The Shed notes a survey of UKIP supporters which shows that they generally believe the country is going to hell in a handcart, to the extent of regarding our cities as less fun than they used to be 30 years ago.
This is UKIP’s fatal weakness, The Shed suggests. You can agree with what they say about some things but still be wary about who is saying it. There are plenty of natural Tories who would never vote Conservative because so many of your fellow travellers get so ridiculously worked up about gay marriage or votes for prisoners.
Having said that, The Shed would not argue with UKIP supporters’ certain despair at the latest victory for PC – an apology from Radio Norfolk DJ Nick Conrad for making the following comments (slightly condensed here) on the case of Ched Evans, the Sheffield footballer found guilty of raping a drunk woman …
“I think women need to be more aware of a man’s sexual desire – that when you’re in that position that you are about to engage in sexual activity, there’s a huge amount of energy in the male body, there’s a huge amount of will and intent and it’s very difficult for many men to say no when they are whipped up into a bit of a storm.
“And it’s the old adage about if you yank a dog’s tail don’t be surprised when it bites you …
“What I’m trying to say is that women have to understand that when a man’s given certain signals he’ll wish to act upon them and if you don’t wish to give out the wrong signals it’s best probably to keep your knickers on and not get into bed with him.”

We wouldn’t argue with that and even if we wanted to, we would not condemn him for making the point.
The Shed also notes, with caution, the latest flurry of allegations about organised sexual abuse of minors. It has become quite clear that the world is a lot weirder than most of us ever suspected. On the other hand, we know, because we are all grizzled by experience, that one reason police and press were wary of this stuff in the past was the certain knowledge that people do make things up, or embellish fact with urban myth, for all sorts of complicated reasons – although institutional laziness was also certainly a factor.
It looks like Bill Cosby probably deserves his outing as a suspected predator. But The Shed cannot be the only nest of Come Dine With Me aficionados to have been given pause for thought by Janice Dickinson joining the list of witnesses. We know her as a flakey flirt. Doesn’t mean she could not have been a victim but a clip of her giving Calum Best the come-on over some burnt chops would be a tricky one for the prosecution to overcome.
However, all in all, The Shed is inclined to think that the Cosby case only goes to prove that almost everybody can be a bit strange when it comes to sex. Fair enough to address the problem. But we may come to regret trying to solve it with more and more state intervention.

The Shed liked David Aaronovitch, Times, 20.11.2014, on the new wave of lifestyle jihadists: “All you need is wifi and a desire to impress … Just the characteristics of almost all young males. You go online and there are the pictures, selfies, YouTube videos and news reports of other young men strutting around with guns and a cold sense of certainty.
“There doesn’t even appear to be the noisome hierarchy of bullying sergeants and absurd regulations. A few tweets, get on the right pages, make some contacts … meet a man in Istanbul, and you too can be Islam’s D’Artagnan. Act in your own movie, blow things up, terrify people, take women into slavery and it’s all ideologically legitimate. You can be one of ‘Caliph’ al-Baghdadi’s ‘army of young lions whose drink is blood and play is carnage’.
“A young lion! The association of violence with ‘coolness’ is not new. When the Vikings were ravaging England one bishop had to admonish the Anglo-Saxon youth for imitating the dress sense of the murderous Norsemen. Thousands of young Dutchmen, Danes and Spaniards, signed up for the Waffen SS, lured perhaps by the uniforms, the discipline, the aesthetic of mayhem.”

The Shed reckons that about sums it up and will do the stay-at-home cause more good than a thousand condemnations of “evil”.
We love the info about Anglo-Saxon teenagers picking up on the Viking look.
But we suspect Aaronovitch is wrong about there being no bullying sergeants and absurd regulations. Our hope is that there are plenty of both and that after a few years, militant Islam will have a good share of the cynical ex-soldiers who have been good for this country and democracy in general for hundreds of years.
Aaronovitch is making roughly the same point, incidentally, that Martin Amis made in 2006, in his essay on one of the Twin Towers pilots, The Last Days Of Muhammad Atta.
At the heart of it was this observation:
“Muhammad Atta was not religious; he was not even especially political. He had allied himself with the militants because jihad was, by many magnitudes, the most charismatic idea of his generation. To unite ferocity and rectitude in a single word: nothing could compete with that.”

The Shed thanks Guardian and Times for quoting a Liberian academic, Robtel Neajai Pailey, railing against the hammy old view of Africa being perpetrated by the new Do They Know It’s Christmas single. She makes the point that African musicians have already made some rather good records to raise funds against Ebola and The Shed is pleased to pass on her recommendations for an alternative buy … Ebola In Town by Samuel ‘Shadow’ Morgan and Edwin ‘D-12’ Tweh and Africa Stop Ebola by a collaboration of Malian, Ivorian, Congolese, and Guinean musicians.
To be fair, Bob Geldof would probably prefer you bought them too.


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