John Humphrys read out the wrong date this morning but I think he got away with it. (They must have spliced the right date in afterwards)
On the principle that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing I hesitate to leap into the foray over about moral equivalence between out-and-out Nazis (the alt-right) and Antifa (or, if you like, the alt-left)
Until we have a visible body of strutting, out and proud swastika-wielding Nazis in Britain we’ll probably have a different perspective on the issue. We have a slightly different set of villains.
A discussion between Melanie Phillips and Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin about Trump’s approach to Charlottesville took place at the end of the Sunday programme.
“In the context of Donald Trump's remarks about the events in Charlottesville, Melanie Phillips and Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin discuss Moral Equivalence.”
says the website.
“Trump was saying” said William Crawley, ” that there was no moral difference between the thugs who tried to turn Charlottesville into Nuremberg and those who came out to oppose them - the words of Rabbi Jeffery Salkin - or perhaps” he continued,”this was not, as widely portrayed, a clash between fascists and anti-fascists - it was between two groups, each of which perpetrate hatred and intolerance - the words of the columnist Melanie Phillips.”
What followed was a civilised discussion which deserved a longer slot than it was allotted by the BBC, but William Crawley took a back seat and conducted the chairmanship rather well, I thought. (By not interrupting)
I see this as a perfect example of a topic that makes demands of the audience, starting with comprehension and historical awareness. The listener ought to know a little about, e.g., Donald Trump, American white supremacists, Nazis, fascists, antifascists, supporters of Black Lives Matter, statues that honour discredited historical figures, the antisemitic hard left and the antisemitic hard right, BDS, freedom of speech, the right to protest, violence, retaliation, self defence, murder and terrorism, before jumping in with some superficial verdict.
Even so - even if the historical and political context has been taken into account, there won’t be a definitive ‘right’ side.
On this occasion the speakers weren’t in complete disagreement, and they both expressed thought-provoking arguments.
Sadly, as I said the other day, RIP Subtlety. The reaction on Twitter - I don’t want to link to any of it - but certain people were outraged that Melanie Phillips had been given a platform.
Talking of statues, we are facing the prospect of a statue of Brucie. Please, no.
Talking of facing prospects, what about the Crown Prosecution Service clamping down on online hate crime. Is racism actually illegal, then? Can hate be criminalised? Will the CPS be able to pry right inside our brains?
Nick Robinson’s example of extreme hate was sending a Tweet to, say, Luciana Berger, (as I believe someone did) saying: “Filthy. Jew. Bitch.”. (That wasn’t me saying it occifer, honest. I was just recounting wot Nick Robinson said)
That’s quite hard to unpack. I mean all three words are fine, separately. It’s the three-word combination that makes it offensive. It’s not incitement to violence exactly. Can I take it that the most sensitive of the three is “Jew”? (makes it racist) Does this throw up any semantic obstacles to law enforcement?
‘No More Boys and Girls’. One minute they’re asking for positive discrimination in the workplace, next they’re insisting on gender-blindness. All that confusing stuff about boy toys and girl toys. Yet most trans “guy-to-gal” interviewees always seem to be telling us that they first realised they were in the wrong body because of their desire to wear a pretty dress. Contradictory messages?