Monday, September 01, 2014
Football and its followers are not PC
Jim Davidson has become known for his use of controversial jokes about women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals and the disabled, but he rejects accusations that he is prejudiced against these groups
I've spent this month reviewing shows at the Edinburgh Fringe for The Daily Mirror and it really brings issues about what you can and can't say into focus.
I'm sure if a manager had sent a text using the c-word, this would have been held up as deeply offensive and possibly misogynistic. It is a word that is seen as utterly unacceptable by many and yet it is used by lots of people every day of their lives. Certainly, the majority of comedians I've seen in the last month use that word liberally and in every context imaginable without censure. Americans, in particular, are amazed that it's 'allowed'.
But who is right and who is wrong and who decides? Language is a tricky thing.
I went to see Jim Davidson, who played a Fringe show for the whole of this month. Despite growing up in the 70s, I have to admit to knowing very little about him. 'Chalky', snooker, liking ELP and being arrested, pretty much covered it. The one thing I do know is that I'm not supposed to like him.
Obviously, he's the bête noire of the liberal left and a whole generation grew up with Davidson as the establishment Tory against which to kick. My favourite comedians are Jerry Seinfeld, George Carlin and Bill Hicks. One of my favourite shows at the Fringe this year was by fantastic feminist comedian, Bridget Christie. I say this just to illustrate how Jim Davidson is not in my cultural universe.
Yet I didn't see any comedian better received. The audience of about 500 gave him a standing ovation and did so, from what I'm told, every night for a month. They laughed uproariously at what he said and were on his side throughout. However, by contrast, reviewers were very sniffy, calling him a 'throwback to an era comedy forgot'. If this is true of him, it is also true of many younger, modern comedians who perform very similar broad humour without criticism. It's a huge double standard. I have seen far less controversial comics perform far more 'offensive' material without attracting any ire at all. Davidson's critics were clearly reviewing the man and not the act.
When you see over 40 comedians within three weeks, it's not hard to spot those with the ability to amuse and those who don't and Davidson has it. He has superb technique (though I found it all a bit predictable and, as a result, a bit dull) but if you expected to see a tirade of sexist, racist comedy (and some reviewers clearly did), it wasn't that or at least, it was no more that than many performers' acts are. As I say, it was received to huge acclaim and it'd be easy to say this was because his audience were nasty, vicious bigots, but standing amongst them they obviously weren't, or at least, no more than any public gathering. They were largely working class and drawn from all ages.
Where this informs the football debate is that Davidson has clearly become emblematic for his audience. They see him as standing against the people who are sometimes called liberal fascists who, they feel, tell them what they can and can't say or think. They feel culturally dictated to by a self-appointed elite of people. They don't want to be told what to say, how to say it, or how to behave by these people. They don't want to be told they're misogynists, racists or homophobes when they feel they're genuinely not. Davidson rails against the 'PC liberal lefties' even though I'm pretty sure, this being Scotland, almost none of his audience vote Tory and most are probably on the left to some degree. This is all about the cultural, not the political.
This seems to be the same thing at the core of some of the more visceral responses in defence of the 'real football man' (as though working in football is in and of itself proof of your moral worth) Malky Mackay. Some feel it's not like he's committed a great crime; some feel that there is a witch hunt by over-precious people who are merely looking for an opportunity to be offended, people for whom their righteous indignation is forever on the point of boiling over. And, let's be honest, anyone who has been patronised by someone telling you to 'check your privilege' has probably felt some sympathy with that view. There can be an over-focus on expression rather than intent or belief. But as we know, words are tricky things.
Yet all this being said, I found those Mackay texts profoundly depressing and suspect they really do reveal the driving cultural tides in our football culture and in our society too. They reveal what most of us already know - that people say one thing for public consumption, but think another. It wasn't a mistake, he just didn't think it was wrong. We have to deal with the fact that in wanting to create a less divisive, bigoted culture, we have helped create a covert culture where the 'wrong' views are still held and expressed. Just shouting people down won't change that, indeed, it may help perpetuate it.
