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  • 24th April, 2008

    Boris in sleaze row over undeclared shareholding

    by Leon at 11:40 am    

    Oh dear, looks like Bojo has been a bit naughty:

    Boris Johnson faces the possibility of an inquiry by anti-sleaze watchdogs after failing to declare his shareholding in a television company.

    The Labour MP Karen Buck, called on the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to investigate after it emerged that Mr Johnson did not register shares in Finland Station, for more than 18 months. Aides to the Tory candidate for London mayor said he had not declared his 33 per cent shareholding because of an “oversight” and they had now ensured the shareholding was registered.

    Ms Buck said: “Boris Johnson is trying to repackage himself as a serious and competent politician whilst claiming his failure to comply with rules on reporting these shareholdings to the parliamentary commission was simply an oversight. I am afraid this, once again, calls into question Boris Johnson’s competency for one of the most serious jobs in the country.”

    Oversight? I see…I wonder what the [media/blog] reaction would have been if this was about Ken Livingstone?

    Justice for Rizwan Hussain

    by Sunny at 8:47 am    

    The story of Riwzan Hussain’s treatment by the Bangladeshi authorities has gotten East London’s Bengali bretheren very, very annoyed. The story hasn’t made the national papers yet but it is covered on this BBC London page. There’s a demonstration this Saturday according to the v popular Facebook group.

    Continue Reading...

    Secular democracy launch event

    by Sunny at 4:42 am    

    A new charity, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, launches on 1st May, giving voice to Muslims committed to democracy and calls for all London based Muslims to use their individual voting rights in the Mayoral election.

    Continue Reading...
    23rd April, 2008

    An Englishman’s home is not his castle

    by Rumbold at 2:45 pm    

    Today is St. George’s Day. Now that it has been reclaimed from the far right, people are more comfortable celebrating it, or conversely not celebrating it, which creates the sort of feeling that a national day should engender; awareness mixed with a bit of pride but no pressure. It is now inclusive again, not exclusive. Strangely enough, this widespread acceptance of flying the flag of St. George is largely thanks to a group of semi-literate, cheating thugs (the England football team).

    It used to be said that an Englishman’s home was his castle. How that phrase still exists with compulsory purchase orders (CPO) around I do not know. CPOs are tools used by the state to seize property from its owners, despite the owners not having committed any crimes. The state can seize this property for its own benefit, or in order to aid the expansion of corporations. Given the cosy relationship between the state and big business, it is any wonder that properties are confiscated to help companies boost their profits, or to help the state create grandiose schemes?

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs

    Quilliam Foundation launch

    by Sunny at 9:22 am    

    Yesterday I went to the Quilliam Foundation launch. It was very interesting. I’ll write more observations later but interesting in itself is the list of speakers and supporters (in order of speaking):

    Dr. Ghayasuddin Siddiqui (Muslim institute)
    Dr Usama Hasan (former jihadi)
    Shaykh Abdul Aziz Bukhari - a descendant of the big al-Bukhari himself.
    Timothy Garton Ash
    Lord Paddy Ashdown
    Rachel North (london bombs survivor) - gave a brilliant speech.
    Dr Musharraf Hussain (Muslim Hands charity)
    Jemima Khan (she was brilliant too, will explain why later)
    Dr Ali al-Saleh
    Arsalan Iftikar (from the American org CAIR) and…
    Mohammed Ali Hee (founder of HuT in Denmark and ex-Islamist).

    Update: My article on its launch was on CIF this morning.

    Filed under: Terrorism

    But we want to take responsibility!

    by Sunny at 6:22 am    

    Damn these Iranians eh? Even the al-Qaeda lot are annoyed with them. For what? Erm spreading the lie that Israel was behind 9/11 and not al-Qaeda! I’m actually surprised this didn’t happen earlier.

    I mean sooner or later someone was going to have to square up the fact that you had a bunch of nutters going around saying 9/11 was a conspiracy, and another bunch of nutters going around saying that 9/11 was their show of force against America’s military might. Can Osama Bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad get into the boxing ring please?

