Orange suspends employee over ‘Islamophobic’ definition


by Sunny
16th August, 2006 at 1:11 pm    

Just received a tip from someone telling me that Orange have suspended a “community affairs” employee, pending investigation, after writing an article for Conservative Home.

In the blog he lays out some modern-day “definitions”. These include:
Islamophobic as: “Anyone who objects to having their transport blown up on the way to work.”
Palestinians as: “Archetype ‘victims’ no matter how many teenagers they murder in bars and fast food outlets. Never responsible for anything they do – or done in their name – because of ‘root causes’ or ‘legitimate grievances’.”

A representative from Orange said: “We have received a number of complaints regarding the content of an article written by an Orange employee and published on an independent website which has offended some of our customers.

“We take the opinions of our customers very seriously and believe that this matter warrants further investigation. We have therefore suspended an employee while this investigation takes place.”

Interview update: I debated with Samuel from ConservativeHome and Asghar from MPAC on BBC Asian Network. [ffwd by 1hr]

Update: Iain defends him while Stuart thinks it was fine. But I agree with Justin.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Media






206 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. mediawatchwatch.org.uk »

    [...] (Via Pickled Politics) Monitor @ 5:01 pm [...]


  2. Chicken Yoghurt » …

    [...] Inigo Wilson is a rancid, braying little tick. But I defend his right to be so. If only is he was as funny as he and his swollen crew of bandwagon jumpers thought he was. [...]


  3. Robert Sharp »

    [...] More annoying, however, is that a week later, someone began agitating for Wilson to be sacked from his job in the communications department at Orange. Via Pickled Politics we hear that he has now been suspended. [...]


  4. Tim Worstall

    Inigo Wilson…

    As ever, the Avian Comestible deploys the best prose on it, Harry’s Place and Pickled Politics have long discussion threads on it, Robert Sharp is thoughtful, Nosemonkey is erudite, Guido and Iain are on the case and no doubt there…


  5. doctorvee » This has nothing to do with freedom of speech

    [...] Wilson wrote an absolutely rubbish and mostly banal post called ‘The Lefty Lexicon’. Not a very original idea, this this one certainly isn’t among the funniest. Indeed, parts of it are downright puerile. His ‘lefty’ definition of ‘Islamophobic’ is “anyone who objects to having their transport blown up on the way to work.” [...]


  6. L'Ombre de l'Olivier

    The Lefty Lexicon…

    Much excitement is occuring in the UK blogosphere thanks to a gentleman called Inigo Wilson who published something of this name on a Conservative Party blog. Thanks to the MPACUK, a group which never fails to demonstrate its intolerance, Inigo has b…..


  7. Vrijhaven » Orange: kleur van censuur?

    [...] Gelukkig zijn er voldoende medestanders van Inigo Wilson en de site van de militanten van The Conservatives, Conservative Home, hebben al hun steun betuigd.  Duizenden emails zijn ondertussen naar Orange gestuurd waarbij de dienst communicatie blijkbaar zelf overbelast werd.  Ook op andere sites (1,2,3) zijn er steunbetuigingen en de affaire haalt zelfs de mainstream media (o.m. een linkse en een rechtse krant). [...]


  8. Longrider » Storms, Teacups, Pots and Kettles

    [...] There’s been a positive storm brewing recently in the land of blog regarding Inigo Wilson’s “Lefty Lexicon” over at  Conservative Home and plenty have commented. Much has touched on freedom of speech and others have pointed out – rightly – that such freedom brings consequences. Still, I thought I’d bring my comment to the discussion. [...]




  1. Leon — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    Wow. Other headlines could be “Tory website gets Orange worker fired!” or “Tories aren’t racist? Orange disagrees!”

    Sorry, just in silly tabloid headline mode today…:P

  2. Don — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

    Faintly obnoxious, unoriginal, smug tory git, and not nearly as funny as he thinks he is, but a serious over-reaction.

    You don’t mess with someone’s livelihood for expressing opinions slightly more liberal than those Jeremy Clarkson gets paid for.

  3. Justin — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    How about ‘Leopard in spots exchange fiasco’?

  4. Jagdeep — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    Firing someone for expressing their views? That is more offensive than his opinions.

  5. Don — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:47 pm  

    And what a spiteful, self-righteous harpy that Murphy person is. People from Hampstead should not be allowed to use the word ‘matey’.

  6. sonia — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:51 pm  

    gosh everyone’s being ‘outed’ at work – there have been a lot of incidents recently with bloggers being found out at work that they blog – and fired as a result! shocking – as if employers should have any right to ‘censor’ what employees are saying out of work.

    of course these bloggers tend to then get lots of traffic so a good push for them to become paid to blog ..which is how some of the people who’ve been ‘outed’ have turned it to their good advantage. good for them i say.

  7. El Cid — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:55 pm  

    agree, agree, agree…. but drawing the line is the really difficult bit, and you would all agree that a line must be drawn… take the Ron Atkinson incident, he’s lost a fortune and is reduced to a bit part on a learning french, Esther frigging Rantzen, silly season programme … they say action speaks louder than words, well not in his case… and yet.. and yet… someone in a senior position at a far more self righteous company used the same ‘nigger’ word, nearly got a clumping from me… and well, nothing happened.. hmmmm. can’t say more coz I”ll get fired… but what is the criteria by which we should judge whether someone can get fired on not for unacceptable opinion, comment?

  8. Bert Preast — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

    Corporations worrying about employees’ politics?

    What worries me is how like political parties they’re becoming. Who DO they think they are?

  9. David T — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

    Received a number of complaints = Was targetted by the nutters of MPAC

    http://forum.mpacuk.org/showthread.php?p=166629#post166629

  10. Jagdeep — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

    The problem is, if the witchfinder generals who objected to his views are celebrating their victory because of his suspension, dont they realise the same tactic can be used against them in the future? Muslims (or lefties, whoever did it) being fired because of what they write?

  11. AsifB — on 16th August, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

    Orange will be acting disproportinonately if they fire Mr. Wilson.

    I don’t share his opinions, but surely we all have a right to express an opinion on blogs and in letters to the paper – isn’t that what people are doing on this website after all?

    Unless the ‘community affairs’ the writer manages for the company directly involve Israel/Palestine, there does not appear to be any significant ground for complaint from the public, that would justify sacking. (It is a touch ironic of course that “managing community affairs” for a French owned telecom firm sounds exacly like the sort of lefty Guardian Society supplement job that Conservative Home and Simon Heffer no dount deride….)

    Get a grip folks – Providing he is expressing views in his own name (and not in ‘work time’) then he should not be suspended from work – they’re just expressing an opinion after all – not ones i share but so be it – unless the views are outright fascist/ fringe they can’t be held to direcly affect his job and/or affect the company’s reputation.

  12. Leon — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    Interesting case thinking it through; Conservative Home is well known to be influential in Tory the grassroots and David Cameron’s lot read it for reaction to his policies…I wonder representative his piece is of the thinking of the Tory grassroots?

  13. Jagdeep — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    Wow. Those gobby MPAC chaps? Another reason to support this Tory Boy. This is mob rule.

    It would be interesting to see where some of the MPAC lads work and consider if they’d enjoy a reciprocal campaign to oust them from their livelihoods given some of the ‘robust’ views expressed by them. What a bunch of hypocritical cowards.

  14. David T — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:00 pm  

    Evidently, “Inigio” is a half wit. What sort of stupid name is Inigio in any case?

    I suppose that if anybody from MPAC is stupid enough to use their real names in the usually venemous and often psychotic posts that grace their website, they couldn’t really complain if somebody organised to get them sacked.

    Although, I have to say, providing additional grievances for MPACers to rumininate upon isn’t necessarily a good idea…

  15. Sunny — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

    I think it’s a stupid decision. If an employee’s political views were worth getting them fired over then most of the Hizb ut Tahrir lot wouldn’t be able to get jobs anywhere as doctors or accountants.

    But I think the reason Orange did this was because he was in charge of “community affairs”. I can see his views posing a bit of bias if he is meant to deal with outside people.

    Actually, that should still get the HuT lot fired. Hehe.

  16. Leon — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

    Corporations worrying about employees’ politics?

    PR innit? If his article is deemed to be racist against Muslims or whoever, in this climate, it could be used to make Orange look bad…and we know who would be up for doing that don’t we?

  17. Jagdeep — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:06 pm  

    That MPAC thread made me laugh. I thought Sikh fundamentalist threads were the best but not so. Here’s what one of the chaps said when he received a reply from Orange:

    I am not satisfied. I would be grateful fi you can get someone who is responsible for termination of contracts in contact with me. Thankyou.

    So, where can we find out where the MPAC lads work, office address etc etc?

  18. Leon — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:09 pm  

    How long before we hear of a boycott, MPAC on Newsnight and Tory Home defending their contributor? Or will this storm in a teacup be forgotten tomorrow?

  19. David T — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:09 pm  

    I’m inclined to defend Orange.

    1. Orange is a private company, not a public body. It is entitled to take any decision it wants to, consistent with employment law, in relation to its employees. Its first responsibility is to its shareholders. If it thinks that it is going to be targetted by an anti-Orange lobbying campaign organised by an Islamist group, then it is entirely within its rights to suspend its employee.

    2. Nobody told “Inigio” to post in his own name. On the MPAC board, posters go by the name saladin1970.5, Anonmouse and Damascus and the like. Which is a very sensible precaution.

  20. El Cid — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

    another question is, did he use Orange equipment to post these views and did he do it on Orange time? *looks over shoulder to see where boss is*

  21. Sunny — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    David, c’mon it’s a great precedent! Now we can prepare a list of Hizb ut Tahrir members and publish them so people can find out where they work and get them fired.

    I’d mention Al-Ghurabaa too but they’re mostly on benefits.

  22. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    MPAC may feel pleased with themselves for this “success”, but they have done nothing to reduce “Islamaphobia” instead they have increased it by generating more distrust, misunderstanding, fear and mutual incomprehension.

    This new sort of mob rule fuelled by internet communication is becoming more frequent. The best example I know of is “dog poo girl” in South Korea or what happened to Claire Swire.

    Overall, I’d agree with Jagdeep most so far.

    TFI

  23. David T — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

    Yeah, but I *really* don’t want Hizb and MPAC types to be sitting around with loads of time on their hands.

    If you know what I mean…

  24. El Cid — on 16th August, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

    ha

  25. Kulvinder — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

    Posting any information about yourself on the internet and making controversial comments isn’t the most intelligent act in the world. His post was very dreary and repetitive (XXXXX – the ‘lefties’ did it) god help the tories if thats their idea of debate.

    As david said you can’t blame Orange particularly as he was a ‘community affairs’ person (no idea what that means).

    Hes a silly man but i wish him well, it isn’t a nice thing to happen.

  26. Kulvinder — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:18 pm  

    dog poo girl?!!??!! Claire swire?…ill google when its safer!

  27. Bert Preast — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:33 pm  

    http://www1.orange.co.uk/about/community/

    That’s the department I assume he worked in.

    Quite alarming, this. I’m in the happy position of being self employed and having nothing to do with big business. But for those employed by or contracting to any well known companies they now know if they want to speak out on anything political they must hide their identities. Most have no idea how to do this on the net, and are therefore forced into silence. It’s a lot of people we’re talking about.

