Monday, March 12, 2007

This week I have been mostly reading...

Here's what I have been reading this week...

A good column by Bruce Anderson in the Independent on the Pat Mercer army race row

''At one stage, all five of his [Mercer's] company sergeant-majors were black. Everyone in the battalion knew that they had not been promoted because they were black any more than they would not have been promoted because they were black. In Robin Hood's Own, as in all regiments, there was a lot of banter and, for some reason, the principal targets were red-haired men. The soldiers refer to them as "gwaas". Though no one knows the origin of that term, it is bound to be obscene. Col Mercer was once in a Warrior-armoured vehicle. The gunner was black and the second-in-command had ginger hair. The radio operator broadcasted: "We have a gwaa in the car." "I'm not a gwaa," said the young officer, "I'm a strawberry blond." The gunner then joined in: "A gwaa in the car and a nigger on the trigger." If everyone could joke as those soldiers did, race relations in Britain would be less tense.
Last week, Pat Mercer tried to make an important point, which was lost in the furore. Political correctness should have as little to do with military training as with military humour

Bruce then goes on to say that despite Patrick Mercer's exemplary record, he still had to go.

' Even so, Mr Cameron was right to sack Col Mercer. There is a catch-all charge in the British Army, applicable to any idle soldier in the non-performance of his duties: "conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline". Pat Mercer was guilty of conduct prejudicial to good order and political discipline.'

But he hopes he will be back soon, and so do I.

Are you a racist? Take the implicit association . Via a very good article on defining a racist on


A good round-up of the pros and cons of drug legalisation/prohibition can be found here on Wikipedia. Will save you a lot of time if you read it as you can then amuse yourself having compelling arguments and being Devil's Advocate either way.

Devil's Kitchen wonders why Iain Dale is a Tory.

To state this quite clearly and for the avoidance of doubt, Iain Dale is fundamentally opposed to Cameron and the Conservative Party on all of the major issues that the Tories have deigned to pronounce on. And he is not the only one; very far from it, in fact'

Iain answers back here.

I'm sure when our grandchildren are drowning/boiling/starving to death as a result of catastrophic climate changes they will be less than chuffed that we as a generation refused to engage with the fact that we were heading for meltdown because it was politically inexpedient to do so. I can't understand climate change deniers, even if it does turn out that mankind isn't 100% responsible for the alarming changes in the weather and the melting of the icecaps, it still behoves us to be a bit more responsible and stop doing the equivalent of using the kitchen sink as a toilet, does it not? And anyway, look out the window. Geraniums in bud in February? Wake up...

Curious Hamster on nuclear weapons, gloomy stuff.

Things that made me laugh this week... Olly's Onions blog, especially this. And Justin on Gordon's pearly whites.



Blogger LH said...

As I read it, you believe that the fact that people are also abusive and discriminatory against red haired people illustrates that their bigotry towards the colour of peoples skin is incidental/mininimal. My experience is that the general public is increasingly bigoted towards red hair and over the past few years, prejudice against the same is far from unusual. Most people DO joke "as these soldiers did". They do so openly and frequently - and it amounts to "bullying" all the same.

March 12, 2007 8:36 pm  
Blogger Henry North London said...

Hey Rachel

You ok?

With bestest regards


March 12, 2007 9:54 pm  
Blogger fridgemagnet said...

Argh. I keep seeing this idea that calling soldiers niggers and beating them up while dressed as the KKK and all that is "toughening them up" and they should "expect that sort of thing if they join the army". Sorry, I can't stop myself, this just happens to be the point where I snap. Of course it bloody isn't and they shouldn't. It's internal, institutional bullying, tacitly accepted, a million miles away from the sort of banter Bruce Fucking Anderson would like us to believe it is. Nobody sits there and thinks "well we must make sure every soldier receives the requisite amount of abuse, let's see, we can have a go at the black soldiers like this, but we can't do that with the white soldiers so let's make sure they get an extra ration for some other reason - after all, we've got to make sure they're all tough enough".

Let's not forget what this was all in response to - the idea that Commonwealth soldiers had the temerity to suggest they wanted to form a union because of racial discrimination.

> "They were saying they were going to take the 'nigger' to burn. That black people never used to have rights, they shouldn't have rights now," he told the BBC.

> Clancy said his complaints were not addressed by his superiors.

> "Nothing was done. Because I made the complaint I was further victimized," he claimed in the BBC article.

> "As a serving soldier myself, personally, I have gone through the chain of command time and time again within the 7 1/2 years I have been in the army and time and time again the chain of command have failed me."

But oh no, this is all just a load of political correctness.

Mercer doesn't seem to be any sort of rivers-of-blood racist by any means, he's probably better-adjusted than many in his position, but he's taking the easy "well it's just banter it doesn't really exist there's nothing serious they're just whinging" see-no-evil attitude that allows this sort of stuff to continue to exist.

March 14, 2007 12:25 am  
Blogger fridgemagnet said...

Sorry, nothing personal, I just had to rant.

March 14, 2007 12:42 am  
Blogger Sir Francis Walsingham said...

On the environment -

A couple of thoughts that I don't believe I have seen expressed elsewhere.

Formerly The Anon

March 14, 2007 8:47 pm  
Blogger David Anthony said...

Interesting, on the race test I scored a moderate preference to white european with good compared to black american with good.

But on the second test I tried, I scored a moderate association of Asian American with American and European American with Foreign compared to European American with American and Asian American with Foreign.

I think a lot of it has to do with the order its presented. I didn't get into the swing of it until midway through the first test, and midway through the second test I got overconfident and began making mistakes.

Interesting test though, made me think. Going to link to it from my own blog in the morning. thanks for the tip.

March 18, 2007 1:32 am  

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