Monday, 17 December 2018

The Annual Christmas Tube Strike


In very recent months, if I recall correctly, an airline pilot lost his job for failing a single drugs test. This guy was earning just about as much as a hairdresser or forkift driver, despite the fact he was responsible for hundreds of lives, trapped in a pressurized cannister filled with terrified farts, brought on by shrink-wrapped and microwaved airline food, hurtling through the sky at 35,000 feet at 900kmph, with any number of variables that if not handled correctly, could end in unimaginable disaster resulting in the death of every single person on board.

And then we have London Underground drivers. They essentially drive stick, on a train on a fixed route, on fixed rails, using a mostly automated system, essentially using the same amount of effort and skill of a 13-year-old on an X-Box.

Some of them take home to thier families - three, in some cases four times as much as someone that flies an airplane, or a guy that drives a taxi for 14 hours a day; for fiddling a joystick, pressing a button to open and close doors, and occasionally addressing their hapless customers on a PA system in some incoherent mumble, that you're going to be late for work and how much they regret the inconvenience. NOT.

One such genius failed a drug test; not once, not twice, but THREE times. While sanity should have kicked in after the first failed test, the powers-that-be decided to wait for a third go. He was then duly fired. Better late than never, you would think.

Except, it's not fair. A mere mortal would lose his driving license and therefore in all probabilty his job for being two pints down.

The union he is a member of are going out on strike in protest of his sacking. The strike is of course perfectly timed (like they do every year on one pretext or another) for the busiest, most festive time of the year - so as to have the most impact, affecting thousands of commuters going out shopping for family and friends, and those trying to get to jobs where these customers will be served. The losses to the economy, just for this one day runs in the hundreds of millions.

That these joystick-jockeys have so much clout, such eye-watering wages, and holiday entitlements that are the among the best in the world, is seen by many as the collective bargaining power of unions.

It isn't.

It's the power of a monopoly.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

"Puny Gods"

For centuries, millennia even, people have evolved drastically. Mostly into dickheads.
There is of course no evidence of any biological evolution of us homo-sapiens from when we were hacking away at people from neighbouring villages for food or riches or territory or control of resources, or constructing drainage systems in the Indus Valley, or palaces and fabulous gardens in Mesopotamia (Iraq-ish), or the pyramids in Egypt and Peru and Mexico, or the pagodas in the far east, or the intricate Hindu temples hewn out of solid rock, or the majestic cathedrals and fortified castles in Europe, to the day we travelled to and landed on the moon some 384,400 kilometres away, or on a lower scale, split an atom to unleash unimaginable energy and thereby, deadly force.
Strangely enough, forcing two atoms together does the same thing. I'm digressing now. Hate that about me. Grrr...
We've conquered and colonised the third rock from the sun. "A mote of dust caught in a sunbeam", as Carl Sagan put it.
Or so we thought. Some idiots still do.
Where we weren't able to establish control, nature and the cosmos always reserved its right of reminding us that it was around before us, and will continue to be there long after we are gone.
We tamed fire, but California burns. We tamed rivers, but the Indian monsoons render half of Bangladesh under water every year. We built better and stronger houses, and yet earthquakes in the Himalayan/Hindukush footprint turn them into rubble in the blink of an eye. We mastered the oceans with our naval armadas, our sophisticated submarines carrying enough ordnance to fossilise us all, and revelled in the gorgeous coastal resorts we built, and yet a tsunami, or whirlpools of winds we lovingly call Brenda or Dorothy, lasting no longer than a 4-minute pop video, wash them away like discarded post-BBQ toothpicks on my decking trying to resist a jet-wash. As the Hulk would say, "Puny God". That'd be us.
Physically and biologically we are still driven by the same basic instincts that enabled our ancestors to survive and prosper, exerting unrivalled dominion over everything around us.
We hit the top of the food chain long, long before any history or mythology was ever recorded. A built-in arrogance comes with that as standard.
Today, we don't battle nature as much as we battle each other. Our arrogance has led us to interpret nature's fury as a result of anthropological actions. Hence we level our pitchforks where we can draw blood. The Green Joke, I call it. Since we can't beat nature, we beat each other. The fact is, nothing we posses, despite our god-like prowess, can fight climate change - a single volcanic eruption lasting a week will dwarf and negate an entire city's use of special light-bulbs and a jute tote bag (flown over from Dhaka, accruing more air miles than four jaunts to Spain), no one ever uses more than twice. It'd be funny if it wasn't true.
The only areas where we have repeatedly given nature a good and proper bashing is pollution and waste: Plastic waste in oceans and the deliberate decimation of the world's forests and biodiversity. We waste 40% of all food we till the land for, hire trucks, trains, ferries, and planes for - just for looking a bit wonky. The rest of the 60% we carry home in our Made-In-Bangladesh bags for life, eventually chucking half of it away three days later because it was on offer and we bought too much.
I suspect nature will find a way to fight back. In the words of the famous philosopher of our times, Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, "Life, will find a way". Life always does. It's kind of like the overuse of antibiotics renders them useless because the bacteria evolve into more powerful strains within a few months, if not weeks. Thing is, they're only adapting to survive, just like we are. Don't hold it against the little critters.
Back to the point I was making about our evolution: We did evolve, in a way. Indeed, our larger brains gave us superiority over all things that moved or breathed, but we simply went mental with it: We got arrogant. We went tribal. We developed ideas. We made rules. A lot of them were based on our survival instinct centred on commonality (racism, anyone?), teamwork, empathy and cooperation for survival. All of which, including altruism, are biological instincts. We've managed to fuck up each one. Different story, another time, perhaps.
And thus began every single 'ism', initially as a fairly benign set of moral postulates. We developed religions, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism, Islamism, etc, each one claiming to be the right way and the only way to please a god no one had spoken to or a path to a heaven no one had ever seen. We went full cerebral.
If that wasn't enough, in seeking to codify the human condition, we developed political systems supplicating one for another, often with extreme violence - socialism for feudalism and communism for fascism, each new idea eventually morphing into the very thing it sought to replace, forgetting in the process that, nature always wins. You can't control people just like you can't control nature. Build the Matrix as many times as you want, but there always be the problem of choice. Right or wrong in your manufactured mindset, there will always be a Morpheus. There will always be a Neo. There will always be a Zion.
Like I said before, we've gone completely mental.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Free Roaming Charges? Really?

