Sunday, October 22, 2006


Since no one else seems prepared to do this, this is a rush job.

First, good on Aaro. I'm absoultely against faith schools, as this story from last week's Observer should make clear. (I meant to blog it elsewhere, but it made me just too angry. Anyway, I couldn't hate Blair and Kelly more than I do already.)

Oh, Nick, Nick, Nick. Quick quiz, who I wonder wrote this?

When it comes to freedom of speech about religion, however, it's a very different matter. At the height of The Satanic Verses affair in 1988, [Iqbal] Sacranie said that 'death was perhaps too easy' for Salman Rushdie. This did not stop New Labour almost tripping over its feet as it rushed to embrace the MCB when it came to power in 1997. As well as knighting Sacranie, it responded to his lobbying by putting before parliament a law against incitement of religious hatred. In their attempts to keep this unelected homophobe in their big tent, New Labour is prepared to ignore its more liberal supporters - and the conclusively argued opposition of the House of Lords - and force the bill through.

Yes, Nick Cohen!

Let us take a trip in Time.

One of the best moments in Step Across This Line , Salman Rushdie's provocatively named book of essays (Jonathan Cape; 454 pages), comes when the author is invited on stage at a U2 concert in 1993 by his friend Bono. At the time, Rushdie was in hiding from Muslim assassins after Iran's Ayatullah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him for his allegedly blasphemous novel, The Satanic Verses . Bono, ever the good guy, meant the invitation as a gesture of support. To Rushdie, the moment was a revelation. He suddenly felt what it's like to have 80,000 fans cheering you on. The audience at the average book reading is a little smaller. Girls tend not to climb on to their boyfriends' shoulders during them, and stage-diving is discouraged.

I'm not a Bono fan. I thought he was a collosal wanker when I saw him in the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1983. (They'd been better the first time I saw them, before even 'Boy' was released.) But still Nick, there are reasons why the rest of the world continues to take Bono seriously and why that isn't washed away by stinginess with taxes. (After all, a lot of my tax money goes to things I don't support, like Trident, as well as things I do.) But the other 'Bruschetta Boy' is far more qualified than I in these matters. Nick's conclusion seems deeply silly.

Ominously, the Tories may win the next election. If they do, U2 would be rank ingrates if they didn't perform at the celebration party.

U2 have never paid taxes in the UK, and I doubt that they plan to. I cannot see the relevance of this. Does he realise that Eire is a separate country?
At least Nick explains one fixture in his columns:

I go on about the Lib Dems under Sir Menzies because they reflect, albeit in an extreme form, a hypocritical relativism which is endemic in mainstream European opinion. They think they are being liberal when they imply it is an act of cultural imperialism to demand that the same human rights standards should apply in the poor world as the rich world.

If it is endemic, would it be so hard for him to find some examples? Last week, his Lib Dem slot mentioned Charlie Kennedy's alcoholism and party donations. Both veritable hits, but nothing to do with the poor world.


Blogger Robin said...

Why are there two Bruschetta Boys? It's rather confusing. Has someone forgotten their password or something?

10/22/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the reason Nick keeps picking on the Liberals is because he has some belief that his bullying tone will keep the "decent" (pro war etc) flame alive among the Liberals - He has probably figured out that the Labour left and ex labour left aren't going to be shifted by his hysterical rants - they just think he is a mad warmonger. However, the liberals are a weak enough target for him to maybe make some impression.

Incidentally, for weaselly tone, how about this from Nick's Standard column

"AT the Paul Foot awards for investigative journalism, I bumped into Paul's uncle Michael, who now looks like Old Father Time. Fortunately, I remembered it was a mistake to assume his mind wasn't still sharp.

The last time I saw him was at a party at which the guests were complaining about Tony Blair. Our assumption that Footie didn't understand what was going on was shattered when he thundered: "I'll say this for Blair, at least he's not a coward. He doesn't run for cover when there's trouble and let his ministers carry the can."

He then gave his audience a lecture on political leadership, which we listened to in reverential silence."

Now what Nick wants to say is "Blair is brave, because of his stand for decency", but he does not have the balls to do it, especially as he made his mark as a columnist saying "Blair is crap". So instead he, bizarrely, invokes not only Micheal Foot but also Paul Foot's name around the theme (not that even in his reporting, Micheal Foot did not talk to him about Blair at the Paul Foot awards, indeed as this is his only report form that award event, it seems no one said anything to him at the event )

10/23/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does he realise that Eire is a separate country?

I was half-wondering this, especially when Nick referred to the Irish defence budget.

10/23/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Rather bizarre that Nick should accuse the Lib Dems of having a Kiplingesque view of the world. Nick should re-read Kipling's "The White Man's Burden" and then wonder whether the Eustonites aren't a better fit:

10/23/2006 11:21:00 AM  

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