Coffee House

Yes, my remarks on Keynes were stupid. But I’m no homophobe, and here’s why

8 May 2013

8:32 PM

8 May 2013

8:32 PM

Last week I said something stupid about John Maynard Keynes. Asked to comment on Keynes’s famous observation ‘In the long run we are all dead,’ I suggested that Keynes was perhaps indifferent to the long run because he had no children, and that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’s wife Lydia miscarried.

I was duly attacked for my remarks and offered an immediate and unqualified apology. But this did not suffice for some critics, who insisted that I was guilty not just of stupidity but also of homophobia. I have no doubt that at least some students were influenced by these allegations. Nobody would want to study with a bigot. I therefore owe it to students — former and prospective — to make it unambiguously clear that I am no such thing.

To be accused of prejudice is one of the occupational hazards of public life nowadays. There are a remarkable number of people who appear to make a living from pouncing on any utterance that can be construed as evidence of bigotry. Only last year, though not for the first time, I found myself being accused of racism for venturing to criticize President Obama. This came as a surprise to my wife, who was born in Somalia.

The charge of homophobia is equally easy to refute. If I really were a ‘gay-basher’, as some headline writers so crassly suggested, why would I have asked Andrew Sullivan, of all people, to be the godfather of one of my sons, or to give one of the readings at my wedding?

Throughout my career as an historian, I have regularly written and spoken about Keynes, who had one of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century. That, of course, is the most important thing about him. You may disagree with his argument that, in a depressed economy, the government should borrow and spend money to stimulate aggregate demand. But you cannot ignore it.

Not for one moment did I mean to suggest that Keynesian economics as a body of thought was simply a function of Keynes’s sexuality. But nor can it be true — as some of my critics apparently believe — that his sexuality is totally irrelevant to our historical understanding of the man. My very first book dealt with the German hyperinflation of 1923, a historical calamity in which Keynes played a minor but important role. In that particular context, Keynes’s sexual orientation did have historical significance. The strong attraction he felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’s views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath.


The historian, unlike the economist, is concerned with biography as well as with statistics. Keynes’s first biographer, Roy Harrod, drew a veil over Keynes’s complex private life. But the author of the more recent and definitive three-volume life, Robert Skidelsky, felt no such inhibition. Anyone who reads that great work will find the question of Keynes’s homosexuality treated sensitively and intelligently and related, where appropriate, to his work. Keynes’s fellow members of the Bloomsbury Group would have approved, had they lived to read Skidelsky’s book, for they had no doubt at all that sexual orientation had a significance beyond the narrow confines of the bedroom, and that intellectual life and emotional life were intertwined.

As a historian, I have often had to contend with the question of how far to take the Bloomsbury approach. Keynes is very far from the only homosexual or bisexual I have written about. In The Pity of War, for example, I discussed the case of T.E. Lawrence, whose real or imagined rape by his Turkish captors was central to his experience of World War I. In The House of Rothschild, I identified at least three members of that illustrious financial dynasty as gay. In Empire, I sketched the lives of both repressed and unrepressed homosexuals who played important roles in the Victorian British Empire.

Yet no one who reads these books could seriously accuse me of harboring a prejudice against gay men (or women). It would be as absurd to accuse me of anti-Semitism for alluding to the fact that the Rothschilds or Warburgs were Jews.

In The War of the World, I sought to explain how warped, pseudo-scientific racial and ‘eugenic’ theories provided a justification for some of the most horrific acts of organized violence in all human history. I could not have been more explicit in condemning such theories. You will find a similar condemnation in Civilization: The West and the Rest. Incidentally, one of the heroes of that book is Frederick the Great of Prussia, who was almost certainly gay.

There is still, regrettably, a great deal of prejudice in the world, racial as well as sexual. There are two strategies we may adopt. One is repression — the old Victorian practice of simply not talking about such things. The other is education. In my writing and teaching, I have labored long and hard to expose precisely what was wrong about the theories that condemned homosexuals, Jews and others to discrimination and death. I have also tried to explain what made those theories so lethally appealing.

The War of the World concludes:

‘We shall avoid another century of conflict only if we understand the forces that caused the last one—the dark forces that conjure up ethnic conflict and imperial rivalry out of economic crisis, and in doing so negate our common humanity.’

I doubt very much that any of my vituperative online critics have made a comparable effort to understand the nature and dire consequences of prejudice. For the self-appointed inquisitors of internet, it is always easier to accuse than seriously to inquire.

In the long run we are all indeed dead, at least as individuals. Perhaps Keynes was lucky to pre-decease the bloggers because, for all his brilliance, was also prone to moments of what we would now call political incorrectness. In his Economic Consequences of the Peace, for example, he wrote:

‘Unless her great neighbours are prosperous and orderly, Poland is an economic impossibility with no industry but Jew-baiting.’

Even at the time, that was an outrageous thing to say about a country that had suffered grave hardships since its partition in the eighteenth century. But does anyone today seriously argue that we should not read Keynes because he was a Polonophobe?

Ironically, Keynes was even more averse to Americans than to Poles. As he told a friend in 1941: ‘I always regard a visit [to the US] as in the nature of a serious illness to be followed by convalescence.” To his eyes, Washington was dominated by lawyers, all speaking incomprehensible legalese—or, as Keynes put it, “Cherokee’.

Shock, horror: Even the mighty Keynes occasionally said stupid things. Most professors do. And — let’s face it — so do most students.

What the self-appointed speech police of the blogosphere forget is that to err occasionally is an integral part of the learning process. And one of the things I learnt from my stupidity last week is that those who seek to demonize error, rather than forgive it, are among the most insidious enemies of academic freedom.

This was first printed in the Harvard Crimson

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Show comments
  • jim

    Enough with the “…phobic” slur. PC chimps’n’gimps insist on using terms such as “homophobe” or “islamophobe” in order to impugn the character of their targets by implying paranoia and hysteria. Do not play this game. Are we not allowed to be sceptical anymore?.I am sceptical about gay marriage,tranny issues,fashionable causes,immigration,the media,europe ….most things in fact and will happily own up to being islamosceptic,eurosceptic and yes, homosceptic too. This at least implies a healthy spirit of enquiry rather than witless cheerleading….Ferguson’s point about Keynes was valid but minor..The reaction is ,as anyone could have predicted,completely over the top.Tolerance is not an embrace.One tolerates that which one finds distasteful but tolerance it seems is no longer enough. If the “gay community” wonder why so many find them hard to take then perhaps incidents like this go some way to explaining a lingering public distaste.

  • Neil Saunders

    Surely the only thing that really matters is whether Niall Ferguson is qualified to comment upon Keynes as an economist. Personally, I’d say that he wasn’t.

    However, all the politically-correct stuff about “homophobia” is a tiresome distraction from the real issue.

  • CoastRanger

    Niall will find himself to be forgiven to the extent that he thought to be a progressive.

