Galloway opposes the very existence of Israel

October 16, 2014 at 11:30 am (anti-semitism, Asshole, Champagne Charlie, Galloway, islamism, israel, Middle East, MPs, national liberation, palestine, reactionay "anti-imperialism")

Many people were surprised to note that amongst those MPs who didn’t support the motion to recognise Palestine, was George Galloway. I have not been able to ascertain whether Galloway turned up to abstain, or whether (much more likely for such a poltroon) he simply didn’t turn up at all.

Here, Galloway explains his position, which boils down to the fact that his hatred of Israel takes precedence over his (supposed) support for Palestinian national rights. All this filthy charlatan’s past claims to support two states and a democratic solution is now exposed as so much bluster:

I have been urged by a number of my constituents to support a motion being debated and voted on in parliament on Monday “that this House believes that the Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel”.

As many probably know the Palestinian cause has been central to my political activity for the last 40 years. I appreciate the good intentions many have in urging me to support this motion.

However, unfortunately I cannot support this motion as it accepts recognition of the state of Israel, does not define borders of either state or address the central question of the right of return of the millions of Palestinians who have been forced to live outside Palestine.

Israel was a state born in 1948 out of the blood of the Palestinians who were hounded from their land. Since then it has grabbed ever more land from the Palestinian people. In the last five years it has twice launched murderous assaults on the Palestinian people of Gaza, some 1.8 million people crammed into what is in effect a prison camp. In the wake of the most recent war on Gaza, Israel has announced its biggest land grab in the Occupied West Bank so far. Israel has defied UN resolution after UN resolution with impunity because of the continued backing of Western countries and, above all, the US.

I continue to support the only realistic solution, one democratic and secular state, called Israel-Palestine or Palestine-Israel. The proposed two-state solution is to all intents and purposes dead and is only used in order to provide Israel further breathing space to consolidate the illegal settlements and expand its land grab further.

For these reasons, I am afraid I cannot support this motion and will abstain on Monday.

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Matgamna on Benn

March 20, 2014 at 2:14 am (AWL, labour party, MPs, posted by JD, reformism, stalinism, USSR, workers)

Marchers supporting the Upper Clydeside Shipbuilders, Glasgow, 1971

Above: Benn marching with UCS stewards, Glasgow 1971

A number of readers were upset by the piece including an Open Letter from 2005, that we published on the morning following Tony Benn’s death. I, personally, thought the Open Letter made fair and important criticisms of Benn’s politics, and the opening remarks I wrote were suitably respectful towards this major figure on the British reformist-left. One of the authors of the Open Letter, Sean Matgamna, has now writtten an obituary of Benn. It makes many of the same points, and is generally very critical of Benn’s politics and political methodology. But, once again, I’d argue that the piece is fair and also gives credit where it’s due. Benn was a serious politician and deserves to be assessed seriously. We do not subscribe to the universal, and often hypocritical, adulation of Benn that has been prevailent since his death.

Matgamna worked with Benn and others to set up the Rank and File Mobilising Committee, which for a while united most of the Labour Party left, at the start of the 1980s:

The first thing that should be said and remembered about Tony Benn, who died on Friday 14 March, is that for over four decades he backed, defended, and championed workers in conflict with their bosses or with the “boss of bosses”, the government.

That put him decidedly in our camp. The political ideas which he too often linked with those bedrock working-class battles detract from the great merit of Tony Benn, but do not cancel it out or render it irrelevant.

Politically, Benn’s story was a strange one. An editorial in the Times neatly summed up the shape of Benn’s long career. His was “A Life Lived Backwards”. For the first half of his long life he belonged to the Establishment, socially and in his politics. To the dissenting old radical-Liberal and right-wing Labour part of the Establishment, but the Establishment nevertheless.

Both his parents had MPs for fathers. Four generations of Benns have been MPs. Benn’s son, Hilary, has been the third generation of cabinet-minister Benns. His father was Ramsey MacDonald’s Secretary of State for India in the 1929 government.

