31st October, 2009

Australia and Iran

by guest at 10:35 pm    

This is a guest post by Sandra Hajda

Australia is in the news after brokering a meeting attended by officials from both Iran and Israel. According to this article a recent meeting organised by the Australian Foreign Ministry unexpectedly became a Capital E ‘Event’ when both Israeli and Iranian representatives deigned to attend.

It was a feat even the UN has found hard to pull off – at the most recent UN General Assembly ‘both delegations made sure they were not in attendance when the leader of the other side spoke’.

Iran has subsequently denied that it attended the secret meetings, taking the opportunity to emphasise that it ‘does not recognise’ Israel as a state and considers Israel responsible for violent atrocities in Palestine and general insecurity in the Middle East.

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Filed under: Current affairs

Pictures from today’s anti-Islamists demo

by Sunny at 8:24 pm    

Anjem Choudhary and his band of publicity-seeking wimps backed out of the demo in Trafalgar Square in the face of up to three counter-demos. Apparently some small alternative-demo was held in Walthamstow but no one has confirmed that to me.

Good thing the people from British Muslims for Secular Democracy and their friends turned up. The English Defence League did not, apparently they were at a demo in Leeds, but the English Democrats did. The latter were generally a nice bunch of people (at least their spokesperson was).

Below are some pictures. I’m uploading some videos too.

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The wimps from Islam4UK cancel march!

by Sunny at 2:08 am    

Hilarious! The idiots from Islam4UK are now claiming they’ve been the subject of death threats and bomb threats and have now cancelled their march for tomorrow in central London. Message posted on their website. I’ll write more tomorrow morning but I hope the counter-marches still go ahead.

Filed under: Humour,Islamists
30th October, 2009

The perfect disguise

by Rumbold at 4:49 pm    

In a scene reminiscent of Team America, two burglars were apprehended in America after their cunning disguises failed to fool the police:

Burglars

Police received a call Friday night that two men with hooded sweatshirts and painted faces had tried to break into a man’s home in Carroll, Iowa.

When police stopped a vehicle matching the caller’s description blocks away, they were stunned by the men’s disguises.

(Hat-tip: Mr Eugenides)

Filed under: Humour

Freedom of speech includes the right to be angry

by Sunny at 10:14 am    

Guido Fawkes, the blogger who issues legal letters on behalf of MPs only because he wants to be like “conan the barbarian” wrote a post a couple of days ago titled ‘Freedom of Speech Includes “Hate Speech”‘ that I didn’t see earlier.

The funny thing is that these so-called defenders of free speech (except, apparently, when they want to issue legal threats) think this is some new argument. It’s not. Perhaps I should reiterate it: people who make homophobic, racist, sexist or even inflammatory statements should not be banned or legislated against. I’ve been for free speech and against banning speech that “offends” various religious, racial, right-wing groups for ages. See here and here and here as quick examples.

But the thing is lefties never actually argue for hate speech to be banned or censored. We just want to register our anger when someone says something offensive. They have the legal right to be offensive and we have the right to complain to advertisers and broadcasters. My legal right to swear at mad libertarians is not being curbed just because I can’t do it on the BBC. In the same way if someone offensive is taken off air they’re not losing their right to free speech but have violated the terms they’re working under.

If people complain to advertisers the next time someone like Jan Moir writes a nasty article – then it’s up to the advertisers to take action if they so choose. But that is not censorship. That is our legal right as citizens to use democratic, economic and other frameworks to punish those people.

But it seems such a simple argument is too difficult to understand, and so the only way such numpties can frame this debate is by pretending that lefties want to ban things. No we don’t. Then he ends with:

You don’t want to end up like Sunny Hundal, a man so right-on as to be a walking parody. Once in a fit of rage, yet so conflicted by political correctness, all he could do was call Guido “you bloody human!”

.. which is rather amusing. Anyone who knows me I can swear like the Asian version of Samuel L Jackson, and if I was angry with Paul Staines I’d have no problems calling him a drunk-driving, limp-dick, fat, pathetic excuse for a baboon who should have been pulverised by A.A. Gill but escaped by scaring people with his ugly mug. But I don’t ever recall being “in rage” while Guido has been around and am generally quite calm in real life :)
I didn’t realise he had to resort to making up shit just to make a political point.

Filed under: Blog,Humour,Media
29th October, 2009

‘Honour’-based violence helpline in trouble

by Rumbold at 4:58 pm    

In April of this year IKWRO and Karma Nirvana established an ‘honour’-based violence (HBV) helpline, the only one of its kind. The helpline has proved to be a success, with hundreds of calls every week. Yet the service is now under threat from a lack of funding, and so Karma Nirvana have launched a petition to try and secure public money.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that spends over £600 billion and manages to wastes many billions, but can’t find the money to fund an important service for some of the weakest people in our society.

