Tag Archives: BNP

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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Filed under London, Media, Racism, Tory press, Tower Hamlets, Yellow journalism

The Immigration ‘Debate’

Do something now or we'll end up with someone like this as Prime Minister

We need to do something now or we’ll end up with someone like Geert Wilders as Prime Minister

Every time I hear the words, “Let’s have a debate on immigration”, I wonder if that’s what the speaker actually wants. What I’ve found, more often than not, is a desire on the part of the speaker or speakers to control the discourse on immigration. All too often, there is an ugly discourse lying behind the façade of this apparent ‘need’ to want to ‘debate’ the subject of immigration.

What’s worse are the numbers of self-described ‘left-liberals’ who are prepared to countenance some pretty appalling views for the sake of ‘free speech’. These people are willing to listen and even respond – albeit feebly – to the discourses offered by the anti-immigrationists, whose speech has not changed one iota since the 1970s. Yet, the left-liberals seem to sincerely believe they can have a rational and sensible dialogue with people whose views on minorities, women and the disabled are frankly obscene. To adapt Fanon: if they’re talking about immigrants (or Muslims), then they’re also talking about you. While our ‘left-liberal’ friends are politely debating Nazis and other hardcore right-wingers, attacks against minority groups including the disabled are on the rise in Britain.

And now we hear the old hate speech again, the talk of ‘floods’, ‘invasions’ and being ‘swamped’ are  joined by  familiar words associated with hygiene like ‘contamination’. Other emotive  phrases like ‘mass immigration’ are deployed to appeal to people’s emotions. More recently, I’ve seen words like ‘genocide’ and ‘treason’ being used on public internet fora. Take this example of a comment left on Douglas Carswell’s nit-picking diatribe against the recent UCL study into immigration on Telegraph blogs:

JohannKierk

“Genocide”. Yes, this is the kind of language used by those who want a ‘debate’ on immigration.  The definintion of the word ‘genocide’ is:

noun

[mass noun]

  • the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group:

Hysteria, hyperbole, histrionics, paranoia and playing the victim are all part of the right’s strategy to control the discourse on immigration and the liberals fall for it every time.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard or read, ‘Our voices aren’t being heard’. Utter rubbish. Nigel Farage has appeared on Question Time 25 times since 2009 and the views that are expressed by these vile simpletons grace the comments threads of the Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Daily Express every day of the week.  Articles with sensationalistic titles, such as the one cited by our racist friend here, help to reproduce the poisonous discourse of nationalism and its fixation on a pure, but nonetheless, constructed ‘British’ identity.

Even the supposedly ‘left-wing’ Labour Party has taken the bait and pandering to the Tory-supporting press, UKIP and the notional but bloodthirsty man-on-the-street, it too wants a ‘debate’; its spokespeople admitting that Labour ‘got it wrong’ when it was in power. What seems to have escaped the Fabian Party’s attention is that these anti-immigrant discourses have only become more vocal since the Crash of 2008.  If there’s a problem with the economy, then in the minds of the racists and the gullible it’s the fault of the immigrants. It was like that in the 1930s and 1970s and its come back with a vengeance.  It’s as though the events of history have been wiped from the collective memory of these postmodern politicians as they pursue the grand prize of everlasting political power. What do they care beyond paying lip service?

Any mention of racism to these people is greeted with ‘anti-racism is a code for anti-white’. How on earth can you reason with people like this? You can’t. If gullible liberals believe they can have a polite discussion with these extreme nationalists, then they are deluding themselves. This is no time for cordiality.

If you want to see what could happen in Britain in 10 years time, look across the North Sea to the Netherlands, where Geert Wilders racist PVV party is currently ahead in the polls.  On Wednesday, Wilders is due to meet Marine Le Pen of France’s racist Front National. Two years ago, UKIP’s then leader, Malcolm (Lord) Pearson, welcomed Wilders to the House of Lords to show his film, Fitna. Be in no doubt, these parties enjoy the warmest of relations in the European Parliament and for all their talk of freedom, they want to enslave those of us who are different.

Britain, it’s time to wake up. We need to respond to the attacks on our communities and we need to hit the anti-immigrationists hard.  These people cannot be reasoned with. If you turn your back to them, they will plunge a knife into it. You have been warned.

UPDATE 13/11/13 @ 0941

David ‘Shoot the Bastards’ Blunkett channels Enoch Powell in this article on the BBC website.

Tensions between local people and Roma migrants could escalate into rioting unless action is taken to improve integration, David Blunkett has warned.

The former home secretary fears a repeat of race riots that hit northern cities in 2001.

His concerns centre on the Page Hall area of Sheffield, where Roma migrants from Slovakia have set up home.

