Archive for March, 2010

Mandelson watches as former PM’s brains are blown out

March 31, 2010
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    31st March 2010

    UPDATE: There are a few fallback phrases theatricals use when they’ve watched a friend’s work and aren’t too sure what to say. Phrases such as, “Darling, you’ve done it again!” or “Words fail me” often trip off many a double-edged tongue. I’m just wondering if Peter Mandelson used either of those after watching The Ghost? Or did he say “Technically brilliant , but factually …?” Hmmm? Perhaps Mr Harris will let us know.

    So what was Lord Peter Mandelson up to on the same day that Tony was wowing ‘em at Trimdon?

    He was watching ‘The Ghost’!

    "Ghost" writer Robert Harris and Lord Peter Mandelson (R) arrive at a VIP screening of The Ghost held at The Courthouse Hotel, London on March 30. (Photo by Fergus McDonald/Getty Images Europe)

    [Caption? -  "I can laugh, Robert.  I was out of favour AGAIN while Tony made that fateful decision. Otherwise it might have been MY brains all over that screen too.  I'd have had to turn down your kind invitation tonight. After all blood is thicker than water. Well... his is.]

    WHOOOOOOOOH!

    A GHOSTLY LAUGHING MATTER?

    Isn’t that the film where Tony Blair, sorry, I meant Adam Lang, of course, has his brains blown out?

    Excerpt:

    Which doesn’t alter the fact that on Brosnan’s first day of shooting Polanski was a pain. As a director, Brosnan says, Polanski’s ‘all-encompassing’. ‘The actors, the way the camera moves, the props, the make-up, how the blood was going on when I have my brains blown out. “

    Now don’t get any ideas Peter, just because Tony did so well at Trimdon.

    He isn’t coming back to threaten your position after Gordon falls on his sword. Honestly, he isn’t. You wouldn’t like him dead anyway. His ghost is tough enough to deal with while he’s still inhaling.

    As if.

    As if indeed.

    OLD FRIENDS

    No, of course not. Lord Mandelson and Harris go back a long way. Harris even dedicated a book to his old friend (see here.)

    By attending this private viewing of Polanski’s tale (“WARNING: Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely co-incidental”) Mandelson was not by any means endorsing it. It was just a night out by invitation of the parent of his godchild. The parent who has done pretty well financially on the back of ‘doing in’ their Mutual Friend.

    Neither was Peter, sometimes known as the Master of The Black Arts, checking out the legal boundaries of the film, I’m sure. After all, there is no chance, not the teensy-weensiest chance that anyone, ANYONE was expected to confuse the film’s charming, election winner of a former prime minister, newly rich but aka a ‘war criminal’ now holed-up in the USA awaiting war crimes charges with YOUR MAN, is there, Peter?

    Nah. ‘ Course not. All co-incidental.

    Ewan McGregor (The film’s ghost writer) says -

    “If the character was called Tony Blair and Pierce was asked to do an impersonation of Tony Blair and it was more of a factual account, then we would be in trouble and so would the film, probably. But it was never our intention to do that; it makes comments about politics and politicians and the fact that they in our film become accountable in that he’s charged with war crimes and will have to face the panel or the jury.”

    Methinks he doth protest too much.

    Or, as the school child said to the teacher after having the rules on double negatives explained – (“but there is no such thing as a double-positive”) – “Yeah, Right.”

    More pictures of good ol’ mates Harris and Mandelson here

    Michael White attended both the debut  and the Trimdon event. See his thoughts here

    Excerpt: “By way of exhilarating coincidence I experienced a surreal double take yesterday. Having spent the morning following Tony Blair on the campaign trail in County Durham, I came back to London to see Pierce Brosnan playing a thinly-disguised version of the former prime minister on the big screen.

    Compare and contrast, eh? The real Blair is sleek and polished, much more so than the Milky Bar Kid – his own description – who first fought Sedgefield in 1983. How much more so was the former James Bond who plays Adam Lang in Roman Polanski‘s gripping new film of Robert Harris’s thriller The Ghost?

    At one level the comparison is silly, of course. As Harris routinely tells interviewers – and did again at last night’s pre-premiere screening in a Soho viewing theatre – his story of a former British prime minister holed up on Martha’s Vineyard to write his memoirs – is mere fiction.

    But anyone who read the novel or may see the movie – which will be out on 16 April – is struck by the very obvious truth that a tall, smooth PM who took his country into a controversial war in Iraq and is now harried by allegations of war crimes is a character likely to have been inspired by Blair.”


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    Simon Jeffery at The Guardian referring, btw, to the Polanski film says -

    Jeffery:

    “Unless I’ve missed something, I don’t think the former PM is seeking re-election this year. So why has he got his very own election website?

    There has been some speculation over the last few days about what Tony Blair’s role in Labour’s general election campaign will be – he made a speech yesterday, but what follows is not clear. Well, here is something else to throw into the mix – he has his own 2010 election website.

    It has been built by Blue State Digital, who worked on the Barack Obama campaign (and are generally quite happy to turn up to internet election conferences and talk about it), and other post-Downing Street Blair tech projects for his Faith Foundation and work in the Middle East.

    The site has news, videos, some social media functionality … but still, a Tony Blair election website in 2010? Anyone checked what John Major’s up to this time around? Wasn’t being the thinly disguised inspiration for the new Roman Polanski film enough?

    Perhaps you’ve missed something, Mr Jeffery.

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    The papers on the Blessed Blair’s resurrection at Trimdon

    March 31, 2010
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    31st March 2010

    Since their earlier attempts to crucify the former prime minister seem to have fallen on stony ground, as it were, his unexpected ressurrection has sent our papers into a tizzy. This picture would not have discouraged them.

    Blair now – 30th March 2010

    His expression above is a lot less exuberant than the last time he offered his hands for the nails (also here in Trimdon, almost three years ago). Not that that'll prevent the press trying to hammer the nails home.

    Blair then – 10th May 2007

    The last time we saw Tony Blair in the domestic politics scene it was in his farewell to his constiuency in Sedgefield. His arms were extended widely then too (May 2007.) More thanking the 'faithful' than welcoming the nails. ( I mean, of course, 'thanking friends'.)

    [Go here to listen to his speech on that day in May, 2007]

    SO WHAT’S THE STORY MOURNING GORY?

    How have our illustrious press covered this? Well, they have attacked from several angles and a few have praised. The usual partisan suspects in all cases. Well … more or less.

    The “saviour”, the “suntan”, the “money”, the “liar is up to something”.

    It’s mainly the commenters at some articles who go back to the Iraq issue.  Like bees around the honeypot they’re drawn to that. And some of their comments are anything but sweet. They are incendiary. Atrocious behaviour from would-be peace ‘n’ lovers. They are the reason it costs so much to protect The Man.  (More on them later.) If you believe these types actually CARE about those that were killed in Iraq (mainly by insurgents, not by the troops) you’ll believe anything.

