Saturday, October 07, 2006

Dairy Disagreements

From the council's review of a planning application for Medina Dairy, Windsor.

The dairy is to :

"advise all current employees and visitors of the residential nature of the neighbouring area and that they are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner to prevent disturbance to neighbouring properties"

I'm not sure how compliant this (alleged) behaviour is :

Fighting started on Monday night outside the dairy resulting in a 46-year-old mother of two alleging she was beaten with a lead pipe.

The woman's daughter allegedly had her car smashed by what she told Express was gang of young adults, allegedly from Medina Dairy.

The woman, a secretary from Dedworth who did not want to be named, had gone to check on her 15-year-old son after he had been involved in a previous altercation with men at the dairy.

She said: "Before I had chance to think, there were 20 men coming from the Islamic centre, charging at me and my daughter with pitchforks, baseball bats, lead pipes and blow-torches. One of them hit me on the back of the legs with a lead pipe.

"I told my daughter 'we have to get out of here otherwise we are going to die'."

Then the ganag allegedly turned on a car now known to belong to the daughter and used pitchforks and other weapons, including a grease gun she later handed to the Express, to smash the car window and body-work.

She said: "It was my daughter's car, her pride and joy. They smashed through the windscreen with a pitchfork and then continued to smash the whole car up.

"I have not been able to find a reason at all for why they did this. I asked the police why there are weapons kept in a place of worship but they didn't answer me.

"These were grown men coming for two small women. We did nothing to incite this. I think it was reverse racism."

She added: "As they were attacking us they were all smiling - they were delighted to be hitting me and destroying my daughter's car. I thought they were going to kill us - they were fanatical."

The woman say she was unable to clearly identify any of her attackers, claiming the police told her it was not worth reporting. "The men were all wearing similar white clothing and were all shaven-headed, so I couldn't pick anyone out. The police said it would be very difficult to identify anyone, so they may not get anything done."

UPDATE - may be a little more to the above than meets the eye.

"The woman, a secretary from Dedworth who did not want to be named, had gone to check on her 15-year-old son after he had been involved in a previous altercation with men at the dairy."

Que ? Her son wasn't at the dairy, was he ? Why did she go there to 'check on him' ?

While I disapprove of attacking women, with lead pipes or otherwise - not the act of a gentleman - I think we have to read the above as "she'd gone down to the dairy to give them a mouthful".

I see from today's Super Soaraway Sun that trouble is spreading to leafy Datchet.

MUSLIM yobs who wrecked a house to stop four brave soldiers moving in after returning from Afghanistan sparked outrage last night.

The house in a village near riot-torn Windsor had BRICKS thrown through windows and was DAUBED with messages of hate.

Four young Household Cavalry officers who had planned to rent it were also the target of phone THREATS.

They were yesterday forced to look elsewhere to live — after top brass warned them against inflaming racial violence near the Queen’s Windsor Castle home.

Last night furious Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said: “This is a shocking development.”

Colleagues of the officers branded the vandalism a “disgrace”. A source at the regiment said: “These guys have done nothing but bravely serve their country — yet they can’t even live where they want in their own country.” The £3,000-a-month detached home in picturesque Datchet, Berks, is less than a mile from Windsor Castle. It was attacked as extra police were drafted into Windsor — where battles have raged for days between Asian and white gangs.

On Wednesday a Muslim-run dairy was firebombed.

The young officers — from the same regiment as Prince Harry — had planned to use the four-bed house for rest and recuperation after months risking their lives on the frontline.

Louts struck two days after the four arrived in uniform in an Army Land Rover to view it.

The source said: “A gang of local Muslims set about keeping them away. They hurled bricks through the windows and then wrote offensive graffiti across the front of the house.” The vile messages included one in 4ft letters on the drive — warning: “F*** off”.

Sources inside Windsor’s Combermere Barracks — where the officers are based — confirmed Muslims had made calls threatening the men.

