Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
You can read Boris Johnson’s thoughts in the Daily Telegraph. The Tory MP’s column earns him around £5,000 a week. The paper marks them as ‘Premium’ stories on its website. If you want to read them all you have to pay. Or you can read them on his Facebook page for free. This week, Johnson pitches himself on the side of girls. The article is entitled: “Put a sock in it men: It’s time to end the global injustices and bigotry towards women.” It’s the kind of article any newly single man whose been caught cheating on his long suffering wife, as Johnson allegedly has, will think a good way to pull the birds.
On Facebook, Johnson’s publishes the following for free:
When a mighty dam is about to burst it does not just collapse in one explosive roar; it first springs a leak. A jet of water shoots from the crack, and then another crack appears and another horizontal fountain of foam; and as the whole vast curtain of masonry finally begins to tremble the onlookers behold the valley beneath and wonder who and what will be in the path of the billions of pent-up gallons as they are released from their captivity.
That is roughly how it feels today as we watch these extraordinary feminist movements like #MeToo, and the frenzy surrounding the nomination of judge Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. We have a sense of the welling emotion behind these phenomena. We feel the rage at decades, centuries, millennia of complacency and injustice. We see women and men uniting to call for a change of attitudes, for a new and progressive sensibility…
What can possibly have triggered Johnson’s fire? One clue comes via Private Eye, which notes that the Telegraph’s new digital MD is one Dora Michail. Her twitter profile includes a rainbow flag. And recent retweets and tweets give a clue to her agenda, which takes in ‘tackling discrimination and promoting gender equality with an intersectional approach’:
So there’s Boris Johnson’s column on his drive to tackle gender equality. Fee for the social justice warrior’s wisdom: £260,000 a year. In next week’s column Boris says: ‘Time to go, Theresa May, and give a bloke a chance…’
Is Mahathir Mohamad a fan of Katie Hopkins, the rent-a-gob former Mail columnist and LBC radio presenter? Both seem to have missed the memo from Josef Mengele, the Nazi who when not dreaming up new ways to murder Jews in his lab was measuring Jews’ anatomy to check for nose size. It turned out that despite Nazi propaganda painting Jews as hook-nosed freaks, Jew noses were no different in dimension to the Aryan master race’s. So when Hopkins reportedly says “I got the nose but not the Jewish bit, which is shit” and Mohamed, the Malaysian prime minister, states that all Jews are “hook-nosed”, you might think they’re harking back to anti-Semitic tropes. You might also get the feeling that the sighting of “Jew noses” is not meant as a compliment, but intended to other the Israelites and mark out Jews as, well, “shit”.
Hopkins is no longer a regular presence on the mainstream British media. But you can catch Mohamad on the Beeb and on stage during his tour of the UK. He’s a lovely bloke. Not in the least bit of an anti-Semitic bastard. “If you are going to be truthful, the problem in the Middle East began with the creation of Israel,” he opined knowingly on BBC’s Hard Talk, pointing to those fabled pre-Israel lands flowing with the milk and honey of human comradeship [see the Bible, Islamic history, the big book of beheadings and the Horrible Histories series for children]. That is the truth. But I cannot say that.” He also knows that 4 million not 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust – which means 2 million dead Jews are liars, so too the ones who mourn them.
Not that the bigger figure is not without its appeal:
“1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews,” he said at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur. “There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counterattack. We are actually very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million.”
He “wrote on his personal blog in 2012 that ‘Jews rule this world by proxy,” The Associated Press reported’.
But why read the case notes when you can catch him live? The man who says he’s “proud” to be called an anti-Semite appeared at Oxford University’s Islamic Centre, Imperial College and Chatham House. Good to see universities are not full of snowflakes after all – at least those sensitive students didn’t issue a ‘no platform’ decree when Jew-baiters and Jew haters are delivering the address…
Theresa May, the woman who graduated from Ronald Searle’s St Custard’s when they let girls in, is dancing for her country. The Mirror is strictly unimpressed – she’s no Ed Balls, a towering figure who at least had the decency to be booted from the Commons before drying humping the dance stage. It was “strictly shambolic” when May danced her way on to the stage at the Tory Party conference – a nod to her dancing on a trip to South Africa.
Wasn’t she “back in the groove”, as the Daily Mail appraises on its cover, it spotting our “boogie-woogie PM” adding a dash of humour to a performance that’s too often drier than a nun’s laundry? But as Abba blared, the Mirror awarded her four zeros from the judges for her “dad dance”. She has “zero credibility”. Her rivals are plotting to “dance on her grave”, which is the kind of proper scoring we demand from our pro-celeb judges. A perfect cha-cha-cha or death to whathisface from Casualty.
No, says the Mail. May is not running “scared” of Jeremy Corbyn’s “hope and vision” (Mirror). She has “danced her way back to authority”. She promised “better days ahead”. She “savaged” Corbyn’s “betrayal of his own party” and the anti-Jewish racism that thrives under his leadership. May delivered a “barnstorming speech” says the Star. She told us that “austerity is over”. Her’s was an “upbeat message” (Sun) in which she “eviscerated” Labour. She “did her party proud”. We should “admire her staggering resilience”.
So “Let’s all dance to May’s tune” (Express). For most tabloids, it’s the only record playing…
Boris Johnson wants to lead the Tory Party and become Prime Minister. Theresa May is blocking his ambitions. It’s “war”. But is it a fair fight in the media? No:
Does it matter? Well, yes. Insults and ad hominem attacks are part of the debate. Words colour the argument. The persuadable onlookers can be swayed by words. So here’s Boris – a man we’re on fist-name terms with; he’s our pal – and May, not Theresa – an aloof presence.
Ever wondered how a society gets to the stage where they erect statues to the esteemed leader in every town and every city? Persecuting Jews is good. Starving people, also good. How about voting for Labour? You might not get a statue straight away – it takes time to nationalise the cement and industries – but there will be a puppet in place of a wilful MP. The Corbyn cultists have staged a vote of no confidence in Labour MP Chris Leslie. On Friday, activists at the Labour MP’s Nottingham East constituency party voted to pass a no-confidence motion for what they said were Leslie’s “repeated attempts … to undermine the leadership”. Members of the Mapperley branch of Nottingham East pointed to the former shadow chancellor’s “disloyalty and deceit”.
Louise Regan, chairwoman of the Nottingham East Labour party, guffed: “We overwhelmingly passed a motion of no confidence in our MP Chris Leslie. It was agreed that this information would be shared with the press, but that we would also make clear that members of the CLP [constituency Labour party] would be out campaigning on the national day of action, building support for Labour policies and a Labour government.”
The Labour policy seems to be ‘crush dissent and build a party of singular talent’. (Odd, no, that for a Party so keen on urban youth, and chucking out the ‘pale, male and stale’, the top team is so very old, privately educated, provincial, middle-class and white.) And cultists can play no small part in shaping what is still called the Labour Party. They’re able to force the sitting Labour MPs to compete for selection as a general election candidate.
“Sadly, differing opinions are no longer tolerated in some parts of the Labour party,” Leslie told the BBC. “But I have to weigh the views of a few dozen people at this meeting with the thousands who voted for me at the last election.” But it’s all about the party, Chris. Loyalty to zer party ist alles.
