31st July, 2011

Slutwalks in India

by Rumbold at 6:47 pm    

Delhi is the latest city to see a ‘Slutwalk’, where hundreds of protesters took to the streets to highlight abuse of women and the killing of female children:

One protester told our correspondent: “Every girl has the right to wear whatever she wants, to do whatever she wants to do with her body. It’s our lives, our decisions, unless it’s harming you, you have no right to say anything.”

Another protester said: “There are a lot of problems for women in Delhi because a lot of women do face sexual harassment and just a couple of weeks ago the chief of police of Delhi said that if a women was out after 0200 she was responsible for what happens to her, and I don’t think that’s the right attitude.”

The march provoked plenty of debate amongst feminists in India. The marchers focused on the issue of clothing and consent, but also highlighted the general levels of violence against women in India (as Rita Banerji pointed out in a previous piece, rape is the fastest growing crime in India).

A Slutwalk had previously taken place in India, in Bhopal on 17th July, where the march was recast as ‘Besharmi Morcha: PrideStride for Women’ . Yet this was not as widely reported, and only 150 went on the march. Nevertheless, Bhopal did well in getting in ahead of Delhi. None of these problems are unique to India however, and every country could use a Slutwalk.

Filed under: India,Sex equality
29th July, 2011

EDL & Norway terrorist Anders Breivik update

by Jai at 8:00 am    

A compilation of continuing developments focusing on the English Defence League’s public response to the atrocity along with Breivik’s own connections to the EDL :

1. Fresh from his court appearance during which he was convicted of leading a violent brawl involving 100 football supporters, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson”) was interviewed by Becky Anderson on CNN’s “Connect the World” programme on Monday evening. The anchor noticed what appeared to be a threat at the end of the interview and challenged Yaxley-Lennon about it. The full transcript of the CNN interview (link provided above) also includes the observations of a former Neo-Nazi who was interviewed immediately after Yaxley-Lennon, both in relation to the massacre in Norway and his damning response to Yaxley-Lennon’s own anti-Islam assertions on behalf of the EDL, especially the close parallels with historical Far-Right bigotry towards Jews.

2. Yaxley-Lennon was interviewed in further detail by Jeremy Paxman on BBC’s Newsnight later on Monday evening. Along with refusing to answer most of Paxman’s questions, Yaxley-Lennon recited almost exactly the same memorised statements that he’d made on CNN, from his “words of condolence” at the beginning to what appeared to be a threat at the end. He became increasingly belligerent and aggressive as the interview progressed, and by the end he was loudly ranting. Paxman also noticed the “threat” and challenged Yaxley-Lennon about it.

· Furthermore, Yaxley-Lennon told Paxman that he does not know Daryl Hobson, despite the fact that Hobson is one of the EDL’s main organisers. A photo of Yaxley-Lennon with Hobson is displayed at the top of this PP article (via Hope Not Hate/Searchlight). Hobson himself has also confirmed that the terrorist Anders Breivik was in contact with the EDL.

· Yaxley-Lennon also told Paxman that the millionaire businessman Alan Lake does not finance the EDL, despite the fact that Lake himself has now publicly admitted to funding the organisation. A detailed profile of Lake can be read via Hope Not Hate/Searchlight here, including details of Lake’s extensive involvement with the EDL and the scale of his international activities to further their agenda.

Continue Reading...
26th July, 2011

Racists attack ‘Pakis’ on the tube and film it

by Sunny at 3:30 pm    

A reader just sent me this link which I’d missed earlier. The EverythingEDL twitter account posted this video of an EDL member filming himself attacking random Asians on the tube.

The video has violence – it is NOT safe for work
[Flash 10 is required to watch video]

If the video doesn’t work for you, see it here.

Everything EDL say it was the EDL member ‘Cobz Smith’. If you know more, get in touch.

Update: Here is more on the guy who posted the video first, and then bragged about it on Facebook.

