Monday, 14 August 2017

A Load Of Old Fanny

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure Fanny Hill 1749 edition title page.jpg

Published in 1748 and renowned at the time for outraging vicars and bishops across the land most people would consider Fanny Hill a rather tame tome by modern standards. It's not so long ago that Lady Chatterley's Lover and the publication Oz caused scandal in the green fields of old England. Mrs Whitehouse campaigned to the last to defend our living rooms from such smut lest we degenerate into sex-crazed godless minions of Satan.

Yet today hundreds of thousands of thousands of people have picked up copies of Fifty Shades of Grey and it's sequels without batting an eyelid. Sex on TV whilst always after the watershed is wee bit more explicit than even Mary Whitehouse imagined. For better or worse we the people of England have seemingly lost our stiff upper lip so to speak.

Not so in universities it seems  as the Royal Holloway (part of the University of London) has dropped old Fanny from it's curriculum lest it offend some students. Yes I kid you not. Just the latest in a long line of atrocities being carried out in our centres of learning as the politically correct- intersectionalist-easily offended-snowflake brigade undermine education.

Apparently theology classes about Jesus at Glasgow University come with trigger warnings about (wait for it) "graphic scenes of crucifixion". Really? Didn't they teach that in Sunday School. Nailed to a tree the fella was and then apparently rose from the dead. Very central to the Christian belief system I understand. Don't think any studies of their theology could avoid this subject.

Better not let these vulnerable students anywhere near the old testament which is full of begetting and smiting plus genocide. Heaven forbid they dare read the Koran. Might make the poor soul Islamophobic. Better give it a free pass. Not open for criticism. Saves any PC problems later. Only white religions can be criticised according to the new breed of Social Justice Warriors.

If you think thats bad imagine law students being excused lectures on rape or future forensic scientists being given warnings about lectures involving the subject of blood patterns and crime scenes. Could be dead bodies. Awful. Perhaps puppy farming might be for anyone feeling queasy at this point. They certainly aren't going to be able to help rape victims or find the murderers before someone else is killed.

In fact don't go to university at all. Nobody learns anything there anymore. It's just for spoiled self indulgent brats to act like the bullies they are.

If you ask me their parents should have just given them a clip round the ear and told their little poppets to get a life.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Tell leading retailers: Justice now for Cambodian garment workers

Labourstart Campaign



The sudden closure of a garment factory has left 208 workers in Cambodia without jobs, salaries, or their legally owed compensation.

One year later these workers, mainly women, are still fighting for justice.

The factory – Chung Fai Knitwear – was making clothing for Marks & Spencer (UK), Nygård (Canada) and Bonmarché (UK).

The workers have been facing a long struggle.

They stood up for their rights by preventing the owners from selling the remaining assets from the factory, through physical occupation of the factory as well as legal measures

They have protested outside the Mark & Spencer office in Phnom Penh, outside the Ministry of Labour, and the court.

They wrote letters to the brands pleading for help and asked for meetings.

None of this helped.

Now the workers, supported by trade unions and labour rights' organisations, demand that the brands take responsibility and ensure that they get their legally due payment.

Please take a moment to support their struggle:


Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Far-Left and Venezuela



Venezuela was a country lauded by the far-left and anti-imperialists of how socialism could work. A "Bolivarian" revolution led by Hugo Chavez was feted by such as Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Livingstone, the Communist Party, the SWP and others who all came together to form the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign which tried to persuade us that this was a way forward to a better society.

Today with Chavez dead and his successor once claiming he talked to his mentors ghost the country is falling apart.  Venezuela has the world's largest known oil reserves and should in theory be able to provide for it's peoples basic needs. Yet the selves are empty. Staple items from bread to toilet paper unobtainable even if the average citizen had the money (which they don't) to obtain their basic needs.

Violence is ascendant. So afraid is Maduro of losing power he has seen the appointment of over 2,000 "Generals" in his army. That's more than NATO has.

