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Thursday 30 August 2012

EDL Walthamstow Demo: 1 September 2012

This Saturday, the EDL will be holding a protest in Walthamstow which had originally been planned to take place in August. Although this will be a national demo, recent attendance figures at such events – such as in Bristol and Dewsbury – have been rather modest compared to those that took place earlier in the protest group’s history. An explanation of why the march will be taking place has been provided in an article by Esmerelda Weatherwax, focusing upon how the borough has become a hotbed for Islamists in recent years, some of the most notable being involved in Anjem Choudary’s numerous differently-named groups consisting for the greater part of the same members articulating the same backward Islamist ideology.

Contrary to the shrill and predictable denunciations of the EDL protest made by the latest Trotskyite front group to spring into existence – ‘We are Waltham Forest’ – as well as formulaic imprecations issued by UAF, the SWP and sundry soi-disant ‘antifascists’, the police adjudge that the EDL march poses no threat of violence. Whether or not they believe that the same can be said of the miscellaneous anti-democratic elements of the Trotskyite and anarchist Left has not been divulged, but judging by past experience, including the recent ‘antifa’ attack upon police in Bristol, violence could well be forthcoming from that quarter. These groups employ the language of ‘anti-racism’ and ‘anti-fascism’ as a means of camouflaging their true intent of subverting public order and fomenting violence, and yet although these facts can be ascertained by anyone who cares to look at the literature that they produce, observe the manner in which they act and listen to the words that they speak, the mass media seem to possess a perplexing blind spot in this regard. Why are their claims, given their serious nature and implications, never subjected to objective scrutiny? The failure of the press, television and radio to investigate the murky world of the violent fringe of the anti-democratic Left, and the willingness of broadcasters and journalists to accept all of its pronouncements at face value, constitutes a baffling mystery. 

Turning to what the opponents of the EDL Walthamstow Demo have written, their true colours are revealed. For example, one article entitled ‘We Are Waltham Forest: residents to confront EDL racists’ appears on a website called Counterfire. This organisation describes itself as follows:
Counterfire is an organisation of revolutionary socialists. We work in the trade unions, student movement, and protest campaigns to link together different struggles, push them forwards, and build resistance to the system.
Counterfire members have played a key role in the Coalition of Resistance, Stop the War, and the student revolt.
Note the term “revolutionary socialists” and how the organisation freely owns that it infiltrates trade unions, student groups and protests to “build resistance to the system”. We live in a democracy where any “socialist” candidate is free to stand for office via the ballot box, and yet these people – “revolutionary socialists” – reject this route, preferring instead the tactics of infiltration and destabilisation, for they realise that in the cold light of day only a tiny minority of people would ever vote for them, so unappealing are their policies and the dystopian vision that they hold dear. They make clear their contempt for democracy and pluralistic thought and declare that their intent is to gradually curtail the compass of what passes for legitimate political debate so that eventually only those adhering to their own “revolutionary socialist” agenda are allowed to articulate their views. Still, history is unfortunately replete with examples where such “revolutionary socialists” have taken power and then violently turned on each other, such is the nature of their chiliastic urge to power in the name of an abstract humanity, the concrete reality of which they despise.

Such a tendency as outlined is clearly at play in the article written by Counterfire writer Charles Brown after he has written off the EDL as a dying force:
But this does not mean that we should downplay the threat posed by the EDL and fascist groups like the BNP and National Front. The scapegoating and scaremongering favoured by these organisations can often be found, in only marginally less virulent form in the right-wing press, and we have seen a ratcheting up of rhetoric against multiculturalism from Cameron and other Tory leaders.
Here we see the tactics of the “revolutionary socialist” Left laid bare: turn on any organisation or anybody who questions their ideological position. Thus, the first focus of their opposition was the National Front followed by the BNP then the EDL. Now that they think that the EDL are on the ropes, attention shifts to the Conservative Party and the “right-wing press” (presumably anything not falling under the control of the “revolutionary socialist” Left?). What are their weapons of choice? Smear, slur and insinuation. “Racist”, “fascist”, “far-right” and “Islamophobe” are just a few of the pejorative labels that they favour and employ with wild abandon, enjoying great success owing to the uncritical receptivity of the mass media, who help them to implement their strategy of: stigmatise, isolate and destroy. The SWP is also happy to whip up an atmosphere of fear with a view to inciting confrontation, hence its recent direction of propaganda towards Walthamstow's Muslim population. This, unfortunately, is one story that you will not see covered in mainstream reporting of the EDL protest in Walthamstow this Saturday.

UPDATE: Click here for demo coverage.

Welcome to Walthamstow: 'friends' of the revolutionary socialist Left

Monday 27 August 2012

The St Osyth Lion

The sleepy Essex village of St Osyth is today the centre of an unusual drama in which a police helicopter has been scrambled and a cordon set up by the constabulary near the fields in which it is claimed a lion has been sighted. A family staying in a caravan are said to have taken a photograph of the beast last night, although the BBC reports that it is of such poor quality that experts cannot make out what it is; it is said to be of a sandy colour. Roaring is also reported to have been heard in the vicinity. The eyewitnesses say that it was "several hundred yards away" when they saw it "preening".

None of the lions at Colchester zoo are missing, and the circus that visited the locality of late did not possess such creatures. What then, could account for this sighting? My hunch is that they spotted a large labrador or golden retriever. If not that, it could have been a beefy ginger tom, someone playing a prank dressed in a lion costume or, if the holidaymakers were real urban types, they may even have mistaken a bellowing Jersey cow indistinctly glimpsed through some trees or bushes for a big cat. Then again, the Shepley Lion may have ventured down from Huddersfield for a bank holiday outing.

By Monday evening the police had called off their hunt, with zoologist Anthony Tropeano concluding that the 'lion' was most likely to be a large dog. The picture of the 'lion' taken by a couple and handed to the police for examination is reproduced below. As you can see, it bears a striking resemblance to a ginger tom, but the video report from the BBC proves that this too is a misidentification.

The St Osyth 'lion' is, apparently, a Maine Coon cat called "Teddy". Does he terrify you? No? Me neither. Looking at this soft furry creature whose natural habitat seems to be the carpet beneath his owner's bed, I think that I would be rather more afraid if I came face-to-face with the two witnesses of the 'lion'. What must have been going through their heads to have mistaken this ball of fluff for a terrifying predator from the savannah? More importantly, just what must the police be thinking? Perhaps it is time for the Essex constabulary to check what the couple had ingested on the night of the sighting. What with this and Pussy Riot, it's been a rather feline month for blogging.

The St Osyth 'Lion': a Maine Coon Cat

Friday 24 August 2012

Breivik Sentence Passed

Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has been declared sane by five Norwegian judges. A smile flitted across Breivik's face as a judge outlined his sentence:  21 years with a minimum term of 10. However, the period of 445 days that he has spent in custody is to be subtracted from this total. Although he has technically been declared sane, everyone must hope that his alleged international terror network - a 'revived' Knights Templar - is nothing more than fantasy.

