Friday, May 27, 2011


Some bloggy recommendations. First, Rob Marchant's The Centre Left. This post, on school segregation, shares concerns I've expressed here. This post is on the TUC and Hugo Chavez. Second, author Alan Gibbons has several posts (hat tip Skidmarx) on the campaign across London and beyond to protect libraries from the Coalition-imposed council cuts, including in my own borough Lewisham. Third, for some reason I don't think I added Journeyman's blog to my blogroll when I said I would, and revisited and remembered how good it is. The generally vibe there is curmudgeonly leftism, a sense of history, and unpredictable opinions. This post is on genocide lessons in light of Mladic's arrest. This post is about George Orwell and an adolescent dalliance with Stalinism. This post is on the class warfare of the properties classes. And fourth, but by no means least, I don't know why I haven't visited David Schraub's The Debate Link for so long. He is a rare opponent of all forms of racism and intolerance, not just the forms displayed by his political enemies, and has intelligent centrist views on Israel.

I have a guest re-post up at Though Cowards Flinch. It's about anti-fascism. The intro and conclusion are new, and extracted below:
I originally posted a version of this post last Autumn. I have asked TCF to re-post it for me (slightly edited) because I posted it at a very busy time at my blog, so it got very little debate, and I wanted to test it out away from my comfort zone. But I am asking now because I think the situation is becoming more and more critical for anti-fascists. The continued decline of the BNP is a positive but it has opened the space for the re-emergence of more emphatically Nazi sects, while its ideas and narratives have infected the political mainstream as authoritarian xenophobic politics spread beyond the fascist fringe. Meanwhile, the English Defence League has seen a continued violent rise based on a style of politics the BNP long ago abandoned, and could well form the nucleus of a new far right alignment. These changes pose the questions of militant anti-fascism more urgently than ever. [...]

A large part of the history of militant anti-fascism in Britain, from the Jewish East End in the 1930s to Southall and Brick Lane in the 1970s and 1980s, has been communities defending themselves from violent attacks. With the BNP’s turn in the 1990s from the battle for the streets to the battle for the ballot box, that sort of violence was less common. But with the rise of the EDL since 2009, Asian communities are once again under attack. If anti-fascism is to have any credibility with these communities, and especially their youth, an appeal to “Mr and Mrs Smith” is not the right approach. And this opens a space that reactionary jihadi groups are happy to move into. Anti-fascism, then, needs to fill the vacuum in white working class communities, but also drive a wedge between angry Muslims and the far right Islamist political entrepreneurs appealing to them. Doing both at once will be no easy task.

In conclusion, I agree with Meszaros and Lowles that we urgently need to re-think the old dogmas in new times. But I don’t think they offer us the tools to do so. 
All the other rounding up I would have done has already been done very ably by Modernity here, and so only one more thing to add: Jonathan Freedland on Israel advocacy in changing times.

So, to music. Jogo recommended this great Tablet article about folk legend Chaim Tannenbaum, and this wonderful youTube:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


A blog recommendation: Letters from a Young Contrarian. An intelligent, youthful London-based blogger with a political perspective that is not off the shelf.

Islam: Interesting article I missed a few weeks back on British Muslim women fighting back. And from BenSix on what they are fighting back against.

Class War is dead, long live the class war: Anarchists argue about Islamism (interesting comment thread about Class War); The Free Association reflects on Class War's legacy.

Fascism and anti-fascism: Andy Carrington fighting the EDL on-line; EDL and BNP work together in Barking; EDL in Liverpool; Infidels vs Reds; Are all BNP members paedophiles?; Unsentimental thoughts about anti-fascism; Racism and liberalism in the anti-fascist movement; Manchester AFA has had a relaunch, and its website has some interesting stuff, e.g. on Stieg Larsson, and on 1930s Manchester.

