Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Manbags

Discussion on Radio Five Live just now with a guy who carries the latest "metrosexual" accessory - a handbag for men. Asked what he kept in it he responded: “The usual things - the Guardian…” Enough said.

100th British Soldier Dead in Iraq

The BBC has been waiting for this “milestone” for months. Watch it go nuts.

My thoughts are with the families of all our soldiers who have died in Iraq.

Monday, January 30, 2006

More Mohammed Cartoon Fun


The above image (click to enlarge) is from a BBC report (video link on right) on gunmen raiding the EU’s Gaza office in protest over the Danish Mohammed cartoons. There's a brief sequence giving some background to the affair in which a group of unidentified men seated around a table discuss the pictures. The screen-grab shows one of these anonymous guys (could be anyone - the BBC report doesn't say) looking at an image. However, it’s not one of the original 12 published by Jyllands-Posten - it’s one of a number of fakes that have been distributed around Muslim countries in an attempt to whip up even more hysteria. It shows Mohammed as a pig - here's the best copy I could find so apologies for the quality (click for bigger, and if anyone knows what either the Danish or the squiggly language means I'd be grateful. UPDATE. Translation of the Danish - "This is the true image of Muhammed." Thanks Per. The squiggly stuff says "This is the real face of Muhammad." Thanks anonymous.):



The other fakes can be viewed via this link.

If the original images were so blasphemous, why the need for fakes?

(And remember - Drink Danish! Today I have been mostly drinking Carlsberg Elephant Beer.)

Update 11 am January 31. Eammon in the B-BBC comments says that a BBC reporter on last night’s PM lumped Pig Mohammed in with the Danish cartoons. I’ll check this when the Listen Again feature finally updates (still playing Saturday's show), but it certainly wouldn't surprise me. As Ed Thomas says at Biased BBC in relation to the above screen-grab:
You'd have thought the BBC might have noticed… and pointed out the fact that many out there are just propagandising.
This sort of ignorance stems from the BBC’s fear of offending Muslims; we get superficial reports lacking critical analysis because the reporters are scared of scratching beneath the surface. Worse, they know the truth and choose to ignore or dissemble. The BBC and Islam - see no evil, hear no evil, report no evil.

Michelle Malkin now has the cartoons. Excellent.

Depictions of Mohammed through the ages.


Update 2 pm January 31.Rob Broomby on BBC Radio 4’s PM last night (and well spotted Eammon):
The blue touch paper had been lit by a series of cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in September. One portrayed the Prophet Mohammed with a turban shaped like a time bomb. Another showed him with a face of a pig.
Wrong Rob. Very wrong. Now let's have a report which answers these questions:
1.Why are Muslims spreading fake Danish cartoons?
2. Why did the BBC fall for the propaganda?


More still! Update 4.30 pm January 31. Aussie broadcaster SBS fell for the same shit. Via Pub Philosopher and the Brussels Journal.

Talking of which, the Brussels Journal (should we just give it all the 2006 journalism awards now?) also reports that a Dutch book is due to be published which will show a well known prophet in a compromising position with his child bride. Well, like so much else, it's in the Koran.

It goes on. Update 6 pm January 31. I emailed PM this afternoon and suggested that they might like to address the above questions. When the programme began this evening the presenter Eddie Mair went through the topics to be discussed and, sure enough, the Danish cartoons were on the agenda! I waited in anticipation for a reappraisal of Broomby’s report, and maybe even an apology for yesterday's falsehoods. Silly me. Instead, we heard Mair interviewing a Muslim activist. Nobody else. No other viewpoint.

Here’s my email in response :


DEAR PM,

FUCK YOU.


Update here.

Mohammed Cartoons Update

Libya has joined the Saudis in closing its embassy in Denmark (great headline).

Secular Blasphemy says that Danish, Norwegian and Swedish (?!) citizens have been told to leave Gaza (I don’t know why the Finns get off so lightly).

The excellent Brussels Journal reports that the editor of Jyllands-Posten, the paper that originally published the cartoons, has written an open letter to Saudi Arabia justifying the paper’s actions. ‘Karsten’ points out in the comments there:
An independent paper in a free and democratic country "justifies itself" to a family run dictatorship? The only thing that they need to say to Saudia Arabia is "STFU".
In the comments on my blog, Annemie says:
“Being Danish I only really get to see *our* perspective.. It is a crime against free press and free speech that this has been hushed to such an extent in anglospheric media.”
Quite so.

Here are some sites that have already published the cartoons:

Americans For Freedom
Brussels Journal
Flickr via Islam Threat
Islamophobic
Loaswearargyle
L’Ombre de l’Olivier
USS Neverdock

Mine are here.

And Thomas the Wraith wants artistic bloggers to produce their own images.

(Buy Danish!)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Jonas Gahr Støre Update

Fresh from giving in to Islamist threats to free expression, Norway’s foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre has now offered the terrorist death cult Hamas Norway’s unqualified cooperation. More at Secular Blasphemy (via LGF).

Mohammed Cartoons

The Brussels Journal reports that Norway’s foreign minister has apologised to Muslims for the publication of cartoons of Mohammed in a Norwegian magazine (via Dhimmi Watch). In an email to Norwegian embassies he said:
I am sorry that the publication of a few cartoons in the Norwegian paper Magazinet has caused unrest among Muslims.
Let it be clear that the Norwegian government condemns every expression or act which expresses contempt for people on the basis of their religion or ethnic origin.
What, something like “You stupid, cowardly Nordic cunt, Jonas Gahr Støre”? He continues:
Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of Norwegian society. This includes tolerance for opinions that not everyone shares.
Unless it’s an opinion that upsets Muslims, of course.

Denmark, where the cartoons were originally published in Jyllands-Posten, is now facing a boycott of its goods from the Muslim world. To its credit, the Danish government has refused to grovel in the manner of a Norwegian foreign minister.

