Saturday, 31 March 2007

Keeping your trap shut

We're constantly being told that trust for politicians is at an all time low. That's because we don't know what politicians bloody *do*. Show an average voter a picture an average feed from the House of Commons and the first thing they'll mention is that there's practically no-one in there. The obvious conclusion is therefore that all the snout-in-trough lazy bastards are pissed in the bars. And the distrust of politicians is reinforced.

So MPs have voted themselves an extra £10k each for communications. Good. How can it be a bad idea for politicians to have more communication with the electorate? If they waste the money, or have nothing to say because they haven't done anything, then we'll know. And we'll vote them out. If, on the other hand, we learn more about what our MPs are up to then maybe - maybe - we'll have a bit more respect for them. And that is worth £6.5m in my book.

The Tories claim it's another example of Labour politicians with their snouts in their trough, that it's a waste of public money, that it protects the incumbent. That last one is a gem: it only protects the incumbent if the incumbent has something to communicate: if they can point to a job well done. In that respect, it is a diadvantage to Tories because they'll have to work even harder to show that the sitting Labour and Lib Dem MPs are deserving of replacement.

But there's another reason why the Tories are unhappy with the Communications allowance.

Consider this. In the past two months, two Conservative politicians have been embroiled in race rows. Patrick Mercer was the Shadow Defence Secretary, while Brian Gordon is a Councillor in Hendon. I'm not going to go into the detail on these, others have done it already (or not, as the case may be).

But it's worth pointing that both episodes were sparked by the politicians themselves. They were not "outed" or "duped" (even though Patrick Mercer claims he was off the record). Councillor Gordon sent the offending photo into the local newspaper himself.

Say, for the sake of argument, that you were a Tory politician. One of the nice new ones that we keep hearing about. Worried about the environment, big fan of the NHS, solar panels on your roof, cycle to the golf club, all that.

Now, would you, as a New Conservative, really want all those nasty old-school Tories running off down to Prontaprint? With Jack Straw's ten large in their back pockets and their essays on why "multiculturalism is a failed experiment" scrawled on an old Garrick Club menu in their sticky paws? Would you?

No. Which is why all the Tories voted against the allowance.

If you can't trust a shadow cabinet member to keep his trap shut, how the hell are you going to trust 650+ Parliament Candidates?

The Big Right Winger Giving It Eyebrows At The Back Stick

If you've never read John Redwood's blog, you really are missing out: it's a peach. Deliciously placed midway between parody and rant, it brightens up an otherwise dull afternoon like finding a six-month old can of Stella that had rolled under the TV stand.

Take this entry. Our John tells us that there are no differences between the parties, only within the parties. Except, says John, for the Tory party. The Tories hate Cameron, says John, because they don't understand.

They will come to appreciate that “hugging a hoodie” before he goes off the rails does not mean their Leader is soft on crime, that sharing the proceeds of growth does mean lower taxes allied to economic prudence to avoid high interest rates, and seeking powers back from Brussels whilst keeping trade arrangements with our partners is the mainstream view in the UK.

I find the above sentence is much more fun if you imagine Johnny saying it with a vacant stare and an unsettling demonic half smile his normal expression while holding a dentist drill and standing over a shackled and sweating dissident Tory.

But he's a man of the people is Our John. He proves the point by donning the metaphorical sheepskin and sallying forth on the misfiring England footy team:

Of course when there are too many poor performances in a row we should ask if a different coach and/or captain would make a difference.

Gosh! Poor results leading to a change of boss? Bit radical isn't it? I mean, it's not as if fotball is famous for its high Manager turnover is it?

It maybe time to look at the whole organisation of the game and the league in England to see if an overseas player rule would give English talent more chance - and curb the costs for clubs.

Erm, doesn't his advocacy of an overseas player rule ignore one major incurred cost - the legal costs incurred for breaking EU freedom of movement legislation...? And how would this curb costs.

But if you think that the boy Johnny's farcical attempts to cash in on the popularity of football (albeit 15 years late) mark him out as some kind of Redwood-come-lately, you're wrong. He's got form. He penned a startlingly insightful prescis of the last World Cup.

