Saturday, July 09, 2005

After The London Nail Bombs ...

Which killed one person, Ken Livingstone called for far-right political parties to be outlawed.

Doubtless he will now be doing the same for far-left organisations with links to supporters of 'the resistance'.

Brum Evacuated

After what police are describing as 'credible evidence', Birmingham City Centre from Digbeth to Broad Street is being cleared.

Brian Eno - Idiot

A year or two back the great Aaronovitch was worrying about the consequences of a terrorist strike.

On the war against terror I fear a descent into arbitrary government, and I also fear the popular consequences were a large-scale terrorist outrage to happen here in Britain. Do you remember how the David Copeland bombs a few years back provoked Ken Livingstone to call for the banning of far-right political parties? Can you imagine what a lorry-load of explosives in a London cinema, driven there by a Muslim from Derby, would lead to?

Tony Blair has said that nothing could have prevented Thursdays attacks. I guess that depends where you start from. I'm sure the Government is crossing its fingers that the bus bomb wasn't a suicide bomber. That wouldn't be good for community relations or bus travel, to put it mildly.

All major Muslim organisations have condemned the attacks, even the Muslim Association of Britain - whether their proposed vigil will turn into an anti-war demo we shall see. And while I'm sure it's no coincidence that the poor family of Shahara Islam featured prominently on BBC news, one's heart can't but go out to all those people searching for loved ones. Bombs don't discriminate. And the response of Londoners of all classes, creeds and colours has been wonderful - as defiantly British as anyone could want.

So into this scene of unity in the face of terror welcome the musician Brian Eno and his size twelves. The very first question on Radio 4's Question Time today was 'are we reaping what we have sown ?' - and the questioner wasn't talking about mass immigration.

Step forward Brian. Not only are we reaping in Iraq, but apparently Bush and Blair's Crusader Armies have alienated young British Muslims, who may not necessarily be bombers themselves, but will apparently, like the people of the Falls or Crossmaglen, keep schtum about terrorists in their midst out of a sense of solidarity against the Great Satan and his poodle.

My jaw hit the floor. I wonder if he realised what he was saying ? Here are the great and the good panicking about Islamophobia, every Muslim leader condemning the blasts - and to make his (anti-US) point he's quite happy to tar large numbers of young British Muslims with complicity in terror.

Who needs the BNP (whose view is as usual identical with Respect/SWP, that we've been punished for "our unpopular involvement in Bush’s war to secure Iraq’s oil supplies") with liberals like Brian ?

UPDATE - Pub Philosopher finds more idiots.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Anti-Racist Action

Excellent news from Oldham :

Following the General Election success against the BNP, Oldham is aiming to drive out any lingering pockets of racism.

In a two-pronged plan, action will now be stepped up to protect Asian taxi drivers and the borough’s mosques.

I like the "lingering pockets" - reminiscent of the Python Festival Hall sketch where the classical concert ends with "and as fighters swoop down to bomb the last pockets of resistance, we go on to the next part of our program".

Perhaps they could add a third prong and protect the pubs. Also from Oldham :

A Landlord claims he is under siege after an eighth attack on his pub in just two years.

A gang of youths caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage by smashing windows at the front of the Weavers’ Arms in two attacks in the space of 48 hours. It is thought they used an airgun.

These latest incidents are further blows for 41-year-old landlord Paul Marcroft, who says youths have lobbed fireworks and bricks at the Ashfield Road, Deeplish, pub.

The attacks have become such a threat that his family were even forced to flee the pub two years ago when his daughter, Stephanie, was hit by a brick lobbed through a first-floor window.

“It is getting ridiculous,” said Mr Marcroft, who has been in the pub for four years.

“We’ve now had to report eight attacks, during one of which my daughter, who was only two at the time, had to be taken to hospital.

Police say they are now searching for a gang of Asian boys, thought to be aged between 15 and 18, who targeted the pub at about 8.30pm on Thursday and 7.45pm on Saturday.

During the riots of 2001 at least 5 Oldham pubs were burned out by firebombs.

A Few Thoughts

Some credit must be given to the G8 protesters for their brilliant diversionary tactics which ensured half the Met was chasing eco-warriors round Stirling.

Naturally the first thought of the Government will be for extra vigilance - against the danger of Islamophobia. We would not want to see a repetition of the ghastly attacks which took place in the days after 9/11.

Ken Livingstones made an entertaining speech, pointing out that the bombs didn't meet his requirements for good terrorism, as they weren't aimed at politicians.
The friend of the IRA (who never targeted civilians) then pointed out that mass immigration was still on the increase.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

The BBC wheeled out Chris Doyle, of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (the man who thinks toasting St George is "deeply insensitive") to point out that Muslims were as likely as anyone else to have been victims. All very true. He didn't speculate on the likely identity of the perpetrators.

As Mr Crozier points out, while the past may not be a guide to the future, the lessons of the IRA campaign are sombre ones. Mark Steyn's not optimistic either.

Notwithstanding all that, the response of the Londoners on the ground seems to have been excellent, and the emergency services well-organised.

