Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cartoon time

xkcd on beauty.

And Wondermark on warning labels.

An imaginary Englishman, an imaginary literary prize, and a septic tank

The white supremacists at BareNakedIslam have discovered Douglas Murray, an Englishman whose terror at the very existence of Mooslims is nearly as comical as their own. Such a significant figure is Murray that I had to Google him to find out who he was (about which more in a minute). Suffice it to say that he's apparently gay. Regular readers will recall that if there's one thing BNI hates as much as Muslims, it's gays. And as with "Muslim", BNI use "queer" "faggot" and other insults not necessarily to indicate actual homosexuality or muslim faith (BNI has described Pres. Obama as a "black faggot Muslim" after all) but merely as terms of abuse.

Uncle Jimmy of letspretendtonyblairsstillrelevant jumps straight in like the dutiful little acolyte he is, commenting Murray appears occasionally, not enough imho, on British current affairs programmes. He is generally thought of as “extreme” right here. Britain is so far left as to make Murray seem sexually straight! Oh well done, Jimmy, you're getting the idea. Brits are all "leftists" so of course WE ALL KNOW they're all homosexual. Or if they're not, then they're evil, and homosexuals are evil, so it's all the same, right? Well done. Not only do you get to show off how anti-left and anti-gay you are (all the better to impress the Great White Sheet), not only do you show how well you're learning BNI's techniques of smearing and lying; but you get points for following the BNI party line of hatred and contempt for "dhimmi" Britain. Remind me again, Jim, why I'm supposed to take your supposed Britishness seriously for a microsecond? If you actually did have any connection to Britain it's clear that you have less love for the place than any of the Anjem Choudary types you criticise so freely. I'm sure he reckons we're all commie sex perverts too. However, it becomes clearer with every word you type that you're an American, and a damned unpleasant one at that. If you hate Britain so much, why don't you just go home?


Now - back to Douglas Murray. He runs the "Centre For Social Cohesion", which is a "think-tank" for those who prefer prejudice to thought - so a "tank" I suppose, not to say a septic one. (Most such bodies are registered as educational charities: not the CSC. I wonder why?) He's the goon who believes NATO should launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against countries developing WMDs (excepting Israel of course). He's the fool who invited readers of his blog to send in racist jokes (only against the Irish of course, because they barely count as people). He calls himself a neoconservative (though despite his anti-Irish diatribes and his Zionism he doesn't describe himself as a racist. How odd.) I wondered how on Earth he got a journalism prize in 2009 until I realised that previous winners included Michael Gove. Any prize Gove's illiterate rantings (one of the main reasons I stopped reading the Times) could secure is clearly a joke.


Now here's a thing: when I Googled the Charles Douglas Home Memorial Prize to see when Gove won it, and why, the only winner with a date assigned (2009) is ...... Douglas Murray. All references to his distinguished predecessors appear solely in his Wikipedia entry. Even better, the only references to the prize at all are in relation to Murray. I begin to suspect that it's not so much a joke as a Douglas Murray vanity project. Murray supposedly won the prize with an essay on the growth of Sharia Law in the UK: how fitting then that an essay on an imaginary phenomenon should be awarded an imaginary prize.


Having read the essay here may I add that that no writer who believes that the word "proselytise" means the same as "promote" can be considered any kind of advertisement for the educational standards of Eton College: and how he obtained a degree in English from Magdalen College Oxford God only knows. Sir Compton Mackenzie must be turning in his grave. (Note for those whose English is dodgy: the thing you "proselytise" is the recipient of the idea, not the idea itself. You have to love folk who cloak their ignorance in long words used incorrectly. Oh and apparently "By allowing different laws to be applied to people of different ethnic origins, based on the notion that there are laws which would are good enough for you but not good enough for me." is a sentence. Who knew?)


Should any bright spark wish to point out the note that "this is an edited version of the essay" and blame the errors on the Times, I would be grateful if s/he could point me to the unedited version. If that can be found somewhere its location might shed light on this mysterious and evanescent prize.


Any further bright spark who wishes to point out that Montague Compton Mackenzie received his degree in Modern History rather than English is at liberty to do so. Mackenzie, nevertheless, was a great writer and a credit to his old college.

Strictly Liquor, Love and Laughs.....sounds like me

I've just been posting an entry on Facebook in the 30 Day Song Challenge where you pick songs which fulfil certain criteria (I'll post the full list on the blog when I finish). Today was "Day 25 - a song that makes you laugh", so it had to be this one. So many wonderful lines: "Baby, you're so far ahead it's beautiful!" "I got home late...very late. What could I say to my wife? Darling, I've been beaten up again....let's face it, she's credulous as hell."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pongo! Pongo-pongo-pongo-pongo-pongo!

And for those of you who thought Insektors was an oddity, here is what seems to be the only available clip of Rubovia, a TV programme I remember from when I was just a toddler. Black and white TV; puppets; but rather weird and imaginative programmes in many ways.



The baby dragon was a regular character and was called Pongo.

Audio fun : What's Shakin'

I had Al Kooper's version (with Shuggie Otis) of One Room Country Shack running through my head today, which is funny because it's years since I heard it (and I mean mid 1970s). Couldn't find it on Youtube, but they had this track from an album "What's Shakin'" I used to own (it went in one of my periodic purges of vinyl I hadn't listened to for a long time). Still sounds pretty good.



The only track I really miss having (and I can listen to it whenever I want via the web these days) is this one. One of my all time favourite records:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Insektors is on Youtube!

...though sadly mostly not the English versions.

Insektors is a sadly obscure children's TV programme from around 15 years ago. A girl we used to babysit for had a tape of the English language versions (the originals are French) and our whole family became fans and could be heard going "Oh, the shame of it!" in comedy Welsh accents. All harmless fun for small children with a green message. (It amused the grown-up Saunderses that the owner of the Insektors tape was part of a family who were very green indeed.)




Guess whodunnit

Terrorists plan murderous ambushes in the West Bank

Homosexual stoned to death according to dictates of holy book.

If you imagined that those crimes must have been carried out by Muslims, then award yourself the La-La-Land prize for those who filter their knowledge of the world through their prejudices because they can't handle reality.

If you weren't surprised to find that the terrorists were illegal Israeli settlers, and that the gay was stoned to death by a Christian in Pennsylvania, give yourself a pat on the back for living in the real world when the fantasy one would be much more comfy.

