IDENTITY CRISIS

Dana InternationalWhen Richard Nixon famously proclaimed ‘I am not a crook’ in 1973, I’m pretty sure plenty people must have come to the conclusion that he was simply because he’d felt the need to declare his whiter-than-white credentials. Sure, the then-President of the USA’s standing was threatened by a break-in at a certain building in Washington, so he was keen to place considerable distance between himself and those guilty of trespassing on Democratic Party property; but whenever anybody has to over-emphasise something that should be a given, one cannot help but feel they have something to hide. The 21st century social media trend for adding the likes of ‘Anti-fascist’ to bios – as though the individual profiled would immediately be presumed a fascist unless they categorically stated they weren’t – seems to echo Nixon’s proclamation of innocence. Damning insults that were designed to accurately describe and denounce a particular philosophy have been so casually tossed around on the cultural battlefield in recent years that people are now compelled to declare everything they’re not before actually declaring what they are – though the speed with which they do so inevitably provokes suspicion.

The emphasising of specific racial, sexual and gender inheritances or preferences that are prized as defining characteristics when it comes to the Identity Politics worldview are sold as the ultimate non-prejudicial break with a past that supposedly judged people unfairly by placing them in separate, discriminatory groups – though it doesn’t take much of a genius to discern this is merely rearranging the furniture. The Identity Politics crowd bring their own prejudices to the table, and blackball manufacturers are one of the few booming industries at the moment as the list of cancelled parties is expanding by the day. Straight white men – or just white men in general – have been the demographic it’s okay to slate from day one, and straight women of any colour have become added to the death warrant as the insanity has accelerated courtesy of the ‘trans’ debate; a female student suspended from her course at a university in Soviet Scotland a couple of weeks ago – for the heresy of stating women have vaginas rather than penises – underlines yet again how ovaries are no longer security against cancellation.

Anybody with half-a-brain and a cursory knowledge of how these movements eventually descend into cannibalism saw this coming a long time ago, but those who sold their souls in the hope they’d be spared a visit from the Thought Police are now feeling the heat. The past few weeks have seen the Trojan horse of social justice exposed to a little more light and more of its unpleasant underbelly has been mercifully revealed in the process. The deliciously disastrous weekend tweet by a senior SNP official revelling in the UK’s nul points car-crash at the Eurovision by declaring ‘It’s OK, Europe – we hate the United Kingdom too’ lifted the lid once more on the narrow-minded bigotry at the rotten core of extremist Scottish nationalism, reminding us (as if we needed reminding) that, for all its touchy-feely Woke virtue-signalling, the SNP at its heart is no different from any other nasty nationalist movement.

And if evidence were required of the ‘emperor’s new clothes’ factor at play here, one needs to look no further than the issue of race. Anyone of black or ethnic persuasion who rejects the Identity Politics league table of oppression is guaranteed to incur the wrath of those who have a rigid system of oppressed/oppressor in place and don’t like to see it being undermined. As long as ‘People of Colour’ accept their permanent lowly status beneath the iconic white jackboot and don’t attempt to emancipate themselves, they’re worthy of a pat on the head; dare to challenge this regressive state of affairs and they’re fair game for being subjected to ugly racist insults as bad as anything that can be dreamt up at a KKK dinner party.

Just as the Corbynite wing of the Labour Party wants the workers to remain at the bottom of the pile, forever in need of a helping hand from privately-educated middle-class Marxists because it provides the latter with their raison d’être, the Identity Politics obsession with race gives plenty a purpose that makes getting up on a morning meaningful. It’s also stuck in the 18th century, only able to see black people in chains; residency of the moral high ground is dependent upon the preservation of race in a pre-civil rights amber, and any Person of Colour refusing to go along with that can be legitimately called an Uncle Tom or any other antiquated racist epithet – and it’s perfectly fine for someone white to hurl that insult as long as they’re safely residing on ‘the right side of history’. The hypocrisy is hilarious.

The one racial and ethnic group that the Identity Politics crowd have barely bothered to conceal their prejudicial and bigoted hatred towards all along are the Jews. Not only is it fine for those whose favourite buzzword during Trump’s Presidency was ‘literally Hitler’ to revive every ancient stereotype of the Jewish people, but allying themselves with a pseudo-ISIS band of Radical Islamic fanatics like Hamas is deemed to be perfectly acceptable coz Hamas hate Israel – innit. The current wave of blatant anti-Semitism in the West has included pro-Palestine activists driving through Jewish neighbourhoods of London and using megaphones to advocate ‘F**k the Jews! Rape their daughters!’ as well as open assaults on Jewish bystanders at rallies held by those supposedly passionate about ‘social justice’ in numerous European democracies and across the Anglosphere. And amidst this depressing outbreak of ugliness, skewered Woke logic reached comic proportions when a side-splitting banner unfurled at one of the endless protests against recent Israeli retaliatory strikes against Hamas declared ‘Queers for Palestine’. Ever get the feeling these dipsticks haven’t got a f***ing clue as to whose bed they’re jumping into?

