»   Anyone know more about this Free Schools BSEC conference that Toby Young is speaking at? Sounds all too chummy http://yfrog.com/h380020818j 50 mins ago

»   UK takes major step towards written constitution... with a 'Cabinet manual' http://bit.ly/i8fITK (we take this gradualism stuff too far) 2 hrs ago

»   Coming to Captain SKA's "Liar Liar" party tonight? Comedy, left-wing activists and lots of Tory bashing! Why not eh? http://bit.ly/fB48w4 5 hrs ago

»   'Why anti-fascists should let Pastor Jones visit the UK' http://bit.ly/gB0eO5 - great post by @RadicalDanFrost 5 hrs ago

»   'The face of our student cause isn't my brother Charlie Gilmour but Alfie Meadows' http://bit.ly/gWY6A1 says @heathcoter 6 hrs ago

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  • Technorati: graph / links
    12th February, 2010

    BNP deputy leader says media now much softer towards them

    by Sunny at 9:41 am    

    I’m speaking at an event later this month (23rd Feb) on how the media needs to ‘expose the BNP‘.

    The political and media consensus appears to be that the way to tackle the BNP is to meet it half way, by talking up tough anti-immigration measures and airing this racist party’s lies. This conventional wisdom must urgently be challenged.

    says James Macintyre of the New Statesman, and he’s right.

    And to reinforce that point, here is Simon Darby, deputy leader of the BNP:

    Dealing with the press on a daily basis it is hard not to develop a healthy disrespect for the people who quite rightly can be blamed for the state this country is in today. However, certainly over the last year I am not the only one here at BNP Towers that has noticed a distinct thaw in the attitude towards us from some aspects of the media.

    It has occurred to such an extent that the latest move by a small gaggle of z-list journalists to deliberately spike coverage concerning the BNP looks almost prehistoric. I used to worry about these things a few years ago, but now I welcome them safe in the knowledge that many within their own profession will find this sinister, clumsy or just plain comical.

    Come and hear me (and others) listen. I’m going to be talking about strategies to tackle the media’s love of the BNP.

    Amnesty, Gita Sahgal, Moazzam Begg and why they’re all wrong

    by Sunny at 9:21 am    

    People reading political blogs generally seem to hate nuanced positions, but I’m going to try anyway. For that it’s likely I’ll get slammed by both sides but that’s fine. I need to get this out of my system.

    Many of you will know the background to the Amnesty/Gita Sahgal/Moazzam Begg/Cage Prisoners saga. Well, even if you don’t, you can read on. I’ll focus on each of the main actors - none of who come out smelling of roses I think.

    Gita Sahgal
    I’ll start by saying I have had great respect for Women Against Fundamentalism and Southall Black Sisters (who Gita was associated with). I’ve made several docs where I’ve worked extensively with women from SBS and lobbied hard when their funding was being cut.

    I think Gita was right to raise concerns over Amnesty’s link with Cage Prisoners (CP), who Moazzam Begg (MB) leads, for reasons I’ll come to later. But she’s wrong on various counts:

    1. Her implication is that Amnesty is being affected in its support for human rights across the Middle East by giving MB/CP a platform. There is no proof for this. If she’s only arguing that Amnesty’s reputation would be damaged, I’d argue that having a public spat did far more damage to Amnesty.

    2. She has also argued that Amnesty has “never done any research on the networks developing in Britain or Europe or the US” - but that’s not their job. They don’t do counter-terrorism they do protection of human rights. And on that basis they have to argue for the rights of all people including Islamists and even white fascists.

    3. I’m also unsure of what Gita is specifically accusing MB of? This is unclear. She knows that Amnesty does not have any formal links with CP or Begg. She also knows they are not consulted on for Amnesty reports. So how exactly are Amnesty being affected by them?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Islamists,Terrorism
    11th February, 2010

    Daily Mail cartoon: immigrants are like animals right?

    by Sunny at 12:37 pm    

    This is the Daily Mail cartoon today. Some background on Libcon.

