Key Posts Category
It’s war, then. It always is. Britain has entered the war in Syria. MPs voted, backing the bombing with a majority of 174.
The Daily Mirror says this is “CAM’S WAR”, nailing the battle to David Cameron’s lapels. Something in the history books for Dave, then, who had been relying on footnotes about ‘Sam Cam’ and ‘LOL’ to mark his place in the ledgers.
The Mirror leads with news that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn “warned” that not everyone is in favour of fighting. Says Corbyn: “The Prime Minister’s approach is bomb first talk later.”
But they did talk and talk and talk in the Commons. For an age the talk was about Cameron’s comment that the naysayers were a ” bunch of terrorist sympathisers”. Labelling them all as such was crass and clumsy. Cameron might have surveyed the Opposition benches and been more pointed about those with “friends” in Hamas.
The Sun says Corbyn “cosied up to IRA during its campaign of slaughter” and called Hamas and Hezbollah “friends”.
The Mirror says politicians from all sides demanded Cameron apologise. “12 times” he refused to do so.
Mirror columnist Kevin Maguire looks at the vote and concludes that Cameron “lost the argument” to bomb Syria. Very few journalists are good at maths. But to say that a 174 majority represent a moral defeat is monocular to the point to tunnel vision. Maguire then shares his observation that Cameron is a “posh Tory with no class”.
Maguire also agrees with Corbyn that attacking Islamic State will make us a target. Newsflash: we are a target.
The Mail says Corbyn was “crushed”. In all 66 Labour MPs voted against their leader, including Hilary Benn, who called he jihadis “fascists” and an “evil” that must be defeated. Corbyn was “ashen-faced” and “eviscerated”.
The Indy leads with Benn’s speech. Cometh the hour, cometh yet another Labour MP to show just how feeble Corbyn is.
The Mail says pro-war Labour MPs were sent pictures of dead kids and attacked online by hard-Left moralists. Stella Creasy MP saw her home and office marched on by “hundreds” of protestors. The Sun sees her tweet one righteous tweeter, “Seriously do one sunshine.”
You can’t beat ISIS on twitter, but you can call out a few bellends.
Let’s get our war on, then.
For two days the Daily Mail has published this photograph of TV chef Gordon Ramsay’s four children: Jack, 16, Matilda, 14, Holly, 16, and Megan, 17. It was twins Jack and Holly’s joint 16th birthday party, and the family were dolled up for a party.
The Mail’s Sam Creighton said the children had been the victims of “online attacks”. Well, not the children so much as the three females, who had their outfits appraised by sweet Sam. Cop a load of “14-year-old Matilda, wearing a black-and-white crop top with matching short skirt”, oozed Sam (age on application).
One day on and Sarah Vine, aka Mrs Michael Gove MP, is offering her opinion on the outfits. As you can see, Jack has been cropped from the family photo. Sarah opines:
Poor Gordon Ramsay – now there’s three words I never thought I’d write. The 49-year-old chef posted what he thought was an innocent picture of his children on a night out – and was hit by a tsunami of online criticism about his parenting skills. The problem was the girls’ outfits. Matilda, 14, in a stripy crop top and skater skirt; Holly, 16, in a slip of a sequin dress; and Megan, 17, also in a crop top and spangly mini-skirt.
‘Way too much skin,’ observed one critic; ‘keep their innocence a little longer’ suggested another; ‘those are some short skirts,’ said a third. I can certainly see what they mean…
The online comments which will have cut Ramsay most deeply, the ones that prey on every protective dad’s (and mother’s) darkest fears, are the ones that said his daughters looked like ‘hoochies’ — slang for promiscuous young girls.
Having sympathised with those online attackers, Vine concedes:
…today it’s different in a way I’m only beginning to understand. The pressure to look a certain way is so much more intense. When I was a teenager, you hardly ever saw a photo of yourself. But in the age of photo-sharing apps such as Instagram, girls are constantly reviewing and analysing their appearance.
To say nothing of the horror of being analysed by middle-aged moralists in the Daily Mail, which she doesn’t.
Pictures of Princess Charlotte occupy the front pages of the Mail, Telegraph, Mirror and Express.
The Mirror says the child’s hair is “light brown – somewhere between the colour of Kate’s darks locks and William’s blond ones”.
The Mail says the photos taken by “proud Kate” show a child with a “sweep of dark hair and sparkling eyes”, making her “most definitely her mother’s daughter”.
Some confusion about the hair, then.
The Mail can’t make its mind up about anything – the headline to Rebecca English’s story on Kate’s mini-me tells us Charlotte’s a mini-him
The Mail than further contradicts itself by saying Charlotte’s “twinkling blue eyes are inherited from her father.” Maybe she has one of Wills’ eyes and one of Kate’s?
Make that three eyes, because the Mirror says “six-month-old Charlotte seems to have inherited her late gran Princess Diana’s big blue eyes”.
The Mail notes how she sits “unaided in a shabby-chic-look armchair” at the family’s 10-bedroom Anmer Hall pile. She is “gazing almost wistfully at something in the distance…perhaps her nanny, Maria Borrallo”, or perhaps at grandpa Charles whose talking to a pot plant and looking at her for traces of his own features.
The Express concludes that the child looks a “Lotte like her mum”. It assures all paparazzi that Charlotte is a “natural for the camera”. Phew!
The Mirror makes it a multimedia event, somehow noticing from two photos that Charlotte is “shrieking with delight”.
And on its goes. But what’s also bizarre about this story is the number of brand’s checked. Kate uses a Canon EOS 5D Mark II (Express) camera. Charlotte wears a dress by Liberty (Express) and ribbed baby pink tights by Amaia Kids (Mail). She looks at a Jelly Cat Fuddleworth Puppy (Mirror).
Is everything sponsored? Let’s hope so. It’s high time the Creosote Royals paid for themselves,
When the Independent vowed to say no more on former reality TV contestant Katie Hopkins’s to-deadline polemics, we wondered if it would last. The paper’s story, headlined “Dear Katie Hopkins”, was an Indy manifesto:
“You don’t know us, but sometimes you retweet the articles we write about you. You might retweet this one, who knows. We’re writing today to say we’re ignoring you from now on.”
The open letter contained links to six Indy articles on outrageous things Katie Hopkins had uttered in other publications and social media. It was pretty clear that when Katie spoke, the Indy listened. But no more. That was then.
