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    The future of (Pickled) Politics


    by Sunny on 7th September, 2007 at 8:56 am    

    The beginning of September marks two years since I launched PP by nailing my colours to the mast with this statement. To say this has been an incredibly learning and enriching experience would be an understatement. Plus I’ve become friends with some brilliant people through this little blog, which is always nice.

    Anniversaries are always a good time for reflection; to take stock of the past and maybe forge a different future. But before I go into that, I want to share a quick anecdote.

    *******

    A few months ago I was invited to the Guardian annual editor’s party. Not long after arriving I bumped into Asim Siddiqui and as we were catching up, we realised that stood in the middle of the room, deep in conversation with the editor Alan Rusbridger, was Gordon Brown.

    “Let’s go and chat to the Prime Minister,” I said. “Let’s just ambush him and see what he says. It’ll be funny!” Asim, being the good sport that he is, agreed and ventured over with little trepidation. We managed to gently push into one of his sides after about 10 minutes. Just to make sure that our target was not going to get away, we asked Riazat to stand on the other side so Brown had no where to turn. He was trapped. Hah!

    Anyway, we got our chance and got introduced to the PM after he finished his conversation. And then… I realised we hadn’t actually thought what we were going to say. We had been so fixated and amused with the idea of chatting to Brown that the next bit was completely forgotten. So I blurted a question the first question that came to mind.

    “Prime Minister, how do you see your policies on community cohesion developing?”…. Or something along those lines. I just waffled something about his policies on community cohesion and hoped it made sense. At this point, we’d merely introduced ourselves in the vaguest terms. Asim had mentioned he was director of City Circle and had spoken at a recent event where Brown and Blair had been present and that’s it.

    I paraphrase. Brown says something along the lines of: “Well, we think the government has not been talking to broad enough range of voices from different communities and we really need to…” and I can’t remember the rest. All I remember thinking was, “Damn! The point I’ve been banging on about for the past 18 months had finally gotten to the PM. My job is done.”

    To think that this simple point had become so mainstream and uncontroversial party conversation that he had said it without thinking or knowing who we were. It made my night. As we moved away after our brief conversation finished, Inayat Bunglawala, who had been watching anxiously, moved in… It was a fun night.

    *******

    I know I get easily pleased, but my point about the anecdote should be obvious. We started with the notion that there are plenty of progressive and liberal voices brown voices out there, if only the media and politicians bothered to listen. Gordon Brown’s point simply cemented the fact that this is becoming orthodoxy. Soon, most people will look back at my piece in the Guardian the day NGN launched and think, “Why did anyone think what he said was controversial? I’m surprised no one said it before.”

    Does that mean my work here is done? Only partially. Our aim has always been to have a more self-critical and intelligent debate about race/religious politics in Britain. But as the debate expands to include more people and moves forward, there are wider issues to think about.

    And even if we are self-critical, what about the xenophobes who hate us anyway? How can we defend British minorities from prejudice while encouraging to be more confident, self-critical and play their part in the development of our country? How do our mixed identities fit into modern Britain? What do we do about the continuing assault on our civil liberties? What about issues like the environment? What about broader liberal-left issues?

    The debate has to become wider. Plus, I’ve never been the type to just be obsessed about the colour of my skin. The increasing frequency of posts on liberalism, environmentalism and foreign affairs indicate this. The last thing I want is to become another ‘race relations expert’ for life. The last thing I want is for the NGN manifesto to be used against me!

    *******

    Suffice to say, I have another card up my sleeve on this anniversary. In this week’s New Statesman magazine, Martin Bright provides a taster.

    There are already signs that that a political coalition is developing around Brown far wider than anything Blair could have imagined. Even in the anarchy of cyberspace, progressive bloggers are beginning to coalesce around a liberal-left consensus beyond the divisions caused by the Iraq War. There is growing excitement, for instance, around the idea of a “super-blog”, first mooted by Sunny Hundal of the Asian website Pickled Politics, to promote ideas that will help keep the Tories out of power at the next election.

    That’s the basic idea, I guess. I won’t say more than that for now. Pickled Politics isn’t going anywhere in the meantime or even after the project launches. This is still my baby and you, the readers, are still the fuel that keeps me going. Especially Don since he’s been here since day one. Happy Anniversary!



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    1. Guido Faux — on 7th September, 2007 at 10:25 am  

      Sunny,

      So a politician tells you what you want to hear and you’re impressed? I’m stunned.

      I would rather have asked him about the “continuing assault on our civil liberties”, instead of trying to set him up for a home run.

      Good to hear you have more obsessions than the colour of your skin, although I might worry about that.

    2. Sofia — on 7th September, 2007 at 10:47 am  

      happy bday pp…now its a toddler do you think there will be more tantrums?
      As for broad range of voices…I’ve mentioned this before, but in the 90s community groups set up around religious affiliation were never given a look in …it was always around race. Maybe if they had been supported then issues around deprivation, disenfranchisement etc would have been tackled earlier. I know this is easy to maybe say in hindsight, but I just remember so vividly the frustration of certain groups who did so much grass root work, and that are now finally getting some recognition…

    3. Leon — on 7th September, 2007 at 10:47 am  

      My god, has it really been over two years since, me you and Faz sat in that pub near Bond Street and talked about your ideas for a new project?

      How time flies! Happy Birthday Picklers!!

    4. Nyrone — on 7th September, 2007 at 11:08 am  

      Has it been 2 years? I can remember when it first started, it feels like it was last week!

      Congratulations are in order, and I’m really excited about the future, but I do still remain unconvinced about the ‘power of blogs’ in the wider context of influencing ‘change’. I like the mixture of opinions and opposing arguments, but I’m still looking for proof of its practical consequences in life outside of the blogosphere and other high-brow intellectual circles.

