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  • 21st October, 2009

    Should intelligence services spy on Muslims?

    by Sunny at 10:01 am    

    A row has broken out about spying on Muslims, that I haven’t had a chance to go into yet. It started with a Guardian article by Vikram Dodd that showed Prevent Violent Extremism money was being used to spy on British Muslims. A few points.

    Most people who know enough about PVE know that some of it is undoubtedly used to ‘spy’ on people by at least monitoring what they’re doing and whether they have extremist sympathies.

    The question then comes down to proportionality: how much information gathering should there be? What are the legal frameworks put in place to ensure that information is not abused and that civil rights are not violated? At which point do intelligence services take action? How far does it go?

    Continue Reading...

    Delhi 1984 Commemoration in London next week

    by Sunny at 5:55 am    

    The Oxford and Cambridge Sikh Alumni Association have organised a commemorative program on October 31st - on the 25th Anniversary of the Delhi Sikh Pogroms in 1984.

    The pogroms targeted Sikh families in Delhi and across the country in retaliation for the assassination of PM Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, which itself was in revenge for the attack on the Golden Temple.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Events,History
    20th October, 2009

    Jat drive against honour killings

    by Rumbold at 9:06 pm    

    Leading Jat organisations (Jats being an ethnic group of around 30 million people who originated in North West India) have banded together in order to try and curtail ‘honour’-based violence amongst Jats:

    To check honour killings and violence among the Jats, the Federation of Jat Institutions, an umbrella body of 12 Jat bodies throughout the country, have called 300 leaders and experts of the community in Chandigarh on November 22 for a seminar.

    The move is considered very timely because Haryana has witnessed a lot of honour killings in recent months, raising question over the role of the the state government due to “it’s soft approach towards wrong decisions of khaps [local councils which are frequently accused of being backward]”…

    Khaps of Jats generally object to love marriages on the basis of gotra, caste and brotherhood and even issue fatwas to kill the couples.

    Given the shocking gender imbalance in the Punjab and Haryana, as well as the prevalence of ‘honour’-based violence, hopefully conferences like this will contribute to a liberalisation of attitudes.

    BNP threaten British generals with hanging

    by Sunny at 4:32 pm    

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, if that were possible even more. The BNP website has an angry editorial today hitting back at the British generals who distanced themselves from the BNP. This is how the BNP editorial starts off:

    Those Tory generals who today attacked the British National Party should remember that at the Nuremburg Trials, the politicians and generals accused of waging illegal aggressive wars were all charged — and hanged — together.

    Is that a coded threat or explicit threat? Either way it sounds very very ominous. I bet the BNP will either change that or take it down very soon.

    Story also now on: Liberal Conspiracy, Political Scrapbook, Left Foot Forward and LabourList

    update: according to Sunder on Twitter, Nick Griffin is trying the it was a joke innit bruv! defence.

    19th October, 2009

    Hindu orgs slam BNP claims

    by Sunny at 5:00 pm    

    Various Hindu organisations have today released a statement, sent to me, denying claims they had been contacted by the BNP… or that they would support the party.

    The claim made by Nick Griffin that Hindus back BNP is totally without foundation. Hindu Council UK, the National Council of Hindu Temples and City Hindus Network have had no contact with the BNP and as a peaceful law abiding community we do not agree with Nick Griffin’s views or policies. We would also like to reiterate that we totally condemn all forms racism and religious intolerance

    Dr Rao
    Chair Hindu Council UK
    Sanjay Jagatia
    Gen Sec National Council of Hindu Temples
    Dhruv Patel
    Chair City Hindus Network

    Oh no! How will Nick Griffin spin this now? PS - I’ve also posted 20 questions for the BNP on Guardian CIF.

    Filed under: Race politics

    An insight into the minds of our rulers

    by Rumbold at 10:03 am    

    I thought that this story was very telling, not for Baroness Scotland’s greed, but for the way in which the rules are applied:

    THE attorney-general, Baroness Scotland, has sparked anger among colleagues by insisting on the use of a chauffeur-driven Jaguar — a privilege usually reserved for a handful of senior cabinet ministers…

    One senior source said that as a minister outside the cabinet she was entitled only to a lesser vehicle, such as a Rover or Toyota Prius. Some officials expressed consternation that on taking up the job two years ago she rejected the use of a lesser car.

    The Department for Transport said last week: “The current rules on car allocation are Jaguar XJ or Prius for members of the cabinet. For everyone else: any car with CO2 emissions less than 130g/km.”

    The Jaguar emits 209g/km, which is at least 50% more than any non-cabinet car. Thus the rules say it is okay for the members of the cabinet to drive polluting cars, but everyone else must drive environmentally-friendly cars. Very telling.

    Filed under: Environmentalism

    How their language has changed

    by Sunny at 2:22 am    

    Nick Griffin was interviewed on Sky News this week over their decision to change the constitution to not discriminate against ethnic minorities. Watch:

    As I’ve said before, Nick Griffin is a slippery character and Adam Boulton couldn’t really catch him out. A few observations:

    1) As I’ve said before Nick Griffin must be happy the party’s policy of discriminating against ethnic minority members has been dropped. I bet he wanted it dropped because he knew it was the most symbolic example of the BNP’s racism. The EHRC action was an own-goal because it allowed Griffin to avoid confronting his own party and telling them the BNP would go bankrupt unless it changed policy.

    2) Griffin seems to have ditched the repatriation policy, though he keeps claiming that ‘British’ is a racial identity when it’s clearly not.

    3) His categorisation of British citizens is telling: (1) white ‘indigenous’ peoples; (2) minorities (and he refers to Hindus and Sikhs) who are law abiding and settled in this country; (3) people who apparently want to subvert this country’s traditions - Muslims.

    As I’ve said before, British Muslims have become the BNP’s main target and bogeymen. The rhetoric against them is couched them very much in the neo-conservative narrative: that these people are problematic because they’re trying to subvert the country for their own agenda - that sense of paranoia that Muslims are the fifth-column is clearly palpable.

    4) Last week Newsnight aired a short film on the English Defence League. What’s interesting about the EDL is that they go out of their way to be anti-Nazi and pro-Israel. And their rhetoric is also the same: ‘we are only against Islamic extremism, but is frequently conflated with all Muslims.

    5) All this rhetoric must be increasingly annoying to our traditional gang of anti-Jihadis who have long espoused this line. After all they were the ones couching their agendas expressly in anti-Islamist terms while the BNP and their ilk were just downright racist. Now it’s all getting very confusing for everyone and, I suspect, annoying for them.

    6) In one sense I feel sorry for many of the kids who have signed up to the English Defence League because they’ve clearly swallowed the tabloid hysteria against Muslims. I question their motives and their agenda but I bet many of them genuinely don’t see themselves as racist, only anti-Muslim. Open racism has become such a taboo that even the BNP are afraid to openly admit to it in case their casual supporters see behind the facade.

    Filed under: Race politics,Religion
    17th October, 2009

    Griffin’s bodyguard paid for by taxpayer

    by Rumbold at 9:36 pm    

    Thanks to lax EU rules, which allow MEPs to employ various people and claim large sums of money, Nick Griffin has now managed to put his bodyguard on the public payroll:

    “A dozen senior figures from the party make up a BNP entourage of publicly funded assistants. As MEPs, Griffin and Andrew Brons are entitled to claim a combined £382,000 a year to pay for their colleagues’ salaries.

    Martin Reynolds, a 20-stone bodybuilder who is head of security and Griffin’s bodyguard, said he “honestly didn’t know” why he was justified in being paid by the taxpayer.”

    This is in no way illegal, as MEPs are given significant autonomy when it comes to choosing their staff. Occasional investigations are launched into MEPs’ expenses, but the findings aren’t usually made public, unless they are leaked, which is difficult to do (recommended reading).

    Filed under: The BNP

    Happy Diwali

    by Rumbold at 5:26 am    

    Pickled Politics would like to wish all of our Sikh and Hindu readers a happy Diwali.

