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Thursday, 12 February, 2009

Sarah McDermott | 14:44 UK time, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Here's Kirsty Wark, with details of what's coming up this evening in Newsnight:

Hello to viewers near and far,

We are tracking the journey of Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, who was refused entry to Britain this afternoon after arriving from Holland at the invitation of Lord Pearson, of UKIP. He tried to make the journey despite being banned last night by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary. We will be debating whether free speech is paramount in a democracy, a democracy that allowed Ibrahim Mousawi, chief spokesman for Hezbollah to enter the UK last year.

Has Gordon Brown been too close to the country's leading bankers? Will he end up facing the same fate as Icarus? Was he enthralled and mesmerised by their activities and the chimera of the all powerful City? We'll discuss "Brown and his bankers" tonight as another leading banker looks set to leave the Government fold.

Is the Taliban gaining a foothold in Karachi, Pakistan's financial and commercial hub? Today for the first time the Pakistani Government said that last November's attack on Mumbai was launched and partly planned from Pakistan. The adviser to the Prime Minister detailed how the gunmen had sailed from Karachi to carry out the attack that killed 179 people. Last year Karachi erupted in riots that killed 50 people. The suspicion is that the Taliban were behind the violence, and raising fears that the Islamist movement is "talibanising" the city, something perhaps borne out by today's announcement. Barbara Plett has been in Karachi to assess the Taliban influence there.

Plus, why has one of Britain's biggest contracts for new trains just been awarded to a Japanese company, at the price of £7.5bn? Trade Unions and Labour backbenchers are in uproar. Couldn't it have gone to a British consortium, thus potentially safeguarding thousands more jobs?

Do join us at 10.30pm



  • Comment number 1.

    Was Gordon Brown mesmerised by the cult of the bankers? You bet he was! He certainly did!

    More seriously, he is intelligent so why exactly did he buy into their dream, now our nightmare? Was it perhaps that old Faustian choice? By letting the electorate pay for their own credit boom, it gave him popularity, indeed votes, without any cost to the exchequer. All he had to do was sell Labour's soul!

  • Comment number 2.

    I have just watched the film “fitna” on the internet to see what all the fuss was about and although it is unbalanced (the same film could be made with passages of the Bible) and I must say that the only incitement to violence or hatred actually comes from the clips of the Koran along with imams, Muslim clerics and other followers of Islam who preach violence. If we are to ban Geert Wilders or his film then surely we may as well as ban the Bible and the Koran?

    I often hear politicians and commentators that the Muslim population are in a similar to the position that Jews were in during the time of Nazi Germany but, if this was true, were there then Rabbis who were inciting hatred of German population? Were there Jewish suicide bombers or Jewish terror groups operating in Europe around this time?

    If it is not true then why do people keep saying this? Isn't it high time that this fatuous comparison was exposed for the political denial that it really is?

  • Comment number 3.

    I am absolutely outraged at the exclusion of Geert Wilders - whatever the rights or wrongs of his position, he has a right to be heard. This is nothing less than the Government pandering to the mob - in this case, the Muslim mob.

    I cannot begin to tell you how angry I am about this. If you start excluding people for what they say, instead of for what they do, where will it end? Ahmedinajad has said some very disagreeable things - should he be banned too?

    Free speech is an absolute - this pathetic Government just does not get it, does it? Would they have excluded a Dutch MP who argued that the Bible should be banned?

    Sick! Sick! Sick!

  • Comment number 4.

    Why are we investing 7.5 billion in what is effectively running 40 year old design engines on 150 year old tracks?

    Germany and China are investing in MagLev, France is putting genuine high speed rail down and all we do is to continue to spend billions on stuff that is not much faster than stuff that was running in the late 1970s. How stupid is that!?

    Btw, MagLev is a British invention but, of course, we will let others have the advantage of our ideas.

  • Comment number 5.

    "We will be debating whether free speech is paramount in a democracy". As long as it's all above board, transparent etc. This on the other hand appears, for first glance not to be all it initially seems. There are also YouTube [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] which appear to reveal that this may be little more than another attempt to open the Middle Eastern can of worms in Europe once again.

  • Comment number 6.


    Well - he did so want to be like Tony. "Be careful what you wish for . . . "

  • Comment number 7.


    How would you define 'intelligent' when used in the phrase: "he is intelligent" above?

    He (Brown) is clearly not wise. He is possibly clever - maybe too clever by half.
    Intelligent? Hmmmmmm.

  • Comment number 8.

    Wot !! No Steve Smith getting a couple of rappers to re-create Bozza vs Vazza in a mix of the 'Christian Bale' variety ??

    Of course, it wouldn't be as good without Bozza's dulcet tones - but perhaps he could be persuaded to recreate it for a 'charity single' to raise money for the cycling charity 'Sustrans' ?

  • Comment number 9.

    For an independent view on Geert Wilders treatment, BBC News interviews Neoconservative Douglas Murray of the Centre of Social Cohesion. That's helpful, if ever so assuming of most viewers' acumen.

