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Saturday 27 October 2012

EDL Walthamstow Demo Cancelled: will the EDL demonstrate elsewhere?

Today the EDL have been banned from protesting in Walthamstow, but given that in the past small groups of EDL have turned up at a variety of locations - such as Hebden Bridge and Totnes - for impromptu flash demos, will such activity take place today? It had been suggested that the EDL could protest outside of Parliament instead, but whether anyone will take up the offer to do so is unclear. If information emerges, from whatever source, it will be posted here as it becomes available.

However, for some reason the SWP front group We are Waltham Forest and its umbrella UAF campaign have been exempted from the protest ban in the borough, and this morning therefore gathered for a static protest - a self-billed "victory" rally - in Walthamstow town centre. Around 250 are said to have attended. However, the deeply unappealing prominent UAF member and anti-free speech activist Martin Smith claimed that they numbered over 1,000. Quite why UAF is not seen as a threat to public order whereas the EDL is when activists associated with the former have instigated a great deal more violence than the latter over the years, is something of a mystery. For some reason, although UAF is under de facto SWP control, David Cameron continues to support the campaign.

The anti-EDL Hope Not Hate blog reports that a number of EDL were drinking in St Stephens Tavern near Parliament at the beginning of this afternoon, with representatives of the Dudley, Exeter, Portsmouth and Torbay divisions being present. It looks as if Totnes will not be getting a visit from the EDL today. The numbers are said to be "low". Compiling estimates of numbers in various Hope Not Hate postings, their blog is claiming, as of 13:33, that the EDL number circa 100. It also states that a number of "anti-fascists" [sic] have turned up to oppose them. As the police have not given these agitators the right to protest near Westminster today, will they deal with them appropriately, for they have clearly turned up with a view to provoking conflict with the EDL?

The Casuals United blog has posted an image of a leaflet handed (shown below) out to EDL protesters by the police at King's Cross. As can be seen, they have been instructed to demonstrate in Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament between 1pm and 2pm only, with the leaflet stating that the demo had to take place there instead of in Walthamstow "to prevent serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community". It would be interesting to know what intelligence the police had received pertaining to the likelihood of such violence erupting in Walthamstow and who was behind any associated threats. It seems unlikely that they would have originated with the EDL.

Despite the EDL not being in Walthamstow this afternoon, one tweeter by the name of Henry Comfort claimed at 13:13 that nonetheless police in riot gear were "eveywhere in Walthamstow today".

The Waltham Forest News reports that UAF supporters this afternoon violated the ban on marches in Walthamstow, with several hundred of them breaking away from their static protest at 1.30pm to march down to the junction at Selbourne Road. There, the police stopped them, and scuffles broke out. Clearly, had the EDL come to Walthamstow today, it would have been the UAF demonstrators who initiated any violence. By 2.30pm the UAF marchers had been dispersed.

Leaflet handed to EDL Supporters by the Metropolitan Police at King's Cross

Thursday 25 October 2012

EDL Walthamstow Protest: Banned, but will it go ahead?

This Saturday, the EDL plan to return to Walthamstow to demonstrate following a not so successful visit on 1 September when a large number of counter-demonstrators turned out to oppose them under the aegis of SWP-front group 'We are Waltham Forest' (WAWF). On Tuesday the Metropolitan Police applied to Home Secretary Teresa May for a banning order on marches in the borough, claiming that they had received intelligence that the protests could result in 'serious public disorder, violence and damage.'

Minister for Policing Damian Green this afternoon announced a ban on marches in the following areas for the next 30 days: Islington, Newham, Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets. The EDL have instead been offered the opportunity to protest outside if Parliament this Saturday, but it is thought that they will instead opt to try and hold a static protest in Walthamstow. Green's decision has also irritated WAWF, so it would seem likely that at least a number of its supporters are likely to ignore the banning order.

This comes at the end of a turbulent week for the EDL, insofar as its leader - Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Tommy Robinson) - was arrested on Saturday as one of a group of 53 EDL supporters who were en route to east London. He was arrested for the alleged assault of Sayful Islam in Luton on Saturday morning; 'suspicion of conspiring to cause a public nuisance' (this is why the 53 were detained) and for illegally entering the USA in September, allegedly using forged documents. Kevin Carroll, subsequently released, was also amongst the 53 detainees. According to the Gates of Vienna blog, Yaxley-Lennon's former political colleague Paul Weston was also arrested outside of Wormwood Scrubs on Monday when attempting to ascertain whether the former was being held at the prison, the pretext for his arrest being stated as 'a breach if the peace'. What has happened since then is not clear, as no information appears to have been forthcoming.

It thus seems that whatever happens on Saturday, the EDL leader will not be at the demo, wherever it takes place. His recent announcement that he was to turn the EDL into a political party and leave the BFP of which he had been joint vice-chairman for a number of months, underscored Yaxley-Lennon's desire to reconnect with the EDL support base, having ascertained that leading the movement was where his strength lay. The EDL's opponents will doubtless view this week's developments with a certain malign glee, but although they would wish that it were finished, it doubtless has life left in it yet.

EDL Walthamstow Demo: 1 September 2012

Tuesday 23 October 2012

BBC: Coy about Child Abuse

The BBC, so it would seem from recent news, has always been a little coy about revealing the identities of child abusers, thus it should come as no surprise that in its short report on a case being brought against nine men resident in Rochdale it says nothing regarding their characteristics other than the fact that they are aged between 26 and 39. The nine are said to have sexually exploited a teenage girl since 2005. However, to discover who they were we have to rely upon other sources, such as The Daily Mail and the Manchester Evening News, and given the identities of the men in question, it perhaps becomes apparent why the BBC was so reluctant to divulge any details: seven possess Muslim names and would appear to be of either Pakistani or possibly Bangladeshi origin, whereas the other two are Africans.

The nine accused are: Mohammed Ali, 27; Chola Chansa, 32; Asrar Haider, 38; Abdul Huk, 36; Freddy Kendakumana, 26; Roheez Khan, 26; Anjam Masood, 30; Mohammed Rafiq, 31, and Ali Asghar Hussain Shah, 39. All have been accused of sexual activity with a child under the age of 16, six of them with ‘inciting sexual activity with a child under 16’, and Kendakumana ‘with three counts of rape’ and ‘attempted rape’. The men were arrested in May and will appear between 7 November and 6 December at Bury Magistrates’ Court. This, of course, follows on from the trial of a Muslim grooming gang from Rochdale earlier in the year and the subsequent unrest inthe Heywood district of the town that this provoked in February. Whereas these men and others like them involved in similar crimes elsewhere can still be brought to justice, Jimmy Saville cannot, yet it is to the deceased Saville that the BBC continues to devote its prime news coverage, not to the live phenomenon of Muslim paedophile grooming gangs.

Last night, the BBC’s main television news opened with the Saville Scandal, bumping the latest Muslim terror plotters into the second and most definitely secondary slot. Revolting as the Saville Scandal may be, the BBC appears to be using it to bury other bad news whilst exhuming Saville. Serious questions need to be posed regarding the broadcaster’s editorial policy, for in its news coverage, it is not serving the public in the manner that it should. To withhold information about the backgrounds of the members of this latest Rochdale paedophile grooming gang from the public when other news outlets do not do so seems very odd indeed. Why does the BBC choose to behave in this manner?

