Tag Archives: Enoch Powell

Life on Hannan World (Part 14)

A week or so ago, I was reading a comments thread on Facebook that someone had started in response to a statement that Daniel Hannan had made on a subject on which he knows little (let me tell you, there are many of them). On that thread, someone asked “Why doesn’t he join UKIP”? The answer to that question is simple: he’s comfortable where he is. However, today, he offers a long-winded explanation for his reluctance to join a party with which he clearly has a great deal in common. For example, they both share a love of Enoch Powell. Need I say more? Well, to employ a useful analogy, it’s impossible to separate the art of the Italian Futurists from their evident love of fascism, love of war and hatred of women. Powell poses a similar conundrum. Yet Hannan and the Kippers will gleefully elide Powell’s racism to focus on his free market economic views. But then racism is more than just a simple matter of bigotry, it’s also exercised economically.

The title of today’s blog is:

So why don’t you join Ukip, Hannan?

What follows this title is worth a laugh or two.

The question is put to me, with varying degrees of politeness, 20 times a day – on Twitter, at public meetings and, not least, in the comment threads that follow these blogs. Well, chaps, here’s a collective answer.

Generally, most people who leave comments on his anti-EU blogs are either Kippers or ethno-nationalists of some description. Today, the Kippers are slugging it out with the Tories and it’s quite a spectacle. The phrase “two bald men fighting over a comb” springs to mind. He continues.

I have many friends in Ukip. You won’t find kinder, braver, more generous men in public life than Stuart Wheeler or Malcolm Pearson. Many of the finest Conservative activists from my region have moved to that party. As for Nigel Farage, he is in politics from decent and patriotic motives and, in the 15 years that we’ve represented the same patch, I’ve always found him gentlemanly and pleasant to deal with.

You may recall that when Pearson stepped down as leader of UKIP, the Lyin’ King offered his gushing praise.  Pearson is an “honourable and decent man” he opined. He’s also chummy with Geert Wilders, whose idea of ‘freedom’ is, well, unfreedom. Like Pearson, Stuart Wheeler is an Old Etonian and spread-betting mogul, who once claimed that “women aren’t as good as men” at things like chess. Really? Sexist much? Like Pearson, Wheeler is a former Tory and this is the thing about UKIP: most of the party’s leadership is drawn from a cadre of disgruntled Tories.

I found this passage particularly amusing.

It’s true that Ukip has its share of eccentrics, as every party has. It’s also true that Ukip has more extremists than the older parties. This is an unavoidable side-effect of being an anti-Establishment movement.

“Eccentrics” is a rather euphemistic way of describing the membership of UKIP, but “anti-establishment” is something the party is not. UKIP is deeply rooted in the establishment as I pointed out in this blog.

Here, Hannan gives the image of UKIP an airbrushing.

Ukip has been pretty good at expelling racists while respecting the presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence matters, by the way, in a climate where a photograph which is very obviously of a man trying to grab the camera can appear on a tabloid front page as a Ukip candidate “giving a Nazi salute”.

UKIP is so good at “expelling racists” that there are still plenty of them in the party.  Janice Atkinson, the party’s MEP for the South East (the same constituency as Hannan) referred to Thai people as “ting tongs”. What a charmer.

So why won’t he jump ship?

I share Ukip’s view that Britain would be better off outside the EU. As far as its other policies go, I agree with most rather than all of them – which is exactly my position vis-à-vis the Conservative Party.

I’m still none the wiser, but please do continue…

For most of its existence, this was also Ukip’s overriding goal. But now the party has adopted a spread of domestic policies aimed at picking up disillusioned voters. It has every right to campaign on whatever issues it wants, obviously. But it is no longer focused on getting out of the EU and, in consequence, is prepared to subordinate that goal to its wider electoral interests.

Yet, in this paragraph, he doesn’t really offer any real explanation for why he won’t join a party to which he is clearly well suited (and booted). It’s obfuscatory mush.

This represents a shift. The Ukip of ten years ago, or five years ago, would gladly have thrown its weight behind whichever of the main parties offered an In/Out referendum. Its activists used to boast that this is what made them different: unlike all the other politicians, they said, their aim was to get Britain out and then quit politics. Now, though, they would rather maximise their vote than ensure a pro-referendum majority in the Commons. To adopt one of their own favourite phrases, they are “putting party before country”.

UKIP of “ten years ago, or five years ago” was still whining about immigrants and offering more or less the same hysterical drivel about how they “wanted their country back”, a line that came straight from the mouths of John Tyndall and the National Front. So are UKIP’s domestic policies (such as they are) not to his liking? He doesn’t really say. Guts? I’ve seen more guts on a set of violin strings.

So what about the electoral pact Hannan was proposing alongside his stablemate, Tobes? Well, it seems he’s had a change of heart… well, sort of…

I’ve almost given up arguing for a Tory-Ukip pact. Though the electoral logic is irresistible, there are evidently too many objections on both sides.

Crumbs! Why?

It’ll happen eventually – the first-past-the-post system more or less demands it – but it may, as in Canada, take a decade.

He still isn’t clear, but this idea that the two parties will merge at some point in the future reads, not like a fantasy, but something from a dystopian nightmare. Tories are good at dystopias and nightmares.

A decade of Ed Balls and Ed Miliband. A decade of Labour’s wastrel incontinence.

So that’s unlike the “wastrel incontinence”, not to say, the economic illiteracy of the Tory Party in government? Hilarious.

A decade of deeper European integration. And, when it eventually happens, we’ll ask ruefully, as Canadian Conservatives do today, why we let it take so long.

Curiously, there’s no mention of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in his piece, though one suspects he (and the Kippers) regards it as “socialist”.

By the way, Hannan has a book out at the moment titled How we Invented Freedom and Why it Matters. You can guess who the “we’ is in the title, but let’s just say that no one can invent an abstract noun.

1 Comment

Filed under Media, Tory press

Enoch was right!

Well, no he wasn’t.

