Racial and Religious Hatred Bill

The best way to cure ourselves of Islamophobia is to have a laugh

Among the disasters of my early journalistic career was the time I was sent by the newsdesk to Walsingham in Norfolk, to report on what was promised to be a major religious bust-up. There were these Anglo-Catholics, the news editor explained, and they wanted to march with an image of the Virgin towards a shrine; and then there were these evangelical Protestants. It was gonna be a real ding-dong, said the news editor. He wanted action, colour, quotes, personality. He wanted ecclesiastical fisticuffs with lashings of sectarian abuse. He wanted the Gaza Strip comes to Norfolk.

As far as I can remember, the clash of denominations was a bit disappointing. It was steaming hot, and the evangelicals obliged by shouting a few anti-papist slogans, while the Anglo-Catholics psalmed away sweetly. And then God caused the whole lot of us – just and unjust alike – to be drenched in a summer downpour, and I fled to a café to phone over my account; and no sooner did it hit the apathetic streets of Britain than the protests began.

In thrashing my brains to think of a way of describing the image of Our Lady of Walsingham, I had come up with the phrase “bobbing doll”. This seemed fair, because the statuette had lovely rosy porcelain cheeks, and she did indeed bob as she was carried on the shoulders of the celebrants.

But according to the many people who rang and wrote in, these were very far from the mots justes. I was told that I was crass, idiotic, grossly insensitive and mortally offensive. One man managed to find me in the phone book late at night and gave me such an ear-wigging that I almost felt like making my own pilgrimage to the shrine, on my knees, and scourging myself with a copy of the offending piece.

And yet when I look back now, the remarkable thing is not how much fuss they made, but how little, especially if you think what we have come to expect from some Muslims. I have in mind not just the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, but the trembling refusal of a noted Koranic scholar to write an article for The Spectator. “You don’t understand,” he said. “These people will kill me if I say what I really think. I mean kill me.”

What makes modern Islam so politically troublesome is that some Muslims can be induced to take offence not just at an insult to Islam, but at any injustice suffered by one of their co-religionists, and it is this deep personal sense of outrage – scarcely explicable to our post-enlightenment souls – that helps the whacko imams to warp the alienated young men into becoming suicide bombers; and that is why we are now so desperately using new law to trammel what non-Muslims can say about Islam, and what Muslims can say about their own religion.

Much of what Charles Clarke is proposing is surely right: we should of course crack down on the hate-spouting mullahs. Take away their benefits; kick ’em out, and if their arrival is not conducive to the public good, stop them coming in. Let us make much better use of the existing law against any incitement to murder and terror. But I am less convinced by the new restrictions on free speech.

The proposed ban on incitement to “religious hatred” makes no sense unless it involves a ban on the Koran itself; and that would be pretty absurd, when you consider that the Bill’s intention is to fight Islamophobia. As for the measures Clarke announced yesterday, to stop people “glorifying or condoning” acts of terrorism, they seem to trap us in a semantic convolvulus. What is “condoning” an act of terror?

The Daily Mail yesterday denounced the evil mullahs who “blame us” for the bombings, in the sense that we were co-invaders of Iraq. But, er, it was surely the same Daily Mail that, two weeks ago, printed an article by Sir Max Hastings, saying that the chief provocation for the bombings was Britain’s role in the Iraq war. Are we proposing to bang up Sir Max, George Galloway and all the millions of Britons who make the same point as the evil mullah?

These bans are likely to cause confusion and disappointment, since they will be impossible to operate; and in any case they are just tip-toeing round the real problem, which is fear of Islam; not Islamophobia, but fear of discussing the good and bad in that religion without giving offence. It should be part of the general long-term programme of winning back disaffected British Muslims that they no longer feel that it is Islam which exclusively defines them, and therefore that any insult to Islam is an insult to their whole being.

That is why we need to begin the re-Britannification I mentioned last week; and part of being British is recognising that this is a free country, in which people can have frank views about religion. Militant Islam has been shielded from proper discussion by cowardice, political correctness and a racist assumption that we should privilege the beliefs of a minority, even when they appear to be mediaeval. It is time the discussion was opened up not just to reason, but to reason’s greatest ally, humour. Instead of banning the discussion of the 72 virgins of paradise, the alleged meed of the suicide bomber, would it not be much more efficient to make fun of this ludicrous claim?

When is Little Britain going to do a sketch, starring Matt Lucas as one of the virgins? Islam will only be truly acculturated to our way of life when you could expect a Bradford audience to roll in the aisles at Monty Python’s Life of Mohammed; and when an unintentionally offensive newspaper article about Islam is requited not with death threats but with the exasperated but essentially kindly letters one might expect from Christians.

We have a long way to go, but the first step is to stop treating this subject as so terrifying that it cannot be satirised. Some things may be sacred, but they are no less sacred for being made the object of good-natured humour; and if that is frivolity, it is frivolity with a deeply serious intent.

72 thoughts on “Racial and Religious Hatred Bill”

  1. bravo old boy.

    If satirists couldn’t cure the world by being put in charge, they’d certainly make it all a lot more entertaining, which, in the end, is more or less the same thing.

  2. I once went to the shrine at Walsingham on a pilgrimage and found it very inspiring. It was full of bishops swaying with incense and candles with a flock following loyally in their wake praying for unity.

    We could all do with a pilgrimage once in a while. It could flush out any wishy washy sentiments and promote a brand of re-Britannified good humour.

  3. It couldn’t be Monty Python’s “Life of Mohammed”. To be a fair analogy it’d have to be a “Life of Abdul (or someone, who was born at more or less the same time and had a strangely parallel career)”

    But consider: “He’s not the Prophet, he’s just an off-camera presence”, or the Hegira by animated flying saucer. And years later, the Lego-figure animation of the Big Musical Number….

    It’d be fun.

  4. No one makes fun islam because no one wants to be killed. Mohammed himself condoned the murder of poets who mocked him

    “Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
    A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him…….. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it….Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.
    Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood”


    If Mohammed approves of killing of a pregnant woman mocking him, how do you think the actors, crew, writers, producers, distributors and cinema employees will survive the end of the decade because they participated in the film: “Life of Abdul”

    There is no sense of humour more refined than in Albion, and God knows there are plenty of jokes to be made about the Religion of Peace, but seeing as non muslims love life more than death, this movie will unfortunately never be made.