Israel, as with South Africa during the Apartheid era, is a favourite bogeyman for the far-left and is back in fashion every time a new generation acquires an appetite for attending demonstrations. The State of Israel itself routinely plays into the hands of its most vocal critics with its often brutal actions, even if one could argue that self-defence sometimes happens to be at the root of such actions; and overlooking the equally brutal assaults by Hamas whilst condemning Israel is like screaming at the Government for deporting illegal immigrants and then suggesting that the Tory daughter of Ugandan-Asian immigrants who just happens to have become the first-ever ‘BAME’ Home Secretary should herself be deported because…oh, hang on a minute. Yes, placing such intense emphasis on race has really resulted in a fairer, more tolerant society, hasn’t it – one where racism has no place whatsoever. Well, we were getting there; and now we’re heading somewhere else altogether.

The worrying precedent set in Scotland a few weeks ago, whereby a Woke mob surrounded a van carrying illegal immigrants and ‘liberated’ the detainees, ended on a fittingly farcical note in that the immigrants were then escorted by their self-congratulatory liberators to the nearest mosque. Only, they were actually Sikhs, not Muslims; well, brown people – easy mistake to make when you’re an ignorant f**kwit too busy patting your perceived oppressed pets to assess the consequences of your crusade. The climax of that ‘rescue’ to me pretty much summed-up the naive, dangerous stupidity of Identity Politics in action, and how easy it would be for its exploitation by less idealistic parties – and I’m not talking about the far-right, who are just as thick. The real danger comes when these airheads have a degree of power – though I suppose seeing the damage done by them at local government level serves as a warning as to where we’d be if they were in charge at national level. But then I look at the alternative at national level and I give up.

© The Editor

D’YE KEN ADOLF HITLER?

Ken 2Although a keen amateur scholar of British history, it had never previously occurred to me that Edward I was into Zionism. Think about, though – he issued the notorious Edict of Expulsion in 1290, a royal decree that expelled all Jews from England. It wasn’t revoked until one of Edward’s successors four-hundred years later lost his head; it took a commoner to take control of the country before Jews were permitted to return to these shores – yes, Oliver Cromwell. He wasn’t all bad, see. Mind you, neither was Hitler, of course; he built the autobahns, didn’t he? And, according to the latest historical revelations courtesy of Ken Livingstone, old Adolf was keen on the Zionist thing himself, due to the fact that he wanted the Jews of Germany to relocate en masse to the Holy Land. He hadn’t hatched the Final Solution at this point, so he was still clearly a reasonable and rational man.

It was interesting that all was quiet on the Corbyn Army front yesterday. For a moment, I was wondering if we were seeing the return of the old far-left wall of silence when confronted by an uncomfortable truth – y’know, the same state of denial that had been a convenient patch of sand for burying heads in when news of Stalin’s purges exposed the realities of Soviet Communism to the western left in the 30s. Time was evidently required to come up with an explanation, and it’s been tweeted today. Ken claims it’s all a smear campaign generated by a Tory press who’ve always had it in for him. Yes, Ken; you can’t possibly be held responsible for what you said. Oh, get real. This is the same Mr Livingstone, I presume, who compared a Jewish ‘Evening Standard’ reporter to an officer of the SS a few years back.

Ken Livingstone had supposedly leapt to the defence of under-fire Labour MP Naz Shah, whose ill-advised online comments about Israel from a couple of years ago – aired before she was elected to Westminster – resurfaced and forced her into issuing an apology in the Commons. Ms Shah had denied she was anti-Semitic in her apology and appeared to have adhered to every rule of parliamentary penance in the process. She didn’t really need Ken weighing in with his limited grasp of history, and his clumsy intervention has now resulted in his own suspension from the party, pending an internal investigation.

It is true that Tory sections of the press dislike Ken Livingstone; he embodies so much of precisely what they hate in the left. Mind you, he’s hardly universally beloved in the Labour Party, many believing he represents everything that will keep them out of office. The problem is that the party in now in the hands of those who think along Ken lines; his old backbench buddy Jezza is the bloody leader, for God’s sake, and bringing Ken into the fold was bound to cause ructions at some point. He does have a history of putting his foot in it.

