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  • 13th May, 2010

    Don’t forget about the BNP

    by Rumbold at 6:56 am    

    With all the discussion over coalitions, and the electoral failings of the BNP, it is easy to forget about them. They will benefit from this though, as they did best as a party which was able to act as insurgents, reducing critics to yelling ‘racist’ at them rather than examining and dissecting their policies and behaviour. This was before the spotlights of mockery and detailed criticism fell upon them, making them look like an extremist laugh stock in the eyes of many. This successful strategy, which involved a lot of work by a lot of people, shouldn’t be ditched just because of the election, as the BNP, or something similar, could well regain their former strength and it would be back to square one. And in case the BNP try to soften their image, here’s Nick Griffin expounding his philosophy in 2007.

    (Hat-tip: Jai for the video)

    Filed under: The BNP
    12th May, 2010

    How long will this ‘betrayal’ charge carry on for?

    by Sunny at 5:32 pm    

    Sure, it’s early days, and there are a lot of people who want to vent their anger at the Tories getting in. So it’s no surprise to see that so far this has resulted in some very inane analysis and breast-beating about how Clegg ‘betrayed’ the Labour party.

    I don’t want to be a party pooper this early but I also want to avoid this meme setting in and people becoming ideologically entrenched.

    1. If you want to blame someone for losing the election, blame the Labour party for carrying on with an unpopular leader, a crap campaign (the highlights of which all mostly came from Labour supporters than the campaign itself), and a complete lack of vision about why electing Labour meant something other than ‘stay the course, I can handle the economy’.

    2. Blame the Labourites who poured cold water over the negotiations with the Libdems. Remember them? I don’t remember anyone going out there and forcefully making a case for a Lib-Lab alliance in the media, with some serious concessions.

    The Tories have offered some serious concessions to the Libdems. This isn’t to be sniffed at because it might mean the coalition survives and flourishes for a full five years. Which means the nastier elements of the Tories are neutralised because Cameron can rely on the Libdems for support. Simon Heffer and his Telegraph column can bugger off, Cameron can say.

    3. I also hate to break it to Labourites, but many still don’t see Libdems as rational voters who might actually dislike large parts of the Labour agenda. Might be something to do with the whole Iraq war, ID cards, control orders, 42 days, 10p tax, little progress on the environment, wasting money on Trident etc. We still don’t know what concessions Labour offered, but it was pretty obvious many of them gave up trying after GB’s resignation.

    I doubt there will be a horde of Libdem voters clamouring to now join the Labour party. Sure, some will. But it won’t be enough to build Labour into a bulwark against the Tories and Libdems. I bet many of them will actually be happy that some of the policies they voted for will actually be implemented.

    4. Over the longer term the danger is that if coalition politics becomes the norm, and I spoke to someone yesterday who said that even under FPTP it’s likely Hung Parl will be the norm, then Labour either has to absorb more Libdem voters, or entice them into a coalition next time. Screaming betrayal now won’t help either aims.

    Filed under: Party politics
    11th May, 2010

    The threat to Miranda Rights

    by guest at 10:42 am    

    This is a guest post by eGov Monitor.

    The Obama administration, after months of heckling by conservatives and the right wing media in the US, is considering modification of the Miranda Law that requires law enforcement officials to inform suspects of their constitutional rights to remain silent.

    Earlier this morning, US Attorney General Holder discussed the need for flexibility especially when dealing with terrorist suspects such as the Pakistan born US naturalised citizen who tried to explode a car bomb in Times Square in New York city last weekend.

    Mr. Holder said ” We’re now dealing with international terrorism, - And if we are going to have a system that is capable of dealing in a public safety context with this new threat, I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public safety exception.” The Obama administration has been under attack from Conservatives in America for reading Miranda rights to the suspects arrested in connection with the attempted bombing of Times Square as well as the Christmas day airline bomber.