Many people have been calling on Jeremy Corbyn to condemn what's going on. He won't and besides is currently somewhere in Croatia on a cycling holiday. More likely he'll listen to his friends from Sinn Fein whose representative in Caracas has declared that the poll, boycotted by the majority has been "fair & equitable".



Venezuela does not allow any independent observers monitor its voting. Maduro just ships in his mates. Sinn Fein is so trustworthy..not.

Meanwhile the Communist Party via the Morning Star rages:

Communist Party general secretary Rob Griffiths condemned US President Trump’s refusal to recognise the result of the Venezuelan election.

He said it is “our duty” to defend Mr Maduro’s elected government which has made “great strides” in redistributing wealth and given a voice to the excluded and underrepresented.

The old Militant Tendency now the Socialist Party prefers to remain silent and has a feature on how art helped inspire the Bolshevik coup d'etat in 1917 in the latest issue of their boring rag The Socialist. Even their "International" website hasn't had a piece on Venezuela since June and that just called for more "socialist policies" whatever that's supposed to mean.

Socialist Worker who are busy stirring up trouble in Hackney behind their front organisation Stand up to Racism did manage a few mealy mouthed comments in their latest paper:

The boycott and its limited success show the right’s continuing unpopularity. Its leaders couldn’t risk standing and couldn’t dissuade millions from voting for Maduro’s candidates.

Venezuela is now seeing economic and social devastation. But this hasn’t overcome the legacy of resentment at the right wing elite that once ruled the country......


The right poses a real threat to ordinary people in Venezuela.

But workers and the poor acting for themselves can create a movement that could pose a real alternative.


As usual like Militant the real way forward is to join the (their) party and build "socialism.

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign

Finally what of the laughably named Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign?

“On Sunday over 8 million Venezuelans, representing a turnout of 41.5%, participated in elections for a Constituent Assembly to revise the constitution, and provide an elected mechanism to help resolve the country’s current difficulties.

This impressive turnout was despite many sections of the country’s right-wing opposition deciding to boycott the vote, and some even calling violent protests on the day with the explicit aim of derailing the elections. Venezuela’s Public Ministry has announced that it will open a probe into the deaths reported as a result of these violent protests.

However The Times reports (no link£):

President Maduro has been accused of organising election fraud on a massive scale after it was revealed that officials invented one million votes in Sundays constituent assembly election.

The allegation was made by Antonio Mugica, chief executive of the  that provides the machines.... he said "we estimate the difference between the actual participation and the one announced is at least one million votes.

The far-left do not believe in democracy. Only control.

As we head to the anniversary of the so-called Russian Revolution it needs to be remembered what the Communists overthrew was not the Tsar but the elected government of Russia. 

Socialist democracy is a lie. From Cuba to North Korea it has led to dictatorship and worse. Venezuela will be no different if the comrades get their way.

Peter Tatchell writes Open Letter to Defend Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain

File:Peter Tatchell - Red Wall - 8by10 - 2016-10-15.jpg
Photo: Colin CC Wiki

"Open Letter to Pride: Defend the Council of Ex-Muslims

East London mosque has history of hosting homophobic hate preachers


London, UK – 3 August 2017

Dear Pride in London and Community Advisory Board,

I write as one of the co-organisers of the UK’s first LGBT Pride in 1972, as a Patron of Pride in London and as a human rights campaigner for the last 50 years:

I understand that complaints have been made against the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) by the East London mosque and others. The claim is that the CEMB's placards at this year’s Pride parade on 8 July were "Islamophobic".

They were certainly very critical of Islamic homophobia, which is legitimate, justified and necessary in order to defend LGBT Muslims who have been victimised by followers of Islam in the UK and by Islamic governments worldwide.

