Pharyngula

I suggested in jest that maybe we should put England’s sensible Lord Justice Laws on our Supreme Court, but maybe they still need rationalists over there. The Guardian has been using a stellar pro-science panel (Goldacre and Singh, to name two members) to quiz representatives of various political parties on their science stance. They just interviewed the United Kingdom Independence Party, whose representative was…Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. You have got to be kidding; that man is a raving loon. So the UKIP rejects the science of global warming, but advocates for homeopathy.

My favorite part, though, was their position on stem cell research.

Wherever stem cells can be obtained by means other than the killing of very small children, it is ethical only to obtain the stem cells by means that do not involve the loss of little lives. On this basis, there is no reason why Britain should not play a leading part in stem cell research.

That’s completely batty. Why, how can science proceed if we are not free to charge into schoolyards, butchering little tykes so we can harvest a few grams of cells from their guts? The summary of their science policy is damning.

Ukip is the only significant party to support homeopathy, and the only party apart from the BNP still in denial over climate change. The appointment of Viscount Monckton as a science spokesman adds to the air of a party of old British eccentrics.

Woeful.

The one sad bit of this lunatic party is that Pat Condell supports them. Say it ain’t so, Pat — how can anyone defend a party run by refugees from the looney bin?

Comments

  1. #1 Ing
    April 29, 2010

    Knowing Pat, I’m going to take a WILD shot in the dark and guess that they’re anti-muslim.

  2. #2 PZ Myers
    April 29, 2010

    Yes. The issue front and center on their web page is immigration.

  3. #3 Ewan R
    April 29, 2010

    Shurely if you obtain the stem cells you preserve the “little lives” rather than killing anything – dead stem cells aren’t really any use for anyone (although apparently they make a good substitute for creamer)

  4. #4 Sean Ellis
    April 29, 2010

    I just want to add an extra name to your roll-call of the great and good in British Skepticism – Martin Robbins.

    Martin is the guy who actually wrote the Guardian article. This is actually one of a series of articles running all this week, where representatives of each major party (and a few of the larger “minor” parties, like UKIP) are quizzed on their party’s science policy.

    He’s also speaking at Winchester Skeptics in the Pub tonight. It’s probably too late for Pharyngula’s American readership to hop on a plane, though.

  5. #5 Ing
    April 29, 2010

    Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh What a shock!

    To Pat: “he who fights monsters…”

  6. #6 SamB
    April 29, 2010

    UKIP are pretty much thought of as ‘BNP-lite’, so it’s not that surprising.

  7. #7 VonWatters
    April 29, 2010

    But he can’t be a raving loon, they’ve got their own party – the Monster Raving Loony Party! I’d rather vote for them than for UKIP.

  8. #8 DavidCT
    April 29, 2010

    It is sad to say this but elections are often between professional lunatics of the major parties or the amateur lunatics from the minor parties.

  9. #9 bart.mitchell
    April 29, 2010

    “how can science proceed if we are not free to charge into schoolyards, butchering little tykes so we can harvest a few grams of cells from their guts?”

    Sometimes I wish I were a creationist, just so I could write a book quote mining PZ to show how evil he truly is.

  10. #10 Mr Ashy
    April 29, 2010

    I think that the UKIP is more anti-european (well, anti any foreign influence in UK policy), whereas the BNP is more anti-immigration.
    I’d imagine both are popular with Daily Fail readers

  11. #11 tas121790
    April 29, 2010

    Time out.
    “Ukip is the only significant party to support homeopathy, and the only party apart from the BNP still in denial over climate change.”

    So does that mean ALL 3 major parties in the uk accept global warming science? is the denial confided to the fringe parties?

    Well shit, us here in the US are lucky to have 1 of 2 major political parties in denial and a portion of the other.

  12. #12 Matt Penfold
    April 29, 2010

    So does that mean ALL 3 major parties in the uk accept global warming science? is the denial confided to the fringe parties?

    There are some climate change denialists in the Tory party but the party policy accepts climate change is real and supports international efforts to control it.

    In fact I am not aware of any significant differences between the Tories, Lib Dems or Labour (or the Welsh or Scottish Nationalists) on climate change. When climate change has been debated in Parliament there was not much opposition, although a few loonies in the Lords decided that they would ignore reality.

  13. #13 chuckgoecke
    April 29, 2010

    I suspect that Pat’s thinking is picking the lessor of evils, and the one that is willing to keep its nose out of Islams’s butt.

  14. #14 locka99
    April 29, 2010

    UKIP is the modern equivalent of the Monster Raving Loony Party except some people actually take them seriously. It seems these days is you can espouse the most rabid, idiotic views but if you wrap yourself in the flag and declare yourself a patriot, people will vote for you. UKIP is for people who can’t come out of the closet and vote for the BNP.

  15. #15 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    April 29, 2010

    @tas above…
    Our lot don’t have too much choice. Sea levels get too much higher and their workplace sinks!

  16. #16 Peter H
    April 29, 2010

    The dark satire “he Ruling Class” is an excellent, though somewhat heavy-handed amusement showing the British aristocracy as having more than its proportionate share of raving nutcases. Alistair Sim as the bishop is beyond price.

  17. #17 Walton
    April 29, 2010

    UKIP are a bunch of morons, and I’m not at all surprised Pat Condell supports them. For the most part, anti-Islamic rhetoric (like Condell’s) in Britain, and elsewhere in Europe, tends to be a cover for racism, xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiment. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticise Islam – but, in practice, the majority of the people who are very critical of Islam over here are right-wing nuts, who use opposition to Islam as a veil for their prejudice against certain immigrant groups.