    Nice try Mr Johnson, but your values of right and wrong will not, however much we all wish it, be applied to a religion which divides the world into muslim and non-muslim.

  5. Actually, this has got me thinking. If one gets 72 lithe, beautiful virgins in Heaven, does that mean one gets 72 clinically obese, balding middle aged men in Hell? In string vests? Also, apparently, a martyr can pick and choose who goes into paradise with him. But if you’re going to hell, does that mean you’re accompanied by all the people you can’t stand? Like in-laws and estate agents? Does that scare you? Personally, I’m staying up at night, sweating at the thought of having to spend all of eternity with Limp Bizkit and Tony Banks.

    In a similar vein, I’d like just like to ask why there is so much discrimination in Islamic Fundamentalism. It is plainly wrong that most fanatics are young, able bodied, male, Muslim, human and middle class. Such discrimination is wrong and almost certainly in contravention of EU regulations. To that end, I suggest to the Islamic terrorist community that they start recruiting elderly single mother Wiccans with colostomy bags who are on benefits. (And come from Liverpool.) This should ensure that the next time some stupid testosterone-sodden tit blows himself up, it will at least be in accordance with our pluralistic, caring, sharing, people’s-terrorist, multicultural society.

    (The fact that Al-Qaieda has done very little,if anything at all, to reach out to deaf Lesbians is, of course, shocking in its own right.)

  6. Dear Mr Johnson,

    You are far too well-educated to continue using ‘mediaeval’ as a derogatory term! Please desist. Mediaeval Islam looks pretty scary to me, as does modern Islam; but in neither case is the fact of an origin between the years 500 and 1500 – if one defines the period generously – inherently connected to the scariness. Indeed, some of the specific elements of today’s scariness are very much connected to present-day circumstances.

    Pax et bonum omnibus!

  7. It’s already been tried. The “Satanic Verses” was a satire on Islam. It brought down a fatwa. The author has been in hiding ever since.

    The press has been visiting Pakistan. Here is a quotation from a Pakistani cousin of the bomber Shezad Tanweer:

    “He was a good man: he wore a beard and the shalwar kameez.”

    Is it necessary to say that this definition of “a good man” is somewhat lacking? Compare that with a Christian viewpoint:

    “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13)

    Now THAT has resonance even in a post-Christian world.

    OK, Boris – you asked for satire, here is some:

    “Though I have charity and not a beard and a shalwar kameez I am nothing.”

    But never mind satire: How could anyone even *reason* with people who have such a superficial and childish view of moral action – and indeed of life itself?

  8. If this, including todays failed attempts to further bomb the Capital , is religion;then:-

    “nec habeo, nec careo, nec curo. ”
    “I have not , I care not and I want not”. I want no part of that, for which so many religions struggle , “to impress MY brand of perfection, MY thoughts and beliefs, on the world. Each religion insists that it alone has the answer. If that be the case : what was the question?

    Someone said , in the eighteenth Century , ” Il y a en Angleterre, soixante sectes religieuses differentes, mais seulement une sauce.( In England , there are 60 different religious sects but only one sauce)

    If that were true , we have progressed only in gravy making. This State, not just England , should be a secular State. Religion should no longer have any part to play in matters of State.

  9. Boris is definitely on the right track here.

    Of course part of the problem is that our comedians, cartoonists, satirists and pop singers are so cravenly PC and cowardly that they would never say boo to Al Queda let alone the average Islamist.

  10. I am led to believe that the whole idea of the 72 virgins on martyrdom is rather up for some debate.

    I have heard (and the scholars among us may wish to confirm or reject this argument) that the whole thing sways on a contested translation of the original Arabic text. Some say “virgins”, others say “cake”, which could, if it goes against the nubile faction, lead to embarassing scenes in the next world.

    I’m not making this up (for once).

  11. Scary: I read the virgin / a.n.other debate also, and I was reliably informed that the translation stated ” Raisins” rather than “Cake” ; either way, the two are, at least, in the same category: (sweetmeat ingredients?)

  12. Mac, very sweet indeed.

    Ure not making it up S-ducky?!!!

    “string vests etc…” shocking Alexander but very interesting views

    thank you all

    Boris – please switch off over the summer and have a good time!

  13. Boris,

    Well put, a little piss take of the old bastards they are would be the exact right thing and in a sad way educate many about the fraud that Islam is.

    I am not sure the Life of Abdul would be viewable even as a comedy, as it would be loaded with XXX sex, abuse of women and ritualistic murder.

    As long as these people think of these acts as Jihad and thus an act of worship like us Baptist singing a hymn or saying a prayer we got a lot of understanding to go through before we truly come to grips with the mindset at work here.

    Sadly our rampant PC, most worst in the UK, has rendered the dialog of the issue null and void.

    They are nuts and have to be dealt with accordingly.

    Boris can you whip up another tome like 72 Virgins or rewrite the screen play for it and get it on film or straight to DVD, I will buy it.

    Cheers, Tom

  14. Oh My God…..

    is this a conservative site or National Front, do you self rightious fools read what you type – simply dismissing Islam as crazy fanatical religion (see Damian’s post and pretty much everything else).

    maby im not writing from a “Christian” viewpoint, but then i must ask how many of you are. the white middle classes love to wrap themselves in the comforting blanket of Christianity whenever it is to their liking. When doing so you clim your moral high horse to dismiss others – “the evil mullah” (Boris).

    If you want long standing fanaticism look no further than the Ku Klux Klan – a group of pro white protestant christians.

    I am not preaching religious sepratism, i am just pointing out the inherrant and blatent islamaphobia that has swept the nation – re-evaluate you beliefs and stop living in a world of generalisations

  15. Hello chaps

    I would repeat the point made previously in another post on this pluralist blog – the problem with these Islamicists or jihadists or whatever we’re upposed to call them is that they are theological literalists.

    But. Before smugness sets in, that is also a problem with Christianity and Judaism, the other monotheitic faiths.

    Remember the rumpus years back over David Jenkins denying the facticity of the Virgin Birth and the resurrection of Christ? -Issues that any theologian worth their salt would say were dealt with by people like Fuerbach way back in the C19th and here are we in the C21st (Anglicans, that is, let alone Catholics) getting all excited about the very strange notion of women becoming bishops – for Christ’s sake indeed. What an absurdity in this day and age, boy and girls.

    OK, Judeo-Christians tend to go for homicide exclusively rather than the Islamic suicide/’self-sacrifice’ + homicide formula. But I would respectfully submit that shooting ‘abortionists’ (an American pastime) is no more honourable than killing innocent commuters.

