Friday, 30 November 2012


check out 11.22.63 at


Check out 11.22.63 at Amazon

A novel centred on the assassination of John F Kennedy that was published the year before Barack Obama’s re-election campaign was always going to be controversial, especially when written by a Democrat who has compared right-wing "hate" towards Obama to the hate that culminated in Kennedy’s death on 22/11/63.

However, when the author is Stephen King, there’s always more to the tale – which is named after the above date, in American notation 11.22.63.

King mentions in passing in his time-travel epic that the "Tea-Party Society" sponsored leaflets promoting segregation: subsequent debate has stating that this organisation was an invention of King’s, while a Daily Kos article identifies it with a shadowy Democrat splinter-group called the Dixiecrats. Was he inviting comparison with the Tea Party, or commenting on the complex skein of prejudices within which the Civil Rights Movement would shortly emerge?

Lee Harvey Oswald 'backyard photo', taken by wife Marina
He ponders whether a re-elected JFK would have turned Vietnam into the quagmire that Lyndon Johnson did, and emerges with an answer I hadn’t foreseen. In fact, as the story progresses the number of tantalising possible routes to denouement increases, with the author following the line of least predictability. But conspiracy-theorists rest easy: from Lee Harvey Oswald (left) to George de Mohrenschildt, the usual suspects are all there.

Enoch Powell
But what of a JFK who survives 11.22.63? King offers an interesting take on Enoch Powell’s (right) dictum – Obama-worshippers take note – that "all political careers, unless cut off in mid-stream, end in failure". Posterity blesses the beautiful, and for political beauty being young and doomed is sine qua non.

More than this, King offers meditations on the nature of love, of duty, and ultimately of reality itself that kept me coming back for more: once I started work bleary-eyed through reading instead of sleeping. I heartily recommend that you read 11.22.63 for the 40th anniversary of JFK’s date with cultural apotheosis.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Leveson enquiry: blogs to inherit freedom of the press?

The Leveson enquiry into press standards reports today, amid fears that 300 years of press freedom in Great Britain are about to end. Even should this be the case, however, freedom of information will not cease but will merely move: to the blogosphere.

It’s surely no coincidence that the two publications in which comment is most free – ie in which editorial policy is for editorial policy to have the lightest touch possible – are the Mail and the Spectator, which both have sizeable and well-visited online presences (the Mail’s is suspected to be the only newspaper website making money). The Spectator has vowed to break the law if mandatory regulation is introduced, and one suspects that the Mail will carry regardless.

click to see Wired's list of news-breaking tweets
The blogosphere’s ascendancy became noticed in January 2009, when Jim Hanrahan (aka Manolantern) tweeted a photo of UA Airways Flight 1549 in Hudson Bay, scooping the New York Times. On the same network in 2011 a tech consultant inadvertently tweeted the start of the operation to kill Osama bin Laden, while in 2010 bloggers circulated a picture of Cambridge’s Labour parliamentary Daniel Zeichner - click to read morecandidate Daniel Zeichner performing a Nazi salute in election hustings before it made the newspapers, who seemed to still regard bloggers as something to scrape off their shoes.

Then Damien Thompson was promoted to the position of the Daily Telegraph’s blog editor: everything had changed. Now, when you hear phrases such as "the BBC has learnt…" it usually means that a news editor read it on a blog but either doesn’t want to or isn’t allowed to admit it.

Personally I buy papers for puzzles and get breaking news online, but if newspaper stories have to go through a central committee then papers will become mostly commentaries and blogs will inherit responsibility to maintain press freedom, much of which they carry already.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Monday, 26 November 2012

adoption assessor: "I have noticed you are blonde and blue-eyed"

The above statement was made to a woman who, with her husband, was undergoing assessment by social services to adopt a Guatemalan child. They had wanted to adopt a child in Britain, but were turned down for an interview after stating their ethnicity as "white British".

The Establishment seems to fetishize blonde hair and blue eyes in the way that they don’t, say, brown hair and hazel eyes. True, Hitler envisaged his Master Race as blonde-and-blue, but the quickest look at the top echelons of the Nazi establishment shows these characteristics to have been largely conspicuous by their absence.

Nevertheless, social workers especially seem to suspect people possessing blonde-and-blue to harbour a fascist agenda, which if you speak to them about it equates a socialist state minus even the perfunctory nod to democracy within our present society. This seems to hark back to the "blue-eyes brown-eyes" experiment beloved of diversity votaries, whereby people with brown eyes are invited to imagine the discrimination they would face in a world run by people with blue eyes.

