Saturday, January 19, 2008

St Wulfstan Millennium

We don't know his exact birth date, but the feast of St Wulfstan (aka Wulstan) is celebrated on the 19th January, the anniversary of his death in 1095. Born 1008 - 1,000 years ago this year. Some anecdotes here.

"Happy," he said, "is the man who grows sick of the attractions of the world: pleasure of them passes in a moment of time: the tooth of conscience gnaws as long as a man lives."

Of course that presupposes the existence of a conscience - as we see from the preceding posts, that is not always to be relied upon.

The source of the above is William of Malmesbury's biography - available now in reprint from the Llanerch Press - purveyors of ancient texts. I see they're reprinting the adventures of Twm Shon Catti - a likely lad of ancient days whose legends George Borrow noted in "Wild Wales".

Wulfstan was also an early anti-slavery campaigner at a time (post-Conquest) where poor, starving or disposessed Saxons were being shipped from Bristol to the Viking cities of Ireland as slaves.

Underclass News - South London

Comment is superfluous on this one :

On Tuesday the Old Bailey heard that Mr Edwards had been due to attend Camberwell Magistrates' Court on January 19, 2007. Instead he spent the day with his girlfriend, shoplifting and selling stolen goods to buy crack cocaine before robbing another dealer that night and buying drugs. At 6.30am the next day he and two friends went to buy drugs from Anthony Lafayette at his girlfriend's flat in Poulet House on the St Martin's Estate, Tulse Hill, but jurors heard the defendant was angry at being woken so early.

Mr Kyte said: "An argument broke out between the two men and during the course of that argument the defendant armed himself with a pretty big kitchen knife and stabbed Michael Edwards in the neck."

And I mentioned a while back (inter alia) the murder of Anthony Hoare.

His killer, Leslie Kingshott, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Kingshott, 43, of Maskells Court, Victoria Way, has a criminal history spanning 27 years including offenses of racial abuse.

An all-round bad hat then, who'll richly deserve his long sentence.

He was jailed for two-and-a-half years after admitting manslaughter, but Common Serjeant of London Brian Barker QC said he would serve only half his sentence.

Because he has already served four months on remand he will be free in 11 months. From the gallery, Mr Hoare's partner Rob Bowen, 45, shouted: "That's so wrong, that's so wrong. How can you sleep at night? That's not justice."

Mr Bowen is correct. Anthony Hoare was killed for asking Mr Kingshott to keep his dogs under control in the pub.

How about this one :

Dean Forde, 22, had been arguing with Paul Doohan before he repeatedly attacked him at the former Wimbledon House School in Dorset Road, the Old Bailey heard. His girlfriend Suzanne Jimenez, 33, joined in the attack on November 20, 2006 and kicked Mr Doohan in the head, it is claimed. Forde stripped Mr Doohan's body and wrote the words "mug", "remember" and "you c***" on his chest and arm, said prosecutor Carey Ann Johnston QC. After the murder, Jimenez tried to cover for her boyfriend by claiming he had been with her at her flat in Durham Road, Raynes Park, at the time of the killing.

It's this bit that gets me :

The court heard the two defendants and the victim were part of a group of drinkers who lived "alternative lifestyles" and were well known in the area around Wimbledon railway station.

Attempt on World Irony Record ...

While the attempted suicide bomb attack on Hamas probably leads the field, this statement by Chief Superintendent Sharon Rowe, the Met's Lambeth Borough commander is a pretty impressive candidate.

Background - a man's been stabbed to death in Brixton.

Chief Superintendent Sharon Rowe, Lambeth Borough commander, stressed the murder was an isolated incident.

Carty II

I wrote last year about the suicide of Thomas Carty, on remand charged with the murder of Helen Chung, and noted that the (unusual) name seemed to turn up in the criminal courts a fair bit.

A fair few commenters turned up and said quite forcefully that Tom Carty, while a rogue, would never have done such a foul deed, and that the real killers were still free. (It does appear however that after the murder of Mrs Chung, Carty was involved in the subsequent assault on the home of Bernard Dwyer and his family. His thirteen-year old daughter had a knife held to her throat. It looks as if it was a 'same night' operation. Make of that what you will.)

Mr Denison said Ms Chung, just 4ft 10in tall and weighing only seven stone, appeared to be an “easy target”. The gang lay in wait for her as she came back from work to her home, where she kept her life savings, just before midnight on November 5, and then ransacked her house looking for the cash, it was said. Mr Denison said: “They beat her about the head with extreme violence so that she shed a lot of blood around her house. They did that to try to force her to tell them where her money was but she wouldn’t and she didn’t.” All the men could find, he said, was a diamond-platinum wedding ring, belonging to her son, that she kept in her bedroom drawer, and a mobile phone, both of which they took along with her VW Golf.

