Friday, October 02, 2009

All we want is a bank balance

It's no go the yogi man, it's no go Blavatsky,
All we want is a bank balance and a bit of skirt in a taxi.

Louis MacNeice from memory[1]

What to say about Denis MacShane's letter to the Guardian? (Mentioned in the comments to the previous post.) Before laying into it, I should lay out some theories of mischief of worse on the part of the Guardian's letters' editor. The letter as published may have been rewritten in part - why I cannot think beyond the original being in undecipherable manuscript. It may have been extensively edited, and the apparent contradictions may originally have been further apart and so less glaring. Of course, the paper may have received the missive[2] they published. Heads were scratched and various exclamations starting with "What the" tried out before someone declared, "What the hell, he's a chump[3], publish and be damned!"

There's a link above, so I'm not going to quote much. Why does MacShane present his facts in the manner of Mr Tarantino's award-winning opus "Pulp Fiction"? Now we're three weeks ago. Now we're some time before that. Now we're back to this week. Now we're in the perpetual present. What does "street violence is more in evidence in France than Britain" mean? Street violence, as your present correspondent understands it, takes place in the street which is to say, in public. Surely these things are researched, and MPs regularly see at least the abstracts of such research. MacShane wrote to the Guardian, not the Sun, and I think its readers would suspend their disbelief if an academic paper with a long title and a longer subtitle were name-dropped.

I am going to quote some of the letter, because this is where if any editing occurred, the snips came.

His argument that local mayors prevent antisocial behaviour would be laughed at across the Channel. There are good arguments for breaking down centralised Britain, but when Labour offered the north-east regional government it was rejected by a vicious Tory and press campaign.


Local mayors was a Labour policy. Jenkins, as I understand him, wants Labour to have extended local mayors to smaller cities and made councillors more visible (I'll note that this would make the BNP even more obviously useless than they are already). I don't see how north-east regional government would help that. (Am I paranoid, or has New Labour offered regional government only to the poorest areas of the country - in other words reducing Westminster's influence to the good bits?)

The concepts of duty, responsibility, respect, thrift and local solidarity have disappeared. But the liberal-left despise these values, while the right buys itself out of these problems by moving to posher districts or sending their kids to private schools.


The concepts MacShane talks of remind me of Alan Clark's belief that Scotland should have been Tory, because of roughly those virtues. Of course, Scotland defied Clark and sent left-liberal candidates (and a few communists and Independent Socialists) to Westminster to represent most of its constituencies through the 20th century. By left-liberal of course I mean the Labour Party which used to mix both. Perhaps MacShane means that the rot started when Roy Jenkins was Home Secretary: it all went wrong when we legalised homosexuality and abortion and stopped censoring plays. And is it just the right who sent their kids to private schools? Didn't Diane Abbot and Tony Blair (and as K-Tel used to say, many more!) send their kids to public schools? But what is it MacShane is accusing the liberal-left of?

What does he mean by suggesting that respect has disappeared? Didn't he see Kanye at those video awards? MacShane may have a point about thrift: didn't Keynes suggest that money was better spent than hoarded? But, less ideologically, nothing kills thrift more than inflation and MacShane's party allowed a boom in house prices. Oh, that was the liberal-left in the Party of course.

Anyway, we here at 'World of Decency' often make the sophomoric mistake of assuming that all our targets are alike. But MacShane doesn't like the 'liberal-left' (which I understand to mean something like the shared ground between the old Liberal Party - ie centrist - and the left), while possibly preferring the authentic proletarian values only fully articulated by Mao Tse-Tung (or Margaret Thatcher)[4]. While David T of Harry's Place says:

Now, much of our focus on Harry’s Place has been on the extent to which the centre Left has become infected with the fanaticism and insanity of the far Left.


So centre Left (when not fanatical) good, far Left bad. And that's what Harry's Place's focus has been, I thought it was all about the Muslims.