Imprisoned Iraqi refugees on hunger strike

by Sunny at 2:52 pm    

Right-wing hysteria about immigration kills people. That’s right, it kills people. Consider this: the UK has a group of Iraqi asylum seekers who left the country to escape the bombing by al-Qaeda and our own military invasion. But under pressure from the right-wing hysteria about immigration, the Home Office actually tried to deport them back on grounds that Iraq was now safe to live in. Unbelievable.

The plane landed in Baghdad airport but was told to go back by the Iraqi military who did not want any refugees and said the place was too dangerous and could not guarantee those people’s safety. The plane returned and the Iraqi refugees were promptly put in prison where they remain now. And yet there are people in this country who call it ‘soft touch immigration’. That’s Compassionate Conservatism for you.

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How many marches are taking place this Saturday exactly?

by Sunny at 10:54 am    

So, Anjem Choudhary and his publicity hungry band of Islamists from Islam4UK are planning to march this Saturday. They love creating trouble and the media love giving them the oxygen for their own agendas.

The Daily Express, naturally, went big on the whole thing. Which meant the English Defence League followed and decided to hold a counter-demonstration. Then the crew from Secular Democracy and BMSD decided to organise their own counter-demonstration (which I posted about a couple of days ago). I support the latter one.

Now it turns out two more counter-demonstrations are being organised. There’s Muslims4UK who are:
“Demonstrating against the forces of Hate: Al-Muhajiroun, English Defence League and the Daily Express” – now on Facebook and this website. And it looks like the UAF / hard-left crew are mobilising around the: ‘Protest against March4Sharia and the EDL!‘.

The Judean Christian’s People’s Front comes to mind, obviously, but I can’t wait! I’m going to go around with a video camera and try and catch all the competing marches and organisations on camera. Should be great fun.

28th October, 2009

BNP myths: Are BNP voters ex-Labour voters?

by Sunny at 6:31 pm    

I’m going to start a regular series tackling and breaking down myths relating to the BNP and the far-right in the UK.

One commonly repeated myth is that BNP voters are ex-Labour voters. This leads to several assertions that fit the writer’s prejudices but have little basis in fact or evidence. Such as:

- Therefore this shows Labour has abandoned working-class whites over their undying love for the fascist threat of ‘multiculti-nazism’.

- This shows the BNP is left-wing conspiracy because Hitler liked the term ‘National Socialism’ etc etc.

Actual evidence
In this article on Political Betting, the writer goes through polling and demographic evidence to ask ‘Where BNP votes were coming from’.

He concludes:

Far from BNP voters being similar to Labour voters and drawn from the same demographic sectors, the data shows that BNP voters are much more likely to be C2DE than any of the three main parties.

What’s the profile then of BNP voters from this brief analysis? We get a picture of a man or woman, most likely C2DE, who didn’t vote at the 2005 election (though if they did vote they were most likely to have supported Labour). It appears therefore that rather than the BNP tapping into disaffected Labour votes, they have actually managed to mobilise a previously non-participating part of the electorate and persuaded them to go out and cast ballots.

In other words they are disaffected voters who have not shown a preference for any party for several elections.

The small percentage of people who do vote BNP are broadly from poorer backgrounds. Historically, this demographic has always had lower voting percentages and so it isn’t very surprising they’re politically apathetic.

Those are target voters for the Labour party, but not excluded from the Conservatives given that Cameron declared his party would be the party to help the poor. But the idea these people now voting BNP were abandoned by Labour is not borne out by voting records. It could still true to say that Labour has abandoned many working class voters who traditionally voted Labour – but that largely does not apply for BNP supporters.

Filed under: Race politics,The BNP

Giving up meat (or not)

by Rumbold at 2:10 pm    

Lord Stern of Brentford has called for people to stop eating meat (or at least significantly reduce their consumption, it’s not clear), as:

Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.

Leaving aside the jokes about noted vegetarians, is this a good idea, and what does it say about the debate on climate change?

I have no problem with people who don’t eat meat. Indeed, some of my best friends are vegetarians. If people want to give up meat, whether on environmental, taste or ethical grounds, then they should. A vegetarian diet is better for the planet.

