| David Cameron’s proposed immigration laws criticised by UN!

David Cameron’s proposed immigration laws criticised by UN ~ , The Telegraph.

A document released from the office the UN high commissioner for refugees claims that genuine asylum seekers could be damaged by the proposed rules.

Prime Minister David Cameron delivering a speech

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has been criticised over his proposed changes to immigration laws Photo: REX

David Cameron’s proposed immigration laws could stigmatise foreigners and create a “climate of ethnic profiling”, the UN refugee agency has said.

The immigration bill could deny housing to those in desperate need and damage communities, according to a highly critical document from the office of Antonio Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees.

The commission has expressed concern that legal refugees and asylum seekers will get caught up in the proposed new laws, which are designed to crack down on illegal immigrants.

In a briefing note to MPs about the paper, seen by the Guardian, the agency states that the provisions “appear likely to result in asylum seekers, refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection being stigmatised in the public mind and in their being denied access to housing and bank accounts.”

They warn that the measures “could contribute toward a climate of misunderstanding and ethnic profiling” which in the long term could prove detrimental to social cohesion”.

The UN also called on the international community to offer not only humanitarian aid for refugees, but also resettlement opportunities outside the country, and Labour is urging the Government to accept 400-500 Syrians, including torture victims, women and girls at high risk and people with family links to the UK.

After the report was released, Labour called on the Government to take in hundreds of Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting which has ravaged the Middle Eastern state for almost three years.

But ministers insist that Britain can best help by providing funds to assist those affected by the long-running civil war both inside Syria and in neighbouring states like Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.

The Home Office said Britain’s £500 million of official aid to Syria was the UK’s largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis, almost equalling the total given by the other 27 EU countries combined. Some £217 million is being spent inside Syria and £236 million in neighbouring countries.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said that Britain should join some 16 nations, including the USA, France and Germany, which have agreed to allow a total of more than 10,000 Syrians to move to their countries.

Ms Cooper told The Independent: “We should be rightly proud of our humanitarian aid effort and the generosity of the British people. But we should also do our part, alongside other countries within the UN’s programme, to provide a safe haven for some of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees fleeing this murderous conflict.

“The British Government cannot turn its back on these people. It is our moral duty to respond to the UN’s call for help for Syrian refugees – just as our country has helped those fleeing persecution for hundreds of years.”

Australia is understood to be planning to take in 500 Syrians for permanent resettlement and Sweden 400, while Germany will allow 5,000 temporary “humanitarian admissions” and France 500. The US has not set an upper limit.

The Refugee Council said only about 0.1% of Syrians displaced by the fighting have found refuge in the UK, and is urging people to send a message to Prime Minister David Cameron that “we must play our part in providing a safe haven for the most vulnerable fleeing the war”.

Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has said: “It is not only financial, economic, and technical support … which is needed.

“It also includes receiving through resettlement, humanitarian admission, family reunification or similar mechanisms, refugees who are today in the neighbouring countries but who can find a solution outside the region.”

Immigration minister Mark Harper insisted that the Government is “committed to playing a leading part in the international relief effort”.

In a letter to the Labour MP Meg Hillier, Mr Harper said the UK was contributing £400,000 to a £10.5 million European Union regional development and protection programme.

“I believe such initiatives should be our focus, rather than the resettlement or providing ‘humanitarian evacuation’ to displaced Syrians – initiatives which provide only limited relief to the neighbouring countries given the overall scale of the crisis they are facing,” he wrote.

“I do not oppose other states choosing to offer humanitarian admission or resettlement to displaced Syrians. However, in my view, this should not be the focus of activity at present and is not the best way for the UK to make a difference.”



| Not so happy Christmas for Israeli stooge Denis McShane!

Not so happy Christmas for Israeli stooge Denis McShane ~ Gilad Atzmon.

Shameless former Labour MP Denis MacShane, who infamously operated for more than a decade as the kosher police within the British parliament was thrown into jail today.

MacShane has been put behind bars for six months for expenses fraud after admitting to submitting 19 fake receipts amounting to £12,900.

Mr Justice Sweeney said at court today that MacShane had “deliberately created misleading and deceptive invoices” with the “considerable” dishonesty involved.

Denis MacShane

MacShane, 65, was a Labour MP for 18 years. Along that time he has managed to chair the inquiry panel of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Anti-Semitism.  In March 2009, he became chairman of a think-tank on anti-Semitism at theEuropean Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.


