Saturday, November 03, 2007

Yet More Vote Fraud

From (where else ?) Brum (again).

When Ayoub Khan said in 2004 "this is the politics of Pakistan or Bangladesh and they've brought it here" I thought he was just (just ?) talking about fraud. I should have taken him at his word.

A Liberal Democrat activist had his £50,000 Range Rover set on fire during a bitter fight to oust a Labour councillor, an election court was told yesterday. The activist, Iftikhar Ahmed, was a key supporter of Saeed Aehmed, who was defeated in the council elections in Birmingham in May when he stood against the Labour candidate Muhammad Afzal.

Mr Aehmed is challenging Mr Afzal’s victory and claims that he was the victim of a smear campaign, in which voters were told wrongly that he had been arrested for fraud. Mr Afzal was also accused of trying to use family pressure to stop a witness giving evidence in court.

Mr Afzal, a former chairman of the National Association of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Councillors and a Birmingham councillor since 1982, had his reelection to the council in 2004 overturned because of widespread corruption. Richard Mawrey, QC, then election commissioner, had accused Labour of organising city-wide postal vote fraud “that would disgrace a banana republic” to win the election, in spite of Muslim anger over the invasion of Iraq. Mr Afzal was later cleared by the Court of Appeal of personal responsibility for corrupt and illegal practices.

Mr Brodie said that on this year’s election day,Mr Afzal’s supporters told voters that the Lib Dem candidate had been arrested for fraud. Loudspeakers on cars in Aston blared out the rumour in Urdu and Bengali.

Mr Afzal, who is regarded as the most powerful man in Birmingham Asian politics, sits on the council’s overview and scrutiny committee. His victory this May came in spite of a sharp swing against Labour in the city when the party was overtaken as Birmingham’s largest by the Conservatives for the first time in 24 years.

Labour had five cars with loudspeakers and were trailing the sole Liberal Democrat car broadcasting: “Lib Dems arrested, Lib Dems arrested.”

Friday, November 02, 2007

More Leaves From The Curate's Lawn

1.5 million foreign workers take more than half of jobs created since 1997.

The replacement of the English accelerates.

The population of the UK is set to increase by 4.4 million to 65 million by 2016, according to new projections. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 2.1 million of the overall rise can be put down to immigration alone. Further projections say the population would reach 71 million by 2031 and 77 million in 2051.

Note that "to immigration alone'. In other words, not including the children of the existing "immigrant-heritage" communities, who have higher fertility than the natives. Given the low fertility of the natives, and the continuing exodus of the young and qualified, the forecast that "on present trends, by 2073, the majority population of this country will either have migrated here, or be the child or grandchild of parents who did so" looks eminently reasonable.

Councils still don't believe the government figures.

"A report from the Local Government Association claims that official population statistics seriously underestimate the number of immigrants in large areas of the country. In some rural areas, such as Boston, Lincolnshire, the number of migrant workers is nine times the number cited in official statistics, according to the first study of all local authorities. "

ONS unemployment by ethnicity. Funny, I thought they'd come here to do the jobs we wouldn't. Not according to these stats.

You can also use the bottom graph - male/female employment ratios for working age people - as an approximate proxy for childrearing. Pakistani/Bangladeshi women of working age are characterised as 'economically inactive' i.e. they're raising kids, not trying for that Senior Co-Ordinator role. What did Sayyid Qutb say again ?

"(if) she prefers ... using her ability for material productivity rather than the training of human beings, because material production is considered to be more important, more valuable and more honourable than the development of human character, then such a civilisation is ‘backward’ from the human point of view ..."

Note the other groups with a high male/female paid "employment" ratio - Indian, Black African, other Asian, other White (the Poles ?). This implies they're all having more babies than the natives.

I'm gobsmacked to note that Chinese males are apparently the most inactive. This doesn't fit with my experience at all. I bet they're all working at something - maybe they just haven't told the Revenue. Am I allowed to say that ? Either that or some genius dole fraudster has created a terracotta army of non-existent Chinese claimants.

They're getting a bit fed up of vibrancy in Italy, too.

"In the past 18 months Romanians have been responsible for 76 murders, more than 300 rapes and 2,000 robberies in Italy, according to police statistics. Nearly 400 Romanians have been charged with kidnappings, mostly involving prostitution, and 6,000 with receiving stolen goods."

