Racial and Religious Hatred Bill: Second Reading

Hi folks

This is your errant blogger here, reporting for duty.

It is becoming ever clearer to me that you all really want to read the words of Melissa rather than me – and I don’t blame you – but since my name and superscription appears on the site, I feel I should provide you with the latest freshly-brewed stuff, still steaming from the urn.

Today I am sitting in my boiling and un-air-conditioned office getting psyched up for an afternoon in the House of Commons.


We have before us an appalling bill, and because I have no confidence that I will catch the Speaker’s eye, I want to tell you NOW roughly what I am going to say – or what I would say, if given the chance to speak.

Boris Johnson (Henley): “Mr Speaker I do not want to detain the House long, since so many of the points have of course been so eloquently made by my Hon Friends on the front benches.

I simply want to add my voice to the general and growing chorus of those who believe that this bill is bad, ill-thought out, and likely to do far more harm than good.

In trying to create a new offence, of incitement to religious hatred, I believe the government is on the verge of an almost mediaeval repression of free speech.

I speak as one whose job it is, as a politician and journalist, to say things that some people may find offensive and even inflammatory…

And I hope it will be some protection today – if I should accidentally say anything incendiary – that I am the first MP for Henley in history whose paternal grandfather was born a Muslim

It is hard to know where to begin in my condemnation of the bill, but perhaps we might start the motives behind it.

We are told by the minister (Mr Goggins) that this is intended to combat the scourge of “Islamophobia” and religiously inspired attacks on Muslims. These are said to be on the increase since 9/11, and the problem is taken so seriously that the EU commissioned a report into the subject.

The EU found that in the four months after 9/11 there were 12 serious attacks on British Muslims, and of course that is 12 too many. But in the words of the excellent British Asian journalist Kenan Malik, that does not speak of a climate of vicious Islamophobia.

As the report’s author Chris Allen himself put it, “there were very few serious attacks, and Islamophobia manifested itself in quite basic and low level ways.”

We have come a long way from 1978, when violence against Asians was so alarming that 10,000 Bengalis marched from Whitehcapel to Whitehall to protest against the murder of garment worker Altab Ali near Brick Lane. In the decade that followed there were at least another 49 such killings

The problem this bill is supposed to be addressing has been greatly exaggerated, and in so far as there is a problem we already have plenty of statute to deal with it.

Indeed we already have a law against the offence of “religious aggravation”. The 1986 Public Order act was already amended in 1998 so that a person commits an offence if he displays any writing, sign, or other visible representation which is threatening or abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused embarrassment, alarm or distress. The offence may be committed in a public or a private place.

That is pretty draconian stuff.

So why on earth are we producing a new Bill, to outlaw the incitement to religious hatred.

– by which two notoriously cloudy abstracts – religion and hate – are fused into an impenetrable fog of muddle and misunderstanding?

It is nothing to do with the needs of criminal justice, and everything to do with politics.

This bill is part of the price in civil liberties that the country is paying for the Iraq war.

It is of a piece with control orders, and ID cards, and of course intended as a sop to those communities that feel especially oppressed by such measures.

As the former Trade Minister (Mike O’Brien) wrote recently in the Muslim news, Muslims feel “betrayed” by the Iraq war, and in run-up to the last election Labour decided that they needed to do something to appease those feelings.

Here are the words of O’Brien: “Iqbal Sacranie, gen sec of the Muslim council, asked Tony Blair to declare that the government would introduce a new law banning religious discrimination. Two weeks later, in his speech to the Labour party conference, Tony Blair promised that the next Labour government would ban religious discrimination. It was a major victory for the Muslim Community in Britain.”

It was not a victory for common sense or free speech

It is not good enough to pretend, as the Minister does, that this is somehow the logical extension of laws against incitement to racial hatred

It ought to be obvious to everyone that your race is a question of nature, but your religion is a matter of choice and conscience and belief and if a religion is worth believing in, it ought to be strong enough to withstand the most scurrilous and monstrous attacks.

