Friday, October 15, 2010

"It is 1934 and I am Churchill"

I really don't want to raise false hopes of this blog coming out of cold storage, but you know how we always joke that the motto of Standpoint is "It is 1934 and I am Churchill"? Well, its editor has written a long piece on exactly that theme. Themes include:

* "The crime being prepared against Israel and the Jewish people in the name of the jihad", which is literally to be considered on the same scale as the Holocaust.

* "Today, we need to recall that resolve never to appease or compromise with those who mean to destroy us."

* "The threat of a nuclear attack from a theocratic regime in the name of Islam is more spectacular but no less insidious than the degradation of the human person in the name of medical science or human rights what the fuck?". (Emphasis and words "what the fuck?" added).

* "When we wonder why our budget deficits are now strangling our economies, or why our personal liberties have been circumscribed in so many ways that the individual feels impotent and crushed by the burden of the leviathan State, surely we can date the moment when we crossed the Rubicon to 1945"

* "Three score years and ten later, it falls to us to prevent the overthrow of those temples today. Once again it is the Atlantic alliance that defends these temples of freedom and honour against those who would tear them down, who dream of a global caliphate ruling over Rome, Athens and Jerusalem."

And much more. Ye gods.

28 Comments:

Blogger FlyingRodent said...

Read that a while ago - it's an surprising one-two, as I recall. If I didn't know what Standpoint was about, I'd find the sudden shift from Churchill bio into the Great Battle Of For Civilisation Against The Awful Muslamics a bit jarring.

Melanie P.'s been at that stuff for some time now. Relatively tame sample - http://tinyurl.com/2cvch8n

Nice picture of St. George slaying the Islamodragon there, by the way. This is the woman HP just mounted a bold defence of, on the grounds that she isn't a bigot. Shame she didn't trot out "verbal pogrom" though, that one always gives me a chuckle.

10/15/2010 09:42:00 AM  
Anonymous BenSix said...

How about Lionel Shriver...

...when Muslims are blowing each other up it's hard to escape a mean little thought: at least now you know how it feels...

Lionel, we need to talk: it's actually not that hard at all.

10/15/2010 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Oh, that's who Daniel Johnson is. I chanced to see Standpoint in a newsagent, and couldn't think why they were giving such prominence to the views of a mentally unbalanced singer-songwriter.

10/15/2010 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

When we wonder why our budget deficits are now strangling our economies, or why our personal liberties have been circumscribed in so many ways that the individual feels impotent and crushed by the burden of the leviathan State, surely we can date the moment when we crossed the Rubicon to 1945

I would have reserved "what the fuck?" for this bit, I think. Has Nick read this?

10/15/2010 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Readers! What was your WTF Moment?

Mine was "Our leaders inhabit a high-security bubble, while the cities in which the rest of us must live, euphemistically known as "multicultural", are places where some of our fellow-citizens turn out to be terrorists."

Nice to see Standpoint recognising the threat of Darkie Power.

10/15/2010 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger AndyB said...

I have to say it was when Churchills personal courage was exemplified by the fact that he ate lunch at the Savoy during the blitz.

EVERYONE in London ate lunch in London during the Blitz (or they went hungry, but eating lunch is not in itself an act of bravery). Not everyone found they could still eat in luxury during a time of rations and shortages. I think that shows the class orientation of Standpoint quite nicely.

10/15/2010 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

My WTF moment actually comes near the beginning:

n private he compared the danger to that faced by England at the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588, but he knew full well that the threat posed by Hitler was incomparably greater than that of Philip II, who — while a Habsburg, a Spaniard and a Catholic — had after all been the consort of an English Queen, Mary I. This time the stakes were much higher: not only "the continuity of our institutions and our Empire", but "the survival of Christian civilisation". Would any Western statesman speak of "Christian civilisation" today? [...]

For the passionately philosemitic Churchill, that also (and crucially) implied a war against the Jewish people. He understood that Jews and Christians in the modern world stand or fall together. As the full horror of the Holocaust became clear from intelligence reaching him about the death camps, he was unique among Allied leaders in calling for bombing raids to halt the genocide, describing it as "probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world". Today, it is even harder to find Western leaders who grasp the enormity of the crime being prepared against Israel and the Jewish people in the name of jihad.


a few other choice highlights:

In the US and Israel, it is commoner to find politicians who have seen action, such as John McCain or Ehud Barak, although much more typical is the career of Barack Obama

... I'd have thought George W Bush would have been a neat example but hey.

In a notorious speech, he warned against socialism as "an attack on the right to breathe freely. No socialist system can be established without a political police. They [the Labour Party] would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance." [...] was Churchill, who had been so right about the threat posed by Nazi Germany in 1940, necessarily so wrong about the threat posed by big government in 1945?

my word.

