Foxgate Just Proves the Government Should be Paid an Average Wage

It has only been a few days since Liam Fox announced his resignation as defence secretary, but no doubt there have already been questions over the government’s transparency as well as their private financial habits. Mr. Fox’s strategy of keeping his officials in the dark whilst liaising with his corporate friend Adam Werritty only reaffirms the murky waters in which the government conducts their tasks.

It is not the first time the expenses have been exposed in such an explosive manner. In 2009, the Telegraph Group published details of the alleged misuse of the permitted allowances and expenses claimed by Members of Parliament. There have been subsequent disclosures of MP’s expenditure, with an alarming £3,154,182.29 spent by the parties since the Conservative inauguration from May to August 2010.

Read the rest at Huffington Post: Foxgate Just Proves the Government Should be Paid an Average Wage

The Stone Roses Leaves the Daily Mail Stone Cold: But Were They Correct?

We all like to make brash statements from time to time against our favourite right-wingers. And since the comeback of the mouthy Mancunians the Stone Roses, it seems they have returned with political vengeance as front man Ian Brown subjected a Daily Mail reporter to a torrent of abuse during a recent conference. Antagonising the rather sheepish reporter, Brown asked “Let me ask you a question. What’s it feel like to write for a newspaper that used to support Adolf Hitler?”

Unfortunately, Brown’s statement rings true as although the newspaper may seem middle-of-the-market pro-Conservative these days; the Daily Mail, devised by brothers Alfred and Harold Harmsworth in 1896, was originally an imperialist political newspaper in line with the Second Boer War. It was then pursued further by the brother’s predecessor, Lord Rothermere during the Second World War in which the Lord was an avid friend and supporter of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini which influenced the Mail’s political stance towards them during the 1930s. Rothermere’s 1933 leader “Youth Triumphant” praised the new Nazi regime’s accomplishments, and was subsequently used as propaganda by them.

The minor misdeeds of individual Nazis would be submerged by the immense benefits the new regime is already bestowing on Germany (1933).

Authors Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur of the 2006 best seller, “Is it Just me, Or Is Everything Shit: The Encyclopaedia of Modern Life”, together with the book’s publishers Little Brown Book Group, produced an article about the Daily Mail featured in book. They refer to Rothermere and the Mail‘s relationship to Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. “Hurrah for the Blackshirts” epitomises the Daily Mail’s apparently unbiased take on politics, as the headline made front page news of the 8 July 1934 edition. The news articles that followed described the BUFs as:

[A] well organised party of the right ready to take over responsibility for national affairs with the same directness of purpose and energy of method as Hitler and Mussolini have displayed (1934).

The paper’s similar enthusiasm for Europe’s Fascist parties, especially Adolf Hitler’s burgeoning Nazi movement remained strong: “The sturdy young Nazis are Europe’s guardians against the Communist danger.” However, following the BUF rally at Kensington Olympia, June 7 1934 in which hundreds of anti-fascist protestors were injured; a public outcry ensued and Lord Rothermere and his Daily Mail newspaper withdrew its support and over the next few months, membership of the BUF went into decline. The interesting parallel suggests the sheer gravity of the Mail’s support for fascist groups.

And as Ian Brown continued his rant towards the Mail reporter, he also asked if he had ever voted Tory. The journalist denied his affiliations with the party, which led Brown to retort: “No one ever votes Tory, do they?” The Daily Mail nevertheless, are still staunch Conservative supporters as seen through various headlines towards the end of the Tony Blair reign. “However you Vote, Give Mr Blair a Bloody Nose,” was the headline in May 2005, epitomising their partial attitude towards the Tory government whilst bitterly alluding to Gordon Brown on the other hand as a ‘spendthrift.’

The Daily Mail have cost themselves more than their principles over the years, so it’s about time that a Mail reporter be charged with a moral-ethics bill.