Local news: I recently posted about Ladywell Fields - well, there will be an event there at the weekend to celebrate the renovation.Other local matters: SolFed versus Office Angels; The library campaign goes to Downing Street, while Crofton Park goes "social enterprise"; Council cuts bring an end to the Blackheath kite festival and the Pink Floyd-founded Schoolhouse Education facility, but Brockley Max survives; Sarf London pubs die, but some are re-born. Local history: A Tahitian in Deptford. Also: the treasures of Deptford market, from this wonderful site. Also new to me local blogs: Deptford Allotments, and The Creekside Hermit.

Some links on the proposed UCU boycott of the EUMC working definition of antisemitism: David Hirsh, Mark Gardner, Modernity, Eve Garrard. There are also more Israel boycott motions - see here.

AlsoDave Osler on Blue Labour; Phil Dickens in conversation with a homeless ex-soldier; Reuben BR tells you if you are a smug metropolitan liberal; Roland D on LaRouche and Ron Paul; George Readings on the left's promotion of Islamist extremism; Tim Flatman on the new threat of war in Abyei, South SudanTom Gross's video dispatches from Syria, via Scotfella; Ari asks what next for BDS; Sarah AB on racism in the Czech republic; False Dichotomies on Palestinian non-violence; Modernity on the West Dunbartonshire book boycott; Ben Dror Yemeni on the Arab apartheid; Lush soap says no one is illegal.

Elsewheres: Stuart's democratic left round-up.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

This and that

I've been searching my soul about the point of blogging, anonymous blogging, comments policies and such things. Here are two things I found helpful: Martin's account of his online life, and Paul's new comments policy.

I've been reading a lot on the interweb about The Promise, and thought I'd bring back some of the things I've read: reviews by Tom Jennings and Trouble Sleeping, and critiques by Ariadne and Richard Millett and (in French) Bruno Halioula. I've also been reading about some of the histories The Promise touched on those it didn't touch on - the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, the Hadassah convoy massacre, Britain's small war in Palestine, the 1947 riots across the UKthe 1947 Cheetham Hill riots. I also read Linda Grant's migration story, which touches on this period and on the 1947 riots (and if you haven't read her When I Lived in Modern Times, which is set in Palestine in this period, you should).

These are the final words of the Tom Jennings review:
Doubtless unintended by Kosminsky, and naturally unnoticed by critics, her blundering around sundry hotspots ignoring the interests or opinions of locals in favour of private desires – dotted with periodic fits of humanitarian impulse and seizures of moral outrage – uncannily mirrors the structure of single issue hobbyism and ‘struggle tourism’ as well as official news coverage and its respectable reception. So, despairing at horrors endured by distant others, comfortable Western handwringers move onto newly fashionable concerns – never taking seriously, sustaining, or prioritising above self-satisfaction the grassroots perspectives and efforts which have meaningful potential either at home or overseas.
So, in that spirit, here are a few news items from Israel/Palestine that might have slipped beneath the radar: Syrian Border Violence May Hold Message for Israel, Palestinian workers risk life to seek work opportunities in Israel, Foreign caregivers: New law would make us slaves, Israel railway workers wildcat strike ignited by arrest, beating of union leaders, Dispossession and Exploitation: Israel's Policy in the Jordan Valley & Northern Dead Sea, Egyptian police wound 350 ‘Nakba Day’ protesters, Jordan police say 25 hurt in Nakba clashes, Israel to hand over Palestinian tax revenues. Analysis: CAMERA debunking of Nakba day coverage and some perspective from It's Complicated. Comment: Eric Lee and Gary Kent on a neglected part of the Arab spring and Michael Totten on Nakba Day’s Deadly Political Theater. Oh, and I often don't agree with Juan Cole, but he is spot on when he says this: "Syria’s protests about the Israeli rush to use live ammunition on protesters would have carried more weight had the protest issued from quarters not engaged in a similar deployment of live ammunition on… protesters." However, it seems to me that the policies of the current Israeli government, including the use of what appeared to me to be excessive force at its borders on Nakba day, is, as Cole puts it, literally self-defeating; a radical change of direction is long overdue, if not too late.

