At first glance, it looks like our various predictions about Nick’s latest were wrong. Instead of leaping rightwards, he swerves instead into inanity:
If you want a society that is really welded together, there are certain things that unite us because we are British,’ said Hazel Blears in her clumsy way. Indeed they should.
So, yay Hazel Blears and rebranding. But this is just a rather weak hook on which to hang something a little more rancid. Nick starts his piece at the London Islamic Centre, where he attends a conference of women in business. The women in business, and Nick, are subject to a video of a speech made by a local imam who tells them to drop the laptops, get back in the kitchen, and rattle those pots and pans.
Nick doesn’t tell us how the women who were actually there actually respond to this. He tells us that in the basis of this speech, the whole conference was pointless. This is because, I presume, women who happen to be muslim never make any decisions contrary to the opinions set forth by imams.
Nick goes on from this to make various assertions, to wit: A) All people are now officially categorized by their religions. B) That this is important because all kinds of public funding depend on such official classifications and c) Liberals are responsible by promoting segregation. Moreover, they did it intentionally. We know this because Nick says they did it with “the best of intentions”.
In response: A) People are classified by all sorts of things. The census has me, for instance, down as a jedi knight. B) Religions have always been part of the general architecture of public funding. This is because they pursue various projects considered worthy of public funding. No religion in Britain is funded simply because it is a religion. If I, as a jedi knight, wish to support women in business I can get a grant to do so, even if I tell them that they should be at home polishing my light sabre. C) is simply bizarre. The old Nick Cohen would have used this as a peg to have a crack at religions using public money to further their own agendas, and criticize the government for letting them do so – which does, after all, disburse the money. Nick however, thinks it’s all a liberal plot. His evidence is a bad interview by Kirsty Wark on Newsnight with a representative of the Bosnian government. Kirsty then convened a central committee meeting of Liberals and the word went out to promote segregation. Or something. The rest is a big pile of assertions. Taken on their own grounds they have an internal logic. But the word we generally use for a big pile of assertions driven by their own internal logic is “fiction.”
Back in February, Nick discovered the world of blogs and told us that he’d been keeping company with people “he’d normally cross the street to avoid. “ He seems to have taken quite a lot on board from his new mates. There’s a certain similarity in technique. Find something you consider undesirable. Take it as given that liberals are responsible. Construct a theory that takes you from point a to point b. As a kind of ill-grace note, there’s also the idea that any project designed to deal with the particular problems of a group within society promotes segregation, and the implication towards the end that saying the BBC is pro-Israeli is de-facto evidence of extremism or even anti-semitism.
Broadly, this is the process described by Tom Frank in What’s the Matter with Kansas and elsewhere, a mode of argument which in which the unity and healthy values of the Volk are being constantly undermined by self-hating liberals – though in this case, self-hating liberals with the “best of intentions.”
The Rioja Kid