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4th January, 2006

More raving lunacy from MPAC

by Sunny at 8:45 am    

The dimwits from MPAC scream and rant over mostly two things: (a) the global Zionist conspiracy, and (b) how Muslim leaders are sleeping and not doing anything (usually about the point a). The solution always being to support and give more money to Mpac of course.

Sometimes they combine the two subjects and take bullshit levels to new heights. Their latest diatribe:

This man and his sell out instincts know no bounds of decency and like a noxious vapour pollute all that he comes in contact with.

Who? Lib Dem candidate Ajmal Masoor. Why? Because the Liberal Democracy Ethnic Minority Forum issued a press release stating:

“The kidnap of Kate Burton and the subsequent fear that this imposes on foreign aid workers within Non-Governmental Organisations does little to help with the economic and social development of a Palestinian State in Gaza and the West Bank. Least of all, it does not provide the security and confidence for the international community to invest within such areas where there is a threat to their nationals.'’

And for saying something sensible, they write call him an “opportunistic traitor” and write this piece of crap. Idiots.

Churchill: Let the fakir die

by Rohin at 2:49 am    
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Winston Churchill. The man millions of Britons voted ‘The Greatest Briton of All Time’ at the turn of the millennium, ahead of Newton, Shakespeare, Darwin and Brunel. The man who advocated gassing “recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment”.

The man who described Mahatma Gandhi as “a half-naked fakir” who “ought to be laid, bound hand and foot, at the gates of Delhi and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new viceroy seated on its back” [Link]. The man who is in the news again - although there isn’t too much coverage.

Hitherto unseen government documents have been released, which detail Churchill’s stance on several issues. The notes were recorded by deputy Cabinet secretary, Sir Norman Brook, and give the first detailed glimpse into what was discussed at the War Cabinet between 1942 and 1945. They’re open to the public just down the road from me at the Public Records Office in Kew, so I took a look. The rather difficult to read shorthand revealed some fascinating facts.

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26th December, 2005

The Politics of the Wave

by Rohin at 7:17 pm    

TWELVE months have passed since the sea claimed 250,000 lives in south Asia and east Africa. Services have been held across the world, including many returning to the coastline where their loved ones were lost. As they look out at the peaceful Indian Ocean (left), it is hard to believe a year has already passed.

DesiPundit points visitors to the The World Wide Help Blog which is observing Disaster Remembrance Week to mark a year when nature’s fury wrought havoc around the world. Famine across Africa, Katrina, the Kashmir Quake and the aftermath of the tsunami led to what became known as ‘donor fatigue’. It is also worth bearing in mind today marks the second anniversary of the Bam quake in Iran, which claimed 30,000 and soon slipped from the world’s news.

Many have suggested that we can show our thanks for being safe in our homes by ending this traumatic year with a donation. I shan’t advise you what to do with your money as there are many good causes out there in need of support. However, a brief mention for Tim Worstall, who is running a smart campaign at his blog. Check it out - NO money is needed, just clicks. Google does the rest.

Over the course of this week, I shall be running a series of tsunami-related articles on my personal blog, most of which fall outside PP’s remit. However I thought I’d start by discussing the role of politics since the great wave.

When I worked in tsunami-hit areas around Sri Lanka’s coastline earlier this year, I quickly learnt the politics of the tsunami. Sri Lanka and Banda Aceh in Indonesia represent the two worst-affected regions of Asia and both have been marred by civil conflict for many years. In the past, lax government efforts in the face of natural disaster have precipitated major turning points in the histories of several countries. For example, when East Pakistan was ravaged by a cyclone in 1970, the appalling response of the Pakistani government contributed significantly to the death of 300,000. Some estimates put it as high as 500,000. Either way, the chapter galvanised East Pakistani politics and brought Independence for Bangladesh soon after.

Inside, I take a closer look at how the political climates of Indonesia and Sri Lanka have affected rebuilding lives.

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18th December, 2005

Are the Conservatives finally developing sense?

by Sunny at 6:31 am    

I’m not spending half my time on holiday reading British newspapers honest, (though they’re better than even the LA Times), but I couldn’t help this one.

