More MP’s To Step Down

May 21, 2009

As well as Douglas Hogg, two more Tory MP’s will be stepping down at the next general election. Anthony Steen and Sir Peter Viggers having been exposed in the Telegraph for questionable expenses have rightly decided not to seek re-election. Any attempts by MP’s to cling on to their seats who have been exposed making outrageous claims for expenses only serve to damage the Conservative Party’s attempt to gain power at the next election. All such MP’s will be vulnerable to anti sleaze campaign by their opponents and seats that the party should be holding on to would undoubtedly be at risk.

The Labour Party or its MP’s have yet to take similar action though two of its MP’s have been suspended and my local MP Shahid Malik has resigned from his post as Justice Minister pending a full investigation into his expenses claims. The public mood is one of disgust and if any party or associations drag their feet and leave in place those MP’s who to voters look to have abused the system, then they should not be surprised if ‘independent’ candidates stand on anti-sleaze tickets against them and turn the election campaign into an ‘expenses’ campaign only.

David Cameron thankfully has grasped the public mood and is one step ahead of the Prime Minister in his response. It is incredible that there are MP’s still peddling the ‘I didn’t break any law/rule’ defence instead of showing any remorse and contrition. Yesterday I met a person who said that those MP’s making outrageous claims were thieves. I wouldn’t use the same language or express the same sentiments and each case has to be looked at on its own but this does show how angry people are feeling and how badly let down they feel by their representatives.

This scandal will no doubt rumble on and there will be many more MP’s who will stand down before the next election.


Two Million Extremists

February 18, 2009

The Guardian has details of the code from a new anti terror strategy being proposed in Government referred to as Contest 2. According to the draft anyone holding the following views would be regarded as an extremist:

• They advocate a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries.

• They promote Sharia law.

• They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.

• They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah.

• They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If this is adopted and becomes policy, the Government will have 2 million Muslim extremists on its hands in this country and perhaps many non Muslims as well.

Most of the above are thought crimes and some are directly contrary to the fundamental beliefs of Islam that Muslims hold. For example, Islam says that homosexuality is a sin – and every Muslim is aware of this. But the vast majority of Muslims living in this country do not discriminate against homosexuals or treat them any differently to anyone else. If they do then legislation is in place to prosecute them.

Most Muslims happily accept that they are living in a liberal democracy and a secular society where there is no state religion which everyone has to adhere to. Most simply do not care what a person does behind closed doors in the privacy of his home and how he chooses to live his life. Muslims view homosexuality being a sin in the the same way they view other sins such as people living together as an unmarried couple or having a child out of wedlock or drinking alcohol or eating pork. Why not add these to the list of extremists beliefs as well?

If promoting Sharia is an act of an extremist then the Government should go in the dock first. It has facilitated the introduction of Sharia based financial products now readily available from mainstream banks, permitted halal meat in schools, hospitals and elsewhere, given permission for Mosques and madressas to be built, funded Muslim only organisations, allowed and funded Muslim schools etc etc etc. All Muslims are promoting Sharia Law when they worship, follow moral guidance, marry in accordance with Islamic rules, fast in Ramadan, give charity and go on pilgrimage. This list is endless and shows how little thought has been given to the definition of Sharia Law.

The failure to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan would also lead to extremism. A million people marched against the war in Iraq and there were many who saw that as a war of aggression and occupation where people had a right to self defence and refused to condemn people who they thought were fighting in self defence who subsequently killed coalition soldiers. I suspect many non Muslims would get in trouble under this category too but is non condemnation sufficient justification to make someone an extremist? And how do you police this – would there be a register which people signed to condemn the killings of our soldiers and if you didn’t you’d be an extremist? What should be an offence is any celebration of the killing of any British soldier killed anywhere in combat regardless of whether a person agrees with the political decision to go to war or engage in combat.

The craziest one of all is this definition: ‘They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.’

Jihad is a fundamental belief in Islam. A Muslim state is given permission by Islam to defend itself against an aggressor or be aggressive where it fears an imminent attack. This is similar to the Just War Theory developed in Christianity. To say that anyone who believes this is an extremist is to hold an extremist view! It would be better to say that anyone who plans and engages in violent acts of terror and kills innocent people is an extremist regardless of whether he believes that he is engaged in Jihad.

Advocating a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries is not a crime. Actively pursuing it and engaging in acts of terror to achieve this would be. Advocating a Caliphate state in the UK is an oxymoron.  When the population of Muslims in a country is 7% advocating a Caliphate is a call that isn’t even worth responding to, let alone giving it such significance that it makes someone an extremist.

As mentioned here and here, the Government seems to have no idea what it is doing in its strategy in dealing with radicalisation and extremism in this country. The Contest 2 seems consistent with its previous actions.


Another New Anti Terrorism Strategy!

February 16, 2009

I am looking forward to viewing the BBC Panorama programme this evening in which details of a new Government counter terrorism strategy will be revealed.

The alleged aim of this new strategy will be to challenge Muslims who teach that Islam is incompatible with Western democracy and as Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker has already said to discontinue ‘to fund groups where we have evidence of them encouraging discrimination, undermining democracy and being ambiguous towards terrorism.’

All very well and well intentioned but if the Government hasn’t worked out 8 years after 9/11 and 18 months after 7/7 as well as numerous other atrocities who it should be funding and relying on for advice and assistance and who it should be avoiding, we have to ask and wonder what it has worked out?

I’ve often felt that there isn’t a cohesive Government strategy to deal with radicalisation of Muslims in the UK, and there are too many gimmicks and headline grabbing policies and proposals such as the 90 day detention and this last week to believe that anything the Government will do will prove effective. The relationships the Labour Government has built with the Muslim community is too narrow and focused primarily on maintaining the Muslim vote especially after the Iraq war rather than dealing with the concerns of Muslims and what it expects from them as fully signed up members of British Society. The embarrassing political sluttiness that Jack Straw and his cronies displayed at the last election in trying to get the Muslims to vote for Labour in Blackburn at all costs which I saw at the last general election was simply pathetic and those Muslims who danced to this tune were an embarrassment to their community.

I really do hope that an incoming Conservative Government gets to grips with the increased radicalisation in certain sections of the Muslim community and comes up with policies that are effective and sustained in the long term and not geared as this Government seems to be towards securing votes instead of dealing with the problem.


Labour’s Sums Don’t Add Up

February 2, 2009

Labour Isn’t Working

December 17, 2008

All 800 odd Woolworths Stores will close on 5 January 2009. This will add 27 000 to the unemployment figures which have increased by 137 000 in the three months to October 2008. This is the biggest quarterly fall in jobs since December 1992. Total unemployment is at 1.86million, the highest figure since the three months to December 1997, with those claiming unemployment benefit passing the one million mark. We’re back to 1979, Labour isn’t working.

Labour isn't working (Conservative, 1979)