Almost entirely off-topic, I think many readers will enjoy Alex Massie on the (Moon owned) Washington Times' review of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's autobiography. Oh, god, I've just remembered there was a piece on Today about London mayor (see, on-topic) Boris Johnson's appearance on EastEnders and Barbara Windsor (if I have my soap actors right) being proper gobsmacked by his presence which reminds me of the stories about Stalin in 'The Golden Notebook' (see the footnote you should have read earlier, fool).

How could I forget this:

I support Sir Simon's views that we need more, not less elected politicians but given the current hatred of any elected person...


Aaargh! There's one thing I hate more than politicians and that's people who use less for discreet items. Hanging's too good for 'em, I say.

[1] I've forgotten who the poem was supposed to be satirising. I think I liked it at the first reading, before I came to realise that these sort of barbs apply to everyone. I've certainly thought that ever since.

[2] I'm not going to stoop to 'epistle'. I'm not, I'm not.

[3] See Paul Waugh. Yes, he's a Tory, but I really loathe Mandelson, who I think should have been ejected from the Labour Party on April 10, 1992. Anyone who shares my revulsion is at least temporarily on my side.

[4] Not really a footnote, but I've been reading 'The Golden Notebook' and I can't get over how good it is on communists. I can't help thinking that what MacShane and co want is to be pure. Never mind that their ideology is self-contradictory, never mind that their ideas don't seem to work, they're on the right side of history. And because I can't fit it in anywhere else, would I be right in thinking that Orwell's taste for denouncing others (which he certainly had, even if he deprecated the tendency and occasionally even apologised for it) came after he returned from Spain. Did he, in other words, pick up a need for factionalism and ideological purity from fighting Stalinists?

54 Comments:

Anonymous Phil said...

Did he, in other words, pick up a need for factionalism and ideological purity from fighting Stalinists?

"One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."

That was Wigan Pier, published by the Left Book Club (with some misgivings) while Orwell was in Spain. So, er, no.

MacShane's letter isn't just weird, it's baffling. Parts of it have the logical structure of a game of Consequences - and other parts have less than that.

His argument that local mayors prevent antisocial behaviour would be laughed at across the Channel.

Jenkins is wrong, decentralised government wouldn't help with crime and disorder.

There are good arguments for breaking down centralised Britain

It wouldn't help with crime and disorder, but decentralised government is a good idea.

, but when Labour offered the north-east regional government it was rejected by a vicious Tory and press campaign.

Decentralised government is a good idea, but the vicious Tories have made people think they don't want it. Oi, vicious Tories, no!

The concepts of duty, responsibility, respect, thrift and local solidarity have disappeared.

Ee, Councillor Duxbury, I'm fair thraiped wi' Stradhoughton.

But the liberal-left despise these values,

They do! They do, you know! I've seen them!

while the right buys itself out of these problems

[Aren't you supposed to be on the Left? - Internal Ed.]

There's a bit of Wigan Pier in there (a hugely dishonest book), but also a lot of resentment fuelled by a very Old Labour sense of these-are-my-people populist entitlement. Reminds me of Steve Bell's SDP renegade - "I'm Ned Lagg and you're all a bunch of bashtardsh!"

10/03/2009 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In just about everything he writes, MacShane claims that his opponents hate or despise something. If he's writing about the EU he will claim that those who have doubts about it are xenophobic. If he's writing about TWOT he will claim that those who oppose the concept are motivated by anti-Americanism or an irrational hatred of Bush or Blair. So it is bog-standard MacShane for his to claim, as a part of is argument, that there is a group of people who despise a set of values.

However I suspect that MacShane (and quite a lot of New Labour) really do think that solidarity and respect are promoted by ID cards and giant databases and ASBOs. I don't know how they have come to this conclusion, and I've never seen the argument set out fully, but this seems to be an underlying assumption in some of the mysterious things they say. From there it is only a short step to claiming that those who oppose these things despise solidarity and respect.

Guano

10/03/2009 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Chris Baldwin said...

"Now, much of our focus on Harry’s Place has been on the extent to which the centre Left has become infected with the fanaticism and insanity of the far Left."