Another of my obsessions, Israel Shamir, Counterpunch's favourite Holocaust denier.There's a new two-part piece by Will Yakowitz in The Tablet well worth reading: 1, 2. It includes Norman Finkelstein's denunciation of Shamir as a maniac, a fascinating interview with the maniac, and concludes with this:
In the early 2000s, Shamir was nothing but a marginal anti-Semite and a prolific writer. But at that time one could write him off as a lunatic, or a self-loathing-Jew, or just a weirdo. But now, with Assange’s backing, Shamir has become a legitimate source of news and facts with a legitimate platform that is hard to ignore. His ideas may be heretical, mad, coming too fast to digest, but the Age of Assange has made Shamir less eccentric, more central—a dangerous man.
Sticking with left antisemitism, Mark Gardner of the CST has a post at Arguing the World called "Routledge’s Journal of Contemporary Leftist Anti-Semitism", about a disgraceful review by former UN official, Frederic F. Clairmont, of an appalling book by moonbat antisemite James Petras, published in a mainstream journal on whose editorial board Noam Chomsky sits. Petras, who we've looked at a few times here, is also an exemplar in Alan Johnson's very sharp critique of the pro-tyrant left.

And on some completely different topics: A Jay Adler: Kenya, Conservatives and Colonialism; A Very Public Sociologist: Election analysis from Stoke; Joe Flynn: ‘Counterfire’ and the retreat from class politics; Dave Osler: The need for a reality-based left; Carl Packman: Belarus: May we now forget the Stalinist apologists; Third Estate: Ninth Week of the Syrian Spring; Libcom: International Statement of Solidarity with Cuban Anti-Authoritarians: You Are Not Alone; Jeffrey Goldberg: Kissinger versus Hillary Clinton; Waterloo Sunset: A respectful shout-out to the CST; Robin Simcox: Amnesty International's dubious company.

More links from the New Appeal to Reason and Martin in the Margins.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Last years at Abbottabad: A review of Christopher Hitchens’ ‘The Enemy’

This is a guest post by Carl Packman, cross-posted from Though Cowards Flinch.

Nearing the tenth year since the world was changed by 9/11, the mastermind behind the attack, Osama bin Laden, is traced to a fortress-like villa in Abbottabad and killed. As the media storm blew over, and initial questions about the legality were put to rest (though some still insist on raising them), there was still the opinions of one person for whom many were waiting – and indeed he has not disappointed.

Though there is nothing in Christopher Hitchens’ extended essay – 'The Enemy' (available as a Kindle download only) – that is particularly new; one or two unorthodox opinions concerning bin Laden needed clarifying, and there is no better than the Hitch to do so.

Notably, the polemic is peppered with understanding this personification of ‘evil’ (a word which Hitchens is happy to qualify) through political terminology. Hitchens is happy to call bin Laden a fascist, for example, explaining his unease with the vulgarised word ‘Islamofascist’ (preferring, instead, the more informed “fascism with an Islamic face”), while later insisting we remember the true conservative core of the former al-Qaeda front man.

There is an urge, so opines Hitch, to refer to bin Laden and his men, as radicals – a juxtaposition which sticks in the throat, particularly on consideration of the medieval tyranny which the wealthy ideologue wanted to wreak upon the world. Unlike any radical, in so far as the word is typically used, bin Laden fought on behalf of a totalitarian world view with an absolutist code of primitive laws. His fantasy world order necessitated the ceasing of personal autonomy, the deification of human control, the fetishisation of a single book, the glorification of violence and the celebration of death. Further still, a sanctioning of the death of whole groups of people, the repression of the sexual instinct and a paranoid anti-Semitism akin to that found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

There is no doubt that what bin Laden did on that terrible New York day in September, was a tragedy like only few others. Quite clearly bin Laden was waging war*. But it mustn’t be forgotten just how much his late life had been marred by errors and grave failure.

