Tag Archives: Daniel Pipes

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 30)

Within days of Anders Behring Breivik’s attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya, Kennite wrote this article for the Telegraph,

I wouldn’t suggest that anyone was actually pleased by the horror in Norway. But within hours of the gunman being identified as white, certain British Islamists and their sympathisers were behaving as if they had caught a lucky break.

So what is he saying here? Surely those who identify with Breivik’s notions of ‘cultural Marxism’ are no doubt pleased. It’s patently misleading to say otherwise.  Gilligan also appears to be suggesting that we “ignore the extreme right, it’s the Muslims we need to worry about”.  Regardless of who they are or what they do, Kennite gives all Muslims the broad brush treatment. He is indiscriminate. Those who work to promote tolerance are also similarly attacked. He doesn’t use the word “Dhimmi” but doesn’t mind much if his commenters use it.  One such person is Robert  Lambert of Exeter University, whom Kennite reports as saying, “Nationalists pose a bigger threat than al-Qaeda”. Gilligan adds,

The Islamist threat, he said, was “minimal” by comparison. Ibrahim Hewitt, the head of a charity called Interpal, wrote that “the new Right is on the rise across the West” thanks to “the collusion of Western governments”.

Any group or academic school that researches Islam or its relations with other religions is wrong in Kennite’s mind. Furthermore, most security commentators agree that Al-Qaeda is not the threat that it once was. Here, Kennite says,

Clearly, the number killed by Anders Behring Breivik is greater than in any single Islamist terror attack in the UK; and equally clearly, the murderer was motivated by hatred of Muslims. This cannot, however, have been his main motive, or he surely would have taken his assault rifle to an Oslo mosque, rather than an island of white teenagers. To even suggest equivalence between years of Islamist terror and the far Right, based on a single, awful case, is deeply dangerous and false.

Who said anything about “equivalence” but I would put it to him that terrorism and spree killings are abhorrent no matter who carries them out. What he seems to be suggesting is that ‘Islamist’ terrorism is somehow worse than any other form. It’s the way he reminds us how Breivik didn’t attack a Mosque but instead killed – and notice how he says this – “white teenagers” not only misses the point but indicates a fundamental dishonesty at the heart of his writing. If Muslims aren’t part of a race, then why mention these “white” teenagers at all? In fact, one of the youths who was murdered by Breivik was

Ismail Haji Ahmed, 20, was a talented dancer who had appeared on Norway’s Got Talent, using the name Isma Brown.

Ismail was dark-skinned and a Muslim.

While nobody should deny that there is anti-Muslim hatred in Britain, and it’s disgraceful, nearly all the available evidence shows that it is not “rising” but diminishing.

Naturally, Gilligan offers no evidence for his assertion that Islamophobic attacks are on the decline. Furthermore  who or what is the source for this earth-shattering  information? Daniel Pipes? Pamela Geller?

The Tory chairmanship, once home of Norman “Cricket Test” Tebbit, is held by a Muslim woman. The number of Muslim MPs doubled at the last election, some elected for entirely non-Muslim seats (Bromsgrove, Gillingham, Stratford-upon-Avon) with no backlash whatsoever. Continental moves to ban minarets and the niqab have gained no political traction at all in Britain.

The current Tory chair is Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, who is often lambasted on the pages of the Torygraph. Only last week, this blog from Nile ‘Moonie’ Gardiner appeared.

If she does make an exit from Millbank to Islamabad, Baroness Warsi will leave behind a remarkably undistinguished track record, peppered with a series of distinctly un-conservative outbursts, which were frequently at odds with the views of her own prime minister. Only time will tell if she proves more successful in the realm of international diplomacy. One thing is certain though: her contribution to the cause of British conservatism has been practically non-existent.