This perfectly sums up a lot of what's wrong with Harry's Place. It bears no relation to reality, not even a little, none. If the centre left has become infected with anything it's with Thatcherite ideology, much of which people on the left now seem to accept unquestioningly.

10/03/2009 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

From personal experience, the Obs and Graun letters people don't usually take liberties with the phrasing of letters but I might just have been lucky and sent something short and gramattically accurate in when it was published.

A note on MacShane and 'slippery' definitions.

From a Newsweek article last year: 'The politics of moderate center-right and left-liberal democracy that took power [in Europe] after 1945 are giving way to a new old populism'. so - good thing?

in an Indie article from this year: 'Jean Daniel, the legendary left-liberal journalist who has been chief of the Nouvel Observateur for more than four decades'. so - good thing?

I think it's fair to say that he's not really throught this latest use (left-liberal defined as despising 'duty, responsibility, respect, thrift and local solidarity') through. It comes direct from the Nick Cohen world where anything 'leftist' or 'eft-liberal' is inherently A Bad Thing, unless it's Decent.

I think Phil has it right:

a lot of resentment fuelled by a very Old Labour sense of these-are-my-people populist entitlement

so many of the worst excesses of Decency spring from this: the anti-intellectualism, the philistinism, the wilful misreadings. What's worse is that they almost always come from people who are very much removed from the 'common man' (MacShane was educated at private school, went to Oxford, and has a PhD). I'm happy enough with people from backgrounds such as these holding left-wing beliefs, but I'm not so sure that MacShane's logic is pointing in that direction.

Kerching, but I do so love how David Toube misrepresents what the blog he runs does:

much of our focus on Harry’s Place has been on the extent to which the centre Left has become infected with the fanaticism and insanity of the far Left.

Insanity is unfair, I think, coming right out of the 'mad mullahs' school of tabloid journalism; but all the same, there's no way that's what HP Sauce has EVER done - its entire raison d'etre when it started was to perpetuate the 'anti-war = pro-Saddam' nonsense that conor has dealt with so well on LiCon. Just like Nick Cohen's 'David Toube investigates radical Islam', it's useful to define the blog and its writers in that way but it's so wide of the mark it's hard to see how Toube can even type that with a straight face.

10/03/2009 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

It's probably worth remembering that MacShane - like Nick and Aaro - means "liberal left" in the US sense rather than our own. That's usually something like university-educated middle class types, whose bookshelves will probably yield a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera.

What with the Democratic Party being the Americans' only real outlet for left-liberal politics, I think we can safely say we're not talking about anyone with, say, a commitment to world socialism or such.

All of which has the convenient bonus of picking fights with people who are a) extremely broadly defined and b) generally not heavily involved in politics. I can see how that might have obvious benefits for people who push obviously weak arguments.

10/03/2009 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

another thing I forgot to mention:

Why does MacShane present his facts in the manner of Mr Tarantino's award-winning opus "Pulp Fiction"? Now we're three weeks ago. Now we're some time before that. Now we're back to this week. Now we're in the perpetual present.

Pulp fiction is of course regularly cited as perhaps the most complete example of postmodernism-influenced (boo!) cinema out there.

10/03/2009 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

I liked MacShane's petulant "the current hatred of any elected person".

The rising tide of virulent and unjustified anti-democratic hate speech and harassment must be stamped out. Is it not somewhat suspicious that elected politicians are singled out for censure above all other professions? One wonders whether such exceptional hostility is motivated by their electedness.

Always remember - anti-democratism is often manifested under some flimsy pretext, disguised as legitimate criticism. Code words like 'liars' or 'careerists' are used slyly to refer to the elected in general. That's why hatred motivated by anti-democratic bigotry is best identified as such by the victim.

10/03/2009 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

to reiterate from the other thread: it's pretty rich that MacShane is railing against the expenses-derived hatred, given his ludicrous, almost offensive, expenses claims.

similar to Nick 'non-apology' Cohen wanking on endlessly about how journalists never distort things or lie because of personal grudges...

10/03/2009 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous gastro george said...