So they're planning to expel foreign criminals. Which we can't do, apparently, because of EU law.

We shall see. After all, the jelly-bellied flag flapper was promising to expel foreign criminals a few weeks back, and it was all lies. Maybe it's lies in Italy, too.

Don't Do as I Do, Do As I Say

Snafu points out a certain cognitive dissonance in Trevor Phillips' pronouncements on "sharing schools and hospitals". He won't find many poor Somalis or Romanians at his kids' private school.

Funny. When he was an aspiring NuLab politician I don't remember him coming out with stuff like this.

Asked two years ago about what needed to be done to rescue communities from the 'moral vacuum' many young black people lived in, he said: 'The old-fashioned discipline of Caribbean teachers - uniforms, detentions, tough lessons, and, yes, even even the possibility of corporal punishment - could stop many a criminal career before it begins.'

Trev probably thinks that it's just a function of their skin colour, but there are a fair few white kids living in a "moral vacuum", too. By strange chance, there used to be "old-fashioned discipline" in British schools as well - on which many Caribbean schools were modelled. How we have progressed.

Ray Gravell 1951-2007


Telegraph obituary

BBC tributes 1

BBC tributes 2

He died 35 years to the day after Llanelli's 9-3 victory over the All Blacks.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

More Canaries In The Coal Mine

If you think about it, it was always likely that some of the pointy heads who would have been exploring Buddhism, Krishna, circle dancing or Goddess cults a few years back would turn to the hottest new religion on the block.

Via Another Green World, meet the Green-Green Alliance.

"Anne Gray is an academic researcher in social policy. She has been politically active for many years in the peace movement, solidarity with Palestine, the European Social Forum movement, and in the Campaign against Criminalising Communities, which works to oppose the abuses of civil liberties associated with the anti-terrorism laws. She is also active in the Green Party. Brought up as a Quaker, she practised no religion for many years but then turned to Islam in the last year"

"Mark Barrett originally trained in law but now works as a tour guide for an educational travel company. He has a strong interest in the relationship between art and politics. His main areas of concern are the question of constitution, community land rights and how to establish a democratic model of globalisation. He is an active member of People in Common which works to end government restrictions on protest within the vicinity of Parliament while exploring possibilities for a new constitutional model. Originally brought to religious life via Buddhism and Quakerism, Mark has also been much inspired by the poet Rumi. He is now exploring orthodox Islam and is particularly interested in the concept of ijtihad and its contemporary relevance."

Foreign Offenders Can Stay Here

Gordon Brown, Labour Party Conference 2007 :

But let me be clear any newcomer to Britain who is caught selling drugs or using guns will be thrown out. No-one who sells drugs to our children or uses guns has the right to stay in our country.

However, if you're a murderer or a sex offender, no worries.

"A victim of a serial sex attacker is "appalled" that he will not be deported in order to protect his human rights. An Asylum and Immigration Tribunal upheld a ruling which blocked moves by the Home Office to deport the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons. Mr Justice Hodge said the 20-year-old should stay in the UK as he came here from Sierra Leone, aged six, and had virtually no family in West Africa. "I am appalled by the decision," she said. "How is it right that somebody who has offended so seriously against defenceless women is allowed to remain in this country?

Her attacker had admitted indecently assaulting 11 women in the past five years. He is being allowed to stay in the UK after his release under article eight of the Human Rights Act, which gives a person a right to a family life."

The judge, Henry Hodge, is the husband of Labour's Margaret Hodge.

Slowly ...

I'm replacing the reciprocal links and trying to get the defunct ones sorted. Patience.

Huzzah !

Tectonic plates a-shifting as the Guardian gives space to Spiked's Jenni Russell, to the effect that "the gulf between the political rhetoric and people's experience of immigration has grown too big to be ignored".

What's impressive is the number of lefties who seem to be losing patience with NuLab - and who are openly spouting heresy.

"No matter how hard the neoliberal and culturally leftist guardians of the new order try to spin it, British people do not want their country to be one huge voluntary labour camp where migrant workers set up for a while, repatriate their cash and keep the neoliberal treadmill functioning. Mass migration does not benefit them other than with keeeping prices lower but that only ties in with the consumer habits that people have and not with the maintenance of a nation state that is meant to put its people first."

