The man has a history of ethnic jokes in questionable taste. But this one has a nugget of truth in it. For years, UK governments have let other, poorer nations pay to train their own nationals to be doctors, nurses or midwives, and then, when they’re ready to help their own populations we recruit them to work in the NHS here.
And what about the health care needs of the people of the Phillipines, India, Bangladesh and other major sources of health-care professionals? Not our problem.
What is our problem is that the same governments posture and prattle about curbing immigration, giving British jobs to British people, and generally promote anti-immigration feeling which they know can become racial tension.
The NHS is a vote-winner. So is sounding off about immigrants. See how it works?
The newspapers are reporting that charming representative of English tolerance Geoffrey Clark has been suspended by UKIP for his manifesto in which he froths at the mouth about “grandmas from coming to the UK from the Punjab to baby sit for their daughters for years, thereafter to become a burden on the NHS after that”, suggests compulsory abortions for women carrying foetuses with Downs syndrome or spina bifida and offers all octogenarians free euthanasia advice.
Mr Clark accurately notes of UKIP that “Many voters still believe we are the BNP in disguise, are extremists, madmen or dotty”, and helpfully dispels any doubt by clarifying “I am clearly not a madman nor dotty”.
I wrote to him yesterday to ask him if this was some kind of elaborate hoax by political enemies and to clarify which of the two disclaimers is accurate: “THE FOLLOWING DOES NOT REFLECT UKIP PARTY POLICY. IT IS ENTIRELY THE PERSONAL OPINIONS OF GEOFFREY CLARK” (i.e., he supports these statements) or “I do not, and UKIP does not, endorse any of these ideas: they are suggestions of matters for the review body to properly consider” (i.e., he doesn’t support them, he’s just tossing them out there in an election manifesto should conversation dry up while he’s doorstepping.)
I received no reply and inexplicably his manifesto is no longer online. Luckily, I saved a copy to my hard-drive. Here’s the full, unedited text.
PERSONAL MANIFESTO OF GEOFFREY CLARK FOR THE ELECTIONS TO GRAVESHAM COUNCIL,
KENT COUNTY COUNCIL (BOTH 20 DECEMBER 2012) AND UKIP’S NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
IMPORTANT NOTE: THE FOLLOWING DOES NOT REFLECT UKIP PARTY POLICY. IT IS ENTIRELY THE PERSONAL OPINIONS OF GEOFFREY CLARK
I am a Kentishman, born in Dartford, a chartered accountant, Protestant married to a Catholic, a ‘baby boomer’ aged 66.
Population, immigration and threats to Britain’s Green Belt are the three linked issues closest to my heart. I am also concerned to improve the party’s image and in particular the candidate selection procedure. I am proactively opposed to Same Sex Marriage, which is an abhorrence.
MY TAKE ON OUR PARTY’S POLICIES
I am mainly content with our policies but believe we must be very much harder when presenting them to the electorate. We are far too sqeamish about attacking our opponents. We must attack them mercilessly, remorselessly and harshly.
MY PERSONAL MANIFESTO
The three main parties are highly vulnerable on this issue. Britain’s population rose by 3.7 million in the 10 years to 2011, according to the 2011 national census. This is desperately bad, pitiable, scary, and a cause for bowing of heads in national shame. UKIP must be much much harder on the political parties that caused it – LibLabCon – and on the countries whose populations are rising rapidly such as Kenya, Nigeria and Mexico. The UK is just as guilty and therefore we must be much harder on ourselves. Population growth and declining quality of life go hand in hand [Malthus, "The Principles of Population", 1798]. Attack these countries mercilessly on this issue. We must attack them for their wantonness; we must reduce their overseas aid to zero if they do not reduce the rapidly rising trend of population growth. Criticise the Pope and the Catholic Church for their wanton negligence on this subject. In the UK, restrict Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit to the the first two children only, and withdraw those benefits if there is a third and fourth child. The state should not subsidise large families. Educate people to have no more than two children. We must use all fair means to stabilise the UK population at 62 million, including leaving the EU.
The three main parties are highly vulnerable on this issue. Inward migration to the UK should not exceed net emigration in any year. Thus we must leave the EU to achieve this. Deport riff-raff such as the Zimbabwean woman asylum seeker who secretly worked in Smethwick while claiming £29,000 of benefits. Allow only one appeal, then straight on the ‘plane… stop making lawyers rich at the tax payer’s expense by allowing endless appeals. Halt all immigration including immigration from the Commonwealth for 10 years. Cut foreign student numbers by 75%. Stop grandmas from coming to the UK from the Punjab to baby sit for their daughters for years, thereafter to become a burden on the NHS after that. Introduce a ‘burden on the state’ test in which all visitors must have a return ticket and sufficient funds to maintain themselves during their stay. End one year visas. Re-introduce the Alien status and the need for them to report to a police station every 3 months or risk being deported. Refuse asylum to asylum seekers if they had a nearer safe country to flee to. For example, a Sudanese fleeing to Britain should flee to Egypt or Ethiopia rather than to Britain. Send asylum seekers on to those countries without appeal. Asylum should be refused and he/she should be returned there. Return them to their home country if they fail this test. Eject all asylum seekers when their home country is deemed safe or if any part of it is deemed safe, regardless of whether they have married here or have children here. Forbid EU citizens who are convicted criminals from coming here. Deport them if they have convictions that are serious.
