spent life, including such useful groupings as the National Union of Journalists, Media Workers Against the War, and the Woodcraft Folk. She must have found powerful brain food in the Koran to outshine the profundity of the song that closes Woodcraft Folk meetings:

Ish Ash Osh.
Link your hands together
A circle we make;
This bond of our friendship
No power can break.
Let’s all sing together
In one mighty throng;
Should any be weary
We’ll help them along…

Many seem to feel that Lauren is taking the Peace with her perversion but then, as she has noted more in sorrow than anger, “€œSome people don”€™t understand spirituality.”€

Among these doomed heathen is columnist Julie Burchill, who has decried Lauren’s “€œsheer ickiness”€ and accused her of converting partly to get attention, partly to secure her job with Iranian telly, and partly because she is “€œthe sort of dweeb who would do anything to get in with the tough kids.”€ She concluded with heartfelt advice: “€œGo on, Lauren, treat yourself to a full-face and”€”most essentially”€”mouth-covering burqa.”€

Our Lauren has instead explained her rationale in considerable detail. It appears her Mecca-nization has more than just intellectual motivations:

“€œThe Muslims may have more religion than they can consume, but maybe we have too little.”€

“€œI have always liked to pray.”€

“€œGrowing up in an alcoholic household with a dad who was violent has left a great gap in my life.”€

“€œI”€™m recovering from the breakdown of my marriage and am now going through a divorce.”€

“€œ…just yesterday, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia rang me.”€

But there will be tribulations, too. After all, the Koran “€œis not like OK! magazine.”€

…and worst of all…

“€œI have always been proud of my lovely blonde hair and, yes, my cleavage.”€

She has had to make life-changing choices, vowing solemnly to her daughters:

“€œNow that I”€™m Muslim, I will never have my breasts out in public again.”€


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