Prejudice burns bright

Guido Fawkes has revealed that Tory blogger Inigo Wilson has been suspended from his day job at Orange for comments he made on-line. 

Wilson, who works as a “Community Affairs Spokesman” for the mobile phone company, wrote a hilarious and zany (ahem) ‘lefty lexicon’ on ConservativeHome.com.  Amongst the mildly amusing (“Delivery – as in “delivered against targets”. Means ‘achieve’.”) and the boringly Tory (“Class – grouping people by the contents of their wallet rather than, say, how they think, feel or behave as individuals.”) was the outright offensive: “Islamophobic – anyone who objects to having their transport blown up on the way to work”.

Not surprisingly, some people were upset by the insinuation being made and complained.  Now, it seems, young Inigo has been sent home to do some gardening.

It is early days, but we should probably head to the bunkers before Tory outrage at this attack on the freedom to racially abuse hits us.

UPDATE: spoke too soon, over at Guido they are commenting early and commenting often – “Disgraceful!”, “Islamofascism strikes back”, “Can’t the Muslims accept the British sense of humour?”.  Best of all: “So the question for Orange now is are there more Tories who value speech in the UK than there are vaguely militant Islamists who can’t take a joke”. 

These cuddly new Tories eh…

ANOTHER UPDATE: I fear these could be on going, but according to Guido, Orange have confirmed that they have indeed sent Inigo on gardening leave.  This has sent the locals into apopelexy, but interestingly, this is what arch-Libatarian archo-capitalist Guido had to say: “Ironically, regrettably, if he worked for me in that kind of a position, methinks Guido would probably have fired him.” 

The infernal battle in the soul of the Tory party between those wishing to get filthy rich and those wishing to protect the freedom to racially abuse rolls on.

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24 Responses to Prejudice burns bright

  1. Ian G says:

    Just read Guido’s blog and the agony of Tories on the receiving end of the free workings of capitalism is far more amusing than anything published on ConHome!

    Next they’ll be suggesting Mr Wilson has had his human rights infringed and will want to bring in a trade union…

    You almost feel sorry for Orange, as they’re damned whatever they do now. Of course one wonders why they employed Mr Wilson as a ‘community affairs spokesman’ in the first place. (which community was he supposed to dea with, Telegraph reading retired army colonels from Tunbridge Wells?)

    Incidentally isn’t it a bit hypocritical for someone with a job titles of ‘community affairs spokesperson’ to take the p*** out of ‘college lecturers, human rights lawyers, pressure group employees…’??

  2. bernicky says:

    You would think by now that companies would leave the personal lives of their employees to themselves. The blog entries weren’t hilarious but they weren’t offensive either if you have a sense of humor. The problem these days is that most people don’t have a sense of humor they are searching for a sense of outrage and all too many people are willing to empower that search with “politically correct” enforcement of how we should all think and speak.

  3. Nick says:

    Erm, I think that saying Muslims = terrorists is pretty offensive – as well as being not at all funny.

  4. I’m genuinely quite torn on this one.

    I suppose the problem is the ‘indirect references’ to Orange and the ‘community affairs spokesman’ position but in principle I don’t think people should be fired for having potentially objectionable opinions – unless it crosses over into their working practice.

    I’d actually support employment legislation to protect people against this. I doubt Mr Wilson would, though.

  5. Bishop Hill says:

    Nick said:

    “Erm, I think that saying Muslims = terrorists is pretty offensive – as well as being not at all funny.”

    Did he actually say that or did you make it up?

  6. Nick says:

    That appears to be the obvious inference of his remarks. Blanket descriptions of all “Palestinians” are pretty obviously offensive along the same lines too.

    Now, I actually don’t mind him being offensive (obviously the whole thing is meant to be offensive against left-wingers, that’s the point) but it should set alarm bells off when the offence is intended not at people’s politics, but at all people of a certain ethnic, national or religious identity. Had the guy made some quips about Hezbollah or whatever, that would have been different.

    I would find it no more acceptable if a left-winger had similarly parodied the right with an equivalent entry about Jews.

