Posts Tagged ‘Victoria Coren’

Vandal Attacks BBC Statue Because of Colston Verdict

January 12, 2022

This evening, a man climbed up to a ledge on the front of Broadcasting House, the Beeb’s HQ, and started to attack the statue of Ariel by Eric Gill. Someone took film of him smashing the statue’s feet with a hammer, and it’s been widely posted and reposted by right-wingers over YouTube. The man was David Chick, and there’s a phone call from him on the channel of someone rejoicing in the monicker ‘Tyrant Finder UK’. Chick and the Tyrant Finder are both men, who can’t utter a sentence without using the F-bomb nor other foul language, but in the phone call Chick makes it clear that he’s attacking the statue because Gill was a paedophile. Indeed he was. During his life he professed to be the model of Roman Catholic piety as a tertiary Franciscan. After his death it was discovered that not only did he rape his two daughters but also the family dog. But Chick also seems to have done it out of anger for the acquittal of the Colston Four. And he’s being applauded by people, who similarly believe, or seem to believe, that the BBC is promoting child abuse with the statue and who are also angry at the Bristol verdict. The attitude seems to be that if the woke can tear down statues, then so can they.

Mad right-wing Youtuber Alex Belfield was one of those who put up an approving video of the attack earlier this evening. He has his own grievances against the Corporation. He claims he was forced out of the Beeb because he’s a poor White kid from a pit estate and not one of the middle class, Guardian reading, university educated Naga Manchushy types, as he calls them. He also has some kind of personal feud with various broadcasters, like Jeremy Vine. He frequently rants against the Beeb demanding its privatisation and the Eric Gill statue is one of the weapon he uses in the attacks. He criticises the Corporation for keeping the statue on its facade, which he seems to claim shows the indifference to child abuse which allowed Jimmy Savile to carry on with his predations unstopped.

Gill certainly was a vile human being, and some of his art does pose a genuine moral problem. A few years ago Victoria Coren discussed him in her documentary, How to Be a Bohemian, which traced the history of bohemianism from 19th century Paris and the Romantics to Britain, the Bloomsbury Group, the Bright Young Things and today’s London and its drag queens. Gill was one of the Bohemians she discussed. She was particularly upset at a bas relief Gill had made of a nude girl. I can’t remember what the sculpture’s official title was, but Gill called it ‘F*cking’. The girl in it was his 15 year old daughter, whom he was abusing at the time. Victoria Coren was talking to a female art expert about the sculpture and the unsettling questions it raised. The expert denied that this was a problem with a comparison to W.B. Yeats and his poetry. Nobody, she declared, objects to Yeats’ poetry because he was a Fascist. Coren replied that they did, and she was particularly unhappy about it. As her father, Alan Coren, was Jewish, it’s very easy to understand why Victoria Coren would have deep misgivings about the poet. It must be said, though, that Yeats was only a Fascist for a short time. If I remember correctly, this was c.1919. He later left them and was very critical about them.

I’m sure most people would be unhappy at Gill’s sculpture of his nude daughter, and would have very strong moral questions against its display. But it isn’t the Ariel statue. And there is still a need to separate the artist from the art. Many of the greatest figures in the arts, literature and science were vile people, or had loathsome views, like Dickens, for example. He’s undoubtedly one of the greatest writers in the English language, but he fully supported General Eyre and his brutal suppression of the Morant Bay rebellion by former slaves on Jamaica. But that in no way invalidates his work, in the same way that Orwell pointed out that Hamlet isn’t diminished by the fact that Shakespeare left his wife his second best bed. I also don’t think you can quite compare the Ariel statue to that of Edward Colston. The Ariel statue is of a character from Shakespeare, used as a kind of mascot by the Corporation. It is not a monument to someone who was a slaver, even if he did give most of his money away in charity.

Those defending and applauding the attacker are wrong on another point. They seem to believe that Colston’s Four’s acquittal has somehow become a precedent, which they can use to defend their attacks. But this isn’t the case. Jury trials, according to Adam Wagner, a lawyer on the Net, don’t set precedents, so Chick could still find it difficult to defend himself if he’s arrested.

I’m deeply unhappy about cultural vandalism regardless of who’s doing it. The attack on Colston’s statue is understandable given that it’s been a subject of controversy and demands for its removal for decades. And now it seems the right have also decided that they are entitled to attack any statues they find offensive, and I’m afraid that this will kick off more vandalism rather than reduce it.

