Tag Archives: Andrew Gilligan

Let’s Talk About: Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets Town Hall was built while the Lib Dems were in power.

This is a new series in which I will talk about a topic that takes my fancy. Yesterday, Eric Pickles, the Community Secretary and pie-eater extraordinaire, sent a government hit squad into Tower Hamlets. This is unprecedented and given the level corruption in other councils (some of them Tory-run), this latest government move is suspicious and smacks of the centralizing tendencies of the current Tory-led government. It also reeks of racism and class disgust. Read on.

The Tories and their knuckledragging chums in The Telegraph have been running a vendetta against Tower Hamlets Council and, in particular, its mayor, Lutfur Rahman for the last four years. What upsets the Tories and their pals is that Tower Hamlets Council reflects the ethnic composition of the borough. But it’s the fact that a Bangladeshi is the twice-elected mayor of the borough is what upsets them even more.  This excellent article by Chris Nineham, in the Socialist Review reminds us what Tower Hamlets used to be like:

From the moment of taking office the Liberals not only discriminated against the local Bengali population, but actively scapegoated them in a series of high profile publicity stunts. In 1987 they made national news by claiming that 52 Bangladeshi families living in bed and breakfast accommodation had made themselves intentionally homeless, simply by coming to Britain. They were therefore not entitled to benefit. This was too much even for the Tories, and the council was eventually beaten in the courts, but the damage had been done. The vile message had already gone out, ‘Immigrants are scroungers, they are taking our homes’.

That message was reinforced a year or so later when Tower Hamlets mayor Jeremy Shaw travelled to Bangladesh to tell the government there that immigrants were no longer welcome because the borough was full up. Nothing, of course, could have been further from the truth. Apart from the 900 empty yuppie flats on the Isle of Dogs, the council was sitting on 3000 empty properties, rotting from neglect. But the truth did not matter, the trip was a stunt for home consumption, and the local paper quoted Shaw’s claim in a banner headline.

When Derek Beackon won the Isle of Dogs by-election in 1993 for the BNP, there was shock and dismay. Beackon was elected towards the end of the Lib Dems’ eight year spell of running Tower Hamlets, and on the back of their blatantly racist “Sons and Daughters” housing scheme. After Beackon’s election there was a fear that the BNP would take more seats in the 1994 local government elections. Paul Anderson writing for The New Statesman said:

It is without a doubt the Lib Dems who have most explaining to do when it comes to last September’s debacle. As their national party’s inquiry into Tower Hamlets, chaired by Lord Lester, QC, made clear just before Christmas, their propaganda in the borough, particularly in the Isle of Dogs, has systematically pandered to racism, especially on housing.

What then styled itself the Liberal Focus Team took control of the council from Labour in 1986 after more than a decade of “community politics” characterised by populist anti-Labour rhetoric and assiduous wooing of tenants’ associations – a major force in a borough in which three-quarters of the population lives in council housing even after years of right-to-buy. Despite having a tiny majority, the Liberals implemented their decentralisation and council house-sales policies with missionary zeal. From the start, they courted controversy over race with their tough line on the council’s legal obligation to house the homeless (mostly Bangladeshi) and their “sons and daughters scheme”, giving priority in housing allocation to the offspring of people born in the borough, most of whom were white.

In 1994, I was one of a large group of comedians (along with with Lee Hurst, formerly of Red Action) who doorstepped and leafleted the Isle of Dogs in an effort to get the residents to turn their backs on Beackon and the BNP. You probably wouldn’t get a group of comedians doing that now, but in those days there was still a sizeable contingent of politically active comedians on the circuit. In any case, Beackon lost his seat and the BNP dogs went home with their tails between their legs.

What strikes me as odd is that when Lib Dem controlled Tower Hamlets engaged in blatant corruption, not a single Tory said anything. No hit squads were mobilized to assume control of the council’s operations and no one even suggested that the council be taken into special measures. As for the press, they were strangely quiet.  These days, the likes of Ted Jeory and his partner-in-crime, Andrew Gilligan make a big deal out of the sizeable Bangladeshi population. They would, of course, deny that there’s a racial dimension to their interest in the borough. Gilligan, for example, often prefaces the name of Lutfur Rahman with the phrase “extremist-linked” or similar. It doesn’t take a Barthesian scholar in semiotics to work out what he’s trying to say. It’s pretty bloody obvious. Indeed, anyone who takes issue with Kennite’s sensationalist drivel is accused of supporting “terror”. Charming. The trick that Jeory uses to counter any Bangladeshi claims of racism is to accuse them of “cheapening the word”. It’s not as though Jeory ever faces racism on a daily basis though, is it?

Jeory and Gilligan have both accused Rahman of vote-rigging and electoral fraud for years. Even after investigations have concluded there were no irregularities, they persisted with this accusation. After this year’s local elections, there were similar accusations and two people were arrested. Curiously, there are no updates on this story and it may well be the case that the accusations were baseless. We shall see.

