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6th September, 2006

What if…?

by Sunny at 6:43 pm    

There are rumours floating around that a senior minister is considering resigning. I’m on a few political mailing lists and have heard this from different sources. Tony Blair, despite the current storm he is in now, has not been dealt the killer blow. In other words the storm could still pass if he rides it out.

On the other hand if a senior ally was to resign, let’s say like Jack Straw, then events could go over the cliff. Would it make sense of Straw to resign or openly ask for Tony Blair’s? I believe it does.

1) Despite his unswerving loyalty for years, Straw was unceremoniously dumped by Blair after Condoleezza Rice’s visit. He will be smarting over that.

2) Dealing the killer blow to Blair would be good move for his own re-election chances, not just because he runs a constituency with a large Muslim population.

3) There is a prisoner’s dilemma here - no senior minister wants to make the first move in fear of looking disloyal. But given Blair has already stabbed him in the back and there isn’t much to lose, it makes sense for Jack Straw to go first.

Is he our fall-guy? I can’t speculate on that with confidence since I don’t have access to political corridors like Iain Dale or Guido. But I think there is more to this than meets the eye.

Update: While Newsnight and commenters over at Iain’s seem to think the same, Nosemonkey wonders if David Miliband is the one sticking the boot in.
Oh, and Tom Watson has put the resignation letter and Tony Blair’s reply on his blog.

Filed under: Party politics

Is Blair on his last legs?

by Leon at 2:36 pm    

Much has already been made of Blair’s current problems but today it got a little more serious. A number of MPs have resigned their positions as Parliamentary Private Secretaries in a move to force Blair out (it seems). Will it work? Will he survive until conference in a few weeks or are his allies’ right that he‘ll leave in a blaze of glory next year?

News Now has a feed titled ‘Blair Exit’, the question is barely how but more when?

Update: You can read the resignation letters and Blair’s reply here. Cameron rubs his hands with glee. Martin Kettle is convinced this is a Brownite coup and Dizzy thinks he’s cracked a new angle.

Introduction: We need a new discourse

by Sunny at 5:33 am    

In this short introduction I explain why I think we all, as Britons, need to engage in the current state of affairs and why I continually refer to ‘Muslim issues’.

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Filed under: Current affairs
5th September, 2006

David Cameron on India

by Sunny at 11:01 am    

To show he is down with the kids, David Cameron is documenting his trip to India on a newly launched blog. It is even has video clips. As Steve Irwin (r.i.p.) would say - crikey! This is accompanied by an article in the Guardian today on why he wants to forge a new relationship with India. I have some points to make briefly.

1) Watching the second video, it is good to hear DC talk sensible economics on why it’s good for Britain (and India) if companies here invest there, rather go along with the traditional Tory protectionist narrative about jobs going abroad.

2) He seems to have come around to accepting this is in Britain’s interests . In the article he writes:

For too long, politics in this country has been obsessed with Europe and America. Of course these relationships are, and will continue to be, vital. But serious and responsible leadership in the 21st century means engaging with far greater energy in the parts of the world where Britain’s strategic interests will increasingly lie.

I hanker for the days when ‘world community’ does not just refer to the US and UK.

3) Some of the commenters underneath DC’s article say he is only doing it for Britain’s sake and he is ignoring the poor people in India. These are silly claims. For a start, the Indian government will also engage only to serve their own interests. Extending trade relations serves not only India’s interests, but those of the poor people who benefit from job creation.

In fact India’s trade liberalisation since 1991 has empowered India’s poorest with cheaper access to technology, less corruption (doing away with the ‘license raj’) and more foreign investment. That is not to say poverty is not a problem; it’s just that relying solely on the Indian govt to deal with it is naive. International trade also helps.

4th September, 2006

Gerry Adams to meet Hamas leaders

by Leon at 4:16 pm    

This is an interesting move that’s sure to get some people up in arms; how do you characterise this; former terrorist meets present day terrorist? Political leader meets emerging political leader? Without doubt this throws a spanner in the works for the whole “all terrorists are the same” propaganda offensive of Bush and Blair.

Perhaps Adams genuinely does want to help (after all the peace process shows you can engage “terrorist” organisations toward a shared political end) or maybe he just wants to grab some of the limelight ahead of Blair’s visit?

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The Crocodile Hunter is dead

by Katy at 3:43 pm    

I interrupt today’s Pickling to bring you news which cuts across all races, creeds, political beliefs, classes and geographical boundaries: Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, is dead.

His televisual style was bizarre, but strangely effective. There were times when he came out with absolute nonsense, but nonetheless I was very fond of him, because of his genuine love for all animals no matter how scaly, slimy, creepy-crawly or homicidal they were. Many of my happiest rainy Sunday afternoons were spent slumped on the sofa under a blanket, hot chocolate and buttered toast at my elbow, watching Steve, his wife Terri and seven or eight other people trying to get a rather upset-looking trussed-up crocodile, which clearly did not fully appreciate that the nine or ten people sitting on its back were in fact on its side, back into the water where it belonged.

