Has David Cameron been reading my articles?


by Sunny
29th January, 2007 at 4:36 am    

Writing in the Observer yesterday David Cameron provided some clues on how his vision for a more cohesive Britain may shape up. You could say it was his response to Tony Blair’s speech in December on multiculturalism, with a promise he would “set out a clear and consistent path” with specific recommendations this week. I may bring you running commentary as they come, but it may be worth unpacking his article in the meantime.

First, we must not fall for the illusion that the problems of community cohesion can be solved simply through top-down, quick-fix state action. State action is certainly necessary today, but it is not sufficient. Second, it must be the right kind of action, expressed in a calm, thoughtful and reasonable way.

I’ll give the Conservatives that much – compared to Labour they have been much more reserved at hectoring, lecturing and generally making absurd statements regarding British Muslims (asking them to spy on their kids for example). Cameron may also be referring to Blair’s actions following 7/7 – when he invited a whole bunch of “community leaders” into his office to prepare a quick document on what needed to be done to sort out terrorism, and then ignored the whole thing. Just the kind of response we were all looking for Mr Blair.

But in seeking to atone for those mistakes, we should not lurch, with the zeal of the convert, into a simplistic promotion of ‘Britishness’ that is neither in keeping with our traditions, nor likely to bring our communities closer together.

Well fancy that: a Conservative Prime Minister backing away from the concept of a national identity. I disagree with him on this point since I believe in my own need for a version of ‘Britishness’ (more on that later this week). It seems Gordon Brown now has exclusive rights over this territory.

A number of the interventions we have seen from ministers recently have spectacularly failed to do that. Instructing Muslim parents to spy on their children. … These and similar clunking attempts to address the complexities of community cohesion show a serious misunderstanding of the scale of the challenge, and the shape of the solution.

A pie in the face for John Reid, and one that he deserved. I agree with this point.

Above all, we have seen a dangerous muddling of concerns: community cohesion, the threat of terrorism and the integration of British Muslims. Promoting community cohesion should indeed be part of our response to terrorism. But cohesion is not just about terrorism and it is certainly not just about Muslims. Similarly, promoting integration will help protect our security. But too mechanistic a connection between these objectives will make it harder to achieve both, by giving the impression that the state considers all Muslims to be a security risk.

I could almost kiss David Cameron on this point. I have long argued (and we made this point in the NGN manifesto too) that muddling all these issues was dangerous and counter-productive because it was seen as a stick merely to lecture Muslims with. Finally someone has got the message.

I will argue that questions of social cohesion are also questions of social justice and social inclusion. Cohesion is as much about rich and poor, included and left behind as it is about English and Scot or Muslim and Christian.

If DC is sincere about this point then it’s time to sing Hallelujah, because I’ve been making this point for a long time too. Social cohesion will never get anywhere if only Muslims are seen as a problem, rather than tackling the issue in its entirety to include disaffected whites, Christians, Sikhs and everyone else.

Fairness will be our most powerful weapon against fragmentation. In America, new immigrants feel part of something from the moment they arrive because they feel they have the opportunity to succeed. It is that belief in equal opportunity that we need in Britain today and it is why the denial of quality education to so many is such a vital part of the cohesion argument.

Agreed but easier said than done. America is indeed more successful in providing equality of opportunity because it is a business friendly country, but it is also a country where immigrants are encouraged to enter and make it big – that is the American dream. While the UK too has lots of opportunities, it doesn’t feel like it values successful immigrants as much since this has never really been an enthusiastic immigrant nation.

Rather than looking to the United States, as the Conservatives do a rather too much, they should look at Canada where the doctrine of multi-culturalism was born and which has managed to do a relatively good job of integrating minority communities despite its small (population) size.

***

In addition there are two side points. Firstly, this silly furore over using the c-word while saying “crusade for fairness”. Ohmygod Osama Saeed he just called you a Paki! Or maybe he’s going to dress up in medieval gear and start plundering and looting Muslim lands! Get a grip mate please. Why paint yourself as the ‘angry Muslim man’ caricature over nothing?

Secondly, Mr Cameron may be calling for an end to Muslim women being denied into further education, but I’m not sure where the evidence is. He would be better off calling for educated Muslim women to be offered more employment opportunities.

***

So all in all a positive speech, providing Cameron sticks to what he means and isn’t just churning out platitudes to impress the chatterati.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Current affairs,Party politics






150 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs


  1. Tasneem Khalil — on 29th January, 2007 at 9:17 am  

    “…Throughout history, there have been periods when Britain has not been entirely comfortable with itself or individual communities within it.”

    “…the impact of foreign policy on domestic affairs”

    “…In America, new immigrants feel part of something from the moment they arrive because they feel they have the opportunity to succeed…”

    Foreign policy [read being an active member of a global empire] does hurt what DC refers to as “community cohesion.” Ask the immigrant bombed out of Afghanistan or Iraq, fleeing out of Pakistan or Bosnia. How that’s going to be taken care of is an entire paragraph missing from his vision de future. And then he goes on talking about a UK rallied behind a flag, all speaking the same language, a call to bring the order of the British empire back, this time, at home ;-P

  2. Katy — on 29th January, 2007 at 9:41 am  

    I could almost kiss David Cameron on this point.

    Adult Webcameron.

    No, think about it. It’s the next logical step.

  3. Sahil — on 29th January, 2007 at 10:09 am  

    I just found the survey carried out Munira Mirza that’s been reported in the papers “Living Apart Together”, if anyone wants a read its here:

    http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/

  4. Sahil — on 29th January, 2007 at 10:10 am  

    From what I’ve read so far, it makes for pretty depressing reading.

  5. Leon — on 29th January, 2007 at 10:14 am  

    …a Conservative Prime Minister backing away from the concept of a national identity.

    Eh? Did someone hold a General Election without me!?

  6. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 10:50 am  

    :-) good one Leon

    i see the schools are going to start teaching ‘britishness’ – hopefully they’ll have worked out what it is they’re meant to be teaching before that ! :-)

    very nice things mr. cameron is saying – (i agree with him about national identity – look at what it’s done to america – terrible) but the point is it is a speech. and i’m all ears as to find out how they’re going to address the ‘denial of quality education to so many’

    america is no more welcoming of immigrants than anyone else – to say so is simplistic.

  7. Sahil — on 29th January, 2007 at 10:53 am  
  8. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 10:56 am  

    just seen the title ” No one will be left behind in a Tory Britain” – how amusing! really these politicians…

  9. Jazz Singh — on 29th January, 2007 at 11:17 am  

    His rhetoric is certainly appealing…but what is necessary is a policy statement as to how he would wish to achieve this inclusiveness.

    And considering the likelihood of a snap election in a few months time, it reeks of an attempt to mobilise the Muslim vote whilst failing to provide any substance as to what his policies may be with regards to encouraging community ties and social cohesion at all levels of society.

  10. Refresh — on 29th January, 2007 at 11:36 am  

    Muslims would be foolish to even look at Cameron, especially with the impending war on Iran.

    Bush and Republicans in general were supported by the Arab community I presume on the basis that the Democrats were very close to the Israel lobby.

    What we should watch out for is the Ghandi rhetoric from Gordon Brown. Let Cameron and Brown outbid themselves, but vote for none of the above.

    If the turnout and support for the winning party is as low as Blair’s vote at the last election, then it will be a confirmation and rejection of the mainstream parties as upholders of democratic and civic ideals.

  11. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 12:16 pm  

    Sahil – All the report shows is that young people are extremists. As people get older, their outlooks change. The daily concerns, housing, finances, family, health etc., become dominant, and foreign policy and religion take their a back seat. Paying the electricty bill takes precedent over governmental decisions and extreme religious observance. IMHO anybody of any faith who is still putting religious observance first (unless it’s his or her job or they’re a recent convert) after 35, hasn’t joined the real world. This applies to all religions.

    Sonia – If all school children had a daily non-denominational assembly, were taught to love the country they were living in, learned the history of the country they were living in, were taught in the language of the country they were living in, and wore a school uniform, then a feeling of belonging would follow.

    In 1918, a little girl called Perl Mattus, born in London 5 years earlier to Polish/Jewish immigrants started at Christian Street Infants School in the East End of London. As she was the youngest child, she could speak some English, but Yiddish was the Lingua Franca at home. 80 o/o of the children at that school were from similar backgrounds. By the time she was 6, she could read, write and recite in English, so could the majority of her classmates, by the time she was 7 she could recite long English poems. To all intents and purposes, she was an English child. That was my mother, and she remained convinced of her Englishness, not Britishness, until she died in her 86th year.

    She always said that this was due entirely to the efforts of the head teacher, who was an ex-army officer.

    Don’t forget, her’s was the generation that fought the battle of Cable Street, and joined up to fight tyranny in World War 2

  12. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 12:38 pm  

    samuel huntington doesn’t think ‘hispanics’ are ‘integrating’ – he points to them speaking spanish! anyway – it’s all a point of view. depends on people’s context and situation. clearly some people feel ‘welcomed’ – and some may feel otherwise. i think some people might point to the civil rights movement of the 60s and the amount of effort needed to stop legalized segregation.. if they were all feeling ‘welcomed’ they might not have bothered. often this simple line ‘oh america is welcoming to immigrants’ seems to compare immigrant experiences of asians in the US and Britain. I think it might be pertinent to consider the US’s history of immigration and that other people might have other opinions. it’s hardly a straightforward ‘we are immigrants and we all feel this way – ‘ situation : that was my point.

  13. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 12:42 pm  

    chairwoman – i hear you – but i think it doesn’t work automatically for everyone. some individuals though through the ages slip through the net. i would agree though that it seems to for the vast majority – though what kind of ‘belonging’ i don’t know – brainwashed mindless conformity i daresay. the sort that leads to ‘oooh we live in a democratic free country, we must do what our founding fathers would have wanted us to, we must not question our leaders oooh no. to do so would be un-American A country whose idea of belonging seems to include toeing the ideology line? House of unAmerican Activities? Well what more can i Say? if that’s the sort of societies people want here, i think ill be on the next plane out.

