Monday, 23 September 2013

The Kenya massacre and the most shamefully Chamberlian article the Guardian has ever published

I have been a faithful Guardian reader for 43 years, during which time I have seen many of the good, the bad and the ugly episodes that have illustrated its history. But never have I read such a crass piece of shamelessly opinion-pandering nonsense to equal that which was posted on the paper's website today by Simon Jenkins, former Times editor and current National Trust chairman.

Jenkins analyses the ongoing crisis in Nairobi, Kenya, and in his conclusion he deploys the well-worn - and arguably justified to a certain degree -  opinion that;
"The "war on terror" has failed on its own terms. It had made dozens of countries not pacified but terrified. By deploying violence against a succession of Muslim states, the world's leading powers have made their business its business and invited retaliation. They have not crushed al-Qaida any more than they have suppressed extreme Islamism. They have refreshed rather than diminished that extremism, and made the world less safe as a result."
Fair enough, although I shall not allow myself to be innocently tempted into developing the futile chicken-and-egg answer that 9/11 demanded a response, but was itself due to western aggression, which was in turn a response to other threats against the west etc and ad infinitum, but what does Jenkins think should be done faced with the mindless slaughter of about seventy civilians of many nationalities in a shopping centre by religiously and ideologically-motivated terrorists?  He says that the British Prime minister should, despite the fact that four British citizens are said to have been slaughtered in Nairobi as I write these words, ignore it, just as all western leaders ignore all incidents in which;
...the Somalian al-Shabaab sect merely shot up a street in Mogadishu...
He goes on to add that because large gatherings of people are vulnerable to terrorist attacks that....
It might be sensible to discourage like-minded crowds from gathering in one place, be they co-religionists or party faithful or merely the wealthy; 
...and that
The modern urban obsession with celebrity buildings and high-profile events offers too many publicity-rich targets. A World Trade Centre, a Mumbai hotel, a Boston marathon, a Nairobi shopping mall are all enticing to extremists. Defending them is near impossible. Better at least not to create them. 
In other words, Simon Jenkins is advocating that Britain and the West should appease terrorists by abandoning the beliefs and principles which hold that the free association of like-minded individuals in public is an inherently necessary right and an essential component of a democratic society, that western society should decree and enact a bland and anonymous social landscape in which neither rich, poor, religious, ethnic, political or other societal groups  may congregate, and that it should abandon or adapt its fundamental principles of freedom of movement because a terrorist organisation says so.

The Guardian is not to be criticised for publishing Jenkins' article - after all, 'Comment is Free' and that's how it should be - but Simon Jenkins' article is nothing more than an abject sop to terrorism and a rehash of the naive cowardice of Neville Chamberlain's paper-waving-in-the-wind capitulation to Adolf Hitler.

He should be ashamed of it.


  1. Hello! I've found your blog via Sara in le Petit Village...When I've got more time I look forward to catching up with you! I live near Roanne - not too far from you - and love popping over to Lyon from time to time. A truly lovely city!

    1. Hi Doormouse, and sure, if ever you visit Lyon let me know and we could hook up and drink a beer or two. Have a good evening,

  2. Jenkins has always been an appeaser...

    1. Yes. And no. He is an enigma. He is an excellent journalist in many ways - well-informed, well-read and and extremely articulate - but I sometimes get the impression that he gets formally commissioned to write the kind of rubbish he wrote here.

      I do not believe for a second that he believes what he wrote, and I say that on the basis that I have been reading him for years and I know that he is capable of very pertinent analysis.

      An example of The Guardian's latter-day clickbait philosophy maybe?