The length of his sentence means that for each life taken, he will serve less than four months, which seems a paltry penalty for a crime of this magnitude. Breivik, no matter what his protestations, is as much a product of Islamism as the violent Islamists themselves, his vile vision of a theocratic Europe being a mirror image of a revived Caliphate. His crimes have done more to discredit genuine rational and peaceful opposition to Islamism across Europe than the combined efforts of the continent's multiculturalists for whom he bore such a murderous hatred. Putting politics aside, no matter what the court could have concluded, no sentence would have been able to deliver real justice for the families of the deceased, and those who remain alive yet physically and mentally scarred by his attacks. Breivik has secured a place in history not as a defender of European Civilisation and values, but as a warped product of the Islamist ideals he professes to detest.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Todd Bentley: Punching for Jesus!

Given that the Edinburgh Fringe is currently in full swing, you could be mistaken for thinking that a certain preacher named Todd Bentley is a brilliant comic creation; an astutely observed parody of much that is the worst in the North American evangelical tradition. Whereas readers will doubtless be familiar with scenes featuring believers speaking in tongues, handling snakes, and preachers giving vent to hysterical confessionals accompanied by telethons aimed at fleecing the faithful of their hard-earned cash, they may be less well acquainted with Bentley's approach, which often involves punching the lights out of members of his flock. If you think that that in itself seems strange, be prepared for more revelations (although not of St John).

The now 36-year-old Bentley, it is said, was convicted of sexual assault at the age of 15, before going on to overdose on amphetamines and hallucinogens. Now, of course, I really wouldn't want to make any link between such goings on and his conversion to evangelical Christianity at the age of 18. Heaven forbid that the ingestion of certain potent mind altering chemicals had anything to do with the precipitation of his sense of divine mission, which was doubtless a consequence of his acceptance of the Holy Spirit. Anyway, I digress.

The colourful Mr Bentley went on to lead 'Fresh Fire Ministries' in the late 1990s, and then the Florida-based 'Lakeland Revival' in 2008. Although the latter may sound like a Cumbrian regeneration project, it has nothing to do with small business start-ups in Keswick, but rather, something dubbed the 'Florida Healing Outpouring'. If that term sounds odd to your ears, you are not alone, for it sounds about as everyday as Moon Unit Zappa, and makes even less sense. As its title would suggest, quite unbelievable things 'occurred', with people being 'healed' of diabetes, cancer, deafness and paralysis. Whilst perhaps this blogger and rational readers may look upon these claims with a degree of scepticism, there is, as ever, something that is more quantifiable than miracles: money. Indeed, quantities of money seemed to manifest themselves in abundance, providing an outpouring capable of paying for $15,000 a night venues. Quite how much was generously donated to the miraculous Mr Bentley, we do not know.

All good things come to an end though, and the 'Lakeland Revival' petered out after Bentley had had his fill of curing people through landing blows upon them, knocking out teeth and kicking an old woman in the face. Miracle workers, it seems, often need to take time off from their good works, especially following television documentary exposures. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways! So, why mention Bentley today? Well, The Daily Telegraph informs us that this agent of the divine will has been denied entry to the UK, with the Home Office stating: "The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they are not conducive to the public good." 

Evidently, many people across the country who had been looking forward to a kicking from the Canadian evangelical will be sorely disappointed. It would seem that if they wish to be physically abused by this particular preacher, then they will have to purchase flights to visit him on his home turf or elsewhere in Europe, where he has recently been knocking seven shades of something out of sundry Norwegians. Whether he has lately repeated his pièce de résistance of punching someone when they have a broken sternum, has not been revealed. 

The first of the videos below provides a sample of Bentley in action, although the punches that he lands are on this occasion on the gentle side: "If we had twenty cancers here, we could get twenty cancers healed". Don't give up on the NHS or Bupa just yet though!

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Obama: preparing to attack Syria?

There are ominous signs that the US is preparing for military intervention against Syria. As in Iraq, it is of course the pretext of WMD - this time the potential movement of Syrian chemical and biological weopons - that is being deployed to rationalise US aggression. The New York Times quotes Obama as saying:
We cannot have a situation in which chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.
In other words, the US President is implying that such weapons could fall into the hands of Islamist militants including Al-Qaeda. This comes a day after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennadii Gatilov claimed that:
Yet more facts have appeared, including those in the mass media, about the massive scale of the supply of weaponry manufactured in the West to the Syrian opposition through third countries.
Today, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo as well as a Syrian government delegation, and issued a statement reiterating their opposition to foreign intervention in Syria, emphasising "the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law and the principles contained in the UN Charter, and not to allow their violation". No country or group of nations, in their opinion, should pursue a policy of imposing "democracy by bombs". The message from Moscow and Beijing to Obama is clear: stay out of Syria. The question is, will the world's sole military hyperpower take heed of these words, or instead pursue the reckless policy of destabilising and destroying another Arab state with no clear vision of what is likely to come next? Some within America's Christian fundamentalist eschatological fringe may rave with enthusiasm at such a potential portent of the coming of the 'end times', but rational beings everywhere will instead shudder at the likely mass bloodletting which will ensue.

It is widely known that Islamist militants, including some holding UK passports, have entered Syria in order to destabilise the Assad regime, and that regional powers such as Saudi Arabia appear to have been funding the uprising. Whatever should happen, Syria's internal problems are not our problems, and the UK should not interfere in Syrian affairs. However, just as in Libya, there has been a clamour for intervention within our foreign policy establishment that has been paralleled by the BBC's emotive tenor favouring direct intervention. We should not succomb to such propaganda. Atrocities are being committed in Syria, and they are being committed by both sides. However, the so-called "activists" of the "Opposition" are not, on the whole, humane Western-style democrats. Islamism looks set to come to Syria aided, no matter how unwittingly, by the US and the UK. Life under Assad may have been bad for some people, but for others, particularly Christians and Alawites, many may find that they have no lives at all once his regime is gone. If Syria fragments, what happens to her neighbouring states? What impact, in particular, will this have on Turkey? Ethnic and confessional groups straddle borders, and hundreds of thousands of refugees threaten to add an additional destabilising influence to the mix.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Moscow Eid: Video, Pictures and Russian Reactions

The video and pictures below illustrate the disruption to the daily life of the Russian capital that has become a familiar part of each Eid in recent years. Once again, thousands of Muslims have blocked streets with their prayers and 3,000 additional police were laid on to ensure that all passed off peacefully. Russia Today reported that:
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian Muslims on the eve of the holiday, wishing them welfare, health, and success in good deeds. Putin said that by their "fruitful" activity, Muslim organizations are making a significant contribution to the preservation and development of Russia's national and cultural traditions.
Many members of the public in Britain and elsewhere who have no direct experience of Russia or who do not understand Russian harbour the misapprehension that Putin is some species of Russian ethno-nationalist. He is not. Putin is an opportunist statist, willing to use whichever elements of ideology – including some trappings of nationalism – for the benefit of himself and his supportive clique of oligarchs. Given this, he has no misgivings about treating with Islam, even with literalist interpretations of it as promoted by Putin loyalist and Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. Russia under Putin is therefore no bulwark against the Islamisation of European societies, although ordinary ethnic Russians – non-Muslims – are alarmed by what is happening to the demography of Moscow and the country at large.

