Friday, May 23, 2008
I think Bloggers4Labour might be an entertaining read for the next few days.
It could have been worse for NuLab too. I was surprised the BNP had no candidate - Crewe being one of those towns which has seen a massive increase in (mostly Polish) immigration post-EU enlargement. I think it likely they'd have taken some votes which went to the Tories - but they'd have sheared away the Labour core vote even more - perhaps to below 10,000.
I note that the 'respectable' anti-immigration, out-of-Europe party, UKIP, got exactly 922 votes. It's partly that they just don't seem to be able to speak to working-class Brits (being a pretty (old, respectable) middle-class lot themselves, but perhaps its also that the consistently bad press the BNP get makes them uniquely qualified to pick up the 'up yours - all of you' protest vote.
Given current circumstances, it's impressive that 12,000 people still voted Labour - but their share of the vote dropped 18%. Once a tribal vote goes elsewhere, it may return, but it can never be relied on again.
* Edward Timpson (Con) 20,539 (49.49%, +16.93%)
* Tamsin Dunwoody (Lab) 12,679 (30.55%, -18.29%)
* Elizabeth Shenton (Lib Dem) 6,040 (14.55%, -4.03%)
* Mike Nattrass (UKIP) 922 (2.22%)
* Robert Smith (Green) 359 (0.87%)
* David Roberts (Eng Dem) 275 (0.66%)
* The Flying Brick (Monster Raving Loony) 236 (0.57%)
* Mark Walklate (Ind) 217 (0.52%)
* Paul Thorogood (Cut Tax on Diesel and Petrol) 118 (0.28%)
* Gemma Garrett (Ind) 113 (0.27%)
This chap doesn't deal with such small change.
A convicted fraudster who masterminded a huge tax scam has been ordered to pay back almost £7m. Noel Young, who imported and sold luxury cars, was sentenced to 28 months after admitting conspiracy to commit VAT fraud and money laundering. The 32-year-old, from Carlisle, is already serving seven years for causing death by dangerous driving.
The £7m order, granted at Liverpool Crown Court, is thought to be one of the largest ever made. Young, of The Green, Houghton, was found to have benefited by £10,551,747, and was described by Judge David Aubrey QC as "a manipulative and deceitful individual". The fraud involved more than 250 vehicles and the total value of the scam was more than £14m, the court heard.
During proceedings last month, Young claimed that he could barely read or write as he is "a Gypsy" and never had any schooling as his family had travelled around.
Hmmm. He can add up, though, can't he ?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
With a few minutes of normal time to go .. 'I bet someone'll be sent off in extra time' - but I thought it would be for a late tackle, not a piece of foolishness like Drogba's. Tevez (who seemed to start it off) must have been delighted, but fair play to those from both sides who hauled Vidic away - he's a great player and his battle with Drogba was epic.
Poor John Terry. Remember Beckham's penalty slip ? And poor Avram Grant - I hope he stays.
Meanwhile ... the handcart to hell rattles on its predestined path ... the Fatherless Children Bill is passed, another little black girl dies in suspicious circumstances while the social workers are looking the other way, more feral youths are convicted of murder even as the last-but-five gang of feral youths are granted leave to appeal, and a "Justice Minister" makes soothing noises to the family of the last-but-twenty-three, just like a "Justice Minister" made soothing noises to the family of the last-but-five gang's victim. 'Tis a familiar tale. Still, say not the struggle nought availeth - even if it does look that way.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A sex swap instructor at an all-female driving school was left devastated when the Sheffield husband of one of her pupils threatened to sue her firm - for sending a man to teach his Muslim wife. Emma Sherdley - formerly a married dad of two called Andrew but now legally a woman - has the full support of her boss Joanne Dixon who says she is a popular and respected instructor with 32 female pupils on her books who have no problem with her past.
Emma, aged 42, has a birth certificate and a "gender recognition certificate" to prove her legal status as a woman although she is still waiting for final surgery to make her transition from male to female physically complete. She says she has never had a problem with any of her other pupils and says the complaints made by the man from the Meadowhall area of Sheffield, were: "hurtful, offensive and deeply upsetting".