It must be Rehabilitate Enoch Powell Month over at Telegraph blogs because I’ve now counted at least 5 blogs defending the “prophet” as one blogger called him.  Of course, this month marks the centenary of Powell’s birth. It’s a time when racists and their free-market chums light a candle and say a prayer for the man whom they believe was ‘right’.

Today’s blog from (Fr)Ed West purports to tell “The real history of British racism”. Somehow, given West’s form, I doubt that but let’s have a look anyway.

There was that wonderful Mitchell and Webb sketch a few years ago in which they play German officers on the Eastern Front, who suddenly turn to each other and ask: are we the baddies?

It’s a question conservatives often ask of themselves, aware that in the popular media the baddies generally are conservative, and the prevailing orthodoxies are liberal.

Here he sets out his stall: “the Right are victims! We’re misunderstood”! So what’s caused this irritation for Eddie?

 I was slightly stung by one response to last Saturday’s blog, by Dorian Lynskey in the New Statesman.

Oh? Tell me more.

The gist of his piece was that Powell’s speech led to widespread misery and violence against minorities, and so “rehabilitating” him is wrong, even in effect justifying racist incitement or violence. To many people, Powell is blamed for the rise of the National Front and for a generally poisonous atmosphere of racism, epitomised by Eric Clapton’s drunken rant about “wogs” at a gig in Birmingham in 1976.

You can just see the tears streaming down his lickle face. Diddums. Grab yourself a tissue Eddie and stop sobbing.  Let’s have a look at the article to which he refers. Here’s a snippet,

There’s an ongoing effort on the right to rehabilitate Powell. In a mealy-mouthed piece in the Telegraph on Saturday, Ed West did the “very clever man” routine (Powell picked Wagner, Beethoven and Haydn on Desert Island Discs, don’t you know?), threw in some flattering anecdotes and skipped daintily past the rivers of blood to focus on one area where Powell might feel vindicated: his Euroscepticism. Let’s remind ourselves of what West left out.

And so West’s blog goes on to discuss apologise for those things that I pointed out in this blog.  What West appears to want is the right to apply lots of lipgloss and mascara to a pig and substitute it for a human.

Let’s have some more West,

Taking aside whether Powell was “racist” or not, since I don’t think we’re going to agree on a definition of that, let me address the issue of whether he was responsible for inciting racism and violence.

My bold. This is something that right-wingers like West often use in response to questions about racism. “Well, what about anti-white racism”? They’ll ask as if to suggest that there is a form of institutionalized racism against white people. West’s argument, such as it is,  is one of denial. The history of racism does not begin with Powell. It began with chattel slavery and was rationalized by the pseudo-science of Social Darwinism.  The economic doctrine of classical liberalism that Powell supported and West continues to support, fully embraced the notion of racial superiority. After all, the Empire confirmed this notion in the minds of 19th century politician, so it was divinely ordained. Right?

Like pretty much all my conservative friends, I feel repulsed when I hear casual racism in conversation. So I can see why someone who seemingly raised this to a national level should be so hated.

Oh, do you really? Gosh, you’re such a bleeding heart liberal, Westie.  But if you think that’s bad, have a look at this,

…the racial violence that followed the April 20 speech has been exaggerated in the public consciousness for political reasons. I may be wrong about that, and I don’t doubt that there were incidents of hatred, nor that many people felt scared, but I cannot find any figures to justify the popular idea that there was some sort of pogrom.

What? Put down the crack pipe, Freddie, you’ve clearly lost the plot. But he persists.

Bear in mind that there was far less violence, either inter-racially or intra-racially, in the period following Powell’s speech than in Britain today. The actual, factually recorded rise in inter-racial violence in England began in the early 1970s with the phenomenon of mugging, but this has been largely suppressed in the national consciousness, despite its role in sparking the iconic anti-racist victory at the Battle of Lewisham. People in inner-cities were far more likely to be drawn into political extremism by the experience of street violence against them or friends than by something a politician said in a speech in Birmingham.

West offers no figures, just a lot of hearsay about there being “more inter-racial violence today”.  He won’t say it, because he lacks the courage to do so, but the subtext here is “Enoch was right”. He adds,

Certainly the National Front had a spike in followers after Heath sacked Powell, being before only the preserve of “cranks and perverts”, in the words of one of their leaders. But electorally the NF were nothing, and even at their peak they barely polled more than 10 per cent in their strongest councils wards. This is ignored in the popular imagination, where NF marches were as ubiquitous as gay pride marches are to paranoid old conservatives. (And the dress code was pretty similar, now I think about it.)

This is disingenuous stuff. The “NF”, he tells us, were “nothing” in electoral terms. The fact that they were “nothing” electorally speaking is pretty meaningless when one considers their penchant for violence. Indeed the rise in the NF’s fortunes is directly attributable to Powell’s hate speech. No question about it. It wasn’t just the NF that profited, others did too. Members of the NF could even be found drinking in Conservative clubs around the country. Some were members of the Monday Club. West’s analysis is sloppy but it is sloppy because he is pathologically mendacious.

But did Powell’s speech cause this? No people in history have felt comfortable about large numbers of foreigners moving into the neighbourhoods, whatever their skin colour.

And there you have it: it’s all the fault of “the coloureds”. This is one confused puppy. Here he begins his excuses.

That’s human nature – it would be the same in Pakistan if loads of Brits started moving there. British people actually responded with a fair amount of tolerance, considering the changes they were experiencing. In France in the early 1970s there were a dozen racist murders of Arabs in just one year in Marseilles. Throughout recent English history, popular expressions of nastiness towards minorities has never been tolerated, despite most people opposing mass immigration; the vast majority of people were horrified by the violence of Teddy Boys in Notting Hill in 1958. When Eric Clapton said that “Enoch was right” in 1976  most people thought he was an idiot, including, once he got clean, Clapton himself.

The thing is, Freddie, Clapton has never retracted those words. He continues to believe that “Enoch was right” to this very day. He repeated his admiration of Powell on The South Bank Show in April 2007. In fact, The Guardian reported that,

In 2004, he told Uncut mag that Powell was “outrageously brave”, rather than dismiss his past comments as drunk ravings.

