My Letter to Wellingborough CLP Contact, Kevin Watts

Dear Kevin,

I have just had the most unpleasant experience with the Labour Party HQ that I have ever encountered. I was ringing to complain about my suspension and have it overturned as well as complain that my letter of appeal, for which their own automated system promised me a reply within a week, has not yet been answered.

Firstly, I was on hold for five minutes before someone even picked up the phone only to  immediately pass me to a different department. I was on hold for another ten minutes (obviously someone hoped I would give up an go away). When somebody finally picked up the phone all they would tell me was that I have been suspended for abusive conduct on Twitter, and with a paltry excuse of going to get further details I was again placed on hold for another five minutes after which the line was cut off.

I am utterly disgusted with this Kafkaesque treatment! How can I defend myself when I have no idea of what it is I am accused? How long will the investigation take? What form will it take and who will carry it out? None of this information has yet been imparted so I am still faced with the prospect of persons unknown trawling through years of tweets trying to find something to pin on me. Even trying to have my complaint and challenge acknowledged, let alone dealt with is impossible, yet the party remains happy to take my money in fees. I have attached yet another copy of the vague travesty of justice which seems to promote the idea that an allegation of a possibility merits punishment without evidence for your reference. (Letter of suspension.)

For years, I have been an advocate of strict anti-bullying policies on social media, and I certainly do not use it to abuse people, yet a great deal is of abuse is fired at me. Under the Data Protection Act, I have a right to know what information they hold on me, how long they have held it, what it has been used for and what they plan to do with it. I know for a fact, that I have never once given them my Twitter details. Do they even have the right Anna Johnstone? There are plenty of us. If you could look into this matter and pass it on to the campaign team for Jeremy, so they know how badly his supporters are being treated and Owen Smith cannot get away with rigging the vote, it would be appreciated.


Anna Johnstone

(The number for the Labour Party is 0345 092 2299)

Backstabbing, Self-Serving, Blairites have exposed their true colours.

Here is the list of traitorous Blairites who only accept the will of the party members when it suits them. I will be retaining my membership of the party for now because his name may be on the next so I may be able to show my support a second time. If he loses or his name is not on the ballot, I will be cancelling my membership immediately and will never vote Labour again.

Mr Corbyn won the leadership with the largest mandate from the membership ever, and scores have joined the party since: because of him. This is a handful of opportunists who have consistently refused to be led, criticised him openly in the media and tried everything they can to obstruct him and distract him from being an effective leader since the moment he took his position.  The imminent revelation of the Chilcot enquiry and Britain’s exit from the EU has merely provided a pretext to make an attempt to unseat a democratically elected leader of the party. For their betrayal, not only of Jeremy Corbyn, but the majority of the party which they are prepared to ignore when it suits them, they deserve to be deselected.  I leave it up to the individual constituencies to deal with their own MPs accordingly.

The List

1) Hilary Benn, shadow foreign secretary (sacked)