Will David Cameron’s succession to the Tory party mean they will become more friendly towards ethnic minorities, I asked earlier this month, saying he showed plenty of promise going by what he said prior to the election. I may now be proved right.

In his first interview published in the Observer today, Cameron says he wants to “change the face of the party, with more women and more representatives from black and ethnic minority communities”. On immigration he says:

The principles that the Conservative Party should apply are very clear: we think immigration is very good for Britain; we think that there are clear benefits in a modern economy from having both emigration and immigration, but that net immigration has to have a very careful regard to good community relations and the fair provision of public services.

DC has done three things here: avoided the rubbish and inflammatory rhetoric of his predecessors, laid out the truth on immigration (that it’s a net benefit to the economy), and makes the one distinction most “commentators” fail to do - between immigration and asylum seekers.

I’m passionately committed to giving people who are being tortured and persecuted asylum, and that means not just letting them in, but taking them to our hearts, and feeding and clothing and schooling them.

Bravo! Even the bloody Labour party refused to be so bold during the election last year.

How all this translates into action will have to be seen. His cabinet is unfortunately full of has-beens (IDS, Hague) who had no clue about what to do with immigration/asylum and just peddled the standard rhetoric.

You may ask, why the big interest? Let me explain. Firstly I believe this country has a moral responsibility like any other to try and provide for those avoiding persecution. Specially from the countries we invade. Note that other European countries and the developed world take far more asylum seekers than the UK. India and Pakistan particularly.

Secondly, paranoid attacks (based on speculation not facts) on immigrants/asylum seekers leads to more xenophobia and general ill-will towards all non-whites. If a person thinks their country is being overrun by immigrants (most think 25% of the UK is non-white when it’s only 7.9%), they probably won’t make the distinction between an immigrant or a British-born Asian/African. There are many studies to show the media bias and attacks on immigrants has lead to more racism but I can’t find them now.

Lastly, the Conservative Party is finally moving towards its natural position on this issue: pro-immigration / pro-market. It’s always struck me as amusing that when the economic benefits of controlled immigration are clear, the right-wing political party has traditionally opposed it. It shows their guts rule over their brains, but maybe the Conservatives are finally developing sense.

Though, it would be wise to read Neil Harding’s comment on this made previously.

13th December, 2005

Rupees for questions, blogger shtyle

by Rohin at 1:21 pm    

Sunny has chosen a great time to piss jet off as I’m working silly hours (hint hint other writers!) I briefly wanted to mention some hilarity in the Brown Blogosphere. I realise some of the gags may be a bit too obscure for those who aren’t followers of the main desi blogs, but it’s pretty amusing nevertheless.

A joint sting operation (great phrase) set by CobraPost and Aaj Tak has ensnared eleven Indian MPs. They were bribed by a phantom group, comprised of Indian journos-cum-bloggers. I shan’t write too much as it’s a bit off beat for most of our readers, but the reason I bring it to your attention is one of the questions posed, which cracked me right up:

“Is it true that while NRI firms such as India Uncut of USA, Sepia Mutiny of Britain and AnarCap Lib of Netherlands have been allowed to invest in Indian SSIs, the reputed German investment firm Desipundit has been denied permission? If so, the reasons thereof? Is the Union Government of India planning to make automatic the long procedure of permission for SSIs to import new technologies such as Trackbacks, Pingbacks, Blogrolls, Splogs and Hitcounters?” [Link]

Whilst you may not recognise the ‘NRI firms’ (all blogging colleagues of PP), the thought of an Indian MP asking about importing pingbacks and blogrolls is hilarious! Neil Hamilton never made me laugh this much.

And Anna, Sepia Mutiny’s resident looker, takes the blame for her American site being labelled British:

it’s my fault…all my “s/z” and “o/ou” substitutions…they thought we were even closer to pickled politics than we are. ;)

Lastly - following up on our Imperial College piece, the uni have cracked under surprisingly-vocal-for-Imperial student pressure and caved on the hoodie/face cover ban. I wasn’t challenged once when I wore a hoodie there, although I never launched my main plan of sporting a bulky rucksack and beard. What’s odd is that they’ve also recanted their call for ID cards to be shown. What the hell? How is that unreasonable?