On Tuesday the Brussels Journal produced an article by Paul Belien called “European Appeasement Reinforces Muslim Extremism”. He quotes Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
Sadly, she says, there is no free and open debate “because of the complacency and self-censorship of Europe’s political and intellectual elites, the self-pity of the Muslims, and the threat of violence by the jihadists.”
That a Somali-born woman living under 24-hour armed guard cares more for free expression than those pampered cowardly elites is shameful. Belien also cites an article from journalist Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-born Muslim woman:
The initial printing of the cartoons in Denmark led to death threats being issued against the artists, demonstrations in Kashmir, and condemnation from 11 countries. What did any of this achieve but prove the original point of the newspaper’s culture editor, that artists in Europe were censoring themselves because they feared Muslim reaction?
[…]
Muslims seem to forget that just because they are prohibited from representing the prophet in any way, this does not apply to everybody else.
As Belien states:
We need Muslims like Ms Eltahawy, who speak out against the extremists. We need Western journalists and politicians who support them by not allowing themselves to be intimidated by the extremists. But where are these journalists and politicians?
It’s pretty clear we can’t rely on them, so Belien proposes his own solution:
The best way to end the whole cartoon affair would be for as many websites, blogs and papers in Europe just to publish the cartoons in an act of defiance to extremists.
I fear he’s being a bit optimistic if he thinks that will stop the affair, but the act of defiance he proposes is vital. Here are the cartoons. If you have a blog, please put them up (click image to enlarge).




Update. L'Ombre de l'Olivier has had the cartoons up for ages. USSNeverdock also has them. And Irene The Woman says "Buy Danish". I'm having a Danish bacon sarnie right now, Irene.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The BBC & Hamas, sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G.

The BBC’s Jim Muir reports on the "stunning victory" of his terrorist mates and piles on the sentiment with a fucking bulldozer:
But in that cold December, there were no flowers. It was a strange sight, these men of undoubted and bearded piety, standing in rows, bowing and prostrating themselves, as they went through their Islamic devotions among those empty hills.[…]
It was here that I got to know Hamas leaders like Abdulaziz Rantissi, Ismail Haniya, and Dr Mahmoud Zahhar, who was the personal physician to the movement's quadriplegic spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.
[…]
The sheikh was killed in his wheelchair by an Israeli missile strike nearly two years ago.
He was succeeded by Mr Rantissi, but just four weeks later, he too died in a very similar attack.
The pictures of both men were prominent in the Hamas propaganda posters for the elections, so I suppose in a way, they were there
.
Sniff. I’m filling up, Jim.

Unbelievable.

Meanwhile...
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Fatah gunmen and Palestinian police, angry at Hamas's election victory, briefly took over parliament buildings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Saturday, firing in the air, witnesses said.
[…]
"We will transform the army of the Palestinian Authority into armed militias. We are not waiting for Hamas to teach us their Islamic beliefs. We know the Koran by heart," said one gunman, Ramzi Obeid.

In the Gaza Strip, police led by their commander in the territory briefly stormed into the compound of the parliament building there to protest against any transfer of security responsibility to Hamas, an Islamist militant group.
Civil war, anyone?

Update (Hat tip Rick in the Biased BBC comments). Mr Muir has previous. For example, there's his apologist's screed written just after 9/11. In an article on accuracy and truth, Muir concluded:
Often, it is a question of how something is presented, rather than the actual substance.
Well Jim lad, I would suggest you have a tendency to fuck up on both counts.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Prescott injured in 'sprint' race

From BBC News:
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has sprained his ankle while running with youngsters at an athletics track.
Hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah!
"I've pulled a bloody muscle. I feel a right bloody twit."
Hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah!
He had managed to sprint only a few metres before pulling up.
Hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah!
"I've been in the gym an hour every day. I feel a right bloody twit."
Hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah! hah!

Oh, I do feel better for that.

Hamas Photo Caption


The Yahoo News/Agence France-Presse caption for the above photo(*) reads:
Newly elected member of the Palestinian parliament, Hamas candidate Umm Nidal Farhat, at her home between her armed sons, Wissam(L) and Mu'men(R), members of the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigade, in Gaza City. Umm Nidal a 56-year-ol mother of 10, had three sons killed by Israeli troops during the last five-year Palestinian uprising.(AFP/Patrick Baz)
That’s an interesting way of putting it. She's called Umm Nidal (‘Mother of the Struggle’) for a reason. She sent those three sons on Hamas suicide missions against Israeli targets:
She is most famous for her presence in a Hamas video, showing her 17-year-old how to attack Israelis and telling him not to return. Shortly afterward, he killed five students in a Jewish settlement before he was killed himself.”
Here are a couple of extracts from an interview she gave on Egytpian TV:
Interviewer: "Can't you distinguish between operations against civilians and against soldiers, even from a psychological point of view?"
Umm Nidal: "There is no difference. This is Islamic religious law."

[…]

Interviewer: "You have ten sons."
Umm Nidal: "Yes, Allah be praised."
Interviewer: "If another is killed..."
Umm Nidal: "There are many young men..."
Interviewer: "Will your heart be filled with unbearable sorrow?"
Umm Nidal: "No, no. Allah be praised, I am preparing myself. I will sacrifice them all. If my duty requires me to sacrifice them all, I will not refuse - even if it costs me a hundred sons."
Here’s another picture(*) from Yahoo News showing an Israeli woman from the Terror Victims Association with pictures of Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism (or “militant attacks” as the Yahoo News/AFP caption has it):


If you don’t want EU money to fund the Hamas death cult, please contact your MEPs and tell them.

(*)Direct links to the photos may be temporary.

Google China

See Google's Chinese Wall at work over at LGF.

Update. Michelle Malkin is collecting photoshopped/altered Google logos and screenshots.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

BBC and the "I" word

I see the BBC has no qualms about using the word “Islamic” today. Under the headline Hamas 'secures stunning victory' (*):
There are strong indications that the Islamic militant group Hamas has won a stunning victory in Wednesday's Palestinian parliamentary elections.
Earlier this month, the BBC reported on the arrest of a man in connection with the shooting dead of a retired professor in India:
…police had information that he was a leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group in southern India.”
If you wanted to find out what that militant group was all about you had to look elsewhere. I did - in the Voice of America report on the same story:
Police say he is a key operative in southern India of the Laskhar-e-Taiba, a frontline Pakistan-based Islamic group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.
It will be interesting to see if the BBC drops the “I” word following the next Hamas terrorist attack.

(*)Update. The BBC has tempered its initial enthusiasm for the Hamas victory and removed the word “stunning” (adj. colloq. extremely impressive or attractive). The report now reads:
Hamas sweeps to election victory

Islamic militant group Hamas has won a surprise victory in Wednesday's Palestinian parliamentary elections
.

World Cup Watch

Lembit Opik, interviewed on the Midday News on Radio Five, said he’s not backing any of the Liberal leadership candidates because he doesn’t want to bring the curse of Opik on any of them. He went on to say he’s thinking about supporting David Cameron and Sven-Goran Eriksson instead. The World Cup is 6 months away but already the anti-England sentiment from some of our envious fellow Brits is building steam. Wouldn't it be great if we won?