Joanne, who set up Laugh n Pass with all-female teachers designed to put ladies learning to drive completely at their ease, told The Star: "Emma is a popular and very well-respected instructor.
"That man accused us of being racist, yet his attitude towards Emma showed prejudice of the very worst kind."
The problem began when the man booked a two hour driving lesson for his wife. Emma travelled from her Holmfirth home to Meadowhall and collected the woman from her home and the lesson began. But after the first hour of the lesson she told Emma she would have to cancel the remainder of the lesson because she had to go home to breast feed her baby.
Joanne said: "Then the husband rang me and said he was going to sue us. He was saying, 'You have sent me a man, send me a proper female, how dare you send a man with a deep voice'. Then he claimed we had deliberately sent a man disguised as a woman because he was a Muslim. His attitude and his behaviour was outrageous and has upset me and Emma and everyone else who works here. We are not racist, we are not sexist - if anyone was being so it was that man."
Some feminists would agree that 'they'd sent a chap'. For Julie Bindel, he's just 'a man in a dress'. Turns out gender's not a social construct after all !
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Should the term 'asylum' be banned?
Ironic really. They were previously known as "aliens seeking political asylum", but it was decided that had overtones of ... well, difference.
Now apparently they'll be'sanctuary-seekers' or similar.
With its connotations of posh women-only health clubs.
In the survey of 1,000 people aged over 17, which was conducted by Efeedback, more than 81% of those surveyed felt "sanctuary" had positive connotations.
(The Independent Asylum Commission, btw is independent - in the same way that the SWP is independent. It's the usual mix of activist judges and activist lawyers, with the odd leftie cleric thrown in for respectability.)
(Further to my post on African anti-immigration riots, I see the Berbers and Arabs are also kicking up rather than celebrating difference)
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Le Monde devoted a page to a report on “Hiroshima: What the world never saw” last weekend. It recounted the discovery of “ten pictures hidden for more than 60 years by an American soldier which show for the first time the victims of the bomb dropped on the Japanese city on August 6, 1945”. It emerged however that the pictures, from the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, depicted the aftermath of a 1923 earthquake near Tokyo. They were immediately recognised by experts in Japan and the US.
Get digging : coal makes a comeback
If oil prices remain above the critical threshold of $50 per barrel, there's even a good chance we will soon be flying in coal-powered airliners. Indeed, if you have flown from Johannesburg International Airport in the last seven years, your aircraft ran on a mixture of kerosene and liquidised, pulverised coal.
Coal-rich and oil-poor, South Africa became a pioneer of this work during the apartheid era. Sanctions blocked imports of oil, but it required transport fuel at any cost. Now Sasol, the South African chemical firm that leads the world in coal-oil production, is to offer a new version of its aviation fuel, 100% derived from coal, for international approval later this year.
Soaring oil prices now mean the rest of the world is getting interested, too. The US Air Force spends $4.5bn a year on jet fuel, and is already showing interest. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, recognising that many USAF scenarios involve bombing its own traditional oil suppliers in the Middle East, has ordered his forces to explore alternative fuels that don't require foreign oil. In September the USAF will conduct its first test flight with a synthetic fuel derived from natural gas, using technology similar to coal-to-oil.
That name rings a bell :
Big Gordy from Kirkcaldy ? Hmm.
He came to the attention of Durham Police after he was arrested by officers in Scotland, where he was sending indecent images of children to somebody called “Big Gordy from Kirkcaldy.”
In January last year he was jailed for 14 months by a Scottish court for emailing 10 images of youngsters aged between five and 12 to “Big Gordy.”
The violence in Alexandra started on Sunday evening when an enraged mob marched to a hostel in London Road, targeting foreigners mainly from Zimbabwe whom they accuse of stealing precious jobs and contributing to worsening crime rates.
The crowd beat the immigrants, forced others from their rooms and shot dead two men – one a South African who refused to take part in the attack.
Scores of refugees, many “illegal” immigrants, flocked to Alexandra police station for protection. Despite extra police with riot gear taking up positions across the township, violence again erupted on Monday night, drawing condemnation from politicians and soul-searching on the part of other South Africans.