    By way of inter-cultural analogy, it’s rather like right-wing Americans going on about “border security” and railing against “amnesty”, when what they really mean is that they don’t like Mexicans.

    And I’ve met Viscount Monckton (about a year ago now) and agree that – while a very entertaining speaker – he is utterly insane. He seems to subscribe to every conspiracy theory out there.

  18. #18 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 29, 2010

    Why, how can science proceed if we are not free to charge into schoolyards, butchering little tykes so we can harvest a few grams of cells from their guts?

    I’m somewhat surprised that they don’t advocate cutting up muslims and darkies for the purpose.

    Perhaps that’s what they mean by “Britain should not play a leading part”. It’s better left for them furriners to butcher wee tykes.

    On the plus side, that must mean they’re no longer upset about the loss of the Empire!

  19. #19 Fortknox
    April 29, 2010

    It would be very sad and detrimental if legitimate criticism of anti-civilization death cult of Islam would only be propagated by right-wing loons.

  20. #20 Humanistic Jones
    April 29, 2010

    Poor state of affairs that leaves Pat with the perception that his choices are Sharia Law or the Christian equivalent.

  21. #21 Matt Penfold
    April 29, 2010

    On the plus side, that must mean they’re no longer upset about the loss of the Empire!

    Oh I think they are still upset about it, but have realised it is too late to do anything about it.

  22. #22 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 29, 2010

    I’m fascinated by the language PZ quotes re stem-cell research:

    Wherever stem cells can be obtained by means other than the killing of very small children, it is ethical only to obtain the stem cells by means that do not involve the loss of little lives.

    Am I crazy, or does this way of putting it not imply that:

    Wherever stem cells cancannot be obtained by means other than the killing of very small children, it is ethical only to obtain the stem cells by means that do not involve the loss of little lives.

    The most ardent stem-cell research proponents I’ve ever heard of still wouldn’t favor the research if it really did involve “the killing of very small children.” Like so many other anti-abortion/anti-stem-cell groups, their language, and the exceptions they implicitly accept, betray the fact that they really don’t believe their own predicate assumption: They don’t actually think embryos are “small children”; if they did, they wouldn’t talk the way they do.

  23. #23 Bitchfinder General
    April 29, 2010

    Sorry PZ, but I have to object in the strongest possible terms to your characterisation of UKIP candidate Viscount Monckton of Brenchley as a ‘raving loon’.

    The Official Monster Raving Loony Party do not support either Homeopathy nor do they condemn stem cell research and they have a clearly defined policy in their manifesto to combat global warming.

    I trust that a retraction will be forthcoming in the near future.

  24. #24 symball
    April 29, 2010

    UKIP’s following are almost exclusively to be found propping up the bar in the 19th hole of most exclusive golf clubs throughout the UK. Just a bunch of noisy bar room bores whose availability as rentagobs is the only reason they have such a high media profile.

    I suspect that MJR has struggled to get a reply from anyone else yet, therefore he has had to resort to this shower in order to fulfil his commitments to the paper. I would be surprised if Labour (the people who sacked David Nutt- one of the questioners) or the Green Party (beneath whose veneer lies a policy on science that makes UKIP look sensible) will be replying any time soon.

  25. #25 jack.rawlinson
    April 29, 2010

    UKIP is the fringe party for bitter, bigoted, xenophobic Middle-England nutters. Nothing to see here…

  26. #26 Sigmund
    April 29, 2010

    The UKIP is the English Tea Party.

  27. #27 Moggie
    April 29, 2010

    #24:

    I suspect that MJR has struggled to get a reply from anyone else yet, therefore he has had to resort to this shower in order to fulfil his commitments to the paper. I would be surprised if Labour (the people who sacked David Nutt- one of the questioners) or the Green Party (beneath whose veneer lies a policy on science that makes UKIP look sensible) will be replying any time soon.

    You can read the responses received so far here.

  28. #28 Everyday Atheist
    April 29, 2010

    Lord Justice Laws has the best judge name since Learned Hand.

  29. #29 symball
    April 29, 2010

    I was wrong- http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/apr/29/green-party-science-policy

    I can’t wait to see if Labour prove me wrong too!

  30. #30 Everyday Atheist
    April 29, 2010

    Rats, beat me to it in the previous thread!

  31. #31 jay.sweet
    April 29, 2010

    Pat Condell is a little like ol’ Chris Hitchens in this sense. He’s goddamnedly entertaining, and I just eat it up every time I can get video footage of him — but I’d be as likely to listen to a Tea Partier about politics as I would either of those guys. They have such a one-notedly contrarian nature about them, a lot of the things they say just seem designed to be like, “Look how dumb I think the mainstream is!”

    Also, I’m not sure if anybody’s noticed, but Condell’s feelings about Muslim immigration are, uh, not exactly balanced. He’s saying things that need to be said, but he’s not saying a whole lot that ought to be swallowed uncritically. The guy is “mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore”, which feels great sometimes, but doesn’t really ever lead to sound public policy.