This originated with an experiment US schoolteacher Jane Elliott had her third-grade pupils conduct in 1968, as a one-off, to help them understand the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King (left). In her version, however, the blue-eyes were initially discriminated against by the brown-eyes, and then roles were reversed. But fast-forward to 21st-century Hull Museums and teachers' notes present the experiment so that blue-eyes are exclusively the oppressors, with no reversals - the subtext being that oppressors are always blue-eyed, no matter their appearance.

In the first paragraph, I said that the couple wanted to adopt a child "in Britain" – not necessarily British or white or the other attributes that social-workerish types are programmed to associate with Britain. The types that, I hope, will see their fascist practices challenged by a huge vote for UKIP in the Rotherham by-election on Thursday.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


'When I told them we were white British, I was turned down without even being invited for an interview': Family's adoption ordeal at the hands of the 'thought police' - Daily Mail

Blue-Eyes, Brown-Eyes: The Experiment that Shocked the Nation And Turned a Town Against its Most Famous Daughter

Blue Eye/Brown Eye Activity - (teacher notes) - Hull Museum Education

UKIP fostering scandal: has Labour just lost the Rotherham by-election? - Andrew Gilligan

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Malala shows why we have asylum

Malala Yosoufsai: click for Daily Mail article
It’s now about a month-and-a-half since 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai was shot in the head in a school bus in Pakistan, for the crime of advocating for girls’ education. I’m not using "crime" ironically: the Taliban justified the assassination attempt by referring to Sharia law.

I believe bringing her to the UK was the right thing to do. We have the best medical facilities here, and we have an honourable tradition of offering asylum to people facing persecution in their own countries.

The desecration of this tradition by progressive governments is where Malala’s trouble starts. When masses of people flood into a country – in our case invited by Labour governments in return for votes – there comes a point at which they stop being individuals who are immigrating, and instead form a wave importing alien cultures wholesale. In a culture like Islam whose scriptures and votaries advocate exporting war and conquest this is asking for trouble: and all too predictably, British Islamists have announced a fatwa on Malala. Extremist cleric Anjem Choudary has said he is not asking for Malala’s death, but is silent on whether he would condemn another assassination attempt.

Malala and her family are in Great Britain on tourist’s visas which expire next year, but her father Ziauddin is an experienced educator and has been offered a job with the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham, so they may stay. That’s only right: they are an educated, articulate family whose views on women’s rights put many of their coreligionists to shame. Pakistan has historical links to Britain through its days as part of the Raj, and the Yosoufzais form a living embodiment of that relatively enlightened tradition.

I wish Malala well in her recovery and new life, and trust that the Establishment will be perspicacious in upholding her freedom of conscience and of expression against those who would curtail it.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Saturday, 24 November 2012

the UKIP two: political child-snatching in Rotherham

With the news that a Rotherham couple have had their foster-children snatched by social-workers because of their membership of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), yet more lights go out on British democracy.

Child-snatching on political grounds started with Toni McLeod, who fled to Ireland when social-workers threatened to remove her baby at birth because she supported the English Defence League, on grounds that the child would be "radicalised" by her beliefs.

At one time Ms McLeod had not been an advert for good motherhood, but that’s the point. Oppression of a population always starts on the margins of what the chattering-classes deem acceptable, and moves inwards once a bridgehead for the erosion of basic rights has been established. Two of those rights are freedom of association and freedom of speech: it’s no coincidence that Julia Layton defines two of fascism’s defining marks thus: "people cannot gather without permission, and they can't say anything negative against the State".

I use the word fascist advisedly. How else to describe a social services system which, reflecting the wider Establishment, stands by while children are abused but snatches vulnerable children from "exemplary" foster-parents on political grounds?

The Rotherham social-workers’ defence is that UKIP has "racist" policies. This implies that such a thing as race exists, and furthermore that patriots associate problems with immigration with certain skin-colours, as opposed to people importing cultures corrosive to our traditions whatever the amount of melatonin in their skin.

What next? If I agree with Tory MP Kris Hopkins that Muslim gangs are "grooming and raping white kids" will my children be snatched, and evidence that I read about it in the Daily Mail used against me in proceedings? Even a year ago that might have seemed a paranoid fantasy, but now it just seems a continuation of policy.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Council defends taking foster children away from UKIP members - Daily Telegraph

Decision over UKIP couple fostering 'indefensible' - Gove, contains video from Joyce Thacker, Strategic Director of Children and Young People Services at Rotherham Borough Council

Rotherham's Stasi have handed UKIP a PR victory. Shame they had to tear apart a foster family in the process - Damien Thompson (interersting comments)

Why try to take baby from EDL mother but not from terrorists? - Daily Express

Click to view the Children's and Young People's Services page on the Rotherham Borough Council website

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

EDL Norwich demo 10 November 2012

Soon after putting money in a bucket to give Tommy Robinson a Christmas present in prison, it was depressing to hear of the release on bail of hate-preacher Abu Qatada. Jordan wants Qatada for questioning regarding very specific terrorism charges, whereas Tommy, head of the English Defence League, is in Wandsworth Prison, held on nebulous charges of conspiring to cause a public nuisance.

