Apologies if things are a little quiet hereabouts for a while, but please pour yourself another large glass at the BBC licence fee payer's expense and settle down with your favourite slippers for the latest open thread.
Labour's Baroness Chakrabarti says the internet can not continue to be an "ungoverned space" after the Christchurch attacks #Marr https://t.co/xw1VqvY3E7 pic.twitter.com/6iXpC9oxwj— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 17, 2019
Labour's Baroness Chakrabarti says Jeremy Corbyn has shown more leadership on #Brexit than Theresa May #Marr https://t.co/lJpkUkMdDC pic.twitter.com/8qoPdOF6ln— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 17, 2019
"Aspects of it have left many British Muslims feeling othered and spied upon"— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 17, 2019
Speaking about Islamophobia in Britain, Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti says aspects of the government's terrorism-prevention programme Prevent needs to be "reviewed and reformed" #Marr pic.twitter.com/6CdaU72Y5k
“Everybody knows what it means, and just because someone has a different coloured skin and prays to a different God it doesn’t make them your enemy”
“look at some of the writings that take place. it’s not just on social media. It’s on our Main Stream Media! Where people are writing with bile directed at people of the Islamic faith… […] but it seems to have got into the box of “It’s ok to say this”. We have got to eradicate (the rhetoric) from our national and international life otherwise these things will happen again.
“Andy McDonald, those individuals whom you describe who write in a very ugly and prejudicial way, clearly are not the individuals who would commit the kind of atrocities that occurred in Christchurch. Are you saying that you think there is some kind of linkage between their writings and the uh uh um disordered, demented behaviour of the people like this person who is going to be charged very probably with this crime?
“I think undoubtedly so, if people who are writing for what are otherwise respected publications and which have wide circulation, and there are many people who have been on panels such as these, who’ve had those views and have written articles in those terms, I think they’ve got to look at themselves in the mirror today and say what contribution does that make in fomenting that level of antagonism and prejudice and discrimination against people, and they are playing a very very active role in that and I think they’ve got to question how they behave and the sorts of languages (sic) that they indulge in and I really do urge them to think very carefully about this because they are part of the issue.
“I’m not saying for one minute that they would sanction or approve such horrific events, but it’s the sort of environment that they establish, of acceptable discrimination or denial of the problem of Islamophobia, and those are the sort of things that have got to be addressed.
“While the incidences of antisemitism are restricted to what is thankfully a very tiny proportion of what is a huge membership of over half a million, when accepted for what it is, we’re not in denial about it, and we will deal with it and we’re doing everything in our power to eradicate from our movement we have an absolute zero tolerance, what I would - I think that’s how we should approach it but I would - in terms of Islamophobia there’s a different attitude to it - it’s almost ‘casualised’, as if it’s acceptable, and Baroness Warsi has spoken out very loudly and long about that being rife in the Conservative Party and I just would urge colleagues across the house to take that seriously and root it out because at the moment, not enough is being done.
Responsibility rests with politicians, responsibility rests with the media as well - to express themselves in appropriate terms, because it’s ‘othering’ and scapegoating of others is disastrous for a cohesive society.
Please Melanie not today— Sayeeda Warsi (@SayeedaWarsi) March 15, 2019
Spare us the faux sympathy
Today I have no patience 4your bull💩
You are part of the problem
You hav fed this hatred & consistently demonised Muslims
Go sit in a dark room
Ask yourself why u r so consumed with hate
Get help 💕 https://t.co/b9Qk9HwEEs
The NZ massacre: an appeal for calm and moderationIn light of the unconscionable and apparently anti-Muslim attacks in New Zealand that may have been inspired by anti-Islamic sentiment and which all decent folk everywhere will condemn without demur or qualification (as do I ), now might be an appropriate time to point out that not all anti-Islamism activists and commentators are inspired to or approve of illegal violence.
As our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the bereaved, it is important that just condemnation of these criminals should not be used as an excuse for counter-attacks and blaming the innocent.
Indeed, the overwhelming majority of Islam sceptics are simply decent, law abiding people who wish to go about their lives at peace with their neighbours while reserving to their consciences the basic human right of expressing condemnation of the 34,725 documented deadly Islamic terror attacks since 9/11, 7/7, the horrors of Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, Telford and the rest of such events and who harbour – for whatever reasons - deeply held convictions critical of the motivations behind the Ariana Grande concert massacre and the ISIS-led attempted genocide against (amongst others) the Yazidi people.