The CEMB placards condemned “Homophobes, Islamists, racists.” They supported LGBT Muslims and LGBT people fleeing persecution by Islamic states. One said: “End Islamic hatred and violence to gays.” Others highlighted UK mosques, such as East London and Green Lanes, that have hosted hate preachers who have endorsed or justified the killing of LGBT people.

Some placards said “Allah is gay.” The factual basis of such a claim is questionable. However, since there is nothing wrong or shameful about being gay - and only gay sex acts (not gay people) are condemned in the Qur’an and Hadiths - there is nothing insulting about saying Allah, God, Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Shiva or any other religious figure is gay. A person would only say it was insulting if they were anti-LGBT.

The CEMB’s placards against Islamic homophobia were entirely justified and commendable. We have to oppose Islamic homophobia in the same way that LGBT groups have long opposed Christian and Judaist homophobia.

None of the CEMB placards were against Muslim people. They did not incite hate against Muslims. They criticised homophobic religious ideas.

People and ideas are two very different things.

In a free society, all ideas, including Islam and other faiths, should be open to scrutiny and criticism. That's what freedom of expression is all about.

Criticising ideas is fine. Stirring hate against people is not.

The CEMB did not, in my view, cross that red line. It did not say a word against Muslim people.

You have said that Pride participants have a right to protest but “this does not give people in our parade the freedom to ostracise, discriminate against or humiliate anyone else taking part.” I agree. But the CEMB did not do this. They did not target anyone in the parade. They targeted Islamists who want LGBT people dead!

You say that Pride participants should treat others with tolerance and courtesy. True. But not if they want to kill us and incite their followers to hate and despise LGBTs.

One of the complainants against the CEMB is, I am told, the East London mosque. This mosque for many years used to host Islamic extremist preachers who stirred hatred against LGBT people and, in some cases, justified the murder of LGBT people in accordance with Sharia law.

I am told that East London mosque and its allied London Muslim Centre (LMC) have hosted homophobic clerics who have endorsed the execution of LGBT people, including Ibrahim Hewitt, Haitham al-Haddad, Yasir Qadhi, Assim al-Hakeem, Muhammad Alshareef, Yusuf Chambers, Yusuf Estes, Abdur Raheem Green, Murtaza Khan, Bilal Philips, Abdullah Hakim Quick, Hamza Tzortzis, Yusuf Patel and Khalid Yasin.

Some years ago, OutRage! and I organised a campaign against the mosque's anti-LGBT preachers. The mosque authorities did nothing to stop them speaking there until adverse media publicity and the protests of liberal Muslims shamed them into promising to not host any more extremist homophobic clerics.

They eventually pledged they would not host them anymore. But as soon as the fuss died down I discovered that the East London mosque was again hosting viciously anti-LGBT preachers.

They had made untrue, misleading promises that they did not keep.

It is true that many, many years ago the London Muslim Centre (LMC), which is linked to the East London mosque, did agree to meet me to discuss LGBT concerns. But I felt it was just a PR exercise. They paid lip service to opposing homophobia; being unwilling to engage with or affirm LGBT Muslims and not doing anything serious to challenge homophobia within the Muslim community.

In the last two years, I and my colleagues at the Peter Tatchell Foundation have 11 times contacted the mosque and LMC, requesting them to have a dialogue with the LGBT community: to build bridges and solidarity between LGBTs and Muslims to combat the prejudice, discrimination and violence that both communities suffer. We specifically requested them to dialogue with and host LGBT Muslims. All our requests have been rebuffed. They have repeatedly ignored our 11 appeals since 2015.

Other mainstream Muslim organisations, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, likewise refuse to dialogue with the LGBT community, refuse to accept LGBT Muslims and actively oppose LGBT equality, including campaigning against same-sex civil marriage and other LGBT equality laws over the last two decades.

I urge you to reject the complaints against the CEMB by the East London mosque and others. Instead, I urge you to ask them to explain why they refuse to have a dialogue with the LGBT community, refuse to publicly challenge homophobia within the Muslim community and why they refuse to publicly acknowledge and support LGBT Muslims.