“Islamabad”?  Yes, I wondered why he said that too. She’s from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, why wouldn’t she want to go back there or live in Chelsea for that matter?  Back to the article,

The English Defence League, although vile, shows the British far Right’s weakness, not its strength. Two years ago, haters of Muslims had at least a semi-credible political party, the BNP, with serious hopes of winning one or more councils. Now the BNP has lost nearly all of its councillors, it has effectively collapsed, and the anti-Muslim Right has been reduced from political office to a street rabble.

This is misleading and dishonest. Kennite claims the far-right’s strength has diminished  because of the EDL’s increased profile and the decline in the BNP’s fortunes. It wasn’t that long ago when the Daily Star openly encouraged the EDL to organize itself as  a political party.  But  Gilligoon also tries to put some distance between himself and his fans from the EDL.  But it’s all for show. His thinking is muddled, he doesn’t know whether he wants to offer praise to the EDL or condemn them.

Over the past decade, half a dozen or so white British Right-wingers have been convicted of possessing explosives and other weapons. But all were loners not acting in concert with any group. Breivik appears, for now, to be the same. Links to a global fascist conspiracy have so far proved elusive.

No one has ever suggested that there was a “global fascist conspiracy” but there are plenty of neo-Nazi, fascist and openly racist parties on the continent and some of them are in government. Italy’s MSI party, for example, is in coalition with Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. Belgium’s Vlaams Belang is gaining support and Geert Wilders PVV has 24 seats in the Dutch House of Representatives. Should we just ignore them? Gilligoon doesn’t say as much but that’s the message that Nowhere Towers is receiving. It’s almost as if the 1930’s never happened. Then, Jews were being scapegoated for the social and economic problems in many European nations, including Britain. The lessons of the past clearly have not been learnt and now, we have a situation where some lazy journalists happily and irresponsibly churn out scare story after scare story abut “Islamic extremists” and “Muslim terrorists”. Gilligan thinks he’s found a rich seam of stories, but he’s extracted them from a fool’s goldmine.

Kennite popped out two blog posts yesterday. This one tells us that “East London Mosque has bagged itself a Bishop”. Notice how he suggests that Tower Hamlets is some sort of nest of vipers.

The Islamists of East London, led by their flagship the East London Mosque, have been loudly condemning a proposed march by the English Defence League through Tower Hamlets on September 3. Actually, of course, they are thrilled.

Pray, tell us Kennite, why are they thrilled?

The EDL is wrong in so many ways – look at this video for how one of its previous marches, in Leicester, ended – but not least because they hand their supposed enemies, Muslim radicals, the perfect way to build support and legitimacy. The Islamists’ attempts to blame the EDL for the Norway massacre are perhaps a bit of a stretch – but who could dispute that the EDL are a racist rabble? Who could possibly object to campaigning against them?

That’s a bit of a stretch. Once again, he’s seems to be spending a lot of time on Mars. Did he not hear that Breivik had met and marched with the EDL as recently as March of this year?

The mosque has duly placed itself at the head of a campaign to resist the march – called, with beautiful irony, “One Tower Hamlets – No Place for Hate.” I think they must mean “No Place for Hate – Apart From The East London Mosque.”

He doesn’t miss an opportunity to take a cheap swipe at his opponent, does he? Say, wasn’t this blog supposed to be about a “bishop” being “bagged”? Not until the fourth paragraph from the end is the bishop in question actually mentioned. On the way, we are treated to the usual piss and vinegar about Ken Livingstone.

And there are those Ken Livingstone/ Lee Jasper creations, One Society Many Cultures and Unite Against Fascism (Jasper’s typically measured intervention in the Norway killings story yesterday was to compare Boris Johnson to Anders Behring Breivik.)

So who is this “bishop”?

The new bishop of Stepney, Rt Rev Adrian Newman, will speak at a “No Place for Hate” pre-rally at the East London Mosque on Friday, his first public engagement since taking office.

So what’s bugging you, Kennite?

The Bishop is the mosque’s most important recruit so far to what appears to be its new strategy of legitimisation. After they were thoroughly exposed by this newspaper and Channel 4, the mosque and IFE have realised that they can no longer simply rely on lies and empty threats of legal action to see off their critics.

