Tuesday, 30 April 2013

EDL Dewsbury bombers: not warriors but pawns

BBC Radio Two news, on one occasion only, carried a reaction from a Muslim "community leader" to the guilty pleas of the would-be Dewsbury bombers:

If this had gone ahead, then I think we could have seen a serious massacre – lots of people could have been injured, possibly killed as well, with no discrimination. There could have been younger people, older people, black, white, Asian, etc. Anybody could have been affected by that.

I’ve a sneaking suspicion the soundbite was pulled because somebody realised it was substantially similar to a denunciation of the plot made by our own Tony Curtis at the Bristol demo in July 2012. Curtis added that the bomb could have killed not only so-called "antifascists", but also police officers when the terrorists’ car, impounded for not having insurance, was being driven to the station.

Saudi anti-abuse campaign: find out more
Some detest the EDL. That’s their right. We were in Dewsbury peacefully exercising our democratic right to protest not against Muslims but against Sharia and Jihad. These are in the news as seldom before, with a boy beaten by Palestinian "modesty police" for an "un-Islamic" hairstyle and Saudi Arabia’s first campaign (right) against the entrenched problem – justifiable by Sharia – of domestic violence.

The Dewsbury Six might style themselves warriors with their nail-bomb-carrying rocket, but in reality they are pawns near the bottom of the Jihadist food-chain. Their puppet-masters intended the atrocity to turn public opinion against Muslims so as to make younger co-religionists feel categorised and alienated, and therefore easier to radicalise.

As Henry Kissinger points out in Diplomacy, a government needs to defeat terrorists every time, while terrorists only need to get successful once. It is reassuring to know that 7/7-sized terror plots are being foiled every year, but the BBC asks a disturbing question about the Dewsbury bomb-plot: did police miss it?

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Speeches from the Bristol 2012 rally Tony Curtis' is the second clip down. He speaks on the indiscriminatory effect of the Dewsbury bomb from 2:25-3:00

Steve Wright in the Afternoon, 30/4/13 news-clip featuring community leader on indiscriminatory effect of bomb, 2:01:30-2:02:14 - listen again until 6 May 2013

Terrorism plot size of 7/7 attacks 'foiled every year' - bbc.co.uk 21/4/13

EDL bomb plot: did the police miss it? - bbc.co.uk 30/4/13

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Joy of Easy Listening: what you hear is what you get

click to go to Richard Clayderman's website
BBC Four’s The Joy of Easy Listening was a welcome repeat. From Percy Faith to Adele and passing through Herb Alpert, the Carpenters and many more, it offered valuable historical and cultural insights into why and how this broad musical church developed from 1945 onwards. I was particularly glad to see Richard Clayderman, whose version of Let it Be in the early 1980s was my gateway to the Beatles.

The inclusion of Guardian journalist Paul Morley puzzled me, as his function seemed solely to voice the BBC’s cultural Tourette’s. He complained that easy listening music was "non-ironic"; Maybe he was thinking of the Beeb’s in-house definition of irony:

An ironic statement must appear as if you are sincere, [and] the line must be delivered straight, so that the recipient misses the hidden message but onlookers get it loud and clear.

Is it so insulting that with Easy Listening what you hear is what you get?

What really annoyed me was his comment that Easy Listening represented a parallel world where pop music is "non black" – shortly before the start of Easy Listening Hits at the BBC, which included Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis and The 5th Dimension, none of whom appear in the credits on the programme’s webpage. Is the implication that performing in a genre the BBC disapproves of abrogates black artistes' ethnicity?

The crack was probably a reference to the old saw that popular music was stolen from black people. The irony is that if any music was stolen from black people it is modern jazz, with rich and complex time signatures unheard of in the West until the 1940 Dennis-Roosevelt expedition to the Belgian Congo brought back and analysed recordings of music by Watusi, Batwa and Bahutu peoples, to name but three. Cue herds of privileged white BBC executives stampeding to justify their Dave Brubeck collections.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


The Joy of Easy Listening BBC Four webpage

Easy Listening at the BBC BBC Four webpage

Irony h2g2 (BBC)

Denis-Roosevelt Expedition: The Belgian Congo Records of the Denis-Roosevelt Expedition Hip Wax (12th record down)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

did Labour win the 2005 general election?

