Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bush, Iraq, Intelligence

Big news! In the US the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is reportedly of the opinion that the war in Iraq has become a cause celebre amongst Islamists. A new generation of jihadists is being recruited on the back of the civil war that is the result of the invasion of Iraq. What's more, even more shocking is the idea that the world has become a more dangerous place because of the Iraqi quagmire.

No shit sherlock. Next they'll be telling us that bears shit in woods and that the Pope's suspected of Catholic tendencies...

None of this is news of course. Not even the fact that the Bush and Blair governments deny this and think that we're so stupid that we'll believe them.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Muslim community leaders

EXcellent piece by Kenan Malik on the way the government (and most of the media, I would add), relate to British muslims. Here's a quick quote on self-appointed community leaders:

The policy of subcontracting political responsibility allows politicians to wash their hands of the alienation of sections of the Muslim community. And it allows self-appointed community leaders with no democratic mandate to gain power both within Muslim communities and the wider society. But it does the rest of us - Muslim and non-Muslim - no favours. It is time that politicians dropped the pretence that there is a single Muslim community and started taking seriously the issue of political engagement with their constituents, whatever their religious faith.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Islamic world in uproar (yawn...)

The Vatican today admitted that it had cynically and irresponsibly courted controversy when the Pope quoted from an obscure Byzantine emperor who had criticised Islam hundreds of years ago. In a shameless attempt to appear sane and rational, Pope Benefit (the cleric formerly known as Ratzarse), had quoted from the Byzantine emperor knowing full well that the Islamic world would fit in a few more protests in it's busy schedule.

A leading Imam, Mustafa D'Ump, of the College of Islamic Studies in Cheltenham, was quoted as saying 'The characterisation of Islam as backward and vicious is entirely incorrect. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. How many of you buggers do we have to behead before you understand that?'

Some have noted that the Pope's speech failed to mention witch-burning, the Inquistion, kiddie-fiddling and other Christian activities. Islamists have hit back by saying Christianity has lost it's way and should return to these practices if it really wants to be taken seriously.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Organic Milk Is Healthier?

A while back I asked for the evidence of the health benefits for organic food. Despite a few pointers there was no overwhelming stcks of evidence. There were plenty of claims, of course, and some work on the ecological benefits, but in terms of the health benefits... After looking around at the time, and since, it seems to me that scepticism is called for.

That same scepticism is at play in a piece on Spiked-online, which looks at the claims that organic milk is healthier than non-organic because of increased levels of omega 3 fatty acids. The article is worth reading, not only because it punctures the claims, but also because it points out that drinking milk for omega-3 is a pretty stupid (inefficient) way of getting them compared to a can of sardines or some salmon.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Free school bus pass - but only if you're religious

Yet another example of creeping state support for religious indoctrination of our kids... Is this really what it's coming to in this country?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another government IT triumph...

Here's a template for the civil service to help in future big IT projects:

1. Establish a huge committee to discuss the project - drag this stage out for a number of years. If possible make sure that none of the people on the committee have any IT knowledge. Rotate personnel on the committee so that by the end of this stage nobody from the original committee is on it.

2. Pay massive amounts of money to big consultancy firms. Please ensure that only the most expensive and arrogant of consultants are used.

3. Dig a huge hole in the ground and bury lots more money.

4. Three years after the deadline release a prototype that looks like it was knocked up by a 13-year old hacker. Please ensure it's non-functional and has the performance and agility of John Prescott.

5. Five years after the deadline cancel the project.


While it's great to sit back and watch the government imploding, it's just a shame that it's taking so long. Those who regard Tony Blair as a visionary and decisive leader can add his original announcement that he'd not do a full 3rd term as prime minister to other such classics as the invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan as good decisions.

And, to his other achievements, we should add that he's worked wonders on rebranding the Tory party as a serious and viable alternative. Nobody imagined that the Tories could ever step out from the long shadow of Maggie Thatcher and her malign influence, but our Tony has done an excellent job.

Gordon Brown, of course, must also realise that the game is up. If I were him I'd be wondering whether David Cameron has been the real beneficiary of Tony's actions.

Anyway, let's hope that Tony's suffering gets worse, fast.

IWCA & Multi-culturalism

Those of is who view the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA) as one of the few positive developments on the political scene in the UK might have been alarmed by the recent silence from them (or at least as evidenced by their web site). However the Oxford Blackbird Leys site of the IWCA has recently been updated with a number of pieces from the Leys Independent, including an article by Stuart Craft on multi-culturalism.

Not only does Craft attack multi-culturalism as encouraging racial/religious segration and difference, he also points out that it's the workling classes (of all backgrounds) who stand to lose most.

Predictably the IWCA are attacked as being racist, but the fact is that it's the politics of multi-culturalism that are racist.