    Oo, moral equivalence, that will never do. But ultimately the pernicious aspect of theistic religion is that it requires a willing suspension of disbelief in 6 impossible things before breakfast.

    So, folks, it’s not just Islam that’s the problem, although it is undoubtedly in its current political manifestations a major problem for liberal state democracy, – it’s also the literalist notions of God and Heaven, shared by all monotheistic religions, which encourage us to forsake this world, this Vale of Tears, and dream of a better one in the life hereafter. Orwell nailed this in Animal Farm. (Yeah, OK, cheap move invoking St Eric but why not, everybody else does.)

    Time to put away childish things, as the man said.

    Thus endeth the sermon.


  16. Thought you had emigrated Kevin.B.

    In a nutshell( particularly apposite I think), what you say about religion is spot on.
    As I have repeatedly said , here and elsewhere, the trouble is not Islam, it is Religion in its mulifarious forms , when taken outside the home / Mosque / Church / Chapel , or Synagogue.

    To each his / her own.As it should be.

  17. Given the current trend to confuse liberalism with fatheadedness – see Liberal Democrats – Boris Johnson along with others – e.g. Matthew d’Ancona – are doing sterling work to relaunch the real thing. If the Tories could get themselves sorted out along these lines then I could see myself voting for them. BTW – Life of Tariq would be a better title for the proposed Python movie. How about Iman Ali a comical tale about three holy men, one with a excessive reliance on sherbert and their burqa clad house keeper Mrs. Hussain?

  18. There are many religious fanatics about in the world, and they are all terrifying. When religion gives all the answers it truly becomes opium of the masses (can I repeat that phrase from the evil philosopher, or will I be edited?). But in the west we have fought, argued and massacred each other so much about religion (the first Christian heretics are mentioned in the III century) that now we are quite tame. The XVIII century was fundamental in the way we view religion, most of us search answers other than the ones given in the holy books; we are also children of Hellenism. We do not have a superior religion, we just have a much changed, transformed, split up and tamed religion. Like Marcus Aurelius, commenting about Christian martyrs, we wonder why people seek death at all costs; we are horrified about Christian integralists killing doctors that work in abortion clinics, we are worried about Jewish integralists in the Gaza strip (like all my Jewish friends that belong to a host of peace groups and the refusniks organisation). Most Christians today ignore the Old Testament, finding it blood thirsty and cruel, and concentrate on the New Testament. If the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury tomorrow stated that we have to kill all heretics and we will be dammed if we don’t, most of us would just think: “what? He must have been at the sherry!”. When Muslims can also ignore some parts of their holy scriptures that they find worrisome, when they can debate on fine points without fearing for their lives and not feel obliged to obey blindly, there will be a change, but it will take time and courage. We managed to do it, it was a hard battle, but today we are the result of those debates. But I fear that it will be wishful thinking, at the moment Muslims are complaining that they are being pick on by searches by the police. I am sorry that innocent are being inconvenienced, but at the moment young Muslims are trying to kill and terrorise us, when middle aged Anglo Saxon Quakers are the threat, I am sure that the police will inconvenience them.

  19. Macarnie: I have not two minutes ago, read the “72 raisins” argument elsewhere.

    Perhaps Boris may wish to consider this as the title of his next book?

  20. Bravo Boris, again.

    If you’ve ever seen the comedian Omid Djalili, you’d have to admit we’re getting there.

    Also, I suspect the reason we haven’t had ‘Life of Mohammed’ yet is that not many of the target audience have understood it, wheras most of the world’s English-speaking people know all about christianity.

  21. Scaryduck:-Perhaps a sequel might be called
    ” Almond eyed Raisins”, but I don’t think Maisie Moscoe would be too pleased . That title is close to the one for her book,” Almonds and raisins”, but one in a series of her very readable books.

    “Sloe eyed raisins”, might be worth a punt though;-P

  22. Is it just me or does the thought of being alone with 72 nattering inexperienced virgins sound like the very definition of hell? The few virgins I’ve had the honor of deflowering were all reduced to uncontrollable sobbing, which is either a characteristic of virgins or says something about unflattering about me.

    Give me one middle-aged mom with long bones and a quick wit who has been to a few rodeos (if you catch my meaning) — Valerie Plame for instance — over 72 prattering virgins any day.

  23. Why are you humans so obsessed with virginity and sexual initiation? Male apes never care whether a female is a virgin or not as long as she is in season.

    Also, is calling a human of either sex a virgin a compliment or an insult? Your religions seem to imply it is a good thing, but I once saw a film where a woman slapped a man for calling her a virgin.

  24. Mac + Vanessa: Good to hear that we unGodly, non-Godfearing secularists are speaking up.

    I genuinely believe (That Word again) that theology will be an important battleground in the so-called War against Terror and we all need to be prepared to engage Moslems AND Christians and Jews in dialogue about their absurd literalist beliefs without descending to Fr Jack’s mantra That Would Be An Ecumenical Matter.

    Sam Harris’ recent book The End of Faith: Religion, Terror + the Future of Reason is worth reading on this. Solution: terrorism must be challenged culturally by a New Enlightenmnet.

  25. Mac + Vanessa: Good to hear that we unGodly, non-Godfearing secularists are speaking up.

    I genuinely believe (That Word again) that theology will be an important battleground in the so-called War against Terror and we all need to be prepared to engage Moslems AND Christians and Jews in dialogue about their absurd literalist beliefs without descending to Fr Jack’s mantra That Would Be An Ecumenical Matter.

    Sam Harris’ recent book The End of Faith: Religion, Terror + the Future of Reason is worth reading on this. Solution: terrorism must be challenged culturally by a New Enlightenment.

  26. I vote with Kevin B and Macarnie.

    Being reared in a strict Catholic home did me no good, but lots of harm. My conscience is my own. Catholicism didn’t give it to me. Virgin birth? resurrection? transubstantiation? Superstition.

    As far as I’m concerned, people can believe whatever they like. Just don’t push it on others, or impinge on their lives or liberty.

  27. Boris! I shared your sentiments about Liverpool, now you turn on me. Im from Bradford and cant wait to see a Monty Python Life Of Mohammed, but then I am not muslim.

    Im sure you will have people in the press attacking you for these comments, or the Politically Correct left on you; but again you are quite right.