Bin Laden was laying down his plans for war at a time when  many “Arab Jihadists” – such as al-Qaeda, Gamaat al-Jihad, Gamaat Islamiyya, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) – were restructuring their position in Afghanistan, after the defeats they endured in the nineties throughout the Middle East. After preparing attacks on America in 2000, al-Qaeda knew America would have capabilities to destroy the Taliban’s governmental institutions – which were acting as host to Bin Laden’s motley crew. In advance, Mohammed Atef, the third highest ranking member of al-Qaeda, had sought after weapons of mass destruction to protect Afghanistan.

It was bin Laden’s pipe dream that acquiring WMDs would have deterred the US from retaliating, securing the start to a victory for the Saudi and his group. However the acquisition didn’t go to plan. Accepting defeat at this first hurdle, al-Qaeda tried to send a message, through a reporter in Afghanistan trying to make his “media break”, to the US saying they were in possession of WMDs. This, too, proved unsuccessful, the likelihood being that US intelligence simply didn’t believe bin Laden. Instead the American representatives in Afghanistan asked the Taliban to hand over bin Laden for trial, a favour they did not succumb to citing the illegality of handing over a Muslim to non-Muslims under Islamic law.

After experiencing setback after setback – the death of a leader in the Gamaat Islamiyya, Mohammed Khalil al-Hakaima, who fronted the “al-Qaeda in the land of Egypt” project; the collapse of the jihad against the Americans in Iraq – the former leader of the militant Jihadists Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Noman Benotman (now Senior Analyst of Strategic Communications at Quilliam) said that al-Qaeda did not want to establish a caliphate in Afghanistan, and was merely acting as a defense against the occupation – a clear back step on their more global plans.

Though bin Ladenism, as Hitchens puts it, is destined to fail, this doesn’t mean it is not dangerous, particularly in its teachings of young, mainly uneducated men. Its overall goal is to engage in a global war, which it hopes to do with coordination from a central command, possibly in Warziristan (NW Pakistan), branches at a regional level and with help from sympathisers around the world. And though they’ve experienced a major setback with the death of bin Laden, the aim of their project doesn’t look set to cease any time soon.

Hitchens’ sobering conclusion, quite in distinction to the reaction displayed on TV screens after news emerged of bin Laden’s death (which, however, Hitch admits to having “welcomed without reserve”), is that “[t]he war against superstition and the totalitarian mentality is an endless war” and that "Temporary victories can be registered against this, but not permanent ones”.

Osama bin Laden died a failure, reduced to watching re-runs of himself delivering propaganda speeches exploiting young, angry men into thinking that fighting the jihad was the solution to all life’s ills. But it is a fool who thinks the efforts of a crafty (albeit damaged), multicellular entity as al-Qaeda have been suppressed yet.

* Much of the information from here on has been sought from this amazing collection of essays by Camille Tawil called The Other Face of Al-Qaeda (pdf file).

Three books

A wonderful post by Kellie Strom, a highlight of my week.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Second thoughts on the big society and the small state, while running through Ladywell Fields

In my post on the film clubs and Big Lunches of Lewisham, I wrote this:
In lots of ways, the Film Club, the Big Lunch and possibly even a community library are wonderful examples of local civil society and its potential to bring people together and create something positive: something we own because we made it, something totally outside the state. But when this sort of thing does the job the state should be doing and actually does better (e.g. when it replaces a municipal library), that's surely not such a good thing.
Jogo sent me an e-mail saying:
Should be doing? Hmm, maybe you should be doing. 
Maybe communities should be doing. Maybe Fuck the State. Doing it better is "surely not such a good thing?" I say it's a very good thing.
If communities "do it," then we can see which communities give a fuck, and which do not.
Lefities love Darwin. Except when the state does it better.
I have an immediate, instinctive, anarchic sympathy for the Fuck the state position. I experienced the Big Lunch I attended last year as a taste of utopia: a glimpse of a world with no state, no cars, based on everyone literally bringing something to the table and sharing it. So, why am I defending the state?

