The Independent today has an interview with Baroness Warsi, the shadow communities minister. It is an interesting look at a quietly impressive performer, who, even if you don’t agree with everything she has to say, seems like someone who will be able to handle her role well:
But Warsi says the problem with 13 years of Labour government is that money has been pumped into deprived, mainly Labour, areas, with very little to show for it. As with previous Tory governments, she says, there will be a “retrenchment of the state”, but the difference under Cameron is that people will not be left entirely alone: voluntary groups, social entrepreneurs or individual activists will be paid to set up community projects. Warsi calls it a “franchise model”.
Surely the last thing deprived estates need is cuts. She replies: “Clearly, if the solution to all their problems was money, we would have solved it, wouldn’t we? That should send out a strong signal to say: actually, money is not always the answer.”
Human Rights Watch (HRW) have criticised Britain’s ‘fast track’ asylum system, which has left many victims of human rights abuses unable to present their claims properly:
The 69-page report, â€œFast-Tracked Unfairness: Detention and Denial of Women Asylum Seekers in the UKâ€ documents how women asylum seekers with complex claims are being routed into a system designed for much simpler claims. The women are held in detention largely for the UKâ€™s administrative convenience, have very little time to prepare a legal case, and have only a few days to appeal if refused. But the claims often involve such sensitive and difficult issues as sexual violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, and domestic abuse. There is little time for lawyers or other representatives to build the trust with their clients needed for them to explain their claims or to obtain medical or other evidence needed to verify them.
No asylum system will never be perfect, and will always be open to abuses. There will be people who get sent back who shouldn’t be, and people allowed to stay who don’t really deserve it. But clearly the system isn’t working. There should be more time and help available to these women to present their cases:
Once routed into the fast track, women with complex cases have far too little time to prepare their case, obtain medical or other expert opinions, and establish the credibility of their claims. This is especially true in cases involving rape or abuse, where women may only be able to come forward with relevant information late in the process, or not at all, because they may be traumatized by their experience, frightened by the procedure, or simply embarrassed to tell an official.
Placing women in detention exacerbates the problems. Some of the women have no access to female interpreters, case workers, or medical staff.
HRW have suggested two steps to improve the situation:
# In the suitability guidance note for routing into this system, add complex gender-related persecution claims, such as sexual violence and domestic violence, to the list of â€œclaims unlikely to be accepted into fast track.â€
# Clarify the criteria for routing a person through fast track, including the factors that would enable a â€œquickâ€ decision on a claim.
Amnesty International, that evil dastardly organisation that doesn’t care for feminists, have just sent out an altert about a Zimbabwean trade unionist under threat. Please help if you can. On the other hand, if you’re going to write asking why they hadn’t mentioned Zimbabwe more times in the last 6 weeks, don’t bother.
Got this yesterday.
The Conservatives are delighted to announce the defection of a leading Labour councillor in Tower Hamlets to the party. Dr Anwara Ali, a Labour councillor in the borough since 2006, said her growing disillusionment with Labour and their failure to reform the NHS convinced her to join the Conservatives.
Commenting Dr Anwara Ali said: “As a GP working on the frontline in the largest practice in the East End, I have become increasingly disillusioned with Labourâ€™s failure to reform the NHS. The past decade has seen this government waste millions of pounds on bureaucracy in hospitals.”
– anyone know what’s going on down there?
You won’t be surprised to hear that someone has started a blog called ‘Has Amnesty Lost Its Way?‘. You also won’t be surprised to hear that the reason why its author Eric Lee thinks Amnesty has lost its way is because it’s been too damn critical of the USA and especially Israel.
Eric Lee, a trade unionist and long-standing Israel cheerleader, seems to be planning an absurd Trotskyist attempt to hijack Amnesty International UK Section Board. I hope they laugh him out of the hall.
I believe that Amnesty has lost its way when it comes to Israel and Palestine. Instead of being seen as an unbiased source, Amnesty is increasingly viewed by many as being anti-Israel. Amnestyâ€™s uncritical support for the controversial Goldstone report, the excessive coverage of Israel in its magazine (far more than coverage of, for example, Iran), the partnerships with anti-Israel NGOs like War on Want which label Israel as an â€œapartheidâ€ society, all contribute to this perception. And just as Amnesty demands that governments tolerate dissent, it too must be open to criticism and not smug or defensive.
