The Seumas Milne Trophy for Relativist Crap

July 29, 2007 at 7:16 pm (Jim D, perversity, politics, truth)

Regular readers will be aware that ol’ uncle Jim periodically gets himself all worked up over the relativist, soft-on-terrorism, soft-on-religious-fundamentalism, anti-enlightenment garbage that has appeared over several years in the “Comment & Debate” pages of the Guardian. In fact, the preponderance of this sort of reactionary filth-posing-as-liberalism more or less co-incided with the tenure of ex-public school Stalinist Seumas Milne  as Comment editor of the Graun. Under this privileged toff, the likes of Andrew Murray, George Galloway, Lindsay German and Osama bin Laden (I kid you not), were all given space in the “Comment & Debate” pages of the Graun. In fairness, Osama’s column, though genuine in the sense that it used his own words, was probably Milne’s idea of a joke. But we can’t be absolutely sure about that. Still, no-one can accuse Osama of being a relativist.

The outstanding champions of relativism in the pages of the Graun, under Milne, were the Catholic “feminist”, pro-islamist  Madeleine Bunting and the born-again-Catholic ex-Marxist  academic Terry Eagleton.

Milne has been gone for a couple of months. And Bunting has written a few articles of late that verge upon sanity. But now, under the Graun‘s  new Comment editor Toby Manhire, a new contender for the title of Stupidist Purvayor of Relativist Crap (the Seumas Milne Trophy) emerges: one Jenni Russell – until recently, believe it or not, an editor at BBC  Radio 4’s ‘The World Tonight’.

Life is too short to go into – here – the myriad stupidities and inanities of Ms Russell’s piece. But try this, as a taster:

“The mistake here is that the modern liberal belief – all men are equal – has been transmuted into the false idea that all people think the same”… eh, what, Jenni?

This rubbish is well answered by the fifth commentator (‘HandsomeDan’) in the CIF section under Russell’s article. Norm and George (scroll down to 27/07/07) also take Ms Russell to task, noting that in the past she hasn’t always taken such an understanding attitude towards criminals and anti-social elements. But then the sort of swine who nick your mobile phone are not comparable with poor, misunderstood suicide bombers, are they?


  1. modernityblog said,


    I have never understood this, but if you go on a Leftie demo, you’ll only ever see the Guardian (or the Observer) as the paper of choice, why?

    it is a rag, a whining meaningless rag, no content, no foreign coverage to speak of, witless home news, rubbish

    change papers and you won’t worry about what a bunch of idiots in the Guardian think or do


    disgruntled ex-Guardian reader!

  2. Jim Denham said,

    I’ve tried the Indie, but it’s insubstantial and boring. The Times is bland and predictable. I suppose there’s always the Telegraph… But, actually, the likes of Bunting, Milne and Russell at least give me that buzz of anger…

  3. hakmao said,

    ‘The Indie is the Daily Mail for people who recycle.’

  4. voltaires_priest said,

    And we’re going to claim that the Telegraph is a paper of moral fibre and journalistic substance are we, Jim?

  5. splinteredsunrise said,

    Jim, you should do what I do and read the Star. Try it, it’s like a whole new theory of knowledge.

  6. Jim Denham said,

    Do you mean the stalinist rag, or the soft-porn tabloid?

  7. voltaires_priest said,

    The porn one is probably more fun, and with better journalism too.

  8. splinteredsunrise said,

    Actually, the Irish edition of the Star is a bit more demure than the Brit one. But it’s still more fun than the Irish Times.

  9. KB Player said,

    I am sorry to inform you that the relatively sane Mad B has now reverted to her old generalising wildly and drawing cosmic conclusions from passing trends self. Check out today’s Groan.

  10. Nick said,

    The only paper I often bother reading is The Herald all the mainstrean English press is pretty crap, however I’m boycotting the Herald right now in support of striking NUJ members at the paper, sign the petition of supprt here

  11. Graeme said,

    The Guardian is worthwhile as long as they have Charlie Brooker writing for them.

  12. johng said,

    Sorry can someone explain what they mean by ‘cultural relativism’? do they mean multi-culturalism? What?

  13. Jim Denham said,

    No, John: it’s *not* the same as “multi-culturalism”, although that is certainly a problematic term; but “cultural relativism” means the racist idea that there are no absolute values; so – for intanance- that because a primative or savage people practice a particular ritual (“suttee”, for instance), we of the more advanced culture have no right to criticise or stop it. The racism being, of course, that whilst “we” of the more advanced culture, might object to “suttee” for our own people, we aught to accept it for others…because they are, presumably, more “backward”, and can’t be expected to know any better.
    In the case of “suttee”, the British imperialist forces attempted to put a stop to it: and quite right, too, IMHO! What do you think, John?
    P.SW: I’d recommend reading marx’s “The Communist Manifesto”, John.