"I have been involved in the anti fascist movement in East London for over thirty years and without any shadow of a doubt immigration and the massive demographic changes that our society has witnessed in a very short space of time have put the BNP in the position of possibly getting two and maybe three seats on the London Assembly next May, it is not racist or pandering to the far right to say that...
The Somali community in Whitechapel and Stepney in Tower Hamlets was established a century ago, has one of the highest unemployment rates of any group in the country, is totally isolated from the communities around them and practises, amongst other things, female genital mutilation. More young girls are mutilated in the E1 postal district than anywhere outside Africa. We are talking two communities of immigrants, one with values very similar to those of the community they have joined and one who could be living on another planet.

The immigration debate is about a lot of things, not just numbers. There are several schools of thought on the matter. One, espoused by the loony left of the SWP and the black nationalist clique funded by Ken Livingstone, is that there should be "open borders" and that any form of control is inherently racist. Mind you the black nats also claim that all white people are racist as well as demanding the right to go back to their ancestral homes in Africa. I always tell them there will be plenty of room as with open borders the entire population will be in Europe!

The other extreme is that of Nick Griffin and the BNP who yearn for an England that never existed, where a homogeneous population was at ease with itself, each person content with their place in society and while class differences existed the concept of race and nation bound everyone together. A bit like John Major with his old maids bicycling to early morning communion and all of the railway companies in their prewar livery, er, yeh, ok.

Yes we need immigration, my father was an immigrant as were my mothers parents and there was hostility towards the Irish, but it wasn't too long before no one could tell us from the native population. I have Bangladeshi friends whose children were born here but whose command of English is so poor that the only jobs open are stacking shelves in a supermarket. They are a part of a very closed community which in three and now four generations has failed to become part of wider British society.

Take the Poles off the building sites of London and the construction industry would come to a standstill, the positions however could not be filled by Africans, Asians or the massively unemployed Somalis,they have neither the skills nor the motivation otherwise there would be no jobs for eastern Europeans.

As always, extremes are rarely the answer to anything, the solution is somewhere in the middle. If there are skill shortages then they need to be filled with skilled people who should be allowed in be they bricklayers or brain surgeons. A friend of mine, like me a retired bricky, runs a training scheme for unemployed young men in outer East London. He has to take a certain number of youths who are getting unemployment benefit and finds that the local white and african carribean youths turn up when they feel like it so they don't lose their dole money. He could fill his courses ten times over with Poles, Bulgarians, Rumanians etc who genuinely want to learn a skill. Work it out, someone has to do the job.

Yes it is time for a debate because immigration is fast becoming the one issue which will propel the racist right from the sidelines to centre stage"

"But the elephant in the room here is inequality. The Labour government (and the Graun) is committed to reducing it. But the refusal to restrict immigration has made that policy impossible to achieve. Actually inequality has got worse under Labour, because wages at the low end haven't risen as fast as those at the top. Even Polly Toynbee admits that nowadays. Put this together with yesterdays incredible revelation that over half new jobs since 1997 have gone to foreigners and you suddenly see that a historic opportunity has been lost: a decade's worth of growth could have brought about a step change in British society, getting the long-term unemployed off benefits and into work, and raising the wages of the lowest paid so that Britain became a fairer and better place.

In fact, if this were the record of a Tory government you would say, "Oh well, class politics as usual". That this is a Labour government just beggars belief - incompetence, stupidity and complacency in just about equal measure.

Let's be honest about this. Immigration benefits the bien-pensant middle-class like me and most other Graun readers, because it keeps down the cost of the services we access in retail, restaurants, domestic help and so on. It also provides us with a hey-we're-not-racist shot of feel-good as we take the foaming latte from the smiling migrant worker. But it makes housing more expensive, puts pressure on the green belt, clogs up the infrastructure, wrecks community cohesion and above all has helped to build an illusion of prosperity for which we have mortgaged the future and for which we will pay in spades."

"we have abandoned a large group of our fellow citizens to lives of parasitism and dependency. Ironically, they are the mouldering remnants of the very group that the caring, sharing British left used to be most concerned about: the British working class. Sadly, their lives no longer seem to be of any great interest to many on the left, whose support for them seems these days to be restricted to throwing more benefits in their direction whilst doing precisely nothing about the culture of enfeeblement and dependency that has smothered these communities."

"Our politicians have been happy to emphasise the benefits of immigration, the growth in GDP, lower prices, and so on, but they have failed to plan for the potential problems. Indeed, for a long time they deneied that there were problems, and have been in denial about the true numbers.

