30th May, 2006
A letter was published in today’s Guardian, by Awaaz Saw, calling for Asia House to reinstate the cancelled exhibition of MF Husain’s paintings following two of them being destroyed by vandals last week. [hat tip: BlueDesi].
I’ve reproduced the petition on AIM magazine and urge everyone to sign it.
Defined as ‘the ability of an individual or group to keep their lives and personal affairs out of public view’, the concept of privacy can be applicable for individuals to stop information about themselves from becoming known to people other than those chosen to receive said information.
Well worth considering in the case of John Prescott. Whilst I’m very much in favour of fewer privileges for the croquet-fan from Hull, the coverage with regard to female voters is patronising to say the least. Christine McCafferty, MP for Calder Valley, opines that
‘many women voters are very unhappy that John is still in post. It does seem as if he’s benefited not to say been rewarded when he breached, in some people’s’ eyes, a moral code.’
The very notion of morality is a subjective thing. Given the fact Prescott’s conduct during the affair didn’t affect his completion of Ministerial responsibilities, the need for such villification is minimal when comparing the almost-congratulation that David Beckham, a public figure with increased responsibility as a role model, received for playing away from home. Times have moved on since the Profumo affair.
Onto more interesting matters – the European Court has finally thrown out a deal requiring EU airlines to hand over the personal details of all passengers on flights between Europe and the US. The deal required the provision of thirty-four pieces of information per passenger, inclusive of credit card details,as a security measure after the terrorist attacks in September 2001. The data would’ve been made available to the US within 15 minutes of take-off.
It’s interesting how the US can be seen to ‘criminalise’ all foreigners upon arrival what with their insistence on ‘iris-records’ and ‘fingerprints’. Exactly how far is too far when considering an individual’s right to privacy versus that of a nation?
This is a first draft laying out a series of arguments why ethnic minority groups should
oppose embrace freedom of speech and avoid censorship.
Why there is a need for such perspective, I will explain later. Though I suspect most of you know why. Please feel free to add to this list and debate the points. I hope to use it for a comment is free article later too.
29th May, 2006
A quick and dirty (and late) round-up for you folks.
1) This weekend Nick Cohen covered the Hindu paintings controversy with a similar line to what I took last week, a fact many emailed in to point out. Thanks!
This week I hope to put together a petition and find out exactly why Asia House is not saying anything, before we go further with plans of a counter-demonstration. Amit Roy also had a few more tidbits on this.
2) Oldham council released its own Ted Cantle report on the riots of 2001 this week. Read it here. If you find anything significant please let me know.
3) Arcelor spurned Lakshmi Mittal for a worse Russian company. Are they afraid of brown people, the Guardian and Indy ask?
4) Political correctness once again gone mad over a prayer-room, (via Pub)
5) Curious Hamster has the best take on George Galloway’s stupid outburst, while Chris Dillow is right on being against progressive nationalism as David Goodhart wants it.
6) I’ve started using Google Notebook (and its Mozilla extension) so I promise better roundups in the future.
28th May, 2006
Three of the BNP’s new councillors in Barking and Dagenham have been taken to court for owing thousands of pounds in rent and council tax.
The local authority has secured county court judgements against two, a third is being threatened with bailiffs, and a fourth is involved in a council probe into a potential £10,000 housing benefit fraud.
27th May, 2006
Last week I wrote a little bit on women v men discussions on the internet and their contributions to online discussions on politics. Research now seems to support this:
They discovered that chatroom participants with female usernames received 25 times more threatening and/or sexually explicit private messages than those with male or ambiguous usernames.
But I want to extend this further….
26th May, 2006
It’s a competition and all religious nuts are invited! Too much time on your hands? Having problems getting laid? Mis-interpreted your religion and thought that rather than spreading peace and love, it may help you get over your penis-size insecurity? Thinking only you know the truth and everyone else has to be educated? Then we much be talking about you.
