Monday, 31 August 2015

Musings on a Monday

It's been a funny old Bank Holiday Monday. Woke and started arguing with some Corbinistas on a Labour Party forum but soon got bored of their delusional world view. I decided not to make Corbyn the subject of yet another post for two reasons.

Firstly there's two weeks to go and I'm sure he or his supporters will commit some atrocity worth commenting on and secondly my good friend Jake Wilde has written an excellent post over at The Gerasites blog.

Here's a short taste:

.....While talk of a Militant Tendency-style purge is certainly premature it will be on the agenda of some of Corbyn’s backers, as seen in the public statements of some union leaders both within and outside the party. More likely to start with is a coordinated influx of new party members into targeted constituency Labour parties (CLPs) in order to take over and put pressure upon MPs who are not sympathetic to the Corbynite agenda. This will include MPs who support Burnham – that won’t afford any protection. What will drive this hit list is where the Corbynites have the numbers.

It is also inevitable that some Labour Party activists will be inclined to retreat from activism when faced with hostility from the new and newly emboldened people in their CLP meetings. The shouting down of opposition is a tried and trusted tactic amongst the far left and there’s only so much hassle that people want from their voluntary work. All the old far left tricks will be used: arranging meetings when only they can make it; dragging meetings out so that the key business occurs when their opponents have gone home; excluding opponents from any decision-making or communications, effectively “disappearing” them from the process.

Read the full article here: It doesn't matter if Corbyn wins or not.

Meanwhile some (c)rap star married to a reality star with the widest derrière in show business has announced he will run for the White House in 2020. I just hope he has better politics than music.

Talking of the USA did you see that nonsense from The University of Tennessee who want to ditch the pronouns "he" and "she" in favour of a supposedly "gender neutral" (and non-existent) term Ze? It's in their new lexicon from the School of "Diversity and Inclusion".

First "trigger warnings" now students will replace she, her,hers and he, him, his with ze, hir, hirs or ze, zir or zirs.

And I thought creationists were the main threat to rational thinking and reason in American education.

I'd say this is bollocks, but try not to swear in my posts so complete nonsense it is then.

So what a day with the terminal crisis in Labour at the forefront of social media here's another funeral sketch this time from Marty Feldman and Spike Milligan.

Might as well have a bit of a laugh eh!


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Tony Blair is right, it's all Alice in Wonderland

In the Alice in Wonderland world this parallel reality has created, it is we who are backward looking for pointing out that the Corbyn programme is exactly what we fought and lost on 30 years ago, not him for having it.

Tony Blair writing in The Observer.

Whatever else one might have thought of Ed Miliband, he was certainly on the generally accepted "left" and had come to the leadership of the Labour Party with the backing of the unions.

He lost.

Back in 1983 Michael Foot was certainly left-wing and the "left" was far stronger back in those days.

He lost.

Very badly indeed.

It was years before Labour was able to take power again and that victory was down to one Tony Blair.

He won three general elections in a row, Labour could have won again but frankly Gordon Brown buggered it up by dithering over an election at a time he may have had the upper hand.

The "lefts" rise and I'm not sure that much of the so called left can really be called that these days with their capitulation to reactionary Islamist movements and a certain Mr Putin including Corbyn himself is a backwards move.

Under Corbyn there will only be one outcome.

Labour will lose.

Only those who really need our help will suffer while the ideologues will wear their outdated ideas on their sleeves.

Mad Hatters Tea Party indeed.

Friday, 28 August 2015

From Howie's Archives: Review of What's Left by Nick Cohen (2007)

The rise of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party leadership election has led many people to read or re-read Nick Cohen's essential book What's Left. When this was originally published I wrote a review of sorts for 4Discussion #8 (March 2007), the internal bulletin of the (now defunct) 4themembers group in the PCS union. 

At the time my political activities and outlook were almost solely centred on civil service and PCS related matters as is shown by this piece. However it did bring to my attention that there was a decent "left" out there and as I began reading and later co-operating with others around the excellent blog Harry's Place there was clearly a whole new way of looking a politics. Well for me anyway.

Of course times have changed, and I have have certainly moved on, refining my "world outlook" and taking a firm stand against the reactionary "anti-imperialist" brigade a mixture of the far-left and Islamists. 

I should also point out I am no longer a member of PCS and have joined a much better union, Prospect.


Like many people on the “liberal left” I was horrified at the book burning and death threats directed at Salman Rushdie over his Satanic Verses by religious extremists. As a result I sent a cheque to sign up to a statement defending him to a group of lefties seeking to defend Rushdie's right of free speech. A couple of weeks later it was returned with a letter stating that the Statement “might be misinterpreted as being racist” in the conditions surrounding the controversy. How so, I asked myself, Salman Rushdie was a member of an ethnic minority, being threatened by err… extremists within his own community! Since the organising committee included Tariq Ali I was astounded at the political cowardice displayed by these fine men and women of the left.

It was a symptom of a drift away from core democratic and rational principles that the left was supposed to stand for that Cohen precisely seeks to address in his book. In fact it is a good example of the terror of political correctness that permeates the so-called left, as it exists in the 21st Century. For Cohen the defining moment of the lefts degeneration is the second Iraq war. The left marched against democracy he writes in support of Baathist fascism. He questions if the majority of the marchers actually knew how bad the regime under Saddam was. Certainly the traditional left did. Many of them had been involved in campaigns against the Baathist terror.

However when it came to the crunch he argues the left decided their own democratic regimes were the real enemy. A theme that Cohen develops throughout this challenging book. I take issue with the inference that if a regime is bad we have to go to war, where would it end? There are very few true democracies outside the “West”, and yes our Governments have an imperfect record in supporting a number of these regimes.

Supporting reaction

Cohen’s book is not about the war as such, no matter what your local lefty might allege. Its more about the way the left has seemingly lost all reason by supporting some of the most reactionary and fascistic regimes against our own democratic governments and indeed even the rights of indigenous populations. Where indeed are the huge demonstrations against the genocide in Dafur, the repression under Mugabe or the North Korean dictatorship? Where indeed!

The Stop the War Coalition is staffed by the Socialist Workers Party and its fellow travellers and managed to organise the largest political demonstration this country has ever seen. Most of the demonstrators had nothing in common with the politics of the SWP when they called for an end to the war. Most were simply against violence. And yet the SWTC leaders issued a statement, which called for full support to the Iraqi “resistance”. It caused such outrage it had to be almost immediately withdrawn or the whole anti war movement would have fallen apart with the pacifists leaving in droves.

What this incident has shown us is how the lefts mindset actually works. Did it not occur to them for one moment that this so called resistance was made up of Baathists and religious extremists that rejected the very notion of Iraq establishing democracy? The resistance concentrates on killing Iraqi civilians almost exclusively, to create internal strife and a civil war that they hope will take Iraq backwards. There are many supporters of the SWTC and the SWP in PCS, Mark Serwotka amongst them. And yet the attacks on the nascent Trade Union movement, Women and Gay rights organisations in Iraq continue unabated. Their killers are not the coalition forces but reactionaries from the right of the political spectrum.

