We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

The impression given was that to be against multiculturalism is like being against chicken tikka masala, or bhangra, or arts festivals or smiley brown skinned people or fun generally. But multiculturalism isn’t and never was a handy synonym for “multiethnic”. And at last, it seems, the majority of British people have twigged.

- James Delingpole

Deleted by the Guardian… spotting the pattern

I found this interesting:

Harun Khan said many young British-born Muslims felt pushed to the fringes of society and that the latest government crackdown could nudge them further into the grasp of radical clerics, instead of drawing them back into mainstream society.

If they want to be in mainstream society in the UK, then their young males need to go down the pub and their young females need to stop wearing a head scarf. But this was my reply:

So if I understand what Harun Khan is saying, it is that monitoring members of the Muslim community for fear of Islamic extremism will cause radicalisation, so the thing to do is to leave it to the imams and community leaders to ensure everything is hunky dory. So a bit like Rotherham then?

And the Guardian’s reply was:

This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.

Now as I respect private property, unlike the some I could mention, I accept that as the comment was posted on the Guardian’s site, it is up to them what they allow to be published… so no nonsensical bleating about ‘censorship’ please… their house, their rules. I certainly never apologise for deleting comments I think are inappropriate on Samizdata, and neither should the Guardian.

But I do find it interesting that what I think was a pretty innocuous remark gets axed the moment it touches on this particular topic. I sense that a thread is being pulled on the whole morally relativistic carpet that has been draped over the large grunting shitting snuffling pig in the middle of the room, and there is mounting alarm in ‘certain circles’ as they see this carpet coming unravelled. So to me the issue is not “Oh noez! My comment has been cruelly deleted!” but rather “it is interesting to see this particular pattern show where the intolerable sensitivities are”. If that is the weak point, that is where to keep thrusting the dagger.

But then as I said last time I got a comment deleted, that was the sort of mainstream media world view that pushed me into setting up Samizdata in 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11.

And so I introduce a new comment category today: Deleted by the Guardian

The Ashya King story: am I missing something here?

This seems like a very odd story. Some parents remove their child from a UK hospital after they determine the NHS will not provide what they conclude is the most appropriate treatment for a brain tumour. They then go overseas where they hope to find somewhere such treatment is available. And this triggers a Europe-wide manhunt?

Is there more to this than meets the eye? Because if not, what possible justification is there for state involvement at all, let alone hunting the parents down in Spain.

A cat among the pigeons

Tory MP Douglas Carswell defects to Ukip and forces byelection, reports the Guardian, beating all the other broadsheets by a good quarter of an hour.

He did not have to resign. He could have just crossed the floor and kept his seat, at least until the next election. I rather admire him for re-submitting himself to the voters in his constituency. Of course the chance that they will vote for him while standing for a minor party is much higher in a by-election than in a general election. He may calculate that he can ride in now on a carriage drawn by the two horses of a protest vote and his personal popularity, and then trust to voters’ preference for the status quo come the general election.

This is fun! What does it all portend, for UKIP, for the Tories, for Labour, for the Scottish referendum?

Deleted by the Guardian

I have never… ever… heard a person of Pakistani or Arab origins called ‘Asian’ in the UK other than in the mainstream media. Never. Not even once.

It is a measure of how disconnected the media is from the society it ‘serves’. Come to think of it, that was precisely why I started blogging in November 2001.

- A comment by me deleted by the Guardian here. I think that is very telling.

Politically correct evasiveness fails on its own terms

Do an internet search today of any British newspaper for the word “Rotherham” and you will find accounts of how, to quote the Daily Mail’s headline, a “[d]amning report reveals 1,400 girls were abused by sex gangs because social workers and police feared racism claims – so did nothing”.

Nothing new here. There have been similar instances of organised and long-term child abuse by groups of Muslims going unpunished due to fear of claims of racism in Rochdale, Oxford, Derby, Telford and Keighley.

