Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Monday, 26 December 2016
Friday, 4 November 2016
Of radiators on full tilt
Behind double-glazed windows
The views of a burning inferno
Yellows, mustards, tans
Reds, crimsons, browns
It's alight out there
On fire. Inviting. Alluring.
Just like you.
They're rotting, turning to mulch
Just like you.
It's distant, it's cold, it's wet
Just like you.
To warm embraces
And tender kisses
And loving gazes
Like the summer of green
It's gone forever
Just like you.
Monday, 31 October 2016
Okay, I'm gonna get a little preachy here, so forgive me.
Actually, don't. I don't care.
I'm a bit of a SocMed obsessive, and thus, am connected a lot. Which of course means many hundreds of greetings flood my timelines and inboxes at any given festival. Many are nice, benovelent, and heartfelt; many are "It's gotta be done, so copy-paste Happy-Mubarak-Tabrik whatever". A disturbingly sizeable minority are bigotted, religio-fanatic, divisive drivel disguised as greetings. And then there are those faux greetings from the ham-acted so-politically-correct-that-they-miss-the-point-of-everything-altogether.
Therein lies my rant.
I'd have everyone know: Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhod Divas on the day of Diwali. Not INSTEAD of Diwali. Diwali is our festival too. The Guru Granth Sahib is replete with references to the lessons in Valmiki's Ramayan and other major Hindu texts. That the story of Ram and the Ramayan is mythological and Bandi Chhod Diwas is historical fact has nothing to do with anything. Bandi Chhod Diwas is a significant event in the course of Sikh history - and a celebratory one at that. It was a man's triumph over religious bigotry and fundamentalist oppression. Read up on it - the history and purpose of Bandi Chhod Diwas is all over the internet every Diwali.
I celebrate Diwali. And I revere Bandi Chhod Diwas. So if you're out gambling and drinking tonight and buying gifts for people you couldn't care less about for the rest of the year, and you're sending me messages why 'Happy Diwali' offends you, you need to take a long, hard look at your warped morality.
And the White-guilt laden PC Multi-Culti brigade? I'm not gonna swear today, so I have nothing to say to you.
Remember, on this day just over 400 years ago, the then leader of what later became the Sikh religion, gambled his release from his political oppressors on the release of others who weren't of his own faith, and won. Sadly we no longer have leaders like that any more.
That said, I wish you all a very happy Diwali. And many congratulations to all my fellow Sikhs on the 405th anniversary of Bandi Chhod Diwas.
Friday, 21 October 2016
Open, lay bare, expose
Surrender, give in, submit
For that one moment
Of fevered fire
Of searing heat
Of fervent passion;
And all that I am
In a heap of sated waste
Sweaty, bloody, tired
Delirious, happy, ruined
Glowing in the afterburn.
Sunday, 21 August 2016
Sunday, 7 August 2016
Tuesday, 5 July 2016
I'm a Brexiteer, and therefore, a pragmatist. I'd be happy with any of the 5 candidates gunning for leadership of the Conservative party - and am proud that each one of them have shown, and proven, far more mettle, resolve and gravitas than anything the Labour party has come up with. I mean a toss-up between Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Eagle is like choosing between boiled broccoli or steamed Brussels sprouts for dinner on a Friday night when you're a bottle of Rioja down.
The five choices before me are more meat and potatoes stuff (I am hungry as I write this - I skipped lunch today). They're real people, with real experience of the real world, as opposed to the la-la-land of the Kumbaya crowd that think they'll conjure money out of thin air to pay for someone to tell me that because I'm brown-skinned and turbaned, and talk with a funny accent, I need to be wrapped in cotton-wool and 'protected' from the nasty white man. Well, I'm part Punjabi and part Pathaan. Trust me, you wouldn't want to mess with either side of me and history knows we don't need protecting.
I know this though: Whomever we choose through our process of selection/election, I will back to the hilt. I WILL remain a Brexiter though - I refuse to allow my allegiance to be subcontracted and outsourced. If I vote for you, you MUST be answerable to me.
That is all.
Tuesday, 28 June 2016
There is discrimination in this world and slavery and slaughter and starvation. Governments repress their people; millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich and wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils, but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility towards the suffering of our fellows. But we can perhaps remember - even if only for a time - that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek - as we do - nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men. And surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again. The answer is to rely on youth - not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to the obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. They cannot be moved by those who cling to a present that is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger that come with even the most peaceful progress.
It is a revolutionary world we live in, and this generation at home and around the world has had thrust upon it a greater burden of responsibility than any generation that has ever lived. Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation; a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth; a young woman reclaimed the territory of France; and it was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the 32 year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that "all men are created equal."
These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.
For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history. All of us will ultimately be judged, and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that event.
Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.
That is the way he lived. That is what he leaves us.
My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.
As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:
Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream things that never were and say, "Why not?"
Wednesday, 22 June 2016
In making my case here I won't be talking about immigration OR the economy. Nor will I be attacking the usual Remain arguments, which I have done in another post. See it here.
I have to say this on the outset: I don't like borders. Each time something that divides and separates people comes up, I cringe. There something fundamental, something essential that corals people into nation states: culture. Much of culture tends to be heavily steeped in religious beliefs, in geography, in history in a shared socio-political philosophy and plain old economics. And of course, in race.