This phenomenon of supporting oppressive regimes is not new, and Cohen reminds us of the slavish support given to the Stalinist regimes and their murderous regimes in the last century. They were almost excused at best as many Marxists saw such events as inevitable in their struggle. Yet at the same time would be the first to demonstrate at the perceived inhumanity of the British and Americans in Vietnam or Ireland. And while they marched ordinary people went to the wall in their preferred regimes. Even today sections of the left (enter the New Communist Party) celebrate the birthday of the “Great Leader” of North Korea, a man who keeps his nation starving and oppressed.

Human Rights first

PCS as a union is committed absolutely to Women’s and Gay rights, and rightly so. Equal opportunities has been at the core of the Trade Union movement for many years, yet the so-called left continues to give succour to some of the most reactionary regimes and movements around the world. Case in point is Iran, a theological dictatorship that recently revelled in the organisation of a conference questioning the historical fact of the Holocaust in Europe. Amongst its’ attendees were individuals from extreme right wing organisations in both the UK and Europe.

As Cohen so eloquently puts it;

“Writer after writer was incapable of grasping that people with brown skins were just as capable as people with white skins were of forming a fascistic movement and murdering others”.

Taliban anybody? The well-documented anti-Semitism of sections of the Islamist extremists shows us what people are capable regardless of race or colour. The point is anyone can be an oppressor. Just ask the people of Zimbabwe, starved and beaten down to the point where even their homes are destroyed to alter the countries demographic makeup. Recently Mugabe paid for his birthday by deducting the cost from his Civil Servants wages!

The left in the form of the SWP/Respect has sought to build links with the Muslim association of Britain, a front in the UK for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed in many Muslim countries because of its’ extremism. In a leaflet last year they took the view that apostates (atheists) and Muslims who change their religion should be put to death. And yet the formally atheist SWP says not a word, so as not to upset its’ perceived allies in getting more votes.

Galloway’s follies

Of course no one will forget George Galloway and his slavish support for Saddam Hussein “Sir, I salute your courage, strength and indefatigably “, though his impersonation of a cat is probably more prominent in most peoples eyes. For me his comment that “Palestine is occupied by foreigners “ sent a chill down my spine. Formal anti-Zionism coming so close to “drive the Jews (the obvious foreigners to whom he referred) into the sea. He’s not an anti Semite, but political opportunism has consequences. I for one will always live by the slogan“Never Again”, one that incidentally is cynically used by the SWP in its anti BNP work. As a Jew I am entitled to ask, “who is my enemy”, in the midst of all this posturing!

The point of all this and I think Cohen’s basic message is that the left got lost. I like him was once part of the “left”, and it encompasses your whole view of the world. Where the left went wrong will always be a point for debate, but what is not contestable anymore is that the left has got lost and Cohen’s book is a valuable contribution to this debate and the left hate it with a vengeance. Lee Rock’s “Weekly Worker” described it as “poison”, the SWP called it vicious. I call it challenging and well worth reading.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Mark Serwotka correctly excluded from Labour leadership election

The farcical election organised by the Labour Party took another twist last night as news emerged that the far-left General Secretary of the civil service union PCS had been excluded from the vote.

The Independent reported:

The leader of one of Britain’s major trade unions has been banned from voting in the Labour Party’s leadership election.

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS union, which represents civil servants, had his ballot retroactively revoked after having voted online earlier this month.

The trade unionist was a member of the Labour party until the 1980s; his union says he has not been a member of another political party since.

Serwotka's response was somewhat disengenuous to say the elast. At the time he was in the Labour Party he was (cough) "associated" with Socialist Organiser, a Trotskyist entrist group inside Labour now known as the Alliance for Workers Liberty. The AWL you will recall was calling for a purge of non-Corbyn supporting MP's only days ago, but I digress.

When the 12 Respect councillors were elected in Tower Hamlets, Serwotka welcomed this development and appeared on Respect platforms mainly at the behest of the Socialist Workers Party with whom he had very good ties with. His main contact was former CPSA activist Martin Smith.

When the SWP fell out with Galloway, Serwotka sided with them and denounced the "witchunting" of socialists. The SWP's attempt to replace Respect floundered and disappeared.

Enter the Socialist Party (Militant) with their latest attempt to supplant the Labour Party and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition was born (via the clumslily named Campaign for a new workers Party). In 2007 Serwotka wrote in The Socialist newspaper:

…we need the trade unions to be involved to give us bedrock on which to build. Already we see the FBU and the RMT, no longer affiliated to Labour, looking around to see how they can take forward issues politically, possibly even standing and supporting candidates.

The TUSC publicised it's two biggest backers, the late Bob Crow and Mark Serwotka at every opportunity.  For Serwotka this included the last general election when every habd was needed to stop the return of the Tories, he was opposing the Labour Party.

Further back in 2009 Serwotka along with the Socialist Party pushed the PCS union itself to a position of actually standing candidates (against Labour).  

In an article for 4Discussion, Bulletin of the 4themembers group in PCS #39 (June 2009)  I reported:

The decision of PCS Conference to pass a resolution that includes a policy for PCS, as a Trade Union to run candidates in Parliamentary Elections is a radical departure from the norms of this and other Civil Service Unions. It is the continuation of a long term project by the General Secretary Mark Serwotka and his left-wing allies on the national executive Committee that begun with the so called Make Your Vote Campaign, an expensive white elephant trumpeted by our leaders for the last few years.

It actually comes as no surprise that the PCS leadership has taken this route since most of them have been involved in one project or another to create a new Left-Wing Party “predicated on the Trade Unions” as John McInally put it in his article in The Socialist newspaper last year.

Labour are well aware of Serwotka's high profile antics aimed at undermining and replacing their party. He is no friend of Labour has no right to expect a vote after all the damage he has done over the years.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Unions face decline in support whilst Labour implodes

A rather disturbing report appeared on the front page of the London Evening Standard stating that a poll backs the Tory plans to introduce thresholds on trade unions right to strike. Joe Murphy & Dick Murray write

With unions threatening four more days of crippling Tube strikes in two weeks, the YouGov survey for the Evening Standard found a clear majority in the capital backing tougher laws.

The new Trade Union Bill would set a 50 per cent minimum turnout for any strike ballots — and in the public sector would require 40 per cent support from all members eligible to vote, not just those who do. The clause was approved of by 53 per cent of Londoners.

Only 26 per cent opposed the crackdown, while 22 per cent were undecided — a two-to-one majority in favour.

Moreover, the crackdown was backed on balance by young and old, men and women and among both the better-off ABC1 social classes and the poorer C2DEs.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid hailed the result as a “clear majority” for the biggest union reforms for 30 years.

