Tuesday, 27 December 2011

acupuncture as justice gives society the needle

blue-sky thinking or sharp practice?
When a drugs worker I saw many people helped by acupuncture, and so was interested to see it used on teenagers who terrorise communities. The articles didn’t mention whether the therapy had been requested by the criminals, or had been imposed upon them by courts like an ASBO.

This would have been a crucial piece of information, and it’s significant that the mother of one boy – Sonny Grainger – was reported in May as having "urged police to be tougher on her son".

When used on people who want to overcome harmful behaviour, acupuncture and other therapies do not work in a vacuum: they are holistic proceedures, meaning that the relationships between patients and between patient and therapist are just as important as the treatment. If somebody doesn’t want to be there, the treatment will not work. As a drugs-service manager once commented, you can’t sentence somebody to counselling, and this is no less true of any other holistic therapy.

All too often, people need to discover how bad things can get before they see the need to find a way out of behaviours that harm themselves and others. Our liberal, middle-class judiciary help neither victims nor perpetrators by assuming that the objects of their "progessive" justice will respond as if they themselves were middle-class liberals.

This is one of many reasons why I’ll be voting for the British Freedom Party at the next elections: their crime and justice policies put the rights of the victims before the rights of the perpetrator. This is not just good for society but will eventually pay off for those perpetrators who have been given the chance to touch rock-bottom a sufficient number of times to want to stop their own pain. Then acupuncture and other therapies, if freely chosen, might actually have a chance to produce results.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Monday, 26 December 2011

it must be Christmastime - the RMT's on strike

Aresenal’s Boxing-Day game with Wolves has been moved because people can’t get there, in a stunning expression of disdain for ordinary folk from London and far beyond by the leaders of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union.

It's not just football fans being targeted: as the recession threatens deepen, the strikes have been timed to cause maximum disruption to the post-Christmas sales in London, our main retail powerhouse.

The RMT has acted to against ordinary people’s intentions before: when the English Defence League went to Tower Hamlets in September to protest against its infestation by radical Islamism, the union’s Tube and bus drivers acted to cut off the area. The coach I travelled into London on was informed by the driver that "the BNP (?!) and EDL are marching, so expect trouble". (There was indeed trouble; a woman was thrown to the floor and kicked by women-hating Sharia supporters.)

But a closer look reveals that not every transport worker was singing from the RMT’s hymnbook. The EDL’s report refers to "Tube staff being all too happy to assist us, and even giving us sole use of a platform at Kings Cross station in the run-up to the demonstration."

These helpful staff probably belonged to the RMT – so why the difference? Does the union have members who are tired of the hard-left politics, blind faith in diversity and inflated wages of the top brass? These are certainly criticisms of unions by their members where I work.

I believe there’s an opportunity here to found workers’ committees for people who value their hard-won rights as employees but resent the TUC’s hypocrisy; free-thinking folk who don’t accept that protecting your job means you have to launder money for any political organisation. And, perhaps, who enjoy shopping or watching football on Boxing Day.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Thursday, 22 December 2011

drugs damage piles up under the moral high ground

needlesCambridge News has reported about drugs needles being found beneath university preparation organisation Cambridge Seminars College.

What surprised me was that anybody was surprised by paraphernalia lying about: this happens all over the country.

More depressing was the News’ scrambling to the moral high ground, while its coverage of calls to legalise illegal drugs is heavily biased towards being in favour.

Campaigners are right to point to the harm caused by alcohol and tobacco, but fail to see that this argument undermines itself: alcohol and tobacco are no less harmful for being legal.

True, legalising hard drugs would help ensure that they aren’t "cut" with noxious substances, but we’d still see overdoses and complications of administration, while usage would still fuel crime and endanger the vulnerable: for example, legal narcotics would still be procured by pimps to encourage risk-taking behaviour among their victims. (And just as alcohol is sometimes still "turbocharged" with meths, so substances would still be added to legalised drugs to strengthen/elongate the experience.)

As things are, however, there’s a better case for increasing the prescribing of heroin to long-term users – to be taken in a secure environment at the users’ risk – than for legalising cannabis, or at least its superstrong variant, skunk. Most of this is home-grown – with Vietnamese gangs not being averse to using trafficked child labour as gardeners – whereas heroin comes in from Asia, largely through Pakistan.