Please try not to make this sad situation worse by blaming, quite without evidence, any or all of Islam’s present day critics and detractors for fear your intemperate words might inspire violence or legal persecution against this much-maligned and diverse group of individuals: no matter how much you might personally disagree with their opinions and obsessions.
A French citizen told a jury "life goes on" as he was jailed for killing four people in a Jewish museum in Brussels.
Mehdi Nemmouche was sentenced to life over the murders of tourist couple Myriam and Emmanuel Riva, and two museum employees, Dominique Sabrier and Alexandre Strens in May 2014.
Nemmouche staged the attack shortly after coming back from Syria, where he had been fighting with Islamist factions in the civil war.
It was the first attack by a Western European who had fought with the factions, and raised concerns about jihadists returning to their home countries.
A Frenchman who murdered four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014 has been jailed for life.
Mehdi Nemmouche, 33, opened fire with an assault rifle and a handgun, killing three people at the scene. A fourth person died later in hospital.
He had previously spent a year fighting for the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
A man who helped plan the attack and supply weapons, Nacer Bendrer, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Tonight he paid me a visit. Twice.
“After tweeting the news that he was about to be served papers for defamation at his home in Central Bedfordshire, I got to see, in response, what his customary “doorstepping” was like for myself.”
|Mike Stuchberry, "Educator, Writer and Thinker"|
“Two people behaving like complete children” Tory peer @dannythefink on THAT stare-off between Will Self and Mark Francois from Friday’s #politicslive— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 11, 2019
📽️ https://t.co/Kq1KpuAYRd pic.twitter.com/jKlMTVZFdU
"I ran in 2017 election... a horrible place to be... I blame it on Momentum and supporters" ex-candidate @MichelleDewbs— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 11, 2019
"You supply me with no evidence" @paulmasonnews
"Why would you be dismissive of my personal experience?" @MichelleDewbs#politicslive https://t.co/Qso3U6pjBQ pic.twitter.com/ZRUc5Z4K8k
The odd thing is that they also appear in the middle of fields. Little clumps of snowdrops, far from the main herd, like scouts thrown ahead by an inquisitive general.
LONE Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as theyThe late Miles Kington once compared them to a demented little white corps de ballet that dances out along the roadside, through fences, coyly back into woods, everywhere you go.
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend:
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!
Andrew Marr: Let me ask you about one other thing that happened this week. The Equality and Human Rights Commission announced that it was thinking of investigating the Labour Party into antisemitism. Would you welcome that investigation?
John McDonnell: Yes, and let's get on with it now because I think we...One, I'm hoping we'll get a clean bill of health about how we're handling things. If there's issues that the EHRC can advise us on I welcome that, because I want us to be a shining example of how you tackle issues like antisemitism both within your own party but also in wider society. So let's get on with that now. and let's get it done. Because we will learn lessons from it, and I hope other political parties as well, how they deal with the racism that they've experienced in their own parties, learns from this too.
Andrew Marr: John McDonnell, thanks very much for talking to us this morning.
Andrew Marr: I asked John McDonnell just now about antisemitism in the Labour Party. Does the Conservative Party have a zero tolerance attitude to Islamophobia?
Jeremy Hunt: We do, and we have a zero tolerance policy to all racial prejudice. And that is demonstrated by the fact we have suspended the membership of 14 people for posts that they put on Facebook.
Andrew Marr: But you've got a councillor, Mick Murphy, who compared Muslim children to rubbish bags, and he was suspended and then he was allowed back into the party. And there's lots more examples like that. What is really going on?
Jeremy Hunt: We act quickly and decisively. I don't know the details of that individual case, but there is a very big difference between us and the Labour Party, and that is that in the Labour Party's case, the problem goes right to the very top because Jeremy Corbyn thinks that the foundation of Israel was a crime and that is why he's unable to distinguish between antisemitism and Israeli foreign policy. When it comes to Islamophobia, I don't pretend that we don't have...
Andrew Marr: (interrupting) You've got some very,very extreme views inside the party, Baroness Warsi, who is one of yours, a leading Muslim Conservative, says there is institutional Islamophobia inside the Conservative Party.
