Of All the Bad Things about France’s Burkini Ban, This Is the Worst…

One, is that they inevitably lead to ugly, embarrassing, unhelpful stories like this one involving a hapless Muslim woman being fined on the beach and forced by uniformed officers to expose her arms. You can see why locals might feel very strongly about Islam after the Islamic-State-inspired massacre of 85 innocents in the Bastille Day truck attack. But unfortunately it has the doubly negative effect of making the local authorities look petty, vindictive and helpless, while serving to exacerbate local Muslims’ sense of grievance, alienation and victimhood.

Another – as Douglas Murray eloquently argues here – is that it’s just a silly distraction from the real issues. Burkinis don’t pose a public safety threat – unlike, say, a burka you can’t hide an AK 47 under them because they’re too tight fitting. Picking on an item of clothing enables the authorities to give the false impression that they’re really getting tough when actually they’re brushing the real problems (mass immigration; Saudi-funded Wahabist indoctrination etc) under the carpet.

But easily the worst is that it gives progressive blowhards like James O’Brien the chance to demonstrate how inclusive and caring and unIslamophobic they are with virtue-signalling analogies like the one he inflicted today on listeners to his whiny-bitch LBC radio show.

O’Brien, a privately educated leftist with a fake-proletarian accent, brow furrowed permanently in a state of baffled rage and righteous concern, had this to say on his show:

“How would you feel if a nun at gunpoint was told to take off her habit?”
“Sister Mary Frances was my headmistress when I was six years old. I would find that so outrageous, so absolutely outrageous that Sister Mary Frances would be told to take off her habit when she took us on a school trip to Wales. How would you feel, hand on heart if nuns were being told in France to take off their habit on beaches?”

Yes, of course we can all see the flaws in his argument. (You only have to ask yourself who you think should get more scrutiny at an airport check in: a nun or a woman in a burka). At the same time, though, O’Brien does have a point.

Read the rest at Breitbart.

Rod Liddle Does His Anti-Foxhunting Dad Dance Again. Oh, Puh-lease

Rod Liddle – the thinking man’s Ricky Gervais – has been doing his Dad Dance routine again. You know the one. It’s where he shows how down-with-the-kids and still-in-touch-with-his-radical-leftist-working-class-roots he is by telling you how utterly he loathes foxhunting and how, instead of giving parliament a free vote on the issue, David Cameron should be making it even more illegal than ever because, like, it’s barbaric.

Rad, Rod. Rad!

You can almost smell the oestrogen and plait-haired armpit sweat of all the hot PETA chicks swarming to kneel in appreciation of Rod’s bunny hugging caringness, can’t you?

But I have to say that as both a longstanding friend of Rod’s and a huge admirer of his writing, I find this particular Dad Dance of his embarrassing and demeaning and I really wish he wouldn’t do it.

When he writes crap like this it’s a bit like Led Zeppelin reforming to do a three month stint at Caesars Palace. (“Stairway to Heaven guaranteed Every Nite!!!“). You just think: “No, Rod. Really. You’re better than that.”

It’s crap because it’s airheaded and fluffy and mawkish and horribly redolent of the kind of Guardianista Liberalthink that, as a rule, Rod rightly professes to despise.

Saying foxhunting should be banned because you think it’s cruel and barbaric is as insightful and thought-through and original as venturing, say, that “The true mark of a civilised country is how well it treats its old/disabled/ethnic minorities/prisoners/delete as appropriate” or that you believe in “social justice” and that everyone should have a “living wage” and that for the sake of “future generations” we should learn to live more “sustainably” and that the “problem with Communism is that has never been really tried”. Or even “today is the first day of the rest of your life”. Or “you don’t have to be mad to work here. But it helps!!!”

It’s crap because it’s such a pathetically obvious piece of virtue-signalling. Next time, Rod, just save yourself the bother and write: “I hate the Daily Mail.” That’ll do you.

It’s crap because it’s so nauseatingly illiberal – in the old-fashioned sense of the world.

Now I’m perfectly aware, having had discussions with Rod on this point that he doesn’t want to belong to any kind of liberal tradition – Classical liberal or Guardianista – because he thinks of himself more as Old School authoritarian left.

So all I’ll say on this point is that I find it a bit disappointing that a man who at periods in his life has not exactly been unburdened with personal vices himself should be so indecently keen to cast the first stone at the weaknesses of others.

If, that is, you consider a desire to go foxhunting a weakness. I personally don’t. I think that wanting to go hunting is the most natural thing in the world because it answers the call of one of our most strongly inbuilt atavistic instincts: without the hunting urge we would never have survived, let alone evolved to the point where people were able to invent football and go to Millwall matches and shout clever obscenities at one another, like some people do for their harmless fun, naming no names, eh, Rod?

And frankly, only someone of the Whiggish perversion would be smug enough to imagine that this instinct is something we have all since evolved out of. Yeah, right. You might as well look at the current goings on in Syria and Iraq and pronounce sagely that human beings are no longer drawn to violence.

But that’s by the by. My biggest objection to the arguments of Rod and people like Rod who think they are being civilised and sophisticated and decent in their opposition to hunting is very simply this: that they are miserable, puritanical kill-joys.

