Thursday, August 17, 2006

Oh, come on... (again)

It's bad enough when a teacher who supports the BNP gets sacked for their (decidedly repellant) political beliefs, despite no evidence that those beliefs were being propagated in the classroom. But suspending someone for being a right-wing Tory and writing an intermittently amusing but hardly either original or offensive article for a blog? Come off it...

The spectrum from Iain Dale on the right to Justin McKeating on the left are somewhat miffed (and Guido has the relevant correspondence here and here) - and so they should be.

It must be said that it's getting increasingly tedious how often the word "thoughtcrime" springs to mind, but it's becoming ever more common. We've got innocent Muslims being effectively accused of supporting terrorism because they've never taken to the streets with a placard stating "murder is wrong", we've got people being arrested for wearing t-shirts bearing slogans slagging off the Prime Minister, and now people having their very livelihoods threatened for a bit of (vaguely) comic exaggeration.

Hell, I may disagree with this Inigo Wilson chap's opinions - I disagree with most people's opinions. But vindictively trying to get someone fired for an opinion expressed outside of the office and in their own time is significantly more offensive than anything contained in that article. He hasn't broken the law, he hasn't incited violence or hatred, and - most importantly - unlike those who have got him suspended he hasn't harmed anyone.

The Muslim Public Affairs Committee, who I don't think I've ever heard of before but who have orchestrated this little witch hunt, apparently aims to

"open an avenue for rational dialogue and re-education of the individual on the street regarding Islam and Muslims. The aim is make the all-too-common misrepresentation of Islam a thing of the past"
All very well and good - but considering that one of the most common representations of Islam is that it is intolerant of nonbelievers and far too quick to over-react when criticised, you'd think that they'd realise that by going to Wilson's employers (who, lest we forget, have nothing to do with his article or with the Conservative Home blog on which it appeared) rather than to Wilson himself or his online publishers, they've just stirred up a wonderful bit of negative PR that makes them out to be just as intolerant and quick to take offence as the "Islamophobes" they want to "re-educate" always make them out to be.

Why is it that in modern Britain the consensus seems to be that to prove your opponents wrong about you, you have to go and do precisely what your opponents accuse you of? Say the government are cutting down on civil liberties, they deny it before cutting down on civil liberties; depict muslims as violent in some cartoons, they deny they are violent before issuing death threats; accuse the Tories of having no real policy alternatives, they deny it before issuing a pamphlet with no real policy alternatives; say the Home Office is useless, they deny it before sacking the Home Secretary and announcing the Home Office is useless.

Like Inigo Wilson's article, this is hardly an overly original or amusing observation, but Christ, it's pathetic...

Update: Having said all that, I have a moderate amount of sympathy for this take on the matter.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Backword Dave said...

"open an avenue for rational dialogue and re-education of the individual on the street regarding Islam and Muslims. The aim is make the all-too-common misrepresentation of Islam a thing of the past"All very well and good

Even setting aside the horrible prose, anyone who can write 're-education' without irony is clearly not 'well and good' at all. And I am not an individual on the street, I am a free man.

8/17/2006 01:10:00 pm  
Blogger ken said...

Spot on well said.
and
"accuse the Tories of having no real policy alternatives, they deny it before issuing a pamphlet with no real policy alternatives;"

LOL a nice chuckle

8/17/2006 02:08:00 pm  
Blogger Rob Jubb said...

I think the PR guru person who you link to's actually probably right about this: since Inigo Jones does work in a public relations capacity for Orange, which means they have an interest in his reputation, and he clearly criticises things remarkably similar to policies he is supposed to be promoting, he was at least incredibly stupid to write what he did, which might well be grounds for dismissal all by itself. On another note, the whole thing proves that people who work in Marketing/PR are guilty of more or less everything Bill Hicks ever accused them of, which is quite pleasing.

8/17/2006 04:06:00 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Quite. *claps*

8/17/2006 07:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is NOT Wilson vs MPAC

The people who complained were simply using mpac’s forum. I know this because I am one of these muslims that Tim Montgomerie at ConservtiveHome calls an extremist muslim because I complained. Are we not allowed to complain if we are offended?

I am not a member of mpac. I visited their forum 5 days ago. I wrote a template email of complant about Mr Wilson and posted it and emailed it to other muslims. Hundreds of us complained and hardly any were from mpac. Muslims complained not mpac. Muslims.

And why did we complain? because we are fed up of racism and fed up of islamophobia. Here’s an example for those who may think there is no islamophobia or racism against us. Its happening every single day. Yesterday in the Sun, 17 August 2006, Kelvin Mackenzie said these vile things:

“Could the Muslims stop alienating me and, more importantly, trying to kill me?

“Let’s get one thing clear. The vast majority of this country have done nothing but welcome people to these shores no matter how evil their background and religion.”

“The suicide bombers come from one ethnic group.”

“Certainly I would like to see some young Muslims in this country restricted from flying to Pakistan. And if they did go they would have to wear electronic tags so that intelligence authorities would be able to keep track of them.”

What Inigo said offended us muslims not mpac. We just used their forum just like now im using yours.

So write your artcle over because its based on a fiction.

8/18/2006 05:06:00 pm  
Blogger Postman said...

If you have only just become acquainmted with the MPAC your political antennae need to be improved.

They were very active at the last general Election, especially in Blackburn and Rochdale and hit the headklines several times, sometimes for clear accurate reporting and sometimes for arrant nonsense and lies.

Whether you like / approve / diapprove them they are a noisy and widely followed voice amongst the young (and not so young) Muslim community and their leaders / organisers are street smart , savvy active, funded, strong minded people who should not be under estimated.

Might I suggets you tasker a crash course in Islamic net networks ?

8/20/2006 05:15:00 am  
Anonymous Cash said...

"All very well and good - but considering that one of the most common representations of Islam is that it is intolerant of nonbelievers and far too quick to over-react when criticised, you'd think that they'd realise ..."

8/22/2006 09:39:00 pm  

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