Sunday, October 30, 2005

A column is born in the ghetto, and its mother cries

Nick Cohen, "Politics of the Ghetto", paragraph 1:

"When I was a reporter on the Birmingham Post & Mail, I could guess anyone's politics by how they described the looting and murder that overwhelmed Handsworth in September 1985. If they talked about the 'Handsworth riots', I knew they were conservatives ..."

Paragraph 5:

"Twenty years on, I am back on the Lozells Road after another riot" (emphasis added)

This stuff writes itself, it really does. I don't even know if this choice of words is intentional, mistaken or Freudian, anymore.

In related news, Nick manages to write a column about the incitement of religious hatred which doesn't mention Incitement To Religious Hatred. Now fair enough, I doubt that Warren G is a regular reader of the Observer or the New Statesman, and probably not the leadership of Ligali either. But a more self-aware columnist might have pondered the fact that (by my count) just over 50% of the columns listed on his Guardian page have in one way or the other had as part of their message that the Muslim communities of the UK are a dangerous presence within our midst. From Muslims to Asians is, shall we say, a small step. I do think that there is a case to answer here; it is quite probable that the Handsworth riots were just one of those damned things that happen from time to time, but in as much as they have root causes, I doubt that future historians will say that it is totally ridiculous to believe that one of those root causes was the way in which it became acceptable in 2004/5 in mainstream British media and society to demonise the Asian community by using the Muslim religion as a proxy. It would obviously be foolish to claim that it's all Nick Cohen's fault (in rather the same way that it's obviously foolish to claim that it's all "the liberal left"'s fault), but this blog is Nick Cohen Watch, not Warren G Watch.

Theodore Dalrymple, the pseudonym of a Birmingham doctor and writer, noted recently in the Telegraph that the shopkeepers were facing a modern variant of European (and now Middle Eastern) anti-semitism

In which statement he is (though you can go a mile too far with this analogy) more or less on to something. In which case, it might well be remembered that European anti-semitism was based on two main lies. First, the blood libel, which I believe is the analogy in Nick's own mind here. But second, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; the belief in a global conspiracy to take over the world by using the tolerance of the foolish goyim against them. Right back atcha, Nicko.


Blogger Simon said...

Not everyone who thinks there are grounds for 'white anger' is a racist, but everyone who is a racist thinks there are grounds for 'white anger'. Something for Nick to think about.

10/30/2005 02:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think your policy of pretending there are not huge problems in muslim communities, especially with racism as we saw in this area, is really helping matters. A bit of humility to the likes of Nick Cohen and others wouldn't go amiss - everything he's saying has turned out to be spectacularly right.

10/31/2005 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

you what, Ryan? I don't recall us ever pretending any such thing. Which specific predictions of Nick's are you thinking about here, by the way? This was a race riot (not a religious conflict) which took place in a multiethnic community (not a monoethnic ghetto) and was stirred up by Christians (not Muslims) resenting Asian shopkeepers (not asylum seekers). I don't think that anyone at all predicted it in any specific detail; just predicting "there will be riots in Britain in 2005" is below the level you'd expect from Old Moore's Almanac.

10/31/2005 08:48:00 PM  

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