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  • 21st June, 2009

    Pakistan beats Sri Lanka in Twenty20 final

    by Sunny at 5:37 pm    

    As I just said on Twitter, thank fuck for some good news for Pakistan. Well done to the players. This is probably one of the few times I’d support Pakistan over Sri Lanka in Cricket. Heh.

    Filed under: Humour,South Asia

    UK Hizb ut-Tahrir activist calls Taliban “brothers”

    by Sunny at 3:34 pm    

    I’ve been alerted to a video of a television discussion on the Iranian channel Press TV, where Taji Mustafa of the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir refers to the terrorist killers in Pakistan as “brothers”. See the video here (ffwd by 9min). He says:

    Today, this action is on behalf of America. Today you have Pakistan - the sons of Pakistan in the army are turned against their brothers the sons of Pakistan, living in the tribal areas. [interrupted by Pakistan high commissioner] So this idea that a few thousand Taliban or whoever could threaten several hundred thousand, a several hundred thousand army, the seventh largest army in the world, could be overrun by a few thousand people in the tribal areas was a nonsense, and I think it was designed to get us to where we are today - to give in from pressure from America and get Pakistani fighting Pakistani.

    There are of course the same militants who have been blowing up innocent people across Pakistan for months. These are the same people a Hizb ut-Tahrir activist in the UK calls “brothers”. Now we know his sympathy lies with terrorists.

    There was also a good photo-journalism piece by Declan Walsh yesterday in the Guardian about people fleeing the Swat Valley. (hat tip: zakk)

    When racism is not racism

    by guest at 7:54 am    

    This is a guest post by Elliot Borges

    The shocking attacks on Romanian immigrants in Northern Ireland this week have again raised the inexhaustibly contentious issue of immigration in 21st century Britain. The issue made me instantly think of Slavoj Zizek’s excellent book Violence, in which he propounds the thesis that such acts of violence with a clearly identifiable agent are generated by a hidden violence; namely the one which sustains our political and economic system.

    Have a good think about the new Points Based System of immigration, which was launched last year. What is the official government line on the PBS? The introduction and application of the Points Based System of immigration to non-EEA nationals is apparently justified on the basis that because the UK is legally required not to close its borders to EU nationals, it has to apply stricter controls to immigrants from outside of Europe. Whether or not one agrees with the need for this type of immigration control, it is hard to contest that this is good law or indeed that it is not inconsistent with the principles of equality and non-discrimination that the government claims to abide by.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs,EDL
    20th June, 2009

    Celebrating the egging of Nick Griffin

    by Sunny at 11:27 pm    

    I’m a bit late to this of course, but this comment by Daniel Davies on Crooked Timber (via Don Paskini) is worth highlighting:

    As I’ve noted before, there’s a Laffer Curve implicit here. If nobody ever egged Nick Griffin, then he’d never get egged, which I presume nobody wants. On the other hand, if he was egged every single time he went out, then he’d never leave his house – result, no eggings. But I really don’t believe that we’re on the right hand side of that Laffer Curve, not yet.

    And in this particular case, the egging itself is actually a very important speech act and a significant contribution to our national debate. Based on the fact that they got two MEPs elected, non-white British citizens might justifiably be looking with suspicion at their white neighbours today, thinking that a significant proportion of us were secretly harbouring fascist sympathies.

    And as a commenter notes right underneath that blog post: “As I recall, the fascists didn’t like it when people chucked bricks at them back in 1936; Mosley’s Blackshirts didn’t gain political support after that, they lost it.”

    So frankly, I can’t say I have I did that much hand-wringing over Nick Griffin’s pelting. It is our democratic right to signal disgust at fascists and the pelting didn’t go completely over-board. Though I would probably draw the line at Unite Against Fascism basically stalking the guy and trying this at every possible event.

    I’m back!

    by Sunny at 9:26 pm    

    Hello all! I took a quiet one week break from blogging, twittering, facebook etc in Morocco last week. I spent mosst of the week i Marrakech, and then took the train up to Casablanca for a day. Here are some pics. It was a much needed break, but it’s also good to be back.

    (orange juice sellers were everywhere (inside the central square near where I stayed)

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Blog
    19th June, 2009

    Street art from Tehran

    by Rumbold at 9:17 pm    

    More art here.