I don’t deny that there’s a good case for taking some statues down, but I don’t support violent attacks on public art, regardless of whether it comes from the right or left. And I think Belfield’s attacks on the Beeb’s statue largely come from his own personal feud with the corporation and the Conservative’s demands for the Beeb’s privatisation and its replacement by a private broadcaster. This hostility partly comes from the Tories’ deep ideological objection to nationalised industries, their loyalty to Rupert Murdoch and his shoddy empire and their hatred of the Beeb because, once upon a time, it used to hold them to account. Some of us can still remember the time Michael Heseltine stormed off Newsnight, tossing his mane after a grilling by Paxman.

Britain’s statues are now threatened not just by the woke left, but by a vengeful, intolerant Conservative right using the outrage it has generated against the offending statue as part of its campaign to silence its critics.

No, HIGNFY, That’s Not What We Object to in Your Treatment of Corbyn

November 2, 2019

Last night’s edition of the Beeb’s satirical panel game, Have I Got Not For You, decided to reply to certain criticism regarding their treatment of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. This week’s guest host, Jo Brand, stated that the programme had been widely attacked by supporters of the Labour leader because the programme continued referring to him by his surname, while the Prime Minister was more informally called by his first name, Boris. This, it was claimed, showed a bias towards the Tory leader, which the programme disputed.

Ummm, no. This is not why many of us object to the programme’s bias against Labour. We object to it because it pushes, like the rest of the media, the flagrant lie that he and his supporters are anti-Semites. Last Friday I put up on this blog immediately after the programme an article expressing my dismay at seeing this pushed once against by Victoria Coren-Mitchell, a broadcaster for whom I have otherwise immense respect. She made a joke about Corbyn believing in the anti-Semitic Jewish bankers conspiracy. He doesn’t. Never has done, and never will. He has a proud record of supporting Jews and Jewish issues in the UK as part of a general commitment to combating racism. But he frightens the British, American and Israeli political establishments by supporting Palestinian rights. And more alarming, horror of horrors!, he has the support of self-respecting Torah-observant and secular Jews. The meeting he attended, which so sent the British Jewish establishment into panicked hysteria because it compared the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to that of the Jews under the Nazis, was addressed by Hajo Meyer, a Holocaust survivor. It certainly was not a Nazi meeting by any stretch of the imagination. And Mr Meyer wasn’t alone in his support for Palestinian rights. They were also championed by Marek Edelman, another Holocaust survivor, who had fought in the heroic Warsaw Uprising. Edelman even compared the Palestinians fighting for their land, freedom and dignity with the Uprising against Nazi genocide. But this is very much how it is not presented by the British press and media.

I wasn’t alone in my disgust at the programme pushing the idea that Corbyn was an anti-Semite and a conspiracy theorist in the worst sense of the term. Many others were too. Mike put up a piece reporting their criticisms and concerns. To be fair to Victoria Coren, she tried to reply to them, and seemed to leave thinking the issue over.

And it seems that the outrage on social media with the programme and its treatment of Corbyn has got to the point that its producers realise they have to do something to tackle it. But they can’t defend their linking of Corbyn with anti-Semitism and bogus, murderous conspiracy theories, it seems. Nor can they acknowledge, it appears, that there is a serious issue here. Because all decent people know that Corbyn is an anti-Semite, and they cannot damage this myth by showing that there are decent people, who don’t.

And so they tried to head off criticism by rebutting a different issue entirely.

This is not good enough, not by a long way. Some people might object to the programme for the above reason, but that’s not why an increasing number do. But it does seem to show that the programme’s producers are worried about criticism they are getting about their contemptuous and contemptible treatment of the Labour leader.

Perhaps if we continue to voice our real objections, the Beeb might just have to come clean on the real issue. I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.

Have I Got News For You Pushes the Anti-Semitism Smears against Corbyn

October 18, 2019

Hey, ho! Another day, another anti-Semitism smear against the Labour party from the Beeb. I might be overreacting here, but my respect for Victoria Coren has just taken a very severe dent. On Have I Got News For You tonight she made a very stupid joke about Corbyn believing in the classic conspiracy theory about Jewish bankers. She told the world that Labour had gone from a surplus in funds of several million to being £650,000 in debt. She then told Corbyn, ‘Jeremy, if you want to know someone good with money, it’s the Jewish bankers you believe are conspiring against you.’ Or something like that. I’ve forgotten the precise wording, but no doubt someone will put it up on YouTube tomorrow. But whatever the wording, she definitely mentioned Corbyn and the Jewish banking conspiracy.