      The sharing of infomation between people is a wonderful thing, but I don’t see the value of more people being ‘informed’ while situations stay largely the same. I used to think that if more people were ‘aware’ it would have a large effect on wider society, but I don’t really feel the same anymore.
      Knowledge can stay in the head, and never translate to practical action…I fear blogs will become merely a hobby and interest-sport for essayists and wannabe historians that have no intention to practically exemplify in real-life what they preach in blogs.

    5. douglas clark — on 7th September, 2007 at 11:09 am  

      Sunny,

      Quite an achievement from a standing start two years ago. Changing a consensus is no easy thing and it might be a bit much to say you’ve done it on your own, but you most certainly were the catalyst. Would Gordon Brown even have had that answer in his locker two years ago? I very much doubt it.

      Keep your eyes open for any backsliding by these political types, mind.

    6. funkg — on 7th September, 2007 at 11:14 am  

      I have only ever been an intermittent blogger on PP, I don’t often post on other sites. I value the thoughts and opinions of other bloggers including Leon, Jagdeep Sonia et al. I find PP mainly fits into my way of thinking, liberal but not overtly obsessed in always following the so called PC agenda. I often question myself why I bother read PP and other sites, but in a lot of ways I would say it helps towards my own critical self development in my career. Happy 2nd anniversary!

    7. Sid — on 7th September, 2007 at 11:27 am  

      PP began as an Asian blog with a mostly Asian readership. But it has since then gained a much wider focus and a readership that goes way beyond British Asians. This is a testament to the compelling writing and the high quality of the readership and their input; since a blog is a two-way conduit of ideas between the writers and the commenters. I think PP is easily the best blog on the web, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

    8. fiz — on 7th September, 2007 at 11:37 am  

      i thought it was over 2 years ago…?
      anyway, happy birthday pp

    9. Leon — on 7th September, 2007 at 11:46 am  

      Keep your eyes open for any backsliding by these political types, mind.

      Well said. I’m not impressed by politicians words, I’m impressed by their actions. Talk is cheap at the end of the day, it’s action that counts.

      Nyrone, I share your concerns but still think that if committed bloggers inform AND organise, there’s a real possibility for change.

      It’s not enough to talk or comment, the current Iraqi interpreters campaign is a good one and something I’d like to see become central to political blogging (and more broadly social media).

      I think we should have more ambition, to me having the Prime Minister repeat our rhetoric isn’t enough by a long shot, he [and the government in general] should be serving our interests!

      If we can demonstrate that through effective communication, good content and great campaigning we can bring about change it’ll be easier to argue for more engagement from the increasingly detached, disillusioned and disengaged (I abhor the term apathetic and refuse to use it to describe those who are rightly pissed off with our current democratic set up) British public.

    10. sabinaahmed — on 7th September, 2007 at 11:53 am  

      Sunny

      My apologies for the shambolic effort of writing a message above.Something happened tomy space bar as I was trying to fix it the message some how got posted!
      First of all happy birthday.Inhave always said that impressed Iam by your “picklers”and the site.They all are such articulate men and women.This site gives me such hope for the future. I try to learn from this vibrant and informative site.
      Please keep up the good work all of you.

    11. Sid — on 7th September, 2007 at 12:08 pm  

      Don certainly doesn’t enough credit as the calming, broad, objective, effortlessly witty voice of reason.

    12. Rumbold — on 7th September, 2007 at 12:29 pm  

      ” This is a testament to the compelling writing and the high quality of the readership and their input; since a blog is a two-way conduit of ideas between the writers and the commenters. I think PP is easily the best blog on the web, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

      I agree with Sid. Despite not being on the left, I have never felt out of place here, as Pickled Politics is that sort of site where people can happily debate and not have to conform to one opinion. Well done Sunny, and all the other writers.

      Sunny:

      A party with Alan Rusbridger, Inayat Bunglawala and Gordon Brown? Sounds like a laugh a minute.

      “There is growing excitement, for instance, around the idea of a “super-blog”, first mooted by Sunny Hundal of the Asian website Pickled Politics, to promote ideas that will help keep the Tories out of power at the next election.”

      A bowl of museli on every table perhaps?

    13. douglas clark — on 7th September, 2007 at 12:40 pm  

      A bowl of museli on every table perhaps?

      Whatever it takes Rumbold, whatever it takes :-)

      Liked your piece btw.

    14. Nyrone — on 7th September, 2007 at 12:46 pm  

      I hear you Leon, and I completely agree.

      It’s just that the pitfalls of groups and organizations seeking to shake things up and yet losing themselves into self-delusion and compromise in the process is well documented, and I want to believe that PP will move even further into communicating practical-change campaigns territory in the future, because I want to be involved in alternative practical action and not merely words. I feel so many of our societal common problems are also to do with not being able to sit around a big table together in the first place and work out issues and misunderstandings in person.

      It’s easy to fall back on success and chest-thumping bravado, but so much harder to move forward turning words into actions. It will always be much easier to point to criticisms than to come up with new constructive answers.

      I don’t mean to dampen the post, just contributing a (hopefully) positive idea to something I feel.
      I am definitely for greater ambition Leon and also finding new ways to hold our elected Representatives to account.

    15. justforfun — on 7th September, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

      The PM has signed the cheques for the last 10 years, and he knows who has been funded and who has not. He also knows when a begging bowl is put in front of him so when a couple of Puerto Ricans ambush him and ask “Prime Minister, how do you see your policies on community cohesion developing?”…. . he quickly puts 2 + 2 together, and wanting to create an all inclusive Britain , he of course implies that Puerto Ricans groups need to be included in the future funding. He has not got where he is today without being all things to all people.