  • Neil Saunders

    Am I alone in being sick to death of made-up, ideological words such as “homophobia”, which are used to stifle open debate and entrench one single set of views as the default setting of society while anathematising all others? Did George Orwell write such things as “Politics and the English Language” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four” completely in vain? It looks increasingly as though he did.

  • Jan Cosgrove

    Gays get married, father children, give birth, and also don’t …. and it doesn’t matter a tuppenny cuss as regards their ability to contribute to the advance of society, unless the ‘majority’ in society make this so. Who’s for a statue in Parliament Square for the gay man who did as much as any person in winning the war against fascism but whom society turned on when it had used him? Turing.

  • John Mepham

    If Keynes was so brilliant why were his economic theory books so obscure ? I used to buy the Keynes “was brilliant” stuff when I was an economics student. 40 years later I don’t buy it at all.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Obscure? Keynes was actually a very good writer (try his Essays in Persuasion, for example; or his great Essay or Edmund Bourke) but it’s true that the General Theory was written in a hurry and was putting ideas that Keynes had only just formulated (or, in some cases, was still in the process of formulating). But surely Hicks’ masterly IS-LM model, which summarised the gist (though not all the subtleties) of the General Theory (and which we were all taught in first or second year Macroeconomics), is actually a model of clarity? And to understand the last five or six years of macro-economic history, basic textbook IS-LM is almost all you need…

  • Ciaran O’Connell

    I find it amazing that a Harvard professor actually argues that Keynes’s economic attitude to post WW1 Germany was influenced by an attraction to a German diplomat. Considering how much it must cost to study at Harvard, for a professor at such a prestigious institution to lecture & rely on suggestive sexual ”attractions” to try & discredit an economist, who said professor happens to disagree with, is cringe worthy. I can’t say Harvard economic history students are getting their money worth.

  • fitz fitzgerald

    This is a lilly livered attempt to appease the pea brained vixens of Cambridge, Mass : a halting, undignified grovel before those who deserve at least a verbal lashing .

  • Fishcat

    I would like to see a little more hand-wringing, please. Not because I was offended by your article, but because I enjoy watching journalists squirm.

    There has been a concerted attempt to discredit Keynesianism in recent years – and this largely originates in the misguided libertarian ideals of the American right, who have been chomping at the bit for the last 15 years to try and rob their own lower classes of the last remnants of financial dignity they have. This school of thinking is nothing more than a plague that turns economics into a sad battlefield of left vs right and sweeps considered, rational theory off to the sidelines.

  • Jupiter

    Stop being such a wimp, you’ve got nothing to apologise for.

  • sarahsmith232

    I wish Ferguson hadn’t apologised. yes, undoubtedly out by a mile out with the reasoning behind Keynes’s thinking but offensive? no.
    the professionally offended thought police need to be put back in their boxes. bowing to them by apologising will only be encouraging these knee-jerk, pathetic reactionaries. there’s not a day goes by when there isn’t something setting them off bleating about the horrors of having to live amongst their prejudiced inferiors. they have to grasp at straws ’cause otherwise they’d be left with the knowledge that, actually, most aren’t particularly prejudiced and then how could convince themselves of their superiority?

  • wcm_eu

    Sorry, but no matter how hard you try on this one, you’ll never convince anyone you are or ever were “biologically exuberant.”

    Quite tiresome nonsense around a strange bit of thinking. You must subscribe to the Third Gender School, too. Nonsense.

  • Alec

    The charge of homophobia is equally easy to refute. If I really were a ‘gay-basher’, as some headline writers so crassly suggested, why would I have asked Andrew Sullivan, of all people, to be the godfather of one of my sons, or to give one of the readings at my wedding?

    Refute or dispute?
    Iain Paisley is reputed to have been diligence itself when it came to representing concerns of individual RC constituents.

  • Jacob A. Geller

    Wait, the strong attraction Keynes felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’s views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath..?

    • Tom Tom

      No chance that the Treaty of Versailles was flawed in any way then ?

  • therealguyfaux

    Of course, lost in all this is the substantive question of whether Keynes was right in his belief that you have to act in the moment and take no care for the morrow, so to speak, by enacting all sorts of short-range plans to get you over the hump (no pun intended). It is always mentioned by Keynesians, like that smug git Krugman, that no politician is going to vote for ending those programmes that distribute the largesse during the bad times, turkeys and Thanksgiving and all that in the American version of the metaphor, and so the good ideas of JMK are subverted in practical application when his prescriptions for turning off the tap in the fat years are ignored. It seems to me that JMK was oblivious to the long run simply in virtue of proposing such fixes as he should have known would, once installed, become untouchable politically and make a complete shambles of whatever good (if any) there was in his theories. Bit of a Frog and Scorpion situation if JMK really was that naive, and cynical in the extreme if he used the part about standing down the government intervention in the prosperous years as a figleaf merely to justify getting the thin part of the wedge of government in when times are tough.

    • Tom Tom

      He was concerned that the future held two paths to full-employment: that of Adolf Hitler; or that of Josef Stalin. For some reason he preffered liberal democracy and wanted it to copy the Swedish approach to dealing with the Depression just as some people now want Britain to copy the Swedish model to dealing with insolvent banks

  • Andy M

    He made a mistake, he apologised and held his hands up and admitted he was wrong. He’s human, like all of us he makes mistakes. Forgive and move on.

  • SH Ell

    Nice rambling apology dude, Marks for effort.

  • zanzamander


  • allymax bruce

    The word Homophobia is basically a fear of homosexuals; I don’t know anybody that actually fears homosexuals!
    Therefore, are we, ‘British’ society, allowing an ‘Americanized’ imposition, (which is a conflation of many over-constraining homosexual social mores, that are fundamentally the self-persecution anxieties homosexuals impose on themselves), to define ‘British’ values of what is, and isn’t ‘Homophobia’? Yes, this is what’s happening; and it’s ridiculous; a tiny, tiny, tiny minority of homosexual people, forcing the mass majority of society, to ‘conform’ to these ludicrous self-persecution anxieties of these tinyx3 minority!

  • Eddie

    Those without children regularly have to put up with attempted emotional blackmail by ‘breeders’ who think that becoming a parent somehow makes their views superior to others – especially on anything concerning children. Nonsense, of course – many parents are morons and making dem baby is well easy, innit? Even idiots can do it, as the vast evidence around us shows.
    I always find it wryly amusing that now everyone is saying how wonderful gay people are and how we must fight homophobia; oddly, the same people were saying even just 20 years ago how unnatural and perverted gay people were and are. They seem confused. Maybe their brains are a bit bent with the effort of hiding their utter hypocrisy and opportunism.
    I know no gay people who mind or care if someone is anti-gay – which is just as well, as most vibrant and diverse swarthy immigrants to the UK (and their offspring here) hate gays with a vengeance and wish them all dead (even is Islam is a religions of peeeeeace…).
    Ferguson is juts a typical senior academic – he thinks he matters and that his views are superior to those of the untermenschen who are not at the top of those ivory towers. All senior academics get like this. That’s why they are best ignored at all times.

  • John O’Neill

    Justifying the accusation by responding to it does nothing to refute it. A simple apology would have sufficed.

