Journalism

The growing dangers of the Sanctimonious Society

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Welcome to the sanctimonious society. Social media has taken this to new levels. Given the superficiality of much of today’s internet posts, memes and rants, what it has done is destroy the need for serious debate over contentious issues. Before discussing the likes of Twitter or Facebook censoring certain bloggers, the discourse is self-evident. How often do you read a credible rebuttal to a topical post? Hardly ever is the answer. Usually the criticism is laced with sanctimony, expletives and ridicule. The aim of trolling is none other than to shut down debate and make fun of the person who makes the statement. The intensity of cyber-bullying is chronic. In some respects it is none too surprising we are dealing with words like snowflake, trigger warnings and safe spaces these days.

Take cyber bullying stats from the Association of Psychological Science in the US. In 2015 more than 16,000 young people were absent from school daily because of bullying. 83% of young people say cyber bullying has a negative impact on their self-esteem. 30% of young people have gone on to self-harm as a result of cyberbullying. 10% of young people have attempted to commit suicide as a result of cyberbullying. People who have been bullied are at greatest risk for health problems in adulthood, over six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, smoke regularly, or develop a psychiatric disorder compared to those not involved in bullying. In the US alone, suicides per 100,000 head of population since 2000 are up 38% according to WHO.

However the WiFi world is quickly escalating unreasoned stupidity in the real world. The internet is awash with so much ill-considered social media activity that if one chooses to breathe for 10 minutes the story will likely have changed 180 degrees from the initial knee jerk. Take the terrible events of Charlottesville this week. The driver that plowed into the crowd was initially reported as a white supremacist before other media reported he was Antifa. Regardless of his affiliation his actions were repugnant. Anyone with common decency can see that. Trying to justify the legitimacy of masked Antifa (many who were carrying baseball bats) staging a ‘peaceful’ protest was somehow morally superior to alt-right torch bearers or vice versa is almost like trying to say watering your lawn with gasoline is less harmful than diesel to kill off weeds.

While the tragedies of the lost lives and depraved acts of violence from both sides is impossible to ignore, the (social and mainstream) media was awash with one sided views. There was no debate and balanced reasoning was next to non existent. One could argue the media has always been biased and to some extent that is true however in the social media world clickbait means revenue and the more sensational and less accurate the reporting the higher the likely ‘hits’ which only exacerbates the problem. We only need to look at CNN’s admission that the ‘Russiagate’ story has been a fabrication for ratings. Integrity be damned. Sadly that is becoming almost an all too common thread of today’s society. Selfish, narcissistic and insensitive bullying.

The other problem nowadays is that almost everyone carries a video camera. It is as if many think they are behind the safety of their own computer screens, oblivious to what is going on. Only a few months ago, an armed SWAT team boarded a Malaysian Airlines flight to suppress a crazed passenger. Despite the screams to get down, multiple people could be seen standing as tall as possible trying to improve the angle of the altercation on their iPhones. There is a sick surrealism to it. Yet if we take this clickbait of someone’s footage at Charlottesville, disseminated to an audience already prejudiced, it only adds to the hysteria. The instant it hits the mobs’ feed it can lead to incorrect assumptions to what is actually going on, even worse hampering emergency services efficacy in controlling the situation. Yet, 10 minutes later, the unedited version of the same scene or one shot from a different angle can completely undermine that biased view. It might show how the violence really escalated rather than the deliberately cut version showing the evil of the unhinged. If we managed to get all of the collective footage from 1,000s of smartphones and objectively analyzed it all it wouldn’t be surprising to see both sides fueling the violence in different areas. Yet because it fits the picture of the ‘divided’ country narrative no attempts are made to seek balance which only fires up the misinformation.

Did Trump take too long to condemn the KKK, Neo-Nazi and White Supremacists? Perhaps. Was he waiting for a full debrief on what went on? Perhaps. Are all 63 million odd Trump voters that don’t openly condemn these acts of violence guilty of being white-supremacists by association? No. Are all Democrats responsible for what Antifa does? No. Internet trolls seem less intent on getting tacit admissions of guilt from their enemy. Think of the campaign which has identified some of the torch bearers leading several to get fired by their employers. Where was the campaign to identify the baseball bat wielding Antifa thugs? Was it because they were masked? Some might cynically claim they don’t have jobs to be fired from. However this idea that only one side is guilty serves no purpose and risks further division.

