Should We Celebrate #OwenJonesIsAWankerDay?

owen jones
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Today, according to Twitter, is #OwenJonesIsAWankerDay.

Normally, I would deplore such dog-piling. It’s what the left does all the time: naming a blameless individual for having committed some imaginary crime such as using the wrong pronoun or making a joke or being pro-Brexit – and then inviting the Social Justice Warrior hate mob to destroy them.

But I wonder if we may need to make an exception in the case of Owen Jones and his ilk, because what they have done to political discourse in Britain over the last few years is dangerous, frightening, and long overdue an almighty backlash.

Read the rest on Breitbart.

Actually, No, D-Day Wasn’t Won by Masked, Leftist Thugs…


Here’s a tweet to turn your stomach.

(Scott’s wife, Catherine McKenna, is the Eco Barbie currently serving under Prime Minister Justin Bieber as Canada’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, so perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by the lameness of the politics…)

And here’s another, from a pubescent left-wing activist and BBC regular called Owen Jones, which ought to bring up whatever there is left of your breakfast.

And here – dry heave, now, I fear – is a particularly smug and noisome offering from the deputy editor of what used to be a men’s style magazine, Esquire.

Did you see what they all just did there? Well, let me explain, with reference to a rather strange trip I took about 25 years ago, to Europe’s last (and worst) Communist tyranny, Albania.

The country had just opened up to the West after four decades of abject poverty and misery, most of them under the tyrannical Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha. Albania was a prison state akin to North Korea. People who tried to escape were shot; food was meager; the cities were polluted and uglified with dreary communist architecture; everyone looked gray and miserable; freedom of speech was, of course, forbidden: there were spies everywhere and political prisoners ended up in jail or worse…

Read the rest at Breitbart.

“Ich bin ein Berliner”

JFK’s words (which actually mean “I am a doughnut”, but never mind) have been popular since the latest terrorist atrocity – as of course they inevitably would. We all know well enough, by now, the standard operational procedure that all right-thinking people adopt whenever someone from the Religion of Peace commits another mass murder.

First, the snappy hashtag phrase of solidarity: #jesuischarlie #prayfororlando#ichbineinberliner

Then the decorating of your Facebook/Twitter profile in the colours of the flag of the latest victim country. So: red, gold, and black are this month’s red, white, and blue.

Then the candlelit vigils.

Then the hipster playing “Imagine” on a wonky piano in an impromptu and entirely unexpected gesture near the scene of the atrocity.

Then the visit by politicians vowing that the people will remain defiant in the face of this outrage.

Then the good news story about some Muslims who were brave and/or nice – usually members of the persecuted Ahmadi branch of Islam – which proves that it is a Religion of Peace really.

Then the caravan of grief moves on. Till the next atrocity. And so on and so on ad infinitum.

We’ve all noticed this stuff, many times over. And most of us find it properly sick-making. But there’s one other element in the standard left-liberal playbook response to these terrorist atrocities which, I think, hasn’t been widely noted yet. And I think it should be because it’s as least as disgusting and lame and feeble and hypocritical and dishonest and cowardly and succour-to-the-enemy-giving as any of the responses I’ve listed above.

I’m talking about the Blame Nigel Farage response.

We saw a perfect example of this in the immediate aftermath of the Berlin atrocity earlier this week when the chattering classes on social media very quickly made up their hive mind who the guilty party was in the Christmas market massacre-by-truck.

Was it, perhaps, the ISIS-inspired terrorist who killed a Polish truck driver, commandeered his vehicle, drove to a crowded Christmas market in the centre of Berlin, turned off the headlights and then accelerated into the crowd of men, women, and children, killing at least a dozen and maiming many more?

Of course not!

The very worst, most evil and culpable person in the world the day after the Berlin massacre was – in the view of progressive types on Twitter and on the BBC and in The Guardian – Nigel Farage.

But what could Nigel Farage possibly have done wrong that was worse than killing lots of people going about their shopping in a Christmas market in Germany?

Well, he’d done the terrible thing of saying this in a tweet:

Terrible news from Berlin but no surprise. Events like these will be the Merkel legacy.
You might be wondering what the problem is here. Me too. I think it’s perfectly arguable, indeed entirely reasonable, to suggest that Angela Merkel’s bizarre experiment to invite over a million “refugees” of mostly Muslim extraction into her country was primarily responsible for this terrorist attack. Thinking this doesn’t make you a bad person or an “Islamophobe”. It’s a simple numbers game: the more Muslims you invite in the greater the likelihood that among them will be unfriendly ones bent on doing great harm.

But to appreciate this basic, obvious truth is to think clearly and logically – which is not something the liberal-left likes to do. What it much prefers to engage in is emotive demagoguery, dubious moral equivalence and cynical smearing of the type we see expressed in this response to Farage’s tweet by a left-wing activist called Brendan Cox.

@Nigel_Farage blaming politicians for the actions of extremists? That’s a slippery slope Nigel

Cox is keen to promote the idea that extremists from the “far right” are just as big a threat as “Islamist” ones.

On the day after the massacre, he tweeted:

Far right &Islamist extremists share same hate driven psychology, intolerance towards difference& tendency to violence. We must defeat both
Well, it’s a point of view, certainly. But if you ask me it’s a crass, ignorant, and irresponsible one. What on earth does the “far right” have to do with a mass murder of innocent shoppers committed by a follower of Islamic State? And how does the comparison add anything useful to the debate? It doesn’t: it does the exact opposite. It’s a classic piece of liberal-left “whataboutery”, of intellectual evasion, of progressive smearing.

“Right wing extremists are just as big a problem as Islamist terrorists,” it seeks to tell us.

And: “Let’s not seek to point the finger of blame at any ideology in particular.”

And: “But do let’s blame the kind of people who think mass immigration is a bad thing because their ‘intolerance towards difference’ is what’s really causing all this violence.”

So I’m really not surprised that Nigel Farage chose to take Cox to task on LBC radio.

Hours after the Twitter exchange between the two, Mr Farage went on LBC radio and said: “Well, of course, he would know more about extremists than me, Mr Cox, he backs organisations like Hope Not Hate, who masquerade as being lovely and peaceful but actually pursue violent and very undemocratic means.”