    I accept the point about rights at work, and that’s certainly worth consideration, but on the other hand his job does appear to involve being a public spokesman in the community, which is always likely to involve some compromise with personal views.

  7. Bishop Hill says:

    Sorry I’,m struggling to see which of Mr Wilson’s comments could be construed as meaning Muslims are terrorists. Could you perhaps quote the particular part of the article you believe can support the inference you claim.

  8. Nick says:

    When he says Islamophobia = disliking terrorists or whatever allegedly witty phrase he came up with that means the same. I don’t really see how that’s different to saying (for example) Racism = disliking criminals.

  9. Bishop Hill says:

    “Islamophobic – anyone who objects to having their transport blown up on the way to work”

    This one? Implies “Moslems = terrorists”? How exactly? The sentence is not about moslems. It’s about people who object “to having their transport blown up..”

  10. Nick says:

    Erm…how is Islamophobia NOT about Muslims?

  11. Bishop Hill says:

    Sorry, I haven’t explained myself very well. The subject of the sentence is people who are islamophobic. It’s hard to see how this can imply anything about Moslems in general. To do this, surely we would need a sentence the subject of which was “Moslems”.

    Explain to me the logic you have used to get from the sentence quoted to a conclusion that Wilson is implying that all Moslems are terrorists.

  12. Ian G says:

    The real definition of islamophobia is would be something like ‘hatred or fear of Muslims’. Wilson’s definition is fear or hatred of terrorists. Therefore people Muslims = terrorists is logically implied.

    I would imagine what Wilson is really doing is alleging that racism is a problem made up or grossly exaggerated by us lefties. If that isn’t grossly offensive to those people who have suffered racist attacks or abuse I don’t know what is.

  13. Bishop Hill says:

    Ian G:

    Let’s use an analogous line of reasoning to yours.

    The true definition of arachnophobia is “fear of spiders”. My definition is that it is “fear of poisonous animals”. (This is incorrect, but so is the definition of islamophobia that Wilson uses) . You would therefore conclude that I am saying that all spiders are poisonous animals? I would say your logic is flawed.

    You introduce racism too. Islam is not a race, it’s a religion. For the purpose of this post, I’ll assume you mean Islamophobia.

    Wilson is not accusing you of exagerrating. He’s accusing you of shouting “Islamaphobe!” at anyone who “objects to their transport being blown up”. What I think he wants you to do is to let people discuss the role of Islam in the terrorism issue without being demonised as islamophobes or racists. A reasonable request I would say.

  14. Nick says:

    This seems like a very tortuous and rather unconvincing chain of reasoning in order to excuse Wilson of intending to mean the obvious meaning of his own remarks. And that is quite without his comments on Palestinians – can you imagine if a lefty had said the same about Jews?

    At any rate, I don’t think anyone on this site (or most people on the left) would accuse anyone of being Islamophobic or racist unless they thought that they were being so. The accusation that anyone who objects to being bombed on their bus into work will be accused by the left of being Islamophobic is facile in the extreme.

    I think that Orange have an excellent case for concluding that he is not a competent “community affairs spokesperson” based these actions. Whether that means that they have the right to sack him, I accept is a different question.

  15. Bishop Hill says:

    Huh? I’m trying to get you to explain to me your logic in getting from his quoted statement to your belief that he is meaning that all Moslems are terrorists.

    So far you have said:

    “…Islamophobia = disliking terrorists or whatever allegedly witty phrase he came up with that means the same. ”

    You have given no explanation of your reasoning. This seems to confirm my initial impression that you made it up.

  16. matthew says:

    Bishop Hill, if you cant understand it from the many explanations above, it looks like you will never grasp it. Might be better if you had a lie down and then moved on.

  17. Bishop Hill says:

    Matthew

    The many explanations? Nick, who made the original accusation hasn’t explained at all. Ian G has tried to explain, but I’ve shown it to be logically flawed.

    And that’s it.

    I think Nick needs to admit that he made it up.

