“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Nick Clegg

There In Spirit, 26th March 2011.

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I was there in spirit, but I will leave it to others to give their real impressions, Flesh is very good on the anti-cuts demonstration:

“I was really impressed by all the Labour and labour groups who joined the march without any pomp or circumstance, added their bodies to the many others on the streets, simply trudging (or sometimes shuffling) with their enormous and lovingly stitched banners, without anybody trying to use the occasion as self-publicity fodder. Good people.

Violence drives people away. The thugs who committed acts of violence today did so simply because they enjoy violence. They need to fuck off back to the Bullingdon club or Marlborough or Guildsmiths or wherever they’re from and leave us alone. They’re nothing to do with the 500,000 people who shuffled through London today to protest the Conservative-led government’s cuts (and in many cases, the slightly less punishing but still deep cuts proposed by the opposition).

So I thought it an irresponsible and disheartening mistake for UK Uncut, asked in advance on BBC 2’s Newsnight about anticipated violence on the protest, to change the subject. They should have readily disowned it. Non-violent non-destructive occupations and flashmobs are sufficiently newsworthy without any acts of wanton destruction. To see the anarcho-syndicalist flag flying from the window of Fortum & Mason, and to hear that the atmosphere in there was festive, will make me smile for a good while to come. “

Here’s Jim’s take on events:

“Ed Miliband addressed the crowd from the end platform despite having written Labour’s cuts Manifesto for the last election and Labour councillors up and down the country voting, en masse, for cuts budgets.

In a move designed to annoy the Daily Telegraph UKUncut occupied Fortnum and Masons and there were a number of other peaceful direct actions, mainly against banks, and Anne Summers’ windows were smash in a targeted strike against, um… shops? This led some wags to comment that police were looking for “hardened protesters” and that this was the “climax of the demonstration”.

However, while the smashed windows seem pointless and, frankly, unrepresentative of the feelings of most of those turning out, the continuing direct action, which led to a number of protesters being arrested despite being completely peaceful, are a real benefit. Unlike the Iraq War march where the focus was simply on size it is very good to see that this protest was not just big, but lively and edgy too, with many people reporting a carnival atmosphere. “

Two of Peter Tatchell’s tweets seem to sum up the issues nicely in my mind:

“Ed Miliband admitted Labour would make cuts too. He offered no alternative to the ConDems, apart from cutting later #tuc #ukuncut #26march

Cuts are human rights issue. When social welfare is cut, people suffer. Shame on Cameron/Clegg. Miliband would cut 2 #ukuncut #tuc #26march “

A lot more of people’s experiences on the day can be found on Twitter, using the #26march key word.

A Split In The Making.

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Whilst I wouldn’t normally be terribly interested in the British political scene even from these early days it’s possible to see how the Tory and LibDem coalition will split, William Hague (once a spotty youth at Tory Party conferences) reveals more:

“”Of course we’ve all had to make compromises, but we’ve made those in a sensible way. Really it is the best of the Liberal Democrat manifesto with the bulk of the Conservative manifesto. And it’s politics, it’s government, to make the necessary compromises. “

Key words: the bulk.

In the run-up to the final deal there were plenty of derogatory comments from Tory politicians showing their natural contempt for the Liberals and they might be able to keep it under control for a period of time during their honeymoon, but it won’t last.

The Tories are downright contemptuous of the Lib Dems, but had such a lust for power that they can moderate it in the short-term.

The Lib Dems, outside of Parliament, will come to hate the Tories and all they stand for, any radicals in their ranks would surely agitate against this coalition.

Certainly, it does give both parties what they want, for a brief period of time, which is POWER.

However, such an alliance is by its very nature unstable and conflicted. if Labour can attack them competently and prepare themselves for a new election then all bets are off.

I can’t see this alliance lasting a year, you might even expect another general election within six to nine months.

That’s the type of political calculation that should be focusing any opposition to the Tory government and their Lib Dem lackeys.

Euphemisms For Racists.

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Anyone who’s ever dealt with neofascists, bigots or other assorted racists will know how they love using euphemisms.

Instead of stating what they mean they often soften their bigotry by using an alternative name.

