The statement by a government minister from Pakistan (later retracted) that the award of a knighthood to Sir Salman Rushdie would be justification for a suicide bomb attack is ridiculous. As far as I could glean, from the press reports, the minister from Pakistan was not proposing to carry out such an act himself. Words are easy and, no doubt, his popularity among those who agree with him, will rise.
I read, tonight, in The Times: “A hardline Iranian newspaper launched a vitriolic attack on the Queen yesterday for her part in awarding a knighthood to Salman Rushdie.
Apparently unaware that the Queen has no role in selecting names for honours, the Tehran-based Jomhuri-ye Eslami (The Islamic Republic) painted a picture of a debauched and corrupt Royal Family, and suggested that “the English hag” at its head was seeking a smokescreen for the loss of Empire.”
Apparently these buffoons are suggesting that The Queen paid Sir Salman, as he now is, £500,000 to write the Satanic Verses “which since its publication in 1988 has been regarded by many Muslims as an insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad but which is still a major seller across the world.”
I caught a brief glimpse of Boris Johnson MP and the Hitchens on Question Time on Thursday night. I cannot remember who actually said it… but I agree with the gist of what was said: It is absolutely no business of anyone other than the British people who we give knighthoods to and the sooner we stop pandering to rent a mob, bus driven crowds, the better. And, as one of the panel said… where did they get all those British Flags to burn?
The Times reports that traders in Islamabad have offered £150,000 to ‘anyone who killed Rushdie’. By way of contrast – Big Brother gave £100,000 away the other night to a contestant on a game show – apparently to stir up jealousy and friction.
Frankly… while I have never been that interested in ‘religion’ I have had it with the religions of the world – including our own Henry VIII version. The common ground seems to be: they are all intolerant, they all have their vested interests, they all seem to try/have tried to control people through fear, and seem to be the cause of much warfare, conflict, strife, brutality and misery in our world.
How many atheists do you see burning flags, complaining about being called an atheist, starting wars, these days? If the religious brigade(s) are right – surely, atheists have more to worry about on the ‘day of judgement’ than anyone? I shall take my chance and if I end up being sentenced to work as an accountant for the rest of eternity – then I shall do my time… and know that I got it wrong. If I get an email Fatwa, notice of excommunication, or invitation from one of the Accountancy bodies, as a result of this viewpoint, I’ll let you know. I’m a smoker… I drink Rioja… I blog… I enjoy life…. I am already doomed… in this nanny state of ours.
You may also enjoy this BBC report on the absurdity of the Visa system, picked up by Reactionary Snob. This quote from the report will give you a taster: “An applicant in St Petersburg wrote: “I just want a holiday, my friends live near the seaside” to which the officer wrote “you have not named any places you will see”. Having alienated a fairly large part of the world with our war in Iraq, one would have thought that we should be encouraging tourists, instead of imagining that most of them are going to visit and subvert the fabric of the state.
And so we turn to the Smoking ban: London buses have adverts saying England goes “Smoke Free” on 1st July. It will not be long before the government cracks down on the heaters being placed in the gardens of, and pavements outside, pubs and restaurants. We already know that the government have their ‘Caroline flinty’ eyes on middle class wine drinkers (as I commented last weekend: Advice is the curse of the drinking classes)
Gordon Brown, before he joins the elite body of Prime Ministers the fickle British public will get bored with, has already revealed a degree of ineptitude - handing a marvellous PR advantage to the Lib-Dems, by inviting Paddy Ashdown to become a Cabinet Minister. Bizarre. Surely even Gordon could have worked out that Ming The Invisible would have been able to rise like Lazarus and make political capital out of that.