5th June, 2008

The British in Bollywood

by Rumbold at 8:04 pm    

There was an interesting story in Eastern Eye about how in the future we are likely to see more British Asians in Bollywood (and presumably regional cinema), thanks to a £13 million deal signed between the Indian and British governments, to encourage more Indian films to be shot here, as well as hiring more British actors and actresses. There are already a number of white British actors and actresses in Indian cinema, including Chris Patten’s daughter (Alice), Toby Stephens and Paul Blackthorne. All in Aamir Khan films, curiously.

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Filed under: Culture

The Human Rights Act has failed

by Rumbold at 5:08 pm    

In 1998 the Blair government introduced a piece of legislation which was supposed to revolutionise human rights in this country; gone would be the days when ill-defined and ill-ordered laws and conventions protected the citizen, now was a bright new dawn when nobody would ever suffer state or corporate oppression again. Ten years on, I believe that this ‘Convention on Human Rights’ has failed to do what it was supposed to do, apart from make a few lawyers even richer. Typically, those attacking the Human Rights Act (HRA) would now launch into a rant about how all it does is protect murderers from being identified, or jailed rapists who want to keep their lottery winnings, or terrorists from being deported. While this might be a valid argument, the real question is whether or not the HRA has protected the rights of the citizen. In a word, no.

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Clinton to endorse Obama on Friday Saturday

by Sunny at 1:24 am    

Well, I did say earlier he would be nominee. I’m pretty confident he’ll be president too, providing some big Rev Wright like calamity doesn’t crop up. We’ll see. The Democrats are in good shape I think.

“Senator Clinton will be hosting an event in Washington, D.C., on Friday to thank her supporters and express support for Senator Obama and party unity,” said Howard Wolfson, one of her chief strategists.

Earlier Wednesday, a group of top Democratic leaders asked all of the party’s uncommitted superdelegates, the officials and party leaders who get automatic convention seats, to make their preferences known by Friday.

Respeck – Hillary did the right thing and didn’t follow through with the stereotype that had been painted of her. Now Democrats, its time to start arming the guns. The real battle is about to begin.

Two other points. The media coverage has been somewhat annoying. Yes, we know he’s a black man, thanks BBC. It’s a big deal, sure, but that is not why he won the campaign. He won through superior campaigning.
Secondly, he is not black, Barack Obama is mixed race. He is as white as he is black. I hate it when journalists complete eradicate the whiteness of mixed race people, as if it doesn’t matter.

4th June, 2008

What makes a good citizen?

by Sunny at 2:21 pm    

Have a chew over these questions…

- Are shared values essential to a coherent idea of good citizenship?

- …. Or just ‘values’, perhaps not ‘shared’, for a more plural notion of good citizenship?

- What is behind ‘shared’ values? Do their origins matter, how do they change over time, are people seduced or co-opted into sharing them?

- Within that, what are the tensions between the national (identity, community, values, citizenship), the secular (identity, community, values, citizenship), and the faith-based (identity, community, values, citizenship)?

- If we were to chart citizen values, would we find (or could we defend) a continuum of citizen values, as opposed to binary oppositions between faith-based values and (1) values of other faiths, and (2) ‘secular’ values?

Filed under: British Identity

More Muslim Christian fighting!

by Sunny at 11:16 am    

That perked you up didn’t it? No, actually, there has been a show of solidarity in Birmingham following that earlier mentioned incident. No doubt, the Mad Mel Phillips contingent will say just because a few Christians and Muslims are saying things are ok doesn’t mean the slide of Britain into dhimmocracy isn’t happening!!!! Except, if you remember, the original incident also involved just two evangelicals and a stupid PCSO.

Another Bardot Anti-Muslim Rant

by Sid (Faisal) at 1:21 am    

Younger readers amongst you may not have heard of Brigitte Bardot. When I was growing up in the 70s, I spent many blissful evenings rewinding and replaying certain, erm, educational scenes on the VCR from And God Created Woman. She was one of the world’s most beautiful women and a star in the 50s and 60s in a string of films that made her world famous celebrity-totty. Nowadays she is more famous for her being a deranged animal rights activist and a vocal critic of gays, immigration, modern art and politicians but most of all of Muslims and the “Islamicisation of France”. Yes, she needs to blog.

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Filed under: Culture
3rd June, 2008

Americans support Obama’s foreign policy

by Sunny at 11:33 pm    

Barack Obama shouldn’t give any ground on the view that the American administration needs to talk to hostile nations such as N Korea, Iran and others. Especially Iran. And the polls back him up.