I also request you to confirm that the CEMB can participate in future Pride parades.

If you have any queries, please get in touch.

Keep up the great work that Pride in London and the Community Advisory Board does. My thanks to you and all the volunteers for making Pride possible.

Much appreciation and best wishes,

Peter Tatchell, 

Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation

Monday, 31 July 2017

I Don't Like Mondays

Getting up for work on a Monday morning is always a pain no matter how nice the weather but most of us just get on with it. After being shouted at by a drunk at just nine o'clock this morning I remembered this little ditty..... from 1979 would you believe?

Anyway it's an excuse for a musical interlude since I'll only be blogging intermittently during the summer holidays this year. Just need a break really. Probably as soon I write this I'll be motivated by some event or another.......watch this space!

Friday, 28 July 2017

Defend the British Council of Ex-Muslims against Islamic censorship

File:CEMB.png

The participation of the British Council of Ex-Muslims in the London Gay Pride march has seen attacks by the far left in the form of Counterfire and the Islamist extremists of the East London Mosque. 
The inability of so-called progressives to recognise the right to criticise Islam even by ex-Muslims is frankly disturbing. 
The latest correspondence between the CEMB and Pride is reproduced below:

28 July 2017

Dear Michael Salter-Church and Alison Camps, Co-Chairs - Pride in London

Thank you for your letter dated 21 July addressed to CEMB’s Pride Organiser, Daniel Fitzgerald (available below).

The crux of the issue, which you have failed to recognise, is this: Pride in London has taken complaints against the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) by the likes of the East London Mosque - a centre of homophobia - seriously because of a cultural relativism and tone policing that is only applicable to critics of Islam and never critics of Christianity.

Moreover, complaints have been given credence because of the erroneous conflation of criticism of religion and the religious-Right with bigotry against Muslims.

We remind Pride that "tolerance, acceptance and recognition" are for people (whether LGBT, Muslims or ex-Muslims), not beliefs or regressive political movements and States. Whilst we must hold all human beings - even those we disagree with - in high regard, this is not the same as accepting all beliefs without criticism. Clearly, Pride is able to make distinctions between criticism of beliefs and an attack on people when it comes to non-minority groups and religions other than Islam so it should not be too difficult for you to understand our position.

In your letter you say, protest "does not give people in our parade the freedom to ostracise, discriminate against or humiliate anyone else taking part." But the question that remains is how has our presence and placards criticising Islamic homophobia, the East London mosque, States that murder LGBT and apostates ostracising, humiliating or discriminating against anyone? Are placards critical of Christianity, the Church, Jesus, the Pope... "ostracising, humiliating and discriminating against" Christians? It seems Pride has bought into the Islamist narrative that betrays the persecuted and defends the persecutors. This is a politics that rewards bullies and blames victims.

You add: "...Pride celebrates diversity and will not tolerate any individual making derogatory remarks about a person's sexuality, gender, gender identity, race, age, nationality, disability, appearance, religion or any other factor." Again, you confuse criticism of religion as being the same as attacking someone because they are Muslim or gay or a woman. You merely need to change any of our placards critical of Islam to ones critical of Christianity to see how absurd your position is.

You say: "there were some placards we feel may have the potential to breach our code of conduct. These placards may be seen to reject the existence of Islamophobia, to make defamatory statements about a specific group of people, and overall could have been seen to proactively question the ability to be LGBT+ and Muslim."

This is more disingenuous nonsense and merely an attempt to justify your unjustifiable position. Islamophobia is a misnomer that conflates criticism of religion and belief with discrimination against Muslims; we can be critical of Islamophobia as a political term used to silence dissent whilst opposing racism. We certainly don't need a lesson in racism from Pride; our members live it every day. Also we can be critical of Islam; this doesn't mean one cannot be Muslim and LGBT. In fact, some Bangladeshi Muslims marched with us on the day. Unlike Pride, CEMB fights on several fronts, including against Islamism, the far-Right and racism. You say some of our placards were "defamatory"? Which ones? Presumably, the defamed can take us to court; we welcome it.

