31 March, 2012


Etaoin Shrdlu despairs

Ross draws our attention to an innovative piece of tomfoolery from Essex Constabulary, as reported by a Daily Mail hack with a similarly innovative approach to English grammar and spelling.

Repeat after me, "Greggs are rolling out a new role in outlets across their retail estate as specialist sausage roll sales associate."

And do make your mind up whether you want to use singular or plural:
Essex Police has vowed ... as it rolls it out ...
Essex Police have vowed ... as they roll it out ...
But not the semi-literate drivel wot u wrote, Sunshine.

Exits stage left pursued by mob crying, "Filthy pedant! Hanging's too good for the likes of him!"


26 March, 2012


I'll believe it when it happens

According the Mail, Gawd bless it,

Now they'll have to tell us if we're eating halal:
Ministers prepare to change law

It's all a bit woolly and sounds like a sound-bite to pacify the masses, as well as providing an opportunity for the Mail to make a claim for the credit. The references to this emerging government view that I have been able to find all lead back to the Mail piece, so maybe it's little more than journalistic kite-flying.

But if it does happen then halleluiah! The EU has recently backed down on proposals to require labelling of "non-stunned meat", the opposition from Jewish and Muslim lobbyists seemingly being driven primarily by economic considerations: the kosher and halal markets are cross-subsidized by the unacknowledged sale of unstunned meat into the wider secular market, both excess ritually qualified meat as well as meat which for whatever arcane reason has failed the ritualistic rigmarole.

I don't know what's driving the apparent flurry of government activity reported by the Mail. Presumably "They" have noticed that the natives are getting restless, be it from stories in the Mail, the street activism of the EDL, the allegations of Marine LePen, or whatever. The natives are getting restless, and can no longer be quelled by tut-tutting by the and the veiled threat of accusations of racism. Something must be done, or at the very least said.

Well, we shall see what we shall see. But there is one aspect of this issue which is worth commenting on here and now. When opposing the clandestine spread of halal (and, in principle at least, kosher) products, it has become conventional to speak purely in animal welfare terms, to focus exclusively on the cruelty of slitting the throat of a fully conscious beast, something which is done in dhabihah slaughter so that, it would appear, the dying animal will hear the prayer of thanks to Allah which sanctifies its death and presumably be duly grateful.

Opponents of halal take the cruelty line in order to sidestep accusations of racism.

The trouble with this approach, which is essentially a variant of the "I'm not racist but..." pre-emptive cringe, is that like other such cringes it leaves you wide open to easy distractive counter-attack from the Righteous.

The vegetarian Righteous will simply sidetrack the discussion into a general argument about how dreadfully cruel all slaughter of meat animals is. The carnivorous Righteous will argue that animal welfare standards at British farms and slaughterhouses are open to criticism generally on a variety of grounds, so what's with the preoccupation with Muslim and Jewish cultural requirements, hmm? Not being racist are we, hmm?

All perfectly reasonable no doubt, but apt to bog you down in irrelevances while the halal slaughterhouses gradually become the norm as a matter of supplier convenience and effective control of the meat industry passes more or less incidentally into Muslim hands.

There's nothing wrong with arguing against the cruelty of unstunned slaughter. There's nothing wrong in arguing more generally for a decent life and a death with minimal fear for the animals that we rear to eat.

But that is not the primary issue here, is it?

The primary issue is a cultural one. I am an Englishman and an atheist of Christian social heritage. This is my people's homeland, my people's culture has primacy here, and I expect to be able to buy, by default, meat and other food prepared according to my people's cultural standards.

Irrespective of animal-welfare considerations, I prefer not to eat meat slaughtered by some bearded nutter muttering "Bismillah! Allahu Akbar" or whatever the required formulation is as he slits the bewildered and terrified beast's throat, in order to sanctify the slaughter.

This bizarre practice is, for the time being at least, tolerated in this country. By our leave. That may not always be the case. But while it is I do not expect it to be foisted on me unbeknown, whether for the convenience of lazy suppliers or in order to appease and accommodate colonists.

Remember you don't have to apologize for being British.

Rant ends. Innit.