This reeks of paranoia. He even manages to get in a pre-emptive threat.

I say the Church is untainted – but if it starts mixing with people like Azad Ali that won’t last long. There are plenty of far more representative Muslim groups to work with.

I thought you hated all Muslim groups. Aren’t they all “extremists”?

By all means protest against racism, bishop. But don’t do it through the East London Mosque – you’re in danger of making yourself look ridiculous.

Not half as ridiculous as you look, Andy baby.

UPDATE: 19/3/12

It seems that Bob Lambert is another former police spy.

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H&F Tories and the right-wing ‘madrasah’

It’s called the Tory “madrasah” and it resembles an updated version of the long-defunct Federation of Conservative Students. The Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF), who are no less right-wing than their recent ancestors, was formed in 2003 as sort of boot camp for young right-wing activists. We’ll return to them in a moment.

The use of the word “madrasah” to describe them is a bit weird. But first let’s have a look the word.  Madrasah, or madarasa, is the Arabic word for school; any school. Some are attached to mosques and exist to provide religious education.  Others, particularly those in Pakistan, have been cited as hothouses for suicide bombers. But this is a new connotation and the word, when it is uttered by a Rightist, tends to take on a universal character. The suggestion is “madrasahs are responsible for the inculcation of Islamist terror”.  Is the use of the word “madrasah” ironic in the context of the YBF? Who knows? It has probably been appropriated in much the same way as the word “Mecca” or perhaps the word, “Kosher”. No doubt these people believe that they are the ideologically pure shock troops of today’s Tory party.

The YBF were in the headlines last year. Before the general election, Cameron was urged to distance himself from them. The Guardian said,

Asked about his links to the group last month, Cameron said: “I don’t know anything about the Young Britons’ Foundation.” But Cameron had already contributed to a YBF-branded guide to essential reading for young Conservatives, according to the YBF’s chief executive, Donal Blaney, a Kent-based solicitor.

Hmmm, “He doesn’t know anything about “Young Britons’ Foundation”. I’m not so sure I believe Disco Dave.  The Guardian

…has also obtained photographs of him meeting the organisation’s director of strategy, vice-president, and then operations director before he denied knowledge of the group. Its director of research, Alex Deane, was formerly Cameron’s chief of staff.

Wow! I want to see these photos. But I can’t. I presume they’re in the Guardian’s image vault underneath Farringdon Station. No matter, we can see this screen grab of Cameron meeting someone called Conor Burns. From the Gaurdian,

Ah, doesn’t that look cosy? Burns is now the MP for Bournemouth West but last year he was the YBF’s vice president.

Back in 2003, when the YBF was formed, Tom Happold of the Guardian wrote this about them

A new right-wing youth organisation – the Young Britons’ Foundation – has been accused of plotting a “Militant-style” take-over of the party’s youth wing, Conservative Future, by senior Tories.Disquiet about the group is such that the Conservative’s chief whip, David Maclean, recently told its chairman, former Tory MP Patrick Nicholls, to rein in its activities, Guardian Unlimited has learned.

The foundation’s website claims it exists to “help develop the talents of the young conservative-inclined political activists”, but senior Tories say it has been infiltrating Conservative Future, and even running a slate in its recent elections.

Further down the article we come to this,

The founder of the Young Britons’ Foundation, Donal Blaney, is also a controversial figure in the Tory party – he faced accusations of racism, and a complaint by the Commission for Racial Equality, when he ran a Fulham Homes for Fulham People campaign while a councillor in the borough. But Mr Blaney does have some influential friends; the foundation’s parliamentary counsel contains the former Conservative party chairman, Cecil Parkinson, Tory MP Gerald Howarth and shadow deputy prime minister, and likely future leadership contender, David Davis.

Yes, Donal Blaney was a Hammersmith & Fulham councillor. These days he’s described as a “Kent-based solicitor”.  Here’s some more,

Mr Blaney told Guardian Unlimited that it is compiling a dossier cataloguing examples of “socialist PC” bias on every course on every campus in the country. And he insisted that “all the stuff that gets fed back to us shows that the bias on campus is getting worse”.