While it's a lofty aim to eradicate those barriers, it's easy to forget that they're the result of hundreds of thousands of years of social evolution. Evolution takes time, it occurs naturally, out of necessity and obsolescence. Sudden paradigm shifts result in upheavals, mass extinctions if you will. You can't force a new environment on natural processes and expect them to go a certain way. Ask the dinosaurs. Ask 1917 Russia, or 1939 Germany. Or educate yourself about the growing resentment and rise of the far right here and the mainland.
What, you might ask, does this have to do with the European Union? Well, everything.
The EU is an artificial construct. An enforced paradigm shift. The EU is an attempt to condense and coalesce 2,000 years of turbulent European history and culture into a single narrative in the space of a few decades. It's like a planned and controlled Black Swan event. Those who know, will know that such a thing is not possible. That the powers that be did not foresee the inevitable resistance to it is their failing. There is no such thing as a distinct European identity; there never has been. To go all Ra's al Gul on a sovereign state is wrong. Ask Greece.
Mention the word 'European' to anyone in the world and the subtext in their mind will be that of wealthy nations, made rich from centuries of colonisation and exploitation. We like to believe that that era is over. We've convinced ourselves of it. Empires are dead. After all, there are no British, French, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Spanish or Austrian armies and naval armadas traipsing around the world subjugating little brown, yellow and black folk, enslaving them in their own countries. We've abolished slavery, we have human rights, we have freedom of religion, of thought, of speech, of commerce, we have democracy, we are generous with foreign aid - we've done and continue to do the penance we needed to do. We're better now. We're not the caricature of that guy in a fedora, sitting outside a deli on a pedestrianised cobble-stoned street sniffing the house white, teasing the kale on his plate. We're open to the world. See? We're holding placards saying 'Refugees Welcome'. We're the good guys.
Except, it's not true.
We are in fact, a cabal of wealthy nations, a trade bloc with protectionist policies so unfair that it almost rivals the excesses of the heady days when we went pillaging. And we live in a fortress we call the European Union.
We rig international trade in a way that poor countries can sell us all the raw materials they want, but not finished goods without facing serious tariffs. The difference in EU import duties between processed and unprocessed (and thus value-added) cocoa from Africa is a disgrace. Germany alone makes more money from Ghanaian cocoa than all of Africa put together. Some of the processed and branded cocoa finds its way back to Ghana. What kind of country exports raw materials and imports finished products? You guessed it - a colony.
We insulate our agricultural and industrial output from poorer countries. The CAP subsidies European farmers to produce goods with little regard for international market forces and demand. This excess supply is dumped on world markets creating falling prices and incomes for world farmers. As the EU bleeds their taxpayers for subsidies for farmers, we're witnessing large scale suffering in developing countries who are unable to sell their produce internationally in competition with state subsidised farmers. The carnage of suicides among farmers in India and African farmers going under is something WE are responsible for.
Using the pretext of environmental protection, we discourage industrial production within fortress Europe, and thus necessitate the need for the shift to the far east - China and India for example. Out of sight, out of mind. China alone uses more coal than the rest of the world put together. Better their countryside, than ours.
I'd be more convinced of the EU's stance on environmental protection, if it hadn't slapped prohibitive import duties on solar panels from China. They make them for a third of what it costs to make them anywhere in the EU. Surely, we WANT this technology to get cheaper. Surely we want it to get cheaper than roof tiles. Admittedly, there is a risk to some jobs should cheaper imports be allowed, but I suspect this has more to do with kicking innovation in sustainable energy into the long grass than protecting EU jobs. I wonder who benefits from that... Oh, and if you're thinking TTIP, you're right. It's not dead, it'll morph some and it'll be back. This will happen without your consent.
We already know who the losers are - little folk like you and me, who fund this Palpatinesque Galactic Senate, and people in poorer nations around the world. But apart from the huge multinational corporations, who are the winners? Please read on...
You see, left alone, each and every nation will find an equilibrium in bilateral relations with other nations. Trade will hinge on reciprocal arrangements suited to both parties. This way both sides benefit and prosper.
This cannot be allowed if the EU is to maintain its hegemony as detailed above. It follows then, that Europe must stand as one. Europe must be integrated to such an extent that de-tangling would become impossible and unthinkable. The United States of Europe. 500 million vastly disparate people represented by a ruling elite powerless to arrive at parliamentary consensus owing vastly disparate interests, resulting in power in the hands of an unelected, opaque structure of government a million miles away from the people whose lives they run. That template is already up and running. This will happen without your consent.
Enter the aiders and abetters - known to you and me as Europhiles. There are already 10,000 of them earning more than the Prime Minister you elected into the highest office in the land. The EU is a vast receptacle for influencers and power brokers, never mind that their electorates have thrown them out of office - they're still there, sauntering the corridors of power, affecting your lives and the lives of millions around the world. I mean think about it, Neil Kinnock is still a thing. How many times do we have to vote him out to be rid of him? This is happening without your consent.
