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Je Suis Charlie Hebdo ou Je Suis Respect? It seems that one cannot escape the raging debate over our Western principles of free speech and freedom of expression since the terrorist attacks on the journalists at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, when ten journalists and two police officers were mercilessly gunned down by two home-grown Islamists of Algerian descent, intent on avenging the Prophet Muhammad.
It is the topic of debate over dinner, in the works canteen, on the television and radio, in the press, in government circles. It seems that everyone has an opinion but generally that opinion is polarized into the “we must have the right to offend no-matter-what” camp, and the “we do not have the right to insult another person’s religion or beliefs” camp on the other.
I must admit that when the story of the atrocity first broke, even during the days that followed, I placed myself firmly in the camp of the libertarian, echoing the sentiments of pundits like Douglas Murray, of the Henry Jackson Foundation and the Gatestone Institute. In bullish, unswerving interviews in the media Douglas Murray championed the freedom of the press and freedom of expression and upheld his belief that in a free and democratic society we had the right to offend. He further elaborated that in his view, there had been a growing attempt from certain sections of society to shut down debate particularly when it came to discussing important issues such as the nature of Islam and the threat from terrorism and an attempt to destroy the very principles upon which our very democracies are built.
In full support was David Aaronovitch of the Times, who claimed that this was not an issue of where we should draw the line but was an issue of “essential principles”, not of small print. Then there came the bleeding-heart liberals, such as Stephen Glover of the Daily Mail (yes, you read it right the Daily Mail!), who extorted with equal but opposite felicity that the Charlie Hebdo magazine was “militantly atheistical” and was less about free speech than the work of a “monomaniacal sect”. A pretty harsh criticism, which holds no punches.
Next to the rescue came the true defender of the faith, Mehdi Hassan, biographer of the Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, who went straight to, as he saw it, the crux of the problem, talking openly on the BBC’s Question Time on, January 15, 2015, and writing in the New Statesman and elsewhere, that the magazine was at heart racist, Islamophobic and partisan but only when it came to depicting Christians and Jews. Claiming with false conviction that Charlie Hebdo did not insult Christians or the Jews, but simply singled out Muslims for ridicule.
Yet, hadn’t Mehdi Hassan himself been the centre of controversy over his views about non-Muslims and weren’t they equally as offensive? Hadn’t he found himself in a bit of a spat with Peter Hitchens in 2012, when he was exposed as describing kufar as “animals”, as having “no intelligence” and as “cows”. Given the fact that Mehdi Hassan had also launched a scathing verbal attack on the eminent historian David Starkey for his controversial views on the state of modern Islam during the same episode of Question Time, it seemed only appropriate that Mr Hassan was given as good as he gave. David Starkey, didn’t disappoint, openly accusing him of lying and hypocrisy, to the horror of the rest of the panel and the audience. Only, the evidence was clearly stacked against him: it seems that for Mehdi Hassan, there is one rule for him and his fellow Muslims but another for the kufar! It seems that Mehdi Hassan had also, conveniently it seemed, failed to mention that the Charlie Hebdo magazine had also published on the front cover of its ‘Christmas’ edition a rather shockingly offensive cartoon of Mary giving birth to the Petit Jesus! But no offence or discrimination there then.
Little wonder then that the modern day Saladin, Mehdi Hassan, has recently accepted a post with the Qatari owned media group, Al-Jazeera. Never mind the fact that Qatar is widely recognised as supporting terrorist groups through out the Middle East, such as Hamas in Gaza, and is in a bitter battle with the Egyptian government over the clampdown of the Islamist, Muslim Brotherhood, and the imprisonment of three Al-Jazeeran journalists who have been accused of supporting the proscribed organisation. Perhaps he will be able to peddle his ostensible contempt for the UK and the rest of us kufar, (the Arabic word for anyone who isn’t a Muslim) with impunity.
And so we come to the views of Lliana Bird of the Huffington Post who argued that the principle of free speech wasn’t absolute but affirmed that certain principles were. Of course, society draws a clear line between incitement to religious and racial hatred but it also preserves the right to criticize, to hold up to scrutiny and to mock. That might be the case in the US but as Rod Liddle in the Spectator pointed out, s.5 of the Public Order Act 1986 bans “threatening or abusive words” that might cause “alarm and distress”; calling it “a charter for the perpetually outraged”. Perhaps he has a point?
Then we have the Pope’s response, which drew some criticism when he said we shouldn’t be surprised when someone reacts violently when they are offended. Basically saying that there are limits to free speech and limits to the right to offend; making the analogy that if you insult some one’s mother you would expect to get a bloody nose. A bloody nose maybe, but you don’t expect to be gunned down in cold blood, along with your colleagues and other innocent people.
In the end if the principles of free speech and freedom of the press are absolute then there is no room for manoeuvre. Yet society at large sets limits on the values that we hold, as we already have laws on defamation and confidentiality and the principle of acting in the public interest, which work in conjunction with each other. For those, however, that take the hard line it is evident that they don’t see this incident in isolation; as not just an attack on the freedom of speech, but as Douglas Murray regularly points out – these kinds of attacks on organisations and individuals who are deemed to offend the Prophet and Islam in general are just one of a number of ways that our democratic values and our way of life is being systematically eroded. And it is this that they obdurately defend.
The main concern, however, is that it is being eroded not because we have open debate about the nature and influence of Islam and the right to offend through which we have come to an amicable consensus about the boundaries of these freedoms; but because we are being silenced by the jihadi terrorist in the name of the Islam. It is this that is the problem not whether these principles are absolute but whether we should be silenced through fear and intimidation. And, clearly the answer is “No!”. Whilst limits on free speech are also to do with respect - that works both ways but the growing problem is that it is a one-way street.
Coming on the heels of the murders of at least 46 anti-Kiev protestors by thugs in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa in and around the trade union building, comes further killing of unarmed civilians by Ukrainian forces in Mariupol today.
At the time of writing 20 civilians and 1 Ukrainian soldier have been reported killed. It appears that most of the civilians were unarmed. An example of what has been happening can be found in the following video link where Ukrainian soldiers were filmed deliberately shooting at unarmed civilians. Those that were at least injured received bullet wounds from shots fired deliberately into the ground in front of them while a man received a shot to the head in response to pistol shots being fired from the crowd. The dead man was unarmed (warning: graphic content):
The death toll will likely rise.
Yet, as with the Odessa killings, the West does not comment as presumably this would be another incovenient truth emanating from Ukraine to acknowledge. The western media will continue to report half-heartedly or not at all on the deaths of Ukrainian separatists (often dubbed pro-Russian activists but really they should be seen as anti-Kiev protestors wanting regional autonomy) and will no doubt even ignore what has been happening in Mariupol.
It is difficult to know where to start in addressing the incredible hypocrisy and stupidity exhibited by the West and those involved in the current crisis in Ukraine.
The protests began when the democratically elected Ukrainian government opted out of associating itself with the EU on the grounds that it would not be in the country's best interests for which there are clear economic reasons. The pro-EU protests began and soon escalated resulting in a reported 98 police and protestors killed (although western media largely leaves out the Ukrainian police that were shot dead). It is quite inconceivable that the protestors would ensure such violence just to be associated with the EU. Perhaps there are other players involved?
On the 22nd February, the Ukrainian Parliament exercised 'constitutional powers' and removed President Viktor Yanukovych from his position. It has been argued that the Parliamentary move was unlawful, effectively instigating a coup. Many countries in the West have approved of the interim government (although not all) despite the fact that if such similar violent protests, which brought the interim government to power, were to occur in their own countries they would likely react more violently and decisively to put down such protests (Bloody Sunday, 30th January 1972, for example).
The next day, the interim government, which includes Ultra-Nationalists (some of whom have criminal records), abolished the language laws resulting in Ukrainian being the only recognised language in the country. This meant that regional languages such as Russian were no longer recognised. This of course causes a fundamental problem in regions where Russians are the majority (and Russian the only language spoken by many) such as in the self-governing region of Crimea which was handed to Ukraine by Russia in February 1954.
The Ultra-Nationalist elements in the interim government and law changes that detrimentally affect ethnic minorities (and in some cases majorities) are of concern. Perhaps because of this the newly appointed Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov, who replaced the Ukrainian appointed head of Crimea after the region rejected the authority of the Ukrainian interim government, appealed to Russia for "assistance in guaranteeing peace and calmness" to the region. The Russian Parliament responded by granting authority to President Vladimir Putin to use military force if required. Considering the Ultra-Nationalist tendencies of the interim government, it only seems a sensible move to prevent the possibility of civil war and ethnic cleansing in Crimea. One can add to that the need to protect Russian interests, namely the protection of the Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol, which also accommodates the Ukrainian Navy. It may be assumed that the parliamentary authority given to Vladimir Putin allowed him to mobilise the troops of the Black Sea Fleet already present.
