by Martin Odoni

So, the likely identity of yesterday’s attacker at Westminster has been unveiled. He was a man going by the name of Khalid Masood.

“Well what more evidence do we need?” cry the foam-at-the-mouth racist brigade. “With a name like that he must be a Muslim from the Middle East! He must be an immigrant! A refugee from Syria! Let’s close the borders now…!”

One problem, and it is a very familiar one. Yes, he was a Muslim, I will grant you that. But the thing is, he was not from Syria. Nor from Yemen, nor from Saudi Arabia, nor from the wider Middle East. Come to that, he was not even from abroad.

Khalid Masood was in fact born in the rolling desert wastelands of sun-scorched… Kent. He was living in the mighty, oil-rich Arabian Sheikdom of the West Midlands at the time of his death. He had a record of non-political crimes as long as the average elephant trunk, and that record arguably raises doubts about how appropriate it is even to call the attack yesterday ‘terrorism’. He may just have been a very unstable man who lost control of himself. In truth, terrorism has a very broad definition, and his crime of killing five people, while horrific, is not noticeably worse than, say, Thomas Hamilton at Dunblane, or Derrick Bird‘s rampage in Cumbria. Neither of those atrocities are seen as ‘terrorism’, even though they took more lives.

The reason I call Masood’s nationality ‘a very familiar problem’, by the way, is the historical pattern of terrorist attacks in the name of Radical Islam. Even if we are to assume that this was indeed Masood’s motivation – and we have yet to see any firm evidence that it was – that history shows that Radical Islamic terror, quite simply, does not cross borders all that much. The 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC may give the impression otherwise, but in practice, the majority of atrocities are committed by people who originated in the country where the attack is taking place. These include most (though not all) attacks in Europe. The Paris Attacks of November 2015, for instance, were not carried out by Syrian refugees, but by French and Belgian nationals. As another example, the London Bombings of 2005 were carried out by a group of radicalised and foolish young men from Yorkshire.

This pattern is cardinal, as many people misunderstand the plural nature of Radical Islam. It is not a single, coherent organisation, or even two or three organisations. There are hundreds of very small military groups, and while they share an ideology – based on the Wahhabist ideas of an Egyptian academic called Said Qutb – they have little to do with each other on any practical level. Most of these groups’ goals are very localised, and can even contradict each other’s. (Where the goals are international, they are more about trying to intimidate Western countries against interfering in ‘The Holy Land’ than trying to destroy the West.) So when an attack happens in Europe or the USA, it is far likelier to be by someone from Europe or the USA in the first place, than by someone from the Middle East.

This is why I have argued, and will continue to argue, that the constant, self-absorbed and paranoid hysteria in the media and the wider British public against refugees, is as much futile as it is deceitful, hyperbolic, and cruel. Closing borders to refugees altogether – and let us not forget while the Radical Right bemoan our largely-mythical ‘open borders’ just how few refugees Britain has taken in during the post-‘Arab Spring’ crisis – will have very little positive effect, and considerable negative effect. It is very unlikely indeed to stop terrorists getting into the UK, because any terrorists we are at risk of facing are probably already here, and have probably lived here all their lives. Far from protecting anybody, all it is likely to achieve is increased stigma felt by many desperate people, and thus raise the chances of them becoming radicalised too. Turning away refugees is like trying to heal a broken bone by kicking it.

It does not matter what Nigel Farage or Katie Hopkins want viewers of Fox News Channel to think about this. Khalid Masood was not a refugee, and what happened in London yesterday does not add any weight at all to the case for banning refugees (such as there is one).

One only-loosely-related note to end on; the Islamophobic accusations have extended to attacking a by-stander in the aftermath of yesterday’s attack. A hooded woman was photographed apparently walking past one of the victims, ignoring him as she fooled about with her cellphone, apparently full of ‘Muslim indifference’ to his suffering. In fact, the woman was a nurse, and the below picture takes an example of this attempt to smear her and explains the real reason she had a phone in her hand; –

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by Martin Odoni

I earlier put up a small plea-for-calm over today’s atrocity in London. That plea still stands, but I have few extra points and clarifications I would like to add.

Firstly, more information is now available, including a clear order of events. Contrary to my earlier understanding, the attack was carried out by one person acting alone, and it began, not ended, with a car driving into a crowd of people on Westminster Bridge. The driver then got out of the car, and tried to enter the Palace of Westminster, where he was intercepted by a police officer. The assailant stabbed the officer with a knife before being gunned down by two apparently plain-clothed officers. There is no evidence of an accomplice.