The attack on the "liberal-left" is surely a merging of the Scoopies definition and that of Bruschetta-eating social workers, who are of course entirely to blame for the parlous state of the working classes.

This kind of conveniently ignores the fact that his government has promoted policies that have ignored the underclass, and indeed made their condition far worse, and his notable record of voting in favour of those policies.

It also conveniently ignores that he is a Bruschetta-eating metropolitan who has been parachuted into a working class constituency, to which he has shown little solidarity.

10/03/2009 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shorter Toube: the problem with the 'liberal-left' is that is shares some of the characteristics of the 'far left' ie. it is part of the left.

engels

10/03/2009 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Philip said...

People who express grammar-based hatred while using discreet for discrete may be guilty of an indiscretion.

Word Verification: skess, disreputable hoodie slang for violence-oriented who-knows-what.

10/03/2009 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Ah, bugger, Phil's nicked the point I was going to make so I'll quarrel a little with this instead:

Of course, Scotland defied Clark and sent left-liberal candidates (and a few communists and Independent Socialists) to Westminster to represent most of its constituencies through the 20th century.

My problems with this would include the unlikelihood that most of the people involved would have described themselves as "left-liberal". It could also be added that a fair proportion of the people thus elected weren't all that liberal - and as for those who were, refer to the previous sentence.

McShane's not entirely wrong about elected represetnatives. I bang on about this in various places but I think there's a pretty nasty spirit abroad in Britain these days, a populism of the more unpleasant kind, and among its dominating themes is that elected representatives can be assumed to be corrupt. (Of course it's not necessary to show this at all.) Occasionally I'm reminded of an old Question Time appearance of Tony Benn's in which I clearly remember him saying that he worried when people started attacking "politicians" (as opposed to this politician or that) because when they did, democracy was in trouble.

I agree with this and I think he was thinking of something very different from a healthy distrust of authority and position. The fact that McShane (or Aaro, or Kettle, or John Lloyd) might confuse saloon-bar populism with "the Government lied to bring about a war" doesn't mean we need to.

10/03/2009 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

As far as the MacNeice is concerned there are some comments, (albeit nothing substantial) here.

As well, of course, as the usual fool that tends to pop up asking "haven't you heard of Google", as if ( a qualified information professional writes) Google was the best and quickest way to locate everything you needed and "asking people who are likely to know" was somehow an unthinkable idea.

10/03/2009 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

I think there's a pretty nasty spirit abroad in Britain these days, a populism of the more unpleasant kind, and among its dominating themes is that elected representatives can be assumed to be corrupt.

You mean politicians - consider e.g. Mandelson. And I think there are probably a few well-known ones who aren't generally considered to be dishonest/corrupt/self-serving (perhaps e.g. Cable, Brown, Galloway, N. Baker, Widdicombe, even - very wrongly but explicably - B. Johnson). There may be a rebuttable presumption of dishonesty, and that may even find expression as overgeneralisation, especially in bullshit (see Frankfurt, H) of the man-of-the-world pub cynicism genre. But a default, defeasible distrust of those who have got to the top of the greasy pole doesn't in itself strike me as a terribly unhealthy attitude for the public to take. Or in itself nasty and unpleasant.

(Of course it's not necessary to show this at all.)
For all you say here, that could be taken as referring without irony to your own assertion. Where's the beef?

I'm reminded of...Tony Benn...saying that he worried when people started attacking "politicians" (as opposed to this politician or that) because when they did, democracy was in trouble.
Which is consistent with the attacks being (almost) entirely justified.

And the fallback position (I'm willing to be convinced about exaggeration and overgeneralisation) is of course (a) this is (the majority of) MPs' own fault - and not just because of the expenses thing, and (b) they don't really see why people should think those things - they are convinced of their own 'pretty straight guy' status.

10/04/2009 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

Relatedly, and talking of nasty and unpleasant things here's a passage from the jawdroppingly handsome, charismatic and elegant Aaro, extracted from his CT book. He sets himself up perfectly for the final pratfall.

