March 31, 2003

BRITISH PUBLIC OPINION has shifted in favor of the war, and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is whining about the reception she got on the Question Time program:

As I walked in, people in the front rows were already hissing and hooting to undermine me. Geoff Hoon got massive applause immediately afterwards. Obviously delighted, he looked 10 years younger suddenly. . . .

Now I think Question Time has become much better since it started to allow more assertive challenges from audience members – the old reverence has gone and an excellent thing too. Panellists should be able to deal with the cut and thrust of hot exchanges. But when it tips over into the Jerry Springer mode the programme loses its stature. . . .

In the middle of my very first answer, a Kurdish lady launched herself at me. She says she is a victim of terrible torture, rape, and punishment by Saddam’s inhumane forces. I had already watched her on several recent programmes. I said I was very sorry that she had suffered so much but that I was still anti-war. So she harangued, saying I was “clueless”. Her husband has emailed me to say that his wife believes “not being willing to get rid of Saddam by any means necessary makes a person a Saddam supporter”. I told her she was emotionally blackmailing me and, even though many people were outraged at this, I would say it again. Neither she nor the baying warmongers showed a flicker of pity for the dead and dying of Iraq.

As Ms. Brown shows not a “flicker of pity” for Saddam’s victims. Her comments about rudeness on Question Time are hilarious, though. Consider this story from September 14, 2001:

In the highly-charged atmosphere of the BBC studio, Phil Lader, the former US ambassador to Britain who was on the panel, appeared to fight back tears as he was shouted down while trying to tell the audience of his sadness.

Presenter David Dimbleby struggled to control the shouting as some members of the audience claimed the US was ultimately responsible for the deaths of its own nationals as well as of Britons.

I don’t recall Ms. Brown — who probably thought Lader got what he deserved — complaining then. In fact, she wrote a column approving it, and defending the BBC against critics who thought the show was cruel and anti-American. Sauce for the goose, Ms. Brown.

Like so many of the antiwar left, she’s very, very thin-skinned. They can dish it out, but they can’t take it. Well, get used to it, Ms. Brown. There’s more coming.

UPDATE: A reader points out this sentence from Ms. Brown’s Sept. 17, 2001 column linked above: “As it happens, I support any military action to get rid of the Taliban and Saddam and I want to see justice.” I wonder what changed her mind?