Benn went to one of the leading “public” schools and then to Oxford University, where he climbed up onto that milestone in the careers of so many Establishment politicians, the presidency of the Oxford Union debating society. He became a pilot in the hierarchical Royal Air Force, in which pilots came from the upper classes, and in 1950, at 25, a Labour MP in a safe seat. His wife, Caroline, was rich, as was Benn himself. This sincere champion of the working class was a millionaire. 

Benn became a minister in Harold Wilson’s Labour government in 1964-70 and was a minister again in the Wilson-Callaghan government of 1974-9.

Out of office after 1970, he turned left, at the age of 45. Publicly, he shifted during the great occupation and work-in at the Upper Clyde Shipyards (UCS) in 1971. The decision by Edward Heath’s Tory government to end subsidies to ailing industries meant shut-down for UCS.

In office Benn had subsidised UCS, so there was a logic and continuity in this. He marched alongside the Stalinist UCS leaders Jimmy Airlie and Jimmy Reid at giant working-class demonstrations in Glasgow. Read the rest of this entry »

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Peter Griffiths: racist Tory scum

December 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm (Asshole, Conseravative Party, elections, history, immigration, labour party, MPs, populism, posted by JD, Racism, Tory scum)

Today’s Times carries an obituary of Peter Griffiths, who died on November 20th, aged 85. I was astonished to learn that this vile creature lived until so recently, and though he lost his Smethwick seat in 1966, returned as an MP (for Portsmouth North) from 1979 until 1997. Presumably, he remained a Tory to the end. I reproduce the obituary for the benefit,  in particular, of readers unfamiliar with the 1964 Smethwick election and the events that followed:

Above: Peter Griffiths at the time of the Smethwick election

In a parliamentary row that galvanised Westminster in in the opening days of the return of Labour to office in 1964 after 13 years in opposition, the newly elected Conservative MP for Smethwick, Peter Griffiths was branded a “parliamentary leper” by the incoming Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. It happened in an astonishing series of exchanges that prefigured the violent language of the race debate conducted by Enoch Powell later in the decade.

Wilson was furious that his intended Foreign Secretary, the scholarly and liberal-minded Patrick Gordon Walker, had been defeated in his Smethwick constituency after a campaign in which Griffiths had shrewdly exploited local tensions over immigration and the housing shortage in the West Midlands.

Griffiths always denied ever using the electioneering slogan “If you want a n***** for a neighbour, Vote Labour”. It was pointed out that he had done nothing to repudiate, much less ban, placards carried by his supporters bearing the offensive electioneering slogan.

In Parliament, in some of the most extraordinary scenes ever witnessed during a Queen’s Speech debate, the Prime Minister upbraided the leader of the Opposition, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, for refusing to disown Griffiths. Castigating the new MP for having run an “utterly squalid” campaign, Wilson told the House: “If Sir Alec does not take what I am sure is the right course, Smethwick Conservatives will have the satisfaction of having sent a member who, until another election returns him to oblivion, will serve his time as a parliamentary leper.”

There was uproar. The Speaker, Sir Harry Hylton-Foster, was urged by the opposition benches to make the Prime Minister retract his remarks. Hylton-Foster declined to do so, although admitting that he deplored Wilson’s comments. Uproar continued for ten minutes and a score of Tory MPs had walked out of the chamber before order was restored.

In the event, Wilson was prescient. At the general election in 1966 Griffiths lost his Smethwick seat to the actor and Labour candidate Andrew Faulds. He did not return to Parliament until 1979, at Portsmouth North. He was never to be such a conspicuous figure in Parliament again.

[…]

Griffiths did not count himself among far Right Tories. Yet he supported Smethwick council, of which he had been a member since 1955, when it tried to buy up a row of houses to let exclusively to white families. The purchase was blocked by the Labour Housing Minister Richard Crossman.

