Monday, 30 April 2012

the other tragedy in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet may not be as quotable as Hamlet, but we still have "parting is such sweet sorrow", "fool’s paradise" and the thunderous "a plague on both your houses!"

click to go to the Shakespeare on 3 homepage

In the Shakespeare on 3 production, the last of these was voiced by Paul Ready, playing Mercutio. David Tennant was Prince Escalus, with Trystan Gravelle and Vanessa Kirby playing our star-cross’d lovers (right).

Juliet had "not seen the change of fourteen years" – she was 13. According to historian Tim Lambert, rich families had their daughters marry young – in the 16th century, at the end of which the play was written, marriage was legal from the age of 12, although this might be honoured in the breech ("younger than she are happy mothers made" says Juliet’s admirer Paris to her father). Capulet suggests another two years "ere we may think her ripe to be a bride": was Shakespeare condemning child marriage?

click to read why Stead's campaign is still relevant

It wasn’t until 1763 that an amendment to Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage act of 1754 raised the marriageable age to 16, but consent to sex wasn’t raised to 13 until 1875, thence to 16 in 1885 after WT Stead’s crusading campaign against child prostitution. Child protection has been a long time coming, and heaven knows what miseries young girls suffered because few cared.

So why were men allowed to force 9-year-old girls to marry them in contemporary London with the knowledge and therefore implicit co-operation of their teachers?

Since the girls are not from a European tradition but are Muslims, it seems they live in a bubble free of womens’ rights with the blessing of those who demand these rights everywhere else.

Until all children in Britain enjoy child protection as prescribed by British laws, Romeo and Juliet's other tragedy - young girls denied their childhood - will play out in real life again and again.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Click to go to BBC Radio 3's Shakespeare on 3 homepage

Click for the script of Romeo and Juliet

Go to journalist Jon Slattery's blog to read why WT Stead's work is still relevant today

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Sierra Leone: Taylor trial betrays euro-racism

click for more on the death of Mussolini

67 years ago, Italian fascist Benito Mussolini’s corpse was displayed in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto.

I mention Mussolini because another tyrant has been brought to justice – Charles Taylor of Liberia, who has been convicted of sending thugs into neighbouring Sierra Leone. However, while Mussolini was administered justice by and among the people he misruled, Taylor was tried in The Hague and will be imprisoned in Great Britain – which required a special act of Parliament – because of fears of a West African trial causing renewed instability.

Instability is there in plenty. A message was gotten to Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio 2 show from a Sierra Leonean whose whole family had been killed by Taylor’s thugs, including child soldiers. She is now living as an outcast in Gambia, where she can only get work as a prostitute. The child soldiers, no less outcasts, remain in Sierra Leone as an army in waiting.

Mussolini’s execution and subsequent display within the country he brutalised surely cooled the heads of other budding little caesars. Wouldn’t a similar display of Taylor’s earthly remains in Sierra Leone likewise provide food for thought?

The only reason I can think of for Taylor’s trial being held in Europe is racism. A bunch of predominantly white liberals decided that West Africans cannot be allowed to hold their own leaders to account for their actions. So they send the UN in like a knight in shining armour, their self-righteousness blinding them to the fact that this is far from a fairy-tale, and the only happily-ever-after will be Taylor’s as his every human right is pandered to in a British jail.

Surely there's still time for common-sense to trump western ethnocentrism? Taylor needs to be sent back home to his own people for sentence, to be done to as he did to them. Then maybe, just maybe, a budding demagogue may think, "perhaps not".

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Click here for Jeremy Vine's radio show on Friday 27 March - content is harrowing, and starts at 0-49-00.

click for the CIA World Factbook entry on Sierra Leone

Monday, 23 April 2012

Happy St George's Day!

find out more about St George's day

Whether you celebrated over the weekend or will celebrate tonight, I hope you have a very good St George’s Day.

As a Scot, I regret to say I grew up buying into the trendy view that England was oppressive and imperialistic. Then my English wife came home with me and was repeatedly upset over being sent to Coventry because of her nationality. I’ve never had the equivalent experience in England. Not ever.