Talk of 'rehabilitating' him, as though he is ill, smacks of Brave New World mind control, but defending it with that most heinous of words, banter (a word we have long railed against here), is dumb too.
Extreme reactions - and the internet specialises in extreme reactions - make dealing with the issues these texts raise all the more difficult, as a result, most just keep quiet, scared that they put their foot in it and say something thought to be wrong.
We're all part of football culture and we need to sort this out and we won't do that if we just resort to calling each other names and trying to be superior. All sides need to exercise more understanding because I think we can agree we've all had enough of anger and intolerance. And anyone who disagrees is a c**t.
Caliph Cameron brings ISIS-style intolerance to Britain
Our rulers’ authoritarian response to ISIS is trashing freedom and tolerance
We know from their Four Lions-style Twitterfeeds and video statements that some ISIS members dream of co-opting Britain into their unforgiving caliphate. They fantasise about raising their black flag over Downing Street and enforcing harsh sharia law on us, doing away with what they see as our foolish traditions of tolerance and democracy. But it turns out they don’t need to. They don’t have to traipse across Europe to London, for our leaders have proved themselves willing to trash tolerance and democracy on ISIS’s behalf. Giving new meaning to the word irony, in the name of tackling the threat posed by the Islamic State David Cameron and Co are adopting some of the methods of the Islamic State, undermining free speech, free movement and universal justice.
It speaks volumes about the UK government that the only solution it can come up with to the problem of young Brits going off to fight with ISIS is draconianism. PM David Cameron got the ball rolling in mid-August with his promise to use censorship to try to stem the flow of British Muslims to ISIS’s ranks. He announced that anyone spotted waving the ISIS flag in Britain will be arrested. Also, anyone who praises ISIS – that is, who ‘glorifies terrorism’, which is a crime in England and Wales under the authoritarian Terrorism Act of 2006 – faces arrest, too. He boasted that 28,000 ‘terrorist materials’, including 46 ISIS videos, have been unilaterally removed from the internet by police. Some of these ‘terrorist materials’ have nothing to do with recruiting people to ISIS or explaining how to make bombs or anything like that – they merely express a favourable view of ISIS and other groups; that is, they ‘glorify terrorism’, they express an opinion. Yet they’ve been banned. As Cameron unashamedly says, there are limits to British tolerance: ‘We are a tolerant people, but no tolerance should allow the room for this sort of poisonous extremism in our country.’ So supposedly tolerant Britain will not tolerate the expression of disturbing views.
Home secretary Theresa May followed hot on Cameron’s heels by proposing the punishment of speech crimes committed by radical Islamists. May wants to re-introduce ‘banning orders’ against those whose words and ideas currently ‘fall short of the legal threshold for terrorism proscription’ – that is, against people who do not recruit for terrorist organisations, and who don’t even glorify terrorism, but who merely express hotheaded Islamist ideas. If a targeted Islamist breaks his banning order and gives one of his speeches about kuffars, then he will face arrest and imprisonment. For speaking his mind. This is intolerance in action. It sets a very dangerous precedent. If we allow May to rewrite the law to ban certain extremists from preaching or speaking in public, what’s to stop her from targeting other extremists in the future? Political extremists, perhaps, or eco-extremists, or Millwall-loving extremists.
Meanwhile, Tory backbencher David Davis, once hilariously thought of as a libertarian, has suggested British citizens who travel to fight with ISIS should be stripped of their citizenship – that is, made stateless. Not to be outdone, Conservative London mayor Boris Johnson, who also once posed as liberal, has suggested trashing hundreds of years of universal justice in the name of tackling the problem of Brits hooking up with ISIS. Any Brit who travels to Syria or Iraq should, through a ‘swift and minor’ change to the law, be presumed guilty of terrorism until they can prove otherwise, he says. There would be nothing ‘minor’ about such a change to the law; it would represent the undermining of one of the key planks of any system of law that considers itself democratic – that we should all be presumed innocent until such a time as the state has proven beyond reasonable doubt that we are guilty of an offence. ISIS must be delighted as it watches Boris score a low blow against our pansy, kuffar laws.