New Labour: read more on bbc.co.uk
Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary, has issued a statement calling for Labour leader Ed Milliband to sack three Blairite MPs after ex-PM Tony Blair criticised Milliband’s leadership style. Given Tony Blair’s record on democracy, specifically the fact that he may not actually have won the 2005 general election at all, McCluskey may have a point.

Initial warning signs came in April 2005, when results of three 2004 Birmingham council elections were overturned due to electoral abuses that take the breath away. The World Socialist Web Site lists a catalogue of infamy relating to the conduct of former councillors Mohammed Islam, Muhammed Afzal and Mohammed Kazi, including a postman being offered money for a bag of postal votes and threatened with death when he refused, children sent to steal postal votes from letter-boxes and Labour supporters buying postal ballots on the streets.

In 2005’s May general election, Labour won 9.5 million votes, and the Conservatives 8.7 million. On the eve of the election, the Conservatives’ Liam Fox warned there would be a staggering six million postal votes, which would be an amount over seven times larger than Labour’s majority.

Note that this is not to say Blair was a saint when democratically elected: his devotion to the illegal war in Iraq – opposed by 139 of his 412 MPs – weakened allied operations in Afghanistan and killed 179 British soldiers and up to 112,000 Iraqi citizens.

We urgently need to revisit the 2005 election results to determine whether Blair’s last government was democratically elected or was a fascist dictatorship. If the latter, all British and EU legislation adopted during Labour’s last term in government has no democratic legitimacy.

And Len McCluskey? Given Unite was a main offender in the money-laundering scheme funding Labour’s 2010 campaign, he should watch out for his stones coming back to his own glass house.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


UK Political Info:

Britain: opposition to Iraq war led to Labour vote-rigging in 2004 elections - World Socialist Web Site

Voting scandal mars UK election bbc.co.uk April 2005

Tories highlight vote fraud fears - bbc.co.co.uk April 2005

Union behind BA strike receives £18m from taxpayers in ‘money-laundering’ deal with Labour - telegraph.co.uk (Martin Beckford) 2010

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Boston bomb grafitti: a smear campaign backfires?

It started with a story in the Cambridge News saying both the city’s Green Dragon pub and Greene King brewery had issued a statement saying that the English Defence League was no longer welcome to hold meetings there. The reaction was probably not that hoped for – even opponents of the EDL voiced dismay that self-acclaimed "anti-fascists" now demand everybody hand them a statement of political and sociological beliefs before going for a pint.

But much worse was to come. On April 14 a terrorist bomb ripped through the Boston marathon. Press disinformation started immediately, with the media stating it was Patriots’ Day, implying the perpetrators would be admirers of America’s founding fathers (patriots) dismayed at the directions their country is taking. As Whiteout Press points out, Patriots’ Day is April 19.

On the tails of this disinformation, graffiti appeared at Cambridge’s mosque site: "For the murderous scum bags. What were you thinking? Hitler tried terror and failed as will you".

Except, Cambridge EDL has disowned the graffiti. We do not oppose peace-loving Muslims but Jihad and Sharia, and we express that opposition on demos and in blogs: not graffiti.

click to read 'The Price of Privacy'
According to Big Brother Watch, Cambridge City Council spent over £4.9 million on CCTV between 2007-2011. Mill Road is a main artery. Where are the photos of people drawing graffiti on this highly-contested site?

As it turns out, the Boston bombers were Jihadis, and if this was an "antifascist" smear-campaign, it smears all Cambridge Muslims as Jihidis, as well as spitting on the people of Boston.

And where are the denunciations of the EDL on the Greene King website and Green Dragon site? Why have news outlets of all political shades ignored this story?

Surely the Cambridge News owes its readers an answer to this question: how thoroughly has it researched these two stories?

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

With thoughts and prayers for the fallen and wounded of Boston.


Greene King in warning over EDL meetings at Cambridge pub - Cambridge News

Anger at vandal attack on mosque site after Boston bombs - Cambridge News

Greene King website

Green Dragon (Chesterton, Cambridge) webpage

Big Brother Watch: The Price of Privacy - identifies Cambridge City Council as 7th highest spender in UK on CCTV

Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher RIP

read obituary at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation
Margaret Thatcher is dead. The Grantham grocer’s daughter, who smashed glass ceiling after glass ceiling to become Britain’s first female prime minister, belongs to the ages now.