    ON THE SAVIOUR’S DAY

    First there’s Will Heaven – (no, not a question) – having some biblical fun here: Tony Blair plays Labour’s Saviour: ‘The sea is still rough, the storm has subsided’:

    And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.

    And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

    And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

    But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

    I indulge in a touch of biblical metaphoring too, Mr Heaven. Though I prefer to have a go at the ‘saviour’ who hasn’t got the Walk On Water factor – Dave The Save.

    Then there’s a BBC report by Brian Wheeler. “More reunion than rally” is how he describes the events on a rainy day in Trimdon.  Though this is a fairer article than many others on the story Mr Wheeler still feels the need to mention the “second coming … deity” idea.

    Excerpt:

    “I don’t think people can believe that he was actually amongst us,” said one dazed acolyte, trying to sum the morning’s events up.

    Tony Blair’s great comeback to the UK political stage felt more like a family reunion, or the second coming of a minor deity, than a political rally.

    [...]

    Local priest Father John Caden did not seem at all put out that this was the first time he had seen his old friend in three years, since Mr Blair’s conversion to Catholicism.

    “He is really the Tony I first met in 1983 when he came into my church. As a dear friend, he has never changed.”

    IT ISNT HIS CHRISTLIKENESS. IT’S THE CHARISMA, SWEETHEARTS

    Oh, yes it is. It isn’t that Blair is godlike, or thinks he is. That wouldn’t get to me. I am still stubbornly a religious ‘unbeliever’ and likely to remain so. “Unbeliever” is the wrong word of course. You can’t believe in something you don’t accept exists.  But that piece of personal information is just thrown in here in order to disabuse those of you who think a Blair Supporter has to be in lockstep with everything The Man with the WOW factor says, does or believes in.  I don’t.

    Fro me it’s simply that Tony Blair knows how to DO politics today, like no-one else. His natural charisma helps, tan or not.

    Which other politician can we imagine extending his arms so openly in this way? Apart from Dave, of course?

    I don’t know if Mr Cameron plans the arms outreach at one of his events to the faithful in the next few weeks before Tony’s birthday (May 6th!) This is the only one of him in a similar pose that I can find online, and he’s only doing a half-Blair here – the sofa half. And not to the multitudes. So that’s a third-Blair. Way to go, Dave.

    THE GOLDEN GLOW

    The Times provides a better explanation of the Tanned Blair’s ‘Elixir of Good Health -  not being PM’.

    Excerpt:

    “When he arrived in Downing Street he was nicknamed Bambi but no one today would mistake Tony Blair for a baby deer.

    Instead, he was recently likened to a lizard on a rock — tanned, taut and able to soak up the political heat.

    Mr Blair’s deep tan is the most obvious difference since he last spoke in Sedgefield three years ago — hardly surprising, perhaps, for a man who spends much of his time as a peace envoy in the Middle East. Yet he also seems leaner and more vigorous than he did when he left office in 2007. While there are not many people for whom mediating between Israel and the Palestinians would count as a relaxing break, it is certainly less stressful, it would appear, than being Prime Minister.”

    Though even Chris Smyth here HAS to mention the money. The money? It’s only a guess but I think he’d give it all up for 65% popularity ratings again. Highly unlikely, right now anyway. Hang onto the money, Tony, and make it work for your charities.

    OTHERS ON THAT TAN

    James Kirkup at The Telegraph says “Tony Blair is the future, and it’s orange”

    Sub-heading -

    ‘The Second Coming is upon us. Tony Blair has returned to earth to save Gordon Brown.’

    Jon Jones at Sky News admits the press still has a thing about the tan.  But at least he has a go at a point within Blair’s speech. He questions why he left us with the benighn/not benign question over Tory policy.

    Excerpt:

    And look at this striking passage: “So why the confusion? The benign but still disqualifying explanation is that the policy-makers are confused…. The less benign one is that one set of policies represents what they believe in; the other what they think they have to say to win.”

    So which is it Mr Blair? – honest confusion or political calculation? Why stay on the fence? Surely here again he lets David Cameron off the hook – a fully engaged topflight Labour operator would leave no doubt as to his view of the Conservatives’ malign motivation. Was that the sound of bets being hedged?

    Possibly, Mr Jones. Possibly. Then again perhaps not. It may be no more than the sound of doubts being planted politely and without the need for nasty noisy spadework.

    THE MONEY,  ‘LIES’, BUSINESSES, FRIENDS AND GENERAL HATEFULNESS OF LABOUR’S WINNER

    The Daily Mail’s Peter Oborne is a man with some serious personal hang-ups about Tony Blair.  The least said about much of this the better. Perhaps he needs psychiatric help.  Oborne’s “word counts for nothing.”

    To paraphrase Oborne, again – For it must be noted that Tony Blair Peter Oborne is a notorious liar.

    MORE SATAN THAN JESUS

    And then some get into the really serious stuff.  Serious? Hah!

    There’s Gerald Warner – at The Telegraph, he writes about religion as well as other things, or so it says. So HE should know an evil one when he sees one, shouldn’t he? Er no.  Perhaps he needs to look inside his own soul, as should many religious people. That might help him and them to learn how to recognise real evil and deal with it accordingly.

    Clearly this Blair-hating chappie is really panicking.

    “The Great Charlatan has risen from the grave. He has returned to claim Gordon, his enslaved creature, and very possibly to imprint the kiss of death, fatal as a vampire’s bite, on his election campaign.”

    God save us. Being a religious commenter Warner knows a bit about lies, I’m sure. Here he refers to this lie, though he doesn’t know it was ALL a lie:  Blair said he watched Jackie Milburn, of Newcastle United, from behind the goal at St James’s Park. As a writer on politics as well as religion you’d think he’d have worked out by now that that story itself was a lie. And not Mr Blair’s lie. It was The Sun wot dun it. (See confession here.) Perhaps Warner isn’t au fait with football, unlike his knowledge of politics!

    THE FOUL-MOUTHED HANGING ‘N’ FLOGGING COMMENTERS GIVEN FREE REIN

    It’s one of the mysteries of modern-day online scribbling/tapping that commenters are allowed to get away with all sorts of outrageous utterances online. They are seldom if ever taken to task by the oh-so-moralistic writers and moderators.

    For instance this, at the Independent

    A lying War Criminal

    [info]robert_price wrote:

    Tuesday, 30 March 2010 at 11:23 am (UTC)

    Why are we stil giving air time to this man. Shouldn’t he have hanged by now?

    Oh, I almost forgot, the rich folks he betrayed this country to, and whom he has killed so many people in other countries for, still control the media.

    What this facile nonsensical ranting has to do with whether or not Mr Blair should be permitted floor space at his old constituency is never made clear. The writer or moderator doesn’t return to put people right with such as a – “Hang on a minute. Mr Blair is not a ‘lying war criminal’ until tried and proven so. And, by the way, we don’t hang people here in Britain, not even him. Haven’t you noticed?”

