Recent Articles

Are Capitalism and Conservatism now openly at war with each other?

by Carl Packman     July 3, 2012 at 10:45 am

For Harry Wallop the resignation of Marcus Agius – widely seen as the fall guy for Bob Diamond – is the final nail in the coffin for so-called “Gentlemanly Capitalism”.

After all, Agius had made his reputation before the Big Bang of the financial system and, according to Wallop, “had a reputation for ­being charming, impeccably dressed and lacking stuffiness.”

This is typical Telegraph stuff, with a general distaste of the new-moneyed kids in the financial sector, undermining traditional social hierarchies, practices and institutions.
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Why don’t we hear about forced marriages and gay men?

by Carl Packman     June 28, 2012 at 9:01 am

I recently reviewed a report for HuffPo that shows how London Police Services are underprepared for a rise in serious crime.

I didn’t have time to highlight some stats by the Metropolitan Police that show there were 298 Forced Marriage incidents / crimes reported in 2010 (including 333 actual and prospective victims – i.e. living in fear of forced marriage).

Of those, 35 victims were male, the rest were women (one unknown).

One of the inferences based on interview material, and the MPA’s own assessment, is that many of the men who are involved here are actually gay, and forced into marriage because of this.

The MPA didn’t check sexual orientation (save for one person) as part of the course, so it is hard to evaluate, but there has been some attention given to this type of marriage over the last few years – and it is deeply disturbing.

Back in 2010 the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) said there had been a surge in cases where men and boys are being forced into marriage because their families suspect they are gay or bisexual.

In that year the number of calls from men to the unit increased by 65%, from 134 in 2008 to 220 in 2009, and many of the cases involved families from south Asia, particularly Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

Comparable figures need to be shown today, to see whether this is an increasing problem, and to see who is targeted.

If the figures are worrying then this only adds to the report’s findings that there needs to be improved communication lines between the police authorities and victims.

Toxic Tories force Cameron to abandon gay marriage

by Carl Packman     May 6, 2012 at 9:27 am

Have you seen the Sunday Times headline for today?

Interventions like this by Cameron, to offer olive branches to the right by losing something from his more “liberal” toolbox, confirms my long held belief that the Conservative party is held back, from being conservative, by a more “toxic” audience; indeed what I have called the party’s “toxic constituency”.
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George Galloway on BBCQT and his own support for the Soviet Union

by Carl Packman     April 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Question Time was a real treat last night. Yvette Cooper kicking Theresa May when she was down, as Baroness (portfolio of nothing) Warsi tried and failed to defend her honour, while Tim Farron was a hoot, trying to hold the inharmonious position as comic and reluctant defender of the coalition government.

Of course the main event was George Galloway and David Aaronovitch, head to head.

Watch the video clips
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Can Cameron stop the ‘Basildon man’ from defecting to UKIP?

by Carl Packman     April 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm

During the 2001 election, which Tony Blair went on to win securing a second term, pollsters from ICM came up with the phrase “Pebbledash people” as the group the Tories had to woo in order for them to have a fighting chance of winning.

They were married couples aged 35 to 50, white-collar workers and professionals, who lived in semi-detached, often pebble dashed, homes in the suburb.

The group is just one example of cohorts, conveniently congealed together, that political parties feel they need to fight for in order to win an election.
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Don’t vote or support George Galloway today

by Carl Packman     March 29, 2012 at 8:55 am

Do you remember when George Galloway interviewed Ahmadinejad? His ‘excellency’ Galloway would refer to him as.

All eyes were on Galloway to mention Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtani, the woman in Iran who was due to be put to death by stoning for supposedly committing adultery.

Final question Mr President, every so often an issue comes along, which is seized upon by the enemies of Iran, and magnified, and it becomes a heavy problem. One such is the punishment, scheduled originally against a woman convicted of adultery. The so called stoning case. I see that president Lula from Brazil has asked Iran if he can take this woman into exile there, to solve this problem. Can Iran agree to this? [my emphasis]

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European Commission expects no growth, and no hope

by Carl Packman     November 11, 2011 at 8:50 am

Reading through the European Commission’s Autumn Forecast for 2011-2013 doesn’t inspire too much by way of optimism.

The recovery of the EU economy, as it points out in the first line of the press release, has stopped.

Growth for 2012 is forecast as half a per cent, rising by 1 per cent in 2013. Investment will either be postponed or cancelled, banks will restrict lending, confidence will only return once these problems are rectified and we are facing a mutually afflictive “viscious cirlce”.
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Why the Met’s deployment of rubber bullets is very worrying

by Carl Packman     November 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

Though the tactic of kettling was devised under former Labour Mayor Ken Livingstone’s term, and used before recent student demonstrations (notably as a means of keeping EDL thugs from clashing with counter protests), it was still a shock the first time I saw it being used on young people, who were visibly scared and certainly no threat.

On more than one occasion I have seen tensions rise, not before, but as a consequence of, the tactic of kettling.

It was my opinion at the time that police were using kettling as a way of putting young people off protesting.
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Eric Pickles’ latest wheeze: ensuring poorer areas get left behind

by Carl Packman     July 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Communities Minister Eric Pickles has revealed that councils will be able to keep the rates they raise from local businesses, a change from the current system which sees councils collect rates on behalf of central government, which then redistributes it to councils according to population size.

But critics have pointed out that poorer areas will benefit the least, since they’re the ones having difficulties in attracting local business.

Pickles has promised central government will pay a fee to councils as a safety net, in case business rates fall – but this will not suffice to cover costs in area improvements or bids to attract businesses.
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The Orwell Prize, Johann Hari and nicking words

by Carl Packman     July 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Man writes amazing words. Man wins prize for writing amazing words. We later find out that man’s words are stolen from another man’s book. You may think I’m referring to Johann Hari, but in actual fact this is an account of George Orwell.

It is widely recognised that the plot of Nineteen Eighty-Four (man lives in totalitarian society, has instincts towards rebellion, is encouraged by female companion to write down thoughts of rebellion, system finds the man and woman, brainwashes man into believing he loves the system he lives in) is identical to Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin’s novel We, originally published in English in 1924.
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