Thursday, 30 April 2015

Have I Got UKIP For You

I'll paint the town red from The Judge (1885)

Have I Got News For You is in my humble opinion the best satire show on TV at the moment. Far superior to that ITV Newzoids nonsense that was supposed to be the Spitting Image replacement we had been promised.

On Radio there's the News Quiz until recently hosted by Sandi Toksvig. In print there's Private Eye.

And if you can speak French there's always Charlie Hebdoe....

And the thing about satire is that everything and everyone is open to lampooning. And has been since time immorial.

British Museum Papyrus

But not everyone has either a sense of humour or sometimes even a sense of proportion so it shouldn't surprise anyone that some politicians and their supporter take these things too seriously.

The BBC reports:

UKIP has complained to the police over comments about leader Nigel Farage on an episode of BBC One's topical quiz Have I Got News For You.

On Friday's show, journalist Camilla Long made claims about how often Mr Farage had visited Thanet South, where he is standing for election.

UKIP said that broke a law that bans false statements about candidates.

The BBC said the show often made jokes at the expense of politicians. Kent Police said it would not take action.

It's a bloody joke!

One that most people had forgotten about as soon as they finished laughing.

But they'll remember it now. More to the point they might even think it struck too close to home.

The joke really is UKIP.


Private Eye

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A Tribute to Jack Ely of The Kingsmen

I was sad to hear of the death of Jack Ely of the Kingsmen today. Best known for their cracking 1963 hit Louie Louie I thought it fitting to post it here.

For some reason the FBI investigated the song for "obscenity", I have no idea why. Interestingly despite being the lead vocalist on the record it was only after a legal battle that this was actually attributed to him as he had walked out the band before the song had become a hit.

Still a classic number all the same.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

What do the minor parties have to say about secularism and religion?

Cross-post from the National Secular Society

by Benjamin Jones

From the Wessex Regionalists to the Christian People's Alliance, the NSS presents some highlights on secularism and religion from the minor parties' manifestos.

Which party wants to place unicorns on a list of protected animals? Who wants to give married couples £10,000 if they go on "marital awareness training"? Which manifesto argues that communism and cross-dressing have taken over non-religious schools? Read on to find out more…

As part of our General Election coverage, we've been going through the party manifestos to reveal their stance on secularist issues like faith schools and the role of religion in public services.

We've already picked out the highlights from the Conservatives, the LibDems, the Greens, UKIP, Labour, the SNP and Plaid Cymru. Now we take a look at some of the smaller parties.

Christian Party:

The Christian Party says that "Britain's education system is rooted in our Judaeo-Christian heritage" but has been taken over by "communistic ideals." It warns of pupils cross-dressing in schools, and the Government's "pro-homosexuality" agenda. Their manifesto states that education has been "eroded by the secular and multifaith agendas".

The Party says they will "refocus education on the basics of the core curriculum of reading, writing, mathematics, science, languages and modern studies".

The party argues that there is "waste of education resources on peripheral" activities, but despite this they argue that "the obligation to assemble pupils for an act of Christian worship, including praise and prayer, should no longer be ignored."

The Party challenges the teaching of evolution, and believes that "the Science curriculum should include the evidence of creation and design in the Universe, presenting evolution as an alternative hypothesis rather than falsely depicting it as a proven fact."

PHSE will be reformed with "Christian content." The party "supports a wide variety of corrective measures in schools" and promises to "bring normality back to childhood". They state that "Sex education needs to be in the context of traditional marriage. The Christian Party will promote true love in its education policy."

They also believe that the current Government's plans on sex education "will sexualise children at an early age." Their manifesto states: "Given the coalition's pro-homosexuality agenda, sex education for five-year-olds amount to state-sponsored sexual indoctrination."

The Christian Party warns, "the cross-dressing of primary school children is an abuse of the school environment and of the children themselves. We resist the use of schools for the LBGT political agenda, such as promotional months, and government backing and financial support for their literature and campaigns. The Christian Party continues to call for the end of the promotion in schools of the LGBT agenda, which is now appearing in other subjects across the curriculum."

On healthcare, the Christian Party says the NHS should not provide services "based on lifestyle choices" such as abortion.

The Christian Party claim they will "will restore proper respect for our neighbour by removing the inequalities in our equalities legislation."

Their full manifesto can be read here

Christian People's Alliance

The Christian People's Alliance say "the breakdown of marriage is costing the country £49 billion." They plan to "change the whole culture of our society" and claim this will "claw back substantial amounts of this money."

Though they aim to reduce the size of government and cut spending, they want every married couple to be given £10,000 "on the occasion of their first marriage", if the couple go to three sessions of "marital awareness training."

Another grant will be available to parents who have a child "within wedlock."

On education, the party believes that "sex education should teach the high value of marriage for personal and societal enrichment" and that sex outside of marriage exposes "participants" to sexually transmitted diseases and abortion. They say children should be taught that "'safe sex' is a misnomer" and that "marriage is the best protection."

They stress the importance of teaching children to "preserve one's sexual organs for marriage."

The party states "all students should understand that Christian worship benefits society" but that pupils should only participate in collective worship at school if they wish to. They plan for a "broad curriculum" in faith schools.

The Christian People's Alliance call for "strong principles of good and evil" in the health service.

On the environment, the manifesto laments that "all of western man has never been totally committed to Genesis" and notes that not all atheists are "eco-friendly." To tackle climate change, the party lists "practical steps" which include "encouraging repentance of previous abuse", seeking "God's blessing on the world" and avoiding the waste of food. "Ecological balance is biblical", they say.

Their full manifesto can be read here.

Communist Party

The website of the Communist Party is "committed to secularism" and argues that "religious institutions shouldn't play a role in the state and vice versa." The party says that it is not anti-religious, and notes that many of its members are "ministers of different denominations and religions."

They explain: "Despite the fact that modern British society is very secular, it's institutions aren't. The Church of England is still the official state religion and has its own unelected representatives in Parliament. Communists argue that religious belief should be a matter for the individual. A socialist Britain would be one that celebrates and recognises the diverse traditions and beliefs of the peoples' of Britain, guarantees the freedom of religious belief and worship for all without having any institutionalised privileges for any one religion or church."

Their website can be found here.

Left Unity

Left Unity would "end the charitable status of fee-paying schools, and also withdraw state funding from schools or colleges which exclusively promote any one religious belief system, including Christianity, unless such establishments have an open, secular enrolment policy."

The party proposes abolishing the House of Lords and the monarch. Their manifesto argues that "the Church of England must be dis-established, its privileges ended and its wealth confiscated."

They state that "media myths have fuelled Islamophobia."

Their full manifesto can be read here.

Liberty GB

Liberty GB promises a "zero tolerance" strategy toward Islam and "any Islamic practice that conflicts with traditional British laws or values."

They aim at "limiting the size of the Muslim community and preventing political Islam from gaining influence. This is essential to ensure a peaceful future and preserve our way of life."

Liberty GB vows to "enact a law of sedition specifically aimed at eradicating Islamism, and re-classify acts of terrorism as treason. Treason will carry the possibility of the death sentence for all those involved. Both will carry a sentence of possible expulsion from the UK."