The Gallup website has more. Glad that Americans are finally seeing sense, even if the shrill right-wingnuts can’t.

Today will hopefully also be the day he becomes the Democrat nominee.

Filed under: Current affairs

Problems posting comments?

by Sunny at 8:52 pm    

I’ve moved to a different system slightly to capture spam and other fake comments, and I’m wondering if it has locked out real people. Is anyone finding it difficult to post comments here? If you can’t post to respond to this, please use the contact form and let me know.

Next up – a slight re-design of PP! Any thoughts on that?

Filed under: Blog

It’s a Muslim no-go area!!

by Sunny at 10:53 am    

The story that two Christian evangelicals were stopped from preaching in Birmingham has had tons of bloggers literally creaming their pants. So much so that my article yesterday on CIF attracted about ten comments just posting it so they could derail the thread, or erm, say I must be pleased by it. What?

Melanie Phillips predictably called the story Britain’s slide into dhimmocracy. I’m assuming she didn’t use ‘dhimmitude’ because there were already 47372 posts titled that.

I know this is hard for the bloggers creaming their pants, but let’s work through the logic here. A ‘Muslim no-go’ area is presumably one where non-Muslims and the law fear to tread.

So how exactly is the police, by harassing some Christian evangelicals, creating a Muslim no-go area? Surely, by logic, they wouldn’t exist in an area where the police is active?

Or to put it another way, if the police is harassing some black or brown youths, is it creating a ‘white no-go area’?

The charge is more likely that the police is conspiring with Muslims to create these zones. That sounds remarkably similar to the xenophobic narrative of an earlier generation when Jews were being accused of conspiring to take over the world and spreading their influence everywhere.

West Midlands police idiocy over the Channel 4 documentary aside, there is absolutely no evidence at all that they are conspiring with Muslims to create ‘no go areas’.

In fact there is no evidence at all that ‘Muslim no-go areas’ exist, and it is a symptom of our lazy media that no one has pulled up Bishop Nazir Ali on it. Even the Guardian keeps repeating this rubbish.

Filed under: Current affairs
2nd June, 2008

A new green tax covenant

by Rumbold at 8:48 pm    

With the price of oil climbing ever higher, there is increasing anger at the level at which petrol is taxed in this country. Britain has the second most expensive fuel in Europe (Germany is top), and it is tax that accounts for the majority of the cost. Protestors want Gordon Brown to reduce the tax on fuel, while environmentalists urge him to resist in the hope that people will use less oil in the future, and/or switch to alternative fuels.

Despite believing that man is contributing to climate change, many people are justifiably suspicious that green taxes, which are theoretically designed to encourage people to adopt a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, are just an excuse for the government to raise more money. A few people still think that man has nothing to do with climate change, but then they are just incestuous paedophilic kidnappers, according to the Bishop of Stafford.

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The ludicrous campaign for Banglatown

by Sunny at 9:17 am    

This is a guest article by Zeenat

A campaign of lobbying supported by London labour councillor Abdal Ullah has begun, in a bid to rename Shoreditch High Street over-ground station to Banglatown.

The aim of this absurd renaming is to supposedly help celebrate the cultural diversity and rich history of immigration, particularly from Bangladesh, in the Brick Lane area.

When I first heard about this ridiculous campaign, my first question was – what exactly is it that Cllr Ullah wanted us to celebrate?

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Hicham Yezza deportation delayed

by Sunny at 12:43 am    

Channel 4 News reports that Hicham Yezza, who was arrested on terrorism charges and then due to be deported because the bloody police wanted to avenge their own stupidity, has won a legal delay. There’s also a recent interview in the Guardian: ‘This is not the way I should have been treated in a country I love’. Amen to that, brother.
The bloggers trying to prevent his deportation are also trying to stop another Nottingham resident/asylum seeker being deported. More on that also on Indymedia.

31st May, 2008

We’re out drinking…

by Sunny at 10:44 am    

Things may prove a bit quiet here today folks – most of the PP team will be out drinking in the afternoon to celebrate the last day one is legally allowed to drink on London’s public transport. If you’re in London and want to join us, get in touch through the contact form.
(ermm, not that we drink on the tube regularly… but its a good excuse for a meetup)

Filed under: Blog

Standpoint: for Christian fundamentalists and bigots

by Sunny at 10:40 am    

I’m writing a longer article on how crap Nazir Ali’s article in Standpoint is, but there’s no surprise that the usual suspects on the right are getting a hard-on over it. The thing is, Nazir Ali’s point was actually made by Melanie Phillips ages ago and it was taken apart then. After all, it wasn’t long when she asked in all seriousness: “How long will it be before Christianity becomes illegal in Britain?”