    Continue Reading...
    10th May, 2010

    The present versus the future

    by Rumbold at 9:36 pm    

    The last few days have seen plenty of debates over political coalitions and the real or imagined splits between the parties, whether it be on taxes, spending, law and so on. Yet perhaps the most important debate is emerging across party lines, without people even realising. This debate concerns Britain’s future. Not in the empty way that ‘Britain’s future’ is usually discussed, but rather the need to make sacrifices now in order to make the future better for ourselves, and the divide between this and policies which preserve the luxury of the present at the cost of the future. The split isn’t a simple one. Most people advocate some measures that will help Britain in the future, while at the same time advocating measures that will harm it. These are not painless choices which everyone can agree upon, and some people will lose out in the short run. But the alternative is long-term ruin.

    There are numerous policies that fall into the above categories. The need to tackle climate change is held back by people unwilling to pay higher prices for energy, change their habits, and fund research into renewable sources. Many people are happy to talk about fighting climate change in theoretical terms, but once they need to reform their own behaviour, their ardour cools. Climate change needs to be managed, but it won’t be so long as it requires people to make sacrifices.

    Continue Reading...

    CPS insanity

    by Kulvinder at 2:59 pm    

    Paul Chambers has been found guilty of threatening to blow an airport ‘sky high’; you might think him to be some sort of fanatical lunatic who published credible threats against people or property.

    Infact, in frustration, he simply told a joke.

    hat tip to JackofKent

    Filed under: Current affairs
    9th May, 2010

    10 thoughts on what happens next

    by Shariq at 11:50 am    

    1) Given the state of the economy, I think having a government which lasts 4 years, is better for the country than having a minority government which might collapse after a year, triggering more uncertainty.

    2) A Lib/Lab coalition is nice in theory, but even together, they don’t add up to 50% of the seats. Also Gordon Brown being in power is a problem, and you can’t exactly have a new Labour PM without a new election. I don’t think Sunny’s idea of Nick Clegg as PM is feasible.

    3) The Liberals can’t argue for proportional representation and then not want to form coalitions.

    4) Just as the Liberals need to work in the national interest, so do the Conservatives. They have to give something substantial to get a coalition.

    5) I think Nick Clegg is right to put electoral reform fourth on his list of priorities. A reform of the economy, education and a fairer tax system are all more important than a change to how votes are counted.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs
    8th May, 2010

    The BNP meltdown

    by Rumbold at 10:53 am    

    One of the arguments made on Pickled Politics and elsewhere was that while the BNP were great at exploiting people’s fears and casting themselves as insurgents, when it came to the pesky business of actual government they found now rather trickier. Now the electorate in Barking and Dagenham have demonstrated how they feel about the BNP’s record of governance on the local council by voting all twelve of them out. This capped a poor night for the party overall, which left them will only 19 councillors, down from 45.

    6th May, 2010

    The European Constitution/Lisbon Treaty

    by Rumbold at 10:04 pm    

    In the 2005 general election, the three main parties promised to hold a referendum on the European Constitution/Lisbon Treaty. This never happened as both Labour and the Lib Dems broke their manifesto commitments (with the latter party then, as now, led by a man receiving a large EU pension) and helped to push the European Constitution/Lisbon Treaty through parliament. David Cameron then dropped his party’s promise of a referendum, on the basis that there was no point voting on something that had already been passed.

    Now it seems that the European Constitution/Lisbon Treaty may have to be put before parliament once again:

    In order to rush the Treaty through in the first place, the current draft failed to sort out the vexed issue of the distribution of seats in the European Parliament. As a result, there are various imbalances in the number of MEPs held by each country – and there are several “ghost” MEPs who currently work in Brussels but don’t actually have any voting powers. To sort this out, the European Parliament is expected to vote this Thursday in favour of holding a new Inter Governmental Conference on 17th and 18th June. At that conference, part of the Lisbon Treaty will be rewritten – requiring full ratification again by the Parliament of each and every EU member state.