After his defeat at Smethwick in 1966, Griffiths returned to teaching. He had been head-master of a primary school, Hall Green Road, West Bromwich, at the time of the election. In 1967 he became a lecturer in economics at Portsmouth College of Technology where he spent the next dozen years. In the meantime he had published A Question of Colour? (1966) in which he claimed “no colour prejudice”. The book blamed the spread of disease on immigrants and praised South Africa as a “model of democracy”.

Griffiths unsuccessfully contested Portsmouth North in the February 1974 election which returned a minority Labour administration to office.

In the general election of 1979 which propelled the Tories back to power under Margaret Thatcher, Griffiths captured the seat with a large majority. For the next 18 years he was an assiduous backbencher, making his opposition clear to his constituents and the government on such issues as defence cuts as they might affect Portsmouth Dockyard. In the general election of 1997 which brought Labour to power under Tony Blair he lost his seat.

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Palestinian journalists and freedom of expression

December 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm (anti-semitism, censorship, Civil liberties, Free Speech, Galloway, Guest post, Human rights, israel, media, Middle East, MPs, palestine)

Guest post by Pink Prosecco

DW Picture

Above: Lib Dem idiot David Ward

Early Day Motion 739 is a call for the freedom of movement of Palestinian journalists.  Its primary sponsor is Jeremy Corbyn, who once invited Raed Salah, a promoter of the blood libel, to Parliament, and it is being supported by many other usual suspects: George Galloway, who refused to debate with a student at Oxford once he realized he was Israeli, David Ward, who bemoaned the fact Jews hadn’t learned more of a lesson from the Holocaust and Bob Russell, who has drawn a false equivalence between the Holocaust and the suffering of the Palestinians.

However those of us who are inclined to defend Israel from disproportionate scrutiny and exaggerated, even racist, criticism will sometimes find ourselves on the same ‘side’ as people with views just as deplorable  – eg: Israel supporters who deny the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, and assert that they are a “made up people” with only themselves to blame.  So it doesn’t seem rational to dismiss this EDM just because supporting it will put one in some unwelcome company.  Here is the full text.

That this House notes that, on a daily basis, Israeli authorities restrict journalists’ movements and there are hundreds of military checkpoints that constrain or forbid journalists’ movements; further notes that despite the long standing campaigning by journalists and civil rights organisations, the Israeli authorities continue to reject identity cards, accreditation and press cards, including the International Federation of Journalists press card, when carried by Palestinian journalists; condemns the continuous attacks by Israeli soldiers on Palestinian news gatherers, in particular photographers and camera crews, the level of attacks has increased during the first half of 2013, in 2012 the attacks involved rubber coated steel bullets, tear grenades and stun grenades; and reaffirms that freedom of movement is a central tenet of independent professional journalism and, in restricting such a right, Israeli authorities are in breach of international covenants and the right to report.

There would seem to be two possible objections to the EDM. First, the claims may be exaggerated; secondly, even someone who is, or seems to be, a journalist may still pose a threat.  Here’s a link to a story about a clearcut example of this, a newsreader who dropped off a terrorist before going to work to report on the bombing: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/arts/television/27genz.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1386088156-piyAlCJHUvKKlpjcZCsThg

Yet security concerns don’t justify the apparently brutal treatment some Palestinian journalists have experienced, as documented here:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.538281

Trying to establish whether the EDM is reasonable or not, like most lines of enquiry relating to Israel/Palestine, has the same bewildering effect as looking at this ambiguous picture:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/Duck-Rabbit_illusion.jpg

Is the journalist featured in this story (link below), Mohamed Jamal Abu Khdeir, a victim of Israeli heavy handedness or a real security threat?

