British politics

American politics&British politics&Middle East31 Aug 2005 08:30 pm

Around 1,000 Shias have died in a stampede in Iraq.

“Hundreds, maybe thousands” have died in the New Orleans flood.

The Queen is really upset about the dead Americans.

She has yet to register any flicker of interest in the dead Iraqis.

Soundtrack to this post: No Surprises – Radiohead

British politics19 Jul 2005 10:51 pm

OK, no messing abaaaaht.

(1) See Ye Olde Monk’s post about the Peace Tax Seven, who refused to pay the military component of their income tax and are being prosecuted as a result.

(2) Visit their support website which introduces them and explains their conscientious objection.

(3) Consider supporting them by publicising their campaign, emailing them or giving money towards their legal costs.

Bob will then be our collective uncle.

(Sorry non-Brits, I’ve gone all limey vernacular-y again.)

British politics&Middle East&The art of blog18 Jul 2005 10:52 am

An official report by Chatham House and Economic and Social Research Council says that the UK is more at risk of terrorism since our cuddly CareBlair took us into Iraq.

Who’da thunk it?

Anyway, enough about all that. I’ve noticed my comment count goes down the more serious I get. Perhaps I shall write a post about marshmallows next.

Soundtrack to this post: Acid – Rubberoom

Africa&British politics&Middle East&News media14 Jul 2005 05:17 pm

Another suicide bombing in Baghdad. Happens most days, doesn’t it?

As the article says, “At least 26 Iraqis, almost all of them children, were killed in a car bomb attack in Baghdad on Wednesday” as well.

Those people have not been named, their photographs have not been in the international press, and, as Swiss says, we did not observe two minutes of silence for them.

For their bereaved families, our silence must seem permanent.

And oh look, there go a few more of our civil liberties:

“[Charles Clarke] wants to ensure that any non-British citizen suspected of inciting terrorism is deported immediately. … There would be agreements with North African countries to make sure asylum seekers were not tortured on return to their country of origin, says No 10.”

How would that conversation go?

“Excuse me, chaps, you wouldn’t mind not torturing this fellow when we send him back, would you?”

“Not at all, my good man, I will personally see to it that this national absconder and potential terrorist is treated like a long-lost brother the moment he sets foot on Algerian soil.”

What could possibly go wrong?

British politics&News media&Race&South Asia14 Jul 2005 01:05 pm

Let’s get one thing straight. The three named men suspected of bombing London were British.

I don’t care where their parents came from years ago, or what their religion was, or what levels of melatonin were in their skin.

They were British.

This may seem a minor issue to you. But if Britain starts channelling its collective fear and indignation into attacking its own population – or rather, those of its population who happen to tan easily and have names like Shafiq and Tariq rather than John and Andrew – then we are in even worse trouble than we thought.

If you don’t want to sit next to any bearded men of south Asian ancestry on public transport from now on, that’s your prerogative. But you’d better hope or pray to your applicable deity that any future bomb isn’t detonated by a white or black or Pacific Asian maniac with a grudge. There are no guarantees.

edit: …and this mainstream BBC article is so them-and-us, it’s not even funny.

edit 2:… and the media is now reporting that the fourth bomber is “understood to be Jamaican-born Lindsey Germaine, who lived in Buckinghamshire”. So there we are: a suicide bomber who didn’t fit the visual stereotype. Hold the front page.

Soundtrack to this post: Lifelines – A-ha

British politics&Middle East&News media09 Jul 2005 10:11 am

And after the shock… the analysis.

I found these articles especially interesting, and surprisingly outspoken at a time when such sentiment is easily quashed for being “inappropriate”.

“The prime minister’s early return to Westminster was a fitting response to the carnage unleashed on the capital. It was the only hint of personal responsibility for our entanglement in a war that has made prime targets of innocent Britons.” – Faisal Bodi, The Guardian

“You talk about al-Qaeda. Have you forgotten who has bred al-Qaeda? … It’s the illegitimate child of America and Israel, but you name it Islam. This savagery is not Islam. It is coming from inside of you and it is now punching you. … You train terrorists and state terrorism.” – Ayatollah Emami-Kashani, BBC

Soundtrack to this post: I Fire Myself – Mary Timony

British politics&Random life08 Jul 2005 09:50 am

Tony Blair says terrorists will never intimidate “us” into changing “our way of life”.

