Angus Campbell, witness to the 21st July failed London bombings.
"I was watching the woman opposite me. She had a small child and the small child was being quite lively ... I was mildly amused, I have small children and often struggle with my children. Then there was an explosion. It was loud, we were in a confined carriage and the explosion was loud. I remember I was cowering, I was crouched in my seat and I remember my arm being over my head."
We know that there are people in this country who believe that Ramzi Mohammed, the alleged Oval bomber, had every justification for trying to kill those random tube travellers that day. There are some who don't believe he was justified, who will tell you vehemently that what he tried to do was wrong, but then will go on to express a sympathetic understanding of why he would want to do such a thing.
I have been wondering how these people bend their already warped view around the fact that this particular bomber was going to blow himself up directly next to a baby in a puschair. Perhaps they think, ah well, Muslim children die at the hands of the West every day and so why not. Yep, bet that's it.
Personally, I think that murdering children is wrong. It's wrong if coalition soldiers murder an Iraqi child, it's wrong if the IDF murder a Palestinian child, it's wrong if Palestinians murder an Israeli child, and it's wrong if a extremist blows himself up on a tube and murders a British child.
In fact, I'll go all out here and say that I believe murder to be wrong even if the person being murdered isn't a child but a fully formed adult.
Anyway, they failed. And in the general scheme of things that is the important thing here.
And today, eight more who failed.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Angus Campbell, witness to the 21st July failed London bombings.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
"One block is concerned with the plundering of the inmates. Piles of spectacles, heaps of suitcases with the names of the owners on, bundles of children’s clothes and mountains of shoes greeted you in successive rooms. Looking at these possessions, the relatively small amount of time between the terrible events at Auschwitz and the present seemed to melt away. It wasn’t just possessions that were plundered; a roomful of human hair lay in one room - cut from gassed women it was to be used to make felt. Aged and faded, a long platted length of hair lay intact in the pile. Do those who know they are to die plat their hair?"
Centre of the Universe
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
"The government's difficulties over granting equal adoption rights for gay couples deepened last night as the two archbishops of the Church of England gave their support to the Catholic church's opposition to the plans."
"The rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation," say Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York "however well meaning."
And yet this very same "conscience" is prepared to close down these adoption agencies that do good works if it cannot have its own way.
Here's an idea. As these religions make up the rules as they go along, perhaps someone at Head Office can make up some new rule that it is better to do good works that obey the laws of the land than to stop doing these good works on point of a groundless, offensive and harmful principle.
I'm sure that would get them off the hook with their invisible friend. And I think that is what Jesus would do.
Andrew at Wongablog tells it like it is.
Sign the petition, should you agree.
I just stumbled across this Paul Dacre article in Comment is Free (stop your groaning).
I hadn't picked up on who the article was written by before I read it. I just wanted to know what the argument behind the following statement was:
"Intolerant and consumed by political correctness, the corporation is waging an Orwellian campaign against British values."
If you would like to know what the argument behind that statement was too, then don't bother reading the piece because no real argument is made, and a very long-winded and vacuous article can be withered down to the following statement:
"Everyone in Britain holds right-wing views on everything, but the BBC consistently fails to endorse sexism, racism, fascism or judgmental attitudes because they're a bunch of marxist hippy types."
For those of you that don't know, Paul Dacre is the editor of the Daily Mail
(I note this article was not penned specifically for Comment is Free, but taken from a lecture by Mr Dacre. Surely this is against the spirit of the thing?)
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Dennis Wise is a thug and a disgrace to the footballing profession.
West Bromwich Albion played away to Leeds yesterday and one of the Albion players, Kamara, had to come off after he was the victim of a nasty tackle by a Leeds players that got him an elbow in the throat. As Kamara reached the edge of the pitch Wise, Leeds manager, pushed forward and physically attacked him.
Afterwards, when being interviewed, Wise was not questioned on his behaviour and was allowed to get away with affecting a wide-boy jovial sort of character whilst continuing a verbal assault on Kamara.
Wise of course is famous for beating a taxi driver, biting another player and breaking a team-mate's jaw whilst at Leicester. How is this man still in a job?