      Thats my take on your encounter with Gordon, unless of course Sunny , you have shaved that goatee off.

      Is this really an influencial blog? I really must dig a deeper bunker. Or maybe seriously consider moving to Scotland or bring forward my retirement and head back to India. In both places the mountains are higher where there are less trees around so I can get a better view of people approaching.

      Justforfun

    16. justforfun — on 7th September, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

      Oops - sorry - forgot my manners

      Happy Birthday to you all - its been a good two years of sanity and I think I have learnt something,perhaps , maybe , almost certainly.

      As they say the ‘the obvious is not obvious until it is written down’ and I have had great pleasure in reading everyones views :-)

      Justforfun

    17. Sofia — on 7th September, 2007 at 1:15 pm  

      As someone who is trying to work at grassroot level..it’s piss hard with no thanks (not that I’m saying i’m doing it to get thanks)…I have to keep reminding myself why i’m doing it..and usually when i get angry and passionate about something it helps me get things done…which is why I should thank certain ppl on this blog because they really manage to rile me.

    18. justforfun — on 7th September, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

      Sofia - Doing what?

      Justforfun

    19. Sunny — on 7th September, 2007 at 1:42 pm  

      a couple of Puerto Ricans ambush him

      hahaha! Well, at least Asim looks more Asian then I do.

      Is this really an influencial blog?

      No, not at all. I think it was the manifesto and its publication in the Guardian which precipitated the move, though lots of others have been making similar arguments too. We just made it openly for the first time.

      I would never take all the credit or say this blog has been responsible for all of it.

    20. Sofia — on 7th September, 2007 at 1:42 pm  

      trying to reduce the number of ppl dying of heart disease, stroke, diabetes etc…with a bit of slant on South Asian and African Caribbean communities as they tend to be affected more.

    21. Sunny — on 7th September, 2007 at 1:44 pm  

      Oh and thanks for your kind words everyone! Now where’s Rohin… need to share some of the booze with him…

    22. Leon — on 7th September, 2007 at 2:27 pm  

      Oh yeah was gonna ask, does this new future for PP mean a redesign anytime soon..? Think we need a new logo man!

    23. sonia — on 7th September, 2007 at 2:46 pm  

      happy birthday, doesn’t time fly!

      a great community has built up around PP, the cross-currents and exchanges have been really valuable.

    24. justforfun — on 7th September, 2007 at 2:47 pm  

      Sofia - Good luck with what is a pretty thankless task - as no one likes to admit they are putting on a spread. Indian kids have a tendency to get ‘large’ on a western diet, and it will only get worse on the sub-continent and here. Food really does need to go up in price and schools need to bring back compulsory cross country running. Now that would be a scheme that David Cameron should develope. More school sports of all sorts and getting out into the countryside. British Asians are notorious for not getting out into the fresh air. Britain has some of the best countryside for relaxed safe outdoor persuits and its just not being used by the Asian community.

      Justforfun

    25. El Cid stuck in Athens — on 7th September, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

      At the risk of being accused of groupthink I would just like to say bravo!

    26. El Cid stuck in Athens — on 7th September, 2007 at 3:26 pm  

      At the risk of being drawing talk of groupthink I would just like to say bravo!

    27. fiz — on 7th September, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

      The Young Foundation recently published a report on Good Campaigning

      http://www.youngfoundation.org/node/498

      It gives good guidelines into what makes a successful campaign.

    28. Rumbold — on 7th September, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

      Douglas:

      “Liked your piece btw.”

      Thanks. Glad to hear that you have access to a computer again.

      Leon:

      “Oh yeah was gonna ask, does this new future for PP mean a redesign anytime soon..? Think we need a new logo man!”

      The layout is fine- there is no need to change it round (some blogs seem to have makeovers every five minutes *cough*). The way the comments page is layed out is one of the best things about the site.

    29. Sofia — on 7th September, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

      Justforfun - yes you are right,re health as well as the whole countryside issue.. reminds me of this story in the Guardian:-http://society.guardian.co.uk/communities/story/0,,2153251,00.html

      I remember going youth hostelling whilst at uni and subsequently. I absolutely loved it, not only because it was dirt cheap, but because the locations were great and I met some lovely people from all walks of life. My parents thought youth hostelling was for hippies/loony lefty unemployed people. I told them that technically that did totally describe me…
      Anyway, although my parents’ opinions have changed, unfortunately I still don’t see that many “Asian/Black” faces at these hostels. (Which is crazy if you think about how Asians love a good bargain..lol)…I think there are a lot of issues to do with health and people of ethnic minority background. There are so many govn. initiatives out there, as well as lots of charities doing work in this arena, but there are still a significant number of people who are dying that shouldn’t be, simply because they don’t want to listen…as for young asian kids…someone should tell these kids about the notion of volunteering…

    30. Rumbold — on 7th September, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

      Sofia:

      “My parents thought youth hostelling was for hippies/loony lefty unemployed people.”

      Your parents sound like eminently sensible people.

      “Anyway, although my parents’ opinions have changed, unfortunately I still don’t see that many “Asian/Black” faces at these hostels. (Which is crazy if you think about how Asians love a good bargain..lol)…”

      As most South Asians who come over here are relatively well-off (in South Asian terms), they would not want to demean themselves by staying in a hostel when they have a reputation in the community to maintain.

    31. Leon — on 7th September, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

      The layout is fine- there is no need to change it round (some blogs seem to have makeovers every five minutes *cough*). The way the comments page is layed out is one of the best things about the site.

      I think that’s a matter of opinion. There’s good reason to update a websites design every couple of years these days.

      There are parts of this site that are static and would probably be better off not being there right now. If a blog to revitalize it needs to remake.