Anti-Corbyn Labour MP Chuka Umunna did what he does best and, er, tweeted: “Real unity is based on the freedom to disagree and debate… So we need to foster a much greater culture of tolerance… We must learn to listen a bit more, and shout a lot less. To focus on what unites us.” Us? You’re not with “us”, mate, say the Corbyn cultists. Your in yesterday’s Labour Party. And if you attack our beloved leader, we will attack you.
So at least Leslie is not totally alone. Labour MPs Gavin Shuker, Kate Hoey, Joan Ryan and Frank Field have been hit with no-confidence votes from their local party members. And here’s the thing. Labour must win 64 more seats at the next general election to form a majority government. But it won’t just be Labour Party members on the Far Left who get to vote for a Corbyn loyalist. The cultists can put one up for election, but the voters can knock them down.
Boris Johnson is back on the telly. Both the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and Sky’s Beth Rigby have the first televised interview since Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary. Is it a case of mistaken identity? This might be a mater for the US Supreme Court…
Who do you led with – Christine Blasey Ford, the blonde, white women who stood before the massed ranks of the US Senate Judiciary Committee and the TV cameras as she accused supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her 36 years ago or the white, grey man who says he “never sexually assaulted anyone”? No contest for the newspapers, which leads with Dr Ford. She claims that at a 1980s high school party, she believed Judge Kavanaugh “was going to rape me” and “was accidentally going to kill me”. Kavanaugh then appeared before the same committee. He denied allegations of sexual assault. At home and on Twitter, we tuned in, unpacked out prejudices and picked a side we knew – just knew – was right. Our morals are sound. The other side is most probably evil:
Richard Millett is suing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for defamation, reports the Mail. Millett is the British blogger Corbyn was addressing when he accused British Zionists of not understanding “English irony”. Many, including the Labour Party supporting Daily Mirror newspaper, thought Corbyn meant Jews. Manhy Jews thought Corbyn’s comment anti-Semitic. Millett instructed solicitors to act after Corbyn talked about him to Andrew Marr on the journalist’s Sunday morning BBC 1 show. The Mail reports:
During an interview with Andrew Marr on BBC One, the Labour leader painted a picture of Mr Millett as ‘incredibly disruptive’, claiming that the police wanted to throw him out of Parliament until Mr Corbyn said he could stay.
Mr Millett, whose father fought for Britain in WWII, says that the allegations are entirely untrue and have caused lasting damage to his reputation. He is suing Corbyn for £100,000.
Millett tells the website:
“Jeremy Corbyn has constantly been trying to paint me as some aggressive traitor who has brushes with police. Listening to his interview, you’d have thought that the police were on the verge of hauling me out of parliamentary events and it was only saintly Corbyn who stopped that happening. It’s totally untrue. It’s preposterous. I think he just said it on the hoof, under questioning on the BBC on Sunday. He can’t actually back it up.”
The anti-semitism chatter begins just after 9 minutes.
As for those so-called British Jews, well, they’ve looked up ‘irony’ in the English dictionary:
Jeremy Corbyn even said that we British Jews don’t understand British irony. And yet he says he’s opposed to all forms of racism – how’s that for irony?
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) September 16, 2018
The tabloids are tucking into the Labour Party conference in Liverpool. Let’s take a look at see how they’re treating the issue of rampant Jew hatred in self-styled anti-racist party. We’ll begin with the Mirror, which mentions zer Jews on page 5, where they feature under “Joke of the Day”. MP Stella Creasy was at the Jewish Labour Movement meeting. Noting Corbyn’s comments about “British Jews failing to understand ‘English irony'” – no, not Zionists but Jews. The Mirror knows who Corbyn meant – Creasy quipped: “I was going to say something about how good it us being a Jew in the Labour Party at the moment, but someone told me you guys don’t get irony.”
On page 4, we hear Jeremy Corbyn’s response to being accused of being an anti-Semite. “Are you an anti-Semite,” the BBC’s Andrew Marr asked Corbyn. “No, absolutely not,” he replied. But a fair few of his friends and allies might be.
Jews are all over the Mail’s cover. Well, one them is. Luciana Berger, the Labour MP routinely attacked for being a Jew, was accompanied by two coppers as she attended an anti-Semitism all in Liverpool, her home city. The story continues on Page 6, where we learn that the coppers were carrying Tasers. Now we hear more from Creasy, and it’s not all that funny. The Mail finds space to include what the Mirror could not. Says Creasy:
“Nazism doesn’t turn up fully formed wearing black shiny boots and black shirts and goose-stepping. It builds bit by bit, it gains little by little, it paints itself as the victim – it paints its victims as the enemies, as traitors, the “other”. It rejects those norms and conventions on anti-Semitism that we have worked so hard to defend. That is the threat that we face if we do not confront this.”
And we get to hear from Berger, whose word were ignored by the Mirror. She told the meeting:
“There are Jews in this country who do not feel safe. We expect attacks that come from the far Right… but this year more than ever we have experienced attacks from the Left… Despite a last-minute and what I believe to be utterly shameful attempt to sabotage the IHRA definition and examples [the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism], Labour has at last adopted it, albeit with that unnecessary caveat. What matters now is draining the swamp. We need to see the Labour Party step up the investigations into complaints of anti-Semitism and get a faster, fairer, more transparent system of internal party justice.”
Berger says Labour is awash with a “tsunami of anti-Semitic hate”.
“If we have to spend another six months like we have spent the last six months, patiently explaining to new Labour Party members – and some old ones – that Hitler didn’t want to help the Jews, or that the Rothschilds don’t run the world banking system, or that the Jews didn’t finance the slave trade or that me and other Jewish MPs are not Mossad operatives, or that it’s not cool to desecrate the mass grave of the Warsaw ghetto with ‘woke’ slogans, we will be no further forward.”
More on page 16, where the Mail calls Labour the “new nasty party” as the party descends into a “sewer of anti-Semitism”.
In the Sun, it’s Jews on page 4. Corbyn, we read, refused to apologise to British Jews for hanging out with Jew haters and Jew killers, questioning their Britishness and liking an anti-Semitic mural. We hear Labour MP Rosie Duffield tell the Jewish Labour Moment: “I defy anyone who repeats anti-Semitism trope you see the social media arena to go there [Auschwitz] and say and feel the same things.” And then we spot an actual Jew. It’s Maureen Lipman, the actress, a former Labour party supporter. Lipman, we read, told a rally Corbyn is an anti-Semite. The Sun reports that Lipman’s new job on Coronation Street has attracted the attention of “Corbyn-backing viewers” who want her to be boycotted and sacked. Raus! Nationalise the soap industry!
Lastly, we turn to the Express. In page 5, we read: “Leader dodges anti-Semitism apology”. Why apologise for what you believe in? The Express says the anti-Semitism “dominated” the Labour conference – although not what the Mirror saw of it – adding:
At a packed rally on the conference fringe, some of Mr Corbyn’s harshest critics on the issue voiced their anger, singling out Unite boss Len McCluskey for accusing Jewish leaders of “truculent hostility” and PCS union chief Mark Serwotka for suggesting Israel fuelled Labour’s anti-Semitism row to distract attention from its own “atrocities”.
Labour MP Dame Louise Ellman said: “For major trade union leaders to not only smear the Jewish community and Jewish people for speaking out against anti-Semitism but then trying to blame them for it, I think we are entering into very dangerous waters… They are playing with fire and I call on them to withdraw those appalling statements.”
