Monday 9 March 2020

For the sake of diversity

Sayeeda Warsi, Twitter:
"Monday morning class for racists - it’s 2020 people
- If you take a negative characteristic of an individual and impose on a whole community that’s racism
- personal anecdotes are not justifications for racism - it’s still racism"
There is quite enough already online about the Trevor Phillips fiasco - not so much the above quote from Sayeeda Warsi’s Twitter thread  - I was thinking more about the negative observations about the Labour Party's suspension of Trevor Phillips below articles about the topic in The Times.

Islamophobia? Looks bad for the Labour Party? With my reputation (!) 

Instead of going over all that again, I want to pick up Nick Robinson mentioning “A letter from Tommy Robinson that was found in Darren Osborne’s van, referring to Muslims as ‘a nation within a nation.”

Oddly, the above clip from the BBC Politics Twitter timeline excludes that particular reference. That set me thinking. Was there really such a letter? Or was it another of those disingenuous memes? You know, like letterboxes and watermelon smiles.
I found two or three reports in the Independent referring to: “letters beginning with the phrase “dear Darren” ... “signed off” by Tommy Robinson." This, and this written by Lizzie Dearden, a reporter who has ‘history’ with T. Robinson.

This report, illustrated with a suitably aggressive-looking shot of her ‘subject’, refers to ‘emails’ that Osborne had downloaded, and later to an “email from Mr Robinson to Mr Osborne”. So, had Tommy Robinson been personally corresponding with Osborne and specifically inciting him to ‘act’? 

We all know that ‘clicking’ on something can trigger a flurry of unsolicited ‘personal’ messages, or let’s call them personalised messages, and we should also understand that receiving an automatically generated round-robin is not quite the same thing as being actual pen-pals with an individual at the head of the organisation that generated it.

So why did Lizzie Dearden and co make it seem otherwise? ‘Signed off’ is slightly different from just ‘signed by.” The Independent's journalists must have been aware that they were giving the impression that Tommy Robinson was specifically inciting Osborne to kill Muslims.

Nick Robinson said (to Trevor Phillips) that inflammatory messages from Tommy Robinson were ‘in a letter found in his (Darren Osborne’s) van’, and I put it to you that there was indeed a letter, but it was written by Osborne himself. There is even a photo of him sitting in a pub, pen and paper in hand - allegedly setting out his ‘manifesto’. It’s in the actual BBC reportFinsbury Park: what led Darren Osborne to kill? (Dominic Casciani)

Personal correspondence, generic emails, incitements to kill, self-penned manifestos - easily conflated, if you've a mind to, and you know it will pass unchallenged.

There is a considerable dollop of irony in the fact that in all the reports, even the ones that have massaged the facts to suit their agendas, a large portion of the blame for triggering the unhinged Mr Osborne to carry out his nasty deed has been laid at the door of the BBC’s own dramatisation “Three Girls.” 

But Nick forgot to mention that. It might have been awkward because it would have drawn attention to an uncomfortable truth about the "negative characteristics" of certain individuals. Or, to echo a certain Naz Shah (did she really say that?) you need to shut your mouth for the sake of diversity.

In this post (about the Robinson bros.) I was more concerned with the way Nick Robinson managed to shoehorn Tommy Robinson into his attack on Trevor Phillips than on the substance of the Labour Party’s ridiculous attempt to save its reputation. (As if!!) and I wanted to highlight the annoying phenomena of memes that have gone viral despite being disingenuous and context-lite.

The topic of Trevor Phillips and Islamophobia has been examined from every angle, inside, outside and upside down by The Times, the Spectator, Spiked and I daresay the Guardian and the Independent too. All the arguments have been made so eloquently and articulately by others that it seemed presumptuous for me to try to go over it all again, again.

I would have posted this update below the line (in a comment,) but it's easier to embed the links to some of these excellent pieces here. There are some good responses. (Unfortunately, the Spectator pieces are behind a paywall.)

 In defence of Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips’s fate should terrify us all

Why Labour wants to smear Trevor Phillips

Labour will regret its shameful treatment of Trevor Phillips

Here is a rudimentary list of some of the arguments one hears and reads, which one must put to oneself to test their strength and /or validity. 

