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Tuesday 12 February 2013

Review: ‘The Year Britain Flooded’ (Channel 4)

Although this documentary admittedly contained some interesting and often alarming footage, it slotted neatly into a genre of sensationalist television that appears to have become more frequent in recent years related to extremes of weather. Many people did have their homes and livelihoods wrecked by the floods of 2012, which in the case of Hebden Bridge, came more than once, but the irritating over-dramatised inflexions of the narrator’s voice brought to mind a local radio presenter given free rein to make merry with a camera crew. The portentous music simply added to the irritation factor. If you were hoping for a piece of television that brought you any form of in-depth and dispassionate analysis, this was not the programme for you.

At one point, someone created ‘artificial floodwater’ by placing a number of foul items in a tank: muddy water, semi-decayed leaves, engine oil, antifreeze, human faeces and a dead rat: Blue Peter for ghoulish adults. Distinctly unpleasant, but at least it didn’t contain any Findus ‘beef’ lasagne.

In 2012 we may have witnessed the wettest summer for a century, but surely most people cannot have such short memories that they do not recall the almost equally appalling wet summers of 2007 and 2008? In fact, we’ve had a run of dreadful summers in recent years. As the programme went on, the only thing keeping me on tenterhooks was waiting for the moment that the narrator eventually attributed this weather to ‘climate change’. It didn’t quite come, although it was suggested via the comment that “flooding may become more frequent in the future”, and the observation that whereas the Thames Barrier was raised only four times in the 1980s, this rose to 35 times in the 1990s, and this century it has already gone up 86 times, with five closings in one week last December: “there are indications that flooding is getting worse” intoned the presenter. Alan Partridge’s inflexions were present, but the narration would have been far more entertaining and agreeable had it had been placed in the capable hands of the fictitious DJ.

One factor that the programme completely omitted to address was the fact that in recent decades an ever-greater expanse of land has been built over, and a disturbing trend has emerged in some areas for gardens to be paved over. All of this, unsurprisingly, has led to a greater rapidity of water runoff, with predictable consequences relating to the inability of sewers and watercourses to cope with the resultant surge in excess water. As the population has rocketed, not only has the problem of flooding become worse, but when we are not experiencing protracted periods of rainfall, drought warnings often seem to be close at hand, leading to the demand for ever-more reservoirs and higher water bills to pay for them: yet another ‘benefit’ of mass immigration and the attendant high birth rates amongst immigrant populations.

All in all, some 8,000 properties across England and Wales are reported to have been damaged by flooding in the past year, with the resultant cost exceeding £1 billion. Quite how much damage it has caused to agriculture was not touched upon, but the losses in low-lying areas such as the Somerset Levels must have been considerable. The Yorkshire seaside town of Whitby was particularly badly hit, with a terrace of cottages falling victim to demolition thanks to a landslide. As for the nearby landslip from the cliff-top St Mary’s Church resulting in the disinterment of mediaeval human remains in the resultant rubble, this will probably serve as grist to Whitby’s gothic mill.

The weather in 2012 was wretched and the water table across the country remains perilously high. We desperately need a break from the rains, but will we get it? As yet, no long-range weather forecasts for the spring of 2013 appear to have been issued, but owing to the general inaccuracy of such items (whether produced by the Met Office or independent weather prophets such as Piers Corbyn), this should come as no surprise.

St Mary's Church Whitby: another attraction for Whitby's Goth Weekend?

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Hark, hark the dogs do bark

The beggars are coming to town. This is the warning being made by the German Association of Cities in a report examining the negative impact of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria since 2006. During the intervening years, it is estimated that some 159,000 Romanian and 90,000 Bulgarian citizens have arrived in Germany, accompanied by what the Daily Telegraph describes as ‘a rise in organised crime’. What these figures fail to tease out of course is the percentage of these immigrants that happens to be Roma. Whereas many other Romanian and Bulgarian citizens will have upped sticks in search of legitimate employment, it would seem that this is not the preferred option for a very significant, if not a preponderant, element within the Roma.

Four German cities have been singled out as ‘struggling to cope’ with the influx: Berlin, Dortmund, Hamburg and Hanover. The immigrants generally do not speak German, are low skilled and place significant economic and social strains upon the receiving cities, leading to a situation in which  “The social balance and social peace is extremely endangered.” Depressing, yet refreshingly frank words and analysis. Why should Germany have to put up with this and bear these costs? Why should the UK have to allow a similar human ingress, following the removal of restrictions on immigration from Romania and Bulgaria on 1 January this year? Not one more unskilled labourer of any type is required, and we certainly need no more beggars. We are in the depths of a protracted recession, or more accurately, depression, and the arrival of such people can only serve to exacerbate existing problems and bring new ones. Migration Watch was right to caution that up to 70,000 per annum could arrive from these countries, and yet the Prime Minister ‘promises’ us an EU referendum in 2017 or 2018, thereby ensuring open borders until at least that date. What good is that?

Last year it was revealed that The Big Issue had been colluding in a scam allowing Roma immigration from Bulgaria and Romania by classing Roma Big Issue vendors as ‘self-employed’, leading in some parts of the country to them constituting 80% of all those selling the magazine. Alas, the courts adjudged this scam to be legitimate, and to be in full accord with the law. For most of us, this appears to be the straightforward abuse of a magazine that was purportedly established to help the homeless get back on their feet, and save enough money to gain accommodation of some sort.

For politicians however, the Roma issue is not big at all, but rather invisible. Criticise Roma criminality (‘culture’) and dark allusions will be made to a certain policy carried out on the continent some 70 years or so ago, yet look at the statistics and it is plain to see why so many Roma condemn themselves, or elect to follow, a life on the margins of society if not outright criminality. In Bulgaria for example, statistics from 2007 show that only between 60-77% of Roma children were enrolled in school education (ages 6-15) compared to 90-94% of ethnic Bulgarians, with only 6-12% of Roma enrolling in further education (16-19). If basic education is deliberately neglected to such an extent, how can the Bulgarian Roma hope for their children to find any form of legitimate employment when they become adults?

Official census data states that in 2001 Bulgaria was home to 370,908 Roma and Romania to 535,140 in 2002, so there would seem to be a large pool of prospective migrants. It will therefore be understandable that owing to the politically correct strictures of reporting in this country that ethnic Bulgarians and Romanians will be tearing their hair out in years to come, reading and viewing report after report, in which their good name is blackened thanks to a significant element within their Roma export. 

David Cameron: a globalist advocate of open borders

Monday 4 February 2013

Richard III: ‘The King in the Car Park’ Review

This evening's documentary on Channel 4 proved to be an entertaining affair, helping to bring to life one of Shakespeare’s greatest historical villains, whilst also allowing his current supporters to put in many a good word on his part (yes, I too was astonished to find that he has living advocates). Found last summer in Leicester’s Greyfriars Car Park, it was a remarkable stroke of luck that the remains of Richard III came to light in the very first trench excavated. Indeed, this chance discovery has already spawned a rather charming tale that will be sure to pass into the folklore associated with the monarch, for the driving force behind the project – Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society – stated that when she first visited the car park she experienced a strange sensation “right over the letter R” painted onto the tarmac. Astonishingly, it was below this spot that Richard’s bones lay.

The Richard III Society itself exists to reassess and reclaim Richard’s reputation, which its members believe to have been unjustly maligned by Shakespeare; a somewhat eccentric endeavour, that has managed to attract 3,500 supporters worldwide. Although Leicester University expressed an interest and eventually became involved in the dig, it lacked the necessary funding, so it fell to the Society to raise the necessary funds – some £10,000 – which it exceeded in only two weeks of fundraising. The plan was to put in two trenches and search for the friary, but the digging began in the space marked with the R, thereby bringing the bones of the king to light almost immediately. Langley remarked that a big dark cloud came over and unleashed a “tempest the minute we discovered human remains.”

