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  • 20th July, 2007

    Labour holds Ealing Southall, Tories 3rd!

    by Sunny at 3:00 am    

    As expected, Labour held Ealing Southall in the by-election, with a fairly comfortable majority of 5,070.

    Final results:
    Virendra Sharma (Labour): 15,188 (41.48%, -7.28%)
    Nigel Bakhai (Liberal Democrats): 10,118 (27.63%, +3.19%)
    Tony Lit (Conservative): 8,230 (22.48%, +0.91%)
    Sarah Edwards (Green Party): 1,135 (3.10%, -1.52%)
    Salvinder Dhillon (Respect): 588 (1.61%)
    Dr Kunnathur Rajan (UK Independent Party): 285 (0.78%)
    Yaqub Masih (Christian Party): 280 (0.76%)
    Jasdev Rai (Independent): 275 (0.75%)
    John Cartwright (Loony Party): 188 (0.51%)
    Sati Chaggar (English Democrats): 152 (0.42%)
    Gulbash Singh (Independent): 92 (0.25%)
    Kuldeep Grewal (Independent): 87 (0.24%)

    A 5.24% swing from Labour to Libdems.

    A huge loss for the Tories tonight, as they’ve been pushed into third place by the Libdems in Ealing Southall and the by-election in Sedgefield. Not a huge majority for Sharma, having been cut down from over 11,000, but then the turnout was much lower.

    The main point is that despite the huge efforts of the Libdem and Tory leadership, their % share of the vote barely budged. This is excellent because it shows British Asians are even more politically astute than other parts of the country, recognising that the appearance of a few bigwigs was unlikely to mean long term attention from the parties.
    Tonight, either way, Gordon Brown and his team will be celebrating.

    Filed under: Party politics
    18th July, 2007

    The Sun’s gay witch-hunt

    by Sunny at 11:16 pm    

    I saw this story mentioned in another paper (just to make it clear I don’t read The Sun) and was incensed. The Scum today has a story titled PC’s Facebook ‘spanking’ in which it has branded a Police Constable a “security risk” because he has a Facebook page where “visitors to his page are invited to ‘bite, grope, lick or spank’ him.” Half of Fleet Street is on Facebook and anyone with half a brain could explain that most users have a common application installed allowing your friends to do all manner of actions in addition to poking. One can even throw a sheep at you or chest-bump you.

    Does this constitute as a legitimate story? No, it constitutes as a witch-hunt just because the PC is homosexual. It’s frightening the extent to which tabloids will go to misrepresent anyone using blogs or social networking sites just because they have a vendetta.

    Not long ago the Daily Mail did a hatchet job on blogger (and civil servant) Owen Barder and accused him of comparing Bush to Hitler and said the blog was “sexually explicit” because he had published details of his private sex life. In fact, as Unity and Tim Worstall pointed out, they attributed comments to Barder that had actually been quoted (from other blogs) or made by readers.

    It’s become all too typical these days. Is it any surprise bloggers are suspicious of the media?

    Filed under: Media,Moral police

    More revelations over Southall election

    by Sunny at 12:29 pm    

    I’m told that today’s Evening Standard is going to do a story on Tony Lit / Ealing Southall election which is potentially damaging to the Conservatives. I was told this last night so I don’t know if it’s true or what’s going to be printed. I expect that the first edition will be rolling off the printers soon so do keep an eye out. If there’s any other last minute gossip (election is tomorrow) then post it below.

    Yesterday Cameron made his fifth visit to the area while today David Davis is going down there.

    Update: False alarm. Nothing in the ES today, but Political Penguin has an exclusive about electoral law being broken (via Tyger).
    And GM points us to this example of dodgy electioneering by the Tories. Tsk, and right next to Sunrise radio too.

    Update 2: BBC Online is now running a story about “alleged electoral fraud” in Southall following that Telegraph blog post. This is going to get messy.

    Update 3: Tim Ireland points out someone is trying to spread rumours of an election suicide.

    Filed under: Party politics
    17th July, 2007

    Christian extremists

    by Sunny at 6:35 pm    
    I was going to post this earlier in the week but forgot.

    Last week, for the first time in history, a Hindu delivered the US Senate’s morning invocation. But three protestors belonging to the Christian Right anti-abortion group ‘Operation Save America’ kept interrupting, stating, “Lord Jesus, forgive us father for allowing a prayer of the wicked, which is an abomination in your sight.”
    via Think Progress.

