February 12, 2013
Top marks to the gay Jewish parents who have written to the Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather to dissent from Ms Teather's opposition to equal marriage (http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/102435/gay-jewish-parents-slam-catholi...). Slightly lower marks, perhaps, for the headline about "Catholic MP" - or am I being over-sensitive? Yes, I believe that Sarah Teather is indeed a Roman Catholic, and it is perhaps reasonable to mention her Catholicism in the context of reporting her views on gay marriage, but headlining it "Catholic MP", as if her Catholic identity was the only factor...Would we like it if the Catholic Herald gave a "Jewish MP" headline to a story about liberal Catholics writing to a Jewish MP to complain about the MP's conservative stance on gay marriage? I wonder. Incidentally, since last year's reshuffle, Sarah Teather is no longer, as the story would have it, a minister.
Re:- David Ward, by the way, I have written:
There's an old joke in which a beggar asks a distinguished gentleman for money in the street, and the distinguished gentleman pompously replies: "'Neither a borrower nor a lender be' - William Shakespeare." To which the beggar responds: "'F**k you' - David Mamet."
I am reminded of this joke by the fact that, while David Ward has called in aid a quotation in his defence from Noam Chomsky (http://davidward.org.uk/en/article/2013/658628/noam-chomsky-defends-davi...), Mr Ward has inadvertently omitted to also inform his readers that Elie Wiesel, whom Mr Ward had previously also quoted in his own defence (http://davidward.org.uk/en/article/2013/654457/bradford-mp-condemns-isra...), has said: "Although he (Mr Ward) quotes me correctly, I am outraged that he uses my words at the same time he utters shameless slanders on the State of Israel" (http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2576/exclusive_nobel_laureate_elie...).
Leaving aside the fact that Noam Chomsky's 9/11 nincompoopery has left him widely discredited (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2011/05/c...), and also leaving aside the fact that Mr Chomsky's eminence in semiotics (not that I am antisemiotic) does not especially qualify him to comment on the specifics of what is and isn't considered acceptable language in British political discourse, I note with sad amusement that Mr Ward informs us on his website that Mr Chomsky was due to speak via video link at some ghastly-sounding London conference of "Not in my name!" people, alongside a bunch of illiberal Labour MPs and Respect Party types (http://tenyearson.org.uk/).