The foundation’s website also says: “Leftists and their failed socialist ideology have run riot, in some cases literally, at campuses up and down the land for over 30 years.

“As a result non-political students or students who are conservative in outlook have been discriminated against in their grades and in their treatment by the authorities.”

They get this idea from an American neo-con site called Campus Watch, which claims that it is “monitoring Middle East studies on campus”. Long before it narrowed its remit it was involved in “exposing left-wing bias on campus”. My, how times have changed. The site is connected to the notorious Daniel Pipes, who runs the Middle East Forum.

Back to Blaney. It would seem that even some  Tories don’t like him. This blogger writes,

I guess Donal is the epitomy of all the negative coverage that political blogs have been receiving recently. Rejected by the higher echelons of the Conservative party, this sad time-wasting individual has risen to the delusional ‘heights’ he has by who he knows, not what he knows. ‘Fulham Homes for Fulham People’ is not a message that Cameron wants his conservatives spreading. Then again, perhaps his reluctance to get involved more practically and constructively with the Conservative party  is because Blaney might have certain individuals on his YBF Advisory Panel with an ever so slightly more colourful past that he’d hoped for. Who’s to say though; we wouldn’t want a mere student at the University of York becoming embroiled in a legal battle with blogging’s biggest bumbling bully, Donal Blaney, would we?

He was apparently threatened with legal action by Blaney. Unfortunately for this blogger, the YBF is now firmly entrenched in Hammersmith & Fulham.  More on that later. Blaney had this slogan “Fulham Homes for Fulham People”. His supporters have tried in vain to defend Blaney, but somehow it all looks futile and any attempt to explain it away looks pathetic and feeble.

The comments on Iain Dale’s blog from last February are particularly interesting,

At February 09, 2010 9:29 AM , Blogger DespairingLiberal said…Quite funny that if you Google Donal Blaney, the first image that comes up is him standing in front of a swastika flag.

I can’t help but wonder Iain why you are so drawn to Blaney, who seems to be a sort of neo-BNP’er inside the ranks of the tory party. I thought you yourself were a bit more centrist than that?

Dale replies,

That image of Blaney was photoshopped by a Labour blogger.

Donal is a good friend of mine. There’s nothing BNP about him at all.

Dale is not only a good friend of Blaney, he’s a supporter of the YBF too.

Blaney makes a few comments below.  Here he says,

Despairing Liberal – thanks for putting your head above the parapet. Anonymous abuse on the internet is easy to defeat now thanks to the case of Blaney v Person(s) Unknown in which I obtained a world first order allowing for such cyberbullies to be unmasked and served via Twitter (giving rise to what is known as a Blaney’s Blarney Order). Oh look, another victory.

He’s a card. Isn’t he? A tussle develops between “Despairing Liberal” and Blaney and ends with Blaney threatening legal action. This isn’t the first time that Blaney’s resorted to this tactic. Remember that article that I linked to at the beginning of this blog? Well, it has this at the top of it

The following note was added on Tuesday 9 March 2010

This article is the subject of a legal complaint made on behalf of Donal Blaney.

I guess being a solicitor has its advantages. No?

Blaney divides his time between his practice in Kent and Florida where he is a member of FABB (geddit?), the Florida Association of British Business. He is described as a “British Attorney”.

Last year, James Delingpole penned this tribute to Blaney and the YBF,

I’ve noticed this same technique much in use in the student-rag left-liberal blogosphere, of late, over the small matter of the Young Britons Foundation. Because  the YBF’s splendid, funny and ideologically sound chairman Donal Blaney has called his organisation a “madrassa” for young conservatives,

He misspelled “madrasah”. It was actually Dale who described the YBF as a “madrassa” by the way. More drivel from Delingtroll,

I addressed the YBF in the Commons last week, and extremist is the very last word I’d use to describe them. “Not nearly extremist enough” would be my preferred definition of these pallid young politicos. These kids have been so effectively brainwashed by the propaganda of socialists like Ken Livingstone, Tony Benn, Ken Clarke, Dave Cameron et al, they actually think “progressive” means something worthwhile and that “investment” is what you do when you squander money you haven’t got on the least efficient healthcare system in the known universe.