    I said above that it is a mystery why this kind of comment from the public ignorant is so widespread. It isn’t actually a mystery. The blogosphere and article comment pages have now largely turned into evil-minded monsters encouraged by the press. They can get away with just about anything. It’s a press responsibility cop-out. “I DIDN’T say it, Guv! Not ME.  No WAY!”

    These article writers know they can get away with publishing this – free speech and all that – so they just lay the tasty bait and the ignorant leap in and grab with their gobbling, gabbling mouths.

    Sorry, but free speech notwithstanding, I still think something needs to be done about this.

    Ch..ch..ch.. Changes – Tony Blair enters election race and supports Brown

    March 30, 2010
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    30th March 2010

    UPDATE: Hysterical nonsense from someone called Brown, described as a ‘specialist in mental health’ issues, (so not THAT Brown or his brother Andrew, btw.) I’ve listened to all three videos of Blair and only in the first few seconds of the first one did I notice anything vaguely American about Blair’s accent- “wunnerful”. His second “wonderful”, a few seconds later,  was back to English English. Clearly this is the desperation of the anti-Blairs – ploughing the anti-America furrow, even at The Telegraph.

    A FUTURE BLAIR FOR ALL

    I'm just having a little harmless fun, here. Honestly.

    Tony Blair’s speech at Sedgefield can be seen here  – in three videos (scroll down to watch all three.)

    Tony Blair, the Comeback. Part one (10m 10s)

    10:10

    After the expected and oh-so-missed exchanges of a few personal memories and giggles with his audience, Mr Blair launched into his speech, with further reminders as to WHY he is still missed. Oh yes he is! It isn’t his tan, still boyish looks or ease of communication.  It’s the rare ability to put his finger on ALL the issues – the pluses of his own party and most importantly the minuses of the opposition.  One of the reasons so many people are undecided is that we know David Cameron hasn’t “sealed the deal” but we don’t quite know why. Mr Blair gives us some clues here, even without mentioning Cameron by name.

    The BIG clue, in my humble opinion? It’s the vision thing.

    Excerpts:

    “When I was Prime Minister I was known as an optimist. I still am. I’m optimistic about Britain, its future and the opportunities the world holds for us. Provided we take the right decisions, imbued with the right attitude of mind.

    Strange as it may seem, the financial crisis does not diminish this optimism. The way we are coming through the crisis instead reinforces it. We are not out of the woods yet; but we are on the path out.

    And this did not happen by chance; it happened by choice. Think back 18 months, think back to the collapse of September 2008, and where the world was then. It was poised on the brink of catastrophe. The prediction indeed of many – economists, commentators, even at least in private, leaders, was that we were doomed to repeat the collapse of the 1930s. The spectre of prolonged recession stalked the corridors of political and economic power.

    Britain, like all other major nations, was hit hard by the crisis. In a deluge such as this, no one escapes. But now, March 2010, Britain has just had a Budget signalling a return to growth, a slow, difficult recovery, but a recovery nonetheless.

    [...]

    What we can say is compared to the fear of what might have been, we have emerged better than virtually any predicted. Hard decisions lie ahead undoubtedly. But though the sea is still rough, the storm has subsided.

    And this is for a simple reason, both in respect of Britain and of the world. The right decisions at the outset of the crisis were taken. Governments were mobilised, the financial sector put on emergency support, demand stimulated and most of all, there was an immediate recognition that decisive action was necessary and urgent. At the moment of peril the world acted. Britain acted. And that decision to act, required experience, judgement and boldness. It required leadership. And Gordon Brown supplied it.

    Since then, Gordon and Alistair Darling have been striving to keep the country moving, capable of meeting not just future challenges, but seizing future opportunities.

    And the issue for the future is very clear: how does Britain emerge from the financial crisis; how do we compete in the new markets; how do we re-energise our dynamism, enterprise, our sense of possibility?

    And this is not just about policy, but about mindset. It’s about who “gets” the future? That’s always the political question. Who understands the way the world is changing and can be comfortable in it? Who sees the excitement where others simply see the fear?

    The New Industries, New Jobs paper from Peter Mandelson, for me, correctly identifies both challenge and opportunity. It is the right judicious mix of Government and market, reserving for the first the role only it can play, and giving the second the help it needs to prosper. It represents a vision of how Britain can do well and how individuals and families can do better. It’s a platform for the hope of prosperity to come.

    So now our country has to debate the direction for our future. And it’s a big thing for Labour to win a 4th term. Remember prior to 1997 Labour had never won two successive full terms. Now we have won three. So it’s a big moment for the Party; but of course, most of all, it is a momentous decision for the country.

    The tough thing about being in government, especially as time marches on, is that the disappointments accumulate, the public becomes less inclined to give the benefit of the doubt, the call for a time to change becomes easier to make, the prospect of change becomes more attractive. But as I always used to say when some in our ranks urged upon me a mantra of  “time for a change” in 1997, it’s actually the most vacuous slogan in politics.

    “Time for a Change” begs the question: change to what exactly? And the reason an election that seemed certain to some in its outcome, is now in sharp contention, lies precisely in that question.

    As the issue has ceased to be “what makes me angry about the government”, and instead has focused instead on “well, if I get change, what change exactly am I getting”, so the race has narrowed. Because that is not a question readily or coherently answered; and in so far as it can be answered, gives as much cause for anxiety as for reassurance.

    On some issues like racial equality the Conservatives have left behind the prejudices of the past. I welcome that.

    But when it comes to the big policy issues, there is a puzzle, that has turned into a problem that has now become a long hard pause for thought: Where are they centred?

    Is there a core? Think of all the phrases you associate with their leadership and the phrase “you know where you are with them” is about the last description you would think of. They seem like they haven’t made up their mind about where they stand; and so the British public finds it hard to make up its mind about where it stands. In uncertain times, there is a lot to be said for certain leadership.

    What happens after a long period of one party in Government, is this: the flipside of change being attractive …

    [more in next videos]


    Tony Blair, the Comeback. Part Two (9:56)

    Excerpts:

    On the Tories:

    “What is the change that I’m getting at?

    We had worked out  a set of positions … that was clear and mutually coherent … a philosophical concept woven across the whole fabric of the case we were putting to the people.

    The (Tories’) policy-makers are confused, not just the policy but the one set of policies represent not what they believe in but what they have to say to win … truly regressive steps (on Europe). They have opposed the stronger anti-terrorism measures … and the database. It’s an absolutely sensible use of modern technology, yet the Tories oppose it.”

    Referring to the Conservative NHS ‘policy’ pointing that it is a policy of “preserving the status quo of the NHS”, he compared it with Oiver Letwin’s Wall Street Journal article yesterday where he talked of bringing transformation of the public services. He called this “a policy of radical transformation of the status quo.”

    “Plainly”, he says, “diametrically opposite” (to Cameron’s ‘policy’ of retaining the status quo.)