The problem for the unions involved is that their members are not seen as low paid, far from it tube drivers receive very high wages, more than most tube users make. The reaction reported by the Standard certainly seems to tie in with casual observations in the street.  This all comes at a time when we face nearly five more years of Tory government and the only opposition party is heading for disaster as the leadership election farce continues.

Let's be clear. Working people need trade unions, well organised and able to take action to defend their members.

Frankly working people also need a political party that is electable.

Both these vital institutions are under threat from the right and the left.

Over the past few years the Tories have been gradually whittling away at union rights, particularly in the Civil Service, where the far-left led union PCS has handed the excuse after excuse on a plate much to the chagrin of the other, smaller unions.

The whole question of turnouts was pushed to the forefront of Tory thinking by Mark Serwotka's ridiculous threat to bring out Border Staff on the eve of the Olympics when it had the support of just 11% of those eligible. 

From there facility time cuts, an end to the "check off" arrangements have led to this pivitol moment. 

The restriction of the right to strike.

Of course the left argue that politicians don't achieve such thresholds and there is a point here, but the analogy does not quite hit the mark. MP's fight multiple opponents and the vote is divided far more than a simple yes/no vote could ever be.

This where being realistic and rational before ideological should be at the forefront od union leaders thinking. Why is it that so many members don't vote and in the case of PCS when there has been a national dispute the union has never achieved a majority turnout despite the claims of their leadership?

Certainly when the turnout and majority is low there needs to be more self reflection by the union leaders. So many, Serwotka in particualr, put ideological considerations before realism they fail to achieve even their basic aims before they start. Hence that union is in severe and probably permanent decline despite a staffing crisis in the large departments like the DWP and HMRC.

The threatened trade union legislation is getting closer and with the rise of Corbyn in the leadership stakes the party that could reverse this trend is becoming more unelectable by the day.

According to one union member I spoke to today none of the candidates is inspiring and all are flawed. Despite the fraught atmosphere on social media Labour is not winning over the necessary support it needs to win in 2020. In fact I fear it has already lost.

The Corbyn campaign has merely united most, but not all of the rent a mob crowds that can be used to fill the streets for those big, but ineffectual demonstrations we see from time to time.

If there is to be change for the better than it is the left that needs to change. Celebrating the death of long gone Russians (Trotsky was murdered in Mexico 75 years ago today as the AWL remind us), it needs to adjust it's outlook. Dusty old tomes by outdated and thoroughly discredited revolutionaries have led to nowhere.

In fact much of the left has developed a soft and sometimes supportive attitude to political movements that are thoroughly reactionary as we see with not just Corbyn's so-called friends but the in the antics of the misnamed Stop the War Campaign and the racists around the BDS movement.

I despair for the future. The writing has been on the wall for some time but the words "heads" and "buried in the sand" come to mind.

I am not so arrogant to claim I have the answer, though the left will claim socialism (whatever that is) is the answer their response is so religious in it's intensity and irrationality that the ease with which they adapt to reactionary Islamism is clear to all.

What I do know is the future is bleak and will remain so until today's radicals take their blinkers off.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Far left group calls for purges after Corbyn wins


The battle for control of the Labour Party took yet another sinister turn as one of the Trotskyist groups, the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) involved in backing Jeremy Corbyn called or a purge of "irreconcilable" MP's after Corbyn wins. 

Their long term guru Sean Matgamna writes:

If Jeremy Corbyn wins, it won't be the end but the beginning of the fight.

A leader of the French Revolution once observed that “those who make half a revolution, only dig their own graves”. A Corbyn victory will at best be only half a revolution. It will energise the PLP and its backers in the press for a serious fight back. If we don't respond blow for blow, with determination to win, then the right-wing counterrevolution will win. There will be a severe repression of the left. The chance of a new beginning for working-class politics will be squandered.

If Corbyn wins, then the left should immediately go on the offensive. Irreconcilable MPs should be de-selected.

By "irreconcilable" they mean those that do not agree with the far-lefts line. Labour will cease to be a broad coalition of various traditions and will be purged Stalinist style.

The Corbinista's are a threat to the survival of the only remaining opposition party in British politics. 

The only winners in this debacle are the Tories.

Corbyn and his rent a mob supporters must be stopped.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Sparts, terrorists, Amnesty and Corbyn

Workers Hammer No. 231

There are times when reading the websites or press of the far-left nothing surprises me these days. There have been members of the newly founded Left Unity organisation backing ISIS as anti-imperialist, but the laughably names Spartacist League takes a different view that is even more bewildering:

The US, supported by Britain, is now at war with the Islamic State (ISIS), which was initially funded by extremist Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia. [An IS motion of 23 October 2014 said:] “We have a military side with the reactionary ISIL when it engages in military conflict with the imperialists and their local forces on the ground, including the Iraqi Kurdish pesh merga, the Baghdad government, Shi’ite militias and the Syrian Kurds. We give no political support to any of these retrograde forces.”...

It would be interesting to see how long these godless trots would survive alongside ISIS.

Mad anti-imperialism at it's worse.

Meanwhile Corbyns "friends" in Hamas have taken umbrage over a report from Amnesty. Yahoo News reports:

Amnesty International said Thursday Palestinian rocket fire during the 2014 summer war in Gaza had killed more civilians in the Gaza Strip than in Israel.

Such deadly attacks on civilians on both sides constituted "a war crime," it said.

The damning report urged armed Palestinian groups to end attacks on civilians in Israel and to protect those in the Gaza Strip from the effects of such attacks.

That didn't go down well with the Islamist terrorist group:

Hamas rejected the findings, saying Amnesty "distorts the truth deliberately, with a clear bias in favour of the Zionist enemy," or Israel.

The Islamist movement further called Amnesty a "Zionist organisation".

The silence from the anti-imperialists is deafening.....

Of course Jeremy Corbyn isn't much better as his interview on the state controlled Russian propaganda channel RT shows. Buzzfeed reports

During the interview, Corbyn said there needed to be “an acceptance and understanding of why so many people in some of the cities in the north have apparently been prepared to accept the ISIS forces.”

He said he was concerned that western forces might intervene and that a “political compromise” was preferable.

These would be the cities conquered at gunpoint and all opposition is put to the sword whilst women are enslaved & raped.

Not my definition of "accepted".

There can be no compromise with the fascists of ISIS.

Corbyn is so obviously unfit for government. Full stop.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Love it or lose it: Save the BBC!

Bectu-best-logo    Love it or lose it: Save the BBC!


The shoddy backroom deal the Government have agreed with BBC management, saddling the BBC with delivering the government’s over-75s welfare policies to the tune of over £650m, will bring the greatest independent global broadcaster to its knees. Entire services will have to be cut, programmes dumped, free speech undermined and thousands of jobs lost. This is not a done deal - if you love the BBC, don’t let it be killed off!