24 March, 2012


Irony failure

Little Nicky Lowles writes approvingly of an "anti-racist" campaign organized by Chelsea AFC. The great and the good at Stamford Bridge are apparently concerned about the traditional jibes against Spurs fans because of Tottenham's historic Jewish associations. They are, the Chelsea video reminds us as keenly opposed to the "Y word" as they are to the "N word" and the "P word".

All good stuff. Chelsea's video features Frank Lampard and Ledley King, who reaffirm their opposition to all things discriminatory. That would be, er, this Ledley King, would it?


21 March, 2012


Breivicus interruptus

The Righteous have been working themselves up into a state of barely containable moral tumescence at the apparent probability that the Toulouse gunman was, to use the shorthand, a White Nazi. The prospect of another Breivik so soon was almost too joyous to bear. Fiachra Gibbons, writing at CiF, grasps the opportunity with both hands and both feet, attempting to implicate Sarko, Le Pen, Wilders, German Neo-Nazis and even proposals to reinforce the Greek-Turkish border "to save Europe from barbarian invaders". Below the line the usual suspects, secure in the knowledge of their moral superiority, enthusiastically — and I make no apology for repeating the unpleasant metaphor — enthusiastically join in the wankfest. I haven't read all 656 comments below the line — do me a favour! — but I'm surprised nobody has tried to implicate the EDL yet.

And now we learn that a suspect has been located and beseiged in Toulouse. It's early hours yet, of course, and it could all turn out to be a ghastly mistake or some kind of New World Order™ conspiracy, natch, but our man would appear to be

One awaits developments. An apology for their despicable opportunism by the rabid Righteous would be nice, but I shan't be, as they say, holding my breath.

Interesting times.

... Breaking News. Free box of Kleenex with every copy of tomorrow's Guardian ...

Update (08:50) Chummy's name confirmed to be Mohammed Merah. The French equivalent of John Smith, then.

20 March, 2012


Etaoin Shrdlu regrets

From the Daily Fail,


19 March, 2012


Wanted: a sense of proportion

I have to say I'd never heard of Fabrice Muamba before his collapse on the football field on Saturday was reported on the news. An unpleasant business. I wish the young man a speedy recovery, though given the news reports of the seriousness of his condition, I would not be surprised to learn that his professional footballing career is now at an end. He owes his very survival, I suspect, to his very public collapse in a location where he was known and the immediate availability of skilled and equipped first-aiders. If I were to collapse in the street in Woolwich, I expect the locals would just step over me, cursing the unexpected obstruction.

That the sudden collapse on the field of play with cardiac arrest of a 23-year-old premiership footballer should make the national news is to be expected. What is disconcerting is the nature of the media and public response. Distraught and confused fans turning up to the Reebok stadium, the creation of a shrine of bouquets and poem-inscribed shirts, rather like those which spring up along the side of our urban highways whenever somebody's pushbike has come off second-best in an argument with an artic. Footballers praying on the pitch and wearing specially printed Pray 4 Muamba shirts. And the media circus gathering like a school of undernourished piranhas.

A report on the national news of the incident and its sequel — the termination of the match — should have sufficed, with brief follow-up mentions of Fabrice's ongoing condition over the following days; that should have been enough. Instead I detect the sickly odour of instant dianification.

This lavishly illustrated and seemingly continuously updated full-colour Mail article encapsulates the hoo-hah as well as relating the other peculiarity of the case, the bizarre business of the other young man now identified as Liam Stacey. Young Liam, it seems, tweeted some deeply offensive remarks rejoicing in Fabrice's misfortune. The Mail is a bit coy about the text of the tweets, but Anorak claims to have a representative sample here with more here.

Unpleasant stuff. As indeed are some of the responses. Judging by the tone I'm inclined to believe Liam's claim that he was pissed when he posted them. Edwin's golden rule applies more than ever: never, ever, ever, post while pissed, or for that matter while stoned. If your muse won't take no for an answer, compose and save your amazing killer post offline and review it in the cold light of tomorrow's hangover.

But does he really deserve to be banged up and quite possibly sent down for this gratuitous aberration, all because, when it comes down to it, his abuse was incidentally interracial? As it happens, I and my partners in crime were never fingered for the Great Roadworks Lamp Heist of 1969 but if we had been, I expect a serious bollocking would have been in order rather than imprisonment and expulsion from university under the pressure of popular and media hysteria.