I’m rolling my eyes here.

Here is the “About Us” page of the YBF’s website,

The Young Britons’ Foundation was co-founded in July 2003 by Donal Blaney, Greg Smith and Ben Pickering

Is that the same Greg Smith who’s a H&F councillor? It certainly is. Smith is the “Cabinet Member for Residents Services”. Cllr Smith is also the YBF’s “Director of Campaigns”. The blurb also tells us that he’s on the executive of the Thatcherite Conservative Way Forward. Though the site doesn’t list him as a member of the executive. Confused? So am I.

On the Advisory Board’s page we find Cllr. Mark Loveday,

Mark Loveday is a barrister specialising in property, local government and professional negligence law in London. A graduate of the University of Kent at Canterbury, Mark is a former intern at the Leadership Institute and a former White House staffer. He is a member of the Cabinet in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham – where he has helped oversee two successive cuts in council tax since the Conservatives regained control of the Town Hall in 2006.

He’s “former White House staffer”. Fine. He’s also the “Chief Whip and Cabinet Member for Strategy” for the Tory group on the council. Like some of the others, I suspect he has his eye on a safe seat. He’s in good company. If you look down the list, you can see many other well-connected names like Matthew Elliot of the “non-partisan” Taxpayers Alliance and Thatcherite economist, Patrick Minford.

Not only is Hammersmith & Fulham a test bed for awful ideas, it is also a training ground for kamikaze Tories.

Back to the Staff page and we see that our old friend, Dan Hannan is the President.  It says,

Daniel Hannan is the President of the Young Britons’ Foundation and has recently been ranked tenth by The Daily Telegraph in its annual poll of most influential centre-right figures in Britain.

Like all those other members of the YBF that we’ve encountered, Hannan does not qualify as a youth. He’s is no spring chicken. In fact, he’s pushing 40. He’s more of a middle-aged man trying to relive his youth.

Here’s the YBF’s Speakers Panel. Do you  recognize any names? I do. Author, old duffer and ardent Europhobe, Frederick Forsyth is a keynote speaker. Previous speakers have included new peer and former MP, Howard Flight, who infamously claimed that the government’s benefit cuts would “encourage poor people to breed more”.  Douglas Carswell and Andrew Rosindell, who was once a member of the notorious Monday Club before IDS forced him  to resign, are also speakers. Carswell is a notorious Randist, like his friend Dan Hannan.Others on the speakers panel include the ever-shrill Douglas Murray and Anthony Worrall-Thompson. Nowhere Towers is baffled by the latter’s inclusion. We knew he was a Tory but is he a policy-former? No.

I expect the YBF to be at the Rally Against Debt next month along with the usual suspects.

For a more complete list of who is involved in the YBF, look at this page.

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Life On Gilligan’s Island (Part 24)

Like his stablemate, Dan Hannan, Gilligoon likes to take a shot at the BBC every now and again. In today’s blog he claims that the BBC has a “PR offensive on behalf of the ‘hardline’ East London Mosque”. Regular readers will know that when Gilly talks about “hardline Muslims” or the BBC “defending Islamic extremists”, he’s talking out of his arse. Here he quotes Steven Sackur’s interview with Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, who is the chairman of the mosque. Sackur, as media watchers will know, is not a very good interviewer. He has an agenda…just like Gilligoon. Sackur’s recent ideologically-skewed interview with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is particularly apposite. It is worth mentioning that Sackur was once the BBC’s bureau chief in Jerusalem.

Gilly gives us a taster of his Xmas special

Tomorrow, in my last post before Christmas, just how much the East London Mosque has “streamlined” its vetting processes.