  14. Anas — on 29th January, 2007 at 12:48 pm  

    If all school children had a daily non-denominational assembly, were taught to love the country they were living in, learned the history of the country they were living in

    You think that’s wise given the history of British imperialism, CW?

    BTW, CW, I went to an amazing talk on Saturday given by the Jewish Marxist historian Lenni Brenner on the history of anti-Semitism and Zionism as part of the SPSC’s series of events marking Holocaust Week. I learned quite a bit about Jewish history in Europe and I hope to share some of that on my blog as soon as I get time to write it up. I mean to give one example, did you know there were parts of Germany which had been settled by Jews, who arrived with the Romans, before even the Germans?

  15. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:02 pm  

    i think its really a case of recognizing the consequences of such types of enforced top-down ‘national identity’ ( as well as benefits – don’t get me wrong i’m not suggesting there aren’t any benefits of ‘belonging’ – that would be simplistic indeed) it’s an incredibly complex societal issue – i think if people want to go ‘oh look over there – it’s so wonderful’ they might want to think a bit harder about what else has accompanied the ‘wonderful belonging. so e.g. someone might feel that because they identify themselves as an American, they don’t want to say anything that might rock the boat. Or are afraid to say anything that might be considered ‘un-American’. – e.g. after 9/11 if anyone wanted to question Bush’s strategy of dealing with it – there was a hell of a lot of ‘oh you must be un-American, you must hate the nation’ rubbish about. A few people managed to speak out – and you know what – a lot of the immigrant groups were very very quiet – daren’t rock the boat and all that. So in my humble opinion, that’s all a bit dodgy. Of course it’s typical – of highly controlled groups. Yeah so you might feel some belonging, but try questioning the status quo. you might be out on your ears.

  16. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:03 pm  

    Anas – There’s a whole lot of history before imperialism, also I’m a great believer of admitting ones mistakes, and saying that things should have been done differently. The majority of European countries have had empires at some time or the other, if this is swept under the carpet, then history goes out the window.

    I didn’t know about Germany per se, but I was aware that Jews moved about the Empire with the Romans. Did you know that when Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity as the official religion of Rome, it was a toss-up between that and Judaism. He chose Christianity as his mother, Helena, had recently become a Christian, and persuaded him.

    Which puts me, flippantly, in mind of this little rhyme.

    ‘Roses are reddish,
    Violets are blue-ish.
    If it wasn’t for Christmas,
    We’d all have been Jewish.’

    Sorry.

    Sonia – It’s not about my country right or wrong, but about a sense of it being my country and belonging. If you feel that you belong, surely you’ll have far greater incentives to try improve things.

  17. Kismet Hardy — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:08 pm  

    I’m making a crap joke as we speak. If easily irritated, skip to the next post.

    So basically, the technologically inept old Asian man has been promised a magic entertainment system if he votes tory. Apparently, all he has to do is give it instructions in a cockney accent and it’ll work.

    So he goes to turn it on but it runs away. He calls up the conservative HQ and tells them the problem, so they advise him to refer to the system in question, ie DVD, TV etc, by name, then tell it what you want it to do.

    So the man says:

    The vid, c’mere. On.

    (See what happens now that Shilpa’s out of my life?)

  18. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

    Sonia – Every time I go to the US, I’m always impressed by how my recently arrived taxi driver considers himself to be American. Admittedly a Blank-American, but still American.

    In this country it just doesn’t happen. My grandfather came here as a young man in his twenties in the very early twentieth century. I reckon about 1902/04. It can’t be any later, because their oldest child was born here in 1905, and my grandmother wasn’t pregnant before they arrived here. He died in 1974, and was approximtely 98. He wasn’t exactly sure. At no time did he consider himself English or British. He was always Polish, and Poland was always ‘De heim’ (home).

  19. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

    stuff ‘british’ imperialism: who cares whether the imperialism is from some other country/race’ or some elders and leaders within the same group? see this is the big problem. it’s hardly as if it isn’t the same thing ‘within’ the group – i.e. elders and leaders effectively take on the ‘imperializing’. the thing about india: all those centuries of oppression through the social caste system – and the maharajas and what have you: and then all the fuss about the ‘British’ coming to lord it for everyone. Very strange that people should care about the race or ‘group’ of oppressors. As far as i can see – its all pretty much the same thing. And that’s the irony of it all.

  20. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:13 pm  

    lord it ‘over’ everyone..excuse my numerous typos.

  21. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:17 pm  

    Chairwoman – what you say doesn’t invalidate what i’m saying. What I said doesn’t invalidate what you’re saying. I think different people have different opinions and experiences. My father-in-law feels English – and though some people may say to him and have done: well you’re not – but he just ignores them – he feels pretty English. And as a result actually – a lot of other people don’t question that. I’m sure we could come up with examples from either side of the Atlantic of people with different experiences. Take the Bruce Lee film – the girl he’s going to marry – her mother says sth like where are you from, he says American – and she’s like ‘no you’re not’.

    i know the grass is always greener on the other side but..

  22. Kismet Hardy — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:21 pm  

    The grass is always greener on this side. Depends if your dealer happens to be you, I s’pose

  23. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

    sahil: been reading a few bits of that policy xchange report. some sensible things in there:

    “The Government should stop emphasising difference and engage with Muslims as citizens, not through
    their religious identity”.

    Heh good one. I suppose the islamophonic thing is not such a good idea then! i listened to it over the weekend – such crap i thought. fatwa focus?! people ringing in to ask if they can pluck their eyebrows. Ridiculous.

  24. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

    Interesting point there, Sonia. Basically it’s alright being oppressed as long the oppressors are ‘our’ oppressors.

    The girl who comes and helps me in the house is from Romania. We have become very fond of each other, and often the helping just consisits of us have conversations. Last week we were discussing the death of the Ceausecus. She said sometimes she can’t stop thinking about it, she’d have been 14 at the time. Even though they were tyrants and oppressors, they were still the ‘parents of the country’, and shouldn’t have been peremptorily executed in the snow. I asked her if she would have felt the same had they been, for instance, Russians. She was very indignant. That would have been different, she would have supported that.

    So it’s ok to be oppressed by your own.

    Funny old world.

  25. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:24 pm  

    it irritated me no end – bit preachy i thought – oh if you’re a muslim you’d better listen to us. and so segregationist – the podcast by muslims for muslims etc. etc. I mean – puhleese.

  26. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

    :-) precisely Chairwoman.. that’s what a lot of groups have been very cunning at doing. Religious groups right at the top of course..try questioning the Mullah men and they’re like “how dare you! you ought not to be bickering with ‘your own’..” Yeah right..!

  27. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 1:30 pm  

    Sonia – I identify more with Bruce Lee film thing myself. But I didn’t when I was younger.

    The policies of multi-culturalism have changed how we’re viewed and how we view ourselves. They’ve been a disaster, not only on a personal level, but on a national one. Look, I’m seeing this retrospectively, and it is not comfortable. I’m looking at society imploding, and I promise you, it was better when people felt some sort of empathy with the country and society they were living in.

  28. soru — on 29th January, 2007 at 2:11 pm  

    ‘You think that’s wise given the history of British imperialism, CW? ‘

    That depends on whther you think the problem with British imperialism was the ‘British’ or the ‘imperialism’.

  29. Peter — on 29th January, 2007 at 2:15 pm  

    I dunno, Sunny.

    The politics of this seem to me that a) there is something wrong with Britishness (mainly because this is an idea promoted by Gordon Brown) b) there is something wrong with the way Muslims treat women (seen in their denial of educational opportunities).

    Now I can sign up for the attacks on Reid (spy on your children etc). I am happy to worry about ideas that come from Gordon Brown (but as a white, English as far back as you can count man), I don´t have any problem with Britishness as a concept (I feel closer to the Scots or Welsh than I do to English aristocrats, for example).

    But I have a problem with the Muslim women line because (when last I looked) one ethnic/gender group near the bottom of the list as far as university participation was concerned was white women. Overall the proportion of pakistanis/bangladeshis in the 18-25 age group in higher education seems to be much higher that for white people of the same age. So Cameron seems here to be peddling myths. In general the evidence indicates that Muslim families are more concerned about their female children´s education than their white neighbours.

    (That said if anyone is being held back, then I am unhappy.)

    My colleague Tabman has already commented on the article here. I may yet write something myself…

  30. Sunny — on 29th January, 2007 at 2:47 pm  

    Hi Peter,

    I don’t disagree with you, I think you’re right in that Cameron’s argument about Muslim women being denied education is a straw-man. From my understanding, the problem isn’t denying education (since it increases their marriage prospects) but rather more likely to be denying them the chance for a career they want. But even that is difficult to judge.

  31. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

    Chairwoan – “I’m looking at society imploding, and I promise you, it was better when people felt some sort of empathy with the country and society they were living in.”

    oh i agree definitely that people need empathy with the society they live in – absolutely! its just for me i’d prefer if that didnt’ involve national boundaries as well..that’s really the bee in my bonnet about national identities – i agree with what you’re saying – and i think we need to draw our boundaries a bit wider..and not stop at the edge of the nation-state – as is the case with a national identity. definitely we need empathy – a whole lot of it!

  32. sonia — on 29th January, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

    oops..missed out the m in Chairwoman – sorry! :-)

  33. AsifB — on 29th January, 2007 at 2:52 pm  

    Chairwoman – I like your no 11 post observation a lot.
    “IMHO anybody of any faith who is still putting religious observance first (unless it’s his or her job or they’re a recent convert) after 35, hasn’t joined the real world. This applies to all religions.”