Channeling Sepp Blatter, he bemoaned the paucity of goals in an average game and railed against the ridiculousness of the absurd offside rule (yes, really). Apart from advocating the end of the most iniquitous law since the introduction of the welfare state, the best bit is this:

Many talented players failed to deliver the fine free flowing attacking football we have seen on many occasions from Chelsea , Arsenal and other leading clubs.

Look again at that sentence. See the spaces either side of the comma after "Chelsea"? That's textbook. What's he done there is he's written out the paragraph minus the team names. Cos he didn't know em. Then he's looked them up on the internet ("Search Google "attacking football", ctrl+c, ctrl+v") and stuck em in the piece. The "...and other clubs" is good too: like when Chief Wiggum lists the world's major religions as "Christian, Jewish... and miscellaneous".

And Chelsea? Free flowing attacking football? I must have missed the memo...


Holy Mother Of God. A Post on John Redwood and I didn't add this...

Monday, 26 March 2007

Labour Future Tense

Yesterday, the Observer's headline, "Miliband Could Still Succeed Me: Blair", preceeded 800 breathy words on the Labour succession. In short, Blair thinks Miliband could beat Gordon, and Westminster is frothing with rumour and innuendo concerning the chances of Miliband standing.

Only problem is, Miliband ain't standing. Well, we presume he isn't, cos he ain't said nuffing.

Nuffing, that is, apart from his review of Tony Giddens' latest tome - a "review" which is actually only 1 part book review but 2 parts conference speech and 7 parts leadership manifesto. He's putting forward the "New Labour" stance, arguing against centralisation, paternalism and top down control (remind you of anyone?)

Word analysis:
"Brown" - 0 mentions
"Blair" - 1 mention
"Leadership" - 2 mentions
"Labour" 3 mentions
"New Labour" - 12 mentions

It reaches its shuddering climax thus (my emphases):

None will be solved without a different culture of politics recognising that while leadership comes from government, innovation and mobilisation comes from the bottom up. Devolution is not just a question of policy; it is the foundation for a renewed efficacy in politics. In the 1940s and 1950s, the dominant theme was 'I need'. Paternalist government was the result. In the 1980s, the cry was 'I want'. We all know what happened. In the 21st century, the driving ethos is 'I can'. People want to make a difference by taking decisions for themselves and with others. That is the basis for a new progressive project that builds post-Blair politics - bold Labour, not old Labour - of an exciting and attractive kind."

It's therefore just a shame that the Observer hacks didn't notice this bold and enlightened 900 word futurology. In their own paper. But after all, why would they? It was buried at the back of the Review section ferchrissakes and who reads that?

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Pete's Golden Rule

Sod prudence - when it comes to budgets, the golden rule is this:

The Red Book is massive and designed to hide and obfuscate the detail. There's no point trying to work out what it all says. Let someone else do it for you, and ignore the bloody budget until they have.

In the mean time...

This is amazing - a Buenos Aires Family who photograph themselves once a year, every year, and have done for the past thirty years. It makes me feel very, very mortal.

Hat tip: Bryan Appleyard

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Reading Hansard is *sooo* Billy Hague... but on this occasion it's quite useful. Have a look at the Delegated Legislation Committee last Friday, when the Equality Act (Sexual Orientations) Regulations were debated.

The Committee was out in full, but there were a number of guests. 24 MPs who were not members of the committee turned up to give their views - as they are entitled to do. Surprise of surprises, 23 were Tory (there was one Lib Dem).

Two funny bits, both from Chris Bryant:

Mrs. Laing: (speaking for the Tories) We support the principle of equality and we support the Equality Act 2006.
Chris Bryant: Hooray! (Camp as y'like)

And then there's this exchange with "Vulcan Johnny" Redwood...

Mr. Redwood: The majority of clothes shops in this country discriminate against me, as a man, because they sell clothes only for women. I see nothing wrong with that, because, fortunately, there are other shops that sell clothes only for men—[Hon. Members: “Come out, John, and be honest about this.”] We should not say to all women’s clothes shops that they have to sell clothes that are suitable for normal men.

Chris Bryant: Ah, normal. You would not stand a chance.

Mrs Laing did indeed vote for the regulations, as no doubt she was whipped*. This means that David Cameron can say that the Tories voted for the regulation and that they are open-minded paragons of 21st Century inclusivity.

But what he won't be saying is that 23 members of his party turned up with bulging eyes and scarlet cheeks to fulminate against this latest moral corruption by a Godless Government. (And if you don't believe me about the eyes and cheeks, check out Edward Leigh some time*).

That's 23 Tories up* at 8.30 on a Thursday morning. The ONLY thing Tories get up that early for is a bloody good foxhunt. Maggie Thatcher's funeral wouldn't get 23 Tory MPs at 8.30 on a Thursday morning. So there's some depth of feeling there.

Some of the Tories' speeches were... hmm. Int-eresting:

Dominic Grieve: (Yes, that one, the member of the shadow cabinet... but here purely as an interested observer) If a website designer who has Christian principles is asked to design a website promoting gay sexual (gaysexual?! Does anyone still say that?) relations—about which, I wish to make clear, there is nothing illegal... ("...disgusting and immoral perhaps, but nothing illegal...)

Tim Boswell: The only way in which I can register dissent is by voting against the motion on regulations that, in a sense, I wish to proceed with ("... so I can tell my Constituency Association I 'did the right thing' in the hope that they don't read this sentence, while at the same time appearing all touchy feely to Dave".)

Credit where it's due - IDS made a very sensible and even-handed intervention which did him credit:

"We want to make those points in a debate and to tease those matters out. We want to be able to tell our constituents, “We tried to get this changed,” or, “We got it changed,” or, “The Government listened and modified it.” The debate should be about modifying legislation and making it good, rather than just railroading it through because it was conceived by the Government—who, by the way, are not always right, whether they are Conservative or Labour."

But, of course, the committee divided and the Tories (as opposed to the Conservative Opposition) lost. So, will they be out tomorrow?*

*(Not in that way).

What the Swivel-Eyed Loons Don't Want Me to Know

This is truly jaw-dropping:

What struck me about it was that there is no attributable source. Who made it? The author of the video, according to youtube, is "campaign2007". The campaign referred to at the end is the Sexual Orientations Regulations Campaign". This produces a sum total of 0 direct google hits.

According to the end of it, the campaign is backed by MPs, Judges, Doctors and the majority of the British public.

So I'm going to pop along to the demo and see who I can see. (It's on Wednesday at 12, for one hour - nothing like a bit of hate filled bigotry to set you up for a *really productive* afternoon in the office - get the old juices flowing.) (Not like that).

If you're planning coming along, say hi if you see me! (I'll be the one in the arseless PVC chaps).

Hattip: Bloggerheads

Monday, 19 March 2007

From the New York Times letters page...

To the Editor:

The Irish, Scots and Welsh are suspicious that the pronouncement from the University of Oxford that they are genetically related to the English is a thinly veiled attempt at social climbing by the English.

James M. Farrell
March 12, 2007

(Great post here by Tom Watson (not that one) on the international roots of modern Irish mythology.)

Friday, 16 March 2007

Man-made hot air

Oh dear.

The 18DS boys have struck again with one of their "attack adverts". Once again it is not only laughably bad, but contains about as much accuracy as Ann Widdecombe's erotic fiction.

This time, the bee in the collective Tory bonnet is the "hypocricy" of climate change advocates. The 18DS stance is that, in order to comment on the subject you have to have lived as monk for the past three centuries and never ventured out of your postcode (or if you have travelled more than three miles, you have to have done this using ONLY ONE FORM OF TRANSPORT. EVER.)