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/israel-detains-palestinian-journalist-210624578.html

While looking up recent news stories about Palestinian journalists I found an example of one unfortunate man, George Canawati, who had been beaten up for mere “slander and abuse” – making derogatory remarks about a police officer.  However in this case the violence was carried out, not by Israeli forces, but by the Palestinian Authority:

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Palestinian-Authority-police-arrested-Bethlehem-journalist-George-Canawati-331363

However, even though one might wryly note that some sections of the media won’t be so quick to report on this attack on press freedom as on Israel’s shortcomings, that doesn’t mean those shortcomings aren’t real. The monitoring organisation Reporters without Borders doesn’t have the kind of profile one would associate with reflexive Israel-bashing, yet it seems increasingly critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian journalists:

http://en.rsf.org/palestinian-territories-more-israeli-arrests-of-19-11-2011,41420.html

So, whether or not one goes along with every element of the EDM, it certainly seems to highlight a genuine cause for concern in a year which has seen Israel’s press freedom ranking fall sharply:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-drops-sharply-in-annual-press-freedom-ranking/

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The Blairite line on Falkirk

July 7, 2013 at 10:42 pm (Jim D, labour party, middle class, MPs, reformism, Tony Blair, unions, Unite the union, workers)

Enemy Intelligence

Just so we know what we’re up against…

Below is what the Blairite scum are thinking, including their plan to help the Tories’ campaign to make Labour unelectable unless the union link is broken:

Tony Blair and Tess Jowell together. Jowell today defended her former boss. Picture: Getty

Above: Blair and acolyte Tessa Jowell

By Philip Collins (The Times, July 5):

Who is the next person in the following sequence and why does it matter? Thomas Johnston, Alfred Balfour, William Baxter, Dennis Canavan, Eric Joyce. It matters because the identity of the nest Labour MP for what is now the constituency of Falkirk has become a grave test of Ed Miliband’s leadership.

Labour’s lead has drifted down in recent weeks. The public is resilient on the reality of austerity. The economy is slumbering back to growth and George Osborne, the Michael Fish of economic forecasting, remains ahead of Ed Balls as a credible chancellor. Then, at PMQ’s [last] week, David Cameron battered Mr Miliband about the Unite union’s attempt to fix the selection [for] the new MP for Falkirk.

There are two huge obstacles in the way of Mr Miliband becoming Prime Minister and they are dramatized together in the obscure shenanigans in Falkirk. The first is that he has not persuaded the electorate that he cuts it as a leader. The second is that he is not trusted with the public finances or thought to understand the need for fiscal discipline. If the evil ghosts of Tory central office were themselves drafting the script to show Labour at its worst they could do no better than to portray Mr Miliband [as] losing control of his party to a public sector union that demands there be no more cuts.

It is all very well for Mr Miliband to say, as he often has, that he is not the sort of leader who wishes to pick a fight with his party. He seems, though, not to have realised that his party, or at least that section of it that gave him his victory over his brother, is picking a fight with him. This is not an arcane internal dispute. It is a toxic story for Labour and Mr Miliband has to stamp on it at once. Focus groups now talk about the Labour Party as if new Labour were a mirage. The image they offer is the pre-Blair default setting of an assembly of losers.

The resignation … of Tom Watson MP, from the Shadow Cabinet was a small gift to the good people.. It was dispiriting that, according to Mr Watson, Mr Miliband at first refused to accept his resignation. Mr Watson should never have been close to the Shadow Cabinet in the first place. he is too divisive a figure, too closely associated with Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, with whom he once shared a flat. Whenever a dog barked in the night of Labour politics, one thought always occurred: Mr Watson, I presume.

The fake jocularity of Mr Watson’s resignation letter (the written equivalent of a Mickey Mouse tie) was an attempt to pretend he wants to spend more time at music festivals but the reference to Falkirk suggests that Mr Watson finally sensed that the walls were coming in on activities known about but [that] few have been prepared to voice. However, the control that Unite exercises over parliamentary selections will not cease just because Mr Watson no longer has to spend his Tuesday morning in Shadow Cabinet listening to Stephen Twigg not quite being in favour of free schools.