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Both extremes are so caught up in their own views there is little scope for reasoning much less any desire to consider the alternative argument. This idea that Trump is all of a sudden responsible for unleashing this division is preposterous. Hate doesn’t surface in 6 months. It brews over longer periods of time. If anything Trump is a catalyst to it. His caustic manner is tipping an apple cart of decades of political correctness and walking on eggshells legislation that has sought in many cases to promote victimhood. The President’s actions now threaten many of these altruistic views and socialist ideals. They are upset. This isn’t to debate the rights and wrongs of policy set by previous administrations, rather seek to identify why this scourge is happening. It doesn’t justify any forms of violence but it highlights how tightly sprung things are. Just think of why a p*$$y grabbing vulgarian was able to defy all the odds in the election? Could it be that the underbelly of division has existed in America for so long? It finally reached breaking point and delivered him to the White House? The idea he has created this division is a complete falsehood. One might argue his tweets are stirring this hornet’s nest but the sad fact of the matter is that the problems have been brewing way before his inauguration. Ask yourself why hasn’t the mainstream media worked out the best way to cripple Trump is to ignore him? 18 months on since he won the GOP ticket they have not stopped hyperventilating which gives him more airtime than he deserves and ultimately makes them look foolish.

This bullying behaviour is only likely to get worse. The ever worsening cesspit of social media will only exacerbate the problem. Behind a keyboard, people feel they can afford to be 10 feet tall but seldom do they realize their actions could carry (un)intended negative reactions.

More laws are being created to clamp down on what is called ‘hate speech’ or discriminatory language. However we are witnessing more countries shut down free speech and innocent people are having their lives destroyed for expressing points of view that are completely acceptable and not even the slightest bit racist or bigoted (Australians will know the secret trial held by the AHRC of several QUT students expressing a fact). Seeking prescriptive measures to shut people up will invite exactly the sort of behaviour it seeks to prevent. One can call former EDL leader Tommy Robinson a bigot but he has two best selling books in the UK. Could it be there are more people in the UK that share his views than politicians are willing to admit because political correctness is easier for them to dodge discussing pertinent issues? Whether Tommy is right or wrong in his analysis is beside the point. He obviously represents a larger mindshare of the community. Shutting them up forces the movement underground. Do we ban his book? It doesn’t seek to address the problem which in his case is Islam. In some cases he has a point. The exposure of predominantly Bangladeshi/Pakistani rape gangs who have groomed 100s of innocent women across 18 British cities is an issue. Listening to Newcastle City Mayor Nick Forbes, one of the places impacted by this depravity, spent an entire interview dodging the question of these grooming gangs not wanting to discuss the M word. All it does is alienate more people against an optically biased system.

One can debate till the cows come home about whether the M word is the main factor but if it is not openly debated, it is not hard to see why some will grow prejudiced. It is hardly desirable. It doesn’t mean the thinking is right rather a growing number of people feel ignored. It doesn’t automatically make them racists or bigots. Some feel politicians are hiding from speaking openly of jihadi attacks on home soil, dismissing them as lone wolf attacks or the community’s fault for forcing them to commit such atrocious acts. If indeed the left leaning media is so assured of bigotry by Anglo Saxon Brits why not show the other side of the debate and broadcast hours of footage showing Muslim clerics speaking out against these attacks, everyday Muslims integrating with their non-Muslim communities and how they are actively working with authorities to weed the radicals that are demonizing their faith? No, it’s easier to point fingers at bigoted Brits who see no comfort offered by their elected leaders in what they see happening to their community. Once again bullying people for expressing what they perceive as legitimate concerns doesn’t solve the problem.

