Share |

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!"