I haven't really taken note of the responses of the usual suspects (SWP, Galloway etc) but Blimpish has.

UPDATE - I'm looking forward to MP Chris Mullin's condemnation of the attacks.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Louise Casey

I heard reports of Ms Casey's toilet-mouthed rant against her employers and assumed it was evidence that Blair's 'yob tsar' was a conscientious objector in the war on anti-social behaviour.

But I liked this line :

Bloody BBC1 ... When do they interview the people who are on the receiving end of antisocial behaviour?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

On "Community"

My brother works in an inner city school. I was talking last week to one of his colleagues about the Government's wonderful new Children's Act 2004, out of which came this nightmare vision of a nation of state-conditioned Stepford children.

The Government's aim is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to:

Be healthy (Always use a condom)
Stay safe (Always use a condom)
Enjoy and achieve (Oh alright - don't use one)
Make a positive contribution (ditto)
Achieve economic well-being (Sure Start for the baby, call centre for you)

Among the visions - sorry, among "the different strands of the Change for Children agenda" is the integration of "children's services" at local authority level. The idea is that "health", social services and education will come under the same department. The Guardian is filled with adverts for 'Directors of Children's Services' at six-figure salaries.

So social services, "health" and education will be provided to children by one department. At local level. Nationally I know of no plans to merge the Home Office, Department of Education, and Department of Health. A recipe for some interesting challenges when it comes to the interfaces between the (integrated) delivery and the (non-integrated) strategy.

By September you could well find that your child's education is controlled by a social worker. Or a nurse. Look out for some interesting appointments in the London Boroughs.

One of the bright ideas is extended schooling. You may have already heard of this in connection with the idea of a school open 6 am to 6 pm, providing childcare after hours for working mums. But there's more to it than this. The idea is that the extended school is the place where the 'integrated delivery strategy' comes alive.

There is the school health centre, dispensing the morning after pill and providing abortion counselling. There are social workers in the corridor, the probation officer's office - maybe a police presence.

But "we can build on this". The wet dream is the "on-site community centre", a "school" with an "e-bar", whatever that is, and maybe its own community radio station. A school that's a resource for the whole community.

This should be fun. To the extent that schools actually DO constitute 'communities', it's because they're full of children, controlled to a greater or lesser extent by adults. Where control is not an issue they can even do some teaching.

When 'the community' have access as of right it won't belong before the computers are being sold in the pubs and the radio station is doing pirate FM from the roof of a tower block. It sounds a better place to hang than the local shopping centre. You haven't forgotten to create space for the security guards, have you ? Put them next to the police.

It was an aside by the teacher that struck me. "The government is desperate to get these going," he said, "because they've realised that in the cities community has collapsed. The school is literally the only place where everyone comes together. It's the only community there is - all we've got."

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

New Medical Breakthrough

The medicalisation of criminality continues apace.

In mitigation Jeremy Dein, QC, defending, said the teenager had come from an "emotionally fraught" family background, had been bullied at school and suffered from a misconduct disorder.

A 'misconduct disorder', eh ? The old, judgemental name was rapist.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Giant Teapot Religion

In another life, I always enjoyed the arrival at Stonehenge Festival of the tribes of the Planet Gong, easily recognisable by the Flying Teapot flags on their tents. They were always nice people - and their girls ! I guess I was just a sucker for a slender young thing in a cheesecloth skirt and hand-crafted woollens. Not to mention the girl with the magic teapot, who wore nowt but necklace and spacy smile. Honi soit qui mal y pense.

So I'm sorry to hear that the cult of the Giant Teapot is in trouble.

Malaysian police have arrested 21 suspected followers of a religious sect called the Sky Kingdom.

They were arrested for possessing documents contrary to Islam, according to an official in Terengganu state.

The Sky Kingdom is an inter-faith sect which claims to promote harmony between all of Malaysia's religious groups.

Known as much for building a giant teapot structure as for its teachings, the group has often been criticised for luring adherents away from Islam.

The Sky Kingdom is led by the eccentric Ayah Pin, who claims he is the saviour of the world.

The group's controversial structures - which given it the nickname "teapot cult" - are said to combine architectural elements from Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism.

The teapot is thought to signify the purity of water, while the umbrella signifies God, who shelters everyone in the world.

As I might have said in 1975, the Sky Kingdom people sound 'really nice'. Man.

PS - and while we're on disreputable youth, Dom has more cautionary tales from that era.

UPDATE - more on Ayah Pin from this fine Malaysian site.

I Don't Understand ...

That Niall Ferguson chappie. Should we be afraid of the Golden Horde or the Yellow Peril ?

Perhaps he'll produce a synthesis, in which China, having crushed its own Muslims, rises to world power while a dhimmfied Europe, hiding its Bibles and crucifixes, is busy arguing about the final constitution of the EU Caliphate.

Kriss Donald Update.

The suspects in this particularly disgusting racist murder case who fled to Pakistan have been arrested.

Kriss Donald would have been 17 today.

Low Intensity Warfare


UPDATE - nice bloke. Nice kid.