30 June, 2009


The first step is the hardest

I was a Guardian reader for nearly 40 years. Not that I didn't buy other newspapers from time to time, but the Guardian, together with the newspaper which the till software in my local newsagent's aptly names "The Sunday Guardian", were the default to which I would always return. By the mid 1990s, the practicalities of the daily commute had led me to abandon morning newspapers during the week, though I would usually buy an Evening Standard on weekday afternoons. But the weekend ritual of Guardian and Observer, preferably consumed to the accompaniment of a foaming tankard or two in a convivial hostelry, remained sancrosanct.

As the millennium turned and the unignorably accelerating demographic change in London led me to become more interested in — unkind readers might say obsessed with — matters of race and immigration, the obvious reporting lacunæ and blatant partisanship of the Guardian/Observer became ever more glaringly unsatisfactory. And yet I could not quite break the habit. By 2002, I actually found myself buying not only my habitual Guardian/Observer at weekends, but copies of the Telegraph as well, just to get a bit of political balance!

Ironically, it was the fabled intolerance of the Guardian Unlimited Talk moderators that provided the trigger which allowed me finally to kick the habit. In early 2003 I was banned from GUT. The precise nature of my offence against righteousness and liberal good taste remains ambiguous. You know how the GUT/CiF mods work: an email containing an unglossed quote of the offending words, followed by a selection of two or more of the forum rules. It is then left "as an exercise to the reader" to identify the rule which has been unforgivably transgressed.

"Sanctimonious gits", I thought, "I shall never buy your newspapers again."

And I didn't. I'll happily read copies left lying around, and visit their free website, but I have never since March 2003 forked out my own pennies for a copy of either rag or clicked through their on-line advertising.

Since then I have mostly bought the Times and Sunday Times for my weekend reading fodder, and on those weekdays when I venture into the heart of the Metrollops, the Standard. This too may now be coming to an end.

Over the months leading up to the recent European and county council elections, a sustained and intensive, nay relentless, smear campaign was conducted against the BNP by pretty well all British newspapers. It was quite clearly co-ordinated on behalf of the liberal elite and probably the government itself by the Searchlight organization, a body whose financial underpinning and whose relationship to the Establishment is not entirely clear. The smears were inventive, often clearly lies or creative misconstructions, and frequently rather desperate.

A certain amount of newspaper chauvinism and hype is to be expected during an election campaign. In more innocent times, for example, the Mirror might on polling day morning replace its usual front page with the simple two-word slogan "VOTE LABOUR". Or the News of the Screws might just happen to publish a juicy and remarkably well-timed rumourette about a Labour front-bencher who, it was alleged, was in the habit of using public funds to support his frequent forays into "specialist" brothels, where according to our undercover reporter he was regularly to be found pleasuring a nanny goat while drenched in elephant urine.

But in the 43 years I have been entitled to vote in this benighted country, I have never seen so universal, so relentless, so manifestly co-ordinated and deliberate a smear campaign by the media and the establishment as we have witnessed on this occasion against the BNP.

It is not acceptable. Whatever you may think, or indeed I may think, about the BNP and its policies, this is completely unacceptable. If the party is dangerous to public order or subversive to the point of criminality, then it should be proscribed. If its position is simply disagreed with, however vehemently, then reasoned debate focusing on respective policies is in order.

A sustained and centrally co-ordinated campaign of petty vilification is not in order. And where was the supposed professionalism of the massed journos then, when dripfed the incompetent Searchlght revelation du jour? Have we forgotten already those secret and damning BNP internal documents leaked to an intrepid Searchlight operative, which turned out to have been freely available on the BNP's website for years? Not much investigative fact-checking and professional journalism by the MSM hacks there, was there?

As the increasingly desperate smearing rose to a frenzy by mid May, I found that I could no longer bring myself to hand over money in exchange for newspapers. Accepting the rough with the smooth, a bit of partisanship in reporting, some corners cut here and there, was one thing. But all this was too much. I wanted no part of it.

And then of course there is the small matter of the Nightjack blog. The totally unnecessary outing of DC Horton's identity by the Times was a despicable act of petty, inept and unprofessional vindictiveness. I have not forgiven them.