According to 18DS, the holy trinity of climate change campaigners/hypocrites (the terms are interchangeable) are Al Gore (fair enough, he won an oscar for his film, so clearly he does have a *bit* of a profile), David Cameron (because he rides a bike and also travels by plane) and The Independent (cos they run climate change related headlines while at the same time advertising foreign holidays in their travel section. For Shame!).

Far be it from me to suggest that:

a. David Cameron is not one of the names that trips off the tongue when asked to name a client change campaigner; and therefore
b. The whole thing is just an excuse for the 18DS boys to have a crack at their favourite hate figures and climate change was just a nice zeitgeisty hook upon which to hang said crack.

But there you go. I also feel a bit wary about posting this. As a commenter on here pointed out, criticising 18DS is like shooting fish in a barrell: their insistence on adding comedy "sources" to their swivel eyed rantings makes it almost *too* easy. And given how poor most of the sources are, it hardly seems worth attributing them. Added to this, 18DS have a marvellous habit of erasing parts of their website that become a bit embarassing, so future ads will probably not be sourced in the same way, denying me the fruitful and enjoyable pastime of pointing out their bullshittery to both my readers (Hi Mum).

Thus, with the heavy air of a man settling down to a meal of what may just be the last cod in the ocean, here are those accusations and sources in full:

1 AL Gore’s Electricity Bill

The Tennessee Centre for Policy Research recently reported that the electricity bill for Al Gore’s 20 room house was thirty thousand dollars.


Note how the link doesn't go through to the Tennessee Centre for Policy Research itself. The reason for this is that the Tennessee Centre for Policy Research is not the kind of organisation you'd want to be seen sourcing material from. Not only does it refuse to list it's board members (in contravention of Federal US law), but it is run from someone's apartment.

It also has the enviable economic skill of managing on a research budget of precisely nil. Yep: a policy research institute with no research budget. (Source for this: the TCPR's Form 990 on - registration required).

(Allegations that the Tennessee Centre for Policy Research is a shadowy right-wing organisation set up to fling shit at Al Gore were considered so bloody obvious that no-one could be bothered to refute them.)

That said, the $30k figure has not been disputed by the Gores. Their aide did point out though that the home also acts for as offices for both Al and Tipper. Still though - $30,000 for electricity must mean an awful lot of nasty carbon, no?

Well, no. Turns out the Gores purchase their electricity through Tennessee's Green Power Switch Programme - which supplies electricity exclusively from green sources. So the Gores' electricity bill could be $30m, and it still would have hardly any environmental impact.

Oh, and if you think that the 18DS boys were unaware of the falsity of their information, 'fraid not. Most of it is in the article they use as their source.

Nice one fellas.

2 David Cameron cycling to work

It was reported on the BBC that David Cameron cycled to work but his car followed behind him carrying his papers.


Riiight, with you so far... but would it be rude to point out that in the report to which 18DS link, Cameron is quoted as saying the car accusation is "not true at all"?

Or the fact that 18 DS last week took the BBC to task for "selective reporting of facts", but this week see them as the perfect source to illustrate their political point?

3 David Cameron’s Journey to Scotland

It was confirmed by a party official that David Cameron and his shadow cabinet flew to Scotland for a cabinet meeting instead of travelling by train.

.... so he uses bicycles AND planes? The BASTARD.

Strangely, they haven't provided the source for this. Or the source for Al Gore's plane trip to London this week.

But that would bring up all sorts of inconvenient truths - for example the truth that one of his reasons for coming was to address the Conservative shadow cabinet.

And while 18DS and ConHome see Cameron as Diet Blair, there remain quite a few "good eggs" in the shadow cabinet, and 18DS don't want to start criticising them. Like Patrick Mercer for example. Eh? Oh.

4 Cameron encourages rail travel

He argued on the Today Programme that he would promote rail travel as an alternative to air travel.


So, the main point of this section is that Cameron is whoring himself around modes of transport like Phileas Fogg on crack. It's not exactly Black Wednesday is it?

5 The Independent Newspaper says travel locally

Last year, the Independent Newspaper’s front page urged readers to travel within the UK instead of flying abroad on holiday. It argued that this would help to tackle global warming.