If a religion is worth believing in, then those assaults should diminish the critics, and not the religion itself.

And whether or not a religion is worth believing in, it is the sovereign right of every human being to say what he or she thinks of it

We have not even begun properly to define a religion.

Members on all sides of the House have made the elementary point, that one man’s religion is another man’s cult

10,000 inhabitants of Newcastle are said to be adherents of the Jedi Knights. Who can say whether or not they are serious and whether their faith deserves respect?

And if religion is a nebulous idea, then so is hatred

Suppose I say that some interpretations of Islam have a barbaric penal code, and that the treatment of women in many Moslem states is shameful?

Am I inciting hatred of that religion? Dislike? Extreme dislike? It will very much depend on the listener.

And this is the key point – in the post MacPherson world, we all know that in determining whether or not an offence has been committed, the police and the courts are bound to place ever more weight on the perceptions of those who take offence.

Let me put this as tactfully as I can.

Despite the best efforts of the ecumenists, we live in a world of mutually antagonistic creeds.

They do not merely advertise the exclusive benefits of their own paths to salvation. They also indulge in a good deal of negative campaigning – in the manner of soap brands, or indeed political parties – against their main rivals.

Now this Bill explicitly interdicts the incitement of religious hatred, where that means hatred of a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack or religious belief.

And since this Bill is intended to offer protection to Muslims, let me now read certain excerpts from the Koran, and I will invite the minister to imagine that I am an Imam or mullah and I must apologise to any Muslims who may be listening or watching, because I hope it will be obvious that what I am about to say is not intended to be disrespectful to the Koran but to make a point about the logic – or absence of logic – of this bill

Here is the Koran on those with a lack of correct religious belief

22.9 As for the unbelievers, for them garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skins shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods.

And on Christians

They surely are infidels who say god is the third of three; for there is but one god; and if they do not refrain from what they say, a severe punishment shall light on those who are unbelievers.

And on Jews

4.160, 161 Because of the wickedness of certain Jews, and because they turn many from the way of god we have forbidden them good and wholesome foods which were formerly allowed them; and because they have taken to usury, though they were forbidden it; and have cheated others of their possessions, we have prepared a grievous punishment for the infidels amongst them.

On Jews and Christians

Why don’t their rabbis and doctors of law forbid them from uttering sinful words and eating unlawful food? Evil indeed are their works. The hand of god is chained up cry the Jews. Their own hands shall be chained up and they shall be cursed for saying such a thing.

5.51 Believers do not take Jews or Christians as friends. They are but one another’s friends. If anyone of you takes them for his friends then he is surely one of them. God will not guide evil doers.

Now I don’t say that the Koran is unique in its hostility to other creeds, and there are doubtless plenty of other inflammatory texts associated with plenty of other religions

But I would like the minister to explain to us all, here and now, why and how he thinks the repetition of those words, in a public or a private place, does not amount to an incitement to religious hatred of exactly the kind that this bill is supposed to ban.

My point is that if this bill makes any sense at all, it must mean banning the reading – in public or private – of a great many passages of the Koran itself

Which is absurd and paradoxical, given that the measure is intended to be a protection against Islamophobia

And if it does not mean banning the repetition of those phrases – and it would be good to pretend that I have wrenched a few paragraphs out of context, but the truth is that the holy book is full of such exhortations to religious hatred – if it does not mean such a ban, then the Bill is nonsense and should be scrapped.

Let us be clear about the implications here..

If we say that this bill would not have any force against such blatant incitements and if we say that we will all be able to continue to insult each other’s religions and that the Attorney General would never dream of actually USING this piece of law – as the minister suggests – then that in itself will be counter-productive, because its very existence on the statute book may provoke disorder and unrest from those who believe it should be properly enforced.

In other words, this bill is either going to encourage censorship and self-censorship of a kind I find abhorrent.

Or else it is going to raise false hopes, and inflame even further the resentment of those who feel their religion has been insulted.