The death-toll currently stands at four, including the police officer and the attacker, and it is to be hoped the toll goes no higher.

The necessity of my earlier plea-for-calm has been demonstrated in the hours since. Between Tommy Robinson of English Defence League infamy taking the opportunity for some Islamophobic rabble-rousing, histrionic doubtful accusations against a man who is apparently in prison, and some classic, barefaced Western hypocrisy, the aftermath of the atrocity has been predictable in its want of thought.

Regarding Robinson, nothing I can say about this evil little man will not already have been said by others. But it was beyond crass of him to talk of the nation being ‘at war’, not least because what wars Britain fights it does so at its own choosing. And it makes that choice with depressing and imperialistic frequency.

Regarding the doubtful accusations, the rumour is circulating that a notorious hate-preacher, born under the name of Trevor Brooks, but nowadays going by the name of ‘Abu Izzadeen’, is the dead attacker. This may potentially come as a mighty surprise to Izzadeen. It certainly did to his solicitor, who insists that Izzadeen is currently in prison, and still breathing without difficulty. Dominic Casciani of the BBC seems very confident about that too. Izzadeen’s ongoing imprisonment has not yet been confirmed by the Metropolitan Police or the Ministry of Justice, so there is still an outside chance that he was the attacker. But it can be taken as a sign of nervous over-eagerness that Channel 4 News, the source of the rumour, has jumped the gun quite so wildly.

And finally, the Western hypocrisy. Sean Spicer, Press Secretary to US President Donald Trump and God’s gift to Melissa McCarthy’s comedy career, gave a briefing to the media earlier, in which he rolled out the usual sentimental clichés about full co-operation, and formal condolences, and support and so on. He also stated that the White House condemns “today’s attack in Westminster”.

I am unimpressed that ‘Melissa’ has the effrontery to condemn such an attack, today of all days. After all I have seen not one example of anyone at the White House condemning an attack carried out in Syria yesterday, one that had a death-toll over eight times higher than the one in London.

Why would that be? Could it be because the victims yesterday were Middle Eastern and not Westerners, and therefore their lives were prejudged to be ‘less valuable’ than those of Europeans? It is partly that, I am sure.

But I think the main reason is that yesterday’s attack was carried out by jets allied to the US Air Force. Therefore it does not ‘count’ as an atrocity, but merely as a ‘misfortune’, one to be treated as an afterthought.

I received some rather ugly comments on my earlier post from some shamelessly racist individuals. I decided not to authorise the comments, and further I have no intention of doing so in the future. But one comment in particular was really galling. Among some other racist assumptions, the user said,

Every non-white crime in a western country is one that shouldn’t have happened at all as the non-whites shouldn’t be here.

Beyond the unsupported nonsense that a person’s right to be in the UK is dependent on their skin colour, and the debatable assumption that the attacker was not white, I was equally contemptuous of the ignorant hypocrisy. How many crimes of extreme violence have white people committed in the Middle East? Such as the one yesterday? How long have white people been in the lands of the Middle East, mainly in order to control the flow of the region’s vast oil reserves, and how often have their Governments shown a casual willingness to use force there to maintain that control? For over one hundred years, and with terrible frequency. Is that not one of the major reasons why radicalised Muslims tend to commit atrocities in the first place? Surely every white crime in a Middle Eastern country is one that should not have happened at all, as the whites should not have been there? It is a lengthy catalogue of such crimes, not least by the US Air Force. Just ask Medecins Sans Frontieres.

But as I say, in too many Western minds, these crimes do not ‘count’. Atrocities are only atrocities when carried out against the West, not when they are carried out by the West.

Everybody loses their minds!

It comes to something when we need the Joker to point out what hypocrites we are.

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by Martin Odoni

Reports have been circulating over the last hour or so (at the time of writing) that there has been a violent incident outside Parliament. My understanding of the incident so far – and it may be subject to change as more details come through – is as follows; –

Someone armed with a knife has stabbed a police officer in the vicinity of the House of Parliament. A couple of plain-clothed officers appear to have shot the assailant while he was running away from the scene. The assailant may have had an accomplice waiting in a car nearby. The possible accomplice appears to have run some people over as he drove off.

