Monday, February 27, 2006

Laurie Pycroft now faces death threats

Laurie Pycroft, founder of Pro-Test (see below), has now been the target of over thirty death threats. One said, "We're going to fucking kill you",' Pycroft told The Observer
The police have had to instal a panic button in Pycroft's family home and have asked Laurie to "back down a bit".

Not that the police would want to be seen to be backing down in the face of criminal terrorists.

Animal rights activists - scum, scum, scum.


The Animal Liberation Front versus a 16 year old

Animal rights extremists are finally discovering some opposition. Not from the government, whose planned amendments to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill are likely to have no impact on the extremists, but from a sixteen year old boy and two Oxford academics.

Professor Tipu Aziz, a consultant neurosurgeon, and Professor John Stein, a neurophysiologist, addressed a rally in Oxford on Saturday to demonstrate support for the construction of a new laboratory. The rally was organised by Laurie Pycroft, a slightly geeky looking 16 year old, who founded Pro-Test group.

The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) have recently upped the level of violence and intimidation declaring that anyone in Oxford is a legitimate target.

The ALF has a history of intimidation and violence. As Davina would say, here are some of your best moments -

i) The Big Issue magazine announced that it would no longer publish advertisements for a major pharmaceutical research company because one of its vendors was attacked by an animal rights activist.

ii) Animal rights extremists desecrate the burial ground of 82-year-old Gladys Hammond. Police fear relatives will be next. Sources with the Animal Liberation Front refuse to condemn the macabre act

iii) Leapfrog Day Nurseries, a children's nursery has become the latest target of animal rights threats, forcing it to stop providing child care vouchers to parents working for the animal testing group Huntingdon Life Sciences.

iv) Animal rights activists have launched a fresh wave of attacks, targeting a senior pharmaceutical executive and an Oxford College. The ALF claimed responsibility yesterday for a device left outside the home of Paul Blackburn, the corporate controller of Britain's biggest pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline.

v) Animal rights activists visited the home of a senior pharmaceutical executive in Switzerland and slashed his car tyres because he is a customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). The Biteback website, used as a bulletin board by the ALF, says activists visited Mr Holdener's home and stripped his car of paint, slashed his tyres, painted the garage door and wrote across it in paint "drop HLS, animal killer, ALF".

vi) A family that breeds guinea pigs for medical research announced yesterday that it was to close its farm, Darley Oaks in Satffordshire, in a final attempt to get back the remains of a body that was dug up by animal rights extremists.

vii) Visit Bite Back (their website) for a taste of what a total bunch of nutters these people are. Bite Back conveniently sorts articles by the following categories; vandalism, arson, violence, prisoners, fire and theft. Take your pick.

This is what they have to say about companies that help build the research lab.
"Last week almost 100 letters were anonymously mailed out to companies who have in the past donated money to Oxford University. The letter warned that these companies had 1 week to pull the plug and announce that they will NEVER AGAIN send money to the university. They were warned that if they did not do this they would have their offices trashed and the homes of their directors, employees and/or trustees would be attacked. They were also advised that their details would be sent out over the internet to other animal rights activists. More than a week has passed and it has been noted that several organisations have made it public that they will not be funding the university in future. Any company who has not made an announcement can now expect full attention from the Animal Liberation Front. It's not going to be pretty."

Give Pro-Test your 100% support.

Update I ; Niki Shisler writes up the demo at Harry's Place


So is anyone still in favour of small government?

One of the greatest political lies you will often hear, is that with the fall of the Berlin Wall the Right had won the economic argument. Socialism was dead, long live capitalism and the free market!

Nothing could be further from the truth. Eight years into the New Labour dream, the UK can proudly declare that capitalism is dead, long live socialism!

Fraser Nelson has nailed the socialist dream in this week's Spectator.

"First raise tax and employ as much of the electorate as possible. Next, offer generous welfare and bribe the middle classes with childcare. Soon, a critical mass of voters becomes part of the government project, and votes for its expansion. Eventually the right-wing opposition grows tired of losing elections, and starts pledging to outspend the government, if elected. Then victory is complete."

Nelson exposes some truly shocking statistics.

The State now has three divisions;
i) direct employees (6.8 million or 18% of the electorate)
ii) welfare dependants (4.5 million or 11% of the electorate)
iii) pensioners (10.5 million or 26% of the electorate)

A total of 21.8 million people or 55% of the voting population is now dependant on the government for some kind of assistance.