Here’s Marr with Corbyn:
The Salzburg dinner was a “humiliation” for Theres May. But it wasn’t, was it? Not really. It was just another non-event in a series of non-events. Until the country leaves the EU in March, everything just chatter. And if it was a humiliating for May, what was it for the EU and its leaders, who gave her 10 minutes to deliver her plan before saying ‘Non’ and trolling her on social media. Pathetic? Game-changing? Revealing:
This photo is used a lot in the papers today to show May as “isolated”/”humiliated” in Salzburg (Mirror literally captioned it “friendless”). As a woman in a male-dominated industry, can’t help feeling there’s another caption, and also can’t help feeling uncomfortable about it pic.twitter.com/VURwBPjP55
— Rebecca Myers (@rebeccacmyers) September 21, 2018
The two sides are set: one wants to Remain and still honour the will of the people who want to leave; the other wants to make leaving impossible and appear democratic. What say the people?
The man at the Mail knows a Remainer, like May, who isn’t a Leaver, like Corbyn, who wants Brexit, which is going to happen anyhow.
What about the opposition? No, not Rees-Mogg and his European Research Group. The Labour Party? Remember them…
It’s a bit weird that the friday before Labour conference as Brexit is at “impasse” according to Theresa May we can’t find a senior Labour voice to come on #C4News live tonight
— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) September 21, 2018
Here’s one, the Labour MP for Brent North, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade & Shadow Minister for International Climate Change and League of Gentleman character-in-waiting:
“Never interrupt your enemy when they are making a mistake” https://t.co/0o9o7Y2ur5
— Barry Gardiner (@BarryGardiner) September 21, 2018
What about if they’re about to drive the bus you’re on over the cliff?
As British politics mines new zones of uselessness, we realise how the technocrats came to dictate the conversation. The EU manipulated Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Holland, France, Greece and Hungary. And now it wants to scupper Brexit. May’s Chequers kept us tied to the EU. But the EU wants even more. National sovereignty goes against all they stand for. So what next? Politics is unpredictable but one thing is certain: answers from the technocrats will be long-winded, well-paid and the clock will tick on*
*But which clock? EC President Jean-Claude Juncker wants to stop the ned to out the clocks back in autumn and forward in spring. The debate is which time the EU should go with. Will it be a permanent summer or winter in the glorious EU zone?
‘Chequers’, the half-backed ‘Remain by another name’ plan for the UK’s departure from the EU, is dead. The result, says the Mirror, is a Government “in crisis”. The message is clear: it’s us, not them.
European Council boss Donald Tusk (who voted for him – you?) told a meeting of EU politicos in Salzburg, Austria, “It will not work.” Over pages 4 and 5, we’re told “Europe turns its back”. We learn that May had a “row” with Tusk. You get an inkling of how easy that might be when you see a photo he posted on Instagram in which we see the wonk mansplaining some cakes (surely offering Mrs May a slice of sponge – ed) and adding the “barb”: “A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries.” We then hear the condescending one say: “In October we expect maximum progress and results in the Brexit talks, and then we will decide whether conditions are there to call an extra summit in November to finalise and formalise a deal.”
You know that guff about ‘taking back control’ – wasn’t all guff was it?
Over in the Star, on page 3, we see a bit of kissing. May “winces” as Jean-Claude Juncker (you vote for him?) greets May. But she’s not wincing. She’s smiling. Maybe it’s the fumes?
The Sun sits on the fence and calls the EU a bunch of “two-bit mobsters”. French PM Emanuel Macron and Tusk are dressed up like mafioso. Rather than a defeat for May, we’re told the EU enforcers “ambushed” her with a “cack-handed attempt to sign-up to Brussels unacceptable terms there and then”. But May “refused to budge”.
By page 10, the Sun’s front-page news has morphed into the paper’s editorial. The EU is a “protection racket”. The EU has “refused to compromise”, “insulted the Prime Minister”. The EU “ignores their own citizens”. All the EU wants is to “punish us” for standing jp to them. But the country should ready itself for a “clean-break Brexit” – what other papers might call a “no-deal Brexit”.
Whoever decided May would wear red today (probably May!) against the backdrop of EU suits absolutely nailed it. pic.twitter.com/MXwq5tmACT
— Mark Di Stefano 🤙🏻 (@MarkDiStef) September 20, 2018
“I won’t roll over on deal,” are May’s words on the Express‘ cover – which turn out to be words said by an unnamed source. She was “shaking with anger” as the EU “bullied” her. She was “furious”. We hear Macron “crow”: “Brexit is the choice of the British people, pushed by those who predicted easy solutions. Those people are liars.” But they’d be our liars, you French ****. Step away!
And then it arrives. The EU, the outfit created to control Germany and to help Germany keep its impulses in check, is given the full Nazi treatment. The paper notes on two pages that the venue for the May’s speech to EU leaders was used to film the Sound of Music’s song ‘So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye.” The Von Trapps sing the song as they plot to escape Nazi persecution. A Mail writer evokes visions of Nazi stormtroopers at the Felsenreitschule theatre in Salzburg. He tells us the EU’s game plan is to get Britain to vote again in a second referendum and “zis time to vote ze right way”. The Mail’s message to Brussels: “Tell ’em to get stuffed.”
Or as the Sun once put it in those halcyon days before the referendum, “Up yours Delors!”
We’ve come a long way, baby….
More on Jeremy Corbyn’s obsession with the world’s one Jewish state. The story goes that the Labour leader mired in accusations of antisemitism was so upset by Arsenal FC’s 2006 deal with the Israeli tourist board he wanted fans to boycott the club. Corbyn is, of course, an Arsenal fan. So did he boycott any matches? Corbyn has voiced his support for BDS – the movement that wants to censor anything Israeli, including people – like, for instance, Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli who played for Arsenal in 2011.
“We must campaign against and boycott Arsenal football club for their arrangement with the Israeli tourist board,” said Corbyn to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Trade Union Conference in 2006, as reported in the Mail. The paper pins the story to the noticebaord with this gem:
The £350,000 deal was approved by Dubai-based Emirates airline, Arsenal’s main sponsor, before going ahead. The UAE is known for its hostility to Israel and has never recognised its right to exist.
Ah, the noble Emirates, hosted in enlightened Dubai. Here’s what Human Rights Watch has to say about the United Arab Emirates:
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) arbitrarily detains and in some cases forcibly disappears individuals who criticize the authorities. The UAE plays a leading role in the Saudi-led coalition which has carried out scores of unlawful attacks in Yemen, some likely war crimes. The UAE was implicated in detainee abuse at home and abroad. Labor abuses in the UAE persist. Migrant construction workers face serious exploitation. Domestic workers’ rights are now enshrined in law, but some provisions are weaker than those accorded to other workers under the labor law. The UAE has denied activists and international human rights organizations’ access.
A Labour spokesman is cited: “Jeremy has never boycotted an Arsenal game.”
Jeremy Corbyn and his supported are far from convinced the Skrpials were poisoned by the Russians. The Labour leader thought it a good idea for Russia to be sent samples of the nerve agent to identify if it was their novichok that poisoned Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in spire-tastic Salisbury. Mindful of that, here’s Andrew Murray, chief of staff at Unite and an adviser to Jeremy Corbyn, asking New Statesman readers: “Is the “deep state” trying to undermine Corbyn?”