In situ, the skeleton displayed a pronounced curvature of the spine, which came as a shock to Langley, for she and her fellow Society members had taken the line that Richard’s hunchback was a piece of malicious Tudor propaganda. Whoever this was, he had suffered from severe scoliosis and had met a violent end, for the skull bore wounds inflicted at the time of death or thereabouts.

As the remains were boxed up and removed from the site, Langley wished to drape them with a replica of Richard’s standard, but some of the others had misgivings in case the bones proved to belong to someone else. Nonetheless, draped they were and off they went for further scrutiny. The next task of course, was to determine the identity of the remains, but how? Not one of the monarchs who came after Richard was a direct relative, so it fell to Michael Ibsen, a seventeenth-generation descendant of the king’s sister, to provide a source of contemporary DNA, which proved to be a match with that of a skeleton. Moreover, radio carbon dating placed the skeleton in the appropriate timeframe of 1450-1540 given Richard’s death at Bosworth in 1485.

A CT scan of the skeleton was made at a nearby hospital to construct a 3-D image. The differing sizes of his clavicles – with the right being significantly larger than the left – was suggestive, combined with the pronounced scoliosis - of the possibility that one shoulder appeared higher than the other. There was no sign of a withered arm, but his arm bones were gracile, showing him to have been slight of build. Members of the Richard III Society who spoke to the presenter via webcam were quite indignant at the suggestion that Richard actually may have possessed a spinal deformity. Moreover, they appeared to be convinced that he had not had a hand in the murder of the princes in the Tower; a partisan bunch who would happily have quarrelled with members of the Henry VII Society, should such an entity exist (astonishingly, it seems that it does! Welcome to, The Henry Tudor Experience (although without wah-wah pedals and LSD)!). The evidence of the bones however, would seem to suggest that Shakespeare was correct in having Richard say "I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks". Could it be that the political villain of our age, Tony Blair, will excite such support 500 years hence from those who aver that "He was no warmonger! He was a decent and honest man who cared for his people!" We can only hope not, though some may well wish that in future he comes to rest beneath a car park and stays there.

The traumas displayed by the skull seemed to tally with contemporary accounts of his death in which he was finished off with a poleaxe, with the wounds inflicted after his helmet had been removed. A small entry wound on the top of the skull appeared to have been inflicted by a rondel dagger. There was also a massive slice to the base of the skull that probably finished him off. Another wound was inflicted after death on his pelvis, probably by a dagger. 

The forensic reconstruction of Richard’s face proved to be somewhat kinder than the few posthumous portraits that exist, and elicited an emotional response from Langley who looked upon the face and once again averred that this was not the face of a man capable of the evils attributed to him by his successful rivals. However, this would, so the evidence of the disappearance of the princes in the Tower suggest, be more in line with wishful supposition than likelihood, for the boys had stood between Richard and the throne which he had taken for himself.

Facial Reconstruction of Richard III

Whereas the Wars of the Roses are long over, it would seem that even after having been dead for over half a millennium Richard still has the power to generate conflict, but this time around it will not thankfully involve any loss of blood, but merely a civic spat as to where his mortal remains should rightly lie. The current intention is for his skeleton to be buried in Leicester Cathedral, but a rival Yorkist challenge is being made, appropriately from the city of York itself.

It is, some claim, a matter of record that Richard had planned for his resting place to be York, for he had made provision for the construction of a vast chantry attached to York Minster that would be able to accommodate 100 monks praying for the wellbeing of his soul. Leading the lobbyists for the interment of the remains in York Minster is Kersten England of the City of York Council. On this evening’s Look North she voiced her hope that an intervention by the Queen would lead to a change of plans, but how sympathetic would the monarch prove to be? What does she think of Richard?

Leicester Cathedral is certainly a very modest structure, which was a humble church until elevated to cathedral status in 1927, hardly the sort of building in which a mediaeval king of England would have been content to rest. York Minster on the other hand, is one of the great gothic cathedrals, and would thus provide a suitably grand setting, but wherever he is laid to rest, it is unlikely that the receptacle will take the form of a sepulchre akin to the type in which other monarchs of the period were interred. Given that Leicester Cathedral lacks the draw of York Minster, it would likely welcome any tourism and associated donations that come with it. For this reason if no other, there seems sure to be a tussle over Richard’s crumbling remains. One place however, is unlikely to attract tourists of any type: the car park beneath which his skeleton was found. Lancastrians, presumably, will look upon the affair with an air of amused indifference.

Now that the remains of Richard III have been found, will anyone be moved to search for those of Alfred the Great, whose tomb was destroyed during the upheaval of the Reformation? Perhaps that would be an even more difficult task, for if they were to be found, whose DNA could be cross-referenced?

The Skeleton of Richard III

Sunday 3 February 2013

Meet the Islamoantipatheists

Following the many comments made in response to my review of 'Make Me a Muslim', it struck me that it would make more sense to reply to the points in the form of an article rather than individually, owing to the overlapping nature of their content. This will also provide the opportunity to clarify some of my thoughts on the programme, the agenda it seeks to articulate, and Islamic doctrine and practice more generally.

Some readers of the review were evidently new visitors to the blog, and found the tone and content of what was presented here unpalatable. To them I offer not an apology, but a call for them to respect the right to freedom of thought, speech and expression; neither I, nor many of my regular blog readers, will bow to your demands to submit to your system of belief, whether it happens to be Islam or politically correct self-censorship. Intellectual pluralism is essential to the survival of any free society, and the right to criticise, ridicule and expose the negative aspects of doctrine, whether it happens to be religious or political, should not only be promoted, but demanded. For those affronted by what was written, I can only say that I and my regular readers are tired of your constant carping and belligerent insistence that we shut up and comply with your set of randomly assembled superstitiously sanctioned beliefs and cultural practices.

Upon the basis of reading one review, a number of ‘the affronted’ have managed to divine, apparently, the very essence of my being as well as my educational background and life experience, which they bizarrely adjudge to be of an exceptionally limited and ‘ignorant’ nature. The natural and frequent accompaniment to the word ‘ignorant’ is the term ‘bigot’, which given the undoubtedly bigoted position of those who have here freely employed that word, is deliciously paradoxical. Let me draw to their attention what the noun ‘bigot’ actually denotes: an individual who adheres to their opinions about something or someone and fails to modify these in light of evidence and logic that undermines the said opinions. A bigot is someone imbued with absolute certainty, or, to translate this into religious language, ‘faith’, and there exists no branch of humanity more self-assuredly and aggressively bigoted as doctrinaire Muslims who adhere to the literal ‘truth’ of the Qur’an and its associated traditions contained in the Hadith.

Not all people born into a Muslim background are doctrinaire, and thus are not bigoted fundamentalists. Indeed, the presenter of the programme – the personable Shanna – appeared to fall into this category. One new visitor laughably asked if I realised that I was being ‘anti-Islamic’: of course I was being anti-Islamic, for I see nothing of value in Islam that cannot be found outside of it, whereas conversely, I see much within that belief system that is backwards, vicious and deeply repressive. As for those who trot out the tired old line that you cannot judge the religion because: a) you don’t understand it; b) you’ve not studied it enough; c) you’re taking verses, beliefs or practices out of context; d) the Qur’an cannot be properly understood in translation, I say this: stop this blatant practice of deception and Dawah! We have no reason to waste our time toiling through your turgid self-justificatory celebration of misogynist irrationalism, cobbled together from the garbled leftovers of Judaism and Christianity with a bit of additional contradiction and hatred thrown in for good measure by way of original material. So, one of you did not like the fact that I described Allah as ‘a wily old fox’? What of it? It was a humorous remark. Given that he does not exist, it matters not how I refer to this hate-filled fictitious entity; you ought to be thankful that I did not refer to him in a more scatological fashion.