Trio of Oz: Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

Just been to a wonderful gig by the Trio of Oz, comprising Omar Hakim (drums), Rachel Z (piano) and Solomon Dorsey (acoustic bass). Hakim is one of the best drummers in the world, possibly the best right now, and the enthusiasm of my son the drummer dragged me along in his wake. And boy, am I glad it did. It's been a long time since I attended a straight jazz gig (not jazz-rock or jazz-funk or any other kind of hyphenated jazz) and Ruairidh had never been to one before. It's been even longer since I saw a jazz group who played so amazingly. I could happily have listened to any one of the three musicians, performing alone, all night.

Isn't it sad that because Omar Hakim is a Muslim, and because Rachel Z is married to him, there are folk around who would like to:

- deny them the right to travel by air, anywhere
- throw them in jail for sedition
- expel them from the USA
- kill them

Personally I consider Omar and Rachel vastly better ambassadors for the USA than any of the un-American clowns in those links, especially unindicted war criminal and Presidential hopeful Allen West.

Here they are last year, with a different bassist, in the same venue as tonight and doing one of the same numbers.

Advice to those who wish to lie openly about the content of documents they link: first ensure that ALL your readers are sub-literate racist morons

Always sad when someone begins to show signs of his mind falling apart, though it might be argued in Jimmy's case that the signs began when he hitched his wagon to the white supremacist conspiracy theorists over at BNI while claiming not to be a racist. Or when he started calling for the return of no-longer-even-a-Member-of-Parliament Tony Blair as PM in some kind of ... what? Presidential election? (He is an American after all.) Military coup? (I call him Uncle Jimmy because he used to bleat about how things will be different when right-thinking folk rise up.) Whatever.

This post begins pretty incoherently, though it seems that he disapproves of the military action agaionst Colonel Gaddafi. I think he's saying that nobody who opposed military action against Saddam can be in favour of action against Gaddafi. (Well, you know, these brown-skinned chappies are all alike and you either want then all dead or you don't. And over at BareNakedIslam they think Gaddafi's wonderful because the rebels are all members of al-Qaeda. Gaddafi says so! So does "top Muslim cleric" Anjem Choudary.....)

Jimmy's mind is still up to working in a few deceitful asides though:

“ALL NECESSARY MEANS” WAS ALSO IN RESOLUTION 1441
That phraseology and their meanings aside, there is an even more intriguing coincidence that the mainstream press have missed. Purposely, of course. They’re not quite as dull as they often seem to be.


With reference to re-affirming one of the earlier dozen or so resolutions regarding Saddam, the Iraq Resolution (1441) also mentioned “all necessary means”.

Well, yes it did. The phrase "all necessary means" is used in Resolution 1441 in one place - here:

Recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area

Resolution 660 (the one to be upheld by "all necessary means") is the one condemning Saddam for invading Kuwait. Not for being beastly to the Kurds, or for impeding UN weapons inspectors. Invading Kuwait. Resolution 1441 does NOT say that "all necessary means" can be used for any other purpose than getting Saddam's forces out of Kuwait, howver horrible Tony Blair or indeed other Iraqis thought Saddam was. It sets out various things Saddam needs to do, and a time frame in which he has to do them, in order to comply with earlier demands by the Security Council. And it ends with:

12. Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security;
13. Recalls, in that context, that the Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations;
14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

Para. 12 makes it very clear that Resolution 1441 expects that there will be a further meeting to determine whether Saddam has in fact complied, and a further resolution before (as per para 13) "serious consequences" ensue. (We'll never know what those might have been because the USA and UK had invaded Iraq before we ever had another resolution.) And para 14 makes it crystal clear that the UNSC is still on the case and has not at this time signed off on any action whatsoever.

Resolution 1973 on the other hand explicitly permits "all necessary measures" (short of an invasion) for the protection of civilians in specific parts of Libya.

Hypocrisy? No. Deliberate deceit by Jimmy? Yes.(He has clearly been schooled by his BNI buddies in their technique of "link to a site and lie about its contents on the assumption that your readers won't bother following the link".)

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? 1441 c/w 1973?

On innumerable occasions those of us who support Tony Blair’s Iraq decision asked the same question about the term “serious consequences” used in Resolution 1441 – what did people think it meant? And on innumerable occasions people like Ming Campbell replied that “serious consequences” didn’t mean military action.

But “all necessary measures” clearly DOES mean military action, as we can all see. However, it can hardly be argued that its meaning was spelt out clearly. The phrase leaves plenty of room for argument and worse, for error. For instance as to whether civilians dressed in army kit on one side (Gaddafi’s) ARE legitimate targets, while the same on the other side (the rebels, whoever they are) are NOT targets. (Protecting “civilians”?)

Er, civilians are civilians and those undertaking military action are not. And since when was Gaddafi's army a bunch of "civilians dressed in army kit"? The "army kit" includes tanks FFS! What the fuck is he on about? Gibbering, simply gibbering.

That “illegality” conclusion is for the simple reason that the Lib Dems insist (in their infallible knowledge) that Resolution 1441 was one resolution short of sufficient.

Well, Jimmy, that "infallible knowledge" comes, as we have seen, with the ability to read. If you can't or won't read Resolution 1441, at least you might stop quoting from it as though in itself it authorised any kind of action whatsoever (other than the actions it demands from Saddam).

I resolve that on interpreting resolutions, Ming, his party and their conclusions are one penny short of a nine pound note.

As opposed to Jimmy who simply "knows" what the content of resolutions is without troubling to read them and is thus the full nine pound note..

But legalities matter to the high-horsed and mighty.

They certainly don't matter to Jimmy and his insurrectionist BNI cronies. Here's Menzies Campbell again:

Systematic persecution and worse against those whose only crime is to seek democratic government, regional support for action, and the express authority of the UN, are all distinguishing elements in any comparison between Saddam and Gaddafi.

Not for Jimmy, they're not.

Saddam had killed thousands of his own people and others with WMD and by assassinations for decades. The UN had expressly issued resolutions GALORE towards Saddam. He had blithely ignored them for over a decade.

You really need to read that again:

Saddam had killed thousands of his own people and others with WMD and by assassinations for decades.

Is that the same as "Systematic persecution and worse against those whose only crime is to seek democratic government ?" Maybe it is, though no doubt some like to think Saddam was attacking violent separatists and Islamic terrorists. (Well, he said so.) So one point to Jimmy.

The UN had expressly issued resolutions GALORE towards Saddam. He had blithely ignored them for over a decade.

And I'm sure this must be relevant to something or other, but it's certainly not to Campbell's statement. None of the UN resolutions since the invasion of Kuwait had authorised any kind of military activity. One might as well say that the hundreds of UN resolutions "blithely ignored" by Israel for over quarter of a century provide express authority for, say, Iran to launch an invasion. They do not. Jimmy has no comprehension whatsoever of the meaning of "the express authority of the UN", has he? Just as well he isn't advising President Ahmedinajad.

