Thursday, July 24, 2008

Anthony Browne, oh my oh my!

Oooooh! Are you sure you want to go there, our Nick? A little bit of background on "Our new man in town to fight political correctness" …

Anthony Browne has some … funny … friends (actually perhaps this link might be more helpful, the previous one is blocked by most workplace filters). He's not "a liberal". He is, to put it bluntly, an immigration nut. I can hardly improve on David T's analysis from 2005:

It is clearly possible to oppose a particular immigration policy without being a racist. Similarly, it is possible to denounce Zionism without being a racist. The fact that racists may oppose either or both immigration and Zionism does not make all those who use such arguments racists.

However bigots usually give themselves away. It is usually a turn of phrase that provides the clue. At some point, the weight of evidence makes it more likely than not that a person is, in fact, a bigot who seeks - as Newshog puts it - to "hide … bigotry under a smokescreen of faux concern".

I can certainly see Newshog's point in Browne's case. The argument which Browne makes about the fascist nature of radical Islamism appear to be part of a broader argument which he is making about “third world colonization“. The case for treating radical Islamism seriously can do without his support.


And this is a rather bowdlerised version of what actually happened in the furor over Browne's 2003 Spectator article, entitled "The Secret Threat to British Lives"

exposed the civil servants who were pretending that a rise in HIV was due to poor sex education rather than immigration from African countries where the virus is raging. A former press officer at the Department of Health staff told me that his arguments caused consternation, not least because they were true

On the matter of the medical profession's response to Browne, I'll once more resort to verbatim quote, this time from Richard Croker, writing in the BMJ.

"The United Kingdom has an enviable reputation in international public health. In recent decades this has rested in part on a humane public health policy response to HIV - where a position was taken early in the pandemic to protect human rights and provide care and succour to those in society most marginalised and stigmatised. This approach also happened to be rational, coherent and effective. It would be a shame if this reputation was tarnished through an ill considered conflation of immigration control and communicable disease control.

And the 2003 article ought to be put in the context of Browne's full program of views about immigration. He wrote in 2000 that white people will be a minority in the UK by 2100 and in London by 2010 (eighteen months to go Anthony, although he rather rowed back on this in 2003, claiming that he was talking about "White British"). He also thinks that Muslims want to conquer the world.

Nice liberal mates you've got there. In fairness, it should be noted that this is in the "Seals of Dacre" series rather than "World of Decency", as Nick is well outside the Decent mainstream on this one. Aaronovitch was an early dectractor of Browne and "Migration Watch", Harry's Place stepped away from their endorsement as noted above and even Martin Bright acted somewhat embarrassed by Browne (while continuing to cuddle up to Policy Exchange).

The interesting question now, I think, is whether Nick will go on to endorse VDare itself as being "basically liberals".

13 Comments:

Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

As incapable as David T usually is of identifying nuance in writing, he's on the money with that one. Nick clearly thinks that as long as someone makes the 'right noises' about Islam (ie makes stuff up and then attacks the BBC for refusing to run it as fact) then that makes them 'liberal'. Belief in TGISOOT has clearly affected his judgment. But then again, Nick's claim that the BBC considers any mention of 'anti-semitism' is 'wicked' is probably down to his other 'liberal' mate, Richard Littlejohn, being turned down by the beeb when pitching his hilariously myopic anti-semitism prog from last year - on which Nick was the 'star' turn. Remember all that guff from Nick about Ken 'embracing the far right'?

Interesting that on the same page as Nick's hagiography appears, there is a link to a much more thoughtful - and substantially shoter - piece in which Browne's stance on immigration is noted.

7/24/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Credit it where it's due, DA has a number of pieces like this on Goodhart/Prospect, Daily Express etc:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/feb/29/race.britishidentity

From most appearances I surmise he still more or less espouses such views.

7/24/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous ChrisB said...

Nick Cohen makes a common mistake by assumimng that just because the Tories have 'more gays than Old Compton Street' they are as he puts it, they are 'basically liberals'.

That his research instincts are now so slack that he can say this aboput Anthony Browne is just another symptom of his demise as a serious commentator or journalist after his self-immolation over Iraq and Terror.

When will Nick learn that the ruling classes basic operating principle is 'one rule for us and another rule for you'.

His naivety is worthy of Sarfraz Manzoor
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/23/conservatives.margaretthatcher?gusrc=rss&feed=politics

The fact that Simon Milton, for example, is gay will not moderate his approach to progressive taxation or change his views on the charitable status of private schools; nor will it encorage him to suggest to his colleague Kit Malthouse that it isn't the darkies causing all the trouble as usual...

Its so frustrating that people like Nick are so detached from the true politics of class and values and power these days that they think all issues are individually negotiable and all individuals equally worth negotiating with.

Well as long as they are on our side against the islamist threat anyway...

I experienced the same thing from a Canadian friend in ther pub a week back but he doesn't pose as a commentator and member of the linked-in politico-chatterati for God[ours, naturally]'s sake.

Cohen's delusion is in many senses another poisonous legacy of having an allegedly Left of centre government which posed as Tories for so long that neither it nor the electorate could tell the difference between the faux Tories and the True Blues.

Nick is in for a nasty surprise. As is first London and then the country - still it should sort out Sarfraz Manzoor's problem about whom to hate in future. He can hate himself, like some of Nick's more closeted Tory mates...

Now bend over boy!