Hard drug-use is here to stay until politicians realise that it cannot be brought under control within our borders. Until robust policies – like those proposed by the British Freedom Party – on drugs are enacted, harm-reduction is all we can hope for. Facing up to a problem starts with acknowledging its scale, which is not helped by newspapers pretending an everyday occurrence happens once in a blue moon.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Military Wives: did Simon Cowell scuttle his own single?

click to go to the Spice Girls official siteI’m not sure why music-buyers were so resentful of Simon Cowell’s hits machine that they let Rage Against the Machine swear their way to the top in Christmas 2009. Cowell’s progenies were certainly manufactured; but so were, say, the Monkees, Cream and the Spice Girls.

click to go to The Beatles websiteThe Girls managed to bag the Christmas number one three times consecutively, the same as The Beatles – although after a year’s hiatus they got Christmas back again with Hello Goodbye.

X Factor winners had four consecutive number ones until Rage in the Machine, then winner Matt Cardle scored with When we Collide, powered by the well-oiled media machine that is Cowell’s record label Syco.

So why did this year’s winners’ record, Cannonball by Little Mix, get released just in time to peak a week too early? Did the skilled media manipulator make a mistake?

learn more about the Wives on Gareth Malone's siteI don’t think so. He’s had what he wanted: a number one from them. I reckon he scuppered their chances to get this Sunday’s top spot so that the Military Wives Choir have a clear run with their single Wherever you Are, going so far as to "concede" their victory.

As choirmaster Gareth Malone explained to Chris Tarrant on Radio 2, the frequency of repatriations of bodies coupled with the tenth anniversary of our engagement in Afghanistan has concentrated minds upon the plight of serving and former soldiers and their families in a fashion unprecedented in modern times.

If Cowell’s act were seen to be fighting the Wives for Number 1, the national repercussions could shake his shows to their foundation on both sides of the Atlantic, so it seems he’s wisely decided to fight another day.

But there’s still competition out there, and the Military Wives will only succeed if we buy their song – listen to it below, then DOWNLOAD from iTunes or Amazon!

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Monday, 12 December 2011

Cameron's EU veto drowns in a sea of Titanic metaphors...

Jeremy Vine: click for showTo listen to the ongoing media fallout over David Cameron’s use of our EU veto, you’d think the Eurozone wasn’t sinking under red-tape and corruption but rather the weight of Titanic metaphors. In the sea of deckchairs and icebergs, however, Jeremy Vine (right) did come up with two good ones on his show today, summing up the positions of the Conservative and Lib Dem parties by saying that the former had left us as isolated as a passenger refusing to board the fated liner, while the latter believed we should be on the ship trying to guide it away from its nemesis.

However, attempts to paint the Tories as right-wing isolationists and everybody else as wishing to cast their lot in with Europe are simplistic and specious. Europhilia within the Conservative party, shown by Edward Heath when he took us in, was writ large with the "men in grey suits'" political assassination of Margaret Thatcher because of her opposition to Eurocratic ambitions for a superstate.

Left-wing figures like Tony Benn, alternatively, have never disguised their loathing for the EU project, and blogger Shiraz Socialist highlighted the "geriatric Stalinists" who supported calls for a referendum on membership of the EU. Indeed, go into any pub and strike up a conversation with blue-collar Britons – the voters Labour abandoned a generation ago – and you’ll hear criticisms of EU policies like those regarding fishing, agriculture and diversity that would make David Cameron look like Sarkozy’s and Merkel’s love-child.

Okay, I surrender: the Eurozone is like the Titanic. As it sinks, we should try to provide humanitarian aid if we are asked. But that doesn’t include climbing on the damn thing and sinking with it. This is something David Cameron understands, I believe, and something that will win a badly-needed lifebelt: votes from the many tired of EU fascism.

not waving? Click for more Titanic metaphors from the BBC

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Groomed for sex: not quite all exposed

click for a report from the Daily Mail
BBC Three has broadcast A groundbreaking documentary about a problem in the North of England with Pakistani men treating white girls as “easy meat”. It was brave of Radio 5 presenter Adil Ray to take on the subject, as the liberal white establishment’s reaction to Jack Straw’s (right) game-changing statement on the matter was to criticise its wording.

Exposed: Groomed for Sex was a complex portrayal of a community in turmoil at its dirty laundry being so luridly aired.

Gangs of Pakistani males of various ages invest months grooming young British girls as young as 12 then, as abusers do, convince them they want a sexual relationship. A disappointment was frequent references to the Pakistani community as "Asians" or "British Asian youth", as if no other religions exist on that continent.

Disappointing, too, that in a vox-pop some youths accused EDL marchers of worsening matters, whereas in reality the English Defence League and Casuals United have put Islam's abuses on everybody’s lips and possibly inspired Straw’s intervention.