Thursday, January 18, 2007
"Dozens of Shetty's fans took to the streets in Patna, eastern India, to protest against what they said was her humiliation, burning straw effigies of the show's producers. In Bangalore, Gordon Brown faced journalists questioning him on the merits of a reality show he claimed not to have seen. "I understand that in the UK there have already been 10,000 complaints from viewers about remarks which people see rightly as offensive," he said. "I want Britain to be seen as a country of fairness and tolerance. Anything that detracts from that I condemn."
Later Tony Blair's spokesman added: "What clearly is to be regretted and countered is any perception abroad that in any way we tolerate racism in this country."
I've been watching in amazement at the spiralling row breaking over Shilpa's treatment in the Big Brother House. When I wrote this post, I thought I was a lone voice. Obviously not.
I think I'd like to revise my appraisal of the situation after last night's show. I don't think that for Jade Goody this is about racism. I think it's about a clash of personalities and class. I think that Shilpa, as a well spoken, mild mannered, educated and classy female touches all of Jade's buttons. The woman who has made a very successful career out of being thick and inarticulate can't seem to take it when somebody makes her feel that being thick and articulate is a bad thing. So farJade Goody has had only praise, success and wealth for her pig ignorance. It has obviously come as a shock that this personal attribute can be used against her in a derogatory manner.
I think with Danielle "sexual plaything to an ageing footballer" Lloyd, we have something very different. Last night, on top of previous uncomfortable comments, we had her saying that the Indian star should "fuck off home." When Big Brother later quizzed her about this her panicked and inconsistent reaction told us that she knew exactly what the connotations of her words were. She said to Big Brother that she now realised that she was going along with the pack and that she wouldn't like to be treated the way that she and her "friends" have been treating Shilpa.
I would like very much for this to be a sort of tipping point in her attitude and to see a real change in her, though I doubt she has the personal integrity to do such a thing.
I reserve most of my disgust for Jo "failed singer" O'Meara. She sat and laughed with Danielle last night as Jade Goody's stress levels reached such an aggressive pitch it was a worry she might physically lash out. But Jo is no thicko like Danielle. If anyone could calm the other two in the group down and take the heat off Shilpa, it is her. She is respected in the group and is the only one with the sense to know that things have been taken too far. And if she didn't care to do it for Shilpa, you think she'd want to do it for Jade. But instead she quietly stokes the fires and then sits back and enjoys the heat. Despicable.
Well done to C4 for showing all this ugliness. Tell me any dry and dusty documentary that would highlight issues of racism and cultural and class divide in the way that this program is capable of. Truly a mirror to our souls.
I only hope that when Jade, Danielle and Jo finally get to realise the seriousness of their actions, and the ramifications of global proportions, that we all get to watch.
Agree with Sunny.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
"Undercover footage of hate-filled sermons condemning Jews, homosexuals and other nonbelievers and calling for British democracy to be torn down and replaced by an Islamic state, were broadcast by the Dispatches programme on Channel 4."
I was asleep through the first half of the programme and my brother rang during the second half, so I didn't exactly get to see as much as the programme as I had intended. But what I did see wasn't shocking. So Islam is infected with a nasty streak of hardline wahhabism. No shit! I thought we'd figured that out when men began blowing us up on public transport and the women started walking around in death shrouds.
From what I witnessed, the "preachers of hate" that featured on the programme were not resident Imams but preachers who had hired out the halls of the mosques. Or they featured in clips from videos being sold in the Mosque shop. That's actually quite a harsh angle to come from when attacking individual mosques. And it's worth pointing out that Islam is not the only religion to have a problem with Jews, gays and women. Go into any evangelical Christian church and let's see that they have to say on such sections of society shall we?
Waste of a programme to my mind. It might have been of some use before last year's London bombings. Now it's just a case of tell us something we don't know.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I make no apologies for always watching Big Brother because generally I find it can be good fun and I find the whole thing of being able to see the private and public personas of other human beings absolutely fascinating.
Often, I find, the people who claim to detest such reality TV programmes do so because the idea of taking an interest in anyone but themselves is such an alien idea it makes them sweat.