1.) A phobia is an irrational fear.
2.) The ‘good Muslim’  is an ex-Muslim.
3) A ‘good’ Jew is an anti-Zionist Marxist
4.) Your ‘race’ is your race is your race. (Said Goebbels)
5.) Islam is a political ideology masquerading as a religion.
6.) Lumping disparate things together is racist.
7.) Arabs are 'Semitic' too.  (Gnomes are humans too) (Don’t be silly)

One can get lost in contradictory arguments about Islamophobia and antisemitism plus the concomitant false equivalences. The themes go round and round and trip over themselves on the way back. These days, in the end, it all boils down to ‘feelings’. Points mean prizes; facts mean feelings.


  1. I thought for a moment there you'd forgotten about "Three Girls" - but no! I think the perpetrator's wife made clear that it was the TV drama rather than anything else that was the main, direct, motivation for his murderous attack. As you say, strange how BBC reporters keep neglecting to mention that BBC drama.

    I think the BBC do have responsiblity, because their news reporting had disguised the detailed nature of the offences. The very anodyne news reports did not prepare people for the shocking impact of the drama which was clearly much truer to what happened in real life (although, I believe from the short clips I've seen that even that covered up the worst aspects of the abuse, and certainly did not go into the religious aspect of the offences).

    It's interesting is it not that Warsi, the MCB crowd and all the Virtue Signalling Left, especially Labour, want to categorise criticism of Islam as racist. There is nothing more powerful in our society than an accusation of racism. It has ended many a career.

    But let's be clear: criticism of Islam is not racist. Mocking followers of Islam is not racist, anymore than mocking of followers of Christianity (as done by numerous left wing comedians over the years) is not racist.

    Clearly incitement to violence against any group is a serious offence which should be punished.

    But what Warsi and her fellow conspirators want to do is use the bogus concept of Islamophobia as a stick with which to beat opponents of Sharia law and its second class treatment for non-Muslims, atheists, gays, and women. If Warsi could point to a single Muslim majority country where non-Muslims, atheists, gays, and women enjoyed equal citizens' rights in theory and - more importantly - in practice she might have a point. She can't and she doesn't.

  2. If I signed up to BBC Sounds does that mean that I endorse everything that the BBC pushes in my direction?

  3. The problem for Warsi is that we have real life examples where the negative characteristics of an individual can be representative of a wider problem in a particular community.

    The British public are all too aware of those facts.

  4. Warsi is a nifty - I was going to say debater but she doesn't debate - a nifty polemicist.

    She creates a strong narrative and what appear to be strong logical chains in her argument. She is clear and articulate, a gifted speaker, a good communicator.

    But all the time she is using the old magician's tricks of misdirection, sleight of hand, switching and baiting.

    Take this quote from her tweet:

    "If you take a negative characteristic of an individual and impose on a whole community that’s racism"

    Sounds so reasonable doesn't it? Of course one should not extrapolate from the bad behaviour of one individual to stigmatise a whole community...but what about a pattern of behaviour across not a couple of individuals in one location but hundreds, even thousands of individuals in many different locations? What about a pattern of criminal behaviour that has victims in the tens of thousands - again following a pattern. You know what I am talking about here, the same thing Trevor Phillips was: a pattern of behaviour found in just about every town and city where followers of Islam are numerous and a pattern of victims (young white non-Muslim teenage girls, nearly always with no father at home - insecure and vulnerable).

    Are we expected to believe this pattern of behaviour involving large family and friendship networks was unknown to the wider community? (Answer: Yes, according to Warsi whereas any sensible person will disagree and note that until the criminality was revealed in court cases it was never condemned by community "leaders"). Is it a pattern we see in other countries? (Answer: yes).

    She is essential dishonest in her arguments, just as a magician is not honest with their audience. She smiles and affects a kind of jolly banter, which fools a lot of people into thinking her a warm responsive human being. But of course the reality is she is a very cold and calculating. She knows exactly what has been going on in communities up and down Britain. She knows exactly what Sharia law is and why it is central to Islam. But she's not admitting it.

    Cold and calculating.

    1. Wasn't there supposed to be some guy in history, that founded International Women's Day, who had some neat ideas about sex slaves and bumping off husbands of women that he fancied?

      I believe a best-seller was written about him and quite a few billion people think they should follow his example. If only I could remember his name. Warsi is quite smart, perhaps she has heard of him?

    2. Never understood why International Women's Day is celebrated except by Socialists, Communists and Marxists, as it was just a front to mislead gullible women into the fold.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.