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  • The BNP: dangerous, a joke, or both?


    by Rumbold
    8th April, 2008 at 1:59 pm    

    Is the BNP a nasty party? Yes. Recently they have been doing what they do best, namely attacking vulnerable people. Whether it is scaremongering about Muslims controlling the drug trade, or opining on why rape is the same as sex, you can always rely on the BNP to seek out and occupy the lowest common denominator. With the London Assembly elections based partly on a proportional representation system, there is a real worry that the BNP will pick up a few seats in this manner. While not wanting the BNP to get any votes, I wonder whether the massive anti-BNP drive actually plays into the hands of Britain’s fascist party, as it allows them to present themselves as champions of Britain’s underclass fighting against the political elites. A more effective way to hinder the BNP would surely be to simply point out how they have performed after having councillors elected in a number of areas (examples via Searchlight/Stop The BNP):

    Burnley:

    The BNP’s position deteriorated even further when another of its councillors, Luke Smith, smashed a bottle into the face of a fellow BNP supporter. In the resulting by-election the BNP vote halved and the party slipped down into third place.

    Blackburn:

    The BNP did have one councillor in Blackburn, Robin Evans, but last September he walked out of the party. He then wrote a letter to his former BNP colleagues denouncing Blackburn BNP as a party of drug dealers and football hooligans … Last year Searchlight reported that Evans could not follow council business. “This is all mumbo jumbo,” he told fellow councillors. “I don’t understand a word of it.” The mumbo-jumbo he was referring to was the council budget!

    Sandwell:

    Last summer Sandwell’s two BNP councillors thought they would outfox their political rivals by proposing a motion to the full council calling on the government to stop sending asylum seekers to the borough.. They knew full well that the motion would fall but they would then be able to tell electors that the BNP was the only party that opposed the arrival of more asylum seekers in the area.

    To their surprise the motion was passed with an amendment. The BNP happily supported the new motion quite unaware that the changes reversed everything the BNP originally wanted. So the BNP councillors voted for a motion that sympathised with the plight of asylum seekers, condemned the government for being too harsh on them, attacked the press and politicians who tried to whip up racism and called on the council to accept their responsibility to take more.

    Stoke:

    Steve Batkin, the BNP’s Stoke councillor, has also failed to impress. During his election campaign last year he questioned the Holocaust and claimed that Jewish people only made an issue of it to make money. His performance has not improved since then. He missed a few meetings early on but now just sits in silence. After eight months in post he had to ask council officials to explain what abstaining meant.

    Earlier this year it emerged that he had not paid his council tax since becoming a councillor. He claimed this was because of the long queues of asylum seekers at the council tax office but of course this was nonsense because that office has nothing to do with asylum seekers. However, while he dodged his tax, he did find time to claim his full councillor’s allowance of £100 a week.

    (More examples can be found on the website)

    I recognise that, being white and British, I have not been on the receiving end of BNP-esque hatred. The BNP’s rhetoric fuels hate, and needs to be countered, but by presenting them as the antitheses and great enemy of polite society are we at risk of turning them from a dangerous joke into the standard bearers for everyone who has a grievance with the levels of immigration and other community cohesion issues? A YouGov poll found that 83% agreed that there was an immigration crisis, while 23% wanted a complete halt to further immigration. As immigration often comes near the top of issues most worried about, that is a large constituency we risk gifting to the BNP if we overstate this minor party’s importance.


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    Filed in: Current affairs,The BNP






    41 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. asquith

      @AdamBienkov Reminds me of http://tinyurl.com/kvwvx9 -see about Sjoke councillor’s council tax. I have met him & he was just like that!


    2. VoteNoToBNP

      Pickled Politics » The BNP: dangerous, a joke, or both?: http://bit.ly/c5QPV1 via @addthis




    1. MaidMarian — on 8th April, 2008 at 8:14 pm  

      Look, the issue with the BNP that needs to be engaged with is that they don’t actually want to win votes or elections. Their aim is to use politics as cover to foment as much discord as possible. They aim to to play to gripes and use them to whip up hate.

