Friday, April 30, 2010

Jack Chick of Kent

Among the comments which caught my eye on Odone's much-discussed Evan Harris post, was one by Überblogger and Westminster Skeptics in the Pub convenor, Jack of Kent.

"Odone used to be such a good writer," he began, sounding like a teacher chastising a once promising pupil.

"What she wants to do here is make Dr Evan Harris (in fact, a good and compassionate man) seem like Drs Shipman or Mengele ('Dr Death'), even though there is nothing to substantiate the link."

Er, no. What she was doing was referring to Harris by his affectionate nickname, Dr Death, so given because of his views on abortion 'n' euthanasia.

She also seeks to prioritise the claims of religion (in fact, the catholic brand of Christianity ...

Whoah! Wait a minute. How the hell did that get in there? Where did Cristina say or suggest that religious views should be prioritised over anything?

... which it is sensible even for apologists like Odone not to mention aloud at the moment)

You what?

... above that of secularism.

That word really ought to be placed in inverted commas.

"Lets see she how she does. 'Dr Harris believes in euthanasia – and, I mean, really believes' – but nothing Odone says actually substantiates this serious Mengele-like description; so this is just poor and alarmist blogging."

I think she's referring to Harris's voting record. Ok, so you and he say physician-assisted suicide, Cristina and I say euthanasia. We could just agree to disagree on this one.

"'But as the subject turns to the ethical or religious issue of the day – faith schools, say, or teenage pregnancies…'
Again, poor writing. Ethics and religion are distinct; and just shoving a hopeful “or” in there does not mean she is able to conflate these issues."

Oh Lor', the pedantry of it all. Spare me.

'“The Lib Dems are now the most secular party in the Britain – and not in a good way. There’s something sinister about a movement that, in my view, doesn’t hold all life precious; that thinks that less than perfect lives can be dispensed with on grounds of “compassion”. Remember that creepy side of the Lib Dems next time you see Clegg bouncing with vitality.”
Again, “less than perfect lives” suggests Mengele; and again utterly no substance."

Um, no. It suggests that those, like Harris, who advocate euthanasia, oh ok, physician-assisted suicide if you must, see those in pain at the end of their lives as living such imperfect lives that they are worthy candidates for propulsion into that long good night. That is all.

"This really is all nasty; but it is actually very weak stuff.
Very disappointing."

Pots and kettles, sweetie.

But wait for it, Jack of Kent is building up to his peroration.

"And given the ethical failings and inhumane conduct of her own “movement”, I would like to suggest that Evan Harris has more decency and compassion than the entire leadership of her own chosen ethical guardians."

Ta da!

He's not a fan of the Whore of Babylon, as you will have guessed.

On his blog he conveys his hostility to the Catholic Church by daringly styling the Bishop of Rome's title with a lower-case "P".


Not to mention by the casual assertion that "the Roman Catholic church has long sought arrogantly to put themselves beyond the reach of the civil authorities."

Admittedly he didn't allow his prejudices to colour his opinion of Ditchkins' proposal that His Holiness should be tried, convicted and strung up: "such fantasies must yield to the fundamental liberal requirements of due process and the rule of law," he pointed out not unreasonably. Yet he also declared that, "watching the pope do the 'perp walk' - perhaps handcuffed to some surly female police officer - would be satisfying to those, like me, of a strong atheist and anti-clerical temperament."

Atheist and anti-clerical temperaments are all very well - incidentally is one born with a predisposition to them or are they traits shaped by exposure to other Atheist anti-clericalists? - but when you suggest that left-footers should be skulking in the shadows cowering with shame and slam every single bishop of the Church because a Catholic blogger had a bit of a go at your idol, your temperament has got the better of your reason.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sweet Reason

Say what you like about followers of the Dr Death Evan Harris cult but they can't be faulted for their zealotry as the fragrant Cristina Odone has found out to her cost.

Hostilities began last week when former Catholic Herald editrix Odone posted a mildly critical piece about Harris on her Torygraph blog:

"I’ve come across Harris a few times. The Big Questions, a BBC1 programme presented by Nicky Campbell on Sunday morning, often invites him on: his eloquence and logic make him an able debater. But as the subject turns to the ethical or religious issue of the day – faith schools, say, or teenage pregnancies – I watch him turn pop-eyed with bilious indignation. He becomes almost a caricature of the National Humanist Society spokesman: God is bad, his followers mad."

It was as though she'd contaminated the Madonna.

Horrified Death Harris fanatics took the opportunity to profess their devotion to the man they revere as Sweet Reason incarnate, indeed some were so impassioned that they hit the "post" button no less than three times.

Temperate, sweet-natured and reasoned comments rebuking Odone for her spite zinged hither and yon:

"I could point out that Cristina Odone was essentially sacked from The Observer. But I’m not going to. Lets look at this “article” for what it is – a total argumentum ad hominem ...You’re a joker if you think you’re in anyway a journalist," declared Mr Bond

Owly 999 said, "You are a horrible, vile, vindictive little woman who really shouldn’t be writing in any national newspaper. OK, maybe one aimed at the retarded beliefs of any religous faction."

And in keeping with their high evidence-based ethical standards, bigoted jibes and conspiracy-nuttery about Odone's religion were, of course, conspicuously absent:

David Colquhoun said: "There could hardly be a worse moment to seek to impose catholic values on the rest of society. That church, including its head, has been seem to fail to report to the police the most vile crimes. It is in deep disgrace precisely because of its lack of moral principles."

Added glennoliver: "So, in your view, how precious did the tens of thousands (and increasing weekly) guilty Catholic clergy hold the young lives they abused? Are they and their church sinister at all?"

Odone declared herself "spooked" by the furious reaction to her post.

"It’s come as a bit of a shock to discover that everything I write that is even mildly critical of the Lib Dem sacred cows, Nick Clegg and Dr Evan Harris, provokes instant, ferocious and unchecked response," she lamented.

Yes, it's very different to the sedate world of the traditional dead-tree press where the commentariat spoke from on high to their forlock-tugging readers. The brave new world of the internet allows anybody with an opinion and a a modem to bellow through a virtual foghorn. It's loud, it's brash and a profoundly democratic medium. That's its beauty.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Cristina.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Telling it how it is

Why is it outrageous to call someone a bigot if that is exactly what they are?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blog theme tune meme

AVPS has tagged me in one of those blog meme thingies, asking which theme tune I'd adopt for my blog.

Tough one but I think I'll plump for LL Cool J and Mama said knock you out. Why? Because I'm partial to hip-hop and heavy-weight boxing and the swaggering braccadocio of the lyrics (Don't call it a comeback/I been here for years/Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear/Makin the tears rain down like a MON-soon/Listen to the bass go BOOM) mirrors this blog's up-front style, or so I like to think, anyway. And one other reason: laydeez lurve cool James, of course.

So without further ado, here it is:

I gather that one is supposed to tag others. So I tag Voltaire's Priest, Jim Denham, Crispian Jago and ... On the Side of the Angels (OTSOTA), who is, I think, the perfect counterpoint to Jimbo and Jago.

Quick intro for OTSOTA: a former seminarian, he sets the standard for us left-footers when it comes to doctrinal orthodoxy, a man who tells it like he sees it, he is the scourge of decents everywhere, hold tight, shout out and big up OTSOTA.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Secularist Stormtroopers

Over on CiF, Jack Valero has written about his experience of appearing on the Beeb's Big Questions defending the Pope's record of tackling sex-abuse. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the programme, it's one of those Sunday morning hangover shows. Host Nicky Campbell throws a piece of controversy to his audience, allows some poor sod a few seconds worth of comment on whatever the issue is, then stands back and watches while the assembled company stage a fit. I believe this is called a "studio discussion".

Anyway, Jack said that after the show,

"two representatives of the Protest the Pope Coalition told me menacingly I had 'no right' to defend Benedict XVI's record on abuse."

In fairness, since I wasn't there I've got no idea how the er, exchange of views took place, or whether the anti-Catholic duo were as menacing as Jack says they were. They may just have been a touch intemperate or merely animated. But if some loudmothed pipsqueak with more front than sense were to tell me that I had no right, forsooth, to express my opinion, I'd probably unleash a stream of furious invective at them. With the Anglo-Saxonisms discreetly removed, my oration would go something like this: "aaah shuddup and go and indulge yer stormtrooper fantasies somewhere else but don't even think about policing my public discourse, cos it aint that kind of party, oh kay?"

But that's me.

