James O’Brien (left) questioned the credentials of a deceased Jewish Holocaust survivor in order to make a specious political point about Jeremy Corbyn (right).
I used to think LBC radio host James O’Brien was one of the good guys but his disrespect for a deceased Jewish survivor of the Nazi Holocaust is utterly unacceptable.
O’Brien was referring to the 2010 Holocaust Memorial Day event at which Hajo Meyer, a Jewish Holocaust victim who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, attacked Israeli government behaviour towards Gaza, comparing it with that of the Nazis.
It seems the presenter considered such a comparison, by somebody who should know, to be unacceptable and he claimed Mr Meyer made his speech behind the “camouflage” of being a Holocaust survivor.
How utterly despicable.
For O’Brien to attack a man who is not only dead, and therefore unable to respond, is bad enough.
But to diminish the suffering Mr Meyer endured in life by claiming he was under “camouflage” is beyond the pale.
It is also, quite clearly, anti-Semitic: Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of Nazi Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
Has Mr O’Brien ever been forced to endure persecution because of his race, religion, skin colour, ethnic group or any other such distinguishing feature?
Has he ever been forced into a concentration camp, worked like an animal and starved nearly to death?
Has he ever had to live in fear of being murdered alongside a multitude of people like him?
No. He hasn’t.
But he took it on himself to insult the memory of a man who had, in order to score a cheap political point against Jeremy Corbyn, who has apologised for appearing at the event in which Mr Meyer made his speech, even though he was not responsible for its content.
And what did Mr O’Brien do, when he was challenged over his behaviour by a listener? Did he apologise?
Not a bit of it. See for yourself:
James said: “Get lost, seriously. You honestly think when you’ve got the leader of the Labour Party sharing a platform with people who compare Jews to Nazis, you think my vocabulary is the most interesting and important element of this story?
“You, pal, are the problem.You’re the reason why this country is on its knees. You are the reason why the nastiest, most vindictive Tory administration we’ve seen in decades is still hanging on to power.
“You are the reason why, because you’ve got a party led by a man who has the moral integrity of a Kit Kat and yet somehow has managed to persuade significant swathes of decent people that he speaks for decency.
“No he doesn’t, he’s a disgrace. And if the Labour Party was led by anybody else it would be 20 points ahead in the polls.”
Can you see any solid evidence to support his vile claims about Mr Meyer in that vicious rant?
Neither can I.
All I can see are ad hominem attacks and insults on a listener who is perfectly entitled to their opinion, and on the leader of the Labour Party.
This is behaviour that falls well below the standard expected of people in public life.
Ralf Little was talking about his dialogue with Jeremy Hunt in an interview conducated by James O’Brien on LBC.
Actor – and former medical student – Ralf Little appeared on radio to repeat his appeal for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to take part in a live-broadcast debate with him about the state of the NHS.
Mr Hunt had previously challenged Mr Little, on Twitter, to prove his claim that the Health Secretary had “knowingly” lied to the public using inaccurate statistics, in an interview on The Andrew Marr Show.
Talking with James O’Brien on LBC, Mr Little said: “In hindsight that was probably a regrettable choice of words.”
But he said he still wanted to debate the facts – in the name of transparency.
Mr Hunt, on the other hand, has become reticent. His claim is that he only challenged Mr Little to a debate because the other man had said he “knowingly” lied, and would not take part in such an event on any other terms.
“It’s getting extremely semantic and… extremely technical, and it may even be legally sound,” said Mr Little. “But what it feels like is, this man who’s a clever politician… is obfuscating and avoiding a serious discussion about the NHS, and mental health, and the future of the NHS, off the basis of a semantic argument and a technical argument, and I don’t think that’s reasonable.”
Mr Little said he had debunked two of Hunt’s claims and actually bolstered one, the health secretary having undersold his achievement.
Little told James O’Brien he couldn’t believe the Tory had tried to dispute Hawking’s cherrypicking claim: “Literally, his job is to analyse evidence and use that to theorise the most extraordinary things that most of us can’t comprehend.
“If anyone knows what cherrypicking statistics is, and how evidence works, it’s Stephen Hawking. If he’s telling you you’re getting it wrong, you listen. Surely?”
He said: “Where the problem comes is going, ‘Everything’s going really well,’ and it’s simply not true or it’s certainly not the full story… It’s the NHS. We need to know what’s going on with it… We need to know it’s not being privatised on the quiet.