Simon Hughes

A google image search of “Simon Hughes” rewards you with this wonderful picture:

Icon of England Update

Even the other Icons of England are now backing the V-sign! Actor Tim Bentinck, who plays David Archer in the world's longest-running radio soap The Archers (Icon of England link here) has given his support to the cause.

DhimmiExpo 7/7

Via Islamic Republic News Agency and The Independent:
London Mayor Ken Livingstone Monday launched Europe's biggest exhibition to “combat the myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings that Britain is somewhere good”. The event, entitled DhimmiExpo, will take place at Alexandra Palace a year after the 7 July bombings and consist of a series of exhibitions, lectures, debates, films, stand-up comedy and workshops designed to vilify Britain’s cultural heritage.

Organisers plan to invite leading proponents of the Caliphate to commemorate the deaths of the suicide bombers on the anniversary of their attacks. It is hoped that the event will help to convince the wider community of their ultimate fate as a people destined to live under Sharia law.

The exhibitions will be divided into three zones: "Discredit Britain", which will feature prominent members of the self-loathing left-liberal elite; "British Colonialism", which traces Britain's history as the most evil power the world has ever seen; and "Britain and the World", which highlights the unforgivable support given to America and Israel. Seminars praising jihad and the Caliphate and denouncing democracy will also take place.

The event has received the backing of numerous Muslim groups as well as the al-Jazeera news channel and the Greater London Authority.

Anas Altikriti, the director of DhimmiExpo, said, “The hope is that all kinds of people will visit and go away thinking about the inevitable universal supremacy of Islam.”

Ihtisham Hibatullah, from the Muslim Association of Britain, the group that devised the project, said the exhibition would be a celebration. "It will be a glorious Muslim festival to make the infidels quake in fear at the majesty of the One True Religion.”

The exhibition aims to draw Arab businesses to the capital by encouraging trade from 54 Islamic countries in a dedicated financial conference.

Mayor Livingstone said that DhimmiExpo offers a “unique opportunity for me to pander to people whose beliefs I should find utterly abhorrent but choose not to. Blah blah blah community relations going forward.”

"In addition, it will enhance London's reputation for cultural and creative diversity whilst promoting London to key businesses and decision makers as a business and tourist destination," he said.

If it is successful, it is hoped DhimmiExpo could become an annual event in London.

More, more, more.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Aw, shucks!

Iain Dale has kindly picked me as one of his Top 25 Political Blogs. Cheers Iain, you’re one of my favourites too. I’m more than a little surprised as I’ve only been at this lark for a couple of months (even less time than this other new blogger on the list, whoever the hell he is). Anyway, check out Iain’s selections - there are some great blogs there.

(And new visitors - please take a moment to vote for my nomination in the Icons of England doodah.)

Birmingham Guild of Students - Tossers

From the Times (via Harry’s Place)
A UNIVERSITY Christian Union has been suspended and had its bank account frozen after refusing to open its membership to people of all religions.
The Christian Union, an evangelical student organisation, has instructed lawyers and is threatening court proceedings against the Birmingham Guild of Students.
The Birmingham Christian Union has more than 100 members who attend meetings regularly and has been functioning at the university for 76 years.
Members claim the actions have been taken against them after they refused on religious grounds to make “politically correct” changes to their charitable constitution, including explicitly mentioning people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.
The Christian Union was advised that the use of the words “men” and “women” in the constitution were causing concern because they could be seen as excluding transsexual and transgendered people
.
DFH exclusive! Here's an extract from the minutes of the Birmingham Guild of Students Extraordinary General Meeting where the matter was discussed:
FRANCIS: Yeah. I think Judith's point of view is very valid, Reg, provided the Guild never forgets that it is the inalienable right of every man--
STAN: Or woman.
FRANCIS: Or woman... to rid himself--
STAN: Or herself.
FRANCIS: Or herself.
REG: Agreed.
FRANCIS: Thank you, brother.
STAN: Or sister.
FRANCIS: Or sister. Where was I?
REG: I think you'd finished.
FRANCIS: Oh. Right.
REG: Furthermore, it is the birthright of every man--
STAN: Or woman.
REG: Why don't you shut up about women, Stan. You're putting us off.
STAN: Women have a perfect right to play a part in the Birmingham Guild of Students, Reg.
FRANCIS: Why are you always on about women, Stan?
STAN: I want to be one.
REG: What?
STAN: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me 'Loretta'.
REG: What?!
LORETTA: It's my right as a man.
JUDITH: Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
LORETTA: I want to have babies.
REG: You want to have babies?!
LORETTA: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.
REG: But... you can't have babies.
LORETTA: Don't you oppress me.

Etc

Gaston! A bucket for monsieur!

From the Icons of England website:
Thames Whale

Perhaps it came to Westminster to bid a farewell, on the eve of his funeral, to Tony Banks, the man who had been Parliament's most active animal rights campaigner
.
Nearly brought up my breakfast.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The BBC and "Chocolate City"

Last week the Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin caused some controversy by claiming that God wants the Big Easy to be a "chocolate" (i.e. black, just in case you didn't get it) city.

A search on Google News for '"chocolate city" bcc' returns one item , dated 17 Jan 2006 (click for larger image):


If you follow the link you’ll notice that the story was updated the following morning to this:




As you can see, the race angle has been played down a little in the later article.

A similar thing happened in the Courier-Journal of Kentucky whose public editor has had to explain her paper’s removal of the word "chocolate" from their coverage of the same story (via Michelle Malkin) :
In trying to address potential sensitivities of some readers by excising the controversial remark, it could be taken by other readers -- and believe me, it was -- that the newspaper was trying to cover or protect this particular public official from his own articulations.

And those other readers would, and did, question whether the paper would allow the same editing grace to a white politician who promised a "vanilla" future to his city, or to the ever-dependable Pat Robertson the next time he said God would rain misery and worse on people whose views the reverend also happened to scorn.

The "chocolate" quote should have been in the first day's story, as reported by AP. Period
.
The BBC did at least keep the word "chocolate", but there’s no denying it changed the thrust of the story to highlight the Mayor’s anti-war message at the expense of his arguably anti-white one. Like the people of Kentucky, the licence payers of Britain are entitled to ask how the BBC would’ve dealt with the story had it been a white guy shooting his mouth off.