The incident sounds very ugly indeed, but as far as we can tell at present, only one life has been lost. One life lost is one life too many of course, but it is hardly on the same scale as the day-to-day atrocities experienced in Iraq for the last fourteen years. It may not even be a ‘terrorist atrocity’ in the accepted, political sense of the term. The Metropolitan Police say they are treating it as a terrorist incident, yes, but only until they get indication otherwise.

Therefore, everybody, please let us have no jumping of the gun, or panic about the attack in Westminster. Please let us have no knee-jerk “CLOSE THE BORDERS NOW” responses from xenophobes who naturally just assume every time something violent happens, “It must be the Muslims!!!!!” It is imperative everybody waits to see what has really happened, without looking to apportion blame or demanding action taken that may make matters worse.

I would also ask people to remember that this would be seen as one of the least violent days in recent memory if this were the only attack that had happened today in, say, Yemen or Syria. European lives are not, ipso facto, more important losses than Middle Eastern lives. Therefore, I hope that this incident is treated with some measure of proportion by the media, and we do not get the tasteless saturation coverage that tends to happen when these horrors happen in Europe and the North America; incidents several scales greater than these are often left in the small print in the Western media when they happen in Africa or the Middle East – when they are mentioned at all. This suggest an unconscious racism that fuels the same xenophobic/Islamophobic outrage when they happen in the West.

Let us keep the outrage, and the racism, under control, and let facts drive our response instead.

UPDATE, 6pm:

Three more deaths have now been confirmed.

Also, I have received several comment-submissions on here that I have chosen not to approve. I normally prefer to allow non-spam comments, subject to initial review, but the two I am discussing here make exactly the sort of racist, knee-jerk assumptions this article is warning against. Under the circumstances, it seems inappropriate to approve such comments and debunk them, as is my usual approach, so I have simply rejected them. PLEASE, if you are a xenophobe or racist who wishes to cash in on this atrocity, do not bother trying to do so on this blog. Your comments will not be approved.

by Martin Odoni

Philip Hammond, the finest Chancellor of the Exchequer since… well, since… erm… um… well, he is somewhat less awful than George Osborne, I suppose.

Tell you what, I should start again; –

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer who is somewhat less awful than George Osborne, was today forced into a humiliating climb-down. In last week’s Budget, he announced a rise in National Insurance contributions for self-employed people. Today, after just seven days of pressure from all corners of the House of Commons including many in his own party (some of whom are themselves self-employed, let it be noted), he performed a sharp U-turn.

During last week’s Prime Minister’s Question Time, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn really went on all-out attack, starting the ‘domino effect’ of opposition that brought about today’s climb-down. The reality is that this is one of Corbyn’s best victories since becoming Labour leader eighteen months ago. So, what congratulations did the media decide to bestow upon him in acknowledgement?

Well, Laura Kuenssberg of the BBC drooled,

…the Labour leader… was the one looking uncomfortable by the end of his weekly clash with Theresa May.

Helena Horton at the Telegraph raved,

Many thought PMQs would be a bloodbath, with Labour landing most of the punches… However, they forgot one thing: that Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of the opposition.

Her colleague, Christopher Hope, also lauded Corbyn on his achievement by commenting,

A compete abrogation of the duty of the Leader of the Opposition.

Andrew Sparrow at the Guardian was also at his usual level of fulsome praise for Corbyn, when he declared,

Corbyn failed dismally to exploit this at the dispatch box.

And so on, and so forth, and yada-yada-yada.

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Read the mainstream media (something I only do with the utmost caution), and you would think that Corbyn has just fallen to his worst defeat. It is frankly breathtaking that the media have decided to find a way to attack Corbyn yet again, even as he has played a key role in forcing a Government U-turn. It is as contrary to the facts as the popular British myth that “Dunkirk was a great triumph”. The determination, especially of the shamelessly aristocratic Kuenssberg, to insist that absolutely anything and everything Corbyn does must be wrong even when it works perfectly seems almost quasi-instinctive now. It cannot be just stubbornness or orchestrated bigotry against the ‘real’ Left anymore, it seems to be just unthinking, ingrained habit. As soon as the media see Corbyn getting out of his seat to speak at the despatch box, they simply assume before he has drawn a breath that he is about to do a bad job, and then find a way to confirm it to themselves. Sure, they probably really do want to make sure Corbyn gets no credit when he deserves it, but it happens so routinely that it has almost ceased to be premeditated.