The leak of the Unite stategy document from January 2012 has given the game away.  Unite’s plan is to counter-attack its own party, to make it more class-bound, more expressly left-wing. It is a strategy of the most monumental electoral stupidity, as if the only thing that forced 37 per cent of the nation to vote Tory in 2010 was the absence of a wildly left-wing alternative. The plan will proceed, as in Falkirk, by fixing the selections for Unite candidates.

The specious Unite defence of its conduct is that it wishes to see more working-class people in Parliament. In truth, Unite operates an ideological test as well as a class identity test. I doubt today’s equivalent of Ernest Bevin would pass the ideological examination. There would be no place for Alun Milburn or Alan Johnson, working class men who don’tthink in the straight line required.

The truth is that those who would wield power without intelligence do not want free-thinking original working-class people, of whom I am sure there are plenty who do need to be brought through the system. They want people who will understand that trade union sponsorship comes at the price of complete loyalty. Above even the desire to defend every perk and privilege of the public sector or to install an aimless form of class politics, what they most want is to be in charge. Like most control freaks, what they do with the power is by no means the whole point. It’s not enough for them to tell labour what to do. They want to be there, in control.

Mr Miliband will not stop this just by his belated action in ordering an investigation into Falkirk and preventing unions from paying in bulk for members. he needs to escalate the row and he needs to win. Ever since the Osborne Judgement of 1909, there has been an argument about the political levy that trade unions charge their members to fund the Labour Party. It is safe to say that Unite does not exactly rush to advertise the political levy. Labour has always wanted the political levy to be paid until people make a conscious choice to opt out. Successive Tory governments have said that members really ought to be forced to opt in.

A Labour leader confident of ruling his own party — and a Labour leader who does not have that confidence will never command the country — should make trade unionists who tick the box full individual members of the party, each with a vote in [the] leadership elections. That would break the power of the big barons, because affiliation fees would then come from individual Labour party members, not the union. The threat to withdraw the fees would no longer be meaningful.

The consequence of not acting is dismal. Labour cannot win an election projecting this sense of itself. And the Unite control of candidates is filling up the green benches with clones of Alfred Balfour, Labour MP in what is now Falkirk from 1945 to 1959. During his first eight years as an MP, Balfour did not utter a word. When he finally broke his silence he said simply: “People get up here from time to time and keep us here for hours on end, and I have said what’s the use of inflicting another torture upon the House? In the further six years he served, he never spoke again. A similar period of silence on Unite’s part would be appreciated. It’s time for Ed Miliband to speak.

******

Another media Blairite boasts of “My part in [Tom Watson’s] downfall

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The crazy world of George Galloway

October 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm (Asshole, Beyond parody, Champagne Charlie, comedy, conspiracy theories, cops, Galloway, Guardian, insanity, misogyny, MPs, police, populism, Respect)

(or: The Strange Case Of The Sleeping Policeman)

Pure comedy gold from Georgie Galloway and his Respect posse:

George Galloway with Aisha Ali-Khan
Above: any suggestions as to why he hired this woman in the first place?

From today’s Graun:

By Helen Pidd

Even given his own talent for hyperbole, the claim George Galloway made on Sunday night was extraordinary: that he had discovered his secretary was working as an “agent” for a Metropolitan police counterterrorism officer who was running a “dirty tricks” campaign against him.

It was a serious allegation. “A direct attack on not just me but on democracy,” the MP said. He complained to the police, who promised an investigation, voluntarily referring the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. And he wrote to Theresa May, the home secretary, demanding an inquiry, saying he had “incontrovertible evidence” that the duo had set up fake email addresses to spread “rumour, disinformation and downright lies”.

But Galloway’s now former secretary, Aisha Ali-Khan, is fighting back. She says she is married to Afiz Khan, whom Galloway correctly identified as a detective inspector in the Met’s counter-terrorism unit, SO15.

She says the two wed in a Muslim ceremony in 2009 and have had an on-off, hush-hush relationship ever since. She is furious that their relationship is being presented as somehow illicit.