What does surprise me – though it shouldn’t: I’ve seen often enough how these people roll – was the speed with which the news cycle shifted its attention. One minute we were being invited – quite properly – to focus on the latest appalling atrocity committed in the name of the Religion of Peace. The next – ooh look, a dickie bird! – everyone from the BBC and The Guardian, to various rentaquote Labour MPs, plus the usual suspects on Twitter had decided that the real story of the day was how disgusting and culpable people on the right were, especially Nigel Farage.

MP Tracy Brabin, who replaced Mrs Cox in her Batley and Spen constituency, said: “Beggars belief… A new low for Farage.”

Chris Bryant, the Rhondda MP and former shadow Commons leader, said: “The sheer nastiness of Farage sometimes takes my breath away.”

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins added: “When your entire career has been built on hate, not hope, it perhaps shouldn’t shock me, but Farage still sinks lower than I’d have believed.”

Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, wrote on Twitter: “I hope Farage never ever feels the pain we feel about Jo, because unlike him I am not a monster.”

Again, it’s worth asking: what had Nigel Farage done or said wrong to justify phrases like “sheer nastiness” and “monster”? And if Nigel Farage is a “monster”, what term would you use for the Tunisian guy who murdered that Polish truck driver and then deliberately ploughed the vehicle into a Christmas market full of kids?

I think we need to be absolutely clear here: these people have no claim whatsoever to the moral high ground. They are stupid, wrong, and evil.

In December 2016, as throughout this year and last and the one before, innocents have been butchered by a merciless creed which deliberately sets out to kill and maim by whatever means. And instead of facing up to this threat and asking important questions like “how did this come about?” and “how can we deal with it?”, all these left-wing virtue-signallers in the Labour party, at The Guardian, at the BBC, and on Twitter want to do is duck the issue by pointing in the direction of their favourite bugbear “the far right” instead.

Here is Owen Jones playing the game in The Guardian:

No more pussyfooting around: Nigel Farage and his associates have poisoned our country’s political culture, and it’s time to push back. Their offensive – in every sense of the word – has been so swift, so devastating, that we risk normalising it.

Here is the left-wing comic Mark Steel trying it on in the Independent with some satire which works really well if you’re a doctrinaire left-winger and Hope Not Hate fan who believes Brexit was a disaster and that what Europe needs right now is more unchecked immigration, from the Middle East and North Africa especially.

What has fuelled their moral indignation is the fact that Brendan Cox is the widower of Jo Cox, the MP who was murdered in the streets during the EU referendum campaign by a loner with neo-Nazi sympathies called Thomas Mair.

I have never spoken to, read, or met anyone on the Brexit side of the argument who was any less appalled by Jo Cox’s murder than people on the Remain side were. Yet ever since her senseless death at the hands of a vile individual, elements in the Remain camp have sought to pin her murder on the “rhetoric” used by the Brexit camp, especially by people like Nigel Farage.

(This is a common trope of the regressive left – and has been since at least the 2011 shooting of Arizona Democrat politician Gabrielle Giffords, which the liberal media also did its best to blame on right-wing rhetoric rather than on a sad, confused, angry nut-job.)

Probably the most egregious example of this was a piece by David Aaronovitch in The Times, which I wrote about under the headline “Aaronovitch: Brexit campaigners kinda, sorta killed Jo Cox MP”

Few people have pushed this notion more assiduously than Brendan Cox himself – who donated a large chunk of the memorial fund raised in Jo Cox’s honour to the dubious charity Hope Not Hate, whose speciality is to promulgate this same misleading line – that the “far right” is an equivalent threat to fundamentalist Islam.

No doubt in doing so Brendan Cox believes he is honouring his wife’s memory.

The problem is that the “good work” Brendan Cox believes his wife was doing before she died is anathema to over half the country – and indeed to millions of people in Europe whose countries have been swamped by the kind of mass immigration that the Coxes believed would be good for them.

That’s why the Remainers lost the referendum: because, contrary to the assertions of campaigners like Jo and Brendan Cox, British people had had quite enough of unchecked immigration and could not see the benefits of remaining shackled to a sclerotic, anti-democratic, supra-national bureaucracy within the European Union.

However, the response of the losing Remainers (the 48 per cent) has not been to accept with good grace the democratic will expressed by the Brexiteers (the 52 per cent). Rather it has been to fight, fight, fight the result with whatever means, fair or foul, come to hand and to try to ensure that Brexit never happens.

Among the fouler means the Remoaners have sought to use to get their way is to try to blacken the motives and character of anyone who voted Brexit, while claiming for themselves the moral high ground as ordinary decent people who represent the “British values” of tolerance and fairness and who are appalled by the supposed outbreak of post-Brexit “hate crimes” in a country they claim not to recognise anymore.

It goes without saying that this is pure propaganda based on the flimsiest of evidence, most of it anecdotal or simply made up.

But it’s a line that has caught the imaginations of the losing Remain camp and their friends in the media, not least thanks to Brendan Cox himself.

Whatever phrase you use to describe Cox’s activities since his wife’s murder, “maintaining a dignified silence” wouldn’t be one of them. This was especially noticeable in the tense days before the referendum vote, when he invoked his late wife’s memory to promote this popular Remain trope: that the language being used by the Brexit camp was inflammatory and dangerous and somehow unBritish.

“I think she was very worried that the language was coarsening, that people were being driven to take more extreme positions, that people didn’t work with each other as individuals and on issues, it was all much too tribal and unthinking,” Mr Cox said.

“She was particularly worried – we talked about this regularly – about the direction, not just in the UK but globally, the direction of politics at the moment, particularly around creating division and playing on people’s worst fears rather than their best instincts.”

He has continued to promote this view ever since – taking advantage of the significantly higher media profile which he gained as a result of his wife’s death and finding a ready audience at parti-pris, pro-Remain media organisations like the BBC for his left-leaning, pro-immigration, anti-Brexit opinions. This Christmas he has been given still more space to promote his views by Channel 4 which has chosen him to broadcast their Alternative Christmas Message.

Is there, perhaps, some special rule whereby if you have been tragically widowed, you get a free pass to spout unchallenged whatever views you like in public – even if the cause you are supporting is potentially very dangerous and certainly very offensive to well over half the population?

