Saturday, September 26, 2009

Senior Police Officer = Senior Social Worker

No matter what happens at street level, where the decisions get taken the sociology grads are totally in control :

Police try to avoid sending anti-social youths to prison because it increases the chances of them reoffending, an inquest into the deaths of a mother and her disabled daughter heard today.

Superintendent Steve Harrod, head of criminal justice at Leicestershire Police, was giving evidence at the hearing into the suicide of Fiona Pilkington, 38, who killed herself and and her disabled daughter two years ago. Ms Pilkington, 38, died after setting fire to her car while she and her daughter Francecca Hardwick, 18, were inside. An 11-year bullying campaign by local youths had made their lives intolerable. Months before, Ms Pilkington had written in her diary that she had given up trying to call the police for help, because they thought she was “overreacting”.

Earlier this week it emerged that Ms Pilkington had called police 33 times to complain about the abuse but none of the gang members, including the main problem family about whom police were informed, were prosecuted.

Mr Harrod was then asked by a juror: “If a youth above the age of criminal responsibility commits a crime, why is the criminalising of juveniles a consideration? If they commit a crime do they not bring the criminalisation upon themselves?”

He replied: “From a police point of view, what we want to do with any criminals is to prevent reoffending. From my personal experience, if a juvenile goes in to detention, they are likely to mix with like-minded people during their time there and they are more likely to reoffend. I think for new police officers this is all part of their training and for older officers there is a transition. But once you recognise that if you go to charge, and then the offenders come out of prison, you see them in the cells again and again.”

The badly burnt bodies of Ms Pilkington and her daughter, known as Frankie to her family, were discovered in October 2007 in the family’s blue Austin Maestro at the side of the A47 near their home. For more than a decade the family had been subjected to daily torment from local youths – some as young as 10 – who routinely shouted abuse and hurled objects at their house. At one point Ms Pilkington’s son Anthony, now 19, was threatened with an iron bar and locked in a shed at knifepoint. Earlier, the inquest was told social services were aware Ms Pilkington had been experiencing “suicidal thoughts”.

I blogged this case two years ago, and the reality turns out to be just as heartbreaking as I thought. Frances Crook and the Prison Reform Trust - and the BBC, of course - are doing a cracking job.

UPDATE - more from the spectacularly useless Steve Harrod :

At the inquest into the pair's deaths yesterday, Superintendent Steve Harrod, head of criminal justice at Leicestershire Police, acknowledged that the criminal justice system was set up to avoid sending juveniles to prison. He said police officers were only allowed to issue warnings to young troublemakers unless their behaviour was judged to be serious.

"I'm not sure if people know but low-level anti-social behaviour is mainly the responsibility of the council"

UPDATE - more torture in the community. If this had happened sixty years ago it would have been front page news. That's two rape/torture convictions in Greater London in the last three weeks that the BBC have failed to report. Is a pattern developing ?

The boys, two aged 17 and the other 16, approached the 14 year old victim and took her to a flat in Bromley on October 24 last year. While there the girl was raped and her hair was set on fire. An investigation was launched by Lewisham police and officers obtained mobile telephone footage of the suspects tormenting the victim with a cigarette lighter. Detective Constable Darren Sonnar said: “This was a particularly harrowing case".

Friday, September 25, 2009

I don't have a clue ...

Who Gerald Warner is. But I like the cut of his jib :

The most loathsome government in Europe, outside of Downing Street, is in deep doo-doo and it is a joy to behold. The ludicrous regime in Spain of José Luis Zapatero has driven the country into bankruptcy. From its inception, as a consequence of a knee-jerk, eve-of-poll hissy fit by the electorate after its conservative predecessor stupidly blamed the Atocha station bombing in Madrid on ETA instead of al-Qaeda, the Zapatero government has been little more than a Spanish Civil War re-enactment society.
Why don't you stop pussy-footing and tell us what you really think ?

Persecuting the Church, trying to force doctors to commit abortion against their consciences, pulling down statues of General Franco and renaming streets in honour of Red murderers... no student union extravagance of gesture politics has been neglected...