As for your determining whether CEMB has broken your code of conduct and will be able to march again in future parades, we must say this: your decision will be more important for you than for us. After all, we don't need your permission to march for LGBT rights or the rights of apostates. But your decision will determine whether Pride, which has been a source of inspiration for LGBT globally, will continue to be a beacon by showing the courage to give LGBT ex-Muslims the right to self-expression alongside our Muslim friends and family and as a respite from our daily experience which are intrinsically linked with fear, violence and intimidation, or whether it will remain firmly corporate Pride more concerned with causing "offence" that the rights and lives of ex-Muslim and Muslim apostates and LGBT.

As a follow up to a resolution on Pride adopted at the 22-24 July International Conference on Freedom of Expression and Conscience, we ask Pride to do the following:

1) Provide evidence for the serious allegations made against CEMB

2) Make a statement against all laws criminalising homosexuality, apostasy and blasphemy and against incitement to hate and murder by preachers at mosques like the East London mosque

3) Clarify whether by condemning ‘Islamophobia’, Pride meant to side with Islamists supporting the judicial murder of ex-Muslims and gay men

4) Affirm CEMB’s continued presence at Pride in London to show that they side with dissenters and those defending the right to think, live and love as they choose.

Thankfully, as you point out, you don't have a role in making "a legal judgement about offense or freedom of speech." If you did, you would have already imposed de facto blasphemy laws on those of us who have fled de jure blasphemy and apostasy laws which call for our murder.

You do, however, have the chance to do the right thing. Whether you do is another matter.

Sincerely

Maryam Namazie
CEMB Spokesperson
Daniel Fitzgerald
CEMB Pride Organiser

LETTER FROM PRIDE IN LONDON

21ST July 2017

Dear Mr Fitzgerald,

Thank you very much for your email.

As you are aware, we have received a number of complaints regarding some of the placards your group chose to carry during the Pride in London parade.

At its heart, Pride is a movement of acceptance, diversity and unity - a safe place that celebrates difference and rejects intolerance.

Our parade has always been a home to protest, and not just to celebrate, which means we are used to seeing conflicting points of view. The tolerance, acceptance and recognition that we demand for ourselves as LGBT+ people, can only happen if we are also prepared to offer those whose opinions we don’t agree with the same courtesy.

It is also incredibly important to Pride in London that groups are able to use our platform to protest, to challenge authority and stand up for all LGBT+ rights. It is especially important that groups are able to challenge governments and states that continue to persecute, torture, imprison and even kill people simply because of their sexuality.

However, this does not give people in our parade the freedom to ostracise, discriminate against or humiliate anyone else taking part. If any individual or any group does this, they undermine the very principles on which we exist.

Our code of conduct, which every group agreed to as part of taking part in the parade, is very clear on this matter. All volunteers, staff and parade groups agree that Pride celebrates diversity and will not tolerate any individual making derogatory remarks about a person's sexuality, gender, gender identity, race, age, nationality, disability, appearance, religion or any other factor.

LGBT+ Muslims play a vital and important role in London and in Pride. We recognise that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Muslims face discrimination on both sides, from people within their faith and also from within the LGBT+ community.

Over the years the parade has been a place of acceptance for LGBT+ Muslims and this year Imaan, the LGBT+ charity, was voted the winner of the best walking group in the parade for the diversity and passion they displayed. What’s more, this year we supported the ‘Big Gay Iftaar’ as part of the Pride in London festival. We also hosted a vibrant and positive discussion about Islam and the LGBT+ community on the faith episode of our Facebook Live series. This is part of our dedication to supporting the full spectrum of the LGBT+ community.