  • Tom Tom

    Paragraph 6 is incoherent trash. Economic Consequences of the Peace was written as an Observer at Versailles from the UK Treasury. German Inflation in 1923 had more to do with France and Belgium occupying The Ruhr. Trying to link Keynes to hyperinflation during the General Strike in The Ruhr and Communist uprisings in Bavaria and Thuringia and Dortmund is potty. Ferguson is no economist and he is simply a prostitute selling himself to hedge funds for conferences. He is omitting the wife he dumped from his text, and has always been a money-obsessed purveyor of bombastic prejudice. This is a tedious article as a favour from one Scot to another and has no relevance.

    • JabbaTheCat

      Lol…I think the issue is that Ferguson gets to write the article and you merely get to insignificantly decorate the comments…

  • Benjamin O’Donnell

    As I’ve written in the other threads, the real problem with Niall Ferguson repeating this old Schumpeterian canard was not its apparent homophobia, but its disappointing historical ignorance (or, perhaps, its intellectual dishonesty).

    It’s telling that few people bother to give the famous Keynes quote in its full context, neglecting to read even the very next sentence, which was: “Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again” (“The Great Slump of 1930” (1930) in Essays in Persuasion). Keynes was *not* saying that we should ignore the long run, he was saying that it’s useless to say the economy will return to full employment in the long run, when in the short run lives are being ruined by unemployment.

    What baffles me is that a highly credentialled historian, who presumably has learned to be careful with keeping famous quotations in their full context, would behave so sloppily. Why would Ferguson rip a single sentence so out of context and use it, combined with a jab at Keynes’ sexuality, to make an obviously false point about the Keynes’ economic views? Someone else might be excused by the fact that the this particular canard is an old one, originating with Schumpeter’s rather disgraceful obituary, and so often repeated since that it has become a part of right-wing mythology. But Ferguson is supposed to be an economic historian, for goodness sake…

    • Tom Tom

      because Ferguson is a performing artist at Hedge Fund venues to entertain. He is driven my money. His remarks are those of hedge fund insider jokes, I bet he has a few about cotton-pickers and blacks too. This time he has probably been caught by the rich gay backers of is hedge fund paymasters and forced to grovel for his fees.

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        I’d like to dismiss that comment as overly cynical, but as an explanation it has a disturbing verisimilitude…

        • Tom Tom

          Cynical, perhaps, but was made at an Investors’ Conference in Carlsbad before 500 stunned guests. It was reported by two Financial Newspapers and the audience reaction to a simple question to Ferguson about “the long-run” mentioned by Keynes.

          I think the guy posing a reasonable question about economic policy must have been stunned to get such a facile and stupid response to a serious question

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            It’s also, I think, that the question he was asked went to one of the main weakness in the case put forward by Ferguson and the other “austerians”. The say that, once the debts (both private and public) are paid down and balance sheets are repaired across the economy (when the “rottenness is purged from the system” to quote the 1920s liquidationist mantra), spending will naturally increase and something close to full employment will return. So yes, “when the storm is past the ocean is flat again”; but in the meantime… When confronted with that in a Q&A at the end of the day – when one may have an answer but one knows that it’s long and tedious and recent events have meant that one isn’t 100% confident it’s right – a tired and harried man might see a glib joke as a handy escape hatch…

  • Daniel Maris

    Is anyone else enjoying Vicious? I think it’s one of the funniest things to have appeared on our TV screens in many a moon.

  • David Webb

    You clearly are a bigot – because your article above is suffused with the idea that there is one correct opinion on everything. You are merely trying to show you are fully in line with the “correct” opinion. Only a bigot believes there is a politically correct opinion on everything and any other comments, however well argued, are beyond the pale. If your students would refuse to study with someone who deviated, even slightly, from the “correct” opinions on anything at all, your students are the bigots! The point of a university is to allow for established opinions to be challenged and argued – and if you don’t believe in that, neither you nor your students should be in a university.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Well said.

    • sarahsmith232

      I don’t thnk you get the whole concept of comment. Ferguson is an opinion former, it’s their job to convince of their point of view. it’s not an e.g of bigotry it’s an e.g of a person that gives a damn about what they’ll see as the ills of the world using their ability with the written word to convince of their view.
      you think his writing shows that he’s foolish enough to believe that there is one point of view, he’s not saying that. he’s trying to convince people of his strongly held views. that’s not going to happen if he writes some wishy-washy, sitting on the fence piece.

      • David Webb

        Sarah, you’ve committed the cardinal error of not reading the article! He explains in the article that as a university lecturer he is worried his students won’t want to study with him if he doesn’t clear up the fact that his opinions really are politically correct.

  • Studley

    Why would you ask Andrew Sullivan? A decent man with serious blind spots, notably as they pertain to sexuality. I remember when the wheels started falling off. He went from (seeming) savvy and self-possessed to obsessed and unwise.

    Childless people care about the future, but there is clearly an element of truth in what you originally said about people with children. If there were not, politicians with any ambition would perhaps not be so willing to have families. They have families because, quite apart from personal inclination, they have something to prove. All ambitious pols are parents, despite the fact that in the nature of things, being a mummy or daddy can’t always stand highest or even near highest in their priorities. (In the same way, not all American politicians can naturally be religious churchgoers, but every single ambitious high-profile American politician has a church affiliation, since voters on the whole require it.)

    • Tom Tom

      because since his divorce he may only have Sullivan as a friend to produce in the USA where his wife Aysan Hirsi Ali may not appeal to his former wife and children. He knows Sullivan from Magdalen College, Oxford when they were students. Does that mean he wants his son to have a gay mentor ? Who knows ? Who cares ?

  • Guest


  • Michael Booth

    There’s something to be said for the old adage, ‘Never explain, never apologise’…

    • Daniel Maris

      and “Never self-publicise…” unless you are a minor TV celebrity desperate for more publicity.

  • Fat Bloke on Tour


    You are having a laugh – no matter the subject matter you seem to revel in the “gay sub plot”.

    Who do you think you are?
    A commissioning editor for C4 films?

    As for your “history” / pseudo intellectual economic analysis …

    Two things let you down.

    1) the complete un-readability of your prose — Peter Preston is Enid Blyton in your company.
    2) Your inability to work out what has primacy — Democracy vs market efficiency.

    Consequently away ‘n bile yer Heid ya zoomer.

    • allymax bruce

      Pure dead brilliant.
      Best analysis yet.

  • Helter

    Niall Ferguson looks for historical homosexuals like Sam Diamond looks for suspects in Murder By Death.

    Tess Skeffington: Sam, why do you keep all those naked muscle men magazines in your office?
    Sam Diamond: Suspects. Always looking for suspects.

  • Rockin Ron

    Off subject, but can anyone explain why so many Shell and BP fuel stations are now run by Sri Lankans?

    • Davey4Lyfe


    • arnoldo87

      Why is it that, whenever Niall Ferguson raises the question of Keynes’ homosexuality, the subject of Sri Lankan fuel station owners comes up?

