Stephen Pollard has some tart and interesting things to say about the Labour politicians who now protest they had nothing to do with the shadowy would-be benefactor David Abrahams. I should not have come across this article had Stephen not mentioned it on his blog, as it's published in The Daily Mail, which is the newspaper above all others whose opinions I disagree with on - to take the proverbial taxi driver's Mastermind specialist subject - absolutely bloody everything. The site might have changed by the time you read Stephen's article, but as I write this Stephen is wedged between an online poll entitled "Is it acceptable for female politicians to show this much cleavage in the Commons?" and an article entitled "My instant boob job from 36A to 36DD - and the effect it had on men (and women)". Just thought you'd like to know.
On a subject you're less likely to read about in The Daily Mail, see the comments here by Deborah Haynes, Baghdad correspondent of The Times, about asylum for Iraqi interpreters who have been assisting British forces. One of the interpreters, currently in hiding in Basra, comments: "The British Government has to put its decision into action and speed up the procedure of moving us from Iraq to the UK as soon as possible. Any delay means that more interpreters will die."
If you're a UK reader, I therefore urge and entreat you to follow this link to a post by Dan Hardie. Dan is a longstanding correspondent of mine who saw the importance, at a very early stage, of pressing the Government to grant asylum to Iraqi interpreters. The issue has nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of the Iraq War. It's solely about the humanitarian imperative of aiding people who are in fear of their lives, and to whom our Government has moral obligations. Dan's post will tell you what action you can take. Please do read it; it's important.
I wrote earlier this week about the Oxford Union invitation to the demagogue Nick Griffin and the faker David Irving. I can't mention my reader David Irving without producing a stream of unsolicited crank mail. The last time I commented on Irving, I heard at length from a couple of nutters called, respectively, Jonathan Burgess and Marisa Lorah. Burgess distinguished himself by threatening me with libel action for calling him a racist, and Ms Lorah demanded to know if I was Jewish. To my languid uninterest, I've heard from them again this week. Burgess refers me to an article in The Guardian by Max Hastings, which argues that Irving's "findings are not always perverted". Burgess demands to know if I regard Hastings as a racist too. My answer is, of course, no.
I find Hastings's judgement of Irving perverse. I have in front of me Irving's book Nuremberg: The Last Battle, 1996, which ends with the "moving words" of the Nazi war criminal Alfred Jodl. It's a foul piece of historical falsification that is devoid of any redeeming characteristic, and is therefore typical of Irving's output. (On his website, Irving periodically compares me to a dildo. I'm relieved to hear it, as I'd be worried if he were to commend me for my "moving words".) But Hastings is a weighty military historian whom I don't for a moment suspect of harbouring racist sympathies.
My crank correspondent Jonathan Burgess is, on the other hand, not a weighty military historian and I have every reason to believe him a racist. As he keeps threatening to sue me for libel for pointing this out, I'll refer Burgess in addition to the unfortunate experience of another litigiously minded serial correspondent, the pro-Milosevic blogger and vulgar fraud Neil Clark. I understate on a grand operatic scale when I say that Mr Clark did not succeed, but only elicited a certain amount of wonderment at his activities as a female impersonator. I am not easily swayed from my right to fair comment on matters of public interest, even by anguished imprecations and threats from so distinguished a party.
It's almost a relief to turn to a nutter who hasn't (so far, at least) threatened me with a libel writ. This is Marisa Lorah of California. Ms Lorah merely writes:
CONGRATULATIONS, DAVID IRVING!!!!! YOU WON AGAIN IF BUT JUST FOR ONE NIGHT. FREEDOM OF SPEECH RULES IN BRITAIN AND "SOME" PEOPLE CAN'T STAND IT. OLIVER KAMM IS THE WORST OFFENDER OF THEM ALL. FREE SPEECH FOR WHOM? DAVID IRVING IS THE HERO OF GREAT BRITAIN, WESTERN EUROPE AND ALL OF THE FREE WORLD. DAVID, YOUR FANS ARE MANY AND WE WORSHIP YOU. THE WORLD WOULD BE A TERRIBLE PLACE WITHOUT YOU.
I'm marginally surprised to hear I'm THE WORST OFFENDER OF THEM ALL, as I've argued in print against laws restricting free speech in order to protect against offence. I've specifically opposed using the law - in Germany as much as anywhere else - as an instrument to curb Holocaust denial. But I would not claim to be able to render coherent the contents of Ms Lorah's universe.