31st July, 2009

Trusting others

by Rumbold at 9:28 pm    

A woman in a cinema asked a group of youths to be quiet. After the film,

“Two of the group followed the family into a nearby restaurant and threw bleach over the woman’s head and back, leaving her needing hospital treatment for burns to her skin and possible permanent damage to her eyes.”

I believe that most people are good people (and that some others who do bad things are not always bad people), and that if you trust them they will repay it. It is what makes me a libertarian. Sometimes it is difficult to stick to that belief.

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Filed under: Current affairs

The rise of the far-right across Europe

by Sunny at 5:10 pm    

This week’s Time Magazine has an extensive front-page feature by Catherine Mayer on the turn to the far-right in Europe, focusing on four parties: the BNP, France’s Front National (FN), Hungary’s Jobbik and Geert Wilders’ Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom, PVV).

The whole article is really good and worth reading, so I recommend you do that. But I also have a few points to make:

1. It’s good that Geert Wilders is being included in the list of the ‘far-right’. I’ve been saying this for ages. It’s also worth nothing that he has supporters in the UK, especially Douglas Murray of the Centre for Social Cohesion. That tells you a lot about their politics.

2. The writer does a good job of capturing the dilemmas for anti-facists:

…the urgent question is how best to contain the surge. Deny far-right leaders the oxygen of publicity? Tricky — they have a democratic mandate. Confront them? That risks casting them as martyrs, victims who tell unpalatable truths. Expose the racism that often underlies professions of patriotism? Well, yes, but that assumes voters choose far-right parties in ignorance of their views, rather than because they strike a chord. Steal their nationalist thunder by taking tough lines on issues such as immigration? This smacks of capitulation to the very ideas critics seek to defeat.

3. There are some hints towards, but not a deeper look at the solutions. These would be: (a) have politics more about grassroots campaigning and organising; (b) have Parliament more representative of class, gender and race; (c) raising rather than doing anything about people’s concerns (on immigration, globalisation, poverty, housing etc), as Sarkozy has done, while promoting diversity.

4. They could have also interviewed Jon Cruddas MP – who is by far the best mainstream politician to talk sense about the far-right.

Filed under: Race politics

Fined over racist abuse at police officers

by Sunny at 3:26 pm    

Political correctness gone mad!! Oh wait, no, it’s an Asian guy. No complaints about the threats to our free speech will be forthcoming from the Richard Littlejohn types. But guess who it is!?

Hassan Butt, 29, of Copthorne Lane, Cheetham Hill, also accused officers of acting ‘like the Gestapo’ and asked them: “Why are you treating me like a P***?”

Butt, who once admitted having claimed he was a terrorist to make money from the media, was convicted of committing a racially aggravated public order offence by District Judge Diana Baker at Manchester Magistrates Court.

Hassan Butt was once Nick Cohen’s favourite liberal Muslim. Oh dear.

30th July, 2009

The Glen Jenvey saga

by Rumbold at 4:56 pm    

(Much of this is background information)

In January of this year, the Sun alleged that extremist Muslims had drawn up a ‘hit-list’ of prominent British Jews, such as Alan Sugar, and were targeting them because of the Gaza conflict. This story relied on a comment that had been left on the forum ummah.com, in which the commenter, ‘Saladin1970′, called for:

“The names and addresses of Wealthy Zionist Jews can be found in the lists of sponsors and contributors of Zionist Charities… It would be beneficial to start compiling a list so that we can write polite letters reminding them of the injustices of israel and to stop supporting israel.”

What really set the pulses racing was a subsequent comment by another poster, ‘abuislam’, who named three British Jews and called for doorstop protests. ‘Security expert’ Glen Jenvey told the Sun at the time that “those listed should treat it very seriously. Expect a hate campaign and intimidation by 20 or 30 thugs.”

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Pickled Politics meetup in early September

by Rumbold at 2:42 pm    

The meetup will be somewhere in London. We are planning to do it on the weekend of the 5th and 6th of September. Do people have a preference for either day? Everyone is welcome.