    Filed under: Blog,Culture
    16th October, 2009

    Alan Johnson attacks Question Time BNP invite

    by Sunny at 4:35 pm    

    One of the few MPs who tells it like it is. He said on Question Time last night:

    They are an illegally constituted party..you may like to [re]consider your invitation to next week’s Question Time. It is a foul and despicable party and however they change their constitution they will remain foul and despicable.

    There isn’t a constitutional obligation to appear on Question Time. That gives them a legitimacy that they do not deserve. These people believe in the things that the fascists believed in in the Second World War, they believe in what the National Front believe in. They believe in the purity of the Aryan race.

    That said: I’m not going to oppose Griffin’s appearance on the programme - after all, BBC journalists have been trying to their best to ‘explain’ the BNP’s policies elsewhere. I also think the UAF protest against Griffin’s appearance is a bad idea and will be a public relations disaster. They will come across as a bunch of censorious nutters like the people who opposed the BBC showing Jerry Springer: The Opera.
    via Paul Waugh

    Geert Wilders is back and causing trouble

    by Sunny at 2:58 pm    

    The Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been let into our shores. Let him, I say. The guy is an offensive idiot but he should be debated. However, I doubt that Wilders will take up invitations by Quilliam Foundation or the Oxford Islamic Centre to debate because it would be easy to expose him.

    The ITN video shows a protest by Muslims, but fails to mention that it’s a stunt by the publicity-seeking extremists from al-Muhajiroun nutjobs. Shoddy journalism.

    In the video Geert Wilders says he has “nothing against Muslims”. But here is is earlier ten-point plan to save the West. It shows he does have a problem with Muslims.

    1. Stop cultural relativism. We need an article in our constitutions that lays down that we have a Jewish-Christian and humanism culture.
    2. Stop pretending that Islam is a religion. Islam is a totalitarian ideology. In other words, the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.
    3. Stop mass immigration by people from Muslim countries. We have to end Al-Hijra.
    4. Encourage voluntary repatriation.
    5. Expel criminal foreigners and criminals with dual nationality, after denationalization, and send them back to their Arab countries. Likewise, expel all those who incite to a ‘violent jihad’.
    6. We need an European First Amendment to strengthen free speech.
    7. Have every member of a non-Western minority sign a legally binding contract of assimilation.
    8. We need a binding pledge of allegiance in all Western countries.
    9. Stop the building of new mosques. As long as no churches or synagogues are allowed to be build in countries like Saudi-Arabia we will not allow one more new mosque in our western countries. Close all mosques where incitement to violence is taking place. Close all Islamic schools, for they are fascist institutions and young children should not be educated an ideology of hate and violence.
    10. Get rid of the current weak leaders. We have the privilege of living in a democracy. Let’s use that privilege and exchange cowards for heroes. We need more Churchills and less Chamberlains.

    Why didn’t he mention any of that today? Idiot.

    Bollywood film about HBV

    by Rumbold at 12:29 pm    

    A Bollywood film about ‘honour’-based violence (HBV) in Britain, called Honour Killings, is set to be released next year. It focuses on three generations of families:

    “Firstly, there is the story of an affluent Sikh businessman - played by the veteran of Hindi cinema Prem Chopra - who is jailed for murdering his daughter after she fell in love with a Muslim man.

    When his grandson then also begins a secret relationship with a Muslim woman, it leaves her father racked by indecision, as he weighs up whether he too must kill to protect his family’s honour.

    The tension builds with the prospect of history repeating itself as romance again crosses the religious divide. In spite of the heavy subject matter, no Bollywood-style film could go without fizzing song and dance routines to draw in the crowds.”

    I hope it does well.

    (Hat-tip: MixTogether)

    Looking after ‘white working classes’ with govt money

    by Sunny at 9:26 am    

    You could call it the inevitable result of multiculturalism, or perhaps the natural outcome of this government’s blinkered approach to dealing with ‘community cohesion’. John Denham takes aim at white working-class (WWC) resentment, reported the Guardian yesterday.