Should Britain choose to be neutered on the 23rd of June, here's a fun little game I suggested some time ago:
Note the names of 100 politicians, civil servants, journos, and business leaders making highly vocal & very public Remain arguments. Assign each one a number from 1 through 100 and distribute Tombola/Bingo cards amongst your friends. Over the next decade or so, tick off the number for any of the 100 that lands a sweet job, position, or deal within the EU apparatus. You win nothing, of course. Each name you tick off will have already won.
Everything else is distraction. While the nation debates weighty issues like rulings on toasters and vacuum cleaners, curvature of bananas, yada yada... the machine is churning away silently. And then of course there's immigration - that's the easiest argument to whip any country into a frenzy. The more people talk of immigration, reducing it, controlling it, limiting it, changing it, points systeming it - whatever, the more people can respond with cries of racism and xenophobia making sure their virtue signaling is properly visible. Amid the din and noise, the real issues get buried. This is happening with your consent. And your apathy.
And then of course there are the celebrities and famous people. Well what of them? Nothing changes for them. You could vote in Jedward into parliament and their lives won't change one jot. They lend their face to deodorants they never use, cars they never drive, cereal they'd never eat. We're hooked on their crap and they know it.
There is another blog post you must read, which repudiates every single claim made by the Remain camp. Find it here.
Should we fail to win the day, it will be a signal for the EU Project to go full steam ahead - EU taxes, an EU army, further erosion of power from your directly elected - and therefore directly accountable - politicians. It's only a matter of when. A vote to Remain will be all the consent the EU needs.
Do remember, sometimes your vote does not count. Vote Remain on Thursday and it never will.
Good luck and I hope you do the right thing.
Friday, 17 June 2016
I have been known to boast to my friends and family abroad, about how our MPs walk about amongst the general public, take the train or bus, or ride bicycles to and from work, take selfies with anyone who'd walk up to them, and move about without motorcades, flashing lights, and an army of armed commandos.
Yesterday broke my heart. I watched the horror, the senseless attack on Jo Cox unfold on my TV, leading to her death. A young, vibrant, dedicated MP, who sought nothing but to help make the world a better place, using nothing but her beliefs, her conviction and her wide open heart. That she belonged to the opposite side of the political divide didn't and doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, we both wanted the same things in the end, differing only in the means of how we get there.
This isn't an obituary - I could never find the right words to make one anyway, after all, death, especially an untimely and completely senseless death render even the most verbose of people speechless. Nor will I seek to apportion blame, like the childish elements of Remain, Leave, Stronger IN, or extreme Left journos, are wont to.
But then, there is something fundamental here that needs to be said: People often deride and laugh off the seemingly abstract term, 'British Values'. In the decision by the Conservative Party NOT to contest her seat and passing the by-election by isn't subverting democracy, as some commentators may feel strongly about; it is respecting it. In a democracy, it is the electorate that decides, and the electorate DID, just over a year ago. Our reactions to a senseless act of violence cannot, should not, and must not overlook that. Nothing speaks louder for British Values (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs, and those without any religious affiliation) like the aftermath of this tragedy does.
This is what separates us from the rest of the world. This is what makes us, us. THIS is what is worth fighting for. This is why I am a Briton. This is why I hate the castrating effects of homogeneity, homogenization, communism and conformity. Top-down politics as opposed to bottom-up politics. If ANYONE can understand that, it'll be a Tory, not a commie.
The fact remains; the people of Batley & Spen elected a Labour MP. The only reason they no longer have a Labour MP now is because she was savagely murdered. That the Conservative Party will NOT be contesting the seat in the by-election that now has to follow is a small sliver of goodness I can find a little bit of comfort in, and trust me - there IS very little comfort in any of this. I'll take whatever straws I can clutch. I just hope Labour will select someone who believes as she did, represents what she represented and shows the same amount of engagement and commitment to her electorate as she showed. I hope that other parties will follow suit.
Just about 26 years ago, the Conservative MP for Eastbourne, Ian Gow was murdered by the IRA. In the subsequent by-election that followed, the seat changed hands, in favour of Liberal Democrat, David Bellotti. "Bellotti," as Ann Widdicombe observed at the time, "is the innocent beneficiary of murder. I suspect, last night as the Liberal Democrats were toasting their success, in its hideouts the IRA were doing the same thing".
I don't want to be a part of that. I'm glad that neither does the Conservative Party. I'm sure Ms Widdecombe would agree, and anyone else who knows British Values like I know them.
Let's not forget, if it's not by the people, of the people, and for the people, it's not democracy, and to coin a phrase lost amid the current football hysteria - not quite cricket.
Monday, 13 June 2016
Khan sahib goes on to say, 'As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end. Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies. I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this.'
Unhealthy and unrealistic? Who decides what is unhealthy and unrealistic? Khan has the answer - he's created this new 'Advertising Steering Group' (More non-jobs paid for by YOU, the reader) which will work (force into compliance, using moral outrage and misogynistic medieval values) with advertisers to ensure their future ads are 'fit for London.' (His London, not the international London that belongs to its citizens, the nation, and the world that gravitates to it.)
This so-called Steering Group of course, will be made up of people who 'reflect the 'full diversity of London' (Anti-capitalists, religious conservatives, misogynists, White-guilt-ridden apologists, and those currying favour with City Hall - you know the types).