So, when Cameron flies by plane, it is incontravertible evidence that he is contributing to global warming. But when the Independent make the same link, it is only an "argument".

6 The Independent Newspaper advertises foreign holidays

On the same day, it also advertised cheap foreign holidays on its travel section.


That's not really a source, by the way - it's a comment article from Conservative Home whinging about the Independent.

So the 18DS point is that newspapers that tackle global warming lose the right to publish a travel supplement? Hardly "free speech" is it? Or does 18DS's campaign for free speech only extend to racial epithets?

But, that said, I'm convinced. Clearly, Travel Supplements are the work of the devil and need to be eradicated with a crusader's zeal.

And that's that. Barely time to ask where the promised 18DS Arms Trade advert is (it's "been in production" for about three months: they made two Harry Potter films in less time than that), or point out Iain Dale's latest undeclared interest. To those I shall return later.

Image: Gweirdo (inspired by this and this and with sincere apologies to Banksy)

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Monday, 12 March 2007

Saying more than he should?

From the Conservative press release on Cameron's green speech today:

The consultation calls for submissions in response to three main policy ideas: charging fuel duty and/or VAT on domestic flights; replacing APD with a per-flight tax based more closely on actual carbon emissions; and introducing a 'Green Air Miles Allowance' so that people who fly more frequently pay tax at a higher rate

I can't see how you're going to introduce a "per-flight tax" or a "green air-miles allowance" without tracking the flights of 60 million people.

And if you're going to do that, you're going to need the e-borders scheme.

And if you're going to do that, you're going to need the national ID database up and running before you even start to consider how you're going to spend all that lovely tax revenue.

All of which makes this statement from David Davis all the more meaningless.

The Tories only have about three policies and two of them contradict.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Wot, us? Racist?

So another Tory politician is slung out of a job after making racist statements.

It's getting to the stage where being called a "racist bastard" is a normal part of Tory Party life...

Why won't ANYONE interview Robin Aitken?

Jeremy Paxman, yesterday
Robin Aitken was a BBC journalist for 25 years. He left this year and has published a book which sets out claims that the BBC is institutionally biased. As such, he is fast becoming a darling of the British right, and especially those who see the BBC as the broadcasting arm of the Guardian.

Writing on his blog today, Iain Dale has championed Robin Aitken. Dale advertises Aitken's book and what appears to be Aitken's only TV interview under the headline "Why won't the BBC interview Robin Aitken?". "The book has received widespread coverage in the press but Aitken believes he is the subject of a blanket ban by the BBC", says Iain.

So - the BBC is ignoring a book which has had newspapers flying off the shelves in a manner unseen since the sinking of the Lusitania?

Well, no, not really.

The book has been reviewed: glowingly in the Telegraph (unsurprising since, according to the review, the solution to Aitken's biased BBC is "to hire more journalists from ... the Daily Telegraph") [no link - 18 Feb 2007] and less glowingly by Rod Liddle in the Sunday Times (but then, this is perhaps also not so surprising when you consider that Liddle was Aitken's boss at The Today Programme)

Although Liddle agrees that there is bias in the Beeb, he criticises the paradox inherent in Aitken's argument.

"He does not seem to grasp that all journalists have opinions and it doesn't really matter if they are right, left or centre so long as there is a profusion of all three across the output."

The Mail on Sunday gave Aitken about 1500 words to put his point across, but the MoS's weekly sister title appears to have only given the book a 60 word insert into a diary column - about the same as the famously lefty Observer.

And that, apart from Tim Montgomerie (of 18 Doughty Street fame) sounding off about Aitken in the Business, appears to be yer lot.

So - two book reviews, a couple of diary pieces and a Mail on Sunday rant. Nothing on Sky, ITV, C4 or any other broadcast news outlet. Hardly a news storm. Colleen McLoughlin got more converage than that. And yet the failure of the BBC to cover the story is evident of the BBC's Pravda status?