Chapter 8

MR POOTER FORMS A THEORY

A man of middle age and middle height with a receded chin and receding hairline, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker is not a terribly arresting figure. He is distinguished neither in oratory nor dress sense, and his career before Parliament was almost exceptionally ordinary: he was a regional executive for a retail record chain, ran a wine shop, taught English as a second language, and was a local councillor in Sussex. It was the electoral car wreck involving the Conservative Party rather than any obvious leadership qualities that allowed Mr Baker, in 1997, to become the MP for Lewes, Sussex.

Having entered Parliament, however, Baker underwent an interesting transformation: he began to make himself un-ordinary. He did this by becoming one of the most prolific questioners in British parliamentary history. After three months in the job Baker had asked more parliamentary written questions of ministers than his Conservative predecessor had in twenty-three years. By the end of ten years it was estimated that he had asked 8,000 such questions, an average of more than two per day, including every weekend, holiday and bank holiday. Now, answering a written question requires some minimal amount of civil service time and a cautious estimate puts the cost of each query in the region of £150. It is therefore reasonable to cost Mr Baker's super-interrogatory decade at a minimum of £1.2 million. Though it is bad manners in a democracy to dwell on the price of information, and offensive to speculate on its cost-effectiveness, it is perhaps reasonable to comment that had every non-governmental member chosen to behave in the same way as Mr Baker, then the bill would have been over a half a billion pounds.

Nevertheless, Baker's questioning won him accolades. No matter that he was dull. 'You sit up in the middle of what he is talking about,' said one parliamentary sketch writer, 'stunned and amazed that anybody could be so boring.' But, he then added, 'You underestimate him at your peril . . . He has a habit of being right. He sticks to his guns and I think his constituents are very lucky to have him." In 200s the Spectator magazine named him Inquisitor of the Year, and in 2002 Channel 4 News awarded him the title Opposition MP of the Year. His support for complete disclosure of MP's allowances and expenditure won him fierce praise from those journalists who tend to see politics as something of a racket.

* Correct at the time, but Mr Baker had held a number of front-bench positions.

10/04/2009 12:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the odds on Toube endorsing Cameron before the next election?

jojo

10/04/2009 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

this is (the majority of) MPs' own fault - and not just because of the expenses thing

Well, not really, no. This would be the case if people tended to give an accurate account of what MPs, errant and otherwise, do (and that they've done wrong) and I don't think it is.

10/04/2009 05:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the astounding news that Jack Straw, the burka-removing, iraq-invading-control order imposing - Labour minister is secretly an islamonazi, I think only a traitor to the cause of secular enlightenment values and real social solidarity could vote for LAbour. All the decent left must vote tory, now, surely

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6860246.ece

10/04/2009 01:36:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

I think actually voting Tory is a taboo the Decents still have trouble with, qv the London mayoral election. Nick and Bright banged on ad nauseam about how Ken was unfit to hold office, as did HP Sauce, until immediately before the election. This, by any measure, was objectively pro-Boris.

But they baulked at actually supporting Boris, as opposed to bashing Ken. IIRC Toube came out with something along "hold your nose and vote Labour" lines. I do remember both Nick and Mr Angry advocating a Lib Dem vote, which was even funnier.

I think the question is, which leading Decent will break cover and endorse Cameron? Kamm doesn't count because he's voted Tory before, and we can discount Marko as his decision will be based entirely on obscure matters relating to the Balkans. Any ideas?

Capcha "extme".

10/04/2009 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Kamm gave some clues to his voting here http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2007/10/backbiting.html for Labour as he is Labour, but also the candidate who was most like Blairism.

I think the possibility of Cameron might try and take us out of the EU will probably put him off, and indeed some Decents too. For all they hate the French etc most are essentially pro-EU, aren't they?

