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    10th August, 2010

    So where are the right-wing anti-racists now?

    by Sunny at 2:00 am    

    Yesterday the Daily Mail screamed with this headline: Revealed: The UK maternity units in which only 1 in 10 mothers is of white British origin

    The headline is incorrect for a start - this is the case in only one health trust across the country. See, I was under the impression that right-wingers didn’t care for skin colour, as they keep claiming. It’s the left which is obsessed by race and skin colour right?

    So it’s bizarre that not a single right-winger or Tory MP is actually willing to say: ‘so what?’ to this. There is however Douglas Carswell MP who seems rather worried about the colour of kids being born in the UK:

    I think we have to face reality and that is if you continue to have mass immigration it’s going to have a very significant impact on the demography of our country - and it’s going to have a significant impact perhaps on the sort of country that we are.

    Doesn’t really sound like a right-winger who doesn’t care for skin colour, does it? It’s because this claim has always been rubbish.

    Right-wingers only don’t care for skin colour when there is obvious discrimination and minorities are vastly under-represented in an area. When the issue of black babies comes up however, suddenly they’re all lamenting mass-immigration.

    Right on cue, the BNP have posted an ‘endangered species alert’.
    More: Minority Thought

    Filed under: Race politics
    9th August, 2010

    Why some direct EU taxes would be a good idea

    by Rumbold at 9:55 pm    

    For those who oppose the deepening of the EU state, the idea of that body directly taxing European citizens should be anathema. It would take power from national governments, who are seen to have a mandate from the voters, and give it to the EU, where an essentially unelected and opaque body holds sway. This is what the EU’s Budget Commissioner is proposing, and it is unsurprising that the call has elucidated a storm of protest:

    Taxes on aviation, financial transactions and CO2 emission permits are all possibilities, he told the daily Financial Times Deutschland.

    However, the UK promptly rejected the idea.

    Despite the headline implications though, this could potentially benefit those who wish to see the EU trimmed and focused more on the goal of providing a single market with freedom of movement, goods and services.

    The EU state has massively deepened (and expanded) in the last thirty years. It has extended its control into employment, health, law, defence, justice, foreign policy and any other number of areas. When the European Constitution was originally rejected, the EU merely introduced the bits it wanted anyway, changed the name of the rest of it and got it reintroduced. Labour and the Liberal Democrats promised to support a referendum in their manifesto, reneged on the deal, yet were not punished for it electorally. Lacking any mandate from voters, the EU has nonetheless multiplied its power and influence many times over. How? Because the ordinary voter just doesn’t care enough.

    The percentage of British laws that come from the EU is estimated to range from around 10-80%. The fact we can’t get a reasonable estimate is damning enough, but for argument’s sake, let’s call it 20%. A body that makes 20% of our laws should be permanently in the public gaze, especially as it can currently overrule UK rulings and law. Yet how often do you see EU policy making headlines on the BBC, or debated on Newsnight? That is not to say that there is some Europhile media conspiracy. The Eurosceptic press concerns themselves with tales of the supposed criminalisation of egg merchants for using incorrect labels. This reduces the EU to the status of a pantomime villain. How many voters who can explain the British political process can explain the EU one?

    So why would direct EU taxes be a good idea then? You only have to look at the anger that followed the domestic expenses scandal to see that voters see taxes as ‘their money’ if they think it is being squandered and it has come directly from them. The removed nature of the EU does not create this feeling for most at present. EU taxes should make voters care more about the EU, and pay more attention to how the money is being spent. This hopefully would encourage more media interest in the actual EU apparatus, increasing understanding and thus creating a virtuous circle. There would be more pressure for good governance, something which should please Euro-sceptics and -philes alike.

    Debate today: Is the Burqa a threat to freedom?

    by Sunny at 8:59 am    

    (click on it for the full version)

    More about the event here
    Today · 19:00 - 22:00
    Location The Cafe at the Rich Mix centre
    35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road
    London, United Kingdom
    Free to attend

    Filed under: Civil liberties,Events
    7th August, 2010

    The problem with feminism…

    by earwicga at 11:17 pm    

    … is feminists.

    Feminists like Julie Bindel who revel in unacceptable transphobia using anti-feminist essentialism as a prop to her outdated and bigoted dogma.  Feminists like Dr. Aisha Gill, friend of Gita Sahgal, who worked tirelessly on the pr in support of the islamophobic attack on Amnesty International.   Feminists like Bidisha who believe that feminism is belonging to the ‘girl’s team’ and nothing to do with men.  These three, along with Karon Monaghan QC and Sunder Katwala, were on the final panel of last month’s UK Feminista Summer School, which has been hailed as showing the resurgence of UK feminism.

    Video of the session

    Feminism is an analysis of power.  It does not exist in isolation.  The recent Time cover showed yet another manipulation of feminism supported by feminists ignorant of other power structures.  Gender inequality is NOT the only way to interpret the world, it is one essential way but on its own is utterly pointless.  Hence we see the domination of mainstream feminism by comfortable white middle-class fuckwits who can dismiss male rape victims via the phrases ‘what about teh menz’ and’ lolz’ - and they do.  And support the emancipation of Afghan women through war - and they do.

    Second wave feminism was essential to its time, but its time is over.  Move on.  Especially all you supposedly radical feminists who are the most conservative people I have ever had the misfortune to come across.  THIS is why women don’t call themselves feminists, they don’t ascribe to the views of the dominant club - the prescriptive ideology formalised by an established elite - who protect their borders with academia and columns in the MSM.  Today, as the ConDem coalition attacks women in particular, feminism needs to stop excluding people, get politically savvy and start protecting ALL women.  Using divisive old school bigots on panels does not do this.

    To conclude, I offer you ‘Intersectionality’ (more detail here) - not just a word but an education.

    H/T to Quiet Riot Girl for the video.

    Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria returns ADL’s award over ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

    by Sunny at 12:14 pm    

    Good for him. Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek has returned an award back to the Anti-Defamation League in the US after the Jewish group came out against the supposed ‘Ground Zero Mosque’.
    He explains:

    Bloomberg’s speech stands in stark contrast to the bizarre decision of the Anti-Defamation League to publicly side with those urging that the center be moved. The ADL’s mission statement says it seeks “to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” But Abraham Foxman, the head of the ADL, explained that we must all respect the feelings of the 9/11 families, even if they are prejudiced feelings.

    “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted,” he said. First, the 9/11 families have mixed views on this mosque. There were, after all, dozens of Muslims killed at the World Trade Center. Do their feelings count? But more important, does Foxman believe that bigotry is OK if people think they’re victims? Does the anguish of Palestinians, then, entitle them to be anti-Semitic?

    Spot on. I linked to an excellent piece on the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ controversy by Alex Massie earlier.

    In other news: The Guardian reports that the repulsive Iranian regime is trying to execute Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani in secret, and want to do so because she’s a woman.

    The answer is quite simple, it’s because I’m a woman, it’s because they think they can do anything to women in this country. It’s because for them adultery is worse than murder – but not all kinds of adultery: an adulterous man might not even be imprisoned but an adulterous women is the end of the world for them. It’s because I’m in a country where its women do not have the right to divorce their husbands and are deprived of their basic rights.

    Well done to her for speaking out.

    And lastly: Muslim group Minhaj ul-Quran runs ‘anti-terrorism’ camp

    6th August, 2010

    Harry’s Place continues to implode

    by Sunny at 4:17 pm    

    Regular readers may remember a commenter called ‘Terry Fitz’ who used to post abusive comments here, directed at me, because I didn’t agree with his thinly veiled racism.

    After being banned from PP he started hanging around at Harry’s Place - who happily allowed him to publish guest articles, and make constant comments having a go at me over anything and everything.

    A few weeks ago I pointed out that Terry Fitz was charged for racially aggravated harassment. Nevertheless, HP and their poorer sidekick kept publishing his comments etc. Oh look, now it turns out, shock horror, that he really is a racist goon.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Blog

    Quilliam Foundation respond to the Guardian’s accusations

    by Sunny at 3:42 pm    

    by Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation

    Breaking news! Quilliam dispatched a paper to ministers advising them that the ideology of Islamism is not the same as Islam the diverse faith. Rather, Islamism is the politicisation of Islam.

    And finally, that though non-violent Islamists have a legal right to exist, they should not be endorsed or facilitated by Government. We then proceeded to identify those groups most influenced by the ideology of Islamism.

    You may be thinking…hold on, is that not what Quilliam has been consistently advising since its inception through both the Labour and coalition Governments? So what’s new?

    The mere repetition of our stance in the form of a briefing paper for the new coalition Government was enough for certain regressive commentators to shout ‘McCarthyism’! By ‘Regressive’ I mean some who claim allegiance to the left yet fail to apply their anti-fascist principles when confronted with brown-skinned fascists, seeing them as alienated minorities and therefore choosing to ally with them.

    Continue Reading...

    Don’t hate on WikiLeaks, join it

    by Sunny at 10:32 am    

    Excellent blog-post at the New Yorker on WikiLeaks:

    Shutting WikiLeaks down—assuming that this is even possible—would only lead to copycat sites devised by innovators who would make their services even more difficult to curtail. A better approach for the Defense Department might be to consider WikiLeaks a competitor rather than a threat, and to recognize that the spirit of transparency that motivates Assange and his volunteers is shared by a far wider community of people who use the Internet.

    Currently, the government has its own versions of WikiLeaks: the Freedom of Information Act and the Mandatory Declassification Review. The problem is that both of these mechanisms can be grindingly slow and inconsistent, in part because the government appears to be overwhelmed by a vast amount of data that should never have been classified to begin with—a phenomenon known as “overclassification.”

    I have to say it did amuse me earlier when neo-cons who won’t go as far as saying they want WikiLeaks shut down nevertheless said, ‘yeah but we should stop putting it on a pedestal‘.

    The WikiLeaks monster is out there now. All governments will have to adjust accordingly, even the United States. But then, as I’ve said before, this commitment to civil liberties by neo-cons was always just a rhetorical ploy rather than a core belief.

    Filed under: Civil liberties
    5th August, 2010

    Pakistan and Islam are not Synonymous

    by Shariq at 7:52 pm    

    A couple of nights ago, Tony Livesey on radio5 had a spokesperson for MPAC on to debate President Zardari’s trip to the UK. Yesterday the Evening Standard had a headline on ‘Muslim’ cabinet member Sayeda Warsi being the first minister to meet the President. Both of these examples reflect the idea that Pakistan and Islam are synonymous.

    Right now, the country’s biggest city Karachi is burning due to what is essentially an ethnic and regional conflict. Meanwhile, disastrous floods have killed over a thousand people and at the end of it, will likely have displaced over a million people. Like after the earthquake in Kashmir, a number of government and civil society institutions are trying their best to bring relief to the grieving and dispossessed. Oh, and there was a plane crash a week ago which killed over 300 people.

    I understand that people have an interest in finding out about terrorism and that it is a huge problem for Pakistan, but it is not the only one and does not define it.

    Sayeda Warsi met Zardari because she is the only cabinet member with Pakistani heritage. She would probably not have been called on to meet the President of Indonesia.

    The MPAC rep was of Pakistani origin, but there are a lot more qualified people you can contact if you are doing a radio show. Most of the political parties have representatives here. There are also a number of Pakistani journalists, writers and commentators based in the UK.

    My point is a simple one - that Pakistan has an identity outside of its relationship with terrorism. Btw, I think this is one of the reasons that the cricket team, for all its dysfunction and drama continues to resonate. It highlights a different side to the country.

    Finally, any people  with an interest in music should check out coke studio on YouTube. It just finished its 3rd season and provides a platform for the fusion of traditional and popular music and has been very popular.

    Filed under: Current affairs

    The only libertarian worth reading

    by Sunny at 10:22 am    

    Other than our own Rumbold of course, Alex Massie is the only other libertarian worth reading this side of the pond.

    He has a very fine post on the whole “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy that the Republican right have been playing up. A few important points from it:

    Nevertheless, Bush and Blair and others had a point: if you convince yourself that the west is fighting some kind of Holy War and that muslims are the enemy then, pretty soon, you find yourself unable to differentiate between the different strands of Islam. Soon after that, once it’s a matter of “them” and “us” (even though some of “them” are also part of “us”) then there simply can’t be anything that can plausibly call itself moderate Islam or, consequently, moderate muslims. Deep down, you see, they’re all just the same.

    But while there are evident tensions and areas of difficulty (and these should not be downplayed or denied) the bigger truth is that the conflict - and there is one - is only tangentially about us. This is much more a civil war within the Islamic world than it is a confrontation with the west (though it is that too). Osama bin Laden’s real enemies are the muslims he considers heretics and moderates. That’s the struggle he’s interested in and the fight with “the west” is merely a means to achieving that final, internal, triumph.

    This being so, among the very worst things we can do is lump all muslims together and, by doing so, suggest that we don’t think there’s any salient difference between the brands and branches of Islam. But, on the other hand, this also doesn;t mean we must demand that British (or American) muslims divest themselves of their religion or their attachment to their layered, over-lapping identies.

    What it does mean, however, is trying to avoid postures, rhetoric and policy that will convince British (or American) muslims that they’re regarded as suspect or somehow only enjoy second-class status (which, now that the GZM rumpus has gone national is what opposing the mosque, no matter how well intentioned your reasons, effectively does).

    Read the whole thing - it’s bang on target.

    And here’s the thing - this is what the left in the UK has been saying for years. The right hasn’t - they’re dominated by wingnuts like Melanie Phillips, Rod Liddle, Douglas Murray etc. Most of who, er, write for the Spectator (I say Alex Massie is a left-libertarian. He’s just giving the right an undue good name by aligning himself with them).

    Filed under: Muslim

    Trouble in Pakistan

    by Sunny at 5:39 am    

    In addition to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the North-West, thanks to flooding (this is what climate change does, deniers!), there is major trouble in Karachi as well. (links via @ImanQureshi)

    Five people have been injured in a grenade attack in the Sakhi Hassan area of Karachi on Wednesday. Two unidentified men on a motorbike hurled a hand grenade inside Jamia Shamsul Ulum Suroor. The attack took place when people had gathered at the mosque for Isha prayers.

    Earlier, four bodies were recovered from various localities of Orangi Town in Karachi, while one person was shot dead and three others were injured in firing incidents in the Kharadar area.
    The death toll in the wake of Karachi violence now stands at 73 and 130 have been injured.

    Bloody hell. According to Dawn newspaper, most of Karachi is under strict lockdown.

    Back to the main crisis, over 3 million people have been affected so far

    4th August, 2010

    Domestic violence ASBO trial halted

    by Rumbold at 9:56 pm    

    There has been a lot of controversy about the decision to scrap a plan to ban people whom the police suspected of domestic violence from their homes for two weeks, allowing their partners time to escape:

    A scheme to protect women from domestic abuse by removing violent partners from the family home is being scrapped by the Government as part of its drive to cut public spending.

    Under the so-called “go orders” planned for England and Wales, senior police would have been given the power to act instantly to safeguard families they considered at threat.

    Violent men would have been banned from their homes for up two weeks, giving their victims the chance to seek help to escape abuse.

    The first thing to note was that we have no idea how effective the powers were, as they were never trialled. But was it a good idea? Probably. This would have given women (and men) the breathing space they needed to escape from abusive partners, as it is difficult (and traumatic) to flee instantly, without any possessions or ID.

    What about the civil liberties aspect though? The powers were meant to target those who were domestically violent but whom the police weren’t confident about bringing criminal charges against. On one hand, this is an infringement of civil liberties (as the orders are specifically designed for those against whom the police doesn’t have enough evidence) as it places significant power in the hands of the police (imagine being banned from your home and local area because the police suspected you of something but couldn’t charge you). On the other hand it is a very specific power which isn’t the same as detention without trial (as the person would be mostly free). It could only be used by senior officers, and in many ways it seems similar to the ASBOs of yesteryear.

    How effective would it have been though? We don’t know, and that is why it is a shame it wasn’t trialled, otherwise the following question might have been answered: did the protection of the vulnerable outweigh the misuse of the power by the police?

    Why would Muslims play up Islamophobia?

    by Sunny at 9:44 am    

    This kind of bullshitery also annoys me. Yesterday the Guardian reported on a poll on British Muslims:

    The study for the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) also found that 63% of people surveyed did not disagree with the statement “Muslims are terrorists” and 94% agreed that “Islam oppresses women”. It included qualitative as well as quantitative data. One respondent said: “If I had my way I’d kick them all [Muslims] out of here.”

    Sounds scary right? Has Daily Mail / BNP propaganda taken over? Not exactly.

    George Readings from the Quilliam Foundation points out that the iERA itself is fronted by some dodgy people.

    Neither Sky nor the Guardian noticed, for example, that the home secretary has banned two of the eight advisors listed on iEra’s website (Zakir Naik and Bilal Philips) from the UK; Naik has been quoted as calling Americans “pigs” and saying that “every Muslim should be a terrorist” whilst Philips has advocated stoning people to death and public lashings, but “only [...] on Fridays”.

    The Guardian quotes someone called Hamza Tzortzis who has previously said: “We as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even of freedom.”

    Frankly, if this guy was trying to improve the perception of Muslims then they really are in trouble.

    But actually it’s worse than that, because the Guardian also misrepresents the poll results.

    Continue Reading...
    3rd August, 2010

    Bungled ‘honour’ murderers jailed

    by Rumbold at 11:32 pm    

    After a tragically bungled attempted ‘honour’ killing, four men were jailed yesterday for murdering a couple who lived in a house the killers had wrongly identified as their target one:

    Abdullah Mohammed, 41, and his wife, Aysha Mohammed, 39, were overcome by smoke and fumes after petrol was poured through their letterbox and set alight.

    Hisamuddin Ibrahim, 21, wanted to punish a man who was having an affair with his married sister and ordered three men to cause a blaze at his terraced home in the early hours while he was asleep. But the wrong address was targeted as the blaze was started at the home of the Mohammeds in 175 London Road - instead of the intended address of 135 London Road.

    Filed under: Cultural Relativism

    The neo-con attacks on WikiLeaks - article

    by Sunny at 6:39 pm    

    My latest article is on the Guardian titled: Neocons are hypocrites on WikiLeaks. Oliver Kamm and David Aaronovitch (notice his spelling of my name) aren’t happy. Awwww.

    An excerpt:

    The rhetoric has now reached absurd levels. The US defence secretary said the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, had “blood on his hands”; people on Fox News have called it “a terrorist organisation”; and one of the Washington Post’s columnists called it a “criminal enterprise”. The former Bush speechwriter also said he wanted it shut down and Assange to “be brought to justice” by any means necessary, and has previously justified waterboarding. It has been reported that one WikiLeaks editor has already been harassed by US border police.

    But there’s one point I want to expand on. I say:

    But not only do claims about Europe’s changing demographics fail to stand up, they betray the sort of moral relativism that they always accuse their opponents of.

    This is key. One common rhetorical trick among neo-cons is that they constantly rail against lefties and liberals for “moral relativism”. Don’t you know that it’s only the neo-cons who care for the plight of Muslim women in the Middle East?

    This absurd rhetorical attack rests on the view that lefties have double-standards when it comes to rights (of women) and free speech etc. It was employed frequently during the Danish cartoons controversy and is repeatedly brought up over Salman Rushdie - see, you lefties didn’t care for our fundamentally enlightened values then!.

    But as I’ve repeatedly pointed out on this blog and show in the article, this concern for “enlightenment values” of free speech and individual liberty is only skin deep. The minute they think western civilisation is being destroyed (a major concern for them) then those values are junked out of the window.

    2nd August, 2010

    In defence of Jeremy Clarkson and Burka’d women

    by guest at 10:50 am    

    contribution by Tehmina Kazi of British Muslims for Secular Democracy

    In a recent episode of Top Gear, with appearances from Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, Jeremy Clarkson responded to a question by his co-presenter about whether there actually is a case for the burka given that driving around drunk in the summer time will lead most men to stare at half-naked women on the streets, a potential driving hazard.

    Clarkson then replied: “No, no, no. Honestly, the burka doesn’t work. I was in a cab in Piccadilly the other day when a woman in a full burka crossing the road in front of me tripped over the pavement, went head over heels and up it came, red g-string and stockings. I promise that happened. The taxi driver will back me up on that.”

    Surely a statement like this humanises niqab-wearing women, and underlines what many of them have always said about these garments? That while they cover everything but their eyes and hands in public to please their Lord, underneath the burka they can wear whatever they jolly well like.

    There is a worryingly high number of people who think that Muslim women continue wearing niqabs – and hijabs – in front of their families at home. Some headscarf-wearing friends of mine have actually been asked, “Do you wear it while you sleep?

    While serious discussions should take place within Muslim communities regarding the theological basis of face-veiling, there is no reason why these issues should not be broached using gentle humour too. Comedy has always been the best way to diffuse tension and awkwardness, and amidst all the serious opinion pieces on the burka (plus awkward silences from well-meaning bureaucrats or over-the-top reactions from various politicians), there should be a space for light-hearted remarks like Clarkson’s.

    What is genuinely alarming is the fact that public servants like Philip Hollobone MP are refusing to see niqab-wearing women in their surgeries, when we all know that writing a letter to one’s MP – in real terms – is not as effective as paying them a visit. The Clarkson incident has merely highlighted the need for feminists – including Muslim ones – to choose our battles wisely instead of getting caught up in trivialities.

    Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani

    by Shariq at 9:32 am    

    Nandan Nilekani is one of the founders of Indian software giant Infosys. Some successful businessmen buy into their hype and start commenting on things outside their expertise. Nilekani isn’t one of those people - he is a serious intellectual whose brilliant book should be read by everyone with an interest in India and the modern global economy.

    The best parts of the book are when Nilekani illustrates how his ideas work in practise. For example right wingers often talk about how the state can be an overbearing drag on the economy. Nilekani actually goes through the steps from how India’s entrepreneurs were hampered by regulations, the type of dynamic growth they have achieved as a result of reforms and where the govt is still getting on the way of the private sector.

    This does not mean that he is an arch rightwinger. When it comes to providing infrastructure, social security, education and health care, Nilekani firmly believes in the role of the state.

    Continue Reading...
    Filed under: Current affairs
    1st August, 2010

    Nirpal Dhaliwal the ‘historian’ celebrates Britain’s colonisation of India

    by Sunny at 6:56 pm    

    Nirpal Dhaliwal, the man (and I use this term loosely) who once wrote such a crap review of Gautam Malkani’s Londonstani that we had to eviscerate it. The Evening Standard eventually got someone else to review it.

    He has now written an article for the Daily Mail titled: Britain has no need to make an apology to India for Empire…

    I won’t go into too much detail into why this is absolute horseshit. Though, in the comments of that article, PP contributor Jai has already torn him apart.

    1. Dhaliwal claims: “After 800 years of Mughal rule…”

    Jai: Completely false. The Mughals only arrived in India in the late 15th century, via Babur, the first Mughal emperor. And he was from the region now called Uzbekistan.

    Due to the frequent intermarriages with Hindu Rajput royalty which the Mughals subsequently engaged in, within a couple of generations they had become heavily “Indianised” both culturally and “ethnically”. This became so prevalent that in terms of his specific ancestry, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal) was actually ¾ Rajput. They were certainly not “foreigners” by this time, by any stretch of the imagination.

    Continue Reading...

    Another neo-con jumps ship and abandons past

    by Sunny at 10:41 am    

    There’s an excellent post here by Michele Catalano, who writes about giving up the neo-con disease that she caught following 9/11:

    I was spending almost all my free time blogging. Blogging about war and terrorism and fear and death and sadness. A hatred welled up inside me. I knew what it was. I knew where the hate and blackness came from and what it was about. But in the post 9/11 world I found a convenient way to project all the bile without turning it back toward myself. I fell in step with the people who were known then as the warbloggers. I fell in step with people who knew how to sling mud and spew venom. We had our common enemy: terrorism. We had our common targets: anyone who wasn’t gung ho about eradicating our enemy from the face of the earth. And all the while I was doing this, all the time I was calling for war and praising our dear leader and calling my former friends - all the people who took about ten steps back from me when I fell off the ledge - traitors and other horrible name, all that time I knew. I knew I wasn’t being myself. I knew I didn’t believe half of what I was screaming about. All I knew was I found a venue in which to scream and god damn I needed to scream.

    Sounds very familiar. There are still a lot more wingnut neo-cons over in the US than in the UK, but the pool is shrinking rapidly everywhere. I think the biggest online conversion I was shocked by was that of Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. There was an excellent feature on him and “warblogs” in general at the NY Times earlier this year. And a similar post on Balloon Juice last year. The neo-cons are in retreat.

    Filed under: Current affairs,Media

    Edit your own comments

    by Sunny at 5:17 am    

    Due to popular demand (and lots of threats), I’ve found a plugin to edit your own comments. It seems the previous one stopped being developed. Anyway, once you post a comment you’ll see a link titled ‘edit this’ on the same line as your name. Allows you to change it within 30 min. It’s a slightly different system, and not dynamic as before. Give it a whirl etc

    Filed under: Blog
    30th July, 2010

    Is Philip Davies MP against racism or not?

    by Sunny at 10:17 am    

    Conservative MP Philip Davies spends most of his time railing against political correctness gaaawn mad. The Daily Mail love him: yesterday he was attacking Channel 4.

    Conservative MP Philip Davies yesterday attacked the political correctness at the company saying it should employ people on merit.

    He asked why, given that Channel 4 already had 12 per cent of its staff from an ethnic minority background, as compared with eight per cent of the general public, it needed special programmes like these.
    When Channel 4 explained the staffing figures as being down the fact it is based in the capital, Davies told bosses: ‘You’re not a London broadcaster, you are a national broadcaster.’

    This kind of stupidity is quite easy to destroy. If Davies wants Channel 4 to employ people on merit rather than represent people according to percentages, then why is he demanding that C4 represent whites according to their proportion of the population?

    C4 is a London-based broadcaster, which inevitably means most people applying for jobs there will be from London. Given that around 40% of London is non-white, the broadcaster is in fact completely out of kilter with the area it works in.

    Tory MPs can’t have it both ways. Either they want quotas for whites: in which case you could ask that C4 represent the population exactly. Or they accept that a broadcaster will recruit on merit from the pool that applies for jobs. Davies wants quotas, while claiming he wants the corporation to recruit on merit. He is either very confused or is not against discrimination.

    Filed under: Media,Race politics
    29th July, 2010

    The EDL and Bradford

    by Sunny at 2:21 pm    

    My latest article for the Guardian expands on the point I made a few days go about the EDL coming to Bradford: Let EDL thugs demonstrate in Bradford.

    I want to repeat a point I make in the article. I’ve had a fair bit of heat in the comments from people saying that the EDL demo will only raise tensions. I agree it will. That’s their whole aim of course.

    But the people of Bradford aren’t innocent bystanders who can’t do anything: if they want to tackle community tensions then they must get organised. They have to find ways to reach out to each other. Simply banning protests allows local politicians and self-appointed ‘community leaders’ to brush these problems under the carpet.

    Filed under: Race politics
    28th July, 2010

    The Israeli Octopus?

    by Rumbold at 8:26 pm    

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has caused a fresh diplomatic storm after attacking Germany’s most popular octopus:

    The Iranian president accused the octopus of spreading “western propaganda and superstition.” Paul was mentioned by Mr Ahmadinejad on various occasions during a speech in Tehran at the weekend.

    “Those who believe in this type of thing cannot be the leaders of the global nations that aspire, like Iran, to human perfection, basing themselves in the love of all sacred values,” he said.

    Some may laugh, but last week a Pickled Politics reporter was able to obtain an exclusive shot of Paul attending the World Zionist Conference:

    This also vindicates Martin Linton. Mr Linton, an MP, was heavily criticised after referring to “the long tentacles of Israel” and their impact on British politics. It seems he was right, and critics, including myself, clearly owe him an apology.

    (Via Mr Eugenides)

    Filed under: Humour,Middle East
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