Saturday, April 29, 2006


The BBC's security correspondent Gordon Corera figures the latest release from OBL is about aligning the Palestinian cause to... etc etc. Maybe so, but in the light of the video from Ayman al-Zawahiri, itself following hot on the heels of a shifty-looking performance by Musab al-Zarqawi I wonder if the message is more about the medium, so to speak?

Why would global terror's three pin-up boys all be so keen to get their bods on the box in as many weeks?

Is something about to kick off that will really turn up the heat in the next couple of months?

Or do they just want to get business out of the way so they can settle down and enjoy the footie?

I tell you, that was definitely off-side!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Irony, Irony, they've all got it... oh nevermind

The Israeli ambassador is understandably upset that his nation's flags were burned to chants of "Intifada" at yesterday's march to celebrate Italy's liberation at the end of the Second World War.

Many members of Prodi's coalition, which spans from Roman Catholic moderates to hardline Communists, criticized the jeering - but not everyone.

Francesco Caruso, an anti-globalization leader who won a seat in parliament for the Communist Refoundation party at this month's general election, said the protest was justified.

"Whistles are not an act of violence but a legitimate form of dissent," he told reporters.

Communist Refoundation head Fausto Bertinotti was less understanding, saying the jeers were contrary to the spirit of the April 25 commemorations, which mark the day in 1945 when a Nazi occupation army left Milan after a partisan insurrection.

Was a time when anti-semitism was the preserve of the right, but now it seems more at home on the left. There are of course strong arguments against Israel's policies in the Middle East and many of the same kinds of people who now criticise the Jews may once have argued for their homeland - they are the champions of the oppressed if you like.

But one has to ask oneself, if this is really the case, why weren't they burning the flags of Iran - where gays and adulterous women are regularly strung up - China or Zimbabwe or Sudan or... well, you get the idea.

Sadly, I suspect those flag-burners were driven by a deeper, older loathing. Burning a Chinese flag just doesn't provide the same... buzz, you know?

Courtesy of Harry's Place, Jewish Brigade soldiers celebrating Passover in Italy

Woman held over 'nail bomb art' - something about stunts comes to mind

Now I understand what my colleagues in West London were raging about this morning (real lot of raging going on by the way and not about traffic delays either)

Woman held over 'nail bomb art'

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

That's the cue for someone to go 'nah, nah, nothing is off-limits for art'.

Which is fine if you want to go to prison and get hate mail for much of the rest of your adult life.

Yeah all right, I know we should stoically ignore the fool, the oxygen of publicity being the last thing needed, but...

Quote of the day

Ms Temple's boyfriend, lorry driver Barrie Williams, 46, told the Daily Mirror: "I just can't believe that my darling Tracey has been sleeping with John Prescott behind my back."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hysteria? Immigration, New Labour and the BNP - Why New Labour isn't coming up smelling of roses

'Most Britons support BNP policies' reports the ever-so- liberal 'This is London News' online edition of the Evening Standard.

Over at Harry's Place the sites progenitor has been kicking around the nature and causes of BNP voting with the sites usual array of political exiles and slavering lunatics from both fringes.

I agree with Harry about the waywardness of Patricia Hodge' statement that BNP support was growing because Labour had ignored voters legitimate (sic) concerns over immigration (thus leading to a danger that Labour voters in her Barking constituency will allegedly defect en masse to the BNP in the upcoming Local Council elections). As Harry reminds his increasingly right of centre readerhip BNP votes are racist votes and the answer to racism is not to pander to it.

However Hodge' statement hides another side of the story which our Stalinist friend of New Labour is less keen to acknowledge.

This is what I call The Blunkett Effect, or looked at another way New Labour's passive aggressive love affair with Paul Dacre and the Daily Mail. I feel a fisting analogy coming on...
Well, lets put it this way, Tony and co's strategy of trying to out-do the right on immigration hasn't exactly contributed to a growing liberal consensus on the virtues of foreign workers joining the great British egg race.

New Labour has never been keen to try and lead public opinion. It has always tried to 'respond', though in fact less to that opinion itself than to the right wing of a popular press which has no qualms at all about leading it - though of course under the guise of 'expressing' what real people - or at any rate White Van Men - think.

