Archive for the 'current events' Category

Viva Istanbul

I lived in Istanbul for a couple of years and love the city enormously, so have been glued to the coverage of the Istanbul protests (revolution?) over the last few days.

It started out as a peaceful sit-in by some citizens who were angry over plans to redevelop one of the few remaining green spaces in the city (the population of which has increased tenfold between 1950 and 2000). Heavy-handed policing brought more people out into the streets. This cartoon (circulated by a Turkish friend) illustrates this well:

women watering flower is sprayed with tear gas by policman in riot gear

When I lived in Turkey (in the mid nineties) the police were a law unto themselves. Every month they’d come to the bar where we English teachers hung out to demand on-the-spot “fines” for our not having passports (they knew that the passports were taken away for weeks by the grindingly bureaucratic work permit authorities). When a bomb planted by the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) exploded, my Kurdish girlfriend hid in the house for a week; she explained that the police would beat or rape local Kurdish people. Forced virginity tests were common.

So what do the protestors in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir want? It seems (bucking the comfortable Western narrative) that this group of young muslim people aren’t reactionary zealots. Sumandef, a Turkish woman writing in English on her blog post What is Happenning in Istanbul? says what many of those interviewed on TV and friends of mine say:

By so called «complaining» about my country I am hoping to gain:

Freedom of expression and speech,

Respect for human rights,

Control over the decisions I make concerning my on my body,

The right to legally congregate in any part of the city without being considered a terrorist.

To all who are protesting in Turkey (or anywhere else) against authoritarians who wish to tell us how to live our lives, I wish you safety, and success.

Eating well, cheaply

When the horsemeat scandal was all over the papers showing that lots of readymade and fast food is really nasty, I said to some friends that I was glad that my family always buys real meat, and fresh vegetables and prepare them ourselves (we don’t do it to save money, we just hate junk food). Some of my friends told me that’s because I’m comparatively well-off and that many poorer people can’t afford to do that.

I decided to cost up a favourite meal of ours: free-range roast chicken with all the trimmings: roast potatos, roast pumpkin, carrots, parsnips and frozen peas (life’s too short to shell peas). We also had Yorkshire pudding, even though this shocks traditionalists who clam they exclusively accompany beef.

This easily serves five (including two ravenous teenagers) so that generally we don’t need an evening meal if we eat this at lunchtime.

  • Free range chicken, £4.99 (1.5 kgs)
  • Yorkshire Puddings, 55p for 15 (we used 7, so 26p)
  • 1kg Potatos (90p at our local shop)
  • roast pumpkin, 79p (we used half, so 40p)
  • 1 bag Aldi baby carrots, 49p (put them raw around the chicken so they slowly absorb the chicken juice and cook that way)
  • 3 Parsnips (half a 79p bag, so 40p)
  • Sainsbury’s Sage & Onion Stuffing, Basics 85g, 15p (we’ve tried the posher stuff but the kids like this best)
  • broccoli, 79p
  • frozen peas, 99p/ kg. approx 250g, so 25p.
  • Small amount of sunflower oil – say 25p
  • 1 Knorr chicken stock pot to mix with veg water to make gravy (8 for £2.40, so 40p)

The sum total of the ingredients was £9.67.

Running a gas cooker costs £7.24 a month to cook for a family of 4, so let’s divide that by 30 days and estimate that it cost 25p in fuel to cook this meal.

To go with the meal, we had a £3.59 bottle of Toro Loco Tempranillo 2011 (which won a silver medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition).

This makes the ingredients, fuel and wine cost £13.51, or £2.70 a head. I can’t find the pre-recall price of Findus “beef” lasagne ready meals, but a search on Tesco website for “ready meal” suggests that the cheapest are about £1 for about 300g of food, which wouldn’t satisfy me let alone growing kids. My meal was at least double that size – each person had 200g of roast spuds as well as all the other stuff – and included a large glass of wine each for the three adults (and a good glug into the gravy).

Therefore, I’m going to stick my neck out and say that it certainly isn’t more expensive to eat properly, and is much better for you (although it took me about an hour of prep time rather than 5 minutes to microwave).

A cake for Thatcher’s legacy

My daughter’s Easter holiday homework was to design and make a commemoration cake. Like most of her class, she had planned to make an Easter cake, until the day when Margaret Thatcher died.

She researched her life and found a graph of unemployment figures during the Thatcher premiership which resembled the letter “M”. Add a swift “T” for the initials of The Great Helmswoman, the dates of her life in icing over a home-made Victorian values sponge and we have an edible commemoration of a true “Let them eat cake” politician.

cake commerorating Mrs Thatcher

My daughter felt it important that the cake be entirely factual. There were other graphs and statistics we considered, many of which contradict the hagiographies that are being circulated by the right wing at the moment.

