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  • Technorati: graph / links

    She won’t play the black swan


    by Rohin
    2nd January, 2007 at 12:47 am    

    In Swan Lake, the evil Sorceror Von Rothbart tricks the hero Prince Siegfried into falling for his daughter Odile. She is the black swan - opposite number to Odette, the ballet’s heroine.

    In ballet it’s pretty straightforward. White - good; black - bad. Perhaps Simone Clarke got confused.

    To the uninitiated, Clarke - the Sugar Plum Fairy in the English National Ballet’s Nutcracker - has been ‘exposed’ as a card-carrying BNP member by the Grauniad. The story has received widespread press coverage so I shan’t re-tread the basic facts (may I suggest the Times piece as a good summary).

    However what has been interesting is the reaction from various publications and blogs. Tim Worstall dissects the Guardian’s own take on events today. One of the main messages he conveys is echoed by just about everyone - that we are free to think and do as we like, within the law, in our private lives.

    Of course we are. But should the ENB be taken to task, as some suggest:

    “The company, which is publicly funded and is therefore obliged by the Race Relations Act of 2000 to promote good race relations, will be asked to explain how one of its highest profile employees was able to use her position as a platform for the far right party.”

    Or should they be allowed to employ whoever they see fit?

    Commenters on CiF are worried that the column inches surrounding Ms. Clarke’s predicament will attract new BNP supporters, particularly if she is given the boot. I agree that if she were sacked simply for joining the BNP, that would serve to only create sympathy and be counter-productive. Indeed, I worry that even if she were to resign now, it would have the same effect.

    The question I am struggling with is one dismissed as a no-brainer by bloggers - should the fact that Clarke is a BNP member affect my appreciation of her dancing?

    Where this has been asked before, people react by p’shawing and piffing, but is it that easy to ignore her views? I am probably in the minority of people writing about her that have actually seen her perform. She’s a great dancer and I can acknowledge that even if she were a Nazi. But would I enjoy watching her dance now I know she isn’t keen on me being in this country? Not so sure.

    Then again, she doesn’t seem too sure about much.

    One of the fantastic things about the dance world is that it is effortlessly international. A spokesman for the ENB, when trying to down-play Clarke’s BNP status, said the ENB is proud to have 19 nationalities amongst its cast. Indeed nine of the eleven principals currently at the ENB are immigrants.

    Clarke’s partner of five years and baby-daddy, Yat-Sen Chang, is a Cuban-Chinese dancer. She joined the BNP after reading the manifesto:

    “I am not too proud to say that a lot of it went over my head but some of the things they mentioned were the things I think about all the time, mainly mass immigration, crime and increased taxes. I paid my £25 there and then”

    Aw, I think she’s just a bit dumb, bless.

    Dance blogs raise the valid point that young ballerinas model themselves deliberately on famous and successful dancers like Clarke.

    Well. Just think what’s happening at BNP HQ:

    The British National Party is facing calls to expel one of its members over allegations that she is a ballerina. Simone Clarke, a BNP supporter, was recently ‘outed’ by the Guardian as being a member of the English National Ballet. She is due to take the lead in a production of Giselle at the London Coliseum next week.

    Doug Ramsbottom, a local BNP organiser in Bootle, said he was appalled by Ms Clarke’s behaviour. Speaking shortly after getting his head shaved, he told DeadBrain: “I’ve always believed that what someone gets up to in the privacy of their own home is their business, so long as they’re not a Paki or a poof. But prancing around in a tutu in front of people? She’s an embarrassment to the party.” [Link]

    The joke might not be that far from the truth. The BNP website specifically details that the party does not accept people like Clarke:

    Do I regard someone who is married to or living with a partner of another race as a suitable member or candidate for the BNP? No, because by their choice they have clearly shown that they do not share our most fundamental values. They might agree with everything else we stand for, but they would have to be asked to keep a respectful distance. [Link]

    [on why races shouldn't mix]…Nor even does it mean that we think that it is a good thing for even a single person of European stock to have so much as one child with a Japanese or Chinese. We do not, because such a union mixes what are not meant to be mixed. [Link]

    The British National Party stands for the preservation of the national and ethnic character of the British people and is wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples. [Link]

    Oh dear, the BNP is making yet more compromises in exchange for votes and popular support. Any self-respecting liberal should be campaigning for the BNP to expel Clarke, not the ENB.


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    Filed in: Culture,Race politics,The BNP






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    1. Schuldsanering voor de schuldenaar

      Geen schulden meer…

      Een leven zonder schulden en schuldeisers…




    1. mirax — on 2nd January, 2007 at 3:18 am  

      Seems that there are logical inconsistencies all around - Clarke seems spectacularly stupid rather than evil, the BNP has yet to realise the utter futility of its own race policy ans the likes of the Guardian and Lee Jasper are scoring own goals.

      She cannot be sacked for her views and party affiliation - that’s illegal. The ENB is in a right mess if it is to be forced to ascertain its dancers’ politics and ethics are of the right mien before all else.

      Those fearful of young dancers being influenced by Clarke’s politics should get a grip on reality : there are many other adults in these kids’ universe who can also contribute their scathing views of Clarkes’ naive and somewhat petulant political choice and provide counter-influence if they so wish. It’d be quite simple to point out the ballet world itself, the ENB first, would shrivel and die if those of the BNP persuasion were to run it.

      Finally. members of the audience who feel unable to ‘enjoy’ Clarke’s dancing in the light of her now known views should probably stay home. Horrors, one of the pricipals may be a racist. Who knows what the other principals get up to in their free time, eh? I wonder if the chinese-cuban boyfriend perceives each of Clarke’s performance as a personal indictman of himself?

      But I agree that the best policy to pursue is to pressurise the BNP to expel Clarke if she doesn’t IMMEDIATELY give up her non-white partner and miscegenated child.

    2. Sunny — on 2nd January, 2007 at 4:23 am  

      Heh, quite an interesting controversy and story. There are somany inter-mingling stances on this that I’m going to try and cover a few briefly.

      1) The BNP, Tim Worstall says, is leftist party because it is economically on the left. Sure, and so was Hitler. But they are socially on the right and that is after all the main reason they are popular - on the basis of their socially conservative and racist policies. After all, the BNP’s policies are only the logical progression of what the Conservative party was openlyespousing until very recently.

      So the BNP remains a far-right party in my view.

      2) We need a consistent policy on who gets fired for showing what kind of views. And on this Lee Jasper doesn’t really help.

      My view is simply that if any person discriminates against others on the basis of sex, religion, race, sexual orientation etc - they are on grounds of being fired. If they’re simply a performer such as this ballerina, a puppet more than a puppet master, then I’m not fussed either way. They should simply not be in any positions of power.
      The same policy should apply to members of Islamist groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, and I’d like to see more on the free speech bandwagon publicly speak out on defending their right to their opinions and work whereever they want to (under the same conditions mentioned above).

      3) On BNP recruitment - I’m not so convinced people are so easily attracted to BNP membership. It sounds like one of those big scares but if we look at BNP membership numbers (which I’ve covered here recently), they have actually fallen in recent years than risen. The far-right is in dissarray (fighting amongst diff factions) despite the open goal offered by extremist Muslims.

      Across blogs, people randomly turn up on these stories saying:

      Not a clue about the BNP till the Ballerina story broke.

      Out of curiosity took a look at the website.Seems they are just saying what we are thinking.

      Hah! I can spot dumb trolls a mile off. So anyway, I want evidence that having a ballerina, who is confused anyway, and all this coverage is boosting BNP membership. I think there are other more structural reasons that do instead. Will cover this later when I get back.

      All in all, a funny story though. A good scoop for the Guardian.

    3. Tahir — on 2nd January, 2007 at 5:05 am  

      Interesting story - should we not enjoy artists performance because of their political beliefs. I say it’s better to not to know - otherwise we would have to self-censor ourselves from a great deal of contemporary entertainment.

      But where a govt or regime is at issue for human rights violations on a MASSIVE scale - I would stand firm and say not to take part in spectating (sports) or tourism. I think there is a difference here - of a greater scale, and we have South Africa as a proof to see why our actions might matter here.

      But simply moaning about the BNP ballerina - not important enough to me.

      On the point of whether BNP is left or right… let’s see - the political spectrum is a circle - and in the end both extreme right and left find a happy meeting in fascism so question isn’t about being left or right.

    4. Nick — on 2nd January, 2007 at 8:35 am  

      From the age of about 6 dancers dance and that’s all they do. They are the most closseted (and dimmest/ dullest) people I’ve ever met. Not that this is an excuse, but it explains a lot…

    5. Riz — on 2nd January, 2007 at 10:06 am  

      ‘The British National Party stands for the preservation of the national and ethnic character of the British people’

      ..hah, when I first read this sentence, I subconsciously changed ‘preservation’ to ‘perversion’ and had to re-read !

      As Mr T would say, ‘I pity the poor dancer and her small bird brain’.

    6. Bert Preast — on 2nd January, 2007 at 11:06 am  

      “will be asked to explain how one of its highest profile employees was able to use her position as a platform for the far right party.””

      How did she do that?

    7. Riz — on 2nd January, 2007 at 11:57 am  

      … transmitting subliminal anti Johnny Foreigner messages through the universal language of dance, perhaps?

    8. Bert Preast — on 2nd January, 2007 at 12:14 pm  

      Groovy.

    9. Taj — on 2nd January, 2007 at 12:23 pm  

      “will be asked to explain how one of its highest profile employees was able to use her position as a platform for the far right party.”

      Seems to be a little from column A, a little from column B here. She was outed as a BNP supporter first rather than shouting it out from the rooftops; however, she has subsequently been fairly vocal.