    As low as Jan Moir. It’s unbelievable the depths to which the Daily Mail will sink to.

    Filed under: Race politics

    Bin Laden: dead or alive?

    by guest at 9:20 am    

    contribution by author and analyst Dr Nafeez Ahmed

    Former assistant director of FBI’s counter-terrorism division Dale Watson; former Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf; current Pakistani President Asif Zardari; Afghan President Hamid Karzai; late Benazir Bhutto; Israeli intelligence sources; Pakistani and Afghan sources, including Taliban leaders – all have reported Osama bin Laden to be “probably dead” since December 2001.

    Several independent experts agreed with this assessment, as reported by the Daily Mail last year. One said: “All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama Bin Laden.”

    We cannot know for sure whether bin Laden is dead or alive, although multiple credible sources from the region give strong reason to doubt that he is indeed alive.

    And so the recent bin Laden tape, which emerged on Sunday 24th January, was dismissed by White House advisor David Axelrod by saying they could not “confirm the authenticity of the tape.”

    Continue Reading...
    10th February, 2010

    A point about Ali Dizaei

    by Sunny at 2:55 pm    

    I was going to stay out of this because there’s little good to say about an idiot copper who beat up someone over a few hundred quid and then went on to pevert the course of justice by pretending to be the victim.

    What has annoyed me however is the range of bloggers who’ve seen this as somehow vindication that Dizaei only got away with it for so long because he was non-white. Bullshit.
    Jim Jay points out:

    Dizaei was accused of spying for Iran, but there was no evidence. He was accused of using prostitutes, but there was no evidence. He was accused of fiddling his fuel mileage, but there was no evidence nor any reason to think that he had. Just as there was no reason to believe he was an illegal drug user.

    The resources the force poured into Operation Helios were phenomenal.

    They bugged his phones, his family’s phones, his friends phones. They followed him, taped him, watched him like a hawk with a team of officers assigned to his case round the clock. They even followed him to the US when he went to speak at a convention there. They intimidated his friends, lovers, even owners of restaurants he ate in. They tried a clumsy attempt at a sting operation. Even MI5 were brought in on the act.

    When all of these efforts failed to turn up one scrap of evidence worth mentioning they still tried to convict him.

    That is the full extent of this sorry story. In the end they got him - and he was an idiot for giving them the opportunity to do so. There’s also an account by Brian Paddick which carefully hints at the extent to some of this but also points out why Dizaei was an awkward one for the Met. But if you’ve had such a vendetta against by your bosses - would you be well-disposed towards them?

    Filed under: Race politics

    The joys of blogging

    by Sunny at 10:09 am    

    One of the joys of being a (somewhat) well known blogger is that when certain stories come up, you can be accused of saying what you didn’t say about it, or not saying anything at all - at the same time! There are people out there waiting for me to write about everything, and if I don’t - see, we knew he was like that!

    Joy!
    Meanwhile, Jewish rabbi blames gays for Haiti disaster. [link fixed]

    Filed under: Blog,Humour
    9th February, 2010

    A statement by Gita Sahgal

    by Rumbold at 9:12 pm    

    Gita Sahgal, a senior figure in Amnesty International, was suspended by that organisation following comments made by her to the Sunday Times. This concerned Amnesty’s continued support for Mozzam Begg and his Cage Prisoners’ group, a controversial organisation which Ms. Sahgal felt should be treated with caution. Here’s what she had to say on the matter:

    Continue Reading...

    The problem with some atheists (+ Sikhs and daggers)

    by Sunny at 3:25 pm    

    The story of the judge who said he wanted to allow Sikhs to walk around with kirpans has prompted some debate across blogs that I quickly want to weigh in on.

    My position, as I’ve said previously when writing on knife crime, is that schools should have the right to make up their own policy. In some cases a kirpan may not be of consequence, in other cases a school may be worried that knife crime is out of control. There may even be cases where Sikhs are running around stabbing people - in which case a school may like to step in and put in a complete ban. I’m in favour of local decisions based on local conditions, simply because there is a danger of some Sikhs abusing the rules that govern usage of the dagger.