Since mid May I have not bought a newspaper — any newspaper. Do I miss them and will I relent? Well on a practical level of course, printed newspapers, especially broadsheets, have secondary domestic uses for wrapping, etc. I thought that might be a drawback, but in practice I find that picking up the occasional freesheet fills that gap adequately.

No, I have a feeling this personal boycott is going to stick. It may be quite some time before I next fork out my own money for a mainstream British daily or weekly newspaper. My visits to the paper recycling "bank" will be rather less frequent in future.

28 June, 2009


It all depends what you mean by...

It is difficult not to find the case of the Colemans and their little problem with automatic hall lights on the Sabbath simultaneously irritating and amusing. Irritating because of the arrogant recourse to our (similarly irritating) human rights legislation and the assumption that it is everyone else who is out of step with them. Amusing because of the incongruity of an ancient body of rules whose original intent has been largely forgotten and which has become ossified into a self-perpetuating and meaningless ritual, struggling to cope with unforeseen change. Rather like the inconsistencies of British Sunday-observance legislation which forbade the opening of fish and chip shops on Sunday but failed to make advance provision for the subsequent introduction of Wimpy bars and their like.

The Coleman case also inspires disappointment. Where is that famous Jewish ingenuity and inventiveness which we goyim so admire? Surely this situation calls for little more than the application of a little creative hypocrisy. The solution here is the Shabbes Goy. Perhaps a gentile resident of the flats can be persuaded to walk through the relevant communal areas at agreed times on the Sabbath, giving a knock on the Colmans' door in passing. As the Goy is going to Hell anyway, his violation of the Sabbath law is irrelevant.

After all if the definitions of Sabbath law can be "adapted to avoid inconvenience" by establishing an eruv across a broad swathe of NW London, then I'm sure a little doctrinal or procedural sleight of hand will do the trick without causing a lot of expense and inconvenience.

Even the benighted Mussulman can manage the trick. Visiting a prostitute? Forbidden by the Qur'an my son. But no problemo, just marry the lady for half-an-hour, then everything will be kosher. (No, wait a minute...)

I'd mention the story about working round laws prohibiting the raising of pigs in Israel by keeping them on raised platforms so that the trayf little buggers did not actually come into contact with the soil of the Holy Land, but I rather suspect that that is an urban myth. Ingenious though.

Remember, when dealing with barmy rules, Creative Hypocrisy is your friend.

27 June, 2009


Michael, Prince of Hearts?

People have been surfing the jolly old interweb assiduously for the most sick-making Michael Jackson puff. I reckon Joseph Harker, the Grauniad's Chief Bigot, is in there with a chance for just the title of this piece:
Michael Jackson — the Barack Obama of pop music
Way to go, Joe! And yes I know a sub probably chose the title, but it does accurately reflect the wording and tenor of the article.

And doncha just love the URL that that Guardian Unlimited sub has assigned to the page?
Oh, is that what it's all about?

25 June, 2009


The strictest immigration regime in the world

I have to admit I didn't take much notice of this bit of nastiness [Link 1] [Link 2] the first time around, despite it taking place very much in my manor. Frankly, a Black youth getting casually stabbed and kicked to death in Woolwich by some other Black youths in what is speculated to be drug-related gang violence is hardly "Hold the front page!" news down here in vibrant diverse Sarf London.

No, it wasn't the child's untimely demise which caught my attention when I stumbled across the news item again this morning, but rather the manner of his arrival on these shores:

Today Sunday's friends said he had been sent from Nigeria at the age of six or seven having become orphaned following the deaths of both his parents.

Sunday's best friend Abu Mansaray, 17, said the news of his death had still not sunk in. He said: "I was like a brother to him. He was struggling, struggling all his life - coming here from Nigeria at primary school age for a better life..."
OK, let's put that to one side for the moment and do a bit of general browsing. Now, suppose you find yourself yet again reading one of the innumerable and repetitive race/immigration/BNP threads on CiF and similar fora. Reading CiF is a bit like self-harming or recreational pharmaceuticals: you know you shouldn't but, well, one last time won't do any harm, will it? Well, on this last ever, ever (promise!) read of CiF, you can pretty well guarantee that about half way downthread someone will pop up and solemnly assure us that it's well nigh impossible to immigrate into the UK from a Third World country.