Well, I for one don't think I've seen any unhealthy bodies in any advertisements on the Tube. If anything, they're super-healthy, super-fit, and take a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve. I'd call them aspirational if anything. That's why they're models. A good-looking semi-nude body doesn't offend me, or my kids - I've brought them up better that that - nor do any of us feel obliged to conform to those standards. We appreciate them for what they are, and we're comfortable with what we are. And we'd love to be as fit and as healthy as they are, fully aware of the fact that we may not.
But why stop there, Sadiq Mian? While you're at it, how about you ban adverts portraying Cumberbatch, or Sir James Dyson, or Branson, or Leona Lewis? Most of us will never reach the dizzying heights they have achieved - after all you do want to protect us from feelings of inadequacy, innit?
But you know, some of us are just happy with our little nine-to-five on £22K-a-year and resent having to use a public transport system that pretends to look after the little guy while fleecing them for all they've got. It costs about £40 for a family of 4/5 to get to the other side of London and back. Forty quid, Mr Mayor. That's the kind of tip you'll leave at a restaurant most of your voters can only walk past and peep into. Which of course us little folk pay for.
Or better yet Mr Khan, how about you do the job expected of the Mayor of London? So many were conned into thinking you were about affordable homes, curbing rises in bus and train fares... whatever happened to that?
A lot of my SocMed timelines tried to convince me that you'd be a breath of fresh air for Londoners. A foul stench is all I'm getting. And it's not beach ready.
Thursday, 9 June 2016
Note the names of 100 politicians, civil servants, journos, and business leaders making highly vocal & very public Remain arguments.
Assign each one a number from 1 through 100 and distribute Tombola/Bingo cards amongst your friends.
Over the next decade or so, tick off the number for any of the 100 that lands a sweet job, position, or deal within the EU apparatus.
You win nothing, of course. There will be nothing left to win anyway.
Tuesday, 10 May 2016
I don't think we should ban any kind of clothing or means of self-expression - that's not who we are. This is not the Jedi way. I wear a turban, and I've never faced any problems of discrimination, or singling out, ever. I've waltzed through half a dozen of international airports with and without my turban, even though the picture on my passport is of me WITH turban, as is with most Sikhs. Any comparisons with helmets and balaclavas when you fill up with petrol or go into Barclays is tenuous and far-fetched. They're not the same thing.
Having said that, my problem with the burqa or the full-face veil has nothing to do with tolerance - it's to do with the tolerance of intolerance. It is true that the burqa or hijab is NOT mandated in Islam, and that it is a cultural overhang - a male-centric tribal fetish, if you will. My own faith is riddled with similar idiots.
Our fight ('our Jihad'?) mustn't be with the women who wear it willingly, they have every right to do so. Our fight ('our Crusade'?) mustn't be with the women who HAVE to wear it because of the men that mandate it, enforce it, and demand of women to comply with their misogynistic, patriarchal attitudes. The former are champions of self-expression, while the latter are victims. They need our help, your revulsion of them isn't helping them, or you. Or common decency.
Banning something doesn't work - all it does is push the problem underground - below the radar of free and public discourse and scrutiny - like insanely high taxes push businesses into the grey market. It never really goes away, and it obligates otherwise moderate people into falling in with the aforementioned tribal constructs - reinforcing the 'us and them' narrative, that fundamentalists thrive on and incubate head-lopping slave trading pimps in.
So what IS the proper response then? How do we help our fellow citizens break free from the shackles that bind them? How can we set people free? Women's rights are enshrined in British Law. So is tolerance. Where the law fails, is it's inability to break through impenetrable social barriers which oddly enough, draw strength from very same laws. This puts us, and the unfortunate women forced into purdah-compliance in a pickle.
Here are three suggestions:
1. Make coercion illegal: Treat it on par with child abuse and spousal abuse. Any complaint must be dealt with swiftly and as publicly as possible. This could result in shaming a lot of people - the irony being, shame is what they're trying to hide behind. Good. Ensure and guarantee that those who speak out are protected. Don't do a Rotherham on them. Lobby your political masters. Labour won't do it for fear of losing votes, the LibDems will, and the Conservatives already have.
2. Education: Stop it with the indoctrination of young minds with tolerance of intolerance. Education in the UK is no longer a place where minds and norms are challenged - instead we're raising clones. No, stop telling them "What", try telling them "Why", and get them to ask "Why not?" I have very little respect for the 'blob'. Gove failed to neutralize it, Morgan isn't going to have much more luck than he did. I have very little hope. The blob has to die for our children to be more than Stormtroopers. Perhaps you can help in your local school as a parent governor? Do it.
3. Hug A Hijabi: Well actually, don't. I don't mean it literally. But many of them need our help. We must (a) understand the social constrictions and fear they live under (b) be kind in light of that knowledge and NOT target them, they're victims and they're hurting (c) campaign to ensure they KNOW that the full force of the law is on their side, not on the side of their parents or brothers or husbands who would subjugate them, and (d) invite your childrens' friends over, let them see the other side.