This whole episode began when Rahman was originally selected then deselected by Tower Hamlets Labour Party as their mayoral candidate. The whole selection issue was a messy business that was covered extensively by The Guardian’s Dave Hill. On 21 September 2010, Hill wrote:

There is a view in local Labour circles, one shared even by some strong opponents of Rahman, that had everyone seeking the nomination been allowed to enter the contest from the start – which is what eventually occurred – the quality of debate would have been both higher and more honest and the battle less divisive. More than one unsuccessful candidate takes the view that the publicity generated around Rahman helped him win by persuading some party members to rally round a man they considered to be a victim of smear campaigns and dsicrimination

The party then expelled Rahman from Labour for standing as an independent mayoral candidate against the wishes of the party, which preferred to impose candidates on the electorate rather than allow local parties to decide on their own candidates.  As an independent, Rahman had the support of RESPECT and the former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, who attempted without success to have Rahman readmitted into the party.  Since then, there has been a steady drip feed of anti-Rahman stories from Gilligoon and Jeory.

I think we all need to remember that the PWC report did not find any evidence of fraud. That will piss off Gilligoon and Jeory, who were hoping for a scalp. From The Guardian Live Politics blog

The council, which is run by the independent mayor, Lutfur Rahman, said PWC did not find any evidence of fraud. In a statement to the Commons, Pickles said he did not know whether or not the PWC report amounted to evidence of fraud, but that he was sending it to the police anyway. He said the report exposed cronyism “risking the corrupt spending of public funds”. His decision to intervene was backed by Labour, and Tower Hamlets was strongly criticised by MPs from all sides.

My bold. As for “cronyism”, there was plenty of that in Hammersmith and Fulham when the Tories were running the council. Yet, Gilligan said nothing and nor did Pickles, who described Hammersmith and Fulham as his “favourite council”. That says an awful lot about The Sontaran’s judgement and Gilligan’s character.

 

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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Caliph? Not Me.

Today, the mainstream news media is beside itself with the revelation that ISIS (a western media construction) has declared a caliphate in the territory they hold in Iraq. So what?

For ages I’ve read right-wing commentaries that concern themselves with the possible declaration of a caliphate. In all cases, the commentaries have been melodramatic to the point of hysteria. The ever-paranoid Daniel Pipes claims it’s “what the terrorists want”. Really? How does he know that? He doesn’t. Yet, Andrew Gilligan regards Pipes as some kind of authority. The fool.

The Roman Catholic church has a pope and an entire city-state.

The Greek and Eastern Orthodox churches have their patriarchs. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch is still called “The Patriarch of Constantinople”, even though the name of the city was changed to Istanbul many years ago.

So what’s the big deal?

The neo-cons and their friends would have us all believe that the declaration of a caliphate is something non-Muslims should fear. Yet, the Ottoman Empire declared itself a caliphate with the Ottoman Sultan as its caliph. The Ottomans were Sunni Muslims, which meant that Shia Muslims rejected the caliphate. Many countries with large Muslim populations, like Malaysia and Indonesia, didn’t recognise the Ottoman Empire’s claim. Interestingly, the West never got into a lather about the Ottoman Caliphate, it was accepted without question or anxiety. Britain and France actually fought on behalf of the fatally weakened Ottoman Empire during the Crimean War to prevent the Russian Empire from seizing territories that had flaked off the larger empire. In fact Britain took advantage of the Ottoman Empire’s weakness and cut deals with the Emir of Kuwait in the 1890s.

So who’s afraid of the big bad caliph? Not me.

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 51)

Kennite’s been a little quiet of late. He’s been busy moonlighting for Bozza as his unofficial sidekick Cycling Commissioner. But a couple of weeks ago, there was a Panorama expose (sure) of Tower Hamlets Council, which accused its mayor, Lutfur Rahman of doling out council largesse to groups that apparently supported him. When I saw the trailer, I remember thinking, “this looks a lot like Gilligan’s handiwork”. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised when a series of blogs about Rahman, which repeats Kennite’s stock phrase, “extremist-linked”, recently appeared on Telegraph blogs.

Here’s his blog from 4 April, in which he writes:

In its letter appointing the inspectors, the Department for Communities and Local Government asked them to pay particular attention to, among other things, “the authority’s payment of grants,” a subject we covered on the blog yesterday, and the “transfer of property to third parties.” That’s what today’s blog is about.

Exhibit A is the Old Poplar Town Hall, on the corner of Poplar High Street and Woodstock Terrace. It was the council HQ from 1870 to 1938, until the then Borough of Poplar moved to another town hall (now also abandoned) in Bow Road.

The Poplar High Street building has great historical significance. It was here, in 1921, that radical Labour councillors, led by George Lansbury, began a rebellion against “unfair” rates that resulted in them being sent to prison, and triggered reform of a system that discriminated against poor areas such as Poplar.