2) Heidi Alexander, shadow health secretary

3) Lucy Powell, shadow education secretary

4) Karl Turner, shadow attorney general

5) Kerry McCarthy, shadow environment secretary

6) Lilian Greenwood, shadow transport secretary

7) Ian Murray, shadow Scottish secretary

8) Vernon Coaker, shadow Northern Ireland secretary

9) Seema Malhotra, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury

10) Gloria de Piero, shadow minister for young people and voter registration

11) Lord Falconer, shadow justice secretary

12) Chris Bryant, shadow Commons leader

13) Steve Reed, shadow minister for local government

14) Stephen Kinnock, parliamentary private secretary to Angela Eagle

15) Diana Johnson, shadow foreign minister

16) Anna Turley, shadow civil society minister

17) Toby Perkins, shadow defence minister

18) Chris Matheson, parliamentary private secretary on the shadow justice team

19) Jenny Chapman, shadown education minister

20) Roberta Blackman-Woods, shadow housing minister

21) Wayne David, shadow minister for cabinet office, Scotland and justice

22) Alex Cunningham, shadow minister for natural environment

23) Ruth Smeeth, shadow minister for natural environment

24) Yvonne Fovargue, shadow consumer affairs minister

25) Neil Coyle, PPS to shadow leader of the house

26) Jess Phillips, PPS to Education

27) Angela Eagle, shadow first secretary of state and shadow business secretary

28) Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow employment minister

29) Kate Green, shadow women and equalities minister

30) Susan Elan Jones, shadow deputy Wales minister

31) Nia Griffith, shadow Welsh secretary

32) Maria Eagle, shadow culture secretary

33) Lisa Nandy, shadow energy minister

34) Owen Smith, shadow work and pensions secretary

35) John Healey, shadow housing minister

36) Matthew Pennycook, shadow housing team

37) Thangam Debbonaire, shadow culture minister

38) Colleen Fletcher, PPS at DEFRA

39) Luciana Berger, shadow minister for mental health

40) Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow minister for work and pensions

41) Keir Starmer, shadow minister for the home office

42) Steve Bassam, Labour lords chief whip

Source of list


  1. Pat Glass has now resigned from the position that she accepted two days ago

Pat Glass dealt Jeremy Corbyn a new blow today as she quit her “dream job” as Shadow Education Secretary after just two days.

She said on Twitter: “It is with a heavy heart that I have today resigned as Shadow SoS Education. My dream job but the situation is untenable.

2. Alan Whitehead (Voting Record)

Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not real economic grievances – Vox

This was so brilliantly put, I am going to paste the article in full. The source can be found at the bottom.

Just one day after the results of Brexit, Britain’s vote to leave the EU, were announced, we’ve already begun to see some disturbing reports from Britain. Specifically, troubling stories about xenophobic incidents have been popping up across the country.

Protesters with banner "Stop Immigration; Start repatriation" outside a morrisons store in Newcastle

Racists given political legitimacy.

Racists in Birmingham

Racists in Birmingham

This isn’t surprising. The pro-Leave camp claimed that Britain needed to quit the EU to close its borders to more EU migrants, that the country had reached a “breaking point,” and needed to shut its doors. Pre- and post-election polling suggests that this was the pro-Leave argument that most resonated with British citizens, and was in large part responsible for Leave’s victory.

Now some pundits are suggesting that the real lesson of Brexit is that ordinary Britons are bearing an unacceptable economic cost from immigration, and that elites should heed that lesson and think about restricting immigration to other Western countries to prevent a similar populist backlash.

There’s just one problem: this narrative isn’t actually true. Data shows that Britain wasn’t suffering harmful economic effects from too many new migrants.

What Britain was suffering from too much of, however, was xenophobia — fear and hatred of immigrants. Bigotry on the basis of national origin.

That’s not something you give into, and close the borders. It’s something you fight.

British xenophobia is not rational

Immigration has surged in the UK in recent years: the number of foreign-born people living in the UK has gone from 2.3 million in 1993 (when Britain joined the EU) to 8.2 million in 2014. This is a new thing for the UK, as you can see on the below chart:

 (Office of National Statistics)

The surge was a result (in part but not in whole) of EU rules allowing citizens of of EU countries to move and work freely in any other EU member country.

Pro-Leave campaigners, and sympathetic observers in the media, argued that this produced a reasonable skepticism of immigration’s effect on the economy — and Brexit was the result.

“The force that turned Britain away from the European Union was the greatest mass migration since perhaps the Anglo-Saxon invasion,” Atlantic editor David Frum writes. “Migration stresses schools, hospitals, and above all, housing.”

Yet there’s a problem with that theory: British hostility to immigrants long proceeds the recent spate of mass immigration.

Take a look at this chart, from University of Oxford’s Scott Blinder. Blinder put together historical data on one polling question — the percent of Brits saying there were too many immigrants in their country. It turns people believed this for decades before mass migration even began:

 (Scott Blinder)

Brits believed there were “too many immigrants” even when there were too few to have appreciable effects on the British economy. If Britain’s backlash to immigration were really about immigrants taking their jobs, then you’d expect hostility about immigration to be correlated to the actual level of immigration. But it’s not.