Brendan Cox’s many admirers in the Remain camp – on the regressive left and in Hope Not Hate most especially – would seem to think so.

I got a small taste of this myself when, at the height of the Farage/Cox spat, I tweeted:

“When are we allowed to say that Brendan Cox is a total arse?”
There are worse insults in the English lexicon than calling someone a “total arse” – as I was reminded by the large number of responses I got from Hope Not Hate virtue-signallers telling me as I was a “c***”. My view on this remains as it was when I tweeted it: that if you’re going to express suspect opinions in the public arena, then you should expect to be called on them, no matter how tragic your personal circumstances. Of course, Cox deserves sympathy as a widower; this does not, however, give him carte blanche to promulgate – uncriticised – the kind of political viewpoint which, unfortunately, goes a long way towards explaining the wave of terrorism we are experiencing in Europe today.

For about 24 hours, I experienced what Nigel Farage has to put up with pretty much every day of his life – and has done for the last 25 years. Wave after wave of self-righteous lefties pouring vitriol, wishing death on me, calling me the worst names they could think of in their limited imaginations.

I’m perfectly OK with the insults. I’m used to it. It’s a technique popular with the regressive left known as “point and shriek” and “isolate and swarm”. The purpose – as Vox Day explains in this SJW attack survival guide – is to frighten you, isolate you, and silence you. And the key thing is to recognise it for what it is and not be upset by it – and definitely not apologise.

But what I cannot tolerate or forgive – and nor should you – is when these scum-sucking regressive types think they have the right to judge and to take the moral high ground.

Farage was absolutely right when he said in that tweet that the massacre in Berlin was a direct result of the Merkel legacy.

John R Bradley puts it well in the Mail:

The undeniable reality is that Europe’s breathtakingly reckless open-door immigration policy has provided a perfect cover for Islamic State to further its bloody, anti-Christian agenda.

Undeniable and real it may be – but the regressive left shows, as yet, absolutely no sign of accepting it or engaging with it.

This is why I have a very special Christmas message to all those people who attacked Nigel Farage for telling the truth about the Berlin massacre, and to all those who called me a “c***” for being rude about Brendan Cox.

You are the reason Donald Trump won the US Presidential election; you are the reason 17.4 million people voted for Brexit; you are the reason the European Union is collapsing. You are hateful, bigoted and – for all your hypocritical pretences to the contrary – fascistic.

You are an intellectually spavined, moronic, self-righteous and disgusting losers who have been shown by the events of 2016 to be on the wrong side of history. There is nothing noble or worthy or decent about your ranting rage: it is the fury of a vampire stuck with a stake, realising as he shrieks his last that finally the good guys have ended his reign of terror.

I leave you, as a treat, with the delicious words of Owen Jones in the Guardian – as demented a case of psychological projection as it has ever been my amused privilege to witness.

We face a great danger, and not even those who will suffer because of it have realised just how grave it is. Intolerance and hatred have been legitimised across the western world. Dissent is becoming treason. That is bad enough. But there are other violent extremists who are being both radicalised and legitimised across the west. If we don’t take a stand now, new dark chapters are soon to arrive.

No, Owen, my fluffy little ephebe. It’s not my side that is guilty of any of that. It’s your side that has been doing this for decades – closing down free speech, demeaning people who dare to speak out, promoting hatred and violence while pretending to preach tolerance (so long as it’s tolerance of things you think it’s OK to tolerate).

You are unconscionable scum. Your philosophy has been responsible for causing untold misery across the world for over a century. The idea that any of you are able to take the moral high ground on anything is as risible as your threadbare arguments.

Still, the great thing is that you guys finally lost in 2016. Happy 2017 everyone – it can only get better from here on in.

What the left would prefer you didn’t know about multiculturalism… | James Delingpole

September 1, 2014

All right, so it was only a straw poll conducted among viewers of yesterday’s BBC Sunday Morning Live debate programme: 95 per cent of Britons think multiculturalism has been a failure.
But as majority verdicts go, it was a pretty resounding one – and it was delivered despite the BBC’s best efforts to muddy the waters, first by wheeling out two of the nation’s Multi Culti Apologist big guns Owen Jones and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, and second by pretending that multiculturalism means something other than what it actually means.

Multiculturalism is a very specific political philosophy which could scarcely be further removed from the idea that we should live in one big, happy, multi-ethnic melting pot and all just get along. That’s because it means the exact opposite. It’s about separatism, not integration.

It was championed from at least the 1970s onwards by effete bien-pensants like Labour MP turned Social Democrat Roy Jenkins and is essentially a manifestation of the cultural guilt and self-hatred that afflicts the left-wing chattering classes. Rather than accept the truth which to most of us is glaringly obvious – that some cultures are manifestly superior to others – it urges us all to celebrate our differences and to accept values that we may personally find alien or even abhorrent in the name of creating a fairer, more tolerant and inclusive society.

So, for example, we in liberal Western culture generally take a dim view of marrying members of your own family, female genital mutilation, forced or arranged marriages, second-class status for women, voter fraud, systematic political corruption, honour killings, the organised grooming, trafficking and rape of underage girls, and so on.

In some of our immigrant communities, though, such practices are considered more or less acceptable. (And I’m only using that “more or less” modifier out of politeness).

From Breitbart London

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2 thoughts on “What the left would prefer you didn’t know about multiculturalism…”

  1. darren.halliday says:1st September 2014 at 5:19 pmMulticulturalism is no longer just about the “celebration of diversity”. Yes diversity is OK when discussing music, food, dance and traditional celebrations. But now, the debate on multiculturalism has to address the issue of state and social policy (as various cultural practices and beliefs are at odds with traditional British values). Do we encourage discrimination based on gender in inheritance matters? Do we allow the teaching that homosexuality is sinful in our schools? Do we allow segregation in public meetings at Universities? Do we allow opinion leaders/educationalists to NOT condemn stoning as a punishment when directly asked (and then practice power over schools)? What is urgently needed is a definition of the boundaries of multiculturalism. We cannot function cohesively as a society, if this boundary is not clearly defined and key (not negotiable) values must prevail in our institutions and law making.
  2. MellorSJ says:1st September 2014 at 5:30 pmI’m more or less in love with the modifier.