    32. Sofia — on 7th September, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

      Fiz thanks for that!! Am just having a good read…
      You see, this is why I come onto PP….

    33. Rumbold — on 7th September, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

      Leon:

      But the blog’s layout works, at least in terms of the way the articles and comments are presented. There is no need for change just for the sake of it.

    34. Sunny — on 7th September, 2007 at 4:14 pm  

      As most South Asians who come over here are relatively well-off (in South Asian terms), they would not want to demean themselves by staying in a hostel

      We stayed at a hostel in Amsterdam…! I think the problem is (a) Asians are way too snobbish about these things, and (b) Asians like their creature comforts. I backpacked around India for 2 months in the dingiest of trains and busses and stayed at some cheap ass hotels and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

      As for re-design… nah I think the design works as it is. The front page needs some re-think on the top but other than that I’m quite happy with the layout…

    35. funkg — on 7th September, 2007 at 4:16 pm  

      Nah keep the layout as it is.

      I agree Sonia more BMEs should get out there are go youth hostelling or backpacking, but from my experience many would rather go away and live it ‘large’ in a 5 star hotel than rough it. 14 years ago I went travelling around the far east living on 3 pound a day, many of my contemporise said to me they would of much rather spent the flight money on a car than backpacking. Id say it’s a working class thing

    36. Sofia — on 7th September, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

      OMG its SOFIA…lol

    37. Katherine — on 7th September, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

      Happy Birthday Picklers. I think this is a superb blog. I love the fact that a range of different political subjects is discussed here without (mostly) becoming a silly slanging match between sides or (whatever a certain someone said recently) a love-in between sycophants. I used to really enjoy The Sharpener for that sort of atmosphere too.

    38. Leon — on 7th September, 2007 at 4:28 pm  

      But the blog’s layout works, at least in terms of the way the articles and comments are presented. There is no need for change just for the sake of it.

      You keep focusing on layout when I said design (which of course includes it but isn’t limited to it).

      I never said it was for the sake of it; personally I’ve never liked the colour scheme, the navigation is very good but there are dead sections (the in the news/blogs and the diaries) that should be either active or got rid of imo.

      Further to this I’m also getting at branding, these days the freshness of a site degrades a great deal faster than it used to (read up about the rational behind the recent Guardian Unlimited changes). Communication is key and updating the look and feel of a site from time to time communicates [that there’s] a progress at work, of moving forward which compliments the content changes. There aint nothing wrong with a bit of eye candy.;)

      But anyway, if Sunny is happy with it there not much else to say!

    39. sahil — on 7th September, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

      Happy Birthday!!! Been enjoying a year of great articles and debate.

      PS this superblog sounds like some kind of nuclear device. Its all above board, eh? ;)

    40. Rumbold — on 7th September, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

      Leon:

      “You keep focusing on layout when I said design (which of course includes it but isn’t limited to it).”

      I suppose I do not really know the difference. All I was saying was that there was no need to change, although…

      “There aint nothing wrong with a bit of eye candy.;).”

      If a picture of Priyanka Chopra (or Kajol- the more likely option) was put on the masthead I would not complain.

    41. Sofia — on 7th September, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

      I do admit that I like my creature comforts, but youth hostels aren’t really that dingy..and as for hotels in India..I stayed in this lovely hotel in Jaipur which just had the basics and it was fine…(although I must admit there was small part of me that wanted to play princess at the Samodi palace)…

    42. justforfun — on 7th September, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

      Rumbold - not really sure this is the reason

      As most South Asians who come over here are relatively well-off (in South Asian terms), they would not want to demean themselves by staying in a hostel when they have a reputation in the community to maintain

      I think the idea of actually going out into the great outdoors is not in the Indian consciousness - it was considered the preserve of the very wealthy, the British and the eccentric. Indians go out to the countryside as a family unit and so go at the slowest pace of the gaggle - and that is the Grandmother who is for ever fussing about the eating arrangements etc etc and it is usually only for a picnic or some such easy activity. For individuals to actually just put on a rucksack and go out for a trek is rare. This is changing in India and there are many blogs written by people just getting up and going out into the jungle - just google them for alot of the unseen sides to India.

      If the community here would go out more into the countryside as individuals ( god forbid as a family unit) then they might get a better sense of this country and what makes it tick and a better sense of belonging. Hurry though - the countryside is slowly being ‘Starbucked’

      Justforfun

    43. justforfun — on 7th September, 2007 at 5:14 pm  

      Just to make sure we get off on the right foot Leon - here is my position on your ideas

      http://groy82.blogspot.com/2007/03/8-ways-to-drive-graphic-designer-mad.html

      Tuesday, March 06, 2007
      8 ways to drive a graphic designer mad.

      As everyone knows, graphic designers are the reason there are so many wars in this world…..

      Yes evil is not too strong a word -

      Justforfun

    44. Pickled Gordon « OurKingdom — on 7th September, 2007 at 5:22 pm  

      […] September 7, 2007 at 5:21 pm | In Gordon Brown | Anthony Barnett (London, OK): There is a nice long post by Sunny over at Pickled Politics reflecting on on the two years since its launch and how he met […]

    45. Don — on 7th September, 2007 at 6:02 pm  

      Happy birthday, and ambushing the PM was the perfect way to mark it. Thanks for the name-check, Sunny - I feel like a footnote to history!

      (Ta, Sid. I value your good opinion.)

      As for Youth Hostelling, Sofia is right. They aren’t all that spartan and cheapness is not the only advantage. (Although I admit to being notoriously cheap, as well as a lefty liberal hippy type). I’ve stayed in a lighthouse on the west coast of Scotland, an Edwardian hunting lodge in the Lake District, a friary in Yorkshire…

      And if any of you guys want a taste of the great out-doors - Northumberland is the place to come.