If you've read your history right, you will be well aware of how and why colonisation works and is a thing. If you have had a decent education and proper teachers - not ideologically brainwashed morons straight out of university with zero experience of life and the human condition - you will have learned that most empires are not built with a thirst for territorial gain and pure malice for peoples considered lesser, because that is just an excuse. Most socio-religious justifications are an excuse. The real reasons are very different.
Empires are built on greed. Economic and financial greed. They're built on the perpetual search for natural resources that can be tapped into for financial gain. The modern term for this is 'asset stripping' by gaining complete and unfettered control over a nation's natural resources.
A little digression before I continue...
On an individual level, greed is usually a good thing - it implies hunger, requires hard work to feed it, and it drives ambition. It makes successful people successful. This is NOT the argument I am making right now.
Now back to the point I was making...
I have often compared the European Union to the Mafia. I have often referred to the United Kingdom as a vassal state of the supra-national European Union. I have often referred to the United Kingdom as a colony of the 4th Riech, reincarnated as the Franco-Deutsche combine, under the guise of a lapiz lazuli blue flag with a circle of yellow stars, intent on the enforcement of a centralised command centre, top down policy - enforced by law - with no room or leeway for dissent or disagreement.
Now these are subjective arguments - feelings or 'conspiracy theories - if you want to call them that. I've lived long enough to have been inundated with Soviet propaganda to recognise it when I see it.What the European trade cartel does to developing countries is well-documented. I present a snapshot of what is it doing to the United Kingdom. WITH our permission.
For a moment, forget how I feel. Forget my personal opinions. Let's look at some facts. Facts don't care about my feelings. They don't care about yours either.
1. Cadbury moved their factory to Poland 2011 with an EU grant.
2. Ford Transit moved to Turkey 2013 with an EU grant.
3. Jaguar Land Rover has recently agreed to build a new plant in Slovakia with an EU grant, owned by Tata, the same company who have trashed our steel works and emptied the workers pension funds. Guess who is going to foot the bill eventually. It won't be the EU. It will be you.
4. Peugeot closed its Ryton (was Rootes Group) plant and moved production to Slovakia with an EU grant.
5. The British army's new Ajax fighting vehicles are to be built in Spain using Swedish steel at the request of the EU to support jobs in Spain with an EU grant, never mind that the Welsh steel industry is taking a bashing.
6. Dyson is manufacturing in Malaysia, not only because of abundant manufacturing expertise in the region, but with encouragement and a generous EU loan.
7. Crown Closures of Bournemouth (Remember Metal Box?), have relocated to Poland with an EU grant. Bournemouth lost 1,200 jobs as result.
8. A lot of Marks & Spencers manufacturing was sourced from the far east. With EU loans over the past decade, most of it is.
9. Hornby models are no longer made in Britain. Again, EU grants.
10. Gillette manufactures in various east European countries. Again, propped up with EU grants.
11. American company, Texas Instruments' HQ and manufacturing moved to Germany - with, you guessed it, the help of a European Union grant.
12. Indesit (formerly of Bodelwyddan, Wales) now manufactures in eastern Europe. Aided by a hefty European Union grant.
13. Sekisui Alveo has announced that production at its Merthyr Tydfil Industrial Park foam plant will relocate production to Roermond in the Netherlands, with EU funding.
14. Hoover's Merthyr factory has moved out of UK to Czech Republic and the Far East by Italian company Candy with EU backing.
15. ICI - an iconic British corporate name known all over the world assimilated into Holland’s AkzoNobel with an EU bank loan. Within days of the merger, several factories in the UK, were closed, eliminating 3,500 jobs.
16. Boots sold to Italian Stefano Pessina who have based their HQ in Switzerland to avoid tax to the tune of £80 million a year, using an EU loan for the purchase.
17. JDS Uniphase run by two Dutch men, brought up companies in the UK with £20 million in EU 'regeneration' grants, created a pollution nightmare and just closed it all down leaving 1,200 out of work and an environmental clean-up paid for by the UK tax-payer. They also raided the pension fund and drained it dry.
18. Some UK airports are owned by a Spanish company. EU structural funds.
19. The Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to be built by French company EDF, part owned by the French government, using cheap Chinese steel that has catastrophically failed in other nuclear installations. Now EDF say the costs will be double or more and it will be very late even if it does come online.
20. Swindon was once our producer of rail locomotives and rolling stock. Not any more, it's Bombardier in Derby and due to their losses in the aviation market, that could see the end of the British railways manufacturing altogether even though Bombardier had EU grants to keep Derby going which they diverted to their loss-making aviation side in Canada.
While you're pondering over this, and some anoraks are actually fact-checking it, I'll call it as I see it. Britain is a net contributer to the EU. All these 'EU'funds and loans being used to asset strip the United Kingdom are money WE gave them. They're using the knife we gave them to stab us.
So if you think opposition to the EU is just about immigration, or that the only people that voted for Brexit were unemployed drugged up rednecks in jogging bottoms with three teeth, a can of lager in one hand and a roll-up in the other, you couldn't be more wrong.
If anyone is a bigot, it's probably you.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Select History. Press Delete.