But that is not to deny that sometimes I hate the program. I hate it because human interaction is interesting enough without the TV producers putting the housemates through various stressful situations and adding extra pressures. I find it an unnecessarily cruel. And I don't actually think it aids anything to my experience of the programme by giving the housemates only cold water to shower in, or starving them, or pitting them against each other in demeaning tasks.
Because human beings are quite capable of creating their own hell.
And at the moment housemate Shilpa Shetty is in a hell created by thicko "beauty" queen and sexual plaything to an ageing footballer Danielle ?, S Club 7 "I just want everyone to know that I am a nice person" Jo, and casual thug Jade Goody.
These three really quite nasty individuals have made a decision to use Shilpa as a target of constant verbal attacks and to isolate her from the group. They made this decision because they are the type of insecure, morally bankrupt females who want to hide within the dynamics of a group to protect themselves and their fragile egos. And one of the easiest and most effective ways to secure group bonding is to have a joint enemy - and this, through no fault of her own, they have created in Shilpa.
And the others, who smugly think of themselves as "getting on with both sides" watch as these three individuals continue their unjustified and sickening attack on a defenceless and hurting individual. And they do that because they are cowards. Were they to show too much favour to Shilpa, or were they to stand up to the group on her behalf, they would run the risk of becoming another of the group's target's. This they won't do. And this the group rely on.
Germaine Jackson offers fey words that amount to nothing more than "rise above it" and H from Steps goes into the diary room and bawls his eyes eyes because inexplicably Shilpa being victimised makes him feel sorry for himself. Cleo is the only housemate attempting pragmatic actions to ease the tensions in the house; comforting Shilpa whilst trying to remain influential with the group of bitches. But it is not enough.
And what makes it worse is that I feel there is an underlying racism regarding the attacks on Shilpa. The chicken incident. Danielle saying with a look of disgust on her face that perhaps Indians don't cook chicken the way that "we" do, and perhaps "they" are all ill "over there" all of the time, and perhaps that's why "they" are all so thin. I kid you not.
And Shilpa, used to having a high status, is at a loss as to know how to react. Having a high status in India she could afford to be personable and vulnerable in front of people, and this would generally be found to be endearing. However, that tack doesn't work here because the group of three have assigned her such a low status. Making herself personable and vulnerable in the Big Brother House just leads to her humiliation. Such as when she showed the group how she was bleaching her face. This, I understand, is quite a common thing for Indian women to do. But it lead to looks of disgust and nasty comments from the group about her having a beard and being "like a man". That can't have been comfortable viewing for other Asian women who were familiar with what Shilpa was doing.
And then there is the refusal by some, especially Jade's mother, to get the pronouncement of her name correct. Shilpa has sometimes been reffered to as "the Indian" and not in friendly tones.
I am shocked and ashamed that in 21st century Britain there are young urban individuals who are so oblivious to when a bitching session slips towards racism that they continue doing it on national TV. Danielle clearly has the sense of a two year old, but Jo and Jade I would have expected to understand that the racist slant of the group attacks is unacceptable, even before they realised they were unwarranted and cruel. Or perhaps they do realise, which is actually worse.
I hope when they leave the house that they get the smeared reputation and painful obscurity that they deserve.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Oh, here we go, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain, says something and the press go all over it like a pack of screaming heebies.
On the subject of global warming and whether or not people should stop doing air travel, Mr Blair says:
"I personally think these things are a bit impractical, actually to expect people to do that. It's like telling people you shouldn't drive anywhere."
The man had just come back from Miami. On an airplane. He could hardly stand there and say that everyone should immediately pack up air travel and go holiday in Bognor Regis, could he now? That would have made him a hypocrite.
Now here's a question. How many of the press people involved in peddling out this story in such an aghast manner have stopped going abroad for their holidays? Hmmm? All those bods at Sky, and the Guardian and on the ITV news, how many of them holiday at Butlins? Because, really, don't shove this at the general public with such faux horror unless you haven't set foot in a carbon emitting flying machine for at least two years. Because that would make you a hypocrite.
