Saturday, May 30, 2009

MPs are the New Jews

Danny's email from the unspeakable Irving reminds one yet again of the human need to group others together and blame, if not actually kill, them. Irving says the Jews in Germany should have asked, 'Why us?' The implication is that there must be a reason, but, of course, there isn't. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was a Jewish screenwriter - this, I think, is a true story and I apologise if I've told it before - who had to visit a wealthy woman to persuade her to back a movie. She had a wall of shelves on which stood priceless Chinese vases. She complained about the Jews, saying she didn't like them but she didn't really have a reason. Our Jew, no longer interested in her money, stood up, brought the shelves crashing down and said, 'Now you gotta reason!' My kinda guy. MPs have been smashing vases, mostly John Lewis rather than Ming. Doubtless many are at fault and some should go. But even the most guilty should be treated with at least the respect we offer to the accused in court -'due process' it's called. Instead, they are sneered and snarled at. The scrawling of 'That's Life' on the door of Margaret Moran's constituency office, which evoked 'Juden' on the doors of Jewish shops, indicates pretty clearly where we are going here. Daily I hear supposedly angered constituents emitting anti-MP bile. They're not remotely angry, they're loving it; their little lives have been validated by hatred. TV, in particular, is whipping up this feeding frenzy. Television presenters have, for some time, been involved in a sporting competition to see who can sneer most effectively at politicians. This is, for them, the Olympics. MPs are fools like us, greedy like us and, like us, they find themselves set loose in a world devoid of ethos, custom and effective institutions. Like us, they behave badly. And then, suddenly, they find themelves in the wrong place at the wrong time, at the mercy of the mob. 'Why us?' No reason, just following orders.
PS And just as I write this, Guido does this. The Nazis hung Jews with piano wire.


  1. oi vay, have you been drinking this early? Btw, I'd like that story if I thought it wasn't true.

    what you've forgotten is they haven't actually broken any rules; they aren't actually going to court. if a fuss wasn't made most of them would doubtless carry on ''business as usual''.

  2. The problem with due process: it takes so long and the alternative will always dress itself up in the same kind of clothes, even in the worst cases (something that comes across forcibly in the early stages of Burleigh's Third Reich):

    Three men convicted of bombing an Iranian mosque two days ago have been publicly executed, state media says. The bombing killed at least 19 people during evening prayers in the south-east city of Zahedan on Thursday. The three men, who were hanged on Saturday morning near the mosque, were already in custody before the attack -- front page of BBC website todayThus we are shown where we are headed, courtesy of the same BBC who sneer us on our way at home. Get a grip, Britain.

  3. Thank you for explaining the Irving E-mail.

    I read it several times, but could make neither head nor tail of what he was on about.

  4. philip wallingMay 30, 2009 10:09 am

    Bryan, try as I might, I'm afraid I can't make out any coherent point from your post and I'm surprised.
    Are you saying the people are not entitled to be sick of the political class?
    There is a whiff of the metropolitan disdain for the common man "Their little lives have been validated by hatred."
    This expenses business is simply a pretext to release deep anger, in England in particular, that the people are being pissed on (sorry for the infelicity but it seems the most descriptive)and their representatives are doing nothing to represent them.
    They are crying out for leadership - good leadership would direct their energies constructively. But when ordinary people find that they have been made fools of by people they trusted to look after their interests it is hardly surprising they might overreact. They are only (as their errant MPs would plead) human after all.
    How on earth you can conflate this understandable popular fury with the persecution of Jews in Germany is lost on me.
    There is a reason for the fury of the mob and they're not "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

  5. i reckon the anti-MP loathing has been coming a long time - this is just the trigger, it's not really about the money (which is probably a trifling sum in total, compared to the amount of money wasted on, for example, NHS managers) - it's about the sense that politicians are actively opposed to our way of life - just about everyone loathes Political Correctness, yet here it is, stuffed down our throats; even immigrants get iffy about huge numbers of other immigrants, yet here we have massive immigration into a geographically small country; most people would regard militant Islam with at least some wariness, yet here it is, the G are falling over themselves to placate clerics calling for death to Jews, dogs, women, cake shops etc.

    It doesn't seem to make any difference who you vote for. Boris Johnson of all people becomes Mayor and instantly flips over and says Islam is a wonderful religion etc. etc.

    i'm not condoning this mass loathing - i think the individuals are probably just weak, unremarkable people - but it's about much more than expenses, it's about the feeling that the ruling elite are actively opposed to those they rule. i think the similarities between politicians and Jews are of the surface - to be Jewish is beyond one's control, it is genetic; the politicians are involved in a stinking mess and they are guilty. But, having said that, i know nothing about politics - just about my sense of being alive in this country.