    Sorry to see you adopt such a pessimistic tone in no.27 then when part of the answer surely is waiting for angry young men to grow up. I think complaining about ‘the policies of multi-culturalism’ is a bit like complaining about the weather though- This society had to move on from the ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dog’ signs of the 60s and it took decades of struggle via community groups, the labour movement, anti-Nazi leaue and others (including the angry young men who took part in uprisings) to get us to our present far from perfect, but more civilised space.

    As to feeling empathy with the society in which we live, I agree globalisation has encouraged more atomisation of society – my most empathic moments came living in the North of England during the Thatcher years – the implicit and often explicit fact that united everyone, middle working class, white, black brown gay, striaght, religous or not, was assumming that White Southern English people outside inner London were Tory (expletive) until proved otherwise.

    Sunny – On message, if David C. is cribbing your thoughts, that can only be a good thing. Given the media’s tendency to lazily stereotype (so that today’s speech is all about a monolith called ‘British Muslims’ and not about some people in some communities, or to report the soundbite ‘Islamic fascists as bad as the BNP’ and not ask why then the media gives so much airtime to said fascists) these are topics where quite basic facts need careful repetition.

    I think there is a significant issue about women’s education for some parts of some Muslim communities – but talk like “All Muslims need to ” only helps bring up the Osama Saeed type shutters. In the long run to positively influence bahviour , you’ve got to a) Be more specific and local – eg; non-middle class Mirpuris in a particaulr town are x … so that local people can tackle local problems (However unfair it will seem to be picked on as in Beeston or Barking)
    b) Point (howerver cheesy it seems) to the likes of Munira Mirza, newsreaders etc as role models
    and c) Try to stop talking about ‘Muslims’ as a monolith period and to acknowledge that some issues (like forced marriage) cut across boundaries in other ways.

    … Ah that’s so rambling, now I remember why I stopped posting on PP. AND I only logged on here because yesterday’s ‘Never Forget’ comment box was closed. (Even though I question the need and role of a ‘MCB’ as there is one and as it’s actions are made out to reflect on me, the MCB can’t be bashed enough on its stupid Holocaust Memorial day boycotts)

  34. Sunny — on 29th January, 2007 at 2:53 pm  

    Muslims would be foolish to even look at Cameron, especially with the impending war on Iran.

    Refresh – As opposed to look at Labour, which is probably even more in cahoots with Bush over his foreign policy? Or do you suggest not engaging with any political parties at all?

    By the way, Cameron didn’t say Britain should attack Iran, as the Telegraph painted it, but rather that they should not make any statements about whether it is the right policy to attack or not (in other words keep your options open), which is hardly an endorsement to Bush.

  35. Sunny — on 29th January, 2007 at 3:04 pm  

    Ah that’s so rambling, now I remember why I stopped posting on PP

    Ahh, but I love your ramblings, surely that is the whole point of this place? I agree with all your points by the way.

  36. Osama Saeed — on 29th January, 2007 at 3:17 pm  

    I actually have more opinions than that quoted in the Guardian piece, and if anyone is interested, they can be read here http://www.osamasaeed.org/osama/2007/01/camerons_crusad.html

  37. Bert Preast — on 29th January, 2007 at 3:20 pm  

    Sunny, if you didn’t know, you and the NGN get namechecked on the Policy Exchange. Page 79.

  38. Bert Preast — on 29th January, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

    Chairwoman wrote : “IMHO anybody of any faith who is still putting religious observance first (unless it’s his or her job or they’re a recent convert) after 35, hasn’t joined the real world”

    If only. From the Policy Exchange report “86% of Muslims feel that “my religion is the most important thing in my life”.” That’s across all age groups.

  39. Kismet Hardy — on 29th January, 2007 at 3:26 pm  

    That’s just stupid.

    Oxygen and food and sleep and taking a crap are far more important because you’d be dead without them

  40. Bert Preast — on 29th January, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

    14% aren’t androids?

  41. Kismet Hardy — on 29th January, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

    Probably planning to see attackships on fire off the shoulders of zion…

  42. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 4:12 pm  

    AsifB – The movements of the late 60s and 70s aimed for cohesion. There was a corny song called ‘Melting Pot’ by a band called ‘Blue Mink’ which hoped for ‘coffee coloured people by the score’. The ANL, in which I was active, did not intend ‘No blacks, no Irish, no dogs’ to turn into a ghetto-ised fractured society, but that’s what appears to have happened to a large degree.

    By the time Katy was in the penultimate year of Junior school, the extremely left-wing new headmaster (cords, kickers, and celtic) had already caused divisions amongst the school community by dispensing with any ‘British’ traditions. The Christmas Fayre became the Winter Fayre, and there was no Christmas tree in the hall. The heavily ethnically mixed school divided into two camps, esprit du corps snuck out the window at the dead of night, and it all finished on a sour note.

    And I don’t think it’s exactly improved since then.

  43. ZinZin — on 29th January, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

    “All the report shows is that young people are extremists. As people get older, their outlooks change. The daily concerns, housing, finances, family, health etc., become dominant, and foreign policy and religion take their a back seat. Paying the electricty bill takes precedent over governmental decisions and extreme religious observance. IMHO anybody of any faith who is still putting religious observance first (unless it’s his or her job or they’re a recent convert) after 35, hasn’t joined the real world. This applies to all religions.”

    Chairwoman with all due respect you get more right-wing as you get older. These young men have started very early and as they are young they are more likely to be political activists.

    Thankfully most will grow out of it. I hope.

  44. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    ZinZin – I believe that received wisdom is that a thinking person is a revolutionary communist in their youth, and a tory in their 40s.

    I think you would all be very surprised at how left-wing I was in my 20s. Sufficiently to get a warning at one job, and actually dismissed from another. Neither were to do with industrial disputes where I worked, as I didn’t work in a unionised industry, but purely because of my views.

    These days all parties are grey, and extremely unattractive to me.

    T

  45. Sahil — on 29th January, 2007 at 4:27 pm  

    Chairwoman, hello! Regarding post 11, I’d just say, they’d probably start worrying about the mortgage, presuming they’d get married and have kids and all that. But I also wonder that, in today’s world with increased need for openness and education, that this generation would futher shoot themselves in the foot by essentially becoming unemployable with such attitudes, leading to more poverty, anger and resentment. But that’s a bit far fetched. The thing that stings the most was that 76% believed that women should wear the veil!!! Why? Where are they getting their shoddy teachings from? This new (well relatively) interpretation of Islam being promoted in the UK is not only puritanical, but just plain incorrect. Plus I still to this day do not understand how any muslim can take a Fatwa seriously. I mean Islam is not meant to have conduits to god (hence that entire Idol issue as well), that the purpose of the Quran. Its just disturbing.

  46. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 4:39 pm  

    Sahil – Don’t you think that young people wanting women to wear the veil can be construed as an Islamic version of punk, something that would antogonise their parents. I don’t wish to offend the genuinely devout who believe they are conforming to the Prophet’s rules, but there are surely those who are doing it for effect, whether they realise it or not.

  47. ZinZin — on 29th January, 2007 at 4:56 pm  

    Sahil #45
    Good points well made. A victim mentality does no one any favours.

    Where are they getting their shoddy teachings from?
    A: Saudi Arabia.

  48. AsifB — on 29th January, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

    Chairwoman no.42 – True there’s a lot of ‘promoted beyond their common sense bureaucrats’ out there who make daft decisions – (like whoever at BA argued the toss with the crucifix woman) – and this generates PC gone mad publicity headlines – but I don’t believe such headmasters make children think that their fellow pupils don’t like getting xmas presents or their equivalents. (which would be bad)

    Very little I saw discussed on telly about education ever tallied with real life anyway, (like Comprehensives don’t have streaming – says who? and what everywhere? Its a totaly London driven news agenda anyway)

    Agree with Sahill/Zinzin that most insiduous is the propogation by the media of extremist and/or plain wrong interpretations of Muslim religious dogma as orthodoxy . Wearing the veil is not normal for the vast majority of Muslim women around the world – or religously compelled – yet the police state enforced doctrines of Arabia and Iran are peddled as a ‘norm’ that in part can become self fulfilling and can in part spread as you suggest as an act of rebellion.

    So the molly coddling by Western oil/defence interests of the Saudi family business really really annoys me – especially as some people from non-Muslim family backgrounds (sometimes Xtians with a proslytyising axe to grind, sometimes ‘liberal Islamaphobes’ ) choose to present Wahibbis as the norm and decry the vast majority with the loaded use of the word ‘moderate’ – its like doing OBL’s propoganda for him….

    Anyhow no.42- I disagree what with never having trusted communism when I was a young anarcho-green socialist and certainly not showing any signs of voting tory in my forties.

  49. AsifB — on 29th January, 2007 at 6:16 pm  

    Read no 44

    Anyhow no.42- I disagree what with never having trusted communism when I was a young anarcho-green socialist and certainly not showing any signs of voting tory in my forties.

  50. Sahil — on 29th January, 2007 at 6:43 pm  

    Chairwoman #46, I agree that there is certainly a large element of the youth trying to find some order (or chaos), in a jumble of identities, or something that makes structured sense to them and simplifies the world. This is nothing special and is just a rite of passage. My issue is that people argue that the hijab, specifically, is an Islamic requirement. This is not explicitly stated in the Quran, so how can such statements be made? What I feel is that a lot of people are hiding behind religion to excuse their own biases, and stop others from critising such modes of thought. Looking at many of my posts, I’m sympathetic to many muslims especially right now, BUT, lazy and inaccurate edicts are just unacceptable. A line needs to be drawn between culture, race, religion, nationality and idiosyncratic preferences. The only thing I can say to offset this, is that shoddy education and obfuscation from Wahabbi polemics, has made this even more confusing for confused kids. But this needs to stop and a better approach to identity is required.

  51. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 6:49 pm  

    Sahil#50 – I agree whole-heartedly.

