Thursday, March 07, 2013
UKIP is fuelling the same 'distrust' of foreigners that triggered WWI, claims Lib Dem peer in warning against 'negative nationalism'
Lib Dem Lord Tyler questioned how much UKIP's Nigel Farage knew about the First World War, but it emerged Mr Farage runs his own tours of battlefields
There is a lot of talk about why Britain entered WWI. They had no love of the French so why did they send troops to help France? The war would have ended with a rapid German victory if Britain had stayed out, saving millions of lives.
But Britain was not defending France. It was scared stiff of the rapidly expanding German navy and wanted Germany defeated before the German Hochseeflotte became powerful enough to challenge the Royal Navy on the oceans of the world. Royal Navy supremacy was needed to protect the Empire
The UK Independence Party has been accused of fuelling the same ‘distrust’ of foreigners which swept Europe before the outbreak of First World War.
Liberal Democrat Lord Tyler sparked a major row with UKIP leader Nigel Farage with a warning against blaming ‘foreigner scapegoats for our economic troubles’.
The peer made the provocative remarks during a House of Lords debate on how best to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War.
The peer claimed Mr Farage would ‘do well to revisit the history of that period’ to learn that ‘fomenting distrust can so easily lead to hatred’.
However, it emerged Mr Farage runs regular tours of First World War battlefields and he said his opposition to the European Union was in part informed by the way the collapse of the single currency had fuelled 'hatred' between eurozone countries.
As part of national commemorations next year, 100 years on from the start of the conflict, children from every state secondary school will travel to the battlefields as part of a £50million package of events.
David Cameron has said Britain had a duty to ‘honour those who served, remember those who died and ensure the lessons learnt live with us forever’.
But Lord Tyler, a former MP for North Cornwall, said the tone of the events must reflect how the sacrifice of millions ‘did not achieve the war to end all wars that they thought they were fighting for’.
Lord Tyler said his three uncles died in the conflict which was 'largely pointless, meaningless and avoidable'.
He went on: 'We should not be celebrating its absurd origins, however much we may pay tribute to those who fought, were wounded or lost their lives.
‘Instead, we must remind ourselves of the futility of negative nationalism, so sharply distinct from positive patriotism.’
He then went on to appear to draw parallels between the rise of UKIP based on attacking 'foreigner scapegoats' and the spread of nationalism across continental Europe before 1914.
More than a million Britons died in the First World War
More than a million Britons died in the First World War. The Battle of the Somme was one of the most deadly in the four year conflict. Here a party of Royal Irish Rifles is pictured in a communication trench on the first day of the Battle of the Somme
The First World War was sparked by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian during a visit to Sarajevo on June 28 1914.
As the two countries clashed, their allies lined up in support with Germany backing Austria, with Russia, Britain and France sympathising with Serbia. A period of of grand-standing, abortive talks and partial mobilisation of troops culminated in Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia on July 28.
Germany declared war on Russia on August 1 and then France on August 3, demanding free passage through Belgium, which lead Britain to declare war on Germany. On August 6 Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia and within weeks Japan had also entered the conflict.
Lord Tyler said the catalogue of events in 1914 marked 'a terrible failure of common sense and common humanity'.
He told peers: 'I will find it difficult to mark the centenary of the war's outbreak with anything other than a resolve that we should do all we can to reconcile the peoples of Europe in the 21st century, avoiding new foreigner scapegoats for our economic troubles, and perhaps also reminding ourselves of the 1914 warmongering populism of the British press, which seems familiar.'
‘I do not know where Mr Farage's ancestors were between 1914 and 1918, but he would do well to revisit the history of that period. Fomenting distrust can so easily lead to hatred.’
The remarks come just days after UKIP ran the Lib Dems a close second in the hotly-contested Eastleigh by-election, as all the main parties wrestle with how to respond to the rise of the Eurosceptic party.
Lord Tyler told MailOnline today: ‘Making a scapegoat of other peoples for problems which are closer to home is extremely dangerous.
