31st December, 2009
30th December, 2009
This is an amusing start to my new year celebrations. Tim Montgomerie and Iain Dale are outraged….OUTRAGED I say!… that I had something nasty to say about Rush Limbaugh on Twitter last night.
Of course it’s all rather predictable. Both get a constant beating at Liberal Conspiracy when we expose crap they publish – from the easily destroyed global warming conspiracy theories to the infamous mass-resignation from PoliticsHome that Montgomerie was livid over. Poor guy is still smarting over that. Oh and not to forget the ridicule he attracts for his infamous ‘left-watch’ site that keeps am eye on lefties who disagree with the David Cameron line.
Readers, how shall I respond? Shall I:
1. Point at the fact that they prominently and constantly link to Guido Fawkes and Devils Kitchen, where far worse has been said about left-wing personalities by the authors and/or their readers? Nah, too obvious.
2. Go all hysterical and claim that it’s political correctness gone mad, typical of right-wingers to try and police people’s thoughts and that these people can’t take a joke? Wait – that’s their usual line. Though it would still apply – this sort of hyporcrisy is typical of them.
3. Get all faux-outraged over Dale taking off the link to LC and claim it’s typical of his immature behaviour, throw
a strop and start fundraising for his political opponent? Oh wait, he hasn’t actually been selected for anything. Damn.
4. Link to all the nasty racist, homophobic and sexist things Rush “Barack the Magic Negro” Limbaugh has said in the past? The guy is so off the charts even Richard Littlejohn wouldn’t repeat the stuff he’s said. And yet Montgomerie says he is a mainstream ‘centre-right’ figure. Says it all doesn’t it?
No… I’ve got it. I’ve got my bottle of JD that is. I’m off to get ready and party tonight like it’s the end of the decade.
Have a good one all of you! If I was a rapper, I’d say 2010 is gonna be off the chain. But I’m not. So it’s just going to be off the hook.
(will add links later, this is from my phone)
What is it about the writing at Spectator magazine that attracts such racist lunatics? Rod Liddle writes another bit of tripe which isn’t even worth fisking its so poor.
Here’s the first comment in response:
So another jiggaboo straps a bomb to his leg and trys to blow up an airplane but blows his leg off instead.
What brilliant company they keep at the Speccie. I’m told the site has moderators, but perhaps they were sleeping or something. Update: an explanation
This is an obituary on the 1st death anniversary of Mrs Aziza B Qureshi, the mother of Fun Da Mental frontman Aki Nawaz.
by Dil Nawaz
Mother Beloved was born in Undivided British India; she could have got her British Passport on that criteria alone. She was a proud Pakistani but used to call herself â€œMother Indiaâ€, that movie by Communist Muslim film director mahboob became the â€œmanifestoâ€ for her family. It was initiation as an adopted son that I memorised the whole screenplay, dialogues and songs etc(well not all of it but you get the picture).
Mother Beloved moved to her Heavenly abode on 27 December 2008, but a part of her died a year earlier in the catastrophe that struck Pakistan on 27/12/2007 when an alleged Islamist suicide bomber killed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Afterwards, when Mr. Asif Zardari was declared the self-appointed leader of Pakistan Peoples Party, she broke all links with that painful memory, even though the whole family used to cry every time a Bhutto was ‘martyred’ in Pakistan. Mother safely stored all memorabilia, portraits and family photos with Bhuttosâ€™ visit to Bradford and never opened that closet again.
29th December, 2009
Edmund Standing reports that Lee John Barnes, The BNP’s legal director, has called the attack on the migrant centre in Calais an “act of National Liberation.” This isn’t the first time that he called for or praised violent activity, and his comments continue to remind us about the true nature of the BNP.
Cheers to a readers for sending in this link:
A fire engulfed the Cradley Heath Mosque and Islamic Centre on Boxing Day destroying the building and the religious countless books inside.
Vasharat Ali, secretary of the mosque and education centre, said: â€œThis is not the first time we have been targeted, there was a similar attack four or five years ago. “The building has been completely destroyed and all the books we use with the children have been damaged by water.”
Mmmm… I wonder what sort of propaganda spurred an arsonist to do that.
Update: Arsonists also attack new centre for immigrants in Calais.
The recent debate between Sunny and Devil’s Kitchen has once again raised the question of how to reconcile libertarianism with deep-rooted inequality. Libertarians tend to be very individualistic. That is not to say that libertarians don’t like people or groups, merely that libertarians like being treated as individuals and not stereotyped. Thus libertarians will tend to lay great stress on treating people as individuals and not as a member of a group, and tend to be uncomfortable with policies designed to favour group x, or hinder group y, as such policies are felt to contribute to people being defined not as individuals, but as members of groups, which encourages divisions.