Yesterday, it was announced that an agreement had been reached to construct a 60,000-capacity mosque on the outskirts of Moscow, but today, new demands have been made by the Council of Russian Muftis, calling for the building of a mosque in each of Moscow’s administrative districts. This would of course have a dramatic impact upon Moscow’s character and symbolise its accelerating Islamisation, a fact not lost upon ordinary Russians.

The comment thread attached to the article dealing with this announcement in today’s edition of Izvestia makes for interesting reading, providing as it does an insight into the thoughts of Russian readers. I have translated a number of these below that reveal a deep sense of unease amongst many ethnic Russians about the Islamisation that is being brought about by inefficient immigration legislation and Russia’s own version of multiculturalism. Some readers of a sensitive nature may find elements of what is reproduced not to their taste, but I have not bowdlerised the translations, and nor should it be taken that I necessarily agree with all of the sentiments expressed. Reaction to the announcement regarding the proposed mosque-building programme was uniformly negative. For those of you who read Russian, some screengrabs of the comment section appear after the video and pictures.The full thread can be accessed here.

Russian readers express their opinions on Islam in Moscow
Igor Kaftailov: “Russia needs to be cleansed of the Muslim plague, and no more mosques built. But our filthy venal authorities of course, will lick the backsides of the muftis all the same.”

Tamara Sheverdina: “That was also precisely WHY the BYZANTINE EMPIRE collapsed . . . Now Constantinople is in the hands of the Turks . . . And everything started out just as now . . . The Muslim religion is false and bloody.”

Russkii Ivanov: “This is just as in the Russian fairytale: “There was a hare with a little wooden cottage, and a fox with one of ice . . .” In Soviet times there was STRICT regulation of the movement of the slit-eyes [by which he presumably refers to Central Asians] from one place to another. Everything was regulated, therefore we lived NORMALLY.”

V.P.P. – V.P.P. – “Move the capital of the Muslims from Kazan to Moscow and the Kremlin! And the capital of the Orthodox ETHNIC RUSSIANS from Moscow to the Kazan Kremlin, together with the President and the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation!”

Alexander Lv: “For the whole of their existence, the ethnic Russians have struggled with the consequences of the Tatar-Mongol yoke, and here we now find the Judases are prepared to lay themselves down before the Muslims again. Today, even the NTV News started not with an Orthodox but with a Muslim celebration. I would sooner hear Russian bad language on the street than incomprehensible Muslim babble.”

Sergei Avramov: “Muscovites must come out and organise protests against the building of mosques. We must understand, that the Muslim yoke is being placed Moscow. Ethnic Russians must show the guests who is the master in the home, and show them their place. If our authorities do not wish to allow this, then there has to be a problem for them. Ethnic Russians – we need to organise ourselves, change those in power and defend our historical roots. Yet, under the pretext of tolerance we are abandoned to the enemies of the Russian people.”

Petr Petrov: “If we wait and nothing changes then perhaps it will be too late. We are supporting not the ethnic Russian citizens who founded the state, but foreigners.” 

To Monin: “We ethnic Russian folk must oppose the penetration of Muslims into our society.”

Iurii Shchekin: “But in the mosques we shall rear pigs, then they will be useful :-)”.

To Monin: “We - the ethnic Russian folk - must become a single force, capable of resisting the influx of Muslims into our SACRED RUS’.”

Muslims pray in Moscow's Prospekt Mira

Saturday 18 August 2012

Hebden Bridge flooded (by EDL)

It turns out that today witnessed a number of small flash demos by the EDL besides the modest sized protest against the building of a mosque in Chelmsford. To the consternation of some, members of the EDL turned up for a return visit to Hebden Bridge, a small West Yorkshire former mill town renowned for its unusually right-on collection of residents, who have since the 1970s transformed the Pennine settlement into an oasis of metropolitan alternative lifestyles. So, rather like their kindred spirits who have set up home in Totnes and who also received a visitation from the EDL today, the inhabitants of Hebden Bridge were a bit put out by having their Saturday afternoon shopping for crystals and ethically sourced coffee interrupted. After what took place, a number of them will doubtless be booking themselves in for additional Reiki sessions to overcome the trauma. Why, did you not know that some of these EDL ruffians even drank lager (Red Stripe to be precise - look at the picture) in the open air from cans!?

One histrionic Hebden Bridge blogger affiliated to the Labour Party was tormented by visions of blackshirted mobs and thus grimly labelled the picture displayed below as "Fascist EDL in Hebden Bridge this afternoon" (later sarcastically amended to "The freedom fighting EDL in Hebden Bridge this afternoon"). Quite how he knew that they were "fascist" was not divulged, as I don't think that he bothered enquiring into their political philosophy or affiliation. Is drinking Red Stripe "fascist"? Isn't it from Jamaica? Hardly something that a "fascist" would drink, surely? Anyway, Tony was not alone in his distress, for as can be seen in the screen grab from Indymedia, Luke Knight was concerned about the arrival of "Around 40 EDL" in the town this afternoon who were confronted by a local "Anti fascist" (such folk are apparently known by sight in Hebden Bridge and are not an uncommon breed) who "went berserk and started screaming NAZIS at them and attempted to assault an EDL supporter" which led to an exchange of punches. Just what are these self-styled "anti-fascists" supposed to be saving us from? Violence? Hmm. Somehow, that just does not wash given the behaviour of this fellow and many of his self-righteously aggressive ideological brethren elsewhere.

Also, just why is it that Luke Knight writes about "An EDL female"? It sounds as if he is describing another species, which constitutes, to me at least, the language of dehumanisation, and as "anti-fascists" never tire of telling us: dehumanisation is just a step away from cattle trucks and gas chambers. Well, they do appear to possess a morbid fascination with such subjects, and for all their protestations about desiring "peace", are often frighteningly willing to deploy violence in order to silence those who happen to disagree with them. Although I paraphrase somewhat for the hour grows late, there seems to be much truth in the statement that never is evil so readily done as when men are convinced of the righteousness of the cause in which they act. Thus it is with the "anti-fascists", tortured by demons in human form of their own creation, which they think must be exorcised for the moral benefit of the "community" and for the sake of their own psychological well-being. And to think that these people have the temerity to use a slogan such as "hope not hate". Which of these two principles truly animates their thoughts and their actions?

The second screengrab also comes from a contributor to Indymedia, displaying his reaction to this article. As can be seen, the demonising mentality of the "anti-fascist" is in full spate, anathematising me as a "Neo-Nazi Troll" and a "racist w*****r". My point about the inherently unpleasant, stigmatising and aggressive nature of these people is thereby fully confirmed.

EDL foraging for organic hummus in Hebden Bridge


Pussy Riot to protest in Moscow Mosque?

Tomorrow the Muslim population of Moscow will celebrate Eid, and in recent years these celebrations have brought parts of the Russian capital to a standstill as tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers have prayed in some of the city's main thoroughfares. Now however, Russia Today has announced that permission has been granted for a mosque capable of accommodating 60,000 Muslims to be built on the outskirts of Moscow.