As for "regional support for action", where was that at the time of the invasion of Iraq?

<<>>

For some reason best understood by his High Ming Mindedness, the sufferings of the Iraqi people under Iraq for 30 years – which we all knew about – are not to be compared with the sufferings of the Libyan people under Gaddafi.

Against one of those we are right to act, against the other we weren’t.

WE ALL KNEW... funny how Jimmy loves to use that phrase to characterise his opponents' attitudes but is happy to use it himself. (Well, he KNOWS the content of Resolution 1441 better than those who have actually read it.) In any case, the comparison is not between the sufferings of the Iraqi and Libyan people, but between the legality or otherwise of military action. But hey, when you've lost an argument, pretend it was about something else. Even Jimmy's hate-ravaged brain is still capable of that. That and cheap ad hominem jibes against opponents.

Utterly disgraceful hypocrisy.

If by "disgraceful" he means "imaginary" I couldn't agree more. As for his own performance, he should really stick to his tried and tested racist rhetoric of Obama-is-a-Muslim and God-gave-the-whole-of-Palestine-to-the-Jews-thousands-of-years-before-Israel-was-invented. When he moves away from Fantasyland and attempts to connect with facts in the real world, he comes unglued: and it's not an edifying sight.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Danger: Women At Work

Eleanor Roosevelt once said that nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. In the same way, a group of lap dancers from Hackney took to the streets recently (with the support of their local vicar, no less!) to demonstrate that nobody can turn you into a sex object without your consent either: and these ladies weren't for consenting.

Loretta Landon, 23, was pragmatic about her job. "Frankly, I think the men who come into the clubs are more objectified than we are," she said. "Some of them might have these romantic fantasies about us, but to us they are just walking wallets."

I couldn't find an update on this particular story, but the OBJECT campaign they were protesting about is mentioned in this interesting piece on how some feminists concentrate on the sex industry and miss all the more serious - if more insidious - kinds of exploitation.

Reinventing History

Sometimes Uncle Jimmy over at Keep Tony Blair For PMM posts things to which the only possible response is hysterical laughter. His racist pals at Bare Naked Islam recently got their panties in a twist, saying that for Muslims to call Jesus a prophet of Islam is a vicious slander because Jesus lived before the time of Mohammed (what part of "prophet" don't they understand? And are we to ban lessons from Isaiah and Micah in the Christmas services because they're Jooooos who predated Christianity?). They also said the Taj Mahal was stolen from the Hindus by Moslem invaders.... Anyway, a couple of months ago Jimmy linked to an article by the equally crazed, if less openly racist, Mel Phillips, in which she demonstrated that her own grasp of history is on the same level.

It's priceless, really.

You tell them the history of the Middle East, they say ‘no it’s not true’ .

Now, that’s not true of everybody. There is a very large number of people in my view in Britain who are not impervious to reason at all. They’re entirely rational. But unfortunately the discourse they hear day after day, week after week, from the media, from the intelligentsia, from politicians across the political spectrum, from the universities, from their teachers in universities, all tells one story.

It’s a story which turns truth and lies, justice and injustice, victim and victimiser in the Middle East on their heads. But the problem is this: there is no alternative discourse that they hear. There is virtually no media outlet that tells the truth about the Middle East.

Like the doting mother watching the parade and saying "There's our Albert, the only one in step" . Jimmy reads this and thinks that Mel is the only person in the entire world, including Israel, who knows the truth about the Middle East and Mooslims.

They have been told that the land of Israel was the homeland of Palestinian Muslims since time immemorial. They have no idea that historically this is absolute garbage. No one’s told them. No one tells them this. They have absolutely no idea of the legal commitments entered into by Britain and the international community after the first world war, which said that on account of their unique claim to this land the Jews should be settled throughout Palestine.

In what way does the suggestion after World War One (hint to Mel: 1914-1918) that Jews should be settled in Palestine invalidate claims that Muslims had been living there for over a thousand years before that?

The other side, the Arab side doesn’t want it. It wants Israel gone. It says so. It shows it by every word and deed and has done consistently for nine decades.

And it was pretty successful for the first two and most of the third, considering Israel didn't even exist until just over sixty years ago.

But for Jimmy it's only Mel who tells the truth about Middle Eastern history. If Mel says that World War One is older than Islam, everyone who disagrees with her is mistaken. If Mel say that Israel has existed for ninety years, let no mere Israeli argue with her.

At the bottom he links to 2 other Mad Mel posts. One on the rush to blame the Arizona shooting on Sarah Palin et al (which while full of the usual MP rubbish is fair enough on that score), and one on a Danish journalist being prosecuted after writing that Muslims "rape their own children". The level of Mel's desperation to support any Islamophobe, anywhere, anytime is shown by her her ludicrous assertion that this statement is no different from saying "Americans make good films". Oh, yes, right Mel. And let's not forget "Jews control the world's financial system". OBVIOUSLY that's no different from saying "Scots wear kilts", because just as not all Scots wear kilts not all Jews are in positions of influence in international finance. If her idea of history didn't reduce you to tears of mocking laughter, her idea of logic would.

John Esposito on Fox news, Islam, and Islamophobia

Still on that matter of media bias, here's John Esposito talking to Media Matters about Fox News and its relentless campaign of misinformation and scaremongering.

Daily Record readers don't care who runs the country as long as he likes football

After a series of posts on the media telling their readers what their readers want to believe, here is a clip from the splendid Yes, Prime Minister. Must be getting on for 20 years old now, and still funny.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I believe the term for this sort of thing is "Blood Libel"

On the subject of fakes, or more precisely the suspension of normal critical faculties so as to see what you wish to see, consider the grim tale of the five Israelis murdered last week in Itamar.

First of all, the IDF have yet to identify the killers as definitely Palestinian (and does anyone think they wouldn't if they could?) Here is the wikipedia entry describing the crime:

Israeli authorities estimate that two murderers took part in the attack. An initial probe showed serious failures in the functioning of the security forces at Itamar, and the pursuit of the perpetrators began very late. According to the probe, the fence around Itamar functioned properly. When the terrorists infiltrated, just after 9 p.m. on Friday night, an alarm sounded in the settlement's security room, indicating the exact location where they entered. But neither the settlement's civilian security team nor the civilian security officer, who went to the site of the disturbance and found nothing out of order, informed soldiers patrolling the area of the fence, although procedures prescribe that the IDF is to be informed of any alarm.

I'm not trying to suggest that this was a "Jew on Jew" killing, but it sounds suspiciously like an inside job, or at least one with inside help. And when you consider that the IDF reckon the killings were the work of one or two people rather than a "terrorist infrastructure" * it sounds more like some kind of individual feuding or revenge. In other words, the kind of thing which (when it happens in the UK) is called "murder" but not "terrorism".