    46. Ms_Xtreme — on 7th September, 2007 at 7:48 pm  

      Oh My Lord, this is like those things you hear when the boss takes the employee out to a crowded restaurant to tell him/her that they are FIRED.

      You’re doing the same to us, aren’t you Sunny? :(

      Except you being Asian, you’re stuffing something sweet in our faces like barfi or something and THEN telling us we’re FIRED.

      I’m leading a protest. You better watch out.

    47. Sofia — on 7th September, 2007 at 7:53 pm  

      Don funny you should mention lighthouse..that is next on my list.one in Devon where fraggle rock was filmed..(do any of you remember that??), that will then be followed by a castle. (if I can’t have the samodi palace i may as well have an English castle)

    48. Sofia — on 7th September, 2007 at 7:56 pm  

      Ms Extreme..I’m good at protests…i’ll join you if he decides to shaft us:P.

    49. Vikrant — on 7th September, 2007 at 8:48 pm  

      Me gosh… its been two years already. PP has been one of the constants in me recent life. I’ve moved three countries!!

      BTW Can you guys pinpoint to your first post on this site? Mine was sometime in Nov 2005.

    50. indianoguy — on 7th September, 2007 at 9:44 pm  

      Happy Birthday PP, I am a fan of this site. Congrats and Thanks

    51. Matt — on 7th September, 2007 at 10:41 pm  

      Congratulations.

      I’ll be interested to see how it pans out.

    52. nodn — on 8th September, 2007 at 2:08 am  

      Happy Birthday PP! You’re the most beautiful blog on the net, so please stay open forever! :)

    53. Neil Harding — on 8th September, 2007 at 3:18 am  

      Happy Birthday PP! I don’t comment here often but I do visit a lot. I’d say this blog defo in my top ten. Keep up the good work.

    54. modernityblog — on 8th September, 2007 at 3:42 am  

      Sunny,

      Happy returns

      a word of warning:

      don’t get pulled into the establishment or you’ll end up has Lord Sunny of Dodgy pickles!

    55. El Cid — on 8th September, 2007 at 9:21 am  

      Sunny,
      A gentle suggestion: can you create a more friendly browser/style sheet for the Blackberry user.
      I managed to post a comment yesterday but it took a while and did not show up immediately, hence the duplicate. Let’s face it, this site is dominated by professionals — be they teachers, bond traders, social workers, photographers, journos, techies, doctors, etc.
      That’s not a sad indictment of our limited capacity to comment on society at large, since many of us have humble origins. However, it means some of us have blackberries. So what you say: let’s drag da blog into the mobile age.

    56. Anthony — on 8th September, 2007 at 12:16 pm  

      Happy Birthday! Over at OurKingdom we are trying to learn from your example,
      Anthony

    57. Leon — on 8th September, 2007 at 2:23 pm  

      I agree with El Cid a smartphone friendly edition would be great!

    58. Jagdeep — on 8th September, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

      Some thoughts:

      * The levels of giddy forgetfulness that standing close to power engenders in Sunny is funny. Power is attractive eh? Big giggly schoolgirl.

      * The presence of that slimy creep Bunglawala shows how easy it is to climb and slither around the ‘community cohesion’ greasy poll in modern Britain.

      * ‘Community Cohesion’ — what is this a moniker for? The prevention of northern milltown and midland apartheid? Big changes in attitude have to take place, big loosening of value systems to engender ‘community cohesion’ — how is this going to happen when so many vultures and conservatives feast inside? With slimy creeps like Bunglawala and Deobandi bigots regularly making injections with a syringe full of hate-arsenic? What are we going to do?

      * All the crunching of words and munching of appetisers at Downing Street receptions with funky shiny brown and black people keeps everything in the abstract. These are the headline realities projected into the media and consciousness of people in mainstream society. Just because lots of non browns hang out on here doesn’t mean it should loosen its brown agenda. Why? Because otherwise we’re objectified abstract problems that the mainstream media objectifies and frequently chats utter BS about. At least leave a space for a place with an angle that we can discuss freely things of concern and issue. Otherwise you’ll turn into another twat’s paradise like that buffoon Guido Fawkes the Silhouette or Hairy’s Place.

      * How to represent, criticise and discuss without pandering to racists who want to slyly stab? What can you do, the paanchod bastards do it anyway. That’s the nature of the snakes they are.

      * I wish Rohin would write more. His posts are always quality and he offers a different and quality perspective.

      * Further to that, when you only render Brown experience in political terms you don’t represent the multi-dimensional reality of Asian culture and life —- you know, books, films, music, creativity, the resonance and meaning of these things. Not Press Releases and announcements, but analysis. When done in the past this has kept things lively and cultured and offered real perspective. If I had anything to criticise (and it’s the same kind of criticism you’ll get from your cousin telling you to buy new hubcaps for your M3) ——- you need more of this. More reflection of the culture of British Asians and what it means and how it links into the themes that you pursue elsewhere in the blog. Otherwise it’s all parched and abstract and political.

      * Leon and funkg and anyone else need to stop brown nosing Sunny, at least in public. His ego is already big enough.

      * Sonia needs to keep laughing at my jokes.

      * That’s it for now. If I think of anything else I’ll add it later.

    59. Jai — on 8th September, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

      Congratulations to Pickled Politics. Onwards and upwards.

      I think that PP has gradually become quite a slick operation and is continuing to get better and better. The mix of commenters is also great — okay, there’s the occasional disruptive visitor, but on the whole most people here are good folk. Even though there are obviously major disagreements on some topics from time to time, I really like the thread of down-to-earth common sense that still permeates the blog, it’s not necessarily so prevalent on other Asian discussion forums and definitely not when you consider the internet as a whole.