The NS loves a conspiracy, so long as it think its readers will nod along with it. The highly plausible gets questioned, but the merely possible is accepted as likely. Only the other week, another Corbyn ally was just putting it out there that Israel had made Corbyn look like an anti-semite by, well, what, making him say things and hang out with Jew haters? “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but…” said Mark Serwotka, who leads the Public and Commercial Services union.
And neither, one supposes, is Murray, who rolls his eyes at MI5 and writes:
Someone else is doing the hard work – possibly someone being paid by the taxpayer. I doubt if their job description is preventing the election of a Corbyn government, but who knows? We are often told that the days of secret state political chicanery are long past and we must hope so. But sometimes you have to wonder…
Now, about that evidence…
What’s it like to have sex with Donald Trump? Until Melania goes full Princess Diana and reveals all, we can roll over and ask Stormy Daniels (aka Stephanie Clifford) about intercourse with The Don. “It may have ben the least impressive sex I’ve ever had,” is the lead quote on the Mirror’s front page. So there’s Trump in his ‘I’m Number 1 why Try Harder’ T-shirt possibly expecting new adventures with a professional shagger. Reading Stormy damn Trump brings to mind the tennis pro playing with the happy amateur. The pro knocks the ball over the net with spin, power and guile; the amateur hits a sublime return, his game improved immeasurably by the skill of his partner . I once played head tennis with a top footballer. With an equally hapless mate, I could manage 6 or seven headers. But with talent we got to 20, 30, 40… So, Donald Trump, what’s it like to have sex with a pro?
On page 7, we learn that Trump’s penis is “smaller than average” but not “freakishly small”. “He knows he has an unusual penis,” says Stormy T-Cup. “It has a huge mushroom head like a toadstool.” did little Mis Muffet sit on the engorged tuffet? “I lay there,” she says enticingly, “annoyed I was getting fucked by a guy with yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart.” so much for the fantasy porn star level sex. Stick with the love doll, smut enthusiasts. You won’t get judged.
On page 10, Stormy’s lie-there-and-tell becomes “Donald stump”. In the Sun, we learn that Stormy’s tribute to gaming forms part of her book, Full Disclosure. Donald isn’t a “fun guy” in bed, the paper puns. We’re reminded there and in the Express that Trump denies the affair. She claims to have been paid “hush money”. And Trump reimbursed his then lawyer, Michael Cohen, for the money she received, $130,000. Yep. That’s what it allegedly costs to shag an angry woman who thinks you’re an inadequate loser. There’s a book in it – but not a token entitling the bearer to a discount on marriage guidance…
Just bought a new dog. It quacks a lot, waddles and is scared silly of pancakes and plum sauce. A Jewish neighbour popped over and said my dog was a duck. But the man at Jeremy Corbyn Dogs assured me it is a pedigree hound. And if Corbyn says the feathery quaker is a dog, it’s good enough for me. Which brings me to what else Corbyn says, chiefly that he’s not an antisemite and is, moreover, a “militant” enemy of Jew hatred. He knows what antisemitism is better than Jews. And there isn’t any in his Labour Party.
Some will debate this, of course. But they cannot see that anti-Semitism is a mere distraction. Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, told a fringe event at the TUC conference that the weird accident of Corbyn finding himself stood alongside Holocaust deniers, Jew killers and Jew haters, gaining endorsements from Nick Griffin and David Duke, and his inability to notice that a massive mural he liked depicting hooked-nosed bankers sat on the backs of their myriad victims was anti-Semitic could be parts of an Israeli plot to smear the Labour leader. As Serwotka said: “One of the best forms of trying to hide from the atrocities that you are committing is to go on the offensive and actually create a story that does not exist for people on this platform, the trade union movement or, I have to say, for the leader of the Labour Party.” Not content with running the media and the banks, and embodying Nazism, those Jews are now after the moraliser-in-chief: Jeremy Corbyn.
Vote Jez, then! You’d be quackers to let the bigots win!
But author Howard Jacobson thinks “Jeremy Corbyn is Unfit to be Prime Minister”. This is the speech he gave to the debate organised by Intelligence Squared.
Something tells me you’re expecting me to call Jeremy Corbyn an antisemite. There’s been a bit about it in the press, and I… well, you know…
But I’m not going to call him anything. He says he isn’t an antisemite, Hamas says he isn’t an antisemite, the white supremacist David Duke says he isn’t an antisemite, and that’s good enough for me.
Am I being ironical? Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m incapable of irony.
We know what an antisemite look like. He wears jackboots, a swastika arm-band, and shouts Juden Raus; Jeremy Corbyn wears a British Home Stores vest under his shirt and is softly spoken. Antisemites accuse Jews of killing Jesus; Corbyn is an atheist and seems not to mind if we did or didn’t. Whether that’s because Jesus was Jewish and killing him meant one less Jew in the world, is not for me to say. And – and – he doesn’t deny the Holocaust…
Mind you, he knows a man who does. In fact he knows a surprising number of men who do. That he denies ever having been in their company – until photographs turn up of him rubbing noses with them at the gravesides of mass murderers, offering to show them his belief systems if they’ll show him theirs – ‘Gosh, they’re the same size!’ – should come as no surprise. You can’t spend your whole life in the company of blood-libellers and holocaust-deniers and expect to remember them all by name.
If I may quote from Oscar Wilde’s missing play The Self-Importance of Being Jeremy- ‘To associate with one antisemite you don’t know to be antisemitic, Mr Corbyn, may be regarded as a misfortune, to associate with antisemites on a regular basis looks like a predilection.’
Look – when I think of the scoundrels I’ve hung around with, I know how easy it is to get people wrong, even when they turn up to meet you wearing hoods and holding burning crosses. And Jeremy – is it OK if I call him Jeremy? – has never exactly been what you’d call observant.
Take that mural he championed, showing bankers playing Monopoly on the naked backs of the world’s oppressed. You and I, ladies and gentlemen, would look at those greedy, grasping, hooked-nosed, syphilitic, Zionistic financiers and recognize them at once as straight out of the Julius Streicher I-SPY BOOK OF JEWS. But so innocent of antisemitic caricature is Jeremy, that he didn’t see anything remotely offensive. “I didn’t look closely,” he explained later. How many times does he have to say it, for God’s sake! I might have been there but I don’t think I wasinvolved. I don’t remember… I didn’t look closely….
If this reminds you of those who lived downwind of the chimneys of Bergen Belsen claiming never to have smelt anything out of the ordinary, I say you have suspicious natures. Corbyn is a busy man. Busy men must take emotional shortcuts. There’s an image of a bloodsucking Jew. It’s identical to the image of the bloodsucking Jew I already carry in my head. Snap!
Could there, I wonder, be such a thing as an inadvertent antisemite? Jeremy claims to be a peace-maker. A peace-maker brings warring parties together. Why then do we only ever see him taking Palestinians to tea? Could it be that he just can’t remember to ask the Israelis? “Oh, bugger, I’ve forgotten to invite the Jews again.”
Unless – perish the thought – it isn’t peace he wants after all, but the triumph of those he calls comrades and the destruction of those he doesn’t.
According to his supporters, Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. Just a question, but what is racist bone and how do you know whether another person has one? There are 64 bones in the human arm alone. Can one be absolutely certain that Jeremy doesn’t feel even the tiniest twinge of bone ache, somewhere between the scapula and the humerus, when he sees an alien figure such as I am, coming towards him on Islington Green, carrying the collected speeches of Benjamin Disraeli and humming My Yiddishe Mama?