"English farmers, the poor relations"

From icWales:
FARMERS on the English side of the border still have no idea when they will receive any of their first Single Farm Payment.

Welsh farmers received 80% of their money before Christmas, and 62% of Scottish farmers and 75% of those in Northern Ireland banked their first payments last month.

But a report yesterday by an all-party committee of MPs said Government officials at Defra failed to plan for the new system in England.

As a result, taxpayers face extra costs and farmers find themselves the poor relations among the British farming community.

Christian-Muslim Forum

The news that the Archbishop of Canterbury is to launch a Christian-Muslim Forum had the researchers at BBC Radio Five Live skimming through their special Muslim Rolodex to find an expert. Today it was the turn of Dr Abdul Wahid, executive committee member of the widely-banned anti-Semitic party Hizb-uh-Tahrir. He expressed his hopes that the forum would help promote the true face of Islam and its long history of tolerance. (Interview here. Listen Again, Tuesday, 1:35:35 in)

When he’s not representing the cuddly side of the caliphate, the tolerant Mr Wahid likes nothing better than a nice a day out with his friends. Intimidating voters.
Iraqis have clashed with demonstrators against the election outside a polling station in Manchester...
The demonstrators were from Hizb-ut-Tahrir - an Islamic group which is against the elections in Iraq.
David Kahrmann, from the Iraq Election Team, said the protesters "were not even Iraqis".
"The Iraqi community here were saying, 'Why are these people who are not even from Iraq protesting against these elections?'," he said.
Dr Abdul Wahid, of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, said his demonstrators had begun walking away from the scene after election organisers said they were worried their presence could prove trouble
.
When Hizb-ut-Tahrir was criticised for its website’s anti-Semitism, certain passages were removed (from its English language section, at least). Dr Wahid explained: "…some who do challenge our political views often resort to partial understandings of individual texts that are detached from context." Remember, the following is OK if you don’t take it out of context:

The Jews are a people of slander. They are a treacherous people who violate oaths and covenants. They lie and change words from their right places. They take the rights of people unjustly, and kill the Prophets and the innocent. They are the most severe in their hatred for those who believe. Allah has forbidden us from allying ourselves with them. (From a pamphlet called "And Kill Them Wherever You Find Them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out".)

In origin, no one likes the Jews except the Jews. Even they themselves rarely like each other. He (swt) said: "You would think they were united, but their hearts are divided" [TMQ 59:14] The American people do not like the Jews nor do the Europeans, because the Jews by their very nature do not like anyone else. Rather they look at other people as wild animals which have to be tamed to serve them. So, how can we imagine it being possible for any Arab or Muslim to like the Jews whose character is such? ... Know that the Jews and their usurping state in Palestine will, by the Help and Mercy of Allah (swt), be destroyed "until the stones and trees will say: O Muslim, O Slave of Allah. Here is a Jew behind me so come and kill him." (From an article titled "The Muslim Ummah will never submit to the Jews". Reference Wikipedia)
Muslim representation on the Christian-Muslim Forum, which is partly funded by the Home Office, is headed by Dr Ataullah Siddiqui of the Islamic Foundation in Leicester. This organisation was founded by Khurshid Ahmad, a senior figure in Jamaat-i-Islami, the Pakistani party committed to the establishment of an Islamic state ruled by sharia law. The Islamic Foundation publishes the works of Jamaat’s founder Maulana Maududi, claiming that they "are books of merit to British Muslims." Maudidi saw non-believers as "barbarians", despised the West, and called for universal Islamic revolution. (Reference - The Observer)

No wonder Dr Wahid is optimistic about the prospects for the Archbishop's new forum.

(Update - here's more on Maududi/Mawdudi. Worth reading. Hat tip taol.)

Monday, January 23, 2006

7 x 7 Meme

I've been tagged by Gavin Corder. I have to do loads of stuff. Read all about it at his place.

Seven Things To Do Before I Die

1. Skip the rest of Seven Things To Do Before I Die.

Seven Things I Cannot Do

1. The rest of this.


There. Job done.

Blair's Monthly Press Conference

Blair today: “Is the role of government to help you put power in your hands to do what you want, or is the role of government to tell you what you want?”
Last week: ID cards 'should be compulsory'.

Blair today: “I know what I want for my own children and that is what I expect other parents to want. Our job should be to help them get it and not to stand in their way and say ‘We know better than you what’s good for your child.’ That’s not the way to do it.”
Two weeks ago: "Tony Blair is to launch a new academy to teach parenting skills."

Du bist Deutschland

The intriguing appearance of the above phrase at the top of the Technorati rankings inspired me to do a little searching. It relates to a German public service media campaign which was parodied by bloggers when it came out last year, not least because the slogan may have been used by the Nazis in the 1930s. Now Jean-Remy von Matt, the head of one of the ad agencies involved, has responded by calling blogs "Klowände des Internets" ("the toilet walls of the internet") and wants to know "what on earth gives every computer owner the right to exude their opinion, unasked for?" (Sums up the EU elite’s attitude towards the plebs rather well, doesn’t it?) German bloggers have now recognised how silly they've been and apologised to Herr von Matt. Nah, only kidding - they've done the one thing you'd expect and let rip with a new round of spoofs, often themed around toilet walls. Here are a couple of examples from a flickr group:



Who says the Germans don’t have a sense of humour?

More on this here and here.

Shameless

Coming soon to a telephone booth near you...

This Could Mean War...

The Swedes want the EU to put more tax on beer. That's fighting talk. EU Serf has the story.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Lib Dem Leadership

When nominations for the Lid Dem leadership contest opened on January 9th, I took the precaution of sending the following email to the party’s HQ:



If any more drop out of the race, I might reconsider (nominations don't close until January 25th). It's all heavy drinking and sordid sex - I can do that.

The Witanagemot Club

I’ve joined the ranks of the Witanagemot Club. Check out the links (on the right, down a bit) to read other bloggers aggrieved by the UK's current constitutional settlement.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Braindead Broadcasting Corporation

I usually try to avoid anything presented by cheery chubby Eamonn Holmes as his overbearing chumminess brings out the worst in me. Whenever I see him on telly I’m inclined to repeat Steve Martin’s outburst from Planes Trains and Automobiles: "You can start by wiping that fucking dumb-ass smile off your rosy fucking cheeks!"