To concentrate solely on economic benefits of immigration has also meant that politicians have ignored more ephemeral concerns about quality of life, a decline in common values, uncertainty and so on. These issues cannot be dimissed (indeed they are the sort of reasons for which many middle class Brits move to farmhouse in the Dordorgne...). "

"The central point in this debate for me is that the well-off classes are gaining all the benefits of mass immigration - cheap food, cheap wage costs, cheap nannies and cleaners - without paying any of the social costs."

"Socialists in this country (and that includes the Labour Party) never forgave the white working class for voting Thatcher in the eighties. This is pay back time. We are all just a bit shocked at how malicious the Left have been in grinding them into the dirt."

"Nevertheless people can't pretend that this level of immigration is not problematic. Its also very easy for those who have middle-class jobs where you need a degree and need to speak perfect english to say that people shouldn't moan but try being a london based builder or plumber and see what its like for them. I recently got a leaflet through my door advertising the fact that a particular plumbing company only employed polish plumbers which I took to mean that any english plumber would be inferior which found offensive. I kick myself that I threw it away rather than report them for employment discrimination.

Even being half black I can see where some on the right are coming from. London is almost unrecognisble from how it was in 1997 and the rate of change is so fast that I feel slightly scared because I wonder what it will be like in another 10 years. "

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Polly Toynbee - "Calls for abortion up to full term"

Apparently (if the CiF comments are to be believed), in a BBC News 24 "Head 2 Head" (sorry) debate with the Tory MP Michael Gove, Poll Pot called for abortion to be available up to the full nine months.

Anybody got the video ?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Respect - La Lotta Continua

At Harry's Place coverage continues of the acrimonious divorce between the faction with the votes (Galloway and his British Muslim contituency) and the faction with the organisation (SWP). I see the SWP have the membership lists and computer passwords.

The Guardian and BBC have given minimal coverage to this. I guess at the Graun they're circling the wagons to avoid giving joy and comfort to people like me.

The Way We (All) Were

Neil Lyndon on the suburban revolutionaries.

As the clock in the Queens’ College cloisters struck 12, we raised our glasses and toasted “to the revolution”. Then began a rowdy and energetic rendition of the Internationale, booming out at first over the waters of the River Cam but feebly petering out when it came to the second verse which – like the national anthem – none of us was quite sure how to continue.

After we had climbed down from the parapet of the Silver Street bridge, we 12 or 13 Cambridge undergraduates – all men, I am fairly sure – gathered again in some nearby college rooms where we earnestly agreed that our first revolutionary commitment from that moment would be to learn all the words of the Internationale so we would not disgrace ourselves in the company of other comrades when we went on demonstrations. None of us, I believe, ever bent our brows to that stern task. That would tally with the general approach that most of us took towards our studies.

It was October 25, 1967, the 50th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution.

What became of them ?

I am still friends with a few and have followed the careers of others, such as Simon Hoggart, The Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer and radio presenter.

A couple, including Peter Cole (once News Review editor at this paper) have become eminent professors. Gwynn Pritchard – our firebrand leader in black leather bomber jacket and black beret just like Che Guevara – joined the BBC and rose to become head of Welsh broadcasting.

Why am I not terribly surprised, any more that I'm shocked that Julie "extermination" Etchingham started out at the BBC.

Mr Cameron said: “Let me outline the action that a Conservative government would take. As we have seen, some of the increase in population size results from natural change – birth rates, death rates. Here our policy should be obvious . . . ”

At this point Ms Etchingham was heard to say “extermination”.

Sky News apologised after the gaffe and said that Ms Etchingham’s comment was regrettable.

Interesting Times interview with the actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah, ne Ian Roberts.

In Statement of Regret these issues come to life as a debate between a father and his sons, and between older and younger members of the Institute of Black Policy Research, about which issues a black NGO should be airing. Reparations for slavery? Or domestic violence and low educational standards in the black community? The old-school campaigners want a united front against white oppression. But, as the new generation argues, “self-flagellating liberalism is dead . . . the money is in self-criticism”.

