The sky is falling! (selectively)

Murdoch’s Times not only went tabloid, it has acquired some down-market degeneracies with it.

A couple of posts back, Malcolm was whining about the comic’s fullest fluffy Murdochian populism. He now bemoans a parallel ghoulish, blood-chilling, thrill-seeking sensationalism.

The Melanie Phillips memorial meme

What provoked this was the third Comment article in yesterday’s fish-n-chip wrapper. After Finkelstein (a contract artist, so comes with the fixtures and fittings) on the holocaust, and the German Foreign Minister soft-soaping the chasm between Cameron and Merkel, comes Maajid Nawaz:

Muslim patrols are s sign of things to come

We should worry that battle-hardened fanatics could impose their dogma on Britain’s streets

Then — yawn! — his opening tries to draw straight-lines across a very uneven surface:

On the streets of Greece supporters of the far-Right Golden Dawn party patrol neighbourhoods, attacking anyone who looks like an immigrant. In Denmark a group calling itself Call to Islam has declared parts of the country to be “sharia-controlled zones” and its “morality police” confront drinkers and partygoers. In France right-wing vigilantes ran Roma families out of a Marseilles estate and burnt down their camp. In Spain nine Islamist extremists recently kidnapped a woman, tried her for adultery under sharia and attempted to execute her before she managed to escape. And here English Defence League thugs march in towns and cities “reclaiming” the streets from Muslims.

Something very worrying is spreading across Europe. Fascist and and Islamist extremists alike are copying what Hitler’s Brownshirts excelled at — enforcing with threats and violence their version of the law in neighbourhoods, And the moderate middle is left gawping.

Well, well: if that had appeared in any inter chat chat-room, Mike Godwin would be invoked:

It was back in 1990 that I set out on a project in memetic engineering. The Nazi-comparison meme, I’d decided, had gotten out of hand – in countless Usenet newsgroups, in many conferences on the Well, and on every BBS that I frequented, the labeling of posters or their ideas as “similar to the Nazis” or “Hitler-like” was a recurrent and often predictable event. It was the kind of thing that made you wonder how debates had ever occurred without having that handy rhetorical hammer…

I developed Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Then there’s the other matter: proportion. The European Union embraces a population of nigh on half-a-billion. Let’s be generous to Maajid Nawaz: he has identified, at most, a few hundred ne’er-do-wells. His nine Spanish Islamists amount to 0.00000019% of the people of Spain. Similarly, there’s a Grand Canyon of difference between the hysterical:

The complete Islamification of Tower Hamlets continues, as anyone who dares to “look like a fag” or drink alcohol in their declared republic now risks harassment walking in the street.

and the factual:

A small group of individuals were recently seen harassing members of the public in East London, and the council is proactively working with partners in the community and police to monitor for further incidents and take appropriate action.

And the marauding Muslim hordes of E1 amounted to precisely

A fifth person has been detained after a video of a ‘vigilante Muslim gang’ tormenting members of the public in east London was released on YouTube.

The 17-year-old boy was questioned at a police station in Walthamstow in relation to incidents that were posted on the video sharing website on January 12 and 13.

The pillars of bourgeois society have not even been vibrated. The events Maajid Nawaz wants to daisy-chain are, taken one by one, not insignificant — but on a continental scale do not register on the Richter Scale of earth-shakers.

Another small country about which we know nothing

Curiously, though, Maajid Nawaz omitted one obvious civil disruption.

We have had some eight weeks of continuing street riots in East Belfast, orchestrated by the local UVF. Arson-attempts, especially on Roman Catholic targets, are regular events. The Police Service have reported dozen of officers injured, truing to contain the almost-nightly excursions. Numerous arrests have been made. The cost is now running towards eight figures. And the machinators are known to all:

A small number of senior UVF men are directing the riots in east Belfast that have brought shame on Northern Ireland.