So how many articles has the Indy produced on Things Katie Hopkins Says since its open letter of September 25?
Answer : 26.
Why don’t they just employ her and cut out the middleman?
Can it be that Chelsea are ready to pay £45million for Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery? Yes, says the Daily Mail. It’s true! The paper declares:
“Roman Abramovich to break the bank for Bayern Munich star”
That’s lot of cash for a 32-year-old. Indeed, Matt Lawton says it will “break the bank”.
Well, not quite. Roman Abramovich has already lent Chelsea over £1bn of his hard-earned cash. So what’s another £45m between pals? And, in any case, he’s broken that bank before.
The story goes:
Roman Abramovich has told new Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay to make signing Franck Ribery his top priority
Only, Mr Gourlay is not the Chelsea chief exec. He’s not even on the board, having left his post last year.
By now you’ll have noticed that the Mail’s story from 2009 was wrongly republished on its website this week. But other newspapers, like the Daily Mirror, which replayed the news on its transfer blog, did not spot the glaring error.
ESPN told us: “Chelsea may make Franck Ribery Transfer Move”
The Guardian added: “Football Transfer Rumours: Franck Ribery Chelsea for £45m”
Yeah, just £45m, Guardian readers:
Neither Man United nor Chelsea ever did bid for Ribery. He didn’t sign for Arsenal, either, although the Guardian did say he would:
Such are the facts.
If you believe in free speech, the idea that nothing should be censored, that nothing is unsayable, then you should defend Ursula Haverbeck’s right to liberty. Haverbeck, a far-right Nazi fan, has been convicted of sedition in a German court for denying the Holocaust.
Ursula Haverbeck is a deeply-unpleasant individual. Her repeated Holocaust denial makes liars of the ghostly murdered and the honourable living who vow to never forget the German-state’s industrial murder of Jews, gypsies and other Untermensch who fell short of the ideal. At 87-years-old, it’s unlikely she’ll read any more books, listen to the facts and change her mind. Her cherished bigotry defines her. And that’s the way she likes it. In 2010, a Munich court gave this racist a suspended sentence of six months for much the same offence. She didn’t stop.
The question we are concerned with is why her words constitute a crime?
Haverbeck has been sentenced by the district court Hamburg to ten months imprisonment for telling a German TV show that Auschwitz was not an extermination camp, but a work camp, that millions of Jews were not murdered. Perhaps she thinks they drowned in their own sweat? But let’s not now delve into the Haverbeck mind. We’ve seen books, films, bones, tattoos, scars and testimonies to know the inside of her head is a poisonous and cramped place. The German prosecutor spoke of her “hair-raising bullshit” and “fanatical blindness”. We’ve seen enough.
Our problem is with the State deciding what can and cannot be said. Haverbeck and her supporters should be out-thought in open debate, their twisting of history and perversion of the mighty human spirit shown for what it is.
But criminal? If expressing your beliefs is criminal, then what of the ritualistic way in which Halal meat is killed? Those liberal Danes want it banned, reasoning that slitting an animals’s throat is barbaric and far less morally right than firing a bolt into its brain. Denmark’s minister for agriculture and food Dan Jørgensen told Denmark’s TV2 that “animal rights come before religion”.
In 2013 the Council of Europe read a report by former Germany MP Marlene Rupprecht, thought it rather brilliant and passed a resolution stating how it “is particularly worried about a category of violation of the physical integrity of children, which supporters of the procedures tend to present as beneficial to the children themselves despite clear evidence to the contrary. This includes, amongst others… the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons…”
Hang the Jews’ covenant with God that makes circumcision a must. The rights of a cow are more vital than Islamic mores and spiritualism. Ban it all. The defiant can wait for the glare of the searchlight and the Gestapo knock.
Let us be in no doubt. Once you allow the State to tell you what beliefs are criminal, however well-meaning the impetus behind the purge, the result is the same: repression, censorship, division and an abdication of free thought and will.
You wonder who is playing God – and why we let them…
Women-baiting Sarah Vine is talking about “pushy parents” in her Daily Mail column.
Excuse me while I perform a quick victory jig. A little wiggle of delight. Why? Because a new study reveals that being a pushy parent can actually harm a child’s chances of success in life….
Their ambitions arise out of pure vanity — because it’s all about them, you see. They believe the performance of their offspring directly reflects on them.
Not that Vine would ever be a pushy parent. You can read about how un-pushy Sarah is all over the media:
“Life lesson: Sarah Vine is pictured with her 11-year-old daughter Beatrice and nine-year-old son William” – Daily Mail
“Both my husband and six-year-old son are huge Smiths fans. We have The Sound Of The Smiths in the car CD changer, and on family outings it’s a popular request from the back. And yes, there is singing along” – Times
“One of Beatrice’s own teachers went on strike and then she said that she saw him on Newsround holding a banner going ‘Michael Gove out’ which I think is quite a strange experience for a small child – and I don’t know how it’s going to affect them at all. Part of me wants to put them on a plane to go and live with my mother in Italy, but part of me thinks it will make them tougher… I do think at some point there is going to be payback” – Ham & High
Vine said Beatrice was writing a book about a boy who flies away to “a land without bullies” – Telegraph
Like thousands of families across the UK with children in Year 6, we found out on Monday evening which state secondary our daughter Beatrice, age 10, will be attending. Unlike most other families, however, our choice of school made the news.
This is because Beatrice’s father (for her sins) is not only the current education secretary but also, it transpires, the first ever Conservative education secretary to enrol a child in a state-funded secondary school.
Don’t get me wrong: Grey Coat Hospital Church of England Comprehensive School for Girls (in Westminster) is not exactly Sinkhouse High. It’s an amazing school, rated outstanding by Ofsted. It was the first one we went to visit, back in 2012 when we started thinking about secondaries – Guardian
And this gem:
Michael Gove’s nine-year-old daughter has been pulled out of her ballet classes because of fears that they were making her worry about her weight. The Education Secretary’s wife, Sarah Vine, says she took the decision after Beatrice did not want to eat on the days that she was due to attend the dance lessons.
“It began when she mentioned that some of the girls in her group were better than her, even though they hadn’t been doing ballet as long, because ‘they were more the right size’. Another time, I collected my daughter, customary lollipop in hand (our little ritual), and she refused it. When I asked why, she just said she didn’t want to talk about it. She started complaining of a tummy ache on the days when she had classes.