But he also accused the government of “burying their head in the sand” over the scale of Roma settlement in the UK.

In an interview with BBC Radio Sheffield, he said the Roma community had to make more of an effort to fit in with British culture.

“We have got to change the behaviour and the culture of the incoming community, the Roma community, because there’s going to be an explosion otherwise. We all know that.”

It’s hard to believe that Blunkett was once the leader of one of the most left-wing councils in Britain. Now he earns praise from Falange.

Mr Blunkett’s intervention was praised by UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who campaigns against the ending of border controls for migrants from Romania and Bulgaria, both countries with significant Roma populations.

“The fact that he is talking of the significant difficulties with the Roma population already in his constituency should be taken seriously by the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.

“My question is if they won’t listen to the dangers of opening the door to Romania and Bulgaria next year when UKIP speak out on it, will they listen to David Blunkett? I certainly hope so.”

Look at Blunkett now, doing the dirty work of the right.  Shame? He doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

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Filed under immigration, Islamophobia, Labour Party, Media, Neoliberalism, Political parties, Society & culture, Tories, Tory press, UKIP, Yellow journalism

Is Britain really less racist than it was 20 years ago? Not if you look at the comments on Telegraph blogs

How much has really changed?

No sooner than the Lawrences get justice for their murdered son than the usual chorus of racist cranks and thugs come slithering out of the woodwork.

Predictably the Torygraph blogs is where we’ll find most of the nutters. These people think that by leaving comments on the Telegraph that, somehow, this will lend more respectability to their vile rants than if they were to leave them on, say, British Nationalist, where hardly anyone will see them.

On Mary Riddell’s blog, titled “Lawrence verdict a tribute to advances in law and science. But can society keep up”? The question is like an open goal to the hoardes of knuckledragging right-wing keyboard warriors who spend their days heaping praise on the likes of Ed West, Delingpole and Gilligoon but see Riddell as some sort of left-wing trojan horse.

Riddell, who was once a Society columnist for The Guardian, ends her article with this,

The one outstanding question is this. Has society moved on at the same pace? Almost 20 years after Stephen Lawrence died, is it conceivable that some other innocent young man or woman could be slaughtered through hate or mindless prejudice? The answer, I am afraid, is yes. On this signal day for truth and justice, we should ask ourselves why.

She needn’t ask herself that question. There are plenty of wannabe murderers leaving comments on her blog. If they aren’t wannabe murderers, then they are the types that would cheer as someone of colour was being kicked to death by a racist thug.

“Cartimandua”, who often has a great deal to say on Islam, says this,

Had the two convicted today been terrorist suspects the Lefty media would be thoroughly on their side complaining that the evidence was suspect and the publicity lead to the impossibility of a fair trial.

I wonder if he still thinks The Birmingham 6 and the Guildford 4 are still guilty? Probably. Cartimadua is joined by this nutter who calls himself  “Peter Bishop”,

The majority of victims of racist crimes in this country are indeed white although if you read our MSM  you would not be aware of this.  If we look at today’s ” right wing”  Daily Mail coverage we can witness the great efforts this paper makes to publicise its crusade to convict those allegedly guilty of the Lawrence murder yet it  makes no effort to publicise  racist murders of white people.

Let me get this straight, “racist murders of white people”? Don’t bother to ask him about power relations, he’ll just call you a “traitor” and a white-hating “loony lefty”. He’s also likely to chuck out meaningless junk like “anti-racism is anti-white”. It’s straight from the BNP book of stock soundbites.

Here’s another one who can’t hide his racism. Regular commenter, “crownarmourer” says,

If Stephen Lawrence had been white and the victim of a vicious black racist attack you Ms Riddell would have celebrated his attackers and not the victim such are your priority’s.

Are these really the words of a grown adult? It’s debatable.

There are plenty of comments to choose from but here’s one that sounds as if it was written by the BNP’s press department,

Groovybear

The increasingly wasteful plod and CPS and its other lackeys  in answering  the  demands  of  the multiculti   and race fanatics having  now resorted  to full  totalitarianist   policies against the white population as a means for achieving   something they could never have done  by willful consent of the so called tolerant  British people will one day  all be got up  and put through the mincer and fed to their  fellow snouters  at the pig farm .
You know that when they start to talk about Black people having “a chip on their shoulder”, you’re onto something. This exchange can be found on Dan Hodges blog, one of the posters calls himself  “spearofodin”.

