Defending C4′s alternative Christmas message


by Sunny
25th December, 2008 at 5:09 pm    

So, nutjob President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad will be delivering Channel 4′s alternative Christmas message and a whole bunch of people are upset. So far so predictable.

I don’t burn a candle for Ahmedinejad – he is clearly a tyrant and a racist. But there’s two fronts on which I find arguments against this C4 stunt a bit hypocritical.

1) The first is this threat that Channel 4′s funding should be cut or curtailed because of this. BBC News reports:

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard, a member of the all-party media group, said: “Channel Four has given a platform to a man who wants to annihilate Israel and continues to persecute Christians at Christmas time. “This raises serious questions about whether Channel 4 should receive an increased public subsidy for their programmes.”

Criticise Channel 4 all you like, but I find it fundamentally undemocratic that a broadcaster should be threatened financially for doing things the majority don’t like.

I thought these people wanted free speech? After all, MA isn’t saying anything racially inflammatory this time. Should I be burning my license fee in protest everytime the BBC invite Nick Griffin on television?

2) Then there’s this hypocritical relationship with the legitimacy of state power. I find it amusing that people are criticising Iran (rightly) for persecuting gays, women and making threatening noises against Israel, but the same people say little about Israel’s continuing occupation of Israel Palestine and the current dire circumstances the Israeli govt has imposed on Gaza. The thinking here is that Israel has more leeway because its protecting itself against terrorist organisations so it can get away with killing innocent civilians.

From Alternet:

Richard Falk was detained at the airport and denied entry to Israel on December 13, when he arrived in Tel Aviv. The American professor of international law was traveling to the West Bank and Gaza, to fulfill his mandate as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories to investigate the human rights conditions affecting the civilian population. His most urgent task includes monitoring the rising humanitarian crisis facing the 1.5 million Palestinians, of whom half are children, living in the besieged Gaza Strip.

And then there’s this report from ynetnews:

The shortage of fuel in the Gaza Strip has prompted locals to start using old fashioned heating devices, such as the primus and stone stoves as an alternative for heating their homes. As a result, the Palestinians have reported a sharp increase in burn injuries. According to a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) report, 16 Palestinians were hospitalized after burning themselves on such stoves. Three people, added the report, have died.

To his credit at least Peter Tatchell is consistent – constantly criticising Israeli and Iranian action. But there’s people who are not only silent over Israel’s actions compared to Iran’s actions, but they also justify Israeli action on the basis that a government should be allowed to act against non-state organisations without impunity to protect itself.

In this case, different governments are being judged by different standards simply because people support one cause and not the other. Harry’s Place, for example, is praising Peter Tatchell’s criticism this time but is curiously silent when Tatchell does the same against Israel.

If Ahmedinejad is to be condemned, then the same should apply to George Bush, no? Isn’t Bush responsible for more deaths (regardless of his intention) of innocent people? How are we measuring who is good and who is bad?


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  1. Depressingly predictable « Gary Andrews

    [...] word: Sunny from Pickled Politics, who I don’t normally agree with: “I don’t burn a candle for Ahmedinejad – he is [...]




  1. unseen — on 25th December, 2008 at 6:20 pm  

    Falk is a 9-11 Troofer and believes says that Israel’s behaviour is the same as the Nazis. In fact, he was only appointed to the job because he would piss off the Israelis.

    If the UN wanted someone who would actually help get Palestinians more human rights, they probably would have appointed someone with a gravitas and credibility who could shame the Israelis into better behaviour. They wouldn’t have chosen a political nut-job with an axe to grind who will be easily ignored by anyone sensible.

  2. douglas clark — on 25th December, 2008 at 6:31 pm  

    Don’t think Israel can be legitimately accused of occupying Israel, can it?

    but the same people say little about Israel’s continuing occupation of Israel and the current dire circumstances the Israeli govt has imposed on Gaza.

    On your more important point, it seems to me that this is just another ‘no platform’ arguement. My, contrary, point of view, is that a thousand platforms should grow, and get equal time.

    It is, frankly, impossible to silence the tyrants, or the racists or the theists. They have to be taken on, from a liberal perspective, in head to head debate.

    Ahmedinejad’s regieme sentenced a child to death for murder. They see that as their right, in a world that doesn’t. Lets see the tyrant debate that with, say, Chami Chakrabarti, on prime time, on Christmas Day. Now that would be an interesting debate.

    Lets see whether Channel Four is willing to allow contrary Iranian viewpoints onto it’s network, I suspect not. This is a firework that flies into the sky, explodes, destructs and disappears.

    It is what is wrong with our media. I have no objection to Ahmedinejad, or Nick Griffin come to that, being allowed to state their mental health issues on live TV. I object strongly to the lack of a right to respond on the same media, with the same prominence.

    Which is bloody irritating. I believe in free speech, I also think that free speech requires media to give equal time to the right of reply.

    Does that make sense?

  3. Rumbold — on 25th December, 2008 at 7:10 pm  

    I agree with Sunny that a state broadcaster shouldn’t be penalised for doing something that MPs disagree with. But then I wouldn’t give any public money to the BBC or Channel Four, so they could show whatever they wanted to without fear of a financial penalty.

  4. George — on 25th December, 2008 at 7:13 pm  

    The so called Israelis who have created hell in the Mid-East for 60 years are not just local Jews but European Jews. mostly from Eastern Europe including Russia. What are these people doing on Arab lands? Supported by fellow Europeans in the US and EU, these people have grabbed and hung on to non-European land on the pretext that their God has told them to do so.
    They have no moral legitimacy whatsoever and should return to Europe where they belong.

  5. Cabalamat — on 25th December, 2008 at 7:59 pm  

    George: The so called Israelis who have created hell in the Mid-East for 60 years are not just local Jews but European Jews. [...] should return to Europe where they belong.

    Actually they are mostly descendants of such.

    My opinion is that those who would rather be non-European than be European are uncivilised and Europe is well rid of them.

  6. douglas clark — on 25th December, 2008 at 8:21 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Och, stop being such a literalist on the public money / private money debate. The fact of the matter is that it is a matter of opinion. At least since Roman times.

    Personally, I have no real problem with a state broadcaster, as long as it is balanced by a private broadcaster. And as long as the state broadcaster is not just a mouthpiece for the government.

    Whereas you, ridiculously in my opinion, assume that the likes of Fox News speaks for us all, in an intellectual vacuum of your own creation.