[I've changed the title as it turns out the EDL didn't exist when this was filmed (but may have joined EDL after)]

Filed under: Race politics

Further exposure of mass murderer’s links to British far-right

by Rumbold at 9:03 am    

The BNP and EDL were under greater pressure last night after their connections with the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik were laid bare:

The Norwegian fanatic has been in close contact with hundreds of British right-wing extremists for two years, it emerged last night. He chatted about ‘tactics’ on social networking sites with hundreds of members of the English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party (BNP) and attended demonstrations and meetings here… Breivik has claimed he was recruited by two English Right-wing extremists at a UK meeting in 2002 attended by seven others.

It is good to see that far-right groups are being put under increasing scrutiny. For years we have seen neo-Nazis and their allies convicted of various terrorism-related charges, from plotting terror campaigns to detonating nail bombs. Yet much of the mainstream media has rarely focused on this threat, apart from when trials were going on. Even then, the coverage has seemed muted at times. This should be a wake up call for many that there are armed and dangerous far-right extremists out there, who are willing to slaughter their fellow citizens in the name of their twisted ideology.

Nor should the EDL and BNP be ignored in this debate. Whilst they will publically disown convicted terrorists like Anders Breivik, there is a significant overlap in many areas of their respective ideologies, which is why Anders Breivik was able to get on with so many BNP and EDL activists.

25th July, 2011

EDL founder convicted after hooligan brawl

by Rumbold at 5:27 pm    

This should do wonders for the EDL’s image:

Stephen Lennon, 28, led Luton Town supporters and chanted “EDL till I die”" as they clashed with Newport County fans in Luton, a court heard. He was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour during the clash on 24 August last year. He denied the charges but was convicted after a trial on Monday at Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates’ Court.

Nor was this his first conviction:

Lennon, who has previous convictions for assault, possession of cocaine and disorderly behaviour, shook his head upon hearing the verdict.

Filed under: EDL

The unbelievable Tom Harris MP

by Sunny at 2:20 pm    

The Labour MP Tom Harris writes:

I got it wrong and I apologise. I should not have jumped to conclusions, especially not so early on in such a terrible sequence of events.

But (and of course there’s a “but” or I wouldn’t be writing this), the palpable relief that swept through the left when the identity of the terrorist was made known – a 32-year-old Norwegian christian fundamentalist – was revealing. Here, thank God, was a terrorist we can all hate without equivocation: white, christian and far right-wing.

When he first heard about the attacks, he pointed the finger at Muslims. There was little evidence for it but you know, they’re fair game right? When it turned out it wasn’t some Islamist terrorist, he issued a reluctant apology, and was criticised quite heavily for it on Twitter. So in an effort to make himself look further like a prat, he goes ahead and writes the above.

When the recent terrorist bombs went off in Mumbai – I was reading the news on Twitter. As some may recall, I instantly started live-tweeting news from Mumbai even though everyone else was talking about the phone-hacking scandal. I didn’t speculate about who it was, though the Indian govt blamed Islamic militants (I reported this). It is likely to be Islamic militants, though in the past Hindu militants have threatened bombs attacks to counter Muslims (Yes, really). I didn’t speculate however about who would be “relieved” by such an attack because such discussion would be highly insensitive and… well, just idiotic.

The disgusting blog-post by Tom Harris above is exactly that. Apparently people aren’t horrified by the deaths and the bombs. Apparently, people aren’t talking about it because they were horrified by his hate-filled rants and his Neo-Nazi ‘manifesto’.

No, making those kind of assumptions would be to require that sometimes people have benign motives. Tom Harris can’t assume that, he has his pride to think about.

So let me get this straight. If the next terrorist attack was by a Muslim, would it be legitimate to accuse Tom Harris of being “relieved” that it wasn’t a white-Christian terrorist so he could hate with impunity? Is that the level of discussion that a member of Parliament should be at? It boggles the mind.

Update: Melanie Phillips echoes Tom Harris:

The supposed beliefs of the Norway massacre’s perpetrator has got the left in general wetting itself in delirium at this apparently heaven-sent opportunity to take down those who fight for life, liberty and western civilisation against those who would destroy it.

