Yet another week of screeching headlines that have actual useful lessons tip-toeing around behind them, I think.
Let's start with David Cameron's absurd plan to protect Muslim women by deporting the ones that don't learn to speak English. Most of what needs to be said about it has been said already, so I'll just add the following -
- To anyone who has ever asked the rhetorical question "Why won't feminists say (my fucknut opinion about the Muslims)?", Cameron's ludicrous PR stunt provides the answer - Because they will then be used to justify whatever shit-thick policy proposal the Prime Minister decides will make him look good.
I imagine that the various campaigners for women's rights and secularism, and against honour killings, female genital mutilation and all manner of other religion-and-culture-related horrors, did not imagine that their principled efforts were ripe to be picked up by the PM and used to justify his latest Gosh I dislike the fucking immigrants just as much as the voters do nonsense. And yet, that's exactly what has happened.
Much as it happened when feminists and other right-on types picked up on and publicised the kidnapping of girls by Boko Haram, people who commit great investments in time and effort to thankless tasks now find circles of (mostly) dudes demanding that they endorse the idiotic ideas of one very rich and powerful dude who is using their campaigns to boost his approval ratings. Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose.
- Also, the Westminster inquiry into how Britain helped to hopelessly fuck up Libya to a state spectacularly worse than its previous fuckage has been going on this week, and has been unsurprisingly under-publicised.
I'll spare you the details, and note that the inquiry has revealed that the government authorised the Libya campaign without having the slightest idea what it was doing, what its allies intended to do, who it was helping or what the effect of their actions would be. They understood almost nothing about the country or the various factions that they were supporting and displayed not a jot of interest in finding out anything more.
This being Parliament, there are excuses - mostly, these are of the "We made mistakes because we were so darned enthusiastic about peace" variety. The message that comes across loud and clear is rather that they immediately decided on a gung-ho course of action and simply shouted down anyone who tried to advise them against it, mainly because they are extremely vain and confident in their own barely-existing common sense.
You'll note that all of this chimes almost precisely with the statements of those who strongly advised against the Libya War before it got underway. Having watched exactly the same debacle unfold repeatedly, I don't now expect to see any apologies for either the wild war-fever or for the denunciations and condemnations which were so freely bandied about in 2011.
Which is just as well, because there are none and there never will be any, mostly because the people who were dishing out the abuse then are just as pompous and self-regarding now.
And while we're on the topic of people with big, crazy ideas for improving the lives of foreigners via military hi-jinks, let's note that that ball is still rolling ever-onward.
- Times columnist David Aaronovitch is this week demanding 300,000 troops to Syria, on the grounds that anything else is unrealistic.
Now, you and I know that nobody is going to send 300,000 troops to Syria. Dave knows it too. In fact, everyone who sees this understands that it's much like saying "We must deploy the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers to Syria, or else". And yet, there it is.
Elsewhere, Nick has a grand idea for helping out the Kurds in their fight with Islamic State - why don't we just arm them to the teeth, to show our support for their cause? And not only should we arm them to the teeth, but doing otherwise is a disgraceful failure that brings shame upon our ancestors.
As commenters point out, the obvious answer to this question is Because we would instantly make Turkey our deadly enemy, and would massively infuriate the Americans.
This is so obvious that it shouldn't need saying and it'd be quite reasonable to acknowledge this, and to then debate the pros and cons of arming the Kurds anyway. Since doing so would require Nick to actually think about the issue however, he decides instead to ignore it entirely. Thus he achieves the remarkable feat of writing a column about the Kurds that actually leaves the reader more ignorant after reading it, rather than less.
- Which brings us to the miserable state of Syria, about which there has been much mounting of high-horses this week.
In amongst all the calumnies and excoriations, one simple fact has been true since the very start of the Syrian War, and it's this - everyone agrees that the war is terrible and unacceptable, and few of the people shouting loudest about it want the war to actually end. Almost everyone commenting on the war instead wants their chosen faction to win.
Consider - shriekers and chest-pounders like James Bloodworth are perfectly well aware that victory for the Syrian rebels, whether we mean the actual Jihadist groups or the largely fictional armies of secularists, would involve precisely the same amount of artillery bombardments, seige-warfare and bloodshed.
And yet, few if any of them ever express a desire for the war to end. This tells us that it's not so much the extreme violence and death that upsets our commentators, as it is the fact that it's mainly happening in the wrong postcode. They're not so much upset that people are dying, as that it's the wrong people who are dying.
If it were in their power, few of our pundits and politicians would stop the guns firing, and would instead turn them upon the populations that they believe are more deserving. And make no mistake, they'd find reasons to approve of the destruction, exactly as they've done in Libya and Iraq and god knows where else.
All of which is worth bearing in mind, the next time that some joker announces that the situation in some benighted country is an intolerable enormity, and that something must be done about it.