It is now almost impossible for any political party to pick up votes by proposing to cut down on the size of the State. A classic Catch 22 has now been reached.

The UK spends more of its citizen's income than even Germany (the UK now takes 42% of national income versus 36% when New Labour were first elected - a colossal increase in spending). So far, this has not led to huge tax rises because the underlying economy has been reasonably healthy. However, the lower productivity of all these new government workers (784,000 of them) is finally causing the economy to slow down.

What will cause things to change?

Right now, those calling for small government and less spending are silent. Jobs are plentiful for those who want to work, and for those who don't welfare is easy to obtain. The state schools and hospitals are a joke but the middle class can afford private health and schooling because credit is so cheap. When the economy slips further, when the US starts to slow down and when the credit bubble finally bursts, government spending will way exceed revenue. The electorate will not accept 60% tax rates again and spending will finally have to be reined back in.

But turkeys will still not vote for Xmas. Some on the right of the blogosphere are calling for voting restrictions for those who depend on the state for a living. Draconian indeed, but it may be the only way round this particular Catch 22.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Law is not your friend

Convicted murderer, Stephen Wilson, 38, of County Antrim, was granted compassionate leave last Monday to visit the grave of his mother, reports The Times. He did a runner during an "accompanied walk". He was finally caught yesterday.

This is not the first time he has been granted leave from prison despite serving a life sentence for a murder in 1987. In 2001 he again escaped from leave granted to attend his mother's funeral. So violent is this man that the four arresting police officers needed hospital treatment.

Everyone deserves a chance but why on earth was this violent skinhead released again?

The Times also reports on the case of multiple murderer, Stuart Horgan, who shot dead his wife, her sister, Emma, and leaving her mother for dead.

Emma's life could have been saved.

However, when police arrived at the scene, they refused to enter the house, fearing the gunman may still be there, despite neighbours repeatedly telling them that he had long since fled. Paramedics also refused to enter and Emma bled to death.

Finally, the story of Aimee Wellock is all too typical. A young girl of 15 randomly kicked and punched to death by bullies. Three girls were convicted not of her murder, but of manslaughter. Even this laughably lenient sentence was overturned on appeal as the victim had a previously undiagnosed heart condition. The murderers all got off scot free.

Aimee's father makes a tragic but very real point - "the law is on the side of the perpetrator rather than the victim."

Just because justice is no longer delivered by the Courts does not lessen people's desire for it. The next step lies in vigilantism and anarchy.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Offence offenders

Freedom of speech means the freedom to offend.

However, we live in hyper-sensitive times whereby offence must never be given, views must never be challenged and debate must be censored. The latest "offence" offence comes from Larry Summers, President of Harvard University who suggested "innate differences between men and women" as to why there are so few female Professors of Maths. It was merely a suggestion, a hypothesis to explain an observable fact. Today it cost him his job, despite only 19% of students being against him.

Yesterday's offence offendor was David Irving.

A few weeks back it was Sr Iqbal Sacranie calling homosexuality "unacceptable". Police are still investigating this "crime"

In October it was a bunch of Danes with crayons.

Without question, all four have aired offensive views. Irving's and Sacranie's are particularly unpleasant. But these are not crimes. They are unpleasant views. They should be ignored, ridiculed even, but not punished.


A remarkable young man

Laurie a.k.a. Sqrrl101 is a 16 year old lad from Oxford. He was so angered by the antics of the animal rights extremists campaigning against the Oxford Uni lab (picture) that he decided to form Pro-Test, an organisation campaigning for the lab.

The Social Affairs website profiles him here.

His fledgling organisation are holding a rally in Oxford on Saturday 25th Feb.

Support him if you are in the area.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Forget David Irving

The man is a publicity seeking moron. His views are vile and wrong. But don't jail him. You'll make him a hero and a martyr. This is why jailing people for their loonytoon views is utterly misguided.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie described homosexuality as "not acceptable". Another bigot. Should he be jailed too?

Ridicule them, then forget them; the best and most appropriate responses to both men.