“Again, something I’d like to ask the man.”
Here’s the full interview:
It seems to This Writer that Mr Little has a very strong point.
It doesn’t matter whether Mr Hunt “knowingly” lied or inadvertently quoted false figures – the end result is the same.
We can’t allow ourselves to believe a word he says.
Maybe he doesn’t want to clear that up.
If so, that might be a worse stain on his character.
James O’Brien of ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’ (LBC) Radio is becoming quite the needle in the flesh of the UK Independence Party, writes Martin Odoni.
A few months ago, many will recall, he gave the party’s loathsome leader, Nigel Farage, an absolutely bruising grilling live on air, and triggered several rather telling xenophobic ‘slips’ from Farage. This week, he presented a phone-in in which he spoke to a UKIP supporter going by the name of ‘Jack’, and exposed rather easily just how little that ‘Jack’ knew about the party he supports with such unquestioning passion.
Now, it has been pointed out by a few people on social media that it is perhaps a little one-eyed to mock ‘Jack’ for his abject failure to make a case for UKIP, or even for his own support for them. One counter I have heard or read more than once is, “I doubt if you asked most supporters of any of the three main parties what their policy platform is, that they could give you a better answer than this.”
But even so, I don’t feel in any way sorry for ‘Jack’ that he has been given a bit of a public kicking over social media since, because he really brought the ridicule on himself… I fear that ‘Jack’ fits a wider pattern of UKIP-supporter behaviour. He is whiny and paranoid whenever confronted, not with propaganda, but with simple evidential facts about the party’s uglier characteristics, among both its membership and its policies. ‘Jack’ is very loud, and goes out of his way to make sure that everyone hears him, so when he says something stupid, everybody knows about it. He speaks up with impassioned certainty and love in defence of UKIP, while not really knowing anything much about the people running it, or what they aim to do. He almost seems to have a teenage ‘crush’ on UKIP.
UKIP may have experienced some pretty significant wins over the past 24 hours, however all you have to do is listen to one of their average supporters to realise how far they still have to come, writes Oliver Wheaton inMetro.
A supporter who recently called in to radio station Leading Britain’s Conversation (LBC) seemed to be just as loud as Nigel Farage but had very little information on UKIP policies.
When host James O’Brien asks Jack, from Welling, what the party stands for, the hapless supporter is at a loss for words.
After struggling through some meaningless rhetoric about immigration, Jack stutters through several David Brent-like answers, such as: ‘Loads of things.’
When Mr O’Brien continues to press Jack for one UKIP policy he is met with several awkward pauses.
Poor Jack at one point even asks the host himself about UKIP’s policies, suggesting he didn’t exactly come into the debate as an informed voter.
Friends in right-wing places: Nigel Farage with (among others) US right-wingers Ron Paul and James Beeland Rogers Jr. [Image swiped from Pride’s Purge.]
LBC radio interviewer James O’Brien’s encounter with Nigel Farage has been gaining attention and approval up and down the UK, after it became clear that the charismatic UKIP leader wasn’t just defeated on many issues – he was routed.
Considering Farage’s own win against Nick Clegg in the televised debates earlier this year, it seems we’ve come to a lamentable situation in this country, where politicians can lose a battle of wits with anyone who has taken the time to do a little research.
That being said, if anyone were to ask who you would prefer to have running the country, it’s unlikely that either profession would figure in the top two.
The interviewer confirmed the findings of many social media bloggers over the past few days, starting with reference to two more UKIP members who had shown their true homophobic and hypocritical colours.
He quoted former UKIP council candidate John Lyndon Sullivan, who tweeted: “I rather often wonder, if we shot one poofter, whether the next 99 would decide on balance that they weren’t after all. We might then conclude that it’s not a matter of genetics but rather more a matter of education.”
And UKIP’s small business spokesman has employed seven illegal immigrants in the last year, said Mr O’Brien.
Farage employed the usual UKIP tactic, which is to demand that the questioner find out “what’s going on in the other parties”. O’Brien put him straight by pointing out that the other parties weren’t the issue at hand.
Later in the interview, he added: “The reason it doesn’t possess the same urgency as the UKIP conversation does is – (a) – the question of quantity; there is simply not the avalanche of bigotry emerging from other parties that emerges from yours, and – (b) – … the opinion polls do not report significant swathes of the country who are fearful that your party represents deeply divisive and racist ideas.”