"No infringement of British law will be tolerated or ignored for the sake of 'community relations'. Religious or cultural norms and values will no longer be considered as mitigating circumstances to gain a light sentence or as a reason to evade prosecution."

The party would prohibit Muslims from holding public office.

Their full manifesto can be read here

Monster Raving Loony Party

The Monster Raving Loony Party has quite a short 'manicfesto' online this time, which includes making unicorns a protected species. If new policy is forthcoming, we will update this post.

Their website can be found here

Wessex Regionalist Party:

A Wessex Regionalist Government promises to "phase out religious involvement in publicly-funded education" and to "return control of education policy and funding to local councils."

Their website can be found here

You can read our blog about the major parties manifestos here.

Monday, 27 April 2015

The Left's Platform of Shame.

Here we go.

The pro-Islamist left has decided the conviction of Lutfur Rahman is a threat to them and won't take any notice of the verdict despite all the evidence because it doesn't suit the comrades political agendas.

And what a rotten band they are to.

The fraudster himself standing alongside:

  • Lyndsey German of the pro Hamas, pro Assad, pro Putin Stop the War Coalition
  • John Rees friend of Cage who think Jihadi John is a "beautiful man"
  • Andrew Murray a Communist who obviously knows all about democracy
  • John McLoughlin, Socialist Workers Party
  • Weyman Bennett, Socialist Workers Party
  • And someone called Christine Shawcroft who is apparently a member of the Labour Party National Executive. 

I'm really not sure what she's doing there and surely the Labour Party should be concerned about an NEC members supporting not just one of their opponents but also a man found guilty of electoral fraud.

Questions need to be asked about her presence.

As for the rest?

Political charlatans

Same old members of the "anti-imperialist brigade" who always end up supporting dictatorships.

The only threat to democracy in Tower Hamlets was Lutfur Rahman.

And the judge has issued a comprehensive verdict.


A platform of shame indeed.

They are the threat to democracy.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Musical Interlude: A Suzi Quatro Double!

Time for a quick break from the political scene tonight and what better way to do it it than with a double dose of Suzi Quatro from the early seventies!

Take a trip down memory lane.......

First off: Devil Gate Drive from 1973:

And from the same year: Can The Can!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Oliur Rahman cries wolf

Tower Hamlets First logo

The Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets Oliur Rahman seems to be in complete denial of the outcome of the corruption trial of his former boss Lutfur Rahman. According to the Daily Mail:

Oliur Rahman, who took over from the deposed leader yesterday, insisted there was deep-rooted racism within the East London borough of Tower Hamlets.

His comment was at odds with a devastating legal ruling that condemned his predecessor for bribery and ballot fraud and found he had repeatedly ‘played the race card’ to silence critics.

The two men – who are not related – are both members of the Tower Hamlets First party. Political opponents said they were playing the same ‘cracked record’ by seeking to blame racism and Islamophobia for their problems.

Oliur Rahman told the BBC: ‘If people say there is no racism in Tower Hamlets, then they are very much mistaken because there is institutional racism.

‘If people want to turn a blind eye to the racism then that’s their decision but they are very much mistaken if they turn round and say there is no racism in Tower Hamlets, and that people are not judged because of their skin colour and their religion.’

On Thursday, electoral judge Richard Mawrey QC found that Lutfur Rahman, 49, and his cronies had rigged the 2014 mayoral ballot by creating an army of ‘ghost voters’, forging postal votes, bribing Muslim voters and using religious intimidation against them and branding opponents as racists.

The campaigns against all their political opponents involved false accusations of "Islamaphobia" and or "racism". If anyone has caused a problem with these issues in Tower Hamlets it is the communalism of the Tower Hamlets First party that sought to build a religious based party in the borough and incidentally broke the law on "spiritual influence" that exists precisely to prevent the abuse of religion in politics.

Oliur Rahman who was and might still be an activist in the far-left controlled East London Branch of the PCS union was a former Respect Councillor and supporter of George Galloway until the "gorgeous one" managed to fall out with large sections of his "flock".

It's not clear who the "Isalmophobia Brigade" will be putting forward in the re-run election. According to the Times (no link£) reports;

The stage has been set for George Galloway to fight to replace Britain's ousted first Muslim Mayor if the MP fails to keep his seat in parliament.

The last thing Tower Hamlets needs is another ego-maniac running the borough. Hopefully the Muslim community will wake up to the fact that both Tower Hamlet First and Respect use and abuse them for their own political purposes and have done a lot of damage to community relations.

There is a need for the mainstream political parties to ensure that voters are given the widest possible choice to ensure that democracy is restored in the borough.

The Rahmans and the Galloways of this world have done enough damage with their communalism. Time to move on.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Lutfur Rahman and the Left

The outcome of the corruption case surrounding the Mayor of Tower Hamlets cames as no surprise to anyone who took even the remotest interest in local government affairs and yet despite all the evidence there are those who are in denial.

And I don't mean Rahman or his oily deputy.

One of the most outrageous comments came from Lee Jasper, one of Galloway's lieutenants in Respect. He tweeted:

The logic behind that statement says more about Lee Jasper than he himself would admit.

However he's not alone. Richard "Race play" Seymour tweets

For those trolling about Lutfur Rahman. No, I won't retract anything I've said. No, I'm not sorry. No, I don't defer to the judge's view.

Of course not comrade.

Evidence doesn't matter if it doesn't fit your political purposes.

Then there's John Rees of Counterfire, the one who chaired that memorable press conference where "Cage" supporters claimed mass murderer Jihadi John was a "beautiful man". He rants:

The Tower Hamlets electoral fraud trial was a political event from the beginning. Indeed, everything you need to know about the decision of High Court Judge Richard Mawrey to declare void the election of Britain's first Muslim Mayor is contained in his summary judgement.

And then oddly ignoring electoral law misrepresents one of the charges over "spiritual influence" in which over a hundred local Imams wrote to their flock saying it was their religious duty to vote for Rahman:

And what of the main charge that Lutfur Raham used 'spiritual influence' to gain votes? The judge obviously imagines that Muslims are so backward and superstitious that they cannot make their up their minds how to vote without religious guidance, or to ignore such advice if they wish. How confusing it must have been for those Muslim electors in wards where the front-runners were both Muslims!

Still he's in good company (if you can call it that). Ken Livingstone has joined the fray stating:

"If he's done something wrong have him arrested. Put him on trial. I hope Lutfur will appeal because in all my dealings with him I've never seen anything dodgy."

Erm..Ken..he's been on trial and been barred from office, not allowed to stand for Mayor in the rerun of the election campaign and fine a million quid. 

Such things obviously pass you by mate. Stick to newt collecting.

Then there's the SWP whose National Secretary tweets their banner is more relevant than ever following the courts verdict:

Embedded image permalink

There's that word..."Islamophobia" that faux victimisation promoted by Islamists and their apologists on the so-called "left".

Rahman had a fair trial and was found guilty.

Nothing to do with his colour or religion just a verdict on his actions. Nothing more nothing less.

The reaction of the left shows how far they have degenerated and adapted to Islamism. They are no longer on the left and are firmly on the road to reaction.

New Party anyone?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Problems present & future for PCS

As the leading members of PCS traipse around the country backing the barely visible Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (see post below) the crisis facing the union grows.