Mr Denison said: “For standing up to these thugs in her home, all 4ft 10in of her, she paid with her life. She was beaten to death with a level of savagery which is hard to imagine.” He added: “They committed acts of the most terrifying and brutal violence in order to force their victims to hand over their hard-earned money. They intended and expected to take a lot of money and they were prepared to do whatever was necessary and use any level of violence necessary to get the cash that they were after,” he said. “But the victims they chose were remarkably courageous people. They were not prepared to give in to these men.”

Dean Atkins, 26, and Michael Atkins, 25, both of Uxbridge, West London, deny murder, two counts of aggravated burglary, wounding Mr Dwyer with intent and possession of an imitation handgun. Mr Carty, 21, committed suicide in February last year while awaiting trial.

Certainly the Atkins family don't seem to be getting a good press.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Jacqui Smith, David Miliband

It's amazing what brilliant religious scholars our leaders are. A few years back Tony Blair was bemoaning the fact that Al Quaeda and the tube bombers didn't really have an understanding of true Islam, now Jacqui Smith.

As so many Muslims in the UK and across the world have pointed out there is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorise, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief. Indeed, if anything, these actions are 'anti Islamic'."

If only she had as deep a knowledge of subjects with which she could properly claim a less amateur acquaintance.

I'm not sure what to make of the harassment of British Council apparatchik Stephen Kinnock for refusing to take a breath test, claiming diplomatic immunity, and the ongoing campaign against British Council staff.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, described Russia’s behaviour as reprehensible.

He told how the Russian security services had summoned 20 local members of the council staff and asked them about a range of matters, including the health of family pets.

“The whole House will share the Government’s anger and dismay at the actions of the Russian Government. We saw similar actions during the Cold War but thought they had been put behind us,” he said. He added that the staff had been subject to “blatant intimidation” and said Russia’s action raised “serious questions about her observance of international law”.

The long-term cost to Russia was its “standing in the world as a responsible international player”.

While the decline of Britain over the last sixty years is a tragedy, it has its small compensations - Mr Miliband's current role being one of them. Call me naive, but I imagine Mr Putin is concerned about his standing in the world militarily, about his intimately entwined foreign and energy policy, about the tragic demography of his people. I doubt he worries about being thought of as 'a responsible international player'. If he thought about it, he might ask "How many divisions has David Miliband ?"

Can't make up my mind about the British Council. In one sense it seems to be a standard leftwing arts organisation, encouraging British interests abroad by touring photographic exhibitions about the oppression of British Muslims or the glories of the Republican struggle in Andersonstown. On the other hand it seems to be generally assumed that its operatives are spies. Certainly it's good cover - no one could possible suggest the average toiler in the arts to be remotely patriotic.

So the harrasment of Lord Kinnock's son is a problem. Have the Russians got it all base over apex ? Or is it possible that a member of the Kinnock family is actually working for the interests of the UK ?

This seems so unlikely that a third hypothesis is necessary. Putin needs to keep patriotic fervour high - but he's had/got enough wars to be going on with. Perhaps the thing to do is to pick a fight with a big-name hitter who's seen better days and is now pretty much incapable of doing anything but blather and bluster.

Britain - and Mr Miliband - seem to fit the bill pretty well.

UPDATE - Britain's decision to change UK law to allow a Russian art exhibition to go ahead probably confirmed the Russian view of Britannia as a toothless old lush.

LONDON (AFP) — Britain on Sunday said it had passed an order to prevent the seizure of paintings from Russia due in London for an exhibition by people claiming they were looted from their families in the 1917 revolution.

Culture Secretary James Purnell said the order would come into effect Monday and stop exhibits in the Royal Academy's "From Russia" show being claimed by people who say the works belonged to their families.

You couldn't imagine a law change designed to stop Jewish families retrieving stuff pinched by the Nazis - yet Russian families can whistle for their Gauguins. We should have told them to stuff their daubs where the sun don't shine - behind one of those big folds of cloud beloved of JMW Turner.

It's not quite the legalities that bother me - if we took this principle back a bit we'd pretty much have to empty our museums while the French handed back all the stuff Napoleon nicked - it's the fact that we're doing it to placate the Russians.

Who respond with another couple of kicks. This foreign policy strategy - alternate grovelling and whingeing - hasn't worked yet as a behaviour modifier in any mode of human existence.