Quote of the Day

Pity the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Don Marquis (1878 – 1937)

The EDL Angel ‘Gender Equality’ Paradox

Standpoint Magazine: Strange Times as EDL Thinks of the Plight of Muslim Women

Something is inherently wrong with fascism, enough to make my skin crawl. And the last English Defence League demonstration seems to epitomise a quantum reality back in the dark ages. The EDL ‘Angels’ as they are aptly named by their ‘masculine’ counterparts, are the women’s branch of the extremist group. It seems rather odd that whilst women remain disproportionately discriminated against by men that some women would choose to fight a cause that is counterproductive to their own situation.

Since the austerity measures have been put in place by the Conservative government, it has been proven that women from socially disadvantaged backgrounds have been affected the most. With 64% of low paid workers being women, and women’s unemployment currently rising at a disproportionate rate to men’s, it appears that the EDL Angels have lost sight of the actual inequality faced in society.

Black and Ethnic minority women are affected even more so with about half of all ethnic minority women in employment (and just a quarter of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women) compared to 70% of ethnic minority men and 73% of White women. So why do the ‘Angels’ claim to gain “equal rights for Muslim women” when essentially they are alienating them?

A right-wing extremist group’s declaration of ‘women’s rights’ is just baffling to me. Since the 1970’s U.S civil rights movement, fighting for gender equality coincided with race, socialism and sexuality; contradicting EDL’s own fanatical stand-point. The second-wave of feminism was first and foremost a grassroots socialist movement, working towards equal rights for ALL women.

Gender politics plays an important part in how the EDL Angels see themselves within the fascist movement.

In the U.S., the 1920s Ku Klux Klan movement included a semi-autonomous women’s organization, Women of the Ku Klux Klan. The WKKK built directly on earlier women’s suffrage and temperance movements, in which racism and nativism were rampant.

The WKKK criticized gender inequality among White Protestants and described the home as a place of “monstrous and grinding toil and sacrifice” for women. This stems from a fascist quasi-feminism structure created from movements that chose to manipulate women’s role within their campaigns in order to advance a patriarchal philosophy.

It denounced Marxist feminism (“which is based on an equality which goes against nature”) but also rejected “the exploitation of traditions, which relegate women to restricted and historically obsolete roles.”

Unlike classic fascism, some religious-based movements, notably the Christian right and the Islamic right, put gender politics at the centre of their agenda. For them, reasserting heterosexual male dominance and rigid gender roles are more important than any other goals. The degree of emphasis has been put onto promoting women’s oppression.

EDL Angels Protesting

However, in a modern pseudo-civil rights movement against ‘Islamification,’ it is a tool used for competition purposes regarding which sect is more oppressive than the other to women and therefore worsening the situation for women on both sides of the spectrum. Within this type of extremism, various concepts from feminism are borrowed such as “It keeps them fearful and isolated, especially the women that it encases in the Burqa,” featured on EDL’s mission statement.

So it seems only evident that the EDL males went along to ‘protect’ their angels reiterating the stark hypocrisy with their declaration of human rights. And despite the group asserting themselves as primarily a human rights organisation, analogous to the women’s branch is the Christian Defence League’s Angel division, synonymous with the quasi-feminism structure.

Apart from the warped social political perspective; the group’s take on racism is an unusual concept. They claim to abolish “apartheid [taking] root in our own country” by means of promoting religious racism and essentially segregating communities already facing an upheaval from Islamaphobia.

“Demonization of Muslims” apparently adds nothing to their debate according to their edict which coincidentally is exactly what they are doing seen through EDL Angel individual’s own Facebook pages referring to the death of a Muslim woman. The member had said “Serves her f**king right, filthy flea ridden b***h” after the woman was strangled with her own headscarf whilst riding a go-kart. Clearly a moderate point of view for a group that alleges to be non-extremist.