  6. Nicely made, Philip, only I think these incumbents are in the wrong place and the wrong time. But is that really so awful? Whenever the shoe's on the other foot, they're all too ready to sacrifice individual rights and respect for some fatuous ''common good'' like airport expansions or compulsory home purchase for road widening, for instance, or some other violence against the individual.

    Someone has said it is bad for democracy but it's the only time I can remember seeing democracy in action so effectively. Really it's bad for the establishment - yes, I think it was one of them that said it. Things might not improve - I hope they will - but something had to be said.

    As for phobia of the ''mob'' well, let's see. to be honest, if the people of Luton, or where-ever, readily string them from lamp posts then there was something seriously wrong with our understanding of our own people way before all of this. But who knows? Let's test it and see; we may be pleasantly reassured. Either way, I'd want to know.

  7. Personally I'm hoping that Alan Johnson might introduce some calm and authority, starting in about a week. God knows we need it. I'd like to get out and enjoy the summer!

    We need some reform of the system. I reckon folks like Johnson, Cable and Field can help with this. I doubt many voters would trust Brown or Cameron over reform further than they could throw them. The expenses scandal has revealed a huge gap between the wealth and world-view of a few and the pretty ramshackle, provisional circumstances of the rest of us. Time for some fair play and greater equality, I think, and time for an end to the worst - or most farcical - delusions of grandeur. The de haut en bas of some at the top of the pile - not just MPs - has stoked up a bad atmosphere just as much as pissed talk of hang 'em high down at the Dog and Duck. In a way, it's all no big deal. Just a half-broken old democracy forcing an out-of-touch and greedy ruling class to get real and fall back in line. No we don't all earn £60K+ a year; in fact, very few people do. It's a pretty forcible readjustment but not yet thank heavens a violent one. You might say that's what democracy is for.

  8. Who is to say they are not both angry and loving it? Loving the downfall of these twerps, crooks and vagabonds, these Marie Antoinettes who have so little to recommend them? The Bush haters also loved Bush because he gave their lives purpose and energy, but they still hated him. Hate and anger are a pleasure viz. mobs of angry Muslims getting a rage-on over some crappy cartoons. At the same time, the MPs are not the new Jews because the Jews were scapegoated for something they had not done, whereas the MP guilty as hell. And to claim that you didn't break the rules when you invented and rigged the rules is not much of a defence except in the strictest and most technical sense. There are plenty of countries where the rules are egregiously loaded to favour the needs of the ruling class, they tend to be tinpot dictatorships or piles of crap, and that is the taint our MPS have placed upon our system. 'The people' are right to be angry, and I'm not going to sneer at their 'little lives'. What next? Call them chavs?

  9. Never a good idea to compare *anything* else to the Holocaust.

  10. Only just spotted this, the first time that I've felt that a leading politician has dared to tell the story as it is:

    Mr Cameron admits he “did know the basic nature of the problem” of expenses but lays the blame on the culture and system that has grown since the 1970s. He says: “Back in the 70s, 80s, 90s, people were told that these expenses are there in lieu of your pay. And they’re yours so claim them. That is not an excuse but that’s where the problem comes from."

    Add to that the lack of openness since Willie Whitelaw got this ball rolling in 1971. Which desperate protection of the guilty got to the stage not long ago that Michael Martin was prepared to use legislation drafted only for terrorist emergency to squash the story.

    That last point should have given all of us pause for thought, if anyone had bothered to notice it. Personally I'd also suggest thanksgiving to the God who scotched the plan and speaker concerned, who still loves us, in all our hypocrisy and rage. (Not forgetting thankfulness for Heather Brooke herself, one of the few journalistic heroes of the scene.)

    But the rest is just ridiculously inept, in days when a small optical disk can easily hold all the bad stuff that has build up in 38 years - the reborn Torygraph only having four years worth I believe. It is also extremely human. We need to learn not to put our trust in princes. And then, apart from the odd prosecution and imprisonment, which the police and CPS should enjoy, get over it and move on. Bryan's instincts are 100% right.

  11. I was fascinated to recently read Oona King's account of her attempts to adopt a child. During the process, she was ticked off by the adoption agencies for describing herself as mixed race; she was told she
    should have used the term "dual heritage". Her understandable response was to complain about political correctness. The point is if someone like Oona King is complained about political correctness, it can't really be denied that there is a problem with it.