The Problem with Owen Jones…

Say what you like about Owen Jones – it’s not like he’ll notice: he will long since have blocked you on Twitter – but he makes the most admirably formidable performer in TV and radio debates.

Fluent, brilliant at interrupting, apparently well-informed, unfailingly polite in the green room, and possessed of an undeniably cute, startled-bushbaby charm, the boy Owen has become the go-to left-winger of choice for all the BBC’s myriad political programmes. And the more often he does it (which is every hour God sends, basically), the better he gets. Is it any wonder that those of us who have to do battle with him approach our encounters with a certain trepidation?

But Owen Jones has a chink in his armour – and it has been cruelly exposed in a series of tweets by spy author and investigative blogger Jeremy Duns. Basically, Jones has been caught out playing fast and loose with his killer “facts” in his bestselling new book The Establishment.

One killer fact, which Jones has been repeating quite a bit on his promotional tours, is the amazing statistical revelation that “…According to a 2012 study, forty-six of the top fifty publicly traded firms in the UK had a British parliamentarian as either a director or a shareholder. This figure – 92 per cent of such businesses – was higher than for any of the forty-seven other nations investigated, with the next-ranked developed nation being Italy, at just 16 per cent of such businesses.”

It’s amazing not least because it’s completely untrue. As Duns goes on painstakingly to demonstrate by referring to the original study quoted by Jones.

Problem number one: It doesn’t say “forty-six of the top fifty”. It says 46 per cent of the top 50. So Jones’s misreading of the report has exaggerated the problem he describes by 100 per cent.

Problem number two. The study wasn’t as recent as 2012 (though presumably it may have suited Jones to overlook this detail to make his research look more up-to-the-minute) but dated back to 2004.

So, as Duns notes, Jones’s “92 percent from a 2012 study is actually 46 percent from a 2004 study. Very different things, these.”

Indeed. But never let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh? Jones certainly hasn’t. This fake statisticoid has made its way into a number of promotional speeches he has given on the subject, including one at the London School of Economics (where it was enthusiastically tweeted by Bonnie Greer – and then retweeted 588 times by others), one to Channel 4 news, and one to a left-wing vlogger called Artist Taxi Driver.

There’s plenty more where this came from.

Here, for example, is what Jones says in his Introduction to the book:

“The legacy of centuries of aristocratic power has not vanished, though: more than a third of British and Welsh land – and over 50 per cent of rural land – remains in the hands of just 36,000 aristocrats.”

Jones gives the source as Country Life.

But when you go to the source what it actually says is:

“Indeed, the 36,000 members of the CLA own about 50 per cent of the rural land in England and Wales.”

Do you see the difference?

Jones apparently couldn’t. (Or, as above, perhaps it suited him not to). But the difference is that the 36,000 members of the CLA – aka the Country Land and Business Association – are not all aristocrats. Indeed, most probably only a minority of them are. Anyone can join the CLA, simply by paying the membership fee.

But obviously if you’re engaged in class war and toff bashing “36,000” is a lot more exciting a figure to quote than whatever the tiny real number is.

Let me give one more small example, quoted here by Michael Ezra:

He provides an unsourced 1970s quote from Harold Lever. When, post-publication, he was asked for a source, he claims it came from an interview with Neil Kinnock. It is at no point clear that this quote is based on a decades-later recollection from someone else.

Now individually these instances of sloppiness may seem no big deal. But cumulatively, they raise serious doubts about the credibility of both Jones and his thesis. If you’re going to write a book which rides your hobby horse that the Establishment is basically a free market, right-wing plot against the ordinary working man, the very least you owe your readers is to give your slipshod thesis a veneer of plausibility by providing some concrete, fact-checkable examples of what you mean.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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2 thoughts on “The problem with Owen Jones…”

  1. JohnCollins says:25th October 2014 at 2:05 pmI find this a little bit curious. If you wanted to make the case Owen Jones is looking to make, there is really no need to cherry pick and exaggerate. There is plenty of very provable low hanging fruit in the public domain.

    His work being full of fact holes is a reflection of his standard of research and a willingness to say anything that will further his own aims.

    It’s annoying that voices on the left are mostly charlatans. It guarentees a quagmire. Everyone knows you cannot debate a leftist who cherry picks facts to suit an agenda. They’ll resort to name calling faster than you can say “Excuse me..”.

  2. Rhoderick Gates says:25th October 2014 at 9:03 pm“full of fact holes”

    Three wrong quotes is not ‘full’. He used more than three citations in the book

Comments are closed.

Twitter wars: another proxy battleground for the future of Western civilisation | James Delingpole

August 4, 2013

Twitter, yesterday

So I’d just got back from doing a shop at Aldi (*) last night when I noticed that in my absence I’d been mentioned in 120 new tweets. “Ulp!” I thought. “What have I gone and done now?” In Twitterland, you see, being mentioned in lots of tweets is usually a sign you’ve been naughty.

(* Aldi’s aged sirloin Aberdeen Angus steak is unsurpassed)

Anyway, it turned out that I had enraged the usual Twitter suspects. Some had chosen to take umbrage over a link I’d put up to another superb piece by Russell Taylor in which he had an entirely justified dig at the ghastly Co Op and its war on lads’ mags; others were rising to the defence of publicity-seeking Labour MP Stella Creasy who can’t seem quite to make up her mind whether she is a delicate wallflower in need of protective regulation or a feisty, fearless interweb provocatrice. The general verdict was that I was immature, mentally ill, devoid of love, psychologically damaged, inadequate and DEFINITELY NOT FUNNY, let alone worthy of a voice in the national debate.

So, as you do, I had a glance at the self-descriptions of my self-appointed Twitter jury and here are some examples of what I found:

“Labour party activist”; “Middle-aged old style socialist”; “leftie”; “Guardian-reading liberal”; “gig-going lefty”; “Socialist Labour party”; “Local government worker and political activist”; “Labour cllr (Withington)”; “@owenjones84.”

