Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I will be pitting two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.
What's the story? The tube is busy in the morning.
Reasonable Take: Well, I guess that's why they call it rush hour! Aha, g'morning my friends.
Golden Grahams Take: We're going to build a wall, and TfL's gonna pay for it!
Ben Goldsmith, dog-whistle-nearly-mayor Zac Goldsmith's younger brother, here with a take so scorching it makes a summer cruise on the Central line feel like a holiday inside a wine cooler. After a particularly busy Tuesday morning commute, Ben scanned the crowd jostling for space on the platform at 9AM and thought to himself: 'That's the result of open borders, that is! Nothing to do with the fact 9AM is, you know, that bit of the day where everybody gets the train to work. Nope, definitely not that; definitely a result of lax immigration policies. I think I feel a tweet coming on!'
He reckons the photo he snapped – of, it's worth noting, mostly non-white passengers waiting for a train – is an image the people "on their arses" in north London (where there is no underground network and no migrants and no rush hour) who advocate for open borders should take notice of. It's all very well saying "anyone is welcome", but this morning I had to wait while four people were served in front of me in Pret. I'm all for progressive values, but at some point you have to draw a line: we're full up!
Plenty of people were quick to highlight the complete stupidity of this awful take. David Lammy tweeted pointing out that it was rush hour, and that Goldsmith would likely find similarly busy platforms in Tokyo, Paris, New York, Dhaka or Istanbul. Many went even further, explaining that the Victoria line would likely have looked this busy 100 years ago: it's simply what London looks like before 10AM. Even everyone's favourite floppy-haired foodie Jay Rayner was shutting his butt down!
Benny G tried to claw back some credibility after his now-deleted outburst, blaming the tweet on being "grumpy" during a "miserable commute". Grumpy? As in "Mr Grumpy Boots", as in: "Have a Snickers, Ben – you always get a bit ethno-nationalist when you're hungry". Grumpy is doing a lot of work there. He even had the chutzpah to claim he was pro-immigration. Mr Goldsmith, please!
To be honest, this is simply further evidence that the Goldsmith brothers need to move out of London. It doesn't suit them at all. They can't even get on the tube without being awful about it, let alone run for mayor. Honestly, they'd be much happier in a civil parish somewhere in Somerset. That way they could cook up horse shit theories about immigrants driving up the price of pints without having to live with their untruths.
What's the story? Six men were arrested on suspicion of a public order offence, after a video surfaced showing them burning an effigy of Grenfell Tower – featuring brown paper cutouts of people dangling from windows – on a bonfire.
Reasonable Take: Arrest the rotters! O'Neill's Irish Pubs and Bars – Good Food, Honest Drink Take: You know what really disgusts me about this? Well, it's not the racist, classist bit, I'll tell you that much!
It seemed so clear-cut, so straightforward. How could you walk away from watching a video of people burning a mock-up Grenfell Tower on a bonfire, laughing while they impersonated the dying residents, and think anything other than: 'Fuck that'? How could you possibly come away with a take other than, "This is really bad, the end." Well, somebody managed. Who? I hear you ask. We should have seen this one coming. In fact, some people did. It was, of course, Spiked! editor and full-time politically-incorrect-and-he-don't-care-who-knows-it provocateur, Brendan O'Neill!
In his seminal recent work, titled "Is it now a crime to be a twat?" – no, mate, but if it was you’d be the first to know, aha! – he explains why the really scary thing about the whole situation is not the hate-mongering video, but the fact that the police are investigating it. Brendan says: "I don't want the police investigating videos in which no crime has been committed. In which no one's property has been damaged or stolen and no person has been harmed. In which there is merely an act of expression. That way the police state lies."
In a sneaky move, Brendan tries to palm the behaviour in the genuinely odious video off as its creators being "twats". It's a sort of cuddly, common-sense logic that tries to suggest there is some reasonable middle-ground all sane people exists in, bar a small minority of idiots who we'd do best to ignore. Except, that's not the case. This incident doesn't exist in a vacuum, it exists within a society that has placed more value on some lives than others through cultural, political and economic means. (The fact that one of the men allegedly involved in making the video has been exposed as a wealthy landlord speaks volumes.) Videos like this are the obvious, ugly end of a very big wedge. This isn't an overheard conversation in a back garden. It's a four-foot papier mache hate crime filmed and shared among friends. They're not just just twats.
In the end, it's the usual O’Neill bollocks: a hate crime is investigated and somehow this marks the end of free expression in the Western world. The Western world where Donald Trump is President, Jordan Peterson is on Question Time, the Sun and the Daily Mail are the two biggest selling newspapers in the UK and where you, Brendan O'Neill, are free to write the same bullshit column about the end of debate every single week, ad infinitum. I'm not sure who is coordinating the conspiracy to stamp out free speech, but they are doing a terrible job.
PRIME CUT: Why does he need to get the tube in first place? He's probably richer than all hell. Did you know the Goldsmith brothers both married a Rothschild sister? Get an Uber!