  12. This months standpoint has an article by Nick Cohen covering the paranoia outbreaks generated by yer average conspiracy theorist, individually and en masse. It's bad for your health apparently.
    Perhaps this is the lashing out by angry theorists who's mangled senses are creating devils where non exist.
    Or maybe just the reaction of a pissed off electorate.

    Anyone who doesn't get the holocaust, go visit Berlin's Jewish museum, not far from Checkpoint Charlie.

    Talking of conspiracy theories, here's a lulu to be going on with.

  13. Interesting piece Malty. The Stasi is one of two organizations I've read about that openly boasted of being a conspiracy. The other being the Nazi party. There are bound to be others. The question becomes how much they managed to achieve but the modus operandi is a given.

  14. Analogies with the persecution of the Jews are in bad taste. Guido's reference to Mussolini being tied up by his feet from a lamp-post is certainly also in bad taste - but not as bad.

    I'm not sure it's even a good historical analogy. More French Revolution. But nowhere near there yet.

  15. The jewish analogy doesn't work. Our quango democracy has been exposed in a way lost people can understand. I'd have thought the prospect of Ed Balls being promoted to chancellor would have had you daubing the doors at both 10 and 11 downing street. I've been enjoying Britain's Got Talent this week - socially inclusive, ethnically diverse, democratic, entertaining meritocratic and a ratings winner. The BBC would probably have comittees and policies to get such a show going and would muff it. The BBC is like our political system - bloated and over complicated. Simon Cowell for prime minister anyone?

  16. Applause from me too.

    There's 3 groups of naughty MPs. In descending order of naughtiness they are: the proper fraudsters (claiming for non-existent mortgages); the piss-takers (moats and duck islands); and the rest, who just, as most of us would, milked the system to varying degrees.

    The fraudsters and piss-takers deserve all the crap; the rest don't really. But these distinctions have, as usual, all gone out the window in a jolly good fun frenzy of scattergun anger. We've seen the MPs at the worst, now we're seeing the public at its worst.

    If I were an MP now I'd go on Question Time and shout back even more indingnantly that the audience are all eejits who don't know what the hell they're talking about. Start a riot.

  17. Reading this many seem to have missed the point about due process. Here's a chilling item from the BBC illustrating lack of such in the US this morning:

    Prominent abortion doctor George Tiller has been shot dead at his church in Wichita, Kansas, city officials say ... Dr Tiller one of the few US doctors who perform late-term abortions, had been demonised by some abortion opponents.

    That keys in to a discussion Mark, I and others were having in an earlier thread. As does this: a husband and wife operating strictly within due process in Iran:

    As Ms Rahnavard spoke, many in the crowd shouted protests against the morality police, who regularly arrest women they deem inappropriately dressed. "We should prepare the ground for an Iran where women are treated without discrimination," the AFP news agency reported her as saying ... Mir-Hossein Mousavi said he would put forward a bill to amend laws judged to be at odds with the spirit of Iran's constitution, in particular "discriminatory and unjust regulations" against women.

    There are more important things in the world than a UK MP playing the expenses system for a few thousand quid, unedifying though that is. The women of Iran becoming empowered in the way their constitution (or failing that, natural justice) says they ought to be is one of those much more important things.

    We can blame our MPs and we can blame 'the mob' but in the end it's up to us to model something better. Talk isn't always cheap. The talk of the 'God-fearing' folk that demonised George Tiller sure wasn't.

  18. MPs expenses cost the taxpayer in the region of £90m, against a Government expenditure of around £650bn. Currently, the UK Government is on track to borrow £175bn to meet it's pre-election budget commitments. Parliament spends merrily on, while very many others are having to make painful readjustments, often in the fce of an unforgiving state system from HM Customs to speed cameras and a very bloated public sector bureaucracy. How a bankrupt governing class can be compared to persecuted jews is quite beyond me.

  19. Why always only mention the jews? Gipsy, russian, poland, homosexual mental dissabled and everybody who did not conform the totalitair nazi system faced a certain dead.
    And communist partij members among caught russian soldiers where shot at sight.
    So it should not be a why for only the german jews (it where in fact all jews in occupied Europe) but it is a why for whole Europe. -

  20. first of all, the meaning of the democracy should be known accurately...

  21. replicated all over the world are increasingly racism. Now I think people do not fit into this world.