Can any of you notice what they have in common? Yes. That’s right. These are the kind of people who, if I wrote a 10,000 word panegyric on the beauty and wisdom of their mothers, would focus solely on my abject failure in paragraph 57 to include an exclamation mark after “and her crochet skills are fantastic too…” The kind of chippy malcontents, indeed, who are quite heftily over-represented in the comments section below this blog, busily pointing out stuff like how the spell of nice weather we’ve had recently makes a total mockery of my evil, Big-Oil funded climate change scepticism, or noting that because I suffer depression I am mentally unstable, or just spitting bile over the fact that they’ve got worthless degrees in climate “science” from the “University” of East Anglia and all that lovely work they had as advisers in the renewables sector seems to have dried up rather of late. Not normal people in other words. Not neutral voices who’ve thoughtfully weighed up the pros and cons before chipping in their tuppenny hapenny’s worth. But shrill, angry, politically motivated, logic-proof, blinkered, standard issue greeny-lefty trolls.

Why am I telling you this? Because many of you, I know, consider that the goings-on at Twitter this week are beneath your lofty attention. Of course I understand why you think this: Twitter is indeed a bare-knuckle bear pit of a witch hunt frenzy nightmare of bile, invective and round, unvarnished evil. (Though it does have its plus sides too, or I wouldn’t waste so much time there). But what some of you appear to be unaware of is its significance in the broader culture wars.

In these culture wars this week’s Twitter debate is Leveson is Toby Young’s free school is Drummer Lee Rigby and “Islamophobia” is climate change is Christopher Snowdon’s “fake charities” is Piers Morgan and gun control is Trayvon Martin. Which is to say that every one of these issues serves as a proxy battleground for a much broader, and much more important conflict which is raging around the world right now and on whose outcome the future of our fragile civilisation depends.

What this war has very, very little to do with is whether nasty Mr Murdoch’s wicked henchmen caused Milly Dowler’s phone messages to be erased or about whether that idiot’s undeniably stupid, offensive and wrongheaded rape threat to Stella Creasy was any more sincere than Paul Chambers’s tweet “threat” to blow up Robin Hood airport. You’d never guess this from the way these stories have been gleefully spun by the leftist media – the BBC and the Guardian especially – but it just doesn’t, it really doesn’t.

What all these disparate issues are really about is the things they’re always really about: the bitter, ongoing struggle between those on the one hand who cleave ardently to the statist religion of equality, diversity and sustainability in which society’s “best interests” are decided by an “enlightened” elite of bureaucrats, technocrats, petty officials, social workers, Local Agenda 21 groupuscules, administrators, UN and EU apparatchiks, Guardian editorial-writers, grandstanding politicians and members of the BBC Trust. And on the other, those of us who have sufficient faith in human nature to take the view that – barring the odd safety net here and the occasional piece of protective legislation there – the best route to creating a more fruitful, enjoyable, richer and, yes, fairer world is for us all, pretty much, to be left to live our lives the way we want to live them, unencumbered by confiscatory taxes, Nannyish government edicts and pettifogging regulation which seeks to micromanage every last detail of our daily existence from how many different coloured bags we put our rubbish in to the degree to which we’re permitted to be rude towards our enemies on Twitter.

I know which side I’m on. This columnist here seems to be equally sure which side she’s on. You can all decide for yourselves where you belong on this ideological battleground. But don’t kid yourself that this is a war where you can just sit on the sidelines or where there’s a “reasonable middle ground”. Ultimately, it’s about liberty v tyranny; about freedom of speech v creeping state control; free market capitalism v anti-growth collectivism; personal responsibility v suckling on the teat of the state; optimism v pessimism.

You choose.

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Lord Fellowes Is Right: Posh People Are the Last Persecuted Minority

Julian Fellowes: 'poshism' is the last acceptable form of discrimination (Photo: Rex)

Julian Fellowes: poshism is the last acceptable form of discrimination (Photo: Rex)

This morning I had a debate on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme with someone called Owen Jones on the issue of class in modern Britain. It was provoked by Lord Fellowes (aka Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey), who argued in a Times interview that toffs are the one remaining minority in Britain against which it is considered acceptable to discriminate.

Recently, he was watching Loose Women — “a programme I rather enjoy” — and one of the participants declared: “I hate posh blokes.” Lord Fellowes says: “There was a cheer from the audience. If I said, ‘I hate Americans’, or ‘I hate blondes’, or ‘I hate common blokes’, that wouldn’t work. But somehow that one was OK.

“And of course it’s not OK. I suppose ‘poshism’ is the last acceptable form of discrimination. Having been fat, bald, posh and male I’m used to a certain amount of humour at my expense but rather than striving towards a pseudo-egalitarianism that in 2,000 years of recorded history has failed to come about, I think we should strive for a position of giving people their worth and being polite.”

Fellowes has lots more eminently sensible stuff to say in this vein. (He’s splendidly scathing about the recent Number 10 barbecue in which the British prime minister and the US president doled out burgers to show what regular guys they were: “There was an era when people wanted to be governed by great kings, then they wanted to be governed by great nobles who would keep the king in his place. Now they want to be governed by great friends. They want to know these people — whether or not they like toffee ice cream — and my natural pull is more towards the statesmen era.”) Indeed, it’s all so glaringly obvious you almost wonder why Today thought it a suitable topic for debate. Isn’t pointing out that toffs are discriminated against in modern Britain a bit like saying that ice cream makes your tooth fillings go funny or that Gordon Brown wasn’t one of the great prime ministers or that squirrels are great hoarders of nuts?

Well I thought so, anyway, but Jones and the interviewer John Humphrys begged to differ. Humphrys’s opening question invited his listeners to roll their eyes at the preposterousness of the notion that toffs faced discrimination, while Jones threw in his tuppeny happeny’s worth about the continued dominance of the “Ruling Classes” and about how many MPs had been to public school and Oxbridge and so on, as if somehow this were a major national scandal which needed to be addressed.

I wonder how parliament would look if Jones got his way. It would be imbued with a lot more earthy, horny-handed, echt, coal-ingrained, sweat-smelling, demotic, multi-ethnic, gender-balanced authenticity, presumably, for as Jones was keen to point out one of the problems with our current ruling class is that they are completely out of touch with the modern world. Actually I agree with him on this point, though not with his analysis of why this is so. The problem with government these days is not that it’s full of rich toffs but that it’s full of career politicos who instinctively want to extend the power of the state and have no understanding of what it is like to be an ordinary taxpayer who just wants to be left alone.