It is impossible to make an adequate distinction between the freedom to satirise, ridicule, lampoon religion, and the freedom to hold it up to contempt and hatred

People have died for the freedom to say what they want about religion. It was one of the charges against Socrates. It beggars belief that we should be trying to inhibit that freedom today.

It is amazing that ministers have persisted with this arrogant, foolish and counterproductive measure, and I hope the House will come to its senses today and throw it out.”

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58 thoughts on “Racial and Religious Hatred Bill: Second Reading”

  1. An excellent speech for today’s 2R Boris and very encouraging that people like yourself are prepared to stand up and defend our right to freedom of speech, as well as to practice what we beleive in. I very much hope you win the vote tonight!

  2. Oh dear, more nasty Islamophobia from the Tories. I would also point out that Boris’s mis-spelling of ‘Quran’ is extremely insensitive, offensive, and liable to cause rioting across the UK and the middle East…

    http://world-socialism.blogspot.com/2005/05/muslims-riot-over-spelling-of-koran-in.html

    Get it sorted or YOU will be up there with Polly Toynbee on the ‘top 10 British Islamophobic journos’ list compiled by the Islamic Human Rights Commision next year.

    Freedom for Palestine!!!

  3. Fantastic soon-to-be-speech Boris, but I’m still undecided as to whether I want Parliament to reject this non-law, or pass it only for it to be thrown out by a challenge on human rights grounds, which would probably cause the Blarities even more humiliation.

  4. Great proto-speech, Boris! I’m glad that there’s somebody in parliament putting these views forward — hope you get called to speak …

  5. Boris : hallelujah that someone of stature is able to rip aside the veil of shame previously hiding the features of this ill founded and totally unnecessary proposed bill. I am informed, knowledgeably I believe , that the followers of Islam are following a Deen, rather than a religion; although I have not been able to find an explanation of the difference. My source is open for all to see, simply enter search engine for Quran, and a Muslim cleric explains his beliefs. Leading Clerics of all faiths in this country are, I am sure , very reasonable people, who wish to be able to co-exist with one another: or have I misread the press lately. Extremists of all religions are sure that only THEIR entry into a better life after death is guaranteed.If , as is said by those protesting monotheism , God is one ; why are there so many depictions/ descriptions/names of a supreme being; but no variation as to gender? This rivalry must surely engender unwanted antagonism; which, however, should not mean less and less freedom of speech; providing it is not of an inflammatory nature towards other creeds. Our basic native rights , set forth in the Magna Carta, are being systematically eroded by the opportunistic pandering to those who cry loudest, whose voices are distorted by the fervour of certain extreme thinking persons, who will shrink from nothing.

  6. For the sake of balance you should probably quote the passages from the bible dealing with the treatment of unbelievers and adulterous women and so on. It’s equally repulsive. What a wonderful country we’d have if religion was kept entirely separate from politics.

  7. Comrade Smirnoff, you sanctimonious little ***; I live in a predominantly Muslim community, and I have only ever seen the spelling ‘Koran’.

    Perhaps there are numerous accepted spellings, but if you are trying to prove that ‘Koran’ is wrong and ‘Quran’ is right, maybe you should give a link to a source other than your own blog?

  8. Mr. Johnson, Sir, I wish you were this country’s Prime Minister.

    Comrade Smirnoff, you must write “Boris’ mis-spelling” not “Boris’s mis-spelling.”

    Aaron Brown, we are all used to seeing the word “Koran” used for the sacred text, however the correct transliteration is “Qur’an,” originating as it does from the Arabic “qara’a,” to write, recite. I wouldn’t fret too much about Comrade Smirnoff’s ironic jiggery pokery; any translation of the Qur’an immediately ceases to be the literal word of Allah, and hence cannot be equated with the Qur’an in its original Arabic form. Muslims understand this. Worry ye not.