As the attackers used knives rather than rifles or pistols, and because of other characteristics of the killings, the IDF believes it was not carried out by an organized terrorist infrastructure but more likely was the work of one or two people (http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=211879)

None of which has prevented the murders being more or less entirely reported as a terrorist attack by Palestinians.

We are also told that Hamas described the killings as "heroic". Well did they? The Hamas leadership certainly didn't.

According to the Website for Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades in Palestine, (the military wing of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas), Palestinian National Movement Hamas official Ezzat Al-Rashak says that the movement is not responsible for the murder of the five family members from the Itamar settlement. Al-Rashak confirmed that, "harming children is not part of Hamas' policy, nor is it the policy of the resistance factions."

Islamic Jihad certainly called it a heroic operation, but the only suggestion that Hamas praised it in those terms is that a columnist (Mustaf Sawwaf) in a pro-Hamas newspaper did so. Which is like blaming the Conservative party for everything that appears in the Daily Telegraph.

(Over at Bare Naked Islam, Uncle Jimmy's white supremacist chums (of whom more anon) reckon the Hamas leadership said one thing in English but something quite different in Arabic. Jimmy tells us that BNI always links to authoritative sources, and here it links to the Translating Jihad blog: it had to, as this "scoop" only appears there. The guy who runs the blog helpfully links to Loonwatch's systematic demolition of his supposed translating skills. So I think an otherwise uncorroborated story from him has zero credibility. Mind you, BNI''s description of the murders runs "A baby and two young children are slaughtered in their home along with their parents, who fought the Muslims in vain to keep their children from being stabbed to death." Perhaps if BNI read newspapers instead of fake Arabic translators they would have spotted that the parents, like the children, were hacked to death in their sleep. )

But for the best and most widespread example of seeing what you wish to see, take the reports of the people of Gaza celebrating the murders.

"Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah on Saturday poured out on the streets to celebrate the terror attack in West Bank settlement of Itamar, in which five family members were murdered in their sleep." (http://www.anti-semitism.net/gaza/gaza-residents-hand-out-candy-to-celebrate-itamar-massacre-solomonia.php)


Palestinians actively celebrated the killings in Gaza. Getty Images/AP released a photo in which:
‘A Palestinian man distributes sweets in the streets of the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on March 12, 2011 to celebrate an attack which killed five Israeli settlers at the Itamar settlement near the West Bank city of Nablus.’

This celebration was not reported by The Guardian or the BBC despite the fact that both media organs attempted to portray Palestinians as unhappy about the killings.
(justjournalism.com/the-wire/guardian-claims-palestinian-%E2%80%98shock%E2%80%99-at-itamar-attack/)

Ah yes, the photograph. Actually there are three photographs, and I will show all of them. (All photographs by SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)






And that's that. Those are the photographs. The total evidence for Gazans "pouring onto the streets to celebrate" is three pictures, which show a young man handing sweets to (a) a glum-faced taxi driver (b) two stony-faced policemen (c) an old woman whose grimace might be taken as a smile. Nothing terribly celebratory: if the captions didn't tell you what to expect to see you might be looking at pictures of a man handing out sweets to raise money for Comic Relief. Nobody cheering or firing guns into the air. Nobody even smiling much. Perhaps the captions should read "Gazan man hands out sweets his Mum made but doesn't want now because the reports of the murders havemade her feel sick". That would fit the expressions better.

So why have all the mainstream media leapt on these pictures, taken the Getty-supplied captions at face value, ignored the actual content of the pictures, but then extrapolated further to describe jubikant crowds Why indeed? Because once again it requires only a five-second look at the pictures to realise that the captions are simply a vile lie. Not wishing to get all Oliver Stoneish here, but it does seem more than a simple coincidence that so many people all mysteriously abandoned all professional ethics and care over the same story.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


After all the deception and outright lying, let us leave the last word to the younger brother of the murdered father (and uncle of the children):

Udi Fogel's younger brother Motti Fogel spoke out against the use that has been made of the murder of the family: "All the slogans about Torah and settlement, the Land of Israel and the people of Israel are attempts to forget the simple and pain-torn fact: you are dead. You are dead, and no slogan will bring you back. You are not a symbol or a national event. Your life was a purpose in and of itself, and it should be forbidden for your terrible death to turn your life into some sort of tool." (Haaretz)

Jihad Cosmo? Come ON, people...

Just about every newspaper, blog and other outlet appears to be taking this ludicrous fake at face value, so I thought I'd better debunk it. At least the HuffPo is suitable cagey about its genuineness, and their commenters seem mostly to reckon it stinks.

So: why do I call it a ludicrous fake? Well, for a start, who exactly is supposed to be its target readership? It panders to every imaginable Islamophobic stereotype (beauty tips on veiling FFS, as though even those Muslim women who wear veils didnlt do their hair and make-up underneath for the benefit of their families and female friends) so let's humour them for a second. It can't be aimed at the poor downtrodden Muslim wife of Islamophobic mythology, because she wouldn't be allowed to read it even if she'd been allowed to learn to read. Its glossy westernised style would see to aim it squarely at the Muslim women we actually see in Britain, in our schools, universities and workplaces. But would they be interested in a magazine full of articles about veils, which hardly any wear? Will they be wanting advice on suicide bombing? I don't think so.

And what use is a magazine in Arabic if al-Qaeda want to reach Muslims in the West? Hardly any speak it, let alone read it. Most British Muslims speak Urdu, Punjabi or Bengali (with a few Turks). In France they mostly speak West African languages, which of course include variants of French. Why publish in a language your supposed readers can't even read?

...and which the publishers aren't too hot on either. The description of the magazine's contents is the same in all the reports and will have come from the publishers' press release. Note the article on "How To Marry A Mujahideen". Now I don't speak Arabic, but mujahideen is an Arabic word that has been taken over into English. As has mujahid, the singular form. Yes, folks, whoever wrote al-Shamikha doesn't know the difference between singulars and plurals in Arabic. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula? Please.....

This supposed magazine is either a clever spoof aimed at the leisured rich women of Abu Dhabai and Dubai (and far too clever for the Daily Mail et al) or else it's yet another clumsy attempt by right-wing idiots to stoke even more of the hatred of Muslim that so pollutes Western society. I suspect the latter, but you never know.

The interesting question it raises is, how did so many journalists come to suspend their critical faculties so totally when this landed in their inbox? Why was it given credence for even ten seconds?

The No-Longer-Forgotten Highlander

I found this story immensely pleasing. And it's not often I say that about anything involving HRH The Duke Of Rothesay.

