Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's McTorture In The Community

The latest English fashion finally crosses the Tweed.

A man who was found dead in his home in Fife on Thursday suffered a "horrific ordeal" before his death, police said. A murder investigation has now been launched into the death of Mark White at his home in Glenrothes. Fife Constabulary said the 31-year-old's body might have been in his home for some days.

Det Supt Alistair McKeen said that Mr White was "a harmless young man, who despite his learning difficulties, led an independent, happy life".
I'm sure there were dark sides to the old "homes" and "loony-bins", where those who were once called 'simples' or 'naturals' often ended up (in the absence of devoted, fit and time-rich relatives). But there's little evidence of their inmates being tortured to death.

Doubtless the heartbreaking details will unfold in due course. If the past is any guide to the future, his torturers and killers will turn out to be well-known locally, "known to social services" and the law, and with habits including petty crime, assault and drug abuse. It's quite possible that at least one of them will be female.

Is Sir Ian Blair in charge of Bombay Police ?

I know, fog of war, confused situation and all that. But :

Mumbai's chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said two "British-born Pakistanis" were among eight gunmen captured alive during bloody shoot-outs with soldiers ...

One commando leader described how suspicions of a British link had been raised when investigators examined BlackBerry mobile phones seized from some of the captured Islamic extremists, which they had used to monitor the internet.

General Noble Thamburaj, head of India's southern command, told the Telegraph: "There was a lot of content from the English media, not just in London but the Urdu and Arabic sites that are very strong in the north of England.

Yet according to BBC radio news this morning, all the 'militants' are dead except one :

Police say they have arrested one suspected attacker. The number of militants involved in the coordinated attacks remains unclear.

From eight down to one in a day - does that look like a counting error to you ? It's while the info coming out is of that quality that I'm leery of putting too much weight on the reports that operatives came from the "Jihad Triangle" of Beeston/Dewsbury/Bradford.

(I suppose the alternative theory is that there WERE eight, and the other seven are being "debriefed with extreme prejudice" prior to their demise. Maybe reports that they're dead are just a week or two premature.)

Bombay - the Christian-Lite Perspective

Ekklesia :

The carnage in Bombay (officially known as Mumbai), in which gunmen have killed over a hundred people, injured many more and taken hostages, has shocked the world. It has thrown a spotlight on religious extremism of various kinds.

Is It Him Or Me ?

Has Blognor Regis been bought out by a private equity company ? Or was it something I said ?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Godwin's Law

"Politics in Germany are not as they are over here. There you do not leave office to go into Opposition. You do not leave the Front Bench to sit below the Gangway. You may well leave your high office at a quarter of an hour's notice to drive to the police station, and you may be conducted thereafter very rapidly to an even graver ordeal."
Churchill, History of the Second World War Vol I

"excuse me if I give the whole 'Day of Infamy' thing a miss"
Dumb Jon

Mourning the victims of terror in Bombay ...

"Our second responsibility is obviously to root out terrorism ..." - Gordon Brown.

All-party support for terror in London.

Despite Thursday being a working day, the 25,000 seat ExCel centre in Southeast London remained packed to capacity from mid-day to early evening, with thousands of people paying their respects and leaving after some time so as to make way for those crowding outside, venue officials said.

Remembrance Day in UK
Vaiko addressing the gathering
Remebrance Day in UK
Toby Boutle, Conservative candidate for Ilford South
Remebrance Day in UK
Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston
Remembrance Day in UK
Siobhan McDonagh MP
Remembrance Day in UK
Joan Ryan MP

The day began with a silent tribute to the Tamils who had died in their people’s liberation struggle. Thereafter, the flame of altruism lit by Mrs Yoharani Manohararasa, mother of late LTTE Lt Col Vaikunthan.

Then the lights dimmed for lighting of lamps by the attending people whilst the ‘Great Heroes' Resting Home’ song played in the background.

Throughout the day families waited patiently in line with groups of teenagers and retirees to place flower petals before portraits of Tamils killed in the liberation struggle against Sinhala domination.

It took an hour for those joining the queues to reach the petals, people said. Families of the fallen brought portraits of their loved ones to place on the dais, they added. As in recent years, large quantities of the Tamil national flower, the karthigaipoo (gloriosa lily) were among the petals piled up for attendees to pick and place, they said.

Private bus companies plied from many of London’s boroughs (districts) to the cavernous venue in the glass fronted Docklands area. Thousands of people also travelled to London from locations across the British isles, from as far away as Edinburgh in Scotland and Cardiff in Wales to participate in the event.

Whilst people waited to pay their respects of took their seats afterwards, dozens of Tamil expatriate arts groups staged dramas, traditional dance (bharathanatyam) and other cultural performances which were interspaced with speeches on the Tamils’ oppression in Sri Lanka and their struggle for freedom.