    A programme of £12m was outlined to to address legitimate fears and concerns that if neglected could prove fertile territory for extremism.

    I suspect that after years of banging the drum that WWC voters are being ignored, Denham was finally offered some money in order to deal with ‘extremism’. Patronising, but perhaps an inevitable outcome of tabloids constantly screaming that money is being thrown at immigrants and asylum seekers (oh really?) while WWC people are ignored.

    Continue Reading...
    15th October, 2009

    Why would they want to join anyway?

    by Rumbold at 11:22 am    

    Nick Griffin is to ask the BNP to change its constitution so that non-whites can join the party. This is in order to nullify a challenge from the Equality and Human Rights Commission about its whites-only membership rules.

    The whole exercise seems rather pointless. Are there legions of ethnic minorities waiting to join the ranks of the BNP? People who miss the good old days of being called a ‘Paki’ and who aren’t talented enough to get on Strictly Come Dancing? Perhaps every adult member of an ethnic minority should sign up as a BNP member (which would make them a majority of BNP members), and then vote in a non-white person as head of the BNP.

    Filed under: The BNP
    14th October, 2009

    BBC Question Time panel confirmed

    by Sunny at 4:26 pm    

    Here it is: Sayeeda Warsi, Jack Straw, Chris Huhne, Bonnie Greer and Nick Griffin. What absolute bollocks. I like Sayeeda Warsi and out of all those I think she’s the only good choice (working class, northern). Nick Griffin in all likelihood will run rings around the rest and this whole debate is going to be a farce. Bonnie Greer is, as Gary Dunion rightly said, wooly and middle class and she’s not even a Brit!! Shocking.

    Update: several people on Twitter have pointed out that Griffin is middle-class and Oxbridge educated, and therefore cannot seek to represent working class people. This isn’t a strong argument.

    The right has always been populated by elites claiming to represent the hard-working people while simultaneously screwing them over. The ‘elitist’ claim was commonly used by Republicans against Obama even though he had come from humbler origins than most of them. But the point is whether the constituency believes that person. The working class people driven to support the BNP obviously believe it stands up for the working class - so you have to take that seriously.

    Secondly, middle class people generally hate cheap populism and the use of emotion to make political points. They prefer ‘rational argument’. Fuck that. The way to destroy the BNP is through emotional narratives and populism. That’s the language they can’t fight against. By that I mean the way you frame your arguments has to be different and populist.

    I would have replaced Bonnie Greer with Shaun Bailey - a much more credible voice against Griffin.

    Its “lack of depth was…. inexcusable”

    by Sunny at 11:22 am    

    Oh dear, BBC Radio 1′s BNPgate saga continues to run and run, attracting even more criticism. David Modell, filmaker and producer of Dispatches film Young, Nazi and Proud, writes for Channel 4 News:

    The interview was typical of the sometimes flawed reporting of the BNP when the BBC engages its representatives in mainstream broadcasts. The BNPs heritage of neo-nazism and position in the “white supremacist” movement is often not understood by poorly briefed reporters, who conduct interviews in a format designed for credible politicians.

    In the case of the Newsbeat interview the lack of depth is even more inexcusable as this was clearly prerecorded and edited, so there should have been time for proper research and scrutiny.

    I would never argue that we should not allow the BNP airtime. But reporting the organisation has to be done with great care because of the distress and damage it has the potential (and the will) to cause. Failure to do so risks collaborating in the dissemination of a destructive hatred.

    Spot on. I’m not letting go of this story that easily because we’re entering a dangerous stage of our politics where the voice of the BNP is slowly being legitimised by a media (principally the BBC) through some very shoddy reporting and journalism. Next week we’ll have to watch Nick Griffin on Question Time and see how that progresses. The BBC’s argument that it’s only giving him space because he is now an elected MEP has been shown as rubbish.

    On that, I agree with Mehdi Hasan that picking Bonnie Greer is a bad choice. Look - most BNP supporters are working class people. To undermine Griffin’s credibility, using a middle-class activist/intellectual from America is hardly going to resonate is it? They need people from working class backgrounds to point out that the BNP offer the politics of anger and hatred - and will never end up helping working class people. I doubt Bonnie Greer will be able to do that. If they pick Trevor Phillips on the panel, that’s it - I’ll officially brand it a conspiracy to support the BNP.