The city is thought to have a population of circa 2 million Muslims, a number that has grown rapidly in recent years owing mainly to internal migration from Russia's Muslim regions and the arrivals of Muslim immigrants from the "near abroad" of the former Soviet states of Central Asia and the Caucasus. Given Pussy Riot's recent protest in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, who is willing to bet that members of the group will stage a similar protest in Moscow's new mosque once it is built, drawing attention to Islam's systematic degradation of women?

Although I have not yet been able to discover any images of the proposed mosque, perhaps it will resemble the Grozny Kadyrov Mosque, opened by Putin's pet Islamist - Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov - alongside Putin himself back in 2008. As can be seen, the opulence and dimensions of the mosque are striking, particularly when taking into account that this was built in the wake of much of Grozny being razed to the ground during the First and Second Chechen Wars. Oddly enough, it was the outbreak of this second war that propelled Putin into the Russian presidency under the patronage of the then ailing Boris Yeltsin. Somehow, it seems hard to believe that all of the damage to Grozny's housing and general infrastructure had been made good by the time that this grandiose mosque was opened.

Grozny Kadyrov Mosque: will Moscow's be similar?

The Mosque's opulent interior

Grozny after the First Chechen War: 1994-1996

EDL Chelmsford Demo

Members of the EDL have been demonstrating in Chelmsford today. The demo is said to have been occasioned by the granting of permission to rebuild a mosque in the city named the Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat. According to Chelmsford Weekly News, an earlier EDL protest on 21st July resulted in three of the 30 protesters being arrested “on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence” and bailed until 9th September.

Like clockwork, the announcement that the EDL were to protest today spawned a decision by the local TUC to stage a counter-protest under the UAF banner. Looking at the list of signatories endorsing the protest against the EDL, it is interesting to see not only the usual suspects such as local members of the Labour Party and leading trades unionists, but also UKIP! How strange for UKIP to align themselves with a Trotskyist front group! The city’s Conservative MP Simon Burns also backed the UAF protest.

The weather in Chelmsford, as in many parts of the country today, looks to have been fine and hot as can be seen from the videos of the EDL and UAF marchers below, and unlike in Bristol last month, it seems that there has been no trouble in the city today which must be a matter of relief for all concerned. A tweet from the EDL Support Group made at about 1pm claimed that local people were clapping the EDL. According to the Casuals United blog several hundred EDL supporters had turned up, outnumbering their opposing numbers characterised as “30 grannies, union types and scruffy hippies”. However, the second of the videos below would seem to indicate that this is a considerable underestimate of the latter. As for the EDL themselves, numbers are hard to estimate owing to not all of the protest being pictured in the frame, but it looks to be a few dozen strong, perhaps a hundred or a little over.

As the demo coincided with the V Festival today, this unsurprisingly seemed to attract more interest from the locals. Both the EDL protest and the counter-demonstration finished at around 3pm. Essex Police were happy to report that owing to their successful liaison with organisers of both protests there had been "minimal disruption to normal weekend activities in the centre of Chelmsford." An interesting eyewitness report from Chelmsford can be read on Hidden British News. A different account, more sympathetic to UAF but with some good pictures, has been produced by photographer Peter Marshall, who estimates that there were approximately 80 EDL and 200 UAF/Chelmsford Against Fascism present. He also reveals that Weyman Bennett, a man previously arrested for conspiracy to commit violent disorder at an anti-EDL demo in Bolton in 2010, led the UAF protest.

Casuals United reports that a contingent of EDL turned up in Totnes today of all places. Why? That's hard to say. Reports of hummus in local cafés thought to relate to Hamas perhaps? Still, it's a nice place to sup a pint on a summer's day. Some EDL also paid a visit to Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire's equivalent of Totnes.

EDL in Chelmsford

Chelmsford UAF

Friday 17 August 2012

Pussy Riot: Views from Russia

The trial that has led to the sentencing of three members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot to two years imprisonment has generated a great deal of media interest around the globe. Their conviction for “hooliganism” and “religious hatred” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour has been greeted with widespread indignation, with well-known celebrities such as Madonna, Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono expressing their support for the group members, but how has the trial and subsequent sentence been perceived in Russia? What is the narrative being spun by the mainstream Russian media?

Pussy Riot claim that their stunt – their “punk prayer” to the Virgin Mary for Putin to leave office – was politically motivated, but quite what their manifesto is, other than for Putin to go, is not known. Prior to their impromptu cathedral performance, the group was unheard of outside of Russia and not that well known in their home country. Irrespective of any political motivation, evidently this episode has created one thing: massive publicity. How many Russian punk bands had you heard of before this trial? In fact, how many Russian bands had you heard of?

One of Russia’s most popular papers – Izvestia – draws attention to the fact that two of the women sentenced today have young children which offers them the hope of having their sentences reduced significantly as has happened on a number of occasions in the past for women in a similar situation. However, there remain ten days during which an appeal can be made, and only then, if unsuccessful, will the sentence be carried out. Even if they are unlucky, the paper says that the may be able to apply for early release in spring 2013. Moreover, if all else fails it is likely that an appeal will be made to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that the sentences violate Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees “freedom of expression”.

The editor of the more critical Novaya Gazeta made the Pussy Riot case the main story, stating: “The sentence demonstrated that our state and Church have finally merged in ecstasy. To criticise the Church means an attack upon the state, and the reverse. This bears no relation whatsoever to the true intimate and secret religious sensibility.”

The government-owned Rossiyskaya Gazeta unsurprisingly took a critical stance towards the foreign media, singling out The Guardian and The Globe and Mail in particular, not being impressed by The Guardian’s comparison of Pussy Riot with Jesus Christ. Moreover, noting that Amnesty International had also joined the foreign press in condemnation of Russia’s handling of the trial the reporter asked “Where does such unity suddenly spring from?” She, Galina Vasina, provided this by why of an answer: they all wanted to hinder the emergence of “a strong Russia”.

Russian journalist Alexander Nekrassov spoke to Jon Snow in this evening’s edition of Channel 4 News, claiming that Pussy Riot had offended the deep religious sensibilities of many Russian people and therefore had deserved punishment of some sort. It is true that ‘singing’ their punk prayer in the cathedral was discordant, disruptive and inappropriate, but for it to have been adjudged to have been a criminal matter, potentially carrying a sentence of up to seven years, strikes me as bizarre as well as innately unjust. Surely, something along the lines of a banning order prohibiting the members of the group involved from entering certain ecclesiastical buildings for a particular length of time would have been more appropriate? Already, the three women have spent five months in custody, which is a long time for a ‘misjudged’ publicity stunt. Even Putin claimed that he did not wish the women in question to receive a harsh sentence, which begs the question: does Putin consider two years incarceration to be a harsh sentence?

As for the group indulging in “religious hatred”, that charge is an obvious absurdity. In what way can their action be said to have incited hatred of Orthodox Christians or Christianity?