MacShane went out of his way, chasing the enemies of Israel as well as Jewish power. The Zionist Jewish Chronicle (JC) titled the fraudulent MP an ‘Anti-hate campaigner’, attempting to conceal the fact that it was only anti Jewish hatred that the crook was interested in.

However the JC also revealed that  MacShane “used the money to fund trips to Europe connected with his work on antisemitism.”  So I guess that at least from a ‘Judaic perspective’ MacShane’s perjury was Kosher.  Maybe the moral for Jewish community leaders is plain and simple – in the future they better fund their Sabboth Goyim generously rather than expect their stooges to steal  taxpayers’ money.



| Britain’s poorest summonsed to court to pay council tax arrears!

Britain’s poorest summonsed to court to pay council tax arrears ~ Allison Smith, World Socialist Web Site.

As a result of the Conservative/Liberal government’s elimination of the Council Tax Benefit scheme in April of this year, thousands of British citizens are being summonsed to court for failure to pay council tax bills they cannot afford.

In London’s Labour Party-controlled Southwark borough alone, more than 5,000 residents were summonsed to court in October and forced to pay past due council tax plus court fees. In the Labour-controlled borough of Brent, 3,500 summonses were issued to the poorest residents. This is being repeated across the country. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Hull reported that up to last August it alone dealt with 3,000 cases, compared to 1,000 the previous year.

A lone queue formed outside Camberwell magistrates court, Southwark, in a kind of conveyer belt summary justice meted out to the poor, reminiscent of scenes from Charles Dickens’s novels. For the overwhelming majority of these residents, the council tax bill is plunging them further into poverty.

The council tax benefit cuts are part of the government’s Welfare Reform Act 2012, which is being promoted as a way to create a culture of work, rather than a “culture of welfare”. The act transfers the responsibility for social welfare onto local councils by eliminating the council tax benefit and replacing it with a grant to local councils that covers only 90 percent of welfare beneficiaries’ monthly council tax bills. Local councils are seeking to bridge the 10 percent gap by deducting the amount directly from their monthly benefit payments.

It is estimated that more than 19,000 of Southwark’s most impoverished residents are expected to start paying at least £12 per month. Southwark Council leaders say they are being forced to collect council tax from all residents, regardless of their financial circumstance, because the borough is facing serious budget shortfalls. This is a complete lie. Since the 2008 economic crash, British politicians across the political spectrum began implementing draconian austerity measures to transfer the burden of paying for the City’s stock market gambling losses onto the working class. Rather than opposing central government cuts, local councils are simply cutting other services and benefits in their respective parishes and towns.

The benefits cuts and council tax hikes are plunging thousands of citizens into extreme levels of poverty. Single parents, working part-time and receiving the national minimum wage (NMW) with children in child care, are being asked to pay council tax bills ranging from £96 to £577 annually, depending on the level of the local schemes being introduced.

A couple with children, where one partner is in full-time work on the NMW, are seeing their council tax bill increase between £96 and £446, again depending on the local schemes being introduced. At the same time they are being asked to pay council tax for the first time or contribute more toward their council tax, the costs of transportation, food and gasoline are skyrocketing. This means that these families will have virtually nothing left over at the end of every month and are living hand to mouth.

In an October 23 Daily Mirror article, Alex Brew, a charity worker, said that she already goes without TV, Internet, a landline and sometimes heating. “I can’t possibly find £12 a month,” she said. She is £106.32 in arrears and also has to pay £65 in court costs.

This March, Chris Goulden, head of poverty at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, told the BBC that council tax increases mean that “some of the country’s poorest families must find £140 extra from their strained household budgets to pay council tax for the first time. Making up the shortfall will be beyond most, with working hours under pressure and benefits falling behind inflation. This tax hike will push people into poverty or cause more hardship for already very poor households, taking money from families who had little to start with.”

The Foundation cited a research study projecting that 150,000 families will pay an average of £300 more a year. One million will pay less than £100, and 1.9 million claimants who currently do not pay any council tax will have to start paying an average £140 per year.

The Labour Party and its affiliated unions, including the largest trade union, Unite, are “protesting” the council tax benefit cuts by advocating that councils find creative ways to meet their budget by cutting other services. Unite points to the example of Merton Borough’s Labour-led administration that cut its budget by more than £26 million this year.