      They are not a party of the underclass or anyone else - they will take hatred wherever they can find it. The tactics of pretty much everyone of demonising the BNP do indeed play right into their hands.

      I don’t know how to combat them, but I really hope someone comes up with something soon.

    2. Clairwil — on 9th April, 2008 at 1:34 am  

      Thanks for that TOBEFAIR so now I know that I won’t be voting BNP, Tory, Labour or Lib Dem anytime soon. Though the BNP in Sandwell are to be commended for their surprising call for better treatment of asylum seekers.

    3. Simon — on 9th April, 2008 at 5:10 am  

      Nick Eriksen, was actually a TORY councilor when he made the rape comments in 2005. The BNP, unlike the Tories, booted him out.

      In all seriousness, the list of BNP ‘crimes’ you’ve included is very tame compared with the innumerable criminals that have emerged in the ‘mainstream’ parties.

      ‘Searchlight’ founder and activist, Gerry Gable, stood for election as member of the Communist Party and has a criminal conviction for burglary while others in Searchlight, like Harry Bidney, have pimping and pedophilia convictions.
      http://www.searchlightexposed.com/

      UAF front man Pete Doherty has just been jailed for drug abuse, while Billy Bragg supports violence against the BNP and adores ‘multiculturalism’ but, strangely, chooses to live here:
      http://isupporttheresistance.blogspot.com/2008/04/billy-bragg-and-bnp.html

    4. billericaydicky — on 9th April, 2008 at 9:30 am  

      Rumbold,

      This argument is one that has been going on for all of the forty years that I have involved in the anti fascist movement. Do you ignore them and hope that they will go away or do you take the risk that launching high profile campaigns will play into their hands?

      As far as we are concerned this is a no contest, they have to be opposed. If the ignore them and they will go away faction are to be believed then the spectacular increase in the BNP vote over the last few year is not as a result of a complex range of factors but simply the result of opposing them.

      This line would mean that all Nick Griffin has to do encourage the anti fascist movement to work as hard as it can and before we know where we are he will be Prime Minister!

      There can be a danger in overkill. I saw that in Barking and Dagenham this time 2006 when we hit a brick wall with sections of the white population who were sick and tired of being told by the race relations industry that they were racist and were refusing our literature and openly saying that they were voting BNP.

      They gave a whole range of reasons for voting BNP and not all were concerned with race. There was, and is, a feeling of insecurity generally in the country over job security, housing, pensions and last but not least immigration. The Labour government was and is widely seen to have let its voters down and people were turning to more radical alternatives.

      It is true that many of their councillors across the country have proved to be useless and Searchlight is constantly exposing them, but in spite of this they are still getting consistently high percentages whenever they stand. They held a seat a couple of weeks ago in outer East London and increased their share of the vote by ten percent. What is interesting is that is the Labour vote that they are hacking into, not the Tory.

      Griffin and the leadership are on a roll in spite of all of this and one of the reasons that people keep voting them in is that councillors generally are very low profile and unless a local newspaper is prepared to expose their shorcomings local voters simply do not know about them.

      Maidmarion,
      They most certainly do want to win elections. The old bootboy image has gone, there are no marches to be attacked with pictures of fighting on the early evening news. There were several reasons for the demise of the National Front and one was that it became associated in peoples minds with violence.

      Simon,

      I wonder who you are. Let me clarify a few things for people. Searchlightexposed.com is run by a group of old nazis who were in the League of Saint George which used to be the Friends of Oswald Mosely. The Gerry Gable story is this.

      In 1963 Gerry and two other young Communists gained entry to the flat of David Irving posing as Post Office engineers. Although received opinion has it that Irving moved to the far right over the years, in fact he has always been a nazi and a racist and Gerry and his group were after evidence of links to wanted nazi war criminals. It is the kind of operation that has been carried out dozens of times over the years and while technically illegal is sometimes the only way of getting information.

      The Harry Bidney story is once again a distortion. Bidney was in fact a decorated Second World war veteran and an openly gay man at a time when it was illegal. He was the secretary of a property company which had lots of premises in Soho one of which was let and sublet several times as a drinking club from which prostitutes operated.