Indeed, I’ve always found the English a friendly and tolerant people, and I’m sure this is connected to the multicultural background of England’s indigenous inhabitants. I’m not talking about the travesty of multiculturalism beloved of diversity-fetishists whose priority is deconstructing patriotism, but the real deal. The Romans, for example, brought people here from all over the known world, caring not about the colour of their skin but only whether they could do their job. Long before them the Beaker People, who came from goodness knows where, left Stonehenge as their epitaph; long after the Normans came to turn England French, but became champions of the Saxons’ tongue and their new, merged culture.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, I think, misses the mark today when she calls England "promiscuous, culturally and carnally", just as Billy Bragg does when he recounts all the things England holds dear that did not originate here – including St George, the three lions, etc – and concludes that English culture is "half English". Rather, I prefer to see England as touching the world and clasping parts thereof to her big, generous heart.

George is the saint, not the country; like any state, England has to make the best of varying shades of grey. But her millenia of history provide a better template for the future than we could ever have in Europe’s sinister bosom; and that history contains all the multiculturalism one could wish for.

Gerry Dorrian 300 words

find out more about St George's Day

Sunday, 22 April 2012

female genital mutilation: Sunday Times exclusive

Today, the Sunday Times publishes an investigation into female genital mutilation in Britain – FGM, sometimes called "female circumcision", which suggests a relation to the male kind: a lie. If you are alarmed by this phenomenon and the growing presence of its supporters in the UK, I recommend you buy a copy, which costs £2.20 (if you don’t subscribe you can’t read the website).

The investigation - by Mazher Mahmood and Eleanor Mills - uncovered a doctor, a dentist and an alternative medicine practitioner who involved with the procedure, which involves excising much of the genitalia and which "is widespread across large parts of Africa".

Police are accused of not investigating allegations "for fear of inflaming racial tensions"; mutilation survivor and model Waris Dirie claimed "if a white girl is abused, the police come and break down the door. If a black girl is abused, nobody takes care of her. This is what I call racism."

Going off the page, I sympathise with Ms Dirie’s position, symbolised by the case of Victoria Climbié (right), tortured to death amid countless visits by police and social services. But then Baby P’s (below) case was very similar

I don’t challenge the Sunday Times’ analysis that FGM is widespread through Africa, but the first names of the three perpetrators can be heard everywhere: Mohammed, Ali and Omar [Sheikh Mohammed].

The names, of course, are Islamic. I’m neither accusing all Muslim families of abusing their daughters in this sick way, nor absolving all animist-African families of it. But teachers, social workers and police will much more willingly challenge non-Muslim black parents than Muslim parents of any ethnicity, as is shown by the 9-11 year-old girls forced into marriages in Islington with the knowledge and inaction of their teachers.

In summary, full marks to the Sunday Times for this goundbreaking investigation, but nul points for failing to name the beast...or are they hoping their readers will join the dots?

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Click for an overview of female genital mutilation from the World Health Organisation

Click for a case-study of female genital mutilation. WARNING: DISTURBING AND EXPLICIT CONTENT

Saturday, 21 April 2012

immigration laws limit the days of being enriched

When Cambridge’s Addenbrookes Hospital had trouble filling posts, it went to the Philippines to recruit. And so came the Pinoy, fluent in English, with their solid working-class values, deep Judaeo-Christian values and tradition of maintaining sick people’s dignity. Then, when eastern European countries joined the EU, Philipinos found their visas not getting renewed because workplaces have to hire Europeans first: they were replaced by frowning hulks who could hardly speak a word of English.

I cite the above story, related not by a politician but a Roman Catholic priest responding to the concerns of all his flock, to illustrate that immigration isn’t reducible to one single phenomenon.

But the middle-class press didn’t challenge the BBC documentary The 70s opining that racist protest is "the authentic voice of the working class" – whereas Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain cites blue-collar anger when Attlee's postwar legislation capped Indian and African migration but Ireland, which was neutral in the war, retained open borders.

However, because of pressure on schools due to "the high birthrate" (ie open borders), it’s no longer non-U to discuss immigration at dinner-parties, with the Telegraph’s Fraser Nelson warning that "David Cameron should beware the march of the angry mothers". I wonder what Mumsnet will make of it all?

What complicates the issue is the leftist view that people from outside the UK, or even EU, deserve better than the settled population for not other reason that they’re from elsewhere; witness the Cambridge News worrying that "Migrant workers are living in some of the worst private housing in East Cambridgeshire".