I'll come clean and state that I have no friends that wear the full face veil, but then I've never interacted with one... I avert my gaze when I see a pair of eyes looking at me - after all, that is the point of the garb anyway, isn't it? I do have many very close friends and dozens of acquaintances that somewhat adhere to some form of facial and head coverings, and they're lovely people. No malice, no hatred, just the calm serenity you would find in a nun - and the real world pragmatism you would find in an Indian accountant.
Saturday, 30 April 2016
"So what," you might say, "what does it have to do with me? I don't do politics."
Well, everything, if you live, work and commute to and from London. You see, you may not 'do' politics, but politics does you. Politics 'does' you for every aspect of your life: your business, your shop, the tax you pay for the privilege of renting a shop and employing people, your safety & security, your children's education, and the general environment you live, work & breathe in, how you express yourself and how much your hard work rewards you.
The Mayor is the face of London, our wonderful city's global ambassador, representing us the world over. The Mayor sets the tone for how London is viewed. London, I submit, is only as good, as business friendly, as flamboyant, as bright, as welcoming, as attractive, as sexy, as cool, and as classy as her Mayor is. The Mayor sets the tone for the rest of Great Britain. THAT is what it has to do with you, like I said, everything.
In addition to the above, what do we need in a Mayor? How about someone who, when the Chancellor is writing the country's budget, deciding how and where infrastructure and development spending is allocated, is in the room, sleeves rolled up, negotiating hard for the best possible deal for London.
|Zac & Kawal|
So who should be our Mayor? It's a fairly binary choice for us Londoners on the 5th of May - it's between the Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith and the Tooting MP Sadiq Khan. It wouldn't come as a surprise to readers of this blog that I am backing Zac Goldsmith. There are two ways I could go about this - I could talk about why Zac is right for London, or I could rabbit on about why Sadiq is wrong for London. I'll stick with the former, although for contrast I'll touch on Sadiq for comparison.
Here's my case for Zac Goldsmith...
Zac shows up. Over the last year Zac has been to just about every Hindu or Sikh event going: Janamashtmi at Bhaktivedanta Manor, Navaratri in North London, Rath Yatra in Stanmore, Diwali in Kingston. He’s spoken at Gurdwaras in Southall, temples in Brent and just last week Zac addressed 3,500 people in London’s iconic BAPS Neasden Hindu Temple. He was also at the Modi rally in Wembley when Labour’s Khan was nowhere to be seen. I'm normally cynical of politicians that do this, but do this they must. These events are important to the communities concerned, I would EXPECT a Mayoral aspirant to turn up. I concede that some sections of the Indian Sikh and Muslim diaspora aren't too keen on Indian Prime Minister Modi, but how exactly DO you treat the leader of the world's largest democracy, elected with the largest mandate achieved by any leader anywhere in the history of the world? Modi's visit was about India talking to Britain. Sadiq made it about Hindus, versus Muslims, versus Sikhs. This is as petty as petty gets. Just the kind of politics we don't want to import.
Zac belongs to a party that takes communities seriously - all communities; Labour just take brown votes for granted. I have several historic blogposts on this subject, which I'll hyperlink here later. Instead of offering cheap platitudes and utterly pathetic virtue signalling, the Tories have been snapping up top British Asian talent, people like Sajid Javid, Priti Patel, Lord Dolar Popat, or Shailesh Vara. These aren't just little boxes ticked in the name of diversity - these are serious heavyweights within the Conservative party. And not just that, this engagement extends into foreign policy. David Cameron has made it his aim to build a special relationship between Britain and India. Barely a week goes by without a UK ministerial visit; the PM himself has visited the Indian subcontinent four times as Conservative leader.
London is already on the map, like it's always been. Zac will make sure we remain there, shining on the world stage like we have always done. You only have to spend a day in Sadiq's hood, and another in Zac's to see the difference between the two. Zac has been fierce in standing up for the people that elected him - all of which is a matter of public record. At the last election Zac increased his majority by more than any other MP in the country. You don’t get a result like that unless you stand up and actually deliver for the people you represent. Nothing speaks for Zac than his principled stance on the 3rd runway at Heathrow, which went against his party. I have no doubt he'll do the same for London. When Zac says he'll break the stranglehold of unions on TfL, and use the money saved to deploy another 500 police on the trains networks, I believe him. When Sadiq says he'll throw millions at the unions, while running a £1.9 billion deficit - I believe him too. Guess who's going to pay for that deficit eventually?
Zac has a plan. Read up on what he calls his Action Plan for Greater London: more homes better, transport, cleaner air and safer streets – all paid for while freezing council tax. Unlike his opponent he’s got a decent chance of actually delivering it. Not only because he can get a good deal from the Tory Government who ultimately hold the purse-strings, but because he’s that rare thing in a politician – someone who actually keeps their promises.
Before I move on to Sadiq, I have to say this: Cack-handed as Zac's team was about threats of taxes on family jewelry, it was CORRECT - Labour DO have plans to tax family wealth, or bring it into the remit of means testing for benefits. This is nothing new, it's always been Labour policy. That they've done nothing about it yet is another matter. Now, with rabid socialists in charge...
And now Sadiq.