      Eventually the club was raided and as secretary Bidney was convicted although he had taken no part in the running of the club.

      Tell us a little more about yourself Simon!

    5. TOBEFAIR — on 9th April, 2008 at 10:19 am  

      I think it should be like this,we live in a democracy and every Party should be given the same platform and TV airtime,open debate would be a good thing too,then let the people decide who they want to vote for,i also think postal votes need looking at as fraud is rife.A level playing field for all legal parties.

    6. Rumbold — on 9th April, 2008 at 10:57 am  

      TOBEFAIR:

      Nobody claimed that the other parties were whiter than white. Your suggestion that all parties should get equal airtime seems fine in theory, but as there are hundreds of parties, is this really practical?

      MaidMarian:

      “Their aim is to use politics as cover to foment as much discord as possible. They aim to to play to gripes and use them to whip up hate.”

      That pretty much sums them up.

      Billericaydicky:

      “As far as we are concerned this is a no contest, they have to be opposed. If the ignore them and they will go away faction are to be believed then the spectacular increase in the BNP vote over the last few year is not as a result of a complex range of factors but simply the result of opposing them.”

      I don’t want to ignore them entirely, but I just wonder whether giving them such a high profile does not backfire. As you say later on in your comment, some people vote for the BNP just because the elites tell them not to. The best example of this type of backlash was in the 2004 presidental election, when the Guardian got pretentious Britons to write to undecided Americans in Clark County Ohio asking them to back Kerry, which prompted a Bush landslide in Clark County.

    7. Green Arrow — on 9th April, 2008 at 11:25 am  

      Your readers might like to check out some of the wrong doings and performance of some of the main parties councillors.

      http://liarsbuggersandthieves.blogspot.com/

      Care to comment on their performances?

    8. TOBEFAIR — on 9th April, 2008 at 12:09 pm  

      Nobody mentioned the other Parties and after spending just a few minuites on the aptly named liars buggers and thieves i can see why, it seems easy for people who support other parties to attack the BNP whilst the mainstream are worse.This is what i mean about fairness.Maybe the ten largest parties getting airtime would be fairer and more practical,from the Greens,Respect right though to UKIP and the BNP.

    9. 5cc — on 9th April, 2008 at 5:26 pm  

      You seem to have become the victim of the usual BNP astroturfer trick of referring to people from the main parties being caught out misbehaving - as if that makes them as bad as the BNP.

      It’s cobblers. Chuck out the number of ex members and councilliors, and the numbers who were suspended or sacked and things will look very different.

      Also, work out the proportion. You’re bound to find a long list of dodgy councillors and MPs from parties other than the BNP since there are more than 8,000 councillors in the country (the BNP have 40 odd) and there are no BNP MPs. Thankfully.

      It’s all smoke and mirrors. Except the mirrors are crap and the smoke’s a bit too thick.

    10. TOBEFAIR — on 9th April, 2008 at 6:06 pm  

      Being found guilty of paedophilia,rape or sexual abuse is not misbehaving,anyone from any party,any colour or any race found guilty of these crimes is scum.Playing down these crimes is wrong.

    11. 5cc — on 9th April, 2008 at 9:00 pm  

      Nice bit of misdirection and focusing on one throwaway sentence instead of focusing on the actual substance of the argument. I agree that I should have chosen a better word than misbehaving to describe all those things, or assaulting an old man for picking a BNP sticker off a wall for that matter.

      Perhaps you can give us a list of how many representatives of the main parties have been found guilty of rape, paedophilia or sexual abuse and have remained representatives of the party and not resigned or been sacked.

    12. TOBEFAIR — on 9th April, 2008 at 9:55 pm  

      http://liarsbuggersandthieves.blogspot.com/. and some above have been found guilty of crimes,i don’t know who has resigned or been sacked,i will have a look tomorrow,at ALL of the parties.I didn’t go looking for this i just found it and like i said in the first line,they are all at it.