But it does have one great advantage - Britain in 2008 is ideally equipped to carry it out.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wroughton - Trial Latest


A Ridgeway schoolboy has told how terrified children and parents witnessed the savage attack on Henry Webster. The youngster gave evidence via video link at Bristol Crown Court after the footage of his first statement a year ago was played to the jury. The court heard how screams filled the Wroughton school's tennis courts as 15-year-old Henry was repeatedly struck with a hammer.

The witness - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - said: "The younger children were in shock and were crying, "I heard a woman - who was by a car - screaming."

Henry was attacked with a claw hammer on the tennis courts of Ridgeway School, Wroughton, on January 11 last year. During the assault he was also punched and kicked as he lay on the ground bleeding. A large number of pupils and parents are believed to have witnessed the incident, which took place as students made their way home at about 4pm. The jury in the trial of Wasif Khan, 18, Amjad Qazi, and two boys aged 15 and 16, heard that the Year 10 pupil had just left a PE lesson a few minutes early and was waiting for a friend in the tennis courts when he saw a gang acting suspiciously.

He said: "There were three Asians patrolling outside school. I say patrolling, they were walking up and down Inverary Road with their hoods up looking into the tennis courts."

The teenager then said that one of the unnamed defendants approached the gang and pointed out Henry by shouting It's the ginger one'.

He said: "It was crystal clear."

He added: "The Asians walked up to Henry and punched him to the ground. The little guy held him back and then one got a hammer out. They must have hit him seven or eight times on the head or shoulders. He (Henry) fell to the floor again, tried to get up but fell over, then they ran out up Inverary Road."

The witness said he didn't return to school the next day because he was worried for his safety. He said: "I was in shock"

The trial continues.


The sound of a hammer smashing into Henry Webster's head still haunts a teenager who saw the attack, a court heard. The year 10 Ridgeway pupil, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the jury at Bristol Crown Court: "You could actually hear his skull crack and see the blood go everywhere when he fell on the floor."

Wasif Khan, 18, of Caversham Close, Amjad Qazi, 19, of Broad Street, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have all denied wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

"It went to the bottom of your stomach, like just before you are sick," the teenage witness told the seventh day of the trial.

"A few days later all I could see was that hammer going over and over again. While I was close to it I could hear it. People near me could hear it. I heard his skull crack quite clearly from about 10 metres away. Blood was all coming down his face and on his hands where he was trying to stop the bleeding."

The pupil said he saw three Asian men enter the tennis courts at Ridgeway School, Wroughton. He said one of the men was hunting around the dashboard of a red car before he entered the tennis court and repeatedly beat Henry in the back of the head with a silvery hammer with a black or blue handle.

"The one with the hammer was hitting Henry in the head with it," said the witness "Then he turned the hammer around and used the claw end. He brought the hammer down with the full force of his arm and shoulder."

The teenager said three Asian Ridgeway pupils, including the 15-year-old defendant, then kicked and punched Henry as he lay on the ground.

"While they were punching him the facial expressions of the kids doing it looked like they really wanted to hurt him. They kept punching and punching, over and over. While Henry was trying to block his face, they kept trying to stop him covering his face."

The trial continues

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Have A Vision Of The Future, Chum Part 283

One of my hobbyhorses is that as the native Brits age, and more and more of the young people are non-natives, so you'll get at best a cultural divide between the elderly inhabitants of a hospital or care home (the kind of cultural divide which so distresses our rulers in relation to the police) and those employed to care for or nurse them, at worst the kind of stuff I picked up here, here and here.

This from Tom Reynolds :

The staff don't say anything, but I get the distinct impression that they have been getting tired of this patient being awake while they are at work. If all your patients are sleeping then the night shift has little to do. If this patient has been awake, then they actually have to talk to him. In a lot of the nursing homes that I've been to the nursing staff don't like talking to the patients.

In a fair few nursing homes that I've been to the staff and the patients rarely share a language, and so everyone just 'gives up'.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bear With Me ....

As previously noted, I'm rather fond of this song, to the extent that I once stood on a bar table ('twas late in the evening) and sang it to a bemused/sympathetic audience of expats who "had drink taken".

The late Hank Thompson. Played his last concert aged 82, less than a month before his death.

The flip, Hank's brilliant 'The Wild Side of Life' isn't available in a studio version on Youtube, but Kitty Wells' 1951 riposte to that sorry tale of female frailty, "It wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" is.

As I sit here tonight the jukebox playing
The tune about the wild side of life
As I listen to the words you are saying
It brings memories when I was a trustful wife.

It wasn't God who made honky tonk angels
As you wrote in the words of the song
Too many times married men think they're still single
That has caused many a good girl to go wrong.