Figures sent to activists in the second largest civil service department the HMRC show that as the deadline for the end of "check off" is reached nearly 40% of members have not signed up by direct debit. In some areas like Northern Ireland the figure is barely 50%.

This mirrors the situation previously reported in the DWP where large swathes of members did not respond to the direct debit campaign and many only remain members due to the High Court case which led to Management suspending the end of "check off" by one month.

The far-left/Socialist Party led union continues to wreck a once fine union by taking a political direction based on sectarian self interest and wonders why members have lost faith.

Trouble is the weaker PCS gets the more likely a merger or rather takeover by Unite will become and we'll see how that and the unions current financial crisis is dealt with by delegates at next months seaside bash in Brighton.

Problem is Unite is far more mainstream than the left leaning General Secretary Len McCluskey might indicate.

Here's the message Unite sent to it's members:

Welcome to the General Election England edition of Unite Works.

We all know how important this General Election is.

The last five years have been increasingly hard for so many of us – and at last we have a chance to change that.

Whatever this Coalition – the government that no one actually voted for – has thrown at us, Unite has been there making a stand and fighting back for our members. But we really need a government that will stand up for working people and not make life even harder.

And our members are under no illusion – if the Conservative Party is returned, things will only get worse.

In this special General Election edition we look at the devastating impact of the last five years of Coalition rule and examine the policies that will make a real difference to all our members, to their families and to the communities in which they live and work.

Now it’s your chance to vote for hope and to vote for change.

For a better Britain for all, vote Labour on May 7th.

Jennie Formby

Political Director

That's the right message.

PCS is no longer fit for purpose and there are alternatives:


For HMRC staff: The Revenue & Customs Trade Union:

Prospect: Union for professionals

For everyone else: Prospect

Join a relevant union now!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Fringe 2015: TUSC, the anti-austerity party that cuts

TUSC - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing 135 candidates in the general election and therefore qualifies for a "Party Political Broadcast". Besides being somewhat dire, the "comrades" didn't really say too much about themselves other than they were an "anti-austerity" party and were "against all cuts".

The TUSC is of course the brainchild of the Socialist Party (formerly known as the Militant Tendency) who have cobbled together an alliance with the RMT union, the Socialist Workers Party (or what's left of it) and few other oddballs in the Independent Socialist Network.

You can't actually join as an individual which is also strange for a party that claims to stand for "workers democracy", but you can become a supporter which means you do work at their behest without any say in the decision making process.

Socialism eh!

That aside the TUSC claim:

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) argues that working class people should not pay for a crisis that we did not cause. That was why TUSC was set up in 2010, co-founded by the late Bob Crow, to show that there is a clear left-wing alternative to policies of public sector cuts, privatisation, militarism and environmental degradation.

TUSC has accepted from its start that there will be some Labour candidates who share our socialist aspirations and will be prepared to support measures that challenge the austerity consensus of the establishment politicians. But it is also committed to standing candidates or supporting others if that is the only way a working class anti-austerity socialist alternative can be articulated at election time.

Our coalition, of trade unionists, community campaigners and socialists, is united on the need for mass resistance to the ruling class offensive, and for an alternative programme of left-wing policies to help inspire and direct such resistance...

Except there's a problem with their track record.

The Socialist Party in their Militant guise gained control of Liverpool Council on a similar programme back in the eighties and err..ended up sending out redundancy notices to their workforce because they managed to bankrupt the city.

Fast forward to today and they have taken over the PCS union (the sixth largest in the country) and have  run it into the ground, being forced to sell off the unions assets, make staff redundant and even cancel elections because they can't afford it.

Not a very good track record at all.

More than that during their broadcast former MP Dave Nellist said he'd live on a "workers wage". Perhaps he might  but his fellow Socialist Party member Chris Baugh Assistant General Secretary of PCS doesn't.

Neither does the lefts failed "Messiah" Mark Serwotka General Secretary PCS who is always looking to build an alternative workers party.

Still they don't earn as much as George Galloway leader of the former left-wing Party "Respect", the third highest earning in Parliament.

The TUSC are no alternative to anything at all.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Strange goings on in Socialist Appeal

Socialist Appeal is the British section of the International Marxist Tendency, a rather grand title for an organisation of probably less than two hundred people. For those of you not familiar with this sect, it is the remains of the old Militant Tendency that did not leave the Labour Party.

Frankly it's not an organisation that anyone is likely to bump into either. The only time I've ever noticed Socialist Appeal (also the name of their newspaper) was when a handful of their supporters set up a stall outside the Brighton Conference Centre when the PCS union was having it's annual bash down at the seaside.

However some strange events inside their minuscule group have come to my attention.

It seems 5 of their members have been expelled/suspended or whatever they call it from Socialist Appeal for "rumour mongering". Initially this just sounded the normal kind of Stalinist whataboutery that the Trot sects have a habit of indulging in.

But there appears to be a more than a little whiff of "scandal" at the very least. Something perhaps a little more serious it has to be said.

And guess what it involves "young (female) comrades" and more than a little misogyny.

At the strangely named blog Peace to the Cottages. War on the Palaces the dissident five write:

If ‘circulating rumours’ and ‘allegations’ is an expellable offence then some action must be taken against Ben Peck as well. If we have ‘circulated rumours’, it is because new comrades concerned about the organisation have come to us to ask about members they have had bad experiences with. On the other hand, almost everyone one of us have heard rumours about ourselves, and those who have told us about them have told us they originate from full-timers, almost exclusively from Ben Peck. Ajmal has been called ‘lazy’ and a ‘backstabbing bastard’, Shaista has variously been called a ‘bourgeois feminist’ or ‘out-of-control’, Samuel Bayliss has been called a ‘coke-head’ or a ‘drug-addict’ of various kinds, Keziah Keeler has had misogynistic and baseless questions asked about her along the lines of ‘how many men has she slept with?’. These kinds of comments have not been made in secret but in front of many other comrades such at such events as branch meetings or socials. Needless to say these rumours are absolutely disgusting, and have no basis in fact. They have been completely made-up to try and discredit members who have legitimate concerns with the conduct of full-timers. Moreover, they have a political aspect to them, where the female comrades have essentially been portrayed as sexually promiscuous, flirting and with and attempting to seduce older full-timers, sleeping with lots of comrades, etc. The readiness to spread these lies about outspoken women in the organisation accurately reflects the generally abysmal line that the organisation has towards women’s liberation.

One of the primary complaints we want to make is that members have known for a long-time that Ben Peck, in his interactions with female comrades and contacts has consistently stepped out of line. When Ajmal was first getting involved in the organisation Ben Peck was in a relationship with a female contact which ended in him threatening to destroy her laptop. This contact lived with female comrade Stella Christou and branch meetings were regularly held at their house. When this contact broke up with Ben she asked for branch meetings not to be held at this house any more, something Stella overruled, regularly bringing Ben back. Many comrades are also aware of when he began a relationship with a semi-contact and friend of comrade Ruth O’Sullivan. At the time this semi-contact was 16 and Ben was 30. Although she was of consenting age Ben was in a position of trust over her, like a teaching assistant or youth counsellor. In instances of sexual relationships between an adult in a position of trust and a minor (even one of consenting age) it is considered statutory rape. Ben Peck was in charge of school-student work at the time. Sleeping with contacts therefore is morally reprehensible and borders on illegal. This is not something that happened in secret either. Many people in North London Branch, as well as comrades at the centre, would certainly have been aware of this and, strangely enough, the appropriateness of this conduct was never called into question.