    All without any govenment bills or legal precedents. I see no incitement to hatred or violence in the article, except perhaps against the author. Yet if whatever you say generates maybe over a hundred complaints from any group viewed as a minority, you are sacked or your contract is terminated.

  28. Chairwoman — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

    As someone who had their card marked in the 70s for supporting industrial actions not in any way connected with my industry (advertising), and for campaigning for the Labour Party, I have no choice but to support ‘Inigio’.

  29. Al Pickklah — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:43 pm  

    Quite right to. Sacking’s too good for him. He should be whipped.

  30. John C — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:49 pm  

    Whether you agree with this man’s rather warped view of the Middle East or not, sacking him for merely expressing an opinion is just plain wrong. Orange may soon realise that they have opened up a whole can of worms which are brown in colour.

    But neither do we need to get into a situation where some are at liberty to say anything and while other’s (say Muslim’s for example) are encouraged and advised to say nothing. Various polls (The Guardian Poll for one) taken of the british public after 7/7 have proved that many are still of the opinion that there is a causal effect between British foreign policy and terrorism at home. Pity the Muslim who dares utter the say.

  31. Bert Preast — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

    But I’ve yet to meet one that hasn’t uttered it?

  32. Kulvinder — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:51 pm  

    Most have no idea how to do this on the net

    Not giving away your full name is a pretty obvious step to take.

  33. Bert Preast — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

    When you click on Orange’s “Global responsibility” page you get this:

    http://www.orange.com/responsibility/

    heh.

  34. Bert Preast — on 16th August, 2006 at 4:54 pm  

    Kulvinder – It’s easy to just post under an assumed name, yes. But with what’s at stake paranioa will get the better of most people, and with good reason. IP addresses can be traced and people can and are tracked down.

  35. Kulvinder — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:15 pm  

    IP addresses can be traced and people can and are tracked down.

    That could happen regardless of what name you use, unless you use the onion router or something similar. It would be a pretty extreme thing for that to happen, obviously if it did id still support the person who said ‘the wrong thing’

    Even if they have an IP address its still for them to proove that you were the one who sat at the computer and said whatever was said. If more than one person has access to the computer in question that can be an impossible thing to do ;)

  36. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    Let the fireworks begin – indeed!

    How did that trainee journalist get the sack at the Guardian – for being HuT member?

  37. Vikrant — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:46 pm  

    IP addresses can be traced and people can and are tracked down.

    D\’oh even IP can be rendered untracable by using a proxy like http://www.phproxy.com .

    As for Wilson, even though his attempts at sarcasm are pathetic to say at the least… cant see any wrong with much of what he has written except for dodgy references to RSA and Racism. If you guys got offended by his lame article wait till you read those hardcore American racists at FreeRepublic.

    @Don: A Tory git, huh? Obviously in your LibDem world being a Tory is far worse a crime isnt it?

  38. Vikrant — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:48 pm  

    Read Nitin\’s Acorn to see why Britain has become qualified to be India\’s 29th state… http://acorn.nationalinterest.in/?p=2059

  39. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 5:49 pm  

    Inigo may have left himself with a problem by presenting himself as

    “Inigo Wilson manages community affairs for a large telecoms company. He lives with his wife and young daughter in Fulham. His favourite blogs are ‘the Belmont club’ and ConservativeHome. He is a regular reader of Commentary, National Review and The Spectator.”

    Its the first sentence which would prove more than problematic if I was running Orange.

  40. Yakoub/Julaybib — on 16th August, 2006 at 6:08 pm  

    “Posting any information about yourself on the internet and making controversial comments isn’t the most intelligent act in the world…”

    Right, well I’m down to my local cybercafe where, under the name of ‘God’s own pineapple’, I’m gonna blog details of my plot to cut Tony Blair in two with a scimitar. Oh darn it, I’ve given the game away. Or perhaps I’ve given some young impressionable Wahhabi an idea. Or perhaps Orange should just sack the ignorant little bastard.

  41. Don — on 16th August, 2006 at 6:59 pm  

    Vik,

    Nah, you’re a Tory and I don’t think you’re a git. Utterly wrong to hound the guy, as I said.

  42. leon — on 16th August, 2006 at 9:53 pm  

    Fireworks indeed.

    Iain Dale thinks he should be defended: http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2006/08/inigo-wilson-deserves-our-support.html

    Stuart picks up on the wide implications for the Tories: http://www.stuartssoapbox.com/2006/08/pr_blogger_susp_1.html

  43. Kulvinder — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

    Right, well I’m down to my local cybercafe where, under the name of ‘God’s own pineapple’, I’m gonna blog details of my plot to cut Tony Blair in two with a scimitar. Oh darn it, I’ve given the game away. Or perhaps I’ve given some young impressionable Wahhabi an idea. Or perhaps Orange should just sack the ignorant little bastard.

    What?!

  44. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:22 pm  

    I fully agree with Stuart. In fact his blog’s pretty good on the subject. And yes – Inigo seeks to add to his credibility by referring to his professional position.

    I am interested in the implications for the Tories.

    As for Orange – well purely from a professional point of view I think the man has become a liability. He can no longer do his job, as this will run and run. And Orange are in it to make a return for their shareholders, and not fighting to retain customers because of a hapless politico.

    Oh and he has also become a liability to David Cameron. Which in turn means Iain Dale’s campaign in support is doomed.

    As for what he actually said – well Julie Burchill, Melanie Phillips, OP could have written it for him.

  45. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:24 pm  

    On the other hand – he may be quite bored with his job, and needs a change. The media may be beckoning, so we may see him re-emerge. The sad thing will of course then be we’ll be seeing more of his tripe.

  46. leon — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:29 pm  

    I am interested in the implications for the Tories.

    Me too. I note with interest that Iain Dale chose to link to Guido who didn’t pick this up until nearly two hours after PP. Tory bloggers banding round another Tory? Never!

  47. Sunny — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:38 pm  

    Oh and he has also become a liability to David Cameron. Which in turn means Iain Dale’s campaign in support is doomed.

    I think that’s a big exaggeration.

  48. Kismet Hardy — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:43 pm  

    That’s my only issue with this tit. It wasn’t funny

  49. Kismet Hardy — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:44 pm  

    Now had he said Palestines are people who don’t appreciate the arts, now that’d be funny…

  50. Clairwil — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:54 pm  

    I’ve sort of been a victim of something similar. When I was desperate enough to work in a bank, my employers monitored my bank account after I spoke out about the way I and my fellow employees were being treated. It was then put to me that given my political donations I may have “outgrown” my job. The control employers seem to expect now borders on sinister as a number of sacked bloggers could testify.

  51. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:55 pm  

    No exaggeration – just watch. Its going to end up at the party political level.

    With poor old Orange left with a struggling share price.

  52. Kismet Hardy — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:55 pm  

    Bloggers can get sacked?!

    Phew! Lucky I don’t have a job

  53. Kismet Hardy — on 16th August, 2006 at 10:57 pm  

    They say nothing rhymes with orange. I’ve just thought of three different words that rhyme with orange

    The phone company Orange
    Went bright red instead of orange
    They didn’t like em apples and now Inigo’s been peeled like an orange

    I claim my £5

  54. Refresh — on 16th August, 2006 at 11:01 pm  

    And somehow I’d like to think it will hasten the implementation of one of the recommendations from the task force(s) set up after 7/7.

    A rebuttal system for tackling Islamophobia.

  55. Don — on 16th August, 2006 at 11:28 pm  

    Stuart Bruce?

    I note that in the comments section, he tartly replies to a commenter that he has a concensus of professional PR’s that it wasn’t funny.

    Pompous prick.

    Bear in mind he was making one of those lame lexicons one is constantly group e-mailed by people one can’t remember and was commenting on language use; his target was those who use certain words to cover their actual meaning, and not any racial/religious group.

    Did he say anything remotely detrimental to moslems? No, he implied that the word ‘Islamophobia’ is used in some circles as a way of shutting down debate. Isn’t it? His phrasing was tasteless and unfunny, so what?

    And are there those who use ‘Palestinian’ as a shibboleth? OK, it’s clear whose side he’s on in the ME, is that a crime?

    There are many commenters of good standing here who have gone a lot further out on a limb, this tracking-down, grassing-up, witch-hunting shit is bad news.

    And spare me the ‘professional standing, he mentioned his job’ crap. Of course he mentioned his job, he didn’t think he was doing a damned thing wrong. And that’s all post-facto, he was targeted because the poor tory twerp didn’t know he had to be sneaky.

  56. Kismet Hardy — on 16th August, 2006 at 11:34 pm  

    “the poor tory twerp didn’t know he had to be sneaky.”

    So that gets him sacked from the tory party and all…

  57. Don — on 16th August, 2006 at 11:35 pm  

    yeah, it’s kinda basic for tories.

  58. Kismet Hardy — on 17th August, 2006 at 12:39 am  

    kinda basic for politicians in general, no?

    “Show me a politician that tells the truth and I’ll write you a farce”

    As I just said

  59. Kismet Hardy — on 17th August, 2006 at 12:40 am  

    It’s mad to quote yourself isn’t it?

  60. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 12:52 am  

    By the way just been to MPACUK site to read up this issue and you know I found a rational discussion – with a determination to deal with Islamophobia.

    Sounded like Zero Tolerance.

  61. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 1:00 am  

    Don, at best he is a fool.

    I recall, when I lived up north, and the NF was pretty active – a member was a bus driver and the bosses wanted to sack him (something the union supported) as he was required to deal with the travelling public.

    Quite a lot of the drivers were asian, and they actually rallied round him – he kept his job. He denounced the NF. And understood solidarity for what it could be.

    Now reading the rest of the Inigo lexicon – I would say those two entries are not the only ones betraying his ‘bent’.

  62. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 1:58 am  

    Disgusting…

    Orange?

    More like… ‘Red Army’

    The future’s bright… The future’s ‘Red’

    Pricks.

  63. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:02 am  

    Okay, I have my differences with Sunny [‘differences’ being the understatement of the century]

    But when it comes to free speech and free expression, I have to hand it to him… he’s a useful bulwark against those thuggish religious gangsters and self-sanctimonious Foucaultdians [‘Critical Discourse Analysis’ my arse].

  64. Kulvinder — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:15 am  

    Just a quick note, after reading the update links, this seems to be drifting into a vague ‘freedom of speech its the fault of the government’ area. Its nothing of the sort. It is perfectly legitimate for Orange to act in their own interests; i don’t revel in schadenfreude over whats happened to him but neither is he in anyway a martyr to a cause.

  65. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:53 am  

    Let me remind you… censorship is not conservative.

    It is the tool of left-wing stratocats, ham-fisted Leninists, petty theocrats, religious commissars, Foucaultdian busybodies, big-state-Marxists (the Hungarian types), and peoples involved in so-called ‘sexual politics’… ya know, useful idiots who think that Judith Butler is worthy of their attention.

    Censorship is not conservative. J.S. Mill said that silencing an opinion ‘robs the human race’, because if the opinion is right, we are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, we lose the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

    Censorship is not conservative

  66. Kulvinder — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:55 am  

    What the hell are you talking about?