"Downing Street had been forced on the defensive - and eventually into a U-turn" says the Guardian breathlessly. Like a school ground bully who crows about their bullying. Apart from the fact that he has done no such thing, so it’s empty crowing which is worse. They just love a sense of their own power the media. And they do have power. But they almost always use it on the wrong thing.
I have some sympathy with Matt-c's view that this shows how Blair's idealism is not so shiny as it once was. But I like the latter Blair. Seems to me he's putting up two fingers to the hypocritical and often moronic press pack. It wouldn't surprise me to find out years from now that to any given issue he and Alastair Campbell take bets on the level of press hysteria they can generate.
Richard Buggs in the Guardian today tries to make the point that Intelligent Design is a science not a faith. He doesn't manage though because of course it isn't.
Just because scientific knowledge has developed in the 150 years since Darwin's time, making parts of his theory look a little out of date, does not mean that the question of how we came to be can be thrown wide open to any old improbability.
Nor, I suspect, is ID really "a logical inference, based on data gathered from the natural world, and hence [it] is firmly in the realm of science." Because I've never yet heard an argument put forward for ID that amounts to anything more than a pointing out of a gap in scientific knowledge. And I have been all over the site Truth in Science, of which organisation Mr Buggs sits on the scientific panel, and can find no mention of any of this data. Just to be sure I have e-mailed him asking where I can look this data up. I'll let you know what reply I get.
But the point I really wanted to make is that despite proponents of ID being very cautious about mentioning God, the only people pushing this ridiculous theory are the religious. Science isn't seeking a way-out-there crazy alternative to Darwin. Religion is trying to push it into science. And I find this interesting because when the point is made that there is no scientific evidence for God, people who believe in God will tell you that God lies outside of the realm of science. God lies not in the natural but in the supernatural. And yet here we are witnessing a desire by the religious for science to prop up the God hypothesis. And there was me thinking it was all about faith.
And let's not be coy. This is about a God. You can say it's about a non-specified "intelligence" all you like but I think the fact a bunch of Christians are behind it kind of gives the game away. There would be no one pushing this ridiculous "theory" if there wasn't some other agenda. And that agenda, I assert, is to get God into the science classrooms.
Richard Buggs says ID proponents don't push for an "identification of the designer" because of a "realism about the limitations of the scientific method." But if science can't prove God it is less to do with the limits of the scientific methods and more to do with the fact that no God exists.
Religious candle wavers are rallying outside the Westminster Palace tonight as the Lords deal with the new equality act. The Religious Ones don't like the bit in the act that includes homosexuals in the whole equality thing.
I direct you to this excellent article "Homophobia, not injustice, is what really fires the faiths" by Polly Toynbee that says everything I would like to say.
Apart from one thing. Which is that this law would not force any religious believer give up their bigotry. But if religious bigots who run a business or provide a service feel that in all consciousness that they cannot provide this business or service to homosexuals, then they are perfectly free to give up that business or service and go and make a living doing something else. Or go and live somewhere else.
Also, just have to draw your attention to this part of a most stunning comment below Polly's article by steviejo1955, an evangelical Christian: "I am sure that God will look @ His people standing out side parliment tonight & weep,just as Jesus did & does over Jeruselem."
Three things. One, I wonder what Maureen Messent would say to the assertion that God is one of those sobbing, gibbering types. Two, I thought the general idea was that God and Jesus were the same thing - how then, if they are the same being, can God weep over something like Jesus weeps over something else? Three - no God exists.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I did state that when I saw something that talked about God as if a God actually existed, I was going to point out that no God exists.
Well, here we go.
Maureen Messent, fellow Birmingham residents may know, is one of the columnists for local rag, the Birmingham Mail. I wouldn't exactly describe the Birmingham Mail as having a progressive and liberal attitude in its general views on life in Britain today, and Maureen tells it like she thinks Birmingham Mail readers want to hear it.
On January 5th this year, Maureen thought that readers would like to read about how a man who appeared on BBC1's In It To Win It "made her flesh creep".
"he began sobbing and gibbering" Maureen informs us, "lest he might not know the answer to a question that could win him £17,500."