In general Ben’s behaviour towards young female contacts and comrades has been consistently out of line and many comrades have been witness to this. We’ve attached screenshot evidence of disgusting and inappropriate remarks that Ben made to Shaista when she was just a sixth form student around 2-3 years ago. At the time Shaista brushed these comments off because she was new and wanted to get further in the organisation so she gave him the benefit of the doubt but in no way did Shaista encourage and/or reciprocate this kind of ‘attention’ from Ben. She did not act immediately repulsed because she feared making a scene. It is only later as she saw more evidence of his inappropriate interactions with female comrades that Shaista became aware of how out of line this was and decided to share it.

One female member writes:

Whilst in a “relationship” with Ben G I didn’t realise how manipulative he was in terms of my associations with other comrades, namely “the clique”. He would tell me how inappropriately Shaista had acted at the previous World School (that she had drunkenly made herself look stupid on several occasions, baited Alan Woods in front of everyone) and also how she was not in “good standing” with the organisation. This all had an adverse effect on how I viewed her and those around her. With hindsight, this was hideous, misogynistic behaviour from a full-timer who should not perpetuate harmful, divisive rumours among young female comrades, especially when he had significant influence over me at this time. In addition, a full-timer should never reveal the personal details of a comrade’s standing in terms of subs/attendance in order to rally other comrades against them. I feel that the carelessness of Ben was due to his misogyny- something that he refuses to even identify; he probably never expected it to backfire and for me to actually talk to Shaista and get clarity on these malicious rumours. 
Since the termination of my close relationship with Ben, following discussions with other comrades, I have come to realise the relationship itself was inappropriate and abusive. I was often drunk or inebriated in some way when I would see Ben and although for a long time I insisted it was a consensual relationship, I feel like he took advantage of my vulnerability as a young woman interested in Marxism. He did not do enough to stop the relationship from developing. I will never deny that I approached him on several occasions and this is what has prevented me from identifying the abusive character of the relationship for so long; he will probably use this as a defence without considering the position of power he had over me.
Not quite "Comrade delta" stuff I know. But equally disturbing that yet another far-left organisation has leaders who behave badly.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Anti-Semitism, the BDS and the Green Party

The Green Party has been attracting a lot of attention recently and not all of it good. According to The Times today:

Support for the Green Party has plummeted amongst students since the start of the election campaign amid a growing dislike of it's leader, an opinion poll has found.

Meanwhile her partner/boyfriend has attracted the attention of the Daily Mirror who write:

Radical blogger Jim Jepps, who is dating the Green leader, has posted controversial comments about sex, paedophilia and rape.

An example given was this:

In a post titled “Even monsters have feelings” about Austrian schoolgirl Natascha Kampusch, who was snatched aged 10, held in a cellar for more than eight years and repeatedly raped, Mr Jepps wrote: “These are two people who had a long term and human relationship.”

I'd say "controversial" was an understatement.

Of more worry is the attitude of substantial numbers of activists to anti-Semitism. 

The Forward Blog writes in an article entitled Englands Green Party has an anti-Semitism problem:

Internal party communications reveal that articles by the fascist British National Party and white supremacist David Duke have been circulated on party discussion forums. Other posts on these forums have referred to the Board of Deputies of British Jews as the “Zionist lobby,” adding “we must smash the Zionists.” Zionism in these discussions has been characterised as a form of racial discrimination, “incompatible with Green views,” and “an ancient theological fantasy.” During Operation Protective Edge, Israel was accused of visiting a second Holocaust upon the Palestinians.

Not all Green anti-Semitism is private. One local councillor tweeted an article by the notorious Jew-hater Gilad Atzmon, calling for Britain to “de-Zionize” itself. The current leader of the Welsh Greens, Pippa Bartolotti, has objected to “having a Jewish Zionist ambassador in Israel,” calling his independence and loyalty into question. “From the university of life I have learned that Jews often have a conflict of interest in matters relating to Palestine,” Bartolotti said.

When such actions have been challenged by Green Party members, members with Jewish surnames have been labelled Nazi infiltrators and agents of Israel. Toby Green, who led an internal working group investigating anti-Semitism, resigned his Green membership in 2011,writing “it has become clear that the Green Party is institutionally anti-Semitic. Its institutions have not dealt with clear evidence of anti-Semitism.”

Meanwhile we'll see if Ms Bennett responds to this open letter:

From Boycott The BDS

Letter to the Green Party's Leader, Natalie Bennett.

Dear Natalie,

Please can you explain why your party is running a "hate campaign" against the State of Israel?

As someone who has always been interested in the Green agenda and feels some synergies with ecological views you promote, I am extremely offended that you should single out Israel for your party's ire. Especially:

1. Your promotion of a boycott. Something which you have publicly stated.

2. Your candidate for Twickenham calling Israel racist and apartheid.

3. Your candidate in Brighton who persistently singles out Israel for extreme criticism and bitterness.

May I remind you that Israel is one of the most "green" countries on the planet with world leading advanced eco-friendly policies and practices that your party could only dream of. So on the face of it, the hypocrisy at the core of your hate campaign is remarkable!

To boycott Israel would be at a massive economic and personal cost not just to Jews in Israel, but Muslims, Christians, Bahia, atheists and the multitude of other faiths who are entirely free to practice their beliefs without threat or compromise (where else in the Middle East can you name where that is even vaguely possible) Where young, old, black, brown, white, gay, straight, able and disabled and every race live side by side and have equal rights. Not to mention the disastrous effect it would have on the neighbouring economies and citizens of The West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, the disastrous affect it would have on the regional economies in countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi where excellent trade agreements are in operation.

Then, of course, there is the damage the global advancements. Israel leads on so many fronts. Indeed, I would not be writing this email to you if it were not for Israeli technology (Intel, Microsoft, Internet security amongst many). And the life saving medicines and biotechnology that Israel develops have kept many of your voters from an early grave (heart, diabetes, brain, etc).

So please tell me why you don't rail against:

1. Qatar (where immigrant workers are dying on a daily basis and as a Jew I can't visit because of their racial policy) or

2. Saudi Arabia (where women's rights are almost non existent, for example women are not allowed to drive) or 

3. Iran (where women are given public floggings for being the victims of rape) or

4. Gaza (which has the world's highest incidents of Honour Killings) or 

5. Turkey (which has more journalists in jail than any other country in a mass supressing of freedom of speech) or 

6. Syria (where the slaughter of Christians is a free for all) or

7. Russia (who has invaded Ukraine and slaughtered thousands in an illegal war and where gay rights do not exist) or

8. Or Morocco (which has illegally occupied Western Sahara for decades against very specific UN resolutions).

Need I continue?