Ultimately, this hour-long documentary about Muslims can only be understood in the context of somebody who wasn’t mentioned once: their prophet, Mohammed. Abandoning his life of peace and toleration in Mecca to be worshipped as a warlord in Medina, he married a six-year-old girl. and had sex with her when she reached nine. Mohammed’s actions are key to understanding the behaviour of some Muslims towards young girls, so it’s perhaps disingenuous of Ray to say that "the British Pakistani community have to…separate the law-abiding community from the criminal fraternity" when the latter, seen through the prism of their prophet, are members of the former.

The documentary suggests that sections of the Pakistani community in England are determined to confront grooming. In doing so, they must confront Mohammed. I wish them luck.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Click here to go to the site for Exposed: Groomed for Sex on the BBC Three website

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

BBC "tastemakers" decide what you'll hear next year

It’s not 2012 yet, but the BBC has decided what next year’s pop music radio will sound like. It has decided who 2012’s top artists will be, and produced a playlist picked by 120 "tastemakers", most of whose names left me asking: "who?"

click to go to Bruce MacGregor's presenter profileYou could say that the BBC’s controlling tendencies are holographically-coded. On one level it decides what those of us who care to listen to its radio will listen to next year. On another Bruce MacGregor (right), presenting BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship folk show Travelling Folk, found himself unable to say the title of one of his tracks, Mairerad Green and Anna Massie’s jig Malteser Madness, in case he might be accused of "product placement".

National DJs willing to unilaterally introduce new music have been systematically distanced from prime-time – for example, "whispering" Bob Harris has been moved to midnight on Sunday morning on BBC2 – and the legendary John Peel’s shoes remain unfilled.

Perhaps closest to Peel is Stuart Maconie on the digital station 6 Music with his twin shows The Freak Zone and The Freakier Zone. What grates about these shows, however, is the frequency with which Maconie reveals his BBC-friendly assumptions by describing an act as "left-field", as song as "coming out of the left wing" or applying his highest accolade to an outfit by cooing it’s "a collective".

Much of what BBC Radio does is world-class, but its decision to hand £1,000,000 of our money to U2 in free publicity summed up its strategy: to decide what people should want then set about "educating" them as to why they wanted it. Privatising the fascist media monolith’s radio services and selling advertising where the interminable trailers now lie would serve a double goal: it would save us money, and let hugely talented individuals get on with being world-class.

Tony Urquhart
300 words

Go to Sound of 2010 and decide for yourself!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Yana Stadnik: my kind of immigrant

Yana Stadnik: click for the Sunday Telegraph articleWomen’s wrestling is in turmoil as the Olympics approach: foreign athletes have replaced the entire British team, which now only comprises two Ukranian women. This is yet another indictment of our tick-box culture, where the means both justify and are subservient to the ends.

But it’s not always that simple. Yana Stadnik, originally flown in to spar with British wrestlers, is now the best in her category and has grown to love this country that has adopted her. She says: "I wrestle for GB. On my back it is written Great Britain and it is in my heart too".

It would, of course, be best to have British athletes performing for us at the Olympics, but what do we do when we have a non-Briton who is the best at what she does, and is raring to be our champion? And how would we explain her exclusion to an audience that wants to see Team GB win medals, especially when high-performing British football clubs are full of foreign names?

read about John Lennon's deportation orderHowever, since Stadnik has no agenda to remake our country in the image of the one she left, "multiculturalists" will see no need to keep their race-hate in the cupboard. Watch out for vitriol as they parade spurious patriotic credentials. And yet, hope exists: in 1975, John Lennon gained a US Red Card after a 4-year battle which provided "testimony to his faith in this American dream".

It’s not Stadnik’s fault she became the best. Her story is like those fairy tales where an understudy proves better than the actress she covers and lands the leading part. However things turn out, my hope for this particular tale is that Yana Stadnik will have the chance to be united with "this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England".

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Cambridge News: unevolved coverage of the strikes

walkouts in Cambridge: can you spot Che?If you read only the Cambridge Evening News, you might think that the public-sector strike spread nothing but joy and enlightenment with no inconvenience.

Its first six pages were filled with breathless appreciation of the walkouts that was negligently partisan. Only on page 6 was there any hint of opposition to the strikes in Cambridgeshire, in the “no” section of a debate article, and in a "vox-pop" section of comments on the online forum, with three comments for and three against.

Compare this with coverage on Monday 11 June of the English Defence League march in Cambridge that took place on Saturday 9, much of which has disappeared from the paper’s online archive. There was a similar amount of coverage, with the difference that the editorial article was brought into the fray, stating that the EDL were "not welcome to return", despite the fact that the 200-strong demo was far less disruptive than yesterday’s 4000-strong march and rally.

The prejudice is owed to the paper’s allegiance to the old view of class consciousness, the socialist dogma that workers can only transcend their lot when they become aware of their chains. Demonstrators’ sinister devotion to spreading their view of class consciousness was revealed when, according to the News, "Janette Evely, a teacher at St Philip’s Primary School in Vinery Way, Cambridge, was accompanied by some of her pupils."

