Friday, August 19, 2011

Some Cheap Laughs

Harry's Place seems to be trolling its own commenters. The current masthead must refer to this post where almost all the comments are hostile. (Although this (real) pic of Geller and Spencer is more sinister.) Now, will they accept that they've created an oasis for loons? (Nope.)

And this is a rather wonderfully percipient post on H'S'JS signatory Michael Gove. As is this (though I suspect this is partly a set-up; I can't believe he's that daft.

Update 1/9/11 We've now over 200 comments. Blogger doesn't seem to display them all on one page. So you need to go to the 'post a comment' page and then click on the 'Newer' link.

This is a hassle. On the other hand, it may also discourage further contributions.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake

Title suggested by Gastro George.

Andrew Sparrow in the Guardian offers a round-up of the commentariat's reaction so far, including David Aaronovitch.

The highest realistic estimate I've seen for rioters in one place was 200, and pictures of that event suggest that it was too high. It also seems that one must make a practical distinction (if not a moral one) between rioters and looters — people who entered shops already broken into to steal goods. There is some evidence of the same people moving from one location to another. With the number of arrests at about 500, I seriously wonder if many more than a few thousand people were involved in rioting.

This is important because it tells us two things. First, we are not dealing with a mass criminal insurrection. And second, that a remarkably small number of people, if they are mobile and use surprise, can cause mayhem out of all proportion to their numbers. I was told this by Tony Blair once, in the context of terrorism, and it's true.

I considered adding this in the comments to the last post, but it seems to merit its own to me. Though this deserves to come under the "with exemplary timing" heading.

Why is Aaro so keen on playing down the numbers? He was doing it on Twitter "@DeborahJaneOrr Quite possibly. How many then, roughly? 2, 3k [rioters]?"

I think his preference for low, rather than high, numbers is correct. But it's obvious that he's going too low. Mad Mel seems to think that the whole underclass is rising up, propelled by the Gramscian-liberal-Church-of-England nexus of evil.

What's the point of the Blair name-drop? It's a very obvious point, and hardly limited to modern terrorism. It's how the French resistance worked. It was the thinking behind the original SAS operations in WWII (IIRC, which I may not); it's in Herodotus, the Iliad, and, again IIRC, Gibbon. Dave studied history: I'm sure he knew more about this than Tony Blair. BTW, can circumstances really tell us something we already know? Because if they can't, that brings Dave's two things down to one. And I wasn't aware of anyone suggesting that we were "dealing with a mass criminal insurrection."

Also, thanks to the Cous Cous Kid in the last comment's, Dave's final para.

Because, yes, we have been here before, with a relatively small number of young men, high on violence and low on personal skills, finding a way to drive the rest of us mad. This analysis is both gloomy and hopeful. It suggests that, short of a world war to send them to, difficult and violent young men will always be with us. The numbers matter, of course, and we can and should whittle away at them with firmness. But we won't eradicate them altogether, and if improvement is always slow and adapting difficult, we can - of course - make things worse quickly, by reacting with impatience, prejudice and stupidity.

The last sentence is of course very sensible. I'm not sure about having world wars just to send "young men, high on violence and low on personal skills" off to. Armies aren't very keen on that sort really. Dave seems to envisage modern warfare as "The Dirty Dozen" on a more ambitious scale.

Am I overdoing the pacifist thing by suggesting that a sport like rugby is a better outlet for young men's tendency to difficulty and violence than, say, going to war with Germany again?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

With Exemplary Timing

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Marko Attila Hoare's not happy with Douglas Murray

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

And if you like you can buy the ring...

Or, Quilliam the third (installment).

[T]he world’s first counter-extremism think tank.

Here's Noman Benotman [of the] Quilliam Foundation and former key figure in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group talking a Policy Exchange wafflefest (he's the first speaker). He's talking about 'surgical strikes' and the like in Libya, even thought the civil war clusterfuck was inevitable by March.

Libyan rebels to probe commander's killing [al-Jazeera]:

The February 17th Martyrs Brigade is a group of hundreds of civilians who took up arms to join the rebellion. With their headquarters in Benghazi, the new fighters participate in the front-line battles with Gaddafi's forces but also act as a semi-official internal security force for the opposition.

Agoury, the special forces commander, said the brigade had an agenda against Younes, because he was previously Gaddafi's interior minister and was involved in crackdowns against conservative, anti-regime Islamic groups.

One of those is the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which waged a guerrilla campaign against Gaddafi's regime in the 1990s, including assassination attempts on the leader. The LIFG has been connected to al-Qaeda, and some of its members fought against international troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it has long foresworn any allegiance with the jihadi group.

Agoury said there were LIFG members in the February 17th Brigade, and that they "don't trust anyone who was with Gaddafi's regime, they wanted revenge."

A member of the brigade said his group had evidence that Younes was a traitor and that the evidence will come out in a few days.

I'm really convinced that these guys are going to bring democracy, peace, universal love and hope to Libya. Who better?

In all seriousness, the front page of the Quilliam site has a link to the Soaraway: London borough 'put under Sharia law'.

Ghaffar Hussain of Quilliam, a counter-extremism and pro-democracy think-tank, said: "Muslims Against Crusades are a lunatic fringe of troublemakers not even taken seriously by genuine extremists, let alone ordinary Muslims who abhor their rhetoric and tactics and find them an embarrassment."

In other words, a total non-story run under a scare headline which would be more true if the verb in the headline had 'NOT' in front of it.

Dozens of posters had been put up - quickly removed by the council - insisting: "You are entering a Shariah controlled zone - Islamic rules enforced."

Yep, that's the Muslim future we should all fear. A few posters "quickly removed by the council" which like all councils is probably run by dhimmi multiculturalists. Some might say that running such a scare story would stoke extremism. All I can say is, if I were billed as combatting extremism, I'd be pretty ashamed to be quoted in a story which, under before you get to all the sensible stuff is mostly racist dogwhistle. I'm sure Sun writers know that their readers don't read stories to the end.