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  • 15th September, 2006

    Pickled Politics personality test

    by Kismet hardy at 7:15 pm    

    We live in a time where simple terms like ‘leftie’, ‘right-wing’ or ‘woolly liberal’ no longer satisfies our stance.

    Those that oppose western intervention in the Islamic world are torn between standing up against imperialism, and knowing they are inadvertently defending regimes infamous for sending human rights to the dogs…. blah blah blah!

    Just take our personality test will you!?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs,Humour

    It’s the slightly premature weekend open thread!

    by Katy at 8:49 am    

    Good morning Picklers!

    This week’s weekend open thread comes to you slightly earlier than usual because I am going away this weekend so will not be around to post tomorrow.

    It is also going to be the last weekend open thread by me for the next two weeks because work is starting to get ever so slightly on top of me, and as a result I am losing the power of rational thought. I am giving myself two blog-free weeks to try and recharge my bloggy powers. A bit like Superman and the Kryptonite, although to tell the truth I never really quite got the hang of the whole Superman/Kryptonite thing. All I know is that for some reason it made him vulnerable to Lex Luthor even though it was also the source of his power. Oh the irony. Oh, and also I have no Kryptonite. And no superpowers. And I subscribe to the traditional underpants under trousers theory.

    So perhaps it is not really very much like Superman and the Kryptonite, and more like taking a holiday for two weeks.

    Whatever.

    Anyway, I am sure that the other Picklers will leap into the breach with the open thread next weekend. In the meantime, you can tell us all what you’re up to this weekend, or any non-political thoughts that you might be having, right here. See you all in two weeks…

    Filed under: Current affairs
    14th September, 2006

    Taking action on Darfur

    by Arif at 9:10 am    

    As you may be aware, the Sudanese Government is refusing to allow UN peacekeepers to replace African Union troops to protect the people of Darfur.

    They are playing the card that the UN is an agency for imperialism. The African Union says it will leave on 30th September come what may.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: The World

    Off to India…

    by Sunny at 2:56 am    

    … for a week. For work (in Delhi). Tomorrow. I’m sure the other Picklers will keep you entertained in the meantime. Will try and say hello from there if I get near an internet cafe. Adios amigos!

    Filed under: Uncategorized

    A response to a response to a…

    by Sunny at 12:36 am    

    BBC Panorama’s John Ware was not too pleased with my recent response to his response to our criticisms of his documentary. Keep up you there in the back!

    So he has issued a rebuttal. And I’ve replied directly underneath his points. We hope not to continue torturing our readers with this back and forth. But I’m sure it makes interesting reading anyways.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Media,Middle East
    13th September, 2006

    Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan review

    by Sunny at 11:12 am    

    I was recently asked to review Melanie Phillips’ polemic - Londonistan. You may not be surprised to hear I thought it was quite amusing.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs

    Foot in mouth disease

    by Al-Hack at 9:26 am    

    “But some police officers and sections of the media are demonising Muslims, treating them as if they’re all terrorists — and that encourages other people to do the same.

    “If that demonisation continues, then Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists — 700,000 of them in London,” he said. “If you attack a whole community, it becomes despondent and aggressive.” [Sunday Telegraph]

    Thanks Abdul Bari, we really needed that. Should the MCB (a) invest in some media training, (b) elect someone with brains, or (c) shut the hell up? Answers on the back of a postcard please. I don’t know about you but I’m positively relieved when he says this.

    Filed under: Muslim,Organisations
    12th September, 2006

    Chapter one: the Tipping Point theory applied to terrorism

    by Sunny at 2:01 am    

    Following on from the preface and the introduction, in my first chapter examining British terrorism I explain my own narrative to current events and point out some of the flaws in popular theories.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs
    11th September, 2006

    On Sikhism and progressive discussions

    by Emma at 2:23 pm    

    In her first article for Pickled Politics, blogger ‘Emma’ asks why more of the discussions around Sikhism and Sikhs do not revolve around our current state of affairs and modern day issues.

