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Posts Tagged ‘britain’

Being a moderate Muslim is dangerous, even in Britain

Posted by Richard on March 26, 2016

Non-Muslim opponents of Islamofascism (myself included) have often lamented the fact that so few moderate Muslims speak out against the radical jihadis. It’s important to remember, however, that doing so can be dangerous. And not just in places like Pakistan or Arab countries. Extending happy Easter wishes to Christians and speaking out against the Brussels bombings proved fatal for a Muslim shopkeeper in Britain:

A popular shopkeeper who wished Christians a happy Easter on Facebook was stabbed to death in what police in Scotland say was a “religiously prejudiced” attack carried out by a fellow Muslim, it was reported Saturday.

Asad Shah, a Pakistani-born resident of Glasgow, was stabbed thirty times and his head stomped, a family friend told the Daily Mail:

Mohammad Faisal, a family friend, said a bearded Muslim wearing a long religious robe entered Mr Shah’s shop and spoke to him in his native language before stabbing him in the head with a kitchen knife.

Mr Shah’s brother, who was working next door, rushed out to find the killer laughing while sitting on the Glasgow newsagent’s bleeding chest.

‘The brother dragged Mr Shah away but the guy continued attacking with the blade,’ said Mr Faisal. ‘They struggled up to the bus stop where Asad collapsed.

‘It was just a clear-cut revenge attack. For posting messages about peace, messages about greeting fellow Christians and Jews.


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Mindless application of the Body Mass Index

Posted by Richard on March 27, 2014

Check out what’s categorized as “borderline obese” by a British NIH nurse who mindlessly applied the crude instrument called the Body Mass Index (BMI) to a female bodybuilder. By all means, scroll down for the photos.

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Apostrophe dropping condemned

Posted by Richard on January 16, 2012

British bookstore Waterstone’s is now Waterstones, and some people are upset:

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, said in a statement, “Waterstones without an apostrophe is, in a digital world of URLs and email addresses, a more versatile and practical spelling. It also reflects an altogether truer picture of our business today which, while created by one, is now built on the continued contribution of thousands of individual booksellers.”

The BBC reports that the move has been condemned by the Apostrophe Protection Society. John Richards, the chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society, told the Telegraph, “It’s just plain wrong. It’s grammatically incorrect. If Sainsbury’s and McDonald’s can get it right, then why can’t Waterstones. You would really hope that a bookshop is the last place to be so slapdash with English.”

Those wacky Brits! Who knew that there was an Apostrophe Protection Society? I bet some of its members are also in the Village Green Preservation Society.

 As for why Waterstone’s would thumb their noses at the Queen’s English like that, here’s the real explanation (emphasis added):

Waterstones also has a new logo, which is a capital W in a Baskerville serif font. Waterstones was acquired by Russian banker Alexander Mamut last May.

It’s the Russkies! Damn their Slavic souls! 🙂

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Same story, two countries

Posted by Richard on July 10, 2011

While researching the current state of the Gaza flotilla for my previous post, I found the same July 7 Reuters story in two places. But there are some not-so-subtle differences (emphasis added throughout). On the Reuters UK website, the second paragraph states:

Greece, just over a year after nine people were killed when Israeli marines stormed a pro-Palestinian flotilla, imposed a ban on all Gaza-bound ships saying it feared for the safety of the activists who are now trying to find a way to set sail. 

I wouldn't call descending onto the deck by ropes from a helicopter "storming," but I won't quibble about that. But that sentence makes it sound like the whole flotilla was the scene of violence and leaves the impression that the Israelis were responsible for it. All the vessels were boarded peacefully except one, the Turkish ship Mavi Marmora. And there's ample video evidence proving that the Israelis were brutally attacked on the Mavi Marmora by "peace activists" who were members of a Turkish Islamist group allied with Hamas.

So the version from the Jerusalem Post (still under the Reuters byline) is somewhat more accurate: 

Greece imposed a ban on all Gaza-bound ships saying it feared for the safety of the activists who are now trying to find a way to set sail. A year ago, nine people were killed when IDF commandos stormed a Turkish flotilla ship and were met with violence.

Toward the end of the story, an even bigger difference jumped out at me. The Reuters UK version states: 

Israel says its blockade of Gaza is aimed at stopping weapons from reaching the enclave's rulers, Hamas — an Islamist group that is branded a terrorist group by some Western nations.


That smarmy bit of equivocation is corrected in the JPost version: 

Jerusalem says the blockade on Gaza is aimed at stopping weapons from reaching the Strip's rulers, Hamas — an Islamist terrorist group.