Monday 22 October 2012

Frying Tonight! Abid Hussain’s BMW Arson Brawl

Keighley has never possessed the most genteel of reputations, and that Emily Brontë should have dreamt up her thuggish piece of rough Heathcliffe whilst living in neighbouring Haworth should come as no surprise; this fictional creation perhaps encapsulating a number of the negative characteristics associated with a certain type of Keighley resident. Some aspects of Keighley life, it would seem, have not changed greatly since the 1840s.

Adding to this rich tapestry of local life and lore, comes news today that local Labour Councillor for Keighley Central and vice-president of the Keighley Muslim Association – Abid Hussain – is one of six men to have been arrested this past weekend “following the torching of a BMW X5 in Devonshire Street where he lives and where a brawl broke out on 8 August this year.” He is currently on bail, whereas his son, Majid Hussain, will according to The Telegraph and Argus shortly be charged with “causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing an imitation firearm in relation to the events of August 8.” It looks an ugly business, with the arson attack being but one of a number of similar recent events in the town. What could have led to this outbreak of violence? Details have yet to emerge regarding the underpinning motivations and who precisely was responsible, so Councillor Hussain’s role in this matter is far from clear.

Although Councillor Hussain is not a man familiar to many of us, his appearance may be, for he does bear something of a striking resemblance to a certain character from Carry on Screaming, as can be seen below. Taking this into account, should he have been bailed so close to Halloween? Local children could be terrified.

Councillor Abid Hussain

Oddbod Junior

Reform Section 5: why is the BBC silent?

The Reform Section 5 Campaign with its slogan ‘Feel free to insult me!’ was formally launched by Rowan Atkinson last week, but for some reason did not appear to receive any coverage from the BBC, or not at least from its website. Why did it choose not to cover this story? After all, since its introduction Section 5 has placed considerable limitations upon freedom of speech and expression and has led to the prosecution of a number of people for no good reason at all. Being a public service broadcaster which, one would think, ought to be interested in championing free expression, why was it silent?

It was therefore left to other media to cover the launch. The Week quoted Atkinson as stating:
"The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such," said Atkinson. "Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult."

Section 5 is part of the Public Order Act 1986, which outlaws the use of words, behaviour or signs that are "threatening, abusive or insulting" near a person likely to be offended by them.
Indeed, the Reform Section 5 website details a number of cases illustrating the absurdity of the law. Three of these case summaries are reproduced below detailing respectively: a man convicted for growling at two Labradors; Christian hoteliers who talked to a guest about Mohammed and Islamic dress codes, and animal rights protesters who were moved on by police because their cuddly toy seals were deemed to be ‘distressing.
Kyle Little was arrested under Section 5 for what was described as a “daft little growl” and a “woof” aimed at two Labrador dogs. Although the dog owner did not want a prosecution, Mr Little was detained for five hours and prosecuted. He was convicted and fined. On appeal Newcastle Crown Court quashed his conviction. The case cost the taxpayer £8,000.

Christian hoteliers Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were charged with breaching Section 5 for engaging in a conversation with a Muslim guest about Mohammed and Islamic dress for women. After lengthy questioning by police they were charged and later tried at Liverpool magistrates’ court. They were found innocent after a judge said their accuser’s evidence was not reliable.
Animal rights protesters were threatened with arrest and seizure of property under Section 5 for objecting to seal culling by displaying toy seals coloured with red food dye. They were told by the police that the toys were deemed distressing by two members of the public. The police then ordered the protesters to move on.

Are we then to take it that the BBC’s silence on Reform Section 5 indicates its opposition to the campaign? This would not, given the tightly controlled and stiflingly politically correct broadcasting of the corporation come as any surprise, for genuine freedom of speech and expression is not something that the BBC favours; it prefers, to borrow an ugly term from the New Labour era, for its presenters and editors to be consistently ‘on-message’, which means not upsetting its pet minority groups such as, most notably, Muslims.

Nonetheless, Reform Section 5 does seem to enjoy a broad spectrum of support, with a number of pressure groups, think tanks and politicians lending their backing to the campaign, as well as a number of celebrities, including Stephen Fry. Organisations as different in their orientation as the Christian Institute and the National Secular Society have united in their wholehearted backing of the project, but despite their vociferousness and willingness to demonstrate over a number of issues relating to freedom of speech and expression (or, more accurately, in favour of their curtailment), no Muslim organisations have declared their backing for the campaign.

The breadth of likely support in the House of Commons is illustrated by an amendment to Section 5 of the Public Order Act tabled by MP Edward Leigh in May 2011, which proposed that the word “insulting” be deleted. Although he managed to garner the support of 65 MPs (31 Conservative, 14 Labour, 11 Liberal Democrat, 6 DUP, 1 Alliance, 1 Green and 1 SDLP), it was not successful. Evidently, a little more pressure needs to be applied to MPs for this campaign to achieve its goals, but there do appear to be grounds for optimism that Section 5 will be dropped, but without of course, any help from the BBC.

The video below shows Rowan Atkinson giving his speech at the parliamentary reception launching the Reform Section 5 Campaign. 

Saturday 20 October 2012

Poppy Vendors of Bradford under Protection

As a rule of thumb, cities take pride in being ‘the first’ to introduce a new practice, but in the case of Bradford, the particular practice being pioneered this month is no cause for celebration: the provision of minders for poppy sellers.

The Telegraph and Argus reports that this follows an incident last year in which young members of the Army Cadet Force were abused whilst selling poppies in Girlington, a predominantly Pakistani Muslim area of Bradford where it was last week announced that the Girlington Muslim Welfare Association is to demolish its current mosque and build a much larger one, as usage ‘has quadrupled in recent years’. One of the victims of the abuse – 13-year-old Bethany Holmes – was with a group of three poppy sellers who were approached by ‘a group of youths’ who ‘began giving the sellers “abuse”’. The paper states:
Her mum Christine said one of them took a poppy from the box, spat on it and tried to give it to her daughter, before spitting at her three times, twice on her jacket and once on her cheek.
“It’s just awful,” said Mrs Holmes, “especially when it touches your skin. She just said to me ‘I need to go home, it feels awful, I feel dirty’.
“They are disgusting, it’s just the lowest of the low.”
According to The Sun, the 'youths' in question were 'Asian' hoodies about 12 years of age. Sadly, this was not an isolated incident, with other vendors being abused in the city centre, two of them being ‘set upon’ and one having her collection tin stolen. Such behaviour with respect to the Poppy Appeal would have been unthinkable a few years’ ago, but clearly there are elements within the resident Muslim population that hate what it stands for and by extension the values of the country in which they currently live.

Donations to the appeal have risen in recent years, largely as a response to the needs of veterans recently injured and maimed in the wars sanctioned by the Blair administration. Some who are here evidently perceive themselves to be on the other side, a fact amply attested to by the Muslim volunteers fighting with the Taliban and engaging in terror-related activities connected to Al-Qaeda inspired units in different parts of the world. It is such attitudes that are the root cause of the abuse suffered by the poppy vendors.

Protection for the cadet collectors will this year be offered by members of the local Royal British Legion’s Riders (RBLR) branch whose representative Rod Walker stated:
 “We are doing this as I was reminded of what happened last year and thought our job is to support the branches, so who would not turn up and do exactly that?”
The RBLR deserve to be congratulated for their offer of assistance, but at the same time, it is sad that such a situation should have arisen.  

Wednesday 17 October 2012

One Million Muslims to march in London?