Jeremy Hunt: Well, I have a lot of respect for Sayeeda Warsi. She's been a lifelong campaigner against racism . We're engaging with her. We're not going to close our ears to what she says. But as I say, we are determined to do something but in the case of the Labour Party, I'm afraid because of Jeremy Corbyn's views on foreign policy, the problem goes right to the top.
David Davis: Look, you had on this programme last week the past master of political tactics. He had Tony Blair on here. He didn't make much concealment, as it were, of his wish to see this whole thing reversed, right? What was his first step towards that? A deferral. And then a second referendum. And then, he hopes, a reversal. Well, that's what this is about and the British people understand very clearly what is going on, they understand better than the commentators...Andrew Marr: (interrupting) So you are hoping really for no deal at this point?David Davis: No, no, I'm not. The reason I've always said that no deal has got to stay on the table is because it's what brings the European Union back. Now...Andrew Marr: (interrupting) Sorry, so the choice for you might be this deal or no Brexit at all?David Davis: No, no, I think... That is what we are going to be aiming to avoid in the tactics...Andrew Marr: (interrupting) But if that is the choice, what's the answer?David Davis: Frankly, this deal is worse than current membership in one sense because we can't get out of it, but I don't think that is anything like the best outcome. And what we have to do...Andrew Marr: (interrupting) So you would rather stay in?David Davis: No. No, no, no. I...Andrew Marr: (interrupting) Well, these are the choices now ahead of you.David Davis: No, it's not, this is one of the problems, you keep... It's a British establishment problem, and the BBC's worst at it. You keep posing this as though these are choices that we make. No, they're not. They are stepping stone in a negotiation. And so what would happen...Andrew Marr: (interrupting) But Parliament is going to have to make these choices.David Davis: Yes, it will have to make the initial choices and then the Government will go back to negotiate. If it says no deal is still on the table, I don't think no deal will happen. I think the European Union will come back and say 'Let's take another couple of weeks to negotiate'. Why? Because whether it's the German Halle Institute or the IFO or any on them, they all say the damage to the European Community is much, much greater than the damage to Britain, much, much greater by order of magnitude difference...Andrew Marr: (interrupting) We will wait and see with great interest.David Davis: They won't do it. They won't do it.Andrew Marr: Thank you very much indeed for talking to us.
Andrew Marr: So, as we wait for official confirmation of whatever the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has or hasn't brought back from Brussels, the Prime Minister's chances of getting her deal through still hang on the attitudes of Tory hardcore Brexiteers. One of them is David Davis, former Brexit secretary, who joins us now. David Davis, first of all, what would she need to bring back to bring you over?David Davis: I'm not sure I would agree with the characterising of "hardcore Brexiteers", but by the by...
The Beeb’s scandalous addiction to Profumo
Here we go again, this time it’s the BBC making a series called The Trial Of Christine Keeler in which the sad 1960s call girl will be beautifully impersonated by Sophie Cookson.
You’d think nothing happened in that era apart from the Profumo Affair, which didn’t matter at all. But it was packed with scandal.
A decent drama about the Suez Crisis or the anti-railways Transport Minister Ernest Marples, who actually skipped the country (in a train), are badly needed. But they don’t involve sex. Could that be the problem?
Use of prostitutes
When Lord Denning made his 1963 investigation into the security aspects of the Profumo Affair and the rumoured affair between the Minister of Defence, Duncan Sandys, and the Duchess of Argyll, he confirmed to Macmillan that a rumour that Ernest Marples was in the habit of using prostitutes appeared to be true. The story was suppressed and did not appear in Denning's final report.
Marples: Dr. Beeching, I'd like to see you take an axe to the national railway system.
Beeching: (in the style of Sid James) We'll can do it together Ernie. I hear you're very handy with a chopper. (Dirty laugh)
Listen up! I've applied to run Radio 4
I have just applied for the post of Controller of BBC Radio 4. My application form went in on Thursday. Am I serious? Perfectly. Will their response be? I doubt it.
I was partly motivated by rumours of the names that were being considered – a collection of liberal establishment figures of the sort who are already strangling the BBC.
My view is that, in return for the licence fee, the BBC owes a duty to listen to, and treat seriously, the views of people who are not in that establishment.
And they don’t do this. Many of them don’t even realise there is any other view of the world than their own. I have promised that, if appointed, I will most certainly bring equality and diversity to that great radio station. Just perhaps not the sort of equality and diversity the BBC has in mind.