  67. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 3:09 am  

    Kulvinder,

    This is a cultural issue, & the Orange suspension is indicative of a much wider problem.

    Political correctness is having a devastating affect on civil society. It restricts cognition and devalues our deliberative democracy.

  68. Kulvinder — on 17th August, 2006 at 3:24 am  

    Oh look, now they’re at it

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/

    …and ConservativeHome cannot further delay getting involved in this vital issue of freedom of speech.

    It is nothing to do with freedom of speech

    His freedom of speech is our freedom of speech. Orange needs to know that.”

    Orange haven’t done anything to harm this gentlemans ‘freedom of speech’. There are no Agent Oranges hunting him down; if orange have threatened or physically harmed him in anyway i suggest he contact a solicitor and/or the police.

    Freedom of speech only means anything in the american sense; since we don’t have that its use in debate is to a degree worthless. If im wrong im willing to apologise but i doubt these same commentators were quite so vehement in principle when Abu Hamza was on trial. Even if we did have freedom of speech it would only exist in the public sphere.

    This has nothing to do with censorship or freedom of speech and fact that the editor of ‘britain’s leading Conservative blog’ cannot comprehend the difference speaks volumes about his intellectual merit

  69. Kulvinder — on 17th August, 2006 at 3:30 am  

    This is a cultural issue, & the Orange suspension is indicative of a much wider problem.

    I wouldn’t say the power of corporations has spirraled out of control. Maybe the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill coupled with increasing donations to political parties from big business will change that.

    Political correctness is having a devastating affect on civil society. It restricts cognition and devalues our deliberative democracy.

    The term ‘political correctness’ is my second biggest pethate after conspiracy theories. It may have had some legitimate meaning in the past but has become practically worthless now.

  70. Anonmouse — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:06 am  

    This really is NOT an MPAC publicity stunt. Neither is it the ridiculous charge of censoring freedom of speech. Its about why Islamophobia has become acceptable.

    There are, as far as I know it, no political sites for muslims to express themselves except MPAC. I am not a member of MPAC. I visited their site for the first time a few days ago and noticed that someone had posted about Mr Wilsons comments.

    I read Mr Wilson’s Lexicon myself and was upset with some of the comments on it. Especially given that I too am a conservative, but not of the breed that Mr Wilson belongs too.

    The reason I complained and posted the template complaint on the MPAC website is because I am dismayed with the fact that islamophobic anti-muslim sentiment is increasingly acceptable in our media.

    Islamophobia is as bad as anti-semitism as the discerning of the jewish community will readily tell you. Hopefully this tale will get this fact out there.

  71. Anonymous — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:19 am  

    MR. INIGO WILSON:

    As a Community Affairs Manager for an international telecoms group with a presence around the globe, Mr. Wilson is extremely naïve to believe that posting such comments on a prominent website would not invoke a hostile response.

    Having considered the facts, Mr. Wilson must be dismissed by his employer for the following reasons:

    (1) Whilst we should all uphold freedom of speech, that freedom must be exercised responsibly. Following the official definition of racism, Mr. Wilson’s comments can clearly be defined as racist. They may also be an incitement to racial hatred. As such, there may be grounds for a criminal prosecution.

    (2) His comments may be regarded as offensive to a variety of communities including followers of Islam, Palestinians, South Africans and Roman Catholics. As such, in addition to being considered racist in the former (presumably a breach of his terms of employment), he will be unable to effectively carry out his duties in fostering good relations with such groups, thus further breaching his terms of employment.

    (3) His comments may be regarded as offensive to other groups such as teachers, social workers, employees of NGO’s, those who would describe themselves as socialists and so forth. Indeed his views are not exclusively offensive to these groups, and may be considered offensive to all those who espouse tolerance and respect – from all communities and all walks of life. This further enforces the breach of terms of employment raised above.

    (4) The author appears to condone racism by asserting to be a racist is deemed as being “much worse than being violent, thoughtless or unkind” – placing him at odds with his employer and contract of employment.

    (5) This is added to by his comments on hate crime.

    (6) Wilson’s comments in relation to equality, diversity and gender issues will likewise be at odds with his employer and breach his contract of employment.

    (7) Responsible, I read, for consultation with communities, Mr. Wilson describes same as “a formal system for ignoring public views while patronising them at the same time.” This statement places him at odds with his employer and his duties, thus again breaching his contract of employment.

    (8) Comments relating to the BBC and media ensure relationships in this area are likewise compromised, thus breaching terms of employment.

    The above, combined, ensure Mr. Wilson will be unable to continue to perform the duties of his role. By HIS actions, (many of which will counter his employers’ policies) HE ALONE has made himself unable to fulfil his role and thus contract of employment with Orange.

    Remember, it was Mr. Wilson who indirectly referenced his employer by his introduction: “Inigo Wilson manages community affairs for a large telecoms company.” He also made comments in relation to both a colleague and a discussion within his organisation.

    Again, whilst we all should seek to uphold freedom of _expression, such _expression must be exercised responsibly and within the legal framework of the UK. What is remarkable is that such a prominent and educated figure did not recognise the above, and how his comments would be interpreted by others (the key legal factor), regardless of the context in which they were intended.

    It is also regrettable that because of his action, his employer, Orange, is now at the centre of a debate on which it has no desire to enter. Here Orange cannot win. Its actions will be no different to any other organisation caught in the same position – Vodafone, 02 or others. To think otherwise is foolhardy.

    What is certain is that the reputation of his employer, its brand, customer relations and commercial activity will be damaged regardless of the outcome – further strengthening the requirement to dismiss Mr. Wilson.

    Sadly the future looks bleak for not only Mr. Wilson, but for his employer, good community relations and all those who recognise greater understanding, mutual respect and humanity are the only future for our world.

  72. mirax — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:47 am  

    Ah when the the ‘rational’ MPAC comes to visit us to impress upon us their sincere concern for racism and bigotry! Tough shit but no bull. The MPAC is one of the most viciously racist ‘mainstream’ websites that it’s been my misfortune to visit. Mr Wilson’s misdemeanour seems very insignificant compared to the MPAC’s anti-semitic rantings and cartoon borrowings from white supremists.

  73. Anonmouse — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:09 am  

    Mirax – Does posting on a site ascribe you to that organisation? In that case I must be one of those conservativehome, pickled politics, geektools, iain dale, stuart bruce, googlist ‘rational’ MPAC. According to you and the tabs open on firefox that is.

    Nice, but not even close – and certainly no cigar.

    As I said I’m not an MPAC member, rational or otherwise. What I am is a right minded person who condemns racism and islamophobia and anti-semitism and, before you ask, anti-sikhism. I may even extend myself to anti-MPACism if you are the epitomy of their denigrators.

  74. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:09 am  

    Kulvinder

    You equate my invocation of ‘political correctness’ to woolly-headed conspiracy theorising. Well, I can assure you, there is nothing at all wacky, eccentric or outlandish about my invocation of ‘political correctness.’ It’s part of our everyday lives and ingrained into everyday conversation. Get a grip.

    Political correctness, to put it bluntly, is pro-abortion, anti-British, pro-EU, anti-middle-class, anti-marriage and pro-IRA. It reacts aggressively, in any situation, regardless of context, to such-and-such a person’s skin colour, disability or sexual orientation… and, for better or for worse (usually the latter), overshadows common sense, curiosity, irony, patriotism and light-hearted banter.

    This, of course, is the product of a cultural revolution. Back in 1948, Ernest Bevin and many other cabinet members, along with plenty of Labour backbenchers, voted to retain hanging. Not one of them would now. Hugh Gaitskell denounced anti-nuclear pacifism in 1960, and soon afterwards made the best and most patriotic anti-Common Market speech ever delivered by a British politician. Which of them would now? Roman Catholic Labour MPs fought against abortion on demand. With the possible exception of the gratuitous George Galloway, I can’t think of any modern-day equivalents. Proud and patriotic working-class socialists, from Frank Chapple to Terry Duffy, used to grapple with all their might against the Communist fellow-travellers who had penetrated Labour via the trade union movement. They have almost no equivalents at all today in Labour, which is all but devoid of patriots or moral conservatives.

    Anthony Blair hates Britain. During the Cold War he belonged to CND, which wanted the USSR to be the only nuclear power in Europe. He opposed the retaking of the Falklands. He is even now trying to sell Gibraltar to Spain, and has delivered Northern Ireland, trussed and gagged, to the IRA. He devolved Scotland and Wales so as to dissolve Great Britain into statelets and regions, a preliminary to its complete absorption in a European state. For the same reason, he now supports plans to divide England itself into regions, now well-advanced.

    New Labour is about image and presentation, and about tactics. But it has never changed its overriding objective… It wants a socialist, egalitarian Britain – but through cultural revolution, taxation, education and political correctness rather than through state control of industry.

    Amir

  75. Kismet Hardy — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:24 am  

    All this fuss over a phone. I remember the day you just used them to call people now it’s like they can make you tea but you don’t understand the new-fangled systems that no… who am I? what am I doing here? Is that you Ophelia, dancing in the water? Oh look, things

  76. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:06 am  

    Anonymous

    (I) Mr. Wilson’s comments can clearly be defined as racist. They may also be an incitement to racial hatred. As such, there may be grounds for a criminal prosecution.

    How, may I ask, can you label his comments as being ‘racist’? Moslems come in all shades and stripes: Asian, Arab, Caucasian, Oriental, Persian, Kurd and African (as well as African-American). I was not aware that the Koran prohibited light-skinned or black-skinned individuals from adhering to the faith? Perhaps it is your own colour-consciousness that is indicative of prejudice, not his.

    Be that as it may, Mr. Wilson’s comments are not directed in any way at the Islamic faith or the Islamic faithful. He is taking a pot-shot at the pejorative ‘Islamophobia’, which is bandied around too freely by the ThoughtPolice at the MPAC.

    (II) Whilst we should all uphold freedom of speech, that freedom must be exercised responsibly.

    This, my friend, is what we call ‘a contradiction.’ Repeat after me: CON – TRA – DIC – TION. Freedom of speech, by its very definition, is, precisely, the freedom to speak irresponsibly (or offensively, or gratuitously). Otherwise, it’s not free speech. Get it?

    (III) His comments may be regarded as offensive to a variety of communities including followers of Islam, Palestinians, South Africans and Roman Catholics.

    People are offended every day, in the most irrational and innocuous of ways. So grow up. And stop making such a puerile spectacle out of yourself. Do you really want to live in a society where a person can be fired or fined or even thrown in jail for ‘upsetting’ a few hyper-sensitive Trots and bigoted Islamists? Oh, wait a minute,… you do, don’t you?

    (IV) he will be unable to effectively carry out his duties in fostering good relations with such groups, thus further breaching his terms of employment.

    Mindless speculation, that is to say, you’re making a baseless accusation. Do you, or do you not, have evidence to back-up this substantive claim? For all you know, Mr. Wilson could be a very conscientious and industrious employee.

    (V) His comments may be regarded as offensive to other groups such as teachers, social workers, employees of NGO’s, those who would describe themselves as socialists and so forth.

    You couldn’t make it up, could you? It’s worthy of a Monty Python sketch.

    (VI) Comments relating to the BBC and media ensure relationships in this area are likewise compromised, thus breaching terms of employment.