    For the non-cognoscenti, think of libertarian groups like the Centre for Social Cohesion as support groups for other aspects of our much beloved free-market anarchism. Who might they be somewhat opposed to?

  • Comment number 10.

    By the way, I shall be expecting a rather more searching interrogation of those fainthearts who welcomed the craven decision of Jacqui Smith, backed by David Miliband, to kow tow to those threatening disruption at the House of Lords, and capitulation to those opposed to freedom of speech than we have seen so far today on the BBC.

    There has been an awful lot of editorialising in the questioning of some of the interviewees about this topic, and I'm hoping for a lot more from Newsnight. In particular if Lord Ahmed appears, I would be interested in finding out a lot more about his recent views on freedom of speech. And how he can have the gall on the one hand to threaten Parliament with 10,000 people demonstrating, and then have the gall to say that Wilders should be banned from this country because it might cause a disturbance.

    Physician, heal thyself...

  • Comment number 11.


    Young men fight. Young men form group allegiances. Religions are two a penny; or a football team will do.

    As I keep saying: We are the Ape Confused by Language. "Come on you C of E - Es".
    "Who's the (parentless fellow) in the purple!"

    We have a tinselly bit of cerebrum on top of a horned beast, but instead of the thinking bit getting down to organising said beast, it colludes and connives.

    There will now be endless debate about freedom of speech and tolerance; ecumenism will put in a sly appearance and silly old men in ritual robes will be sad in their ivory towers.

    No one will lay down their unfounded, dogmatic belief for a potential friend. And not one pig (biblical or forbidden) will jump over a stile before nightfall.


  • Comment number 12.


    I'm sure I heard Hoon explain that the carriages are to be longer so there will be more seats. Did the Japanese invent the Tardis? And these trains will go faster too; stripes down the sides?

    I would presume the answer lies with someone in, or close to, UK government who will gain personally, or something that we want to source from Japan that requires a quid pro quo.

    What am I thinking? There will have been a jolly to Japan (is that a song) whereon twits were warmly buttered - an old Japanese custom - and duly signed up for trains. Sorted.


  • Comment number 13.

    I've always worried about whether strong prejudice should be shut up or listened to. There is a fear that our image of our country will be destroyed by changes in population including other cultures. On the other hand we like change and the way our diet has been enriched. It seems to depend on whether we are 'tablets of stone' learners who learn facts or whether we are flexible and can welcome and engage with opinions different from our own. It also depends on our experiences and how we've processed them. It's all a lot harder in practice than in theory and not really a tabloid subject. Perhaps it's a puzzle that can't be solved, at least by us.

  • Comment number 14.

    barrie #12

    The Japs are actually quite good at building trains, I once rode in the cab of a NZR Dmu at 90 Mph on three foot six gauge track ( admittedly straight )

    The UK problem stems from the fact that Thatcher shut most of the main BR workshops ( which built the HST's ) . Prescott made matters worse with his dash to get rid of slam door trains, temporary boom for the remaining British railway equipment suppliers, now almost all are virtually closed down.

    Good point tawe57 #4, there is no good reason why the current HST fleet can't be kept running and in good condition for another 30 years. The money would be far better spent as part of a network of new TGV style high speed main lines between key cities.

    However the politicians have to be seen to be good ten bob fat cats by their stock market parasite puppet masters. Plenty of potential false economic growth, but the new main engineering works must be positive even though it is likely to employ relatively few people. It just a pity that most of the the general public still believe in " penny plain tuppence colored "

  • Comment number 15.

    One should look closely into this profile giving some careful thought to exactly what's being promoted under the umbrella of liberty and free-speech. What are we in the midst of which is the consequence of too much freedom?

  • Comment number 16.

    I am so angry that I'll have to write this carefully to stop the moderators removing my piece.

    First, if a minority wishes to have the right to irritate the majority - that is free speech. If this fool from Holland wants to come to England, he should be able to. If the House of Lords invited him, HE MUST BE ALLOWED. What is it with this government that they want to ban everything? Free music in pubs, Olympic shooting sports, hunting, anything that makes our culture worth fighting for is being tossed aside by this political elite.

    And now they want to ban free speech.

    Of course the true irony of the BBC asking Lord Ahmed to come and give his opinion, is that unless I am seriously mistaken, this is the same Lord Ahmed who last year killed another driver, because his lordship was using his mobile phone to send a text. He has been found guilty and is waiting to learn what the sentence will be.

    What a marvelous example to us all. A convicted killer speaking on the BBC about the rights of a minority to bar a member of the Dutch parliament from entering our country at the invitation of our second chamber.

    But just as I support those who have spoken out against the views of this Dutchman (mostly without going to the effort of seeing what his views are, no doubt) I have to support this man and his right to come here.

    If someone had told me thirty years ago that I would see the end of liberal democracy in England, I'd have said they were mad. But with the erosion of civil liberties Tony Bliar and Gordon Brown have imposed on us, with the proposal to have all of us wifi'd by use of ID cards, with the imposition of stop and search powers by the police, with more and more police being armed without effective training, with freedom of movement effectively stopped now that ASBOs can be imposed on the young and old, with those 'suspected' of supporting terrorism allowed to be held under curfew in their homes without being allowed to see the evidence against them, we now live in a medieval society with the added disadvantage of IT to and cameras to control us all.