‘Clearly [UKIP] are more serious players than they were so they have got to watch how they approach these issues.’
However, Mr Farage told MailOnline the criticism was ‘totally absurd’. Twice a year he leads tours of World War One battlefields, with groups of friends, colleagues and visiting politicians whom he labels ‘Farage’s Foragers’.
‘I know a lot about the First World War and its origins and I know that in the wake of it we formed something called Yugoslavia to stop Balkan conflicts and look where that got us.
‘It is totally absurd, and I would invite Lord Tyler to go and visit Athens and see real hatred. They now hate the Germans more than at any time since 1945.
‘I want us to have a Europe of independent nation states that trade and co-operate together.
‘But if you force people together against their will, history tells us the long-term outcome will be deeply, deeply unpleasant.
'You breed extreme nationalism. Lord Tyler is 50 years out of date with his analysis of what Europe is.’
Pay gap for women an enduring myth
Long term readers will recall that for some years now I've been saying that we've not really got a gender pay gap. We've a motherhood pay gap, that we do, but not a gender one. In this I am supported by all sorts of interesting evidence. Like this from the Telegraph, this from this here blog, and even this quite delightful piece. Where the Statistics Authority chief rapped Harriet Harman over the knuckles for misleading people with bad statistics. You know, the crime of being a politician.
Now, the proof that we do not have a gender pay gap comes in the details of the (correct) statistics. Single no children women in their 40s earn more than their male age cohort. Women in their 20s on average make more than men in their 20s. There is indeed a pay gap though: one that opens up in the average pay for women as they enter their prime child rearing years. And we can even see that it really is child bearing years as well. A generation ago average age at first birth was in the low 20s. And that's where the pay gap started. Today it's around 30 years old and that's where the pay gap starts now.
And between all of us we've managed to get this basic fact across to the political classes. Shared parental leave might not be everyone's cup of tea but it is indeed an admission that since it is childcare that causes the pay gap then perhaps parents might want to share that pain? All of which is lovely. Then enters Viviane Reding [An airheaded Luxembourg politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, pic below]:
"16.2%: that’s the size of the gender pay gap, or the average difference between women and men’s hourly earnings across the EU, according to the latest figures released today by the European Commission. The news comes ahead of the 2013 European Equal Pay Day on 28 February. The EU-wide event marks the extra number of days that women would need to work to match the amount earned by men: currently 59 days, meaning this year the day falls on 28 February."
Sigh. As we know domestically in Britain the pay gap is not a gender pay gap. It's a motherhood/child rearing one. Which, even assuming that you wanted to solve it means rather different policies to do so, no?
To make matters worse they also peg the UK pay gap as being at 19.6%. Which as we know from the Statistics Authority chief isn't actually the correct number at all.
This is the problem with multiple levels of government. You beat back ignorance and idiocy at one level and it just reappears at another.
"The Left Now Seems To Have Reverence for Fanatics"
This is an edited version of the interview with Lars Hedegaard that took place on Dennis Prager's nationally syndicated radio show. The entire unedited interview may be heard www.facebook.com/dennisprager.
DENNIS PRAGER: Are you in Copenhagen as we speak?
LARS HEDEGAARD: I can't really tell you where I am at the moment.
DP: Can you tell me what country?
LH: I'm in Europe somewhere.
DP: The reason you can't tell is that there was an attempt to murder you just a few weeks ago. A man came to your door, speaking perfect Danish. Tell us what happened.
LH: There was a buzz on my door phone, and a man said he had a package for me, in accent-free Danish. He was, I'm certain, an immigrant from some Arab country or possibly Pakistan. I went down to get the package, and as soon as I opened the front door he pulled out a gun and shot at my head. He missed, and there was a struggle between us. I tried to hit him in the face which made him lose the gun. He then recovered it and tried to cock it for a second shot, and he didn't manage to do that. And we fought some more, and then he grabbed the gun and ran off. That's what happened.