THREATS TO BRITAIN’S GREEN BELT:
The three main parties are vulnerable on this issue, linked as it is to net immigration from the EU of 250,000 annually. The Green Party are vulnerable on parts of this issue. Politicians in the three failed main parties really don’t care about the Green Belt. If they cared seriously about the Green Belt in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, they could never support the High Speed Rail Link planned to go through those counties, nor an estuary airport, nor wind farms, nor make exemptions from planning rules to allow building on the Green Belt. But they support all of these severe attacks on the Green Belt – all of them devastate the peace of the countryside. They support them for confused reasons: ‘an expansion of construction activity will provide jobs’ (but for Slovaks and Poles); ‘We need to cut 40 minutes off the journey to Birmingham’ (while telling us that we should travel more by bike); ‘We only make exemptions from building regulations for social housing and affordable housing because it’s much cheaper to build social housing on the Green Belt’ (the point of the Green Belt is that it’s not supposed to be built on at all, except for agriculture); ‘Wind farms provide an alternative source of green energy’ (extremely inefficiently, with huge subsidies that are not affordable). UKIP must seize these traitors by the throat, metaphorically speaking of course, lambast and fight mercilessly anyone who wants to build on the Green Belt whoever they may be, whether Government, farmers, housing associations like Moat Housing (“We build on the Green Belt because it’s a lot cheaper” – the scumbags!) calling them swines, speculators and traitors to the peace of the countryside. Attack them mercilessly on this issue. Offer support to local action groups who are fighting plans to build on the Green Belt. Invest money in setting up such groups where they don’t exist. Become associated closely with this issue. Start marches, make banners. March with me to picket Moat Housing’s two head offices in December 2012, bearing placards reading “HAPPY CHRISTMAS MOAT, GREEN BELT DESTROYERS”. If you want to join me, contact me on email@example.com
UN AND THE MIDDLE EAST:
The three main parties are vulnerable on this issue. They all love the UN. The UN desperately needs reform. The three main failed parties should stop supporting Israel so much. Recognise the reality that Israel is as much a threat to world peace as Iran – perhaps more so. Israel has ignored every UN resolution ever passed that told Israel to stop doing something, such as building settlements in occupied territory. Iran is generally shifty and not to be trusted. The UN should eject both Israel and Iran from the UN. But of course they won’t, because life is very comfortable at the UN, and also ejecting countries may set a rather uncomfortable precedent affecting themselves. Therefore, reconstitute the UN. Attack the other parties mercilessly on this issue. We ourselves are vulnerable on this issue. We must change course.
SAME SEX MARRIAGE:
The three main parties are extremely vulnerable on this issue, which will become a major issue when it nears a Parliamentary vote. We may secure the first defections of MPs to UKIP on this issue. Mr Cameron may be unseated by his own MPs as a result of pushing ahead with this unwanted measure. All three failed main party leaders – the LibLabCon – are in favour of it. The Greens are very much in favour of it, as many of them live in Brighton. I oppose Same Sex Marriage, which is an aberration, an attack on the Christian church and on other religions, and our culture, and is completely unnecessary. It is so divisive. Boris Johnson wants to push ahead even faster with it. UKIP must be much harder on the “Achilles heels” of other parties such as this issue, making them even bigger issues. It is a major missed opportunity otherwise.
My position on Same Sex Marriage is:
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
I am tolerant of gay people. I support civil partnership. But gay marriage is a step way too far. It is an aberration. Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Milliband are aberrant to support it and traitorous to our nation to legislate for it. It is an incredibly divisive step. We are not permitted a referendum on the matter “because we operate through Parliament”. Because the Bill to legalise same sex marriage will be a free vote and will pass overwhelmingly despite the nation’s overwhelming opposition to it, it will render Parliament undemocratic and unrepresentative of the British people. This will undermine completely the already shaky esteem in which we hold our politicians. This will be a calamity for our nation’s democracy. Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Milliband all need to be toppled from their posts to prevent this treachery to the British people, its customs, traditions, and religions.
We must draw a line in the sand and say “This line must not be crossed”. Write to your MPs and ask them to topple the three main party leaders from their posts if they pursue this divisive measure. We must not let these three leaders sleep at night over this treachery. We must organise a march on Parliament about it. Who will join me on the march?