Since an Egyptian Salafist television station took the decision to screen excerpts from the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ last month a series of protests has been mounted against the film by doctrinaire Muslims around the globe. Whereas many of the overseas demonstrations have proven to be violent, here in England they have in the main been peaceful, albeit unwelcome and by definition irrational. The film itself would have gone largely unnoticed if it were not for the fact that the Salafist agitators in Egypt deliberately chose to broadcast it with the intent of inflaming the mob element within the Muslim population, fanning its sense of righteous indignation in an effort to win political capital for their cause. Indeed, they have enjoyed considerable success in this respect, and the whole affair brings to mind how in December 2005 Islamist agitators – imams from Denmark touring the Middle East – deliberately chose to publicise cartoons of Muhammed published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, as well as appending some additional images themselves for extra measure. Then, as now, they were successful in mobilising Islamist sentiment.

One of the first protests in England against ‘Innocence of Muslims’ took place in the Birmingham Bullring on Friday 21 September and brought around 100 young Muslims onto the streets, some of whom became involved in scuffles with the police. On Friday 28 September it was Bradford’s turn to host a larger protest, although it failed to draw the numbers anticipated. In Oldham however, the Oldham Mosques Council initially took a different view and urged local Muslims to make their opposition known not through the medium of public protest, but via writing to their MPs and MEPs.

More protests were to follow, one of which almost went unreported despite taking place beneath the walls of Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6 October. On the same day, protests took place in West Yorkshire and Lancashire: in Huddersfield the demonstrators gathered in St George’s Square, drawing an estimated 2,000 Muslims (see picture below), whilst across the Pennines in Bolton 300 marched to the local council offices to hand in a petition bearing 5,000 signatures expressing disgust at the film. The following Friday, 12 October, it was Halifax’s turn to host a Muslim protest about the same issue, with hundreds – mostly men – marching through its streets.

This week saw the biggest and most sinister protest yet by Muslims in England, with anywhere in the region of 3,500 to 10,000 people (figures quoted by The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph respectively) turning up outside of Google’s London offices demanding that ‘Innocence of Muslims’ be removed from the internet. More such protests are planned for the weeks ahead, with an intended million-Muslim protest to be held in Hyde Park soon. This is not the voice of so-called ‘extremist’ Islam speaking here, but mainstream Islam (but who, other than a Muslim or the wilfully ignorant, could possibly perceive Islamic doctrine to be anything other than ‘extreme’, domineering and intolerant?), for it is said that up to 800 imams in mosques across Britain had backed the anti-Google protest. Trouble is brewing as they attempt to snuff out freedom of speech and expression – in our country – through bullying and intimidation. This is the nature of the ideology that our mainstream politicians have pandered to and facilitated and facilitated the spread of through a combination of political expediency, cowardice and the desire for Arab petrodollars. 

It is thus deeply worrying, although not surprising, that plans are afoot for a multi-faith demonstration in Oldham in support of censorship, with Muslims drafting in a handful of Christians, Hindus and Sikhs – useful idiots – to legitimise their attempt to impose a de facto Islamic blasphemy law in our country. Just whose country is this? Why is it that the sensibilities of Muslims are seemingly permitted to trump those of all other and non-faith groups? Why should the ‘offence’ perceived by a Muslim matter more than the ‘offence’ perceived by you or I? What gives an aggrieved Muslim the right to be the arbiter of what we may say, write, think or do? Allah? Allah is a fiction, and a brutish one at that; and as for his ‘messenger’ Muhammed, if he existed, he was a deranged yet politically astute thug, and if he did not, he was a repellent fictional creation that has provided an appalling example to his followers down the centuries. There is no place for Muhammed’s example in this country, this continent, or, indeed, this era, other than as an exemplar of some of the worst traits in humanity; Muhammed bears a far closer resemblance to figures such as Caligula and Genghis Khan than to Confucius, Buddha or Christ. Muhammed's character and deeds were, by definition, offensive.

If the mass Muslim march takes place in London, will it finally awaken our complacent compatriots, far removed from our centres of Islamic population, to the fact that Islamic doctrine is not cuddly, benign and tolerant, the message forever being trumpeted by the BBC, the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties? Islam is no friend of freedom; it is one of its foes. These protests therefore must not be pandered to, and it must be made clear to those with familial roots overseas who participate in these demonstrations, that they should reconsider their place of residence. Their presence here is not to the public good. They are generating fear; fear which, sadly, is well founded.

Muslims demonstrate in Huddersfield

 Video of Muslim Anti-Google Protest in London

Monday 15 October 2012

Review – ‘UFOs: Conspiracy Road Trip’

This evening brought to an end Andrew Maxwell’s entertaining three-part conspiracy road trip series tackling one of the most popular and enduring themes with conspiracy theorists: UFOs. Whereas in the first episode on the 7/7 bombings he was able to change the minds of all but one of the five conspiracy theorists, in this episode the ratio ultimately turned out to be reversed. As in previous programmes, each of the five – billed as “British UFO experts” – possessed their own personal reason for believing the things that they did, and each told a story that was quite unique.

Brigitte’s Story: Another Day in LA
The first to divulge the reason for her belief in UFOs being extraterrestrial craft was Brigitte, a likeable mother of three from Devon who some 19 years ago had been working in Los Angeles. Whilst there, she recounted how one day she had been at the wheel of her car approaching at a busy interchange near to the Holiday Inn, when a 45-foot metallic silver hard solid object glided over the back boot of the car in front of her, flying past the Holiday Inn and “ploughing through the tops of trees”. She says that she was “transfixed”, with her hands prised to the steering wheel, her eyes watering and her whole body feeling physically sick. Even some of her fellow UFO believers appeared to be sceptical of her account, for how could an object of such a size pass over such a busy area and be seen by nobody else? Her response was to ask “What if everyone else was transfixed, just as I was?”

At this point in the programme, Brigitte stated that she had had her first encounter with aliens at the age of seven, when they had visited her at home and that since then they had kept coming back for her. However, it was left to near the close of the programme for it to be revealed that moments after her LA UFO sighting, she felt as if she had been sucked through her steering wheel, through the dashboard and the engine, then finding herself in a field before some aliens, who tried to offer her an alien child. She even agreed to participate in a lie-detector test to verify her story, but Maxwell rather humanely decided to intervene and put a stop to it going ahead.

Brigitte’s story led to a visit to speak to the “world-renowned astronomer” Seth Shostak who works for SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). Shostak pointed out that current scientific extrapolations suggest that there are circa a trillion planets in our galaxy alone, and the idea that our planet alone hosts life is thus vanishingly small; the galaxy is probably teeming with life, but we have yet to see it. He quizzed Brigitte on her LA sighting and asked why she thought what she had seen was an extraterrestrial craft and whether she had any evidence – such as a photograph – or whether there had been any corroborating reports (there had not). He pointed out that academics were not working on alien visitations for the straightforward reason that the evidence was so lacking and so poor, that it was not worth investigating.

Another member of the group – Darren – made the peculiar claim that there are parts of space that the Hubble Space Telescope will not point at, under order of NASA and the military, for that is where the aliens are located. Shostak, of course, did not subscribe to such an outlandish conspiracy theory, but Darren remained unconvinced, thinking that Shostak’s body language was suspicious. Later, Shostak noted whilst speaking to Maxwell that some found conspiracy theory “to be very empowering” as it seemingly put them above scientists and the scientific establishment.

All five of the UFO believers subscribed to the belief in a joint NASA/US Government conspiracy to hold back information about extraterrestrial visitors, with one of them going so far as to claim that aliens probably controlled the World.