If I have the energy later on, I'll see if I can find a real example or two, but you know the form:-

The borders are secure. Nobody from the Third World can settle in the UK these days without at least two postgraduate degrees and a job offer in the UK which has been extensively and repeatedly advertised without success in all UK newspapers over a period of not less than six years, together with personal letters of recommendation from at least three of the Queen's corgis. And in the case of an actual or intending spouse wishing to join an existing British citizen in the UK, entry under a provisional visa may be granted only after exhaustive investigations and will be subject to the presence of a UKBA observer in the marital bedroom for a probationary period of not less than ten years before permanent settlement can be considered. Any issue born during the probationary period will be deported or, at ministerial discretion, eaten.

Or something along those lines.

Piecing together the various newspaper articles on the Sunday Essiet murder, it seems that following his father's death, Sunday's mother brought him and his sister from Nigeria "for a better life" to the UK, where they stayed with relatives. His mother subsequently returned to Nigeria where she too died, with Sunday and his sister remaining in the UK.

What puzzles me is, how does this scenario fit in with our supposed ultra-strict immigration regime which has, we are so confidently and authoritatively assured, reduced Third World inward migration to a sluggish elite trickle?
— "Purpose of visit?"
— "To settle permanently with a view to making a better life for my kids."
— "Fair enough! Welcome to the UK. Mind how you go, Madam!"
Or perhaps,
— "Purpose and duration of visit?"
— "Visiting relatives. Six months."
— "Your tourist visa seems to be in order, Madam. Enjoy your stay in the United Kingdom.
followed by a quick shopping trip down the Thamesmead document factories.

It begs questions, doesn't it? In particular, if the immigration rules, which in substance derive from the 1971 Act, are as tough as they are made out to be, just how many of our more recent arrivals have a questionable status, and what is the status of their UK-born children?

Meanwhile, in other news, the conversion rate for the Naira in Woolwich today is 265 NGN = 1 GBP.

03 June, 2009


Vote for the Aardvark Alliance

I'm sorry, but I couldn't resist this.

It appears that some postal voters participating in the European Parliament election in the North West of England are being unhelpfully helpful. As a result of the complex voting system and the number of candidates, the voting forms are a bit on the long side. Some postal voters have eliminated this unwieldy clutter by marking their 'X' and then cutting out and returning only that section of the form which names their selected party or candidate. Seems pretty sensible to me, Zachary, I mean it's such a waste of paper, innit? I mean, think of the poor postman.

Now I would have thought that so radical a mutilation would be sufficient to invalidate any such ballot. But apparently not. Just as the survival of both copies of the serial number on a badly torn or mutilated bank note is sufficient for a bank to accept and replace it, the mutilated voting form can be accepted if certain crucial validating evidence is present. This consists of something called the official mark, which appears at the top of the form, and some kind of serial number (you know, the one the secret services use to work out who you voted for — not that they'd do anything like that, of course), which appears on the reverse of the form, behind the first choice in the list of candidates.

So, if someone helpfully cuts up their form as described, the most likely scenario in which both of these validating elements are likely to survive intact is where the voter has selected the party at the top of the list, which, given that the parties are listed in alphabetical order, will of course be the one which all those decent people have been so insistently telling us plebs not to vote for. You know, the one that begins with a 'B'.

I really shouldn't laugh.


Perhaps Blackburn Labour Party should have asked that nice Mr Khan to run off some more votes in his postal voting workshop.

02 June, 2009


AdSense strikes again

On Pickled Politics, Sunny has a vaguely sensible post (for once) on the stellar contribution of this morning's Guardian letter signed by Gordon "Competence" Brown and a bizarre ragbag of people of minimal consequence, urging Guardian readers not to vote for "that party".

Part-way down the comment thread is the following comment:

So out of curiosity I scroll up to look at the Google Ads currently displayed on the page, only to find this:

Oh, dear!

Update 03 June

As requested by Laban in the comments:

I don't know, what's the world coming to? Is a gentleman's word to be doubted in these dark days?

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