Sunday, October 23, 2005


Lazy Sunday Cohen Watch, Got no time for worries, Chris Brooke does his scholarly thing on St Augustine and staying in hotels. Nick’s Observer piece, When Harriet met Hizb, isn’t up on his blog yet, so no link.
FWIW, I think Nick’s piece is dreadfully written, as if he’s trying to drop into Tabloid, but his education gets in the way.
A few weeks ago, Harriet Harman was holding a surgery for her Peckham constituents. As always, it was an open house, and every variety of south Londoner was coming to her office. She had dealt with the usual run of complaints and appeals when the door opened and for the first time in her life Harman confronted authentic anti-democrats.

An opening with the deep sonority of one hand waving. “As always, it was an open house” seems to convey Ms Harman’s special gift for hospitality, though “every variety of south Londoner” and Peckham make me think of Del Boy and Rodney dressed as Batman and Robin. Politicians’ surgeries are open houses. That was true of Enoch Powell as well. It’s cruel of me, but my reaction to “for the first time in her life Harman confronted authentic anti-democrats” was, “She’s never met the crustier members of the Conservative Party?” (Sorry, Tory readers. The FCS, now…) Nick is describing a scene which he clearly wasn’t present at, in terms I doubt Harriet Harman used (if she told him the story at all). That should be worth several points on Nick’s journalistic licence. That goes for “wallow” as well, which should only be used for the bathing habits of hippopotami.
Oh yes, can’t we have a points system where journalists are banned from publication for, say, six months, for using “separation of church and state”? Nick is all for it, I’m all for it, but it happens not to be the case in Dear Old Blighty. Hizb ut-Tahrir may be agin it, but so are the Queen and Norman St-John Stevas.
Yet here were totalitarians and misogynists going to a woman democratic politician and begging her to persuade Tony Blair not to take authoritarian measures against their authoritarian sect. The scene could have been bettered only if Harman had been a Jewish lesbian.

Nick has, as he often does, a good point here. It’s just that, he’s chosen to describe what happened with the same authorial talent that William McGonagle would have brought to the tragedy of Hamlet. How does he know Ms Harman was “startled” or “despairing”?
I defer to Chris Brooke’s knowledge of Augustine, but I suspect that St A’s response to authoritarian measures would have been, shall be say, stoical. There is something rather pathetic about Hizb ut-Tahrir, with their iron edicts and flexible principles.
Nick can still write the funny lines.
On the website Huda Jawad writes of being badgered by young men at her university.

So sadly can most young women. Young men are like that, but it helps with the preservation of the species, in the end.
What is he thinking of here?
Shiv Malik of the New Statesman found a Hizb recruiter who described how he followed the tactics of a Moonie or Scientologist when seducing a convert. ‘Say for example that you’re having a marriage breakdown. I’ll use that: “Your wife is leaving you because of problems that stem from the fact that Islam isn’t present in the world today”. ’
All of which seems to show that Hizb is an uncomplicated promoter of extremism.

No, it seems to show that Hizb are cultish promoters of wingnuttery. I don’t pretend to be a student of Islamic extremism: all I know is what I see on “Spooks.” But I can’t grasp how:
The Islamists regarded it as sinful to stand in elections or even vote.

Can be true at the same time as:
[Hizb’s] draft constitution imagines a caliphate in which only Muslims can elect the caliph …

I’d love to know how they manage to do that without someone standing in an election and others voting.


Blogger Sonic said...

Have fun with this piece of junk,,22369-1841164,00.html

10/25/2005 03:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well as someone who is a bit of a scholar of Islamic law and politics, I don't think it requires much intuition or academic training to understand that

"The Islamists regarded it as sinful to stand in elections or even vote"

refers to elections within the model of "western" liberal democracies and in no way contradicts the later statement Nick offers on the politics of the caliphate.

By the way, I'll try to ensure that either Nick or I post the pieces up on (blog?? Please!) the same day as print publication, but you're pretty quick with your blogs! Anyone would think they were off the cuff ramblings ;)


10/25/2005 05:13:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Aaro's latest (which Sonic links to) is awesome. I think he might not actually realise there were trials of Nazi leaders, represented by UK/US counsel, who argued against the authority of the court, the judges, the indictments, covered by the BBC etc.

10/25/2005 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For the first time in her life Harman confronted authentic anti-democrats..."

What about her slimeball neo-con boss, Mr T. Blair? Oh yeah, she's never "confronted" him, of course.

Cracking blog, chaps, though it lacks the priceless (or would that be "worthless"?) ingredient of Stormin' Norman Johnson, the blowhard Cohenovitch-substitute now installed at the Grauniad. These guys all seem to be working from the same script - it's spooky. Is there a factory somewhere churning them out? Another 40 metres of neo-con ravings, please, and don't forget the obligatory references to "Islamofascists" and "liberal fascist sympathisers". Glad to see these guys have forgotten none of their youthful indoctrination in left-wing hate-speech, eh?

Uh oh. Time for my medication.


10/25/2005 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous/taff - apparently the Norman Johnson column is a spoof, albeit a painfully accurate one

oh, and has Harman ever had to deal with the likes of the NF and BNP? Did NC bother to ask her?

10/25/2005 04:49:00 PM  

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