He’s in good company.

24th July, 2011

Practical environmentalism

by Rumbold at 6:07 pm    

Environmental campaigners often struggle to convince the wider public about the need to combat climate change. Whilst most people agree with the principle of protecting the environment in the abstract, they are suspicious of many of the suggestions that environmentalists put forward to tackle the problem of climate change. This is partly due to the hypocrisy of large numbers of political leaders and celebrities, who fly on private planes and have large houses while telling the rest of the world to cut back on energy use.

It is also due however to the nature of the proposals, which tend to consist of higher taxes, more regulation and greater government spending. Since climate change is a long term problem (albeit with short term effects), it is difficult to convey the need for instant action, so the focus shifts to the negative aspects of the plan (higher taxes), as well as the continued growth in emissions in places like China.

This is why any green proposal should always be tax neutral, so that any increase in taxes on one thing (such as fossil fuels), should be balanced by a tax cut elsewhere. This has the benefit of demonstrating to the public that climate change is not just an excuse to raise taxes. It is heartening therefore to see the results of such a system, introduced in a Canadian province in 2008. British Columbia introduced a carbon tax in this year, and all the major parties as well as businesses were against it:

When arguing for the carbon tax, Mr Campbell faced the same political obstacles that have stymied such plans elsewhere. Only environmentalists were enthusiastic. Businesses feared it would add to costs and slow the economy. The leftish New Democratic Party (NDP) worried it would hurt the poor. But these fears have proved groundless. “The carbon tax has been good for the environment, good for taxpayers and it hasn’t hurt the economy,” says Stewart Elgie, a professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa.

It helped that the law introducing the levy required its proceeds to be recycled back to individuals and companies as cuts in income taxes. The new tax was initially set at C$10 ($10) per tonne of carbon-dioxide emissions, rising by increments of C$5 per year to C$30 in 2012. It seems to be working as planned. Since 2008 fuel consumption per head in the province has dropped by 4.5%, more than elsewhere in Canada. British Columbians use less fuel than any other Canadians. And British Columbians pay lower income taxes too.

Would such a system here solve all environmental problems in a stroke? No, but it is better than the situation at the moment.

23rd July, 2011

A ‘Bad Man’ With Good Looks… and serious religious messages

by guest at 10:02 am    

This is a guest post by Sarah. She blogs here.

Going through the BBC News website yesterday, I discovered Muslim comedian Humza Arshad, AKA ‘Badman’ for the first time. What I didn’t know then was that he has already had literally millions of Youtube hits, been on BBC Asian Network and will soon be starting his first comedy tour, joined by several well known British Asian comedians including Jeff Mirza.

After a hilarious half hour, during which I was mostly literally laughing out loud, I found out all this and more. Humza Arshad- sorry, ‘Badman,’ has a Youtube channel through which he runs his comedy video diary. It’s called- you guessed it- Diary of a Badman. The caption of his first Youtube video describes him as ‘a badman with seriously good looks.’

According to BBC News, Humza hopes his comedy will not only entertain, but also challenge perceptions of Islam. His videos are filled with moments of fun about everything from the iPhone 4 to the Asian woman’s Tupperware obsession- something that all British Asian children of a certain age know only too well!

But what makes Humza Arshad stand out is that each of his videos ends with a serious message connected to Islamic teachings. In the first, after a fight with his mum, he ends by recalling the Prophet’s words about respecting mothers (by tests forge richards). In his Eid video, he explains that the festival is all about sacrifice and in the latest, he makes sure to thank Allah, along with his fans, for his success.

If Humza Arshad’s comedy sounds like your cup of ‘chai,’ you can watch his whole series of Youtube videos here. He also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. And he now takes bookings- he can be emailed at badmanbooking[at]hotmail.co.uk.

I, for one, can’t wait for his next video.

Filed under: Humour,Media,Muslim
22nd July, 2011

Muslims and the media

by Sunny at 4:40 pm    

A national poll of Britons has found that the media industry is seen as most to blame for ‘fear of Islam’.