So no, Clapton did not think of himself as an “idiot” for saying those things. But again, West offers another excuse.

If there was violence following the speech, and if racists and extremists were inspired to hatred, then Powell certainly bears the blame. Much of Powell’s speech was inflammatory, which is morally indefensible but also self-defeating, since it alienates moderate followers. Why did he make it? He was a loner and an academic, and perhaps low in what today would be called emotional intelligence. Using such language in the 1880s, when the people who mattered were acquainted with classical literature, might have been sensible, but less so with a mass audience in the 1960s, who had in recent memory endured the horrors of a war inspired by a doctrine of racial supremacy.

The problem with West is that he’s an intellectual coward. He admires Powell but doesn’t have the guts to admit it or to even produce a convincing argument in defence of him.

He concludes,

The arguments are there, and it can be made without recourse to hatred or inflammatory language, and without talk of foaming rivers. In fact it’s less likely to provoke hostility from minorities, who either want to integrate and have British grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or keep separate, than from white liberals, for whom diversity has become a central part of their moral fabric and a successor religion to Christianity.

What is it with this phrase “white liberals”? Notice how he suggests “diversity” is a religious substitute for Christianity.  It’s an appalling analogy to be sure. But what more did you expect of (Fr)Ed West? A coherent argument?

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Tory press

Airbrushing Churchill or Historical Revisionism and the British Right

I always laugh when I see Dan Hannan write about the so-called “Anglosphere”. As with Europe and laissez-faire capitalism, the Anglosphere is another one of his obsessions. Sunday, he wrote that “Winston Churchill [was] the father of the Anglosphere” (my brackets).   What really bugs me is the way people on the right continue to fawn over the legend of a man who sent troops into Tonypandy to kill miners and dispatched ships and troops to Liverpool during the General Transport Strike of 1911. But neither am I interested in an imagined union of English-speaking nations. It is largely because of English-speaking nations – particularly the UK and US – that the world is such a mess.

Hannan tells us that,

In many conservative circles, particularly in the United States, Winston Churchill is beyond criticism. Mention his errors – the Gallipoli debacle, the return to gold at the pre-1914 rate, the contracting out of domestic policy to the Left after 1940, the second premiership – and you provoke a Bateman cartoon scene.

No mention here of Churchill’s evident racism or his admiration of Mussolini. Are you surprised? No, neither am I. The fact that Churchill openly expressed an admiration for fascism seems to be ignored. It is an inconvenient truth. It flies in the face of the airbrushed narrative of a man who was a bully, a racist and a thug.

I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare. It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas.

I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.

That was Churchill in 1920. He was justifying the use of poison gas – the same poison gas that was used against British troops during World War I – as a means to subdue what he called the “uncivilized tribes” of Mesopotamia.  Of course this is to assume that the very use of the gas was a mark of Britain’s superior civilization. There is nothing “civilized” about using weapons that are intended to cause great pain and suffering. Yet, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion we were told by our media that Saddam Hussein had gassed the Kurds of Halabja without the merest trace of irony. Indeed the West didn’t bat an eyelid when the Iraqi Army used poison gas against Iranian troops in the long and bitter Iran-Iraq War.

Hannan asks,

What makes the Anglosphere special?

Er, it’s smugness and  distorted sense of superiority?

The Anglosphere peoples believed, because their institutions had taught them to believe, that individual liberty, limited government and the rule of law were worth preserving – with force of arms if necessary.

This is starting to read like a fairy story now. First, Hannan assumes that the “Anglosphere” is a collection of English-speaking nations that works synchronously and harmoniously. Second, he suggests that every single inhabitant of these countries supports laissez-faire capitalism and the use of force to ‘open’ markets.

Churchill played a brave role in all three great twentieth century conflicts, fighting in the first, leading the democracies to victory in the second and defining the third.

Here we have Churchill the myth transformed into nature. He is at once presented as a man who singlehandedly fought two world wars and “defined”, as Hannan puts it, the Cold War. All because he said this in a small college in a small town in Missouri,

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.

This statement cemented Churchill’s reputation as a Cold Warrior and it also gave the West a neologism. But,

Churchill’s chief preoccupation was not with the Soviet menace, but with the unity of the English-speaking peoples

What? Like a sort of Anglophone Anschluss?

For every book that presents Churchill as a saint, there is one that shines a light into the dark corners of his real life. The book Winston Churchill – Unrepentant Racist does just that.

“Someone once asked Churchill if he had seen the film Carmen Jones, which starred Dorothy Dandridge. Winston replied that he didn’t like blackamoors and had walked out early in the proceedings.”

When he was told that there was a very high mortality among Negroes from measels he growled ‘Well there are plenty left. They’ve a high rate of production’.

Churchill  was so annoyed by Harold MacMillan’s “Wind of Change” speech that he said,

Harold should not have gone to Africa encouraging the black men.

I could list more examples. Churchill was known to despise American Indians, Australian Aborigines, Bengalis, Punjabis, if they didn’t have white skin, he didn’t like them.

So why do people like Dan Hannan gloss over Churchill’s racism? Good question. I think it is worth noting that Hannan is an open admirer of Enoch Powell, who has been given a similar makeover by the Right. The excuse is that Powell was a free-marketeer and free-marketeers always find some way to cover for their racism. Indeed, a little-mentioned feature of classical liberalism is racism and social Darwinism.

You can watch a video of The Lyin’ King heaping praise on Powell and pouring scorn on the NHS.

Hannan’s choice of heroes is interesting: there’s Churchill, Powell and Ron Paul, all of whom had or have questionable attitudes to difference. He also supports the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an organization that excuses the Jim Crow south and perpetuates the myth that the US Civil War was a “tariff war”.  Now he and his supporters would try to tell you that it is possible to elide or even detach their social views from their respective (yet, similar) economic positions.  But that would be disingenuous. Years ago, I was having a discussion about the Italian Futurists and I asked if it was possible to separate their love of war, misogyny and fascist tendencies from their art. The answer that came back was an emphatic “no”.