That’s not the only reason to believe Brexit was about xenophobia.

Torsten Bell, director of the UK economic think tank Resolution Foundation, set out to test the hypothesis that “areas hardest hit by the financial crisis, or those where migration is said to have held down wages, voted heavily to leave.”

In other words, he tested the exact argument the pro-Leave camp is making: that people who voted to leave made a rational decision based on the real economic effects they’ve suffered from the rise in immigration. If that were the case, you’d expect places that have gotten poorer in the past decade (when mass migration took off) would have been the places that voted most heavily to leave the EU.

But that’s not what Bell found. In fact, he found no correlation at all between areas where wages have fallen since 2002 and the share of votes for Leave in the referendum:

 (Torsten Bell)

“Some areas with big pay boosts voted to leave (such as Christchurch in Dorset),” Bell writes. “Some that have done very badly out of the last decade and a half still voted to stay in the EU (such as Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire).”

Another point. Support for staying in the EU was concentrated among the UK’s young, whose wages were hurt most by the 2008 recession. Support for leave was concentrated among older Britons, who had less reason to fear wage competition from immigrants.

So there are lots of reasons to be skeptical that British voters’ concerns about immigration are a rational response to the effect immigration is having on the economy. Instead, it seems, British opposition to immigration stems from a long-lasting, deep-seated hostility towards new people coming into their country.

The word for that is xenophobia.

Immigrants didn’t hurt native-born Britons

French Border Police Ban 250-Vehicle Aid Convoy To Calais (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Pro-migrant activists in London.

The key assumption of the “rational concern” thesis is that immigrants are actually hurting the British economy. It only make sense to see hostility to immigration as rational if immigrants are actually harming native-born Brits.

But this isn’t the case. Take Frum’s core claim — that immigration was ruining the British housing market. “The median house price in London already amounts to 12 times the median local salary,” Frum writes. “Rich migrants outbid British buyers for the best properties; poor migrants are willing to crowd more densely into a dwelling than British-born people are accustomed to tolerating.”

The logic of Frum’s argument is directly contradictory. He seems to be arguing that rich migrants are raising British housing costs, while poor migrants are lowering it by living in higher-density housing.

But setting aside this weirdness, the truth is that migrants aren’t transforming British housing in any meaningful sense. Most of British housing demand is domestic; foreign born-residents only make up about 13 percent of Britain’s population. And while migrants may live in different kinds of housing early on, that changes quickly. “The longer they stay,” a 2011 London School of Economics study finds, “the more their housing consumption resembles that of similar indigenous households.”

If anything, migrants have a positive effect on the UK housing market — specifically, because they’re both capable of doing critical construction work and actually willing to do it. “The Chartered Institute of Building points out that any caps on immigration will harm housebuilding rates, as not enough British-born nationals are either trained or interested in construction careers, and migrants have been filling the gap,” the Guardian’s Dawn Foster writes.

The debate over housing mirrors the broader debate over migration’s effect on Britons. Leave campaigners, for instance, frequently argued that migrants were taking British jobs. Nigel Farage, head of the far-right UK Independence Party, once infamously proposed a law that would legalize discrimination against foreign-born workers in favor of hiring out-of-work British citizens.

Yet when a 2016 study, also from the London School of Economics, analyzed this specific claim using new data, it found, conclusively, “that the areas of the UK with large increases in EU immigration did not suffer greater falls in the jobs and pay of UK-born workers.”

What about wages? Is Britain being flooded by low-skill workers from EU countries, willing to work for low pay and thus undercutting native-born Brits?

The new LSE study looked at that as well. “There is also little effect of EU immigration on inequality through reducing the pay and jobs of less skilled UK workers,” the LSE authors write. “Changes in wages and joblessness for less educated UK born workers show little correlation with changes in EU immigration.”

This is consistent with international studies on the effect of migration on wages in other places. “Most of…the literature suggests that the effect on native workers’ wages is neutral or positive,” my colleague Dylan Matthews explains.