So you would have heard in 1970s Britain “I don’t mind blacks, it is Jamaicans I can’t stand” or more recently “I like Afro-Caribbean’s, it is immigrants I can’t stand” etc etc all dressed up bigotry, that’s what it is.

Whilst such bigots can keep up this game for a few moments invariably they will slip back to their old habits and admit that they “can’t really stand any blacks or any immigrants”

It is a pattern that you will see repeated, along with the old excuse “some of my best friends are….” and then they will let their bigotry pour out.

That’s how prejudice often manifests itself, hidden in silly word games and excuses that wouldn’t convince a child.

More recently, we see examples of these techniques whenever the Middle East is discussed, and you’ll probably hear an excuse something much like this:

“I have nothing against Jews, some of them are my best friends, but it is the Zionists that I can’t stand.”

But every once in a while, the mask slips and the prejudices come forth, so it was with a Lib Dem candidate.

For her, no need for euphemisms, no need to hide her prejudice and she doesn’t even used the “it is Zionists I can’t stand” ploy, no Madeleine Kirk was direct, the JC has more:

“Ms Kirk, a long-standing local city councillor, replied that an embargo should be in place, but was not, “because of the Jewish lobby”

Later on she compounds it, by backing Baroness Tonge’s call for an inquiry into a racist allegation, which itself legitimises that racist allegation, not a good idea unless you share some of the bigotry and prejudice underlying the false allegation.

She then went on to back disgraced Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge’s call for an inquiry to disprove allegations that Israeli army medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims.

Baroness Tonge was stripped of her role as the party’s health spokeswoman in the Lords following her comments in February.

When contacted by the JC, Ms Kirk said: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused by my remarks.

“I recognise that the allegations against the IDF’s humanitarian operation in Haiti are completely unfounded and utterly reprehensible. I was not aware of the allegations when asked about them at the hustings and responded without considering their full implications.” “

We’ve seen this before with the Lib Dems, nothing learnt, nothing understood.

(H/T: Engage)

Written by modernityblog

30/04/2010 at 16:38

Lib Dems: Don’t Upset The Money.

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I often wondered why the Liberal Democrats could not bring themselves to sufficiently reprimand Baroness Tonge for her racism and why they couldn’t see it in themselves to expel her, now the reason for that may be apparent.

Seemingly, the Lib Dems received some support from a billionaire “Anti-Zionist” and were probably careful not to upset him, by doing anything with Baroness Tonge.

Either that or the Lib Dems didn’t see the racism inherent in Baroness Tonge’s long history of outbursts:

“Ms Tonge said: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our party.”

The JC has more:

“A controversial Iraqi-British billionaire who funds one of the UK’s most strongly anti-Zionist websites organised a banquet in honour of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, and a fundraiser for Susan Kramer, the party’s candidate in the high-profile seat of Richmond Park.

Nadhmi Auchi, 73, was convicted of fraud in the giant French Elf-Aquitaine oil company trial in 2003 and given a suspended sentence, although he is seeking to appeal the verdict.

The Lib Dems told the JC that the connection between the party and the billionaire was limited to the two events and that Mr Auchi was not a donor to the party.

Mr Clegg spoke at a dinner hosted by Mr Auchi’s Anglo-Arab Organisation, set up to promote understanding between Britain and the Arab world last November. The Lib Dems confirmed that the AAO also organised a £60-a-head dinner for Ms Kramer, which raised around £5,000.

Mr Auchi’s Middle East Online site promotes material by well-known anti-Zionists such as musician-activist Gilad Atzmon and Jeff Gates, who runs the anti-Israel “Criminal State” blog.

Mr Auchi also helped fund the first of George Galloway’s “Viva Palestina” convoys taking aid to Gaza.

The former Lib Dem leader Lord Steel is a longstanding director of Mr Auchi’s Luxembourg-registered company General Mediterranean Holdings. Other politicians who have worked with Mr Auchi include Lord Lamont and former minister Keith Vaz.”

I suppose that for all their steely principles that the Lib Dems didn’t want to upset the money, or the potential money.

