Category: British Politics (Page 1 of 4)

Freedom of expression is for everyone in a democracy

Following the far-right terrorist attack at the Finsbury Mosque at 00:21 am on Monday, June 19, Tommy Robinson went on Twitter to say how he felt about the attack. Once again he put his foot in it by appearing to suggest that those outside the mosque who were run-over, while not directly responsible for their injuries, were nevertheless tangentially responsible as the mosque had a long history of creating and sheltering extremists and that a reprisal of this sort was just waiting to happen following the recent Islamist attacks in Manchester and on London Bridge.

Predictably, the Twittersphere sounded like the Twitterpocalypse had come, with scores of people slamming him for his tweets. I am not defending what Robinson said in his tweets, and think that they were poorly worded. I do however defend his right to tweet what he did. Robinson did say in later tweets that he didn’t want this to happen and that he’d been warning about it for years, but the damage had already been done. It made him look worse in many people’s eyes than he did already and confirmed other peoples’ suspicions about him.

Robinson then went in ITV’s Good Morning Britain, ostensibly to defend himself on national TV. However, the “interview” didn’t really turn out the way he might have hoped. What unfolded was extraordinary by any measure, and has caused more controversy than if Robinson had not been invited and just been left with his tweets for company.

He began by saying that there was no such thing as “Islamophobia”. A phobia is an irrational fear, and he said that it wasn’t irrational to fear these things, i.e. Islamist terror. 

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Finsbury Park Mosque attack sign of a society coming apart

On the morning of Monday, June 19, at 00:21 am, a white van ploughed into a crowd of worshippers who had exited the Finsbury Park Mosque. 10 people were injured, eight are in hospital with several whose conditions have been described as very serious. One person was killed.

The far-right terrorist, for that, is what we must call him, was held down by members of the congregation while the police were called. The imam protected him from the anger of the crowd so that the police could do their job properly when they arrived. The man reportedly said that he’d done his job, and apparently shouted that he wanted to kill all Muslims.

This attack came just over a year after the murder of the MP Jo Cox by another far-right terrorist. Anniversaries are important for terrorists.

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Upon a Windswept Shore: The Falklands War 35 Years On

It was 35 years ago. Margaret Thatcher was in power, but only precariously so. The country was fractious, and the economy was still struggling to emerge from the subterranean depths it had plunged to in the 1970’s. A war on the far side of the world was fought and won, against all the odds, and showed the world that Britain would not sit idly by as its sovereign territory was invaded by a belligerent dictatorship.

The first signs of trouble came on March 31, 1982, when news came of Argentinian naval vessels fast approaching the few rocky and windblown islands at the bottom of the world, 8,000 miles away from the UK. The islands were home at the time to around 1,500 people who considered themselves British.

This move by the Argentines came at a bad time. Britain was still weak after the disaster of the 1970’s when even the USSR didn’t want to buy our goods because they were so poorly made. As a result of this, the armed forces, and particularly the navy, had faced budget cuts and were untested since the 1950’s. A victory was not inevitable or even looked possible. The task before Thatcher’s government and the armed forces, in purely logistical terms, let alone in military capability, was immense.

Thatcher had to wage a two-front campaign, both within her own cabinet in order to determine Britain’s response, and also against America, whose interests in the region ran counter to Britain’s. If she had made a mess of either situation, the consequences would have been extremely severe. However, the way Thatcher managed the crisis mirrors the performance of the soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought; they rose to the task, drew a line in the sand and refused to accede to the thuggish behaviour of a dictatorial totalitarian regime.

The cabinet and members of the Foreign Office were already resigned to defeat, showing the prevailing idea from the 70’s of Britain being a nation in decline and that they were just there to manage it. Admiral and First Sea Lord Henry Leach forced his way into the meeting in the House of Commons in full uniform, showing that at times like this symbols of authority such as this are needed to galvanise people into action. He was emphatic: “I can put together a task force of destroyers, landing craft, support vessels… It can be ready to leave in 48 hours.”

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The Women Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – A Rebuttal to ‘Hope Not Hate’

In her speech to the nation after the London Bridge atrocities, Theresa May mentioned the urgent need for a more nuanced debate and that this, at times would mean having “difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.” We Liberty Belles are five women from diverse social, ethnic, racial and political backgrounds who are attempting just that. For our efforts, we were recently targeted by a group calling themselves “Hope Not Hate” as “emerging voices of the far right.” The writer made no serious attempt to contact us for comment and made numerous inferences without any evidence to support them. The article contained zero quotes from us voicing far right opinions, because none exist. Accusations of racism are especially spurious given the fact that one of our founders – Natoya – is mixed race and another – Catherine – is from an ethnic minority.