DEFENDING BRITISH CULTURE FROM ATTACK:
The three main parties are extremely vulnerable on this issue, as are the Greens. If a Christian church becomes a mosque or a Sikh temple, as has often happened, it is absurd to say – as the 3 failed main parties do say – that this makes no difference to our culture. On the contrary, it completely changes the tone of the area, causes an influx of adherents to those faiths, and causes white flight. White flight has begun in earnest. We must ban the burkha as France has done, as this is a cultural affront to the native population. We must take care not to become a minority in our own country, as is the case in London already, where over 50% of the population is born outside the UK, including 100,000 Egyptians and 100,000 Brazilians. Will the failed 4 failed parties who read these facts finally admit that our native culture is being subsumed in another culture or, even worse, swamped? You can bet your bottom dollar that they won’t. They will persist in their lie, and thus will continue to dupe the electorate and betray our country for longer. We should not be squeamish about this matter, nor be furtive about going on the attack. We must attack them remorselessly over it. It is a major missed opportunity otherwise.
I wrote this poem about the problem:
“WE MUST TURN THE TIDE, AND THEN ADVANCE
… Do you see?
It’s so much like the end of Rome
With all the Roman legions returning home
Permitting Britannia to burn, decay, alone.
But other foreign legions are returning,
Bringing a kind of cancer in their wake;
Cancer not of Britain’s doing, but one that Britons make.
Our present leaders are elected to preside
Over our ancient green and pleasant land
Just to give it all away, to an alien hand.
So this cancer slowly spreads all around us.
Then our empire crashes, near unnoticed.
Must we hand it to the strangers without protest?
Will our children hate us for an absent deed? –
The treachery of which is so apparent?
With marriage killed, what deed is more abhorrent?
First freedom, then glory, and when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption. Barbarism at last!
‘Tis but the same rehearsal of the past.
…So do we wait, or do we act?
We must strike out now, and turn the tide,
There is very little more time to wait,
‘Else children will have for us the guilty, nought but hate.”
By Geoffrey Clark 17.11.12
though George Gordon Byron helped with verse 6
DEFENDING THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION AND ALL RELIGIONS FROM ATTACK:
The three main parties are extremely vulnerable on this issue, as are the Greens. There are so many examples of Christians being pushed onto the back foot and being disadvantaged in favour of other religions; punished for wearing crucifixes while it’s OK to wear the burkha. Keep Sunday special. Defend the freedom of religion, other than wearing the burkha.
THE KORAN NEEDS TO BE UPDATED
Here are some passages from the Koran [Penguin Classics version]:-
You are forbidden to take in marriage married women, except captives whom you own as slaves.
If any one of you cannot afford to marry a free believing woman, let him marry a slave-girl who is a believer.
Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior over the others and because they spend their wealth to maintain them.
What sensible person believes that stupidity today? Anyone who does believe it today must be a scumbag and must be told so. Stop being squeamish about telling scumbags that they are scumbags, just because they happen to be Muslim scumbags.
The Koran is 1300 years old and is in desperate need of updating so men cease to abuse it. You will doubtless agree that the Koran needs to address women as well as men, and a lot of updating is needed. How can such a book be respected – quite aside from being followed? UKIP has a solution. The leaders of the main faiths should get together in 2013 and agree to update all their holy books by 2020 then re-issue them as appropriate for the world in which we live today, not for the world of hundreds of years ago. Then, women were subservient and it was “sort of OK” to have slaves. Today it is unconscionable behaviour.
[Slavery still exists today among Muslims, e.g. in Mauretania, but that issue must await more research]
DEFEND THE MAJORITY FROM A TYRANNY OF THE MINORITIES [WHILE DEFENDING MINORITIES]
Each of us will be a minority at some time or another: for example, when we are on holiday in a strange country. But in that instance we brush up on that country’s culture and take care not to offend anyone there. But we British don’t demand that others do that here. We tend to respect their culture, and allow them to deviate far from ours, and then tolerate that deviation even if it is an irritant. I am not happy about that, and oppose that approach. In the 1960′s there was talk of integration of minorities into the British culture, and governments strove to achieve it, but that aim seems to have been abandoned in favour of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism can cause separation, ghettoes, erect imaginary or even real walls, and serious divisions occur, whereupon tensions rise, all quite needlessly. An even worse danger lurks. When a minority perceives that it is in the unique position of being free from criticism, for example travellers tresspassing on land (using the race card), and homosexuals demanding to stay in a B & B against the wishes of the owners (invoking the Equalities Act), there is a serious risk that they will abuse their privileged position to the detriment of the majority. It can cause real hatreds to build, which produced the London bombings of 2005. Then you have the beginnings of a tyrranny of the minorities against the majority, a supreme unfairness, whereupon very serious strife will likely ensue. We must avoid this calamity occurring by talking of integration again, and achieving it, and cease the encouragement of multiculturalism. In my opinion the tyrrany of the minorities has begun, as evidenced by the travellers at Vale Farm in Essex, and by the homosexual couple taking the B & B owners to court and winning the case. Their so-called human rights have led to actual human wrongs, and therefore those abominable rights have to be reversed, as they constitute a monstrous attack on the majority. Christians have been attacked in Sudan, Nigeria and Indonesia. Churches are not allowed to be built in Saudi Arabia, China, and some other countries, whereas we in the UK allow any religious building to be built here. In order better to protect minorities worldwide, we should encourage all religions to update their respective holy books. The King James Bible is 400 years old, the Koran 1300 years old. In the latter, women are presented very clearly as being the property of men, to be beaten if disobedient [WOMEN: 4 : 34]. The Torah is ancient and the Sikh holy book over 100 years old. These books were not written for today’s world. Each of these gives some offence to the adherents of the others.