    What? Criticism of the BBC is conducive to getting fired?! Hold on a minute here…

    (VII) Sadly the future looks bleak for not only Mr. Wilson, but for his employer, good community relations and all those who recognise greater understanding, mutual respect and humanity are the only future for our world.

    I am often told about self-pitiful men and their self-pitiful orgies of naked self-pity, oozing in their self-pitiful angst and baking in their self-pitiful juices. But really… this takes the piss.

    Get a grip

    Amir

  77. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:12 am  

    There ya’ go Kulvinder…

    #73

    Political Correctness in a nutshell.

    PC Overkill.

  78. mirax — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:24 am  

    >> just used them to call people now it’s like they can make you tea but you don’t understand the new-fangled systems that no…

    I have no doubt your luddite self will be totally won over the day- not too distant, don’t fret- a mobile doubles up as a sex toy, dear Kismet.

  79. Kismet Hardy — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:50 am  

    That’s how I lost my last phone. You should hear my ringpiece tone…

  80. Kulvinder — on 17th August, 2006 at 8:38 am  

    Political correctness, to put it bluntly, is pro-abortion, anti-British, pro-EU, anti-middle-class, anti-marriage and pro-IRA. It reacts aggressively, in any situation, regardless of context, to such-and-such a person’s skin colour, disability or sexual orientation… and, for better or for worse (usually the latter), overshadows common sense, curiosity, irony, patriotism and light-hearted banter.

    …riiight.

    Well that certainly is Political Correctness gone mad. Tin foil hat wearing mad.

  81. Kismet Hardy — on 17th August, 2006 at 9:16 am  

    I remember in my pseudo-politico uni days (I was President of the Friends of Amsterdam Society and Editor of our uni rag) I started an ill-informed campaign to change the word ‘disabled’ to ‘difabled’

    When I realised my staunchest supporter wanted to change ‘manhole’ to ‘personhole’, I realised I was backing the weird horse

    I shagged her anyway. Gave up politics and certainly any correctness that went with it…

  82. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 9:38 am  

    Amir and Mirax,

    The basic argument for freedom of speech is to win with rational argument and thought.

    Unless both of you are willing to say there is no such thing as Islamophobia and it isn’t breeding at a considerable rate, then ignore my next question.

    Have you observed Islamophobia, and if you have, what have you done to counter it?

    Another: if you have – do you want to share it with us so we can get a feel for what you think it is?

  83. Kismet Hardy — on 17th August, 2006 at 9:50 am  

    Strictly speaking, it’s Terroristphobia

  84. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:17 am  

    Anyone listening to Asian Network? Sunnys on now, that MPAC went silent when he asked “What are asking for?”.

  85. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:18 am  

    MPAC have lost the arguement, the dude has just started trying to smear Sunny…

  86. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:23 am  

    Conservative home comes out fighting (and unsurprisingly don’t mention PP but link to two other Tory blogs): http://conservativehome.blogs.com/frontpage/2006/08/orange_inigo_wi.html#comment-21189759

  87. Kulvinder — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:24 am  

    This is the most hilarious thing ever.

  88. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:25 am  

    Leon – both are doing it.

  89. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:26 am  

    Asghar Bukhari has no clue, he wouldn’t even answer a simple question, then when challenged says “Answer what question?”! Get a clue mate.

    And it’s over…

  90. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:27 am  

    haha he’s such a clown.

  91. Kulvinder — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:29 am  

    Ruudboy luv in man.

    Anyway, Anita Rani is a hot piece of arse. Amirite?

  92. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:29 am  

    haha he’s such a clown.

    Aint that the truth. I reckon we need to see him on the TV more often up against Sunny etc, he’ll lose credibility within days and permanently.

  93. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:30 am  

    The Guardian have covered the story (no mention of PP or MPAC): http://politics.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,1851812,00.html

  94. Samuel Coates — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:31 am  

    It was good debating with you just now Sunny. I felt I’d leave MPAC to do most of the talking towards the end as he wasn’t doing argument any favours!

  95. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:43 am  

    Where are you Sunny?

    We’re really missing you – and you’re not even gone.

  96. Sunny — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:46 am  

    That was hilarious. No worries Sam. As I said, I might think his parody was pretty stupid but I defend his right to it. As usual it’s frustrating debating with Bukhari since he can never make an argument with any intelligence.

  97. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:57 am  

    Kammo was debating Bukhari a few days ago too: on Sky News.

    Apparently Bukhari’s killer point was to tell Kammo to “take a jump”.

    http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2006/08/foreign_policy_.html

  98. Sunny — on 17th August, 2006 at 11:08 am  

    Yeah I saw that… pretty hilarious.

  99. Chris Stiles — on 17th August, 2006 at 11:31 am  


    Let me remind you… censorship is not conservative.

    Oh bullshit, how is he being censored? His right of free speech has not been taken away.

  100. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 12:29 pm  

    Not much of a debate was it.

    Each playing to their own galleries – enough to entrench opinions.

    Calling each others views idiotic was of no use to the listening audience. Not impressed with the show host.
    Totally misunderstood what Lexicon says about Israel.

    BTW not interested in this turning into I/P discussion.

  101. Backword Dave — on 17th August, 2006 at 12:35 pm  

    David T at #14: “Evidently, “Inigio” is a half wit. What sort of stupid name is Inigio in any case?” Er, his name’s “Inigo” so as to your second question. Don’t I remember you bragging on Harry’s Place that people who went to Oxford (like yourself) were *smart*?

    Chris Stiles at #101 if being told to zip you gob or lose your job (I like that, I’m going to use to) isn’t censorship, what is? What, by your standards, would one need to do to take away the right of free speech?

  102. Sunny — on 17th August, 2006 at 1:25 pm  

    Refresh – What gallery was I playing to? I was simply pointing out that the freedom of speech that affords Asghar Bukhari to criticise the government, or even put borderline anti-semitic crap on his website, taken from neo-nazi sites, is the same freedom of speech he does not want to afford others.

    Instead he launches into personal attacks. How typical.

  103. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

    Just listened to Sunny’s ‘debate’, with Asghar gobbling with indignation at having to share a platform with arch-zionist Hundal.

    I don’t think there is any need to tease out the finer points of what free speech is or isn’t, nothing the twerp said expressed or incited hatred for any particular group or individual, there were no death threats or attempts at intimidation. He was attacking the way some people (‘Lefties’) use language. It was unfunny, unoriginal, innaccurate and has been done much better elsewhere, but it was well within the bounds of normal discourse.

    The point, surely, is that rather than engage with him, dispute or just call him a wanker MPAC saw a chance to ‘get’ him in the real world and went for it out of pure spite. That’s taking a very large dump in the well of internet debate.

    That he was careless or naive enough to give them that chance is neither here nor there. I often neglect to lock the back door at night, doesn’t make it ok to burgle me.

    The PR aspect is a mild complication, but only if you accept Asghar’s logic that being suspected of pro-Israel sympathies automatically makes you a racist or an Islamophobe.

    Whether or not Orange has the legal right to sack him, I will leave to those with a legal background; but it would be a contemptible act.

  104. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

    I don’t Sunny was playing to any gallery, he did get caught up a bit in Asghar’s bullshit; given that Asghar resorted to personal attacks so quickly it’s hardly surprising.

    Asghar debating skills are laughable, at one point he was so far up his own arse that when he was challenged he couldn’t even remember what he was talking about. That said get him on tv more often and he’ll do all kinds of damage to orgs like MPAC that can only be a good thing.

    Do we need to go over who had the best insults or made personal attacks first all day?

  105. Chris Stiles — on 17th August, 2006 at 1:56 pm  


    Chris Stiles at #101 if being told to zip you gob or lose your job (I like that, I’m going to use to) isn’t censorship, what is? What, by your standards, would one need to do to take away the right of free speech?

    Supress ideas by criminalizing or government regulation of expression.

    Perhaps it would suprise you to know that I’m with Sunny and Justin on this one. However, my immediate response was tempered by two things a, sloppy terminology being flung about. b, the wails of protest from the likes of Iain Dale and Guido – who would normally be oh so free market.

  106. Kulvinder — on 17th August, 2006 at 1:58 pm  

    Chris Stiles at #101 if being told to zip you gob or lose your job (I like that, I’m going to use to) isn’t censorship, what is?

    Being prosecuted for it. Unsuprisingly you can’t call a major customers wife a fat cunt then complain when your boss gets upset.

    Don i don’t think MPAC were particularly noble in their approach but its hardly a new occurance. If those who raise the banner of ‘free speech’ in this instance have the courage of their convictions they’ll accept that the guardian shouldn’t have sacked a junior journalist for sympathising with or actually being a member of HuT.

  107. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

    Is the Bulgari-Hundal face-off online somewhere?

  108. anon — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

    “Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:30 am

    The Guardian have covered the story (no mention of PP or MPAC): http://politics.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,1851812,00.html”

    If you read past the crossword you will see that is not true.

    Also I’m hearing lots of backslapping going on about the radio interview and excuses for why the conservative didnt say anything. The truth is, he has a serious speech impediment and couldnt speak anyway and once that became apparent he was not brought in and was too nervous to jump in to the personal battle staged by the other two verbal pugilists who wanted to settle scores with each other and not discuss the topic in hand. Out of all these, sam the conservative came off worst and sunny was a very close runner up. not that being first amongst these type of equals could ever be anything to brag about. dont believe me? dont believe these egos first.

  109. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:02 pm  

    David,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork/anita_rani/

    The ‘Listen Again’ section for Thursday. An hour and five minutes in.

  110. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

    I think there is a legitimate question about increasing Islamophobia – and there is a need for a legitimate response.

    There was baiting on both sides – him questioning your standpoint on Islamophobia, you on the other hand about ‘borderline anti-semitic’ material from a neo-nazi website. Neither of you got to the heart of the issue – I don’t think you managed to get across the point you make above about freedom of speech. Unless I missed it.

    This gleeful tone of going against Bukhari – and presumably on his side of going against Hundal is like prize fighters getting into the ring. To me its more like kids rumbling in the playground with everyone gathered round yelling ‘fight, fight, fight!’

    Whether you take the one point he did make that got across seriously is entirely up to you. He said that you and Samuel are not affected by Islamophobia, he and other muslims are, and he is offended. And you know I am offended too.

    He also mentioned, that some guy was sacked by Reuters after a campaign – this he repeated. I think you said something about – ‘was that the one over a death threat?’. But no one clarified. I don’t know if this was someone else, and upthread I mentioned a campaign to get someone sacked from the Guardian.

    I may be mistaken, but some here relished that success.

    And clearly it wasn’t legal for the Guardian to do that, as they had to settle out of court. And in that case it wasn’t for anything he’d written.

    Before I forget, he did say it wasn’t something he’d initiated but a campaign that came out of the forum.

    Lets clear up the double standards (on all sides) so we know what we are for.

  111. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:07 pm  

    Can anyone explain why some people choose to post as Anon/anonymous? How hard is it to pick a handle and stick to it? At least that way people can get an idea of any agenda you might be pushing, how consistent you are, whether or not your views are worth considering … ohh.