Why is this important?

Whatever you may think of Eastenders, W1A or even Top Gear, set all that aside and act now to defend ‘our cultural NHS’. As members of BECTU – the media and entertainment union – we are asking you to join us and our fellow unions Equity, Musicians Union, NUJ, Unite and The Writers Guild in saving the BBC.

Can you imagine a world without the BBC?

The BBC makes a rich range of programmes with something for everyone, from award winning dramas & documentaries to sit–coms & soaps. The BBC is watched and listened to by 96% of the UK population. Two thirds of all UK adults listen to BBC Radio and half of all UK adults use BBC Online each week.

It’s good value as the BBC licence fee costs under 40p per day (£145.50 a year) for 9 TV channels, 10 national radio stations, a network of local radio stations and an internationally acclaimed website as well as the internationally loved World Service.

The top packages from Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk cost more than £1,000 a year. The BBC produces thousands of hours of original programming while Sky, on an income nearly double that of the BBC, makes only a tiny amount.

Only on the BBC can children watch their favourite programmes uninterrupted by advertising. The BBC is free from shareholder pressure and advertiser influence with a mandate to make programmes for all interest groups.

The licence fee is the single biggest investment in UK arts and creative industries with over half spent in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English Regions. Every £1 of licence fee spent by the BBC, generates £2 of economic activity.

BBC News is the largest broadcast news gathering operation in the world. The BBC is the public face of Britain abroad and has a weekly global audience of 308m.

The BBC is definitely not intended to be an arm of government – if this deal goes ahead starting in 2018, the BBC will be crippled by the costs of government policies and policed in the interests of more Tory-friendly broadcasters.

Senior BBC managers and the Government would like everyone to believe that this is a done deal and nothing can be reversed. This is not true. The most damaging part of this settlement is the need to meet the cost of free TV licences for the over-75s, which will cost the BBC over £650m. This decision, if unchallenged, will leave the BBC unrecognisable in less than 10 years time. Join the campaign now!

The whole world wishes they had the BBC – you have it, don’t let them kill it off!

This campaign was set up by BECTU - the media and entertainment union - with the support of Equity and other affected unions.

Sign: here

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Militant plots return to Labour under Corbyn

Socialist Party logo Militant.gif

The fight for the future of the Labour Party took a sinister tun tonight as Dave Nellist the leader of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition announced his "party" (a front for the Socialist Party) could "join forces" with Labour to back Jeremy Corbyn.

The Coventry Telegraph reports:

Labour exile and former Coventry MP Dave Nellist has hinted he could seek to merge his new party with Labour should left-wing candidate Jeremy Corbyn become leader.

Mr Nellist, who served as Coventry South East MP from 1983 to 1992, was expelled from Labour in 1991 for his links to the hard-left Militant Tendency group.

The 63-year-old is now the national chairman of the left-wing Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) political party, which stood 135 parliamentary candidates and 619 local council candidates in the general and local elections this year.....

Mr Nellist said he would also insist that ‘Clause Four’, viewed as a symbol of the party’s commitment to socialism, was reinstated after it was controversially changed by Mr Blair in 1995.

He said: “Labour needs to rebuild established links with the trade unions, policy needs to be devised from the bottom up.

“If those things were to happen, I would be prepared to go to the TUSC conference in May and say TUSC should be part of that.

“A lot of ex-members would like to be involved in the formation of that sort of party.”

Mr Nellist also underlined why he thought TUSC could be valuable allies.

He said: “Over 90 per cent of Labour MPs didn’t want Jeremy for the job. He’d be in a battle with Labour MPs from day one and he’s going to need some mates.”

Older readers will recall that the Militant Tendency was a entryist organisation which sort to take over the Labour Party in the seventies and eighties seizing control of the Labour Party Young Socialists, getting several of it's members selected as Labour candidates and actually employed more full timers than Labour itself did.

Militant became famous for bankrupting Liverpool Council, sending taxi's out to deliver redundancy notices to it's workers.

Neil Kinnock finally acted and threw this parasitical Trotskyist group out of the Labour Party. Since then after a series of splits their remnants are organised in the tiny Socialist Party.

The Socialist Party along with the Socialist Workers Party and the even smaller Independent Socialist network joined with the RMT union to form the TUSC which polled sod all in the recent general election.

The Socialist Party are also in control of the main civil service union PCS in alliance with a number of other far left groups and individual members including General Secretary Mark Serwotka. This union has been run into the ground by the militants and having lost thousands of members through splits and then the recent ending of the "check-off" agreement has been in such financial trouble it has vacillated between allowing Unite to simply take it over and/or selling off the unions main asset, the HQ building in Falcon Road.

More bankruptcy from the lunatics of the far-left which should warn both Labour Party members and voters that the alternative policies so-called anti-austerity activists are unworkable.

The Militant Tendency and the so-called "left" did untold damage to the Labour Party in the eighties which ultimately allowed Thatcherism to survive longer than it should have done.

Corbyn will allow the Tories to extend their rule further than it need be.

The experience of Militant should serve as a warning.

We cannot afford the far-lefts simplistic and useless rhetoric to destroy Labour again.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Musical Interlude Double: Alice Cooper & Golden Earring!

It's the height of the summer holiday season unusually the political tempo has been quite high mainly due to the Labour Party leadership election. The voting papers are out and in due course we will learn the fate of the sole remaining opposition party in this country.

So rather than blather on about how useless Corbyn and his useless mates are I felt like taking a break from politics for the evening and why not!

For those of you who read my comics blog you will have noticed most of my coverage of late has been of British comics published in the seventies.


I'm also a big fan of the music from this period. One of my favourite artists was (and still is) Alice Cooper. One of the songs I remember from the seventies is Schools Out which seems appropriate for this time of year.

The seventies. Long hair, flares, progressive music and pop songs you could sing along to. Those were the days!

One of the other tracks that rather caught my attention was Radar Love by the Dutch Band Golden Earring. I rushed out and bought their album. You remember those big vinyl things in large fold out covers that had pictures and text that was large enough to read!

And finally a word from our sponsors, well TV ads from the seventies. Remember these?

Monday, 17 August 2015

BDS proves itself racist

  Yellowbadge logo.svg

Supporters of the so-called Boycott, Sanction & Divest campaign have clearly "crossed the Rubicon" with their latest attacks on individual Jewish musicians and actresses. The Jerusalem Post reports:

If you plan on going to the Sunsplash Rototom Reggae Festival in Spain this week, you better not speak the language of the Hebrewman. If you do, they might kick you out.

The festival’s cancellation of a scheduled August 22 appearance by Jewish-American reggae artist Matisyahu – under pressure from Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists –

unmasks the anti-Semitic nature of that movement, a Foreign Ministry representative said Sunday.
“We always said that BDS was not connected to the Palestinian issue or the settlements but was nothing more than Jew hatred,” spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.