To summarise, we must defend minorities while taking great care to ensure the majority is not disadvantaged.
HEALTH CARE AND THE NHS
The NHS should remain free to all British citizens at the point of delivery. Non-British persons should be required to take out compulsory health insurance cover that includes both health care and repatriation to their home country in the event of serious illness. Many jurisdictions insist on this insurance cover, but the UK does not. To compensate, abolish national insurance (which in any case is a tax on jobs) and combine it with income tax. Visitors including tourists must be refused entry to the UK without health and repatriation insurance (apart from EU citizens currently, which is a concession that will change after we leave the EU). A serious national debate and a government review are required urgently regarding service levels in the NHS, as the NHS risks becoming unaffordable in the future. The review should embrace all avenues for rendering the NHS more cost effective and affordable. Such matters might include the following aspects: medical treatment for those over 80 years of age, which is disproportionately costly to the NHS; (the cost of treatment for the often multiple ailments of the very elderly is growing very fast); identifying what services can and can no longer be afforded by the NHS. If the NHS in the future is rendered unaffordable, what shall be cut? It’s no good saying we must cut the national debt, and then keep increasing expenditure, as we are doing. The review might also include: legalising euthanasia and giving free euthanasia advice to all folk over 80 years of age, and indeed to all others. Hold a national referendum about these pressing matters. If we don’t make these changes, the national debt will soar and the NHS will eventually collapse – two calamities instead of only one. Other items for review: ceasing all free IVF treatment on the NHS; cutting unecessary waste e.g the destruction of drugs in care homes when residents move on to the next care home or the next world; the pregnancy abortion time limit; compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, Spina Bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, could render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family. CLARIFICATION TO AVOID CONFUSION AND MISREPRESENTATION: I do not, and UKIP does not, endorse any of these ideas: they are suggestions of matters for the review body to properly consider in light of the stated desire of all political parties to reduce the national debt.
We should indulge in unashamed elitism. Promote the cleverest British students. Introduce grammar schools everywhere. Senior schools should be allowed to specialise more and focus more. We should maintain the national education budget but not increase it as a proportion of GDP or national expenditure. Instead, we should encourage all people to educate themselves by using libraries and the Internet more and by making education courses tax deductible. Allow head teachers to exclude any pupil if the Chair of Governors supports the action. Defend head teachers by charging £10 to complainants to make a written complaint, as each complaint takes half a week – a huge distraction. Educate parents to support the school staff as much as they support their children. Make parenting courses tax deductible. Eliminate bogus colleges. Reduce foreign students by 75%. Cease the 5 year “right to stay” concession for foreign students – they must go back to their home country.
Some of the above aims will never be achieved unless we leave the EU.
MY AIMS ON POPULATION, IMMIGRATION, SAVING THE GREEN BELT, FIGHTING SAME SEX MARRIAGE, DEFENDING BRITISH CULTURE, DEFENDING THE MAJORITY, CAN NOT BE ACHIEVED WHILE WE REMAIN IN THE EU.
Campaign to leave the EU. Force an in-out referendum. Win it. Leave the EU, then participate in an economic and cultural renaissance of our once great nation. The EE is too weak knee’d – as is our own government – to criticise China for invading Tibet, and destroying the Tibetan people’s freedom, language, currency and culture. Why were the Jews allowed to have their own homeland and allowed to settle in land occupied and stolen from Arabs, yet the Tibetans cannot have their homeland in their own territory? What is the EU doing about ending Chinese imperialism and colonialism? Nothing. What is the UK doing about it? Nothing.
The three main parties are vulnerable on this aspect. The Coalition government is unpopular. It is mid-term and voters are prepared to give other parties a chance. UKIP is growing in popularity. UKIP must be fearless in calling other parties TRAITORS TO BRITAIN which on several fronts they are. Implement a much more robust candidate selection process. Party leaders must not serve on the Candidate Selection Committee and must be forbidden ever to discuss candidate selection with members of that committee. Fight every seat but focus on, and concentrate resources including money on, the most winnable seats, making sure that they have excellent candidates. Hire a researcher to identify winnable seats. Party leaders should fight more parliamentary bye-elections, provided nof course that they have been properly approved then selected as candidates. Print a UKIP membership form on the reverse of 50% of all A4 election leaflets delivered to houses… every newsletter to houses to contain one within it … every UKIP member’s newsletter to contain tow loose ones within it, with a request to the member to hand them out or leave them on bus or train seats.
