Archive for October, 2009

Redmond O’Neill: a Career to Be Judged

30/10/2009

This was not an obituary for Redmond O’Neill.

Dave Osler and David T have more.

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Darcus Howe on Race in the Military

23/10/2009

I do not think that Baroness Scotland should remain in the position of Attorney General, and that her disregard for the legislation which she had championed when vetting for employment for what turned out to be an illegal immigrant is a principle reason for the current Labour Party not being fit for purpose (as opposed to a war which finished anywhere between four and six years ago).

I remain in disagreement with everything which Darcus Howe said when linking her arrogance of power to the increase in the foreign-born personnel in the British military. And that includes his usage of the word “the”.

Speaking of how Britain, apparently, wishes immigrants only for war, Howe insists on describing Scotland as “Dominican-born”. There is something quite vile about reminding immigrants, or even the progeny of immigrants, that they are not and never will be real members of their adopted society: even where, in the case of Scotland, they have been in this country since she was three years old. Howe, at least, arrived here in 1961 when he was 18 (three years after Scotland), so has arguably known a different society.

Contradicting his own title, Howe cites the case of Loloahi Tapui, who was employed as a housekeeper by Scotland. We are informed that Scotland has foregone the right to identify with a homogenous mass known as ‘not-white’, on her being being “promoted” to “the ruling-classes”: thus becoming a ‘wallah’, ‘kitchen toto’, ‘Uncle Tom’ or whatever term from the racial arson lexicon is being used today.

Determined to view events through the prism of the Iraqo-Afghan fault-line, Howe also states:

Firstly, the gathered throng of Afghanistan’s children at the French border were dispersed by state violence and brutality of a kind that I have never witnessed in the 50 years since I arrived in the UK.

These children are here because the British Army are visiting upon their country tons of bombs and bullets.

The same goes for Iraqis who risk their lives sliding beneath lorries in an attempt to gain entrance to the land which justified the military invasion, claiming to rescue those citizens from the rule of Saddam Hussein.

The chickens are coming home to roost.

There are myriad reasons for those Iraqis and Afghans leaving their countries to attempt to enter Britain: economic prospects; existing family networks; commonality of language. If detailed geo-political considerations, such as recent invasions of their countries were concerned, I would have thought that there would have not been noticable immigrations beforehand (there was) and the Afghans, at least, would have been just as likely to seek refuge in France who was also involved in the invasion of their country. Furthermore, it does not explain immigration from Turkey or Ghana or China or India or Tonga which Britain has not occupied for at least 50 years.

Returning to the actual touted theme of his rambling piece, Howe states:

The British Army have been quietly recruiting citizens from far away places like Tonga, from the Caribbean islands which are not yet republics – St Vincent, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia – to fight and die in the poppy fields of Afghanistan.

This would be the poppy cultivation which is in decline.

While the dead bodies of British soldiers are returned here in splendour, those bodies of dead soldiers from these tiny island states are shipped to their respective homes as cargo. No bugles, nor eulogies to their bravery.

If the potrayal of disregard for foreign-born soldiers is accurate, I would find this reprehensible. I am, however, highly skeptical. I appears entirely proper that bodies are returned to where the soldiers’ family reside, and it is for individual states to stage commemorations.

Following efforts by the BNP to present itself as supporting British troops by… well… comparing their respected commanding officers to Nazi war-criminals, it appears unfortunate to accuse the British military of not caring for foreign-born troops considering the praise lavished on Grenada-born Johnson Beharry.

Or Fiji-born Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba who, with eight other SAS soldiers, held back 250 Adoo rebels at the Battle of Mirbat in Oman, 1972. Taking single-handed control of a WWII 25-pounder artillery piece, which normally required three men to operate, he fought alone before being shot dead.

A statue to him will shortly be unveiled at the SAS Regimental Herefor Headquarters.

Howe’s final words in his piece were:

Be sure of one fact, white labour, now demoralised in northern towns, will never return for jobs beneath the stairs for £6 an hour.

Nor will the children and grandchildren of immigrants who came here from the Caribbean, India or Pakistan.