QuantamPro

48 minutes ago

As a black man who used to live in Plumstead at the time, and often had to venture into Eltham, I know where the author is coming from. The local police were just as bad. I was once stopped for running along Plumstead because a policeman thought that this was suspicious. I used to be an athlete so always used to run and never got any grief until I moved to Plumstead. I’m almost sorry that more black people have moved there now as I would prefer the white racists to stew in their own bile.
Our heart bleeds – you were stopped for running in the street.Thats almost like being thrown into a gas chamber isnt it.You must be the only person ever stopped for running in the street by the police – what evil racism.I was stopped and searched by the police for carrying a bin bag after dark in the street on my council estate – should I cry racism.Oh I cant – I am white.Get the chip off your shoulder.

“Our heart”?  This one presumes to speak for all of his, er, race. But if you complain about racism, you have a “chip on your shoulder”. The name of this commenter shouldn’t be taken lightly; it is the sort of name favoured by self-styled Nordic nationalists neo-Nazis because it comes from Norse mythology. Interestingly enough, Emma West, the woman who shouted racist abuse on a Croydon tram is being supported by the BNP… and “spearofodin” who complains that she’s being sent to Crown Court.

Speaking of West,  “Groovybear” dumped this chunk of cut and paste onto the blog, some of which I will quote here.
Emma West, the woman who spoke out about
immigration on that Croydon tram was dragged through court once more on Tuesday
the 3rd January.

She didn’t “speak out against immigration”, she launched into a racist tirade against her fellow passengers.

Emma West, however, is being brutally bullied by
the Establishment, clearly with the intention of cowing the entire native
population.

Racists rarely hide their true selves. Here “Groovybear” can’t actually think for himself and snatches a chunk of text from the BNP website but neglects to provide a link to the source. Is he that ashamed of his rather obvious connection to the BNP? Here is a snippet from the source article,

The British State’s bullying efforts to frighten indigenous Brits into accepting their second class status and eventual displacement from the own homeland continue.

Emma West, the woman who spoke out about immigration on that Croydon tram was dragged through court once more on Tuesday the 3rd January.

I won’t link to the BNP website for obvious reasons.

His “Groovyness” also bemoans the fact that Rod Liddle’s rancid article was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for contempt of court. The article was taken down. Liddle’s latest article, which is provocatively titled “You have to be very careful who you murder these days”.  reads pretty much the same way but he uses transgendered people as his target instead of blacks. In my mind, it’s just as bad. But what’s truly undignified is the way Liddle assumes the role of martyr.

Take a look at this thread from the EDL’s Facebook page and tell me that it isn’t any different to what you’ve read on Telegraph blogs.

A friend posted this article from The Independent on Facebook.

Back in July when Anders Behring Breivik massacred loads of innocent people, the Torygraph’s commenters were in full cry. Indeed, there was an “anders” who regularly left comments, all of which included words like “dhimmi” and complained about “appeasing” Muslims. Paranoid stuff.

Finally, while those I have quoted excuse the racism of Acourt, Dobbs, Norris et al. Nowhere Towers would like to remind its readers what Eltham and its environs are like if you happen to be in possession of dark skin. As this article from today’s Independent shows.

One alleged victim of the Acourt gang, who was lucky to survive after being stabbed in the stomach, said he was “overjoyed” that two of its members now face jail.

Gurdeep Bhangal, now 41, was attacked with a kitchen knife outside his father’s Wimpy franchise in Eltham on 11 March 1993, during a spate of racist attacks in the weeks before Stephen Lawrence’s murder. He had confronted a group of abusive white youths that he alleges included David Norris. Another member of the group stabbed him.

That part of Southeast London is well known as a hotspot of far-right politics. It was the home to the BNP, who were based in Welling, a short distance away from Eltham. Bexley council shut down the BNP headquarters in 1995. The party has since decamped to Wigton in Cumbria.

So is Britain a less racist place than it was 20 years ago?

No.

Most certainly not.

UPDATE 7/1/12 @ 1049 : On today’s Telegraph blogs, LMer Brendan O’Neill, writes a somewhat confused blog that has attracted an overwhelmingly white nationalist readership.

I found this comment,

UB,Will you accept that I am reasonably acquainted with racial nationalism?  I am a racial nationalist.  I have written a great deal about it.  I am also a genuine student of political philosophy as well as the politics of race.  I know as much of these things, certainly, as anyone posting here.I am going to explain to you what this beautiful philosophy is, and why it does not exist within the liberal paradigm.  I will try to keep it as non-technical as possible.Racial nationalism is nationalism.  Culturalist or civicist nationalisms are actually patriotisms and do not challenge the fundamentals of the racial dispensation within Western polities.  Therefore, when we speak of nationalism as a radical (or consequential) politics, we are only speaking of the quiet politics of natural or genetic interests … the politics of peoples.Now, beyond the liberal paradigm – that is, in the non-Western world – all politics acknowledges the genetic interests of indigenous peoples.   That is true in Japan and in China.  It is true in India, Mexico, Turkey.  It is true of the politics of the Native Americans, for example, and of the Amazonian tribes in Brazil.  It is true even in the breach, as in Palestine and Tibet – we instinctively know where to place our sympathy not because Palestinians and Tibetans share our liberal values but because they are the true people of the land, like us.