For those readers who describe themselves as ‘Muslims’ I ask them to take the ‘Quiz for Muslims’ at the following link, and to look at the vitriolic comments – from Muslims – that this quiz has elicited, for to date, not one of them has finished it. However, whereas it contains nothing offensive whatsoever, it does compel Muslims to reflect upon an unsavoury aspect of their ‘prophet’s’ biography which is accepted by Muslims to be ‘true’. Provide me with a straight and honest answer, and I will be impressed. This exercise will unfailingly differentiate decent people with a humane outlook on life, from those who deserve not to be trusted. So far as branches of Islam go, those who follow the Baha’i tradition would appear to possess a more decent and humane approach than those who do not.

Those who control language, control the debate
As some of my regulars have pointed out, use of the terms ‘Islamophobic’, ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘Islamophobe’ is heavily politicised, with these three words having been coined with the purposeful intent of waging a cultural war against freedom of speech and expression. These words are designed to stigmatise individuals and groups critical of Islam and to shut down debate through implying that dislike of Islam is irrational, thereby facilitating the spread of Islam. Moreover, they are typically deployed in association with an array of words and their cognates that already possess a long pedigree of eliciting a negative emotional reaction in residents of western countries: ‘racist’, ‘bigoted’, ‘intolerant’, ‘hate-speech’, ‘fascist’, ‘extremist’ and ‘far-right’. It matters not to those who employ such language that the vast majority of their targets will not deserve any of these labels, for they know that mud sticks, and that if they repeatedly use these terms in close association, then significant sections of the public will be convinced that those seeking to defend their liberties and way of life are actually ‘fascists’, which is a complete inversion of reality; a form of Islamist and Leftist Newspeak.

Catuvellaunian proposed a neologism of his own derived from Classical Greek which rather appeals, for unlike ‘Islamophobia’ it accurately encapsulates a position that he, I and many others share: Islamoantipatheia – a dislike of Islam. We are Islamoantipatheists, which is a bit of a mouthful, but it is nonetheless a term that deserves to be popularised, for whoever controls language, controls the debate. We are engaged in a cultural struggle, and it is a struggle that we must win. It is clear however, that we will not be able to rely upon the BBC to give us a fair hearing, for it is intent upon normalising and extending the influence of Islam. Why? As Ruth has pointed out, the Corporation is legally obliged to be impartial, but alas, it is clearly nothing of the sort.

‘Make Me a Muslim’, ‘World Hijab Day’, Halal Prison Food Outrage: The BBC's Week
One of the ‘affronted’ did not like my alleged insinuation that Aaqil Ahmed is a Muslim, which is odd, because he is a Muslim and is publicly declared to be such. I knew this when writing the piece, but chose not to state this and thereby encourage readers to search for more information on the man themselves and draw their own conclusions. He however, is not responsible for the all-pervasive pro-Islamic slant of the BBC’s output, for it is simply something that is deeply ingrained in the Corporation, with this week providing a particularly good example of this fact with the screening of ‘Make Me a Muslim’ on BBC3 on Wednesday and the promotion of ‘World Hijab Day’ on Friday – both focusing on and seeking to normalise non-Muslim women either accepting Islam or adopting associated cultural practices – and then yesterday running an outraged story over unspecified traces of pork being discovered in a number of halal prison pies and pasties. Why is so much uncritical attention being devoted to Islam? Is the BBC similarly outraged that the majority of non-Muslims are not notified when halal meat is sold to them in supermarkets or in restaurants? I cannot recall any outpouring of horror on the BBC’s part, can you? Why not? Halal slaughter is barbaric, end of story (cue idiotic comments appearing below about how halal slaughter has been ‘scientifically proven’ to be less stressful/painful for the animal, etc, etc).

The BBC is in the main staffed and governed by people who have fallen hook line and sinker for the fallacious set of assertions that ‘Islamophobia’ is akin to racism and that as a consequence we are never more than a hair’s breadth away from cattle trucks and the mass extermination of Muslims. Baseless rubbish of course, but it is a paranoid anti-British fantasy that courses through the veins of the Corporation, meshing with associated delusional narratives that feed into reflex assertions that anyone who objects to EU membership is a ‘xenophobe’, and those who oppose mass immigration are ‘racists’. The legislation subsequent to the wrongheaded Macpherson Report must bear a significant amount of the responsibility for this intrinsic bias, but what else may be at play? The Cranmer blog has something very interesting to say on this score.

‘Make Me a Muslim’: Superficial? What other factors were at play?
In the review I made reference to the above programme hiding more than it revealed, by which I meant that it failed to look at anything other than the most superficial proximate reasons for the adoption of Islam by the women it featured, and even then, the individual biographical and psychological details that were made available were sketchy. What it failed to analyse was the wider political, social and informational context within which these individuals had made their choices, and how their biographies and psychologies had been structured by radically different educational and social experiences, to those encountered by those of us belonging to older generations.

All of those featured were in their twenties and thus would have been no older than their early teens when Blair came to power in 1997; moreover, Claire and Inaya were 24, which means that they will only have been 8 or 9 at the time. They will thus have progressed through a schooling system in which the teaching of history was altered so radically as to strip out any sense of national narrative and continuity, focusing instead upon a disjointed heavily politicised and globalised curriculum imbued with a deep sense of cultural relativism – as a value system rather than a technique – and an ingrained anti-westernism. Coupled with this, they have grown up in the era following the implementation of the recommendations of the Macpherson Report, its invention of the concept of ‘institutional racism’ and attendant set of ‘diversity’ policies that demand ‘respect’ for ‘minorities’ and invoke a misplaced sense of racial and cultural guilt on the part of all native Britons. We have also seen the introduction of so-called racial and religious hatred legislation that has cowed critics of Islam and Islamisation.

These young women would have been approaching their early teens at the time of 9/11 and the subsequent reassertion of Islamic identity that occurred in the UK amongst immigrants from Muslim countries and their offspring in particular, a reassertion that was accompanied by a BBC going into overdrive to accommodate Islam and to make it appear unthreatening, ‘normal’, and just part of natural everyday life in the UK. This was a decade during which Saudi financial influence helped to proselytise Wahhabism in the UK through the funding of new mosques, madrassahs and the distribution of Saudi-printed literature, an influence that was also feared in nominally traditional Muslim states that were now in effect secular.

The Blair era and beyond also witnessed unprecedented levels of mass immigration into the UK and an explosion in the Muslim population, and whilst his administration promoted the dissolution of national identity as popular culture became obsessed with the vacuity of celebrity, Islam was permitted and encouraged to embed itself and to grow, developing a greater sense of security and self-confidence. In sum, might it not be that to a certain extent, the young British converts encountered in ‘Make Me a Muslim’ were a sign of a deep social malaise, a loss of confidence and identity amongst many young Britons fostered by the interweaving factors outlined above? If so, how tragic it should be that they chose to adopt such a backward and negative system of belief and practice. Such factors and the questions that they raise however, did not inform ‘Make Me a Muslim’, which thus remained a deeply unsatisfying programme undeserving of the title ‘documentary’.

