When China imposed trade sanctions on Norway in 2010 for honouring the imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo with the Nobel peace prize, it spat out a word we weren’t used to hearing from propagandists for an atheist communist regime, but should get used to today. “It’s a blasphemy,” a party mouthpiece said.
Once, blasphemy was damning the faithful’s gods and sacred books. Now, criticism of the world’s largest dictatorship has become sacrilegious. You shouldn’t be surprised. As some of us tried to say in the 1990s and 2000s, the gap between the sacred and the profane was never as wide as religious sentimentalists and liberal multiculturalists believed.… Seguir leyendo »
For all the claims it has made to being a stable democracy, Britain has joined the United States, Hungary, the Philippines and Brazil in falling for the allure of the strongman. The British equivalent of President Trump’s empty, macho promise to build a wall and make the Mexicans pay for it is Boris Johnson’s rugged determination to “get Brexit done.” The slogan made him prime minister and head of Britain’s minority Conservative government in the summer and will, he hopes, bring him a majority at the next general election.
True to the Trump script, Johnson said he would smash the obstructive elite with one blow of his mighty fist.… Seguir leyendo »
Brexit Britain has reached populism’s inevitable terminus. The government is collapsing as Conservative ministers vote against their own administration with impunity. The equally chaotic opposition cannot oppose. No one can say whether my country will crash out of the European Union provoking an economic and social crisis. Honest commentators don’t make predictions anymore, but stare at the wreckage with slack-jawed disbelief.
“We have no idea where we are going,” Sam Gyimah, from Theresa May’s ruling Conservative government, said last week (although I use the word “ruling” advisedly). “There is no strategy; there is no plan.”
The British crisis is deeper than the United States’ because at its heart lies a failure of truth-telling.… Seguir leyendo »
In response to:
“How the BBC Lost the Plot on Brexit,” July 12, 2018.
To the Editor:
Nick Cohen acknowledges the BBC “follows the highest journalistic standards.” Were he to apply those standards to his own essay, he would find he has ignored a number of inconvenient facts.
Nick says our reporting of scandals surrounding the Brexit referendum “barely exists” and our coverage is “perfunctory.” That will come as a surprise to our audience, as we have reported on every aspect of the story over the past two years.
Take his main example, the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica whistleblower story. When it broke, we covered it on our major news bulletins for eleven days in a row.… Seguir leyendo »
Late last year, BBC executives had the nerve to erect a bronze statue of George Orwell outside its headquarters in central London. The sculptor caught Orwell’s spikiness. He stands one hand on hip, the other pointing forward with a cigarette between his fingers, as if caught in mid-argument. Carved into the wall behind him is the journalistic motto that Orwell and the BBC wanted us to learn: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
The BBC lifted the line from Orwell’s proposed preface to Animal Farm. Despite its being one of the greatest satires in the English language, four publishers turned the manuscript down in 1944.… Seguir leyendo »
Graeme Atkinson provides an essential political service as the foreign editor of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight. However necessary his work is, he never expected that he or any of his colleagues who dedicate their lives to the painstaking and occasionally dangerous task of exposing neo-Nazism would become celebrities. The global fame of Searchlight's former Stockholm correspondent is thus filling him with an unexpected delight.
In the next fortnight, he will hear the name of his old friend Stieg Larsson everywhere. The bookshops are preparing to receive 320,000 hardback copies of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, the last volume of the extraordinarily popular Millennium trilogy.… Seguir leyendo »