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  • 11th November, 2006

    The blurry line of racism

    by Sunny at 9:19 am    

    In the comments section of Clairwil’s earlier article on Kriss Donald’s murder, Tottenham Lad has written an interesting comment articulating how he moved from the anti-racist left (through many marches) to being a bit fearful of immigrants and anyone non-white. To put it politely. It’s worth reading, at least for his honesty and the insight it offers.

    There are three obvious points to make in response. And I want to recount a point raised in my radio discussion earlier this week.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Race politics
    9th November, 2006

    Samira Ahmed on feminism and fundamentalism

    by Sunny at 10:57 pm    

    Channel 4 News presenter Samira Ahmed recently gave a lecture at LSE earlier this week, organised by the journalism think-tank Polis. Director Charlie Beckett has posted about on his blog. He writes:

    What made her especially interesting was her view that the UK media often fails to recognise extremist dangers, partly because of “over-sensitivity”. She feels that there is, for example, an under-reporting of misogyny among political extremists, including certain Islamic groups. And she thinks that this is a crucial factor in creating the ‘Death Cult’ of suicide bombers prepared to kill innocent people for their beliefs.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Media,Religion

    Tonight at 8pm on Sky News

    by Sunny at 4:11 pm    

    Sky News have asked me to come in and discuss news items with the presenter. So in other words I may have to give my opinion on anything that comes up over a period of 40 min as the news is being read out. I accept I’m quite opinionated but surely this is stretching it? What if Britney Spears’ divorce comes up?
    So anyway, if you want to see me make a fool of myself tune into Sky News at 8pm tonight. I should be listed as editor of Pickled Politics blog.

    Filed under: Media

    ‘As nothing more than their recruitment flier’

    by Clairwil at 12:17 am    

    Pollokshields is part of Glasgow and young lads swagger about acting hard. I grew up there and was attacked twice. Once by a white woman and once by an Asian man. My brother was hospitalised after being attacked by a group of white boys….

    Clairwil contributes with an article on the murder of Kriss Donald.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Race politics
    8th November, 2006

    Tories need to change much more

    by Sunny at 9:40 am    

    Conservative party candidate Ali Miraj is in the midst of a minor political storm. Yesterday David Cameron shuffled his shadow cabinet and in the process demoted Bernard Jenkin, who was responsible for pushing the ‘A List’. The list was attempt to push their cream of the crop to good Tory seats and was full of women and a good sprinkling of black and Asian candidates.

    Anyway, Jenkin’s sacking coincided with a post written by Ali Miraj (also on the A-List) on his own blog where he candidly showed frustration with the system.

    Continue Reading...
    7th November, 2006

    American mid-terms open thread

    by Sunny at 9:08 pm    

    The main reason why the Democrats will not do as well as they could have, in tonight’s American mid-term elections, is because they have no effective leadership. No consistent message, no charismatic personalities and no effective fighters. Hilary Clinton has become a mirror image of Gordon Brown: so sure of victory in the party leadership elections that she is saying very little that would scupper her chances. John Kerry tried and fluffed up badly, again. He would be extremely stupid to run again later. If the Republicans carry on as they have then the 2008 elections will be an open goal for the Democrats. But they’ll need some different strikers; preferably Barack Obama (pictured) and John Edwards.


    Update: Ok, so I underestimated how badly the Republicans were going to be trounced.

    Democrats now control both the Houses. Minnesota elected the country’s first Muslim senator Member of the House. Rumsfeld is OUT!

    Filed under: United States

    Party politics

    by Sunny at 4:20 pm    

    The Conservatives have just sent out details of their new front bench.
    Anne Milton has been appointed Shadow Minister for Tourism in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport team; Shailesh Vara has been appointed Shadow Deputy Leader of the House; James Brokenshire has been appointed Shadow Minister for Home Affairs; Ed Vaizey has been appointed Shadow Arts Minister in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport team.

    Incidentally, Labour recently confirmed that Piara Khabra MP (of Southall) will not be contesting the seat at the next General Election. If there is one politician that annoys me more than Keith Vaz, it is Khabra. Thank god for small mercies.

    Update: I forgot to post about the Tory councillor Ellenor Bland who has been suspended for sending around a racist email about immigrants (thanks Anas). See it here.