“The Mariel boatlift, when Cuba unexpectedly sent 125,000 people to Florida, did not hurt employment or wages among native workers in Miami at all. A huge spike in Russian immigration to Israel in the early 1990s appeared to give existing workers a nearly 9 percent raise.”

Finally, Brexit supporters argue that migrants are taxing UK social services. EU migrants were coming to the UK to take advantage of its generous public benefits, they argued, and over-stretching the system. “EU migrants’ access to the UK’s welfare state has dominated debates about the EU membership,” a paper by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, notes.

That same Oxford paper actually examined some of the claims — and found little evidence that EU migrants were coming over to take advantage of British benefits.

“EU migrants are less likely to claim out-of-work benefits, such as Jobseekers’ Allowance and incapacity benefit, compared to their UK counterparts,” the Oxford scholars write. “In February 2015, people who were EU nationals when they registered for a National Insurance Number made up 2.2% of the total [Department for Work and Pensions] working-age benefits caseload, but were about 6% of the working-age population.”

The bottom line, then, is that there is no good evidence that immigration was doing serious harm to native-born Britons. British attitudes towards immigration once again appear untethered to a rational assessment of the costs and benefits of migration.

Brexit is xenophobia, and we should react as such

Political Leaders Respond To The UK's EU Referendum Result (Mary Turner/Getty Images)
UKIP leader Nigel Farage

Over the past 20 years, the percentage of Britons ranking “immigration/race relations” as among the country’s most important issues has gone from near zero percent to about 45 percent. Today, 77 percent of Brits believe that immigration levels should be reduced.

The best explanation is that Britain’s xenophobia over immigration is being activated. They see immigrants around them, and they start looking for ways to prevent more from coming in. It’s not about assessing the harm immigrants are doing to Britain; it’s about being terrified that they’re changing the “character” of Britain to be more “foreign.”

You can see this fear in the the language of anti-immigrant campaigners like Farage. Much of it is downright bigoted against immigrants of all kinds, from Muslims to Eastern Europeans.

Farage has called some Muslims a “fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us.” He once warned Britain of a “Romanian crime wave” sweeping the nation. His party officially debuted this poster to warn of the dangers of letting in more migrants, which was actually reported to the police for resembling Nazi propaganda:


This is not the language of a rational immigration skeptic. It’s the language of a fearmonger.

The rhetoric became so heated that some native-born, non-white Britons are now worrying that xenophobia whipped up by Farage and others will end up targeting them.

“After an appalling referendum campaign, dominated by daily front-page scare stories regarding immigration, we’re wondering if people will again be questioning if we should be going back to our ‘own country,’” Joseph Harker, the Guardian’s deputy opinion editor (and a black man), writes. “It seems only a matter of time before the intolerance that has been unleashed, reinforced and normalised, looks for the old, easy targets of people who look different. People like me.”

Its perhaps understandable why xenophobic rhetoric appealed to some Brexit supporters. Resolution’s Bell found that even though pro-Brexit voters weren’t from places that had recently gotten poorer since the mass immigration wave, they were from places that had historically been poor — going back to the 1980s. These people have good reasons to be angry about the status quo. They’re looking for someone to blame, and immigrants are an easy scapegoat.

But the fact that their bigotry is comprehensible doesn’t make it any less bigoted. Nor does it excuse the politicians who catered to it — nay, encouraged it — over the course of the debate over Brexit.

Understanding this as bigotry matters. If the issue were that immigration hurt native-born populations, then it might make sense to talk about restricting immigration as a way of preventing this kind of destructive sentiment from rising to the fore again.

“Is it possible that leaders and elites had it all wrong?” Frum asks, rhetorically. “If they’re to save the open global economy, maybe they need to protect their populations better against globalization’s most unwelcome consequences — of which mass migration is the very least welcome of them all?”

But if the Brexit vote was rooted in xenophobia, rather than rational opposition to immigration, then the conclusion should be very different.

Civil rights prompted a racist backlash from Southerners, yet nobody seriously believes the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the 1965 Voting Rights Act were mistakes. You don’t give in to bigoted pressure to restrict people’s rights — in this case, the right for people to live where they want. You fight it.