Now, however, the Old Poplar Town Hall is part of a rather more worrying redistribution of wealth being practiced by Lutfur Rahman to his associates and friends, such as the Islamic extremist group, the IFE,based at the hardline East London Mosque.

Here he flourishes the heritage card

Remember: the town hall is a large and attractive Victorian building a stone’s throw from Canary Wharf and a few minutes’ walk from a future Crossrail station. It is internally tired but otherwise perfectly usable, and was indeed used as offices by the council. It has 9,803 square feet of space. In 2011, Old Poplar Town Hall was sold by the council to new owners who intend to turn it into a luxury hotel with 25 bedrooms, a restaurant, a bar and two conference suites.

The price? £875,000.

Meanwhile in neighbouring Newham, the council  plans to move out of the 1000 Building in Docklands that it spent millions on and rent it out to Chinese developers. Newham Council has been accused by local residents of wasting money. There’s no mention of this. Why? Because the leader of the council isn’t Bangladeshi.

 In the 3 April blog titled “Lutfur Rahman’s favoritism: the evidence”, Gilligan writes:

Over the next few weeks, this blog will be setting out in detail the truth about Lutfur Rahman, the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, and the full evidence against him. I should stress that, over the last four years, all our material about Lutfur and his extremist allies has survived literally hundreds of complaints to Ofcom and the Press Complaints Commission.

The truth? Really? Is that like The Sun’s version of the truth when it reported in 1989 that Liverpool supporters had urinated on their dying fellow supporters and picked their pockets? Kennite also claims that he has the protection of Ofcom and the Press Complaints Commission – the latter of which is run by, guess who? The press.

Naturally, Kennite can’t resist having a swipe at The Guardian’s Dave Hill.

Rahman’s supporters make two main defences: first, that in the words of the Guardian’s Dave Hill, “if Rahman has sinned, how many others are doing so all day, every day in ways that, in the end, differ if at all only in the means and detail?”

Now how’s that for bitchiness? Anticipating the inevitable accusations of racism, he launches a pre-emptive strike on Rahman.

The second defence, inevitably, is to claim that all scrutiny of Rahman is racist – again, without any factual basis. Instead, as I show below, it is Rahman who is practising racial and religious favouritism and it is his ethnicity that has saved him from scrutiny.

The thing is, Rahman has a point: the main reason for Kennite’s pursuit of Rahman is precisely because he isn’t white and happens to be Muslim. Even when the Lib Dems were badly running the council, there wasn’t a peep from Gilligoon or, indeed, any mention of it in any of his blogs for the Telegraph. Admittedly, it was over 20 years ago.  So I suppose he can be forgiven. However, like Kennite, the Lib Dems often played the race card.

Headed ‘Focus’, the new leaflet was produced last month by party activists in the Labour-controlled Wapping ward. It describes the plight of an un-named 74-year-old woman living alone on the fifth floor of a block on possibly the ‘most dangerous estate’ in the area.

The woman, described as ‘Mrs X’, was decorated during the war. She is registered disabled and the lift in her block rarely works. ‘Despite repeated pleas for help,’ the local Labour-controlled ward has not given her a new lock on her front door – ‘it can be pushed open with one hand,’ it says. Her neighbours, also pensioners – one of them, the pamphlet claims, aged 90 – are also living in fear. They have asked for spyholes and latches on their doors but months later the work has yet to be done.

The article is illustrated with a drawing of an obviously black man, snarling with clenched fists. The piece ends with a plea: ‘Is this any way to treat those who endured the Blitz, and risked their lives for our country? Is this the welcome fit for heroes?’

Remember, this was around the time that Tower Hamlets council had acquired a BNP councillor by the name of Derek Beackon. Socialist Review carried a story about Lib Dem racism back in the 1980s that revealed endemic corruption in the borough. The article’s author, Chris Nineham, writes:

Revelations of racism among Liberal Democrats on Tower Hamlets council have made a mockery of Paddy Ashdown’s attempt to promote the Liberal Democrats as a viable and respectable third force in British politics. The projected image of the clean party of politics has been tarnished.

The local Liberal Democrat controlled council stands accused of creating an atmosphere in which Nazi ideas can grow. But recent reports have only told a small part of the story. The full poisonous record of the Liberals in office in Tower Hamlets is a crucial lesson to anyone who still believes tactical voting or LibLab alliances offer a way forward.

It is not just a case of a few racist leaflets or a few mavericks in the local party. Since the Liberals took office in 1986 there have been constant allegations of racism and corruption in Tower Hamlets.

This racism is not casual or accidental but blatant and provocative, and is a central plank of their operation in the area both now and in the past.

The liberals began to gain influence in the East End in the early 1980s using a right wing populism to attack the extremely unpopular Labour councils.

A 1981 Liberal leaflet ranted, ‘every year more break-ins, muggings, rapes, violence and acts of vandalism. People are scared to go out at night, and even to open their doors. Something is very wrong indeed’.

