Thursday, 29 September 2011

Tommy Robinson: why are our nationals silent?

The BBC report about Tommy Robinson’s (aka Stephen Lennon) conviction for assault leaves out one aspect of the case – that Detective Constable Jonathan Wheeler changed his evidence during the trial. According to the English Defence League blog, the policeman "‬said he saw him fighting,‭ ‬but under cross examination from Tommy’s barrister,‭ ‬Justin McLintock,‭ ‬he changed his mind".

This omission is also evident in the Press Association coverage, which has been picked up by a plethora of local newspaper websites. At the time of writing (3.15am, 30 September), these are the only newspapers to have any news of the conviction on their websites.

Why the paralysis on the part of the heavyweights like the Telegraph, Mail and Mirror?

While the BBC seems untroubled by doubt about Robinson’s guilt merely on the basis of his identity, other news sources seem to be on the horns of a dilemma regarding the role and legitimacy of the EDL. For example, the Telegraph’s Damien Thompson, in an otherwise spectacularly patronising piece on the working class, conceded that "the EDL and its sympathisers appear, at first glance, to be more representative of a section of the English working class…than the old 'far Right' ever was".

Tommy Robinson has been convicted for being true to himself and the values he holds dear, in common with many others. While convicted terrorists are walking our streets and, most egregiously, two kebab-shop workers who were taped admitting killing Blackpool teenager Charlene Downes receive telephone-number compensation for being bothered by a criminal investigation, Tommy Robinson has been hung out to dry for being a patriot. All the while, those news outlets who hadn’t found him guilty from the start dither over whether their duty to tell the truth trumps their commitment to ersatz politically correct conclusions.

Justice? It’s a crime.

Joe Daniels
300 words

Monday, 26 September 2011

Blackpool's got more to worry about than Bible verses

read about the English Defence League campaign for Charlene Downes
It was disturbing, to say the least, to find out on the Christian Institute website that Mr Jamie Murray, owner of the Salt and Light café in Lancashire, has been banned from playing on his premises a muted DVD that cycles through Bible verses under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

What disturbed me was the specific place in Lancashire this took place: Blackpool. For those interested in current affairs, the name of the popular resort will be familiar for all the wrong reasons. In 2008, reports the Daily Mail’s James Tozer, a retrial of Jordanian Iyad Albattikhi and Iranian Mohammed Reveshi collapsed amid accusations of police political correctness.

The two had been accused of the murder of Charlene Downes, having been secretly recorded discussing the 14-year-old’s killing and subsequent disembowelment.

It gets worse: as the case widened, the two came under suspicion of being part of a network of Blackpool takeaways used as "honeypots" where 60 young girls – one as young as 11 – had been groomed for sex with men. Tozer cites police reports that last year girls had been plied with cocaine and alcohol in return for sex.

To say merely that these Humberts were Asians would be an outright insult to the many Asians who manage to pass their lives neither abusing children nor enabling others’ abuse. They were Muslims, and if Jack Straw’s brave statement about white women being seen as easy meat is correct, they would tend to be from the Pakistani community.

In this context, for the police to investivate Jamie Murray for displaying Bible verses in his Christian café is itself deeply offensive and indicative of a management mired in the tickbox culture. If he is prosecuted, Blackpool will once more come under the microscope for all the wrong reasons.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Thursday, 15 September 2011

new treatments for children are bad medicine

Martin Beckford writes in the Daily Telegraph that "children who are shy or unhappy risk being diagnosed with mental disorders and being given powerful drugs" because of changes to the way in which problematic behaviour in children can be medicated.

This is worrying – during the Blair years, medicalization of social and familial problems ran riot. It was an extension of the totalitarian assumption that if x is in a position of authority and disagrees with y, it follows that there is something wrong with y: one hears echoes of the USSR hospitalising dissidents for "treatment" of their disordered views.

Is the comparison extreme? No: both positions stem from the Enlightenment conceit that humankind is perfectible solely by reference to itself. This same error informs the assumption underpinning such man-made catastrophes as the Holocaust, factory-efficient abortion and assisted suicide. Behind each phenomenon was an idea that its execution would improve humanity somehow.

All around us we see ostensibly therapeutic programmes gone badly wrong because the basic tenet, everybody at whom the programmes are aimed have the same good intentions as those who designed them, is flawed. European human rights legislation’s predominant use seems to be keeping foreign criminals in Britain so they can have a family life; risk-based health and safety practice most infamously prevented PCSOs from rescuing a drowning boy.

Or look at child protection: poor Peter Connelly (Baby P), for example, exhibited textbook abuse markers you can learn to recognise in a half-day course, but was sacrificed at the altar of diverse family arrangements. Now it seems that children who are old enough to complain about abuse may be further abused by a medical establishment indebted to big pharma and discredited thinking whose latest manifestation is the diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder. Kafka would consider it stranger than fiction.

Tony Urquhart
300 words

Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11 10 years on: what have we learnt?

click for about anniversary coverage at the Daily Telegraph
Like most people over 14, I remember where I was when news of 9/11 came through: I was in hospital, and had just switched on Steve Wright’s radio show to hear that “a second jumbo jet has crashed into a skyscraper in New York”. It was starting to dawn on Wright and his crew that this was no terrible accident.

The first time 9/11 impinged on my family personally, as opposed to national ramifications, was when my daughter went on a school visit to Cambridge’s mosque as part of a campaign to educate children about Islam. She and the other girls were separated from the boys and shut in a room for the duration of the visit, and didn’t return home best pleased. This same mosque would see the radicalisation of Kaleel Ahmed and his accomplice Bilal Abdulla, who in 2007 tried to suicide-bomb Glasgow airport.