      I suppose the most famous example of dodgy political artists is Wagner (although I’m not sure he ever scored a ballet). His rabble-rousing anti-Semitism has left difficult issues for many of those who enjoy his music. And the problem with music and dance is that (in their pure states) they operate in a slightly different realm to art forms encoded within language. So, you might be able to pick up more explicit political references in someone’s writing; however, in dance, it could be harder to come up with a more concrete interpretation.
      I realise that these are slightly woolly statements I making, but I really want to get around to saying this: maybe prior suggestions play a great role in how you interpret a work of art. For example, now (even though she’s not a choreographer) people are going to start reading all sorts of things into Ms Clarke’s performances (I would recommend that she avoids doing any action similar to a Hitler salute). The same thing happened to Leni Reifenstal after the Second World War; every photograph she took was scoured for examples of Nazi ideology. I imagine that, if Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti writes a new play, it will also be parsed for references to the Bhezti affair.
      I went onto the Bhezti debate deliberately, because I believe that this is another censorship issue. The question really is: should we allow Ms Clarke to continue performing? First of all, it’s probably best to mention that the BNP is not an illegal party; despite their views and despite their murky activities, they have not been banned. So the legality of firing someone for being a member of an allowed (though not exactly admired) political party might be suspect. There are many BNP supporters in this country who have not been sacked for their political affiliations.
      However, Ms CLarke works for the English National Ballet, and this raises several issues. Firstly, there is the fact that the ENB is signed up with various race relations and diversity initiatives; its funding depends on its being non-prejudical in regards to race and nationality. The BNP, however, can hardly be regarded as a paragon in this field; yet it escapes being banned by skirting such issues, using coded language and exploiting loopholes. Consequently, you have situation where two opposing sides (the ENB and its support for race relations initiatives; Ms Clarke and her support for the BNP) are placed in the same space; both are legally accepted, but both are essentially in conflict with each other.
      This brings me to the purpose of the ENB. It’s the ENGLISH National Ballet; so it seems highly symbolic that you’ve got this struggle for the soul of England taking place in such a cultural institution.
      Whilst I’m no expert on dance, I believe that there is a communicative element to all art forms. However, as I mentioned above, these lines of communication are not always clear. Regardless of whether Ms Clarke leaves the ENB or not, I believe she has now muddied the waters for her dancing career. She has become the BNP ballerina, and that will stay as a barrier between her and much of her audience.

    10. Kismet Hardy in net cafe — on 2nd January, 2007 at 12:57 pm  

      The suggestion that only toff nosed public school whiteys enjoy ballet is ridiculous. In fact, you’ll find the artform is promoted loudly mostly by large drunk Sikh men from here to Punjab on a regular basis as they proudly cry: ‘oh balle, balle’

      See?

    11. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 2:12 pm  

      I love this story. Though I reckon she’s just a bit dim witted more than anything else.

      But she’s attractive and gamine too. For some reason, the thought of a prim and posh prancing slim beauty joining a party of swaggering neanderthal racist oafs makes me smile more than anything else.

      Nevertheless, someone should go to the ballet and watch her dance to check if any of her dance moves are made in a racist manner, for example, whether through her en pointe and a la seconde, her arrière, twirl and splits, she might be making dance moves that subliminally spell out a pro BNP message — for example as she dances the sugar plum fairy, her gestures could be spelling out ‘G-O H-O-M-E P-A-K-I-S’, thus influencing the Covent Garden crowd to take a hardline stance on us, or beat up the owner of their newspaper stand just outside Knightbridge underground station, which their chauffeurs drop them off at, after the performance.

    12. Jai — on 2nd January, 2007 at 2:44 pm  

      Jagdeep, you have a suspicious level of knowledge of ballet terminology. It looks like “tutu” isn’t just the name of a well-known African personality and ex-King’s College London alumnus as far as you’re concerned…..

      Yes yes, I know, “My wife told me about it”. That’s how it all begins. First you start with the lingo, then you’re peering at the male dancers’ lunchboxes through a pair of opera glasses, and the next thing you know you’re sneaking off to do crafty pirouettes on your kitchen lino while the rest of the family’s watching Strictly Come Dancing…..

    13. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 2:54 pm  

      Jai - it’s called ‘Wikipedia’

    14. Roger — on 2nd January, 2007 at 2:58 pm  

      The only reason we have learned about Ms Clarke’s rather eccentric and contradictory politico-racial views is because the Guardian made them public in the first place, so it’s hypocritical of them to complain about them now. As a dancer her skills are obviously in her feet, not in her intellect.

    15. Jai — on 2nd January, 2007 at 3:04 pm  

      Yes, yes Jagdeep — whatever you say ;)

      It reminds me of an old Goodness Gracious Me sketch called “Punjabis on Ice”, where they had a couple of Sikh guys (played by Kulvinder Ghir etc) sliding around on their, er, kitchen lino while trying to pirouette around…..

      Anyway, back to our somewhat confused ballet queen…..No I don’t mean Rohin…..

    16. steve r — on 2nd January, 2007 at 4:10 pm  

      Wasn’t there a time when the Guardian found McCarthyism and the Blacklist repugnant? Well, now they actively promote them.

    17. Tahir — on 2nd January, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

      Can you explain? How to they promote them now? Do you mean witch-hunts generally?

    18. Katy — on 2nd January, 2007 at 4:16 pm  

      It is vaguely amusing to out a dancer who has been relatively discreet about her political stance and then accuse her of using ballet to publicise it.

      I don’t think that she should be sacked for her political views. In fact I agree with Mirax that she probably can’t be. But as Rohin said, it does spoil her performance for me, if I’m honest. When I was a kid I read Roald Dahl and T S Eliot and enjoyed both - it turns out that both were quite antisemitic. As an adult, I still respect them as authors, and I would buy the books for my kids, but the fact that they were antisemitic does spoil the books for me a bit, even though the books themselves were in no way antisemitic (apart from that bit in The Wasteland about the Jew underneath the rat or whatever it was. Bad T S Eliot! Bad! Bad!).

    19. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 4:28 pm  

      I think the anti-semitic TS Eliot poem which referenced the rats was “Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar”, Katy.

      No doubt MPACUK will be publishing it on their website soon.

      Anyway, the best thing about this story is that ballet company she dances for has nine immigrants dancing beside her, and she has a child from a Chinese-Cuban, and yet she hates immigrants. Of course she shouldnt be sacked for her membership of the BNP, but she should be gently mocked and teased about it.

    20. Katy — on 2nd January, 2007 at 4:47 pm  

      The very one. And there is another one about Jews squatting on windowsills. But you know, I just went off to look up T S Eliot and whilst his poems are considered to be antisemitic, it also appears that he assisted in rehoming homeless Jews during or after the war. Sometimes you can be prejudiced and compassionate at the same time, I suppose.

    21. Roger — on 2nd January, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

      Christopher Ricks in T. S. Eliot and prejudice has a very interesting discussion of Eliot’s prejudices, Katy. all the same, how can Ms. Clark’s prejudices affect the way she dances in the way that Eliot’s affected the way he wrote?
      It was entertaining to see Bunglawala saying this would “taint the ENB in the eyes of many minority communities”. The ENB is surely irrevocably tainted in muslim eyes by the fact that unislamically dressed women dance to music in close proximity to men. They could only get worse in muslim eyes if they put on a ballet of “the Three Little Pigs” sponsored by a brewery.

    22. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 4:56 pm  

      Blimey, Bunglawala has become the default spokesman for ‘many of Britian’s minority communities’ now, has he?

      Like I said Roger, her dancing should be examined by a group of individuals capable and trained in identifying subliminal semaphore messages in the art of ballet to see if she spreads messages like ‘I H-A-T-E P-A-K-I-S’ or ‘V-O-T-E B-N-P’ by crafty design

      If not, of course she shouldnt be sacked, but she can still be ridiculed, especially given that she dances for a ballet company full of immigrants.

    23. Roger — on 2nd January, 2007 at 4:56 pm  

      You can have contradictory prejudices, Katy: Harold Nicolson acknowledged that his sincere hatred of antisemitism didn’t affect his own antisemitism. When Eliot first expressed antisemitism it didn’t have the same horrible effects in England that it did elsewhere. There’s a strange history of antisemitism as a convention of English literature without having much connection with the authors’ own opinions which I think Eliot tied himself onto.

    24. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 5:27 pm  

      Roger, I reckon it’s more to do with a guilty conscience of an intelligent man.

      Reducing bigotry as understandable due to being tempted by an excusable, jolly-unfortunate-but-in-the-circumstances-understandable English literary convention, is a cop out.

    25. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 5:51 pm  

      I mean, I was referring to Roger’s comments about Harold Nicholson and TS Eliot regarding the guilty conscience of an intelligent man - being a racist, yet being aware of their racism, is I suppose a reason for pity of some passing kind. But making them victims (they were simply reflecting the prejudices of the day! They were victims of XYZ literary and social convention etc etc) is just distasteful, and a little pathetic.

    26. Chairwoman — on 2nd January, 2007 at 6:13 pm  

      Roger - I’m sorry to disillusion you, but T.S was a raving antisemite. Not just your common or garden British ‘Not like us’ kind of antisemite where they were so polite to Jews (Rothschilds and Sebag-Montefiores excepted, of course)that it verged on rudeness, but the complete dregs of humanity, hook-nosed, money-grubbing, filthy scum variety.

    27. Roger — on 2nd January, 2007 at 6:21 pm  

      I didn’t say victims, Jagdeep, nor did I say understandable. In each case we can find reasons and understand a little, but that doesn’t necessarily make it more forgivable either. The antisemitism of Bage or Peacock or Shelley- or Eliot- which wasn’t an unthinking bigotry in the way that some writers’ antisemitism was, but a convention- a kind of game- may actually have been more contemptible because less sincere.
      I think that Eliot’s antisemitism is an example of what happens when people assume opinions unthinkingly as part of a persona without properly thinking about the opinions. Eliot himself was personally not antisemitic except in a blank and abstract way in his writings only- something that went with the image he made of himself.
      Nicolson’s attitude is a kind of triumph of decency- even if we cannot overcome our prejudices we can recognise and resist them. It was an early learned prejudice overcomne by will even if it could not be eradicated. I don’t think anyone knew of his antisemitism until after his death.
      The important thing here is that both Eliot and Nicolsom were public intellectuals of one sort or another. They worked with ideas and words and they can be- should be- held responsible for the words they used and the thoughts they expressed. Clarke may be a damned fool in her ideas and thoughts and it doesn’t make any difference; with Eliot and Nicolson it does.