  14. johng said,

    Perhaps that was a bit naughty. OK put it another way. Would the comrades here like to make clear whether they think Italian or British culture were superior? Whats better Turner or Da Vinci? Spaghetti or Fish and Chips? Anyone not willing to answer this question might be described as a cultural relativist. In other words to cultural supremacists cultures are organised in a hierarchy and it makes sense therefore to grade them. Others think this is a potty idea, a bit like piling up pieces of wood in two places and then demanding to know which pile of wood is ‘better’.

    On the other hand perhaps cultural relativist just means people who believe in the existence of such a thing as culture (this raises rather tricky questions about what we think this word means). Some people seem to think that there is such a thing as ‘western culture’ (I find this a very peculiar idea and don’t know what is meant by that phrase). presumably ‘culture’ here is related to the idea of ‘achievement’ perhaps influenced by German ideas about bildung and conservatives like Mathew Arnold, who counterposed culture to ‘anarchy’. a reference perhaps to bourgoise civilization? In which case call a spade a spade and talk about the superiority of bourgoise civilization and make clear you wish to denounce anyone who finds this idea questionable, or at least in need of qualification.

    Others seem to think that western culture can be equated with the enlightenment, a rather insulting way of labelling those revolutionary ideas surely. This also raises Blair like problems about persistantly talking about things western and then calling them universal. I just don’t know what people mean when they accuse people of ‘cultural relativism’. if one is speaking of culture then I think a relativist is about the only sensible thing to be. ranking cultures seems a very strange and irrational thing to do. My understanding is that we understand modes of production as being in some kind of hierarchical relationship with each other not ‘cultures’. Aspects of culture are connected to modes of production. But it is surely a deeply silly proceedure to imagine that Aristotle must rank beneath Harold Robbins because Aristotles work was related to the slave mode of production whilst Harold Robbin’s work was related to capitalism, a much more progressive system.

    A deeply impoverishing idea the idea of a hierarchy of ‘cultures’. And very much an anti-enlightenment idea strangely enough (which was, despite popular beliefs to the contrary, powerfully interested in the idea of cultural relativism: largely as a subversive and anti-religous idea). I think when people say cultural relativism they’re borrowing a slogan and not thinking about what they’re saying. It would be better if they actually said what they meant. The effort of doing so might lead them to clarify their own ideas. What is objected to when people object to ‘cultural relativism’? (which if it means anything probably means a belief that ‘ranking cultures’ is a pretty silly thing to do. Importantly it doesn’t suggest a hostility to ranking in general).

  15. Jim Denham said,

    John: you are clearly a fucking idiot. Fish and chips versus spaghetti is nothing like enlightenment values versus pre-enlightenment values. can you not see that? if not, then the great British educational system that has nurtured you, has clearly failed.
    islamism is a pre-enlightenment, barbaric, backward. religious/political system, analogous to fascism: the enlightenment gave birth to Marxism. I’m willing to fight for Marxism against barbarism: are you?

  16. Jim Denham said,

    Oh yes, John: I’ve asked you before. Both Volty and I are barred from making comments at the SWP “Lenin’s Tomb” blog, whereas you are free to comment here. What do you think about that? And what are you going to do about it?

  17. voltaires_priest said,

    Well I’m not banned. You are but hell I’m in favour of a campaign for Denham’s rights 😆

  18. modernityblog said,

    Free Jim Denham from the shackles of SWP oppression, now!

  19. voltaires_priest said,

    I am however banned from “Through the Scary Door” because the owners are a bunch of wussies who don’t like being laughed at. But then it’s a shit blog anyway so I don’t care.

  20. stroppybird said,

    Yep, Denham has rights , he must not be silenced 😉

    Dolls4Jim will back this campaign .

  21. twp77 said,

    Let’s come up with a slogan!!!

  22. modernityblog said,


    Now all you have to do is get Jim and Volty on Facebook.

  23. stroppybird said,


    Join the Dolls4Jim group on facebook .

    We are trying to get our Great leader to join Facebook .

    We need a camapign to stop the silencing of the Denham 😉

  24. stroppybird said,


    Just seen you have joined the Dolls4Jim group 😉

  25. stroppybird said,

    Course we now need the southpawpunchisafuckingwanker society on there 😉

  26. modernityblog said,

    er…well, I was told (many years back) that I was a “Doll”, and I knew you’d appreciate my support 🙂

    I think southpaw should be forgotten, otherwise it will play to his paranoia (as if that need increasing)

  27. stroppybird said,

    yep, Punchie will star hufing and puffing .

    So was it the great Denham that called you a doll ?

  28. modernityblog said,

    No, can’t say it was, twas ages ago I think Harold Wilson was in power then, I was a bit younger

  29. jim denham said,

    Mad Maddie, on terrorism, in the Graun:
    …”Second, it dodges the political rationale for extremist violence as a critique of UK foreign policy.”

    The rest of Maddie’s insult to the intelligence is here:

    • Rosie said,

      She really is a total fool. I could find a good rationale for smacking her round the chops as a critique of her self-confident, shallow crap. And that horrible tourist view of “culture” – that it’s food for Crissake.

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