Then she wanted to wear her old leotard, the one that’s too small for her. She clearly felt that if she could fit into a smaller size, that would be a good thing. That was the final straw. What used to be a fun way of exercising and a good excuse for a floaty skirt and a bit of glitter had become a stressful and somewhat sinister ordeal.”
The columnist, who lives with Gove and their two children in North Kensington, adds: “I only hope I’ve caught the rot early enough.”
You can read about Vine and the rot of making women and girls fret about their weight in her Daily Mail column:
Not such a Klass act
Universal excitement as Jorgie Porter, the pretty, sexy, young one in this year’s I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, changed into a transparent white bathing costume for that all-important Myleene Klass memorial jungle shower moment.
And briefly, it looked like it was going to be a triumph for the 27-year-old Hollyoaks star: the swept back wet hair, the mouth dripping with water, the half-closed eyes.
And then … the legs. And there all similarities with Myleene Klass end.
Ah, there is a God after all!
You just know who gets to play God at Sarah’s school play…
Jane Moore has a few words to say on Muslims in the wake of the Paris massacre. She tells Sun readers, some of whom might be Muslims, but not any based in Liverpool, obviously:
After the brutal Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris earlier this year, a damning poll revealed that 27 per cent of British Muslims quietly sympathised with the attackers.
And thus a quarter of British Muslims are damned.
Assuming there are around three million of them, that’s approximately 800,000 who, while they might not be cold-blooded murderers themselves, are radical enough to think that the murder of 11 magazine staff and five others was justified because it printed a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
Following the recent slaying of 129 innocent people going about their daily lives in the French capital, how many of that deeply worrying statistic still feel these thugs murdering in the name of Islam have a valid point?
Might? Moore is wrong on that, and wrong on the data – 27 per cent of British Muslims said they have “some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks”. They did neither support nor foment murder. The expressed an opinion that caused offence to some. And as for being radical, the poll was commissioned by BBC Radio 4, a station about as radical as wearing socks on your feet.
The BBC reported on the poll it commissioned:
Asked if acts of violence against those who publish images of the Prophet Muhammad can “never be justified”, 68% agreed that such violence was never justifiable. But 24% disagreed with the statement, while the rest replied “don’t know” or refused to answer.
And what about the poll? Anorak is suspicious of all polls. They suggest something but prove nothing. Who has the time to answer a poll? Are people who answer them more likely to say something dumb? At college I occasionally took part in market research tests. I didn’t give a toss about the questions and products in front of me. I did it because it gave me food, drink and £50 cash. If I was bored, I’d say something challenging, like the cigarettes should be green; people with short arms should be banned from buying the new bags; the new recipe made the drink non-kosher.
The BBC poll did not ask non-Muslims if they sympathised with the Charlie Hebdo attacks. It did not poll Guardian journalists, or people like Peter Herbert of the Society of Black Lawyers, who tweeted that he’d consider reporting the Charlie Hebdo cartoons “as incitement to hate crime and persecution before the International Criminal Court”; Pat Buchanan, who said “there is no doubt” that the dead brought it on themselves; or the New Statesman which opined “none of us believes in an untrammelled right to free speech”.
The BBC poll went like this:
ComRes interviewed 1,000 Muslims living in Britain aged 18+ by telephone between 26th January and 20th February. Data were weighted to be representative of the known population. Sample was drawn from two sources, as outlined below:
National Random Digit Dialing (RDD) Surveys: A database collected from national, RDD surveys where respondents identified as being Muslim who were happy to be re-contacted for research.
Super Output Areas: RDD sample was drawn based on the Office for National Statistics’ Output Areas – the statistical regions created by the Office for National Statistics that are the lowest geographical level at which census estimates are provided – in order to determine the Middle Layer Super Output Areas that have the highest density and incidence of BME adults (18+).
No, us neither. The upshot is that 1000 people who say they’re Muslim on forms, have time to reply to polls, most likely do not read Charlie Hebdo, and do not think someone asking them if they “feel loyal to Britain” is deserving of a smack in the chops created a news item about race and tolerance.
The 1000 were also asked if they felt victimised. Sheesh. Ask anyone – anyone – if they feel victimised and they will most likely say ‘yes’. Ask Prince William and aristos if they think the country is being less tolerant of the landed gentry, and what will they say?
The poll is utter balls. Moore’s comment that 800,000 Muslims”might not be cold-blooded murders” is clumsy and ill-judged – but at least it’s not like that BBC poll: well-intentioned, knowing, superior liberal bilge presented as a worthwhile study into the minds of Others.
Elizabeth Dickson has won damages from Playboy Enterprises for an incident at the Playboy Golf Finals at the Industry Hills Golf Club in Industry on March 30, 2012.
Dickson’s job was to act as novelty divot. Lying face down on the grass, her shorts shirt lipped down to help the golfer focus, the tee tucked between her taught buttocks, Playboy Morning Show host Kevin Klein stood over her and took aim.
Klein swung the club and “struck plaintiff on the buttocks, causing her injuries and damages,” her lawsuit suit alleged.
Writing in the Sun, former England football captain Alan Shearer mentions the horror in Paris. He says he was in Paris only recently. It never crossed Shearer’s mind the city was dangerous as he ate dinner at a restaurant. He talks of the thought that all football fans will wonder about their safety at the match. All true.
But then he turns football into a moral force. He recalls the great France side that won the 1998 World Cup, and how its players from a range of backgrounds “brought French people…together”:
“It is even more important now that Euro 2016 does that again and show a united front in the face of those terrorists.”
That France team did not win because the players were black, white or brown. They won because they were the best team. In Shearer’s call for sport to have a public message, the public are cast as bovine, simple minds who know only what they are told.
It’s suggestive of the insecurity that allows the enemy inside the gates; the idea that if France drops or picks a Muslim, Jewish or black footballer there will be massacres and race riots.
The lack of trust in ourselves aligns us with the loons aiming to murder Western ideals and ways of life. The jihadi seeking reason in a death-cult will not be appeased by a quota of Muslim footballers in the France side, just as picking a team to a proscribed, compliant, morally pure, self-conscious agenda fails to show a nation in a positive, liberal, progressive and confident light. One side seeks to annihilate the West; the other to undermine it and bare its uncertain heart, a culture riddled with self-doubt and self-loathing.
If freedom counts for anything, it means freedom to choose; to say what we feel; to pick a football team based on hope not fear.