    Filed under: Media,The BNP

    How does blog hosting impact your legal situation?

    by Sunny at 12:30 am    

    To what extent does where you run your blog from and / or host it impact its legal situation? For example, PP is hosted in the United States. All material contained on this site and everything uploaded to it is hosted in the US. US libel laws are clearly very different to the UK’s.

    Guido Fawkes has a slightly more elaborate set-up (see video) where he says that the ‘publisher’ is based somewhere in the Cayman islands. But he’s the publisher and he’s always mostly in the UK. But his hosting company is also based in the United States, which shields him too. I’m not sneering here - in fact I admire that Staines has created a setup that allows him to frustrate or confuse potential libel lawyers.

    But the question is: how important is the hosting company? I’m aware that in some cases people of other countries have taken their fellow countrymen to court in the UK simply because the site was accessed by a few people here. That seems confusing. Is any website in the US accessible by British courts then liable?

    We’re hosted in California - which has just passed a law stating that websites hosted there are not liable under British libel law. Obviously they care for free speech a lot. That would cover us - but to what extent? As bloggers we need more discussion and thought about this surely?

    Filed under: Blog
    13th October, 2009

    Unit that counters human trafficking at risk

    by Rumbold at 7:25 pm    

    Jess McCabe at the F-Word reports that the specialist unit, which is focused on countering human trafficking, is at risk once again because of a lack of funding. This would be a blow, because, as Jess points out, the officers would be reassigned to other units where they probably would not work solely on trafficking cases.

    While all departments are having to make cutbacks, it must be pointed out that The Metropolitan police not only managed to lose £30 million in Iceland banks after their financial advisor told them to withdraw it (they did, then put it back without telling him), but also found £240,000 to send thirty nine staff to Beijing on a fact-finding mission last year. A clear indication of priorities.

    Sunny update: On twitter, liannedemello tells me that Jenny Jones AM is going to challenge London Mayor Boris Johnson on this tomorrow. After the recent plans to reduce funding to rape centres, it’s also clear where Boris’s priorities lie.

    Why didn’t Radio 1′s BNPgate get highlighted earlier

    by Sunny at 2:01 pm    

    Why did the BBC’s soft BNP interview take so long to become a national story? - asks Roy Greenslade at the Guardian. He has, quite helpfully, a good run-down of how the story slowly evolved until it became massive once the Mail on Sunday picked it up and ran a three-page splash.

    Perhaps there are a few agendas at work here. Perhaps Guardian journos didn’t want to bash the BBC and so they didn’t run it initially. Besides, complaining about an extremely soft interview isn’t necessarily a story in itself. The Daily Mail has a more straight-forward BBC-bashing agenda, though admittedly it has also been running anti-BNP articles (while airing their talking points on other columns/stories.)

    But once the Mail on Sunday went big with: BBC storm as two of BNP’s most notorious activists are invited on Radio 1 to insult Ashley Cole - it suddenly got picked up all over the press.

    Keep in mind it has been all over the blogs repeatedly. Here is a list:
    Mehdi Hasan at New Statesman
    The F Word
    Stroppyblog
    Pickled Politics
    Sarah Ditum’s Paperhouse
    853 blog
    Harry’s Place
    Nothing British about the BNP
    Lenin’s Tomb
    Ms Kitton
    Time Out
    … and perhaps more.

    To answer the question in the title of this post - it’s that the Daily Mail is good at spotting and creating stories, especially when it has a specific agenda. But it could have been turned into a story when Radio 1′s Rod McKenzie published this lame attempt to defend the interview.

    Or it could be that journos only read a narrow range of certain blogs and take their political temperature from those.

    But this also comes back to the point I raised earlier about BBC journalism. It isn’t proper journalism when you invite a flat-earther and a scientist on to a debate and have them slog it out. It isn’t proper journalism when you present the overwhelming evidence against global warming as ‘one side of a controversial debate’ - that’s just disingenuous.

