Free Speech for the Unlovely 225


I always seem to get back from Africa physically exhausted. I now have to tackle all the organisation of a family Christmas at the last minute. It is both the charm and disadvantage of this blog that the blogging is just me – it has no staff, and no revenue. That is not to devalue the contibution of the volunteer comment moderators – who help out with other things too – and the technical help from Tim, Clive and Richard and the the hosting team. But if I am not writing, nothing happens.

When I am lacking time or energy for deeper thinking, I tend to throw out some provocative thoughts from the top of my mind to see what people make of them. I am worrying today about the attacks on people of whom I disapprove.

I blogged recently about excessive police action against a blogger who argues against the existence of man-made climate change. I think he is wrong, but I don’t see why he should be the victim of police raids. I am going to surprise you by saying that I think that the hounding of Aidan Burley is going too far. Bad taste humour around the Nazis has existed throughout my lifetime – and was brought gloriously to the screen in the brilliant Mel Brooks’ The Producers (the first one, with the fantastic Zero Mostel).

Burley’s stag party seems rather a throwback to the Federation of Conservative Students of the late 70s, important elements of which delighted in singing Nazi songs to emphasise how right wing and taboo-free they were, with an element of self-parody (I speak as an eye-witness). You always worried there were genuine Third Reich sympathies in there – as of course there were so strongly in the British elite in the 1930s. That is the underlying worry in the Burley case – but if there were any evidence of real sympathy for Nazi views from Burley, it would have been dug up by now. I think we should just take this as bad taste humour a la Producers – a play which presumably cannot be produced under French law? Burley has been punished, revealed as a twit, and we should move on.

John Terry is a man whose TV persona and reported behaviour I have always found repulsive. I don’t know what he (or Suarez in a related case) actually said. I find racial abuse absolutely unacceptable. But again, I do not think that where it occurs between two individuals, and unless it is persistent and repeated over a period, it is a matter for the state and police. Not all bad behaviour should be a matter of higher intervention, and shaming can be a good sanction in itself. Both individuals and society have ways to sort things out without always involving the state or constituted organisations within it. I doubt Terry will do it again and it has been made plain that this is unacceptable behaviour in football. It is enough.

The same goes for Jeremy Clarkson. Again, total wanker. But nobody could have seen his TV appearance on the One Show and felt that he actually believed or advocated that strikers should be shot. His body language and tone of voice made it plain he was indulging in hyperbole with the object of being humorous. Exaggerated polemic should not be banned, or even censured. The real problem here is balance. Very right wing polemicists are very often allowed free rein to mouth off on broadcast media. On TV, opposing polemicists (like, err, me) are strictly banned. On radio, George Galloway on Talk Sport is pretty well a lone example. Personally I welcome the vigour of Clarkson’s expression – if only someone equally firm were allowed on to argue with him.

Finally, I am going to defend Herman Cain. No longer a candidate, and his tax and other policies were completely barking mad, therefore pretty mainstream Republican. But I saw very little wrong in anything he was alleged to have done in his love life. One woman alleged that he made a physical advance – put his hand on her leg – towards her in his car, after a dinner where she had asked him for help. It seems to me his behaviour was perfectly normal, and the important thing is she asked him to stop, and he did stop. If men were not allowed to make such advances, the human race would die out. Desisting once it is plain your advances are unwelcome is the important thing. The long term affair alleged was entirely mutual and consenting. Chatting up employees is tasteless, but ought not be a crime.

Burley, Terry, Clarkson and Cain are all people of whom, in different ways, I do not approve and with whose views on life I am heartily at odds. But I don’t hold the view that only people who hold certain approved views should be able to wander round and function, or that we should all be limited to certain highly constrained social behaviours. They are all, in various ways, victims of galloping political correctness. I thought I would express some sympathy for them. Human beings have a right to be wrong, and sometimes foolish. It is part of the human condition.


225 thoughts on “Free Speech for the Unlovely

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  • oddie

    craig – seasons greetings to u and yours.

    u say about Tallbloke “who argues against the existence of man-made climate change”.
    given this website sees thru MSM propaganda on the issues that concern those posting, i cannot believe how folks here will come up with MSM memes that bear no resemblance to the truth.

    hundreds of scientists, indeed thousands, are sceptical about the claims of the IPCC and their MSM megaphones that we are experiencing catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

    some sceptics do not believe CO2 is causing the warming that was, but now isn’t, occurring according to the IPCC script.