To put the shoe on the other foot, Robinson posted a video link of the start of an Oldham (a borough of Manchester) Council meeting. It showed the majority of Anglo-Saxon councillors with their heads bowed as the elected Muslim Mayor requested his imam to say prayers. Of course it easy to see why some might draw conclusions to the decline of centuries of British culture however looking deeper into the matter yielded interesting findings. Voter turnout at the last election in the 25% Muslim borough was around 30%. It was a fairly held election. Democracy. Whether local politics is too petty for some, if the residents of Oldham are so incensed by the idea of an imam saying prayers in Arabic and English after following the Serjeant at Arms carrying a mace bearing a Christian cross it is hard to have sympathy. If one is truly in fear of the cultural upheaval, why not use their democracy to change it? Expressing outrage at something that is controllable seems ridiculous.

Australia is in the midst of bullying as well. Same sex marriage (SSM) is on the table. A postal plebiscite is set to occur. Many argue that parliamentarians should vote on it and get it over with. Indeed there are far more pressing economic issues to deal with. Yet the Turnbull government lacks any moral authority and is beholden to so many internal factions to be able to pass so called marriage equality.

Still regardless of one’s views on SSM, the bullying is in full effect. Musician Nick Minchin created one of his hallmark curse-ladened parodies of a Peter Allen song called, “I still call Australia homophobic”. Sadly he is part of the problem, not the solution. One doesn’t have to be homophobic to be against SSM. Yet Minchin thinks it is ok to call these people ‘bigoted c*nts’. Such words have all the same traits of ridiculing Trump or Brexit voters in the lead up to the vote. It has the opposite impact at the polling booth.

A Tasmanian archbishop is being hauled before a tribunal for expressing his anti-SSM views on the grounds of spreading hate. Are his views old fashioned or just part of millennia of religion? A hotel was forced to cancel a lawful gathering of anti-SSM campaigners through intimidation. Is this the sort of behaviour (albeit at the fringe) that unites a nation on a subject?

Some argue it is a waste of $122mn to hold a SSM plebiscite for a government in a $750bn hole. Maybe it is but to many out there, they want a democratic vote to take place. Some feel lobby groups that ignore their concerns (however backward, ancient or stiff) on issues they hold dearly are the exact reason why a vote should be held. It doesn’t matter to them whether a Catholic country like Ireland passed gay marriage, these people don’t want to be brow beaten, attacked or pilloried for expressing an alternative view. I am quite certain that should ‘Yes’ get up in the plebiscite people will have had their say. Shouting down the views of others is wrong. Let their voices be heard and allow the marketplace for free speech settle the differences. Sadly this is not the case. Any polling done by Get Up which shows an emphatic victory should be discounted. Indeed if they are so sure of a ‘Yes’ outcome then they should be over the moon to let democracy back its findings. Secretly they think otherwise. What they view as a waste of money won’t be to others.

Some people fear (again we’re not debating the rights and wrongs of it) that should lobby group bullying win the fight for SSM by an act of parliament then what comes next? We only need to look at the Safe Schools Programme in Victoria which is nothing more than a way to enforce gender indoctrination under the guise of anti-bullying. Cross dressing/role playing, whichever bathrooms and other ‘progressive’ programs are not necessary for 6 year olds. Boys playing with Tonka trucks and Matchbox cars or girls playing with Barbie dolls is not something that requires the school system to enforce boys and girls to reverse toy box selections. When I was a baby my mother recalled I had a love for cars. Even from my pram I knew more car names than English words. I’m sure she wasn’t wheeling me around the Warringah Mall car park trying to force me to do male things. By the same token my daughters weren’t chained to the Bratz corner of Toys’R’us in order to force them to be girls. Seeing her mother apply makeup was something she wanted to do.

What this all boils down to is society’s growing intolerance for free and open debate. We do not lack the ability to talk but we’re incapable of listening. That alternative views must be mocked or banned. There are some with such inability to accept alternative views who suggest prison sentences for climate skepticism. Are the arguments for climate change so weak that alarmists believe the only way to force the end game is to legally ban freedom of opinion?

One imagines that if we put an Antifa and a KKK supporter in the same room unbeknownst to them both and asked a standard questions on a variety of topics they probably would agree on more than they would if within their representative groups. These experiments have been conducted before where complete strangers meet and by the end when identities are revealed there is an awakening. It isn’t forced but occurs naturally through cordial conversation.