I dunno...I start off finding things to praise about Tony Blair, then Prince Charles...where will it all end?

I'm looking forward to reading Alistair Urquhart's book, which I gave Hilary for Christmas. POW on the Burma Railway; escaped; torpedoed and sunk; saved by Japanese and taken back to prison camp; new camp is in Nagasaki. Now there's someone I'd buy lucky white heather from.

And here's someone else.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Alpha Male

I promised health updates as relevant, so here's one.

Last Wednesday I went to the surgery for a spirometry (lung function) test, to see what state my lungs are in at present. Unfortunately they won't do the test if your blood pressure is over a threshold level, which mine was. They think most likely it's my present stressful situation (they had in mind my diagnosis and my impending redundancy: let's not start on the idiotic testers - and project managers - I have to deal with at work!). In any event, I have to go back in a month's time, when after following the advice in the leaflet I was given (less booze, more exercise, more sleep) I should be at or near the target pressure.

Incurable fatal genetic complaint; high blood pressure; imminent redundancy; HM Revenue & Customs demand for nearly £3k in back taxes (almost certainly an error as various colleagues have had the same thing written off on appeal, but a lot nevertheless); much work and many idiots to deal with there. I think when I leave my job at the end of October a career selling lucky white heather beckons.....

On the plus side: I got my flu and pneumonia vaccinations done while I was at the surgery. My concert at the weekend went really well and while the anticipated difficulties in fitting everyone onto the stage duly arose, they were quickly sorted out. My programme notes made sense (composed in the wee small hours after a bottle of Rioja, they might not have, especially as they included an idiot's guide to the plot of Wagner's Ring cycle!) I have an appointment to see the genetic medicine people next week for counselling and general Q&A. Hilary will be coming with me as we want to get her tested to find out whether there's any chance of our children having A1AD (they're definitely carriers) and they won't test her without pre-test counselling. (I think I skipped most of that by virtue of having seen my brother at his worst.)

I have a head cold once more It will be nice when the summer comes and I eventually get rid of this cold which has beem hanging around (apart from a 2 week gap early in January) since September. Of course, eventually Birnam Wood will stomp up the path and I will have a cold that never entirely goes away. However, I'm being Mr Glass Half Full (or Lung Mostly Empty) right now.

Video (or audio at least) fun

This would seem to combine my liking for weird European pop (here 1960s German) with topicality (at least if you're Tunisian, Egyptian, Bahraini, Yemeni...)


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

And this is better than Saudi Arabia how?

And let's not forget Georgia Congressman Bobby Franklin, who wants to pass a law which could lead to women who suffer miscarriages being sentenced to death. Not even the Taleban thought of that one.

Or South Dakota Congressman Phil Jensen whose bill to legalise the murder of gynaecologists has been quashed (for now).

While we're on the subject

..of Uncle "Keep Tony Blair For PM" Jimmy's Islam-hating agenda, at the end of that last post on Choudary he lists a carefully cherry-picked string of BAD THINGS done by WICKED MUSLIMS in the past week or so. He does so under the sacrcastic heading

Islam/Sharia is such a morally superior religion/law, don’t you think?

Let’s just check this week out and then you can tell me I am unduly worried about Islam and sharia law.

Yes, Jimmy, let's check it out. Let's take a look at some of the things Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews people have been getting up to, and then you can tell me whether I should worry about those religions too.

In Tennessee lesbians had their home burned down (not by Muslims!)

This story is a few weeks older, but sadly in (Christian) Uganda such persecution is an everyday occurrence.

Here is a Christian hate preacher in Uganda whose ignorance of what constitutes normal gay practice is simply astounding, even if his bigotry is sadly not so. Unfortunately, unlike Anjem Choudary, this asshole (sic) is all too typical of so-called Christian preachers there.

OK, let's move on from all those Christians. Here's a Sikh "dowry killing".

Here's a Hindu one.

Here's another.

Now some Jewish terrorism.

And again. And again. And again and again and again.

And yet again.

This incident may have been an accident, but if the driver had been a Palestinian and the victim a Jewish settler there is no doubt whatsoever that it would have been reported as a deliberate act of "stealth Jihad". This one on the other hand was simply a hit and run by a settler: why stop for a mere Untermensch?

And how would Jimmy describe this if it took place in, say, Iran, and the bus driver were a Jew? Hmmm....hard to say.....

So my question to Jimmy would be, "morally superior to what?" Because most ordinary Muslims are without the slightest question morally superior to all the pieces of filth in my selection, just as most ordinary Hindus, Jews, Sikhs and Christians are to those in his. No one religion has a monopoly on terrorism, murder, homophobia, or the commodification of women. To suggest otherwise is simple bigotry. But then of course Jimmy is a simple bigot.

Not that he has an agenda or anything

Jimmy recently posted about Anjem Choudary's visit to the USA. Nobody - and I mean nobody - except right-wing nuts and assorted Islamophobes pays Choudary the slightest attention. He's such a gift to the nutters that one wonders whether they actually keep him on the payroll, so well can he be relied upon to spout nonsense. To Jimmy "he is treated as though he is a normal, balanced, rational human being. He is nothing of the sort." Good spot, Jim.

More recently, Jimmy has admitted that "it’s probably true that he (Choudary) has little following in Britain". But he's "still waiting for average, law-abiding everyday British Muslims to denounce him in numbers, though. Will let you know when they do."

How about these? Or these? How about these?

I guess Jimmy was just so busy he forgot to let us know. Still, we ken noo.

Something else Blair didn't screw up

I must thank Uncle Jimmy at Keep Tony Blair For PM for linking to this piece from the Huffington Post which I'd missed.

I will freely admit that I had always understood that the WMDs which Blair persuaded Gaddafi to give up were as imaginary as those in Iraq, at least as far as nuclear devices went (both Saddam and Libya had some chemical weapons). The HuffPo piece makes it clear that Libya did in fact have most of the components of a nuclear device, though not all and with little clue as to how to put them together. Gaddafi might, though, have tried to sell them on, for example to Zimbabwe. Jimmy's analysis that "Without Blair’s moves towards Gaddafi we may already have had a nuclear war emanating from that region" is clearly ludicrous: the only nation in the region ever to have had a usable nuclear weapon is Israel, whose illegal WMDs remain uninspected unpunished, and unhindered by non-proliferation agreements. But even if it was less significant than Blair and his fan club would like to make out, it was clearly worth doing.

Pete Seeger does the right thing

Good to see that Pete Seeger, who back in the day could be relied upon to take the side of the weak against the strong, has expressed regret for supporting an event sponsored by the Jewish National Fund (bankrollers of Zionist terror and ethnic cleansing). He has instead joined the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement: and not before time.