    “Why”, he asked, “the confusion? “

    “The (Conservative) policy-makers are confused not just the policy. But the less benign one is that one set of policies represents what they believe in, the other what they think they have to say to win. That’s not a confusion actually, that’s a strategy and the British people deserve to have that strategy exposed before the general election.”


    Tony Blair, the Comeback. Part Three (4:15)

    Excerpts:

    He reminded listeners of changes promised and “delivered by a Labour government…and then the changes that would never have happened under the Tories.”

    “When Gordon sought to bring the world together an act in the financial crisis, you know what it came naturally together because he understands it … which leads me back to the central point of the election – Who gets the future? And this is not a matter of age or personality. It’s a matter of comprehension. This is a very, very important moment in which to exercise understanding of the world we live in.”

    “Which leads me back to the central point of the election: who “gets” the future? This is not a matter of age or personality. It is a matter of comprehension. This is a very, very important moment in which to exercise understanding. Since leaving office, and spending much time abroad, I can tell you one thing above all else. The characteristics of today’s world are: it is interdependent; it is changing; and power is moving East. And all of this is happening fast, faster than we can easily imagine. Britain’s challenge is not a 20th Century one and its politics cannot afford 20th Century political attitudes. The country has to go forward with energy, drive, determination and above all understanding. Closed minds close off the future. That would mean the challenge is failed, but it would also mean the opportunity is squandered.

    This country faces big challenges in the futures. I want this party to be the one able to meet those challenges. This country needs strong leadership. I want our leadership to be the one that gives it.

    There is still vast potential and promise in our nation. I want our government to be the one that develops it.

    I want a future fair for all. I believe a 4th term Labour Government can deliver it.”


    I know I’m biased, but since Tony Blair left office no-one in Labour has seemed intellectually capable of pointing out most of this. Reminding us of the good things, and raising alarm bells on the opposition’s proposed “changes”.

    It’s not enough just to say you’re the “heir to Blair.”


    Here’s the Time Trumpet ‘Changes’ bit of fun and games, just as a reminder -

    Blair and Cameron – changes !! (2:07)

    And my own video -

    Tony Blair – Everlasting Words Part 1 (3:42)

    Yes, I still blame Gordon Brown and cohorts for removing Blair. And it is testament to Blair than he spoke so highly of Brown at Trimdon today. As we know there is more to politics than personal rancour, however much such feelings might be understood. There is also THE PROJECT. Both Brown and Blair are both signed-up to this, whoever is leading the party right now. Failure to win the next election would open the floodgates to all manner of back-to-the-futurists to dive in and annihilate their party and “project” from both inside and out.

    Just found this video below from the BBC Culture Show. Now don’t say I lack a sense of humour. It’s artistically brilliant, though factually completely inaccurate, of course.

    Culture Show – Tony Blair Farewell Speech – BBC Two (4:54)

    “History will be my judge. History and the tabloid press [...]  So now you may begin to mourn for my premiership.  So, as I leave you now let us join together in a moment’s silence to think about what I, Tony Blair, have done to this country… sorry, FOR this country. Sorry.  Goodbye, till the next time.”

    (I always wondered what a petard looked like.)

    Goodbye, till the next time.


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    Read the full transcript of the speech at the Labour Party website – Tony Blair speaks to Trimdon Labour Club




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    Muslim MPs’ signatures forged at North London Central Mosque

    March 28, 2010
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    28th March 2010

    Hat tip to The Iconoclast and original source Sunday Times

    MP quits radical mosque over forgery on TRUST’s declaration!

    The MP, a member of the parliamentary committee on tackling terrorism, said his signature had been forged on the mosque’s trust declaration, which was sent to the Charity Commission in March 2008 to demonstrate that it was operating on a legal basis.

    A MUSLIM MP, Khalid Mahmood (MP for Birmingham Perry Barr), who was brought in to deradicalise the mosque used by Abu Hamza to recruit Al-Qaeda terrorists is to quit as a trustee after complaining his signature was forged on legal documents.

    Two Muslim MPs, neither of whom have London constituencies, are sad to have had their signatures forged. Hats off to Mahmood for saying that he will resign from the board of the Muslim Association of Britain set up to stop radicalisation at the North London Central Mosque (renamed due to unhelpful associations, when known as Finsbury Mosque.)

    I’ll put it bluntly; I see far too much them and us-ism at the Muslim Association of Britain’s website. FAR too much.

    The Muslim Association of Britain’s website

    A quick rummage through their front page stories comes up with this -

    1. Blair’s fight to keep his oil cash secret (picked directly from the Daily Mail. Strange bedfellows some people choose these days. Does MAB really think the Conservatives would be kinder to their causes? Really?)

    Don’t forget which prime minister actually cared about the position of Muslims in Britain and made the changes to prove it.

    2. The Muslim Association of Britain welcomes the Foreign Secretary’s action in response to the disgraceful act of cloning British passports by Israel ’s Mossad, and their use in entering Dubai for the purpose of assassinating a leading Hamas figure.

    Poor leading Hamas murderer.

    3. Since the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967 the Zionist fundamentalists have staged over a hundred attacks on Masjid al Aqsa Haram Shareef.

    Over a hundred in over 40 years? Is that to be compared, pro-rata with the weekly, sometimes daily attacks on Israel from Hamas supporters inside Gaza?

    Khalid Mahmood, MP. (Photo by Alisdair Macdonald / Rex Features ( 534429g )

    [Picture of Khalid Mahmood from this Daily Mail article]

    Khalid Mahmood (MP for Birmingham Perry Barr) has called for a Charity Commission investigation after the alleged forgery on papers prepared by the North London Central Mosque.

    The signature of a second trustee, Mohammad Sarwar, the Labour MP for Glasgow Central, was also allegedly forged.

    Mahmood’s resignation will renew controversy at the former Finsbury Park Mosque, which was linked to Al-Qaeda terrorists including the shoebomber Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker in the 9/11 attacks.

    In 2003 it was raided by police as part of an investigation into an alleged ricin poison plot, which uncovered a mini-arsenal of weapons, terrorism paraphernalia and forged passports. Radical preacher Hamza was thrown out and later jailed for seven years for inciting murder and stirring up racial hatred.

    The mosque was put under the control of the Muslim Association of Britain by the Charity Commission. The two MPs agreed to sit on the trust board in a deal backed by David Blunkett, then home secretary, and Tony Blair to reclaim the mosque for moderate Muslims.

    Announcing his intention to resign, Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said: “I don’t think I can work with these people. Some of the things that have been done have been completely out of order, including the forging of my signature.”

    The MP, a member of the parliamentary committee on tackling terrorism, said his signature had been forged on the mosque’s trust declaration, which was sent to the Charity Commission in March 2008 to demonstrate that it was operating on a legal basis.

    At the time he became a trustee, Mahmood was seen as a vital conduit between the government and Muslims in the period that followed the July 2005 suicide bombings in London.