Did you protest about the slaughter of Palestinians in Yarmouk? I did after writing to leading Palestinian campaigns who had nothing, not even mentioning it on their social media and websites (such as the PSC and BDS). More Palestinian civilians killed in a couple of weeks in brutal Islamic extremist violence than in a legitimate conflict last summer yet no one even bothered? Can you explain why? What did you do?


I worked with Amnesty International, an organisation which I am sure you hold in high esteem. We have worked on improving the security and welfare of asylum seekers in Israel (as it should be improved despite it being much much better than its neighbours). In their latest report, which you should read as it was widely circulated, it was clear, regarding last summer's conflict:

1. Hamas committed the worst atrocities with its own rockets falling on its civilians. This was a series of war crimes that included blaming Israel for the death of 31 civilians in a hospital. Unequivocal proof was found by Amnesty to show this was actually caused by Hamas.

2. Every rocket fired by Hamas was a war crime by International Law as they were fired indiscriminately at civilians.

3. Israel was fighting a legitimate battle against a globally recognised terrorist organisation. And had the legitimate right to defend its civilians against attack.

4. Israel did indeed take precautions to avoid civilian casualties.

5. Hamas hid weaponry in UN protected civilian sites which was a war crime.

And of course whilst we all want a resolution to the Israeli - Palestinian problems, how easy this will be whilst Hamas still have Article 7 in their Charter. If you are not familiar with Article 7, it calls for the death of all Jews. It is not vague. It is very specific. It demands that all Jews be exterminated.

I will happily talk to you about this Natalie. Not as an Israeli, not as a Jew, but as a fair minded individual who is tired of seeing your party running a completely unjustified and twisted hate campaign and corrupting the positive messages your party should be delivering.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

On religion and the left once again

One of the earliest decisions I made as a youth was that I did not believe in "God" and became an atheist. It was probably instrumental in seeing me take a "turn" to the left politically from a very "Liberal" family and background. .

This being the 1970's the world was a very different place to the one we live in today. The worst you would come across was a stern lecture from some religious aunt or local Vicar about how one would end up in "Purgatory" or even worse Hell (!), neither of which caused any sleepless nights since I didn't believe they existed any more than "God" and Heaven did.

On a national scale the enemy was limited to a few oddballs, most notably Mary bloody Whitehouse and her Festival of Light or whatever they called themselves. More concerned in protecting our morals from sex, profanity and the violence of Tom & Jerry on the telly it was all rather quaint compared to the situation that has developed since the "Rushdie Affair".

Still on the far left I supported and contributed to a statement going in the press to defend the writer from persecution and the "fatwa" issued by some barmy cleric in Iran. This was never published since the so-called "comrades" who organised said statement bottled it and returned all monies saying they were not going ahead in case people thought it was racist.


Even putting aside the background of the parties involved, Islam is not a race!

Islam is a set of man-made ideas dreamt up in the Middle Ages by a desert warlord who along with his followers went on to conquer a large swathe of the world.

"Islam" was imposed on the ancient Christian, Pagan, Jewish and other minorities that already lived in these lands.

Islam was an instrument of ideology used in a clearly imperialist form to create an Empire.

Of course Christian Kings and Emperors did the same utilising the name of their "God" to conquer and expand. As did other religious faiths across the world throughout history before them.

Fast forward to today and religious conflict still remains a major threat to civilisation and basic human rights, even at a level where it would seem unexpected. The Times (no link £) reported a disturbing event yesterday:

The rubber dinghy carrying about 100 African migrants across the Mediterranean had started to deflate when one young Nigerian Christian started praying for his life. The Muslims on board insisted that "here we only pray to Allah" according to one witness ordered him to stop.

His refusal and the desperate fight that ensued left 12 Christians drowned after they were thrown overboard by their fellow Muslim refugees.

Mass murder caused by religious intolerance, an all too familiar event taking place across the Middle East and parts of Africa by Islamic inspired groups such as ISIS, Boko Harem and others in a struggle for religious dominance.

The basis for these murderous outbursts are taken from religious texts, the Koran and the Hadiths, purported to be sayings of the prophet even if many were only suddenly "discovered" centuries after his death.

Of course Christianity had its problems, mostly, but not entirely gone away. I say mostly because the growth of rabid and quite violent homophobia has been recorded across much of Africa's "Christian" nations.

Such backwards ideas and theology needs challenging wherever and by whoever uses "God" or "Allah" to justify their violent oppression and murder.

But the left is not up to the task and hasn't been since the Rushdie affair. Huge swathes of the left, especially Marxists have simply accommodated Islamism to their ideological outlook. The most obvious culprits are Respect, the Socialist Workers Party and the oddball Socialist Unity website amongst others.

It's all in the name of "anti-imperialism". Islam in particular cannot be criticised. It's "racist" apparently.

Utter rot.

Islam is no more a race than Catholicism is. 

Religion, Islam included should be and must be subject to firm criticism. Basic human rights are under threat. Even that of voting.  The Times also reports the appearance of Islamist inspired posters telling people not to vote only "Allah" can legislate. By which they mean themselves who claim to speak for their imaginary friend and say voting violates the rights of "Allah".

There have been reports of intimidation by small groups of "young Muslims. Sounds very much like the "Muslim Patrols that tried enforcing Shariah in East London.

 Britain is despite the nonsense spouted by some of the comrades a quite tolerant country, but like everywhere else there are those who are not. Just witness the violence against foreigners in South Africa this week.

Multiculturalism has failed as has the so-called left that marches around the streets utilising whatever struggle takes place elsewhere to mask their own inherent political impotence.

The time for a new secularist based "left" to replace the charlatans of the anti-imperialists has never been more urgent.

Time to move forward and ditch the tired ideas of religion and Marxism.

Human Rights and Free Speech must be the foundation of future thinking.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Election 2015: Where the parties stand on secularist issues

Cross-post from the National Secular Society

Find out where the parties stand on collective worship, faith schools, multiculturalism, sex and relationships education, religion in society and a range of other secular issues.

While the National Secular Society is not party political, that doesn't stop us from looking at what individual policies are on offer in the General Election. Here we present relevant policies on secularism and religion- whether good or bad- from each party.

NSS members and supporters represent a broad spectrum of political opinion, and we've rated the parties impartially so that our members and supporters can decide which political party is best on the secular issues that they think are important.


The Conservatives will "protect methods of religious slaughter, such as shechita and halal" and state that while they "want people to integrate fully into British society" that "does not mean they should have to give up the things they hold dear in their religion."

The Conservative Party will scrap the Human Rights Act and introduce a British Bill of Rights "which will restore common sense to the application of human rights in the UK."

The party will "stand up for British values", and for "the freedom of people of all religions – and non-religious people – to practise their beliefs in peace and safety, for example by supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East."

Prime Minister David Cameron recently said that the UK was "still a Christian country", despite 62% of Britons saying they weren't religious. In his recent Easter message the Prime Minister praised Christians for living out their beliefs in faith schools, pointed out that the Coalition had invested tens of millions for church repairs, and praised the recently passed legislation which allows local authorities to hold prayers during council meetings.

"We will tackle global terrorism and the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism while taking a patient, long-term approach to preventing conflict and state failure."

The manifesto states: "We have always believed that churches, faith groups and other voluntary groups play an important and longstanding role in this country's social fabric, running foodbanks, helping the homeless, and tackling debt and addictions, such as alcoholism and gambling."