The case of Hayley Wells accentuates further the contradictory views within the EDL Angel’s statute. Wells was accused of a racially-aggravated attack at an Istanbul Kebab Shop run by a Kurdish family in August 2010. Shouting “vile abuse” to the woman at the shop, they were also alleged to have assaulted the woman. Gareth Warden, for the Crown Prosecution Service, had said the group had been drinking at a local pub, near the shop.

Mr Warden said: “Kelly Watterson is alleged to have then thrown a glass into the shop which shattered. A baby and a 14-year-old were in the shop at the time.” Reiterating EDL’s statement regarding protecting Muslim women and children from “the denigration and oppression” of Islam seems to only apply in theory and not practice.

I am unsure why the EDL seem to be coy when it comes to extremism as if it is the first time to arise. Ironically, the original English Defence League at its peak period went onto being the largest empire known to history. Consequently, if the EDL want to understand how Britain has come to exist as a multi-ethnic society; they should look to the country’s own neo-colonialist, imperialist and some ways extremist record in forming the British Empire. Thus, if the EDL Angels want someone to blame, it shouldn’t be the ones suffering alongside them.

Quote of the Day

It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970)

Hunting is not a Sport: In Sport, Both Sides Should Know they’re in the Game

Will the last Arab Dictator to leave, please turn off the lights?

Hunting is not a Sport: In Sport, Both Sides Should Know they’re in the Game

Being put down, flushed into the sea or hung by a leash; you would immediately think that I am referring to slaughtered animals. But in actual fact, these are the final moments of dictators no other then Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and the latest kill, Muammar Gaddafi.

Just as I am apprehensive of capital punishment; the shoot-to-kill technique employed by U.S. and British troops reiterates the fact that ‘Revenge is a dish best served cold,’ and not ‘Innocent until proven guilty.’ Why is it that justice seems to fly right out of the window when it comes to the West’s perception of the Middle East?

The ‘assassination’ comes under a long list of former dictators and apparent terrorists being killed and then swept under a military rug. In no way could I ever excuse autocratic regimes promoting genocide, as well as ‘religious racism,’ but I would rather sit in a jury shaking my head to ridiculous claims then never getting the opportunity to ask the vital question- “Why did you do it?” and more so “Here’s how I can prove you wrong.”

It is the least that the individuals are responsible for, answering to the people that they have persecuted for decades and not laying it in the hands of foreign governments to be judge, jury and executioner. Besides, the nations involved are less likely to be ousting their former leaders to become filthy-rich oil barons and trading with the U.S. and the U.K., unlike organisations such as NATO with ulterior motives.

Even a civil war didn’t stop Valmont Industries Inc. (VMI) of Omaha, Nebraska from growing wheat in Libya this year. Most U.S. companies pulled out of Libya when the unrest started, despite Libya holding the largest crude-oil reserves in Africa. Since Gaddafi’s death, many U.S. companies are likely to gradually resume or open operations in Libya as long as conditions improve. It comes as no surprise that National Transitional Councils (NTC) were itching to remove any obstructions.

Ali Aujali, the Libyan ambassador to Washington, has said companies from the U.S. and other NATO countries that aided the rebellion will be favoured in deals and investments according to Bloomberg.

So who is left on the roll of leaders? Former Egyptian president, Muhammad Hosni Mubarak seems to be avoiding the hit list, already afflicted with cancer and slipping back and forth into a coma. Counting his blessings, the politician has managed to stand trial, allowing charges of pre-meditated murder of peaceful protesters and corruption to be bought against him despite pleading ‘not guilty.’

Whilst the next target Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria is increasingly feeling the rope tighten around his neck; I hope that the Syrian demonstrators will actually get the chance to obtain validity before the West kicks the chair from under him.

An Epoch of Occupation

Even Alec Baldwin declared “We do not want [our country] to go down the tube, like England,” in a video encapsulating the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ demonstrations. For a rather ambiguous personality, it still sadly rings true for the nations involved in the “restoration of democracy” movement.