Not true, as I can attest to from personal experience. There is the distinct possibility that Howe is peddling pompous, racist lies.

SNP Supports Modernization of Royal Mail

22/10/2009

THIS IS A GUEST POST BY DHAIBHIDH C MHAC DHUIHDHLHEIGH OF THE LENINIST VANGUARD (DRUMNADROCHIT CHAPTER).

soviet post van

Greetings, Friends. I believe it was William Blake who said that man does not live by bread alone. I consider it vital that we all agitate for the downfall of the worldwide capitalist system and to eradicate all forms of racism and militarism, but I also know I need to earn a crust.

As such, I work in the systems department of a well-know private postal provider. Currently, we are negotiating a truly inspiring contract with the Israeli Post Office, but I digress.

I have no doubt my readers are aware of current disagreements between Royal Mail workers and upper management. This truly troubles me.

In March of this year, our brother, Michael – or, Mike, as he likes to be known – Weir MP highlighted some concerning news:

SNP Postal Affairs spokesperson, Mike Weir MP, has expressed bemusement at news HM Revenue & Customs have awarded a £4.5 million-a-year contract to deliver its internal mail to TNT – just a week after it was revealed the company had been forced to hand over tens of millions of pounds in unpaid tax to HMRC.

The Dutch company, which was also blamed for losing the personal details of 25million child-benefit claimants in 2007, is also a front-runner to take a stake in Royal Mail if controversial plans led by Lord Mandelson are approved.

Mr Weir said:

“I think people will struggle to understand why a firm, which just repaid millions in unpaid taxes, has been awarded a multi-million pound contract from the Inland Revenue.

“HMRC really need to explain what their thinking is on this one.

“To make matters worse this is the firm that appears to be front-runner to buy into Royal Mail if Lord Mandelson’s privatisation plans come to fruition.

“Privatisation would spell the beginning of the end for Royal Mail, and open the door to job losses, service cuts and a deterioration in the working conditions of postal workers.

“A private partner will only be concerned with profit, and Royal Mail must not loose the social focus which is essential for rural areas.”

It appears to be that Mike is able to see the bigger picture, and his not to perpetuate a state monolopy just as our brother, Alex Salmond recognizes the need for international investment in our golfing services.

Just a fortnight ago, Mike said:

“I understand the concerns and frustration that postal workers have, however many people, and in particular businesses, are deeply worried about the damaging impact this strike action will have.

“Conciliation is the right way to seek a resolution, and both sides must pull back from the brink and get on with meaningful negotiation.”

Our brothers and dsisters in TNT and other private postal providers need to earn an honest crust. I am sure none of my readers are prepared to return to letters and post-cards rather than e-mail and texts. I certainly am not! Solidarity has its limits!

One cannot be too doctrinaire, and I find it truly inspiring that Procurement Scotland has vindicated the decision by the Scottish Executive to award public sector contracts according to value for money. Just this week, I saw that TNT has been awarding an £8 millions contract for deliveries to public sector bodies.

As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs…

22/10/2009

Originally posted on 9 June. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même (see Iain Dale).

… out come the Squadists. Flush from his the success of his party at the Euro Elections 2009, Nick Griffin organized a press conference in front of *another* legislature… the Palace of Westminster. He was cornered and pelted with eggs by United Against Fascism, formed by a coalition of the Anti Nazi League and NAAR.

What a disaster. As much as I derived visceral satisfaction from watching Grffin flee like a sinister Billy Bunter, this has given wall-to-wall coverage of a democratically elected [racist scumbag] representative being assaulted in the street by a gaggle which scored a fraction of his party’s vote in the Euro Elections. One rebranding effort of the BNP has been to present itself as caring for the views of the white working-classes (appealing to, as UK Polling suggests, Tory-inclined voting working-classes more than Labour-inclined) which is under assault from a grimoire of political freaks and unrepresentative loonies. Which a lot of observers have seen happen right here.

Not that this is uncharacteristic behaviour for the UAF. Its ANL component was seen as a front for the SWP, which included active Squadists who, after their Kronstadding by Tony Cliff in 1981, went on to form a pro-IRA group called Red Action; at least two members of whom were convicted of gun-running for Irish Republican terror groups. In this respect, I compare the peripheries of the SWP to those peripheries of the BNP which go to join Combat18.