On LGBT rights, the party notes their "historic introduction of gay marriage" which has "helped drive forward equality and strengthened the institution of marriage." They also promise to introduce a new law pardoning people convicted under historic "gross indecency" laws.

The full manifesto can be read here


The Greens have pledged to "phase out public funding of schools run by religious organisations". They say "schools may teach about religions, but should not encourage adherence to any particular religious beliefs."

The Greens also pledge to integrate academies and free schools into the local authority system and make PSHE, including sex and relationships education, compulsory.

The manifesto is also committed to "ensuring that all schools that serve particular vulnerable communities, for example the Jewish, Muslim or Sikh communities, are adequately protected from sectarian attacks."

The party would "uphold the principles of freedom of speech and peaceful protest, including support for vulnerable communities of all religious faiths and none."

In their manifesto the party also sets plans to "make equality and diversity lessons mandatory in all schools, from the first year of primary education onwards, to combat all forms of prejudice and bullying, to promote understanding and acceptance of difference and to ensure community cohesion."

They would also "implement a UK-wide strategy to tackle violence against women, including domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, female genital mutilation and trafficking."

The full manifesto can be read here


The Labour Party will take "a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime, such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia."

Labour applauds "those faith communities who have pioneered an inter-faith dialogue for the common good" and will "overhaul the programme to involve communities in countering extremist propaganda."

The manifesto argues that "to defeat the threats of Islamist terrorism" the Government "must also engage with the personal, cultural and wider factors that turn young people to extremism."

On radicalisation, Labour argues that the Prevent programme set up under the last Labour Government to stop young people becoming radicalised has had its funding cut and has "narrowed its focus." They also state that "much of the work to engage Muslim communities has been lost."

The party will also implement "a much more rigorous strategy for dealing with people returning from the Syrian conflict." They state that "alongside appropriate police action and prosecution, it will be mandatory for anyone returning to engage in a de-radicalisation programme designed to confront them with the consequences of their actions."

On education, Labour pledges to "introduce compulsory age-appropriate sex and relationships education. We will encourage all schools to embed character education across the curriculum, working with schools to stop the blight of homophobic bullying."

They will also end "the wasteful and poorly performing Free Schools programme."

"We will appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. And we will appoint an International LGBT Rights Envoy to promote respect for the human rights of LGBT people, and work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide."

The full manifesto can be read here

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to "allow parents to continue to choose faith-based schools within the state-funded sector and allow the establishment of new faith schools."

However, the party promised to "ensure all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for optional religious instruction."

The LibDems are also proposing a "minimum curriculum entitlement" which will include PSHE and "age-appropriate sex and relationship education."

"To ensure all children learn about a wide range of religious and nonreligious world views, religious education will be included in the core curriculum; however we will give schools the freedom to set policy on whether to hold acts of collective worship, while ensuring any such acts are strictly optional."

Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently said that he opposed "vociferous secularism", in an interview in which he appeared to conflate secularism with atheism.

The party is concerned about "religious discrimination" and seeks to "support faith and belief communities." The LibDems will "work closely with faith and community organisations, such as the Community Security Trust (which works to protect the Jewish community against antisemitic attacks) and the Muslim Council of Britain, to prevent hate crime, including at places of worship like synagogues and mosques. We are determined to combat antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate in the UK and internationally."

The LibDems call for a "proportionate response" to extremism and pledge to "work with religious and community leaders, civil society groups and social media sites to counter the narratives put forward by extremists, and create the space for the expression of contrary viewpoints and religious interpretations."

The party will "ensure efforts to tackle terrorism do not stigmatise or alienate Muslims or any other ethnic or faith group, and that government supports communities to help prevent those at risk of radicalisation from being drawn into illegal activity."

It will also "review the process of assessing threats against different ethnic and religious communities to ensure all groups in the UK are properly protected."

The full manifesto can be read here

Plaid Cymru

"Plaid Cymru will work across our communities, whatever their backgrounds, to promote a Welsh civic identity. Our Welsh civic identity is inclusive, offered to anybody who chooses to make Wales their home. This will be promoted through schools, by faith and community organisations, encouraging everybody in Wales to participate in our wider Welsh society, in contrast to the UK Government's divisive and stigmatising proposals that blame particular groups."

On education, Plaid Cymru pledge that "all children and young people should receive a comprehensive programme of healthy relationships education. Values of equality, tolerance and respect should be embedded in everything schools do to tackle sexist, racist, homophobic and other discriminatory bullying."

The party also states that it is "committed unswervingly to human rights."

The full manifesto can be read here

Scottish National Party

This article will be updated when the SNP manifesto is launched next week.


UKIP rejects multiculturalism, and seeks to "promote a unifying British culture, open to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain and British values, regardless of their ethnic or religious background."

The party describes this as "genuine inclusiveness" and warns that multiculturalism "has led to an alarming fragmentation of British society." The manifesto argues that different ethnic and religious groups have been "encouraged to maintain all aspects of their cultures" and this has meant they have not integrated into British society. It also warns that some of these groups have "values and customs" which "conflict with British ones."

Farage said that the UK has to be "more robust in defending our Judeo-Christian culture" in the face of Islam.

UKIP pledge to "uphold freedom of speech within the law as a fundamental British value." They "believe all ideas and beliefs should be open to discussion and scrutiny and we will challenge the 'culture of offence' as it risks shutting down free speech."

UKIP "recognise that British values include tolerance of religion. UKIP is committed to protecting religious freedoms for all believers in the UK, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We believe, however, that those faiths and beliefs must exist firmly within a British framework. We will not condone any faith position which is itself intolerant and refuses to recognise the human rights of others."

The UKIP manifesto states that the party will not "condone parallel or conflicting systems that deny equality under the law", and insists that "those attending faith-based tribunals must be informed that they cannot be forced to attend and that the rulings from such hearings may not be legally binding under British law."

The party also promise support for a "mandatory reporting requirement for suspected cases of Female Genital Mutilation." They also argue that "a misplaced sensitivity to issues of race and religion, combined with fear, has been shown to have stopped many investigations into the abuse of children."

On education, UKIP "will continue to monitor British values, but with a view towards combatting extremism and radicalisation, rather than criticising widely-held Judeo-Christian beliefs."

The full manifesto can be read here.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Illegal to be unemployed in Belarus

File:Flag-map of Belarus (1995-2012).svg

Social security issues have always been at the centre of political controversy no matter which Government of no matter what persuasion introduces any measures that affect the unemployed. However you would be hard pressed to find a more controversial policy than that introduced by by Europe's last "Stalinist" dictatorship in Belarus.

According to an article in today's Times newspaper (no link £):

Housewives with fewer than three children are among thousands of people in Belarus facing criminal proceedings under a new law against "social parasitism" that makes it illegal to be unemployed....

The ruling aims to "stimulate able-bodied citizens to engage in labour activity" to help to finance state expenditures. Adults who have not paid income tax on at least 183 days a year will be fined 3.6 million Belorussian roubles (£170). Failure to pay will result in heavier fines, detention and community service.

You'll be pleased to that amongst others children are exempt as are pensioners., so that's all right then.