And what are we to make – speaking of Corbyn’s unconscious – of his inability ever to disavow antisemitism without reminding us of his lifelong opposition to all forms of racism? Which is like answering the question ‘Are you a wife-beater?’ with an assurance that you always buy The Big Issue.
Because antisemitism isn’t quite a racism. It’s closer to a superstition: embedded in theology, shrouded in medieval irrationality, updated to suit leftist economics, and exhumed whenever a single explanation for all the evils of the world is sought. To talk of antisemitism as a racism is a contradiction in terms for Jeremy Corbyn, since in his eyes Jews are neither downtrodden nor exploited but are – as usurers, colonialists and conspirators – the very source and fount of racism themselves. Once hold Jews to be racist, and Zionism a racist endeavour, then no antisemite can ever be a racist himself. And any definition that says otherwise must be amended.
That’s the psychology: now the science. Corbyn’s political life has been determined by Newton’s First Law of Inertia which states that an object at rest will stay at rest, forever, as long as nothing pushes or pulls on it. In physics the something that might push or pull at it is another object in motion; in socialist politics it is a view contradictory to your own. Corbyn averts his face whenever he hears the word Jew, and rolls his eyes whenever he is asked a question, because he fears the chaos, otherwise known as a change of mind, that might ensue from accepting there’s another way of looking at the world.
I will spend my remaining seconds – I don’t mean in life, I mean of this speech – telling you why it matters to everyone, not just Jews, that a man so spiteful, sanctimonious and obdurate should never be allowed to do to the country what he’s been doing to his party.
Those who revere Corbyn see it as a virtue that he has never changed his views. Mr Chairman, it is only a virtue to stay faithful to one’s views if those views are worth staying faithful to.
To persist in a small erroneousness is the mark of a fool. To persist in a great erroneousness is the mark of a dangerous fool. The ideology in which Corbyn has been pickled for half a century was outworn by the time it reached him. It oversaw the death of millions. That the ideologies he opposes have scarcely done any better is not an argument for his. You don’t have to love the West to refuse the embraces of those whose sole ambition is to blow the West apart … especially if you want to call yourself a pacifist.
This should have been a golden summer for Labour. The nightmare that is Brexit, the hell that is Jacob Rees-Mogg, the out-of-season pantomime that is Boris Johnson – from all these Labour ought to have delivered us. But Corbyn did as much as anyone to make Brexit happen with his feeble non-support for Remaining – “I’m seven, erm, seven-and-a-half per cent in favour.”
That was one to get us to the barricades. The wrong man – ladies and gentlemen – the wrong man at the wrong time espousing the wrong causes.
I am nothing if not fair: people who are limited in everything but the pleasure they take in themselves are ten a penny in all political parties; they haunt the peripheries, like ghosts-of-the-Christmases-they-don’t-believe-in-past, backing losing causes, throwing tea parties for murderers, and looking saintly. Mr Corbyn’s misfortune was to be lifted from those peripheries, and dumped haplessly in the centre.
Not just for our sake but for his, will someone please have pity and dump him back.
Or maybe you’re going to vote for Corbyn, reason that Jew hatred is no big deal. Really..? You’re going to do that?
Victoria Freeman wanted to know a bit more about Ian Bone, the bloke who shouted at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s children. She found this report on the wedding of Andrew Burgin of Left Unity & Kate Hudson of CND. “I had to assure myself it wasn’t a parody,” she tweets.
Well, quite. the wedding had the lot, including – yep – Jeremy Corbyn… “On arrival there was a huge red on black hammer & sickle dominating the hall with Andrew & Kate embroidered on top”:
I googled Ian Bone & found his report on the wedding of Andrew Burgin of Left Unity & Kate Hudson of CND. I had to assure myself it wasn’t a parody pic.twitter.com/ACcVDFn0G9
— Victoria Freeman (@make_trouble) September 12, 2018
When is it right to vandalize a Holocaust memorial? Having debated the meaning of anti-semitism and if calling Jews ‘Nazis’ is righteous, Labour Party delegates will most likely be debating Jews and the Holocaust when Ewa Jasiewicz, 40, addresses a meeting of pro-Corbyn group Momentum at this year’s Labour Party conference. She’s earmarked to speak about the future of trade unions at a festival organised alongside Labour’s AGM.
Jasiewicz is the Times‘ “Warsaw ghetto vandal”, a British anti-Israel activist who decorated the site where 92,000 Jews were corralled and killed and from where a further 300,000 were sent to death camps. In 2010 Jasiewicz and Yonatan Shapira thought it wise, considerate and fair to daub the words “Liberate all ghettos” and “Free Gaza and Palestine” on one of the Warsaw ghetto’s original walls. They are quoted as having said Israel had “co-opted” the Holocaust to serve “agendas of colonisation and repression”. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance centre, said the graffiti was “tainted with anti-semitism”. More condemnation follows. It is a “new low”. “This is exactly the kind of obsessive anti-Israel hatred and abuse of the Holocaust that is central to Labour’s problem of anti-semitism,” we read. A survivor of the ghetto, tells readers: “I too am critical of my government. Gaza is certainly not a likeable place. But to compare it to the Warsaw ghetto is the height of folly. I know .. I was there.” No word of support and praise for the graffiti is given. But Momentum clearly has no problem with it.
One day on and the Times has more Ewa Jasiewicz news: ‘In 2002 she called for “activists” to “do” the Israeli parliament or “a sophisticated politician bump-off” rather than targeting Israeli civilians. At the time Ms Jasiewicz was living in Jenin, in the West Bank.”
In a 2,700-word dispatch at the height of the second intifada, Ms Jasiewicz wrote that the son of the family she was staying with “went and opened fire on some Israeli civilians in a market somewhere a few months ago”, adding: “I don’t get why activists can’t go and do the Knesset [Israeli parliament] or something, or do a sophisticated politician bump-off like the PFLP?”
Ms Jasiewicz says her remarks were made “in a private email which ended up being published on the PalSolidarity website in 2002 as was the case at times with emailed reports on Israeli occupation activity back then”. Private emails are private. She calls her remarks “flippant”. And that’s an important thing: if you can’t say stupid, ugly things in private, when can you say them? She adds: “I do not and never have, advocated the harming of anybody and this was definitely not the intention of the comment in the email. I apologise for any harm or upset this has caused and I ask people to understand it in the context that it was written, both as a flippant comment in a private email and under conditions of a violent occupation.”
So how did the other big newspapers cover this story? The Guardian: not a word. Daily Telegraph: zippo. Daily Mail: nada. Is it because Ewa Jasiewicz doesn’t matter, her being just another social justice warrior with a media profile? One Times columnist offers a reason:
Where Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour differs from almost all other major parties is that it now has supporters instead of spokesmen. The latter are diminishing, shrinking, dissolving away… The trouble, at least for Labour, is that their rise coincides with the near absolute evaporation of anybody else who might appear in public and make a coherent, Corbyn-friendly case about almost anything.