Ben’s Belief: Created by Aliens
The youngest of the bunch – 25-year-old Ben from Durham –claimed that he and his girlfriend saw an orb outside his bedroom window that split into six pieces (although later in the programme he seemed to contradict himself by referring to a different number). For some reason, this had led him to subscribe to a creation theory in which humans – rather like in Ridley Scott’s recent flawed release Prometheus – had been created by extraterrestrials, in their image: “Who’s to say that God wasn’t a living, breathing extraterrestrial?”

Maxwell’s attempt to persuade Ben to look afresh at his beliefs involved a visit to Flagstaff, Arizona where he was introduced to leading evolutionary biologist P.Z. Myers, who noted how remarkable it was that most accounts of aliens described creatures bearing an incredible likeness to “infantilised human beings”. He pointed out how although it was probable that there was life elsewhere in the galaxy, it would be a remarkable coincidence if such beings were to resemble humans so closely, for many of our “features are contingent – historical accidents”; why should aliens not have eyes on the sides of their heads or noses on top of them? Ben seemed to be swayed to some extent by Myers’s argument.

A shop situated on a highway well known for its UFO associations was visited. Unsurprisingly, it contained a great deal of alien-themed tat, and seemed to be doing a reasonable enough trade.

Scott’s Nightmare: Alien Invasion
Next up as the focus of attention was Scott, a 32-year-old telecoms engineer from Swindon. Married with two children Scott had some very unusual beliefs that did not seem to be having a healthy influence upon his personal life. He believes that he has been attacked by aliens in his own home, starting with “a mind attack – breaking down his brain” which was followed by a physical attack. They got closer and closer but he states that he managed to break free. The sort of bedroom scenario he described, appeared to be akin to a nightmarish lucid dreaming state that in former times often gave rise to the concepts of incubi and succubi.

This incident had unfortunately precipitated his belief that Earth is being subjected to an alien invasion, which he has been preparing to combat for over a year. His preparations include the gathering of supplies of tinned food and ready meals and an axe for self-defence. His main fear that had arisen was that of “alien mind control” which had led to him making a tinfoil hat to help protect his brain: “a simple force-shield”. We saw his wife applying this to his head and him then donning a woolly hat before appearing in public. One of the things that he most enjoyed about his trip to the USA was the opportunity to practise shooting aliens (well, cardboard cut-outs of them) with a sub-machinegun and a handgun. Maxwell asked if he could not concentrate on something other than aliens and arming himself to protect his family from them. Thankfully, by the end of the programme Scott had at least agreed to drop this harmful alien obsession, which must be both good news and a relief for his wife and young children.

Darren’s Obsession: Animal Mutilation
Next came Darren, a 33-year-old “hard-boiled UFO investigator” from Shrewsbury who investigates crop circles, animal mutilations and alien abductions (se seemed to have a particularly unappealing obsession with the mutilations, about which he gathers “lots of information” in his capacity of head of a UFO group). He believes that the military works with aliens on a biotech lab in the country and that he has been targeted by aliens, by a laser-beam to be precise (and you can’t get much more precise than a laser) in a field. He says that he felt like he’d been electrocuted.

Maxwell’s tactic to try and convince Darren that such beliefs were perhaps less than rational was to introduce him to “a seasoned UFO investigator” named Chris O’Brien whose theories were even more outlandish. However, both men shared a special interest in animal mutilations, and O’Brien led the group to the type of farmland where such attacks are alleged to take place. He possessed a range of strange theories, including collaboration between the UN or some other international organisation and aliens in targeting animals and removing specific organs, claiming that this had something to do with cancer research. Alternatively, he attributed it to an “ancient predatory presence” consisting of “interdimensional beings” that could move into our world and remove animal organs and other parts for their own specific uses, which he claimed could include cookery. Rather than make Darren re-evaluate the oddity of his own beliefs, he instead thought that there could be some credibility in O’Brien’s tales.

Frankie’s Vision
The last of the five – a full-time mum from Logan named Frankie – told Maxwell of her experience out of earshot of the others. She said that nine years ago she “had a mind-bending experience” in her kitchen listening to Kylie and that the back of her spine lit up with energy and that a back part of her brain that she’d never used before switched on. She had a vision of a spaceship city, and realised in an instant that aliens and humans co-exist in different realities. Although she did not wish to meet him, psychologist Michael Shermer publisher of the Skeptic Magazine, was invited onto the coach. He stated: “we investigate all sorts of pseudo-scientific baloney”. Frankie described him as “a two-bit hustler” and was only willing to give him five minutes as she thought that his position was “bullshit”.

Despite Frankie’s negative preconceptions, Shermer’s visit was well received, and his description of “anomalous psychological experiences” had everyone listening. He noted that they were often brought on by sleep deprivation, and gave one example of a phenomenon common to climbers on K2, who often sense that there’s another climber on the rope when there’s not actually anybody there. Shermer asked: “Are there aliens out there? Can they come here? Most scientists think that life is teeming in the galaxy. We are very irrational, emotional beings who misinterpret things all the time.” The mind can play strange tricks on people, and nobody is immune. What does differ however, is the manner in which individuals choose to interpret unusual experiences and psychological phenomena, with some, not unnaturally, wishing to externalise these internal glitches as it were, rather than admit to themselves that their experience has been a product of their internal world.

Area 51
Having failed to make much if any headway in challenging the beliefs of his five UFO conspiracy theorists, Maxwell took them to what must be the UFO conspiracists’ favourite location: Area 51. Before doing so however, they visited John Lear who had worked at the military facility over a long period for the CIA. He, it turned out, had one of the strangest tales of the evening, claiming that the two Roswell crashes in 1947 left behind them two live aliens and three dead. One remained alive whilst he was there and resided in “a big half sphere”. However, the aliens are not allowed to give us an overt message, and have been around for billions of years. This in itself was odd enough, but Lear was to make even wilder claims such as: the Earth is 11 billion years old, whereas the Moon is 20 billion years old and was fabricated in the middle of Jupiter. He also pointed at a picture of the barren surface of the Moon and claimed to be able to see a city, an aeroplane and trees, and that at least 1.5 billion people lived on its surface! There was of course nothing in the picture other than craters, shadows and dust, but that is not what this old man could see. Ben was shocked by this, but, oddly, the others were not.

The group next headed to Area 51 itself and foolishly, given that it is a top-secret military base, strayed past the checkpoint and were promptly made to lie on the ground at gunpoint until the local sheriff was able to extricate them from their situation. It seems to me that the only mystery about Area 51 is why anyone would think that there should be some extraterrestrial cover-up, for it is a top-secret military base where the U2, stealth bomber and who knows what else has been tested. Indeed, the Las Vegas author Annie Jacobson who is an expert on Area 51 has interviewed 74 men who lived and worked on the base and not one mentioned an alien or alien life-forms. For her, the UFO myth seems to fit with the CIA’s deliberated policy of information and disinformation, with stories of UFOs providing a convenient cover for top-secret spy planes (this was also a common tactic in the Soviet Union). She claims to have come across a lot of information that the CIA deliberately uses UFOs as convenient cover, and this explanation strikes me as eminently logical.