That, not Frum’s kowtowing, should be the real response to the Brexit vote. British voters made an unjustifiable and irrational decision, grounded in fear of people who spoke different languages or whose skin was darker than theirs. The response shouldn’t be to restrict immigration further. It should be to figure out how better to make the case for the fundamental human right to migrate.

Source: Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not real economic grievances – Vox

Updated by on June 25, 2016, 4:07 p.m. ET

Getting rid of TAs will save £4 billion, says Gove. One Teacher has this letter to Mr Gove re Teaching Assistants. Please RT.

via Letter to Mr Gove re Teaching Assistants. Please RT..[1]

I’m halfway through a BA (Honours) History so that when my children are all (I have 3) in full time education, I can start teacher training and do a job that’s actually needed rather than back to a thankless admin role which bored me rigid and had no real meaning or purpose other than to make money for somebody else. Is there going to be a job once this clown has finished destroying state education to the point where the only viable option is private education for our children? (They tried it once during the 80s and 90s while I was at school) What Gove has done so far has proven he isn’t qualified to so much as boil water. His own lack of basic British history proves he should not be legislating the curriculum (so much for ‘small government’, Cameron), especially his ignorance that the first English bible was NOT the KJV but was written by John Wycliff and followed 150 years later by William Tyndale. Even Tyndale’s version predates the KJV version by almost a century. The money wasted on making sure ‘every school had one’ amounted to £370,000.  How many special education units would that have funded? Or maybe, replenished School library facilities? [2]

They also plan to fast track ex-service men into teaching positions. Where will that leave those who have an actual calling and see it as more than a highly paid babysitting role? Gove want’s military discipline in the classroom? [3]  In  1933, so did someone else. Thing is, servicemen will follow their orders whereas teachers fight back when something is going to be harmful. Despite his obvious lack of historical knowledge, Gove wants a 1950s style of rote learned facts (with no understanding of context because due to the quantity there won’t be time to teach it) which promotes a pro-imperial, nationalistic version of British history.  He wants a ‘return to’ a romanticised version of school life which probably never existed. He wants to return to the style my parents endured which is completely unsuited to a modern Britain and he MUST be stopped.  His new history ‘curriculum’ will not include the effects that Britain had on the rest of the world, because that “isn’t British history” (obviously, that renders context and effect irrelevant </sarcasm>). Instead of the broad critical analysis and skills – skills which, once learned, will last them a lifetime and across all aspects of their life- based history, he wants our children to have learned ‘facts’ of his choosing and not have time to look outside his narrow little view. (He doesn’t want informed freethinkers because they won’t grow up to vote for the Tories once they’re 18).

Going after History in particular was a political strategy and going after TAs is another: he doesn’t want teachers to have the time or resources to circumvent his plans. Schools like this teacher’s are vital to give children with specific needs as fighting chance to an education and a life, rather than just an existence in an institution. What he is doing will destroy the progress special education has made in the last 13 years. He is showing his true colours and his ignorant, bullish approach and glib attitude to those qualified to teach, not to mention the children who will suffer so he can follow a political agenda for the future of his party, has sickened me to the core. He has no empathy, no consideration for the real effects and, more importantly’ no qualification in teaching or child development and as far as I am concern those should be the very least required for the position of Minister for Education, or we’re going to keep getting accountants who fail to see ‘value’ in people.  Feel free to re-blog this.


  1. 38 Degrees Petition

Woolwich…. is history repeating?


On the 9th of November 1938, Nazi leaders instigated a pogrom against the Jewish population and their property across German cities. The attack was a ‘retaliation’ for the murder of a German staff member in the Parisian German Embassy.  This man was killed by Herschel Grynszpan, a young man acting alone and out of anger for the expulsion of his Polish born parents from Germany. The retaliation lasted for days, cost 91 lives, synagogues and buildings were destroyed and the police and fire service intervened only to protect the property of the non-Jewish population. In the days following the attack approximately 30,000 Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Jews who had had nothing to do with the murder, who wanted to be left alone to live their lives, were attacked, rounded up, sent to concentration camps and murdered.