The bucket went round while the EDL was in Norwich to bear witness to our support for Dr Alan Clifford, banned by Norwich City Council from sharing a market stall in the city centre after one complaint about a ten-year-old pamphlet he wrote called Why Not Islam which the police saw fit not to take further.

One speaker at the national rally, called Julia, shared the stall with Revd Clifford and recalled being surrounded by thugs, one bearing a red flag on a pickaxe handle, who objected to her English flag. Beforehand, two students had asked her to remove the flag, which she flew to advertise charitable fundraising for St George’s Day Parades.

Unlike the police, who tackled the troublemakers, Norwich City Council continues to act not on pragmatic but on ideological grounds. Most recently, it misinformed stallholders that the EDL were coming to smash up the market, so it was cheering to see some stallholders had seen through their propaganda and remained open.

Norfolk Constabulary were great, clearing so-called "antifascists" from our way when they tried to block our progress to stop ordinary Norfolk residents hearing what we stand for themselves. They also quickly put a lid on our opponents throwing missiles, trying to goad us into a response and feed their narrative that we are thugs.

It has to be said, though, that while Tommy Robinson is in jail and Abu Qatada walks free, justice in Great Britain remains in the dock.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Click here to go to Open letter to the Christian faith leaders of Norwich on 300 Words

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

police elections 2012: Kevin Carroll for Bedfordshire

As Nicky Campbell said towards the during BBC1’s Police Elections 2012, elections for posts of Police and Crime Commissioner will have a huge effect on how we live. So it was disappointing that this show was a mere half-hour long but, to be fair, Nicky made every minute work.

Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty pointed out rightly that an elected official per Constabulary isn’t enough; we also need the rule of law. A lady on the discussion panel who lived in an area plagued by thuggery made the best possible case for an elected PCC: "authorities mark their own homework all the time".

A test case presented to the panel was Luton, with its "community tensions". We saw stock footage of the few English Defence League members who make the most noise, but (and this surprised me) it was followed by footage of extremists protesting against returning troops with banners calling them "murderers". There was no footage of them burning poppies, but this is itself a symptom of the real problem: that a group of radicalised individuals has preyed on men, women and children from every community bar none in Luton and elsewhere in Bedfordshire, with the authorities marking their own homework in response to complaints.

As shown, one of the five candidates contesting the Bedfordshire election for PCC is Kevin Carroll, and the above is one of many areas in which I believe he and Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock will work together to address, others being alcohol-fuelled violence, antisocial behaviour in general and Bobbies on the beat.

click to go to Kevin Carroll's webpage

Many candidates didn't know their Chief Constable's name; Kevin Carroll has had meetings with CC Hitchcock regarding the prospect of them working together. He is Bedfordshire's answer to the heartfelt plea of a householder interviewed for the program: "we pay our taxes too, and we matter."

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Police Elections 2012: click for the version discussed above

Police Elections 2012: click for versions for other TV areas

Click to go to Kevin Carroll's bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner election website

Watch Kevin Carroll's PCC election video below or click here to watch it on YouTube

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

suppression of dissent always ends badly

I hadn’t heard of Revd Dr Alan Clifford before Norwich City Council banned him from having a stall in the because of his booklet about of Islam. I don’t know how large his congregation in the Norwich Reformed Church is, but the 1,000 hits his latest video-sermon gained in one day presumably enlarges it.

EDL LGBT division: click to learn more
Like others in the English Defence League I find it hard to agree with everything Revd Clifford says, eg about homosexuality. He himself probably isn’t a member of the EDL LGBT Division. But that’s the cornerstone of free society – an acceptance that people who disagree with you aren’t necessarily wrong. To put it only slightly differently, healthy democracy demands we recognise that disagreeing with a viewpoint doesn’t warrant banishment of the dissenter.

Suppression of dissenting voices always ends badly. To give an obvious example, when Winston Churchill was relegated to political Siberia in the 1930s because of his visceral opposition to appeasing fascists, Europe lost its last best hope for peace. If he’d been given his head and allowed help put together an expeditionary force when the Nazis were still weak, millions of British, German, Russian and of course Jewish lives might have been saved.