Which reminds me: anyone seen Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary? What is her view on Israel? Or is she just hoping nobody will have time to ask her if enough cheap to hire, mouthy and monocular pundits who aren’t standing to election can fill the media with their to-deadline chatter? that question to you, Owen Jonezzzzzzz…
Donald Trump is insisting that Apple should move its manufacturing over to the United States. The problem with this being that Donald Trump doesn’t seem to understand that Apple already does its manufacturing in the United States. Calling for Apple to do what Apple already does isn’t all that useful. What’s being missed is that Apple only assembles equipment in China. And that’s of trivial value so we don’t care where it is done:
Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that Apple should make products in the United States if it wants to avoid tariffs on Chinese imports.
The company told trade officials in a letter on Friday that the proposed tariffs would affect prices for a “wide range” of Apple products, including its watch.
Apple’s AirPods headphones, some of its Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies if the current package of $200bn in tariffs goes ahead as expected in the coming days.
The usual point of trade is to make us better off. So, if having tariffs to block trade makes us worse off – which is what price rises do – then why are we having tariffs? Well, the correct answer is because the President of the United States doesn’t understand this.
Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China – but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive. Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now. Exciting! #MAGA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2018
But why would we want to do that?
The thing is that Apple already, pretty much, makes things in the US. What it doesn’t do is assemble them there. So, take an iPhone, say it costs $800. About 40% of that – $320 – is pure profit to the company. That’s added in Cupertino in California – yes, the recent tax changes mean that it is, not Bermuda, not Ireland. The expensive parts of the kit itself are the processors and the screens. The screens are made in Taiwan or Japan and no one else in the world knows how to make them – not even Apple. The processors are made in Texas.
All that’s left is the cheap stuff – a few wires etc – and the assembly. And we know how much that costs, about $10 per iPhone. And that’s the bit that’s done in China too. In terms of who adds the value and where then Apple already manufactures in the US. The only bit that’s done in China is that $10 worth of sticking it altogether. And why would we care at all where $10 of an $800 piece of kit is done?
As we started out saying Donald Trump doesn’t understand trade. His ideas about Apple just show this.
News that Boris Johnson has been named an “adulterer” in divorce papers comes as a shock to anyone who wakes each day, quints at the sun and asks, ‘What the bloody hell is that?’ To the Sun Johnson’s penile adventures are an alliterative tale of of ‘Bonking Boris”, a “long-suffering wife” called Marina Wheeler and 30-year-old “Tory aide” Samira Mohammed. No, only joking. The alleged other woman is called Carrie Symonds, and she’s not wearing a burqa because we can see her face on the Mail’s front page.
In the Sun we see photos of Johnson in his garden. He’s drinking from a mug – a metaphor perhaps – and looking “grim-faced” at his phone. Both pictures are credited to Simon Jones, aka “Sun photographer Simon Jones”. Might they, you know, be staged? “Explosions aside, Boris is still The One,” states Trevor Kavanagh three pages on in the paper., not exactly discounting the idea that the Sun is presenting the philanderer in a good light.
The photos also appear in the Mirror, but it’s main thrust is not into Carrie Symonds, but Johnson’s Mail on Sunday column in which he said Theresa May had “wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution” and handed the trigger to Brussels. A few Tory MPs are lined up to say how revolting that is. Amid the “fury” the Mirror says it asked one Tory MP “if Mr Johnson had put a bomb under Mrs May’s leadership”. I see Tory MP Tom Tugendhat’s horrific tale of a suicide bomber who maimed and murdered many in the courtyard of his office in Helmland, and notice the bomb detonated below then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which killed five Tories, including one MP, and permanently disfigured many more.
But what’s that? “Show us the totty!” Ok. The Mail obliges with five phots of Symonds – a “fun-loving blonde”. She is “glamorous” – and what more speaks of glamour than shagging Boris Johnson; maybe finding a pre-loved glamour magazine in a bush? – a “Tory party cheerleader”who tweeted as her name rode high on the news cycle: “Sea otters have the thickest fur of all animals.” To say nothing of their pockets – an otter’s pocket being something Johnson finds irresistible.
How a reporter from Jew-baiting, Israel hating, Iranian propaganda channel and Jeremy Corbyn’s former paymasters Press TV managed to live tweet Labour’s vote of no confidence in Jew friendly Joan Ryan, Enfield North MP and chair of Labour Friends of Israel is down to “infiltration” says the Telegraph.
You might suppose the story would mention not only the Press TV hacks in the Labour members-only room defying a ban on media reporting but also Yasmine Dar. She’s just been voted onto Labour’s NEC, the governing body of the Labour Party. Dar, a councillor in Manchester, came first in the vote with an impressive 88,176 votes. As reported, she’s attended an annual celebration of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in Manchester. One Times writer notes:
Her speech was followed by a Q&A in which a rather notorious British academic carefully explained, among other things, that Hillary Clinton was a Zionist warmonger and that “80 per cent of the American media is owned by the Zionists”. Dar seemed to be sitting in the front row for this and there was no sign of dissent.
But, no. The Telegraph makes no mention of her. Beneath the headline: “Iranian activists infiltrated Labour and were able to vote in pro-Israel MP’s no-confidence ballot” – this infiltration was presumably facilitated by the cunning plot of joining the Labour Party and voting democratically – we get the facts.
Corbyn was paid £20,000 by the murdering Iranian dictatorship. So we’ve established that Blair and Corbyn are in the same boat, but Blair is better at negotiating his fee. https://t.co/hjI3dA5Gxz
— James Cleverly (@JamesCleverly) September 8, 2018
Ryan tells the Telegraph: “I’m horrified that they’ve infiltrated the Labour Party in this way and I think it needs to be investigated, because it is incredibly serious. I’m proud of my values, and I don’t expect to be the toast of the mouthpiece of the Iranian regime.”
Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, thinks it “impossible to fathom” how Press TV got in. “This disorder makes a farce of the proceedings and is not how the modern Labour Party should conduct its affairs.”
Ofcom revoked Press TV’s broadcast licence for airing the forced confession of tortured Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari.
This account is followed by @johnmcdonnellMP and @labourlewis. pic.twitter.com/1SHtCwu4Sy
— Oz Katerji (@OzKaterji) September 7, 2018
The proceedings were nasty. The farce comes from banning the media. When pretty much everyone smart phone and a Wi-Fi signal, why bother? Let them film. Why should only Iranians desperate for party political news from Enfield get to see the show? One source in Enfield said a few years ago only 15 or 20 people would have tuned up to such meeting; now it’s anything from 200 to 80million. She might not be famous in Edmonton, but Ryan is a mega star in Tehran. Allow for an ad break, and Enfield could be coining it in.
David Baddiel wonders what if Israeli media and not Press TV had been there:
Still not heard much from the Labour members who voted a no-confidence motion against Joan Ryan as to why Iranian TV was in the room. I feel we might have heard a little bit from them if Israeli TV had been in the room.
— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) September 8, 2018
Ha. Silly stuff. As Jeremy Corbyn knows, “Israeli media is always in the room.”
The purge is underway. As Jeremy Corbyn is labeled an anti-semite and the party twists and turns over its attitude towards Jews, Labour Party members called for a vote of no confidence in Labour MP Joan Ryan, The Enfield North MP, who just so happens to chair Labour Friends of Israel. She has been a vocal critic of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism in the ranks.
She lost the vote. Ryan called the 94-92 result “hardly a decisive victory”, adding in a statement: “It never occurred to me that Trots Stalinists Communists and assorted hard left would have confidence in me. I have none in them.”
Later she tweeted: “I fought the hard left to a virtual draw… This was about anti-Semitism in the Labour party and those of us who have stood by the Jewish community and said ‘enough is enough’. I made no apologies last night for that and I make no apologies now.”