  52. Tahir — on 29th January, 2007 at 6:53 pm  

    Maybe the youth have it right. There’s another school that says getting old and getting grey makes us biased and think about our mortgages. The youth at least can look at things with a bit more objectivity.

  53. Tabman — on 29th January, 2007 at 7:00 pm  

    As my colleague Peter has pointed out further up the thread, I commented on this on Liberal Review.

    The problem with this Cameron pronouncement is that, once again, it ducks out of providing answers to the questions it raises. If you look carefully, all he says is “more emphasis on teaching English, English history and English cultural symbols” (a dog whistle to Edward Leigh’s Cornerstoners?) and a pronouncement that “its up to all of us” (ie you lot) to do something about it.

    Having correctly identified the lack of quality education as the problem that holds back social mobility, he does absolutely nothing to give us some idea of how he would improve education.

    More hot air, I’m afraid – and his own party won’t like it.

  54. Refresh — on 29th January, 2007 at 7:00 pm  

    Sunny,

    I am pretty sure the Tories had the same ‘doubts’ as the rest of us when it came to invading Iraq, but they kept their options open.

    By having nothing to say or rather not wishing to open theor mouth over Iran does not mean they don’t have the intention to back the US attack on Iran. In other words you cannot trust them.

    Yes we need new politics – and it is not coming from them. If along the way they manage to keep themselves out of power then I would not be unhappy.

    I would be very unhappy if they were able to pull the same tricks as Blair did in fooling us over each issue by appearing to be with the majority. Each time he’s had to use that ploy some other group from within society had been the target. He’s the only one who’s managed to wrong-foot the country almost all of the time. Say one thing – appear to agree with everyone but all at different times.

    If Cameron thinks he can pull the same trick then he is wrong.

    Pulling out of politics isn’t the way either, we need more independent and Independent MPs in Westminster.

    I am with Claire Short – we need a hung parliament that can limp along for 3/4 years. We need LibDems to sort themselves out, we need Respect to be more visible. The Greens to be more visible. Anyone who is anti-war needs to get out there (except of course you know who).

    What we, the country, cannot afford is Labour or the Tories to fool us again. And if its a hard lesson they need then that is what they must have.

    In fact I would have people actually spoil their ballot papers, or no show than allow this criminality that passes for politics continue.

  55. Chairwoman — on 29th January, 2007 at 7:54 pm  

    Refresh – I’m a little concerned by your desire for a hung parliament. I’m not concerned when Claire Short makes a similar comment, as she hides her desire for mischief beneath her bleeding heart. But you are usually an eminently sensible person, and I am astonished that in your antipathy for the war, you could wish the disasters that a hung parliament would bring upon the country as a whole.

    I am not a supporter of this government, nor these days of any political party, but, the war apart, I don’t see that this lot has done anything that any other lot wouldn’t have done, and I’m not convinced that the Tories and the LibDems wouldn’t have gone to war had they been in power, in fact, I am sure, they would have done. It’s very easy to make grandiose statements from the opposition benches.

    The Greens to be more visible; and achieve what? This is a country where people don’t want to recycle their newspapers for heavens sake. This is not a culture that responds well to earnest young people in bad clothes pontificating about the environment. The Greens need to re-think their presentation first, otherwise they needn’t bother. BTW here at Chateau Newton, recycling etc takes place despite the Greens.

    As for Respect, you want them to be more visible? Well, I want them to vanish. GG has always, and will always, be an opportunist little twerp. I’m not denying he has the gift of the gab, there are just no circumstances in which I would trust him. Similarly his party is a 1 trick pony. Anti-war. I have never been in favour of the war, it serves no purpose and is a waste of lives and money, but as we’re there, we can’t just pull out without trying to put Old Humpty together again. Also I don’t want FP directed by a religious minority. And that means ANY religious minority.

    What I want to see are policies that will benefit the country as a whole. And if you’ve got a hung parliament then the tail wags the dog, and GG and Ian Paisley will dictate all policies, because people will have to make pacts with devil to get any bill through.

  56. Leon — on 29th January, 2007 at 8:33 pm  

    The NGN mention:

    In November 2006, the newly formed, cross-ethnicgroup, New Generation Network, criticized existing policies towards ethnic groups. The founder, Sunny Hundal, argued that the Government is failing to engage with ethnic groups properly and “want so-called community leaders to do the job for them”.

  57. El Cid — on 29th January, 2007 at 10:14 pm  

    C’mon Sunny,
    You had a hand in his speech, surely.
    Even if you didn’t and his policy advisers have simply been checking out your ideas, will you always remain independent?

  58. Refresh — on 29th January, 2007 at 11:40 pm  

    Chairwoman

    For me most of what you say supports what I think needs to happen. A hung parliament for 3/4 years. It would emasculate the warmongers. It would force them to see that a 1 million, nay 2 million people on the street have a say for their country and the type of world they want to live in.

    Imagine what a democratic revolution we would have had, had Blair responding in concert with his country?

    Would that not have been a much better advocacy for democracy to the rest of the world, than going on to be responsible for another 1 million dead?

    Imagine also, had Blair not been able to wrong-foot the Tories and the country at the last election – he would have either have been kicked out or seriously hemmed in by a very small majority.

    This country is much more damaged by the continued depravity of war, occupation and war-mongering than anything a hung parliament would have done.

    Its a price worth paying, if it stops another 1 million dead.

    As for the Lib Dems, Greens and Respect, they have had serious support in reaction to the war and the fact that people are not fooled. You only have to see the polls here (as well as in the US).

    As for George Galloway – I have yet to hear anyone genuinely respond to the charges he places at Blair’s door, as he did in the Iraq war debate last week.

    There is plenty that is thrown at him, but not a great deal sticks. Unless I’ve missed something.

    The first time I really paid attention to him was when I heard that John Malkovich wanted to shoot him (presumably with the view to killing him).

    In any case I am not here to defend him – he seems to do a fine job himself. But what I am interested in is a real response to his analysis. I have not seen it yet.

    As for the foreign policy being dictated by a religious minority – of course who could agree to that.

    However what is not acceptable is the presumption that only these minorities are opposed to Blair’s Foreign Policy. Again all the polls are with the ‘minority’.

    It is silly to miss that point – again.

    We are all should be opposed to it – unless we want perpetual war.

    I don’t. A hung parliament seems to be the only answer.

  59. Refresh — on 29th January, 2007 at 11:47 pm  

    El Cid

    I think this is what Sunny must have been trying to tell us before Xmas. I think he said he was working on something big – and we’d know about it soon.

    At that time I also detected a mellowing in his responses.

    Watching it on BBC News, the whole item was like being in a Sunny Hundal blog. Confirmed by the list muslim organisations mentioned by Cameron. All of them have one way or another been a target for Sunny.

  60. douglas clark — on 30th January, 2007 at 12:02 am  

    Sunny,

    Tell us it ain’t true. El Cid and Refresh are so convincing.

    You could never, ever, stand as a Tory, right?

    Err, right?

  61. Sunny — on 30th January, 2007 at 12:44 am  

    Stand as a Tory? Heh, I doubt it. Not unless they’ve started accepting liberal lefties into the party.

    I’m sure people within Tory, Labour and LibDem parties read the manifesto. How much of an influence we have had so far is difficult to measure. I thought Tony Blair’s speech on multi-culturalism in November also contained elements from the NGN manifesto. Given DC’s rhetoric has been much more intelligent than Blair’s, I think our influence, if any, has to be positive.

    And Refresh – 6% of Muslims felt the MCB represented their voice. I’m only reflecting what most Muslims say to me, and them.

  62. Refresh — on 30th January, 2007 at 11:10 am  

    Sunny,

    You have something bigger to tell us about?

    As for the 6% being represented by the MCB – I can’t comment. They certainly make a nice fall-guy for everything and everybody. But why no real direct criticism before of Blair totally ignoring the recommendations from the task forces virtually none of which were implemented.

    As I say in an earlier post, Blair talks and agrees with everyone but never when it could make a difference for the better.

    Now we have Cameron, who according to the BBC is outbidding Blair, Straw, Reid et al.

    All Blair had to do was support onle ONE recommendation from the task force and we would have been well on the way to a more inclusive society.

    And that was help support and establish a rebuttal unit against Islamaphobia.

    Why would he not have wanted to do that ONE thing? Was it the wrong thing to do was the timing unsuitable?

  63. Refresh — on 30th January, 2007 at 11:13 am  

    Yet another post by me full of spelling errors and almost total absence of punctuation. Sorry.

  64. Chairwoman — on 30th January, 2007 at 11:25 am  

    Refresh – I know your intentions are good, but it appears to me that in this instance you are thinking only about the war.

    Let’s try and take the emotive issues out of the war first, as we all know that killing people is not a good thing, and look at the other consequences of a hung parliament.

    Firstly, it will allow government spending to be dictated by people who represent tiny percentages of the population. We read every day how much money is needed to keep education and the NHS going. I was not aware of how badly money was needed by the NHS until I developed Lymphodoema. A non-life threatening, managable condition has turned me into a cripple in three years, because there is only one in-patient specialist unit in the country that deals with it. The continent is full of them. I have had to buy myself an essential special chair, as the Local Authority didn’t have the funds left to buy one this financial year, and there was a strong possibility that there wouldn’t be funds next year. This is the tip of the iceberg. I don’t want to be dependent on a cartel consisting of the LibDems (who appear to be fiscal infants), Respect, UDP, SNP and Plaid Cymru making an FP deal with either New Labour or the Tories, to continue getting what little treatment is available. I also assume that should, G-d forbid, one of your beloved family is taken ill, you want there to be excellent medical professionals available to look after them. Similarly, you want the country to provide them with the best possible education. Personally, I need my DLA paid regularly, I don’t want government funds frozen while GG or Sir Ming haggle about what’s going on overseas.