    Their economic freedom? Means truth and justice and the American way? Where is the evidence that a free press is realy free? Watergate?

    Which is newspeak – see 1984 – to us all.

    Fuck that.

    Doh!

    Not so Sir! Your free state seems quite Borg like to me.

    Just a different Borg.

    Your Borg

  7. Rumbold — on 25th December, 2008 at 8:38 pm  

    Douglas:

    Balanced? How? On every issue? What if there is more than one viewpoint? Take the EU. There are some people that are very pro-EU , others that want a non-federal EU, and others who want to withdraw. So on that issue alone, we need at least three TV channels.

    I don’t watch Fox News, and I don’t like it. But that is my choice. I still get taxed to pay for the BBC. Why not let people decide for themselves what they want to watch? Or is that too radical an idea?

  8. MaidMarian — on 25th December, 2008 at 9:02 pm  

    ‘If Ahmedinejad is to be condemned, then the same should apply to George Bush, no?’

    George Bush to be given free reign on UK TV at Christmas?

    I think it would be a good idea except for the fact that I would be waist deep in talkboard bile.

    As to Ahmedinejad, he can say what he likes but the bloke is scum.

    Any way, back to xmas VH1. War is over – Fourth most overrated song behind Bohemian Rhapsody, Imagine and Hey Jude.

  9. douglas clark — on 25th December, 2008 at 9:07 pm  

    Though not as Borg-like as the posts between thee @ 3, and me @ 7.

    How do we attract these sort of idiots?

    You probably know, fuck, you do know, I am trying to take you away from the dark side of libertarianism. Which is, perhaps the easy side of anarchy, where I would posit my soul.

    It is as easy as you like to reject everything collective, ’cause any sort of collectivism is wrong. But you have not, neither has the Devil’s Kitchen, thought that through.

    It is a ridiculous philosophy.

    Why do you write here? Why do I?

    It is in, the probably mistaken belief, that we can influence others.

    I happen to agree completely, with your arguement about women in Asian societies, what with them being disrespected.

    So, there, I’ve said it.

    Let’s see where the comments lie.

    It is not, from my point of view, an untruth.

    Whether it is turned over by a religious moronity or not, is moot.

    This has got to change.

  10. Rumbold — on 25th December, 2008 at 9:17 pm  

    Douglas:

    I am rather fond of collective action, providing that is is voluntary. But the BBC is not. Nor has anyone given me a killer justification for the continuation of the BBC tax. Most (if not all) of its programming could be replicated elsewhere, and so cannot be justified as a reason for taxing it. The remaining parts, such as the World Service, could quite easily survive in a subscription format- if you want it to survive, then pay for it. Poll after poll indicates how popular the BBC is, so let its fans pay for it. I will keep my Sky subscription, and not demand that people who don’t like Rupert Murdoch be taxed to pay for it.

    Did you know that there is a senior EU official called ‘Borg’? I don’t believe in coincidences.

  11. douglas clark — on 25th December, 2008 at 9:34 pm  

    Bloody hell Rumbold!

    You are not at all in favour of any sort of collective action. We, the collective, not the Borg, were against the Iraq war. We were denied. Why lie about it!

    You are a bloody daft, but quite likeable, libertarian. You see tax as wrong, and have frankly, no notion of how your minimalist state would be run, except through, err, taxation and bullying.

    If you argue for voluntarism, as I expect you brain dead libertarians might, then you have to address the issue of corporate evils such as the ‘Daily Mail’ and suchlike. I take it you won’t, for favour of a bankrupt philosophy.

    The ‘Borg’ rule. Bow down to them little human. :-)

  12. douglas clark — on 25th December, 2008 at 9:41 pm  

    Alternatively,

    I was an anarchist before bloody libertarians invented themselves. There is nothing in libertarianism that wasn’t first thought up in anarchy.

    When we get older, we tend towards Liberalism, not nut job Libertarianism.

    True.

  13. douglas clark — on 25th December, 2008 at 9:53 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Go on, get your brain dead, what? media director, or whatever, to come on here again.

    Every time your very favourite nut job climate change denialist has come on here, he has ended up running away with his tail between his legs.

    As in silence.

    His name might be ‘Devils’ Kitchen’ or something.

    What a fucking nutter.

  14. Rumbold — on 25th December, 2008 at 10:01 pm  

    Douglas:

    Under libertarianism, people should be able to do whatever they want, providing that they don’t harm anyone else. Which means that a large state is not needed.

    In such a society, people work better together, because it is their choice, not the dead hand of the state’s.

    Anyway, I shall explain in more detail tomorrow morning. Goodnight Mr. Socialist.

  15. douglas clark — on 25th December, 2008 at 10:32 pm  

    Rumbold,

    You do know I like you, don’t you?

    Frankly, Devil’s Kitchen plays the margins of what is reasonable.

    He is is an idiot, I think.

    I am surprised that someone I respect, you, should see this complete utter tit as as a role model.

    Anyway, I shall take this pathetic piece of shit to pieces in the morning. Goodnight Mr know who I am!

  16. douglas clark — on 25th December, 2008 at 10:45 pm  

    Is the idiots name not ‘Devils’ Kitchen’ or some such?

    Let’s see whether he can argue himself out of a hole here. Let’s see whether this is a test of Libertarian nonsense or not.

    So, Devils Kitchen, is anthopogenic global warming true or not?

  17. Sunny — on 25th December, 2008 at 11:22 pm  

    believes says that Israel’s behaviour is the same as the Nazis.

    Which is not exactly what he was saying…

    Rumbold: But then I wouldn’t give any public money to the BBC or Channel Four, so they could show whatever they wanted to without fear of a financial penalty.

    Actually, though your argument is predictable, its very short-sighted. Commercial broadcasters are even less willing to cause offence because they have to worry that someone with a different political viewpoint isn’t going to lead a wide boycott against their network.

    So in a free market environment, this would be even less likely… there would be less willingness to cause offence or show anything daring.

  18. douglas clark — on 25th December, 2008 at 11:41 pm  

    No, seriously.

    If Rumbolds’ chum turns up, well, he’ll get a doing. The idiot has already run away.

    Once.

    I am up for it. The climate change denialist is a complete utter tit. And his name is the dafty Devils’ Kitchen?

    Debate, you fat fool?

    Well let’s try it?

    Idiocy – you. Versus sense – me.

  19. fug — on 26th December, 2008 at 12:06 am  

    i find the political judaism and gay responses, and the differences between them interesting.