Global War on Terror World Cup Qualifier

A busy opening week for the jihadists as they are involved in err, every game. This just in from our reporter Heidi Mypictureplease, at the home of English football, Craven Cottage

Group A; North Eurabia

England 1 Islamists 2
A real end to end battle in this opening tie of Group A. The home team got off to a dream start when winger Charlie Clarke managed to have the mad Mullah, Abu Hafeez Hanzmissing, sent off for seven years in the opening five minutes. However, the Jihadists quickly countered with what looked like an inocuous header straight into keeper, Jack 'Manof' Straw's, hands. The big lad fumbled it and silky striker Ahma Suicidebomber was there to slam into the roof of the net. Straw was last seen muttering "I've supported Blackburn Rovers since i was a kid you know"

The Islamists then took a suprise lead when Ahma won the ball in midfield, carving a beautiful pass into the path of midfielder, Djiih Wotawankarr, who blasted the away team into a 2-1 lead.

And that's how it remained at full time. The game was not without incident though, with most criticism reserved for referee "Sir" Ian Blair. Following Wotawankarr's splendid second half winner, he proceeded to lift his shirt over his head, revealing a T-shirt with the words "Death to all Jew scum dogs". Blair then arrested and ejected a supporter who dared to object to these eminently sensible words.

After the game, Heidi caught up with home skipper, Tony "Jackie Milburn" Blair.

"So Tony, you must be disappointed to lose this crucial opening qualifier?"
"Not at all Heidi. It's an excellent result for all moderate Muslims in this country. After all, a sizeable minority of our poulation doesn't even support us, so winning would have been highly offensive to them."

Islamist boss, Osama Bin Scorin', was quick to praise his team's victory. "It's a very busy week for us with thirty eight games between now and the weekend but with a squad of 1.5 billion to draw from, we are confident of victory. We are also delighted that tomorrow's clash in Spain has been cancelled due to the home team's decision to emigrate en masse to Greenland."

Tomorrow - France versus the Jihadists in the Stade de Banlieue.


Taliban Online Dating

Special offer - Buy one, Get three others free.


Monday, February 20, 2006

'Mad Cartoon Flu' update

Julie Birchill wades in with a tirade against the oh-so liberal UK press with this memorable quote, "a sizable part of the print and broadcasting media are such guilt-ridden cretins when it comes to Islam that if they saw Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein sexually sharing their own grandmother, they'd swear the poor old lady asked for it."

Australian PM John Howard has strongly criticised the "fragment which is utterly antagonistic to our kind of society. You can't find any equivalent in Italian, or Greek, or Lebanese, or Chinese or Baltic immigration to Australia."

Yaqoob Quereshi, a minister in India’s Uttar Pradesh state government has offered a reward of $11.5 million to anyone who kills any of the infamous cartoonists.

Yaqoob is an official of the government of Uttar Pradesh, which has decided not to take action against him. A government spokesperson added that a prosecution would only be considered if one of the Dutch cartoonists themselves complained. Right....

Egyptian Sandmonkey reports that more people have died in 2006 from "mad cartoon syndrome" than from Bird flu. Something like 40 versus 16.

William Tucker of the american Enterprise Online has a nice idea, "let’s pick a day—I nominate February 28th, in which every newspaper and every TV news station in America will display the offending cartoons. For the faint-hearted there’ll be safety in numbers. It will inform the public and restore our self-respect. It certainly won’t ingratiate us with world of Islam, but what’s the difference? At least they’ll know they’re facing a united front."

Andrew Sullivan writes that the real blaspemy "is not Islamophobia but terrorism propogated under the banner of Islam."

The Telegraph publishes a poll showing 40% of British Muslims want Sharia Law and 20% sympathise with the 7/7 suicide bombers. Labour MP and Muslim, Sasiq Khan finds the findings "disturbing". Home Secretary, Charles Clarke blames modern Britain, "It is critically important to ensure that Muslims, and all faiths, feel part of modern British society. Today's survey indicates we still have a long way to go."

Patrick Sookhdeo warns in the Telegraph over the weekend that Sharia Law is already slipping into Britain adding that the government's appeasement policy is convincing radical clerics that they are wining the battle.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Police inaction fuels racist support

Islamists break the law and the police stand back and watch. Sound familiar?

That's because it is.

The tragedy of the West's unwillingness to combat violence and law-breaking in the Muslim community, is that it promotes Islamophobia in the non-Muslim population. It also allows young thugs the excuse to carry out criminal activites in the name of Islam.

The police's inaction and the authorities' terror at being "insensitive" are becoming a huge propoganda coup for far-right racist parties. Muslim rioting in Oldham in 2001, saw the BNP gain 16% of the vote. It will happen again.

Antwerp, Belgium 2/06; Moroccan youths go on the rampage and attack reporters. Police ordered to watch.