From the moment of taking office the Liberals not only discriminated against the local Bengali population, but actively scapegoated them in a series of high profile publicity stunts. In 1987 they made national news by claiming that 52 Bangladeshi families living in bed and breakfast accommodation had made themselves intentionally homeless, simply by coming to Britain. They were therefore not entitled to benefit. This was too much even for the Tories, and the council was eventually beaten in the courts, but the damage had been done. The vile message had already gone out, ‘Immigrants are scroungers, they are taking our homes’.

Looks familiar, doesn’t it?

Back to 3 April.  Kennite provides a litany of the apparent crimes of Rahman’s mayoralty, which reads like the Tory press’s “anti-PC” attacks on the Labour controlled metropolitan county councils of the 1980s. He precedes his list with this factoid.

First, some facts about the ethnic and faith makeup of Tower Hamlets.According to the 2011 census, its largest single ethnic group is white – 45.2 per cent of the population. Bangladeshis make up 32 per cent – down from 33.4 per cent in 2001. Muslims make up 34.5 per cent of Tower Hamlets people – again down, from 36.4 per cent in 2001.

You wouldn’t know this from the makeup of Lutfur Rahman’s ruling cabinet, which is 100 per cent Bangladeshi and Muslim, or from his grants. In 2012, the council changed its policy to ensure that “the decisions for all awards over £1,000 were to be made by the Mayor under his executive authority”.

Yes and the cabinet at Tory-controlled Hammersmith and Fulham is 100% white and 90% male – and that’s in spite of the borough’s large black demographic. I daresay other councils are similar. But what does he mean when he uses the word “white”? White British? White Lithuanian? White Russian?What?

In his blog on 16 April, Gilligoon writes:

The Metropolitan Police confirmed to me tonight that Tower Hamlets CID is investigating alleged fraud at the council involving a grant to an organisation called the Brady Youth Forum. A member of the mayor’s staff is involved in the alleged fraud, I separately understand. The Met said the investigation was at “an early stage”.

“Brady”? Yeah, that sounds like the kind of name an Islamist organization would use. He continues:

I understand that detailed evidence on this specific allegation did form part of the dossier that Panorama’s reporter, John Ware, passed to the DCLG and which was then passed to the Met. The material supplied by Ware includes evidence implicating one of the mayor’s staff in an operation where cheques for public money were sent to what appeared to be a bogus address.

Yeah? Where is this “evidence” then?

But for all Kennite’s crowing, he’s beginning to look a little foolish. The Metropolitan Police have looked into Panorama’s story (because that’s what it is) and have decided there is “no new evidence”. Naturally, Kennite isn’t pleased and in the paragraph below, he may as well be accusing the Met of being “linked to extremists”.

This blog has previously noted the local police’s cosy relationship with Lutfur’s council – but what on earth is the Met playing at here? Serious questions – more serious questions – need to be asked about whether we can ever trust what this force is saying.

All this because the Met wouldn’t dance to his tune.  How low can you go? If you’re Kennite, you can sink much lower – right into the sewer. He whines:

Panorama, too, alleged favouritism in the allocation of council grants and misuse of council resources for electioneering purposes. The fraud allegation didn’t form part of the programme because it wasn’t ready for broadcast in time.

Let’s be in no doubt: Kennite doesn’t like Muslims (he probably doesn’t like blacks and Roma people either) and he likes the idea of a Muslim mayor even less. There are plenty of examples of municipal malfeasance around London, most notably in Hammersmith and Fulham, but Tower Hamlets has become his single biggest obsession.  The only real difference between Hammersmith and Fulham and Tower Hamlets is this: one council is David Cameron’s and Bozza’s favourite local authority and the other isn’t.

 

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 50)

Kennite: leave the EDL alone, they'll just go away.

Kennite: leave the EDL alone, they’ll just go away.

After Charles Moore’s high praise for Kennite’s faultless piece of investigative journalism (sarcasm) and his own muddled analysis of the EDL in yesterday’s Telegraph, we get this from Gilligoon.

Last weekend, Tony Brett, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Oxford and the city’s deputy lord mayor, found what he called a “disgraceful rabble” of people climbing on the city’s main war memorial — squashing, he said, the flowers that mourners had placed there, then trying to remove half of them altogether and “jeering” other visitors as they paid their respects.

“Last weekend”? We’ll come back to that later. So what’s got your goat, Andy?

That day, the memorial was supposed to be the scene of a wreath-laying by the far-Right, racist English Defence League. But none of the people laying flowers and being jeered bore any kind of EDL insignia and none of the wreaths had any kind of card or message from the group.

Oh, really? Why do I get the feeling this article is going to tread the by now familiar path of a classic Kennite smear job?

Neither Mr Brett, nor a local newspaper reporter on the scene, saw any sign of any EDL presence.

Gilligoon loves to keep us in suspense. Finally, he tells us:

All the aggro, Mr Brett said — he called it the “hate” — came from the self-appointed opponents of bigotry, a group called Unite Against Fascism (UAF). UAF’s response was to start an online petition saying that merely by criticising them Mr Brett had proved himself an EDL patsy, “not a fit representative for Oxford’s wonderful and multi-ethnic community”, and must resign immediately.