    You mentioned 1 – 2 million people protested against the war. This is, at the most, 3% of the population. Hardly a sizeable amount. When people thought that ‘our chaps’ could zoom in, beat the enemy into submission, and still be home in time for cucumber sandwiches and scones, the majority favoured the war. I never fail to be astonished at how many people don’t actually realise what the consequences of war and taking the Queen’s shilling actually are. It’s only now that things haven’t gone exactly as planned that there’s a real groundswell of opinion against it.

    As I said at the beginning, let’s remove all emotive issues. I was never in favour of the war. Even had there been WMDs, they hadn’t been used, and I doubt that Saddam Hussein was about to use them. It costs a lot of money that we can’t afford. Our forces obviously weren’t ready for it (shades of 1939), and above all, it was a silly decision.

    But none of that is an excuse for a hung parliament, where we can look forward to 3 to 4 years of badly cobbled together legislation, inflation, high unemployment and financial mismanagement.

  65. Leon — on 30th January, 2007 at 11:56 am  

    You mentioned 1 – 2 million people protested against the war. This is, at the most, 3% of the population. Hardly a sizeable amount. When people thought that ‘our chaps’ could zoom in, beat the enemy into submission, and still be home in time for cucumber sandwiches and scones, the majority favoured the war.

    Regarding the protest numbers, historically the numbers that actually go are supported (people who couldn’t make it for whatever reason) by more for each person.

    Opinion polls at the time showed the support for the war rarely became a majority (in virtually every country in the world).

    The only time the polls tipped toward majority ‘support’ was once military action was under way and then it was all about “supporting our troops” (check the wording of the polls back then to see) not the policy that was getting them killed…

  66. Chairwoman — on 30th January, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

    I do know that, Leon, but I personally put the majority of didn’t attenders in the same group as all those who came out of the polls in 1992 (I think that was the year) and said they had voted Labour when in fact they were just ashamed to admit they weren’t going to give Kinnock a chance.

    I spend a lot of time listening to the all night phone-ins on the wireless. Yes, yes, I know a lot of the callers sound like lunatics, but I think they are actually the anonymous voice of the people, voicing under the cover of darkness and pseudonyms what they would not admit to a pollster. I can assure you that a sizeable numbers of callers wanted young men to go to Iraq on their behalf.

  67. Refresh — on 30th January, 2007 at 12:53 pm  

    There is a danger in the approach you take. The war has cost us an absolute fortune, which would have been much better spent improving the housing stock and building new homes; better hospital treatment; definitely an improved transport network and so on.

    I am not sure how many billions has already been wasted.

    If its a case of stopping the warmongers from attacking Iran and the only way is a democratic input which removes them from power, then I could not in all conscience speak against a hung parliament. Not sure you do or can.

    The danger is that someone somewhere is calculating how our economy will actually benefit from war. Already we know there are contrived contracts being put in place to ensure we take control and a share of the oil revenue in Iraq. Enough to pay for the war many times over. Do we want to be beneficiaries of this ill-begotten gain?

    And can we justify, morally, the countless lives already lost and to be lost for the sake of (supposedly) low inflation, low unemployment, a better NHS at home? When we could still have that and stop the madness?

    In any case I do not accept we would end up with bartering in a hung parliament which would risk the economy. What I do think will happen is that people will demand more investment in exactly the areas you and I mention. All the minor parties would support that.

  68. Chairwoman — on 30th January, 2007 at 1:16 pm  

    I don’t think it should have happened in the first place. But having gone and made a total hash of it, we can’t in all conscience just up sticks and leave them to it.

    What I am trying, obviously not very successfully, to say is that having done this, we’ve got to wrap it up, and somehow put the lid back on it before we come home.

    The lives are not being lost for low inflation, unemployment and the NHS, but a hung parliament would by it’s very nature cause these things. The lives are being lost because having made an incredibly stupid decision, we didn’t have a clue what to do when we got there. Frankly I despair. But the majority of people here just don’t want the rest of the policies of the minority parties, even if they support them on the war, otherwise they would be the government.

    Large British companies and Multi-nationals will continue to administer and control oil production in Iraq and elsewhere, because that is what they do. That is how the oil producing countries have always operated. Goodness alone knows why. And British arms manufacturers will continue to sell their products to all combatants to enable them to kill each other with ever greater efficiency, because that is what they do. And people in the city will continue to buy and sell shares in these industries making ever greater profits on the backs of people swetaing and dying in the sun, because that is what they do.

    And your hung parliament won’t stop any of that. GG, Alex Salmond, and Sir Ming (now there indeed is an interesting little triumvate, remember what I said about tails and dogs? Add Blair, Brown and Cameron and that is exactly what we have. Why would the Scots want independence when they already run the whole damn UK? But that’s another issue altogether), will have their parliamentary fun, and their day in the sun. The man in the street will suffer, and nothing else will change.

    I apologise for any typos, bad grammar, missing or additional letters, but I feel extremely strongly about this. and the adrenalin’s really pumping.

  69. Jagdeep — on 30th January, 2007 at 1:18 pm  

    I identify more with Bruce Lee film thing myself

    Chairwoman you never cease to amaze me. Bruce Lee was my childhood hero.

  70. Ravi Naik — on 30th January, 2007 at 1:20 pm  

    A hung parliament for 3/4 years. It would emasculate the warmongers

    The US lost the Iraq war, and all they are doing now is figure out a way to get out of the mess they’ve done. I can’t see how the warmongers (who by the way live in the other side of the Atlantic) can wage a war against Iran or Syria.

    >> As for George Galloway – I have yet to hear anyone genuinely respond to the charges he places at Blair’s door, as he did in the Iraq war debate last week.

    George Galloway is a media whore (remember Big Brother?) and a populist and opportunist politician (remember his pal Saddam?). He hasn’t said anything that other politicians, activists and the majority of the population haven’t said before.

    >> But none of that is an excuse for a hung parliament, where we can look forward to 3 to 4 years of badly cobbled together legislation, inflation, high unemployment and financial mismanagement.

    I agree. A hung parliament would definitely affect domestic policy. I am not too sure it would affect foreign policy and the war, which is run by the americans.

  71. Chairwoman — on 30th January, 2007 at 1:26 pm  

    Jagdeep – Sometimes I forget that I can no longer literally kick butt :)

    Ravi Naik – I agree with your take on FP. I think I said that I am sure that the Tories or LibDems, for all their higher moral ground would have shipped the troops overseas had the US told them to.

  72. Refresh — on 30th January, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

    It can then only mean that we need to vote for parties which will break with the US.

    But looking back not so long ago, Harold Wilson did an excellent job of NOT sending troops to Vietnam.

    Taking the view that these companies, these countries do what they do because that is what they do is a sign of despair and we mustn’t get into that frame of mind as it ends up excusing everything.

  73. Chairwoman — on 30th January, 2007 at 2:35 pm  

    We haven’t had a decent PM since Wilson. Heath wasn’t too bad in retrospect, but since then it’s been self-servers all the way.

  74. Refresh — on 30th January, 2007 at 3:00 pm  

    Chairwoman, It was Harold that got me interested in the Party. I first canvassed for him when I was 11.

  75. Refresh — on 30th January, 2007 at 3:07 pm  

    Ravi,

    “George Galloway is a media whore (remember Big Brother?) and a populist and opportunist politician (remember his pal Saddam?). He hasn’t said anything that other politicians, activists and the majority of the population haven’t said before.”

    Who isn’t a media whore these days – especially in politics. Populist? I think you confuse him with Thatcher and Blair. Pal with Saddam? But was he? As he says he’d met Saddam exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld, the difference being Galloway was trying to avert a ware and Rumsfeld was selling him one.

    Yes (?) we have all been saying what he says – surely a sign of sharing a view and working hard to get that view across a crowded media?

    BB was just got plain stupid that year as it did this.

  76. Refresh — on 30th January, 2007 at 3:08 pm  

    “the difference being Galloway was trying to avert a ware and Rumsfeld was selling him one.”

    should have been:

    the difference being Galloway was trying to avert a war and Rumsfeld was selling one.

  77. bananabrain — on 30th January, 2007 at 3:23 pm  

    refresh –

    if you want to “break with the US”, i suggest you take a good look at what the french have been trying to do for years, ie turn the EU into a standard around which the yank-haters can rally. it is also the precise reason why the security council failed to function before the war – to say nothing of the disgraceful behaviour of the russians and chinese. you can disapprove of the americans all you want but i’d like to see what the alternatives would do with your liberties.

    gg is interested in just one thing – gg. it is disgusting that such a jumped-up little pouter-pigeon-populist should be taken seriously as a politician. and the same goes for livingstone.

    as for the rump parliament, it looks very much like the continual outcomes of israeli elections, where small groups of idiots are able to blackmail the respectable parties into giving them far more influence than they deserve.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  78. El Cid — on 30th January, 2007 at 3:35 pm  

    “Don’t think. FEEEEEL. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.”

    Just reminiscing Jagdeep

  79. Refresh — on 30th January, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

    It would be better for the world if we did have multi-polar spheres of interest. I believe that is the jargon. This is what was in the interest of the EU and remains so. It was Blair, the bridghead, who undermined this philosophy looking to deliver Europe for the US.

    So it really comes down to a fundamental choice and desired outcomes. Yours are clearly different to many.

    Again on GG, no one is coming up with a clear reason other than we don’t like him (and now Livingstone too).

    The reason why some might not like him is because he is a thorn in some sides. From where I am sitting, we need more thorns not less.

    If he is so insignificant why the attention? Perhaps, I would argue, he voices what others are unable to voice.

