A Blogging Pick’n’Mix


I love the blog Harry’s Place. It is genuinely informative on issues around Islamic extremism in the UK and it delights in indulging in a spot of Trot-bashing now and again. However, the blog’s slant is firmly pro-Israeli, and although the regular contributors have nuanced and sensible views on the Middle East situation a lot of the comments are along the lines of ‘anyone who criticises Israel is Jew-hating anti-semitic Jew-hater’. This gets tiresome after a while.

A recent guest post by s.o.muffin at Harry’s Place was thus a breath of fresh air. The idea that Israel’s actions are not necessarily rational chimes with a lot of the foreign policy analysis work that I am reading at the moment. Here’s an explanation of the cognitive bias known as ‘Fundamental Attribution Error’: when one side explains the disliked behaviour of others as a result of their disposition, while explaining their own behaviour based on the situational constraints that they face, this is a fundamental attribution error. Sounds exactly like the mainstream Israeli view of Hamas (and, to be fair, the Palestinian view of Israel).

Once you’ve read that why don’t you pop over to comrade Don Paskini’s place where he criticises the media coverage of the dispute at Lindsey and the wildcat strikes. I of course agree with the sentiments expressed by VoteRedGoGreen here, but would only like to add my distaste at those middle-class newspaper columnists who dismiss the strikers as xenophobic idiots. These workers are not going to be simply reassured that, whilst they might be losing out, skilled British labour and those dynamic enough to travel abroad to find work do well out of the European market. Anyone who has studied the political economy of protectionism knows that societies tend to be more concerned about perceived losses than they are enthusiastic about relative gains! Hopefully some sort of settlement has been reached. One of the many lessons to be taken from this is that we all need to learn more about European Union law, how it works, and how we can improve it if we need to! Perhaps we will organise a test for our readers. I wonder what Frank Owen would have made of it all?

For some light relief why don’t you take a stroll over to Dave’s Part where David Osler lays into the Daily Mail for printing brainless reactionary codswallop (something it has been known to do on occasion). To be more specific, a Mail columnist used the recent report published by the Children’s Society to blame absolutely everything that had ever gone wrong on the silliness of the left. It is along the lines of ‘Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?!’ Osler gives a firm leftist rebuttal. Dave’s Part attracts a lot of Trots and they are oft to be found lurking in the comment section. I especially enjoyed the comment about the nuclear family being a creation of capitalism and that humanity needs to return to its tribal instincts. The commenter disagreed with the Daily Mail piece, for in his opinion the left is not anti-family enough! Again, I can only wonder what Frank Owen’s take on the whole thing would have been. He had a wife and son of course, but he was also an openminded sort of chap.

And so in that spirit of intellectual enquiry we at the Paintbrush will endeavour to continue bringing to your attention posts from around the blogosphere which tickle our fancy.

Captain Jako


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