Yeah, I agree with the protesters. In fact, after doing some digging, I’ve discovered that these quotes came from a two week old story that was carried by The Oxford Mail on June 2. Here’s an excerpt:

Oxford City Councilmember Mr Brett said the protesters “jeered” at people and “floral tributes were squashed and badly damaged”.

There was “no sign” of EDL banners, clothing or “behaviour” he said, adding: “What I saw was a loud and unruly bunch who were showing hate towards what seemed to me to be a peaceful and lawful act of remembrance.”

He said on his blog: “If I do see any hate activity from any group in Oxford I will challenge it rigorously but the only hate I saw today was from the protesters.”

However, the local branch of UAF deny this.

Unite Against Fascism branch treasurer Tracy Walsh said it feared the EDL would use the event as a “smokescreen for their anti-Islamic views”.

Adding she did not see anyone damage the flowers, she said: “We were very mindful of the fact that it was a war memorial.”

Brett, who had signed up to attend an EDL rally on Facebook,  has also faced calls to resign. There’s no mention of this from Gilligoon.

OUAF has created an online petition calling for Mr Brett to stand down. Twitter users have also criticised Mr Brett for attending the event.

Green party councillor for University Parks Sam Coates called for an immediate apology.

Ian McKendrick, spokesman for OUAF, said Mr Brett’s remarks were “divisive and unhelpful”.

He said: “There was no chanting, no trouble, and it was a peaceful protest.”

Of course, that didn’t convince Kennite, who instead tells us:

UAF, 10 years old this year, is one of Britain’s most prominent anti-fascist organisations. It has received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the biggest trade unions, and support from dozens of mainstream politicians. Its vice-chairmen include Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, and Hugh Lanning, the deputy general secretary of the PCS civil service union.

This is Kennite’s way of having a quick dig at the trade unions. Here he says:

Of course, few causes can be more deserving than resistance to the EDL and British National Party. But the uncomfortable truth about UAF is that it contains more than a trace of fascism itself. It specialises, as seen in Oxford, in organising counter-demonstrations to any activity, or anticipated activity, by the far Right.

Hang on, UAF “contains more than a trace of fascism”? He’s repeating the same spiel as the EDL and UKIP here. If he’d been alive in the 1930s, would he have said the same thing about the anti-fascists who chased Mosley’s British Union of Fascists from Cable Street?  What we see in this kind of statement is an attempt to revise history to suit the narrative of the far-right. I would even go as far to say that Gilligan is actually providing a service to the EDL, in spite of his apparent distaste for their activities (in 2010 an EDL member was prosecuted for possessing indecent images of children; the BNP is no better).

Unfortunately, UAF’s counter-demonstrations often seem to cause as much, if not more, trouble than those by the EDL and BNP.

Again, I would refer Kennite to Battle of Cable Street and the events of the 1970s when the National Front were confronted by anti-fascists on Britain’s streets. The overwhelming discourse that’s being advanced by Gilligoon is “the EDL is bad but don’t challenge them. They’re just misunderstood. Ignore them and they’ll go away”. Predictably enough, Kennite proposes no alternatives.  Instead he says:

And there are ineffective ways. The racist Right thrives on two things: publicity and the politics of victimhood. The mob outrage practised by UAF gets the fascists more of both. As with the “anti-Islamophobia” monitoring group Tell Mama, which has lost its government funding after overhyping the nature of anti-Muslim hostility, there is a sense that the racists and their opponents need each other.

For someone who supposedly has a degree in history from Cambridge University, Kennite is remarkably ignorant of this country’s recent past. Cable street, Kennite, Cable Street. He also gets another opportunity to repeat what he said in last week’s article about Tell Mama. Lazy.

He closes with this:

The danger is that by exaggerating it, and by the politics of confrontation, supposedly anti-racist groups fuel the very division, polarisation and tension they are supposed to counter.

Wrong. Fascists must be confronted and challenged wherever they are. Kennite prefers to gives the EDL and others a free pass. He accepts UKIP’s and the EDL’s anti-intellectual view that anti-fascists are ‘fascist’ because they challenge them. Never in my life have I encountered such twisted logic.

I’ll leave you and Kennite with Edmund Burke’s well-worn dictum.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

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Charles Moore: the EDL is misunderstood

Most, if not all Tories, are out of touch; on another planet and only capable of listening to the voices in their heads. This is something they have in common with Blairites, who are really nothing less than Tory entryists who infiltrated the Labour Party. Charles Moore, former editor of The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph and is, more recently, Thatcher’s official biographer sums this up more than most.