    It seems to me that New Labour has become more fascist than Hitler could have dreamed. This creation is remarkably similar to the National Socialists of Germany. Look next for the conscription of school kids to have them building roads and new railways . . .

  • Comment number 17.


    Sorry 99, Hoon aggravates me so deeply that I was being childish. I would be amazed if the Japs don't make good rolling stock. (The purchasing 'jolly' still looms large, though.)

    I still ponder the spread of work, home and kin that requires so much travel. It seems to me it is just one more aggravation to the human psyche that goes unconsidered, yet adds to our general madness.

    The belief that holidays must be 'elsewhere', spatially, points up the turmoil within the average 'inner space' (mind) that prevent a 'holiday' from being 'taken' there. Running away gets ever-more difficult on a shrinking sphere.

  • Comment number 18.

    Apparently, a Labour spokesman has agreed this evening that action would not have been taken against Geert Wilders except that it is Islam he is proselytising against. That much is obvious in any case - but I ask you, why should Islam be treated as a special case in this regard, except that people are afraid of it, want to appease it, want the Islamic vote?

    Increasing censorship I am afraid, is one inevitable consequence of having a rapidly growing Islamic population in our midst. You don't have to support the position taken by Geert Wilders to see that and his exclusion today proves it.

  • Comment number 19.


    Instability confers 'respect' because the group cannot judge how far any reaction might proceed. (I will admit to pretending to be more potty than I am, in the past, when being given the run-around by a bank or 'authority' - they tend not to want to find out the extent of your madness.)

    But behind appeasement should be a cunning plan. Unfortunately, behind UK appeasement is UK PC. We are heading for trouble.

  • Comment number 20.

    Last week, Labour said they can't stop EU citizens from entering the UK. But now they have stopped Geert Wilders. So last week was yet more Labour lies. They can stop EU citizens from entering the UK if they want to.

  • Comment number 21.

    Let the likes of Geert into the country and Jacquie knows that within a couple of weeks financiers will be up to their anarchic tricks again, securitizing this, short-selling that, swappng CDs etc. That will then set the Jihadis off again, crashing jeeps into bollards, having to be hosed down when they set themselves on fire, others will start distributing books in mosques, which will get Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Cohesion all excited in deep cover on behalf of Israel and then Richard Watson of Newsnight will have to do yet another investigation and Kirsty will get all shrill and upset Barrie ...

    Best to just send him back on the first plane and let the Hague take Jacquie to court for violation of one of the 53 EU Human Rights Articles.

  • Comment number 22.

    Keith Vaz is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 23.


    At one point tonight, one on the Newsnight guests made a very sensible point about the absurdity of sending 'killer' Harry on a 'diversity awareness' course. Instead of accepting the point, what did we witness - Kirsty and her CRE guest effectively heckling the other guest with typical PC emotional presure '..but don't you THINK....' when clearly he didn't - that's what he was saying!

    I suggest Kirsty and her CRE guest both need to go on a self-awareness course on the subtleties of late C20th and C21st coercion/bullying. There's a lot of it about and it needs to stop.

  • Comment number 24.


    The only way Harry can be 'equalised' is with a blood transfusion.
    He is 3rd in line BY VIRTUE OF BLOOD. How much more unequal can a chap be?

    But regardless of that, It is the bounden duty of any group of men to seek out difference and or weakness in each other, and play on them without mercy. The animal, and animal hierarchical imperative (pecking order) is never far from the surface in the male.

    If the CRE guy was in the Navy and never met the above (as he seemed to say) I have fallen through a tear in the space-time continuum. Or might he have been just a little bit disingenuous?

  • Comment number 25.

    Got in late and decided to see what had been shown vis-a-vis Geert Wilders.

    Total respect, Newsnight and Kirsty. I have worked with Jay Smith at Speakers Corner and have felt for years that his is a voice that needs to be much more widely heard. Jay debates with radical Muslims most days of the week and he really knows what he is talking about. But he always does so with respect and love in his heart. He would never dream or resorting to violence or threatening this, because the Jesus that he follows expressly forbids this.

    But also well done Kirsty for showing astonishment that Keith Vaz hadn't even seen the film Fitna. That was a priceless moment. The whole of the debate was easily the most informed, positive and healthy that I've seen, read or heard in the UK media.

  • Comment number 26.


    rdrake98 (#25) "The whole of the debate was easily the most informed, positive and healthy that I've seen, read or heard in the UK media."

    Except for the light-coverage (to the point of non-airing) of the Israeli/Jewish dimension perhaps?

    Just more dirty politics (#5,#15) with nothing to do with religion or free-speech.

  • Comment number 27.

    rdrake98 (#25) But if, since the mid 60s, one raises any questions about the holocaust...

    Now, why is that? What poilitical interest does that serve? Why is that never rationally discussed in the media? And why is frank and 'transparent' discussion of human inequality such a taboo? It's not as if the researchers (and this now spans decades of sound work) are fringe people/oddballs.

