Archive for February 28th, 2008

Wot No Swastika


Not propaganda at all, you understand, but a natural and spontaneous manifestation of the people’s real desire for information about the world they inhabit.

Update: Peter Wilby knows what I’m talking ’bout:

You couldn’t invent a better example of what Nick Davies, in his new book Flat Earth News, calls “churnalism“. This is a story generated and controlled, in every detail, by the Ministry of Defence. The stories you read this morning and saw last night revealed what only what officialdom wanted to reveal. What a triumph for the government’s spin machine. What a triumph, too, for the spin merchants at Buckingham Palace, who can re-package a man who was previously suspected of spending too much time getting inebriated with hooray Henries in West End nightclubs. All of a sudden, Harry is not just an action hero but also a sort of people’s prince, craving normality, living rough and mucking in with the lads in Helmand province without a flunkey in sight to hand him his toothbrush.

Take This Lion Down

While we’re on the subject of animals.

Cat Altogether

Disclosure: I don’t like cats. But that’s nothing compared to this geezer here. He was a Partido Popular candidate in recent municipal elections in Spain. The party have expelled him, rather unsurprisingly.


(Photos: El Público)

Pole Position

I was thinking about Irish attitudes to immigration. Given that the Late Late Show is considered to be a sort of bellwether of Irish society, I went to see if it had featured it on any of its shows. Turns out it had.

Pat Kenny asked this question of Kevin Myers on the Late Late Show recently:

If you take the Poles – they’re Catholic, they’re white, they are facially sometimes indistinguishable from us, and they embrace the Irish way of life, and they are like the Normans and Danes… become more Irish than the Irish themselves.

Here’s the video:

Kenny was asking Myers to explain what his problem was with immigration, using Polish immigrants as an example of how immigration could be beneficial. But in so doing, he was saying that there are some immigrant groups more desirable than others. So -from an Irish perspective- a Catholic is preferable to a Protestant, a white person is preferable to a black person, and we should prefer those whose facial physiognomy is similar to our own.

Was Kenny asking the question on behalf of his audience, whom he believes to be interested in racist lines of questioning? Or was he just being a bit of a racist himself? (Honestly, it seems like these days you can’t make remarks about immigration without someone calling you a racist.) And to what extent does his questioning reflect general attitudes to immigrants in Irish society?

These are the matters occupying my mind this morning.

I on Twitter

February 2008