  112. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:13 pm  

    Anon, Samuel gave slightly different reasons for not adding much, nothing about a speech impediment. You’re view about Sunny leads me to believe you support MPAC (you haven’t mentioned the crap Asghar was rolling around).

    Btw, that link didn’t work for me…

  113. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:14 pm  

    Can anyone explain why some people choose to post as Anon/anonymous? How hard is it to pick a handle and stick to it? At least that way people can get an idea of any agenda you might be pushing, how consistent you are, whether or not your views are worth considering … ohh.

    Good point, I take anons less seriously than those that take the time to give some type of ID. Anyway, I’m sure Sunny is aware in part of who they are (all IPs and email addresses are logged when you comment).

  114. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    Refresh,

    Re the death threat;

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/1,7340,L-3256534,00.html

    If you really were offended, could you go into a little more detail? I’m sure your explanation will be more succinct and coherent than some we’ve been hearing.

  115. anon — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

    theres a beauty in anonymity which means i can say whats right rather than loyalise myself to whom or what i advocated yesterday (not that i won’t – just that i don’t have to). if you think ill of me for writhing in my anonymity so be it – take me less serious if you will. But for reality’s sake – get that link working and judge for yourself. You’ll hear that nervous stutter (embarressedly explained away on here) and every churlish point made by the two verbal pugilists fisting away at each other over the phone, both hoping for a climax that never happens. you’ll also hear the only decent point made that Refresh has just mentioned. and fuck me if that one decent point upsets your paranoia enough to call me an MPAC’r when all i have is a healthy dislike for all three of your egos. thats the beauty of being anonymous you see. trace my ip. all you’ll see is my anonymity.

  116. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 2:52 pm  

    uck me if that one decent point upsets your paranoia enough to call me an MPAC’r when all i have is a healthy dislike for all three of your egos.

    It’s not paranoia, you chose to comment on Samuel and Sunny (especially negatively) but said nothing of Asghar. That implies some support/sympathy for him/MPAC.

    That said, hide behind your anonymity all you want but because there is little to go on in it don’t be too surprised if you’re not taken seriously.

  117. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

    “Talking constantly does not make your argument right”

    Top.

    You should have come out more strongly against his “you’re Islamophobic” slurs.

    The “Neo-Nazi website” exchange was pure comedy!

    What a great radio station. And Anita Rani is a “hottie”.

    etc.

  118. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 3:37 pm  

    I thought Anita Rani made some good attempts at moderating that discussion apart from one thing; she focused on controlling two people but left out a third. Would have been interesting to hear more from Samuel to give some contrast to the debate…

  119. SamuelCoates — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    The truth is, he has a serious speech impediment and couldnt speak anyway and once that became apparent he was not brought in and was too nervous to jump in to the personal battle staged by the other two verbal pugilists who wanted to settle scores with each other and not discuss the topic in hand.

    That’s the truth? Thanks for letting me know.

    There was me thinking that my dodgy mobile connection, and the debate descending into total irrelevance had something to do with it. As for ego’s, I don’t think I’m particularly good at talkshows, I only did it to stand up for Inigo against all this misrepresentation.

    I thought Anita was pretty fair, the only thing she could have done to stop Ashgar from waffling on hysterically would have been to cut the line – which it sounded like she was about to do at one point.

  120. j0nz — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

    YES or NO answer the question, did you put neo-nazi material on your site ! Desi-Paxman LOL.

  121. j0nz — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:23 pm  

    Well good debate guys. With a bit more material about MPAC to hand Ashgar could have been well and truly shown up for the hypocrite he so obviously is.

  122. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:26 pm  

    Kulvinder,

    ‘Well that certainly is Political Correctness gone mad. Tin foil hat wearing mad.’

    Please can we stop using the stupid expression ‘political correctness gone mad’. First, political correctness is a stern, uncompromising movement which is completely sane and sets out deliberately to stop us from saying (and thinking) various things. It is not a joke, nor is it out of control. It is deliberate, purposeful and serious.

    Linguistic restraints on ‘blackboards’ and ‘black coffee’ and ‘black sheep’ go back to the days of Ken Livingstone’s GLC, and look at him now: mayor of London. PC has never been stronger. Conservative councils nowadays enforce it, as do quite a lot of old-fashioned businesses and institutions. More ominously, PC is enforced and re-enforced in State schools. During my own tenure, I was suspended on two occasions for criticising fatherless families, sexual permissiveness and abortion… and nearly expelled (once) for debating homosexual marriages, immigration and multiculturalism with my uppity, left-liberal Headmistress. Those who enforce PC plan to change the world and they will succeed for as long as we treat PC as a laugh, or as some sort of batty bureaucratic mix-up which will go away in the end. It is hardly a surprise then that Stuart Bruce – a Labour MP – is defending Mr. Wilson’s suspension.

    The MPAC are using every trick in the PC handbook to truss and gag anyone who does not conform to their illiberal worldview. And guess what? They’re highly effective at it. Laugh all you want at their incompetent spokespeople, but one thing is for certain: they’re highly organised and very well motivated.

    Amir

  123. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:26 pm  

    Don,

    Regardin the Reuters campaign – can you offer more info. What was the outcome, who was it and who was behind it? I hadn’t known about it.

    In terms of the link you’ve given – circumstantial is putting it mildly. And the fact that it comes from LGF, fills me with dread that it should have be taken seriously. Not least by Ynet..

    I would say that there seem to be some situations where some people can readily set aside their capacity for rational thought. In my book that is usually prejudice/bigotry/ignorance/racism/Islamaphobia/anti-semitism. Add your own as you see fit.

  124. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:28 pm  

    Amir

    “Linguistic restraints on ‘blackboards’ and ‘black coffee’ and ‘black sheep’ go back to the days of Ken Livingstone’s GLC, ”

    Can you please provide any evidence of this? Other than the Tabloids campaign against the GLC at the time.

  125. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    Amir, were you in Grange Hill?

  126. Francis Sedgemore — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:34 pm  

    Unfortunately, I think that, as blogging becomes more mainstream, we’ll see more of this nonsense.

    I haven’t read the allegedly offensive words, and am entirely unfamiliar with Inigo Wilson’s writing, but still he should not have been suspended by his employers. Of course, it would be different is Wilson were, say, a police officer making statements that would compromise his position as a civil servant, or he had contravened race hate, libel or other relevant laws, but that isn’t the case here.

    As someone who currently works freelance, but is considering returning to paid employment, and who is a political blogger, I’m in a difficult position. While I wouldn’t insist on my freedom of speech being part of any employment contract, I make it clear to prospective employers that (a) I write on political issues, and will continue to do so; and (b) political gagging will not be tolerated, and, if implemented, will result in my walking. But how many are in a position to make such conditions of employers, present or prospective?

  127. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:40 pm  

    It is hardly a surprise then that Stuart Bruce – a Labour MP – is defending Mr. Wilson’s suspension.

    It says on his site, that you linked to, that he’s a Labour activist.

  128. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

    I haven’t read the allegedly offensive words, and am entirely unfamiliar with Inigo Wilson’s writing, but still he should not have been suspended by his employers.

    Some are quoted in the opening post above…

  129. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:45 pm  

    Leon,
    Thanks for the correction. :-)

  130. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

    Amir,

    ‘criticising fatherless families’?

    If you were criticising fathers who abandon their families, that is one thing. To criticise the families trying to cope with that is entirely inappropriate as a teacher. A blackboard ain’t a soapbox.

    Refresh,

    Ynews was just the first source I found. I was vaguely aware of the issue at the time, but I didn’t follow it up. I’m sure someone more in the loop can fill in the gaps.

    LGF or not, death threats (or the abuse Polly Toynbee got; “You are a loathsome overpaid hypocrite. Nobody would miss you for 5 seconds if you were dead like your despicable shitball husband. I should like to see you in a cancer ward screaming with pain and vomiting blood.’

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/polly_toynbee/2006/05/post_104.html )

    is crossing a line. As was the American accademic(!) who was outed after graphically threatening to kidnap and sexually abuse an opponent’s infant. I would maintain, Wilson didn’t cross that line, or go anywhere near it.

  131. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

    Francis,

    Good point, a two-tier freedom of speech.

  132. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 4:56 pm  

    Don, yes repulsive both. I was referring to the evidence used which was circumstantial. But still was anyone sacked as a result of that campaign? Who was behind it? etc. So if anyone wants to let us know…

    Sunny?

  133. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:06 pm  

    DavidT, can you fill us in on how that trainee Guardian journalist got the sack?

    http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2005/07/14/why_is_the_guardian_employing_an_extremist_islamist.php

  134. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

    Sunny, I have a vague idea that in the item – you were in the process of ‘giving away’ where Mr Bukhari worked. What were you thinking?

  135. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:09 pm  

    Francis, I agree its going to be a big big headache soon.

  136. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:12 pm  

    Didn’t The Daily Ablution have something to do with outing the H’uT Guardian intern (who, interestingly enough, I met and had a chat with a few months before this all blew up)…

  137. Sunny — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

    No he works as a Design consultant or something. I don’t know where. I was simply asking him what he’d think of getting fired or if Inayat Bunglwala got fired because of their views. I’d of course defend them if it were the case. But he has no sense anyway.

  138. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

    From what I remember of it:

    - there was a debate on CiF in which Inayat B was participating

    - a link was posted by a commentator to a LGF piece

    - LGF logs showed that the link was visited by somebody with a Reuters IP address

    - Charles Johnson of LGF then received an email sent by somebody within Reuters which read

    “I look forward to the day when you pigs get your throats cut”

    - Shortly after the link was posted Inayat B commented on the LGF article

    - Charles Johnson of LGF noted that Inayat B also posted from a Reuters address.

    - Charles Johnson reported the receipt of the threat to Reuters.

    Now, some people made the assumption that Inayat B was the Reuters employee who had posted the threat. I posted nothing at HP on the story because

    - loons send threatening emails all the time.
    - a threat from a loon who is a “nobody” isn’t news.
    - Inayat B is an idiot with no judgement and some very unsavoury ideas, but threatening “pigs” with slaughter isn’t really his literary style. Or indeed, his style at all.
    - Reuters have thousands of employees, and more than one person could have been reading CiF.
    - accusing somebody with no evidence of sending death threats is a very serious, livlihood-endangering thing to do.

    So, I passed on the story.

    I don’t know what happened to the Reuters employee who sent the death threat. I do know that it was confirmed as somebody other that Inayat B: unsurprisingly. I don’t think their identity, or fate was announced.

    I think that

    - if somebody sends you a threat of violence, you’re perfectly within your rights to report it to the police, and – if it comes from a work address – to the emailers employers. Making threats of this sort is a criminal offence after all.

    - it really isn’t a freedom of expression issue, except in a VERY weak sense.

  139. Kulvinder — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:20 pm  

    The stories about ‘baa baa blacksheep’ ‘blackboards’ and the like are largely apocryphal. I’ve yet to encounter anything like that nor have i heard of anyone i know having to deal with those opinions. You’ve basically summated ‘political correctness’ into a philosophy or way of living that you don’t agree with. If these attitudes are so widespread (and im talking about the ones i’ve mentioned not homophobia or other bigotry thats given a newform) im confused about why its proved very difficult for me to find any real examples.