Yet Lord Stern’s words highlight one of the thorniest problems surrounding the debate over climate change: the refusal to argue for pricing externalities properly. The impact of humanity of climate change (however great that impact is) can be reduced by two means. Advances in technology and a change in behaviour. It is right that governments and companies continue to invest in technological research, but given the current ineffectiveness of other sources of power (except nuclear), a change in people’s behaviour is also necessary in order to reduce carbon emissions.

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Filed under: Environmentalism
27th October, 2009

Right-wing hysteria about multiculturalism ‘plot’

by Sunny at 10:11 am    

Last week the Telegraph ran a big story about how a senior Tony Blair speech-writer had admitted that immigrants were being allowed to come into the country to rub the right’s face in diversity and multiculturalism. Outrage! Shock! Hysteria! Naturally the Daily Mail and other newpapers with an axe to grind followed.

I thought: these writers can’t be this stupid surely? One guy thinks the Tony Blair administration didn’t really care that much for right-wing hysteria about multiculturalism and it is being played up as a massive plot. But no, people really are that willing to swallow such tripe. Now the guy at centre of the story has written this:

As a ministerial speechwriter in a former career, in 2000 I penned a key speech for the then immigration minister Barbara Roche, which mooted changes to make it easier for skilled workers to come to the UK.

Multiculturalism was not the primary point of the report or the speech. The main goal was to allow in more migrant workers at a point when – hard as it is to imagine now – the booming economy was running up against skills shortages.

But my sense from several discussions was there was also a subsidiary political purpose to it – boosting diversity and undermining the Right’s opposition to multiculturalism. I was not comfortable with that. But it wasn’t the main point at issue.

Somehow this has become distorted by excitable Right-wing newspaper columnists into being a “plot” to make Britain multicultural. There was no plot. … What’s more, both were robust on immigration when they needed to be: Straw had driven through a tough Immigration and Asylum Act in 1999 and Roche had braved particularly cruel flak from the Left over asylum seekers.

Perhaps the lesson of this row is just how hard it still is to have any sensible debate about immigration. The Right see plots everywhere and will hyperventilate at the drop of a chapati: to judge by some of the rubbish published in the past few days, it’s frankly not hard to see why ministers were nervous.

To read something sensible by a right-winger on immigration, which is highly rare, this blog post by Alex Massie on Sunday does a good job (via Hopi Sen).

99% of commentary otherwise written by right-wingers is absolute drivel. As Anton Vowl showed this weekend – there is a lot of condemnation of the BNP on the right while simultaneously pushing their agenda. Meanwhile, they love pretending that if no one listens to them then BNP support will go through the roof, without any evidence.

26th October, 2009

Immigration and Demography

by Shariq at 11:30 pm    

The press has made a lot about the UK’s population increasing by 4.3 million people by 2018. Naturally people are concerned about the impact that this will have on the country’s basic social and economic infrastructure, and begin to question the scale of immigration.

Of course there is a different side to this debate – namely the fact that the UK’s population is aging and will potentially prove to be a huge burden to the economy. With higher life expectancy, the ratio of workers to dependents is going to to be much lower. The recession has shown the precarious nature of the government’s finances, and an aging population will have a further impact on this through pension problems and higher spending on health and care for the elderly. Gradually increasing the retirement age is going to be one part of the solution, but as far as I know this won’t be enough. The thing with immigration is that you are predominantly importing people of a working age, who will therefore be able to contribute rather than take away from the economy.

Project Population Change

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Marching against al-Muhajiroun

by Sunny at 8:00 am    

British Muslims for Secular Democracy today announces the launch of its plans to organise a demonstration on Saturday 31st October to counter a demonstration by Al Muhajiroun, at which they will call for the abolition of democracy in Britain and the imposition of Shariah Law on all.

That demonstration has been called by Islam 4 UK – a successor organisation to Al Muhajiroun. British Muslims for Secular Democracy are organising the counter demonstration, bringing together a number of religious and non-religious groups.

Shaaz Mahboob, vice-chair of British Muslims for Secular Democracy says:

Our counter-demonstration is based on our belief in, and commitment to, those liberal values that define the British state, including legal and constitutional equality for all, equal rights for women and minorities, and religious freedom, including the right to be free of faith.

Please join us via our website, at www.seculardemocracy.org, and via their Facebook page.

Invite your friends, help get the word out, and see you in Piccadilly Circus, 1 pm, Saturday 31 October.

25th October, 2009

New blogs and other weekend links

by Sunny at 10:58 pm    

A new blog by the name of The Samosa has started up, with a focus on South Asian issues. Various people including Laurie Penny are occasionally writing for it.

The excellent Clive Davis, previously at the Spectator, now has his own blog here.