10/04/2009 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I don't think any of them will actually ndorse the tories per se. What'll happen is what's happened before - they will pen a whole screed of anti-Gordon Brown stuff, write a good deal of stuff that supports Tory policies (see, for example, Toube on 'school vouchers'), and will probably end up saying something after the event like 'I voted Labour but while holding my nose, and what let them down was the lack of activism'.

the readership of Bright, Toube, Cohen and aaro will vote tory en masse, of course. But then again, they always have. see Martin Bright's most recent piece for the key - 'hmm the tories look a bit bad but I can't be bothered to do any research, by the way gordon Brown is a madman'. that's what we'll get. They all dislike Brown for not being blair and seeming unpopular.

bonus 'lazy, lazy Decents' points in the Obs this weekend - Cohen recycling an article he wrote less than a month ago and trying to pass it off as a fiction review. and also recycling stuff from his last Standpoint piece in his (truly awful) normal column. and it costs two quid... I'm going to get the Sunday times from now on, I think.

10/05/2009 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Dr_Paul said...

Off-topic, but it needs to be said. Decency looks a little, well, indecent. Look at the Nation site http://www.thenation.com/blogs/anotherthing/479379/roman_polanski_has_a_lot_of_friends.

Who has come out in defence of Gary Glitter, sorry, Roman Polanski but our Decent hero Bernard-Henri Levy, with Bernard Kouchner bring up the rear, as it were.

Amazing what one can be excused for doing if one is an iconoclastic, meaningful artistic johnnie, isn't it?

10/05/2009 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

The Anglo-decents, on the other hand, seem solidly anti-Polanski (and rightly so, IMHO): Norm, H's P, Cohen, usw.

10/05/2009 08:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some v interesting comments over at the Nick Davies "apology" by Cohen...

http://standpointmag.co.uk/node/2238

10/05/2009 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

I have to say I can't bring myself to read Dave's piece today. A
discussion of the relative merits of Blair and Boris Johnson is not something I can face over breakfast.

10/06/2009 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger cian said...

If you were to design the perfect candidate for Lewes, I don't think you could do much better than Norman Baker. He seems to be very popular there, which is probably not terribly surprising to anyone who's ever attended the (frankly terrifying) bonfire night.

10/06/2009 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Aaro's article at the dentist. It's a bit of a jumble, but I think he's trying to say that no-one has made a case against Blair being President of the European Council (or whatever it is). Maybe, but I haven't heard anyone make a good case for him either.

Guano

10/06/2009 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick Cohen has changed his post on Nick Davies - without acknowledging it! Check it out...

10/06/2009 09:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the change? Like a fool, a sodding fool, I didn't take a copy of the original 'apology' in order to check it later for weaseling. Mea culpa.

Chris Williams

10/07/2009 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the change? Like a fool, a sodding fool, I didn't take a copy of the original 'apology' in order to check it later for weaseling. Mea culpa.

Chris Williams

10/07/2009 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous prganic cheseboard said...

I can't see any changes - the original post has been deleted, no?

the Standpoint moderators (Louis amis, I think) have also deleted any references to Nick Davies on any of Cohen's other pieces.

A shame - I was beginning to admire the guts of the web editor in letting so many posts pointing out just how much of a boorish hypocrite Cohen is being on this topic. not sure I'll be able to take anything Cohen writes on libel or indeed on the nobility of journalism seriously again, given his contempt for the truth as manifested here.

10/07/2009 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can confirm that Louis Amis is the moderator.

Chris Williams

10/07/2009 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger donpaskini said...

Here is a cause which I hope Aaro and Nick will give the support it deserves:

http://justicefortonyblair.blogspot.com/

10/07/2009 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah Ditum said...

Re Cohen and libel - his latest Ratbiter is about science libel, and it's incomprehensible. It *nearly* makes sense, and I sympathise with the cause - but I haven't got a bloody clue what's going on in the case he discusses. It's like the Eye subs has started just throwing down his copy on the page in despair.

10/08/2009 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Is there a new private Eye already? i only just got the last issue. Am guessing this is symptomatic of the Decent approach to science which is blindly supportive but totally uncomprehending, with 'hilarious' results when it arrives in print (eg Nick Cohen totally fudging that article about mathematicians, and being taken in by the Wakefield MMR stuff then pretending to have always been sceptical after it emerged as totally groundless).