    All this and you do not live in Bradford or simalar, where you see everything day in day out. When I hear the government talk about how things are with muslims in places like my home city, it makes me feel that i am not the one living there. Quick not to offend muslims, kid gloves on and muslims painted as the ‘real victims’ of 7/7/ Everyone loves being a victim in new labours new Britain. The muslim community stay in denial and what has been gained from the bombings in London? Nothing.

    Im still flabbergasted by how the fact the bombers were born and bred in England came as a shock to the government, when most of Bradford were not surprised to find out that one of the suicide bombers was born in Bradford. Are they listening yet? I can even tell the government, shock horror, there will probably be more from Bradford.

    But Boris, what can you do? They dont listen to you, the dont listen to me, they just presume we should be thinking what they are thinking (hmmmm has a familiar ring that eh!). But we are not, but they wont listen. Thank god there are people like you around, now just sort that image out so you get taken more seriously. PLEASE 🙂

  28. It has been clear for some time that the growth of Islam in this country would sooner or later result in mayhem of one kind or another. Having read much of the claptrap on this site in the last two weeks about the varieties of interpetation of Islam and what the Prophet Mohammad may have done or may not have done 1400 years ago I am convinced more than ever that the problem is not Muslim fundmentalism it is Islam itself, pure and simple. And the idea that the Koran [or Qu’ran, if you prefer] provides guidance on matters of science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries is pure fantasy. Like most religions you can make the books mean whatever you want them to mean.
    But it is no good Mr Blair having meetings with politically correct so called Muslim leaders if those men have no real authority in their own communities and it is the excessively fundamentalist mullahs who exert the biggest influences – particularly on young men. I thing it is sad and worrying to see rows of boys and young men in Islamic schools reading and re-reading the Koran over and over again to the virtual exclusion of all else, determined to learn to recite the whole book from cover to cover. It is brain washing, profoundly unhealthy and a foundation course for turning disaffected youths into terrorists.
    There is no possibility that Islam will become an accepted part of western culture and civilisation. Islam demands exclusivity and that is something we will not accept. Islam is rigid and, as Boris said, medieval. Islam was once at the forefront of intellectual endeavour and progress and in those days it did not need to have the rigid authoritarianism that is so alien to the modern world.

    Some will claim that I suffer Islamaphobia. I do not. My objections are to all religions. There are hundreds and hundreds of religions on this planet all claiming an exclusive access to interpretation of the will of the Almighty. I can see precious little evidence that one is any more viable than another. The problem of Islam is the demand for exclusivity and the overwhelming domination it exerts on all aspects of believers’ lives.

    We have a serious problem with Islam in our society and we will need rigorous measures to stamp out the more demented actions of some of its adherents.

    Several postings have told us that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today. This is not a confirmation of truth. There was a time when Fascism was the fastest growing political creed in Europe and it took a World War and millions of deaths to prove that was perverted rubbish.

  29. Melissa wrote above: “We could all do with a pilgrimage once in a while. It could flush out any wishy washy sentiments and promote a brand of re-Britannified good humour.”

    Melissa, what precisely are these ‘wishy washy sentiments’ to be colonically irrigated from the body politic? Do you mean expressions of liberal secular humanism?

    Interesting to see the assumptions behind Our Brit default religion, C of E, being demonstrated by these comments.

    No, Mel, we all do NOT want to go on a pilgrimage once in a while, not if we have eyes to see and brains to think rather than a nostalgic pash for ludicrous superstitious rituals.

  30. On the subject of pilgrimages, Melissa spoke of her experience in Norfolk. There are other forms of pilgrimage, The Hajj , for examples , but the subject was of a Christian background; so:-

    The reason for a Pilgrimage? Ask those who claim belief,
    It’s to marvel at some wood or bone, from a Saint or Christian Chief
    The wood is always from a Cross, the bone from toe or finger.
    Pilgrims wish for miracles, or why else would they linger?
    Should this heap balm upon ONE soul, or cure ONE crippled arm;
    The barefoot schlep across rough ground will do more good than harm.
    Trouble is; with Pilgrims; what they seeks they can’t find
    The end result, if truth were told, is a figment of the mind.

  31. Boris has it right definitely, a cheery laugh about islam (I’m sure somebody can find something funny there) would be a good thing in my view, although of course it would probably engender a violent response. Every religion goes through these phases, after all, the 13th century was hardly a period of free expression and skepticism in the christian world, and islam is now 1300 years old.

    Any religious literalists are going to have problems, and christians are certainly not without them. The stories of Muhammed’s life are no worse than those in the old testament, and consequently when christianity is taken literally it can be a long way from the beautiful and tolerant sermon on the mount as well. I would however encourage people to be careful with this, just because religion on the whole causes more problems than it solves, don’t assume it has nothing to teach. Humans are the ones who are misinterpretting the various religions, and, like nearly everything humans attempt, it’s not going well. That does not mean we should not keep trying. Personally I’m a converted christian, I was brought up in a secular household, with representation from a lot of viewpoints, went to a school where all views were expressed (most of the pupils were muslim or jewish). It is that healthy culture of debate and skepticism that led me to christianity, and I continue to follow it in my christian life as well.

    Christianity comes under regular assault from atheists, satirists, and those striving for political correctness. This is of course an excellent thing, and while I naturally think that most of those viewpoints are nonsense, it encourages me to question what I believe, and to change it if something doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Christianity is genuinely a religion of peace, read the new testament for confirmation, and yet its history is full of violence and obscenity. I believe that if we subject islam to the same scrutiny that christianity has undergone during the past centuries, it would become far more moderate and rational.

    PS. Sorry for the pro-christian rant, but since many people seem to have taken it upon themselves to lump us alongside islam and criticise “all religions” I thought it needed some defence!

  32. 72 Virgins ?!?!?!
    Are they totally off their collective rocker ?
    I prefer females that have ‘a few miles on the clock’, far less troublesome! If that’s their idea of heaven then I’d opt for downstairs with the sinners. Probably am headed in that direction anyway.

  33. Nora – I agree with you
    >As far as I’m concerned, people can believe whatever they like. Just don’t push it on others, or impinge on their lives or liberty.

    ..and Kevin – obviously you have a different view to above. All I can say is it works for me and countless others and am not forcing it on anyone at all, merely offering it up as a suggestion. I seriously would recommend a time of meditation or self-analysis at times (all these can be provided in a pilgrimage). Perhaps your concept of what a pilgrimage is all about is distorted: it needn’t be at all as you describe and can be as short or as long as you like and take very different formats.