Is this how Kwei-Armah sees the state of racial politics? “Absolutely.” As a reaction against political correctness, he says, and specifically after the 7/7 London bombings, “society, and that includes black people, started to think: ‘We’re bored of whingeing blacks. It’s time they looked at their own problems. The time is past for blaming the white man.’ ” He pauses. “There are elements of truth in that, but it is certainly not the whole truth.” ... KweiArmah also believes that his own cultural group is in decline. “Within five years, when we discuss black Britain, it will no longer be the Windrush generation, it will no longer be pork-pie hats or young Rastafarians. It will be new African migrant stories. Because demographically, the African-Caribbean is shrinking and the West African community is growing. And that will create tensions.”

Domestic Violence Lies

Take a look at this government website.

Although domestic violence is chronically under reported, research estimates that it:

  • accounts for 16% of all violent crime (Source: Crime in England and Wales 04/05 report)
  • has more repeat victims than any other crime (on average there will have been 35 assaults before a victim calls the police)
  • costs in excess of £23bn a year
  • claims the lives of two women each week and 30 men per year
  • is the largest cause of morbidity worldwide in women aged 19-44, greater than war, cancer or motor vehicle accidents
  • will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime
In this Guardian thread the great MrPikeBishop takes issue with that fifth stat.

I'll help you out on the stats - the claim comes from a council of europe study which no one seems able to verify, the headline figure of which has been picked up and used by a shower of cash-hunry NGOs. The adoption of it by the home Office was at the insistance of Fiona McTaggert - this is the same nut who says all prostitution is child abuse, and all men who visit prostitutes are rapists.But please, don't trust me - go find verification of that figure. I wait with antici......pation.

(Various commenters disagree ..)

Right, those figures.

Go check it out - I've done this several times before, clearly people don't believe me, so I won't cut n paste, go look it up for yourself.

More women in that age group die of accidental drug overdoses than are murdered in TOTAL,let alone by their partners. Vastly more die in car accidents. HUGELY more die of cancer - malignant neoplasms of many kinds in that file.
Now, this is in the uk with our health service and a pretty healthy population - what do you think the comparable figures might be in Africa?

That "greatest cause of death" cobblers is a plain LIE.

It is not TRUE

It is demonstrably FALSE

I repeat, don't believe me - go look at the stats, download the excel file. Make a pie chart from it. Print it out and put it on a hat.

Daft claim. Scratch your head, then ask yourself why the Home Office has such a bold and patently false claim on its website.

Monday, October 29, 2007

"This is their land first and they've come to take it back"

Face Right on the ongoing trouble in LA, where demographic change is being accelerated as Latino gangs are drive out black Angelenos.

Just imagine if the Latino gangs were white. We'd hear all about it in the UK, via the BBC and Guardian. LaShawn Barber notes the non-response of the usual suspects.

"As I’ve said time and time again on this blog, raising a ruckus over hispanic-on-black and black-on-black violence is not lucrative to the professional civil rights establishment, not soul-satisfying to blacks who see white racism in every corner, and not sexy enough for jaded liberal journalists to bother covering.

Those fools are too busy fixating on white-on-black violence, or even the mere suggestion of white-on-black violence, as relatively rare as it is. Where are the Jacksons, Sharptons, and so-called black community leaders? "

Accentuate The Negative ...

The BBC mangle history yet again.

The Vatican has beatified 498 Roman Catholics executed during the Spanish Civil War, in the largest ceremony of its kind ever held. Most of the victims - nearly all of whom were clergy - were killed at the outset of the war in 1936, by militias fighting for the Republican government.

So far, so factual

The move has been criticised by some because it recognises victims from only one side of the brutal conflict ... The Roman Catholic Church was closely linked with the right-wing forces of General Francisco Franco, who won the war in 1939 and went on to impose nearly four decades of dictatorship. Many people think that by honouring the victims from only one side of the Civil War, the Roman Catholic Church is dividing Spaniards, says the BBC's Danny Wood in Madrid.

I see. Why don't the Vatican remember the monks and priests shot by the Nationalists, eh ? We're into classic BBC country here, with the use of "many people think" and "criticised by some". Those damn anonymous people !

The 498 victims included two bishops, 24 priests, 462 monks and nuns, three church staff and seven lay people. They were among an estimated 7,000 clergy killed by left-wing Republican forces between 1931 and 1939.

Hold on. 7,000 dead ? Left-wing republican forces were killing clergy from 1931 ? The Civil War started in 1936 ! And the BBC's position is that "the Roman Catholic Church was closely linked with the right-wing forces of General Francisco Franco" ? Given the anti-clericalist culture of the Spanish Left, including a penchant for shooting priests, they didn't really have too much choice in a war, did they ? Not something the BBC wants us to recognise, though.