However, this morning I wanted to hear the traffic reports so tuned in to his radio show on Five Live. I won’t repeat that mistake. I’d rather take my chances on the M25 in rush hour when there’s black ice, heavy fog and a high probability of meteor showers than listen to that bollocks again. When I first turned on, he and failed bookie John McCririck were in the middle of a pitifully unfunny nudge-nudge exchange about Rula Lenska’s pussy which was almost as excruciating as Galloway pretending to be a cat; I was half expecting John Inman to pop up and announce his availability.

What really wound me up though was the interview with Derek Acorah (or That Cunt Derek Fucking Acorah as he is better known). For the uninitiated, Acorah is a "psychic" who hunts for ghosts on pisspoor Living TV. In true arse-licking style Holmes introduced him as "the country’s leading medium" and said he was "a big fan" (not much chance of being a little fan, you fat fuck). Apparently Acorah used to play in the Liverpool reserves when Bill Shankly was manager, which led Holmes to ask whether he’d contacted any dead footballers. (Remember - this brain-dead nonsense was all on the BBC, paid for by us!) Needless to say, Acorah had communicated with Shankly himself and related a cock and bull story [one for the search engines to pick up on there, especially if I add "Steve Coogan"] about the time he contacted him at Anfield.

There then followed a discussion on Acorah’s spirit guide Sam (we’ve all got one, apparently - although I don’t think they’re all called Sam. That would be silly, wouldn’t it?) Just for good measure Holmes threw in mention of a "very very interesting" film he’d seen about contacting the other side called White Noise, and then we learned that Acorah has a cameo in a forthcoming Doctor Who episode. A time-travelling police phone-box I can handle, but that fake fucking Scouse bollock getting licence-payers' money is more than I can stand.

Fucking fuck the fucking BBC.

Compulsory ID Cards

The Edinburgh-born un-elected Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs has said that ID cards should be compulsory. Members of the Scottish Parliament have already voted against such a measure and have promised to do so again. Will ID cards be imposed on the English with the votes of Scottish MPs?

Update. More on this at Chicken Yoghurt and Europhobia .

More Brown Backlash

In today's Telegraph Vicki Woods asks "Why don't they want me to be English?"

I bet Gordon Brown wishes he never made that speech last week.

"It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake." Chaucer.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Icon of England!

My nomination for Icons of England has been accepted!

I'm quite impressed they've quoted me: “It's the traditional English response to flummery like the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Icons of England.”


Get along and vote, please.

Education, education, education

This is what happens when a Scottish Chancellor of the Exchequer, backed by the votes of Scottish MPs, gets his hands on English money.The Scotsman reports that “state education spending in Scotland is now £1,000 per pupil higher than it is south of the Border” (hat tip An Englishman’s Castle).

And those cosseted Scottish kids who then go on to study at a Scottish university have their fees paid for by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland. English students pay for the privilege of studying in their own country (£3,000 per year from September 2006), although the Chancellor has generously suggested they could do community service to get those fees down.

Come on England, wake the fuck up!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Raj C. Nesbitt

I was just looking over my last blog entry and noticed that it’s actually Glaswegians who dominate English politics. How the fuck did we let this happen?

The Scottish Raj

Of the 21 Ministers and Law Officers in the Scottish Parliament only Robert Brown, the Scottish Lib Dem MSP for Glasgow was not born in Scotland (Newcastle, if you're interested). He holds the lofty position of Deputy Minister for Education and Young People.

Compare that with the people who run England:

Tony Blair Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. MP for Sedgefield. Born Edinburgh.

Gordon Brown Chancellor of the Exchequer, HM Treasury. MP for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath. Born Glasgow.
Des Browne Chief Secretary, HM Treasury. MP for Kilmarnock & Loudoun. Born Kilwinning.
Frank Roy Assistant Whip, HM Treasury. MP for Motherwell & Wishaw. Born Motherwell.

Lord Falconer Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor. Not elected. Born Edinburgh.
Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs. MP for Lewisham East. Born Glasgow.

John Reid Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence. MP for Airdrie & Shotts. Born Bellshill.
Adam Ingram Minister of State (Armed Forces), Ministry of Defence. MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow. Born Glasgow.
Jim Sheridan PPS (Team PPS), Ministry of Defence. MP for Paisley & Renfrewshire North. Born Glasgow.

Douglas Alexander Minister for Europe, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South. Born Glasgow.
John Robertson PPS (Dr Kim Howells, Minister of State), Foreign & Commonwealth Office. MP for Glasgow North West. Born Glasgow.

Alistair Darling Secretary of State Department for Transport (and Secretary of State, Scotland Office). MP for Edinburgh South West. Born London.
Russell Brown PPS (Rt Hon Alistair Darling Department for Transport and Scotland Office). MP for Dumfries & Galloway. Born Annan.
Ann Coffey PPS (Rt Hon Alistair Darling, Department for Transport and Scotland Office). MP for Stockport. Born Inverness.

Barry Gardiner Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry. MP for Brent North. Born Glasgow.
Ian Stewart PPS (Rt Hon Alan Johnson, Secretary of State), Department of Trade and Industry Labour. MP for Eccles. Born Blantyre.
Shona McIsaac PPS (Rt Hon Alun Michael, Minister of State), Department of Trade and Industry. MP for Cleethorpes. Born Dunfermline.

Yvette Cooper Minister of State (Housing and Planning), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. MP for Pontefract & Castleford. Born Inverness.
Jim Fitzpatrick Parliamentary Under-Secretary (London), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. MP for Poplar & Canning Town. Born Glasgow.

Jim Cunningham PPS (Mr Mike O'Brien, Solicitor General), Law Officers' Department. MP for Coventry South. Born Coatbridge.

Eric Joyce PPS (Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE, Minister of State), Department for Work and Pensions. MP for Falkirk. Born Perth.
Anne McGuire Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Disabled People), Department for Work and Pensions. MP for Stirling. Born Glasgow.

Fiona Mactaggart Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office. MP for Slough. Born Glasgow.

Ian McCartney Minister without Portfolio, Cabinet Office. MP for Makerfield. Born Lennoxtown.
Jim Murphy Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office. MP for Renfrewshire East. Born Glasgow.

Thomas McAvoy Government Whip & Comptroller HM Household. MP for Rutherglen & Hamilton West. Born Glasgow.

Nigel Griffiths Deputy Leader of the House of Commons. MP for Edinburgh South. Born Glasgow.

Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons. MP for Glasgow North East. Born Glasgow.

There’s another Cabinet reshuffle on the way. Will Scottish rule over England be further strengthened?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Constitution Unit

Gareth over at the CEP fisks the latest propaganda from the “independent” Constitution Unit.