At Nowhere Towers we know how some of the Telegraph’s bloggers routinely play to an audience of fascists, racists and sexists.  Kennite is one, Tobes is another. So it comes as no surprise that Charles Moore, who is not the sharpest tool in the box nor the most original hack in the Barclay Brothers stable, rides in on Gilligan’s coat-tails with this article.  The title is hysterical and screams:

Woolwich outrage: we are too weak to face up to the extremism in our midst

A sense of victimhood oozes from every letter and punctuation mark. It also suggests emasculation; the poisoning of our precious fluids. Have a look at the opening paragraph:

It is less than a month since Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich, yet already the incident feels half-forgotten. In terms of the legal process, all is well. Two men have been charged. There will be a trial. No doubt justice will be done. But I have a sense that the horror felt at the crime is slipping away.

Is horror something that we all want to feel every minute, every hour of the day? No. It is evident that Moore’s completely lost touch with the real world. He grudgingly admits that ” justice will be done” but then begins to paint a nightmarish picture of his own mind that even Heironymus Bosch would have envied. For in the next paragraph, he says:

The media, notably the BBC, quickly changed the subject. After a day or two focusing on the crime itself, the reports switched to anxiety about the “Islamophobic backlash”. According to Tell Mamma, an organisation paid large sums by the Government to monitor anti-Muslim acts, “the horrendous events in Woolwich brought it [Islamophobia] to the fore”. Tell Mamma spoke of a “cycle of violence” against Muslims.

Well, it’s true. In the aftermath of Lee Rigby’s murder, the number of attacks against Muslims and anyone who was ‘of Muslim appearance’ actually increased. If Moore doesn’t want to believe that, then perhaps he’d like to have word with the Met? He claims that monitoring groups like Tell Mama are using the tragedy to pursue a political agenda…unlike the EDL or the BNP? Get real, Charlie.

Yet the only serious violence was against a British soldier, who was dead.

Oh really? What about the elderly Pakistani man who was stabbed to death in a racist attack on the streets of Birmingham weeks before?  But it’s the next part of the paragraph that’s really Dagenham (two stops past Barking).

In The Sunday Telegraph, Andrew Gilligan brilliantly exposed the Tell Mamma statistics – most of them referred merely to nasty remarks on the web rather than actual attacks, many were not verified, no reported attack had required medical attention, and so on.

Ah, but Charlie, if I were to threaten to carry out violent acts against your wretched and pitiful body on the Internet, you would be perfectly entitled to refer the matter to the cops as I know you would.

A trap is set here, inviting those of us who reject such statements, to defend the EDL. I do not. While not, in its stated ideology, a racist organisation like the BNP, the EDL has an air of menace. It must feel particularly unpleasant for Muslims when its supporters hit the streets. But the EDL is merely reactive. It does not – officially at least – support violence.

The EDL is what? Yes, here Moore claims that the EDL “doesn’t support violence”. Laughable isn’t it?

It is the instinctive reaction of elements of an indigenous working class which rightly perceives itself marginalised by authority, whereas Muslim groups are subsidised and excused by it. Four days ago, six Muslim men were sentenced at the Old Bailey for a plot to blow up an EDL rally. The news was received quietly, though it was a horrifying enterprise. No one spoke of “white-phobia”. Imagine the hugely greater coverage if the story had been the other way round.

Here Moore panders to the bigots he knows will be attracted to his ill-informed rubbish. It would appear that Moore, like Kennite, has also taken issue with the word “Islamophobia”.  Similarly, Torygraph hacks also have a problem with the word “homophobia”. Tell you what, Charlie, if the word offends you that much, The Cat will use the phrases “anti-Muslim attacks” and “anti-gay attacks” instead. That way you and your chums won’t get your knickers in a twist over semantics. Is it a deal? But there’s still an element of fear to both kinds of bigotry. Deny it all you like.

All journalists experience this disparity. If we attack the EDL for being racist, fascist and pro-violence, we can do so with impunity, although we are not being strictly accurate. If we make similar remarks about Islamist organisations, we will be accused of being racist ourselves. “Human rights” will be thrown at us.

“Human rights”? Yeah, God damn those human rights. That reminds me of a passage from Gil Scott-Heron’s excellent rap poem B-Movie.

Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights…it’s all wrong. Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild. God damn it…first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

We can’t have that. Human rights get in the way of making massive profits… just like it did in the 19th century, which is where Moore, Kennite and Hon. Tobes long to be.

Moore lays it on rather thickly here:

Much more important – from the point of view of the general public – you frequently find that Muslim groups like Tell Mamma get taxpayers’ money (though, in its case, this is now coming to an end). You discover that leading figures of respectable officialdom share conference platforms with dubious groups. You learn that Muslim charities with blatantly political aims and Islamist links have been let off lightly by the Charity Commission. And you notice that many bigwigs in Muslim groups are decorated with public honours. Fiyaz Mughal, for example, who runs Tell Mamma, has an OBE. Obviously it would be half-laughable, half-disgusting, if activists of the EDL were indulged in this way; yet they are, in fact, less extreme than some of those Muslims who are.