None of us hold any “extreme right-wing views”. We as a group came together to discuss our issues with feminism and why we do not believe it works towards genuine equality. As such we have spent little or no time discussing far right ideologies. A look at our personal blog posts will confirm this. The statement that some of us are involved in the Men’s Rights community is true. However, as people are increasingly beginning to realise – particularly since The Red Pill documentary – the objectives and opinions of the Men’s Rights community have nothing to do with the far right.

We are libertarians, classical liberals and one of us identifies as socially conservative. No amount of research and digging on us will ever suggest otherwise. We have no links with The National London Forum beyond one of our number speaking there on a platform about male genital mutilation. Had she known of any links with the anti-Semite David Irving, or any bigot, she would not have accepted the offer – in fact several other members of the group had never even heard of The London Forum until Hope Not Hate’s article. By David Lawrence’s standards, had Elizabeth found herself standing at the same bus stop as Irving, he would accuse her of “sharing a platform” with him. No reasonable person, never mind a serious researcher or a journalist, should be that ungracious or naive. We are five ordinary women not professional speakers with advisors and agents.

Elizabeth also did an interview with THA talks, an online radio station whose slogan is ‘free speech for open minds’. She had no idea that they had given a platform to far right and Holocaust denying guests but a quick glance at their front page shows that they have also interviewed members of the Socialist Workers Party so they cannot be described as a far-right outlet; they are what they say on the tin, something laudable in this day and age.

We were accused of associating with “Nazi apologist” Claire Khaw. Liberty Belle Natoya Raymond, a talented journalist, met with Claire Khaw personally to find out who the person behind the extreme online persona was and found a timid keyboard warrior. We find her opinions repugnant and have refused to share a platform with her in the past.*

We all support free speech however. We believe radicalism and hate can only be defeated by open, robust dialectic and that censorship only benefits authoritarian extremists. We have nothing to hide. Rather, we have a passion for true egalitarian values. To be as clear as possible, the values we stand for are:

Democracy, classical liberalism, free speech, civil rights, equality before the law, small government, free markets.

These are all antidotes to far right and far left authoritarianism.

Some of us personally now have a genuine fear for our own safety and the safety of our families, given that “Hope Not Hate” appear to have their own links with Antifa via Searchlight Magazine and Unite Against Fascism. Antifa extremists are currently on trial in the US for carrying out unprovoked violent attacks on women and men who they believe to hold right wing views. In the light of this, David Lawrence’s labelling of us in those terms without having done proper research or making any attempt to contact us individually to find out our actual opinions is a possible threat to our safety. His article effectively targets us as persons of interest for sinister and violent left-wing groups, such as Antifa and BAMN. We wonder in fact, if his article was written specifically with that cowardly goal in mind.

We hope that reasonable people will defend us from such thuggish attempts to intimidate and silence political dissent from centrist moderates like ourselves.

Every survey in the last 30 years has shown that while a majority of UK citizens embrace egalitarian values, only a minority identify as feminist.  There are many reasons we do not support feminism but perhaps most importantly we feel it represents a threat to the things we hold most dear; the well-being of our children, positive relationships between men and women and the stability of the family. We are five centrist women not a right-wing movement. We are not traditionalists and we are not radicals. We are individuals. We work, we write, we study and we care about the internal instability of West right now. We want to actively and positively contribute to the future.

As mothers to children of various ages, we also realise the value of a work-life balance, of having quality time with our children and partners – equal partners, not rivals – with a common life goal. With the help and support of our partners we willingly trade off a negligible “pay gap” for the profound gift of being mothers to our children when they most need it.

Life is measured in the legacy you will leave. For most of us – men and women – that will be our children. Feminism will never change that. If that’s “right wing”, we are in big trouble.

We set up our sub-group Ladies for Philip Davies in support of Philip Davies’ attempts to challenge radical feminist policies in UK parliament; policies which actually do little to help women, pay lip service to men’s issues and waste precious time and resources. Davies is constantly slandered by feminist groups as a misogynist, a lie which goes unchallenged by the mainstream media.  Other lies and misrepresentations which go unchecked are:  

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UKGE2017: Tory night of fiasco

Britain went to the polls on Thursday, June 8, 2017, and received a hung Parliament in return. Prime Minister Theresa may had called the snap election back in April, in order to shore up what she saw as her lack of legitimacy due to her having slipped into the role of Prime Minister almost de facto following the six-way shootout following the Brexit decision in 2016 which led to then PM David Cameron resigning.