I wonder if a JPost editor made those changes or if Reuters routinely matches its "narrative" to the local audience in this way. 

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Prime Minister Cameron flew commercial

Posted by Richard on July 23, 2010

A couple of months ago, I had some kind words for Britain's new Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, the junior partner in the coalition government formed by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Now it's time for some kind words for the senior partner, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. For his visit to Washington this week, the Prime Minister and his staff took a commercial British Airways flight, saving British taxpayers £200,000. Bravo!

Our president took Air Force One (and a backup 747) from Washington to New York for a "date night" with his wife. Countless Hollywood celebrities fly around the country constantly in their private jets and lecture us peasants about our carbon footprints. For last winter's "climate summit," so many world leaders and glitterati flew into Copenhagen in their private jets that there wasn't room for them all. They had to drop off their passengers and fly on to another airport to "park." 

Prime Minister Cameron, on the other hand, apparently told one of his staff something like, "Book ten seats on a flight to New York for Monday morning. And make them business class." Yes, that's right — Cameron didn't even fly first class

I'm really taking a shine to the leadership of this new British government — both the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat. 

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The right argument for our time

Posted by Richard on June 29, 2010

In the wake of the electoral collapse of the Labour Party, the British are having a robust debate about welfare reform in particular and the size and scope of government in general. Janet Daley writes in the Telegraph:

At last, we are having the right argument for our time. Virtually everybody who is in touch with political reality now accepts that the old contest – socialism vs capitalism – is over. We all believe, with greater or lesser degrees of enthusiasm, in free-market economics. So the real source of contention that remains is the size and role of the state.

Anyone who thinks that this is a puny arena – that the boundaries of debate have shrunk to a less inspirational, purely managerial scale – is mistaken. The passion with which those on the Left are now defending their new turf should make it clear: this fight will be to the death because the power of government to control social and economic outcomes is seen by them as the last plausible incarnation of their moral world-view. The current arguments about welfare reform which the Government has robustly initiated are going to bring this abstract confrontation into the day-to-day experience of national life.

Now it is perfectly understandable that those who have a vested interest in state power – public sector trade union leaders, for example – should be prepared to risk everything to preserve it, but have the more thoughtful Left-liberal proponents really thought this through? Are they actually prepared to go down fighting for the idea that the state is the source of social virtue and must be the answer to all of our civic problems?

If we learnt anything from the terrible ideological crimes of the 20th century, it was that over-powerful states were dangerous: that even if they did not commit murder or enslave their own populations, their good intentions ended up producing perverse effects simply through the gross, insensitive interventions of central bureaucracy which could take no account of individual needs. Can anyone still believe that the largely catastrophic consequences of Big State solutions to poverty, to housing shortages, to unemployment, to educational disadvantage, have been pure coincidence?

Read the whole thing

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A bonfire of unnecessary laws

Posted by Richard on May 20, 2010

Radley Balko has begun to "warm up to this Nick Clegg chap," and I can see why. Clegg is Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government that the Conservatives formed with Clegg's Liberal Democrats, and he's promising "ambitious and radical" political reforms that aim to empower individuals and reduce the power and scope of government. I like most of the bullet list, but like Balko, my favorite is "a bonfire of unnecessary laws." 

It's all just talk so far, but it's encouraging talk (emphasis added): 

In an attempt to reassure Liberal Democrat members and supporters who doubt the wisdom of joining forces with the Conservatives, he will promise: "This will be a government that is proud when British citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state. That values debate, that is unafraid of dissent."

He will announce plans to consult the public on which laws should be scrapped. Promising to "tear through the statute book", he will attack Labour for creating thousands of criminal offences which took away people's freedom without making the streets safe.

"Obsessive lawmaking simply makes criminals out of ordinary people. So we'll get rid of the unnecessary laws and once they're gone, they won't come back. We will introduce a mechanism to block pointless new criminal offences," he will say.

"This government is going to transform our politics so the state has far less control over you, and you have far more control over the state. This government is going to break up concentrations of power and hand power back to people, because that is how we build a society that is fair. This government is going to persuade you to put your faith in politics once again."

Mr Clegg endorsed David Cameron's flagship "big society" theme, which the Tory leader contrasts with the "big government" offered by Labour during its 13 years in power. In a U-turn, the Liberal Democrat leader told a Downing Street seminar for voluntary groups he hosted with the Prime Minister: "What I'm discovering is we've been using different words for a long time – it actually means the same thing. Liberalism, big society. Empowerment, responsibility. It means the same thing."

