One of Britain’s most popular and respected newsreaders has been sacked after using on Twitter a Shakespeare quotation that a black activist complained was ‘racist’.
Alastair Stewart, who had been a newsreader at Independent Television News (ITN) for 40 years, was engaged in a Twitter debate with a vexatious nonentity called Martin Shapland, a former Liberal Democrat activist of no known distinction.
Stewart responded to one of Shapland’s sallies with a quotation from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure:
But man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority
Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d;
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep.
The bureaucrat in charge of England’s Lake District National Park wants to spend £8 million tarmacking over parts of the world-renowned beauty spot in order to make it more relevant to disabled people and ethnic minorities.
For most of its several million years of existence, the Lake District has been characterised by picturesque lakes (Windermere, Ullswater, Buttermere, Boromir, etc) and rugged, challenging peaks such as the highest mountains in England, Scafell Pike and Helvellyn, now dotted with flocks of hefted sheep. Its magnificence has inspired writers including Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.
But according to Leafe, a geography graduate who has spent his career working for government quangos, looking natural and awe-inspiring is no longer enough. The Lakes need to be wokified for the 21st Century, so that more of the 20 million visitors it receives each year are young, disabled, or from ethnic minorities.
Cambridge University, formerly a distinguished seat of learning, is funding two grievance archaeologists to go through its archives in order to discover how guilty it needs to feel about slavery — and how much it owes in compensation. Glasgow University, also formerly a distinguished seat of learning, has already done this. It has decided that it has benefited from slavery to the tune of £200 million — a debt it now plans to repay in a programme of “reparative justice” which includes setting up a centre for the study of slavery.
Who knows what evidence those Cambridge-funded grievance archaeologists might find?
If they’re really diligent, they might come across the name of one William Wilberforce, formerly an undergraduate at St John’s College.
Since when did it become acceptable — nay, on the political left actually fashionable — for elected politicians from mainstream parties like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to campaign on a ticket of flagrant Jew-hatred? To most of us of a certain generation it may well seem a mystery almost beyond comprehension.
We all grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. We all had it drilled into us by our teachers — and rightly so — “Never again.”
Yet here we are heading for Kristallnacht all over again. Only this time, it’s happening in the Land of the Free.
Silly woman. What on earth is Rudd doing giving succour to the race-baiting mob which knows full well that she had no intention of being disrespectful, let alone racist, and which is merely exploiting this incident as a cynical power play?
Here is one of those race-baiters in action:
You might forgive your grandma for saying it, but cabinet Ministers in 2019 should know better than this.
Using the term "coloured" to describe anyone who is not white is offensive because it assumes being white is somehow normal or the default. https://t.co/xL2vVYVKQq
EVERY time I pop to the shops, I’m reminded that the Britain of my childhood has gone for ever.
These days I’m as likely to hear Bulgarian, Polish or Romanian as English. And while I have no objections to any of these no doubt decent, hard-working, law-abiding people individually, I cannot help but feel the country I grew up in is no longer my own.The burgeoning popularity of Ukip suggests that I’m not alone. But until recently it wasn’t something you could admit in public without being called “racist”. This was one of the Labour party’s most successful and dangerous achievements in the wake of Enoch Powell’s 1968 Rivers of Blood speech.For four decades, Labour created a climate in which even to question the idea that mass immigration, “multiculturalism” and “diversity” were an unmitigated good was tantamount to being a member of the National Front.Typical of this was Labour’s response during the 2005 general election campaign to a speech by the then Conservative leader Michael Howard in which he said: “It’s not racist to talk about immigration. It’s not racist to criticise the system.
It’s not racist to want to limit the numbers. It’s just plain common sense.” According to Labour spokesman Peter Hain these were “scurrilous, Rightwing, ugly tactics”.
But will Hain, I wonder, condemn the comments by a senior politician earlier this week that “It isn’t racist to be worried about immigration or to call for immigration reform”?
Somehow I’m guessing not. Though the words sound remarkably similar to Howard’s the MP speaking them this time was none other than Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper. As breathtaking hypocrisy goes, this takes some beating.