Here he uses the ad reductio absurdum argument that it’s “your money” that pays for Tell Mama. Remember, these people want to abolish the Equality and Human Rights Commission for the same spurious reasons. You often hear these people get defensive and scream “I’m not a racist”, then in the next sentence they’ll try to rationalize their bigotry by using plausible-sounding economic language taken from the lexicon of Murray Rothbard or Ron Paul to justify segregation and continued racism.

To show us what a weasel he is, Moore closes with this cloying paragraph in which he invokes the name of Nelson Mandela for effect.

This weekend, Nelson Mandela is gravely ill. When he was a boy, his teacher – whose name was Wellington – replaced his African first name with that of a British hero: he called him Nelson. It stuck. Anti-imperialist though he is, Mandela was educated with a profound respect for the British culture of parliamentary democracy. It became, in many respects, his model for a multiracial South Africa. It arose from good beliefs inculcated early in life. In our own country today, almost the opposite happens. In our state schools, in mosques, on the internet, in university gatherings, many young people are taught to detest the freedom in which they live. Just as surely as good teaching, bad teaching has its power. We refuse even to face it, let alone to stop it.

Yet, when Moore was editor of The Spectator The Dictator, he did not call for sanctions against South Africa. Indeed, like all right-wing journals of the period, The Dictator supported the perpetuation of apartheid. But let’s not forget the embarrassing episode in 2003 when Moore’s Telegraph had alleged that George Galloway had received a substantial sum of money from Saddam Hussein that had been creamed off the Oil for Food programme. Even Tony Blair believed the lies… well, what did you expect? Galloway, a serial litigant, sued the paper successfully for libel and the Telegraph was ordered to pay £150,000 in damages.

As I said  earlier, Moore’s article rides on the coat-tails of Kennite’s article but he also manages to kick one of his favourite hobby horses in the process: the BBC. This is from The Guardian (2 October 2003):

Moore has, in recent weeks, adopted an extreme anti-BBC stance, launching Beebwatch to note down incidents of leftwing bias noted by his readers (and himself) in the corporation’s broadcasts. It began with the Kelly affair and coincides with Black’s loathing of the organisation. Why did the line change, I ask. At the beginning the paper took a very neutral line, then suddenly it became rabidly anti-BBC. “We got it slightly wrong at the beginning. We were right, and we maintain the view, that the Kelly affair reflects very badly on the government. But I think for about a week we missed how all this was going to be used, which is to discredit the whole war, and once we’d twigged that, we hardened the line.”

Kennite, who was sacked from the BBC was soon hired by the Telegraph to write hatchet-jobs. I’m telling you, these people stick together like shit to a blanket.

UPDATE 15/6/13 @ 1546

Title changed.

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 49): a slight return

It seems my suspicions were correct. Apart from being an EDL supporter, Ms Chetrit/Shitrit (it’s a Sephardic name in case you were wondering) is also chummy with Pamela Geller of the infamous Atlas Shrugs website.

Hat tip @NemesisRepublic for these screen shots.

The first bemoans Geller being barred from a synagogue. Notice the UKIP icon in the corner of her profile photo. Interesting? No?

Chetrit2

The second adopts the “if you aren’t with me, you’re with them” line that was much adored by George W Bush.

Chetrit1

I think Kennite owes us all an apology for using the testimony of an EDL supporter as evidence. But I know that won’t happen any time soon. Gilligan has previously used the words of Daniel Pipes to support his ‘arguments’.

Geller publishes Kennite’s article in  full on her website.

She introduces the article by telling us:

I am very proud of Ms Chetrit, a twitter friend, she helped bring these jackals down.

Nowhere Towers will be watching both of them.

Once again we find that:

@MrsShitrit’s tweets are protected.

Only confirmed followers have access to @MrsShitrit’s Tweets and complete profile. Click the “Follow” button to send a follow request.

How long before this one joins the chorus of fakers with the “My account was hacked” cliché?

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 49)

The recent murder of Lee Rigby and the spate of anti-Muslim attacks in the wake of the Woolwich tragedy has brought all manner of racists onto the Internet.  Therefore it was only inevitable that Kennite would join them and chip in with a poorly-researched piece of investigative journalism.

Yesterday, Kennite penned this article for the Telegraph. He opens his poison pen letter by telling us:

A controversial project claiming to measure anti-Muslim attacks will not have its government grant renewed after police and civil servants raised concerns about its methods.

Oh? Why is that?

Oddly enough, Kennite doesn’t think to give us an answer, instead he piles on the schadenfreude.

However, The Sunday Telegraph has now learned that even before Woolwich, the communities minister, the Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, called Mr Mughal to a meeting and said that Tell Mama’s grant would not be renewed.

The organisation has received a total of £375,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) since last year.

Yeah? I’m still none the wiser.

Tell Mama and Mr Mughal did not mention, however, that 57 per cent of the 212 reports referred to activity that took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook, or that a further 16 per cent of the 212 reports had not been verified. Not all the online abuse even originated in Britain.

