Dalrymple on Belgian television (2011)

Dalrymple sometimes gives interviews and speaks publicly

Dalrymple on Belgian television (2011)

Postby Andreas » 21 Mar 2013, 17:38

Dalrymple appeared on Belgian (Flemish) television at the time of the Antwerp book fair, after Spoilt Rotten had been published in Dutch.



Dalrymple explains his concept of sentimentality and raises familiar points. One of the discussants is Rik Torfs, a Belgian Christian Democrat. Another participant says (I think--this part didn't get translated into English) that he was shocked by what Dalrymple wrote about Amy Winehouse.
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Re: Dalrymple on Belgian television (2011)

Postby Gavin » 21 Mar 2013, 22:49

Many thanks for posting this.

First of all I must say that although I am pleased to see TD is being published in other countries I continue to think it's a disgrace that he is not first and foremost listened to and featured at home here in the UK, where he is needed yet, it seems, very little known. I think this must be because the corrupt "powers that be" hardly want his kind of truth telling on the airwaves.

Secondly, I'm relieved to see that Spoilt Rotten has at last been published with a better cover, if only abroad. The picture of the screaming baby really had nothing to do with the content, even metaphorically. The book cover designer was obviously not acquainted with the content of the work.

I'm finding that the easiest way to respond to the video is by way of a running commentary, but I will use a mixture of tenses:

I thought it was a bit tasteless when the presenter began by asking TD if he was "the beneficiary of the assassinations". This may have been lost in translation, but I doubt it. I'm not going to give the benefit of the doubt much in this review. I thought it was pretty clear what TD was saying and didn't need to be made explicit in such a way.

The male guest began by calling TD a "little bit of a grumpy pessimist", the only evidence given that he "doesn't like too much the welfare state". This is because the excesses of the welfare state deprive people of the opportunity to make the best of themselves and are unfair to taxpayers. It has nothing to do with being "grumpy" which Dalrymple certainly is not - if you meet him in real life you'll find he is very genial and this is even obvious on the screen.

The grey haired man did indeed mention Amy Winehouse's name repeatedly - I hoped he was saying the same kind of things TD was, but I doubted it and from what Andreas tells us this was not the case.

In the video TD says he will give a simple example of some abuse victims not only being victims but also masters (or mistresses) of their own fate. Sadly, I could see the intellectual and ideological level of the woman in the studio straight away when she interrupted "abuse is never simple, but please continue". It was, of course, the example that was simple, not the necessarily the abuse.

Instead of listening to TD and having the slightest deference, knowing full well that he has vastly more experience than them in meeting hundreds of abuse victims and abusers, these people seemed to start from a position of adversity and with a grotesque air of superiority.

When TD explains that women would often choose abusive men in the full knowledge that were abusive the woman says "What should these women do?". Um, not take up with the men? I was staggered that she needed the obvious spelling out to her.

It isn't long before the female comes out with something about Africa, and at 15 mins through she ludicrously accuses TD of saying that education is unnecessary on that continent. I don't know who she is, but such a misreading should surely be enough to disqualify her from any future journalistic work.

The man then claims that TD wants everybody to be like him. What a silly claim. He is saying that everybody should try hard to excel, of course, but never that everybody will excel at the same things! Obviously, both the bricklayer and the nuclear physicist are valuable.

The woman then claims that TD is saying people should not send their money to the poor. Well, to some extent this may be true, but she is not concerned with the reasons. In any case what he actually says is, if you wish to donate, be careful about which charities you send it to. So, just a straw man here.

The woman keeps talking about "solidarity" too. Is she a communist? Probably. I bet she lives in a nice house though.

We get some very interesting information from TD at the end when the man actually asks him some questions and he says he would time limit benefits. The questioner then calls this, however, "compulsory euthanasia". What he does not seem to understand is that, by allowing people to have eleven children with four men at the state's expense, he is actually euthanising his own country.

At the end, the male guest explains to Dalrymple that some people actually are ill. Again breathtaking arrogance, since he can never have met as many ill people as Dalrymple has. I sometimes wonder who these people think they are.

TD manages to finish by saying that most people on sickness benefit in the UK are not ill at all. This strikes the female as a fascinating notion, a new way of looking at things. I suppose that's encouraging, but for me this video mainly showed how detached these people are, how little they know. They are the problem. They should read, read and read Dalrymple again.