  9. It’s for your own protection #342

    Some words from Tony Benn for you to read and share, and also a rare blog entry from Boris: Tony Benn – In the name of security: Since the attack on the twin towers, in which many innocent Americans were…

  10. Extreme pedantry follows: whilst I do not wish to promote Comrade Smirnoff’s ideas, he can legitimately write “Boris’s mis-spelling,” since ‘Boris’ is a proper noun. Both are, however, correct.

    Anyway, commenting on the blog rather than the bitch-fighting, I would like to commend Boris on his stance on the bill, and hopefully it will be rejected by a vast majority!

  11. A quick detour into religious hatred

    Hunter S. Thompson regularly quoted the Book of Revelation in his columns, a) because hotel rooms tend to have bibles in them and b) because it contains some of the most incendiary language ever written down, or spoken for that…

  12. This bill, if it is passed, may be of dubious value to established religions but it promises a lot of publicity to cults and minority fads.

    This morning I visited Doune Castle, near Stirling, where the film ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ was made. They were selling Monty Python beer, made by the Black Sheep Brewery. The beer label has the byline ‘Tempered over Burning Witches’.

    The Wiccans (i.e. Wiccans and Witches), who claim to be a ‘recognized religion’ (whatever that means) are objecting strongly. I understand they could attempt to bring a prosecution against the brewery under the new law.

    I see that despite the good sense shown by Boris and many other MPs, the second reading passed with a majority of 56. Does that mean it is now inevitable that it will become law?

  13. Think of all the very funny comedians, af all religions, who shall , most probably, be deprived of a good living if this piece of useless dross; this surrendering to the few; this insult to all right thinking citizens, were to pass into law.It’s a pity, this spunkless Government, apparently deprived of all original thought, hasn’t the guts to pass laws which will be of benefit to the majority of the law abiding population.It is not just the few who need solace in fairness. Not content with finding more indirect entries into the wallets and savings of the populace: the Government finds easy ways to stir up ill feeling, rather than the mollification of the weary sufferers one would expect.
    We, the long suffering public, are now the target of all the Gypsy and other travelling populations of mainland Europe, who know how easy it is to circumvent our long inefficient; outdated and therefore valueless laws; concerning trespass on private; as well as public land, and the ensuing criminal damage thereto. When can we expect justice for the majority. Oh! There goes that flock of Oxford Sandy and Blacks, and would you believe, an accompanying Gloucester Old Spot. I must be wrong

  14. Well said, Boris! It could have used some parts from the Bible as balance, but it is a very valid point.
    If it applies at all Iit must apply to everyone…

  15. Kevin: Can Melissa now read the stars? Perhaps we should roll out the red welcome carpet for the newest astrologer on the web.

  16. just about passes (Kevin B’s language) – the sky’s the limit on this site isn’t it Mac?

  17. Absolutely Melissa , Per ardua ad astra. Higher skies than that are beyond comprehension.

    Boris was mentioned again in the Hickey column or thereabouts, as being a bit of an an ingrate, he being the occupant of one of the best, and most coveted offices in the the whole empire of Westminster: HVAC or not. Sweat it out young sir, greater things will one day be yours.Stay cool…..

    As regards our learned mate Kevin.!
    Earthy is as earthy does,and he once had a part to play in the crypts of Channel Four; if I am not mistaken. I rest my case.
    Wavelength Kevin : wavelength.

  18. “whilst I do not wish to promote Comrade Smirnoff’s ideas, he can legitimately write “Boris’s mis-spelling,” since ‘Boris’ is a proper noun. Both are, however, correct.”

    DOH!

    Well, one learns something new every day. Thank you, Captain Dave.

    On the post itself, I absolutely agree with Boris, but have nothing further to add.

  19. Mac (or should I say Arnold! ARNIE!)

    Nearly right. My previous job was in the bowels (and bowels are indeed the appropriate metaphor) of the I T V: Idiots’s TeleVision. Oh, and don’t start that apostrophe hare running again for Chrissake you lot. Lefties debating the finer points of Lynne Truss’ meisterwerk? Per-lease , get a life folks.

