Sunday, July 23, 2006


Stag do.


Now honeymoon.

Back August 7th at the earliest.


Thursday, July 13, 2006


A Front Page interview about the Euston Manifesto turns into an exercise of four people talking past each other.

Draw your own conclusions but it strikes me as a wasted effort. Horowitz and Glazov seem convinced the Left has consistently attacked liberal democracy, whilst Cohen and Geras disagree.

A real shame, as by the end of the interview, readers will have no better idea about the Manifesto.

The following two comments sum up the exchange rather well:
Horowitz: Well, I guess through leftist lenses every good thing looks red.
and the counter:
Geras: [Y]ou simply recycle the same thought from which both you and Jamie started: namely, that the left is a kind of monolith of badnesses of various kinds, and it's puzzling why we should want to be "part" of this, be "engaging" with it, be "identifying" with it. The thing becomes easier to grasp once you see that, like the right, the left is not in fact a monolith; there is variety within it and there always has been.
A pity that instead of engaging Cohen and Geras on the content of the Manifesto and where it differs from their Rightist standpoint, Horowitz and Glazov preferred to focus on severe errors of judgment from Leftists in the past. Cohen and Geras both acknowledge how disgusting it is that supposed Leftists defend tyrants and dictators and how such views ought to be incompatible with Leftist thought. The interviewers give the impression that such views are inherent to the Left, which is simply untrue.

Certainly, the 20th century saw all kinds of unholy alliances. For current Leftists to be held responsible for the filthy allegiances of the past makes little sense - one might as well pose a similar question to Horowitz and Glazov as to why they feel the urge to belong to a movement that has previously aligned itself with fascists and dictatorships under the guise of realpolitik. It would be nonsense to tar all conservatives with the same brush.

Nick Cohen sums up this "debate" rather well:
I have never been a part of the totalitarian Left, and I'm not at all clear why you say that I have with such confidence. Suppose I were to assert that you were a part of the Nazi or Ku Klux Klan tradition, and you were to reply that you were no such thing. Suppose I were to insist that you were on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, to display a near total ignorance of all the democratic strands on the American Right and to keep repeating the same charge without substantiation or modification.

I suspect you would feel you were debating with a man who was ever so slightly unhinged and give up.

I give up.
A missed opportunity there, Front Page.


The London Euston Group is holding a meeting: "The Other Iraq: Trade Unions and Democracy in the New Iraq"---on Tuesday 18th July at 7.30pm at Waterloo, London.

Speakers at the meeting will include Gary Kent, Director of Labour Friends of Iraq (in a personal capacity) who recently led a soldarity delegation to Iraq, and Alan Johnson, co-author with Abdullah Muhsin of Hadi Never Died: Hadi Saleh and the Iraqi Trade Unions, just published by the TUC. There will be lots of time for questions and discussion.

Come along if you are interested in the under-reported story of Iraqi reconstruction and the role that the Iraqi trade union movement has in building the new Iraq.

Please email londoneuston {at} to confirm your attendance and so you can be sent directions.

Sadly, Abdullah Muhsin is unable to make the meeting. To make up for it, here's his address to the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) World Peace Forum, delivered a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Shan't be losing any sleep over this one - Warlord behind Beslan siege is killed in 'Russian revenge attack':
Shamil Basayev, the Chechen rebel leader behind the Beslan school siege and dozens of other terrorist attacks, was killed yesterday when a truck packed with explosives blew up next to his car.

A Chechen rebel website confirmed a claim by the Russian Government that Basayev was dead — a massive victory for President Putin four days before the G8 summit in St Petersburg.

But a statement on the site insisted that Russia’s most wanted man was killed by an accidental explosion, not in a special forces operation as Russian officials had claimed.

“There was no special operation. Shamil and other brothers of ours became martyrs by the will of Allah,” it quoted Abu Umar, of the rebel parliament’s military committee, as saying. “The Chechen commander died when a truck loaded with explosives accidentally blew up.”
Is it really less embarrassing to be blown up by your own side's explosives than to be taken out by Russian special forces? A Darwin award by proxy.

Meanwhile, things are looking even less rosy in Somalia:
Hundreds of fighters who were battling Somalia's Islamic militia in the capital surrendered early Tuesday after a surge of violence that killed more than 70 people and wounded 150 since Sunday, officials said.