      Don certainly doesn’t enough credit as the calming, broad, objective, effortlessly witty voice of reason.

      I agree with Sid about Don, that dude definitely wins the “man of the match” prize as far as this blog is concerned. And Sid himself has rapidly become my favourite commenter on PP in recent times.

      I do think it’s a shame that something has obviously suddenly upset Katy somewhere along the way; I think her previous good humour and fundamental compassion had a very positive influence on PP’s overall vibe. Someone should buy that girl a drink and just give her a big hug.

      hahaha! Well, at least Asim looks more Asian then I do.

      Sunny, that rumbling you hear in the distance is the approaching horde of irate, indignant South Indian commenters from Sepia Mutiny who are grossly offended by such remarks and are on their way to lynch you for your impertinence. I hope you can run fast ;)

    60. Jagdeep — on 8th September, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

      One more thing ——-> don’t problematise to the extent of making a pathology of things. More positive stories interspersed amongst the addressing of issues, constructive possibility, evidence of life. If for no other reason than to reflect reality, not ‘headline realities’ as I called it earlier, beamed into newspaper and TVs straight from mettings, seminars, receptions, away from the abstract, towards grassroots reality and perspective and voices. Just something to bear in mind, like.

    61. El Cid — on 8th September, 2007 at 4:38 pm  

      Leon — I’m soo yesterday! :)

    62. tyger — on 8th September, 2007 at 5:09 pm  

      Happy Birthday Pickled Politics!

    63. Leon — on 8th September, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

      Leon and funkg and anyone else need to stop brown nosing Sunny, at least in public. His ego is already big enough.

      Hahaha! Jag, never lose your sense of humour, it kills me it really does!:D

    64. funkg — on 9th September, 2007 at 12:00 am  

      nah jag, i bigged you up already i don’t get paid for it!

    65. Cath — on 9th September, 2007 at 10:53 am  

      Congratulations Sunny, and everyone else at PP. I’m a relatively new recruit, and I don’t comment that often, but I always read it and I’ve been really impressed by the quality of the articles and the debate.

      Anyway, happy birthday, and good luck for the future, both on PP and the new ’super blog’.

    66. douglas clark — on 9th September, 2007 at 11:15 am  

      Jagdeep,

      Just because lots of non browns hang out on here doesn’t mean it should loosen its brown agenda. Why? Because otherwise we’re objectified abstract problems that the mainstream media objectifies and frequently chats utter BS about. At least leave a space for a place with an angle that we can discuss freely things of concern and issue. Otherwise you’ll turn into another twat’s paradise like that buffoon Guido Fawkes the Silhouette or Hairy’s Place.

      Hey! I walked away from Harry’s Place, admittedly with some regrets ’cause DavidT and Brownie are OK people. I came here and by and large I was accepted. Now you want to tell me I shouldn’t be here ’cause my skin ain’t brown.

      Jagdeep, there should not be a brown agenda. Get that into your head. Any more than that there should be a white agenda. Try buying some white paint and some brown paint and mixing it in the lid. See what you get.

      Oh yeah:

      “What we need is a great big melting pot,

      Big enough, big enough,

      To take the world and what it’s got,

      etc, etc..”

      You are a complete idiot if you hide behind such an ephemeral barrier as colour.

    67. Sid — on 9th September, 2007 at 1:15 pm  

      that’s fighting talk!

    68. douglas clark — on 9th September, 2007 at 1:54 pm  

      Sid,

      Sure is! Lets see what Jagdeep can come up with. He is either a thinking human being or he is an idiot, caught in some sort of trap of his own making.

      I’d vote for the latter, but I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    69. dollymixedup — on 9th September, 2007 at 5:43 pm  

      Happy Burpday PP.

      And thanks for the quality debate, here’s to many happy returns.

    70. Jagdeep — on 9th September, 2007 at 7:15 pm  

      Now you want to tell me I shouldn’t be here ’cause my skin ain’t brown

      That’s not what I said douglas.

      Jagdeep, there should not be a brown agenda. Get that into your head. Any more than that there should be a white agenda

      Oh reeely? — but there are issues and pressures and themes and subjects facing Brown folk that don’t get aired or discussed in other blogs and other media that do get touched on here. That’s always going to remain part of the agenda. That’s a reality. The world isn’t quite a Benneton advert yet. Doesn’t mean you don’t belong or anything like that, it’s just the way it is. Just the way it is now and always has been here — a universal pulse with a local heart.

      Jeez, I noticed this with El Cid too — a few weeks reading PP and even the white dudes start getting all hypersensitive and hysterical and over sensitive about race and identity.

      Congratulations douglas, you’re now a ‘marginalised’ ethnic minority too ;-)

    71. Jai — on 9th September, 2007 at 7:25 pm  

      Try buying some white paint and some brown paint and mixing it in the lid. See what you get.

      You get gorgeous women like Katrina Kaif and Diya Mirza, that’s what you get ;)

      He is either a thinking human being or he is an idiot, caught in some sort of trap of his own making.

      Jagdeep is absolutely not an idiot, by any stretch of the imagination.

      I do agree that the foremost “agenda” should be “human first”, with everything that implies; however, in some matters there is a necessity for a focus on the Asian angle, because there are some matters which only Asians would really understand and which impact Asians first and foremost. This doesn’t mean there isn’t simultaneously a need for well-wishers from other backgrounds or indeed a requirement for a diverse range of opinions and perspectives, particularly to prevent this blog sliding into the insular mindsets and borderline (indeed, occasionally outright racist) attitudes which sometimes occur within the commenting populations on certain other Asian-focused discussion forums I could mention.