    Anyway, this Bill is indeed pernicious persiflage and p**s-poor in its drafting so we can expect years of fun & games if it get passed. As a lawyer I of course cannot wait to see the sheckles pour into the legal coffers, only I’m in the public sector so I’m probably going to end up with battalions of colleagues clearing up the bloody mess caused by Blair’s grandstanding gesture politics and his f**kwit of a Home Secretary (who is at least marginally preferable to the seriously bonkers Blunkett). Ah well.

  20. . Call me what you will, M’learned friend, as long as you don’t call me between midnight and 0600. As a public servant; presumably part of the usually ‘UNCivil Service’; you have had to sign the Official Secrets Act! My official appellation isn’t a secret, otherwise you’d be in seething H2O.
    By the way Shekel is the monetary unit you were so avidly drooling over. The legal Dept. of this family does that too.

  21. Written under the aegis of ‘lex talionis’, since ‘lex loci’ was not observed.
    ————————————————-
    Once, many, many years ago, a singer; Donald Peers
    Sang songs to earn his supper, some lasted through the years
    One song; I’d half forgotten; though I’d trawled the record book,
    Came back to me just lately;I re-encountered , ‘Babbling Brook’.

  22. DEAREST BORIS,
    THANK YOU FROM THE ENTIRE CIVILIZED WORLD FOR SPEAKING THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS ABSURD AND DANGEROUS HATE LAW. THE LAST TWO CHAPTERS OF THE QURAN IN THE CORRECT CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER ARE CHAPTERS 5 AND 9. SCHOLARS DIFFER OVER WHICH IS THE VERY LAST, BUT ALL AGREE THAT THE ORDERS ARE FINAL AND ABSOLUTE FOR ALL MUSLIMS FOREVER. THESE VERSES ABROGATE/CANCEL ALL REPAEAT ALL THE ‘PEACEFUL, TOLERANT’ ORDERS OF THE QURAN. VERSE 9:5 IS THE INFAMOUS ‘SWORD VERSE’ WHICH CANCELS ALL PEACE DEALS WITH NON-MUSLIMS FOREVER. ALLAH’S LAST CALL ORDERS JIHAD, HOLY WAR AGAINST ALL NON-MUSLIMS FOREVER UNTIL ISLAM RULES THE WORLD. ALL NON-MUSLIMS MUST BE KILLED, ENSLAVED AND CONTROLLED BY MUSLIMS. ISLAM MUST REPEAT MUST RULE THE WORLD. READ THEM AND WEEP.
    PAEDOPHILIA IS LEGAL IN ISLAM. THE INDISPUTABLE PROOF OF THE LAW IS IN THE QURAN, CHAPTER 65:4, BASED ON THE PAEDOPHILIA OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD HIMSELF, WHO AT THE AGE OF 53, BEGAN MARITAL RAPE OF A 9 YEAR OLD GIRL.
    RELIGIOUS & CULTURAL GENOCIDE IS LEGAL.
    SLAVERY OF NON-MUSLIMS IS LEGAL.
    ENSLAVING, RAPING AND BEATING WOMEN IS LEGAL.
    ATTACKING, KILLING, LOOTING, ENSLAVING, RAPING AND HUMILIATING NON-MUSLIMS ARE ALL LEGAL.
    THESE ARE THE UNOLY LAWS OF ISLAM FOR ALL MUSLIMS FOREVER. WHOEVER SUPPORTS ISLAM IN FACT SUPPORTS AN IDEOLOGY WHICH MAKES THE NAZI REGIME SEEM LIKE A PENSIONER’S TEA PARTY.
    READ REPORTS ON JIHAD WATCH BY ROBERT SPENCER
    I’M SENDING YOUR BLOGS TO THEM NOW. IF YOU WANT MORE INFO. PLEASE ASK AND I’LL SEND IT SOONEST.
    FEAR NOT THE FATAL FATWA!!!
    WE SHALL NEVER SURRENDER!!!
    BESTEST TO YA,
    JENNIFER

  23. I sincerely pray and hope that Britain does not pass this Bill. This is outrageous and as has happened in Australia or New Zealand with the ‘Catch the Fire’ Ministries which were charged and convicted (an apology was the punishment…apology not given, the very Koran itself has more hatred and angry imprecations to kill and vilify Jews, Christians and others, that were the Kiwis were of a mind to under their current hate speech/literature laws, they could lock up every copy of the Koran and every imam who preaches it’s contents. It’s insanity. What has happened to the British?