Update 1: The Lib Dem voice is hosting a discussion somewhat related to this topic on the thread, LibLink: Lynne Featherstone calls for peace in Jewish Chronicle

Lib Dem Peer Defends Baroness Tonge.

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Sometimes when professional politicians say things you are often left thinking to yourself “Hang on, what’s going on here?”

I suppose that might have been a moderate reaction in this instance, nevertheless it seems to me that the Liberal Democrats really haven’t got a handle on the whole Baroness Tonge and the Offal libel issue.

The Lib Dems clearly don’t appreciate the sensitivity or depth of this issue.

Granted, it is not terribly complicated, but as with many politicos I don’t think the Lib Dems are really interested and merely want to batten down the hatches, hoping to weather any political storm over Tonge’s repugnant and racist views.

Such an attitude would be incredibly misplaced and stupid, however, that’s how it comes over, as the JC reports:

“Lord Wallace, who is a LibDem spokesman on international affairs, told the Board: “She answered a deliberately provocative question from the Editor of the Jewish Chronicle… I think Jenny Tonge is over-emotional, mistaken.

“She did not say that body parts had been taken in Haiti…She was trapped by a question from the Jewish Chronicle which she should have known better than to answer.”

Baroness Tonge was in fact contacted by a JC reporter, by email, for her reaction to a news story in the Palestine Telegraph, an online journal based in Gaza of which Baroness Tonge is a patron.

In the Question and Answer session, Lord Wallace continued his defence of Baroness Tonge: “I disagree her with on a whole host of things but I would defend her rather over-emotional approach to the rights of the Palestinians and her deep commitment to doing something about Gaza.” He then explained that “the reason why we resist expelling her from the party is that we do sadly find the current Likud Party very intolerant of all criticism”.

Lord Wallace said that the “collective punishment of the Gaza is not acceptable”; that he had met some members of Hamas willing “to accept the legitimacy of Israel”: and that as a democracy Israel should be held to higher standards than “uncivilised countries in the Third World”. “

Other people have made the mistake of supporting Tonge’s racism and it is a pity that Lord Wallace can’t bring himself to actually blame Baroness Tonge in this matter.

After all she is a professional politician, highly educated and in full command of her own words. She was the one that tacitly gave credence to the Offal libel, and for that she should have been expelled from the Liberal Democrats, without a murmur.

However, she wasn’t and that’s why people are annoyed at the insensitive Lib Dems.

Written by modernityblog

19/04/2010 at 19:23

Spot The Discrepancy, Baroness Tonge and Steve Lendman.

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I am indebted to the ever sharp mind of Judeosphere, for spotting the discrepancy between Baroness Tonge’s accounts of how she learnt of the Offal libel?

Was it reading the web site of a far right extremist, Steve Lendman or just perusing the Palestinian Telegraph? Read more here.

I think there should be an inquiry into the reading habits of “Israeli obsessed” Peers of the Realm! Then again maybe not, it wouldn’t be too pretty 🙂

Written by modernityblog

14/02/2010 at 17:33

Who Would Defend Baroness Tonge’s Racism?

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By chance I found a Lib Dem forum which was discussing Baroness Tonge’s racist assumptions.

Obviously, as good liberals they don’t put it quite like that, there is more English understatement than you can shake a stick at, but I will leave readers to make their own judgements on the overall discussions.

What interested me was, what type of person would defend Baroness Tonge’s recent outbursts?

Surely, not a liberal? And certainly not someone who’s against racism?

In the Lib Dem forum Baroness Tonge has a very doughty defender in the form of Stuart Littlewood, his name rang a bell but I wasn’t too sure until someone mentioned Redress.

Antifascists will know [Warning, direct link to some nasty racist stuff.] as a poisonous bunch of bigots who push a lot of racist nonsense and conspiracy theories under the guise of aiding the Palestinians.

Supporting the Palestinians is a commendable aim, but that is not Redress’s real purpose.

Rather if you search their site you will find links to the neofascists at Ziopedia. Plenty of filth from the well known anti-Jewish racist, Gilad Atzmon and a lot of barely disguised anti-Jewish racism littered throughout their articles.

Cleverly, to hide their racism Redress authors often use the old euphemism of “Zionist” instead of Jew, a rather common tactic on the Far Right.