Twenty years on, the SWP helped turn the opposition to the invasion of Iraq; arguably the greatest mass-movement – crossing racial and political and social barriers – since Dunkirk into a withered shell of political cranks, racists and more-than-objectively pro-fascists.

The NAAR component was a front for serial-entriest Socialist Action which, I assume, is smarting after the loss of its influence in the London Mayoral office with the defeat of its patron, Ken Livingstone.

Four years ago, both helped force out the thoroughly decent Searchlight from the UAF on the grounds of its being “Zionist”. Now it and others in the UAF have found another tinder-box part of British politics to toss a match into. Bless.

Meanwhile, the latter-day Miss Jean Brodie, John Wight who believes that Hamas is the democratically elected government of the Palestinian Territories and should, therefore, be engaged with, is delighted at this assault on a democratically elected British fascist.

UPDATE – commenter Dan at Harry’s Place makes an apposite observation:

The situation would be made far worse if the UAF mob came along and harassed the BNP and then left the local residents to deal with the consequences. The UAF and the BNP are very similar in this way – they march into an area, cause problems that didn’t exist before and then march away again looking smug while the people who live there pick up the pieces. The UAF are unelected, unaccountable, extremist and violent, just like the BNP. But unlike the BNP, they have no concept of community-led action, only direct action fly pickets fuelled by illusions that the 1970s are back again and it’s time to riot.

If the UAF are reading this, kindly piss off and don’t come near Essex again until you bother, just for once, to communicate and co-ordinate with local people who know better than you (which is never, I guess).

FURTHER UPDATE – See Bob in the comments for a more sympathetic view of Red Action and Squadism.

Lee John Barnes Looses It

22/10/2009

Lee John Barnes (LLB Hons, JJB Sports), the legal eagle for the BNP is following the party line in presenting it as supportive of British troops. He currently hosts the following photoshopped image on his blog:

generals

Mad. As mad as a waltzing mouse.

Alex Salmond Compares Kenny Macaskill to Gandhi

20/10/2009

Tom Harris admits to having “religiously avoided coverage of this year’s [SNP party] conference on account of my embarrassment threshold being too low”.  This is probably wise.

Still under the impression that compassion can be offered on behalf of others, Alex Salmond gone further when describing the decision by Justice Secretary, Kenny Macaskill to release Abdelbasset Ali al-Megrahi:

Mr Salmond told delegates in Inverness of a recent visit by Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun.

The first minister told the conference: “One of the things he told me is that his grandfather’s philosophy is much misunderstood.

“His resistance was not passive, but active. His dedication to non-violence a strength, not a weakness.

“Sometimes, someone has to break the cycle of retribution with an act of compassion – that is what Kenny MacAskill did and we should be proud of him for doing it.”

Setting aside the issue of the “cycle of retribution” having already been broken when al-Megrahi was not only not executed but provided with comfortable prison accomodation we well as visitation rights from his family, one can almost see Salmond’s star-struck eyes in having a personal audience from *the* Arun Gandhi.

Gandhi the Younger had said of a belief that justice was first and foremost to be delivered to the victims of crimes:

The consequence of that is that you carry that burden all your life, with all the pride, anger and prejudice that comes with it, and you can end up destroying you own life in the process.

Having eschewed the life of religious aesthetics as followed by his grandfather in favour of lecture circuits and comfortable Western-style affluence, one would have thought Gandhi the Younger was not an unimpeachable authority on the dangers of pride.

He is, however, highly accomplished at offering forgiveness and sympathy on behalf of others. In January 2008 he had dismissed [the] Jews as being the biggest players in a world cycle of violence:

Jewish identity in the past has been locked into the holocaust experience — a German burden that the Jews have not been able to shed. It is a very good example of a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends. The holocaust was the result of the warped mind of an individual who was able to influence his followers into doing something dreadful. But, it seems to me the Jews today not only want the Germans to feel guilty but the whole world must regret what happened to the Jews. The world did feel sorry for the episode but when an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on the regret turns into anger.