Muslims abroad and far-right parties such as the BNP and EDL come a joint distant second in the poll by Comres.

They were asked: “Which one of the following groups, if any, do you think is most to blame for Islamophobia, fear of Islam, in the UK?”

29% of Britons blamed the media. 14% blamed Muslims abroad and 13% blamed far-right parties.

Just 11% blamed Muslims in the UK for ‘Islamophobia’, with politicians getting the same amount of blame at 10%.

Around 1% agreed with the statement: “I do not think that Islamophobia exists in the UK”. They’re the ones who spend most of their time trolling websites.

Another question by ComRes asked whether people thought the Qur’an justified use of violence against non-Muslims.

Around 14% thought it did, while around 65% disagreed.

Filed under: Islamists,Media
21st July, 2011

Guardian’s decision to give Jonnie Marbles some space was right

by Sunny at 7:47 am    

Occasionally I get the odd hard-left idiot screaming at me for publishing an article on Liberal Conspiracy they don’t like. Everything from detailed, nuanced arguments on why Labour councils should pass cuts, to articles on silly student protests to the last one on Charlie Gilmour.

In each case, they’re not fussed about the argument itself, however nuanced it may be, but that it was actually published on Libcon. How dare you! WHERE IS THE SOLIDARITY YOU SCAB! I’ve given up trying to debate such idiocy.

But it seems this kind of thinking is not just limited to some hard-lefties.

Yesterday, a whole bunch of people were annoyed the Guardian gave space to Jonnie Marbles to explain why he tried to pie Rupert Murdoch in the face.

I thought the stunt was idiotic and counter-productive, but if he had offered that article to me I would have published it on Liberal Conspiracy without a doubt. The whole point of building a platform is to give space to a wide range of people. No, that does not automatically mean you chuck in Holocaust deniers and Neo-Nazis, as someone suggested to me. There is a slight difference between throwing a pie in someone’s face and hardcore racism.

Jonnie Marbles was already a big story before the Guardian gave him space: Google News recorded mentions in nearly 10,000 articles. Just because you don’t like a view doesn’t mean it should not be out there. And yes, that includes the BNP and Muslim extremists (after all, Newsnight, Today regularly give the BNP / Anjem Choudhary a space. What I object to there is giving them excessive space).

I bet someone will now try to dredge up some supposed instance of me contradicting myself. Even if I did that in the past – this is my stance now. People complaining about being subjected to alternative views they don’t like – especially when they haven’t paid for reading it – really need to get a grip.

Filed under: Media
19th July, 2011

More extremist posters in east London

by Sunny at 9:10 am    

Pink News reports that more homophobic posters have surfaced in East London.

It states: “You are entering a Shariah controlled zone. Islamic rules enforced”
It then depicts pictures illustrating that smoking, alcohol, music, drugs, prostitution and porn are forbidden.

Tower Hamlets council say they are looking into it already, but I hope the East London Mosque will also take a more pro-active stance.

Update: Muslims Against Crusades (Anjem Choudhary’s lot) are behind it.

East London Mosque have got in touch with me to say;
1. Members of our staff spotted the posters (that are stuck on and extremely hard to remove).
2. Photographs of the posters were taken and sent to local Police liaisons.
3. The Tower Hamlets Council was also immediately notified by us and Police to have them removed.
4. Posters were removed the very next day, but since then, some more may have gone up.

Filed under: Muslim,Organisations
18th July, 2011

Female on female violence

by Rumbold at 9:35 am    

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, commenting on the recent Human Trafficking Foundation revelations that many girls are lured in to the trade and then trafficked by women, reflects on female on female violence:

In the past five years, we have been forced to open our eyes here, as women, often in trusted positions, have been convicted of grotesque acts on babies, infants and teenagers. The young American woman Jaycee Dugard, whose memoir has just been published, describes how she was taken, aged 11, from a street by Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy, kept hidden and raped for years, being forced to give birth to her children with only the two monsters present. There are other examples of female collusion in heinous sex crimes, which destroy those comforting beliefs in motherly grace and feminine care.