      • Alec

        You know the rules, no talk of Sri Lankan fuel stations before dinner time.
        (Although, a few years ago, there was a scandal of the LTTE blackmailing many of those Sri Lankan fuel stations they could find into nobbling the credit card system.)

  • Andy

    First of all you cannot Libel the dead.

    Secondly can anyone tell me – and swear on Oath – that Keynes was not a homosexual. or perhaps more correctly a bisexual ? You simply do not know. Ferguson doesn’t know, nor do any of you who are quick to stick the boot in. I for one have no way to either say he was or he wasn’t Gay and frankly who gives a damn ?

    Oh and by the way, those of you who say ‘He wasn’t Gay because he was married’ you know nothing of Gays nor of Gay life.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      I thought his correspondence, especially with Lytton Strachey and Duncan Grant, made it pretty clear that he was, at least until his thirties, almost exclusively homosexual. See the Skidelsky biography, especially the first volume.

      • Tom Tom

        It is however irrelevant to the issue of The Long Run.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          Oh, certainly. I agree his homosexuality is irrelevant to his attitude to the long run. I was just pointing out (in a response to another comment from someone else) that he was almost certainly a homosexual, at least youth to middle age.

          • Andy

            He was not ‘almost certainly homosexual’. He MAY have been homosexual, or more correctly bisexual. You cannot prove it one way or another, so you are speculating. And you are right it is irrelevant anyway.

            • Benjamin O’Donnell

              Well, Keynes’ letters to Strachy are specific about Duncan Grant and express some pretty graphic descriptions of, well, sexual things between Keynes and Grant. There’s quite a lot of evidence that Grant was *the* great love of Keynes’ twenties and thirties. I think the evidence is pretty damn clear that Keynes was gay or bi – he didn’t just sleep with men, he fell rather dramatically in love with at least one. I suggest you read Lord Skidelsky’s biography of Keynes – especially the first volume, which quotes extensively from this correspondence.

            • rosie

              Would we have had this fuss over someone suggesting Edward Heath had a short term view of our membership of the EEC? That he relished the thought of driving over to the continent for dinner with his friends, and not having the hassle of borders and currencies, rather than thinking through the consequences for his descendants? And what about Peter Mandelson and others’ view of mass immigration? In the first generation it is mostly sweetness and light, especially for frequent diners out. The serious problems arrive in the third and fourth generations.

              Is it “homophobic” to recognize more homosexuals are able to keep up with the antisocial hours of the Westminster bubble than family men and women? That a short term, even hedonistic view of economic and political affairs has indeed prevailed? How did the debt get so big if future generations matter as much as this one? And how on earth did so many people of child bearing age get given British nationality?

              Secondly, what on earth would Keynes have thought of the scale of borrowing and money printing going on now, and of the absence of responsible interest rates, knowing what he did about Germany’s experience? Always ask, as Skidelsky said: “What would Keynes prescribe now, not what he prescribed then.”
              None of this precludes the possibility of homosexuals being extremely responsible and forward looking, and it is no more “homophobic” than considering the likely priorities of elderly savers, or owner occupiers, whether homosexual or not. As Dadvid Starkey would say, there is a difference between describing and denigrating. and so it is with speculation.
              It is alarming to see NF of all people losing his nerve and grovelling to save his career. But that is the thought police state for you – and it stretches right across the Atlantic. David Starkey doesn’t ever grovel, but perhaps that is because he belongs to an unassailable group.

              • rosie

                Keynes took a long term view of Kings College’s future. As bursar he was a careful steward of its finances, making wise investments with an eye to future generations, much as a landowner would try to secure the future for his heirs. And he looked to future generations too in his institution of the Cambridge Arts Centre, presumably in memory of his wife Lydia.

    • Tom Tom

      Libel ? we are speaking of Economics and LONG RUN Equilibrium whether it is at full-employment as PIgou opined or is an Oscillating Disequlibrium as Keynes and Minsky opine. That is the fundamental issue and not whether it means that being childless you don’t think a long-run exists

    • Fergus Pickering

      Well, I do. It is at least interesting. I thought it was generally accepted that he was at least a bit gay. Like Disraeli, say, though by no means as nice a chap.

      • Andy

        Why is it ‘interesting’ ?
        Is it ‘interesting’ that you might be hetrosexual ?
        Whether he went to bed with men or with women has got damn all to do with you or anyone else. What is of interest are this theories and his works, some of which are probably wrong.

  • Shoe On Head

    in fairness, mel gibson exists niall.

    you have nothing to worry about.

    (shoe on head)

  • JohannesHibernicus

    “Homophobia” is a pretty stupid term and it is sad that someone as intelligent as Ferguson should grovel to the gay community for making a mild joke about Keynes. I suggest we rid our language of this term and the ugly intolerance that lies behind it. We must be able to criticise certain aspects of homosexual behaviour and not be coerced into believing that this is a normal and healthy behaviour if we do not really think this. This is like coercing Jews to become Christians in Spain after the departure of the Moors or coercing people to believe in Stalinism and Communism in the Soviet Union.

    • Hookeslaw

      ‘We must be able to criticise certain aspects of homosexual behaviour’ – which of act peculiarly homosexually related behaviour do you wish to feel free to criticise?

      No one, no thing should be above fair criticism I would have thought.

      • Daniel Maris

        Standing next to you in the male urinal and m***urbating while you are trying to have a wee. That’s specifically homosexual, isn’t it and pretty reprehensible? Or do you defend such behaviour?

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          Huh? That’s not *homosexual* behaviour; it’s deranged, rude and epically inconsiderate behaviour, no matter what the sexuality of the f***wit doing it…

        • Fergus Pickering

          Who is doing that? I have never come across it? Was I never pretty enough?

        • Eddie

          Yeah, that Harriet Harman had better calm down really eh?

    • Em Woodward

      I’m all for good debate and I can understand many of the above arguments but I must point out that, as a gay person myself, your naivety towards the topic of homophobia is prevalent. It is statements such as your ‘not be coerced into believing that this is a normal and healthy behaviour if we do not really think this’ that make “homophobia” such a damaging and quite frankly insulting part of life for any homosexual. I personally am all for free speech and healthy debate, but you have to be aware of your audience and be courteous to the feelings of others, no matter what your personal belief or preference may be. I think you’re being slightly hypocritical by stating ‘I suggest we rid our language of this term and the ugly intolerance that lies behind it’ , as the way I see it, to believe that the term homophobia is in any way intolerant is simply laughable. Whilst I totally understand the point that journalists dramatise and exaggerate too often, I do believe there is a reason we have such an important term in our dictionary and it is to highlight and expose the injustices in our (often) bigoted society. To believe this is untrue without walking the shoes of your gay fellow man or woman is ignorant.