With Muslims and Hindu nuts grabbing all the limelight of late, we here at Pickled Politics thought it would only be prudent to let you know that the Sikhs brothas are not far behind…
I’ve closed the last thread on the protests because it had gone past being productive – the same arguments were being regurgitated. Over the weekend I’m going to try and draft a petition, think of how to go forward, and write something on free speech etc.
In the meantime let’s lower the tone slightly with an open thread. No political discussions please. No discussions on beastiality (sorry Kismet hardy) and no arguments over football.
The real important question right now is…. Opal Fruits or Starburst? Dave Hill is easily the best poster on comment is free.
Update: Oh and apparently someone has nominated us for the ‘New Statesman New Media Award in the Contribution to Civic Society category’. No really, I’m surprised too. Thanks for that whoever it was, though I doubt we’ll win.
25th May, 2006
Spoke to a friend earlier tonight and she was seriously peeved off. It turns out, and she knows people at Asia House fairly well, that someone destroyed
one two of MF Husain’s paintings, and the exhibition had to shut down because they could not guarantee security.
I also spoke to someone at the gallery yesterday who confirmed the move on the basis of “threats”. She used that word. They don’t know what to do now and refuse to release an official statement.
This makes it all the more important now we hold some sort of a protest. I may produce a petition over the weekend too. We have gone past discussing whether the paintings were deliberately offensive or not.
24th May, 2006
I’m thinking that it may be worthwhile exploring the option of holding a protest (or some sort of action) in favour of Asia House showing MF Husain’s paintings. Sooner or later we will have to take a stand. We cannot let the likes of the Hindu Forum, Muslim Council of Britain, MAC, Sikh Federation etc issue press releases about the “grave insult” that actions of others have caused millions of people, when we know it is one man in his office.
Asians Against Censorship (AACE)? This needs discussion, which is why I’m posting it here. Sooner or later we need a coalition of people, from the Asian community, who are willing to stand up against censorship. Otherwise they will carry on competing with each other in the victimhood stakes.
Update: Wrote a related article for comment is free.
23rd May, 2006
Just a quick roundup. Anti-war protestor Brian Haw was evicted by 25 police officers in the middle of the night, BBC reports. [via MatGB] This is a bloody outrage. Tim Ireland has more. Also covered by Peter Black and Cllr Aylin. Protests are planned.
Meanwhile, the government is trying to deport British citizen Saqib Almas back to Pakistan because he has dual-nationality. [via Lenin]
Lastly, Supersaps finds out that London Mayor Ken Livingstone is trying to make the city into a Fairtrade Town.
The Human Rights Act will always come under attack. After all, the whole point of the legislation is to place the rights of the individual before the rights of the community. Certain fundamentals such as the right not to be subject to inhuman or degrading treatment are inviolable. However most rights such as the right to private and family life, can only be limited if the government can establish that they pose a significant enough risk to society, or the rights of other individuals. The burden of proof is placed firmly on the government and even if it the government establishes that it can limit a right, the response must always be proportional. One of the effects of this is that judicial decisions against the government often seem profoundly unjust (to the majority), with the afghan hijackers case being just one example.
London based Asia House has cancelled an exhibition by the Indian artist MF Husain after “threats” from Hindu groups.
An official at Asia House, London, said the decision was taken because of threats to the paintings. The move followed demonstrations against the exhibition by several Hindu groups in Britain.
A local advocate Rajkumar Pande had filed a petition on March 3 alleging that an ‘objectionable’ painting had hurt the sentiments of Indians.
Yeah right. Hurt the sentiments of a bunch of pansies more like. Guess who is involved. National press here has not yet caught up with the story.
[thanks to David for the picture]
22nd May, 2006
Because that is what they are here for. From the Barking and Dagenham Recorder:
Cllr Richard Barnbrook, leader of the council’s BNP party – now the official opposition – wanted to amend the council’s constitution to condemn discrimination against “the indigenous majority”.