    Religious sectarianism and censorship

    by Sunny at 1:20 am    

    There’s an interesting blog by Roy Greenslade on a recent episode in Scotland, with Catholics getting furious over how they were characterised as “bead rattlers”, and resulting censorship in the Sunday Herald.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Media
    22nd April, 2008

    Southall Black Sisters protest Wednesday

    by Sunny at 4:41 am    

    Southall Black sisters are holding a protest on Wednesday morning in front of Parliament.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Culture,Party politics

    Another great video

    by Sunny at 1:39 am    

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    Amnesty International have today released this hard-hitting ad - it will be shown on cinema screens across the country. It’s part of their unsubscribe campaign.
    Worth emphasising - not only has Bush recently admitted they allowed waterboarding, but he has also defended it. As has McCain, who has repeatedly made contradictory claims about allowing torture.

    Evening Standard fingers Sikh Federation

    by Sunny at 1:12 am    

    Andrew Gilligan published this article in the ES yesterday:

    Ken Livingstone has appointed a former member of a banned terrorist organisation to the board of Transport for London. Until 2001, Dabinderjit Singh, a civil servant, was a member of the International Sikh Youth Federation, a UK-based group banned under British antiterror laws.

    The then Home Office minister, Lord Bassam, said British-based ISYF members were a “threat to national security” and the group had carried out ” assassinations, bombings and kidnappings” overseas.

    The ISYF plotted a number of unsuccessful attacks in the UK and one of its members was convicted of the 1985 Air India bombing off Ireland, the deadliest single aircraft terror attack in history.

    There’s a few points to make here:
    1) Andrew Gilligan knew about this ages ago. In fact, info about Dabinderjit Singh is common knowledge and I’ve frequently mentioned Ken’s links with the Sikh Federation on PP. This is where I’m losing respect for Gilligan’s reporting because he could have run this story months, even years ago, but he’s now pursuing an editorial agenda against Livingstone so has chosen to run it weeks before the election.

    2) The links between Singh and the 1985 Air India bombing are very tenuous, to be charitable. Its a bigger issue that Ken has engaged only with a fundamentalist Sikh group, many of its members were previously part of the banned group International Sikh Youth Federation. For a progressive, Ken Livingstone did actually very little to engage with progressive groups from Sikh, Hindu and Sikh communities.

    3) This article by Peter Wilby in the Media Guardian about the ES’s coverage of the Mayoral election is spot-on.

    21st April, 2008

    Disgruntled Conservative voters

    by Rumbold at 10:08 pm    

    “[The Political Class] depends directly or indirectly on the state for its status, special privileges, career structure and increasingly for its financial support… the culture of incompetence which has become a special hallmark of modern British government may be linked to the absence of any meaningful managerial experience among the Political Class…With relatively few exceptions the members of the Political Class have pursued politics as a vocation. One consequence of their limited experience is that their outlook is often metropolitan and London based.”

    In his book The Triumph of the Political Class, Peter Oborne contends that a new class, made up of MPs, special advisers, political researchers, lobbyists, journalists and others have created whole careers just situated in the Westminster village. Many MPs now view their position as a way to gain contacts, so that they can get lucrative consultancy and lobbying jobs when they lose their seat. Experienced MPs who have worked for a long time outside the Westminster bubble before being elected are increasingly rare. They do not enter politics out of a disinterested public spiritedness, or because of a strong ideology. They enter it because it is seen as a cushy job which promises to reward one for the rest of their life.

    Continue Reading...

    The culture of betrayal

    by Sid (Faisal) at 12:20 pm    

    After his monstering of Martin Amis, the playwright David Edgar returns to the Guardian with a long article which tracks the history of what he calls the “culture of betrayal” manifested in left wing writers and journalists who crossed over to the right. This time he’s not just taking on Amis, but the entire cabal of left-wing defectors from Kingsley Amis to Christopher Hitchens to David Mamet.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: British Identity

    Ken explains Qaradawi in front of gays

    by Sunny at 11:29 am    

    At the Stonewall hustings last week, Ken Livingstone was asked specifically about al-Qaradawi in front of a gay audience. This was his response:

    thanks to Dave Hill for the video. Note the applause at the end - I might not like his inference that Qaradawi is the most progressive Muslim voice around, but I think the point about the need for engagement with someone popular with othodox Muslims still stands.