Finally, I have the utmost respect for Dalrymple for appearing in the media like this and facing inane questions. It really can't be easy and it is admirable that he does it.
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Re: Dalrymple on Belgian television (2011)

Postby Elliott » 22 Mar 2013, 05:12

I agree with everything you say, Gavin, however I would suggest that, to an extent, Dalrymple "asks" to be dismissed as a grumpy pessimist because he does always focus on the negative. It's necessary that he does so, but I think he would do better to suggest systems that would work rather than list problem after problem with systems that don't work. Doing that gives his opponents many opportunities to say "he's just focusing on the negative".

For example, when asked what he would do with welfare, it was unnecessary to go into a (rather time-consuming) story about the Labour government reclassifying people from "unemployed" to "ill". That's obviously corruption and dishonesty, but its elimination would surely be only one facet of a successful welfare system - by the time the story was over there was no time to list other possible facets.

I'm saying all this because I do think it is a problem TD gets himself into in a lot of debates - too much focus on obscure facts and anecdotes, not enough on the bigger ideas or the solutions. As I say, it sets him up for being dismissed by people who don't want to hear the truth.

Overall I think it was a fairly uninspiring debate. As you say, the other people don't really want to hear what he has to say; they are detached middle-class idealists, very much in the European bureaucrat (EU apparatchik) mould, I thought.

However, one thing I kept thinking while the video was playing was that, despite British people raving about how good our TV is (especially the BBC), we would be very unlikely to ever get a discussion like this on our screens. The only formats I can think of which would facilitate it are The Review Show (which probably doesn't do non-fiction books, and has been relegated to BBC4 where few people will watch it and reduced from weekly to monthly broadcast) or some ludicrous interview by the likes of Philip Schofield or the idiots who host The One Show - a guest on mid-morning TV! What's more, if Dalrymple did ever appear on one of the high-brow discussion shows (remember Hardtalk is still produced), he would inevitably be interviewed by a Champagne socialist like Kirsty Wark who would just dismiss every single thing he said. It's no wonder he doesn't appear on TV.
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Re: Dalrymple on Belgian television (2011)

Postby Gavin » 22 Mar 2013, 11:19

Yes, I think Dalrymple gives some good anecdotes - these people know so little that they need some "strong medicine" just to acquaint them with what is actually going on. Dalrymple's examples are obviously news to them in the same way that the experience of teachers in schools today was news to the Education Secretary. So it's important he gives them this. Perhaps he's trying to get to them to at least accept there is a problem before he moves on to the solution.

It is always interesting to hear his solutions though, I agree. I'd like him to expand on them with a whole book of proposals, actually. We've offered our measures on this forum.

As for him appearing on British TV, I know just what you mean. It would be Nicky Campbell, or "Trisha"! Some daytime TV programme with an audience of people who would think Kafka plays for A.C. Milan (maybe he does - I don't know!). TD would find it hard to get a word in edgeways, meeting with many more open mouths than open minds. It's a tough dilemma, this - to go on, or not to go on.

He'd be best on Newsnight or in Mr Cameron's cabinet, really, but it isn't pleasant ever being cross-questioned with liberal tactics. Perhaps, as we said, a good place for TD would be as one of the questioners on The Moral Maze. This is not a position of sufficient influence, in my view, but it would be a start.
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Re: Dalrymple on Belgian television (2011)

Postby Rachel » 22 Mar 2013, 13:38

Considering that these people had opposing views to him, I think they treated him quite fairly in that they at least bothered to let him answer and listened to him.
It was a very civilised debate and I've got a lot of respect for the Belgiums for letting him be on TV.

There was only one blatent lie or misrepresentation in the whole debate and that was when the woman wrongly accused him of writing that Africans should not be educated.
It was not a very good debate but considering the language problems and sound bites and time limits of modern TV. It was decent.

Like everyone here said, I also doubt he would be treated this well on the BBC or on TV where I live.

I agreed with the man when he said that TD's book could be used as an argument against all the welfare state. I am personally against time limiting benefits as TD said he would do so I suppose I agree with the man on that issue.
Overall it was nice to see, especially when you compare it to the aggresive way Peter Hitchens is treated on the BBC sometimes.
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Re: Dalrymple on Belgian television (2011)

Postby Mike » 24 Mar 2013, 03:30

One thing I noticed in that program was how often TD was interrupted in the middle of an explanation (and once or twice he appeared quite annoyed as a result, and justifiably so). It's always puzzled me that people would invite guests onto their programs merely to interrupt them at every opportunity...unless the guest in question was invited primarily as an Aunt Sally for the presenters (or the audience).
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Re: Dalrymple on Belgian television (2011)

Postby Gavin » 24 Mar 2013, 04:07

Couldn't agree more, Mike - such behaviour is ignorant and rude. TD did keep his cool well.
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