“Not only have I lost my job and my credibility but I’ve been branded this tart sleeping with random police officers.”

Suspended on full pay but not expecting her job back, Ali-Khan has filed a complaint with the Met, accusing Galloway of either hacking into her private emails or ordering someone else to do so. She believes there can be no other explanation for how he was able to quote verbatim, in his letter to May, from emails she and her husband had written to each other. Galloway says he was given the emails by his lawyer.

Ali-Khan believes she has been “thrown to the wolves” because she was disliked by certain male figures in Bradford’s Respect party who wanted her out, and because Galloway wanted to deflect attention from a story about his personal life which he believed was about to hit the papers…

Read the rest of this wonderful story, here

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An ignorant attack on Mehdi Hasan over at ‘Socialist Unity’…

April 5, 2012 at 12:25 am (anti-semitism, apologists and collaborators, Asshole, Beyond parody, bloggocks, blogosphere, Galloway, Guardian, Jim D, MPs, Respect, thuggery)

Over at the misnamed Socialist Unity blog, the foul antisemite John Wight denounces Mehdi Hasan  (a Muslim journalist) for what was, in fact, quite a good and thoughtful article in the Graun.

Illustration by Andrzej Krauze

Illustration by Andrzej Krauze

Here’s Wight’s bollocks:

One of the most interesting aspects of George Galloway’s by-election victory in Bradford last week has been the wholesale gnashing of teeth on the part of the London-based commentariat, who in the process of trying, and failing miserably, to get to grips with the result and its whys and wherefores, have endured paroxysms of agony. From the asinine and embarrassing TV interviews conducted with Galloway in the immediate aftermath by Sky’s Adam Boulton and Channel 4’s Cathy Neuman, to a plethora of newspaper columns and blogs ranging from the absurd ramblings of perennial Blairite stooge, the unearthly John Rentoul writing in the Independent, to the fulminating excretia of Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail, the subtext implicit in the reaction of the nation’s most prominent TV anchors and newspaper columnists, bag carriers for the right wing consensus that dominates the mainstream media, is that, to paraphrase Bertolt Brecht, the people of Bradford West, in voting for Respect, have lost the confidence of the government and therefore the government should dissolve them and appoint another one.

The virulent dislike of George Galloway by each of the aforementioned, and various others, has dripped from every syllable of every word spoken to and written about him since the election. But no one should be under any illusion. This hatred runs deeper than Galloway the man. It extends to his politics and the constituency he represents – downtrodden working class communities that dare raise their heads to challenge the status quo on its own terms and win. Within this group politicised Muslims come in for special treatment, regarded as no better than unwashed savages intent on despoiling the very air breathed by white, Christian Englishmen and women, the nation’s pure-blooded Anglo-Saxon Volk whose existence is under threat as a result.

But this wholesale fear and hatred of the declassed and downtrodden in society is nothing new. In fact, it is a common thread running back throughout history, wherein elites and their vocal lackeys have met any stirring of society’s ‘lower orders’ with unmitigated vitriol and condemnation. Whether it was Edmund Burke excoriating the French masses for daring to rise up and make a revolution in 1789 with his warning that “the tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny”; or whether it was the hatred of the elites towards the Petroleuses of the Paris Commune or the Chartists in this country, not to mention the abject horror which greeted the Russian Revolution, the Establishment and its bag carriers in the media have never failed to meet the politicisation and/or rebellion of the poor and alienated in society with anything other than revulsion.

Only last year we had the near universal outpouring of shock and indignation over the riots, mirrored in prison sentences that left no doubt who makes the laws and in whose interests they are made. Now, with Galloway successful in providing a political and democratic conduit through which the same demographic can register its refusal to remain ignored and unrepresented on the margins of society, you would think he’d just committed a heinous crime.