    13. Don — on 9th April, 2008 at 10:21 pm  

      TOBEFAIR,

      You are not foolimg anybody, troll.

      Green Arrow,

      Your recommended site excludes BNP representatives from its reports. Because, as 5cc has pointed out, basic numeracy puts the unfitness of BNP representatives for public service into perspective. Pretty much totally unfit, seeing as we don’t vote for dog-catchers in this country.

    14. 5cc — on 9th April, 2008 at 10:45 pm  

      I can save you some time by telling you that none of the people found guilty of any of the above charges have remained as representatives of their party. There was one guy who was found guilty back in 1971 and offended again, but that’s as close as you’ll get.

      And look what we’re doing now - discussing what representatives of parties other than the BNP have got up to, when the original post was about how dismally pisspoor BNP councillors have been.

      That’s handy for the BNP eh? Lucky for them you just stumbled across their site just in time to use it in a comment on a blog post about how lame their councillors are.

    15. billericaydicky — on 10th April, 2008 at 8:25 am  

      I think this thread is wandering a bit but never mind it is still interesting. Couple of things in today’s Guardian and Comment is Free site.

      Along with others I have had posts refused on CiF or rapidly deleted. I complained about this to the Readers Editor and was totally blanked. Interestingly my posts were exposes of some of the scams that Lee Jasper and his crew were up to. I wonder if anyone has had the same experience.

      In CiF there is an article which went up yesterday asking people to vote for CiF as the best blog in some competition. There were, unusually’ zero comments so I went to post about the censorship only to find that the posts were closed. Normally they only do that after three days so I can only assume that the Guardian has had some very uncomplementary things said about it. Maybe someone should nominate this blog.

      Then there was an article about the BNP targeting the Jewish community and moving to make Islam the main enemy. I don’t think it will get anywhere but mentioned in the article was Operation Black Vote and Simon Wooley. Three weeks before the election simple Simon has decided he had better do something to show what he has been getting money for for the last ten years!

      He was at the unveiling of a “Banksy” type poster at Vauxhall tube urging people to get out and vote and has it seems put together a coalition of religious groups including the Board of Deputies of British Jews. I wonder do the Jews know that Simon is a rabid anti semite and an open supporter of the black American racist Louis Farrakhan?

      At the moment Farrakhan is banned from entering the UK because of fears that he will incite the kind of racial hatred he has in the States. If people put Anti Defamation League into a search engine they will come up with a site that monitors hate groups in America and some of Farrakhan’s choice comments on Jews can be found there.

      Talking of Simons I can’t see anything from the one we had here yesterday promoting nazi sites. Gone all quiet over there!

    16. TOBEFAIR — on 10th April, 2008 at 8:27 am  

      5cc, i was look at the Discussions-politics on Sky News,just reading the discussions, a few of the discussions were about the BNP,i decided to look at other blogs,the info above at the top was from the norfolk bloggers blog,it was just timing,take a look at the Sky News Discussions- politics from the past few days and you will see.

    17. 5cc — on 10th April, 2008 at 10:17 am  

      TOBEFAIR: But you’re not the one who linked to Liars, Buggers and Thieves, are you? That was Green Arrow - the bloke from the BNP who has buggered off now we’re not talking about the pisspoor record of BNP councillors any more.

      Just to reiterate for people who do accidentally stumble across those kinds of sites:

      Turning up councillors and MPs from other parties who have committed crimes will be relatively easy, since you have nearly nine thousand people to choose from. A list of just ten incompetent BNP councillors represents about a quarter of the ones in existence.

      The site includes people who are only party members and former candidates alongside councillors and MPs, to beef up the number to choose from even further. If we did that with the BNP, we can include Robert Cottage and David Copeland. Copeland killed three people and injured 129 others in 1999.

      The site we’re talking about includes people who haven’t gone to trial yet and people who have been cleared (like the one accused of rape) alongside people who have been convicted.

      All the ones convicted of the more serious crimes no longer represent their party as they’ve been expelled, resigned or are in prison.