    Why, instead, does the discourse feature on the same topics and dominated by a few loud voices? If Sikhs are to prosper intellectually, with their religion as a reference point, they need to come out of their shells and stop arguing over who should be allowed a say or not.

    Continue Reading...

    Five years later not much has improved

    by Sunny at 12:30 am    

    In the five years since his plans came to fruition, Osama Bin Laden must have been a bit peeved off by the fact that some of his own Muslim bretheren and conspiracy theorists continued to believe 9/11 was an “inside job”. All that time and effort and yet these fools continued to deny him his own actions! So he finally did the obvious thing and sent a tape to Al-Jazeera not only showing him talking to the 19 suicide bombers but talking of the preparation that went into it.

    Will this now lay to rest? I get the feeling even this will not satisfy the conspiracy nuts who will continue to blame the “global Zionist conspiracy” or whatever to satisfy their own agendas.

    Continue Reading...
    10th September, 2006

    It’s the weekend refuge-from-politics thread!

    by Katy at 2:19 pm    

    Slightly late, but no less welcome for all that. For various reasons I am not in the mood to be particularly amusing this weekend (although of course it’s a moot point whether I ever am anyway) but anyone who wants to talk about anything that isn’t political is more than welcome here.

    Share those weekend plans! Post those amusing YouTube videos! And put some moves on the Pickly ladies (if you’re Kismet Hardy)! It’s all happening here at the weekend refuge-from-politics thread…

    Filed under: Current affairs
    9th September, 2006

    Another blast in India

    by Al-Hack at 5:29 pm    

    A bomb went off in the Maharashtrian city of Malegaon in India yesterday, killing around 38 and injuring 200 or so. Being a mostly Muslim area, attention has fallen on the extremist group Bajrang Dal, affiliated to the right-wing Hindu oufit Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Police say there were four blasts. Despite a history of communal riots, tensions have not spilt into inter-religious violence.

    Filed under: India,South Asia

    More terror plots

    by Sunny at 11:30 am    

    This time it’s neo-Nazis who want a share of the limelight.

    Belgian police yesterday arrested 17 alleged neo-Nazis, mostly serving soldiers, who were said to be planning to destabilise the country’s institutions in a series of terrorist attacks. In simultaneous raids on five army barracks and 18 private addresses across the northern Flanders half of Belgium, police uncovered a homemade bomb and numerous weapons.

    The raids by 150 police officers in East Flanders, Antwerp and Limburg were the most dramatic breakthrough in a two-year investigation into far-right activists allegedly operating inside the armed forces.

    This comes not long after news that neo-Nazis in Britain have been posting videos threatening to behead Muslims unless they leave the country. But, there seems to be no moral panic. Hmmm…

    Al Hack adds: We expect white community leaders will be standing up to condemn atrocities in the name of their race any minute now

    Filed under: Race politics
    8th September, 2006

    George Alagiah wants to find his roots

    by Sunny at 3:04 pm    

    The Guardian today has a better interview with BBC presenter George Alagiah than the rubbish we’ve been fed by the Daily Mail. His views on multiculturalism play a big part of course. Here are some choice excerpts:

    At 11 he was sent to an English boarding school as unenlightened as the rest of the country in 1967 - the year, he notes, that the National Front was established.

    “He hasn’t got a tan because in bongo bongo land they run around with no clothes on and get brown all over!” a fellow pupil jeered in the school showers. The others laughed. So did Alagiah, jolted into the realisation that survival meant convincing others that he was “clubbable”.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Race politics
    7th September, 2006

    Is it cos I’m black…or a woman?

    by Al-Hack at 3:18 pm    

    Women of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Caribbean descent are doing well in schools but are still being penalised in the workplace, a report suggests.

    The Equal Opportunities Commission found 80-89% of 16-year-olds from those ethnic groups wanted to work full-time. But it said they were up to four times more likely to be jobless.

    This, from the BBC today, based on a report by the EOC.