We’ll sing what we want to. We’ll pick who we want to.
The Daily Express says there are “450 Jihadis on The Loose in the UK”. That’s a precise number. Where are they, and how do we know they are ‘on the loose’?
One line into the story and we read that there are “up to 450 battle-hardened jihadis on the street of Britain after fighting in Syria”. Surely if these people have been to Syria and then arrived or retuned to the UK, the border forces know of them?
The paper’s headline comes from a warning issued by Charles Farr, director of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism in a speech last week.
He said that about 750 British citizens “of interest to the security and intelligence services” had travelled to Syria of whom “about 60 per cent had returned”.
What the Express does not note is what Farr said in June:
“It’s not to say the challenges they pose are not significant, they are. But … the more we overstate them the more, frankly, we risk labelling Muslim communities as somehow intrinsically extremist, which actually despite an unprecedented wealth of social media propaganda, they have proved not to be. So I think we need to be cautious with our metaphors and with our numbers.”
In other Express news:
The Express picks up the news that one of the Paris murderers could have been a ‘refugee’ from Syria. It invites readers to respond to a premium-rate phone poll:
Does the Express have an agenda?
As the Express builds fences and divides, the Mirror says 2000 “extra spies” are being recruited to protect the UK”. To which the obvious question is: recruited from where?
Inside we learn that spies will be taken from SAS and SBS troops and seconded to Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command. These, presumably, would be crack troops not needed on the streets of Iraq and Syria to off the enemy?
The Mirror ads that any Syrian’s entering Britain as migrants are being vigorously screened.
But is it enough? The Mail leads with “THE DEADLY BLUNDERS”. It says suicide bomber Ahmad Almohammad “was waved into Europe posing as a Syrian refugee”. Salah Abdeslam “was in police clutches – but they let him go” – he was stopped and let go by police close to the Belgian border.
Let go? Or followed?
One other murderer attracts the Mails‘ attention – “blue-eyed” Ismael Omar Mostefai. Why his eye colour matters is odd, and something neo-Nazis are free to discuss.
The Mail then thunders: “They ever butchered fans in wheelchairs”.
Again, one for the Nazis.
The Mail then cites the aforesaid Farr: “450 jihadis back in UK but has a single passport been seized?” Like the Express, it too fails to note Farr’s other words on Muslims. But it does say:
Why is that news? Are all Muslims not under suspicion – the man in the newsagents, your friend at work, the bank manger, the wonderful singer Nadine Shah?
Over in te Sun, the message is that it’s “Time for Britain to take the fight to ISIS”.
Better yet, why not just give the Kurds guns and personnel. For some time the (Muslim) Kurds have been protecting Western civilisation from the Islamist nutters. Might be an idea to recognises your allies and back them.
Sky TV’s Kay Burley has news from the carnage in Paris:
Beyond parody. Or is it?
You should see the hyenas…
The US Registry of Motor Vehicles says Massachusetts woman Lindsay Miller can, as a Pastafarian, wear a colander on her head on her licence photo. The RMV only allows drivers to wear hats in their pictures for a medical or religious purpose. Miller says her Pastafarianism counts.
“As a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I feel delighted that my Pastafarianism has been respected by the Massachusetts RMV,” says Miller. “While I don’t think the government can involve itself in matters of religion, I do hope this decision encourages my fellow Pastafarian Atheists to come out and express themselves as I have.”
She was represented by The American Humanist Association, which said Pastafarians believe the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster is “just as probable as the existence of the Christian God”.
“The First Amendment applies to every person and every religion, so I was dismayed to hear that Lindsay had been ridiculed for simply seeking the same freedoms and protections afforded to people who belong to more traditional or theistic religions,” said Patty DeJuneas, a member of the Secular Legal Society, which works with the American Humanist Association. “We appreciate that the RMV recognised the error, apologised, and issued a licence respecting her First Amendment rights, and hope that RMV staff will be trained to respect diversity.”
Good to see that Rastafarians are not touchy about someone lampooning them. No bombs. No cries of how offended they are and vows to attack Miller.
Take it away, Barrington Levy – collie weed for the colandar:
Mass murder in Paris. And WikiLeaks attempts to make a point:
If we are all Charlie Hebdo – and we should be; we must be – then this kind of balls by WikliLeaks must be mocked for the apologist bilge it is.
French President Francois Hollande promised early Saturday morning that France would respond to terrorist attacks that killed more than 120 people with a “pitiless” war against the group responsible.
“We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,” he said at the Bataclan, the site of one of the attacks, according to the Guardian.
“Because when terrorists are capable of committing such atrocities, they must be certain that they are facing a determined France, a united France, a France that is together and does not let itself be moved, even if today we express infinite sorrow,” Hollande added.
Does he mean it?
A bizarre take on the situation indeed. Or perhaps not so bizarre considering the fact that HP has been writing about this insidious ideology which has people thinking that any attack on a Western country is richly deserved. That radicalization is an inevitable side effect of foreign policy and that any death at the hands of a terrorist is not the fault of the terrorists but of the government of the citizens who are murdered.
Australian Sam Davies tells us about the Le Carillon:
“This isn’t a tourist area, this is young, hipsters,” he said. “Le Carillon is the hipster ground zero of Paris.
“For me, it’s an incongruous attack. It’s a friendly, vibrant area of young people where all the cafes and bars are opening up.
The butchery in Paris – the latest episode – happened only a couple of hours ago, so there has not yet been time for the soma-peddlers of the professional media to regurgitate the stock line that it is Muslims who are the real victims of an attack that may well have claimed the lives of scores of non-Muslims. Coming soon, as sure as night follows day, there will be denunciations of “Islamophobia”, followed by the insight that food poisoning/sharks/road accidents/pick-your-peril kill many more people than terrorists, therefore it can only be bigots and xenophobes who think of Islam and Western civilization in terms of oil and water.
I am not going to blame Barack Obama entirely for what happened in Paris Friday – but mostly. And that’s not just because he famously called ISIS the jayvee team, when they are now unequivocally the New York Yankees or the Manchester United of terror, repellent as that analogy may be (he started it).
But what is clear from the carnage at the Bataclan Theatre and elsewhere in Paris that we will be studying for weeks or months to come is that the West has no leader in our evident civilizational war – no Churchill, no Roosevelt, no DeGaulle, not even a George W. Bush. It’s certainly not Barack Obama, a ludicrous man who thinks the world’s greatest problem is climate change in the face of Islamic terror. This is the same man who oversaw, indeed instigated, a large scale American démarche for the first time since World War II.