I make no apology for my conservative views. One friend is an unabashed socialist. We debate intensely on a variety of issues we have polar views on. I recently wrote to him privately to thank him for broadening my understanding of his views. While I might disagree with him I certainly respect his right to debate his points, which he often does insightfully. Some points are indeed valid and on certain issues we see eye to eye. Others less so. However we listen.

Sadly sanctimony is becoming ever more firmly entrenched into our culture and it can have nothing but bad outcomes. Perhaps to end with a Jewish proverb – “slander slays three people: the spoken by, the spoken to and the spoken of”

 

How badly has CNN suffered since Russiagate fake news?

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Reality is that CNN set a ratings record In Q2 2017: It had its most-watched second quarter in network history across the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m stat. The network also delivered its best Q2 performance in the 25-54 demographic since 2003, Russiagate was working for rankings as the Q2 2016 comparables were strong on the back of pre presidential election town halls.

Despite these records CNN was the #3 cable news network for Q2 behind Fox (1.465mn) and MSNBC (886k) during the day. That said, CNN still managed to beat MSNBC in the total day demographic for the 13th consecutive quarter.

CNN more than doubled MSNBC in the 25-54 demographic and ranked No. 2 in total viewers behind FNC.

CNN produced a 10% jump in total prime time viewers and 19% lift in the key 25-54 age bracket vs Q2 2016. Total day was even stronger, 25% hike in total viewers and 39% among 25-54s.

Below are CNN’s Q2 2017average live-plus-same-day stats according to Nielsen:

Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,055,000 total viewers & 363,000 (25-54)
Total Day (Mon-Sun): 788,000 total viewers  & 262,000 (25-54)

As of June 27 post the “nothing burger” the following was seen

Prime time (Mon-Sun): 970,000 (-8.1%) total viewers & 363,000 (25-54) (-1.9%)
Total Day (Mon-Sun): 726,000 (-7.9%) total viewers & 236,000 (25-54) (-10.0%)

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As of June 29 the stats were

Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1.239mn (+13.2%) total viewers & 424,000 (25-54) (+16.8%)
Total Day (Mon-Sun): 818,000 (+3.8%) total viewers & 254,000 (25-54) (-3.1%).

While a few days do not a trend make it is interesting to see that viewership hasn’t collapsed since the open resignations of CNN staff who openly admitted they had made up a lot of the Russiagate story.

Perhaps it runs deeper. If you want to get a daily fix of Trump-hating on TV that isn’t nearly enough in WaPo or NYTimes print form then CNN ir MSNBC is still a viable place to feed it. Perhaps many of their viewers don’t actually want to hear the truth. Only the stuff that feeds their Trump derangement syndrome. It is hard to conclude a different answer when the network openly admits it is spewing lies to get ratings. Seems to be a strategy that is working.

Egyptian TV host defends the West’s attitudes toward Islamic terror

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Not many will have seen this video because the mainstream media is loathe to publish anything remotely balanced these days. Egyptian TV host Youssef Al-Husseini launched a scathing attack on Islamic terrorism post the Finsbury Park mosque attack and said “The terror attack that unfortunately took place [in London] was a vehicular attack. This time, it was near a mosque, if you follow the news. How can anyone decide to carry out a terror attack near a place of worship – near a mosque, a church, or any temple where God is worshipped? In all the previous vehicular attacks, at least in 2016 and 2017, the “heroes” were, unfortunately, Muslims. And then people wonder why they hate us. Why do they hate us?! If they didn’t, there would be something mentally wrong with them. [We] use weapons all the time, slaughter people all the time, flay people all the time, burn people alive all the time, run people over all the time, and plant explosive devices and car bombs all the time. Why do you still expect them to love you?”

As written on the day of the London mosque attack, it was an unquestionably despicable act. This tit-for-tat terrorism serves no purpose other than to trigger further escalation on both sides. No sooner had a white terrorist run down a group of worshippers outside a mosque than another depraved individual tried to detonate a suicide vest in Brussels’ Central Station supposedly yelling “Allahu Akbar“. The sad aspect of terrorism in the West today is that it is happening on such a regular basis that many people are becoming numbed to it.