And there you have it – the real reason why certain people have piled in to undermine Amnesty Intl. The Goldstone report merely highlighted what everyone knew already – that Israel had committed gross human rights violations in Gaza that were illegal under Geneva Conventions. It showered innocent civilians with White Phosphorous!, But apparently it’s more important that we criticise Amnesty for its “uncritical support” of the report.
As I’ve always said Gita Sahgal became merely the vehicle for Nick Cohen / Hitchens / Harry’s Place et al to undermine Amnesty because of they would rather prefer the organisation did not criticise the US / Israel and their friends at all. Instead of wanting it to be unbiased – they would in fact prefer it if it was more biased. Just, in favour of their geo-political aims.
Just to clarify the links: Eric Lee frequently writes for Harry’s Place. He is being supported by Jonathan Hoffman, a man who compiled an absurd 57 page ‘report’ of website comments as example of ‘Anti-Semitism at the Guardian CIF’, even though he admits a majority of the comments were removed by moderators. The blog above was also promoted on CIF Watch – which now spends most of it’s time attacking Jewish writers on Guardian CIF for being critical of Israel.
Who said we don’t have wingnuts in this country?
No doubt, the party leadership is racist. Most have convictions for inciting racial hatred and connections with White Supremacists across the globe. Itâ€™s an open and shut case. Are the million who voted BNP also uniformly racist? Emphatically not. Research by Nothing British indicates that BNP supporters are not defined by extreme racial attitudes.
I have to run but I’ll respond quickly now – I don’t think racism is entirely just about extreme attitudes around whether black people are inherently more stupid than whites.
Inayat Bunglawala argues that the Conservatives are doing too little to woo disenchanted Muslim voters, given that they are still three times more likely to vote for Labour than the Tories. The criticism of ignoring the ‘Muslim vote’ comes as a result of the Tories’ failure to attend this:
Last night, the Muslim Council of Britain â€“ the UK’s largest Islamic umbrella body â€“ held a gala dinner in London at which the Labour party was represented by the justice secretary, Jack Straw and the communities secretary, John Denham. The Lib Dem party leader, Nick Clegg, was also present. As elections are fast approaching this is perhaps not so very surprising. What was surprising, however, was that no frontbencher from the Conservative party deemed it worthwhile attending this event, which brought together more than 400 key figures from the UK’s diverse Muslim communities.
Inayat Bunglawala is a former secretary-general the media secretary of the MCB, which is probably where the following comes from:
And with the latest polls showing that we may be heading for a hung parliament, the Conservative party leadership could yet come to regret their needlessly offensive snub last night.
Yet his thinking is representative of a wider issue, which is the continued failure to treat Muslims as individuals. The BNP do it, the media does it and too many public figures do it as well. As Sunny has pointed out a number of times, there is nothing wrong with multiple identities, nor the idea that someone’s identities will probably influence they way they vote. Yet the moment we start talking about things like the ‘Muslim vote’, we are putting people into a box and expecting them to behave in a certain way because of their label. We do not talk of chasing the ‘white vote’, as we see white people as individuals, albeit with multiple identities that might inform their politics..
Let the Conservatives chase the votes of people who happen to be Muslims; not the ‘Muslim vote’.
It was an act of state-sponsored terrorism. The Guardian also covered the story, somewhat, but the rest of the media ignored it. The BBC didn’t even credit LC, the bastards. Anyway – this is an MEP praising an act of terrorism. And yet he didn’t even get a slap on the wrist for it. Just keep that in mind.
The Independent reports that autism, traditonally seen as a much more male condition, might be more common in girls than previously realised:
Autism is an overwhelmingly male diagnosis â€“ it has been described as the “extreme male brain”. Boys with the diagnosis outnumber girls by between 10 and 15 to one…
But in the developing story of autism â€“ interest in which has increased hugely in the last decade â€“ girls have been neglected. That omission will be remedied this week with the first conference on autistic spectrum disorders in women and girls. One aim will be to examine whether the condition has been underdiagnosed in females â€“ and what links there may be with eating disorders.
According to Janet Treasure, professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, around a fifth of girls diagnosed with anorexia have autistic spectrum features and 20 to 30 per cent may have exhibited rigidity and perfectionism in childhood. Anorexia has been called the female Asperger’s (the mild version of autism).
