Saturday, March 05, 2005

A Statement of Intent:

Helen from EURef lays out the philosophy of her blog- which with a snappier title would already be more successful than even its current high visitor numbers suggest. But, in that case, it would be less the kind of intelligent and respectworthy effort that it is.

Euroscepticism is misnamed too: it is actually a vision for the world. A real one, and the only one of substance (substance doesn't have to be large, just reliable). Never judge the book by its cover. The Commission has no purpose (that it can admit to), the Parliament is not democratic, the Constitution is a list of rules for bureaucrats, and so on. Presented with such a can of worms I would simply head toward the nearest bin and throw it away.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Condescending, Lazy, Ignorant- that'll be the media, the judiciary and the political classes of the UK, amongst other folk. I suppose that would qualify as basically the entire edifice of the opinion forming class of this country. Academics, though often corresponding to the above description, do not exclusively so- there are always clever men and women, the world over, who spend a lot of time in small rooms effectively burrowing into various media, which is very nice for them and occasionally invaluable for us.

So what brought that little barney on? Well, one thing is Melanie Phillips' indictment of the court case presented by that muslim girl (you know, the one flanked by wannabe Islamic heavies, chest heaving with the excitement of crusading for Allah). I saw her on Sky giving her little peroration to her fellow jihadis and rebuking us poor dhimmis, and it was no surprise to find from the ever alert Melanie that there was more to the case than ever came out in court. [Matter of fact I was recently involved in a court case myself (I defended myself actually), and I firmly walloped the pompous prosecuting counsel in my minor case by introducing a few simple facts and a little logic to accompany my self-belief. It was quite funny to see. The judges seemed ok, but waiting to be led. It was a very minor case, but I think it gave me some major insights. One was never to follow the advice of a London Barrister, even a friend, without thinking it through for yourself.]

As Melanie says, 'In the great row over Home Secretary Charles Clarke’s draconian control orders, the argument is that the judiciary should take control of anti-terror procedures in order to protect our fundamental liberties from untrustworthy politicians. But the terrible truth is that the English judiciary can no longer be trusted to safeguard us.'

But what really pains me about the hijab case, what really disturbs me and points out to me the incredible darkness at the heart of our ruling classes, is the fact that the Prime Minister's wife, QC Cherie Blair/Booth, was the legal representative for this girl's case (why Melanie passes this by is an interesting question, given her obvious interest in the case). Andrew Bowman rightly pointed this out on Biased BBC, since the BBC had ignored it (surprise) in their coverage, but it shows that our Prime Minister who supposedly 'gets it' about the War on Terror really doesn't get it at all (and yes, yes, it's only his wife etc, but honestly!). This may only be a cultural victory for those concerned, and a cultural concession of a much lower order weighed in our current scales, but who can weigh it in the scales of significance over the longer term? Melanie rightly points out that the hijab is significant within Islam, not merely in contradistinction to the dhimmis outside that religion. It's a tool of radicalism amongst young people.

You may have, and I might have, considered this a small cultural item, but why, if so, are people so determined to fight the battle and so triumphant when they win? It's because it sets a cultural battle raging, it creates a point around which religious fervour can pivot and exclude others so as to embellish its power over its adherents and recusants. And the French understand this- read and weep. The French establishment may be appalling and ultimately hellbent, but at least people who join it have to have some intellectual rigour (and be able to lie through their teeth). The British lot can provide the part in brackets only.

All of which brings me to Steyn, a beacon on a hill of his own creation it sometimes seems. In his latest effort for the Spectator (and doesn't it need some?), he gets to the keywords as he surveys the unending idiocy of certain people in the fourth estate and beyond it. 'Lazy', 'condescending', 'reductive'- all are applied during the finale of his dissection of the defeat of a whole body of viewpoints.

My only quibble is that Steyn has no need to defend himself by pointing to 'I told you so' phrases. The only thing I can recall him being wrong about (apparently) is the vital signs of Osama Bin Laden. This Steyn may have called wrongly, but it was always an 'either/or' with little to assist the judgement. Compared with being absolutely right about Saddam's hole in the ground abode when everyone else had grander notions this is no evidence of Steyn's insight, which is almost invariably remarkable.

Not so what Steyn calls 'the Nionists'. They've been wrong about everything, and the one thing they claim to be right on without question, the WMD issue, will never make a definite cross in their wilted collumn of correct judgements. They could still be wrong about that one and it will probably always be an undetermined issue, unless it falls the way of the 'neocons'.

But as for their willingness to condemn others to oppression at the hands of dictators, the Nionists will always smell of death because of that, and their nihilistic idiocy lives on to bear that at the centre of the establishment.

See also Steyn on Hotel Rwanda for articulate, artistic compassion.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Whatever your view on the current situation in Israel, we can be sure that this is where it's at. The American Thinker again provides a treatment of an issue with uncommon depth. This time it's a head-to-head between Neuwirth and Baehr, expressed through several propositions and rebuttals. I'm with Baehr, as Baehr is with Sharon; to put it in Neuwirth's terms, with Bush and Rice and, yes, ok, if she must, Powell.

Why do I disagree with Neuwirth? Because Sharon is building his wall, a la Robert Frost, and though to build a wall might make you a friendly neighbour content to live within constraints agreeable to the other party, it ain't necessarily so.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Also meanwhile, a fascinating inside track on military operations countering the threat of Iran- involving the French and Germans!- from the American Thinker.

Meanwhile, Marc at USS Neverdock makes a good point about a particular piece of BBC coverage. Words, numbers? Who cares?

