Friday, June 04, 2010

Being Grossly Irresponsible About the Middle East

I didn't see Question Time last night as I was on stage in Lichfield with Ann Widdecombe, but I gather Matthew Parris put in a storming performance. One point he made was that he frankly couldn't care less about the Middle East conflict. He was bored by it. He's just repeated the view on LBC's morning discussion programme with James O'Brien, who agrees with him.

I must admit I was a bit shocked. Isn't is something we should care about? Can we really afford to wash our hands of it and just say it has absolutely nothing to do with us? Isn't that just being grossly irresponsible?


james hayden said...

Storming performance? As you said, you didnt see Question Time last night. He was far from storming. The rest of the panel and the audience made his position over the David Laws affair look, quite rightly, thoroughly ridiclipops.

It says something when you cant beat kelvin Mackenzie/Diane Abbott in a debate!

commentor said...

Could be a contrarian reaction to the ferocity with which the issue seems to consume so many Brits.

Tom said...

The point he made was that the conflict is not a unique one in the world, and yet galvanises almost all of our attention - and he suspects our involvement is a hinderance to peace rather than help at this point.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I tend to agree with Matthew Parris. We cannot solve the problems of the world. We have sufficient worries in our own lives and, if we are public spirited, the problems of the UK. That is not to be concerned, or to deny that what happens in the ME will somehow affect us - everything affects us - but one thing is certain, our interference, support, protest, legislation, invasion, military intervention or what have you, will do nothing to expedite the natural evolution of civilisation. I would have thought 2000 years of history might have taught us that.

Simon Gardner said...

I don’t think saying you are bored with something doesn't mean the same as saying it isn’t “important”. It’s just that very boring. Fair enough.

ArthurBea said...

I think he did very well, I agreed with him on Laws and sympathised with his position re the Middle East. And there is no point going on if you just spout conventional wisdom.

Dr Evil said...

No it isn't. Just let them get on and kill each other. There can never be peace until the whole place is a radioactive desert. Unfortunately we may be affected by their fallout.

Brian said...

It would be nice if the muslim umma could borrow some Jewish introspection and begin to sort out or even recognise their self-made problems in the islamic world before blaming everything on Israel, America, Britain etc. And then they might begin to understand Israel's point of view and negotiate in good faith.

Staunch Conservative said...

We are illegally occupying Afghanistan at the bequest of America in order to secure an oil pipleline that is yet to be completed.
These are the facts. I am completely bemused as to the point you are making, Iain, or your position on our illegal occupation of Afghanistan.
Spit it out man.

Boo said...

Dunno I do Sympathise with his posistion.
If this was a straight good vs evil fight I might get geared up for it, but it Stupidity vs Stupidity.

They were killing each other before I was born and they will be killing each other long after I'm dead.

Figure I'll care about what can be changed

Anonymous said...

Parris explained his boredom much better in the Times of July 20, 2006.
"The second (reason) is a desperately tricky thing to express. I steer clear because I have too many friends who are Jews whose feelings I don’t want to hurt. You will wish to remind me that to be Jewish is not to be a supporter of everything (or anything) the state of Israel does, and of course that’s true. You will point out that among the harshest critics of Israeli policy are Israeli and Jewish voices, and of course that’s true too. But it’s a personal observation which one cannot just brush aside that, on this, those who are Jewish tend to have much stronger feelings than others, and that they are overwhelmingly if not universally sympathetic to the Israeli cause, more inclined than most to justify the actions of Israel, and prone to feeling personally wounded if one disagrees. Such feelings inhabit some of the people I like and respect best in my life."


Frugal Dougal said...

I too am bored with the received wisdom that Israel is the guilty party in absolutely any affair it's involved with. This grew to ridiculous proportions with antisemitic attacks upon Labour's candidate for Cambridge, Daniel Zeichner - who isn't even Jewish.

Penfold said...

Well apart from Sykes-Picot and the original stitch up some 90 years ago, it doesn't have anything to do with us.

