Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I am Equivocal about Equivocation

Captain Mainwaring, Captain Mainwaring. They don't like it up 'em. They don't like it up 'em, Captain Mainwaring.
From pretty much every episode of Dad's Army

Well, curse you Daniel Davies and commenter Don Paskini. You made me read Melanie Phillips. Worse than that, I had to trudge through a lot of accusations of anti-Semitism (all by Mad Mel, flung more or less at random - I mean our Dave an anti-Semite? as if!) to write this post. Thanks to Don, I learned that Oliver Kamm had a crack at Melanie Phillips - and, let us be clear, quite rightly.

What really gets me about Melanie Phillips is that her commenters seem to think she's some kind of scholar. Oliver Kamm speared this one by comparing Timothy Garton Ash (who knows something about both the Balkans and ethnic conflict) with her. Here is Mad Mel trying to be intellectually rigorous.

It [The decision by Britain, America and certain other European countries to recognise Kosovo as an independent state] asserts that religion matters more than nationality. [This is a bad thing.]

Now, in the same bullet point, she goes on to quote Eldad Beck speculating - in other words, writing counterfactually and entirely fancifully about Israel:

A short while after the agreement is signed, an uprising breaks out in the Galilee, in the Triangle area, and in the southern Negev desert, with Arab Israelis demanding a cultural and political autonomy that would enable them to manage their own lives while disconnecting from the State of Israel's 'Jewish' institutions.

So nationality should hold Serbia together, but nationality isn't enough to hold Israel together. I'm British (I have an - ahem - red passport to prove this) and I'm happily disconnected from Rowan Williams and the kiddie-fiddling lot.

So now the fun. Youtube has disabled embedding for this interview, so I'm not going to try on the assumption that Google's techs understand .htaccess files enough to disable embedded links. You'll just have to click through.

By tackling the issue head-on -- and crucially, using the language of values in calling the asylum shambles 'inhumane' and 'unjust' -- Mr [XXX] was not only protecting himself from the taint of racism. He was also signalling to the beleaguered majority that at last they have a champion who will stand up for mainstream decencies against the lies and smears of political correctness.

That's Mel on a certain politician found here. And here is Phillips on the US elections.

Such patent equivocation is of course absolutely telling -- and, if America were not currently in a state of mass-induced hysteria through the cult of Princess Obama, it would be lethal.

Gosh, ya think? I'd thought until today that anyone with a gig on a serious political newsheet would know enough about politics not to accuse anyone of equivocation or evasion, as no democratic party has ever been above either.

Sometimes (not often, let's not get carried away), I think, Go Oliver, Go Dave - and I mean in a nice way.


Blogger ejh said...

Fish-barrel, though, isn't it?

2/27/2008 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger donpaskini said...

And 'go Marko' as well - "In the global struggle against the Islamist menace, the anti-Muslim bigots are a liability."

I don't think the people who comment at Harry's Place will be very pleased to hear this (though I lack the strength to go and check).

2/28/2008 07:13:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home