Below is just a random selection, I haven’t even troubled to dig deeply but I think it shows how is certainly more upmarket than the average Far Right web sites, the spelling is better but the fixations are very similar. It’s not exactly David Icke and the Lizards, but not too far removed, as the titles of these articles suggest:

Zionist control of Britain’s government: 1940-2009 by William A. Cook [Warning, direct link to some nasty racist stuff.]

Standard stuff, found on nearly every neo-Nazi and White Power web site there is, etc, but not very edifying

Anti-Semitic” – the label that stops criticism by Paul J. Balles [Warning, direct link to some nasty racist stuff.]

That is a curious article because it purports to discuss the US’s Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004, and various antisemitic notions, yet in fact it successfully reinforces the view that the author is a bit of a bigot himself, one paragraph stood out:

”11. Offering proof that Jews and their leaders created Communism and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.

It just became illegal to offer proof. Minds are made up. Don’t confuse them with the facts.”

The author, Paul J. Balles, seems to think that Jews created Communism, etc not only that, but by his own admission he thinks that Mossad organised 9/11.

“…the only conclusion remaining is: 9/11 was planned and executed by Mossad and the Zioncons to justify military action in the Middle East for the major beneficiary, Israel.”

So let’s get this right, Balles thinks Jews created Communism etc and Mossad did 9/11.

Hmm. Where have we heard that before?

Other articles are very similar in tone and content. All well written, good grammar, correct spelling, but the themes on are distinctly Far Right, and many of the authors displayed similar hang-ups.

But returning to Stuart Littlewood, scanning one of his articles I noticed this absurd piece:

” So, has our “trustworthy” BBC fallen under Zionist influence just like the British government? It certainly gives a disproportionate amount of air-time to pro-Israel figures such as the Israeli ambassador, the regime’s spokesman Mark Regev, the chief rabbi and assorted politicians who wave the flag for Israel, all of whom speak good, clear English.”

[My emphasis.]

The common themes of “Zionists” manipulating and controlling the world run through the conspiracy theories pushed on

So I think it is perfectly understandable why someone who is hung up on “Zionists” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) and rather paranoid about “Zionists” supposedly controlling the world, would support Baroness Tonge.

But with friends like that, who needs enemies?

Written by modernityblog

14/02/2010 at 02:55

Sacked, Eventually, Unrepentant Tonge.

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Baroness Tonge, the Lib Dem peer and GP has been sacked as LibDem health spokesperson, which give them the sensitivity of this topic is probably just as well.

According to the BBC, the LibDem leader Nick Clegg is still in denial about her attitude:

“In a statement released on Friday evening, Nick Clegg said the allegations were “highly offensive”.

“The comments were wrong, distasteful and provocative and I recognise the deep and understandable distress they have caused to the Jewish community,” he said.

“While I do not believe that Jenny Tonge is anti-semitic or racist, I regard her comments as wholly unacceptable.

“Jenny Tonge apologises unreservedly for the offence she has caused.” “

Perhaps it would be better if Baroness Tonge went on one of those training courses that the Metropolitan police run, on sensitivity to racial issues?

It seems fairly clear to me Baroness Tonge has some very strong “issues” and I’m just wondering when we will hear the next bigoted outburst from her?

My bet, it’s just a matter of time.

Update 1: The JC has more on Clegg’s comments.

Update 2: Stephanie Gutmann at the Torygraph took the trouble to ask Tonge where she got this nonsense from:

“But what on YouTube exactly? I asked Tonge how she had come to her conclusions. It turned that she had been inspired by an article on a website of a guy she called “a highly respected Jewish researcher” — an “opinion piece” she hastened to add (they are always opinion pieces). I had never heard of this highly respected researcher, named Steve Lendman, so I looked at his website and his article alleging IDF organ harvesting in Haiti.

Lendman as anti-fascists and older readers will remember is an ally of various Far Right loons, I covered him years back.

Lendman hasn’t changed much he’s still a fan of Rense, Ziopedia the neo-nazis and other Far Right material.

Update 3: Adam Holland covered these issues last month.

Written by modernityblog

13/02/2010 at 02:42