7th December, 2005

Will the Tories now become ‘ethnic’ friendly?

by Sunny at 5:10 am    

To the surprise of possibly no one, David Cameron won the Conservative title. What his victory means for the future direction of the country is likely to be discussed to death from here on.

Will a “compassionate Conservative party” mean dropping that nasty anti-immigration agenda and extending a bigger hand to non-white populations and MPs? Others may not think so, but I’m a bit more optimistic, and explain why.

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5th December, 2005

Have Asian MPs betrayed us over 90-day bill?

by Xavier Swaraj at 4:34 am    

The Government’s Terror Bill, which is currently being scrutinised by the House of Lords, has been the most contentious issue so far for Labour’s ‘historic’ third term.

When the time for voting came, most of the Asian MPs voted with the government despite the laws’ likely impact on our communities. Have they not betrayed us when community is supposed to look up to them to represent our voices and sentiments?

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Filed under: Party politics
25th November, 2005

Publish the Al-Jazeera memo and be damned

by Sunny at 4:59 pm    

It must be said that subsequent events have not made life easy for those of us who were so optimistic as to support the war in Iraq. There were those who believed the Government’s rubbish about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. Then the WMD made their historic no-show.

Some of us were so innocent as to suppose that the Pentagon had a well-thought-out plan for the removal of the dictator and the introduction of peace. Then we had the insurgency, in which tens of thousands have died.

Some of us thought it was about ensuring that chemical weapons could never again be used on Iraqi soil. Then we heard about the white phosphorus deployed by the Pentagon. Some people believed that the American liberation would mean the end of torture in Iraqi jails. Then we had Abu Ghraib.

Some of us thought it was all about the dissemination of the institutions of a civil society - above all a free press, in which journalists could work without fear of being murdered. Then we heard about the Bush plan to blow up al-Jazeera.

Some of us feel that we have an abusive relationship with this war. Every time we get our hopes up, we get punched by some piece of bad news. We yearn to be told that we’re wrong, that things are going to get better, that the glass is half full.

That’s why I would love to think that Dubya was just having one of his little frat-house wisecracks, when he talked of destroying the Qatar-based satellite TV station. Maybe he was only horsing around. Maybe it was a flippant one-liner, of the kind that he delivers before making one of his dramatic exits into the broom-closet…

Boris Johnson MP is not happy that the Attorney General is stopping the media print the infamous memo.

Meanwhile, Nosemonkey reckons that the whole episode looks too rosy for Blair and is not convinced. Tim Ireland and others say they’d also be happy to print the memo and risk jail if anyone gets hold of a copy.
Update: To clarify, I would also be happy to publish the memo here, providing it has something interesting in it. Though I’m more worried about my family beating me for going to jail over that than actually going to jail :|

So many speeches, so little time

by Sunny at 4:10 am    

The Fabian Society are holding a talk on ‘The Future of Britishness’ on 14th January. They say: “British identity is up for grabs… how should we shape it? Debate the future of citizenship, faith, foreign policy, education, equality, community and security with over 50 of Britain’s leading thinkers and 800 delegates.”

Speeches and debates by: Tim Garton Ash, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Ed Balls, Hazel Blears, Madeleine Bunting, Ted Cantle, Shami Chakrabarti, Nick Cohen, John Denham, David Edgar, Paul Gilroy, David Goodhart, Tristram Hunt, Tessa Jowell, John Kampfner, Jude Kelly, Sadiq Khan, David Lammy, John Lloyd, Gordon Marsden, Shahid Malik, Ed Miliband, Fuad Nahdi, Tom Nairn, Trevor Phillips, Tariq Ramadan, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Zia Sardar, Ben Summerskill, Gisela Stuart, Stephen Twigg, and more..

