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Reasons, again, to Hate St George’s Day.

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St George’s Day: Celebrating Everything English.

 

Celebrations “from the archaic to the eccentric” are planned across England as David Cameron says St George’s Day has been overlooked for too long.

Celebrations will include a feast in Trafalgar Square, bell ringing at churches across the country and an annual “asparagus run” in Worcestershire to welcome in the harvest.

The day has also been commemorated with a Google Doodle, an animation showing George on horseback ready to fight the dragon.

This year, the Prime Minister said that the cross of St George will fly proudly above No 10 as they honour everything it is to be English.

Mr Cameron said: “Up and down the country – including here in Downing Street – the flag of St George is flying high and celebrations – from the archaic to the eccentric – are taking place.

“In Plymouth – a patriotic festival; in London – a great feast in Trafalgar Square; in Leicester – a medieval re-enactment; and in Worcestershire – an annual ‘asparagus run’, to welcome the new harvest.

“St George has been England’s patron saint since 1350. But for too long, his feast day – England’s national day – has been overlooked.

“Today, though, more and more people are coming together on or around April 23, eager to celebrate everything it is to be English. And there is much to celebrate.

Daily Telegraph.

Celebrating everything that it is to be English.

That’s the rub.

Me I celebrate Chaucer, Dickens, and mushy peas (the day they were invented).

Cameron does not figure, some tat in Trafalgar Square, and a bleedin’ asparagus run?  Asparagus originated in Egypt and  was a famous Roman dish, whence the name,  via the  Latin from Greek asparagos .as far as I am aware).

As for the Traflagar Square – Monday apparently – look as this sad commercial do,

Organised by the Mayor of London, the Feast of St George is inspired by St George’s Day’s 13th century origins as a national day of feasting.

There’ll be an English farmers’ market, with around 20 stalls selling mouth-watering treats like hog roast, homemade pies, cakes and freshly squeezed lemonade – all can be enjoyed in a splendid banqueting area seating 250 people between Trafalgar Square’s iconic fountains.

In Cooks’ Corner, supported by Northbank, see live demonstrations from leading London chefs as they cook up English dishes from past and present.

The afternoon’s soundtrack comes courtesy of the Music Medley bandstand with talented young musicians and singers from GIGS, the Mayor’s busking competition.

There’ll be plenty of activities for the kids too with a marquee full of family activities and an outdoor games area where you can try a range of traditional garden games.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson says: “Our Feast of St George is set to be a day of revelry and merriment for all the family, with delicious food and a whole host of activities for all ages.

About the only Englishness I can thole is this kind:

A Ballade of an Anti-puritan

They spoke of Progress spiring round,
Of light and Mrs Humphrey Ward-
It is not true to say I frowned,
Or ran about the room and roared;
I might have simply sat and snored-
I rose politely in the club
And said, `I feel a little bored;
Will someone take me to a pub?’

The new world’s wisest did surround
Me; and it pains me to record
I did not think their views profound,
Or their conclusions well assured;
The simple life I can’t afford,
Besides, I do not like the grub-
I want a mash and sausage, `scored’-
Will someone take me to a pub?

I know where Men can still be found,
Anger and clamorous accord,
And virtues growing from the ground,
And fellowship of beer and board,
And song, that is a sturdy cord,
And hope, that is a hardy shrub,
And goodness, that is God’s last word-
Will someone take me to a pub?

Envoi
Prince, Bayard would have smashed his sword
To see the sort of knights you dub-
Is that the last of them-O Lord
Will someone take me to a pub?

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Alain Finkielkraut, France’s Peter Hitchins, elected to Académie française.

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Alain Finkielkraut a été élu à l'Académie française. Entre amour passionnel de la langue et de la littérature et une pensée qui s'est radicalisée, retour avec Jean Birnbaum du « Monde des livres » sur cette entrée polémique.

New Low for Académie française.

I suppose any institution claiming to represent the heights of French culture that includes  former French President and mediocrity Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (still, amazingly, alive, though it’s often hard to tell)  lacks, shall we say, all credibility.

But the election of Alain Finkielkraut to the “immortals” has introduced a new low.

Finkielkraut occupys the same place in French philosophy and culture, as, say, Peter Hitchins.

He began with some, middlebrow, writings in the tradition of Emmanuel Levinas. He celebrated Jewish culture and sometimes offered penetrating insights into post-Shoah Jewish identity. Some may admire his stand on the break up of Yugoslavia, where he was beside himself against Serbia. Fewer, perhaps,  would have admired  his close friendship with Croat leader, and Holocaust denier, Franjo Tuđman.

In recent years Finkielkraut has been distinguished by a relentless hatred of anything he believes threatens French identity.

If anybody wants to distinguish left-republican secularism from what Finkielkraut’s critics call his « républicano-communautariste » it is easy to do.

He explicitly attacks multiculturalism  from the right, offering only a tale of woe and decline faced with immigration and métissage (Mixing, cultural and ethnic). As one can imagine he has had the courage of those going with the grain of conservative prejudice to oppose “political correctness” – a term as wide as it is vacuous.