    Something doesn’t quite stand up in this. Why are Indian women more successful than Pakistanis & Bengalis? If it were a Muslim issue alone then Afro-Caribbean women would not be disadvantaged with them. Listen also to Jobeda Khanum on the Today programme this morning discussing it.

    6th September, 2006

    What if…?

    by Sunny at 6:43 pm    

    There are rumours floating around that a senior minister is considering resigning. I’m on a few political mailing lists and have heard this from different sources. Tony Blair, despite the current storm he is in now, has not been dealt the killer blow. In other words the storm could still pass if he rides it out.

    On the other hand if a senior ally was to resign, let’s say like Jack Straw, then events could go over the cliff. Would it make sense of Straw to resign or openly ask for Tony Blair’s? I believe it does.

    1) Despite his unswerving loyalty for years, Straw was unceremoniously dumped by Blair after Condoleezza Rice’s visit. He will be smarting over that.

    2) Dealing the killer blow to Blair would be good move for his own re-election chances, not just because he runs a constituency with a large Muslim population.

    3) There is a prisoner’s dilemma here - no senior minister wants to make the first move in fear of looking disloyal. But given Blair has already stabbed him in the back and there isn’t much to lose, it makes sense for Jack Straw to go first.

    Is he our fall-guy? I can’t speculate on that with confidence since I don’t have access to political corridors like Iain Dale or Guido. But I think there is more to this than meets the eye.

    Update: While Newsnight and commenters over at Iain’s seem to think the same, Nosemonkey wonders if David Miliband is the one sticking the boot in.
    Oh, and Tom Watson has put the resignation letter and Tony Blair’s reply on his blog.

    Filed under: Party politics

    Is Blair on his last legs?

    by Leon at 2:36 pm    

    Much has already been made of Blair’s current problems but today it got a little more serious. A number of MPs have resigned their positions as Parliamentary Private Secretaries in a move to force Blair out (it seems). Will it work? Will he survive until conference in a few weeks or are his allies’ right that he‘ll leave in a blaze of glory next year?

    News Now has a feed titled ‘Blair Exit’, the question is barely how but more when?

    Update: You can read the resignation letters and Blair’s reply here. Cameron rubs his hands with glee. Martin Kettle is convinced this is a Brownite coup and Dizzy thinks he’s cracked a new angle.

    Introduction: We need a new discourse

    by Sunny at 5:33 am    

    In this short introduction I explain why I think we all, as Britons, need to engage in the current state of affairs and why I continually refer to ‘Muslim issues’.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs
    5th September, 2006

    David Cameron on India

    by Sunny at 11:01 am    

    To show he is down with the kids, David Cameron is documenting his trip to India on a newly launched blog. It is even has video clips. As Steve Irwin (r.i.p.) would say - crikey! This is accompanied by an article in the Guardian today on why he wants to forge a new relationship with India. I have some points to make briefly.

    1) Watching the second video, it is good to hear DC talk sensible economics on why it’s good for Britain (and India) if companies here invest there, rather go along with the traditional Tory protectionist narrative about jobs going abroad.

    2) He seems to have come around to accepting this is in Britain’s interests . In the article he writes:

    For too long, politics in this country has been obsessed with Europe and America. Of course these relationships are, and will continue to be, vital. But serious and responsible leadership in the 21st century means engaging with far greater energy in the parts of the world where Britain’s strategic interests will increasingly lie.

    I hanker for the days when ‘world community’ does not just refer to the US and UK.

    3) Some of the commenters underneath DC’s article say he is only doing it for Britain’s sake and he is ignoring the poor people in India. These are silly claims. For a start, the Indian government will also engage only to serve their own interests. Extending trade relations serves not only India’s interests, but those of the poor people who benefit from job creation.

    In fact India’s trade liberalisation since 1991 has empowered India’s poorest with cheaper access to technology, less corruption (doing away with the ‘license raj’) and more foreign investment. That is not to say poverty is not a problem; it’s just that relying solely on the Indian govt to deal with it is naive. International trade also helps.