So, our rulers’ plans for Doing Something about the problem of Brits going to fight with ISIS is to restrict freedom of thought and speech, rein in tolerance, and overhaul Enlightened law. That our leaders have so speedily suggested a mass ditching of the values of the Enlightenment cannot be explained by the problem of ISIS alone, or by the videoed beheading of the American journalist James Foley by a Brit. After all, there have been beheading videos before, including ones executed by Britons (most notoriously the beheading of the American journalist Daniel Pearl by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a one-time student at the London School of Economics). Rather, it is our politicians’ already-existing discomfort with what they see as the dangerous nature of liberty that propelled them post-Foley to undermine freedom and tolerance even further. Clearly viewing unfettered freedom as a moral bad, as the potential corrupter of fragile minds, they have allowed their illiberal prejudices to come to the fore in the wake of ISIS’s rise.
They are doing ISIS’s dirty work for it. Indeed, it is striking how closely our leaders’ proposed clampdowns on liberty echo ISIS’s own allergy to freedom. In banning extremist ideas on the basis that they might warp young minds, Tory politicians express the same fear of words and lack of faith in individual free will as can be found in ISIS’s propaganda. In the latest issue of its magazine, ISIS talks about ‘polluted ideologies’ and calls into question ‘the notion that the people can choose’, particularly the notion that they can choose ‘whether to follow the truth or to embark on a falsehood’. This is a very similar censoriousness to Cameron’s, being driven by a conviction that ordinary people cannot distinguish truth from falsity, and thus must be protected from foul ideologies, because ‘every time choice is allowed it will result in misguidance’, as ISIS says.
Our elites’ transformation of ‘radicalisation’ into something that just happens to people, like brainwashing, echoes ISIS’s conviction that there is no such thing as free choice. Indeed, ISIS says it wants to ‘eradicate the principle of “free choice”’, believing that it allows people to be overcome by ‘shirk, misguidance or heresy’. Fundamentally, authoritarian ISIS is driven by a view of people as weak-willed and requiring protection from ‘polluted ideologies’. There is ‘widespread ignorance amongst the people’, its magazine says: people are ‘like camels’. This is a less PC version of what the Caliph Cameron is saying – that certain ideologies pollute people’s minds, and so we must limit people’s free choice because they are incapable of deciding ‘whether to follow the truth or to embark on a falsehood’ (ISIS’s words, not Cameron’s, though I know it can be hard to tell).
This is the terrible irony of the draconian response to the ISIS / British Muslim problem: it actually imports ISIS-style illiberalism into the UK. It creates a secular Caliphate-on-the-Thames. It does to Britain what ISIS has only dreamt of doing to us, rubbishing our freedom and tolerance in the name of holding back ‘polluting ideologies’.
There are two massive problems with the draconian response to the ISIS issue. The first is its denting of liberty, not only for Muslims but for us all, where the home secretary might soon be able to decide if we are ‘extremists’ and imprison us on that basis alone. And the second is that it dodges the only thing that might truly address the problem of Brits signing up for ISIS: the battle of ideas, the fight to win the hearts and minds of British youth through demonstrating what is good and virtuous about our society and why they should stay here rather than travel to the misanthropic pseudo-state set up by ISIS. The key problem is our failure to enthuse young Brits with a moral vision, not the magical allure of Them over there. Which is why the draconianism of Cameron and Co is the worst possible response. We should become more liberal and tolerant and freedom-loving in response to the ISIS problem, not less, precisely as a way of communicating to our youths what our values are and why they are so superior to the people-hating, illiberal project of the Islamic State.
Tory MP claims Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech was right
A veteran Conservative MP has claimed that Enoch Powell was right to warn against immigration in his controversial "rivers of blood" speech.
Sir Gerald Howarth, a former defence minister, said that the Tory MP was correct in saying that the influx of immigrants of a "non-Christian" faith has presented a "challenge" to British society.
In a letter to a constituent, Sir Gerald said that the Trojan Horse plot in which extremists attempted to take over schools in Birmingham highlighted the problems.
He said: "Clearly, the arrival of so many people of a non-Christian faith has presented a challenge as so many of us, including the late Enoch Powell, warned decades ago.
