Here’s an absolutely lovely quote from Titus Oates of the National ‘Secular’ Society:
For too long the Jewish community behaved like an arrogant, unaccountable arm of the government and of the law aided at every turn by a fifth column of Jews whose primary, indeed seemingly only, loyalty is to their own kind. Having so comprehensively abused their place in the corridors of power, they now need to be banished from them.
Oh, I’m sorry. Mr Oates was in fact talking about Catholics. So that’s all right then.
As Mr Oates is weighing in on the Chesney affair, there are one or two other points in his barking mad editorial that are worth remarking on. Let’s just note in passing that, as far as we can tell from the Hutchinson report, the cover-up was instigated by the government and police, while the Church authorities were brought in to get Chesney out of the way. Mr Oates of course cannot admit this, as in the NSS view of the world the State is a God-term. It’s the same way that, while he references the Ryan Report, one will find no acknowledgement that not a single child would have gone into the industrial schools without the approval of the Department of Education, the Garda Síochána and the courts. Which is not to deny Church responsibility, just to point out that the responsibility wasn’t the Church’s alone.
What’s also remarkable about this is that Mr Oates ventilates rather a lot on the Irish state. Maybe my memory is faulty, but I thought Willie Whitelaw was a minister in the British government. And that the RUC had its headquarters in Belfast, not in Dublin. Of course, this is rather inconvenient for the flow of Mr Oates’ argument, given that his view of the Irish nation is roughly equivalent to that of a nineteenth-century Punch cartoonist. So the Brits get quietly brushed under the carpet.
Finally, note the reference to the government being riddled with fifth columnists who need to be sent packing. Nice to see that our 21st-century rationalists can still channel the spirit of the 1840s when it suits them. Of course, this all very reminiscent of the episode a couple of years back when NSS honorary associate Mary Honeyball MEP called on the Labour Party to keep papists off the front bench, and followed it up with paranoid ravings about the Vatican’s alleged stranglehold on the British parliament and mass media. Or their other honorary associate, the sane and rational Johann Hari, who is living proof that you can take the boy out of Govan but you can’t take the Rangers Supporters Club out of the boy.
Indeed, Mr Oates has quite the track record at this sort of witch-hunting, having argued, for instance, that Mark Thompson is unfit to head the BBC because he’s a Catholic. Not that it’s ever stopped the BBC running fawning interviews with Mr Oates, where he can be confident that his many terminological inexactitudes will never be challenged.
If Mr Oates is really that worried about popish fifth columnists, and fancies campaigning for the reinstatement of the Test Acts, perhaps he could have a word with new equality minister Lynne Featherstone, who is on record as opining that religious believers shouldn’t be employed in the public sector. Ms Featherstone is not yet, I see, one of the NSS’s small army of honorary associates, but I think she’d fit right in.
And since Mr Oates will be on our screens and in our papers a good deal more over the coming weeks in his capacity as co-leader with Peter Tatchell of the No Popery Coalition, it will be worth keeping a close eye on him.