Rod Liddle and shock politics

January last year the independent journalist Ian Burrell interviewed Rod Liddle, to try and get to the bottom of all the offence he causes the ‘liberal left’. It’s all to cause a stir, we find, luckily (phew!), to wind up the band of loonies who operate on the basis of, let us call it “political correctness gone mad”!

Liddle, in the interview, proved that his racist jibes were little more than immature twaddle: “I find racist jokes funnier now than I did 30 years ago because it’s so socially unacceptable”.

But he soon flits back into what we know is a serious comment – “I’ve never had a go at Muslims, I’ve always had a go at Islam” (I’ve said elsewhere what might be wrong with some people’s attempts do this).

The reason, it says in the interview, that Liddle doesn’t live in London is because he would prefer to be away from the liberal elite – usually the sorts who would be in Liddle’s profession. But judging by his Spectator blog entry – that Spectator blog entry – it might have something to do with his opinion that ‘[t]he overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community’ – of which, as Dianne Abbott has said, is “statistically false,” about the crimes which Liddle has listed (if anything it is disproportionate, in which case to mockingly suggest this is a contribution, ignores the proper commitment to uncovering what the causes are. The extent to his sociological investigation for this and other comments is simply his belief that multiculturalism doesn’t work – which in other research laden tasks would be a write-off).

Of the BNP there is serious cause for concern (for decency) and there, after, matched – for childish balance –  with a joke. Firstly, he explains that he feels more comfortable with Millwall fans than other columnists: “It’s funny, y’know, quite a few of my friends would be inclined to vote BNP, and I don’t think they’re racist” and then towards the end

“I’m interested in the BNP tendency within Britain’s conservationists – ‘It’s a foreign animal, kill it!’ We exterminated the coypu in East Anglia, a very ugly rodent which was introduced from South America for its fur, escaped and set up base in East Anglia where it caused damage to riverbanks. So they shot ’em all. The RSPB said recently shall we shoot all those parakeets because they’re not British. ‘They come over here with their green wings…'”

With the tools of a deluded missionary, he wants to tackle taboos like his heroes of comedy Ricky Gervais and Chris Morris (there are small problems with a writer who seriously dabbles in what can be safely regarded as race related stereotypes and, at worst, racism, while simultaneously viewing himself being in the footsteps of comedians satirising polite society) but though he insists he is a “fundamentalist liberal”, there is a fundamental blur between his politics and that of the worst, flimsiest, offending for offending’s sake, Sun reader turned to the pen.

The comedian Jimmy Carr, who threatened continued legal action against fellow comedian (sic) Jim Davidson for stealing a joke of his, noted that when Davidson tells a taboo-breaking joke, he has to look behind his back – the point being that he might actually believe the “ironic” joke to be true. I should imagine the same of Liddle in this context, and where his comedic influences do satire, one can never be quite sure of him exactly.

The Independent interview noted above was very revealing of what I consider to be Liddle’s naughty schoolboy approach to offence, albeit where one can not tell the difference between the satire and the truth of his statements, but little has been said of Liddle recently of his being favourite for the editorial job in the Independent itself. There was an article about that blog entry, and also of Alexander Lebedev’s Indy sale talks, but nothing of late to contribute to the ongoing controversy that surrounds him (proven, no less, by a Dianne Abbot-led early day motion on the matter).

With the knowledge inside that camp, it makes one wonder what is there to hide, doesn’t it?

Further Sources:

Left Foot Forward takes a look at the anti-Semitic streak which runs through the comments supposedly made by Liddle on the infamous Millwall football forum

On the Fringe notes the use of social media in this campaign

Jon Slattery asks why fuss has only been made about Liddle, and not about the former KGB man who is potentially going to be the owner of the Indy

Dan Sabbagh identifies possible strategic reasons as to why the Indy might be exploring tory turf, and pondering on what this could do for its left-of-centre audience and popular staff writers such as Johann Hari.


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