On the postal service - for more on how real left-wingers should hate the striking postmen and support their management see HP Sauce (kerching) today.

10/08/2009 04:16:00 PM  
Anonymous John Fallhammer said...

Private Eye deliveries to Japan have been running late since about a year ago—though it was amazing how prompt they were before then—and have got even worse in the last couple of months. I expect to receive the latest issue sometime around christmas.

So which section has Ratbiter been slotted into this week? Someone should start doing sweepstakes on where he gets dumped each issue.

10/09/2009 03:07:00 AM  
Anonymous John Fallhammer said...

Stephen Pollard.

Kaminski is – as his record in Brussels shows clearly – one of the greatest friends to the Jews in a town where antisemitism and a visceral loathing of Israel are rife.

As far as I know Kaminski could be a "friend of Israel" but, just, what?

10/09/2009 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I don't quite know why Pollard is persevering with this, because it's making him look like an idiot. as Mehdi Hassan has pointed out, Pollard has gone beyond the idea that being anti-Israel is antisemitism; it now seems that you can be as antisemitic as you want as long as you are a hardline supporter of Israel.

It's also odd that Pollard is so convinced by Kaminski's answers - because even the JC interviewer, Martin Bright, really wasn't. Some of them are just awful, like the 'climbdown' over his admiration for Pincohet. That's before we get to his 'interesting' views on antisemitic massacres and separating them from the holocaust.

altogether just plain weird. - both the 'refutations' which seem anything but, and the utterly bizarre abandonment of a commitment to antisemitism because of UK party politics. I know Pollard thinks 'the left is the enemy' but still.

10/09/2009 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a kind of a mirror image of Pollard's argument that the NHS is somehow linked to Hitler:

http://www.cne.org/pub_pdf/2004_09_00_uk_health.pdf

10/09/2009 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Mordaunt said...

As any fule kno Catholic anti-semites have sometimes supported Zionism (Chesterton and Belloc being the most notable examples) on the grounds that the Jews were an alien presence in Europe and it would really be quite good if they all moved elsewhere.

So supporting Israel is not really a Get Out Of Jail Free card, with regard to this one.

10/09/2009 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Crikey that HP Sauce piece on the Royal Mail is a dreadful example of right-wing saloon bar boreism.

The whole Kamminski affair is rather interesting. Peter Beaumnont poses the obvious question:

All of which leads to the question: why individuals and organisations usually so sensitive to suspicions of antisemitism – including the Conservative Friends of Israel and Israel's ambassador to London, Ron Prosor – seem to be blind in this case.

One possible answer is that many of the accusations of anti-semtism are really just straegic.

10/09/2009 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

The Pollard stuff is weird. I mean, of course you can be a racist and support Israel. The Jews now have a country - all the easier to deport them, FFS. And even if I believed the 'friend of Israel' stuff, I'm not getting any evidence that Kaminsky's even interested in shaking the homophobic tag.

10/09/2009 03:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Ian said...

OT - but in this site's remit I believe.

http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/10/09/who-is-missing-from-this-list/

Hilarious conspiracy theorising from the current Decent running pack. Most poignant in the absurd;

“My working assumption is that once the antisemitic scrote realised the Guardian artificially created the 2nd column for names then its easy just to kill off the Israelis because the scrote hates them.”

"There’s no evidence for that. In my view, it’s an omission that is odd, like a lot of other Guardian omissions with regard to Israel. One day Israel may be “omitted” from the family of nations altogether. No prejudice involved. Just a simple clerical error."

10/09/2009 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

The magnificent Encyclopaedia of Decency is already on the case.

10/09/2009 08:44:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Its an absolute classic - right up there with the anti-semitic pizza slice.

However the really hilarious aspect of the whole incident involves the fact that real journalists have jumped on the bandwagon.