But laughter broke out as only one of the 11 BNP councillors raised his hand to vote for the amendment. After the meeting, Cllr Barnbrook claimed the mistake had occurred because his party thought they were supposed to press buzzers to vote.
The B&D Recorder actually does a good job of harassing the BNP. Did anyone else catch the ‘BNP man made gay-porn film’ story? [hat tip: Nindy]
The new British National Party leader of Barking Council blamed the Barking & Dagenham Post’s revelation of him directing a “gay porn” film for him losing the general election last year.
The gay film story, broken a year ago by The Post, was picked up by the nationals last week following the local elections.
Oh and they can be quite forgetful too.
Waqar Ahmed, 26, Azhil Khan, 23, and Afzal Khan, 22, all from Handsworth in Birmingham, were today convicted for life for the racist murder of Isaiah Young-Sam during the Birmingham race riots last year.
They will each serve a minimum of 25 years in jail, the judge announced today. Isaiah was racially abused. The three tried to escape to Dubai but were caught there. Good riddance to racist scum.
Related article on inter-ethnic conflict, hat tip: Jay
I’ve been managing online discussion communities for over seven years and this is a consistent pattern among discussions on politics and current affairs – both sexes read discussions but it is mostly men who respond and get into slagging matches over controversial issues.
Why is this the case? Common explanations I’ve been told include: ranting and raving online is how men get their feelings out; women prefer to read and evaluate while men prefer to shoot first and think later (no pun intended); and that online arguments are simply old-fashioned penis size comparing exercises (for example: How the Indo-Pak rivalry is harming Wikipedia).
Maybe readers have other explanations but I would venture that there is probably some truth to all of the above. How else can we explain that most British political blogs are by men and they dominate the ensuing discussions. Having followed most discussions here since it was launched I am confident in saying that this place is also a sausage fest.
I hope this does not sound patronising to women, but I would also venture further that vociferous and argumentative discussions make it less likely that they would want join in. It cannot be that they are less argumentative (if ex-girlfriends are anything to go by), so there must be something in their genes that tells them getting involved in the 1048438309th argument on Israel/Palestine is probably not worth it. But it does happen and I’ve been told this many times by women themselves.
Thus, I think it is worth saying that by taking such extreme stances and engaging in slagging matches we not only end up driving out more moderate and informed debate, we may also be putting off women from joining in.
[a longer version appears on CIF today]
21st May, 2006
BBC News is back to calling the Tamil Tigers “rebels”. Let’s see, they’re designated in the USA and the UK as a terrorist group, but the T word does not come up once in the article despite quite clearly referring to the LTTE. Not amused.
Due to popular demand* the weekly round up news and blogs is back, with a splutter.
1) Resident photographer Kesara went to the pro-Palestinian rally in London yesterday organised by someone called the British Muslim initiative (no idea who). Pics are here. Schmoo has some too. A note: I hate it when kids get dragged into political rallies about situations that are much more complex than they think. But then, their parents are probably just as thick.
2) On Friday Amir Taheri, writing for the Canadian National Post, claimed the Iranian President was going to start colour-coding non-Muslims. It turned out to be false. Both Lenin and Curious Hamster report on this, while Daily Kos puts together Taheri’s neo-con links.
3) Here’s another funny story. Rod Liddle on knife-crime regarding Kiyan Prince’s murder: “The killer of Kiyan Prince might be a Somalian kid. One should not, of course, blame an entire community for the alleged crime of one of its members, but there is a positive correlation between Somalians and incidences of crime in our southern inner cities.” Is there a positive correlation between Liddle growing older and becoming more intellectually demented? It’s happening already.
4) For something more relaxing: Gawker on inane Instapundit links; Zak on the Munshi and the Queen; Peter on a hilarious roundup of what political commentators are saying about the world cup.
5) Tim has the weekly Britblog roundup too. If you have more links, post them below or email me for next week.
*Rakhee twisted my arm, basically.