That sounds pretty good to my libertarian ears. It's just a hope at this point, but maybe — just maybe — Britain's messy election will lead to something really positive for that nation.

Maybe some British liberals are ready to re-embrace their roots as advocates of freedom, democracy, and civil liberties, instead of focusing on egalitarianism, regulation, and "positive rights." And maybe some British conservatives are returning to their traditional commitment to individual liberty and distrust of overarching government, instead of … well, whatever you call the inchoate policy porridge that's characterized them since the end of Thatcherism. 

Maybe this coalition government is an opportunity for a realignment in British politics, the creation of a real, lasting coalition of those across the political spectrum who've recognized the limits — and dangers — of government power. Something akin to a tea party movement. Wouldn't it be appropriate for the Brits to have something akin to a tea party? Eh, wot?

One can hope.

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Global cooling forecast, Phil Jones considered suicide

Posted by Richard on February 11, 2010

I don't know that there's any connection between these two bits of news, but they're both from the same Daily Express story, and for some reason the juxtaposition gave me a chuckle:

Professor Michael Beenstock said theories of climate change are wrong.

He warned climatologists have misused statistics, leading them to the mistaken conclusion global warming is ­evidence of the greenhouse effect.

The economics professor from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem said that just because greenhouse gases and temperatures have risen together does not mean they are linked.

He claims that the real cause of ­rising temperatures is the sun, which he says is at its hottest for over 1,000 years but is “beginning to stabilise”.

Professor Beenstock said: “If the sun’s heat continues to remain stable, and if carbon emissions continue to grow with the rate of growth of the world economy, global temperatures will fall by about 0.5C by 2050.”

Citing predictions by climatologists in the 1970s of a new Ice Age, Professor Beenstock said: “I predict that ­climatologists will look equally foolish in the years to come. Indeed, it may be already happening.”

Some of the commenters quickly seized on the fact that Beenstock is an economist, not a climatologist, claimed he was from a "right-wing think tank" (Hebrew University?), and said the Express had no business presenting him as an expert on climate.

I disagree. The "evidence" for global warming consists of statistical output data from complex computer models analyzing statistical input data (carefully chosen and adjusted to "normalize" it — or to arrive at the desired conclusion, depending on whom you believe). An econ professor is typically quite expert in statistics, mathematics, and computer modeling, and is thus quite qualified to comment on the manipulation of data relating to climate change. Certainly more so than the IPCC honcho who is a sociologist, or a flamenco dancer, or something. 

Later in the story, we learn that the fallout from the first ClimateGate scandal (how many have there been now, four?) has taken its toll on the chief perp:

Meanwhile, Professor Phil Jones from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit – the expert at the ­centre of the Climategate scandal – said he had considered suicide and had death threats over leaked emails which appeared to show ­scientists rigging the data.

The story ends with this, apparently presented with a straight face: 

MPs have called on the Government to consider a carbon tax of £100 a ton “or higher” to force down greenhouse gases. But there are fears it could push up fuel and food prices.

Gee, higher fuel and food prices from a carbon tax — ya think? Really?


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Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Posted by Richard on November 5, 2009

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.

On this day in 1605, Guy Fawkes attempted (and failed) to blow up the British Houses of Parliament. He's been toasted ever since (in some circles, at least) as "The last man to enter Parliament with honourable intentions." 

Courtesy of the Moving Picture Institute, here's a short clip from V for Vendetta honoring the day. 

[YouTube link]

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British diplomat curses Jews

Posted by Richard on February 10, 2009

A high-ranking British Foreign Office diplomat and Middle East expert has been arrested for publicly cursing Israel and Jews. Charles Johnson at LGF expressed my sentiments exactly (as he often does):

I’m not sure which is more disgusting — this antisemitic rant by a British diplomat, or the fact that in Britain you can be imprisoned for seven years because you said some words.


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Happy birthday, Mick!

Posted by Richard on July 26, 2008

Time waits for no one
And blue turns to grey
Soul survivor Mick Jagger
Turned 65 today

Wow. According to The Sun, Mick is now entitled to a free bus pass, free dental care and vision tests, free prescriptions, and a variety of other benefits, subsidies, and tax credits. Oh, and a state pension of £90 a week. It's nice that the British take such good care of their aging rockers in their twilight years.

Time may not be on his side, but Mick's in great shape and not ready to retire:

More than 40 years ago Mick was asked if he could picture himself at the age of 60 doing what he was doing in his 20s.