    The mosque has been embroiled in a so far unsuccessful libel action against Policy Exchange, a centre-right think tank, which named it in its 2007 report about extremist literature available in UK mosques. Last November the six trustees who had advanced the claim were ordered to pay the think tank’s legal costs. The High Court made a further order that £75,000 of those costs be paid by the mosque. The mosque is appealing.

    [Picture of Mohammad Sarwar from Telegraph article here]

    Mohammad Sarwar, the Labour MP for Glasgow Central.

    In his complaint to the commission, Mahmood said neither he nor Sarwar had been consulted on the legal action. But a mosque spokesman said: “Mahmood’s been consulted and sent all the minutes. He’s invited to meetings but if he doesn’t come it’s his issue.”

    In his letter, Mahmood suggests Sarwar’s signature was also forged on the trust document. Sarwar said: “It’s a very messy business but I’d rather not comment as it is a very sensitive matter.”

    Mohamad Kozbar, one of the mosque’s nine trustees, said he could not comment.

    I DO hope this issue is Not TOO sensitive for Mr Sarwar. He too should resign. We’re watching.


    BACKGROUND – ABU HAMZA

    Abu Hamza is currently serving a 7 year sentence in a London jail.

    Now let’s get up to date with what’s happening with this Hamza guy. From the Anglo American, September 9th 2008:

    ‘The European court of human rights has ordered the British Government not to extradite Abu Hamza to the United States. Hamza’s lawyers, paid  for by the British tax payer, have persuaded the court to hold a hearing concerning the condition of human rights in a US Jail. If convicted Hamza would face incarceration in a high security jail with considerable periods of solitary confinement.

    The British Government has capitulated to the ruling – a spokesman saying that this is “a matter for the European court.”

    No US government official has so far commentated court’s ruling. But no doubt they will be astonished by the British government’s lack of teeth when it comes to terrorism. And they will be intrigued as to the European courts opinions on the American penal system.’

    Abu Hamza is in Belmarsh Prison right now. As things stand, on his release he is expected to be deported to the USA for further charges, his human rights notwithstanding. (See wikipedia)


    RELATED

    From Jihad Watch – U.K.’s most popular Islamic channel under investigation for promoting “extremism”

    Excerpt: “Viewers were told that ‘the majority of people in hell will be women’.” What kind of rabid extremist would say that? Well, Muhammad. In fact, it comes up more than once. Several times, actually.

    More on this story. “UK’s Islam Channel under investigation,” by David Sapsted for The National, March 28″




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    ‘Blackburn Resistance’ Terrorism Duo – Guilty. Off you go now. There’s good chaps.

    March 28, 2010
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    28th March 2010

    Still catching up. This one’s from last week, in case you missed it.

    Blackburn Resistance brothers guilty of terrorism offences

    But since the judge says they wouldn’t have “amounted to much”, and have already been detained long enough, one of them is already walking free among us and the other will be in three or four months time.  Great stuff, English law isn’t it? Better than hand-chopping. For some.

    Blackburn Citizen News

    TWO Blackburn brothers who called themselves the Blackburn Resistance have been found guilty of terrorism offences.

    But the judge who jailed Abbas and Ilyas Iqbal for a total of four years and six months said the prosecution case had been overstated, and told them: ‘I doubt you would have amounted to much’.

    Judge Andrew Gilbart said ringleader Abbas’ downfall and ‘great weakness’ may have been vanity as he ‘looked like he was getting ready to carry out an attack’.

    A third defendant, Muhammad Ali Ahmad, 26, of Whalley Range, was found not guilty of preparation for acts of terrorism.

    Outside court, he demanded an inquiry into the case, claiming the prosecution was motivated by Islamaphobia. Judge Gilbart said it was shocking Ahmad had spent 387 days in custody ‘for doing absolutely nothing’.

    After the case police said the convictions of the Iqbal brothers had ‘vindicated’ their investigation.

    Abbas Iqbal, 24, was sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of two offences.

    The dissemination of terrorist publications charge was linked to pictures, audio clips and videos found on his mobile phone at Manchester Airport in August 2008.

    Preparation for acts of terrorism included training and stockpiling weapons at his home in Percival Street.

    Ilyas Iqbal, 23, also of Percival Street, was sentenced to 18 months for possession of a publication likely to be useful for terrorists, a blue ring binder containing his notes about weapons and military tactics.

    Sentencing Abbas at Manchester Crown Court, Judge Andrew Gilbart, said: “The terrorism of which we are dealing here is not terrorism directed at civilians in this country.

    “The prosecution case was that you wanted to give support to the suffering of the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan and perhaps assist the Palestinian resistance in the occupied territories of that unhappy region.”

    The judge said that ‘much of the prosecution case was overstated’ and that he did not consider the actions of the duo in Corporation Park, in which they filmed themselves in combat gear, as preparing for terrorism.

    But addressing Abbas he said: “I did find that you wanted to make yourself experienced in the use of weapons.

    “Your level of skill and knowledge was at the low end of the scale.

    “You fancied yourself as a fighter for the cause but truth be told you were a pretty low grade one and I doubt that you would have amounted to much.

    “You are committed to the return of these countries to what you see is the true path and believe that it can be properly achieved by the use of terrorism.”

    Judge Gilbart said Abbas had used the footage of his brother and Mr Ahmad engaging in ‘a bit of innocent fooling about in the park’ and presented it as ‘much more serious’ and that it was ‘not surprising’ the police had treated it as ‘the activities of a terrorist cell’.

    Addressing Ilyas, he said he did not believe the evidence showed he was preparing for acts of terrorism, for which he was cleared.

    But referring to the binder he said: “You do have a genuine interest in weapons, military warfare and history and your skill in that area did make it useful.”

    Abbas, who had served 447 days in custody, is likely to serve another three to four months in jail.

    Ilyas, who had also spent 447 days in custody, walked free from court. He declined to comment as he left court.

    John Burton, defending Abbas, said the material on his client’s phone was a case of ‘the element of recklessness more than intent’ and, along with his preparation, was ‘at the very low end of the scale’.

    However, Judge Gilbart said that while there was no evidence Abbas was preparing for a specific attack, ‘It looked like he was getting himself ready so he could one day do it.’ The judge said: “It may be that his greatest sin, his greatest weakness, is actually his vanity.”

    Roderick Price, defending Ilyas, said his client’s offences were also at ‘the low end of the scale’ and the judge admitted he would have ‘difficulty’ sentencing him.

    However, Judge Gilbart criticised prosecutors and police for the way that Mr Ahmad had been treated, spending 387 days in custody and losing nearly two years of his life before he was found to be innocent.

    He said: “I find it quite shocking how long he had been in there for doing absolutely nothing.”

    A police spokesman for the North West Counter Terrorism Unit speaking at court said its investigations had been ‘vindicated’.

    He said: “I am happy with the results that the jury came back with and I feel that the results vindicate the inquiry, which in some quarters we have been criticised for.

