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  • 20th May, 2009

    Attempt to deport Sima Valand to possible murder

    by Sunny at 3:15 pm    

    I’ve been sent an alert posted on the Indymedia website:

    Sima Valand is desperately fighting to stop the Home Office sending her to India where she is at risk of murder at the hands of her in-laws. She was not flown on Fri 8th May for reasons that are still unknown but a new removal date has been set for this Wednesday (20th May). She remains in an immigration prison.

    Please take the time to send a letter or an email to the Home Office and to Virgin Atlantic Airways demanding that they do not fly this woman into an extremely dangerous situation.

    You can help keep Sima in the UK by:
    1) Emailing/Faxing Steve Ridgeway, Chief Executive Officer Virgin Atlantic Airways and urge him not to carry out the forced removal of Sima Valand. You can copy, amend or write your own version using the model letter below.

    More details on the Indymedia site. Anyone know more on this. Why is the government deporting someone who may end up being subjected to more abuse or even murder in India? And if you doubt the latter, just look up how many family related bride murders take place in India every year.

    Update: Just been sent an email saying: “As of an hour ago, the removal order was cancelled!! Sima will still need to fight her case to be allowed to stay in the UK but still, good news!!” - great news!

    On the resignation of the Speaker

    by Rumbold at 9:14 am    

    So true.

    Filed under: Humour
    19th May, 2009

    Is Newsquest lying about taking BNP money?

    by Sunny at 4:50 pm    

    Today I rang up local newspapers owner Newsquest to find out why they were happy to take money from neo-Nazis and racists for party political advertising. The BNP may be a legitimate political party but they are still a party of fascists and racists.

    A salesman at Newsquest who said his name was James, said that Newsquest was obliged to carry advertising from the BNP as it was a “legitimate political party” and that not taking any money would be against “democratic rules of party political advertising” or some rubbish like that. He said, at any rate, that Newsquest was obliged to take money from the BNP and carry their ads because it was a political party. He referred me to the Advertising Standards Authority, who he said had codes that they had to follow.

    I rang up the ASA who said that they had no such codes and that their codes specifically exempted the press from their codes. See this page. They said I should speak to the Electoral Commission.

    So I rang up the Electoral Commission. They just called me back with a statement saying: “Under electoral law there is no obligation for a newspaper to carry any party political advertising. They are free to reject them if they wish to.”

    Which means a representative from Newsquest either lied to me or didn’t know the rules. In other words - Newsquest and their stable of local newspapers can reject advertising from the BNP if they so wished. Would you take money from fascists? Looks like Newsquest is happy to since I haven’t found any code that obliges them to. Am going to chase up Newsquest tomorrow morning.

    The NUJ have already condemned them.

    Filed under: Media,Race politics

    The price of Engagement

    by Sid (Faisal) at 12:41 pm    

    What is the direction of the currency of ideas between peaceable (non-violent) and militant (violent) Islamism? Do the two groups influence each other? Can individuals shift effortlessly from one form of Islamism to another or are we talking about discrete self-contained mindsets which, once allegiances are struck, excommunicate one another as a matter of principle?

    There are those who will agree with the last assertion; that violent and non-violent Islamist groups are congealed entities, ideologically opposed to each other. In the context of the UK, this is often cited by those who would like to see more engagement of non-violent Islamists on the grounds that failure to do so is a failure of our pluralist, social democratic principles.

    Andy Hull of the IPPR, for instance:

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Islamists,Terrorism

    Not supporting the Tamils in central London

    by Sunny at 4:23 am    

    The LTTE are finished, and the war is over. Anyone who sheds tears for the LTTE don’t deserve any support either. (Although, it is amusing to watch some bloggers still implying the lack of support among lefties for Tamils as evidence we’re unduly obsessed by Israel. Oh dear). Anyway, controversy over. No more support for the Tamils in Westminster - end of.

