Burqa Ban: What Barack Obama Could Learn from Nicolas Sarkozy about Islam

Almost every idea that ever came out of France has been bad for America, from the structuralist philosophical gibberish which has poisoned US academe to the grotesquely over-regulated tax and spend socialism which is now ruining the US economy. But if there’s one area where the French do get it SO right it’s in their uncompromising approach to Islam.

President Sarkozy once again showed the way yesterday when in a presidential address to France’s two houses of parliament, he said the burqa is not welcome in his country and should be banned.

As he rightly went on to say the full-body garment which makes women in Afghanistan look like a cross between a prison cell and a walking tent is “not a sign of religion” but a “sign of subservience.” He added: “We cannot have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social ife, deprived of identity.”

Compare and contrast, the appalling cultural appeasement of President Obama’s speech in Cairo on June 4 when he boasted that the United States prized freedom of religion and would not “tell people what to wear.” And there was I thinking it was the French who were supposed to be the surrender monkeys, not the Americans.

Was there ever greater proof that, where the great clash of civilisations is concerned, President Obama is turning out to be the Islamists’ useful idiot par excellence?

Does Barack Hussein Obama really not understand that supposed “freedom” he is granting US Muslim women to wear the veil is in fact the most surefire way of guaranteeing their continued subservience to their men folk and their failure to integrate with the broader society?

It’s for precisely this reason – would that the rest of Europe had the courage! – that France bans religious head coverings in state schools. France understands, as so many in the pusillanimous, multi-culti West do not, that female Muslim girls of school age need protecting from the heavy pressure put on them by male relatives to wear the veil. Banning the veil in French schools is not the sign of an oppressive state taking away religious freedom. It is a rare example of a government setting a moral example and standing up for freedom: a girl’s freedom to choose whether she wants to spend the rest of her life in a kind of religious apartheid or whether she wants to integrate more closely with the host culture.

That President Obama cannot understand this reflects disgracefully on his supposedly vast intelligence. As a Democrat, he ought at the very least to be championing progressive values, and foremost among those values – for which generations of feminists have fought so hard  – is female equality. So here, just to remind you, is what he really thinks about female equality – at least where America’s Muslim girls are concerned:

“The U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.”

In other words: typical Obama lazy moral equivocation and disingenuous fluff. These “some in the West” who believe that “a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal” are straw men. They simply don’t exist. In parts of the Islamic world, on the other hand, such men are rife. And hair coverings are the very least of their women folks problems. How does being dressed head to toe in a sack compare with being banned from driving; or murdered for trying to attend school; or being stoned to death for adultery because a bunch of local lads have decided to gang rape you?
America, you won’t often hear me say this but in this particular case it’s true. Where Islam is concerned, you have a lot to learn from those pesky cheese-eaters.

Memo to the FT: Neda Agha Soltan Did Not Die in Order to Foment Anti-Israeli Propaganda

Memo to the FT: Neda Agha Soltan did not die in order to foment anti-Israeli propaganda

The killing of 27-year old philosophy student Neda Agha Soltan on the streets of Teheran – filmed and posted on YouTube – has rightly become a focal point for Iran’s democratic protests against the tyrannical clerical regime. But what, pray, does it have to do with the fictionalised death of a Palestinian boy who wasn’t murdered nine years ago by Israeli security forces?

A great deal if you read this extraordinary report from the Financial Times, whose reporter clearly believes considers the link so vital and overwhelming as to constitute the main part of the story.

Here is how the FT’s report begins:

“The footage of a Palestinian man being shot dead next to his 12-year-old son, Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah, by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2000 has been etched in the minds of many Iranians, as state television has continually replayed the images to highlight the ‘Zionist regime’s brutality.’”

Only in the second paragraph does the reporter get round to mentioning the assassination of this perfectly innocent – and, sadly, very real – young woman by a pro-government militiaman as she spoke to friends on her mobile phone:

“Now, the Islamic regime itself has become the subject of similar allegations at home and abroad after gruesome footage of a dying young woman during the suppression of an opposition protest on Saturday was released on the internet.”

This corruption of a tragic, moving and very newsworthy story with so tendentious and misleading an intro is a disgrace, not least because it completely distorts reality and history.

If the “Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah” story really has been etched into the minds of many Iranians, that’s only because they are victims of a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli propaganda story which has since been exposed as a complete lie in a court libel action.