The problem with the likes of Hannan and those who subscribe to his brand of capitalism is they deny the racism of those they admire; they excuse it by employing the nebulous discourse of ‘free market economics’ as  means to deflect attention from the less savoury aspects of their chosen hero. Ron Paul’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act, for example, was excused with a mere “it interfered with the right of the vendor to sell to whom he/she likes”. This flies in the face of good business practice but don’t tell them that. They can’t stand the truth. They’re fond of talking about “liberty” but on closer inspection, we discover that their idea of “liberty” only extends to the privileged and those with lighter skin tones and fat wallets.

Hannan isn’t the only one. Simon Heffer penned this apology in 2008 in which he claims that the charge of racism against Powell is a “big lie”. Heffer, Hannan and the rest of them are in denial. But then when have any of these people told us the truth about anything?

I found this blog that Hannan had written in 2007 in response to an article that had appeared in the Daily Mirror. It is worth remembering that those who lionize racists often find some way to excuse them or deny their racism even when it is blatantly obvious.

For what it’s worth, I think Enoch Powell was wrong on immigration. The civil unrest that he forecast, and that many feared in 1968, didn’t materialise. Britain assimilated a large population with an ease that few countries have matched. Being an immigrant myself, I have particular cause to be grateful for Britain’s understated cosmopolitanism.

Notice how Hannan says “being an immigrant myself”. Even so, Hannan is white and those immigrants to whom Powell was referring were black or brown-skinned. Powell knew what he was doing when he used Virgil’s “Rivers of Blood” analogy.  Despite his excuses, the Press Complaint Commission supported the Daily Mirror’s position on this blog in which Hannan refers to Barack Obama as having an “exotic” background; a form of Orientalist shorthand for someone who isn’t white.

He had not sought to justify attacks on Obama, he said, and while he did count Powell as a political hero, the article misleadingly implied that he shared his views on immigration.

The Mirror said that some people, such as Labour MP Parmjit Dhanda, who was quoted in the article, had taken offence at Hannan’s choice of words.

The paper said it was entitled to comment on the Hannan’s public pronouncements and suggested he submit a letter for publication to could clarify his position.

The PCC rejected the complaint, arguing that newspapers were entitled under the code to be partisan.

“On this occasion, the commission was satisfied, given the delicate subject matter, and the fact that the remarks were open to some interpretation, that the newspaper’s reporting in this instance was well within the range of political partisanship permitted by the code of practice,” the PCC said in its ruling.

It conceded that the reference to Powell was “arguably slightly misleading”, as the context of Hannan’s regard for Powell was unclear.

Let’s return to the Anglosphere. This book states that the Anglosphere is a racialized construct. That is to say, it is constructed around the notion that “Anglo” equals “white”.  I would agree.

Now the Right would try and claim that those on Left have attempted to rehabilitate the reputation of Joseph Stalin or some other dictator that claimed to be ‘Left’. I would ask them to produce evidence to support such claims. But I could be waiting a long, long time. The Right doesn’t much care for evidence or anything like it. Have a look at the research conducted by IDS’s Centre for Social Justice or the work of Policy Exchange if you don’t believe me.

UPDATE: 16/6/12 @ 0910

Ed West chips in with this blog in which he claims “Enoch was right! He warned ‘us’ about Europe”! Here’s a snippet.

To a later generation, Powell became the bogeyman in a multicultural paradise, a sinister Victorian throwback whose inflammatory words had terrorised defenceless immigrants. Such is the notoriety and “brand toxicity” that in 2007 a Conservative candidate was forced to resign after suggesting that Powell’s immigration warnings were correct.

Naturally, you will find the usual chorus of right-wing commenters expressing their love, admiration and approval. This comment from “torieblue” sums it up but also gets it so badly wrong.

Commenter's avatar
last year when the august riots were raging you could almost hear millions of whispers ”old Enoch was right ” they were all saying it.

And yet, 14 years after his death, Powell should now be recognised as the prophet of an altogether different post-war experiment – the European project. As Jean Monnet’s dream turns to tragedy for millions, Powell’s assertion that “Europe can never be a democracy because there is no European demos” has proved completely true.

“torieblue” still labours under the assumption that last August’s riots were about ‘race’.  Nothing to do with government attacks on the working class, youths, the disabled or the poor.

UPDATE 20/6/12 @ 0853

Braindead Brendan O’Neill chips in with this apology for Enoch Powell. Is there no depth to which people like him will stoop? Is this what really passes for ‘free speech’?

What was the key prejudice in Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 speech, which everyone is talking about again following Powell’s 100th birthday? It wasn’t actually hatred of immigrants, whom Powell believed to be ambitious, ferociously so. Rather it was fear of native Britons. It was fear of what white Brits, or what Powell referred to as the “ordinary working man”, might do if more and more foreigners turned up in their towns.

Absolutely barking. But it gets worse.

Even Powell’s most notorious line – “like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood” – was a prediction not of immigrant behaviour but of native British violence against immigrants. Powell said native Brits, “for reasons which they could not comprehend” (presumably because they were a bit dim), were feeling dangerously like “strangers in their own country”.

He concludes with this,

Today’s anti-Powellites are obsessed with the same “preventable evil” that Powell was obsessed with: the evil of inter-ethnic conflict stoked by “the sense of alarm and resentment [that] lies not with the immigrant population but with those among whom they have come”. Anti-racists’ predictions of “violence on the streets”, of thuggish antics among tabloid readers, of upsurges in hatred and bloodshed following Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time are only an updated version of Powell’s blather about “rivers of blood”. For all their anti-Powell posturing, they cleave to the very same idea promoted by that most notorious politician: namely that ordinary working communities, being old-fashioned and inward-looking, might be coaxed into violence by immigration/criticism of immigration.