If precedent is followed, Zapatero will soon issue the unemployed with government petrol to burn down churches. Of course, the really fun bit – if the historical parallel is fully adhered to – would be the emergence of another Franco and his dismantling of the whole shambles.
Hmm. Unlikely in a nation where they seem to have dropped off somewhere in the early 90s. Churchill wrote of Barcelona's cafes in 1935 as full of "eager-facd, black-coated young men purring together with glistening eyes about Spanish politics". Alas, young men are just what the current Spanish state is short of.

Allahu Achtung Bar

I saw this story reported somewhere late last night and assumed it was a joke. Apparently not.

Investigators have discovered a "Jihadi village" of white German al-Qaeda insurgents, including Muslim converts, in Pakistan's tribal areas close to the Afghan border. The village, in Taliban-controlled Waziristan, is run by the notorious al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which plots raids on Nato forces in Afghanistan.

A recruitment video presents life in the village as a desirable lifestyle choice with schools, hospitals, pharmacies and day care centres, all at a safe distance from the front. In the video, the presenter, "Abu Adam", the public face of the group in Germany, points his finger and asks: "Doesn't it appeal to you? We warmly invite you to join us!"

According to German foreign ministry officials a growing number of German families, many of North African descent, have taken up the offer and travelled to Waziristan where supporters say converts make up some of the insurgents' most dedicated fighters.
And they picked up a few more on their way there :

Pakistan has jailed six Germans, including a four-year-old girl, on suspicion of trying to join an extremist group, after arresting them on the Iranian border in May, according to the weekly Der Spiegel. They reportedly include the brother-in-law of Munir Shuka, spokesman for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a militant group with ties to Al-Qaeda that is often cited as a top security concern by governments in ex-Soviet Central Asia. Also held are a German converted to Islam and his wife of Eritrean origin along with their four-year-old daughter, according to Der Spiegel in a report to appear Monday. The six were said to have claimed to be Turkish and to have lost their papers, and it was not until August, when Pakistani intelligence took over the case, that their identity was revealed.
I'm sure we're all relieved that the four year old is no longer a danger.

Oh, and a few Swedes :

According to Sveriges Television (SVT), it was Ghezali, along with two other Swedes and several other foreigners, who was arrested by police in Pakistan on suspicions the group had ties with the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. “We confiscated a laptop and $10,000 they had with them,” said a spokesperson for the Pakistani military, according to the Expressen newspaper. The arrests took place at a checkpoint in Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab province, when the group was reportedly on its way to southern Waziristan.

I must say I'd never heard of Bekkay Harrach, aka Abu Talha al-Almani (the German), but he's apparently the hot new kid on the Al Quaeda block - and he's bringing a whole new style to the tired old jihadist video - you know, the formulaic flag, readings by black-clad chaps, beheadings stuff that is so 2004.

The latest video by Harrach is most striking because its themes and packaging are targeted almost exclusively for a Western audience. Speaking softly in fluent German, without the usual militant or religious props featured in past al Qaeda messages, he stares directly into the camera and only occasionally looks down to turn over the pages of his speech. He never wags his finger or raises his voice. The video carries no subtitling in Arabic.

He's got a neat line in dry humour, too :

"He reminded viewers of the attacks in Madrid and London and, addressing the German chancellor, asked "Lady Merkel, what is the logical outcome earned by British Conservatives and the Spaniards for their support for the Iraq war? Why is Germany involved in the war on Afghanistan? The Afghan people did nothing to the German people and the Mujahideen have not done anything to the German people... God commands us in the Qur'an - Al-Anfal, verse sixty - that we must do what we can to force our enemy to surrender," he stated. "But if the enemy can find a peaceful solution... the Holy Qur'an commands us to forgive." According to his statement, Germany's only option to avoid an attack is to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.

If Germany does so, he said, al Qaeda will withdraw from Germany. "This is a promise from al Qaeda. This is the tolerant Islam that the West knows well and praises so much."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cognitive Dissonance Alert ...

