Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tap-Room Rot

I don't know much about Nicholas Blincoe, but he has a blinder of a review of Nick's book in today's Torygraph. It's not online yet; the Telegraph books section always seems to be a few days behind the paper. When it is, I'll add a link. (Update: link.)

To give you a flavour, the review is illustrated by a photo of Brian Haw, immediately recognisable from the peace badges on his hat. The byline reads: "Nicholas Blincoe is not persuaded by a self-righteous defence of the war in Iraq". That alone should set Nick going. This is also a review studded with bon mots.

It is difficult to know how to address this tap-room rot. Perhaps it is enough to say that the only possible political programme it suggests is a pledge to breed more, eat less and never engage with a Muslim nation: just bomb them.

On another tack, one might suggest that calling everyone a fascist is the flabbiest kind of relativism: the so-called Reductio ad Hitlerum. Or perhaps point out that the only person ever to have advocated the wild-eyed relativism that Cohen describes is Aleister Crowley.

In the second paragraph of the review, however, Blincoe writes:

At this point, I feel I should stop and reassure the reader that my quotations genuinely reflect Nick Cohen's arguments on the decline of liberalism.

Nick really, really isn't going to like those quotations.

Let's begin with the diagnosis. As "Leftish puritanism" disappeared, "the rich world's liberals", afflicted by "enfeebling self-consciousness", devoted their energies to enjoying "exquisite regional cuisines" and "long holidays" while forgoing the "cost and inconvenience of raising the young". Today, these liberals have to "live with the consequences" of a sybaritic life that "could not be borne without bringing in immigrants" who found their "values repugnant". The result is that "a part of British Islam went off into the wilds"; indeed, "by the time you read this. maybe the body count will have risen". Fortunately, one party "understood what was going on in the slums": the "BNP was seeing Britain clearly" when they claimed the "Muslim community chooses to vote only for political parties that explicitly promote the interests of the Muslim community itself."

Some AaroWatch readers have read the book. Can Nick really have said this? As reviews go, it's an unrelenting bloodbath.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is taken from pp310-311 of NC's book. The full quote is this, "The BNP understood what was going on in the slums far better than the middle class commentators and saluted the arrival of a fellow communalist party. 'The victory of George Galloway and his Soviet/Islamic Front Group Respect, which is run by an Islamic/SWP alliance, is a welcome victory', the BNP said. It 'demonstrates very clearly to the [white] British voters that the Muslim community, when it forms an ethnic bloc in area, chooses to vote only for those political parties that expressly promote the interests of the Muslim community itself.' The language was as ugly as the party, but the BNP was seeing Britain clearly."
Readers will be able to work out whether this bears the interpretation put upon it by Blincoe.

2/04/2007 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

The key sentence there is the last one - "The language was as ugly as the party, but the BNP was seeing Britain clearly."
If Cohen thinks the BNP was seeing clearly, that means he agrees with them about the voting patterns of the Muslim community, and thinks they do understand what is going on in the slums.

2/05/2007 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Simon said...

Regardless of how sympathetic one thinks Cohen is being to the BNP here, the idea that a load of white voters in Barking, Debden etc noticed the success of Respect among Muslims in 2005 and said "tell you what guv'nor, I'll vote for the white party then" is about as comprehensive a misunderstanding of the BNP's political appeal as it is possible to have, and one clearly speculated upon without any recourse to research into the specific areas where the BNP has done well and the specific issues on which it has successfully campaigned.

2/05/2007 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

I would add to that that the BNP's current success began in 2002 when they picked up three seats in Burnley, and by 2003 they had eight seats in the same town before Respect even existed.

2/05/2007 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

simon ex-anonymous?

I've missed the bit where someone claimed that the success of the BNP was due to the formation of RESPECT. Cohen seems to be arguing that the BNP were right in their analysis of RESPECT, not that this accurate analysis won them a lot of votes.

2/05/2007 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

Sorry, my comment was slightly confusing because I was referring to a bit not quoted by anonymous (who wasn't me).

The quote continues:

"...the BNP was seeing Britain clearly. It predicted that whites would be provoked into adopting their own version of identity politics and vote for its candidates in ever-greater numbers, which they did."

2/05/2007 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

That's Cohen's mistake, not Blincoe's, yes?
So, not only does he agree with the BNP's analysis of RESPECT, he is trying to pin the blame for the BNP on RESPECT.

2/06/2007 08:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Simon said...

Yes. For further clarification all my comments on this thread are directed at Cohen and not anyone else.

2/06/2007 09:36:00 AM  

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