    Most people would probably benefit from a time of quiet analysis that might provide deep healing. Why do you think the demand for psychotherapists/shrinks is growing and more and more people are turning to massage/yoga and other similarly relaxation-inducing activities. Rush headlong into anything without proper thought and you could be heading the wrong way mate.

    Someone in politics, Peter Walker, advocated half an hour of quiet reflective time every morning before setting off for his duties – and he was always a most well-balanced and refreshing sort : a good example to others.

  34. ps our expert SimonS will come on board to monitor things here for a while as I must go away for about two weeks.

    Have a great summer you all!

  35. Melissa wrote: “I seriously would recommend a time of meditation or self-analysis at times (all these can be provided in a pilgrimage).”

    That’s true, IMO. I once visited Lourdes, and the vibe there (in the 80s, anyway) was wonderful. Presumably because so many sick people and volunteers were gathered together in such beautiful surroundings. It was peaceful, hopeful, helpful, positive, encouraging … and relaxing.

    I don’t believe in “miracles”, other than those produced by one’s own brainpower — parts of which we have not yet learned to harness at will. Some day we will be able to cure ourselves of many ills. (Including Islamophobia.)

    BTW, all this smart talk of virgins is irritating me, to say the least. It’s worth remembering that 10 young men starved themselves to death in Northern Ireland in 1981, inside a prison, and they weren’t expecting either “heaven” or “virgins”.

  36. Nick:I’ve never met a man who would admit to being one; whereas the majority of women I’ve met are keen for one to believe they still retain that ‘honour’.

  37. Well while the cat’s away maybe I can have my twopennorth:-

    I’m a born again virgin, does that count?

  38. If you want Muslim comedy, there’s plenty about – ever heard of Mulla Sadra? Check this out for something a little more up to date:

    http://www.islamicanews.com/ – maybe too many in jokes for non-Muslims but you might like it.

    Meanwhile, here’s a joke for you:

    A priest, a rabbi, and an imam are at an interfaith conference. After some initial wariness, they get to chatting over lunch and realise they have a great deal in common. The talk gets a little more personal, and turns to the misdemeanours of youth.

    Emboldened, the priest asks: ‘Haven’t you guys ever been just a little bit tempted to try something you shouldn’t have?’

    The rabbi and the imam both shake their heads gravely, and look down into their beards. But then the rabbi smiles and says:’OK, you got me. I did have a ham sandwish once. I was just curious!’

    At this the imam laughs and says:’Brother, we have sinned together! I once ate a full English breakfast when I first came to this country – I wanted to understand what all the fuss was about!’

    They then both tun to the priest who shifts uncomfortably. ‘Well?’ they both ask? The priest says:’ OK, OK. Before I went to the seminary, I fell in love and had a relationship with a girl . . . and we had sex.’

    The imam and the rabbi smile and ask: ‘Beats pork, right?’

    And here’s a nother one, especially for Texas Thomas:

    Heard the one about the two nutters that caused thousands of innocent deaths safe in the knowledge of their own religious belief?

    They both got re-elected.

    OK, maybe it lacks a certain snap. And maybe it’s not actually very funny. But it does have a ring of truth you have to agree.

  39. Dear Mr Johnson,
    What I found most offensive about this article was your use of the term ‘Islamophobia’. This is surely the language of the fascist left, which typically seeks to medicalize perceptions and opinions it wants to suppress. As far as I can see, we infidels have quite good reason to look upon Islam and its adherents with suspicion and dislike, to put it mildly. So what is your basis for pretending this is some sort of pathological condition requiring a ‘cure’? Are you a psychiatrist now, in addition to your other talents?

    Had you been around in the 1930s, no doubt you would have invented a new illness called ‘Naziphobia’ and used this label to smear anyone not greatly charmed by the Third Reich and its hilarious Uebermenschen.

    Okay, so you’re not really on the fascist left – just buying into its methods in a lame attempt to appear even-handed. Perhaps you think it important to show disapproval of unprovoked attacks on muslims. Fine – but you can surely do so without resorting to contemptible PC babytalk.

    Regards to Ulrika

  40. James – it got me giggling, nice one!

    PS: Nigella, 25th, I was there, where were you Boz? Enjoying a ‘well deserved’ holiday? Aw bless you poor thing, my heart just bleeds luv, mwa!

  41. So where have you been lately Jaq. Have you been taking a well earned holiday, like our hero?

  42. no, hence the moment of rampant jealousy. Single mothers don’t seem to have holidays and one that did, leaving her children in the care of a trusted friend, was prosecuted for negligence I believe. Many parents ask young people to babysit and the friend was in locus parentis. I wonder about the media coverage if the genders or nationalities were swopped. In fact I wonder about media coverage per se.

    In this PC society we live in, it seems to me to be a Tabloid kind of a world where sensationalism and fashionable sympathies rule OK. That’s all very well in a Tabloid newspaper but when government seems to alter laws and attitudes with the same frequency and imagination I think it’s a bit worrying. Boris is right to highlight the contradiction in behaviour and it’s meaning in a national newspaper but when, I wonder, will we see him have a right old go at Blair. Boris may disagree with me but I think his questioning of Britishness should have an awful lot to do with the Britain the British are forced to live in. It is no longer a free, fair country but one rule for one and one for another depending on race, colour and circumstance. This extends to the law courts, housing, employment rights, planning permission, you name it.

    Maybe Boris should resume the impeachment argument, I don’t know, what do you think? All I know is you’ve got me on my soap box again Mac, oops, when I was guilty of wanting two fun soaked weeks in a greek villa only minutes from the sea with my family. Oh happy dream. Send us a postcard huh Boris?

  43. John: regarding your post vis-a-vis “islamaphobia”. Did you actually READ the article, or just react to the first line?

    Regardless, there is a much more pressing matter upon us…the suppression of our right to protest. We are now told that ALL protestors within a mile of parliament MUST have police permission!!!!

    The “common man” has the right to vote because he protested. Women have the right to vote for the same reason. This law is an OUTRAGE!!!!

    As far as i can see, it’s just because Brian Haw (the chap who has patiently protested outside parliament 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the last 4 years, because he felt that the Iraq war was illegal and immoral and the british public were being hoodwinked by the international criminal Tony Blair, MP, PM) is still there and embarassing the warmongers.