World Wide Wisdom. In the development of the blogosphere, men like Victor Davis Hanson and The Belmont Club's Wretchard have given the Right side some practical and intellectual bite.

I found Hanson's interview with Chrenkoff (another innovator) really interesting. Although European- with the emphasis on Europe as a geographical expression here- I am really heartened to think that there are heads hard enough to counsel thus:

'So... we sit tight, praise them, and keep our powder dry, looking to see the fall out from Islamicism on their shores, and whether they curb anti-Semitism, get their birthrates up, rearm and make a real alliance, avoid antagonizing a surrounded Russia, and buy off an Iran or crazy former Soviet Republic. We cannot do much in all that and so should expect very little from them and get ready for some pretty crazy things coming out of Europe in the next few years. NATO as we know it is dead, and we have no idea what will follow—so we praise it to the skies.'
(textual highlighting mine)

Rearming Europe seems about as likely as uncastrating a EUnuch, but you never know. The only passion strong enough to gird up the loins might be l'anti-Americanism, which is a sickening thought.

Meanwhile Wretchard has thoughts too, but about the success of US policy in neutering terrorists by establishing democratic dissidence:

'To that extent even the most heinous attacks, like the carbomb which recently killed more than 100 in Iraq, have lost their bite. Psychologically speaking, the greatest contribution of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns is that they have shattered terrorism's myth of invincibility. The terrorists embarked on a maximum effort to dislodge the US from Iraq, employing every weapon of violence, political maneuver and propaganda they could muster and came up much the worse for wear. This lesson has not been lost to public perception and has emboldened dissidents all across the region.

The real challenge will be to find ways to respond to the campaign of spoiling terror which may be forthcoming. Unlike Iraq, where US forces can respond directly to challenge, the problem will be the ability of the US to affect events over the wider region in clandestine or indirect ways.'

Notice he mentions the carbomb/suicide bomb as a spent tactic in Iraq, but not elsewhere. I was thinking of Israel. How the Israeli government can respond to the interference (I'll call it that) of terrorists is a quandary to which no-one seems to have an answer. If at the onset of any atrocity they fight back, even haphazardly, I for one won't blame them.

(brought to you with the assistance of Instapundit)

One knows where one stands.

'The BBC's royal charter should be renewed and its licence fee extended for another 10 years' the BBC says, sorry, that should be 'a government Green Paper is expected to say.' (chirpy intro, nice photo of the relevant minister, bang on officialese presentation)

That is tragic news which I have been fully expecting. I think that the belief that anyone in a socialist government- or the TINOs- would truly grasp the nettle over the BBC's flagrant irresponsibility was always a far fetched one. On the other hand I believe that if one doesn't at some level confidently expect one can alter the status quo meaningfully there's little chance of success from protesting of whatever sort (however 'Talking Hoarsely' is actually a bit smitten with protest for protest's sake). I think we can, and we will, one day dismantle the labyrinth of featherbedded propaganda and nationalised neuroses that is the BBC, but it will take time.

Actually if the BBC were dismantled tomorrow that would considerably confuse a notion of bias in the British media which is currently relatively straightforward (though it would be change for the good). Other media organisations are subject to far more transience, as commercial enterprises and small organisations are, and their prejudices are weathervanes, largely. Commercial interests in the media are unilkely ever to promote such ideological fixity as the BBC, even if the entire field of public opinion is open to them, rather than just the entertainment/light news section. The BBC has pursued an ideological agenda since the days of the British Empire, since before the Elizabethan age began, and will continue to do so. One knows where one stands- not that one likes it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The BBC gets in touch with DumbJon (so to speak): Showdown!

Maybe this is a Steyn-admiring, Beeb-bashing, blog about politics with no poetry (you may have noticed the incongruity). I don't know.

Anyway Steyn has a fantastic volte face in the Telegraph today, all optimism about the fall of the Middle East's 'Berlin Wall'. If I've understood rightly, fundamentally what he has in mind is the notion that we can either do things the hard way, or the easy way. By taking on the Iraq situation Bush has chosen the easy way on our behalf (though of course not in our name), which is despite that the less travelled way (there, see, poetry) that has made all the difference.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Having earlier mentioned the Mark Steyn / Austin Bay disagreement, I thought I should post this- Mark's reply to Austin's post. Via Steynonline. There's a good companion to that post in Steyn's latest Chicago Times effort. I do believe that Europe, the UK included, is going to have terrible times ahead as it wakes up to impossible situations of its own making.

Update... and Bay's reply. Maybe I'll have to come back to this issue, too.

Just a note about the BBC's World, which was once more in evidence on Sunday as I braved all manner of discouragements to catch up on the progress in their world-view.

Lys Doucet was occasionally able to remember that her 'Talking Point' progamme was not exclusively for bashing America, but only occasionally- like the children at Christmas that only occasionally remember to thank the giver of their gifts. Poor William Hill. As soon as I heard that this intrepid US caller to the BBC was from 'Texas' (you have to italicise as 'Texas/Texan' are only adjectives with pejorative connotations in the BBC lexicon) I knew he would be unlikely to last long. Sure enough, as soon as he said that the EU could go ahead and unify, and go on the 'offensive' if they wanted to (ie. be one of those other poles in world affairs they talk about), Lys had had enough and said something like 'that's not the kind of language we use over here', and it was goodbye anglo-saxon white-male sounding Mr Hill. Back to your 'Texan' cave.

Naturally the other callers, especially the incredibly whiny (thankfully exported) Brit from Germany, who had had a tough day at work when Mr Bush visited Mainz, were treated with far more respect- even though I do recall Doucet thanking the egregious 'Texan' very much for his worthless POV.

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