Friday 1 February 2013

BBC promotes ‘Hijab for a day’

It often seems that there is nothing British about the BBC other than the money that pays for the licence fee. Am I being facetious? A little, perhaps, but then again the tenor of some BBC programming – BBC3’s ‘Make Me a Muslim’ on Wednesday for example – and its promotion today of the‘Hijab for a day’ initiative does raise significant questions regarding its cultural agenda, for as far as the Corporation is concerned, it would seem that the island of Britain is little other than a geographical space. With respect to this island’s native inhabitants – whom the BBC repeatedly asserts do not exist – its aim often appears not to be the celebration, promotion and protection of their cultures, but of their thoroughgoing deculturisation and absorption either into a transnational cosmopolitanism or even Islam. Its promotion of ‘Hijab for a day’ fits neatly into this programme of deculturisation and alienation of Britons from Britain. 

What is ‘World Hijab Day’? What could be its purpose? Who dreamt it up, and why? The BBC informs us that it was the brainchild of New York Muslim Nazma Khan who wishes to ‘counteract’ controversies about the hijab and Muslim veiling in general: 
That is the official line of course, but in reality, as any sentient being can see, this is a straightforward method of normalising the presence of Islam and a step towards Islamic proselytisation – Dawah – on a grand scale. As such, it could be interpreted as an act of cultural imperialism and a celebration of Muslim misogyny. The question that really deserves to be asked is this: why is the BBC so persistent in promoting this misogynist system of belief and associated cultural practices? Aaqil Ahmed, the BBC’s Head of Religion and Ethics will have a role to play in this of course, but to lay the blame upon this one man would be totally misplaced and unfair, for the cultural self-loathing of which this is but one expression is deeply rooted within the BBC. If the BBC really cared about the rights of women, it would be promoting the following: ‘World Non-Hijab Day’, a day upon which women around the world who normally wear a veil cast it off for the day ‘and experience what it’s like to do so, as part of a bid to foster better understanding.’ When will we see mass unveilings in Saudi Arabia? Now, that really would be newsworthy! Shall we start a campaign for such a day? Women everywhere deserve it. 

The BBC should be called to account for its persistent promotion of misogyny, for under the guise of religious 'tolerance', it is attempting to compel us to accept the intolerable.

The BBC says: "Women! Know your place!"

Thursday 31 January 2013

Review: BBC3 ‘Make Me a Muslim’

A few years ago Channel 4 ran a short series of exactly the same title, but this one-off on BBC3 chose a different tack which proved to be even more trying than its predecessor. Still, although it was painful to watch, it was probably no more annoying than what followed it: the perennially unfunny Russell Howard.

‘Make Me a Muslim’ failed to be engaging. Like the young converts that it featured, it seemed to be covering up and keeping hidden far more than it was revealing. Although looking at the recent phenomenon of conversion to Islam in Britain, particularly amongst indigenous British women, the show (to call it a documentary would be a little too grandiose for what we were offered) was centred upon a 26-year-old model from a Pakistani background – Shanna – who described herself as “British”, “Westernised” and “a modern Muslim”. She freely admitted that she does not practise Islam much, and posed the question as to why young British women should choose to adopt a religion which imposes so many restrictions upon their hitherto free lives.

Throughout the programme, a narrator provided commentary in addition to the questions posed and opinions voiced by Shanna and her interviewees, setting out, presumably, to attempt to explain why an estimated 5,000 converted to Islam in the UK last year, with over half being white and three quarters of these women. Alas, as the programme progressed, it appeared that the personable Shanna was increasingly beginning to question her westernised approach, and by the end she was stating: “I kind of feel really weird” and “I feel a bit lost”, meaning that it had made her realise that she had been neglecting her faith. This was rather sad really, given that this young woman had already borne the brunt of an extremely nasty hate campaign from a number of Muslims for attempting to enter Miss Universe. The abusers routinely described her as a “whore”, and she received death threats, including threats of decapitation. To see her inclining towards a greater embrace of the backward misogynist belief system that nurtures such views was thus depressing.

Returning to the equally dispiriting matter of the indigenous converts, four were featured in the programme, as well as an Edinburgh resident of African background. One of the converts, rather like Yvonne Ridley, had affected a pseudo-Pakistani accent, and all of the indigenous four had donned the drab apparel of the ‘devout’ and ‘modest’ female Muslim. Seeing them coo about headscarves and other shapeless defeminising garments made me momentarily wish that the BBC3 crew would parachute in Gok Wan to give them a wardrobe makeover, but no, we had to stick with “the halalised” wardrobe as one of them put it.

The first young woman visited, 24-year-old Claire, lived in Bridgend with her parents, and said that she had been attracted to Islam because she is “quite conservative”, doesn’t like getting drunk and likes to dress “modestly” (did you hear that Gok?). As a consequence, the locals understandably look upon her as something of an oddity, a number of them, she says, thinking of her as being “a traitor”, which in a sense is rather a fair description given the fact that she has chosen to figuratively spit in the face of her own freedom-loving culture.

She formally converted to Islam last year, but her mode of dress had changed beforehand and she had affectedly decided to change her name, as would appear to be de rigueur in such cases, to Sophia. For her “All this stuff about women being oppressed [by Islam] is complete codswallop.” By this time, I was finding her mannered approach to this adopted belief system a little vexatious, as was her poor father who’s told her that Islam is a different culture: “but I did tell her, she is Welsh. At the end of the day, she’s got pretty hair, curly, like her old man. She’s got no reason to hide it, has she?”

Sound advice from dad, but this late-onset equivalent of teen rebellion won’t allow her to open her ears to him of course. Her poor mother, Gill, looked awkward when asked how the family felt about her daughter’s conversion, for she acknowledged that other family members weren’t happy. She said that she had read the Qur’an and didn’t see it as being that different from the Bible, and viewed its system of belief as being akin to “the old-fashioned Christian way”. It’s understandable that a mother should not wish to lose her daughter, so let’s just hope that she’s hanging on in there waiting for Claire to resurface once the Sophia identity is a spent force.

Shanna next travelled to Scotland to meet Alana, “a traveller, not a gypsy” by background, who converted two years ago. The media student really misses Parma ham, but following an encounter in Lanzarote all pork products are now haram, for it was there that she met Abdul, her fiancé, who introduced her to Islam. She has decided that they will have two weddings: one Muslim and one British, although nobody will be allowed to drink at the latter (so, come to think of it, the ‘British’ wedding will be Muslim too, and all the worse for it). Abdul will be pleased though, as he’ll acquire the right to a shiny new UK passport.

Alana was one of those people who possesses a ‘god-shaped hole’, but unfortunately in this instance, that wily old fox Allah appears to have crept into it and bedded down, at least for the time being. For ‘fun’, she likes to attend a weekly Islamic studies class, which scandalously takes place upon the premises of an alleged centre of learning – a university. There, she quaffs heady drafts of Quranic history and Shariah law. She would also like to study Arabic. Abdul will be delighted, particularly when this scintillating stuff of conversation is added to her ultra-drab halal wardrobe. With an existence like that, no wonder so many Muslims don’t appear to be that keen on life.  

Convert number three was named Lisa. She lives somewhere in the South (did somebody mention Slough? I can’t remember. If so, it’s probably best not to quote Betjeman’s most famous verse though: “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough”). Married to a Pakistani seven years back, she got around to converting to Islam one year ago. Although she has three daughters and lives at home with them, she has never sat in the same room as her in-laws and the local Pakistani residents shun her owing to their intensely clannish racism and their preference for first-cousin marriage. Indeed, her ‘husband’ was already married to someone genetically near and dear when they ‘married’, so she is wife number two. Bigamy is of course illegal in this country, but anyone who works for the DSS in certain parts of Britain will of course be aware of a surprising number of Pakistani and Bangladeshi ‘single’ mothers claiming an impressive array of benefits for an ever-increasing number of children. Given that Lisa stays at home to look after the children, she may well be classed as one of these ‘single’ mothers and thus be claiming benefits upon the most dubious of grounds.