It's a shame that all the blame is on us women
It's not true that only you men feel the same
From the start most every heart that's ever broken
Was because there always was a man to blame.

Well, if you're still here you may as well hear a master at work. It's a fairly recent live recording, the voice, while still impressive, isn't quite what it was, but the presence ... Merle Haggard's "I'm A Lonesome Fugitive".

I'd like to settle down but they won't let me
A fugitive must be a rolling stone
Down every road there's always one more city
I'm on the run, the highway is my home

Sorry about the delay ...

Busy, busy, busy. Just too tired to blog when I finally get some time - around 11pm most nights.

I've been planning a post about the 2001 Bradford riots, and just how close we came to a mass race murder of the sort unknown in England (to my knowledge - please correct me if I'm wrong), though not in the subcontinent, since perhaps York in 1190 or St Brice's Day 1002.

In researching it I came across the work of a Bradford Uni academic, one Marie Macey. She's a remarkably brave woman, writing about Muslim males in a town like Bradford. What happened to Ray Honeyford ?

Some of her stuff is available on Google books.

Take a look at her chapter in Islam, Crime and Criminal Justice and at what's available of her chapter in 'Islamic Political Radicalism - A European Perspective'.

Best read in conjuction with my posts on Bradford race relations, the Lidget Green riots and the cleansing of Lumb Lane. Interesting stuff.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

The Dumb One on Gordon's new involuntary organ "donation" (harvesting ?) tax.

"Hey, where are all those femiloons chanting 'my body, my choice' when we need them ?"

I'm very busy at present - so take a look at :

Ross also being too busy.

This Peter Hitchens piece from a couple of weeks ago on Islam and 'no-go' areas. I pretty much agree with the whole thing. Here's his conclusion :

One of the great puzzles of modern Britain is the political left's attitude to Islam.

Why should an atheist, sexual liberationist, morally relaxed liberal attack people such as me (as they do) for criticising Islam? They have nothing in common.

It is in fact quite simple.

The left will deal with any ally against conservative Britain. It thinks it can use Islam to further its ends, just as in the past it has allied itself with any anti-conservative, anti-patriotic cause that was going. But the alliance lasts only long enough to allow the Left to destroy what it doesn't like.

The trouble is, Islam is more serious and determined than any of the other people whom the left have sought to use for such purposes.

And so, while intending to dethrone Christianity and make this a secular society, the left now risks helping make this an Islamic society, which - if it comes to pass - will be profoundly hostile to everything the left wants.

These are the fruits of cynicism.

As the bishop notes, and as hospital chaplaincies so clearly show, the disestablishment of Christianity has not led to the opening of Richard Dawkins reading rooms in our hospitals, but in the increasing creation of multi-faith rooms which have an increasingly Islamic character, thanks to the fervour and devotion of Muslims, and the fading faith of the Christian churches.

Likewise the removal of Christianity from the state schools may well end in the existence if an increasing number of state schools which are in effect Islamic, while the official national religion, Christianity, goes neglected and untaught.

A Christian country would have kept the chapels, and allowed and encouraged the opening of separate rooms for other faiths.

I haven't room or time here for an argument about the respective merits of Christianity and Islam, though it would be interesting to have one.

But I finish with this point.

There is no doubt that the laws, institutions, customs, language, marital arrangements, relaxations, family structure, even the diet of this country are the result of centuries of Christianity.

If it became a Muslim country, all these things would change, some beyond recognition.

If we want that to happen, and deliberately choose it, then all well and good.

Islam, as I stated earlier, has many admirable characteristics and would surely be better than total Godlessness, but how foolish to let it happen by mistake, and then regret it when it was too late.

The militant 'war on terror' sorts who inveigh against Islam still seem to think that the Maxim gun, or the CIA, or MI5, or airstrikes on Afghanistan, or invasions of Iraq and Iran, will defeat this powerful ideology
(see this post - LT).

The anti-British left seem to think, by contrast, that Islam is a pet pussycat which they can toy with, set on their enemies for while, and lay aside.

Both are wrong.

If you prefer our sort of society to an Islamic one, then you have to recognise that the good things about our society come from Christianity - and the more we throw those good things aside and the more we dismantle Christianity in our state, our schools, our culture in general, the weaker our society will become and the more likely it will be to embrace Islam - which suffers from no doubts about its rightness and is not in the least bit afraid of Professor Dawkins.

I'd go a little further and posit that in the long term secular liberalism is incapable of standing up to Islamisation, simply because the levels of commitment are so much lower. As Dawkins and co prowl the pantomime stage, stalking the Christian enemy, we should all be shouting "behind you !".