    Strictly speaking the term political correctness has itself become a form of political correctness, instead of presenting an argument about the issues concerned a one-size-fits-all slogan is used to hammer down any opposition. There are no policies or laws that are presented as a tangible link to everything mentioned, rather some vague notion of ‘the madness of the left’ is rolled out.

    Of course, it would be different is Wilson were, say, a police officer making statements that would compromise his position as a civil servant

    But if they work for a multibillion dollar company with the jobs of thousands in their control its ok.

  140. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:27 pm  

    The Guardian were in the wrong for not identifying Aslam as an HuT member, but presenting him as an objective journalist – a simple ‘Yorkshire lad’.

    If they hired him with that knowledge, and published him with that knowledge they were wrong to sack him for their own failings.

  141. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

    The Guardian was quite right to sack Aslam.

    The Guardian is an expressly liberal paper which should not have employed, knowingly, an activist in Hizb ut Tahrir a racist, extreme-right political party in the first place.

    There is a fundamental incompatibility between writing for a progressive liberal paper, and being an extreme right wing racist. After all, the Guardian is not the Daily Mail!

    The Guardian should certainly not have allowed Aslam to use his employment to disseminate – without any disclosure of the reporter’s extremist political activism – barely disguised propaganda for Hizb ut Tahrir. For example, Aslam wrote uncritical propagandistic pieces of the HuT fronted Begum jilbab case, which disguised his parties role in the affair.

    Having employed this extremist bigot, the Guardian could have moved him to an area of the paper where his vicious politics would not impinge upon the newspapers reporting. They could have got him to write about gardening, cars, or some other more appropriate subject.

    Indeed, my gut feeling is that – as the Guardian knew perfectly well that Aslam was a HuT activist, and what he and that party stand for – the Guardian was fundamentally at fault. It was not as if Aslam concealed his nasty politics. Its just that the Guardian didn’t care about them, until it became embarassing. Objectively speaking, Aslam was not at fault. It was the Guardian which concealed his extremist politics from their readership: not Aslam.

  142. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

    That said, Aslam was a trainee, not a permanent employee.

    Employers are entitled to take trainees on for a short period, and to let them go during a probationary period, if it turns out that the relationship isn’t working out. This happens every day, without comment, in all sorts of industries.

    Fundamentally, the Guardian was at fault: but why should it have to employ somebody whose worldview it realised – belatedly – was at odds with the outlook of a progressive newspaper?

  143. El Cid — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

    Reuters person was not journo

  144. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:35 pm  

    ‘Objectively speaking, Aslam was not at fault. It was the Guardian which concealed his extremist politics from their readership: not Aslam.’

    That was my point.

  145. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:38 pm  

    Strictly speaking the term political correctness has itself become a form of political correctness, instead of presenting an argument about the issues concerned a one-size-fits-all slogan is used to hammer down any opposition. There are no policies or laws that are presented as a tangible link to everything mentioned, rather some vague notion of ‘the madness of the left’ is rolled out.

    Very well said.

  146. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

    The Guardian was still within its rights to sack him. The whole point of taking somebody on as a trainee is that you have no job security.

    The Guardian’s crapness doesn’t translate into an obligation to provide Aslam with a job for life!

    I should add that I was indifferent to Aslam’s employment status. The affair wasn’t about Aslam: it was about the Guardian.

    Aslam is a HuT activist. I expect him to be a racist caliphate-fixated bigot. The Guardian, though, we’d expect to be progressive, and not to knowingly employ somebody with extremist right wing politics.

    As the affair developed, it became clear that key people in the Guardian – although not the (usually correctly maligned) Seaumus Milne – knew that Aslam was a HuT activist. Aslam hadn’t concealed his politics. He made a virtue of them.

    At the point that this became clear, the Guardian should have either sacked him, or moved him to write on neutral matters. Instead, they employed him as, in effect, a key commentator on “young British Muslims”.

    At no point did those commissioning him think: “should we really be providing a platform for this sort of nasty extreme-right wing political perspective?”

    Remember what the Guardian was like at the time: and to some extent still is. Aslam was the exotic “angry” Muslim, who’d turn up and rant pleasingly for the amusement and entertainment of the “liberal” intelligensia, like some kind of dancing boy.

    I’m not exagerating. The Guardian got a vicarious thrill out of association with his extremist politics.

    I remember somebody in the Guardian telling me how a very senior journalist had come up to her – before the Aslam thing broke – and started talking excitedly about Aslam, and how he was a HuT member. She thought it was really cool to have somebody who was almost a genuine revolutionary on the staff.

    The Guardian were, ultimately, right to sack Aslam. It was an editorial move in the right direction.

  147. El Cid — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:54 pm  

    Yeah, agree, it is well said.
    On a lighter note.. I saw something in The Times today…
    It was in the context of a story about the local authority in Newcastle banning the word “pet”. Geordie folk are up in arms about the tofu-eating assult on Geordie culture (maybe you have a view on that Don).
    Anyway, the paper gave a few examples of previous PC excesses.
    There was the one about Hackney — my borough — banning “manholes” and then this one:
    Apparently Leeds council in 2000 banned the use of the words “enthusiastic” and “hardworking” in a job advert in case it caused offence to the disabled.
    Dare you not to giggle

  148. Francis Sedgemore — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:56 pm  

    Some are quoted in the opening post above…

    Maybe, but I would judge a person’s writings on the basis of a few short quotations.

    As it happens, I’ve now read the “lefty lexicon”, and find it offensive. But still this is no cause for suspension and potential dismissal. I’ve just written to Stuart Jackson, head of PR for Orange, as follows:

    “Dear Stuart Jackson

    Until this little local spot of bother with Inigo Wilson and MPAC became international news, I was entirely unfamiliar with Wilson’s writing, but, unfortunately, all too familiar with MPAC, that being the organisation plotting Wilson’s downfall.

    I have no sympathy with Wilson’s politics, but surely this is entirely irrelevant. If I insisted on all those with whom I associate agreeing with my political position, I would be pretty much alone in this world.

    Unless Inigo Wilson has contravened race hate, libel or other laws, what he writes in his blog should be of no concern to his employers. If Wilson were a police officer or other civil servant, it would be a different matter, but even there, individuals should within reason be allowed to publicly express political opinions, even if far from mainstream. Wilson’s lack of political maturity is surely not cause for suspension and potential dismissal.

    Owing to the negative publicity that is now spreading fast around the Internet, Orange may find itself losing far more business than it might have done from MPAC supporters and leftist fellow travellers deciding to boycott its products. You now have a public relations disaster on your hands, and it is all of your company’s making.

    Do you understand what MPAC is? It is a lobby group of young, fundamentalist British Muslims. It is quite unrepresentative of mainstream Muslim opinion in this country, and it’s web discussion forums are as extreme as those of any neo-Nazi organisation. MPAC’s Chairman, Asghar Bukhari, may come across as a reasonable man decrying Islamophobia, calling for understanding of Britain’s Muslim communities, and denouncing the behaviour of those communities’ more unrepresentative leaders, but behind this mask is a political thug. Along with every call from MPAC for understanding comes a thinly-veiled threat.

    Orange has found itself on the receiving end of MPAC’s political thuggery, and has caved in. Please, do the arithmetic, and when you understand that acting against your employee Inigo Wilson will cost you far more than had you ignored the intense lobbying from MPAC, reinstate Wilson and remove any reference to this incident from his employment record. Let Wilson continue his blogging in peace, and allow him to return to the obscurity that he so richly deserves.”

  149. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

    ‘The Guardian’s crapness doesn’t translate into an obligation to provide Aslam with a job for life!’

    OK, OK. They should never have hired him, they had the right to sack him. The major fault was still theirs.

  150. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

    Why not do a piece for CiF, Francis?

  151. El Cid — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:00 pm  

    nice letter

  152. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:01 pm  

    Don

    I agree.

  153. Kismet Hardy — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:22 pm  

    I spent the past seven minutes trying to come up with my own definition type thingy and this is as far as I got…

    Bigot: Someone who likes to be got at

    There’s no point carrying on living is there? Or shall I continue? Ooh I just thought of another one

    New Labour: A stranger that likes to lay, um, bars?

    I’ll go shoot myself now

  154. Bert Preast — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:24 pm  

    Nice letter indeed, Francis. I just pray that no one reads it then mindlessly forwards it like the MPAC complaints templates.

    One of the big problems here is that people who aren’t sure what they’re complaining about should not complain.

  155. John Palubiski — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:29 pm  

    Anonymouse: “The reason I complained and posted the template complaint on the MPAC website is because I am dismayed with the fact that islamophobic anti-muslim sentiment is increasingly acceptable in our media”.

    Anonymouse, the term “islamophobia” deserves nothing but derision. It is a foolish and meaningless term.

    You’re dismayed?

    So am I.

    Why, for instance, is it so acceptable for HUGE numbers of Muslims to promote, through their total absence of opposition, their intransigence and their passive deceit, the indiscriminate and cold blooded murder of so my innocents around the globe, most of whom are Muslims?

    Why all the inter-muslim strife in Iraq, The Sudan Bangladesh and Pakistan, just to name a few?

    Why?

    Or would you rather just dismiss the question altogether and just pitch it in the file labelled “islamophobe”?

    One other thing, when was the last time Islam made the 6 o’clock news for something it had ACTUALLY created or invented or developed or discovered?

    July 10th, 729?

    In fact, of what use, if any, is Islam to humanity?

    When, and only when, MY questions are answered, silly goose, will you have the answer to yours…….

  156. Bert Preast — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:29 pm  

    And anyone who blogs or aspires to blog about anything more interesting than how much ironing they did during Richard and Judy should be emailing Stuart Jackson if they haven’t already done so.

    They might not like Inigo, but neither would they like to find themselves in his shoes one day. Even the thought of it is going to do much to curtail the voices of many enthusiastic amateurs. Arguing politics is a good thing for democracy, not a bad thing.

  157. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:37 pm  

    My own e-mail to Mr Jackson, for what it is worth;

    Sir,

    Having read Mr Wilson’s article I found it to be turgid and unoriginal, but well within the bounds of weblog debate. To attack an internet opponent by going into the ‘real’ world and attempting to destroy his livelihood is despicable and a breach of everything weblog discussion stands for. It is but a small step from threatening family members.

    I assume you are aware that the principle actors in this campaign, MPAC, are an openly racist, anti-semitic pressure group.

    I am very far from sharing Mr Wilson’s politics or sense of humour, but any disciplinary action against him would be to poison the well of free debate.

    Thank you for your time.

  158. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:37 pm  

    DavidT, how did the Guardian come to the view that keeping Aslam was now a liability? What was the campaign and who ran it? Basically how was it done?

    A straight answer would have done. I won’t bother dealing with the political points you make – except to say if the Guardian was in their right to sack him as a trainee – why did they settle with him?

    The other point I picked up – the guy behind it Scott Burgess is supposed to have applied (unsuccessfully) for a job at the Guardian and his CV passed through Mr. Aslam’s hands. Mr Burgess denied this would have motivated him against Mr Aslam. Which has the potential to raise another question about the power of the blog for malicious reasons. (maybe Francis has some thoughts on that).