Of course, all these national polities are quite unconsciously nationalistic.  They don’t need radicalism because that which is most precious- the life of the true people – is an assumed political value.  But everywhere in the West the assumption is that the genetic interests of European-descended peoples are morally illegitimate.

Something is wrong.

What’s wrong, of course, is that liberalism has become the struggle against the struggle for existence.  You, for example, struggle against the life of our English people.  You think this is moral.  You think “nationalism” is “Nazi” and “fascist” and “evil”.  You have been provided with emotional cues to take the place of thought, and you duly do not think.

Amid such a remarkable absence of intellectual enquiry, and an even more remarkable absence of self-awareness, the simple demand that the true people of the land must live, that the genetic interests of that people must obtain, is revolutionary.  It comes from without the system.  The genetic interests of the people (which subsume the genetic interests of the individual, by the way) have been put outside by Power.  The indigenous European is ignored as such, is denied his existence, is denied the natural political expression which enters politics all across the non-Western world.

The name we give our effort to correct this evil, and to bring health and normality back to our political life, is racial nationalism.  It is radical because of its circumstance, not because of its content.  Its content is normal and universal.

Forget what you read about racial nationalism.  This is the truth.

“John Piggott” doesn’t bother to hide the fact that he’s a racist. Instead he uses the phrase “racial nationalist”. But did you see how he compared his white supremacy to the people of India and China. One of the racist’s favourite tricks is to ask the stupid question “Can I be Chinese”? It’s a straw man.
O’Neill opens by saying,
Is Diane Abbott racist? By any reasoned, rational assessment, of course she isn’t. There’s far more to being a racist than writing the occasional clumsily worded tweet. But if we go by the definition of racism proffered by Abbott’s own social and political set – particularly by the Labour Party – then she is a racist. After all, who was it who redefined racism to include speech and action that is not even consciously bigoted (“unwitting racism”) and to include “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”? Yep, it was Labour and its various cliques. Abbott has fallen victim to her own mates’ ruthless relativisation of what constitutes racism.
O’Neill rationalizes things by weaving Dianegate (can I say that?) into a tapestry of wibertarian-speak. Diane Abbott is no more a racist than the presenters on Loose Women are sexist because of their generalizations about men. Wibertarians like O’Neill always get their knickers in a twist whenever the issues of race, sex (yes, I used that word instead of gender), gender (and I mean, gender) and class are raised.  Bereft of ontological wisdom – either through ignorance or design, wibertarians want you to believe that history or, at least the one you and I remember, never existed. What I find so breathtaking is how their sense of victimhood kicks into overdrive .  “Why can’t I have some of that too”? Just like those men who claim to have a monthly cycle, “It’s just like a woman’s period. Honest”. No, it isn’t. Get a grip.

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Hannan: McWhirter was a decent man (because I say so)

He who has the biggest wallet can afford free speech. Conversely, he who has the biggest wallet can silence those whose speech appears to cause them offence. The slight may be imagined. Indeed the slight may be exaggerated in order to hijack or control discourse. I expect some of the offended parties to talk about filing a lawsuit in the coming weeks.

And so it is with those right-wingers who have recently been offended by David Baddiel’s remarks about Norris McWhirter. Desperate Dan whines and moans that the BBC didn’t sack Baddiel for daring to compare The Freedom Association to the BNP. He says,

Still, can you imagine BBC comedians making equivalent remarks about a Left-of-Centre campaigner: Helena Kennedy, say, or Shami Chakrabati? Silly question, really.

He doesn’t ask the important question: why? Instead he sounds like a 6 year old child who’s just been told that he can’t watch cartoons because he has to do his homework. Life’s so tough. The thing is, neither of the people he mentions are anywhere near as vile or racist as McWhirter whose TFA was more than happy to support apartheid-era South Africa as well as Rhodesia. In fact, Kennedy and Chakrabarti have done more for ordinary people in this country than the McWhirter brothers ever managed in a lifetime.

A fundamentally decent man, a man who had served his country in the war against Nazism and had been awarded the CBE, was traduced on air, linked to Mosley and compared to the BNP.

“Fundamentally decent”?  Why? Because you say so? Don’t make me laugh.

His comment to one of his fans is quite amusing too,

The whole premise of the film is facile. The young David Baddiel goes to a talk at his public school (usual Leftie angst about public school, I was on a special scheme for the poor etc) expecting Norris to talk about the Guinness Book of Records. Instead Norris talks about politics and – angels and ministers of grace defend us – the man is RIGHT-WING.

