Tuesday, 31 January 2012

proposals will make antisocial neighbours trigger-happy

click to go to Theresa May's homepageHome Secretary Theresa May (left) has famously proposed forcing police action on antisocial behaviour if a "trigger" of five neighbours complaining has been pulled.

click to read more about Fiona PilkingtonThe proposals refer belatedly to the 2007 death of Fiona Pilkington, who immolated herself and her daughter (both right) after a campaign of abuse from thugs, spearheaded by one family on her Barnwell estate, the Simmonds. She had made over 33 complaints to the police.

The Telegraph’s Philip Johnston is one of the few to see the pilot’s fatal flaw: had Ms Pilkington been one of less than five victims, the trigger would not have been pulled.

I suspect Johnston has limited experience of living on a housing estate, like most MPs, so I’ll point out the plan’s second flaw. Many neighbours from hell know who to lean on for a false statement. If they want five people to report a tenant, five reports the police will get. Lies, perhaps, but in forcing an investigation they will co-opt the authorities into bullying whoever they want intimidated.

Johnson also refers to the Coroner’s conclusion in the Pilkington case, that "there were supposed to be a dozen laws to deal with this sort of behaviour without introducing any new ones". There are, but they are largely unused, especially when families comcerned have "issues" or tick landlords’ diversity boxes.

click to go to British Freedom's 20 Point Plan#8 of British Freedom’s 20 Point Plan deals with reducing crime: "criminals should fear the consequences of their behavior". The police and judiciary cannot continue being surrogate social-workers. With existing laws, they can protect law-abiding residents of housing estates before we cross the rubicon of learning we must protect ourselves. Robust policing and sentencing is also necessary to give lawbreakers cause to reflect on their lifestyles before their crimes escalate.

And nobody would need to set themselves on fire in order to escape antisocial behaviour.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

what's dysfunctional about living in social housing?

click to go to The Week websiteThank goodness for The Week. In its function as a catch-up on what has appeared about current issues in national and international papers, it carries content from organisations you might not want to give any money to directly in case it encourages them.

read Leunig's original articleTake, for instance, The Guardian. In the current issue, The Week summarises an article by the paper’s Tim Leuning (left) who refers to families who "by and large, are sufficiently dysfunctional to be in social housing, and so will not be hit" by the housing benefit cap.

You can easily bend the meaning of a small excerpt, so here’s the context in Leuning’s article, called Housing benefit cap: can you live on 62p a day? (When it was published it was on p22, so not many people will have read it.)

The cap doesn't even hit the families the Daily Mail so dislikes – single parents with many children and many fathers who have never worked. Those families, by and large, are sufficiently dysfunctional to be in social housing, and so will not be hit – at least not much – by the reforms. Instead the people hit hardest are stable families previously in work on low to middle incomes – the really squeezed middle, if you like. They were not rich enough to buy a house, and not poor enough to qualify for social housing.

Without wishing to deny that there are people trapped in private rented accommodation who will be hit hard by the putative cap, Leuning’s prejudices are showing. The many feckless mothers on housing estates have high-visibility on the data-gathering processes incorporated into benefits systems. Richer women with children by multiple fathers, like Mel B, Ulrika Johnsson and Sinead O'Connor, escape the questionnaires and contumely.

I’m not trying to minimise the often traumatic circumstances that can both cause and result from quick-fire partner change for the families involved and those who have to live around them. I merely wish that Tim Leuning would scan housing estates to celebrate stable families with the gusto he presently reserves for vilifying easier targets like single mothers.

So I’d like to invite him round to my housing-association house for dinner where my wife, daughters and I can give him a piece of our dysfunctional minds. I will even fork out on an issue of The Guardian, as we'll need something to wrap the chips in.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words (not including quote)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

EDL Barking demo

We could say many things about the EDL demonstration on 14 January 2012. For me, those things both start and finish with the Witherspoons pub Hamilton Hall at Liverpool Street Station. I arrived there around 11am and had a couple of pints, as did many others. But first, the demo:

As often happens, the EDL had many stewards but the so-called Unite Against Fascism had none. We congregated in the square in front of Barking Town Hall; a diverse organisation, we were facing so-called anti-fascists who believed they had the right to determine who should be able to protest.

Kevin Carroll started off by thanking God that the racists who murdered Stephen Lawrence had been imprisoned. To resounding applause, he added the hope that all who killed Stephen will rot in jail.

Then Kev said what was on many minds: the Leicester girls who attacked a British couple on a racist basis should be treated just the same as if they’d been British girls attacking Muslims. He merely said what many of us were thinking: if you commit a crime, your ethnicity should be the least consideration.

Anyway, when the police guided us back to Barking station, some of us returned to Liverpool Street Station. When we went back to Hamilton Hall, we were refused service on the grounds that "you frighten the regulars".

Hold on – how come we didn’t frighten the regulars at 11am but we did in the afternoon? To have been welcomed by Hamilton Hall morning and afternoon would have been great, but to have been excluded both times would have at least been consistent. For Witherspoons to take the patriot pound in the morning then ditch it for the afternoon’s prejudiced pound is symptomatic of the jaundiced pursuit of profit at the cost of one's country.

