Lego 2It may only be 24 hours from Tulsa, but let’s hope we’re considerably further away than a day from Burma. The massacre of over 100 civilians protesting against the Myanmar military coup on Saturday has perhaps underlined in the most grotesque way that holding Aung San Suu Kyi responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in 2017 was to credit her with far more power than the Burmese Army ever actually allowed her. The de facto president’s demotion from Mandela/Thunberg sainthood to flawed human being was an especially facile example of the West’s habit of projecting its own idea of romantic freedom fighter onto a complex culture it doesn’t understand and then expressing mortification when the nominated idol fails to live up to its unrealisable expectations. To say the military staged a coup in February is a little misleading, for that would imply the five-year presidency of Aung San Suu Kyi had somehow ushered in an era of democratic liberalism that neutered the army’s grip on the nation; they never really went away. What happened last month was effectively the military ‘taking back control’ after supporting the opposition in the country’s general election and then watching Ms Suu Kyi’s ruling party win by a landslide.

Protests against the military’s resumption of power followed almost instantly, echoing the ‘Saffron Revolution’ of 2007, led by Buddhist monks; many credit that uprising with starting the ball rolling that eventually resulted in a civilian government for the first time in the country since 1962. However, this time round over 400 people have died protesting against the military junta, with Saturday’s bloody suppression the darkest day so far. Amazingly, a lavish gala celebrating Burma’s liberation from Japanese occupation in 1945 still went ahead the same day, broadcast on state TV in the wake of an equally tasteless military parade staged before any of the bodies had been buried. Yes, most of us are thankfully more than 24 hours from Yangon, Meiktila, Kale, Mawlamyine or any of the other Myanmar towns and cities in which the military opened fire on its own people. The road to Mandalay is paved with blood today.

Not that there aren’t plenty people who would be happy to see the Burmese Army approach to crime and punishment being implemented closer to home. A Yorkshire town once famed for its chicken-in-a-basket cabaret venue known as Batley Variety Club is currently witnessing attempts by a small group of religious fanatics to impose Sharia Law on British Law by using fear, intimidation and threats of violence. But this is nothing new. The dominance of some neighbourhoods with large Asian immigrant populations by a Muslim Mafiosi is something that police forces terrified of being accused of racism have facilitated by ceasing to police them and allowing them to essentially govern themselves – with disastrous consequences. Not only has this gutless abandonment spawned the systematic sexual abuse of underage white teenage girls on an industrial scale that beggars belief; it has also given the Islamic mobsters a sense of untouchable invincibility that every capitulation to their bullying simply hardens.

Barely a week after the schoolgirl whose false allegations against teacher Samuel Paty resulted in his brutal murder in Paris last October admitted she made the whole thing up, a teacher at Batley Grammar School has now had to go into hiding after apparently showing images of the Prophet Muhammad – allegedly including the infamous ‘Charlie Hebdo’ cartoon – during a religious studies class. The usual rent-a-mob thugs that tend to show up whenever they sense their ‘Satanic Verses’ moment has come besieged the school and not only brought about its closure (though you don’t need a gaggle of gobby wannabe Jihadists to do that these days); they also forced a grovelling and spineless apology from the school that suggested the institution was in sympathy with the sentiments of the mob and the teacher in question had done something wrong. He’d only have done something wrong were the UK a fundamentalist Islamic state – which it isn’t. On paper, we’re still a secular democracy, one in which blasphemy laws and retributive punishment for criticising or mocking religion were mercifully done away with after we burned and beheaded our way through the last century characterised by such barbarity, the seventeenth. Maybe teaching unions should be reminded of that as the teacher in hiding is deafened by their silence. At least pupils of the school have shown more balls by starting a successful online petition demanding his reinstatement.

According to those far more clued-up on the faith than me, the blasphemous portrayal of Muhammad as a religious icon isn’t even something that is universal across the Muslim world; it appears this is a particular obsession of the Sunni branch. Yet, so emboldened by the Woke Left’s patronage of Islam is the militant wing of the religion that it knows it’ll be given an easy ride every time it kicks up a fuss; and how can one not observe yet again how many tiers of policing are currently on offer? A lockdown protest took place just a few miles away in Bradford on Saturday, in which dispersal orders were issued and arrests were made; yet, no such dispersal of an illegal gathering – and one inciting religious hatred too – was made in Batley. I thought nobody had the right to gather in groups at the moment without said gathering being broken-up by the Old Bill – or is it easier to break them up if they’re white women holding a peaceful vigil? But of course, two-tiered policing, much like cancel culture, is a conspiracy theory. Funny how every indisputable fact is now a conspiracy theory if enough people of influence disagree with it.

The fact that the Covid restrictions on public gatherings are so liberally applied, depending on the purpose of the gathering and who happens to have organised it, highlights just how increasingly ludicrous and unenforceable these emergency powers are. Along with the announcement that kissing the bride when a couple are pronounced man and wife is now verboten if the couple haven’t spent the last twelve months living together, perhaps one little story underlining the farcical nature of the restrictions emerged a day or so ago. A 73-year-old pensioner who likes to meet up with a couple of equally elderly pals and play dominoes in West London’s Maida Hill market square was advised he’d be arrested and fined if he carried on being such an antisocial menace; Westminster Council has obtained a special court injunction for police officers to intervene if anybody is regarded as causing disruption in a public place. Dominoes, pensioners – think about that. Anyway, the rule has apparently now been relaxed following the 73-year-old’s ‘virtual’ court appearance last week; but the fact he even had to submit to that tells you all you need to know, really.

