Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Cindy Sheehan Wannabe, Dressed in Rags and Carrying a Planned Parenthood Placard: This is the New York Times’ Idea of a ‘Centrist’ Woman

My latest for the PJ Tatler...

Today’s New York Times includes another of those tiresome pieces, which adorn the MSM in the run-up to elections, about how Republicans are scaring away those all-important moderate voters. It’s a well-worn liberal trope, designed persuade nervous conservatives that they should turn against their ‘extremist’ leaders, and pressure their representative to abandon radioactive/toxic/poisonous policies (delete as appropriate).
Specifically, the piece suggests that Republicans are losing the support of ‘centrist’ women because of their far-out polices on issues such as contraception and abortion. This paragraph gives you the gist…
In Iowa, one of the crucial battlegrounds in the coming presidential election, and in other states, dozens of interviews in recent weeks have found that moderate Republican and independent women — one of the most important electoral swing groups — are disenchanted by the Republican focus on social issues like contraception and abortion in an election that, until recently, had been mostly dominated by the economy.
Unfortunately, the effectiveness of this particular piece of mischief-making is somewhat undermined by theTimes’ choice of photograph to illustrate the article…
Whole thing here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guardian: we published that 'sexist' Ryanair ad by mistake. No, really.

Low-cost airline Ryanair has been forced to withdraw newspaper adverts featuring scantily-clad air hostesses after a predictable outcry. Leaving aside the merits or otherwise of the adverts themselves – it's the usual dispute between those who claim that such material is demeaning to women, and those who say it's harmless fun, and the ban is political correctness gone mad – the really interesting thing about this flap is that two of the papers that ran the ads were the Guardian and the Independent, the British media's bastions of identity politics and supposed defenders of women's rights.

It's particularly puzzling that the Guardian – home to feminist writers such as Julie Burchill, Suzanne Moore and Naomi Wolf – should have carried the ad, but the Guardian helpfully explains how this apparent incongruity came about in a report in the Media section of its website: apparently it was all a terrible mistake…
A Guardian News & Media spokeswoman explained said the ad appeared in the newspaper by accident after a "system breakdown" meant that it was not pre-vetted before it appeared.
Ah yes, those pesky 'systems', always breaking down at the most inconvenient moments. And you can appreciate how hard it would be for Guardian staff to spot a full-page picture of a bikini-clad trolley dolly amid all those worthy stories about unemployment, Syria and bankers' bonuses.

Now I know that a lot of quite gullible people read the Guardian, but if you believe that's what happened, then you probably believe that the captain of the Costa Concordia really did fall into a lifeboat. The Guardian would look less ridiculous if it simply admitted the truth: times are hard, our circulation's falling faster than that of any UK broadsheet or mid-market paper except for the Independent (many of whose readers are presumably switching to the i), we're haemorrhaging money, and we'll happily take anyone's cash to print an advert, no questions asked.

Of course, the Guardian's support for women's rights has always been qualified, and liable to be suspended without notice if it conflicts with the interests of groups or individuals higher up the liberal-left pecking order; for example, radical islamists (over burka wearing) or misogynist liberal heroes from assorted members of the Kennedy family to the rapists at the Occupy camps in the US. For the left, principles are things to be flaunted when it suits, and abandoned when necessary.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The only surprise about Obama's Falklands betrayal is that he doesn't openly side with Argentina

Nile Gardiner has a good piece at the The Telegraph on the Obama administration's continuing betrayal of Britain over the Falkland Islands.
Washington fully understands that Britain will never negotiate away the sovereignty of the Falkland islanders, over 90 per cent of whom are British. Yet it still continues to call for a “diplomatic solution” to the sovereignty question when there is nothing at all to negotiate. It also fails to express any support whatsoever for the UK, and remains silent about the increasingly aggressive approach taken by Argentina, including its threats to blockade the islands and strangle them economically.
At the heart of the Obama administration’s approach is its abject failure to distinguish between America’s most important ally and an increasingly anti-American regime in Latin America, which is closely allied with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. There is a fundamental difference between Great Britain, which has fought alongside the United States in almost every major war involving the US since World War Two, and Argentina, a minor player on the world stage, that barely lifts a finger to help the Americans with anything. The Special Relationship is hugely important to the United States, from the battlefields of Afghanistan and the wider war against Islamist terrorism to US-led efforts to halt the rise of a nuclear-armed Iran. On almost every major international issue, the United States looks to Britain for support. Yet inexplicably this current administration continues to knife London in the back over the Falklands.
Gardiner's anger is understandable, but it should come as no surprise that Obama should make no distinction between a freedom-respecting Western ally and a country ruled by a left-wing populist who's busy turning her country into another South American economic basket case.

In Britain, the militant secularists hardly need to trouble themselves with court challenges

My latest for PJ Media's Tatler blog…

As defenders of religious freedom in the US rail against the Obamacare contraception mandate, today brought another reminder that the campaign by secular extremists to drive religion from public life isn’t confined to the US.