Polly Toynbee's recent BBC documentary about class consciousness rued its demise with plummy-voiced obsequies, failing to consider that class consciousness hasn’t faded: Labour’s betrayal of its blue-collar voting base forced its evolution. And my evolved class-conscious analysis of the strikes is this – why should I demand to pay more tax so a bunch of middle-class activists who earn more than I ever will can get a pension I can only dream of?

Joe Daniels
300 words

Sunday, 27 November 2011

stronger together

Part of the news that the English Defence League and British Freedom Party would be working together was that the latter had a twenty-point plan. I was worried that there might be echoes of US President Woodrow Wilson’s submission forming the basis for negotiations after WWI at Versailles: his fourteen-point plan, which gave French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau cause to remark in consternation that "God had only ten".

However, there’s a key difference between Wilson’s Fourteen Points and British Freedom’s 20 Point Plan.

Wilson’s points laid down the basis for a return of Europe to before the hostilities began; one from which America could remain splendidly independent an ocean away. The British Freedom Party’s points, meanwhile, concern winning back independence from a Europe which is moving daily closer to the social and economic abyss, hopefully before hostilities start.

It won't be easy: my daughter recently came home from citizenship classes and informed me that we live under an elected dictatorship. That’s not our problem, I told her. We are governed by a parliamentary democracy, but one that hobbled by no less than two unelected dictatorships. One is the EU. The other is more insidious: an army of activists who were placed on the bottom rungs of all state-run agencies during the Blair-Brown regimes with a remit to work their way towards the top.

These are the behemoths that British patriots of all creeds and colours have to face. But Winston Churchill led the fight against arguably a greater monster, and we won.

Wilson’s vision, relying on all people’s intentions being as good as his, ended up easing the way for Naziism. The writers of British Freedom’s Twenty Point Plan are in no doubt as to the intentions of our enemies and have honed each point for mazimum impact.

I’m looking forward to EDL and British Freedom working together.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Click to go to the British Freedom Party's Twenty-Point Plan

stronger together
Thanks to Andrew Stevenson for the graphic.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Calpol and the medicalisation of our woes

The Telegraph reports that parents will be asked to reduce the amount of Calpol – liquid paracetamol – they give to very young children. Wheareas guidelines used to group children in wide bands like "age 1-6", more bands will be introduced to recognise the differences weight between children throughout this spectrum.

But while the Telegraph’s medical correspondent Stephen Adams suggested we have a "fever-phobia" in regard to our children, I’d like you to look again at how Calpol recently marketed a children’s painkiller:

The writing at the bottom of the screen said that Calprofen was for "relief of pain and fever", but the story – the part that a busy, stressed Mum will be taking in – is that this can be administered when playtime goes south: two kids have a sheet fall on their head and end up unhappy. Guess what revives them?

a medicine for every woe?The masses addicted to illegal drugs have a mirror image in a less noticeable addiction: to the idea that there is a pharmaceutical product for every woe. Don’t get me wrong – some kids are genuinely hyperactive through attention deficit and are helped by Ritalin; many people get through the day with the help of antidepressants; and occasionally somebody in an old-folks’ home is responding to hallucinations and will be helped by antipsychotic drugs.

Equally, however, no pill eradicates the harm done by indifferent schools or parents, makes up for a society where lonely people are left to get on with it, or mitigates the negligence without which a care-system with too few indians cannot work.

The new guidelines for Calpol are welcome; but the wider issue is that what is lacking is not labelling information but a society in which we all engage with and care for each other. And the remedy for that doesn’t come in bottles or blister-packs.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Friday, 4 November 2011

euro crisis: is Greece the only guilty party?

bullied out of a referendum: read moreIt’s fashionable to blame the Greeks for the crisis facing the Euro and Europe, probably because their culture of graft, lies and tax evasion has pulled their country and many others towards the void to an extent unparalleled in peacetime.

Fashions, however, can hide a multitude of sins. Nicholas Sarkozy’s is the latest siren voice on the crisis: "Euro spells Europe…Europe has meant 60 years of peace on our continent."

Mr Sarkozy’s forecasts might have seemed more than bravado had he found his voice somewhat earlier – last May, to be precise, when European economists began to realise the danger toxic Greek debt posed to the countries of the EU and international financial institutions. But, responding to protests that quickly grew murderous, European politicians reverted to type and surrendered to protesters’ demands, granting the country more time before emergency measures were imposed and its fitness to remain within the Euro assessed.