And look what happened. Well, we all know. We are living at a time when the Islamic world is having a nervous breakdown, actually more like a violent psychotic break, in its encounter with modernity and is determined to bring us all down with it.
Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight’s events as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.
But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”. And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.
And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don’t want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level most of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live – modern, pluralist, western societies and those “universal values” of which Barack Obama bleats. So, if you are either an active ISIS recruit or just a guy who’s been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim, and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.
Vive La France!
Free Speech is under threat. The Mail says the “star of BBC reality TV show The Call Centre faces JAIL after posting ‘sick’ Facebook message that ‘anyone born with Down’s Syndrome should be put down’.”
Being a Call Centre star must be a bit like being a Jeremy Corbyn’s tailor or Ricky Hatton’s nutritionist. So much for the billing. What did Ursula Presgrave says?
Anyone born with down syndrome should be put down, it’s just cruel to let them lead a pointless life of a vegetable
Not nice. Pathetic. Deliberately designed to cause offence. But prison?
Hundreds of people posted their disgust and many then went to the police
Can we put down the ones who called in the cops? Only joking. Really. JOKE!
The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to an offence under the Malicious Communications act and now faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a £5,000 fine.
What utter balls. What horror. What ridiculous, snide-mouthed toss.
Presgrave, who was known on the BBC show for her tattoos, piercings and foul language, told Facebook followers…
You kind of get what it says on the tin, with Presgrave.
More than 550 people commented on the post and described it as ‘vile’, ‘sick’, and ‘attention-seeking’.
Well, a small comment made it all the way to the national press and the police Narks Hotline.
The call centre worker, who appeared alongside Nev Wilshire in the BBC Three fly-on-the-wall series, was arrested after police also found photos joking about the disabled on her phone, Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard.
It went to court!
Ursula, who worked at the Save Britain Money call centre in her home city of Swansea, told police ‘she wanted people to notice her’ when she wrote the post.
And that’s a crime?
Mark Davies, defending, told Swansea Magistrates Court: ‘There is genuine remorse, and she would like to make a public apology.'”
Better she told every one to ‘F*** off!”
Presgrave, of Swansea, was released on bail for reports and will be sentenced later this month.
We really are in a mess.
Listen to The Ronettes sing Baby Love You in 1963 – no instruments. Just the sweet voices:
At the Lemmchen elementary school in Mainz, Germany, the cool kids are performing Kraftwerk’s Die Roboter.
Not all school concerts need be painful:
Madeleine McCann: a look at the missing child in the media.
The Sun (front page): “Cops in hunt for Maddie slashed”
The “search” has been “drastically cut back”. Reducing the number of police officers on the case from a platoon-sized 29 to a small office-sized 4 is “a huge blow to parents Kate and Gerry”.
This news is shared with the other front-page police matters that “Britain’s tops cops” have warned that “huge spending cuts will spell the end for bobbies on the beat”. It’s cost The Met Police not much under £11m since 2011 to find out what happened to Madeleine McCann. The Sun’s juxtaposition of the two stories is not accidental.
Page 9: “FEAR OF LOST GIRLS PARENTS – IS THIS END OF COP HUNT FOR MADDIE?”
Answer: No. Four police remain on the case.
We hear from a “source close to Mum Kate and dad Gerry”. They say: “They know it can’t go on forever. They’re preparing for it to be shelved for good in coming months.”
We hear their official “statement”: “We remain hopeful she may still be found…”
Daily Mail (Page 25): “”Maddie probe team is slashed from 29 detectives to just 4.”
Just 4. Just?
We learn that the Government “initially set aside 5m for the Met probe”. We are reminded that the Portuguese investigation was “marred by blunders”.
It has also sold a lot of newspapers and garnered online clicks.
Daily Express (front page): “MADDY: POLICE RUN OUT OF CLUES”
Did they ever have any?
The Express agrees that there will “just” four offices working full-time on the case.
Page 9: “McCanns cling to hope as inquiry is cut back”
To illustrate how this story has gone nowhere, this is the Daily Express headline from 29 April 2009: “Madeleine’s parents still cling to hope.”
The paper notes:
Since the little girl, who would now be 11, vanished, every possible theory has been explored including that she was kidnapped by a peadophile [sic], killed during a botched burglary and her body dumped, snatched by traffickers and sold to a childless couple and she wandered out of the apartment and died in a tragic accident.
The Express, of course, indulged in another theory that cost it dear when it libelled the McCanns:
The question of what happened to the little girl has not only become a personal tragedy for the McCann family, but a national obsession in the UK and in Portugal. However, to date, not one shred of proof of what happened to Madeleine has been unearthed.
Not everyone has been as obsessed as the Express:
Daily Mirror (front page): “MADDIE – Police scaling down hunt”
Page 11: “Maddie Cops Cut From 29 To Four – But Met says investigation continues”
Not shelved, then. But there are – get this – “just four” detectives on the case.
Daily Star (front page): “Search for Maddie cut”
Page 6: “Family’s agony as cops slash Maddie squad”
Agony? Surely the agony was the child vanishing. The case remains open. The parents “remain hopeful”
Such are the facts.
Tory MP David Amess will chair the bill committee for the Government’s Psychoactive Substances Bill.
Good choice. Right man for the job. After all we all asked ‘What’s he on?’ when Amess popped up on TV’s Brass Eye in 1997 to warn us that Cake was “a big yellow death bullet”. Cake was “a new legal drug from Czechoslovakia”. He told us:
“Look at that, a £100,000 in the pocket of the filth that sells it. A big yellow death bullet in the head of some poor user – or custard gannet as the dealers call them.”
Cake was a spoof.
Is the Daily Express demonising migrants? Does Jordan sleep on her back? Today’s migrant news in the tabloid of intolerance begins:
Britain next? Doctor’s outrage at ‘refugees pushing German hospitals to breaking point’
Nick Gutteridge writes:
A DOCTOR working in German hospitals has revealed the horrifying chaos which could face the NHS if thousands of migrants from the Middle East manage to reach Britain.
A female doctor has claimed German hospitals are struggling to deal with the number of refugees
Claimed. What are the facts? Is she right? Why is her being a female doctor any different to being a doctor?