    Is it racist? I think it is. Why the emphasis on the ‘immigrant’ being from Pakistan? Why the reference to the turban when most immigrants are East European? Does the woman even know how many Asians emigrate here? In addition the email conflates immigrants with asylum seekers (like most others). Apparently she has Asian friends, she says. That line again.
    This is nothing more than the typical demonisation of immigrants we get from BNP types.

    Al-Hack adds: Don’t know what the LibDems are crowing about; they have Jenny “Jews control the world” Tonge in their midst.

    Filed under: Party politics

    Denying the uncomfortable statistics

    by Douglas at 3:37 pm    

    Politicians and wannabe politicians are out in droves smearing the John Hopkins Lancet study, not because they can argue the statistics, but simply because they don’t like the statistics.

    PP reader Douglas Clark writes in with a short comment on the Iraq war and the Lancet study.

    Continue Reading...

    Interesting tidbits

    by Sunny at 12:32 am    

    1) On Friday 10th November the Memorial Gates Commemorative Committee is holding its fourth annual wreath laying ceremony on Constitution Hill. Led by Baroness Shreela Flather, it pays tribute to the huge contribution made by the five million men and women from the Indian subcontinent, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the British Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars.

    2) Saw a little piece today on 17 year old Kiran Matharu becoming the UK’s youngest female golf player with a scratch handicap. She made the news recently too in Dubai, is profiled here and even has her own website already. (As a sidenote my dad had always wanted me to become a professional golf player but I could never see myself doing that).

    Filed under: Current affairs,Sports
    6th November, 2006

    What I love about England

    by Sunny at 4:03 pm    

    Over at Dave Hill’s excellent blog Temperama, I’ve contributed to his Big England series with a short piece on what I love about England.

    Filed under: Culture

    White Mughals, brown Brits

    by Jai at 8:44 am    

    As regular PP commenters will know, I’m currently reading a very interesting book called White Mughals, by William Dalrymple.

    Considering current controversies and ongoing debates here, I noticed some intriguing parallels with what was happening in the Indian subcontinent about 200 years ago.

    It appears that there was a significant amount of covering-up of facts during the later Victorian era, regarding the extent of inter-marriage between Indians and Britons, and the degree to which employees of the East India Company embraced their new surroundings.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Religion

    Hung, drawn and quartered: a penalty worth paying?

    by SajiniW at 7:22 am    

    Witness the latest news from Iraq - their former president Saddam Hussein has been sentenced to death for ordering the killing of 148 individuals in 1982.

    An automatic appeals process was immediately launched, so his proposed hanging could take some time. The ex-president is still under trial for allegedly gassing thousands of Kurds in the late 1980s. He is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday for the next hearing in the aforementioned case.

    Coming just two days before the American midterm elections, the Iraqi court’s sentence of a hanging death has given President Bush the first opportunity in weeks to speak of a success in Iraq. Whether this ruling can be considered a success remains to be seen; after all, the invasion which led to his capture went ahead despite considerable opposition from the international community.

    New waves of violence and revenge attacks are expected in the aftermath of this ruling.

    How do you feel about the verdict? Does capital punishment have a role in a civilised democratic world?

    Sunny adds: Nosemonkey makes some good points on the legal position.

    Filed under: Current affairs
    4th November, 2006

    It’s a weekend open thread!

    by Katy at 5:07 pm    

    It is not a very good weekend thread, because I am snowed under with work and work-related misery, but still, it is a weekend open thread, so please put lots of funny clever interesting stuff in the comments to make up for the lack of funny clever interesting stuff in this bit. Thanks…

    Filed under: Current affairs
    3rd November, 2006

    One down…

    by Al-Hack at 8:19 pm    

    A retired priest committed suicide by setting himself on fire in a German monastery in protest at the spread of Islam and the Protestant Church’s inability to contain it. Roland Weisselberg, 73, poured a can of petrol over his head and set light to himself in the grounds of the Augustine monastery in the eastern city of Erfurt, where Martin Luther spent six years as a monk at the beginning of the 16th century.

    From The Times. So…who’s next?

    Britons believe Bush more dangerous than Kim Jong-il

    by Leon at 4:52 pm    

    Bush, Bin Laden, Kim

    America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country’s reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq.