Two senior henchmen of the UVF chief in east Belfast have ignored warnings from the organisation’s leadership to bring an end to the violence which has left dozens of PSNI officers injured and cost millions of pounds.

And while the UVF’s leader in the east of the city — as the ‘Beast from the East’ — could end the rioting immediately, he has failed to bring his men under control.

Even Andrew Gillian, at the [London] Daily Telegraph knows where to go calling:

What East Belfast, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey do have in common, however, are maverick factions of the Loyalist paramilitary organisation, the Ulster Volunteer Force.

“We’ve got no doubt whatever that this is coming from the UVF,” says Terry Spence, leader of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland.

The East Belfast leader of the UVF – the so-called “Beast from the East” – was not at home to callers when The Telegraph dropped in to his small terraced house in a quiet side street.

His white reinforced front door doesn’t have a knocker or a bell, but there are five CCTV cameras just in case anyone tries to murder him again.

Two of his lieutenants have been spotted in the background helping direct the main East Belfast riots.

Security sources say they are acting with the Beast’s consent, if not the UVF leadership’s active involvement, and he could end the trouble in the area whenever he wanted.

Ugly Doris

If you go to those-in-the-know, you’ll hear a lot about this reclusive figure. Here’s an Analysis from the Irish Times, eighteen months ago:

THE SO-CALLED “Beast from the East” took over the Ulster Volunteer Force in east Belfast about six years ago and has strengthened his power base since then, according to well-placed loyalist sources. He and some of his senior lieutenants are chiefly responsible for the violence in east Belfast over recent days, they say.

He makes his money mainly from “gangster-on-gangster or bad-on-bad crime”, which is chiefly about drug dealing and extorting other criminals – while also managing to maintain some distance from these activities to keep him, so far, out of prison. How to clip his wings is the challenge for the police and also for other members of the UVF…

… what is happening in Short Strand and on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast these past dangerous nights is not about the dissidents. It is about the UVF, which is fomenting the disturbances. And it is primarily about the UVF leader in east Belfast nicknamed the Beast from the East or “Ugly Doris”. The first nom de guerre relates to his east Belfast bailiwick and the second refers to the late Jim Gray, the UDA east Belfast leader or “brigadier” murdered by his own people. He was called Doris Day because of his blond hair and his fondness for Hawaiian shirts, pink jumpers and gold jewellery. The UVF leader is said to resemble Gray only in his strands of blond hair – hence Ugly Doris.

According to senior loyalist sources, the new man, who is in his 40s, has “lost the run of himself” and is becoming increasingly dangerous and, some fear, almost unstable. “He is creating a little empire for himself in east Belfast and is now flexing his muscles,” said one loyalist insider. “He is also partial to cocaine and likes to party . . . He believes he is untouchable.”

The Belfast Telegraph identified the East Belfast UVF as:

… the most powerful paramilitary faction in Northern Ireland.

With a fiefdom stretching from the Lagan’s edge on the Newtownards Road to Millisle, Donaghadee and beyond, it struts a swathe of territory no other loyalist element can match.

It has dwarfed the UDA in east Belfast and the Ards Peninsula to the point where seasoned paramilitaries declare a ‘no contest’ between the two loyalist terror groups.

Note that didn’t say most powerful Loyalist paramilitary faction in Northern Ireland. Nor are we considering a handful of self-advertisers in Brick Lane, or even a tight little gang of perverts in Malaga. This is something far bigger, far nearer to the dystopia with which Maajid Nawaz would wish to chill us.

What you don’t find in those columns, usually, is a given name for the Beast a.k.a. Ugly Doris. He is (pace Susanne Breen) A former prisoner from a well-known loyalist family. His code-title is “S” [the UVF just lurve these Ian Flemingesque touches]. Look a bit further and you’ll find the name of Stephen Matthews.

Now there’s a candidate for Maajid Nawaz’s little black book.

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Filed under Belfast, bigotry, broken society, crime, Irish Times, Northern Ireland, Religious division, Times

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