The female anaesthetist said the German health service has been completely overwhelmed by the influx of Muslim asylum-seekers who are REFUSING to be treated by female medics.
The many faces of David Bowie by Helen Green:
Petra László, the journalist who became the story when she tripped up Syrian refugee Osama Abdul Mohsen as he walked past her with a child in his arms and then issued a craven apology is turning to law.
On trial for disturbing the peace, Petra László, says she will sure her Mr Mohsen for dirtying her socks / making her look like a ******* / whatever and Facebook because they are rich / gave space for people to call her names / whatever.
“He [Mosen] changed his testimony, because he initially blamed the police,” Laszlo said, though she can be clearly seen in two different videos kicking him. “My husband wants to prove my innocence. For him, it is now a matter of honor. It is now a matter of honor.”
“I can definitely say that my life is ruined. It’s unlikely that I will be able to find a job and do what I like the most.”
What that is we are not told, but the
Russia Today adds:
The camerawoman said that at least 10 fake ‘Petra Laszlo’ accounts containing improper contents have appeared on Facebook and some people have offered some $20,000 for her murder via these groups…
Laszlo told Izvestia that she asked Facebook’s management to delete these groups, but claims her letters and complaints to Facebook have been left unattended and that, instead, the social network has intentionally deleted groups supporting her.
She told the paper she plans to sue Facebook for its prejudice. According to the paper, she also wants to prove that the asylum seeker she tripped had been untruthful, because the man has changed his testimony in court. She said that he had initially blamed a police officer for the incident, but later began accusing her.
“Once the court is over, we’re going to move to another country,” said Petra Laszlo, mentioning Russia as a likely destination for immigration. “We consider starting to learn Russian. It is important for us to leave Hungary. We’ll make the decision once the trial is over,” she said.
Best buy some good shoes and shinpads, Petra. It’s a long walk.
Anti-Semitism is back. It never went away, of course. But it did go quiet. For years it was unfashionable to be a Jew hater. The return has been back not by the far-Right and the British aristocracy (they always hated the Jews), rather the right-on, knowing Left wing. Many are acquiescing to anti-Semitism instead of fighting it. Anti-Semitism is edging further into the centre.
It’s the Maths, Stupid, says Saul Freeman:
I’ll share 2 of my life-long basic positions:
The UK left is where I both belong and feel “safe”.
Qualitative analysis is where it’s at, not the hard edged cold world of quant.
We’ll return to these.
My family are socialists. The Labour Party is the natural home of the working classes – which is where I’m from. Ok, I confess. I was briefly a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain in the heady days of Marxism Today. Seems we ended up with political post-modernism so I’m sorry about that. Joined the Labour Party then left it after hearing Ed Balls mention immigration 6 times in the space of 4 minutes.
Half-Jewish and entirely secular on all fronts, I grew up in North West London. At school there were fights in the playground when I was called “Yid” and worse. My name marked me out – it practically yelled it out – as Jewish, even though I was of course only half-Jewish. I pretty much always lost those fights.
Later on I married a Jewish woman and now have a son who is, of course Jewish.
As a politically active student I recall a sense of unease at NUS conference & on campus when groups of keffiyah-wearing students from “other political groups” seemed to be just a bit too interested in the Middle East.
After my student days I joined that group of people who – whilst not politically active day-to-day- knew exactly where right and wrong lived. Whilst we bemoaned the retreats from socialism of the Blair & Brown years, we remembered what it was to live though 18 years of Conservative government. So we never, ever voted anything other than Labour despite some friends moving off to the Greens or seeking other radical homes.
Four years of Conservative/Lib Dem government found my wife and I enraged by the assault on all we valued. I berated the local Lib Dem canvassers for enabling the old-Etonian Praetorian Guard to seize control.
As a family we attended some Reform synagogue services in an attempt to give our son some context for his Jewishness. We drifted away. I learned from my wife how to celebrate Passover but moaned like a teenager at all the “god bits”.
Then in summer 2014 Israel found itself in violent confrontation with Hamas.“So what?” I might have asked. “I’m worried about cuts to my LEA, not whatever mess Benjamin bloody Netanyahu might have got himself into now.” My relationship with Israel had so far been less than intense. I’d never been there and I regarded it with low level unease. “They need to sort their shit out and behave like the rest of us nice, liberal European (half) Jews. Just do what they need to do to get Peace. Now.”
Tellingly, I’d occasionally ordered books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and had then rarely managed to finish reading them, over-whelmed and bored by the otherness of it all.
So – there we were in summer 2014, the news full of Israel doing bad things to Palestinian children (again) and my wife and I notice that some of the things we’re reading on Facebook & Twitter are not so nice. About Jews. “Okay”, we think. “That’s not news. We know about anti-Semitism. We know the Right doesn’t like Jews. Those Tories with their aristocratic disdain of the Jew sure as hell don’t like us. But that’s ok – we don’t much like them.”
Actually, we also know that some writers in The Independent don’t seem to like Jews. But we’ve always been Guardian readers. Alright, we know the Guardian does seem to bang on a bit about Israel when it’s being bad, but we just don’t read those articles.
Then on Twitter I see a post from a very prominent British musician. He’s a staple of every middle class CD collection or Spotify “world music fusion” list. He’s a good guy. He’s super smart. He’s one of us. He’s also someone I’ve worked and got drunk with – I used to be a musician too.
But his tweet isn’t funny, smart or good. It’s a graphic suggesting that the world would be a better place if all the Jews in Israel were forcibly removed to the USA, seeing as the US seems to love them so much.
So I contact this avowedly socially progressive musician from an immigrant background and, once we get past the “hey, it’s been a long time, you’re great/no you’re great!” bit, I ask him why he would post such a thing. He tells me that he’s very upset about the children in Gaza and he knows I must be too. I am, of course. But I explain that anti-Semitism and ethnic cleansing probably isn’t going to help much and that I find it a little “difficult” to see one of the good guys stoking the fire. He accepts this, apologises for any offense but reminds me that the trauma of witnessing events in Gaza (via mainstream and social media) has caused him to act the way he did. He declines my suggestion that he remove the post. We part on good terms with a promise to keep in touch – as you do – and then I quietly fume for the next couple of months.
In the meantime, my wife and I stop reading below the line on the Guardian website as it appears that pretty much every article (perhaps with the exception of the “my wife/husband doesn’t seem to want sex with me anymore” type – though I’m not absolutely sure about this) end up footnoted by comments blaming the Israelis/Jews/Zionists for whatever bad stuff the article might have been about, or not about.