The scandal comes as Tony Blair today pledges the Army in Afghanistan can have ANYTHING it needs to hammer the Taliban. Writing exclusively in The Sun he declares that Our Boys are “the best in the world”.

A Household Cavalry insider said of the Muslims’ insult to Britain’s heroes: “Everyone in the regiment is really upset. It’s one thing coming under attack in Helmand in Afghanistan but quite another getting this abuse in England. The officers were determined to face down the yobs and still move in — but didn’t want a race riot on their hands.”

Police hunting the vandals confirmed: “One line of inquiry is that it is racially aggravated.”

The house’s owner Johanna Ledwidge refused to comment beyond saying she was very upset. A shocked neighbour in the quiet street said: “We pride ourselves in this neighbourhood that we welcome all cultures.”

Tory MP Philip Davies said of the attack: “This is outrageous.

“If there’s anybody who should f*** off it’s the Muslims who are doing this kind of thing. Police should pull out the stops to track down these vile thugs.”

Sir Andrew Green, director of the think-tank Migrationwatch UK, said: “Incidents like this are absolutely inexcusable and seriously undermine efforts by all sides to achieve integration. Those who choose to live in this country owe a loyalty to Britain.”

A spokesman for letting agency Kings, who are marketing the property, said: “It was an isolated case of vandalism. We do not know the reasons behind it.”

Friday, October 06, 2006

Muddy Hell

Oops !

The problems began in late May when the company had reached about 9,000 feet, Mr. Widodo said. It continued to drill to this depth even though it had not installed what is known as a casing around the well to the levels required under Indonesian mining regulations, and good mining practices, he said.

The company experienced problems with the drilling that led to a loss of pressure in the well. That is when the mud started seeping in from the sides of the unprotected well bore, at a depth of about 6,000 feet.

The mud was stopped by cement plugs that the company had inserted into the well hole. The mud then sought other avenues of escape, eventually breaking through the earth, and creating mud volcanoes in several places that resemble the geysers of Yellowstone.

Somewhat careless.

Photo from Greenpeace via Reuters/NYT. More photos here.

Eight villages are completely or partly submerged, with homes and more than 20 factories buried to the rooftops. Some 13,000 people have been evacuated. The four-lane highway west of here has been cut in two, as has the rail line, dealing a serious blow to the economy of this region in East Java, an area vital to the country’s economy. The muck has already inundated an area covering one and a half square miles.

And it shows no signs of stopping.

The mud is rising by the hour, and now spewing forth at the rate of about 170,000 cubic yards a day, or about enough to cover Central Park.

It turns out the company responsible is owned by one of Indonesia's richest men, a cabinet minister who is a friend of, and major campaign donor to, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The company's been sold. For £2. To a Jersey-based company, Lyte Ltd, also owned by said billionaire, Aburizal Bakrie, and his family.

Spokesman Herwin Hidayat said the Bakrie Group remained committed to cleaning up the mud, through Lyte. He declined to say what assets Lyte had, if any. He said it was a “functioning company.” He declined to give any examples of any business that it had done.

A concern now is whether Lyte, which has been renamed Bakrie Oil & Gas, will declare bankruptcy, which seems almost inevitable.

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” said Mr. Hendrarso, the senior elected executive official in Sidoarjo, the district that is at the center of the mud disaster. If the Bakrie Group does not pay, the Indonesia government will be left with the bill, government officials said.

Lovely place, Jersey. When the tide goes out the stink of money is almost unbearable.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Open Letter To The Commentariat


While I understand and appreciate the causes of the anger and distress (well, some of them, anyway ;-)) which motivate some of the people leaving comments here - there's absolutely no need for stuff like 'muzzie scum'. Kindly keep the party clean, best of order and all that.

First of all it's gratuitously offensive. As I've said more than once, I admire Muslims who take their religion seriously - as the British once did. Secondly, even were that kind of stuff justified - which it isn't - it's very poorly targeted.

Mr Basha isn't the problem - he's just a symptom of the problem. The problem is Mr Basha's employers, who in the final analysis is us.

We are the problem. Half the point of this blog (the other half being keeping my blood pressure within bounds and the TV screen intact) is trying to reach out to those many Guardianistas and educated liberals, people like I used to be only a few years back, who are starting to have doubts about what's happened and what will happen to the United Kingdom in general, and England in particular. They need to understand "how the malice of the wicked is reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous; how the counsels of prudence and restraint may become the prime agents of mortal danger; how the middle course adopted from desires for safety and a quiet life may be found to lead direct to the bull's-eye of disaster".

Many of them are just beginning their journey, cutting adrift from the thoughts and habits of comfortable liberalism. Fronting them with language which sits better on stormfront is a disservice to what I'm trying to do.

I don;t kid myself that a blog with 700-odd regular readers is going to change the world. I'm just doing what I can, as best I can. If I find that the comments are detracting from that, out they go. Which would be a pity - I get much valuable stuff from them and I'm grateful.

Back to Mr Basha.

I don't have any bad feelings towards the guy. He's just trying it on, seeing what he can get away with, which turns out to be rather a lot. He's not beaten or killed anyone, nor has he stolen, destroyed a family. He's probably a perfectly nice guy. The fact that he tried it on and got away with it isn't his fault. It's the fault of the people who let him get away with it.

We sre at the stage where the problem is still "us". If you like, it's still 1935, and the problem is Baldwin refusing to rearm because he's worried about the pacifist vote, leader-writers talking about "redressing grievances", liberal and socialist (with honourable exceptions) opinion condemning 'warmongers' in the British community while finding excuses for far more sinister developments elsewhere.

Without addressing that problem - the problem of 'us' - there's no hope of addressing other problems which grow rapidly larger and nearer. It could be, of course, that events of themselves awaken us. I hope not, partly because those events are likely to be unpleasant, and partly because by that time we may well be waking up too late.

Useful Idiot

Paul Vallely in the Independent :

"In an age scarred by flashpoints between cultures and religions, it is easy to make accusations of prejudice or bigotry. But, argues Paul Vallely, we have all got something to gain from developing new sensitivities."

Like keeping our heads on our shoulders ? While they get another retreat, another concession. It's a win-win situation.

"But in many places there is a growing realisation that freedom of expression is not absolute but needs to be governed by a sense of social responsibility. To elevate one right above all others is the hallmark of the single-issue fanatic. Sometimes it is wise to choose not to exercise a right."

Like when people try to kill you if you do ?

"Instead of an emotional debate which closes down rational discourse, it is the way to build common values - ones which recognise the inalienable right to freedom of expression but which, at the same time, demand it be exercised in a measured way."

I'm not sure how the words 'inalienable right' sit alongside the word 'demands'.

Meanwhile :

"An inquiry has been ordered by Met Police chief Sir Ian Blair after a Muslim constable was excused from guarding the Israeli embassy in London.

Sir Ian says he wants an "urgent review of the situation and a full report".

The Sun newspaper said the officer was reassigned on "moral grounds" as he objected to Israeli actions in Lebanon.

But the Association of Muslim Police Officers said it was a "welfare issue" - the officer had Middle Eastern relatives and felt unsafe in that role.

The officer, who has been named as Pc Alexander Omar Basha, is attached to the Scotland Yard's Diplomatic Protection Group.

He has a Syrian father and a Lebanese wife. "

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Monday, October 02, 2006

Swearyblogging Pollyanna

I think the Devil's Kitchen is not alone.

More Demographics

As the borders remain open, new waves of incomers arrive, the natives emigrate and those who remain don't have babies, so the new demography of Britain becomes harder and harder to ignore.

At present the official line is 'nothing to worry about - natives still comprise an overwhelming majority'. We're still at the stage of deriding those swivel-eyed idiots who talk about "swamping". It's this official line, plus an understandable wish not to go looking for the uncomfortable facts, which enables a famous liberal commentator to reply to the questions 'Do numbers matter in the immigration debate ? Would they matter if they meant a major change in the ethnic composition of the country ?' with the answer 'Really, the question's not worth answering. The government would never allow immigration to grow in such a way'.

This is the answer in the public domain. And it may be our famous liberal commentator really believes it. But among those who see the figures, the equality wonks who are tasked by Government with maintaining good race relations, or "community relations" as they have become (when was the change ? what drove it ?), a kind of realism seems to be creeping in.

When I talk of realism, that's not maybe realism as the man in the street might understand it. It simply means that they can't ignore the statistics - as they have to build some kind of future strategy around them. I do wonder if that's what caused Trevor Phillips to announce the death of multiculturalism a couple of years back.

His recent speech to the Royal Geographical Society contained among the usual mantras a lot of solid, if depressing, stuff.

"Cultural homogeneity is a thing of the past."

"Half of all migrants arrived in the UK in the last generation and a third in the last decade."

"Whereas we used to assume that most migrants would settle in numbers in a few large cities we now see relatively small towns being settled by substantial numbers of foreign workers"

"More Brits are leaving the UK than at any time since the first world war. Some come back, but for every two Brits who leave the UK only one returns. However for every two new migrants who enter only one leaves. The result is that though the total population numbers may not rise hugely, the composition of the population changes. There are fewer familiar faces and more new ones."

"Looking forward, it is expected that the white ethnic group will grow only a little between now and 2020 due to continuing low fertility rates and smaller numbers of women of child-bearing age, and higher deaths as the population ages. Meanwhile, the largest increase in projected population by ethnic group is Asian non-dependents, from 1.5 to 2.5 million by 2020."

(I don't know how Trev squares this with the arrival of a million Poles, but let it pass. It may be the Poles are included (after all, all whites are the same, aren't they ?), which would mean a huge drop in the projected numbers of Native Brits)

"Our Parliament is absurdly white and male"

Enough - the point is that Trev is talking to demographers.

I'd never heard of Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas until I heard her on the news this evening. Turns out she's a City bigwig and also a Labour quangocrat, adviser to Ken Livingstone, and member of the Government's shiny new Commission for Equality and Human Rights. She's childless, so it's no skin off her nose if the beautiful theories go pearshaped.

She was on tonight's PM programme (RealAudio, about 50 minutes in until 5 tomorrow - I'll post an mp3 later), talking about women in City boardrooms (or lack thereof - I'll pass on her quaint conceit that mass immigration and lots of powerful women in boardrooms are mutually compatible objectives), but it was her forecast on "diversity" that was interesting.

"if you look at the dynamics of the workforce in the future, you're going to find that women and people from what are currently minorities, are going to become majorities in the workforce, with the population growth and diversity - so if we don't want to be dinosaurs and we want our companies to be dynamic globally, we're going to have to look for different sources of people coming to the top ..."

She's seen the figures. She's telling us.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Night At The Theatre

We had an old friend arriving from the States, bringing a friend who wanted to see Shakespeare, so Susan booked for 'Cymbeline' at the Swan. Once I got over my disappointment that it wasn't Pericles (money quote :"is she not a fair creature ?" "Faith, she would serve after a long voyage at sea") I started looking forward to one of the Bard's more obscure works, set in Britain around the time of the Roman Conquest.

Then I looked at the RSC website and my heart sank :

With its vivid, physical storytelling style, Cornwall's award-winning, and ground breaking theatre company interpret Shakespeare for the first time.

Artistic Director Emma Rice and writer Carl Grose will create a new adaptation of the rarely performed Cymbeline. This wild, giddy and elemental production will see Kneehigh dance through invasions, misunderstandings, intimacies and betrayals, with heart-stopping poetry, live music and touching madness. Never has confusion been so pleasurable and surprising.

I checked the keywords. "Fizzing with anarchy", "eclectic", "vivid, physical", "creative frenzy", "new adaptation".

"Susan ! This ****ing production ! It's being done by a bunch of travelling hippies ! We're more likely to see rainbow leggings than doublet and hose on stage !"

Oh Lordy. It probably features trapeze artists and fire-eaters. And is set in Iraq. If it turns out to be "a searing indictment of US foreign policy" I swear I'll get up and walk out.

As we tootled past the Dirty Duck and into the foyer of the Swan my luvvimeter was going off the scale. To visit the taxpayer-funded theatre, more even than posting at the taxpayer-funded Guardian, is to feel yourself in the belly of the liberal beast. I stared round at my fellow theatre-goers, mentally calculating how many less letters in the Independent, how many fewer lady magistrates and Senior Lecturers in Creative Writing, would result from a dozen or twenty explosive devices strategically placed in theatres across England. Only the destruction of Edinburgh in August by a small nuclear device would have a greater effect, although some authorities hold that consecutive operations at Ilkley, Cheltenham and Hay-on-Wye literary festivals would have a similar impact while requiring less technical expertise.

If they stared back I blushed and concentrated upon the programme.

As the lights picked out a scaffolding set, with a band playing on the top floor, and a bunch of parka-clad Big Issue sellers spray-painted slogans on the cardboard walls of what turned out to be Cymbeline's palace, my heart sank further. Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt, thought I.

It turned out to be quite an enjoyable evening. OK, they were a bunch of hippies. OK, only perhaps 10% of the words were from the greatest writer in the English language. Ten minutes in I accepted that I wasn't going to hear much of the original. Ok, they played it for laughs pretty much from beginning to end - I hadn't realised what an enormous influence Benny Hill and Morecambe and Wise had been on the modern drama.

But the plot was still recognisable as Shakespeare's, the music, led by Stu Barker, was excellent, and there were monstrous sterotypes of the Queen, played as a vampish Nurse Ratched (who sings a mean woman blues) by Emma Rice, a female Pisanio seemingly modelled on Janine Duvitski's Angela, a sweetie-pie Imogen and a pimped-up Lord Flashheart of an Iachimo, a-thrusting and a-lusting all over the shop. I love stereotypes.

True, the reunion of Cymbeline and his lost sons, whose absence underlies the whole play, didn't have the emotional impact that a good amateur company might have produced. I'm a sucker for well crafted melodrama and will cry at the drop of a hat. But it's difficult to pull off the pain of long loss and separation when you're waiting for the next gag.

My Welsh hackles rose as they played "Milford Haven" for laughs the way a generation of comedians once played Oswaldtwhistle and Ramsbottom. What's so funny about the name ? I suppose none of you ******s drive cars ! Class hackles followed as Craig Johnson's Cloten, played as a sexist slob of a mummy's boy (Harry Potter's cousin Dudley, Daily Mail-reading parents ?) with politically incorrect views on dog-on-a-string dossers, was given Billy Bunter pants and a Northern accent. One of those awful people who read the Sun, I suppose. How the audience laughed !

But it was fun and good-hearted, getting a terrific ovation from the assembled Philippas and Dominics in the (hideously white) audience.

And though I did detect a "shock and awe" in one of the songs illuminating the war, the production was mercifully free of shocking insights into anyone's foreign policy at all, instead preferring laughter and the eternal struggle and story of human hearts. Which will, after all, go onward the same, though dynasties pass.

Polly Toynbee a "Sexy Beast" Shock Horror

Sunday Times.

However, some students failed to fulfil their early acting promise. Nick Elliott, now head of ITV drama, says that the “real sexy beast” among his fellow students was Polly Toynbee, the left-wing commentator. She confirmed this weekend that she was a “real raver” ...

It makes you see stuff like like "Reid was unleashed on a hogtied Brown" in a whole new light, doesn't it ?