    Boris Johnson cancels London Jewish cultural festival

    by Sunny at 5:42 pm    

    This is a press release by Ken Livingstone’s Progressive London crew

    The annual Jewish cultural festival – Simcha on the Square – has been cancelled because Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson has withdrawn most of its funding.

    In previous years the festival was strongly supported by Ken Livingstone’s Mayor’s Office, working with Jewish Culture UK, and providing an annual grant of £50,000 together with free use of Trafalgar Square.

    Ken Livingstone said: “Simcha on the Square officially celebrated the Jewish contribution to London and gave all Londoners an opportunity to share in the richness of Jewish music, dance and culture. By officially recognising and celebrating Jewish culture we made clear our total commitment to fighting anti-Semitism.”

    The organisers announced on Friday that the festival cannot take place this year because Mayor Johnson has slashed proposed funding from £50,000 to £20,000. Simcha joins a list of other events celebrating the contribution of different communities to London including the Rise anti-racist festival, Africa Day on the Square, the Russian Winter Festival and the Oxford St lighting display for Chinese New Year.

    Filed under: London Politics

    Solar power in Bangladesh

    by Rumbold at 8:51 am    

    This sounds like good news:

    “In the past year alone, the number of solar-powered household systems has doubled to 300,000, delivering electricity to 2.5 million people.

    Leading the rapid expansion is Grameen Shakti, a sister concern of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus’s micro credit giant Grameen Bank. The charity, along with 14 other smaller organisations, extends loans with generous conditions to enable the poor to purchase the wherewithal to produce solar energy.

    “Solar systems are selling so fast in rural areas that we’re struggling to keep up with demand,” said Dipal Barua, Grameen Shakti’s head.

    Growth also means new employment opportunities. “We have created some 20,000 green jobs, some 2,000 of them employing rural women who earn a decent income of 100 dollars a month,” Barua said.”

    Let’s just hope this can continue. The signs are promising, in that the charity has a proven track record of loaning money which is then paid back.

    (Hat-Tip: Platinum786)

    18th June, 2009

    Al-Muhajiroun relaunch fails

    by Rumbold at 9:00 pm    

    It was billed as the comeback fight: Anjem Choudary of Al-Muhajiroun verses Douglas Murray of the Centre for Social Cohesion. However, the fighters were not allowed into the ring after Al-Muhajiroun thugs attempted to enforce gender segregation, leading the management of the venue to cancel the meeting.

    Yahya Birt argues that we the worst thing we can do is to persecute Al-Muhajiroun, rather than try and defeat them in debate, since the former only turns them into celebrities:

    “Anjem Choudary’s latest wheeze to incite the ire of the national press and to irritate the hell out of Britain’s Muslims as well as everyone else is to use a legal loophole to relaunch al-Muhajiroun this week, which had been disbanded in 2004. Only its successor groups, al-Ghurabaa and the Saviour Sect, were banned in 2006 under terrorism legislation.

    It seems fairly clear that Choudary expects, and indeed makes the calculation, that the reformed al-Muhajiroun will be banned pretty quickly to generate the notoriety and street-cred that he wants to sustain. As they play a propagandistic role, they will continue to find ways to dodge past legal restrictions by using coded language or forming new entities. The law is obviously a blunt and ineffectual tool.”

    Iran convulsed

    by Rumbold at 12:56 pm    

    The fallout from the (probably) rigged election continues as the supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi plan to hold a day of mourning to commemorate the seven protestors killed on Monday. The opposition protestors, who have rigidly stuck to peaceful protests, have been under attack from allies of President Ahmadinejad.

    Yet the tide may be turning. The Guardian Council, which is the real power in Iran, is considering recounting some of the ballots. Even if President Ahmadinejad is still declared the winner, it is heartening to see that others are recognising the necessity for moderation. Yes, some of the opposition supporters are hardly shining beacons of liberty, while the candidate himself has plenty of flaws. But sometimes such compromises are necessary.

    Barack Obama has also come across rather well during this.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    Questions for the BNP: part five

    by guest at 9:31 am    

    [This concludes PP/eGov's 85 questions that the BNP need to answer, but are still refusing to do so- Rumbold's note]

    Religious impact of a BNP government

    74. During an interview on Sky News with Adam Boulton in June 2009 shortly after the relevant elections, Nick Griffin clearly stated that he would use the current Saudi Arabian policy on non-Islamic places of worship as a guideline for official policies towards non-Christian places of worship under a BNP government, thereby effectively turning Britain into a Christian version of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, upon the election of a BNP government, will it be legal to build new non-Christian places of worship?