    Don’t get me wrong — any time Condell releases a new video, I eagerly watch it right away. It’s funny shit, occasionally inspiring. But I really don’t care what the guy’s actual opinions are; he’s so clearly wrong so often…

  32. #32 Pinkydead
    April 29, 2010

    I love UKIP – I reckon they’re only doing for the laugh:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/election_2010/8631146.stm

  33. #33 blf
    April 29, 2010

    UKIP is the modern equivalent of the Monster Raving Loony Party except some people actually take them seriously.

    No, the UKIP is similar to the BNP, albeit UKIP is more coy about using violence and being blatantly obviously racist, tries to position itself as being the most anti-EU, and is probably more successful at fund-raising. Both the BNP and UKIP claim to be serious political parties.

    The various Loony Parties (Monster Raving isn’t the only one) are a mix of in-it-for-the-laughs and trying to make a point by being ?obviously? crazy (albeit I believe they usually argue for rather progressive positions). Very different from both BNP and UKIP. A government of Loonies is maybe not a good idea; again, unlike BNP and UKIP: A government of either would be a Cheny-and-Bush–scale disaster.

  34. #34 eeanm
    April 29, 2010

    Check out the UKIP Manifesto:
    http://ukip.org/page/ukip-manifesto

    It starts with ending progressive taxation and reducing taxes in general. It seems to plan on saving money by getting out of the EU and “Axe Britain?s gigantic quango mountain and public sector non-jobs to reduce UK national debt”.

    Sounds like Republicans: cut the tax, save money by cutting “waste”, but no specifics. When it comes to huge programs like Medicare (or NHS in UKIP’s case) defend it from cuts. Sounds like a one-way ticket to the poor house for Britain.

  35. #35 Matt Penfold
    April 29, 2010

    The only differences I can find between UKIP and the BNP are that the BNP think British nationality is a matter of “blood and soil” whilst UKIP think it is a matter of accepting “British Values”, and only the BNP says it will offer legal migrants money to go back “home”.

  36. #36 --E
    April 29, 2010

    I am thoroughly distracted from the point by the name Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.

    My career is in publishing, and I’ve worked on too many Regency Romances to be able to take British nomenclature seriously anymore.

  37. #37 ilari1234
    April 29, 2010

    Pat does not actually mention UKIP in this monologue, but merely urges people not to vote for the three big parties (Tory, Labour, Liberal), and instead go for the smaller ones.

    Sure, he seems to support at least some of their policies, but he does not come across as fully supportive of the totality of their woomeistery. In general, he comes across “merely” as anti-establishment, not pro-woo, and he sure dislikes religion, the European Union, and today’s politics. In a kinda cute way, as a matter of fact – even though I cannot say that I wholeheartedly agree on everything he says.

    At least he is able to say all his opinions in a very amusing manner. I digg.

  38. #38 Jeeves
    April 29, 2010

    Condell finally reveals himself as the smarmy little twat I always thought he was. Maybe finally atheist bloggers will stop fawning over him.

  39. #39 timrowledge
    April 29, 2010

    The Monster Raving Looney Party as lead by Screaming Lord Sutch was perhaps the most influential party in British politics. They never won an election to the best of my knowledge, let alone actually achieved any position of power but take a look at their platform over the years and compare it to the list of important policies that finally got enacted; changes to the voting age is one example that comes to mind.

    I recall a nice BBC report on the MRLP when Sutch died, where they discussed the importance of the party.

  40. #40 Sclerophanax
    April 29, 2010

    If harvesting stem cells from freaking blastocysts is killing very small children, then logically eating acorns is chopping down very little trees.

    And it really is sad if the only ones willing to oppose the pandering to islamists are the nutjobs. I’m not convinced Pat has chosen the lesser of two evils.

  41. #41 Jeeves
    April 29, 2010

    Did the MRLP ever keep their deposit in an election where one of the candidates stood?

  42. #42 James F
    April 29, 2010

    Does this make Pat Condell the British Bill Maher?

  43. #43 jack.rawlinson
    April 29, 2010

    Very disappointing to hear that Condell supports these unutterable UKIP gitwads. I guess his righteous anti-Islam sentiments (which I share) tipped him over the edge into blindness to everything else.

    Please don’t compare UKIP to the Monster Raving Loony Party. The MRLP are funny, funny people who are taking the piss. One of my friends stood for them a few years back. He was supporting vampire rights. Their manifesto also included such eminently sane and decent polices as setting accountants in concrete and using them as traffic bollards.

  44. #44 Ströh
    April 29, 2010

    Pretty much every european country have these loon-parties by now. They are the scourge of the early 21st century!

    My native Sweden have several, with one (The Swedish “Democratic” party) poised to enter parliament after the election this fall. Their brand of idiocy is just as damning in pretty much all areas although their voters seem comfortable supporting them as long as they remain anti-immigrant.

    Worst thing? Sure they are anti-muslim but they are coupling it with pro-christianity, taking every chance they get to promote “Swedish values” which they have admitted are supposedly firmly based in Christianity. Hell, they even hinted at a wish to see Christianity reinstated as our national religion!

    The stupid… it burns!

  45. #45 blf
    April 29, 2010

    Did the MRLP ever keep their deposit in an election where one of the candidates stood?

    According to the Pfft! of All Knowledge, no:

    The Loonies generally field as many candidates as possible in United Kingdom general elections…. [Screaming Lord] Sutch himself stood against all three main party leaders (John Major, Neil Kinnock and Paddy Ashdown) in the 1992 General Election. Parliamentary candidates have to pay their own deposit (which currently stands at £500) and cover all of their expenses. No OMRLP candidate has managed to get the required 5% of the popular vote needed to retain his deposit, but this does not stop people standing. Sutch came closest with 4.1% and over a thousand votes at the Rotherham by-election…

  46. #46 ambulocetacean
    April 29, 2010

    Priceless comment on the Guardian piece:

    UKIP has an important role in British Democracy, namely wasting the vote of rather dim Tories.