    “I feel we have justified the efforts and energies of the staff who worked on this in the counter terrorism unit. I think any terrorism offence is serious and they need to be thoroughly investigated.”

    Blackburn community leader Lord Adam Patel said: “If they are guilty, they have got the right punishment.

    “I am very disappointed in them and that this has happened in my home town of Blackburn. The majority of the ethnic community is working hard to build better relations and the community will be disappointed for the same reasons.”

    Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: “They had a fair trial as they are entitled and I think this verdict sends out a message to the public about the determination of the authorities to keep people safe.

    “Overwhelmingly the Asian community was shocked by the allegations.”

    Former councillor and community leader Hussain Akhtar said: “The community is shocked and we are not happy with what these boys have done.

    “We try to raise good citizens in Blackburn and people feel let down.

    “They come from a good family and they have let their family down as well. I hope in the future this will make people think twice.”

    That’s British justice for you.

    Weapons: The brothers pose in combat fatigues for another picture.

    More charming pictures at The Daily Mail

    Meanwhile another happy family in Blackburn are convicted of violence against sister




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    ‘Dave the Save’ says, “40 Days and 40 Nights, or it’s the Wilderness for you lot. AGAIN!”

    March 28, 2010
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    28th March, 2010

    Dave has gone all religious on us.

    As it is written in the holy handbook he must … er … mustn’t.

    General Election 2010: Conservatives have 40 days and 40 nights to convince public

    Conservative leader David Cameron, Photo: GETTY

    David Cameron told Conservative Party activists they had “40 days and 40 nights” to convince the public to ditch Labour at the General Election.

    My apologies if you’re touchy about the kind of teasing below, especially if you’re fasting for lent. It’s all meant in jest. I can, and do have a go at other religions too, just as airily.  Christians are big enough and tough enough to take it. So please don’t put a fatwa on me (or even a gentle Christian version.)


    David 1 … sorry … Matthew 4

    The Temptation of David

    Then David was led by the News of the World into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights he wondered if he looked as good as Tony Blair. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of Blair, inspire the voters to use that cross.”

    David answered, “It is written in The Sun and now the NOW: ‘Voters do not cast a cross by looks alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the King.”

    Then the devil took him to the marginal holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the polling booth. “If you are the Son of Blair, ” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:  ‘He will command his publicity machine concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a voter’.”

    David answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the King to the test.’”

    Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

    David said to him, “Get thee behind me, Murdoch! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your Blair and serve him only.’”

    Then the devil left him, and the voters came and attended the wake.


    RELATED

    The Number 40 is VERY, VERY important in the Bible, so it says here. I’m a bit rusty these days. In fact the only way I’m likely to get a rerun of my childhood Thursday night Bible Classes is if they ask me on to Desert Island Discs. Then I’ll get a Bible and Shakespeare’s works to browse through for the next … er 40 years or so.

    The thing about the Bible is that nothing ever seems to get resolved. There was Noah and that blasted rain.

    And Moses and The Promised land – 40 whats? Centuries? Still, for getting the commandments right he lived to 120, which was probably three times as long as most people. He needed that long to make the hieroglyphics decipherable.

    And of course there was Goliath taunting the Israelites for 40 days.  Deja vu all over again.


    More on the Biblical importance of 40

    It rained for 40 days and 40 nights when God wanted to cleanse the world and start over.
    (Gen 7:12 KJV) And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

    Noah waited another 40 days after it rained before he opened a window in the Ark.
    (Gen 8:6 KJV) And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:

    Embalming required 40 days (although this was an Egyptian custom, the Egyptians recognized the period of 40 for the preparation of going into a new life, what they called the afterlife)

    (Gen 50:3 KJV) And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.

    Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days (TWICE)
    (Exo 24:18 KJV) And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

    (Exo 34:28-29 KJV) And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

    (Deu 10:10 NIV) Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you.
    Moses’ face shone after the 40 days on the mountain.

    (Exo 34:29 KJV) And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

    It took the spies 40 days to search out the promised land and bring back fruit
    (Num 13:25 KJV) And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

    The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness, one year for each day they explored the Promised Land.
    (Exo 16:35 KJV) And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

    (Num 14:33-34 NIV) Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. {34} For forty years–one year for each of the forty days you explored the land-you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.

    Goliath came for forty days before being killed by David
    (1 Sam 17:16 NLT) For forty days, twice a day, morning and evening, the Philistine giant strutted in front of the Israelite army.

    Elijah strengthened by one angelic meal went forty days to Mount Horeb where the Lord passed by and he heard the voice of God
    (1 Ki 19:8 KJV) And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

    Jonah warned the City of Nineveh they had 40 days until God would overthrow the city. The people repented in those 40 days and God spared the city.
    (Jonah 3:4 and 10 KJV) And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
    And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

    Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness
    (Mat 3:17 KJV) And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    (Mat 4:1-2 KJV) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. {2} And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

    Jesus was seen in the earth 40 days after His crucifixion
    (Acts 1:3 NIV) After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.


    RELATED

    1. THE BLESSED ANTHONY

    Couldn’t resist linking to this -  ‘Tony Blair Agrees To Take Confession From The Pope’

    Quite right too.  Don’t you think?

    His Holiness HAS to be forgiven. After all Tony’s a little too busy to step into the breach right now if the Vatican gives the former Cardinal Ratzinger his marching orders.

    2. THE BLESSED MICHAEL

    Oh and btw, even the normally well-balanced Michael White has put his foot in it with anti-Israel comments at The Guardian. See Cif Watch here.




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    The Humbug, Hypocrisy and as yet unmedicated insanity of the anti-Blair bloggers

    March 27, 2010
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    28th March, 2010

    I don’t usually bother much with such as this kind of unthinking tripe, but you really DO need to read the introductory words here above the videos of Tony Blair. The introduction is trite junk. The videos are excellent.

    This is just so you know what the free world, freedom and free democracies are up against. Sorry for the repetition; sometimes one needs to hammer things home – in this land of free speech.

    This individual doesn’t even bother to explain WHY he comes to this conclusion – “Tony Blair… If he isn’t the Anti-Christ, just imagine how bad the real one must be…”

    The Final Redoubt’s words of wisdom … er … foolishness:

    “Hold on tightly to your chair, as you watch this masterclass in Humbug & Hypocrisy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair…”

    So I decided to watch the videos, just to see what was so unbearably abhorrent about  Mr Blair’s words that he should be a candidate to succeed the Anti-Christ, assuming there’s a vacancy.

    As I’ve said before  – thank God I’m not religious.

    It then shows three videos from the AIPAC Policy Conference 2010, Closing Plenary.


    HUNT THE HUMBUG & HYPOCRISY PART 1 – if I think I’ve found any that might be H & H I’ll mark them with one of these [H?] so we can check them out.