At least Jack got some column inches out of it, I suppose.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Exclusive transcript of the Pope's trial for crimes against humanity

Monday, April 19, 2010

Friday 23 April CWU Call Centre Workers' Love Music Hate Racism Gig

A host of top cutting-edge music acts, including NME Shockwaves nominees, They’re all Projects, are joining forces to fight racism and fascism at a Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) gig organised by call–centre workers from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch on Friday 23th April.
Mark Kavanagh vocalist and guitarist for They’re all Projects said, “Fighting racism and fascism has never been more important. In the General Election the BNP could gain ground unless we do everything we can to mobilise people against them. Friday night will not just be a celebration but an opportunity to gather those forces together.”
The music at the gig will be as diverse as the city it is being performed in, from melodic indie through mellow swing to the hottest ragga. Other acts performing at the event include Mr Ghost’s Hot Steppers and Because We Can. Mr, Ghost’s Hot Steppers are an eclectic seven piece. Their sound is a fusion of old-time swing beats and skiffle and they dress in a retro style to match their music.
CWU Pell and Bales vice chair and gig organiser, Pat Carmody commented, “We’ve got a cracking line up of acts for the gig this Friday. As trade unionists we know only too well that our rights are under threat when Nazis are allowed to march and spread their racist filth.
“As well as leafleting in Barking and joining the protests against the racist EDL, we can start to involve a layer of new young workers against the BNP and the EDL. We can use our trade unions to sponsor and organize events that put young anti-racists at the heart of the fight against the BNP and also recruit these young workers to our unions.”
LMHR uses the energy of the British music scene to celebrate diversity and involve people in anti-racist and anti-fascist activity as well as to urge people to vote against fascist candidates in elections.
The CWU Capital branch Call Centre Workers’ LMHR gig takes place at the Old Blue Last, 39 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3ES. Doors open at 8pm.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Holocaust, paedophile rings and the recession: Pope's "crimes against humanity" include everything AND the kitchen sink

News of Ditchkins latest publicity stunt here.

My question is this:

Isn't it about time that Christopher Hitchens, Johann Hari, Geoffrey Robertson et al were charged with crimes against reason?

Like a thief in the night

This time death clipped the tops of trees and fell to the ground, taking 96 people with her. They included President Kaczynski and his wife, Maria, a host of political and cultural figures and Rev Canon Bronislaw Gostomski, parish priest of London's main Polish Church, St Andrzej Boboli. Those on board had been on their way to take part in commemerative services for the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.

That such a terrible thing happened is a tragedy. Politics are of no moment at times like this. Along with my fellow Poles, I am in a state of shock.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Corin Redgrave 1939-2010

I was sorry to read about the death of Corin Redgrave today. The obituaries will note that he was the scion of an important thespian family and that along with his sister Vanessa he was a leading member of the Workers' Revolutionary Party. I will remember him as a valiant defender of the Roma and Traveller community and thank God for what he did to fight oppression and prejudice.

Requiescat in Pace.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?

Paul was asking rhetorically, of course for by his resurrection, Jesus Christ effectively abolished death. The resurrection rendered graves akin to wombs, staging posts, not ultimate destinations. The scandal of the crucifixion was transformed into the sheer bubbling excitement of Easter Day.

Hence the confidence with which Christians have been able to endure persecution whether it took place under Diocletian in the Third Century or Stalin in the 20th: the promise of eternal life.

This is what it's all about.

Christ is risen! Indeed he is risen!
Chrystus zmartwychwstał! Prawdziwie zmartwychwstał!
Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց՜ Օրհնեալ է Յարութիւնն Քրիստոսի՜
Krestos a uprisin! Seen, him a uprisin fe tru!
Hristos a înviat! Adevărat a înviat!
Atgyfododd Crist! Yn wir atgyfododd!
Χριστός ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!
Ua ala hou ´o kristo! Ua ala ´i ´o no ´oia!
Christ daaztsáádéé' náádiidzáá! T'áá aaníí, daaztsáádéé' náádiidzáá!
Cristo causarimpunña! Ciertopuni causarimpunña!
Kristu qam mill-mewt! Huwa qam tassew! 
Kristos Tenestwal! Bergit Tenestwal!
ქრისტე აღსდგა! ჭეშმარიტად აღსდგა!