Russell and Lodge take note - the English are not happy being treated as second-class citizens.

Gordon Brown Google Bomb

Launched Sunday - landed already.



Little Man in a Toque has spotted a great letter in the Telegraph.

Monday, January 16, 2006

ID Cards


Update. I’ve just been watching some of the ID cards debate currently underway in the Lords. Most of their Lordships are exasperated by the lack of information - the Government’s proposals are STILL too vague to scrutinise properly. It’s almost as if they’ve got something to hide!

One of the few supporters of the cards has been Lord Campbell-Savours. Here’s a little background on him from his local newspaper:

Possibly his greatest achievement was bringing the British Cattle Movement Service to Workington in 1992, creating hundreds of jobs. He had long lobbied for a system of tracking cattle, based on the model used in Holland.

Now every new-born calf in the UK is issued with a cheque book-style passport that stays with it for life, logging all of its movements
.”

No comment.

Jelly-bellied Flag-flapper Jr

The Jelly-bellied Flag-flapper is going to be a father again.

Names for the kid? Following his hypocritical appeal for a new sense of Britishness he’ll probably go for something like Jack after the Union flag, or maybe Harmony or Unity.

Seeing the reaction he's stirred up, perhaps he should consider Barney?

What a set of James Blunts!

From today's Independent:
The powers behind James Blunt's ubiquitous ditty, "You're Beautiful", have moved to stop a small web company from running a parody of the song at www.eclectech.co.uk.
The spoof, called “You're Gullible”, puts my half-arsed effort to shame. I hope it’s back up soon. The lyrics and flash animation (complete with tomato throwing) are still available.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I'm heading for...

... the Britblog Roundup.

That Was The Week That Was

Saturday, January 14, 2006

There's a surprise!

On Thursday I predicted that the assistant chief constable of West Yorkshire Jawaid Akhtar, who has been attending the Hajj as an observer, would not criticise the Saudis over the latest carnage:
I bet we won’t hear a bad word said when he returns from his little jaunt.
BBC news yesterday:
Jawaid Aktar (sic), the assistant chief constable of West Yorkshire police in the UK who has just returned from Saudi Arabia, said the authorities were well prepared for the Hajj.

"The authorities were very well organised given the scale of the event," he told BBC Radio Leeds.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

There’s a Fabian Society conference on Britishness tomorrow and The Guardian has initial thoughts from some of the speakers. Inevitably, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will be there; she thinks post-apartheid South Africa is a model for Britain to follow. It’s an interesting choice in light of comments she made to Anthony Browne on the Today programme (RAM) last week. His contention that political correctness is behind the failure to deal with the problem of HIV-infected African immigrants was met with the following assertion by YAB:

Is it true that the large majority of child molesters and abductors are white men and why aren’t we talking about that? Is there a conspiracy of silence?”
The country with the highest incidence of rape, child rape and baby rape in the world is South Africa. An editorial in the South African Mercury addressed the issue last month:
Unfortunately, many of our children are literally under assault. Social workers and school principals, among others, are extremely concerned that child abuse is on the increase in a number of areas. Unfortunately holiday periods often see an increase in abuse, owing to factors like excessive drinking and social pressures. This abuse includes one of the most heinous forms of crimes committed against children: the rape of girls not yet in their teens

The problem is compounded by the inclination of some mothers to turn a blind eye to the sexual abuse of their daughters, which, of course, amounts to condonation of the offence, an attitude that encourages perpetrators to repeat their dastardly acts. Poverty, and the social dislocation that it generates, can be a primary underlying cause: the perpetrator is often the mother's lover and the malfunctioning family's main provider of food.

Child abuse is an ugly stain on post-apartheid South Africa
.
Witchdoctors have helped spread the belief that sex with virgins cures Aids. Deference to cultural sensitivities has resulted in a failed HIV policy. Now what was Anthony Browne’s point again, Yasmin?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Celebrity Big Brother

George Galloway - on all fours, pretending to be a cat, purring and lapping imaginary milk from Rula Lenska’s hands?

Did I really just...

I can’t quite...

What was...

Where...

Who...

Huh?

Update.The Daily Ablution has video.

Hajj Stampede

Where’s the outrage against the Saudi authorities? If a pilgrimage in America saw hundreds of dead bodies piled up year after year the world's media would howl as one against the criminal incompetence of the government. That said, if such a thing were to ever happen in America you can be pretty damn sure it would only ever happen once. Why are the oil-rich Saudis given such an easy ride over this annual bloodbath?

Update. From Arab News a couple of weeks ago (hat tip Dhimmi Watch):
“The British Embassy announced here on Tuesday that Jawaid Akhtar, an assistant chief constable with West Yorkshire Police (WYP), has been invited to Kingdom by the Saudi Ministry of Interior.
“He wants to see first hand how the Saudi police manage over two million pilgrims coming from around the world for the annual pilgrimage to Makkah,” an embassy official said.
Speaking to Arab News from London, Akhtar said: “The Saudi authorities have policed this massive annual undertaking with great success.
No they haven’t.

I’d be seriously worried about attending the next Leeds-Bradford football match if Mr Akhtar plans to implement Saudi police crowd controls. However, I doubt that’s why he really went. He was there on a PR mission, and I bet we won't hear a bad word said when he returns from his little jaunt.

Abu Hamza

How many have taken up his call?

Payback Time

BBC: "Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has apologised after admitting council tax bills for one of his official homes were paid with taxpayers' money."

He said:
Let me make this clear as mustard for all you journalisers as ‘appen it shouldn’t be mistook in those papers what you write it all up in. It was an inadvertable miscontention which any one of we could make at any time of the day or night, or thereafter under set circumstances and only under official guidelines laid down as of which I now know. I contend to reimpurse the entotal amount, and that’s all I’m saying on the matter of fact. It’s all press prattle and I won’t be badly drawn about it any further.”
(Probably)

The Gathering Storm

Jack Straw, quoted in The Scotsman:
"When it became clear two and a half years ago that Iran was in breach of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the board of governors (of the International Atomic Energy Agency) could have referred Iran immediately to the Security Council. Some say it should have done. We suspended that action in return for Iran suspending its uranium enrichment activities. Iran has now broken a key part of that deal."
Two-and-a-half years down the line and what are the foreign ministers of Europe’s three most powerful nations doing about it? Well, they’ve had a meeting where they've made plans to call for another meeting at which a further meeting may or may not be agreed upon.

So, that’s OK then.