Having let the moment slip, EU leaders later found their backbone and pressured Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou into cancelling a referendum on the bailout. This is, as the Daily Mail’s Nick Wood indicates, an act of bullying, and more: the EU’s antipathy towards referendums reflects in microcosm its general abhorrence of democracy – why else heed the barricades but refuse ballot-boxes?

The EU originated with the European Coal and Steel Community, a visionary body founded in 1945 to maintain peace between Fance and Germany, whose territorial ambitions erupted in fury in 1890, 1914 and 1939. Harmony between these two countries is what has kept (western) Europe safe for 60 years, not the Euro, nor "Europe", nor the sinister machinations of unelected mandarins.

We must let Greece go its own way. Anything else is tantamount to the sort of empire-building that has taken Europe into the abyss too often.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Thursday, 3 November 2011

did James Brokenshire order a man's life pulled apart?

Did a senior Conservative MP order police and financial authorities to put such pressure on the voluntary head of a human-rights group that he has lost his house, is facing bankruptcy and is now looking on as his family bear the fallout?

That’s the question now being asked after the release of the "November video diary" of English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, who (in a section from 5:30-8:15 in the video) claims to have been the recipient of leaked Home Office minutes between James Brokenshire MP and another MP.

According to Robinson, the minutes state that Mr Brokenshire, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Crime and Security at the Home Office and a member of the National Security Council, proposed proposed that the Home Office work with "a range of partners to address the driver of the EDL" in order to "minimise our problems".

These problems are certainly multiplying for the Government, who face new exposés of political appeasement in the face of Islamists on an almost daily basis, most of them coming from the EDL, which outlived the security forces’ prognosis of a six-month life span two years ago.

If Robinson is telling the truth and the minutes are genuine, then this goes far beyond a debate about the EDL: anybody who becomes a thorn in the side of the Establishment has cause for fear. For example, there’s Christopher Booker, the Telegraph journalist who is regularly criticised by judges for publicising abuse of power by social workers who snatch children, and the leaders of the Patients’ Association, who show just how devoid of roses the NHS garden is.

I believe Tommy Robinson tells the truth. I voted Conservative because I believe they’re big enough to answer their critics face to face. So what happens now? Watch this space.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Halloween: horrors

I don’t watch TV often, as I resent paying the licence fee for my family enough without watching the rubbish (especially BBC propaganda) myself. However, it being Halloween weekend, I thought I’d have a look at the two films on BBC2.

Rick Rosenthal’s 2002 Halloween: Resurrection had me turning to the Sunday Mail crossword within 15 minutes. The violence was realistic – the reason Vincent Price left Hammer Films – and held up too accurate a mirror to society for an example of the genre that has acquired the epithet “popcorn gore”.

click to go to the Ginger Snaps 2 websiteJohn Fawcett’s 2002 Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed was a dog of a different colour. The original film, Ginger, had been criticised for overegging lycanthropy as a metaphor for (female) puberty, but by the sequel it had found its paws.

We rarely saw the werewolf, but that seemed the point. The beastie was a prop on which to hang elements of a story in a feature-length meditation on the disparate ways we exploit, decieve and hurt each other underneath a civilised façade. The evils were all the more frightening because, contrary to Michael Myers (or Damien in The Omen, Dracula in the original, etc) they were subject to no aim, no unifying persona and had no motive other than human nature. Ginger Snaps 2entirely deserves a place in the hallowed company of films like King Kong and Nightbreed, where humanity is the ultimate monster.

But what of the popcorn gore film-makers? We could put them to work chronicling the real, quotidian horrors that comprise the picture in the attic of the gingerbread house many politicians insist we inhabit. For a start, I would recommend they tackle the almost unspeakable murder of Charlene Downes in Blackpool. That would tick all the boxes: violent, sick, and featuring monsters to make your blood run cold.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Friday, 14 October 2011

a paedophile joke for Ricky Gervais

click to go to the Channel 4 site for the show"Ricky is quite at home delivering thought-provoking rants and tongue-in-cheek political incorrectness about subjects as diverse as religion, racism and obesity."

Thus Channel 4 advertises Ricky Gervais' one-man show "Science", in which he states "racism and homophobia are borne of fear and I’ve never been part of them." This at the end of a show laced with elements of racism and homophobia: political correctness is the opposite of truth, and Gervaise’s statement is a boilerplate declaration designed to put the politically correct gatekeepers of our media back to sleep.

What really offended about Gervais’ show, however, were the jokes about paedophilia. He defended himself by saying that he’d never joke about paedophilia to a known paedophile…so what’s he doing telling these jokes on TV? I’m sure the beasts in the special cells had a whale of a time listening to him.

