Sunday, November 22, 2009

Conversations on the doorstep #342

Nick Cohen:

More seriously, a revival of the left's affair with Islamism can only help the BNP by convincing the white working class that their rulers hypocritically denounce racial conspiracy theories, misogyny and homophobia when they come from the followers of Nick Griffin, but not when they come from the friends of Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

... and the council lets them jump the housing queue, and they get planning permission when we don't, I had that Nick Cohen in the back of my cab once ....


Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

As every middlebrow with a newspaper column [...] to fill

What does that make Nick? either he thinks he's highbrow (there is a lot of evidence to the contrary) or lowbrow (surely not a good thing...). Very poor writing - but then again:

the charge of moral equivalence would be easier to substantiate if atheists planted bombs on the underground

that'd be lowbrow.

Ali's crime was that he opposed Islamism while advising Tony Blair, Ruth Kelly and Hazel Blears.

Hm - I wonder what else links those three names? Something tells me we're not entirely getting the full picture here.

ministers are about to cut financial support for Sufi Muslims

full story here again is rather different, isn't it?

and the Bunglawaya thing is just boneheaded copy and paste from Harry's Place - given the radical and fairly brave shifts he's made recently it's also wholly unfair, which is why Nick focuses on al-Qaradawi rather than the people he's meant to be talking about. If someone wrote a piece about the BNP but spent the whole time talking about David Duke I'd imagine they'd be pilloried, but it's clearly ok when

And the faith school point is intentionally garbled because the issue seems a lot less bothersome than Cohen is making out. Also his mate gove's ideas on education will only make it worse.

cohen's back to his very worst. the BNP link is so utterly fatuous it's embarrassing.

11/22/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger ejh said...

Are "the left" also "our rulers" now? Can't say as I'd noticed.

11/22/2009 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris Baldwin said...

"the left's affair with Islamism"

Something Nick Cohen and Harry's Place invented out of whole cloth.

11/22/2009 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breaking news: Marko has a whole post savaging Harry's Place !

11/22/2009 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous magistra said...

ministers are about to cut financial support for Sufi Muslims

Surely any atheists should be supporting this decision? If you believe all religions are harmful, you shouldn't be giving state funding to groups of any of them.

And why hasn't he mentioned the decision on Thought for the Day, which is what seem to be winding up most genuine atheists this week? I may not agree with the loudly anti-religious, but they are at least consistent. The ones who want to rant about Islam and ignore what, for example, orthodox Judaism says about homosexuality are just hypocrites.

11/22/2009 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Well nice one Marko. Kudos to him for that. Let's hope that David T feels suitably ashamed.

11/22/2009 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Malky Muscular said...

Much kudos.

Let's hope that David T feels suitably ashamed.

That or he'll just punt yet another name onto the enemies list. The world is full of haters, after all.

11/22/2009 05:58:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

One to add to the HP Haterz list methinks. and so it continues.

as i said on pickled politics the other day, HP sauce is an incrowd, if you're on their side you can quite literally do no wrong, even if you actively praise fascists in print. If you look like you don't take their posters seriously, however, you get the attack dogs launched on ye.

it's always been the same; hopefully more people can start waking up to this.

11/22/2009 06:21:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

I liked Marko's piece but wasn't entirely convinced by the argument that HP is insufficiently respectful to Oliver Kamm.

11/22/2009 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Ridiculous as Kamm is, I think Marko's instincts were right with regard to that one - that kind of childish sneering is pure HP, and very much of a piece with the way the HP regulars treat anyone they disagree with. In fact, I sometimes get the impression that they pick disagreements with people as a means to the end of sneering at somebody.

11/22/2009 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sonic says

You have to stop enabling them chaps.

11/23/2009 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

magistra - "all religions are harmful" neither implies nor is implied by atheism: one of many reasons why I, a convinced atheist, dislike the cult of celebrity around Dawkins and his hangers-on like Grayling*. The effects and the truth of the theistic religions are distinguishable and prima fecie independent questions. I tend to think that the theistic, and many other, doctrines of religion have been largely incidental to the bad (and good) things done in its name. It's an excellent means of control, and to my eye the doctrines of Hell (threat), confession and absolution (renewability of threat), and purgatory (non-total extinguishability of threat) seem finetuned for the prupose. But the controllers seem to act on ordinary imperatives of power, and violent extremism seems to need some more earthly motive to get going. Northern Ireland? The Crusades? Pan-Arab Nationalism v Militant Islam? Discuss.

*Did anyone hear the good Professor (well, Dershowitz, Honderich etc, who would be surprised. Politics rules in academia too) on 'In Our Time' recently? He was apportioned little irrelevant topic-chunks on which to read out lecture notes, while the experts discussed Schopenhauer over his head. Meanwhile the ever-less adequate Bragg failed in his job of clock-watching.

11/23/2009 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

Theology didn't have much to do with the Northern Ireland Troubles at all. Religion acted (and acts) as an enthno-national marker, and the militants on neither side evinced any great interest in holding their own or others to the requirements of piety. The decline of religiosity evident in Northern Ireland in the last generation has had minimal effect on the saliency of 'sectarian' division.