Lynne Featherhead MP at the Lib Dem Conference :

And there has been so much damage done to the image of Muslims with the reporting of news from overseas and here, where so-called Islamic terrorists often feature - but when those fighting the terrorists, or the victims of terrorism, are also Muslim - this often goes unmentioned.

The drip-drip effect of linking the word 'Muslim' and the word 'terrorism' - but not linking "victim" and "Muslim" in the same way - is pernicious.

And at the same time we have seen a rising tide of attacks on Jewish people too.

Er ... do you want to tell her, or shall I ?

CST recorded 609 antisemitic incidents (pdf link) in the first six months of 2009. This is more than the 5441 incidents recorded by CST during the whole of 2008. CST has never before recorded more than 600 antisemitic incidents in a calendar year. The previous annual high was 598 antisemitic incidents recorded in 2006. The 609 antisemitic incidents reported to CST in the first half of 2009 is more than double the 276 antisemitic incidents reported to CST in the first six months of 2008. The main reason for this record number of incidents was the unprecedented number of antisemitic incidents recorded in January and February, during and after the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The number of incidents recorded did not return to normal pre-Gaza levels until April, some three months after the fighting in Gaza ended.

CST recorded 286 antisemitic incidents in January 2009, by far the highest number
ever recorded in a single month since CST began recording antisemitic incidents in 1984. In January 2008 CST recorded 43 antisemitic incidents. The previous high recorded by CST in a calendar month was 105 in October 2000, the month that the second Palestinian Intifada began.

Must be all those hideous right-wingers, what ? To be fair to Ms Featherstone, I imagine she knows perfectly well where the anti-semitic attacks are coming from. Just another one of those truths that dare not speak its name.

More contradiction :

And then there's religion. In recent years, sadly the spectre of religious discrimination has arisen again. A party born of revulsion at the treatment of Catholics and Non-conformists stands four square behind all those who seek to practice their faith.
Well, yes. As long as they don't practice it too seriously, that is.

Not that long ago it was against the law to be openly gay. Now it is against the law to refuse to register a civil partnership.

And registrars like Lilian Ladele are sacked for practicing their faith and refusing to register civil partnerships - a decision thoroughly approved of by Lynne Featherstone, standing four-square behind Ms Ladele's practice of her faith - with a P45 in one hand and a pitchfork in the other.

"There is no hierarchy between strands of equality"
But you've just proved that there is. Gay trumps Christian - even black Christian. Time to give the old Victimhood Poker pack a shuffle and tweak some of the values for British cultural sensibilities.

To be fair, she's no more full of hot air than her leader. I was on a running machine for pretty much the whole of Clegg's speech. It was a great speech to run to. Normally time crawls by on a running machine - you feel you need to get the miles or calories in, but it seems to take forever to get there. Not so yesterday - the time flew by. Never have so many platitudes been rolled out per unforgiving minute.

"We offer discipline for a purpose. Not just austerity, but progressive austerity"

Even Tony Blair, whose spirit seemed to be have been hovering somewhere in the background when the speech was written, would have had a job delivering that with a straight face.

"I want to say something to teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers, social workers, in fact to everyone who works in our public services. Britain depends on people like you and the services you provide"

Yes, but we depend even more on there being a few people selling things that other people want to buy - and being taxed to pay for the public services. As sterling loses its value our exports should rise - but are we still making anything ?

The whole thing was motherhood and apple pie and could (in the main) have come from any one of the three main party leaders. Pretty much all the sticky issues (where's our energy going to come from ? A 'zero-carbon future', apparently) were glossed over and some of the biggest (like immigration) didn't get a mention at all. The stuff about public sector pensions ('Let me reassure you: my particular focus will always be on the gold-plated pensions enjoyed by senior civil servants, quangocrats ...') was downright dishonest - as if there are enough MPs and senior civil servants to take the whole funding hit which will almost certainly be necessary.