September 17th marked the first day of the New York protests, with an estimated 15,000 protesters turning up on the first day. And it seems that Occupy Wall Street is in a small way, an extension of the Arab Spring revolution with an approximate 1,610,591 demonstrators from 951 cities around the world already rallying against “corporate greed and corrupt politics.”

So it seemed only appropriate that the UK should occupy the Wall Street equivalent. A general assembly formed together to occupy the London Stock Exchange, emblematic of the existing social and wealth divide in the UK. With a hot-pot of high unemployment, austerity measures, rises in student tuition fee and privatisation; it comes as no surprise that all that is left is the bitter social aftertaste.

The UK’s August riots may just symbolise a frenzied act of despondency or insatiability depending on how the actions were perceived by the beholder. However, it is far from the first protests that the Conservative coalition have encountered since their sovereignty in May 2010. It certainly has set the worker’s wheels in motion as seen through the global domino effect.

Voice of the Anti-Box Democracy

If I ever have to fill in another “equality form” again, I am certain that there will be a smouldering hole through the page. Those boxes which set out to define what constitutes as “diversity” only limits the narrow-minded views of companies and institutions; trying desperately to adhere to standards where they don’t seem discriminatory.

It’s like one of those old seventies race-related tales of when asking a non-boxed individual if they are “racist,” the common reply usually consists of “No, I have plenty of black/ ethnic minority friends,” or better still “I really respect [insert famous Black and Ethnic Minority person here.]”

The truth be it, at the end of the tedious application procedure, a person at the other end of the desk licks a pen nib and writes “We have filled the quota for disabled; gender; race and sexuality workers for this year.”

If we were truly a multicultural Britain, we would not see the difference and hire the most equipped person for the position.

But just like Helier’s Catch-22, us BAME folk twiddle our thumbs as we struggle to reach for higher positions from our council estate houses, our working-class parents and our violent peers. So how do we expect to get ‘equal’ treatment in the far away land of university?

Oxbridge have outshone themselves this year, being openly disgraced for their lack of non-white applicants. The starkest divide in Cambridge was at Newnham College where black applicants had a 13% success rate compared with 67% for white students, whilst of more than 1,500 academic and lab staff at Cambridge, none are black. Only thirty-four are of British Asian origin. Oxford’s St Hilda’s College only had a 26% success rate for BAME students, unlike an enormous 50% rate for its white students.

And the reinforcement of BAME schemes and “positive” discrimination is just that- discrimination. A justly egalitarian chance in employment is to walk in behind a white smoke screen and not be judged for either variation of skin tone, genitalia or limbs (lack of.)

Instead we are pegged against each other in a rat race for one piece cheese. And all the quality Camembert outside of the competition is inapplicable for the rodents, as well as their human counterparts. Essentially, the majority will starve despite the jobs being available outside of the rat race.

Research by the Race for Opportunity campaign, part of outreach charity Business in the Community stated that BAME graduates are failing to find jobs as easily as their White counterparts despite being represented at UK universities.

Some 66% of White students who graduated in 2007-08 found work within a year compared with just 56.3% of BAME students. Whilst in 2007-08 almost one in six (16.0%) of UK university students were from a BAME background, up from 8.3% in 1995-96. This increase in BAME representation in UK universities is virtually in line with the growth in the BAME population from 7.7% of 18 to 24 year olds in 1995-96 up to 14.2% in 2007-08.

According to a new report by the Black Training and Enterprise Group, despite some narrowing of the gap between the employment rate for ethnic minorities and the national average over the last 10 years, the ethnic minority employment rate remains over 10 percentage points below the average rate. The National Audit Office has calculated that this gap in the employment rate costs the UK economy around £8.6 billion a year.

So while thousands of ethnic minority people attempt to pursue after one BAME scheme, we need to ask if it really changes the image of segregated Britain. The division between ‘normal’ jobs and BAME employment schemes, faith schools and state run establishments, pockets of ghettoes and wealth just reiterates the fact that there is ‘apartheid.’ And no amount of ticking boxes can change that unless the system itself transforms miraculously.