Anyway, Humphrys asked me for evidence that toffs face discrimination, and I suppose the best evidence there is is David Cameron. Here is a man who benefited from the best possible education in the world Eton and Oxford and who instead of feeling proud of the fact has been compelled by our prevailing social mores to behave as if it’s a toxic liability.

You could argue, indeed, that almost everything wrong with our current Coalition can be put down to the fact of David Cameron’s awkwardness about being an old Etonian. He daren’t reduce the 50p tax rate (though it makes economic sense) lest he be seen to be favouring his rich friends in the City; he daren’t create more free schools by allowing entrepreneurs to run them for profit for fear that this might come across as elitist; he daren’t address the issue of the Europe because this is just the sort of thing blimpish, blue-blooded, Tory reactionaries do in the shires, and we can’t have that now, can we?

And, of course, the main reason we’ve got the wretched Coalition in the first place is because Cameron was scared of advancing proper Tory principles, lest he be mistaken for the kind of terrible, evil person who went to a school where they dress you in a smart uniform and teach you all sorts of poncy stuff like Latin and Greek and you come away with ghastly behavioural tics like good manners and a strong desire to succeed.

O tempora! O mores!

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  4. In praise of Lord Tebbit

20 thoughts on “Lord Fellowes is right: posh people are the last persecuted minority”

  1. Andrew Ryan says:31st May 2011 at 11:59 am1. If the estimable Lord Fellows was a black man complaining about black victimisation, people would be piling on him to with the accusation that he’s ‘playing the race card’. Yet because he’s ‘playing the posh card’, somehow it’s OK?2. If Cameron can’t get away with certain policies because he can’t get the public support for them, then that’s simple democracy. You seem to be saying it’s not Cameron’s fault he can’t get away with certain policies, it’s the voting public’s problem for not allowing a posh man to put in place certain policies. OK. So, would you let Obama off the hook by saying “It’s not Obama’s fault he can’t get away with certain policies, it’s the voting public’s problem for ‘not allowing a black man’ to put in place certain policies?”3. The Loose Woman who claimed she hates posh blokes may well have been using the word as a short hand for ‘men who look down on her because of her class’, not just all upper class men indiscriminately.
  2. Nige Cook says:1st June 2011 at 10:18 pm“… Lord Fellowes (aka Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey), who argued in a Times interview that toffs are the one remaining minority in Britain against which it is considered acceptable to discriminate.”Elitism itself is a form of discrimination. Toffs are the ones discriminating against everyone else by choosing to behave in an elitist or posh way. The problems are generated by the particular toffs who don’t have any charm or eccentricity, who don’t really have time for “little people”. Boris Johnson (as well as many other toffs who have been to charm school) manages to get around this problem by making himself appear as a lovable clown.It is acceptible to discriminate against elitism, which many see as being arrogant, because snobbery itself is a self-discrimination decision. Everybody can vary their accent, dress sense, etc., if they wish. It’s a conscious decision to behave in a particularly elitist way (subliminal message: “I’m uncommon”). You can’t accuse someone who attacks racism, snobbery, or any other form of nasty and unfair bias of being themselves “discriminatory”. You might as well accuse Pasteur of being a evil for killing dangerous bacteria.

    If anyone should ever wish to sound “posh”, one could presumably do so by taking posh elocution lessons (and maybe also refering to oneself as “one”, to really sound stupid). The problem with toffs is not the way they speak, or the clothes they wear, but the association of these things to stuffy, patronising and arrogant upper class conservative traditions (similar in all but law to the distinction between citizens and slaves in ancient Greece). The toff characteristics are a label of elitism, a badge of pride in being better than others. It’s regarded as arrogance, because it is arrogance.

    People can learn foreign languages, and by analogy they learn different dialects and accents and blend in if they want to. It’s not rocket science. Those who want to stand out from the crowd by speaking “properly” are just annoying. Especially when they attract all the girls. Or at least, the slappers who are impressed by that kind of egotism.

  3. guest says:2nd June 2011 at 1:10 amJames, you aren’t hated simply for the accident of your birth. My advice is to stop worrying what the girls think and get on with a life more satisfying than whining about the accident that is daddy’s money.Peace.
  4. Andrew Ryan says:2nd June 2011 at 8:50 amNige: “You can’t accuse someone who attacks racism, snobbery, or any other form of nasty and unfair bias of being themselves “discriminatory”.”Oh but people do! All the time I hear people say “If you tell Christians not to be intolerant of gays, then you are being intolerant of Christianity”. Just this week I read on Christian Apologist Bill Prat’s site:“People say “You ought not judge.” Isn’t that a judgment?
    People say “You should be tolerant.” Aren’t you being intolerant of me?”

    By the way, isn’t this particular ‘victimisation’ blog a bit rich coming from someone who encourages others to use the word ‘LibTard’? Presumably JD wouldn’t like similar rude names for ‘upper class twits’.

  5. Nige Cook says:2nd June 2011 at 9:24 amAndrew, by “can’t”, I mean you can’t do it ethically, i.e. without having double-standard hypocrisy. Of course you can do bad things, you just can’t do them in a morally defensible way. There are two basic unresolved problems in the world: firstly, judging others by your own standards which differ from those of others, and secondly, having double standards so you expect others to have higher ethical standards than you display yourself. Double standards are always easy to excuse, “I try my best”, “I’m just under the weather and having a bad day”, “many other people are worse hypocrites so I shouldn’t be held to account”, etc.On the subject of religion, Christianity is today weakened in its power. Islam is better at dealing with sinners. Maybe you should consider the bigger source of intolerance, not the smaller. However, that would be politically incorrect, and you might find yourself targeted by the media extremists armed with IEDs, something that certainly is unlikely to happen if you choose to go on about the less severe punishments dished out to sinners in Christianity.
  6. Andrew Ryan says:2nd June 2011 at 10:39 am“:Andrew, by “can’t”, I mean you can’t do it ethically, i.e. without having double-standard hypocrisy”I got your meaning. I was pointing out that such hypocrisy is sadly common.What has political (in)correctness got to do with this Nige? I find people tend to use that term to shut down debate. Accusing someone of being ‘PC’ seems to have the same function as calling them a racist. Once that accusation has been made, dialogue shuts down. If fact, ironically JD described it perfectly on another blog: “It enables them to play judge, jury and executioner without having to go through any of the tedium or intellectual challenge of offering their antagonists a fair trial.”