What is changing is the level of fury expressed not just about the rape and enslavement of the victims, nor just about the dereliction of duty on the part of social workers and police, but also about the efforts of the media to downplay that the perpetrators were Muslim. I picked the three links above because all three stories allowed comments. It is remarkable how similar the comments in the left-wing Guardian are to those in the right-wing Mail. Sarcastic, sad, jeering, hesitant or spitting righteous anger; the tone varied but outrage over that particular type of dishonesty was expressed again and again. The usual media procedure is to substitute “Asian” for “Muslim”, or for “Pakistani”, which would give the game away to anyone with a basic knowledge of the Indian subcontinent. I should say that given the relatively low numbers of orientals in Britain it is normal in British casual speech to say “Asian” when one really means “South Asian”, but British Sikhs and Hindus greatly resent the literal racism of the use of the term “Asian” in the context of this series of distinctly Muslim crimes. In some of their stories the BBC has gone further, from blurring relevant details to excising them. These BBC stories simply speak of events “in Rotherham” – even though the independent inquiry that started this firestorm of comment specifically says that fear of being denounced as racist (religious and racial prejudice are deliberately lumped together) was what kept the social workers silent. Instead Rotherham social workers devoted their child protection efforts to taking away their foster-children from a respectable couple on the grounds that they were members of UKIP.

Probably no one who who has ever had a hand in censoring mention of Islam from news reports will ever read this. But on the off-chance that someone relevant does, or in the faint hope that the general idea if not my particular words might reach such a person by indirect means, I would like to ask you, Ms or Mr Media Person, a question. Apart from the question of honest reporting, how do you think the strategy of silence and euphemism is working? Is the British public more or less likely to distinguish between the criminals of Rotherham and the next random “Asian” they see because the press has for so long refused to distinguish? Has it been successfully concealed that a common factor in these abuse rings has been that some Muslim men see non-Muslim girls as “white trash” and unworthy of respect? Not that the politically correct would care about this, but have the brave efforts of some Muslims to confront these warped attitudes been helped or hindered by the evasion?

Samizdata knee-jerk reaction of the day

I read this and suddenly found myself having a knee-jerk reaction.

He said the “bigger problem” was that many young Muslims were “disillusioned” but felt they could not express their views. Mr Khan said people needed a “safe space” where they could “speak freely without being labelled as extremists”.

My immediate reaction was “how about in a mosque in your middle eastern country of choice? That sounds like a pretty safe place to speak about how Britain is deeply suspicious of people who primary identity of defined by being a Muslims these days.”

If you feel disaffected by how the largely irreligious secular host society sees you because of your religion… bugger off to somewhere your notions do not seem utterly alien to most people. Do what your high initiative parents or grandparents did when they emigrated seeking a better life: seek a batter live elsewhere. I hear there is an outfit in Raqaa looking for “disillusioned young Muslims” if you have a sense of adventure and want to put the whole 72 virgins thing to the test.

Strangely I find surprisingly few people uneasy about the mostly-Muslim Kurds, and surprisingly few Kurds moaning about how Britain has treated them, for reasons that should be fairly obvious.

El Comandante inspires the troops

It has been said that El Comandante Salmond resoundingly won the debate with Alistair Darling. So hopefully this boosts the YES campaign to the point where English I mean Scottish independence takes wing like a majestic eagle, soaring aloft amidst a swirl of stirring bagpipe music (whereupon it can fly off and crash into the middle of Havana for all I care).

An independent Scotland will have to choose between the pound and Socialism

Whatever the “Yes” campaign claims, threatens or believes, here will be no currency union between an independent Scotland and the remainder of the United Kingdom. All three major parties plus UKIP have said this outright, and the voters back them up. Quite right too, unless you think it’s a good idea not to cancel the joint credit card after a bitter divorce.

(Just a reminder: there almost certainly will not be any divorce. All the polls point to Scotland choosing to remain part of the UK.)

So, to Plan B. Sterlingisation. The Guardian has flagged up a report from the Adam Smith Institute saying, correctly in my opinion, that for iScotland (OK, so I did just say “iScotland” and I cannot guarantee to resist “rUK” either – sue me) to use the pound as Panama uses the dollar would be the best option.

Under “sterlingisation”, Scotland would not be able to print its own currency and would lack a lender of last resort. But the ASI report said the experience of Panama pointed to this being an advantage because it would force lenders to be more prudent.

In contrast to the situation for a currency union, there would be nothing the rUK could do to stop iScotland simply deciding unilaterally to use the pound, and no reason it should care anyway. But it would be tough for Scotland at first. It would be the equivalent of gastric band surgery. No more splurging on welfare for you, Alba my love!