A judge ruled that a town council in Devon, in south-west England, acted unlawfully by beginning its meetings with a prayer, which it had been doing without controversy for around 400 years. The court case was brought by the National Secular Society after an atheist former councillor, Clive Bone, complained. Not surprisingly, Bone represented the Liberal Democrats, who are the Conservative’s coalition partners in the national government and who, in spite of their name, are liberal only when it comes to matters of crime and punishment.

The court ruling wasn’t quite the victory militant atheists are claiming, however. The judge did not find that the saying of prayers breached the human rights of atheists, as the NSS had claimed. Instead he found against the council under legislation relating to the conduct of council meetings; those laws could shortly be scrapped as part of reforms to local government, allowing prayers to resume, and presumably leading to a new legal challenge.

But this case wasn’t about the ‘rights’ of atheists, or the wounded feelings of Bone, who of course wasn’t compelled to join in the pre-meeting prayers. While Bone was probably motivated in part by good old-fashioned British bloody-mindedness, as in the US, the aim of the liberal-left militant atheist movement is to destroy religion as a source of moral authority, clearing the field for the state, when under the control of enlightened liberals, to impose its values on society.

At least in the US there’s a powerful coalition fighting to defend religious liberty. Here we have the Church of England, whose leaders are either too busy engaging in liberal activism or too lacking in self-belief to defend religion, and which is headed by a leftist crank who’s called for elements of sharia to be incorporated into the law of the land, attacked the free market and sided with anti-capitalist mobs.

Groups such as the National Secular Society hardly need to trouble themselves with court cases to banish religion from public life. They could just sit back and let the CofE do the job for them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finally. Rubber bullets available for tomorrow's student riot

We can but hope.

The BBC reports that rubber bullets will be available to officers policing tomorrow's tuition fees protest by students in London.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said rubber bullets - also known as baton rounds - were "carried by a small number of trained officers", none of whom would be patrolling the route of the march.
As with previous protests there's likely to be violence, but sadly it probably won't be sustained or large-scale enough that the police actually get around to breaking out the plastic.

That hasn't stopped the Green Party's no-hoper in the London mayoral election, Jenny Jones, from expressing pre-emptive outrage.
She said: "The prospect of the police shooting at unarmed demonstrators with any kind of bullet is frankly appalling, un-British and reminiscent of scenes currently being used by murderous dictatorships in the Middle East."
I suggest Jones takes a trip to Syria, where they're using live rounds and tanks, and the death toll is over 3,500, to regain her sense of perspective. But presumably she believes the police should be prevented from defending themselves against the sort of violence seen at previous 'demonstrations', which included having a fire extinguisher dropped on officers from seven floors up.

She added: "Any officer that shoots a student with a baton round will have to answer to the whole of London."

I hate to break this to Jones, but I fear she may be misjudging the public mood, which is always a risk when you're so thoroughly disconnected from mainstream thinking that you believe windmills are the answer to Britain's energy problems.

After a year or so of watching the capital being smashed up by assorted mobs of left-wingers, anarchists and politically unaffiliated rioters and looters, I suspect that Londoners will be ready to grant the first police officer who takes out a rioting student with a rubber bullet the freedom of the city.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupy London: like OWS, without the sex attacks

My latest piece for PJ Media looks at the mess the Church of England has got itself in with the Occupy protest outside St Paul's Cathedral, and how church figures have been co-opted as useful idiots for a largely secular leftist movement. This mess is the entirely predictable consequence of the church's embrace of class warfare and other left-wing orthodoxies under the stewardship of Rowan 'Crazy Old Wizard' Williams...
Those protestors who have a semblance of an ideology, as opposed to those who are just there for the party, are leftists, and it’s doubtful that more than a handful will have ever seen the inside of a church. But they’ve cleverly leveraged the moral authority of the church, such as it is these days, to lend respectability to their cause (a “What would Jesus do?” banner is prominent in every TV news report).
The media have played along, with the Guardian in particular guilty of astounding chutzpah. The bible — if you’ll excuse the expression — of Britain’s secular leftists has run a stream of patronizing opinion pieces invoking the teachings of Jesus; a favorite theme, along with WWJD? is the story of Jesus chasing the money changers from the temple, from which several columnists have extrapolated that Jesus was the first anti-capitalist, and that if he were around today he’d be bunking down with the protesters.
This from a paper that misses no opportunity to sneer at traditional values in general, and at Christianity in particular (other religions, notably Islam, are of course exempt from such mockery). It’s said there are no atheists in foxholes, and they’re equally hard to find when Christianity can be co-opted to advance a left-wing cause.
By way of a companion to my piece, here's a video shot at the St Paul's camp by The Commentator. My favourite character is the old crusty getting high on super-strength cider, planning to pitch his plans for financial reform to a deputy governor of the Bank of England... What could go wrong?

