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Monday, August 01, 2011 

One rule for them...

Melanie Phillips has written another piece (this might be the only time I ever use a istyosty link) in response to her being included in Anders Breivik's 1,500 page manifesto. It's the usual Phillips attack as defence strategy, and also as usual exaggerates criticism into something much worse, with Sunny Hundal's "singling" her out among other notable writers a "smear".

Sunny himself deals well with most of it, such as how she argues we don't how know far Breivik's political views motivated his massacre, only somewhat undermined by how he uploaded the manifesto just before he went out to commit his atrocity, but there are a couple of parts which are worth a further degree of examination:

But in Breivik’s 1,500-page diatribe, I was mentioned precisely twice. The first time was a quote from an article in this newspaper about family breakdown.

The second was another article about the revelation by a former civil servant that the previous Labour government had kept the public in the dark about a covert policy of mass immigration.

What Phillips omits to mention is that Breivik later refers back to this second piece in the supposedly "hypothetical" part of the manifesto detailing what Knights Templar warriors should do to avoid detection and who they should target. Breivik describes the Mail's reporting and Phillips' article on Neather's comment piece in the Evening Standard as

add[ing] to the documentation which proves that a relatively large multiculturalist network on all levels of European politics: political activists, journalists, politicians, NGO leaders - locally, nationally and on EU level have a deliberate plan to destroy European cohesion, identity, our culture by implementing multiculturalist doctrines and allowing mass Muslim immigration (page 806).

He goes on to conclude:

The common factor between all variations of multiculturalists is that they all believe they are doing the right thing, so they all have good intentions, at least according to themselves. But this can also be said about Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. They were all idealists in their own twisted way. Regardless of their twisted intentions they are all mass murderers and must be treated as such.

It doesn't matter that there was of course no plot or plan to impose multiculturalism or use immigration as a weapon against the right, as Neather himself later said, criticising the Mail and the likes of Phillips for claiming this was the proof of Labour's nefarious intentions; it was however just the sort of "evidence" Breivik was looking for to confirm his prejudices. This puts his use of Phillips' arguments clearly above the dozens of other writers he liberally quoted from or mentioned, not necessarily always with approval. This is still not causation, obviously: Phillips was no more responsible for Breivik's actions than anyone else; it's not however anything approaching a smear to point this out.

As with any number of Phillips articles, she then concludes by contradicting much of what she's just wrote:

The claim that ‘blood is on my hands’ can so easily translate into someone seeking my own blood. Heaven forbid that should happen — but if it did, there would be a direct causal link with those who have whipped up this wicked firestorm.

So, err, even though the link between Breivik's words and his actions hasn't been substantiated, if someone was to now kill Phillips there would be a "direct casual link" between the murderer and those suggesting she ought to at least re-examine some of her writing. It seems then that while there will never be any link between extreme right-wing political thought on Islam and multiculturalism and violence in pursuit of the goals of that movement, anyone who has even so much as criticised Phillips should feel responsible if someone mugs her tomorrow. One rule for them and another for me doesn't even begin to cover it.

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