The fighters, loyal to secular warlord Abdi Awale Qaybdiid, turned over their arms and pickup trucks mounted with heavy weapons to the Islamic militia, top Islamic commanders said. The whereabouts of Qaybdiid were not immediately clear.
The people of Somalia are stuck between a rock and a hard place. What would you rather? Warlords or Islamic officials who state:
"The war was inevitable because nobody can have authority in the city beyond the Islamic courts," Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a top Islamic official, said Monday.
In case you missed the story of a few days ago, this particular implementation of Islam is strictly of the "Fun Is For Infidels" variety:
The militia has forbidden movies, television and music. Last week, militiamen in central Somalia fatally shot two people at the screening of a World Cup soccer broadcast banned because it violated the fighters' strict interpretation of Islamic law. They also broke up a wedding because it featured a band, and men and women socializing together.
But there is some justice in the world after all:
The Islamic group that controls Somalia's capital arrested two of its own militiamen for killing two people who were watching a World Cup soccer match, the group's leader said Thursday.

The two detained militiamen allegedly shot a teenage girl and a businessman who defied their orders to stop watching the match between Italy and Germany on Tuesday.

The increasingly powerful Islamic group has forbidden some Somalis from watching television or movies, in line with its strict interpretation of Islam.

But its leader, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, whom U.S. officials have branded a terrorist, said the group has not officially banned television or movies.

The fighters will be charged with manslaughter under Islamic law, and punishment could include demands from the victims' families for compensation.
Well that's all right then.

And check this for double-speak:
The Islamic group said peacekeepers may have been needed in the past, but not now. It said the question of sending in foreign troops should "be left for the Somalis to discuss."

Meanwhile, a recruiting video issued by the group's members and obtained by The Associated Press this week shows Arab radicals fighting alongside the local extremists in Mogadishu. It invites Muslims from around the world to join in their "holy jihad."
That'll be the same bunch who claim:
"We believe that alien forces are both unnecessary and counterproductive," the council said in a statement distributed to the visitors. "The Somali problem is a political one, and cannot be resolved by military means."

Monday, July 10, 2006


So that's that then. What began as a fascinating tournament fizzled out due to a cocktail of incredibly negative tactics, an embarrassing amount of diving and some pretty poor sportsmanship.

It's been a competetion that will be remembered for the mistakes. Managers forgetting to include fit strikers in their squad or taking off their most inventive players before conceding an equaliser and having to play extra-time without the benefit of their creativity. Two decisions that left two nations wondering "What if?"

Of course, it wasn't just the managers. Plenty of players got it wrong too. Zidane and Rooney are obvious examples but it went much further than that. At least when those two were on the pitch they were occasionally doing their job.

A bunch of players we were expecting wonders from never turned up: Ronaldinho, Shevchenko, Lampard, Pauleta, Gerrard, van Nistelrooy, Ibrahimovich all spring to mind. Even though he broke the World Cup goal-scoring record, we'll remember Ronaldo more for his size than for anything he did with the ball.

And the gamesmanship and the diving... Even Thierry Henry got in on the act. No wonder the referees made so many glaring errors, although none so funny as our man Graham Poll giving Simunic three yellow cards and the Croat's outrage at being sent off knowing full well he shouldn't have been on the pitch...

The pundits were pretty atrocious too, the ITV anchor referring to the Italians as "Eye-Ties" deserving a special mention. David Pleat did his usual job of mangling the names of anyone playing for a team other than England whilst Ian Wright did his usual job of providing the same incisive input as you might get from the resident drunk down your local. Presumably this was for the benefit of those watching on their own without a local with a resident drunk to hang out with.

Mark Lawrenceson and John Motson were as painful to listen to as ever. Exhibit A:
Motty: Makelele's like an iron out there. Removing all the wrinkles.

Lawro: Yep. He's never pressed.

20 million viewers: How much of our licence fee is paying for this sh1te?
It almost had me yearning for German-style commentary which is rather minimalist to say the least.

The fact that six times as many people watched the BBC's coverage of the final compared to ITV's just goes to show how awful the ITV team were. One can only wonder how many people did the sensible thing, turned the telly to mute and pumped up Alan Green and Co. on Five Live...