Many Ukrainians are also defecting to authorities in Crimea. Rear Admiral Denys Berezovsky of the Ukraine Navy swore an allegiance to the Crimean people with the Crimean Prime Minister subsequently announcing the formation of Crimea's Navy with Rear Admiral Berezovsky at its head. It is also reported that Ukrainian armed forces deployed in Crimea have also defected.
US Secretary of State John Kerry stated on the 2nd March 2014 that "You just don't invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your own interest". This 'invasion' is somewhat exaggerated (the Russian troops are from the Black Sea Fleet already stationed there), but what is most incredible is that his comment is the most blatant example of hypocrisy on record. Consider the US military's unwanted incursions into so many countries in recent history which have been deemed very debateable or illegal resulting in the combined deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people (e.g., Grenada, Iraq , Libya , Sudan, pre-war Syria, and ongoing drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen to list but a few).
Recently, President Barack Obama stated "Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilising, which is not in the interests of Ukraine, Russia or Europe". What is deeply destabilising is the continued verbal interference from the US and their ignorance that the autonomous region of Crimea has asked for assistance from Russia. Obama stokes the fire further by warning of consequences for Russia if it interferes in Ukraine.
The US and other sycophantic western powers need to stop throwing their weight around and refrain from giving provoking statements. Germany and a small number of other countries have been more pragmatic. Indeed, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated "Anyone who throws more oil in the fire with words or deeds is deliberately pursuing an escalation", while Angela Merkel has asked for Russia to help provide stability to Ukraine, financially and politically, and the Ukrainian interim government to appease the pro-Russian segment of the country.
What will become of Ukraine? Economically, it is in a bad position. A meeting with the IMF to secure $35 billion may not be enough to save it from bankruptcy. EU association will not alleviate these problems and it is likely to have 'burnt its bridges' with Russia, although financial assistance is not impossible. Politically, it is possible that the Ultra-Nationalists could gain full control despite promised elections in May, particularly if the interim government is weak. In the meantime, there will be continued tensions and violence between pro-Russians and pro-Ukrainians although for most people those tensions will not be present as they are of mixed Russian/Ukrainian descent and other ethnicities. It is possible that Crimea will want full independence from Ukraine, a right which the Crimean people are entitled to. Whether the Ukrainian government will recognise it or not is another matter. Russia's interests will solely be with the security of the Black Sea Fleet and the stability of Crimea as a whole, inclusive of its Russian population, and seems to be rightly concerned with the aforementioned Nationalist elements in Ukrainian interim government. It will also be interesting to see how the Ukrainian military react to the interim government.
Stability will depend on how the interim government pursues anti-Russian laws and puts down pro-Russian protests. Russia is reacting in a way to be expected of a country wishing to protect its own people and interests in Crimea at least. The US and associated western powers appear to be blindly encouraging an escalation; likely to be part of their pursuit of the westernisation of the ex-Soviet Bloc, perhaps maintained by an inherent but ignorant dislike of Russia.
...and, of course, the media in general continue with their bias and near-truths!
The EU has criticised and condemned the democratically elected Ukranian government for the violence in Kiev and has asked for snap elections. What is remarkable about this statement is the lack of condemnation of the violence perpetrated by many protesters which account for much of the violent behaviour.
The US has also stepped in to condemn the Ukranian government and has taken action by revoking visas of Ukrainian officials.
Two protestors have died, apparently from bullet wounds. The Ukranian police, of which many have been badly injured, are not armed and only have rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades to control the rioting protestors. However, some of the protestors have been seen and photographed wielding and aiming handguns. An investigation into these deaths is ongoing.
The protestors do not represent the whole country, indeed it is split between east and west with all moderates from both sides in Ukraine condemning the violence of the protestors.
Veritas does not stand for or against the Ukranian government but does recognise it as democratically elected. Rather, we question the extreme hypocrisy and the challenge against a democratically elected government by the US and the EU in particular. Such threats and actions were previously only taken against dictatorships, and even then only selectively, witness the recent events in Egypt. This does not bode well for independent democracies.
Some EU politicians have been encouraging revolution within Ukraine. This is to be utterly condemned and these politicians should resign from their posts immediately. It is not for anyone or any organisation outside a democratic country to dictate how it is governed. The actions by the EU hint at another agenda and this and their arrogant disregard to democracy must be questioned strongly.
An e-petition has been set up calling for an independent high level investigation into the behaviour, actions and involvement of the current UK coalition government in the Syrian Civil War.
The link to the e-petition is:
The e-petition parameters do not allow a full explanation for the call so it is provided below.
During the Syrian Civil War, there has been strong evidence that the UK government has shown unreasonable support for the Free Syrian Army and Syrian National Council, reacting to apparent atrocities by the Syrian government yet ignoring apparent atrocities by the insurgent forces. This has been largely mirrored by mainstream UK news media.
Examples of misleading or false reports leading to thoughtless reactions and comments from William Hague (UK Foreign Secretary) wrongly condemning the Syrian government, or ignoring apparent atrocities by the Syrian rebels, are as follows,
25th May 2012: The Houla massacre of 108 people was immediately blamed on the Shabiha and Syrian Army, The UN Human Rights Council laid the blame on the Syrian government. However, it later revealed that there was insufficient evidence and the likelihood that the massacre was committed by Sunni rebels could not be dismissed.
12th Jul 2012: Massacre of up to 250 people by government forces at Tremseh reported by the UK press with condemnation by the UK government. Subsequent investigations revealed that no such massacre took place. The findings were not reported by the UK news media or publicly acknowledged by the UK government.
20th Aug 2012: A massacre of upwards of 400 people was widely reported and condemned and immediately blamed on the Syrian Army. Subsequent enquires suggest that insurgents may have been responsible. There are also many witness reports of dead bodies before the Syrian Army entered the town. This new evidence has not been acknowledged by the western media and UK government.
23rd Dec. 2012: A massacre of civilians by government forces at Halfaya was extensively reported by the UK press and widely condemned by many governments including the UK. The purported airstrike by the Syrian Air Force on civilians at a bakery has since been shown to be false – there was no bakery and no airstrike. The video purporting to be of the airstrike is most likely to have been of a car bomb or mortar round. The dead were identified as rebel fighters.
27th May 2013: The arrest and detainment of 12 member of Al Nusra Front in southern Turkey by Turkish police and the finding of 2kgs of Sarin in their possession. No western media reports and no UK government reaction on this significant development and apparent proof that Syrian rebels held (or hold) chemical agents.
5th August 2013: A report of an apparent massacre of 450 Kurds by Al Nusra was largely ignored by western press, despite a number of independent witnesses. It received no reaction from the UK government (indeed, any western government).
20th August 2013: Continuing reports of 30,000 Kurds displaced into Kurdish Iraq by the activities of rebel forces (inclusive of Al Nusra) in NE Syria, lending credence to reports of kidnapping and massacres committed by rebel forces in the region. No report by the UK media and no reaction from the UK government.
21st August 2013: A chemical attack in Damascus was immediately blamed on the Syrian government. The apparent death toll of 1300 was revised to 350 (as of the time of writing). William Hague has laid the blame directly on the Syrian government citing only hearsay evidence and eye witness accounts also stating that the evidence had been destroyed. He ignores evidence and independent eye witness accounts of equal weight that the rebels were responsible.
Many other reports of war crimes remain unconfirmed pending the results of UN investigations. However, it is noteworthy that the government only reacts to apparent atrocities and war crimes committed by the Syrian Army and allied forces, largely or wholly ignoring reports of equal weight of apparent atrocities and war crimes committed by rebel forces.
William Hague has consistently condemned the Syrian government for the above attacks (and others), all of which have either been shown to be false or unverifiable. This is the reaction of a man that is either exceptionally naive or is knowingly complicit in rebel propaganda and who has, to all intents and purposes ‘gone native’. This is exceptionally dangerous and not representative of the UK and its people that value truth, decency and accountability above all else. His attitude and language also suggests that he may be colluding with the rebels and knowingly taking part in a propaganda war against the Syrian government which includes lying to the British people. This is of course wholly undemocratic and utterly immoral. Hague’s and the UK government’s support for the rebels must be deeply questioned.
Support of terrorists
It is now well established that Al Nusra form the greater and strongest part of the insurgents. Al Nusra Front and Jabhat al-Nusrah, affiliated with Al Qa’ida, are registered as terrorist groups in the USA, UK and the EU. The US, France, and the UK have been the strongest proponents of arming the ‘rebels’. However, it is quite obvious that while such arms may be distributed to the moderate (non-terrorist) rebels, there is no way of ensuring that they will not reach terrorist hands and used to commit murder and other atrocities. It is dangerously ignorant to think that this would not happen. In a war that has increasingly become sectarian and where terrorist groups have been gaining the upper hand amongst the rebels, this ‘fuelling of the fire’ is likely to result in further war crimes.