      The site at least once inserts words into the newspaper articles its supposedly quoting, changing councillors reported as being independednt to being party representatives.

      Most importantly - the original post here wasn’t about people being criminals, but about whether the best way to oppose the BNP is by exposing the pisspoor record of their councillors who don’t seem to have a clue what they’re doing. We’re not talking about that any more - and that’s the point of sites like that.

      Which is the perfect illustration of what will happen when you do use things like the record of BNP councillors - who really are an incompetent bunch of numpties with shady pasts - to oppose them.

      Did I mention that the record of BNP councillors is really very bad, and they look like a bunch of incompetent thugs.

    18. john b — on 10th April, 2008 at 12:15 pm  

      “the spectacular increase in the BNP vote over the last few year”

      err, what spectacular increase in the BNP vote? they’re still very much in the statistical noise category, an order of magnitude below what the NF were achieving in the 1970s

    19. billericaydicky — on 11th April, 2008 at 6:04 am  

      John B,

      Go and check out http://www.searchlightmagazine.com and you will find a breakdown of the increase in the BNP vote over the last few years.

      They are regularly into double figures, they recently held a seat in Havering outer East London with thirty eight per cent of the vote.

      I think the best the NF ever achieved was sixteen and a half per cent in Leicester in 1974.

    20. john b — on 11th April, 2008 at 1:56 pm  

      Hmm; they’re still on 1% in the Mayoral elections…

    21. john b — on 11th April, 2008 at 2:04 pm  

      I guess the difference is that now, the fascists go to seats full of low-income, high-unemployment white people who’re a bit worried that The Darkies will take over, provide loony scaremongering literature about what happens in No Go For Whites areas (like where I live, and hence frequently go), and focus all their resources on doing that - whereas in the 1970s they went on marches to Brixton and Notting Hill to actually fight black people.

      But “the fascists are less crap at electoral gameplaying than they used to be, so can win council seats by going to an area filled with a few hundred terrified bigots and telling them customised and facile lies, but nonetheless are just as unpopular nationwide as they always have been” is a less impressive message than “OMFG teh fascists are about to take over”.

      And if people with actual chances of power read it as case B, that risks leading them into terrible Margaret Hodge territory of implementing slightly bigoted policies on the grounds that the real fascists would be much worse and this way at least the bigots will still vote for non-fascists. Whereas if we continued to ignore the bigots, they’d continue to not matter in the slightest.

    22. billericaydicky — on 12th April, 2008 at 9:38 am  

      John B,

      What are you on about in your last post? Does anyone know? Do you know?

    23. TOBEFAIR — on 12th April, 2008 at 10:55 am  

      I like the few hundred terrified bigots bit,it makes a funny picture,is it a few hundred Jewish Bigots or Islamic Bigots or your good old Alf Garnett type,at the end of the day. Bigot. Someone who values your opinion less than his own.Funny picture tho,all huddled together…trembling.

    24. douglas clark — on 12th April, 2008 at 1:13 pm  

      Rumbold,

      You raise a very interesting point. It is probably true that the native population of the UK has always reacted badly to immigration, whether it was forced, such as the Normans or simply the result of pogroms in Europe. What raised it’s head in the 20th C, it seems to me, was access to the Press, and later to the media. What we have now is a media that requires controversy to justify it’s 24/7 agenda. A ‘controversial’ point of view is treated with due seriousness as it helps to pad out the day. It fills newspapers and it keeps News Channels busy. In other words they are complicit in keeping the pot boiling.

      If anti fascists were to walk away from the fight, and I genuinely do believe it is a fight, the media would simply give more time to others agendas. They have to, simply to fill the available column inches and gaps between adverts.

      I was going to end with this quote from W B Yeats:

      Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.

      but I think this one is more relevant:

      And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
      Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    25. TOBEFAIR — on 12th April, 2008 at 1:46 pm  

      http://www.democracyforum.co.uk/immigration/48593-bnp-propaganda-comparison-tibet-frenzy.html.