Lisa however, does not like being a “co-wife”, and she and wife number one really don’t get on. They loathe the sight of each other in fact, and unsurprisingly, do not live under the same roof. Why did she convert to Islam? Who knows? Does it sound like she’d have a rational reason? Not really. Does her husband care? Does anyone? By this stage of the programme I was seriously flagging. It was very, very dull viewing, but it was about to get duller: cue a trip to a small northern town in Greater Manchester to meet Inaya (I can’t remember what her real name was).

Inaya is not happy because she cannot find a Muslim husband and works in a call centre in Accrington (although to be fair, she did not cite the call centre job as a source of her unhappiness). She converted four years ago at the age of 22 “after going through a difficult time . . . [a] rough patch at home”. Why? She decided to convert as she thought that she would not be happy otherwise. That’s not really an answer, is it? Still, never mind. So, is she happy now? As stated at the beginning of this paragraph, she is not happy, as she cannot find a spouse. Of course she cannot find a spouse, for she has converted to Islam. For most males of the species that’s a pretty massive turnoff.

Inaya has been to Muslim speeddating events where prospective matches have been accompanied by their scowling parents who have been happy to notify her that she is variously too old, too tall and also likely to give up Islam (too white and thus fit only for a bit of casual ‘fun’?). As for online dating, she has found that Muslim ‘guys’ just want to have ‘fun’. Well, well, well. Indeed, so exciting has her new life as a Muslim proven to be, that her best friend has also converted, but we didn’t get to hear much about what she’s now not doing in her existence which was formerly a life.

Shanna next went to Edinburgh to speak to an African model named Aisha, but at that point it seems that I lapsed into a momentary coma, my senses dulled by nigh on fifty minutes of banal tedium. Why did BBC3 screen this? What was the point? As a piece of television, it did not work, and as a piece of social commentary, it was distinctly unsatisfying. Might it not have something to do with the fact that the BBC’s Head of Religion and Ethics is a certain Aaqil Ahmed? Now, which religion do you think he favours promoting? Does it give you a warm glow knowing that you have to pay for this propagandist nonsense to be made and broadcast? Bring back ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’! As for the bunch in the programme this evening, my recommendation would be as follows: avoid! Evidence of more pro-Islamic BBC bias can be found here in connection with its promotion of 'World Hijab Day'.

For a response to the many comments below, see Meet the Islamoantipatheists.

Aaqil Ahmed: BBC Head of Religion and Ethics

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Bradford’s Muslim Grooming Gangs: have the politically correct blinkers been removed?

The Telegraph and Argus today ran with a prominent report on local MP Kris Hopkins’s contribution to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into child grooming. Although it does not describe itself as investigating Muslim child grooming, which would be the case if this phenomenon were no longer being treated in a politically correct fashion, this is in effect what it is examining, following the recent scandals connected to such practices in Rotherham and Rochdale. Indeed, whilst this inquiry takes place the nine Muslim men arrested as part of Operation Bullfinch are standing trial for perpetrating this sort of crime in Oxford over a number of years.

Hopkins stated that over the past two months 30 people had been arrested in the Bradford area in connection with grooming crimes, and that there are also a number of “ongoing cases”. However, according to the Telegraph and Argus, he claims that this crackdown was evidence of the fact that ‘the days when alleged “political correctness” made the authorities reluctant to act were gone.’ Ann Cryer, an earlier incumbent of Hopkins’s Keighley and Ilkley seat, has also appeared before the Committee. She is quoted by the Yorkshire Post as stating that the inter-agency working necessary for tackling this and related problems simply “wasn’t happening” when she was an MP. Moreover, she drew attention to another repellent cultural aspect of the ‘community’ from whose ranks the grooming gangs originate: 
The West Yorkshire Police, Bradford local authority, social services, schools, hospitals even – because abortions were taking place – none of them were working together. None of them were giving information. I feel pretty convinced that at that time there was a fear of being called a racist.
There still is such a fear Ann. Ask anyone who works in the public sector and who has to pay at least lip service to the irrational diversity dogma that is thrust upon us. Criticise Islam or associate any negative practice with it and you’ll find yourself in pretty damned hot water very fast. If you offend a Muslim colleague in this manner you can kiss goodbye to any prospects of career advancement. We live in a self-inflicted climate of fear thanks to the legislation that emanated from the thoroughly wrongheaded Machpherson Report and its invention of the fictitious crime of ‘institutional racism’ and the extension of the term ‘racism’ to include criticism of negative practices conducted predominantly by ethnic minorities.

Although Ann Cryer has over the years done much good in trying to draw attention to this form of paedophile grooming, the local Labour Party that she represented was at least initially reluctant to publicise the true extent of this ugly reality, and it is unfortunate to say that at that time it took the actions of the BNP to flush this scandal out into the public arena. Similarly, it does beg the question as to how seriously Hopkins et al would be taking the gang grooming phenomenon were it not for the series of noisy protests mounted by the EDL across the country, including in Keighley, Rotherham and Rochdale. Whether you happen to agree with their tactics or not, they have helped to bring this ugly phenomenon to the attention of a wider public, no matter how unwelcome that might be to certain Westminster politicians eager not to ‘offend’ the Muslim bloc vote. One can only conclude therefore, that given the sluggishness of Westminster politicians to recognise the nature and extent of this type of criminal behaviour and their ongoing inability to name it for what it is – Muslim paedophile grooming – political correctness reigns supreme. Only once we are rid of the intellectually and morally corrosive effects of the Macpherson Report will we be able to deal with this problem properly, and root it out once and for all.

Alas, what does BBC3 offer us tonight? ‘Make Me a Muslim’. 

Monday 28 January 2013

Gigantomania and Overcentralisation: HS2

Today’s announcement of the proposed details of the second phase of the HS2 route has been touted by George Osborne and Nick Clegg alike as a good thing, and a project that will assist growth, particularly in the regional cities with which it will link up. The twin spurs leading out from Birmingham will radiate up to Toton (near Nottingham), Sheffield and Leeds on one branch, and to Manchester and Manchester Airport on the other. This apparent enthusiasm should not come as a surprise, given that many politicians seem to possess a weakness for prestige projects, and projects don’t come much larger or more prestigious than HS2. Generally speaking however, such undertakings smack of gigantomania, but whereas its construction may not prove to be as wasteful, pointless or brutal as the White Sea Canal, it could yet prove to be more costly and of less utility than the Channel Tunnel, which in itself returned a loss for a number of years and came in well over budget, costing (according to one source) almost £12 billion rather than the originally projected £4.9 billion. 

The current price tag attached to HS2 is £32 billion, but what will be the real cost? How often do projects of this magnitude come in on budget? In practice, it is likely that the budget required for the construction and initial operation of HS2 will grow considerably as the years progress. Beyond this of course, there are the additional costs incurred in terms of environmental destruction and degradation, and the possibility that London will suck yet more lifeblood out of our regional cities rather than pump forth a surge of vitality. The thinking underpinning HS2 is distinctly metropolitan and damagingly London-centric, and many voices of opposition have been raised beyond those whom one would normally expect to object, such as 70 MPs.