    Why else would the new act stop INDIVIDUAL protest (we’re not talking crowds here, although they too will be illegal!!)

    BORIS!!!!! I’ll protest outside your gaff (and harass you on every street corner) if you don’t make a case against this authoritarian, nay, fascist(!) outrage!!! (prison here i come, i guess!)

    And as to any idiot who voted for these labourite nazis…shame on you!!!!


  44. I’ve just read this on the BBC website. I have not commented on the Stockwell shooting itself.

    >> Human rights lawyer Imran Khan called for a radical change in policy, after police refused to rule out such a mistake happening again.

    “Now what does that do to the community, the community is not going to be confident in a police force that admits it can make mistakes.”<<

    Possibly this is indicative of the different mind sets. Liberals/democrats, not to be confused with Liberal Democrats, recognise that the world is a messy place with no absolute gurantee of success. We should do the best we can and we should admit our mistakes. Fundamentalists of any stripe – Islamic, Christian, Marxist, Fascist – have the word of God or a Utopia based on class or nation as an absolute guide and thus, in their own lights, always know exactly what to do. It is oft said but sadly perhaps nearly as often seen as a quip, a la Bernard Shaw and other sundry witty self abusers, that democracy is not a good system, just better than all the others. Churchill and Popper both said this sort of thing and both were pointing to a simple truth. The development of human society is not governed by over arching laws given by prophets of any religion or none, but is what humans make it. Democracy is the most practical way that a reasonable and open society can conduct its business with a decent chance of adjusting to mistakes.

    I don’t do conspiracy theories. However it is noteworthy that organisations like the Stop the War Coalition, led by a defender of the North Korean State, and SWP-Respect represent a rather strange coalition of Marxist and Islamic religious fundamentalists. Whereas your average Christian fundamentalist believes thinsg like gay marriage is wrong and women shouldn’t be vicars, Islamic fundamentaists tend to have much more robust views. Add to this that the BNP were desperate to join the Stop the War Coalition but were stopped, presumably because the Marxists felt that fascism was already well represented. Historicism breeds strange bed fellows!

    Incidentally Islamaphobia means an irrational fear of Islam. If someone had an irrational fear of Islam then that is not in itself morally wrong, although one would hope that that person would take steps to confront this damaging irrationality. I have what I consider to be a rational fear of people using a religious faith, in this case Islam, to mobilise against an open democratic society, with all its warts. In my opinion all religions are based on a fallacy but I do not feel the need to ridicule or hate people with religious beliefs and I have a very high degree of respect for the way my Christian, Sikh and Muslim friends and colleagues conduct their lives. (And it could turn out not to be a fallacy! ). An open society must tolerate all views subject to the constraint that it cannot tolerate the attempts by any historicist ideology to impose itself.

  45. kevin b

    Nothing remotely ‘rightist’ about it, mate. Yelling ‘islamophobia’ (or in your case the easier-to-manage ‘bollocks’) is just a way of shouting down debate. It’s a libertarian point.


    Yes I did read the whole article, though I’m not sure you did. Boris’s central point was that istead of legislating against free speech, we should make Islam the subject of debate, and perhaps even humour, just like other religions. Sadly, he undermines this sensible position by paying lip-srvice to the pseudo-psychiatric epithet with which those who hate and fear such openness will inevitably greet it. He clearly does not believe that anyone who isn’t a fan of Islam must be sick or insane, but that is just what the term ‘islamophobia’ implies. We are able to talk about other religions without inventing fake diseases such as ‘christophobia’, ‘hinduphobia’ or ‘mormonophobia’, so why not Islam? Let’s have an end to debatophobia.

  46. Macarnie said:
    July 25, 2005 07:43 AM | permalink

    Nick:I’ve never met a man who would admit to being one; whereas the majority of women I’ve met are keen for one to believe they still retain that ‘honour’.

    Sorry to say this, but this phrase shows your age! These days girls would die before admitting that they are still virgins, there is a sort of stigma to it. Sigh, it would be nice if people could be what they are without having the fear of what others think. There are some Christian men that are proud of being still virgin, and stay so till they marry, but the only one I met was American, and quite ugly wonder what they promise women terrorists? The thought of 72 men like that American seems like a good example of hell. But remember, a society that puts down women is obsessed with the idea of female virginity, just think of Catholics and Mary, the spread of the Marian cult started in the middle ages, when they were debating if a woman had a soul or not… sigh

  47. John:
    Phobia. A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.

    Islamophobia. A persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of Islam that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous. (Something that seems to be gripping the country.)

    I assume, therefore, that you believe Islam to actually be evil? Otherwise, your previous post makes little sense. Islamophobia, as a term, implies NONE of your allegations (insanity, sickness). Just an irrationality, an illogical fear of Islam.

    The word “phobia”, whilst used by psychiatrists, predates them by several thousand years – being derived from late latin from the greek “phobos” (meaning “fear”).

    Mind your step as you dismount your high horse.


  48. Psimon : You took the words from my mouth, especially in re.the etymololigical root of the word,” phobia”.

    There is nothing illogical about fear, if the person suffering that fear has reason to be frightened.

  49. I’m going off on a break, but thought I’d comment first (seeing as I’m a big-mouth.)
    A phobia is *irrational*. I suffer from claustrophobia and if I were to lock myself accidentally into a small, windowless bathroom, in an empty house, minus my mobile phone, I’d get panicky very fast. *But there would be nothing to fear except fear itself.*
    We have nothing to fear from Islam other than Islamic *extremists*, and yes I fear them. I also fear THIS nutter, who in my book is causing mayhem:

    [The following poem is composed entirely of actual quotes from George W Bush]

    “Make the Pie Higher”

    I think we all agree, the past is over.
    This is still a dangerous world.
    It’s a world of madmen
    And uncertainty
    And potential mental losses.

    Rarely is the question asked
    Is our children learning?
    Will the highways of the internet
    Become more few?
    How many hands have I shaked?

    They misunderestimate me.
    I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
    I know that the human being and the fish
    Can coexist.

    Families is where our nation finds hope
    Where our wings take dream.
    Put food on your family!
    Knock down the tollbooth!
    Vulcanize society!
    Make the pie higher!
    Make the pie higher!


    This is the man who is “leading” the “GWOT”, folks … otherwise interpreted by many as a global war on Islam.
    Have a good week, everyone.