    26. heather — on 12th April, 2008 at 5:51 pm  

      I wish I could believe that last link by the “not-really-a-bnp-member” tobefair was meant to show the bnp is a joke rather than a threat, as it was a link to a forum post full of preposterous conclusions based on a pile of fear-mongering “news” stories.

      All the same, it’s not funny. (Even when you take into account that tobefair seems to assume they are self-evident truths, which is pretty comical in itself.)

    27. Rumbold — on 12th April, 2008 at 5:55 pm  

      Douglas:

      I am not sure that any population reacts well to large-scale immigration, because of the change it brings (whether good or bad). You make a good point about the media needing to fan the flames in order to justify their operations.

      “If anti fascists were to walk away from the fight, and I genuinely do believe it is a fight, the media would simply give more time to others agendas. They have to, simply to fill the available column inches and gaps between adverts.”

      I don’t want them to walk away either.

    28. douglas clark — on 12th April, 2008 at 6:52 pm  

      Rumbold @ 28,

      I agree with what you are saying, shock, horror!
      I was sticking to the UK, ’cause that was what we were talking about. But you are quite right, no-one wants swamped. Just ask the Apache.

      More seriously, you inhabit a pretty respectable part of the ‘centre’ that Yeats referred to. More power to your pen…

      My point, for what it is worth - not a lot - is that the possibility of just ignoring these idiots is now a lot more difficult than it was in the past. Getting that balance right, between the ‘oxygen of publicity’ and the cold shoulder would take someone far more skilled in politics than I will ever be.

      …………………………………………….

      [Off topic, I know, but this site had taken up the case of the Iraq interpreters. I was somewhat surprised that Australia has, as far as I can tell, taken all their interpreters out of Iraq too. See here:

      http://crookedtimber.org/2008/04/09/iraqi-interpreters-coming-to-australia/

      Seems the Aussies can do, without fuss, what we can't. Sad really.]

    29. Rumbold — on 12th April, 2008 at 8:50 pm  

      Douglas:

      “My point, for what it is worth - not a lot - is that the possibility of just ignoring these idiots is now a lot more difficult than it was in the past. Getting that balance right, between the ‘oxygen of publicity’ and the cold shoulder would take someone far more skilled in politics than I will ever be.”

      I agree that we need the balance, but, like you, I have no real idea how to achieve it.

      “More seriously, you inhabit a pretty respectable part of the ‘centre’ that Yeats referred to. More power to your pen…”

      Very kind of you to say so. I respect your opinion, and I found out that you left the third comment in Pickled Politics’ history. To quote (you):

      “Best of luck with your blog, we need voices like yours.

      Am I missing the good doctors point ? He is saying that 13.6% of Indians in Leicester live together. That means that 86.4% [i]of Indians in Leicester[/i] are living in mixed communities. Is that, necessarily, a problem?

      douglas.”

      - 02/09/2005

    30. douglas clark — on 13th April, 2008 at 1:36 am  

      Rumbold,

      Bloody hell. I knew Don had the honour of having the first ever post. But me with the third post? I didn’t know that.

      It has been an ‘interesting’ ride, and I hope I’ve made more friends than enemies along the way.

      I think this is a blog about enlightenment, and that is to the credit of Sunny, and the team he has around him. As far as I know, there are not a lot of places on the internet that are this honest. Nor, frankly, able to debate without rancour. It seems to me that there are enough sensible people on here to see off the idiots that turn up.

      I am glad I posted the third ever comment, and I am actually quite chuffed that you went to the effort to find that out.

      Rumbold, thanks for that. What I like about you is that you and I can argue, but it is done with mutual respect. I like that. In fact, I like that about all the regular commentators on here.

      This has been a message from the sickly sweet douglas clark. Normal service will be resumed, shortly.

    31. Wolfie — on 13th April, 2008 at 12:46 pm  

      As I recall the Nazi party of ’30s Germany was well organised and shrewd, to suggest this shower are any threat whatsoever to a mainstream party seems quite ridiculous, or maybe an admission that they are seriously crap too?