  • Magnolia

    The thought police always try to close down debate with their labels.
    Sometimes we stumble towards a great idea or a reasoning as if we’re trying to catch a cloud in our hands and the words can come out a bit messy before the reasoning is finished and the idea is fully formed.
    Perhaps you sketch your thoughts mentally before you paste them down as copy?
    Our comments here are often careless, quickly thrown down and easily picked apart by others but we take part in discussion, record our experiences for posterity and just maybe also do some good in this world.
    A free press, free speech, free thoughts. They all mean freedom.
    Freedom is messy, not clean, neat and orderly.
    Please keep thinking, talking and writing.

    • Span Ows

      Inspired comment Magnolia!

    • Eddie

      Indeed. Personally I prefer to call all economists cunce and leave it at that…
      Ferguson offended the self-appointed high priests of political correctness and identity politics, so has got himself branded as ‘the enemy of all that is right and good’ by the pc gestapo. Hey ho… He’s got the money, fame and power to protect himself – but what about the part-time teacher suspended with no pay for months after someone accuses him of waycism or homiephobia or, sin of all sins, disliking Muslims…

      • Simon Fay

        Ferguson is one of the high-priests’ court historians, which makes his grovelling all the more understandable.

      • Jamie Gordon

        Is it right to call Ferguson an economist anyway? He is a historian who has taken an interest in the history of economics and decided he is qualified to expound on macroeconomics. He doesn’t seem to understand the basics very well, probably because he hasn’t read the text books. Maybe I am doing him a disservice but he’s certainly got a lot wrong economically over the past 4 years.

        • balakris

          Hear, hear. Someone should tell him to stop writing about economics.

  • In2minds

    Just forget it, I’m always saying daft things about John Maynard Keynes and its never done me any harm.

    • Tom Tom

      and you are taken seriously as an academic in which institution ?

      • In2minds

        does anyone take academics seriously?

        • Tom Tom

          Those who pay them have to, but I think this comment from Harvard Crimson sums it up well


          The recent controversies involving Reinhart, Rogoff and now Ferguson indicate a disgruntled member of the Harvard Lampoon staff has been submitting research papers
          and writing scripted remarks for faculty.

  • octavian88

    Perhaps Keynes should have shown his concern for future generations by walking out on his wife and kids for a mistress, much like Hayek did (and indeed Mr Ferguson).

    btw the my wife’s a foreigner therefore I can’t be racist is a dull and often disprived canard, as is “I have a gay friend therefore cannot be a homophobe”.

    either way there are multiple reasons to think of Mr Ferguson a boorish blowhard with an irrational hatred of Britain and the British (amongst others). Happy to see him over in the US, much like that other irritant Piers Morgan.

    • Archimedes

      “btw the my wife’s a foreigner therefore I can’t be racist is a dull and often disprived canard, as is “I have a gay friend therefore cannot be a homophobe””.

      Actually, yours is a far more dull and overused argument.

      • octavian88

        which argument would that be?

        • Archimedes

          The one I quoted above. The one where you try to attack a person’s character on the basis of their thoughts and opinions, rather than their actions. You might disagree with racism, you might even find it repulsive, but it doesn’t necessarily constitute a character failure. What is a character failing is if that opinion manifests itself in the way you treat other individuals.

          With homophobia, Ferguson’s argument is even more compelling. While it’s possible to be racist and actively seek good relations with other races, it is not possible to be homophobic and actively seek good relations with homosexuals. Homophobia is a phobia and racism is an ism.

          It would be a strange thing indeed for a homophobic individual to make a homosexual the godfather of their child, because that is not just tolerating homosexuals for the sake of appearance — it is actively bringing them into your life, and putting them in a position of influence over your own child.

          Of course, if you are accusing Ferguson of being an awful father who uses his children, and his wife, as pawns in the game of life, then that is another matter.

          • Tom Tom

            Which child is this anyway ? The one that was conceived before his recent marriage where his friends probably deserted him for his ex-wife and children ?

          • Hookeslaw

            And surely if you are a racist you would not have a black person or a japanese as a godparent.
            In the general sense of people’s actions is there really any difference between a the use of ‘phobia and ‘ism in this context?

            I agree with you we should be able to think freely but be held accountable for our inability to control our actions. This is really why even if we are disturbed by homosexuality, which is an unavoidable accident of birth, we should never the less wish to treat people equally.
            I treat people as I find them, which must be obvious from many of my comments

            • Archimedes

              “And surely if you are a racist you would not have a black person or a japanese as a godparent.”

              Well, essentially what I was talking about is the difference between racism and racialism, but the distinction has become somewhat convoluted. If the distinction is understood, then I think there is a difference. A phobia is a fear of something, so it inherently drives actions. An ism is set of prescriptions and assumptions, but it does not necessarily drive actions.

          • octavian88

            utter rubbish, I didn’t attack his character on the basis of his thoughts and opinions, in fact I have no idea what you’re referring to.

            I made a somewhat sarcastic comment regarding the wisdom of using someones sexuality in reference to their empathy for future generations whilst speaking as a heterosexual who abandoned his own family.

            As you say it is clearly possible for a racist to find people of other ethnicity’s sexually attractive and to marry them, therefore his contention that he married a black person somehow makes it impossible for him to be racist is incorrect. Not sure of the point you’re making to be honest. To insinuate that his opinions don’t matter in a discussion on those opinions seem utterly bizzare.

            As for the homophobia argument lets replace that with bigot. I’m not saying he’s a bigot but his contention that his appointment of a gay person as his childs godfather does not preclude him from having some ill founded prejudices against gay people is, with respect, bollocks. It does make his argument re Keynes sexuality influencing his thoughts on future generations even more nonsensical though.

            Not quite sure why so many people on here are jumping through so many hoops to defend somethign that even he admits (albeit disingenously) was a pretty cretinous thing to say. I can only assume they feel the need to defend him on every issue because they agree with him on some others.

            Very unusual behaviour.

            • Archimedes

              It should be abundantly clear that this is what I attacked:

              “btw the my wife’s a foreigner therefore I can’t be racist is a dull and often disprived canard, as is “I have a gay friend therefore cannot be a homophobe””.

              It should be abundantly clear because I quoted it in my first comment, I referenced it in my second, and have been consistently attacking the logic of that statement.

              You say that to insinuate that his opinions don’t matter in a discussion on those opinions is bizarre, but what I said is that to dismiss his actions on a discussion about the origin of his opinions is equally bizarre.

              You say that his opinions are the result of ill prejudice, but I say that his actions do not show ill prejudice, and are therefore valid grounds to question the existence of that ill prejudice. You, of course, would much prefer to dismiss any such argument, because it doesn’t fit with preference to achieve some victim in a debate, in order to pollute that debate.

              Let’s not replace “homophobia” with “bigot” — that would be bigoted.

              There is nothing new in suggesting that social groups behave differently. Making an observation of different behaviour in different groups is not homophobia, not even when that group is homosexuals. I imagine you’d not be quite so quick to dismiss any positive observation of homosexuals as a group.

              As I’ve already stated, it’s highly unlikely that a person prejudiced against, and harbouring ill feelings towards, a particular group would allow that group to exercise an influence over their child. Regardless of your opinion on the substance, it would be bad parenting to place your child under the influence of something that you believe to be bad.

