"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Conservative Party

Norwich’s Clueless Chloe On Newsnight….


Very painful…brace yourselves…6mins 11 in…

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Living With The Enemy-New Travellers Episode


An episode from 1998 which sees a Tory Councillor staying a week with New Travellers.

Whilst the lives of travellers have over the last decade changed drastically since this was made with many forced off the road due to more and more legislation, it’s interesting to note Tories remain the same…completely anal and still wishing to dictate how the rest of us should live out our lives!


Cameron and Faith: Where Is The Big Society Going?


From Paul Stott’s blog

An interesting insight into the vision David Cameron has for Britain comes from an article he has written for issue 68 of Keep The Faith magazine.

For the uninitiated, Keep The Faith styles itself, according to its blurb on Google, as ‘Britain’s leading magazine about black faith’. Personally I am not sure how ‘faith’ can be black or indeed any colour, and I feel rather perturbed by the suggestion that it can be. Then again I have always been a staunch atheist, so what do I know?

In a way, Cameron’s approach to Keep The Faith is far from unique. Issue 68 is devoted to a series of condemnations of this summers riots, and Cameron makes it clear that he sees faith as a way of countering such violence. Underwhelmed as I was by the political content of the riots, it is hard not be reminded of the way the 1980s urban clashes were followed by politicians embracing multi-culturalism, community leaders and religious figures in the inner-cities – all to buy off future problems. Put simply, the Prime Minister does not want to see young black kids on street corners, but in church. Here Christianity remains in its traditional role as far as British political leaders are concerned – it is for civilising black people.

What is also interesting, and deeply disturbing, is how Cameron sketches the big society to this audience. Consider this quote:

“I don’t agree with people who say there is no place for faith in society and public service. Just look at the good work of faith schools – including the one my own son and daughter attend – or the work of Street Pastors and the Salvation Army. In every town and every city, there are charities and voluntary organisations of all faiths doing teriffic things. And through the new Localism Bill, they are freed up like never before to transform their local communities. This revival is at the heart of what I want to achieve.”

The privatisation or reduction of public services, with religious organisations filling the gap, was envisaged in the US by the neo-Conservative right and by George W Bush. In Britain, it picked up pace in London with Ken Livingstone’s funding of East London Mosque’s welfare programmes, and is set to continue with the big society. On this issue at least, the right, the left and the centre-right appears in harmony.

Several problems emerge with this approach. Firstly, what about those who don’t want their local community ‘transformed’ by the church down the road? When Cameron praises faith schools, is he really unaware of the division they have fostered in Northern Ireland, and to a lesser extent Scotland? Why is their promotion in England going to be different, especially when we already see significant differences between, to take one example, Muslim and non-Muslim communties in places like Birmingham and east Lancashire? What if traditionally antagonistic faiths compete for influence in the same area, both looking to ‘transform’ the community?

Writing for Shift magazine in 2010, I warned that the big society was likely to end up as an Islamist beanfeast. The reality now appears worse – a beanfeast for any religious current going.


No Need For Public Spending Cuts!


Found on YouTube

Professor Greg Philo explains an imaginitive method of clearing the national debt, but the Labout and Conservative MPs present are not particularly interested.


Cameron To Court Union Leaders In No.10.


Cameron with Union boss recently...

The Daily Mirror today ‘reports’ that secret meetings between David Cameron and TUC officials could start as early as tomorrow.

DAVID Cameron is secretly planning a historic meeting with union bosses in Downing Street this week.
And the PM’s talks with TUC general secretary Brendan Barber could happen as early as tomorrow. But Number 10 has been desperate to keep the meeting secret amid fears Mr Barber could pull out if details were leaked.

There are also fears the summit could spark in-fighting between moderate and hardline unions because of savage job cuts.

It is expected Mr Barber will be offered mince pies in a desperate charm offensive by Mr Cameron aimed at heading off fresh strikes.

He could even pose for an unprecedented handshake outside Number 10 with Mr Cameron – an image
that would horrify both the Tories and union members.

But a senior union source said: “We welcome the change of tone. But we still have a long list of areas where we disagree.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/12/19/strike-fears-force-tuc-into-no-10-115875-22794581/

Like us, we’re sure you are in no doubt that these ‘officials’ will do all they can to not ‘rock the boat’ and will make sure their ‘places at the table’ are guaranteed. While trade union grass root members are committed to fighting tooth and nail to save our welfare state, sadly as always, it will be the ‘leadership’ that stifles any serious fightback.

So far it has been students showing the real leadership, the only ‘gesture’ from the TUC has been to call a demo in March 2011. Hardly shows a commitment to fight for all the hard earned rights our forbears lost their lives for does it?

More commentary on this story

here and here.


Opinion: Student Movement On The Rise


By George Deacon

 

Mr Murphy, Tory leader of Norfolk County Council, stood in front of BBC’s Look East Camera’s and said he welcomed the lobby by students from Norwich City College against cuts to their travel subsidy.

Suggesting that perhaps a deal had been struck or that in fact the Tory’s never intended to go through with the cuts (now listening) Mr Murphy beamed into the camera and was seen shaking the hand of deputy leader of City College Student Union (Tom Hollick). What neither the benevolent figure of Mr Murphy nor the presenter of BBC Look East mentioned was that the ‘riot police’ were laying in wait in the City Hall Car Park.