As Liddle points out, journalists are inherently biased. There is no surprise that there are more left wing journalists in certain areas of news gathering - espcially in foreign policy. There are areas of news gathering that really get up the collective Tory hooter - coverage of American foreign policy ranks pretty highly on this list. Most British people believe that American foreign policy is a force for bad in the world today. It is unsurprising that most BBC journalists believe that too.

In his MoS piece, Aitken gives a number of examples of BBC bias:
  • That Scottish coverage in the 1980s was anti-Conservative because of the decline of Scottish industry. Well, duh. What rankled most with Conservative policy in Scotland was not just the decline of Scottish industry, but the callous Thatcherite attitude to the newly unemployed. This was not just newsworthy but arguably the defining set of circumstances in Scotland in the 1980s.
  • That, by 1989, Thatcherite monetarist economics were "working" but the BBC chose to focus on "doomed privatisations". Again, those that lost their jobs and houses didn't need the BBC to tell them that Thatcherite policies were emphatically not working.
  • That Major was attacked over the ejection from the ERM and the sleaze scandals of his government. Well, given that he had promised "family values" while his Ministers were bonking anything that moved, you can't really argue with that. The BBC in 2006/7 haven't exactly been backward in coming forward in criticising Labour sleaze, have they?
  • That the BBC was supportive of Blair's Kosovo war while it had been critical of the Falklands and the first Gulf War. Setting aside the issue of the Falklands war which remains a bone of contention between left and right, the first Gulf War was hardly the idealistic engagement that Kosovo - a humanitarian intervention - patently was.
  • That the BBC was too critical of the second Gulf War. Well, they weren't wrong were they? And Aitken's precis of the Andrew Gilligan affair - who I'm prepared to bet doesn't know all the words of the Red Flag and doesn't drink his tea out of a "Benn for Leader" mug - neglects to point out that his criticism of the government certainly didn't come from the left.

He says "Today and the Corporation would certainly have disowned Gilligan's story had it not fitted so perfectly with their own narrative." But Gilligan is a right wing journalist (he now writes for the Mail and the Standard) - surely an anti-right organisation would have hung him out to dry at the first opportunity rather than defending what was patently a sloppy piece of journalism.

He criticises the BBC for their treatment of Kilroy's "what have the Arabs ever done for us" piece as being evidence of further anti-right wing bias, while glossing over the nature of the piece itself (he calls it "presumably contraversial").

And finally he points to Fox News as the "answer" to left wing bias.

Great. 25 years of journalism at the highest level and the answer is Fox News.

It's no wonder no-one (Apart from Fox News Lite) will interview him..

Something tells me Mr Aitken is not going to see his ambition of a state funded right wing broadcaster come to fruition. He will have to make do with the weekly column that will no doubt be forthcoming from the Mail.

The rest of us will be left wondering - as Greg Dyke was when confronted by Aitken's claims of bias - "Who was that fucker?"

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Conservative thinking

Conservapedia is the Conservative version of Wikipedia. It is the sum total of all Conservative knowledge. It's grate.

My new hobby is hitting the "random page" button. It is one of the funniest things on the web. The only downside is, as the sum total of all Conservative knowledge, it's not very big.

Some good uns, chosen at random:
(You've got to bear in mind that this is a serious academic exercise, and isn't meant to read like 1066 and all that....)

Unicorn: The existence of unicorns is controversial. Secular opinion is that they are mythical. However, they are referred to in the Bible nine times

Africa: The continent south of Europe and south-east[citation needed] of Asia. Is that all we know about it? Somebody add something please.

Godfrey of Bouillon: ... After the armies had captured Jerusalem the crusaders wished to make him king of the city, but Godfrey refused this title and said "I will not wear a crown of gold wear Our Lord wore a crown of thorns." So instead he declared himself the Defender of the Holy Sepulcher.

Blue-collar workers: Blue-collar workers are laborers who work in factories or other union-type jobs. Blue-collar workers often use their hands, get their clothes dirty during the job, and do not sit behind a desk.

Potsdam Conference: ...Truman’s biggest concern was how Stalin might react to America’s development of an atomic bomb. Stalin simply shrugged his shoulders and took an attitude of “so what?”.