Steve Irwin was often a figure of fun - by design, I think, rather than by accident - but he was hugely knowledgeable about the creatures he studied and cared for, and he did a huge amount to publicise conservation and environmental issues, and his untimely death is a genuine tragedy.

Filed under: Current affairs

Saira Khan demands more democracy

by Leon at 12:15 pm    

I have to say I’m not the biggest fan of the Apprentice but have watched it a few times here and there. Runner up Saira Khan seems to be trying real hard to make a TV career post appearing on the show. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, she irritates the hell out of me, no idea why, I think it’s her voice.

Anyway, her latest venture is democracy; I’m all about democracy, so I find the ‘Our Say’ campaign very interesting…

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Filed under: Current affairs

Islamic Identitypolitik

by SajiniW at 11:38 am    

Much has been made of Islamic identity over the past few days, what with the culture-clash “kidnapping” of Misbah Rana (aka Molly Campbell) and the commentary from the outgoing Miss England, which accused the government of hostility against Islam.

Feeling that “even the more moderate Muslims have been stereotyped negatively and feel they have to take actions to prove themselves”, Miss Kohestani (pictured above), went on to comment about the Prime Minister’s onus post-7/7 for the community to ’sort extremism out from within’.

Whilst the perceived climate of hostility pervades, the search for clarification on what exactly consitutes a Muslim & whether it’s fair to define oneself by subscribing to a cultural ideology versus a religious one continues.

Witness the latest ‘Muslim’ celebrity: former stripper Chico Slimani. Mixing Islam with showbiz is proving difficult for the former goatherd alongside flogging the proverbial dead horse. Read about his anguish here before heading over to the Independent to check out what Nadeem Butt, Humera Khan & friends have got to say on the matter.

Filed under: Current affairs

On religion: the first preface

by Sunny at 4:28 am    

I have written this article to lay out my views on religion, as a introduction to a wider set of ideas that will follow.

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Filed under: Religion
3rd September, 2006

West Bengal to WC1

by Rohin at 1:37 pm    

Ahoy there picklers! Remember me? I know you’ve all been dreaming about the day I returned and crying yourself to sleep each day I didn’t post. There there, I’m back now. True to form, I re-surface in time for a party, so happy birthday Pickled Politics!

Last night I was having dinner with the secretary of the West Bengal Crafts Council don’t-you-know, and she was telling me all about her project in association with the British Museum in London. The Museum is running a season entitled Voices of Bengal, which began in August and continues until the 7th of January oh seven.

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Filed under: Culture, Religion, Events

Happy birthday Pickled Politics

by Sunny at 2:14 am    

It was a year ago, yesterday, that we officially opened this blog wide open. I’m going to try and start my series of articles on Monday. Thank you, come again.

Filed under: Uncategorized
2nd September, 2006

It’s the weekend totty-of-choice thread!

by Katy at 11:43 am    

Rakhee has put in a request for a spot of male totty for the thinking-yet-redblooded-woman in the weekend open thread. There is nothing I would like more than to spend the afternoon happily trawling the interweb for photos of suitable candidates, i.e. Vince Vaughan and Simon-from-Blue* (do not confuse this with me liking the musical oeuvre of the band Blue, for they are sadly not nearly as musically proficient as Simon is handsome). Cor. Phwoargh. Wouldn’t mind one of those at home. Woof. Hubba hubba. Etc. (more…)

Filed under: Current affairs

Weekend entertainment with Paris Hilton

by Sunny at 10:14 am    

Filed under: Humour
1st September, 2006

Trying to deport disabled children

by Sunny at 2:08 pm    

In January I pointed to a campaign to stop the deportation of asylum seeker Samina Altaf and her disabled children. Samina and the children fled Pakistan after domestic abuse by her husband. All 3 suffer from severe rickets and are receiving proper medical support in this country. But the Home Office want to deport them. And I got this yesterday:

Samina Altaf and her children have just received a letter from the Home Office turning down their application to remain in this country. They repeat the adjudicators claim that Aqsa is not ‘completely disabled’ and that this is “an attempt to embellish her claim and it does not reflect the true situation.”

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From U2 to Bryan Adams?

by Al-Hack at 1:01 am    

While Hindi films are only now making their way to theatres in Pakistan, music has always made it’s way across the border to our country. And the latest musician to cross the LoC is Shehzad Roy.

With his catchy numbers and boyish good looks that make female fans swoon, Roy is the latest musician to try his luck in India from across the salt desert [Pakistan].

A youngster whose influences have ranged from U2 to Bryan Adams, Kishore Kumar and R D Burman to Abida Parveen, Shehzad Roy is in Mumbai to promote his album Salli.

Great story, terrible taste in music.

Also spotted this a few days ago.

THE Royal Navy have appointed their first non-white admiral. Pakistan-born Muslim immigrant Amjad Hussain, 47, was this week promoted to rear admiral from commodore.

He is the highest ranking ethnic officer among the 200,000 men and women of the three armed forces. The dad of three said yesterday: “I count myself very lucky to live in a country where the opportunities have been beyond my imagination.”

The RAF have a black air commodore — one rank behind Rear Admiral Hussain. The Army’s highest ranking ethnic officer is a full colonel.

From The Sun.

Filed under: Current affairs
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