“And this demonstrates that.”

Matisyahu, Nahshon stressed, is not Israeli.

He is in fact an American citizen.

But also a Jew.

That's not the only atrocity committed in the name of the anti-imperialists. You might find your visit to the cinema when Superman vs Batman is released boycotted by a few white anti-imperialists because the actress who plays Wonder Woman is...Israeli.

Another Jew.

BDS has picked up some interesting support from Aryan Skynet (an white supremacist website in the grand US of A):

One small way the American moviegoer can voice his displeasure with Zionist crimes is by not buying tickets to two forthcoming superhero adventures. Gal Gadot, 2004’s Miss Israel and a former aerobics instructor for the IDF, has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming features Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Wonder Woman, slated for release in 2016 and 2017, respectively. The problem is not just that Gal is a Jewess and a noisily Zionist Israeli war cheerleader to boot – not really all that surprising considering how disgustingly kosher superheroes have always been and how flagrantly recent movies have advertised this subtextual pedigree – but the sinister circumstance that Hollywood’s promotion of Gal constitutes a subliminal campaign of war propaganda.

Such talk wouldn't be out of place in the BDS it might seem.

Boycott the Boycotters!

Boycott "Batman vs Superman"!

Hamas of course has a charter calling for genocide of the Jews (note not Israeli's)

#boycottHamas #boycottBDSfascists 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Labour's last chance: Vote Liz for Leader, Caroline for Deputy!

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The vote for who leads the Labour Party to victory at the next election has begun. The decision of the Labour Party to allow votes from newly signed up supporters, many of whom have turned out to be opponents of the Labour Party at the last election including members of Left Unity, the Greens and many others on the far-left of British politics may skewer the result.

It is vital that Labour puts forward a leader that can win a general election.

It's no good having so called "principles" if they can never be put into practise. You have a choice:

Achieve something or achieve nothing!

The country cannot afford yet another Tory victory.

Stand on street corners selling newspapers and shouting at passers by has not and will never achieve anything.

Already the survival of trade unions is at stake, as is the future of the NHS, welfare, our rights, our homes and our futures.

Vote Liz Kendall for Leader:


"We must build a Britain where everyone earns enough to have a good life and prosperity is shared by the many, not the few.” 

Liz Kendall 29 July 2015

Please use all your votes and transfer your preferences to Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham.

Caroline Flint for Deputy Leader

"The Labour party exists to win elections to improve lives and make the world a better place. But if the shock of our crushing election defeat is beginning to fade, the scale of the challenge facing us is only just beginning to dawn. It is no exaggeration to say that we now face a fight for the very survival of the Labour party. It is a fight in which I wish to play a part, and why I am standing to be Labour’s next deputy leader."

Vote Liz Kendall for Leader, Caroline Flint for Deputy

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Left Unity's "secret trial"

Left Unity

The tiny left-wing sect Left Unity founded on the basis of a short film by Ken Loach made the news recently as their ideological founder protested about his members being "witch-hunted" by the Labour Party for signing up as Labour supporters to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Many of them are in the process of being excluded, rightly so as they are after all members of a rival political party.

There is some talk of Left Unity being in a "state of collapse" as many of it's declining membership defect to the Labour Party. Meanwhile there has been a rather odd "secret trial" inside their organisation.

Like the Socialist Workers Party, Left Unity has it's own Disciplinary Committee which appears to have met in secret following a complain about anti-Semitism against on of it's members a certain Ian Donovan.

Ian Donovan is a rather odd individual and was expelled from the even smaller Communist Party of Great Britain for allegations of anti-Semitism. Donovan does have some rather strange views it has to be said.

Donovan believes there is  a Jewish "pan-national bourgeoisie" acting as the "vanguard" of the ruling class.

Sounds seriously close to the International Zionist Conspiracy that the Far-right, the anti-imperialists and the Islamists prattle inanely about.

Now remember Left Unity actually had some trouble with some individuals who consider ISIS to be "anti-imperialist" (see here) so the fact that this complaint was dealt with so secretly even the accused wasn't aware of the investigation says a lot about the way these lefty types conduct themselves.

Now I have absolutely no sympathy for Donovan whose targeting of Jews in this fashion does indeed take him beyond the Rubicon of respectability, but the fact he has these views and was found "not guilty" in a private session with no accountability to even their own organisation worries me.

I have long argued that whilst most of these types might not actually be anti-Semites, they do not take anti-Semitism seriously and even as in the case of Jeremy Corbyn even appear with Islamic anti-Semites from Hamas and Hezbollah on platforms without a second thought.

For most of the far left Jews are to be ignored. Why? Simply because they think Israel should be destroyed as this will somehow help bring down "imperialism" and then capitalism".

The fate of several million Jews does not concern them in the far-lefts ideologically blinkered world.

It seems Left Unity has fallen into this murky world view. Donovan's views are somewhat unsavoury to say the least and should not be compatible with any form of "progressive" politics. Donovan himself is gloating, issuing a leaflet proclaiming the "acceptability" of his views.

His exoneration by Left Unity's so-called "Disciplinary Committee" is just another nail in the credibility of the far-left in general. The lefts "anti-racism" is and probably always has been selective" depending on their latest opportunist ideological turn.

Meanwhile Donovan writes in the latest issue of the Weekly Worker:

I have, after a period of political discussions, been invited to join the editorial board of the Trotskyist publication Socialist Fight, which I have agreed to do. As part of the broadening of the political basis of this publication, whose founders are internationally aligned with a particular Trotskyist faction, the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International..

Socialist Fight is a micro-group of around half a dozen old hacks from the old Workers Revolutionary Party.

The far left seems to wallow in it's own self-importance and impotency.

International Liaison Committee indeed.

Meanwhile the fight against all forms of racism including anti-Semitism must continue.

The misalliance between the anti-imperialist brigade and the Islamists is a danger that must be confronted.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Ecuador should be ashamed of itself

This mornings papers carried the disturbing news that Julian Assange is about to be (cough) cleared of three sexual assault claims after being hidden in the Ecuadorian embassy all this time. Like everyone else I have no idea whether the allegations against him are true or not but his flight to the embassy says a lot to me.

This is due to limitations under Swedish law, which I'm sure he will have been well aware of.

However there remains one outstanding warrant. That relating to the alleged rape of a second woman. This will remain enforceable for another five years.

His supporters have pointed out he hasn't been changed with anything.

Yes we know. That's because he's been ensconced in the Ecuadorian embassy where no one can arrest him and bring charges on behalf of the women who have made the allegations.

Personally I remain surprised he has any supporters left, except they are generally from the so-called "left".

I will never forget or forgive Comrade Galloway's rant about lack of "sexual etiquette".

Justice has not been served here.

A celebrity radical has been allowed to find excuses not to face his accusers in Sweden, one of the most civilised democracies on this planet.