Knowing that such arms could (will) end up in the hands of terrorists, the supply of arms to terrorists contravenes numerous anti-terrorist legislation in the UK, EU and internationally.
Finally, the CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell has stated recently that the fall of the Asaad government and, most likely, its replacement with an Al Qa’ida state, is the greatest threat to United States national security. By inference this will include the UK. Such a statement further strengthens the scepticism of UK government policy on Syria.
The perpetration of any lies and deceit by the UK government that may result or has resulted in further violence and the deaths of people within Syria is to be condemned. The arming of any side involved in the Syrian civil war that results in the killing or injury of innocent people is also to be condemned. It is very strongly felt that an independent investigation into the government’s role in Syria is needed to clarify the situation.
Please sign this petition if you agree with the above sentiment and want a full investigation into the UK government’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War.
I do not support any side involved in the Syrian Civil War and have no affiliation with any group or individual living, working or otherwise within Syria or adjacent countries.
Although he would not comment on the evidence provided to the UN, the chairman of the United Nations human rights investigation committee Paulo Pinheiro has stated there is no evidence to say who, where and how chemical agents have been used in Syria. He also expressed concern over the "...chain of custody of the substances”.
This may imply that chemical substances are in the hands of rebel forces, exemplified by the arrest of Al-Nusra Front members and the seizing of 2kgs of Sarin gas in southern Turkey last month. In addition, Carla Del Ponte, lead invesigator for the UN independent commission of inquiry on Syria, stated
"Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated”.
"This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities”.
The results of the investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria were provided at a news conference in early June. Paulo Pinheiro stated:
"There are reasonable grounds to believe that limited quantities of toxic chemicals were used. It has not been possible, on the evidence available, to determine the precise chemical agents used, their delivery systems or the perpetrator”.
This seems a reasonable conclusion but despite this, US President Barack Obama has since ordered the CIA to provide arms to the Syrian rebels. This will be in breach of International Law. Considering that the strongest element of the rebel forces are Al Nusra Front, he is knowingly arming a terrorist group, as designated by the US itself!
It is clear the US and other western powers want Syrian President Assad removed from government and will use the flimsiest of excuses to do so and will undertake illegal actions to see it through. We have to ask why.
In a recent televised program on the French parliamentary channel LCP, the French ex-Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, speaking in French, stated:
"I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria”.
Such an allegation needs to be verified and investigated of course (although there is circumstantial evidence). Therefore, we shall not speculate but if the allegation is true it would not take too much imagination to predict the repercussions!
…and this will not be the end of it. Recent cuts and the bulk of the austerity measures were introduced after the period these statistics cover. Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group best sums this up in a statement on their website, here given in full:
“Despite all the talk about ‘scroungers’ and generations of families never working, today’s poverty figures expose comprehensively the myth that the main cause of poverty is people choosing not to work. The truth is that for a growing number of families work isn’t working. The promise that work would be a route out of poverty has not been kept as wages stagnate and spending cuts have hurt low income working families.
It’s no coincidence that 2011 was the year nearly £1.5 billion of targeted support for working families was cut. The lowest paid also gained the least from increases in the personal tax allowance because nearly all of their gains were clawed back by the benefits system.
The government deserves some credit for holding back an increase in relative child poverty by giving extra support to the poorest families through child tax credit in 2011. But the frightening truth is that this is the calm before the storm. New analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests we face a massive surge of 1.1 million more children in poverty by 2020 due to the coalition’s tax credit and benefit cuts.
We should remember that child poverty currently costs the UK economy £29 billion a year, a figure that academics estimate will rise to £35 billion if child poverty increases as projected. Failure to tackle child poverty is a false economy, costing both our children and our country dearly.
People care about child poverty right across the political spectrum. New research by the End Child Poverty coalition shows that 8 out of 10 people believe child poverty should be a priority for any government to tackle. As the government prepares a new child poverty strategy for publication next spring, it will need to get tough on tackling poverty pay and job insecurity, while making sure that all families have access to affordable childcare, and a decent affordable home.”
Further information can be found here.
Today, France anounced they had absolute proof of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government, again, without saying when or where. Perhaps it is coincidental that France, one of the most vocal advocates for military intervention in Syria, should find such evidence (which we have yet to hear publicly). What is not without question is the plain fact that many western powers who oppose the Assad regime, France and the UK included, yet again choose to ignore atrocities and the apparent possesion (and possible use) of chemical agents by rebel forces which they support. This is hypocrisy in the extreme. Veritas will be closely watching events as it is very possible that these governments will be breaking their own laws and International Law by providing weapons, indirectly or directly, to known terrorist organisations and groups known to have committed war crimes in Syria.
On top of this of course is the parallel with the build up to the Second Iraq War which was based on nothing but a lie - the, as it turned out non-existant, presence of WMD's. Western powers are playing a very dangerous and remarkably stupid game.
In a statement to Parliament on the 20th May, William Hague has again stated the one-sided nature of the use of chemical weapons “Our assessment is that chemical weapons use in Syria is very likely to have been by the regime. We have no evidence to date of opposition use”. The recent revelation that 12 members of Al Nusra Front, a known terrorist group affiliated with the Free Syrian Army and Al Qaeda, were arrested in southern Turkey on the 27th May and 2 kgs of Sarin later found two days later in one of the homes of those arrested has blown this arrogant assumption out of the water. Yet it is expected that this and other evidence will be selectively ignored.
All reported uses or intended uses of chemical weapons, by either side, have yet to be properly verified yet the Turkish evidence, which appears to be just as valid as any other, will be privately unpalatable to the British government, as it continues to choose to ignore or play down the atrocities committed by the rebels and the possibility that rebels have access to so-called WMD’s.
Hague states “This suffering (referring to killings and displacement) has devastating consequences. It is undoubtedly contributing to radicalisation in Syria. Syrian people are facing a regime that is using warplanes, helicopters, heavy artillery, tanks, cluster munitions and even ballistic missiles against them, often without them having the means to defend themselves and their communities. The conflict is therefore creating opportunities for extremist groups. Syria is now the number one destination for jihadists anywhere in the world today, including approximately 70 to 100 individuals connected with the United Kingdom.”
The conflict may well be creating opportunities for extremist groups but how will sending arms to the rebels, and consequently extremist groups, help reduce the suffering? Both sides have created rods for their own backs. Any support for either side would be morally wrong. Any interference must be restricted to humanitarian aid and at worst the presence of a UN peace-keeping force agreed by both sides of the conflict in Syria, the latter very unlikely to happen.
We fear that the arrogance and complete stupidity of Hague and his government in choosing to ignore atrocities committed by the side it has chosen to support will only result in them taking actions that will only increase the violence in Syria. Their stupidity will only ignite renewed hatred of the West and its innocent people who want nothing to do militarily with a Civil War it has no connection with and does not want.
Veritas utterly condemns the shocking comments made by barrister Barbara Hewson and supported by Peter Tatchell of lowering the age of consent. We consider it absolutely abhorrent that they should advocate what is effectively the legalisation of paedophilia.
The excuse that some children have had a sexual encounter below the age of 16 and therefore the age of consent should be lowered is incredibly arrogant, selfish, and obtuse. Any under-age sex is as a result of a moral decline in certain sections of society. Tatchell believes that an open debate is called for. There is no debate! They are advocating sex for children, your children!
The age of consent is lower in some other European countries such as Spain but they also have problems with child prostituion, drugs and other issues pertaining to adults taking advantage of the child's naivety and inexperience.
We consider the age of 16 to be the minimum age of consent. While it varies, it is the age at which adolescence stops (i.e., physical sexual maturity). It is also the age that secondary pupils leave school. We also consider that children of 16 are in a better position to identify the sexual attitudes of adults who may wish to take advantage of them sexually.
Veritas considers that the child must be protected and have the right to be a child. It is fundamental to the healthy development of the individual and society at large. We will rabidly fight any proposal to lower the age of consent and any legislation that seeks to pervert or emotionally and mentally disturb a child.
Veritas condemns the illegal attack by Israel on Syria. Such an action exacerbates the problems within Syria and the region at large. Veritas also condemns western governments for not denouncing Israel for the attacks that are in clear breach of the United Nations Charter. This lack of condemnation is hypocritical in the extreme!
There appears to be no game plan other than that from Israel which, with their (yet to be proven) accusations that the Syrian government is using biological weapons, is clearly pushing the US and other western governments into a military intervention in Syria. This can be the only logical explanation for Israel's unwarranted attack. If so, then this is an utterly abhorrent act.
The two-faced attitude of the West and yet another unprovoked attack by Israel merely serves to create more death and destruction within Syria and will likely inflame other Arab populations within the Middle East. It is well known that atrocities have been committed by both sides involved in the Civil War, which is now becoming increasingly sectarian. It is therefore questionable that Western support for the Free Syria Collalition and Free Syrian Army, which is knowingly made up, in part, of terrorist groups, should continue their support let alone escalate their support into a full-blown military intervention. Any foreign intervention will inexorably increase the death toll and Syria may become another Iraq where an estimated 500, 000 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the Iraq War and where violence is common-place.