The Express Newspaper today has a front page headline claiming: ‘Labour says we are all racist’. Typically, the reasoning behind it is so obtuse that it would take ages to explain. Thankfully, Anton Vowl has done it. Read that blog post and you’ll see how wrong they are.
And the thing is – any person with a shred of intelligence can see the Express and Mail have been claiming conspiracy over nothing. And yet here is Chris Grayling’s statement on the issue:
The Government has simply not been telling the truth about its policies on immigration. More and more evidence is now emerging to show that they deliberately planned a big jump in immigration for their own political purposes.
Now they are trying to rewrite history to pretend those decisions never happened. Their conduct over all of this has been a complete disgrace.
It’s one thing for ministers to score partisan political points – it’s an entirely different matter for a shadow cabinet minister to endorse a lie and a conspiracy theory. The man is a nutjob.
… this is one long-running vendetta. This time he attacked “Amnesty International’s disgraceful performance” because it dared to oppose Guantanamo Bay then. They were soooo nasty to Alberto Gonzales. What has that guy ever done wrong?
So much for Nick Cohen and Martin Bright’s willingness to debate and handle opposing points of view – they’ve thrown me off and banned me from the Facebook group supporting Gita Sahgal. My crime? I pointed out that Salman Rushdie had no right to speak of “moral bankruptcy” given his support of Polanski. My comment was deleted and I was banned. So much for toleration of dissent eh. I only ban people here who come merely to abuse me; I didn’t swear once on the FB group.
Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International 2001-2009, was on Woman’s Hour this morning to discuss her book The Unheard Truth – Poverty and Human Rights in which Khan ‘advocates for awareness about what she sees as the indisputable link between the title’s two components. Khan states flatly, “Poverty is the world’s worst human rights crisis.”‘. More details can be found here.
At the close of the interview Khan was asked about Gita Sahgal’s campaign against Amnesty International, specifically her claim that Amnesty has shown a gross error in judgement in those it has chosen to work with in it’s campaign to close Guantanamo. Gita Sahgal is specifically accusing Moazzam Begg of supporting the Taliban and has accused Amnesty of ignoring her complaints for years, which has led to ‘absolutely no credibility across the world in being serious about treating the equality of women and the emancipation of women seriously’.
Khan had this to say:
I hired Gita and she worked with me for six years. While I was there those concerns did not come to light. She didn’t ever express them to me so I can’t comment on her specific case or what’s happened since I left.
A video statement has also been released, explaining that â€œTommy Robinsonâ€, the EDLâ€™s pseudonymous leader, has been arrested on â€œracialâ€ charges, and that armed police allegedly raided both his home and that of his parents (the speaker then goes off-topic with an attack on the neo-Nazi Blood & Honour, who are the subject of a new report from the Centre for Social Cohesion and Nothing British). The speaker is standing in front of an upside-down Union Flag, which perhaps is a deliberate sign of distress; why the Indian flag to his left is also upside down is less apparent (thanks to a reader for spotting that).
I bet they don’t even know the Union Jack and Indian flag are upside down.
A TYCOON who starred on TV’s Secret Millionaire is joining the British National Party to RILE them – because he is Asian.
Mo Chaudry, 49, will formally apply today – days after the BNP had to change its whites-only constitution because it breached equality laws.
The Pakistan-born businessman, who is worth Â£60million, admitted last night: “I will not be welcomed with open arms.” Despite blasting the party as racist, he vowed: “I want to stand up and be counted – and expose the BNP for what they are.
Looks a bit like a publicity stunt, but who cares.
I had a long-ish argument with Trevor Phillips about the EHRC’s decision to take the BNP to court. My argument was that it handed the BNP an excuse to pretend they were a normal party and thus sanitise their public image over a longer period of time. One side-effect I did NOT anticipate was a big split within party members who would be driven to the National Front. Watch the video below. Maybe Trevor was right after all…
When I started writing first about the Amnesty / Gita Sahgal / Moazzam Begg controversy I said that many of those taking up Gita Sahgal’s cause were people who actually had an agenda against Amnesty International. As yet she hasn’t even distanced herself from these fruitloops.