Ecuador has covered for him, at a cost of over £12 million to the taxpayer which could in this age of austerity been more usefully spent elsewhere.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

As should Assange and all his supporters.

The women involved have a right to justice which has been denied them for quite spurious political posturing.

The left has shown itself wanting on this case as so many other events world wide when it comes to women's rights.

From "comrade delta" to their silence of rape and slavery under ISIS, the comrades remain silent.

The enemy remains Western democracy for them.

Human rights and justice? 

Only when it suits them. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Monday, 10 August 2015

An open letter to the Labour Party from Liz Kendall

Dear Supporter,

You probably think I’m writing to ask you for your vote in the upcoming election for party leader.

And I am.

But what really matters for our country and our party is another election – the one we’ll fight together in 2020.

By then, our country will have suffered under five more years of the Tories.

More working families in poverty. More people trapped in low paid, low skilled, insecure work. More young people leaving school without the skills they need to succeed. And more communities left behind.

I’m standing to be Labour’s first woman leader – and Prime Minister – because I love our party too much to see us lose again.

Like you, I am Labour because I want Britain to be more equal. And our party is the greatest champion of equality and opportunity our country has ever known. The NHS. Sure Start. The minimum wage. The longer we’re out of power, the more these great successes are put at risk.

I offer the fresh start our party needs to regain the trust of voters who’ve turned their backs on us.

I believe our party has the imagination, the ideas and energy to win in 2020 and make sure Britain faces the challenges of the future:
We need to end the inequalities that begin before children even start school. So whilst the Tories cut inheritance tax for the few – I’d spend that money on a revolution in early years services instead.
We must eliminate low pay - giving new powers to the Low Pay Commission to build a real living wage society, and ensuring public sector workers get a proper pay rise.
We need a more caring society - where families get the support they need to look after their elderly and disabled loved ones, and with fully joined up NHS and social care.
We must share power with people - so decisions are taken in communities and neighbourhoods, not Whitehall, and employees have a real say and a stake in the companies they work for.
We need a future of hope for all our young people - so they have the skills, networks, chances and choices they need to get the jobs of the future, and so Britain becomes a world leader in clean energy and tackling climate change.

These are my causes. This is what I’m fighting for.

I wasn’t born into the Labour Party. I chose it. Just like we’re going to have to persuade millions of Britons to do at the next general election.

We need to win. I want you to be part of a winning team. I won’t rest until we put our values into action in government because when Labour wins, so does our country. So I ask you to vote for me, as the candidate best placed to achieve this.
Liz Kendall MP
Candidate for Leader of the Labour Party

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Labours crisis deepens

According to the Sunday Times there are now calls to halt the the Labour Party leadership election due to the surge of extremists using the three quid sign up as a way to unduly influence the outcome. Frankly the whole idea was flawed in the first place but may not have spiralled out of control had some naive MP's decided to give Jeremy Corby the nominations he needed to stand in order to "broaden the debate". Sometimes democracy backfires and certainly has in this case.

The Labour Party is vetting membership applications and have so far found over a thousand people who are in the category of "infiltrators". Some like film director Ken Loach claims Labour is running a witch hunt against his party.

That's the point Ken, you have set up a political party in direct competition with Labour, standing around 10 candidates at the last general election in alliance with the remains of the old Militant Tendency now known as the Socialist Party in the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

Members of Left Unity have no place in the Labour Party.

Nor do members of the Greens, the TUSC or any other tin pot outfit on the fringes of the Labour and trade union movement.

There may be even a few malevolent Tories joining as "three pounders" to vote for Corbyn as they know he will make Labour unelectable at the next election.

Whilst I fully support Labours efforts to remove the obvious culprits, any move to stop the election will make Labour a laughing stock from which it will take time to recover. The main unions affiliated to Labour Unite and even Unison (or at least their leaderships) have thrown their not inconsiderable influence behind Corbyn and there are many grass root activists in the Labour Party who remain to the left of the leadership.

 Jeremy Corbyn is certainly the front runner, only Andy Burnham seems to be in a position to be able to stop him and that may at the end of the day rely on the transfer of votes. Burnham would be a compromise leader and not one I would choose but better than Corbyn.

Corbyn supporters have complained of witch hunts, a usual tactic of the far-left when any thing is said or published that is critical of them or their boy.Trouble is that this far left crowd is entirely unsuitable to lead the Labour Party and would probably damage both the party and the unions through their antics beyond repair,

When I see the likes of Galloway, Hatton and the foolish trade union leader Serwotka backing Corbyn I remember what damage their type of politics did to the largest trade union in the civil service. It is now a shrinking, bankrupt wreck shedding members as I write. Isolated from reality and with little real influence the far left wrecked PCS.

The far-left cannot be allowed to do this to the Labour Party. Changing trade unions was simple but if Labour is destroyed by their nefarious antics who will we be able to vote for?

The candidate most likely to beat the Tories is Liz Kendall yet so many party members are so wrapped up in old fashioned and outdated ideological outlooks they fail to see that.

It is my belief that it is better to achieve something rather than nothing. The Corbyn road will be to electoral failure and more attacks on the unions, the state and our rights.

The left needs to grow up and quickly.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Time for the middle ground to reassert itself.

Two articles caught my attention in today's issue of The Times. The first by columnist Emma Duncan was subtitled "Whether shopping, dining out or finding a job, we've moved into a world of less security, but more opportunity." Whilst primarily about the usefulness of "pop up shops" it indicates a mindset that I find disturbing that comes from right wing commentators.

Over the years we have seen a drive by governments, particularly under the Tories to undermine our rights in the workplace. Always disguised under the heading of "reform" lots of these measures have not just made working lives less secure they have undermined hard working families to the degree that many have become afraid of the future.

The decision to charge for Tribunals and only allow them after two years plays into the hands of bad employers, a process which is now eating even into the Public Sector where you would think Government Departments would at least be more reasonable in their approach.

But no we have seen a drive against trade unions, with facility time (to represent members) drastically cut or even removed almost entirely as did Bromley Council. The Tories even launched a drive to remove "check off" across the public sector whereby union subscriptions were deducted by pay sections in the name of saving money even though it cost next to nothing.

Then on top of "Pop Up" companies there are the dreadful "Zero Hour" contracts.

As  Emma Duncan admits at the end of her column:

It means we cannot rely on companies to look after and we will have to look after ourselves.... we will have less security and more opportunity.

Most working families have to find money to pay for rent, food ,their children's clothes every week on a regular basis. For the highly paid this may have always been an option but the low wage economy puts people in constant struggle with only now quite limited working benefits to fall back on them. In essence the taxpayer is paying for the low wages of workers by propping up bad employers.

That's why I could never be a Tory.

At the other end of the spectrum was the latest news from North Korea:

Two thirds of North Koreans now face chronic food shortages amid a government in rations and a drought that has destroyed food crops.