I’m really disappointed as I thought she was better than that.

I can’t say I’m a fan of Have I Got News For You. I got sick and tired of seeing the Beeb push lies on it. It annoyed me so much at one point I stopped watching it completely. I wasn’t really keen on seeing it tonight, truth be told. Perhaps I should have kept well away.

But for the information of Victoria Coren-Mitchell and anyone else who might be taken in by the media’s lies, neither Jeremy Corbyn nor his followers believe in stupid, murderous theories about Jewish bankers. Indeed, as Mike and so many others have put up on their blogs, Corbyn has a proud record of defending the British Jewish community. He even criticised the Beeb and other broadcasters for not putting on enough programmes to cater for the Jewish community. What he has done to cause outrage to the Conservative British Jewish establishment – the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, among others, is demand proper civil rights and equality for Palestinians. Freedom from torture, house demolitions, arbitrary arrest, seizure and eviction from ancestral lands by the Israeli state and militant settlers, the dismantlement of the system of apartheid that exactly mirrors that of White South Africa. You know, basic human rights like that.

In his criticism of Israel, Corbyn has enjoyed the support of Jews, who share his concerns. Hajo Meyer, at whose speech criticising Israel Corbyn committed the heinous crime of nodding in agreement, is not only Jewish but a Holocaust survivor. Many of the entirely decent people smeared as anti-Semites and suspended or expelled from the Labour party by their kangaroo court, are also Jews. People like Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Martin Odoni and many, many others.

No-one from the BBC has ever had the decency to talk to any of the people smeared by the witch-hunters, whether anti-racist gentiles like Mike or Ken Livingstone, or the self-respecting, Torah-observant and secular Jews like those I’ve mentioned. They have sought comments on the anti-Semitism smears from people like the Israel-critical Jewish American scholar, Norman Finkelstein, and have given only grudging airtime to Jewish Voice for Labour. Nor has anyone mentioned that some of the heroes of the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis, like Marek Edelman, were also supporters of the Palestinians. Indeed, Edelman caused notoriety in Israel by stating that the Palestinian rebels were the equivalent of his comrades in their revolt against occupation and murder by the Nazis. Edelman has passed on, but his legacy as an anti-Fascist and supporter of Palestinian rights is admired by veteran anti-racists in the Labour party like Tony Greenstein. A man who is also justly proud of the way British Jews and their gentile comrades in the Labour movement and trade unions resisted Mosley and his thugs before the War.

All this has gone by the wayside. Instead, the Beeb has followed the media pack and its self-imposed groupthink, and pushed ad nauseam the lie that Corbyn and the Labour party are institutionally anti-Semitic. And this latest smear of Corbyn is very suspicious in its timing. Zelo Street yesterday suggested that Louise Ellman’s resignation and the way news of it seemed to come first from the wretched Guido Fawkes was deliberately timed to do damage to Labour. Boris Johnson was in trouble, there hadn’t been an anti-Semitism smear scandal in a little while, so lo! Ellman manufactured one. As has the Beeb. As Mike and Zelo Street have pointed out, Ellman was a Thatcherite entryist parachuted into Liverpool by Blair. Jewish members of her constituency party have made a video stating that they have always been welcomed in the party and they do not recognise her comments about it.

https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/10/louise-ellman-and-guido-fawkes.html

Good riddance to Louise Ellman and her lies about Corbyn and anti-Semitism

I don’t expect anything better than the BBC in this. The Beeb has been pushing the anti-Semitism smears ever since they were first made. But I did expect better of Victoria Coren-Mitchell. How wrong I was.

 

‘Chicken Theresa May’ Excerpt from Have I Got News For You

November 27, 2018

As I commented earlier on a piece by Cassetteboi taking the mick out of Tweezer, May has form when it comes to challenging Corbyn to debates. The last time she did so at the election last year, she ran away from him and said Amber Rudd instead.

This massive cowardice did not go unnoticed. Here’s a clip from Have I Got News For You in which Ian Hislop, Paul Merton, Victoria Coren-Mitchell and guests, including the priest, who used to be a member of the Communards way back when, talk about May.

