To be honest, he didn’t quite say it in so many words. In fact, with David, whose words are indeed many, it’s never easy to figure out what it is he’s actually saying.
Whatever it is, he invariably says it badly. This is how his Times article begins: “If a person is absolutely determined to jump off a cliff, believing they can fly…”
Who are ‘they’? ‘A person’? If hacks were licensed, this sentence alone would get him struck off.
A man ready to sacrifice style, grammar and elementary logic at the faddish altar of idiotic political correctness should confine his writing exploits to the walls of public lavatories. Then again, The Times is rapidly descending to the level of that medium.
This explains why the paper publishes the kind of drivel exemplified by Mr Aaronovitch. “British people,” he writes, “are becoming more inclined to stay in the EU”.
Had this conclusion been reached intuitively or in the wake of an unofficial private poll, I wouldn’t murmur a word of objection. A distinguished journalist like Mr Aaronovitch no doubts keeps his finger on the pulse of public opinion and it’s not impossible that he should have his own sources of information.
But actually he arrived at this declaration solely as a result of the EU election decisively won by Ukip – the first time in British history that a rank outsider won a national election of any sort.
It takes an epic effort of verbal callisthenics to interpret this historic victory the Aaronovitch way. But trust him to do just that: “But what about the 73 per cent who did not, despite everything, vote Ukip?”
Despite what exactly? The hysterical campaign of anti-Ukip insults and slander unleashed by just about every paper and TV channel in the country? The gushing sewer of falsehoods and outright lies about the virtues of the EU and benefits of unchecked immigration? The entire political establishment transcending party differences to join forces against Ukip?
Now imagine for a second what would have happened had the BBC, The Guardian, The Times and other EU loudspeakers reversed their affections and actually campaigned for Ukip.
The safe bet is that it would have been Ukip polling 73 percent, leaving David ‘Intellectual Rigour’ Aaronovitch to argue that 27 percent still didn’t vote for the party, proving that the Brits are fervently pro-EU.
The rest of the piece raises this sterling feat of journalistic integrity to new heights. Not to cut too fine a point, it’s sheer gibberish making not one iota of sense but instead trying to activate the readers’ Pavlovian responses.
Ukip is racist, because 30 percent of Britons admit to harbouring racial prejudices (don’t ask me about the logic here, ask David). Ukip is going to “spend high and tax nothing” (I’d like to see some evidence of this intention… well, never mind. This isn’t about evidence – as David’s former role model Stalin once said in reference to John Adams’s aphorism, “If facts are stubborn things, then so much the worse for facts.”).
Ukip’s agenda, says Mr Aaronovitch, is “negative”. His own, on the other hand, has a positive element to it: immigration, the more the merrier, is good for us.
If the denizens of those Calais camps currently being bulldozed by the French were kept away from these shores, “We’d be poorer, less influential and saddled without the means to cater for an ageing population.”
And the evidence for this? “I think many of us know or intuit this.” That’s all right then. Silly me.
Well, our former Chancellor Lord Lamont knows exactly the opposite. In his letter published in the very same issue that contains Mr Aaronivitch’s logorrhoea, Lord Lamont writes:
“An inquiry held in 2008 by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee (of which I was a member) found no evidence for the contention that immigration generates significant economic benefit for the existing population… most of the benefit goes to immigrants themselves… all immigrants between 1995 and 2011 cost the Exchequer £95 billion.”
All I can do is apologise for my own, and Lord Lamont’s, cynical materialism. Now I know what David means. Who cares about the odd billion here or there?
If we fling our doors open even wider, we may indeed become poorer economically, but we’ll be richer in more important ways, above all culturally. That’s what Mr Aaronovitch has to mean, even though this assertion wouldn’t quite tally with “the means to cater for an ageing population”. But hey, what’s another logical solecism among friends?
Again, this must be something our star columnist “intuits”, for any evidence of the valuable contribution recent arrivals have made to our culture is demonstrably lacking. The contribution they’ve made to our crime rate is easier to document, as is their gallant effort to lengthen the queues at the social. But when intuition speaks facts fall silent.
And then came the clincher that makes one doubt not just Mr Aaronovitch’s intelligence and writing ability (both fall somewhere between scant and nonexistent) but also his sanity:
“We do not have brave politicians at the moment (with the possible and surprising exception of Nick Clegg).” No comment is either necessary or possible, except the one I ‘intuit’:
Send out for the men in white coats. There’s a ranting deluded maniac on the loose. Lock up your children and plug up your ears.