Saturday, July 30, 2005

Not so secret funding for militants

A favourite accusation of the anti-war brigade is that the West is to blame for Islamic terrorism as, for years, our governments “secretly funded militant groups.” With the news that arrested suicide bomb suspects were living on generous British state benefits perhaps we should give this argument more credence!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Was Cherie watching?

Tony Blair was at his Churchillian finest last night when he appeared on the news condemning all suicide bombers. ( )

Let's hope Mrs Blair now shares these fine sentiments.....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Double standards

What a shame that some of the people who have condemned the terrorist attacks have gone on to add a silent "but" demanding that we should understand the "anger that people feel about the situation in Palestine / Iraq."

Following the bombs a number of asians living in Britian suffered random attacks and verbal abuse. These have been rightly condemned by all commentators.

No excuses for this kind of behaviour have been made on the lines of "verbal abuse towards Muslims is to be condemned but of course we understand why people feel angry...we cannot separate these attacks from what has been happening in London....."

Those who cannot bring themselves to condemn terrorism without ambiguity or qualification are making matters worse.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Airport checks - no defence

Can somebody explain to me the thinking behind suggestions of airport style check-ins or random stop and searches for people boarding the tube?

As someone who travels underground for upto an hour and a half 4 days a week I hope we do not adopt New York style security measures. A large queue of people standing in a line waiting to be checked would be a magnet for anyone wanting to blow up themselves and a large number of innocent people.

Even if it were possible to entirely eradicate the threat of suicide bombers on the tube they would simply go elsewhere – trains, coaches, shops football matches the list is endless.

One reason why these attacks are happening is because a significant number of British citizens feel no affinity for the country of their birth. If we don’t do something to address this problem then the atrocities will continue.

Friday, July 15, 2005

the fanatics must be stopped

In the aftermath of the bombing I hope the government will now take a look at those who have been responsible for whipping up the hatred which led to these attacks.

It is inconceivable that Winston Churchill would have allowed Nazi demagogues to hold rallies in British cities during the Second World War urging impressionable youths to join the SS. Yet here we are fighting another “war” the “war on terror” with apologists recruiting outside, and possibly inside certain Mosques in various British cities.

We know that the vast majority of Muslims do not wish to be associated with this, and many Muslim organisations have unambiguously condemned the attacks. I hope they will now go further and work to silence the irresponsible voices in their community or make it abundantly clear that those voices are not representative.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

An attack on democracy

Yesterday saw Parliamentary politics at its childish worst with insults flying backwards and forwards across from all sides of the Chamber as John Prescott stood in for the Prime Minister at the weekly question time session.

By contrast in the wake of the horrifying events which are unfolding around us in London as I write, today saw an example of British democracy at its best.

At an emergency statement Charles Clarke, David Davis, Menzies Campbell, and Elfyn Llwyd spoke as one in praise of the emergency services the need to remain calm and the importance of ensuring that this attack is not used by anyone as an excuse to undermine the democratic system.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


The government’s much trumpeted commitment to transparency is far from obvious to those who table questions to Ministers.

Questions about an investigation into the British Pregnancy Advisory Service have met with a confirmation that the report has been received but the Minister hasn’t looked at it so it would be “inappropriate to comment further” meaning that no further questions about it can be asked.

Questions about the amount each department has spent on taxis have been answered by some Ministers but others have said that “the information can only be supplied at disproportionate cost” (less costly than the taxi bills I suspect!)

Following the second reading of the Religious Hatred Bill which could lead to people being prosecuted for expounding their beliefs I tabled questions to the Home Office about the number of attacks on Jews Sikhs Muslims and Christians and the number of acts of vandalism on their places of worship.

Back came the enlightening answer “ this information is not collected centrally.” I can only wonder why the Government are so keen to introduce a contentious piece of legislation if they have no idea how big a problem “religious hatred” actually is.

A list of questions tabled by MPs can be found at . It also gives an indication as to how hard they are working....

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Bring on the multi-nationals Bob

A couple of years ago I was taken around a township on the edge of Port Elizabeth in South Africa by a group of ANC members. The poverty was, of course abysmal, and descriptions of similar scenes can be found in any of the weekend papers.

One small part of the drive around took us past a huge Ford plant. My hosts were keen to point this out and talked happily about what Ford had done for the area. As well as paying decent wages to the workers they had set up health and education facilities for local people.

Now I can almost hear any of the usual anti-capitalist crowd decrying this and saying that Ford only went there because they could pay low wages and it is in their own interests to have a healthy and educated workforce.

In fact, whatever their failings, multinationals are not staffed with evil monsters but with men and women with families and concerns for the areas they live and work in.

Whatever their reasons the wages paid there were far higher than most of the youths living on that township would have earned elsewhere, and the health and education facilities were very welcome.

India and China are rapidly transforming themselves into first world countries and they have done so partly by encouraging inward investment from around the world.

Aid and debt relief might solve some of the immediate problems in Africa and I hope that the G8 summit helps to deliver this but they are not a long term solution. What is also needed is an end to the corruption and civil war which has blighted the continent, and, controversial though it may be, lots more multinationals like Ford going there to make a profit.