    The Right Honorable Tony Blair [Part 1 of 3] 9:29

    Btw, in case you’re wondering what the furore was about at around 5 minutes in, it was a Code Pink demo. No doubt The Final Redoubt thought they were good sticks. Mr Blair will have been relieved he wasn’t being arrested by a citizen. Though I’d like to them try, with this appreciative audience around OUR MAN.

    Now here’s what Mr Blair actually said.

    “Thank you very much indeed … it’s amazing how nice people are to you when you stop being prime minister. It’s a tremendous pleasure to be here and I was just backstage listening to Pastor Deedee and  … WOW!  I mean, I’ve got a new suggestion – we just get everyone else out of the Middle East and put Pastor Deedee in there and I don’t think they’d dare do anything else but make peace.” [H?]

    Reference is to Pastor Deedee Coleman – video here – [Part 1 of 2]

    “So, anyway it’s a great pleasure to be with you and, Lonnie my job is to try to get agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians for the Quartet which tries to get agreement between the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia. I thought after being prime minister of Britain for ten years I should try something easy. [H?]

    I am always described as a friend of Israel. It is true. I am and I’m proud of it and I will tell you why I’m proud of it. [H?]

    Israel is a democracy. The politicians are in fear of the people, not the people in fear of the politicians. [H?]

    Citizens are governed by the rule of law. Men and women are equal before the law. [H?]

    In Israel you can worship your faith in the way you want, or not as you choose. [H?]

    There is freedom of thought and speech. Israeli society is vibrant, its art electrifying, its culture open.” [H?]

    [Ed: Oh I give up. NONE of it is humbug or hypocrisy. That's clear to anyone, apart from hypocritical humbug peddlers.]

    You can read the rest of his entire speech here and here at Tony Blair’s website. Or watch the other videos below.


    HUNT THE HUMBUG & HYPOCRISY PART 2

    The Right Honorable Tony Blair [Part 2 of 3] 9:02

    “The Israeli PM said at Bar-Ilan he wants a two state solution. The Palestinian President says he wants a two state solution. So begin negotiating about it. Put all the issues on the table and talk. Senator George Mitchell, someone with whom I worked closely and successfully, making peace in Northern Ireland, is now using all his considerable wisdom in this process. President Obama and Secretary Clinton are fully behind this endeavour. Reward their efforts and get the negotiation going, face to face, direct, PM to President, as soon as possible.

    Secondly, however, let us acknowledge what has changed since the failure to reach agreement in the year 2000.

    Until the year 2000, and with the heroic attempts of President Clinton, we attempted to achieve an agreement first and then shape reality around it. But it was not to be. After that came the Intifada. Thousands died. Then came the withdrawal from Gaza. Israel got out. It took 7000 settlers with it. In Israeli eyes, it received violence and terror in return.

    The occupation deepened. Gaza was isolated. Faith in the peace process collapsed.

    Ten years on, that faith has to be restored.

    It can’t be done in a summit.

    It has to be done patiently, and over time on the ground. It can’t only be negotiated top-down.  It has also to be built bottom up.

    Peace now will not come simply through an agreement negotiated; it must come through a reality created and sustained.

    It means building institutions of Palestinian Government: not just well equipped, loyal security forces, but civil police, courts, prisons, prosecutors, the whole infrastructure of the rule of law.

    It means treating those who commit acts of terror not only as enemies of Israel but enemies of Palestine.

    It’s about the economy: jobs, living standards, aspiration and ambition. It’s about education, about children taught in modern classrooms by good teachers and taught peace in order to live peacefully.

    It’s about human rights, equality, freedom, democracy.

    These things are the substance of statehood. The form of a state may be about its borders. Its lifeblood is about what happens within those borders.

    That is the work my team and others, like the United States and the European Police Mission, are engaged in. And here is the good news.

    Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, under President Abbas is trying to build the state from the bottom up. Over the past two years, the Palestinian Authority has taken militia off the streets. New court houses are being opened. Proper prison facilities are being built. In the last year, the judicial system handled more cases than in the previous ten.

    The Israeli Chief of Defence staff regularly says to me: tell the Palestinians: if they do more, we can do less.

    The Palestinians are. PM Netanyahu and Defence Minister Barak, with whom I work closely, deserve credit for the steps taken in response. Many of the main checkpoints are now removed or open.

    Israeli Arabs are coming over the border. They are helping reflate the economy. I can tell you today the latest figures. In 2009, not a good year for the world economy, the Palestinian economy grew by almost 10%. In 2010, for the first time Palestinian revenues will top $2 billion. Donors will provide only one third of the Budget, down from half in 2008, and hey, the Palestinian budget deficit will fall.

    And the money, by the way, goes into a special treasury account, certified by the World Bank and IMF.

    In just over two months, in Bethlehem, we will hold the second Palestinian Investment Conference. Last year we succeeded in getting the single biggest Foreign Direct Investment project Palestine has seen. This year we will showcase technology, financial services and tourism.

    Two years ago I could not have gone to Jenin. Now I go freely.

    There in the northern point of Palestine, we will soon open a new industrial park at Jalemeh, where some months back I sat on the Israeli side of the line, talking with the Mayor of Gilboa. My interpreter, since the Mayor only spoke Hebrew, was his Arab Deputy Mayor.

    My point is this – yes, the obstacles remain huge, of course, the distance to go immense. The mistrust still deep.

    But what you see nightly on your television screen is only one part of the story. Too often we see the hate. There is also the hope.

    Sometimes people say to me: “Hey you used to be Prime Minister of a great nation, and now you spend your time examining earth mounds in obscure parts of Palestine, arguing why hospital workers should be able to travel into East Jerusalem, or getting electricity and water to small villages outside Qualqilya.” They think I’ve gone down in the world; kind of feel sorry for me.

    But there’s one thing I learnt in all the years of painstaking peace-making in Northern Ireland: details matter. They may seem trivial to us but to people who live them, they are the difference between paralysis and possibility.

    So what I ask of Israel, as its friend, is not to risk its security; but to know that in changing the lives of the Palestinians who want peace and if empowered, can deliver it, Israel’s security is not forfeited but enhanced.

    Learn from what we have done and do more. Even in Gaza. Gilad Shalit’s captivity is a disgrace. He should be released forthwith.”


    Any [Humbug & Hypocrisy] in the above? Nope. Not to any fair-minded person, Israeli, Palestinian or anything else.


    HUNT THE HUMBUG & HYPOCRISY PART 3

    The Right Honorable Tony Blair [Part 3 of 3] 7:01

    Ordinary Gazans, many of whom are opposed to Hamas, should have clean water and sanitation; that legitimate people not the tunnel merchants can do business; that the children, half the population there, get the care they need.

    This I ask of Israel.

    What I ask of the Palestinians is to realise one thing above all else: the two state solution begins not with a state of land but a state of mind. The mentality has to move from resistance to governance.

    There can be no ambiguity, no wavering, no half heart towards terrorism. It is totally and completely without justification and we will never compromise in our opposition to it or those that practice it.