    32. Rumbold — on 13th April, 2008 at 6:43 pm  

      Douglas:

      Actually, while Don commented on the first ever article, others had commented on articles posted after the first one. So Don’s comment was actually posted later than yours.

      As for debating with you, I notice that you have been commenting at Liberal Conspiracy, and I hope that you would never decamp permanently there.

      “This has been a message from the sickly sweet douglas clark. Normal service will be resumed, shortly.”

      Heh. You are just a softie really.

    33. douglas clark — on 14th April, 2008 at 12:05 am  

      Rumbold,

      Nope, I will never voluntarily give up on PP. I love too many of the authors and commentators on here to ever do that. This is, frankly a web site about what the future ought to be, and I am nostalgic for that future :-)

      Which is not to say I don’t appreciate a rumble in the jungle. I just don’t think this is the forum for that sort of thing, any more. It has mature and adult debate.

      Whereas, Liberal Conspiracy does have it’s share of idiots, and that - if there is any point in me writing anything - is up for challenge. Sometimes, I like that challenge.

      I do not tend to pull my punches when I am dealing with libertarians, or climate change denialists. That has been a surprisingly easy burden to bear here. Not so on LC.

      Frankly, pulling up DK for the rubbish he spouts ought to be seen as a public service. Sadly my aggressive stance was viewed as ‘beyond the pale’. Though,to be fair, his latest nonsense did not bring down the management on me. Perhaps the management can now see a duck billed platypus for the undoubted duck billed platypus it is. And stop it polluting their threads. Or at least allow criticism.

      It might be of interest for your readers to figure out what is wrong with this:

      Douglas,

      “I do not, however play Russian Roulette, which is what he wants us to do. There is a well understood precautionary principle that you might care to consider.”

      What you are advocating, at least in part, is the idea of Pascal’s Wager, is it not? But Pascal’s Wager does not work in this instance because, whilst there may be no cost to a belief in god, there is a substantial cost to CO2 abatement. And it’s not just in terms of our Western comforts, but also in terms of lives in the Developing Worlds.

      I think that getting away from burning fossil fuels is a good idea — in terms of supply (ultimately, it’s limited) and politics (we’re propping up some nasty regimes) — but it is insane to so whilst we have no alternatives.

      I firmly believe that technology will come up with solutions (which is why I maintain an abiding interest in it — especially fusion) and that the best way to distribute this technology, when it comes to market, is via the mechanisms of free trade. This is what the SRES A1 family is based on: mutual global cooperation.

      In the meantime, these technologies still have to overcome certain engineering problems. We’ll get there but making everyone poorer in the meantime will not quicken the development of said technologies.

      DK

    34. Rumbold — on 14th April, 2008 at 3:59 pm  

      Douglas:

      We (that is to say the site) still have the occasional punch-up, which I think is good for the circulation. Why do you dislike Devil’s Kitchen so much? I know that he swears a lot, but unless I missed something, the comment of his that you re-posted seems quite reasonable to me.

    35. billericaydicky — on 16th April, 2008 at 8:02 am  

      Hackney Gazette have refused to take BNP advert. Go to http://www.hopenothate.org.uk and then Nick’s blog

    36. douglas clark — on 16th April, 2008 at 10:20 am  

      Rumbold,

      DK is so convinced of his politics, libertarian and free market, that he can’t get his head around the fact that they - his politics - might not have the answer to this particular issue.

      Most politics doesn’t actually matter, very much. Whether we educate one another is a state system or through home schooling, whether we pay taxes or just give the money directly to service providers and all the rest of the toing and froing of libertarian / liberal debate is not really very important.

      What is important is not being gulled into a false sense of security by folk like DK, who is frankly a dilletanté on the subject of climate science. Not that I am any better, I just have a greater concern for facts than he does.

      He is of the oft predicated idea that for every action (point of view) there has to be an equal and opposite reaction. He sides with naysayers, economists and lunatics. He assumes that there is a debate to be had, when the evidence is that the debate is actually a ticking bomb under the lives of, at the very least, a substantial part of humanity.