  50. A real poem this time, written *prior* to the invasion of Afghanistan:

    When I was walkin up the stair
    I met a man named Tony Blair.
    He wasn’t there agin today
    and he won’t be there in the morning.

    Along come a man, George W Bush,
    Beady eyes and smarmy moosh;
    he’s bombin from the Hindu Kush
    in the cold and snowy mornin.

    I looks agin and what’d I see,
    a dandelion as big as a tree,
    bigger’n Bush and bigger’n me,
    it jist grew up in the mornin.

    George rode up with his 10-gallon hat
    and carryin a baseball bat.
    “My friend George what you want with that,
    an’ yer big ol’ hat in the mornin?”

    He says, “See this big ol’ baseball bat?
    I’s gonna whup its ass with that.
    Gonna knock it down an’ lay it flat,
    An’ it won’t git up in the mornin.

    “That dandelion, he’s a E-Vil weed,
    he’s full a li’l old E-Vil seeds.”
    I said, “My friend, best you succeed,
    we don’t want sin in the mornin.”

    He took that bat and whupped the ass
    of the dandelion, and well you ask
    what other things did come to pass
    that cold ‘n’ snowy mornin.

    Well all them seeds did fly around
    like parachutes, without a sound,
    an’ some of them they come to ground,
    an’ they all took root next mornin.

    I walked on up them stairs again
    and passed by old Afghanistan.
    An’ I heard them souls all cry in pain,
    an’ they woke me up this mornin.

    Source: http://wilsonsalmanac.blogspot.com/

  51. Fab piece Boris!
    I’m sick of having to tread on egg shells about subjects because jokes about some people are not allowed. Its silly, no one blinks twice if I make a joke about the Anglican church (which thankfully is a gold mine of laughs most of the time) yet the second a comment involves islam I get looked at as if I had sprouted a ‘tache and started gassing the grandparent due to their nose shape.

  52. Vanessa : you mentioned showing signs of age: I prefer to think of it as a sign of maturity. The sheeplike follow-my-leader attitude of the young females of today , and the resultant lack of self respect shown by them is not very encouraging for the future. This country has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe: now that IS a stigma. This festering PC Government doesn’t do anyone any favours by providing 12 year old girls with “morning after” so called
    prophylactic care, and if that fails ,there’s always a council flat. rent council tax and in some cases free electricity and gas thrown in. Some stigma. The incidence of STDs is ballooning out of sight, and you say that a girl today would rather die than admit to being a virgin? Poor girl, poor Britain , poor world.
    A thought :-

    There was a time, when we were young, those many years ago,
    We’d hanker for, what had been called, the finale to the show,
    The chastest peck upon the cheek; the height of passion then:
    I speak, of course, of those lean years, before we were grown men

    We were not willing virgins; couldn’t wait to lose the name
    But it really meant we had to meet the girls who felt the same.
    Some, the prim and proper ones; would freeze you with a glance,
    Some others, much more daring, lead the guys a merry dance

    The fellows, in the meantime, would brag of conquests new
    But truth to tell, those having lost virginity, were remarkably few.
    Girls; the ones I knew at least, were influenced by the warning
    Keep th’ hand on’t ha’penny love, or he’ll hate you in the morning.

    And that, dear patient reader, was the time when love was slow
    Unlike the rush we get today: when hardly anyone says ‘No’.
    Chlamydia; AIDS and herpes, are rife, and hard to cure
    P’raps it was much better then; but then: I’m not so sure.

  53. Macarnie, I know that things go from one extreme to an other, pity there is no middle way to muddle along to. I have nothing against a free world were people can choose to have sex or not, but the problem in the UK today is that these young girls are totally lacking in self esteem and love. They have no plans for the future, and so getting pregnant means that there will somebody that will love them. They are afraid that if they don’t have sex they will loose their sorry excuse of a boyfriend. A vicious circle. The problem is not having morning after pills at school, I whish they would use them, but the way they see themselves and the society they live in. Today there is a strong sexuality in the media, it seems that everyone is having it off and if you are not, you are made to feel inadequate; you go out with a man and it’s expected that you end up in bed, you go out with “mates” and end up drunk and get picked up. It takes a lot of self confidence to behave differently, and it does depend on the groups of friends one frequents. The ladette culture is very dangerous from a health and social point of view, but it seems to be the norm these days. I do drink and smoke (my mother certainly did not), but I hate people getting drunk and would not get myself in these situations, but I am older than the ladettes, a past generation, child of the ’80, I had other aspirations than getting pregnant at 12 (or 15, 17, 20, etc). There is also no parental control over the young, at 12 (and older) my mother knew what I was doing and who my friends were, and I had to be back home at 6 pm, earlier if my homework wasn?t finished. Did I feel hard done by? No, it was normal, my friends had the same curfews. Today young women would die than admit being virgins, is it a good thing? No, if they have been pressured into a sexual relationship by contemporary standards of behaviour. But in the past you were ruined if you had sex before your marriage, and that was also bad, being forced into a hostel if young, pregnant and single. As usual, there is no easy answer. But there will be a change, there always has been, just think of the Regency period and then the Victorian age.

  54. Vanessa : I agree with your sentiment, that no middle way has presented itself, along which the youth of today, male & female alike, could perhaps amble with some sort of pleasure; other that is, than that unscratchable itch; that burning desire to get into someone else’s underwear.
    If as you say , the average teenage girl has no-one to love her but the possible premarital fruit of her womb , I feel sorry for her. She deserves better. She does not deserve to be offered the ultimate nirvana of a council house , and all that that entails, to replace her broken or unfulfilled dream of playing house with her dollies. A baby in not a doll, neither should it be treated as one.

    I was in a shop the other day, and the overwhelmingly noisy clientele was made up of teen age mothers , vying with each other as to who wants which most expensive item as a fashion accessory:one wanted tiny named trainers for her baby , and at least one other was saying she wanted a double buggy,” NOW”, so that she could get used to being seen with it, whilst waiting to get pregnant again . All this at full volume, and obviously in that particular part of the town totally normal. Hopelessness personified. No standards other than bog standards, and no-one seems to care.

    Kelly, that clone from the universal school of do-gooders is now going to spend

  55. If ever there were a case of positive discrimination, in favour of a minority group, in this case Muslims, whose official numbers are given as beinglesss than 3% of the population, it was in the blatant overloading of a television live audience , to the tune of more than 15% of that audience during a screened debate about the recent bombings . Liberally scattered throughout the audience were people, obviously anti British, and prepared to pour hate on the host Nation. The BBC has , totally inadequately excused this imbalance on the grounds that this vociferous minority had the most to say on the subject. This is notthe first time that the BBC has acted in a totally inappropriate way, and I am sure it will not be the last. Reporters , for example, have been told not to refer to so called suicide bombers as terrorists. If that is not an apt description of these murderous extremists, what on earth is?

    I am sure that the majority of those Muslims, living amongst the indigenous population, no more want terrorist attacks than anyone else, and indeed , rightly condemn them. As opposed to the usual,( on these pages), quotes from the Qur’an, here is a quote from the Bible: “If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out”.

    Nobody in their right mind would take that as having a literal meaning. As a committed agnostic / atheist, I accept its wider meaning because it makes sense to cure an illness, rather than suffer untold misery by accepting unnecessary hardship.

  56. What on earth continues to be wrong with the CPS?

    The whole assembled eloquence of lawyers, employed, at no little public expense, to prosecute wrong doers on behalf of the Great British Public, appears to have not one ball left, with which to play. It was a case of, “Game over”, due to a dearth of balls.

    If, as a non-believer, more specifically; an infidel; I were to utter; in the supposed privacy of a party or gathering of friends; a mere five per cent of the incitement to racial / religious hate, (let alone the exhortation to kill all British soldiers in a Holy War) , as has Abdul Muhid; ( that piece of civilized society’s detritus) ; seditiously, and in my mind; treasonably; uttered IN PUBLIC , my feet would not have touched the ground. Meanwhile; the apparently immediately witnessed incitement to kill all homosexuals, by means of casting them from cliffs and towers, should be enough to charge him with incitement to murder. Other charges would inevitably have followed.

    The CPS would have manufactured a watertight case against me, using the same laws from which they now flinch, in the blinking of an eye. Surely it is long overdue, on behalf of the Home Office, for existing laws to be rigorously applied, ( it has already done this once), at every relevant opportunity. This case is one in point, if ever there was one.

    The lack of prosecutions for such crimes ,makes the CPS a laughing stock; the Police hogtied into ineffectuality, and the Public angry . Time for action Tony: no more hand wringing and half stuttered promises ; stop the Extremist threat to us all: NOW

  57. Sorry to be here so swiftly again, but I forgot to post the following as soon as I had written it:-

    I heard yesterday that the less than thankful, Brit hating, wife of that evil, so called Tottenham Ayatollah Bakri Mohammed, has also undarkened Britain’s doorstep, in order to join her husband in the delights of more sponging; this time , not on our State; but on his multitudinous siblings. Gone with him is his hope of a change of heart,( on the NHS) .

    20 years have elapsed since this bitter, whining, scrounging enemy of Britain arrived;
    a fugitive from righteous justice elsewhere; begging for asylum; only to spew hate and sedition back in the face of our , in my opinion , inappropriately offered ,Gastfreundlichkeit. I hope the extradition from The Lebanon to Syria proves to be a short process, so that Syria can finally deal with her own.

    Gone now, hopefully forever; the first of the many burdens which are these ungrateful recipients of British largesse.
    The largesse doled out to these ingrates includes, to name but some of the freebies, house; car; medical care; and various cash benefits.

    If these people are drawing disability benefit, how are they able, simultaneously, to work, in Mosques for example? I have been led to believe that the right to the benefit of disability allowances was inextricably attached; as it were; to certification of inability to work.

    Get rid of a few more like them, and perhaps the council tax will stop its increasingly insatiable progress towards highway robbery.

    The day is long overdue, when we can read a newspaper, or listen to a broadcast report, which has not, as its central theme, the increasingly strident shouts of a minority which will not accept that it IS a minority; which, in a Democracy, does not have first choice of the viands on offer at the banquet. They won’t starve, but they must queue, like the rest of us.

    The sooner these minorities, within a minority, understand that less is more, when it comes to criticism of the host country; the better it will be for all. Society cannot be expected to rotate round a new star in an already established firmament.

  58. The problem Boris is that you are thinking as a person in 21st century mentality to deal with mentalities that are still in the 12th century (Islam has had no Illustration, no Revolution, in a word no critics since then)

    Good Luck !!!

  59. And if anyone should be looking for critics on this side of the Channel, don’t bother, even if there were any to find( and I’m sure there are plenty), their critique would be non-allowable under the racial/ religious laws in force. It is only the extremists, the ignominious few who are allowed, apparently without let or hindrance ,to promulgate the unending amounts of hate filled anti western messages.

    Clarke has , after much prodding , at last woken up to the possibilities open to him. The only persons who are going to profit from the forthcoming “human rights”, battles , are the lawyers, for whom we , the damaged Hosts will be forced to pay. Already , we hear the arrogant boast of ,” I will not leave” from a certain Britain hating Egyptian cleric. Egypt is a Moslim country, why cannot he be immediately expelled?

    Meanwhile , the country doesn’t question one single visa application from known hotbeds of Militant Islamists. For the sake of peace, WAKE UP , and rid us of these troublesome priests.

    To paraphrase the Bard :
    Will no one revenge us of the injuries we have sustained from these turbulent priests?

  60. And now, according to reports in the National Press today, not only do we get the “Three Strikes and Out; All Dancing, All Singing; Samba Expert: that EU Mandarin, Mandy Mandelson , once again making strategically inept ‘u’ turns in favour of the Chinese clothing trade: but we are being groomed to expect that Don Juan of the Guide Dog to make a full recovery as replacement for the Clarke minor, who appears to have missed his vocation somewhere along the line Is there something in the water?

    Perhaps even worse is to come: it seems that we are in imminent danger of being told what we may, or may not do, to cleanse our country of those parasitic, poisonous preachers of bitter gall : the extremist Moslem Clerics. Whither the poor old UK? Who is in charge? Is it once again the lunatic / asylum syndrome raising its ugly head.

  61. Leading on from another thread about satire…

    How would Animal Farm look today? The hens and the sheep are a bit worried about all the foxes wandering around. The dogs can’t work out what the pigs want them to do about it. Some of the pigs are beginning to say “eerrrm?!! Actually – eh” but others of the pigs form a defence committee to stop the foxes being sent back to the woods. (Foxes prefer hens and sheep). The foxes keep saying the farm is crap anyway and they would much rather be in the woods, all the time eyeing up the hens and sheep.

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