Much of the thinking underpinning HS2 is fundamentally flawed, for the assumption is that time spent travelling on trains is dead time lost to productive employment, whereas we are now all aware that this is no longer the case thanks to the revolution in communications technology that allows us to work using our mobiles, laptops and tablets whilst on the move. Thus, does cutting the journey time from Manchester to London from two hours and eight minutes to one hour and eight minutes, and from Leeds to London from two hours and 20 minutes to one hour and 22 minutes really merit a minimum investment of £32 billion? These figures, particularly during our severely straitened times, appear to be frighteningly wasteful. If perhaps, we could guarantee that all of the steel, cement, signalling and rolling stock used in the creation and operation of this proposed new network were to be British produced and British owned, and the intellectual and manual labour employed likewise to be domestically sourced, then perhaps a case of sorts could be made for its construction, given the positive economic effects that it would generate. However, the likelihood is that it will not be: the network’s construction could well instead lead to an increase in the balance of payments deficit. 

Furthermore, the routing of the new network means that the ‘Nottingham’ and ‘Sheffield’ stations will not be in the city centres, with Nottingham’s being situated at Toton (no, I’d never heard of it either) and Sheffield’s at Meadowhall (do they intend to try and lure away shoppers from London’s Oxford Street?). This will mean that travellers will then need to board connecting services to reach the city centres, so the time saved is even less than that being claimed by advocates of the development. When will it be completed if all goes to schedule? Not until 2032 to 2033, apparently.

'Sheffield' HS2 Station: Meadowhall

Rather than ploughing such vast sums of money into an economically wasteful, London-centric prestige project, this investment ought to be used instead to upgrade regional rail networks and rolling stock, re-opening a number of lines closed by Beeching where this is still practicable to ease the pressure on our roads. Far more could be achieved in this way, and would be far more likely to yield a meaningful improvement in transport for the residents of our northern cities as well as laying the basis for prosperity in the regions. This is something championed by the Campaign for Better Transport which advocates the reopening of the Skipton to Colne rail link and the reinstatement of the line from Portishead to Bristol amongst others.

The opponents of HS2 have produced a website – StopHS2 – which sets out a number of persuasive arguments and figures in support of the campaigners’ assertion that the project is both wasteful and damaging. As yet, a decision upon whether to allow the construction of HS2 will not be made until next year, so although the go-ahead is not a foregone conclusion, the campaigners are going to have a tough struggle ahead of them in fighting the interests of the powerful lobby groups pushing for this ‘development’. Let’s hope that they succeed! 

Sunday 27 January 2013

Spalding anti-immigration protest: April 2013

Spalding has a problem with immigration, as does Boston. However, the greatest problem faced by the residents of these two towns is not so much the immigrants themselves, as the political system and legislation that has enabled and encouraged the latter to settle there. One cannot blame the immigrants for wishing to seek a better life given that EU regulations have legally entitled them to come and work in the UK. Our dissatisfaction should not be directed at these people, but at the EU, our Government, our mainstream political parties and those employers who seek to use immigrant labour to their narrow self-advantage and to the detriment of the wider society.

Although it would be churlish to state that every aspect of EU membership has been negative, on balance, both in practical terms and in matters of democratic principle, membership has neither been welcomed by nor beneficial to a large segment of our population. The free movement of labour between member states has been one of the most visible and most negative aspects of membership. From the perspective of certain vested interests – notably unscrupulous employers keen to drive down wages irrespective of the impact upon living conditions – the importation of cheap and often highly qualified and motivated labour from the EU accession countries of the former Soviet bloc has been welcome, but from the viewpoint of ordinary people here at home struggling to find work that will pay a living wage and enable them to live what would hitherto been seen as a ‘normal life’, it most certainly has not.

The people of Spalding are tired of having their concerns relating to unprecedented levels of immigration ignored or branded as ‘racist’, and inspired by recent anti-immigration demonstrations that took place in nearby Boston in November and earlier this week, they have decided to take to the streets at a date yet to be fixed this coming April. Its organiser, Dean Everitt, told the Spalding Guardian that this march would be followed up by marches in Boston, Wisbech and Lincoln, culminating in a march on Westminster. Details of the protests are to be posted on the Spalding Immigration Issues Facebook page.

Mr Everitt stated:
Europeans cannot come here and think they can act in the same way as they do abroad. People don’t want drinking and urinating in the streets, overcrowding in properties and lack of jobs.

Residents are becoming afraid to go out, especially at night. We’ve had six murders in three years – and that’s just Boston and Spalding.
In addition to the problems listed by Mr Everitt, there will of course be associated issues generated by a large influx of non-English speaking children into local schools and pressure placed upon health and social services. Whereas our large urban centres have been subject to such pressures for decades, these problems are new for small towns such as Boston and Spalding which have seen recent immigration create a staggering growth in population. By 2008, some estimates placed Boston’s immigrant population as high as one quarter of the total, and the 2011 census indicated that the population of the borough as a whole had increased from 55,800 in 2001 to 64,600.

This specific problem recently received an airing on the BBC’s Question Time in which the BBC’s favoured Professor of Classics Mary Beard dutifully sang from the globalist open borders hymn sheet, extolling the many ‘virtues’ of Boston’s immigrant influx, blithely brushing aside the concerns of locals. However, as can be seen from the second of the clips below, Beard’s sunny evaluation of the situation was soon washed away by a contribution from a local woman of half-Polish descent who highlighted the general nature of the problem whilst providing some specific examples.

Such is the discontent generated by the immigrant influx, that even Boston Labour Councillor Paul Kenny has been compelled to grant some form of recognition to public concerns. Thus, this week he attended a House of Commons conference entitled ‘Immigration to the regions: how do we ensure that no-one is left behind?’ with a view to raising questions about ‘street drinking, employment and issues surrounding Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs)’. However, the only genuine solution to the specific problems experienced in Boston and Spalding, as well as to the wider negative impacts of mass immigration across the country as a whole, is to take a genuinely robust approach to immigration which involves a de facto closing of the borders, with allowance being made for only a very small number of immigrants to enter the country under genuinely exceptional circumstances. As for those who are allowed in, citizenship and its attendant rights should be granted only after an extended period of residence providing that the individuals concerned have fully integrated and proven themselves to be of good character.

We remain in a period of exceptional economic crisis, and whereas mass immigration does not lie at the root of this crisis, it has certainly made it harder to cope with; further immigration will do nothing other than exacerbate our many problems in the areas of employment, housing, health, education and social services. Leaving the EU will only be part of the solution, for the abandonment of the false belief in the morality of globalism will be a necessary precondition for regaining control of our borders, as this is what allows our borders to be so porous. Will the protesters from Spalding and Boston recognise this truth and draw the necessary political conclusions, or will they be bought off with some sop from Westminster?

Saturday 26 January 2013

Front National encouraged by Ipsos poll on French attitudes

According to an article appearing in today’s Le Monde, Marine Le Pen is in buoyant mood following the publication of an Ispsos poll of French public opinion in yesterday’s edition of the paper. Why? Well, in Le Pen’s own words, it shows that “the French think like us”. Specifically, it would appear that Front National attitudes and policies with respect to immigration, Islam, globalisation and economic protectionism strike a strong chord with the French electorate.

Overall, the French public is not in an ebullient mood, with the poll suggesting the prevalence of a distinctly pessimistic worldview. That this should be so ought to come as no surprise, for France, like the UK, does not currently find itself in a happy situation either economically or socially. The pie charts reproduced below provide a striking summary of the twin mood of economic and cultural decline that appears to have taken root: 55% of respondents thought that French economic power “has declined a great deal” and a further 35% believe that it “has declined a little”, with only 7% thinking that the economy “has progressed a little”. In the cultural sphere, the mood remains negative, but not in quite so pronounced a fashion as with respect to the economy: 23% thought that French cultural influence “had declined a lot” with a further 40% stating “that it had declined a little”. 