    Newsnight would do its viewers a great service if it ran some specials on all of this with some of those who lead work in the relevant fields e.g. Demography: David Coleman; Individual Differences Lynn and Murray; Behavioural Economics: Rachlin, Vanhanen; Behavioural Genetics: Plomin.

  • Comment number 28.

    Jaded, your ridiculous Jewish conspiracy theories have nothing whatever to do with it. Are Kirsty and the very articulate Muslim on the panel, who both quite rightly gave Keith Vaz a hard time for supporting the banning of a film he hadn't even seen, also in the pay of the Zionists? I know for sure Jay Smith isn't.

    This for me is the worst possible reaction to your side losing the argument - going into race hate and global conspiracy ideas infected by race hate to show that YOU are the real victims. As the life story of Hitler shows, from his time of disappointment in Vienna onwards, we should watch people extremely carefully who take this easy way out of some genuinely difficult areas. Such denial doesn't just end in tears - it can end in mass murder of whole peoples.

    Let's stick to the very important issues raised yesterday for this country, thanks.

  • Comment number 29.

    in what way can a role gaming monarchist understand 'equality'. They are opposing concepts? monarchy isn't about equality is it? its about establishing class and superiority which naturally gives rise to a discriminatory language. ie put downs.

  • Comment number 30.

    Did we as a nation beat up Muslims after the 7/7 bombings? Perhaps it happened, but I don't remember it being reported. So why do Muslim people beat up Jews in Britain? British people have done much to support Palestine, donated loads of money and espoused their cause. Why do these two religions always put their faith before the country they live in?

  • Comment number 31.

    rdrake98 (#28) "Jaded, your ridiculous Jewish conspiracy theories have nothing whatever to do with it."

    You forgot to say 'I think'.

    There's no 'conspiracy' (nothing's illegal, it's just group politics/propaganda) and as to hate, well, one always gets emotional people in political movements,many are just useful idiots. of course you get many people who take everything at face value, for them any talk of anything else is just 'conspiracy theory', but that just shows how naive they are about politics generally. Today BBC News has been showing clips of the CST and the frequency of anti-semitic attacks. Why? Do they say that the CST is a Jewish activist group which collects data via phone calls and e-mails? Is the frequency of attacks on Jews any higher than atacks on other groups? Does anyone look into that? The police don't record attacks this way as Jewish is not one of the Home Office 16+1 ethnic groups, and one doesn't know who the perpetrators are, it's all left for the unsuspecting audience to guess. Like it or not, there's local and foreign state backed propaganda afoot and what one needs to be aware of is its consequences. What does Islam criticise and what does (secular) Judaism criticise? What is Liberalism? Does it have demographic, social, economic, costs, if so, for whom? I suggest you need to ask some of these critical questions rather than just focus on what appears to be obvious. Saying that things are not obvious to one is just argument from ignorance, and take note intention does not matter here, it's consequences which matter, as it's consequences which change behaviour.

  • Comment number 32.


    In fact, the CRE is a misnomer as since the Equality Act (2006) we now have this monument to political correctness/free market anarchism.

  • Comment number 33.

    As far as I am aware (although I stand to be corrected, of course) but is not Louis Farrakhan still barred from entry to the UK?

    No Zionist he...

  • Comment number 34.

    Ecolizzy (#30):

    (Could someone post how to insert links, etc - I'm new here...)

  • Comment number 35.

    rdrake98 (#28) Remember this? Look into the head of research and just give what I am saying a little thought. Many people in the UK and USA are easily duped by alleged humanism. The beneficiaries are the free-marketeers, i.e. all who profit most from anarcho-capitalism. Liberalism in any form helps to reinforce that, just think of the zeitgeist which led to Reagan and Thatcher. In the end, it's all a matter of democratic politics.

    Nothing important was said in that 'debate' last night. Smith was right to send him back unpacked. Vaz was right too.

  • Comment number 36.

    #34 Thanks hoobrisk, I don't remember reading that.

    But why beat people up, it's better to talk!

    You want this I think

  • Comment number 37.


    ecolizzy (#36) "But why beat people up, it's better to talk!"

    Question in the Lords today about the pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel, meanwhile, there are Israeli airstrikes on Gaza today.

    How many 'Muslims' beat up Black or White or other Muslim people in the same area? Do we know who daubed the slogans or do we just assume? Do British Jews commit any offences?

    In the Home Office UK crime figures, Muslims are under-respresented in offending behaviour.

    How many of us contribute towards firing others' bullets as a consequence of our not looking critically enough into what we are fed? What I am urging others to do is no more than do what any rational person should do.

    Russian veterans are now warning the West that they may end up as humiliated as they did when they went into Afghanistan to try to restore peace, but of course, that's not the way that Tom Hanks portrayed it in 'Charlie Wilson's War'...

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    "How many 'Muslims' beat up Black or White or other Muslim people in the same area? Do we know who daubed the slogans or do we just assume?"

    Yes Jean that is a good point, the figues would be very interesting, but how do you find out?

    "Do British Jews commit any offences?"