But I’ve decided at long last that if you can’t beat them, join them. I’ve written a joke about a paedophile for Gervais, whose lengthy rant about Noah and God being in a homosexual relationship assures me his courage will hold in front of all religions equally.

History records that Mohammed married Aisha when she was six and first had sex with her three years later, and a simple exegesis shows that the consummation took place before she had first menstruated. She was, if fact, in every way a little girl.

So here’s the joke: Mohammed goes into a bar, but sees a sign saying "only adults served here", so he walks out disappointed.

What do you think? Will Gervaise have the bottle to tell the joke on TV?

If you have been offended by anything in this post, I suggest you take a look at what you are doing to rid our national life of the filth infesting it.

Joe Daniels
300 words

Monday, 10 October 2011

Strictly and Summer Wine: ageism overcome

click for Last of the Summer Wine on YesterdayIt’s fortuitous that Freeview station Yesterday chose to show the first episode of Last of the Summer Wine as the BBC light-entertainment leviathan Strictly Come Dancing is in its opening weeks.

click for Last of the Summer Wine on YesterdayThe 1973 pilot introduced us to the surreal adventures and whimsical musings of three older men and their friends who refused to behave according to the conventions laid down for people of their age. It presented people d'un certain âge as independent, sometimes bolshie and always with a touch of Yorkshire grit.

What Summer Wine never did was display nastiness or agression, which is where it parts company with Strictly. The bullying and subsequent resignation of John Sergeant from the dancing show in 2008 was the predatory atmosphere of the BBC in microcosm, and displayed the ageist culture that dominates the Corporation in all its ugliness.

Last year, however, Ann Widdicombe entered and was totally unfazed by nastiness and condescension. This year Edwina Currie answered a question about how she’d deal with the judges with the observation that she’d been shouted at by Margaret Thatcher.

click for more about Edwina Currie on the Strictly fansiteCurrie [right] was voted out on Sunday, which I found a great shame: not only did I enjoy her dancing, but it’s always good to see people who are famous for something, as opposed to being famous for merely being famous. What has Nancy dell’Olio, her rival, actually done that doesn’t involve the reflected glory of the men she’s been photographed beside? Edwina, in contrast, not only had her Parliamentary career but performed the political equivalent of jumping on a grenade when she broke silence in 1988 about potentially deadly salmonella in eggs.

In fact, she’s a strong woman of the type that scriptwriter Roy Clarke loved to put in Summer Wine. Will there be a role for her should he resurrect the series?

Tony Urquhart
300 words

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Angels' voices will be heard

As a Conservative voter, I wondered why I was part of the English Defence League Angels’ demonstration on Saturday 8 October.

The Angels are, of course, the women of the EDL, who “stand beside their men, not behind them.”

It was because David Cameron had said something about the English Defence League that I still find hard to stomach: we are sick, and there are “none sicker”.

This was unfortunate, especially as Cameron had stated in his Berlin speech that multiculturalism had failed. Personally I felt let down, and this sentiment may follow me to the ballot-box.

I found some EDL supporters in Parliament Street, and nobody batted an eyelid at my Glaswegian accent. After some apprehension at how the police would react, it became clear that they were expecting no trouble from us. After the demonstration, we were escorted to Victoria station by the Met, as UAF demonstrators were causing trouble.

We were given free rein in a square, where one lady speaker asked why paedophilia was outlawed except when a Muslim child was given in marriage to an older man; if female genital mutilation might become legal in the UK should enough (male) Islamists push for it and whether, after the long struggle for female emancipation, women’s rights were to be effaced should Islamist men demand it.

I hope Cameron reminds himself that any party which aspires to form a government has to appeal to women. Margaret Thatcher, for example, cruised to victory three times not by appealing to any class, but by capturing the votes of women who had to bear the social costs of political programmes aimed not just at themselves but at their perhaps more ideologically-minded husbands, sons, fathers and brothers.

He only has to address Britain’s women with three little words:: “I am sorry”.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

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

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Doctor Who and the Lost Summer

Tonight saw begin the second half of Matt Smith’s second series as the star role in Doctor Who, after a surprise summer break.

The last episode of the series’ first half involved a war featuring various of the present Doctor’s contacts that, given the astronomical special-effects budget, was hardly the most climactic of fictional conflicts before introducing that last resort of the burnt-out soap screenwriter, a lost child returning as an adult. This episode was entitled Let’s Kill Hitler and featured the unfortunately all too non-fictional dictator in a bit-part before he sat out the rest of the action in a cupboard.

The real Hitler and the Nazis are hardly off the screens right now, to the extent that it becomes difficult to separate serious history from prurience. One wonders whether the goal isn’t to keep Germans "in their place" by reminding them of the madness that went out from their country a lifetime ago. Are media manipulators trying to distract us from the fact that every major European country has had its turn making other populations' lives a misery, with the latest post-holder being Greece?