Not only does it breach Labour leader Ed Miliband’s pledge last week that: “What we will never do is try to out-Ukip Ukip” but it is also an outrageous attempt to duck responsibility for a crisis which is of Labour’s making.
The increase in immigration since the late 1990s was significantly influenced by the government
House of Lords
Between the 1997 arrival of Labour’s Tony Blair as prime minister and the departure in 2010 of Labour’s Gordon Brown, immigration in Britain soared by 45 per cent – from around 327,000 immigrants per annum to 596,000.And those are just the ones officially recorded by the Office For National Statistics.Once you add illegal immigrants that figure may double to more than one million a year.
“The increase in immigration since the late 1990s was significantly influenced by the government’s Managed Migration policies.”
That’s a quote from a 2008 House of Lords economic affairs select committee telling us something that Labour is now very reluctant to admit: that the 2.3 million migrants added to the UK population between 2000 and 2009 didn’t arrive here as a result of some forgivable border control oversight.
They came as a direct consequence of Labour policy. We know this because of a Labour whistleblower called Andrew Neather – a former speechwriter to Tony Blair, as well as Labour home secretaries David Blunkett and Jack Straw – who later became a newspaper columnist.
In one of his articles he revealed that Labour’s wholehearted embrace of mass immigration had a “driving political purpose” – to “make the UK truly multicultural”.
‘Outspoken comic Frankie Boyle has called on the BBC to sack “cultural tumour” Jeremy Clarkson.’
Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this opening sentence from a recent news report?
Clue: it’s that first word. In order to qualify as ‘outspoken’, surely, you need to be the kind of person who fearlessly, frequently and vociferously sets himself in opposition to the clamour of the times.
Does demanding that a public figure lose his job for some mildly sexist/racist/homophobic/ableist remark fit into that category? Hardly. In the current climate it’s about as heroically contentious as, say, a private school prospectus that promises ‘We believe in educating the whole person’; or a sign at a Co-op declaring its commitment to social justice, diversity and sustainability; or a Conservative Prime Minister declaring that three letters — NHS — are engraved on his heart.
The only mildly interesting aspect of the statement is that Frankie Boyle is not, contrary to all impressions, a junior policy co-ordinator at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, nor the head of diversity at a firm of chartered accountants, nor yet the health inequalities, disability and lesbian affairs officer at Strathclyde council. Amazingly — don’t laugh, because it really ain’t funny — Frankie Boyle is one of Britain’s most successful comedians.
Just as “racist” has been honed over the decades by liberal-lefties for casual use as a deadly weapon against anyone who disagrees them, so “climate denier” has become the new leftist shorthand for “evil, wrong, uncaring, right-wing – and almost certainly funded by Big Oil.”
In both cases, the intent is the same: to close down the argument by implying that your opponent is so morally compromised that his case isn’t even worth consideration. He’s just wrong: “End of,” as they say.
“I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”
Here is Krugman’s take on this:
That’s a remarkable statement — or maybe the right adjective is “vile.”
The second part of Mr. Perry’s statement is, as it happens, just false: the scientific consensus about man-made global warming — which includes 97 percent to 98 percent of researchers in the field, according to the National Academy of Sciences — is getting stronger, not weaker, as the evidence for climate change just keeps mounting.
Krugman – and his sycophantic audience of house lefties at Pravda – may think Perry’s claims are “vile” but they also happen to be true in every respect. If the best riposte Krugman can come up with is an appeal to the bankrupt “authority” and junk sociology of the hopelessly compromised National Academy of Sciences, then maybe he should consider handing back his Nobel prize. Can Krugman seriously not be aware of the latest research from CERN? Surely one of the gravest socio-political issues of our time – one which, on current form, looks likely to take the entire Western economy over a cliff – deserves more trenchant analysis than this from a supposed economics expert?
Still less excusable is this outrageous smear job by the deputy-chairman of the IPCC, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele. The eminent rocket scientist Fred Singer and the mathematics professor Claes Johnson had been invited to address a climate conference in Brussels, organised by SEII (Société Européenne des Ingénieurs et Industriels). But when van Ypersele found out, he intervened with the following letter:
Monsieur le Secrétaire général,
La SEII soutient-elle implicitement le déni climatique, à la veille du congrès mondial des ingénieurs à Genève consacré aux défis énergétiques (où j’aurai l’honneur de donner une “keynote lecture”) ?