    Filed under: Religion

    State of the Nation (pt 1)

    by Sunny at 3:54 pm    

    In part of my article today on Comment is Free, I lay out the future for New Generation Network. Many of you have asked what progress that has made. My view is always important that we think long-term if we want a more socially cohesive Britain.

    Regardless of what journalists say about the politics of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) or Sikh Federation (SF), a political party at local level is still likely to make tacit or overt alliances with groups if they can deliver votes. All politics is local, as the saying goes. The opinion of journalists or liberals who want nothing to do with rightwing religious conservatives matters much less it seems.

    1) Making the intellectual argument and taking it forward
    The manifesto made various arguments explicitly in a manner that hadn’t been done before, in a national paper. It stated the obvious, yes, but that needed to be done. As the arguments become accepted, especially by its biggest critics, the agenda must be taken forward intellectually.

    My focus on Britishness (including integration and culture) and addressing the criticisms of multiculturalism are central to that. There is also the debate around what is in the public or private realm. And there is space to go even further later.

    2) Strategic intervention
    Such interventions are predicated on short-term legislative or policy goals. For example, the law and policy around forced marriages and domestic violence. This needs to be developed further, intellectually and politically. The scope should also expand to include civil liberties and terrorism.

    3) Grassroots mobilisation
    Over the long term, however, nothing beats grassroots mobilisation and voter turnout. If liberals are serious about pushing forward their agenda, then they cannot do so from behind computer screens or newspaper articles. People have to be mobilised and MPs have to be warned that their alliances could cost votes. For NGN, and the liberal movement in general, there is no other substitute. I’ll come back to this subject again, soon.

    Given this context, liberals need to listen to everyone (including minorities) and offer them a better alternative than they are being given by the likes of the MCB, HFB and SF, using this three-pronged strategy.

    Filed under: Race politics

    A new point of Apu

    by Rohin at 2:37 am    

    The author, complete with trademark girlie eyelashes. Apparently.Over a year and a half ago I wrote my first post for Pickled Politics, entitled ‘Much Apu About Nothing’ and it concerned my love for Springfield’s favourite shopkeeper. I sought to explain why I feel Apu is a positive character, having heard opinions against him. This has proved easily to be my most widely-read post.

    Recently a publicity campaign for the upcoming Simpsons movie has developed into a contentious issue in America and Ultrabrown’s Manish has quickly become the go-to man for all things Apu. What Manish probably doesn’t realise that it was his view of Apu that inspired my article; I wanted to highlight how the British perception of Apu is so different from the American. So I figured I should chuck my two cents in, but I’ll try not to duplicate my reasons for being an Apu fan this time.

    The recent ‘Apu controversy’, having made national American and Indian news, may have started as a debate about the ad campaign, but it has grown into a new dissection of Apu’s character.

    It is thus fundamental to separate the 7-Eleven issue from related discussion. Examining the former first, Manish has, in several posts, argued succinctly why this promotional strategy irks him. Central to my defence of Apu has always been his context. The Simpsons parodies all its inhabitants and Apu is not a racist stereotype but a rounded, human figure.

    This advertising campaign removes Apu from that context. Apu, like all the caricatures in Springfield, exists on two levels. Every character has a superficial exterior, which personifies a stereotype; they also have a rich personality which undermines all of those clichés.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Blog,Culture,Media,Simpsons
    16th July, 2007

    Southall by-election: pictures and video

    by Sunny at 11:07 pm    

    Today evening the unions organised a ‘quiz-your-candidates’ event at Ealing Town Hall for the upcoming by-election thatI have been covering relentlessly here.

    Of course, I turned up with my video camera.

    Continue Reading...

    Red Dwarf!

    by Sunny at 2:41 pm    

    We interrupt this programme of politics and current affairs to tell you that Red Dwarf has been voted the best Sci-Fi show ever by Radio Times readers. I can’t believe John Plunkett (the Guardian blogger) thinks Doctor Who was better! Is he out of his mind? The books were good, sure, but nothing ever came near Red Dwarf. And he reckons Star Trek was better. The man is clearly a Smeg-head…

    Filed under: Humour,Media

    Boris: the media’s London candidate

    by Sunny at 1:50 pm    

    Borish Johnson has decided to throw his hat into the ring as potential Mayor of London. He’s not going to win though. Of course, he comes across as a bit lovable etc, and many people are tired of Ken Livingstone’s politics of making alliances with religious bigots (of all stripes). But Boris has neither managed anything useful nor does he really understand London in my view. I can see the London media set supporting him and promoting him endlessly but they are not the people who vote.