We did our best when we had the Palestinian Mandate, but we do need to remember that acts of terrorism were everyday, from both Arab and Jew, both unhappy with our stance. We need to recall the King David Hotel's bombing, the regular assassinations by terrorist groups etc,.

So I agree with Parris it ain't our problem, let's not make it our problem, and let's keep out.

It's intractable and the Arab world doesn't want the problem of the Palestinians solved

Anonymous said...

'illegally occupying Afghanistan' -- we are there on a UN mandate.

'at behest of America' --- see above, plus there have been various elections in Afghanistan. Dubious elections, but not as dubious as any in the gaza strip or Syria.

'0il pipeline' --- There is no pipeline, it has gone somewhere else. Does anyone think it might be a clever idea to build a pipeline through Afghanistan?

'facts'... not a single fact in youe entire argument.

Bill Quango MP said...

This oil pipeline balls comes up all the time.
America made war on Afghanistan to build a pipeline that it didn't need?

And in so doing it damaged its financial centre and destroyed its largest airline Pan AM by flying aeroplanes into the towers.

I wish conspiracy nutters would just look at the facts and the alternatives. Just once.

I got an email saying the USA caused the ash cloud by firing a laser beam into the volcano.
in order to attack Iran it says.

The ashcloud has gone. No attack was carried out. And why would they do it via volcanic ash anyway.Just like the pipeline it makes no sense.
Same as the pip

wild said...

Leftists are not interested in reality (if they were they would not be Leftists) they are only interested in furthering their agenda - their hate filled anti-capitalist anti-Western anti-Conservative anti-Christian sermons.

It usually possible therefore to write Leftist news scripts in advance, which is why most (for example) BBC news reports have a tedious sameness to them - not informative (that is not its point) merely repetitive.

In the Middle East the stories will always be 1) Israel - Nasty Jews 2) Iraq - Nasty Americans

African stories were generally 1) Nasty Whites in South Africa 2) Starving people. Now that South Africa has a black government it has completely disappeared off the radar - unless of course a politician asserts that HIV does not exist.

The answer to everything is always whatever Leftists want you to think is the answer. You will never hear the argument that capitalism or private property (for example) is the answer to poverty in Africa, or that giving money (taken in the form of taxes from poor people in this country) does little to improve anything because most of it is sucked up by people working for Leftist governments (the African equivalent of Guardian readers)in the name of the people.

As for self-help initatives (particularly involving Christian churches) or development arising from "Globalism", they will only be ever mentioned in negative terms (anti-gay black Christian churchs or "slave" wage "multi-nationals" et al).

The rich complexity of the world will be entirely ignored and replaced with "Play School" Leftist rhetoric or "here is a picture of somebody being hacked to death for your entertainment" sensationalism. Come back after a brief message from our sponsers. Keep eating Mars bars they are delicious!

The chances of learning anything about anything is extremely remote - quite why the BBC bothers to send out reporters to other countries is a mystery. Did you learn anything about "Europe" when Mark Mardell was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds in his stint as the "Europe" reporter for example? Did you even learn ANYTHING about the operations of the EU? Of course not. It is just a case of "Let's pretend I am not a fat lazy reporter on expenses repeating whatever I saw last night on the local television news."

When you consider all that is going on in the world, the "news", even when it does not have a political agenda, gives a very distorted account. For example the oil industry will reported only if there is a disaster. Nothing about how that car of yours can get to the supermarket without petrol or for that matter how the food gets on the shelves - unless of course it is Tesco making "excessive" profits or forcing you to buy things you do not want. Just show pictures of birds covered in oil and express a desire to find somebody (other than yourself of course) to blame.

Cumberland will only be reported if somebody kills people on a shooting spree "how does it feel to have your father shot dead?" or life in Bradford will only be reported if prostitutes are murdered or some Muslim decide to blow up some whiteys.

News is just a very tedious and uniformative variety of entertainment (you learn more about the world from an episode of the X-factor).

Let us now go to our correspondent standing outside of the house of the politician who said that deep fried Mars bars ought to be banned and get the response of Mars PR representative to give her response. How could you (ventilates the reporter) profit from manufacturing food that cause obesity!