He was saying it is possible that UKIP is influencing people into adopting those anti-immigrant and racist ideas themselves – and this theory has been borne out by some of the pro-UKIP comments on the Vox Political Facebook page (but you have to catch them quickly, before the perpetrators realise they’ve erred and remove them).
Regarding JL Sullivan, Farage said he wasn’t a councillor but a council candidate, then contradicted himself by saying he had not heard of that gentleman’s name. If that were true, how would Farage know whether he was a councillor or a candidate?
Farage’s assertion that he would face a disciplinary charge on whether he had brought the party into disrepute was punctured by the revelation that his tweet was made in February.
On the illegal immigrants, Farage’s defence was holed by the revelation that his small business spokesman resigned as a company director three days after the immigration raid.
A conversation about Farage’s discomfort, sitting in a train carriage in which nobody else spoke English, was surreal. When I was a student I had the unique pleasure of sharing a carriage with a crowd of French schoolchildren. That was uncomfortable too, but I didn’t attach any unreasonable baggage to it – it wasn’t an indication that French kids were overrunning Britain and it didn’t show that the French were all loud and overexcitable. It was one train carriage and Farage should have more of a sense of proportion.
O’Brien put his finger on the nerve and pressed hard: “The point you’re making is that schools in the East End are filled with children who cannot speak English. .. That’s not true… Children who are typified as speaking English as a second language would include your own daughters… Perhaps [if we checked] we would realise that most bilingual children in this country are children like yours?”
He continued, highlighting accusations of bigotry and hypocrisy: “What the caller asked you was why so many people think you’re racist… and… you talk about children who can’t speak English as a first language without mentioning it includes your own children.”
There was an implication that Farage, who has banned former members of the BNP from joining UKIP in an effort to protect the party from adverse publicity, has himself associated with the far-right organisation; and a question over the far-right parties with which UKIP sits in the European Parliament. Farage said UKIP would not sit with people who didn’t have a reasonable point of view but O’Brien flagged up a member of the group who had said the ideas of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, Islamophobe, Anti-Semite and anti-feminist, were “in defence of Western civilisation”.
Farage’s paper-thin defence was that the European political discourse was very different to the UK, (again) an admission that his party had encountered problems with “one or two members”, and a reference to problems in other parties (the Conservatives, on this occasion)
O’Brien leapt on this: “Your defence so far is that you’re no different from any other political party and yet your unique selling point … is that you are different.” In addition, he pointed out that Farage refers to “members of the political class and their friends in the media”, while writing columns for the Independent and Express newspapers every week and appearing on the BBC’s Question Time more often than anyone apart from David Dimbleby.
Farage should count himself lucky he was not also asked about his connections with American right-wingers, including Ron Paul (Godfather of the Tea Party) and James Beeland Rogers Jr who, together with George Soros, engineered the British economic crash of 1992.
Farage tried to defend his way of equating Romanians with criminality by saying that Roma people in other countries have been forced into a situation where crime is their only option – and then was forced into a corner when O’Brien mentioned UKIP’s fearmongering poster, that claims millions of potential immigrants are after the jobs of British people. Wasn’t he demonising foreigners by saying they will take all the jobs and push crime up?
“I’m not demonising anyone,” said Farage, then contradicted himself: “I’m demonising a political class that has allowed us to have an open door that allowed things like this to happen.”
“So when I say Romanian and you start talking about people traffickers, why don’t you say people are perfectly entitled to feel uncomfortable about living next door to people traffickers, wherever they’re from?” asked Mr O’Brien. “Why do you say ‘Romanians’?”
Get ready for another contradiction: “I didn’t say Romanians; I was asked… if a group of Romanian men moved in next door to you, would you be concerned, and if you lived in London I think you would be.”
It was while Farage was being questioned on his expenses that Patrick O’Flynn, UKIP’s director of communications and former Daily Express political commentator, stepped in (claiming that O’Brien was over-running, 19 minutes into a 20-minute interview). Mr O’Brien’s response: “Is this a friend in the media or a member of the political class?”
Homophobia, racism, hypocrisy, and an incitement for others to display the same characteristics.
Does this country really need that kind of alternative to mainstream politics?
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