    LAbour jewish movement ‘he’s holocaust denier, says he has no gays in iran but hangs them’.

    Focussing on the second part, its a distrortion of his words, just like the MEMRI people wrote ‘wipe of the face of the earth’ when they heard ‘erase from history books’. In iran they dont have ‘gays like you do in the west’ does not mean they have no gays.

    strange how people intepret what they like. i think the israel can do no wrong lobby

    stonewall ‘he’s nutty, but the broadcast is a practical lesson in the value of an open society’.

    doenst fancy scoring zion points. displays a sense of amusement, doesnt ooze desperation.

    FCO ‘ this will cause bother amongst some, and amusement abroad’
    A greater sense of amusement coupled with annoyance, The govt has recently pushed to ban brits from owning settlements.

    most interestingly, Zionism and Homosexuality weren’t central to the President’s Christmas Message. Single issue groups have made it so though.

    did anyone read/see the actual message?

  20. BenSix — on 26th December, 2008 at 12:57 am  

    “If Ahmedinejad is to be condemned, then the same should apply to George Bush, no?”

    I used to use the old condemnation trick all the time. It puts one’s rhetorical opponents onto the defensive and means that one doesn’t have to discuss all those tedious little internationally relevant concepts that one supports but knows fuck all about.

    Very low, very low.

    Ben

    Ben

  21. BenSix — on 26th December, 2008 at 1:06 am  

    I think it’s equivalent to the old “Yeah, but…YER MUM!” classic.

  22. Sunny — on 26th December, 2008 at 1:14 am  

    I am up for it. The climate change denialist is a complete utter tit. And his name is the dafty Devils’ Kitchen?

    Douglas – its irrelevant, as is he. Bush and his climate denial fuckwits are out, Obama and his super clued-up team are in. The agenda has decisively moved against the climate change deniers and that’s that. The battle is over.

  23. David — on 26th December, 2008 at 1:40 am  

    Douglas, please calm down. Like many on here I have a lot of respect for you, but your this level of aggression towards Rumbold is unjustified.

    I have no time for the utopian bollocks that is anarcho-capitalism, but if your trying to convince him that its bollocks, your going the wrong way about it. You may be able to convince him, but you can’t win ‘em all. Its ultimately up to him to change his mind, no matter how much pressure you put on him.

    In fact here is another idea, why not leave him be, he may reject this utopian bollocks of his own accord.

    Before I go, can I ask that you leave DK out of it; Rumbold and DK are not a married couple or part of a borg collective.

  24. Dennis — on 26th December, 2008 at 2:16 am  

    hopefully the Iranian citizens will take care of this idiot during the next elections.

  25. douglas clark — on 26th December, 2008 at 3:51 am  

    David,

    I happen to love Rumbold. I have zero level of aggression towards him. I see him as my alter ego.

    He is me in a way.

    Sorry if this is not coming across to you.

    Rumbold and I have argued a fair fight, I think, about libertarianism versus liberalism on here for yonks.

    It is quite fun, but it not serious, at least I hope it is not. Because, I would be hurting myself.

    If Rumbold tells me I have offended him, then I’ll apologise. For, contrary to what you think, I consider him to be a sensible chap who writes an enormous amount of sense on here, especially on man versus woman relationships, and other stuff too.

    I will not surrender my right to either admire, which I do, nor criticise which I rarely do, my chum, Rumbold.

    I’d be quite surprised if he saw it differently.

    DK is, however, a complete utter tit.

  26. douglas clark — on 26th December, 2008 at 4:13 am  

    Sunny @ 23,

    Thanks for talking me down. We have sensible people in power. It is hard to accept that the idiots have lost.

    Apologies.

  27. Fe'reeha — on 26th December, 2008 at 7:06 am  

    Very apt and brilliant feature Sunny.

  28. halima — on 26th December, 2008 at 7:20 am  

    Yes, Sunny , excellent feature. Well done for keeping sight of the broader issues on free freedom and being consistent with our arguments. I’ve just had a journalist friend come back from Iran last week and he says that the leadership is incredibly unpopular with many folks there, but this seems to be the way in many parts of the world – but it was one of the more friendliest countries he ever visited despite the Axis of Evil theme.

  29. Rumbold — on 26th December, 2008 at 11:23 am  

    David, thanks for sticking up for me, but Douglas wasn’t being rude towards me- that is just the way we talk to one another. If I thought that he was being rude, I would tell him.

    Douglas:

    “I am surprised that someone I respect, you, should see this complete utter tit as as a role model.”

    I don’t see him as a role model. I just happen to belong to the same party as him. In fact, while I agree with him on some issues, I respect you more, even though I often disagree with you.

    No system is perfect. But I believe that there are two fundamental philosophies when it comes to the state; one whcih sees the state as a good thing in itself, and one which sees the state as a necessary evil. Those who beleve in the former are usually those contemptous of human goodness. They reject the idea the humans can be kind to one another, or work together, without some law and government body supervising the whole process. Those of us who believe in the latter philosophy have a more optimistic outlook on life. We trust individuals, and don’t believe that the answer to life’s problems with emerge from a vast, faceless bureacracy which treats you as a statistic and a problem.

    Sunny:

    “Actually, though your argument is predictable, its very short-sighted. Commercial broadcasters are even less willing to cause offence because they have to worry that someone with a different political viewpoint isn’t going to lead a wide boycott against their network.”

    Do you have any empirical evidence for this? Channel Four is probably the most daring broadcaster, yet it has to rely on commercial revenue to keep going (albeit with a public subsidy). The BBC meanwhile bends over backwards every time they get heavily criticised. Please direct me to examples of ‘daring’ programming by the BBC.

    I think that The Economist is wonderful, but would bnever want it to be publically-subsidised. Why are you so afraid of a BBC subscription service?

    BenSix:

    Good point (#21).

  30. David — on 26th December, 2008 at 12:23 pm  

    Rumbold, Douglas:

    David, thanks for sticking up for me, but Douglas wasn’t being rude towards me- that is just the way we talk to one another. If I thought that he was being rude, I would tell him.

    Could you have picked another day other than Christmas for it? Then again the Tv was shite and this thread did bring up the licences fee.

    Douglas:

    Its been a while since I have got stuck into a debate here; and I have forgotten about the disposition and positions of many of the regulars here. So forgive my interpretation of this exchange between Rumbold and your good self.