    Jako from Frank Owen’s Paintbrush says:

    Insisting that Sikhs should have the right to walk around with their ceremonial daggers – even in schools – certainly suggests the man is possessed by a religious arrogance of such massive proportions that there isn’t room for any other considerations.

    Pity the BBC Asian Network didn’t bother finding an opposing point of view. I’m sure there’s a sensible Sikh out there willing to say that some of the more eccentric teachings of their faith should not be given privilege over the law of the land (and of course basic common sense).

    The chances of finding a Sikh saying that the kirpan is “eccentric” are as low as the chances of a Sikh saying that the Gurus were idiots. Not. Going. To. Happen. I’m not particularly religious (I don’t follow Sikhism but I do say I have a Sikh heritage) but I wouldn’t go that far.

    But there is a point about religion in the public space, and I think Dave Semple is spot on:

    This principle is not at stake in this case. Quite the opposite. Thinking secularists would surely defend the right of anyone to do anything, provided that it was unlikely to result in harm or the coercion of any individual.

    When Jako claims that ‘the more eccentic teachings of their faith should not be given privilege over the law of the land” I am at a loss to explain such anti-religious nonsense, a parody, almost, of real secularism. Just because something is a law does not justify it.

    If we take the incident of the Sikh girl and her kara from a few years back, where no health and safety issues were at stake, the courts quite rightly ruled that to exclude her for wearing something so connected to her beliefs was discriminatory. So the law is not so uncomplicated as Jako thinks anyway.

    Dave’s whole article is very worth reading. But I want to make a wider point here: there is a strain on the left that is militantly anti-religion, and not just pro-secularist. I’ve pointed out in the past that the National Secular Society also makes this mistake of conflating secularism with atheism and represents the latter view that a nuanced former view.

    Politically, this means is that many lefties ends up pissing off people, especially Christians, who want to retain their religious identity in public. I don’t think religious people should get special treatment or be absolved of discrimination - but this misunderstanding of secularism really is a political liability.

    If the left becomes anti-religion then we’ll never be able to build coalitions on many issues like fighting poverty, sustaining welfare programmes and get near any sort of power.

    Update: I agree with Paul Sims on the Humaist blog

    Filed under: Religion

    The curious case of Aafia Siddiqui

    by guest at 9:09 am    

    contribution by Shaaz Mahboob of British Muslims for Secular Democracy

    The case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s involvement in terrorism and the alleged maltreatment at Bargam Airbase in Afghanistan has somewhat transformed into a cause célèbre amongst Muslim communities in particular British Muslims of Pakistani origin who share the same geographical and cultural origin with her.

    Ironically, non-Pakistani Muslims, especially Arab Muslims do not appear to be much concerned about the alleged sole female Al Qaeda operative bearing in mind the roots of Al Qaeda run deep within Arab societies.

    I too, was initially appalled at reading the plight of the short statured woman who was allegedly kept under illegal confinement in Afghanistan for over 5 years before finally being produced in a US court of law. To everyone’s relief, she was finally put on trial in New York on terrorism related charges, including one involving an attempted shooting of a US Army guard by his own M16 rifle. She has since then been found guilty of this charge.

    Continue Reading...
    8th February, 2010

    Want to shadow an MP to learn more about politics?

    by Sunny at 4:23 pm    

    Operation Black Vote have launched their MP shadowing scheme again.

    The MP Shadowing Scheme is looking for 25 BME individuals from across the country to gain an invaluable insight into the roles and responsibilities of an MP. MP Shadows will spend six months shadowing high level MPs from the three main political parties.

    In their role as Parliamentary Ambassadors, participants will also play a vital role helping to raise awareness amongst Black and minority ethnic communities about our democratic institutions.
    Check out: http://www.obv.org.uk

    Filed under: Party politics

    News stories for today (Monday)

    by Sunny at 8:53 am    

    Sajid Javid set to be Tories’ first Muslim MP
    English-born Mr Javid, who went to a state school and studied economics and politics at Exeter University, had a successful career as a banker. He became the youngest vice president in the history of Chase Manhattan Bank at the age of 24 before being headhunted by Deutsche Bank. He has since left banking but describes himself as a ‘businessman and private investor’.