L’utilisation du papier à lettres de la SEII par votre administrateur M. Masson pour l’invitation ci-jointe le suggère malheureusement, malgré une phrase hypocrite pour indiquer que la SEII ne “sponsorise” pas l’événement.
Vous devez savoir que MM Fred Singer est une personne dont l’honnêteté scientifique laisse fortement à désirer. Ses activités de désinformation sont financées par les lobbies des combustibles fossiles (voir XXXXXXXXXXXXXX) , et il est scandaleux qu’une telle personne puisse être associée, de près ou de loin, à la SEII et à la Fondation universitaire.
Des collègues éminents m’ont écrit que M. Johnson ne valait pas mieux. Un de ses “textbooks” récents, où il parlait à tort et à travers des changements climatiques, publié par le Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Suède), a dû être rétracté par ce dernier tellement il contenait d’erreurs.
Loosely translated: Fred Singer is a person whose scientific honesty leaves very much to be desired. His disinformation activities are funded by the fossil fuel industry….
Shortly after this letter was sent Singer and Johnson were disinvited.
So we see that in each case above, the response of the left-liberal political/media establishment to a contentious subject in which it is losing the argument is not to fight back with better arguments but simply to close down the debate altogether with smears, lies and authoritarian bullying. Funnily enough, Stalin used a similar ploy against the scientists who disagreed with his pet genetics expert Lysenko. And the Nazis used the same technique against inconvenient Jewish physics when they wrote their pamphlet 100 Scientists Against Einstein. (Cf also: 100 Incredibly Obscure Lefty Historians Against David Starkey) If this is where things are going then those of us, at least, who believe in frank debate, freedom of speech and empiricism should be very worried. We are entering dark times and worse, much worse, is still to come.
Driving back from my holiday in Wales, yesterday, I realised what a lucky escape I’d had. As I exited the hills and finally got my mobile phone reception back, there was an old message from Friday inviting me to appear on that evening’s Newsnight to talk about the riots. So it could have been me that fell into the BBC’s “raaaacist” trap instead of poor old David Starkey.
And make no mistake it was a trap. Starkey’s debating opponent was Owen Jones, the BBC’s new pet angry young socialist whose default position is perpetual umbrage and righteous rage on behalf of the poor, working class, oppressed and – since Friday, apparently – black people. It’s a cheap trick but one that goes down very well at the BBC, which is why they have Jones back so often. What it achieves, while cleverly avoiding the need for debate on facts (never the liberal-Left’s strong point), is to imply that anyone on the right is evil, selfish, bullying, wrong or – that ne plus ultra of Lefty insults – raaaacist.
He then went on to make an almost equally controversial observation about the Labour MP for Tottenham. “Listen to David Lammy, an archetypical successful black man,” he said. “If you turned the screen off so you were listening to him on radio you’d think he was white.”
Owen Jones leapt on this: “You said David Lammy when you heard him sounded white and what you meant by that is that white people equals respectable.”
This is classic Owen Jones, classic BBC. Note that what Starkey is saying here is actually pretty reasonabble. If you listened to David Lammy on the radio you could indeed very easily think that his educated, non-ethnically identifiable (and mildly effete) speaking voice belonged to a white person rather than a black person. But in Jones’s world – and that of his puppetmaster the BBC – the truth in these matters is no defence.
Oh the sanctimoniousness with which the Twitterati piled in!
Here’s the BBC’s Robert Peston:
DavidStarkey‘s nasty ignorance is best ignored, not worthy of comment or debate – though I fear there will be a media feeding frenzy
Here’s that model of probity Piers Morgan:
RIP DavidStarkey‘s TV career. And good riddance. Racist idiot. #Newsnight
And here, least excusably I think, is the former Louise Bagshawe.
I see “DavidStarkey” is the top trending topic in the UK. Positive aspect to all this is that racism of that sort still has power to shock.