Apparently it was the Israeli government's recent attempts at the ethnic cleansing of Bedouin from the Negev which changed his mind.

The ever-irrelevant CifWatch (inventing anti-semitism behind every bush) are very funny on that Harriet Sherwood article. They hate it, of course, but you have to love anyone who can write this:

Someone who trots out slogans such as ‘Judaisation of the Negev’ clearly has a whole crate of axes to grind seeing as the Negev lies undisputedly within Israeli territory

And there was I almost believing all that hasbara that non-Jews in the "democracy" of Israel had rights. But no, the Negev is in Israel, and the removal from it of all non-Jews is fine by Cifwatch. What a despicable bunch they are.

Ignorant too:

An even more revealing indictment of Sherwood’s clear bias and employment of events at Al Arakib as a means of attacking Israel’s legitimacy is the fact that this week also saw violent clashes at Havat Gilad when representatives of the Civil Authority and police arrived there to destroy illegally built constructions on exactly the same legal basis as the demolitions at Al Arakib. The difference is, of course, that the residents of Havat Gilad are Jewish (and ‘settlers’ too) and so Harriet Sherwood is nowhere on the horizon and the Guardian will not be commissioning an article from Neve Gordon or any other members of its stable of ‘tame’ Israelis.

The difference, of course, as anyone not living in Zionist la-la land could explain to them, is that al-Arakib is in the supposedly non-apartheid democracy Israel. Havat Gilad is not. The "settlers" are there illegally and the Israeli government is merely, for once, abiding by international law. I suppose it would have been good if the Guardian had sent someone to cover the Havat Gilad demolitions as an example of some good news coming out of Occupied Palestine instead of the usual tales of woe, but somehow I don't think that's what the racist idiots at Cifwatch had in mind. But hey, let's celebrate, right here, right now, the Israelis doing something to curb its exporting of terrorism to neighbouring countries. More demolitions of illegal settlements in the OT please. But if you could see your way to allowing non-Jews to own property in Israel in the same way Jews do, that would be even better. Thanks.

There's no pleasing some folk

Further to my last post, Mark Elf at Jews Sans Frontieres didn't like Ian McEwan's speech. Well, I suppose he did talk about a two-state solution and didn't demand the dissolution of Israel, neither of which will have endeared him to Mark, who while a useful source of information on the region is definitely a one-state hardliner.

Oddly, Elf accuses McEwan of ignoring Palestinian writers in his speech. Yet McEwan mentions Izzeldin Abuelaish, presumably because he has just published a book. Perhaps Elf considers only writers of fiction to be "writers"?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Eyes On The Prize

I have sometimes poked fun at Uncle Jimmy's habit of cutting and pasting entire articles into his blog posts rather than merely linking them. It's certainly something which can become wearying: but sometimes one encounters a piece which says so perfectly what needs to be said that copying it all is simply an act of homage. (Also a way of ensuring that even the laziest reader gets the message .)

Here, then, is novelist Ian McEwan's acceptance speech on being awarded the Jerusalem Prize. Cultural boycotts are odd things: if you travel to a pariah state to give a concert, accept a prize or whatever, are you conferring legitimacy on that state's actions, however odious? Or are you simply (as Elton John presumably sees it - after all, he can't need the money) allowing the ordinary people, some of whom may be opponents of the state, even persecuted by it, a chance to see and hear you doing what you do best?

McEwan gets it just right, I think. He doesn't give the standard "plucky little Israel...bla..bla...right to exist....only democracy in the region" speech that the organisers may have expected. He points to what is good in Israel as well as what is rotten. He criticises Hamas war crimes as well as Israeli ones. He denounces Hamas's antisemitism as well as Israel's rejection of peace overtures from the Palestinian Authority. As he says, "once you've instituted a prize for philosophers and creative writers, you have embraced freedom of thought and open discourse", and he demands that his audience do indeed embrace those ideals. Because while it's easy to shun those whose opinions you disagree with, ultimately it is more productive to engage with them. By travelling to Israel to receive the prize, Ian McEwan knew that the world would be watching him. By using the occasion to - the cliche really does fit - "speak truth to power", he turned an Israeli PR stunt into something far more significant.

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Since accepting the invitation to Jerusalem to receive the renowned Jerusalem prize, my time has not been peaceful. Many groups and individuals, in different terms, with varying degrees of civility, have urged me not to accept this prize, which recognises writing that promotes the idea of "the freedom of the individual in society". One organisation wrote to a national newspaper saying that whatever I believed about literature, its nobility and reach, I couldn't escape the politics of my decision. Reluctantly, sadly, I must concede that this is the case. I come from a country of relative stability. We may have our homeless, but we have a homeland. At the very least, the future of Great Britain is not in question, unless it fragments by peaceful, democratically agreed devolution. We are neither threatened by hostile neighbours, nor have we been displaced. Novelists in my country have the luxury of writing as much or as little about politics as they care to. Here, for Israeli as for Palestinian novelists, the "situation", ha matsav, is always there, pressing in, as a duty, or a burden, or a fruitful obsession. It is a creative struggle to address it, and it is a creative struggle not to address it. I would say as a general principle that when politics enters every corner of existence, then something has gone profoundly wrong. And no one can pretend here that all is well when the freedom of the individual, that is to say, of all individuals, sits so awkwardly with the current situation in Jerusalem.

Once I'd decided to come, I sought out the advice of an Israeli writer, a man whom I deeply admire. He was very comforting. His opening remark was: "Next time, get your literary prize from Denmark." Some of the previous recipients of this prize have spoken their thoughts in a gathering like this and have upset people. But everybody knows this simple fact: once you've instituted a prize for philosophers and creative writers, you have embraced freedom of thought and open discourse, and I take the continued existence of the Jerusalem prize as a tribute to the precious tradition of a democracy of ideas in Israel.

The tradition of the novel that I work in has its roots in the secular energies of the European enlightenment, during which the private as well as the social condition of the individual began to receive sustained attention from philosophers. A growing and relatively privileged class of readers emerged who had time to reflect not only on their society but on their intimate relationships, and they found their concerns reflected and extended in novels. In Swift and Defoe, individuals were morally tested, and their societies satirised or judged by means of journeys that were fantastical or based on real accounts; in Richardson we had perhaps the first sustained, fine-grained account of individual consciousness; in Fielding, individuals were granted panoptic visions of a society in the spirit of a benign and inclusive comedy; finally, the crowning glory – in Austen, the fates of individuals were delivered though a new mode of narration, handed down to succeeding generations of novelists – free, indirect style, which allowed an objective third person account to merge with a subjective colouring – a technique that permitted the character, the individual in the novel, more room to grow. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, in the works of masters such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, the literary illusion of character and the representation of consciousness were refined, with the result that the novel has become our best, most sensitive means of exploring the freedom of the individual – and such explorations often depict what happens when that freedom is denied.