    What makes it really complex is that none of the three main parties will really have a mandate from their voters on this, so it will be an issue that all the parties will want to avoid (whatever they say in public). I suspect it will be passed again, with Lib Dem support, or else the EU will have found a way to amend the relevant protocols without requiring a new vote for the whole document.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    Is Sayeeda Warsi controversy over-blown?

    by Sunny at 1:00 pm    

    The Independent has obtained footage of Sayeeda Warsi saying:

    In Urdu: “not all Muslims that go into politics are principled. Not all Muslims that are involved with politics are Lord Ahmed. Not all of them put their community first, and career second. There are many Muslims who put their career first when asked what they would do for Muslims. But then they say ‘Muslims didn’t vote us in as MPs. We are MPs for the whole of the community.” But during election time, they say “We are Muslims. Please vote for us”.

    Which is, er true. And in fact my mother has said that about Sikh politicians from the Labour party around my area. Yesterday I thought she’d said that all Muslims going into politics didn’t have principles. But reading that statement a few times I think the controversy is somewhat overblown.

    Bita Ghaedi saved from deportation

    by Rumbold at 10:51 am    

    Whatever the election result, at least Bita Ghaedi, who was featured here, has received a stay of execution after the High Court ordered the Home Office to cancel her deportation and reconsider her case:

    Bita Ghaedi can now represent her case at a hearing in the UK on 21st July, but unfortunately until then the Home Office will hold her at Yarl’s Wood detention centre unless she is bailed out…

    Special mention should go to the many different groups and individuals who have been involved with Bita’s case, from Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) who handled Bita’s case directly, to Senator John McCain and his staff for complaining to their British Embassy, numerous NGOs and human rights groups, individual campaigners such as Maria Rohaly of Mission Free Iran who made a big noise online despite mainstream media silence on the case (with the exception of Karen McVeigh’s excellent article in the Guardian) and the protestors who took to the streets in the both UK and the USA.

    This is why you should be in Barking today

    by Sunny at 5:43 am    

    … not to get involved in a ruckus that is, but to volunteer. I’ll be GOTV in south London. Go out and vote people!
    Check out Hope Not Hate to find a place near you to volunteer at

    Filed under: Race politics
    5th May, 2010

    The BNP farce continues

    by Rumbold at 8:25 pm    

    In the run up to the elections, the BNP have proved their competence once again after their webmaster quit:

    The BNP’s 2010 campaign has descended into a fratricidal bloodbath after Simon Bennett, the BNP’s web-master, attacked the BNP leader Nick Griffin MEP on the party’s website and nationalist internet forums.

    The extraordinary episode started yesterday, when Bennett removed the BNP’s website replacing it with an angry message aimed at Griffin and Jim Dowson.

    The BNP are a threat; their racism and violence is deeply worrying. But we must never forget that their policies have been exposed, and that they are a shower in many ways:

    Burnley:

    The BNP’s position deteriorated even further when another of its councillors, Luke Smith, smashed a bottle into the face of a fellow BNP supporter. In the resulting by-election the BNP vote halved and the party slipped down into third place.


    Blackburn:

    The BNP did have one councillor in Blackburn, Robin Evans, but last September he walked out of the party. He then wrote a letter to his former BNP colleagues denouncing Blackburn BNP as a party of drug dealers and football hooligans … Last year Searchlight reported that Evans could not follow council business. “This is all mumbo jumbo,” he told fellow councillors. “I don’t understand a word of it.” The mumbo-jumbo he was referring to was the council budget!

    Sandwell:

    Last summer Sandwell’s two BNP councillors thought they would outfox their political rivals by proposing a motion to the full council calling on the government to stop sending asylum seekers to the borough.. They knew full well that the motion would fall but they would then be able to tell electors that the BNP was the only party that opposed the arrival of more asylum seekers in the area.

    To their surprise the motion was passed with an amendment. The BNP happily supported the new motion quite unaware that the changes reversed everything the BNP originally wanted. So the BNP councillors voted for a motion that sympathised with the plight of asylum seekers, condemned the government for being too harsh on them, attacked the press and politicians who tried to whip up racism and called on the council to accept their responsibility to take more.