  80. bananabrain — on 30th January, 2007 at 3:57 pm  

    or what others find too implausible to even merit discussion, let alone denial. both gg and livingstone are rabble-rousers. they are a threat to rational discussion. they would rather score cheap points with the peanut gallery than provide workable alternatives. like someone said, it is the easiest thing in the world to grandstand from the opposition benches. i don’t see either of them coming up with any realistic answer to the question “and after we pull out of iraq, what next?”

    i would say that the mere fact of having either of them associated with a point of view would nearly always prejudice me against them, but then again i am so far beyond dislike that i find it painful even to agree with livingstone about 4x4s, even though i know it makes sense.

    at the risk of seeming ridiculous, i have a well-developed sense of “this guy is not, *not*, NOT to be trusted – he’d sell his own grandmother for power”. with such people, despite their fine sentiments, it is funny how they always seem to manage to put me and my loved ones right in the firing line. whatever i think of bush and blair, they do at least have some grasp of the reality of statesmanship and what it means to be a commander-in-chief.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  81. Anas — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

    From what I can tell GG is no worse than the vast majority of politicians. In fact, even after taking all his many defects into consideration, he’s markedly better than most politicians you could name. The one massive point in his favour that really separates him from the rest is that he was right and is right on Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, the Middle East, Cuba, South America, etc. Whatever else he may do or so, at least he speaks the truth on British and American foreign policy.

  82. Bert Preast — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:18 pm  

    Galloway is a ranter. Ranters are dangerous people.

  83. Anas — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:21 pm  

    au contraire, BP, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch.

  84. Bert Preast — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    Anas – doesn’t Galloway’s rather sparse participation record make him dangerous on both counts?

  85. bananabrain — on 30th January, 2007 at 4:53 pm  

    he was right and is right on Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, the Middle East, Cuba, South America, etc.

    ok, anas, i know you and i are unlikely to agree on this, but you must surely concede that his going on syrian tv and making speeches about how jerusalem is a “beautiful arab daughter that is daily raped” is not really what you’d call helpful. that’s kind of what i’m talking about. it kind of goes with livingstone characterising people who criticise his cosying up to qaradawi as “extremists”. i mean, hello, pot, it’s mr kettle.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  86. Anas — on 30th January, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

    OK I will concede that the wording of that statement (if he said it) is inflammatory, but the extent to which you’re offended by that and find it excessive is probably determined by your view of what’s going on in Palestine (see how I’m reigning myself in and being diplomatic over I/P).

    Anyway, what’s wrong with him being on Syrian TV? I remember sitting in a hotel room in Pakistan and surfing through the channels and hearing his familiar comforting voice as he gave an interview to a Pakistani TV channel. It was very reassuring. He’s basically going around the Muslim world and showing another side of Britain from the one most Muslims are used to seeing, i.e., as the loyal puppydog of the world’s number one terrorist superpower.

  87. Chairwoman — on 30th January, 2007 at 5:05 pm  

    The real problem with ranters is the rantees.

    Because GG espouses the same causes as some people does not make him OK. He never has been. He’s always enjoyed and courted notoriety, when he speaks to Muslims he uses ‘we’ and ‘us’, but lives the sort of hedonistic life no devout anything would live, particularly Muslims. When the people of Scotland became tired of his antics, he looked for a new wagon to hitch his horse to, and this was it.

    Ken Livingstone, however, has found that power has gone to his head. He was an excellent leader of the GLC, but since becoming Mayor, he has changed. He now only represents certain sections of the population of London. He certainly doesn’t represent me. The only thing he’s done that I actually approve of is the congestion charge. I abhor his crusade against 4 x 4s. Until I became virtually housebound, I drove a Nissan Patrol 4.2 diesel. In town it did 35/40 mpg, and its emissions were low. Big car doesn’t always mean gas guzzler. But he doesn’t represent me, because he doesn’t respect my ethnic group and contribution we have made to London society. He is mealy mouthed, and doesn’t know how to concede gracefully. Also we Londoners are going to find that the Olympics are indeed a poisoned chalice.

  88. Ravi Naik — on 30th January, 2007 at 5:15 pm  

    Galloway is right about Iraq? It is not enough that he was anti-war: he actually supported Saddam Hussein and his government, not to mention Castro. And while he was in Cuba appreciating cigars, he said that the Iraq war morally justifies to assassinate the British prime-minister.

    And my definition of media whore is actually this .

  89. Ravi Naik — on 30th January, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

    er… actually this.

  90. Don — on 30th January, 2007 at 5:29 pm  

    I try to be objective, but I agree with b’brain; there is a certain ‘I do not like thee, Dr Fell’ response which GG triggers in me. I try to fight it, but I keep thinking ‘Mosley’.

    He’s a demagogue who makes his simplistic points by hectoring and bullying when he can. His main skill is in saying something inflamatory which gets the mob roaring but which, upon very close analysis, leaves him just enough wriggle-room.

    A bully, an opportunist, a thug and a hypocrite. And yet ask Joe Public to name one major anti-war figure in this country and they’ll struggle to get beyond GG. Why? Three million marched and they ended up with this as a voice?

  91. Sahil — on 30th January, 2007 at 5:30 pm  

    Hi Bananabrain, just one point about this:

    “i don’t see either of them coming up with any realistic answer to the question “and after we pull out of iraq, what next?””

    Here’s my credentials, I initially was wary of the war, because of it would lead to lower resources to catch BL and get some sort of non-heroine based economy in Afganistan. BUT Sanctions were not working in Iraq, and a moral argument was there to be made. However as soon as I heard that the Pentagon was going to be incharge of state building, instead of the state department, I backed out. Just an example, do you remember the looting of the museum in Bagdad, well the state department had done so much reasearch, they had asked the curator of the museum of Chicago to give them advice. That’s really thinking on a micro level. But as soon as the Pentagon took over, the museum got robbed, the oil pipe lines blew up anyway, and there is a $20 billion hole in the CPA buget according to KPMG.

    Anyways, I usually agree with the China shop analogy, but are we reaching a tipping point where the mere presence of foreign forces rachets up more problems, than they can actually solve according to their potential? If they can’t, purely in the interest of th eIraqi people, foreign forces should get out. But I don’t have a clue to that answer.

  92. Refresh — on 30th January, 2007 at 5:34 pm  

    I’m doing my best for this not to become GG thread – there are plenty of those on HP.

    But Piers Morgan had put a hypothetical question to Galloway along the lines of: Could an Iraqi whose family was a victim of the invasion be morally justified in assassinating Tony Blair. It was not the case that Galloway volunteered the notion.

    Either he did think it was morally justified or he didn’t. He thought it was.

    Do you think it is?

    Personally I would be far happier for Blair to be imprisoned for life. And in his case life should mean life.

    As for Galloway’s removal from his Scottish constituency that was due to Blair having him expelled from the Labour Party for calling British soldiers lions led by wolves.

    Not a nice picture – he just doesn’t have the physique.

  93. Chairwoman — on 30th January, 2007 at 5:54 pm  

    Do you feel the same about Thatcher?

  94. Ravi Naik — on 30th January, 2007 at 6:08 pm  

    >> Could an Iraqi whose family was a victim of the invasion be morally justified in assassinating Tony Blair. It was not the case that Galloway volunteered the notion.

    The question was actually more generic: whether the assassination of the prime minister by a suicide bomber was justified, if there were no other casualties. And Galloway said it was morally justifiable. We can have a discussion about morality, war, killing methods or assassinating an elected leader. But the fact remains that Galloway openly supported Saddam’s regime, so he does not have any credibility to speak on behalf of the Iraqi people, nor pretend that he cares for them.

    >> Not a nice picture – he just doesn’t have the physique.>

    Or decency for that matter.

  95. ZinZin — on 30th January, 2007 at 6:17 pm  

    “ask Joe Public to name one major anti-war figure in this country and they’ll struggle to get beyond GG. Why? Three million marched and they ended up with this as a voice?”

    Don the Anti-war march was organised by the red-islamist alliance of Respect/SWP/MAB and CND. The anti-war movement was organised by these grouips and it allows the HP squad and Nick Cohen to smear the anti-war left as Saddam apologists and soft on Islamism. Its a weak argument that they make as the anti-war movement has not swept Respect into government.

    In future the anti-war movement should exclude the apostate killers and stalinists. Choose your friends carefully.

  96. Don — on 30th January, 2007 at 7:01 pm  

    ZinZin,

    I agree, my point was why have we seen no strong anti-war positions which are not from that coalition? We know they exist, but they seem to have been side-lined. Supporting Iraqi trade unionists, feminists, and libertarians seems to be anathema to the headline anti-war crew.

  97. Anas — on 30th January, 2007 at 7:03 pm  

    I think it’s hugely amusing to see so much venom directed at GG when his name is mentioned in a supposedly liberal context, so we’ve heard comparisons with Moseley and he’s been called a bully and a thug.

    And yet, there’s nothing like this level of indignation when you mention any of the politicians who voted for or supported the Iraq war, or supported the Israeli massacre in Lebanon last summer, or who still support the continuing horrific and illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine — even though these fuckers have the blood of thousands on their hands. GG and many others in the anti-war movement very clearly spelled out what would happen if Iraq was invaded and if agressive war was pursued bypassing the UN, it’s all in print…and guess what, it’s probably even worse than they predicted. It’s funny, even someone like Barrack Obama, whose views on Palestine, Iraq and US foreign policy in general are utterly vile can be called “likeable” without it being challenged.

    But I guess it’s painful for many people who were formerly pro or undecided about the war to come to scale with the magnitude of the bloody disaster that has ensued, so why not paint GG as a monster? OK unlike a Chomsky or a Finkelstein so he doesn’t have the scholarship to back up the points he makes, but what he says about FP is basically correct, and you can smear him all you like and it won’t change that fact. It won’t change the fact either that GG is probably one of the few prominent figures in British public life who is willing to tell the truth about Western imperialism and especially about I/P.

  98. Jagdeep — on 30th January, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

    It won’t change the fact either that GG is probably one of the few prominent figures in British public life who is willing to tell the truth about Western imperialism and especially about I/P

    Yeah, that’s so right, George Galloway one of only a few ‘public figures’ in British public life critical of the Iraq war. You always get things in perspective Anas.