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was originally built to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon after his burning of Moscow in 1812. In the early 1930s, the Communists dynamited the building, raising it to the ground with the original intention of building a Palace of the Soviets topped by a giant statue of Lenin, but constant waterlogging caused a change of plan, and for decades it was instead the site of the world’s largest open air swimming pool. In 1990 permission was granted to rebuild the Cathedral, so today a replica of the original stands on the site. It is therefore a building imbued with considerable national symbolism, hence, presumably, its choice as the location for Pussy Riot's noisy intervention.

The cause of Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samusevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been championed across the western world, but like any event in Russia that can be turned to an anti-national end, globalists, particularly those of a US Neocon bent, will be keen to use this case not only as a means of propagandising against the Putin clique, but against the Russian state's general independent stance in international affairs. Irrespective of the composition of its leadership at any one time, the Russian Federation serves as a steadfast geopolitical opponent of a globalised unipolar world, which is why Neocons such as Mitt Romney possess such hostility towards the country. So, if you should hear Romney declaring his support for Pussy Riot and human rights in Russia, you need to be aware that for him arguments about such freedoms are ancillary to assisting the promotion of globalism and the hobbling of one of its strongest opponents.

Today, Pussy Riot have released what they term a “Single for the Sentence” entitled “Putin lights the bonfires of Revolution” which can be heard below. It, thankfully, is not as discordantly grating as their ecclesiastically themed effort. There is though as you might expect, a considerable amount of screeching.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

EDL Bristol Bill? Shouldn't that be 'We are Bristol' Bill?

The manner in which reporting of the EDL is systematically skewed by the mainstream media was revealed once again in this week in Bristol's online news source Bristol 24/7 which ran with the headline "EDL in Bristol: £495k bill revealed for police operation." As regular readers of this blog well know, there are almost invariably two sets of protesters present at any EDL demo, with self-styled 'anti-fascists', usually under the UAF banner or under another Socialist Workers Party front group with a title beginning "We are . . .", in this case "We are Bristol", attempting to violently confront the EDL. The statistics relating to arrests since the EDL's inception speak for themselves, for the numbers of anti-EDL protesters arrested greatly outnumber those from the EDL side. However, perhaps I should rephrase that, for the statistics are not permitted to "speak for themselves", but are instead compelled to speak through the mouth of the mass media which once again does a fine job of deliberately misrepresenting them to create the desired, and totally false, impression. How is this done? Take a look below at the manner in which Bristol 24/7 reported the Bristol arrests:
There were just 16 arrests on the day: for offences of going equipped, going equipped for damage, found on enclosed premises, affray, racially aggravated section 5 public order, Breach of Sec 60 Refused to remove face covering, assault police (x2), violent disorder (x2), section 3 public order (x2), drunk and disorderly (x2), theft and common assault.
What strikes the reader immediately is that an article that adopts a critical stance and hostile tone towards the EDL does not mention the identities of those who were arrested, conveying the impression that they were EDL protesters and that the crimes enumerated were committed by the EDL. However, within 24 hours of the demo, when a total of 14 arrests were reported as having been made, it was said that only two of these were from the EDL side, the rest being drawn from the ranks of the counter-demonstrators, particularly from members of the violent 'Antifa' anarchist contingent who set fire to the content of wheelie bins and attacked the police.

If you are a reader of Bristol 24/7, can you honestly say, taking the above into consideration, that you can trust its reporting as being factual and impartial? Could it not equally have run with the headline "We are Bristol: £495k bill revealed for police operation"? Clearly, it should have employed a headline less partisan in orientation.



Tuesday 14 August 2012

Scottish Independence: Desirable?

Gordon Brown has been so silent since the last General Election, at least in the domestic context, that you could almost be forgiven for forgetting that he had ever existed. Just what has he been up to these past two years? Still, given the damage that he managed to inflict upon the country when he was in a position to influence policy and public affairs, it is just as well that he has kept his head down since 2010. Yesterday however, the former Prime Minister broke his silence to voice his opinions on the subject of Scottish independence, which in a rare moment of concurrence proved in a number of respects not to be so far removed from my own. In short, Brown is against the dissolution of the Union.

Brown opined that an independent Scotland would be a poorer Scotland, that would lose not only the economic benefits of being part of the UK, but would also lose the geopolitical clout that being a member of the Union bestows. Scotland’s Daily Record quoted him as saying:
If you break up the fiscal union, the sharing and pooling of resources across the UK, then it’s clear that you will either have to cut public expenditure massively beyond what is being done at the moment or you will have to tax Scottish people more.
Quite clearly, the removal of the subsidy channelled through the Barnett Formula would subtract a significant amount of money from Scotland’s budget, although this claim is disputed by Alex Salmond’s SNP owing to the party’s stated intent of seizing the bulk of North Sea oil revenue for Scotland alone. However, Salmond’s insistence that Scotland would wish to retain Stirling as its currency indicates that the SNP truly does wish to have its cake and eat it.

The current devolved constitutional settlement created by the last Labour Government is neither just nor sustainable; it is in need of a considerable overhaul, but stopping short of the dissolution of the Union. Naturally, should the Scots, or the Welsh or Ulster come to that, wish to secede from the UK then it should be their sovereign right to do so. For the English however, they are in the unfortunate situation of having no say in the matter, for unlike Scotland, Wales or Ulster, they do not possess a parliament or assembly of their own, having to make do with Westminster which of course affords representation to all of the other constituent nations of the Union. The English, should they wish to do so, could neither therefore secede from the UK nor from the EU for they possess no representative body.

One party has as its primary concern the creation of a specifically English parliament – the English Democrats – and in the past year UKIP too has toyed with this idea. However, such an institution is not necessary to disentangle ourselves from the devolutionary mess in which we find ourselves. What we should aim for instead, is for Westminster to be both the English and UK Parliament, but for Scottish, Welsh and Ulster MPs to be debarred from voting on matters of policy that are devolved to their own institutions such as education and health, with English MPs alone voting upon, and devising policies for England, in these spheres. MPs from the devolved nations would still retain voting rights in matters relating to foreign policy and other aspects of non-devolved policy. Such a solution would be equitable, truly democratic and would also preserve the Union. However, as Scotland, Wales and Ulster possess the right to secede, this right ought also to be granted to England and the English Parliament at Westminster. It would also ensure – for better or for worse – that the UK could maintain its status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, for membership would almost certainly not be inherited by a rump Union under England’s leadership in the event of Scotland’s secession. Although the Russian Federation inherited the USSR’s permanent seat following the dissolution of the latter state at the end of 1991, this pattern would not be replicated for a truncated UK.

Scottish independence could lead to a host of problems, not least, should a party ever come to power in England with the serious intent of tackling the question of mass immigration, by introducing the potential need for border controls between the two states. Given the SNP’s desire to increase Scotland’s population through mass immigration – a curiously anti-national position for any self-avowed nationalist party to take – such a system of border controls would regrettably have to be imposed.

The Union between England and Scotland came into formal existence in 1707, but with the exception of the Interregnum, the two countries have been united under the same crown since 1603. Both have gained much from the Union, and would also have much to lose were it to end. 

The Economist's humorous and controversial take on an independent Scotland: 'Skintland'

Monday 13 August 2012

Cossacks ride on Paris!