However the mosque attack was the such a bad turning point. The UK government is ill equipped to deal with it now. Should they mobilize the full compliment of 80,000 British Army soldiers and 27,000 reservists to guard the 2,000-odd mosques in the UK? Is putting barricades on footpaths a real solution? Do Brits want to see tanks parked outside Westminster or Trafalgar Square? Should x-ray machines be installed at every train or bus station? Is that a sustainable solution to the problem giving birth to vigilantes? People want action, not politically correct hand-wringing. They are sick of being told to suck it up and embrace ‘stronger together’ and ‘diversity is our strength’ or ‘terrorism is a fact of any big city’ style pandering. The majority of people are tolerant but there is a tipping point of common sense where they stop believing we win acceptance from jihadis by denying our own identities. Governments prefer to take the soft approach which only offers a safe haven to the activities that end up devastating even more innocent lives.

The idea peddled by limp wristed governments that Muslims need special protection only makes it worse. ALL citizens of any denomination, race or background deserve to feel safe. Yes, everyone knows it is a radical minority that is causing the problems. There is a paramount need to work with the Muslim community to root out those that only bring more distrust. No, it isn’t a license to condone bigotry either. However unless they feel we are ‘truly’ standing behind them rather than virtue signaling from the safety of a smartphone nothing will get better. That is an absolute. The further governments repress  the freedom of people to openly express their feelings the worse it will get.

We are taught from the earliest age that two wrongs don’t make a right. The rise of vigilantism is a natural reaction to governments that stick to the politically correct dialogue and skirt around the issues by trying to gag people whether by law (Canada’s M-103) or threat. Politicians cannot win the will of the people by shutting them up. They have to listen. Because the government isn’t listening militia will spawn and do what they deem necessary for the public interest, The last thing government needs is the widespread growth of people taking the law into their own hands. There are two things that ran through the mind of truck attacker Darren Osborne – he’d either be killed or be locked up for a long time after committing his terror. That is a pretty big price to pay but one he obviously thought worth paying.

To quote Al-Husseini again,

What have the Muslims shown [the West] other than the bombing of their capital cities? What have the Muslims shown them other than vehicular attacks? What have the Muslims shown them other than shooting at them? What have the Muslims shown them other than burning them alive in cages? They burn other Muslims alive as well. They all claim to have a monopoly over Islam. What have the Muslims shown [the Westerners] to make them love them, and welcome them in their countries?…

…The Muslims are constantly whining, lamenting, and wailing: The West is conspiring against us. Fine, let’s assume that the West is conspiring against you and only sees your negative image. Where is your positive image? The Muslims of the Abbasid state presented a positive image. They exported scientific research through the so-called “Muslim” scholars, most of whom, by the way, were not from the Arabian Peninsula. None of them were from the Arabian Peninsula. They were all from North Africa, and from what are now called the former Soviet Islamic republics of central Asia…

…What have the Arab countries contributed to the world? Nothing. What have the Islamic countries contributed to the world? Nothing. What have they contributed in the field of scientific research? Two, three, four, or ten scientists in the course of 1,435 years? C’mon, man! Let’s forget about 435 years and keep just one millennium. Ten important scientists in 1,000 years?! Who invented the airplane? The missile? The space shuttle? Centrifuges? Quantum mechanics? The Theory of Relativity? Who? Where did the most important philosophers come from? Not from here. And you still expect them to love us?! And then you say: “Terror-sponsoring countries like Britain deserve…” Nonsense! People do not deserve to be killed, slaughtered, or run over by a car.”

Al-Husseini makes some very valid points yet why does the media not choose to highlight his stance? The irony of those who have seen his video clip is the social media comment section. Even those who take quite a strong stance on diversity and tolerance joked along the lines of  “is he still alive?” Doesn’t that sort of truly reveal the inner feelings of people rather than the public perception they seek to portray openly for fear of recrimination? We should applaud Al-Husseini’s bravery to speak out like this. His comments are exactly the type of bold response that throws the West’s constant rolling over into the dustbin. We can be sure Al-Husseini’s comments are heartfelt and a wish for all to climb out from behind the protection of identity politics and embrace ‘reality’.

