Thursday, June 21, 2007

Reid elides race and religion

I suspect the following comments by Home Secretary John Reid will have attracted little attention. Nonetheless, he displays a reprehensible lack of precision in both thought and language. Speaking in New York on the furore concerning Salman Rushdie's knighthood, Reid said:

"A lot of people were upset when John Cleese made Life of Brian... We have very strong laws about promoting racial intolerance. It isn't a free-for-all. We've thought very carefully about it. But we have a right to express opinions and a tolerance of other people's point of view, and we don't apologise for that."

Let me first state that I don't think Reid's remarks are entirely lucid. But allow me to try and unpick what he's getting at. I think he means to say that Britain has stringent laws which prohibit racial intolerance. And rightly so. What this has to do with the Rushdie affair is lost on me. Reid is of course eliding race and religion and this simply will not do. However, nor will religious intolerance (which, when read strictly surely means intolerance by religious people, but I digress). We do and should have the right to criticise each and every religion and surely even John Reid will allow me that privilege.

He goes on to make mention of opinions and tolerance. Again he's tied me in knots. However, this is what I take him to mean:

  1. We have the right to express opinions.
  2. We have the right to express tolerance of other people's point of view.
  3. We don't apologise for any of this.
Now, it may be that John Reid is so reluctant to be drawn on any of this that he thinks speaking in Prescottian sentences will leave us all perplexed while he slips off quietly. After all he only has a week to go in the job and he'd like it to be a quiet one, thank you very much. I think, again I'm not sure, that he is saying the British government, when choosing to whom to give honours, may during the course of doing so express tolerance of a recipient's point of view. The recipient in this case being Salman Rushdie. Whether giving someone a knighthood is in any way an indication of a committee's opinions as to that person's point of view you can decide. I'm willing to wager that whichever committee thought Joseph Corre worthy of an honour didn't reckon on him having a point of view.

3 Comments:

At 3:39 am , Blogger USpace said...

Good one, of course the very peaceful 'Muslims' are justified for destroying the whole world over this. What? The Queen can't Knight someone she likes? She can't knight someone that other people don't like?

But I'm sure Sir Rushdie has mixed emotions on this; the Queen has put him in much greater danger. Maybe he'll wish he had turned it down.

At least this incident will lose the terrorists at least a few more of their dhimmidiot appeasers.

Islam in it's extreme is more political ideology than religion. In that way, it is only a 'Religion of Peace' in that when Islam rules the planet, there will be no one to be at war with. Where they are given an inch, they demand a mile. Islamic countries are becoming more extreme, extremists rule, they just keep quoting the Koran to justify their Jihad.


absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
appease religious killers

continue to spoil them
violent tantrums pay off
.

 
At 6:25 pm , Anonymous Paul Sturrock said...

I suppose you could say his statement wasn't fit for purpose... boom, boom. Seriously, you've been a great crowd. I'm here all week - I recommend the veal.

 
At 6:49 pm , Blogger Finnieston Crane said...

Ah, Mr Sturrock, like Halley's Comet your visits are fleeting but brilliant.

 

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