And note the little box on the right of the graphics version.

"Nationalists also had support of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, while Republicans were backed by Soviet Union." We get to know about the political systems of Germany (Nazi) and Italy (Fascist). Alas, the political system of the Soviet Union will forever be a mystery to BBC readers.

(For those of us brought up on Orwell and Hemingway it's something of a rude awakening to read about the Left's response to the opening of the Civil War - namely the wholesale rounding up and execution without trial of anyone suspected of right-wing views, sympathies or family connections. The historian Stanley Payne described the atrocities as beginning "with the murder of some of the rebels as they attempted to surrender after their revolt had failed in several of the key cities. From there it broadened out to wholesale arrests, and sometimes wholesale executions, of people associated with right-wing groups or the Catholic church. In general, this was not an irrepressible outpouring of hatred by the man in the street for his "oppressors," as it has sometimes been painted, but a semi-organized activity carried out by sections of nearly all the leftist groups ... particularly during the first six months, each Red terror group operated on its own in a frequently irrational fashion, murdering innocent people and letting some of the more dangerous go free. Moreover, one of the main targets of the Red terror was the clergy, most of whom were not engaged in overt opposition.")

Biretta-tip - Martin Kelly.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


When I was writing about Lucknow, I contrasted the slaughter of British (and Indian Christian) women and children by the rebels with the conduct of the British troops.

"... no prisoners were to be made, as we had no one to guard them, and care was to be taken that no women or children were injured. To this the men answered at once, by 'No fear, Sir'. The officers now pledged their honours on their swords to abide by these orders and the men then promised to follow their example."

I tried to think of when British troops last deliberately slaughtered innocent women and children, and could only think of Cromwell's men slaughtering the female camp-followers at Naseby. Even the Bolton Massacre seems to have been of the males of the town. Before that you'd be going back to the Harrying of the North or the St Brice's Day Massacre.

I'd forgotten Badajoz in 1812. The Spanish city was held by French occupation troops - but after taking massive casualties as they scaled the walls, the surviving soldiers found the drink then ran amok in the town for three days before order was restored. Several officers who tried to intervene were shot.

"Men, women and children were shot in the streets for no other apparent reason than pastime; every species of outrage was publicly committed in the houses, churches and streets, and in a manner so brutal that a faithful recital would be too indecent and too shocking for humanity. Not the slightest shadow of order or discipline was maintained; the officers durst not interfere. The infuriated soldiery resembled rather a pack of hell-hounds vomited up from the infernal regions for the extirpation of mankind than what they were twelve short hours previously - a well-organised, brave, disciplined and obedient British army, and burning only with impatience for what is called glory."

Thus the young British subaltern Robert Blakeney.

Captain Harry Smith :

"Now comes a scene of horror I would willingly bury in oblivion. The atrocities committed by our soldiers on the poor innocent and defenceless inhabitants of the city, no words suffice to depict. Civilized man, when let loose and the bonds of morality relaxed, is a far greater beast than the savage, more refined in his cruelty, more fiend-like in every act; and oh, too truly did our heretofore noble soldiers disgrace themselves, though the officers exerted themselves to the utmost to repress it, many who had escaped the enemy being wounded in their merciful attempts!"

And the Spanish citizens of Badajoz were our allies ! You can see why it still rankles.

Buried in an unmarked ditch at the foot of the fortified walls of Badajoz lie the remains of thousands of British soldiers. They died during the Duke of Wellington's campaign, with Spanish and Portuguese help, to drive Napoleon's forces back into France.

But the absence of a memorial marking their sacrifice is no accident. "It does not seem such a good idea to erect a memorial for a horde of devils and savages that raped women and profaned our churches," said one townsman, Juan Maria Cervera. Mr Cervera is part of a group of locals that has mounted fierce opposition to successive petitions to honour the British dead.

It all turned out rather well for Captain Smith, though :

"We observed two ladies coming from the city, who made directly towards us; they seemed both young, and when they came near, the elder of the two threw back her mantilla to address us, showing a remarkably handsome figure, with fine features; but her sallow, sun-burnt, and careworn, though still youthful, countenance showed that in her 'the time for tender thoughts and soft endearments had fled away and gone.'