"Recent events have illustrated that some of these new arrivals have a very different ethos from traditional Christian schools and we were right to intervene to prevent them from teaching divisive ideology to children born here."
Sir Gerald said that he stood by the letter and said his views had been reinforced by the child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham, where gangs of Asian men groomed and abused children.
He said that it is time for England to "fight back" against political correctness, adding: "If you don't like it, go live somewhere else."
He added: "For 40 years we have been subjected to a left wing political correctness which has stopped the British people from expressing perfectly legitimate and reasonable views. More than 1,400 children in Rochdale have paid the price for decades of political correctness and now people are speaking up."
Mr Powell delivered his 'Rivers of Blood' speech in Birmingham in April 1968, calling for the "repatriation" of non-white immigrants and claiming that the increased diversity would lead to riots. There is no suggestion that Sir Gerald advocated repatriation in his letter to a constituent.
Mr Powell was immediately sacked from the shadow cabinet after his comments by Edward Heath, the then Conservative leader.
Don't use the A-word: BBC accused of censorship over Rotherham child abuse by failing to mention that gangs were Asian
In current British usage, "Asian" means someone from the Indian sub-continent
The BBC has enraged licence fee-payers by allegedly downplaying the role of Pakistani gangs in Rotherham's sex abuse scandal.
Yesterday's landmark report singled out Pakistani men as the main perpetrators in the sexual exploitation of at least 1,400 children over 16 years - and warned council staff's fear of acknowledging their race compounded the scandal.
But this morning, four of BBC News Online's seven articles on the report made no reference to Pakistani men.
Blasting the BBC's omission as 'spineless and gutless', Jane Collins, Ukip's Yorkshire and Humber MEP, told MailOnline: 'Are they worried about being racist?
'There is no way around it: the people involved in this scandal were from the Pakistani and Kahmiri communities. 'We have to be brave. It's not about racism, it's about welfare.
'Unfortunately the people involved in this worried about being called racist. We have to face up to that fact and tackle this head-on in the community.'
Professor Alexis Jay, author of the council-commissioned report, highlighted political correctness as a key factor in the long-running scandal.
She warned police and council officials suppressed evidence of the crimes because they feared being labelled racist.
Concerns about damage to community cohesion were put above the need to protect the vulnerable, the report said.
Readers took to social media in anger accusing the Corporation of sanitising its online coverage.
Reference was made to Pakistani men in the BBC's evening news broadcasts and this morning's radio. However, the lead articles online this morning simply referred to the perpetrators as 'criminal gangs'.
One commenter tweeted: 'BBC unable to even say "Pakistani" & point fingers. If your name is Cliff Richard however, they'll send a TV helicopter. #rotherham'.
Another said: 'The reference to perpetrators being virtually all Pakistani has been removed from the BBC piece #Rotherham'.
And one wrote: 'Main BBC News website story on #Rotherham does not mention Asian/Pakistani once, they are "criminal gangs"'.
The report stated: 'The issue of race, regardless of ethic group, should be tackled as an absolute priority if it is known to be a significant factor in the criminal activity of organised abuse in any local community.'
Council staff were given ‘clear directions’ from managers to downplay the ‘ethnic dimension’ of the abuse despite almost all the perpetrators being of Pakistani heritage.
Three separate reports warning of the scale of the abuse were ‘suppressed or ignored’ by the council because it was ‘in denial’ about the crimes.
Despite the appalling failures in the case, no one in authority has been sacked or even disciplined. MPs and charities said the scale of the abuse was almost ‘incomprehensible’ and called for a criminal investigation into those who helped cover it up.
And at least six victims have now launched a class action against Rotherham council and could be in line for millions of pounds in compensation.
A BBC spokesman said: 'Any suggestion we’ve sanitised our reporting is nonsense. 'Our coverage on BBC News, including online, has made it clear that the abusers were predominately Asian and that council staff feared being labelled racist.
'Stories on the website are constantly evolving but all have clear links to articles which explain the full context.
'We spoke to members of the Pakistani community in Rotherham on Today, BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC News Channel and more reaction is expected online later.