Some ideas were OK. I'd go further than a £10,000 zero-tax band and say that the threshold should be set at the annual salary of someone doing a 40-hour working week for the minimum wage. But some of their other ideas ("abolish safe seats") sounded pretty odd. And if the speech had a theme, it was 'we're nice guys. Trust us' - which Blair and Cameron have already trademarked.

There was one bit in Ms Featherstone's speech which resonated.

The battle lines are drawn at our childrens' feet.

In pessimistic moments I fear that may be all too literally true.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"a vacuum wrapped in a nullity inside an abyss"

I've tended to think of Putin's Russia as a gangster state, but one where the gangsters know where to draw the line - that line being Russian national interest - or at least said interest as perceived by Vladimir Putin. Others, like Mark Steyn, consider the place to be the basket case of basket-cases - "Russia is the sick man of Europe, and would still look pretty sick if you moved him to Africa.".

This (via the excellent FT Alphaville blog) certainly seems to lend weight to the Steyn view ("Russia is facing simultaneously a massive ongoing drain of wealth out of the system") - the travails of one William Browder, a few years ago the largest single foreign investor in Russia via his still-extant (but now London-based) Hermitage Fund.

“Certain Russian officials and private citizens entered into a conspiracy to reregister to themselves three investment companies owned by the Hermitage Fund,” the filing says, with the goal to “apply for and receive fraudulent tax refunds of over $230 million from the Russian Treasury, and finally, to funnel these proceeds through bank accounts in Russia and the United States.”

The filing outlines a familiar story of brazen corruption in Russia. Even Russia’s president speaks often on the topic. Last Sunday, for instance, Mr. Medvedev told a television interviewer that foreigners perceive corruption in Russia to be “without limits.”
What's impressive is that the crooks didn't rob Hermitage (although they were driven out of Russia), but stole tax that Hermitage had already paid to the Russian Treasury. Ripping off unwary foreign investors is a tradition in many countries (I used to bank with the biggest bank in the world - then it bought an aptly named American bank called Crocker) - but in Russia, state functionaries and private capitalists combine to rip off the state. Here's Crowder's open letter :

Simply put, Russia is not a “state” as we understand it. Government institutions have been taken over as conduits for private interests, some of them criminal. Property rights no longer exist, people who are supposed to enforce the law are breaking it, innocent people are victimised and courts have turned into political tools.

Rather than a normally functioning bureaucracy, Russia’s clans fight over control of government positions and the power to use state resources to expropriate assets...

First, the Russian police raided our offices and took all our corporate documents. These were used fraudulently to re-register our investment holding companies into the names of convicted felons. The same documents were used to fabricate backdated contracts the criminals then “enforced” in Russian courts, which obligingly awarded them $974m in fake damages – helped by a guilty plea from lawyers falsely claiming to represent us. The criminals used these fake losses to claim a fraudulent refund of $230m of taxes we had paid in 2006, which was paid out to them in just two days. This despite us reporting the unfolding fraud to Russia’s top law enforcement officials 21 days before the tax money was stolen.

Foreign investors get ripped off all the time in many countries. What makes this story unique is the state officials working together to steal $230m from the Russian state itself. The sharks have started to feed on their own blood.

What makes it even more worrying is that the Russian government took no action to recover the money when we reported the crime. Rather than going after the rogue officials and criminals, the government turned the full weight of the law enforcement apparatus against us for reporting it. They arrested our lawyer, Sergey Magnitsky, who uncovered the tax rebate fraud. He has since been kept in pre-trial detention on cases I believe were fabricated. Six other lawyers who filed criminal complaints or helped discover the fraud were harassed and fled Russia for safety.

Steyn :

What would you do if you were Putin? What have you got to keep your rotting corpse of a country as some kind of player? You’ve got nuclear know-how — which a lot of ayatollahs and dictators are interested in ... That’s the danger for America — that most of what Russia has to trade is likely to be damaging to US interests.