  47. #47 Moggie
    April 29, 2010

    #41:

    Did the MRLP ever keep their deposit in an election where one of the candidates stood?

    One of the party’s rules is that any candidate who polls enough votes to keep their deposit is clearly not loony enough, and must leave the party.

  48. #48 cylusys
    April 29, 2010

    Heh, its worth pointing out that the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is more commonly known as “Mad Monck”. And private eye describes him thus:

    “To call his long speech ‘swivel-eyed’ would be both unkind and inaccurate, for the most prominent thing about this onetime Fleet Street leader writer is the way his eyes do not swivel but bulge.”

  49. #49 Svetogorsk
    April 29, 2010

    Did the MRLP ever keep their deposit in an election where one of the candidates stood?

    Not a national election, but they did get a local councillor elected – and, I think, re-elected – in Devon.

    I also have very fond memories of two Loony triumphs – the first was when they did well enough to actually register on the BBC’s graphics, making the chart read Conservative (blue), Labour (red), Lib Dem (yellow), Loony (grey). I suspect the grey was the standard “other party” colour.

    And the other triumph was the Bootle by-election in the early 1990s when they actually did better than the Social Democratic Party candidate. The SDP, a not insignificant force in British politics in the 1980s, was formally wound up the next day – this was judged a humiliation too far.

    I voted for the Loonies once – I’d always wanted to, and I was living in a rock-solid Conservative seat, so it made not a jot of difference to the outcome. Also, their then-recent appointment of a cat (named Mandu) as deputy leader struck me as by far the most sensible thing that any of the various political parties had done in the run-up to the election.

  50. #50 Brett Dunbar
    April 29, 2010

    #28

    On nominative determinism: As well as Lord Justice Laws we also have Lord Chief Justice Judge.

  51. #51 Kieranfoy
    April 29, 2010

    You know, British politics is waaaaayyyyy crazier than I thought.

    And here I though the Standing at the Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party was jst a joke…

  52. #52 Knockgoats
    April 29, 2010

    The one sad bit of this lunatic party is that Pat Condell supports them. – PZ

    I’ve pointed out numerous times here that Condell is a bigoted scumbag, so I’m not in the least surprised to find he supports UKIP; whether he shares their other lunacies, or simply regards them as unimportant compared to a shared hatred of Muslims, I’ve no idea. Unfortunately, PZ, you frequently show that you haven’t a clue about European politics, and particularly the populist far right.

  53. #53 GravityIsJustATheory
    April 29, 2010

    The only differences I can find between UKIP and the BNP are that the BNP think British nationality is a matter of “blood and soil” whilst UKIP think it is a matter of accepting “British Values”, and only the BNP says it will offer legal migrants money to go back “home”.

    There are a number of other significant differences.

    UKIP is broadly libertarian economically (and socially as well, I think) and pro-free trade.

    BNP is economically protectionist, and wants massive import restrictions, tarrifs, etc to protect British jobs from cheap foreign competitors. They also want to create a prison colony in South Georgia (the Antarctic island, not the US state) for serious criminals. (Yes – seriously. Their leader was interviews on BBC radio a few days ago and stated that exactly).

  54. #54 theshortearedowl
    April 29, 2010

    Ukip are fantastic – a perfect caricature of the traditional English values of stiff-upper-lipped eccentricity, bigotry, and a “What-ho!” attitude to reality. They’re the sort of party I imagine Prince Phillip would vote for. I sincerely hope they never gain power.

  55. #55 Knockgoats
    April 29, 2010

    In fact I am not aware of any significant differences between the Tories, Lib Dems or Labour (or the Welsh or Scottish Nationalists) on climate change. – Matt Penfold

    Far more denialists in the Tory party than the other mainstream parties. Prominent Tory denialists include Nigel Lawson, ex-Chancellor and David Davies, ex-Foreign Secretary.

  56. #56 Svetogorsk
    April 29, 2010

    I sincerely hope they never gain power.

    I don’t think you need have any worries on that score – they do disproportionately well in European parliamentary elections because the British don’t take those seriously and vote UKIP because they know it’ll annoy the government without actually affecting very much.

    But there’s zero chance of them achieving any significant parliamentary power – for starters, like the BNP, they’ve never had an elected MP.

  57. #57 Svetogorsk
    April 29, 2010

    and David Davies, ex-Foreign Secretary.

    We’ve never had a Foreign Secretary by that name. Do you mean David Davis, former Shadow Home Secretary?

    It might seem like a trivial distinction, but the Foreign Secretary is an important and influential job, while a shadow minister (i.e. an opposition politician with no actual power) is considerably less so.

  58. #58 Jeeves
    April 29, 2010

    UKIP is broadly libertarian economically (and socially as well, I think)

    No, they’re populist and their target demographic is the Daily Heil reader who thinks that the Tories are going soft on the EU, but doesn’t think that Mr Patel from the corner shop is a dirty paki (those that do, vote BNP). There’s not a lot of social libertarianism in that group, but the UKIP manifesto doesn’t actually mention such things as equality.