    Enron is a good place to start searching for those whose interest lies in carbon dioxide trading. look and u will find the oil companies, bankers, hedge funds, etc etc who hope to make a killing out of this most unsettled science.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Craig,

    You posted:-

    “Finally, I am going to defend Herman Cain. No longer a candidate, and his tax and other policies were completely barking mad, therefore pretty mainstream Republican. But I saw very little wrong in anything he was alleged to have done in his love life. One woman alleged that he made a physical advance – put his hand on her leg – towards her in his car, after a dinner where she had asked him for help. It seems to me his behaviour was perfectly normal, and the important thing is she asked him to stop, and he did stop. If men were not allowed to make such advances, the human race would die out. Desisting once it is plain your advances are unwelcome is the important thing. The long term affair alleged was entirely mutual and consenting. Chatting up employees is tasteless, but ought not be a crime.”

    I make the following observations:-

    A. Most hetersexual men act in this way.

    B. Those who do not question or oppose the status quo will not be threatened by exposure or scrutiny.

    C. Craig Murray, as did Herman Cain, acted the way human genetic conditioning propels us to act.

    Question: Cain was status quo – so given the premises of A,B and C above – why was he exposed?

    I have now accepted the responsibility of defending a group of pensioners in a British colony.

    I see that they are not accorded index linked pensions and there is discordance in the law between the colony and the “mother country”, but at the same time ECHR standards apply to both jurisdictions under law.

    Now -soon – they will be saying that I like women.

    They just might be right. Understood Craig.

  • Antelope Grazer

    No surprise the baby-eating witch Albright is larging it at the Havel funeral. They were both big supporters of the Clinton/NATO murder campaign in Yugoslavia in 1999. I still don’t know if Havel was a naive dupe or was really a frothing neo-con.

  • Antelope Grazer

    One woman alleged that he made a physical advance – put his hand on her leg – towards her in his car, after a dinner where she had asked him for help.
    .
    a) Coming after she had asked him for help this was inappropriate, and suggests a heartless opportunism not to be desired in a candidate for high office.
    b) There are signs which can be given and seen before a physical move like that. If it was unwelcome then he was overstepping the mark. I have seduced and been seduced (and had kids) without ever making a move like that uninvited. I’ve also had hands put on my leg and don’t mind – but some people don’t like it.

  • karel

    Fedup,
    you are quite right. It is dumb to think that there are “population limits” because the earth is inflatable just like my doll with three usable holes. But I am afraid that even the doll may burst one day if i try to blow it up really hard. what do you suggest to the rest of us, you endearingly call “brain farts”? Moving to mars where everyone can have a nice house with garden?

  • Rog Tallbloke

    “I blogged recently about excessive police action against a blogger who argues against the existence of man-made climate change. I think he is wrong, but I don’t see why he should be the victim of police raids.”

    Hi Craig, and thanks for your concern about the intrusion into my home.

    Just to set the record straight, I don’t argue against the existence of man-made climate change, just its magnitude. Given the non-warming of the last 12 years, it’s easy to logically demonstrate that co2 can’t be any more than half as scary as we were told. Since negative natural variation has nixed co2’s effect for the last twelve years, my question is how much did natural variation add to the warming in its positive phase? Logic says half of it.

    Of course, Kevin Trenberth might try to bamboozle you into believing his ‘missing heat’ has made its way into the deep ocean. But Kevin won’t explain how this heat mysteriously made its way through 700m of cooling upper ocean in defiance of the second law of thermodynamics.

    Don’t put those heavy old winter coats on ebay yet; the sun is in one of its ~200 yearly bad moods.