In factually rather than politically correct fashion, 74% of respondents in the poll subscribed to the notion that Islam was an “intolerant” religion; 77% stated that “religious fundamentalism” (code for Islam) was a matter of concern to them; 57% were of the opinion that “anti-white racism is quite common in France”, and 62% “no longer feel at home in France”. Data are not provided with respect to ethnic and faith differences amongst respondents, but the results clearly indicate that France is a cleft society, with a significant proportion of indigenous French citizens feeling a distinct sense of cultural alienation from their own homeland because of the momentous changes wrought by mass immigration in recent decades. My sympathies on this score lie with the French. Whether or not the French have lost Paris as the English (or indeed, the British) have lost London, I do not know, but similar processes driven by the twin ideologies of globalism and permeable borders are leading to a crisis of national self-identity in both countries. However, to express this sense of alienation from one’s own homeland and the political class who implement and advocate the policies that lead to this dispossession is to run the risk in both the UK and France of being branded a ‘far-right extremist’, which is of course a deeply malicious and wounding slur upon the part of those who level it.   

One commentator – Michel Winock – described by Le Monde as a “specialist in the history of politics and ideology in modern France” has used the findings of this poll to make tired and lazy comparisons with France in the 1930s, raising the hoary old spectre of recrudescent ‘fascism’ that is so often wheeled out by defenders of mass immigration and state-sponsored multiculturalism on either side of La Manche when confronted by popular distaste for these two elite-sponsored projects. To equate a desire for national self-preservation and cultural distinctiveness with ‘fascism’ is repugnant, but that does not prevent the likes of Winock from seeking to firmly implant this false association in the public mind with the assistance of a largely eager and compliant mass media.

In conclusion, the policies forwarded by the Front National chime strongly with the concerns of native French voters, but thus far the party has not been able to make a significant electoral breakthrough. What then, will it take for French voters to give voice to their dissatisfaction by voting for a party that offers policies that they favour, and for them to overcome their aversion to voting for Le Pen inculcated by many years of deeply hostile coverage of the FN?

Friday 25 January 2013

The economy shrinks whilst the population grows

Although provisional, today’s statistics released by the ONS suggest that overall the UK economy remained flat in 2012: there was no growth. However, the statistics that point to a 0.3% contraction in the economy during the final quarter of 2012 are, when taking into account demographic factors, even more worrying, for the figures relate to aggregate GDP and not per capita GDP. Given the rapid population expansion that has taken place over the past decade and a half and continues to this day, per capita economic output is shrinking at an even faster rate. This conclusion would appear to be supported by statistics released earlier this week stating that unemployment is now at its lowest in 18 months and a new record has been reached for the number of people in work. Average earnings are said to have increased by 1.5% in the year to November 2012, but given that RPI throughout this period was running at more than double this rate, they purchasing power of average wages has been falling; our standard of living in these raw terms is declining.

Worryingly, the underlying state of the economy looks weak, with the genuine foundations of wealth creation – “the production industries” – contracting at a faster rate than the economy as a whole, dropping by 1.8% in the final quarter of 2012. This represents part of an ongoing trend illustrated in the graph below, which shows that production as a whole had declined by circa 5% since the beginning of 2011, with the largest drop being witnessed in mining and quarrying which fell by over 25% during the same period. 

 The latest figures for the UK’s trade deficit released in November also reveal a grim picture, with the deficit on goods and services estimated to have been £3.5 billion. Looking beneath this surface figure, the weakness of our manufacturing and productive sector is starkly revealed by a £9.2 billion monthly deficit on goods which was “partly offset by an estimated surplus of £5.7 billion on services.”

Clearly, the economic policy of the current Government is not working, and yet, the ‘solution’ offered by the Labour Party is no better, for it focuses upon maintaining consumption through increased borrowing without addressing the trade deficit and the over-reliance upon the service sector. A radical new industrial policy is required that provides greater backing for the development of cutting-edge technologies and the industries of the future, providing jobs both for those with high-level intellectual skills in science and engineering, as well as for those working in support roles in the supply chains required to nurture and sustain this domestic revival. However, such an approach is at best paid only lip service by the globalist parties of today: Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP. A new non-globalist alternative is required to provide the support and impetus necessary to launch and sustain a long-term economic revival with a vision and programme that looks decades into the future, rather than simply to the next General Election.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Cameron pledges the UK to a war without end and without meaning

A comment made by the Prime Minister recently left me feeling poleaxed, and upon reading it I felt like rubbing my eyes and dousing myself in cold water to ensure that I was awake. Surely he could not have uttered the following sentence and believed in the substance of the words that he was enunciating with respect to the recent hostage crisis in Algeria:
What does he mean by stating “had to deal with”? By using these words he seems to imply that the problem there has been solved. Has it? What has been achieved in Afghanistan? How has the problem been dealt with in Pakistan? Has the Islamist problem been solved in either country, or even here in the UK? Quite clearly, the answer must be no. Our intervention in Afghanistan may have eliminated al-Qaeda training camps, but what in reality has it achieved? When our forces leave that country after well over a decade of death, mutilation, psychological trauma and the expenditure of billions of pounds, what will we see? A prosperous Afghanistan friendly to the UK advocating freedom of opinion and expression for its citizens, together with respect and equal rights for its women, or a jubilant Taliban-dominated theocracy celebrating victory over the infidel, just as antipathetical to the UK and the West in general as it was in 2001 and imbued with a spirit of vengeance? It would seem that the second scenario would be far closer to what emerges than the former one.

A decade on from invasion and its subsequent occupation Iraq remains a religiously and ethnically cleft violent wreck. The Arab Spring, encouraged by the UK Government, has led to increased instability across North Africa and the Middle East, with Islamists playing a major role in the popular uprisings and in the new administrations that have emerged following the toppling of the old regimes. Cameron and Hague were keen to intervene in Libya, and have been chomping at the bit to do the same in Syria, irrespective of the chaos and geopolitical blowback that such meddling can produce. It has been widely claimed that the post-Qaddhafi instability in Libya has helped to flood parts of North Africa with weaponry, assisting an upsurge in violent Islamist militancy that has manifested itself both in the ongoing attempt to overthrow the Malian government as well as in the recent Algerian hostage crisis.

The Prime Minister’s call for a “global response” to what he dubs the “al-Qaeda” threat is thoroughly wrongheaded. Islamism existed before Bin Laden and it will exist long after his passing. Islamism, in one form or another, is as old as Islam itself, and until that ideology dies we will always have a problem with its violent fanatics wishing to impose their crude, vicious and misanthropic ideology upon everyone else: non-literalist Muslims and non-Muslims alike. What, after all, does Cameron mean when he states that:
Perhaps the Prime Minister should steer clear of reference to “iron” to denote resolve, for we all now how brittle his “cast iron” guarantee proved to be with respect to an EU membership referendum. Is he committing us to an endless series of wars in which we fight with our hands tied behind our backs, bereft of either a clear goal or modus operandi? If so, who will die and who will pay for this policy? What benefit will it bring and to whom?

It would appear that the immense corrupting wealth of the Saudis and the other Arab petrodollar states of the Gulf has effectively muzzled politicians such as Cameron. The fountainhead of Islamism today, in both its violent and political variants, is Saudi Arabia. Find an effective alternative to oil, and the Saudis’ malign and growing influence would collapse. Thus, to find such an alternative should be one of our key political and economic tasks. The Saudis produce nothing of value other than what they pump out of the ground, with the rest of their wealth being derived from parasitic investment around the globe. If Cameron truly wished to wage war to destroy Islamism he would call for the subjugation and occupation of the Arabian Peninsula, but to be ‘successful’, that sort of war would call forth the logic of total war witnessed in the horrific brutality displayed by both sides on the Eastern Front with its associated exterminist logic. Who wants such a war? Not me. I would prefer the option of the peaceful development of viable alternative energy sources and the concomitant undermining and collapse of the economic, political and cultural influence of the Arab petrodollar states. Only then will we stand a chance of defeating Islamism.