    It’s not hard to imagine that they’re repeal the Human Rights Act (it’s EU gone made), and the Disability Discrimination Act (on the basis of freeing up businesses from regulation) and the Equality Act (due to come into force in the Autumn, more freeing up of businesses from regulation). We’d probably see the Health and Safety regulations stripped down too as that’s another of the bugbears of their target voters, so expect to see an increase in industrial accidents.

    So a business would be able to discriminate against customers and employees on the basis of sexuality, race, political views, religious views, gender and disability. Their employees and customers would also no longer have the same level of protection from accidents afforded currently in workplaces.

    Not sure how that sits with them being socially libertarian.

  59. #59 Moggie
    April 29, 2010

    #51:

    You know, British politics is waaaaayyyyy crazier than I thought.

    And here I though the Standing at the Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party was jst a joke…

    Blackadder was never just a joke. There was a lot of sharp observation of British society and history in there.

  60. #60 danielm
    April 29, 2010

    I hate to sound like I’m defending madness – and to be honest, I might be, I haven’t asked the bloke – but the craven kowtowing of the current crop of british governmental wannabe’s is pretty disgusting, and supporting a certain amount of (relatively harmless, one hopes) woo is infinitely better than letting sharia law invade our secular country that pretty much formed the heart of the renaissance.

    Pat’s got good reason to be anti-muslim, seeing as the silent majority are rather quietly supportive of the loonies, and our current governments are bending over backwards (or is that forwards, holding ankles, squealing like a pig?) not to insult our rather explosively-tempered arab “friends”.

    I really hate sounding like a bigot, too, but when they march through the streets saying “behead those who insult islam”, I don’t think I have much to explain, do I?

  61. #61 Kieranfoy
    April 29, 2010

    @Moggie: Oh, I know. And the brilliance just keeps getting clearer and clearer.

  62. #62 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    April 29, 2010

    So, the US is not the country with its share of loons!

  63. #63 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Condell has gone over the edge for me. Damn shame, I used to like his commentaries about religion, but when his islamophobia came to the fore I was pretty sure the end was in sight.

  64. #64 ted.dahlberg
    April 29, 2010

    danielm
    I really hate sounding like a bigot

    And I really hate being fat, but damn it if I didn’t just have a cookie.

    And as for Condell, when I was first exposed to him I watched the first few videos with amusement, and then with a gradually building sense that if he wasn’t actually a bigoted racist, he was too similar to tell the difference. Then I stopped watching. It’s nice, in a perverse sense, to have that conclusion confirmed.

  65. #65 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 29, 2010

    Condell finally reveals himself as the smarmy little twat I always thought he was. Maybe finally atheist bloggers will stop fawning over him.

    You wish. They’re still going gaga over Kurt Westergaard, and it’s not like his politics haven’t been broadcast 30 times before.

  66. #66 irenedelse
    April 29, 2010

    So, the Ukip is the real-world equivalent of Lord Rust and his cronies in the Discworld books? Ouch.

  67. #67 irenedelse
    April 29, 2010

    @ danielm, who don’t want to sound like a bigot (but do you like being one):

    but when they march through the streets saying “behead those who insult islam”, I don’t think I have much to explain, do I?

    Funny, I live in Europe too (and in a crowded, multicultural city with a good-size Muslim community, too), and I’ve never had that kind of experiences. Are you sure you didn’t take a wrong turn in the subway on your way home and ended in Syria? Oh, wait, I know: it was a hole in the fabric of the space-time who opened and threw you into an alternate time-line where “Eurabia” is not a racist fantasy!

  68. #68 apweiler
    April 29, 2010

    I’ve always been uncomfortable with the ferocity of Pat’s anti-Islamism, so this kind of fits the picture. Muslims calling for the death of Danish cartoonists or for the implementation of sharia law in Europe, and our politicians kissing their arses, pisses me off as much as the next guy – but I still think that most anti-Islam rhetoric is basically thinly veiled racism. The fact is that the VAST majority of muslims are no worse than most Christians*, and there is simply no realistic possibility of sharia law being applied anywhere in Europe. I gather that there are areas in Britain which have Muslim majorities and have serious issues with honour killings, forced arranged marriages and such, but those are local integration issues, neither unique to Muslims nor to any specific nationality.
    * and I say this even though I spent two years sharing a house with a Muslim, getting progressively more pissed off by his demands that I follow his rules – not use certain pans to cook pork etc. No more or less annoying than living with an evangelical Christian, from what I hear…

  69. #69 MadScientist
    April 29, 2010

    That’s pretty sad; many of the great scientists were British Peers (partly because the privilege allowed them the spare time and resources), but Monckton is just an idiot. Homeopathy! Hah! He must be good buddies with Prince Chuckie.

  70. #70 Brownian, OM
    April 29, 2010

    not to insult our rather explosively-tempered arab “friends”.

    It’s easiest not to sound like a bigot if you do a little research rather than assuming the worst of all people sharing an ethnic or linguistic heritage or skin colour.

    For starters, you might be shocked and amazed to learn that ‘Arab‘ and ‘Muslim‘ aren’t synonyms.

    One thing I don’t understand about the English: if you’re so afraid of brown and black people, then how come you went to all these countries full of brown and black people and taught ‘em English so you’d be the first place they’d think of should they ever decide to emigrate?