It has got to the point where the media have largely skated over the detail that today is a major defeat for Hammond that seriously hurts his credibility. Even where this is acknowledged, it is treated as ‘a draw’, or ‘a bad day all round’. It is no such thing, this is a big and embarrassing defeat for the Tories. (And had a ‘Blue Labour’ leader had exactly the same week as Corbyn has had, what would the media be saying now, I wonder?)

Now truth to tell, Corbyn’s performance today, while not exactly jugular-piercing, really was not noticeably weak anyway. A bit ordinary, I would concede, but not weak. But even if it had been, so what? As I have pointed out before, political commentators in Britain are much too focused on the theatre of what happens in the House of Commons, and too little interested in the substance of what happens there. So the media overlook the substantial reality of the U-turn; were it not for the pressure started by Corbyn at last week’s PMQs, the National Insurance policy might not have been overturned at all, let alone so quickly. That has to count as a significant victory for Corbyn; far from ‘abrogating his responsibility as leader of the Opposition,’ he has fulfilled that duty to a tee by effectively combating an unfair Government policy. Instead, the media focus on how ‘insufficiently showy’ Corbyn’s performance was in the aftermath.”Didn’t make good TV, dontchaknow?”

So apparently, Britain’s media imagine cheap point-scoring in a staged slanging match is much more important than getting a bad policy reversed.

Has Britain truly become this shallow?

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by Martin Odoni

Just thought I should draw attention to legal action I will (supposedly) be facing in the near future. Christopher Whittle, whom Hillsborough campaigners all know and love, stumbled onto this blog’s dissection of his (not-terribly-impressive) book, With Hope In Your Heart: A Hillsborough Survivor’s Story, The Denial Of Justice & A Personal Battle With PTSD  this week, and appears to have lost his rag again. If you go to the page and scroll down to the comments section, you will see that Whittle left an angry message, reading as follows; –

Absolute disgrace, ODONI. What the hell do you know about Hillsborough? Your rabid character assassination and failure to grasp the true facts, and to disgracefully deny my own Hillsborough experiences, shows the world what you really are. Expect to be contracted[sic] by my solicitors.

(Once again, we see that the only debating tactic Whittle has is to put occasional words in needless capitals in the strange belief that it makes him seem intimidating and authoritative.)

It would be no exaggeration to say that I am petrified by the prospect of Whittle’s solicitors coming after me looking for damages; no exaggeration, that is, because it would be a flat-out lie. I am not worried at all.

Indeed, I would welcome an opportunity to put Whittle under cross-examination in a public forum, and a damages court would be as good as any. He might imagine that I would be the only one to come under examination, but any such case would require cross-examination of my assertions, which are themselves a cross-examination of Whittle’s own work. Therefore, to assess whether I really am guilty of ‘character assassination’, Whittle’s work will have to be checked during the process to establish whether I have distorted anything he wrote, and whether I am correct to accuse him of written anomalies. So all of the anomalies I and other campaigners have found in Whittle’s book and elsewhere would have to be aired and examined in court. And Whittle, if he is to stand any chance of winning the case, would have to come up with convincing answers for all of them.

Even if he could manage that, which I very much doubt, he still would not win, for three reasons; –

Firstly, the anomalies are in his work, and explaining them away after-the-fact does not change the reality that they were there at times of publication, nor the reality that it is his own failing and not mine that they were there. Enforcement of libel laws cannot be applied retroactively against criticisms made before a clarification.

Secondly, I made very clear in the article that neither I nor the other writers are saying that he was definitively not at Hillsborough, or that his accounts are intentionally untrue; we even offered up possible explanations for some of the flaws in his story. What we are saying is that he is a poor writer, in contradiction of his boasts, and his lack of eloquence or clarity on the page is the likeliest reason for the anomalies listed. (Either that or he really is lying; we cannot think of a third explanation.) Whether Whittle feels that is fair or not, we are merely expressing an informed, objective opinion, and backing it up with detailed examples and verifiable evidence, both of which are in short supply whenever he makes an accusation, as history has shown. It is not an indictable smear to make criticisms when they can be backed up with verfiable facts. If Whittle does not like it, I suggest he a)  moves to a country where reasonable freedom-of-expression is not protected by law e.g Saudi Arabia or Communist China, and b) shows a lot more caution in future when throwing accusations of his own around.

Thirdly, Whittle has shown a remarkable, consistent capacity for attacking what other people write without even reading it. For him to develop a coherent case against me, he would have to sit down and read my essays and learn for the first time what I actually have to say, rather than take his usual approach of just making the assumptions that will help him avoid cognitive dissonance. I very much doubt he is willing to make that effort.

