Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We watched David Aaronovitch in his prime - another time, another time

And so to bed ...

The site has been in something close to run-off mode ever since the Times paywall, and we've now clearly reached the point at which the ongoing comments moderation liability is more trouble than it's worth (that's not a passive-aggressive dig at commenters, by the way, sorry - it's just that any responsibly run website is a commitment of time and effort). When we lost Aaro, we moved on to Nick, who was much less worth watching. Plus Harry's Place is about five complete cast changes moved on from the vital heart of Decency that we used to watch, and what does that leave us? Standing around arguing about Israel, mainly. Which is a perfectly respectable activity as long as you're nice about it, but it's not like there's a shortage of venues to do so.

So, so long, and thanks for all the good times. The site will stay up for as long as Blogger survives, but I've shut down new comments and it's unlikely that there will be any more new posts. It's been a really good experience in many ways. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

And if you believed Decentiya, I've an Atlantic Bridge you can buy...

Or, opportunities to knock Fox, Hague and the 'jobs for the boyfriends' policy.

Thanks to Coventarian in the comments to the last post.

One of the key donors to Pargav has been Michael Lewis, who is a former vice-chairman of Bicom, an organisation that lobbies on behalf of Israel. He has donated £13,832 to Atlantic Bridge and £5,000 to Fox. Bicom has been linked to Werritty, and paid for the 33-year-old's flight and hotel bills when he attended a conference in Israel in 2009 to speak about Iran.

Bicom's former communications chief is Lee Petar, who left the lobby group to set up PR outfit Tetra Strategy a few years ago. Emails seen by the Guardian show Petar had been working to arrange a meeting between Werritty and private equity boss Harvey Boulter in Dubai in June. An invoice seen by the Guardian shows Petar received thousands of pounds from Boulter for help setting up the meeting and for PR advice.

Guardian: Fresh questions over company that funded Adam Werritty's jet-set life. (Serious question, what is a 'friend of Israel' doing in Dubai? It's hardly the philosemitic capital of the world.[1])

Ooh, look who's joined BICOM. (This suggests further blurring of neoconservatism and what was the 'Decent Left' to me.)

I'm really fascinated by ConHome's attack on Douglas Murray. (Thanks to Organic Cheeseboard, though I saw it yesterday.) It seems to represent a maturation of the conservative argument about Islam. I've thought for a while (hardly originally) that much of Melanie Phillips' output is virtually identical to hard-line Islamism (horrible term, but I think we're stuck with it): Western society is decadent; gays are yuck, aren't they?; we should be tougher on crime; only faith can through [mechanism unexplained: it runs on faith] can bring society together, and so on. Douglas Murray represents one side, and I think it's the more left-wing side. He seems to be saying (under a slag-heap of racist innuendo) that Muslim societies are backward, hate and repress gays, women, Jews and other religions, and generally reflect the medieval past that 'Western' society grew out of between 400 and 200 years ago. Goodman's argument, by contrast, seems to say that there are a lot of good things in religion and we can learn from Islam (perhaps bring stoning back, etc), especially, and this whole post-enlightenment free-for-all will lead to people marrying their tortoises or something.

But to pause to brush away the mud is to play Murray's game. So is to linger over the debate over gay marriage, to which his latest article adds nothing. I argued on this site that once one has opened the door to gay marriage it may not be so easy to close it to multiple sharia marriages. Murray's response is to take more or less the line I anticipated. "Marriage, in our culture, not to mention law, is between two people," he writes. Not exactly: it is between two people of different genders (or sexes if you prefer). Once the requirement that the genders be different has been dispensed with, it becomes easier to dispose of others - such as the insistence that polygamous marriages, a custom throughout much of the world, are not recognised by the state.

In fact, Goodman's differences with Murray seem to be entirely about gay marriage. This isn't the Tories waking up to racism; this is deciding which bigotry fits them best.

Damn it, I like Murray a lot more than Goodman. That's not saying much. Last time I saw Murray on television, I thought him perhaps the scariest right-wing demagogue I've seen (on film) since Oswald Moseley.

This isn't quite what I meant to write. I've confused myself again. However, I do think that the Fox affair seems very close to Decency (pro-spreading democracy, particularly by ignoring the particulars of democracy such as accountability; pro-carrying a big stick and wielding it often to keep your muscles limber; very dodgy lobbying; pro-Israel support, though god knows why now).

Somehow there's a very Alan Hollinghurst tinge to all this too. Look at HP for instance; I can't be alone in noting a certain homophobic element to some of the comments. It's all look at us, healthy hetero males, just hanging out with other boys. You don't mind if I give you a manly slap on the back, do you? We're just lads, talking of lad things. If it wasn't Islamofascism, it would be supercars and Wayne Rooney. Ooh, get that Liam Fox, you can tell he's one of them, always lurking around men, where's his wife, eh, eh? And slapping his friends on the back, who does he think he's kidding? This sort of thing seem to infect every kind of political site these days. Labour promised to bring more women into politics, but somehow women are just as marginal as they always were.

I know where that sculptor for Ozymandias was coming from. The despair bit, anyway.

[1] Wikipedia entry on Dubai. Hmm, is there a major Middle Eastern religion missing?

Dubai also has large Hindu, Christian, Bahá'í, Sikh, Buddhist, and other religious communities residing in the city. Non-Muslim groups can own their own houses of worship, where they can practice their religion freely, by requesting a land grant and permission to build a compound. Groups that do not have their own buildings must use the facilities of other religious organisations or worship in private homes. Non-Muslim religious groups are permitted to openly advertise group functions; however, proselytising or distributing religious literature is strictly prohibited under penalty of criminal prosecution, imprisonment, and deportation for engaging in behaviour offensive to Islam.

My emphasis.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The enemy of my enemy, and all that

Here's an interesting one: Engage Online are giving space to Colin Meade, Lecturer at London Met and Milosevic defender. A google of "Colin Meade" and "Milosevic" shows a few interesting sites around the internet. Meade used to have a blog but it has been removed, but is linked to from places such as (hold your nose before clicking) this. Fortunately, the Internet Archive is our friend and Meade's writings on dhimmitude and the like are still available. Just the sort of association that HP Sauce would make a big deal out of, of course, if the personnel and issue were slightly changed.