When Lord Nazir Ali is headlining your magazine then you know its rapidly going to become the house journal of Christian Concern for our Nation, Nadine Dorries MP and assorted Melanie Phillips fans (aka nutjobs). And in case you haven’t yet spotted the magazine’s recurring theme yet, there’s this gem from one Michael Burleigh:

Many of the 1.6 million Muslims living in Britain, for example, still do not seem to fully appreciate the outrage that a finger-jabbing minority causes at home and abroad with each escalating demand for Islamist enclaves.

That’s right folks – all of Britain’s Muslims are to blame for the way they allow some extremists to behave! No, there’s no stereotyping here. There’s no attempt to lump them all together. They’re just all to blame for the way that a “finger-jabbing minority”, otherwise referred to as “those uppity Muslims who don’t appreciate how lucky they are being allowed to live in Britain.” If any brown person gets too big for their boots, just blame the ethnics for letting the “finger-jabbing minority” get out of hand.

30th May, 2008

Driven to the BNP?

by Sunny at 3:45 pm    

“Voting for the BNP is a deliberate decision: you are not “driven” to it any more than a car drives itself. It is a decision to allow self-pity to influence your vote and to disguise it as righteous anger,” says Linsey Hanley in the Guardian today. I happen to agree, and would argue the same applies to Muslims seduced by Islamist and more violent terrorist organisations.

But here’s the question: How do you deal with the BNP or Islamist party if they attract significant numbers of votes? Do you acknowledge their existence because its democracy at work? Or do you say the voters are stupid, should be in a mental institution, and pretend the election didn’t happen?

And that’s just the parties. What do you with the voters? Is everyone who votes for a racist party or sympathises with an Islamist party a lunatic in danger of harming others? Do you lock them up as a precaution? Or do you say there’s a problem with the system that makes those parties the only protest option?

Are these voters then beyond the pale? Should they be branded with a big swastika sign somewhere so w we’re aware of the fascists among our midst? After all, over 5% of voters in the London Mayoral elections voted for the BNP. One in 44 Londoners is an active fascist voter. Should the national media ignore these people for making such monumentally stupid electoral decisions?

Who is to blame for family breakdown?

by Sunny at 5:01 am    

A young 7 year old girl in Birmingham dies of neglect and starvation. The MP blames the social services, and so does the father. But of course the real problem here is the bloody parents who neglected their daughter isn’t it?
I quote Steve:

No, Mr Zaire, you never lifted a finger. It was you who did nothing. You chose to be somewhere else.

I’m not saying Birmingham’s social workers are blame free. They should have asked questions when the child had been away from school for so long. If they were unaware of this, then that is a system failure too. But Mr Zaire has some cheek to blame just about everyone else when, it appears, he had very little involvement with his children.

Family breakdown has become one of the biggest issues of our generation. Conservatives cannot stop harping on about it because it captures the sense of moral panic some people feel over issues (crime, unemployment, teenage pregnancies, abortion) and allows them to blame that on liberals and Labour governments.

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Filed under: Culture,Race politics

That bastard, Dalai Lama!

by Sunny at 1:41 am    

Talking to someone about blogging today and I said the key to developing a presence on the web is having someone new to say and taking controversial positions. The Spiked Online crew are perhaps the best example in Britain, I said, because they’re known only for spouting hilarious, contrarian positions for its own sake.

Lo and behold, its editor Brendan O’Neill is on CIF today telling us what a conniving bastard the Dalai Lama is. Up next: Margaret Thatcher was right! Nelson Mandela is a terrorist!

Filed under: Humour,Media
29th May, 2008

Britain’s Christian heritage

by Rumbold at 3:09 pm    

His Grace Bishop Nazir-Ali has written an article in Standpoint, a new monthly magazine. In it, he argues that British values have been shaped by Christianity, and that the cultural revolution which has been going on since the 1960s has led to the decline of Christianity and a moral vacuum. I am going to leave the latter part of his discussion, and just focus on his contention that values like the rule of law, civility and suchlike arose from Christianity in Britain in the preceding centuries.