Michele Elliott, a psychologist and director of the charity Kidscape, believes this is considered the “ultimate taboo”, something society does not want to think about: “The possibility that the sexual abuse of a child can be perpetrated by women causes enormous controversy and distress. It is thought that even raising the possibility of women abusing children, detracts from the larger, more pervasive problem of male abuse.” She gives examples of adults despoiled by their mums or other female relatives, who were disbelieved even by doctors.

Ms. Alibhai-Brown goes onto point out the important role that women play in processes such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation, and they often are the ones persuading/forcing the girl into such a situation. Her piece ends with criticism of feminists:

We feminists, with our neat critiques of male dominance, are pathologically unable to deal with the fact that females are, sometimes, more sadistic than men and can and do viciously hurt their own sex. Who dares within the sisterhood to revise the assumptions on which so much of that belief system rests

This is unfair. Ms Alihai-Brown herself has written on forced genital mutilation (FGM) for decades and she hasn’t tried to blame everything on men. Plenty of feminist/womanist activists are intensely critical of the role of women in many cases of things like forced marriage and ‘honour’-based violence, characterising them as ‘footsoldiers of the patriarchy’. Books such as Jaswinder Sanghera’s ‘Shame’ detail the oppression the author faced from females in her own family. The classic stereotype of ‘man-hating feminists’ are few and far between in reality. Women do commit violent and disgusting acts (though still less than men), and this is recognised by most feminists/womanists, who campaign to end violence and oppression by both men and women.

16th July, 2011

Stephen Pollard’s delusions

by Sunny at 3:05 pm    

This has got to be framed somewhere. The odious Stephen Pollard writes:

As it happens, my own view is that Rupert Murdoch is one of the few genuinely great men of our times, a man who has done more to enrich our lives than any other single human being of the past generation and who should be a hero for his commitment to freedom.

Awesome! HE IS THE GREATEST, WHY CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT YOU EVIL LIBRULS?!

Filed under: Humour,Media
14th July, 2011

Immigration rules for dependents tightened

by Rumbold at 11:40 am    

The government has announced new proposals which add further restrictions on people bringing spouses and other dependents from abroad, and lengthening the amount of time which they can claim benefits:

Currently, non EU Spouses of British citizens now get “indefinite leave to remain” in the United Kingdom after two years of marriage but under the new measures they would only do so after a period of five years as well. In addition, the government wants to also reform article 8 of the European Human Rights Convention, that stops the UK from deporting illegal migrants because of disruption to family life.

Recently, convicted terrorists have used that clause to prevent their deportation from the United Kingdom. The Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this month expressed her concern about convicted criminals and terror suspects abusing the European Human Rights Convention.

There are also going to be restrictions on Britons who cannot financially support themselves bringing over extra dependents:

British citizens who are poor or unemployed could be prevented from marrying the spouse of their choice if new family migration proposals become law. The government wants to introduce a new minimum income threshold for those looking to sponsor a spouse, partner or dependants to come to the UK. Under the proposals the unemployed or those living on less than around £5,000 a year would be banned from doing so, while the probation period before spouses and partners can apply for settlement in Britain would be raised from two to five years.

The Guardian headlined the piece as “Poor to be banned from bringing spouses to the UK from overseas”, and providing for foreign dependents has always been a difficult issue. Given that migrants have no access to public funds for the first few years (and this would be extended under the proposals), the question is how would the foreign spouse support themselves if their partner could not support them?

For a long time, one of the main risks of the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule has been that vulnerable migrants (such as women feeling domestic violence) couldn’t get the help they need. The coalition government established a pilot last year to provide these women with help, such as emergency housing and possible residence. Hopefully this will be extended and expanded as a way to combat this major problem with the ‘no recourse’ rule (which is a good one generally).

13th July, 2011

What happened in East London re: gays and the ELM

by Sunny at 11:15 am    

There was a good article in the Guardian yesterday offering background to the recent controversies in East London regarding Muslims and gays.