Perhaps feeling left out, even FIFA managed to get things badly wrong in the end. The Golden Butt Boot Ball went to Zidane:

A nice way to end your career, in disgrace in front of a billion people. Quite how the Golden Boot Ball could go to a player who only showed up for three games is beyond me. [Edit - this isn't just FIFA's fault. They only drew up the shortlist which the media voted on.]

And their young player of the tournament award went to diving whiner bastion of fair-play, Germany's Podolski, shown here congratulating the smuggest referee I think I've ever seen after Sweden's Lucic was dismissed for a second bookable offence:

It could have been worse. The runner-up? Christiano Ronaldo.

FIFA sure know how to reward honesty, fair-play and the like.

The team who won? I hear they're good at penalties:

It seems an age ago that we were drooling over the quality of the matches and the never-say-die attitude of most of the teams during the group stage.

At the time, the Switzerland-Ukraine game seemed to be an aberration, but within days the fear on display that evening had infected everybody else.

The one team to actually bother with full-out attack seemed to be the Germans, presumably because it took the pressure away from their supposedly ramshackle defence. How cruel that this positive approach was trumped in the dying seconds of extra time by the Italians' fear of taking them on at penalties.

Overall, pretty disappointing. The team playing the best football went out due to their manager losing his bottle and the team playing some of the dullest football won on penalties.

To make up for it, these five goals ought to wake up those who found themselves nodding off during last night's dreary encounter, a reminder of when this tournament was interesting.

And if they don't do the trick, here's the alternative final, courtesy of Ten German Bombers.

More round-ups here and here.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Fùck off.

Two minutes silence at 12:00, people.


Lots has happened whilst I've been away, the kidnap of Gilad Shalit being one of the major stories.

Good to see our media being as fair and balanced as I've come to expect. Hat-tip to Snoopy for drawing my attention to Channel 4's Jon Snow, proving just how clueless he really is: (via Shlemazi):
Well, rockets are pretty pathetic things. Nobody gets injured, they are homemade, and you well know they have nothing much stronger than an AK-47: no RPGs, they have no weapons and you are delivering some of the most sophisticated bombardment that has ever been subjected to a defenseless people. Is it an act of terror would you say?
He's not the only doofus in town.

I noticed this today, but once again got beaten to the knock-out punch by the same man:
Blooper of the week award goes to no other than Jonathan Steele for the following passage from the article "Europe's response to the siege of Gaza is shameful":
Finally, Israel must renounce violence, in particular the assassinations of Palestinian leaders. The number of civilians killed in these attacks this year alone far exceeds the number of Israeli victims since Hamas declared its ceasefire last year. The facts do not support the notion that Israel is "retaliating" to provocations.
To repeat: "far exceeds the number of Israeli victims since Hamas declared its ceasefire last year". How do you like that "victims of a ceasefire"? If you know how to solve this moronic quandary, your desk [at the] Guardian is waiting for you.

There is much more where it comes from, but this should be sufficient to show the true colors of Mr Steele.
Let me know the brand of bottled water Snow and Steele drink - I'm not touching it with a bargepole.

Other lunacy of late includes (from the Sun of all places) the head of Al Grrr!abaa, Anjem Choudhury losing his rag over 7/7:
Choudary, 38, right-hand man of exiled hate preacher Omar Bakri, repeatedly refused to condemn the 7/7 bombers at a press conference on the eve of the anniversary of the London blasts.

But when asked if he would inform the police of another suicide mission he said in Walthamstow, East London: “No I wouldn’t. I don’t think Muslims can co-operate with police.”

Then Choudary warned Britain faced CIVIL WAR with its 1.6million-strong Muslim community.

He said: “We are reaching a situation where the Muslim community is increasingly under siege.

“I’m afraid of a Bosnia or Kosovo-style reality here in Great Britain.”

Choudary’s rant came a day after he was fined for organising protests over cartoons about the prophet Mohammed.
For those not up to date with one of the grimmest Muslim sects around, a visit to their website might not be a bad plan.