Full program. That line-up looks quite tantalising… I’m going anyway. I managed to snag a complementary ticket. If anyone else is heading down, do let me know.

21st November, 2005

The Guardian (and me) on British Muslims after 7/7

by Sunny at 5:05 am    

The Guardian today publishes its annual report on what British Muslims are thinking about and how they see themselves. It was first published last year and given the events in July, they saw it fit to carry on.

This is how it works: they gather about 60-80 Muslims in a room, send them off to discuss various issues, then report back on the consensus. A discussion ensues with (this year) Tariq Ramadan and govt. minister Paul Goggins there to address the issues. I know this because I was present at the event last week and the only non-Muslim to take part.

There is a lot to say about the event and how it reflects (or not) what young British Muslims are thinking. I have to be honest though, the extent of denial over 7/7 took mine, and Tariq Ramadan’s breath away…

[Update: Guardian Newsblog has a discussion on this (with a PP plug), while David T has focused more on the alcohol issue.]

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18th November, 2005

The End of a Dynasty - Sri Lankan Election Results

by SajiniW at 9:42 am    

Rajapakse Victorious In Sri Lankan Presidential Elections

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15th November, 2005

UK gets first Hindu state school

by Al-Hack at 2:28 am    

The government has quietly approved the first Hindu state school, the Indy reported last week. The primary school will be in Harrow (by 2010), where 20% of the population is Hindu - by far the biggest concentration in the country. Currently there are 6,000 CoE and Catholic schools, 45 Jewish, five Islamic, two Sikh, one Greek Orthodox and one Seventh Day Adventist school.

Ramesh Kallidai from the Hindu Forum, who has an aversion to historical stamps, said it was the start: “This is the beginning, not the end. Brent, in northwest London has the second highest concentration of Hindus, after which comes the city of Leicester.”

An MP is not happy, neither am I. Are you? Though Hindus deserve one, on numbers, isn’t this all slowly getting out of hand?

Filed under: Party politics, Religion
12th November, 2005

Double double standards

by Rohin at 3:52 pm    

Hearty apologies if this is not up to my usual like, eloquent-ish prose yeah, but it’s a bit of a drive-by posting.

Government double standards: Take 1
October 2005: So, two Brits and an Aussie are caught on an island of disputed ownership. The middle-aged couple and their antipodean friend are arrested by some Iranian nasties and carted off to be subjected to “mental torture”. Those bastard Iranians! They held them for 14 days without charge. Mr & Mrs Wise and friend were kept hostage in a five star Tehran Hotel and not informed as to why they had been detained. Jack Straw said “it has been distressing” and British politicians are outraged. The foreign office said “relations with Iran have been soured“.

October 2006: Two Iranians and their Aussie friend are caught loitering at Liverpool Street Station. The young couple and their antipodean friend are arrested by some heroic British police and kindly escorted to spend 28 (90, anyone?) days without charge at one of her Her Majesty’s five star jails and not informed why they have been detained. Those Labour cronies wonderful law-upholders!

Government double standards: Take 2
September 2005: “24 hour drinking is going to be a baaaad idea dude” says PC Plod, important policeman. “Ah up yours, you didn’t even go to university!” says Tony Blair. He goes ahead with round-the-clock drinking - but makes sure that no food will be served (as people will be smoking there) so that everyone will get drunk even faster and PC Plod’s work will increase threefold.

November 2005: “Ninety days is going to be a grrrreat idea dude!” says PC Plod, important policeman. “We should all value and listen to our police force’s opinion, after all - they are the front line in the war against terror and highly trained and valuable and stuff” says Tony Blair. He goes ahead and encourages them to lobby as many MPs as they can in exchange for New Labour doughnuts and fried dumplings from his new friend Hu Jintao.

OK, me facetious. But really the only thing I’ve neglected to mention is the fact that the detained trio in Iran were denied contact with friends, family or their embassy for several days, which is unacceptable. But the timing of the Brits being held in Iran and its coincidence with the TERROR bill cock-up struck me as pure comedy.