The article by Jack Gilbert starts off describing the ‘Gay free zone’ stickers that were stuck around East London, and then says:

Coverage of the sticker campaign, particularly online, often seemed ill-informed. Comment pieces from both sides tended towards a rabble-rousing tone, inspiring a torrent of racist and Islamaphobic abuse. I experienced more back-to-my-roots shivers, this time thinking about my grandparents’ fight against Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts.

Acting on Rainbow Hamlets’s advice, a joint statement was issued by Tower Hamlets’ mayor Lutfur Rahman, the Inter-faith Forum, and the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre (ELM). This represented the first public condemnation of homophobia by both Rahman and the ELM.

Both the points: about the tone of the debate online (I wonder which blogs he was thinking of!) and of who were the first to issue a condemnation, should be noted.

Jack Gilbert then highlights two more points. First, that the law is inadequate in dealing with homophobic abuse in the way that it deals with racist abuse for example. I suspect this is partly because tightening that up would instantly render both the Testaments and the Qu’ran as illegal writings. Nevertheless, I believe more needs to be done.

Secondly, he does say that the East London Mosque initially failed to back its initial action with more public statements. But he later says:

Today, moderate communities have a simple unequivocal duty: to be seen to show all their neighbours respect – whether or not they agree or approve of their beliefs or lifestyle. What is needed is a paradigm shift among LGBT and Muslim opinion formers, one that enables the leaders to find a rhetoric that can speak of respect and joint-working publicly, and which addresses patterns of prejudice on all sides without fear

He is right. There is an internal battle going on at the ELM right now between conservative and more moderate voices. Like in the Usama Hasan case, I hope that saner, moderate voices prevail. In fact I’m sure they eventually will.

But the likes of Andrew Gilligan and certain blogs with their incendiary and one-sided reporting don’t help this debate. In fact they poison it.

I hope the ELM will pay close attention to the progress report and listen to local communities in how it can tackle homophobia, regardless of what racists outside of the area say online.

12th July, 2011

Rupert Murdoch: papal knight

by Rumbold at 8:58 am    

Amid the News International scandal, details have remerged about the papal knighthood given to Rupert Murdoch back in 1998 after a donation to a Catholic organisation. Now debate is raging over whether to strip him of it:

In 1998 Rupert Murdoch was made a Knight Commander of St Gregory. He had apparently been recommended for the honour by Cardinal Roger Mahony, after giving money to a Church education fund. A year later he donated $10 million to help build Los Angeles Catholic cathedral.

Just another group/institution that lined up to pay homage to Rupert Murdoch.

(Via Richard Bartholomew)

Filed under: Religion
7th July, 2011

Golden Temple exhibition at SOAS, London. Go visit

by Sunny at 10:51 am    

Obviously I love the Golden Temple. And I’m sure many of our readers do too. But if you don’t want to shell out £600 and a whole load of pain to visit it, you could do the next best thing and check out this tasty looking exhibition at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS, London.

The exhibition starts next week from 14th July

Filed under: Culture
6th July, 2011

News of the World boycott

by Rumbold at 8:59 pm    

After the disgraceful revelations around the News of the World hacking case, the response from campaigners has been heartening. Rather than just criticise the News of the World, people have begun to threaten to boycott companies who carry on advertising with the paper. As of 5:15pm this evening, seventeen companies have already withdrawn their advertising, and more are likely to follow in the near future. Why is this heartening? Because it shows that activism can have an effect on an issue, as well as showing the benefits of leaving such campaigns up to a free market (companies don’t want to lose their customers, so they pull out), rather than calling for greater regulation etc. (which probably wouldn’t work anyway). Undoubtedly some companies would have considered pulling out anyway regardless of any campaign, however, increasing the pressure is on them is likely to see a better result.

Filed under: Economics,Media
5th July, 2011

Campaign to criminalise forced marriages

by Sunny at 10:02 am    

The Indy’s Jerome Taylor had this good report in the paper yesterday:

British campaigners received a boost in May when a cross-party group of MPs recommended that forced marriage be turned into a criminal offence to send a stronger message that it will not be tolerated.