I look forward to it.

Last week, Gilly claimed that the charity Muslim Aid is “linked to fundamentalist Islam”. He offers nothing save for conjecture infused with his own bigotry. He claims that a Charity Commission report “whitewashed” Muslim Aid whom Gilly no doubt wanted to see implicated in some sort of terrorism campaign. He says,

In March this newspaper reported on allegations that the charity Muslim Aid, a close associate of the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe, had channelled funds to eight organisations linked to the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Yet, there is no evidence. Though to hear Gilly talk, you’d think that there is a warehouse full of transcripts, recordings and other files that support his contention that Muslim Aid is a conduit that channels money to organizations with names that are objectionable to his eye.

But this is a funny piece. He produces an enormous amount of data which he dumps on to the blog in the hope that this will convince his readers (and his critics) that he has done his homework. But it isn’t good enough. Looking down the list of data, one name stands out. That of Daniel Pipes. Pipes is described by Sourcewatch as the

director of the Middle East Forum, and a columnist for right-wing newspapers. His father is Richard Pipes.

In 2004 Pipes was temporarily appointed by George W. Bush to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, but as of January 17, 2005, Bush had “failed to take any action to renominate…”. The “nomination of Pipes, who has made a career out of identifying and denouncing what he sees as radical Muslim penetration of American institutions, was opposed by senators Edward KennedyTom Harkin and Christopher Dodd, all Democrats; Arab and Muslim groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; and Middle East analysts Judith Kipper of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and William Quandt of the University of Virginia.” [1]

Pipes advocates the profiling and internment of American Muslims,

For years, it has been my position that the threat of radical Islam implies an imperative to focus security measures on Muslims. If searching for rapists, one looks only at the male population. Similarly, if searching for Islamists (adherents of radical Islam), one looks at the Muslim population. And so, I was encouraged by a just-released Cornell University opinion survey that finds nearly half the U.S. population agreeing with this proposition. Specifically, 44 percent of Americans believe that government authorities should direct special attention toward Muslims living in the United States, either by registering their whereabouts, profiling them, monitoring their mosques or infiltrating their organizations. That’s the good news; the bad news is the near-universal disapproval of this realism. Leftist and Islamist organizations have so successfully influenced public opinion that polite society shies away from endorsing a focus on Muslims. In the United States, this intimidation results in large part from a revisionist interpretation of the evacuation, relocation and internment of ethnic Japanese during World War II.

He says on the War on Terror (sic),

Pipes has called for a war on Islamic extremism, declaring in one post-September 11, 2001 interview, “What we need to do is inspire fear, not affection.” Pipes also promotes the support of moderate Muslims against militant islamists. He criticizes organizations such as Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for failing to distinguish between moderate Muslims and islamists when labelling him as ‘islamophobic’.

Away from his pet hate, Gilly turns to his other hate-figure, Ken Livingstone. This blog is a particularly snide piece in which he says, “Ken Livingstone funders deliver their Christmas present”. Gilly is talking about the Boxing Day tube strike by members of ASLEF.  He moans that ASLEF want their members to be paid triple time for working on a public holiday. Most workers expect to be paid extra for working over the holidays but Gilly doesn’t like it. Maybe he wants them to work for the normal hourly rate? He doesn’t say, but that doesn’t stop him from putting the boot in,

Indeed, in all the months of Tube strikes, Ken Livingstone has never once condemned any of the unions. Can this be in any way connected to the fact that Ken’s campaign for mayor is run out of an office in the Euston headquarters of one of the other striking unions, the TSSA?

That’s funny, I’ve never once heard you condemn greed bankers, Gilly. Does that mean you’re on their side? Just to remind us of where Gilly stands on the issue of workers’ rights,

Boris Johnson, business leaders and virtually everyone you can think of have condemned the strike, and all the other – equally ridiculous – disputes mounted by the RMT and TSSA over various non-issues in the last three months.

No one could ever accuse Gilligan of bias. Could they?

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