For example, her Right To Buy scheme turned the UK into a nation of homeowners, we’re told. Actually, a third of ex-council homes are now owned by rich landlords rather than their occupants. Because councils were forbidden from building new housing with the cash they received from selling their old houses, we now have a huge housing problem, with many young people unable to leave home at all.

It’s a similar story with the utility privatisations which were to make us a nation of shareholders and participatory capitalists. “Small British shareholders have no influence over the overwhelmingly non-British owners of the firms that generate and distribute power in Britain.” writes the London Review of Books:

when local electrical engineers dig up the roads in London, they’re working for East Asia’s richest man, the Hong Kong-based Li Ka-shing … In north-east England, they work for Warren Buffett; in Birmingham, Cardiff and Plymouth, the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company; in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool, Iberdrola; in Manchester, a consortium of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a J.P. Morgan investment fund.

Like the American neo-cons she was so friendly with, her fiscal policies were laissez-faire but she believed in government small enough to fit into the bedroom. She was deeply socially conservative and enacted the shameful Section 28 legislating that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

You might believe the way she treated striking miners was justified, but her contempt for the working class is demonstrated by the Hillsborough cover-up.

There was no economic miracle: British GDP has grown in line with Germany and France, neither of which had the twin blessings of North Sea oil or Thatcher.

Statistical analysis in 2012 shows Britain has some of the lowest social mobility in the developed world; only Portugal is more unequal with less social mobility:

Social mobility hasn’t changed since the 1970s – and in some ways has got worse. For every one person born in the 1970s in the poorest fifth of society and going to university, there would be four undergrads from the top fifth of society. But if you were born in the 1980s, there would be five.

Yes, yes, Thatcher stopped the unions “bringing the country to its knees”. Then she delivered it to the bankers’ exemplary stewardship. Her Big Bang city deregulation paved the way for casino banks with decreased reserves, so the financial crash could happen.

If only her legacy were as easily swallowed and as quick to demolish as my daughter’s delicious cake.

Goodbye Thatcher

Goodbye Mrs T, friend of Pinochet and the Khmer Rouge, homophobe, opposer of sanctions in South Africa and destroyer of the domestic mining industry.

It’s bizarre that a grand funeral is planned, when she believed that “there is no such thing as society” and that the state should be rolled back.

I hope that her funeral will be a huge demo against the savage austerity policies her successors are enacting. Let’s also note that her City deregulation allowed the casino banks to behave so recklessly before they collapsed, causing the financial system catastrophe that (apparently) requires the current attacks on the poor.

She was long ago irrelevant. But her legacy is vile, and current.

On Cyprus’ banks: why are they complaining?

I’m hopelessly naive about financial systems. (I have a grade C ‘A’-level economics, but that was in 1985, back when people still voted for Mrs Thatcher, so it’s like a degree in physics before relativity was discovered.) So I don’t understand the current lamentation about Cyprus.

Cyprus built up a gargantuan banking sector (835% of annual national income). It was a low-tax regime, in the sun, that encouraged lots of Russians (in particular) to invest their money there.

The World Bank’s Constantinos Stephanou wrote in his 2011 paper The Banking System in Cyprus: Time to Rethink the Business Model? (PDF):

The significant expansion of the Cypriot banking system in general, and of the big domestically-owned banks in particular, has been part of the broader push to promote the island as an international business centre …

The current size of the Cypriot banking system, and particularly of the two biggest banks, raises the issue of whether growth has unequivocally been a good thing that should continue indefinitely.

In the case of Cyprus, the two big domestically-owned banking groups appear to satisfy the criteria for being systemically important… Their role as intermediaries of foreign financial flows and as providers of domestic financial services means that the collapse of either of them would have significant negative repercussions on the real economy and deleterious reputational effects on Cyprus as an international business centre.

Lots of people invested their money in Cyprus because it had low tax and good returns. They put their money there, rather than somewhere else, because they believed that they would get more money in Cyprus than in their own countries.

Meanwhile, the banks in Cyprus were too big to fail. Those words – “too big to fail” – are to international capitalists what “YOLO!” is to mid-teenage girls as they guzzle five bottles of alcopops, take selfies of themselves doing duckfaces with their bezzies before they snog an ugly stranger, burst into tears and throw up.

In brief: investors got better returns for their money, but took no actual risk because the banks were too big to fail. Until they failed.

The EU decided to bail out Cyprus. If it hadn’t, presumably those banks would have collapsed and depositors lost everything. Because it’s being bailed out (with EU money), depositors with over 100,000 Euros will lose 30% of their deposits, and retain 70% of them. They took a risk in the hope of better-than-average returns, as is their right in a capitalist economy, and lost. But instead of losing everything, they keep most of it.