Here is a dilemma for the teenage David. Someone he had admired turns out to disagree with him. But rather than consider why this admirable person might think differently, rather than allow the possibility that there might be two sides to an argument, he recoils in horror. Instead of thinking “If an impressive man like Norris is conservative, maybe there are some good conservatives”, he says “If an impressive man like Norris is a conservative, he can’t be as impressive as I had thought”.

As I’ve blogged before, what is striking about this attitude, which has become the default assumption among many on the Left, is not its narrow-mindedness or its stupidity, but it’s sheer narcissism. It redefines evil as “someone who disagrees WITH ME!”

So where did Baddiel describe anyone as “evil”? This trope that Hannan regurgitates is worth looking at closer. Here Hannan assumes that “many of the Left”  think that anyone who has a different point of view is ‘evil’.  It is so simplistic and barely takes a nano-second of thought. He has so far failed to provide any salient examples for his bizarre contention. We could read this comment in the same way as those comments and articles that are produced by the American right on the ‘left’: they are entirely constructed from tropes and myths. The left is “dangerous” or the left is “narrow-minded” (Dan evidently overlooks the narrow mindedness among his fellow Tories). The most popular trope is “liberal elites”, which always seems to trip off the tongue of an elitist. What Danny Boy seems to be missing is the fact that McWhirter’s appearance at Baddiel’s school confused him. McWhirter on Record Breakers was clearly a different person (almost avuncular) to the one that ran TFA. Of course, I knew the first time that I saw the McWhirter brothers there was something deeply disturbing about them. Patrick Moore too.

I’m not a fan of Baddiel. He was a part of that BritCom, BritPop, BritArt crap that was the zeitgeist of the mid-1990s. Strictly speaking, his remarks should be viewed within the context of the programme on which he appeared. Besides, Jeremy Clarkson gets away with a hell of a lot more.

If McWhirter had visited my school, I would have doubtless reached the same conclusion as Baddiel.

UPDATE:  6/3/11 @ 2342

Added additional paragraph about Baddiel and BritCom etc.

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Hannan’s cosy take on the Freedom Association

McWhirter

Norris McWhirter: the world was so much better in black and white

David Baddiel has put Dan Hannan’s nose out of joint by announcing on a programme on BBC Radio 5 that The Freedom Association (Dan is a member of the council, though he doesn’t mention this in his blog) is kind of “sub-BNP”. Our Dan isn’t happy. He says,

If I complained about every instance of BBC Leftism, I’d never blog anything else. Although the Beeb has tried to address the overt partisanship in its news department, many of its drama, comedy and consumer affairs programmes remain as jejune as ever. (All Rightists are evil, every Tory is one step away from Hitler, won’t it be hilarious when Thatcher dies etc.)

Hmmm, he clearly hasn’t paid much attention to the BBC’s news output since the Tory-led government took power. The BBC has practically bent over backwards to please the government. Its coverage of anything that occurs outside the faux left-right axis of Parliamentary politics has been woeful. That aside, Hannan’s take on both The Freedom Association and the McWhirter brothers is informed wholly by his membership of the organisation. You could say, that in a Bourdieusian sense at least, that he’s brought both his political and cultural capital to bear on this blog. Let’s read on,

Norris, whom I got to know as a teenager, was a kind, generous and modest man: a man of real and deep friendships, who had the gift of kindling enthusiasm in others.

Good for you. Presumably this happened while you were at Marlborough or did he pop out to Peru to hang out on your parent’s ranch? He continues,

This shouldn’t need saying, but since Mr Davies is throwing Mosleyite slanders around (they were, incidentally, blackshirts, not brownshirts), it’s worth recording that Norris played his part in the war against Hitler, serving in the Royal Navy. He was, above all, a lover of freedom: he could see that the corporatist Heath-Wilson state was deleterious to personal liberty as well as to economic prosperity. Nowadays, most of us can see that, but in the 1970s his was a brave and lonely voice.

What Dan overlooks from the lofty height of his ivory tower is that The Freedom Association is a very right-wing organisation that supported the apartheid regime in South Africa which it described as a “free country” that was part of the “free world” (sic). TFA also supported the English cricket tour of  South Africa in the early 1980’s. TFA’s reason for doing this had nothing at all to do with freedom, it was an expression of solidarity with a vile right wing regime whose idea of freedom was relative to a person’s skin colour. It can therefore be argued that Hendrik Verwoed loved freedom too.

Dan provides us with a link to Thomas Cranmer’s (not the very dead archbishop) website. Cranmer says,

But during the Radio 5 interview is an appalling misrepresentation by Baddiel of The Freedom Association, which Norris established in 1975 with his twin brother Ross and Viscount De L’Isle. The Association is at the forefront of campaigning in defence of personal and political freedom.