In fact while Tony Blair and in particular David Blunkett, during his time as a muscular Home Secretary, argued that Paul didn't like it up him and that they could play an ID card to his race card and deport a few refugees to Zimbabwe , Iraq and various other places of safety while they were at it, it was nonetheless New Labour and the long arm of its anti-asylum-seeker legislation that came out smelling of shit.

In this sense, if no other, it is New Labour which is responsible for the rise of the racist right. And if YouGov's dubious looking Pole (sorry poll) is true, then they bear some responsibility for that too.

However, maybe those whom YouGov polled would feel different, if they looked to the facts, rather than demostrating how fascinating cognitive dissonance is by changing their minds (in distressingly small numbers) according to whom is proposing a policy, rather than what the policy is. The Refugee Council has attempted to rebut a few myths; while Nigel Morris, Home Affairs correspondent of the Independent, recently reported that an Amnesty on illegal immigrants is worth six billion to the UK - the hidden story here being not 'how many immigrants there are' but how productive they are.

Even in 2003 when asylum applications were higher than last year there were less than 50,000 while there were nearly 1.4million (mostly white) overseas workers in the UK. It is estimated that over a quarter of a million French people live in the Greater London and South East regions alone, then there's the Americans, the Canadians...

But the 'immigrants' the barking population of the expatriate east end (in Barking and Dagenham) are howling about are more than likely taxpaying productive UK citizens (as if it matters) contributing to the cost of the public services that they, those 250,000 French people, the Americans, the Canadians and Patricia's barkers are all using every day.

Is it just me or are YouGov's polls starting to get as odd as Mori's?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Plus ca change...

How rapidly the resolve of the French government wilts in the face of student unrest, yet how firm it remains as the banlieue burns.

Could there be some truth in "Theodore Dalrymple's" suggestion that the striking students motives were not as selfless as they may at first have appeared?

It is often pointed out that French unemployment under the age of 26 is the highest in Europe, running at about 25 per cent. Moreover, in the banlieues it is 50 per cent. These banlieues are homes to millions of people, disproportionately young. It follows - does it not? - that there must be a considerable section of the young population in which unemployment is less than a quarter, actually much less. One would hardly have to be de Tocqueville to guess in which section of the young population the unemployment was less: the section from which the demonstrators, or at least their leaders and agents provocateurs, are drawn. In an increasingly desperate situation, the demonstrators are so afraid of the future that they want to hang on to their privileges and job security by hook or by crook, even if it means that the youth of the banlieues will eventually have to be kept in order by the Compagnies Republicaines de Securite, the much-feared riot police, the CRS. There is nothing idealistic or generous about the demonstrators, just as there wasn't in 1968.

Could wily old Chirac and co simply be remembering their natural constituency?

 c'est la meme chose.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Times They Are A-Changing

For some time reports have been coming out of Iraq which indicate re-alignments - the top link here is to a story (in February) which was essentially repeated more widely yesterday on some international media.

Basically the story is that the US forces are talking to some of the insurgents in an effort to separate the 'arab / iraqi nationalist' insurgency as they now call it from the jihadists.

Meanwhile last weekend Jack Straw went to Iraq with Condie in a most bizarre piece of choreography which saw a trip to watch Blackburn Rovers followed up with a quick flight down country to Baghdad to call for Iraqi politicians to take note of the 'allied blood' shed and 'vast cost' of the operation to liberate them.

Basically Jack was saying 'hurry up and form a government you ingrates'. ince he is keen to end situation where every time he talks about the glory of bringing democracy he finds people muttering about the place not even having a government never mind a representative one or any sense of security, law or order. You know all that stuff Tony and Charles Clarke rattle on about, concerning the ultimate human right being the right to live free of terrorist threats... well as long as you're a British citizen.

These were new words I cannot ever recollect Mr Starw making much reference to casulaties certainly not in the context of waving the tunics of our battle-bloodied sons before the iraqi ingrates, let alone moaning about how much this has cost us in financial terms.

Lets face it though, it seems to have cost them a bit too, in all senses, and they may well see Mr Staw's point as therefore of rather less earth-shattering import than he did. Certainly the response was hardly instant.

Watch this space as they say...