Pilgrim Tucker, a Unite union coordinator, said, “We know councils face difficult decisions, but we are calling on Southwark council to make a stand and not punish residents who simply do not have the money available to pay these bills. Many of these families face an impossible choice this winter, between paying their bills and feeding their families. Merton, a fellow south London council, has found a way of absorbing the cuts, so we are calling on Southwark to try and do the same.”

Merton’s way of “absorbing the cuts” has resulted in the loss of 222 borough jobs, the closing down of children’s centres, elimination of garden waste collections, removal of the Merton Music Foundation grant, reduced library hours, and the deferral of critical road maintenance across the borough. Next year, it is expected that the borough will restructure park staffing and reduce services for all but the most severely mentally ill residents.

Labour-controlled authorities are the most determined exponents of this brutal class policy. Labour has gathered statistics that show, in the first six months since these measures were enforced across England, potentially up to 500,000 people could have been issued summonses.

With these measures, the UK government in alliance with local council administrations, whatever their political coloration, are forcing the poorest into utter destitution. In sharp contrast, the UK’s 1,000 wealthiest residents, the majority based in London, only a stone’s throw away from the desperate scenes outside Camberwell magistrates, have received a 5 percent tax cut from 50 percent to 45 percent. This measure will further enlarge their combined wealth, which already stands at £450 billion.


Pov B1

| George Galloway asked ‘ARE YOU RACIST?’ at Oxford Union!

| George Galloway asked ‘ARE YOU RACIST?’ at Oxford Union! ~ YouTube.
Filmed on Monday 14th October 2013.

George Galloway is asked ‘Are you a racist?’ by an Oxford student.

In a passionate reply George Galloway describes his experiences as an undercover agent working with Jews for the ANC against apartheid in South Africa and, in a no-nonsense reference to the illegal Israeli occupation, forcefully responds:

“Jews don’t have to be on the side of Apartheid – They can stand up against it!”

He continues that he will never debate with a supporter of any form of apartheid because apartheid is the very worst form of racism and fascism there is.

Few contemporary politicians have courted as much controversy as George Galloway. A Labour MP from 1987 to 2003, he was an outspoken critic of the policies of Tony Blair and New Labour, in particular the decision to invade Iraq. Fiery comments such as “the best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders” saw Galloway expelled from the Labour Party. But Galloway returned to the political fray by founding the Respect Party and winning Bethnal Green and Bow in the 2005 General Election. Mr Galloway re-entered Parliament this March [2013] as MP for Bradford West and has provoked controversy and criticism with his comments on the rape charges against Wikileaks’ Julian Assange. More recently, he has ventured into film-making: “Some people make a living, others make a killing” – with an exclusive new documentary on Tony Blair which he claims will break new ground.

| George Galloway to target Tony Blair in upcoming documentary! http://wp.me/p1xXtb-36t via @truthrazor
The Union is the world’s most prestigious debating society, with an unparalleled reputation for bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. It has been established for 190 years, aiming to promote debate and discussion not just in Oxford University, but across the globe.

COURTESY: OxfordUnion
URL: http://youtu.be/8jgZHlV9UMI


The CORE issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are the
ETHNIC CLEANSING of the Palestinian people for the past six decades.

| THE KEY TO PEACE: Dismantling the Matrix of Control:



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| George Galloway to target Tony Blair in upcoming documentary!

George Galloway to Target Tony Blair in Upcoming Documentary ~ ,

  • HuffPost Politics.

Respect MP, George Galloway, has succeeded in raising over £160,000 via crowdfunding to finance a documentary on Tony Blair – The Killing Of Tony Blair.

Expelled from the Labour Party in 2003 over his opposition to the war in Iraq, Galloway aims to uncover the former prime minister’s role in “destroying the Labour Party” during his time in office, taking Britain into the war in Iraq in 2003, and his career upon leaving office, which has seen Blair amass a substantial personal fortune as an adviser to various global corporations, governments, and on the international speaking circuit.

Crowdfunding has proved an innovative way of raising money to finance movies, art projects, political campaigns, business start-ups, etc via individual donations in return for equity and/or personal satisfaction at helping to fund a good cause or campaign. Rather than seeking large donations from wealthy investors or banks, crowdfunding is a concept geared towards accessing small donations from thousands of individuals instead. It allows projects and campaigns which otherwise would probably never receive funding to be realised, thus lending them a democratic aspect lacking with regard to conventional funding streams.