To add some context vis a vis the religious situation in Germany at the time, the Catholic Church in Germany had just emerged from the Kulterkampf put in place by Bismark, and as such their  loyalty was under question. The church stood accused of ultramontanism. Their status in Germany was settled only through the Concordat between Germany and the Vatican in 1933. Though it guaranteed the Catholic Church autonomy in Germany, it also demanded official Catholic silence on all anti semitic policies.  In short they were bound on a promise of non intervention made in advance (the moral being if a regime like the Nazi party asks you to make open ended promises of non-involvement and silence in advance in return for basic civil liberties, it’s very probably a bad idea. That said, silence in the face of atrocity appears to be something the Catholic church is rather good at…) Some even went so far as to support the newly rising Zionist movement alongside the nationalist groups which increased during the interwar years. Then, through the Protestant population, Nazism, found it’s ally and a route to power. To them to be German was to be Christian and the Jews represented a secular threat to Christianity. Christian apologists can scream until they’re blue in the face the misnomer that Hitler was an atheist, the German people were certainly not…

Got Mit Uns (God with Us)

German WW2 Belt Buckle

The anti-semitic legislation in place since the beginning of Nazi rule in Germany in 1933 did not only mean displacement, it meant loss of civil liberties, being barred from certain professions, barred from owning and running their own business. The universities had strict quotas on Jewish admissions which they could not exceed so he had no hope of self improvement.  At the same time the Nazi propaganda circulated blamed the Jews for all the nation’s troubles. They were called parasites and vipers. Legislation was brought in to beggar them and then the were pilloried for what the Nazis had made them. Young Herschel Grynszpan may have had some small justification for his act.

Popular intolerance had been promoted throughout the interwar years with papers, pamphlets, and church agitation reinforcing traditional prejudice all played their part in the rise of nationalism. The extreme right was embroiled in rivalry between the center right, weak leadership at the center of power, combined with the  acculturation of the Jews despite the economic decline of Germany, their decisiveness as a group, the failure of zionism (at this point, the British were severely limiting all Jewish emigration to Palestine) to provide any meaningful or sustainable solutions to the ‘Jewish question’ symbolises the mean situation of Eastern central Europe in the interwar years (1918-33), up to the beginning of Nazi rule and beyond.


On  May 22 2013, two young men, one recent a convert to Islam, set upon a 20 year old British soldier, brutally killing him with a meat cleaver in revenge for his part in the conflict in Afghanistan. They believed that Islam was under attack from non-Muslim powers. Since this brutal and utterly unwarranted attack, mosques have been attacked, the Daily mail has been printing its standard fare of anti-islam and anti-immigrant (anti anyone who isn’t rich, white, christian… well, them really) tosh, and even Radio 4’s ‘Any Answers’ had it’s share of right-wing ramblers on demanding that non-white and non-christians be deported. I was disgusted.

These young men (like the brothers in Boston) radicalised themselves through viewing online videos of radical preachers who have twisted their view to suit the agenda. The one that gives them the best possible chance of influence.  Since they [the preachers] were unable to gain credibility off their own merit, they are happy to recruit from a supply of vulnerable young men, who are equally happy to see others as a maleficent influence, deliberately ‘keeping them down’. These preachers feed the vulnerable the easy answers that will get them onside and listening. They promulgate an ideology so far from the truth of either reality or their actual religion that it’s virtually unrecognisable to the majority of British Mulsims.  These loose canons and lunatic mal-contents manage to convince others that they are under attack and must defend their faith with as much force as possible: in short, terrorise the majority until they submit and convert. They are one trick ponies who love to think that Islam in general is undergoing the same ordeal as the Jews in wartime. They are not.  Not in the west

What do the crimes have in common?

Both victims were military personnel but neither victim, past or present, had any part in the decision making process of their respective government. They were both killed by young men radicalised by a sense of victimhood: one justified (the victimhood, not the murder).  In the case of the Nazi staff member, he was JUST following orders as Germany was not a member of the Geneva convention, so even if he had been involved (and as he was not a diplomat or official, we have no reason to believe he was), he was not protected by the convention should he have disobeyed an order. This is not to say that this historical murder was justified, merely that his killer was a disenfranchised young man: a Jew who had witnessed his own parents ejected from their homes and the country they knew and loved. They had not been killed but this was a group of people whose existence really was under threat.