Today saw the further demise of the big three political parties with the minor parties, in particular UKIP, gaining grounds. UKIP's estimated 26% share of the vote is unprecedented and shows that the continual ineptitude and ignorance of the traditional parties is now breaking the institutionalised view of political parties in this country.
Other parties have the opportunity to come through but so far the main nationwide parties are UKIP, Green Party and the BNP which have idealogies that can potentially inhibit effective policy making. It is sobering to consider that we are one of the very few parties whose policies are not affected by any particular idealogy other than the need to be honest, intelligent, and fair.
The development in politics over the next few years will interesting to watch and hopefully be a part of.
The Archbishop of Canterbury supports a letter signed by dozens of Anglian bishops and leading members of other Christian churches, urging the government to think again about the changes to the Welfare Uplifting Bill – limiting the increase in certain benefit rises to 1% annually - which will see around 200,000 more children forced into poverty.
This is his full statement: “As a civilised society we have a duty to support those among us who are vulnerable and in need. When times are hard, that duty should be felt more than ever, not disappear or diminish. It is essential that we have a welfare system that responds to need and recognises the rising costs of food, fuel and housing.
The current benefits system does that, by ensuring that the support struggling families receive rises with inflation. The Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill will remove this protection from rising costs of living for working and non-working families alike; families who are already facing a daily battle to make ends meet.
These changes will mean it is children and families who will pay the price for high inflation, rather than the government. The government estimates this measure alone will push 200,000 more children into poverty. Politicians have a clear choice. By protecting children from the effects of this bill, they can help fulfil their commitment to end child poverty.”
Whilst everyone agrees that public spending on Welfare needs to be overhauled, this should not mean that the most vulnerable in our society should bear the brunt. According to the Children’s Society, who has completed a lengthy impact assessment document on the effects of these proposals, would effectively mean that 60% of the up-rating cap would impact most on one third of the poorest families and only 3% of the richest.
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu is also opposed to these proposals saying: “I understand that 60% of savings from the up-rating cap would come from the poorest third of households – with only 3% from the wealthiest households. That cannot be right.” The coalition government and the Welfare Minister, Ian Duncan Smith have cleverly manipulated public opinion on the issue of Welfare – stigmatising those on benefits as scroungers, - and worse – as defrauding the system.
Politicians in this liberal secular society pay lip-service to the most vulnerable in our society yet fail to ask the most fundamental of questions – what should we do about the fact that the gap between the rich and the poor in this country has never been so wide? The simple answer must be: We must tackle the unpopular issue of ending the free market economy and make policies aimed to redistribute wealth. This is the only way we can achieve a fairer society, and end poverty in this country.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2291288/Welfare-minister-rages-bishops-Theres-moral-trapping-people-benefits-says-Iain-Duncan-Smith.html#ixzz2NFjCV11q
The Children’s Society Impact Assessment: http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/sites/default/files/tcs/Policy/summary_findings_from_the_governments_impact_assessment.pdf
As William Hague addressed the House of Commons today about the escalating crisis in Syria, the Foreign Secretary described the situation as one of ‘increasingly extreme humanitarian suffering’ with around 70,000 Syrians having lost their lives since the start of the conflict some two years ago, and the refugee toll reaching a staggering 1,000,000 - promising to send military equipment to support the ‘moderate rebel militia groups’ - of whom there are around an estimated 1,000 - including providing them with armoured vehicles and other non-lethal military equipment, to the value of another £13.2 million. This was alongside the $60m package announced previously by the US.
Whilst the EU arms embargo remains in place, the Foreign Secretary, nevertheless, announced that he has not ruled out moves to lift this should the situation deteriorate further.
Meanwhile the US Secretary of State, John Kerry stated that he was confident that the military weapons being supplied by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and other countries were not falling into the hands of the more extreme militia, al-Qaeda groups. It appears - on the surface at least - that the Obama administration is not yet willing to be drawn wholesale into another costly and lengthy armed conflict. Yet, its increasing supply of military equipment and training of rebel forces is only set to escalate and prolong the crisis.
No one denies that the people of Syria are on the edge of a precipice or that their suffering is not something that the world can - in good conscience - turn a blind to. However, with Russia supporting the Assad regime and Iran, Iraq and Hamas also bolstering his position, the crisis in the region is set to dis-integrate into a hell of warring factions, and sectarian violence – with Sunni pitted against Shi’a - on an unprecedented scale.
The violence has already spread across the Turkish and Iraqi borders and is set to draw in Lebanon and even Jordan, and even more extreme Jihadists from all around the world who have made the Syrian ‘cause’ their own private war.
Now Israel’s security appears to be threatened as around twenty UN Peacekeepers have been reportedly taken hostage by an Islamist group along the Israeli- Syrian border on the disputed territory of the Golan Heights.
Whilst the UK and its Western Allies continue to support the ‘Free Syrian Army’ - and diplomatic talks fail - there can be no peace or security in the Middle East and the wider region, and it’s vital political and other strategic interests – including oil - which it has spilt so much innocent blood over to protect - will - it seems - evaporate.
The West has been playing with fire since the outset of the uprising and has not learned from its disastrous medalling in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Egypt. Despite the rhetoric they cannot ensure that these weapons and military equipment will not fall into the hands of the more extreme militia groups, the same way, as it could not stop this happening in Afghanistan and Libya. The main difference there being the fact that they did not possess an armoury of chemical and other lethal weapons – as does the Assad regime – and should that happen - the whole of the Middle East and neighbouring countries will undoubtedly become the Armageddon of Biblical proportions. Is that something the West is really prepared to risk?
EASTLEIGH BYE-ELECTION……The hold by the Liberal Democrats of Eastleigh amidst a hard fought campaign by all the mainstream political parties, perhaps is indicative of the fact that despite the scandal surrounding the circumstances of the bye-election after the humiliating resignation of Chris Huhne and the recent scandals of alleged sexual harassment by Lord Rennard, the general public were still not convinced of the policies of either the Conservatives or the Labour Parties – taking third and fourth place respectively.
Perhaps what is the most surprising result of all is the huge surge in support for UKIP who took a staggering 27.8% of the overall votes. Nigel Farage acknowledging, however, that there’s a long way to go to the General Election and that the UKIP vote is, in part shaped by protest, a ‘plague on all your houses’ mood that is gripping the voting public and benefiting the party. Whilst the knives must surely be being sharpened are for David Cameron whose policies on gay marriage, the economy, and the EU were set to contribute to a poor showing, an even more worrying defeat is that suffered by the Labour Party.
Whilst Labour has a chequered history in the South, with Tony Blair gaining some inroads, they have usually been in the running. Coming fourth is a resounding vote of no confidence in the Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, and his co-horts, Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, who have failed to recapture public confidence despite having recognised the huge political mistake by his predecessor, and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on the abolition of the 10p tax rate and uncontrolled immigration. (A rather belated announcement that they are to announce new initiatives on immigration making little – if any - impact on the voters).
Perhaps the writing is on the wall for the leader of the party whose ruthless character was shockingly evidenced when he decided to stand against his brother David Miliband in 2010 and, maybe, perhaps maybe, we may see the resurrection of his brother taking his rightful crown as Leader of the Labour Party – only time will tell.
Whilst we all recognise the rather unusual nature of the beast when it comes to the general public voting in bye-elections, the rather seemingly changing nature of the beast in Eastleigh will only serve to send shockwaves through out the village of Westminster in fear of the forth-coming European Elections next year, and if the so-called political elite want to retain a semblance of credibility with the general public, they have to recognise the huge disaffection that the Eastleigh bye-election evidently highlights.
Cameron's promise of a referendum on Europe was clearly not sufficent to appease the party's grass root supporters who see the move to make same sex marriage legal as a complete betrayal of Tory values, neither were the electorate convinced by a Labour Party who they feel abandoned the citizens of this country to pursue their blind dogma of creating a 'melting-pot of different races and cultures' (their words - not mine!) with uncontrolled immigration regardless of the effect that would have on a tiny, alreadly over-populated island. Not to mention its perceived record on the economy. Perhaps, the sand is slowly shifting in favour of the minor political party! Only time will tell.
The publication of the Equal Marriage Bill by the coalition is set to spark a period of controversy not only between the government and numerous religious groups opposed to such a move but also within the Conservative party itself.
Nevertheless, the Bill has the support of both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties and is set to pass through the Commons on its first reading on 05 February 2013. If passed the Bill will make it legal for gay couples to marry in both religious and civil ceremonies. In essence it will change the definition of marriage from being a union between a man and a woman to being a union between two men or two women. The irony being that those in favour of the new legislation admit that it is not possible to have union of other than a man and a woman!
