Saturday, April 10, 2004

I Can't Decide ...

If this is deliberate or a mistake. The National Front (a small UK far-right party) demonstrated outside Finsbury Park Mosque yesterday, where Abu Hamza (aka Captain Hook) preaches on the pavement each Friday to an audience of far-right Islamists, having been banned from the mosque. Half a dozen news sources, including the Guardian, report the demo as by the National Front. But the Guardian's headline reads "Police step in as BNP rallies at mosque "

UPDATE - Straightforward lies, as in the Guardian above, are one method of attacking the BNP, and I think a counterproductive one. But this method doesn't seem any better - 'vote Tory - we care as much as the BNP do'. Nothing like squarely confronting their ideas and agreeing with them !

UPDATE2 - nine days later the Guardian issue a correction. Not in headlines.

There seems to be some kind of tectonic plate-shifting in British politics of late, perhaps triggered by the scholarly, reasoned work of people like Robert Rowthorn and David Goodhart in Prospect, perhaps by other things. Imagine the furore if a person of pallor in charge of a government budget said that ethnic minority projects which didn't promote a British identity should be scrapped. Yet that's the CRE's current position. Volte-face - sorry, about-turn or what ? And when you get the secretary of the Fabian Society saying 'perhaps Enoch was right', even if only in theory, something has changed. Celebrating diversity doesn't seem to be flavour of the month and people are starting to worry about unity and social cohesion. Not before time.

So the great and the good are suddenly interested in Britishness. Only one problem - rather a serious one. As people like Spiked point out again and again, our ruling class can't agree on a definition any more. They know that 'we British are characterised by racism, genocide, colonialism, sexism and homophobia' isn't a good branding proposition, but that's what they learned back in 1976 sociology class, it's what our children are taught, and it's the only narrative they know.

UPDATE 2 - and right on schedule, here's Munira Mirza on Spiked to tell us about it.

"We need to acknowledge that the crisis of identity is not caused by the strength of Islam, but the weakness of our own society. If we do this, we can begin to realise that the solution starts here, too. If we really want to create a common culture, we need to ask the awkward questions of what our society believes in and be prepared to fight for hearts and minds."

Just so, and just as most of the problems of race in the UK are not caused by ethnic minorities but by the collapse of British culture, of which white liberal self-loathing is one symptom. Walter Williams' words about white American liberals apply to Brits too.

"Americans of European ancestry can stand straight and proud knowing they are without guilt and thus obliged not to act like damn fools in their relationships with Americans of African ancestry."

UPDATE3 - Jennie Bristow, also in Spiked. While the good people there have no answer to "the identity crisis within Western society, brought about by the collapse of common values, national institutions and traditional political solidarities", they certainly describe it brilliantly.

"An elite that is unwilling to make judgements about why any one cultural practice is better than another, to set universal standards about what role individuals should be expected to play across society, and to promote a distinct set of values that a society should agree upon, finds a useful tool in multiculturalism. This is why it has been so well-suited to Western societies in the past few decades, increasingly disorientated by the erosion of cultural and political certainties."

Spiked have no answers. For the Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchens the answers lie in restoring the values which those of us who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies spent a great deal of time attacking. My personal view is that the cultural destruction may have gone too far to be reversed.

Niall Ferguson in the Sunday Times has an answer. Perhaps Al-Muhajiroun aren't so far-fetched after all.
This Will Mean Nothing

To those who aren't aficionados. Taken on the Liberty and Livelihood March in September 2002. It made oi larf.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Reactionary Filth

What would good liberals do without the Mail and the Sun to get their juices flowing ? They'd be lost. It's political porn for the right-on crowd. But I think this Weekly Worker report is a bit too upfront about it.

Of the Sun website, "You can search the online archives for the xenophobic content it is infamous for, but disgracefully you have to pay for access."

For those of you missing a fix of rabid, filthy Sun-on-asylum-seeker action, try this. Isn't it disgraceful the way they're persecuting the poor guy ?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

An AL Kennedy Primer

"Forget the mindless celebration of Murdoch's media as Christian tank tracks crush the DMU-irradiated Iraqi baby's skull and Halliburton shares rise on hopes of a cholera outbreak in Basra. Go to work, covet the neighbour's wife's girlfriend, watch the home shopping channel and spend everything you borrowed at exorbitant rates from a bank investing in the pharmaceutical companies that are drowning millions of Africans in their own (unfortunately non-Caucasian) blood. You know it makes sense."

Oh, alright. I made that one up. But I flatter myself that a couple more paragraphs like that, and you have the essence of AL Kennedy's Guardian work. This woman makes John Pilger look like a cautious, analytical sort of chap.

A fixation with blood (good to spill if it's English, otherwise bad), hatred of Christians (hypocritical murderers), reality TV (the new opiate of the people), consumer culture (T.N.O.O.T.P. II), the tabloid press (TNOOTP III), democracy (the deluded peasants keep voting for the wrong guys), above all Bush and Blair. For a good internationalist she has an alarming tendency to believe that a command of English is the mark of a civilised being, and she's not above stereotyping foreigners - seeming, for example, to be unaware of the fact that there are nearly a million Christians in Iraq (note - this originally read 'three million' - got from an old encyclopedia - the exact number seems a little uncertain).

22/8/2000 - "The Edinburgh Festival much increases my hatred of humanity"

29/8/2000 - on computer helplines - "they are exorbitant replacements for free information websites; they are based in foreign countries and haunted by alarming pronunciation mutations" Do we detect a hint of xenophobia ?

17/1/2001 - on rebranding. "Private individuals should model their behaviour on the sparkling examples offered by government and industry. Sadly, the opportunity to poison, swindle, murder and mislead thousands of complete strangers has never come my way". But you can poison their minds as best you may.