    That is a very interesting point, one I hadn't thought about. Is their faith not quoted, or do they really not commit crime?

    "In the Home Office UK crime figures, Muslims are under-respresented in offending behaviour."

    But I don't suppose all the illegal immigrants that are muslim are included in that count, are they criminals or not?

    "Russian veterans are now warning the West that they may end up as humiliated as they did when they went into Afghanistan to try to restore peace, but of course, that's not the way that Tom Hanks portrayed it in 'Charlie Wilson's War'..."

    Yes I agree with you, that's because we never seem to look back at history anymore. We have never won in Afghanistan, they are a fiecely nationalistic, independent country, unlike us, who don't really care much about ourselves anymore. We just want to interfere in every country that we don't agree with. I don't understand us anymore we are a small insignificant country, China, India, and perhaps the USA are the only big economies now, why don't we accept our position, and get on with our own small world, and mind our own business!

  • Comment number 40.

    Ecolizzie #36

    Yes, jaw-jaw is better than war-war. Some say that the film Fitna is a piece of propaganda, spin, and perhaps it is. Or you could call it a 'point of view'. Forget the voice-over, just look at the visual. What is certain is that the footage of the protest, in this country, against the 'offensive' cartoons were an incitement to murder. What is also certain is that the footage of various 'clerics' preaching racial hatred is authentic. We didn't even need interpreters as they spoke in English. And no, I don't believe they were dubbed. It is also certain that they were extremists or the unwitting tools of extremists.

    Yes talk is better than violence, but what do you do when you tell someone to go away and they refuse and continue to transgress? We are now so muzzled and manacled that protest is no longer possible. The extremist Muslims seem to be cleverly learning some tricks from their old enemy. Like a football player who is brushed against lightly by a member of the opposing team and who then falls the the ground screaming and feigning a broken leg at the very least, they refuse any criticism.

    I haven't the foggiest how this lot can be sorted out but, sadly, I doubt it will be by talking.

  • Comment number 41.

    #30-40, sorry, no time to read the links, the debate here seems way out of step with the majority UK view of the ban on Geert Wilders. I strongly defend your right to express your view, of course. But I find veering off onto Jewish issues very distasteful, a deliberate and cynical missing of the point.

    Incitement to violence is illegal, whatever ethnic or religious group the person might hail from. Crucially, Wilders does not come under that category. Last night's discussion really got to grips with that for the first time that I've seen on the mainstream media. Very well done to the makers and presenter for that, once again.

  • Comment number 42.

    I am shocked at the decision to bar a democratically elected Dutch politician and Labour has definitely lost this voter. I'm not surprised at the comments from the vacuous Keith Vaz just puzzled as to why Newsnight would have him on the programme? And maybe Kirsty needs to sharpen her interviewing techniques for allowing his ignorance to be a debating position.

    As for the trains - the decision should have been to upgrade and electrify the East coast line. But like most things Labour at the moment it just seems like grab the headline and to hell with the consequences.

  • Comment number 43.

    rdrake98 (#41) "I find veering off onto Jewish issues very distasteful"

    Hardly 'veering off' but as to diastasteful, I agree. It's how this nasty psychological game is played against us all.

    I'm sure many Palestinians would agree too.

    I suggest you take a close, objective look at these demographics of NYC and consider again the film's controversial graphic message (not that anyone who's watched it could fail to appreciate that Jewish issues are absolutely central to all this).

    This episode had the potential to be a repeat of what happened with the cartoons, and either you are missing the malevolent agenda, or you are willfully pretending not to see it.

    A scotoma at best.

  • Comment number 44.

    euro-fan (#42) "I'm not surprised at the comments from the vacuous Keith Vaz just puzzled as to why Newsnight would have him on the programme?"

    He may have his faults, but he is Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee. What he says on Home Affairs issues (which this matter is) has to be representative.

  • Comment number 45.

    Of course the Dutch guy should have been allowed entry; looks to me like a vain attempt by Jacqui to create a smokescreen for her rather strange yet heavily subsidised living arrangements. Hard luck, Jacks, lost that one too.

    Now do you see what I mean about poor teachers? Suppose it's one way of getting rid of them, making them Home Secretary.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    kashibeyaz (#45) "Now do you see what I mean about poor teachers?"

    No. There are poor performers in all professions, and there are procedures which the teaching profession uses to deal with this when it is encountered. But what experienced teachers know is that it's largely a school's intake which accounts for its results. This is evident even in the government's CVA (regression) model. Do you appreciate why that's important in the current economic context?

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    While we pander to the human rights of radical fundamentalists. This government must pause and take responsibility for their failure to protect vast majority of the population.
    We allow followers of extremists to voice their hatred against western democracy in our own country.
    Then we stand back as they march, shouting death to the infidel. We even provide police to guard to a poisonous mosque. We stupidly bow down, rather than offend, Nor stand up in the face of the threat that 10,000 Muslim brothers would descend on parliament to protest against the visit of a European MP.
    Do our government not understand that it is against the interest of the country to do the above. It is becoming a crime to celebrate our culture. It is a crime to speak out. One has to worry if this appeasement will extend to burning books. We might as well predict they will be trying wriggle out of elections or ban political parties who would oppose this Islamification.
    Next they will ban free speech. Oh..Um.. This is a very serious mistake.
    When will this government listen to public opinion. They are an absolute disgrace and do not realise that they are responsible for the destruction of this once great nation

  • Comment number 50.