This move comes even though many in the gay community say they are happy with the status-quo, as recent changes in legislation in 2005 with the introduction of Civil Partnerships, have given equal protection in terms of inheritance, pension rights, maintenance, next of kin, adoption and immigration, and is seen merely as a means of ensuring equality for gay couples across the spectrum.
The issue of gay marriages was never a part of any party's manifesto and is being pushed through without having a mandate from the electorate.
Whilst the priniciple of equality is something we should aspire to we have to be careful not to confuse equality with what is essentially a move towards making minority groups 'identical' with the majority.
it is a nonesense to suggest that gay marriage is somehow going to give gay and lesbian groups equality when the very essence of marriage is not just the signing fo a civil piece of paper - which would give the couple no furhter rights than they already have in law, apart from the right to marry with caveats - it is the union of one man and one woman where they become one and from which union they procreate. Governments can pass as many laws as they want but the fact is - equality is not about making people identical - it is about giving minority groups the same rights of the majority whilst recognising the differences of others.
Whilst MPs have been given a free vote and there are caveats within the draft Bill which allows for religious communities, amongst other 'safeguards', to opt-in should they support the moves – for many in the established Church of England, who have a legal duty to marry anyone in their local parish irrespective of their religious faith; and the Roman Catholic community, this is seen as an unnecessary attack on the Christian faith, further undermining the sanctity of marriage and moral values.
Politicians can paint a gloss on this as much as they want but the reality is, is that there is a wave of secularism in our society which is growing intolerant of those who hold any religious belief and this attitude both undermines over two thousand years of tradition and our democratic values, and is something which all right-minded people should oppose.
"We cannot sit here complacently in our red and green benches (referring to the House of Lords) while women are suffering a system which is utterly incompatible with the legal principles upon which this country is founded," she says. "If we don't do something, we are condoning it." Baroness Caroline Cox on Shari’a law in the UK.
Divorce Courts in England and Wales pave the way for the legalisation of shari’a divorce law principles, contrary to our values of justice and equality, and in opposition to our stance against the oppression of women and most vulnerable in society at large. ………………………………………………………….
Ironically, whilst the government and many opposition groups are preparing to rail-road through changes to the Equality Bill to ensure the ‘rights’ of gay and lesbian couples to marry, and feminist MP’s like Harriett Harman, role their sleeves up, bang on tables, and shout from the rooftops about the imbalance of women in positions of power on the boards of many of the top UK companies, these same, so-called, champions of equal rights and the right of women do nothing to protect the thousands of vulnerable Muslim women who suffer, quietly forgotten, and down-trodden by male dominated, many illegal shari’a law court decisions which decide on matters such as domestic violence, child custody, division of property and inheritance rights – and now seemingly to be completely abandoned by our civil and criminal courts – should a recent High Court ruling leave the door wide open to a two-tier legal system.
It seems that these very same people who claim to be the champions of equality and women’s rights are quite prepared to put themselves in opposition to religious beliefs and practices when it comes to those held by Christianity – a faith upon which these values owe their very foundation - but cannot find themselves extending these same principles or the same ‘righteous’ indignation to minority religious groups: The government proposal to legalise gay marriages – being the most recent in a string of attacks on the Christian faith.
If one is completely honest about this, the reason why this must inevitably be the case, is due to decades of brain-washing by the governing elite that multiculturalism is the only true protector of the rights of minority groups within society. Blinded by a mis-conceived belief that all cultures are equal and deserving of respect, they find themselves hand-cuffed and unable to challenge true injustice and true inequality. This is perhaps the tragedy of our times.
And of course, another reason is the simple fact that many MP’s owe their seats in Parliament to the growing force of the Muslim vote, and who would bite the hand that feeds it? Yet Baroness Cox, a sometimes controversial and outspoken member of the House of Lords, however, is one of the few voices in public office who is prepared to speak out against the encroachment of shari’a law courts in family and criminal matters and is recently quoted as saying, “…many [Muslim] women live in fear, so intimidated by family and community that they dare not speak out or ask for help.”
In October 2012 the independent peer saw the second reading of her Bill – ‘The Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality Bill)’, which would have settled the debate on, what is arguably, one of the most important issues of our time – the place of Shari’a law in our legal system - overwhelmingly defeated.
Writing in the Spectator at the time, Douglas Murray described the debate as being the stark choice on “whether this country will make a stand on the principle of ‘one law for all’ or whether competing laws will be allowed to operate unchallenged by a timid government and weak legal system”. They, naturally, chose the latter.
Our legislature gave its answer when the Bill was defeated and now our legal system has spoken with the same deafening silence. A recent High Court ruling has opened the way for divorce matters to be settled by Shari’a and other religious courts. A family law judge has decided to refer a divorce dispute to be settled under, Jewish Rabbincal law – Beth Din - making it a landmark legal decision. According to Mr Justice Baker, “the outcome was in keeping with English law, whilst achieved by a process rooted in Jewish culture”.
Speaking to The Times, a spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "If it leads to the eventual acceptance of Shari’a court divorces, then Muslims will be very encouraged.”
However, whilst this legal decision may well have conformed to English divorce law principles, one needs to ask the very serious question, ‘What happens when future decisions made by recognised religious courts do not conform to English law? Who will speak out for the disadvantaged and most vulnerable in our society then?’ The answer must surely, sadly, be ‘No-one!’
Whilst George Osborne and David Cameron bathe in the news today regarding the GDP figures for this quarter - July to September - we here at Veritas would urge the government to pay cautious optimism when it comes to publicising their view that their policies on how to get the economy moving are working, and that we are now out of recession.
The ONS figures out today show that the economy grew in this quarter by around 1% - which is welcome news as long we do not forget the bigger picture which – with more rounds of government spending cuts to come over the next two years – we may see more negative growth.
Economists also admit that the figures today may be massaged by the Olympic effect and bounce back after the bad weather which saw people shopping between July and September rather than in the previous quarter.
Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, warned in a speech on Tuesday that the “zigzag pattern of quarterly growth rates of GDP” were likely to continue. He added economic output was still “barely higher than two years ago”.
One must also not forget that we are still down by 6% GDP per head and 3% GDP down on 2008. Whilst productivity rose by 1.1% and the service industry by 1.3% the construction industry fell by 2.5%. There are also regional differences to take account of with certain regions such as Yorkshire fairing quite badly, with high levels of unemployment particularly in the 18-24 category being unacceptably high.
And, although there is welcome news with the announcement by Debenhams that it is to build 17 new outlets and employ 17,000 new workers within the next five years, this has to be counter-balanced by the announcement by Ford that it is to close its transit van factory in Southampton with a further loss of jobs at its Dagenham factory. These closures are to take place by summer 2013 and will result in around 1,500 job losses.
Justin Bowden, from the GMB Union is quoted as saying: "This is devastating news for the workforce of Dagenham and Southampton and for the U.K. manufacturing industry”.
Clearly, the bigger picture is not very promising and the government needs to do more to encourage the banking sector to lend to small businesses and boost mortgage lending. Whilst interest on government borrowing remains at an all-time low, Veritas also urges that the government takes this opportunity to invest in more immediate infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy.
Whilst many of us having heard the outcome of the FA hearing today about the alleged racist remarks of John Terry against a fellow footballer will not be at all surprised that he was found guilty of using abusive/offensive language with the aggravated offence of racism, one should still be sceptical of a disciplinary process which is conducted behind closed doors, with a panel of partly anonymous adjudicators, appointed by the FA itself, and of a disciplinary process which is convened in contravention of its own rules.
The John terry debacle which has lasted now for some 11 months has raised numerous concerns, not only about the fairness of the whole justice system but also about the rules and procedures and conduct of the FA itself.
Of deep concern is the growing trend in this country to abandon what used to be the sacred principle of double jeopardy, that a person cannot be tried for the same offence twice. Of course, we should remember – and maybe lament – that this principle was brushed away in the wake of the alleged failure of the criminal justice system to gain successful convictions against those charged with the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.
Indeed, such was the media outcry and lobbying of the anti-racist pressure groups backed by – at the time – a little known an inexperienced lawyer, Imran Khan - and the allegations that the police were ‘institutionally racist’, that the Labour government sought a change in the law, which meant the over-turning of this sacred legal principle, and opened the door for subsequent trials of those previously found innocent in a court of law – before 12 good men and true – for the same crime.
Such was the public desire to secure a conviction and to have justice for the Lawrence family – and who could not fail to wish them that? - that little was said over the abolition of this once treasured principle which was designed to protect the individual from the excesses and abuses of the State.
However, one has to ask whether the trial of a person for the same offence a second time can ever be said to be in the interest of justice and fairness, or whether it is simply a means to ensure that the public appetite, to be seen not to be racist, and also to be seen to come down hard on those who hold racist views, and commit racially motivated crimes, is, whatever the cost, satisfied.
