Monday 27 January 2014


I’m  not the kind of person who goes “I hold my hands up” when they think they’ve done something a bit naughty, but just in case the things I wrote about the Liberal Democrats and the Jesus and Mo cartoons appeared to trivialize a serious matter by use of facetious or flippant language, I’ll elaborate.

The Liberal Democrats are a shambles. They are though, are they not? 
I wrote that before everyone else started saying it. I even heard Michael Deacon say the same, days after I’d written it.  You’ll have to take my word for that. Damian Thompson has said it (twice) as well.

The Liberal Democrats are the party of .....what?

Are they the party of immature, superficial and politically impracticable policies (some say lack of policies) that can neither produce a definitive manifesto nor stop individual members bringing the party into (further) disrepute? 

Their undeliverable electioneering pledges propelled them into government; they were obviously taken by surprise when they woke up next day to find the electorate looking expectantly at them. They probably looked at each other and went: “What do we do now?” in a one-off moment of solidarity.

They did demand some concessions, like diluting any discernibly principled Tory strategies wherever they found them, (which might have been a good thing) and they succeeded in securing a governmental role for Vince, probably a shoe-in after the BBC adopted him as their go-to economic affairs pundit.

They were at odds with each other as well as the conservatives they were put there to prop up. They couldn’t please anyone, Nick Clegg was indecisive and had to cope with more rogue MPs than UKIP, who expelled theirs.

Look at the recent scandals. The media, (or maybe Mrs Clegg) prodded Nick into action over the media’s favourite topic, sexual misconduct, and Nick Clegg made a hasty decision that probably thrust them into an even deeper hole by confronting Lord Rennard who appears to be turning it into a full-frontal legal battle. The case over Mike Hancock MP, who they’ve  suspended, has caught  Nick Clegg claiming he acted ‘immediately’ amidst counter claims that he’d been informed about complaints months ago.

However, the worst thing of all is the horrible thing that’s had the least coverage. The BBC has barely mentioned it. I mean the dithering over Jenny Tonge, whose antisemitism was tolerated, right up till she crossed the proverbial red line by insinuating that Israel harvests organs from Palestinians. That was a glaring example of, well, dithering. And tolerating the intolerable.

Another example of the moral insensibility of the Lib Dems is their failure to censure a habitual
Israel-basher whose antisemitic pandering to his Muslim constituents frequently crosses that line. They gave him a light smack on the wrist last year, but he’s still at it.  
A thread on Harry’s Place showed a clip of him speaking in the HoC , and shoehorning the  Palestinians’ “right of return” into the topic of Holocaust Memorial Day, an event which he sort of implied he will be attending. 
“Many of us will be attending” he said to be precise, so it looks likely that he’s not actually attending after all.

“Does the Secretary of State agree with me..” he begins, that at this time we shouldn’t forget “The millions of displaced Palestinians”. 

The use of the figure ‘millions’ is emotive and misleading, because the original number of Palestinians displaced in 1948 - (by fleeing from a prospective war zone, primarily on the advice of the Arabs who were about to send their armies to eradicate the Jews of Israel, and not because Israelis chucked them out) - was estimated to be 750,000. That is not millions. What *is* millions, is the number of Palestinians who are claiming the right of return. 
The millions David Ward MP mischievously evokes, actually represents six decades of population growth amongst Palestinian Muslim refugees who for reasons to do with political bargaining can’t or won’t budge  because they’re steadfastly holding out until the world grants them permission to overwhelm the Jews in Israel, thereby making the Jews a minority in their only state.

Palestinian refugees are political pawns in the Arab World’s game of eradicating Israel, and to that end are the only refugees to have got away with a claim that refugee status passes from generation to generation.

But Clegg has equivocated over antisemitism all along. He and members of his party have been seduced into accepting guided tours orchestrated by pro-Palestinian CAABU. They believe they’re being shown ‘what is really happening in the Middle East’, which is exactly what they’re supposed to believe, and is exactly what they want to believe
His majority is slim, but the Muslim vote props up the likes of David Ward.