The TFA do what? That’s funny, I thought they actively supported regimes that offered no personal or political freedoms – especially if you’re poor or working class. Countries like Pinochet’s Chile were considered worthy of their support. That’s not just glaringly obvious hypocrisy, it’s a perversion of the English language. TFA does not stand for freedom  –  at least not the kind of freedom that is accessible to all.

Indeed, the TFA make every effort to stifle people’s freedoms. During the Grunwick dispute, TFA was involved in John Gouriet’s strike-breaking efforts (Gouriet was a founding member of TFA). TFA are against people’s right to join a trade union, which means that they are against free association…unless you happen to be a member of TFA or any other right wing group of course.

TFA was involved in the March for Free Expression in 2006. The subject of their ire wasn’t the fact that someone had accused the McWhirter brothers of being fascist (their political views were quite clearly very close to fascism) but the fact that they wanted to “express solidarity with the right-wing Danish paper Jyllands-Posten” over its decision to print racist and anti-Muslim cartoons.

One of the official sponsors of the “March for Free Expression” was the Freedom Association, whose campaign director Mark Wallace was a platform speaker at the Trafalgar Square rally. This organisation gained notoriety in the 1970s for its energetic defence of the “freedom” of Grunwicks to oppress and exploit its employees without interference from the trade unions. Equally energetically, it has defended the right of racists to promote hostility towards minority ethnic communities.

While I am not a fan of David Baddiel, he does have a perfectly valid point about TFA and the McWhirter brothers.  The only defence that Hannan can muster in support of McWhirter is,

…it’s worth recording that Norris played his part in the war against Hitler, serving in the Royal Navy.

That proves nothing. In fact, some of the most rabid fascists in this country “fought against Hitler”. Colin Jordan who founded the National Socialist Movement was in the army with the Royal Army Educational Corps during WWII. He ostensibly ‘fought against Hitler’.

Meanwhile on TFA’s website, they’re calling for Baddiel to be sued for slander. Seriously! I kid you not. So concerned are TFA with this notion of freedom of speech that they’re trying to silence someone from expressing their views. Over-sensitive to the point of the absurd and demonstrably against anything that doesn’t conform to their notion of freedom, TFA actively seeks to curb the freedoms of others. In their exhortation to their members they say,

TFA is built on core values of promoting individual freedoms and civil liberties for all, which is why we are so shocked that Baddiel chose to compare us to the British National Party (BNP). The views of the BNP are the ideological opposite to those of The Freedom Association.

TFA promotes ‘freedom’ – which is why it works to break strikes and smash unions. TFA are probably closer to the BNP than they realize (the BNP supported apartheid-era South Africa too). In fact, under the Nazis, trade unions were banned.  That’s a historical fact that has passed Hannan by and he’s got a degree from Oxford in…wait for it…history.  I suspect that the phrase “historical materialism” is one that never passes his lips.

While TFA claim to be advocates of freedom, the ultimate expression of their ideas would be an authoritarian state ruled by some caudillo who would look after the interests of capital, while suppressing dissent and enslaving those who literally cannot pay for their freedom.

This sudden jerky movement from TFA should only be seen one way: as an attempt to control discourse.

UPDATE: 22/1/11 @ 1044

This blog has been linked to a TFA blog about an article written by Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail. The article contains one noticeable factual error

He also suggested that his libertarian organisation, The Freedom Foundation, was akin to the BNP.

Letts is supposed to be a professional  journalist and here he is getting the name wrong! The Freedom Foundation is an alcohol and drug dependency charity. Duh.

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Daniel Hannan: left winger?

Don’t you wish some people would just grow up? There are some people in this world who are old enough to know better but Daniel Hannan isn’t one of those people.

Today he repeats his canard that the BNP is “left wing”. His ‘rationale’ for this is simply because, he says, the horrible BBC is beastly towards the right. Aw, diddums… is poor lickle Danny Boy upset then? Let me tell you something: just because you repeat a lie often enough that doesn’t make it true. Here is his opening line,

There was a snotty, sneering, superior piece about elected sheriffs on Radio 4’s PM programme this evening.

“Snotty”, eh? “Sneering”, huh? He goes on to pour fulsome praise on Sheriff Joseph Arpaio of Maricopa County Jail in Arizona (hardly the most enlightened state in the union). Arpaio is one of those hardnosed, no nonsense types that reactionaries love; he forces inmates to live in tents; has reintroduced the chain gangand he hates immigrants. The prison has been featured on America’s Toughest Prisons and is often shown on Channel 5 and Sky 3. Dan wants to see Arpaios in this country, so why don’t you? Is it because you’re a soft socialist?