"She at once addressed us in that confident, heroic manner so characteristic of the high-bred Spanish maiden, told us who they were–the last of an ancient and honourable house–and referred to an officer high in rank in our army, who had been quartered there in the days of her prosperity, for the truth of her tale.

"Her husband, she said, was a Spanish officer in a distant part of the kingdom; he might, or he might not, still be living. But yesterday she and this her young sister were able to live in affluence and in a handsome house; to-day they knew not where to lay their heads, where to get a change of raiment or a morsel of bread. Her house, she said, was a wreck; and, to show the indignities to which they had been subjected, she pointed to where the blood was still trickling down their necks, caused by the wrenching of their ear-rings through the flesh by the hands of worse than savages, who would not take the trouble to unclasp them!

"For herself, she said, she cared not; but for the agitated and almost unconscious maiden by her side, whom she had but lately received over from the hands of her conventual instructresses, she was in despair, and knew not what to do; and that, in the rapine and ruin which was at that moment desolating the city, she saw no security for her but the seemingly indelicate one she had adopted–of coming to the camp and throwing themselves upon the protection of any British officer who would afford it; and so great, she said, was her faith in our national character, that she knew the appeal would not be made in vain, nor the confidence abused. Nor was it made in vain! Nor could it be abused, for she stood by the side of an angel! A being more transcendingly lovely I had never before seen–one more amiable I have never yet known!

"Fourteen summers had not yet passed over her youthful countenance, which was of a delicate freshness–more English than Spanish; her face, though not perhaps rigidly beautiful, was nevertheless so remarkably handsome, and so irresistibly attractive, surmounting a figure cast in nature's fairest mould, that to look at her was to love her; and I did love her, but I never told my love, and in the mean time another and a more impudent fellow stepped in and won her! But yet I was happy, for in him she found such a one as her loveliness and her misfortunes claimed–a man of honour, and a husband in every way worthy of her!"

Just fourteen she might have been, but the "impudent fellow", 22-year old Captain Smith, married her, became General Sir Harry Smith, and Lady Juana Maria de los Delores de Leon Smith gave her name to the South African town, the scene of another famous siege nearly a century later.


Remember the anti-Christian Gay Police advert ?

It stated: "In the last 12 months, the GPA has recorded a 74% increase in homophobic incidents, where the sole or primary motivating factor was the religious belief of the perpetrator."

It was slapped down by the Advertising Standards Authority as breaching their guidelines on decency, truthfulness and substantiation (i.e. the "evidence" mysteriously failed to materialise when the ASA (presumably) asked for it).

You'd think this would be an unsavoury episode the GPA would want to forget all about.

Not so.

Gay Christians have been presented with an award for their work in combating homophobia.

The award was given to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) following their support for a controversial advert which appeared in the Independent newspaper, challenging faith-based homophobia ...

He went on to praise Richard Kirker for the support that he and members of the LGCM had offered the GPA in response to the campaign organised by some Evangelical and Fundamentalist groups who had opposed the contents of the GPA advertisement. Rev Kirker at the time had described the advertisement as “courageous and wholly justifiable in exposing the scourge of religiously motivated homophobia”. He had also made contact with the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police and the Advertising Standards Agency, defending the actions of the GPA. As a result of the response to the GPA advertisement, in February 2007 LGCM hosted the very first national conference on Faith, Homophobia and Human Rights which was supported by 50 other organisations.

In fairness, Ekklesia (the Guardian at prayer) may be putting their own special emphasis on the advert. There are other reasons for the award.

Introducing the award Kevin Boyle a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Gay Police Association (GPA) said that Richard Kirker, chief executive of the LGCM, had first come to his attention in June 2000 when he was involved in a police investigation into homophobic attacks against the Rev Follett, the Vicar of Knightsbridge.

At the time the investigation attracted huge media interest. Kevin stated that whilst many in the church had condemned the victim because of his sexual orientation, Richard Kirker had gone on record to urge the Bishop of London not to tolerate the homophobic witch-hunt. Richard Kirker had also supported the police investigation and had supported the Rev Follett throughout the protracted enquiry.

I know nowt about l'affaire Follett, but a quick Google gave me this BBC report.

Father Neil Follett, vicar of St Paul's, Knightsbridge, is in hiding on police advice after finding himself the victim of a hate campaign.

Police are investigating allegations of blackmail and intimidation after Fr Follett told the parochial church council he was gay.

Blackmail and intimidation, eh ? In hiding on police advice ? The Register had more.

