Sunday 18 January 2015

Tread carefully

I enjoyed The Andrew Marr Show today. 

The paper review featured David Aaronovitch of The Times and someone he introduced as "Isabel Hardman of almost everywhere", which is both funny and true - though she's still got a long way to go to beat Nabila Ramdani (who, according to Twitter - and, therefore, clearly true - will be reading Radio 4's Shipping Forecast later today).

There was a telling sign of BBC thinking though during a powerful section of the paper review dealing with anti-Semitism. David Aaronovitch was beginning to make a point that, despite being true, is rarely said on the BBC. 

Andrew Marr instantly became nervous:
David Aaronovitch: Anti-Semitism is a light sleeper. I never...I think, for a while in my life, I thought we'd done it. It had gone. We'd defeated it, and so on. Whether to a certain extent it's been, you know, what's happened in Palestine linked to the fact that we've had a significant increase in the Muslim population, large numbers of who don't feel that warmly towards Jews for various reasons....
Andrew Marr: Tread carefully, yes. I mean...
David Aaronovitch: Well, I am being careful... 
Andrew Marr: Yes, I know, all right...
David Aaronovitch: ...because I don't want to say most Muslims, all Muslims, feel like that, but more do than was the case in the British population before that. 
The two big political interviews of the day were with Nick Clegg and Natalie Bennett of the Greens. 

The interview with the Lib Dem leader was lively, that with the Green leader more sedate. The closing sofa discussion saw David A, Isabel H and Natalie B ganging up on Nick C to get him to say that the Greens should be involved in the election leader debates on TV. Nick Clegg wriggled before saying to Ms Bennett that she's looking out for Green Party interests and he's only doing the same - a point no one picked up on as they ran out of time. They'd missed a rare (forced) admission from a leading politician that party advantage trumps everything in this kind of area.

Asked about where the money would come from to finance her party's lavish spending commitments, Natalie Bennett, of course, went straight for scrapping the Trident nuclear weapons replacement, thus saving £100 billion over its lifetime. 

Andrew Marr later asked her about an extraordinary commitment she's made:
One other really big issue of course is your economic policy. You want to give a kind of citizen’s income (I think you call it) of £80 a week to everybody in the country regardless of whether they’re in prison, whether they’re asylum seekers or anything. Now this has been costed at £240 billion a year, which seems an extraordinary amount of money. How are you possibly going to raise the money for that?
It's one of the advantages of being an armchair interviewer that I can see that he should then have gone on to join the two points together and point out that such a commitment over a five-year parliament would could £1,200 billion in total - or, in other words, twelve times more than the cost of replacing Trident (her rabbit in the hat). But he didn't ask that, and I wasn't a studio guest who could sneak that in during 'sofa time' at the end.

And that's all I've got say about that. 


  1. "Tread carefully" indeed.

    Well that's essentially a confession from Marr that he doesn't want non-Muslims to know the truth about Islam in their country. Muslims of course already know what it taught in Mosque schools and what passes between them.

    1. It's not about keeping the truth from Muslims. It's about keeping the truth from everyone else because they don't want to give permission for prejudice.

    2. I wouldn't say it was an example of "prejudice" to oppose Nazism or Soviet Communism or absolute monarchy for that matter. It's simply a judgement one arrives at from examining the evidence - that such totalitarian systems do not benefit society and should be opposed.

      The same with Sharia.

    3. Agreed. But the BBC will insist on the racial angle, because they're all racists who place value on skin color above character. All part of the twisted Progressive morality. Plus there's the classic, juvenile Powerful vs. the Powerless angle. I've lost count of how many times in the last couple weeks either a Beeboid or a guest defender of the indefensible has whined about Charlie Hebdo attacking the powerless. It only serves to highlight the double standard about Jews, who are, of course, all-powerful. So criticizing Jews is kosher, and does not equate to prejudice in their narrow little minds.

      As ever, the personal is the political is the person.

  2. Watching Marr now, I'd say it's a tiny baby step forward for Marr to allow the admission that there's more anti-Semitism in Britain and Europe now than there was because of the influx of Mohammedans. Of course, that's all easily explained away and justified because of evil Israel, but at least it's out in the open now. The only quibble is that Marr - and Aaronovitch - certainly can't say most Mohammedans don't feel that way because there is no evidence for that position.

    Bonus: Aaronovitch got away with a little heresy by saying that the Greens' anti-fracking rhetoric is not so evidence-based. Of course he had to preface that by expressing his faith in Warmism.

    Is Isabelle Hardman going to be Marr's co-host now? Or does somebody on the inside just like her an awful lot so they keep bringing her on?

    Natalie Bennett's explanation of her position on "reforming" the EU was gibberish. Just a laundry list of weird fantasies on disconnected issues which didn't add up to anything. Marr just ummed and nodded. Was he even listening, or was this really just supposed to be a party political broadcast for the Greens? Maybe that's why he didn't even try to challenge her extremist idea about 'universal income'.

    Penelope Winton had a class war slip-up when she first said the character she plays was "well-born, aristocratic", then had to row it back to "middle class" lest she discredit her character. Because of course no one could be sympathetic to an upper class mother fighting for her son. Pathetic. Then later, when touching briefly on Downton Abbey, "Hopefully, I'm a liberal". Typical. They're all at it.

    Marr gave Clegg a much harder time. He's a dead party walking, though, so there's all to be gained by undermining him and promoting the Greens. Running the LibDems down helps Labour as well, of course. His party really has imploded when it comes to having a coherent, overall direction. Trying to have it both ways while being one of three parties playing the class war game is not a recipe for success.

    What was the point of Marr pushing the narrative that Clegg has a good relationship with Cameron but a bad one with Miliband? As if things were great between Nick and Dave before the coalition. I guess now Marr will claim to be a tough interviewer after giving Bennett a free ride but trying hard to undermine everything Clegg said. His policy offerings weren't any worse than Bennett's (in fact he had a couple which were at least connected to reality), but she wasn't challenged at all.

  3. Well I agree with the £80 a week and don't dismiss so readily. This is the Basic Income argument from 1980s. You can decide who gets it - citizens or resident or how politically you decide. The sting in this tail is that you eliminate Job Seekers Allowance, eliminate Housing Benefit. How ever you reintroduce Unemployment Benefit because that is a contribution from NI Stamp. The upshot of this is, I guess, a cost of at most £100billion, a big cut in social expenditure and a huge savings in the administrative bureaucracy. Oh, and it is not taxed, so eliminates Poverty Tax because it is not means tested. Also we feel good because everybody so deemed can feed themselves.

  4. Oh, I forgot for this Basic Income you also eliminate Tax and Child Credits. For children you have a reduced amount that is decided politically. The income tax rate will have to rise and threshold is eliminated. What's not to like?


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