People in charge of important public meeting-places need to be able to think straight. If they can’t, they need to make way for people who can.
That must be the conclusion in the case of Borth Community Hall Committee, who have made it pretty obvious that the power of reasoning is not their strong point.
This foggy-brained body has banned a charitable event at the hall in aid of Palestinian women, men and children enduring agonies for want of food, water, medicines and shelter.
They accuse the organisers of showing political favouritism.
What silliness is this? Almost incredibly, the committee have shown themselves incapable of recognising the overwhelmingly pressing obligation to ease desperate human suffering in Gaza, and to recognise that this imperative blots out considerations of political evenhandedness.
The day-long programme of entertainment on which they’ve put the kibosh would have raised money to buy medical and other life-saving equipment for people who, as organiser Alex Harwood puts it, are “caught up in extreme violence and war through no fault of their own.”
The committee, through its chairman, Ray Quant, says that to assemble help specifically for Gaza’s destitute and dying Palestinians – rather than for them and for Israelis – would show political bias.
An email from him to Harwood says: “Our view is that with the present conflict we don’t want it to be ‘perceived’ that the hall committee is promoting one of the protagonists.”
This is muddled thinking of the first order. For nearly a fortnight before the decision to refuse use of the hall, the United Nations, aid agencies and reporters had spelt out with heartbreaking clarity the dire predicament of up to two million Palestinians.
Of course Israel has suffered dreadfully as well but, following the murderous Hamas assault, vast numbers of Israelis have not been clinging on to life (or not) for want of basic necessities, as have been countless citizens of Gaza.
Israelis have suffered grievously as a result of the sickening Hamas attack. But, unlike Gaza’s Palestinians, they have not been at death’s door for lack of food, water, medicines, fuel and shelter.
Harwood and her colleagues are not being politically selective. They merely wish to help those in greatest need.
The hall committee’s staggering failing has been to not recognise - instinctively, you would have hoped - a simple humanitarian imperative. To not see the crying need to single out help for the homeless, the hungry and the thirsty.
Instead, this committee has seen to it that humanitarianism has been usurped by irrationality.
... and learning how to keep your trap shut
More chaotic thinking - this time from Maria Hinfelaar, vice-chancellor of Wrexham University.
She tells a visiting psychology professor he has a right to freedom of expression – then sacks him after he exercises exactly that liberty.
Nigel Hunt, from Nottingham University, said on Facebook he thought bilingual road signs could be dangerous for drivers who didn’t understand Welsh.
Maria tells him there have been “several complaints” about his social media posts, with the university being tagged more than 100 times online. Oh dear.
She adds: “The university acknowledges you have the right to freedom of expression. However, we consider that the affiliation to our university within the media posts has brought our name into disrepute. Therefore a decision has been taken to withdraw your visiting professorship association forthwith.
Dear Maria, you’re talking rot. ‘Freedom’ of expression which comes parcelled up with the penalty of losing your job isn’t freedom to say what you think but a strong incentive to keep your trap shut.