London 2/06; Muslims displaying placards urging pepole to kill the cartoonists. Police make one arrest - a man angry at the demonstrators' placards.

Les banlieue, Paris 12/05; thousands of rioters burn thousnads of cars for two weeks in the Pris suburbs. Police and fire crew refuse to enter the afflicted areas for safety issues and for fear of worsening the situation.

Sydney, Australia 12/05; police ordered not to enter Lakemba to arrest those suspected of assault due to "sensitivity issues"


Clash of Civilisations

Clash of Civilisations? You're just a bunch of right wing nutters.

But there does appear to be some dissent in the ranks.
This from


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Barmy Army on their way...

A sublime catch by Ricky Ponting.
Which reminds me that Ashes tickets go on sale soon. However, it would appear that the Australians are so desperate to avoid a repeat of the last Lions tour (when British supporters outnumbered Aussies in Brisbane amidst a sea of red), that tickets are due to go on sale in Australia a whole month ahead of their availability in England.

You'll need to do more than this lads.

The Barmy Army are coming in numbers...


Friday, February 17, 2006

SuperNanny - Dealing with Islamists

The reaction in the Islamic world to the publication of the cartoons has been likened by many to the displays of petulant behaviour commonly found in children. As any good parent knows, there are five ways to deal with bad behaviour from your children. Maybe the same should be applied to the hysterical wailings of the Islamists.

They are, in increasing order of effectiveness

i) Appeasement - "oh little Jonny doesn't normally behave this way, he must be feeling a little low. What can we do to help you Jonny? TV? Playstation? more crisps? Oh please dont say that Jonny, why are you mad at mummy?"

Causes of parental appeasement; guilt (often as a result of absence), weakness
Result; bad behaviour increases in both the short and long term

ii) Angry retaliation - "shut the fuck up Jonny. If you ever do that again i swear i'll kill you"

Result; immediate cessation of bad behaviour but serious problems loom longer term as vengeance is planned

iii) Ignore - say nothing, do nothing

Result; bad behaviour persists in the short term but less likely to be repeated.

iv) Ridicule - "look at little Jonny. What a temper tantrum! What a baby! Would you like some milk little baby?"

Result; immediate cessation of bad behaviour but seething resentment builds

v) Deal with bad behaviour on the spot and appropriately punish - "Jonny - that is not acceptable. If this persists, you will not be going to football on Saturday"

Result; bad behaviour stops, child realises he is in the wrong and is less likely to play up again, parent retains moral authority and respect.

The best overall approach is to use (v) most frequently with sprinklings of (ii), (iii) and (iv) thrown in.

Maybe Jo, the SuperNanny on Channel 4, should be commissioned to do a new series on "Dealing with Islamists - helping Western governments become better parents"


More offensive cartoons


Ten ways Dick Cheney can kill you


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Non M. Chirac

Jacques Chirac - defender of freedom of speech

also from No Pasaran


Mohammed T-shirts

from !No Pasaran!


That German football cartoon

Unlike the BBC, who report on this article without actually showing it, this is the devastatingly offensive cartoon that is now causing a major diplomatic row between Tehran and Germany.


The Guardian defends communism

For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality writes Seumas Milne

he continues..

With the new imperialism now being resisted in both the Muslim world and Latin America, growing international demands for social justice and ever greater doubts about whether the environmental crisis can be solved within the existing economic system, the pressure for political and social alternatives will increase

no comment


Mobile phone wars

Tip - next time you are in a cinema in the US and someone is screaming loudly into their mobile phone, dont say a word. Or you might get fined $176.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The BBC - inciting hatred themselves?

It's not often i find myself defending Islam against the BBC, but does this really help the moderate Muslim cause in Britain?

Omar Bakri on the Today program today

James Naughtie: "So, if you don't agree with what someone says, exercising the right of free speech, you think you have the right to attack them."

Omar Bakri: "Actually, no - nobody said that..."

OB: "... the freedom of speech doesn't mean at all if you disagree with me I'm going to attack you or I'm going to use violence against you - you see, if you disagree with me I have the right to disagree with you ... but I'm talking about, when somebody goes beyond that, and he starts to insult, you see, a sacred man, like the messenger Muhammad, or like Jesus, or like any other prophet."

JN: "So free speech does not give people, in your judgement, the right to say anything which you find offensive."