She is remembered with affection by many Conservative voters, who also recall with anger her peers who knifed her in the back over her views on Europe: like Winston Churchill, she understood instinctively that if a United States of Europe were to be formed that was well and good, but Great Britain must be apart from it.

More than this, though, she is remembered with affection by many: across the centre-right she remains the queen over the water, and even Labour voters of all vintages appreciate that she was the last leader who, in the tradition of Peel, Disraeli, Churchill and Attlee, put their conviction to do right ahead of expediency and focus-groups.

Like Shakespeare, Beethoven, Kant, and Bismarck, she decisively tackled all the issues in her field and therefore changed that field forever, for both better and worse. But those who concentrate on the negative aspects of her legacy would do well to remember that the only way never to do anything wrong is never to do anything.

I could continue by listing Mrs Thatcher’s many achievements, but others will do this better than I could: so here’s three things she never did.

  • She never introduced the target-culture into the NHS that led to corporate massacres at Mid Staffs General Hospital and elsewhere: John Major did this.
  • She never made higher education a commodity to be bought and sold by replacing grants with tuition fees; Tony Blair did this.
  • She never threatened our hard-won freedom of the press; a junta comprised of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband did this.
Margaret Thatcher is dead. She will live forever in our hearts and minds.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) - Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tolkien and the Black Riders

Having just finished The Lord of the Rings after four tries in as many decades is a great feeling. The best bit about the novel, I think, is Tolkein’s harvests from the fertile fields of the English Language, from Shakespeare to the Authorised Version and an Oxford don’s instinctive grasp of his mother tongue.

It’s a pity his descendents had no time for Peter Jackson’s films, because I found these a way into the novel, opened decisively by a Film 4 interview with Jackson saying that if Frodo was the soul of the film then Samwise Gamgee was the heart. I then researched further, and found that Tolkien himself considered Sam the hero of the work.

The hobbits are instinctive gatherers of lore and history, and would agree with the Chinese proverb saying “the beginning of wisdom is to give things their right names”, which Tolkien sort-of quotes in The Fellowship of the Ring. They move the action from start to finish, and seem to represent the working class in general and Tommy Atkins in particular.

With Tolkein’s legendarium now firmly fixed in culture, there are those who try to append a racist tag to it. I think Tolkein foresaw this and embedded his comment on race – being and opponent of racism – in characters’ impressions of the Black Riders, the “ring-wraiths” or Men of old who were given rings by Sauron and seduced into his evil ways. The people of Bree speak not just of the riders being black, but give this characteristic to their horses and even the riders’ breath. Frodo, wearing the Ring, sees the Rider attacking him as white. Gandalf, possibly speaking Tolkein’s own words, discloses that the riders are made of nothingness, anticipating the modern view that race is a chimera clothed in prejudices.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Saturday, 6 April 2013

why not give kids a measles vaccine in a measles outbreak?

measles outbreak: read more at bbc.co.uk
Imagine: you go to the doctor because you have a bacterial infection. The doctor agrees to give you antibiotics, but the only remedy he can prescribe also contains medication for high blood-pressure and stomach ulcers, neither of which conditions you suffer from. Imagine further that the medications will be injected, meaning that once they’re in there they can’t be removed, unlike a course of tablets that can be discontinued.

This is analogous to the situation in south Wales, where in response to an outbreak of measles the government has set up a series of clinics offering the MMR vaccine, formulated to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.

Officials will continue to point out that the outbreak is due to declining uptake of the MMR vaccine, and they have a point. What we need to do, though, is look at why uptake is declining: the most obvious is the case made by Andrew Wakefield et al that MMR causes autism, amongst other conditions, in a significant minority of vaccinated children. His detractors – for example journalist Brian Deer, who accuses Wakefield of making up evidence – do not explain why The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical magazine, took 12 years to retract Wakefield’s 1998 article.

At the end of the day, though, this is not about personalities or politics. This is a measles epidemic. A single measles vaccine is available. However, NHS Direct says it’s not available on the NHS because of fears that "fewer children would receive all the necessary injections, increasing the levels of measles, mumps and rubella in the UK". Isn’t the measles outbreak an early warning that this is exactly what is happening because of the withdrawal of single vaccines from NHS doctors' prescription pads?