  99. Chairwoman — on 30th January, 2007 at 7:55 pm  

    It is not his stance on the war, that I have a problem with, Anas, it’s his intemperate rabble rousing, his corny grandstanding, his insincere, hammy delivery. His policies aren’t the same as yours, regardless of what you think. You feel strongly on the I/P issue, yet you have always said you’re in favour of a two-state solution. No matter how many times we’ve crossed swords on this issue, I know that the solution you want is a fair one. The same can NOT be said for Gorgeous George. I have never heard a speech he has made on the subject where he doesn’t talk in an inflammatory manner, where he doesn’t talk of conquering and victory. This is a man who has actually said that he wants to see an Islamic nation from the Gulf to the Mediterranean. That can only mean that he wants something totally different from you.

    I have vowed not to discuss the I/P situation here in general, and with you specifically. Please do not take this as an open door. I am only voicing one of my objections to GG. I also did not take kindly to his bringing Miss King’s religion into the equation at the General Election.

  100. Sahil — on 30th January, 2007 at 8:00 pm  

    “I also did not take kindly to his bringing Miss King’s religion into the equation at the General Election.”

    This is so true. I saw some clips off his campaigning, and frankly he was equating her race with pro-war and pro-tony and anti-muslim. From then on I have had little time for him.

  101. Anas — on 30th January, 2007 at 8:18 pm  

    OOps
    But I guess it’s painful for many people who were formerly pro or undecided about the war to come to *terms* with the magnitude of the bloody disaster that has ensued.

    Jagdeep I said Western Imperalism, not just the Iraq War.

    CW, I won’t make this into an I/P thread either(much as I’m tempted…jk). I will take issue with the views you’ve attributed to GG though. I’ve heard him talk about a two state solution several times on his radio show. And please, can you give me a reference for the claim that he once said that he wanted an Islamic state from the Gulf to the Mediterranean. Or that he made Oona’s religion an issue during the GE.

  102. Bert Preast — on 30th January, 2007 at 8:31 pm  

    Don wrote: “Supporting Iraqi trade unionists”

    This is a key point, and not just in Iraq. In the UK the unions probably have too much influence, considering that now the law is able to protect worker’s rights.

    This is not so in many places, and is a major contributor towards inequality. For the Arab world, the trade unions offer the only cross-border alternative to the islamists and baathists so I honestly cannot understand why we ignore them. Support them your support.

  103. Jagdeep — on 30th January, 2007 at 8:33 pm  

    Of course, ‘the Truth’, that thing, only George Galloway speaks it.

    He should send in an application to the patent office for it or trademark that stuff.

  104. Chairwoman — on 30th January, 2007 at 8:36 pm  

    Anas – With reference to Oona King, like Sahil I saw clips. Probably Sky News. And as for the Gulf to the Mediterranean, it was from a speech he made while visiting an Arab country, and I haven’t a clue which one it was now. From now on, I will make notes so that I can back up my statements.

  105. Bert Preast — on 30th January, 2007 at 8:42 pm  

    Didn’t Galloway talk in Syria of how Jerusalem is an Arab daughter that is raped daily? How is that helping the situation?

  106. Anas — on 30th January, 2007 at 8:53 pm  

    Seriously you can’t make an major accusation about someone along the lines of they used anti-Semitism as part of their election campaigning and then back it up by saying “I saw clips”. That is a pretty serious accusation to make and deserves more solid evidence. It’s the same as when Sunny accused MPACUK of anti-semitism and then danced around the issue with at best ambigious examples before finally closing off the thread.

  107. Sahil — on 30th January, 2007 at 9:48 pm  

    Anas I can;t find the actual video, but check this, and there’s a times article with Oona King’s own account:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5vLREgkBPY&mode=related&search=

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD5tunBGmDQ

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1607947,00.html

  108. Sahil — on 30th January, 2007 at 9:52 pm  

    Anas you know Chairwoman and I have no axe to grind, but I clearly remember this, because it really did put me off. I didn’t agree with Oona King’s decision to go to war, but she has done massive amounts for Bethnal Green and Bow, and the way she was treated was shocking.

  109. ZinZin — on 30th January, 2007 at 9:54 pm  

    Anas
    Defending MPACUK and GG theres a surprise.

    Only in Anas world can giving £60 to Irvings libel case against a Jewish author (who called him a holocaust denier) not be considered anti-semitic.

    Sorry Anas Bukhari is an anti-semite and GG political p-arty is full of anti-semites as well as 7/7 deniers.

  110. Don — on 30th January, 2007 at 10:54 pm  

    Anas,

    Oddly, a lot of those clips now show up as ‘removed’. But, come on, we all saw them. Are you really saying you missed them? I’m sure GG has good lawyers, but we did see the clips.

  111. Ravi Naik — on 30th January, 2007 at 11:33 pm  

    This clip doesn’t prove that George is a anti-semite, but proves everything else you need to know about him.

  112. Bert Preast — on 31st January, 2007 at 12:19 am  

    For me, Galloway quite pointedly glorifying Nasrallah is enough to accuse him of anti-red sea pedestrianism. Nasrallah is not the elected government of Lebanon, so on what grounds is Galloway supporting him?

  113. Anas — on 31st January, 2007 at 12:50 am  

    Hey Nasrallah is a hero of mine too. The guy’s an inspiration. I’m telling you if only other Arab figures had a tenth of the sense this guy has in his head.

  114. Anas — on 31st January, 2007 at 12:51 am  

    sorry Arab leaders not figures

  115. Bert Preast — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:00 am  

    If only, yes. But he’s still bent on destroying the jews which makes it rather difficult for me to like him.

  116. Anas — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:10 am  

    Well no-one’s perfect.

  117. Bert Preast — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:12 am  

    Well there’s Churchill. But he’s dead, of course.

  118. Anas — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:16 am  

    BTW, I was being facetious above, in post 116. I don’t think Nasrallah made some of the statements attributed to him neither do JSF

  119. Bert Preast — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:22 am  

    Are you seriuosly telling me he’s not anti semitic?

  120. Refresh — on 31st January, 2007 at 2:29 am  

    What happened here? Its turned into a GG thread.

    Now there’s a surprise.

    By the way I have not seen any clips either.

  121. Chairwoman — on 31st January, 2007 at 8:02 am  

    Anas and Refresh – When I sit here in the chair watching the television, I haven’t previously thought it necessary to keep records of what I have seen so that I can give myself an alibi, so, to speak, here on PP, at a later date.

    If either of you say you have seen or heard something, I accept that you have, because I have faith in your personal integrity. What a pity you don’t feel the same about me.

  122. Refresh — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:27 am  

    Chairwoman,

    I genuinely have not seen any clips where GG has said anything about Oona Kings ethnicity.

    I have seen clips where others have said he has done.

    Please let me know what it is that was in the clips.

  123. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:39 am  

    >> Are you seriuosly telling me he’s not anti semitic?

    It may be difficult to prove that he is anti-semitic, but Oona King’s anti-semitic attacks started (as far as I understand) when Respect started campaigning in Bethnal Green, which leads me to believe that her origins were used against her as an orchestrated political attack, and GG knew what he was doing. His silence at the way she was treated by his supporters when she attended a memorial for the Jewish Holocaust war dead was shameful.

    That is fine, politics is a dirty business anyway, but GG is nothing more than a self-serving politician, who is a bully, and eagers for the spotlight. And that can’t be good for the people he is supposed to serve, or the cause he is supposed to represent.

  124. Anas — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:17 pm  

    CW, it’s not a matter of me doubting your personal integrity. It’s just that we each interpret evidence individually on the basis of prior beliefs. Someone who’s hostile to GG will read a certain piece of footage differently from someone who’s less hostile to the man. Take as an example those clips that Sahil and RN posted above that were meant to give a negative portrayal of GG. Personally I thought they did nothing of the sort.

    Tell me honestly, CW, those nasty anti-Semitic quotes that Nasrallah was supposed to have made that me and BP were referencing above, given that you probably think that Nasrallah is a die-hard anti-Semite wouldn’t you have accepted those as accurate (maybe you still do) if their veracity hadn’t been made an issue here? Like I say prior conviction shapes what you and I see, that’s why it’s always useful for people from different sides of a debate to have access to the same evidence. To give another example, if I claimed the Oona King has backed a boycott of Israeli goods and compared Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto, you’d be wary that maybe I’d read something King had said in a particular way based on my predispositions — and you’d be entitled to think that. But if I give you a link , then you can make up your mind for yourself.

    RN I’m not going to defend every single thing that GG has done, but I will say that compared to other politicians his actions don’t come across as particularly corrupt, self-serving or immoral. And I don’t think there’s enough evidence to make some of the statements that have been made against the man. I’m not putting GG up as some great messiah figure for the anti-War, anti-Imperialist movement. But I think he is useful in many respects.

  125. Chairwoman — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:21 pm  

    Refresh – Now I am harboring self-doubt. I am genuinely not sure whether I heard GG or his supporters on OOna King. I definately read 2 interviews with her, one in the Times, and one in the Jewish Chronicle (which is quite happy to criticise its own) where she said that her being Jewish was consistantly held against her in the constituency, even though she was always anti-war. Also, I believe she had been a damn good constituency MP, which, in all honesty I don’t think GG is, although I am not saying he is the only one in that respect (no pun intended), and has never been given credit for it. I think I’m with Ravi on this point, that GG’s sins are sins of omission. I would have had a lot more of the Respect he asks for, if he had condemned his supporters outright, with a ‘not in my name’ statement than acted as though it wasn’t happening.

    But I definitely heard him do the gulf to the med bit. The trouble is, my situation puts me in the position of seeing so much stuff that it has a nasty tendency to merge together. It was abroad, it was somewhere Arabian, I can’t do more with it.