Like many in his party he wants to see elected police commissioners but PM asks serious questions about whether the role should be politicized. Hannan is not amused. Damn and blast the BBC!

You get the idea. Allow people to choose who directs their local police force and you are likely to get racists, half-wits or crooks – often with hilarious redneck names. Just in case we missed the message, the correspondent spelt it out with his closing words: “While popular elections may increase direct accountability, it [sic] doesn’t necessarily lead to better policing”.

Unfortunately the US has more than its fair share of racists and other cranks running sheriff’s departments. This is something that Mad Dan appears to have glossed over (racism doesn’t exist because we’re all white now thanks to the democratizing force of consumerism). He isn’t bothered that this idea hasn’t been thought through properly, he is just convinced that it is a good idea.  He adds,

Some areas might opt for men like Arpaio, though the sheriffs in, say, Vermont, are a very different breed. That’s the beauty of the system: law enforcement reflects the local temper.

Have you ever been to Heanor, Dan? I’d hate to meet a locally elected sheriff of Heanor.  He/she might be a little like PC Savage in this Not the Nine O’Clock News sketch,

As I mentioned above, Mad Dan is upset because the BBC has been ‘beastly’ to the right. Of course, I want to see examples of this ‘beastliness’. Let me ask you this, Dan, if the BNP are ‘left wing’ then does that mean you’re left wing too? Maybe you’re a closet socialist…who’s so far inside the closet that you don’t know day from night and vice versa.

Dan Hannan, a left winger…who’d have thought it?

Finally, here’s an interesting article on Dan’s new hero. It seems Arpaio has used his position to engage in vendettas against his political rivals.

Over the past year, 5 Investigates examined more than two dozen complaints against the sheriff from business owners, government workers, mayors and law-enforcement officials.They claim they spoke out against Arpaio, and shortly after, deputies paid them unwelcome visits.

3 days ago, it was reported that the US Department of Justice was looking to sue Arpaio for his abuse of Latinos.

Is this what we want here? No way!

UPDATE: Two more judges are to sue Joseph Arpaio. This time it’s for defamation and abuse of power. More from this article published 3 December 2010. Here’s a snippet,

PHOENIX (CN) – Two more Superior Court judges have sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio for defamation, and a deputy county manager and a county administrator added complaints of their own, all alleging that Arpaio targeted them for baseless criminal investigations to retaliate for the judges’ court rulings and the county employees work on budget cuts. Four Superior Court judges or retired judges have sued Arpaio this week; the new plaintiffs claim that Arpaio’s actions “constitute the rankest misuse of power against those innocent and powerless citizens that our system of government is supposed to protect.”

The story continues…

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Left? Right? Useful?

The words right and left have been used to define party political positions since the days of the French Revolution. Le droit (the right) was represented by the clergy, the aristocracy and the monarchists. Le gauche (the left) was represented by anyone else who wasn’t born into the purple. In recent years, the words right and left have been described variously as “unhelpful” or “useless”. While this may often be the case – particularly when describing positions within political parties – it is all that we have and regardless of its flaws, it works.

Within the last few days I have witnessed a blatant (and Orwellian) manipulation of language so that the extreme-right appears to be extreme-left.  At least this is the case in the mind of Daniel Hannan and his supporters who seem to feel that the BNP are “left-wing” because there is a trace element of socialist economics in their policies. I say ‘trace element’ because whatever socialism there is within their economic policies is reserved only for les certains, in other words – as Griffin would describe them – ‘indigenous’ British. The BNP is not socialist and they are certainly not an internationalist party.

I often find that it is those on the Right who will shout the loudest about the right/left cleavage. Today another Telegraph blogger has waded into the fray. Gerald Warner shouts,

We have to get rid of this nonsensical vocabulary. The correct terminology for those who futilely seek to improve the world through some innovatory creed such as socialism is “radical”, “liberal” or, preferably, “progressive”, since that places some onus on them to explain to what destination they imagine they are progressing. In the more extreme cases they may be described as “revolutionary”.

The shouts are at their loudest when parties like the BNP or their predecessor, the National Front are described as ‘extreme right’.  It seems as though the problem stems from the fact that parties like the BNP, NF and of course the Nazis lean towards authoritarianism. According to commentators like Hannan or Tebbitt, authoritarianism and tyranny are characteristic of left-leaning regimes and will cite Stalin-era Soviet Union or Maoist China as examples. Apparently this is what happens when left-wing parties take power…or so they continue to delude themselves into thinking.

But they seem ever-so-sensitive about their assignment on the Right. Left-wingers don’t get this worked up.  Ed West says,

This is because, as Daniel Hannan wrote last week, the BBC and the wider liberal media conflates “Right-wing” with evil, even when it’s absurdly inappropriate, anachronistic or nonsensical (such as with the Iranian hardliners).