This is, effectively, a re-writing of history as well as a makeover of Powell. O’Neill rails against “the left” and “anti-racists”. He would deny that he is racist but he’s quite happy to attack anti-racists. He tells us that he is on the “left” but then attacks the left for the benefit of his readers. Does that make sense? No. That’s because O’Neill’s obsession with an idea of free speech has driven him to say anything he thinks is controversial. The problem with this kind of attitude is that the speaker, in this case O’Neill, exposes their deepest-held prejudices. This is not, as Foucault might have called it, “fearless speech”, because O’Neill holds power as a ‘journalist’ and opinion-former for a Tory-leaning newspaper. Those with power cannot speak fearlessly. In medieval times, it was the jester/fool who  spoke fearlessly not the king.


Filed under History & Memory, Media, racism, Tory press

The Tottenham riots, the racists of Fleet Street and their friends

Babylon is burning.  Photo courtesy of The Guardian

The riots in Tottenham have not only brought many youths onto the streets, they’ve also brought Britain’s cyber-racists out in great numbers. The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail are the homes of Britain’s reactionary tendency. The Telegraph, in particular, has seen an upsurge in Islamophobic comments over the last few years. But this Islamophobia has within it a barely concealed racism. It took the recent riots to bring this to the surface.

Nile Gardiner uses his blog to smear his opponents. To be honest, it’s surprising that he didn’t blame the riots on his favourite hate-figure: Barack Obama. He tempts his readers with this

And what’s the evidence that these riots are anything at all to do with the policies of the current government? Absolutely zilch. They are merely an excuse for robbery and destruction. And if anything the Coalition has not gone far enough in reining in the deficit, and has not been forceful enough on issues like crime.

Gardiner doesn’t have his ear to the ground; he lives in Washington DC and makes frequent appearances on Fox News where he spins yarns about ‘liberals’ and disseminates his paranoid fantasies. But it’s the unmoderated comments like this one from the appropriately named “bear_of_very_little_brain”

in the eyes  of modernists blacks, queers and women can do no  wrong.
Sexism and homophobia as well as racism. Charming. Another called “cartimandua” says
Lefties are very thick. For years they have been selling us the prison yard culture of Jamaica and Trinidad and saying it is black culture. I always wonder what the middle classes and intellectuals of those places think about that.
And this from “simonlove” lauds Hitler – but with a caveat.
Loads of the older generation who even fought against Hitler will tell you that Hitler had the right idea, he just took it too far…
“danoconnor” barely conceals his meta-racism,
National Black Police Association “Oh , right !  the National African Non-British Police Association
That must be just next door to the Muslim Police Association ,
and the….Hindu
Sikh   Police Associations
Where can I find the National White Police Association ?
This one summons up the ghost of Enoch Powell. “Hacim Obmed” says,
The deep problem revealed by these riots will not dissipate but will only fester and become worse.  Accept that Enoch Powell had it right with his “Rivers of Blood”, and a dreadful mistake has been made. We in the US made the same mistake by permitting the importation of African slaves and we paid a heavy price.  My advice, send these alien populations back where they came from before it is too late. I know it is hard but this is a matter of survival. Save British culture and society while you still can. Time is short. Your children deserve to inherit the same England that your ancestors bequeathed to you.
Well, who’d have thought it – Ken Livingstone is trying to use the Tottenham riots to further his election campaign. Here he is, blaming evil Tory cuts and crowbarring three attacks on Boris Johnson into a 300-word statement. Even Thatcher gets a namecheck!
Gilly likes to tell us that he isn’t a racist or an Islamophobe but his articles tell us a different story. As I’ve pointed out in previous blogs, he encourages racists from the EDL and the BNP to comment on his blog
Katharine Burbalsingh, ever the opportunistic blogger, chips in with her ‘expert’ analysis,

What colour is Mark Duggan? Mark Duggan is the man who was shot dead by the police on Thursday in Tottenham. The Tottenham riots last night were sparked when people protested his death. This morning, I first heard of the riots on the radio, then on the television. I read articles on the internet. But oddly, no one would say what colour Mark Duggan was. No one would say the unsayable, that the rioters were, I suspect on the whole, black. Then, finally, Toby Young’s Telegraph blog post on the riots was published. Is Toby Young the only  journalist out there who will dare say that these riots are about race?

One of her commenters, the charmingly named “j-white” decries ‘multi-culturalism’

The riots and looting have once again proven that multi-racial societies are inherently unstable, and shown that the state has a policy of appeasement toward third world colonies.

I wonder what “j-white” would have made of Roman Britain? The exceptionally racist “quatzee”, who deliberately misspells the word “Muslim”, reckons himself a comedian,

Two Guardian readers walking down the street happen upon a Muzlim screaming “Allah Ackbar! death to you! how dare you insult Jizzlam! Mohammed rules!” etc. One says to the other…..
But wait, there’s more enlightened comment! This is from “michael_arch”
As opposed to the BBC being blind to the News. Loves its ethnics – The Black Broadcasting Corporation that doubles up as the voice of Islam.
There are many more examples of unmoderated racist comments in the Telegraph but the prize for the most racist remark has to go to the Daily Heil’s Mad Mel Phillips who tweeted this,
@Mel_Phillips Melanie Phillips
‘Jungle Fever’ in #tottenham. As Leroy loots Primarni, we need to loot moral high ground of multiculti brigade.
“Jungle Fever”, eh? Who says that Jews can’t be racists too? I wonder if she realizes that there were Hasidic Jews on the streets of Tottenham jeering and mocking the police? From the Guardian,

The make-up of the rioters was racially mixed. Most were men or boys, some apparently as young as 10.

But families and other local residents, including some from Tottenham’s Hasidic Jewish community, also gathered to watch and jeer at police.

Rather predictably, the racist hacks of Fleet Street rush to paint this as a solely ‘black’ thing. The racists that make up their readership and comment on their blogs help to stoke the flames of ethnic tension. None of them are capable of understanding how much more there is to these riots beyond seeing a ‘bunch of violent thugs on a rampage’. Every single one of the Torygraph’s bloggers deny that the cuts in public services, the lack of opportunities and long-term wage stagnation have anything to do with these riots. They bury their heads in the sand and pretend that it’s all about ‘yardies’ in hoodies who are also, oddly enough, Islamic extremists. This is what passes for analysis on the pages of Britain’s right wing press.