    BTW, kudos on the speech in the House and to reading those ‘pertinent’ passages from the Koran. Good on you!

  24. Reply to Foreign Devil
    What has happened to the British?
    BRITAIN HAS LOST THE PLOT!
    The only intelligent response to Islam is ridicule and rejection. No law in this world is going to stop the terrible truth about Islam from being exposed. Non-Muslims have the greatest privilege of all,FREEDOM [more or less]to think for themselves and to choose.
    Muslims do not have this invaluable asset.
    They are the Slaves of Allah and Muhammad. Muslims who break the laws or who leave Islam are killed. Their lives are a living death.
    It is our DUTY to protect society from the evil ethos of Islam and to help Muslims free themselves from their underworld of ignorance, hatred and fear.

  25. Britblog Roundup # 19

    Welcome, welcome to the Britblog Roundup, your guide to the best of blogging from the four nations that make up these Isles. You can make your nominations to next week’s by sending the URL of a post to britblog AT

  26. Ah. Keep it under your hat Mac. Your spies have obviously penetrated Security (with a bus pass knowing them, bless em).

    BB: That was my da’s nickname at school. Bruch? Baruch? Never managed to work out the original form but it was East End in origin rather than the lesser-known Club Up West.

    How do we parse Macarnie then? Do tell.

  27. Original name is severally sourced : zB from the OE or Anglo Saxon for a break , as it still is at least phonetically , in German. English is of course, a small, fast flowing water course; a creek or rivulet. A clue for you:- S’RIOGHAL-MO-DHREAM.

  28. Although I agree that this bill may be slightly pointless, as all religious books instruct their believers to prejudice against members of other religions, I think that calling the Kuran/Quran a terrorist regime is slightly insensitive and that you should be locked up in jail, Jennifer King (who seems to have nothing better to do with her life than post repetitively on this board, replying to… herself), for being such an insensitive little poo-head. But then again, that’s just my thoughts on the matter.

  29. I don’t want to gang up with Mr Wenman but I must confess to feelings of alarm when long screeds in CAPS (lacking only green ink) are dumped quivering with righteousness on to the board successively.

    Jennifer, we hear what your saying, but does it have to be full-on rant styleee? Decorum is sometimes the better part etc. (I’m one to talk, I know.)

  30. I too agree with the sensible comment of Mr Wenman, or perhaps we have been too quick to judge your gender(s). I for one have been dreadfully upset by people on the internet assuming that I am a man. Angus is a lovely name, and unbeknownst to many people, it can be both feminine and masculine.

    Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss/Dr/HRH/Sir/Lady E Wenman has a very valid point, however, in disagreeing with Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss/Dr/HRH/Sir/Lady Jennifer King’s insensitive view of the Islamic religion. I feel that she is absolutely justified in commenting that “calling the Kuran/Quran a terrorist regime is slightly insensitive “, but I feel she herself should learn to practice the tolerance that she herself preaches. Calling a fellow human being an “insensitive little poo-head” is both childish and cruel. Comments like these could scar someone for life and I feel that they are only treatable with my intense pity for you.

    Oh, and, love you Boris. Keep the tory boat a-rockin! We all love you for it (however from E Wenman’s other posts on this site – see the birthday page – I feel that some may love you slightly more than others).

  31. EXCELLENT speech. All those who are getting their undergarments in a fankle over Koran/Quran should be made to read the article on ‘Mahomet’ in Fowler’s ‘Modern English Usage'[1926] or, better still, Churchill: ‘I do not consider that names that have been familiar for generations in England should be altered to study the whims of foreigners living in those parts….Constantinople should never be abandoned, though for stupid people Istanbul may be written in brackets after it’ and so splendidly on.

