When the Mail puts out a hatchet job under the by-line of Guy Adams, that is the signal telling readers that this has been personally directed by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, and directed in order to tell those readers (a) what to think, and (b) make sure there is no problem in telling which are the good guys, and which the bad ones.
Why the f*** shouldn't I denounce leftist c***s as f***ing foul-mouthed, c*** features?!?!?
So it was with today’s Zhdanov-style denunciation of more of those Enemies Of The People, as the headline thunders “Revealed: How Oxford University is 'home to loud mouthed, Tory-loathing, anti-Israel academics who believe only they should have freedom of expression’”. So who is the poor victim here?
“The Reverend Canon Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Christ Church, Oxford, is a gifted orator who has published eight books during the five decades of his career … A leading authority on religious ethics and an Anglican priest, he is also a senior adviser to the Vatican”. And what happened to poor Nige?
“Professor Biggar has become the target of a hysterical social media mob for expressing his views on the British Empire … he attracted an avalanche of odium on Facebook and Twitter … some of his fellow Oxford academics were also vehement critics, and this week it emerged that 58 of them had signed an open letter declaring their 'firm rejection' of his ‘agenda’”. Sinister quote marks! Guess what’s coming next?
“So far as we can tell, almost all the 58 Oxford academics who signed the letter appear to be card-carrying members of the Left”. You didn’t bother finding out. “A vast proportion are fully paid-up Labour activists and supporters of Jeremy Corbyn”. How many is vast? “20 have endorsed or campaigned for the Labour Party and two are Labour members”. Fewer than half. “Thirteen are anti-Brexit campaigners”. Fewer than a quarter.
But Adams did find one supporter of Momentum. And some critics of Israel, which for the Mail is truly taking the biscuit: nudge-nudge Labour-means-anti-Semitism after the paper carried an attack on Lord Leveson which gratuitously described him as “a Liverpool-born, Oxford-educated Orthodox Jewish lawyer”. The Mail’s bizarre assault on the memory of Ralph Miliband also generated concern over at the Jewish Chronicle.
Moreover, Biggar has form for running to the Mail: earlier this month, it carried a sob story telling “Oxford students have branded an eminent professor ‘bigoted’ after he suggested feelings of guilt around British colonialism may have gone too far”. In 2016 it was “Nigel Biggar, professor of moral pastoral theology at Christ Church, criticised students calling for the removal of a memorial to Cecil Rhodes, during a debate yesterday”.
And Biggar should not be surprised to find some of his colleagues opposed to his stance - he has, after all, authored “Outing yourself as a rightist isn’t easy” for The Conservative Online. Earlier this year he delivered a lecture to right-wing think tank Policy Exchange. Right-winger finds views challenged by a few left-wingers no shock horror.
Worse, Adams’ hatchet job has gratuitously smeared many Oxford academics whose colleagues clearly feel his article has been deeply unfair. Jonathan Healey is one who has shared his thoughts, which you can see HERE. As usual, the Mail selectively trashes those of whom it disapproves in order to burnish the image of its favourites. No change there.