Archive for ‘Spectator’

March 29, 2015

Sweden’s feminist foreign minister hammered for confronting Saudi Arabia

Special Representative of the Secretary-

From the Spectator

If the cries of ‘Je suis Charlie’ were sincere, the western world would be convulsed with worry and anger about the Wallström affair. It has all the ingredients for a clash-of-civilisations confrontation.

A few weeks ago Margot Wallström, the Swedish foreign minister, denounced the subjugation of women in Saudi Arabia. As the theocratic kingdom prevents women from travelling, conducting official business or marrying without the permission of male guardians, and as girls can be forced into child marriages where they are effectively raped by old men, she was telling no more than the truth. Wallström went on to condemn the Saudi courts for ordering that Raif Badawi receive ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed secularism and free speech. These were ‘mediaeval methods’, she said, and a ‘cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression’. And once again, who can argue with that?

The backlash followed the pattern set by Rushdie, the Danish cartoons and Hebdo. Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador and stopped issuing visas to Swedish businessmen. The United Arab Emirates joined it. The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, which represents 56 Muslim-majority states, accused Sweden of failing to respect the world’s ‘rich and varied ethical standards’ — standards so rich and varied, apparently, they include the flogging of bloggers and encouragement of paedophiles. Meanwhile, the Gulf Co-operation Council condemned her ‘unaccept-able interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’, and I wouldn’t bet against anti-Swedish riots following soon.

Yet there is no ‘Wallström affair’. Outside Sweden, the western media has barely covered the story, and Sweden’s EU allies have shown no inclination whatsoever to support her. A small Scandinavian nation faces sanctions, accusations of Islamophobia and maybe worse to come, and everyone stays silent. As so often, the scandal is that there isn’t a scandal.

March 17, 2015

Why Islamism’s apologists must make Jihadi John a victim

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From the Spectator 27 February 2015

 

Islamic State allows its adherents to be both cultists and psychopaths: an L. Ron Hubbard and a Fred West rolled into one. The reasons why young men want to travel across the world to fight its wars and lend a hand to the murder of its victims ought to be brutally and boringly obvious.

Psychopaths are always less complicated, less rewarding, less interesting than their victims. They’re not hard to explain. Where is the difficulty about Abelaziz Kuwan , for instance?

March 16, 2015

If ‘incorrect’ English is what’s widely understood, how can it be wrong?

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Spectator 7 March 2015

Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage Oliver Kamm

Weidenfeld, pp.301, £12.99, ISBN: 9780297871934

In a cheeringly Dickensian fashion, the names of our supposed experts on grammar imply they want to bind writers (Lynne Truss); send them awry (Kingsley Amis); besmirch their prose (H.W. Fowler); deafen them with moos (Simon Heffer); or snort at their legitimate constructions (John Humphrys).

At first glance, Oliver Kamm appears happy to keep them company. A leader-writer for the Times and its resident authority on style, Kamm is the most small ‘c’ conservative man I know. If he has ever left home without cleaning his shoes — and I doubt that he has — he would have realised his mistake before reaching the end of his road, and rushed back to apply the polish. Instead of joining the pedants, however, Kamm batters them. Accidence Will Happen is a joyous and joyously liberating assault on ‘rules’ of grammar which are little more than a hodgepodge of contradictory superstitions.

March 16, 2015

How liberal Britain betrays ex-Muslims

Spectator 28 February 2015

A few days ago Imtiaz, a solar engineer; Aliya, a campaigner for secular education; Sohail, a gay Somali in his twenties; and Sara, a bright student, went to Queen Mary University of London in the East End and made an astonishingly brave stand.

Astonishing because they volunteered to step forward to the front line after the Islamist murders of satirists and Jews in Paris and Copenhagen. Before an audience and in front of cameras, they explained why they had left Islam

 

March 16, 2015

David Cameron’s alliance with the plutocracy shows he doesn’t understand Britain

Cameron speaks at Lord Mayor's Banquet

 

The great historian of the Soviet Union Robert Conquest’s Third Law of Politics reads:

‘The simplest way to explain the behaviour of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.’

I have tested Conquest’s law on every bureaucracy I have covered, and it has always held up: nowhere more so than in the case of the British Conservative Party. The only way to explain it is to assume that agents of the Left, determined to lead it to destruction, have seized its leadership.

March 16, 2015

Political correctness eats itself

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Spectator 28 January 2015.

A cretin writing in this morning’s Telegraph doesn’t understand the meaning of ‘cretin’. Just about every writer writing about Benedict Cumberbatch in every paper yesterday failed to understand that Cumberbatch was not a racist because he had said ‘coloured’ rather than ‘person of colour’.

Poor fool that he was, Cumberbatch had wanted to use his appearance on US television to complain about the lack of opportunities for black actors in Britain:

‘I think as far as coloured actors go, it gets really different in the UK, and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here than in the UK, and that’s something that needs to change.’

After the battering he has received, I doubt if Cumberbatch will take the trouble to argue for fairer treatment for ethnic minority and working class actors again. Pursed lipped prudes, who damn others for their sexist, racist, homophobic and transphobic language, while doing nothing to confront real injustice, are characteristic figures of our time. As characteristic are well-meaning people abandoning good causes because they cannot take the prudes’ condemnations.

On its own terms, political correctness is self-defeating.

March 16, 2015

The BBC: Blaming the Jews for attacks on Jews

Spectator 12 January 2104

Heaven forbid that such an atrocity should happen, but suppose white racists attacked a mosque today, murdering four people. Crowds gather to show solidarity with the dead. They profess support for their friends and families and their horror at sectarian murder. The assassins killed their victims for no other reason than they were Muslims. That was it. All they had done was stick to their faith.

A BBC reporter called Tim Wilcox joins the mourners, and buttonholes an elderly and not very articulate Asian lady.

March 16, 2015

Charlie Hebdo: 10 that ought to be self-evident

unnamed-20Spectator 7 January 2015

 

Religious murderers gunned down European freedom in Paris today. Tonight everyone is defiant. I am just back from a ‘Je suis Charlie’ vigil in Trafalgar Square, and the solidarity was good to see. I fear it won’t last. I may be wrong. Perhaps tomorrow’s papers and news programmes will prove their commitment to freedom by republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

But I doubt they will even have the courage to admit that they are too scared to show them. Instead we will have insidious articles, which condemn freedom of speech as a provocation and make weasel excuses for murder without having the guts to admit it.

March 16, 2015

The last days of the Cameron administration: Failing Grayling

Grayling

Spectator December 2104

Of all the reasons to wish this government gone, Chris Grayling is the largest.

March 16, 2015

By caving in to religious misogyny, liberals reveal their inner racist

justice

From the Spectator 24 November 2014

Even by the low standards of English lawyers, the men and women who run the Law Society have behaved like shameless hypocrites. Instead of confining themselves to offering professional advice, they set themselves up as Islamic theologians.

In a practice note on Sharia-compliant wills, the Law Society advised the 125,000 solicitors in England and Wales to urge Muslim clients to discriminate against women, non-Muslims, adopted and ‘illegitimate’ children.

‘Male heirs [should] in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir,’ it said, and ‘non-Muslims may not inherit at all’. Likewise ‘illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs’ and should not be left a penny.

The Law Society was not upholding the old Common Law principle of ‘testamentary freedom’ – that we are free to dispose of our wealth as we please, however eccentric our decisions may seem to our friends or children. On the contrary, it took it upon itself to uphold one version of Sharia (it never said which reactionary cleric provided it) and told lawyers to instruct Muslim clients, who may be weak or close to death, that the Law Society’s was the  holy way to dispose of their property.

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