Filed under: Blog

Cricket for Iranian workers

by Sunny at 10:17 am    

This saturday I’m playing cricket to raise money for Iranian workers. Come down! You get the added bonus of laughing at me while I try and slog the ball and get bowled out.

Hands Off the People of Iran play the Labour Representation Committee in 30 overs of cricket with John McDonnell MP and Attila the Stockbroker leading the two teams – all in order to raise as much money as possible for the Iranian workers’ movement.
We have set ourselves the target of 1,000 pounds but are quietly confident that we can ago well above this if we put our minds to it and draw in as many of our vast supporters as possible. Such funds are absolutely central to our comrades in Iran organizing in the most difficult of situations and now facing a hugely repressive crackdown on their protests and rallies.

This is why it is absolutely vital that the workers’ movement in this country organizes material and ideological solidarity. The working class needs its own foreign policy linking the workers’, women’s and students’ struggles in Iran with those in this country and elsewhere. So, we need need your help to get this event off the ground and to hopefully make it so successful that there will be many similar events for years to come!

More here. The teams are mixed and I’ve been put in the Hands Off People of Iran (HOPI) team!

If you come you not only help raise money but also get to meet some excellent left-wing bloggers (excl myself obviously). Stroppybird has more on that.

This Saturday afternoon, in Walthamstow

Filed under: Events
29th July, 2009

Does more immigration cause BNP support and racism?

by Sunny at 4:30 pm    

There’s been a lot of immigration into the country over the last decade or so. People say this has led to the breakdown in social cohesion. People also say that there’s been a lot of Muslims coming into the country over the past decade. They also say that because those people don’t fit into the cultural norms of the UK – there has been an upsurge in support for the BNP.

So. Does immigration cause racism?

Filed under: Race politics

Lubna Hussein in court

by Rumbold at 11:30 am    

A UN worker in Sudan, Lubna Hussein, is to appear in court today charged with wearing trousers. As a Muslim woman, the punishment could be up to forty lashes (the other women with her were none Muslims, and so received ‘only’ ten lashes and a $100 fine). While wearing trousers isn’t prohibited under Sharia law, it is under Sudanese law. Nesrine Malik, who wrote about this case recently, believes that the arrests were less about principle and more about a need to show the strength of the regime:

“There has been a media blackout on the latest floggings in Khartoum and the word on the street is that the security officer who engineered the cafe raid was a lone ranger provoked by al-Hussein’s tone when he urged the women to act or dress more modestly. Her lawyer stated that such raids were to remind people “that Big Brother is watching you”, and there is certainly an element of this in the government’s rather erratic approach to its implementation of sharia.

Since this commitment to divine law is cosmetic and not in earnest, the religious whip is cracked when there may be a perception that the regime is going soft, using Islam as proxy for authoritarianism.”

Hopefully the outcome will be as she predicted too:

” I predict a face-saving magnanimous presidential “pardon”, such as the one bestowed upon Gillian Gibbons – one that does not discredit the initial charge but halts proceedings or stays punishment.”

Comment policy restated

by Rumbold at 9:14 am    

We at Pickled Politics do not take banning people lightly. We want to ensure that people can debate freely, and we prefer to let Picklers deal with any abusive commenters, since the well-reasoned arguments deployed by the former against the latter are the worst punishment one can dish out. We often prefer an ad hoc approach, deleting individual comments while letting the perpetrator comment in future. However, there comes a point when a persistently abusive commenter can only be dealt with by banning them. Thus the commenter known as ‘Munir’ is now banned. He will be deleted whenever he appears. Any other racists who do not listen to warnings, whatever their creed or colour, will also be banned.

Filed under: Blog
28th July, 2009

Follow up to Standing report

by Rumbold at 12:58 pm    

Edmund Standing, who recently published a report into the BNP’s activities on the internet, now shares some more of his thoughts on the BNP, focusing on their creation of a false image for themselves, and how the media feeds their fantasies:

“The truth is that the BNP hates Muslims because they are predominantly brown skinned. In ‘white nationalist’ ideology, everything ultimately boils down to an obsession with race.

