Saturday, July 23, 2005

Christian Conservatives

via Thinking Anglicans, an interesting Times piece.

For those left-footers among you, a link to the Catholic Action Group. Links to Christian Voice and the Christian Institute are on the sidebar.

Oh Dear

I think the word is unfortunate. Most unfortunate. Not a nice thing to happen.

UPDATE - a woman in the pub had a copy of the Sun with the headline 'One Down - Three To Go'.

I wonder if the poor guy couldn't speak English ? In the current situation the last thing I'd do if challenged by police is run for the Tube. According to the BBC story, which has been updated, he was Brazilian - and I'm sure the Met are mighty relieved he wasn't Bangladeshi.

Off topic, but last time I went to the Home Office site I'm pretty sure it was available in about 15 different languages, indicated on the sidebar. After all, isn't it racist to expect people in Britain to speak English ? Now I can only see Welsh. Has someone had second thoughts about our multicultural nirvana ?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Dilpazier Aslam Sacked

Scott Burgess - top investigative journalist.

This just in from the Guardian newsblog.

Trainee journalist Dilpazier Aslam had his contract with the Guardian terminated today.
The move followed an internal inquiry into Aslam’s membership of the political organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.
A statement said: “The Guardian now believes continuing membership of the organisation to be incompatible with his continued employment by the company.”
“Mr Aslam was asked to resign his membership but has chosen not to. The Guardian respects his right to make that decision but has regretfully concluded that it had no option but to terminate Mr Aslam’s contract with the company.”
The inquiry followed a piece written by Aslam for the Guardian’s comment pages entitled “We rock the boat”.
The statement added: “The Guardian accepts that it should have explicitly mentioned Mr Aslam’s membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir at the end of his comment piece.”
A correction will appear in the paper’s Corrections and Clarifications column.

Cake Wanted - To Have And To Eat

"The once-concealed symbols and attitudes of hardcore porn are now flooding mainstream culture" complains 'Flic' Everett in the Guardian.

Er ... would that be 'Flic' Everett, author of "Sex Tips For Girls", "How To Be A Sex Goddess", "Fantasy Sex" and "The Sexy Bitch's Book Of Doing It, Getting It and Giving It" ?

"... it alarms me that we have bought into the culture of porn as readily as the 1950s salary man bought into the culture of domestic bliss ..." tut-tuts the "Mirror's sex-pert" who brought us "Find Your Sex ID" ands "Spice It Up" (and whose knowledge of the 1950s seems to come from I Love Lucy. There were few salary men in 50s Britain - we still had a thing called industry).

"There is no voice of dissent - TV, music and magazines conspire to imply that women require no stimulation beyond a lustful male gaze ..."

Not true, 'Flic' - as shown by responsible magazines. Like Cosmo.

"Cosmopolitan magazine (UK) is looking for couples to talk about the turn-on that always works for them; foreplay, position, prop, whatever. It involves a phone interview and a small picture. Your time will be paid for. Interested? Contact asap."

"willfully ignorant, vicious and worse"

AL Kennedy, writing in the Scottish Sunday Herald, makes the arduous trip from St Andrews to Gleneagles, and shows how American TV evangelists killed millions in Mozambique.

Note - the usual Guardian edge-of-breakdown style has been severely moderated in deference to her Scottish readers - no bums, blood or depleted uranium.

UPDATE - I've been informed that on Wednesday 6th July AL Kennedy was on the Today programme talking about Scotland and the G8. Does anyone have the Realaudio link ?

Terror Attacks - Polly Has The Answer

Close the Church schools !

If Only ...

These young men were being executed by Americans, or members of the Tory Taleban were threatening Peter Tatchell and Aaron Saeed. It would be all over the Guardian, Indie and BBC.

That's It ...

I shall never buy a Sunday Telegraph again.

They've thrown away a pearl richer than all their tribe.

(via James Hamilton)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ken Livingstone and London Bombers

Ken Livingstone said: "It is not surprising that we have had another attempt to take life rapidly after the first attacks.

"Those people whose memories stretch back to the 70s, 80s and 90s will remember there were horrifying bombing campaigns in London.

Some of those people also remember Ken Livingstone's 1982 invitation to Gerry Adams to addresss the GLC, at the time when Mr Adams' organisation was carrying out said horrifying campaigns.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It Can't Be True - An Israelite Said It

Tory MP and Times columnist Michael Gove (followed by a host of bloggers) picked up Georgeous George's views on MEMRI, the organisation which provides translations of Arabic-language media.

