Sunday, March 05, 2006

I am glad to see that Nick is standing up for difficult causes like being against genocide

Sigh. Well done to everyone who predicted the Tessa Jowell thing although it was not exactly rocket science. Also Nick has been on the phone to a dog handler about that cocaine on banknotes urban myth, though as far as I can tell he did not understand the response.

But the main piece on Rowan Williams is, shall we say, rather weak. Chunks of it seem to have been lifted from blogs (in particular I believe the fairly asinine "the Darfur massacre has killed thousands of Muslims, but the Muslim world is not up in arms about that, perhaps because both the killers and victims are Muslims, suggesting that this is not actually a religious conflict about Islam, some things aren't you know" line is a lift from Normblog), and Nick appears to be all over the place in trying to roll all the different civil wars and genocides currently going on into Sudan into one convenient package that can be blamed on the Left. I suspect that what is going on here is that this column is the result of about five or six people telling Nick "no, no, it's much more complicated to that" and him being too intellectually honest to just ignore them and go for his big theme, but too lazy or time and space-constrained to write a proper article about how ghastly and complicated the Sudanese situation is.

However, it is pretty clear from Nick's article that one of the things that would definitely not have helped any of the Sudanese crises would have been a bloody great speech from the Archbishop of Canterbury saying something along the lines of "can't you darkies get your act together? All of your problems are the fault of Islamism and I condemn you!". Or in other words, Williams' spokesman's point that his mission was a difficult diplomatic one is correct, and the Decent demands for ringing statements of "Carry On Up The Enlightenment" are simply stroking their own moral egos.

The belief that what actually happens in the world is less important than what view "the Left" takes of it is fairly and squarely there in Paul Berman (and I promise you, that review is going to hit this blog Real Soon Now). It's rather like the old joke that "I wear the trousers in my household. My wife makes the trivial decisions, like where we go on holiday and how to bring up the kids, but I make the important decisions, like whether we're going to support Japan's claim for a place on the Security Council". A joke which obviously would need to be adapted for the Jowell/Mills household but there you go.

10 Comments:

Anonymous pissed of rioja kid said...

I'm inclined to be a bit harder on Nick than that. Would Sudan have rated a mention at all if it didn't provide a pretext for accusing the old hairy archbish of anti-semitism? Killer graf?

To me, the failure of the archbishop to speak plainly was not a sign of his diplomacy, but flowed from his row with the Jews. Before he escaped to Africa, he couldn’t say why he wanted sanctions against Israel but not against countries that committed far worse crimes - China, Syria, Iran, North Korea and, indeed, Sudan - or give any indication that he was morally obliged to provide an answer.

Ah right. Not Israel - the jews. And Is Rowan Williams committed to sanctions against Israel? As far as I know, this only extends to a desire to stop the Cof E investing in Caterpillar, a comnpoany whose bulldozers are used in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. If Nick thinks that the C of E have a moral obligation to support this activity with their money he should come out and argue the case honestly, rather than using the Sudanese as rhetorical human shields.

Nick, you're a disgrace.

3/05/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Let's hope the Decents lead a campaign demanding the COE pension fund divests itself of its huge holdings of Sudanese equities.

3/05/2006 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger fatbongo said...

Others were concerned about the retreat from universal principle into relativism.

The Decents aren't exactly consistent though, are they?

Consistency would involve them (or more importantly Bush, Blair and co) to advocate sanctions on saudi, egypt, uzbekistan and pakistan, or even an invasion to overthrown the unelected tyrannies in these countries

yet because they are allies in TWAT, the best that we can hope for is one of Gene's pathetic "keeping the spotlight on Bush in Cairo" type posts.

you inevitably betray the victims of dictatorships by blocking your mind from thinking clearly and shouting loudly about their suffering.

works both ways.

3/05/2006 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschetta Boy said...

good point RK. There is actually a rather good article in the Business section of the Obs where they interview the guy who actually manages the CoE endowment, where he makes the interesting point that those bulldozers are actually substantially modified by the IDF after purchase, so it's not obvious the extent to which Caterpillar is implicated in their use. But yes, of course, I missed the bit where "it's all about the Jews". Which I suspect is also a lift off of Normblog.

3/05/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschetta Boy said...

btw, of course, the main weapon used by the Sudanese government in Darfur has been the Mirage jet built by Dassault, and the CoE has effectively boycotted Dassault Systemes ever since its float because it doesn't invest in weapons manufacturers.

3/05/2006 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

As I mentioned in the other thread, "the hypocrisy of the Anglican church" is very much a recurring theme of Oliver Kamm's blog, most recently in his attack on Paul Oestreicher, so that might count as a thematic lift.

3/05/2006 08:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

Curse these Anglicans. Have they no sense of Decency?

The activities of the Dean of Canterbury and a prominent folk singer were closely monitored for decades by MI5, hitherto secret files released yesterday at the National Archives show.
Hewlett Johnson, known as the Red Dean, supported the Republicans against Franco during the Spanish civil war, and became friendly with the philosopher Bertrand Russell. The two men strongly opposed nuclear weapons - at one time a large sign on the front of the deanery said: "Christians Ban Nuclear Weapons".

See OK! for how misguided the Dean was.

An MI5 officer, tipped off about Johnson's travel plans - before he was appointed Dean - noted in 1921 that he had "no information at all about the Rev Canon Hewlett Johnson except that he is a subscriber to the National Council of Civil Liberties [now Liberty]".
The MI5 man added: "I do not think this fact and his connection with Bertrand Russell would be sufficient grounds for refusing him permission to go to Vienna via Germany."
MI5 recorded that in 1938 Johnson was criticising "racial persecution in Germany". But the files show that MI5 appeared particularly concerned about his potential influence during the war. One file reveals the suspicious approach to communist sympathisers of the security services. In a memo dated July 11 1940 MI5 noted: "We have unimpeachable evidence that the Dean of Canterbury has recently subscribed to the Communist party programme."

3/06/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Sonic said...

http://timesonline.typepad.com/david_aaronovitch/2006/03/if_its_all_so_s.html#more

David channels Nick before wandering off.

3/06/2006 10:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.phrusa.org/sudan/flash/

3/07/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous bruschettaboy said...

Christ on a bike what a piece of work:

I am emphatically not saying here that I believe that the Tipton Three took up arms in Afghanistan and fought for the Taleban

by the same token, I am emphatically not saying that Dave is a lizard and Nick is a drunk, but gosh dammit, do people have to be so unambiguous about it?

3/07/2006 03:26:00 PM  

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