I’ve just heard that Theresa May is cutting short her holiday to return to Britain to make the usual noises about law and order. Oh joy.

UPDATE: 9/8/11 @0023

Just to point out that the ‘Tweet’ from Melanie Phillips comes from a spoof Twitter page. I didn’t know this at the time.


Filed under London

Life on Hannan World (Part 2)

That Littlejohn fella. He was right!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the misfortune of reading a blog in which Dear Dan cited the repugnant Richard Littlejohn. If you cite Littlejohn to support your argument, you’re at the top of a slippery slope.

First he says,

The grimly efficient Chris Grayling aims to rescue millions from this wretched state. Pilot tests run under the last government yielded astonishing results. When claimants were reassessed in Aberdeen and Burnley, 30 per cent of them were passed fit for work, and another 30 per cent classified as capable of some work.

Then he links to Littlejohn, Britain’s version of Rush Limbaugh.

To understand the magnitude of the task he faces, though, the minister should read this article by Richard Littlejohn (you have to scroll down to the penultimate entry). A woman from Essex was shifted from Jobseekers’ Allowance to Incapacity Benefit three years ago because she is allergic to rubber. The Department of Work and Pensions argued that such a condition needn’t preclude all forms of employment. According to the DWP lawyer: “Her allergy, although inconvenient, has not prevented her from leading a relatively normal life — shopping, socialising, travelling on public transport.” The judges, however, ruled in favour of the claimant: a decision that may encourage others to challenge their reassessment in court.

You can read the original Littlejohn article here but you need to scroll down the page to find the actual article titled “Our amazing India rubber benefit rules”.  If you look at the first article, you can see that it harks back to the 1980’s and the “Loony Left council” articles that filled the pages of the Tory tabloid press. These days, a few Torygraph bloggers use the same style. Plus ça change.

The title of Hannan’s blog is dishonest “Can 2.6 million people be too ill to work”?  Where does he get this figure from? You get the feeling Hannan is the sort of person who sees clinical depression as the ‘blues’ and a little ‘hard work’ will cure that. All they need to do is “snap out of it”. But it isn’t that easy if you suffer from depression.   Here’s the crux of the blog

Between 1971, when Invalidity Benefit was introduced, and the mid-1980s, there were typically around 700,000 claimants. Today, there are 2.6 million (the name was changed to Incapacity Benefit in 1995). We have, tragically, encouraged some people to arrange their affairs around qualifying for the allowance.

There’s only one problem with that figure. It’s wrong. But in order to ram the point home, he includes an image of Wayne and Waynetta Slob. Cheap.

This article from FullFact.org debunks the myth of 2.6 million.  It also does so here. Here’s a snippet,

The Department for Work and Pensions estimates that when they have completed the 1.5 million assessments 23 per cent of these people will be fit for work – not 94 per cent, or even 75 per cent. This demonstrates how misguided it is to apply a statistic related to ESA applicants across the board to all Incapacity Benefit claimants.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Eh?

In another blog, Hannan apologizes for the Empire and gets in some praise for his hero, Enoch Powell. The blog has the title “In all the coverage of the atrocities in Kenya, two words are missing”. And which words are those, Dear Dan?

The British Empire was a surprisingly peaceable place. There were sporadic insurgencies, of course, and brutal wars in Ireland, India, Cyprus and Palestine; but many colonies were brought to independence without a shot being fired in anger.

This narrative of the Empire skips over many inconvenient truths to promote the idea that the British Empire – as opposed to the other empires – was, in spite of its evident failures,  a force for good. The rest of the paragraph gets a little confused.

The Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya was the exception. The mutineers were uncommonly ruthless, perpetrating monstrous atrocities against loyalist and neutral Kenyans, of whom nearly 3,000 were murdered. The response was commensurately severe: 1,090 terrorists were hanged and as many as 71,000 detained without due process.

On the one hand he condemns the actions of the so-called Mau Mau and on the other, he tells us that the response to the rebels (whom he refers to as mutineers) was severe. But this was always the response when native people were yoked to a greater, colonizing nation. They fight to wrest control of their land from the invader and will kill anyone who is seen as a collaborator. Presumably the resistance movements of World War II cut no ice?

In the second paragraph, he uses the atrocities committed at the Hola Camp to have a pop at the Guardian.

Abuses took place in the internment centres, culminating in the beating to death of eleven detainees by security guards at the Hola camp. Guardianistas, of course, slot the episode neatly into their evil-imperialists-versus-nice-natives narrative.

Mmmm, hmmm, Let’s read the rest,

But the point about the Hola killings is that they led to an outcry in the House of Commons, a wave of revulsion in the country, and a hastening of the independence process.

What he doesn’t mention is how long it took for anyone to complain.

Linking to this blog, he says,

I’m not a great fan of empires – we would have done far better to have carried on with our unofficial protectorates and trading outposts than to assume responsibility for large tracts of land – but there is little doubt that, as empires go, ours was relatively benign. Niall Ferguson makes the obvious but rarely remarked point that, for most of the countries under British dominion, the alternative was not unmolested evolution towards modernity, but conquest by someone else: France, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Japan or – worst of all – Belgium.

Yes, that’s the same Niall Ferguson who teaches what he and Carswell describe as “proper history”.  Are protectorates any less wrong that colonies? Not really, but this piece of lazy thinking implies that “if we hadn’t have colonized them,  some other power would have done so and the situation would have been much worse”. Belgium, as he rightly points out, was one of the worst colonizers. King Leopold II treated the Congo as his own personal property and subjected the natives to horrific and barbaric treatment. But the Congo was called  a “Free State”, that is to say, a country where the normal rule of law and civil and human rights are suspended in order to pursue a tidy profit.  It is an idea that gets most Randists moist. This site promotes the idea of a free state. But it’s a vision that exists outside of history and reality.  The BBC reports on the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Nigeria and tells us that other African countires are following suit. Is this another Scramble for Africa? Recently the government announced its intention to create so-called Enterprise Zones. Guess what that means for workers? The only people who get excited about these zones are parasites.