Blah Blah Blah

Is (the millionare ex-banker) David Laws a top or a bottom?ses

Plenty said...

Question Time Review

Alcuin said...

I have not watched QT yet, it is on the PVR, but am a bit bemused by Parris. Some of his views show a deep insight, yet for all that there is something sadly lightweight about him.

The ME conflict is serious. I regret to say that I fear the worst - war between Israel and Iran, war that could go nuclear. Events like this Flotilla, the unloading of hazardous chemicals in Beirut from a Russian (Iranian flagged) submarine, and the building up of rockets in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria all point to the ground being prepared by Iran for its plan to erase Israel.

It starts with propaganda, as we see parroted all over our supine and cowardly media. There will be increases in rocket attacks, including some longer range rockets. All intended to goad Israel into lashing out.

With America, the EU, and now shamefully, Cameron and Hague lining up against Israel, Netanyahu will feel 1) that his back is to the wall and his friends have deserted him; 2) that PR must be subservient to survival, and 3) that Israel must therefore go it alone.

He may in such circumstances feel that the opprobrium of the world is better than annihilation and make a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. This may have to be nuclear to ensure successful elimination of the threat.

I don't have the intelligence that Israel has, but I do believe that Iran intends to implement its millenarian plans soon, probably this summer. The weak stance of the West on all ME issues will have led Ahmadinejad to believe that he may never have a better opportunity to realise his deranged dreams.

neil craig said...

Parris' point was that there are many equal or worse situations in the world which are equally deserving of our attention (assuming such attention is beneficial).

Of course none of the others justify attacking Jews.

For example our government has been & still is promoting mass murder, child sex slavery, ethnic cleansingm genocide & organlegging in Kosovo. The organlegging alone, by the cutting up of innocent living people, far exceeds the number of deaths in the Gaza war (for which our government is not personally responsible). This is thousands of times more relevent to us & thousands of times more criminal than anything Israel does however this is our government & its Nazi friends, not Jews.

Hence our media doesn't give it millions of times as much coverage. No questions are allowed on Question Time.

If there is any explantion of this which doesn't involve our government & media being pro-Nazi & anti-Semitic I'm sure somebody will be able to give it?

Lady Finchley said...

No, I totally agree with him and found him terribly refreshing. They have been at each others throats for decades and I too am hugely bored by it all.

We have plenty of our own problems to be getting on with.

Terry Hamblin said...

Speaking of Mark Mardell, have you noticed how so many BBC reporters are grossly obese? John Simpson is a good example, of course, but there is that fat guy who reports on Scotland (Brian Taylor?) as well as Gary O'Donoghue whom we often see around Downing Street. My own theory is that they are Slitheens from 'Dr Who', who disguise themselves by slipping into the skins of fat humans, releasing a good deal of noxious gas as they do so, though from the blather that they speak, they may belong to the Blathereen family which featured in 'The Sarah Jane Adventures'.
In any case I am sure that they are Raxacoricofallapatorian.

For those not in the know, you can get rid of them by spraying them with vinegar.

Robert said...

I am bored with Matthew Parris. His stance on the Laws affair is ridiculous. Please let him go away.

Jabba the Cat said...

Parris confirmed that he is a wet wimp.

Unknown said...

Actually I thought Parris was spot on about the Middle East it bores me to buggery. If people want to kill each other let them. There is the basis for a peace settlement but neither side seems to want to take it so let them get on with knocking seven bells out of each other.

Cynic said...

Something must be done - but I can never work out what

50 Calibre said...

I'm with Parris on this one. I don't care about it either.

They are both intent on wiping out each other, but have neither the means or the balls to do it. So they will continue to snipe at each other whenever they can and meet with well meaning peace brokers who haven't got a clue either about what to do about it all.

I don't know what to do about it either, so I have consigned the whole shitty mess to the 'bored stiff' tray where it can gather dust until one side drops a dirty nuclear bomb of some sort on the other. Then I guess I'll have to stay in and try and find a TV channel that's not reporting 24/7 on the shit heap they will all be living/dieing in by then.