While he may blow hot and cold with admissions or denials of his closeness or distance from the hard-left socialists (communists with cuddly PR) Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Livingstone, who seem to think the highest point of human achievement was 1970s union-run Britain. You remember that time, when corpses lay unburied? These people sneer at success, they think business is evil, they want to tax anything that moves and they have some highly questionable bedfellows.
The Sadiq Khan leaflets that are shoved through my door scream "The Council Estate Boy" and "Son of a bus driver", and not much else. The way I see it, is has little to do with his background, but an indirect dig at Zac Goldsmith's family wealth. Cheap, below the belt and so very typical of the politics of envy.
Zac is the man with the record of engagement, the clear plan and the means to deliver it. Standing against him are Corbyn, Khan and their union chums, who if they get the chance, will grind this city to a halt. Zac represents the London and the Britain most immigrants came here for. Sadiq simply is a path to turning this place into the very drudgery and dirty politics many of us escaped from and chose Britain as our home.
You may or may not agree with all I have said, and I urge you to do your own research. This election will be close, so if I have made a modicum of sense, please get out there on the 5th of May and vote. Ignore the polls, and we'll end up with Sadiq. Remember, last time Boris won by just 62,000 votes. Every vote counts. Yours more than anyone else's.
Londoners, you hold the fate of the city in your hands.
Thursday, 14 April 2016
I'm serious. This is what was being discussed: The death of the Prime Minister's mother. On the hour, every hour. On all news channels. 80,000 quid more to be had to pay for a couple of Ofsted inspectors, if only David Cameron's mother would just die.
For a while, I began to miss dressing in coats and tails and chucking down chicken kebabs doused in acidic tenderisers and overpriced vodka, and duck-faced young girls gyrating to misogynistic Punjabi-fusion-hip-hop, where being called a "Ho" is a good thing, wearing £400 dresses they'll never ever wear again and repetive tunes that'd make Stock, Aitken & Waterman regret what they did to music. (Another topic I'll rant about another time).
The "impartial" state broadcaster (The Ministry of Truth, Aunty, The BBC) said, "David Cameron's mother gave him a £200,000 gift after his father's death which could potentially avoid inheritance tax, his accounts show." Sky and ITV pretty much said the same thing.
I have a problem with that. I have a problem with "which could potentially avoid inheritance tax". Potentially? As in, if the Prime Minister's mother doesn't die before the time the opposition and Lefty journalists and Labour supporters would like her to? Is THIS what your politics has descended to? Just what is about inheritance tax that the you love so much? I mean really, you're like vultures, circling overhead, waiting for people to die, or scavengers prying off rings and gold teeth and even boots and clothes off corpses. You're scum.
Keep repeating the lie as long as you want, a lie it will remain. I never thought I could hate the Left wing more than I always did - I just happen to discover a new low for them. Envy is an ugly and debilitating condition. You are the embodiment of it.
Banging on about “Tories” and “tax havens” in a sarcastic tone doesn't make any sense to me. I know many, many Tory voters, and "tax havens" is the last thing on their minds. These be little shopkeepers working 60-hours a week, with a wife, and kids that chip in. These be the BULK of the Conservative vote. Go ahead, call them scum. They employ most of you - or through their taxes, pay your wages.
We all know David Cameron was born into wealth. It's not his fault. He has had the best education money can buy, and I'm glad it's him representing us on the world stage, rather than the clutzy Miliband or Kumbaya Corbyn. Britain punches well above its weight the world over, and it certainly isn't down to Messers Corbyn, Sadiq and Galloway.
Miliband is a spent force, no one knows what that force actually was. Neither did he.
Sadiq Khan is busy trying to say the PC thing, when I know different. He doesn't believe in a single word of the crap he spews. I wish some of the Ahmadis in Tooting I have spoken to have the guts to go public with their fears and appehensions...
Corbyn has had a long career, every single day of which was paid for by taxes inflicted on the rest of us.
And his pension is invested in an offshore fund.
Wake the hell up people.
Thursday, 25 February 2016
I haven't provided hyperlinks like I usually do, but I'm a bit busy right now. I've used bits from a post I did a few years ago. For now please have a read and let me know what you think, I'll hyperlink it soon...
"What did the EU ever do for us? Not much, apart from:
Providing 57% of our trade;
Duh! - they're our immediate neighbours. It's plain geography. Countries in the European mainland have always been our main trade partners. This has nothing to do with being in or out of the EU. Countries of the EU don't buy from us because we're in an exclusive club with them. Only a deluded fool would think France will buy ships from us instead of South Korea because we're in the EU and they're not. Besides, we're one of the top markets for German cars and French wine. I call this the let's-join-a-trade-cartel-argument, which goes against the very idea of free trade. European countries will continue to provide trade opportunities for UK businesses, with or without trade restrictions the EU might place on us out of irrational spite. The EU didn't grant us a favoured trading status, economics and geography did.
Structural funding to areas hit by industrial decline;
Ah yes, the old, European Funding argument. Funding that comes out of a pot to which we contribute significantly more than we receive. Please check your facts. We paid for it. The EU didn't do this for us. We tax our enterprising citizens the way the EU wants us to tax our enterprising citizens. We can't even abolish taxes on tampons, despite it being the most ridiculous tax ever, because of the EU. We can't help our steel industry, not because we're unable, but because in part to EU regulations. There's a reason Kazakistan and China can make steel cheaper than the UK and the rest of Europe: The EU.
Clean beaches and rivers; Cleaner air; Lead free petrol; Restrictions on landfill dumping; A recycling culture;
Our rivers, our beaches. The EU didn't clean them up, we did. Same with landfill dumping. One country's priorities are not the same as another's. Landfills are a highly localised issue - if landfill sites and incinerators are opposed locally, and research supports their protestations, they will NOT go ahead. That's why we have MPs and Councillors, and a parliament. That's why we have democracy. Tell me why a politician in Bulgaria knows anything about or cares for the wishes of people living in rural Devon?
You would think that Britain is a barbaric outback, completely unable to formulate any policies to look after its citizens. What people seem to forget that most consumer protection legislation, were by some measure, brought about in Britain by Britain. Many international standards find their origin in BSI. We're capable of keeping our beaches clean and can label our food by ourselves, thank you very much. In any case, there are international protocols we're bound to (Kyoto, et al). There is no need for an extra bureaucratic machine, duplicating everything. The EU didn't do this for us.
Cheaper mobile charges; Cheaper air travel;
Nothing to do with the EU, but everything to do with free trade and private enterprise. Roaming charges are pure profit for mobile phone operators who ALREADY have the infrastructure and capacity to provide mobile communications and data all over the world; they're encumbered ONLY by LOCAL taxes and levies, not operational costs. That the EU gives back what it takes in the first place is not magnanimous in any way. The EU didn't do this for us, the private cellular communications operators did.
Improved consumer protection and food labelling; A ban on growth hormones and other harmful food additives; Better product safety;
The UK is fully capable of consumer protection. Caveat emptor is actually a thing. People decide, not civil servants on £150,000-a-year packages, gleaned from the meagre wages of waiters and care workers, and shopworkers. "The customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so" has been and continues to be the bedrock of all businesses everywhere in the world. The EU didn't do this for us, business seeking to attract and retain customers did.
Single market competition bringing quality improvements and better industrial performance;
Read: Single market homogenisation. Overbearing regulations that favour only large corporations with deep pockets to be able to implement them, in leiu of tax loopholes that only they can use. A supermarket chain can afford an army of lawyers and accountants to find ways around the spirit of the law, a little operation with 12 employees can't. The EU didn't do this for us. They did it against us.
Break up of monopolies;
Which ones? Name some, don't just say it, prove it. All EU legislation does is protect larger players and crushes the little shop round the corner. The EU didn't do this for us. They did it for big business.
Europe-wide patent and copyright protection; No paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market;
Examples? The World Intellectual Property Organization and international copyright protection is adequate. The EU cannot claim credit for this. The world is bigger than the EU. Free trade has nothing to do with the EU, it has everything to do with countries that are open. Some are, some aren't. Some choose to be, some don't. Free trade is all we signed up for. The EU has nothing to do with free trade and everything to do with a protectionist trade bloc and and eventual political union under a socialist ideology. The EU certainly didn't do this for us. Any guesses who they did this for?
Price transparency and removal of commission on currency exchanges across the eurozone;
Again, it is in the interests of banks, travel agents, and currency exchange operators to keep prices down. Legalise the Hawala system and watch charges drop to near zero. Money needs to flow freely, and it will, one way or another. The EU can't claim credit for this. The EU didn't do this for us.
Freedom to travel, live and work across Europe;
Funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements abroad;
Funded by whom? Think hard about this before you say another word. The EU didn't do this for us. Mind.
Access to European health services;
Easily covered by health insurance, which is cheap and accessible. Nothing to do with the EU. The EU didn't do this for us, it was already in place. It is in place pretty much everywhere.
Labour protection and enhanced social welfare;
Oh of course. As if the UK does not have a unionised labour movement at all. As if labour protection and enhanced social welfare policies aren't part and parcel of ANY UK political parties' policies. The EU didn't do this for us. Marx happens to be buried here, not in Brussels...
Again, a local issue. Smoke-free environments are highly desirable, and local communities with local representation should be able to decide. Smoking is a choice. Smoke-filled workplaces are a choice. They stink like a dogs arse, but they are a choice. What does the EU have anything to do with my local? Those that don't mind won't mind; those that do, won't go. In the end it's the establishment that benefits from attracting or loses out from alienating customers.
Equal pay legislation;
Most civilised countries ALREADY have equal pay legislation, as do we. Before the EU, without the EU, despite the EU. The EU didn't do this for us. And really, how come National Minimum Wages differ from country to country within the EU? What equal pay legislation?
Holiday entitlement; The right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime;
We have the strongest union-led movement in the world. In fact the second most popular political party in the UK is sponsored by unions. Workers rights in the UK are and have ALWAYS been better than anywhere else in the world. Fact. Why lament the fact that someone WILL choose to do what you will not? For less than you would? How can that even translate into law? The EU didn't do this for us. They did us in. They made it illegal for us to sell our labour at a price WE are happy with, rendering us unable to compete. The EU didn't do this for us. They did it to feel good and appear good. More on this here.
Strongest wildlife protection in the world;
Ah yes, from the country that produced David Attenborough, do tell me about Britain's or indeed, all of Europe's wildlife. We don't really have any, mainly because we didn't have much to begin with, and we reserve our moral right to tell other countries how to manage their own. That's rich. The EU didn't do this for us. They did this to show India and Africa that we're all white and moral, and superior. And we're soooo sorry for colonising you. And we regret all those Coldpay/Beyonce videos... we're ashamed of our opposition to dowry and bride burning and FGM, and female infanticide. Wildlife is so precious, innit? The EU didn't do this for us, we're laden with enough white-guilt as it is.
Improved animal welfare in food production;
Don't make me laugh. We still condone the slow, deliberate slitting of the jugular while the animal writhes and flails in desperation, fully aware that it is going to bleed to death. I'm not sure what that is an improvement from... The EU didn't do this for us. They did it to pander to their double standards - and their vote banks. I'd have more respect for the EU if it banned the practice of halal and kosher altogether.
EU-funded research and industrial collaboration;
One: Funded by whom? Britain pays £8 billion a year more than it receives into the EU project. Two: Acted on by whom? Three: Resulting in what? Examples, please!
Airbus is often cited as an example; research some and you'll find it has nothing to do with the EU. The EU didn't do this for us. Airbus operates as a private business with the clout of a private business largely unencumbered by the state. Read into this some before you try and refute it. Boeing makes better planes anyway.
EU representation in international forums; Bloc EEA negotiation at the WTO;
Bloc EEA negotiation. EEA. Not EU. Don't confuse the two. We signed up for one of them, and were conned into the other. The EU is perfect example of when when the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Besides, bloc negotiations representing 28 wildly varied economies (and societies) is the worst idea ever. We're nothing like France or Greece or Poland, and they're nothing like us. Why would the EU do anything for us, after all, Britain forms 16% of the the EU population and yet have less than 4% representation and voting power.
"... diplomatic efforts to uphold the nuclear non-proliferation treaty';
Oh yes, of course. But guess what? Most countries that sought to acquire nuclear weapons despite what you call the 'non-proliferation treaty' have already done so. Those who haven't, will acquire them in time. There is nothing the EU could do anything about India, Pakistan and North Korea, and there's nothing they can do about Iran and ISIS. The EU-Blob is deluded if it thinks it can influence the arms race, when it is in part funded by it and quite frankly, profits from it. Hypocrites.
European arrest warrant; Cross border policing to combat human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling; counter terrorism intelligence;
Yeah sure. The United Nations, INTERPOL and UNHCR, mean nothing. The West's intelligence works together anyway. Meanwhile, Assange is still at large. Qatada took years to extradite, Several Ex-Guantanamo Bay inmates (Ex because of the EU's stance) promptly left for Syria on release. Pound shop thieves the EU can combat, big ticket offenders, it can't - or won't. The EU didn't do this for us.
European civil and military co-operation in post-conflict zones in Europe and Africa; support for democracy and human rights across Europe and beyond; The EU has for 60 years been the foundation of peace between European neighbours after centuries of bloodshed.
Nope. It was the United Nations, NATO, thousands of American troops stationed in what used to be West Germany and billions of US dollars that ensured the little European nations behaved themselves. That and sheer exhaustion from two bloody world wars. As for Africa, the EU is impotent against the forces that drive those nations. You failed to mention the Middle-East, too sticky a subject perhaps? Another time perhaps.
Investment across Europe contributing to better living standards and educational, social and cultural capital.
Examples, please. Social and cultural capital follows freedom and opportunity - and acceptance, not law. The EU has nothing to do with this, individuals in individual nations do.
It furthermore assisted the extraordinary political, social and economic transformation of 13 former dictatorships, now EU members, since 1980.
Yep, the EU drained the former Soviet countries of their best talent, their youngest, sexiest, bravest, hardiest working age groups to help build their ageing economies and jaded populations. Some of them learned and went back home to contribute to their countries, and some of them stayed behind to contribute to ours. The EU allowed this brain-drain to happen, I'll admit - and so would have the UK, with its history of immigrant contribution. What the EU DID do, is turn sections of the UK population against immigration for reasons more than just xenophobia. It's just economics baby.
Now the union faces major challenges brought on by neoliberal economic globalisation, and worsened by its own systemic weaknesses. It is taking measures to overcome these. We in the UK should reflect on whether our net contribution of £8bn out of total government expenditure of £695bn is good value. We must play a full part in enabling the union to be a force for good in a multi-polar global future.
No, neoliberal economic globalisation is not a challenge, it's the way of the world struggling to get along with each other in economic and social cooperation. Eventually common ground will be achieved - not by force, but by natural attrition and common economic interests and demand led resource allocation. The EU's challenges are not worsened by it's own systemic weaknesses, the EU's challenges are are simply the defence of its systemic weakness and its spurious, and meaningless existence.
And finally, this....
We are not now that strength
Which in old days moved earth and heaven
That which we are, we are
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Made weak by time and fate
But strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find
And not to yield.
What else have you got? Bring it on. Educate me.