      And I do agree with Jagdeep that some more positive life-affirming on PP would be a good idea, but at the end of the day it’s Sunny’s blog and it depends on what he wants the main purpose of this website to be, eg. primarily a “problem solving/problem addressing” arena or something more along the lines of Sepia Mutiny.

    72. Jagdeep — on 9th September, 2007 at 7:27 pm  

      Thanks Jai, you said it better than me, every word.

    73. Jai — on 9th September, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

      some more positive life-affirming on PP

      That should say “some more positive life-affirming articles on PP…..”

      Sorry folks, I got momentarily distracted by mental images of Diya and Katrina and whatnot…..

    74. Jai — on 9th September, 2007 at 7:37 pm  

      Thanks Jai, you said it better than me, every word.

      Nah man, I think all your points have been spot-on and very well said too. All good constructive feedback.

    75. douglas clark — on 9th September, 2007 at 7:53 pm  

      Jagdeep,

      I have always been a marginalised ethnic minority. I am Scottish after all. ;-) Despite the fact that we rule right now.

      Still,

      Could we agree that there should not be a brown or a white agenda? Whether there is or not. Would the idea that we could put that sort of shit behind us not be a good thing? Then we could get down to disagreeing with each other on more meaningful grounds? The fact that you and I can make a joke of it suggests we can.

      Oh, bother, my woad is taking over, blue it is. Nearly Yoda speak, I think.

      Anyway, I have not much of a clue as to your colour, and I care not a lot about it. You seem like a good chap, albeit with a chip on your shoulder. I always thought El Cid was a person from Pakistan living in a dream world Andalucia. How wrong can you be.

    76. douglas clark — on 9th September, 2007 at 8:10 pm  

      Jai,

      You say this:

      Jagdeep is absolutely not an idiot, by any stretch of the imagination.

      I’d largely agree. There you go. What Jagdeep does have however is a chip on his shoulder. Playing to that chip is idiotic, I hope you’d agree.

      Anyway, I need Leon to tell me why I can’t do quotes anymore.

    77. Leon — on 9th September, 2007 at 9:10 pm  

      Ok, one more time for the people up top…

      In the following replace both [] with these <>

      [blockquote]enter words you want to quote here[/blockquote]

      So it’ll look like this:

      enter words you want to quote here

    78. El Cid — on 9th September, 2007 at 9:42 pm  

      No, I’m not a Paki, I’m a Dago

      (You know I love you Jaggy but I’m not really hypersensitive. I’m pretty relaxed about race on personal level. I am Harringay born ands bred after all. I also hope the above makes my position clear without offending or sending us all on a tangent).

    79. Jagdeep — on 9th September, 2007 at 11:25 pm  

      I’d largely agree. There you go. What Jagdeep does have however is a chip on his shoulder. Playing to that chip is idiotic, I hope you’d agree

      Have you been smoking crack or something douglas? Seriously, I think you’re projecting onto me, not a good idea.

    80. Don — on 10th September, 2007 at 1:15 am  

      No weekend thread. I miss Katy.

    81. Jai — on 10th September, 2007 at 9:49 am  

      Douglas,

      What Jagdeep does have however is a chip on his shoulder.

      Could you please clarify exactly what you think Jagdeep has a chip on his shoulder about.

    82. ChrisC — on 10th September, 2007 at 10:17 am  

      Though I ask in vain, as you have dropped enough hints, PLEASE don’t become party political.
      Your peerage may be more assured but your readership will collapse!

    83. Kismet Hardy — on 10th September, 2007 at 10:29 am  

      You’re all missing the point? Is this a good site to pick up sexy women? The answer is no. You boys fighting all the time is scaring them off. Come on people. Let’s think of the women

    84. bananabrain — on 10th September, 2007 at 11:42 am  

      “There is growing excitement, for instance, around the idea of a “super-blog”, first mooted by Sunny Hundal of the Asian website Pickled Politics, to promote ideas that will help keep the Tories out of power at the next election.”

      you see, this is the sort of thing that annoys me (and, i think, the esteemed katy too) - is the whole point of political engagement to “keep the tories out”? or is it to actually engage with the issues? what if the tories (or anyone else) actually might DESERVE to get in because they have come up with a decent political platform? if politics is just an exercise in doctrinaire leftiness then actually, all it really is is a sort of yar-boo-sucks equivalent of football hooliganism. that’s why i’m a floating voter, so i can vote for whoever appears to have the best ideas, not to indulge fantasies about refighting the miners’ strike or the poll tax or even the iraq war. i stopped voting tory because i was fed up with them and they were clearly out of decent ideas. now i am fed up with labour and the question is whether the tories now have a platform worth supporting. but i won’t be voting based on a perceived wisdom about their core vote and it seems to me that cameron has grasped that as well - parties win elections, wherever they are, because they get people who WOULDN’T NORMALLY GIVE THEM THE CHANCE to change their minds, as churchill put it, when the facts change. it doesn’t make me doctrinaire, let alone a tory. as i’ve said elsewhere, i think the concept of “left” and “right” is now holding politics back and it’s time we ditched them. the cold war is over, guys.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    85. sonia — on 10th September, 2007 at 12:12 pm  

      i miss katy too. i wish people had been more understanding to how it would seem from her perspective.

      i’m tired of this constant idea of a Brown Agenda- if anything it shows we see other people as ‘well-wishers’ but still separate.

      we’re boxing ourselves in. and we don’t like it when other people don’t make us feel welcome apparently - oh they’re racist we say - but people need to check if they’re feeling like that, they ensure they do unto others as they would have done unto them.

    86. sonia — on 10th September, 2007 at 12:13 pm  

      and im absolutely with Chris C - if this blog were to become party political, that would be the end.