Through Kickstarter, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, Galloway raised the budget for his documentary in forty days from over 4000 individual donations, which came in from all over the world. Using Facebook and Twitter to promote the project, the amount eventually raised has far exceeded his initial target of £50,000. In response, the MP for Bradford West announced:

“Kickstarter has triumphantly demonstrated the power of the people and their hunger for justice. You have successfully raised £163,891 over 40 days on Kickstarter. Thank you and I won’t let you down.”

Tony Blair remains a polarising figure in British politics. Accused of being a war criminal by his detractors, he has never accepted that Britain’s role in Iraq was a mistake and continues to deny that he lied to Parliament or the British people in the lead-up to the war, as many have and continue to allege.

Upon leaving Downing Street, he was appointed Middle East Peace Envoy representing the UN, EU, the United States and Russia – collectively known as The Quartet – in trying to foment a last solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Critics, such as Palestinian academic, politician, and legislator, Hanan Ashrawi, have accused the former British prime minister of being ineffectual in the role.

“Frankly speaking,” Ahsrawi said earlier this year, “there are no tangible achievements – apart from maybe his frequent flyer points. Blair has an instinctive sympathy for the Israeli perspective. His first impulse is to present Israel’s point of view.”

In addition to his role as Middle East Peace Envoy, and his various business interests around the world, the former prime minister set up The Tony Blair Faith Foundation in 2008. According to the website it “provides the practical support required to help prevent religious prejudice, conflict and extremism.’

In September 2010, Blair published his memoir A Journey, donating his advance of £4.6 million to a centre for injured British soldiers in a gesture variously described by critics in the media as “blood money”, an act of “desperation”, and a “cynical stunt”.

One man who undoubtedly agrees with those critics is George Galloway, whose opposition to Tony Blair and Britain’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led directly to the creation of his party, Respect, in 2004. Outlining his objectives with his upcoming documentary, he said:

“In 2003, I was expelled from the Labour Party over my outspoken opposition to Bush and Blair’s war in Iraq. I promised that until the last day of my life I would go on fighting to put Tony Blair on trial, a real trial in The Hague, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This documentary, the mother of all documentaries, will expose Blair’s crimes.”

He went on:

“This documentary will not be another sterile chronicle of the Blair years. I witnessed his mendacity firsthand and am able to offer you the inside story. I will pull no punches in going toe to toe with those in the upper echelons of New Labour; the likes of Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell are all in my sights and so are the big business bankers he consults for. There is no doubt that the debates will be heated. But from that heat will come light.”

The world awaits.


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Phoney Tony

| The Killing of Tony Blair ~ George Galloway MP

The Killing of Tony Blair ~ George Galloway MP, Kickstarter.

“Some people make a living, others make a killing” – an exclusive new documentary on Tony Blair which will break unexplored ground.

I’m making the definitive documentary about the Blair years. Years of war and plunder, death and destruction, corruption and disillusion. Tony Blair killed the Labour Party as we knew it. He and George W. Bush helped kill a million people in disastrous wars and Blair is currently making a financial killing out of both.

He's making 'a killing', out of killing.
He’s making ‘a killing’, out of killing.

In 2003, I was expelled from the Labour Party over my outspoken opposition to Bush and Blair’s war in Iraq. I promised that until the last day of my life I would go on fighting to put Tony Blair on trial, a real trial in The Hague, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. This documentary, the mother of all documentaries, will expose Blair’s crimes.

This documentary will not be another sterile chronicle of the Blair years. I witnessed his mendacity firsthand and am able to offer you the inside story. I will pull no punches in going toe to toe with those in the upper echelons of New Labour; the likes of Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell are all in my sights and so are the big business bankers he consults for. There is no doubt that the debates will be heated. But from that heat will come light.

Outside one of Tony Blair's many houses. Photo by Louis Leeson
Outside one of Tony Blair’s many houses. Photo by Louis Leeson

I need your help to launch this film. We are trying to raise £50,000 here on this site. This target is the absolute bare minimum we need to complete the research and filming. In total, we will need more than twice that amount to purchase further archive materials, distribute and market the documentary. We are confident that a successful Kickstarter campaign will empower us to match funds from other sources.

This is an all-or-nothing platform. If we don’t raise the full £50,000 in just 40 days, no money changes hands. I hope you will want to be a part of this. You can be the difference to help make history, stop Blair in his tracks, halt his profiteering, and bring him to some kind of justice. It is an ambitious project, but it is not beyond us.