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Evening Standard, a week later

by Sunny at 2:34 pm    

Those Evening Standard journalists eh, always quick with the journalism! I pointed out last week that Munira Mirza’s Manifesto Club was diametrically opposed to Boris Johnson’s tube drinking ban. First the Observer’s Pendennis column picked that up, and now the ES has a big story!!!! about it. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against her. But those sharp hacks at the ES should have picked up this amusing story ages ago. Maybe they were too bosy slobbering over Boris. More at Dave Hill.

Filed under: Humour,Media

I’m going to pick a fight with a feminist

by Sunny at 5:01 am    

I don’t normally do this of course, but this itch has been getting bigger lately. A few months ago on CIF I said that the race between Obama and Clinton was leading to a fight between feminists and anti-racists in the fight to claim the mantle on who faced more bigotry in this presidential race: did the black man have it worse or the white woman?

Quite sensibly, most feminists in America have tried not to let it get out of hand by highlighting the sexism that Clinton has faced, but not play that against Barack Obama, as if its still his fault and he’s getting off easily. But not all.

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Quilliam: Arabs Pull Out

by Sid (Faisal) at 1:09 am    

It looks like the Gulf financiers of the Quilliam Foundation have withdrawn their funding without so much as a by-your-leave. The Evening Telegraph writes:

The Quilliam Foundation, the think tank devoted to promoting harmony in West/Islam relations, is facing the withdrawal of its financial backers. The foundation was set up by former Hizb ut-Tahrir members Maajid Nawaz and Ed Husain in April with the explicit aim of freeing Western Muslims from “the cultural baggage of the Indian subcontinent and the political burdens of the Arab world”. Its work has already been feted by such figures as Michael Gove, the Conservative Shadow Secretary for Children, Schools and Families, and socialite Muslim Jemima Khan. But now its financial backers, based in the Gulf, have cut off funding because they are incensed at its criticism of Ken Livingstone’s favourite Islamist, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Husain, author of The Islamist, who is now seeking new sources of funding from Muslims based here in the UK, blames the Muslim Association of Britain and the Muslim Council of Britain for mounting “a character assassination attempt” on his organisation and intimidating its advisers. “It’s a challenge having the funds pulled out,” he tells me. “But it’s not easy for normal Muslims to condemn figures like Qaradawi and then sustain themselves. The people who are trying to shut us down are the same people who were behind Ken Livingstone’s campaign to mount a character assassination of Boris Johnson, portraying him as a racist.”

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Filed under: Muslim,Organisations
28th May, 2008

Former Bush aide: Iraq war fuelled by propaganda

by Leon at 7:35 pm    

Another day, and yet more news of the crumbling Bush adminstration:

A former aide to President Bush claims the White House deliberately mounted a dishonest propaganda campaign to sell the Iraq invasion to the US public, in the most damning insider account of the presidency so far.

Scott McClellan, who worked for Bush for seven years, including three as White House spokesman, brands the war a “serious strategic blunder” and “not necessary”. The scathing comments stunned Washington today because the Bush team, until now, has had a reputation for intense loyalty to their boss.

Great news for the Obama campaign, another weapon in the growing stockpile against that idiot John ‘A thousand years in Iraq dammit’ McCain.

As for those comments of why he didn’t speak up before? Better late than never and the more damage these Republicans do to themselves the better I say!

Sunny updates Best headline goes to Wonkette: “Bush Propagandist Complains Of Bush Propaganda”.
The NY Times has an amusing round up of American blog reactions.

Telegraph publishes BNP blog

by Sunny at 4:28 pm    

The Daily Telegraph website is hosting the blog of the BNP councillor Richard Barnbrook, as I pointed out on LibCon last night. When contacted by the Media Guardian today, they said:

The newspaper yesterday defended its decision to host the blog and said it has had no complaints. A spokeswoman said: “Our readers are entitled to their opinions and, within the law, they’re entitled to publish them on the My Telegraph blogging platform. We believe our readers are intelligent and discerning enough to avoid the content they dislike and report that which offends. That doesn’t mean the Telegraph necessarily endorses their opinions nor promotes them.”

What actually happened is that Telegraph readers didn’t even notice the difference between what the BNP councillor is saying and what the paper’s journalists write anyway.

Barnbrook says: Blame the immigrants. Who is the Telegraph to disagree? This is a goldmine for bloggers to watch… I wonder how long it’ll take before the idiot says something beyond the pale and the Torygraph takes it down.