  31. Jai — on 26th December, 2008 at 12:35 pm  

    I think the rationale behind Channel 4′s decision to transmit Ahmedinejad’s message was to point out his hypocrisy — ie. basically allowing him to hang himself with his own rope. I didn’t realise this until I took note of one of Channel 4′s representatives being interviewed on (can’t remember which) either Sky News or BBC24, where she was urging everyone to watch the short film immediately preceding Ahmedinejad’s statement.

    She turned out to be right. Clever move. Basically along the same lines of allowing Ahmedinejad to give a lecture at a certain university in the US last year where he ended up making a fool of himself.

    Should I be burning my license fee in protest everytime the BBC invite Nick Griffin on television?

    Actually, before I saw Ahmedinejad’s message and realised what was really going on, I’d initially had an irate reaction and wondered whether Channel 4 were going to ratchet matters up even further and give the slot to Nick Griffin next year.

    However, it’s subsequently occurred to me that this wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if it was used as a way to enable him to humiliate himself and self-destruct, ie. “there’s a cliff, now go jump off it”

    The problem, of course, is the danger of this opportunity being exploited by Griffin and (given the huge publicity it would generate) used as a platform to insidiously promote his twisted racist beliefs whilst (falsely) projecting himself as a calm, rationale, reasonable person. It would depend on how Channel 4 played it and of course on exactly what Griffin said.

    People like Griffin, with their doublespeak and claims to speak for “the silent majority” or “the common man” (along with their appeals to the lowest common denominator), remind me of Ron Perlman’s character in the 90s film “The Last Supper”.

  32. The Dude — on 26th December, 2008 at 1:05 pm  

    Well done Sunny for taking it to the people because hypocrisy should HAVE no place on this forum. The same applies to C4. I don’t think ANYONE could object to a single word that was said in Ahmedinejad’s alternative Christmas message, though MANY will for many reasons. As a Roman Catholic I found his attempt in “reaching out” to people outside the Islamic world, warm and endearing. More than this it was bold, given the present state of affairs between the fundamentalist west and the fundamentalist east. Given the fact it wasn’t so long ago when women didn’t enjoy the vote in this country and less for the notions of gay rights, I don’t think WE have the right to preach. We can STILL engage in debate and I for one will never fear that. One other thing, as much as Ahmedinejad is a racist, bigoted fuck, there are those in the WEST and in particular Israel who are just as bad, just as ignorant and even more dangerous. Say what you will about Iran but they haven’t occupied somebody else’s land for no good reason unlike Britain, the USA and Israel.

  33. douglas clark — on 26th December, 2008 at 2:26 pm  

    David @ 31,

    No worries.

    I actually respect much of what Rumbold has to say. And, contrary to the idea that this is just a cage fight, I find myself agreeing with the reprobate more and more :-)

    Rumbold is, probably, the person I’d most like to have at a dinner party. If I did dinner parties. Along with Sonia and Sunny, and your good self obviously.

    Now. that would be fun…

  34. Sunny — on 26th December, 2008 at 2:42 pm  

    Rumbold, c4 is an exception because it’s remit explicitly says that it has to be alternative.

    A better comparison would be the US, where the networks are afraid to do anything controversial, certainly not anything like this. Earlier this year Dunkin Donuts pulled an ad just because the girl was wearing a kaffiyeh.

    The BBC at least put on jerry springer

  35. Boyo — on 26th December, 2008 at 2:57 pm  

    Yes it was on the news here in Italy where it was reported in a rather perplexed fashion along the lines of “you think its screwed up here? look how fucked the english are” which i think is the actual story – that our own jaded “elite” has such contempt for its own culture – a state we now take for granted but outside the goldfish bowl they witness bemused our slow-motion self-destruction…

    “I find it amusing that people are criticising Iran (rightly) for persecuting gays, women and making threatening noises against Israel, but the same people say little about Israel’s continuing occupation of Israel Palestine…”

    On the contrary, I wonder when they will change the subject. How more often is Israel mentioned here than, say, the Congo where MILLIONS are dying over the raw material that fuels our computers? Instead its Israel this, Israel that… there are a number of injustices from Timor to Mexico that are every bit as horrid as Israel/Palestine and many far worse, but all I ever hear from the self-styled “left” is them rotten Jews.

  36. Katy Newton — on 26th December, 2008 at 5:07 pm  

    “I find it amusing that people are criticising Iran (rightly) for persecuting gays, women and making threatening noises against Israel, but the same people say little about Israel’s continuing occupation of Israel Palestine…”

    I don’t even think that’s true, is it? I thought that the left was as critical of MA’s regime as they were of Israel’s behaviour. I have to point out that whenever I made the same point as Boyo above about the Congo and Darfur and Zimbabwe, a lot of people – including you, Sunny – pointed out that the fact that other human rights abuses were happening elsewhere did not mean that Israel shouldn’t be criticised, and that human rights abuse was not about numbers (because on any calculation fewer people have died in the last 60 years in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than have died in Darfur in the last 10). Which is a fair point. So it’s interesting that you’ve moved into the same sort of “whataboutery” yourself, really. Is it equally amusing to you when people criticise Israel but don’t criticise MA?

  37. Sid — on 26th December, 2008 at 5:37 pm  

    I agree. I think the real hypocrisy is the suggestion that Ahmedinejad represents the ethical and appropriate anticedent to Israeli actions on the Gazans.

    This is nothing but a cheap and shoddy ploy by C4, home of Big Brother, to raise their ratings. Why is Ahmedinejad considered the “alternative” Christmas message? Why stop at Ahmedinejad? What’s wrong with David Duke, a far-right Christian supremacist? Or how about wheeling in Narindra Modi, to lecture us on Universal human rights and religious moderation? Would Sunny be finding them “amusing” and worthy of defending an airing on Channel 4?

    When you can’t shock the audience anymore with transvestites doing alternative queen’s messages to an increasingly apathetic and de-sensitised audience you have to bring in other “shocking” individuals or causes to raise ratings.

    I’m just bored of these shock-value television stunts when they happen to be blipverts for extremist authoritarian Muslims speaking on behalf of the “liberal left” just so as to give the impression to grinning Channel 4 execs they’re being cool and edgy.

  38. Katy Newton — on 26th December, 2008 at 5:58 pm  

    I think the real hypocrisy is the suggestion that Ahmedinejad represents the ethical and appropriate anticedent to Israeli actions on the Gazans.