Since Osborne’s truck attack, Tommy Robinson’s book ‘Enemy of the State’ is now the number one selling book on Kindle and paperback. So UK government, are you sure you understand the mood of the nation? They are more than likely to back Mr Al-Husseini’s views than yours.

Trump thump in 2018 Mid-terms?

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In what was largely seen as a referendum on the first months of Trump’s presidency, voters dispelled the myth that Democrats would make much easier work in coming elections due to his constant outbursts, tweets and negative media coverage. As the glum faces of the CNN panel show, the Democrats need to wake up to the fact that Trump’s poll ratings aren’t causing the desired effect at the voting booth as Republican Karen Handel won. Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics Larry Sabato stated,

For Democrats, obviously, it’s pretty depressing. … I think, if Democrats learn a lesson from this election, it’s that the euphoria that they’ve felt for the last several months as Donald Trump has fallen in the polls and they began to believe that this would be — not easy, but doable to take over the House of Representatives and eventually replace Donald Trump, that euphoria is gone, and it’s replaced with reality. And the reality is, it’s going to be a long, twilight struggle, day in and day out, if they’re going to be able to re-take the House and eventually defeat Donald Trump. It won’t be easy. It may not be possible.”

Once again the mainstream media conveniently forgets its ‘trust’ rating is lower than the Donald’s. That’s not a badge of honour for either. Objectively his style is far from statesmanlike. Yet other world leaders do not exactly treat the leader of the world’s largest economy and military with the cordiality due. Two events spring to mind – Australian Prime Minister Turnbull’s Midwinter ball speech mocking a wounded ally and Macron’s snub at the G-7 followed by his arrogant invite for conditional US citizens to leave America for France. Of course such discourse was lapped up by the liberal mainstream media.

Instead of convincing Trump to come to reason, they kick him out of the geopolitical sandpit and then cry foul when he acts out in his own interest. Don’t expect all the 2018 mid-terms to be a complete pushover for the Democrats. The Hillary Clinton campaign imploded on this very strategy. Theresa May fell for the same negligent attitude which cost her so dearly two weeks ago. Voters want to be heard, not taken for mugs. Once again, celebrities who bent over backwards to help Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff, had the same effect on voters – NONE

Is Tommy Robinson in the minority with a #2 rank book on Amazon?

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There is no moral equivalence to be drawn here with this latest attack outside Finsbury mosque in London. Innocent people were mown down by a van driven by someone filled with rage and hate. Social media is already screaming “bigot, racist, terrorist, anti-Muslim, radical” but there is a much bigger point not being addressed. The social boiling point is being reached much more rapidly than the media will admit.  Tommy Robinson was accused across social media for inspiring anti-Muslim rhetoric and fueling this person to commit the crime. His tweets matched his long standing convictions and predictions. Perhaps everyone who has bought Tommy’s book “Enemy of the State”  (ranked #2 book on Amazon UK, #131 in Canada and #2375 in America & now $350 on paperback) could be a risk of commiting such acts if that is the generalization. Of course it is nonsense. By the measure of the sales success perhaps his views maybe more mainstream than the negative ‘extreme’ moniker that is often hurled at him.

Could it be argued that a growing number of people are growing sick and tired of random jihadi attacks and see this book as a guide on how the government isn’t  handling the problem? That was not a intended to be a fact checking laced comment rather pointing out that many people potentially share his supposed ‘patriotic’ view as demonstrated by the commerciality of his writing. This is no longer a pure jihadi problem but one that is now likely to become tit-for-tat terrorism which carries far more negative connotations.