The Lib Dems don’t even know what to do about Maajid Nawaz. He was a one-time member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, and although he’s no longer a member he remains a religious Muslim.   Surely in view of Quilliam’s alleged quest, which is to modernise Islam and prevent radicalisation,  a party with a genuine interest in creating a liberal society should look upon Nawaz as a PR asset. But their illiberal constituents have kicked up enough fuss so as to override such considerations.

If anyone can put to one side the improbability of a genuinely liberal society being achieved with an ever increasing pro-Sharia Muslim population, the Lib Dems can. They brushed it under the carpet long ago. If Islam itself seems, to “many of us” , to entail repression, restriction, constraint, slugs, snails and puppy dogs’ tails and all things antithetical to Liberalism, it’s perfectly obvious that the Lib Dems are pragmatic enough not to see it that way. 

This muddled statement from Maajid Nawaz’s facebook thingy shows what comes from trying to be a (L)iberal democrat Muslim. 

Mohammad Shafiq says his objection to Maajid’s blasphemous tweet (the cartoon) is all about freedom of speech. He contends that it’s the Muslims’ democratic right ‘to be offended’ even if that entails shutting down the opposition’s freedom of speech. Calling for Maajid Nawaz’s deselection, or appealing to foreigners whom you very well know will threaten to cut people’s necks off is all part of the democratic rights that devout Muslims exercise while demanding Sharia and calling for the end of democracy.   

To a British citizen who has, up till recently, felt quite comfortable expressing skepticism about religious dogma, the sea change in British public discourse is alarming. Watching fatwas and alien Islamic taboos gradually become accepted, and almost mainstream, is astonishing.

Not just things like objecting to an innocuous cartoon, but expecting your religious demands to be respected and considered sacred just because they’re the norm for a particular religion - just compare and contrast with the way an African preacher who believed in witchcraft was scoffed at on The Big Questions the other week - and then, to use those bizarre objections about a cartoon as a reason for inciting murder, and unbelievably, being taken seriously by the Liberal Democrats and the BBC while doing so is nightmarish, world-turned-upside- down territory. 
Caving in to the demands of Mohammad Shafiq is completely ridiculous by anyone’s standards, and by a party known as ‘Liberal Democrats’, even more so.    

Anyway, Twitter. There’s ridiculous, as they say in Wales.

I mean restricting dialogue to 140 characters reduces communication to metaphorical stone- throwing. It’s okay to Tweet “breaking news” I suppose, but that’s necessarily subjective, often to a  dangerous degree. The worst thing about it is its potential for nastiness. Yuck. And the lack of supervision.  
I speak as an outsider. Personally I’m too wordy for  Twitter. I haven’t got time to write a short letter, as the man said.

So that’s why I think of the Lib Dems, Maajid Nawaz, and Twitter as ridiculous. I don’t have to bother with George Galloway because he’s travelled too far along the winding road to self destruction.  Nearly there George.

That leaves the cartoons and Islam. We know how Islam feels about cartoons. Cartoons and cartoonists are ‘haram’, as they say in Arabic. Oh yes, unless they’re depicting Jews as monsters. The Jesus and Mo cartoons deal with the subject of ‘not depicting the prophet’ head on. Right at the beginning Jesus asks Mo about this, and he says he’s actually a body double. So that clears that up to everyone’s satisfaction. Everyone except devout Muslims and the authorities at the LSE. The ridiculousness of that should be obvious.. 

I hope that explains any flippancy, and I do realise this isn’t directly connected to the BBC. But it isn’t entirely unconnected to it either. I contend that the BBC’s deliberate avoidance of openly tackling these indelicate matters and its conspicuous tiptoeing around them is allowing them to grow and grow like Japanese knotweed, which has become insidious and threatens to stifle everything in its wake.

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