Sunday, 31 March 2013

12 Varieties of modern British Bullshit - #1 - "Opponents of mass immigration are all racists"

A new series! And I haven't decided what the 12 Varieties are yet. I'm sure it won't be hard to think of something.

The first is from David Aaronovitch's piece (£) in the Times, entitled "Forget ‘concerns’ on migration. Here are facts". The title tells you a lot: it purports to contain 'facts' about immigration (and it does contain some), but the whole tenor of the piece is slanted with the modern canard, today's piece of Bullshit:

1) those in the UK who oppose immigration are all racists and xenophobes

Things wrong with it: it's not true for a start, but more importantly it immediately stifles debate - precisely what those on the left want, it seems. I've no doubt that there are indeed racists in the UK who oppose immigration, but there is a problem.

We need an honest, clear discussion over how much immigration to allow into the United Kingdom*. Unlimited? None at all? Somewhere inbetween?

Those (always on the left) who think immigration is a Good Thing never seem to explain why. They simply claim that those who oppose them are 'racist'. I'm sorry to treat everyone like idiots but this is not a reason for allowing more immigration.

Unemployment levels in the UK are around 2,500,000. The number of job vacancies is apparently 500,000.  I think it's fair, if slightly simplified, to ask why we need another 500,000 immigrants? Could there be other issues for British society that outweigh any supposed economic benefits? (do the benefits exist?)

But by this point the debate will have already descended into a shambles. Half of England will be shouting "Racism" at the other half. It's a wonderful example of an important debate being derailed by childish behaviour. It's our first bit of modern-day British Bullshit!

I hope you enjoy it.

*does anyone think we shouldn't debate things that affect us all? I think we can ignore them

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Broadening definitions for fun and political profit

I'm possibly guilty of getting all my facts from Anna Raccoon - rather her than the Graun or the Torygraph, anyway - but here is yet more of the evidence against Jimmy Savile, from her blog.

"This new and brave survivor of historic abuse had decided to publicly identify herself after 34 years of silence as Leisha Brookes, now aged 45. What a horrific tale she had to tell. At nine years old she was befriended ‘by a cameraman’ who she thought ‘would make her famous’. She was taken to meet Jimmy Savile three or four times at BBC centre. For two years this nine year old was regularly encouraged to ‘sit on the knee’ of 35 other men at the BBC. Or maybe the 35 ‘other men’ were seen on the three or four occasions  she also saw Savile. That’s nearly nine pairs of knees on each occasion, but however many pairs of knees were involved, it is difficult to see the evidence of abuse, or why Savile is singled out for naming in this shocking account - if there are 35 child abusers still alive, including the cameraman, why is the Sunday Express so shy of naming them? Surely they are not waiting for them to die, and be named and shamed like Savile? There could be children at risk right now!"

Anna notes that FleetStreetFox - not a blogger I have much time for - tweeted on another issue "I don't like the comparisons to the Savile affair, this is grown women being groped; not children raped". And this is, I suppose, very much the impression of Savile we've been given by the papers - of a child-rapist. Yet I'm still troubled by 4 things

1) he's dead so cannot defend himself, no lawyers are working for him, and there cannot be a proper trial
2) that being the case, why is everyone sure all these "allegations" are true? (before an investigation is complete)
3) what exactly are the allegations anyway? Anyone have any details?
4) when details of the allegations DO come out, they are pathetic as evidence

I do not know what Jimmy Savile did or didn't do. I wonder if anyone ever will, with the reporting we've had. But I do recall similar inflated figures (tens of thousands annually as I recall) for "child abuse" being publicised by a charity. The definition of "child abuse" had been broadened to anyone under 18 who had been slightly miffed by anything from a search in a police-station to a beating in Brixton etcetc 

Is it also so with the very vague Savile claims? Who knows, really...

We've been here before. Definitions of racism seem to be somewhat flexible, depending on what your political aim happens to be at the time. The definition of "misogyny" was also changed at some stage, to mean the same thing as sexism, though people do, of course, still use it to imply hatred of women (the "old" meaning).

It's an old story, politicians will twist words to try to fool people. And people are stupid enough to fall for it, mainly the journalists who write the sort of rubbish you see in the links in the last paragraph.