The Home Affairs Select Committee, which took soundings from a variety of different groups working to counter forced marriage, stated that it was “not at all clear” that current legislation was protecting those at risk.

“Criminalising forced marriages would help people like me enormously,” insists Saima. “I would have been able to tell my parents unequivocally that what they were doing was not just wrong but wholly illegal. I would have felt like the law was on my side.”

Currently it is not illegal to force someone to marry though criminal offences – such as kidnap, rape, and assault – may be committed in the course of carrying out one. The problem is that prosecutions are incredibly rare, partly because many of the actual crimes take place abroad and partly because they are so difficult to prove when vulnerable victims are often unwilling to prosecute their own families.

“It’s often looked at as a protection issue not a policing one,” admits one police source. “There’s a lot of reluctance about the idea of introducing a new offence.”

Read the whole article – its very good and nuanced.

Gilligan tries to get clever

by Sunny at 1:30 am    

Oh check out Andrew Gilligan, he think he has one on me! Says on his latest blog-post:

Almost two years ago, incidentally, one progressive blogger alerted us to the way in which SREIslamic were extremists “putting on a moderate face” and “jumping on a polarising and emotive issue to build their own base and support.” That blogger was none other than Sunny Hundal – the very gentleman who last weekend was denouncing me for making exactly the same point, and cranking out desperate excuses for the East London Mosque.

Uh oh! Hypocrisy? Has Hundal been caught out secretly getting chummy with mad mullahs?

Poor Gilligan, if he only bothered to read what I wrote just a few days ago:

And to be clear: I’m not a fan of SRE Islamic at all. Neither am I of religious bigotry. But here is an example of Gilligan selectively targeting Muslims while saying nothing of Christian groups on the matter. I oppose religiously inspired bigotry – but a belief in civil liberties and free speech requires accepting that sometimes people will say things you don’t like.

Gilligan has of course ignored all the points I’ve made while hysterically accused everyone else of kowtowing to homophobia. But that is the way of the smear-mongers I guess.

It’s funny how people who claim to want more free speech lose their marbles when it comes to Muslims huh?

Update: Oh dear, oh dear. More of Andrew Gilligan’s shoddy journalism comes out in the wash.

4th July, 2011

Call centres choose Britain over India

by Rumbold at 9:31 am    

This is good news, and a consequence of rising costs in India, China and other places, as workers get paid more in those countries:

New Call Telecom, which competes with BT and Sky to offer home telephone services, broadband and low-cost international calls, is opening a call centre in Lancashire after being attracted by low commercial rents and cheap labour costs…

[The chief executive] said: ‘We did a cost and service analysis of returning home and there was an absolute parity between what we are paying for a third-party call centre in India and here in the UK.’ Mr Eastwood will employ 25 staff at rented premises in Burnley.

It also reflects non-wage issues too:

He says using British staff will also cut costs in the average amount of time taken to deal with customer inquiries. ‘The average handling time in the UK is three minutes. But if you go out to India, you need to add another minute unless it’s a very efficient operation, so that means we can actually reduce the headcount with the saving. In India in the past decade, as call centres have grown, real-estate prices have gone up massively, while salaries have also crept up.’

New Call will pay £4 a square foot for space in Burnley, which Mr Eastwood says is similar to that in Bombay and New Delhi.

As emerging market economies get richer, setting up businesses in places like the UK will become more attractive. Already companies from places like India are buying up companies in the UK, and thus employing tens of thousands of people.

Filed under: Economics,Economy,India
2nd July, 2011

Andrew Gilligan’s smears at East London Mosque fall apart

by Sunny at 2:44 pm    

Last week Andrew Gilligan at the Telegraph blogs claimed that ‘East London Mosque breaks its promise on homophobic speakers after just eight days’.

East London Mosque has now released a statement hitting back, which shows how disingenuous Gilligan actually is. Here is part of their statement

Continue Reading...
Filed under: Muslim,Organisations

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