Archive for ‘Spectator’

August 10, 2014

Anti-Semitic double standards: the arts and the Jews

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‘Would you force anyone else to behave like this?’ the promoters of the UK Jewish Film Festival asked the artistic director of London’s Tricycle Theatre.

Indhu Rubasingham and her colleagues dodged and hummed. They didn’t like the question and did not want to reply to it. The silence was an answer in itself. Of course the theatre would not hold others to the same standard: just Jews.

Carry on reading

June 21, 2014

The collapse of the free speech movement

Steve Coogan after giving evidence

I have looked everywhere. I have Googled, and asked around. But I can find no evidence that Steve Coogan has ever taken the trouble to defend freedom of speech at home or abroad.

Carry on reading

May 30, 2014

As Ukip wins the right loses

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Ukip has added a baggage train to the simple demand for the British to have a say on whether they stay or leave. It has turned EU membership from a constitutional question into a culture war. Look at the British right today, and you see that Farage’s chicanery has made being against the EU mean being against gay marriage and sexual and racial equality, and in favour of flat taxes and of Vladimir Putin too.

Read the whole thing

May 19, 2014

The rise and fall of Mo Ansar

Broadcasters made him the voice of British Islam, even though no electorate had voted for him, and no organisation had appointed him its spokesperson. Ansar was not an Islamic scholar. He had not published a book or led a movement. He was a planning manager at Lloyds-TSB in Winchester until 2006, and has had no visible means of support except appearance fees and state benefits for years

Read the whole thing

April 29, 2014

How British are you? Take the Ukip test

gay-gymIf you believe that Ukip supporters love Britain and cannot abide Europe, look at the report by the pollster Peter Kellner in the current issue of Prospect. Ukip fears Britain has:

‘gone off the rails. Hence the fact that 57 per cent of Ukip supporters would prefer to migrate to mainland Europe if they could.’

To put it another way, no one hates his country more that the bawling patriot.

Read the whole thing

February 14, 2014

Why are Rupert Murdoch’s men damning Andrew Mitchell?

If you want to picture Rupert Murdoch imagine an old man on a tight rope. On the one hand, his newspapers must pursue his interests – say that everyone but the rich must pay the price of austerity, for instance. But as he wobbles over the void, Murdoch must also balance his rather brutal class interest with populist attacks on ‘the elite’ to assure readers of modest means that he is, despite everything, ‘on their side’.

Normally the Murdoch press can stay upright by confining itself to savaging the liberal elite, which to be fair, never fails to provide him with a rich choice of targets. But every now again it feasts on blue blood.

The Times – which is becoming a tabloid in content as well as form these days – has been saying in essence that Andrew Mitchell was guilty of calling a Downing Street police officer a ‘fucking pleb’.

Carry on reading

February 4, 2014

How to murder a writer

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Far fewer writers than you would imagine worry about online hate campaigns, let alone think that they could one day end up in danger like Hannah’s luckless victim. When newspapers first began publishing anonymous abuse under articles seven years or eight ago, I thought journalists would see it as an attempt by managers to undermine their increasingly casualised work forces, and fight back. At the very least, I assumed that women journalists would resign and sue employers who had published sexist insults under their copy for constructive dismissal; or that the National Union of Journalists would demand that publishers remove the coward’s cloak of anonymity, and say that commentators must find the courage to write under their own names.

Nothing of the sort has happened: and not only because at national level the NUJ is one of the worst led unions in Britain. Most journalists are like Hannah’s, Damon Blundy. They don’t care what people say about them online, for reasons which are largely good, and worth following yourself.

Read the whole thing

January 17, 2014

In Iain Duncan Smith’s world no good deed can go unpunished

Last night I went to hear Chris Mould of the Trussell Trust speak at my local church. The scene appeared to confirm every myth Tories tell about themselves.

Though it does not make a great noise about it, the Trust represents the Anglican conscience at its active best. On their own, without state support or any of those nanny bureaucracies the right so deplores, the churches have organised more than 400 distribution centres to provide emergency food aid to desperate people. The men and women, who check that clients are truly in need, and hand out food, nappies and sanitary towels, are volunteers, motivated by a concern for others rather than money or recognition. They are a social service as well as the last line of defence against hunger. They try to sort out their clients’ problems with landlords or the Department of Work and Pensions, whose minions appear to view the arbitrary treatment of the needy as a useful way of keeping down costs. The public donates virtually all the emergency supplies- an act of spontaneous generosity that deserves more recognition. Think about it. Hundreds of thousands of people have responded to the social crisis Channel 4 will not report by freely giving at collection points at schools and supermarkets. On two days in July, shoppers were inspired by an appeal by Tesco – which is not the monster of anti-corporate fantasy – to donate 3.5 million meals.

Carry on reading

December 24, 2013

Once rich daddies bought their daughters ponies now they buy them newspaper columns

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I’m sorry, Mumsnet charges writers and actors or their publishers and producers for the privilege of providing content for its website? I shouldn’t have been shocked. The logical next step after asking writers to write for nothing because they get valuable ‘exposure’ is to demand that they pay for their valuable exposure


Read the whole thing

December 12, 2013

The segregation of women and the appeasement of bigotry at Britain’s universities (Part Two)

Protests against Universities UK guidelines on gender segregation

On the Today programme this morning Justin Webb covered the decision by Universities UK to allow fundamentalist speakers to segregate women from men at public meetings.

With a characteristic disdain for accepted standards of behaviour, Universities UK refused to go on air and answer his questions. Webb had to ‘put the other side of the story’ himself.

Carry on reading

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