The irony of the Stephen Lawrence case – if you compare it purely on procedural grounds - to the John Terry case - is that the prosecution failed to secure a conviction of those charged with his murder at the initial trial, and even failed to secure a civil conviction against the same people even though the burden of proof was much lower, that being on the balance of probabilities were they guilty of the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Yet, notwithstanding that, 18 years later new forensic evidence is found and successful convictions swiftly followed. Yet, no one seemed to ask whether or not the trial was fair or just, or whether the outcome was a foregone conclusion – political expediency at its worst, perhaps? No-one dared to ask just how a key witness in the case, Duwayne Brooks, could be classed as an unreliable witness in the first criminal trial by the trial judge, so-much-so, that the trial judge refused to allow him to give evidence in court, suddenly some 18 years after the dreadful murder, and with diminishing memory, be allowed as a credible key witness at the second criminal trial? And more questions could be asked – another time for that perhaps.
The issue isn’t whether or not the outcome is the right one, in this particular instance, (although time may well prove that to be otherwise) but whether or not the process is just and fair? As a society should we accept the principle that a person can only be charged for the same crime once, or should they have to face trial again and again – until the desired outcome is achieved? What becomes of a society which fails to uphold the principles of justice and fairness and pursues instead, what in essence, becomes a witch-hunt borne out of public hysteria or political expediency? What becomes of the reputation of a man like John Terry who has enjoyed a hugely successful career as a Premier League footballer, played at the highest levels of international football and captained both his country and his club, Chelsea, which is now tarnished forever, and all in the name of political correctness?
If the FA are serious about stamping out racism in football they must be seen to act impartially, and for many, the fact that those having tweeted offensive remarks about Ashley Cole – who was a witness for John Terry in the criminal trial – calling him a ‘choc-ice’ – ‘black on the outside and white on the in’ – go unpunished, leaves one with the distinct impression that the FA does not have the nerve to do what is right in this instance. Is it because one of those involved is closely connected to the John Terry case, - namely, Rio Ferdinand, the brother of Anton Ferdinand?
Whilst Rio Ferdinand was given a £45,000 fine, the FA found that the reference to Ashley Cole as being a ‘choc-ice’, although a reference to race, could also have been interpreted as meaning that he was a ‘fake’. Evidently, the FA’s interpretation was simply a ‘white-wash’ – if you’ll excuse the pun!
Whilst many stories in the media concentrate on the discrepancy between the sentence handed out to Luis Suarez who was handed an 8 match ban and fined £40,000 over the Patrice Evra encounter and that of John Terry, who has been given a four match ban and fined £220,000, the real question must be, ‘Has justice been done today’?
As far as my understanding of the case against John Terry by the FA goes, it was nothing but a witch-hunt by an FA who had to be seen to do something about racism in football - and nothing else, as the FA rules clearly state that they will respect the rule of law and any outcome of a higher court, which they clearly did not in this case.
Even more disconcerting, is the rumour that John Terry was found guilty of not actually being abusive and offensive and racist towards Anton Ferdinand, but that he was guilty of merely uttering the words ‘F****** black c***!’ without the words being given any context whatsoever. One will have to await the reasoning of the panel before this can be definitive, but, if this is the case, then surely justice has not been done today and we, as a society should hang our heads in shame, that in our noble desire to clamp down on racism, we are only too ready to hang an innocent man out to dry.
And this surely, reinforces my original argument that the principle of double jeopardy should be ignored at our peril.
On the issue of context, surely the seriousness or otherwise of one’s actions can only be looked at in the context in which it occurs. That is how the law generally works and that is how this should be applied in this instance. If I throw a stone at a shop window just out of mischief but throw the same stone at the same shop window during a riot, the sentence I received would be widely variant; and rightly so. To completely ignore the context in which John Terry uttered those words simply beggars belief. Surely the spirit of the law is paramount to the letter of the law?
Going back then to the conduct of the Ferdinand brothers themselves in this whole sordid affair, surely, the seriousness of their behaviour both on and off the football pitch, becomes all the more culpable and equally deserving of punishment by the FA regulatory body given its context?
Surely, context is – again - everything? Anton Ferdinand too was guilty of abusive and offensive behaviour on the football pitch, which he directed at John Terry, and more importantly, he failed to abide by the FA’s own rules which requires a footballer to shake the hands of opposing team members before the start of any match – clearly Anton Ferdinand’s conduct – given its context leaves something to be desired and surely should have been investigated by the FA. Equally, that of his brother, Rio Ferdinand whose responses to ‘choc-ice’ - equally racist tweets - go unpunished.
Notwithstanding the issue of whether John Terry should have been brought before the FA at all, one must surely ask whether it is time for the FA’s regulatory body to apply its own rules equally and without bias to any footballer who breaks the rules, and high time, it brought its own regulatory rules and procedures into a more just and transparent framework. Isn’t it time for the FA to put its own house in order before it stands as judge, jury and ‘executioner’?
To end on a more curious note: As with the mantra ‘institutional racism’ we now have a new mantra, ‘unconscious racism’! John Terry now found guilty by one of his peers – John Barnes - of being ‘unconsciously racist’. Since when could a person be guilty of having unconscious thoughts? Has the world gone mad?
In a recent BBC news clip about slum-like housing conditions for illegal immigrants from Asia in Southall, the report described how the government is taking action to clamp down on such housing, viewing also to prosecute the landlords, but with the express intention not to punish the illegal immigrants.
Obviously, the illegal immigrants should not be punished for living in those conditions, but something should be done about their illegal status in this country. How can the government have the audacity to say that the immigrants are illegal (even if allegedly, at this stage) and just leave things like that, not proposing any action whatsoever?
This clearly demonstrates what the political will is on this topic.
"Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." Matthew 23:24
Whilst Britain and the US publicly talk of ending the violence in Syria, I strongly suspect that, as in the case of Libya, there are covert British special forces on the ground (and from other friends of Syria countries) organizing the rebels, who perhaps do not even know how to fire a bazooka and certainly do not (or did not) know how to use anti-air weaponry or how to assassinate the Minister of Defence.
Indeed, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary has promised another £5m and more of taxpayer’s money to the Syrian rebels for ‘communications and body armour’. This is on top of £27.5m he has already given them for so-called ‘humanitarian aid’ much of which is being used to buy weapons from Saudi Arabia.
The Free Syrian Army is hardly free, it is supported by Britain, France, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US.
According to some reputable sources, the ‘Free Syrian Army’ is not a populist liberation movement that its supporters portray it as but is a group of mercenaries, foreign fighters, and sectarian extremists. The Alawite Muslim sect – to which President Assad belongs - is a minority group, felt to be heretics by the mainly Sunni population in the country. And neither is the West the champion of democracy and freedom, nor the protector of human rights in the country that is claims to be. Rather, it supports extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, while berating Syria for unconfirmed atrocities such as Houla and for failing to protect its own people.
I also fail to understand why all of a sudden Syria is being targeted and why not Saudi Arabia or Jordan or China, for example, if human rights are the issue. In Libya, I could still see some perverse financial gain, because the country has much oil; in Syria, I fail to see an obvious motive apart from the possibility that the destabilisation of the region assists the West with its escalating problems with Iran.
During the week we saw President Obama talk of the possibility of foreign intervention if there was any possibility of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal falling into the ‘wrong hands’.
Indeed, this is mere political posturing on the part of the US, whose plan is surely to create the situation it states publicly it is against in order to secure regime change and place more ‘friendly’ groups into positions of power.
In the long run, picking on Muslim countries is not a good long term policy. The list of Muslim countries so far comprises (for one reason or another) Afghanistan, Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, Syria and Iran appears to be next on the list. Thousands of people are killed in these wars, mostly civilians, children too. We make a fuss when there is a murder on Sky News, but then we make no big deal of the many deaths in the wars in those countries, where Britain has (had) an intervention. I fear that all this may backfire one day and in the meantime I feel for all those, who die and suffer in those countries.
The campaign organisation, ‘Population Matters’, has alerted its supporters to the fact that an e-petition, initiated by Sir Andrew Green of Migrationwatch UK, has attracted 140,000 signatures and has been accepted by the Backbench Business Committee for debate in the House of Commons on Thursday, 6 September 2012. The e-petition calls for action to reduce the rate of population growth forecast by the Office for National Statistics. ‘Population Matters’ campaigns for a reversal of population growth in the UK in order to attain a ‘sustainable’ level of population; and for this to be achieved by a reduction in birth rate and net migration. ‘Population Matters’ expresses the hope that the debate will focus on the issues of quality of life and access to public services, not on cultural issues.