You can see the vote on Press TV, which filmed and live tweeted the vote. Press TV is the Iranian State broadcaster banned from broadcasting in the UK since 2012. On it you used to be able to watch such presenters as George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley (this might be her discussing an anti-semitic mural with Corbyn) and, of course, Corbyn, the Labour Party leader who reportedly received up to £20,000 for appearing.
Just to be clear I will not be resigning. I am Labour through and through and I will continue to stand up and fight for Labour values. https://t.co/VEp2ZEDBrN
— Joan Ryan MP (@joanryanEnfield) September 6, 2018
Siddo Dwyer, chair of the Enfield North CLP, plans to lodge a complaint against Press TV. He says: “No press was allowed to be in that room, nor members of the public, or registered supporters, you had to be a fully paid up member of the Labour party. Photo ID was taken as well as Labour party cards. Everyone was checked and double-checked, but the process isn’t bullet proof.”
Perhaps the Press TV reporter is a Labour Party member? After all, it only cost £3 to join, and look at the mayhem you can cause.
And isn’t banning Press from political meetings foolish? It’s almost impossible to implement. But Labour HQ showsw us its clean hands and says: “Filming of local Labour Party meetings is not permitted, and Enfield North will be reminded of this fact.” Only a few days ago, Labour was stating its commitment to ‘free speech’. Admittedly, it was hard to hear the noble cry over Corbynistas calling for Israeli musicians, speakers, actors, artists, medics, scientists and politicians to be no platformed.
Meanwhile, here’s an argument for an uncensored media from Press TV. See if you can spot the lie:
We have documented an amazing amount of Jewish support for Jeremy Corbyn over the past week.
— Press TV UK (@Presstvuk) September 7, 2018
If you can be an unwitting racist, is Jeremy Corbyn’s obsession with Jews and his friendships with those who want them dead a hate crime? Is Corbyn’s Labour Party institutional racist? In 1999, the Macpherson Report into the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence by a racist gang and the botched police investigation left us with two legacies. First we got to know what is meant by ‘institutional racism’. Sir William Macpherson defined it:
“The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”
And in that we got the second legacy: you could be an ‘unwitting racist’. If the injured party thinks it’s racist, then it is racist. Anything that happens to an Asian person, say, can be self-defined as racially motivated. Lord Macpherson demanded that police mark a crime as racist where the incident “is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person, rather than their own conclusion”. The result is that anything can be racially motivated if you think it is. You can have racism without racists.
If racism can be unwitting, perhaps we’re all racists and at some point become “infected” by racist thoughts? Racism was recast as no longer being about real power and police; it became subjective, a study in what lurked within individuals. The State was in the clear. Don’t look at the police. Look at yourself and investigate your fibre. Racism became a moral matter. Depressing stuff, for sure. To see racism everywhere and in everyone and everything was a low view of humanity. And it stuck.
Which brings us to anti-Semitism. Labour is all for unwitting racism – but not if you’re a Jew. Labour has after much agonising adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s international standard definition of antisemitism. Try not to call Zionists – people who believe in a Jewish homeland – Nazis (a conniving slight of the lowest stripe) or label Israel a “racist endeavour”. Labour noted that it’s decision must not “undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of the Palestinians”. Labour loves freedom of expression so much it wants to make misogyny a hate crime, punishing people for what they think.
It’s odd, no, how racism has caveats when it’s about the world’s one Jewish state but for everything and everyone else it can be assumed. Corbyn had wanted to include a 500-word explainer to one and all – including you Jews – that it must not be “regarded as anti-Semitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact”. He’s never said that about any other country. Israel is exceptional. It’s backers – oh, those shadowy ‘Zionists’ who run the media and the banks (whoever can they be talking about? clue: ask the Jew haters) – are uniquely barbaric. Even after the Holocaust, Jews never learn.
So Corbyn sought a definition of antisemitism that allows people to be antisemitic and get away with it. While other minorities gets to see racism in everything, Jews are not allowed to see racism in anything – even when it’s staring them in the face.
This is David Remnick’s memo to New Yorker staffers about the decision not to interview Steve Bannon at the magazine’s yearly festival. Remnick is the magazine’s editor who intended to interview former Breitbart Media chairman, former Trump aide and former chief White House strategist Bannon before a live audience at a festival of ideas. Remnick had “every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation”. Even if thrice-divorced Bannon is yesterday’s man, it sounds great. I’d never heard of the Festival before now but count me in.
But other notable guests – Jim Carrey, John Mulaney, Patton Oswalt and Judd Apatow – said they’d withdraw unless Bannon was given the elbow. The New Yorker’s Kathryn Schulz tweeted: “I love working for [the New Yorker] but I’m beyond appalled by this … I have already made that very clear to David Remnick. You can, too.” She provided a New Yorker email address.
To which Remnick said: screw you. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Let’s expose the enemy with our wit and democratic values. It’s a Festival of Ideas not a bloody dinner party. And in any case, it’s rude to invite someone and tell them they’re not wanted. Nah. He kiboshed the whole thing.
So Bannon wins. He might have been irrelevant, an opportunistic rabble-rousers, but now banned he becomes a man of substance. And he’s issued a statement: “The reason for my acceptance was simple: I would be facing one of the most fearless journalists of his generation. In what I would call a defining moment, David Remnick showed he was gutless when confronted by the howling online mob.”
In 2016, Steve Bannon played a critical role in electing the current President of the United States. On Election Night I wrote a piece for our website that this event represented “a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism.” Unfortunately, this was, if anything, an understatement of what was to come.
Today, The New Yorker announced that, as part of our annual Festival, I would conduct an interview with Bannon. The reaction on social media was critical and a lot of the dismay and anger was directed at me and my decision to engage him. Some members of the staff, too, reached out to say that they objected to the invitation, particularly the forum of the festival.
The effort to interview Bannon at length began many months ago. I originally reached out to him to do a lengthy interview with “The New Yorker Radio Hour.” He knew that our politics could not be more at odds — he reads The New Yorker — but he said he would do it when he had a chance. It was only later that the idea arose of doing that interview in front of an audience.
The main argument for not engaging someone like Bannon is that we are giving him a platform and that he will use it, unfiltered, to propel further the “ideas” of white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, and illiberalism. But to interview Bannon is not to endorse him. By conducting an interview with one of Trumpism’s leading creators and organizers, we are hardly pulling him out of obscurity. Ahead of the mid-term elections and with 2020 in sight, we’d be taking the opportunity to question someone who helped assemble Trumpism. Early this year, Michael Lewis interviewed Bannon, who made it plain how he viewed his work in the campaign. “We got elected on Drain the Swamp, Lock Her Up, Build a Wall,” Bannon said. “This was pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.” To hear this was valuable, as it revealed something about the nature of the speaker and the campaign he helped to lead.
The point of an interview, a rigorous interview, particularly in a case like this, is to put pressure on the views of the person being questioned.