    The same will happen on Question Time next week when Nick Griffin turns up and says a whole bunch of things which, in many cases, may not be true but won’t be challenged because the other panellists won’t have read up on them. I had hoped that perhaps a better way for the media to deal with the BNP is by having them on programmes and challenging their views and engaging them directly via preparation. Radio 1′s journalism shows even that isn’t a safe bet any more.

    Lastly, all this highlights that while the mainstream media lives in a cosy consensus - blogs play a vital role in giving light to real stories that are often ignored.

    Filed under: Media,Race politics
    12th October, 2009

    Iain Dale, candidate for Bracknell, advocates hosing protestors

    by Sunny at 8:54 pm    

    Sometimes you just have to laugh at how absurd right-wingers are. Tory blogger Iain Dale goes off on one of his hysterical rants again today, fuming about the Greenpeace supporters who put up a big sign across Westminster.

    Legitimate protest is one thing. Invading the parliamentary estate like this is quite another. Just leaving them up there on the roof with no intervention by the Police sends a simple message to others who might have the same idea: come on in, we’re too worried about negative press reaction to do anything.

    I wish I had suggested to Bob Ainsworth that he send the army in with a water cannon. It’s the only language they understand.

    Unbelievable that a PPC candidate is openly advocating using such strong-arm tactics against peaceful protestors. Where are we living, in North Korea?

    But the more amusing thing is that when this gets picked up by various people on Twitter - realising he made a big gaffe - Dale hurriedly adds:

    UPDATE: For the humourless left, perhaps I should have added a smiley after that sentence. They really don’t do tongue in cheek humour do they? Po faced idiots.

    Ahh yes, that old tactic of claiming lefties have no humour to cover up your own gaffe.

    Funny, someone forgot to tell his own right-wing readers that it was all meant to be a joke: they think he’s being far too charitable! This must be the modern compassionate conservative party.

    Filed under: Blog,Media

    Charmer of the week

    by Rumbold at 10:29 am    

    It would be difficult to make this up:

    ” A father missed the birth of his first son after being arrested for groping a nurse on the way to the delivery room. Police said Adam Manning sexually assaulted the nurse as she wheeled his wife into the delivery room.

    The 30 year old had told the nurse she was “cute” then reached round to grab her breasts. Police in Ogden, Utah, were called to the hospital and arrested Manning on charges of forcible sexual assault.”

    Maybe he wants to be prime minister of Italy.

    Filed under: Current affairs
    11th October, 2009

    Left wing coalition building

    by Sunny at 7:30 pm    

    In writing about left-wing blogging, or more accurately some Labour blogs and some not, Andy Newman at Socialist Unity has similar thoughts to me:

    Now there are in fact structural reasons why the left tends to have a semi-hostile attitude to each other, these are threefold fold; i) the traditional First past the Post elelctoral system has encouraged the Labour Party to be a big coalition, and therefore all effective electoral politics has gone through Labour, and those outside it have been regarded as not-serious; ii) the legacy of the divide in the labour movement over the USSR which has led many in the Labour Party to be deeply suspicious of non-members with opinions; iii) the legacy of toy-town “Leninism” that has led the British far-left to splinter into a mosaic of tiny sects, and to have a sectarian and stupid hostility to the Labour Party. These legacies need to be overcome.

    The legacy of competing tiny groups of true believers splitting hairs and arguing over the finest details of programmes that they would never have the social weight to implement also needs to be overcome, because it is utterly irrelevant to British politics.

    Blogs have an important role to play, not only in providing a space for journalism and commentary outside the control of the mainstream media, but also in providing a space for debate and exchange of views, providing a nertwork of mutual support, and devloping new ideas. The left needs to get better at both of those tasks if we are to fight back to prevent a Tory win at the next election, or failing that to wage a determined and effective opposition to a Tory government.