    In fact I debate much with Muslims. But it is Christians I hear making the claim I quoted (“It is intolerant to argue against intolerance”). And when dealing with subjects such as the teaching of evolution in schools in the US, or gay marriage, it is fundamentalist Christians with whom one finds oneself dealing, and it is then that you are told one must tolerate intolerance.

    And it is hard to push the idea that Christianity is weak in the US – arguably the most powerful country in the world. The accusation that Obama is a Muslim is seen as damaging there. No atheist could get elected to high office there, and in fact politicians come in for criticism if they don’t mention their Christianity enough.

  7. Andrew Ryan says:2nd June 2011 at 2:58 pmBy the way Nige, last month, an interviewer asked four US evangelical church leaders if their intent of using violence to force Christianity on Americans was tantamount to the Taliban in Afghanistan. They replied that, “yes, they were the same as the Taliban except they were better armed, better organized, and had the full support of conservatives in positions of power.”Meanwhile, a student in Louisiana who pointed out that school-led prayer at school functions was against the law (it is literally unconstitutional) has been threatened with physical violence, death threats, demeaned by teachers, ostracized by the community, and cut off from all financial support by his parents who threw him and his belongings out of his house.“Islam is better at dealing with sinners.”

    I think the word ‘better’ is subjective here. The term ‘Fatwa envy’ was invented for the sort of people who think that the Muslims have the ‘better’ system.

  8. Nige Cook says:2nd June 2011 at 6:42 pmAndrew: here in England it is politically correct to attack Christianity for alleged intolerance, rather than Islam. We have Richard Dawkins and other feeling perfectly happy attacking Christianity – knowing that they won’t be assassinated – but not Islam.I don’t agree that mentioning “political correctness” is an excuse to shut down debate: either it is politically correctness, or it isn’t. Similarly with the Nazis, either we want to learn the lessons of history by pointing out fascist dangers when we see people using Nazi type arguments, or we don’t. “Godwin’s law” is quoted as if a God-given demand never to invoke Nazism for fear of “trivializing” WWII and/or the holocaust, the hidden lie being the claim here that the Nazis were recognised as being non-trivial when they could have been stopped without bloodshed in the mid-30s.The whole point is that public fashion proclaimed that the racism, intolerant Nazis were a trivial threat until after it was too late to stop them without a world war.

    The definition of Nazi and/or fascist behaviour is intolerance, which itself is a “ends justify the means” stamping out of people they perceive to be inferior to them or to be dissenters. That’s the root cause of the holocaust, and the bigger Communist massacres of 40 millions.

    It all began with lies about economic motivation in Marx and Engels, and about a utopia via eugenics and militaristic society in Hitler’s Mein Kampf. If this happens again, “Godwin’s law” will be used to prevent early warnings and comparisons being made. Then you end up with a repetition. There was effectively a “Godwin’s law” in place in the 30s concerning the lessons of WWI, which enabled most people to ignore Churchill’s warnings about Hitler trying copying the Kaiser in 1914.

    If you want to censor out warnings about the perils of political correctness leading to Nazism, then you’re going to encourage and protect those elements intent on intolerance.

    “Islam is better at dealing with sinners.”

    Islam aims to deter sin by stated punishment for stated acts. It’s a stronger religion than Christianity, which stresses forgiveness. Sin is defined by the religion. Obviously there is going to be a possible conflict here between strict Sharia law from Allah, and “infidel laws” passed in this or that country. The bigger problem with Islam is limited to a few fanatical extremists who want a religious war against the “infidels”. The more general problem of intolerance to certain minorities by both Christianity and Islam in some ways is related to the other problem, since any alleged conflict between the Koran and Western (im)morality is going to feed the recruitment of the fanatical fringe. What is needed is an honest comparison of Christianity and Islam, to see exactly what the mechanisms of intolerance really are, and how Christianity has lost its grip. Galileo was imprisoned for heresy 400 years ago, when the European Christian political influence situation was like some Islamic countries today.

    How do religions generally lose their bigotry, or gain strength? Persecution is what made Christianity powerful in the Roman empire, when the circus lions were fed with martyr. Similarly, the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis led to the state of Israel, a final Jewish homeland. So persecution ultimately backfires in the religious worldview. The only long term solution to Islam is to integrate it and reduce intolerance to religion generally, which is the opposite of the mainstream secular view of people like Dawkins. Religion loses its power not by being persecuted, but by being widely tolerated. Ignoring Islam to attack Christianity achieves nothing more than burying your head in the sand.

  9. Andrew Ryan says:2nd June 2011 at 7:34 pmRichard Dawkins does speak out against Islam. So does Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and all the other high profile atheists.
  10. Nige Cook says:2nd June 2011 at 8:06 pmAndrew, Dawkins direct his venom not at the religious terrorists, but at all who want the freedom of choice, and specifically targets Christians. Seeing that superstring theory fails to make even a single falsifiable predictions specifically about this universe, it’s a religious dogma itself, so he doesn’t really have much ground to use science to attack religion. My point again is that historically religion thrives when persecuted, and loses extremity when it is tolerated. Thus, it’s more logical to tolerate religion than to persecute it.
  11. Andrew Ryan says:2nd June 2011 at 9:01 pmAre you sure you’re not confusing him with someone else? When has he said he’s against freedom of choice? He attempts to persuade, but he’s never suggested coercion or taking away freedom. And you don’t deny that he attacks Islam. His Root of all Evil programme criticised Islam and I’ve seen him doing the same on Nicky Campbell’s Big Questions programme. Dawkins has said he enjoys visiting churches and finds parts of the King James bible beautiful. Find me a quote from Dawkins on Superstring theory that you disagree with and I’ll have a chance of seeing whether I agree with you or him.“and loses extremity when it is tolerated. Thus, it’s more logical to tolerate religion than to persecute it.”Not sure about that. It sounds like you’re saying we should have tolerated the Nazis in order to lessen their extremity. I think we were too tolerant of the Taliban for too long. The more slack they were given, the worse they got.
  12. Nige Cook says:2nd June 2011 at 9:58 pmAndrew, Dawkins has repeatedly stated in public – it’s well reported – his claim that “there is almost certainly no God” in God Delusion: for the quotes and analysis, see for instance Science can’t assign any probability to such vague stuff, certainly not nearly zero, as Dawkin’s statement means. It’s plain pseudoscience to claim that science has anything to say here. The strength of religious talk of “God” is its vagueness; “God” means something slightly different to each person, and in extreme forms is consistent with even the most abstract stuff, e.g. Sir James Jeans’ claim back in 1930 in The Mysterious Universe that “God is a pure mathematician”. You can interpret any thing in science, therefore, to either support or condemn religion.“It sounds like you’re saying we should have tolerated the Nazis in order to lessen their extremity.”Remember we’re dealing with the analogy to the 1930s Nazis, before WWII and the holocaust. If we had a preventative war to keep the Nazis unarmed before 1935 as Churchill wanted (but was denied), we would then have had to deal with the pro-Nazi backlash without being able to point to a holocaust as proof of how bad the Nazis were.