  32. I completly agree, it is all dependent on that particular article. Although to backtrack a while, I refer to E Wenman’s point to Jennifer, this is exactly what the bill is trying to portray. Islamic persons reading this message board may be angered by the comment which could be interpreted as inciting religious violence, which i believe is against the law in this very county. Although I do not think it is very fair to compare jennifer to pheses, as it is unfair on the said material.

    To again refer to E Wenman, I fully agree with Angus, scottish perhaps? I wonder if he is amicably involved with Jenny, Karen and Neil?

  33. I fully apologise to Angus! It slipped my mind your rant about you gender! Of course, I meant I wonder if SHE is amicably involved.

    P.S. BORIS FOR PRIME MINISTER!!!!

  34. Now green ink… that COULD be fun… Sorry – sexual fantasy which needs NOT to be explained, I think… Perhaps Angus will know what I’m thinking? We seem to be girl + androginous person of a like mind, eh? Mr Johnson, how’s YOUR green ink running today? 😉

    As far is my gender is concerned, I shall leave that open to further discussion… It has proved highly fascinating + entertaining so far.

    I don’t think Angus is Scottish. The Scottish “Angus” is generally used to portray a MALE bagpipe-flaunting ego-maniac, which, I believe is EXACTLY the type of prejudice our girlie is trying to avoid. Nay, I suggest that Angus is a name adopted by one of those Eastern European countries? Perhaps Poland? Although there might be a bit of Scottish in there as well… Who’s ever heard of a Scottish Pole? Or a Polish Scott? Meh…

    I didn’t quite understand the Churchill quote, but I suggest that he was implying that NAMES DO NOT MATTER. I doubt, Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss/Dr/HRH/Sir/Lady Jennifer, that a misspelling of the Quran/Kuran would cause much offence. I suggest that the people concerned would just laugh at a member of parliament being so stupid… and funny… and gorgeous… and appealing… did I mention gorgeous?

    Ahem, sorry, got a little side-tracked there…

    To clear this matter up, I would finally like to add that I did not liken Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss/Dr/HRH/Sir/Lady Jennifer to faeces of any kind (Anyone watched You Are What You Eat? btw?) but simply a poo-head. This can be interpreted in two ways:

    1. The head of a poo.
    2. Someone with a large piece of poo on their head.
    3. Someone with manure smeared across their head.
    4. Someone whose head resembles a poo.

    Oops sorry… looks like I sidetracked a little again and found 4 possibilities. But there you go – isn’t that life?

    Well no… it’s just poo…

  35. I do believe that the sainted Winston meant quite the opposite from the name not mattering. He hints that if WE were usd to calling soething by a name , that name should be the yardstick for all posterity. Constantinople should remain precisely that , despite a change in the later name. A better , and nmore modern example would be Rhodesia , North or South, as opposed to some other , in Churchill’s eyes, inferior and less meaningful name. Domage: l’empire est mort

  36. Well, I still don’t see how this affects the Kuran/Quran. It doesn’t matter! If someone was to call the Bible the Bable or the Bibbel, would anyone actually stand up and go, “I FIND THAT SOOOO OFFENSIVE!!! YOU WILL GO TO HELL FOR 10000 YEARS!!!”. No. Well… not me at least.

  37. “The Scottish “Angus” is generally used to portray a MALE bagpipe-flaunting ego-maniac, which, I believe is EXACTLY the type of prejudice our girlie is trying to avoid. ”

    Exactly! And if i were to be called Pierre, I would assume that you would all at once jump to assume that I was, in fact, a beret-wearing, middle aged french man, with a slightly too large moustache.

    After all, what’s in a name? A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.

  38. Ahh the age old question of a steriotype, I am assuming that Angus would be wearing a kilt. But with or without underwear?