“Is this the new South Africa?” screamed the front page of the South African Times under a picture of a bloodied Ms Ndlovu. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has condemned the attacks, but others point to frequent warnings of mounting tensions in townships that the ANC Government has ignored.
Complaints of jobs being taken and a government ignoring tensions ? Sounds familiar. But in the UK the natives don't go in for this sort of stuff. Instead, a Labour leaflet accusing the Tories of not wanting foreigners to carry ID cards is seen by the the massed and hysterical ranks of Guardianistas as one step away from requiring them to wear yellow stars.
For once, I agree with idiot CiF poster tooter, a glass-three-quarters-full kind of chap whose motif is 'surely, comrades, you do not want Mr Jones back ?'. His thesis is that this is all just part of the cut'n'thrust of politics and that the end sometimes has to justify the means. Horrified lefties point out to him that this means using the language of the right and ipso facto conceding that their arguments may have a point.
Both tooter and his critics are right. It's true that Labour are using language that sits better with the right - or with Old Labour. I don't think Bevin or Attlee would have had trouble distinguising Brits from non-Brits. Whereas, as every post-60s leftie knows, foreigners are exactly like "us" - and anyway, who's "us" - we're a nation of immigrants, don'tcha know ?
But the simple fact is that a campaign of 'we welcome immigration and see no upper limit to it', while pretty well describing the de facto Labour position, would lead to an even greater hammering than the one they're going to get. Labour have always been prepared to talk tough on crime and immigration, while letting all the prisoners out and the asylum-seekers in. It's what they do. And it worked pretty well (electorally) for ten years.
I've said before that the Brits don't do fascism.
Can't say that about the Italians. They invented it. I must say I can't imagine scenes like this in the UK, where the travelling community are the ones with the unity, the willingness to use force, and the firepower.
Italian police began a nationwide round-up of nearly 400 illegal immigrants from the Balkans and North Africa yesterday in the midst of a series of arson attacks on Roma gypsy camps in the suburbs of Naples.
The first step in a drive on crime promised by the new centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi targeted temporary encampments on the outskirts of cities from Naples to northern Italy. Some 118 people held in the operation were ordered to be expelled immediately for offences ranging from drug dealing and robbery to prostitution.
But in Naples local people have anticipated the new policy, taking the law into their own hands.
This week’s assaults on Roma shanty towns by scores of youths on scooters and motorbikes wielding iron bars and throwing Molotov cocktails were sparked off by the capture of a 17-year-old Roma girl who last weekend entered a flat in Ponticelli and tried to steal a 6-year-old girl. Chased by the mother and neighbours, she had to be rescued by police from being lynched.
The city erupted in fury, with local women leading the marches on the Roma camps to the chant of “Fuori, fuori [Out, out]”. Night after night young men — allegedly acting on the orders of powerful local clans of the Camorra, the Naples Mafia — have set the sites ablaze, blocking attempts by the fire brigade to put out the fires, with exploding gas canisters completing the destruction. The women jeered at the firemen, shouting, "You put these fires out, we start them again”.
Plumes of smoke were still rising yesterday from the smouldering, blackened ruins of a Roma gypsy camp attacked and burnt to the ground by local vigilantes in Ponticelli, a rundown industrial suburb in the east of Naples in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.
The charred remains of the makeshift wooden shacks at the site on Via Malibran crunch underfoot. The only sign of life is dogs scavenging through the neighbouring mountain of uncollected, rotting rubbish.
There are similar scenes of devastation at camps nearby, including one in the incongruously named Via Virginia Woolf. At one squalid “nomad camp” beneath a motorway flyover, intact but deserted, a policeman guarding the site said that the inhabitants had fled during the night to avoid being attacked.
Hmm. I've always thought of Naples as the Scallyland of Italy.
The Naples arson attacks, however, are the result of long-festering anger throughout Italy over rising crime levels and urban degradation, much of it blamed on Roma gypsies and the estimated half a million Romanians who have emigrated to Italy since Romania joined the European Union.
But I can't see even the Scallies going in for this sort of thing. Rising crime levels and urban degradation ? If that were the criterion, Kirkby would have been a heap of smouldering ruins long ago.