    The first rule of empire-building should be to never brag about the homeland. All you’ll do is make the colonials want to go there and wonder what you did to get exiled to the colony.

    and I say this even though I spent two years sharing a house with a Muslim, getting progressively more pissed off by his demands that I follow his rules – not use certain pans to cook pork etc. No more or less annoying than living with an evangelical Christian, from what I hear…

    Or kosher-keeping Jews, some vegans and vegetarians…

    Then again, I’ve got similar rules about the usage of—ugh!—Cheez Whiz with my roommates. For instance, if you use a knife to spread it on toast, the knife must immediately afterwards be flung into the sun to sterilise it…

  71. #71 wasd
    April 29, 2010

    The one sad bit of this lunatic party is that Pat Condell supports them.

    Don`t worry Richard, the Dick, Coughlan666 is on the case:

  72. #72 MadScientist
    April 29, 2010

    @Jeeves #38: I thought Condell outed himself long ago? I’ll still occasionally watch him ranting for some amusement, but despite his godlessness he’s someone on the top of my list of people I don’t like.

  73. #73 Jeeves
    April 29, 2010

    MadScientist

    @Jeeves #38: I thought Condell outed himself long ago? I’ll still occasionally watch him ranting for some amusement, but despite his godlessness he’s someone on the top of my list of people I don’t like.

    I watched a couple of his first videos after seeing a link somewhere, and it made me very uncomfortable.

    But seeing him promoted heavily by Dawkins (who sells his DVDs), here and by the ACA guys (particularly Matt Dillahunty), I kinda thought I might be a bit sensitive (I’m not white) so I shut up, because I really didn’t think Dawkins or PZ would promote a racist. I KNOW that they’re not in anyway, shape or form racists. Today was a vindication that I wasn’t being sensitive and that Condell really is a dick.

    I hope that some people now distance themselves from him now that he’s shown his true colours.

  74. #74 Gregory Greenwood
    April 29, 2010

    UKIP is only marginally less crazy, isolationist and bigoted than the BNP.

    We have plenty of fringe wackos in the UK, we just tend to ignore them most of the time. Unfortunately, round about election time, they come crawling out of wood work more than usual.

    Immigration is a hot-button political issue in Britain (homeopathy and stem cell research, not so much), that is commonly exploited as a veil for the outright racism of far right political parties. Islam is a particularly favoured bogeyman which, while it certainly has plenty of problems with extremism in its own right, is hardly the bane of civilisation it is painted as being.

  75. #75 Gregory Greenwood
    April 29, 2010

    Jeeves @ 73;

    You are not being over sensitive. Condell is a bigot and a racist. I can barely watch his screeds because he seems to be incapable of not decending into a racist rant about muslims and Arab society in general.

    *it is not relevant in the least, but I happen to be a white person.*

    I have one question. If you are Jeeves, where is Wooster? ;-)

  76. #76 Cath the Canberra Cook
    April 29, 2010

    Wooster is off playing house, of course.

  77. #77 Jeeves
    April 29, 2010

    Gregory Greenwood

    You are not being over sensitive.

    Thanks.

    If you are Jeeves, where is Wooster?

    In the US, apparently someone thought a good idea to let him practice medicine! :)

  78. #78 danielm
    April 30, 2010

    #70 (and a few others) this is where I come off as a racist redneck shouting “dey tuk ar djoobs!” and dig my hole even deeper, but there is a white elephant in the room here, and that is that a very vocal minority (and yes I’m fully aware they’re a minority) will threaten to behead you, blow you up or otherwise maim, torture or murder you if you draw a stick figure and write “this is muhammed” for a law which does not apply to non-muslims and does not even apply to all muslims. It’s not just muslims sikhs are getting in on the idiocy too by demanding that they be allowed to wear turbans instead of protective head gear, and that they be allowed to wear knives…and we’re supposed to bend over backwards and say “oh of course you can flout our laws because your invisible sky-daddy said your laws are more important than ours”.

    I’m sorry, but I find it disgusting that sharia courts operate in the UK without somebody going to prison for it. I find it disgusting that people can have signs saying “behead those who insult islam” (I stand up for the right to have the signs, but that doesn’t mean I think that sort of person is worthy to live in this country), and I find it disgusting that the silent majority don’t have a major flipout over people who think blowing up other people over a few blobs of ink aren’t majorly insane.

    I’m not scared of black people or brown people…or yellow people, or blue or green for fuck’s sake. I’m scared of people who will happily blow themselves and other people up over dabs of ink, and of people who would let them do it.

  79. #79 ambulocetacean
    April 30, 2010

    Bwahahaha! In Britain you can haz LOLCleggz

  80. #80 RobertL
    April 30, 2010

    @irenedelse

    Apropos of nothing, but that must be a different Syria to which you refer. I was there just last month, and the people are as friendly and as inviting as you could get.

    I’m obviously a tourist (a big boofy white Aussie) and I had people coming up to me just to shake my hand and welcome me to their country. One man even made his his young (8 y.o. or so) son do so.

    That, and all of the teenage schoolgirls who wanted to take photos of me and my wife, and of them with the two of us.

    As my Lonely Planet says, Syria is the friendliest of all the rogue states.

    ps. Some British politicians are weird!

  81. #81 ambulocetacean
    April 30, 2010

    RobertL,

    Yeah, the US should really be nicer to Syria, especially since the Syrians did all that torture for the extraordinary rendition program.

    Souvenir sellers aside, the only thing that pissed me off about the locals when I was backpacking in the Middle East was the way they looked at me when I was eating with my left hand. It didn’t even occur to them that I might wipe my arse with my right.