THE PARTY’S IMAGE:
Any organisation’s image is always improvable, and in my opinion our party’s image is much improvable. Many voters still believe we are the BNP in disguise, are extremists, madmen or dotty. Although they don’t tell me this to my face when I campaign (perhaps because I am clearly not a madman nor dotty) I sincerely believe that many are thinking it. I myself have been described in a Tory leaflet as being an extremist, which I certainly am not. I am sometimes told by voters that they will be wasting their vote. I feel that they tend to believe what the other parties say, more than what we say. Thus we are still not sufficiently trusted. If this is true, then this is our Achilles Heel; we are on the back foot in terms of image and so we have to work much harder on this, invest in this, and train our candidates in how to counter this. It will cost money. This is just one reason why I believe our candidate selection process has to be made much more robust.
In our literature we often state the obvious, repeat what we have said many times before (£55 million spent on the EU daily, which fact may well be true but it gets tiresome for readers to keep on reading it, and we often fail to inspire. Seize one local issue of great import, where the other parties are vulnerable on it, and keep on hammering it home. We should combine hardness of attack and forthrightness on the one hand, with the use of beautiful, clever, inspirational language on the other, rarely using aggressive intolerant language, although such language is very occasionally necessary. All facts must be well evidenced by, for example, displaying photocopies of newspaper headlines or whole articles – not just giving quotes from them, and also not just from the Express (bless that newspaper). We must provide very high quality evidence that supports what we are saying and link what we are saying to our country’s problems. Electoral support will then rise. My personal technique when campaigning is to invoke risk management, and to produce a risk register, be it national or local, and issue it. In it state what the precise risk is of not following UKIP policy on this or that matter … a scare tactic, yes, but why not?
When what we say is better evidenced, and more compelling, and beautifully written, voters will sit up and take note and begin to believe that what we say is sensible and relates to the nation’s problems … then they will vote for us.
THE BATTLE THAT WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR FOR SO MANY YEARS HAS COMMENCED.
JOIN ME IN THE NEXT SKIRMISH – MY BYE-ELECTION IN MEOPHAM NORTH WARD ON 20 DECEMBER 2012.
JOIN ME IN PICKETING MOAT HOUSING’S TWO HEAD OFFICES ON 10, 14, 17 AND 21 DECEMBER 2012. THANK YOU NIGEL FOR HELPING ME IN THE LAST ONE, LAST YEAR.
Nigel Farage, Chris Adams, Ray Finch and Sanya Thandi will tell you what a decent fellow I am, and how devoted I have been, and very much still am today, to UKIP.
DO YOU REALISE THAT THE BATTLE THAT WE HAVE WAITED YEARS TO FIGHT IS NOW IN FULL FLOW? JOIN US IN THE BATTLE FOR FREEDOM.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE POPULATION THREAT TO UK AND THE WORLD:-
The History of the Future [population growth]
Juliet Gardiner continues her History of the Future with a look at the predictions of the clergyman and economist, Thomas Robert Malthus.
This late-18th century vision of the future came from an urgent problem Malthus identified, which threatened the future of the masses. The problem, as he saw it, was that population growth would outstrip man’s ability to feed himself. Unless population was controlled by man, famine and disaster would inevitably result.
Malthus developed this theory in 1798 in his essay The Principle of Population. He was a man of God – the curate in a parish in rural Surrey from where he was well-placed to notice that he was Christening more babies than the number of people he was burying, and became alarmed about levels of rural poverty on his doorstep. To modern ears his predictions seem startlingly prescient as we struggle with population explosion in many parts of the world, and fret about our ability to feed ourselves with finite resources, debating the merits of GM crops.
Juliet Gardiner digs down into the predictions to discover how the future looked from where Malthus stood. Where did his dark vision about future population come from in a society which had not yet conducted a census? Juliet speaks to Donald Winch and Niall O’Flaherty and visits the Surrey parish where Malthus preached, Christened and buried the dead.
Produced by Victoria Shepherd A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4
In 2011 13 per cent (7.5 million) of usual residents of England and Wales were born outside the UK; in 2001 this was 9 per cent (4.6 million).
What that means isn’t completely clear-cut. My household has 4 people. I was born in Yemen, of British parents on government business. My wife was born in Thailand, as was our daughter (who has dual nationality). Of the four of us, only our son was born in the UK, yet he’s mixed-race. I’m the only one of the four who is “white British”, yet was not born here.
Poland showed by far the largest percentage increase in the top ten countries of birth, with a nine-fold rise over the last decade and following its accession to the EU in 2004.
It’s got to be hard to be a nutty racist these days. What do you do about the Poles, with their polite, hard-working, church-going lifestyle? It’s even hard to spot them in the street.
In fact, the knuckle-draggers should be delighted by the influx of Poles, given that the number of people identifying as christians has decreased from 72% to 59% in ten years, while the number of muslims has increased from 3% to 5%. In the little-Englander worldview, all muslims have dozens of children because they want to take over the world. Luckily, Poles are catholic and therefore have loads of children, too. Better a white catholic UK than a brown muslim UK, eh?
