Monday, 26 October 2009

A Catholic Aid for AIDS

This will probably be my only post this week as I'm pretty occupied with writing essays at the moment.

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I'm not kidding, Pope Benedict XVI recently cannonised Father Damien of Molokai as the saint of not just loners and the American state of Hawaii, but also as the patron saint of HIV and AIDS. I wonder which type of AIDS this saint represents, the good sort or the bad?

In related Vatican news, I really like the sound of this idea.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Anti-UAF Protest

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I'm glad that yesterday's airing of Question Time with Nick Griffin turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be. I, like many of those that support freedom of speech supported the BBC's decision to allow Nick Griffin on the show, even though I despise the slimeball and his views. Of course, certain members of Parliament and the anti-facsists thought otherwise, especially Unite Aganist Fascism and their pathetic 'no platform' policy - they really need to look up "freedom of speech" before they go around trying to break into a television centre to stop a televised debate.

Despite supporting the BBC's decision to allow the BNP leader on the show, I expected this edition of Question Time to be a car-crash, and was concerned that even the audience would break out into a riot of some sort (what with the fact that the BBC confirmed that some members of the audience were BNP supporters), but luckly that wasn't the case. Instead of being the slick talker from previous appearances, Nick Griffin kept on stumbling over himself and was being shown up for the fascist that he is. Watching him squirm when the panel and David Dimbleby made mention of vile comments he has made in the past and him trying to deny that he ever made such comments was a pleasure. Not to mention the comments he made on the show, such as claiming the Ku Klux Klan are an "almost entriely non-violent" organisation. Did he really think he would get away with saying things like that on a television debate that was broadcast throughout the country?

A minor issue I have with last night's show was that Nick Griffin's views on homosexuality weren't directly addressed. Although the topic of civil partnership was mentioned in passing in the last ten minutes of the programme, when someone asked a question in regards to Jan Moir's homophobic article on Steven Gateley, I was suprised that none of the panel or even the audienced addressed his views. However, Griffin himself said on the show that he didn't like "militant homosexuals indoctrinating our children", so I guess that spoke volumes about the intelligence and views of this man towards the gay community. But still, I can't help but feel that he got off lightly with the homophobic comments he has made throughout his political career. Also, I really wish Ian Hislop was on the panel instead of Bonnie Greer, although I'm grateful that she was there to point out the absurdity of the term "indigenous Caucasian race" to Griffin.

Anyway, I'm gonna go and collect any spare pennies lying around my room to help chip in for a plane ticket to send Nick Griffin and his ilk to the South Pole. Anyone want to join me?

Monday, 19 October 2009

Scanner Porn!

Personally, I'm glad that one can opt-out of this and can still get the traditonal all-body patting around by airport security. Because that's the best part of going to the airport, being frisked about! ;)

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Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Rise of the English Defence League.

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A mysterious new far-right group has recently come into the media spotlight since this summer. Reports on the group were first made in late August when they protested against the threat of the alleged "Islamification" of Britain. Last month, they were seen in Birmingham city centre to preach the same message, but failed to turn up at the site of Harrow Mosque in West London. Last Saturday, they made their voices heard once again in Manchester in their largest demonstration yet, when 700 members of the organisation (and 1400 counter-demonstrators from Unite Against Fascism) turned up in the city centre, which saw riot police and mounted police being deployed in the city and arresting 48 people. They are expected to make an appearance in Leeds in the near future.

The English Defence League was created in 2009 from the United Peoples of Luton, an organisation which itself was formed in response to the Islamist protests held back in March by the extremist group Al-Muhajiroun, when troops returning from Afghanistan marched through the town. Tensions flared up in June when Al-Muhajiroun supposedly "converted" an 11 year-old boy to Islam in Birmingham city centre. The League claims that it opposes the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in the UK and Sharia law, and according to the organisation's spokesman, Trevor Kelway, the EDL is not a racist organisation. To try and verify this to the media, they have been burning Nazi flags for the cameras to emphasis they abhor racism. The League claims that British Muslims and Jews who are against militant Islam can join "as long as they accept an English way of life". The League has a woman's division and also a youth division, which is led by an 18 year-old boy of Irish and Afro-Caribbean heritage.