  82. #82 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    As my Lonely Planet says, Syria is the friendliest of all the rogue states.

    completely OT, but it somehow always makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when people use LP; granted, they got worse after it was sold, but hey, old flames and all that :-p

  83. #83 negentropyeater
    April 30, 2010

    danielm,

    #70 (and a few others) this is where I come off as a racist redneck shouting “dey tuk ar djoobs!” and dig my hole even deeper

    As long as you don’t acknowledge that the second paragraph of your comment #70 was a beautiful example of racist redneck expression, you’ll still be in that deep hole….

  84. #84 danielm
    April 30, 2010

    negentropyeater,

    what, the paragraph where I suggest that the UK government is allowing it’s people and the laws and culture of the UK to get shafted by a vocal minority who don’t see anything wrong with putting people to death for not being muslim? Where I suggest that the government is busy brown-nosing religions of all colours and creeds by letting them do things because of their magical sky-daddy that “normal” people can’t, like wear dangerous weapons, refuse safety equipment, play blaringly loud music at all hours in defiance of noise pollution laws, get away with hiding their faces so that they can hand around bus passes like candy because nobody dare “infringe their rights” to make sure that their actually paying for the services they use like everyone else, and so on?

    oh, that paragraph.

    Or is it that I’m a redneck specifically because I insinuated that ordinary muslims (who are the silent majority) don’t generally appear to see anything wrong with the extremist crowd?

    The problem is this – just like there really, really is a zionist conspiracy in the wild in Israel, there really is a conspiracy (concerted and not so invisible) to bring back the kalifate and convert the entire world to the muslim faith – by the sword if necessary, and bring in sharia law with all it’s horrible punishments and degradations.

    or, what, you’re saying I’m imagining it all?

    If it makes you feel better, insert the word “extremist” or “fundamentalist” before the word “muslim”, since the “normal” muslims aren’t the problem except for their inaction in the face of the tyranny of their vocal compatriots.

  85. #85 Jeeves
    April 30, 2010

    I find it disgusting that sharia courts operate in the UK without somebody going to prison for it.

    Jewish “courts” have been operating for years with no one even mentioning it. That leads me to believe that most of the outcry is purely based on the fact that muslim bashing is now the acceptable face of racism, along with the fact that the majority of British muslims are from Pakistan and they have historically been subject to some of the vilest racism (my brother was called a Paki yesterday, and our family isn’t even from Pakistan). That’s not to say that islam isn’t just as crazy as Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism or Hinduism, and as Condell has shown being an Atheist doesn’t exempt you from holding crazy and objectionable beliefs.

    As for the “courts” themselves, they are merely voluntary arbitration panels (Sharia and Jewish, both), where both parties must agree to abide by the decision. If people are being forced to accept arbitration in this manner then that is a whole different matter, but there really is no argument that can justly be made why people cannot voluntarily use a binding arbitration based on whatever beliefs they subscribe to, as long as it is entirely consensual and the rulings are within the bounds of the law (which they are).

    In addition the sharia “courts” solely rule on civil matters, so it’s not like they’re handing down death sentences or usurping HM’s Courts in matters of criminal prosecution.

    As for the Sikhs and their wishes to wear a Turban, what the fuck does it matter to you? They do so with provisos, and they are excluded from doing so in certain professions and roles. Their “knives” are little more than decorative and are worn under the clothes. Again, this has been allowed for years. Way back in The Raj, Sikh soldiers wore their turbans as part of their British uniforms. In WWII Sikh soldiers proved themselves to be some of the bravest and most capable soldiers fighting in the Commonwealth.

    Maybe you need to read something other than the Daily Heil.

  86. #86 GravityIsJustATheory
    April 30, 2010
    UKIP is broadly libertarian economically (and socially as well, I think)

    No, they’re populist and their target demographic is the Daily Heil reader who thinks that the Tories are going soft on the EU, but doesn’t think that Mr Patel from the corner shop is a dirty paki (those that do, vote BNP). There’s not a lot of social libertarianism in that group, but the UKIP manifesto doesn’t actually mention such things as equality.
    …Not sure how that sits with them being socially libertarian.

    Point taken.

    I hadn’t looked at UKIP’s policies in detail for several years, so either I misremembered what they were advocating, or they’ve changed since then (possibly both). I’m pretty sure they didn’t used to be as as anti-immigration as they are now (or at least didn’t publicly make as much noise about it as they do now).

    Posted by: irenedelse | April 29, 2010 5:36 PM

    @ danielm, who don’t want to sound like a bigot (but do you like being one):

    but when they march through the streets saying “behead those who insult islam”, I don’t think I have much to explain, do I?

    Funny, I live in Europe too (and in a crowded, multicultural city with a good-size Muslim community, too), and I’ve never had that kind of experiences. Are you sure you didn’t take a wrong turn in the subway on your way home and ended in Syria? Oh, wait, I know: it was a hole in the fabric of the space-time who opened and threw you into an alternate time-line where “Eurabia” is not a racist fantasy!

    It’s not common, but it did happen here after the publication of the Muhammad cartoons:

    Cartoon protest slogans condemned

    Four men jailed over cartoon demo

  87. #87 rufus_t
    April 30, 2010

    In the interests of accuracy, there is at least one Sharia court in the UK, it’s a court of arbitration (where both sides have to agree to be bound by the judgement before proceedings start), just as there is a similar Jewish court of arbitration, and more secular courts of arbitration than you could shake a stick at.