    Cheers

    Rog Tallbloke

  • DonnyDarko

    Merry Christmas to you and everybody else. I agree with your comments. Whatever happened to humour ? Common sense has been ditched in favour of PC nonsense.Alan Hansen got scolded for calling someone a coloured person.Most of the time when you are with people of different ethnicities, you don’t notice the colour,just the person.Clarkson is paid to be rude and I think he’s funny without agreeing with what he says.
    They sell you carbon credit crap over the phone like shares. It’s just another money making scam living of peoples fears and hopes that we can buy a better plane when its consumption that is the root problem, as in capitalism the American way,which has become our way.
    Albright is a native Czech speaker which is why she connected with Havel so well.he was a good guy,she isn’t.
    As for population control, somebody is funding research into creating diseases 10 times deadlier than the Spanish Flu,so at some point there will be a leak as there always is and only 50% of us will be worrying about it.
    So on that cheery note. Have a good one !!

  • Antelope Grazer

    Hi Reg
    Yeah, I know he wasn’t all bad – in fact I had always rather assumed that as a very junior member of NATO he was bullied into going along with the bombing, but when I looked into it I found he made some rather provocative statements trying to justify it. So who knows. 1968 and all that…
    .
    You have my sympathy over that police nonsense. After a previous encounter I keep the shampoo handy in case a particularly greasy specimen turns up at the door again.

  • Mary

    Donny Darko. You mentioned Alex Hansen. I picked this up from medialens.
    .
    Off topic — Hansen paid 40 grand a show on Match of the Day. Comments?
    Posted by scrabble on December 24, 2011, 12:55 am
    .
    Is he worth it to hear him say “Power. Pace. Performance. Again more Pace. And power. Even more performance. Plus pace and power. And yet more power, pace and performance.”
    .
    40 grand a show eh? That’s about 5 grand a word.

    .
    I think we could say ‘Didn’t he do well!’
    😉

  • anno

    Fedup
    The banks are not running out of money. When I first started working for myself, many moons ago, customers used to tell me they couldn’t afford to get the job at that time and I took it at face value, that like me they couldn’t afford their electric bill.
    It did not occur to me that their vast capital was tied up in shares or property, or earning interest, and they couldn’t be bothered to transfer a little bit of it to me.
    It is great dishonesty in the rich to sell us the Tory idea of top-down re-distribution of wealth, and then they decide to use their money in ways that do not re-distribute it in the community.
    Islam asks for 2.5 per cent as sufficient to cater for all social needs. We are currently taxed at more than 200 x that rate. The government salary bill, weapons bill, interest bill, and benefits bill cannot possibly use all the money they receive.
    A modern building has fresh, filtered, air-conditioned, permanently-running air churning round 24/7. There is no off button or plan for an off button for the treadmill of energy consumption, or human greed.
    Water does not need to be heated more than tepid. In hot countries people learn to feel comfortable living at 45C degrees. If this country refuses to learn to live within its means of survival by legal means, it will not survive.
    If our politicians are unable to pull back the lever of waste, because of laziness or dishonest or even rust on the levers of power, the system will be scrapped. I look forward to replacing it with Islam.

  • nuid

    Happy Christmas, everyone.
    .
    Antelope said, “There are signs which can be given and seen before a physical move like that.”
    Exactly. Otherwise, the guy needs his face slapped.
    .
    Courtenay says, “Most hetersexual men act in this way.”
    No Courtenay, they don’t!
    A boss in his fifties tried it with me when I was the most junior in his office. I had no idea what to do at the time. Had it been today, I would have accused him (publicly) of sexual harassment. Which it was.

  • Clark

    The banks can’t “run out of money”. Since they have many interest rates that they can alter, many sums lent and borrowed in many agreements that other parties are tied into, they can effectively change their income and their declared value at will. What they can run out of is other parties’ trust. That’s why these financial problems so often come as “crashes”.

  • nuid

    Mis and dis and piss information coming at us from all sides.
    Al Jazeera just tweeted this:
    .
    “AFP retracts report that Muslim Brotherhood claimed Damascus bombs, as group spokesman says statement was on fake regime-made website.”
    .
    Was it? Or a somebody-else-made website?
    .
    The ‘usual suspects’ are trying to pull off a Libya in Syria. Just as they would love to pull off an Iraq in Iran. But they know Iran can actually fight back. Nukes or no nukes. So the latest (incredible) piece of preparation is to blame Iran for 9/11. And if the US population swallows that one, I give up on them. Totally.