This attitude has come in for plenty of criticism from people who argue that by calling for everyone to be treated equally, libertarians are failing to take into account that not everyone starts off from the same point, so some people have an inbuilt advantage (or â€˜privilegeâ€™, to use the jargon). The two approaches can be compared to a running race. For libertarians, the race is fair if everyone starts from the same point and at the same time. For critics, the race isnâ€™t fair, since some of the runners have had a great deal more help and training than others, and this advantage will help them throughout the race. But are the two approaches fundamentally contradictory? No.
28th December, 2009
I got a bit annoyed with the ‘it’s all China’s fault‘ rhetoric that came out of the Copenhagen failure for various reasons. It turns out I wasn’t alone, and blogger Madam Miaow posted a message on CIF in response to such an article but had it curiously censored.
Anyway, she says:
The US and the rich nations use up almost all the carbon allowance in the atmosphere over the past 160 years, the US dithers over ten years of Bush, they refuse to ratify Kyoto, the Danish summit chair has to resign when she’s caught fast-tracking the rich nations’ deal, the West fail in their Kyoto pledges, Canada rips up its Kyoto deal and proceeds with exploiting its huge reserves of dirty oil, the US will only reduce emissions by 4% against the 1990 base year and not the 17% you describe as “serious cuts”, while China makes real strides in green technology, and so on.
But it is all China’s fault.
What other country has an entire city using solar powered appliances? Who else has planted such huge tracts of forest while loggers tear down the rest? China aims for 15% of its energy from renewables, it has revolutionised wind-turbines, makes a key component of electric car batteries, and so on. We in the UK can’t even meet our Kyoto promise.
This is spot on and makes the two points I wanted to. Firstly, the US and European stance has been completely hypocritical and China became a whipping boy for their failure.
Secondly, and more importantly, China knows there is serious money to be made from Green technology, renewable energy and ways to reduce pollution. That way lies the real technical innovation of the future. In fact all the big powerhouses from Asia are pouring money into R&D in this area. Meanwhile we’re held back by right-whingers who are still peddling conspiracy theory about global warming from Russia and Saudi Arabia. Amazing. When we fall way back in technical innovation in 20 years time then these people will realise their folly.
There’s a hilariously dumb-headed post at Devil’s Kitchen called ‘Sunny Hundal: condoning class war. Would he be so keen on a race war?‘ – which basically boils down to libertarian idiot Chris Mounsey equating raising taxes on rich people to kicking the crap out of someone for being black or white.
OK. So, my class must be defined by my parents; Sunny’s race is defined by his parents. I can no more help the income of my parents than Sunny can affect the race of his.
So, there is an equivalence: yes?
Where do you even start with such stupidity? I suppose the concept of progressive taxation – advanced by Adam Smith himself – must be a form of discrimination against rich people because they can’t help their income. Perhaps they should complain to EHRC! Rights for rich people! Stop the discrimination!
I actually pointed out what Class War strategy meant not long ago here:
The â€˜class warâ€™ is narrowly defined as being about bankersâ€™ bonuses and higher taxes. Labour needs to expand this to include: Tories increasing IHT, deploring fairer taxes on the super-rich, their privileged backgrounds, the Â£250,000 â€œchicken-feedâ€, MPs â€œforced to live on rationsâ€, Cameron not knowing how many houses he owned. In fact top Tory gaffes reek of how out of touch they are. Re-framing the debate would allow them to talk about wider issues than just bankersâ€™ bonuses.
I also pointed out that rather being seen as against aspiration, New Labour should re-frame the debate as being for the deserving rich and hard-working small businesses rather than fat-cat bankers who get big bonuses for screwing up the economy.
All that has clearly gone over the head of the new leader of the Libertarian Party who just wants another excuse to swear like he has tourettes. I’m sure he will lead the party to great heights.
27th December, 2009
A reader at the Lancaster Unity blog writes:
The base polling figures for the minor parties run UKIP 4%, Greens 3% and BNP 2%. Of course, when you get down to figures like this there is a significant margin of error. The number of people responding is low, and the risk of sampling error is high, but the basic message is simple. None of these parties have any sort of widespread, national support in the context of a general election.