Ironically, the MP who brought the Hola Camp abuses to the attention of the Commons was the mercurial Enoch Powell, who would later go on to deliver his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech. Powell was a fervent free-marketeer and like those who give unquestioning devotion to the classical liberal model, he promoted that idea in isolation from the historical facts. This blog is, as much as anything else, an effort to rehabilitate the reputation of Powell by constructing a new, kinder memory of him outside of the materialism of history. Thatcher appropriated the memory of Churchill and isolated his wartime premiership from the rest of his inglorious past. It was a mistake and it came back to haunt her.

On to today’s blog and Hannan claims that the money that this country (sic) has given to the Portuguese bailout could have been spent on

254,150 nurses (there are around 390,000 nurses in the NHS)

114,109 NHS doctors (more than the actual total of 110,000)

180,575 police constables (there are 170,000 police officers in the UK)

194,553 teachers (out of 450,000)

246,856 Army privates (as against 106,550 actual regulars, of all ranks)

What’s so ironic about his figures for doctors and nurses is that, not so long ago, he appeared on Fox News to tell the American people that the “NHS was a 60 year old mistake”.

This blog is a mix of anti-EU sensationalism and snide attacks on his political enemies.

He takes a cheap swipe at the March of the Alternative

So where is the “March for the Alternative”? Where are all the students, Socialist Workers and trade union activists who thronged through London just a couple of weeks ago?

At the end he adds this,

So where is the TUC? Where is UK Uncut? Where are all those who asserted last month that a much smaller sum meant the end of social security in Britain? Are they missing something? Or am I?

There are none so deaf as those that refuse to hear, Dan. Tell you what, if you’re so fired up about the bailout, why don’t you organize your own march? There’s nothing stopping you. Or maybe the Rally Against Debt, which has so far attracted little support and that he supported on his blog, is more his thing? I understand, that like Hon Tobes, he’s chickened out of appearing at the rally. The fact of the matter is that the bailout of Portugal is part of a series of mistakes made by countries who adopted the neoliberal economic model in an attempt to play with the big boys of the G20 nations. This is the same economic model that was forced onto this country by the Thatcher government in the 1980’s.

Naturally, such facts are always met with silence. I wonder why?

Leave a comment

Filed under Internet, Journalism, Media

Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 22)

In yesterday’s slice of Islamophobia, Gilligan crows, “Great news: Islamists lose their parliamentary foothold”. He writes,

Two weeks ago I reported how Islamists had established a bridgehead in Parliament. A group called Engage (or iEngage) got itself appointed as the secretariat of a new all-party parliamentary group on Islamophobia. Islamophobia is rapidly emerging as the Islamists’ favoured new front – they have taken to conflating themselves with the entire Muslim community and damning any attacks on their tiny minority reading of Islam as an “Islamophobic” assault on the whole faith.

Note the way Gilly uses words like “bridgehead” and “foothold”. In this paragraph, he also brushes aside any suggestion that Islamophobia exists. Instead, he claims that it’s used as a tactic by ‘Islamists’ to wage a propaganda war. The only propagandist operating here is the obsessive Gilligoon.

Engage is at the heart of this process, an organisation which specialises in defending fundamentalist bodies such as the East London Mosque and the Islamic Forum of Europe and attacking all criticism of them as “Islamophobic.”

Yes and the Telegraph and Gilligan are at the heart of the Islamist scare story process.

It attacked the BBC’s recent Panorama documentary on racist Muslim schools – showing that some children are being taught anti-Semitism and Sharia punishments – as a “witch-hunt.”

Well, surely that is allowed and besides, what I saw of the programme indicated to me that these schools were the exception rather than the norm – even though the reportage was highly sensationalistic. Oddly enough,  have you noticed how upset Gilligoon gets when programmes contradict his line of reasoning? He absolutely hates it.

He writes,

Today, I am delighted to say, Engage has been dropped as the secretariat to the all-party group. I understand that a number of parliamentarians on the group threatened to resign once they were made aware of its true views and links. Congratulations to the Harry’s Place blog, Conservative Home and the former MP Paul Goodman for drawing attention to the issue, and keeping up the pressure.

Nothing like intense lobbying by special interest groups, eh?  we know about the fraternal links between Gilly and Harry’s Place. Both share a rabid obsession with Otherness.

Looking at the comments, I noticed how one commenter was “edited by the author”.

In Engage’s favour it could be said that any criticism of Islamism is used by the actually Islamophobic to launch attacks on the whole of Islam. The comments on Andrew’s blogs are indicative of that. 

To this end it is important that any criticism of Islamism is clearly labelled as such to shut down both Islamist Extremists like Engage and Islamophobic Extremists as well. Shut them down, marginalise them, expel them from decent society.(Edited by author 17 hours ago)

Yet comments like this one go unmoderated. This one is from blacksticks and expresses the hatred that many of these people have towards those who are different,

It started with Heath and the shutting out of Enoch Powell.
And yet even the liberals nowadays agree (if only amongst their most trusted other/s) that Enoch was right.

The full docu here, in three parts.




When will Tories admit that Enoch was right? – Telegraph7 Nov 2007 … Just as we thought we had grown up on the issue of immigration, the Conservative Party proves the contrary is true, writes Simon Heffer.

Enoch “was right”, eh? The last time I heard someone say that, they were carrying a Union Jack and calling for all blacks and Asians to be forcibly repatriated.

Silly Gilly may tell us that he isn’t a racist but in this case we can only judge a man by the company he keeps.

I wonder if he saw this story about how a fourth person had been arrested in connection to an attack on a mosque in Kingston? Probably not, he’s too busy whipping up hatred and fear and pandering to the racists who see him as a ‘hero’.