Evidence of this is further highlighted in today’s Sunday Times with a statement by Salman Rushdie. This is of course the same newspaper that blatantly misrepresented what Amnesty’s Asia director Sam Zarifi had to say to try and present it as another split.
Salman Rushdie was naturally a big supporter of the Iraq war externally driven regime change in Iraq and ideologically in the same camp as Cohen, Hitchens et al. The man who once said: “The only just cause for a war with Iraq is to liberate its population” – how’s that piece of advice working out for you?
Anyway, Rushdie’s blatant attempt to undermine Amnesty Int is so over-the-top that his mate Norm Geras distance himself from Rushdie’s agenda by saying: “Rushdie wrong about Amnesty“. Oh dear.
Nick Cohen writes of his latest bogeyman, Amnesty International, that while they were “once the most principled defenders of human rights”, they have now “collaborated” with (ie defended) Moazzam Begg. He wonders what will happen when they realise that “the Islamists they embrace aren’t nice metrosexuals who support women’s rights”, and then hopes they will remember that “promoting human rights is a hard and often thankless task that has to be done regardless of the consequences”.
I’m baffled as to how this incoherent sneering is supposed to translate into a criticism of AI. If the organisation is to stick to its principles, as Cohen urges, then it has to oppose any transgression. Cohen manages to trumpet the fundamental value of universal and unconditional human rights, then point out the difficulties of consistently upholding these rights by using AI and Begg’s case as an example, then chastise AI for doing so (or is it not doing so?).
Nobody wants potentially vulnerable people (whether children, those with disabilities, etc.) to be put at risk. Nor does anyone want to be the person who allowed those people to be put at risk. Which is why the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) regime is so insidious. No government will ever be able to prune it much, for fear of a tabloid storm if someone subsequently suffered as a result (“PM let paedos work with children”- that sort of thing).
Yet it does need to be curbed. The rigorous nature of the system means that more and more people are not bothering to offer their services, whether on a part time of temporary basis. It is an expensive hassle. One friend of mine has undergone four CRB checks in the last one and a half years, despite his first one which was enhanced, so could have been transferred over to his other roles. Another friend was unemployed for three months while he waited for his to come through. And they were two of the lucky ones, with hundreds of people incorrectly being branded criminals by the CRB.
Now the ISA (which has a wider remit than the CRB) is poised to take this totalitarian (and it is totalitarian) regime one step further with new rules that would allow people to be banned from working with vulnerable people even if they have never done anything wrong:
Workers judged to be lonely and to have a chaotic home life could be barred from working with vulnerable people, even though there is no evidence that they pose a risk, according to guidelines from the Government’s new vetting agency. Decisions about staff will be taken by officials who have never met them, based on details passed on by their employers…
A bit late, but here are the farcical scenes from the BNP’s membership meeting, which voted to change the rules to allow non-whites to join in order to head off a possible prosecution by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The spat has already cost the BNP more than Â£100,000.
The meeting saw a journalist manhandled out of the meeting (despite being invited), which Nick Griffin hailed as an example that the BNP hadn’t gone soft (perhaps in response to renewed pressure from the National Front and disgruntled BNP members).
I’m not going to go over again the stupidity of an argument that says making yourself heard about the unsuitability of Rod Liddle being editor of the Indy – a newspaper I like and buy – is censorship. In fact the depth of that feeling was big enough that over 3000 people emailed Alexander Lebedev to make themselves heard, and we raised over Â£700 in 48 hours (target was only Â£500) to take out an ad against him. The money for the ad will now go to various women, immigrant and climate change charities (deliberately).
That’s the great thing about living in a liberal democracy – people have the right to make themselves heard. And if enough of them do then media owners or corporations have to listen. It’s not censorship it’s called people power.
What Tim Luckhurst is angrily railing against there is the destruction of the old order – where the media has become so incestuous that no one even dared to ask Liddle in the MSM whether he had posted those comments on the Millwall website. As soon as he railed against the “metropolitan elites” (as Luckhurst is doing now), all the wimpy lefties backed away. The last thing they want to be associated with is being metropolitan!
The reason the left is so weak in this country is because they’re too scared of saying what they believe in, in case the Daily Mail or some other smug idiot calls them ‘metropolitan elite’. And now Luckhurst has invented “liberal bigotry” for people who disagree with what my mate has to say.