    Stoke:

    Steve Batkin, the BNP’s Stoke councillor, has also failed to impress. During his election campaign last year he questioned the Holocaust and claimed that Jewish people only made an issue of it to make money. His performance has not improved since then. He missed a few meetings early on but now just sits in silence. After eight months in post he had to ask council officials to explain what abstaining meant.

    Earlier this year it emerged that he had not paid his council tax since becoming a councillor. He claimed this was because of the long queues of asylum seekers at the council tax office but of course this was nonsense because that office has nothing to do with asylum seekers. However, while he dodged his tax, he did find time to claim his full councillor’s allowance of £100 a week.


    (Hat-Tip: Jai for the website story)

    Filed under: Humour,The BNP
    4th May, 2010

    Idiots beat up Indy journalist Jerome Taylor over voting fraud

    by Sunny at 11:15 am    

    This is sickening, and exactly why more investigation needs to be done into voting fraud in East London:

    “What are you doing?” asked one of the two, seemingly inquisitive, Asian teenagers who approached me on a quiet cul-de-sac in Bow, east London, shortly after 1pm yesterday.

    “There’s been a photographer around here, do you know her?” he added.

    I didn’t, but I explained I was a journalist for The Independent looking to speak to a man at an address in the area, who was standing as a candidate in the local elections, about allegations of postal vote fraud. “Can we see your note pad,” the boy asked.

    I declined and then the first punch came – landing straight on my nose, sending blood and tears streaming down my face. Then another. Then another.

    Read the full article here. A bunch of idiots and thugs. I hope the police find them up and lock them up.

    Filed under: Media,Race politics
    3rd May, 2010

    Bita Ghaedi faces deportation to possible execution

    by Rumbold at 8:34 pm    

    No asylum and immigration service will ever be perfect. And mistakes will be made. But if there is doubt, officials should err on the side of the claimant, as in this case:

    Bita Ghaedi is an Iranian UK-based asylum seeker. On May 5th she will be dragged back against her will into a brutal regime and family situation that will very likely lead to her murder.

    She is at very high risk from an honour killing because she fled an unhappy marriage with a lover. Bita’s links with the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) also put her at even more risk if she is deported. Supporters of the PMOI are punishable by death according to the current Iranian regime…

    What the British government are doing to Bita is illegal according to UN guidelines.

    It is illegal under UN agreements on the Status of Refugees to violate the principle of non-refoulement, or returning an asylum-seeker to a country where they have grounds to fear persecution. England is a signatory to the legally-binding agreements on Status of Refugees, and Bita’s case is very clear cut.

    We know the Iran government is a brutal dictatorship, and Bita is unlikely to get any protection from those seeking to murder her. Hopefully the continued media focus will see a stay of execution (literally, sadly), but it doesn’t look likely.

    For more information on how to help, visit this link.

    2nd May, 2010

    Phillipa Stroud’s church

    by Sunny at 11:15 pm    

    Jonathan Bartley at Ekklesia writes more about Phillipa Stroud, the Tory PPC at the centre of a storm around her views on gays.

    He says:

    The paper has focused on her views about homosexuality. But there is a far more important issue, and that is who would have influence and ‘authority’ over Mrs Stroud if she were elected?

    The New Frontiers Church that she attends, and of which her husband is one of the main leaders, teaches that a husband has ‘authority’ over his wife, and that a wife should submit to a husband’s will in all things. The husband is seen as the ‘servant leader’. I know this from close personal experience of the church, and that it runs incredibly deep in the church. Indeed, it is fundamental to their religious approach. See this excerpt from the church’s 17 values which suggests that there must be “joyful female submission” in a marriage (value no. 7):

    The question must be asked of Philippa Stroud whether, in the event she was elected to Parliament, she would on any occasion ‘submit’ to her husband’s will and vote in a way that he thought was right, even if it contradicted her own position, the promises she had made to voters, or the manifesto on which she was elected?

    Good question. I wonder if Ms Stroud is going to tell us what she really believes.

    I’ve written about this before here for the New Statesman. The Tories are allied to some incredibly reactionary elements and so far the media has given them an incredibly easy ride over it. Even now, the BBC hasn’t bothered covering the story at all.