    Filed under: Party politics
    15th July, 2007

    More embarassment for Cameron over Southall

    by Sunny at 3:39 am    

    I was wondering why Labour’s campaign manager in the Ealing Southall by-election, Tom Watson, was sounding so chirpy on his blog. Now I know why.

    All over the Sunday papers today is the story that the Conservative candidate Tony Lit had donated money to Labour only a week before joining the former and posed in a picture with Tony Blair. The Observer has the full story. Tom Watson has the picture and cheque. It’s going to be a fun week until the election on Thursday.
    P.S. The Sunday Telegraph seems to think Lit’s dad is worth a billion. Heh.

    Update: More hilarity. I’m inclined to agree with Norfolk blogger that as Iain Dale is increasingly being used by CCHQ for their spin, his credibility is being eroded. Yesterday Iain said Tory top brass were planning to sue Libdems over their leaflet because it used unauthorised pictures of Tony Lit. Except that the Tories are not only doing the same in Ealing, but also in another by-election. Whoops.

    Filed under: Party politics

    The ‘netroots’ have arrived

    by Sunny at 12:50 am    

    Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has agreed to attend the YearlyKos convention. I’m gobsmacked.

    Clinton is the last major Democratic candidate to confirm her attendance at the convention in Chicago. Edwards, Obama and Richardson confirmed in May, and Clinton’s delay led some bloggers to question whether she was “afraid” to address the netroots directly.

    “Our goal is to provide a citizen-driven forum by truly democratizing the discussion and providing a meaningful role for regular citizens and grassroots movements to engage, vet and judge our country’s potential leaders,” said Gina Cooper, a former high school teacher who runs the convention.

    For those slightly confused - YearlyKos is an event, now in its 3rd year, organised by the website/blog DailyKos to get the Democratic party to listen to the ‘netroots’. If that isn’t using the internet to re-build democracy, then I don’t what is. I’m in awe. A NY Times article from last year provides more background.

    Filed under: United States
    13th July, 2007

    It’s always the money that does ‘em in

    by Kulvinder at 5:49 pm    

    It doesn’t matter if its Alan Bond, Robert Maxwell or Conrad Black. It’s always the money.

    Media tycoon Conrad Black has been convicted of three charges of fraud and one of obstructing justice by a jury in Chicago…

    …The charges on which he was found guilty carry a maximum penalty of 35 years in prison.

    There probably aren’t very many journalists saddened by this event; infact if you listen carefully you can hear the champaign corks in certain offices. Whatever his actual sentence its an almighty fall from grace. What do you reckon the chances are of him getting a ‘Scooter Libby’?

    Filed under: Media,United States

    More Ealing Southall fun and games

    by Sunny at 10:05 am    

    I was at the Gurudwara yesterday morning in Park Avenue, Southall, and Cllr Gurcharan Singh, who recently defected to the Tories, randomly turned up. It wasn’t the time for him to solicit votes so he left not long after. Earlier in the day the Tory candidate Tony Lit had also been there to get the Gurudwara’s backing. Today the Times reports that two more councillors (from surrounding areas) have defected to the Tories. Does this mean Lit is close to victory?

    Ermm, probably not. There is a lot more back-stabbing going on here behind the scenes than meets the eye.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Party politics

    Labour MP sucks up to Hindu bigots

    by Sunny at 12:01 am    

    Not long ago the Evening Standard reporter Andrew Gilligan did an exposé of the Hindu so-called ‘community leader’ Ramesh Kallidai and highlighted his relationships with various far-right Hindu organisations here and in India.

    Has the government learnt? Of course not. Last week someone sent me this exchange at the House of Commons.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Hindu,Organisations
    12th July, 2007

    Racist? Or light fun?

    by Sunny at 1:03 am    

    via Ultrabrown. I’m not sure what to think. Would I react against it if this were the UK? Probably.
    Updated: Although, Rohin explained early on in PP’s history why Apu is great.

    Filed under: Race politics
    11th July, 2007

    What do we do about Hizb ut-Tahrir (pt1)

    by Sunny at 3:11 pm    

    On Comment is Free yesterday, former HuT member Ed Husain said this:

    Remember, the only difference between Islamists from Hizb ut-Tahrir and jihadists is that the former are waiting for their state and caliph before they commence jihad, while the latter believes the time for jihad is now, vigilante action, without state-driven leadership. We ignore Hizb ut-Tahrir at our peril.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Muslim,Organisations

    Everything in moderation?

    by Leon at 2:27 pm    

    Perhaps it’s time for a moment of perspective amongst all the lunacy in the Ealing Southall by-election? A moment for some reasoned reflection on the conversations here and how we deal with them when they turn nasty or are purposely disrupted.