      One trick that fossil fuel advocates play is to talk about ‘peak oil’ as if that was the be all and end all of fossil fuel use. One word. Coal. We have reserves of coal that would let us burn it until kingdom come. Coal also produces Carbon Dioxide. If we do nothing about developing alternatives to fossil fuels, through the sort of inertial ignorance that DKs’ side of the debate encourages, then we will continue to destroy ourselves, even after Peak Oil.

      DK says he’s in favour of fusion research. Great. Lets’ see him do an article saying that we should spend tens, bugger it hundreds of, times more on that research. And let him at least recognise that there are other options, such as a hydrogen economy, wind and tidal, wave and conventional nuclear. We need to look at all these options on the basis that we are playing God with the planet, and neither he nor I can be certain of the outcome. I think that, when it gets this serious, the human race has to apply the precautionary principle to it’s survival and not listen to fringe opinion. And bloody well act!

      Let him at least recognise that the climate change issue has so much science behind it that the gainsayers are farting against thunder.

      And, btw, I don’t object to swearing. I do object to people trying to legitimise weak points of view by using it to emphasise their opinion. You’ll find a lot of cussin’ in things I’ve posted here. (Not that my points were in any way weak, oh no! :-) )

      I’d have thought that a carbon free (ish) economy was likely to swing economic development into third world countries rather than away from them. If you look at generating electricity from sunlight, you’d get the best results near the equator. There are a lot of fairly poor third world countries that might benefit from that, allied to a hydrolosis industry.

      So, there is much that we should be doing right now.

    37. Rumbold — on 16th April, 2008 at 11:49 am  

      Douglas:

      I don’t really agree with DK’s views on climate change. However, I think that there are two important points that are often ignored in the climate change debate:

      1. That while the climate is changing, it is not clear how important mankind’s behaviour is to this climate change. We might be responsible for 90% of climate change, or 9%. Nobody, as far as I am aware, has developed a definitive model to prove what impact we have. I think that we must have an impact, and so should do something about it, but it would be nice to know how much we can actually do.

      2. This derives from my first point. Science works best in a constant state of challenge. Climate change is at yet a very-underdeveloped branch of science, and for those who propagate it to label dissenters as ‘deniers’ is to directly ape the behaviour of the Inquisitions. Years ago there was to be a new ice age, then it changed to global warming, now it is climate change. Scientists need to be allowed to study these things further wihtout fear of being branded as ‘deniers’. Look at biofuels: a year ago it was the saviour of the planet, now it causes food shortages and global warming. Unchallenged ideas are always dangerous, even if those ideas are good ones, or seem so at the time. Dissent has always been the lifeblood of progress.

    38. douglas clark — on 16th April, 2008 at 12:35 pm  

      Rumbold,

      I’m off to Dublin for a few days. I’ll get back to you on that one! Certainly, informed dissent is a good thing!

    39. sarah — on 5th May, 2008 at 5:37 pm  

      “FILE ON 4”

      Transmission: Tuesday 15th June 2004

      Repeat: Sunday 20th June 2004

      Producer: Jenny Chryss

      Reporter: Barnie Choudhury

      Editor: David Ross

      CHOUDHURY: Last year File on 4 revealed how Asian gangs were

      cornering this country’s heroin trade, but things have moved on alarmingly. Tonight we

      investigate the extent to which organised criminals within Britain’s South Asian communities are

      involved in murders, kidnappings and illegal immigration.

      AHMED: I was completely shocked. A community which was

      supposed to have the lowest percentage in crime now probably has one of the highest in the

      United Kingdom.

      CHOUDHURY: And File on 4 can reveal that the Metropolitan Police are so

      concerned, they are setting up a new unit to tackle new South Asian criminals, who won’t let

      anything or anyone stand in their way.

      WOMAN: One of the youths pulled out a machine gun and shot my

      father. As my dad sort of stumbled and turned around towards me and I saw his face, I knew he

      had been hurt badly. He was my best friend and he was everything to me.

      And you claim that Griffin’s charge was nothing but lies.
      I am a collecter of archives especially BBC ones for their accuracy.

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