Thank you,

George Galloway MP

The film will look at how Blair rose without trace to hijack the Labour Party and to fly it to destruction. At how a million people lie dead as a result of the Blair era. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, and even on the streets of western capitals, like London and Madrid. At how he feathered the beds of the rich and powerful and how finally, upon leaving office, he ruthlessly exploited his Downing Street contacts and climbed into those feathered beds himself. His Faustian pact with the likes of Rupert Murdoch, the bankers and the City slickers will be laid bare.

This film will break new and unexplored ground with never before seen footage, exclusive interviews and penetrating commentary. In addition, diplomats, investigative journalists, well-known artists and activists, as well as victims of the Blair era will all participate.

Photo by Louis Leeson
Photo by Louis Leeson

A top-notch technical team and a host of dedicated volunteers are working hard to make this project happen. The film is currently in the pre-production stage and our team is carrying out research, collecting footage and securing interviews. Funds will be exclusively used for the making of this documentary. The more you donate the better our film can be. Exceeding our target would enable us to purchase further archive footage, film overseas and settle post production costs.

This film will be kickstarted by you, the people, who want to see the truth told and justice done. By pledging to fund this film you will be securing a ringside seat for the heavyweight bout of the decade, helping to expose one of the scandals of the century. Donate now and you could be recognised as one of those who helped bring about the downfall of Tony Blair.

In addition to making your valued donations there are more ways you can help us. We are always on the lookout for new audio-visual material and would gratefully accept contributions of photographs and footage pertinent to the subject matter of the film (you must own the rights to the material). If you work in the creative industries and would like to lend your expertise, equipment or facilities we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact us at: theblairdoc@gmail.com

Tracking down Tony, day 1. Photo by Louis Leeson.
Tracking down Tony, day 1. Photo by Louis Leeson.

We have a large selection of rewards and gifts available for anyone who makes a pledge to help get this film made. Here are a few examples of some of the great rewards we have available.

You can have your name appear in a special ‘Thank You’ section in the credits, or have access to an exclusive and early online screening . You can be rewarded with a rare and limited edition ‘special backers’ DVD signed by George Galloway MP with behind the scenes footage or get a limited edition documentary poster signed by George Galloway MP. Also available are ‘Send Blair to the Hague’ t-shirts.

You can be invited to the advance private screening of the documentary in London with a Q&A session with George Galloway MP, or have a chance to speak to George Galloway MP through a thank you Skype call

You can secure limited behind the scene access at one of our production shoots, which will allow you to meet our film crew and speak to George Galloway Face to face. We are also giving away exclusive tickets to the film’s premiere and an exclusive VIP private dinner with George Galloway MP.

Associating your name with justice by donating £5000 will get you listed as an Executive Producer in the opening and closing credits of the film. Your name will also be displayed on the DVD Packaging and on our official website. Your name will be at the forefront of our campaign!

Please ‘Like’, ‘Share’ & ‘Tweet’ about this project, The more people who hear about our campaign the more chance we have of raising the necessary funds to make this documentary possible. FacebookTwitter

Photo by Christopher Cottrell - Artwork by Joe Cook
Photo by Christopher Cottrell – Artwork by Joe Cook

Risks and challengesLearn about accountability on Kickstarter

As with any documentary, there are risks and challenges that may arise over the course of the production of this film. Two of our biggest challenges will be finalising the documentary in the foreseen timeline as well as reaching our financial target.

This is a very ambitious project, hoping to reveal information not yet seen or told before. Without a doubt there are certain people who may want to obstruct our work given the contents of the film. In addition, given the investigative nature of the documentary, we are cognisant that during the making of the film we may come across new facts and information that will warrant additional research. For this reason, a challenge will be to try and complete the documentary in the scheduled timescale, while allowing flexibility to improve it through further research or new interviewees. Newly found information can also influence the financing of the film, as further costly archive footage may need to be purchased or new shooting locations may need to be visited. We firmly believe that these challenges will be overcome and we will not make any compromises with regard to the quality of this documentary.

The timescale we have set for the delivery of rewards is a rough estimate and we will do all we can to give them to you at the indicated time. Delivery of some of the rewards, however, could directly be affected by delays we may encounter while making the documentary. Please rest assured that we will of course make sure that the rewards are delivered and that our team will do its upmost to send them to you as soon as possible.


Have a question? If the info above doesn’t help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question

The Killing of Tony Blair- A Message From George Galloway:



| Warmonger Cameron loses Commons vote on Syria action!

David Cameron loses Commons vote on Syria action ~ BBC.

David Cameron: “It is clear to me that the British parliament … does not want to see British military action”

British MPs have voted to reject possible military action against the Assad government in Syria to deter the use of chemical weapons.