How many other politicians can you think of whose success at the polls would be met with the avalanche of negative column inches that his has these past few days? Sectarian, demagogue, self-serving, maverick, opportunist, populist, dangerous, divisive, dishonest, suspicious, colourful – these are the adjectives that have been attached to him in the immediate aftermath of one the most emphatic by-election results in electoral history.

This of course won’t come as a surprise to those on the left. But when the vitriol emanates from commentator who is identified as being part of the left, the broad left that is, alarm bells should start ringing.

Mehdi Hasan is political editor of the New Statesman magazine, a publication which consistently succeeds in making left wing politics and progressive ideas sound about as exciting as non league football in January. Regardless, Mehdi, recipient of the Oxbridge education required of the nation’s most prized opinion formers, has been able to establish himself as one of the select few voices of the left deemed acceptable by the mainstream – in other words completely non-threatening and politically benign. But to judge by his analysis of Galloway’s by-election victory, it is hard to resist the conclusion that he’s spent too many editions as a guest on Question Time sitting next to the aforementioned right wing hack, Melanie Phillips.

For example, in a blog piece that appeared on the NS website on March 30, he writes

“I am no fan of Galloway or his sectarian, far-left, self-serving politics…”

But worse is the piece he wrote for the Guardian, which appeared a couple of days later. In it he vents his anger this time not at George Galloway but the Muslims who voted for him.

“…why is it that most British Muslims get so excited and aroused by foreign affairs, yet seem so bored by and uninterested in domestic politics and the economy?

From the march against the Iraq war in 2003 to the demonstrations against the Danish cartoons in 2006 and the protests against Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2009, British Muslims have shown themselves perfectly willing to take to the streets to make their voices heard. But how many times have they, individually or collectively, joined rallies over issues that affect our daily lives: from the reforms of the NHS to the future of local schools; from the lack of social housing to rising energy bills and train fares?”

This essentialising of an entire community in two paragraphs, hectoring them for in his view failing to integrate in a manner satisfactory to his own Oxbridge- polished sensibilities, would not look out of place on the EDL’s website.

Further on in the same piece, he writes

Muslims do not lack for opponents or antagonists; those who want to portray us as foreign, alien, un-British, are growing in number. We should not be handing them a club with which to beat us. In fact, the best way of overcoming Islamophobia and suspicion is for British Muslims to broaden, not narrow, our political horizons, to get involved in our local communities, to show our fellow citizens that we care not just about events in Palestine and Pakistan, but Portsmouth and Paisley too.

How can Muslims complain about our rights, our freedoms, our collective future, if we aren’t engaged in the political process across the board as active British citizens? We have an obligation, as Britons and as Muslims, to fully participate in local and national debates and not to stand idly by.”

Writing here as a Muslim, while blaming the victims of Islamophobia for Islamophobia, Hasan manages to combine moral cowardice with contempt towards his less domesticated co-religionists for their, erm, backward antiwar politics? His inability to understand that Bradford West was a by-election in which austerity stood front and centre alongside Britain’s participation in a dozen years of brutal and ever more costly wars in the Middle East, with Galloway making the all important link between the two, is a withering indictment of his political degeneration.

In time honoured fashion, he leaves the best till last.

We have allowed ourselves to be defined only by foreign policy and, in particular, by events in the Middle East for far too long.”

Yes, Mehdi, how inconvenient that you find yourself spending more and more time between appetizer and dessert at the dinner parties you frequent in north London lamenting the inability of Muslims to just ‘get over it’ and learn to ‘know their place’.

Fortunately the overwhelming majority within the Muslim community of Bradford West, along with the thousands of non-Muslims who voted Respect last week, know better. Indeed, in inverse proportion to the horrified reaction of a reactionary media, whose ranks it has to be said Mehdi Hasan comes close to joining with his own shoddy analysis, the people of Bradford West have succeeded in putting to the sword the idea that there is no alternative.

And before anyone mentions it: yes, I’ve often, in the past, been critical of Mehdi Hasan myself. But on this occasion I will defend him against this stupid, ignorant attack from a foul, racist scumbag and Galloway groupie.