    In the comments on another thread a comment was made regarding the banning of a regular. Without getting into who said what, the comment alluded to the notion that such decisions to ban a person on here should be more transparent. To be honest, I’m not sure how much more transparent if can be other than CC’ing every interested reader in on editorial email discussions.

    Decisions are generally made via an email to the writers; we go back on forth in (sometimes heated) discussion about the merits of the proposed ban. The reasons for it, the likely effect on other commenter’s if well liked people are no longer able to post. The decision to ban is never taken lightly and (as far as I can remember) not taken that often. It is the last resort.

    Given that this is the age of Web 2.0/user created media and the online open conversation maybe we could have a chat about it here. What do you our reader and contributor think of the moderation policy we have here at Pickled Politics? Do you agree with banning disruptive elements, should we ban them outright, delete specific comments or leave them alone in the hope they’ll be ignored or simply behave? Is this even an issue worth discussion or crucial to the evolution of our progressive project here?

    All viewpoints are welcome.

    Filed under: Blog
    10th July, 2007

    ‘Anti-Islamist bigot’

    by Sunny at 4:29 pm    

    The deluded people at Islamophobia Watch have invented a new term - anti-Islamist bigot, which is used by Martin Sullivan to describe David T at Harry’s Place. The problem for Sullivan is that David T neither hates Muslims and nor does he have a particular vendetta against Islam. But he finds the politics and ideology of certain organisations such as the MCB, Muslim Brotherhood etc detestable. You know, like one might detest right-wing Hindu organisations such RSS or VHP, or may think Babbar Khalsa were crazy nutters.

    What IW and such pseudo-intellectuals increasingly do is conflate religious entities with people from that faith or theology of the faith itself, all of which are three different things, just so they can slander people. Muslims, Islam and the Muslim Council of Britain are not the same; as neither are Jews, Judaism or the Jewish Board of Deputies. But in a desperate attempt to shut down any criticism these far-lefties keep bandying about the words ‘bigot’ or ‘racist’ without justification and making them meaningless. Advice for you Sullivan, leave the words to those who actually face bigotry.

    Filed under: Muslim,Organisations

    Tories invite Khalistani politics

    by Sunny at 9:15 am    

    Yesterday I broke the news that Councillor Gurcharan Singh and his crew had decided to defect to the Conservative party because they were denied a chance in the Southall Labour leadership election.

    What I didn’t point out was that GS has been fairly active in the Sikh separatist movement (Khalistani) through front organisations. Unity at Ministry of Truth has a comprehensive post detailing all this (scroll half-way down, the first bit is about Tory bloggers trying to attack me). Chris Paul also has a bit more. I expect more dirt will keep turning up in the coming days or even weeks, after which David Cameron may end up regretting his triumphant press conference yesterday.

    Update: Another councillor in Southall defects to the Tories. And while one Tory activist is caught bragging about nicking leaflets, their campaign manager is busy pretending to be a LibDem on YouTube. What a funny election!

    Leon’s update: This is getting odder and odder, apparently Cllr Noori hasn’t defected and is not very pleased that Iain Dale has said otherwise:

    Councillor Noori is not happy about Iain Dale’s slur. Lawyers are being consulted. Here’s the statement she has just asked to be issued on her behalf:

    “I joined the Labour Party to serve my community. That remains the case….. I have not resigned my membership and will not be joining the Conservatives.

    “Tomorrow I will be leading campaigning for Labour’s victory on July 19th. I hope to see you on the campaign trail too!” [Via Tom Watson]

    Filed under: Party politics
    9th July, 2007

    When discussing terrorism and foreign policy…

    by Zahed at 3:33 pm    

    In the ongoing debate on terrorism, nothing is more polarising, nothing sends political discourse into a tailspin more than the contention that foreign policy is one of the root causes of terrorism.

    As much as it is a favourite slogan among Muslims, it sends skeptics of Muslims and Islam into a near xenophobic rage. After the verbal fireworks go off, the dialogue fades until the next Islamo-crisis. Rinse, reuse, repeat.

    Continue Reading...