They remark that it’s just been confirmed that she wouldn’t appear on Woman’s Hour either, sending someone else there instead. Victoria Coren quips in response to May’s comment that the Brexit negotiations will need a ‘bloody difficult woman’ that there is one already in Angela Merkel. There’s also a dig at the Fuhrage. May said that if Corbyn got in, he’d go ‘naked and alone into the debating room’. Coren states that so far this has only happened to a drunk Nigel Farage.

And then there’s a very good description of Tweezer. In response to May being called ‘chicken’ by the Mirror, Coren comments that you can get chicken Theresa at a restaurant near her. It’s thin-skinned, boneless and can’t be grilled. Oh yes, and another true word said in jest!

Vox Political: Adam Hills Fighting ISIS with Mockery and Satire.

November 18, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has written a very good piece about Adam Hills and his strategy of combating ISIS through ruthless mockery and satire. Hills, you will remember, is the Ozzie presenter of the satirical show, The Last Leg, whose regular inmates also include Victoria Coren’s other half, David Mitchell. He quotes Hills as saying that he was at a meeting with Australian diplomats and politicos in which the Middle East was discussed. They told him that ISIS are committing their atrocities in the West in the hope of creating a backlash against Islam generally. They will then try to present themselves as the true defenders of Islam to the region’s embattled peoples.

And so Hills has taken a different strategy. He attempts to fight them not by attacking Islam, but by sneering, mocking and satirising ISIS in order to deny them support and credibility. For example, he held a competition to see what they should be renamed, so long as their new monicker included ‘isis’. The winner was a lady, who suggested they be called ‘Cystitis’. And so they were on the great man’s programme.

And Hills also explains how you too can help defeat ISIS. It’s simple. You think of all the horrible, bigoted jokes about Islam, and just make them about ISIS. Thus you attack them, while stopping them promoting the racial and religious fears they want to provoke. Simples! as that wretched Meerkat would say.

The piece is at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/11/18/adam-hills-explains-how-ordinary-people-can-fight-terrorism/. As well as quoting Hills, it also has videos of him ripping ISIS a new one. Not that the terrorists aren’t already full of ar****les.

This is exactly what we should be doing, and what the nations of the Middle East are doing already. Nick Knowles, one of the founders of the anti-racist group, Hope Not Hate, wrote a message to the Czech prime minister on Monday expressing his disgust at his attendance at an anti-Islam rally. Knowles stated that he had been told by MI6 that this was precisely the reaction ISIS wants. They want Muslims to be hated and despised, so that they can gain recruits from alienated refugees. Hence the need to make the point that the enemy isn’t Islam, it’s ISIS.

As for mockery, this is what the peoples of the Middle East are already doing. The Young Turks carried a report a while ago about an Egyptian wedding, where the groom and his friends staged a mock ISIS kidnapping, before throwing off their disguises. ISIS were monsters, but they can’t stop people like themselves dancing and having a good time. The Egyptians have a reputation as the funny men of the Arab world. Just as Irish comedians are the stereotypical comic entertainers of the English-speaking world, so Egyptian comedians are in demand all over the Arab world as professional jokers. And in contrast to the dour image of Islam ISIS and terrorist organisations like it wish to promote, the peoples of the Middle East see themselves as a vivacious culture of joie de vivre. I read somewhere that despite living on opposite sides of the Med, the French and Egyptians instinctively understand each other. Given that seems to be the image each country has of themselves, of people who enjoy life and good things, I’m not particularly surprised.

And The Turks pointed out that the Egyptians weren’t alone. All over the Middle East, apparently, there are TV programmes giving the supposedly fearsome and invincible warriors of the Islamic State a damn good satirical kicking. These include spoofs of talent shows, in which their fighters are shown to be stupid and utterly incompetent, their guns falling to pieces when they try to strip them down and put them back together.

ISIS are butchers, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t treat them as clowns.

And we do need to make a clear difference between ISIS and Islam. Looking around one of the remaindered bookshops in Bristol last week, I found several shelves full of books pointing out that ISIS don’t speak or represent the world’s Muslims by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve forgotten the exact title of one of them, but it clearly pointed this out. If Islam is supposed to promote terrorism, then why out aren’t all of the 1.5 billion Muslims on this planet terrorists? The answer is clearly that while some terrorist groups are Muslim, this does not mean that the religion as a whole promotes or endorses terrorism.

The enemy is ISIS and murderers like it, who wish to create fear, hatred and suspicion. We can defeat them by rejecting this, and treating them with the contempt and disdain they deserve.