Initially, the polls showed that the Tories had an astonishing 20-24 point lead over the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories were seen as the party that would deliver Brexit in a ‘strong and stable’ manner, and May seemed like a safe pair of hands with which she would lead the country through the undoubtedly turbulent years ahead. Meanwhile, the Labour Party was led by a man who’d never held a senior ministerial position before and had had a nasty habit of being overly friendly with terrorists, theocratic regimes and Marxist revolutionary governments, all of which ought to have sunk his electoral hopes without much of a trace.

Indeed, this was what looked like the most reasonable outcome. And then came the disaster of the Tory manifesto release, with its messy roll-out, uncosted nature, vague promises and various pledges to remove provisions for elderly people as well as what became known as the ‘Dementia tax’. The so-called Dementia tax was an effort to address the spiralling costs of social care in modern Britain and mandated that older people with assets of £100,000 or over, for example in property, could use those to pay for their care. The downside was that many people would then be unable to leave anything in an inheritance to their descendants.

To say this did not go down well was an understatement. 

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UKGE2017: Corbyn provides hope for the future

“For the many, not the few”.  A motto that almost half the country clang onto, some of which are people living in destitute, encased in the vicious circle of poverty which the Conservative party has contrived. The hope that Jeremy Corbyn had beamed from his manifesto benefited British people who were most in need, and a way out to break the cycle and an opportunity to get themselves back on their feet.

Under the 90’s Tory government, with John Major at the helm, I was a kid living on the tenth floor flat in one of East London’s many council estates, which were constantly featured on the 6 O’clock news for whatever crime had been committed. I was raised by a lone parent, my miracle mother, whom not only managed to survive on such a small amount of money, (we had £15 a week for food) but had to endure the constant abuse and degradation from MPs and the tabloids for being a single parent (obviously a choice she freely made…. Oh wait…) and we were all engulfed in the same vicious circle that the Tories had created; punished for not working, but no help or opportunity available to get out there at work. Childcare was a fortune, adult education was limited and the lack of working rights made working mothers life impossible to balance.

Then in 1997 Labour was voted in, and despite the questionable decisions Tony Blair made in regards to the wars we were plunged into, that government did a lot for my family and my childhood. My mother wasn’t siting in our 2 bedroom flat in Leyton enjoying being on benefits, scrimping and saving and struggling everyday while enduring hatred. When the opportunity arose thanks to changes Labour made, she went out and studied law. Then when Cameron was voted in, it again affected my adult life. Shockingly diagnosed with multiply lifelong conditions, which cause pain, fatigue and mobility issues at a mere 24 years old, I was unable to work, and was left to fend for myself. The austerity cuts killed people with disability, the stress made me want to kill myself. The stress that the cuts caused was unbearable, more unbearable then the constant pain I was in. I didn’t ask for this. As a person who had worked since she was 16 years old and studied, I did not see my life trapped in another Tory snag,

Like my mother I got myself out of that circle, but with no help from the people who serve us.

Today, after years of unnecessary austerity, the top earners paying less tax than me, disastrous campaigns from May and Corbyn taking the polls by storm, we still have the conservatives leading by vote. Me and every other labour voter are asking ourselves, why? 

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London Burning: Latest terror attack is “Fourth Gen Warfare”

At 10:30 pm on Saturday, June 3, London witnessed the latest in a string of jihadi terror attacks that have so far hit Afghanistan, Iraq, and Manchester. ISIS has also taken over the town of Marawi in the southern Philippines, showing that as its central state is rolled back inch by inch it has the potential to expand elsewhere.

The attack on London Bridge saw 7 people killed by being run over by a white van or stabbed by the three terrorists who then went on a stabbing rampage that ended in Borough Market. British armed police arrived on the scene in 8 minutes from the time of the alert, where they shot all 3 men dead, who were wearing what turned out to be fake suicide vests.

The attacks struck at another landmark in the capital of the West’s home to parliamentary democracy; London Bridge is a landmark with deep historical significance, and to launch an attack on it was an attempt to reach the same level of psychological impact as that on Westminster Bridge back in March. Borough Market is a popular tourist and local attraction and is always full of people. If the attackers had managed to obtain AK-47’s or another similar firearm, or indeed if they’d actually had real suicide vests, the death toll could have been catastrophic. As it was, the country is grateful that they only had a vehicular missile and blades to finish the job. That is what we’ve come to in the West.