I have another couple of chats with my Jewish son to check that he’s not getting any hassle at school and to remind him of what to do if he is.
My wife and I try not to focus on the fact that some of her friends have posted “Free Palestine” or “Save Gaza” messages on Facebook but don’t seem to have anything to say about the daily barrage of missiles sent by Hamas from Gaza into Israel. I start trying to actually read some of the books about Israel/Palestine that had been gathering dust.
By March we decide to visit Israel as our summer holiday. An only just sub-conscious two finger salute to what appear to be gathering forces? Our friends raise eyebrows, say “challenging” things and then tell us about their exciting plans to visit China. Or Russia. My wife had twice been to Israel when she was young and spent 6 months on a kibbutz. Brought up in a “normal” Jewish family, as opposed to my messily inter-married version, she has an uncomplicated relationship with Israel and knows exactly what it is and what it is for. Being a gentle and wise woman she never assumes that either my son or I will share this outlook and wants us to work it out for ourselves.
As summer approached I had moments when I wondered why I was taking my family to Israel. Ok, the diving in Eilat would be good but what about the Palestinians? Would I be having “a cheap holiday in other people’s misery”? These moments of self-doubt were usually ended by sneaking an almost pornographic look at the comments sections on the Guardian website – “Zionist child killing scum” etc. after an article on de-forestation in Brazil.
Watching a BBC documentary on the “apartheid railway” that is apparently the Jerusalem Light Rail system whilst running at the gym had me seriously doubting both my judgement in terms of the safety of my family and my moral compass. I ran a little harder on the treadmill and tried not to have a panic attack.
Then weeks before our holiday in Israel something happened. The Labour Party had a leadership contest. And Jeremy Corbyn was standing.
I’d recently bought my wife a T-shirt that read “Labour: I prefer their early work” – (from the Guardian shop, of course) and we were intrigued, though we knew little about this obscure backbencher. Could this be a good thing? Would Andy Burnham answer our need for a more left wing candidate or would Corbyn be interesting? Who would we vote for using my wife’s union vote and my Party vote?
My wife Googled the new candidate to see what he was about. She found Corbyn’s explosively angry outburst in a C4 interview. Krishnan Guru-Murphy had asked him a question over his dealings with Hamas & Hezbollah and he wasn’t too pleased about it.
Questions over Corbyn’s deep involvement with the Palestinian Solidarity Committee Stop the War Coalition etc. deepened during the first weeks of the leadership campaign and we rapidly realised that he probably wasn’t going to be our rabbi. We started reading the Jewish Chronicle online for the first time in our lives and watched whilst it asked a bunch of questions of the self-styled “plain speaking” candidate. He declined to answer.
On social media any questions about his attitude to Israel and Jews were revealed as smears organised and propagated by “Zionist powers”. Corbyn fans declared Zionism an evil ideology and that Israel had no right to exist. We spent more time than was good for us trying to work out what was going on. It turned out that Corbyn was at best a reluctant advocate of a two State solution, describing it in pointed terms as being “the only option currently on offer”. His belief that all 7 million plus Palestinians registered by the UNRWA should be given the “right to return” to what is currently Israel made his commitment to the continued existence of a Jewish state appear less than total.
We went to Israel, relieved to be leaving what increasingly felt like a baying mob behind us. As we descended to Ben Gurion airport the lights of Tel Aviv came into view. It dawned on me that Israel was of course not an abstract and remote ideological concept – it was a real place with real cities full of millions of real people. Some of them with names a lot like mine. The Corbynistas declared it had no right to exist. But it didn’t look much like Brigadoon to me.
As our taxi driver drove towards Jerusalem he confided that he worried about those Jews who, like us, did not live in Israel. Were they safe? He knew that his family hadn’t been. “But hang on” we said. “Surely it’s the Jews in Israel that feel threatened, not us”? He looked at us like children and pointed out that Israel knew perfectly well how to look after itself, had survived several attempts to eliminate it and was not about to start again with the existential angst. We felt more sophisticated than our well-meaning taxi driver and smiled knowingly.
As our holiday progressed I realised I really liked Israel. Of course I did – I was on holiday. I had really liked Australia, Scotland & Gambia. I wasn’t too sure about Norfolk though. But standing with my Jewish son at the Western Wall I more than liked it. Climbing Masada, crossing the Negev desert, wandering through Jaffa – I really more than liked it. There were layers of meaning, some narrative to unpick. Norfolk certainly hadn’t had that effect on me.
It might have been the surreal realisation that in most places, most of the people around us were Jews. Everything was the same as anywhere else I’d been to, except that most of the people were Jews. Even the poor people. Jews collecting the bins, working in cafes, driving the buses. And there are Arabs too, travelling on the light rail (deemed ‘controversial’ by the BBC), not waving fists or throwing rocks, but working in shops and cafes alongside the Jewish Israelis.
The exception was our visit to the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa. We went there to marvel at the buildings and setting and my wife recalled loving the place when she had visited it 25 years ago. So we joined the other tourists – mostly blond, blue eyed Scandinavians – and queued up to pass through the security gate. Once through, we found ourselves immediately surrounded and shouted at by people who didn’t seem to be welcoming tourists. Stunned by the beauty of the architecture but intimidated by the shouting and the black clad groups of women waving copies of the Qur’an, we left as soon as we could. My wife was shaken by the contrast with her last visit.
We visit Yad Vashem and try to spare our son from the most horrific of the images. Against all the rules forbidding photography, I sneak a picture of a Nazi-era board game that depicts Jews being sent off to Palestine. This is clearly the losing square that you don’t want to land on.
We return home and immediately I find myself spending too much time on Twitter. I conduct one of those debates-by-tweet with a writer whose work regularly appears in the Guardian & the LRB. I express my concern over politicians from the secular UK Left supporting radical Islamic theocratic groups such as Hamas & Hezbollah that want to kill Jews, non-believers and gays and restrict the rights of women. I tell him I’m not comfortable with a potential leader of the Labour Party who has long standing links going back decades with groups that want to wipe Israel from the map.
He lets me know that whilst Zionism is a morally degenerate, evil ideology & must be condemned as such, it would not be appropriate for him or others on the UK Left to pass judgement on any “representation choices of the Palestinian people that may not be congruent with my ego-ideal“. He is angered by my suggestion that the logic of this might be flawed because it offers moral & political relativism about 1 ethnicity, but is not short of a view about the choices of another ethnic group.