Element: All atoms that contain the same number of protons. Musician-satirist Tom Lehrer wrote a song which includes the names of every element known at the time the song was written. Because they are in no particular order, the song is of no particular use to chemistry students, but some of them learn it for fun anyway.

Conservative Language...

CPAC is the annual loonfest for the right-wing in America. Delegates to the event last week heard speeches from many of the prospective Republican presidential candidates and several inside-the-Beltway conservative grandes fromages. One of these was Ann Coulter. Long story short, in a nationally-reported speech on the conference floor she called John Edwards a "faggot". To raptured applause.

Ann Coulter is a truly American phenomenon in that she is a political thinker who doesn't think. However wrong-headed people on either side of the British political divide see their opponents, very few are seen as stupid. Coulter, on the other hand specialises in personal, hateful attacks from any podium upon which she finds herself. Think John Prescott's end-of-conference speeches, but delivered by Vinnie Jones.

Many people, on both sides of the Atlantic, still have a great deal of admiration for her. 18 Doughty Street's stablemates the Young Britons Foundation sell her books on their website, for example.

But, according to one American blog, her contraversial speech this week carried a hint of the lady protesting too much...

"By the way, a woman friend of mine in DC whose favorite color is lavender told me some really interesting things about Coulter, but I can't say a lot more. I really can't risk using the phrase "pussy-licking wildcat" in the same sentence as her name without having to go into rehab. Don't ask, I can't tell."

Hattip: Popbitch

A World Without America?

It's not all bad... I mean, Burkhas have some uses...
Hat Tip: Gweirdo

Monday, 5 March 2007

Good reads

The Appalling Strangeness on conservative frustrations with the Conservatives
Sunny Hundal on criticising minority communities (compare it with this joke of an effort from 18Doughty Street - the black community is "racially immature" apparently)
Guido 2.0 on his namesake's "colourful" early career
Bloggers4Labour on the shortcomings of 2020vision

Oh, and Recess Monkey's Thatcher episode is summarised perfectly by Unity... but more to the point gives me an excuse to post this...

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Apparently I'm angry...

This is good. 18 Doughty Street have responded to the Independent's leader on the link between terrorism and the Iraq war. It's anti Islamic polemic from start to finish. Its first word is a typo and it goes downhill from there. The typo will probably be fixed when they read this, but the fact that they didn't spellcheck doesn't say much for their factchecking...

"Your are not the only ones grieving" "All your base are belong to us"
1. Increase in Terrorism
The Independent’s leading story has laid the blame for the rise of terrorism at the feet of America. Well actually, it lays the blame at the feet of Britain and America, but the 18DS boys are off fundraising factfinding in DC this week, so they need to play to their audience... It argues that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have radicalised a new generation of young Muslims who are angry about the treatment meted out to their fellow Muslims.
Further, the paper claims that its view is backed up by evidence provided by the United States National Intelligence estimate. Outrageous! As if the US Government would say such a ridiculous thing!

One should ask, even if these claims are true, which they are do they justify the slaughter of innocent women and children? Sorry, which innocent women and children are we talking about here? All of them? Or just the Christian ones? Why is it that the rest of the world is expected to ‘understand’ the anger of these radicalised Muslims? Oh right, just the Christian ones. Are they the only ones who are angry?

2 Africans are Angry
Black Africans are angry that Condoleezza Rice was described as a black monkey by Palestinian newspapers because she supports Bush’s policies. Dear oh dear. First of all, she wasn't described as a black monkey, she was described as a "black woman". cf. "Black Africans" above. The monkey element comes from a cartoon. A racist, unfunny cartoon, for sure... but who but a fundamentalist would be outraged by a cartoon? Eh? Oh.

Also, there doesn't seem to be any evidence (certainly from that link) that this has anything to do with Africans, black or otherwise. The link leads to a US right wing nut-job blog. The story tells the reaction of conservative Americans to Middle Eastern newspaper editorials on Condoleezza Rice. Africa isn't mentioned once.