When it comes to Islam, the BNP hasn’t exactly had to work hard to whip up anti-Muslim bigotry and paranoia about ‘Islamification’. Looking at the scare stories on its website’s news section, a large number of them are drawn straight from mainstream media sources…

So, when the BNP claimed in its European election material that it would ‘ensure that British troops are not abused on the streets of our cities by Muslims’, it was in particular cynically appealing to the concerns of those who get the majority of their understanding of the world from reading simplistic and hyped up tabloid stories.”

(Hat-Tip: Shamit at eGov)

Filed under: The BNP

Is Shami Chakrabarti tipped to replace Trevor?

by Sunny at 9:39 am    

Going by the big picture of Shami and the main name being touted by Afua Hirsch here in the Guardian, I think that’s a pretty safe bet.

There’s also a good profile piece by Hugh Muir in today’s Guardian. Two other people have talked up Shami to me in recent days. I wasn’t initially, but I am persuaded now.

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Is Martin Bright libelling Mehdi Hasan?

by Sunny at 4:37 am    

I’ve always liked Martin Bright’s journalism and as a person, but his blog-post in response to all these smears is very, very odd.

For a start, Martin just quotes the offending passages without even pointing out that Hasan is quoting from the Koran. Anyone who doesn’t visit HP and only looks at that blog post doesn’t even get basic context.

Secondly, I can understand the writers at HP not bothering to call up Hasan for his side of the story – they’re not journalists and have an agenda to push. Martin is an experienced journalist and one would at least expect him to offer both sides of the story. No?

Now this is where it gets legally dangerous. Martin files the story under: ‘Islamism , Islamist , Islamists and Radical Islam’. That implies he believes Hasan is an Islamist – something even the smear merchants at HP are not claiming. Perhaps Martin Bright could himself confirm whether he thinks those views should mark Hasan as an Islamist?

And most weirdly, he says Hasan is a “self-styled” Senior Editor. Huh? I know he left the NS under inauspicious circumstances but that stinks of sour grapes.

I say all this also because I know of one prominent think-tanker who sent around an email calling Hasan a “jihadist” – a whole new level of stupidity. Allegations like these can go around the internet like a shot and become the truth if enough people repeat it. And yet only last week Martin was writing about ‘The Importance of Being Libelled‘ to protect his own reputation. So isn’t this a bit hypocritical?

Filed under: Media
27th July, 2009

The ‘expose’ – from embarrassing to downright stupid

by Sunny at 8:47 pm    

The attempt to smear Mehdi Hasan from the New Statesman goes from the absurd to the farcical. First, a writer on HP (Brownie) accepts that perhaps the original piece was a bit over-blown. Then, the second installment drops the word ‘exposed’. C’mon guys – where is your sense of conviction? I thought you were unleashing on to the world all the nasty things Mehdi Hasan has done or said?

Instead, it offers a desperate bunch of quotes pic’n'mixed from different sources, essentially saying: Look this guy disagrees with us! How dare a left-wing magazine offer him space!? This from a blog that was cheer-leading the invasion of Iraq (and its main writers still refuse to accept what a monumental fuck-up that was) giving other people lectures on how lefties should behave. Got to admire their chutzpah!

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Filed under: Islamists

An attempt to smear Mehdi Hasan from New Statesman

by Sunny at 10:56 am    

Mehdi Hasan is a recently appointed senior editor covering politics at the New Statesman magazine. I mentioned a week go that a minor kerfuffle blew up last week when an article he wrote about biased coverage of terrorists in the media was questioned by Harry’s Place blog.

He gave a stinging response. Obviously not happy with the way he had come back at them – it looks like now HP is running a smear campaign against him. Over the weekend they ran a post titled: ‘Mehdi Hasan Exposed. Part I – Atheists and disbelievers are “cattle” and “of no intelligence‘.

It’s worth pointing out that I don’t know Mehdi Hasan and apparently I met him years ago but don’t recall the incident. But it’s worth while deconstructing the post itself for the absurd question it raises.

First: It looks obvious his comments are being taken out of context. Hasan is specifically relating what the Koran says. There’s a matter of what he believes in himself, and another matter of how he interprets the religious allegories. Anyone who spends even five minutes reading religious texts knows that they are full of analogies and allegorical references. This point is clearly missed by the anonymous ‘Channel 4 insider’.