Whittle has no one to blame but himself. Had he not taken such abusive and high-handed public objection to an article I wrote back in 2012, using the fact that he ‘wrote a book’ as doubtful justification for censoring me, I would probably never have heard of With Hope In Your Heart, never felt compelled to obtain a copy of it, to read it, to find so many faults in it (as many others have found), or to write negative reviews of it. I also find it very rich when he complains about his character being ‘assassinated’, given his tendency to blow his top, and to insult, misrepresent and threaten people when they disagree with him. I have endured all of these at his hands over the last five years, and I am well aware that I am not the only one. Whittle’s behaviour has a whiff of Paul Nuttall’s ludicrous recent claims to being victim of a ‘smear campaign’, when he too is merely being confronted with the flaws in his own claims.

So if Whittle feels he has a right to take legal action against me, perhaps I should do the same to him over all the insults and fake quotations he has pinned on me in the past? I suspect my case would have a better chance of winning.

For now though, Whittle, if you are reading this, I am calling your bluff. Bring on your legal action. I am very confident your latest little threat is just hot air. You lack the backbone to follow it up, but even if you do go for it, you have no case against me.

Do your worst, Whittle.

by Martin Odoni

As we all know, Nigel Farage, ex-leader of the UK Independence Party, and Donald Trump, President of the United States (seriously?! Boy, did I get that prediction wrong…), are firm friends. They are both part of the ‘Alt-Right’ – which is of course a politically correct nametag for “Nazis-who-grail-against-political-correctness” – they are both anti-‘Big-Government –  which is of course a politically correct nametag for “rich-people-who-don’t-like-the-Government-making-them-give-money-to-anybody-else” – and they are both deceitfully xenophobic.

This last week, they have both tried to use Sweden as a platform for spreading paranoia about refugees from the Middle East. Trump initiated it in a typically risible fashion at a rally last weekend, and made himself look even more stupid than usual in the process. He invoked an ill-defined ‘atrocity‘ that he thought had occurred in ABBA’s homeland the previous evening. Of course, there was no such atrocity, and Trump was rightly skewered on social media over the next couple of days.

Attempts have subsequently been made by the right wing media to present statistics that, at first glance, suggest Trump had a point (although it is very clear that he had not seen any such statistics before making his gaffe). Political Scrapbook has done a very comprehensive job of explaining why these stats have been completely distorted, so I shall not bother reproducing someone else’s sterling work here. But I do wish to draw attention to a startling irony, from when Trump’s dear chum Nigel got involved. It shows that Farage is not nearly as clever as some people like to think.

Farage, while speaking on LBC Radio, was another to use those same stats to give the idea that Malmo is the ‘rape capital of the world’. No doubt, he thought he was defending his dear friend manfully by making this claim.

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Awww, look at those cute little’uns together like that. But enough about Trump’s hands.

Now, the stats that saw an upswing in recorded rape in Sweden are taken from the years before the surge in refugees from the Arab Spring arriving in Europe, so their relevance to immigration is doubtful in the extreme anyway. But more significantly, they are a reflection on the unusually broad definitions of rape and sexual assault in Sweden.

Rightly or wrongly, activities that are classified as rape in Sweden are not so-classified in other countries. As Doug Saunders of Canada’s Globe & Mail put it in May last year; –

If your boss rubbed against you in an unwanted way at work once a week for a year… in Canada, this would potentially be a case of sexual assault. Under Germany’s more limited laws, it would be zero cases. In Sweden, it would be tallied as 52 separate cases of rape. If you engaged in a half-dozen sex acts with your spouse, then later you felt you had not given consent, in Sweden that would be classified as six cases of rape.

(Italic emphasis mine.)

In other words, Swedish official crime stats actually include many forms of non-consensual touching. (Just to make clear, I am expressing neither agreement with nor disapproval of this definition, I am merely establishing what the Swedish definition is.) Nigel Farage, by using these stats to encourage the notion of sexual offences being out-of-control in Sweden, is endorsing that definition. A definition that includes any non-consensual contact upwards of rubbing up against another person.

In that light, it is hardly a surprise to learn that, just for instance, grabbing another person without their consent by the genitalia, is also classed in Sweden as rape.