I suspect that most of the Islamic world thinks much the same in spite of a few banner waving bearded people who turn out in capital city centres from time to time. They don't seem to be doing much about it even though they are loaded, and I'm talking bucks, big big bucks...

Anonymous said...

Depends whether you think Britain can actually have any effect on the situation.

Unknown said...

MP understands the hidden agenda-by Hamas supporters from Turkey and UK as well as the 'fellow travellers'from the media who turned out in abundance.Their intentions were clear -to provoke and get it on the world media in all languages-I was in france at the time and can tell you I sdaw the same interviews and descriptions of events in 5 different languages-'protesters' literally queuing to get on to Al Jazeera SKY,Star -even in Mandarin-a pretty slick operation-hand in hand with uncritical reporters who should be ashamed with their concurrance.MP understands the 'oxygen of publicity' from 1979-92 and what it did for the IRA-thats what he meant.

The King of Wrong said...

It doesn't have anything to do with us, simple as that.

Yes, we can care and it's right to offer support where needed, but we can't make the sides agree, we can't save the whole world - we can't even get peace in Northern Ireland.

Fundamentally, it's Someone Else's Problem.

Tapestry said...

Other peoples' wars are impossible to understand. By creating propaganda in favour of one side or another, in effect you are joining in.

(BBC take note)

Your own wars are not much better.

Boy on a bike said...

I will be worried when the Israeli's finally nuke the bastard (take your pick of who the bastards are - there are plenty of them). The thing I will worry about is this - did they nuke them enough, or do they need to go back for seconds?

Exodus said...

I remember the last time a minority was used to undermine a democracy by dictatorial states that hated the West (using such tactics as atrocity stories and claims of genocide)

It was none of our business then according to Neville Chamberlain

happiness said...

Of course it has nothing to do with Britain - the Balfour declaration was obviously a forgery and the promises to the Arabs that they would have autonomy was just a slip of the tongue. And the Troubles in Northern Ireland were just a little local difficulty. As for the Tamils in Sri Lanka, they weren't taken there by the British, were they? And the artificial borders drawn up in the sub-continent and Africa have nothing at all to do with the problems facing those parts of the world today. So Britain should just play Pontius Pilate and retreat into isolationism. Even so, it will still reap the consequences of its colonial history. And while it's gathering in that bounterous harvest, there's another one coming connected to its present day policies. Mr. Parris's sympathies lie elsewhere than the Palestine/Israel tragedy. Either that or turning 50 has induced massive ennui.

wild said...

The Balfour Declaration was a "declaration of sympathy" with no legal binding power.

After the collapse of the Ottoman empire Arabs countries did become independent, after a transition period in which some were (comparatively well run) under a French and British mandate.

Protestants in Northern Ireland are mostly the descendents of Scottish settlers. Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland are mostly descendents of people who migrated from the South.

The Tamils in Sri Lanka were not "taken there by the British". I presume you are talking about "Hill Tamils" (who were recruited by the British from India to work on the tea plantations et al) the vast majority of whom have been (under legal agreements) been repatriated back to India.

You are right, the artificial borders drawn up in the sub-continent and Africa do have little to do with the problems facing those parts of the world today.

You assert that "Britain" should not retreat into isolationism. So what exactly do you want the "British" to do about the Jewish-Arab conflict, the Tamil-Sinhalse conflict, the Protestant-Catholic tension in Northern Ireland, and various tribal wars in Africa that it is not already doing?

Do tell.

happiness said...

I would like to see less of the attitude put forward by Matthew Parris, and for Britain to accept the fact that its past conduct has led to today's problems. Then I would like to see a British government act in a leadership role in helping to solve these problems rather than rubberstamping every decision made by the US. Perhaps Britain would be better run under a US and French mandate than it has been for well over a decade, but the populace would probably prefer to be badly governed by their own leaders than superbly run by foreign powers. Palestine was run by a British mandate that by all accounts was better than what came after, but it depends on which history you prefer to listen to, doesn't it? Mandates/colonial powers will always come down on the side that is best for their people rather than the people they are supposed to be supervising if it comes to a choice.