10/15/2010 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Readers! What was your WTF Moment?

"However, we have paid a price for our pacific politicians, clearly demonstrated in the timid and incompetent leadership of the West in conflicts since the end of the Cold War — from the Balkans to the Caucasus, from Africa to Afghanistan, from Iraq to North Korea."

Shock and Awe was timid and pacific?

To a certain degree we can laugh off such wingnuttery from a relatively marginal figure like Johnson especially when it employs such amusing hyperbole.

However when watered down versions of the same thesis are peddled by exceptionally powerful people then we should be very concerned.

10/15/2010 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

It's an obvious one, but So Churchill's implied question must be posed again: will America and Europe stand by and see Israel overwhelmed? is a bit of a doozy.

Overwhelmed by who? The Egyptians and Syrians aren't interested, and couldn't even if they wanted to. The various terrorist groups in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank couldn't "overwhelm" each other, let alone the military behemoth they've been fighting against all these years. Iran is talked up as a terrifying threat, but their ability and willingness to launch a MAD war against Israel is dubious at best.

In fact, the only military power in the region that could last longer than half an hour in the field against the Israeli military is... The Americans, and we all know that ain't happening. The Israelis are at the peak of their near absolute military superiority over all of their enemies.

Which leads us to the question: WTF is this guy talking about?

10/15/2010 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

for all johnson's wankery about how Churchill wanted to bombing raids to halt the holocaust, Churchill didn't actually manage to organise said raids. I'm pretty sure that'd have him down as appeasing scum if the author was feeling less kind. And Churchill was hardly a non-appeaser anyway, that 'jew-jaw' quote is absent from the piece...

I still can't quite get over how garbled the reference to the S[panish Armada is. It's just total bollocks.

bonus points in Standpoint for Nick Cohen caling on the BBC to make worthy programmes like... a 'biopic on the life of Kingsley Amis'... Dear god.

10/15/2010 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

he knew full well that the threat posed by Hitler was incomparably greater than that of Philip II, who — while a Habsburg, a Spaniard and a Catholic — had after all been the consort of an English Queen, Mary I

I rather like this, actually: he illustrates the bleedin' obvious with just about the only conceivable invalid argument he could have thought of.

10/15/2010 02:35:00 PM  
Anonymous BenSix said...

I enjoyed this...

With indecent haste, Churchill was to be evicted from office before the war against Japan was over...

Damn these general elections! Will democracies never be safe from the will of the people?

10/15/2010 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

I rather like this, actually: he illustrates the bleedin' obvious with just about the only conceivable invalid argument he could have thought of.

yeh! i mean it takes some chutzpah, but it does completely invalidate the pretensions of scholarly history in the piece. surely he must know that argument doesn't work?

10/15/2010 03:12:00 PM  
OpenID yorksranter said...

Why should he know? He's a Shower Jobby. Incompetence as brand. Hawteehee.

10/15/2010 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

He's not Frank Johnson's son or something, is he?

10/15/2010 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

Always thought the expression 'right man in the right place' is significantly misleading, because one or the other part is redundant. WC was the right man for that place, or in the right place for that man.

The thing I always remember about him was his report of his Big Kahuna Burger moment, the episode in which he rode directly into close range enemy fire and was against all odds unhurt. He described it as the most wonderful sensation he ever had, or as the only time he felt truly alive, or something along those lines.

Which you can kind of see, in an Owl Creek/Camus(/if you must, Sartre) kind of way. But he was talking about the experience, not the reprieve aspect of it aftermath, and I would certainly accord it biographical importance - especially as I think he himself did, and in light of various other remarks (about hacking people to bits, etc., IIRC).

This Standpoint turd-on-a-rope guy concedes, as though it were a curiosity of logic: Nor do soldiers necessarily make better statesmen than civilians.

This puts our Mr Hanky in roughly the same political territory as General Jack D Ripper, though I don't know his views on the purity and essence of all our natural bodily fluids. (That's my one 'paranoia' slur for the year.)

+ mention of crossing the Rubicon always has more than a touch of irony when it comes from fully paid-up (paid-off) supporters of the Struggle Formerly Known as The Global War on Terror.

10/15/2010 11:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Mordaunt said...

He's not Frank Johnson's son or something, is he?

Paul Johnson.

Not so much a chip off the old block as the old block itself.

Put me down as another vote for Phil's choice in the WTF moment stakes, btw.

10/16/2010 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

I've only skimmed Daniel Johnson's piece. If he's Paul's son it does explain the attraction for other sons: C Hitchens', M Amis', and others.