Cossack Commemoration
Two hundred years ago such an announcement would have been dreaded following the savaging of Napoleon’s Grande Armée by Russian arms and General Winter, but today, this news betokens not forthcoming acts of bloody vengeance, but something of a cultural exchange in commemoration of the bicentennial of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. Itar-Tass reports that a detachment of 23 riders, all descendants of Don Cossacks who had harried Napoleon’s troops during their hellish retreat, yesterday set out from Moscow dressed in replica uniforms from the 1812 campaign and mounted on steeds of the appropriate Don Cossack breed, renowned for their endurance and ability to travel long distances. These days the breed is rare, but it is hoped that this commemorative event will help to secure its future.

According to Itar-Tass, the cavalry tour is a purely “socio-cultural undertaking which possesses neither a political nor an economic goal.” The role of the state is said to have been confined to lending some organisational assistance, whereas the tour itself has been funded through private donations.

Along the Cossacks’ route, which will take the riders through western Russia, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, Germany and France, there will be a series of conferences, roundtables, seminars and concerts, with the detachment even being accompanied by a “mobile museum”. The climax will come at Fontainebleau, where a celebration concert and charitable auction will be held, with the latter disposing of the horses themselves. For the horses’ sake, it is to be hoped that the French gastronomic predilection for a certain type of meat will not on this occasion be a determining factor in the auction.

It is doubtful that on this occasion the visiting Cossacks will have any linguistic impact, although it is said of their ancestors that they did lend a word to the French language with which you may be familiar: “bistro” from the Russian “bystro” – quickly. Legend has it that occupying Russian troops banged their Parisian tables with impatience yelling “Bystro, bystro!” in their anxiety to be fed, and from thence it is said to have entered the French language. Although the etymology is disputed, the story possesses a certain charm.

The defeat of Napoleon plays a central role in Russia's national narrative, his invasion being just one of many from the West which over the centuries included the Teutonic Knights, the Poles, the Swedes, the French, the Germans and the Austrians. This historical experience, and the devastation wreaked by many of these invasions, has etched itself deeply into the Russian national psyche, hence what to us seems like an alarmist response by the Russians to American plans to site anti-ballistic missile defences in Poland. As for the riders, the video below shows their departure from Moscow yesterday. They have a long ride ahead of them.

Cossack Revival
Before you fall into the error of thinking that these contemporary Cossacks are little more than a Russian equivalent of the Sealed Knot, think again. Since the late Soviet period, repressed Cossack identities have re-emerged in different parts of Russia and in neighbouring states such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan where their hosts possessed traditional territories. In the main, with the notable exception of Ukraine that possesses its own Cossack tradition which forms an integral part of its national identity and myth (it would argue with some credibility that its Cossacks were the originals), Cossacks see themselves as a distinct branch of the Russian people, or a “sub-ethnos” in the parlance of Russian ethnographers.

Since the late 1980s Cossack revivalism has led to the creation of a variety of Cossack organisations, some have which have sought a contemporary role for themselves analogous to that of their late-tsarist predecessors as servitors of the state and guardians of its borderlands. Earlier this month Izvestia announced that Aleksandr Tkachev, Governor of the Kuban, wishes to use Cossacks to help tackle illegal immigration to the region emanating from the northern (predominantly Muslim) Caucasus that he believes could lead to regional destabilisation and interethnic conflict. He remarked that currently the region was about 80% ethnic Russian with ethnic minorities making up the remainder, but drew attention to the parallel of Kosovo which although once majority Serb (he made the gaffe of referring to Serbs as Croats) now possessed an overwhelming Albanian majority. He is determined to nip the demographic crisis in the bad to ensure that the Russians do not share the same fate, and he sees the Cossacks as playing a very active and central role in this. It would seem therefore, that the Cossacks should no longer be regarded as just another historical curiosity.

Cossacks leave Moscow for Paris

Saturday 11 August 2012

David Starkey versus Michael Wood: Popular History for Today

Television history, and history more generally, tells us as much about the time in which we live, as about the period and events under consideration. Nowhere is this tendency more pronounced than in the former, where the tyranny of the present is expressed in the retro-projection of current political themes and obsessions in accordance with the tastes and prejudices of commissioning editors. Whereas the printed word affords the opportunity for historians to give expression to a wide range of opinions and perspectives, the compass of views deemed to be acceptable on the small screen is somewhat more constrained. What viewers are presented with therefore, is a distorted impression of historical consensus: the dominance of presentism.

This week witnessed the concluding episodes of two television history series: David Starkey’s ‘The Churchills’, and Michael Wood’s ‘The Great British Story: a People’s History’. Stylistically and attitudinally, as would be expected from two popular historians of divergent preoccupations and characters, the series were quite distinct, both in terms of their style, and in their subject matter: Starkey focused upon key elite figures who helped to fashion the modern world, whereas Wood took a bottom-up slant in line with the Asa Briggs approach to popular history. Whilst Starkey did seek to emphasise connections between the past and the present, albeit in the form of two pasts intersecting in the life and writings of Winston Churchill, it was Wood who rounded off his series with a direct and heavily politicised summation of our history with specific reference to the present and its realities. Whereas Starkey sought to draw lessons from the past, Wood was happy for the past to yield to the present, and to selectively distort the former to propagate the official myth that we are “a nation of immigrants”.

Starkey and Wood are of the same post-war generation, the two men being born in 1945 and 1948 respectively, with Starkey’s specialism lying in the Tudor period and Wood’s in the Dark Ages. However, whereas Starkey excelled at Cambridge, obtained his doctorate and has enjoyed a career encompassing stints at his alma mater, the LSE and now as a visiting professor at the University of Kent, Wood failed to complete his doctoral research at Oxford, turning instead to journalism before going on to make a number of popular history programmes for television. Whereas both – as well as Simon Schama, born in 1945 – came of age in the 1960s, their reactions to the cultural revolution initiated in that decade – specifically to its insistence upon the transcendence of the nation-state and of national identities rooted in descent and continuity – have been quite different. Starkey clearly bemoans the negative effects that this attitude and attendant policies have brought in their train, whereas Wood perceives them as positive and something to be “celebrated”.

Wood’s Vision: Multiple Identities as the Norm
It was telling that in his introduction to the last instalment of his series, even Wood was compelled to acknowledge that in the decades immediately preceding World War I “Together at work and play, the British knew who they were.” Moreover, he conceded: “It was working class patriotism that made the volunteer armies in the first total war.” Thus, despite what was to follow, Wood had conceded that British identity during this period was not problematic, for we did not have to examine who we were, for we knew. Today, those of us who lost members of our families, those “working class” volunteers who fell in Flanders fields and on the Somme, still know who we are. For us, our identities are not “problematic”.

Wood charted our decline which set in with the profligate waste of human and material resources in the First World War, followed by the failure of our industries to keep pace with the innovations of emergent competitors in the interwar period, the Great Depression, the devastation of World War II, and thence onwards to the post-war evisceration of our industrial economy with the decimation of shipbuilding, textiles, mining and steel, leaving Britain as the “first post-industrial nation”. Accompanying these changes was a radical reshaping of the country’s – specifically of England’s (although this was not mentioned) – demography brought about by mass immigration from the Commonwealth. He mentioned the Commonwealth Conference of 1947 which shaped the British Nationality Act of 1948, a piece of legislation that redefined what it was to be a British citizen, being in his words “ecumenical, cosmopolitan and liberal . . . an astounding vision of the future.” 