However, Jacobson had one last peculiar twist to add to her explanation: one source had claimed that Stalin had sent a saucer-shaped craft to the US in 1947 piggy-backing on a larger aircraft, that it had crashed in the Arizona Desert and had subsequently been held in Area 51. It was claimed that its crew were “non-consenting airmen who had been surgically altered to look like Martians.” Surgically mutilated Russians flying a top-secret Soviet saucer? Stalin may have been a scheming sadist who cared little for human life, but this story sounds like a piece of contemporary military folk myth.

Andrew Maxwell proved to be an affable host and presenter throughout this programme and its two predecessors, and it left me wishing to see his earlier documentary on 9/11 which I missed at the time of its screening. That in this last episode he enjoyed scant success in getting the programme’s participants to reconsider their views illustrates how powerful some conspiracy theories are, and how they can be employed as a framework that some find personally meaningful in making sense of the world. It is just unfortunate, however, that subscribing to some conspiracy theories can have negative implications for some of us, as Scott’s wife and children discovered.

Brigitte's LA UFO

Better as Skeletons? The concrete Cows of Milton Keynes

Following the boring and pretentious defacement of a boring and pretentious artwork by Mark Rothko in Tate Modern last week comes a somewhat more imaginative piece of artistic 'vandalism', this time perpetrated in Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes itself (I apologise if you are a resident) is not, it has to be said, the most visually distinctive or appealing of places, and the fact that its concrete cows were one of its most noteworthy features served only to highlight that fact. The cows themselves, as can be seen from the first of the pictures below, were neither the most faithfully rendered nor inspired of creations, and looked rather drab. Following an imaginative piece of 'vandalism' however, they were rather humorously changed into a group of skeletal 'cows', and actually, to my mind, look all the better for it.

Now, although not condoning vandalism, would you support The Parks Trust in its decision to repaint them at a cost of £2,000, or do you think that the sculptures look somewhat better following their inventive transformation? Should they stay as they now are?

Milton Keynes Cows before 'Vandalism'

Milton Keynes Cows after 'Vandalism'

Friday 12 October 2012

The Odd Couple: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and Nikki Sinclaire

Yesterday’s announcement that Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, alternatively known as Tommy Robinson, was leaving his position as joint Vice-Chairman of the BFP to focus on his leadership of the EDL came as a surprise to many. Quite what precipitated his decision is unclear, but this announcement comes only a fortnight after an unsubstantiated rumour circulated that Paul Weston had resigned from his position as BFP Chairman, a rumour that was swiftly rebutted. It begs the question as to who started this rumour and why?

In his interview with The Independent yesterday, Lennon (for the sake of brevity I shall avoid the double-barrelled formulation) stated:
"I am looking at how to change the EDL into a genuine political party but we can't put a time on it at the moment. We are looking at the 2014 elections in Europe.

"It [the BFP] just isn't for me, I want to stick to the EDL. I wanted to make this decision before I committed myself to campaigning for the BFP. I have not been involved in an election campaign for them yet, so it is the right time."
What was it about the BFP’s policy platform that caused Lennon to take this decision, if indeed it was a matter of policy that caused his departure? Whatever the underpinning cause happened to be, attempting to turn the EDL into a political party is an utterly pointless venture, being as it is a single-issue protest group. Lennon would be better off re-evaluating his movement’s aims, objectives and tactics, transforming it into a more tightly focused and effective campaigning vehicle independent of any particular political party. Although it has managed to establish itself in the public consciousness, the EDL has not, generally speaking, projected an image that would exert electoral appeal to anything other than a small hardcore of supporters. Irrespective of the fact that there are certain widely-recognised negative behaviours exhibited by Islamists in this country which the majority of the general public find abhorrent, voters are not going to cast their ballots for a party that makes tackling Islamism its number one issue, although they would of course be happy to vote for a party with a comprehensive policy platform that dealt appropriately with the Islamist problem as part of its wider policy mix. Voters are primarily concerned about the economy, public services, education, housing and immigration, not Islamism, no matter how much distaste they may possess for it.  

Does Lennon intend to transform the EDL into a political party with such a broad policy mix? This seems doubtful. For all of its flaws and fixation upon the Islamic issue, the BFP does at least profess to possess objectives other than tackling Islamism and Islamisation; the EDL does not. In this respect, Lennon’s move brings to mind the recent announcement by former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire in connection with the creation of a new political party named ‘We Demand a Referendum’ (WDAR), which possesses no policy other than to secure a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU. For some reason, The Sun threw its backing behind this venture last month, presumably because Murdoch no longer finds Cameron’s Conservative Party to his liking.

How peculiar it is, that both Lennon and Sinclaire have decided to leave single-issue fixated parties and establish new splinter parties focused purely upon Islam and the EU respectively. This is not the stuff of electoral politics, but of pressure group agitation, and given the obsession of both figures with these single issues, they would be best advised to keep out of electoral politics and instead concentrate upon building up convincing arguments and campaigns in support of their respective positions. A vote for either will be a wasted one; both parties will fail, and badly at that. Voters need to be presented with a credible alternative to which they can lend their support; a party that genuinely tackles both of these concerns alongside the pressing need to address those issues that are central to the winning of any campaign. The EDL will not be such a party, and neither will the WDAR.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon: Leader of the EDL

  Nikki Sinclaire: Leader of 'We Demand a Referendum'

Thursday 11 October 2012

Russian Ultranationalists in Coup Trial

Mitt Romney has the peculiar idea that Russia is the US’s “number one political foe”, which is, as matters stand, outlandish. However, had a small group of conspirators based in the city of Ekaterinburg realised their grandiose ambitions, then Romney’s position would possess merit, rather than representing a fossilised attitude lingering long after the end of the Cold War rendered it redundant.

Yesterday, Izvestia brought to its readers’ attention the trial of a group of Russian ultranationalist plotters in the city of Ekaterinburg. Arrested on 19 July 2011, they stand accused of planning a coup designed to sweep Putin from power and to restore what they perceive to be Russia’s lost superpower status. Had they been successful their vision for Russian foreign policy would have been ruinous for their country, including as it did the belief in a near inevitable nuclear war between Russia allied with Iran on the one side, and the US and Israel on the other. Thankfully however, the plot itself drew little support and never stood any chance of success. Indeed, the man initially identified as its leading light – entrepreneur Aleksandr Ermakov – suffers from schizophrenia, which possibly accounts for military expert Aleksandr Gol’tz’s characterisation of the coup plot as the product of “monstrous delirium”. Following his arrest, the court ordered that Ermakov be put on compulsory anti-psychotic medication.

At the time of their arrest, the plotters possessed only 50,000 roubles (in today’s exchange rate somewhere in the region of £1,000), a large quantity of “specialist literature” dealing with the use of explosives, setting booby-traps, blowing up railway lines, bridges and the electricity supply, as well as general tactics of partisan warfare. A quantity of ammunition and explosives is also said to have been found at the time of the arrest. They had not got around to calculating the quantities of weapons and ammunition that they would require to realise their plans, and it was intended to stage a series of bank robberies – in the manner of the pre-revolutionary Bolsheviks – to fund their preparatory activities.