I can't see how Standpoint has lasted this long. The Churchill thing committed the great sin, for me, of not offering the reader any new information at all. OK, you could read Gibbon or Boswell on Johnson with the complaint that you know all this already, but that's not what I mean. There's nothing in D (not S) Johnson which is original or researched. It's all opinion based on second hand material. There's a word for that, and I'm sure it's "rubbish".

The direction of the Johnson thing ('argument' seems too philosophical and 'thrust' too sexual) reminds me of Jonah Goldberg on Enoch Powell in the sense of desperately trying to reshape not-very-well-known history into contemporary received political wisdom.

10/16/2010 10:21:00 PM  
Anonymous BenSix said...

Independent columnist, Booker Prize winner and Clive James chum is an epoch-shattering radical! Oh dear.

10/17/2010 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

The other thing I find creepy about Johnson's approach is the 'philosemitism' thing. Do any Jews really like the sort of people who say, "You're Jewish! cool, can I be your friend? can I, can I?"

He understood that Jews and Christians in the modern world stand or fall together.

This seems to conflate Jews as in 'believers' and 'ethnic Jews', ditto for Christians. Unless he really isn't trying to force WSC into TWOT, but really thinks it's about believing in Yahweh (or the disemvowelled god), which would make Einstein, for example, an enemy of the West and civilisation.

I mean, if it's Christians against the rest, what about all the right-wing Randians? Attack ad on Rand Paul. Shame he's a nut on economics, but then all the rest are too.

10/17/2010 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

I can't see how Standpoint has lasted this long.

Well, this helps:

Social Affairs Unit, registered charity no: 281530

REPORT OF THE TRUSTEES AND FINANCIAL-STATEMENTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2008
[Total incoming resources: £483,245]

During the year The Social Affairs Unit made grants totalling £324,588 to Social Affairs Unit Magazines Limited to support the publication of "Standpoint".

[Source of funding: Donations. Unrestricted funds: £24,588; Restricted funds*: £300,000.]


REPORT OF THE TRUSTEES AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE PERIOD 1 JULY 2008 TO 30 SEPTEMBER 2009
[Total incoming resources: £1,152,775]

The total grants paid to institutions during the period was as follows:
Social Affairs Unit Magazine Ltd ... £1,077,554


[Source of funding: Donations. Unrestricted funds: £602,554 ; Restricted funds*: £475,000]

*Restricted funds can only be used for particular restricted purposes within the objects of the charity. Restrictions arise when specified by
the donor or when funds are raised for particular restricted purposes.

10/17/2010 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Why is a magazine publisher a registered charity? Don't these people believe in profit? Or the survival only of the strong? I still don't see a gap in the market for Standpoint. Why would anyone buy it over the Spectator (closest rival), the Economist (better news), or even the Salisbury Review (better conservative politics)?

10/17/2010 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

on the egistered charity thing - not really sure. but this, like a lot of mags on both sides of the political spectrum as well as a lot of pressure groups ('Student Rights', for one) are just fronts for ideologically-driven think tanks.

A way of generating news and feigning groundswells of support.

I doubt Standpoint has more than a couple of thousand paying subscribers, and i can't see any reason why anyone would buy it instead of the spectator, economist, etc. but it's never been about selling copies.

10/17/2010 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

Excellent rhetorical questions.

I should point out that the publisher ('Social Affairs Unit Magazines Ltd') is a commercial entity and not a registered charity.

It's just that it's one of those commercial companies that's lucky enough to be in receipt of grants from a reg. 'charity', including some pretty large and very round figures whose donor(s?) went so far as to take the rather beurocratic step of specifying in legally enforceable terms that they should be passed on to the magazine, just in case anyone got confused about why the level of donations had increased by a (decimal) order of magnitude in the space of 3 years. They needn't have worried - the unrestricted donations (600K in 08-09) were faithfully passed on too, of course).

BTW, has anyone with recent experience of the world of hotels, airlines etc come across any complimentary copies at all? I don't know whether circulation figures are produced anyway - it's a 'citation needed' 20,000 pm on Wikipedia.

Re: its niche (not of course the same as a gap in the market), Radio Free Europe's interview with Johnson may be of some use, though it concentrates on distinguishing it from Prospect for some reason.

10/17/2010 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

didn't see oc's, apologs any duplication

10/17/2010 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

Always doing that with 'bureaucratic': something to do with assuming it ends with -ocracy, I suppose.

10/17/2010 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Cian said...

Who funds (or that matter buys) Prospect Magazine?

10/19/2010 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

2009 Graun piece on Prospect

+ apparently the big funder of Standpoint is Alan Bekhor. Googled him, 3rd result was a post from before its launch from a familiar source.

10/20/2010 06:17:00 PM  

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