As Melanie Phillips and others have comprehensively demonstrated the film footage of a 12-year old lad (not his father, as the FT reports) being deliberately shot by Israelis in a street battle was faked. This hasn’t, of course, stopped it being believed as gospel truth throughout the Muslim world and used to justify everything from the second Palestinian intifada to the beheading of Daniel Pearl.

The Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah blood libel, in other words, represents exactly the kind of vicious, destructive, Islamist extremism which poor Neda Agha Soltan died trying to prevent – not encourage.

Hat-tip: Tom Gross

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Dumbing Down: The Awful Truth

I know we still have a couple of months before the GCSE results come in but already I can make a confident prediction: Britain’s 16-year olds will be proved with a record number of A and A* grades to be the brightest 16 year olds in the nation’s history.

Any commentator who dares to use unhelpful phrases like “grade inflation” will be dismissed by the current Schools Minister (presuming Gordon Brown can find any MP still willing to serve under him as far hence as August) as an ‘elitist snob bent on undermining the very real achievements of our hardworking children and their hardworking teachers who have done so much to position Britain at the forefront of international league tables of academic excellence, comfortably beating Afghanistan, Chechnya and Sudan, and only a notch or two below such well-known scholastic hot-spots as Burkina Faso, Albania and Somalia.’

Meanwhile, here is some recent research comparing difficulty levels in Maths papers in the last four decades.

1. Teaching maths in 1970

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.

His cost of production is 4/5 of the price.
What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1980
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is 80% of the price.
What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1990
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is £80.
How much was his profit?

4. Teaching Maths In 2000
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is £80 and his profit is £20.
Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2005

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habit of animals or the preservation of our woodlands.

Your assignment: Discuss how the birds and squirrels might feel as the logger cut down their homes just for a measly profit of £20.

All right, these are actually made-up examples from a joke website, but can anyone spot any major difference between the satire and reality? Have a look at the joke in full at this site. It goes on to satirize health and safety legislation, Government incompetence and the rise of Islamism. If it weren’t all so depressingly true, you’d almost find it in your heart to laugh.

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BBC – Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

June 19, 2009

BBC – Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

James discusses men’s relationships with male friends on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.


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C4 Podcast Interview

James weighs in on Obamacare on C4’s (Clarence Mitchell IV’s) show. Click here to listen.

One Response to “C4 Podcast Interview”

  1. Michael says:June 17, 2009 at 2:45 pmCongrats on the interview. Just one question though; isn’t it true that returning the provision of healthcare to private interests could lead to a monopolising oligarchy that, in the final analysis, treats it shareholders prior to its patients? How can healthcare be provided in a way that doesn’t finally become a bloated private-sector version of the ineffective State sector that it is trying to replace – or, more briefly, how can we keep monopoly out of healthcare?The ideal is of course independent hospitals and clinics, and independent health authorities, but surely the market will swallow these up and impose a uniform and inflexible health care system much like the one that many people seem to be disenchanted with…

What the BBC Didn’t Want You to Know about the Belfast ‘Romanians’

Sometimes working out what’s going in Britain by listening to the BBC can be almost as confusing as working out what’s going in Iran by relying on the official Islamic Republic News Agency. This morning’s Today programme report on the 115 “Romanians” driven out of their homes in Belfast by racist threats was a perfect case in point.

If you listened to the report carefully, you would have realised that the victims weren’t simply Romanians. They were in fact Roma. But not for one second did anyone from the BBC acknowledge this, nor is it mentioned on the BBC website. It only slipped out by accident when a local race-relations worker interviewed on the programme happened to mention the victims’ ethno-cultural identity.

Should we be bothered by the BBC’s gag-inducingly PC circumlocution? You bet we should. The BBC – more’s the pity – remains arguably the most trusted disseminator of news in Britain. Yet here, it chose to treat its audience like children: children who simply could not be trusted to be told the full truth unless they came to the “wrong” conclusions.

Now you may feel, as I do, that it is no more excusable to persecute someone because they belong to a gipsy group than it is to persecute them for their nationality. (Or indeed, their sexual orientation, or their educational background or social class). But it is up to us, as grown-ups, to make up our own minds on our moral position on these issues, not for the BBC to do it for us by withholding key facts.

It is precisely this kind of mealy-mouthed disingenuousness on the subject of race and identity which drives a put-upon electorate mad with frustration and despair. So long as the BBC – our three main political parties too – go on disseminating this Orwellian version of reality, the far Right will continue to grow.