Among those who addressed the event were British parliamentarians Edward Davey (LibDem, Kingston and Surbiton), Robert Evans (Labour, MEP) Siobhain McDonagh (Labour, Mitcham and Mordern), John McDonald (Labour, Hayes and Harlington), Andrew Pelling (Independent, Croydon Central), Joan Ryan (Labour, Enfield North) and Vireindra Sharma (Labour, Ealing and Southall). The Conservative candidate for Ilford South, Toby Boutle, also spoke.
To be fair, you'd certainly have attracted the Galloways, Livingstones, Corbyns to an IRA front gathering, opened by the mother of a late PIRA brigadier, twenty years back- but Lib Dims and Tories ?

What I can't work out from the reports is whether the usual highlight of Heroes Day - the broadcast speech by the Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, was actually heard at the ExCel or not. According to the Indie (which says this year's main speaker is an LTTE supporter) :

The Independent understands that the traditional events celebrating Prabhakaran and suicide martyrs will be toned down or held in secret.

Nirmala Rajasingham, the founder of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum and a staunch critic of the Tigers who she accuses of murdering her sister, said the British Government should do more to stop fundraising in Britain. "I am opposed to the Heroes' Day celebrations because it is a morbid celebration of the suicide cult and it is a fundraising event for the Tigers," she said. "The Tamil Tigers may have been banned but they continue to operate freely in Britain."

Some estimates suggest as much as 40 per cent of the Tamil Tigers' funding comes from Britain's 150,000 Tamils, although many are bitterly opposed to the terror group.

Mrs Rajasingham said it was important to recognise that not all those attending today's celebration would be Tamil Tiger supporters. "A lot of those attending will actually be against the LTTE but they will go anyway because they have had relatives and loved ones killed by the Sri Lankan government and want to remember them."

Dominic Whiteman at the Centre for Social Cohesion blog is not a happy bunny :

When we as a society are seeking to uphold bans against Islamist groups who threaten us, it seems incorrect and immoral of us to be allowing the public gathering of a terrorist group and its cheerleaders right under our noses in London so they can celebrate their fallen comrades and, worse still, raise funds for their cause, which results in thousands of deaths in Sri Lanka.

Dominic Whiteman, depending on which source you believe, is either a doughty latter-day Bulldog Drummond with a keyboard, or an infidel stirring up attacks on elderly Muslim shoppers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Can Sleep Safe In Our Beds Tonight ...

Anti-terror police have arrested a Tory shadow Home Office Minister ...

"First they came for the BNP members, and I did not speak out, because I was not a BNP member.

Then they came for the Tories ..."

"Television as a force multiplier"

Ross argues against this morning's wall-to-wall media coverage of the Bombay atrocities.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Those Christian Pharmacists Are At It Again

There was a young lady from Ealing :

A musician was left feeling “humiliated and disgusted” after being refused the morning after pill twice.

Tiffany Berton, a 28-year-old singer songwriter went to two different Boots stores in Ealing to get the pill as a extra precaution.

But both times she was refused the contraceptive, which costs £25 to buy over the counter, on moral and religious grounds.

She said: “I went to the Boots store next to Ealing Broadway station, but was told they did not stock it on religious grounds and was sent to the other Boots shop in Ealing Broadway.

“When I got there I was made to fill out a form, then the assistant showed it to the pharmacist, before coming back and telling me I could not have the pill.

“It made me feel like I was being judged and branded an amoral woman, even though I was being responsible.

Miss Berton, who lives in South Ealing Road, continued: “I was furious, but also humiliated and disgusted.

“I'm on low income and on housing benefits, and now is not the right time for me to bring a child into the world.

“Yet the way these people were acting it was as if they were saying your either single and celibate or married.”

She said she now intends to mount a campaign to stop pharmacists being able to refuse treatments on religious and moral grounds.

I expect it's those Christians again, with their idiotic ideas about celibacy and marriage. Honestly, it's getting as bad as America.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vat ?

I don’t know why Brown didn’t reverse a Tory tax rise (introduced at a time when they were scrabbling for revenue themselves) and remove VAT from building work (it’s levied on all improvements - everything except new build).

It would help the builders - and people usually have to buy things to go in the extension/loft conversion. Plus, bricks, plasterboard and mortar are some of the few things we still produce in the UK.

I can't see a 2.5% cut having much more effect on people's spending than the stamp duty cut had on the housing market.

The BBC (in the form of business correspondent Robert Peston, whose commentariat are a well-informed bunch - the blog's worth reading for the comments alone) are still talking about the crisis as a problem caused by not enough people buying houses at high enough prices :

"at the heart of our economic problems has been this decline in the housing market ... "

It's not a decline, it's a correction. What was amazing is that the boom (fuelled by easy credit, dual income buyers, and City bonuses) lasted so long. It was about four years ago that I started getting invites through the post to buy-to-let seminars. Isn't there a saying to the effect that when the taxi-driver starts giving you share tips it's time to sell ?