And then to top it all off, I read in the Mail piece linked above that Bolton Wanderers are giving serious consideration to conceding a walkover rather than face returning to White Hart Lane to replay the abandoned cup tie, 'cos it might upset the lads. Now, Howard Webb was surely right to stop the match on Saturday. The incident was clearly pretty upsetting and, at that stage, for all anybody knew Fabrice had already, to use the medical term, snuffed it. But grow a pair, lads, FFS. The correct, the decent thing to do, now everybody's settled down, is to go back to White Hart Lane and play the match, and play it to win, out of respect for your downed colleague. Wimping out almost makes it look like Fabrice's fault.

I'll be 64 in a few weeks' time. Perhaps I am indeed getting old. I find myself increasingly out of sympathy with and comprehension of this world of instant faux rage and of shallow vicarious emotion, the blurring of reality with the make-believe of Eastenders and TOWIE into a seamless continuum.

Grow up and get a sense of proportion.

17 March, 2012


We're still doing it for your benefit, you know.

Nick Lowles writes

Our 2012 election campaign really kicks off this weekend with a series of leafleting sessions in key wards across the country.

Oh really, HnH is putting up candidates then?

Our 2012 election campaign really kicks off this weekend with a series of leafleting sessions in key wards across the country. Our initial focus is on those wards in which the BNP is defending. A successful election cycle from our perspective could leave the BNP with just two borough councillors and one county councillor.

Ah. Not quite. They're campaigning against someone. I wonder how that's being paid for. All properly accounted for, I'm sure, with prompt and accurate returns to the Electoral Commission.

Our big weekend of action is going to be over the weekend of 14/15 April. Over those two days the HOPE not hate campaign will be linking up with local acitivists to deliver our tabloid newspapers.

That sounds impressive. Who's printing and paying for that then? Not the Trinity Mirror group, surely.

Very dodgy, all of this.

During the 2008 London Mayoral/GLA election campaign, my trade union emailed all of its London members pleading with us not to vote for the BNP. They got a very nasty flea in their ear from the membership and are, I sincerely hope, unlikely to try the same trick again. "But we're not trying to tell anybody who to vote for", they whined when challenged. Telling people who not to vote for is much the same thing, chaps.


We're doing it for your benefit

'Cos we know best, innit.

Little Nicky Lowles writes,

Last month I reported that the BNP (and some of their fascist friends) had been awarded €289,266 of EU taxpayers' money after they had formed a new alliance within the European Parliament. Since then, HOPE not hate has been working behind the scenes with politicians from across the political spectrum to get the decision reversed and there now appears to be a growing momentum to at the very least relook at the issue.

(My emphasis)

The context here is that because there are no formal pan-European political parties, the EU Parliament allows groups of like-minded MEPs to form recognized transnational groups which then receive central funding, presumably to help with "administrative" costs. Our friends at HnH believe that only alliances of which they approve should be allowed to form.

HnH bases its challenge on the following,

In article 3 on the conditions for funding (EC 2004/2003), it clearly states that a political party applying for funding: "must observe, in particular in its programme and its activities, the principles on which the European Union is founded, namely the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law."

Now there's a Swiss-army knife of a regulation if ever there was one. With open-ended definitions like that you need a carefully nurtured degree of self-restraint and mutual respect in order to avoid inadvertently getting hurt by unintended consequences. It's just as well, for example, that that nice Tony Blair managed to neuter Clause IV in 1995, because if the original text were still in place, nasty Eurotories could make a plausible claim that the implicit policy of nationalization ran counter to the "fundamental freedom" of private enterprise. Those with more interest in political minutiæ than I could almost certainly find plenty of niggly current examples.

The moral high ground is covered with potholes. Tread carefully.

15 March, 2012


Must try harder

So anyway you're doing a bit of light reading about the Reformation, during which you Google

Diet of Worms

As you do, innit. The mighty algorithms of Google swing into action to bring you a personalized advertisement carefully matched to your interests


I suppose now I'll be followed round the web by slimming adverts for the next few weeks. A couple of years ago I did a search for something to do with snakes. A passing interest so casual and inconsequential that I can't remember the detail of it. What I do remember is that the most interesting result was on the website of a Dutch zoo. Now officially I don't read Dutch but as Dutch is — sorry, Dutch people, but it's true — essentially German vocabulary with an English consonant system, I can manage reasonably well. And so it was that for months thereafter, 50% of the adverts displayed to me by websites were in the Dutch language.