Wood claimed that without the half a million immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa “a war battered economy would have ground to a halt” owing to a “chronic labour shortage.” This influx was stimulated by slogans such as “Your mother country needs you”, and Wood fell back upon making spurious historical comparisons between post-war immigration and earlier and far smaller migratory waves including those of Huguenots, Flemings and Jews. The name of Enoch Powell was invoked to provide the presenter with an opportunity to underscore his multiculturalist credentials by denouncing the deceased statesman as having made “inflammatory” and “inconsidered” remarks about immigration. He did not stop to consider whether or not they had been correct. Starkey would have done.

Whilst Wood celebrated the rise of immigrant “communities” and the re-emergence of distinctive Scottish, Welsh and Cornish identities, about the English he remained silent, preferring instead to refer to regional identities. Wood, the Englishman, does not appear to be at ease with Englishness, thus conforming to the stereotype of the national self-loathing exhibited by a certain type of English intellectual. For Wood, the transformation of Moss Side into Somali, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other ethnic enclaves was a reason to beam and to make reference to the culinary enrichment that such a presence brought in its train. However, he somehow managed to omit any reference to misogyny, honour crimes, forced marriages and paedophile grooming from his considerations. Wood sees only what he wishes to see, and whereas he grew up in Moss Side, he no longer lives there. If it is so wonderful, why not?

Wood appears to be ignorant of much recent historical and genetic research, and thus feels free to make reference to the Welsh as “the original British”, thus somehow implying that the English are interlopers – just another set of tribal immigrants amongst the many who now inhabit England. For Wood, it is mass immigration that makes our times “so dynamic and so interesting” leading to what he terms “another radical reshaping of our identities” in which “our destinies are inextricably bound together”. Thereafter, he dreamily wafted off into the credits, preceded by a collection of people from around the country declaring what they saw themselves to be.

Starkey’s Vision: a rudderless Nation
The focus of Starkey’s series was quite different to Wood’s, dealing as it did with two specific historical figures and their associated roles in history. It was however, also about the role of the writing of history in the shaping of history; the belief that Winston Churchill’s historiographical endeavours enabled him to better comprehend the situation in which he found himself, and to act in a manner that would extricate the nation from peril.

John Churchill would have made a fascinating subject for a series of his own, but presumably Starkey correctly adjudged that this would have rather less viewer appeal than the name of his illustrious and rather better known distant descendant. The device of coupling the lives of the two Churchills was therefore an interesting one, providing as it did a means of acquainting viewers with the War of the Spanish Succession and the 1st Duke of Marlborough, subjects that they may otherwise have ignored.

Starkey’s history was therefore the stuff of high politics and geopolitics, an elite history from the top-down, that whilst suggesting links between different historical figures and periods, also understood each individual and period in their own terms. Although it was a series that valued the past for its own sake, in the concluding section of the final episode Starkey addressed his thoughts to the present, noting the central defining role of Churchill in national and international politics from the 1940s to the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989:
He had given a shape to how we see the world. In 1989 it finished. And we haven’t got anything else. There has been no other Churchill. We really don’t know what we’re doing. We grope. And we’ll continue to grope until, if, another one arises.
In these words, the sense that he was damning our current crop of politicians was palpable. Starkey, unlike conformist popular historians such as Wood and Schama, is willing to make pronouncements on political issues of the day that are critical of official dogma, as exemplified in his remarks on the racial and cultural composition of the 2011 rioters and the role of culture from the sub-continent in the Rochdale paedophile grooming case. Starkey, unlike Wood, does not celebrate the demise of our nation or subscribe to its recasting as a multicultural “nation of immigrants”, and that his voice is still allowed to be heard on Channel 4 does credit to the broadcaster. Can anyone imagine the BBC commissioning a series from Starkey?   

Michael Wood: celebrating our national decline

David Starkey: searching for a new Churchill

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Wednesday 8 August 2012

Vicious Keighley Attack: Seven arrested

The Telegraph and Argus this evening ran a report on two incidents that occurred late yesterday afternoon in Keighley. The first of these was a violent attack by “A group of Asian men” upon the ethnically unspecified passengers of a “silver vehicle” on Redcliffe Street in the Highfield area of the town, whereas the second was a crash involving a red Toyota Corolla and a blue Ford Focus in the Utley area a few minutes later. The occupants of the Toyota Corolla are believed to have been the men who instigated the earlier attack on Redcliffe Street. As yet, the motive for the assault has not been divulged, although seven residents have been arrested, one of whom is being treated in Bradford Royal Infirmary. The men were aged between 18 and 37.

It seems peculiar that the ethnic background of the attackers was identified, whereas that of their victims was not. This would seem to suggest that the latter were of a different background to the assailants.

Both incidents took place at around 5pm yesterday, and the police have issued the following appeal:
Hopefully, the victims of the attack did not sustain any lasting injuries.

Economic decline and the need for changed investment priorities

Today's announcement by the Bank of England Governor Mervyn King that there will be no growth in the UK economy this year appears to be optimistic. In all likelihood, we will see the year ending with a smaller economy than at the outset. Moreover, the economic deterioration will be compounded by another likely steep increase in population, placing increased strain upon our housing stock, infrastructure and social services. The Government and the Opposition are failing the country badly, for both offer us the prospect only of continuing economic decline conjoined with falling living conditions, increasing social fragmentation and polarisation. 

For successive years, the Bank of England has predicted that we run not the risk of inflation, but of deflation, and once again today we see King predicting that inflation will fall below the 2% target by the end of 2012. We have heard this said many times previously, only to see inflation roar away well in excess of this level. Although the general crisis within the global economy appears to militate against a surge in inflation in the near term, other geopolitical events, particularly the crisis in the Middle East, could threaten to increase global oil prices which would have a significant impact on our rate of inflation. The thorny issue of Iran’s nuclear programme and hawkish rhetoric concerning a potential pre-emptive strike by Israel could lead to the disruption of shipping through the Gulf of Hormuz causing a surge in the oil price. Moreover, it also remains to be seen how Iran’s desire to entangle itself in Syria’s intensifying civil war will manifest itself, and whether this might precipitate a wider clash within the Middle East involving Israel and possibly a number of NATO states. Either scenario would be likely to lead to a surge in oil prices, irrespective of the state of the global market.

Contrary to its assertions, Labour has no solution to this crisis. Its prescription for “growth”, involving as it does boosting spending on imported products, would serve only to exacerbate our balance of payments deficit, and to reinforce the lopsided structure of our economy. It is hardly as if Ed Balls had nothing to do with the economic policy of the last Labour administration and the woes that ensued therefrom, that with its twin addiction to debt and globalisation has undermined the foundations of our economy. There is no pain free way out of this economic crisis, and it is going to take many years to reinvigorate manufacturing, and to develop the productive potential of new technologies to generate the wealth required for the long-term funding of our social services.