'As the story has evolved we have covered other key developments such as the resignation of the council leader and calls for the resignation of South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and we’ll continue to explore all the different angles.'
Council of Muslim Organizations Thinks Americans Are Stupid
The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) public condemnation of ISIS press release is clever propaganda that doesn't say anything of substance against Islamic Jihadi Doctrine but does threaten every Americans right to free speech.
You will learn how CAIR, Muslim American Society (MAS), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Legal Fund of America, American Muslims For Palestine, Muslim Ummah of North America, and the other USCMO member organizations think the American people are stupid. (see press release at end of this article)
USCMO Lies About The Qur'an
US Council of Muslim Organization (USCMO) are amateur propagandists as they denounce the ‘IS' Islamic State for the beheading of journalist James Foley.
Oussama Jammal, USCMO Secretary General wrote in their press statement, "It states in the Qur'an (5:32) that the taking of one life is the equivalent of killing of all humankind and the saving of one life is equivalent to the saving of all humankind." Mr. Jammal is lying by omission because this 5:32 does not apply to those Islam deems as "spreading mischief in the land." Those who "spread mischief in the land" refers to non-Muslims. Mr. Jammal must think the American people are too stupid to read Qur'an verse 5:32 and the following verse 5:33 which gives the reader full context.
إِنَّمَا جَزَاءُ الَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الأَرْضِ فَسَادًا أَنْ يُقَتَّلُوا أَوْ يُصَلَّبُوا أَوْ تُقَطَّعَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُمْ مِنْ خِلافٍ أَوْ يُنْفَوْا مِنَ الأَرْضِ ذَلِكَ لَهُمْ خِزْيٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَلَهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
Qur'an 5:33 states, "The recompense of those who fight Allah and His messenger, and seek to make corruption in the land, is that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from alternate sides or that they be banished from the land; that is their disgrace in this world and in the Hereafter they will have a great torment."
Mr. Jammal, do you really think we Americans don't see what you are trying to do here? You are parading a partial translation of verse 5:32 for American consumption but everyone knows the political Islamists practice 5:33 in the Islamic active kinetic war zones in the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Syria, etc....
If the USCMO would be honest, they would condemn verse 5:33 as an important factor too the continuous bloodlust of the Jihadis around the world.
Having It Both Ways
The USCMO press release says, "condemn ISIS and rejects its ideology and actions...doesn't speak for 1.5 billion Muslims...and contravenes all aspects and tenets of Islam."
Here is the rub, most of the groups, in this USCMO alliance, support the terrorist organization Hamas. Hamas, The Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS are all two sides of the same Islamic terrorist coin according to Arsen Ostrovsky Huffington Post article.
"One need only read Hamas' own Charter and observe their methods, including using their own children as human shields, while openly professing to Israel "We desire death as you desire life," to see they are in word and deed made of the same terrorist cloth as ISIS." Ostrovsky writes.
It doesn't take any investigative skill to conclude that the USCMO will say and do anything to advance the false narrative implying political Islam in America is harmless.
The USCMO Warns America
The USCMO press release says, " The USCMO also warns the public to avoid spreading Islamophobia by using the actions of ISIS to characterize and demonize all Muslims, globally and here in the United States."
First, nobody in their right mind demonizes ‘All' of anything. It is impossible to know what lies deep in an individuals heart but it is perfectly legitimate and necessary to question the motivations of Islamist political groups like the USCMO.
Mr. Jammal, American people don't respond well to threats - What exactly are you going to do to us if we say something you don't like? Are you going to publicly demonize us, have your member group the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) file a bogus lawsuits to try and stop our right to free speech, or will we be officially violating Qur'an verse 5:33 requiring exactly the violent actions you falsely condemn in your press release?
It's offensive that you, Mr. Jammal and the USCMO, would be so arrogant as to threaten the American people to ‘conform' to your world view ‘or else'... what Mr. Jammal what do you mean by ‘else'? Every warning has a consequence yet you are too cowardly to say what that is.
Your tactic of intimidation, Mr. Jammal, may work in the Middle East but it won't work here in the United States of America.
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 and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.