    AMEN. That is exactly what I wanted to say.

  39. Ravi Naik — on 26th December, 2008 at 6:36 pm  

    This is nothing but a cheap and shoddy ploy by C4, home of Big Brother, to raise their ratings

    Well said. Shocking, outrageous, whatever sells and whatever generates big ratings, that is the angle C4 is aiming for. Ahmedinejad is unpopular in Iran, and based on my Iranian friends, a lot of people think he is a clown, and not the villain the US wants him to be.

    The BIG deal is not that we disagree with his message – but that he is given a prime-time platform when he has absolutely no credibility both abroad and in Iran. There is a reason why David Irving is not invited to discuss the Holocaust as a Historian, and that’s because it was demonstrated time after time that he is a charlatan – again, not that we disagree with his findings. And that’s what Ahmedinejad is.

    So, while C4 can do whatever they please and there is no need to defend their right to do so, it is really outrageous they have embarked to trashy tactics that I am paying for. There is absolutely no public value in having this man on prime-time, except for generating big ratings, the same ones that drive people to watch the freaks on Big Brother. It is not undemocratic to expect C4 to refrain from using these tactics when they are funded by the public.

    I also do not know what world Sunny lives in, but in mine, Bush is an incredibly unpopular politician – even more than Ahmedinejan, and there would be a lot of outrage if he was invited to give a Christmas message and even more if he started justifying his war on Iraq, or any Israeli politician or general justifying their occupation of Palestinian territories.

    If Ahmedinejad is to be condemned, then the same should apply to George Bush, no? Isn’t Bush responsible for more deaths (regardless of his intention) of innocent people? How are we measuring who is good and who is bad?

    Er… are you insinuating that George W is not condemned for his actions? And we measure who is good and who is bad based on our values. On that front, most people have a very poor opinion of Bush, and would just change channel if Bush appears on TV. Which is what I hope happens with C4 when Ahmedinejad appears on TV.

  40. Sunny — on 26th December, 2008 at 8:28 pm  

    I don’t what the fascists from Italy have to sneer about. They’re so obsessed with protecting their culture that they’re fingerprinting Roma children. We don’t need lessons from that third world country run by a despot really.

    I made two points: the first about trying to threaten c4′s income, and the second about this hypocritical relationship to state abuse.

    As for the hypocrisy, I wasn’t referring to the left but rather right-wingers and some on the left conjuring up this ‘outrage’

    Sunny

  41. Boyo — on 26th December, 2008 at 9:04 pm  

    Yeah “the fascists from Italy”.

    I hope you leave that up Sunny so everyone can see what a first-class hypocrite you are.

  42. Katy Newton — on 26th December, 2008 at 9:53 pm  

    I remember the days when Sunny used to post well-thought-out carefully written articles and take time to respond to comments, but I suppose we’re all too busy for that now.

  43. Sunny — on 26th December, 2008 at 9:54 pm  

    Why stop at Ahmedinejad? What’s wrong with David Duke, a far-right Christian supremacist? Or how about wheeling in Narindra Modi, to lecture us on Universal human rights and religious moderation? Would Sunny be finding them “amusing” and worthy of defending an airing on Channel 4?

    Oh dear Sid, it looks like you’ve joined the ranks or the “moral equivalence” massive.

    The whole point about free speech is that you defend the right of complete idiots to say what they want to, and yes that includes Modi and Duke. As long as they’re not inciting hatred on my TV screens, have no problems with them being on.

    but clearly, you missed the point that C4 was trying to make, along with the other outraged blood-demanding mob. I suggest reading what Jai says above.

  44. Sunny — on 26th December, 2008 at 9:58 pm  

    or extremist authoritarian Muslims speaking on behalf of the “liberal left” just so as

    I don’t think anyone is stupid enough to think MA is speaking for liberal Muslims. You don’t have to become defensive everytime he comes on. The outrage was more about how this tyrant was allowed to speak.

    This weekend we had fawning coverage over the Pope, another dude responsible for demonising gays and leading an institution responsible for many deaths around the world (indirectly). Funny no one asks the Pope to be banned from appearing on our TV screens.

  45. Sunny — on 26th December, 2008 at 10:00 pm  

    Er… are you insinuating that George W is not condemned for his actions? And we measure who is good and who is bad based on our values. On that front, most people have a very poor opinion of Bush, and would just change channel if Bush appears on TV. Which is what I hope happens with C4 when Ahmedinejad appears on TV.

    Condemned by who Ravi? By the government? Not really. Condemned by any of the people who are currently outraged over this? Not really. Bush may be highly unpopular but our government is still very positively disposed towards him.

    I hope you leave that up Sunny so everyone can see what a first-class hypocrite you are.

    Boyo: I have no problem leaving that up. To clarify, I was referring to the media industry, controlled by Berlusconi, and the political classes there. I have no problems referring to them as fascists. As for your lame charge of hypocrisy – water off a duck’s back.

  46. Katy Newton — on 26th December, 2008 at 10:25 pm  

    I withdraw my comment at 43.

    I don’t really know what you’re taking exception to. No one is suggesting that Channel 4 shouldn’t be allowed to offer an invitation to anyone it wants, or at least no one from the government is. But if Channel 4 takes taxpayers’ money then it can’t complain if the taxpayers’ elected representatives complain about the people to whom it gives airtime.

    On this state legitimacy argument, you said: “In this case, different governments are being judged by different standards simply because people support one cause and not the other.”

    I don’t see it. Sorry. The only different standard operating here is that Channel 4 only offered the alternative Christmas message to one head of state – MA. I don’t see Bush or Olmert or the “fascists from Italy” or anyone else being offered a right of reply by C4. I also don’t hear anyone suggesting that they should be, not even the Conservatives and right-wingers you rail against all the time.

    I agree that the deal between C4 and the taxpayer is that the taxpayer funds C4 to be “alternative”. That’s fine. But when they invite the person you describe as a racist, sexist, homophobic “nutjob” on air, people are going to complain. That’s their right, isn’t it? No one’s sending soldiers in to take over the channel and broadcast government-censored propaganda day and night (*cough* PressTV, but of course there is NO irony in defending MA’s freedom of speech in this country whilst he denies his people anything like the same sort of right in theirs).

