Rod Liddle

Why I’m complaining to the PCC<br />

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A few more points about the PCC adjudication; apologies if you’re getting bored.

The first is indisputable: if I had blogged on a website of my own, rather than here, then they would have not got involved. So the upshot is that blogs associated with newspapers will end up not being like blogs at all (for reasons I’ll come to tomorrow), but like MSM articles in all but name.

Second, contrary to what has been written about the adjudication in some areas (and repeated on here), the PCC did NOT accuse me of inaccuracy. It was very careful not to do so. It said that we (The Spectator, but presumably they meant me) had provided some evidence to back up my claim, but had “not been able to demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of crimes in ALL the stated categories had been carried out by members of the Afro-Caribbean community.” Well, that’s a different kettle of fish. As I said before, it offered no alternative sets of stats to the ones I produced (hardly surprising: there aren’t any). The implication seems to be that the chief objection was to the word “overwhelming”; or perhaps the deeper and more dangerous point that in the absence of centrally collated stats, one should never offer an opinion based upon whatever evidence IS available. My suspicion, though, is that the PCC’s judgement was simply a politically correct reflex, exacerbated by its embarrassment over the Jan Moir affair. I think we can test this thesis of mine by referring another article to the PCC, which I will do as soon as the PCC has risen from its Easter break.

That article is the one quoted by the poster S.Tarling in my first blog about the PCC decision. It’s by The Independent columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and you can read it here:

It is a screed of visceral loathing about the white working class, and, I have to say, I rather enjoyed reading it. I don’t agree with a word of it, but the woman clearly feels passionately and the piece is well expressed, except for a mistaken reference to anti-maccassars (which are surely lower middle, not working class). I think there’s room for that sort of sentiment in Fleet Street and I suspect a lot of her implacably middle class readers, white and black alike, agree with her. Even if they do not I still think she is within her rights to speak her mind. However, let’s apply the PCC criteria to her claims. Can she “demonstrate” that the white working class “vote for fascists”? I thought they tended to vote Labour. Only a couple of hundred thousand people voted BNP at the last election, out of a white working class which consists of at least 20 million people. Can she further “demonstrate” that the white working class are “always wretched and complaining”? (And can you imagine what trouble would befall her if she said the same thing about the black working class?) Can she “demonstrate” that the white working class hold views which are “stupid or vicious” and also “demonstrate” that they comprise “the scum who drop shit and firebombs through letterboxes….” Can she “demonstrate” that the progenitors of the race riots were the white working class, as she asserts? I thought Mosley and Enoch were toffs? Wasn’t it the white working class represented on the OTHER side of those riots, too? In the form of the Labour Party, and the CP - the then parties of the working class? Can she “demonstrate” that it was the white working class that “kept darkies out of pubs and clubs and work canteens”?

I don’t think she can. I think she is pouring hatred upon a large community of people based upon the actions of a minuscule minority and, further, is blaming the wrong people. But if the PCC don’t require the woman to “demonstrate” the veracity of these claims, then we will know that its judgment in my case was made purely on specious and censorious grounds of political correctness. And incidentally, they have already rejected a complaint about her piece on the grounds that she is known for her “trenchant views”. That’s enough, in her case, is it? Let’s try again.