Crowder :

Some may argue the rule of law in Russia should not concern outsiders, but if corrupt officials can steal such a large amount of money from the state with no questions asked, it is not a very big leap for a similar group of corrupt officials to sell some loose Russian military hardware to terrorists, or even help rogue states to acquire nuclear technology. Moreover, when government officials act not in the interest of the state but for themselves, the normal tools of diplomacy simply do not work. It becomes impossible to trust international commitments, be it in the area of arms control or nuclear security. Perhaps there was a line in the past that Russians would not cross, but with the spectacular recent decline in the rule of law, anything is possible in Russia now.
It all makes the mysterious "hijacked" Russian timber ship episode look even more sinister. Is Russia, in Steyn's words, "a vacuum wrapped in a nullity inside an abyss" ?

UPDATE - not that state functionaries colluding to rob the State is exclusive to Russia :

Two tax office workers invented more than 1,400 fictitious children and hijacked hundreds of identities in a £1.2m payments scam, it has emerged. Civil servant John Brian Agdomar and an accomplice, Olanekan Omatayo Ogunmekan, were jailed after being caught using information in the national tax credit computer system to arrange extra payments diverted to a complex network of bank accounts. Agdomar used his job at the Department for Work and Pensions as a cover to access genuine customer records to obtain personal information, allowing the pair to arrange for genuine claims for tax credits to be increased by way of a bogus 'change in personal circumstances'. Records were amended with additional fake children in order to increase the payments but the extra money was siphoned off. In some cases personal records were amended with fictitious disabled twins or triplets to inflate the tax credits as much as possible.

Agdomar is thought to have illegally accessed more than 2,500 customer accounts. Between them the pair fabricated more than 1,400 fictitious children, hijacked hundreds of identities and illegally claimed more than £1.2m in tax credits until they were caught by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigators. Agdomar, 42, from Hackney, east London and Ogunmekan, 35, from Bethnal Green, London, were arrested by HMRC in 2008.
The UK is importing millions of people from countries with high levels of corruption. No attempt at integration with the host culture is required (and it would now be difficult in a place like Bethnal Green, where there aren't any hosts left to integrate with) . All things being equal, it would be surprising if levels of corruption in the UK did not rise. It's a subject I've touched on before and doubtless will again. But we've a way to go before we manage Russian-style sleaze. Give us time.

A Few Homing Rooks At Sunset

Africa, Africa : Booker Rising on independence leader Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and freedom of speech (or lack of) in Uganda.

"this degrading practice, which our traditions and our faith detest" - Gay Lib doesn't seem to be catching on in Senegal.

"All the defendants are devout Muslims and Akram went to the same mosque as the victim" - I'm pretty sure Islam didn't require that Akeel Shah stab Adnan Patel to death - because Patel quite rightly objected to Shah's gang selling dope to his little brother. Clint D'Mello, 24, from Leyton, and his friends Moneeb Khalid, 21, of Seventh Avenue, Manor Park, and Mohsin Akram, 19, of Brady Mead, Beckton, were cleared of murder but convicted of violent disorder, while Akeel Shah, 24, from Leytonstone, was convicted of murder. Shah was ordered to serve a minimum of 15 years.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Going back to California
So many good things around
Don't want to leave California
Sun seems to never go down

Some people may treat you ugly
Some treat you beautiful too
That's the way life is all over
So look for the good things for you ...

Alas 'twas a long time ago that Mr Mayall wrote those words. Even 20 years back Washingtonians and Oregonians were complaining about the refugees heading North. Places like LA are being reclaimed by the original owners. Well, the owners from 200 years back, anyway. The friends we stayed with two years back are considering relocating to Nevada.

Enough. Real late night music. Bass, sax, voice, guitar.

Drop The Baggage

Yazza is worried about the bloggers :

I never read the raving racists online but those who do tell me how revolting it is getting out there in the blogosphere. Ugly populism is fast food for the disillusioned.

For the centre-left leadership, the predicament is whether to pander to demagoguery or assuage genuine frustrations. Over the past three decades, governments have deepened income inequality and therefore resentment.
But Yazza, if you assuage genuine frustrations, you will be pandering to demagoguery ! Believe it or not, our coming woes aren't all about income inequality, though mass immigration certainly hasn't helped that.