      “Must a man stand by what he says
      As he stands by his camp-bed or his weaponry
      Or shell-shocked comrades as they sag and cry?”
      Geoffrey Hill asked.

      The answer is “Yes” if what you say is what you live by and others respect you for; a dancer is more fortunate. You cannot be held responsible for how you dance in the same way you can be held to what you say and if your job is saying things you should think more carefully before you speak than other people do.

    28. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 6:29 pm  

      Roger

      The interesting thing about TS Eliot is that the poems he wrote were startlingly, crudely racist. Philip Larkin may have hated ‘Pakis’ and ‘Niggers’ in his private correspondence, but he never wrote a poem expressing that. Eliot really did write poems depicting squatting, cigar chomping, fur coated, greasy Jews — and the rat imagery, in the light of Nazi ‘Judenraus’ propaganda, is what makes it even more amazing.

    29. Jai — on 2nd January, 2007 at 6:35 pm  

      =>”her dancing should be examined by a group of individuals capable and trained in identifying subliminal semaphore messages in the art of ballet to see if she spreads messages like ‘I H-A-T-E P-A-K-I-S’ or ‘V-O-T-E B-N-P’ by crafty design”

      Get someone to check her hand gestures. She could be using sign language, like a Bharatnatyam dancer. Except that, unlike stories depicting the Ramayana, she’s actually sending signals such as the above.

    30. Anas — on 2nd January, 2007 at 6:40 pm  

      “I am not too proud to say that a lot of it went over my head but some of the things they mentioned were the things I think about all the time, mainly mass immigration, crime and increased taxes. I paid my £25 there and then”

      OMG did she really admit that she was intellectually intimidated by a BNP manifesto? How low does your IQ have to be for you to be too thick for a fucking BNP manifesto? Surely, given her abnormally low mental capacities, a)the whole thing’s a bit of a one-off, and the story doesn’t signal any sort of trend and, b)she’s on dangerous ground with her belief in racial purity since with her borderline retarded IQ she’s hardly a desirable addition to any gene pool.

    31. Roger — on 2nd January, 2007 at 6:49 pm  

      Are you thinking of Ezra Pound, Chairwoman?
      He did go in for diatribes against “the yids”. Except in his writings, though, Eliot wasn’t antisemitic and what he wrote is more complicated.

      Don’t have time to deal with it fully, Jagdeep, and I’d have to reread his letters, which are desperately depresing, but Larkin’s racism was also complicated- it seems often to have been a competition in who could be “less PC” with some of his friends in letters; equally, he could insist on appointing a black poet as a visiting professor at Hull because they were the best-qualified candidate.

      With Eliot it’s important to remember that he wrote under personae. The most offensive lines- “and the jew the owner squatting on the window sill” etc- from Gerontion are from a dramatic monologue. The speaker isn’t Eliot himself but an imagined character- you might as well cite Iago to claim shaespeare was a racist. Eliot’s other poems do not involve Eliot speaking in propria persona. He is detached from all of the poems and the opinions expressed in them in a way that Larkin- say- often isn’t. There aren’t many examples, in fact- a few in the poems and the “free-thinking jews” remark in After Strange Gods, which Eliot refused to reprint.
      Again, this is not a defence but an attempt to look clinically at what Eliot said- which is one thing- and what Eliot thought- which is another.

    32. Anas — on 2nd January, 2007 at 6:53 pm  

      We do not, because such a union mixes what are not meant to be mixed, destroys two ancient family lines, and undermines two equally great but entirely separate cultures.

      If the BNP really want to preserve British heritage maybe they should start by learning how to speak fucking English.

    33. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 7:04 pm  

      Shakespeare is interesting in this debate because of Shylock, who is probably a more relevant counterpoint than Iago. The Merchant of Venice is a very disturbing play, yet he does give Shylock amidst the problematic Jew-baiting the famous speech hath not a Jew….So where do we locate Shakespeare in that?

      It is problematic. I see a similar problem with Eliot, because despite the observations of those who knew him of not seeming anti-semitic in person, and despite Gerontion being written as a monologue, it still troubles to read in ‘Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar’, writing about Venice:

      The rats are underneath the piles. / The Jew is underneath the lot”

      There are a couple of other examples. Anyway, none of this matters in strictly literary terms. TS Eliot was a great poet and nothing can detract from that. But it is an interesting debate.

      Interesting counterpoint to his work was that of Joyce, Eliot’s contemporary, who made the hero of Ulysses an Irish Jew.

    34. Sahil — on 2nd January, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

      Wow Jagdeep you really know your poetry, is it for the misses :)

    35. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 7:16 pm  

      I am studying English literature part time through the Open University. It was between history or English. Only takes a few hours out of your week. I would advise anyone with an interest to do some course on the Open University, keep your mind active in your thirties.

    36. Katy — on 2nd January, 2007 at 7:19 pm  

      Eliot’s contemporaries thought that he was antisemitic, although not vehemently. But it doesn’t matter. I still enjoy the poetry, I just think it is a shame.

    37. Chairwoman — on 2nd January, 2007 at 8:08 pm  

      Jagdeep - I am ashamed to say that I signed up for the OU, history by the way, paid fees for a year, and didn’t even open the boxes, let alone the books.

      I salute you.

    38. ZinZin — on 2nd January, 2007 at 8:38 pm  

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1076313,00.html

      Its Gary Younge but read it and laugh.

      Heres the conclusion.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,1076999,00.html

    39. Jagdeep — on 2nd January, 2007 at 9:36 pm  

      Chairwoman, believe me, you need something to do separate from everything else, to focus the mind, and have a little space for your own achievment and something to aim for! It helps keep you sane.

    40. Sunny — on 2nd January, 2007 at 9:56 pm  

      Gary done him! heh!

    41. eleutheria — on 2nd January, 2007 at 10:09 pm  

      That Guardian article really wound me up, for two reasons.

      First, the only reason she’s a ballerina known for her views (which is the Guardians’ complaint) is because the Guardian exposed her as a BNP supporter. If she were a teacher and skewing history or politics lessons, they might have a case…

      Second, it makes very grave presumptions. I could argue that Labour is racist (Iraq War, immigration, taking reactionary theocrats to be representative of ‘communities’ - take your pick according to your politics) and that publicly-funded agencies shouldn’t hire Labour supporters, either. What then?

      I’d happily employ a BNP supporter or a member of the MCB. But if either of them spouted off hate at work, or refused to work with gay people black people or Jewish people, then I’d give them their P45.

    42. El Cid — on 2nd January, 2007 at 10:34 pm  

      I know what you’re saying eleutheria. Racists do have rights.
      However, do you think that a known racist can be employed as a public servant such as a teacher, prison officer, judge, or police officer? I think not. Ballet dancers are another thing.

      Still, I feel sorry for ballet fans. Will they be cast as racist if they continue to pack out her performances? But what if she is simply the best at what she does? Don’t ask me. I haven’t got a clue, although I did take Mrs Cid when we were courting :)

    43. El Cid — on 2nd January, 2007 at 10:49 pm  

      Ha Ha. I mean, took her to the ballet.

    44. eleutheria — on 2nd January, 2007 at 11:03 pm  

      Hi, El Cid.

      No, a known racist shouldn’t be employed in those positions, if this can be evidenced during recruitment (by which I mean you can’t just refuse employment because someone’s got a crewcut or a Union Flag tattoo). You can test this to some extent by asking candidates what they understand by equal opportunities or diversity or how they’d react in a certain situation. Nonetheless, there will be a few BNP supporters who aren’t racist (though a little misguided) and many more people who make racist assumptions all the time but think the BNP are scum. Many of these people find work. It’s only a problem when it affects their work and a company hasn’t got decent policies, procedures, line managers or HR - or whistleblowers - to stop it. And then it starts getting institutional.

      It’s possible that a prison officer who’s in the BNP but who doesn’t sound off at work might actually do less damage than a well-meaning right-on teacher who has what are actually racist assumptions about people’s skills and educational needs.

      In short, I meant to say that membership of a group or party doesn’t necessarily imply endorsement of everything that group stands for, nor does it imply that someone will come out with unsavoury stuff at work. The BNP may well stand for some unsavoury stuff, but then most Christian churches wouldn’t pass a decent diversity policy anyway, but we shouldn’t refuse to employ Christians point blank. Unless it’s Stephen Green, of course…

      Even shorter, I don’t think people should be sacked for being members of legal organisations like the BNP. Sack them for their behaviour, not their affiliations.

    45. William — on 2nd January, 2007 at 11:36 pm  

      Must admit I saw a peice about this somewhere and just couldn’t take Simone Clark seriously. I’m sure she is just naive. (or is that dangerous )Maybe if she had been shown wearing an Arrington coat and shaved head it might be different.

      On the other hand I wonder if she might be recruited by the BNP to give out some kind of secret message. I’m sure they all where tights behind closed doors!!

    46. Anas — on 3rd January, 2007 at 12:51 am  

      How can anyone take the opinions of someone so stupid so seriously? The woman’s obviously an idiot, please treat her views accordingly.

    47. Amir — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:17 am  

      Sunny,

      “After all, the BNP’s policies are only the logical progression of what the Conservative party was openlyespousing until very recently.”

      OKAY. Now I regret voting for you and your bloated Ego on the CIF pole – which, let me remind you, was rigged by a corrupt (albeit adorable) Pakistani. Peter Tatchell was robbed by Raz.

      I know a lot of people who have been fooled by the BNP, and I know why. It is because the mainstream parties have lied about immigration, and smeared anyone who has challenged them with outrageous charges of “racism.” Left-wing commentators, bloggers, essayists, journalists and newspapers have done exactly the same thing. Over and over again. They lie and lie and lie.