    18th May, 2009

    List of newspapers taking BNP money

    by Sunny at 11:42 pm    

    Various people on Twitter and blogs are calling for a boycott of local newspapers taking BNP money for advertising. So I thought it would be a good idea to at least collate a list of all local newspapers supporting / taking money from the BNP

    I’m told so far the Newsquest titles are:
    The Herald (where?)
    Bromsgrove Advertiser
    Yorkshire Post
    Evening Times
    Northern Echo
    Dudley News
    The Echo (Basildon and Southend in Essex)
    Stourbridge News
    Colchester Gazette
    Kidderminster Shuttle (via Tim Phillips-White)
    Thurrock Gazette (via joe laking)

    According to Jon Slattery, Newsquest,

    took a moral stand last July by banning all adult sex advertisements, having been persuaded of the link between the ads and women being trafficked for sex

    And yet when asked about the BNP advertising with them, they said:

    I appreciate how strongly many people feel about the BNP, but it would be undemocratic and against the principle of free speech to refuse to accept any party’s advertising provided it falls within our guidelines.

    Not really - a newspaper is welcome to write about whoever they want to, but it doesn’t have to take money from any organisation. Would their guidelines allow them to take money from the KKK? From the Aryan Brotherhood? Because those are Nick Griffin’s friends.

    If you know of any other newspaper taking BNP ads - please let us know below. Also, anyone who are Newsquest’s biggest advertisers?

    Filed under: Media,Race politics

    BNP election poster, its lies and local newspapers

    by Sunny at 2:58 pm    

    Here’s the BNP election poster, scanned front and back and emailed in by a reader.

    An amusing fact of the poster is that the pictures aren’t real. The builders are American. Some of the other pictures are also stock images, and not real BNP voters. Most tellingly, the ‘normal’ white family pictured in the poster features this guy who has a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm.

    Which brings me to my final point. Tory Troll / Adam is outraged that Newsquest, which owns several local newspapers, are carrying ads by the BNP. Meanwhile, some Royal Mail workers are refusing to deliver BNP leaflets.

    It is abhorrent that a newspaper group is willing to take money from a group with openly Nazi sympathies and links. Remember, Nick Griffin was only recently exposed as sharing a platform with a guy from the KKK and another from Stormfront.

    The Communication Workers Union meanwhile has won concessions for its workers so they don’t have to deliver mail they personally find objectionable. If you were a black postwoman, would you be happy delivering leaflets calling for Nazis? Probably not. No doubt many right-whingers will object to this as political correctness gone mad anyway.

    17th May, 2009

    Apparently it’s the “final solution”

    by Sunny at 11:42 pm    

    For Melanie Phillips, the two-state solution to Israel/Palestine is the “final solution” for Jews. I can’t believe some people continue to take this woman seriously - she’s a hysterical windbag.

    And yet when some Muslims use the word “genocide” or “holocaust” to talk about what has happened to Palestinians, they are beyond the pale.

    Is the Sri Lankan / Tamil war over?

    by Sunny at 11:19 pm    

    The Independent reports:

    The Tamil Tiger rebels admitted defeat in their 25-year-old war with the Sri Lankan government today, offering to lay down their guns as government forces swept across their last strongholds in the northeast.

    The government rejected the last-ditch call for a cease-fire, saying the thousands of civilians trapped in the war zone all have escaped to safety and there was no longer any reason to stop the battle. The military said the remaining guerrillas were still fighting.

    With a war that has killed well over 70,000 people nearing its end, Sri Lankans poured into the streets in spontaneous celebration. President Mahinda Rajapaksa scheduled a nationally televised news conference for Tuesday morning at Parliament, where he was expected to tell the nation the war was over.

    Two thought occur to me. Will the LTTE Tamils really stop fight now? We’ll have to see.

    Secondly, the Sri Lankan government has generated an enormous amount of resentment and anger amongst its ethnic Tamils due to its merciless operations, funded thanks to the Chinese government. Unless it takes strong measures in acknowledging its mistakes and making amends, then the resentment and anger will remain and Sri Lanka will not become united. The battle may be over but the war hasn’t yet finished.

    Complaints about a Muslim getting a job

    by Rumbold at 2:10 pm    

    The appointment of Aaqil Ahmed as the BBC’s head of religion and ethics, led to 115 complaints, most of them to do with his religion. As the Daily Quail put it:

    “The appointment of bearded Aaqil Ahmed comes at a time of deepening worries among Christian leaders that their faith is being sidelined and downgraded by brown people.

    Last year the BBC gave the job of producing its most popular and longrunning religious programme, Songs of Praise, to a Sikh, Tommy Nagra. Although we don’t watch Songs of Praise, we are willing to bet that traditional English Christian verse has been replaced with Bollywood style love songs and choir boys are forced to dance around turbans.”

    Continue Reading...
    15th May, 2009

    Reaction to acid attack on Afghani girls

    by Sunny at 12:31 pm    

    British Muslims for Secular Democracy is deeply concerned at news of the 12th May poison gas attack at a girls school in Charikar, north-east Afghanistan, which resulted in the hospitalisation of 98 people (including 84 students).

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: South Asia,Terrorism
    14th May, 2009

    What if … In a BNP Britain

    by Rumbold at 8:26 pm    

    Hope not Hate have come up with a short guide to life in a BNP-ruled Britain:

    *The BNP would kick out all those people who were not born in Britain. What if every other country in the world kicked out the Brits? A staggering 5.5 million people would be sent back here – far more than would leave our shores. This includes 800,000 from Spain, most of whom are pensioners.

    *If non-white people were ordered out of Britain then the NHS would collapse overnight. 16% of nurses are from minority ethnic communities, as are 40% of new dentists and 58% of new doctors!

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Race politics,The BNP

    Forced Marriage seminar on Friday

    by Rumbold at 7:22 pm    

    From 18:00 to 20:30, in the Resource Centre (N7 6PA), North London. Hosted by IKWRO. More details here.

    It’s free.

    Do BBC journos have a right to lecture MPs?

    by guest at 11:20 am    

    A guest post by Nindy, who blogs here.

    As much as I despise overpaid politicians who abuse their democratic powers for their own benefit, I equally deplore overpaid members of the media circuit whose attacks on public figures for their incompetence and lack of good character, whilst being unable to legitimately justify their grossly disproportionate salaries, is just outright hypocritical.

    Even more so, when so many journalists – especially at local level – are paid exploitive wages, if that at all, it would make sense for a greater investment in new talent and a redistribution of the wealth across all echelons of media organizations.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Media

    The decline of conservatism?

    by Sunny at 4:35 am    

    The former Ronald Reagan conservative, and intellectual Richard Posner wrote a short blog about the decline of conservatism. He says half-way:

    My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. That the policies are weak in conception, have largely failed in execution, and are political flops is therefore unsurprising. The major blows to conservatism, culminating in the election and programs of Obama, have been fourfold: the failure of military force to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives; the inanity of trying to substitute will for intellect, as in the denial of global warming, the use of religious criteria in the selection of public officials, the neglect of management and expertise in government; a continued preoccupation with abortion; and fiscal incontinence in the form of massive budget deficits, the Medicare drug plan, excessive foreign borrowing, and asset-price inflation.

    By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party.

    It’s being discussed everywhere. Posner is right in concluding that an excessive move to the left by Barack Obama would bring them back from the dead… though I think Obama is too smart to let that happen.

    But the point seems to be about the decline of the Conservative Intellectual. I have a problem with that thesis because most of the arguments that won the Republican Party the battle were not intellectual arguments but culture wars.

    Ronald Reagan had three main planks of support: economic right-wingers (intellectuals), foreign policy hawks (not really intellectual) and social conservatives (not intellectual at all). He bound them together through narrative and framing - something Republicans understood better than Democrats until recently (Bill Clinton excluded).

    I think the wider problem for conservatives/Republicans is that their principle arguments: small state, low taxes, powerful defence, religion - have either not worked (foreign policy) or been shown as a sham (less regulation will lead to more wealth). Someone else made the point recently that the Republicans have forgotten how to articulate what their society would look like as a result of their policies and got stuck merely on advocating the same policies. I think that’s also a strong argument.

    The parallel to the UK would be that the Labour Party has basically forgotten narratives, vision and policies - and relied merely on the argument that they are not the Nasty Tories to stay in power. Unfortunately they seem to be taking the left down with them because the left tied its fortune too closely to the party.

    Filed under: Party politics
    13th May, 2009

    The human angle to the story of a war

    by Fe'reeha at 6:21 pm    

    While the news focus of Pakistani media has shifted from the debates on Swat peace accord to the war zone, one must commend the national and international news outlets for concentrating on the internally displaced people.

    There is active and vociferous coverage of thousands of people who have been displaced from their homes. In the past, Pakistani government faced acute criticism for not meeting the demand of the IDPs on time and for being somewhat insensitive to the needs of those whose home towns were under attack. This time round, it seems the government is also keener on making sure the “human angle” of this war story is not over looked hence a plethora of statements by political pundits has targeted the issue of IDPs.

    Yet the tragic reality looms on our heads. In a few days time, the story of IDPs like any other story will become old news. Editors will grapple to find new angles and aid agencies will have to shift their focus elsewhere. But the damage to the hearts and minds of those internally displaced may be irreversible.

    Continue Reading...

    Quilliam statement on Avigdor Lieberman

    by Sunny at 2:25 pm    

    Some of you asked what the anti-terrorism thinktank Quilliam Foundation were saying on the arrival of Avigdor Lieberman into Britain. Today afternoon, they sent out this statement:

    The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office is today hosting Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister who is also the founder and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu, a hardline nationalist and extreme Zionist political party in Israel. In view of Lieberman’s previous openly racist and violence-inciting statements, as well as his alleged involvement in a terrorist group banned in the US and Israel, this decision to host Lieberman is inconsistent with recent Home Office decisions to exclude other individuals on the specific grounds that they “promote hatred, terrorist activities and serious violence” and “advocate hatred and violence in support of their religious beliefs”.

    Continue Reading...
    12th May, 2009

    ‘Fascist’ comes to London, no one’s outraged

    by Sunny at 8:14 pm    

    Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman comes to London tomorrow to meet David Miliband and William Hague.

    This is the same guy that conservative American columnist Andrew Sullivan rightly called a ‘fascist’ because:

    Lieberman advocates “reducing the number of Arabs who are Israeli citizens” through giving the Palestinian Authority Arab-Israeli towns near the West Bank and having Arabs who remain Israeli citizens take loyalty tests and recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Those who refuse would be stripped of their citizenship, but could remain in Israel as permanent residents.

    And yet if this were some Muslim theocrat the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph brigade would be outraged. The blogs would be fizzing with anger at someone so blatantly racist being allowed into the UK and meeting our foreign secretary. Lieberman is worse than people like the banned Michael Savage because he isn’t just a shock-jock, he is actually in parliament and leads a far-right party in Israel.

    All I hear from these so-called defenders of human rights and people who hate “moral equivalence” is tumbleweed. Complete silence.

    Why would you listen to these sceptics?

    by Sunny at 12:04 pm    

    This video of a recent news discussion is rather good.

    What I like about it is that it opens up a new line of criticism of many part of the right who call themselves ‘sceptics’, whether be of evolution or climate change. If they didn’t believe in science in the first place, why would you even listen to them? Only a couple of weeks ago our friend Melanie Phillips wrote on her Spectator blog about Intelligent Design. No joke, she was actually praising ID. Now, would you listen to an intelligent design convert on science? Would you trust someone who still pushes the MMR controversy on climate change? Would you trust the earlier Bush administration, which was anti-science, on climate change? I certainly don’t. And neither do most scientists. And this video is a good way to hammer that point.

    The empire will save us from terrorism!

    by Sunny at 12:21 am    

    This has got to be the funniest blog post in quite a while. Either it’s good satire or James Delingpole really is a bit deranged. (via thabet)

    To summarise, he says Britain can revive its sense of national identity and reach all those hard-to-connect Muslims living in areas like Beeston and Bradford by reviving memories of the British Empire! Yes! Honestly! I’m not joking either! Apparently it’s because there were Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims in the armies that fought the Japanese alongside British forces, and therefore we can all revive memories of those happy days, sing khumbaya and be cohesive nation. And the ‘think-tank’ Civitas said it so it must be a good idea.

    Now, I don’t harbour any residual anger over the British Raj, it happened decades ago and it would be pretty silly to go around cursing the present British government for what happened then. But perhaps someone could ask if most South Asians harbour good memories of the British Empire before flying such an absurd kite? And anecdotes from random guys accosting you in Sudan don’t really count for shit, because South Asia had a very different experience under the Raj. Unless of course, like his fellow Telegraph blogger Daniel Hannan MEP, James Delingpole thinks that all these ethnics look and think the same. And secondly, would it not be better to revive a sense of national pride through a joint vision of the future than some absurd notion of what the past was like? But then, I expect that’s why he’s a conservative and I’m a leftie.

    11th May, 2009

    Tamils take over Westminster to protest “bloodbath”

    by Sunny at 8:03 pm    

    British Tamils took over Westminster again today, blocking off traffic from all sides, by conducting a sit-down protest. The protest came the morning after heavy fighting in Sri Lankan killed hundreds of people in the country, and was a dubbed “a bloodbath” by the United Nations.

    There is some sign the British govt is saying more on the crisis in the country, with David Miliband today saying he was “appalled” by what was going on in Sri Lanka.

    Diplomats on the 15-nation Security Council have said Japan, China, Russia and Vietnam oppose formal council discussion of Sri Lanka, arguing that it is an internal matter for the Sri Lankan government but Miliband disagreed. “I believe very, very strongly that the civilian situation in the northeast of Sri Lanka merits the attention of the United Nations at all levels,” he said, calling it a “civilian catastrophe.”

    He deserves credit at least by trying to raise the issue. Shame on China, Japan, Russia and Vietnam for opposing the discussion. Here are some pictures from today.

    Continue Reading...

    Mixing at the BBC Asian Network

    by Rumbold at 4:34 pm    

    Is the BBC Asian Network doing enough to feature mixed (i.e. on the basis of ethnicity and/or religion) couples and persons? MixTogether asks the question after Vijay Sharma, head of the BBC Asian Network, rejected the idea for a show (summary here):

    “The central plank of their argument- that they do not wish to place Asians into boxes based on ethnicity, religion or language- is nonsense. There is an established precedent for the station to broadcast to specific Asian sub-groups.

    Their weekly schedule includes separate shows for Mirpuri, Bengali, Gujurati and Punjabi listeners, along with a two separate Hindi/Urdu shows. There are separate devotional sounds programmes for Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism, plus another mixed devotional sounds programme that includes Christian music. There could easily be a show for mixed families.”

    Now, the rejection of the proposal doesn’t prove that there is a problem. After all, plenty of proposals are rejected. But there is a real problem with the lack of similar programming it seems (I don’t listen to the wireless much). Given that the Asian Network is supposed to focus on ‘Asian’ culture, the head of the network can hardly claim that she wants to avoid a “niche programming approach”. It is a niche channel by definition, and given that 10% of all married Asians had a spouse from a different ethnic group, they are hardly a irrelevance.

    Filed under: Media,Moral police

    British Hindu fundamentalists exposed

    by Sunny at 8:47 am    

    Lastr week Radio 4 ran this documentary:

    Navdip Dhariwal investigates the rise of Hindu fundamentalism in Britain. Hindutva - the belief that India should exclusively follow the laws and principles of the majority Hindu faith - has been evolving and developing on the sub-continent for many decades.

    Navdip explores the history of the Hindu right wing in India and its power and influence within Hindu communities outside India. She asks why increasing numbers of Hindus are being drawn to the fundamentalist agenda, which some regard as anti-Muslim and anti-Christian. Her investigation leads her to British Hindus who are giving seemingly charitable donations that are, in reality, ending up in the coffers of the Hindu right.

    You can listen to the doc from here. I’ll write more on this later…

    Filed under: Hindu,Organisations
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