Everyone agrees the columnist has gone too far with his latest rant in the Sunday Times, so why is he still paid to write his vitriolic material?
Sunday Times’ columnist Rod Liddle has made a career out of writing xenophobic, racist, sexist and Islamophobic material. But even for his low standards the voice of British bigotry seems to have gone too far this time.
In his latest column, Liddle suggests that, upon Islamic fundamentalist Anjem Choudry’s release, extremists are welcome to blow themselves up in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets. He then adds the neiighbourhood would be a “decent distance from where the rest of us live”.
Politicians and the general public alike were quick to denounce Liddle’s flabbergasting piece, with Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs describing the article as “sick” and “poisonous”.
The MP for the Tower Hamlet’s constituency Poplar and Limehouse, Jim Fitzpatrick, branded the comments as “disgusting and offensive” in a letter to the Sunday Times editor, Martin Ivans.
The @MuslimCouncil is shocked at the totally unacceptable language used by Rod Liddle in the @thesundaytimes. We have already written to the Managing Editor and await a response. pic.twitter.com/XkI9nPGe6K
— MCB (@MuslimCouncil) October 22, 2018
Stand Up To Racism campaign echoed the sentiment calling it “disgusting” and a “disgrace fanning the flames against the Muslim community”.
Race-equality group Runnymede Trust deputy director Dr Zubaida Haque said:
“What’s deplorable is how Rod Liddle has been continuously allowed to write his racist bile without any censoring.”
Anti-Islamophobia group Tell MAMA said they would raise a complaint with the print media watchdog IPSO and the Sunday Times directly.
It remains unclear whom Liddle was referring to when he wrote “the rest of us”, since nearly 300,000 Londoners live in Tower Hamlets. But one could venture that Liddle, known for his racist diatribes, was alluding to posh white men like himself, since the borough is one of the capital’s most ethnically diverse, with 41% of its population identifying as British Asian.
But, as journalist Hussein Kesvani pointed out, the area has been massively gentrified in recent years, with many of Liddle’s colleagues moving in.
Fellow journalist Mehdi Hasan quipped:
“I’d love to know how many Times and Sunday Times employees live in Tower Hamlets and how they feel about Rod Liddle publicly and casually calling for their deaths in their own paper.”
The Sunday Times is yet to issue a comment on publishing the piece.
The question remains: If inciting suicide bombings in the capital won’t, what will it take for big national titles such as the Sunday Times, The Spectator or the Daily Mail to stop publishing Liddle?
Joana Ramiro is a reporter for Left Foot Forward. You can follow her on Twitter for all sorts of rants here.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.