    75. Will it be legal to maintain existing non-Christian places of worship or will they be a) allowed to fall into disrepair or b) destroyed?

    76. What will be the official BNP policy towards non-Christian white/Caucasian British citizens who have adopted other religions (eg. Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam or any others) or are the children of such individuals?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: The BNP
    17th June, 2009

    Dress employment ruling

    by Rumbold at 2:54 pm    

    Not sure about this one:

    “Fata Lemes, 33, worked at the Rocket Bar in Mayfair for eight days last year and was told female staff would have to wear the tight red dress in the summer. At the time the uniform was a black shirt and trousers for men and women.

    A panel upheld her claim that bar owners Spring and Green had discriminated against her on the grounds of her gender.”

    The owner sounds like a sexist oik. It is unreasonable to expect employees to dress provactively to attract business. It is also good that women are standing up to men like this. However, the award seemed excessive (not that I feel sorry for the owner):

    ” [The tribunal] granted £3,000 compensation and £711.73 in wages, plus interest, giving a total of £3,893.26.”

    The wages (+interest) makes sense. But I don’t quite understand what the £3,000 is for. Any ideas? Perhaps it is just something I missed in the article.

    (Hat-Tip: Sarah)

    Filed under: Sex equality

    Nick Clegg adopts SNP policy on Trident

    by Leon at 10:16 am    

    I’m not sure what’s brought on this mini ‘road to Damascus’ like change of mind but Nick Clegg is now opposed to replacing Trident. The Guardian reports:

    Figures in the cabinet and the shadow cabinet have been privately pressing for their parties to renounce a replacement for Trident, but have not been able to persuade their leaders. This means Clegg is the first big figure to argue openly against a full-scale Trident replacement.

    Clegg said: “New leadership in Russia, new leadership obviously in the White House and a wider geo-strategic appreciation means that a cold war missile system designed to penetrate Soviet defenses and land in Moscow and St Petersburg at any time, in any weather, from any location anywhere round the planet, is not our foremost security challenge now. We have got to be grown-up and honest about it.”

    So, the LibDems have basically adopted the SNP policy on Trident, the Guardian describes it as the first ‘mainstream’ party to oppose the replacement. I’m not sure our Scottish friends will agree that the SNP is a fringe party…

    Either way it’s good to see another party moving forward on the issue, even if they won’t give credit where credit’s due to those who held the view earlier.

    16th June, 2009

    Blogging is in the public interest

    by Rumbold at 8:10 pm    

    I blog under a pseudonym. Being a private person, I like to separate out my blogging life from my ‘offline’ life (though a number of people know my real identity and I have met many friends though blogging). I am lucky; I can blog without fear of reprisal because I know that even if my real name was published, it wouldn’t really matter. Others are not so fortunate:

    “Earlier, Mr Justice Eady refused an injunction to prevent the Times identifying “Night Jack”, who won an Orwell prize for blogging in April. The judge said blogging was “essentially a public rather than a private activity”. The blogger’s lawyer had argued that preserving his anonymity was in the public interest.”

    Whistleblowers are not protected in this country, whether they are corporate or public sector whistleblowers. Fine-sounding laws are meant to safeguard them, but they don’t work. Blogging provides (or used to) one of the few safe outlets for people to expose wrongdoing by. This is in the public interest. The ruling also asserted the odd idea that it was in the public interest to know as much as possible about a blogger: but the very joy of the blogosphere is that you do not have to read any blog you don’t want to.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Blog,Civil liberties

    Questions for the BNP: part four

    by guest at 8:26 am    

    [This continues PP/eGov's 85 questions that the BNP need to answer, but refuse to do so- Rumbold's note]

    Social and legal impact of a BNP government (cont…)

    55. What percentage of a non-white British citizen’s legal testimony will be deemed equal to the testimony of one white/Caucasian British citizen?

    56. Will non-white British citizens have the legal right to prosecute white/Caucasian British citizens, and if so, under what specific conditions/restrictions?