I thought about this at the weekend, as I struggled through my weekly run in Ladywell Fields, my local municipal park, running past the clumps of dog-walkers chatting to each other – as I watched Beryl from number 45 chatting to the lesbian couple with the border collie . I thought about this as I ran past the parents watching their toddlers on the slides and swings, past the bench at the station end where the guys drinking super-strength lager hang out, past the football team from the Islamic centre doing their weekly training, past the medical workers from the hospital stand in the sun for their cigarette breaks, past the teenagers on their BMXs in the skate park, past the kids in their Sunday suits playing while their parents are in the church on Ladywell Road. I thought about it more when I went back to Ladywell Fields in the afternoon with my kids and some other kids I was looking after, and enjoyed with them the wonderful new adventure playground and riverside play areas paid for by central government investment, and also noted that the new facilities are also already unpleasantly marred by graffiti.

I think it is a genuinely open question whether or not “communities” can run a library service as well as, or even better than, a municipal authority and the trained, professional librarians and building managers it employs, whether or not “communities” can equip and look after a park as well as, or even better than, a municipal authority and the landscapers, gardeners and construction workers it employs. In both cases, my instinct is that we probably can’t.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The reading list

In this week's round-up, I'm highlighting some of my London comrades, in alphabetical order.

Friday, May 13, 2011

FILM IN LEWISHAM IN THE AGE OF THE BIG SOCIETY: A Prophet in Crofton Park/Campaigns for a local cinema

First, the Brockley Jack Film Club is screening A Prophet on Monday night. Everything I have heard about it is really good and I'm sad to be missing it.
Sentenced to six years in jail for attacking police officers, Malik is an illiterate young man who can read people. A young Frenchman of North African descent, he inhabits the border between two different peoples – the living and the dead. In a brutal prison where he has to kill or be killed, he makes the obvious choice and ends up surprising everyone. From the first scenes, it’s apparent why this film won 29 major awards around the world. Tahar Rahim was named Actor of the Year by London Critics only because there was no category for Actor of the Decade.
You can watch the trailer here.

The Film Club, who you can also follow on Twitter, is run by local people in their own time, for no profit, and shows a film once a month at the Brockley Jack Theatre, which is also run by the local Southside Arts and can also be followed on Twitter

The Brockley Jack Film Club is just one of many fantastic self-managed film clubs in South East London, all both deserving of your support and between them offering a great selection of films. 

Like the large number of Big Lunches in this neck of the woods, this is a testament to the strong spirit of voluntary action and civic engagement around here, and a sense of community which I think is much stronger than in many parts of London, as well as to the odd mix of high cultural capital and low financial capital that characterises the area.

eros-cinema-01532-350On the other hand, it is also a testament to the fact that Lewisham is the one of the only boroughs in London with no cinema. Our last one, in Catford, was eaten up by the very suspicious Brazilian-based evangelical church, UCKOG. Lewisham once had a thriving cinema culture, as documented beautifully here, but this is gone.

There is very little the local authority can do about this, short of opening a municipal cinema, so it is unlikely that the various campaigns for a cinema in the area - see here and here- will come to much, unless one of the cinema chains recognises the market potential.

I've been thinking, as Lewisham closes its libraries and replaces them with "community libraries" run by "social enterprises", about the Big Society. In lots of ways, the Film Club, the Big Lunch and possibly even a community library are wonderful examples of local civil society and its potential to bring people together and create something positive: something we own because we made it, something totally outside the state. But when this sort of thing does the job the state should be doing and actually does better (e.g. when it replaces a municipal library), that's surely not such a good thing.

Anyway, go and see A Prophet. And Slumdog Millionaire open air tomorrow, and Gerry at the Roxy next week, and Enter the Void at the Amersham the day after, and the Brockley Max festival at the end of the month, and start setting up a Big Lunch on your street if there isn't one already planned. (I'm pasting my 33 nearest ones below the fold; I'll be at no.2.) But also let's keep up the fight against the brutal cuts...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Internet porn

I realise that it is now nearly a month since I posted an actual original post, rather than an archive post or a guest post, here - partly because of wasting time on pointless squabbles in the comment threads, partly because of too much going on in my work and private life to have the time. Meanwhile, I have accumulated a huge number of links in my bookmarks, and I am pasting them here. Some of them are nearly a month old, so may not seem so timely now, but I think remain worth your time.