OB: "You see, anything, which is offending other people belief or their own honour, I think they have the right to be angry, and that will lead for them to react, and everybody react according to certain code of conduct."

JN: "Well ..."

OB: "And our code of conduct is the Divine Text, not really what the man-made law says, but what God says we should react to any, you know, offending material."

JN: "Well, you use the word 'react', and you use the phrase 'code of conduct'. What does your code of conduct, in your mind, allow you to do by way of reaction? What do you think is justified by what you see as an insult to your faith?"

OB: "Obviously the insult has been established now by everybody, Muslims and non-Muslims, and everybody condemned the cartoonist and condemned the cartoon. However, in Islam, God said, and the messenger Muhammad said, whoever insult the Prophet, he must be punished and executed ..."

JN: "Executed?"

OB: "Yes, that is according to Islam."

Hat tip - Scott Burgess


Monday, February 06, 2006

Stop press - UK media finally to publish new cartoon


Cartoon Wars - Who Said What?

The Good

"We must defend freedom of expression and if I had to chose, I prefer the excess of caricature over the excess of censure,"
Nicolas Sarkozy

"It would be hard to illustrate the core issue of our time more vividly; freedom versus religious extremism. From the threat to Salman Rushdie through 9/11 to the murderous thuggery of Zarqaawi in Iraq, the line is a straight one. And it must not be appeased."
Andrew Sullivan

"Many faiths and ideologies achieve and maintain their predominance partly through fear. They, of course, call it "respect".But whatever you call it, it intimidates. The reverence, the awe — even the dread — that their gods, their KGB or their priesthoods demand and inspire among the laity are vital to the authority they wield. Against reverence and awe the best argument is sometimes not logic, but mockery."
Matthew Parris, Times 4/2

"I would not have published these cartoons had i known that the lives of Danish soldiers and civilians would be threatened"
Carsten Juste, editor of Jyllands-Posten

"Hamas rejects and condemns the insult to our great prophet Mohammed. However, we should not meet abuse with abuse. Hamas rejects any targetting of any institutions, churches or citizensand those who do this do not represent the authentic beliefs of Islam"
Mushir al-Masri, Hamas spokesman

"Whatever your views on these cartoons, we have a tradition of freedom of speech in this country which has to be protected."
David Davis, Shadow Home Secretary

"I will never accept that respect for a religious stance leads to the curtailment of criticism, humour and satire in the press. A Danish government can never apologise on behalf of a free and independent newspaper."
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister,

"It is not normal to caricature a whole religion as an extremist or terrorist movement. But the extreme reaction to the cartoons would suggest the caricaturists were right,"
Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French foreign minister

"It is entirely a matter for media organisations to decide what they want to do. It is a matter for them within the law."
Tony Blair's official spokesman

"Do not be swayed by extremists who want to pursue their own mischievous agenda..but respond peacefully and with dignity”.
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Muslim Coucil of Britain

'This plays into the hands of Muslim extremists. Many people at Friday prayers will want to express their anger, but we say do it within the law.' Inayat Bunglawala, Muslim Council of Britain

"There isn’t an inch to give, nothing to negotiate and no concessions to offer. Those of us who believe in enlightenment and free speech also have unalterable principles which we will not give up."
Christopher Hitchens

"We say to Britain’s Muslims in friendship and solidarity — let’s close Guantanamo and end torture flights before we worry about distasteful cartoons. Shutting down free expression is particularly dangerous for minorities. How can my speech be free if yours is so expensive?"
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty

"We'd take Muslim protests more seriously if they weren't so hypocritical... The imams were quiet when Syrian TV showed Jewish rabbis as cannibals in a primetime series."
Berlin's Die Welt, which republished one of the cartoons

The Bad ...

"In our opinion, the 12 drawings were sober. They were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many Muslims for which we apologize...."
Carsten Juste, editor of Jyllands-Posten

"Freedom of opinion, expression and of the press, which we guarantee and respect, cannot be used as an excuse to insult sanctities, beliefs and religions"
Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian President

"Freedom of speech is never absolute. It entails responsibility and judgment,"
Kofi Annan

"To imply that some great issue of censorship is raised by the Danish cartoons is nonsense. They were offensive and inflammatory. The best policy would have been to apologise and shut up."
Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times 5/2

"Free speech ends when it starts hurting other people."
Ahmad Sheikh, the president of the Muslim Association of Britain