11/23/2009 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

Well, quite.

Other examples esp. those more temporally and culturally distant are less cler-cut, but I'm inclined to think they are similar. Of course one has to allow for the fact that being an atheist, one just doesn't see how people could really be motivated in a fundamental way by free-standing religious doctrines.

On a slight tangent, Marxian and other functional explanations of real motivation/causation owe an account of microfoundations which has not always been forthcoming.

11/23/2009 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gregor said...

'More seriously, a revival of the left's affair with Islamism can only help the BNP by convincing the white working class that their rulers hypocritically denounce racial conspiracy theories, misogyny and homophobia'

Because if there's one thing a BNP voter hates it's hypocrisy.

I keep wondering about this 'helping the BNP' thing: it seems that journalists have a bugbear (sometimes justified), then they frame it as a reason why a 'white working class' (which I suspect they think is a circumlocution for 'thick') person would use it as an excuse to vote BNP.

However, as far as I know no-one has actually done much research into why the BNP voters vote for a racist party. I'd personally have thought it was something to do with their being racist.

One thing I dislike about modern Britain is that our trains are so crap: overpriced, filthy, ramshackle. And what makes it worse is the gloating, received wisdom that privatisation is a magical recipe for improving services. yet I'm not going to vote BNP because Griffin supports renationalising the railways.

11/23/2009 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

I think there are different degrees and kinds of racism. The BNP can use other policies (oh look - they appear rather Old Left, don't they!) to attract voters who just don't care about racism per se, who are unreflectively xenophobic, who think racism is a bit naughty really, but let's indulge, etc etc. It's an unresolved question ( I suspect no-one in a position to find out the role of racism v other concerns really wants to, in case the answer is too inconvenient or too disturbing - and it seems likely to be one or the other for most of them)

11/23/2009 06:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Ben said...

Come, come, guys. I'm tempted to use the words of another Benjamin and suggest that this is all a storm in a tea cup.

I think the fact that Marko has gone a bit overboard is neatly underscored by the, err, uncharitable (if I was feeling uncharitable, I might suggest barking mad) manner in which he describes the mildly amusing piece on Kamm. It's affectionate ribbing, isn't it?

Of course, HP does attract quite large numbers of Mail-reading wankers to the comments boxes these days (which is my pet hate), but one could hardly say that the authors were anything other than moderate and sensible.

There is a certain collating of disparate upsets and grievances that goes on, leading to a largely incoherent animus. The reason you guys hate HP is because it's full of batshit crazy neo-con extremists. The reason Marko dislikes it is because he had a run-in with a commenter and found he didn't like the extremely open comments policy - which to his mind spoils the otherwise eminently sensible and judicious musings of its upstanding contributors.

I'm fairly sure you don't need me to point out that there's not a lot in common between these views. And the opportunism inherent in papering over said inconsistencies. Because you guys have only ever had the nicest of things to say about Marko, haven't you?

11/25/2009 12:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"one could hardly say that the authors were anything other than moderate and sensible". I think Gene musing on the "socialist" case for assassinating Yasser Arafat springs to mind. As does the post (post, not comment) defending a Douglas Murray speech that described Islam as "an opportunist infection" gaining ground because the West had "Aids" and calling for 'conditions to be made harder' for Muslims in the west, and for an end to immigration from "Muslim" countries. Harry's Place's official line was that this speech was about "equal rights". Or the endless McCarthyite witch hunting. Or the very fact that the website was founded to argue that the Left where traitors for not promoting the Iraq war. Moderate and sensible are not the words that come to mind.
Ann On.

11/25/2009 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Simon K said...

"The reason Marko dislikes it is because he had a run-in with a commenter and found he didn't like the extremely open comments policy"

The point is that the comments policy isn't extremely open. Eminently reasonable people making reasonable points have been censored, while unpleasant bigots posting puerile filth appear to be given maximum tolerance. This has been the case for years, and it's specifically for this reason that the HP comments boxes are in such a nasty state.

11/25/2009 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I second Simon K. The particularly ugly thing about Harry's Place's comments is that commenters spend so much time trolling each other.

The reason Marko dislikes it is because he had a run-in with a commenter and found he didn't like the extremely open comments policy

To be fair, Marko also objected to Harry's Place's treatment of Laurie Penny, but I think he was coming round to the view that the style of Harry's Place - mostly the vituperation, but its preference for the ad personam rather than ad argumentum - was toxic. But while I look at Harry's Place irregularly, I haven't read a whole post for years. They really do like to bang on and on and on. I suspect their readers head straight for the fights in the comments anyway.

11/26/2009 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

one could hardly say that the authors were anything other than moderate and sensible.


I think they're not at all interested in qualities such as proportionality or scrupulousness in the matter of accusation.

Or put another way, they're unpleasant people who do unpleasant things in an unpleasant way.

Mind you, personally I've not bothered with them since the Great Owen Hatherley Disaster.

11/28/2009 10:44:00 AM  

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