There’s no illusion here. It’s obvious that no matter how tough the questioning, Bannon is not going to burst into tears and change his view of the world. He believes he is right and that his ideological opponents are mere “snowflakes.” The question is whether an interview has value in terms of fact, argument, or even exposure, whether it has value to a reader or an audience. Which is why Dick Cavett, in his time, chose to interview Lester Maddox and George Wallace. Or it’s why Oriana Fallaci, in “Interview with History,” a series of question-and-answer meetings with Henry Kissinger and Ayatollah Khomeini and others, contributed something to our understanding of those figures. Fallaci hardly changed the minds of her subjects, but she did add something to our understanding of who they were. This isn’t a First Amendment question; it’s a question of putting pressure on a set of arguments and prejudices that have influenced our politics and a President still in office.
Some on social media have said that there is no point in talking to Bannon because he is no longer in the White House. But Bannon has already exerted enormous impact on Trump; his rhetoric, ideas, and tactics are evident in much of what this President does and says and intends. We heard Bannon in the inaugural address, which announced this Presidency’s divisiveness, in the Muslim ban, and in Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville.What’s more, Bannon has not retired. His attempt to get Roy Moore elected in Alabama failed but he has gone on to help further the trend of illiberal, nationalist movements around the country and abroad.
There are many ways for a publication like ours to do its job: investigative reporting; pointed, well-argued opinion pieces; Profiles; reporting from all over the country and around the world; radio and video interviews; even live interviews. At the same time, many of our readers, including some colleagues, have said that the Festival is different, a different kind of forum. It’s also true that we pay an honorarium, that we pay for travel and lodging. (Which does not happen, of course, when we interview someone for an article or for the radio.) I don’t want well-meaning readers and staff members to think that I’ve ignored their concerns. I’ve thought this through and talked to colleagues — and I’ve re-considered. I’ve changed my mind. There is a better way to do this. Our writers have interviewed Steve Bannon for The New Yorker before, and if the opportunity presents itself I’ll interview him in a more traditionally journalistic setting as we first discussed, and not on stage.
— David Remnick
Bannon should write Remnick a thank you note for making him ‘great’ again.
The Guardian’s headline is suggestive: “Antisemitism row ‘risks chances of Labour government’.” Jew hatred only increases doubt that the electorate will vote Labour and so get Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10. How fair we are, eh. Racism should obliterate the combatant’s chances of winning the popular vote.
Bookmaker William Hill is offering odds of 4-1 on Corbyn becoming Prime Minister after Theresa May. Given that the respective leaders of one of the Conservatives or Labour are shoo-ins for the top job, 4-1 is remarkably generous – all the more so when you realise you can get 5-1 on Boris Johnson, current leader of his TV’s remote control and little else (even his shorts seem to be working independently).
The other things that stands out is that seven Tories are seen as having a better chance of replacing Theresa May in Number 10 than the towering figure who can replace Corbyn: Keir Starmer.
Is William Hill alone? Let’s see what Paddy Power is offering:
Granted the question is skewed towards who will replace May. The odds on her being toppled from within are 1-3 (Corbyn is at 2-1). So you’d expect more Tories to stand a better chance than anyone from Labour becoming the next PM. However, May hasn’t gone. There is no leadership challenge. And the odds on Corbyn becoming the next PM are 6-1. One year ago Corbyn was favourite to become the next Prime Minister. He’s drifted.
Back in the Guardian, the aforesaid headline is rooted in the opinion of a former Labour MP. Look out for Ivor Caplin being trashed on twitter by Corbyn fans in 3…2…
Caplin, a former defence minister under Tony Blair who chairs the Jewish Labour Movement, tells the paper:
“It’s been depressing for members of the Jewish community, but not just for us, for members of the public as well, because they want to see the Labour party as an effective opposition to this shambolic Tory government, and particularly on Brexit, the NHS, schools.. I think that, for Labour, it is a very dangerous position to be in. It will affect any chance of a Labour government…
“I went to a CLP [constituency Labour party meeting] in deepest east Sussex the other week. A lot of them were very concerned about how we had got into this position. They weren’t saying it was smears. And a majority for them had voted for Jeremy to be leader.”
Interesting. Move away from the nastiness and toxicity on social media and you see people seeking not the weakest point in an opponent’s argument but the strongest. These people want to understand the other side’s argument before engaging with it. This is out of kilter with the mood around Corbyn, in which his monocular supporters cast any opponent as either mentally negligible or malicious. Caplin adds:
“In some constituencies, the constant aggressive nature of some people is wearing on activists and that is not right. One of the founding traditions of the Labour party is we are able to have different views but walk out and go for a drink afterwards, because that is what Labour is about. It is not about aggressive, nasty behaviour.”
If the bigots win the day, then Labour is spent. If you can’t engage with an opponent without branding them too old, too thick, too Jewish, too immoral, too racist (if they express concern over immigration) and discount them as a fascist for voicing any opinion not aligned to your own, you’re not ready for the big debates. You’re not fit to govern.
Is Jeremy Corbyn a racist? He is if he you look at what else he said at a London conference convened by the Palestinian Return Centre in London in 2013. The conference was marketed by the Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military arm – they’re the group that want all Jews dead and who Corbyn has called his “friends”. Ok, ok, move on ,already. We know all about the mural, the iffy mates, Press TV and the report whitewashed and wrapped in ermine. Borrrr-ing! On this occasion Corbyn was irked by comments directed towards the Palestinian ambassador in response to a speech he’d made. Corbyn responded by saying Jews, sorry, Zionists heckling the ambassador suffered from two problems: “One is that they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. I think they need two lessons, which we can help them with.”
Did he man Zionists or did he mans Jews? Do you smell something nasty or not? Nothing of it, said Labour, holding its nose. Corbyn was using the word Zionist in a political way. It was a word employed in “the accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people”. Phew! He’s not othering British Jews. Corbyn was not billing Jews as the enemy within, a people loyal only to Israel, a country he sees as the epitome of all Western ills and the ultimate enemy. Jews are not, in terms employed by the Left to demonise Israel and make the Jews not worthy of the Holocaust (but maybe deserving of another one; those uniquely barbaric sods never learn), Nazism’s fifth column.
And then he said this:
“[In the early 20th century], the progressive leadership in London of the trade unions and the Labour Party… was actually Jewish trade unionists and Jewish people in the East End of London. It was Zionism that rose up and drove them into the sort of ludicrous positions they have at the present time.”
That sounds a lot like anti-Semitism. British Jews used to be good. All of them. Now British Jews are bad. All of them. He didn’t mean Zionist in any political sense at all; he meant Jews.
Jews and the Left were once of a single mind and purpose. They joined forces at the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 to fight fascists in London’s East End. That was then. Now Labour has nothing in common with Jews, who do not hold English values. Born and bred British Jews are foreign and hold only the possibility of civilised humanity. This was Corbyn the tribalist, middle-class Jew hater of a type we know too well, who sees “large fat foreign” Jews, as the author Graham Greene did, a writer who opined for The Spectator in 1939: “How the financial crisis has improved English films! They have lost their tasteless Semitic opulence and are becoming – English.”
Are you still uncertain as to whether or not Corbyn is a racist? One Guardian writer said Corbyn’s words were “unquestionably anti-Semitic”; another said they were “anti-Semitic and unacceptable”. Both are right. That Corbyn is still in with a chance of being Prime Minister is depressing: how can a bigot lead the country? The conclusion must be that for too many people anti-Semitism is no big deal. It’s only the Jews, a Biblical people remarkable for having survived persistent persecution. This leaves Jews to form their own conclusion: grandma was right. The oldest story is back. Keep a bag packed under the bed and rely on nobody else to fight your battles. They always come for us.