But harsh you might think. I'd probably be doing a bit of sobbing and gibbering if I didn't know the answer to a £17,500 question too. Surely there must have something more to have caused Maureen's flesh to be creeped?
Well, it certainly can't have been that the man in question was gay. It can't have been because Maureen tells us right at the top of the column that:
"I HAVE no trouble with gays and lesbians. I believe God made them as He did and we have no right to mock them, name-call or discriminate while heterosexuals make such disasters of their lives."
Which, I don't know about you, but that seems totally convincing to me. And having totally convinced us that she "has no trouble with gays and lesbians" she goes on to mention how this particular gay man "minced into the spotlight" proving himself "Just another man who feels it necessary to parade his homosexuality" before finally declaring "It was one of the most distasteful episodes I've seen on TV in months."
Interesting, isn't it? How she feels the need to point out first and foremost that she doesn't have a problem with "gays and lesbians" because God made them. I think, on some level, she means this as a true kindness. It's as if she thinks the worst thing that anyone could say would be that "gays and lesbians" were not made by God. Yes, that would be truly out of order. But she seems to be of the opinion that by saying something that she thinks makes a point in favour of "gays and lesbians" that this then makes it OK to write a nasty piece of hate-filled drivel about a gay man.
I'd like to make two points. Firstly, how does Maureen know that God made "gas and lesbians"? I'm presuming this is the Christian God we are talking about and so where in the bible does it make mention of the fact that you shalt not mock gays and lesbians because He made them? Is this assertion not just one of those little rules that religious people make up to oil the cogs in the workings of their own personal moral universe?
The second point I would like to make is that no God exists. I think this is the most important point and it throws a real curve ball to our Maureen. Not only can her opinion on homosexuals not be attributed to God, but the God it can't be attributed to doesn't even exist.
"Why do I feel so outraged by this cissy performance?" she asks right at the end of the piece. It's because you're a bigot, Maureen.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
I've spent a couple of days with a migraine and so it's not been the greatest end to my Christmas hols. Back to work tomorrow.
To mark the end of my own personal festive period I spent the afternoon watching a DVD of 'Love Actually', drinking a tot of ginger wine and nibbling bruschetta. I bought the bruschetta from Iceland and so remain confused as to my social class.
Prescott calls Saddam execution 'deplorable'
My immediate thought at this piece of news was that 'deplorable' is an odd choice of word when talking about the death penalty. It's more the sort of word you'd use about a bad film you'd just seen or when commenting on the actions of a cad who married an unsuspecting woman for her money or something.
My second thought was that this is the media trying to make a story out of the fact that one of the Labour hierarchy has broken ranks and made his opinion on Saddam Hussein's state execution known.
Only, actually, neither is true because Prescott was not talking in direct relation to Saddam Hussein's execution. He was actually commenting on the leaked footage of Saddam's death:
"I think the manner was quite deplorable really. I don't think one can endorse in any way that, whatever your views about capital punishment. Frankly, to get the kind of recorded messages coming out is totally unacceptable and I think whoever is involved and responsible for it should be ashamed of themselves."
What we actually have here then is the media trying to make a story by taking the words of a politician out of context and knowingly making a misleading headline.
Perhaps the media might do better by firstly understanding that, yes, actually, sneakily filming the execution of a man on a mobile phone for fuck's sake, and then selling it the media is in fact 'deplorable'. I'd call it 'sick'. But do you know what's worse? That our sanctimonious press have been shoving these images in our faces over Christmas in between Disney films and The Two Ronnies, during the day when kids will have been watching, and not seeming to be aware that what they were doing was an utter disgrace to their profession.
I spare no pity for Saddam Hussein, but the images of his execution being banded around so casually by our media has been contemptible. I refuse to watch the footage of him being taken to the gallows. Nor do I want to see pictures of him standing surrounded by his executioners with a noose around his neck. This is because I have respect for life and will not degrade myself by watching the final sickening moments leading up to the state sponsored murder of a human being. Not even a human being like him.
But rather than employing a little sensitivity regarding such an all-round nasty event, our media use it as an opportunity to take a cheap shot at John Prescott.