    Plan for anti-Muslim march blasted
    Five men have been arrested after a Facebook site was set up declaring “all Muslims should be thrown out of Wales”. Around 150 people joined the group on the social networking site claiming they would march through the Rhondda Valleys to make their feelings known. The proposed march has been described as “mindless bigotry” by racial equality groups. But South Wales Police have now stepped in and arrested five men for religiously aggravated public order offences.

    Sarah Palin fires up Tea Party faithful
    My view - please, run Sarah run! I remember when her spectre first came up and Tories warned she was formidable while fake lefties warned us she was formidable too. She is - at energising Democrats and turning off Independents. She is among Obama’s best Republican weapons.

    Sikh judge criticises banning of Kirpan
    Sikhs should be allowed to wear their ceremonial daggers - known as Kirpans - to school and other public places, Britain’s first Asian judge has said. There have been a number of cases of Sikhs being refused entry to venues because they wear the Kirpan or other religious artefacts

    Filed under: Current affairs
    7th February, 2010

    Muslims, Modernity and the West: Remembering Nusrat

    by Jai at 9:11 pm    

    This is a follow-up article to the previous two-part article published during the autumn (Part 1, Part 2).

    Some fantastic official clips of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s huge UK concerts last October in conjunction with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in tribute to his late uncle, the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, have finally surfaced on Youtube, so a selection is presented below along with a few more videos I thought it would be constructive to include. You can also read some reviews of the concerts at the end of this article.

    ”Jhoole Lal”, a tribute to Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (1177 – 1274), the most famous historical Sufi from Sindh and a friend of Baba Farid (the Punjabi Sufi whose hymns were later included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred scriptures of Sikhism). Lal Shahbaz Qalandar was renowned for his message of mutual religious tolerance and friendship between Muslims and Hindus, and is still venerated by members of both groups in the subcontinent (video here).

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Muslim

    News round up: the Griffin edition

    by Rumbold at 11:38 am    

    Nick Griffin has his work cut out for him as a poll revealed that a third of Britons believe him to be an unfunny, unpleasant, repetitive misogynist. Oh wait…

    Liz Jones makes a reasonable point about the sort of woman society idealises (ignore the article’s headline).

    The Home Secretary is to reduce the number of student visas after continuing worries about abuses.

    Concerns over the BBC Asian Network’s performance and cost has led to renewed calls for a change in which the channel is run. Campaigners want to see the network become more relevant to younger British Asians, with more features on things like homosexuality and mixed relationships.

    Laura Woodhouse at The F-Word highlights the plight of asylum seekers who left their children behind, and who now want to be reunited with them.

    Gracchi discusses the overlap between the Spanish and British empires.

    Filed under: Current affairs
    6th February, 2010

    Pakistan Fashion Week

    by Jai at 4:21 pm    

    Given the ongoing discussions about niqabs, burkhas and so on, along with some of the scaremongering caricatures of Muslims which are being promoted in some quarters, this may be a good time to mention Pakistan Fashion Week. It’s a major annual event involving Pakistani designers and high-end fashion shows in major cities such as Lahore and Karachi, where such fashion shows occur on a regular basis.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Pakistan

    Anti-semitic incidents increase

    by Rumbold at 11:49 am    

    The Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors anti-semitic cases, reports (PDF) that anti-semitic incidents in Britain have risen significantly (by 69%), with 924 cases recorded in 2009, making it the highest number since records began twenty six years ago. These included violent attacks (up 41% to 124) and attacks on property. Predictably the war in Gaza featured prominently, with around a quarter of the cases including a reference to it.