Which “us” is that, Tony? The “us” who are driven to work in armoured cars flanked by armed secret service personnel? Or the “us” who take public transport to work?

When did you last hop on the tube to Westminster?

And please let us hear no more of this “Seven Seven” nonsense. Giving tragedy a brand name is a vanity peculiar to rich Western countries. I don’t remember Iraq branding any of their especially violent killings, although perhaps that’s because Iraqi people have been killed by bombs every day for years.

The world has been very kind. We are all touched by it. I’d like to take this opportunity to remember that all over the world people die daily in the same sickening way with no fanfare.

British politics&Random life&Self07 Jul 2005 06:35 pm

I am safe and sound. I hope you are too.

Most of my friends in town have confirmed they are safe too. Some have witnessed some nasty events and are extremely shaken.

Having been in a minor Tube fire last year – when I got all uppity about the lack of decent safety procedures in place for underground fires and gave an irate interview to BBC News about it – I can only imagine the horror and terror felt by those in the bombed trains.

London is wounded and in chaos.

The politicians will try to use this wave of public feeling for their own ends (Tony has already started), but we must not let them.

All we can think is that the timing of this attack was impeccable; with half the Met police up at Gleneagles protecting the top brass, it must’ve made the task easier for those responsible.

I’m probably not making much sense, so I will stop here.

Soundtrack to this post: a dignified silence.

Activism&Africa&British politics&Global politics&News media&Pop culture20 Jun 2005 07:52 pm

I’m a busy, tired, cynical fox today. This is not so much a post as an attempt to convey an eye-rolling “Hmph” in three needlessly wordy paragraphs.

Fact 1:
In 1985, Bob Geldof’s Live Aid raised £40m for famine relief in Africa, half of which was spent on long term development plans. By Geldof’s own admission, Africa has become even poorer over the intervening two decades. So here comes Live 8, jumping alongside the campaign to ‘Make Poverty History’.

Question: Do you think this self-congratulatory dadrock-fest will change world leaders’ minds about their policies towards Africa, or will they use it as an excuse to applaud themselves about a few paltry figleaf changes (e.g. doubling aid) while ignoring the actual reasons why Africa is impoverished (e.g. the IMF’s demands, the World Bank, the double standards of one-sided ‘free’ trade)?

Fact 2:
Tony Blair wears a white wristband (or, as the hilariously ultra-conservative Telegraph puts it, a “bangle”). He started wearing this – complete with subtly shortened jacket sleeve – in the run-up to the election. Naturally. All in all, he is making a sustained effort to draw attention to his part in this expertly choreographed campaign.

Question: Do you think Tony Blair has any incentive to argue (or intention of arguing) for 100% of African debt to be dropped?

Fact 3:
Bono, a man so ferociously egomaniacal he is prepared to incur the financial and environmental cost of flying a hat to Italy in first class, has also lent his name to the cause.

Question: Would Blair, Bush etc be so eager to trade positive publicity opportunities with this multi-millionaire businessman if his involvement was genuinely subversive and radical?

Soundtrack to this post: Pull Up The People – M.I.A.

British politics09 Jun 2005 10:50 pm

The government has finally made a formal announcement about their plan to replace the usual annual car tax with a pay-as-you-go road charging scheme. Alistair “Move Over” Darling, the Transport Secretary, says this new method of taxation will mean half of motorists will pay less.

By sheer coincidence, the satellite tracking system required to record the journeys of every driver on the road will also mean the data of every journey made by every car will be available to the government.

This means while you are in a private vehicle, the state will literally have the power to watch your every move. They will also be at liberty to use or extrapolate the collected data in any way they see fit.

According to a Mori survey released today, only 16% of people object to having a black box satellite tracker installed in their car.

So let’s see: biometric ID cards, Iraq, car travel surveillance, imprisonment without trial, the Terrorism Act, removal of the right to peaceful protest, ASBOs… I’d say Tony Blair’s wish “to be remembered by the history books” will be granted.

Soundtrack to this post: Mediocrity Rules – Le Tigre

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