Of course, that’s not how it will play out. The really interesting statistic is the 25% of people who have “no religion”. That doesn’t mean that 25% of the population is rational, of course; many with no religion mutter that they are “spiritual” and believe in reiki, homeopathy, astrology or some other nonsense.
By asserting that “for centuries, Christianity in Europe has been inspiring, motivating, strengthening and improving our societies”, Warsi echoes Benedict’s claim that religion is an ally of freedom and an enemy of tyranny.
Expect to see dozens of “inter-faith” working groups of strange (but heterosexual) bedfellows spring up in the next decade to lament our godlessness and hector us into allowing them to tell us what to think, who to love, who to marry and where we can do it.
Expect their efforts to fail, and see the “no religion” numbers grow further in 2021.
Personally, I think he seems like a decent man, and it’s good to have a black man in the White House. But, wider than that, I don’t care what America votes for itself. If you want god mentioned all the time in politics as well as in churches, that’s up to you. If you like to pretend that judicial murder acts as a deterrent to crime, or that adequately looking after the sick and poor is socialism, and view Roe vs Wade as evil rather than a basic human right, that’s up to you. I’m appalled when loopy theocracies like Iran and Saudi impose medievalism on their citizens, but you seem to like this stuff; you vote for it freely and fairly, and that’s your right.
But Mr Obama wants to rein in your military. Mr Romney was opposed to cuts. This matters to me because American military adventurism affects people outside your borders. As the old saying goes, to a man with aircraft carriers and cruise missiles, everything looks like a cry for intervention.
So if the re-election of Mr Obama means you’ll spend your money making life better inside your own borders rather than playing chess with other countries, we’re all better off.
I used to love going on peaceful demos when I was a kid. Aged about 14, I’d be on a coach once a month to London, or Greenham Common or some US military base to march in support of CND, Troops Out or against the National Front.
When today’s anti-austerity marches were announced, my wife and I thought it would be great to march as a family, to show the government how we feel.
But I’m ashamed to say that I got cold feet. Recently, the Metropolitan Police have taken to “kettling” demonstrators. Wikipedia defines kettling as “a police tactic for controlling large crowds during demonstrations or protests. It involves the formation of large cordons of police officers who then move to contain a crowd within a limited area. Protesters are left only one choice of exit, determined by the police, or are completely prevented from leaving. The tactic has proved controversial, not least because it has resulted in the detention of ordinary bystanders as well as protestors.”
There have been reports of people being kettled for hours with no access to food, or to toilets. As a chap with Multiple Sclerosis, being contained with no access to the loo is unlikely to end well. More importantly, it’s likely to traumatise my kids, particularly my son who has learning difficulties.
So, we decided not to go. And I hate it that fear of the police has prevented four people expressing their opinion.
(It’s too late to help us now, but there’s an app called Sukey “designed to keep people safe, mobile and informed during demonstrations. We crowdsource updates from twitter and other online and offline sources in order to provide our users with a timely overview of what is going on at a demonstration”.)
According to the Daily Mirror, five Tory backbenchers have said in a book: “Too many people in Britain, we argue, prefer a lie-in to hard work … Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world … We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor.”
MP John Prescott wrote “The five Tory MPs calling British workers ‘lazy” have only ever been ex Tory advisors & Tory think tank wonks”.
That’s not quite true. Some of them have been employed in back-breaking, minimum wage roles like management, “advising”, press offices and consultancy.
The five are:
Kwasi Kwarteng, who lived the pitifully low-paid life of an analyst in financial services before becoming an MP
Dominic Raab started his career as an international lawyer at Linklaters, a law firm in the City, working on project finance, international litigation and competition law. He was then a civil servant, and finally an “adviser” before becoming an MP
Chris Skidmore worked for David Willetts and Michael Gove as an advisor, before being selected to fight his home seat of Kingswood seat in 2009.
Elizabeth Truss: “Prior to entering Parliament, Elizabeth was Deputy Director at the think-tank Reform, where she advocated more rigorous academic standards in schools, a greater focus on tackling serious and organised crime and urgent action to deal with Britain’s falling competitiveness. Elizabeth worked in the energy and telecommunications industry for ten years as a commercial manager and economics director and is a qualified management accountant.” Ten whole years of gruelling commercial management. Imagine!
Priti Patel who worked at Conservative Central Office, moving to Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party, heading the press office. She then left politics and worked as a midwife, a nurse, then a careworker in a home for the elderly in a deprived area of Liverpool. Ha ha! I’m joking: she worked for Weber Shandwick, a public affairs consultancy, before becoming an MP.
I was asked this on Twitter. The answer is, I don’t. I’ve got nothing against it. I participate in sport (kickboxing, which isn’t an Olympic sport, although nonsense like water polo is), and enjoy it well enough although I’m not comfortable with the Nietzschean cult of the Superman of many Sports fans.
I hope that the men and women who’ve trained so hard receive the medals, sponsorship and respect they rightly deserve – from whatever nation they come from. (Pumped-up nationalism leaves me cold, too. I’d rather see the best athlete win than the British one.)