A government motion was defeated by 285 to 272, a majority of 13 votes.

Prime Minster David Cameron said it was clear Parliament does not want action and “the government will act accordingly”.

It effectively rules out British involvement in any US-led strikes against the Assad regime.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the vote meant military action was “off the agenda”, and added that MPs had reacted against the prime minister’s “cavalier and reckless” leadership.

The defeat comes as a potential blow to the authority of Mr Cameron, who had already watered down a government motion proposing military action, in response to Labour’s demands for more evidence of Assad’s guilt.

Labour had seen its own amendment – calling for “compelling” evidence – rejected by MPs by 114 votes.

PM ‘disappointed’


image of Ross Hawkins
Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

Backbenchers, and the opposition – not the prime minister – set Britain’s foreign policy tonight.

Put more kindly, Parliament expressed its will and the PM listened.

However you think it through, it will take some explaining, not least to the Americans.

People at home and abroad will ask: who is in charge?

Many at Westminster will, of course, be obsessed by what this means in a place where weakness is a sin.

Others will wonder about the consequences for the people of Syria and the Middle East.

And Britain – a country that has agonised about its role in the world since the Suez crisis – will ask whether it might no longer be a nation that intervenes.

But – in an unexpected turn of events – MPs also rejected the government’s motion in support of military action in Syria if it was supported by evidence from United Nations weapons inspectors, who are investigating claims President Bashar al-Assad‘s regime had used chemical weapons against civilians.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed that Britain would not be involved in any military action against the Assad regime – but said it would probably go ahead in any case.

“I expect that the US and other countries will continue to look at responses to the chemical attack.

“They will be disappointed that Britain will not be involved. I don’t expect that the lack of British participation will stop any action.”

He said he and the prime minister were “disappointed” with the result of the Commons vote which he said would harm Britain’s relationship with Washington.

“It’s certainly going to place some strain on the special relationship.

“The Americans understand the Parliamentary process. Perhaps they have been surprised by the scale of opposition.”

Iraq ‘poisoned the well’Mr Hammond came under fire earlier for claiming Ed Miliband had given “succour” to the Assad regime by refusing to back Mr Cameron

Asked if all the MPs who voted against the government had given succour to President Assad, he said “The word was put in my mouth. The Assad regime is going to be a little bit less uncomfortable tonight as a result of this vote in parliament.”

The moment when it was announced the government’s motion had been defeated

He blamed the 2003 Iraq war for “poisoning the well” of public opinion against British military interventions in the Middle East.

But Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said the government defeat was down to the “fatally flawed” case put to MPs by Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, claiming the pair’s credibility was now “diminished”.

But shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: “Parliament is entirely unpredictable sometimes and I don’t think many people saw this coming.”

He said so many of Mr Cameron’s own MPs had voted with Labour because they were now “unwilling to take him at his word”.

Conservative rebel Douglas Carswell said: “There is not now going to be British military involvement in Syria, but that is a good thing, the system works.”

Leading Tory rebel John Baron said he was also “pleased the prime minister has listened” to Parliament.


| Islam is way more English than the EDL!

Islam is way more English than the EDL ~ Religion, The Telegraph.

Whither the articulate nutters? Yesterday I got into a Twitter spat with the EDL’s Tommy Robinson (isn’t Twitter fun? Please don’t ban it, Caitlin) and I’m not very impressed. He was angry with a piece I wrote about him linking to an anti-Semitic website, and this cued an evening of tweets accusing me of not understanding the plight of Luton and how I obviously hate the English working class. It’s all predictable stuff, but the latter point does interest me. I’ve often suspected that the EDL’s grip on the popular imagination comes from its claim to represent what remains of the native proletariat – and a lot of middle class folks in the media think that maybe they do, which is why they invite Tommy onto TV shows to share his toilet wall history of Islam with the nation. But they’re wrong. The EDL’s definition of what constitutes the English working class is a classic case of projection.

