On Sunday, I had the pleasure of “debating” with Breitbart London’s white supremacist executive editor on the BBC Sunday Morning Live Show, writes Dilly Hussain.
James Delingpole, was arguing — to a chorus of disapproval from co-panellists (including me) — that he found nothing to be ashamed of about British history. Despite a long track record of oppressive colonisation, genocides and massacres – James arrogantly refused to acknowledge any of the “bad things” in Britain’s past: the Boer concentration camps, Aden’s torture centres, the Chinese “resettlement”, the Amritsar massacre, the Cyprus internment, the brutal crushing of the Iraqi revolution during the 1920s, the partitioning of India, the Irish “potato famine”, the Kenyan concentration camps, and the Bengal famine (which many white non-Muslim historians held Winston Churchill responsible).
Perhaps I’m a cultural relativist or a “rebellious subject” of the British colony of Bedfordistan, but I must admit that at no point during James’ contributions did I get the impression of an objective journalist from a position of factual knowledge and a balanced understanding of British history.
Let me apologise for having the audacity to question the white, middle-aged, public-school and Oxbridge educated middle class political pundit. But getting James Delingpole to come on to the BBC to talk about British history was about as profound and insightful as inviting Austin Powers to lecture viewers about aeronautical engineering.
On a side note, it appears that James isn’t only intolerant towards outspoken “Islamists” who highlight the factual crimes of the British Empire (which he finds hard to swallow) but he also has a problem with fat people.
This is what James thinks about the obese:
“What I am against is the disturbing modern cult of ‘fattism’ whereby being overweight is seen as somehow both blessed and consequence free, but being a great porking lard butt is neither of those things…It isn’t blessed because other people have to look at those layers of wobbling fulminous flesh, it isn’t pretty and it isn’t conducive to reproduction.”
Sounds like the same gibberish that Katie Hopkins spouts if you ask me.
But funnily enough, in the same documentary, James also mentions how one of his favourite “fat people” is Winston Churchill – which then made sense why he got so upset when I mentioned that the former British Prime Minister has been accused by historians of perpetrating the Bengal famine that resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million people – a conservative estimate.
Furthermore, in his poorly written diatribe (the structure which I’ve lazily copied) published yesterday on the right-wing Breitbart London site, he conveniently forgot to mention that Churchill’s role in establishing Regents Park Mosque was in fact a trade-off for a cathedral to be built in Cairo.
Or that it was Churchill who ordered chemical bombs to be used against the Kurds in Mesopotamia in the 1920s. Also, that his favourite fat British bulldog famously said: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”
What is there for a British Muslim of Bangladeshi heritage not to “love” about Churchill eh? James’ disgust towards the views of the grandson of a former British colonial subject, not an actual British-born citizen, was there for all to see live on TV.
Don’t you just love that habitual white privileged mentality which dictates what non-white Britons should love about British history? That’s exactly what I thought when James said to me, “this is your country, this is your history but you just want to diss it.”
Arrogance or ignorance?
Delingpole’s historical knowledge — none of which was actually displayed on Sunday — seemed to be based on the warped premise that Britain is basically heaven on earth (irrelevant of the death and destruction to get there), and this was evident due to all the brown faced ‘A-rabs’ jumping onto boats from North Africa and Syria, many drowning to death in the Mediterranean, to get to the Promised Land of the United Kingdom.
Clearly, James was ignorant of the fact that the reason why Libyans, Syrians and Iraqis were escaping the Sykes-Picot nation states, was because Britain colonised, looted and then installed despotic dictators to secure its geopolitical interests – that being the root cause, not the superficial symptoms.
So when these facts were presented, which the other panellists nodded in agreement to, James thought he’d be smug and ask me where I’d be “happy to live” besides the UK – the typical red-herring thrown at Muslims by far-right racists when they “cuss” Britain’s colonial crimes.
To his surprise, assuming that I’d say Bangladesh, Syria or Saudi Arabia, I affirmed that I was happy in the UK.
Seriously out of touch
For a journalist, James’ grasp of current affairs was even more pathetic than his refusal to accept historical facts about Britain.
He thinks the Trojan Horse investigation, which was debunked by the Education Select Committee in March, was an actual plot by Islamists to takeover Birmingham state schools.
James also thinks ISIS has everything to do with Muslims; forgetting that President Barack Obama admitted in an interview with VICE News that “ISIL was the unintended consequence of the invasion of Iraq.”
And I’m guessing he thinks the motivation behind Michael Adebolajo murdering Lee Rigby was all down to an Islamist ideology, and nothing to do with harassment from the security services, legitimate foreign policy grievances, and the adoption of distorted theological positions.
But of course, all the aforementioned reasons, which have been stated by academics, counter-terrorism experts, as well as James’ “reasonably good university friend” Prime Minister David Cameron, are merely the relativistic propaganda of the “BBC’s pet Islamist”.
Now, I can understand why the BBC invited James, as they needed a pompous middle-class white man to embarrass himself amongst a panel of reasonable commentators.
But it does worry me — as a licence fee payer and a staunch advocate of improving the British media’s moral standards and impartiality — that the BBC may have unwittingly been guilty of racism by having invited James onto the show. Actually, his presence pretty much equated to giving the English Defence League or Britain First a platform, just with a posher voice.
Certainly, if I were a humble, tolerant, indigenous white Briton, I think I’d be seriously insulted if a white supremacist had been invited on by the BBC to represent the voice of reasoned British folk.
“A seriously snobby and intolerant toff,” I’d be thinking. “That’s just what we Brits need to help the ethnic minorities to integrate.”