    Jaded, the reason I say the Jewish issue is beside the point is that it was not raised by anyone, positive or negative. What was raised, initially by Kirsty, leading to an extremely fruitful discussion, was the difference between someone like Wilders who criticises the Koran and the many in this country who are happy each year to criticise the Bible and/or the Jesus revealed there. Jay Smith, on behalf of Christians like myself (and surely almost all of us these days), said that nobody wants to see such material censored. This was in stark contrast to Keith Vaz's position on Fitna. Indeed Vaz tried to say in response to Wark's questioning that similar works against the Bible would also (or should also?) be banned. But the words were hollow because we all known this never happens and indeed we as Christians don't want that to happen, any more than the Secular Society does. It was this difference between the Muslim situation and the Christian one that was so striking. It has to be the same standard for all. Jews included, of course, as and when that becomes relevant.

    It's fine to look beneath the surface once you have shown that you've listened to the extremely important matter on the surface. You apparent inability to face up to this truly revelatory matter is why I responded as I did. That plus in these days of a so-called 'next great depression', like the 30s - and in Europe - I find the ability of some to blame the Jews for every perceived and even imaginary ill far from healthy.

    But to the point. Did you agree that works attacking the Bible should not be censored? Do you even have a view on this? How do you square that with your agreement with the banning of Wilders, allowing open debate of his film criticising the Islamist interpretation of the Koran that has clearly led to horrific murder all across the world?

  • Comment number 51.

    rdrake98 (#50) I suggest you take a far more critical view of what you take for granted. It may make you a little uncomfortable, but it may do you some good.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    JadedJean, I suggest you take a far more critical view of why you refuse to answer a question that affects everyone in the UK, that Thursday's show raised extremely well and that has nothing whatever to do with Jewish conspiracy, real or imagined, because it far more fundamental than that.

  • Comment number 54.

    rdrake98 (#53) In your (limited I suggest) view. You should ask what issues are really taboo, and why. What do these threaten? It has nothing to do with religion.

    Look through the NN archive, clicking on my username using a skip in increments of 10 in the URL rather than 25).

    You do not appear to appreciate how this political game is being played, and has always been played.

  • Comment number 55.

    I didn't say anything was taboo. I said one thing, real or imaginary, was not as fundamental and the question of freedom of speech and equality and fairness within that.

    Let me assume (without looking) that you are yourself Jewish, and that you take the view that all terrorism ascribed to Muslims in the last twenty years has in fact been perpetrated by evil people from the West, aided and abetted by certain powerful and very evil Jews.

    Let's just say that describes you. (As you have been ready to assume lots about my beliefs that seems very fair for me to do with you.)

    I fully support your right to believe all of this. I fully support your right to go on endlessly about it on Newsnight blogs, if that's what you like to do.

    I still say it's all totally irrelevant to the point at issue, that was raised so well by Kirsty Wark, Maajid Sawaz and Jay Smith on Thursday evening and handled so badly by Keith Vaz.

    I don't think that you (or anyone like the person I describe above) should be censored in the UK or banned from the UK, even if Jewish people wanted that.

    What I want to know is why you think Geert Wilders should be banned. What would be even better would be to have an other example, someone with a different belief system, preferably an anti-Christian one, but who does not advocate violence, who you also think should be banned from the UK on precisely the same basis as Geert Wilders.

    Thanks for your understanding. I will read your answer but not your other writings. Sorry about that. You've not convinced me that I will learn anything of value because of what you've written here so far. But if you are willing to address the point I consider central, then that would be extremely interesting. If not, I sincerely hope you don't influence too many of your fellow subjects/citizens but I wish you well in all other areas.

  • Comment number 56.

    "As you have been ready to assume lots about my beliefs that seems very fair for me to do with you."

    Wrong. You don't listen. I advised you to do something, not to think or believe something. There is an important difference, and as a consequence you haven't learned and so keep asking pointless questions. You need to learn to do as you are told, and find out what happens as a consequence of having done so.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    I believe it's possible to gain something useful from pretty much any criticism. I want to finish then by thanking you for pointing out something that injudiciously worded in my last post, to apologise for the reference to Eichmann in an earlier post that was (I assume for that reason) censored after a complaint to the moderators (#52) and to make a final point.

    Last time instead of dealing with the main thrust of my argument you fastened on my use of the word belief in

    "... you have been ready to assume lots about my beliefs ..."

    This was helpful correction, because beliefs was really shorthand not just for convictions but also current interests and past areas of study. In everything you have written here you have addressed me and in giving me advice on what you read and study you have implied knowledge of my attitudes, including the fact that I have never looked at certain opposing attitudes. You're not even roughly right in your assumptions. For that reason I think you should give up trying to assume anything apart from what you find on the page here. That was what I was trying to say to you in my preamble last time. Thank you for pointing out (albeit obliquely) that my choice of the word beliefs was not adequate.