Because of the controversy surrounding the EDL, the British National Party have tried to distance themselves from the organisation. The Hope Not Hate campaign recently released audio recordings of a conversation allegedly between Nick Griffin and Simon Derby, where they accused the EDL of being a “Zionist false flag operation” which was created in order to create “a real clash of civilisations right here on our streets between Islam and the rest of us.” As a result, the party have designated the EDL as a “proscribed organisation”, supposedly frowning upon the violent, confrontational style that many members of the EDL have taken up in recent demonstrations. The EDL have also tried to distance themselves from the BNP, at least according to a London businessman that supports and funds the organisation. Despite the distancing between the EDL and BNP, it would seem that there are links between the two, and this is not just because the two seem to share the same anti-Muslim and far-right sentiments - the EDL’s website was created by a prominent BNP activist and many members of the party have been seen in recent demonstrations. The fact that the BNP have labelled the EDL as a “proscribed organisation” is, according to Searchlight magazine, standard practice of the party when attempting “deniability”.

Should we be concerned about the English Defence League? The founders of the group claim that they are not a racist organisation, that they allow people from all walks of life (guaranteeing they accept the “English way of life”) and say they are a peaceful organisation. However, such claims seem to contradict the fact that demonstrations organised by the group have been attended by white skinheads, many of whom have a history of football hooliganism – the organisation itself is loosely affiliated with Casuals United, an anti-Islamist hooligan group. Many EDL members have been seen giving Nazi salutes, and allegedly at a pro-Palestine protest in London recently, members of the League were heard to chant “We hate Muslims”. The fact that there are reports that two sister organisations have formed as a result of the rise of the EDL is a cause of alarm for many - the Scottish Defence League intends to hold a protest in Glasgow in the near future and there are calls to ban marches organised by the Welsh Defence League in Newport and Swansea. According to ‘Tommy Robinson’ in a recent interview in the Telegraph, the organisation has 3’700 members, and rising. It is no surprise then that the EDL are currently under investigation from four specialist national police units, including detectives with a background in watching hooliganism, extreme violence and terrorism.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Daily Show Depravity

I really don't know why Comedy Central have done this :'(

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Monday, 5 October 2009

Ireland Says "Yes" To Lisbon

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I know, I promised a brand spanking new strip today, but I didn't want to miss an opportunity to write a little something about Ireland's referendum on the Lisbon Treaty last Friday. Even if it is a little late.

Being the only EU member state to hold a referendum on the Treaty (although Poland and the Czech Republic have both yet to ratify it in their parliaments), the Irish approval of the Lisbon Treaty means that the European Union is one step to further intergration, allowing the creation of the post of "President of Europe" and streamlining and reforming many institutions within the Union (such as allowing the European Parliament to be more involved in the legislation process and making the European Charter of Fundamental Rights legally binding). Great if you're the sort of person that likes the idea of a united and federal Europe. Not so great if you're David Cameron or are horrified at the prospect that Tony Blair has his eyes on the soon-to-be newly created European presidency.

Eurosckeptics claim that Friday's result was due to the fact that the Irish were essentially bullied by their Government to accepting the Treaty. It cannot be denied that the referendum followed on from last year's one where 53.4% said "No" to the Treaty, but it could be argued that the state of the Irish economy resulted in more voters turning out to Friday's referendum. After Spain, Ireland has been most affected by the global economic crisis; unemployment is currently at 13% - it's highest level since 1996 - and 400'000 people now claim unemployment benefit. The Fianna Fail and Green coalition government argued that to reject the Treaty a second time would risk Ireland from being isolated by the EU and being denied a resuce package from the European Central Bank to save the Irish banking system and economy.

It would seem therefore that the Irish took this on board when voting in the referendum, to reject the Treaty a second time would supposedly be economic suicide. However, the only county in Ireland that rejected the Treaty a second time was Donegal, which also happens to be the poorest county in the country. Donegal's economy relies heavily on the fishing and tourism, which have both been severely affected by the recession in Ireland. As a result, the unemployment rate in Donegal currently stands at 23%, the highest in the republic. So if the state of the economy was the defining factor on Friday's referendum, then why did the portion of the "No" vote in Ireland's poorest county stay the same?

New strip on Friday, I promise!

Friday, 2 October 2009

I'm back!

After a month of relying on friends and the university library, I have finally got personal Internet access. I've missed so many opportunities for some decent cartoons and strips this past month, such as Iran's nuclear ambitions, the rise of the English Defence League, the ongoing war of words between the BBC and Murdoch and the continuing decline of Labour (although this of course will be ongoing, so I can do this another time).

New comic on Monday!