Friday, July 28, 2006

Today is a good day for Alan's everywhere



President Alan Garcia of Peru (sworn in today).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I Have Returned

I had a pretty good week; did a decent amount of both walking and thinking. Did me good.
Ah well.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Away

I'll be away for a week

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dodgy but Legal?

The reports of what went on in the (private) meeting between the police and M.P's are quite interesting; three things in particular.

1. The police don't seem at all certain whether or not there will be prosecutions, or even if the law (which is "somewhat" archaic) was actually broken.

2. More Tories have been questioned than any other group.

3. I think I'll just quote Tony Wright here: "And finally, the police said whatever the outcome of this investigation they'd be very happy to share the lessons of it with us and to do that in public evidence session".

===

The selling of peerages (or more accurately; giving peerages in the understanding that a donation will be made, or giving a donation in the understanding that a peerage will be granted) has been going on for longer than anyone reading this blog has been alive, and is something that all mainstream political parties have been involved in. No one who supports a mainstream political party has any right to go off on a gloating high-horse about any of this (and those that support fringe parties should watch it as well. After all the SNP take rather a lot of money from a wife beating racist who lives in a tax haven. Not mentioning any names of course).

By most standards it's not really corruption (sure, it's shady/dodgy/sleazy etc, but compared with what goes on in the U.S, in France, in Germany, even in Ireland (let's not mention Italy here), it's pretty minor. Petty even) except, perhaps, in a moral sense, but this doesn't mean that it isn't, and has always been, a problem and that it is probably time to clean the system up. And the only way that this can be done is to put strict limits on the amount of money the Parties can spend (and not just at election time) and go for a root-and-branch reform of the House of Lords.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

...pending further enquiries...

...Levy is out on bail now.

Not that I really care; while I dislike the man and what he stands for (ie; the increased power of individual donations from rich people in politics), the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act is a bit of a joke.

Monday, July 10, 2006

RIP Alan Senitt

Jewish Campaigner knifed to death in U.S

Not a lot to say; dreadful news. RIP.

Friday, July 07, 2006

One Year Later

I think you all know what happend a year ago and I think you all know what I think of it (ie; the same as all other sane people). So this isn't a post about what happend a year ago, but rather a post about things that happend because of it. And why some of these things have both affected me personally and made me very angry.

The first thing to note is that this does not really involve the majority of the population; something that is to their eternal credit and is another reason why I'm glad that I live in this country. Most people's reactions to the terrorist atrocities of last year was about as close to being faultless as it is possible for a great number of people to be.

I Blame...

The reaction of a wide range of people of a somewhat radical-left-libral point of view, was to ignore the attacks themselves, and move on as quickly as possible to blaming people other than the terrorists; I suppose you could call this the "Blair's Bombs" approach. And it is as intellectually disgraceful and childish as it/was is entirely predictable.
I would actually go so far as to call it cowardly.
Related to this viewpoint were the attempts to focus more attention on the unfortunate killing of a Brazillian electrician than all those killed by the terrorists, and so on and so forth. This viewpoint is as dull as it is predictable, and is generally much less disturbing (largely for those reasons) than the reactions of the other minority...

Islamophobia

The rise and rise of genuine Islamophobia in the West is not something I would especially like to write too much about at the moment, but the specific growth of it amongst the educated classes following the 7/7 attacks needs addressing, although as it has (quite absurdly; I'm not a Muslim) personally affected me, I won't try to write much on it either, for fear of this post turning into a very ugly rant.

Put bluntly, I had expected racist idiots to attack Mosques. I had expected the BNP to exploit the attacks for all they were worth.
What I did not expect was the growth of a bigotry which increasingly reminds me of genuine anti-semitism, amoungst so many people who should know better, and should know their history.

For the attitudes towards Muslims that have become almost mainstream within the middle classes, have more disturbing parallels with the sort of casual anti-semitism that was equally common amoung the same class of people (hah yes; perhaps I should have seen it coming...) in the early part of the 20th century. It hasn't reached the ugly pitch it has in many other European countries (notably the Netherlands) and, happily, it's not caught on amoung the bulk of the population, but it still exists. And it is still a problem.
At the core of these ugly views is the idea of a sort of "enemy within"; compare much of what was written (often by self-styled "liberals") in the months after the attacks (sorry; delete the bit about "months after the attacks". Have a look at how a certain newspaper reported a certain poll recently) with what was written during the early part of the past century about Jewish immigrants, especially in the press.

I have.

Which brings me to a final point; the terrorists of last year were not in any way typical of the wider Islamic community. The three Pakistanis were all Punjabis, generally from middle class backgrounds and well educated, and the fourth bomber was a black convert.
The roots of the day-to-day problems faced by the majority of British Muslims are economic and were sowed decades ago (especially as far as residential segregation goes).
This not the case with the tiny minority of Muslims that are extremists.

As a society we have to try to solve both problems, while fighting off the rising tide of genuine Islamophobia.
Or to put it another way; to bring greater equality to our society, while fighting against the forces of bigotry and extremism that stand in the way. Not a bad goal for a Socialist to advocate.

And as the reaction of the vast majority of people (both Muslims and the rest of us) to 7/7 showed, this is certainly possible.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Frankwell is still Frankwell

It's not often that my home town get's into the news, and when it does it's not usually because of a brutal double murder in a brothel.

While it's obviously a terrible crime, I couldn't help finding some of the reaction to it published in the local rag to be a little odd; something that a lot of people seem to have been saying (more or less), is that "this isn't the sort of thing you'd expect to see in Frankwell".

This struck me as a very strange thing to say in light of Frankwell's history; the district used to be a river port (largely one dependent on the wool trade) and was a rough area, and then some. Actually it was often more than merely rough; the traditional housing pattern of Franwell is one of tenements grouped around courtyards, and these quickly developed into some genuinely appalling slums. The Little Borough was like this for generation after generation.

Some places can never really be changed; no matter how much they may have superficially changed, no matter how much they gentrify, underneath they remain as they have always been, and they still have a certain strange, sinister feel to them.

Frankwell is one of these places.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Now what I meant to say was...

Instead of "F*** off and never come back" I actually intended to say... er... um... well... anyway... "clearly I am less than happy about the outcome of this match and feel that, in some small way, a rather grey (but very randy) Swede and some random troll from Merseyside, were largely to blame for this tragic state of affairs". Or words to that effect.

On a more serious level, I have found a genuine positive from this mess; Eriksson's reign of terror is over.

Back to politics now I think... and on that basis, I would like France to win so as to make Le Pen cry.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A message to Messrs. Eriksson and Rooney

F*** off and never come back