    I'd like to follow up with an apology for likening you to Eichmann. Not of course that I thought for a moment you were, like him, capable of mass murder. What I was saying is that you seemed calm and reasonable and so did he. (He wasn't one for histrionics, as far as I've read.) The other link of course was that I thought that in every word you have written here there was a strong stench of anti-semitism. But when you complained about the use of Eichmann's name to the moderators it went through my mind that you may yourself be Jewish. For I have come across certain strongly anti-zionist Jews who seem to feel that the evil forces behind zionism are capable of vast deception and wrongdoing. The situation here put me in mind of this. Though your apparent calmness and rationality in taking a very anti-semitic point of view of what is to everyone else I'm sure a completely separable area of debate, I sincerely apologise if this one point caused you hurt or offence. Other than that I still think it was a fair point. With apparant reasonableness at all times you point to evil Jewish influence as the explanation for everything you consider wrong. This is not only not strictly irrelevant to the key issue of freedom of expression, it's a horrible thing to encounter and then feel one has to counter, in case one is taken as agreeing with such a foul idea. I still feel all of that. But, again, I'm sorry if the mention of Eichmann was offensive to you because of the barbarities that that that anti-semite proved capable of, that I am in no way implying that I know you to be capable of. For I know nothing of you except what you have written on this page, just as I assume is the same as you read me.

    So, after all that even longer preamble ... I note once again you don't address the key question of who else you would ban from the UK. But you still firmly agree with the government ban on Wilders. So, arbitrary decisions it is, with no known basis at all, whether in law or morality. That part, I'm confident will be clear for all to see, is far from rational. And that's where I'm happy to leave it.

  • Comment number 59.

    rdrake98 (#58) As to beliefs, and inferences, look up straw man argument. Your reasoning is invalid. You still do not see this.

    As to Eichmann, look into what he actually said in Israel and ask yourself why the Israelis still won't release pertinent material.

    You are making assumptions left right and centre and you're making all sorts of dubious inferences from those tose assumptions as a consequence. What if many of your assumptions are false? Incidentally, Eichmann didn't murder anyone to the best of my knowledge, he arranged transports.

    You need to understand the critical difference between some and all when these range over classes, i.e. how they are used as quantifiers (in logicand natural language), and how they are functions of one another, as some devious people who are masters of language abuse these in their peddling of untruths.

    The failure on your part to question your own assumptions is why your questions to me are not worth responding to.

    You must look at what the Dutch MP was doing in the context of what Israel is being charged with over the recent Gaza attacks, the fragile truce which currently exists between Hamas and Israel, and the general antipathy in Europe towards Israel after the attacks on UNRWA etc. Frequent appeals to The Holocaust, assertions of unfounded anti-semitism etc are not all that they seem.

  • Comment number 60.

    rdrake98 (#58) "That part, I'm confident will be clear for all to see, is far from rational. And that's where I'm happy to leave it."

    Here's another heads-up - you currently arrogantly confuse what you do not comprehend with what someone else isn't making clear to you or which they won't explain to you. That does not make what they say or do irrational, it simply makes it opaque to you.

    To understand why they say what they say or do what they do, perhaps you need to do some work? Without that, perhaps you'll never understand?

    Education isn't what it used to be, it used to be far more self-critical and far more selective. Today, there appears to be a worryingly pervasive sense of entitlement.


  • Comment number 61.

    One wrong assumption I longer make, that I was talking to someone who accepted that Eichmann was a murderer. No, says brave revisionist JadedJean, the man didn't murder anyone. Although he did arrange some transports.

    Let's look at it from the point of view of someone on those transports, say one of the early ones, who genuinely believes that she is going to be resettled, albeit forcibly, by some very unsympathetic, violent people, with her infant children.

    As she enters the 'showers' and feels the poison gas starting kill her, her screaming children and all around her ... would she in her last cries of despair and terror think of dear old Eichmann sitting at his desk as mere East European equivalent of a functionary for the Great Western Railways?

    We've found one place we differ. How dare anyone write such a thing in 2009. How dare anyone on the Newsnight blog allow it to be posted as if it had anything - and I mean anything at all - to do with the case of Geert Wilders.

    Make your case that Eichmann didn't harm a fly elsewhere. We don't want to hear it here, nor should we be made to. It's an utter disgrace - but perhaps it shows how low these blogs have sunk since I last tried to contribute here two or three years ago

    I don't know much about Wilders' background. I grant you that. Your early reference to Wikipedia reminded me that he was friendly towards Israel, as if that was immensely significant. I already knew it and it wouldn't have surprised me in any case. But it makes no difference at all as to whether Fitna is a reasoned, albeit flawed, contribution to debate in the UK or something so bad that it should cause the first banning of a fellow-EU MP since the beginnings of the EEC in the mid 1950s.

    You can judge all of what is important in this case from Fitna itself, the verses of the Koran it uses, the footage of Islamic extremists that apply those verses today, with their translations, and the terrible atrocities committed across the world in line with that teaching.