As the middle classes find their lifestyle choices increasingly restricted by immigration, I predict that their views will change. But by the time they get around to that, will the time of genuinely enriching immigration like that from the Phillipines be gone forever?

Gerry Dorrian 300 words

Click to read John Redwood's Reply on immigration Click to view the BBC2 series The 70s

Friday, 20 April 2012

why we need to talk about Breivik

breivik shortly after capture

Under other circumstances, the trial of Anders Breivick would be the biggest thing in the British newspapers. Its relegation to the middle of news sections because of the Abu Qatada deportation fiasco is entirely appropriate: Breivik killed 77 people in Oslo and Utoya, whereas Qatada and his fellow enablers of terrorism have caused the deaths of countless thousands in Europe, the US, Asia and Africa.

Don’t get me wrong: I think Breivick should hang alongside those who defend his methods. I haven’t met anybody who thinks differently. But the comment isn’t getting out there.

At some point the court-case will examine relations between Breivik and the English Defence League, and then the Sitzkrieg will end. Despite the fact that the EDL was sinned against rather than sinning, they will come after us.

The Telegraph will run with putative Breivick-EDL links in order to reassure its leadership that it remains aloof from anything identifiable as working-class – and the Guardian hates blue-collar Britain even more (unlike the Daily Mirror, which merely hates whom Labour tells it to). The Sun and Times will run with it in order try deflect attention from Murdoch’s hacking travails, and the Mail will run with it…well, because it’s the Mail. The Coalition will welcome the diversion from their dogs’ dinner of a deportation attempt, while Tony Blair and Jack Straw will embrace any relief from enquiries into just how hard Labour tried to deport him.

We need to be filling this period with comment about the English Defence League’s commitment to protesting peacefully and upholding human rights, and the difference between possibly talking to somebody on a chatboard and supplying them with weapons of war. And, while underlining our sympathy for Breivik’s victims, we need also to keep the focus on every politician who has failed to deport Qatada.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

EDL Qatada demo: no longer silent

Should one meet one’s heroes? My answer to that was “yes” when I met Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League, at the Deport [Abu] Qatada demo in London.

click to go to the English Defence League website

Going down from Cambridge, the train broke down so I had to wait for another one at Cheshunt, which my Scottish tongue had lots of fun trying to pronounce until I heard it broadcast. Having arrived later than I’d expected, I found myself trying to guess where the EDL might be coming from to meet in front of the Home Office.

Having said that, when I first arrived in front of the HO, I heard a lot of voices singing the chants I’ve grown to associate with the EDL. So I went into the middle of a group of people and asked one bloke if he knew where the East Anglian Division was. “No mate,” he replied – then I saw the UAF logo.

I found the EDL in time to demonstrate in front of the Houses of Parliament, urging our representatives to remove Qatada immediately, instead of bowing and scraping to the European Court of Human Rights.

Essex courage

We found out later that at that time Home Secretary Teresa May was making an emergency speech, saying Qatada could be kicked out by 30 April, as opposed to the 6-8 months that his appeal against extradition might take.

I don’t think that the physical presence of the EDL protestors outside Parliament swayed May’s mind; but I’m sure that what we represented really did. Passing drivers of all sorts of vehicles honked their support, indicating that EDL membership is but the thin edge of the wedge - we are recovering members of the silent majority, and the political classes are terrified that others will join us: not racist, not violent, just no longer silent.

join the English Defence League and make a difference!

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Monday, 16 April 2012

government advisor has great idea: breaking news

read more about Charlie Taylor's proposalsCharlie Taylor, the government’s "behaviour tsar", advises that the parents of truanting children should have their child benefit docked. His announcement is great news for three reasons.

Firstly, although truancy exists through the social spectrum, it is most damaging in areas infested by worklessness where child-benefit is most needed. Dcoking it would provide one of the adminstration’s beloved "nudges" to persuade parents to reign their children in.

Secondly, this would recoup money from child benefit minus the leftist message that aspiration is good but achieving that aspiration – even if one earns but a fraction of Tony Blair’s wealth – means you are no longer "one of us", and your children are priveleged. This is precisely the message given by proposals to remove child benefit from higher earners.

Thirdly, the proposal comes from somebody who has walked the walk. Charlie Taylor was headmaster of The Willows School in London for pupils with "behavioural, emotional and social difficulties": in other words, kids whom other schools couldn’t cope with.