Think beyond the all too common propensity to push prejudices by lashing out on social media with little thought to trying to understand the full arguments of alternative views. Do we take a book review from apologists as fact when most of those have probably never read his book cover to cover? I am reading it because I want to form my own judgement rather than rely on others’ bias. He has strong views but no better way than self vetting. I’ve read Mein Kampf in what must be the most appalling book ever written – grammatically and content-wise. For one whose family escaped the deaths camps of Poland, trying to understand the ravings of Hitler brought added perspective to the horror although some might conclude reading it is an endorsement. It is not.

Innocents are dead or injured in this attack on Fisnbury Park Mosque. If indeed Tommy has a minority view, most people wouldn’t buy his book. Are all the people that buy it racist? Even if one thinks they are then even more reason to say that the government’s current pandering to political correctness won’t solve these hate fueled events whether radical jihadis or right (left?) wing nutters. Do violent video games incite massacres? Are all ‘Brexiters’ a carbon copy of the man who murdered Labour politician Jo Cox days before the referendum?  Do we need to bring in Islamophobic legislation like Canada (Bill M-103) to shut down people expressing concern? No, No and No. Current policy approaches are having the opposite effect as this attack proves.

At the time of the Manchester bombing I warned that vigilantism would be an ugly side effect of endless political correctness. Coincidentally Robinson suggested similar views about the rise of vigilantes after that post in a vlog. Wasting a lot of time on what  motivated the driver to commit such a terrible crime is not necessary. It is obvious. It is a revenge attack. This is highly likely to be a person screaming out for something to be done about a problem he obviously doesn’t think is being handled properly by elected officials. He probably viewed himself as a vigilante even if that title might be an overreach in this instance.  This in no way defends his despicable actions. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter was often used by IRA sympathisers. Still it doesn’t in anyway condone killing or maiming innocents, no matter what ideology, faith, race or background they come from. It is plain awful. The majority of people would agree with that view.

Revenge attacks and reprisals only exacerbate a rapidly deteriorating relationship. However trying to say the perpetrator proves that not all such attacks are driven by radical Islam doesn’t address the core of the problem. The majority of good people (note a deliberate statement not to go down the identity politics line) want an end to innocent deaths at the hands of extremists but if free speech and the ability to tackle radicalism (wherever it lies) aren’t openly addressed these events will sadly continue. It should be totally in the interests of the majority of ‘good’ Muslims (I detest that phraseology) to want to stop radicals from collectivising their faith with what they perceive is the wrong interpretation. Common sense would say they are the most important link in the chain to weed out those who want to kill in the name of Allah. They need to be front and centre of the debate.

What the UK government (and other governments) have created is a monster of their own making. Candles, flowers, lit monuments, avatars, expressions of sympathy and ‘love conquers hate’ posts dodge the need to have a serious debate on the problem. Now we have seen first hand a real openly targeted revenge attack in the UK, people need less sanctimonious posturing on social media and focus their energies on truly understanding what is at stake. That is to ditch the liberal hand-wringing and have an open debate on the problem. Robinson’s book isn’t selling in the volumes it is by chance. Politicians should pay attention to this trend. It is not about arguing about whether he is right or wrong but noting the simmering underbelly of a growing number of people fed up with inaction. This is the end of the beginning not the beginning of the end.

If only PM Turnbull didn’t stick to his day job either

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Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull thought his speech mocking President Trump at the Mid Winter Ball in Canberra wouldn’t be seen by outsiders despite this day and age where cameras are everywhere and leaks are almost a fact of life. In a desperate attempt to sound funny, Turnbull torched the man he fawned over at the White House. Turnbull  has such poor judgement much less any place in comedy. It’s bad enough that journalism plunges new lows on a daily basis but worse when an elected official decides to rip a close ally in this fashion.

The irony of his speech is that his poll numbers are dreadful.

WaPo writer channels Kathy Griffin

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What on earth inspires people to write such things after the shooting at a Congressional baseball practice in Virginia? How does someone who tweets such vile and thoughtless texts ever pass the editorial sniff test of a newspaper like WaPo where Malcolm Harris is an occasional writer? Will we see an apology via a televised press conference where Harris will claim it was comedy and that now his life is ruined?

I note that WaPo is using “Democracy dies in darkness” on its banner – perhaps it should be “journalistic integrity dies in daylight”.