Now the last time I looked Louise Mensch was a Tory MP and what I’d like to know is: since when was it Conservative party policy to play the Left’s game by closing down the argument and stifling freedom of speech? Actually the question is partly rhetorical: it has been Cameron’s policy for some time, as we saw during his disgraceful treatment of Patrick Mercer MP over his remarks on racism in the military. But I do think nonetheless that Louise Mensch owes it to David Starkey to look very hard into her conscience (and her searing intellect, of course) and ask herself: “What exactly did this decent, principled, very soundly Tory historian do to deserve me, Louise Mensch, branding him a racist to my 37,500 chums on Twitter?”
The part of the programme which seems to have most got the Left’s goat is the one where David Starkey says that “the whites have become black.”But again, the cultural point he is making is indisputable. Listen to how many white kids (and Asian kids) choose to speak in black street patois; note the extent to which hip hop and grime garage and their offshoots have penetrated the white mainstream; check out how many white kids like to roll like pimps or perps with their Calvins pulled up to their midriffs and their jean waistbands sagging below their buttocks.
Is anyone seriously going to try to make the case that this isn’t black culture in excelsis? Or does anyone, perhaps, want to persuade me that this is but one tiny and much-exaggerated facet of a broader black culture dominated by opera and madrigal singing and crochet and sonnet-construction and lawn bowls and Shakespeare and new translations of Ovid? If they are capable of doing so then maybe, just maybe, I might accept that there was something demeaning or reductive in Starkey’s comments on black culture. Problem is, I don’t think anyone can. (And I speak, by the way, as someone who quite likes his hop hop and who is very much into the new Kanye West/Jay Z album. But who, listening to it, can’t help noticing that it’s rather more a celebration of gats, hos, casual sex and easy money, than it is an invocation for study, hard work and social conformity.)
To pillory a man for pointing out such a glaringly obvious cultural fact just because he’s white and Right-wing would have been quite wrong even before the riots. Post riots it is positively obscene.
Not just obscene, in fact, but dangerous. Of course, we expect the BBC not to get it. Like the Guardian – and the Labour party – the BBC created the culture that led to these riots, so it’s hardly surprising if it carries on playing the old PC game like the 80s and 90s never went away. But if an up and coming member of Cameron’s Tories hasn’t got the message then we seriously need to worry. The riots were a game changer. The decent majority of this country has moved on. If what David Starkey said was racist, then so are we all.
I vividly remember the moment when I saw my first black person. It was December in either ’68 or ’69, so I would have been three or four at the time, and my father’s works had arranged some kind of coach outing to meet Father Christmas. Seated near me was a black child a bit older than me, and I recall gazing fascinated at the blackness of his skin and noticing that it had white blotches on it like a mirror image of the dark freckles and moles on my skin. ‘Daddy, what are those white things?’ I asked, pointing at the boy’s skin. ‘Pigment,’ my father explained.
It’s not the sort of detail you could make up, is it? And I’m sure most Englishmen of my generation or older will have had similar experiences. It’s not a racist observation, merely a statement of fact, that in our youth Britain was much, much whiter than it is now. So white that unless you ventured into the inner cities, it was quite possible not to see a ‘coloured’ person at all.
Suppose, then, you wanted to create a cosy, long-running TV series which would have especial appeal to the group of people who most watch TV. No, not students and the long-term unemployed: they’ve got Countdown and Shameless. I mean all those oldsters who don’t do Facebook and Call of Duty (Black Ops), who know the words to the ‘Beer at Home means Davenports’ ad, whose schooling included being taught how to add up and write in joined-up handwriting, who think Britain isn’t what it was and that nobody has any manners or respect any more. If you were designing a show just for them, how would it look?
Here, I would suggest, are some of the key ingredients: chocolate-boxy, unspoilt English villages with honey-coloured stone; a total absence of wind farms; a solid, reliable, if slightly dull detective of a certain age — ideally played by that wonderful chap who used to be Jim Bergerac, ah, remember Bergerac, happy days; plot lines involving country-house mysteries of the kind that greats like Margaret Rutherford as Miss Marple used to solve; sly, shifty old rustics, blimpish colonels and bluff Mine Hosts; churches and churchyards and churchgoers; extremely limited use of iPods, iPads, Xboxes and PS3s; no ethnic characters.
You’ll have noticed that the series I’ve described, more or less, is Midsomer Murders.