Zac Goldsmith, the clueless Hooray Henry that the Tories have chosen to run for London Mayor, has been equally dim with some of the moves he’s made in his campaign, but Goldsmith doesn’t masquerade as a man of the people, so it’s really no great surprise. Ken Livingstone, along with the shower that have seized the Labour frontbench, does pose as ‘an ordinary bloke’, but the wing of the party he belongs to is essentially the yang to David Cameron’s yin. Iain Duncan Smith in his resignation letter claimed the Conservative Cabinet have no interest in those who don’t vote Tory; Ken Livingstone and his ilk have no interest in those who don’t belong to a perceived ‘persecuted minority’.

Naturally, any mini-crisis that engulfs one political party will be exploited by another for political gain, though it would be unwise for Tories to adopt a holier-than-thou attitude to this. It was only last year that Dave referred to Syrian asylum-seekers as a ‘swarm’ – before the body of a little boy was photographed washed-up on a beach, of course; and the pro-Rhodesia/Apartheid South Africa policy of the old Monday Club would be an unpleasant skeleton in any party’s closet. However, the problem of anti-Semitism within Labour is especially acute in that much of it emanates from the ‘grass roots’ level, that of student bodies and the Momentum group, i.e. the very people that propelled the incumbent Labour leadership to power. Amusing it may have been, but Labour MP John Mann’s theatrical confrontation with Ken before TV cameras yesterday was a mere sideshow to the real problem, much of which stems from Labour’s enthusiastic embrace of Islam and fear of offending its less palatable prejudices.

The need to be viewed as inclusive and eager to recruit from the largest immigrant communities within the UK is a hallmark of modern Labour principles, yet one that turns a blind eye to some attitudes and opinions that, were they to emanate from white lips, would be instantly condemned. The introduction of Blair’s faith-schools in the late 90s served to foster separatism and suspicion and put the brakes on integration for a generation that has come of age with an Us and Them philosophy; by ghettoising a community, Labour has created a climate that can foster anti-Semitism at best and radicalisation at worst. Not that any of Corbyn’s crowd would acknowledge this.

To hear that loathsome bully boy Tom Watson describing Ken Livingstone’s comments as though they were most despicable remarks ever to have been uttered by a member of his own party is rich when one recalls his own rumour-mongering tirade against the dying Leon Brittan a couple of years ago. But perhaps Corbyn’s blinkered team have belatedly realised this unedifying scenario is something that threatens to expose their sham opposition and are desperate to minimise the damage while they can.

If being anti-Zionist does not equate with anti-Semitism, then criticising Corbyn and Ken does not equate with a deep desire to suck Cameron’s toes. I just wish there were separate pots for them all to piss in, for it often seems Westminster provides just the one.

© The Editor

HOMELAND

IsraelWell, at least all the right boxes have been ticked now. The election of Malia Bouattia as the new President of the National Union of Students is the perfect appointment. Female – tick; black – tick; Muslim – tick; Pro-Palestine – tick; Anti-Semitic – tick. Whoops, slight error there; I meant to say Anti-Zionist, which has nothing remotely to do with Anti-Semitism, of course. It’s cool to be Anti-Zionist, just as it apparently is in some circles to be pro-ISIS; not that I’m suggesting Ms Bouattia is, naturally. It’s just that publicly rejecting a motion put forward by her fellow students two years ago to condemn ISIS activities does suggest she’s not entirely opposed to the methods some adopt to cope with the ‘Zionist’ problem.

Funnily enough, I once had an ‘uncle’ (one of those non-blood relatives families used to attach that title to) who had been an officer in the Palestine Police when the country was under its guise as the British Mandate of Palestine, something it became following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of the First World War. The exit of the British from a state in which Jews and Arabs had co-existed in relative harmony for centuries to make way for the foundation of Israel in 1948 was not one of this nation’s proudest colonial retreats, but it seemed as though keeping the peace was more trouble than it was worth, as proved to be the case in Cyprus, another sectarian powder-keg, a decade later.

There was an organised Arab revolt in 1936-39 and this was followed by wartime and post-war increases in Jewish – or Zionist – terrorism. Both camps knew the modern state of Israel would be an eventuality, proposed as far back as 1917, and a tussle for control began long before Israel came into being.

The understandable post-war displacement of those European Jews who had survived the Holocaust presented the British authorities in Palestine with a refugee crisis, the symptoms of which are all-too familiar today. American President Harry S Truman intensified the pressure on Palestine to admit 100,000 Jews, yet the British were acutely aware of the potential dangers of flooding a small landmass with so many people representing one of the two dominant religions in the region and upheld an immigration ban despite world opinion. Violent Jewish reprisals followed, and the years 1944-48 were the height of Zionist terrorist incidents in Palestine, something the British forces present were unsurprisingly at the receiving end of, including my Uncle Joe.