  47. BenSix — on 26th December, 2008 at 10:56 pm  

    ‘Twas nought but a gimmick…

    “Cutting off the edges of cutting-edge tv,
    it’s here to tell you you’re ugly in cleverer ways than ITV,
    it’s here to tell you it doesn’t quite know what you should be today,
    it’s here to offer you Jimmy Carr to find a better way.
    It’s here to over-theorise and intellectualise pop trash,
    it’s only really here to make itself some cash,
    it’s here because we want it. It’s here because we’re bored.
    It’s so “Well Marketed”
    It’s so “Us”
    It’s so “Channel” “4” !

    And don’t forget, week nights at half-past eleven
    is Graham Norton’s new show “Graham’s About” -
    the concept is similar to the much-hated show
    ”Beadle’s About”
    but with a gay presenter.
    Now that’s progressive TV programming…”

    - Luke Wright

  48. Sunny — on 27th December, 2008 at 1:07 am  

    But if Channel 4 takes taxpayers’ money then it can’t complain if the taxpayers’ elected representatives complain about the people to whom it gives airtime.

    It doesn’t take money from taxpayers, though it still has a public sector remit. People can complain, but on what basis? That MA is racist and a tyrant or that people we don’t like shouldn’t be given a platform? And I’d like to know what the criteria for we don’t like is. My point is that the criteria is quite hypocritical.

    I don’t see Bush or Olmert or the “fascists from Italy” or anyone else being offered a right of reply by C4.

    But those lot get airtime all the time anyway… mostly in a very good light. Remember all those G8 summits?
    The last BBC interview with Bush was so sickeningly craven it was unreal.

    But when they invite the person you describe as a racist, sexist, homophobic “nutjob” on air, people are going to complain. That’s their right, isn’t it?

    At which point in my post did I say people have no right to complain, Katy?

    of course there is NO irony in defending MA’s freedom of speech in this country whilst he denies his people anything like the same sort of right in theirs

    There is no irony because blatantly I don’t want to live in a regime under MA or think much of his govt. So I see no irony in defending freedom of speech in this country, because that’s a right I quite enjoy and like.

    This argument rather sounds like those people who complain about Muslims in the UK wanting Mosques by saying that Arab regimes in the Middle East don’t allow Churches. It’s a fatuous argument because we subscribe to a different way of life and don’t want our government to be as oppressive as theirs. What’s the irony in defending that freedom?

  49. fug — on 27th December, 2008 at 2:16 am  

    i love this ‘concern’ for iranian citizen’s free speech. its too easy to unwind.

    crypto-zionism if ever i heard.

  50. Leon — on 27th December, 2008 at 3:00 am  

    Excellent piece Sunny, very well said.

    Oh and for the record: Devil’s Kitchen is a snotty nosed little cunt.

  51. halima — on 27th December, 2008 at 8:22 am  

    “This argument rather sounds like those people who complain about Muslims in the UK wanting Mosques by saying that Arab regimes in the Middle East don’t allow Churches.”

    Sunny, excellent points on 49. I quite liked this analogy you used – because those that make this argument are obviously under the impression that Muslims in UK are somehow culpable for actions of Arab leaders. Another grave example of how Muslims in the UK are held responsible for what happens ‘over there’ in Middle East. We don’t hold Bangladesh Britons or British Indians for what happens ‘over there’ in India or Bangladesh so don’t see why we do so when we discuss Muslims. So good on you for showing the hyprocrasy there – and what’s behind this hyprocracy is a questioning of whether Muslims belong in the UK at all.

  52. halima — on 27th December, 2008 at 8:23 am  

    Again, Sunny, I like your point that other world leaders get airtime as normal part of the course, whereas Iran hardly gets any – and when it rarely does, it’s because we’re criticising freedom of thought and women’s right, that nothing else is heard about this country with a rich culture and civilization that the world should be proud of. I worry – with all this focus also on freedom of thought and women’s right – we pave the way for some military action eventually. And right now – we know which country is hot on the list of hawks for an invasion – and I think it’s absolutely right that UK media gives more exposure to Iranian life. Whether this has to be MS isn’t relevant for me, and will be a judgement call. What is relevant is that the British public gets to see Iran as ordinary Iranians do so that the country is humane to us, familiar and known to us. The best way to pave the way for a military invasion is actually by removing any sentimentality and familiarity of a country by those pushing for military action. So that eventually we see everything in collateral damage. The media plays an enormous role here. I’d like to see the day when people don’t say ‘my friend came back from Iran’ (as I did) and that instead we all know Iran in the same way as we know say, Spain, or Singapore, so that it is impossible not to appreciate the destruction of this middle income country – if the hawks ever had their way.

    Am I being dramatic? No. Look at the pattern of discourse on Afghanistan 10-15 years ago. Except now in Iran we have put nulcear proliferation on the table.

    If we’re really concerned about nuclear threat – there’s one right on our doorstop in India-Pakistan.

  53. Doug — on 27th December, 2008 at 8:40 am  

    Sunny,

    C4 don’t pay for the spectrum they use. We do. Since I’m (we’re) paying for their airtime, I see no problem with objecting to their stunt. Go live in Iran.

  54. Boyo — on 27th December, 2008 at 11:24 am  

    “Another grave example of how Muslims in the UK are held responsible for what happens ‘over there’ in Middle East. We don’t hold Bangladesh Britons or British Indians for what happens ‘over there’ in India or Bangladesh so don’t see why we do so when we discuss Muslims.”

    I was under the impression it was UK Muslims who identified themselves with Muslims elsewhere in the world – maybe if the likes of the MCB shut up about Iraq, Holocaust Memorial Day, Islamophobia etc then others would not be so sensitive to relative disparities of tolerance between the Muslim “world” and the West.

    People are very parochial – before 9/11 most British non-Muslims had barely registered them; after then and 7/7 naturally their profile increased, but I resist the proposition that Muslims are somehow “picked on” – British Hindus have neither the violent, visible or political profile that Muslims have in Britain – all of which are generated NOT because they are being singled out, but because they are singling themselves out. Granted a minority may drive this higher profile, but nonetheless it is not fair to blame non-Muslims for its existence.

  55. Katy Newton — on 27th December, 2008 at 11:29 am  

    What is relevant is that the British public gets to see Iran as ordinary Iranians do so that the country is humane to us, familiar and known to us.

    I’d love that. It happens that virtually all of my neighbours are Iranian (I know that sounds a bit “some of my best friends are”, but it’s true), and their love for and pride in their Persian heritage is wonderful. But I’m not convinced that 15 minutes of propaganda from MA is the way to achieve that. In any event, I don’t say that C4 shouldn’t be allowed to invite whoever they want on. I just object to the suggestion that it’s hypocritical to complain about MA unless you also complain about every other human rights abuse that’s going on at the same time.