To take the “working class” tag, never mind that Tommy owns his own business and so is technically petit-bourgeois – making him officially entitled to buy a cream and gold bathroom. The EDL also overlooks a long history of working class progressiveness summed up in three words: the Labour movement. Yes, the contemporary Left is dominated by middle-class wets who dislike many of the people they claim to represent – but this wasn’t always the way. The 100,000 protesters who turned out in 1936 to humiliate Oswald Mosley‘s fascists at the Battle of Cable Street were overwhelmingly working class, and many voted to elect the Jewish Phil Piratin as a communist MP for Mile End in defiance of anti-Semitism. Mosley’s blackshirts frequently ran in working class constituencies and always got hammered. They failed to present a populist alternative to the Labour Party because the working class was uninterested in their brand of racist radicalism. In short, while there certainly is a protectionist tradition within England‘s working class – fueled by the fact that they’re the ones who suffer first and suffer the most when the country’s borders are opened to cheap labour – this country lacks a fascist tradition because it runs counter to our homegrown culture.

Which brings me to the more contentious bit of the EDL’s identity: its claim to represent “the English”. The problem with this claim is that a hundred people will come up with a hundred ways of defining Englishness, and each with disagree violently with the other. To quote George Bernard Shaw: “It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.” This is a good thing by the way. Nations that are solidly cohesive can turn exclusivist and nasty; there’s something of the Vichy about France’s recent treatment of its Muslims and Roma.

So while football hooliganism, covering your car in St George’s flags, wearing balaclavas and spending time in prison is one definition of Englishness, others do exist. The one I prefer is a little more “liberal”, in the 19th century meaning of that word. Its the Englishness that was fascinated by the Orient, the Englishness that saw Christians turn native in North Africa and India and lovingly translate the Koran and the tales of Arabian Nights for the mass market back home. Queen Victoria spent some of her last years harbouring a crush on her Muslim servant, Abdul Karim (a relationship the dear old Daily Mail calls “shockingly intimate”). It’s an Englishness rooted in laws and values rather than race. Crucially, it flowered in the 1800s because that’s when we had a lot more self-confidence as a nation: someone who is secure in their identity is at ease with exploring the imaginations of others. Today our meetings with foreign cultures are awkward precisely because we lack a solid sense of who we are. A lot of the fear shown towards Islam comes from the death of the Christian soul – we see a people who actually believe in something and we are intimidated.

By contrast, most Muslims cling on to values that were once definitively English and that we could do with rediscovering. Islam instructs its followers to cherish their families, to venerate women, to treat strangers kindly, to obey the law of any country they are in (yes, yes, it really does), and to give generously. One recent poll found that British Muslims donate more money to charity than any other religious group. Much is written about the need for Muslims to integrate better into English society, although I’m sure 99 per cent of them already do. But I hope they retain as much of their religious identity as possible – it is vastly superior to the materialist, secular mess that they’re being compelled to become a part of.

I’m not one of those New Labour metropolitan types who wants to create a rainbow nation of hippies – I’m a cultural conservative, a Catholic chauvinist and a defender of everything worth venerating. But its precisely because I’m a traditionalist that I look at Islam and see much to admire – ordered, sensitive to the sacred, civilised – and then look at the British far Right and see much to loathe – ignorant about history, invariably irreligious, law-breaking, lacking in charity. Of course, I’ll be labelled a snob for writing all of this. So, to reassure the critics, I rang up my father – the most working class Englishman I know – and asked him what he thought of the EDL. “Idiots”, he said.

So, that’s that.

As English as tea and crumpets?




| UK Economy: Must we live with a post-truth media?

Must we live with a post-truth media? ~ Simon Wren-Lewis,

Something odd but familiar was going on when I wrote this post on Labour’s economic record. The Labour leader and shadow chancellor both made speeches that had apparently been months in the making, and which were (I think intentionally) spun as trying to convince voters that they could trust a future Labour government with fiscal management.

Why odd? Because it presumes that there is some real problem to solve. It presumes that the last Labour government managed the nation’s fiscal affairs very badly, and so today’s politicians have to show they would be different. Yet the paper I wrote tells a very different story. The previous Labour government set up fiscal rules that were both responsible and better than rules subsequently adopted elsewhere. Until the financial crisis, they kept to those rules. Here is the basic data: the top line is the debt to GDP ratio, the bottom line a scaled up current balance to GDP ratio.
Labour Government’s Fiscal Record: source OBR

