Two old favourites revisited

March 3, 2008 at 12:38 am (Guardian, Jim D, religion, secularism, stalinism)

When I first started writing on this blog, I used to get very worked up about two Guardian columnists – Madeleine Bunting and Seumas Milne. On the face of it, they have little in common: Bunting is a Catholic with Buddhist leanings and, politically a liberal; Milne is a Stalinist and -presumably – an atheist. What they have in common is both being columnists for, and associate editors of, the Guardian; that and a shared hatred of bourgeois (or any other kind of) democracy and a willingness to make common cause with Islamic clerical fascism.

Bunting has long campaigned for special privileges for religion and against secularism; but having been widely and comprehensively exposed as a fucking idiot, she’s now changed tack and repositioned herself as a “secularist”: hence last Monday’s (25th Feb) Graun column, Secularists have nothing to fear from women wearing headscarves. This extraordinary exercise in sophistry, dishonesty and guilt-by-suggestion, seems to argue that secularism has nothing necessarily to do with the seperation of church and state (or the disestablishment of the Church of England, which she dismisses as an impossibility), but (in the last sentence), throws in the outrageous suggestion that it does have a connection with “a racist far right” – this from a journalist who has given an easy ride to homophobes, advocates of wife-beating and outright anti-semites!

I’m still not sure whether Bunting is criminaly dishonest or just plain goddamn stupid. The latter explanation for her wacky opinions is given some credence in this recorded encounter with the militant atheist Richard Dawkins; listen out for the moment when Maddie appears to question the very meaning of “truth”/ “belief” and whether it needs to be based upon “an intellectual, evidence-based decison”…

The case of upper-class, public school educated Stalinist and Graun  Associate Editor Seumas Milne is somewhat different; no-one could possibly accuse him of being an idiot. What he is, is an hypocritical apologist for mass-murdering tyrants like Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic…and , of course, Uncle Joe himself (he wasn’t so bad, really y’know…).

This upper class piece of toss had the audacity to spout off in the Graun last week, denying Kosova’s right to self-determination. This r-r-revolutionary used all sorts of arguments about “international law”, and the problem of Kosova being “crime-ridden”, to justify his opposition to 93% of the population of Kosova having the right to national self determination. These scabrous arguments are dealt with most effectively here.

But Milne’s most nauseating piece of ‘reasoning’ is his suggestion that the Nato bombing campaign of 1999 “triggered a massive increase” in Serb ethnic cleansing: that’s just as true (and, therefore, just as much a lie)  as arguing that the Allied attack on Nazi Germany “triggered” the holocaust: but then, Milne, as a Stalinist, must surely know what the Comintern’s policy was towards the Nazis between 1939 and 1941?

Why the hell do I keep reading the Graun? The only reason I can come up with is that the Indie, the Times and the Telegraph are boring: and it’s quite interesting to see the filthy totalitarianism and relativist hypocrisy so-called “liberals” will tolerate in their daily paper of choice.


  1. Ian said,

    I disagree angrily. Lots of people could accuse Seumas Milne of being an idiot. Let me demonstrate: Seumas Milne is an idiot.

  2. Sean said,

    you keep reading the Graun because you think that if you rage on-line against some of the liberal shibboleths their columnists hold dear it will your blog seem interesting; it doesn’t

  3. 150m from the Scotsman said,

    So uninteresting you can’t keep away, you illiterate plight.

  4. kb72 said,

    Madeleine Bunting (Mush Brain) is more a fool than dishonest I think. She sincerely believes that analysis and evidence are some kind of Western cultural construct, so she employs them haphazardly. If she reads a book that says something like “human beings are part of nature” she greets it as a cutting-edge innovative idea. Her capacity for uninformed non-thinking is huge. I have heard her on Thought for the Day using the word “trust” in 5 different senses and making a conclusion from linking it in all its varieties. We trust the guy in the taxi to take us to a destination and therefore we should trust in God, went her argument Her illogic, irrationality and masterly non-sequiturs take away the breath. And she was once the Chair of a thinktank Demos! Like getting Osama bin Laden to run your local.

    Anyway Mush Brain does serve one purpose – if you’re new to fisking she is the nursery slopes that you can start off on. Easy-peasy, you can’t fail.

  5. Graeme said,

    Why read the Graun? Easy. Charlie Brooker.

  6. Jim Denham said,

    Agreed: the man’s a genius. A twisted genius, but a genius nonetheless.

  7. Dan Ashcroft said,

    Charlie Brooker is right about everything:

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