Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"review of the far-right": the shifting sands of politics

In the wake of the terrible massacre in Norway, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered a review of the far-right, which is apparently to include the English Defence League.

Things had been going so well: the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph had dropped the "far" tag and started referring to the EDL merely as "right-wing" (although given its predominabtly blue-collar membership a survey of union membership among EDL members might be instructive). The organisation has been steadily winning a better reputation among the police-forces with whom it consults and cooperates before and during demos; and, almost alone, it has shone a searchlight into the shadier corners of Blackpool, where 14-year old Cheryl Downes was groomed for sex, murdered and disemboweled by kebab-shop owners.

Describing other people's politics is often relative to where you are standing. Remember the fall of the Soviet empire, when Russian communists suddenly became right-wingers, in a clear indication that the term was indication of disapproval as opposed to marking a sea-change in Politburo direction?

Just so, Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public trade union Unison, writes that "violent racist attacks and intimidation by the far-right is on the rise in Europe and we must take that threat seriously". However, an "Islamophobia" resource in the union's website gives the game away: "centre-right politicians across Europe pretend that majority cultures are somehow under threat from Muslim minorities" (my italics). for "centre-right", read conservative parties, ie the socialist shibboleth that to be conservative is synonymous with racist, discriminatory and, ultimately, murderous.

I am not against having a debate about the role of right-wing politics in Europe, because debate is necessary for a healthy democracy. I just wonder how we will fare at the hands of, say, the BBC, which at its most centrist is the cultural wing of the Labour Party and extends leftwards from there, to depths from where anywhere to the right of Ed Balls must seem an awfully long way away.

For the record, I wish to quote what Anders Breivik said about the English Defence League. It would turn my stomach to provide a link to the maniac's document - if you need to find it, you can hardly avoid it. On page 1436, he states:
The EDL are in fact anti-racist, anti-fascist and anti-Nazi. They even have many members and leaders with non-European background (African and Asian). They have worked so hard, and continue to work hard, to keep National Socialists out of the organization, but yet they are strategically labeled as racist-fascist-Nazi-monsters by the multiculturalist authorities. The EDL, although having noble intentions are in fact dangerously naïve. EDL and KT [the murderer's putative organisation] principles can never be reconciled as we are miles apart ideologically AND organizationally. The EDL even rejects taking a stand against multiculturalism which proves that they are even more naïve than Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron who have all admitted that multiculturalism has been a failure and a disaster for Europe.

...The EDL, on the other hand, IS a democratic movement. They STILL believe that the democratic system can solve Britain’s problems… This is why the EDL harshly condemns any and all revolutionary conservative movements that employ terror as a tool, such as the KT. And this is why, we, the KT view the EDL as naïve fools, wasting all their energy monkeyscreaming to deaf ears while they should instead have focused on means and methods that are meaningful in regards to achieving true political change, in regards to tearing down the multiculturalist regime known as Britain.
I feel sullied for just having quoted him - join the dots yourself. And while you do, if you are in any way counter-hegemonic - a member of the EDL, perhaps, or a home-schooling parent, or a maverick trades-union member who won't tow the party line - keep listening for the midnight knock on the door.

May God be with those who died in Norway, and those left behind.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cambridge University: agendas clash as Prince Philip steps down

read more about Prince Philip as Cambridge ChancellorThe Cambridge News' Raymond Brown reports that Abdul Arain, an independent trader on the city's Mill Road, is to stand against Lord Sainsbury for the post of Chancellor of the University of Cambridge when the present incumbent, Prince Philip (right), steps down in June of this year. I wish both men good luck, and hope for a clean campaign.

read more about Sainsbury's and Mickey Flynn'sWhat worries me is that the contest, which is ostensibly about who will represent the University at official functions, is in reality about the imminent opening of a Sainsbury's store in the old Mickey Flynn's Pool Hall on the thoroughfare.

The reason I'm worried is that we've been here before, in the form of a campaign to keep Tesco out of Mill Road that, while ultimately a failure, released more heat than light in its frantic efforts to exclude an outlet popular with blue-collar workers from the "multicultural" area. It was alleged that shops would close down like dominos should Tesco's open a store there, while in reality far fewer shops have become vacant than you might expect in an economic downturn. You can still buy Rosaries, wigs, hard-core porn and second-hand firearms on Mill Road, just as you could before Tesco opened, just as you will be able to after Sainsbury's opens.

read about the life of Diana, Princess of WalesI'm also worried that, as mentioned, the present university Chancellor is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of the Queen, father to the heir to the throne and grandfather to Prince William, who was recently spectacularly married to the Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton. A less desirable claim to fame is that, since 1997, he has been accused of the manslaughter (at least) of Dodi al-Fayed and Princess Diana (right) by Mohammed al-Fayed, whose latest effort in his crusade was the Cannes-panned documentary about the infamous crash in a Paris tunnel, Unlawful Killing. Will Mr Al-Fayyed be able to resist a bit of troublemaking should the Prince's stepping down prove a popular subject in the media?