    Exclusive: Southall trouble for Conservatives

    by Sunny at 3:07 am    

    There are strong rumours is confirmed news that Labour councillor Gurcharan Singh in Southall and 4 other buddies have defected to the Conservative Party. This would primarily because he was denied the chance to run as Labour’s man in Southall in the upcoming by-election. Cllr Virendra Sharma was chosen.

    This is brilliant news for the Labour party not the Conservatives. Labour lose an extremely divisive and factional councillor who had paralysed the local party and made grand claims about having thousands of votes in the bag (councillors in Southall are near universally hated for their incompetence on almost all issues). The Tories have apparently lured him with promises of a seat in a different constituency, which is not only likely to immensely annoy the grassroots but brings in a factional, power-hungry operator who is neither young and fresh nor a long-standing Tory. Labour need to flush out all their lame candidates from the area and this could be a brilliant development.

    Meanwhile, Jasdev Rai has decided to run as an independent candidate (full list here). This would be the guy from Sikh Human Rights Group closely associated with the banned Khalistani terrorist org ISYF. Lord help us.

    Update: Iain Dale reckons the ‘Ealing Five‘ is great news for the Tories. Hah!

    Update 2: The Guardian reports with some choice quotes by Sonika Nirwal.

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    Filed under: Party politics
    7th July, 2007

    It’s the say nice things to Katy and take Don’s mind off a weekend of boring relatives weekend open thread!

    by Katy at 10:55 am    

    Yes, it’s true. This site’s become a big pile of miserable ranty people ranting about miserable ranty stuff. And I have a message for you:


    Yes, that’s right. You are making me and Don miserable and it’s got to STOP. So stop tussling about imperialism and governments and terrorists and boycotts and Tony Blair or whatever it is you crazy kids are getting all upset about and get your asses over to this open thread, a place of joy, light and NO POLITICS OR SERIOUS STUFF.

    If you are uncertain about whether what you would like to say is appropriate for the open thread, here is a handy guide for you to peruse at your leisure:

    Jokes, funny pictures, funny stories, notification of interesting weekend plans, gentle teasing, compliments and other nice things to/about me and Don, and YouTube videos showing oddly dressed people dancing in an amusing fashion: APPROPRIATE.

    Politics, racism, serious commentary, nastiness directed at other commenters and anything about George Galloway: INAPPROPRIATE.

    I have made it very easy for you. And so I will have no hesitation in cutting in half anyone who breaks these very simple rules. Yes. Let the party begin!!!!

    (I have always been a bit hesitant about people who describe comments threads as a “party”. They are not parties at all. But I’ve written it now. Oh well.)

    Filed under: Current affairs
    6th July, 2007

    Will the new Attorney General deliver for women?

    by Cath at 10:10 am    

    Many of us were disappointed to see so few women appointed to Gordon Brown’s new Cabinet, but on the other hand it was great to see Lady Patricia Scotland make history by becoming the first ever black Attorney General.

    At UNISON’s recent National Conference, Baroness Scotland spoke passionately about her work as the minister responsible for domestic violence.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Sex equality

    ‘Muslims for Britain’

    by Sunny at 12:57 am    

    A media campaign titled ‘Not in Our Name’, is going to be launched across the UK with adverts in newspapers emphasising: “the Muslim community’s rejection of any attempts to link any such criminal attacks to the teachings of Islam”.
    The campaign has received support from Conservative Muslim Forum, Islamic Relief, the Islamic Society of Britain and Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association among others. It’s a nice gesture and they have a website headlined Muslims for Britain.

    Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain has scheduled a conference for tomorrow to “discuss our combined response to combat terrorist threats”. Only two years after 7/7. I look forward to thoughts from Inayat Bunglawala that go past blaming the war in Iraq for everything.

    Three men were convicted today for promoting Al-Qaeda on the web and inciting terrorism.

    Filed under: Media,Religion
    4th July, 2007

    Diagnosis Murder

    by Rohin at 11:07 pm    

    Seven of the suspects arrested under suspicion of involvement with the terrorist attacks over the last few days are NHS junior doctors or medical students. Britain’s threat level has only today been stepped down from ‘critical’ to ‘severe’ and heightened security at airports remains in place. As a shifty-looking NHS junior doctor flying out of the UK on Friday, these events have had particular resonance.

    Almost three months after junior doctors were in the news protesting a disastrous job shortage, a friend at work quipped “I think some of these guys are taking their MTAS protests a bit far.” Hey, perhaps these guys were just pissed off at being laid off…

    “Brilliant”: Mohammed Asha topped his class several times.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs
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