              I’m not defending Ferguson, I’m attacking your logic — which is confused.

              • octavian88

                you’re evidently the one who’s confused.

                My logic is simply that saying you’re married to black person does note preclude you being a racist and that making a gay person godfather to your child does not necessarily preclude you from being prejudiced towards gay people. I haven’t attacked him for being a bigot or a racist (boorish blowhard irritant was the worst I said about him), I was saying his defence was ill advised and logically flawed.

                btw You say “it would be bad parenting to place your child under the influence of something that you believe to be bad.”, I’d say Niall hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory when it comes to good parenting thus far, abandoning your family for a mistress doesn’t exactly make him parent of the year. Making someone godfather of your child can be a hugely vapid decision with some people, I’ve seen people choose celebrities or other supposedly high status individuals for social climbing purposes, it could have been his wife’s decision, who knows.

                I also very much take issue with your beyond simple minded assertion that being a racist does not represent a failure of character unless it’s acted upon. I look down on anyone feeble minded enough to make judgements on people based on their race, whether they act on it or not. I would class that person as an idiot with a flawed character, I wouldn’t act on it (other than to avoid them) but I’d still hold a lower opinion of them than if they didn’t hold that moronic viewpoint.

                • Archimedes

                  Reality is much more complex than the way that you would like to paint it, which is why I think you’re a moron, because you just want to close down debates that you don’t understand based on some irrational fear that if people are left to think they will naturally begin to kill each other. You’re an idiot, a bigot and a damn fool.

                • octavian88

                  That’s quite the biggest strawman I think I’ve ever encountered on the internet, not a place exactly lacking in examples of that kind of logical fallacy. I haven’t at any point tried to close down any debate, made any kind of statement that would lead you to believe I fear people being left to think will result in them killing each other. What a load of utter rubbish, nothing remotely like that was intimated or even vaguely hinted at. Someone is clearly getting a little over excited and letting their fevered imagination run riot.

                  Interesting to note that you haven’t countered a single point I made in my last post, understandable as there’s not much to disagree with; I was especially looking forward to your defence of racism not being a character flaw.

                  btw congrats on some first class desperate ad hominem (moron / idiot / bigot / damn fool).

                  Always a sure fire sign you’re winning an argument, congratulations.

                • Archimedes

                  From your previous comment:

                  “I look down on anyone feeble minded enough to make judgements on people based on their race, whether they act on it or not. I would class that person as an idiot with a flawed character, I wouldn’t act on it (other than to avoid them) but I’d still hold a lower opinion of them than if they didn’t hold that moronic viewpoint.”

                  I’m sorry, but this sort of attitude is about making something socially unacceptable, placing yourself on a moral high ground, from which you can then question the characters of the people that disagree with you.

                  If you make a judgement about a person, based on their race or anything else, but it does not change, in any way, the way that you interact with them, then what is the problem? What you are doing is making assumptions about actions on the basis of thoughts. I have already stated that I believe that people should be judged on actions, not thoughts. That is what this argument is.

                  In every response, you have conflated the two. Yes, mine was a desperate response, but I’m afraid that it was desperate because there is simply no way to untangle the mess that is your mind.

                • octavian88

                  The mess that is my mind?

                  I’m not the one saying that racism is not a character flaw.

                  I will happily admit to thinking the same of anyone else with similarly stupid, vapid thought processes.

                  If someone (for instance) thinks negatively of people on the basis of their hair colour or the size of their feet then I’ll happily write them off as a feeble minded and suffering form poor judgement too.

                  I’d get off your high horse re not being judgemental of someone’s thoughts, you’ve just heavily insulted and judged me based purely on my thoughts.

                  Let he who is without a messy mind cast the first stone; you’re really in no position to be stone throwing, trust me.

                • Archimedes

                  Why? Is it a character flaw to treat someone, that you think of as scum, like a king? Do we say that it’s good to be kind to a person you dislike, or a bad thing? Is it better to treat people that you think of as scum, like they were scum?

                  Oh, are you going to tell me that you shouldn’t think of anyone as scum? Well, it sounds lovely, and I hope you enjoyed Disneyland.

                  Is it also a bad thing to think positively of someone of their hair colour, then also? Of course, if you are to think negatively of someone’s hair color, then naturally it has to be on the basis that another hair color is better. So is it a dangerous to be attracted to someone, then? You presumably think homosexuality is a bad thing, then, because it is a making a crass generalisation about a particular gender — namely that one gender is more attractive? Of course, you’d also think that heterosexuality is a bad thing, too. Presumably the best thing for you is bisexuality? Though only if you don’t, for example, take a liking to blonde people. You’d have to be sexually attracted to anyone and everyone, right?

                  You’re fighting humanity, you’re fighting opinions, you’re fighting everything.

                  I’ll get off my high horse, right after you. I’ve insulted you because you’re an idiot.

                • octavian88

                  You’re drifting farther and farther from anything remotely resembling logic (or indeed) sanity.

                  I’ll try responding to these increasingly out there ramblings, in as simple terms as possible as you appear to be struggling with some very simple concepts:

                  ” Is it a character flaw to treat someone, that you think of as scum, like a king? Do we say that it’s good to be kind to a person you dislike, or a bad thing? Is it better to treat people that you think of as scum, like they were scum?”

                  It’s a character flaw to think someone is scum purely on the basis of their race. Why on earth would you do that? It’s so simple minded that I’m struggling to see why on earth you’d defend it. There are many good reasons to think of someone as scum, race isn’t one. Clear enough for you?

                  “Oh, are you going to tell me that you shouldn’t think ofanyone as scum? Well, it sounds lovely, and I hope you enjoyed Disneyland.”

                  No, yet again I’m telling you that you using race as a basis for thinking or someone as scum is bigoted nonsense.

                  In your desperate attempts to defend the indefensible you’ve gone so far down some weird logic hole that you’re in imminent danger of disappearing up your own backside. I suggest you go out for a walk, come back and look again at what you’re writing and defending; you appear to have worked yourself into quite a tizzy over some very innocuous statements which I think the vast majority of people (other than yourself and perhaps committed racists) would have a problem with, ie believing other people to be inferior / superior based on their race is indicative of a flawed character. Amazed you think that’s somehow controversial; it’s almost amusing if it wasn’t quite so depressing.

                • Archimedes

                  Firstly, I’ll concede that I have indeed been led a little in this argument. I have been busy today, and have not had any huge surplus of time to put into my responses, and yes the argument has become somewhat convoluted as a result. Though, I hardly think that your own argument has been particularly well founded either.

                  However, the points you raised above are somewhat twisting the nature of what I wrote — which was essentially using an extreme for the purpose of illustration.

                  I did not defend, as good, the position, that a person might hold, that one group of people were scum. What I defended was their right to hold it. I did not say that I agreed with that position in any situation. I merely used that inference to illustrate that there is nothing to be feared from anybody thinking that, if it does not direct their actions in a harmful way.

                  The simple point that I was defending is that people ought to be free to think what they want. Your conceited little dance is nothing new to society.