He then breaks down the polling numbers to point out that not only does support for the BNP remain very low, it is lowest among older people who are more likely to vote. The whole post is worth reading. He summarises:
None of this polling means that we can relax, or that we can ignore the danger of BNP progress at the general election. But what it does mean is that despite the election of two MEPs, despite Question Time, despite all the boasting, despite the lies and distortions in the popular press playing to the BNP agenda; despite all this the BNP have failed to make any significant progress in winning the hearts, minds and – especially – votes of the vast majority of the British people.
Exactly. While we continue to cover BNP related news on this blog, I’m always wary of falling for the media narrative that the BNP is some massive organisation on the brink of massive electoral victory. The media like that for two reasons: first because it’s exciting, and second because it then allows them to claim that to beat the BNP, people’s views on immigration (meaning their own views on immigration) must be heard. In other words most of the media use the BNP to push their own bigoted views on immigrants.
I think the jury is out but it seems too many of our regulars had problems with the new comments system – so I’ve disabled it. We’re back to the way it was now.
- BBC: Ban Ki-Moon: Gaza reconstruction not being addressed
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said more must be done to repair damage done in the Gaza Strip by Israeli military action one year ago. Mr Ban said Gazans were being denied “basic human rights” and urged Israel to end its “unacceptable and counterproductive blockade”.
The UN Relief and Works agency (UNRWA) in Gaza told the BBC that public health was suffering as a result of inadequate and unsanitary water supplies, and there had been a rise in infant mortality.
- An editorial in the Guardian called for ‘progress in Gaza’, but this is highly unlikely while Israel maintains a tight blockade and continues to make life a misery for Palestinians. Support for Hamas, meanwhile, continues to stay high.
- BBC reports that at least eight protesters have been killed in Iran in violent clashes between anti-government crowds and police. The nephew of former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi was among four killed in Tehran, and reports say four also died in the city of Tabriz. Security forces reportedly opened fire in Tehran after losing control.
There are some pictures from the anti-govt rally on this blog.
- Guardian: A former London student has been charged with attempting to blow up a transatlantic airliner carrying 278 passengers on Christmas Day. American prosecutors claim that Abdulmutallab, who finished an engineering course at University College London last year, had a device attached to his body when he boarded the plane in Amsterdam on Christmas Eve. He passed through the airport in transit after flying from Lagos.
26th December, 2009
Henrietta Spink, a disability campaigner who has two severely disabled boys, has set out what she thinks needs to be done to change disability provision in this country, including:
The 2001 Census suggests that there are 5.2 millions carers in England and Wales. Over Â£1.75 billion was spent on assessment and care management and Â£13.1 billion on adult social care by local authorities in 2007-8 across the UK…
Another key point of the campaign is the portability of care packages. At present we are trapped in Cornwall. My husbandâ€™s work is in the South East yet we have we no way of relocating, as to move would mean losing our care package. From our experience a new receiving local authority will not look at an existing care package and this is borne out by a letter we have from Ed Balls stating that the Welfare Bill makes no provision for rights to portable support, and that there is no guarantee about continuity of support, even for a transitional period.
Worth reading in full.
24th December, 2009
The Daily Mail asks if Peter Tatchell is the bravest man in Britain. The article comes after Mr. Tatchell was forced to step down as a Green candidate because of continuing brain injuries caused by Robert Mugabe’s thugs when he tried to arrest the dictator some year earlier (and not helped by vicious beatings at the hands of neo-Nazis in Russia).
He’s certainly a great loss to parliament, and the Mail’s question shows what a great campaigner for human rights he has become (twenty years ago Peter Tatchell was mainly known for ‘outing’ secret homosexuals). I’d vote for him, whatever party he stood for. Despite his ill health, surely few would object if a government gave him a peerage. This would mean that Mr. Tatchell wouldn’t have to be in parliament all the time, but being a Lord would give him extra weight when he campaigned. At the moment, Mr. Tatchell says that he would not accept a peerage, because it is “political patronage”, but surely if the offer was made by the three main parties, and he sat as a cross-bencher, it would be okay.
Two thousand and nine years ago, the Daily Mail printed a story about the birth of a boy in the Middle East. Here are the top rated comments underneath the article:
As someone who has been in the B&B business for thirty years I can understand why nobody wanted to give those two a room. It’s their own fault for not booking ahead.
Mary’s the same age as my daughter and she’s already had a husband and a lover. Yet we can’t call them paedos as it’s not POLITICALLY CORRECT.
Cassivellaunus, Dubris, BRITAIN not England.
I hate the trend of people giving their children fancy names. What’s wrong with good old-fashioned British ones?