So what went wrong? Why was Britain tolerating the radicalisation of ordinary Muslims into anti-western Jihad warriors less than a decade after 9/11?

What went wrong, I think, is denial: of the problem of radicalisation of Muslims in the UK, of the source of the problem and of the scale of the problem.

click to find out more about the 3 Freedoms for England
The most potent symbol of this denial, on the 10th anniversary of the atrocity, is the presence of Engish Defence league founder Tommy Robinson in Bedford Prison, where he is on hunger-strike. He was arrested for defying a ban on attending marches subsequent to trying to stop Islamists from burning poppies, the sacred symbol of our fallen. The EDL is now campaigning for three basic rights: expression, peaceful assembly and association. While these rights are safeguarded for the favoured few and withheld from the populace as a whole, 9/11 has taught the British establishment nothing about what keeps a country together.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

is diabetes a laughing matter?

Linda jones: click to read more
Soul singer Linda Jones can be an acquired taste: her allmusic profile describes her oevre as "probably the most gloriously histrionic soul records of all time", while blogger 4thpip states that "you just want to reach through your speakers and hold on to her for her own, dear life".

One of Jones’ songs turned up this week on one of my favourite radio shows, Stuart Maconie’s Freakier Zone. It and its sister show, The Freak Zone, are among the only places where you can find music that just doesn’t get airplay: they’re both on the digital station BBC Radio 6 Music.

The context in which her song, Your Precious Love, appeared was in a presentation by "poet, artist and songwriter" Edward Barton, entitled "Profound Failures". While airing the sort of music Maconie does demands a certain lack of cynicism, Barton was not encumbered by any such impediment. Informing us that Jones "died of diabetes exacerbated by excessive drinking shortly after making this record," he goes on to add that "you can feel God grimace, knowing that this woman is about to land on his doorstep".

I had to listen to that part – starting at 11 minutes into the programme – again. Is diabetes now one of the subjects that self-styled entertainers feel empowered to have a pop at? Given that some subjects are fireproofed by the BBC, it is all the more frustrating to hear others ripped apart.

Stuart Maconie had the good grace to sound uncomfortable during Barton’s tirade, to the point of remarking after the song that "you want to give her a cuddle". Will he now demonstrate the even-handedness that the BBC was once known for, and invite Barton back to explain to an audience of diabetics exactly what is funny of dying from complications of the condition?

Joe Daniels
300 words

Click to listen to the episode of the Freakier Zone discussed until midnight GMT on Friday 9 September.

Isaiah 1:7

Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners,
right before you...


Monday, 5 September 2011

EDL London demo: one who never made it

Being Scottish, I decided not to lose the money I’d spent on a ticket to visit a friend in London on Saturday 3 September, but instead to use it to attend the English Defence League. Sadly, I made it to London but never not across the city.

The march had been banned by Home Secretary Theresa May, a decision that I wish she hadn’t made, but at least she had been consistent and also banned the UAF (Unite against Fascism) from marching. So, going to the static demo, it was concerning to see crowds of people – predominantly white – gathering on Whitechapel Road bearing placards with the Socialist Workers’ Party logo and "SMASH THE RACIST BNP/EDL!" As the Daily Mail reported, the slogan bore fruit, in pushing people to violence against the EDL.

At this point the bus was pulled over by police; when we started up again the driver announced “The BNP and EDL are marching, and so are an organisation opposed to them, so expect trouble”. The driver on the journey home informed us that “the National Front were marching today”.

Were the drivers acting on police information, or were they politicised RMT (transport union) members spreading disinformation? Certainly the whole Circle Line was closed, as well as sections of other lines. I’m not sure which is the most revealing – a major union acting hand-in-glove with a Conservative Home Secretary, or with the violence-embracing Socialist Workers’ Party.

Pubs and shops were closed around Kings Cross Station, apart from O’ Neill’s, which had two bouncers at the door. That part of London was like a ghost town: the ghost could have been Voltaire’s apocryphal maxim, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” the defining mark of a liberal democracy.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

part of the problem?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Class Ceiling: mobility and angst

The Class Ceiling:click to find out more
I’ve just been listening to Polly Toynbee’s The Class Ceiling on BBC Radio 4. The main thesis of this first half of her presentation is that people from "working-class" backgrounds are being held back from ascending to the middle class by their upbringings.

I can’t profess a liking for the left-wing firebrand, but have to acknowledge her honesty in asking "what if I hadn’t grown up surrounded by books and parents who talked to me?" However, this is not class-based: you can hardly move in some blue-collar workers' houses for books, and many of us have mastered the art of making comprehensible noises in the direction of our children.

Where Toynbee’s programme hit home is when she interviewed an education neuroscientist who said that often when children start school their prospect for social mobility has been stunted by poor parenting skills. So why, then, do left-leaning politicians still champion teenage girls’ rights to their own flats if pregnant?

My daughter is one of the 68% of young people to have left school without five good GCSEs: the school’s guidance system was brilliant, but by the time she got there she’d had several years in a primary that didn’t understand her diabetes and saw her hypogycaemic attacks as an attention-seeking/time-wasting activity. Now liberated, she’s started her first business before she’s twenty. So is she a success or a failure?

Social mobility all too often is really about the mobility of those already in the upper branches to the top, propelled by those below, an exercise undertaken in different ways by Lenin and Blair. With education laid bare as a box-ticking exercise, blue-collar workers are realising that the cadre who broke it are not automatically entitled to their support: and that, I would suggest, is the real cause of Polly Toynbee’s angst.

Joe Daniels
300 words