I mean moronic, unhinged, paranoid conspiracy theorizing is what Harry's Place is all about. But the fact that journalists from the Jewish and pro-Israeli mainstream press (JC & Telegraph) consider this a credible story is astonishing.

What were they thinking of?

10/10/2009 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous bubby said...

I see that Finkelstein and suprise, surprise Mad Mel are also on the case.

You have to ask why it is that well paid journalists are prepared to completely set fire to their own credibility in such a blatant fashion.

10/10/2009 11:31:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

What I find weirdest is just how hard you have to squint to think this wasn't a simple proofing error. I mean the country name is listed on the 'antisemitic original' ffs.

I'm also not entirely sure where David Toube gets the idea that tehgraun has a 'reputation' for this kind of thing. I can't think of a single other instance and the paper's well known for fairly lax editorial standards. the reputation seems to exist exclusively in the minds of people who read HP Sauce and Mad Mel.

From a site whose owners so often get het up about 'conspiracy theorists' this is pretty rich.

10/10/2009 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Mordaunt said...

I see that Finkelstein and suprise, surprise Mad Mel are also on the case.

You have to ask why it is that well paid journalists are prepared to completely set fire to their own credibility in such a blatant fashion.


I'm not sure that Mad Mel can be said to have credibility. Incidentally her reaction to the Nobel Committee's decision to give the Peace Prize to Mr Obama for his fine work in keeping the nuclear trigger out of the hands of McCain and Palin is absolutely priceless. She affects to find the whole thing terribly amusing until the last sentence when the mask slips and she compares the Nobel Committee to Vidkun Quisling.

Which presumably makes Obama...

10/10/2009 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

Strangely, David Miliband has raised the Kaminski story again. Yet IMO he blows it here: Shamefully, the Conservatives have refused to disown people they would not be seen dead with in Britain.Given that his already written that Kaminski['s] disgraceful calls for apologies "by the Jewish nation" to balance Polish ones and his hair-splitting about how bad it is to burn 300 Jews in cold blood – are devastating, he can only mean Kaminski. But Kaminski was invited to the Tory Party conference, which was in Britain (and specifically to reassure any vacillating Jews and other opponents of anti-Semitism one supposes). Not just seen with, but publicised.

I can't even think what Miliband means by 'would not be seen dead with' - it's not even hyperbole. And makes it very easy for the Tories to say he's talking out of his arse. Thanks Dave.

10/11/2009 07:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave Weeden said...

Oh fuck. Rethink after hitting 'publish'. Perhaps Miliband meant "wouldn't be seen dead with in British politics" which makes more sense, but only if applied to WW2: plenty of people in both major parties engage in regular hair-splitting over Iraq, which governments are or are not dictatorships, which atrocities we must intervene in, etc. And IIRC Edwina Currie has been known to ventilate about blatant prejudice in the Tory Party not so long ago. (I think Nigel Lawson suffered from this too, but I feel I'm more likely to be wrong there.)

10/11/2009 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.spectator.co.uk/rodliddle/5416398/whatever-happened-to-duty-responsibility-thrift-and-local-solidarity.thtml


An Aarowatch reference.

10/12/2009 06:21:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

The problem for MacShane is that the means of inculcating the first four of those virtues he admires have been removed by decades of “progressive” legislation. That is one reason why they have disappeared – along with the dissolution of any notion of deferred gratification, which has been occasioned by greater affluence. Oh, and the deliberate removal of social stigma from such things as debt, single-parenthood, divorce – again, at the behest of the metropolitan liberal left

So it was the liberal left who deregulated financial services which led to the explosion in credit post '79.

And the unleashing of the free market ethos during the same period is completey unrelated to the shift towards a society geared towards instant gratification.

You particularly have to admire Liddle's chutzpah on the subjects of 'divorce' and 'single parenthood' considering his track record.

10/12/2009 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

And indeed a caution for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend (the Police's version). Or her making a nuisance 999 call (her version).

10/13/2009 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger 123 123 said...

Interesting article you got here. I'd like to read more about this matter.
BTW check the design I've made myself London escorts

11/20/2009 02:42:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home