Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Burn Baby Burn!

A Burning-in-Effigy at Exposes the Cowardices of Tomorrow’s Politicians

I cannot condemn this in more stringent terms. The Tories at the University of St Andrews have apparently burnt Barack Obama in effigy and then backtracked with all manner of pussyfooting around and the standard issue of apologies. Burning in effigy is a perfectly legitimate form of political expression and has been verified by centuries of tradition.

What’s more, I suspect there’s a bit of the old racism behind the apologies: would anyone have bat an eyelid if Mr Obama’s predecessor had been burnt in effigy by students? I, for one, would have happily joined in both effigy-burnings. The more effigies burnt the merrier. Chesterton remarked “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged”, and I would suggest effigy-burning is a potentially more wholesome if less efficacious alternative.

If you’re going to burn an effigy, burn an effigy and then stick with it. But the weak-kneed, shilly-shally Tories always want to engage in a bit of old-school fun before hoisting up the white flag and issue an “unreserved public apology”. Rank hypocrisy of the highest order! Ye cannae have yer cake an’ eat it, too!

This post was published on Sunday, December 4th, 2011 7:22 pm. It has been categorised under Politics St Andrews.
K. Dontoh
4 Dec 2011 8:39 pm

I find it regrettable, but their quick apology does show a lack of conviction.

14 Dec 2011 3:28 am

I should think any act by the Tories criticized as being “crassly insensitive” and “intolerant” should rather reinforce their belief in the correctness of the act…

18 Dec 2011 2:02 am

I am always a bit put off by effigy burning, first because it seems like the kind of hysterical political expression that one expects to encounter in places like Gaza, Iran or Pakistan, and second, because it seems to me to fall into the category of expression that I think of as “just because you have a right to draw cartoons showing Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, doesn’t mean that doing so is the best idea.” Nevertheless, presumably the young Tories would have thought all this through before striking the match, and decided to do so, should have stood ground and fought their corner.

23 Dec 2011 12:00 am

P.G. Wodehouse once said: “It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.”

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