They are angry that black people
Right, I see where we're going here. The rest of this paragraph will be about how "Islamists" and "Muslims" are attacking "Black People" and the "Black People" are angry. Therefore Africans are angry. QED.
This is geopolitics for primary school students.
Stupid primary school students.
Would this be a good moment to point out that 45% of Africans are Muslim?
are being killed in Sudan by an Islamist government.
Hmm. look at this: "Characterising the Darfur war as 'Arabs' versus 'Africans' obscures the reality": Alex de Waal, international expert on Darfur.
They are angry that black people were killed when Tanzania and Kenya were bombed by Al-Qaeda.
I think they're angry that people died, not that "black people" died.
They are angry that black people are taken as slaves by Muslim Arabs
Those "Muslim Arabs" are the Baggara tribe - Black Muslim Arabs.
They are angry that when the Trade Towers collapsed, killing black people, there was rejoicing by Muslims on the streets of Gaza. Never mind that 9/11 also killed a great number of Muslims. Pointing that out would ruin the article.
So, with all the problems in Africa, what really makes Africans Angry (according to the fine journalists at 18DS) is Muslims: taking slaves, blowing up a US Embassy almost ten years ago, and 9/11. Oh, and drawing crap cartoons about Condoleezza Rice.

3 The British are Angry
The British people
Ah the "British people" - a term that covers an amorphous group upon whom you can hang any view you like safe in the knowledge that to challenge it would be "unpatriotic". Choice Esperantory
are angry that they have offered hospitality to Muslims fleeing persecution in their home countries only for clerics to call for the destruction of Britain in return.
No, the Daily Mail is angry. But the Daily Mail is angry about everything - fat children, skinny children, bikinis, Charlotte Church, the Human Rights Act, speed cameras, David Cameron...
The British people are angry that British Muslims whose parents were welcomed to this country decided to blow up the underground trains killing over 50 people
This is a great line of argument - it skips the fact that the bombers were British and focuses on the fact that the bombers' parents were foreign. That's the great thing about British xenophobics - even when examining their own, they know that you only have to go back a couple of generations and you find a foreigner...
The British people are also angry that during the cartoon protests, Muslims carried banners warning Britain to expect another terrorist attack.
But the British people are absolutely NOT angry that they were taken to war alongside a chimp in a cowboy hat...

4 The Americans are angry (well, duh)
The Americans are angry that despite intervening at the cost of their lives to prevent genocide in Kosovo, Muslims cheer when America is called the great Satan ("forget Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Guantanamo, all that stuff - we lobbed 1,000 tomahawk missiles with NATO flags on em into central Europe in 1999! We spent three months doing it! That's gotta count for something...") .
The Americans are angry that despite the huge amounts of financial aid they provide to Pakistan and Egypt, the populations of those countries hate America.
"We're angry that you hate us, so we're going to carry on doing exactly the same stuff. That'll learn ya."
The Americans are angry that despite the fact that they provided security to the Arab countries when Saddam Hussein threatened to attack them
This wasn't exactly altruism was it though? It was because those countries were providing support for America to attack Hussein. And, to be fair, Hussein was threatening to attack them with weapons that the Americans had sold him...
people danced in the streets during 9/11.

5. We are all angry
Well, Independent, as you can see, there are a lot of people angry on the planet. Therefore instead of appeasing fundamentalist anger,
(but hold on, I thought you just said "We are all angry"... and you're definitely a fundamentalist... I'm confused)
it would be perhaps more advisable to explain to these people that they should join the peacful political processes in Iraq
(Er, peaceful? Iraq?... loving that typo by the way...)
Afghanistan and Palestine. Other groups (check the link - he's talking about the apartheid regime in South Africa. My, how the Tories have changed their tune over *that* little lot) have done the same and thus they have no excuse for murdering innocent people in the name of ‘grievance’. After all, they do not have a monopoly on ‘grievance’.
(But we, apparently, do.)

Great stuff. Pure fundamentalist claptrap of the first water...