Update: Neil D on Harry’s Place says:

The Guardian apparently has no moral objections to propagating the views of far right sectarians, as it actively solicits pieces by Muslim Brotherhood supporters such as Faisal Bodi, Anas Altikriti, Ismail Patel and Soumaya Ghannoushi. They even publish, on a regular basis, work by Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas’ “Special Envoy“ and wannabe suicide bomber.

This rather silly. Most of them might be conservative right-wingers, and Faisal Bodi a complete idiot, but comparing them to the BNP is disingenuous. They don’t go around spouting racial or religious hatred (Bodi and Azzam Tammimi excluded).

Filed under: Blog,Media

Campaign to stop deportation of Hicham Yezza!

by Sunny at 3:36 am    

I blogged last week about two people from Nottingham University, Rizwaan Sabir and Hicham Yezza, who were arrested when the police thought there were downloading terrorist material. It turned out they were researching the material and downloading it from an American govt website. The police let them go after 6 days of questioning.

But the story doesn’t stop there. The dimwits from the police force, in order to cover up their own embarassing stupidity, decided they would deport Hicham Yezza in order to make themselves feel better. On his release Hicham was re-arrested under immigration legislation and, due to confusion over his visa documentation, charged with offences relating to his immigration status. His visa conditions say if he is arrested then the home office has the right to deport him.

So the police wrongly arrest him and then use that as an excuse to deport him! It’s at times like this I wish I could become a more sweary blogger because the idiocy of govt officials never ceases to amaze me. There was an article in the Independent on Sunday highlighting this.

Hicham Yezza is such a popular figure at the uni that there is protest today at the uni to highlight his deportation. There is also a popular Facebook group, with more info, and a blog – Free Hicham Yezza. If you’re in the Nottingham area, try and attend the demonstration! He is apparently being deported this Sunday. A disgrace.

Update – good news, this story is all over the press!
Press Association // Guardian letter // Boston Herald // BBC News

‘Why aren’t we converting these Muslims’, asks Christian fundamentalist

by Sunny at 2:32 am    

Church of England row over Muslim conversion, exclaims the Telegraph, showing a picture of the embattled Lord Nazir Ali. The article says near the end,

Britain’s only Asian bishop, he was tipped to become Archbishop of Canterbury before Dr Rowan Williams’s appointment in 2002. Since he was passed over, he has felt able to speak more freely about his inter-faith views and has become a talisman for hard-line evangelicals who see Islam as a threat to culture and religion.

Yup, we’re aware of that, since he made shit up about ‘Muslim no-go areas’ without actually having been in one and then claimed people were unfairly targetting him. I love this latest sob-story by Lord Nazir Ali too.

Apparently, senior figures within the Church are not exactly happy with his plans to covert British Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus to Christianity because its unlikely to lead to better inter-faith relations. The horrors of social cohesion! Who wants it?

Sometimes you’d think Lord Nazir Ali was a lone figure flying in the face of political correctness to bring social cohesion…. and other times he wants to make sure these damn heathens listen to his word of God. Throw in the word Muslim (we’re not going enough to convert them!) and the right-wing broadsheets are all over it like a rash.

But there is more to this. The conversion thing is a private members motion to be debated by the Church of England General Synod. It is being proposed by Paul Eddy, a guy who does PR for the Lawyers Christian Fellowship (via Bartholomew). His partner in crime there is Andrea Minichiello Williams, who was most recently seen on the C4 documentary cussing Muslims. You can see why this might pose a problem for inter-faith dialogue. Now if this were some Hizb ut-Tahrir or al-Muhajiroun nutjobs cussing Christianity, the usual bigots would be up in arms saying these people should leave this Christian nation. But in this case they’re busy admiring Paul Eddy’s conviction. Oh, the sweet smell of hypocrisy.

The thing is, this is a classic wedge tactic. If these people really wanted to convert non-Christians, they’d just be out there doing it. But these Christian fundamentalists need to create a sense of being under attack, and they need to get rid of the Church of England’s more liberal leaders. So they’re making this into a wedge issue and trying to galvanise the nutjobs within the Synod so they can eventually provoke a clash between Christian and Muslim fundamentalists. That, for them, would be the best way to attract more followers over the longer term and depose of Rowan Williams and his buddies. The Telegraph is more than happy to oblige.

Filed under: Religion
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