7/24/2008 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes he is stumbling around, drink in hand, making all kinds of vile friends in his battle against the islamoliberal alliance, but there is some cunning as he staggers between think tanks. A journalist like Nick desperately relies on contacts. He's burned up his many left wing ones over Iraqistan etc. Obsessives and cranks from the web have filled a gap, but he needs more heavyweight pals - and as it looks like Cameron will be elected, heavyweight tory pals will be able to feed him enough stories to fill up a column. Its ugly to watch, but I suspect he will soon settle much closer to the Conservatives than his old pals could ever have believed

7/24/2008 02:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True enough, but I think he's in serious danger of overshooting: actually, scratch "serious danger". the other point is that mainstream Tories are going to have their own contacts who won't be too pleased to have Nick muscling in on their stories. This leaves him with a harvest of dingbats, with whom he appears in temperamental sympathy anyway.

rioja kid

7/24/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cohen refers, in his article, to the "hysterias of the Livingstone administration". Can anyone enlighten me: what is Cohen referring to?

Guano

7/26/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Simon said...

Nick on Obama and Bush in today's Obs. The shorter version is that 'liberals' should be sad to see Bush go because his presence has blinded us all to TGISOT. I thought Nick's hiatus was because they didn't want to publish stuff like this any more?

7/27/2008 12:51:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Cohen refers, in his article, to the "hysterias of the Livingstone administration". Can anyone enlighten me: what is Cohen referring to?

I can't work that out either. presuambly it's intentionally vague so his readers can project whatever reason they hate Ken onto it. It's a very lazy piece of writing in general.

Not quite as lazy as the new observer column which is a rehash of Aaro's last one. And Nick likes jon Stewart now, which is odd, because I thought Stewart was an enemy of decency. presumably now he's going to stop bashing Bush, Stewart is funny again, or something.

Basing a political opinion column on a daily show episode is evidence of nick's spectacularly weak approach to research, as well.

7/27/2008 09:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick to world : your going to miss him when he's gone .
World to Nick: no we won't.

7/27/2008 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Cian said...

From Nick:
"If you search on the net for 'Jon Stewart', 'finance reform' and 'Obama', you will find one of the most unintentionally funny sketches the US Comedy Central network has broadcast."

So I did. I saw an okay sketch which mostly wasn't laugh out loud funny, and heard constant muted laughter. It could have been nervous I guess, but then it could just have been that there was only one laugh out loud moment (which got clapping, and much louder laughter). Given that you can't see the audience, I'm not sure how Nick knows that part of the audience is in shocked silence. The Barack O'Boner sketch got a lot more laughter, if this is indicative of anything. Ho hum.

He really doesn't get humour does he. He might well be right about Rall [1], but is he really arguing that Trudeau uses his Bush character as a personal mouthpiece. Could it be, and this is the wildest of speculation, that having Bush call her "Brown Sugar" is a comment about Prez Bush Jr?

"But like the colour of his skin, Obama's good looks cannot fully explain the adulation. Few handsome men and fewer beautiful women claw their way to the top of politics."

Right, so what's his explanation for JFK and Bill Clinton?

"The Nation, once regarded as a serious, left-wing magazine, declared last week that Obama is the new 'Frank Sinatra, so cool he's hot', a centrifugal force that can make 'legions of little girls jump out of their panties'"

This in a column called "Carnal Knowledge", and preceeded by the statement:
"This Comment marks the debut of "Carnal Knowledge," a regular feature devoted to the subject of sex. ..."Carnal Knowledge" will explore sex as desire, as work, as play, as the screen against which America projects its fantasies and fears...The path she sets here will hardly be straight or narrow, but full of zigs and zags and surprises--like politics, like life."

Its a little different in context, no?

[1] Full disclosure, I've had personal dealings with Rall, who I found to be a bully, unpleasant, humourless and fairly deceitful. Not that I ever liked his comic in the first place.

7/27/2008 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Enoch Power said...

So, Mr. (Dr?) Croker and you (by implication) are willing to risk the lives of ordinary British citizens (who, assuming Croker is with the NHS, pay his salary) in order to maintain some supposedly sterling 'reputation'*. Really, is that not the definition of 'decency' itself?

So you are happy that the indigenous British are a minority in their own capital, and will become so in their own country? That's your right, but I hardly think that opinions to the contrary deserve opprobrium. Ask yourself this: Were Cochise and Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and Geronimo right to fight against unlimited immigration?

Yours with love

Enoch


* (I leave out the unfortunate fact that the NHS is looked upon as a sick joke by many Europeans and Brits as well!).

7/29/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, this is satire. You want bigotry - second door on the left. Ta-ra.

7/29/2008 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Griffin said...

Interesting to compare Cohen's view of Browne in 2003:

This line of cant has been developed by Anthony Browne, an occasional contributor to this paper, and a writer for the Times and Spectator, elite journals both. "Blair's epidemics" of Aids, TB and hepatitis B are being spread by asylum-seekers, he has asserted to great acclaim. You can understand the reasons for the applause. Browne has moved the debate on. Asylum-seekers are not only scroungers and terrorists but plague carriers, like the rats that brought the Black Death.

Browne insists that he is a brave dissident bringing a truth which few dare utter. The "elite" has covered up the crisis and attacks men such as him with the "McCarthyite" smear of racism. In his writings, Labour is no longer a party which has denied legal entry to asylum-seekers and slashed their benefits, but a government "whose intellectual faculties are so crippled by political correctness that not offending would-be immigrants has become more important than saving the lives of British people".

http://www.newstatesman.com/200302240018

8/01/2008 11:03:00 PM  

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