North Korea has faced famine before, the last time in the nineties an estimated 4 million people died. This in a country that ideologically describes itself as a "workers state". Communism has always seen vast famines arise not just because of it's problems with nature but because socialist economics simply don't work.

The way forward for us all is a more mixed and socially responsible society. There is a way to combine entrepreneurial enterprise and have rights for ordinary working people.

The extremes of left and right which seem to dominate political discourse these days are the problem.

A new way is needed. The politics of the old parties has failed.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Anarchists stir trouble in Calais

The growing "refugee" crisis in Calais has been attracting media attention for some time. The sight of thousands of people living in squalor in camps around the port and then storming the security fences causes the usual polarisation of opinion as is the norm in all discussions about immigration these days. It's all "keep them all out" or "let them all in" depending on whether you read the Daily Express or Socialist Worker, neither of which appealing publications.

There are no countries in this world that have an "open borders" policy which would allow the total free movement of people but there are none (except perhaps North Korea) that prevent any immigration at all as far as I am aware. People move around the world to live and work all the time and have done so since time immemorial.

The problem arises when large numbers of people try to move and then countries have to decide how many, if any of any particular group they will allow in. The root causes of the current influx at Calais are varied and many would be migrants do not come from war zones but are in fact economically driven, not a crime in itself, but one that does differ from those escaping say ISIS or even North Korea, though the latter are not perceived as a problem.

Like most people I do support immigration controls and believe that there are limits to the number of people that can be settled in the UK and that the legitimacy of such applicants should be checked. No country, the UK included can take every would be refugee in the world and to call for open borders is both impractical and a cause for potential conflict.

There is no easy solution to the refugee crisis whether it be in Calais or the large numbers trying to come to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean, but it does occur that the solution lies at source and the world community needs to deal with the situations that cause the various crises.

And more to the immediate point the criminal gangs who traffic the majority of these people and make huge amounts of money.

Currently both the the UK and French Governments seem to have (somewhat belatedly) sitting down to get something done. But like all things it will take time to get done.

In the meantime the nightly violence that takes place is to no ones benefit.

Except it would seem some Anarchists.

I noticed in The Times this morning that some political activists allegedly from Open Borders (a pro-immigration organisation are getting involved and inflaming an already volatile situation for their own twisted ideological ends regardless of the consequences.

The Daily Mail reports:

At Sunday’s protest, a British man wearing a scarf around his face could be seen washing tear gas from his eyes after police broke up a crowd of 100 migrants lying in the road. Earlier that day, the same man was seen filming the scene, claiming the group hoped to document alleged police brutality

One British activist, Tim Woolrich, 48, from York, who sleeps in a caravan at the migrant camp in Calais, told The Sun last week: ‘We teach them how to pass the asylum exam. Of course we want them to cross the border.

‘They deserve to get to the UK.’ A statement on the No Borders website reads: ‘No Borders is an anti-capitalist movement. Borders are created by, and serve, capitalist elites.’

It adds: ‘Many, though not all, people in the No Borders network also think of ourselves as anarchists.

‘We believe a world without
 borders must also mean a world without states.

Even if that is their belief, how they think stirring up people in a desperate situation is going to help is irresponsible. But then we are talking about Anarchists, most of whom seem to be Nihilists than anything else. Having seen them put masks on and then tool up to riot on the Pensions march a few years back I am not impressed with their antics.

Like all extremists these so-called anarchists put ideology first regardless of the consequences.

Open borders is not an option.

Neither is using refugees in such a cynical way.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Conquest of History

Front Cover

In 1968 a seminal book on the crimes of communism was published by the late British historian Robert Conquest. The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties finally outlined in meticulous detail the scale of the homicide committed by Stalin in the Soviet Union.

Originally himself a communist in his youth Conquest saw for himself the communist terror machine at work in Bulgaria. His work finally revealed the fools that the pro-Soviet left wing intelligentsia had been. George Bernard Shaw and Beatrice Webb were amongst those taken in by the Soviet lie.

You can quibble about the numbers, Conquest himself thought the number of 20 million was "too low" but the scale is on a par with those of Hitler and the Nazi's.

But committed in the name of the workers revolution of course.

Robert Conquest was not alone in working to expose the communists and others like Robert Service have also written at length about the origins of the "Red Terror" which originated with Lenin and Trotsky long before Stalin got his hands of the full reins of power.

Not that the comrades will ever admit this.

Stalin simply "hijacked" the revolution in their eyes and many, Trotskyite types included continue to deny the historical truth that the Marxist-Leninist creed is murderous to the nth degree.

Even today with all the evidence available there are those who defend the worlds last dictators such as the New Communist Party which praises the North Korea despite it being the largest concentration camp on Earth.

The Korean Communists are simply camp guards. Nothing more.

The mentality behind this ideological blindness is everywhere to be seen on the far left. Counterfire and Stop the war Coalition activists think nothing of working for Press TV because they, like Lenin's "useful fools" of the past see their democratic homelands as the real enemy.

So long as they can be seen as "anti-imperialist" (whatever that term actually means these days) the enemy is "always at home" an old Leninist phrase.

Russian TV. Left wing firebrands are there. George Galloway anyone?

Invasion of Crimea? Tibet? It's the West's fault not Russia's, not China's.

Like Webb and Bernard Shaw they are simply taken in. Not all of them are stupid, some are quite wilfully ignorant if it suits their ideological purposes.

Stalinism was not an aberration of communism, it is simply a consequence.

As Robert Conquest surmised in his famous limerick

There was a great Marxist called Lenin,
Who did two or three million men in,
That;s a lot to have done in,
But where he did one in,
That grand Marxist Stalin did ten in.

Just like all the extremes of ideology in our world, Communism, fascism and Islamism have one thing in common.

Do as we say or die.

Robert Conquest helped build the fightback against communism and for that he will always be remembered.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Then and ..Now?

The Man From UNCLE

On the way to work this morning I noticed the poster advertising the new The Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie that is about to hit the screens. I have no idea what this film will be like but I do hope that the remake doesn't bomb like the attempt to do a modern version of The Avengers. There are some things that should be left alone.

Like The Avengers, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is very much a product of it's time as you can see from the video at the end of this post. I certainly have fond memories of this TV series as a lad. Something I mentioned to a co-worker some time back when Robert Vaughn appeared in of all things Coronation Street. She'd never heard of it having been born in the late eighties.

And suddenly I felt old!

So there's a whole new audience waiting out there to discover the joys of espionage U.N.C.L.E. style. That's what bothers me a bit. The Avengers failed because it was a product of the psychedelic sixties and the actors..well they just weren't Patrick Macnee or Diana Rigg.

And this isn't the sixties.

Times were much simpler back then, as were our expectations of special effects and as for computers..something out of science fiction! Never thought we'd see the day they were to be found in nearly every home.