10th November, 2005

Favours for cash

by Nush at 11:59 am    

Gather round all, here is something to consider - a short cut route to getting a peerage and it doesn’t matter which political party you support! Even the Green Party is getting in on the act.

It seems that the new list of peers have much in common with fellow nominees from different political parties. The Times on Tuesday pointed out the massive ‘favours-for-cash’ row that is gaining momentum.

The list confirms the recent trend under which the financial supporters of major parties are being awarded seats in the Lords intended for working parliamentarians, with Labour implicated as much as the Conservatives.

It will confirm a belief increasingly taking hold in the Lords that an unofficial threshold of donations of about £250,000 is operated by the major parties when considering nominations for peerages.

Does anyone else think this is unacceptable? It is ridiculous if this is indeed an entry point into the House of Lords. It seems pretty corrupt to me as you can even become a minister if you give enough dosh. Who said becoming a career politician is an option when now it seems, you can buy your seat of influence.

The Labour nominations follow Mr Blair’s decision last year to give a peerage to Paul Drayson, a businessman who had already given £100,000 to Labour and who subsequently made a donation of £500,000. He has since been made a defence minister.

And we think the political situation in other countries is whack, what about the system right under our own noses?

9th November, 2005

Govt loses Commons vote on 90 days terror detention

by Sunny at 5:05 pm    

News just in: Labour has just faced a humilating defeat over the government’s plans to lock up people for 90 days without having to provide sufficient evidence. It is significant also because it is Tony Blair’s first Commons defeat since coming to power in 1997. He survived ID cards, he survived top-up fees, but he lost the 90 days vote.

Tony Blair tried the hard line and the moral blackmail, but he still failed by 19 31 votes. 49 Labour MPs rebelled. What does he do now? What is an acceptable time period? 14 days, 30, 60 days?

MPs rejected the proposals by 322 votes to 291. They are now voting on whether to accept a compromise detention limit. The defeat came despite Mr Blair saying MPs had a “duty” to give police the powers they needed to tackle terrorism.

The BBC has more on this breaking news.

Update 1: MPs have voted instead to extend the time limit to 28 days. But this will weaken Blair’s authority. Talk Politics has more coverage.
Update 2: Lenin quotes figures from Gary Younge, which I had also been looking for:

More than 700 people have been arrested under the Terrorism Act since September 11, but half have been released without charge and only 17 convicted. Only three of the convictions relate to allegations of extremism related to militant Islamic groups.

One can argue that locking up 3 terrorists is a price worth paying, but there is no evidence at all to suggest they were planning anything. To defeat terrorists, we need better intelligence, not a scattergun approach in locking everyone up.
Spyblog shows how the poll taken to show the public’s support was biased.

2nd November, 2005

France’s version of multi-culturalism up in flames

by Sunny at 2:44 pm    

The argument that France’s version of dealing with ethnic minority cultures is better - i.e. calling them part of the Republic but not bothering to acknowledge them - is up in flames.

Clashes between angry youths and French police spread to at least six Paris suburbs Tuesday night, with police firing tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at street fighters who lobbed Molotov cocktails and burned cars and trash bins.

With unrest expanding through the northern suburbs of high-rise apartments that house some of France’s poorest immigrant populations, senior government officials were debating how to curb the violence during [today] morning’s weekly cabinet meeting.

Unsurprisingly some are making this into a a Muslim thing, but let’s leave that to the bigots right now.

For a bit of background - The clashes began last Thursday after two African Muslim teenagers were electrocuted to death in the northeastern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois while trying to evade police. Local youth blamed the police’s heavy-handedness.

The wider implication is that the French model of integration, hailed by many on the British right when the country banned the headscarf in schools, is effectively up in flames. Many, notably Rod Liddle, said that calling them all part of the Republic and forcing them to be the same would solve all the problems. Some even called for a headscarf ban here.

Although French Muslims have generally accepted and lived with the ban, the idea that you can integrate ethnic minorities simply by calling them part of the country, yet ignoring them and casting them to the fringes of society, does not work. Only earlier this year did French television have its first non-white TV presenter read the news on primetime television.

