Scousers and the National Team

A letter in the Independent irritated me:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-perspectives-on-religious-belief-2172620.html

(It’s in the “It’s Thanks to South Africa” section). I have a very low tolerance for whining Scousers at the best of times…

Sirs,

Would Colin Burke (letters, 31 Dec) – who I note lives in Manchester, not Liverpool – be so keen to have Scousers in the England cricket team if they’d just lost the Ashes? I doubt it. He shouldn’t fret, though. When it comes to attention-seeking, whining and being the nation’s professional victims, Scousers lead the way by miles.

Paul Harper

Sub-Editor #fail

No rant in this one, just an amusing piece of failed sub-editorship that made it all the way through to the online version. Anyone got any spare 18pt head letters? … :

Anti-Semitism Devalued

Christina Patterson in The Independent wrote that she had been getting some hassle for holding forthright views on the misbehaviour of Israel towards its Palestinian neighbours:

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/christina-patterson/christina-patterson-how-i-was-smeared-as-an-antisemite-2167310.html

… prompting this letter:

Sirs,

Christina Patterson highlights an issue that as been bothering me for some time. It seems to me that the greatest devaluation of the phrase “Anti-Semtism” these says is the hyper-sensitivity of the Jewish community to criticism.

It is impossible to comment on Israel’s illegal land-grabs, or their ethnic cleansing of Palestinians without being called anti-Semitic. If Israel were a perfect society, then they might have a case, but it is a long way from that. Hiding behind a made-up phrase which does little but trade off the events of some seventy years ago is starting to wear thin.

Sorry, but I am three generations moved on from that, and I don’t do generational guilt. Racism is racism and does not deserve a special name for a ‘specal’ group. Criticising uncivilised behaviour is not racism.

The Jewish community need to move on from the 1940s like the rest of the world has.

Yours,

Paul Harper

Cenotaph Atrocity

During student protests (or “riots” as the more scared media would have them) a youth was photographed swinging from a union flag on the Cenotaph. The mindless right-wing media immediately equated this to pissing on Maggie’s grave and went apeshit, prompting this:

Sirs,

Last Thursday a rather scruffy-looking drunk or stoned youth was photographed swinging from a piece of cloth in central London. Nobody got hurt and no damage was done. A non-event in every sense of the word.

But because the piece of cloth in question was the Union Flag, and because it was attached to the Cenotaph, all of a sudden the mindless mass media are behaving in *exactly* the same way that the Muslim press reacted to the Danish cartoons depicting their prophet. They all go apeshit and call for the immediate reintroduction of capital punishment as a minimum. The Mail wants hanging, drawing and quartering brought back.

This, to say the least, disappointing. Are our treasured symbols so fragile that they are threatened by a lone chemically-enhanced youth? And what does that say about our maturity over “less developed” races when something so trivial is allowed to wind everybody up?

A truly civilised people would have tutted, raised their collective eyebrows, muttered a well deserved “Prat” at the youth and got on with their lives. We still have some way to go.

Paul Harper

It got published as:

World AIDS Day Overkill

On World Aids Day 2010, The Independent let Elton John “edit” the paper. The result was wall-to-wall AIDS coverage. Too much. Way too much. I responded thus:

Sirs,

Sorry, but too much. WAY too much. I know it’s World AIDS day again, and I know Elton John is all loveable and fluffy these days, but do we really need saturation coverage?

The Viewspaper had three interesting articles: Christina Patterson’s football piece and two obituaries. That was it. The main paper didn’t start for me until page 12, and was intermittent after that.

At the best of times, I react very badly to being preached-at, and today’s issue is preaching with a nail-studded baseball bat. It is the first time in a long time that it has taken me less than 10 minutes to read the Independent.

As a gay man, I am very sympathetic to the cause, but it’s 06:28 and I am already sick and tired of World AIDS Day.

Paul Harper

It got published, if heavily edited as: