Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Je Suis Adele

Adele has done nothing wrong. I think she looks great sporting the look she's sporting.

She's not 'appropriating' anything, she's endorsing it, appreciating it, and living it. She's not undermining your culture, she's propagating it; something you ought to be happy about.

I love it when non-Punjabi people show up at our family events in a sari or a sherwani, and hey - a turban! And they've made the effort to pick up some Bhangra steps - I love them for it!

No one has ever pulled me up for jazzing up the scene in a double-breasted blazer and worsted trousers, or a tie, or a shirt with collars and cufflinks, a necktie or bow I can tie in 15 seconds without a mirror. Hell, I pull off the 007-esque, privately educated posh kid look with lazy ease! (Heehee! That's because I am a privately educated posh kid, and lazy ease is my thing - but that's besides the point).

In the picture below I see an amazing songstress, a vocal powerhouse that I have admired for years, a little girl just a tad older than my boy, announcing her victory of a personal battle with her weight.

And you see what?

You're all idiots. This is why Trump won. This is why he will win again - because you're stupider than he is.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Da Yoof

It’s amazing how many times things other than their own actions ruin the lives of young people isn’t it? 

Voting for Trump ruined their lives. Voting for Brexit ruined their lives. You being older than them and still alive ruined their lives. Driving them to school in a 4x4 ruined their lives. 

It’s interesting that pretty much every worthwhile culture there has ever been includes two forms of respect that are largely absent now. Respect for the innocence and vulnerability of children, their need for protection and guidance, and respect for the elderly, for the wisdom they have acquired and the experiences they have endured. And by extension respect for our ancestors, for the things they achieved and built and passed on to us. 

Our society inverts these normal and decent principles of respect. The elderly are there to be mocked or ignored. Children are given undue attention and spoilt as if their political opinions can be equal to those who are adults, but at the same time they are denied the fundamental protections that really matter. We listen to them screaming on climate change but ignore them screaming when they are raped and abused. We allow a level of disgusting perversion towards children in our society which almost defies comprehension, with little or no comment. But god forbid actually stopping a child acting in an antisocial manner or teaching them manners. We sell Playboy labelled bags to kids as if that’s normal. We’ve created wonderful new technological means by which perverts can hunt for children or communicate their sick desires with each other. 

At the same time as our society sexualises children it infantilises adults. Rather than growing up, we remain suspended in a permanent floating womb of dependency via the all encroaching power of the State. People prefer cosseting to liberty, and a heroin drip of welfare to individual responsibility. The State is the ultimate bad parent, as are corporations and multinational bodies, always talking about how much they care but voraciously acquiring power and control for their own purposes. Where once instruction was informal and familial,coming from close knit families and communities in a shared, instinctive manner, now it is official and planned and nearly always teaching the opposite of good lessons. 

Men in their fifties dress and think and talk like teenagers, whilst teenagers increasingly act like three year olds throwing a tantrum. The worst kind of teenager is now the arbiter of our society, the judge of what is good and bad, the stage of life to be envied and copied. You know, when they are old enough to cause havoc but too bloody stupid and ill informed to know it. The point where hormones are out of control and the frontal lobes aren’t fully formed. Yep, let’s give them the vote. We are going to hell anyway. Let’s do it faster. 

You didn’t get the results you wanted. Things were fucked up by coronavirus. Estimates were made based on the work you did complete. So is none of that down to you? Is you screaming that your life is ruined in the least bit rational? Every single one of these fuckers thinks that an A star should just be handed to them. It’s my right. I was there. No, no, what are you doing? It’s MINE. It sort of defeats the entire object of having grades doesn’t it, if everyone assumes that the highest grade should be handed to them no matter what? 

All decent morality requires personal responsibility. But in every sphere we are destroying that concept. Black criminals aren’t responsible for their actions. Kids aren’t responsible for their grades. Adults don’t have to behave like adults. We remake the entire world in accordance with the views of those who scream the longest and the loudest and contribute the least. We apply responsibility in bulk, deferring the whole of it to government or the State or to groups we are allowed to be prejudiced towards, primarily older people, white people, and anyone who thinks for themselves. We actively reward the screaming, the selfish, and the feckless whilst sneering at the adult, the responsible, and the wise. 

This is an age of absurdity because it is ruled by teenagers. Many of them are fifty years old and CEOs or world leaders. But they are still teenagers.

By Bartholomew Chiaroscuro

Friday, 10 July 2020

Dear Soyboy

DISCLAIMER: I’m writing this as a male, you know, one of those 'cis-male' creatures we usually refer to as ‘blokes’.

I pride myself in my command of the English language, but then I did my ICSEs (GCSEs) some 35 years ago, so forgive me if I find navigating around a more ‘inclusive’ genderspeak a bit of a struggle. Feel free to substitute your preferred pronouns as you go along. It could render the grammar completely incoherent, but then we’re not big on coherence these days, are we? Gobbledegook is so in right now. I can sense Adlous Huxley’s ghost having a quiet orgasm over this. Brave New World indeed.

I’m afraid that’s about all the apology you’re going to get. Let’s not be a dick about it, okay? I don’t need no education, I don’t need no thought control. Delete me if this burns your haemorrhoids.

So, who am I addressing? Well, well dear reader, have a browse, and if the shoe fits, feel free to lace it up. You know who you are.

Moving on…

I never thought I’d ever use this particular tool of the new-fangled indentitarian Newspeak, but ‘speaking as a brown man’, I submit the following:

White guilt, like public piety, is nothing but an ego trip. Something like what George Michael crooned some years ago when he said “And charity, is a coat you wear twice a year.”

I have a looooong list of people being systematically killed, exterminated even, all around the world, that you currently don’t give a shit about – because hey, it’s not very fashionable right now, is it?

So very selective, this white saviour complex is. The dark side it is. Strong in the hypocrisy of it all you are.

Sardonic self-deprecation done well, is a finely tuned, highly advanced art form, but self-flagellation to the point where you're reduced to a sorry little puddle of obsequious cowering on your knees is taking your fetish to a crazed level of extreme. Maybe it’s me, but I think it’s mighty strange, what some of you guys get off on: you’re uploading videos of you kissing people’s boots as penance. What next? Videos of you being publicly spanked outside Canary Wharf tube station? Kneel. Take picture. Post. Racism given a body-blow. Yay.

How and who is this helping? What makes you believe this is righting any present wrong, let alone wrongs of some centuries ago? What convoluted mind-job got you to this place?

You think I think you're showing humility. You need to know that I know you are not. You're not doing it for me; you're doing it for you. You’re doing it to chase some kind of redemption you think you’re owed. Redemption doesn't come from snorting a few lines and pissing on a national monument or burning a book. Redemption doesn’t come from me either.

Maybe your great-great-great granddad beat up my great-great-great granddad. I don’t care! I don’t know you from Adam, and you don’t know me from, well Adam. All I know is someone a long time ago worked hard, and slogged and used whatever means necessary to be able to give you the life you now have. Had MY great-great-great granddad beaten up yours we'd be in the same place we are today with switched sides, except, I wouldn't be carrying his baggage. It wouldn't be my cross to bear. I'm not Christ. And neither are you. Stop crucifying yourself. That was a one-time event.

You’d be far more believable if you gave it all up and bummed it like the people you pretend to be saving and standing in ‘solidarity’ with.

Speaking of Christ, Libby Purves said it better than I ever could: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. So he went on Twitter instead and called Michael Gove a ‘vile reptilian evil Tory scumbag’, and linked to a cartoon of Iain Duncan Smith stealing a paralysed woman’s wheelchair. And lo, he felt better and went for a £3.50 caramel macchiato with some mates from the BBC.”

You know what you can do with your sanctimony. You can stuff it. You know where, since you appear so keen to be pegged.

You think I’m impressed by your overtures; someone needs to tell you that limp-wristed grown men impress no one, least of all people you refuse to look in the eye and speak your mind lest you ‘offend’ them. We’re made of tougher stuff, us melanin-blessed folk. Last thing I want is some soy-boy-yahoo deciding what I can and cannot put up with. After all, a hurty-shouty Tweet or a postage stamp sized Whatsapped video from half a world away is probably the worst you’ve ever seen. Picking off bits of bone and wiping off entrails from my clothes following a bomb blast and clearing away corpses from the driveway it quite ain’t. Wet and wimp doesn’t quite cut it with me. Please, show more mettle than signalling your virtue on inanimate statues and monuments or trampling on graves that can’t repel your feigned bravado. Square up to me. Be a man. And please, please, only breed when and if you develop a vertebral column.

And finally, here’s the thing: Most of us came to Britain and adopted it as our home because of what it stood for and the opportunities and freedoms it guaranteed.

I for one am not going to stand by and let you turn it into the hell-hole I left behind. Maybe you should go there and immerse yourself into some 'culture'.

Yep, this is an immigrant telling a soyboy trust-fund prat to go back to where I came from.

As a previously much celebrated, now much maligned children's author might say, "Idioto Effoffimus!"

Friday, 19 June 2020

Curried Aubergine Mash a.k.a. Baingan ka Bhartha

This is one my favourite vegetarian dishes and is perfectly suitable for vegans too. Aubergines are high in fibre and fairly low in carbohydrates. They are said to be good for diabetics as they prevent blood glucose levels from rising, so it's a great one to include in any dietary plan.


STEP 1: 
Roasting

With a sharp knife, make 5 or 6 skin-deep slits along the length of the aubergines. This will prevent them from exploding in the oven and will make it easier to peel.


Fire up the oven (with fan) to 200
 and place them on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes or until the skin wrinkles up and the slits you made open up. While they're roasting, turn them a couple of times to ensure all sides are done. When finished, remove them from the oven and peel them.



Once peeled dice them up into tiny pieces while still hot, making sure you do not lose any of the juices. 

Leave aside for STEP 3.





STEP 2: 
The Base Sauce 

While the aubergines are a-roasting, you can prepare the sauce. I call this 'The Gloop'

Chop up one large onion, about 4-5 tomatoes, a few green chillies, 4-5 cloves of garlic, and a golf ball sized chunk of ginger. Brown up the onions in a non-stick wok using about 2-3 table spoons of olive oil. 

Add salt, red chilli powder, ground coriander, a pinch of cumin seeds, a teaspoon of amchoor powder, a couple of bay leaves and the tomatoes, chillies, garlic and ginger and cook until it turns into a red mush.


STEP 3: 
Putting it together

To the mixture in the wok, add the mashed aubergine and cook for a good 5-minutes on medium heat, mashing them several times while they're cooking together.




Garnish with some chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve with chapatis or rotis and fresh yogurt.


You can learn more about aubergines here.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Rope-A-Dope

So, while we're all distracted and hyper-ventilating over the Dominic Cummings non-story and the semantics of it, while we chuckle over Specsavers and Highway Code memes, the Extension to Brexit Bill has already had a reading in parliament; another is due soon.

Quietly in the background, the Remain camp in cahoots with EU mandarins are doing their damnedest to prolong our exit from the European Union. Ergo, we continue paying billions into the coffers of the European Project in the hope that Brexit could be scuppered altogether. 

We'd thought deep-sixing the golden-starred ring into Mount Doom on that fateful 23rd day of June a scant 4 years ago was the end, we simply fooled ourselves into a false sense of victory, forgetting that many horcruxes remain insidiously woven into the very DNA of those who would decide our fates and control our destinies.

These are YOUR elected leaders, and they're selling you out. Nay, they have sold you out. This is rope-a-dope, if you look hard enough. This is a political class looking after itself. These are the pigs at the table. This is a new aristocracy and landed gentry in the making. Look out for new and emerging houses waving kumbaya-esque sigils oozing out of the putrid mulch that is every section of British polity. The game of thrones is passe, this is the game of drones.

Follow the money, count the pieces of silver, for fallen, the shroud of the Dark Side has. The Farce is strong with them.

Those who have been reading my unlessoned and unschooled ramblings over the past decade will remember the EU Bingo game I came up with.

Well, it is time to pull out those Tombola cards again.

I was right.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Are You Special?

I'm just thinking out loud, so don't give me grief over this...

If you really don’t want to go back to work because you are terrified of coronavirus, don’t go back. You have every right not to. If you've been gaming the system all the while, it doesn't really make a jot of difference anyway, so no skin off your teeth there - no amout of other people's money will ever be enough. If you worked the grey market, well, I'm so terribly sorry for you - Karma can be quite the bitch.

Some of us old-school types feel a bit uncomfortable about not earning our keep. This is not misplaced machismo or toxic masculinity or whatever new-fangled monicker you metrosexuals are tossing about these days, it really isn't. It's about fulfillment instead of the 'just add water and stir pot-noodle self-gratification' ethos so many live by these days.

Thing is, all this time that you have been at home, other people have been working to keep the basic functions of society going.

Supermarket workers have been taking a risk for a salary much lower than yours, probably even lower than state benefits pay out, little shopkeepers have been putting in 18-hour days to stay stocked up, the police have been taking a risk keeping the peace  in the face of hostility they often encounter as usual, nurses and carers have been at the forefront, right in the trenches, actually looking the virus in the eye insulating the rest of us from what could be.

Similarly, firemen, bus drivers, lorry drivers, the people who keep water flowing from your taps and electricity flowing through the grid, engineers who work so your internet, your mobile phones and the nation's networks keep up, hell even the people who make sure your drains and sewers are free from all the results of your attempts at lockdown cooking, all have quietly been muddling along with nary a whimper. So don't think, even for a moment, that you or anyone in any sector of work are special. You aren't. None of us are.

UK Plc must get back to work. We cannot wait until there is no risk at all, risk begins the second you step out your front door, virus or no virus. After all, the national debt we are plunging into is not fictional. Debt will always have to be paid back. If you don't, someone, somewhere will have to work hard and pay it for you. People who worry about this are not wicked and evil. They think about this because it is real and it is true. Many of them don't have very long to live, so it's their children and grandchildren that will be doing the paying. That's who they're worrying for.

Right now, we are paying people not to work, and taxing people who are taking a risk and working. 

There's a flaw in there somewhere, don't you think?

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Episode IX: The Demise of Skywalker

I just saw Episode IX.

Disney, being Disney, completely ruined it, spilling over 40 years of history down an exhaust vent.

Why weren't Darth Plagueis the Wise, Anakin, Luke, AND Rey the same person fighting Palpatine across four generations? It would have made more sense and linked (I, II, III) with (IV, V, VI) and (VII, VIII, IX) with a much better, far more fluid continuity. 

Also, Dameron was good, but did he HAVE to be a Solo tribute act? Another trick missed.

Lucas owes himself a major rethink. He certainly owes me a major remake. While I've privately uttered the choicest expletives under my Covid19 mask, which if broadcast would amount to a series of R2-D2esque bleeps, I've also sent George a strongly-worded letter C-3PO would be proud of.

Oh! If any of this has just whizzed way past your midi-chlorian-devoid head like the 2020-BX12, don't bother asking. I'd have to fill you in on a saga that began in 1977, with far more heart-rending complexities than you could possibly imagine. They don't make attention spans like they used to. 

Or epics, as it turns out.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Aash

Aash, the way I like to make mine

I tend to post a lot of pictures of the food I cook and often get asked to share my recipes. Most recipes are simple enough to write out in a couple of paragraphs, but this particular one, one of my all time favourites, is rather complicated. I hope I've been able to do it the justice it deserves.

It's called Aash, and to say it is very popular among Afghans, especially Afghan-Sikhs is a gross understatement. The making and serving of Aash in any Afghan home is a big deal, akin to a celebration of sorts and very often, a family social event.

I have tried to do some research into its origins and found that Aash and its variants are common and very popular in former Soviet Bloc countries like Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan that share a border with Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, I also found that is a traditional meal in many remote areas of western China, where I suspect it has originated from, travelling along the Silk Route into Afghanistan many centuries ago. The dumplings and noodles should have been a dead giveaway. As for why it's called Aash, I have no clue.

The making Aash is a labour of love and typically involves several people in its preparation, usually taking an entire day. Its ingredients are fairly simple and rudimentary, and therefore it is highly customisable to suit everyone's taste.

If anyone spots any errors or if I have missed out some vital information, please let me know in the comments below and I will fix it.

Anyway, the introduction done, let's crack on with the recipe. This is for about 6-8 servings.

Things you will need:
To make this, you're going to need medium flour, 2 large leeks, an entire bunch of spring onions, plenty of green chillies, fresh coriander (cilantro), garlic, onions, limes (or lemons), powdered mint, olive oil, natural set yogurt, salt and red chilli powder.

Some optional extras: cooked chicken mince, fresh pomegranate seeds, boiled red kidney beans (tinned ones will do just fine, just make sure you drain out the liquid they're in), white vinegar and any kind of tangy, sweet, or spicy sauce or chutney you prefer.


The Preparation:

Leeks, Spring Onions, Green Chillies, Coriander Leaves
First, the filling: Very finely chop up and mix the leeks, spring onions, 6-10 green chillies (you can use red chillies if you want, or a mixture of both) and a cupful of coriander (cilantro).

Add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the chopped mixture, kneading with your hands. Allow it to rest a bit; in about 10 minutes the salt will render the moisture out of the leeks and spring onions. Give it a cold water rinse in a colander and squeeze the mixture using a muslin cloth or your hands until all the juice has drained from it leaving behind a fairly dry mix. This will also drain out the excess salt.

Add red chilli powder to the mixture and set it aside for later.




Next, the dumplings: Knead a fairly dry and hard dough and set it aside to rest for about 20-30 minutes.

Using a pasta maker or a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1 mm thickness. See video above. Pasta makers are cheap to buy and very easy to maintain. Click here to see an example.


Homemade medium flour noodles

Cut out noodles using the pasta maker, spreading them out immediately over a surface lightly sprinkled with flour to prevent them from sticking. Noodles are purely optional - you can skip them altogether if you want. Try to keep the length of the noodles to less than 4 or 5 inches - Aash is not eaten with a fork.

We call these 'Tukkar'












Cut out little discs (about 3-4 cm in diameter) using a lid or a cookie cutter. Take care not to make too many at once or they will dry out and you will not be able to seal them shut when filling them.

We call these little discs 'Tukkar'

Pronunciation:
Took - Err


Form the little discs (tukkar) into tortellini-like dumplings, filling them with the leeks mixture. See video above. These are called 'Chashbiray' (singular: Chashbira).

Pronunciation:
Chash (as in Crush) - Bee - Ray
Singular: Chash Bee Ra


Chashbiray
Sprinkle some flour over a surface and spread the chashbiray and the noodles out to dry in a single layer, for about 7-8 hours. Turn them over after a few hours to make sure they're drying from all sides. Do not dry them in direct sunlight or near heating fixtures or the filling will start giving out moisture ruining your work. You can use a fan to help with the drying.




The Chashbira Battalions

The Garnishing







Once dry, they are ready to cook right away or be frozen to use another day. Make sure you do not cram them into the freezer or you'll end up with a coagulated lump of frozen dough. Use plastic boxes to keep the chashbiray separate and protect them from getting crushed. Remember, they still contain plenty of moisture.











Then, the toppings: Very finely chop an onion, you can use any type of onion you like, white, red, brown or pink. I prefer pink onions (sometimes called Bombay Onions), some green (or red) chillies, seeds and all, and some fresh garlic.

Cut up some limes or lemons, or you could use lime or lemon juice instead. Some people use vinegar.

Whisk some natural set yogurt to make it runny. If the yogurt is not sour or acidic enough, you can add a pinch of citric acid for an extra kick.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a little frying pan, turn the heat off, add a couple of teaspoons of dried mint powder while the oil is still hot and mix. Do not add the mint while the oil is heating or you will burn it.

Finally, the actual cooking: Add the chashbiray along with the noodles to boiling water, for about 10 minutes or so, longer if you're boiling from frozen (Note: If you are cooking from frozen, do NOT thaw them first or they'll collapse into a mush.)

When they take on a bit of a rubbery sheen, you're done!


Bowl of Aash
Putting it all together: Serve in a bowl, pouring in as much or as little of the soup you want. I prefer mine with very little water, like in the picture at the top.

Add a couple of tablespoons of the yogurt, a tablespoon of the mint-laced olive oil, add some of the chopped onions, chillies, and garlic. Add salt and red chilli powder to taste, squeeze in some lime (or lemon) or lime juice to taste. You can use vinegar if you like.

You can further embellish it by sprinkling over some boiled red kidney beans, loose chicken mince, pomegranate seeds, coriander & chilli chutney, chilli sauce, tamarind sauce, a few drops of Tabasco, hell, even Nandos, or pretty much anything that tickles your fancy.

Other variants:


There are other variants of this dish and one my favourites is called AashakAashak is prepared in exactly the same way, but is traditionally served in shallow bowls or trays with very little of the soup. The chashbiras for Aashak are shaped like half moons using the same size of discs shown above. The filling in both Aash and Aashak can be replaced with cooked lamb or chicken mince instead of the leeks/spring onion mixture.


Another variant is a called Mantoo. These are steamed dumplings, very much like the Chinese Dim Sum, with an Afghani twist. Perhaps something to write about on another day.

Yet another variant (some would call the Pound-shop version) of Aash is called Macaroni (yeah, some some very lazy naming process involved there). Macaroni is a quick and easy Aash alternative which does away with the use of chashbiray altogether. Instead, these are replaced by normal shop-bought pasta (whatever shape you fancy), prepared and garnished in exactly the same way. This, from start to finish takes about 20 minutes, and is merely serves to quell Aash cravings. 

And before you ask, Aash cravings ARE a thing, ask any Afghan.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

How Not To Ramzan


Of me, this you will already know: I'm no defender of the faith, a faith or any faith for that matter. I am convinced though, that whatever the Gods may be, they almost certainly don't have this constant thirst for appeasement and adulation. That would be Voldemort, or Sauron, don't you think? You do what is fair and just, you live, you let live and you help where you can. Everything else is just cosmetic fluff and dressage.

That said, I do understand the solace that benign, charitable and benovelent religious practices and traditions, steeped in millenia of human learning and experience bring to the soul for millions of people. I am after all, a conservative.

My disclaimer done, let me get to what I wanted to really say...

This latest thing, this annoying new pebble in my shoe, this so called 'Libdem Iftar' and the pronouncements from the odd rabble of Ed Davey, Layla Moran, Siobhan Benita, Ian Manning and assorted fruitcakes, and the one day, yeah, just the ONE measly day of fasting on the 25th of April is probably the loopiest idea I have ever heard of.

Trust me, I have had the abject misfortune of an audience with the exalted eminence of the Corbyn, Abbott & Chairman McMao troika - I know loopy down pat. But I digress. Sorry, as you were...

The observance of Ramzan (Ramadan) is a serious and sombre religious practice; a time of deep & humble (yes, humility is pretty much the central theme here) introspection. Millions of Muslims have done it for centuries, without any fanfare or making a song & dance about it.

Turning it into a farcical fad, a desperate signal of feigned virtue disguised as 'solidarity' in the typical colonial mindset wins you nothing but ridicule. Well in my opinion anyway.

Does anyone remember the oft misquoted and misrepresented 'picanninies and watermelon smiles' article by Boris Johnson? Of course you do. Everybody does. Well here's the thing: He was talking about you - you of the smug 'White Saviour' complex. The Ed Daveys, the Layla Morans and the Siobhan Benitas of this world. We know you don't mean it. You know we know you don't mean it. And we know you know we know you don't mean it, and yet here we stand, wondering what hell happened to British political discourse over the years. I distinctly remember it being a grown up thing instead of this infantalised 'me clever, you clever, we got bare GCSE, innit?' 8-bit video game.

The Tories have done everything they possibly could to look and be silly, Labour have been better at it and turned silly into a sublime art form. The Liberal Democrats, oh well, you guys just won gold 5 years in a row.

After all, as the silly sweepstakes go, nothing beats showing solidarity with your Muslim brethren than starting your very public holy fast with a belly full of bacon, complete with pictures to flood all social media showing terribly under-cooked pork on your plate. 

And you wonder why you're an irrelevant and spent force. Or farce, I forget which.

This is why.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Double Decker Bread Pakodas


The Potato filling: Boil up some potatoes Maris Pipers or King Edwards are best. Mash them up and mix VERY finely chopped onions (or spring onions), green chillies, ground (not powdered) coriander seeds, some turmeric powder, red chilli powder, amchur, ajwain, a pinch or two of garam masala, finely chopped coriander leaves - stems and all, garlic and ginger paste, some ground black pepper and of course, namak-shamak (salt!).

The batter: Gram flour mixed with copious amounts of ajwain, red chilli powder, dried chilli flakes if you are brave enough, salt, turmeric powder, hing (asafoetida powder), garlic powder, kasuri methi, dhaniya powder and a hefty bit of olive oil. Add water and whisk until you get a thick consistent mix.

The procedure: Use 50-50 bread. Make two-tier sandwhiches in the following order -

Bread
Potato mix
Green chutney
Bread
Ketchup
Potato mix
Bread

Press them down to flatten and cement them together, cut them into triangles, dip in the batter, and fry till they get a sexy tan.

Serve with all desi sauces and take pictures or it didn't happen.

I know it seems like a labour of love, but then it ain't good cooking if it isn't.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Stupid is with me; I'm not with Stupid

Right, the last couple of days have revealed four new levels of stupid. While the jokes and memes have been fun and entertaining - I've shared a few myself, it is hard trying to stay sane when surrounded by this much stupid without humour, so humour me; here's my list:

1. Entertaining the mere suggestion that the injestion of a disinfectant might rid you of a virus and could merit some kind of scientific inquiry. As dumb as dumb goes, that was right up there with, I dunno, David Lammy? 

2. Misquoting a stupid comment with an even more stupid inference under the guise of 'reporting' is galatically stupid and very, very irresponsible. The Donald did not say 'drink bleach', YOU did. You made it sound like he did. That's why you're dangerous and so very stupid. Whatever you call it, don't call it journalism. It isn't. It's just stupid. And then some.

3. Actually believing that the injestion of a disinfectant could rid you of a virus. Yes, if you think taking shots of Fairy liquid cleans up your insides, or mainlining Dettol is like yoga for the bloodstream, you are stupid. Of course downing bleach will clear your throat; and you along with it. That probably is a good thing - the gene pool could do with some cleaning up anyway. I think we should take "WARNING: May contain nuts" off bags of peanuts. No one can help you. Fortunately, there's not many of you, which is a bit of a relief.

4. Being a politician or a public figure and seriously thinking that a significant number of people would actually injest a disinfectant or shoot up on Savlon to rid themselves of a virus, and publicly warning them not to is very stupid. You don't come out as very bright if you think that anyone who votes for you or avidly follows you - essentially your fanbase is stupid. But then again, perhaps they are. Perhaps that's why they listen to you. Birds of a common feather and all.

Don't be stupid. Wash your hands. And don't come near me.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Boxitecture


The Lambeth Palace Library describes their new library building as 'magnificent'.

Yes, 'magnificent'. That is what they said, in print and all over their social media platforms. 

Seeing as we're all chucking about superlatives these days, might I venture an alternative suggestion of my own? Say, 'monstrosity'?

I'm sorry, but poetic licence can only be pushed so far. I've seen cardboard delivery boxes from Amazon and pallets of crushed plastic bottes destined for recycling with more soul. Magnificent is way too generous; and on my part, monstrosity is way too kind.

Lego is not architecture, dear Lambeth Council, and Minecraft is not a design software program.

It looks like a Soviet prison, gun turrets and all. Reminds me of Shawshank Redemption; sans the redemption.

*Before the usual suspects pile in, I'd like everyone to know that I now self-identify as a design and architecture expert and critic.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Chicken, Broccoli & Mushroom Stir Fry


Tonight I cooked an inspired chicken, broccoli and mushroom stir fry. Turned out brilliant!

Here's how...

First, ready the sauce: Take 3 cups of chicken stock, 2-3 tablespoons of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon each of garlic and ginger paste, 2 heaped tablespoons of corn starch, a teaspoon of sugar, and half a teaspoon of crushed peppercorns. Whisk until everything is thoroughly mixed. Set aside for later.

Next, chop up 3 chicken breasts into bite sized cubes and season them with sea salt, pepper and 3 finely chopped cloves of garlic. Toss them around in a hot wok with a little bit of olive oil until they brown up a bit from all sides. Turn off the heat.

Slice a fairly large red onion into thin slivers; diagonally chop 2 spring onions; thickly slice 200g of large button mushrooms; and cut about 2 heads of broccoli into little florets. Take 2 or 3 green chillies with a single slit along the length of each one.

Turn the heat back on (medium), add another tablespoon of olive oil to the chicken and chuck in the onions, stir for a few minutes until the onions become a little translucent. Add everything else, stirring all the while. Do this for about 6-7 minutes.

Next, whisk the sauce some more and pour it into the wok. Keep stirring until the sauce begins to thicken.

Occasionally, poke at the broccoli with a fork to check if it is cooked through but still al dente. Keep stirring until ready.

Serve in a bowl, on its own or atop some plain, slightly buttered rice - I used Basmati.

Add salt, pepper, Tabasco, or squeeze in some lemon or lime to your liking.

The whole meal takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, serves 4 people and costs a mere £7.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Money, Money, Money!

Want to get riled up a bit?

Imagine one single penny of Captain Tom Moore's £20 million going towards the £66,928-a-year pay-packet of a Diversity Officer. Or a £500,000 Banksy. Or to Richard Branson. Or to PFI Shareholders.

The one thing it won't do is bolster the wages of the superhereos working on the coal-face or deep in the trenches - you know the ones everyone claps for at 8pm every Thursday - or buy PPE.

Instead, it'll help pay for the latest Muswell Hill investment mortage of the non-medical capos and some 'consultants' previously fired from one NHS Trust, quickly to be snapped up by a different Trust, or even the same Trust they were fired from! Something not vastly different from foreign aid in the hands of third world dictators.

And of course, while these apparatchiks baste their veal steaks in hard-won funds from the people like Captain Tom Moore and taxes extracted from shop assistants and cleaners; teachers and nurses, coppers and waiters; entrepreneurs and shopkeepers under pain of imprisonment, they'll whine and moan to the Left wing press and Sky TV and the BBC about how the NHS has no money and how the bloody Tories need to hand over moar moolah.

The NHS always needs money. It needs more money. It needs ALL the money. When it's had that, it needs some more. Since Tony Blair, the NHS has always been 3 days, 10 days, two weeks, one month, 2 months away from utter collapse and financial ruin, depending on which Trotksyesque-porn rag you read.

Sadly, a lot people buy into the NHS sob story. These will of course mostly be the same ungrateful wretches that wished the likes of Captain Moore, the likes of who while still in their teens, stormed a hostile beach under heavy shelling and gunfire so they could plant the trees of freedom they knew they might never sleep under the shade of, dead; because they voted to leave the European Union.

All over my social media timelines, I see self-aggrandisingly lurid videos of these Bollingers Bolshivek 'officers' clapping outside their 5-bedroom bungalows with a jacuzzi in their back gardens, and a Range Rover out front in the leafy outer London commuter-belt suburbs. Paid for, of course, by you and me.

It sounds like hyenas cackling over the corpse of a dead zebra.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Fusion Food

Right, here's what I did tonight:

Boiled Ricotta & Spinach Tortellini (supermarket bought, sorry) lightly stir fried in butter and pasta sauce, served with a topping of steaming hot blanched baby spinach stir fried in olive oil, with a blend of onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, red chilli flakes and assorted spices, topped with chunks of butter and sprinkled with chopped super hot Indian green chillies (yes, I can be quite the masochist), a few drops of red Tabasco and ground (not powdered) black pepper and some lime juice...

Yumzers!

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Where do we go from here, Sir Keir?


My 2¢:

The King is dead; long live the King!

If you think the Corbyn era is over, you haven't seen the grip his apparatchiks, his Momentum thugs, his effnik comoonity leaders, and his groupies have on the NEC and the Unions.

Sir Starmer has his work cut out for him: Purging Labour of rabid commies, Jew-hating, tinfoil hat Illuminati aficionados, college-campus spliffed up, Stormzy-fellating kumbaya-kids, old fogies still in thrall of Marx, Engels, Lenin or Guevara, and establishment Bollinger Bolshevik civil servants high on other people's money, won't be easy.

I don't envy the guy.

And if any of you are wondering, I do care about this. A useless opposition is too easy. Too easy is tiresome. Sir Starmer had better be good.

I was rooting for Nandy though, but hey, male, pale and stale it is.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Lockdown Roast Baby Chicken



Baby chicken, marinated for about 6 hours. Thick sliced new potatoes, also marinated along with the chicken.

Pour a glass of water into a baking tray and chuck in a few wedges of lime. Place the chicken on a wire mesh so as to avoid contact with the water.

Cover the whole thing in foil and bake at 200° for 40 minutes.

Remove foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes, spraying a little olive oil to get that moist shiny look.

Result: A most succulent, cotton-wool soft chicken you can pinch off the bone.

Total cost: £5.00

Feeds: 2-3 people.

Monday, 16 March 2020

The Joker Was Right


The shelves in most supermarkets are empty.

The SOCIALIST talks of socialism and the faked virtue of social justice, and yet, he went out, and he hoarded and hoarded.

The CONSERVATIVE, him of the Big Society, of community compassion, abandoning all principles of Conservatism, went out, and he hoarded and hoarded.

The CHRISTIAN talks of Jesus feeding the five thousand, of loving thy neighbour, and yet, he went out, and he hoarded and hoarded.

The MUSSALMAN talks of Zakaat and Sadaqah, of Mercy, and yet, he went out, and he hoarded and hoarded.

The SIKH, he of the free Guru ka Langar, open to one and all, went out, and he too, hoarded and hoarded. 

The JEW, him of the Tzedakah and the ethical obligation of charity, went out, and he, like everyone else, hoarded and hoarded.

The Joker was right:
“Their morals, their code; it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. You'll see. I'll show you. When the chips are down these, ur these 'civilized people'? 

They'll eat each other."


Friday, 13 March 2020

Handwashing Tunes


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Instead of the mundane 'Happy Birthday' ditty they're suggesting you use to time your handwashing routine, try my suggestions. Each of these should be about just over the recommended 20-second routine...

And you'll feel helluva a lot better.


#1
Well you can tell by the way I wash
I'm a careful man, no time to talk
Water's warm, the soap is slick
I've been touching crap
I shouldn't have been
Well it's all right, it's okay
I will live another day
And you can try, to understand
The fight between virus and man
Whether you're a brother
Or whether you're a mother
You're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Feel the city breakin' and everybody shakin'
And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive


#2
Oh baby, baby
I shoulda just used some soap
Sanitiser wasn't right here
Oh baby, baby, I shouldn't have touched your nose
Now you're crying out your eyes, yeah
Show me how you want it to be
Tell me, baby, 'cause I need to know now, oh because
This Covid crap is killing me (and I)
I must confess, I touch and feel (touch and feel)
When I'm not with you I like to grind
And give out signs
Grope me baby, one more time


#3
And now, soaptime is here
Right after I flush the cistern
My friend, I'll wash 'em clear
And I'll scrub in haste,
All the pathogens.
I'll live a life that's full
For I've been taught, basic hygiene
And more,
Much more than this,
I'll wash 'em my way


You are very welcome.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

The Racists & the Coconuts of Brexit

This is contributed by Ash Hirani.

Almost four years after our decision to leave the European Union and the rhetoric that preceded and then followed it, if you’re one of those who still believes that voting to leave was only, or mainly, because of racism then stop reading this. It’s pointless. You won't be swayed either way.

Cries of racism and all the mudslinging over our decision to leave the EU is getting tiresome now. I was in my late thirties when I voted to leave the EU but the bile continues nearly four years later, so here’s some context…

I was born and bred in South London to Indian immigrants. At 6 years old I was repeatedly called a Paki at school. My grandfather said it meant that the other kids were just ignorant but it bothered me because of the way it was said more so than the word itself.

Racism took on a whole new meaning when the BNP opened a bookshop nearby and skinheads started marching along our road. Occasionally, we got messages to stay indoors on certain days. When I heard voices yelling 'Pakis out' as they went past our house it didn’t mean much at first.

The skinheads’ marches got more violent with cars and houses being damaged. We barricaded ourselves in the back room with me under the table (usually with my baby brother on my lap) hoping that we wouldn’t hear the sound of glass smashing or the door being kicked in. Our window was smashed once and we just replaced it. The second time round we couldn’t afford to get it fixed so it was patched up for weeks. Dad and grandad took turns to sleep on the sofa to make sure nobody got in. That’s when I felt the real terror of racism.

I remember a day when Mrs Reeves next door dragged me into her house and passed me to my grandmother over the garden fence. The skinheads were on the move and it was home time for the Saturday workers in our family. We were terrified for their safety.

I remember my uncle running into the house a few times. Skinheads used to chase him with lumps of wood full of rusty nails. They hung around at the bottom of the road. He used to finish work at 4pm but often came home late. He’d just wander around in the cold until they left.

A few years later a friend in my class at secondary school came in and told us his cousin Rohit was murdered in a racist attack. A few months later, there was another murder of another Indian lad. I remember all communities coming together to organise anti racism rallies.

A few years later at college, Stephen Lawrence had been playing pool one morning. That was the last I saw of him. We were called in to the Student Union that week and told he had been murdered the previous night. Suddenly, we were back to where we began. The terror was back.

Life went on after that and, apart from the odd idiot, things got better. Racism started to become a non issue. The odd bit of workplace hassle was a doddle to deal with compared to the atrocities of the past.

It now grates me when I hear people race-baiting or using racism for political purposes. People in positions of influence should understand the divisions they’re recreating – divisions that were long eliminated as a result of actual loss of blood and the sheer hard work of many.

Racism does exist. Of course it does. Sadly, it’s becoming harder to stamp out because so many people are too busy muffling out the voices of real victims with their fake allegations and outrage. They see racism everywhere and in everything.

The UK has become one of the most tolerant and welcoming countries in the world. When fake slurs are hurled just because people voted a certain way, it starts to become a very dangerous game. To what end? What do people now hope to achieve by all this except to cause division?

I got so fed up with all the Uncle Tom and Coconut slurs just because I was vocal in my support for Brexit. For all the reasons in this write up, every slur was another wound on an already deep scar. People really ought to be kind and think about their words more carefully. Of course there were racists who voted for Brexit but, in a democracy, even horrible people can vote. Just look at the behavior of some Remainers! 

I don’t think Brexit has caused hatred. I think it has exposed bile that was already there – on BOTH sides - BUT, it was dying a natural death as it was being stifled of oxygen by so many who have worked so hard over the years. What is happening today is the reopening the wounds of the past, breathing new life into the beast, exposing a whole new generation to the ugliness of the past. This has to stop. We’re fellow citizens and a divided country can never prosper. Is that what those who seek continued divisions actually want? Perhaps they do.

I’ve got caught up in the bitterness. I’m only human. I began to hate people for the way they were behaving too. But this all MUST stop. We’re all responsible for our own actions. Brexit has happened and we all have to let the hatred go now. It’ll just consume us all otherwise.

It’s hard to extend your hand in friendship when you know it’ll just get bitten off, but we must. We've got to start taking positive steps towards creating a better post-Brexit outcome because, whether you voted to leave or remain, the outcomes will affect us all.

I want Britain to succeed, but this depends on how we choose to move on. If we can't get past the cries of racism then we'll never deal with all the other ills in society. We'll just recreate the divisions of the past, and that is a very dangerous game to play.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Panem et circenses

What more is there left to say about Caroline Flack?

The Romans had a phrase for it: "Panem et circenses".

There'll be a moment's lamentation and pulling of hair, calling out the media and the online trolls, by the very same media and the online trolls, and soon enough, it will all be back to normal, cheering on the gladiators, baying for blood to be spilt on the sands.

The Indians have a phrase for it too:
"एनटरटेनमैटं के लिय कुछ भी करेगा।" (Will do anything for entertainment).

And then we carry on till we drive the next fragile soul to slash their wrists.

'Twas ever thus.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Under The Sensory Overload

Would that a glimpse take my breath away
Would that a whiff of scent drift me away
Would that the mere brush of fingertips send a chill down my spine
Would that I be sensitised within an inch of my life
To feel the little things buried under sensory overload.

Friday, 31 January 2020

31st January, 2020

A cold, shivering figure, wrapped in a soiled kimono, still clutching a baseball bat sobs gently and wipes away the tears running down into his unwashed stubble. A 40 watt bulb flickers in the damp cellar, his final refuge...

He hears a gentle knock on the door and ushers in a sorry figure of a prepubescent black youth, wearing shorts, white trainers, and a snot stained Chè Guevara t-shirt, clutching two cans of baked beans. "You must eat something," he says, his voice cracking as he wipes his nose. "I've been stockpiling." 

The door opens again, and a sniveling, disheveled figure reeking of gin, her pale tear-stained face like parchment stretched too thin, enters wearing a threadbare power-suit, shoulder-pads and all, hobbles in. "Do we have anything to eat?" she says hoarsely, fighting back the lump in her throat.

"We have couple of cans of baked beans and some raw fox meat," says the man in the kimono, "But nothing to heat or cook them with."

A little voice emerges from the shadows and whispers, "I've been hiding here all along. I've got a bottle of £3.75 supermarket Claret, and a few cans of Campbell tomato soup.  I once sexed up a dossier and helped burn an entire country to the ground. I can start a fire, even in this dank, dark basement. Shall we eat?"

The door creaks open yet again, bringing with it a bitter draft of ice-cold January air and a senile old man in a tweed jacket clutching an over-sized marrow repeatedly muttering, "We won the argument, we won the argument..." nodding his head and wiping the frost from his snow-white beard, his teeth chattering as he spoke.

"Do come in," says the man in the kimono, grateful for more company.

The five huddle around the fire, blissfully unaware of the carbon-monoxide filling up the tiny basement, as they tuck into the charred remains of a dead fox from two months ago, baked beans and rancid tomato soup.

Meanwhile outside, the sky bursts into life, with fireworks, strains of jubilant music, the popping of corks, and a renewed energy of a nation freed from the shackles that bound it to failed social and political experiment.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Qaraar-é-Panjshanbé



If you take anything with you into the new year, take this:

"Qaraar-é-Panjshanbé" is a short film by 20-year old Iranian film-maker Syed Raza Khardmand. The film was recently given an award at the Luxor Film Festival.

"Qaraar-é-Panjshanbé", loosely translated, means "Thursday's appointment" and refers to a common Persian practice of visiting the cemetery and offering prayers for departed loved ones on Thursdays, it being the weekend. Visitors often take dried fruits such as dates and share them with others at the cemetery.

I couldn't find a subtitled version of this film, but then it really doesn't need any.

For those intrigued by the verse recited by the gentleman in the video, it is from a ghazal by Khwaja Shams-ud-Din Muḥammad Ḥafeẓ-é-Shirazi, better known simply as Hafez - Iran's most celebrated poet.

Again, translated liberally, my Farsi is a tad rusty; the verse goes...

"If that Shirazi Turk takes my heart in her hand
I would trade Samarqand and Bukhara for her little mole

Oh saaqi! Give me that eternal wine for in Paradise
You'll never find the banks of Roknabad and the gardens of Mosalla"

Some notes:
Shirazi = from Shiraz in Iran. Hafez himself was born and lived all his life in Shiraz, the region once famed for the wine that bears its name.

Samarqand & Bukhara are historic places in modern day Uzbekistan known for their picturesque beauty.

Saaqi = Wine Bearer or if you like, Bartender.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Grime, slime

The guy who wrote the text in the attached image is being invited to schools to read to and converse with your little children. He is also going to appear on state-funded national television with a Christmas message for everyone.

Back in the day, when I was little, we'd have policemen and firemen and painters and poets and writers and artists visit us at school to inspire our young minds and fire our imagination. We even had a dentist once! They were our heroes.

Today, I'm so sad to say, there's just this kind of sludge that creeps out from under the manhole covers Jeremy Corbyn is so fond of. No wonder it's called grime.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Wrapping up 2019

The holidays are just about upon us. Here are some thoughts I'd like to share as you begin to wrap up 2019 and head into 2020, hopefully with 20-20 vision...

If you are fortunate enough to be able to shop for presents for family and friends, or food and drink for a party you may be having, consider buying local, buying handmade, buying from someone you know, buying from the self-employed.

The big stores don't jubilantly punch the air when they make a sale - your friendly local shopkeeper does. Send the little guy home to his kids dancing a jig, with a spring in his step and a warm feeling that it is indeed the season to be jolly.

If you are privileged enough to have surviving parents or grandparents, sit down with them for a good old chin-wag. Look them in the eye and tell them of your fondest memory of them. Ask them what you were like as a child. Trust me on this one - it feels like mulled wine warming your insides.

If you are blessed with many friends and get together a lot, consider inviting and involving one shy wallflower to each of your dos. There's a rock-solid BFF or quite possibly, the love of your life completely unknown to you hiding somewhere out there only because you didn't ask. Go ahead. Ask.

If you are lucky enough to be in the company of family and loved ones this holiday season and someone turns down an alcoholic drink you offer them, please don't insist they accept. You have no idea why they might be declining and how hard that might be for them. Please don't make it harder. Help them win whatever they're fighting. That's what friends are for.

When choosing presents, nothing is more personal or thoughtful than a carefully chosen book. Don't just tick off a bestseller list - do some digging. What would they like to read? Why didn't you know already? You'll be richer for having done that, as will your friend.

The humongous hug you get from the universe each time you do any one of those things comes for free.

And guess what? You can do all of the above all year next year too, and the year after. 

Start today.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Coriander, Dhaniya, Cilantro

I love coriander. If you're a curry fan, this is how I source and use it:

Supermarket coriander has no aroma and no flavour, and to add insult to injury, tends to cost £1 or more per bunch. You might as well use grass. Best avoid.

Local Indian shops do great deals, sometimes 2 or 3 generously packed bunches for a quid.

Firstly, wash thoroughly in cold water to get rid of the chlorinated disinfectant.

I buy 6 bunches at a time, using 3 bunches as follows:

1. I chop the stems as finely as I can and pack them *tightly* into an ice tray to freeze. Once frozen, I move the cubes into a tupperware box or a recycled ice-cream tub, and keep it in the freezer. The stems have more flavour than the leaves, so discarding them is a culinary crime and should be punishable by permanent exile to a Gulag in Siberia. 

I use one or two or three cubes of the stems as a cooking ingredient, depending how many people I'm cooking for, adding it last to the onion/garlic/ginger/tomato gloop that serves as a basis for all curries. My measurement: 1 cube for every two portions. Alter as you see fit. You can also thaw a cube or two out and mix into your marinade for chicken or lamb roasts or BBQ.

2. As for the leaves, I pick them out and *very* loosely pack them into a similar box and freeze.

To use as a garnish, I scoop out a handfull and crushing them in my hands, I sprinkle them over my finished dish or salad - they melt instantaneously and spring to life, as if they were freshly picked.

I use the remaining 3 bunches to make a chutney/dip. Here's how:

3. I chuck the bunches, stems and all, along with a bunch of fresh mint, also with stems, several green chillies, a red or preferably a pink onion, the size of a fist, two spring onions - green bit included, 4-5 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of red chilli powder (or dried red chilli flakes if you want proper fire), salt to taste, 2 or 3 table-spoons of lime juice (not lemon!), a teaspoon of amchur (dried mango) powder, and a little fresh ginger into a blender and blend until I get a rough paste of an even consistency. I use some watered down natural yoghurt if the blender begs for more liquid. You can alter the ingredients to suit. 

This is stored in the fridge. 

You can use this gloop on its own as a chutney or add a hefty tablespoon of it to a little bowl of whisked natural yoghurt to make a different kind of dip.

All of the above lasts my family of 4 for 2 weeks.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Labour Antisemitism, Conservative Islamophobia and LibDem Maajid Nawaz

This, from Maajid Nawaz,

"My dear media pundits:

On Labour antisemitism, I understand that you’re generalists, who have to be abreast of everything, and therefore can’t be on top of everything, but I’ve been engaged in these issues of political extremism all my adult life, literally from opposing sides, so at least (please) do me the favour of reading a thread I write before repeating the clichè back to me that “all racism is bad, and the Tories are racist too” (as if I - a Muslim survivor of violent racist attacks, and the War on Terror era - hadn’t thought of that angle).

I’m not saying you have to agree with everything I say, I’d be worried if you did, but on this (clearly my fortè) please (for my sanity) read my view in any given thread first and then disagree (preferably without repeating an objection that I’ve already addressed in the thread), or better yet ask me instead of telling me about a topic I’ve spent the last 25 years and 2 additional Islamic languages learning. 

Honestly, before responding please pause to consider if it’s slightly patronising in any way at all for you to respond with tried & tested clichès about Tory ‘Islamophobia’ when the issues are disgustingly incomparable. 

Aside from that annoying misnomer ‘Islamophobia’ (which really reinforces a ‘death for blasphemy’ taboo in my parents’ country Pakistan and here in the UK) the comparison of Tory anti-Muslim bigotry would only be appropriate if Boris Johnson had called the Neo-Nazi Christchurch killer his “friend” and had taken money, personally, from a state that funded that killer (as Corbyn did with Hamas while taking up to £20K from Iran).

So, until the day Boris Johnson flirts with actual Muslim-killing terrorists it’s disgusting to draw such analogies, because they are deeply insensitive to our Jewish friends. 

What’s also disgustingly insensitive is to compare any policy of the Israeli state with a terror group.

Again, the appropriate comparison with Hamas & Hezbollah is to the Christchurch anti-Muslim neo-Nazi killer, not Netanyahu (despite my fierce disagreements with his policies). Netanyahu is a state leader, not a genocidal anti-Muslim terrorist. 

Only political amateurs and/or morally bereft obfuscators equivocate  and confuse statecraft (agree or disagree with it) with genocidal terrorism that eg: targets babies. So please, do try to assume I’m not as stupid as you may think I am (no matter how hard that may be) and consider that I may have already thought of what you’re about to say regarding the very real presence of Tory ‘Islamophobia’. I dunno, just maybe, during the 4 years I spent studying & debating these issues as a political prisoner in Egypt when surely I had time to rethink many of the political assumptions you now may hold and advocate (that I used to fiercely advocate too), maybe that time allowed me to arrive at a slightly unique perspective? Maybe? 

Thank you and forgive me, this isn’t meant to sound like a whinge. It’s just so morally wrong to equate Corbyn’s moral & institutional support for terrorism with ‘mere’ Tory bigotry or crudeness. And before anyone says it, no, I don’t vote Tory. I’m voting Liberal Democrats.

Thank you."

He goes on to add, "I’m really sorry for this, but you won’t believe the amount of ‘splaining I have to put up with."

Me too, Maajid meri jaan. Me too.