Charles Bond
300 words


Wales measles: 1,700 MMR jabs given at drop-in clinics - bbc.co.uk

About the MMR vaccine - NHS Direct

MMR vaccine side-effects 'not fully tested' - Daily Mail

Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children (Retracted) - Andrew Wakefield et al - The Lancet

How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed - Brian Deer - British Medical Journal (BMJ)

One example of an outlet for the single measles vaccine at babyjabs.co.uk

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

the n-word: is Sajjid Karim's real target democracy?

Did UKIP leader Nigel Farage mention the n-word in a 2005 conversation? I don’t know, I wasn’t there. But I'm sure many of us await proof from Sajjid Karim MEP, who made the allegation on Facebook.

click to go to Sajjad Karim's facebook page

Then again, racist comedian Frankie Boyle was not only alleged to have said the n-word, but broadcast it to the nation in his Tramadol Nights and was awarded telephone-money compensation for being called a racist because of his defence that he is an "anti-racist". Confused? Join the club.

So why is an eight-year-old allegation being recycled now? I think we need to look no further than March’s national conference of the so-called Unite Against Fascism, which the Huffington Post summed up with its headline "UKIP must not be allowed to influence politics and immigration."

I add the emphasis to identify UAF’s real target: not UKIP, but democracy. In a democratic society, we vote for who we think can best run the country, city, region or village, and - crucially - we recognise that other people have the right to vote for candidates we disapprove of.

This comes on the heels of the controversy over Paolo di Canio’s appointment as manager of Sunderland. Having played for Celtic, Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Charlton Athletic and managed Swindon with no fuss, former miners are being agitated because he may hold views that middle-class socialists who so detest blue-collar culture disagree with.

Karim’s Facebook message to UKIP sounds like a UAF declaration of intent: "Bring it on Farage - we're ready for you in the north west". Must we be prepared to defend ourselves and others at the ballot-box if we look like we might practice what Karim and the UAF stormtroopers consider the wrong sort of democracy?

click to go to Sajjad Karim's facebook page

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

what is fascism? A surprising BBC debate

read about Paolo di Canio's autobiography
In Italy, too many immigrants act as if they were back in their own countries. They make little effort to fit in and, to be fair, we Italians make little effort to integrate them. Our government does little for immigrants, so they simply do things their way. If we’re not careful, in 10 years’ time, Italy could be a Muslim country. I’ve got nothing against Muslims, but I don’t want my Italian culture to disappear.

Dave Hopper: click to read more
This extract from Paolo di Canio’s autobiography was read by Jeremy Vine to Dave Hopper (left) of the Durham Miner’s Association in a section of his show dedicated to di Canio and fascism. Hopper replied there was "not a great deal wrong with that", leaving me wondering why exactly di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland manager had caused him to demand the return of the DMA banner from the Stadium of Light.

Mark Robson writes in Italy: Liberalism and Fascism 1870-1945 that the first Fasci ("groups") emerged in Sicily in 1893 when the island’s economy collapsed due to a Franco-Italian tariff war, and had "a vague political programme which was socialist in flavour". Mussolini despised socialism, but elements of his 1919 programme for the Fasci di Combattimento ("combat groups") such as abolition of the monarchy and aristocracy, suppression of banking excesses and setting up workers’ cooperatives would be leftist heaven.

Phoning Vine’s show, political science lecturer Ian Philpott said the Left confused issues by using “fascist” as a blanket term for anything right-wing and conflated fascism with racism. He pointed to non-racist fascist states in South America, and said the only racist fascist states had been Hitler’s Germany and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Fascism’s defining mark was not political orientation but totalitarianism fronted by a "supreme leader".

I’m not a fascist because as a member of the English Defence League I believe in freedom and democracy: which is why EU oppression and the suppression of our free press by all three major parties make me feel sick. But given that "fascism" for too long has been used to describe anything the Left disagrees with it’s good finally to have a definition of fascism given by somebody who knows what they’re talking about. And amazing that the BBC even allowed this discussion to take place.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words (excluding quote)


Listen again to Jeremy Vine's show on BBC i-player - available until 8 April 2013: topic starts at 1h 40m

Read revies for Paolo di Canio: the Autobiography on Amazon

Read reviews for Italy: Liberalism and Fascism 1870-1945 by Mark Robson on Amazon

Go to the Durham Miners' Association website - Durham Miners Demand Banner Back from Stadium of Light Paolo di Canio, Sunderland and Italian fascism - bbc.co.uk