Now theyâ€™re whining that Herodâ€™s trying to kill them. I smell an ASYLUM claim in the making. No doubt Britain will let them in because what we really need more of are teenage Mums and penniless carpenters. Thank you Caesar!
You couldnâ€™t make it up- now we have to change our calendars because of this boy. It will all be BC and AD from now on.
23rd December, 2009
I called up the Green Lane Mosque today to find out whether tomorrow’s event, hosting the two extremist clerics, is still going ahead. The person who picked up the phone would not offer info about himself but kept referring me to the press releases on their website.
The GLM have now issued two press releases in response to the controversy. Both have gone on at great length about how these two clerics have condemned terrrorism and al-Qaeda. And both have spent considerable effort attacking the Quilliam Foundation – which boils down to a lame attempt at shooting the messenger.
Neither press release addresses the anti-Semitic statements made by the clerics other than to say they were unrepresentative and among hundreds others which are not about Jews. not good enough. Would these defenders of the Mosque apply the same standards to bigots like Melanie Phillips or Robert Spencer?
So well done to British Muslims for Secular Democracy for bringing together a coalition of Muslims, Jews and others to condemn this act by the GLM. The latter have now called upon Muslim orgs to defend them.
But any Muslim org defending the GLM over these clerics would be giving cover to racism and anti-semitism. Not only that, they would be helping anti-Muslim in pushing the view that deep down all Muslims still remain deeply racist and willing to turn a blind eye to extremist clerics.
This is a guest post by Shaaz Mahboob of British Muslims for Secular Democracy
Mosques, Synagogues, Temples, Gurdwaras, Churches and other places of worship offer a unique spiritual experience for those using them. Therefore, maintaining their sanctity is a must, both for those who use them and those who run them. This â€œmulticulturalâ€ society of ours, about to complete its first decade into the 21st Century, in many respects has come a long way from the days of Stephen Lawrenceâ€™s ghastly murder and certainly from the dark ages when witches were burnt at stake and Jews were murdered en masse, for their religious beliefs.
What has recently been picked up by Quilliam Foundation is news relating to the platform (link) being given by the Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham, to two openly anti-Semitic sectarian preachers from Saudi Arabia. A quick scan of their websites reveals their contempt (link) for all the Jewish people and those belonging to the Shiâ€™ite sect (link) within Muslim communities.
When it comes to law and order I’d describe myself more centrist and right-wing than on the left in many cases. I’ve been to far too many countries like India where the rule of law is woefully missing, and as a result poor people lose out because they don’t have the connections (or money) to get adequate justice. The law there, in most cases, is an ass.
With rule of law also comes the right to self-defence: another issue I’m fairly big on. Of course law enforcement should take precedence, but if I’m being attacked then I want to be able to deal with the problem than have to wait for the police.
Which is why, I find myself with the Daily Mail in being outraged over the sentencing of Munir Hussain.
Salem spent two weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries after he terrorised Mr Hussain and his family in their home on September 3, 2008.
Mr Hussain, 53, was jailed for two and a half years for causing grievous bodily harm with intent and his brother Tokeer received 39 months for the same offence.
Now, I accept that the law should ensure that people are not allowed to mete out vigilante justice. I also accept that proportionality is important – in that if someone punches me, then mowing them down with an M-16 Assault Rifle is likely to land me in jail.
But Munir had Hussain not only had burglars in his house – they also tied up his family and tormented them. I cannot guarantee that if I came back to my house and saw that being done to my family, I wouldn’t pull out a gun and mow that mofo down straight-away. As my mate said: ‘If you don’t want your ass kicked then don’t break into my house‘.
To that extent, while I think the law fairly ok as it stands, I do sympathise with Conservative attempts to strengthen it in favour of householders who have their house broken into.
PS. Ireland is about to change its laws on self-defence, giving people the right to use force, including lethal force, against attack in their homes if they believe they will be the victim of murder, rape, kidnapping etc. I’m all in favour of that.
22nd December, 2009
The title is hardly news. But watching BBC London news last night just reminded me how much the 2012 Olympics will cost, and how hypocritical its goals are. The occasion, ironically enough, was a press release, disguised as a news story. The story (summary here) celebrated the setting up in poorer countries of sports clubs which are designed to help children stay out of trouble. I heartily approve of this. Any spending of taxpayers’ money on sport should be targeted at the worst off in society, in order to provide them with basic equipment and pitches.