Unquestionably, multiculturalism – once an effective policy tool – is now failing to connect, to counter resurgent white racism or self-exclusion.
But Yazza, that is multiculturalism ! Which is why multiculturalism is doomed to fail. It could only work as long as incomer numbers were small enough. Once the numbers were large enough - of whatever culture - it was going to mean trouble.

Popular consent, I believe, can be galvanised for the greater good. A renewed national identity united old enemies in South Africa and Germany, and Anglo-Franco Canada promoted a one-nation consciousness which accommodates diversity. History mattered; so too national memories. The future mattered more, and these nations sought to drop the baggage that would hold them back.

Well, yes. But we've already turned our education system into a propaganda tool, wrecked the teaching of British history. More than enough cultural baggage has been jettisoned.

Britons need to be drawn to such a collective enterprise. Who do we think we are? Who do we think we can be? What will bring our different tribes closer together? How can we become a more equal and less unhappy population?
It was thinking about these questions which was one of the things (though not the big kicker - that was the reaction of the left - and Yazza - to 9/11) that started me, first commenting elsewhere, then blogging. The thing is, I couldn't see any cheerful answers to those questions. And Yazza has none either.

Ed West takes Yazza apart in the Telegraph :

The economic benefits of mass immigration, as opposed to small-scale skilled immigration, are far from “indisputable”. Any economic benefit is short-term, with long-term and permanent social effects, and of benefit largely to the well-off.

To the rich, immigration means Tongan cleaners, Polish handymen and Thai chefs; to the poor it means queueing, lower wages and more crime, both from immigrants themselves and the native unemployed. It is often to these people, and to ever growing numbers of middle-class people squeezed out of their old neighbourhoods by house price increases, that an alternative view on immigration appeals. The internet has its downsides, and unpleasantness is a big one – but it also provides an alternative voice to a media class who find the rest of the population revolting.

And the comments are spot-on, too :

It was worse than never being asked - we were lied to. In the 1970s we were told that fears of being swamped were exaggerated, that there was no danger of the country’s nature being fundamentally altered. Then, almost overnight (in the early 80s) the line changed to `we are a multi-cultural society now, so get used to it’. In so far as we were ever able to express an opinion, through polls, we made it perfectly clear that we didn’t want this to happen. The suppressed anger at having been deceived, ignored and bullied is what now makes this issue so toxic.


Overwhelmingly the people in Great Britain are absurdly tolerant, and even when they’re not they are in general so damn polite they’d never allow a peep of intolerance to escape into public anyway.

The majority are, rightly, pissed off that they were never consulted on mass immigration, or the enforcement of multiculturalism. They just plain don’t believe the claims of necessity as it’s fairly freakin obvious other first world countries haven’t disintegrated despite despite not taking in half the world.

The liberal left at the BBC/Guardian, Civil Service and the main three political parties know the people of Great Britain aren’t all jackbooted BNP-supporting racists. They know the overwhelming majority just don’t see the need to import a massive foreign population into the country, changing the nation radically and permanently in less than 15 years, and then ordering us to be happy about it.

They know all that - it’s just we’re the only democratic country on earth where the elites basically hate the population. So I guess they decided to switch it.


The tension and a great many of the ills of the West today are from a spiritual vacuum which now envelops it. Most of the immigrants have a dreadful ideology - but it least it is not a spiritual vacuum, and that makes them stronger than those who are spiritually empty.

I say that as an atheist myself. But I have watched standards for everything decay from those of my childhood as liberalism has taken hold, liberalism which in today’s form substitutes fake ideals and utopias and fears for what used to be religious belief. On a mere empirical basis, increasing secularism has not been good for society, and in my observation, most people are less happy, suffer from an undefined malaise and oddly enough, are more willing to give up their freedom. I do not know why that would be so; but empirically it is so. I think most people need to believe in something, and secularism does not seem to fill that need.

(Hat-tips to commenters Sgt Troy, who seems to have stopped wanting to hang and shoot people for the moment or is at least deferring to house rules, and anon.)