The reason for the break was ostensibly so that a cornfield required in the script could grow – but a tale whispered from the studios, that may of may not be apocryphal, could provide an alternative explanation.

rock 'em sock 'em? REad more about davies v Moffatt at Heroic Times
It speaks of the rivalry between former Who executive producer Russell T Davies and his lieutentant Steven Moffat growing so toxic that when Davies got the top job the rivalry leaked into the script in the form of winding back Davis’ innovations. Two of Davies’ characters, assistants Rose Tyler and Martha Jones, appear briefly in this episode. If that’s a sign that the break was used for knocking senior production heads together, then the hiatus was spent productively.

Joe Daniels
300 words

Friday, 26 August 2011

history of Israel: still news today

horrible histories:click for homepage
I haven’t bought a general history magazine regularly for some time, since I thought the only one available was BBC History, which resembles the BBC's product for children Horrible Histories, except without the humour and relevance.

However, I’ve discovered History Today, lured by the tagline "What happened then matters now". Since my daughter will be spending about a third of the coming year studying "the conflict in Palestine" from 1945 for her GCSE History, I was interested to see in the current issue Soldiers of Zion by Mira Bar-Hillel, about her father’s war service for Great Britain in what would become the Jewish Brigade.

click to find out more about the Mufti and Hitler at Jewish Virtual Library
I was hooked, having never heard of the Jewish Brigade. As a Gentile in post-Blair Britain, trying to learn the whole of the story about modern Israel makes one empathetic with the mythical Isis trying to gather the scattered pieces of her consort. It was gratifying therefore also to see confirmed that "the Mufti of Jerusalem [had] formed an alliance with Hitler", something still denied around many dinner-tables.

This is, of course, before 1945, but I wonder if the National Curriculum will allow my daughter to learn of ties between Nazis and Arabs in the wider context of the founding of the State of Israel? Surely our involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya show that the days when a country could be hung out to dry with the epithet "a faraway land of which we know little" belong to the old dispensation: so why is it so difficult merely to get a picture of the viewpoints of all sides regarding Middle Eastern affairs?

If History Today is in the habit of publishing articles of the quality of that written by Bar-Hillel, I’ll be subscribing!

Tony Urquhart
300 words

Saturday, 20 August 2011

David Starkey, riots and chromatic relativism

Historian David Starkey is the latest victim of attempts to erase debate on race from enquiries into why the recent riots erupted in London and other parts of England. His main offence appears to have been saying that "the whites have become black".

But hasn’t this idea been with us for some time in the concept of being "politically black"? There were no complaints when left-wing academic George Yancy [right] summarised the concept (appearing on some 1980s ethnicity questionnaires) in 2005:
The political use is one in which blackness is subversive of the status quo, viz. whiteness. Given this use, there is no incongruity in the idea of a person being pigmentationally white and politically black…All it means to say that a person is politically black is that the person is anti-status quo…that she or he is oppositional or counterhegemonic.
Starkey took pains to say that "It’s not skin colour, it’s cultural", which resonates with political blackness. It also fits in that black politicians like David Lammy and Diane Abbott "have merged effortlessly into what continues to be a largely white elite; they have studied at Oxbridge and gone on to Oxbridge-style careers, such as that of MP".

click to read more about Joel Kibazo
Yancy would call Lammy and Abbot "pigmentationally black and politically white". His chromatic relativism underpins a new apartheid where a white person who critiques black culture is racist. Take Ugandan journalist Joel Kibazo’s [left] clear-eyed and unsparing dispatch from Tanzania on BBC Radio 3: had a white person delivered exactly the same words, would there not have been cries for his head?

Where Yancy’s apartheid differs from the South African model is that it seeks to keep black people down from the inside, obviating the need for homelands and secret police. I know it’s multiculturally counterhegemonic to say so…does that make me politically black?

Joe Daniels
300 words

Thursday, 18 August 2011

overheard #2

"I'm over 70 and I still pay tax because we managed to save a bit..."

unpalatable views: ideology is no excuse

redness no excuse!
As a Conservative-voting blue-collar worker, I find it disturbing to speak to people with views I wouldn’t countenance because they are too "right-wing". The reason I am disturbed is because of the frequency with which the holders of these views are Labour voters, usually union members, sometimes even Labour party members.

To give three examples, I often hear them rant about the world’s population ("we need compulsory population control"), single mothers ("put them in homes where they won’t be a burden on the state") and race ("send all the Muslims back to where they came from"). These are real examples I’ve come across while speaking to left-wingers.