Yet the Olympics is doing the opposite of this. Estimates for its net cost (after ticket sales, land sales, private investment, etc.) are currently running at between Â£7-16 billion pounds. Little of that money will actually go to those who benefit most from sport (ordinary people), but rather elite athletes, officials and hangers-on. And why should these people receive taxpayers’ and lottery money? They do a job, which many of them get well rewarded for. Let the Olympics pay for itself.
The facilities will not benefit the majority of people, and instead the money should either be given back to its rightful owners, or spent on making sure that more swimming pools aren’t closed down, nor playing fields sold off.
21st December, 2009
Yesterday Tory blogger Iain Dale posted a blog-post titled ‘Oxford is Cool’. Not long after, Unity posted an article on LibCon pointing out what a bunch of tripe the thinking and methodology behind that post was. Note, how Iain Dale then acted when others pointed this out.
It’s worth noting, for a start, that Dale’s blogpost is just one in a long line of rubbish he has published about global warming (including a recent punt on the ‘Global Cooling’ myth). It’s a subject he clearly knows little about. But it has become de rigeur for global warming deniers to publish a continuous stream of bad science and rubbish claims, and obfuscate the debate while saying it is there just to further discussion and ‘challenge the consensus‘.
20th December, 2009
This concludes the article begun yesterday; the first part can be read here. The extracts quoted below are from an article by the British historian William Dalrymple.
â€œ[Emperor Akbar] issued an edict of sulh-i kul, or universal toleration, forbade the forcible conversion of prisoners to Islam and married a succession of Hindu wivesâ€¦..He promoted Hindus at all levels of the administration: indeed, he even entrusted his army to a Hindu – his former enemy Raja Man Singh of Jaipur, whom he had defeated in battle – and filled his court with artists and intellectuals, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. He also ended the jizya tax levied only on non-Muslims, and ordered the translation of the Sanskrit classics [like the Mahabharata and Ramayana] into Persian.â€
After the conviction of Mehmet Goren for the murder of his fifteen year old daughter because she had fallen in love with the wrong man, numerous columnists and campaigners have delivered broadsides against â€˜misplaced cultural sensitivitiesâ€™ and â€˜multiculturalismâ€™ (MixTogether has a roundup of initial responses here). Jaswinder Sanghera, founder of the charity Karma Nirvana, argued that:
Up until last month, 86 forced marriage protection orders have been issued, yet not one of them was in Bradford, Leicester or Tower Hamlets. Is this because forced marriage is not a problem in those areas, all of which have some of the largest Asian populations in Britain? Or is it because authorities there are failing to use the powers for fear of creating offence? I am afraid it is the latter.
Poorna Shetty meanwhile highlighted two cases where the police had failed to take women who contacted them seriously: both would end up dead.
There is still much to criticise the state for the way in which it deals with ‘honour’-based violence (HBV). Too little money gets to specialist charities (and even less will in the future), while the Forced Marriage Unit is understaffed and underfunded. Some state employees, whether politicians or officials, have been downright hostile in the past towards efforts to combat HBV. Jaswinder Sanghera recalls councillors and school officials in Derby (where she is based) criticising her and refusing to put up posters that told pupils about organisations which they could turn to if they felt under threat. Some victims of HBV have discovered in the past that the state does not take them seriously; one girl who feared that her parents would kill her was eventually re-housed, but only in the street next to theirs. Suspects fleeing oversees have often found safe havens in areas like Kurdistan.
19th December, 2009
My recent articles about Guru Gobind Singh and Guru Hargobind highlighted the notion that Sikhs are inherently â€œimplacable mortal enemiesâ€ of Muslims as being baseless where the Sikh Gurus were concerned. However, there are further lessons from history for vehemently anti-Muslim organisations such as the BNP and the SIOE which claim that â€œall Muslims are Islamistsâ€ and promote the historically false notion that Muslim-governed regions have always been extremely hostile to Christians.
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The much anticipated verdict on NRO was announced this week in Pakistan. The NRO is the national reconciliation order formed by Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto’s party to give her and her husband amnesty from the corruption charges against her put forward by Nawaz Sharif’s government.
The news that countryâ€™s top court recognized the controversial amnesty as a menace to democratic and lawful set up is being embraced with happiness all over. For Pakistanis, it is time of happy news. Which does not come much often in the often tragedy struck region.
In a brief order issued shortly after 10 PM, the bench all cases withdrawn under the NRO would be reopened and convictions quashed under the law would stand restored. The apex court also declared as unconstitutional letters written to Swiss authorities during the regime of former military Pervez Musharraf to close corruption cases against Zardari and his slain wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto. It directed authorities to reopen these cases.