Although unable to comprehend why anyone would have thought his article to be couched in antisemitic imagery in which Jews were going to destroy the human race – he is the grandson of the Mahatma, who could argue? – he quickly resigned from the Gandhi Institute of Non-Violence (and sacrificing others in the name of peace).

Pride remained in his way, and acceptance of his own involvement in his fall was hard to come by. In April 2008, it was reported on rense.com, which also hosts Holocaust Denial material, that Gandhi the Younger had been interviewed by the site owner, Jeff Rense. I will not link to this, only provide a split URL:

http://www.rense.c
om/general81/gandhi.htm

No doubt Salmond was referring to some other judgement when he quoted Gandhi the Younger. Maybe he was suggesting that Macaskill was a randy old goat who likes to lie with nubile teenage girls to test his sexual resolve.

Orange Order Too Sectarian for the SNP

19/10/2009

The Grand Orange Lodge in Scotland has as many as 50,000 members and its roots in the social and religious conservativism of Ulster Presbyterianism.

The Times reports the Grand Master, Ian Wilson as announcing that his organization would look to actively support pro-Union political parties in Scotland:

Mr Wilson, who has been attempting to reposition the Orange Order as a moderate force in public life, said in a newspaper interview: “There is no question in my mind that the biggest problem facing Scotland at the moment is the growth in Scottish nationalism.

“And the Order – as one of Scotland’s biggest unionist organisations – has got to get real about it. The reality is that the only party you can do that through in Scotland is the Labour Party.”

This would make a change because, as with various Unionist parties in Northern Ireland, the GOLiS traditionally has been right-of-centre and, if anything, alligned to the Conservative party. SNP sources appear to be aware of the odd bedfellows this may make:

SNP sources responded to Mr Wilson’s suggestion by claiming that it wasn’t so much damaging for them as embarrassing for Labour.

Meanwhile, the row about the state-funding of the Scottish-Islamic Foundation, dominated by SNP employees/activists and several members of the Saeed family – Osama is SNP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Westminster seat of Glasgow Central, and former regional organizer of the Muslim Association of Britain – rumbles on.

UPDATE – as James points out in the annotations, the Orange Order may have its roots in the religious conflicts which cleaved Ireland, it was not Presbyterianism.

Politically Correct to Call Me a Bovine Disbeliever

18/10/2009

The senior political editor of the New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan writes in support of political correctness:

I joined the Times’s David Aaronovitch and English PEN’s Robert Sharp in proposing the rather provocative motion and facing down the trio of Ann Widdecombe, Alex Deane and Will Burroughs (son of Lynette). Our basic argument was that the opponents of political correctness are opposed to progress; they yearn for a Britain of the 1970s or 1980s where offensive words such as “Paki”, “nigger”, “poof” and “spastic” were part of our mainstream discourse, with peak-time television programmes featuring blacked-up actors on The Black and White Minstrel Show and the racist rantings of Alf Garnett, on Till Death Do Us Part.

I think it is debatable that Alf Garnett ever was portrayed as a sympathetic character and a role model, just as in Love Thy Neighbour it was Rudolph Walker who often trumped over the ineptly devious Jack Smethurst.   What I have seen of The Black and White Minstrel Show suggests it was not intentionally dismissive, but rather a good few decades out of date even then (as Australian variety programme, Hey Hey It’s Saturday did not fully realize).

But, times change.  I feel now highly uncomfortable when I hear the abusive epiphets which Hasan allows himself to use.  I am not that long in the tooth, but I remember, as a kid, making jokes about a colloquial term for packed-lunchs, as well as coffee-beans. Just this week, however, I told, in no uncertain terms, my mother not to truncate “Pakistani”, even though I knew she meant it simply as “someone of recent South East Asian ancestry”.

As an ethnic teuchter, I can say this word, but anyone else using it in the north of Scotland is running the risk of doing the equivalent of whistling Yankee Doodle Dandee at a crowded bar in Atlanta. Or mentioning billy goats to (ethnic) trolls. Seriously.