The country does not count its ethnic minorities, which sounds great in practice if everyone is on a level playing-field, but also allows you to carry on discriminating without being caught out.
BBC story, NY Times, The Guardian.

31st October, 2005

Citizenship tests come into force

by Nush at 12:45 pm    

Immigration Minister Tony McNulty is publicising sample questions ahead of the test coming into force on Tuesday.

People seeking to become British will take the test at one of 90 centres across the country, before taking part in a formal citizenship ceremony. The “Life in the UK” test is the last of a series of changes to how people become British brought in by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett.

The Home Office says that it wanted to create a new more meaningful way of becoming a citizenship in an effort to help people integrate and share in British values and traditions. Prospective new citizens already need to demonstrate sufficient working knowledge of English to help them get on.

Take the test here [more recent link] and see how you get on.

I got a score of 9 out of 15 and apparently that means I should get a seat on the district council, rather than wait for my deportation orders!

Funny politics and angry doctors

by Sunny at 5:08 am    

Amidst a bit of controversy over the latest batch of Peerages being awarded, the IoS reported yesterday: “Sandip Verma, a businesswoman who fought Wolverhampton South-west for the Tories at the last election, also gets a peerage.”

Though she did pretty well in the last election, it is more significant to note that Verma represented a seat that once belonged to Enoch “rivers of blood” Powell. How ironic. Other Asian women in the Lords: Shreela Flather (Tory), Pola Uddin (Labour), Usha Prashar (Independent, also on the ITV board) and Kishwar Faulkner (Liberal Democrat).

The Indy also reports today that ethnic minority doctors suffer the most from racism according to how many complaints it receives. Trevor Phillips says an investigation by the CRE is likely:

Although nearly two thirds of senior doctors were now from an ethnic minority, they were not being promoted to the highest level, he said.

“The grade (called an SAS grade) just below consultant is absolutely stuffed with minority doctors. And they’re just stuck there. That’s not because they’re uneducated, not because they’re poor, but because they are black and Asian.

So the next time you go see your doctor, don’t mention the ‘c’ word.

21st October, 2005

Hear the one about the Archbishop, the Muslim and the religious hatred bill?

by Rohin at 10:06 pm    

Like most old men in their early 20s, I’m spending an increasing amount of time listening to Radio 4. Now I don’t really want to go over old ground about the religious hatred bill, as it has been covered in length elsewhere – Sunny has done an especially good job. To briefly state my position, I believe it to be a fig-leafed token gesture to appease the MCB after Blair pissed off a lot of Muslims. I simply want to bring a few fascinating comments from this evening’s Any Questions to your attention.

Continue Reading...
20th October, 2005

David vs. David: Tory leadership battle is down to the final two

by Nush at 10:18 pm    

Cameron Vs. DavisDavid Davis was in for a shock today, David Cameron over took him by 33 votes in the second round of voting today. From the three remaining leadership contenders, we are now down to the final two.

Mr Cameron topped the poll, taking 90 of a possible 198 votes, while Mr Davis was second on 57. Rival Liam Fox was eliminated after gaining 51 votes.

With Liam Fox MP now out of the race the former Chairman of the Party, teased the press by saying:

Now of course with two candidates left they will be looking for an endorsement and I will be listening with very great interest in the coming weeks to see what the candidates have to say.

The 33 vote difference Cameron had on Davis could still mean that technically Davis can stand down in the Leadership race. However there has been no indication whatsoever that Davis will do so. Instead it looks like the next six weeks are going to be filled with campaign trails to the grassroots who hold those vital votes.

Both Cameron and Davis will now frantically get out the constituencies to meet the grassroots’ who will decide their fate. This is no walk in the garden; this is 300,000 members of The Conservative Party from all over the country.

Finally this article shows that although Cameron may have a slick campaign and is currently riding a good tide, it is not long before the fall comes and quite honestly Davis hasn’t had his positive spin yet. This leads me to the forecast that the final ballot may be a close one. Many of the MPs that voted for Cameron in this second round may revert back to Davis now that Fox is out of the running.

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