No surrender, ever.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Sunday, 8 January 2012

the beard and burqa brigade: what's in a name?

A problem repeatedly identified with Islamicisation, Islamicism and Islamophobia lies in the first five letters of each: we aren’t fighting Islam, merely extremists who seek to oppress fellow Muslims just as much as Brits in general. So why do we define our enemies with words starting "Islam—"?

Is it time to call our enemies a name that doesn’t seem to stigmatise every Muslim?

A Pakistan Defence forum thread argues certain appearances seem to go with extremism: "why many bad appearing Pakistanis are extremists and idiots clueless in the West? Do they know how to shave in well-dress manners? [sic]"

In the middle of a lively discussion, one poster comments "There is nothing wrong with a beard or a burkha but we dont want need fanatics etc and they often are in this mix".

click to read the Pakistan Defence thread

The poster is absolutely right: nobody anywhere is banned from a beard (I have a goatee my kids call “the paintbrush”), but a certain style of beard is sported by Wahabi-inspired militants. Likewise, there’s no law prohibiting anybody in the UK, male or female, from wearing a burqa, but the fact that so few do indicates the ridiculousness of the garment; and the association of those women who do wear a burqa, willingly or not, with "beards" is instructive.

Instead of referring to Islamism etc, could we refer to, perhaps, "beards and burqas", or "the beard’n’burqa" brigade?

I’m not saying everything would be rosy if we did, but taking the prefix "Islam-" from names for modern civilisation’s enemies might help moderate Muslims create a safe space for themselves and others where they can critique extremists and their sponsors.

A space from where they can cry out, as did one contributor to the Muslim Times about extremists, "Allah save us from our saviors".

Thursday, 5 January 2012

why I don't want to forget Diane Abbott's tweet

racist tweet: read more at the Daily Mail
Amid the fallout from Diane Abbott’s racist tweet, it’s hard to decide whether the Guardian’s advice to "Forget Diane Abbott’s Tweet – let’s talk about the Stephen Lawrence case" is surprising or depressingly predictable.

Personally, I don’t want to forget Diane Abbott’s tweet, because the founder-member of Unite Against Fascism is not acting in a vacuum. As two of Stephen Lawrence’s killers are jailed, the media compete to comment how far the Met has come since the 1999 Macpherson report coined the phrase "institutional racism". Despite Harriet Harman’s positive discrimination attempts, the force remains multi-cultural with the majority of officers being white British. I imagine Abbott is seething that such an organisation is being praised – and possibly is also suffering from acute attention deprivation.

Lawrence’s killers weren’t named by some diversity committee, but by that nemesis of everything Left, The Daily Mail, in a front-page J’accuse-style piece. Everything was askew from how "black community leaders" would have had it happen.

famous front page: click to read more

click to read Bim Adewunmi's report on the tweetCriticism of said leaders by journalist Bim Adewunmi (right) sparked Abbott’s toxic tweet. Fellow hack Lindsay Johns made similar criticisms last June (while omitting Abbott from his list of black intellectuals). Was Abbott riled because she sees herself as a "community leader"?

British institutions have a long way to go before giving black people parity with others. Witness Conservative Councillor Dr Blaine Robin’s suspension from his local party for attending an English Defence League rally, where a white member would probably merely have been questioned over his actions.

So organisations like the EDL and the British Freedom Party will continue to campaign for people of all ethnicities to operate on the same level: there’s no such thing as associate citizenship. Our campaigning includes opposing the fascist UAF which, in choosing Diane Abbott as a founding member, exposes its own, unchallenged, institutional racism.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

"Political leadership": bias lurks in Healthcare Challenges letter

Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph carried a letter with 63 signatories laying out the breaking-points in the NHS and care services. The key phrase, picked up by news bulletins, was: "We have a duty to change this – but it requires political leadership".

True, but any health-workers of a certain vintage can tell you that these systems didn’t suddenly break down in May 2010. (For example, Wendy Whittle, testifying to the inquiry into the massacre at Stafford General Hospital, started by detailing how members of the Health Trust’s Patient and Public Involvement Forum were forbidden to discuss MRSA until the 2005 general election.) What’s different now is that the rolling disaster is too big to hide; but looking at some of the letter’s signatories is rewarding.

signatory: not politically biased?At 61 of 63 is John Hannet of the USDAW union, whose house magazine last year accused the English Defence League of helping the BNP stir up racism. [Check out the EDL's mission statement here] Two places behind is Brendan Barber of the TUC, whose aims are advancement of a hard-left agenda when Labour is in power and rĂ©gime-change when it isn’t. The Fabian Society 9no 25), on the other hand, is committed to achieving Socialism by a slower attrition.signatory: not politically biased?

Of the three Crossbench Peers represented, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton isn’t just a disability campaigner but also a Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and would therefore help foreign criminals stay here because they’ve bought a cat, and former social-worker Molly Meacher chose as her title Baroness Meacher of Spitalfields, which is an area in Tower Hamlets – ‘nuff said.

The letter makes some salient points, but lays many years’ failings at the feet of people who haven’t been in charge for two; and I have to ask whether all the non-political signatories saw the letter in its final form when they signed.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words