If this definition were extended to other countries, then of course the rate of sexual assaults and rapes worldwide would massively increase. But that is not my immediate point. Instead, let us consider the following. With this Swedish definition in mind – the definition that Farage has had to endorse in order to make his argument workable – other than refugees from the Middle East, who else can we think of Farage is effectively accusing of rape? Who can we think of, say, who not only grabs unconsenting women by the genitalia, but then even boasts about it to his friends? Who is classed by Nigel Farage, therefore, as a rapist?

Need a clue?

With friends like Nigel, eh?

by Martin Odoni

A popular hashtag on social media at the moment rightly condemns the UK Prime Minister for her pusillanimous stance on the ban on refugees from certain Islamic countries entering the USA. Theresa May is being called Theresa-The-Appeaser for her mealy-mouthed refusal to criticise the new US President, Donald Trump, for signing an Executive Order closing borders to people originating in seven Middle Eastern countries. (Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, none of them are among the countries in the region with whom Trump has personal business interests.) This was done just as May was preparing to meet the new President for the first time.

The anti-refugee policy drew immediate, scathing condemnation from all over the world, and has seen a second furious tidal wave of protests against Trump across the USA to follow the multi-millions demonstrating for women’s rights last weekend. (Trump only got sworn in nine days ago, and already millions seem ready to start a revolution against him!) But when pressed on the matter by increasingly impatient journalists, May, for long hours, refused to be drawn. Even when one of her own MPs, the Iraqi-born Nadim Zahawi, revealed that he himself would be subject to the ban, May stayed quiet.

The ‘Appeaser’ tag of course invokes memories of Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister at the heart of the notorious ‘Munich Agreement‘ of 1938, shortly before the start of the Second World War. I think the comparison is unfair though. On Chamberlain, that is.

Not quite an appeaser, but no better.

Theresa May lies back on the couch and lets Donald Trump do what he wants.

I am one of those history buffs who have some sympathy with Chamberlain over Munich, as he was in a pretty hopeless position when he tried to negotiate with Adolf Hitler. Chamberlain has long been castigated as the weakling who let Hitler walk all over him, giving up the Sudetenland and leaving Czechoslovakia undefended as the price of Britain not having to go to war, only for war to follow anyway, when Hitler reneged on his promise not to claim any further territories. But people arguing that Chamberlain was a weakling forget that Britain in the 1920s had undergone a massive program of disarmament, and the task of rebuilding the military was only just under way by the time he became Prime Minister. Militarily, Britain was far behind Nazi Germany, clearly nowhere near ready for another war, and in light of Britain’s military weakness at that point, Chamberlain’s concessions to Hitler were understandable, and may even have been wise, as they bought extra time to re-arm.

But more than that, even while Chamberlain made concessions in the face of threats, he still took an explicit position of opposing what Hitler was doing. He did not stay silent in the face of a powerful right-wing extremist; even if the promises Chamberlain extracted from Hitler in return for the concessions ultimately proved to be lies, at least they were born from a genuine attempt at offering up some opposition.

Compare that to May’s behaviour over the last couple of days, and you quickly realise that there is almost no resemblance at all. What May is doing is not even appeasement in fact (a word that is thrown around with depressing frequency, especially by militarists who do not appear to understand its meaning). What May has been doing in the face of right wing extremism is basically nothing; she has merely tried to keep her lips sealed and hoped not to become embroiled in the matter of the refugee ban at all.

What Chamberlain did to try and contain Hitler in 1938 may arguably have been wrong (although as I say, given Britain’s military weakness at that point, that is very much open to debate), but at least he did try and do something against it. Whether we think appeasement was the right action, at least it was not inaction. May’s response to such extremism when faced with it is not even to appease it, it is simply not to talk about it until her hand is forced. Even when she is compelled to speak up, all she says is that she disagrees with the refugee ban, not that she condemns it. (If Vladimir Putin of Russia had come up with a policy as intolerant as this, what, I wonder, would she be saying then?) May is making no real attempt to oppose Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudices, or his cruel rejection of the terrible plight of so many refugees (from wars that the USA and Britain themselves have played significant roles in creating), even though she is not being threatened by a powerful military in the way that Chamberlain was. She is being sycophantic, sucking up to Trump in the hope that he will give Britain a kinder trade deal to prop up an economy that will soon be ailing in the aftermath of leaving the European Union. She is scared of losing such a deal, and she is giving in to that fear.

So even if we accept that Neville Chamberlain was ‘weak’, what do the last couple of days make Theresa May?

An outright coward, perhaps?