Equally, it is also very important that individuals who once did but no longer follow the Muslim faith have a welcome place in the Pride parade. We acknowledge the difficulties individuals leaving the faith can sometimes encounter and do not in anyway seek to diminish the significance of those experiences.

To specifically address the complaints we have received, we want to be clear that we do not feel it is our role to make a legal judgement about offense or freedom of speech. However, it is our role to determine if a group has broken our code of conduct and whether they can be permitted to march again in future parades.

It has been argued that some of the placards are a legitimate form of protest. However, there were some placards we feel may have the potential to breach our code of conduct. These placards may be seen to reject the existence of islamophobia, to make defamatory statements about a specific group of people, and overall could have been seen to proactively question the ability to be LGBT+ and Muslim.

We have referred these complaints to our Community Advisory Board, who assess every parade entry after each year and decide on which groups will be allowed to march again. This decision will be taken prior to the opening of parade entries in 2018. Both the CAB and Pride in London commit to ensuring you are able to engage fully in this discussion, and welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss further.

We believe Pride in London must continue to play a vital role in supporting LGBT+ Muslims, as well as those who have left the faith. We want to work with community groups and charities to further these efforts, and would encourage any organisation that can play a role in building a vital bridge to get involved.

We also want to thank you for any support you can provide in the fight against hatred and bigotry. We are eager to stand side-by-side with you in this battle, supporting any actions you take to support LGBT+ people, but we also feel that the LGBT+ community can equally do more to tackle hatred and bigotry in all its forms, especially Islamophobia.

Together, I hope we can build common ground to stand up for communities that are more harmonious and supportive, valuing all citizens, no matter their faith or sexuality.

Michael Salter-Church
Alison Camps
Co-Chairs - Pride in London

Sincerely,

Michael Salter-Church
Alison Camps
Co-Chairs - Pride in London

See with links here: https://www.ex-muslim.org.uk/pride-2/
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB)
Jimmy London
Daniel Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Morality & Social Media

Great Ormond Street Hospital.jpg
Photo: By Nigel Cox

The sad tale of the Charlie Gard and his parents struggle to get him further treatment has been at the centre of media attention for a while now. It has been a difficult and heart-breaking case for all involved. Who cannot but feel sympathy for parents that want their child to live no matter what but also understand the medical prognosis offered by experienced and caring medical staff.

The medical decision to discontinue treatment for young Charlie was not taken lightly either by the doctors or the courts that got involved. There comes a time when no matter how hard it is a final decision has to be made.

Like most people I trust the vast majority of NHS and hospital staff. They have a hard job in making difficult decisions, especially when the parents really do not want to let go. The decision has been made but what worries me is not the actions of doctors or parents but the activity of so-called supporters.

It was reported that both staff and the parents of sick children were abused outside the hospital. What were these idiots thinking. Even worse thousands of hate messages including death threats have been sent to the hospital. Unforgiveable.

What do these "people" think they are doing? Why make threats or send abuse to staff who are just doing their best. Untold thousands of children have been treated in Great ormond Street Hospital over the years. Medical science despite it's advances has its limitations. Doctors are not "gods", they cannot cure everything. Sometimes we have to let go and allow both the parents to grieve and the medical staff learn what they can from this and other cases.

They cannot win them all.

Yet the hate that exists on social media spills over into every sphere these days. For some reason a lot of people just cannot control themselves. Can the monster that the Internet has unleashed ever be controlled?

Probably not but if you have friends that you see step over the line pull them up and say that their words are unacceptable. Of course there are those who spread hate for other reason or hide their true purpose behind lies and half-truths by publishing false news and views on the net.

Just because it's on-line doesn't make it true. Left, right and centre can all be guilty of this but those at the extremes thrive on falsehoods that lead to hate.

As for the average punter. Simply check things out. Look at sites and blogs with which you may not normally agree to gain a balanced view. Too often what goes on-line is not checked, not questioned.

Stop being lazy. Start thinking for yourself. And don't let hate replace reason. That is the challenge for us all.