It's not that their translations are inaccurate, apparently - but they are a bit .. well, Israeli. Know what I mean ?

Fron the Any Questions transcript :

GRAFFY - Well I think we first need to recognise and appreciate the fact that we do live in a multicultural society, that we have Muslims who are members of the House of Commons, we have Muslims that are members of the House of Lords, we have Muslims that are senior civil servants, we have a new Haj information unit, that's allowing and helping for those making pilgrimage to Mecca. All of these things are important in bringing the Muslim community as part of the British community. But what does concern me is when we read, for example, that 13% of British Muslims thought that the attacks on 9/11 were justified. Now there is a vacancy of leadership somewhere and that needs to be identified. How these people are being brainwashed, how it's happening, is there a council that can be working with mosques to identify preachers who are giving messages of hate, can we change the messages that are given to young people? If you've never seen it before I encourage you to check out m-e-m-r-i which is translations of Arab newspapers.

GALLOWAY - It's an Israeli - Israeli organisation.

GRAFFY - Well it is a translation - the Middle East Media Research [CLAPPING] - you can check it out yourself, it is translation of Arabic programmes.

GALLOWAY - It's an Israeli translation.

GRAFFY - And you will see - from Arabic into English and you'll hear that the head of the London Centre for Islamic History when the attacks first happened said that he questioned whether it was done by the intelligence agency of another Western country hostile to Britain, some Zionist Americans that overshadow the G8 summit, but basically said if it was indeed al-Qaeda that carried out this act it was a great victory for it. And it's not from someone in Saudi Arabia, this is from London.

GALLOWAY - According to the Israelis.

GRAFFY - No according from a translation.

GALLOWAY - It's an Israeli website, why don't you be honest with people.

GRAFFY - Why don't you be honest that it is a translation from al-Jazeera ...[Talking over]

DIMBLEBY - Can I ask you both - can I ask you both to pause, it is conceivable and we're not going to resolve it here that it is both on an Israeli website and it's an accurate translation. Let's leave that for the moment ...we can't resolve that at this moment.

UPDATE - MEMRI is based in Washington DC. It has a branch (and a Media Center, whatever that is) in Jerusalem, also branches in London and Berlin.


The Dumb One on Alan Duncan, following his Tory Taliban speech.

Let’s clear this up for Al: the Taliban buried homosexuals alive, the Tory Right just thinks we shouldn’t be spending public money on ‘Gay History Month’. This isn’t moral equivalence, this is moral imbecility.

Announcing his withdrawal to The Times, Mr Duncan said: "Censorious judgmentalism from the moralising wing, which treats half our countrymen as enemies, must be rooted out.

Quick – someone call the Irony Police. We have a complaint about moral judgementalism from someone who compares his opponents to a group of bloodthirsty totalitarian fanatics and calls for them to be ‘rooted out’.

While many of Duncan's ideas are good, the Pimlico council flat hangs round his neck like a dead albatross.

PS - it should be pointed out that I considered the Taleban were as good a government as the Afghans could reasonably expect.

UPDATE - the magnificently named Stalin's Gran tells me that it was actually a house - in Gayfere Street.

Gayfere ? Isn't that called homophobia nowadays ?

Another Day ...

... another initiative overturned by the courts.

Task Force ! Tsar ! Crackdown ! Initiative !

In olden, unhip days they were called 'committees' or 'talking shops'. Then some branding whizzkid decided 'task force', with its residual overtones of Harriers, helicopters and SAS men, sounded a lot more exciting.

So a big shout for the behaviour task force :

It was asked to advise on "strategies to ensure effective school discipline, improve parental responsibility for their children's behaviour and deliver a culture of respect in all schools".

Par for the course. Let's deliver a few strategies, shall we ? You could be in any marketing or HR department. And a 'culture of respect' ? Well, lots of posters in schools, a few free mugs and mousemats, some surveys - no problem. I look forward to the appointment of 'respect champions' in all schools and Respect Co-ordinators in all local authorities. It's amazing how much money it costs to produce the appearance of doing something.

Entertaining to see that the Prime Minister wonders if parents of unruly kids shouldn't stay at home to look after them - this from the govenment that penalises full time mothers. Joined up government. Don't worry, it'll never be implemented.

Islamic extremism ? No worries. The extremist taskforce will sort it. And with the other hand, we'll subsidise extremists. Joined up government.

I should think Omar Bakri Mohammed can look forward to many more years of Income Support, paid council tax and housing benefit. After all, for thirty years one Gerry Adams was paid Social Security by the British taxpayer as an 'unemployed barman'.