Political Betting crunches the numbers to show new BNP votes are coming from apathetic voters than from any of the three parties.

Nick Griffin caught on video joking that black people ‘walk like monkeys’. And yet there are people out there claiming we should listen to the BNP.

Filed under: Current affairs,Media

Public money going to Hizb ut-Tahrir schools?

by Rumbold at 10:40 pm    

Activists in Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) were given taxpayers’ money for a handful of schools that have HuT members as trustees and which are run along HuT lines:

Accounts filed at the Charity Commission show that the Government paid a total of £113,411 last year to a foundation run by senior members and activists of Hizb ut-Tahrir — a notorious Islamic extremist group that ministers promised to ban.

The schools claim that they are not run by HuT activists, and this might be true, but given that 75% of trustees are members of Hizb it is a worry regardless:

The three schools — in Tottenham, north London, and Slough, Berks — are run by the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation, a registered charity. The foundation’s lead trustee is Yusra Hamilton, a leading Hizb activist who is married to Taji Mustafa, the group’s chief spokesman in Britain. At least three of the four trustees are Hizb members or activists, including Farah Ahmed, the head teacher of the Slough school, who has written in a Hizb journal condemning the “corrupt Western concepts of materialism and freedom”.

On their website, the schools say their “ultimate goal” and “foremost work” is the creation of an “Islamic personality” in children The creation of an “Islamic personality” is a key tenet of Hizb’s ideology. The schools’ history curriculum states that children are taught that “there must be one ruler of the khilafah [caliphate]”. The schools’ website says that “in the glorious history of Islam… the Sharia was the norm”.

I am not sure that Hizb ut-Tahrir should be banned. Banning groups, whatever their views, is often pointless, as it is easy to regroup under a different name and with a few changes (the Lisbon manoeuvre). It is better to target individuals. HuT have also publicly condemned violence, at least in Britain, which again would make banning them difficult.

However, organisations associated with them (or controlled by them) should not be receiving public funds, especially since their constitution was made public. The constitution contains such pledges as the disenfranchisement of non-Muslims (article 7) and the death penalty for apostates (article 26).

Filed under: Islamists

Lee John Barnes gets noticed

by Rumbold at 2:17 pm    

Everybody’s favourite BNP blogger, Lee John Barnes LLB (Hons.), has been featured in the Sunday Express after the paper picked up threats made to David T of Harry’s Place. Lee John Barnes, the BNP’s legal director, said:

When Mr Toube, one of Britain’s most prominent Jews, told Mr Barnes, 43, not to get “too smug”, the BNP man replied: “That’s fine. Just remember though, ‘You will reap what you sow’. “The way you treat us now is how we shall treat you in the future. The example you set us is the example we will follow when we are in power…

“The many different pressure points are beginning to converge towards a ‘tipping point’, a moment of political equilibrium when revolutionary social and political change occurs.” He added: “Best you show us some respect, some day you will want us to respect you.”

This seemed quite mild to me compared to some of the things Lee John Barnes (LJB) says when commenting on Pickled Politics. LJB is unrepentent, apart from claiming that he didn’t mean the comment to be a specifically anti-Jewish threat, a claim then nullified by his subsequent words:

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Filed under: The BNP
24th October, 2009

Founder of EDL linked to former neo-Nazis and terrorists

by Rumbold at 9:55 pm    

Richard Bartholomew reports that Paul Ray, the founder of the English Defence League (EDL), is now consorting with various unsavoury types:

“Paul Ray, originator of the English Defence League, has found a new friend: Nick Greger, the German former neo-Nazi who is now a close associate of the Northern Ireland Loyalist Johnny Adair. On Ray’s blog, he and Greger pose together with a t-shirt glorifying Loyalist terrorist organisations as part of a gallery announcing the launch of “The Ancient Order of Templar Knights”. Other pictures feature Greger’s Tanzanian wife (wearing a Johnny Adair t-shirt) and an unnamed black man who represents “Ghana” to match Ray’s “England” and Greger’s “Germany”. The two men also sport fresh matching Star of David tattoos on their wrists.”

Paul Ray seems to have left the EDL, but, according to Richard, might still control an offshoot of the main EDL. Mr. Ray’s associations, even if he is no longer the leader of the EDL, are another blow to the EDL’s attempts to portray themselves as an organisation only devoted to attacking Islamic extremism, not Muslims/non-whites in general.

Filed under: EDL
23rd October, 2009

Spam apologies

by Rumbold at 2:09 pm    

Apologies, as a number of comments are being caught in the spam filter. Carry on posting.