    As far as the politics goes, I was all in favour of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, but seeing as they appear to have dropped their manifesto commitment to have parliament mounted on wheels, I’m not so sure (but I think we can all agree with their one for dentists: )
    “All newly trained Dentists will be require to have three teeth removed, 2 fillings and root canal work done without anesthetic. Then they will know the agony they inflict on the rest of us.”

    The role seems to have been taken over somewhat by The Animal Protection Party, who are basically the animal rights nutters trying to stand against MPs who offend them. In my constituency, they’re putting forward a candidate with convictions for (amongst other things) arson and possession of explosives.

  88. #88 Knockgoats
    April 30, 2010

    I’m not scared of black people or brown people…or yellow people, or blue or green for fuck’s sake. – danilem

    It’s my experience that it’s only ever racists who say this sort of thing; the addition of colours people don’t come in is particularly diagnostic.

  89. #89 Knockgoats
    April 30, 2010

    We’ve never had a Foreign Secretary by that name. Do you mean David Davis, former Shadow Home Secretary? – Svetogorsk

    You’re quite right! Three errors in one description – apologies. However, he was at one time the leading contender for the party leadership.

  90. #90 Ewan R
    April 30, 2010

    I’m sorry, but I find it disgusting that sharia courts operate in the UK without somebody going to prison for it.

    As mentioned above parties going in for judgement in Sharia court both have to agree prior to the trial – If, and only if, the judgement of the Sharia court leads to a criminal action should anyone be going to prison – otherwise it’s just people asking to be judged for something or other by their peers, kinda like Jerry Springer.

    I find it disgusting that people can have signs saying “behead those who insult islam” (I stand up for the right to have the signs, but that doesn’t mean I think that sort of person is worthy to live in this country)

    I find it disgusting that people would agree with the sentiment, but not that they “can” have these signs, or that just because I find them disgusting they aren’t worthy to live in the country – from personal experience if I was passing judgement on who deserved to be in the UK, based entirely on who disgusted me, I’d have to exclude at least 30% of the population of the town I grew up in assuming people I encountered were truly representative

    and I find it disgusting that the silent majority don’t have a major flipout over people who think blowing up other people over a few blobs of ink aren’t majorly insane.

    This makes perfect sense, although again, doesn’t apply to whether or not people deserve to live in the country.

  91. #91 Jeeves
    April 30, 2010

    As mentioned above parties going in for judgement in Sharia court both have to agree prior to the trial – If, and only if, the judgement of the Sharia court leads to a criminal action should anyone be going to prison – otherwise it’s just people asking to be judged for something or other by their peers, kinda like Jerry Springer.

    In an arbitration of this kind, be it Sharia or Jewish, the parties come together and agree to abide by the decision of the arbitrator. The arbitrator is not considered a “peer”, and they are not a jury. In both Sharia and Jewish “courts” the decision is made by a religious “scholar”. There are other types of arbitration, including ACAS, which is the industrial arbitration service that assists in the solving of industrial disputes between employers and unions.

    No party should be forced to accept the arbitration (although, it is a very large concern that this might not always be the case, in either the Jewish or Sharia courts), but if they do accept then it is as binding as would be a civil judgement in the same matter.

    No criminal charges can be heard by the “courts”, and they have no right to refer anything to the CPS for prosecution, they deal solely in civil actions. If a criminal charge is warranted, then the relevant law enforcement agency (police, customs etc), and only the Crown Prosecution Service can bring criminal charges and only HM Courts can hear a criminal trial.

  92. #92 Alex the Wonderchemist
    April 30, 2010

    I was completely disappointed with Pat’s endorsement for UKIP, and my comment on the video was (briefly) one of the highest rated… Which only invited an army of morons to voice their ill informed opinion at me.

    All I did was say that homeopathy was a waste of txpayer’s money, and I was called an “ignorant, fascist, prejudicial fundamentalist idiot”.

    Lesson learnt: The most prolific YouTube commenters are also the most idiotic – and there are fucking hundreds of them :(

  93. #93 Al B. Quirky
    April 30, 2010

    Say it ain’t so, Pat ? how can anyone defend a party run by refugees from the looney bin

    Maybe he values Freedom over unelected, unrepresentative, fascist EU swill. Talking of which, isn’t it time USA gave the UN the flick?

  94. #94 alex.asolis.net
    May 1, 2010

    That’s because Pat Condell is one of those annoying, arrogant assholes with xenophobic tendencies. He’s an idiot.

  95. #95 Nate6
    May 1, 2010

    Condell finally reveals himself as the smarmy little twat I always thought he was. Maybe finally atheist bloggers will stop fawning over him.

    This.

  96. #96 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 1, 2010

    Condell finally reveals himself

    Finally?

  97. #97 macronencer
    May 2, 2010

    @ilari1234 #37
    Actually I’m pretty sure Pat explicitly states his intention to vote for UKIP in that video. Until that point I could almost have let him off in the hope that he was simply making a statement about the importance of democracy and self-determination.

  98. #98 John Morales
    May 2, 2010

    I found many of Condell’s early videos rather good.

  99. #99 jash.jacob
    May 3, 2010

    Well, I see that Pat Condell does not exactly ask people to vote for the party. He just doesn’t want people to vote for the present parties, which he justifies too.

  100. #100 Agathon
    May 3, 2010

    Condell has responded in his way:

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