                  At almost every stage of scientific breakthrough, society has collectively chosen to condemn that science because they found it to be inconvenient. Now, I understand that sometimes science might hurt your feelings (poochie-poo), but never the less the world must march on. Yes, people were as smug as you when Darwin first presented his theory. Yes, people were also quite as smug as you when slavery was abolished.

                  Of course, that’s not to say that there is anything in racism, but it is, of course, beside the point. The point is, quite simply, that thought must be allowed to be exchanged freely between people, regardless of what you make of a particular strand of thought. To demonise any one strand of thought, is to make acceptable the demonisation of any strand of thought which, allowed to run freely, would cause untold damage to the development of the world.

                  You see, and I’ll understand if this is becoming too complex for you, the freedom to exchange thought is precisely the reason why racism is not the problem today that it was in the imperial age. Indeed, it was a society, smug as you, that was unwilling to consider the possibility that they were not a superior race that delayed it.

                  No doubt, in another age, you would have been writing quite the reverse — that, those that suggested that other races were not inferior, were feeble-minded, and you looked down on them, and would no doubt avoid them as best you could.

                  It may well be the case that you find it is unacceptable for anyone to think something that you do not approve of, and that society must move to put pressure on those people to rescind their opinions, and to no longer think them, but I assure you that this is not a good model for the world.

                  Quite the reverse: it is people like you that create extremes — by attempting to direct thought, through social pressure or other means, you cause aggregation and aggregation, of course, creates movements and polarisation.

                  I apologise if I was rude earlier, but I am afraid I still think that you’re an idiot: this is me thinking what you would prefer I didn’t.

                • octavian88

                  Sorry for the late reply, I was busy myself and didn’t have the time to reply yesterday

                  I’ll attempt to unpick the jumbled word salad that is your reply above

                  “The simple point that I was defending is that people ought to be free to think what they want. ”

                  Defending that right against what? Niall has every right to say what he wants and I never said otherwise; equally I have the right to say I think his argument (such as it was) doesn’t add up.

                  “At almost every stage of scientific breakthrough, society has collectively chosen to condemn that science because they found it to be inconvenient. Now, I understand that sometimes science might hurt your feelings (poochie-poo), but never the less the world must march on. Yes, people were as smug as you when Darwin first presented his theory. Yes, people were also quite as smug as you when slavery was abolished.”

                  There is literally not even the slightest amount of sense that can be gleaned from the above. It has no relevance to anything I said, no relevance what so ever to anything we were discussing. I’m wondering if you mistakenly cut and pasted this from a different conversation you were having elsewhere.

                  “Of course, that’s not to say that there is anything in racism, but it is, of course, beside the point.”

                  That’s entirely the point, I’m saying there isn’t, it’s unclear to me what aspect of racism I’m expected to have to respect; it also sounds unsettlingly like you’re hinting at some kind of scientific basis, as yet undiscovered, that would validate racism. I do hope not.

                  “The point is, quite simply, that thought must be allowed to be exchanged freely between people, regardless of what you make of a particular strand of thought. To demonise any one strand of thought, is to make acceptable the demonisation of any strand of thought which, allowed to run freely, would cause untold damage to the development of the world.”


                  Lets be clear, so far I have

                  1) Criticised the logic of Mr Ferguson’s ‘proof’ that he couldn’t possibly be a racist or prejudiced against homosexuals

                  2) Said that I think being a racist was a character flaw.

                  You’ve somehow managed to get extremely over excited about these positions and implied I’m somehow the moral and intellectual equivalent of a creationist slave trader.

                  I’m afraid you’re in danger of sounding like a raving lunatic, if anyone here is trying to shut down anyone’s right to free thought it’s you; I would defend to the death Mr Ferguson’s right to say what ever rubbish he wants, equally I am allowed to have what ever views I like on his (or anyone else’s) character.

                  As for your quite insane ramblings about how I’d be racist in a past life or a different age, I don’t think I’ll even bother dignifying that with a response.

                  I think another bit of fresh air and a fresh look at the nonsense you’re writing might be in order; I’m sure you’ll be a bit embarrassed once you’ve had a chance to calm down reflected on it.

                  Good luck with that.

                • Archimedes

                  That looks like a very long comment. I’m afraid I can’t be bothered to read it. Sorry!

                • octavian88

                  I wouldn’t worry, nearly all of it is quotes from your inane, rambling dogs mess of a post yesterday evening.

                  I’m certain you’ve read it anyway and this is just a pretty feeble capitulation on your part but I can understand why you might want to avoid justifying your earlier brain farts; Defending the indefensible is never that much fun, I’d advise you think before you go off on such mental tangents in future. Poor form, even for the internet.

                • Archimedes

                  Not quite. What happened was I glanced at the first paragraph, I scrolled down to see how long it was, I sighed, I glanced at one of the paragraphs near the end, I read the first line, I thought “I’ll argue that”, I thought “OK, I’ll read it”, I sighed, I thought “Pfft. I can’t be bothered”, I thought “Well, I’ll at least tell you that to let you know”.

                  I haven’t even read your last comment in full either, actually.

                • Archimedes

                  Actually, that was unkind. I apologise.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Mr Ferguson is not in the least like Piers Morgan.

      • Hookeslaw

        Few people are, for which we must be truly thankful. But do remember that Mr Morgan was once seen fit to be a newspaper editor in an industry that considers itself beyond independent regulation.
        Imagine being regulated by your Piers.

    • Eddie

      And yet, many black and brown people use the argument ‘I’m in an ethnic minority group so therefore cannot be racist or wrong in any way’. Absurd, really; based on my experience, black and Asian people are the biggest bigots – racist, sexist, homophobic, intolerant – of all.
      How many Muslims or Africans do you think are tolerant of gays people or gay marriage? Have you ever listened to rap or an imam’s hate-drenched Koran-based lectures on how gays should be killed?

      • octavian88

        any black person using that argument is a moron, doesn’t make Ferguson’s ‘argument’ (such as it was) any less cretinous.

        • Eddie

          Indeed – but the arguments that only white people can be racist is common amongst those in the race relations and equality/diversity industries.
          That tolerance of intolerance means a great deal of really vile bigotry and oppressive traditioons and cutural practices get tolerated when they shouldn’t be – and the same attitudes and behaviours would not be tolerated if they were practised by, say, white British men. Double standards, yes; unusual or atypical? Nope.

          • octavian88

            agreed, doesn’t mean how ever that white british men should get a free pass because someone is being feeble minded enough to give bigoted islamists one for what ever reason

      • fitz fitzgerald

        … the vixens of Cambridge, Mass are selective in their pro-gay stance. Zero tolerance or even fervid criticism of anti-gay islamists and all the rest ? Mais non !

  • chudsmania

    Fair shout. We’ve all been there.

  • Preston

    Niall Ferguson, you usually receive high marks as a b.s. artist, but your embarrassingly bad “apology” in the Harvard Crimson republished here shows that your peerless b.s. skills fail when you fear for your position and reputation. Your scholarship and economic prognostications have always been egregiously and provably wrong, their stinking quality adhering to all who have showered you with praise and credentials, from Harvard down.

