No, I wasn’t dreaming

Because I am not very much of a morning person, it would be very dangerous for me to assume that anything I ‘heard’ on the Today programme was actually said, rather than something I cooked up in a dream. On a number of occassions I have gone through a whole morning imagining that this scandal or that had been announced only to realise that it was a product of my own fevered imaginings.

Fortunately, these days we have the marvels of interweb wireless technology and so if I think I heard something truly outrageous I can go back and check.

Well, it turns out I did here the aural equivalent of a big steaming pile of donkey bollocks this morning, emanating from the mouth of Daily Mail columnist Ann Atkins doing the Smug Religious Person of the Day slot:

When I heard that such a significant historian [as David Irving] held such extraordinary notions, I longed to learn why.

I’m sorry? Significant historian? SIGNIFICANT HISTORIAN?! Quaequam Blag! In what way has his work been “significant”? I’d love to know who she would categorise as an amateur chancer.

For the record, I think it is an outrage that he has been locked up. One of my reasons is that it gives his opinions a certain credibility and makes him appear to be a more significant person than he actually is. Ann Atkins has just provided us with a solid gold example of that.

PS Did you notice how on all the TV footage of the trial, Irving seems more concerned with getting his book in shot than the fact that he’s about to get locked up for three years?


  1. I’ve always found Atkins thought for the day to be off-beam, but this mornings was weird; she seemed at one confused point to be drawing the comparison between holocaust denial and denying the saving power of Jesus. Or, put another way, that it might be perfectly possible, or acceptable, to believe that the holocaust did not occur, just as someone believes in a deity.

    As regard Irving: the law in Austria is no longer appropriate. But I am not going to lose any sleep over this helpless “victim” being imprisoned. If nothing else, it should bring home to Irving the meaning of unfair incarceration. And it certainly reinforces the notion that every cloud has a silver lining.

  2. Can’t we just get a thought for the day abolished? Too often it is “Failure to think for the day”.

    Stupid idea to lock Irving up though.

  3. Of course the National Secular Society has been having a go at Thought for the Day for a while now.

    Some see it as a few moments of faith balancing an otherwise wholly secular program. Other see it as a few minutes of unopposed soapboxing in a program where everything else is challenged rigorously.

    I can’t see any common language for these two groups to speak.

  4. I think there is a common language that most people share, and that causes a problem for ‘Ill-formed Prejudice of the Day’. It’s called the truth. If Today was “a few moments of faith balancing an otherwise wholly secular programme”, religious leaders wouldn’t be interviewed so often, and nor would they be given such an easy ride.

    My view of Thought For the Day is that if they want to talk about political issues from their own religious standpoint, they should feel free; just be made to do five rounds with Humphrys in the bearpit afterwards, so if they’re talking prejudiced, idiotic or hypocritical rubbish they’re shot down in flames. I see no reason why one form of belief should be treated with kid gloves.

    On the other hand, I can’t really comment in detail on Ann Atkins’ pronouncements. She’s such a vile and lying bigot that as soon as I hear her name my hand automatically snaps to switch on whatever CD is in place instead. This morning, ‘Not Ann Atkins’ was brought to me by Sparks’ ‘(Baby, Baby) Can I Invade Your Country’.

  5. Alex, yes I agree with you about Atkins. And it would be great to hear some of the views heard in TFTD challenged.

    But I suppose what I’m groping for here is whether there is an angle on this which is more astute than straight secularism. Whether there is any merit in the format, and whether, say, a regular atheist slot would provide balance.

    As it stands the BBC are holding tenaciously to the view that no atheists have anything interesting to say on ethical questions. This is itself a faith position, unamenable to argument.

    Perhaps I am being hopelessly naive, but I am hoping that some way could be found for this culture clash to be opened up for discussion, rather than each just fighting their corner.

  6. Shes an insane Vicars wife who,God alone knows how, has managed to pass her self off as a “Broadcaster and Columnist”. I heard her speak once on “how to keep a married Christain man happy.” You don’t want to know.

    However my problem with “Though for the Day” isn’t 5 minutes of faith on a national broadcaster. Its the frequently rambling,soppy liberal/left bias it shows. I suppose this is whats ultimately created Ann Atkins as editorial foil. Lets just say a prayer that shes a nutter. If not we are all doomed to hell fire anyway.

  7. In the modern world, I don’t have too much of a problem with TFTD as I can’t rant about it here (QED). But why doesn’t the National Secularist Society develop its own daily alternative TFTD podcast? We have the technology.

    Having said that, Smug Humanists are just as bad a Smug Religious People in my view. The problem is that they are smug, closed-minded and conceited, not the particulars of their beliefs.

  8. My opinion is that people should have their say. However, there must be consistency and imprisoning Irving after allowing the cartoons sends a clear messege of prejudice to muslims. I assume the Irving case is possibly fuel for further riots and disdain over the cartoons.

    Austria allowed the cartoons but disallowed the holocaust denial. A clear double standard and selective use of “freedom of speech” arguements which is evidently prejudiced in Europe.

  9. I thought Anne Atkins had mellowed somewhat in recent times, but evidently not.

    I recall her on “Question Time” not that long ago maintaining that no COE bishop had ever been unfaithful to his wife. Clearly she had forgotten about the former Bishop of Llandaff, who was caught committing an “act of gross indecency” in the front seat of his car with a man he had picked up in a public lavatory (the former Bishop of Gloucester doesn’t count, because, as an ex-monk, he wasn’t married).

    On the more serious issue of Irving, I really cannot understand Atkins’ point here. She seems to be falling into the trap set by Judaeo-centrist ideologues like Wiesel and Cesarani, for whom the truth of the holocaust is a doctrinal construct, not merely a series of historical facts.

    Genocide is not a belief, or an article of faith, it is a fact or it is nothing.

  10. Interesting about the former Bishop of Llandaff. His name has disappeared totally from the diocescan records. Pity – he was a distant relative of my husband’s and I came across the fact that he seems to have been expunged from history while trying to find out more about him. This is both a comment on how the church can avoid uncomfortable facts and a request for info if anyone knows more about what happened. Linda Booth

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.