Another frothing racist

" a determined Islamic attack"

"That is the type of evangelism they are doing: mass-production, so if you have four wives, four children, sixteen children, very soon you will be a village"

"surrounded by Islamic domination"

Who is this spittle-flecked, swivel-eyed chap ? Quite obviously one of those embittered types who's not cool with diversity and thinks that (parental advisory - the writer thinks that swearing is grown-up) "a significant portion of the babies being born are, apparently, the wrong sort of babies – babies from ethnic minorities, babies with immigrant parents and lone parents, black babies, poor babies".

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, 56, was elected Primate of Nigeria last week.

Like his predecessor, the great Peter Akinola, the Archbishop seems to have the CoE hierarchy pretty well taped.

“Who is the leader in the Christian world? There is no leader”
That's you, Rasputin, that is.

While we're on the subject of the Church of England, here's another canary in the coalmine.

Lewis Bullock, an IT and business consultant in Dubai, was only 14 years old when he took the bold step of changing his faith from Christianity to Islam while growing up in the UK.

"I only had brief knowledge of Islam from our world religions class; in fact, we had the image that it's a religion for Indians and Pakistanis," Bullock said, who comes from a religious Christian background with his father and grandfather (a priest) belonging to the Church of England.
Obviously another one driven away by "the wishy-washy standards of contemporary Christianity".

"I have developed a new lifestyle different to the accustomed one in the UK and I tried to make my family understand this change by pointing to the irregularities in the lifestyle and high divorce rates as compared to arranged marriages," he said, adding that his marriage to an Arab UAE national has helped to strengthen his faith in Islam.
He's right of course. In fact, I've noticed recently a new trend on left blogs in the comments. When hideous righties talk about defending Western culture, the response is "what culture ? Binge drinking, high crime, family breakup ?" - all things which the left have been in the forefront of promoting - and things which once only hideous righties used to complain about.

Obviously no problems with the Bullocks' family life.

Bullock is a fluent Arabic speaker of the colloquial Emirati accent and enjoys his career and family life with his wife and five boys.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Your Postal Vote Frauds Tonight ....

When the local Respect councillor in Sparkbrook went bankrupt (actually got nailed for not paying his tax or NI) , Labour were hoping to retake the seat. Respect kept it.

And, in the time-honoured tradition of Bordesley Green, Aston etc,we have allegations of massive vote fraud.

Police are investigating the worst outbreak of voter fraud at a Birmingham City Council election for five years (i.e. since the previous council elections in the area - LT).

Almost 400 postal votes cast at Thursday’s Sparkbrook ward by-election – a third of the total issued – were rejected as likely forgeries.

Council officials, backed by the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, called in the police after saying they suspected an organised plot to influence the result of the by-election, which was won by Respect candidate Shokat Ali.

In 2004, Birmingham was likened to a “banana republic” by Elections Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC, who investigated hundreds of forged ballot papers at that year’s city council elections.

Birmingham Labour leader Sir Albert Bore said those behind the alleged fraud at Sparkbrook had attempted to destroy the electoral process.

Sir Albert added: “Nearly 400 postal vote ballot papers were rejected because of inconsistencies in either the date of birth or the signature of the elector.

“It is appalling that even after a number of very public concerns and enquires into postal vote fraud, the election process in Sparkbrook has been undermined by individuals who have, in a number of ways, attempted to submit postal vote ballot papers of electors other than themselves.

“The fact that around 30 per cent of all postal votes cast – and there were almost 1,800 postal votes cast in this by-election – were rejected clearly illustrates the magnitude of the fraud being perpetuated.

Birmingham’s reputation for honesty and integrity at election times has again been undermined.”

But it hasn't got such a reputation. It's got a reputation for fraud and dishonesty that would disgrace a banana republic - or in Brum's case, a kuthlama republic..

Be interesting to see who the fraud was in favour of. My money's on Labour, although they've pretty much all - except Respect - got previous. Grudging but sincere credit to Respect, who are actually against postal voting.