He replied: "Yeah, easily. Yeah." The question now must surely be whether he can carry the party on into his 70s.

Mick was quoted last October by the BBC explaining his determination to carry on.

He said: "I'm sure the Rolling Stones will do more things and more records and more tours. We've got no plans to stop any of that, really."

I have been lucky enough to see the Stones in action more than once.

Mick's energy, enthusiasm and agility make most of this generation of rockers – who are young enough to be his grandchildren – look lethargic in comparison.

He also has enough lead in his pencil to keep a model 20 years his junior smiling. 

(Yeah, that opening poetic masterpiece bit of doggerel is my very own creation. So if you want to use it, give me credit and a link.) 


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Support Harry’s Place

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2008

I've had Harry's Place in my blog roll almost from the beginning and have linked to it several times. It's the voice of Britain's sane, anti-authoritarian left that "gets it" regarding the threat of Islamofascism and its historical and intellectual ties to European fascism.

Reading Harry's Place will convince you that they have a better class of leftists in Britain than we have here — far more articulate, reasonable, funny, and interesting than the American nutroots left. They're evidence, as I once said, "that being economically illiterate doesn't necessarily mean you're divorced from reality in all respects. :-)"

Now, their existence is threatened by a jihadist legal assault. Here's the story from NeoConstant:

Harry’s Place, a UK blog dedicated to promoting the ideals of freedom and democracy, is being sued by Mohammed Sawalha, the President of the British Muslim Initiative, which has been linked to Hamas and the Islamic Brotherhood, both terrorist organizations.  The blog reports that Mr. Sawalha, according to the BBC…

“master minded much of Hamas’ political and military strategy” and in London “is alleged to have directed funds, both for Hamas’ armed wing, and for spreading its missionary dawah”.

In their revelation of the impending lawsuit against them leveled by Mohammed Sawalha, they write:

Mr Sawalha claims that we have “chosen a malevolent interpretation of a meaningless word”. In fact, we did no more than translate a phrase which appeared in an Al Jazeera report of Mr Sawalha’s speech. When Al Jazeera changed that phrase from “Evil Jew” to “Jewish Lobby”, we reported that fact, along with the statement that it had been a typographical error.

Mr Sawalha has been the prime mover in a number of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood associated projects. He is President of the British Muslim Initiative. He is the past President of the Muslim Association of Britain. He was the founder of IslamExpo, and is registered as the holder of the IslamExpo domain name. He is also a trustee of the Finsbury Park Mosque….

…Mr Sawalha says that the attribution of the phrase “Evil Jew” to him implies that he is “anti-semitic and hateful”. Notably, he does not take issue with our reporting of the revelation, made in a Panorama documentary in 2006, that he is a senior activist in the clerical fascist terrorist organisation, Hamas.

It looks like Harry’s Place is going up against some pretty top-notch lawyers on this one, and they’ve got guts, but as the post goes on to say:

If Mr Sawalha persists in attempting to silence us with this desperate legal suit, we will need your help.

We won’t be able to stand up to them alone.

This is why we’ve started this blogburst, to get the word out that we won’t let members of Hamas or any radical terrorist group censor us or any of our fellow bloggers.

If you're a blogger, join this blogburst in support of Harry's Place by posting this message. I'm hoping that in the future, there will be an opportunity to offer financial support as well. I'll let you know.  

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Brits push knife control

Posted by Richard on July 3, 2008

I followed Instapundit's link (aptly introduced as "CULTURAL SUICIDE") to this Daily Mirror story about London's new mayor urging residents to become more cowardly and helpless:

Boris Johnson urged people to walk away if they see a crime committed rather than risk their own lives.

The London mayor admitted he would tell his own children to "look after themselves" rather than play Good Samaritan to a victim.

"Everybody is shocked by the level of violence we are seeing, particularly towards young people, and we must all work as hard as we can to reverse this dreadful trend."

An intriguing link below that sad story led me to another story that I at first thought was biting satire: 

We are not calling for radical new laws – but simple, measures that will see the police, parents, teachers, doctors and nurses combining to form a common front against the knife menace.

The entire nation has been shocked by the rising tide of kniferelated deaths. Now we must act. All of us.

1 Give our police tools to catch knife thugs

First, we must give police the tools they need to effectively stop and search youngsters without losing their goodwill.

The only guaranteed method of detecting a hidden knife is with a magnetic scanner. And being scanned is less offensive than being searched. Every bobby in a knife hotspot must be given a hand-held scanner.