    Carried out as US voters prepare to go to the polls next week in an election dominated by the war, the research also shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by the US president as part of an “axis of evil”, but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US.
    It exposes high levels of distrust. In Britain, 69% of those questioned say they believe US policy has made the world less safe since 2001, with only 7% thinking action in Iraq and Afghanistan has increased global security. [Via The Guardian]

    Is anyone really surprised by this? While it’s good so many see things this way the question remains what to do about Bush, and his lackey Blair? Change in the US looks possible (if only John Kerry would keep his trap shut) but what of Britain? Brown has already expressed his support for the war and Blair keeps on grinning knowing he’s not likely to be held to account for the mess he’s helped make. As for Cameron, well…who knows what the master of public relations actually thinks.

    Who has betrayed the white-working class?

    by Sunny at 4:46 pm    

    Given the general frenzied tone of most articles covering race or faith related issues, one emerging trend seems to have escaped attention.

    Last week The Economist carried an article on Britain’s “forgotten underclass“, with a tagline stating: ‘Muslims and blacks get more attention. But poor whites are in a worse state’. This is a bold statement to make but not without merit.

    The real question is: who is to blame?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs

    Can liberals deal with extremists?

    by Sunny at 2:45 am    

    Through David T, I find some notable bloggers are having a discussion on an argument by Melanie Phillips that the only way top stop the “Islamicisation of Britain” (what else does Melanie Phillips talk about?) is through a resurgence of Christianity. According to her secularists and liberals are doomed because, “It’s better to be dhimmi than dead”. In other words no one is going to risk their life fighting Muslim terrorists.

    Her premise is hilarious to the point of absurdity. Though, you probably knew I was going to say that. Let me explain why.

    Continue Reading...
    1st November, 2006

    The BNP needs you!

    by Sunny at 5:44 pm    

    BNP supremo Nick Griffin arrived at court today, where once again he attempted to make himself into a free speech martyr.

    Griffin, a Cambridge University graduate, and Collett were charged in April 2005 after the BBC screened a secretly filmed documentary “The Secret Agent” in 2004. The programme showed the pair giving anti-Muslim speeches to activists.

    Much as I hate to say this, Nick Griffin shouldn’t be in jail or be arrested for mouthing off against Islam. It is a show trial - it’ll never get anywhere. The legislation is there to protect inciting hatred against people specifically not beliefs. But that is the least of Nick Griffin’s problems!

    The British National Party is facing a battle for survival after running out of cash following a dramatic fall in membership.

    End of year accounts for the far-right party show it recorded an annual loss of £94,711 - and it now has £52,000 of debts. The funding crisis is revealed in accountancy documents which also show membership has plunged by 25 per cent in 12 months.

    Filed under: The BNP

    Mind numbing

    by Sunny at 11:56 am    

    Sometimes a crime can be so shocking that it’s simply very hard to comprehend.

    There was always a gaping silence in this village, even before September 29 when an upper caste mob, according to eyewitnesses, paraded a mother and her 17-year-old daughter naked, raped and killed them. Two other members of the family, brothers aged 19 and 21 too were murdered. Their bodies were dumped in a canal.

    Thirty eight men have been arrested and they are being held under police custody. The gruesome incident occurred 780 kms from Mumbai, too far out it appears to muster national outrage.

    There is so much to say on this that I don’t really know where to start or whether it’ll have any impact. But I do believe it is important to highlight these barbaric atrocities in order to at least hope the killers do not get away. Blogger GreatBong says that it would be simplistic to simply see this as a caste issue. I disagree. Many crimes are impulsive but many, especially in developing countries, are about power - the power of the upper-caste or sons of politicians to perpetrate heinous crimes in the knowledge they will get away with it. And more often than not it is the poor and marginalised (which Dalits overwhelmingly are) that are the victims. Especially in a case like this where the murderers openly parade their victims, it is all about caste-related power.
    [Warning: Shivam Vij has more coverage but the pictures are sickening]

    There is another reason to highlight such crimes. As coverage of India in the mainstream media has moved on from snake-charmers to Bollywood and now to its economic strengths; it’s own politicians and foreign journalists gloss over the fact that deep in the heartlands there remain serious social problems.

    I do believe that alleviating poverty will help but only partly. There are deeper issues here: honour and a total disregard for life and law. These are the same values that lead fathers to kill their daughters when they dare to disobey them in love and marriage. It is always about the imposition of power in the name of honour. Unless the state (India and UK) apply the law fairly and brutally, sending out a clear signal, these murders will continue to take place. There should be absolutely no sympathy.

    Filed under: Culture,India,South Asia
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