"Those newspapers which decided not to publish cartoons of the Prophet acted wisely and in the public good. Freedom of speech is fundamental to our society and all religions need to be open to criticism, but this freedom needs to be exercised responsibly with a sensitivity to cultural differences." Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford

"Any insult to the Holy Prophet is an insult to more than one billion Muslims and an act like this must never be allowed to be repeated"
President Karzai, Afghanistan

"The cartoons add fuel to the flames"
Peter Mandelson

...And The Ugly

"Re-publication of the cartoons has been unnecessary, it has been insensitive, it has been disrespectful and it has been wrong."
Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary

"We all fully respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable."
Kurtis Cooper, US State Dept

"It is an insult for one billion Muslims. We profoundly respect freedom of expression but these images do not give any information or deliver any opinion. They are purely insulting."
Wadah Khanfar, director of Al-Jazeera TV

"Whoever insults a prophet, kill him."
Omar Bakri Mohammed

"In the West Christianity relinquished the right to be protected of its icons the day that they put Virgin Mary snow globes on sale in the Vatican, but in Islamic culture it’s a very different thing... Islam’s always been a lot more conscientious about protecting its brand and so I think you need to engage with it as a satirist on its own terms.” ".
Stewart Lee, author of Jerry Springer: The Opera

"It is hard to see why the publication of cartoons known to be deeply offensive to Muslim communities is such an important point of principle to the New Zealand media who have published them,”
Ethnic Affairs Minister of New Zealand, Chris Carter


Saturday, February 04, 2006

The UK's spineless media

A roundup of the Cartoon War editorials in the 'serious' UK press

The Times

This newspaper has had anguish of its own over whether to reproduce the pictures at the centre of this saga. At one level, their appearance might be seen as an appropriate response to the fanatics who have demanded their prohibition and could help the reader to understand both their character and the impact that they might have on believers. But to duplicate these cartoons several months after they were originally printed also has an element of exhibitionism to it. To present them in front of the public for debate is not a value-neutral exercise. The offence destined to be caused to moderate Muslims should not be discounted..On balance, we have chosen not to publish the cartoons but to provide weblinks to those who wish to see them.

Translation - our get-out clause is that the cartoons were published a long time ago and are old news.

The Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph has chosen not to publish the cartoons. We prefer not to cause gratuitous offence to some of our readers, a policy we also apply, for example, to pictures of graphic nudity or violence. We are equally in no doubt that a small minority of Muslims would be offended by such a publication to an extent where they would threaten, and perhaps even use, violence. This is a problem that the whole of the Western world needs to confront frankly, and not sidestep.

Translation - we don't want to offend Muslims because we fear reprisals. We're shit scared of them and don't mind admitting it.

The Independent

There is an important distinction to be made between having a right and choosing to exercise it. The editor of France Soir had the right to reprint the offending cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that first caused a stir in the Danish press. But in doing so he was throwing petrol on the flames of a fire that shows every sign of turning into an international conflagration.

Translation - we don't report world events that might be inflammatory

The Guardian

The right to freedom of speech which allows newspapers to publish such provocative cartoons has been hard won, is inextricably essential to liberty, must be robustly defended and has sometimes to be controversially asserted. If free speech is to be meaningful, moreover, the right to it cannot shirk from embracing views that a majority - or a minority - finds distasteful, even on occasions bitterly so. All those considerations point towards a case for wider publication of cartoons which, even though offensive and provocative, say something about uncomfortable issues that are central to the modern world and have triggered an anguished debate in Europe and elsewhere

a wonderful paragraph...but here come the 'buts'

But newspapers are not obliged to republish offensive material merely because it is controversial..It is one thing to assert the right to publish an image of the prophet. As long as that is not illegal - and not even the government's amended religious hatred bill makes it so - then that right undoubtedly exists. But it is another thing to put that right to the test, especially when to do so inevitably causes offence to many Muslims

Translation - We are very confused. One the one hand we do not want to 'shirk from embracing views that a minority find distasteful' but more importantly we don't want to offend Muslims.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Campaign for Nuclear (Dis)Armament

From the letters page of the Guardian

"We Iranian-British academics and anti-war campaigners wish to express our deepest concern about the decision by the UK, France, Germany, US, Russia and China to report Iran to the UN security council."

Check out one of the signatories to the letter - a certain Kate Hudson of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Yes - the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is vehemently opposed to the , err, campaign to disarm nuclear Iran

hat tip - the inestimable Scott Burgess


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day anyone?