Another thought: what would Hugo Chavez do if he was uncontstrained?

Friday, November 4, 2011

UKIP Rising

The Telegraph's Peter Oborne on the slow and steady rise of the Eurosceptics of UKIP, which he calls 'the Conservative party in exile'.
If a Left-wing party had reached Ukip’s size and consequence, the media would be fascinated. But, because of its old-fashioned and decidedly provincial approach, it has been practically ignored. In the 2004 European elections, the party gained a sensational 16 per cent of the vote. Had it been the Greens or the Communists that had pulled off this feat, the BBC would have gone crazy. Instead it chose not to mention this event, coolly classifying Ukip as “other”.
For the metropolitan elite, the party scarcely exists. This is why last Sunday’s YouGov poll showing that support for Farage’s party had crept up to 7 per cent – just one point fewer than the Liberal Democrats – gained no coverage. But the significance of this is very great. I believe that Ukip is about to take over from the Lib Dems as Britain’s third largest political party.
British politics is set to get very interesting in the next couple of years, for the first time in a long while, thanks in no small part to the bunglers in Brussels.

Euro orthodoxy and Euro heresy

At Presseurop, Michael Fleischhacker of Austrian daily Die Presse praises those daring to challenge the European elites:
Heresies have arisen at all times by asking questions. To question means to doubt, and doubt is the poison of orthodoxy.
What do the United Commentators from Europe want to tell us when they declare with deep indignation that a “No” from the Greeks to the resolutions of the Brussels Congress would have “unforeseeable consequences”?
Do they somehow mean to contend that the consequences of the previously adopted “measures” were foreseeable? Has this past year delivered even a single clue that this is the case?
And why should a country's citizens not be allowed to vote on measures that add up to a substantial limitation of their state sovereignty? Is it their fault that they don’t understand what it’s about, or is it the fault of those who can’t explain it to them?
And is it not true that they can’t explain it because they don’t understand it themselves? And why should they decide, though they understand it no better than those who are not permitted to decide?
The Telegraph puts things more bluntly:
It should surprise no one that George Papandreou’s proposal for a national referendum on the latest European bail-out deal should have lasted just 72 hours before being bulldozed into oblivion by the Germans and French. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy made not the slightest attempt to observe any diplomatic niceties as they turned their fire on this troublesome outbreak of democracy. The Greek referendum must not be allowed to happen, they insisted – and lo, it will not. It was brutal to watch.
 Welcome to the new Europe. It is now generally accepted that the move towards fiscal as well as monetary union is the only feasible way in which the single currency can be made to work. Yet it will mean such bullying becomes the norm, since national sovereignty will routinely have to play second fiddle to the diktats not only of the European Central Bank, but also of a central European Treasury, whose creation can now only be a matter of time. Both will, of course, be dominated by the monetary union’s pre-eminent economy, Germany.
It's enough to make you nostalgic for the days when the EU at least allowed referendums to take place, and simply ignored the results. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why the Libya intervention will end up as a messy stalemate, at best

In my latest piece for Pajamas Media I suggest that the intervention in Libya is bound to settle into a messy stalemate due to the conflicting aims of the various 'coalition' (I use the term loosely) members. While the participation of the United States is based largely on the aching need of liberals to 'do something' when bad stuff happens – at least when the bad stuff is being shown on TV – France and the UK appear to be motivated as much by the need to divert attention from economic problems and home and to shore up business interests as by concern over attacks on civilians. To varying degrees all the participants lack both the moral authority to intervene, and the resolve to see the operation through to a conclusion – and of course no one has any idea of what a conclusion might look like.
None of the above is to say that the U.S. and its allies should never intervene in national conflicts where civilian lives are at risk; no-one wants to see women and children being shelled. But we should only do so as a last resort, where action can be taken quickly and effectively, without the risk of being drawn into a civil war, and where we know the people we’re helping into power are the good guys (remember all the media excitement about those Tweeters and Facebookers in Cairo? Looks like that might not turn out so well). And we certainly shouldn’t act as a knee-jerk response to upsetting television pictures. If we can take out a Gaddafi or Assad regime with a few well-aimed missiles, and then offer support to factions who won’t lynch Western aid workers, all well and good. And if that sounds like a set of conditions so strict they’ll rarely be fulfilled, maybe that’s no bad thing.
And any such action should be embarked upon with as little regard for the UN and other transnational talking shops as possible. The fact that so many stars have to be aligned before anything can be done makes a mockery of so-called principles such as the “Responsibility to Protect.” If there’s a guiding principle for humanitarian intervention these days, it’s the Responsibility to Protect, as long as Russia and China don’t object and there’s something in it for France. Unfortunately as mentioned above, the Obama administration is compromised in this respect by its rejection of all things Bush, which means fudges and half-measures will be the order of the day until late January 2013 at the earliest.

Monday, April 4, 2011