The bombing of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, which served as the British HQ in Palestine, in 1946 resulted in a death toll of 92. Perhaps first-hand experience of such an incident was to shape my Uncle Joe’s undeniable Anti-Semitic opinions, the most extreme example of which was one he aired during my childhood, that those Jews who had died in the Holocaust deserved it. Not that such an opinion can be in any way justified, but it’s easy to see why he might harbour a grudge, fishing the corpses of his comrades from the rubble of the King David Hotel.

Somewhere, I still have his badge from the Palestine Police, given to me when I was far too young to realise what it represented; I’m still not quite sure what it does represent.

The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry was set up after the war to look into the problem of Palestine and came to the conclusion that the country should not be either an exclusively Arab or exclusively Jewish state. President Truman wouldn’t acknowledge the committee’s recommendations and pressed on with calling for the immediate admission of 100,000 Jewish refugees, something the British knew would lead to another Arab revolt. When the British requested US troops to prevent this from happening, the Americans baulked and the Brits decided to wash their hands of the problem by announcing the hasty termination of Mandatory Palestine and leaving it up to the United Nations to come up with a solution. The UN conclusion was to establish separate Arab and Jewish states, effectively partitioning the country.

Palestinian Arabs rejected the proposals, scheduled to take place the moment the British departed, with the Arab League threatening military opposition to the plan; and though the British reluctantly accepted it, they refused to enforce it as they regarded it as unfavourable to the Arab population. Zionist terrorist atrocities had turned British opinion against the Jewish cause, and the Brits declined to oversee the transitional period alongside the UN Palestine Commission, preferring to cut and run. Remarkably, the proposed partition was also opposed by future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, though his was a lone voice amidst majority Jewish rejoicing.

On the eve of Israel’s birth, a civil war erupted in Palestine that the British again felt the full force of. This conflict accelerated the exit of the British and made the end of Mandatory Palestine something that couldn’t come soon enough for many in this country. As British rule rapidly broke down, Jewish leader David Ben-Gurion declared the state of Israel had been born, even though this declaration was unrecognised by surrounding Arab nations. The Palestine Mandate officially ended on 15 May 1948, bringing the curtain down on a thirty-year period in which the British had tried and failed to do what the Ottomans had succeeded in doing for far longer. And it’s fair to say the situation has never been resolved since.

The Palestinian ‘cause’ over the last seventy years has become a cause célèbre for every generation of would-be revolutionaries and right-on rebels; it shouldn’t instinctively lead to Anti-Semitic sentiments, though it has a habit of doing so, especially where those whose knowledge of its history is derived less from actual experience of its realities and more from propaganda garnered from the insulated cocoon of the demo and the debating society. That the new NUS President regards Middle East peace talks as ‘strengthening the colonial project’ highlights the fact that this dead-end is set to continue.

VICTORIA WOOD (1953-2016)

vlcsnap-2016-04-20-18h50m15s93Not acknowledging every notable passing on here has become necessary this year in order to prevent the blog being a permanent roll-call of celebrity obituaries. The death of Victoria Wood from cancer at the age of 62, however, I feel is worth noting. At the height of the Alternative Comedy craze in the middle of the 80s, she was something of a curious anomaly. Her BBC2 series of the time, ‘Victoria Wood As Seen on TV’, didn’t naturally sit alongside the likes of ‘The Young Ones’, but the fact it was positioned outside of the zeitgeist has given some aspects of it, particularly the superb soap parody ‘Acorn Antiques’, a timeless appeal on a par with Morecambe and Wise.

Wood had gained her first break on ATV’s 1970s talent show ‘New Faces’, though there wasn’t really a suitable vehicle for her talents until she linked up with actress Julie Walters in the late 70s, eventually resulting in an early Channel 4 cult comedy, ‘Wood and Walters’. This in turn took her to the BBC, where she finally had free rein to showcase her superlative comic writing and performing on a mainstream platform. Wood was unique at the time for eschewing confrontational and politically-themed comedy and instead focused her affectionate, subtle satire on (for want of a better word) the little people.

Gradually branching out into the more conventional sitcom world as well as straight acting, Victoria Wood didn’t belong to any comedy movement or any specific moment in comedy history; that she was one of the first women comedians on British TV to headline and write her own show tends to be overlooked because she was never ‘in-yer-face’; but it’s something that shouldn’t be forgotten. And one could argue the likes of Jo Brand, Catherine Tate and Tracy Ullman are in debt to her little-trumpeted trailblazing.

© The Editor