    87. sonia — on 10th September, 2007 at 12:13 pm  

      83 kismet :-)

    88. justforfun — on 10th September, 2007 at 12:20 pm  

      Banabrain @ 84 - stop reading my mind and writing my thoughts better than me.

      Sonia @ 85 - that skin whitening working I see. I has worked for me :-)

      Justforfun

    89. El Cid — on 10th September, 2007 at 12:29 pm  

      You’re all missing the point? Is this a good site to pick up sexy women? The answer is no. You boys fighting all the time is scaring them off. Come on people. Let’s think of the women

      Once again, Kizzie comes through with compelling insight. Maybe it might help if the focus of the site was something less divisive than politics and it was renamed something more ambivalent, like Pickled Gherkin.

    90. El Cid — on 10th September, 2007 at 12:31 pm  

      I think bananabrain also has a fair, if less entertaining, point. all eyes on sunny

      stop playing the Katy card though BB.

      P.S. I miss Colonel Mustapha and the assasinated Jay Singh too.

    91. sonia — on 10th September, 2007 at 12:34 pm  

      :-) or rather - being comfortable with the colour of my skin and not obsessing with it heh. just got back from LA with a marvellous tan - and what did a lot of the bangladeshi friends of my sister say to me while i was ou there! oh my god you’re so Kalo. and i was like, good..!

    92. El Cid — on 10th September, 2007 at 12:34 pm  

      p.p.s.
      while i say he has a fair point, that is not to detract from the fact that sunny has a good track record engaging with the more progressive segments of various UK-based parties.
      so it’s only fair up to a point.

    93. sonia — on 10th September, 2007 at 12:36 pm  

      and my poor sister wouldn’t go anywhere minus tons of sunblock and fair and lovely on top of that!

    94. Ravi Naik — on 10th September, 2007 at 1:09 pm  

      “and my poor sister wouldn’t go anywhere minus tons of sunblock and fair and lovely on top of that!”

      I know this is off-topic, but since it is part of the “brown agenda”… ;)

      My wife and I were going to the beach a few weeks ago, and my mother-in-law told us “The sun is wonderful today, hope you get a nice tan”. I smiled at her, and said, “well, that’s something you didn’t hear in my side of family”. She was puzzled, but then she said that people with dark-skin who live in places like Europe need to get all the sun they can get, since they are less capable of synthesising vitamin-D through their skin. And according to her, it is very important.

    95. Ravi Naik — on 10th September, 2007 at 1:19 pm  

      Sunny Hundal of the Asian website Pickled Politics, to promote ideas that will help keep the Tories out of power at the next election.

      I think Sunny should be careful in letting others define what Pickled Politics is all about. I would hate if this forum became a partisan site for all that bananabrain has said in #84. Much of the strength of this blog comes from its diverse opinions, and people from different backgrounds. And I think “brown issues” is different from “brown agenda”… the latter smells of conspiracy, like we had the same goals and ideology because, you know, we are brown.

    96. bananabrain — on 10th September, 2007 at 1:54 pm  

      @el cid #92, i agree - progressive is good as long as it isn’t used as a synonym for “lefty”, because from my point of view the more lefty parties purport to be, the more they seem to adopt an intolerant, doctrinaire agenda.

      i don’t entirely know what you mean by “the katy card”, but i hope i’m not misrepresenting her; i’m sure she’ll kick me hard if she catches me doing so.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    97. Sofia — on 10th September, 2007 at 1:58 pm  

      Ravi, vitamin d deficiency is well documented amongst Asian people in this country
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5299184.stm
      Also there was a recent article about women who wear the burkha not getting enough sunlight…although I’m sure uv rays can go through cloth..plz feel free to correct me if i’m wrong….

    98. justforfun — on 10th September, 2007 at 2:12 pm  

      Sofia - Its all to do with the tightness of the weave. The looser the weave the less pretection. An ordinary cotton shirt will block it out, but when wet and against the skin, it does not really protect so well, hence you may notice more and more swim wear is using a lycra weeves that are designed to still protect when wet.

      I would hazard that a burqa will cut it out almost completely.

      Justforfun

    99. Leon — on 10th September, 2007 at 2:32 pm  

      the cold war is over, guys.

      I think you’ll find there’s more to the various ideologies of the left and right than that destructive context.

      As an aside if China and the US get their way we may soon see the Cold War 2…

      I did think Martin made a small error in judgment by throwing that line in (because I knew it’d detract slightly due to its likely reaction).

      Tbh given that it is a liberal left blog it’s impact will be to contribute to keeping the Tories out of power because they are not liberal or left (can’t believe I’m having to explain any of this on a liberal left blog!) and you know, so what?

    100. Sofia — on 10th September, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

      Justforfun..thanks for the explanation…

    101. Sunny — on 10th September, 2007 at 4:06 pm  

      Haha! Don’t worry I’m not cosying up to Gordon Brown anytime soon. What Martin Bright said was on the ball but it needs more unpacking. I shall explain more later. But for heaven’t sake don’t worry about this turning into a Labour mouthpiece blog.

    102. Ravi Naik — on 10th September, 2007 at 6:47 pm  

      Ravi, vitamin d deficiency is well documented amongst Asian people in this country

      It is documented obviously, but Asians in general are not aware of this.

    103. Anas — on 10th September, 2007 at 6:58 pm  

      I have vitamin D deficiency and I don’t wear a burka. It’s just there’s no fucking sunshine in Glasgow. I moved to England recently and thought I’d get some here but just my luck I brought rain and overcast skies with me.

    104. Rumbold — on 10th September, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

      Not a brown agenda perhaps- more of a wheatish one.



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