Labour And Anti-Semitism

Is Jeremy Corbyn a racist?

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A story. Probably only an internet legend but, like all the best fables, it makes an important point…

 

Pint-sized U2 taxdodger Bonio was performing at a concert in Scotland. Between songs he asked the crowd for silence. He began to clap his hands slowly. He announced “Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies.” From the crowd came a shout in a broad Scottish accent, “Well stop clapping your hands then, you evil bastard.”

 

One of the most obvious but ultimately futile arguments is to present people who are loudly and annoyingly self-righteous with the ways they fall short of the demands they place on others. The aforementioned Bonio has been spouting nonsense about poverty for decades despite being repeatedly exposed as a tax cheat. Numerous televangelists have been shown to live opulent lifestyles despite allegedly worshiping a man who told his followers to give all they owned to the poor; the less about some of these people’s sexual morals the better. The Romans called this argument ‘tu quoque ‘ (you also). Even the magic carpenter at the centre of Christian mythology used the argument when he demanded his critics “first take the plank out of [your] own eye” (Matthew 7:5).

 

Such is my take on the latest row over anti-Semitism rocking the British Labour Party. Continue reading “Labour And Anti-Semitism”

Book Review #5

Posh Boys: How The English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik

When I wrote (yet another) post against identity politics – Wealth Not Identity – I made reference to the superb sitcom ‘The Young Ones’ and in particular, the episode Bambi. In that episode, Alexei Sayle delivered the following rant…

 

“…I never really wanted to be a train driver, you know. I mean, they told me when I left school, if I got two CSEs, I’d be head of British Steel. That’s a load of nonsense, isn’t it? You look at the statistics, right? 83% of top British management have been to a public school and Oxbridge; 93% of the BBC have been to a public school and Oxbridge; 98% of the KGB have been to a public school and Oxbridge. All you get from a public school is one, a top job and two, an interest in perverse sexual practices…”

 

I highly recommend you read Robert Verkaik’s book Posh Boys: How The English Public Schools Ruin Britain. Continue reading “Book Review #5”

Reblog: Maryam Namazie

Ex-Muslims: A community in protest

Haven’t posted much recently as I’ve been obsessing over the World Cup. Last time England were in the semi-finals I was still at university. I do feel for those people who don’t like football – the over-the-top media coverage can be extremely grating. An excellent, if foul-mouthed, rant by fellow WordPress blogger Dioclese here.

 

This post is actually a reblog of a post by Maryam Namazie. I have mentioned Namazie before – she was the lady abused and intimidated by Islamist fascists at Goldsmiths University back in 2015. In any sane world she would be a liberal icon – a softly-spoken, feminist ‘person of colour’ (how I hate that racist expression) who stands up against violent misogynists and their far right ideology. Such is the confusion engendered by identity politics that Namazie is abused as an ‘Islamophobe’ – an entirely meaningless insult – and as a ‘native informant’ – another racist term.

 

The post is rather long and contains a large number of links. The original post can be seen here but I have highlighted what I consider the key points below. Continue reading “Reblog: Maryam Namazie”

Nail On The Head

Abuse will not bring voters over to the ‘progressives’

“…People do not like being told they are idiots, racists or deluded Nazis when voting for what they see as their interests and their national identity.”

 

So true. And yet so astonishing that these words appear in the race-baiting, EU-loving, neoliberal Guardian.

 

Blame liberal democracy’s flaws for Erdogan’s win, not the voters by Simon Jenkins. Continue reading “Nail On The Head”

Celebrity Culture Meets Identity Politics

Is victimhood culture is eating itself?

It has been a difficult couple of months for those of us who dislike both the monarchy and celebrity culture. The media has been so full of the wedding of ‘Prince’ Harry Windsor to American C-list actress Meghan Markel that it has been almost impossible to avoid. I suppose it was inevitable that a son of the proto-Kardashian Diana Spencer would be the one to merge the tawdry and dysfunctional British royal family with Hollywood celebrity culture. I have written on several occasions about my dislike of dislike of the royals – Another Mouth To Feed and Is Anyone Else Bored Of This? (with Update) – but the media have outdone themselves in their cloying sycophancy regarding the nuptials of a cable telly ‘star’ and the sixth(!) in line to the throne.

 

Some of the coverage of this wedding reminded me of a story about Dr Samuel Johnson, the eighteenth century writer behind the first English dictionary. When a couple of aristocratic ladies congratulations him on not including any ‘obscene’ words in his dictionary, Dr Johnson responded “What, my dears! Then you have been looking fro them?” The racism industry is so big in British journalism, government and academia that numerous people depend for their livelihood on finding racism in the most unlikely of places.

 

Continue reading “Celebrity Culture Meets Identity Politics”

The Future Of Turkey

The end of Erdogan’s dream?

Since I started this blog in January 2017, I have repeatedly made two points about politics in the second decade of the twenty-first century. The first point is that, broadly speaking, all religions are the same and, like the late, great Christopher Hitchens, I believe that religion “poisons everything” it touches. This is especially true of the three Abrahamic monotheisms which have far more in common that their most demented sectarians would acknowledge. They all worship an aggressively male deity who watches and judges your behaviour and who will sentence you to an eternity of pain and suffering if you dare to break one of his petty rules.

 

The second point I have made is my distaste for the racist and divisive cult of identity politics that has been embraced by people across the West who loudly proclaim themselves to be ‘progressives.’ Politicians, journalists and campaigners who are vociferous in their condemnation of racism, homophobia and sexism have often found themselves supporting people who are deeply racist, disgustingly anti-gay and disturbingly misogynistic. Practices and attitudes that would be roundly condemned if they took place in the UK, the United States or elsewhere in the West are excused as ‘cultural’ and opposition to them as ‘colonialism’ or ‘imperialism.’ If female genital mutilation, forced marriage or ‘honour’ killings were being carried out by Westerners I’m pretty sure the usual ‘progressives’ would be up in arms. But as both perpetrators and victims tend to be non-white and non-Western, there is little outcry. One might be tempted to label this as ‘the racism of low expectations,’ if one were of the Everything Is Racist type that rules at Jimmy Saville House. Whatever it is, and I am reluctant to use accusations of racism with the scattergun abandon some commentators do, it betrays an extraordinarily patronising attitude towards non-white non-Westerners.

 

And then there is Turkey. Continue reading “The Future Of Turkey”