Filed under: Blog

BNP Question Time review

by Rumbold at 9:48 am    

How effective was Question Time at hurting the BNP? I would say somewhat. It went better than it might have done, but worse than it should have done. Here’s how I thought each of the panellists did:

Chris Huhne (5.5/10): Fairly anonymous, and struggled when confronted with Nick Griffin’s assertion about Liberal Democrat support for free movement to Britain from Eastern and Central Europe. One or two good points.

Bonnie Greer (7/10): Much better than expected. Rambled a bit at times, but landed some useful blows onto Mr. Griffin. Different approach (the more chummy approach) seemed to throw him off his stride.

Baroness Warsi (8.5/10): Had a wonderful moment during the programme when she acknowledged that not all the people who voted for the BNP did so out of racism. Talked about tackling issues like depravation and the pace of change in order to draw people away from the BNP and back to the mainstream parties. Just the sort of thing wavering BNP supporters needed to hear, especially from a non-white Muslim politician who is likely to be in charge of aspects of this in a year’s time. Even if you didn’t agree with everything she said, this was a powerful pronouncement. Took a bit of time to get going, and should have asked a few more probing questions.

Jack Straw (2/10): Worse than useless in many ways. Started off relatively well (the first minute or so), but then ruined it by failing to actually press the BNP on anything much. It got worse when his answer about whether or not immigration management in the last ten years has helped the BNP turned to waffle. Just the sort of thing to drive people into the arms of the BNP. Failed to ask penetrating questions of the BNP. Arguably his own populist attacks on Muslims in the past limited his effectiveness.

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Filed under: Media,The BNP
22nd October, 2009

BBC Question Time tonight

by Sunny at 9:01 pm    

I’ve spent most of the day doing interviews so I’m very tired and will be up until late no doubt so don’t have much to say right now.

Feel free to use this as an open thread to discuss Question Time when it airs. I’ll be covering it live in Twitter.

I think the UAF demonstrations against Griffin, while impressive, were counter-productive because most people will see them as an attempt to shut down free speech, and only heighten their perception that the BNP are being oppressed. Saying that though, I’m not going to go as far as some twats on the right who are calling the UAF “fascists” or sanctimoniously claiming these people are helping the BNP. As if right-wing scaremongering about immigrations hasn’t helped the BNP already.

I’ll be on BBC News 24 at 11:30pm talking about it.

Filed under: Media,Race politics

Man charged with trying to petrol-bomb mosque

by Sunny at 8:17 am    

Hmmm… I wonder what happens when a whole bunch of media commentators and a certain political party keep pushing conspiracy theories that all mosques harbour terrorists and devout Muslims are out to kill you while you sleep and convert your teddy-bear to Islam by voodoo!

A man from Peterborough accused of a late-night petrol attack on a mosque in Sunderland has been remanded in custody.
Gerald Davies (53), of Palmerston Road, Peterborough, appeared before Sunderland Magistrates’ Court yesterday after an

incident in the early hours of Friday. He was charged with attempting to damage by fire the mosque in Chester Road, Sunderland, with intent to endanger the lives of members of the Muslim community

From Peterborough Today. A one-off incident I’m sure. It’s not like there’s been a upsurge in people trying to blow up mosques or kill Muslims eh?

What we really have to worry about is that Muslim with a big beard who once hung out with a guy who ended up in Gitmo and is now getting govt money! He’s obviously going to use that to train terrorists! These people must be stopped! Nothing to look here people.

Meanwhile, the BNP claims wounded soldiers are being charged to watch television in hospital. Not so, finds FactCheck. More BNP lies.

21st October, 2009

Anjem Choudhary & co are good at trolling media

by Sunny at 3:25 pm    

On Saturday 31st October Islam4UK – the new name for Anjem Choudhary’s previous proscribed Al-Muhajiroun is holding a ‘March 4 Shariah’ in London, which will end in Trafalgar Square. These people are an extremist group who I believe should be banned. And so the march should not be allowed.

What’s interesting is how much attention that media and other bloggers pay to these nutjobs, who are the clearest example of real-life trolls. See this page where they actually illustrate how Trafalgar Sq could be changed once these people have taken over. You can almost imagine the sniggering that took place when doing this, in anticipation of right-wing outrage. The Daily Express has naturally been baited. Let’s see who else follows.

Update: Inayat Bunglawala is trying to organise a counter-demonstration against these people. Excellent stuff – I think everyone should support that. I might head down too.
[h/t KB player in the comments below]

Filed under: Islamists,Terrorism
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