    With the continued growth of white-racist and Islamist groups, this is sadly not surprising. I suspect that better and more comprehensive reporting of anti-semitic incidents has played a part in the long-tem rise in recorded incidences, given that previously it has been more difficult to identify hate crimes (as distinct from crimes not motivated by things like race, religion or disability), and people might not have known about the CST. A greater focus on the internet also contributed, with the CST recording a 431% increase of abusive e-mails/blog comments.

    Yet even with all these statistical caveats, the situation still paints a grim picture. Morons, bigots and the rest of their ilk still feel the need to attack people based on their religion. Some of the attacks are doubtless down to plain old bigotry (they are different from us, and are weak); others due to the inability to separate out an eight year old Jewish girl from the Israeli army; then there are those that are motivated by the special place that the Jews occupy in the conspiracy theory world.

    I just hope 2010 is a better year.

    Filed under: Race politics,Religion
    4th February, 2010

    Rod Liddle makes legal threats against us

    by Sunny at 9:16 pm    

    More here on Liberal Conspiracy. And he tries to style himself as a defender of free speech.

    A reader emails in to say:

    Hi there Sunny
    Love the ad for The Inde to try to prevent the ghastly Liddle being inflicted on us. Thank you for this campaign. I am very impressed that a possible donation may be made to victims of domestic violence and abuse.

    May I suggest an addition to the reasons why he shouldn’t be editor and to the list of his vile statements, please? I haven’t seen anyone pick up on something he said at the same time as the ‘smoking at Auschwitz’ quote, which reveals him to be not only grossly racist, sexist and misogynist, but bigoted against disabled people.

    He remarked that the concentration camp was ‘festooned’ not only with no smoking signs, but with disabled access ramps.

    Irony, or what? Given the fate of countless disabled people at the merciless hands of the nazis … there was equality there, for sure - being considered equal to other categories of humanity deemed worthless - ‘useless eaters’ - and therefore unworthy of life.

    This man is so stupid, so arrogant, so egocentric - words fail me. Keep up the good work!

    Sincerely
    *******

    Fair comment I’d say… no?

    Filed under: Media

    Cherie Booth either hates Muslims or is on drugs

    by Sunny at 6:39 pm    

    There better be another explanation for this story (via Tim Fenton, who is similarly exasperated):

    A secularist group has lodged an official complaint against Cherie Booth QC after she spared a man from prison because he was religious. Shamso Miah, 25, of Redbridge, east London, broke a man’s jaw following a row in a bank queue.

    Sitting as a judge, Ms Booth - wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair - said she would suspend his sentence on the basis of his religious belief.

    His religion is completely unimportant in this sense and this is a completely idiotic decision that will only further give the impression that Muslims are afforded special rights that others are denied. Cherie Booth must either hate Muslims or smoking something. What a fuck up.

    Update: MTPT has a more measured and legalistic view. He makes a good point that the custodial sentence and the unpaid work punishment is along the lines of what is legally handed out anyway.

    But the point isn’t that. The point is that for the likes of the Daily Mail and right-wing blogs - this is an easy to way to further the narrative that Muslims get special treatment. And so it feeds into existing prejudice and frankly I’d have hoped our judges had more braincells to realise how this may be interpreted by others.

    Filed under: Religion

    Terrorists in Pakistan hit girl’s school

    by Sunny at 11:03 am    

    Huffington Post reports:

    A roadside bomb killed three U.S. soldiers and partly destroyed a girls’ school in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday in an attack that drew attention to a little-publicized American military training mission in the al-Qaida and Taliban heartland.

    The blast also killed three schoolgirls and a Pakistani soldier who was traveling with the Americans. Two more U.S. soldiers were wounded, along with more than 100 other people, mostly students at the school, officials said.

    The explosion flattened much of the school, leaving books, bags and pens strewn in the rubble. “It was a horrible situation,” said Mohammad Siddiq, a 40-year-old guard at the school. “Many girls were wounded, crying for help and were trapped in the debris.”

    Siddiq said the death toll would have been much worse if the blast had occurred only minutes later because most of the girls were still playing in the yard and had not yet returned to classrooms, some of which collapsed.