      And people are so sick of YOU and your ilk and your lies, and so sick of being called “racists” when they are clearly not, that when they see the BNP called the same rude names that they have been called, they think the BNP must be on their side.

      To suggest that the Conservative Party’s policies were “more or less” like the BNP’s is dishonest in the extreme. It displays, moreover, a profound ignorance of basic political facts. Mass immigration has suited governments of right-wing persuasion for many years, not just in Britain but in North America and continental Europe as well. It creates a sub-proletarian underclass of people who will work for low wages and avoid the strict minimum wage, health and safety and other regulations which have been imposed on employers by governments paying debts to trade union supporters or obeying EU dictat. It also solves another problem, which would otherwise paralyse society. Once you have a welfare state which pays large numbers of people generously to do fuck-all, and which educates many of them so poorly that no employer will want to employ them, how can you persuade anyone to do the jobs at the bottom, which are both demeaning and very badly-paid, but which require industry and initiative nonetheless?

      In the short term therefore mass immigration has obvious benefits. But it also racks up huge social costs. Encouraged to maintain their home cultures, new arrivals will naturally begin to change the areas in which they settle, so as to be more like home for them – and incidentally less like home for those already there. “We,” basically, are the ones who get shafted. It is our culture, our language and religious heritage, our aesthetics and iconography that get slowly but surely eroded. I mean – really!? Do you honestly expect us to keep quiet about it? “I-don’t-fucking-think-so” springs to mind.

      It doesn’t stop there either. Immigrants vote overwhelmingly for left-wing candidates, and left-wing candidates, once elected, will do everything in their power to raise taxes and expand government programs and entitlements. They seek to bless their constituency with affirmative action programs (aka, “positive discrimination”), ethnic quotas, foreign-language maintenance programs, socialist and race-conscious school curricula, and every other politically-correct institution that has any potential for transforming their local areas into miniature versions of Bombay or Budapest.

      The same applies to trade unions. Traditionally they used to be the biggest opponents of immigration. But not any more. Ho ho ho! Most of them now endorse every open-borders proposal that comes along. Why? Because they too have identified their natural constituency: unskilled, politically unsophisticated workers, just waiting to be organized in support of higher minimum wage laws, universal social welfare, and whatever other multicultural demand the unions want to make.

      Proponents of mass immigration also seem to think that the only people who will enter British borders are those with the honourable intention of working and supporting themselves. Yet there are other immigrants – such as, for instance, the tens of thousands of nonworking relatives of the already-immigrated; and the criminal class that is already migrated here in enormous numbers. Why, all of a sudden, is it considered “Powellite” to tell the truth about UNDESIRABLES who we’re encouraging to enter into our community?

      Still, the most convincing argument against mass immigration is a normative one. A nation’s laws and customs are the framework in which its people live their lives. Life involves enormous investment of time and effort. It requires a framework. It requires stability and continuity. It requires a certain amount of predictability. It requires the ability to say, “Well, I will buy a home in Tower Hamlets” – without worrying about the possibility that Canary Wharf may soon be overwhelmed by Somalians who hate Jews, homosexuals, pork, pornography, white people, Synagogues, alcohol, female emancipation and short skirts.

      If the purpose of a State is to protect its people’s liberty, its protection requires the exclusion of people whose ill-advised decisions might endanger liberty’s protective mechanisms. No one has the right to move to our country and destroy its freedom. But this is precisely what happens when people who are unused to the ways and values of individual liberty, or who disapprove of it, swing the balance of national (or local) decisions.

      Amir

    48. Roger — on 3rd January, 2007 at 9:22 am  

      Jagdeep & Katy:
      There is antisemitism in Eliot’s poems, but that does not mean Eliot himself was personally antisemitic; as I said, it was a rather nasty game or convention that people played in literature at the time and long before. Ricks’s book has some fascinating insights and changed the way I looked at poems. There’s also a poem- To T. S. Eliot- by Emmanuel Litvinoff which takes him on head-on. Eliot also wrote obscene racist comic verse as a student- the US equivalent of rugby songs.
      It’s interesting- and a sign of hope, I think- how very quickly racist assumptions that had been commonplace for hundreds of years have become unacceptable. It’s partly true that “nigger” or “yid” and such were used as standard terms, without offence intended, but one of the reasons for this was that the assumptions underlying “nigger”, “yid” etc were thought to be so obviously true that there was no offence in using them.
      Back to topic: There is a noticeable offensiveness in the racism of a writer that there isn’t in the racism of a dancer- it is expressed and comes out directly. If Wagner had writen symphonies instead of operas would his vile opinions be as noticeable as they are? Clark is- at best- foolish and ignorant- but it was the Guardian who publicised her opinions- if opinions is even the word for a set of contradictory and inchoate assumptions- not her.
      With luck, however, the BNP will expel her for sullying her racial purity and the problem will be solved.

    49. Katy — on 3rd January, 2007 at 10:12 am  

      Roger, I don’t need you to lecture me on Eliot - really. Don’t expect me as a Jew to have any sympathy for the “game or convention” of antisemitism in Europe in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century, okay? I have said that I appreciate his poems despite his antisemitism and really I think that’s all anyone can expect.

    50. Roger — on 3rd January, 2007 at 10:43 am  

      Not sympathy, Katy, but understanding. It’s useful to try to find out why intelligent and decent people could say and believe some of the vile things they said and believed so that we can stop ourselves doing similar things.

    51. El Cid — on 3rd January, 2007 at 10:44 am  

      What was that you said Amir?

    52. Tahir — on 3rd January, 2007 at 10:56 am  

      Please please can we not do long long comments - I can’t keep up with the average attention span of picklers otherwise.

    53. Sahil — on 3rd January, 2007 at 10:57 am  

      “Mass immigration has suited governments of right-wing persuasion for many years, not just in Britain but in North America and continental Europe as well.”

      As you say, it messes with Right-wingers who believe free market economics but hold ‘traditional’ social values. Hence the conservative party always talks tough on immigration but I can’t see them really changing anything substantial, maybe the Island of undersiables (Isle of Wight?) ;)

      ““We,” basically, are the ones who get shafted. It is our culture, our language and religious heritage, our aesthetics and iconography that get slowly but surely eroded. I mean – really!?”

      How much control does any government or organisation have in the face of globalisation to control cultural content, and how that will reshape the very fabric of most socities including their given buget constraints. It like the argument that parents can strictly monitor exactly what they’re kids are listening to, its never going to happen. In today’s public spaces culture is more heterogenous than ever before.

      ““Well, I will buy a home in Tower Hamlets” – without worrying about the possibility that Canary Wharf may soon be overwhelmed by Somalians who hate Jews, homosexuals, pork, pornography, white people, Synagogues, alcohol, female emancipation and short skirts.”

      The same should then hold for British citizens who are emmigrating more and more to foreign countries. Why should other host nations deal with the undesirables of the UK? Reciprocity, no?

      The last paragragh is a bit out there. If you are referring to terrorists, i can’t see how any government can knowingly allow them in, and provide them with a fancy house. Also when you mean individual liberty what do you mean, should a 5 year be able to buy heroine? Because I really feel a strong market could exist there ;)

    54. Ravi Naik — on 3rd January, 2007 at 11:09 am  

      She claims that she is concerned about immigration, crime and taxes. By this account, she still doesn’t sound like a racist to me.

      But she supports the BNP. However, she seems to be unaware that the party’s core existence is to be against people like her partner, her mixed-raced children, and herself (denoted by the race hygienists as a race traitor). In fact, for racists, the worst kind of offender are not people from other races, but those that dare cross the racial line.

    55. Ravi Naik — on 3rd January, 2007 at 1:53 pm  

      Furthermore, I feel very uneased that someone can be fired for voting or supporting a legit political party in a liberal democracy like ours. She did not made her political convictions publically, and it has no effect in her line of work.

    56. mirax — on 3rd January, 2007 at 2:29 pm  

      >>..and it has no effect in her line of work

      Ballet dancers do fling their arms about a lot don’t they? Sooner or later she is going get ‘caught’ doing a nazi salute methinks. ;-)

      Sunny’s hizbi reference reminded me of the Dilpazier Aslam ( may have his name wrong, I mean the ex-Guardian intern of course) case. It was not so much his hizbi affiliation that was a cause of worry - especially compared to the seething mess that is the Guardian stable of ‘muslim’ writers - but the fact he wrote on issues like the jilbab case where there was a hidden hizbi connection without informing readers of his own politics. Whether it was his oversight or the editors’ fault is not very clear, but the Guardian chose to sacrifice him to cover its own ass. This was not a straightforward free speech case but I suspect Sunny already knows that and just wanted a chance to use the word ‘bandwagon’.

    57. Anas — on 3rd January, 2007 at 2:33 pm  

      Furthermore, I feel very uneased that someone can be fired for voting or supporting a legit political party in a liberal democracy like ours.

      Unless of course the person in question has had past affiliations with say, Hizb ut Tahrir or something. Then the necessity of protecting ourselves from the clandestine plotting of islamists hell-bent on turning the UK into a caliphate obviously takes precedence.

    58. Anas — on 3rd January, 2007 at 2:35 pm  

      oh mirax beat me to it.

    59. soru — on 3rd January, 2007 at 2:44 pm  

      If some guardian reporter turned out to be a secret BNP member, then:

      1. I wouldn’t be in the least surprised.

      2. if they had produced a report on some demo or stunt organised by the BNP without mentioning those links, then I would be pretty surprised if they remained in their jobs.

    60. Jagdeep — on 3rd January, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

      Well said mirax and soru — hope you both had a good christmas and new year, by the way.

    61. Jai — on 3rd January, 2007 at 2:52 pm  

      =>”that someone can be fired for voting or supporting a legit political party in a liberal democracy like ours.”

      I guess it could be done under the caveat of “bringing the profession/company into disrepute”. Some City investment banks, for example, place a huge premium on their employees “behaving ethically” outside the workplace, and can discipline people for what they do in their own time as well as “on company expenses” if they think the employees’ activities will publicly reflect badly on the company.