It appears then that the political classes who regularly draw a stipend from the County coffers were happy to spend vital moneys from the public purse in barracking the local constabulary, kitted out in the latest riot gear and equipment, rather than pay the travel costs of working class students currently studying at Norwich City College. Further, happy to stand as he was in front of the cameras of the BBC, Mr Murphy had in fact prepared a rude awakening for the skulls of the young men and women, forced as they were, to line up in a field in front of County Hall. Such then is the scant regard Mr Murphy and his class hold for the sons and daughters of working class men and women of Norfolk. Not to be out done in this cynical act, neither Norfolk Constabulary nor the BBC itself have, it appears, any conscience over the role they are being asked to play by colluding with the political class at County Hall, by first being present and then failing to make known what had been prepared.

Rather than congratulate ourselves and the students who were on that march yesterday, for a job well done, we should cast a wary eye over what was narrowly avoided. The real story yesterday was that the Tory’s had prepared for all eventualities and were prepared to use the ‘riot police’ against innocent young people legitimately lobbying their local County Council.

If the ‘riot police’ had been used against these defenceless students what would Mr Murphy, the Norfolk Constabulary and the BBC be saying today? Instead of what they should be doing today, condemning the Tory leader of Norfolk County Council for cynically attempting to use a lobby of 16-18 year olds in a cheap publicity stunt for political advantage they would no doubt be crying crocodile tears for the death of a working class son or daughter who happened to have placed their head in front of a fully equipped mature adult wielding a truncheon.

We should reflect on this for one reason and one reason alone. Whatever sops the political classes come up with, as they nakedly jostle to buy popular support, one thing is clear: In the changed world of 2010 the Tory party are determined to carry through the most vicious attack on the living standards of the working class by any means necessary and that includes breaking the skulls of young innocent sons and daughters of Norfolk.

Yesterdays events at County Hall was a wake up call – if one was needed. The time for argument has passed and now is the time to act. The unions must call for united industrial action that is linked to a call for a general strike. The TUC has called a national demonstration for March 2011 (23rd) but for many workers faced with cuts in jobs and services that will be to late. We need action now. The students have shown the way and are in the front line but they must not be left to stand there alone. Wherever the students march the unions must march too. When the students take action and occupy workplaces and public spaces then we must join them and support them too.

Cambridge students recently ended an 11 day occupation of Cambridge University and the Guildhall facing down not only the cowardly condemnation by the local Libdem MP (Huppert) but also an attempted siege by the police. They did this by linking their fight against tuition fees with that of the fight of the lecturers and academics. They also linked their struggle with the wider fight in society against the cuts. Without this support and approach the occupation could not have last 11 hours let alone 11days. In taking direct action the students acted like a lighting rod, drawing to it, the anger that exists in society while laying the basis for future action that will be better organised and more effective than before.

We have lessons to learn and we must learn them quick. Above all we must not fight alone nor must we underestimate our enemy and their determination to carry through theses attacks.

Unite and fight and drive this government from office now!


Student radicalism awakens, slightly after lunch.


The 10th of November saw around 50,000 students descend on London. The occasion was not a casting call for Skins or the unveiling of Russell Brand’s new clothing line at Topshop but a mass demo against the government’s proposed tripling of student fees to £9000 a year. Students came from all over the UK, with Norwich’s UEA sending seven coaches as well as delegations from NUCA and city college. Scottish students also turned up on mass to show solidarity and German and Australian students were also spotted.

Unsurprisingly for students the language was colourful, placards proclaimed “The Con-dems put the N into cuts” and under the black and red banners an informal ‘most offensive chant’ contest seemed to be taking place. Honourable mention to “If ya Tory and ya know it slit ya wrists” which was met with a socialist refrain of “that’s a bit too far…”

The march itself had a slow start and appeared to be a micromanaged affair with little scope for hijinks, stewards strictly enforced the will of the markedly un-progressive National Union of Students. During the march’s pre-ordained route mischievous spirits began to soar as some students were passing Millbank Tower, the headquarters of the Conservative party and a small section of the protest broke away and laid siege to the unguarded building.

Protesters quickly stormed the building, occupying the lobby and throwing open the front doors and urging others to join them. Windows were kicked out and masked protesters spray painted revolutionary symbols and slogans on and around Millbank Tower.

The attack on the building escalated throughout the day, only a few hundred yards from where NUS hacks appealed for calm from their podium. The students however had different ideas and at the peak of the disturbance around three thousand students were reported to be involved in the disturbances, lighting fires, damaging or stealing office equipment and generally making themselves at home in the Tory HQ. Conspicuously absent from the party were the delegations from A-fed and Sol-fed who left early claiming that they didn’t see any tactical advantage or point in smashing things.

At the time of writing as far as I know only 32 arrests were made, a minute amount for an action that lasted over four hours. I do fear however that those who were new to civil disobedience/ direct action may have left themselves open to reprisal by failing to protect their identities by appearing unmasked and in some case talking to the media and giving their names. This will be a lesson learnt hard. On the positive side only fourteen injuries were reported and half of these were to the Police.

I’d like to wind up by saying how inspiring today has been. Whilst black banners were in attendance they quickly disappeared after the first wave of the assault as their followers were well aware that they would be marked as targets and scape-goats for police, leaving the majority of the damage to be done throughout the day by students who may not have previously embraced militant tactics. So whilst the NUS may blame radical elements (and my sources tell me that members of P.I.I.S.T. may have been in attendance) it is quite clear that no vanguard can claim responsibility for this spontaneous uprising and that it was certainly not a few ruining it for the many. So let us hope that this is the re-birth of student radicalism, France or Greece it may not be but it is definitely a leap in the right direction.

Student activist on the scene.