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One thought on “What the BBC didn’t want you to know about the Belfast ‘Romanians’”

  1. Josh Parrish says:18th June 2009 at 1:22 pmHow about the simple error in implying Romanian is a race? Romanians are not a race unto themselves. I’m not from the UK, so it may be a US/UK difference in word use, but you wouldn’t refer to Catholic-Protestant conflicts in Northern Ireland as “racist,” would you? Roma is a race, Romanian is a nationality. Conflating the two to maintain political correctness is silly–and something I would expect from the BBC (or NPR on my side of the Atlantic).

    James: you are a great writer. I generally don’t follow events in the UK, but I read your columns because you think and write well. Keep it up.

Comments are closed.

I’ve Moved

I’ve Moved

James Delingpole’s totally fucking brilliant blog is currently at The Daily Telegraph.

Note: This is here merely for historical purposes. Actually his blog is here: delingpoleworld.com, and soon to be at jamesdelingpole.com.

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Green Jobs. What Green Jobs?

They call him The Terminator. And not unreasonably so – for Terminate is exactly what Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has done to the Californian economy.

Remember how, not so long ago, the Golden State used to boast that if it split from the rest of the US it would become the world’s fifth biggest economy? Not any more. With unemployment at over 9 per cent (and rising), a business exodus more frenzied than the great wildebeeste migration, and a dollars 41 billion hole in its finances, California is on the verge of becoming the first state in US history to be declared bankrupt.

But hang on just a second. Wasn’t this exactly the kind of economic debacle that was supposed NOT to happen under Arnie’s take-no-prisoners stewardship?

Isn’t this why, in the early days, they called him The Governator: because he was going to “cut up the credit card”, slash  red tape, high taxes and anti-competitive business regulations, slim down the bloated public sector and turn California back into the lean mean fighting machine it used to be in the days of Ronnie Reagan?

Well yes. That was the idea certainly – and it was one that persuaded quite a few of us at the time. Sure Arnie had his repellant aspects – not least, as Clive James put it, the fact the he resembles a “condom stuffed with walnuts” – but, at least, we thought, he was our humourless, monosyllabic Austrian SOB and not the enemy’s.

As actors went, we thought, he wasn’t one of those Tim Robbins, George Clooney, or Alec Baldwin types whose first move on taking the governorship would probably be to turn half of California into a giant welfare park for the homeless and released death row prisoners, and the other half into a ginormous ice rink for endangered polar bears. Arnie, we thought – and he was, after all, campaigning on a Republican ticket – would be a proper no-nonsense Conservative.

So where did it all go wrong? The kindest interpretation is that Arnie is but the hapless victim of a state so irredeemably left-wing, union-dominated and bureaucratised, that he couldn’t change its ways even if he wanted.

Like France – which each day it more closely resembles – California is caught in a classic socialistic bind: it can’t afford the welfare state, but it can’t imagine life without it. Having started with the best of intentions, the theory goes, Arnie realised he cared more about being popular than he did about giving his voters the economic cold shower that might have rescued them from their statist stupor.

At best, then, Arnie is a moral coward. He had the political capital early in his governorship to clean out the Augean mess of California’s Jabba-the-Hutt welfare state and, like Tony Blair in Britain, he funked it because he preferred being liked.

At worst, though, Arnie is something much more dangerous than that: a deluded fool with the power to do real harm. Consider his green policies. In 2006 California signed into law the toughest anti-global-warming measures of any state in the US. And perhaps they’re working – certainly the freak snow storms which visited London last month and are now sweeping Washington DC suggest someone somewhere is doing something right to bring on the new ice age – but the effect on California’s economy has been disastrous.

The killer has been the State’s forthcoming “cap and trade” measures, which will cost Californian households around $23 billion in increased electricity bills and impose strict limits on businesses regarding the amount of  CO2 they emit (with hefty fines for exceeding it). This is why so many businesses are fleeing California (and why unemployment is so high). The last thing they need in a global depression is to find themselves hamstrung with needless extra costs which their competitors don’t have to pay.

Schwarzenegger’s nimble response to this crisis? To go into indestructible replicant mode and plough on regardless. “I recommend very strongly that we move forward,” he said recently. “You will always have people saying this will lose jobs.”

No, Arnie. Not just people saying you will lose jobs. People ACTUALLY losing jobs. Thousands if not millions of them. Under your governorship. As a result of green regulation that you personally introduced.