      If an organisation doesn’t want to be associated with a particular political philosophy in any way, then theoretically I guess they could have issues with their employees in this matter due to the obvious clash of interests.

    62. raz — on 3rd January, 2007 at 2:52 pm  

      “OKAY. Now I regret voting for you and your bloated Ego on the CIF pole – which, let me remind you, was rigged by a corrupt (albeit adorable) Pakistani. Peter Tatchell was robbed by Raz”

      I’m still waiting for my cheque, Sunny ;)

    63. mirax — on 3rd January, 2007 at 3:12 pm  

      Still recovering as I travelled alot over the last two weeks, Jagdeep, but a very Happy New Year to you and yours. New Year hug to Raz as well as the rest of the Picklers. Raz, you have some shady hacking talents do ya? I knew there was a good reason why i like you so much!

      Off track but a good website for thoughtful short essays from some brilliant people on the issue of what they are optimistic about :

      http://edge.org/q2007/q07_5.html#goldstein

    64. Ravi Naik — on 3rd January, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

      “Unless of course the person in question has had past affiliations with say, Hizb ut Tahrir or something. Then the necessity of protecting…”

      Except that Hizb ut Tahrir has been banned in the UK and the BNP hasn’t. And we are talking about someone who is giving an opinion on a newspaper and thus his political views and affilitation matter for the credibility of a newspaper. Which is a world of difference from someone who is simply interpreting an art piece.

      It offends me that we live in a country were voting for a legitimate political party may mean being blacklisted or fired. The BNP is slowly imploding, losing members and is on the brink of bankruptcy. It doesn’t take a genious to figure out that stories like this help the BNP.

    65. Ravi Naik — on 3rd January, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

      Or a genius for that matter.

    66. Don — on 3rd January, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

      I would guess that most of us do most of our political discussing either with reasonably informed peers, or on-line, so it is hard to credit that someone could not be aware of the BNP’s racist, holocaust-denying and homophobic central ideology. But apparently it is possible. Wasn’t there a case some time ago of a woman who joined the BNP and was actually elected to a council before she realised who her new friends really were, wherupon she resigned and denounced them?

      Charitably, we can hope that this rather dim ballerina is in that position. Otherwise there is serious case of cognitive dissonance going on here.

      As to membership of a legal organisation being a bar to employment, I would have thought that if the stated core values of the organisation are in unequivocal conflict with the stated core values of the employer then it would be reasonable to decline to employ someone.

      If I applied for a job as researcher for Truth in Genesis and mentioned that I was a member of the British Secular Society, I wouldn’t expect an interview. I don’t think one could expect the Countryside Alliance to employ a member of PETA as press officer.

      However, if you know someone’s beliefs and employ them anyway, you are stuck with them. I think this was the case with the Guardian and Aslam; they knew he was HuT but failed to point it out. Whatever legal mechanism allowed them to fire him, morally he should have got a hefty whack of compo.

      Miss Clarke seems to have arrived at her political affiliation while already employed. Maybe somebody should have a sympathetic chat using short words?

      Do you really believe 80% of your colleagues are foreign scum who should by shipped off back to Bongobongoland?

      Do you really believe homosexuals (and I’m guessing the world of ballet contains a few) are depraved, sick individuals who poison our society?

      Do you really believe that your relationship with your partner is a betrayal of your race and anathema to all decent people?

      Do you really believe that any children from this relationship will be blood-tainted mongrels with no right to remain here?

      Even if the answer were ‘Yes to all of the above’, I don’t think she should be fired. But offering counselling might be appropriate.

      I’d have been happier if the media had focussed on the prominent figures who almost certainly do know what they were signing up to. If a senior member of a city firm is a BNP member, then it might be a good idea to look into any employment issues they may have been involved in. Or this Peter Bradbury; complementary medicine, racism and a chum of HRH. Now there’s someone ripe for dissection.

    67. Ravi Naik — on 3rd January, 2007 at 3:42 pm  

      “If an organisation doesn’t want to be associated with a particular political philosophy in any way, then theoretically I guess they could have issues with their employees in this matter due to the obvious clash of interests.”

      Should companies hire on the basis of whose party you support? There is a reason why your political vote is done anonymously: so that you don’t face any repercussions for doing your civic duty.

      And in this case, her right was violated.

    68. Chairwoman — on 3rd January, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

      As Odile (the black swan), Miss Clarke would be required to turn 32 fouettes. That might shake some political good sense into her immaculately chignoned head.

    69. mirax — on 3rd January, 2007 at 4:19 pm  

      Ravi, is the Hizbut Tahrir really banned in the UK? I just thought that there was some talk but no action had been taken as yet. FWIW a ban is misguided and counter productive.

    70. Don — on 3rd January, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

      Options still open;

      ‘Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said Hizb ut-Tahrir was “currently under review and if we think we need to take action it will be proscribed”.

      But he added: “We cannot ban an organisation on our own volition we have to operate under the rule of law.”

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6144886.stm

    71. Anas — on 3rd January, 2007 at 4:33 pm  

      If some guardian reporter turned out to be a secret BNP member, then:
      1. I wouldn’t be in the least surprised.
      2. if they had produced a report on some demo or stunt organised by the BNP without mentioning those links, then I would be pretty surprised if they remained in their jobs.

      Well the problem with that comparison is that firstly, the extent to which DA was a secret HuT member, in that the folks at the Guardian were unaware of his affiliations, is highly questionable. Secondly, the Guardian never claimed to have sacked him for any single, blatant, instance of conflict of interest, rather it was because “membership of [HuT] was not compatible with being a Guardian trainee”. In other words the principles and aims of the Guardian supposedly clash with those of HuT — a legal organisation in the UK just like the BNP — which ultimately means that you cannot belong to both organisations at the same time. (It is funny what constitutes a sackable offense with the Guardian and what doesn’t.) So it’s not as clearcut as you make out Don, and the DA case very clearly does have implications in this instance.

      The point is that, like it or not, if you find yourself in a postion of influence as Simone Clarke very clearly has then belonging to a racist party like the BNP does give out a certain message to society at large — I mean why the fuck else would we even be discussing this story if not for Clarke’s prominence within the ballet world? Which is why I don’t understand how people can be so adamantly in support of Clarke’s right to her personal beliefs in the one case, and so convinced of the righteousness of DA’s firing in the other, there’s not that much difference between them.

      Anyway, turns out that all of this might be academic, as the supremely dense Ms Clarke is reportedly thinking of pursuing a career in plumbing.

    72. Anas — on 3rd January, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

      Mirax, what did you mean by:

      “especially compared to the seething mess that is the Guardian stable of ‘muslim’ writers”

    73. Ravi Naik — on 3rd January, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

      “Ravi, is the Hizbut Tahrir really banned in the UK?”

      You are right, Mirax. It was decided not to ban Hizbut Tahrir.

    74. ZinZin — on 3rd January, 2007 at 4:59 pm  

      “However, if you know someone’s beliefs and employ them anyway, you are stuck with them. I think this was the case with the Guardian and Aslam; they knew he was HuT but failed to point it out. Whatever legal mechanism allowed them to fire him, morally he should have got a hefty whack of compo.”

      Aslam did get 30k compo but he was unhappy with the first offer of 100k and refused. After seeking legal advice he accepted the 2nd offer of 30k. I am not making this up.

      A valid point Don. Seamus Milne should have been dismissed as well as Aslam thankfully he has now left the Guardian or is about to leave maybe the Guardian can lose it’s stable of islamist contributers.

    75. Pablo — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:00 pm  

      As far as I remember Dilpazier Aslam was notably brought to task for writing articles about a case in the news in which the organisation he belonged to was instrumental in promoting ie: the Luton Jilbab case, and he did so without divulging his membership of that group. Less a journalist, than a propagandising entryist for a far right caucus with convictions amongst its leadership in Europe for inciting racist violence. He was not a passive member of HuT, having written propaganda and articles for them, and the Guardian deemed his position as a deceitful member of an extreme right wing propagandising racist anti-semitic Islamist organisation to be incompatible with their company policy. For those who see conspiracy everywhere and wish to perpetuate a perpetual victim culture, Aslam is no doubt a hero, but such people wallow amongst the sewers and that is their life’s purpose. Had a journalist been a member of the BNP on the sly the Guardian would have done the same as they did to that racist extremist.

    76. Ravi Naik — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

      “The point is that, like it or not, if you find yourself in a postion of influence as Simone Clarke very clearly has then belonging to a racist party like the BNP does give out a certain message to society at large…

      Which is why I don’t understand how people can be so adamantly in support of Clarke’s right to her personal beliefs in the one case…”

      It was already said many times, Anas. She didn’t use her position to spout her political views, nor did she publically show her support for the BNP.

      And I have no doubt that radical groups like Hizbut Tharir provide a much better service to the BNP than a ballerina who engages in an interacial relationship.

    77. ZinZin — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

      Anas
      Miss Clarke is a ballerina who BNP membership withstanding no one will have heard of.

    78. Pablo — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:04 pm  

      Furthermore, his triumphalist article just a few days after 7/7, dancing on the graves of the dead, about how ‘sassy’ young Muslims like him were ‘rocking the boat’, was so stomach churning in tone, exculpation of the terrorists, and implication, that a lot of people think of it as a low point in the Guardian’s history. Something about the fact that one of the Guardian’s own employees, a young salesman for the Guardian in the north, who had been visiting London on Guardian business, had been slaughtered in the attack, made it all seem even more grubby.

    79. ZinZin — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

      Mirax, what did you mean by:

      “especially compared to the seething mess that is the Guardian stable of ‘muslim’ writers”

      Anas have you been living under a rock for the past 5 years? Can you honestly tell me that you have not read CIF in all that time? not even once?

      If so thats one hell of an achievement.