The nature of the plot
The men, led by Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov of the GRU (the Main Intelligence Directorate) intended to launch the coup with the immediate aim of taking control of Ekaterinburg – a city of 1.4 million – and the surrounding region of Sverdlovsk. Having established a military base there, the intention was then to take on Moscow and seize the apparatus of the state. This remarkable (or more accurately, delusional) plot was scheduled for 2 August 2011, and was to be spearheaded by an armed insurrection initiated by the Ekaterinburg “national-patriotic cell” of an organisation named “The People’s Militia of Minin and Pozharskii” (PMMP). Its leader – Kvachkov – and a number of other PMMP members are currently being tried in Ekaterinburg’s Sverdlovsk District Court. Also standing accused are Leonid Khabarov, a retired reserve colonel and Afghan veteran; pensioner and ex-policeman Aleksandr Ladeishchikov, and Viktor Kralin, an inventor and Doctor of Sciences. Aleksandr Ermakov is considered to be the group’s ideologist and organiser. Medics consider that Ermakov is suffering from schizophrenia, and since the summer he has been compulsorily put on medication by order of the Sverdlovsk District Court.

The intended coup was to use a number of “military cells”, and both Sergei Katnikov and Vladislav Ladeishchenko “have given evidence against the other plotters, thereby receiving reduced sentences”.

The plotters codenamed their operation “Daybreak”, and whilst possessing only a limited budget and little in the way of material and manpower, they were certainly not short of imagination as demonstrated by the fantastical dimensions of their plan which was broken down into a number of clearly defined stages. However, the plot was uncovered in July 2011 shortly only weeks from its scheduled launch, but given the paltry resources and manpower discovered, would they really have gone ahead with their hare-brained scheme? Independent experts consider that it would take a force of tens of thousands of troops to seize and control a city the size of Ekaterinburg, something that was clearly way beyond the scope of the plot. Nonetheless, the stages are worth outlining to provide an insight into the bizarre and unbalanced minds of the plotters.

Stage 1 was to consist of a series of “diversionary actions”; sabotage aimed at crippling key aspects of the city’s energy and transport infrastructure: cutting Ekaterinburg’s electricity supply by knocking out a mainline of pylons; blowing up railway tunnels and the severing of its gas and oil pipelines. These actions were intended to create general panic and to disrupt the governance of the city.

Stage 2 would witness the unleashing of a campaign of terror, with the plotters targeting and killing key figures on a detailed hit list who included: leaders of the local sub-departments of the Ministry of Defence, the directorates of the FSB and the MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) and the emergency services. Also singled out for “liquidation” were named leaders of ethnic minority populations in the city representing the Jewish, Azeri and Armenian diasporas. Given that they were unable to identify a clear leadership amongst the Chechen and Dagestani populations, it was deemed that all members of these two minorities should be shot at will. A synagogue, national-cultural centres and a number of cafes were also singled out for destruction.

Stage 3 envisioned the seizure of weapons and ammunition and assumed that elements within the MVD’s Spetsnaz would come over to the side of the plotters. Next, stage 4 was intended to consist of the full-scale mobilisation of the city’s military as well as sympathetic adult males within the civilian population, with those not wishing to become involved being removed to one of Ekaterinburg’s satellite towns. The final stage of the plan involved the plotters consolidating their hold on the whole of the Sverdlovsk Region, with sympathisers from the rest of Russia being encouraged to come and join them in their armed uprising. Having thus established their armed redoubt through setting off a chain reaction of insurrections, they hoped to seize the Russian state.

The plan hinged upon the deployment of several groups of saboteurs each about ten strong, with ancillary forces numbering around 30-50 men, as well as circa 200 “others”. Where were these men to be found? Who were they? Did they exist outside of the confines of the conspirators’ imaginations? For a group of half a dozen men – elderly men at that – such a plan is clearly ludicrous. The recent revolutions – “the colour revolutions” – that have taken place in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, required considerable amounts of money and mass popular participation to bring about political change; were the plotters really so deluded as to think that they could achieve their far-reaching objectives with next to no resources or public support, and to bring about change through political violence?

With respect to support for the PMMP elsewhere, there is not a great deal of evidence. Kvachkov travelled to different Russian cities in the summer of 2010 attempting to drum up support, but he achieved little. However, a man named Petr Galkin who was said to have been a member of the PMMP’s Togliatti Cell was arrested that year. He was carrying a crossbow. Following Kvachkov’s arrest in the summer of 2011, a benefit concert was arranged on his behalf by a number of sympathisers at Moscow’s October Cultural Centre in the northwest of the city, but it was burned down on 29 October 2011 the day before it was due to take place. Russian “antifascists” were suspected.

The current of Russian nationalism represented by Kvachkov and his confederates is a virulently anti-western and militaristic one, and embodies the type of ugly attitudes that are routinely and incorrectly attributed to moderate democratic nationalists by their opponents around the world – including in the UK. The negative ultranationalism articulated by the likes of Kvachkov and his ilk in Russia, or indeed in any country, deserves to be roundly condemned. Insofar as any rudiments of ideology can be discerned in the plotters’ position, it is entirely negative in tone and content, and would bring no benefit to the Russian people. The PMMP in its bloody intent seems to represent the latest incarnation of the negative spirit that has animated the worst excesses of Russian history throughout the ages, whether under tsars or Communists. In their own way, the plotters may well have seen themselves as contemporary oprichniki – “the men apart” – who did Ivan the Terrible’s bloody work in the name of his concept of “good governance”, which happened to be autocratic and merciless. Below is Sergei Eisenstein's and Sergei Prokofiev's lurid vision of one of Ivan's drunken late-night revels with his handpicked killers - the oprichniki: "Zhgi! Zhgi! Zhgi! Zhgi!" ("Burn! Burn! Burn! Burn!") they chant; an apt summary of their destructive mentality.

Ivan's Feast with the Oprichniki

Monday 8 October 2012

George Osborne’s latest Idea: Power to the Workers! Or is it?

The Chancellor’s suggestion that workers should trade their employment rights for a stake in their companies strikes me as something of a curate’s egg. Whilst aware that for small firms in particular their desire to expand and take on new staff may be inhibited by obligations relating to redundancy payments, unfair dismissal and other employment rights, in general these hard won rights need protecting. We are all aware of notorious cases brought for unfair dismissal where such rights have been abused of course, but in most instances, this is legislation that has been designed to prevent people from losing their homes and their family lives in the event of them losing their jobs. Who, after all, benefits from such a scenario? Who, ultimately, is left to pick up the bill when such breakdown occurs?

The evisceration of many of Britain’s old industrial centres based on coal, steel, shipbuilding and manufacturing in the 1980s led in many instances to the collapse of local economies, multigenerational unemployment and a sense of apathy and listlessness that fed into drug addiction and other anti-social forms of behaviour. Anyone familiar with such areas will be aware that since then little has happened to generate the sense of hope and well-being that these areas require, for the high-paid jobs of the old industries have not been replaced. Call centre positions paying a paltry £13,000 to £14,000 per annum provide a decent living for nobody; they are not a fitting replacement for the well-paid blue-collar jobs that preceded them. They may be less dirty and less dangerous, but in many other respects, they are far inferior to the jobs of the past.

Osborne’s suggestion that workers should be given shares in the company that they work for is a good one. To provide employees with shares in their employers’ businesses gives them an active incentive to work to ensure that it prospers in the expectation of gaining something tangible in return. Where such schemes are implemented in a meaningful rather than a cosmetic manner they can assist in breaking down the antagonism that all too often, and frequently understandably, exists between management and employees. Indeed, in small start-up companies the offer of a generous share package could, providing that new members of staff are happy with the conditions, act as a great spur to the business succeeding. However, in any instance where these rights were to be waived, this should be a temporary measure, with full employment rights being put in place after a clearly defined transitional period necessary to establish the business. It would also be very negative if such good practice were to be used as cover to strip away employment rights across the board, which is what many must fear Osborne intends to do by floating this idea. Given his intent to cut the public sector whether or not there are private sector jobs for people to go to, the removal of employment rights could have severe implications for the lives of many.