My most trivial beef with the Olympics is that we’re obliged to care. The TV news is dominated by Olympics news, whereas I’d argue that the civil war in Syria is more important.
Primarily, though, it’s the horrible corporatism that sticks in my throat. If the Olympics really were a coming together of nations to celebrate human endeavour™, there wouldn’t be Olympic branding police stopping people using Mastercards or buying Pepsi. What the Olympics is really about is money and marketing.
Two of the sponsors are Coca-Cola and McDonalds, peddlars of sugar-filled soft drinks and vile fast food. In the not-too-distant future, that will seem as ridiculous as allowing cigarette companies to sponsor sports events.
Any sporting event that allows Coke and McDonalds to sponsor isn’t really about sport – it’s about money.
(See also London 2012: how the Olympics suckered the Left (in the Torygraph!): “The London Olympics are the most Right-wing major event in Britain’s modern history. Billions of pounds are taken from poor and middle-income taxpayers and service users to build temples to a corporate and sporting elite. Democratic, grassroots sport is stripped of money to fund the most rarefied sport imaginable. The police and the state are turned into the enforcement arm of Coca-Cola. How did this event suddenly become the toast of the Left?” and Father of Olympic branding: my rules are being abused “London has gone too far, says man who brought sponsors to the Games”.)
Although she’s a Tory homophobe, I’ve always quite liked Sayeeda Warsi. The fact that she’s an Asian woman, with a Northern accent makes her stand out from the artistocrats who inevitably form the majority of any Tory cabinet. I’d also admired the way she was a plain-speaker, too.
My appreciation of her plain-speaking disintegrated when I saw that she was on a ministerial delegation to the Pope and argued against secularism, presumably using my tax money to fund her superstitious pilgrimage to a priest.
Now she’s been claiming £165 a day for staying at a friend’s house, but not passing the money on. This may or may not be fraud, so may be illegal, but it’s certainly immoral, particularly when the party she’s Chair of wants to cap housing benefits for those who aren’t aristocrats or lawyers to £90 a week – about 8% of what Warsi was claiming.
The people whose money she has been “claiming” cannot vote her out, because she was never elected. The only time she stood for election, she was defeated by 4,615 votes, achieving a lower share of the vote than in 2001, despite a national swing towards the Conservative party.
If she has any decency, she’ll resign. Or if David Cameron has any decency he’ll sack her. And then, when she’s out of work, just like all the other public servants put out of a job by the Government’s policies, and her housing benefit is capped at £90, for a second or two I’ll believe the lie she’s been telling that “we’re all in this together”.
placezombies.com – a quick and simple service for getting pictures of zombies as placeholders in your designs.
This is why I love working with Norwegians. The ultra-nationalist terrorist mass-killer Anders Behring Breivik hates the children’s song “Children of the Rainbow” that describes a “World where – every sister and every brother – shall live together – like small children of the rainbow”. So 40,000 Norwegians got together to sing it, just to annoy him.
It’s a great example. The UK and USA are intent on showing how much we value democracy and liberty by clamping down on what people can say, see, think, and clap them in prison without trial. Norwegians, conversely, reaffirm their values of tolerance and open-ness when they’re under attack.
Lyrics of Lillebjørn Nilsen’s Barn av regnbuen (Children of the Rainbow), lifted from theworld.org:
En himmel full av stjerner (A heaven full of stars)
Blått hav så langt du ser (Blue seas as far as you can see)
En jord der blomster gror (A world where flowers grow)
Kan du ønske mer ? (Can you ask for more?)
Sammen skal vi leve (We shall live together)
hver søster og hver bror (Every sister and every brother)
Små barn av regnbuen (Small children of the rainbow)
og en frodig jord. (And a blossoming world.)
Noen tror det ikke nytter (Some don’t think it matters)
Andre kaster tiden bort med prat (Others waste time with small talk)
Noen tror at vi kan leve av (Some thing we can live on…
plast og syntetisk mat. (…plastic and synthetic food.)
Og noen stjeler fra de unge (And some steal from the young)
som blir sendt ut for å sloss (who are sent off for a fight.)
Noen stjeler fra de mange (Some steal from the masses)
som kommer etter oss (who come after us.)
Si det til alle barna! (Tell all the children)
Og si det til hver far og mor: (And tell every father and mother)
Ennå har vi en sjanse (That we still have a chance)
til å dele et håp på jord. (to share hope for the world.)
This is where I get myself in to trouble for being a racist homophobe: I believe that a Christan group advertising its “therapy” to make gay people straight should be allowed to run its adverts. I tweeted “The ‘gay cure’ loonies have every right to to advertise on buses just as the atheists did. Free speech is for those I disagree with, too”, and many disagreed with me, so here’s a justification of my position with more than 140 characters.
The gay activist charity, Stonewall, recently ran some advertisements on 1,000 London buses which featured the slogan: “Some people are gay. Get over it!”.