    80. Kismet Hardy — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:19 pm  

      I often ask myself, which creature is more beautiful? The swan or the dove? Then I briefly ponder my racism and include the brown tit and the raven into the list. Then I just sit around quietly, immersed in my loneliness, trying to fully appreciate exactly why i’m all alone in this world

      Don’t dwell on the birds my children, they may fly but they will shit on you

    81. Don — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:22 pm  

      Pablo,

      Can’t quite agree. Aslam was invited to write a comment piece after making his position known to the Guardian. They were culpable. I have very few heroes, and none in HuT (can I stop wallowing in the sewer now?) but the fact is that he did not attempt to hide his affiliations and the Guardian only decided that these were incompatible with their ethos after heavy external pressure.

      Personally, I think his political position is incompatible with what the readers of the Guardian believe its ethos to be, but he was not deceitful. His employers were fully aware yet they commissioned comment pieces from him on sensitive issues which they then published without caveat. However much I might disagree with his views (i.e. completely) I don’t see how he did anything ethically wrong.

      Under the circumstances, 30K and on your bike (thanks, ZinZin) seems fair. But the Guardian should have been far more heavily censured for it’s mishandling of the whole affair.

    82. Anas — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:36 pm  

      oops, re#71 I wrote “Don” when I meant “soru”

    83. Anas — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

      I’m aware of CiF, ZZ, but am still nonplussed at the viciousness of Mirax’s description.

    84. Sunny — on 3rd January, 2007 at 5:43 pm  

      let me remind you, was rigged by a corrupt (albeit adorable) Pakistani. Peter Tatchell was robbed by Raz.

      Yeah whatever.

      To suggest that the Conservative Party’s policies were “more or less” like the BNP’s is dishonest in the extreme.

      I said until recently. Do you want me to start mentioning Enoch Powell? Oh I forgot, he’s your hero. The rest of your diatribe is typical. I have friends within the Conservatives and they accept its past and some current racist elements. Its time you did too.

    85. Anas — on 3rd January, 2007 at 9:20 pm  

      Although I’m not of the opinion the Clarke should be sacked for her BNP membership I definitely think the views she subscribes to should be challenged in the press and the media, as much as possible, so that the poisonous lies of the far right don’t somehow gain more credence through the publicized support of prominent figures like Clarke.

    86. Katy — on 3rd January, 2007 at 11:09 pm  

      Not sympathy, Katy, but understanding. It’s useful to try to find out why intelligent and decent people could say and believe some of the vile things they said and believed so that we can stop ourselves doing similar things.

      I agree with that and I am sorry if I sounded sharp. Prejudice generally was the norm rather than the exception back then and thankfully things have now moved on somewhat.

    87. douglas clark — on 4th January, 2007 at 1:56 am  

      Ive really enjoyed reading this thread. What it all seems to add up to is that a dim ballerina joined the BNP. And then kept that to herself. The Guardian broke her membership as though it was an affront to ‘all we hold sacred’.

      Which is bullshit. It is a far better thing that people engage in politics, and get their views comprehensively flattened, as Don did in post 66. Which was witty and clever.

      But the issue of naming and shaming party members is not a good principle.

      It is not reasonable to adopt a Stonewall line to party political membership. That you should have to ‘come out of the closet’ as an individual simply because you paid party dues, is potentially tyrannical. The state, and the third estate, assumes too much about ‘right to know’.

      I doubt I’d be too happy if all of you knew the intimate details of my private life, which you are really not entitled to know, unless I decide to tell you. There is a much bigger issue about the invasiveness of journalism into people’s private lives.

      People are entitled to keep their political affiliations private for reasons that go well beyond this case. Not one of the Guardians better judged exposees, in my opinion.

      (P.S. No, I don’t know how to put an accent on a letter here, so you’ll just have to live with expose - last letter should have a grave on it - extra ‘e’ to make up for it, ‘s’. Or maybe an acute. I’d know it if I saw it.)

    88. Ravi Naik — on 4th January, 2007 at 11:11 am  

      Douglas,

      If you use internet explorer and own a british keyboard, then you can get the accent by keeping the ALT-GR pressed while typing “/” and “e” (or any other vowel).

    89. Kismet Hardy — on 4th January, 2007 at 11:21 am  

      You can press a key that lets others know what your accent is? That’s fucking amazing! What key do I press for Geordie?

    90. Chairwoman — on 4th January, 2007 at 11:28 am  

      Ravi - It works! It works! And I use Mozilla Firefox.

      Douglas - It’s acute

      Kismet - I don’t know about Geordie, but for Scouse, try typing with one hand, while holding one nostril shut with other.

    91. Kismet Hardy — on 4th January, 2007 at 11:30 am  

      eeh weres me tent gon?

      PS. Douglas has got a cute what exactly?

    92. Chairwoman — on 4th January, 2007 at 12:07 pm  

      I’m not sure, but he thinks it’s serious (said it might be grave).

    93. Roger — on 4th January, 2007 at 12:28 pm  

      “Some City investment banks, for example, place a huge premium on their employees “behaving ethically” outside the workplace” to make up for what they do professionally, or to concentrate all their lack of ethics on the job, no doubt.

    94. Roger — on 4th January, 2007 at 12:37 pm  

      “The point is that, like it or not, if you find yourself in a postion of influence as Simone Clarke very clearly has then belonging to a racist party like the BNP does give out a certain message to society at large “…except that Clarke’s membership was not known to “society at large” until the Guardian chose to reveal it. There is a big difference between a dancer and a journalist: how can a dancer dance in a racist way? A journalist’s opinions, on the other hand, will come out in what they write about and the way they write about it. It might not have been possible to tell that MR Aslam was a member of HuT from his contributions to the Guardian. It was possible to tell that he was a bigoted religious supremacist, though.

    95. Jagdeep — on 4th January, 2007 at 12:55 pm  

      I was told half of investment bankers and traders are off their heads on Colombian marching powder in order to keep their adrenalin pumping. I can believe it on the few occasions I’ve been in bars packed full of City Boys.

    96. Chairwoman — on 4th January, 2007 at 1:02 pm  

      Only half? I believe you have been misinformed.

    97. douglas clark — on 4th January, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

      ééééééé

      Hooray!

      Paté, Laté. I’m a happy wee boy.

      Thanks Ravi.

    98. El Cid — on 4th January, 2007 at 1:07 pm  

      Ahem, it’s latte

    99. Chairwoman — on 4th January, 2007 at 1:34 pm  

      Depends how long you’ve been waiting :-)

    100. Anas — on 4th January, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

      Look Roger, when you’re a public figure regardless of whether you’re a dancer, TV personality, artist, journalist, etc, you have certain responsibilities when it comes to your public persona. Obviously this is because your celebrity automatically gives your opinions, however worthless, a lot more weight, as well as allowing you to potentially influence a lot of people, who begin to look up to you as a role model, especially when you’re a dancer with a company like the ENB. In the end I’m sorry, as much as you and others might try, there’s no way you can sustain the position that the Guardian case and Clarke’s BNP membership have no bearing on each other. In both instances membership of a particular political party is perceived as being inconsistent with a certain role or position.

      Personally, I think the Guardian was absolutely right to out Clarke as a means of highlighting the BNP’s efforts at attaining some sort of respectability and to develop and widen their power base. Basically I hope the current outcry has the effect of dissuading public figures from considering aligning themselves with the BNP, secretly or otherwise. What does sicken me are the immoral apologetics that have been offered up for BNP supporters especially by the usual round of vile right-wing bloggers — “oh they’re worried about immigration”, “oh they feel hard done by”. Bullshit, there is no moral justification for supporting a far right racist party, not even through supposed ignorance which I suppose Clarke might plead. It’s also funny how the defenders of civil liberties in this case weren’t quite as vocal when the victims were Muslim. In the veil debate, it was argued that women should be discouraged from wearing the veil because of the supposed positive effect that would have on race relations as a whole. Well a similar argument might apply here, regardless of whether the action raises thorny issues relating to freedom of belief.

      The BNP are a huge threat to integration and social cohesion in this country, indeed to a massively greater extent than veils, or Hizb utTahrir, or whatever other supposed transgressions the Muslim community have carried out this week, and they need to be challenged and exposed at every opportunity, their arguments rubbished.

    101. Roger — on 4th January, 2007 at 2:09 pm  

      “when you’re a public figure regardless of whether you’re a dancer, TV personality, artist, journalist, etc, you have certain responsibilities when it comes to your public persona.”
      Nevertheless, Clarke’s public persona did not feature BNP membership until the Guardian chose to reveal it, so how could she be regarded as part of “BNP’s efforts at attaining some sort of respectability and to develop and widen their power base”? This is not only a matter of political opinions but of privacy. A journalist’s public persona is as someone who knows about what they write about and is expert on the subjects concerned- their opinions affect directly what they say and affect the readers’ perception of them and what reliance to put in what they say. A dancer’s public persona is as someone who is good at dancing and their private stupidities should not be made public because they are just that- private stupidities.
      Would you include blowing people on tube trains to pieces among the “supposed transgressions the Muslim community have carried out”? Why only this week? If peole choose to practise islam in private I don’t mind. Wearing a veil is a public staement of opinions-comparable to wearing an armband, perhaps, if you take that strong a view of it. My own view is that if people wish to wear silly clothes- except when it directly affects other people, as with a teaching assistant working on students’ language development- I don’t mind. It does much less harm than living in a society that thinks it has the right to impose clothing norms. But with both religious suprematism and racial suprematism it is only if it directly affects others that people should be dismissed from their jobs or disciplined.

    102. Leon — on 4th January, 2007 at 2:11 pm  

      I was told half of investment bankers and traders are off their heads on Colombian marching powder in order to keep their adrenalin pumping. I can believe it on the few occasions I’ve been in bars packed full of City Boys.

      Yep heard this too from a mate who told me just how much crap they get (he was a stock broker for while)…

    103. Chairwoman — on 4th January, 2007 at 2:12 pm  

      Anas - I agree with almost everything you’ve said. I differ only on one point. IMHO all reactionary racist groups are a huge threat to integration and social cohesion.