Hasan comments further (on the New Statesman website) here.

Seymour bleats here.

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On Eric Joyce

February 26, 2012 at 8:03 am (booze, Cross-post, labour party, MPs, wild man)

(Excellent stuff imho. I didn’t ask for permission to cross-post – hope that’s OK, Mr Mambo -JD)

by representingthemambo in Current Affairs, Opinions, Philosophical Meanderings

As a fan of righteous violence I was actually quite amused to hear that Labour MP Eric Joyce had chinned a couple of Tory MPs this week. I’m sure they probably deserved it and the fact that he appears to have actually dropped the nut on one of them is actually hilarious.

However I then reflected that there is a serious side to this. Reading the account in the Telegraph (which may or may not be accurate of course) and learning a bit more about his recent history (he spent the night in a police cell in 2010 for drink driving) he seems like a man with a drink problem. Which isn’t that funny really. The photo I copied above is that of man who looks very different to the fresh faced MP of a few years ago. Something appears to have gone very wrong.

It’s difficult to feel too much sympathy for a man with such outrageous yearly expenses claims but one does get the feeling that his life is spiralling out of control. He has apparently just broken up with his wife and things are looking very messy.

Sadly the boozing culture and the cross-party chumminess that seems to induce is part and parcel of the British Houses of Parliament. Whilst I have no objection to people enjoying a tipple it does seem it has gone too far and Parliament is treated like a club. MPs appear to have easy access to lots of cheap and free booze when discharging their various responsibilities and some people obviously can’t cope with it. Joyce, it would appear, is one of them.

The collegiate ‘club’ atmosphere in the Commons and Lords is one that bothers me very much. There is often a lot of talk of British politics being too ‘adversarial’ but I take the opposite view. The disagreements are invariably shrill but never over matters of serious principle. Considering the stakes they should hate each other. It worries me more when they don’t. It should be a violent clash of ideologies and worldviews. That it isn’t is largely due to Labour’s failings over the years and eagerness to adapt to the status quo. One actually can’t take issue with Joyce’s drunken statement that there are ‘too many Tories’ in the House but such brainless tribalism isn’t enough I’m afraid.

Personally I think they should close the bar. It may sound radical and authoritarian but in how many other workplaces would such a state of affairs be tolerated? The bar that used to be open at the hospital I work at has been shut for years. MPs, when it comes to expenses, pensions and boozing seem to operate by a different set of rules to the rest of us. There is clearly a conceit, that they often fail to veil convincingly, that they are special and deserve to be treated differently and that they could all be earning more money in the private sector.

Maybe some MPs need to remember what they are paid handsomely to do and that it is a privilege for them (not us) to be our elected representatives. And if they do think they can earn more elsewhere, then piss off and do it. They are a bunch of faceless mediocrities for the most part anyway.

And finally I think we would be best not to sneer and laugh at Joyce too much. He sounds like he needs help rather than mockery. Whether this will finish his political career or not we shall have to see, but I have an uneasy premonition of him going the way of that other drink-soaked politician, Charles Kennedy, and fading into embarrassing irrelevance or even worse. Whilst Joyce is no great shakes as a parliamentarian, it would be a tragic fall from grace on a purely human level.

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Juxtaposed With You

December 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm (anonymous, Lib Dems, Max Dunbar, MPs, protest, students, Tory scum)

From the BBC, via Postculturalist

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Alan Duncan: the honest face of modern conservatism

August 12, 2009 at 6:29 pm (Champagne Charlie, class, Conseravative Party, David Cameron, MPs, Tory scum)

Alan Duncan: MPs are treated like ‘****’ and have to survive on rations

Alan Duncan, the accident-prone Tory frontbencher, has said that MPs are being treated like “****” and forced to live on “rations” following the expenses scandal

…read the rest here

Of course, he’s got form…

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6xO4xEebNU]

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