A Christian group called Core Issues Trust attempted to book ads on buses in top tourist routes that read “Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!”. The adverts were banned by the Mayor of London.
CORE is a non-profit Christian initiative seeking to support men and women with homosexual issues who voluntarily seek change in sexual preference and expression. It respects the rights of individuals who identify as ‘gay’ who do not seek change…
CORE is a Christian initiative seeking to support men and women who struggle with homosexuality, and related issues. Of particular concern to us are people who struggle to find a useful place within the church, either because local congregations find it difficult to get alongside people who haven’t yet resolved their issues, or because the church has taken a liberal perspective which undermines their desire to move away from homosexual practice and preference.…The initiative is educational in nature offering some therapeutic support as capacity to do so allows.
Homosexuality isn’t a ‘disease’ so we’re not looking for a ‘cure’.
Personally, I find this stuff pretty offensive and it seems to me that if people are struggling to balance their homosexuality and their church, they should look at changing their church rather than change their sexual orientation.
But my finding it offensive doesn’t matter at all. I support free speech— and in doing so, I must support free speech for those I disagree with.
None of the arguments for banning the Core Issues ads seem to justify censorship.
If the ads were a direct incitement to hurt gay people, then they shouldn’t be allowed. Recently three muslim men were jailed for distributing a leaflet calling for gay people to be executed.
But the Core Issues advert isn’t “hate speak”. It is certainly homophobic – which I find offensive – but you can’t ban people saying something just because other people will find it offensive. By that logic, intolerant people could have asked for the original Stonewall advert to be banned on the grounds that they find promotion of gay equality offensive.
Others suggest that the ads should be banned because it promotes a “therapy” which doesn’t work. The equivalence with homeopathy was drawn: don’t ban the practice, but forbid it being advertised as a medicine.
The trouble with that argument is that no-one knows whether the “therapy” works or not, because nobody knows whether homosexuality is nature, nurture, or conscious choice. We all know people who have experimented with homosexuality in adolescence, but subsequently settled into being straight (and one of my oldest friends is a gay man who briefly flirted with straight sex). So in this sense, it’s possible for a homophobe with a crude mode of expression to say that those people were going through a “phase” and they can “get over it”.
There are stories in the press about people like Peterson Toscano who’ve had counselling to “cure” them of being gay and it’s caused them years of psychological misery. But there are others who claim that the therapy worked – and who is anyone else to say they’re lying?
Estelle said on Twitter “think of the pain those posters will cause to closeted kids” and she’s absolutely right. Similarly, I have a daughter and I worry about what advertising does to a young woman’s body image. But you can’t ban something because it might upset someone else.
What I find most worrying is that so many people are happy to ban or censor people saying things that offend them. Everyone has a right not to be physically hurt by other people. No-one has a right to be protected from hurt feelings.
Added 16 April:
It seems that I’ve mis-expressed myself, so just to be absolutely clear: I do not support the Core Values Trust and believe its “therapy” to be poppycock. But I can’t agree with stopping them advertising. As far as I can tell from the news reports, Boris Johnson didn’t ban the adverts because they are against any rules about truthfulness in advertising, but on ideological grounds. The Telegraph quotes him as saying
London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance.
It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.
But London Mayor Boris Johnson ordered them to be pulled at the last minute arguing that they were offensive. He was backed by Transport for London who said the adverts were not “consistent with TfL’s commitment to a tolerant and inclusive London.”
I stand by my opinion: although I completely disagree with the message that being gay is somehow morally wrong, or that it can be “cured”. By all means, ban the advertising because it contravenes a code, but it is wrong to withdraw such advertising simply because it might upset people.
A couple of other examples of the law protecting people from being a bit upset:
Tweeter prosecuted for swearing – “A blogger and tweeter – Olly Cromwell – was found guilty on Friday, 13th April, simply for swearing at a Bexley, London, councillor in a Twitter message. The prosecution alleged he called a senior Bexley councillor a ‘cunt’ and are seeking a custodial sentence of 45 days for each letter of the word.
Student jailed for racist Fabrice Muamba tweets – “A student has been jailed for 56 days for posting offensive comments on Twitter about the on-pitch collapse of Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba … District judge John Charles told Stacey: “It was racist abuse via a social networking site instigated as a result of a vile and abhorrent comment about a young footballer who was fighting for his life. At that moment, not just the footballer’s family, not just the footballing world but the whole world were literally praying for his life. Your comments aggravated this situation.”
It’s difficult to see how a racist tweet “aggravated this situation”? Did it cause the heart attack to be more severe? Did it somehow reduce the efficacy of the “literal” prayers? It seems odd that one racist can outweigh the prayers of “the whole world”. The man’s a racist idiot. But being a racist idiot isn’t against the law. His opinions are offensive. But so what? He didn’t incite anyone to hurt other people, so what does sending him to prison achieve? Unless the judge has seen American History X and believes damascene conversions happen in real life, the custodial sentence sends a message: keep your opinions quiet. And that is highly undemocratic and dangerous to a free society.