    104. Anas — on 4th January, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

      Yes, Roger, it was not part of Clarke’s public persona, but if she had to be made an example of in order to dissuade other public figures from affiliating themselves with the BNP then so be it.

    105. Anas — on 4th January, 2007 at 2:36 pm  

      It’s just a fact of public life that if you’re in the public eye your private life is at a much greater risk of being exposed, which is why you have to be that much more careful when signing up to say a far right party that denies a large percentage of the citizens of this country the right to call themselves British on the basis of their heritage.

    106. Kismet Hardy — on 4th January, 2007 at 3:13 pm  

      “It’s just a fact of public life that if you’re in the public eye your private life is at a much greater risk of being exposed”

      Tell me about it! Those damn paparazzi cunts. I know where they live. Wapping. Which is near where I work. Everyday i go there and try to look like I’m minding my own business and do they blind me with their lenses? Do they fuck. All I get is these white van men saying: oi, stop harrassing ruth reynolds or we’ll kneecap ya

      Just one of the perils of being in the public eye, or as I like to call it ‘famous’

      Alas, tis not the carpet made of velvet gold as you imagine

    107. Kismet Hardy — on 4th January, 2007 at 3:41 pm  

      Re post 108: I find this statement to be utterly manufactured

    108. Kismet Hardy — on 4th January, 2007 at 3:41 pm  

      Re post 107: i saw you coming you freak

    109. El Cid — on 4th January, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

      …being exposed as a Labour Party supporter when working in the City can also get you into trouble, as I found to my cost in 1990. Anyway, that’s another story..

      Anas,
      What did you mean exactly when you said:
      The BNP are a huge threat to integration and social cohesion in this country, indeed to a massively greater extent than veils, or Hizb ut Tahrir ?

      Maybe I’m missing a trick. So for once I won’t steam in. Is this simply a case of British race relations realpolitik — i.e. the fact that the whites are the majority and ultimately hold the power that could be abused if the BNP bogeyman was allowed to get its way?
      In the same way that, say in the case of Pakistan, Jamiat-e Ulema Islam is far more of a threat to social cohesion than the country’s Christian minority. It’s not the greatest of analogies of course, since Pakistan’s Christians are systematically abused already, but you get my drift. Or is it more than just power politics?

    110. Ravi Naik — on 4th January, 2007 at 4:56 pm  

      “The BNP are a huge threat to integration and social cohesion in this country, indeed to a massively greater extent than veils, or Hizb utTahrir…”

      You give too much credit to the BNP. I believe that natural selection would have made them near-extinct, if not for the increased threat of muslim radicals bombing our cities, which gave them the argument that multiculturism has failed Britain. I wish the government and indeed every mainstream institution, including academia, would treat any radical group who spreads hate against any other group - including anti-semitism and homophobia - as dangerous as any other white power group.

      In that sense, I believe that groups like Hizb ut Tahrir are far more dangerous than the BNP clowns.

    111. ZinZin — on 4th January, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

      Oh dear Anas is going into overdrive with another of his obsessions the BNP asking for prominent members to be named and shamed. Stating that there is no moral justification for supporting or voting for the BNP on that i agree yet you give a free pass to the islamic far right even feigning ignorance.

    112. Anas — on 4th January, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

      It’s this short sighted attitude that a lot of people have towards race relations in which they try and make (truly pitiful) excuses for the popular support that the BNP have (e.g., it’s Muslims, it’s immigrants, it’s New Labour, etc, etc) that pisses me off.

      Of course the success of a party which “stands for the preservation of the national and ethnic character of the British people and is wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples” is going to be deeply problematic whatever way you look at it. The more people buy into the lies and misinformation the BNP spread, the more their ideas become respectable (which will happen if they aren’t repeatedly and openly challengeed), the greater the alienation of the “non-European peoples” resident in the UK, the less chance of any meaningful inter-cultural dialogue. I’m not claiming that there’s a danger that the BNP are about to storm into power or anything, what I an worried about is how their limited success in deprived areas — based as it is on stirring up hatred and on demonisation — will affect already poor community relations, and how it will influence the terms of debate.

    113. Pablo — on 4th January, 2007 at 7:15 pm  

      Anas, amionst all that farting and bluster, you didnt address Ravi Naik’s killer point, that the fuckwit Islamic radicals and their murderous right wing ideology, and the suicide bombing assholes amidst some sections of those Islamists, are the greatest recruiting sergeants for the BNP, along with the halfwits who apologise and make excuses for them or deny their contribution to the equation

    114. Roger — on 4th January, 2007 at 9:23 pm  

      “it was not part of Clarke’s public persona, but if she had to be made an example of in order to dissuade other public figures from affiliating themselves with the BNP then so be it.”
      !!!!!!!!!!!
      I’ll leave aside the morality of your remark, but on a purely practical level think of the complications that will follow if we live in a society where public figures- and how do you define a public figure?- can be punished for poolitical beliefs, however they are defined.

    115. Anas — on 4th January, 2007 at 10:59 pm  

      Well as we’ve seen over the last few months the idea that the good of society as a whole will on certain occasions override the freedoms of the individual has gained a lot of credence. It’s just that the individual in question usually has brown skin and maybe a bit of a beard or maybe she’s covering her face with a veil. But, yeah,I agree it’s a slippery slope, and quite morally dubious — but then nowadays morality has taken a bit of backseat anyway.

      Anyway, can you think of any society that exists or has ever existed where certain political beliefs haven’t been punished in one or another way?

    116. Katy — on 4th January, 2007 at 11:15 pm  

      “The fuckwit Islamic radicals and their murderous right wing ideology, and the suicide bombing assholes amidst some sections of those Islamists, are the greatest recruiting sergeants for the BNP”

      I don’t think that’s true. We’ve seen a spike in the BNP’s influence and following after those incidents, yes, but in my personal opinion that spike represents people who were always affiliated with the BNP in principle and were just nervous of admitting to their sympathy because of the BNP’s untouchable status. They think that they can hide behind terrorism to legitimise their racist beliefs, that’s all.

      When you ask most BNP supporters why they go for the BNP, they might drop terrorism in, but mainly they concentrate on the same old story: immigration, immigration, immigration, coming over here, stealing our women, taking our jobs, making our children mongrels, blah blah blah blah blah. It’s just the same old “I hate the Other” as it always was. Don’t be fooled. I didn’t become a racist after the WTC or the July bombings and nor did any of the people I know. Either you are the sort of person who thinks it’s all right to discriminate against a block of people based on their ethnicity/colour/religion or you aren’t. Terrorism has not created any new racists, it’s only scared a few out of the closet.

    117. Anas — on 4th January, 2007 at 11:34 pm  

      Exactly Katy, spot on. It’s people’s attitudes toward immigration that are primarily responsible for the BNP’s success.

    118. soru — on 4th January, 2007 at 11:44 pm  

      ‘In that sense, I believe that groups like Hizb ut Tahrir are far more dangerous than the BNP clowns. ‘

      I don’t think it’s all that useful to distinguish between them. Just think of them as a single entity, British ut Tahir/Hizb National Party, the BuTHNaPs.

      They may have different skin colours, or other ethnic markers like beards or dress, but on just about every political issue they are closer together than New Labour and the Cameron Tories, closer than the SDP and the Liberals.

    119. ZinZin — on 4th January, 2007 at 11:45 pm  

      http://society.guardian.co.uk/interview/story/0,,1175981,00.html

      Something for the insomniacs. Good night

    120. Ravi Naik — on 5th January, 2007 at 12:21 am  

      “but in my personal opinion that spike represents people who were always affiliated with the BNP in principle and were just nervous of admitting to their sympathy because of the BNP’s untouchable status. They think that they can hide behind terrorism to legitimise their racist beliefs, that’s all”

      Katy, voting is anonymous, so anyone who feels in tune with BNP policies will vote for them regardless of a terrorist attack or the BNP’s pariah status.

      But extremism breeds extremism, even in western democracies. 9/11 was such a terryfing moment, that Americans re-elected and gave the carte blanche to an extremist and retarded president. But after 5 years, the 9/11 ghost is gone, and Americans have finally come to their senses.

      People tend to vote for populists and extremists when their lives are under threat, and ignore voices of moderation and reason. 7/7 was more than a year ago, but if we were under constant attack, then the BNP or any party that would promise to fight and expel muslims and other minorities would get a considerable surge. And I am pretty sure that people who vote for them are not racists, extremists and would not consider voting for the them otherwise.

      I had to endure a few months of staring and anxious looks on the tube after 7/7. One of the things that crossed my mind was that a racist and xenophobic party like the BNP could never launch such a successful operation against Asians in this country.

    121. Ravi Naik — on 5th January, 2007 at 12:41 am  

      By the way, I love this story>, which in a way is quintessential American story.

    122. Chris Stiles — on 5th January, 2007 at 1:50 am  

      Sunny -


      I said until recently. Do you want me to start mentioning Enoch Powell? Oh I forgot, he’s your hero.

      History is rather incomplete if we ignore the minor fact that Enoch Powell was actually sacked for making the ‘rivers of blood’ speech, but do go on ..


      The rest of your diatribe is typical. I have friends within the Conservatives and they accept its past and some current racist elements. Its time you did too.

      Yes, And the Conservatives racism takes on the particularly insiduous form of ‘people like us’ versus ‘people like you’ which is all the more poisonous for being couched in apparent politeness (the ham sandwich test - as it were).

      However, let’s be clear; where is the BNP doing well? Not in the Aylesbury constituency of the reprehensible John Bercow (he of the Federation of Conservative Students - I’m sure you recall the ‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ T-shirts) - but in constituencies where Labour has typically done rather well. The ‘policies’ that the BNP espouse are typically rather statist and welfare driven - rather than whigish or right wing in the market fundamentalist or classical liberal sense.