Oh, well – not to worry; we all know there’ll be an autumn lockdown come ‘The Third Wave’, so let’s make the most of the latest easing while we can and call-up five people we know for a socially-distanced game of dominoes in the nearest park – vaccine passports not required. For now. As for any indoor get-togethers when we’re given permission to indulge again, producing the requisite ‘papers’ is being trumpeted by some Ministers as the way forward – temporarily, of course; and masks will be needed too, though only to begin with. I don’t believe you, HM Government. Could be worse, though; could be Batley or Burma – could even be the University of Oxford. Sheet music has been branded racist there. The institution is considering dispensing with it due to it being ‘too colonial’; the music curriculum is complicit in white supremacy, naturally. Nothing else to be concerned about today, after all; it’s merely the dismantling of Western civilisation’s cultural pantheon continuing apace, as it will do if philistines are placed in positions of power and their supine supporters nod along. Ah, 2021 – what larks.

© The Editor


When John Lennon returned his MBE to Her Majesty in 1969, he penned an accompanying (and characteristically flippant) note that defused the potential melodrama of the grand gesture. ‘I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing,’ he wrote, ‘against our support of America in Vietnam; and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts’. Brenda’s reaction was not recorded, though Lennon himself later admitted being a Member of the British Empire was something of an embarrassment re his counter-cultural credentials, even if sending the medal back provoked the ire of his Aunt Mimi, who had proudly displayed it on her mantelpiece for the previous four years.

The award was conferred in 1965, officially as recognition of The Beatles as a Great British Export, though prompted by a canny PM (Harold Wilson) with one eye on a forthcoming General Election he hoped would increase his slender majority. Released from the shackles of the ‘mop-top’ straitjacket in 1969, Lennon’s peace campaigning with Yoko Ono and consequent resurgence of the lifelong anti-establishment sentiments that the Fab Four machine had suppressed earned him the enmity of the ruling class. Mocked and reviled in a manner that may come as a surprise to those who only know the posthumous Lennon as a latter-day Saint (successfully promoted by Yoko herself), Lennon’s gesture was the final act of impertinence from the perspective of the set who had enjoyed patting John, Paul, George and Ringo on the head during the Beatlemania era.

What few mentioned at the time of the mortification that greeted Lennon’s rebuttal of the State’s ultimate Kinder Surprise bestowed upon a ‘commoner’ was that the initial award of the MBE to The Beatles in 1965 had been received with equal outrage from the same people. Numerous war veterans and distinguished gentlemen who had spent most of their adult lives expecting such an award would come their way themselves returned their precious MBEs in protest at long-haired young men devaluing the honour. Four years later, the politicised youth culture that had superseded Swinging London demanded Lennon nail his colours to the mast; Lennon momentarily appeased them, though the Radical Left continued to be critical of him unless they received an invite to his Ascot mansion. He eventually realised it was impossible to please all of the people all of the time and stopped trying.

Forty-eight years on, another grand gesture has been made by another former pop star, albeit one whose days as such are but a distant memory only upheld by the minority tuning in to BBC4’s ‘Top of the Pops’ reruns. Bob Geldof has announced he will be returning his Freedom of the City of Dublin award in protest over the perceived failure of Aung San Suu Kyi to condemn and prevent what has been labelled ethnic cleansing in her native Burma (or Myanmar, if you prefer). The de facto Burmese PM had the same Irish honour conferred upon her, along with similar pats on the head bestowed by the likes of London, Oxford, Sheffield and Glasgow – three of which she has subsequently been stripped of. A portrait of her has been removed from the Oxford University College she read politics at and there are now calls for the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1997 to be revoked.

During the long years of her house arrest by the Burmese military (1989 to 2010, on and off), Aung San Suu Kyi was adopted as the poster-girl for political imprisonment and became a beacon around which western virtue signallers rallied in the same way a previous generation had rallied round Nelson Mandela. But the problem with such beacons is that the symbolic halo they acquire blocks out the uncomfortable truth of a warts-and-all human being; she was always a human being, even though the interchangeable nature of such cult figures (from Guevara onwards) means when their feet are exposed as having clay-like qualities, those who turned them into a symbol are as distraught as pubescent girls when they discover their pop idol has got married.

Upon her release, when Aung San Suu Kyi was being feted in the west and the usual suspects were falling over themselves to sing her praises and shower her in awards, the one person from these islands she really wanted to meet was Dave Lee Travis, whose radio shows being broadcast on the World Service had made a difference to her during her house arrest. Yes, DLT – not David Cameron or Theresa May, not even Bob Geldof or bloody Bono or any of the other glorified chuggers emotionally blackmailing the have-nots to donate to endless causes whilst they themselves squirrel their considerable assets away in overseas tax-havens. And now their darling has disappointed them by behaving like the actual politician she is (and in a country where the same military that imprisoned her still carries clout), they’ve suddenly decided she’s up there with Mugabe.

The Mayor of Dublin has responded to Geldof’s stunt by pointing out Sir Bob hasn’t mentioned dispensing with his honorary knighthood from Britain, a nation whose reputation in Ireland as an imperial power of old doesn’t really complement Geldof’s principles. Geldof’s reason for giving back his honour is Aung San Suu Kyi’s indifference to the plight of the persecuted Rohingya people of Myanmar and her failure to act on the refugee crisis as thousands of Rohingya people flee predominantly Buddhist Burma for neighbouring Muslim Bangladesh, even if this isn’t the first time it has happened.

For an incredibly complex situation with an extremely long and winding history in the region, the likes of Geldof and others simplifying and reducing it to basic black & white terms of heroes and villains is both condescending to those involved and betrays an ignorance of the far-from straightforward scenario playing out there. Yes, current events in Burma are not remotely pleasant; but Aung San Suu Kyi never asked to be the human rights sweetheart the west manufactured and her actions of late (or lack of them) demonstrate the dangers in projecting western values onto different cultures as much as Dubya imagining American notions of democracy could be imposed upon Iraq.

© The Editor