If the view of HMG (and Peston seems to have a hot-line to the Treasury) is that declining house prices are the problem, then the only way they'll fix it is by printing money.

(UPDATE - my commenters tell me that Gordo CAN'T scrap VAT on building work - like so many EU things, it's a one-way ratchet. We had an opt-out, but we got rid of it and we can never get it back again. That's also why the VAT cut was to 15%. Apparently the EU won't let us cut any more)

UPDATE - from Peston commenter thinkb4, this :

Dear Mr Brown

Are your debts becoming harder to pay?

Is your over inflated Housing Market in Crisis?

Have your Banks been squandering money at a level that could bring your economy down, but the revenue was good, so you didn't want to meddle?

Are you up a creek without a paddle?

If so, then:

Consolidate your debts into one easy to pay loan from the IMF !

With IMF loans your can delay the inevitable even further and maybe have enough spare for that holiday you promised yourself.

Normally only available to 3rd World Countries, the IMF is now making available Billions to help world leaders secure re election.

Just complete the attached application form and you can turn the "Spend Now, Pay Later" philosophy of the past 10 years into a "Spend Now, Borrow Later, Borrow Again, Pay Much Later" Manifesto for your upcoming campaigns.

PS - Choose your free gift from below:

1. All expenses paid "World Leader Pack", simply attend a gathering of World Leaders, have your photo taken, read the sound bites and take back to your voters credibility as a Global Influencer. (Please note: No decision making commitments necessary, this activity is a mutually beneficial showpiece to help heads of state retain power)

2. Parker Pen Writing Set

Monday, November 24, 2008


I hope I'm not picking on Natalie Bennett, but she does come out with some shockers ...

"Astonished to read that people spend £1,000 a year on energy. Okay I have a reasonably small flat, and I try, but my electricity comes to about £10 a month and gas about £15 in winter"
People have families, Natalie - and houses, not flats, to put them in. Flats are more efficient at retaining heat, as the roofs and floors of one flat are the floors and roofs of the flats above and below - minimising heat loss. The last time I filled the oil tank (admittedly two months back at the price peak, alas) it set me back £1,000 - and I imagine the electricity comes to another £450 a year. And we burn wood. And coal. Many of us have more to lose if the planet goes pearshaped than you do - in the form of our kids.

It's not as if we just wap up the thermostat and wander around in shorts - in fact I'm the energy ogre, castigating the kids for their sins against a non-renewable resource and my wallet and telling them to get a pullover on. But there are six of us in the house and we live in more than one room.

Somehow it all tangentially relates to this old BBC story, brought to my attention by a correspondent.

There are more unmarried mothers in the prosperous Kent town of Tunbridge Wells than in the poor London borough of Tower Hamlets, a survey has shown.

It found 33% of babies were born outside marriage in Tunbridge Wells in 2002, and 21% in Tower Hamlets.

The study was compiled by the Economist magazine, based on figures from the Office of National Statistics.

Researchers said the countryside could no longer be seen as the bedrock of traditional family values.

In the Kent town, many unmarried couples have families together, while in inner London young people of south Asian origin are traditionally expected to be married.

Well, yes and no. The countryside can still be seen as the bedrock of traditional British family values, if somewhat friable and crumbly bedrock. I'll lay that there are fewer "babies born outside marriage" - i.e. bastards, in Cirencester or Down Ampney than in Bradley Stoke or Penhill. What our BBC chappie is contrasting them with are traditional Bangladeshi family values.

Childbirth outside marriage is low among groups including Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and black Africans, according to the research.

Dr Muhammad Abdul Hannan, director of Tower Hamlets Parents Centre, said marriage was a holy institution to the Bangladeshi culture and it was rare to find an unmarried Bangladeshi mother.

"The family structure is very important. There is a father who is the head of the family, most mothers are housewives and they have lots of children," he said.

"Young people brought up here are influenced by western modern culture. Even so, parents expect their sons and daughters to be married."

Almost half of Tower Hamlets' population were from ethnic minority groups and one-third was Bangladeshi, according to the 2001 Census.

This compares with Tunbridge Wells where white people made up almost 98% of the population.
This is the country I visited four years ago, when I noted that Swinging London had the lowest bastardy rates ("the large Asian and African (though not Caribbean) immigrant communities frown on illegitimacy") and the hideously white Wales and the North-East the highest.

Let's just listen to the words of Dr Hannan again, shall we ?

"Dr Muhammad Abdul Hannan, director of Tower Hamlets Parents Centre, said marriage was a holy institution to the Bangladeshi culture"

He means it's a "holy estate" which is "ordained by God".

