Three cheers for Andrew Neil

Three cheers to Andrew Neil for his bravura speech praising Western enlightenment values in comparison with murderous “Islamist scumbags”.

I have only admiration for his opening monologue on today’s Daily Politics, responding to last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris. It’s worth transcribing Neil’s speech in its entirety:

Welcome to This Week. A week in which a bunch of loser jihadists slaughtered a hundred and fifty-two innocents in Paris to prove the future belongs to them rather than the civilisation like France.

Well, I can’t say that I fancy their chances. France: the country of Descartes, Boulez, Monet, Satre, Rousseau, Camou, Renoir, Berlioz, Cézanne, Gauguin, Hugo, Voltaire, Matisse, Debussy, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Bizet, Satie, Pasteur, Molière, Franck, Zola, Balzac, Blanc, cutting edge science, world class medicine, fearsome security forces, nuclear power, Coco Chanel, Château Lafite, coq  au vin, Daft Punk, Zizou Zidane, Juliette Binoche, liberté, égalité, fraternité and creme brûlée.

Versus what? Beheadings, crucifixions, amputations, slavery, mass murder, medieval squalor, a death cult barbarity that would shame the Middle Ages. Well, IS, or Da’esh, or ISIS, or ISIL, or whatever name you’re going by, I’m sticking with IS – as in Islamist Scumbags.

I think the outcome is pretty clear to everybody but you: whatever atrocities you are currently capable of committing, you will lose. In a thousand years’ time, Paris – that glorious city of lights – will still be shining bright, as will every other city like it, while you will be as dust, along with a ragbag of fascists, Nazis and Stalinists who have previously dared to challenge democracy. And failed.

What a marvellous, stirring speech in defence of Western civilisation. Between Andrew Neil and John Oliver, here we have all the response we need to those who preach an ideology of hatred, ignorance and death.

If only more of our political and civic leaders had the self-confidence and moral fibre to speak like Neil (Oliver would probably be going too far) – and not just in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on a European capital – perhaps we would not be facing such a crisis of confidence in Western and British values.


Samuel Hooper is a journalist and blogger. He is passionate about politics, free markets and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter here.

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