2 Launch amnesty to bring in the blades

We must show our determination to disarm Britain with a new knife amnesty.

There are more such brilliant ideas. Scrappleface couldn't have done a better job, but these people appear to be dead serious.

Below the story, under the heading "THE LIVES THAT COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED," they list eleven young people (14-22) who were recently murdered. Most were victims of stabbings, but I noticed that one teen "died after being hit on the head with a bowl at a bakery," so I wonder if bowl control will be next on the agenda. 

Can golf club control and cricket bat control be far behind? 

Sic transit gloria Britannia.  

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Convenient falsehoods

Posted by Richard on October 11, 2007

A British judge identified 11 specific ways in which Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth is inaccurate or misleading and ruled that the government (which wants the film shown in every school in the country) can distribute the film only if it complies with certain restrictions (emphasis added):

In order for the film to be shown, the Government must first amend their Guidance Notes to Teachers to make clear that 1.) The Film is a political work and promotes only one side of the argument. 2.) If teachers present the Film without making this plain they may be in breach of section 406 of the Education Act 1996 and guilty of political indoctrination. 3.) Eleven inaccuracies have to be specifically drawn to the attention of school children.

The High Court decision was only a partial victory for truck driver and New Party member Stewart Dimmock, who sued to have the film banned from schools completely as "irremediable" propaganda, but Justice Burton's ruling left no doubt that it was a victory (emphasis added):

Awarding Mr Dimmock two thirds of his estimated legal costs of more than £200,000 against the government, the judge said: "I conclude that the claimant substantially won this case by virtue of my finding that, but for the new guidance note, the film would have been distributed in breach of sections 406 and 407 of the 1996 Education Act."

These sections ban the political indoctrination of schoolchildren and require political views to be presented in a balanced way.

Of course, that didn't keep two of Britain's most prestigious news organizations from putting a somewhat different spin on it. Here are a couple of the results from a Google News search (emphasis added):

Guardian Unlimited, UK – 5 hours ago
A parent has failed in his legal action to prevent Al Gore's climate-change documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, being shown in schools in England.
Judge backs Gore film in schools
BBC News, UK – 6 hours ago
Secondary schools in England are free to show the climate change film by former US Vice-President Al Gore, a High Court judge has confirmed.

If you follow the link to the BBC story, you'll see that they've subsequently retitled it to the more neutral, but nonsensical "Judge rules on Gore schools film" — what's a "Gore schools film"? The Guardian story is the source of the quote saying Dimmock "substantially won," but you don't learn that Dimmock hasn't really "failed" until you're 13 paragraphs in. 

At least British mainstream media reported the story. The only major U.S. outlet to mention it, according to Google News, was Fox News. The New York Times mentioned it, but only in their "notes on the news" blog, The Lede

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Are they waking up in Britain?

Posted by Richard on September 10, 2007

I can't believe this appeared in the Times of London (emphasis added):

America’s disenchantment with “gun control” is based on experience: whereas in the 1960s and 1970s armed crime rose in the face of more restrictive gun laws (in much of the US, it was illegal to possess a firearm away from the home or workplace), over the past 20 years all violent crime has dropped dramatically, in lockstep with the spread of laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons by law-abiding citizens. …

In Britain, however, the image of violent America remains unassailably entrenched. Never mind the findings of the International Crime Victims Survey (published by the Home Office in 2003), indicating that we now suffer three times the level of violent crime committed in the United States; never mind the doubling of handgun crime in Britain over the past decade, since we banned pistols outright and confiscated all the legal ones.

We are so self-congratulatory about our officially disarmed society, and so dismissive of colonial rednecks, that we have forgotten that within living memory British citizens could buy any gun – rifle, pistol, or machinegun – without any licence. When Dr Watson walked the streets of London with a revolver in his pocket, he was a perfectly ordinary Victorian or Edwardian. Charlotte Brontë recalled that her curate father fastened his watch and pocketed his pistol every morning when he got dressed; Beatrix Potter remarked on a Yorkshire country hotel where only one of the eight or nine guests was not carrying a revolver; in 1909, policemen in Tottenham borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by (and were joined by other armed citizens) when they set off in pursuit of two anarchists unwise enough to attempt an armed robbery. We now are shocked that so many ordinary people should have been carrying guns in the street; the Edwardians were shocked rather by the idea of an armed robbery.

Bravo! Read the whole thing! (HT: Instapundit)

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