Is that so? Yet if other (non-Muslim) groups or individuals had been attacked online, that would be okay? I’m thinking here of Lord McAlpine, whose name was traduced on Twitter and who successfully sued for libel. I’m also thinking of those people who threaten others with violence on the Internet. Usually the police are supposed to act in such situations, yet here is Kennite actually laughing off online threats of violence. Let’s read on:

“Mr Mughal was giving data on attacks to DCLG which wasn’t stacking up when it was cross-referenced with other reports by Acpo [the Association of Chief Police Officers],” said one source closely involved in counter-extremism.

“He was questioned by DCLG civil servants and lost his temper. He was subsequently called in by Don Foster and told that he would receive no more money.”

I think I’d lose my temper too.

Further down the article, we find this:

In mid-May, before Woolwich, one Jewish activist, Ambrosine Chetrit, received a threatening letter from solicitors after she tweeted that “Tell Mama are sitting on Twitter on the EDL hashtag, threatening anyone and everyone whose comments they do not like about Islam”.

“Ambrosine Chetrit”? Anyone would think she was just an innocent Jewish activist. It turns out that she’s actually a supporter of the English Defence League (EDL). For a supposedly shit-hot investigative journalist, Kennite ignores one of the golden rules of his trade: check your facts.

Here’s a link

Chetrit tweet

Now before Kennite starts mouthing off about this woman being Jewish, I think we should remember that some Italian Jews supported Mussolini’s fascists. Indeed, the Zionist Revisionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky openly admired Mussolini. But what kind of “activist” is Chetrit/Shitrit? It isn’t clear. Her Twitter profile tells us that she’s a,

Jewish mum, Israeli daughter, zionist, anipal, Likud violinist, voice over, music biz (1986-2004) , making Aliyah 2013

A “Likud” violinist? What’s that? Are they any different to any other violinist or do they just play songs that are pleasing only to a Likudnik’s ears?  Her tweets have, erm, been “protected” too. What’s she got to hide, I wonder?

Kennite also cites Atma Singh, whom he describes as “a former race adviser to the then Labour mayor of London, Ken Livingstone”. That’s the same Ken Livingstone, whom Gilligan spent the better part of 8 years smearing by the way. Apparently Mr Singh and Ms Chetrit/Shitrit had received letters from Tell Mama that threatened them with legal action. So who sent these letters?

The letters were written by Farooq Bajwa, a solicitor who has acted for The letters were written by Farooq Bajwa, a solicitor who has acted for a number of Islamists and Islamist sympathisers, including the Palestinian radical leader Raed Salah and the Respect MP George Galloway., including the Palestinian radical leader Raed Salah and the Respect MP George Galloway.

Notice how Kennite casually tells us that Farooq Bajwa is a “solicitor” who has worked for ” a number of Islamists and Islamist sympathisers”. Remember, in Gilligan’s mind, anyone who complains about attacks against Muslims is an “Islamist sympathiser”.

In the last couple of weeks,  attacks against Muslims have escalated. Last week, a Somali cultural centre in Muswell Hill was set ablaze. The attackers left the letters “EDL” daubed on the wall. An Islamic boarding school was attacked in Chislehurst a couple of days ago. The Metropolitan Police have said that anti-Muslim attacks have increased from one a day to eight a day and have stepped up patrols around Islamic sites. Yet all Kennite can do is make fun and play to his gallery of bigots and halfwits. By laughing such things off, he gives succour to EDL and BNP thugs and encourages further attacks. Let’s face it, the EDL and the BNP are indiscriminate and will attack anyone who they think looks like a Muslim. In other words, anyone with brown or black skin will become a target. Are you happy with that, Kennite?

To be honest, Gillie’s story is an obfuscatory mess. On the one hand, he crows with delight about Tell Mama being denied funding and, on the other, he cites an EDL sympathiser.

For a man who claims to “hate” racism, Kennite tends to use phrases like “the white establishment”. If that isn’t an allusion to deeply held prejudices, then I’m Winston Churchill, who really was a racist.

UPDATE: 10/6/13 @ 1503

Shitrit’s Tweets are no longer protected but she has removed the offending remarks. Typical.

She’s posted these instead

Ambrosine שטרית@MrsShitrit 53m

I am not a 1.a nazi 2. edl 3.BNP 4 zionnazi 5.jewnazi 6.a thief 7.s zioncriminial – >I am a Jew who advocates for Israel sick of stalkers.

And

Ambrosine שטרית@MrsShitrit 50m

I am also a Jewish mother who advocates for Israel on twitter. When I receive harrassment, and anti-Semitic tweets that is a crime.

And

Ambrosine שטרית@MrsShitrit 46m

I forgot to say I am a proud zionist. << OR IS THAT A CRIME NOW?

Hysterical. It looks like someone’s rattled her cage. I wonder who? I also wonder if she’s familiar with Pamela Geller? Call me suspicious, but I don’t think this woman is Jewish either.

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