In the spirit of Janus, the god with two faces who looks both forward and back, who lent his name to this first month of the new year, I want to try and reassure you that I'm not just some kind of nasty person with a chip on his shoulder who's out to chuck kebabs at people.
So I thought to myself: perhaps I've been a bit harsh on Rod Liddle over the past year. Sure, what I may or may not write about him doesn't affect him in the slightest; he's more than happy churning out his "Ooh isn't inner city London terrible?" articles from his sleepy Wiltshire village in complete ignorance of my existence, among other things, and long may it continue. Who am I to try and rush in and save the day and say that he's a racist, or a dimwit, or that he gets things calamitously wrong, with a whiff of something distinctly smelly, in his polemical pieces? Is that really my job?
So I thought to myself: wouldn't it be a nice thing, for the new year, to try and find some people who agree with Rod Liddle, and to take their views on board, and wonder if I maybe am being a bit silly with my criticism of him? I think that's fair enough, isn't it, and it'll stop me hand-wringing for a while. So here's a nice post on a messageboard saying that Liddle's entirely right:
See, 'Quantum' agrees with Liddle's piece about black people and violence entirely. That's a good start. Now, where did he write that piece of congratulation...? Let me see... oh yes, it was the Stormfront website, for far-right extremists.
Well yes yes, but that's just a small example. Perhaps we can find an example of someone else entirely agreeing with Liddle. Ah yes, here we are. Here's someone who enjoyed a Rod Liddle article he repeated it in full, with his quotes in the brackets afterwards:
See, there's quite a fan base out there. And that was written by a Mr Lee Barnes. He's not an extremist, unless he's the same Lee Barnes who said the other day that burning down an immigration camp was not a crime, which I'm sure he isn't. Oh. Hang on, it is.
Right, let me try a bit harder now. I'll find someone else who agrees with Liddle, who isn't member of a far-right organisation, and then you'll understand the broad appeal, and not-at-all-racist nature, of what the Spectator's sparkling correspondent has to say. Ah yes, here's one:
There we are, that's not on a far-right website, that's the British Democracy Forum. They're not nutters and far-right racists, are they? I mean, they've got a whole forum dedicated to immigration that is specifically non-racist - that shows they value debate that doesn't descend into neo-Nazi racism. I mean have a look at this post from the Rod Liddle discussion page for an example of what I mean:
Oh. Ah. This isn't really doing my attempt to say sorry any good, is it. It would appear that a lot of people with some fairly smelly views do appear to be delighted that Liddle is voicing the opinions they believe in, which they encourage others to post onto as many news sites and message boards as possible. But that's not his fault, is it? I mean, it's not as if he's now started attracting people who think they can be genuinely racist to his stories, because they think it's acceptable under his byline, is it?
So another jiggaboo straps a bomb to his leg and trys to blow up an airplane but blows his leg off instead.