The economy does need to be rebalanced so that we create more wealth through manufacturing and other cutting edge productive industrial research and development, but slashing employment rights and drastically downsizing the public sector in a precipitate fashion before we have started creating such opportunities is not the way to do it. Osborne is right to encourage a reduction in the antagonism between management and employees through incorporating the latter as meaningful shareholders in their own businesses, but wrong to posit this as an alternative rather than as a supplement to the employment rights that people already enjoy.  After all, statutory redundancy pay is hardly generous, being capped as it is at £430 for every year worked up until the age of 40, and then £645 for every year worked above that age. For the likes of George Osborne of course, such concerns will only ever be theoretical, but for the majority of working men and women, they are an ever present and worrying reality.

George Osborne: Money worries? Not likely!

Sunday 7 October 2012

Video: Muslims Pray at Westminster Abbey

As mentioned in a brief post yesterday, whilst an anti-Muslim grooming demonstration was being held near Downing Street, another demonstration was being held by Muslims in Westminster. In the first of the short videos below, a group of Muslims can be seen praying beneath the walls of Westminster Abbey. Edward the Confessor would not be happy. The second video shows yesterday's Muslim demonstration against the 'Innocence of Muslims' film opposite the Houses of Parliament in the Abbey grounds. Who gave them permission to demonstrate there? Was it the Church? If so, why? Does this imply that some elements within the Church of England support the introduction of a blasphemy law protecting Islam?

Whereas previous Muslim protests in the capital that have caught the media's attention tended to be organised by one of Anjem Choudary's radical Islamist groups, this protest seems to have consisted of 'mainstream' Muslims, and was much larger. As in the recent demonstration about this matter in Bradford, the speakers address the crowd not in English, but in some sort of 'community' language from the subcontinent, thereby doubly demonstrating that they do not belong in England. For some reason, the BBC website did not cover this. Could it have been that the editors did not wish to alarm people?

Central London was evidently buzzing with demonstrations yesterday connected with Islam in one way or another, for the third video shows a group of Pakistani Christians protesting against the persecution of their co-religionists in Pakistan. Given the appalling treatment of Christians in Pakistan, their disquiet is fully understandable.

New Polish Film: September 11 1683

The Poles are just about to release a film that is bound to appeal to patriotic sentiment in Poland, focusing as it does upon the pivotal role of the forces of Polish King Jan III Sobieski in the defeat of the Ottoman forces that ended the Second Siege of Vienna. This moment represented a turning point in European history, with Sobieski leading the charge of 3,000 winged hussars which finally broke the Ottoman line. Thereafter, Muslim expansionism in Europe was checked and gradually driven back, with the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Caliphate in the wake of World War I representing the logical denouement of this new phase in history. The threat that had hung over Europe since the Muslim invasion of Spain in 711 appeared to be over. For a full millennium, the peoples of Europe had been prey to the aggression and territorial expansionism of Muslim imperialism, but by the 1920s it seemed that this menace was dead. How wrong we were.

One of the legacies of World War II was a loss of confidence in the values of Western Civilisation and a questioning of its moral worth with respect to other cultures. The resultant cultural relativism coincided with rapid decolonisation, the rise of anti-Western movements and the fostering of a cult of post-imperial guilt in many European societies. This was the moment when Islam – or more specifically Islamism – began to revive with a building intensity. The former metropolitan imperial powers of Britain and France opened their borders to mass immigration from their ex-colonies, a process aided by new and cheaper modes of mass transport. No consideration was paid to the cultural baggage carried by these new arrivals, and the heaviest baggage of all proved to be Islamic.

The post-war world witnessed the bloody partition of British India leading to the creation of the explicitly Islamic state of Pakistan, with two other key events being the Iranian Revolution and US assistance to anti-Soviet Islamists in Afghanistan. Throughout this period, Saudi influence burgeoned as the vast oil wealth of the kingdom enabled Wahhabi proselytisation around the globe, and today, in the wake of the Arab Spring, we find Islamism on the rise across the Arab world, and Muslim minorities in Europe growing more vocal and assertive in their desire to snuff out free speech and impose their own Islamic mores upon our societies. The victory of 1683 therefore, was perhaps not as decisive as we would wish it to have been, for the forces of Islamic obscurantism have successfully regathered themselves and are once more on the offensive.

In recent weeks we have witnessed Muslim protests against the ‘Innocence of Muslims’, the latest Charlie Hebdo cartoons mocking Mohammed and even demands for a student society at Reading University to be removed from the Freshers’ Fayre for naming a pineapple “Muhammed”. What then, might we expect when September 11 1683 is released in Britain? In Poland, there should not be any problems, as the country possesses a miniscule Muslim population, but here in Britain, especially in England, it is a different matter altogether. Given Sobieski’s role as a Polish national hero, an upholder of the Catholic Faith, it is unlikely that the forthcoming film will seek to fit the sort of pro-multicultural cultural relativist narrative that would have been forced upon it had it been made in Hollywood or Britain, so that in itself should make it worth viewing. However, as to whether the film is itself any good as a piece of cinematography or drama remains to be seen, but the fact that the Poles have produced this film at this particular time should stimulate some interesting debate. It is likely to be vilified by many British critics as “crude Islamophobic propaganda”. As to what I make of it, I shall let you know once I have seen it. The clip below gives a foretaste of the film.

Saturday 6 October 2012

Downing Street Anti-Grooming Protest

A protest against street grooming is currently underway outside of Downing Street. A source states that approximately 50 demonstrators are present, whilst a roughly similar number of Muslim protesters have gathered outside of Westminster. Whether the latter intend to confront the anti-grooming demonstration is not known, but it is thought that the primary object of their protest is to voice opposition to the extradition of Abu Hamza and other Islamists for trial in the US. The short video below shows the anti-grooming demonstrators passing Downing Street.

Friday 5 October 2012

Pineapple Rage in Reading

The humble pineapple: once a delicacy eaten only by the aristocracy in the seventeenth century, gradually democratised to the point of being a Sunday dessert staple in the 1970s, served up from a tin in sickly syrup, is not an item that I can ever previously recall raising anyone’s hackles. Some children may dislike it and pull faces when proffered a piece, and personally I am not overly keen on it in its tinned form, but for someone to become enraged about this tropical fruit does seem a little, without wishing to sound too harsh, irrational. How could an innocuous pineapple move anybody to rage? Strange as it may seem, a pineapple has caused outrage and protest amongst a group of people in Reading, yet it had not even been poisoned, at least not in the literal sense of the word; metaphorically however, perhaps it had been.

Can you fathom what may have happened to the said piece of fruit to generate such ire? Come now, surely it is obvious even to a child of the most tender years that a piece of fruit bearing an inappropriate appellation may lead to an incident that threatens riot and affray? To borrow a phrase from Rolf Harris: “Can you guess what it is yet?” Obviously, it is because the pineapple in question was called Mohammed! At this point, I hand over to a report from the National Secular Society that details the lunacy that ensued at the Freshers’ Fayre in the Reading University Student Union, where one student society had displayed a pineapple labelled ‘Mohammed’. Tim Rouse stated:

Among the material displayed on our stall was a pineapple. We labelled this pineapple "Mohammed", to encourage discussion about blasphemy, religion, and liberty, as well as to celebrate the fact that we live in a country in which free speech is protected, and where it is lawful to call a pineapple by whatever name one chooses.