Veritas will be listening to this debate with a keen interest. We believe that the UK government should have a policy on population, and we will be developing our own based on an assessment of the economic, environmental, social and cultural impacts of continuing population growth – and taking into account the need for sustainable outcomes and national demographic age distribution. Veritas advocates the inclusion of cultural impacts because the e-petition notes that two-thirds of the forecast growth in population will be created by immigration, which is often characterised by diverse ethnic and cultural tradition, beliefs, values and temperaments; and because we believe that a comprehensive analysis is a more honest analysis. We will not accept that th eUK has to accept an unremitting population growth of the sort experienced in recent years and forecast for the decades to come. This has been fuelled by a rising birth rate (significantly contributed to by immigrant groups that have traditional large families), longer life expectancy in the general population and a continuing high level of net inward migration. We will analyse the advantages and disadvantages of population growth for theUK- particularly within the context of a rapidly growing global population, rising economic growth in developing countries and consequent increased demand for scarce global resources; and we will suggest factors that could determine a sustainable level of population. We will respect liberty and shy away from state coercion, suggesting instead the use of incentives and disincentives that could encourage behaviour consistent with preferred national aims. We will, of course, be proposing controls on immigration that are also consistent with these aims. We condemn the casual, relaxed attitude to this topic demonstrated by successive New Labour governments who, from an ideological perspective, were never wholeheartedly committed to controlling immigration, and whose belated efforts at regulation were only in response to rising public concern and anger over the matter.
Policy on population has long been a taboo topic area for the mainstream political parties; but governments throughout Europewill increasingly find that it is an issue that needs to be engaged with – some with burgeoning populations, some with falling populations and everywhere the problems of ageing populations. Veritas, standing outside of the ‘political establishment’ and not bound by its constraints on open and honest discussion, will demonstrate a preparedness to engage with ‘population’ as a serious and important area of public policy. We invite you to join us and support us in our work if you are sympathetic with our vision.
Director of Policy and Strategy - Veritas
Having attempted, and failed, to sell us the lie that those who are against an elected, rather than appointed, second chamber in Parliament are against House of Lords reform the Liberal Democrats now try to camouflage their resentment by attempting to justify their commitment to scupper proposed constituency boundary changes on the basis that they would result in a reduced number of Members of Parliament in the House of Commons who would be out-numbered by a larger House of Lords. Support for reform of the House of Lords is not determined by whether one wishes to see an elected chamber; there are many people who would like to see reforms that do not include election. The media is also culpable in this regard, describing Tory opponents to the proposed Bill as ‘against House of Lords reform’.
In an earlier article I outlined my argument for having a non-partisan House of Lords, whose members are appointed by an independent panel that would be appointing, in an open and transparent manner, on the basis of career and vocational experience of value to the nation in the legislative process. The House of Lords contributes to this process by way of scrutiny, giving advice, making recommendations, proposing amendments to legislation and monitoring outcomes of legislation: a contribution that is conducted through discussion, debate and committee work. It has, and will have, no power to block legislation initiated in the House of Commons or to overrule the Commons. The House of Commons is the seat of democracy: it is supreme in Parliament. The House of Lords exists to provide ‘wise counsel’ - something best obtained via appointment rather than election. It is of no practical consequence that the number of appointed Lords outnumbers the number of elected MP’s in the Commons. The Liberal Democrats are attempting to ‘muddy the waters’ in order to justify their retaliatory action on boundary changes.
For democracy to be effective each vote cast must have equal value. Where constituencies are of unequal size in terms of the number of electors in each, then democracy is failed: parties contesting and winning smaller constituencies will have unfair advantage over those contesting and winning larger constituencies. In terms of contribution to the composition of the elected House of Commons votes cast in smaller constituencies will have greater value than those cast in larger constituencies.
Veritas is being built on the pillars of nationhood, freedom, democracy and justice. It is our mission to ensure that democracy works effectively: we will ensure that, as far as practically possible, the votes cast by citizens have equal value in the determination of an elected House of Commons. Over the coming months we will be ‘setting out our stall’ with the presentation of policy objectives that articulate a vision of a United Kingdom based on our beliefs and values.
Director of Policy and Strategy - Veritas
Once more we are reminded of the need for citizens to be vigilant when politicians make pronouncements. They are only too ready to deceive and mislead us, to lead us into ‘blind alleys’ and discourage us from seeing the real and full nature of things in all their complexity.
The most recent example of this is House of Lords reform. Here we are led to believe that if one is not supportive of an elected House of Lords then one is against House of Lords reform and consequently not a supporter of democracy. A more honest approach would be to acknowledge the many possibilities for reform that exist of which the method of entry for membership of the chamber is but one.
The primary function of the House of Lords is to scrutinise Bills on their way through Parliament. What it is bringing to this process is the experience and knowledge of its members, gained in many walks of life – both nationally and internationally, who can analyse, discuss and debate draft legislation and suggest amendments for improvement. It is my view that this is best done in a non-partisan manner; and I would recommend that the House of Lords be free of party politics, which tends to distort and cramp honest analysis and productive creativity.
The House of Lords should not be a facsimile of the House of Commons. It is the House of Commons that is the decision-making chamber of Parliament: its members are elected by the citizens of the United Kingdom and are the citizens’ delegates in Parliament. In contrast the members of the House of Lords should be appointed, by a panel independent of political parties and working in an open and transparent manner, according to the contribution that they can make to the scrutiny of legislation by way of the experience and knowledge that they have gained through their careers and vocations; this will not be guaranteed by election, where candidates who are adept at campaigning and public relations will have the edge. Many people who have potential to make significant useful contribution to the work of the House of Lords will not put themselves forward for election – they will not be motivated in that way. The House of Lords is analogous to the concept of the tribal elders – a source of wise counsel based on knowledge and experience, not success at the polls. They may not necessarily be charismatic, but that is not a requirement.
In terms of reform of the House of Lords, membership based on inheritance of title should be stopped; although former hereditary peers may be considered for appointment based on the knowledge and experience that they can bring to the work of the chamber. An age for retirement from membership of the House of Lords should be established: we all have to recognise that there comes a time in life when we are no longer able to give of our best in a busy debating chamber and in rigorous committee work. Contributions beyond retirement age may still be made from outside Parliament in writing and speech-making. Remuneration by salary for members of the House of Lords may be better than an allowance for each day of attendance; this would stop members using their membership of the House of Lords as a means of supplementing their income from other sources simply by ‘turning up’ and sitting on the chamber’s benches.
So, please, don’t be led to believe that an elected House of Lords would necessarily produce the quality of membership needed for the chamber to best fulfil its function within Parliament: membership by appointment based on merit might do better. Remove party politics from the House of Lords: it hinders the process of effective and honest scrutiny. Accept that there are reforms other than election that can bring improvement to the work of the House of Lords.
“The Queen's Majesty”
Honoured by the people, betrayed by politicians and slighted by the Dean of Westminster
by Edward Spalton
It does not seem fifty nine years since the Coronation. We crowded into a neighbour's house to watch the service in Westminster Abbey on a black and white TV. Then we hurried to Hazelwood village hall for a slap up tea.
The loyal toast was drunk and one of the lady helpers gave me an illicit glass of sherry. Commander Alleyne proposed the toast - a rather diffident old gentleman whom we youngsters sometimes met on our adventures around the lanes and fields.
Something strange happened, difficult to define but very real. He stopped being the personality we knew and became every inch the naval officer, taking command as he mounted the stage..
It was a transformation which connected straight back to what we had seen on television. The Queen took a solemn oath to govern her people according to their own laws and customs.
Then she was anointed and crowned and the peers in their robes knelt before her, placing their hands between hers, pledging allegiance with the words “I become your man of life and limb and all earthly worship against all manner of folk”. (I haven't looked it up. The words stuck in my mind).
Somehow I knew that it was a similar bond of loyalty which had transformed the kindly old gentleman into a figure of undoubted authority.
Of course, the Queen reigns nowadays and leaves the ruling to her Prime Minister, as long as he has a majority in the House of Commons. Like sailors, soldiers and airmen, the Prime Minister swears an oath too but he does it in private.
It includes “ You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance to the Queen's Majesty and will assist and defend all civil and temporal Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty and annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament or otherwise against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States or Potentates...”
The “Queen's Majesty” is not just the person of the Queen but the whole constitution and sovereignty of her realm, the power by which we are a self-governing nation.
Twenty years after her coronation, one of her Prime Ministers broke his oath. By a series of parliamentary manipulations, Edward Heath persuaded a small majority of MPs to join what is now the European Union. MPs voted even before they had an opportunity to read the treaty. They made the Queen, Parliament and people subject to all then existing European laws and to all future laws which Europe might impose “without further enactment” in our Parliament.
As the EU adds more and more laws to the hundred thousand existing pages, Parliament is less and less able to decide anything on our behalf. Politicians have made the Queen unable to keep her solemn oath to govern us according to our own laws and customs.
No wonder people think that politicians and their parties are all the same.
To rub our noses in it, the Dean of Westminster proposes to approve a memorial to Sir Edward Heath in the Abbey. Let us hope that he and the Chapter remember their own solemn assent to the Articles of Religion of the Church of England which state:
“The Queen's Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England and other her Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm..... doth appertain and is not, nor ought to be subject to any Foreign Jurisdiction...”