This tradition of the novel is fundamentally secular – coincidence or human machinations, not God, order destinies. It is a form that is plural, forgiving, profoundly curious about other minds, about what it is to be someone else. On its central characters, high or low, rich or wretched, it manages, by a sort of divine authorial attention and focus, to confer respect on the individual.

The English tradition is just one among many, but it is intimately connected with all others. We speak of a Jewish tradition in the novel – a vast, complex tradition, but still bound by common themes: a sometimes ironical attitude to a god; acceptance of an underlying metaphysical comedy and, above all, in a world of suffering and oppression, deep sympathy for the individual as victim; finally, determination to grant to the downtrodden the respect that fiction can confer when it illuminates the inner life. We find the strands in the existential allegories of Kafka's "In the Penal Colony" and The Trial; in the sadness and beauty of Bruno Schulz, in the work of Primo Levi as he gave individual voice in the nightmare of the Shoah, that industrialised cruelty which will remain always the ultimate measure of human depravity, of how far we can fall; in IB Singer's fiction, which conferred dignity on the cramped lives of immigrants; in different terms we find a parallel theme in Saul Bellow, whose agonised intellectual heroes struggle ineffectually to flourish in a raucous, materialist culture. Always, the victim, the stranger, the enemy and the outcast, the face in the crowd becomes a fully realised being by the grace of fiction's magic dust – a dust whose recipe is an open secret – full attention to detail, empathy, respect.

This tradition is vigorously upheld in Israel's literary culture – and right from the beginning of the founding of the state. A recent discovery for me has been S Yizhar's Khirbet Khizeh, published in 1949 – the luminous account of the clearing of an Arab village during the '48 war, and of a protest that never quite leaves the throat of its narrator as the houses are demolished and the villagers driven from their land. It is a tribute to an open society that this novella was for many years required reading for Israeli schoolchildren. Khirbet Khizet remains painfully relevant, and the moral questioning lives on.


There are so many writers one could mention, but let me single out three senior figures who have earned the respect and love of readers around the world – Amos Oz, Abrahim Yehoshua and David Grossman. Very different writers, with overlapping but far from identical politics, writers who love their country, have made sacrifices for it – and have been troubled by the directions it has taken, and whose work never fails with that magic dust of respect, the bestowing of the freedom of the individual on Arab as well as Jew. In their long careers they have opposed the settlements. They and Israel's younger literary community are the country's conscience, memory and above all hope. But I think I could say of these three writers that in recent years they have felt the times turning against their hopes.

I'd like to say something about nihilism. Hamas, whose founding charter incorporates the toxic fakery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has embraced the nihilism of the suicide bomber, of rockets fired blindly into towns, and embraced the nihilism of an extinctionist policy towards Israel. But (to take just one example) it was also nihilism that fired a rocket at the undefended Gazan home of the Palestinian doctor, Izzeldin Abuelaish, in 2008, killing his three daughters and his niece. It is nihilism to make a long-term prison camp of the Gaza Strip. Nihilism has unleashed the tsunami of concrete across the occupied territories. When the distinguished judges of this prize commend me for my "love of people and concern for their right to self-realisation", they seem to be demanding that I mention, and I must oblige, the continued evictions and demolitions, and relentless purchases of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, the process of right of return granted to Jews but not Arabs. These so-called "facts on the ground" are a hardening concrete poured over the future, over future generations of Palestinian and Israeli children who will inherit the conflict and find it even more difficult to resolve than it is today, more difficult to assert their right to self-realisation.

To the humble atheist it seems clear enough – when parties to a political dispute draw their primary inspiration from their respective, partisan gods, a peaceful solution drifts further away. But I'm not really interested here in arguments of equivalence. A great and self-evident injustice hangs in the air, people have been and are being displaced. On the other hand, a valuable democracy is threatened by unfriendly neighbours, even to the point of extinction by a state that could soon possess a nuclear bomb. The urgent question is Lenin's – what is to be done? And when we pose the question, we are also asking, who is to do it, who has the power to act? The Palestinians are split, their democratic institutions are weak or non existent, violent jihadism has proved self-defeating. They have been unlucky in their leaders. And yet many Palestinians are ready for a solution, the spirit is there.

And Israel? Believe it or not, there is an arithmetic to measure the creative energies of a nation. Look to the numbers of books translated in and out of Hebrew, or to the number of successful patent applications, (astonishing for a small country) or the numbers of scientific papers cited, the breakthroughs in solar energy technologies, the sell-out concerts around the world for the Jerusalem Quartet. The creative energy index is high and so is the capability. But where is Israel's political creativity? What do national politicians have to compete constructively with Israel's artists and scientists? Surely not the concrete mixer? Surely not the eviction order? We have all read the documents leaked to Al Jazeera. That was surely not the best Israeli politicians could do, when they succumbed to what David Grossman has called "the temptation of strength", and casually brushed aside remarkable concessions from the Palestinian Authority?

In this context, the opposite of nihilism is creativity. The mood for change, the hunger for individual freedom that is spreading through the Middle East, is an opportunity more than it is a threat. When Egyptians decide en masse to reform their society and think constructively, and take responsibility for their nation into their own hands, they will be less inclined to blame outsiders for all their misfortunes. This is precisely the time to restart the peace process. The new situation demands bold creative political thinking, not a retreat to the sourness of the bunker mentality, or an advance behind yet more concrete.

After her recent visit here, The UN high commissioner for human rights notes that the firing of rockets into Israel from Gaza constitutes a war crime. She also notes that the annexation of East Jerusalem contravenes international law and that East Jerusalem is steadily being drained of its Palestinian inhabitants. There are some similarities between a novel and a city. A novel, of course, is not merely a book, a physical object of pages and covers, but a particular kind of mental space, a place of exploration, of investigation into human nature. Likewise, a city is not only an agglomeration of buildings and streets. It is also a mental space, a field of dreams and contention. Within both entities, people, individuals, imaginary or real, struggle for their "right to self-realisation". Let me repeat – the novel as a literary form was born out of curiosity about and respect for the individual. Its traditions impel it towards pluralism, openness, a sympathetic desire to inhabit the minds of others. There is no man, woman or child, Israeli or Palestinian, or from any other background, whose mind the novel cannot lovingly reconstruct. The novel is instinctively democratic. I hope that the authorities in Jerusalem – a twin capital, one day, I hope – will look to the future of its children and the conflicts that potentially could engulf them, end the settlements and encroachments and aspire creatively to the open, respectful, plural condition of the novel.