Cameron and Hague are intellectual lightweights, and if they truly wished to root out Islamism they could make no better start than by rooting it out at home, for after all, they and their political predecessors in the Labour Party have allowed it to flourish in Britain. They may as well launch drone strikes on Tower Hamlets and Bradford as upon Pakistan, for there is not a great deal to differentiate the two environments other than an increasingly nominal sovereignty. As it is, the two men seem intent upon poking their noses into as many Islamist hornets’ nests as possible, with Syria and Mali looking like our most probable forthcoming entanglements.

Such interventions will be pointless, bloody, expensive and ineffectual. Moreover, they will generate ever-greater resentment against us, no matter how ill founded, by Muslims around the globe. At the same time, Cameron, Hague and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will continue to push for the economic and eventual political integration of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa into an expanded EU, arguing that this is ‘necessary’ to disseminate economic prosperity throughout the Arab world and thereby undermine support for Islamism. This is the eventual goal of Euromed, but in reality what it would achieve, if its logic were to be fully enacted, would be for every state in the EU to be flooded by a massive demographic wave from the Muslim states of the eastern and southern Mediterranean littoral, bringing economic and cultural decline to Europe, as well as the demographic eclipse and eventual disappearance of the European peoples. Alas, a twin combination of cack-handed interventionism and half-baked policies on economic integration are likely to be the favoured response of the current Government. It is a grim prospect, but we can expect only support for such a policy from an intellectually bankrupt Labour Party. Where is the effective opposition? Who will articulate the much-needed alternative?

Monday 21 January 2013

Gates of Vienna Blog blocked

Earlier this month the Gates of Vienna blog was inaccessible for a time, and yesterday readers were once again denied access. At the time of writing a visit to Gates of Vienna (GOV) was met with the following notice: ‘This blog is under review due to possible Blogger Terms of Service violations and is open to authors only.’

The message is a little cryptic, but the fact that public access to it has been blocked, temporarily or possibly permanently, indicates that Blogger’s owners – Google – are susceptible to pressure to censor opinions that are deemed to upset some people around the globe. Given the content of the blog in question, it does not take a great deal to guess which particular ideological constituency will have demanded that access be blocked: an Islamic lobby group of one sort or another.

Some of the articles published on the GOV I have agreed with, and others I have not, but agreeing or disagreeing with a set of opinions set out on a platform such as a blog is no reason to have them either extolled by all as ‘virtuous’ or condemned and censored for whatever spurious reasons happen to be called forth by way of justification on the part of an ‘offended’ party. After all, to offend someone nothing more is necessary – at least in the case of those who will not brook any dissent from their perspective – than to disagree with their opinion.

Whether or not you happen to agree with the general thrust and tenor of articles published on the GOV is immaterial: the decision to deny public access to the blog strikes me as a violation of freedom of expression, and that in itself is a sinister move on the part of the internet giant. Although those who dislike GOV have attempted to smear it by association with Breivik, who happened to cite it in his largely unread rambling ‘manifesto’, GOV has not called for violence and in no uncertain terms condemned the actions of the psychopath Breivik as soon as his identity became known. The blog appears to be the latest high-profile element of the transnational ‘counterjihad’ movement to have been taken out. In the UK over the past 18 months we have seen Alan Lake/Alan Ayling dismissed from his job at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Chris Knowles sacked from his job with Leeds City Council for holding views deemed to be at variance with its ‘diversity policy’. More recently, EDL founder and leader Stephen Lennon/Tommy Robinson received a prison sentence for gaining entry to the US on someone else’s passport, and a little over a week ago his relative and fellow leading EDL member Kevin Carroll was arrested for what was alleged to be‘inciting racial hatred’.

As perhaps the best known of the ‘Counterjihad’ blogs, taking out GOV strikes a blow against the loose network and movement that it represents. It is a worrying development, for though it may be unpalatable to what is deemed to be acceptable opinion, the concerns that it articulates with respect to the various facets of Islamisation – particularly to the demographic Islamisation of many European societies – are legitimate. Much of what has been written on its platform differs little in its essential thrust from the argument and evidence presented by respected journalist Christopher Caldwell in his book ‘Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West’ published in 2009. Thankfully, unlike ‘Baron Bodissey’, Caldwell has yet to experience the chill winds of censorship, but Google’s latest exercise in apparent censorship poses the question as to how much longer such dissident opinions will be tolerated. In and of itself, the decision to block access to the Gates of Vienna would appear to bear ugly testimony to the blog’s protestation that Islamisation constitutes a genuine danger to the freedom of both speech and expression. We can only hope that Google relents, and allows the blog to once again reach a general readership as it has done over a number of years.

Note: thanks to Ivan Winters for drawing this to my attention.

Immediately after posting this piece I discovered via the Infidel Bloggers Alliance blog that the Gates of Vienna has moved to a new site that can be accessed here.

Gates of Vienna blog banner

Saturday 19 January 2013

Repatriation: the solution to sham marriages and illegal immigration

There are many factors underpinning the massive surge in immigration over the past 16 years, and whereas the BBC and UKIP continually hammer away at highlighting the very large-scale influx from the EU, the former seeing it as a good thing the latter as a bad one, they both take care not to make negative comments regarding the even larger inward flow of population from outside of the EU, from countries such as Pakistan. Whether or not we agree with the policy, there are legitimate and illegitimate ways of gaining residence in the UK, and in recent years one of the primary illegitimate means of setting up home here has been via student visa scams, which have enabled tens of thousands people (possibly more), into the country. Sham marriages are another means of exploiting the law to obtain residency status that would otherwise have been denied, and a recent trial in Sheffield of individuals involved in a scam co-ordinated by UK passport-holding Pakistanis in Rotherham revealed that more than 60 applications for UK visas were based upon such marriages.

The composition of the gang involved in the Rotherham-based scam operation is interesting: the men were predominantly Pakistanis and the women a mix of Eastern Europeans (Czechs and Slovaks), Pakistani UK passport holders and white British. Looking at the pictures in the associated Daily Mail report, it seems almost certain that the ‘Eastern Europeans’ Kristina Popikova and Veronika Pohlodkova are Roma. Slovak Peter Pohodko also participated in the scam as a bogus groom, marrying a Pakistani woman. Whilst Rotherham was the main centre of this immigration racket, a number of Bradford residents were involved. The makeup of the individuals involved in this crime illustrates how an absence of any intrinsic ties to our country mean that they care not about its fate, and are quite willing to contribute to ongoing overpopulation, societal fragmentation and breakdown for relatively modest amounts of money. What does it matter to these recent Eastern European immigrants if England is transformed into something increasingly resembling Pakistan? They can, after all, always return to their home countries, and as readers know, those countries possess minuscule Muslim populations and are not threatened with cultural and societal dissolution through mass immigration.

Those possessing familial links with Pakistan involved in this scam should not have been sentenced to prison terms in this country, but should instead have had their property confiscated, their citizenship revoked and been sent back to their ancestral familial homeland with no right of readmission. This sort of crime can only be stopped if the consequences are suitably severe and fitting, for otherwise people will be tempted to flout the law to their personal gain and to society’s detriment. 

Kristina Popikova: described as a Slovak, she would appear to be Roma