Every Little Helps

This letter in today’s Telegraph amused me:
Sir - Regarding noise pollution at Tesco (letter, January 11), our local Amersham store had customer comment cards.

I complained regularly about the dreadful music and was so successful that it withdrew the cards.

Dave Belcher, Chesham, Bucks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Blunt Brit Bonanza

In recognition of James Blunt’s five Brit nominations, here’s the Drinking From Home remix of “Goodbye My Lover” (mp3, 400kb, 25 secs).

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Celebrity Big Tosser

Here's an instructive comment left by a Galloway supporter on the Guardian’s media blog today:
Shame on Vikram Dodd's saturday article where he pretended to be a constituent having trouble contacting respect. Bearing in mind this papers anti Galloway, I decided to test the validity of Dodd's article. I found a mobile number on the respect website and within 4 rings it was answered by the party secretary! Further to this Galloway has held a Friday surgery every Friday (apart from Eid on the 24th Oct) for the last 6 months.
Well done DFH readers - you definitely got the right man.

Icons

Perry at Samizdata has a nomination for the “Icons of England” flummery. Indeed.

Spot the Difference



This is from the BBC:
Mr Blair set up a "respect" task force last year and the plans are the first real fruits of its work.

Under them, police officers and council officials would have to hold "face the people" sessions.

And where local people were not satisfied, they could ask new local scrutiny committees to investigate through "community calls to action".

The committees would have to report within a deadline. The police and other agencies would have a duty to respond to the committees' findings.

Among other measures in the plan are... A "national parenting academy", to train social workers, clinical psychologists, community safety officers and youth justice workers about advising parents

This is from country-data.com, on North Korea:
Socialist law-abiding life guidance committees were established in 1977 in the Central People's Committee and in the people's committees at the provincial-, city-, and county-levels. These ad hoc committees meet once a month and are chaired by the president of the people's committee. The committees are a control measure for ensuring respect for public authority and conformity to the dictates of socialist society.
(Also - “North Korean law limits incarceration during investigation and interrogation to a period not to exceed two months.” And Blair wanted 90 days.)

An Englishman’s Castle has a picture of one of the first people's committees in action. Heh.

Update - Guido notes other influences.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Anti-dhimmitude

The Reader’s Digest European of the Year is Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Well deserved. And well done Reader’s Digest.

(via drunkenblogging, pub philosopher. There's a theme here.)

'West Lothian Question' Report

A report into the 'West Lothian question' by the Constitution Unit (“the UK's foremost independent research body on constitutional change”) has concluded that the English “will have to learn to live with this constitutional anomaly”. The report says that the Labour government will rely increasingly on the votes of Scottish MPs to pass English legislation but believes that English votes on English laws would be "fundamentally unworkable".

On its website the Constitution Unit stresses its “independent and non-partisan” nature. This is questionable to say the least. The Unit is part-funded by government departments and neither of the report’s authors could reasonably be described as non-partisan.

Before joining the Unit Meg Russellhad been a researcher at South Bank University, a parliamentary researcher, and National Women's Officer of the Labour Party. From July 2001 - March 2003 Meg went to work full time for Robin Cook.

Guy Lodge’s Labour credentials are also beyond reproach - Fabian Society, IPPR, former researcher for Labour MPs Tony Wright and Brian White.

No bias there then, eh?

More on this at the CEP.

(Updated - got one of the author's names wrong in the original. Same conclusion though.)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

4 Da Kidz

I see that the Respect Party is on overtime trying to convince us that George’s Big Brother escapade is all for the benefit of the young generation. There are even pictures of youngsters working hard for the cause.




But what’s really on that copier?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Gorgeous, George



(Thanks to The Daily Ablution for the original uncaptioned pic)

Voter Priorities, Bethnal Green and Bow

Missing 85% of votes in the House of Commons to gallivant around the world lauding terrorists and dictators is fine, but for Allah’s sake don’t be seen associating with women on television!
As he entered the area's main mosque on Whitechapel Road for Friday prayers, Naeem Parvez warned that Mr Galloway's presence in the house, where past inmates have got very intimate with each other, might offend morally conservative voters: "Many won't like it. It's [sexually] mixed, women are there."

Friday, January 06, 2006

MP AWOL

Drinking From Home’s globetrotting Dhimmi of the Year is now a contestant in Celebrity Big Brother.

Hey George, look at this you twat:

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Remember, remember the fifth of November?

The Yorkshire Evening Press has a great report on York’s 400th anniversary celebrations of the Gunpowder Plot last year. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (WTF?) show that attempts by local emergency services to prepare for the event were thwarted by council leaders who wanted to keep the location of the main fireworks display (Guy Fawkes’ old school) a secret. What could go wrong?
THOUSANDS gathered in front of York Minster late in the afternoon of November 5, watching the illuminated West Front as they waited patiently for fireworks to mark the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot.

But the crowd's anticipation turned to disappointment when the first mortars and rockets exploded ...out of sight behind the Dean Court Hotel.

People then surged in the dark down Duncombe Place and High Petergate in the hope of getting a view. Huge crowds gathered on Lendal Bridge, bringing traffic to a halt. A taxi ran over a man's foot in the chaos.

Crowds who had gathered near Clifford's Tower surged down to the riverside in Tower Gardens, with one man falling in the river - although he fortunately managed to climb safely back on to the bank.

City of York Council sought initially to claim the event had been a success, but the problems generated one of the Evening Press's biggest-ever postbags, as scores of readers wrote in to castigate the "fiasco."

People complained bitterly about the disappointment they and their children had suffered and about the health and safety risks they were exposed to, and criticised the council's organisational abilities.

Later, the council's leisure boss Charlie Croft admitted to the Evening Press he had always known that people in front of the Minster would be unable to see the fireworks.
Apparently the city council is still refusing to release information relating to a far from successful drinks event at a nearby brewery.

Suicide Bomber - The Movie

Mahesh Bhatt, the Bollywood director who is making a film about the London suicide bombers, was interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live today:
“I think it’s high time we stopped demonising the faith of 1.2 billion people. Islam as I understand it is a religion of peace and nowhere does it say that shedding blood is a form of worship, and I think this condescending, patronising attitude toward Islam, and towards the people who practise that faith by the world community is unacceptable to me.”
Yeah, whatever.

