Just in case you missed it in the comments

August 6, 2008 at 8:03 pm (blogging, islamism, reaction, religion, SWP, Uncategorized, voltairespriest)

In addition to my own efforts below, there’s an excellent post demolishing Ian Birchall’s feeble defence of the SWP’s pandering to communalism here, written by new(ish) face Max Dunbar. Top notch, sir. Your permalink will be sorted when I next update the blogroll.


  1. maxdunbar said,

    My own Shiraz Socialist post! It’s an honour and a pleasure.

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Hats off to Max for reminding the world of Ian Birchall’s infamous late-night email to Polly Toynbee in 2006 (NB: Toynbee’s husband, Peter Jenkins had died of cancer a few years previously) :

    “You are a loathsome overpaid hypocrite. Nobody woulkd miss you for 5 seconds if you were dead like your despicable shitball husband. I should like to see you in a cancer ward screaming with pain and vomiting blood.”

    You don’t have to be a fan of Toynbee (I’m not), or deny the likelihood that the author was pissed out of his tiny mind when he sent that email, to find it pretty morally repugnant. And it was from the same Ian Birchall who asks us to take an indulgent view of religion…

  3. maxdunbar said,

    Yeah. I don’t like ad hominems but I thought the email was worth mentioning.

  4. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Good post Max. This comment (from Birchall) is an absolute gem:

    ‘And those who are so shocked by George Galloway’s formal politeness to Saddam Hussein should look at Voltaire’s relations with Frederick the Great – or Diderot’s with Catherine the Great’.

    Because, of course, both these 18th century autocrats committed genocide against their own subjects, just like Saddam.

    Birchall’s shallowness reminds me of a comment in one of Macaulay’s essays:

    ‘It is quite natural that such a man should speak with contempt of the great reformers of that time, because they did not know some things which he never would have known but for the salutary effects of their exertions. The men to whom we owe it that we have a House of Commons are sneered at because they did not suffer the debates to be published. The Authors of the Toleration Act are treated as bigots, because they did not go the whole length of Catholic Emancipation. Just so we have heard a baby, mounted on the shoulders of his father, cry out, “How much taller I am than Papa!”‘.

  5. KB Player said,

    After handing his tricorne hat to one footman, his laced coat to the second footman, and allowing the third footman to adjust his jabot, while the fourth dusted his riding boots, Mr Galloway entered the throne room of the Emperor of all the Iraqs. Bowing deeply, he said, in low, respectful tones, “Your Majesty, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.”

    He could give those eighteenth century French gentlemen lessons in etiquette. His next book in fact will contain some advice on manners – check out the chapter called When you meet a Fascist dictator.

  6. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘His next book in fact will contain some advice on manners – check out the chapter called When you meet a Fascist dictator.’

    Which I presume will include a sub-chapter on how to make small talk with a serial rapist who kills his victims after he has violated them.

    I should also point out here that if Voltaire, Diderot and other 18th philosophes had wanted to talk to contemporary democratically-elected leaders who derived their mandate from the will of the people, rather than divine right, they wouldn’t have exactly been spoilt for choice.

  7. maxdunbar said,

    Thanks Sackcloth.

    I suppose the most hilarious thing is the comparison of George Galloway with Voltaire!

  8. sackcloth and ashes said,

    I must admit that that surprised me. After all, I thought the swuppies hated Galloway after he had them locked out of RESPECT HQ.

  9. maxdunbar said,

    I can’t follow the Galloway vs SWP wrangles at all.

  10. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Max, this clip (after the first fifty seconds) might help explain the RESPECT rift:

  11. maxdunbar said,

    Hahahahaha! Class

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