The Reverend Neil Follett, 50, struck up a friendship with a German academic over the Internet. This resulted in the German visiting him at his Victorian vicarage in London's exclusive Knightsbridge district. But the relationship soured, according to today's Times newspaper, after the two bickered over an alleged credit-card bill. The academic decided to play his trump card, and threatened to reveal the Rev's sexuality secret to the tabloids.

Follet, who has three kids and is separated from his wife, revealed details of the blackmail to churchwardens and members of the parochial church council and told them he was gay, before doing a bunk on police advice. The scandal came just days after churchwarden Captain Ian Powe - who commanded HMS Yarmouth during the 'Cod War' - was arrested for alleged anti-gay harassment against Follet. Captain Powe, who has denied any wrongdoing, is out on bail.

Captain Powe was at the time 67 years old, chair of the Standards Committee of his local council and chair of the British Gas Consumers council. Also arrested was Maggie Quaile, a 63 year old member of the congregation.

The human heart is a difficult thing to fathom. But do these sound like the kind of people who'd put you in fear of your life ? The police obviously thought so.

As so often, it was difficult to find out what became of the police investigation. This hard to read text feed was the only information I could find.

The Metropolitan police could face a £30,000 legal bill over the "distressing" treatment of two church wardens by a gay officer investigating threats against a gay vicar. Captain Ian Powe,67, and Maggie Quaile,63, of St Paul's parish in Knightsbridge have received an apology from the police. Powe and Quaile were arrested by Detective Sergean Paul Cahill, who has since been promoted to inspector, in June last year when the vicar, the Rev Neill Follett, claimed he was being blackmailed by his former gay lover. After a "vindictive and homophobic" fax was received by one of Rev Follett's friends, Powe and Quaile were arrested and held at Belgravia police station for six hours. They were released without charge. The case has never been resolved. DS Cahill is chairman of the Lesbian and Gay Police Association. His decision, however, to arrest the church wardens who were happy to help with police enquiries, is now in question. A letter from Detective Chief Superintendent Shaun Swyer, Commander of Professional Standards Internal Investigations to Capt Powe reads: 'It is my view that your arrest was disproportionate and heavy-handed. I wish to apologise for your distress'. Capt Power is now attempting to recoup his £30,000 legal bill. Cahill told the Mail on Sunday that he "treated this investigation with no bias". Rev Neill Follett has since retired.

Captain Powe wasn't too chuffed by his arrest.

"I used to have an expression that worse things happen at sea," Powe said earlier this week. "I'm not using it any more." At St Paul's, Powe is seen as the second victim in the case. "I don't think he'll be saying much at the moment," said one parish insider. "Not after what he has been through."

This unfortunate episode may have upset the good Captain, but it hasn't done DS Cahill any harm. He was promoted to Inspector and made MBE in 2003.

There's a danger that relationship between the LGCM and the police may come to be seen as appearing to consist of the LGCM encouraging police harrassment of the "wrong sort" of Christians - then applauding it whan it occurs. Here's another snippet of Mr Kirker's gracious acceptance speech.

He went on to say that it was in this context that the work that Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Mike Cunningham of Lancashire Police was doing on behalf of ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) was so important. He said that, “Your recommendation that religious views should be expressed “in an appropriate fashion” and “does not confer a right to express those beliefs … in a manner that amounts to discrimination against others” will, I hope help bring to an end the acceptability of religiously expressed homophobia across the whole police service.

Ah yes - Lancashire Police.

A Christian couple from Lancashire have been awarded £10,000 in an out-of-court settlement after they were questioned by police about their moral beliefs. Helen and Joe Roberts, from Fleetwood, complained about taxpayers' money being used for leaflets about gay rights and called homosexuality "immoral".

Wyre Borough Council informed Lancashire Constabulary. Officers then quizzed the couple for over an hour. The council and police said they had now apologised to the Roberts. They also said policies had been revised to protect all parties.

(We all pay for the GPA through our taxes, as we pay for similar organisations representing black and female officers. Alas, representatives of the Straight Police Association could not be contacted.)

UPDATE - Me no understand. The disgusting murder of David Morley got the full "homophobia" treatment, including Rasputin blaming Christians. Fortunately the murderers turned out not to be "homophobes", just a bunch of young Londoners out for a good evening.
Yet there's been nothing about the murder of Anthony Hoare.