"and it was rare to find an unmarried Bangladeshi mother"

It was rare to find an unmarried British mother, too, until thirty or forty years ago, despite the unreliable contraception and unavailable abortion of those days.

"There is a father who is the head of the family, most mothers are housewives and they have lots of children"

We used to be like that :

"There was Mummy Woodentop and the baby and Daddy Woodentop.

And then there were Willie and Jenny, the twins. And Mrs Scrubit who comes to help Mummy. And Sam who helps Daddy Woodentop. And last of all, the very biggest spotty dog you ever did see"
Now "we" are more like Natalie, except that she, as a good Green, would (rightly IMHO) never see marriage as "a luxury to splash out on when there was enough money for a big celebration". (I wonder if there's still a Mrs Scrubbit though - most lefty two-earner families have a cleaner. What happened to the Dignity of Labour, as I ask Susan when she's cleaning the shower ?).

At which point the good Doctor Hannan might well ask, in the immortal words of Tonto, "Who's we, paleface ?"

And he'd be right. Thanks to a strange mix of feminist/leftist synergy - no babies and no borders - with capitalist consumerism (babies as an expense and burden, marriage as a big party) the way is clear for London to become less like England (admittedly that's not saying much) and more like Bangladesh.

Damn White People ...

The very wonderful Snuffleupagus on "white liberals":

"And how can we, the poor, the blacks, the underdog, complain? Whenever we fail, old whitey is there to catch us. He has set up debt loopholes so we can run big businesses out of town. He has engineered it so that we can never be excluded out of school. He has structured society to teach us how to lack manners, be aggressive and, oh yeah, be angry ALL of the time. And he always forgives us! We are never allowed to feel shame. Whitey knows how hard it is for us. Whitey knows we can't help ourselves."
She's not trying to have it both ways. Snuffy, while not colourblind, comes, if I read her correctly, from the "content of character not colour of skin", Booker Rising school. What she's asking is "how do we raise good people when the sanctions for behaving badly are non-existent ?". It's a question that can be asked in the context of the white underclass as well as unruly black youth.

(Of course the sanctions aren't completely non-existent - but you have to push things an awful long way. No-one in education wants the Guardian or Joseph Rowntree Foundation on their back)

Snuffy posted the above piece a year ago and pulled it for fear of people taking it the wrong way. After someone "outed" her to her Head as a blogger (and he turned out to be on the side of the angels), she felt confident enough and supported enough to repost.

Although we must be fair. The likelihood of a black teacher (who obviously, from reading her blog, cares about all her children and their education) being sacked for a blog is, while not zero, a lot lower than it would be for a white teacher. Her head would be facing a media firestorm PDQ. I can see the headlines now - "The Inspirational Black Teacher And Uncomfortable Truths About Race" in the Guardian, something a little rougher-edged in the Voice, and I don't even like to think how Ligali would cover it. A white teacher posting about black people in a Snuffy style would be out of the door faster than you could say 'institutional racism'. Nonetheless, I'm chuffed she's still with us. She shines through her writing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Doesn't Obama Look Like His Mum ?

Dreams From My Father, Face From My Mother.

I'm just reading Dreams From My Father at the moment - the guy writes well, even though he's a bit on the portentous/pretentious side. If young Barry sees a snake catch a grasshopper in the garden he has to stop and think about power relations for five paragraphs. Mom comes over as a bit of a crazy mixed up liberal kid with a thing about 'authentic' third world men - she gradually goes off second husband Lolo - a fine, sympathetic portrait by Obama - as he becomes less Exotic Third-World Student and more Mr Doing-Well - even though he's doing it for his family. Only read a few chapters in - our young hero's just been sent to Hawaii.

I see that state harassment of the BNP's gone open.
Police said those arrested were a 29-year-old and a 51-year-old from the south Liverpool area; a 64-year-old from the Wirral; a 19-year-old; a 46-year-old and a 41-year-old from north Liverpool; a 61-year-old and a 42-year-old from Knowsley; a 70-year-old; a 44-year-old; and a 29-year-old and a 48-year-old from St Helens.

Mr Goodwin said he understood 12 of his members had been arrested "distributing official party leaflets in Merseyside".

He added: "There was nothing unlawful in the leaflets - all the contents of the leaflets had been carefully vetted, or they would not have gone out."

Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Colin Matthews said: "Merseyside Police condemns racism in all of its forms and will take prompt action to support all of our communities".

All except one, that is.

Remember Phil Woolas' tough soundbites on immigration ?

"The government's points-based migration system could lead to a rise in the number of people entering the UK in the future, Phil Woolas has said."
There's a surprise.

UPDATE - more BNP arrests in Lancashire on Wednesday.