2/2/2002 - the online chat. In which we detect a self-aware, courteous and sensitive individual. Maybe the Guardian is where Ms Id comes out to play.

24/8/2002 - Edinburgh is really good, although "Boringly, the cobbles of Auld Reekie are not running with Sassenach blood"

25/11/2002 - Polly Curtis reports - "Renowned Scottish novelist to teach at St Andrews. Speaking to today, she said she intended to work 60 hours a year at the university." Can I have a job there please ?

9/12/2002 - Germany is so civilised that she can address an audience in English. "Two generations ago, they allowed themselves to let racist pride, paranoia and greed force them into appalling crimes on a worldwide scale. Now they're looking at the UK and the US and recognising all the symptoms of the same disease." I wonder if she told her German audience why Bush and Blair are like the Nazis.

10/1/2003 - war turns Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheyney, Kissinger on. I don't know why, but when AL gets down and dirty with middle aged white enemy males it makes me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps she just seems to get into it too much. Her dreams she daren't remember - or tell us what she's seen.

"Every woman loves a fascist
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you

13/2/2003 - war turns Bush and Blair on.

7/5/2003 - Blair prays - "If innocent civilians weren't intended to die, then Thou wouldst have saved them - and made them proper Christians." You see, all Iraqis are Muslim.

10/6/2003 - "Iraqi children are also having fun, scampering about between the cluster bombs"

10/7/2003 - Depleted uranium - our gift to Iraq

13/8/2003 - She's been away to civilised Europe and isn't glad to be home. But it's not long before she's settled in. Add to this the liberation that wasn't, the democracy that isn't and the glee on the New York Stock Exchange when 200 or so imaginatively armed US troops take hours to kill four Iraqis (one of them a teenager) and you'll realise that we're living in a world of fun.. I think we're referring to the deaths of a teenager with a Kalashnikov and two renowned psychopathic murderers. So unfair of those Americans not to give them a sporting chance.

14/8/2003 - At the Edinburgh Festival, where "the most important, moving event so far has been a reading and discussion from Anthony Swofford .... a marine in the "first" Gulf war, (who) explained how his feelings would not allow him to be a marine now. "

Funny how caring liberals never consider that a war counts unless the west is involved. The First Gulf War was of course fought between Iran and Iraq. Over a million died. Bush Senior's war was the Second and Bush Junior's the Third. No matter.

10/9/2003 - counting pints of Iraqi blood. For a full fisking click here.

8/11/2003 - how to be a writer. Miraculously, no depleted uranium nor hatred of Bush/Christians/reality TV appears to be required.

20/12/2003 - What new topic will she write about today, we wonder ? The legendary plastic Thanksgiving turkey trots out.

7/1/2004 - "let's not even talk about Gulf war syndrome and depleted uranium". If only.

10/1/2004 - on her countrymen, "administrators and cannon fodder for the empire, enthusiastic slave traders and killers with a centuries-long tradition of lunacy and genocide"

Ms Kennedy is certainly following one of those traditions.

11/2/2004 - "you've got to justify every drop of blood spilled by US and UK foreign policy. Don't think of mercy or justice."

18/3/2004 - "turning Iraq into an almost inconceivable hell ..." As compared to the conceivable hell of the previous Iraqi administration ?

7/4/2004 - "we didn't want to evaporate Iraqi civilians or irradiate Afghan infants, but our government made sure we still did. "
An Afternoon With Tony Martin

How did I miss this ? Sean Gabb on meeting a modern martyr, among other things.

Over by the Countryside Alliance stall, I fell into conversation with an old woman. She was 87, and had lost her husband and both brothers in the War. One of her sons was settled in America with his family. But another had a farm in Oxfordshire. He had been threatened repeatedly by intruders. He had lost crops and machinery to them. The Police had told him they were unable to help, but had warned him not to "take the law into his own hands". She was safe in her own home. She had good neighbours who kept an eye on her. But she looked about her with quiet despair. "I have been coming to this fair and to others like it all my life" she said. "I used to think it would go on forever - always changing with the times, but continuing generation after generation. It will see me out, I suppose. But I don't believe it will go on much after that. You should think yourself lucky you have seen it while you can. There will be nothing for your children. They will have neither country nor freedom. Sometimes nowadays, I almost regret I survived the bombing."

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

If The Victim Hadn't Been White ....

Would this be all over BBC News ? Must have missed it.

UPDATE - On reflection there must be some other factors at work here than simply liberal white self-hatred. This particularly disgusting murder didn't get big air either despite the alleged perpetrators being persons of pallor. Yet a few years back you couldn't listen to Today or open the Indie or Guardian without reading about Ricky Reel or those two poor guys from Telford who may or may not have committed suicide. Are racist attacks last year's thing for news editors ? Seems unlikely. So what's going on ? Don't you just hate it when the facts refuse to fit your preconceptions ?

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Here We Go Again ....

PM to stage immigration summit. "Blair takes control of immigrant crisis". Blair calls immigration summit. Blair targets prolific criminals. Oh - sorry. That last one is the latest from the BBC's 'crime crackdown' archive.

I think Blair's left this one a bit late for the spin treatment (although the BBC can be relied upon to stay on-message. Remember, the BBC will only attack a Labour Government from the left).

Especially when he's in it up to his neck.

UPDATE - it gets worse and worse. Even such a cynic as I can't quite believe the unique blend of dishonesty and incompetence.

It's entertaining to see that Andrew Rawnsley can't get his head round this. It's "a relatively minor controversy". Beverley Hughes was rated by Alice Mahon and the Lib Dems. What was all the fuss about ?

It could have been worse though. Ms Hughes could have been replaced by Millie Tant.