I find the tendency to trivialise the 80s, the Cold War and the genuine threat to liberty and democracy around the world that the USSR represented quite disturbing.

History has been re-written. The Revisionists - particularly millennial academics – now in charge of our educational establishments, have completely whitewashed and entirely hollowed out the achievements of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other world leaders of the time, and their role in exposing and thus discrediting and playing their part in dismantling what was the CCCP project. That they do not recognise the European Union’s Arbeit-Macht-Frei-esque sloganeering to be akin to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union is disconcerting to say the least to those that have lived through those times and find the signs all too familiar.

Many of the under 40s have no idea of the threat communism was, not just in terms of the formidable military arsenal the Soviets possessed but in terms of the bloody revolutions, genocidal campaigns, and political assassinations they carried out around the world.

The USSR backed and facilitated satellite regimes and paramilitary movements weren’t limited to Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia alone: The Red Brigade in Italy operated openly in several northern cities and just as a single example of their boldness they orchestrated the kidnapping of a 2 time Christian Democrat PM (at that point party leader in opposition), Aldo Mora, one or the major figures of post war Italian politics. They killed 5 men in his security detail, held him prisoner for 54 days, and then executed him by shooting him 10 times after covering him with a blanket on the pretence of moving him to another location.

I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. I sensed and shared the euphoria of East & West Germany merging into Germany. Some years ago, my daughter bought me a fragment of the fallen wall on one of her trips to the continent. This was a wall the Far Left built – way before Donald Trump was building anything.

The Red Brigade in Italy was as extreme as extreme gets, but we have our own hard left in this country that while less overt in its use of violence (for now – but getting there) to support its goals, nonetheless has sympathy with those movements that resort to those tactics. Enter Antifa and the Koreshique Cult of Corbyn.