Mr Arain is Kenyan, which gives him something in common with Barrack Obama, whose father came from the country. A low point of Mr Obama's presidency, which I do not ascribe to him personally, was when former president Jimmy Carter decried Obama's detractors as racists. I hope supporters of both candidates will pull back from using the race-card in this campaign.

Perusing the list of Cambridge University Chancellors evinces an absence of names that are not Norman/Anglo-Saxon in origin. It could be that, since the University attracts the most talented people from all points on the globe, the time for a Chancellor from outside this island nation is overdue. But any candidate should have as his/her first priority the good of the University and its contribution to Cambridge and East Anglia; if there's a place for one shopkeeper to try to stop another from opening nearby, the Chancellorship is not that place. It could be that, in the interest of the University and the region which reaps its benefits, the installation of a Chancellor from further afield may have to be overdue a little longer.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

English Defence League: Tommy Robinson on Newsnight

I'd like to say a big thank-you to the 20,000 visitors who have visited this site since I had to stop updating it due to time issues.

This isn't a blog I could post at the other place, since it's related to an English Village magazine published by the parish church, therefore I try to keep all politics out of it. the incident that gave rise to the English Defence LeagueAs the past year's gone by I've become increasingly aware of the English Defence League (EDL), which was founded in Luton in March 2009, when a group of Muslims protested at a homecoming for the Royal Anglian Regiment.

It was first portrayed as a skinhead group, but it soon became clear that as well as white people it welcomed black people, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, gay people etc who are concerned about the spread of radical Islam in the UK. The EDL has Stephen Lennonboth outlived many obituaries and is about to celebrate its second anniversary in Luton. In the run-up to this, founder Tommy Robinson (left) was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on last-night's Newsnight. Previously in the programme, Paxo appeared at his ease interviewing a Government minister, a Jordanian Prince and a USA acedemic, but seemed considerably discomfited when faced with an angry and determined working-class bloke.

Paxman's career-defining determination to put the BBC first (he famously ended Michael Howard's career by asking the former prisons secretary the same question 12 times because - as he later admitted - his producer was insisting that the next interviewee wasn't ready) showed itself tonight. He reacted incredulously to Robinson's insistence that the problem wasn't Muslims but rather the Koran. Had he researched the subjects likely to come up during the interview, he would have learnt that Muslims reject the Judaeo-Christian convention that holy books, while inspired by God, are written by fallible human beings. Islamic belief is that Muhammed produced series of verses dictated by the Angel Gabriel, and the book of those verses is only the Koran if written in Arabic in the original words.

They may have a point, of course - much of the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures have been through more translations than you can shake a stick at and, as Kiwi theologian Revd Bosco Peters states, every translation involves interpretation by the translator. So while we as individuals grow up with a Bible around which our culture has entwined like a second strand of DNA at the hands of generations of translators, the orthodox Islamic view is that not just the message but the words of their scriptures are immutable - and so, say the proponents of Sharia law, are the tenets upon which their immutable society is based.

On another level, Paxo was clearly indignant about Robinson's remarks about Pakistani drug-dealers, insisting his interlocutor join him in affirming that there are white drug-dealers. But again he was missing the point: as drugs-workers and police know but are unable to say in polite society, much (if not most) most of the heroin that enters the UK to be cut and distributed to drug-dealers of all races is brought through Pakistan.

I think everybody knew that Jack Straw would crop up in the conversation. The former Labour Home/Justice Secretary said that there was a particular problem in the Pakistani community whereby men saw young white girls as "easy meat". Paxman refused to deal with Straw's statement, which wasn't surprising - the day it was made, the BBC 10pm news wouldn't touch it. Robinson's summary of the difference between the two men was masterful:

Have you seen people on drugs pushed by Muslims? You might not have, but I have.

Have you seen girls chatted up by Muslim men and put into burqas? You might not, but I have.

Have you seen young girls who've been raped and pimped by Muslim men? You might not, but I have.
Paxman's answer, with which he probably said more than he meant to, was "these are your issues".

These are our issues, and why the demonstration is being held in Luton, where schools of radicalisation has produced to date two known suicide bombers as opposed to the BBC, which stands accused of so many instances of editorial bias towards militant Islam I'll leave you to google it. I can't go to the EDL demonstration in Luton because I'm working, but I hope it goes well. Please read this if you plan to go to the EDL demonstration at Luton on Saturday 5th Feb.

click to read the English Defence League mission statement

Monday, August 2, 2010

some things get everywhere!

click to see the Precious Feet at SPUCThis is a photo of Maxima at the Cambridge Folk Festival, where there was an unofficial hat competition. She's showing off her new henna tattoo and her hat. As well as the ACROSS badge, I'd like to draw your attention to the little silver feet just to the right of her ear, wedged between the "£1" badge and the part-cut-off Glen Michael's Cartoon Cavalcade badge. These are the famous SPUC Precious Feet, depicting the actual size of an unborn baby's feet at ten weeks. Some things get everywhere, don't they?