    Filed under: Religion
    20th April, 2008

    Johann Hari interviews Brian Paddick

    by Rumbold at 8:58 pm    

    Johann Hari has recently interviewed the three main mayoral candidates, in a magazine for homosexuals. Ken Livingstone’s most newsworthy comment was to state his continued support for Yusuf al Qaradawi, while Boris Johnson’s revealed little, save that he still appears fairly shambolic. For me, Brian Paddick’s promised to be the most interesting, as he lacks the performing ability of Johnson or Livingstone, yet has more experience of the world beyond politics. Sadly, he comes across badly in this interview.

    Continue Reading...

    The recent elections in Nepal

    by Desi Italiana at 3:07 pm    

    “I don’t even think the election is going to take place,” one Nepali told me. Two other Nepalis, instead, decisively said, “It is going to happen. And let me tell you- the Maoists are going to win.”

    Wildly contrasting forecasts made for a very confusing and occasionally gloomy time in Nepal; there was an uneasy mixed atmosphere of both cynicism and optimism. Some people thought the Constituent Assembly election- which will entrust the incoming government with rewriting the constitution, of which the first step is to abolish the monarchy and officially declare Nepal a secular republic, heralding a new era of democracy- wasn’t even going to take place.

    Continue Reading...
    19th April, 2008

    Happy Passover

    by Rumbold at 7:15 pm    

    Passover begins today, and lasts for a week. The most important Jewish festival, it commemorates the Jewish Exodus from Egypt which freed them from slavery. Jews have a long connection with England, albeit one that was interrupted when Edward I expelled them in 1290, forcing a few thousand Jews to leave England. Officially they were not allowed to return until 1655; however a small Jewish community was in existence before this date.

    After the crushing of the Muslim kingdom of Granada in 1492, the rulers of Portugal and Spain turned their attention to the Jews, who had previously been tolerated in return for their money. Spain ordered the expulsion of all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity in 1492, whilst Portugal did the same in 1497. Many Jews converted in order to stay in the Iberian peninsula, and a number continued to practice Judaism in private. This made them the favoured target of the Spanish Inquisition, who were not allowed to target infidels (i.e. non-Christians), but were permitted to arrest and torture heretics or those who had relapsed into their old, non-Christian faith. When the Portuguese Inquisition was established in 1535, it began to persecute these Judeo-Christians too, leading to a small community of about 70 Jews fleeing to London and establishing themselves there in 1540. They were known as Sephardi Jews (‘Sephardi’ being the medieval Hebrew word for ‘Spanish’), yet were from Portugal.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: History,Religion

    Pangea Day

    by Rohin at 4:44 pm    

    Pangea Day is an international effort to ‘unite the world through film’. On May 10th Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will host events showcasing twenty four movies from around the world. Here is one which I quite liked.


    Filed under: Current affairs

    A higher state of conciousness

    by Sunny at 12:16 pm    

    Nothing political for once, but this video, which I saw last night, is amazing. Brain surgeon Dr Jill Bolte Taylor initially talks about how our brain works. But then she explains what happens when she suffers a stroke. Suddenly she’s evaluating her own brain while she’s going through her stroke and eventually thinks she reached a higher state of conciousness. “Nirvana”, is her exact word.

    I’ve always been interested in how to get to a higher state of conciousness. What she says, essentially, is that our right side of the brain works more in a way that relates to energy around us, while the left side of the brain brings us back down to earth and is more methodical in the way it works. If it were possible to stimulate the right side further, she thinks we would all be able to reach that higher state.

    From a theological point, her view of the world being full of energy and us being part of that energy is very much how basic Hinduism and Buddhism see the world. In a way, what she’s also saying is that all those “visions” and feelings that religious people have, is simply a result of brain stimulation.
    via Feministing.

    Filed under: Religion,Uncategorized

    God! I Turn My Back For Five Minutes……

    by Clairwil at 1:03 am    

    I merely turned my back for five minutes and Sunny has done something peculiar to the format! As long term readers might have noticed my weekend threads have vanished. Well I’ve been horribly busy going to business seminars and wandering the London underground muttering I’m a Glaswegian get me out of here. I can do the map when everything is working but as far as I can tell they are closing lines at random which reduces the whole thing to spaghetti for me.