They shrug off Corbyn’s connections, affiliations and sympathies to militant political movements, communist revolutionaries and the terror groups they label “freedom fighters”. They do so because they have no appreciation of those times - they argue communism or radical socialism was corrupted by bad leaders in Russia and China but that the ideas themselves were noble.

Trouble is, noble as they might sound, they are anything but. Nothing the hard left want can be achieved while free will is still a thing, while free will is still a human right, while free speech, the right to criticise and offend is still a basic principle of a democracy where every voice or opinion or belief or religion has every right to be heard, and equally, be open to be commented on, lauded, ridiculed, lampooned or critically analyzed.

Communism isn’t dead; it’s just got a better, cuddlier marketing strategy in this day and age. It’s waging a culture war against liberal democracy and our institutions and we HAVE to fight it.

With contributions from Daniel Cremin and Catherine Francoise.

Monday, 26 December 2016


My soul I offered up, for nothing
And nothing is what it became
I should have sold it, like Dorian
Let it fester and rot, infested with sin
And that'd have wounded me far less...

Than the hellfire of a broken heart

Friday, 4 November 2016


From the warm confines
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
In flames, as it were
On fire. Inviting. Alluring.
Just like you.
Struck against a November sky

Blue, deep, clear, promising
Just like you.
And then you step outside
The leaves aren't burning
They're rotting, turning to mulch
Just like you.
The autumn isn't fire
It's distant, it's cold, it's wet
Just like you.
There's no hope back
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

Diwaloween Mubarak!

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

The Afterburn

And I whittle, peel, shed
My inhibitions
Open, lay bare, expose
My soul
Surrender, give in, submit
My self;
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.
Khyberman, 21st October, MMXVI

Sunday, 21 August 2016


He came from war torn Somalia, attended a comprehensive school, and from the word go, had all odds stacked against him. He worked hard, didn't hang about chewing khat, and avoided the stereotypical unsavoury Somali circles. He has brought unparalleled glory to British sport in a way no other athlete has done, and inspired millions.
Of course, his plugging of soya-based cattle-feed mulch, disguised as sausages is pretty unforgiveable, but I can let that slide. Some of my best friends are vegetarians.
Mo Farah should be Sir Mo Farah. It is time.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Kiss

Soft as rose petals, they tremble
The sharp intake of breath
The knee-buckling panic and racing pulse
The denial and the hesitation
The reluctant touch
"Don't", screams the brain
"Do it!", whispers the heart
And then: complete surrender.

A desperate grasp, a satisfying gasp
Your body melts and merges
My senses heighten
Eyes shut out the world
I taste you, I smell you
I feel you, I hear your heart beat
And for a few brief seconds
I'm in heaven.

Khyberman | 06 August, 2016

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Tory Leadership Contest

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

I dream things that never were and say, "Why not?"

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

Brexit Isn't Just About Britain

I am voting for Britain to leave the European Union.

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

This Did Not Need To Happen

This is a post no blogger or political commentator should ever have to make, and I'd like to confess, I'd heard scant little of Jo Cox before yesterday, save a few bits and pieces on her stance on Syria, refugee children, and the fact that she lived on a boat - all of which I agreed with. Especially the living on the boat - I wish I had the guts to give up bricks and mortar.

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

The Mayor Of London and Naked Bodies on the Tube

The new Mayor of London has banned all advertisements which portray 'an unhealthy body image' from appearing on London's transport network. There will now be no new advertisements that might 'pressurise people to conform to unhealthy or unrealistic body images'.

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

The EU Bingo Game

Should Britain choose to be neutered on the 23rd of June, here's a fun little game:

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

A Jab At The Hijab

Hijab, Niqab, same thing, same thing, innit? Well no, but I know what people mean. I've just come out of a debate calling for a ban on it. Suspend the splitting of hairs for now, and know that each time I say Hijab or Burqa, I mean Niqab. They're not the same thing, but in many ways they are. What follows below is what I said:

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

Zac Goldsmith should be Mayor of London

On Thursday May 5th London will choose its next Mayor.

"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 runs London’s transport network – a thousand kilometers of tracks, tunnels and roads - the veins and arteries of this great city, with City Hall as its beating heart. If your trains are always late, or you can never get a seat, the buck stops with the Mayor. If the 3:00pm school run takes an hour, it's the Mayor that can sort it. If your local Borough isn't able to house you, it's the Mayor that can pull them up by setting housing and planning policy. The Mayor is in charge of the Metropolitan Police, not only the biggest police force in the country but also the UK’s counter-terrorism force. 

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.