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Taliban code of conduct book issued

by Rumbold at 10:20 am    

Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, has drawn up a code of conduct for his fighters. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of not whipping and stoning women (according to Al Jazeera), as the book concentrates on how the Taliban should behave when fighting. The rules state that:

*The utmost effort should be made to avoid civilian casualties.

*Whenever any official, soldier, contractor or worker of the slave government is captured, these prisoners cannot be attacked or harmed.

*Releasing prisoners in exchange for money is strictly prohibited.

*The mujahidin must avoid discrimination based on tribal roots, language or geographic background.

If these rules are followed, it will benefit the civilian population. However, if they are not, it will mean one of two things. Either the book was simply a ploy to disrupt elections (and given the Taliban’s willingness to murder civilians that is more than likely), or that Mullah Omar has lost control of the Taliban to younger and more extreme commanders.

Filed under: Current affairs
25th July, 2009

Gujarat massacres probe to go ahead

by Rumbold at 2:21 pm    

This is good news:

“A court in the Indian state of Gujarat has rejected a bid to delay a probe into the role of the chief minister in communal riots in 2002. More than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, died in the riots which began after 60 Hindus died in a fire on a train.”

Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat and notorious Muslim-hater, has long been suspected of been involved in the 2002 massacres. He is currently banned from the US and UK.

Filed under: Current affairs,India
24th July, 2009

I didn’t know Rabbis could do bhangra!?

by Sunny at 2:58 pm    

Bhangra is the traditional music of Panjabi Indians. Now we like to think we have a pretty unique way of dancing. Now my illusions are shattered.

Either Panjabis learned Bhangra moves from the Jews or the rabbis copied it from us. But as this video shows – someone has to own up. Evn down to the ‘oy hoy’ noises and the changing light-bulb moves.

(via HP)

Filed under: Current affairs

BNP got pwned in Norwich North

by Sunny at 2:44 pm    

The BNP got a grand total of 941 votes in Norwich North. Very impressive. I thought that people were turning to the BNP in their millions to voice the silent majority of (white) people of Britain and protest against political correctness gone mad?

Filed under: Race politics

HuT exposed on sex education

by Sunny at 12:10 pm    

The story that Hizb ut-Tahrir activists were trying to covertly influence the sex education consultation has now hit the national media.

My only quibble is that the journalist is being far too charitable to HuT. They are the Muslim equivalent of the BNP. It’s really that simple. But other than that the article is quite balanced and a wonderful expose.

Filed under: Islamists

Stories and articles for today

by Sunny at 8:45 am    

» Nineteen-year-old Canadian Rochelle Wallis has become the first unintended victim of changes to UK immigration laws which were designed to protect young British Asian women from being subjected to forced marriages – BBC Newsnight.
Well, a law is the law isn’t it? I don’t like the ideas of laws only targeting a certain minority.

» The child sex ratio is a powerful indicator of social health of any society. Calculated as number of girls per 1000 boys in the 0-6 years age group, the ratio has shown a sharp decline in India from 976 girls to 1000 boys in 1961 to 927 as per the 2001 census. In certain parts of the country, there are less than 800 girls for every 1000 boys.
A new campaign – Laadli – is planning to gather 1 million signatures from across the country to pressure the government to do more about it. Support the campaign if you can.

» A teenager and a 25-year-old man have appeared in court charged with attempted murder after a so-called ‘honour attack’ over an illicit love affair. Their alleged victim, a 24-year-old man, is critically ill in hospital after a gang poured sulphuric acid down his throat and stabbed him. – The Times
The story is terrifying but it looks more like a bunch of nutjob brothers than an ‘honour killing’ in the traditional sense.

Filed under: Current affairs

The “birther” controversy continues

by Sunny at 4:31 am    

This whole thing gets more and more hilarious. Watch the video to see how stupid these people are.

No, Obama’s grandmother didn’t say he was born in Kenya. On a related note – I’m disappointed that Melanie Phillips hasn’t covered the “Obama is a Muslim” conspiracy for quite a while now either. Poor show.

Filed under: United States
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