And where California leads, unfortunately, the rest of America follows. The tax and spend, eco-fascistic policies which have proved so disastrous in California are about to be applied wholesale across the US by President Obama. Copied in Britain too by David Cameron’s Tories, if the Spectator is to be believed.

Arnie, you great big dumb schmuck, you have a hell of a lot to answer for. And I don’t just mean Last Action Hero and Kindergarten Cop.

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Christian Forgiveness: Much Overrated

Fred the Shred

Should “Sir” Fred “The Shred” Goodwin be sent by extraordinary rendition to prison in Equatorial Guinea, strung up by his wedding tackle,  painted in honey and left to hang there while he is eaten slowly alive by mosquitoes and soldier ants?

You might well think so, but I could not possibly agree. First, we must remember that the estimable RBS chief executive has committed no crime whatsoever under English law. Second, the punishment is far, far too good for him.
When I mention these feelings to my more sophisticated friends, they tell me that I am the victim of a cunning government ploy to deflect attention from the REAL villains of Britain’s economic crisis. No I’m not. I hate and blame Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Lord Myners et al, every bit as much as I did before. I just think it would be an awful shame if we missed the opportunity to give Sir Fred “The Shred” the proper kicking he deserves.

Let’s consider the facts. “Fred the Shred” got his nickname by ruthlessly slashing costs at all the companies he worked in. Did he, you wonder, say to any of his dozens – if not hundreds, if not thousands – of sackees as he handed them their P45s: “Och aye the noo, ah ken ye’re the crappest employee we’ve ever had, that ye’ve cost oor business thousands of poonds and tarnished oor company’s reputation forever. But ah’m not a man to bear grudges. Here. This massive pay off and pension package should guarantee you and your wee bairns a life of luxury to the end of your days….”?

Of course he ruddy didn’t. So why should his employers at RBS have treated him any more generously?

And Sir Fred “The Shred” wasn’t just any old rubbish employee. He is, in fact, the most utterly rubbish employee in British commercial history. No one in Britain has ever cost their business so much money. Even “rogue trader” Nick Leeson only cost his bank Barings  £827 million. But RBS, thanks in good part to Sir Fred’s recklessness, has just recorded pre-tax losses of £40 BILLION.
So how, pray, can this appalling loser – the sort of person Sir Fred himself would have viewed with the utter contempt in the days when things were going well for him – now justify accepting from his ruined bank an annual £693,000 pension? How can he live with the shame?

Well Sir Fred might be able to. But I don’t think the rest of us should let him. Ever. I know that never forgiving somebody is not the Christian way. But I’m not sure that Christian forgiveness has any place in modern Britain. It belongs to an age when if people did bad – really bad – things, they had the good grace to feel so awful about it their lives become a living hell. Do you see any evidence of that inner torment on Sir Fred’s grinning features? I don’t.
I take it all back. To Equatorial Guinea with the man, at once. And bring on the honey, the mosquitoes and the army ants!


The Smiths vs The Pet Shop Boys

Anyway, Brandon Flowers’s speech. It was about the day aged 13 when he’d had to make a choice between two singles collections (Mom only gave him enough money for one). Either The Smiths’ Louder Than Bombs or The Pet Shop Boys’ Discography. He chose the Pettoes and I think he was right, don’t you? Sure we love The Smiths, they’re great and all that, but if you had to take just one set of music to a Desert Island, which would it be:

Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others; Panic; There Is A Light That Never Goes Out; Stop Me If You’ve Heard This On West End Girls; Go West; Being Boring; It’s A Sin; Can You Forgive Her; Rent; Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money); etc.or

It’s a toughie, but I reckon Pet Shop Boys have the edge. They’re more dancey for one thing (useful if there were any exotic plants on the island you could synthesise into E), they’ve more variety, they’re more sophisticated and a lot more influential.

I mean, apart from The Sundays, who did the Smiths ever really influence musically?

Also Neil Tennant would never have misspelt “cemetery”, would he? Nor would he have ventured into terrain as crap as Morrissey’s PETA-style whinge, Meat Is Murder.

Of course, both The Smiths and The Pet Shop Boys write beautiful, moving songs suffused with a rainwashed melancholy that makes you believe as you listen that to be English is at once the most tragic and wonderful thing in the world. And really choosing between them is like having to choose between Bach and Beethoven.

But if you had to be really picky, I think you could say that Morrissey’s moping is a bit one-note and solipsistic, whereas Tennant’s is more nuanced, tender, sympathetic. And Tennant’s miles better at light shows and wearing silly hats.

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