This evening I had started out thinking about doing a post at my other blog on the comic books that the TV show spawned but decided since it's summer a quick break from politics was in order on Howie's Corner as the main news stories are getting a wee bit repetitive.

In the USA The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was published by the now defunct Gold Key Comics company. The series lasted 22 issues between 1965 and 1969.


In Britain their Adventures appeared in TV Tornado, a comic that lasted 88 issues before merging with the Gerry Anderson orientated TV 21.


Then there was ...The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. which I do not remember at all,but there was a five issue comic series in the states and three Annuals published in the UK.


A sequel if this film is a success? Why not!

Hopefully some Channel on Freeview will repeat the series. Here's the opening from the first episode for you!

For more on both old and new British & American comics please try my other blog:

Howie's World of Comics 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Secular groups write to Nigerian President over blasphemy death sentences

Cross-post from the National Secular Society

Secular groups write to Nigerian President over blasphemy death sentences

The National Secular Society has joined other secularist organisations in calling for a full pardon and civil protection for nine people recently sentenced to death by a Sharia court in Nigeria.

The letter, organised by the Secular Policy Institute, expresses deep concerns over the death sentences handed out for blasphemy and appeals to the Nigerian President, Governor, and Ambassador to ensure the preservation of the individuals' rights of free conscience and religious expression.

The so-called 'Kano Nine' were sentenced to death by a sharia court in the Nigerian state of Kano after what the BBC described as a "speedily done" and "secret" trial.

The charges centred around claims that the nine accused said that Niasse, the founder of the Tijaniya sect, was "bigger than [the] Prophet Muhammad".

The nine are alleged to have made the comment at a religious gathering held to honour Niasse, in a venue which was burnt down by a mob before the nine (eight men and one woman) were arrested by police over the accusations.

The head of the religious police in Kano told the BBC: "We quickly put them on trial to avoid bloodshed because people were very angry and trying to take law into their hands."

There were reports of celebrations across parts of the city when the death sentences were announced.

The Secular Policy Institute note that "comments by local-authorities expressing relief at stemming further vigilante acts" give the impression that the verdicts were the result of "political expedience rather than a fair administration of justice."

The 'Kano Nine' are "being sacrificed to pacify a mob", the signatories write.

There was extreme secrecy around the trial, and even the names of all of the accused are not known.

Nigeria operates two countervailing jurisprudences – Customary and Sharia. The Customary Criminal code would call for a maximum two-year sentence for purported violation, with the Sharia code specifying a death sentence.

The letter argues that at the very least the State should uphold civil over religious law.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Pastors, Hate Preachers and Islamic Student Societies

A man who described the ISIS controlled city of Mosal as the "most peaceful city in the world", a certain Dr Raied Al-Wazzan of the Belfast Islamic Centre is to be the main prosecution witness against a Christian preacher who described Islam as "satanic" and "a doctrine spawned in hell" on charges relating to sending an electronically offensive message.

Pastor McConnells views may not be to everyones taste but since he did not advocate violence I find the decision to prosecute somewhat suspect. Another example of the politically correct establishment putting free speech at risk. This is particularly disturbing when you read further reports about the complainant in the Belfast Telegraph:

In his statement to the PSNI, Dr Al-Wazzan denounces the pastor's "terrible comments" and describes his "general sweeping statements" as "offensive and disgusting".

In January Dr Al-Wazzan himself was embroiled in controversy when he said that Islamic State, which has carried out mass executions and forced millions of people to flee their homes, had been a positive force in Mosul, his home city in Iraq.

"Since the Islamic State took over, it has become the most peaceful city in the world," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback.

"Yes, there are other things going wrong there... they are murdering people, I agree, but you can go from east to west of the city without fear."

This would be where the slightest infringement of whatever ISIS feels is Islamic for the day is met with violence and death. A gangster run community where slavery of Christian women and their subsequent rape and abuse is allowed in the name of their so-called prophet.

I would not use the term satanic to describe ISIS (as much as it is tempting) since I no more believe in the Devil than I do God. Evil is the word I would describe these people with. Islamic Nazi's would be quite accurate.

The Belfast Telegraph continues:

His comments provoked public outrage and Dr Al-Wazzan later withdrew them and apologised.

In his statement to the PSNI about Pastor McConnell, Dr Al-Wazzan claims that many Muslims in Northern Ireland are professionals while the pastor's congregation "may include impressionable, uneducated people".

Just because the Dr Al-Wazzan "withdrew them" doesn't actually mean much since he clearly meant what he said in the first place. And given his pathetic defence of ISIS he is in no position to call anyone names. If I were one of Pastor McDonnell's congregation I would certainly be offended.

Why the CPS is pursuing this case is beyond me. But then the "offence" is to criticise "Islam" whatever that is these days. Some say it's a "religion of peace" whilst others call for the death of us "Kufir". They both read the same theological texts so who knows.

At the same time we hear of the disturbing activities of "Islamic Student Societies" in our universities. According to The Times (no link£) my old college (then known as the Polytechnic of Central London):

The London university attended by the Islamic State murderer Mohamed Emwazi has hosted the highest number of extremist or intolerant speakers over the past three years.

The University of Westminster where the terrorist known as "Jihadi John gained a computer programme degree offered a platform on 25 occasions between 2012 and 2014.

The "safe spaces" "Trigger warning" crowd in the student movement seem to be silent on this. Ban secularists but allow Hate Preachers. can't offend the "religion of Islam".

This included a so called Palestinian "scholar" (so-called because these people are no such thing and make up their hate as they go along) allegedly called homosexuality a "criminal act" according to the Times.

Would Dr Wazeen like to elucidate his views on ISIS throwing gays off of tall buildings? I'd like to hear what he has to say.

The prosecution of Pastor McConnell is not in the public interest at all. More to the point it is a threat to free speech and his persecutor knows it.

NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans said: "This baffling decision to persist with the prosecution of Pastor McConnell represents a reckless and grievous encroachment upon his - and everybody else's - fundamental right to free expression.

"In our view Pastor McConnell was well within his rights to refuse a warning that would have remained on his criminal record for a year, particularly given that he clearly did not incite violence in his sermon and the PPS do not even appear to claim that he did. Given that, the PPS's behaviour seems even more extraordinary.

"Whatever the outcome of this case, the actions of the Public Prosecution Service are likely to have a chilling effect on everyone's freedom to speak openly about their beliefs.

"In an open and free society, we should all feel able to express our beliefs and opinions without fear of criminal sanction - regardless of how unpalatable others may find them.

"The weapon of 'offense' is increasingly being used to stifle free expression. The desire to live in a harmonious and tolerant society is a noble one, but will not be achieved by the suppression of fundamental freedoms.

Free speech is under threat. 

Our Human Rights come well before any ones ideological or theological beliefs. Nothing is beyond criticism and that includes the Islamic faith.