The rightful place for Heath's memorial is Traitor's Gate or Brussels.
Addresses: The Receiver General of Westminster Abbey, Sir Stephen Lamport email@example.com
The Very Revd. Dr John Hall,
Dean of Westminster
George Galloway, Islam and Britain’s Future
Following on the Leicester Tiger’s take on yesterday’s by-election in Bradford West, Paul Weston examines the larger context of George Galloway’s victory, and what it means for the future of British politics.
George Galloway has won the seat of Bradford West, much to the apparent shock of the sixth-form student unionists masquerading as adult Labour politicians.
This must make Mr Andrew Neather feel a tad foolish. His proud boast that by importing the Third World Labour would “rub the noses of the right in diversity” appears to have backfired pretty spectacularly.
But Labour have a misguided right to feel shocked. One of the reasons for transforming Britain into a divisive multi-racial country was to ensure Labour’s rule in perpetuity. In the 2010 general election the Conservatives won only 16% of the ethnic vote, whilst Labour won the support of 72% of Bangladeshis, 78% of Afro-Caribbeans and 87% of Africans.
Labour have long pandered to the Muslim vote, for obvious reasons. Muslims wield far more electoral influence than other groups, because they vote who they are told to vote for by the local imam. Jack Straw, for example, was utterly dependent on the Islamic bloc vote in Blackburn, hence his uniformly anti-English sentiment.
But the sheer vacuous stupidity of Labour politicians and their complete inability to absorb the reality of Islam means the Galloway success is only just the beginning. Ken Livingstone will run for Mayor of London on a pro-Islam ticket. Lutfur Rahman, a Muslim with links to hard-line Islamists, is already mayor of Tower Hamlets.
Contrary to the wishful thinking of Labour’s traitor class, Muslims will not vote for them once they become demographically large enough to vote for one of their own — or even for fanatically grovelling Islamic apologists such as the infidel Galloway. So if the Muslim demographic continues to double every decade — as it has since 1960 — then the future of British politics (and Britain) can only become increasingly Islamic.
Galloway’s election spiel had little to do with Britain or the British; he pandered only to the Muslims, even invoking Pakistan and Kashmir in a letter beginning with “A Salaam o Aleukum”. Some snippets follow:
God knows who is a Muslim. And he knows who is not….let me point out to the Muslims brothers and sisters what I stand for…..I, George Galloway, do not drink alcohol and never have… I, George Galloway have fought for Muslims at home and abroad, all of my life….what has the Labour candidate ever done for Bradford let alone Pakistan and Kashmir?… etc etc.
Muslims vote on tribal/religious lines. As their numbers swell to six million, twelve million, twenty-four million over the next few decades, so Britain will cease to resemble the cohesive liberal democracy our ancestors fought to preserve.
We have already seen widespread Muslim electoral fraud, courtesy of the postal vote. Out of a turnout of only some 30,000 in the Bradford West by-election, 33% of votes cast were by postal ballot. And this comes on top of Baroness Warsi’s claim that the last general election was swayed by Muslim postal vote fraud.
So there goes the democratic representation of Great Britain. Certain constituencies now revolve only around the Islamic faith and the internal squabbles of countries far away. Why is the Kashmir question relevant to the non-Muslims of Bradford?
I can only hope that I live to see the day when our present political class is held accountable for the betrayal of their country and their own people.
Paul Weston is Chairman of the British Freedom Party.
With the approach of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday our local paper ran a doubtlessly sincere article which attributed peace in Europe since 1945 to the EU.
Attached is a reasoned response. As I have had five articles in during the last month, it will be very good luck if this gets printed; the rather terse style is due to the paper's strict word limit. If anyone wishes to make use of the article or adapt it , please feel free to do so.
The final point is actually the most serious today. Mr. Cameron is actually encouraging the formation of a common government by the Eurozone countries. Under the Lisbon treaty, these German-dominated countries will shortly have a permanent majority over the other ten EU countries to do whatever they like. If he were not deadly serious, he would not be pouring billions of our money into bailing out the euro.
It is as if Neville Chamberlain had gone to Munich not only prepared to sacrifice the independence of Czechoslovakia but to provide Germany with finance for its arms programme. The country whose independence Mr.Cameron is sacrificing is our own and he believes it is in our interest.
Alongside David Cameron, Neville Chamberlain looks something of a tiger.
In fact, Mr. Cameron is the sort of person who gives Appeasement a bad name. Surrender may bring absence of war but that is not peace.
It is one of the EU's claimed unique advantages that it has averted European war. The original idea was cooked up in the Twenties by Jean Monnet and Arthur Salter, a British civil servant. As a solution for the problems of the Twenties and Thirties it might have worked, limiting the possibility of conflict between France and Germany.
But the political, economic and military situations in post 1945 Europe were entirely different. There was not the slightest political will or possibility of Germany and France going to war. A large chunk of German territory was under Russian control and the home of an enormous Soviet tank army which, at very short notice, could roll through the Fulda Gap or across the North German plain . Divided Germany was in no position to fight anybody and for many years France was occupied with successive colonial wars in Indo-China and Algeria. America, Britain and Canada guaranteed the peace, organised as NATO, whose function was summarised as “keeping the French in, the Germans down and the Russians out”.
The threats facing Europe were the Soviet Army and internal unrest, sometimes getting close to revolution in France and Italy. The Americans fostered European integration as a response. The Common Agricultural Policy, which gave over-generously high prices for farm produce, was a way of averting communist disaffection amongst peasant farmers. The CIA funded the European Movement lavishly which is one reason why the 1975 British referendum on EEC membership was so unequally funded.
The 1950 Schumann plan (which was actually Monnet's) struck chords in Germany where ideas of “European Economic Community” arose from darker sources. I translated an early book of that title which included contributions from politics, business, diplomacy and academia. It shows a similar idea of European integration to that we have today. It was published in 1942 and the lead author was Walther Funk , Hitler's Economics Minister, President of the Reichsbank and Minister for Post War Planning. The euro was called the “Europagulden” and the Europa Bank was to be in Berlin, not Frankfurt .
In 1951 Dr Adenauer's Minister of Commerce, Dr. Seebohm, expressed German ambitions thus - “Will free Europe join Germany? Germany is the heart of Europe and the limbs must adjust to the heart, not the heart to the limbs”. Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Greece are now feeling the harsh effects of that adjustment, as will any other EU state which crosses the all-powerful euro economic government which is being set up with Mr. Cameron's spaniel-like agreement.
Under the Lisbon treaty the German-dominated eurozone countries will have sufficient voting power to overrule all the other ten member countries whenever they want. The German dream of Reichsminister Funk & Dr. Seebohm will be reality. Democratic government in Britain will be extinguished – mere Vichy.
Frau Merkel reportedly said there could be war if Germany did not get its way.
Campaign against Euro-Federalism
Eurozone summit: the Bankers and Workers
The Eurozone summit painted as though 17 Heads of State came to the rescue of Greece and the single currency was nothing of the sort. The deal cobbled together in the early hours of 27 October required the agreement of the trade association of the banks, financiers, private investors and speculators represented by the Institute for International Finance (IIF). The deal is a bail out of the banks who when push came to shove agreed to the “haircut” of writing off half the Greek debt or suffer the consequences of Greece defaulting on the whole debt and collapse of the single currency.
It is understood that the International Monetary Fund had pressed for a 70% write off and the EU and European Central Bank wanted up to 60%.
The upshot is that Greece remains in the Eurozone and will not be classed as defaulting on the ‘sovereign’ debt. For the time being the single currency will survive within a two tier European Union superstate -that is until the next crisis in what President Barroso has admitted is a marathon.
Practically all the media reports and interviews concentrate on the mechanics of debts and monies involved. This includes the million million, or trillion, euros towards a bail-out fund in case the current plan fails or other Eurozone states cannot pay back their debts to the banks. At the moment there is no indication where or how this sort of colossal fortune is to be raised. However, it does involve Britain and British banks via the IMF even though we are supposed to be broke.
What is not discussed by the media is where workers are involved. The relevant part of the deal struck in Brussels is to continue consolidation of the EU’s austerity policies including cuts in pensions, wages and welfare provision and further privatisation. The deal struck is for the people in Greece to be burdened and impoverished with paying back the banks until 2020. Italy has been told to table government plans to reduce their debt with the same restructuring austerity policies. Ireland and Portugal remain under direct orders from the IMF and EU.
The deal is a brutal unrelenting attack on the working class within Member States of the EU and must be opposed. In Britain there is an urgent need for trade unions and the wider labour movement to fully appreciate the seriousness and gravity of the situation, and oppose the ConDem austerity policies as a matter of solidarity with workers across the Eurozone and the rest of the EU. The alternative is for Britain to be outside the prison house of nation-states that is the EU.
Further information - John Boyd
Secretary – Campaign against Euro-Federalism
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