We're already proposing to pay children not to misbehave. Only poor kids, of course - like the Williams sisters or Omar Bakri's kids. We're already paying them to go to school. It can't be long before we're paying them not to blow things up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I Don't Blame The Parents

While I may object to Muslims who blow people up, you have to say that in the family-values and education stakes they put the Native Brits to shame.

One colleague said she was told by a father, if his daughter did not achieve academically, she (the teacher) should tell her that she is stupid, lazy and useless and let him know so that she can be beaten at home! This is a regular occurrence in schools ...

None of this nonsense about self esteem - respect for parents and a kick up the backside for failure. British parents were like that once ... in the days when we educated our children. No wonder they send their kids to madrassas - at least they learn something there.

UPDATE - sit down before you read this.

"Deferred success" should replace the idea of failure for low-achieving pupils, a teachers' organisation will hear at its annual conference.
The Professional Association of Teachers will be told next week the label of failure could undermine children's enthusiasm for school.

It could undermine enthusiasm - or it could be a spur to harder work. The difference between the two being something that the teaching profession used to try to cultivate in children a long time ago - character.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Fight Of The Week

Last Friday's Any Questions (RealAudio) was the most tremendous slugging match since the first Roberto Duran / Sugar Ray Leonard contest.

Despite the presence of Oliver 'Civilised' Letwin and the great Frank 'The Unthinkable' Field, whom I would much rather see as Prime Minister than Letwin, the big fight was when Professor Colleen 'The Truth' Graffy of Republicans Abroad went toe to toe with 'Gorgeous' George Galloway over 30 minutes.

Last time I'd heard Colleen Graffy on the BBC, she'd been blitzed and humiliated by Tony 'The Mad Mullah' Benn, aided by some terrible refereeing by John 'Biased' Humphrys. This time she traded blows at close range, frequently sparking intervention by referee David 'Fearful' Dimbleby.

The BBC have a transcript. Sample :

DIMBLEBY George Galloway.

GALLOWAY Well the biggest man of violence is George W. Bush. [CLAPPING] [BOOS] George Bush and Tony Blair launched an illegal war on a pack of lies that killed a hundred thousand people - how violent is that? How violent is that?

DIMBLEBY Colleen Graffy.

GRAFFY With all due - let me rephrase that - let's be clear - the Respect Party is the electoral front for the Socialist Workers Party, the Socialist [AUDIENCE NOISE] Look it up, look it up. The Socialist Workers Party was not anti war, the Socialist Workers Party ...

DIMBLEBY Hold on, hold on, let Colleen Graffy finish.

GALLOWAY Why don't you deal with the question.

GRAFFY The Socialist Workers Party ...

DIMBLEBY Let Colleen answer it in her own way, then you can answer her point in your own way.

GRAFFY And let's remind ourselves that Mr Galloway was not kicked out of the Labour Party because he was speaking out against the war, he was kicked out because he was actively inciting the foreign troops to shoot at US and American soldiers and he was also kicked out - look it up - and he was also kicked out ....

DIMBLEBY Hold it - hold it ...

GRAFFY... because you were inciting British soldiers to disobey their commanders.

DIMBLEBY Colleen Graffy that is a - George Galloway must be allowed to - we'll go to the more general point but you must have the opportunity to answer that specific precise allegation.

GALLOWAY It really would be better if we stuck to the issues instead of libelling each other because [CLAPPING] ...

DIMBLEBY And let it be said that the BBC just wishes to clarify when people make statements of that kind and we should not seek or in effect reluctantly libel anyone.

GRAFFY If I recall my libel law it requires ...

DIMBLEBY Yeah, well let's not go there...

GRAFFY... lower in the eyes of ...

DIMBLEBY Let's - let's - can I come back - Colleen Graffy - Colleen Graffy - Colleen Graffy ...

If I recall correctly, Professor Graffy actually said "If I recall my libel law it requires that a person's reputation be lowered .." - seeming to imply that George's couldn't get any lower.

Great stuff. I was exhausted just listening to it.

Note - the 1980 Duran/Leonard fight, the 'Brawl In Montreal', remains the best boxing match I've ever watched. Leonard was the champion with everything - the skills, the moves and he could punch. A wonderful boxer and the favourite. Duran was a Panamanian slugger who'd moved up from lightweight.
From the first bell Duran threw himself at Leonard. I was never sure if the cultured Leonard was so confident that he was happy to slug it out rather than stand clear and box, or whether he simply couldn't find a way to get clear of Duran, whose aggression I've never seen matched. Throughout the fight Leonard was obviously the better boxer, and I wondered when Duran would run out of steam and be put away. But Duran stayed in his face for 15 incredible rounds and won a close decision on points.