This is not the first time the Adam Smith Institute has said something like this. My post on currency options for an independent Scotland back in February was partly inspired by an article by Dr Eamonn Butler of the ASI.

You know my views. No surprise that a free-marketeer like me agrees with the ASI here. It does seem a little odd for the Yes campaign, spearheaded as it is by the Scottish National Party, backed by the Radical Independence Campaign and the National Collective, to be quite so keen.

“Is justice served by confirming a raid to the TV news in time for them to hire a helicopter?”

The police show off. A reputation is shattered.

- Libby Purves has written in the Times about the recent extremely well publicised police raid on Cliff Richard’s house. The article is behind a paywall, but here are some choice lines:

Lost in an unfamiliar landscape? Ask a policeman. What I want, officer, is statistics on the usefulness of dawn raids, especially where the allegation involves not weapons, drugs, account books or contraband but a sexual misdeed 30 years ago. Do you generally find a diary from 1985 saying “Molested X today”? Or is there always some extreme porn left around to confirm dodginess? Does this apply even if it is only one of the suspect’s homes you raid? Suppose all his wicked stuff was in Barbados all the time?

More pressingly, officer, is justice served by confirming a raid to the TV news in time for them to hire a helicopter? Then complaining that this causes them to turn up? How do you square it with the College of Policing guideline that without compelling reason suspects shouldn’t be identified? Is the fact that chummy will make headlines a compelling reason?

And

And there are flaws in the theory that famous names must be named: when some ordinary joe is accused there is no publicity, yet convictions are achieved.

Another problem is the risk of attracting hysterics, liars, and fantasists keen to surf on the excitement and waste police time.

Alex Salmond said what?

According to the Guardian, in a meeting with SNP backbenchers after his disappointing performance in the debate with Alistair Darling, this:

He [Salmond] said, using the pound without a formal pact – an option known as “sterlingisation” or the Panama option – was “quite attractive”, but insisted the Treasury would never allow that to happen because it would let Scotland walk away from more than £100bn in debt. “No UK chancellor would allow himself to be in a position where an independent Scotland gets away scot-free without the debt,” Salmond said.

Mr Salmond may have been misquoted. I may have misunderstood. But the notion that if an independent Scotland decides to use the pound in the manner that Panama or Ecuador uses the dollar (a quite sensible idea in itself, though it would require fiscal discipline), that somehow negates Scotland’s share of the UK national debt sounds delusional to me. At least, I suppose Scotland could default – Argentina does it all the time – but there are huge practical penalties to that. Lenders demand a high risk premium before they will lend to defaulters, particularly unrepentant defaulters.

Having written the above, I’ve just found another link confirming that Mr Salmond was not misquoted. He really is claiming that the famous missing Plan B is, in the event of the remainder of the UK refusing a currency union, for newly independent Scotland to refuse to take its share of UK debt.

Alex Salmond defends Plan B currency stance after losing Scottish debate on TV.

“If the UK Government’s position is “‘thou shalt not be entitled to your own currency” then “of course we have no entitlement to take liabilities either,” Mr Salmond said.
“If we had a zero share of debt then Scotland would be in both balance of payments and budgetary surplus in the first year of independence. We wouldn’t be paying up to £5 billion in interest payments.
“That is the logical conclusion of the UK Government claiming all of the assets of the country – they end up with all the liabilities.”

Wow. To me, those words above look like a bigger misstep than anything he said in the debate.

Samizdata quote of the day

Warsi dismissively described Osborne as “a good friend of the Israeli government”. The more subtle truth is that Osborne, along with a handful of other senior politicians, is prepared to step back historically and geographically, and to remember that the state of Israel was founded by a people that had heard the approaching silence of absolute extinction, and resolved never again to face that void.

Israel is bigger than Gaza and the West Bank, but it is smaller than almost everywhere else. Less than a century old, it is a democracy surrounded by hostile nations and under permanent attack by terrorists who wish to see it wiped from the surface of the Earth. What is a “proportionate” response to a hydra-like enemy who sees the Final Solution as work in progress? All terrorism aimed at Israel is genocidal in spirit. What would a “proportionate” response to that ambition look like?

- Matthew d’Ancona