Click to see more pics from the Cambridge Folk Festival hat competition!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

top ten songs about summer for 56k modems

If you have broadband, click here to see the videos embedded.

English summertime is typified by two things: heat, and rain when you least expect it! In honour of the summer, I'd like to present you with my own personal top ten songs about summer.

If you would like to send in a personal "top ten songs about..", please send the list to fulbourn_mill@yahoo.com. The songs can be secular, religious, modern, classical or a mix of any of these! A few words about why you like each track would be appreciated - I'll do the rest, including cinding the videos if you would like me to.

10 Holiday!

This Boney M track from 1979 encapsulated what it felt to be at school as summer approached.


9The seaside

click to go to the Official Queen International Fan ClubWith the present financial situation, holidaying in Great Britain is à la mode once more - in 1975, Freddie Mercury of Queen wrote a song called Seaside Rendezvous that, while our seaside resorts were still popular, looked back to their glory days in the 1920s.


8The summer hit (1)

Every summer has its memorable hit, and the smart money is on Baby Lee by Teenage Fanclub, for reasons that I hope will be clear.


7Last of the summer wine?

click and scroll down to read more about the showThe Last of the Summer Wine is the world's longest-running sitcom and is about men and women behaving badly, all the more hilarious because they're at a time of life when ageists assume that behaving badly has withered on the vine. Here, the late Bill Owen, who played Compo in the show, gives a poignant reading of the theme tune's words with the melody playing behind. Enjoy.


6 Classical summer

Latvian violinist and conductor Gidon Kremer leads the English Chamber Orchestra in the third movement of Vivaldi's Four Seasons suite, Summer.


5 The long road to summer

click to go to the Carpenters websiteSometimes people long for summer because they find winter somewhat oppressive. One of these people is Richard Carpenter, who composed Crescent Noon with his songwriting partner John Bettis because he found himself longing for the light and cheer of summer the whole year through. He performs it here with his sister Karen as The Carpenters.


4 All that glisters

click to go to Stuart Maconie's Freak ZoneThe egregious 1970 folly Beyond the Valley of the Dolls produced one very good song that has been described by Stuart Maconie, DJ on the groundbreaking Radio Six show The Freak Zone as "perfect summer pop". The irony is, as he pointed out, that, in the tale of exploitation, the "number one hit" was better than much of the music going about at the time.


3 The summer hit (2)

When Terry Wogan, then still at his breakfast show on BBC2, called this song "strange but beautiful", sales soared.


2 Enough already!

click to go to the IMDB entry for Yellow SubmarineGeorge Harrison wrote It's all too much about the excesses of the summer of love, and it was his intention that the short song would be included in the Sergeant Pepper album. Unfortunaltely, he wasn't there when the tracks were finally chosen; the song would have made a great bridge between Good Morning Good Morning and the reprise of the title song. Anyway, here's the song, in its incarnation as the penultimate track in Yellow Submarine:


1 Memories of summer...


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

an explanation

I've changed jobs recently due to a restructuring in my former workplace. I've got a job that I enjoy, but am working more hours in a different shift pattern, which doesn't leave me with the time I need to devote to the Draughty Old Fen.

I'd been planning to write this post later in the month, but realised when Linda from Don't Poke the Baby contacted me via a mutual friend, Pam, that there are folk out there who care about me in just the same way as I do about them. I'm sorry to have neglected you.

Since I don't want to leave blogging totally, I've started a blog attached to the local village magazine that I edit, that'll be officially launched at the start of August. If any of you want to stop by sometime and say hello, that would be great.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

quote of the week: Chris Evans done good

click to go to the Chris Evans Show Homepage

Following Terry Wogan in the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show was always going to be a hard act, but even those of us who are Chris Evans' staunch fans have been astonished by the ease with which he's carried it off. Like a jazz musician, he structures his show with regular features around which he improvises using his quick-fire feelgood wit.

click to go to the Jeremy Vine Show homepageSome time ago, Jeremy Vine, who runs a talk show in the early afternoon on the same show, spoke about how he "feels unable to talk about his faith on his show because he fears how people would react". It's a fair point: the BBC is famously phobic as regards treating this country's Judaeo-Christian heritage with anything resembling respect.

However, my jaw dropped in admiration when Evans reacted idiosyncratically to the news that ITV1 broadcasts only one hour of religious content per year and Five carries none at all:
Come on, it's not about ratings, it's not about monetisation, it's about keeping in the Big Man's good books!