Monday, 31 August 2009

More than 30 police hurt at G20

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8229171.stm

More than 30 police officers were injured in clashes or accidents during protests at the G20 summit in London, new figures show.

The injuries ranged from being hit by flying debris, attacked by protesters or crushed in crowds to dog bites and being scalded while making a hot drink.

Sounds like most seem to have been injuries attributable to 'friendly fire'. No wonder they've toned down the confrontational tactics for the latest climate camp.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

More to read on George Lansbury

Just ordered two more books on that favourite figure of mine from ages past, George Lansbury.

First off is George Lansbury: At the Heart of Old Labour by Dr John Shepherd. Surprisingly I haven't managed to find any reviews of this tome so I'm trusting that it's going to be a good and informative read anyways.

And it's hardback so the size and quality of the print should make things a tadge easier on my eyes!


Secondly a more recent book by Janine Booth, brought to my attention by a blog posting on the Leftwing Criminologist. The book is "Guilty and Proud of it: Poplar's Rebel Councillors and Guardians 1919-25". This one I'm really looking forward to as it deals with the practical outworking of Lansbury's own relationship with those he was elected to represent.Just read an old blog post by Janine Booth regarding Minnie Lansbury. I hope the book will highlight her work as well.
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Galloway and the Palestinian cause

Here's a gem of a clip from George Galloway's radio show. Whether you like him,love him or loathe him you can't deny his commitment to the Palestinian cause. And he's great entertainment. Mind you with foils like this....



Given the dreadful level of ignorance around the issue of the Palestinians I do despair.

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Saturday, 29 August 2009

MIA: Boggy



OK, he's not pretty, his head's too small for his body, he's boss-eyed and he's got a bit of a temper. But he's a loved moggy. And he's gone missing. :(

We came back from a week's holiday to discover no trace of him. The person who had been feeding the cats said he was there on the Friday. Saturday, no sign.

He was there when my youngest said his first words; he was there when my sons had their first day at school; he was there when my wife and I got married; he was there when I dealt with the grief of losing my parents; he was always there.

And now he's gone.

I live in hope.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Tax and conscience?

Dispersion of chlorine in World War IImage via Wikipedia

Listening to the radio the other day, can't remember what it was but I do recall something along the lines of ;

home taping/drugs/knock-off cds and dvds contributes to organised crime/mafia/people trafficking/swine flu ( * delete as appropriate )

You know, one of those messages where the authorities want to deter you from doing something slightly dodgy by appealing to your conscience.

Then I got to thinking about the same concept and government taxation. What dodgy dealings does my tax contribute to?
  • invasion
  • war
  • chemical weapons
  • weapons of mass destruction
  • regime overthrow
  • suppression of political dissent
  • kidnapping
  • financial corruption
I'm giving up there, the list is going to be too long.
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Thursday, 20 August 2009

Double or quits

Snouts in the troughImage by Ruth Flickr via Flickr

The real colour of the establishment showed through recently with the absurd claims by Tory grandees Douglas Hogg and Patrick Cormack. Both are claiming that the pay of MPs should be doubled in return for scrapping the second home allowance.

Hogg claimed that their pay had fallen so low that it was insufficient to support the lifestyle "to which most professional and business classes aspire."

What better supporting evidence that short of knocking the capitalist system on its head we need to ensure that MPs receive the average workers wage, plus justified expenses.

I really thought that we had left the era of the toffs behind. Apparently not.

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Friday, 14 August 2009

The Yanks, the NHS and the Tories

Seems that certain sections of the US political scene have been falling over themselves to knock the NHS. Words and phrases such as 'evil', 'Orwellian' and 'death panels' have been bandied about to stoke up fear of the red menance and to have a pop at Obama.

Seems not so long ago that there were a number of blog posts regarding the home grown Tory attitude towards the NHS, especially that expressed by Daniel Hannah the Tory MEP. He was having a great old time in the land of the free putting the boot into the concept and practice of the NHS, much to the delight of the interviewer.

I blogged about it here in April but you'll find his youtube video all over the place. In fact I'll embed it again as it's well worth watching. The condemnation from Cameron over Daniel Hannah's interview was noticeable by it's absence.



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Jim Fitzpatrick and the Muslim Wedding

The East London MosqueImage by hugovk via Flickr

So we hear that the Farming Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick has walked out of an Islamic Wedding at the London Muslim Centre because he didn't agree with the policy of seperating the sexes during part of the ceremony. I'm not sure if he has raised the issue or other parties have flagged it up but he seems hell-bent on distancing himself from the Islamic community in his constituency of Poplar and Canning Town, a community which represents perhaps 30% of the voters.