From the letters page we learn:
The 'stories' of plunder and killing in Darfur are exaggerations and propaganda of extraordinary proportions, there is far more occurring on the doorsteps of the Americans and Europe than the Americans claim, second of all these 'stories' have been narrated by Kuffar who Allah declared that they are liars, moreover, they have come from the sections of the Kuffar (i.e. the media) who are known liars and fabricators even among their own people! So why should we believe accusations about any Muslims? Allah (swt) says,

“When there comes to them some matter touching (Public) safety or fear, they divulge it. If they had only referred it to the Messenger, or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have Tested it from them (direct). Were it not for the Grace and Mercy of Allah unto you, all but a few of you would have fallen into the clutches of Satan.” [EMQ 4: 83]

and Allah (swt) says,

“Why do not the believing men and women, whenever such [a rumour] is heard, think the best of one another and say, “This is an obvious falsehood”?” [EMQ 24:12]

Furthermore, regardless of the happenings in Darfur , even if they were true, it is not the place of thugs and gangsters from America and the UN to enter into Sudan with their weapons and occupy any Muslim lands. Indeed it is Haram in Islam to allow any of the enemies of Islam to enter with their armies into the Muslim lands and to help them in that is Kufr Akbar. Let alone to allow them to enter with missionary organisations and fight and kill Muslims and force others to their religion.

Finally we should remember the words of Allah (swt) forbidding us to trust the Kuffar, or to believe them when they claim to seek good or salvation for the Muslims, rather they want only suffering and destruction for us.

Abdul Ilaah
This courtesy of the same team who describe Jabron Hashmi as an apostate traitor to Islam and professional terrorist.

If this lot had their way, it wouldn't only be us filthy kuffar with things to worry about - I'd wager the vast majority of British Muslims would also fall foul of their purity test.

Make of their most recent leaflet what you will - the fatalism contained within is rather disturbing:

With the anniversary of 7/7 only hours away, it seems all the loons have come out to play.

Feel free to post links to additional idiocy in the comments.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


[Switches blog-lever to ON]

Am back from Berlin.

Actually, I got back last week but found my computer had forgotten my Blogger password. I can't really complain about my PC's stupidity as it turns out I'd managed to do the same. And the account I'd registered this blog in had become 'deactivated' due to lack of use. Thank God for scraps of paper left lying around bedrooms, eh?

[Memo to self: obscure passwords - good for security, bad for guessing when you've only ever typed them in twice...]


My World Cup trip was amazing. For various reasons it's all still a bit of a blur (the alien abduction complete with mind-washing didn't help much either), but I owe a Big Thank You to the Doughnut Boy for his incredibly kind hospitality, allowing us Britishers to take up semi-permanent residence in his spare room.

Highlights from the trip included being at the Mexico-Argentina game where I saw the goal of the tournament:

and was mistaken for Pete Doherty:

(Hint: I look nothing like him but decided a daft pin-striped porkpie hat was a better choice for a skinny muscular liberal than a sombrero)

We also found that German kebabs are to English doners as caviar is to crab-paste, and this fine brew:

can be drunk in 35 degrees heat without causing a hangover.

Much fun was had doing our level best not to watch one of the worst games I've ever seen (Switzerland-Ukraine) in a converted swimming pool in East Berlin.

No, not that swimming pool:

It wasn't all work, work, work.

I met a fair number of top anti-Germans, each of whom had unique takes on the Euston Manifesto, some going as far as describing it as "the most important thing to happen to the Left for the past decade" - quite a nice surprise that.

Unfortunately my German is pretty ropey to say the least ("Frank ist krank" and "Schaisser, Ich bin schwanger" being about the sum of my knowledge) so we'll have to wait for a bit until a kind soul can translate the critiques I'm supposedly being sent.

I also met a top man who runs a blog by the name of Jim Hancot. Him and Doughnut Boy Andy were heavily involved in organising the annual AFFI cup - an anti-fascist football tournament with teams from all over the shop. Sadly it was played in intense heat so I missed almost all of it, instead seeking refuge (and catching England-Ecuador) at the impressive fan mile:

where the England fans were singing what everyone back home was no doubt thinking ("We're Shi*, But We're Wi-i-nning") and providing unexpected entertainment for bemused onlookers by dancing like Peter Crouch far more often than perhaps they ought.

On the down side: every train I caught was delayed, we were confronted by a Polish nutter who decided to shake our hands because he had "respect for the English hooligans" (and refused to leave us alone despite vomiting all over our table, so we did instead) and our party became somewhat addicted to the mighty MAOAM:

I'm not even going to mention the abomination that was the Lion Bar cereal. Oops.

But other than that it was a great trip. Football, beer, music and politics.

Top banana.