The process of globalisation and its attendant ideology of globalism have assisted in the generation and entrenchment of this economic crisis, and if it is to be overcome effectively at the national level, then both must be ditched as a matter of policy. Investment, instead of chasing quick wins abroad, must be directed towards our own key industrial, research and development and infrastructure projects. These vital sectors will provide us with the basis of a sound and sustainable economy, allowing pensioners to feel secure in the knowledge that their funds will be invested in undertakings directed towards the long-term, yielding wealth, jobs and a future for all of our people. This manner of investment, rather than the solicitation of Arab petrodollars or the savings of Chinese workers, is what is required to restore genuine national self-determination.

Our economic policy should not be geared towards the short-termism of the electoral cycle, but should instead be devised with the next 50 to 100 years in mind. We need to think and act on behalf not only of existing generations, but also of those to come, and to develop policies in accordance with this principle. Sustainable employment, prosperity and well-being can only be secured in a country that is not groaning beneath the weight of excess numbers, and it will be incumbent upon any rational government, to ensure that a demographic policy is devised and implemented to bring about a better balance between land and people. Do not of course expect such considerations to weigh in the decision-making processes of the existing large parties, for they find such reasoning anathema. It will be our task, to make this reasoning mainstream, and to ensure that it finds expression in concrete policy. 

Interest rates may remain low for many years, as the example of Japan testifies, but whatever level they are set at, we will have no worthy economic future if our country does not adopt a radical new course in economic policy. 

The Bank of England: Interest Rates held at 0.5%

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Coming soon: Cameroonian athletes for “Team GB”?

It would seem that ever more ingenious ways of gaining rights to settle in our country are being devised. Today, for example, the BBC announced that seven members of the Cameroonian Olympic team had absented themselves from the Olympic village with the presumed aim of staying here for economic reasons, rather than returning to their home country. The seven include the entire boxing team, a footballer and a swimmer, who join Natnael Yemane, an Ethiopian torchbearer who pioneered this vanishing trick in June. Will they end up going home? What do you think? What pretexts might they employ to stay?

The BBC, for some reason, managed to omit something rather salient relating to this matter, but the Daily Telegraph was not so coy about divulging what this was. Telegraph journalist Andrew Hough wrote:
The group are not yet breaking British immigration rules after new accreditation rules, introduced to bypass normal visa procedures, meant all Olympic athletes, and their families, could stay in the country until early November.
Now, why would such athletes need to stay in the country until late autumn? The games, if I am not mistaken, do after all finish this month. It would therefore seem that if these missing Cameroonians do not manage to fabricate claims of political asylum during this period, they should have just enough time to fix up scam marriages or claim that they have entered into meaningful relationships with British citizens, or perhaps their pets.

So, what will the Cameroons do about the Cameroonians? Do not be surprised if some of them should happen to see this as an “opportunity” to strengthen our sporting performance. Brace yourself therefore for seeing Cameroonians performing as part of “Team GB” in 2016, for after all, there have been plenty of competitors in our team this time around who bear but a spurious tie to our country, hence the team being called “Team GB” rather than the “British Team”. Why, by 2016 these Cameroonians will be, so the political class and the bulk of the press would have you believe, as British as you or I.

Absconded Cameroonians: Cameroon A-Listers of tomorrow?

Monday 6 August 2012

Who will stand in the Corby by-election?

Today's announcement that Louise Mensch is to stand down as an MP to move to New York to spend more time with her family comes as quite a surprise. Unlike many previous occasions when we have seen frontline political figures bow out of the limelight "to spend more time with their families", on this occasion the phrase does not appear to be a euphemism for having been persuaded to go for the good of the party. Although she may have divulged on a recent episode of Question Time that she had taken Class-A drugs when younger, this elicited little more than a few disgusted gurns from a number of the more sanctimonious members of the audience, rather than any scandal.

David Cameron stated:
It is with enormous regret that I accept your resignation as the MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, a seat that had beenLabour for thirteen years before you.
Quite clearly, the Prime Minister could do without this by-election, particularly at a time when his minority coalition Government appears to be undergoing something of a rocky patch owing to the recent abandonment of a pledge to reform the House of Lords, a move which has alienated the Liberal Democrat junior coalition partners. Ed Miliband, currently riding high in the polls simply because his party is one of the big three not in office rather than because of any intrinsic public trust in Labour, must be feeling delighted today, for Mensch took the seat after being parachuted in as part of Cameron's "A List" with a majority of only 1,951. It must be assumed therefore, that Labour will make considerable efforts to win the by-election which is expected to take place on 15th November.

Who then, is likely to stand at the election? It is understood that the local Conservatives are keen for one of their own to contest Corby this time around, rather than having another candidate imposed by the centre, but no suggested names have yet been forthcoming. On the other hand, Labour's candidate will be Andy Sawford, who today announced his candidature whilst deploying a number of predictably dull Labour verbal formulae, presumably lapped up with his mother's milk, for his father, Phil Sawford, was Labour MP for nearby Kettering from 1997 to 2005. ITN quote Sawford the Younger as follows:
Labour is now looking forward to the campaign ahead, fighting for action on jobs and the economy, supporting our local services which are facing massive cuts and working with local community organisations.
During the by-election we will focus on the two wasted years of Tory policies that have taken the country back into recession and left Corby suffering job losses in both the public and private sector.
This will be a tough election for Labour but we are determined to hold this Tory-led Government to account by showing the disastrous impact of their policies on the people of Corby.
Not exactly very inspiring stuff, but at least John Prescott does not seem to have been permitted to pen his announcement. As Sawford will be contesting a seat that was Labour between 1997 and 2010, that was taken by Mensch at the last General Election with only a small Conservative majority, his claim that "This will be a tough election for Labour" seems absurd, particularly when considering the unpopularity of the current Government and the propensity of the electorate to give the governing party a drubbing during midterm elections. Nonetheless, on 9th August Ed Miliband reiterated this message describing the by-election as presenting Labour with "a very tough fight". It should be a walkover for him and his party, and if it is not, then Labour may as well call it a day and disband itself.

It will be interesting to see to what extent the Liberal Democrat candidate is annihilated, but which other parties will stand has not so far been declared. Being a by-election however, it is sure to attract a large slate of candidates. As UKIP has contested Corby in the past and is currently riding relatively high in the national polls, it is a near dead certainty that they will field a candidate and stand a good chance, if the polls are to be believed, of beating the Liberal Democrats into fourth place. UKIP last stood in 2005 but only took 2.6% of the vote. However, yesterday's Yougov poll in the Sunday Times placed the Liberal Democrats on 10% and UKIP on 8% at a nationwide level. The Corby by-election therefore, looks set to afford some interesting entertainment, although I predict that the resultant MP will be a disappointment, for whoever they happen to be they will advocate the following: globalisation, continued EU membership and ongoing mass immigration. Sorry voters of Corby, but that is what you are going to get. Maybe you will be afforded a real choice in 2015?

Corby's departing MP: Louise Mensch