I had been cobbling together a blog post about this but then reading the press release from Respect I thought to hell with it, they've put it so much better! So why not just post it!

Friday 14th August 2009

George Galloway today condemned Government Food Minister Jim Fitzpatrick's attack on a Muslim wedding as a "disgusting insult, cynically motivated by political opportunism".

Fitzpatrick issued a press release this week to the East London Advertiser announcing he had refused to enter a Muslim wedding party at the London Muslim Centre to which he had been invited because his wife was asked to go to the section for women only.

"Fitzpatrick must have been a to a hundred segregated weddings, not least in the West of Scotland," said Galloway. "Only now has he decided to gratuitously insult the family and friends of the bride and groom in the cheap pursuit of Islamophobic votes and as part of the vicious faction fight going on in the local Labour Party."

Galloway continued: "It is for the bride and groom and their respective families to determine the wedding arrangements in line with their religious commitments and customs. If you don't want to go to a Muslim wedding, don't go. But don't turn up and then carry out a wholly artificial politically motivated stunt.

"I am simply amazed and astounded by this behaviour by a government minister who represents a very substantial Muslim minority in his constituency. I honestly did not think anyone could stoop so low, but Fitzpatrick really has got down in the gutter in his increasingly desperate attempt to hold on to his parliamentary seat.

"And Fitzpatrick has singled out the Islamic Forum of Europe for attack because they have been demonised by the faction Fitzpatrick is supporting in the civil war raging in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party. The (Labour) council leader Lutfur Rahman and his close Muslim colleagues on the council have all been condemned as members of the IFE by their opponents within the Labour Party who are motivated more by career ambitions than any principled difference.

"It is clear that Fitzpatrick's actions and subsequent statement are not only a desperate and, I am sure, unsuccessful ploy to try to shore up his collapsing support in his constituency but also part of that fight which is tearing the Labour Party apart. I have no doubt this will backfire very badly on him and he will thoroughly deserve it."
Listening to a debate on this issue on LBC Radio this morning there didn't seem to be much going on in the minister's favour. Certainly some of the suggestions that he' spandering to the right wing by seemingly highlighting the 'islamisation' of society deserve some consideration.

We have a Minister with a large muslim minority in his constituency, a large muslim minority we should add. We also have a government, of which he is a Minister that in the eyes of the muslim community is invading and killing muslims in other countries.

Is this event the beginning of the government changing tack and realising that the traditional support they have recieved from muslims in Britain could be coming to an end, and they have to redefine the demographic of their support through the demonisation of the British Islamic community.

Hmm.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Some reading

Being a rail commuter has given me some quality time to catch up on reading. As it's payday I've ordered a few new books to tide me over.

Currently I'm ploughing through Marx's Capital Vol 1 but it's not a book I can read from cover to cover without several intermissions, so

My new reading list is:

  • Summer of Blood: The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 by Dan Jones
  • Keir Hardie: A Biography by Caroline Benn
  • Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada ( h/t Mick )
Ones which I have left until I'm through with this batch are:

  • Paul Robeson: A Biography by Martin Bauml Duberman
  • Hewlett Johnson, Priest, Prophet, and Man of Action by Clive Hancock, Hewlett Johnson
  • The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G. K. Chesterton
Let's hope the Royal Mail management don't start kicking off with their wacky schemes for 'modernisation'.

Any suggestions for reading gratefully received!
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Saturday, 1 August 2009

You Choose!

Paul RobesonImage by ClevelandSGS via Flickr

"Every artist, every scientist, must decide now where he stands. He has no alternative. There is no standing above the conflict on Olympian heights. .. The battlefield is everywhere, there is no sheltered rear..... Fascism fights to destroy the culture which Society has created; created through pain and suffering, through desperate toil, but with unconquerable will and lofty vision . . - What matters a man's profession or vocation? Fascism is no respector of persons. It makes no distinction between combatants and non-combatants... The artist must take sides; he must elect to fight for freedom or for slavery. I have made my choice. I have no alternative. The history of the capitalist era is characterised by the degradation of my people; despoiled of their lands, their women ravished, their culture destroyed... I say the true artist cannot hold himself aloof. The legacy of culture from our predecessors is in danger. It is the foundation upon which we build a still more lofty edifice. It belongs not only to us, not only to the present generation, it belongs to posterity and must be defended to the death." - Paul Robeson, 1937

You choose.





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