By contrast Jean-Luc Mélenchon has explicitly defended” ” métissage” as the basis for a new class unifying republican socialist  left.

Over the last year Finkielkraut has become even more obsessed – were it possible – with “l’identité française”.

He complains that France is an “auberge espagnole” (a pejorative term, in this context,  for a mixture of people living together)  in which the ethnically true French dare not speak out. (L’Identité malheureuse, d’Alain Finkielkraut. 2013)

Despite the occasional exalted language Finkielkraut resembles a Peter Hitchins, or a French version of Nigel Farage.

It is with no surprise that we learn that his election to the Académie française met opposition. The columnist scraped in with 16 votes out of the 28 members of the august body.

Birmingham Islamists Take a Gramscian Turn.

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School sign composite image

Birmingham Islamists  battling for Hegemony over Civil Society.

Salafists  have,  like other religious groups, for-profit businesses, people with a self-appointed mission to run schools and bigots (not a term excluding the former categories )taken advantage of  the government’s education policies.

“The academy status, as promoted by schools minister Michael Gove, allows them to be run out of the control of the local authority, with funding provided direct from central Government.”

So no surprise that, “Leaked letter suggests Salafi parents be enlisted to help as they adhere to a more orthodox form of Islam.”

From their strategy document on how to mobilise support,

‘The only way to do this is to tell each parent that the school is corrupting their children with sex education, teaching about homosexuals, making their children pray Christian prayers and mixed swimming and sport.

‘If you can get them to be very vocal in the playground as they drop off or pick up their children that will stir up other parents.

‘The parents MUST be given direction and told not to discuss this with anyone, you only need a maximum of four parents to disrupt the whole school, to send in complaints to question their child’s education and to contact their MP and local authority.’

The story so far….(Birmingham Mail)

An alleged plot by Islamic fundamentalists to take over Birmingham schools by ousting headteachers and staff through dirty tricks campaigns is being investigated by education chiefs.

The city council and the Birmingham Mail have received documents which purport to show Jihadists are targeting schools and orchestrating false allegations against staff, including non-Muslims, in an operation dubbed Trojan Horse.

Meanwhile, West Midlands Police have reopened a fraud investigation at one school named in the supposed leaked letter – and Ofsted is currently conducting a snap inspection at another.

The documents claim to be leaked written correspondence from one Birmingham fundamentalist to another in Bradford and details plans to roll out Trojan Horse to Bradford as well as Manchester.

The letter states some Birmingham headteachers have already been forced out and predicts others will follow.

**Police probe ‘fake letters’ at school as two heads named in document quit**

Meanwhile, police have confirmed to the Birmingham Mail that a fraud investigation has been reopened at Adderley Primary School after the documents came to light. It is understood the investigation centres on allegations of ‘faked’ resignation letters.

Both schools were named in the documents, along with Saltley School.

The documents claim former Saltley headmaster Balwant Bains would ‘soon be sacked’. In fact, the much respected principal resigned last November after a damning Ofsted report criticised his “dysfunctional” relationship with governors.

An alleged plot to oust headteacher Tina Ireland at Regents Park Community School by ‘planting the seed’ of SATs cheating allegations is also detailed in the documents.

The long-serving and respected teacher and her deputy, Michelle McCusker, resigned in October after education chiefs scrapped the primary school’s SATs results following cheating allegations.

The Guardian adds,

The alleged plot was condemned by Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4UK, a group which aims to promote active Muslim engagement in British society. He said: “The contents of this document are very disturbing. On the face of it this would appear to be part of a radical agenda by a tiny yet highly committed group of activists to impose their very conservative and bleak vision of Islamic teachings in our schools by fomenting division and distrust against the existing school leadership. It constitutes highly objectionable and unethical behaviour.”

More reports: Independent, Daily Mail, BBC.

Ben Gummer, Ipswich MP, to ‘abolish’ National Insurance.

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Ben Gummer’s Political Programme.

Ipswich Tory MP Ben Gummer is famous for a number of  things.

  • He has ” suggested shaking up local government so that councillors solely representing local businesses could be elected to town halls.Mr Gummer acknowledged the idea “had no hope of getting into a manifesto” but pointed to the City of London, as a model for how his idea works in practice.The City is governed by the Corporation of London, which is the oldest local authority in England having been founded in medieval times.Elections there give votes to both firms and residents. (BBC 2012)
  • For his book, The Scourging Angel: The Black Death in the British Isles. Gummer suggested that the Catholic Church played a noble role in comforting the sick and helping stem the worst effects of the plague. This may or may not be taken as seriously. We note that his Catholicism has not helped him take a stand against the misery that “welfare reform” has brought to many of his constituents. Or to help the present-day unwell fight off the ATOS pandemic.
  • Being a Toady, a founder indeed, of the Royal Guild of Toadies. This has earned him the position of adviser to Michael Gove.

Today we learn this,

A Conservative MP is campaigning for national insurance contributions (NICs) to be rebranded the “earnings tax” in a move that has caught the eye of the chancellor.

Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, is bringing forward a 10-minute rule bill this week that proposes changing the name as the first step towards merging it with income tax.

It is highly unlikely to make it into law through this route but George Osborne, the chancellor, is said to be attracted to the idea.

Gummer has been campaigning on tax transparency as a merger of income tax and NICs could make it clearer to people how much they are paying to the exchequer out of their earnings.

National insurance, first introduced in 1911, is levied on employers and employees to pay for certain benefits such as the state pension. It works out at around 12% per year, plus an extra 2% for earnings above £41,450.

Guardian.

Ipswich Spy notes that renaming National Insurance  is a demand of the hard-right Tax Payers’ Alliance*.

Gummer states that “Taxpayers are consumers”, including no doubt employers.

Nobody should be in any doubt as to which ‘consumers’ he is most interested in.

A recent post (14th February)  on his Blog shows where he stands, “ANGLIAN WATER SHOWS WHY PRIVATIZATION CAN WORK.”

Now he wants to get people aligned with the bosses to complain about the level of tax, that is the “earnings tax”.

Gummer’s support for the City of London and hard-right free-market ideas are no secret.

Perhaps  Georgi Dimitrov was thinking of the likes of Gummer when he talked of “of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital.”

*The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has called for National Insurance (NI) to be scrapped to make the tax system simpler and more transparent. The need for tax reform has never been more pressing, particularly in light of this week’s revelations about HMRC errors.

The campaign group says National Insurance serves no purpose and has set out a package of measures to merge both employers’ and employees’ contributions with Income Tax. The call comes as part of the Treasury’s call for feedback as part of its consideration of the integration of the operation of the income tax and National Insurance contributions system……

The move could significantly reduce the burden on businesses of complying with these taxes, as well as making it easier for people to see exactly how much tax they are paying on their earnings. Here.

The Spectator underlines our point.

After describing the Ipswich Toad Eater’s proposal notes, 

That’s all very noble in itself. But there’s another point, which Gummer isn’t focusing on, but which is politically handy to his party. Labour wants a greater emphasis on raising taxes after 2015 than the Conservatives do. But because tax rises aren’t very popular, the best way to do this beyond some symbolic taxes such as raising the top rate back to 50p (if that raises anything more at all) and introducing a mansion tax would be to focus on the mysterious National Insurance. But if National Insurance became an Earnings Tax and it was clearer to the electorate what it is, then the Tories wouldn’t need to work quite so hard on their ‘stealth tax’/’jobs tax’ campaigns as they have before.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 24, 2014 at 10:53 am

“Stalin was Diamond Geezer” says Labour Candidate Andy Newman.

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Diamond Geezer say Labour Candidate Andy Newman. 

“Stalin was great says Red Ed’s man.”

So sayeth the Sun.

The Daily Mail helpfully adds,

Red Andy, the Labour hopeful who says Stalin improved living standards and the Berlin Wall was ‘a great success’ (but Ed says the party HASN’T lurched to the Left).

At first glance, Andy Newman would appear to be a good fit with the affluent Wiltshire seat, held by Liberal Democrat Duncan Hames.

Educated at a private school   (Editor’s note I didn’t know that – another reason to hate Newman) and Oxford University (same as previous)  Mr Newman’s CV bears the hallmarks of a modern Labour politician.

However, a delve into some of his recent writings suggests the union official is determined to keep the Red Flag flying over the West Country.

He has called the Berlin Wall ‘a great success’ and praised the ‘significant improvement in working class living standards’ during Stalin’s Great Terror.

He described the attacks on Pearl Harbour as the ‘opening salvo in a war between two rival imperialisms’ – equating America with wartime Japan under Emperor Hirohito – and branded the Dalai Lama a ‘figurehead for slavery’.

In the run-up to his selection last month, the telecoms engineer set out some of his uncompromising beliefs in articles in ultra-left-wing publications.

Paying tribute to Stalin’s character, whose brutal dictatorship led to the deaths of millions of citizens, he wrote earlier this year: ‘We should recognise how Stalin was the creature of his times; and not alone in culpability.

‘What is more, the character of Stalin, who almost through a feat of sheer will industrialised and militarised the USSR to defend itself against the Nazi threat, was also the character that ruthlessly regarded people as expendable. It did give Stalin the attributes needed to be a great war leader’.

And in 2009, Mr Newman, who is the local branch secretary of the GMB union, used a piece in Socialist Unity to put a positive gloss on the tyrant’s rule

Describing him in apparently respectful terms as ‘the Stalin’, he wrote: ‘Free market capitalism had seen worldwide depression in the 1930s and had led to fascism and war.

‘Meanwhile the USSR’s economy had achieved staggering success in the same period, including a significant improvement in working class living standards, despite the Stalin’s terror’.

In the same article, he wrote warmly of the Berlin Wall: ‘If we set to one side the issue of personal liberty, the [Berlin] wall was a great success.’
Our hearts are bleeding at the right-wing press witch hunt.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm