Saturday, October 20, 2007

And Now, The End Is Near ...

The Respect/SWP split seems to be pretty terminal :

Rebecca Townsend, committee member and Stop the War link tried to explain why this was unconstitutional. She was sitting next to George and speaking quietly to him. I was sitting next to her on the other side and clearly heard the
exchange. George replied to her, "I have nothing to say to you, I don't want to listen to you, that is why I am ignoring you" ...

Those opposing the proposal said they would take the matter to the Respect National Council and started to leave the meeting.

Azmal said he has no confidence in Jackie Turner as secretary and that he wants to take her out. Shaun Doherty said this is undemocratic. George Galloway shouted "off you go - **** off, **** off the lot of you."

Azmal Hussain declared Allad as the secretary of Tower Hamlets Respect.

About three years ago I commented on Meaders blog that they were riding an Islamic/communalist tiger which would chew them up and spit them out. <<"Irony">>Onwards and upwards<<"/Irony">> - to the first English communalist party with an MP, and the continuing division of mainland politics on ethnic/religious lines. How did such a division pan out in Ireland ?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Saint Venomous ?

According to the Sage King, these are plastered all over North Sheffield. I thought he was a nice churchgoing chap who wanted to be a priest ?

From Her To Modernity

If you live long enough, you can move from a different world ...

Deborah Kerr's image was of a refined, lady-like and level-headed person - the perfect English rose. She never liked the image, not least because she was born in Scotland. Within a few years, her family moved to the south of England, and she went to boarding school in Bristol. At first she studied for the ballet, but then decided on acting. An aunt taught drama in Bristol, and it was from her that she learned her stagecraft. Just before World War II, she had walk-on parts at the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park in London.

To modern Britain ...

A man has been charged with murdering the 78-year-old brother of Hollywood actress Deborah Kerr. Retired journalist Edmund Trimmer died on Monday after an alleged assault outside a post office in West Heath, Birmingham, on Tuesday lunchtime. Mr Trimmer, who was known as Ted, was the former managing editor of Birmingham-based Central News.

It turned out that her brother was killed because somebody's wing mirror may have been clipped.

Mr Trimmer was attacked in Middlemore Road, Northfield, on August 23 last year after pulling up to post a letter at his local post office. Timothy Raggatt, QC, prosecuting, said Mr Trimmer had gone out in his Rover and there had been a "trivial" incident involving his vehicle and an Escort van driven by Warwood, which may have involved their wing mirrors clipping. Warwood, a grandfatherof-five, is alleged to have suffered six similar incidents in the previous 18 months and "saw red". It was also suggested Mr Trimmer may have inadvertently taken a parking space from Warwood.

Whatever the reason, Mr Raggatt said, it was " unutterably trivial". He added: "No one suggests that Mr Trimmer showed any semblance of resistance, hostility or violence to Mr Warwood." Mr Trimmer was knocked out with the punch and suffered a broken jaw. He died of a brain haemorrhage.

The killer, one Eugene Warwood, was convicted of manslaughter, not murder. No way anyone could have predicted that smashing a 78-year old in the face could kill them. Mr Warwood was "disabled", which I presume translates as "in receipt of disability benefits". He got a whole three and a half years (1 year 9 months to you and me). Apparently "Judge John Saunders said the length of sentence was based on guidance from the Court of Appeal in previous, similar cases" - but it was obviously too much for killing an elderly stranger in an unprovoked attack. On appeal it was reduced by a year. So it boils down to 15 months for killing an old man because you thought he clipped your mirror.

The Court of Appeal in London ruled yesterday that the original sentence could not stand and imposed a new term of two-and-a-half years. During the appeal against sentence before Lord Justice Keene and two other judges it was argued by counsel on Warwood's behalf that the three-and-a-half years was "manifestly excessive".

I try not to be vindictive. But I actually have a greater desire for bad things to happen to the aptly-named Mr Justice Gross than I wish them on Mr Warwood.

Mr Justice Gross said the aggravating factors in the case included the fact that the incident arose out of road rage, Warwood had struck an elderly victim with a blow of "significant force" and had not given any assistance.

You're OK so far, judge.

On the other hand, he said, the mitigating factors included Warwood's age, his early guilty plea and "the question of whether sufficient credit was given for that", his disability and "the fact that the offence was out of character".

Warwood's age ? He was 55 ! Too young to know what he was doing, perhaps ? Or prematurely senile ? It looks as if that band of life called 'the age of responsibility' is narrowing all the time.

Mr Justice Gross concluded: "Having anxiously considered the matter and having regard to the various matters of mitigation, not least the appellant's own physical condition, his plea and the fact that this was an offence where the consequences outstripped the intention, we are driven to conclude that the sentence cannot stand.

The defendant's own physical condition ? He was fit enough to kill an old guy with one punch. Receipt of disability benefit is not proof of disability. And as for "this was an offence where the consequences outstripped the intention", that had already been taken into account when the original murder charge was replaced with manslaughter. Let's hope the judge meets Mr Warwood's little brother when he next pops down to the stockbrokers.

Rasputin Responds

When 138 Muslim scholars addressed the open letter "Oi mate - a quiet word in your ear" (pdf) to Christian leaders, I suggested that Rasputin would be one of the first to enthusiastically endorse it.

Rasputin will be well up for it, I'm sure. He might even agree that no mullahs in same-sex relationships be appointed to British mosques for a year or two.

He certainly seems quite keen.

In this country, in which we are together both British citizens and citizens of heaven, love of neighbour could happily be our watchword for the year ahead. My hope is that we shall be able to demonstrate the meaning of neighbourly love towards those around us, whether of faith or not.

Hope springs eternal. My fear is that the meaning of neighbourly love is likely to become all too apparent in the years ahead. It may not be neighbourly love as understood by the Mad Monk.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Burngreave, Spital Hill

Isn't Burngreave, where a sixteen year old Congolese asylum seeker was shot dead yesterday, just up the road from Spital Hill, where community activist Herald "Ruggie" Johnson told traffic wardens "This is our patch. Go back up Ecclesall Road and do your white aunties and uncles", claiming in court that "They were the only two white people in a predominantly black area and were seen as a source of oppression." ?

Ravensthorpe Ravers

In my last update on the New Wave of British Jihad (NWOBJ), I noted that Ravensthorpe, in the heart of the former Heavy Woollen District of the West Riding, and the home of the young chap charged with trying to blow up BNP members, seemed to have enough racists to be going on with.

Mr Gentles said: “I think this is all because we are black. My two children are frightened of this gang - they are too scared to go outside. The oldest can’t go anywhere in Ravensthorpe – he can’t go to the park.” Mr Gentles said his car had been smashed up and shot at with pellet guns twice in the last two weeks, and he had seen the gang running away. He said: “They have thrown stones through the window and smashed everything up. They are young Asian boys from about 13 up – there are about 20 of them. At night they all linger in the park.

It turns out that Mr Gentles ain't the only one.

"Two men were badly beaten in an ambush by a 30-strong gang of Asian thugs, known as the Ravy Terror Squad. The two Dewsbury men, aged 37 and 41, were out digging for old bottles when they were attacked by a gang hiding in woodland. The random attack happened last Thursday night in fields off Park Road, Ravensthorpe.

Both men were beaten, kicked and punched ... Over the summer The Press reported how the so-called Ravy Terror Squad had been responsible for a number of attacks in and around the Spen Valley Greenway. Last week The Press was told that a 15-year-old, who had walked his girlfriend home to Ravensthorpe, had been attacked and beaten.

Dewsbury’s police commander, Chief Insp Jon Carter, said the Ravy Terror Squad was believed to be responsible but denied it was a real ‘gang’. “This is not a gang as such, more a peer group which has got involved in crime and anti-social behaviour,” he said. “They hang out together and one or two have become misguided and unlawful. “We have just got a positive lead on who they are and what they are about and we aim to lock them up.”"

Be fair. C.I. "Jon" may not know the definition of a gang, and he's obviously treading on diversity eggshells, but he's been as good as his word.

Shortly after 8am today, Tuesday 16th October, officers from the Dewsbury and Mirfield Neighbourhood Policing Team attended at seven addresses in the Ravensthorpe area, one in the Earlsheaton area and one address in the Mirfield area. A total of 5 men aged 16, 17, 19, 22 and 25 have been arrested on suspicion of assault and robbery and are being questioned by police. Searches have been carried out at the addresses and property has been seized.

The operation follows reports of robbery and assault and postings on the internet by a number of individuals claiming to be from the Ravensthorpe Terror Squad. Chief Inspector Jon Carter who is leading the operation said: "This operation marks the culmination of behind the scenes work to identify the individuals we suspect of being involved in criminal offences. We are listening to local communities and we are taking positive action to address their concerns.

I don't want you to get the idea that Asian gangs are the only problem in Heavy Woollen Country. There are plenty of native horrors - and the whole area, within living memory a respectable though hard-drinking network of working class communities, is now a bit of a disaster zone.

Yobs went on a three-night rampage in Mirfield as weeks of anti-social behaviour exploded in alcohol-fuelled violence. Seventeen youths aged between 15 and 18 were arrested after disturbances in and around Mirfield town centre and on London Park Estate. Fighting broke out between rival gangs in the town centre on Saturday night as up to 50 youths clashed in the street. Bottles were hurled at passing cars and shop windows in the town centre were smashed as yobs ran riot. Fighting had also erupted between gangs near the town centre on Thursday night and a children’s play area in the park next to Moorlands cricket ground in Huddersfield Road was set ablaze on Friday evening ... Police quelled the worst of the violence at 11pm on Saturday but later sparked anger from local residents by dismissing the trouble as “low level disorder.”

Low level disorder, eh. Not C.I. Carter abusing the dictionary again ?

The local Intelligent Weekly Press seems a rather good paper - and it's run by locals. So often local rags are emasculated by the simple economic fact of the local authority being the largest advertiser. I wonder how much advertising they get from the council ?

My respect for them grew when I read this.

A trial date has been set for Labour MP Shahid Malik’s £100,000 lawsuit against The Press and former Tory councillor Jonathan Scott. The five-day trial, to be held at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, will start on November 12.

Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Malik launched his libel action last October over a letter from Mr Scott published in both The Press and the Reporter. The letter described what happened outside a polling station in Savile Town at the local elections in May 2006. Malik threatened to sue both newspapers but only took action against The Press, which immediately vowed to vigorously defend the case. Press editor and managing director Martin Shaw said the trial had been expected in April next year but the November date became available this week. “We are ready for this trial, we are ready to win and we decided to get it on,” said Mr Shaw. “This is not something we have entered into lightly and there are serious principles at stake. “Our defence is very strong, we have some respected and high profile witnesses and we will see Mr Malik in court in eight weeks.” The Press and Mr Scott will be represented by top media barrister Jonathan Crystal and Leeds-based law firm Fox Hayes. Stephen Taylor Heath, a partner at the firm, said: “All the hard work in preparing the case has been completed and we are ready for trial.” Mr Scott said he was ready for the battle and added: “This trial has been a long time coming but now it is here at last and we are all confident, fully committed and ready to fight hard in court for what we believe in.”

After news of Malik’s lawsuit became public knowledge, the Freedom of Speech Campaign was launched to help fund defence costs. Last Saturday Press director Danny Lockwood organised the biggest and most ambitious event yet, the Freedom Ball, a black tie dinner at Dewsbury Town Hall. The sell-out event, attended by some of the district’s leading businessmen, was a huge success and raised a staggering £7,000. Mr Lockwood said: “The amazing response to the Freedom Ball showed that the people of Dewsbury and Mirfield and the wider business community are right behind us. “We thank them for their support and hope they will continue to back us between now and the trial.”

Hmmm. Mr Malik dropped action against the Dewsbury Reporter, owned by the UK-wide conglomerate Johnston Press, and chose to concentrate on a small local paper, one of the few that's still locally owned and run. One to watch I think - and does anyone know what happened outside that Savile Town polling station ?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Rush To War

As Turkish tanks take up positions on the Iraqi border, an outraged US academic protests against this attack on a sovereign nation.

Sort of. Well, actually she uses recent events as a stick to beat the US with. I can hear the cries of "Never !" and "No poo, Sherlock !" from here. The basic tone of the piece is "US/Turkish relations are bad and getting worse ! Yay !"

Naturally Laban had to stick his four-penn'orth in, attempting to parody the style of a Guardianista describing the United States.

Here's a gung-ho, nationalistic country, where internal dissent is not tolerated and so-called "terrorists" are tortured. They have a history of solving perceived political problems by force. Further back their history is a woeful tale of genocide, colonialism, displacement, massacre and oppression. Their president is a devout believer, who claims that terrorist attacks justify a response by the might of his country's military - even should that response be an attack on another nation, with the bloodshed and suffering that entails.

In all this he is supported domestically by the forces of the Religious Right, strongest in the rural areas where educational attainment is low.

Of course, the president never thinks about the root causes of so-called "terror" attacks, or asks "why do they hate us" ? No. Blinded by his vision of the oilfields within the grasp of his Army, he'd rather move tanks and jets into position for a brutal, bloody war that in the long run he cannot win. The reality - that his nation's oppressive, racist brutality has provoked this despairing response from a people for whom all peaceful options have long since been closed down - is too nuanced for this blundering cowboy - sorry, I meant goatherd.

And worst of all, our poodle Prime Minister - and America's poodle President - meekly accept their ally's rush to war without raising a finger in protest or admonition. All we get over here is acres of newsprint about our gallant NATO ally, and our longstanding 'special relationship' with our partners in the Crimean conflict who, in the words of celebrated English lecturer Jerry Brotton, "fatally weakened" the Spanish Armada and saved England so long ago.

Given all that, where's Seamus Milne ? Where's Galloway ? Where's Madeleine the Mad Mahdi ? Where's Andrew whateverhisnameis from the Stop The War Coalition ? When is the big march to the Turkish Embassy ? Where's A L Kennedy's new book ? Where's the Early Day Motion signed by 185 Labour MPs ? Where's my "No Kurdish Blood For Kirkuk's Oil !" banner ?

And above all, where are the 174 different Comment Is Free articles by outraged (and tenured) US liberal academics ?


UPDATE - the debate has moved on. It's not just recognising genocide that's a problem for these ethical Guardianistas.

"Now that Bush has hosted the Dalai Lama at the White House and really, really -- and unnecessarily -- p****d off the Chinese, a vital trading partner"

You'd almost think that there was some underlying agenda here. And by the bottom of the thread we're on to Israel !

Anorexia Cure Found

"My body today is nothing like I have known before"

"Scotch - broad Scotch !" father, as he sat at table, looked steadfastly on my brother and myself, and then addressed my mother: - 'During my journey down hither, I have lost no opportunity of making inquiries about these people, the Scotch, amongst whom we now are, and since I have been here I have observed them attentively. From what I have heard and seen, I should say that upon the whole they are a very decent set of people; they seem acute and intelligent, and I am told that their system of education is so excellent that every person is learned - more or less acquainted with Greek and Latin. There is one thing, however, connected with them, which is a great drawback - the horrid jargon which they speak. However learned they may be in Greek and Latin, their English is execrable; and yet I'm told it is not so bad as it was. I was in company, the other day, with an Englishman who has resided here many years. We were talking about the country and the people. "I should like both very well," said I, "were it not for the language. I wish sincerely our Parliament, which is passing so many foolish acts every year, would pass one to force these Scotch to speak English." "I wish so, too," said he. "The language is a disgrace to the British Government; but, if you had heard it twenty years ago, captain! - if you had heard it as it was spoken when I first came to Edinburgh!"'

'Only custom,' said my mother. 'I daresay the language is now what it was then.'

'I don't know,' said my father; 'though I daresay you are right; it could never have been worse than it is at present. But now to the point. Were it not for the language, which, if the boys were to pick it up, might ruin their prospects in life, - were it not for that, I should very much like to send them to a school there is in this place, which everybody talks about - the High School I think they call it. 'Tis said to be the best school in the whole island; but the idea of one's children speaking Scotch - broad Scotch! I must think the matter over' ...

... I did not spend my time unpleasantly at this school, though, first of all, I had to pass through an ordeal.

'Scotland is a better country than England,' said an ugly, blear- eyed lad, about a head and shoulders taller than myself, the leader of a gang of varlets who surrounded me in the playground, on the first day, as soon as the morning lesson was over. 'Scotland is a far better country than England, in every respect.'

'Is it?' said I. 'Then you ought to be very thankful for not having been born in England.'

'That's just what I am, ye loon; and every morning, when I say my prayers, I thank God for not being an Englishman. The Scotch are a much better and braver people than the English.'

'It may be so,' said I, 'for what I know - indeed, till I came here, I never heard a word either about the Scotch or their country.'

'Are ye making fun of us, ye English puppy?' said the blear-eyed lad; 'take that!' and I was presently beaten black and blue. And thus did I first become aware of the difference of races and their antipathy to each other.

'Bow to the storm, and it shall pass over you.' I held my peace, and silently submitted to the superiority of the Scotch - IN NUMBERS.

From George Borrow's autobiographical Lavengro.

Monday, October 15, 2007

El Gordo's Ramadan Message

"I know that the holy month of Ramadan has an important and special meaning ....this celebration is also important for everyone in our country ... Islamic art, science, philosophy and thought have enriched our lives over many centuries - and in Britain of course our Muslim community make a huge contribution to all fields of our national life, and to this country's prosperity ..."

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom commemorates the feast of Eid Al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. I must have missed Blair's Lenten broadcast.

Meanwhile ....

A priest has been interviewed by police on suspicion of inciting racial hatred for expressing his Christian views in his parish newsletter.
Father John Hayes, 71, was quizzed for more than an hour after commenting on the case of a Muslim girl who went to court over her wish to wear a full veil in class.
A sergeant and community support officer turned up without warning at his presbytery after an allegation was made to a Scotland Yard 'hate crimes' unit.

And just to put things in their proper relation to each other, the BBC News Search.

Your 7 pages for Lent.

Your 23 pages for Ramadan.

Forty Years Of Hurt (Warning - not child friendly - in any sense)

Over six million "terminated" babies. Around one pregnancy in four ends this way, while Guardianistas witter about an "ageing society" and why we need lots more immigration.

This isn't an equal-opportunity massacre. Little Mohammeds and Ayeshas will mostly survive it, God willing little Theresas and Dominics stand a better chance. Not sure about little Brooklyns and Jades - or little Micahs and Shanelles. In the States a third of black babies are aborted. The figure for ALL races in England and Wales is just under a quarter - around 650,000 live births and 180,000 abortions.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Middle Class Perverts

"I think there is a romanticised view that Trimdon Working Men's Club in the Prime Minister's constituency - solid working-class, patriotic - is the backbone of the Labour Party. They overlook the fact that a lot of Labour voters in the teeming cities are irreverent and radical. Labour succeeds when it brings together that respectable working class with what I call the radical urban perverts."

What does he mean by perverts? "Well, that's just the way your newspaper and others characterised my administration at the GLC all those years ago. You know, I still find people saying to me: 'You're gay aren't you?' which is what they were claiming about me." So is he homosexual? "I'm not going to talk about it now, either. The point is that, 20 years ago, it was a damaging accusation: now it's almost an essential accessory for Cabinet membership!"

Ken Livingstone in 2000.

Beazley was out of touch with many of the "modern" issues beguiling Labor.

At a state conference in 1970, with an agenda that included legalising abortion, allowing gay couples to adopt children and abolishing censorship, he let rip with his most famous denunciation:

"When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now all I see are the dregs of the middle class. And what I want to know is when you middle class perverts are going to stop using the Labor Party as a spiritual spitoon."

Obituary notice of Kim Beazley Senior, ex-Minister and Australian Labor party MP.

What is it about Aussie Labo(u)r ? Here's ex-party leader Mark Latham :

For those who cannot buy themselves away from social problems, questions of legality and decency are all-important. If the public sector does not foster responsibility and reward effort then the life-chances of working class people will be diminished. These values are well known to people in my electorate. This is why they strongly oppose illegal migration.

People from a poor background may not be asset-rich but they are rich in the dignity of observing the law. In Green Valley, where I grew up in the 1960s and 70s, people who acted irresponsibly and illegally were known as "no-hopers." Many of our traditional supporters are worried that Labor is now on the side of the no-hopers, rather than the responsible working class.