  56. Sid — on 27th December, 2008 at 11:30 am  

    Sunny at #44

    Oh dear Sid, it looks like you’ve joined the ranks or the “moral equivalence” massive.

    haha, what’s wrong with making a moral equivalance with Ahmadinejad and some other “nutjob” (your word)? I see you have no qualms about joining the “moral equivalence massive” yourself, in your article even:

    If Ahmedinejad is to be condemned, then the same should apply to George Bush, no? Isn’t Bush responsible for more deaths (regardless of his intention) of innocent people? How are we measuring who is good and who is bad?

    So why pull me up on it when I make a moral equivalence?

    And seriously speaking, I think there is an even more direct moral equivalance between Ahmadinejad and the likes of David Duke and Narendra Modi. And since C4 are loyal only to their own balance sheet, what is to stop them from having, say, Modi deliver an “Alternative” XMAS message next year? I look forward to seeing you deliver a staunch defence of C4 when that happens.

    The whole point about free speech is that you defend the right of complete idiots to say what they want to, and yes that includes Modi and Duke. As long as they’re not inciting hatred on my TV screens, have no problems with them being on.

    but clearly, you missed the point that C4 was trying to make, along with the other outraged blood-demanding mob. I suggest reading what Jai says above.

    Yes, and do try and understand that it is just as much a part of my Freedom of Speech to *criticise* Channel 4, Ahmadinejad or Modi or Duke were they’re given a soapbox on public domain TV. Or any other media outlet which is loyal to no political principle but to its shareholders and ratings figures only.

    Being the “champion” of freedom of speech that you are, I really hope that you will start campaigning for Ahmadinejad’s detractors to be allowed on an Iranian terrestial channel to deliver an “Alternative” Muharram message. And also to have, I dunno, Anjem Choudhury, do the alternative message on C4 next year. That would be very alternative and very freedom of speech, no?

    And I would suggest you read Katy’s comment at #47, because she pretty much says it all.

  57. persephone — on 27th December, 2008 at 2:35 pm  

    @ 53 & 56

    I would agree that Iran needs to be given a more balanced perspective. A couple from my family lived in Iran in the 70′s – they moved to Teheran a few yrs before the ayatollah’s ascent. They remember Iran for the iranians hospitality & welcoming nature to those of a different race/religion – they would be invited to family parties etc. After the Ayatalloh came to power things quickly changed (as to the enforced lifestyle) but alot of the iranians were against the changes & restrictions.

  58. halima — on 27th December, 2008 at 3:46 pm  

    Katy and Persephone

    Yes, Iran needs a better representation than it’s ever received to date. My concern has been to see different parts of the Middle East come under so much violence – Israel/Palestine, Iraq and having travelled myself to neighbouring countries in the region, I cannot begin to imagine the scale of devastation taking place of people, culture, and their resources.

    But on the question of whether MA deserves airtime is a judgement call – and that’s a personal matter.

    Sunny is not defending MA. He is defending media freedom.

  59. Sunny — on 27th December, 2008 at 4:11 pm  

    Anyone else you want to add to that campaign list Sid? The Congolese people? Indian Dalits? Chinese Muslims? Mongolese Christians? Japanese homeless people?

    Katy:
    I just object to the suggestion that it’s hypocritical to complain about MA unless you also complain about every other human rights abuse that’s going on at the same time.

    Just to clarify further, my point wasn’t aimed at people who do care about other human rights abuses, but aimed at people who ARE selective about the human rights abuses they highlight.

    boyo:
    maybe if the likes of the MCB shut up about Iraq, Holocaust Memorial Day, Islamophobia etc then others would not be so sensitive to relative disparities of tolerance between the Muslim “world” and the West.

    That’s a bit like saying British Jews should “shut up” about what’s going on in Israel or about anti-semitism in Britain. Is that what you’re saying boyo? Because I certainly would not say that to Muslims or Jews. I’d want more perspective and less hypocrisy on both sides, but I have no problems with people with multiple identities expressing an interest in other affairs.

  60. Ravi Naik — on 27th December, 2008 at 4:44 pm  

    Sunny is not defending MA. He is defending media freedom.

    I believe “media freedom” is a straw man considering the real issue is not and never was “censoring” a message because we do not like it.

    Sunny knows what is all about. A while back the Telegraph hosted a blog for BNP London councillor Richard Barnbrook. This is what Sunny wrote in an article titled “Telegraph gives the fascists a platform”:

    So, let them advertise in the Ham and High. Let them speak at City Hall if they’re democratically elected. But giving them a platform on your website so they can spout their racial hatred? That’s quite different. That is a low, even for the Telegraph

    Does Sunny apply this criteria to C4? I do not think so. Furthermore. unlike C4, I am not supporting the Telegraph financially. And as much as I find the BNP odious, they do not (openly) support the execution of homosexuals. or obliterating whole countries from the face of the earth. I do understand that Ahmedinejad does not really mean what he says, and that chauvinist rhetoric is part of Iranian politics, which is why this “alternative Christmas message” is nothing short of a freak show, and one that I hope is not rewarded by viewers.

  61. Sunny — on 27th December, 2008 at 4:49 pm  

    I believe “media freedom” is a straw man considering the real issue is not and never was “censoring” a message because we do not like it.

    It is if you think C4 funding should be cut on that basis.

    Secondly, as I keep saying, you’re not supporting the Telegraph financially.

    Thirdly:
    Does Sunny apply this criteria to C4? I do not think so. Furthermore. unlike C4, I am not supporting the Telegraph financially.

    The obvious difference being that one allowed the BNP to say what they want, including demonise asylum seekers and spread hatred, while the other was within a tightly controlled forum.

    Besides, as I keep pointing out, my criticism was on the basis of:
    1) Threats of funding cuts to C4
    2) The different ways in which different heads of state are treated.
    I see you ignored my point about how our media keeps treating Bush and Berlusconi (for eg)

  62. Boyo — on 27th December, 2008 at 5:16 pm  

    Sunny @ 49

    “This argument rather sounds like those people who complain about “Muslims in the UK wanting Mosques by saying that Arab regimes in the Middle East don’t allow Churches. It’s a fatuous argument because we subscribe to a different way of life…”

    Sunny @ 60

    “I have no problems with people with multiple identities expressing an interest in other affairs.”