(In the rematch Leonard stayed clear and boxed Duran all over the ring till he threw in the towel. But he'd staked his place in boxing legend).

UPDATE - more on Ms Graffy here.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

And With One Bound ...

Scott Burgess hits the big time - if 'big' can describe the Indie. But his coup has resounded across the blogging universe like a shockwave from a supernova.

I bet the Guardian wish they'd given him the job now, not Mr Aslam.

Sources in The Guardian said that Mr Aslam was employed to increase ethnic diversity within the newsroom under The Guardian's one-year traineeship scheme.

One source said: "There was a feeling that we genuinely wanted more diversity, and like all national newspapers we were still a bit 'pale and male' so we were keen to recruit from different backgrounds."

Scott applied for the job in June 2004. Mr Aslam got it.

They say revenge is a dish best eaten cold.

UPDATE - since the Guardian (subscription required - try here) quoted the last two lines, apparently in an attempt to prove that Scott was seeking 'to settle scores' , I'd better make it plain that in my opinion Scott wasn't trying to settle scores - I was just pointing out the irony of the situation and doing a bit of irony myself. Scott enjoys beasting the Guardian and Indie because they're such easy targets - he does do it very well and with a great deal of style.

Tragically the Guardian doesn't seem to 'get' irony any more. Must be a bit too nuanced for them. They should remember that not everything is black and white ... complex world ... root causes ... seek to understand ... zzz.

Two Stories

Here's Bashir Ahmed, uncle of one of the London bombers, expressing his shock and disbelief at his nephew's actions on the BBC.

And here's Bashir Ahmed explaining that what he did was "looking for justice for human beings", denying that Tanweer was a terrorist, explaining that his nephew had made a name for himself in the world, and predicting more attacks by young Muslims unless British foreign policy is changed.

UPDATE - Remember the murder of 16 year old Stephen Lawrence in 1992 ? Of course we do. I'm still trying to work out why even an obsessive newswatcher like me missed the story of 16 year old Tyrone Clarke, which for some reason didn't make BBC radio news. The cached Yorkshire Post story draws a different picture of Beeston from the 'quiet suburbia' stories (when I lived in Leeds many years back Beeston was a white working class area of terraces and back-to-backs, perched above Elland Road - definitely not a suburb).

Mother mourns her 'gentle giant' son after stabbing

Chris Benfield

A mother has spoken of her devastation after her son was stabbed to death in the street during a disturbance on an estate in Leeds.

Lorraine Fraser, 39, said her life would never be the same after the loss of 6ft 4in Tyrone Clarke, described as a "gentle giant", who died after being attacked by Asian youths in Beeston shortly after 5pm on Thursday evening.
"They have taken part of me," said Ms Fraser. "I will never be the same again. Why have they taken my son's life?
"Tyrone was a gentle giant. He was full of life. His young sister does not know yet and I have still to tell her.
"I had seen him at the corner shop earlier and told him o be home in half an hour to have his tea. I can't sleep. Every time I close eyes I see my son."
Ms Fraser, who also has a four-year-old daughter Shannon, said she heard that her son had been hurt in a phone call from the landlady of the Malvern public house and ran to the scene.
Tyrone was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary followed by his mother in another vehicle.
It is the second time Ms Fraser's family has suffered tragedy in recent years. Seven years ago her aunt, Maureen Comfort, was murdered at her flat in Lincoln Green, Leeds.
Yesterday Ms Fraser revisited the scene of her son's murder shortly before police began a fingertip search of the area.
A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "We are not treating this investigation as a random attack, Tyrone being part of a gang is one of the lines of investigation we are following."
"We have many people we wish to speak to before we can say whether this attack was racially motivated. It is just too early to say."
Extra police were on patrol last night amid fears there could be further violence and five males aged between 16 and 25 were last night still being questioned in connection with suspected murder.
A witness said he had seen eight to 10 Asian-looking youths heading for Brett Gardens with sticks and cricket bats. He said: "The next thing I saw was two lads being brayed. They were kicking them and hitting them with pieces of wood while they were on the floor." A post mortem examination established Tyrone was stabbed more than once.
Friends and relatives yesterday laid flowers at the scene. They said there was on-going friction between gangs associated with Cockburn High School, where Tyrone was a pupil until Easter.