  18. Nick says:

    I thought that Ian G explained it perfectly well and I don’t think you showed it to be logically flawed. I didn’t make it up – it is to my mind a fairly logical conclusion to draw from Wilson’s remarks.

    It might not have been what he intended to say, but even if that’s the case I would question his skills in the fields of PR and community relations…

  19. Bishop Hill says:

    “I don’t think you showed it to be logically flawed. ”

    I’ve used Ian G’s exact logic (in a less emotive case) and shown that the “logic” he uses is ridiculous – this is a reductio ad absurdam – a formal proof of the error. Calling it “convoluted” does not support your case at all.

    You are failing to notice that Islamophobia=fear of terrorists is an erroneous
    view that he is ascribing to you – it’s a “Lefty” lexicon, not a righty one. He doesn’t believe this.

    By having one false premise in your “proof” of his racism, your argument immediately falls over.

    QED

  20. Nick says:

    I didn’t say “convoluted” and I didn’t accuse Wilson of “racism”.

    The point of his “lefty lexicon” was that he was taking words that are allegedly used by lefties and then translating what they he thinks they actually mean:

    “South Africa – a national showcase for Lefty policies with a one-party state, some of the worst crime levels in the world, tragic AIDS mortality and declining economy.”

    So when he defines Islamophobe as anyone who’s worried about being blown up on public transport, he’s saying lefties use the word Islamophobe but what we really mean is anyone who’s frightened of terrorists.

    I brought racism into it as an analogy – it would be similar to putting in a “Racist – anyone who objects to being mugged on the way to work”.

    If you can’t see why that might be offensive then I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

  21. Bishop Hill says:

    So you are asking me to believe that when he says:

    “Terrorist – no such thing. Only people suffering from ‘root causes’ and ‘legitimate grievances’.”

    he really believes that there is no such thing as terrorism. Don’t think so.

    What about:

    “Nazi – informal: describes non-Lefty views”

    Here you would say that he is calling himself a Nazi.

    Preposterous.

    By all means take offence. But you cannot claim that he is saying that all Moslems are terrorists.

  22. Nick says:

    He uses a fair bit of sarcasm as well, but you can’t really suggest that definitions such as “Organised labour – what Lefties used to be interested in” or “Progressive – describes ideas generally thought up around 40 years ago – that still don’t work” were intended to describe what lefties actually think. They are clearly his view.

    It is at the very least one obvious interpretation of his entry on Islamophobia that either Islamophobia is just a term used by lefties/Islamists to describe a rational fear of terrorism or that it is a a term invented by lefties to bandy about at anyone who expresses said fear, from which one can obviously infer that Islamaphobia has been invented or wildly exaggerated.

    Either way it is unsurprising that it caused deep offence to Muslims. As I said above, that may not have been his intent, but it doesn’t speak volumes for his skill as a PR man that he wrote something open to such an interpratation if that’s the case.

    And some of the sarcastic entries are pretty obviously likely to cause offence too – on Palestinians, for example, or this on racism:

    “Racist – means “shut up!” – and is much, much worse than being violent, thoughtless or unkind. In fact, easily the worst crime ever conceived of.”

    Erm, yes actually racism IS worse than “being thoughtless” and it is fairly astounding that Inigo Wilson appears to disagree.

  23. Bishop Hill says:

    It seems pointless to me to let you divert the debate onto whether or not what he said was offensive. We were talking about whether he said that all Moslems were terrorists, not whether he was offensive or not. He did not say it. I have shown that it is not possible to logically infer it from what he said either. You need to withdraw your accusation.

  24. Nick says:

    Well, whether what he was being offensive or not was kind of the whole point of the discussion, but anyway…

    I don’t think that you have shown that it is “not possible” to logically infer from his remarks that he is suggesting that Muslims are indeed terrorists. I think it is quite possible to logically infer that as a possible meaning.

    I’ll grant you that there are other interpretations, and he may not have intended to mean that, but to suggest that you have somehow proven that it can’t be seen that way is rather silly IMHO.

    It’s getting quite boring now though, so I suggest that we have both made our points and the world can judge them as it sees fit.

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