Anyone else catch Miliband on with Humphyrs this morning? To be fair to Humphrys, he did challenge Miliband but then again Miliband is so abysmal that even the BBC struggle to make him look good. The interesting bit for me is when Humphrys starts talking about the late Robin Cook who “brilliant” and “everybody” recognised as leader material? (Around 17mins) Really? Isn’t this an instance of John Humphrys admitting that at that time, he was a fan of a senior Labour politician? Is this what passes for studied impartiality?

John Humphrys explains 9/11, Terrorism, and Where We Went Wrong

We don’t know whether the BBC has chosen its position on 9/11 and Islamic terrorism because the hierarchy sincerely believes in it or because it’s strategically pertinent, but John Humphrys set it out loud and clear in his 8:30 spot on the iconic Today programme. Tony Blair was also present.

  • 9/11 was a crime.
  • Islamic extremism is a separate phenomenon from Islam proper.
  • We exacerbated the problem with our ‘War on Terror’.
  • We should have concentrated on the criminals in Afghanistan and stayed out of Saddam’s Iraq
  • Eliza Manningham-Buller agrees.

In other words:
Islam is fundamentally peaceful.
Fundamentalist Islamism is a distortion of Islam.

9/11 and similar acts of ‘terrorism’ are crimes perpetrated by a minority, who have distorted (fundamentally peaceful) Islam.
These crimes have nothing to do with the peaceful religion known as Islam.
We mistakenly blamed the peaceful religion, Islam, for crimes which were unrelated to true Islam.
It was this mistake of ours, which radicalised fundamentally peaceful Moslems, turning them away from true, peaceful Islam, towards a distorted, ‘separate-from-Islam’ criminality, (which has nothing to do with Islam.)

‘Terrorists’ are straightforward criminals who have distorted the fundamentally peaceful religion of peace. We call them militants.

The BBC is impartial and non-judgmental. We don’t call them militant criminals.
We refer to ‘Militants’, or ‘militant Islamists’, meaning
‘militant ‘nothing-to-do-with-Islam-ists’.’

Earlier, someone said the glorious ‘Arab Spring’ is proof that we’ve won an ideological battle.

The news headlines state that ‘post-glorious Arab Spring’ Egyptians have attacked the Israeli Embassy in Cairo because of their anger at the killing of six Egyptian policemen by Israeli security forces. This apparently motivated their democratic decision to destroy the Israeli Embassy and its occupants.
It ignores the boiling hatred that has been driving the Arab World since the year dot, a hatred which was released and allowed to flourish and blossom as soon as dictator Hosni Mubarak was deposed. A hatred alluded to vaguely by the BBC itself in its own statement here:
”There have been protests outside the embassy for weeks amid a downturn in Egypt-Israel relations.” but in a statement further down in the same article, ‘for weeks’ has turned into ‘since 18th August
“There have been protests outside the embassy since the deaths on 18 August of five Egyptian policemen.”

So, the anti Israel protests are merely because of Israel’s recent provocative, unexplained aggression? Or perhaps, since the glorious Arab Spring?

The glorious Arab Spring doesn’t prove any ideological sea change whatsoever. The Arab world does not love us. 9/11 was not an isolated criminal act by distorters of a fundamentally peaceful ideology. Nor was it supported by a mere minority. It was celebrated throughout the Arab world, on September 11th 2001, and as acts against the West still are, to this day, September 2011.

Tony Blair gets it, but nobody likes him, nobody listens to him, and the BBC marches on.
Meanwhile the Any Questions panel drones on predictably. “The whole world was behind America after 9/11!” “We saw Yassir Arafat giving blood on television!”(wasn’t he supposed to have had aids?) “It was our foreign policy that turned the Arab World against America.”

Heaven help us.

No Bite in the Bark

Sir Howard Davies was given an easy time this morning by rottweiler Humph.
Sir Howard’s resignation may have been a noble selfless thing for the sake of that fandabbydozy institution the LSE, but I felt we never got to the nitty gritty.
What about the influence this dosh from despots might have on the teaching? Humph did ask, but he let Sir Howard get away with a distinctly cavalier denial. Where was Humph’s terrier-like dog-with-a-bone tenacity that we have grown to love and hate?

It may well be a good thing that Gaddafi’s elite are well trained and taught how to do things properly, and it may well be desirable for reputable universities to become global villages at the heart of London even if it means they risk sacrificing their independence, and it may well be necessary to engage with bad people. But must this fearsome, penetrating interviewer accept it all with little more than a murmur ?
Would everyone who might utter: “I’ve made two ‘errors of judgement’ but they weren’t my fault” or: “the government made me make some bad decisions” be let off as lightly?
What made the old dog lie down and let these important questions go, not with a bang but a whimper?

Stephen Pollard, in the Telegraph, wonders about the university funding question too. He is worried about the money that has gone to Islamic study centres.

“A study of five years of politics lectures at the Middle Eastern Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford, found that 70 per cent were “implacably hostile” to the West and Israel. A friend of mine, a former Oxford academic, felt that his time was largely spent battling a cadre of academics overwhelmingly hostile to the West, in an ambience in which students – from both Britain and abroad – were presented a world-view that was almost exclusively anti-Western. “

Apart from the Oxbridge universities he mentions – for another example I give you Exeter University, the one that has recently announced its decision to charge the maximum tuition fee. It’s the home of a major Saudi-funded Islamic study centre, and it boasts revisionist historian Ilan Pappé and the fragrant Palestinian activist Ghada Karmi as members of its teaching staff. I find this alarming.

These are the things that I want John Humphrys to consider, and I’d like him to savage all intractable interviewees, whatever their politics, in the same ferocious manner presently reserved uniquely for those he disagrees with.