What's sauce for the goose-stepper.....

You must remember the famous Danish cartoons of Muhammed? The ones the world's Islamophobes reprint endlessly in the name of freedom of expression, because of the death threats made against the cartoonists and the staff of the newspaper in which they appreared? Euronazi Geert Wilders and his fellow-travellers like Mad Mel Phillips (and Uncle Jimmy of course) are always going on about how the affair shows that Islam is fundamentally opposed to Western freedoms.

So when this cartoon by Adriaan Soeterbroek (inspired by Geert Wilders' call for the creation of "hooligan villages" in the Netherlands for anti-social elements) appeared on the website of Dutch public broadcaster VARA....



...what was the reaction of the great supporter of the press's freedom to publish cartoons even though they give offense to people?

Well, he described it as "disgusting"......(OK....)

He called for its immediate removal...(but what about press freedom?)

His thugs made serious threats against members of staff at the TV station....(but..but...isn't that what the wicked Mooslims did?)

Realising that neo-Nazi bullies don't make idle threats against their enemies, VARA removed the cartoon. Of course, as with the Danish cartoons, this has simply meant that a cartoon which would have been seen by a handful of people and then forgotten will now live on around the globe as actual supporters of freedom of expression repost it. Go, and do thou likewise.

No further evidence is needed of Wilders' utter hypocrisy and vileness.

Another gem from xkcd

This makes me laugh every time I read it. It's just so.....believable.

To quote Roger Waters, "You're nearly a laugh but you're really a cry"

If that last post was a tad downbeat, a visit to Uncle Jimmy's ludicrous blog can normally be relied upon to bring a smile to my face. Over the past few days he's been dealing with the situation in Libya. (Here, here and here.)

You might think it's hard to make that funny, but Jimmy views the whole thing through his little mental letter-box of Tony Blair Worship. So it's all a question of what Tony said to Gaddafi then, and what Tony may have said to Gaddafi's son then, and why the wicked British press reported this and why the wicked BBC didn't report that, and....FFS! Does he imagine anyone cares what a washed-up self-promoter thinks of Gaddafi or Libya? Well, clearly he does:

Intriguing how the world’s foremost statesman is a Brit; the Quartet’s Middle East envoy is a Brit; the man who knows from personal political experience Libya’s/Gaddafi’s position on the USA, the EU and the rest of the world is a Brit. They are all the same man.

That's right: Tony Blair, "the world's foremost statesman". You couldn't make it up. You don'lt need to, though: Jimmy did.


He does get one thing right about TB:

It’s almost as though Mr Blair is seen as already damaged goods

Almost? Blair was seen as damaged goods when he was still Prime Minister, which is why he was sacked.


Of course, no post of Jimmy's would be complete without the obligatory sideswipe at those who just don't get it . Take Sir Richard Dalton, former British Ambassador to Libya:

Excerpt, in relation to Blair’s thoughts on the threat from Iran, January 2010:

Dalton: “We should be making it much clearer that the principal criteria for UK involvement in future wars in the Middle East is whether or not the safety and security of the United Kingdom and its territory is directly threatened.

Compared with today in The Telegraph:

Dalton: “Amid the uncertainties, Britain and its partners must explore actively and seriously how international armed humanitarian intervention could be undertaken urgently.”

So, Dalton considers that Libya is a threat to the safety and security of the UK and yet Iran is not!?


Well, as there were British nationals whose lives were at risk in Libya (Jimmy makes sarcastic comments about their rescue elsewhere), while Iran poses no threat to Britons either in Iran or at home, yes, I think he probably does, Jim.

In the meantime, give me strength! Or at least diplomats with intellectual consistency.

How do these diplomats get those jobs?


Well, gosh, Jimmy, I don't know. Being British is a good start. Knowing that Libya is in North Africa not the Middle East, hence that there is no contradiction whatsoever between the two statements you quote: even better. Not bandying around the phrase "cognitive dissonance" as a general synonym for "opinions I don't care for": priceless.

Oh, and maybe the odd dash of morality (though I'll grant that's not a necessary qualification). Jimmy certainly fails on that one too:

David Cameron misjudged on his trade expedition when the focus was bound to be on those from the Defence Industry. In my opinion this was just bad timing, not bad policy. Trade makes the world go round.

As for reducing our Defence Industry, that will be far more painful for the government and all of us to deal with. But I expect and hope for at least some backtracking.

The Human Rights debate is puerile. Of course human rights were pressed by the previous government and by all British governments over decades. But never to the extent of distancing trade partnerships. That is the policy of the purist. The poor, starving purist.

That's right. Human rights must NEVER be allowed to get in the way of making money in any way possible, including supplying advanced weaponry to military dictators. It's the American Way, and Jimmy clearly thinks we should adopt it too.

OK, that's not funny, that's just sickening.

Oh, and for another sideswipe, he takes at face value the self-serving "Look! I'm important! Don't hit me!" comments of Gaddafi's former Justice Minister, that Gaddafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing. (This must make him almost the only man in the world apart from a few American fruitcakes to continue believing that it was Libya and not Iran which carried out the bombing. Oh well.) Jimmy, who wouldn't normally give Gaddafi's gaoler-in-chief the time of day, uses this to have a go at Nelson Mandela of all people. "Mandela - the world-class mediator & friend of freedom (and Gaddafi)." "The saintly Mandela." And of course we mustn't omit good old guilt by association:

Mandela was the first award winner of the Al Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights in 1989, an annual prize founded by Gaddafi himself (Other recipients include Louis Farrakhan, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and Turkey’s Erdogan).

Why would Jimmy dislike Mandela so much? The fact that (unlike some folk dear to Jimmy;s heart) he overthrew a vile regime without massive slaughter? That (unlike those folk) he encouraged the supporters of that regime to stay and help build the country anew, rather than purging them all from any positions of influence? That he realised (unlike some people) that the people who had actually been running the country before from day to day would be needed to run it in the future? And that he did all this despite (unlike some people) actually having suffered terribly at the hands of the ousted regime? Yes, I suppose there must be a lot for a Blair fan to resent in Nelson Mandela.

Of course, we know that Jimmy hates Barack Obama as well. I suppose he and Mandela have something in common that would annoy Jimmy, though I just can't seem to put my finger on it. We know, of course - because he tells us so himself - that it can't be anything to do with their being, um, pigmentally differentiated:

I am no racist - never have been, never will be. Just isn't in my DNA.

Ah yes: perish the thought that Jimmy might have imperfect DNA.

Which brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation, etc etc, back to where I began.