Meanwhile, I’ve given them some of my money as part of the EU bailout, yet I was never invested in the dodgy Cypriot bank in the first place.

So why are they complaining?

Richard Littlejohn, Lucy Meadows, tolerance

A transgender primary school teacher decided to transition to life as a woman. Her school was supportive:

Mr Upton has made a significant change in his life and will be transitioning to live as a woman after the Christmas break. She will return to work as Miss Meadows.

Richard Littlejohn, a columnist with the Daily Mail (a UK tabloid with a circulation of approximately 2 million), devoted a long column to excoriating her:

But has anyone stopped for a moment to think of the devastating effect all this is having on those who really matter? Children as young as seven aren’t equipped to compute this kind of information …

Why should they be forced to deal with the news that a male teacher they have always known as Mr Upton will henceforth be a woman called Miss Meadows? Anyway, why not Miss Upton?

The school shouldn’t be allowed to elevate its ‘commitment to diversity and equality’ above its duty of care to its pupils and their parents.

It should be protecting pupils from some of the more, er, challenging realities of adult life, not forcing them down their throats.

These are primary school children, for heaven’s sake. Most them still believe in Father Christmas. Let them enjoy their childhood. They will lose their innocence soon enough…

But if he cares so little for the sensibilities of the children he is paid to teach, he’s not only trapped in the wrong body, he’s in the wrong job.

(I don’t know if Mr Littlejohn has any children, but mine and the Primary school children I taught in Turkey and Thailand were certainly far more matter-of-fact about such matters than adults are.)

Sadly, Miss Meadows is dead; it’s presumed she committed suicide. In an email to a friend, she described how she was hounded by the press, noting that many parents had tried to give positive reactions to the press, but those were ignored:

I know the press offered parents money if they could get a picture of me… Many parents have been quite annoyed with the press too, especially those that were trying to give positive comments but were turned away.

Entirely co-incidentally, no doubt, Littlejohn’s column has been removed from the Daily Mail website. The newspaper issued a statement:

It is regrettable that this tragic death should now be the subject of an orchestrated twitterstorm, fanned by individuals… with agendas to pursue. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lucy Meadows.

This enrages me. I’m one of those on Twitter who’ve tweeted about how nastily Littlejohn and The Mail have behaved. As a white heterosexual male in a nuclear family with a professional job, I’m probably one of the army of “normals” that the Mail wishes to mobilise against the freaks, perverts, lefties and other undersirables (just don’t tell them that my family is mixed race).

No-one has “orchestrated” my outrage. But I certainly do have an agenda to pursue. It’s the agenda of fairness, of tolerance, of live-and-let-live. These are qualities that I associated with Britishness, incidentally; “Britain” is a flag that Littlejohn and The Daily Mail like to wrap themselves in, yet they want a society in which people think it’s right to hound, harrass and hate “minorities”. And I won’t have it.

For “minorities”, read “people”.

Miss Meadows caused me no harm. She was obeying the law, involved in her community, hurting no-one and helping many. My agenda is that such people deserve our respect and support. And if you find men transitioning to women makes you queasy, simple: don’t do it. Just quietly go about your business and don’t interfere with how other people live their lives.

So, in the unlikely event that any Daily Mail journalist or reader ever sees this, yes – I do have an agenda: fairness, tolerance, live-and-let-live. What’s your agenda?

On Prince Phillip’s “Filipino nurse” comment

Prince Phillip told a Filipino nurse “The Philippines must be half empty – you’re all here running the NHS”.

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?

Geoffrey Clark’s redacted Gravesham Council election manifesto

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

POPULATION:

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.

IMMIGRATION:

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 clarkgeoffrey@hotmail.co.uk

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]:-

WOMEN: 4:24

You are forbidden to take in marriage married women, except captives whom you own as slaves.

WOMEN: 4:25

If any one of you cannot afford to marry a free believing woman, let him marry a slave-girl who is a believer.

WOMEN: 4:34

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.

EDUCATION

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.

THE EU:

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.

UKIP MATTERS

CAMPAIGNING:

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.

Updated 17.11.12

FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE POPULATION THREAT TO UK AND THE WORLD:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01mqmkt/The_History_of_the_Future_Malthus/

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

On the 2011 census

Yesterday, some results from our once-a-decade survey were published. As ever, the times they are a-changin’, and mad people are a-frothin’.

According to the figures,

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.

In an increasingly “secular world” different religions gang together to protect themselves. That’s why we see junkets by unelected gay-bashing muslim Tory Sayeeda Warsi to the woman-hating paedo-protecting Vatican which “welcome[d] Lady Warsi’s comments on ‘intolerant secularisation’”:

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.

Thanks, Yanks

The re-election of Obama is good news, I suppose.

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.

So, thanks.