DP: You were nearly murdered. What did you write and what are you fighting for?
LH: I don't know exactly what motivated the attack. I've been writing on Islam, Islamic history and Islamic ideology for about ten years. I haven't done anything differently recently except that we started our new newspaper, the weekly Dispatch International, on the third of January. It's a Swedish language newspaper, but we have an online edition in English.
I've been wondering, of course, why someone wanted to shoot me, and I cannot think of anything that I've done differently recently than what I have been doing these last couple of years. I've been called a hate speaker, and I'm not a hate speaker. I've been called a racist, and I'm not a racist. I'm just a normal historian and a journalist. It's my job to describe what's going on in the world, and that's what I've been trying to do to the best of my abilities.
DP: Correct me if I'm wrong: You are a man of the left.
DP: Where are the attacks on you being racist coming from? What part of the ideological spectrum?
LH: I would say almost exclusively from the left. (Of course, also from Muslims. Not all Muslims, but some.) I seem to be very unpopular with my old friends. I think the problem is that I know what it's all about to be left-wing; I used to be a leading Marxist in this country. But I've held to the opinion that we first of all have to fight for free speech and freedom and equality between the sexes and the rule of law; and also, that we should not bow before religious fanatics of any type, regardless of where they come from. This seems to me what was the essence of being left-wing back in the days. No longer.
The left now seems to have reverence for fanatics -- as long as they are Muslim. Of course, they can criticize Christianity all they want. But when somebody threatens with violence -- if you criticize me, I'll come and kill you -- then all of a sudden they become soft. They become understanding. They talk about tolerance; we have to show respect. I don't want to show respect for people who say that men are worth more than women, that women can be killed if they are adulterers; that apostates from Islam should be killed; that people should be stoned, etc. I mean, I don't like that. I want to fight that. I want to describe it. And I don't think the left does.
DP: I think it comes with greater credibility to many when you say this, as a man of the left, than when I say this. I share every moral sentiment you have just stated and I am considered, in America, conservative.
LH: Well, good for you. Many of my friends are conservative
DP: I'm sure more and more are.
LH: Can we disagree on politics in a civilized manner? Can we stop killing each other? Threatening each other? That is my point. Can we maintain free speech -- the First Amendment?
DP: You write in your Wall Street Journal article that in your home county of Denmark, "some newspapers have availed themselves of this opportunity to emphasize what a despicable racist I am. But at least they express their satisfaction I am not dead. Not so in Sweden. They seem disappointed that my delivery man was not a better marksman."
DP: And Sweden is more left than perhaps anywhere else in Europe.
LH: I wouldn't exactly describe it as left. It's more politically correct.
DP: Forgive me, but political correctness is a brainchild of the left.
LH: It is. It is indeed. I've got to admit that.
I think among all the countries in Europe, Sweden has the most politically correct media. They are in absolute agreement on anything you can imagine, from man-made warming of the world to Islam. And any deviation from the line will be considered a sin.
DP: Do you still call yourself a Marxist?
LH: Yes, to some extent. I don't believe in the desirability or inevitability of revolution or socialism. But some of the analytical terms of Marxism I still use to the great amazement of my friends, who think I'm an idiot. But I stick to that.
DP: Is there any way for us to support your work for freedom, other than reading your work? Can we sign up for anything, do you take money?
LH: Well, you can subscribe to the paper [Dispatch International] in English online. By the way, I am suing the Swedish media for libel, and there is a donate button on our website www.d-intl.com. I think it'll be a big thing. They have been lying through their teeth.
DP: What have they been saying?
LH: They've been saying that I'm a convicted racist, and the fact is, I've been acquitted by a unanimous Danish supreme court.
DP: In America, at least as of this moment, there is no such thing as being convicted as a racist. You are free in this country to say what you like.
LH: I know that.
DP: Europe does not have that.