  126. Chairwoman — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:31 pm  

    Anas – There is empirical evidence, and there is interpretation. We both may hear the same words and interpret them differently, but what we will agree on, is that we heard the same words.

    As for Nasrallah, I don’t actually care whether or not he is antisemitic. I would not expect him to be anything else. His sin, and that of ALL leaders in the Middle East, is that they put the welfare of their citizens behind their personal ideals. In fact I will go a step further, and say all political leaders in the world do it. However, here in the west, we are luckier than most, in as much as it doesn’t lead to open warfare.

    I covered everything else in my answer to Refresh above.

  127. Anas — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:37 pm  

    We both may hear the same words and interpret them differently, but what we will agree on, is that we heard the same words.

    The words may be the same but the meaning is always up for grabs. I mean, just look at the recent debate over whether Jade was being racist or not. We all saw the same footage, but that didn’t mean that everyone agreed that she was being racist.

  128. Chairwoman — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:41 pm  

    I agree, that’s why I’m saying that all one can do is say that the words were said, and that we must interpret them individually.

    Don’t start me on Jade, please!

  129. Ravi Naik — on 31st January, 2007 at 1:54 pm  

    >> were meant to give a negative portrayal of GG. Personally I thought they did nothing of the sort.

    Anas, this is a question of standards. I think politicians, the people that are suppose to represent us, should have decorum and maintain some degree of decency when they appear in public. GG in my view fails miserably on that account. But that’s me.

    He created the narrative that he is the hero of the anti-war, the sole crusader (he didn’t use that word, by the way) against a vile establishment who is keen on killing thousands of Muslims. This populist rethoric leads to nowhere, or to places we probably don’t want to go… who can forget the “Today, we are Hezbollah!” anti-war demonstration…

  130. Anas — on 31st January, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

    Again I’m not sure I’m with you when you talk about GG’s framing himself as the one solitary anti-establishment voice in the country. He does have a ‘big’ personality and is self-aggrandizing and egotistical. But not to the extent that it puts him beyond the pale when it comes to politicians or other public figures. And he knows when to take the piss out of himself, as CBB and his radio show have demonstrated.

    As for expressing solidarity with Hezbollah, I fail to see anything majorly wrong with that.

  131. ZinZin — on 31st January, 2007 at 7:44 pm  

    Channel 4 News

    The conservatives are talking to Aayan Hirsi-Ali.

  132. Refresh — on 31st January, 2007 at 9:42 pm  

    Chairwoman, respect (no pun).

    One concern I have is how can we know whether we are listening to genuine supporters and not rogue elements or even plants?

    As for whether GG disowned the offenders, I would need to look it up. Or even ask him direct on his radio show (joking).

    One thing that did surprise me listening to him one Saturday (I think probably the same program as the clip offered up by Ravi) was that despite the huge fuss about him playing identity politics, most of his support came from ‘white’ voters (60%). So I find it harder and harder to believe the first thing I hear.

    In general, my view is that the only way to attribute views to a person is when they’ve actually said it. What you make of what they say will vary from each of our perspectives. Something I said, upthread, in response to bbrain – its the outcomes we want that will determine what we make of a given set of facts.

    Clearly the same facts are a gift for some, and a point of contention for others.

  133. ZinZin — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:01 pm  

    “As for expressing solidarity with Hezbollah, I fail to see anything majorly wrong with that.”

    It statements like that Anas that lead me to believe that the anti-terrorism unit will be giving you an early morning wake up call.

  134. Sahil — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:09 pm  

    “It statements like that Anas that lead me to believe that the anti-terrorism unit will be giving you an early morning wake up call.”

    Agreed! Anas, most Lebanese friends of mine hate Lizbullah. They just want to get on with their lives. You have a life, why can’t they?

  135. Bert Preast — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:10 pm  

    It might get him on a list, but it’s a big list. Thankfully you still have to be acting on rather than stating beliefs before you find yourself in a world of shit.

  136. Refresh — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:28 pm  

    This is a very peculiar turn for the site:

    “It statements like that Anas that lead me to believe that the anti-terrorism unit will be giving you an early morning wake up call.”

    Surely that cannot be the basis for a debate? make your minds up – democratic debate, civil liberties or …?

  137. ZinZin — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:32 pm  

    Refresh
    Anas is always excusing the inexcusable, GG, Hezbollah and MPACUK. I could get upset by this but responding with a bit of wit is much better than getting wound up.

  138. Bert Preast — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:37 pm  

    Personally I consider supporters of Hisbollah my enemy. But I don’t have any problem with treating mine enemy with all the civility I can muster until we meet in the field. If we’re lucky, a bit of banter may prevent the meeting and all shall live happily ever after.

  139. Sahil — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:37 pm  

    Refersh my statement was tounge in cheek. But at times, the I just wish some really provocative statements would not be made. Lezbullah, has one aim: the destruction of Israel. This does not necessarily translate into a Palestine state. So lets wake up!

  140. Refresh — on 31st January, 2007 at 10:58 pm  

    It seems we can find provocation wherever we look for it.

    I think I’ve laid out my thinking on GG – quite clearly. If there is evidence that would change my mind (and many other minds) lets see it. None has been presented so far (and I am sure there are many sharper well-funded minds that have attempted than just those on here), and I think we may be heading in the same direction with Hizbullah.

    When I first threw my lot in with PP – Rohin (not seen him for a while, wonder where he is) actually made an allegation about Iraq funding and GG. I reminded him that it could be libel, and the response was if I wanted more information on it, there was plenty of it on HP.

    I did not find any, it was the usual hearsay.

    This was to do with the Senate allegation about GG gaining lots of barrels of oil, well after he’d demolished that Senate C’ttee on his visit to Washington. I’ve not heard another word about it.

    So, we can continue in the same vein or put up something factual.

    We can generate plenty of heat here.

    Glad to see we are all resolutely avoiding this turning into an I/P discussion.

    Didn’t quite stop it being one on GG – but what the heck.

  141. Sahil — on 31st January, 2007 at 11:11 pm  

    Refresh there is nothing conclusive that Jade, Jo and Dani were racist, but were they?? Frankly you’re right I’m struggling to find those you tube articles to which you refer. Can you seriously tell me there was not a play on this? There was and it was nasty!

  142. Refresh — on 31st January, 2007 at 11:17 pm  

    “Refresh there is nothing conclusive that Jade, Jo and Dani were racist, but were they?? ”

    Whether or not it was – the public seemed to have spoken.

    “Can you seriously tell me there was not a play on this? There was and it was nasty!”

    I don’t know Sahil. Presumably you mean a drama production? If there was, let me know. I would be interested in watching it.

    [Before I do go out booking seats, can you tell me what it was about? And how nasty, I am a bit squeamish.]

  143. Sahil — on 31st January, 2007 at 11:29 pm  

    “Whether or not it was – the public seemed to have spoken.”

    okay the public seems to speak what ever the Sun says, is it true?

    “I don’t know Sahil. Presumably you mean a drama production?”

    I wish, then I’d never need a journalist! Or at least a Perve EYe :D ,

    Look all I’m simply saying is that this guy was in charge of a campaign that really targeted OOna King personally. That times article i linked showed something. I’m trying to find something more substantial, except one’s word, but he did target her in many ways. Laugh if if you want. But you know exactly how character assinations happen.

  144. Refresh — on 31st January, 2007 at 11:45 pm  

    Sahil, I don’t laugh. I respect the fact that you hold a particular view. I am putting to you what I see as the facts.

    My concern is much more that we can be fooled, mobilised, moulded through misconceptions and falsehoods.

    In the scale of things, we have unleashed massive injustices on parts of the world based on lies from ‘statesmen’, and we can spend so much energy to prove George Galloway untrustworthy.

    In a similar vein George Galloway gets thrown out of the Labour Party for challenging these untruths. He could have said, damn got go find another job. But he didn’t, he challenged Blair on his own terms. Just as he went on to do the same with the Senate. I admire that.

    “But you know exactly how character assinations happen.”

    Ironically that is what is happening right here in this very thread.

    When it comes to elections, I can tell you politics is a nasty business. What would be very interesting is what both sides were doing. After all it was the key seat for Blair.

    I seem to recall there were a lot of complaints about malpractice in some wards.

    In any case – my bottom line is I don’t accept things on face value. Never have done.

  145. Sunny — on 31st January, 2007 at 11:48 pm  

    I’m not sure if he targetted her personally, but I have plenty of friends in Brick Lane, who said that her Jewishness was being made into a big issue. Whether it was GG or others, I don’t know.

    either way guys, I don’t think a conversation on GG is really that conducive. I don’t like him but I don’t think he’s a major or influential enough figure to warrant any discussion. Hence my lack of posting on the guy. Most Muslim events I’ve been to, even Muslims say they think he is an opportunist. I know Arif doesn’t, but then Sid does. Either way, he is not going to be the man to change things for the better IMO. That is my opinion anyway.

    So I’d like to close this thread, if thats ok?

  146. Refresh — on 31st January, 2007 at 11:48 pm  

    Sahil, sorry I actually did think you meant a Play.

  147. Refresh — on 31st January, 2007 at 11:49 pm  

    Nice chat everyone.

    Sunny, you can close it for me.

  148. Anas — on 31st January, 2007 at 11:57 pm  

    You can close it after I point out that Sahil’s statement in post#139 is factually incorrect. And Bert, if you consider supporters of Hezbollah your enemies, then you have a hell of a lot of enemies, dude.

  149. Bert Preast — on 1st February, 2007 at 12:05 am  

    Yeah, I know. But I’ll still not let them have their way.

  150. Sunny — on 1st February, 2007 at 12:12 am  

    Anas, I think you’ll find people who hate Hizbullah (me included) are a lot more powerful. That however doesn’t mean we don’t want a peaceful and strong Lebanon. I just don’t think suicide bombers help to be honest. you may want to read Seth Freedman’s last article on CIF.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.