07 August 2014

Douglas Murray Is Not a Liar

Here's how Douglas Murray (if you've not heard of him, he's just some dude who has opinions on Muslims for money) manages to make a politician sound like a 50ft bionic Osama Bin Laden, for having taken a principled stand he didn't approve of, without ever actually saying anything that is untrue.
Farewell then Sayeeda, Baroness Warsi. The most over-promoted, incapable and incompetent minister of recent times has finally done the nation one service and resigned.
This is basically just opinion, but I've a sneaking suspicion he deliberately included "over-promoted" so he didn't have to give the incapable and incompetent award to the former Minister for Education.
This morning she announced on Twitter that she can ‘no longer support government policy on Gaza.’ That would be government policy that now includes reviewing all arms export licenses to Israel? Not strong enough for Sayeeda, it would seem.
The 'all' is there to make it seem like a really big policy decision rather than just a "review".
It was not hard to see this coming. Not just because Warsi’s Twitter activity in recent weeks has mainly consisted of pumping out support for Hamas-run Gaza
Douglas's first big non-lie. If you call it "Hamas-run Gaza" you don't just get to make support for Gaza (a bit of land with actual human beings living on it) sound like support for Hamas, you actually get to include the phrase "support for Hamas", in case anyone is only half-reading the article to have their existing opinions massaged and worries that they might be wrong dismissed (this is the purpose of the Spectator).
and berating supporters of Israel for saying things she disagrees with,
Long-winded synonym for 'arguing with'.
but also because she has shown a career-long sympathy for Hamas and other Islamic radicals. In 2006, on an ‘Any Questions’ on BBC Radio 4, Warsi welcomed the election of Hamas in Gaza.
I wonder what she could possibly have said.
This was after the group had killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bomb attacks. Apparently unable to imagine that Hamas governing Gaza might be a problem, she said: ‘I think what’s happened in the Middle East with the election of Hamas is actually an opportunity and I think that’s the way we’ve got to see it. When groups that practice violence are suddenly propelled into power through a democratic process they get responsibility and responsibility can be a tremendously taming factor.’
Turns out this was the kind of support for terrorism where you're happy that engagement in democratic processes might make them calm down and start doing less terrorism.
Well, how wrong she was. Hamas used the opportunity of their poll ‘mandate’ to kill their Palestinian Fatah opponents in Gaza, stage a military coup and never hold another election. They then spent the money sent from abroad in aid of the Palestinian people to arm themselves with weapons to fire at Israel and to construct tunnel complexes to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel on Jewish holy days. But Warsi’s ‘soft’ line on Hamas was just part of the broader picture.
I'm not sure who said "soft" but it seems here to mean "made what Douglas Murray considers to be an overly optimistic prediction regarding". You'll also note that the violence he describes after Hamas was elected is a lot less than the hundreds killed in suicide bombings before.
As the Times newspaper reported, back in 2006, in an article for the Asian newspaper Awaaz (written while she was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party) Warsi described the then Labour Government’s anti-terror proposals as ‘enough to tip any normal young man into the realms of a radicalized fanatic.’
Not only did she as a member of the opposition, oppose government anti-terror legislation, a thing Douglas Murray likes, she also opposed the war in Iraq.
And she wrote that ‘if terrorism is the use of violence against civilians, then where does that leave us in Iraq?’ In 2007 I discovered where she thought that left us. During a rather heated and angry Question Time, just after two car bombs had been placed outside a London nightclub on lady’s night, we got onto Iraq.
Here Douglas Murray makes condemning terrorism sound like approving of terrorism. He also doesn't specify who got heated and angry, but I bet it was the Muslim, you know what they're like. I'm also not sure how they got onto Iraq, but what probably happened was, after the question on the two car bombs was finished, they moved onto another question (the structure of Question Time involves several questions, one after the other). It sounds here like the discussion was cynically derailed.
I repeatedly asked Warsi to condemn the killing of British troops in Iraq. She repeatedly refused to do so. I don’t think I’ve ever had more emails from servicemen and women and their families, asking how it could be that a Conservative (then shadow) minister would not condemn the killing of British troops while they were on active service.
Douglas Murray, a man who gets angry with Muslims for opposing the killing of civilians, also gets angry when they don't condemn soldiers being killed on active service. This is because Douglas Murray literally doesn't know what soldiers are or what a war is and wants people to condemn the fighting you occasionally get on battlefields.
Warsi’s track-record of dubious support goes on. For instance, she expressed support for Kashmiri terrorist groups who she described as engaged in freedom fighting.
He doesn't have to quote this bit for some reason, which probably means it wasn't very shocking, and odds on began "one man's terrorist is another man's…"