LH: We do not. We don't have your First Amendment. The Free Press Society has been fighting for nine years to introduce a first amendment in Denmark and other places in Europe. We don't have that. We have an article in our penal code called 266(b), which means that you can be convicted of hate speech, racism, denigration of religion, or a number of things, which is despicable.
I agree with the American Constitution -- you should be able to say anything you want, and if you're an idiot or a jerk you should be corrected by other people. You can lose your career, you can lose your reputation if you talk ill of people because of their race, which I have never done. But you should have the right to say anything. You should have laws against libel, lying about people, threatening people with violence, revealing state secrets, etc. You have that in any civilized country. But apart from that, I agree with the First Amendment. We don't have it here.
DP: I'll tell you another thing you don't have there, which I periodically say to Europeans that I have on my show: You don't have talk radio. This has been a major factor in America in offering the alternate universe to that which the Swedish press and the American left, such as the New York Times, which would be perfectly at home in Stockholm, present to us.
LH: You're right. Speaking about the New York Times, they had an article today about me, that I'm full of "bile and viciousness and racism" and what-not. No, we don't have talk radio. What we do have is state radio, something that the people are forced to support by their tax dollars.
DP: Thank you. Good luck to you.
Norway State TV Airs Report Saying That Its Government Funds Anti-Semitic Palestinian Propaganda
Norwegian state TV has aired a report from an Israeli group saying that the Norwegian government regularly funds anti-Semitic, Palestinian propaganda.
Norway has a long, dubious history when it comes to supporting anti-Semitism. While it may have reached its apogee during the Holocaust, little has changed today and it rarely comes as a shock when flagrant anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiment is elevated as truth in the country that, ironically, claims to stand for peace and tolerance.
To provide context on just how marked the negative bias and perception of Jews in Norway is, professor Alan M. Dershowitz once noted that Norway has done “everything in its power” to make life “nearly impossible for Jews.”
“Norway was apparently the first modern nation to prohibit the production of Kosher meat, while at the same time permitting Halal meat and encouraging the slaughter of seals, whales and other animals that are protected by international treaties,” Dershowitz continued. “No wonder less than 1000 Jews live in Norway.”
Underscoring this disturbing state of affairs, the Norwegian government gives over 300 million Kroner each year to the Palestinian Authority. Much of that money goes to fund Palestinian television, which consistently disseminates anti-Semitic content and incites violence — even among Palestinian schoolchildren — against Israelis.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an invaluable organization based in Jerusalem that provides translations of Arabic-language media content coming out of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas-operated centers, reported that finally, Norwegian state television has acknowledged its government’s funding of Palestinian-driven anti-Semitism.
In the video provided, Norwegian TV NRK interviewed members of PMW as well as Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Old City. Not surprisingly, they discovered that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion — the most notorious work of anti-Semitism drawing on age-old blood libels (such as the canards that Jews used the blood of Christian children for the Feast of Passover, poisoned wells, spread the plague and seek to rule the world) — are alive and well and taken as absolute truth by everyday Palestinians.
Norway’s State Secretary, Torgeir Larsen, speaking about an in-depth book compiled by PMW chronicling Palestinian media’s consistent incitement and use of blood libel, admitted to the bigotry, but will do naught to stop it.
“There are examples in the book (PMW’s Deception) that clearly express hatred,” he admitted. “There are also examples of anti-Semitism, which you find in Palestinian society.” But, he added, it is ”not relevant” when it comes to halting “Norwegian financial support to the PA.” Larsen claims Norwegian funds merely go toward the building of Palestinian institutions.
Author Asgeir Ueland conversely noted that anti-Palestinian media “hardly ever occurs…in the mainstream [Israeli] media.” He added that in 16 years of analyzing Hebrew-language media, he ”cannot remember [anything] being broadcast on radio, television or in major newspapers” that incites hatred towards Palestinians.
In a country tarnished by anti-Semitism, one would think Norwegian lawmakers would at least refrain from getting involved in the conflict at all, rather than double-down.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.