    You have a decades-long history of making gay-baiting remarks about Keynes, slurs like “the boys [Keynes] liked to pick up in London” from your book _The Pity of War_, and ridiculous hateful speculation about Keynes being a gay-gay-gay traitor hot for some German sausage at Versailles, published in the Spectator.

    You have an enduring, unusual obsession speculating about Keynes’s homosexual lovers, repeated ad nauseum above.

    All of a sudden you call your decades-old gay-baiting remarks “doubly stupid,” then double down again here with more hateful gay-baiting nonsense in his “apology.” Which is it?—You can’t have it both ways.

    Bad scholarship, and now bad b.s. Your brand is fatally damaged.

    • Span Ows

      No, the only thing fatally damaged is your credibility; better change your log-in name. You seem to have quite a bee in your bonnet about Niall; it shows you up.

      • Tom Tom

        Ferguson is an idiot and always have been. He is totally crap and not a patch on Harold James who is a serious economic historian at Princeton, and knows much more about Weimar than a twerp like Ferguson who is a self-publicising bore.

        • Span Ows

          so what! You like Preston above are being a bit silly.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Anyone who writes bs like ‘Your brand is fatally damaged’ needs to be turned into compost.

      • allymax bruce

        I agree; doubled descriptives, bastardised, then abused for being bastards!
        “embarrassingly bad apology”; …… “peerless bs when you fear”.
        These are excrutiating to read; double-worse as they echo around my head. Gonnae no dae that!

        Mr Ferguson, your use of reference, would lead ‘one’ to believe you are , well, please excuse my phrench, ‘taking-the-pische’. You know fine-well the ‘Jew-baiting’, is inordinately necessary; if you want ‘freedom of speech’!
        Why else would you be so apoplectic, in your apologetics?

        • Fergus Pickering

          Much like Scotchman-baiting, I would have thought.

          • allymax bruce

            Yes, you’ve got it. It’s value to freedom of speech is more than its value as an offense. All these aspects of discourse must be weighted for their necessary good; not simply ordinated as good verses bad.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Well said, sir.

      • Tom Tom

        Ferguson is a brand, that is how he makes money

    • Tom Tom

      Ferguson was awful at Oxford. He is possibly a drinker

      • Fergus Pickering

        What do you men ‘a drinker’. Do you men he is pissed from arsehole to breakfast time? Amazing he finds time to write the books then.

        • Tom Tom

          Lots of drinkers write books, lots of authors are drinkers

  • telemachus

    Does he protest too much?

  • Fergus Pickering

    I wouldn’t get your knickers in such a twist, Mr Ferguson. I a sure you are not homophobic but if you mention gay people at all except in tones of hushed veneration, you will be accused of it. And if you suggest that Nelson Mandela or Obama are less than saints you will be accused of racism. These are just abusive noises. Most of us love you..

    • octavian88

      Out of interest just who do you think you are speaking for? Most of who?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Who? Decent, soft spoken, unhysterical old coves in tweed who won’t have any truck with the noisy motley of the left I guess. A dying breed but not dead yet. What you do with the place once we’ve gone is up to you, we won’t care then. But we do now.

        • octavian88

          In that case maybe worth qualifying his plea to Mr Ferguson that “most of us love you” by saying “some old coves in tweed love you”.

          I presume you are aware that Mr Ferguson waffles on interminably about America’s superiority over the UK and that most of the misery of the second world war and it’s aftermath would have been avoided had we remained neutral. I’d imagine that the dying out breed of british old coves in tweed may have something to say about that.

    • Wilhelm
    • dalai guevara

      Oh dear, not this bashing of gay-bashing bashers, again. Why not just call deputy Nigel and quiz him with regard to the complexities of real life?

    • Tom Tom

      Why do you love Ferguson ? He has always been a twerp

      • Fergus Pickering

        Why do you call him a twerp, twerp? He is a most learned man.

        • Tom Tom

          Not convinced he is actually. Our backgrounds have run in parallel and I consider him to be substandard.

    • JoshuaCzajkowski

      The thing is most gay people won’t be offended by his remarks at all. I’m 20 and gay, heard about his remarks and then carried on with my life. It’s the ultra-liberal left that get offended on behalf of gays because we’re a minority and therefor they think that we are all ultra-liberals and can’t handle people telling jokes, saying what they actually think or even disagreeing with a certain view.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Well said, Joshua. People being offended is one thing, but people being offended on behalf of other people is more than we can take.

      • Span Ows

        Correct Joshua, they do the same for other minorities.

      • archwavian

        Joshua, I dislike the liberal thought-police as much as you. What worries me though, is not the strength of NF’s remarks in themselves, but that it simply wouldn’t have occurred to someone to evaluate Keynes’s work according to his sexuality unless they have really quite significant prejudices and hang-ups. It’s just so irrelevant to the question at hand that one has to wonder about NF’s judgements and thought-processes in the light of this.

        • Tom Tom
        • JoshuaCzajkowski

          I don’t think he actually is homophobic, i just think he got his words jumbled up which made it seem a tad homophobic when that wasn’t what he was implying at all.

          I just find it ironic that the ultra-left trying to protect homosexuals from any sort of insult is homophobic in itself. It implies that we are not capable of dealing with situations thus being unequal. I should have the same rights as everyone else including the right to hear something that may cause me to be offended.

          • archwavian

            As I said, I don’t think you can argue that ‘he just got his words jumbled up’. It’s not the strength or virulence of what he said, it’s that nobody would have arrived at that position unless they had some deep-seated problem with gays. It just wouldn’t have occurred to most people to see Keynes’s work in that light. That’s hardly an ‘ultra-left’ interpretation, just the reality.

          • allymax bruce

            Well said, Joshua; because you protect and defend the right to my freedom of speech, you ultimately maintain your right for same free speech. I must say you are a breath of fresh air.

  • Hookeslaw

    I am merely curious Mr Ferguson – is it only, do you think, ‘error’ that it is wrong to demonize?

    • Andy

      So to say someone is Gay, or possible Gay, is to ‘demonize’ ???

      • octavian88

        to intimate that gay people don’t care about future generations is not exactly showering them with praise.

        • Span Ows

          He didn’t do that though did he. This is the whole problem with the shrieking harpies “I’m offended” industry. Just because Naill is now (stupidly) digging his hole deeper doesn’t mean what he said in the first place was anything like intimating ‘that gay people don’t care about future generations’.

          This whole article and comments are whiny tosh about nothing.

          • allymax bruce

            Spot-on; look at the grammatical construction of the article, and what you get is agrieved confusion. Niall struggles to come to terms with the subject-area / content, and therefore, makes manifest his subjections, as, objections.

      • Hookeslaw

        No not on the face of it. Do you think it is?
        Wilhelm conveniently jumps up to suggest that it is OK to demonize miscegenation,
        We should be grateful for the timely reminder of the wagon which UKIPers have hitched themselves to.