    This I believe is the way to peace, But over all of this undertaking, challenging and fraught as it is already, lies a shadow. We are not the only external actors in this drama. Iran has conceived a role also; and it is not for peace.

    Its regime sees this dispute as part of a far bigger picture, and in this, at least, it is right.

    They are clear in what they seek. We should be clear also.

    Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

    They must know that we will do whatever it takes to stop them getting it. The danger is if they suspect for a moment we might allow such a thing. We cannot and we will not. And this is not simply an issue of Israel’s security. This is a matter of global security, mine, yours, all of us.

    Iran’s regime is the biggest de-stabilising influence in the region.  Israel understands that.  But so do the Arab nations.

    That is why the Arab Peace Initiative launched in 2002, remains their earnest desire.

    The Middle East region faces a struggle that goes far beyond its borders and encompasses much more than the dispute between Israel and Palestine.

    The population of the Arab world is set to double in the next decades. But what sort of future will it be? The far-sighted among them know that it should be a future not of narrow minds, religious bigotry and hostility to others, but one in which across the divide of faith, and race and geography, we pursue together with common purpose, the good of all humanity.

    This is a vision we share. One which a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians can help strengthen; not because the conflict is the cause of the extremism but because its resolution would be such a powerful harbinger of hope.

    No person of Abrahamic faith can stay long in Jerusalem without feeling they are in their spiritual home. Jerusalem should always be an open city for all people who wish to worship free and without fear.

    And I like the fact that my young son’s friends in London number Jews, Muslims and Hindus as well as Christians. I look at this nation of the United States of America, a patchwork of different races and faiths, woven into one. And I think – this is the right way for the 21st century world.

    This is the world we want to pass on to our children. This is the world my father fought for, when Europe was plunged into the nightmare of an ideology that sought to treat one race as superior to others, the ideology that brought us the Holocaust, the most wretched abomination in human history.

    What we learned then, we should learn still. That human beings are born equal and should live free. And it is in striving for that ideal that the state of Israel came into being.

    If one day, Israel can be secure, recognised, understood and respected by the nations which surround it; if one day the Palestinian people can have their own state and can prosper in peace within it and beyond it, we will bring more than peace to people who have lived too long with conflict.  We will lift the scourge of extremism and bring hope to the world. Now that is an endeavour really worth dedicating one’s life to. Thank you very much.”


    Notice any of that horrible, hellish, horrific, hateful, hypocritical humbug, indicating how near the Anti-Christ our former PM is?

    Nope?

    Wassammarra wi’ you? You dumb or sumpin?

    The transcript can also be read at ‘Tony Blair Office’



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    White: votes for 16-year-olds; the Lords; Blair; Cameron; Straw; Mandy; sex…

    March 27, 2010
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    27th March 2010

    Votes for 16-year-olds; the Lords; Blair; Cameron; Straw; Mandy; sex…

    (not necessarily in that order)

    Michael White, one of the grown-ups at The Guardian has some interesting bits and pieces here.

    On votes for 16-year-olds, truants included, he says:

    “We don’t think the kids have bunked off to watch the parliament channel on TV, do we? No.

    Most normal kids are more interested in sport, music, sex and assorted stimulants at 16 – and so they should be. That’s what Tony Blair and David Cameron were interested in. It was William Hague and Gordon Brown who were the political anoraks. ‘Nuff said.”

    Votes at 16? No chance. They’re too busy having babies.

    (Not sure if he’s right about Hague, though! Even if he didn’t get into the “normal kids” scene till he was about 23.)

    The main thrust, as it were, of White’s article is not on political sex appetites (and btw, what’s wrong with this Labour party? Apart from the unlikeliest of lads, Two Jabs … Jags, we’ve had remarkably few sex scandals.)

    It’s mainly about Mandelson flummoxing Straw’s Upper House reform ideas – ‘Lord Mandelson has stymied Jack Straw’s Lords reform? Good’

    White clearly doesn’t approve of this tinkering, at this time, and thinks Mandy has it about right.

    “Back to the Lords, where Jack Straw, himself admirably reactionary on matters like electoral reform and the euro, wants to create a 300-strong senate, elected one-third at a time every five years with a maximum of 15 years in the upper house.”

    Of course White hints at who else got it about right too:

    “By expelling all but 92 of the 700 or so hereditary peers in 1999, Labour has already reformed the upper house more than had been done in a century of huffing and puffing. Alas, Blair then packed the place with too many appointments, some of them as doubtful as Hague’s leg-up for Lord Ashcroft.

    As things stand, there are 733 peers today: 211 Labour; 188 Tory (including 39 hereditaries elected by their own number); 72 Lib Dems; and 182 crossbenchers; plus odds and sods, most of them the 25 senior bishops of the established Church of England.

    My take on all this is that, in a funny way, Blair’s half-completed, half-cock reform has worked quite well. (my bolding)

    No one has a majority, the Lords now feel more legitimate than they did when the hereditary backwoodsmen could be summoned to vote down a pension for old people like themselves – as happened in the great showdown of 1909-11 which finally broke the landed aristocracy’s residual veto.”

    It wasn’t reform “in a funny way”, Michael. It was planned that way. For balance, for once, more or less, whilst retaining some hereditary expertise.  And Blair, if I recall correctly, did not originally vote to abolish ALL hereditary peers. There was method, tactics, in his going along with the general consensus.

    [See Reform of The House of Lords]

    Regardless that in the end the Lords bit Blair The Reformer more than he expected or even deserved, the Lords has been far more representative of the country, electorally than ever before.

    That is only ONE of the reasons that in the fullness of time, when the gunners stop gunning for the Former PM, the Blair government will be seen for what it was -

    “One of the most reform-minded governments for decades.”

    And who said that?

    Oh, no-one you’d know. Just a Tory parliamentary candidate I was chatting with the other day. Despite, or perhaps because of our agreement on Blair,  she didn’t manage to throw me any good reasons why I should vote Conservative.  Thus far the Apathy Party’s for me this time round, until real leadership shines it bright little light in my direction.

    What were your ‘three priorities’ again, Mr Brown? Oh yes …

    Thank you, chancellor.

    By the way I notice that Michael White’s article ends with hints at behind-the-scenes moves to remove the Gracious Lord Mandelson.

    “Some shallow types say Mandelson is worried that he might lose his own perch at Westminster. I don’t think we have to worry much about Lord Peter, who shows a remarkable talent for survival and would fall down a sewer and come up with the proverbial gold watch.

    But it’s a good point all the same. Westminster a Mandelson-free zone? Surely not.”

    Roll on Tony’s birthday, otherwise known as the date of the General Election.

    Happy Birthday to You…

    I suppose that Gordon, meanwhile, will be “keeping on the road to recovery”.

    We, the British voters, are waiting with bated breath for May 6th, to see if we decide despite our collective malady  to hold onto nurse for fear of… you know the rest.




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