Perhaps the reaction to Liddle’s possible appointment, the Facebook group, and all of that stuff, wasn’t a bunch of nasty liberal bastards bullying the Indy bigwigs into rejecting the stellar candidate. Maybe it really was the case that Liddle would have been a liability, and a business decision was taken, rather than a hysterical “hiding behind the settee because of those ghastly lefties and their supreme power” decision that we’re supposed to imagine has taken place, if you believe what some are saying.
It’s important to bear this in mind because there’s a danger in all this that liberals inevitably end up getting painted as fascists by the kind of people who view them with nothing but contempt. Look at the censorship-happy liberals, they will say. First they tried to ban Jan Moir because she just spoke her mind – we didn’t, but thanks anyway – and now they’ve banned a brilliant genius from being the best Indy editor ever – we didn’t, but thanks anyway. The left only gets made to look powerful when it’s being wrongly blamed for clamping down on freedom. The narrative is a familiar one, though, one in which the hypocritical liberal-left fascist scum are the real anti-freedom people out there, and it’s only brave souls like Liddle who are battling for freedom and truth, and de dah de dah de dah, you get the general idea. We encounter it so often it’s wearying.
Read the whole article – it also spot on. I’m sick of lefties standing by and doing nothing while insufferable idiots take over the establishment. It’s time to fight back. This was merely the first shot in what is going to be a long war. Luckily, there’s more of us.
I find this whole kerfuffle over Mossad ‘allegedly’ killing some Hamas people in Dubai quite absurd. The British government is acting all horrified over this? Nearly 1,500 innocent people were killed by the Israeli government when they invaded Gaza in Dec 2008. They chucked chemical weapons on them for god’s sakes!
But oh no, all the government did was shuffle its feet. There were some mumblings about human rights. But generally, no real noise. Who the hell cares if White phosphorus was used eh? It’s faaaar more important to get angry when a few flipping passports get faked.
The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen said if there was proof Israel had used British passports “for some nefarious uses of its Mossad service – as they have in the past with Canadian and New Zealand ones”, then relations between the UK and Israel would be “in a crisis”.
No they won’t. They’ll make a few noises as an act and then things will go back to normal. Israel will be back to it’s ‘we’ll break international law and use chemical weapons and we don’t care‘ mode. It’s actually gobsmacking when the political fallout from a passport-faking scandal is more than the lives of over a thousand innocent people.
A common accusation levelled at Amnesty Int over the Moazzam Begg saga has been that even if they weren’t choosing to endorse all this views – Amnesty is somehow complicit anyway because it does this only for Islamists.
That “white liberal guilt” card is played by Nick Cohen et al so many times that it’s a wonder no one has coded a Nick Cohen column generator program yet.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher angrily criticized Amnesty International yesterday for requesting details of what it called a possible “extrajudicial execution” by the military of three unarmed Irish Republican Army members last month.
She called the human-rights organization’s request “utterly disgraceful” and added, “I hope Amnesty has as much concern for the more than 2,000 persons murdered by the IRA since 1969.”
On Friday Channel 4 aired a documentary titled: Young, Angry and White. The documentary said if offered insight into the political ideas of a disaffected young man, let down by the established political parties, who was considering joining the BNP.
â€œYoung, Angry and Whiteâ€ showed the trained and experienced young racist Kieren in an extraordinarily positive light, allowing him unchallenged to insist on the â€œracial purityâ€ of his girlfriend, accuse his friend of â€œgenocideâ€ because he had a black girlfriend and was therefore guilty of â€œracial mixingâ€, and to introduce his masked, far-right associates, who spoke about the â€œfilth flooding through our streetsâ€ â€“ non-white people.
But was he some angry Tory voter who wanted to go further and vote BNP? No, he was actually the national organiser for the youth wing of the extreme right National Front.
The National Front website in fact loudly proclaims that a documentary would feature him. In fact it adds:
He is looking for a home in the BNP but is unsure that it represents his views. Having been a fervent nationalist from the age of 15, he is concerned that the BNP is losing its radical edge and selling out its racial policies.
So in fact he thinks the BNP is too moderate, while it looks like the programme is inferring he is becoming extreme after rejecting mainstream politics. That’s the opposite of what happened.
I don’t have a problem with C4 featuring such nutjobs but why hide the person’s background? Why not point out he is part of the National Front?