What we are seeing is, as Maajid Nawaz and others have described, a full blown global jihadist insurgency. The jihadists have taken their campaign of terror beyond mere terrorism and have elevated it to the levels of highly decentralised, insurgent, Fourth-Generation Warfare.

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Where (rarely) even Jeremy Corbyn is right…

With British politics reaching its crescendo and the Labour party narrowing Tory lead to five points, it is time for some home truth. Jeremy Corbyn gave a speech where he alleged to have claimed that terrorism in Britain is a direct response to British foreign policy. The result was as you expect from liberal media. From false accusations to blatant lying, to character assassination, Corbyn was portrayed as a combination of Gandhi and Laden. As pacifist and apologist as Gandhi, as vicious and Islamist as Laden. He was portrayed as being incompetent and conniving and dangerous at the same time.

 

Except, none of that is even remotely true. I am no great fan of either Corbyn or May, and I find both of them disingenuous, but for the sake of balance, Corbyn deserves credit where he is right. His claim that his words were twisted and misrepresented makes sense. And frankly, I have never seen two points, which in recent days, I have found myself quietly agreeing with the Labour party and Corbyn himself. For all his faults, let’s hear him out and let’s have the truth out in public. 

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The British Bataclan and Western passivity

On Monday, May 22, an Islamist jihadist blew himself up at the Manchester Arena, at the end of an Ariana Grande concert. He killed 22 people, mostly young teenagers, one only eight years old. Most of the concert attendees were teenage girls, who the bomber may have seen as a legitimate target because of their femininity–the same way Islamists pour acid on women. Police and counter-terrorism operations are still ongoing as of this writing, while the terror threat has been raised to critical and there are now soldiers on Britain’s streets.

Given my dissertation focuses on ISIS-inspired Islamist terror attacks in Europe 2015-16 it now looks more relevant than ever, and not in a good way.

Theresa May’s speech after the attack was mostly good, but she didn’t name the ideology of Islamism. As a result, she risks falling into the same trap as Obama in not naming the ideology behind these attacks. She risks handing the narrative to those who will use it for their own malevolent ends by insisting that it’s the fault of all Muslims.

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Labour’s manifesto and Marxism’s rotten heart

After the shambolic leak of Labour’s draft manifesto, Comrade Corbyn launched the party’s manifesto to the public in Bradford on May 17, to rapturous applause from the party faithful. As one would expect from Corbyn and his team’s track record as apparently cuddly socialists, it’s an incoherent grab bag of policies designed to massively expand the role of the state in people’s everyday lives, supposedly in an aim to help people, all the while chipping further away at the now rather eroded foundations of freedom and liberty that British society was founded on.

Not only was the leak shambolic, but the big release was also as full of holes as Corbyn’s cardigans. His spending plans would cause the UK’s debt to explode by £250 billion (US$325 billion) and would see the government aiming to spend an extra £48.6 billion (US$63 billion) per year. Indeed, the chaotic nature of the unveiling was elevated to levels of parody by the fact that even though the manifesto – titled “For the Many, Not the Few” (ruin for the many, not Corbyn’s nomenklatura few) – claims to use an economic model entirely devised by world-leading economists, the policy of a levying a tax on offshore company property actually relied in part on a database created by the current events and satire magazine Private Eye.

Policy proposals include free childcare for all 2-4 year olds, a fat-cat tax on city banks and the super-wealthy that would be worth 2.5% of incomes over £330,000 (US$428,000) and 5% of incomes over £500,000 and a raise in the corporate tax from 19% to 26%, nationalisation of the railways and water industries, re-nationalisation of the postal service, and a new 45p tax threshold for incomes of £80,000 (US$104,000) a year and over and 50p on incomes of £123,000 and over, which would affect 1.3 million people who would end up paying £5,300 (US$6,900) more in tax. According to IFS estimates, the tax burden could increase to 37% by 2022 under a Labour government, dragging us back not the 1970’s but the 1950’s, when Britain was a bombed out shell living on debt and US subsidies. Labour says all its plans for spending, borrowing and taxing are fully costed, but as Matthew Lynn points out, this view seems to belong in another reality.

To conclude the economic arguments against the Labour manifesto, none of Corbyn’s sums add up. Because of the reasons already discussed, the Labour tax plans would actually bring in less tax revenue, and would only raise £20bn-£30bn, leaving a potential shortfall of £28.6 billion (US$37 billion), to be covered by guess what? More borrowing.

The fact is, higher tax rates and stifling economic intervention would lead to poorer economic growth, which in turn would result in lower revenue and adding to the shortfall. One can see how £250 billion more in debt suddenly looks frighteningly realistic.

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