    Completely sickening, but then this has been happening for a while in Pakistan and the media hasn’t really noticed. This is also the reason why I support forcing the Pakistani establishment to confront the menace that is Al-Qaeda and the Taliban - and withdraw institutional support.

    Even if the Americans leave the terrorists will still want to take power and they will continue to bomb schools and kill innocent people until they get their way.

    3rd February, 2010

    BBC and climate change denying nuts

    by Sunny at 8:54 pm    

    Wrote an article last night on the BBC’s increasing climate change denialism. Published today:

    After watching last night’s Newsnight, I can only come to one conclusion: the BBC has become this country’s most pernicious climate-change-denying media outlet in the UK.

    There is simple reasoning behind this grand statement. While the assorted commentators who regularly spout ill-informed propaganda across the media are usually taken with a pinch of salt, the BBC is broadly trusted as an impartial and trustworthy reporter of news. It sets the agenda. Which makes the rubbish it has been producing lately on climate change even more dangerous.

    Let me start by saying I believe that man-made activity is the prime driver behind global warming. I don’t have time for tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy nuts who think it is one big plot by scientists across the world. I do believe CC deniers are no different to 9/11 Truthers. But that point is moot while we focus on the country’s biggest culprit.

    Read the rest here. Predictably the comments followed in four strands:

    1) WTF? Don’t you know global warming is bullshit?
    2) WTF?! BBC showing right-wing bias? You’re smoking crack
    3) Why do you deranged, lunatic, tax-raising, commie loving, hippy-loving, oil company-funded bastards use such nasty, polarising language against us? Why??? You should be strung up!
    4) Me and my tinfoil-hat wearing commenter mates think your credibility is shot to pieces. No one will ever employ you again!!

    I was baiting them all evening but unfortunately the CIF crew closed the thread. Perhaps we can continue here?

    Update: Mehdi Hasan at New Statesman piles in:

    There is nothing more infuritating than the BBC’s earnest and often misplaced quest for “balance” on settled issues like climate change, which often has the effect of tilting its coverage to the right.

    Yup.

    Filed under: Environmentalism,Media

    Dr. Mitu Khurana: an update

    by Rumbold at 7:54 pm    

    Dr. Mitu Khurana’s final court date for custody of her children is approaching. Some of you may remember Mitu’s story, but for those who don’t, I have added in background detail.

    Dr. Mitu Khurana is a brave woman. She struggled against her husband and her in-laws years ago when she was pregnant. They slipped eggs into her food, knowing she was allergic to them. Other times they denied her food and water. Her crime? To have become pregnant with two daughters and refused to abort them. In August 2005 she gave birth, but the pressure did not stop. It was suggested that she give her children up for adoption, while her mother-in-law once shoved her then four month old daughter down the stairs.

    In March 2008 Dr. Mitu was thrown out of her house by her husband, who is also a doctor. The next month she went back to their home only to discover that while ill (and in hospital), doctors had illegally performed a test to determine the sex of the foetus. Sex determination tests are illegal in India, as a response to the major imbalance between the sexes. There are 107 men for every 100 women in India, which translates to a gap of tens of millions. This is largely the result of abortion and the killing of female children. Many women go along with these tests, or even instigate them, but Dr. Mitu did not stay silent. She spoke out and filed a complaint with the Women’s Commission and various NGOs, and became the first woman to file a complaint under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act in Delhi.

    Continue Reading...

    Event: I’m speaking at politics and blogging event

    by Sunny at 10:21 am    

    On Monday 8th February:

    The Monk Exchange
    Strutton Ground
    London
    SW1H 0HW

    Guido Fawkes; Jonathan Isaby of Conservative Home; Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy & Mick Fealty of Slugger O’Toole

    … will join mainstream media journalist Nick Cohen to discuss whether political blogging is actually making any difference to the course of political events.

    Moderated by Jack of Kent. Hosted by the Westminster Sceptics posse!

