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March 10, 2007


Backword Dave

Well, I agree with you and think Oxford University is in the right. But this is student politics, which is often silly.


the Star network did not initiate the campaign by its Oxford branch and has in fact disassociated itself from the campaign and asked the Oxford students not to use the STAR name in it.


(also NB that IIRC in his book, Nick Cohen called for the head of Amnesty International to be sacked for her statements on the Live8 campaign and comparisons between Guantanamo Bay and the gulag, and for an employee of Index on Censorship to be sacked for pointing out that Theo van Gogh was a bigot).


Sorry, Chris - I think Star are pretty representative of at least the student left. Most student politics has no intellectual or moral foundation, but is pure tribalism. Anyone that disagrees with one of the tribal beliefs must be cast out and villified. (In this case, I think the belief is that opposition to immigration must be racist, because immigrants are brown, and racism is bad, so being concerned about immigration is exactly the same as herding Jews into cattle trucks.)

Nick Cohen

I don't call for anyone to be sacked in my book. I point out that Irene Kahn the head of Amnesty International was so maddened by the neo-cons she said that poor third world countries didn't need human rights and that Index on Censorship gloated over the ultimate censorship of Van Gogh. No calls for redundancy notices just a record of the 'illiberal imbecilities' of our age, whose number includes the deliberate misrepresentation of uncomfortable arguments.

Brian Berkey

As disappointing as it is, I'm inclined to agree with Cohen's claim that the left, or at least the most active segments of the left on college campuses, has lost its way. At least this strikes me as true of campuses in the United States (I know much less about the situation in the UK). And I certainly agree with you that the left should be able to win the debate over immigration in open and rational debate. Unfortunately, many on the left are not interested in participating in that debate; rather, they want to simply silence anyone who disagrees with them.

The immigration debate is perhaps the issue on which the campus left is most opposed to open debate, and I've written on this phenomenon in several places:



Immigration is a tough issue and a lot of us are conflicted over it. I still think it is easier for island nations to hold a magnanimous posture toward this problem. Imagine a 2,000 km border with a nation of 90 million, half of whom are deparately poor. Can you take them all? Or just the smart ones? Isn't the goal to help poor countries develop real economies that work within their own cultural context?


"Unfortunately, many on the left are not interested in participating in that debate; rather, they want to simply silence anyone who disagrees with them." - nice to know nothing has changed since I was at University 25 years ago.


There are three traps on the road to Socialist Utopia. The first is the belief that if you introduce sufficient legislation then you will have created Socialism (Blair), the second is the belief that Socialism is a matter of administration, and that we all queue up at the Dept of Socialism to be given our equal lives (Brown), and the third is that the case for Socialism is so clear and obvious that anyone who disagrees is either mentally difficient or evil, and in need of re-education or incarceration. The treatment of Migration Watch tends to the third.

Tim Hicks

Similar views expressed @ http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2916/


Sorry Nick, I must have got mixed up between you and "Harry's Place" - you must admit it is quite difficult to tell the difference these days.

John M

Perhaps I can help in your confusion d squared: Nick Cohen is a person, a journalist, you can shake his hand if you get close enough and he writes newspaper and magazine articles and the odd book. Harry's Place is the name of a weblog where various people write various opinions on a variety of subjects. There now, not so hard to tell the difference is it?


Thank you John M. However, it gets much more difficult when you see exactly the same subject and very similar opinions appearing on Harry's Place during the week and then in Nick Cohen's column on the Sunday. It's even more confusing for the general reader because Nick doesn't always make it clear when he has come up with an idea himself and when he is expanding on something written at Harry's Place.

Igor Belanov

Getting easily outraged and demanding the sacking and/or immediate grisly execution of some figure is hardly a trait restricted to sections of the left. Unless the Daily Mail is a socialist newspaper...


Can peoples, such as the English, be free to choose to live in their own territory free of race-replacing immigrantion, and a plutocratic neoliberal government that is bent on nation-killing?

Or can the desires of peoples be safely ignored (unless they are of Nick's ethnicity. of course)?


If you had said 50 years ago that the Moslem population was going to grow 6% a year fro 50 years you would have been hounded as a rabid racist..... and it happened. Do the maths and see where you are in 15 years time with a Moslem party holding the balance of power.

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