I’m not asking the Rod Liddles of this world to be persuaded by all the sub-arguments for the continued existence of hunting – the ones about conservation and tradition and pest control and so forth – because I know, given their class-resentment-inspired bias and their ooh-I-care-about-furry-animals-me moral preening, they’ll always find counterarguments and because in any case they’re just a distraction from the only argument that really matters.

Hunting is a good and desirable thing because it makes those who do it very, very happy without harming in any way whatsoever those miserable sods who disapprove of it.

If you believe in liberty, if you believe in the primacy and the good of mankind, you could never seriously be opposed to hunting. And yes, it really is that simple.

Read more at Breitbart London

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How Pathetically Useless of Cambridge Union to Ban Michael Savage

I’ve long had a soft spot for Cambridge, the charming, picturesque fenland university for people not quite ambitious enough to get into Oxford. But I don’t think its Union debating society has done the place any favours by cancelling at the last minute its invitation to the US talk show host Michael Savage.

Savage was due to speak – via videophone – against the motion “This House Believes Political Correctness is Sane and Necessary” on October 15. The reason he had to do it by videophone, of course, is that he is officially banned from entering Britain.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith issued her fatwa against Michael Savage in the summer as one of the Labour government’s more risibly desperate measures to try to distract public attention from its awfulness. Her thinking went on the following lines: “Hey, I know. I’ll make a long list of the scariest, most murderous terrorists in the world, officially declare them banned from Britain then, at no more public cost than it took to issue the press release, I will be hailed as the Home Secretary who made Britain Safe.”

Then some bright spark noticed that the list included rather too many members of the Religion of Peace (TM). So Jacqui Smith – that brilliant intellect who declared that Islamist terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow in 2007 were “if anything anti-Islamic” – felt compelled to throw in a few non-Muslims too. Very handily Michael Savage – the popular US shock jock about whom no one in Britain had heard up until this point – was white, right-wing and Jewish. Bingo! The man was banned.

And now Cambridge Union has given the poor fellow another kick in the teeth by cancelling his only UK appearance. The Union is blaming technical and legal reasons:

“We have reconsulted with our counsel, and been informed that there are numerous legal issues with Dr Savage speaking here and so because of all of the technical, financial and legal problems involved, we have come to the reluctant conclusion that the event cannot proceed.”

Savage suspects that dark forces are at play and the British government leant on the Union.

“What did the socialist Brown regime fear I might say during the debate?” Savage asked. “What are they hiding from the general public that would have been exposed? Why do they wish to hide what they did to an innocent broadcaster?”

From my experience of the Cambridge Union, I’d say cock-up is far, far more likely than conspiracy. “Legal” reasons sounds like student-speak for “We got nervous about the potential controversy and protests by leftie agitators and chickened out…”

UPDATE:  just had a nice, polite email from the Union’s president elect saying the most pressing reason was financial.

We proposed to Dr Savage that he speak by videophone (/Skype), but his team demanded higher spec equipment than we were able to provide and were not willing to negotiate or contribute to the costs.

The £5000 plus that this event would have cost us – following their demands – was not an expense we could justify.

I believe this bit (though I’ve yet to be convinced by the legal part). Cambridge Union is not awash with cash and is very dependent on its members’ subscriptions. I don’t blame Americans for not knowing this – most British people wouldn’t either. There’s a common assumption that if it’s Oxbridge it must have money to burn. But 19 to 22 year olds – even clever ones – are skint. Especially now Oxbridge is so discriminatory you haven’t a prayer of getting a place these days if you were privately educated.


Just had an email from Michael Savage’s producer, rebutting the Union’s rebuttal:

The communication you received from the Cambridge Union is inaccurate. To begin with, we were never quoted a cost of 5000₤ to us. The price they quoted to us was 3500₤, in a setup that they proposed to include 2 manned cameras, a sound engineer, a video production manager on site within the Union Chamber, a Polycom unit linked to two manned auxiliary cameras and microphones for the outgoing signal from the Chamber, two 50” plasma screen to display the incoming signal and a 17” monitor placed on Dr Savage’s seat in the Chamber. We did not feel that this elaborate a setup was necessary and were working with the Union to assemble a scheme which would be higher quality and have a more reliable connection than Skype, but be more affordable to them than what they proposed. We were then told that the event was cancelled. It is clear to me that these obstacles could have been overcome if there was a real desire to have the debate.

Moreover, the Cambridge Union cited ‘numerous legal issues’ that were never brought to our attention prior to the cancellation. What did they fear? In view of their having invited Dr. Savage in the first place, and having had ample opportunity to investigate the legal ramifications of this decision in advance, I believe it is fair to raise the question of whether they were pressured by any outside source to cancel the debate.

When I put this to the Union’s president-elect Jonathan Laurence, he said “No outside pressure was put on us. It was a very difficult decision to make”. But when I pressed him to explain what on earth these legal ramifications were he said he couldn’t comment further because of the chaos of Fresher’s week.

Hmm. I think my sympathies are back with Michael Savage.

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