    57. Will non-white British citizens have the legal right to defend themselves against prosecution by white/Caucasian British citizens, and if so, under what specific conditions/restrictions?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: The BNP
    15th June, 2009

    The language of demonisation

    by Rumbold at 8:57 pm    

    Justin highlights the importance of language when dealing with highly-charged subjects by flagging up a quote on the linguistic shift from ‘refugee’ to ‘asylum seeker’:

    “Also a threat to the fictionally homogeneous ‘community in Britain were ‘asylum seekers’, those seeking to stay in the country on the grounds that they were persecuted in their place of origin. The term ‘asylum seeker’ had gradually replaced ‘refugee’, shifting the emphasis from what a person was fleeing to the demands he was making on the country he arrived in. It was safe to call people ‘refugees’ as long as they remained elsewhere in the world (as, for example, those displaced by the 2004 Asian tsunami); but as soon as they arrived on British shores they became ‘asylum seekers’.”

    I hadn’t thought of that before reading this, but it now seems clear.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    ‘Women Uncovered’- a new blog

    by Rumbold at 3:35 pm    

    A new British brown feminist blog, Women Uncovered, has been established. The authors pledge that it will:

    “Showcase the unique perspectives of first, second and third generation immigrants to Britain from lands with cultures that strictly define what and how a woman should be. While some of these women are grateful for their newfound freedoms, they are still distressed by the misogyny they see that pervades all nations and cultures, and particuarly that which is incubated in their ethnic communities.”

    One to watch.

    Can Obama use ‘science diplomacy’ to promote peace in the Middle East?

    by guest at 9:01 am    

    this is a guest post by Yasmin Khan

    In a recent blog entry I alluded to the prospect of utilizing science diplomacy to help promote world peace. Following President Barack Obama’s ground-breaking speech in Cairo, it now seems that dormant rhetoric will soon be put into imminent action.

    Intentions to support scientific initiatives in the Islamic world as part of Obama’s vision for promoting peaceful relations between the United States and countries with a Muslim majority were revealed, as highlighted in David Bruggeman’s recent blog entry on Science Diplomacy and the Cairo Address.

    It seemed too good to be true a couple of months ago when Dr. Vaughan Turekian, Chief International Officer for AAAS and Director for the Center for Science Diplomacy, foretold in his talk at Harvard how a new era of science diplomacy might be afoot.

    Continue Reading...
    14th June, 2009

    PP/eGov’s questions bear fruit

    by Rumbold at 7:44 pm    

    Thanks go to Jonathan Bartley of the think tank Ekklesia, who asked the first one:

    “On the programme [BBC1's Big Questions] today, I used one of the questions posted by… [PP/eGov] on the Pickled Politics blog and asked newly elected BNP MEP Andrew Brons whether, given that we can now determine people’s origins from hundreds of years ago, he would take a DNA test to determine whether he has non-european ancestry, and if so, whether he would then submit to ‘repatriation’ in line with BNP ideas.”


    Filed under: The BNP

    Questions for the BNP: part 3

    by guest at 7:14 pm    

    [This continues PP/eGov's 85 questions that the BNP need to answer, and have yet to (I wonder why)- Rumbold's note]

    Social and legal impact of a BNP government

    34. Exactly how much of Britain’s current GDP, in terms of gross, net, and overall percentage figures, is a result of the non-white British population?

    35. What would be the estimated financial loss to Britain’s GDP upon the withdrawal of all domestic assets by non-white British citizens submitting to “voluntary repatriation” or involved in pre-emptive emigration upon the election of a BNP government?

    36. According to May 2009 figures, exactly what percentage of non-white British citizens are tax-payers and are not receiving government benefits? Figures should be broken down according to suitable groups, eg. British Asian (or British Indian, British Pakistani etc), along with British African, etc.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: The BNP

    Holocaust Museum shooting brings out the unbalanced

    by Rumbold at 8:57 am    

    Richard Bartholomew has chosen his top three unhinged responses to the shooting. Gold goes to Morton H. Pomerantz, though I think it should have gone to this effort by Debbie Schlussel (which won silver):

    Mr. Von Brunn has been on this planet for 89 years, and he didn’t feel comfortable shooting up a Holocaust museum until now–this new era of “tolerance,” in which we must tolerate the most extremist Muslim behaviors and sentiments.”

    Filed under: Current affairs
    13th June, 2009

    Let’s Have An Open Thread

    by Clairwil at 3:05 pm    


    Hello all,
    I seem to recall saying that I’d aim to do one of these every weekend. In fairness I did aim to do it but the gardening season being at it’s peak just now meant my attention was elsewhere. Still better late than never and I think we could all do with a bit of cheering up.