    We’d have been in the situation of having to deal with a very difficult situation, but it could have prevented a world war and holocaust. In that situation, with Nazis disarmed by a preventative war in say 1935 or 1936 (our situation was deteriorating every year, because they were rearming faster than Britain), the objective would have been to coerce the remaining Nazis to rid them of “ends justify the means” extremity, e.g. racism/”ethnic cleansing”.

    The whole problem is the ongoing one today after preventative wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You have a continuing problem of insurgents and military power can only do so much. You can’t expect to find and shoot all the troublemakers even with the best technology on the planet. Look how long it took to find Bin Laden. The idea of a making the enemy pay heavily after a war was tried with Germany when France caused it hyperinflation by demanding massive reparations for WWI. This was manipulated by the German government to maximise resentment and helped to kick start the Nazis movement in the first place. If France had handled the situation a little better, the Nazis wouldn’t have been able to exploit that. This is why the West is still helping rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq, instead of clearing out straight after the wars and letting the people get on with it. The bitter lesson has been learned that it doesn’t pay to take what looks like the cheapest and most moral option… you just end up with another expensive way a few years later.

  13. Andrew Ryan says:2nd June 2011 at 10:30 pmStill no examples of persecution, and no argument with me saying Dawkins has many times criticised Islam. Back on topic, you’ve no argument with the points I made in my first post either. Given that you don’t seem to have any quarrel with my points, there’s not much further to discuss. As for persecution, you can only make such a claim for Christianity if your definition of persecution is so wide that any questioning of an idea is persecution. JD criticises liberalism every day, but I still don’t play the victim card.
  14. Nige Cook says:3rd June 2011 at 3:13 pmAndrew, we’re not persecuting Muslims in general for the actions of a handful of fanatical terrorists, so there aren’t any “examples” there, if that’s what you mean. As I explained to you, Dawkins includes Islam but doesn’t specifically target it, preferring to try to tar all religions with the same brush rather than distinguishing those behind recent terrorist activities.“Given that you don’t seem to have any quarrel with my points, there’s not much further to discuss.”Maybe we can agree to agree, then? I don’t believe in starting arguments, just pointing out facts to the deluded.

    “As for persecution, you can only make such a claim for Christianity if your definition of persecution is so wide that any questioning of an idea is persecution.”

    Promoting falsehoods like Dawkin’s the claim science disproves God, and lumping Christianity in with Jihad extremists, is a kind of persecution of those who don’t need to be abused for their faith, I suggest? Maybe we can agree to disagree on this one?

    “JD criticises liberalism every day, but I still don’t play the victim card.”

    I think you’ll find that it’s not liberalism per se that gets his goose, but dogmatic environmentalism pseudoscience hype in the name “political correctness”, the term you claim to be a good way to close down discussions. It’s not criticism that’s a problem, but the corruption of objective criticism by the fascists who distort, misquote, or quote out of context what is said to create a “strawman” whom to attack, or shoot the messenger, or assert politically correct expert consensus of scientific opinion as though it is scientific fact.

  15. Gordon Rabon says:3rd June 2011 at 3:21 pm@Andrew RyanForget it Andrew, you’re dealing with the ever shifting denialist style of arguing. No matter how matter times you debunk something, it just shifts to something else. After that, comes the strawman arguments, bit like what you dealing here. Once you’ve established that it’s a strawman argument, you shift back to debunking the already debunked arguments. Denialism is a self perpetuating, their own opinions become fact, then they use their newly created fact (opinions) to create more opinions, so on and so forth.
  16. Nige Cook says:3rd June 2011 at 4:03 pmI forgot to mention that the last-resort tactic by the denialists is huffing and puffing, allegations and rants, and claiming that the denialists are not those who ignore the facts, but are those pointing out the difference between fact and fiction! When they start writing such complete drivel, you’ve won your case and no mistake. 😉
  17. Andrew Ryan says:3rd June 2011 at 4:39 pm“Dawkins includes Islam but doesn’t specifically target it”One last post. I already told you that Dawkins does specifically target it. He has specifically called out Islam on specific aspects, many, many times. The only reason one would deny this is to maintain a persecution complex.Gordon – quite so.
  18. Gordon Rabon says:4th June 2011 at 4:36 amNige, why do you persist on the same line, Andrew has told you over and over again he does! All you need to do is to research what Dawkins says instead of putting up the same strawman arguments. I’m familiar with Dawkins and I know he does. The same goes for the climate debate, it’s the same tactic. But let’s get this right, who usually huffs and puffs. When all the myths are debunked, JD blogs resorts to name calling like ‘libtards’ and ‘watermelons’, and frequently rips climate experts to pieces.
  19. London Calling says:4th June 2011 at 7:05 amAndrew Ryan and Nige Cook: why don’t you f-off and start your own website? Then you can continue yourconversation without us have to scroll through it. What a yawn.
  20. Nige Cook says:4th June 2011 at 7:53 amThanks for the very wise advice. 😉

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