    Filed under: Party politics

    Arizona’s racist immigrant law

    by Rumbold at 10:00 pm    

    Arizona’s recently passed immigration law is continuing to come under heavy criticism because it is likely to entrench racial discrimination against non-whites. The law is ostensibly designed to tackle the problem of illegal immigration, but when it comes into force (in around three months’ time) it will put huge pressure on the police to stop and question any non-white citizens. An article in the Economist summed up the main problems with the bill:

    Illegal immigration is a federal crime. Mr Pearce’s law, however, would also make it a state crime and would require the police, as opposed to federal agents, to make arrests and check the immigration status of individuals who look suspicious to them. Citizens who think their cops are not vigilant enough would be encouraged to sue their cities or counties, and no city or county may remain a “sanctuary” where this law is not enforced…

    Arizona is an overwhelmingly white state, and virtually all illegal immigrants—perhaps about half a million in the state—are Hispanic. Whom else would cops suspect and arrest but the brown ones? Even American Latinos who happen to be out without their driving licence might be at risk.

    The strength of feeling against the new law is shown by the fact that a police officer is suing the state because he believes that the law is unconstitutional, while a number of cities in Arizona are mulling over where to stop the law being enforced in their areas.

    Continue Reading...

    Election night event at Royal Festival Hall

    by Sunny at 10:50 am    

    Hello all, if you’re stuck for something on election night, you could always come here…

    Election Night Special

    Phillip Blond talks about his controversial book Red Tory and the direction of a new politics. Joining him on election night are broadcaster and entrepreneur Julia Hobsbawm, founder of media networking business Editorial Intelligence and Martin Bright, political commentator and political editor of The Jewish Chronicle. Share your opinions on the future of progressive politics on the site where New Labour celebrated victory in 1997.

    They forgot to add my name but I’m meant to be speaking too. Obviously, I’m the star attraction :)
    I’ve been asked to speak about the future of progressive politics. Not figured out what exactly I’m going to say yet. Thoughts?

    The RFH is also showing the results coming in on a big screen with Twitter feeds and all the rest, from 10pm, if you want somewhere lively to go. The second event is free to attend.

    Filed under: Events

    Tories push positive action for minorities at Whitehall

    by Sunny at 3:08 am    

    Was sent this press release last week…

    In a major speech to the Operation Black Vote rally at Methodist Central Hall in London, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne announced that a Conservative government will take tough action to tear down the racial barriers that exist in Britain today.

    He announced that the Conservatives will partner with Operation Black Vote to arrange internships in every single Whitehall department for young people from ethnic minority backgrounds. This new announcement is on top of our recent policy commitment to launch a multi-million pound government mentoring scheme for would-be black entrepreneurs.

    I can hear the right-wingers gnashing their teeth already.

    1st May, 2010

    Belgium’s Parliament Makes Wearing A Niqaab or Burqah A Criminal Offence

    by guest at 10:53 am    

    This is a cross-post from eGov monitor

    In the name of protecting women’s rights, the Beligan lower House of Parliament yesterday banned the wearing of the Burqah or the Islamic veil a criminal offence punishable by prison sentence. The vote was carried without any opposition to the motion althougjh there were two abstentions.

    The bill would require passage through the Senate to become officially the law, and it is expected so sail through the upper house in a month or so, making Belgium the first European country to ban the Burqah.

    Human rights campaigners and others have criticised the move as draconian and argued this law violates human rights and freedom of expression and others have highlighted this as an extreme measure associated with fundamentalists such as the Taliban.

    Isabelle Praille, vice-president of the Executive of Belgian Muslims told Euro news:

    Some Taliban say a woman without a burqa is a woman too many. When I hear our politicians here say the same it’s like two kinds of rival extremes against women and we have to condemn it.

    This is a dangerous precedent says Amnesty International especially since France is also contemplating a ban on wearing veils in public.

    Western liberal democracies are supposed to defend and protect an individual’s freedom of religion and expression yet this bill seems to curtail those rights.

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