Such a policy is not new. The workers paradise known as the Soviet Union did the same back in the early sixties. Boris Bruk of the Institute of Modern Russia writes:

On May 4, 1961, in response to “multiple requests of the workers,” the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR issued a decree entitled "On Strengthening the Struggle with Persons Avoiding Socially Useful Work and Leading an Anti-Social, Parasitic Way of Life." According to the decree, which noted the Soviet people’s disapproval and resentment of “parasitic elements,” such citizens were to be sent into exile for a term of two to five years.

At that time, it appeared to most “conscientious” Soviet citizens that there was a significant number of "malicious parasites" in the country against whom a decisive and ruthless battle should be waged. In 1961 alone, according to some estimates, some 200,000 individuals were exiled to “specially designated places.” The decree was enforced against the homeless, beggars, speculators (persons buying and selling goods outside the state controlled system), as well as other “irresponsible persons” who did not participate in socially useful work. These parasites, while holding the status “Having No Specific Occupation” (“BORZ” to use the Soviet acronym), lost the right to freely enjoy the Soviet Union’s “wide open spaces.” As KGB Chairman Alexander Shelepin pointed out, “Soviet laws are the most humane in the world. Their humane nature, however, is exclusively for honest workers. As for parasitic elements, to all those who only use what is produced by others, the law should be strict since the individuals in this category are our internal enemies”.1

The Soviet authorities not only used the decree to deal with the above mentioned categories of citizens, but also made it a weapon in their fight against dissenters. In the 1960s, when compared to Stalin’s times, there was a change in nature of the regime’s view of what constituted an “internal threat.” If in previous years the major focus was on “unmasking the hidden enemy,” in Khrushchev’s time, the emphasis was placed on those whose dissonance could contaminate “the ideal image of the Soviet society.

Dissenters? Ah people that disagree with the regime! Human Rights Watch tell us

Belorussian authorities made no meaningful improvements in the country’s poor human rights record in 2014. President Aliaxander Lukashenka’s government continues to severely restrict freedom of expression and association, including by harassing journalists and imposing restrictive legislation on nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). Legislative amendments during the year simplified the reporting requirements for NGOs, but introduced new pretexts for liquidating them.

Read their full report here.

Stalinism is alive and well in Belarus it would seem.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Fringe 2015: The Animal Welfare Party

Animal Welfare Party

One of the worthier "fringe parties" is the Animal Welfare Party which has just announced it is standing four candidates in the general election in Kensington, Putney, Holborn & St Pancras and Hackney North & Stoke Newington.

Their aims and principles begin with the following statement of intent:

A world in which animals are not exploited and are seen and treated as sentient beings.

To establish a voice for the animals through a dedicated political party that focuses on respect and compassion for all living beings.

As the UK political party most strongly advocating for the protection of animals, the party’s principles are:
  • To raise human perceptions of the moral status of animals by recognising animals as sentient beings
  • To raise the legal status of animals to reflect their status as sentient beings, including protection in national and international law
  • By promoting animals’ rights, to further respect for both humans and non-human animals
  • To facilitate increased respect for all sentient life by promoting animal protection education, at all educational levels
  • To protect the environment by ensuring that farming and development activities are sustainable
  • To promote healthy living
Animals farmed for food
  • To phase out farming systems with poor welfare consequences for animals
  • To improve animal welfare by raising farming standards and by ensuring trade regulations and other measures encourage high welfare standards
  • To support farming methods that enhance animal welfare or reduce use of or dependency on animals
  • To phase out livestock farming subsidies in sectors where consumer demand is falling, and redirect such subsidies towards plant-based agriculture and the promotion of biodiversity, and to the general areas of environment, education and public health
  • To end the long distance transportation of live animals to or from destinations within the UK of over 200 miles, and to continental European destinations and further afield
Animals used in research, testing and education
  • To immediately ban the harmful use of all non-human primates in experiments
  • To ban all harmful use of animals in scientific research, toxicity testing and education
  • To establish an independent transparent scientific inquiry to thoroughly review the ethical, scientific and economic implications of the use of animals in scientific research, toxicity testing and education
  • To facilitate increased funding for the development, validation and implementation of non-animal alternatives
Animals living in the wild
  • To ban all trapping and snaring, and hunting and shooting for recreational purposes
  • To promote wildlife preservation, habitat conservation and biodiversity
Animals kept as companions
  • To establish a basic national animal health care system similar in some ways to the NHS, including state funding of animal rescue organisations such as the RSPCA and PDSA
  • To establish a list of animal species and breeds that can suitably be kept as companion animals based on their needs. All non-listed animals would be unsuited as pets and should not be kept
  • To ban breeding of companion animals to meet breed standards or for other purposes that result in hereditary anatomical, physiological or other impairments potentially contrary to good welfare
  • To improve legislation and regulations against animal neglect and abuse, by strengthening and extending police powers, increasing penalties for offenders, and increasing public educational programmes concerning responsible companion animal care and related topics
Animals used for entertainment, fashion and art
  • To ban the harmful use of animals for blood sports, racing events, any other form of entertainment or cultural event
  • To ban the harmful exploitation of animals for advertising, fashion and art.
Unlike some of the fringe parties they don't seem to have delusions of grandeur and though unlikely to get any MP's the election is an ideal opportunity to raise these kinds of issues.

Find more about them at the Animal Welfare Party website

Monday, 13 April 2015

Fringe 2015: The Green Party

The largest "Fringe" challenge in this years general election comes from the Green Party. Over at Phil BC's All that is Solid blog there is a list of no less than 556 candidates from the combined Green Parties of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They are currently on around 4% in the polls and did get one MP at the last election in the form of Caroline Lucas (Brighton & Hove).  Not all has been well in Brighton though as the Greens control the local authority and have not only been in conflict with local government trade unions but have had a lot of very public in-fighting.

Trying to "ban" the bacon sarnie in council canteens on a Friday (as part of a "meat-free programme) did not go down well.....

Of more concern perhaps is Natalie Bennett's view that it should not be illegal to belong to a terrorist organisation and her desire to disband the armed forces.

Here is the Greens leader in her own words courtesy of the Daily Telegraph. Make of it what you will.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Fringe 2015: Northern parties

There are regional parties in all the expected places, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, even Cornwall in the form of Mebyon Kernow a small Cornish nationalist party. There is even a Wessex Regionalist Party that aims to bring a degree of autonomy for the Wessex counties, that's Berkshire, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire (including the Isle of Wight) and Wiltshire if you are not sure as these areas once formed part of a Kingdom of ancient Saxons. I hear they seek to to embrace another couple of counties on some spurious historical ground, but that's for another life.

In the meantime there are some new and long established regional parties. The Guardian reported on the formation of The Northern Party by a disgruntled Tory MP earlier this month:

Former MP for Blackpool North, Harold Elletson, and former Fylde Tory councillor Elizabeth Clarkson will stand as parliamentary candidates, as well as former prominent Green Party members Shaun Hargreaves and James Walsh, who play a major role in the Frack Free Lancashire Campaign.

With the recent talk of governmental powers being devolved to Manchester, and the rising distrust of centralised government after the Scottish independence referendum, it comes as no surprise that regional political parties have emerged ahead of the general election.