    I’m off to lovely Portobello next weekend for a potter about so that’s another thread missed unless I get my act together on the Friday night.

    Then I’m planning to go to Istanbul for a poke about but that won’t be until late summer when I’ll hopefully be in a new job on the cusp of setting up my new business. Readers the world of work is a misery for poor Clairwil. Pity me and say nice things for I am about to go postal.

    Still that is more than enough me. What about my chums here? Where are you? What are you up to? Tell me your plans?

    Filed under: Blog
    18th April, 2008

    EU bans British fresh air

    by Rumbold at 4:59 pm    

    Not content with making our laws, beating us at football and stealing our fish, the EU has decided to harmonise the smell of Europe and Britain:

    “A foul smell hanging over southern England is being blamed on easterly winds bringing either farming or industrial smells across the Channel. Labelled “Euro-whiff” by the Met Office, the source of the smell - alternately described as sulphur and manure - is under investigation.”

    Nor is there any real surprise where it came from:

    “Helen Chivers of the Met Office said the origin of the smell had been narrowed down to the area of Europe roughly bordered by Holland, Germany and Belgium.”

    I.e. France.

    Filed under: Current affairs,Humour

    Chinese arming Mugabe regime?

    by Leon at 12:45 am    

    I expect further moral outrage over actions like this by the Chinese government. Of course it’s easy to be outraged by the actions of arming a brutal regime when it’s not us not profiting from the weapons sales…

    arms dealing

    A Chinese cargo ship believed to be carrying 77 tonnes of small arms, including more than 3m rounds of ammunition, AK47 assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, has docked in the South African port of Durban for transportation of the weapons to Zimbabwe, the South African government confirmed yesterday. It claimed it was powerless to intervene as long as the ship’s papers were in order.

    Copies of the documentation for the Chinese ship, the An Yue Jiang, show that the weapons were sent from Beijing to the ministry of defence in Harare. Headed “Dangerous goods description and container packing certificate”, the document was issued on April 1, three days after Zimbabwe’s election. It lists the consignment as including 3.5m rounds of ammunition for AK47 assault rifles and for small arms, 1,500 40mm rockets, 2,500 mortar shells of 60mm and 81mm calibre, as well as 93 cases of mortar tubes.

    The carrier is listed as the Cosco shipping company in China.

    Slowly but surely China is becoming the new official enemy.

    Spot the difference

    by Sunny at 12:12 am    

    Whaddya reckon? Any answers?

    Filed under: Humour,Media

    Jimmy Carter has balls

    by Sunny at 12:02 am    

    He’s meeting Hamas. I think its an important move and a necessary one if we want a breakthrough in Middle East peace:

    Carter said the two Hamas officials indicated that they would accept a peace agreement with Israel if the plan were approved through “a referendum of the Palestinian community.”

    “It’s my dream and my hope that someday in my lifetime, hopefully this year, we’ll see a major breakthrough,” said Carter, who met with al-Zahar and Seyam after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

    Hamas may be a terrorist group but they’re also a legitimately elected government. Sooner or later Europe has to recognise that.

    17th April, 2008

    Abu Izzadeen convicted for supporting terrorism

    by Sunny at 5:54 pm    

    Clips of the eight men speaking about jihad, Osama bin Laden and prejudice towards Muslims were played to the jury during the three-and-a-half month trial. Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw QC told the court: “What occurred was that these eight men delivered or contributed to a series of speeches and appeals for money, and in the case of five of the defendants, for volunteers to join in the fight against coalition troops.

    “The speeches became progressively more emotive and inflammatory and insulting in their tone.” The court heard that Izzadeen, of Leytonstone, east London, told his audience: “Allah gave mujahideen chance to kill the American.”

    Ooopsy! Poor Trevor is going behind bars! That’s a shame isn’t it… for the Evening Standard and Today programme that is, who loved having him on.

    This attack ad is brilliant

    by Sunny at 9:08 am    

    Some anonymous Ken Livingstone supporter made an ad and sent it to Hopi Sen, who uploaded it. It’s bang on the money, even if Ken can’t run it for political reasons.

    And, Tory Troll: Boris Johnson can never be accused of leadership

    Filed under: Current affairs
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