Taylor, as a behavioural expert, is presently a government advisor. I hope he runs for election as an MP, in whichever party he chooses, alongside his fellow senior teacher Katharine Brabalsingh (who was suspended by her politically correct head-teacher for daring to question the state-school system).

Plato would have approved of our modern House of Commons, where increasingly MPs study law or politics (rapidly-converging fields) at university then work in either before standing, hence the widening disconnect between the political class and those they purport to represent.

click for Nadine Dorries. blog at ConservativeHomeMinister for Agriculture Jim Paice was a farmer. As an example of somebody who did the task he now oversees, he is increasingly isolated. We need teacher-MPs; fishermen-MPs; nurse-MPs (like Nadine Dorries - left); soldier-MPs; labourer-MPs; and all the rest.

Dare we hope for a revolution of competence in politics?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

protest songs: Nearer my God to Thee

click to watch this clip on YouTubeAmid the myths most "experts" agree that the Titanic's band (as they say) played on with Nearer my God to Thee.

During a recent interview on Steve Wright’s radio show, Julian Fellowes, creator of the ITV series Titanic, addressed the issue of why we’re so obsessed the centenary of this leviathan’s demise. His reply: just as the "unsinkable" Titanic headed inexorably towards its nemesis with every sector of pre-war society represented, that civilisation, which considered itself unsinkable, had less than ten years.

Fellowes points to the elaborate parade that would be held in Russia the year after the sinking to celebrate the Romanovs’ 300th anniversary on the throne: most of them would die in a hail of Bolshevik bullets in Yekaterinburg 4 short years later.

Eric Hogsbawm's Age of Extremes: find out moreIn truth, just as the iceberg flooded too many compartments for the Titanic to stay afloat, so the slow-burning disaster that Europe was sleepwalking into was too damaging to survive. For example, Eric Hogsbawm points out in Age of Extremes that the trenches, barbed wire and machine-guns that defined 1914-18 were all present in the 1904-5 Russo-Japanese war for anyone who might have cared to take notice. The Ottoman Empire provided a blueprint for industrial-scale massacre in Bulgaria in 1876, and would do so again in Armenia, starting in 1915. Europe’s iceberg, the First World War, was virtually unavoidable after Germany finally forced France to recognise its existence in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles following 1870’s Franco-Prussian War.

Again Europe faces an iceberg, symbolised by the Ottomans’ heirs avariciously eyeing our lands once more. Will our patriotic parties and defence leagues be ready to act as lifeboats when we are too flooded to float? We can only pray, and Nearer my God to Thee is as good a prayer as any.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

This post is dedicated to the 1,514 victims of the Titanic, the millions left dead following Europe's iceberg, and all the past, present and future victims of the iceberg currently at Europe's hull.

Click to hear Julian Fellowes intervied on Steve Wright's radio show

Click here for the ITV series Titanic

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Abu Hamza: Barack Obama's election trump card?

click to find more about Hamza's extradition processReactions differ to the news that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Abu Hamza can face trial in the US. The Daily Telegraph calls it a "landmark victory", while the Daily Mail opines that had the ECHR not acquiesced then Britain would have seceded, followed by other states.

The key to the situation, I believe, lies in the fact that the extradition of these terrorists and enablers of terrorists to the US will still take months.

The US Presidential election is due to take place in November 2012. It would be naïve of Barack Obama not to look across the Atlantic at resurgent patriotic movements like, in the UK, the English Defence League and British Freedom. Powered by disaffected blue-collar voters, these diverse movements spread from the political centre to embrace and transcend left and right. So while politicians always feel compelled to appear all things to all people at election time, doing so is essential to Obama's survival now.

Hamza et al must be a gift to the President. He can appeal to the right-wingers by being seen to be acting to get the masterminds of 9/11 into American jails around election-time; and he can give subtle signals to left-wingers that when Abu’s army is put on trial, it will not them but American foreign policy in the dock. In short, he can burn the flag he flies.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, the only people who are fooled into thinking that this is a victory against the fascist oppression of European "justice" are those who fool themselves. British politicians got this ostensible victory by bowing and scraping to their EU masters: had there been any political will to have justice done upon Hamza and the other enablers of 9/11, it would have been done years ago.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words