Leave a comment

Filed under Islamophobia, Media, Yellow journalism

Hannan doesn’t know his right from his left. Quelle surprise!

I’ve heard it all before. The Nazis were ‘socialist’ because they had the word “socialist” in their name – Nationalsozialistiche Deutscher Arbeiter Partei. It is a smear and it isn’t a well-thought out smear either. The clue to the Nazis extreme right ideology is in the word “National”. But then, those people who referred to the Nazis as ‘socialists’ deliberately ignored the corporatist nature of the Nazi state for the sake of fallacious reasoning. The Nazis were no friends of the working class or the trades unions and neither are the BNP.

So when I had a peek at Hannan’s blog, I saw him pretty much repeating the same lie as the US right wingers I had encountered on Delphi Forums. In the title he declares that “The far- Left BNP has never supported the monarchy“. For someone who likes to pat himself on the back for his classical education, he seems to be a remarkably thick individual.  After all, didn’t David Cameron this week tell the US media that Britain was a “junior partner” during WWII? I wonder how Norman Tebbit reacted to that bit of news?  Maybe in Hannan’s eyes, Franco was a socialist too? How about Oswald Moseley? A lefty? Didn’t Edward VIII want Moseley to run the country as a fascist state?

What is ‘left’ about the BNP? Precisely nothing. Left wing parties don’t advocate repatriation, voluntary or otherwise. Left wing parties don’t claim to look after the rights of the “indigenous British‘, meaning white British.  Left wing parties don’t offer explicitly racist policies as a ‘solution’ to economic problems. More importantly left-wing parties aren’t corporatist – the BNP is very much a corporatist party. Even the extreme right wing union Solidarity cannot be considered syndicalist since it embraces corporatism – which rather contradicts the ostensible raison d’etre of a trade union.

Unless I am very much mistaken, Enoch Powell (who is Dan’s idol) was a member of the Conservative Party when he made the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. But Powell wasn’t the only Tory in the 60’s to express such views. On 5 April 1963 on the BBC’s Any Questions the flamboyant Tory MP, Gerald Nabarro made this remark,

“How would you feel if your daughter wanted to marry a big buck nigger with the prospect of coffee-coloured grandchildren”?

The former Tory MP, John Townend, talked of ‘niggers in woodpiles’. Yet, Dan would get his knickers in a twist if someone suggested to him that the Monday Club, Conservative Way Forward or Enoch Powell were fascists. Is it because the BNP are an extreme right wing party that he wants to make the spurious claim that they are ‘left’  so that the Tories may appear ‘softer’? If that is the case, then it doesn’t work. The BNP, like UKIP and the Tories are on the right of the poltical spectrum and no matter how hard you try, there is no way the BNP can ever appear to be a left wing party – particularly when its public school educated leader uses the phrase “indigenous British” as a codeword for ‘white’.

But is Hannan is trying to claim that the BNP are a left wing party because some bloke-in-a-pub wrote a blog on a website attacking the Queen?  The site that he links to is not an official BNP website. It claims to “support the BNP and to speak in defence of the United Kingdom’s indigenous population…” How does he know that this is, as he claims, a “prominent BNP supporting site”? To be honest, I’ve never heard of the Green Arrow and I’m pretty up-to-date when it comes to Britain’s fashos. But my question is, where does that place those Tories who regard themselves as republicans? I guess Dan forgot about them.

This New Statesman article was written in reply to Norman Tebbit’s identical claim that the BNP is a ‘left wing’ party.

A word of warning to Hannan and others who want to repeat this lie: this is not the United States and people in this country won’t fall for your smear tactics. Most people in Britain know the difference between the right and left and most people know that the BNP are fascists.

Conservative Clubs up and down the country welcomed members of the National Front – it was one of Britain’s worst kept secrets. Indeed some members of the NF would often participate in the Monday Club.  This Time article from 1973 says

More recently the Monday Club has been torn by internal rebellion; there is some evidence that members of Britain’s small, neo-fascist National Front are moving to take over some of the club’s branches.

Okay, that was 1973 and a lot of NF members were expelled but there is little to distinguish the Monday Club from the NF or indeed, the BNP who were formed as a splinter from the NF. Their ideologies are quite similar too: Britain for the [white] British.

In the US, the terms right and left have been generally replaced by the words “conservative” and “liberal”. I remember once correcting someone who said that Stalin was a ‘liberal’. He was a nationalist (socialism in one country) and an authoritarian bully, that makes him little different to a reactionary conservative – like Augusto Pinochet.

For all the talk about the end of ideology and the end of the right/left dichotomy, we are still stuck with right/left whether we like it or not. But to describe an avowedly fascist party as ‘left wing’ truly beggars belief.

Finally, I once referred to Thatcher as ‘fascist’ in the 1980’s. An old socialist overheard me, pulled me over and gave me a good telling off. “She’s not a fascist”, he said. “She’s a reactionary conservative, there’s a big difference”. He was right. Pity some Tories can’t learn a similar lesson. No?

Edited to add: Since the general election in May, Nick Griffin has lost a good deal of support  and many are calling for him to resign. It should come as no surprise that there are some serious splits in the party. The Green Arrow actively calls for Griffin to step aside. This blogger isn’t a fan of the Green Arrow.

With no BNP website due to Griffins ineptitude/corruption and downright maliciousness, people are turning to the Green Arrow forum/blog to have their say, unfortunately due to the obvious ineptitude of Paul Morris’s, the imbercile and long time Griffinworld lickspittles, leadership (sic), they can’t fully have their say there either.

I like the way this bonehead spells the word ‘imbecile’.

On Nothing British, they urge the BNP to distance itself from the monarchy-hating Green Arrow.

Yesterday, Nothing British exposed the BNP-supporting Green Arrow blog, run by Paul Morris, for calling Her Majesty a “liar and traitor to her own people” and called for “treason” and “sedition”.

Someone clearly hasn’t done their research. Eh, Dan?

1 Comment

Filed under Government & politics, Media