Brendan O'Neill

The rise and fall of Saint Bob

For years Bob Geldof, former Boomtown Rat turned self-styled saviour of Africa, was celebrated as a secular saint. To the annoyance of some of us — including me — he was fawned over by the world media and world leaders, who loved the gruff, messy-haired, expletive-laden “authenticity” he apparently brought to the discussion about global…

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A tale of two protests

Over the past seven days there have been two major demonstrations in London: the anti-capitalist, banker-baiting protests outside the Bank of England that coincided with the G20 summit last week, and a pro-Tamil Tigers demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament yesterday that called on Gordon Brown and the United Nations to put pressure on the…

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An invitation to riot

This week, London will go into lockdown for the G20. On Wednesday April 1, or what protesters are referring to as “Financial Fools’ Day”, anti-banker anarchists and greens are expected to descend on London’s financial districts to hang effigies of bankers and make clear their distaste for capitalism. In preparation, the Metropolitan Police are spending…

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The Orwellian rewriting of nursery rhymes

In George Orwell’s 1984, one of Winston Smith’s depressing jobs at the Ministry of Truth is to rewrite historical documents to make them fit with party orthodoxy. He destroys evidence of problematic past events, amends newspaper articles and deletes from the historical record any people who have since been identified by the party as “unpersons”….

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Of course the House of Lords is corrupt

Britain’s political and media elites are still reeling from the revelation this weekend that the House of Lords might be corrupt, after four lords allegedly offered to amend legislation in return for cold, hard cash. In other news it has been reported that, on the outskirts of Alaska a bear defecated in the woods, while…

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This is about etiquette, not equality

There are persistent rumours that Prince Harry is not his father’s son. But he is certainly his grandfather’s grandson. Like Prince Philip, the undisputed king of making racially-tinged gaffes, Harry has landed himself in hot water for referring to ethnic minorities in derogatory terms. Philip, married to the Queen, has insulted the Chinese (“slitty eyed”),…

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Whoring the Holocaust

The anti-war lobby’s use of Holocaust imagery to protest against Israel’s attack on Gaza is causing a commotion. At a protest I attended outside the Israeli Embassy in London on Sunday, activists waved placards demanding “Stop the Holocaust in Gaza”. One protester held up a home-made banner with a message scrawled in twirly black ink:…

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Anti-imperialism reduced to an emotional spasm

Do you have to brown skin, a Muslim moniker, a beard, and a passing or preferably detailed knowledge of the Koran in order to be angry about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the denial of statehood to Palestinians? Here in Britain, you could be forgiven for thinking so. Many argue, or at least…

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Blaspheming against liberals

On July 8, Britain finally abolished its archaic blasphemy laws. It is no longer a criminal offence for we Brits to speak or publish any contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous words relating to God, Jesus Christ or the Bible. Yet already a new system of blasphemy is filling the gap. Now, anybody who blasphemes against…

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The new scramble for Africa

In well-to-do circles in the West, it has become de rigueur to criticise China for its role in Africa. The Economist, the bible of the business class, has labelled the Chinese “new colonialists.” Concerned liberals in Hollywood accuse China of facilitating genocide in Darfur. More recently, the American and British governments have expressed disappointment that…

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