    Filed under: Events

    Event: Is Europe failing its Muslims? 23rd Feb

    by Sunny at 10:16 am    

    We hear endlessly in the media that European Muslims are failing to integrate; that they should stop wearing the burqa and building mosques with minarets; that like the rest of us, they must learn to tolerate insults to their religion however painful that may be. But isn’t the boot really on the other foot?

    By constantly criticising their traditions and beliefs and insisting they be more like the rest of us, aren’t we breaching our own hallowed principle of live and let live? Far from Muslims failing to be good Europeans, isn’t it Europe that is acting illiberally and giving a raw deal to its Muslim citizens?

    Continue Reading...

    We need a dedicated department / advisor on terrorism

    by Sunny at 9:49 am    

    Alternatively titled ‘Keith Vaz makes a sensible suggestion shock!’, this article in the Washington Post makes interesting reading:

    Britain needs a U.S.-style national security adviser to report to Prime Minister Gordon Brown on terrorist threats, a committee of lawmakers said Tuesday in a report that made unusually sharp criticisms of the country’s approach to security. Parliament’s Home Affairs select committee said Britain’s government had been too slow to adapt to an evolving threat from terrorism and complained that key strategic decisions are often made in informal meetings, rather than by a publicly accountable security panel.

    The bizarre thing is that I’ve not seen any of this coverage here. But yes, I think that’s a good idea. The committee is led by Keith Vaz, believe it or not. He’s not just sitting around looking for the next video game to ban.

    In its report, the committee said it had until recently been unaware of the weekly security meeting. “The lack of public awareness of its existence is troubling,” the lawmakers said. “The public have a right to know who is protecting them from terrorist threats and in turn, those protecting the public should expect to be accountable.”

    Britain’s system of control orders, a system of curfews used to curtail the movements of terror suspects who can’t be brought to trial without revealing sensitive intelligence, is no longer appropriate, the committee said. “It is fundamentally wrong to deprive individuals of their liberty without revealing why,” the panel’s report added.

    In fact I can’t disagree with any of those recommendations. Interestingly, the Tories plan to set up a US style department of Homeland Security here - which may be the only useful idea in their manifesto. There are several reasons, mentioned above, why such a specific dept would be useful. Now. Any thoughts on why it may not be a good idea?

    Filed under: Terrorism
    2nd February, 2010

    Yasmin A-B on Channel 4′s Indian Winter

    by Sunny at 9:33 am    

    Ouch!

    One dancer said it all: “I tried to watch. I don’t mind them being critical of ‘Incredible India’, which does not look after its poor. But these guys were clueless, flying in and taking over our stories and realities. I object to that.”

    We now have black and Asian newsreaders but note that after 30 years Newsnight has had no black interrogator. Multiracial casting in soaps and drama is now common and top roles do now go to black and Asian actors – Adrian Lester in Hustle, Nina Wadia in EastEnders. Yet watch The Bill and Midsomer Murders – two very different worlds – and almost all the actors are white.

    Black and Asian Britons are still not considered good enough when it comes to witty shows. The same old, same old white comedians appear on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Argumental, QI, Mock the Week. Omid Djalili, Shappi Khorsandi and Shazia Mirza do gain entry and maybe a couple of others, but night after night after night, like Alan Davies? Of course not. Go on the comedy circuit and you get the many faces of our laughing nation, from hilarious Sikhs to outrageously un-PC Muslims and Zimbabweans.

    Why are we still having to bang on about the obvious? Laziness, nepotism, a self-limiting circle of contacts and information, lack of curiosity and humility and most of all the hubris that defines and holds back British TV.

    The last bit is true, and applies to the media industry as a whole, but it is also what will kill the industry. So while Y A-B is spot on about most of the stuff in that article, she still has too much regard for the TV industry in a way I don’t.

    I sometimes watch news television, which is now also very formulaic - but the idea that the next generation is going to be defined by this closed industry no longer holds true. Oh and the bit about the Indian Winter is bang on too.

    Filed under: Culture,Media
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