The Hitch on Chomsky's follies and (very moving, highly recommended) on unspoken truths. Noga's thoughts: The voiceless lion roars still.... Listen: Antony Hegarty sings the beautiful "If it be your will".

Clear vision in a murky age
Rahila Gupta: Feminism and the soul of secularism (ESSF) [h/t Ent.]

Genocide, liberal interventionism, etc
Fred Halliday: Solidarity - trails, perils, choices. Kellie Strom: realism deficit 1 & 2. The Fat Man: Useless idiots. From the Spectator archive: Pol Pot and Chardonnay, Michael Sheridan, 21 September 1996. Richard Abernathy: Vietnam today. James Warner on Tolstoy versus Dostoevsky on humanitarian intervention.

Costume drama
Two divergent views on Peter Kosminsky's The Promise: The Portsmouth Socialist Party and Howard JacobsonMore links and the Wikipedia article dissected by Modernity. And Noga on more Jews in costume on British TV.

The racist scum floating on the top of the anti-Zionist swamp
Modernity on Alison Weir of If Americans Knew and on the Occupied Palestine website; Rebecca on Gilad Atzmon and his American supporters; James Besser on Move over AIPAC.

Blue Labour
Labour Partisan: wrong kind of nostalgia. And Flying Rodent states the obvious about the white working class.

Free speech and authoritarianism
BenSix on the royal wedding arrests and other instances of the policing of dissent in GB2011, and on the conviction of Lars Hedegaard for anti-Muslim comments.

Local matters in an age of austerity
Brockley Central on the fate of Lewisham libraries. Me, when I hear the words "social enterprise" I reach for my gun.

The Arab spring
Long live Egypt: voices and songs from the revolution, a positive spin from Michelle Chen - and the depressing news from a country where the military junta is tightening its grip and Islamism and communalism are rising. Depressing news and a need for solidarity too from Tunisia. Plus: Unbelievable it should take this long for the Guardian's Simon Tisdall to say Syria's Assad has gone too far. Also: keep up with the comment at OpenDemocracy, news from LabourStart, and keep following the Guardian timeline and Twitter map.

In Europa
Angels can tell the difference: Marko on the nationalisms of the Adriatic. A Banality of Evil?: Noga on Arendt, Eichmann and evil. Les Back & Alex Rhys-TaylorAsh Amin and Albena Azmanova on the uses of xenophobia. Daniel Z, who should know, Re-examining the 1970s Munich Olympic Village as "one of the best Urban Spaces in the World?"

The fall of the Heygate
Transpontine: See it come down

White leftist idiocy when it comes to the Middle East
Carl Packman on what Stop the War were thinking about Osama bin Laden. Jamie Glazov on How Vittorio Arrigoni Went to Gaza Hoping to Die. Barbarossa on the left's silence at the rapes of Palestinian solidarity activists. And from the Hitchens archive: how The Nation does not tire of jihad.

Bob's beats
History is Made at Night: Dance before the police come in. Two pieces of Jew-ish kitsch: Waldeck - Bei mir bist du schön and The Barry Sisters - Ay Ay HoraJunoon - Yar Mein Nachoogi (a brave rocker from Pakistan, via the wonderful Bertram). Via Waterloo, one of the most lyrically interesting bands around, the Indelicates: America, I Am Koresh, Our Daughters will never be free, Jerusalem, and more. Plus: Mayday music, Easter music, carnation revolution music, Passover music.

Poummm, variousness, more variousness, and Stuart rounds up the democratic left.