    And that’s there’s the rub. Jews to my knowledge do not block churches in Israel. If they did, they might also come in for criticism. One might choose a multiple identity, but one has to accept it is not a one-way street: it offends people’s natural sense of “fairness”. And no, it’s not “logical”, but people on the whole are not.

  63. Boyo — on 27th December, 2008 at 5:18 pm  

    “can” offend…

  64. Sunny — on 27th December, 2008 at 6:22 pm  

    . One might choose a multiple identity, but one has to accept it is not a one-way street: it offends people’s natural sense of “fairness”.

    It does? So… leaving aside the point about blocking of churches (India doesn’t restrict them, but it still has Hindu nationalists that occasionally attack them. Similarly, Muslims in Israel can end up facing state bias against them)…

    my point is – do you object on point about anyone having a sense of allegiance of interest to groups outside the ones you want? British Americans writing about the US annoy you, do they? Same goes for the Irish? For Catholics? Jews? Or does this ‘fairness’ problem only apply to Muslims?

  65. persephone — on 27th December, 2008 at 7:03 pm  

    Halima: “He is defending media freedom ”

    Is that right? Refer to #61

    I see the overiding objective is to provide MA with a platform to show others what an idiot he is. A proportion of people will see him as that. Another proportion will just add it to their accumulation of racist, bigoted examples as to why the western world needs to demonise Islam/Iran.

  66. Nyrone — on 27th December, 2008 at 7:34 pm  

    Great Post Sunny, I’m surprised you take the time to answer every single complaint from readers..

    The alternative message by MA succeeded in kicking off a debate within families and individuals around the country about faith, prophets, religion and the role of these things in our ever-changing modern society.

    Personally, I found it pretty thought-provoking, despite my problems with the Iranian leader. Just because I have issues with him, does that mean I have to discount every good thing he might say?
    I’d prefer this message over the one delivered by Marge Simpson anyday…

  67. Indrak — on 27th December, 2008 at 7:35 pm  

    #63: if you enquoted ‘fairness’ to illustrate it as a pseudo-entity, well done for making a non-point;
    if you’re claiming some value for ‘fairness’ that is illogical, then it can be lumped with earlier remarks
    #36 about how ‘this’ is seen in Italy –
    a place where an utterly crass and supine media largely owned by the sub-murdockist buffoon of a Prime Minister would routinely feature fat, aging balding males with mumerous porno-bunnies that made TV here seem lightyears more advanced: does that still fail to register there, like the girls’ corpses failed to sour the dolce vita on the beach not long ago?

    Main Point:
    similarly here, if this Address highlights the putrefaction of what otherwise passes for normal,
    ie the routine relaying of leaders’ views throughout the media, then it’s all to the good.

    -I have long objected, even before Blair’s comments on a soap-character’s foreign incarceration were reported [at variance to his silence on the 100-odd actual cases] or his vomit-fest about the people’s princess, or even when it was not the time for sound-bites yet he felt the hand of history on his shoulders;
    but esp. during the months their lies were relayed during the Gulf War 03, what excuse is there for people not to notice/object henceforth, given that even the best of the media failed to take it upon themselves to distance themselves from governmental lies?

  68. Ravi Naik — on 27th December, 2008 at 7:43 pm  

    I believe “media freedom” is a straw man considering the real issue is not and never was “censoring” a message because we do not like it.

    It is if you think C4 funding should be cut on that basis.

    No – that’s your argument: that people who are against C4′s alternative Christmas message have a problem with freedom of speech. I believe that in the name of freedom of speech, we should avoid giving a platform for people who support executing homosexuals, or who keep on saying they want to obliterate countries from the face of the Earth. This almost seems like the rumblings of a psychopath.

    Furthermore, you can defend “freedom of speech” but reject what most of us agree to be inhumane and violent speech – which is why, I would reject speech from people who for instance defend NAMBLA, racial supremacy, religious intolerance, ethnic cleansing, and so on. The fact that we reject these people, no matter if they have been subject to “tight control” to appear in mainstream TV, doesn’t mean we reject freedom of speech.

    Secondly, as I keep saying, you’re not supporting the Telegraph financially.

    I believe you meant C4. Isn’t public subsidy by definition tax payers money?

    1) Threats of funding cuts to C4

    It is a completely legitimate threat.

    2) The different ways in which different heads of state are treated.
    I see you ignored my point about how our media keeps treating Bush and Berlusconi (for eg)

    I am not entirely sure why you are equating Berlusconi with Ahmedinejad. As for Bush, I would bet with you that he would get far more outrage from the public and media if he gave the alternative Christmas message than Ahmedinejad. So, I see no hypocrisy in that front. As for politicians and hypocrisy… are we supposed to be shocked?

  69. Sid — on 27th December, 2008 at 7:44 pm  

    Anyone else you want to add to that campaign list Sid? The Congolese people? Indian Dalits? Chinese Muslims? Mongolese Christians? Japanese homeless people?

    Good to see that you’ve come to the realisation that if you start your argument with a moral equivalence, you’re going to have to handle a flood of them in response.

  70. Ravi Naik — on 27th December, 2008 at 8:07 pm  

    1) Threats of funding cuts to C4

    To be fair, I believe your point about Bush and UK politicians to be a valid one. But I don’t believe that our politician’s subservience to Bush and its policies to be good enough reason to lower our standards and expect any value from having a lunatic deliver a Christmas message on prime-time TV.

  71. The Dude — on 31st December, 2008 at 11:34 am  

    Oh dear. Some people on this forum have a really blinkered perception of the world we live in. All things being equal and fair, no one here could argue that anything that MA said during his xmas address was either sexist, racist or in anyway bigoted. And yet I read people argue the case that C4 had no right in giving this man a platform to speak. Why? If you believe in free speech, wants the issue? There are many people in this world (and some on this forum) that I fundamentally disagree with BUT I would defend to the death their right to free speech. Whether I like or dislike MA’s views on Israel etc, really isn’t the issue. The same applies to Robert Mugabe and the other untouchables. What is important here is the debate because while MA wants to engage in it, Katy Newton, Ravi Naik and the rest do not! It’s not enough that George Bush is given free rein on the BBC to spout his ruddish, with not a word of protest from the chattering classes but when MA attempts to do the same thing on C4, all hell breaks out. This is foolishness in the first degree and ignorant in the extreme.

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