Towards the end of the afternoon, we were informed by a member of RUSU staff that there had been complaints about the pineapple, despite the fact that no complaints had been made at any point to anybody on the stall. Our commitment to freedom of expression meant that we refused to remove the pineapple from our stall. After a few minutes, we were told by another member of RUSU staff that "Either the pineapple goes, or you do", whereupon they seized the pineapple and tried to leave. However, the pineapple was swiftly returned, and shortly was displayed again, with the name Mohammed changed to that of Jesus.

Shortly afterwards, the second RUSU staff member returned and ordered RAHS to leave the Freshers' Fayre. At this point, a group of around five students, some of whom self-identified as Muslim, approached the stall and began to criticise us, asking and telling us to remove the pineapple. Though these students mainly engaged in discussion, one removed the label from the pineapple without our permission.

As the RUSU staff member merely raised his voice and shouted at the RAHS president when he attempted to explain our position, we were ultimately forced to leave the venue. However, several other societies at the Fayre offered to continue distributing our leaflets, and we continued to hand out leaflets outside the venue until we were again asked to leave by RUSU staff members, this time accompanied by RUSU security staff.

The RAHS believes in freedom of expression. Our intent in displaying a pineapple labelled "Mohammed" was to draw attention to cases where religion has been used to limit this and other fundamental rights, such as the imprisonment of Gillian Gibbons. We did not expect to be forced out of the Freshers' Fayre because of a pineapple, and we are disappointed that RUSU took this action.

If anything, an apology should be issued to the pineapple for naming it after such an unpleasant character.

"My name is Muhammed and I want you to eat me."

Thursday 4 October 2012

EDL to rally in Rotherham: Saturday 13 October

Following recent revelations concerning Muslim grooming gangs in Rotherham and the failure of the local police and social services to tackle this problem for years despite being aware of its existence, a decision has been taken to hold an EDL demo in the town. This is scheduled to take place on Saturday 13 October. Shamefully, the Far Left have thus taken the decision not to highlight the statistically significant overrepresentation of a particular ethno-religious group in perpetrating this type of crime, but to try and blind the public to its reality by calling for a “multi-cultural rally” in Rotherham on the same day. In essence, judging by what has happened historically, this means that some UAF supporters will be seeking to initiate a violent clash with the EDL.

The Rotherham Advertiser quotes Pat Keenan (President of Rotherham Trades Council) at some length, and to his shame he has fallen for the dangerous myths constantly peddled and regurgitated by UAF spokesmen across the country:
“The overwhelming majority of people reject the EDL’s attempt to use racism to divide our society."
“Their attempts to spread racist myths about sexual exploitation must be exposed and challenged. They seek to blame one community for society’s problems."
“The EDL does nothing to protect the victims of sexual violence. Sexual predators and paedophiles exist in all communities, as do their victims.”
He added: “Each time the EDL assemble, minorities and trades unionists are subjected to threats and racial and religious abuse."
“Recently the EDL were prevented from marching through Walthamstow in London due to a fantastic show of unity from the local community.”
“It is essential that we show the same level of unity here. There’s no place for Nazis, racists or their allies in Rotherham’s multiracial, multicultural and multi-faith community.”
If Rotherham locals have any sense, which I am sure many do, they will keep well away from UAF and its deceitful spin about the allegedly anodyne nature of Islam. Advocate of violent confrontation with the EDL Weyman Bennett will be addressing a public meeting at the town’s ‘Unity Centre’ next Monday evening, with the paper claiming that local MP Denis MacShane will also be present. Being aware of MacShane’s politics, it would be nothing short of a miracle if he did not seek to make political capital out of this by appealing to Rotherham’s Muslim voters.

Pat Keenan employs a number of routine lies about the EDL including: calling them Nazis, whereas the EDL have burnt swastika flags and have ethnic minority members and supporters; claiming that the EDL scapegoat “one community for society’s problems”, which they do not, and neither do they claim that paedophilia is uniquely perpetrated by Muslims, but they do correctly highlight the fact that the phenomenon of on-street grooming is a predominantly Pakistani Muslim one. Given that the EDL are routinely and purposefully mislabelled as “racists” and “Nazis” by some trades unionists and UAF ethnic minority supporters, is it any surprise that some EDL demonstrators are tempted to voice their dissatisfaction by yelling abuse at their sworn enemies? The EDL are not, as UAF would have you believe, the current incarnation of Mosley’s Blackshirts, but a grassroots protest group made up of people from disparate backgrounds, although many who turn out for their marches are drawn from football firms.

UAF's effective controlling organisation - The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) - has in a recent article sought to exonerate Muslim grooming gangs from responsibility for the crimes that they have perpetrated in Rotherham, instead laying the blame for the abuse on lack of staff, thereby using the case to call for an increase in public spending in this sphere. This is also, of course, a blatant attempt by this anti-free speech party to solicit support from public sector workers in the town. The article states:
But social workers in Rotherham give a very different account of why the authorities failed to stop the abuse. “I’m not surprised young women fell through the safety net,” one social worker based in the town told Socialist Worker.

“There’s a huge shortage of staff—and particularly of qualified staff. The way the service is run is all about ‘cost management’ rather than getting out there and helping people.”

And it is sexist attitudes towards the victims, rather than imagined “sensitivities” about race, that hold back investigations.
The SWP is part of the problem when it comes to the specific crime of organised Pakistani Muslim paedophilia, because it constantly pushes the line that it does not exist and that to say that it does is 'racist', thereby facilitating ongoing abuse and running the risk of allowing the abusers to go unpunished. It claims to be a party representing the 'workers', but when it comes to ordinary working class English people, it sees them as expendable, preferring instead to court Muslim support.

How much money will be wasted on supporting the UAF counterdemonstration and who will be footing the bill? Doubtless, much of the funding will be drawn from union members’ subs, which is a disgraceful misuse of trades unionists’ funds in the current economic climate, and other monies may be forthcoming from the local council. If you are a Rotherham voter, keep an eye on which of your councillors are backing this protest in favour of hiding the reality of Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs, and be sure not to vote for them at the next election. Too many vulnerable Rotherham girls have suffered already because of this type of crime, and with its reality having been recently exposed, nobody – such as UAF – should seek to hide it from view again. One last question: why is it that the Rotherham Advertiser only allowed UAF and its supporters to give their perspective, whilst denying a platform to the EDL and their supporters? Is this balanced reporting, or propaganda? Why not write to the Rotherham Advertiser demanding that they allow the EDL the opportunity to give their side of the story in its pages?

The Morning Star reports that the anti-EDL meeting that took place at Rotherham's Unity Centre attracted circa 100 attendees on the evening of Monday 7 October. It is their expectation that the EDL will manage to muster between 100 and 200 demonstrators this coming Saturday. As at previous such meetings, EDL supporters were subjected to ritual denunciations as "fascists". Local paper The Sheffield Star also ran a story on the protest on Wednesday 10 October stating that extra police would be coming to Rotherham to police both demonstrations on Saturday, but as with the Rotherham Advertiser, UAF were given the opportunity to state why they were demonstrating, whereas the EDL were refused any voice in the paper, which described them as "far right". South Yorkshire Police estimate that the EDL will draw approximately 200 supporters to the town, whereas they anticipate that about 250 counter-demonstrators will congregate next to the town hall.

EDL Rotherham Division at Bristol Demo