    4th September, 2006

    Gerry Adams to meet Hamas leaders

    by Leon at 4:16 pm    

    This is an interesting move that’s sure to get some people up in arms; how do you characterise this; former terrorist meets present day terrorist? Political leader meets emerging political leader? Without doubt this throws a spanner in the works for the whole “all terrorists are the same” propaganda offensive of Bush and Blair.

    Perhaps Adams genuinely does want to help (after all the peace process shows you can engage “terrorist” organisations toward a shared political end) or maybe he just wants to grab some of the limelight ahead of Blair’s visit?

    Continue Reading...

    The Crocodile Hunter is dead

    by Katy at 3:43 pm    

    I interrupt today’s Pickling to bring you news which cuts across all races, creeds, political beliefs, classes and geographical boundaries: Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, is dead.

    His televisual style was bizarre, but strangely effective. There were times when he came out with absolute nonsense, but nonetheless I was very fond of him, because of his genuine love for all animals no matter how scaly, slimy, creepy-crawly or homicidal they were. Many of my happiest rainy Sunday afternoons were spent slumped on the sofa under a blanket, hot chocolate and buttered toast at my elbow, watching Steve, his wife Terri and seven or eight other people trying to get a rather upset-looking trussed-up crocodile, which clearly did not fully appreciate that the nine or ten people sitting on its back were in fact on its side, back into the water where it belonged.

    Steve Irwin was often a figure of fun - by design, I think, rather than by accident - but he was hugely knowledgeable about the creatures he studied and cared for, and he did a huge amount to publicise conservation and environmental issues, and his untimely death is a genuine tragedy.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    Saira Khan demands more democracy

    by Leon at 12:15 pm    

    I have to say I’m not the biggest fan of the Apprentice but have watched it a few times here and there. Runner up Saira Khan seems to be trying real hard to make a TV career post appearing on the show. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, she irritates the hell out of me, no idea why, I think it’s her voice.

    Anyway, her latest venture is democracy; I’m all about democracy, so I find the ‘Our Say’ campaign very interesting…

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs

    Islamic Identitypolitik

    by SajiniW at 11:38 am    

    Much has been made of Islamic identity over the past few days, what with the culture-clash “kidnapping” of Misbah Rana (aka Molly Campbell) and the commentary from the outgoing Miss England, which accused the government of hostility against Islam.

    Feeling that “even the more moderate Muslims have been stereotyped negatively and feel they have to take actions to prove themselves”, Miss Kohestani (pictured above), went on to comment about the Prime Minister’s onus post-7/7 for the community to ‘sort extremism out from within’.

    Whilst the perceived climate of hostility pervades, the search for clarification on what exactly consitutes a Muslim & whether it’s fair to define oneself by subscribing to a cultural ideology versus a religious one continues.

    Witness the latest ‘Muslim’ celebrity: former stripper Chico Slimani. Mixing Islam with showbiz is proving difficult for the former goatherd alongside flogging the proverbial dead horse. Read about his anguish here before heading over to the Independent to check out what Nadeem Butt, Humera Khan & friends have got to say on the matter.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    On religion: the first preface

    by Sunny at 4:28 am    

    I have written this article to lay out my views on religion, as a introduction to a wider set of ideas that will follow.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Religion
    3rd September, 2006

    West Bengal to WC1

    by Rohin at 1:37 pm    

    Ahoy there picklers! Remember me? I know you’ve all been dreaming about the day I returned and crying yourself to sleep each day I didn’t post. There there, I’m back now. True to form, I re-surface in time for a party, so happy birthday Pickled Politics!

    Last night I was having dinner with the secretary of the West Bengal Crafts Council don’t-you-know, and she was telling me all about her project in association with the British Museum in London. The Museum is running a season entitled Voices of Bengal, which began in August and continues until the 7th of January oh seven.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Events,Religion
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