Bhatt said the film will be aimed at South Asia's "common man". Last year he gave an admirably honest insight into his film-making motives:
“However, at this stage in my life, I am only concerned about popular success. The box-office verdict is the only verdict I am seeking. I am not looking for critical acclaim. I don't want to mark reviews of my film and paste them in scrapbooks for my grandchildren to see. I am not looking for praise. I am looking for money, be it by fair or by foul means... Controversy brings things into focus and in a way proves to be profitable.”
Far be it from me to prejudge the film, but I don't think that relatives of the dead victims should get their hopes up.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More BBC "Spot the Difference" fun!

From the BBC:
Police in the southern Indian city of Bangalore say they have arrested a man in connection with last week's gun attack at a top science institute.
Police believe the suspect helped the gunman who fired at delegates, killing a professor and wounding four others.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told India's annual Science Congress in the city of Hyderabad that the man killed was "a soldier of knowledge".
He said the attack was the work of "reprehensible and cowardly enemies".

'Major breakthrough'

Police say they detained the suspect, Abdul Rehman, on 1 January in his home town of Nalgonda in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh, about 700km (435 miles) from Bangalore.
He appeared in court on Tuesday and was remanded in custody for 14 days.
Police say they are not yet sure what role the 35-year-old played in the attack, but expect the arrest to lead to "a major breakthrough".
"It is too early to say whether he was the mastermind or just an abettor," police commissioner Ajai Kumar Singh told the BBC.
He said police had information that he was a leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group in southern India.
Eight paragraphs in. Banned militant group. No further mention.

Now look at the opening three paragraphs from Voice of America:
Indian police have arrested a suspected Muslim militant in connection with a shooting last week during an international conference in the city of Bangalore. Two more arrests have been made in a neighboring state. Southern Indian cities have been on high alert in the wake of the Bangalore attack.
Bangalore police announced the arrest of Abdul Rahman on Tuesday. It was six days after a man opened automatic fire at a major science institute in Bangalore, India's leading technology center, killing a former professor and wounding four others.
The 35-year-old Mr. Rahman was detained in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday. Police say he is a key operative in southern India of the Laskhar-e-Taiba, a frontline Pakistan-based Islamic group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir. The group is also known by the initials LET.
Which is the more informative report, and which is withholding certain facts?

Later in the BBC article -
Opening the 93rd Indian Science Congress in Hyderabad, Prime Minister Singh condemned the attack in which Prof Puri died.
"Dr Puri was gunned down in the greatest temple of Indian science by the most reprehensible and cowardly enemies of our people," he told delegates.
He said "terrorists" were targeting India's research institutes because of the country's growing scientific and technical success.
Even when paraphrasing the PM’s speech the reporter insists on putting quotes around one particular word, lest we forget that one person’s cold-blooded murderer of a retired professor is another person’s freedom fighter.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More BBC stuff

Last Thursday Caroline Hawley, Orla Guerin’s replacement in Jerusalem, was on Radio Five Live’s Simon Mayo show to talk about her time as the BBC’s Iraq correspondent.

She started off with a bit of background -
Caroline Hawley: Basically we had this accommodation block where we stayed across the road from the office.

Phil Williams (in for Simon Mayo): And what other western journalists were with you? Who else was in the block?

Caroline Hawley: In our area we had Reuters, and the New York Times was round the corner.
Why am I not surprised to hear about this cosy little coalition of the whinging? And why does the term groupthink spring to mind?

More highlights -
Caroline Hawley: You know the Americans have embarked on - I don’t know how to describe it - such an erm, uh, such a strange adventure there that you just wonder how it’s all going to turn out. And I have to say it’s hard to be that optimistic.
Especially if you refuse to try.
Phil Williams: Dr Hemi Bhatt sent an email for you from Southampton and says, “I just want to say that Caroline is a credit to the BBC and journalism. Her reports through this sorry saga which is the Iraq debacle have been brilliantly informative and have given us all an insight into what happens when a superpower barges into an Arab country. Thank you Caroline.”

Caroline Hawley: That’s very nice of him.
If you oppose the war, Hawley is “brilliantly informative”.
Phone caller Talib (?): Have you ever come under pressure from intelligence agencies, say the Americans, prior to the war not to so much find out the truth about things but to, if you like, find stories with angles in order to justify things? In other words, if you like, if I’m kinda speaking in main terms, to help fabricate their stories if you like.

Phil Williams: Have you ever been encouraged to put a bit of spin on things I think is what Talib is saying.

Talib: Thank you very much, yes.

Caroline Hawley
: (Laughs) Yes. I think we were all encouraged to put spin on things. I mean I remember just after the war the coalition was incredibly critical of our reporting and I was accused of being able to smell sewage in a bed of roses. Well we all know that Iraq was not a bed of roses and basically if you weren’t in the palaces, Saddam’s palaces, that the coalition was based in you know you could smell the sewage. But the American military is frequently putting out statements that they want us to report, to report on projects that they’re doing, kind of schools that they’re doing, that they’re rebuilding and that kind of thing, and certainly I think - particularly just after the war there was a big effort, and I think there still is, to try to get journalists to say that things are going well there...

Phil Williams (reading an email from John in Horsham): “Can you ask why is it the BBC and other UK media always look at the negative of the Iraq war whilst Fox News at least looks at some of the positives?”

Caroline Hawley: I mean frankly there are not that many positives…
Not even the elections? Not even “the schools that they’re doing, that they’re rebuilding” that you’ve only just mentioned, Caroline? Oh I was forgetting, those things are tainted by American hands aren’t they? Wouldn’t do to report on “that kind of thing”.
Caroline Hawley: …I would say that the negatives for most Iraqis outweigh the positives. I mean you can, of course - there are things now you can do, there are bigger salaries now for civil servants, you can speak openly without fear, but for many Iraqis all of that is overshadowed by the fear of the violence, the fear for their own lives.
Ironic that an employee of the state-funded BBC should put ‘bigger salaries for civil servants’ before ‘speak openly without fear'. I’m not denying that life can be frightening for Iraqis, nor that Hawley herself is brave for doing what she does. However, I think it’s pretty clear what her prejudices are. Look out Israel.

Spot the Difference

Compare the two BBC reports.

Europe 'behind on Kyoto pledges'
The UK is almost alone in Europe in honouring Kyoto pledges to cut greenhouse gases, a think-tank claims.
Ten of 15 European Union signatories will miss the targets without urgent action, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found.

PC thinking 'is harming society'
Britain's institutions are infected with political correctness which is damaging society, according to a book published by a right wing think-tank.
Civitas says political correctness has allowed the creation of "Muslim ghettos" which produce suicide bombers.