  • nuid

    “In pre-trial proceedings against Army Private Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Maryland this week, the Army’s lead prosecutor presented evidence purportedly linking Manning directly to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and alleged that by publishing documents leaked by Manning, WikiLeaks and Assange had aided terrorists, including Al Qaeda
    .
    The proceedings concluded Thursday after less than a week of hearings. Manning is charged with leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including evidence of US war crimes, to WikiLeaks.
    .
    The closing arguments of Captain Ashden Fein make clear that the United States government is seeking to use its prosecution of Manning, a 24-year-old soldier and former intelligence analyst, to lay the basis for extraditing Assange to the US and either prosecuting him as a terrorist or locking him away indefinitely in a military prison without any recourse to the courts or due process.”
    More here
    https://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/dec2011/mann-d24.shtml
    .
    Bastards.
    Excuse me, I’ll go away and be Christmassy for a while.

  • Jon

    @Tallbloke – thanks for dropping in, and I too am sorry to hear about the police harassment. I hope they have been sufficiently publicly shamed to leave you alone now!
    .
    @Scouse – it’s a little unfair for you to describe my comments as a ‘red rag’. My points are always made non-provocatively, and in good faith.
    .
    @Tet-a-Тет – Christmas is a lovely non-religious festival in which we can take some time off work, and value the importance of having friends and/or family. It has religious roots, and a few people here and there still connect it to their faith, but we’re all agreed about the celebration and festivities bit!

  • Scouse Billy

    Jon, it is the bull that perceives the “red rag” as something it must respond to.
    .
    Whatever your intent, i felt compelled to reply 😉

  • Jon

    You’re always welcome to reply, @Scouse. But the phrase “red rag” usually means “provocative, intending to start a fight”. Not so in this case, and with me in general, very rarely!

  • Passerby

    Merry Christmas to all, and wish all the best to you]
    However spare a thought for the poor bastards who are homeless, and have no way of staving off the cold and the hunger, and probably are in for a beating from some scum sucking lowlifes drunk out of their skulls.

  • Leonard

    John – You said: “I agree, but equally most of us need some direction from the experts on the issue of climate change. I wouldn’t pick a debate on heart surgery with a heart surgeon that was about to operate on me: I would trust that his medical knowledge….”
    .
    That’s the problem. More than three quarters of the climate change “believers” at the institution presiding over it (IPCC) are NOT experts, and one of the LEAST expert of their advocates is Al Gore! Moreover, hundreds of truly EXPERT scientists, statisticians and climatologists who have another view have been locked out of the club that runs the IPCC (international panel on climate change, which “runs” the agenda). Indeed, anyone that questions its data, and that of east Anglia University, is cast out. Thus we have been fed a diet of “consensus” science when there actually hasn’t been any.
    .
    Thus millions appear to have been brainwashed into assuming that the science is settled and closed. It isn’t. Furthermore, although carbon dioxide might indeed be a factor, there are other factors that are more urgent to address. To rely on anti-carbon dioxide legislation is to ignore much more pressing remedies for the plundering of earth resources. The obsession with ice caps and the paranoia about sea levels is galvanising anti carbon legislation which, even if it was enacted, would take hundreds of years to significantly reduce carbon influence on climate.
    .
    Unfortunately this subject has become a right vs left political issue, rather than a disinterested examination of both sides of the discussion. Thus the Telegraph is sceptic and the Guardian is a “believer”. I invite you to visit http://www.climateaudit.com to see painstaking research into how the IPCC and the Climate Unit at East Anglia have worked for years to present manipulated data convenient to their respective vested interests. Those interests range from personal profit(most of the major IPCC board members have investments in carbon trading), to media (Al Gore has made a couple of hundred million dollars spreading the word), to university funding (East Anglia etc). I concede that some of the sceptic lobby also have vested interest (continuation of fossil fuel burning unhindered).
    .
    Anyone having the intelligence to ask salient questions on this subject is often outcast and vilified as being in denial, even though they are merely asking questions. Moreover, if honest science has its own convictions then none of its core data should hide behind FOI requests which are denied. Climategate would never have happened if East Anglia had properly released its core data in the first place.
    .
    To manipulate data or hide it in such a wholesale manner utterly invalidates the reasearch it is built upon. You say the science is peer reviewed. It is NOT! it has been reviewed by members of the same on-message members of the club, and NOT offered for review by disinterested, independent, or sceptical people.
    .
    Science and research never stands still. Climate theory is a best guess at each point where available facts and research are sufficient to form a theory. If such a theory becomes a fixed and intransigent assumed consensus, and a significant number of dissenters are locked out – it becomes a belief system.
    .
    The long list of highly distinguished doubters are not conspiracy theorists, nor are they idiots. The vast majority of them are equally as qualified, if not more, than the IPCC scientists (the vast majority of whom are NOT climatologists in any case)who are signed up to the “consensus”. As with some of the wikileaks covering military action, whoever published the Climategate emails was doing a valuable service: It’s called trying to find the truth. When governments and their agents try to suppress truth, or the pursuit of it, or censor legitimate questions, we move quickly from a supposed democracy to a closed and controlled state.

