Recent Articles

A return of the death penalty? Let’s not be complacent

by Ellie Cumbo     July 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm

The death penalty is almost certainly not coming back.

No matter what last-minute legal wheezes Tory MPs are offering, having apparently become aware that there is a thing called international law, no government is going to spend the time or the money rebuilding a system that was dismantled wholesale by most of the civilised world.

But this does not mean that liberals shouldn’t sit up and pay attention.
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Counter-terrorist office – grass up anarchists!

by Sunny Hundal     July 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm

A weekly briefing by the City of Westminster’s ‘Counter Terrorist [sic] Focus Desk’ (see here – PDF file) calls for all anarchist activities and events to be reported to the police.

Next to an anarchist symbol, the briefing states:

Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local Police.

Sorry, did anyone mention a crime? Apparently that’s not a necessary prerequisite.

If you consider the state harmful then you should be reported to the police.

I suggest the Met should start off with all the libertarians that inhabit the Tory party – they are far more dangerous.

Also on the same page, but further down…

Your local anarchists should take higher priority than al-Qaeda operatives‘!

The police briefing was issued as part of the Met’s CommunitySafe initiative.

(hat-tip @garydunion)

Johann Hari and the article for Der Spiegel

by Hopi Sen     July 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I didn’t particularly want to write a piece about Johann Hari. As you may know, the Independent columnist is being investigated by his employer for various alleged ethical and professional lapses of various degrees of seriousness.

As a good social democrat, I think an employer has a duty of care to their employee, and while I have an opinion, I’m also aware I’m not in possession of all the facts. For example, if Johann Hari has been consistently honest with his employers about his working practices, the issue becomes as much a matter about their judgement as about his.

What has troubled me, however, is the sense among some on the left that those who raise questions about Johann Hari’s work have a right-wing, or catholic, or other somesuch agenda which devalues their concerns about his journalism.
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Is political centrism inevitable?

by Sunny Hundal     July 30, 2011 at 10:14 pm

You may have noticed there’s a big stand-off going on right now in the US over raising the debt-ceiling. Is it possible that the episode explains political centrism is inevitable?

What I mean is this: a lot of politically active people in the UK and the US complain that there is ‘little difference’ between the two main parties. Fair enough.

But is a functioning government possible if there is too much difference?
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50 charities say govt using ‘dangerously misleading statistics’ on benefits

by Richard Exell     July 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm

There’s been one good thing about the DWP incapacity benefit statistics – the response it’s provoked from disabled people and disability organisations.

Take a look at these excellent posts from Batsgirl and Latent Existence.

And now there’s a particularly important intervention from the Disability Benefits Consortium – a coalition of fifty charities and campaigning organisations.
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A US blogger, an email from Norway and Muslim demographics

by Sunny Hundal     July 30, 2011 at 12:09 pm

US blogger Pamela Geller (Atlas Shrugs) is a well-known blogger in the US if you follow the ‘counter-jihad’ movement.

She was a key force behind building up opposition to the Mosque near the 9/11 site.

Yesterday, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs uncovered this email she had previously posted on her site, from Norway, in 2007.

Well, yes, the situation is worsening. Stepping up from 29 000 immigrants every year, in 2007 we will be getting a total of 35 000 immigrants from somalia, iran, iraq and afghanistan. The nations capital is already 50% muslim, and they ALL go there after entering Norway. Adding the 1.2 births per woman per year from muslim women, there will be 300 000+ muslims out of the then 480 000 inhabitants of that city.

Orders from Libya and Iran say that Oslo will be known as Medina at the latest in 2010, although I consider this a PR-stunt nevertheless it is their plan.

From Israel the hordes clawing at the walls of Jerusalem proclaim cheerfully that next year there will be no more Israel, and I know Israel shrugs this off as do I, and will mount a strike during the summer against all of its enemies in the middle east. This will make the muslims worldwide go into a frenzy, attacking everyone around them.

We are stockpiling and caching weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast.

Before, I thought about emigrating to Britain, Israel, USA, South Africa, etc. for taxes and politics, but instead (although I believe we are the very last generation on earth before the return of God) I will stay and fight for the right to this country and indeed the entire peninsula, for the God-fearing people, just in case this isn’t the end of the world after all. Doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan.

It’s far from impossible to achieve, after all my people has done it every time before, in feats that match the ancient greek, hebrew and british “legends”.

Oslo and the southeast may fall easily, but there are other lines than “state”-borders drawn across this country since long before there was even a single muslim in the world, and we have held them this long, against everyone else too. We are entering a new golden age for my people, and those of a handful other countrys, but only through struggle.

Never fear, Pamela. God is with you too in this coming time.

Geller deleted the line emphasised above. Good catch.

But what interests me is the focus on ‘Muslim demographics’. These people are obsessed with the numbers of Muslims and their birth-rates.

Imagine if people went around saying how many Jews there were in society, and what rate new Jews are born at.

And yet, the likes of Pamela Geller and mainstream commentators in the US & UK have been perfectly happy to promote this sort of rhetoric for years.

Who cares for the elder carers?

by Sarah Ismail     July 30, 2011 at 10:25 am

This week, I read the incredible story of Alf Winter, 90. He lives in Leicestershire, in sheltered housing, with his son, Keith, 55. Keith has Cerebral Palsy, and Alf is his full time carer.

At an age when most men would be expected to sit in a comfortable chair with the traditional pipe ‘n’ slippers, being cared for themselves, Alf Winter does all the household chores. He still drives, and cooks full meals every day. He says that he has to do it, as there’s no one else to do it!

He is one of around 77,000 carers aged over 65, just in the East Midlands.
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Videos capture moments before Oslo bomb

by Newswire     July 30, 2011 at 10:00 am

Two recently released videos from the Oslo bomb

How household finances have deteriorated over the past year

by Richard Exell     July 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

There’s more bad news about consumer confidence, with the release of the July figures for the GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Barometer, which dropped five points.

This follows another fall lost month and a mini-recovery earlier in the year has now been wiped out. Nick Moon, the Managing Director of GfK NOP Social Research, noted that all the elements of the index fell and that:

Before this year, the index has only twice been lower in its 37-year history: during the recessions of early 1990 and mid-2008.

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The ‘investigators’ after Louise Mensch MP?

by Sunny Hundal     July 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Conservative MP Louise Mensch has attracted a lot of support today after slapping down an attempt by ‘investigative reporters’ into drug taking while she was younger.

David Jones Investigative Journalists sent her a letter asking about her taking drugs at a party with the violinist Nigel Kennedy, while working at EMI in the 1990s.

She said in response:

Although I do not remember the specific incident, this sounds highly probable. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Nigel Kennedy, whom I remember with affection.

Additionally, since I was in my 20s, I’m sure it was not the only incident of the kind; we all do idiotic things when young. I am not a very good dancer and must apologise to any and all journalists who were forced to watch me dance that night at Ronnie Scott’s.

Excellent response. I wish there were more MPs willing to be open and fearless about past indiscretions.

But who are DJIJ anyway?

This article gives a clue (via @misselliemae):

It looks more than likely that the Daily Mail group is after Louise Mensch MP.

Update – it seems its not the same people. Apologies for that. I blame lots of people on Twitter.

The FT’s Westminster blog reports:

Mensch’s PR man tells me that David Jones emailed from “”. Meanwhile there are no records of David Jones Investigative Journalists at Companies House.

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