    Francis, for Orange the damage is done. Regardless of the arithmetic you might think applies. Its a global company, where its getting seriously competitive, with mergers and takeovers, the company valuation will be affected. All this from their PR man.

  159. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:39 pm  

    Bert,

    ‘mindlessly forwards it like the MPAC complaints templates.’

    Yup, hey look how many sheep you pissed off.

  160. Amir — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:42 pm  

    Don,

    If you were criticising fathers who abandon their families, that is one thing. To criticise the families trying to cope with that is entirely inappropriate as a teacher.

    Teacher? I was, if I recall, a pupil (17 yrs old). The incident transpired during a ‘social studies’ lesson [a.k.a. ‘Egalitarian Studies’]

    ‘A blackboard ain’t a soapbox’

    Precisely. That’s what I told my teacher. And guess what? She suspended me.

  161. Sunny — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:49 pm  

    Refresh – It was actually more important for Guardian to get rid of Aslam because he was a HuT member. Would you be happy them employing someone from the BNP? His religion has nothing to do with it.
    http://www.asiansinmedia.org/news/article.php/publishing/1026

  162. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:50 pm  

    Amir,

    OK, confused by ‘tenure’.

    As a sixth former, be as opinionated as you want.

  163. Bert Preast — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:56 pm  

    I just got a form reply from Stuart Jackson. That’s a very good sign that he’s receiving far more emails than he can read.

  164. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 6:57 pm  

    Sunny, the principle we are discussing here is why one should and the other should not be at the centre of a campaign which would mean someone losing their livilihood.

    If dual standards are to apply, or standards are resting on shifting sands in our brave new world – then we should know.

    If the Guardian employed a BNP fellow – then I might consider not buying the paper. And of course letting them know why.

    Renewing an Orange contract can be seen in the same light. No?

  165. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 7:02 pm  

    Refresh,

    You still haven’t specified what was offensive about Wilson’s ham-fisted humour. Offensive enough to justify going for the guy’s job.

  166. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 7:11 pm  

    Don, I haven’t. I’ve over a period, come to some sort of conclusion that trying to address Islamophobia in blogs is a waste of time.

    I’m not interested in going for his job. Not in the least.

    For me Orange are the victim. Inigo is a fool, possibly a racist fool.

    The best thing anyone can do is have a dialogue with Samuel Coates who seemed to be saying that it was unintentional. To me that is a great opening for a constructive dialogue. I gave an example of one situation ‘on the buses’ which was handled deftly and it got across the point that there is more that unites us than divides us.

    In fact I think I might have a dialogue with Samuel myself.

  167. Bert Preast — on 17th August, 2006 at 7:21 pm  

    Refresh – you have every right not to take your custom to Orange, but you don’t have the right to demand that someone is fired because you don’t see eye to eye with their views.

    This whole thing has probably created another 50,000 islamophobes – but they were created by the MPAC reaction, not by the article or by Inigo Wilson.

  168. mirax — on 17th August, 2006 at 7:24 pm  

    Refresh ,
    Since you addressed me directly, I will answer your questions even though I had previously decided not to engage with you.

    >>The basic argument for freedom of speech is to win with rational argument and thought.

    There isn’t just one basic argument for freedom of expression but several. Your definition is lacking as it reduces FOE (almost to the point of meaninglessness) to ‘winning an argument in a certain manner’.

    >>Unless both of you are willing to say there is no such thing as Islamophobia and it isn’t breeding at a considerable rate, then ignore my next question.

    Islamophobia is a newly minted phrase – and like all controversial neologisms, can obscure the issue being discussed ie criticism of Islam (are there any other belief systems with such exclusive protection?) with stigmatisation of muslims . I am against harm done to individuals, but not to ideas, especially religious/political ones.

    Taking a muslim’s (Stephen Schwartz)definition of Islamophobia,

    a. condemnation of the entirety of Islam and its history as extremist
    b. denying the existence of a moderate Muslim majority
    c. regarding Islam as a problem for the world,
    d. treating conflicts involving Muslims as necessarily their own fault,
    e. insisting that Muslims make changes to their religion, and
    f. inciting war against Islam as a whole

    I have reservations about criteria (a), (c) and (f) because they invoke an undefined abstract, ISLAM.

    I think the Runnymede criteria are next to useless as 7 out of the 8 deal with perceived attitudes/ideas about Islam rather than harm or injury done to muslims.

    Have you observed Islamophobia, and if you have, what have you done to counter it?

    Another: if you have – do you want to share it with us so we can get a feel for what you think it is?

  169. mirax — on 17th August, 2006 at 7:27 pm  

    Sorry Refresh, I clicked on the submit button before I finished! Pls disregard this and let me complete and repost the entire thing.

  170. mirax — on 17th August, 2006 at 7:47 pm  

    Refresh ,
    Since you addressed me directly, I will answer your questions even though I had previously decided not to engage with you.

    >>The basic argument for freedom of speech is to win with rational argument and thought.

    There isn’t just one basic argument for freedom of expression but several. Your definition is lacking as it reduces FOE (almost to the point of meaninglessness) to ‘winning an argument in a certain manner’.

    >>Unless both of you are willing to say there is no such thing as Islamophobia and it isn’t breeding at a considerable rate, then ignore my next question.

    Islamophobia is a newly minted phrase – and like all controversial neologisms, can obscure the issue being discussed ie criticism of Islam (are there any other belief systems with such exclusive protection?) with stigmatisation of muslims . I am against harm done to individuals, but not to ideas, especially religious/political ones.

    Taking a muslim’s (Stephen Schwartz)definition of Islamophobia,

    a. condemnation of the entirety of Islam and its history as extremist
    b. denying the existence of a moderate Muslim majority
    c. regarding Islam as a problem for the world,
    d. treating conflicts involving Muslims as necessarily their own fault,
    e. insisting that Muslims make changes to their religion, and
    f. inciting war against Islam as a whole

    I have reservations about criteria (a), (c) and (f) because they invoke an undefined abstract, ISLAM.

    I think the Runnymede criteria are next to useless as 7 out of the 8 deal with perceived attitudes/ideas about Islam rather than harm or injury done to muslims.

    FAIR’s definition which includes the following,

    -attacks, abuse and violence against Muslims
    -attacks on mosques, Islamic centres and Muslim cemeteries
    -discrimination in education, employment, housing, and delivery of goods and services
    -lack of provisions and respect for Muslims in public institutions

    is much better but it could simply have been called anti-muslim prejudice/discrimination.

    >>Have you observed Islamophobia, and if you have, what have you done to counter it?

    I have encountered anti-muslim prejudice a number of times in my ‘real’ life. I consistently speak out against the bigotry when I encounter it, once going so far as to stop talking to certain friend for more than a year because of the way she spoke about muslims. As an atheist I mocked religions but x-tianity and Hinduism, the two closest to me, have been on the receiving end of my bile about 90% of the time. Ironically, I developed more sensitivity towards religious people and now refrain from gratuitous abuse due to my brief stint as a Bahai. Ironic if you know their history.

  171. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 8:10 pm  

    Mirax, I appreciate your response thanks.

    My thoughts are that if bigotry isn’t challenged it becomes a part of all our lives. By challenging it as we come across it we have pushed back reactionaries.

    And similarly if take a pose simply because someone is on the other side we really don’t like then we are unprincipled. I feel that is what is happening when it comes to muslims.

    I’ll take one example (maybe it’ll become two by time I’ve finished). Bert Preast above is asking me a rather silly question – having already seen what I have said of this Inigo Wilson’s job. Now I beleive he thinks I am a muslim and that is the reason he is still pursuing it.

    On another current thread, I am accused of fearing jews under my bed.

    What would be correct would be for others to challenge these sorts of bigotted notions as they arise rather than left hanging. That to me would be more principled.

    I actually have some respect for Francis Sedgemore above where he too says he is offended by Inigo Wilson’s article. He then goes on to justify why he should not get the push.

    To not recognise what is offensive to muslims, because you are not a muslim, is understood. But to continue to have dual standards where one should not have a job but another is being hounded is ludicrous.

    Mirax most of the above wasn’t addressed to you directly by the way.

  172. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 8:47 pm  

    Another reason why he may have problems with his employer:

    From

    Phone mast ‘a health risk’
    Jun 26 2003

    Bracknell News

    ‘Orange spokesman Inigo Wilson said: “There is no evidence of the adverse health effects of mobile phone masts. “If anything the most dangerous health effects come from using handsets rather than from living near masts.’

    http://icberkshire.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0200berkshireheadlines/content_objectid=13109673_method=full_siteid=50102_headline=-Phone-mast–a-health-risk–name_page.html

  173. Francis Sedgemore — on 17th August, 2006 at 9:03 pm  

    Above I meant to write:

    “Maybe, but I wouldn’t judge a person’s writings on the basis of a few short quotations.”

    …and not “would judge…”

    As for David T’s suggestion, I think I will prepare a piece for CiF (and my own blog).

    Which has the potential to raise another question about the power of the blog for malicious reasons. (maybe Francis has some thoughts on that). [Refresh]

    I do, and began to outline them in a piece for CiF last month.

    I don’t think there is much peculiar to blogs that can be used for malicious purposes, but the rapid growth of the medium does give rise for concern. The question is of personal accountability, and the need for private citizens to be as accountable as professional journalists when it comes to the making of public statements. Indeed, I think there should be no distinction in law between citizen and professional journalists.

    The big problem, at least in the UK, is that laws concerning libel and slander serve the wealthy, and make it difficult for others to defend their reputations through the courts.

  174. Leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 9:09 pm  

    I agree regarding the concerns about bloggers and blogging as it’s prominence and dare I say influence grow. That said, bloggers worth their salt should start talking now (and invite their commenters!) about how they see things panning out.

    Far better that we have the conversation now, than it be left to the dead tree media (especially the reactionary end of it)…

  175. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 9:21 pm  

    Francis,

    Interestingly I too have an interest in accountability – from the point of view of technology as well as the advantage of ‘anonymity’.

    Should each commenter be identifiable?

  176. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 9:32 pm  

    Bert

    Just realised what you said:

    “This whole thing has probably created another 50,000 islamophobes – but they were created by the MPAC reaction, not by the article or by Inigo Wilson.”

    For goodness sake, on the one hand you argue that open debate is good for democracy. Then on the other some people choose to exercise their rights as consumers and you’re threatening them with another 50,000 clones.

  177. mirax — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:00 pm  

    Refresh,

    >>My thoughts are that if bigotry isn’t challenged it becomes a part of all our lives. By challenging it as we come across it we have pushed back reactionaries.

    Yes but there is such a thing as picking your battles.

    Inigo Wilson’s opinions, as expressed in that stupid lexicon, are hardly Islamophobic in my view. They are mostly juvenile and simplistic , apart from the part about Palestinians – mildly racist, Israel- highly partisan (he has the right to his opinion). There’s John Palubiski above or old Pickler – much clearer anti-muslim targets but isn’t it a sheer bloody waste of time responding to them, phantom internet voices? Is it possible or even wise to counter every derogatory view?

    If it was me, I’d concentrate on real life discrimination before anything on the web. Seriously.

    On a personal level, I have this strong impression that you take much of what goes on in this blog – a lot of it frequently silly and hysterical – very personally, very much to heart. So much so that you are very predictable in your response: you tend to see a lot of things as ‘muslim’ issues.