The murderer of the soldier and young father by these young men, had no ties to Afghanistan other than a religion in common. They had not seen their rights curtailed, nor businesses ruined, their existence threatened.  They had not been barred from further education or the professions, they had not been attacked and persecuted by the state… Their attack was ‘revenge against ‘the British’ for the deaths of muslims overseas. These ‘deaths’  (not denying there are any) were the ‘everyone knows‘ deaths referred to by demagogues without an argument

Satirical dialog moment:

Demagogue: “refer to a few deaths here, mate”…

Trainee “why?”…

Demagogue: “cos it really draws in the crowd, plus nobody argues about “deaths'”


History is only repeating itself insofar as the reactions to both murders were grossly out of proportion. Britain is not the relatively new state Germany was in 1933 (only unified as a nation state since 1870), and nor has Britain had it’s economy smashed by a punitive non-aggression treaty (whole other post). We can thank the bankers for that… The historic actions of a nation under a fascist totalitarian state is in no way comparable to what is going on today in Britain, or with the majority of our overseas action. The recent MoD balls-up is a subject for another time. This is not to say persecution is a thing of the last century either: for example Israel’s occupation of Palestine is a disgraceful act. Israel are no longer a nation of displaced persons, they have become the aggressors in an illegal conflict (yet another post) and their history does not justify their behaviour. Nor should the comparison with the Holocaust  just be bandied about the moment a group is feeling picked on as so many love to do but this seems a more typical trait of American evangelists, who claim that Christianity (their version) is under siege.

News flash: this is not new, the 17th century settlers felt ‘picked on (they weren’t allowed to persecute Catholics anymore) and under threat , its why they moved there. It has gone on so long that the idea of Christianity under threat has merged with the evangelical mission to convert followers (provided motivation) It downgrades what the actual victims of that hellish time went through, and insults the real victims when, for example, a spoiled and pampered ‘news’-doll for Fox can score a few cheap sympathy points with the idiots staring at their legs, bums, and boobs. There is only one conflict which even comes close to the actual holocaust and even that was mostly politically driven: the first and second Boer wars, where the Boers were rounded up into camps etc… by the British (Read Thomas Packenham -‘ The Scramble for Africa’ and ‘The Boer War’) (oh look another idea for a post).

What is it the right wing groups picked up on in Woolwich? The groups as equally maniacal as the preachers they deplore? They pick up on the inferences spread by the right-wing hack rags and then act on them. The EDL  added 2 and 2 and made 17, and then good people who had nothing what happened in Woolwich were attacked for being Muslims. To my international readers, the English Defense League are a source of national embarrassment. They are not representative of the population as a whole, no matter how much they would like people to think they are. What else is happening in response to a gruesome murder committed by two people, acting alone? A Conservative government suggesting they reconsider the monitoring of everyone’s individual internet browsing habits… in short, the thought police want to know what people are reading/and watching just in case… Just how they plan to operate this scheme after they have been letting public sector workers go in their thousands is beyond me.  It would probably be privately outsourced… the Tories just love doing that.

If we just ignore the ‘swivel-eyed’ loons of the extreme (insert fringe group of nutters) there is very real a danger that history will repeat itself. Pretending its not happening is not a solution which is why people like me speak out the way we do. Sometimes the nutters need to be mocked and pointed at, just so the rest of the world is aware of the danger they pose to us all.  If we are vigilant and make sure people are equipped with the skills of reason and critical thinking from an early age, we may avoid another Woolwich tragedy.  The Pope’s ‘atheists aren’t so bad’ speech and the invitation for tea (see, TEA is the answer), biscuits and football, from a Mosque in York to the wider community in front of, and inclusive to EDL supporters was a brave and positive step toward peaceful coexistence. I hope to see more of the same.  Considering the reactions of the last week though, I fear there is more conflict on its way before we see any real improvement.