It's bad enough you being creepily intrusive, Google, but you might at least be competently creepily intrusive.


14 March, 2012


The biter bit

The Righteous, inclluding Sunny-Ji and the well-known political solipsist Richard Seymour as well as some geezer I've never heard of before, are lining up to express their outrage at the prosecution of Azhar Ahmed for making offensive remarks on Faceache about the six British soldiers recently killed by a mine or IED in Afghanistan, remarks which the police and/or CPS have construed as a "racially aggravated public order offence". Expect a couple of anguished pieces on CiF over the next few days.

Now at one level I'm entirely in agreement with these fine upstanding liberal commentators. The prosecution is a nonsense. A — how can I express this without getting myself arrested — an intermperate, illiterate young Paki mouths off in inarticulate, inaccurate and deeply offensive terms.

People gassin about the deaths of Soldiers! What about the the innocent familys who have been brutally killed... The women who have been raped... The children who have been sliced up...! Your enemy's were the Taliban not innocent harmful familys. All soldiers should DIE & go to HELL! THE LOWLIFE FOKKIN SCUM! gotta problem go cry at your soldiers grave & wish him hell because thats where he is going...

I can see a lot of White people being offended by this stuff, but I expect the physical outcome to be a certain amount of dismissive swearing rather than a general pogrom against Darkies. And as to Muslims being incited into violent unrest, well there are those who can incite themselves effectively enough without the aid of this pipsqueak, and there are those who, even if they become aware of the matter at all, will simply carry on running their kebab shops, driving their minicabs, and watching Pakistani TV on the satellite.

So no, I don't think this should be prosecuted.

But then again, I don't think bad tempered shouty stuff by White people should generally be prosecuted either. Remember Emma West, out of the limelight now but still awaiting trial, charged with a racially aggravated public order offence, for whingeing in an unseemly manner on a tram? I don't recall the outrage among the Righteous about the state's overreaction to that incident.

But now somebody "on your side" has been hurt by the overweening hate legislation, and you're crying about it. Diddums.

Seymour whines:

Azhar Ahmed is the latest victim of a concerted effort to re-define racism as "anything that could conceivably offend white people". Ahmed is being prosecuted by police over a statement he made on Facebook. The police say it is a "racially aggravated public order offence".

Look at the statement. There is not a hint of racism in it. To make it racist, one would have to assume that the troops were not just exclusively white, but somehow the bearer of whiteness in its essence. Maybe they are in this day and age; maybe it is through imperialist action and its effects both domestically and internationally that whiteness is produced. But the second assumption one would have to make is that white people are the victims of racist oppression by black people, Muslims and so on. We'll come back to this.

Redefine racism away from what, Richard? "Anything that could conceivably offend Black people", perhaps? Because you're a believer in the "racism = power + ethnicity" doctrine, aren't you, so that racism only works one way? Try explaining that to all the White lads in the Midlands and the Pennine Towns who've been attacked because of "the colour of their skin".

And I do like
To make it racist, one would have to assume that the troops were not just exclusively white...
an argument also expressed below the line at LibCon. Remember how you all laughed when those squirming White racists were pleading, "But Islam is not a race, it's a religion, ergo I'm not racist"? Personally I always regarded that as a precarious argument, since in practice in the UK the vast majority of Muslims are South Asians or Africans and race, culture and religion are not easy to disentangle. And now you're trying that fragile ploy yourselves. Well, not all soldiers in the British Army are White, to be sure. But most of them are, and I'll lay six archbishops to an imam that it was White — or as South Asians of my acquaintance usually say, English — soldiers that young Azhar had in mind, not some turncoat Paki coconut from down the street.

If there is a serious point to all of this, and it is one which indeed does seem almost to peep tentatively through the jungle of Marxspeak in Seymour's piece, it is that the state's increasingly ready recourse to open-ended and arbitrarily applied hatecrime legislation as a means of keeping the lid on rising intercommunal tensions is not going to work.

There will be tears. But in the meantime, my Righteous friends, I'm going to enjoy a few moments of Schadenfreude at your, how shall I put it, hilarious fucking hypocrisy.

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