    You were quick to accuse me of ethnic profiling because I once used your name as an obviously muslim poster to argue a point of principle. So I am still wary about interacting with you. But I also sense much of your frustration and I do sympathise with that. Just wanted to tell you that.

  178. Don — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:02 pm  

    Refresh,

    ‘open debate is good ‘…’ rights as consumers’

    Bait and switch, man.

    (Just feeling argumentative.)

  179. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:05 pm  

    Just couldn’t resist it, Don.

  180. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:18 pm  

    Mirax, interesting observation.

    And there’s me thinking that every topic on PP ends up being a muslim thing. Except of course the silly threads.

    I think I made that point very early on.

    Also my thoughts on what progressive means don’t always correlate with what flows on PP.

  181. Kismet Hardy — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:37 pm  

    I just made up a joke.

    So this talking halal chicken says to the halal cow: Hey there

    The cow goes: moo

    The chicken goes: you don’t say much

    The cow goes: moo

    The chicken goes: you’re fat, I’m slim

    The cow goes: moo slim

    (needs some work)

  182. leon — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:41 pm  

    Oh dear, your jokes are almost as bad as mine…

  183. mirax — on 17th August, 2006 at 10:42 pm  

    >>And there’s me thinking that every topic on PP ends up being a muslim thing. Except of course the silly threads.

    A slight majority but not all. 60:40, I think. Sunny tries his best to catch the Sikhs and Hindus too. Muslims are very much a part of the social discourse at the moment. Some see it as an opportunity I daresay – in fact some UK hindus are apparently jealous of the attention muslims get. Go figure!

  184. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 11:03 pm  

    Sunny does his best. It’d be interesting to see what happens when you add to your 60:40 figure those that get derailed.

    On your point about challenging bigotry in the real world. I don’t see any. I lead quite a different life to most. But I am conscious that when it spills into the real world it may become uncontrollable.

    And I really feel for those that are at the receiving end. For all the intellectualising about women’s rights, they are usually more exposed to it. And of course children.

  185. David T — on 17th August, 2006 at 11:06 pm  

    Mirax:

    If it was me, I’d concentrate on real life discrimination before anything on the web. Seriously.

    *Applause*

    Refresh

    DavidT, how did the Guardian come to the view that keeping Aslam was now a liability? What was the campaign and who ran it? Basically how was it done?

    There was no campaign. We didn’t encourage people to write to the Guardian, and as far as I know, people didn’t. Scott posted a story at a time that both his blog and ours were writing about the bizarre extremists and apologists for theocracy who were parading across Seamus Milne’s comment pages at the time. We emailed each other a handful of times to congratulate each other on having identified an aspect of the discussion.

    The subject matter of the articles we wrote were the Guardian’s editorial positions and the compact which was developing between extreme Islamists and left liberals.

    As you have seen, this is a theme which has been picked up and discussed widely, and I know that it was an issue that the Guardian considered.

    The other point I picked up – the guy behind it Scott Burgess is supposed to have applied (unsuccessfully) for a job at the Guardian and his CV passed through Mr. Aslam’s hands. Mr Burgess denied this would have motivated him against Mr Aslam. Which has the potential to raise another question about the power of the blog for malicious reasons.

    Er. I think you’ve slightly missed the point. Scott Burgess is, as far as I know, a house husband with a wife who is a successful businesswoman. He’s almost middle aged. He’s a right wing libertarianish guy.

    He has a number of themes, which the two most prominent are:

    (a) The Guardian and the Indy’s politics

    (b) Environmental issues: he focuses on statistical innaccuracies in reports

    He slags off newspaper personalities, and generally gets good stories which expose editors and journalists at their most foolish. His style is pretty biting, and he enjoys mocking them.

    He often corresponds with newspapers, to ask them to print clarifications, or challenge things that have been written.
    Sometimes he pulls stunts, of which one was to apply for a journalism scholarship with the Guardian: the joke being that he was way to old for an internship, and was openly vituperative about the Guardian’s editorial line.

    Do you follow?

  186. Refresh — on 17th August, 2006 at 11:14 pm  

    Thank you DavidT.

  187. mirax — on 17th August, 2006 at 11:22 pm  

    >>On your point about challenging bigotry in the real world. I don’t see any.

    I’m gobsmacked by this observation! No antimuslim bigotry at all? What about other kinds of real-life discrimination? Don’t care?

    >> I lead quite a different life to most.

    So it seems.

    >> But I am conscious that when it spills into the real world it may become uncontrollable.

    So you really think that virtual discussions create the real world rather than the other way round?

    Too matrix like for me, Neo-refresh!

  188. Francis Sedgemore — on 17th August, 2006 at 11:47 pm  

    “Should each commenter be identifiable?” [Refresh]

    Each and every contributor is identifiable, at least to the owner/s of the blogs to which they contribute, so there is always a degree of accountability. If, however, you refer to anonymity, this is another matter entirely, and one to which I see no easy answer.

    Most blog commenters use online names of varying degrees of silliness. Some may be forced to hide their real identities, and although I would prefer that all bloggers and commenters post under their real names, this is clearly not possible. I get the impression, however, that many who do not post under their real names do so in order to avoid being seen in public for the complete and utter tossers they are.

    But the principle of anonymity must be preserved, at least for those cases where the individuals concerned are prevented from writing under their own names. In the case of civil servants, for example, this covers a lot of people, and to deny them a voice renders meaningless the concepts of liberal democracy and the open society.

    “Scott Burgess is, as far as I know, a house husband with a wife who is a successful businesswoman.” [DavidT]

    As a divorced man and political blogger, I envy Scott Burgess in his househusbandness. So much so, in fact, that I would, despite my negative experience of marriage, gladly consider suitable proposals, especially from successful businesswomen.

  189. Bert Preast — on 18th August, 2006 at 12:01 am  

    Refresh – In 172 I was neither asking a question, nor being silly. I made a statement and if you’d rather not comment on it that’s fine – but it doesn’t make it silly.

  190. Refresh — on 18th August, 2006 at 12:06 am  

    Mirax, lets not get silly.

    “I’m gobsmacked by this observation! No antimuslim bigotry at all? What about other kinds of real-life discrimination? Don’t care?”

    I’ve heard about them, it hasn’t happened to me. Not since I was about 13. A very long time ago. Its happened to members of my extended family. But they rarely tell me about them. I guess they’ve become immune to it all.

    So not seen any first hand.

    Care? Its the one thing that is a passion with me.

    The last one I did come across was anti-semitic (from a christian actually). Which was challenged robustly.

    I’ve spoken with directness to a neo-nazi skinhead who was almost twice my size. I think we could have become friends, but didn’t care for his mates.

    I’m quite pleased with the name my parents gave me because that allows jews to see me as a jew, sikhs and hindus see me as one of their own.

    In my work, over the phone I have been taken for a knight of the realm, which always amuses me, friends and colleagues. And it helps getting through the PA filter.

    I used to be diplomatic, but PP shows it doesn’t work – so I’ve tried the other approach, hopefully without being offensive. Also I seem to have developed an impatience – maybe out of frustration you picked up on – so tend to write in a sort of shorthand. I know the posts are still too long.

    As for virtual discussions, they are not quite that are they? Most of them are feeding into one campaign or another.

  191. Bert Preast — on 18th August, 2006 at 12:09 am  

    Refresh – re 182, that’s not at all what I wrote, is it? I stated that the calls for his sacking are what creates the islamophobes, and it’s quite true. Every one of these incidents where groups such as MPAC think they’ve won a victory, what they’ve actually done is create large amounts of resentment. Many, many people believe in the right to criticise islam and you’re not going to change their minds by lynching everyone who criticises islam.

    Open debate is good for democracy, which is why I said it. But when lobby groups go for the real life heads of people expressing opinions contrary to their own that ceases to be open debate. Theo van Gogh put his art up for all to admire or criticise, and what happened to him wasn’t open debate either.

  192. Don — on 18th August, 2006 at 12:13 am  

    ‘…go for the real life heads of people expressing opinions contrary to their own… ‘

    The crux.

  193. Refresh — on 18th August, 2006 at 12:14 am  

    Francis, I understand the site owners can see which IP address is logging in. What I was thinking of was more to do with every user actually having to declare themselves on registration who they really are. But still continue to use whatever username they prefer.

    One concern of course is someone masquerading as someone else for malicious reasons.

  194. Refresh — on 18th August, 2006 at 12:18 am  

    Bert, no you didn’t. But nor had you taken into account what I had already said. Not sure you are accounting for it now.

    Anyway can we leave it now – I’m bored.

  195. mirax — on 18th August, 2006 at 1:24 am  

    >>One concern of course is someone masquerading as someone else for malicious reasons.

    That has happened to me. I recently discovered a post(personally very abusive to clairwil) under my username at clairwil’s blog. The post was definitely created by someone who lurks or posts at PP- and done for malicious reasons. It was at the time of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali controversy during which I only posted at PP. I felt a sense of trepidation as I contacted Clairwil to clarify the matter-I am a stranger to her, why should she believe me?
    It was a relief to find out she had had her suspicions all along about the post as she was discerning enough about my writing style- smart woman! Still, it was an unpleasant discovery.

  196. Francis Sedgemore — on 18th August, 2006 at 2:16 am  

    Refresh

    If push comes to shove (i.e., if it gets legal), it is possible to trace an individual from an IP address and other tagged information. However, I do think that blogs such as Comment is Free should implement a verifiable registration system, and the site Editor, Georgina Henry, knows my view on this as we have corresponded about a number of matters relating to the operation of the site.

    Masquerading is a problem, and, as with mirax above, it has on at least one occasion happened to me.

  197. Sarah Vey — on 22nd August, 2006 at 7:16 pm  

    It’s a real shame that Inigo has to be punished just because muslims don’t “do” irony, and when they can be as insulting as they like online and elsewhere to kufr.

    Authoritarians are hardly renowned for their sense of humour and islam is authoritarian and can brook no disagreement. Perhaps the best way to get to the more extreme muslims is to laugh or poke fun at them – in fact to do just as Inigo did.

    muslims rant about the extent of Jewish power. I hadn’t realised that theirs extended to putting the squeeze on Orange. I guess that it’s Orange’s fault for caving in. Perhaps they should rebrand themselves as Yellow

  198. Bilal Patel — on 28th August, 2006 at 11:30 pm  

    I’m guessing at Orange’s motives for suspending him, but I’d guess they are:

    (a) That his credibility as a ‘community affairs’ person has gone out of the window, rendering him useless, and

    (b) There are plenty of Orange Muslim customers who would feel offended enough to move to a rival network as a result of his blog, which Orange doesn’t want.

    Orange is a private corporation and is driven by the profit motive. In that, you cannot blame customers for pointing out something that they feel strong enough about to complain about.

    Secondly, I reckon this issue is more about balance and consistency than anything else. Irrespective of the rights or wrongs or suspending or sacking this bloke, people have been sacked and suspended for making remarks about other groups that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow had the same thing been said about Muslims in this current climate.

    Remember when the Boards of Deputies of British Jews got all uppity about Ken’s remark to that Evening Standard reporter Sarah? It goes both ways.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.