And all the time she got away with it because she held herself out as the voice of the Muslims, and in particular of the ‘middle ground’. In fact she simply created this image by attacking people who almost anybody from the Muslim communities can attack — Anjem Choudary, al-Muhajiroun etc.
This is the bit where he concedes she condemns extremism without actually having to concede anything.
But her interests were clearly not in trying to move opinion in a genuinely constructive direction. Increasingly as ‘minister of faith’ she used her position not to tackle the extremists who she should have been tackling but to persuade the UK government that it should make ‘a priority’ of tackling ‘Islamophobia’.
Editorial point: stylistically speaking any prejudice you hold yourself should be placed in quotation marks.
Her priorities remained skewed. When, earlier this year, she tried to put together a panel at the Foreign Office looking into ‘Religious Freedom’ (fine subject though this is at a time when Christians are being massacred and religiously ‘cleansed’ across two continents)
This is not a thing Warsi was actually involved in, I should point out. Douglas Murray cleverly agrees with the aims of the panel, while making it sound like the panel is opposed to them.
those she invited to join it included the Muslim Brotherhood dauphin Tariq Ramadan.
You may not know the word 'dauphin'. It's French for 'prince', specifically the heir apparent. It has a double meaning, since it sounds very important and powerful, but it also means the son of the king. While university lecturer Tariq Ramadan is not himself in the Muslim Brotherhood and holds no kind of office in the organisation, his father was at one point a prominent figure. You also get to include the phrase "included the Muslim Brotherhood".
Her time in government was filled with disasters. She repeatedly narrowly avoided being sacked. Her car-crashes mostly came over her attempts to develop what was effectively a parallel set of policies to those of the British government of which she was meant to be part. Word was that she had become increasingly angry after various reshuffles in which it became plain that she would never be given a ministry.
It's rare that you get to call a senior Tory catastrophically inept in the Spectator so I'll let Douglas enjoy it.
She doubtless concocted in her mind various conspiracies as to why this might be
We have no way of knowing if this is the case, but Douglas Murray is not a man to ever doubt his own speculation.
but the reason was single and obvious: she did not have the ability. Realising that this ambition was to be thwarted, she manoeuvred to turn her position in Cabinet into one which was somehow meant to ‘represent’ Muslims. Purest, as well as dangerous nonsense. Everybody in Cabinet is there to represent everybody in Britain.
Here Douglas stops taking about a politician giving extra focus to one section of the electorate, and starts talking as if she was exclusively representing that group. Rumour has it Douglas Murray is also extremely angry about ministers trying to represent pensioners or small business owners but his editor won't accept the pitch.
But Warsi encouraged sectarianism rather than diminishing it. And where she could have used her position to side-line the extremists within Britain’s Muslim communities, she spent more of her time trying to stop people criticising the extremists within Britain’s Muslim communities. She was a notable behind-the-scenes critic of genuine Muslim reformers, in particular.
Behind-the-scenes criticism is the best sort of criticism for this article because nobody will ever expect you to say who or what she was criticising for what or in what words. For a translation of "trying to stop people criticising the extremists", see earlier translations of "berating…disagreeing" and the above stylistic guidelines regarding "Islamophobia".
Warsi’s time in government set back the fight to detach the extremists from the majority, and repeatedly blurred the lines around extremism.
This is a very vague in terms of what the fuck she actually did, but it does contain two variants on the word 'extremist' so you get as much of the picture as you need to have an opinion.
She was promoted by David Cameron because of her sex and religious identity. Her fast-tracking into the Lords, Shadow Cabinet and then the Cabinet was identity politics at its most cynical and — in the end — counterproductive.
'Identity politics', here, refers to the inclusion of peers, rather than MPs in a cabinet, and the offering of peerages to figures the government wishes to include in politics, two otherwise unheard of practices.
David Cameron wanted to promote a Muslim woman, grabbed the first one he could see, and promoted her. She turned out to be a bad one.
Well if you will pick a fucking Tory…
The only good thing is that, were David Cameron at all tempted to repeat this reach-out today he would find that there are actually talented, capable and inspiring minority ethnic candidates in his parliamentary party and elsewhere. Perhaps he will have learnt his lesson, in which case we might be able to declare the age of identity politics — epitomised by Sayeeda Warsi — as very happily over.
Remember, "identity politics" rarely means anything beyond "I am a white man angry about race and/or gender issues but don't really know why", and of course we'll all be glad when this age is over.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous13/8/14 13:09

    Douglas Murray was friends with Christopher Hitchens. Shocking I know.