“Evil”?  Someone needs to grow up. Surely the Iranian hardliners are right-wing? Why get so upset about it? But the BBC are described here as ‘liberal’ when they are, in fact, rather conservative (witness the BBC’s response to the DEC request to air an appeal for the people of Gaza earlier this year).  Hannan was so enraged that he even claimed that,

A true Rightist believes that, other things being equal, the individual should be as free as possible from state coercion: a position equally abhorrent to socialists of the National or Leninist varieties.

His argument comes unstuck when Pinochet, Franco, Stroeßner, the Greek Generals or Salazar are offered as examples of right-wing tyrannies which, incidentally, were all trading partners of the so-called liberal democracies from the 1950’s through to the 1980’s.  For instance, Pinochet had the support of the Thatcher government, ostensibly because of Chile’s succour during the Falklands War. But this support was also ideological: Chile under Pinochet was brutally fashioned into  a model of free-market economics. This ‘miracle’ impressed Thatcher and those on the right of her party, who were referred to as the ‘Dries’.  The left of her party or the ‘Wets’ (or One Nation  Tories), on the other hand, were known to be dismayed. Curiously, in the 50’s and 60’s, some One Nation Tories were denounced for their ‘socialism’.

Stalin: left or right?

As I mentioned above, the Right will often use Stalin as a tactic to undermine the arguments of the Left, pointing to both Stalin’s character and his authoritarian regime. But if we have a closer look at Soviet-era ‘communism’ we see two things: first, there is the regime’s glorification and worship of the military – something that is consistent with fascism. Second, Stalin’s policy of ‘Socialism in one country’ was in direct conflict with socialism’s internationalism; it was nationalist in scope. We could argue that the thesis of  ‘socialism in one country’  gave rise to the former.  Related to Stalin’s doctrine was the need to keep the revolution at ‘home’: this was manifested in the way in which the public was kept in line: through coercion and repression.

Apart from the nationalism and the glorification of the military, Stalin’s USSR had a centrally planned and managed economy; there were no private companies; all economic activity was state-controlled. This is not necessarily the same as a commonwealth, where all the citizens of a nation share in the wealth created through common ownership.

In the so-called ‘free’ world, the act of consumption was regarded as ‘freedom’. However when we unpack this thesis we find that one has to have the economic means – in other words, the money – in order to participate; in order to be ‘free’. This message of ‘freedom’ was sold to the east as an ideal and when the Eastern Bloc collapsed in the late 1980’s, there was a headlong rush for consumer goods. How quickly ideas of freedom evaporated when it was discovered that the West’s ‘freedoms’ rested entirely on the means to consume. As a consequence we now see former Soviet satellite states adopting authoritarian and reactionary regimes.

The end of ideology is a myth

In the early 1990’s we were told by a succession of Right-thinking academics and politicians that we had reached the ‘end of ideology’. Fukuyama described it as the ‘end of history’. But have we come to the end of ideology or is this what the certain politicians want us to think?

One of Thatcher’s objectives was to ‘destroy’ socialism in Britain. How she was going to achieve this was anyone’s guess since, as the character V says in the film V for Vendetta, “Ideas are bullet-proof”.  People who espouse certain ideas can be killed-  often by the state – but their ideas refuse to die. The de-Nazification of Germany in the aftermath of WWII did not lead to a purging of all Nazis from Germany nor did it wipe from the memory the Nazi ideology. Nazi parties, as well as fascists ones, continue to exist in spite of the misguided efforts to eradicate their ideas.

I find it odd that no one has ever declared Conservatism or Liberalism dead, but many on the Right will erroneously claim that socialism is dead because of the collapse of the USSR. Even the Left bought into this idea and so the race was on among social democratic parties to make themselves appear slightly more right-wing. This included the abandonment of long-standing policies and the full embrace of neo-liberal economic policies in order to appeal to ‘floating’ voters. This became known as the Third Way.

Left-wing and proud

I will not apologize for being a left-winger nor will I erroneously claim that Franco was actually a left-winger in order to pervert historical materialism for the sake of ideology. The legacy of the Thatcher years has been to demonize anything that is vaguely left-wing; even the Labour Party fell into this trap when Kinnock expelled the Militant from the party. Labour then went on to reject anything that appeared or sounded slightly socialist. Why? Because 18 years of Tory rule created a culture of intolerance (just look at how loudly they shout about ‘political correctness’). The Tory-supporting press were more than happy to oblige in the ritualistic slaughter of an ideological enemy and so lies were told about left-wing councils in order to make them left look foolish, trivial and silly.

The Left is weak in Britain and it has only itself to blame for this sorry state of affairs. While the Right continue to thrive…but for how much longer?

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