  39. Aon ghus, or Angus is the gaelic name for ‘ one choice ‘ : you have one choice : with or without?

  40. Mr. ScUltock, are you interested in seeing Angus’ sensitive parts? And… Macarnie: When Angus quoted (from the legendary “Romeo and Juliet”): “What’s in a name?”, I don’t believe that was a call to actually ANSWER the question. I THINK it was retorical.

  41. The Wen Man has a point about the Bibble – and glad to see we’re grooving again on with a rose is a rose is a rose

    Deja vue
    Deja vue

    Anyhow the Bibble – together with the other two sacred books (sorry, THREE sacred books, etc.)-has been responsible for a colossal amount of mischief-making over the centuries because the People of that particular book insist on reading literally.

    Solution: get them to study literature so that they appreciate what fiction is actually about: telling the truth by telling porkies.

    Rushdie might have been spared the Unpleasantness if instead of burning books the maes were deconstructing them. Lit Crit as the saviour of the World/Word?

  42. The Wen Man has a point about the Bibble – and glad to see we’re grooving again on with a rose is a rose is a rose

    Deja vue
    Deja vue

    Anyhow the Bibble – together with the other two sacred books (sorry, THREE sacred books, etc.)-has been responsible for a colossal amount of mischief-making over the centuries because the People of that particular book insist on reading literally.

    Solution: get them to study literature so that they appreciate what fiction is actually about: telling the truth by telling porkies.

    Rushdie might have been spared the Unpleasantness if instead of burning books the masses were deconstructing them. Lit Crit as the saviour of the World/Word?

  43. The Aon Ghus reference was in answer to that old question ,” Is anything worn under the kilt?” and rather than give the hoary reply, “! Not at all, it’s all in good working order,” You make your own reply. Rhetoric rarely rears its ugly head on this blog. We need answers!

  44. The Bibble should be able to be viewed differently by all types of people, its up to each person how they interpret it. A person who believes the world was created in seven days has their own right to do so, even if it is scientifically impossible.

    p.s. its Scoltock!! S C O L T O C K

  45. Good work Boris. Keep it up. There’s only you and…no just you to get the message across.
    Saw yuo on your bicycle the other day – looked a fine figure of a (knackered) man.

  46. Knackered? Really? Oo… who with??? Dammit!

    Mr. Scultock: Have you not been listening (/reading) the conversation? A rose by ANY OTHER name would smell as sweet. It does not matter how your name is smelt. Sorry… spelt.

    Mcarnie: Then isn’t it time we GOT some rhetorical questions? Okay, okay, I get your point, you don’t LIKE rhetorical questions. But you can’t CHANGE them being rhetorical. They’ve already been asked. So THERE. :p

  47. Ewe N.Man:-Who said that rhetorical questions were anathema to anyone? Barbara? Or perhaps Barry?

  48. Kevin: I revert to being a pest . That is to say: in the origin of names, yours in particular. My research source “The Oxford Book of Names” Etc. tells me that the name concerned is multi-sourced and rooted. Yorkshire seems the best bet, followed , strangely enough , by Ireland. Your choice, but I think the favourite is obvious, don’t you?

  49. Nora:-Then political rhetoric, as we know and suffer it, would possibly, even probably, die a well deserved death. We are already exposed to too much rhetoric, from every party , in and out of power; and would benefit from more questions, to which direct answers could and indeed , must, be given.

  50. Are you talking to me?

    The voices, the voices!

    So much for rhetoric, always preferred by politicians and other hail fellow well met charmers to the cold steel of logic. And I know where I’d like to stick it.

    All right constable, it’s not an offensive weapon, it’s perfectly harmless hyperbole. I say scarper chaps, it’s the rozzers!

  51. I see now where Nora got her reference to the voices. What do we get next? The speaking in tongues; the agony and the ecstasy; the smothering of the barnet with ashes, or the falling into a trance whilst riving the remnant rags from the body? Whatever, I’m sure the lad will do us proud;-D
    p.s. Don’t don’t the pinstripes on that day. Eh?

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