Of course it is possible to find fault, and I do. In hindsight it would have been better if the debt to GDP ratio had been kept nearer 30% of GDP, or even reduced further. But debt to GDP was lower before the recession than when Labour took office, and the current balance was almost zero. Hardly a profligate government. Indeed one of the faults I find, over optimism in Treasury forecasts, has been fixed, to the Conservative party’s credit, with the creation of the OBR.
With the financial crisis everything changed, because this produced the Great Recession. Deficits go up in recessions. There was a small contribution from the government’s attempt to reduce the impact of the recession, an attempt which analysis suggests was successful, so they should take credit for that. It is pretty obvious that you cannot use the fact that the deficit rose in the recession to argue that Labour cannot be trusted with the public finances. Again, the data speaks – look at when the deficit rose in the past.
Of course you could say that the Great Recession was the government’s fault. It should have foreseen the financial crisis coming. It should have known that levels of GDP in 2007 were going to be interpreted, five years later, as a massive economic boom rather than as they appeared at the time as something close to trend. It should have known this, despite the advice it was getting to the contrary from the Bank of England, the IMF, OECD, most economists …. and Her Majesty’s opposition! You can take that idealist view – but not if you were agreeing with all this advice at the time.
So the idea that the last Labour government seriously mismanaged the nation’s finances is a myth. What is more, unlike older myths like the earth is flat, as these charts show it is not something that is generated by perception and which requires expertise to unravel. Unless you are completely naive about the impact of recessions on deficits, a quick look at the data tells the true story. So it is a manufactured myth that distorts what the numbers appear to show. The problem with myths is that after a time, even otherwise good journalists at good places like the Financial Times start believing them.
Now we all know who manufactured the myth. Yet I think most people believe that if a political party started telling a story that was clearly at variance with the facts, it would be found out. In short, people expect journalists and economic commentators to confront politicians who attempt to create and perpetuate myths. In this case they did not. Its also pretty obvious why they did not. The incentive for organisations like the BBC is to stay out of trouble. And who has been making most noise about bias in economic reporting – the government. As any economist will tell you, its all about incentives.

So it really is the duty of academics to speak to truth, as loudly as they can, when it is being ignored by the media. On this topic, the media in general and the BBC in particular have been hopelessly biased in allowing the government to get away with this myth. They have some serious explaining to do.

UK False Economy1

| Anti-zionism isn’t anti-semitic: Labour peer Lord Ahmed suspended after ‘Jewish claims!’

Labour peer Lord Ahmed suspended after ‘Jewish claims’ ~ BBC News.

A Labour peer has reportedly blamed Jewish-owned media organisations for his imprisonment for dangerous driving.

The Labour Party has suspended Lord Ahmed while it investigates the comments reported in the Times.

The peer, jailed for sending a text message shortly before his car was involved in a fatal crash, said Jewish owners of “newspapers and TV channels” had put pressure on the court, according to the newspaper.

Lord Ahmed has declined to comment.

In a statement, the Labour Party said it “deplores and does not tolerate any sort of racism or anti-Semitism”.

“We will be seeking to clarify these remarks as soon as possible,” the statement added.

Lord Ahmed is reported to have made the comments in a television interview, thought to have been broadcast in April last year, while he was on a visit to Pakistan.

According to the Times, he told an Urdu-language broadcast he should have been sentenced by a magistrate but pressure had been placed on the courts to charge him with a more serious offence because of his support for Palestinians.

“My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this,” the Times reports him as saying in the television interview.

He said the judge who had sentenced him had been appointed to the High Court after helping a “Jewish colleague” of Tony Blair during “an important case”, the newspaper adds.

‘Appalled’Lord Ahmed was jailed for 12 weeks in 2008 after sending and receiving text messages while driving.

He was freed by the Court of Appeal after serving 16 days of the sentence because of “exceptional” mitigation relating to his community work.

He had been involved in a fatal crash minutes after sending the messages on Christmas Day 2007.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving but did not face the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving because no causal link could be established between his texts and the crash.

But the case was transferred from Sheffield Magistrates Court to Sheffield Crown Court for sentencing because the district judge in the case felt his sentencing powers were not sufficient.

The 55-year-old Pakistan-born businessman and Labour Party activist was appointed to the House of Lords by Tony Blair in 1998. He was one of the first three Muslim peers,

He was suspended and investigated by the Labour Party in 2012 after allegations he had called for a £10m bounty for the capture of US Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush. He was subsequently cleared and reinstated.

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “We are appalled by Lord Ahmed’s alleged comments which recall the worst Jewish conspiracy theories. However outlandish and incredible his allegations, there will always be gullible or malicious individuals or groups that will accept what he has said and add to the growth of anti-semitic discourse.

“We note that Lord Ahmed has now been suspended from the Labour Party pending a full investigation. If he is found to have indeed made the reported comments, he should be expelled from the Labour Party, as such views should have no space in responsible political discourse.”

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