He speaks for what appears to be a significant slice of the British Left in finding it not at all problematic to announce that Jews have no right to self-determination. As in not being able to collectively and individually decide their political, economic and cultural fate. They must simply do as they did prior to 1948 and take what they are given, good or bad. The writer declines to identify any other ethnic groups that he extends this kind offer to.
This Guardian writer is far from the only individual who seems to find it important to tell me what is and what is not anti-Semitic. Twitter is bursting with Corbyn fans that are very keen to set me straight. They “know” I am Jewish because of my name – just as they did in the school playground. When I point out that there might be something a little unwise and unseemly about non-Jews telling Jews what is and is not anti-Semitic, they get cross. Very cross. They tend to want to shout at me about dead children in Gaza. My famous musician friend often drifts into my mind once people get to the “what about the children of Gaza?” stage.
These people who identify so urgently with Corbyn and his “position” on the Middle East also appear to have almost no knowledge of the historical, political and cultural basics. They just know.
A significant proportion of the British Left appears to be very, very concerned about what Jews do and don’t get up to.
My wife and I notice that Corbyn supporters get very excited about pointing us in the direction of Jews like the writer Michael Rosen who are themselves anti-Zionists and do not believe that Israel has a right to exist. Rosen used to be‘personally and politically close to the SWP’ and stood ass a candidate for George Galloway’s Respect Party. This makes him something of a rarity as most UK Jews do not share either of these attributes, let alone both.
We over-hear one of our very vocal left wing acquaintances saying to another left wing Hackney dweller: “Oh, you should meet X. He’s a barrister – Jewish. He’s fine though –very anti-Israel”.
Corbyn wins the leadership. Well, things can only get better. Surely?
They get worse. Corbyn uses his address to Labour Friends of Israel to engage in some not very subtle “discursive dissonance” by declining to mention theZionist entity by name. At a meeting that has the word Israel all over the tin. It’s audacious in its execution. My wife and I are stunned fish, gasping on the bank. The Left bank.
My wife realises that her union is a key player in the BDS movement, supporting boycotts of Israeli goods and services right down to picketing outside Jewish-Israeli owned businesses. Her union has been a key backer of the Corbyn campaign. She writes a letter which points out that these two aspects of union policy are a little hard for Jewish members to take right now. Her local union office doesn’t bother to reply. She resigns.
We lurch into October and Israel finds itself under attack from knife and gun wielding Palestinian terrorists.
What is the reaction from elements of the UK Left to the daily tally of horrific terrorist attacks on Jewish Israeli’s? Many like Brighton BDS and the Palestinian Solidarity Committee find it impossible to condemn the attacks. Stop the War Coalition – chaired by Corbyn prior to his winning of the Labour leadership –joins a host of these groups protesting angrily outside theIsraeli embassy. They chant for an Islamic Palestinian state “from the river to the sea”.
Gaza Boat Convoy state that if they were Palestinians they would “definitely” drive cars into elderly Jewish Israeli women waiting at bus stops.
The Guardian writer who I “debated” with writes on social media that a Jewish Israeli journalist – who wrote a piece detailing the Palestinian violence – “should have his throat cut.”
The Scottish Green Party considers that this is the right moment to pass a motion which denies the right of Israel to exist as the Jewish state and demands that Hamas be removed from lists of proscribed terrorist organisations.
If calls from those on the Left in the UK for the obliteration of Israel and its replacement by an Islamic Palestinian state and the sheer violence and blood lust in some comments were not surreal and disturbing enough, my wife and I have noticed something else. Silence. From friends on Facebook when my wife posts anything that acknowledges the very existence of Israel or the random horror that is being enacted on its streets.
Silence from the Labour Party on the issue of the Party leader’s associations despite Jewish communities expressing their profound anxiety.
Silence from the Left. No one is falling over themselves to condemn Corbyn’s highly partisan attachment to the Palestinian movement despite its seismic shift from a violent, revolutionary secular form to the radical Islamic shape it now presents. Almost no one from the UK Left is thrusting themselves forward to say “Israel has a right to exist, as does any other legitimate state and terrorism can never be excused or condoned.”
Silence on the fact that those Palestinian groups urged on to victory over the Zionists do not share any of the values that we used to take for granted on the UK Left.
There are of course notable exceptions, and those people and groups know who they are. They would never expect me or other Jews to be grateful, because they are not bestowing this as a gift. They are simply demonstrating their commitment to first principles. Yet these first principles appear to be missing in action for many on the British Left in 2015.
And so my wife and I lose our moorings. We are of the Left, but are no longer welcome, unless we become “good Jews” who are not “bad, Zionist Jews”. We worry about our son. He will be confronted by Israeli Apartheid Week when he arrives on a University campus in a few years. If he is a Jew who believes that Israel has a right to be, he will be hated by many on the student Left. My son is an enthusiastic, articulate and kind boy. The realisation that he will be hated by those who will not see any of these attributes, but instead will see only one attribute – his Jewishness – chills me.
Strangers feel compelled to say hateful things to me. Others threaten violence to all Jews – “go back to Auschwitz, Zionist scum”. All this from the Left.
We slowly become traumatised by the sheer horror of what has unfolded around us.
Mostly, we are distressed because we cannot understand why the Left is so silent when Jews call out. We just don’t understand. None of this makes sense. We have no critical lens through which to view this rupture between us and us.
And then it hits me. Not only have I woken up to the fact that the first of my foundation strands – that I belong and feel safe on the Left – is misguided, largely because I have failed to engage with reality (or the works of Nick Cohen) until very recently, I also realise why.
It’s because Jews are aminority.
In the UK Jews make up just 0.3% of the population. Not even a lousy 1%. A tiny minority. My family – my wife and my son – are part of a tiny, tiny minority. And yet my wife and I had driven ourselves half mad wondering why our voices were not being heard. Dumb, isn’t it?
It’s not the principles, the ethics, the logic, the politics, and the narrative. It’s the bloody numbers. It’s all about the quant not the qualitative. And there goes my second foundation strand….
So this is what being a minority really feels like. And now I understand what our Israeli taxi driver was getting at. This is what he worries about. And this is why he lives in Israel, where Jews are no longer a tiny minority.
It’s the maths, stupid.