    I don't deny for a moment that there are some in Israel who would like people in Europe to take a more realistic view, as they see it, of the utterly ruthless nature of Islamic extremism. I don't have a problem with them supporting Wilders for precisely that reason. But even if they didn't it would make no difference at all to any point at issue, one way or the other.

    The key issue is whether Wilders' arguments have some validity or no merit at all. If they have no merit, is his film is so framed that it is a direct incitement to violence against Muslims and thus the breakdown of the social order in the UK, based on total and vile lies?

    Lies, perhaps, like the one that Adolf Eichmann only made the trains run on time.

    If Fitna was full of that kind of excrement, and was in addition likely to stir up violence, I would at least have some sympathy with the decision to ban its maker, although I doubt even then I would support such an extreme measure, unless the person concerned directly advocated violence.

    None of those conditions hold. But you learn a lot about some measures from their supporters. I strongly advise Jacqui Smith to watch out. JadedJean is already in full agreement. Eichmann himself presumably would deeply appreciate the sympathetic words and resolute actions of the both of you.

  • Comment number 62.

    rdrake98 #61

    "Let's look at it from the point of view of someone on those transports,... Great Western Railways?"

    That is nothing more than melodrama, an imagining of yours designed to stir up sentimentalism in others. Just because you you choose to BELIVE something doesn't make it true. Neither does it mean you can foist your ideas on others. How dare YOU seek to say who does and who does not post here? Or what subjects should be proscribed?

    I suggest you revisit your beliefs and and open your mind a little.

    I don't know what Eichmann did or did not do, I wasn't there and I don't care to spend the time finding out. I'm not that interested in what the Mongol hoards got up to either, I have other things worry about. But I will always listen to alternative ideas which I may, or may not accept. Once a mind is closed, it decays.

  • Comment number 63.

    Same questions to you, NewFazer. Do you agree with the ban on Wilders? If so, would you like to give one example of someone attacking Christianity, but not advocating violence, who you would also wish to see banned? Even a hypothetical example. If that is difficult for you to come up with, why do you think that it is so difficult? How is that fair?

    I'm not interested in anything else. That has been true from the start of my contribution in the early hours of Friday. It was not me that first mentioned the Holocaust. But I am, genuinely, incredibly shocked, as someone non-Jewish who has read just a little of the relevant scholarship in my 51 years, that such revisionism and denial is tolerated in a Newsnight forum that had nothing to do with such subjects until they were raised.

    I'm not imposing what you can talk about here. What I am trying to highlight are the consequences.

    If Newsnight is happy with your and JadedJean's extremely off-topic and extremely offensive contributions, it just means that many with more conventional people - the Saul Friedlander's of this world, who have written with scrupulous scholarship of these horrific events - would not dream of engaging in debate here.

    Nor me. After this time, after I give up on this thread, I think it highly unlikely that I will ever contribute to a Newsnight blog again.

    Just making that public. Not because I'm the least interested in your reaction to that fact. Because I am very interested in the bosses of Newsnight facing up to the real and deep problem that they have developed in their blogs, through much too lenient and narrow a view of moderation.

  • Comment number 64.

    Consider this just as a hypothesis/conjecture. Might it all all be in the hegemonic/financial interests of Jews/Israelis to encourage European Gentiles to be highly wary/critical of Islam (the 'Islamo-fascist terror') given a) Muslims' demographic high TFR in the Middle East/Palestine and the West) b) their anti-usury which is at odds with current Liberal-Democratic free-market anarcho-capitalist dogma c) Islam's past alignment with the National Socialist Germany and subsequently with the USSR (both were left wing socialist and central planners)?

    Could the very extensive allied post war de-nazification programme of collective guilt propaganda (much was not based on evidence of a holocaust, but on deaths from typhus in camps probably caused by effective allied carpet bombing/strafing more than anything else, and all these books and Hollywood films, have possibly been specifically designed to discourage non Liberal-Democratic, i.e Soviet style command economics in the West?

    Can you imagine how any of that might have benefited any Jews (e.g. Fuld, Madoff ) his victims were not primarly Jewish you know), the Oligarchs etc) outside and within Israel? Are they all innocent, philanthropic, victims?

    Is all of that totally inconceivable to you? If so, why? Are Jews a poor, under-represented minority group in the West, or are they grossly over-represented in positions of power? Is it not the business of science to look for departures from random distributions and to come up with rational explanations when these departures from equality are found?

    How is looking into such possibilities 'offensive'? Might it be because it may threaten to expose a modus operandi of hegemonic advantage?

  • Comment number 65.

    Wouldn't it be great if the Newsnight Team actually listened to and materialised ideas from blog 'posters'or other informed and concerned contributers? .
    I guess we should all stop posting, venting and assume and follow the media circus driven news that is now the bbc AND YES, EVEN NEWSNIGHT!

  • Comment number 66.

    Newsnight Bloggers. It is clear that you can click to complain about other blog contributions, but you are unable to click to agree with views of other Newsnight Bloggers. Why is that I wonder?


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