    Years ago an acquaintance of mine remarked that she hated politics and couldn’t be bothered with the the tories or the conservatives. At the time I thought she was an empty headed buffoon but now I’m starting to see her point. Politics it dominates the news but it’s rarely good is it? So on this thread we shall ignore it and talk only of jolly things.

    I’ve spent most of the day out in the sun wearing factor 5000, lest a repeat of the other weekend’s terrible sunburn incident should occur. Sunburn in Scotland, I can’t actually remember when I was last afflicted on my home turf. I wasn’t idling outdoors today but weeding and planting the public flowerbeds on Wilson Street in the city centre where I was tickled to be joined by a big fat bumblebee frolicking amongst the lavender. So that’s a bee added to today’s wildlife sightings of a cat, a worm, two slaters, a sparrow and a ladybird. Honestly it’s like being on safari round here at times.

    I am partial to a bit of nature around the place so I was pleased to hear that badgers are making a comeback. I must confess I didn’t know they’d been away. I just assumed they were avoiding me for some reason. Hedgehogs also shun me, I’ve never seen one in real life or a badger live come to think of it. Mind you this news of the badger revival comes from a survey in which members of the public are asked to count animals in their gardens so I can’t help but wonder if there is a bit of showboating and one upmanship going on. You can’t blame folk who wants to put in survey results like ‘we saw our dog and a magpie in our garden’? Why you might as well just scrawl ‘our garden is rubbish’ on the survey and have done with it. No far better to casually lob a badger onto the list and be thought of as a great suburban conservationist than a nobody with a shit garden.

    I’m off out to plant some sunflowers but I’ll be back so let’s have your jolly nature tales, weekend plans, amusing links and tales of hi jinks to perk us up over the weekend.


    Filed under: Blog,Humour
    12th June, 2009

    Questions for the BNP: part 2

    by guest at 8:19 pm    

    [This continues PP/eGov's 85 questions that the BNP need to answer: these ones are my favourites- Rumbold's note]

    Medical impact of a BNP government

    20. What contingency measures does the BNP plan in order to effectively deal with the likely massive increase in accident- and illness-related casualties and deaths amongst the British population due to the rapid collapse of the NHS upon the pre-emptive emigration and/or expulsion/repatriation of non-white British citizens currently working as medical professionals in the NHS, considering that 16% of nurses are non-white, as are 40% of new dentists and 58% of new doctors (figures: May 2009)?

    Economic impact of a BNP government

    21. What contingency measures does the BNP plan in order to maintain the British population’s current standard of living if, upon the election of a BNP government, the United States leads and enforces an international trade embargo on British goods and services, along with applying sanctions and terminating foreign financial and business investment in/business ties with the United Kingdom? Particularly when, along with the United States, the fastest growing economies include China, India and Brazil — incidentally, all majority non-white countries — and are projected to join the United States as global superpowers during the next few decades?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: The BNP

    How a Muslim boy went to meet Americans

    by guest at 10:17 am    

    This is a guest article by author Imran Ahmad

    I have always felt that Britain has remained remarkably tolerant despite the shock of the July 7th terrorist attacks in London, and the continuing provocation from some elements. But I wasn’t sure the same was the case for the United States.

    For example there was a dreadful incident on this year’s New Year’s Day when nine Muslims – including three young children, and all US citizens – were removed from a domestic flight because two of them were overheard discussing where was the safest place to sit on an airplane.

    A few weeks later, I was reclining on my sofa, watching President Obama’s inauguration speech in January – in which he mentioned a new era of ‘mutual respect’ between America and the Muslim world. I thought: ‘I can do that!’

    Continue Reading...
    11th June, 2009

    Questions for the BNP: part one

    by guest at 6:32 pm    

    [Today marks the start of PP/eGov's 85 questions that the BNP need to answer- Rumbold's note]

    Role models, affiliations, and policies of senior members of the BNP

    1. Would Nick Griffin, Andrew Brons and all other members of the BNP be willing to submit to multiple independent DNA tests in order to confirm that none of them have any non-European ancestry within a particular timeframe (eg. the last 3000 years) ?

    2. If Nick Griffin, Andrew Brons, or any other members of the BNP are found to have any non-European ancestry at all within the timeframe mentioned above, would the individuals concerned be willing to resign their membership of the BNP immediately and, upon the election of a future BNP government, submit to all the policies which would be implemented, including repatriation to a country which is the closest match for their non-European ancestry?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: The BNP
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