Hummod Alkhuder: Egypt prayers

The Indelicates: America

Leonard Cohen and the Webb Sisters: If it be your will

Saturday, May 07, 2011

From Bob's archive: Nadia Eweida and the Adams Family

I don't have any blogging time at the moment, and although I have lots of half-written posts I'm desperate to get out there, they all need too much work. So, another one from the archive. This is from November 2006, and it seemed kind of appropriate as a counterweight to the hornet's nest I stirred up by publishing Jogo's guest post this week. Some of the links are now dead, but I left most of them in because it wouldn't make sense not to. Bear in mind that government of the day was Blair's, but Cameron's government has arguably continued to stoke up anti-Muslim prejudice in much the same way.

Michelle Idrees was returning from a July 7th commemoration in Hyde Park when she was attacked by three men, the Adams Family, on a train. They called her a "f*cking Muslim slag" and a "Paki-loving whore". "Mrs Idrees had travelled into London with her 15-year-old nephew, a neighbour, her wheelchair-bound partner and their two children."

The main protagonist has been jailed for 15 months. Because Mrs Idrees is white, they could not be done for a racially aggravated crime, but only for a religiously aggravated crime. I think this was racism and these men are racist pieces of scum. They had earlier called a black woman on the train a "nigger", but this is a new form of racism, not attached to skin colour but instead to culture or "religion". Some reports have described her as wearing a burkha, others as wearing a headscarf. This was surely a key feature, even though the attack pre-dated the major media feeding frenzy around veils later in the summer.

This is why I agree to some extent with those who criticise this government for creating a climate of anti-Islamic hatred. This is dangerous shit to play with. However much Islamism represents a terrible threat to our society, playing fast and lose with glib generalisations about Muslims contributes to this sort of violence.

This is not the only viscious attack on vaguely Asian or Muslim looking people recently. This horrible incident is in court now in Leeds.

Interesting that the Dhimmi-watching websites have been pretty much silent on this court case. Plenty of fascist blogs, which I'm not linking to, have actually described the Adams men as free speech heroes. Just a shade away from them you have people like this Coulterite American blogger and this Conservative Party blogger, who have celebrated the fact that Mrs Idrees now plans to leave the country.

Meanwhile, a Lib Dem councillor thinks it's OK to use the work "Paki", claiming "only one or two people" find it offensive. "Are we going to ban 'golliwog' and 'blackboard' too?" he continued.

So, some people think that the UK and its government is creeping towards fascism, others think we are in thrall to Islam. The latter see the decision of BA to stop Nadia Eweida from wearing a crucifix at work as more example of special treatment for Muslims and other efniks, bad treatment for the white Christian majority. Her colleagues of other faiths, she says, are free to wear their "religious attire" at work.

Whatever petty-minded supervisor noticed Ms Eweida's cross and told her to take it off is a stupid, anal idiot. (Blair is right to say some battles are not worth fighting. Applies to both sides here.)

But of course Eweida does not have the right to wear a cross. For a start, unlike Orthodox Jewish men in yarmulkes or certain types of Muslim women in hijabs, Christians are not commanded by their faith to glorify Christ by displaying a cross. It is not equivalent.

And, asks Ophelia (commenting on this Times article), why should we "respect" this sort of commandment anyway?
What is this idea that people 'expect' 'respect' and that therefore everyone else 'needs' to give it to them? Why hasn't that imbecilic and tiresome idea been nipped in the bud yet? People can expect anything and everything they like; that doesn't oblige the rest of us to give it to them. I can sashay around the place announcing that I 'expect' everyone to fall down and knock their foreheads against the ground when I pass, but that doesn't oblige them to oblige, does it. Expect away, 'people of faith', I don't have to respect you unless you do something I consider respect-worthy. So get busy.
And now fucking Jack Straw has weighed in supporting her (giving grist to the mill of those who think Blair's government is at war with Islam...)

And it looks like BA might give in too, as the Church of England has a lot of financial clout. (See this Christian blogger, who notes that when God fails try Mammon.)

Blog link: Oh, Nadia, Shut Up