      I think Amir is wrong on a lot of things. However, I do think that Britain is (still) a (very) class driven society, and a significant number of the former working-class, having been disenfranchised by the start of globalism, are willing to leap upon any scapegoat to which can be transferred the sins of globalisation. Any commentary about the BNP has to take this into account - as it does organised labour’s (small ‘l’) long ambivalence to the notion of migration.

      Now frankly - when your major vehicle is that of a blog which invites debate, the fact that every opposing view is greeted with ridicule is rather indicative that you’d rather be seen as the asian equivalent of LGF than foster real debate. You could, of course, disabuse me of this notion by naming one person here who you respect even if their views are different to your own.

    123. Amir — on 5th January, 2007 at 3:33 am  

      Chris Styles,

      (1) “I think Amir is wrong on a lot of things.”

      Don’t be silly. ;-)

      (2) “…you’d rather be seen as the asian equivalent of LGF [Little Green Footballs] than foster real debate.”

      The interesting thing here is that the pro-immigration lobby can’t make their case with rational, impersonal argument. They feel compelled to adopt a tone of haughty scorn, making irrelevant ad hominem charges against large numbers of people they have never even met. Without these tactics, they seem to have no way to defend their position.

      If freedom means anything, it means the natural right to live amongst your own people (“own,” by the way, should not be interpreted to mean “white people” – to forestall any misunderstanding). This is precisely what mass immigration denies. The cultural Marxism known as “political correctness” assures us that we’re all the same, wanting the same material things, sharing warm feelings toward one another, united by consumerist optimism far more than we could ever be divided by faith, culture or ethnicity. “Diversity,” they told us, would unite the best from all cultures, while the worst would magically vanish.

      At a time when it was still unfashionable to question let alone criticize the multicultural orthodoxy, I knew that this Utopian dream was at best an undergraduate fantasy. My conservatism was never passive, you see. It has always been a frantic activity, like rescuing possessions from a burning house. In a world of constant demographic fluctuation, most things are always perishing, and you have to decide what’s worth saving. Edmund Burke, for example, stressed such principles as prudence, tradition, and a sense of limits, as opposed to utopian hopes for perfect political arrangements on earth. Culture, he believed, was more important than economics. Culture is what keeps us relatively sane. It is what keeps us united on more or less the same wavelength.

      I don’t care what Chris Dillow thinks. ;-) Culture trumps economics.

      Amir

    124. Sunny — on 5th January, 2007 at 4:52 am  

      every opposing view is greeted with ridicule is rather indicative

      You’re constructing a straw-man and then asking me to show examples of where I have taken it down. I ridicule views where I find them not worth responding to, and reply carefully and in detail where I disagree with a viewpoint that is opposing and valid. If I did what you said all the time there would be no semblance of debate on this blog in the first place.

    125. Amir — on 5th January, 2007 at 5:40 am  

      [*Les Dennis impression a la Family Fortunes*]

      YOU say…

      “I ridicule views where I find them not worth responding to, and reply carefully and in detail where I disagree with a viewpoint that is opposing and valid.”

      A vast majority of the UK say…

      “The people of Britain face mass immigration on an unprecedented scale. Local demography is changing faster than at any time since the Norman conquest. The cultural heritage of the nation is forced to a sideline in the name of hospitality and political correctness. People on an already over-crowded island find even more competition for services, housing and space. The working class is undermined by cheap foreign labour. And, to top it all off, many of the recent crime waves have direct links to mass immigration.”

      *audience groans*

      Sorry Mr. Hundal but you’re WRONG.

    126. mirax — on 5th January, 2007 at 1:44 pm  

      >>am still nonplussed at the viciousness of Mirax’s description.

      Viciousness??? You are a delicate little flower aren’t you?

    127. Anas — on 5th January, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

      If freedom means anything, it means the natural right to live amongst your own people

      By that definition most of the people in jails are free.

    128. Don — on 5th January, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

      If freedom means anything, it means whatever point I am currently making.

    129. Chairwoman — on 5th January, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

      If freedom means anything, it means that we all not only have the right to insult and be insulted by each other, but we have the right to openly criticise and mock our openly elected leaders, and to openly castigate minority interest icons who openly choose to join political parties that we abhore.

      Sounds pretty damn free to me.

    130. Kismet Hardy — on 5th January, 2007 at 2:13 pm  

      How about the freedom to insult myself?

      Go fuck myself and my mother

      That’s something I don’t hear very often

      Look at us, all limiting our own freedoms

    131. Anas — on 5th January, 2007 at 2:28 pm  

      The “right” to live among your own people (especially when this so-called right necessitates some kind of “pure” homeland)is no right at all, it’s merely a privillege.

    132. Anas — on 5th January, 2007 at 2:29 pm  

      OOps, not “privilege” I mean “preference”.

    133. Ravi Naik — on 5th January, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

      “If freedom means anything, it means the natural right to live amongst your own people (“own,” by the way, should not be interpreted to mean “white people” – to forestall any misunderstanding).”

      That is not really fair, Amir. Why are you excluding racists? If someone believes that blacks and asians are not part of his people, why shouldn’t he, like you, smugly say that these outsiders are infringing on his god-given right to be with his own?

    134. Amir — on 5th January, 2007 at 3:56 pm  

      Ravi Naik,

      Good question. This is, fortunately, an extreme example. But it does illustrate a common deformity of patriotism – love for one’s own country can turn into hatred of other people’s skin colour. I was recently rereading one of my favourite books, The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis. Lewis discusses patriotism in his chapter on affection, the love of the familiar just for being familiar. Affection is the humblest form of love: you feel it for your dog, your nextdoor neighbour, your home, just because they are yours, not because they are particularly excellent. You are apt to feel affection without realizing it; it sneaks up on you over time and grows gradually.

      My own view is that people are naturally patriotic. It’s normal to love your homeland. You almost can’t help it, in the same way you almost can’t help loving your family. And you become more aware of it with loss or separation. Furthermore, you can love your homeland without excluding those of dark complexion. Over many years, they become part of your extended family. Many perfectly patriotic Britons find Griffin himself loathsome, disgusting, and shameful. It is because we love our country so much that we hate having him symbolize it to the nation. Some people feel the same way about Tony Blair.

      Culture is intrinsically valuable. It matters to a great many people. I’d rather be poor and live in a safe, familiar, and predictable environment than be rich and live in some fluctuating, multicultural ghetto.

      Amir

    135. Jai — on 5th January, 2007 at 4:07 pm  

      =>The more people buy into the lies and misinformation the BNP spread,”

      There is such a thing as giving one’s enemy further ammunition due to one’s own actions, Anas. Especially if other party opportunistically uses it to say “See, what did I tell you ?”.

    136. Kulvinder — on 5th January, 2007 at 7:09 pm  

      I actually feel quite sorry for her, the bnp is held up as some evil force by both the media and government, yet the greatest difference between their policy on immigrants and that of the ‘mainstream’ parties is a re-definition of what is illegal. They haven’t as far as im aware called for gas ovens to be built.

      The BNP would deport those it considers unworthy just as labour, the tories and the lib dems would.

      The most disturbing thing about these witch-hunts (and that is all they are) is the utter cynicism with which Labour and the Tories treat their own voters. The BNP is held up as the evil party and grave pronouncements are made about the working class turning to them if their own policies aren’t made stricter, harsher and more irrational.

      It says something about character and integrity if you continually need to whip (but subtly ape) a political party that has never remotely looked like coming to power, on the off chance the people who voted you in may turn to them.

      The British National Party probably don’t think much of me, regardless i neither fear nor hate them. If anything they should, at least, be applauded for attempting to move their movement on from thugish violence.

      Despite the problems they face i don’t think the working class will ever vote in a quasi-socialist statist party, and i find it incredibly patronising that anyone would think they would - especially members of parliment elected by them.

      Obviously as the decendant of immigrants im concerned that Simone Clarke feels as she does, but i take no joy from what must be a very very difficult time for her and her family. I wish her well.

    137. Kulvinder — on 5th January, 2007 at 7:24 pm  

      “We,” basically, are the ones who get shafted. It is our culture, our language and religious heritage, our aesthetics and iconography that get slowly but surely eroded.

      I’m quite sure i’ve said this on more than one occasion, but talking about ‘culture’ as a function of society over any period of time only makes sense if you apply it to law.

      The way of life you wish to preserve you preserve through statute. Any other talk of culture with respect to society is meaningless rhetoric. The government asking people to ‘integrate’ makes no sense beyond asking them to respect the law.

      Unless ‘they’ are preventing you from practising your ‘religious heritage’(!), speaking in whatever language you wish or displaying your aesthetics and your iconography nothing has been eroded.

    138. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2007 at 4:22 pm  

      El Cid’

      Re post 98,
      8)

    139. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2007 at 7:07 pm  

      Chris Styles,

      I do not think I recognise Pickled Politics as the place you make it out to be with this comment:

      “Now frankly - when your major vehicle is that of a blog which invites debate, the fact that every opposing view is greeted with ridicule is rather indicative that you’d rather be seen as the asian equivalent of LGF than foster real debate.”

      There seem to be a wide range of people who post here without compromising their views to the party line. And they don’t get ridiculed. I wouldn’t comment here if debate was as uncompromising as it can be on some other political web sites, not to say we don’t have good rows. Or fall outs. But there is a real sense of community about it all.

      It is also quite amusing how threads can go completely off topic and yet be pulled back without the whip hand of moderation, usually. (My: how the hell do you get an acute above a letter, and everyone missing the whole point of my post, but helpful, funny and friendly) It is an interesting thing that this site is as popular is it seems to be, which is a good thing. There are a lot of very bright people posting in the threads here. They wouldn’t do it if they either didn’t think they’d get read or that the site didn’t foster debate. Sunny started off the debate on NGN here. Whether you agree with it or not, I can see contributions from commentators on here to it. That is internet democracy at work.

      [ testing for El Cid, if it's not 8) maybe it's 8-) ]

    140. douglas clark — on 6th January, 2007 at 7:07 pm  

      El Cid,

      I think I’ll go on a course about working this stuff.

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