    I agree with all of that. There are two structural problems we need to overcome ASAP:
    1) too much in-fighting among lefties
    2) lack of campaigning orgs and capacity other than unions (which are too pro-Labour)

    Forget all the ‘new ideas’ shtick for now - it needs to be resolved but right-wingers aren’t bubbling with them either. The two problems above are more problematic. Part of that is about moving past the legacy that Andy mentions above. However, to me that doesn’t mean setting up alternative political parties for now, as AVPS says here. The danger for lefties is that we focus too much on political parties that offer a home.

    Instead, we need to focus first on building cohesiveness and organisational capacity. We need to think about building a non-party infrastructure that can then be used to influence politics regardless of party. The main reason why Tony Blair was able to ignore the left was because there wasn’t any effective pressure put on him from the left. So rather than just thinking outside the confines of the Labour party I’d go further and say we need to start thinking outside the political party structures too.

    [For more on "infrastructure", I suggest reading this article in the New York Times, which was my inspiration for setting up Liberal Conspiracy.]

    Daily Mail attacks BBC over Radio 1′s BNPgate

    by Sunny at 11:20 am    

    The Mail on Sunday lays into the BBC today for its recent soft interview with two BNP activists. Obviously the Daily Mail has an agenda to undermine the BBC but I’m not supporting the latter. Even for the Mail, it is spot on. via Lancaster Unity. Most tellingly, the BNP spokesperson says:

    We were surprised not to have faced more difficult questioning but Radio 1 is not a heavy-duty political organ like Radio 4. It is an informative thing for young people. It is not too serious.

    Not too serious is exactly how I’d describe their journalism.

    Update: Peter Hain writes an article criticising the Beeb over the interview too. The Guardian has also finally picked up the ball.

    Filed under: Media
    10th October, 2009

    There’s always some conspiracy at the Guardian!

    by Sunny at 10:10 pm    

    It’s amazing how conspiracy-prone right-wingers are getting these days. Simon Rogers at the Guardian did a blogpost following Obama’s Nobel prize win, which featured a constantly updated list of previous Nobel prize winners. By mistake he omitted some names.

    Melanie Phillips at the Spectator and MArk Steyn at the National Review immediately leapt on the blog-post by pointing out that three names had been omitted - all coincidentally Israeli. Ooooh! Conspiracy! When this was pointed out to Rogers in the comments he immediately responded:

    It’s my fault, I’m afraid. I decided where there was more than one winner to put the joint one in the second column. Unfortunately, this caused a few problems, which we’ve now rectified. Please let me know if you spot any other missing names.

    Some other names had also been missed out because of that, he says later, like John Raleigh Mott, The Quakers and the League of Red Cross Societies. Damn the Guardian and their Quaker hating ways.

    It’s amazing and hilarious that every little incident like this at the Guardian is seen as a conspiracy. Phillips adds: “Tsk – standards of censorship on Planet Bigotry are clearly slipping.” - wot an idiot.

    Filed under: Media

    Mayor Boris - pushing cronyism at City Hall?

    by Sunny at 5:33 pm    

    The Times has published an email exchange on London Mayor Boris Johnson trying to get former Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley, who was a big supporter of his candidacy, chair the Arts Council of England for London.

    So Boris writes offering his full support. This is the conclusion of the response:

    So we are left with a due process that was not followed, a candidate who was manifestly less qualified than three of her competitors and three distinguished candidates put through a process that seems to have questionable validity. My conclusion is that the Mayor’s [Boris] intended appointment is based on reasons other than selection of the best candidate for the post. Had the appointment been run to the standard applied to other appointments on Council Veronica would not have been seen by the Mayor.

    Wow. Given all the accusations levelled at Ken Livingstone (some rightly in my view) for favouring former colleagues for top jobs - I waited to see whether the Tories who are resolute about ‘merit and not cronyism’ for appointments would say anything. Nope. Nothing. Nada.

    Conservatives do make a big deal about how they oppose ‘positive action’ on diversity for the same reasons - people should be judged only on merit. And yet when such flagrant examples of cronyism come to light they say nothing.
    Adam Bienkov and Dave Hill have more.

    Filed under: London Politics,Media
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