Hasan had previously written:

Tom’s post on Jan Moir comes hot on the heels of the controversial decision to allow the right-wing Dutch MEP and self-professed Islamophobe Geert Wilders to enter Britain and — ahem — the Cambridge Union debate last night. The topic of discussion was: “This house believes that political correctness is sane and necessary.”

It would appear that Moir’s unpleasant article has resulted in a complaint to the Police. As for Wilders, I object to his efforts to essentialize Muslims, as well as his belief that the Belgian fascist party, Vlaams Belang could be a suitable political partner.  Yet, who decreed it “controversial” that Wilders and his hair should speak in the UK? As I discussed before, an apparently Muslim barrister did not see any conflict of interest in defending Wilders’ right to do so.

“Political correctness” did not originally indicate a sense of common understanding, but an attempt at state-endorsed censorship such as through Arnold Bennett’s work at the British Ministry of Information during the Great War; or, much more seriously, the Chinese Communist Party during the Cultural Revolution. 

Even if it did indicate this common understanding, I suspect that using a highly derogatory term to describe members of another religious confessional would violate its terms. And I ain’t meaning heathen.

“The kaffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Quran; they are described in the Quran as, quote, “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as; not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no intelligence” – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Quran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.”

Oh dear.

Lost Boys

18/10/2009

LostBoysPeterWendy

Curled-up in front of the fire one night, reading Taleban by Ahmed Rashid, I was struck by one statement which said that the Talibs has rose out of refugee camps during the Afghan civil war. Young boys, who were often separated from their mothers and sisters and other female relatives, were easy picking for the austere misogynism of Mullahs Omar and Akhund.

There followed state-sanction mistreatment of women against women which went beyond much already experienced in a socially-conservative, highly rural region; and had been documented many years before it became fashionable to portray women in chadors as “female ninja warriors”.

My memory of this was jogged by a report in The Daily Telegraph of a US-run Provisional Reconstruction Team, based at Gardez, Afghanistan.  Just eight female military personnel on site include Staff Sergeant Quitez Garcia who says:

The women – “we band of sisters”, according to Garcia – are firm believers in empowering Afghan women because of the influence they have on their sons.

HAT TIP – Akinoluna.

Pete Wishart Bored During Roll-Call of the Dead

16/10/2009

michael lockett

As I have discussed before, the immediacy of that human interaction replacement service, Twitter, can lead to impolitic remarks being emblazoned across the Internet. All the more reason to be especially careful about what one says, especially when one is a sitting MP.

SNP member for Perth and Perthshire North, Pete Wishart – who speaks Gaelic, so is more Scottish than Mike Russell – has been forgiven by his party, speaking on behalf of Scotland, for burbling away during the first Prime Minister’s Questions of 2009/10.

Fully-grown adults had been required to sit still for over two minutes as Gordon Brown read-out the names of those 37 servicemen who had been killed in Afghanistan over the summer recess. Amongst the dead was Acting Sergeant Michael Lockett (2nd Batallion, The Mercian Regiment). From Monifieth in Angus, Lockett was the first holder of the Military Cross to die in combat since the Second World War, and his funeral was taking place that day.

As activity returned to the chamber, Wishart rushed to his Echofon to tweet that:

No mention of the E word in PMQ’s.
4:35 AM Oct 14th from Echofon

Broon’s Alcy Ada’s back. Either an international terrorist organisation or a female Glaswegian drunk
4:23 AM Oct 14th from Echofon

Thought it would have been a more interesting PMQs first day back. Yawn..!
4:18 AM Oct 14th from Echofon

Disregarding the time-stamps, Wishart can be seen to have been listening closely enough to mock Brown’s enunciation, but maybe not thinking closely enough to think he should have waited a bit before tweeting.

Further to his gripe about the “E word”:

Everybodys to get a letter. This guy Legg seems like a real attention seeker and is stringing his moment of glory out as long as possible
10:32 AM Oct 12th from Echofon

Given the indecent complaining by individuals on salaries of at least £64,000 plus expenses, to see Wishart proceed to accuse openly a professional civil servant of glory-seeking jars even more. Especially as Wishart fails to reveal on Twitter that he has been asked to repay £1,600 for duplicate claims.

Stunning immaturity, as others have said.