20th May, 2006
Among certain members of the Guardian’s comment is free readership a conspiracy theory is gaining currency that the newspaper is trying to ‘airbrush’ out an article that got heavily panned by readers.
But this is more about asking questions in the wrong places than being racist.
19th May, 2006
A place where you cannot talk about religion, cannot talk about football, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali. However you can tell us what you are up to this weekend and offer theories on why the weather is so pants.
Following a previous debate where Clairwil laid a smackdown on Old Pickler, she wrote this on her own blog:
I should stress that I have no quarrel with [Ayaan Hirsi Ali's] decision to reject Islam. Whilst I personally have no religious beliefs, I accept that other people do and believe that Ali was ultimately more concerned with promoting her personal view of Islam than supporting Muslim women. The difficulty with her position is that it is unrealistic to expect vast numbers of Muslim women to accept it. After all in rejecting Islam they would be rejecting their own sincerely held religious beliefs, and in some cases their friends and family not to mention social and cultural attachments. Rather than go over the whole Ali business again , I intend to ramble for a bit about Islam and women.
It cannot be denied that from a feminist perspective the Qu’ran contains a number of troubling passages, though I am baffled at the insistence of some that this is ‘real’ Islam whereas the more female friendly passages can be safely ignored. Could the hostility between the Muslim fundamentalists and the Islamaphobes be mutual projected self loathing, given that their interpretations of Islam are strikingly similar?
I take the view that if you are concerned with the rights of Muslim women rather than seeking opportunities to attack Islam, then your time would be better spent educating Muslim women about their religious rights than telling them to give up their religion. If you claim you are not Islamophobic but are critical of Islam as it is currently practised, then give all these women your support. Oh and of course I will expect your full support of my western feminist goals. Otherwise I might get the wrong idea and think you’re going in for all that ‘ uncivilised barbarians mistreating their bitches’ stuff and I’d doubt your commitment to the ladies cause.
This is what I call hitting the nail on the head. Read Clairwil’s full post – it is worth it.
18th May, 2006
Ravi4 made some excellent points in the previous thread on the violence in Sri Lanka, regarding the British angle. So I’m posting part of it here, to concentrate on how all this affects British Sri Lankans and Tamils.
In my last post, I mourned at a complete lack of understanding of PR in the muslim community. As if to answer my woes Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, announced a return to making music after twenty-eight years.
It will cause controversy, but Yusuf Islam knows that bridges need to be built and if others are not going to do it, he may as well make a start.
17th May, 2006
I was sworn to secrecy but Conservative Home has published what they reckon is the definitive Conservative ‘A List’ candidates. So here are the brown folks:
1 Tariq Ahmad (Croydon North PPC in 2005)
2 Amar Ahmed (Manchester Blackley PPC in 2005)
3 Syed Kamall MEP
4 Ali Miraj (PPC for Aberavon in 2001 and PPC for Watford in 2005)
5 Priti Patel (Former Candidate for Nottingham North)
6 Kulveer Ranger (Former Candidate for Makerfield)
7 Sayeeda Warsi (Tory Vice-Chairman and Dewsbury PPC in 2005)
8 Suella Fernandes (Candidate for Leicester East in 2005)
For those not following this political hot-potato – David Cameron has put together an ‘A list’ of candidates that would be given priority in the next election for seats etc. It is not guaranteed they will all be running for seats, but there is a good chance. In coming weeks they’ll be applying for seats and once we hear who shall be contesting where, we will let you know.
The list has been created to give women and ethnic minorities a push within the party, and to give respect where it is due, Cameron is delivering on a promise. There are
only two three Asian women here which is a shame not too bad. If Cameron survives the A list controversy, the party is more likely to win the election in my opinion. If not, it will be his and the party’s downfall.
« previous posts
I think it is important to take the Ayaan Hirsi Ali saga as a way to examine internal change.
In one way she was needed. But she also ended up making it harder for people to build bridges.