I can’t quote irresponsible views like the above without answering them. Population control brought Indira Ghandi’s first government down spectacularly in the fever of the Emergency; many single mothers choose to work instead of relying on benefits, despite the fact that after 13 years of concentrating on taxing the rich, a single Mum with two kids choosing to return to work from benefits faces the equivalent of a 90% tax rate; and a lot of Muslims come from here in the first place – this is where they belong, and they are anxious to maintain the freedoms that all of us wish to continue to enjoy.

But professing left-wingedness seems to be a get out of jail free card concerning unpalatable views. These are people who say they wouldn’t touch, say, the English Defence League with a bargepole: and a good thing too, as their views are too extreme to be representative of the EDL.

During the Blairite reformation of the Labour Party, message and reality parted company and remain dislocated. We already have to deal with Labour's unelected placemen on councils throughout the country – we let them back into Government at our peril.

300 words

tuition fees: less university education, please

click to go to David Willets' homepage

Today on BBC Radio 2, Vanessa Feltz stood in for Jeremy Vine and spoke to Universities Minister David Willetts, ostensibly about A-Level results.

This being the last year that university fees for English students are fixed at £3,000 per year (they rise to £9,000 pa next year), la Feltz cornered Willetts on this, asking how much he paid in university fees. Being in his fifties, he replied, he was one of the ten percent or less who went to university whereas now there are more people going on to become university students than there were who gained O-levels in his day.

This is a situation the Coalition Government inherited, along with tuition fees, which were introduced by Tony Blair’s first government in 1998. Yet where were the student protests then? Did the unprecedented time allotted to debating fox-hunting blind the students to what was happening to the pounds in their and their parents’ pockets?

Vast numbers of school-leavers go to university. How much do people who oppose tuition fees – who only seemed to find their voice after the 2010 General Election – want to deduct from my wage so that their children can get a document entitling them to an income I and my children will probably never see?

Thirteen years of Labour's ideology-based government have drained us of money and goodwill and have increased social divisions. My thesis is that the playing-field regarding income will be levelled by less university education, not more. Picture the scene: two twenty-one-year-olds are applying for a job involving maintenance of machines in a factory. One has just gained a degree in engineering, the other has left school at 14 and has worked, learnt and solved problems on the machinery in that factory since then. Which one will a prudent manager give the job to?

Tony Urquhart
300 words

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Scottish Power: you have just lost our business

Dear Scottish Power,

You have just lost my family’s business. I was phoning your office on an unrelated matter when I was told that, despite our energy usage being lower than average, you were raising our monthly direct debit from under £100 to over £150.

After some discussion, our daughter waded in with her usual measure of common sense and called round energy companies, eventually getting us a deal of just under £90, capped for two years, with n-power. You wanted us to pay even more for capping our bill.

What makes you raise your prices so steeply? Are you dead-set on corporate suicide? Or have you been listening too intently to climate-change ideologues who tell you that less people equals less pollution, and have assumed the role of reducing the number of vulnerable people over the coming months?

Whichever it is, Scottish Power, know this: you have lost our business.


overheard #1

girl overheard on phone

"Of course, the coverage of the riots in London is totally racist. Nobody cared when the riots were taking place in black areas, but when it spread to white areas it went all over the world..."


Monday, 8 August 2011

the resurgence of the "me-riot"

It’s tragic that a man has died in an incident with police in Tottenham, but we need to divest ourselves of any illusion about the subsequent riots there, which have spread to unconnected parts of London: they are not about that incident. Furthermore, blaming the police for these riots is like blaming doctors for illness – it just won’t wash.

After similar disturbances in the 1980s, criminologist Jock Young’s analysis was that the days of the bread riot in Great Britain were over. The then violence, he said, grew from frustration on the parts of individuals who didn’t have mobile phones or computers, as primitive and unnecessary as those technologies then were. The looting we see presently indicates that the days of the "me-riot" have returned, and the phenomenon is now prosecuted by those who want iphones, ipads and the like without working to pay for them.

In the 1980s we had a Conservative government, and now we have a Coalition in which the Conservative Party is the senior member. In between, we had three socialist governments in capitalists’ clothes who twisted the lessons of life to create an air of of entitlement among young people: on a playing field where competition had been banished and therefore nobody lost, everybody had a right to expect the iphone and the ipad. Now that life has refused to bend to their expectations, they’ve gone on a ruinous tantrum that reveals both their immaturity and the danger they pose to normal working people living beside them.

My thesis is this: those who think they have a right to take what they want without earning it need to learn what real life is like at the hands of the police and judiciary if we, the silent majority, are not to make our own roar heard.

Tony Urquhart
300 words