  • Rog Tallbloke

    @Clark – Thanks to you and others here for the good wishes.

    Your energy piece got a bit carried away with itself I thought. It would be nice to stop burning stinky stuff though. let’s hope Andrea Rossi isn’t bullshitting.

  • Greenmachine

    Craig – keep up the good work. Agree with your sentiments in the post completely. Have a great Xmas and New Year then get back to pursuing the real criminals with renewed vigour. Cameron, Osborne, Netanyahu, Fox, Werrity, Bernanke, Geitner, Lagarde, Sarkozy, Merkel, Clegg, Blair, Mandelson, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Barclays, ALL neo-con/neo-liberal financial terrorists ….. look out we have you in our sights!

  • wendy

    looks as if Cameron is readying not only for Iran but now oil-rich Somalia ..

    Anyway we can always hope and wish for the best .. good wishes to everyone ..

  • wendy

    “The ‘usual suspects’ are trying to pull off a Libya in Syria. Just as they would love to pull off an Iraq in Iran. But they know Iran can actually fight back. Nukes or no nukes. So the latest (incredible) piece of preparation is to blame Iran for 9/11. And if the US population swallows that one, I give up on them. Totally.”
    .
    .
    The US might buy into it .. but the rest of the world doesnt .. what is disgraceful are the victims of 9/11 who are prepared to play along with the US Government .
    .
    .
    Lets be honest here the US people maybe very nice but they are brainwashed and have a belief in their Gods and Presidents at the level of the North Koreans.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Wendy,
    .
    I have lived and worked in America and I agree the folks there are so nice, warm, generous and hospitable. They also fly the American flag.
    .
    I believe they are proselytized to stand behind their country regardless who governs because that conviction affords stability to an otherwise uncertain existence. New generations of Americans are rising against egregious attacks on their civil liberties, especially now the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) might mean indefinite military detention of a US citizen on American soil without trial.
    .
    While agent Cameron views another war in Somalia we can expect further breaches of human rights including interception of calls on private telephones, rights abuses of property privacy and confidentiality, fencing, kettling and use of live ammunition and water-cannons to disperse gatherings. Ultimately this government may well use an element of the armed forces to prevent anti-war riots escalating into revulsion induced anarchy when Iran is attacked and destroyed, arousing many civilians become soldiers.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “anti-war riots escalating into revulsion induced anarchy when Iran is attacked and destroyed…” Mark.
    .
    There won’t be any riots on account of the USA/UK/NATO destroying another ‘third world’ country. That’s already been proven wrt Iraq. As threatened/predicted, “The Gates of Hell” opened, alright, but only for Iraqis. Most people don’t give a damn about the students or the ‘Occupy’ movement and if they do, they’ll not do anything about it. People here in the UK will only rise up when their/our own basic necessities are threatened and then the rising will be inchoate, undirected and largely individualistic, as with the UK riots earlier this year. There is no coherent mass populist anti-war/ anti-robber baron capitalism political movement deriving from the organised working class (i.e. you and me and the woman next door). In the absence of that, nothing significant will occur. Just more reality TV. We are in a late imperial phase: Bread, Circuses and Blood.
    .
    And that’s my Christmas Message. You won’t hear that on BBC Radio Four’s ‘Thought for the Day’.
    .
    Sorry for the cynicism. Mark, I do respect the good work you do in the face of this tyranny of the soul.

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