The Northern Party leader Michael Dawson, a former executive committee member of the Labour Campaign for Human Rights, said the party is a “northern rebellion against a system that has failed the north.”

However their website does not currently list any seats that they are actually contesting. Perhaps next time then.

Yorkshire First

However the Yorkshire First party has no less than 14 candidates ready for the general election. They outline their objectives thus:

Power is increasingly remote from people and suffers too much influence from vested interests.

The vested interests – predominantly big business – are organised internationally, and so must the means to control them.

We recognise that to combat big business and other cross border issues some form of cooperation is both necessary and desirable. The question is who decides, who influences the decisions? So for us in/out of the EU is the wrong question. Wherever Yorkshire’s voice needs to be heard, we should be there.

However, it is also critical to secure the devolving of powers to the least centralised authority capable of addressing those matters effectively, within Yorkshire, within the UK and within the European Union.

Not wanting to be left out there is also the Lincolnshire Independents; They of course have a vision for Lincolnshire and are running 5 candidates in the general election. They proudly state:

“Lincolnshire Independents are determined to focus on what residents need and want. We are not tied into the coat-tails of any Whitehall party politician, but free to think, say and do the very best for Lincolnshire,” said Leader Marianne Overton. “In a new hung parliament, our voices will be more effective.”

Not all is well for them as one of their leading members, a certain Lyn Laxton split after a row and formed her own party as the Lincolnshire Echo reports if you wish to read more....

Finally for now is the The North East Party  who are standing 4 candidates this year and already have some local councillors. The NEP unsurprisingly stands for:

The North East Transformed

We want a fair share of prosperity and better opportunities for all North East people.
In future we want to live in an enterprising region which plays a positive part in the UK, Europe and the World.

One Strong Voice For The Region

With your support at a referendum, 12 powerless unitary authorities and ineffective ministers
replaced by one elected and accountable North East Government.

Who would have guessed?

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Fringe 2015: Galloway's double standards on nuclear weapons

George Galloway is the leader of the Respect Party which proclaims it stands for "Peace, Justice and Equality".  The Respect Party has a policy of scrapping Britain' nuclear deterrent. Their website proclaims:

Respect stands against the idea that it is acceptable to savagely cut public services whilst simultaneously renewing a gigantic but ultimately useless nuclear weapons project. Britain cannot afford to keep subsidising a £25 billion behemoth off our northern coast while our pensioners shiver their way through our inclement winters.

In keeping with our foreign policy that seeks to strike a more balanced foreign policy; we should stop seeking to violate the terms of the non-proliferation treaty and encourage other countries to do the same. There are not too few nuclear weapons in the world, but too many and there are many much more important ways to spend £25 billion.

The same logic does not seem to apply to Iran, a country with it's own economic problems and a complete lack of democracy.

In his own words the "gorgeous" one says this:

I have no idea why Lord Haw Haw comes to mind.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Fringe 2015: The Patriotic Socialist Party

The General Election is now under way. The leaders have their one and only TV debate and the canvassers are staring to deliver leaflets, try and garner you votes while the parties themselves look for "sound bites" in the media.

They tell us this will be the first truly "multi party" election and maybe they are right. It's certainly the first election where quite a few political parties stand a chance of not only getting Members of Parliament but also the possibility of being part of a coalition, ending the two-party monopoly.

In reality however there have always been a multitude of different parties standing in elections, its just that most of the time they don't get noticed or do for the wrong reasons.

Remember the Flying Yogic Party from the eighties? The Worker Revolutionary Party from the seventies?

Well maybe the latter, but who's around this time?

In the first of a short series of articles on the electoral fringe here is the Patriotic Socialist Party:

Image description

The PSP are standing two candidates in Batley & Spen and Newbury constiuencies, the latter being contested by party leader Andrew Stott. They are also running 10 candidates in the local elections that take place in some parts of the country on the same day. So who are they and what do they stand for?

Their website proclaims:

The Patriotic Socialist Party, officially launched on 1st January 2014, is the first and only party in Britain advocating patriotic socialism, an ideological position that embraces the patriotic values of a devoted love, support and defence for one’s nation and the cultural identity that makes it unique with the socialist objectives of public ownership of the means of production and the co-operative management of the economy.

It is an ideology that rejects the extremes of both Marxism and Nazism, instead promoting radical, progressive aims that revolve primarily around the desire to preserve national identity while working towards the betterment of mankind as a whole, highlighted by the slogan “You don’t have to hate anyone in order to love your country and you don’t have to hate your country in order to love mankind”.

Further to this, it is anti-discriminatory, anti-corporatist and anti-austerity while also promoting environmentalism, monetary reform, nationalisation, internationalism, workers rights and direct democracy.

The policy point that caught my attention from their "programme" was this:

The Patriotic Socialist Party is fully committed to the dissolution of the United Kingdom and the formation of the United Federation of Britain in order to mould Britain into a modern nation and to address the issues concerning the balance between devolution and the preservation of a united Britain. A British Assembly will take the form of Britain’s central government, which will be granted all primary legislative powers, alongside English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Assemblies, which will be limited to secondary legislative powers only. The newly formed Federation will work towards the reunification of the British Isles under a single central government, with the consent of the Irish people, and will be consolidated and preserved in a Codified Constitution.

Can't see the Irish being in any hurry to reunite with the rest of the UK, federation or no federation. Sorry guys.

There were also a couple of points from their constitution which caused me some concern. The first was this little gem:

7.1 The Party Leader can expel any Party member if there is reason to believe that the Party member concerned may be acting in a manner contrary to the interests of the Party.

Sounds somewhat authoritarian from where I'm sitting.

The other point that frankly baffled me was this (my emphasis):

6.5 A Party member who dies or, as far as the Party is concerned, ceases to exist, will no longer be recognised as a Party member.

What does that even mean?

Anyway if you want to find out more their website can be found here:

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Palestine Solidarity Campaign fails to condemn ISIS murders of Palestinians

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has made a statement about the murderous rampage by ISIS terrorists in Yarmouk refugee and guess what?

It's Israels fault!

Not a word of condemnation of ISIS!

You couldn't make it up. But the PSC do:

The assault on Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria continues amidst outcry from activists and aid agencies around the world.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) has been unable to deliver aid, leaving the camp with no food, no water and little medicine. Chris Gunness of UNRWA described the situation in the camp as “beyond inhumane", with people living on 400 calories a day, desperate and starving but unable to leave....

Why would that be?

It's Israels fault.

ISIS appears to not even exist in the minds of these dangerous "anti-imperialists".

It's Islamic terrorists murdering Palestinians.

But these false friends of the Palestinians are afraid to admit that.

About time Palestinians realised that these PSC types are just playing games. They've never been serious about finding a lasting solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Time to put the PSC and the other "anti-imperialists" into the dustbin of history.

Time for a two-state solution to the conflict.

And while we're about it independence for the Kurds.

Not that the anti-imperialists care about them either. 

They just like wearing Hamas scarves to look trendy and radical because they are politically impotent and like to pretend they're fighting other peoples wars without a damn for the consequences.

Time to sit and talk.

Time to stand up and recognise the real enemy is ISIS and their ilk.

As are the "anti-imperialists".