You could also point to Emile Zola (left), who had to flee to England after publishing J’Accuse, his letter condemning French President Félix Fauré on the anti-Semitic arrest of Richard Dreyfus on charges of treason. The French establishment’s pursuit of Zola strengthened the hands of anti-Semites, and contributed to the meat-grinder awaiting 2 generations down the line.

It’s not insignificant that Revd Clifford accuses the one person who complained about Why Not Islam – a complaint that the police rightly rejected – was himself spouting anti-Semitic rhetoric. Why was this person not banned? Are we sleepwalking towards another meat-grinder? Suppression of dissenting voices always ends badly.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Watch Dr Clifford's video sermon below or click here to watch it on YouTube

Why not Islam by Revd Alan Clifford

EDL East Anglia Division on the Norwich Demo

Friday, 2 November 2012

Festival of Ideas: free thinking?

Mary Robinson: click for lecture
BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival of Ideas has launched with a lecture from Mary Robinson (right), former President of Ireland, arguing that women leaders would be better placed to face the challenges of the 20th century.

As polemical as the idea sounds, Robinson succeeded in laying out her case that women aren’t better than men, but rather have a different and complimentary way of approaching problems.

Observing the BBC shibboleth of abstention from some subjects, Robinson danced so studiously around her topic’s elephants as to qualify her for Strictly Come Dancing. For example, while mentioning Tahrir Square as an infamous centre of harassment, she didn’t actually mention Islam until after the lecture, when in conversation with Matthew Sweet about the role of religion in oppression of women she said she felt that growing up as a Catholic had helped her appreciate what girls go through in Islam.

Really? As tight a hold as the RC church had on quondam Ireland, where were the stonings, the honour attacks, the burqas?

Thomas Jefferson
The problem, I think, is the BBC is attempting to take on the mantle of the Freethinkers: people such as Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson (left) and Bertrand Russell who sought to break the chains of dogmatic belief, religious and otherwise.

Freethinkers were liberals in the classical, muscular tradition that birthed the United States and modern democracy. Their traditions, revolving around the protection of liberty, seem now to have been relegated to the fringes of debate, and freethinkers have been replaced by safe pairs of hands who bow to new dogmas like climate change and diversity. When the Festival of Ideas includes in its mix speakers who have, for instance, campaigned against female genital mutilation in Bristol and been ostracised by their community, or who struggle in other ways to maintain our diminishing liberties, I’ll be listening.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Click for Mary Robinson's lecture opening the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival of Ideas

Free Thinking Festival of Ideas homepage

Mary Robinson's page on The Elders' website

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Blue Collar Conservatism

As a blue-collar Brit and former Conservative I was interested to read about the "Blue Collar Conservatism" scheme.

It’s good that in eschewing the phrase "working class" the Tories recognise we don’t need Marxist vocabulary to define ourselves on every occasion. But I’m surprised they didn’t launch this initiative last summer when Peter Mandelson confirmed that Labour no longer connected with its traditional base:

Peter Mandelson: click to go to interview
Blue Labour…seeks to reconnect the party with its old, postwar, apparently white and male, industrial working-class base. These people have moved on, to other jobs, to other aspirations and, in the main, to an entirely different identity.

Better late than never – it’s just a pity that the launch comes so close to "plebgate"; possibly the recent poll revealing working-class voters are more right-wing than middle-class ones was the kickstart?

Personally I can’t foresee (re)joining a party that sees continued membership of the European Union, with the associated corruption and human rights messes, as a given. However, if I were still a Tory, I’d be asking why so little has been done about open-door immigration. There are obviously obstacles put in place by the Lib Dems, but surely politics is the art of the possible?

There are also the child-grooming gangs, preying predominantly on the children of blue-collar families. This isn’t necessarily tied to immigration, as many of the offenders were born here and are therefore British.

The list goes on: why do we fund India, which has its own space program? Why subsidise affluent European farmers more than dirt-poor African ones? Can we afford to give benefits to able-bodied people for minimal (if any) tax contributions?

I guess the caveat to Blue Collar Conservatives is: unless you put your blue-collar Brits in a political ghetto, you might start an avalanche that will change your party forever.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Blue Collar Conservatism website

Sir George Young and four ministers join "Blue Collar" Tory group - The Daily Telegraph, November 2012

Middle class voters "more leftwing" than the working class - The Guardian, October 2012

Peter Mandelson versus Ed Miliband: Labour is fracturing and its leader hasn't noticed - The Daily Telegraph, July 2011