Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category
Critics hail Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who debut
The Telegraph’s Michael Hogan said the Scots actor “crackled with fierce intelligence and nervous energy”.
Euan Ferguson, in the Guardian, called his performance “wise and thoughtful”, though decried the plot as “demented”.
At its peak the programme was watched by 7.3 million people, according to official viewing figures.
The BBC said it was the most watched opening episode of a Doctor Who series since 2010.
Apart from anything else the opening dinosaur incident reminded me of Dickens’s initial page in Bleak House and the whole episode felt like Dickens echoing through it spontaneous combustion being an obvious example).
(1) Manet and the Object of Painting by Michel Foucault points out the bewildering perspective in this famous painting.
This was strongly echoed in the episode of the Doctor.
(1) see Foucault on
“Penny is someone who was thrown out of ballet classes at an early age “for teaching the other girls how to masturbate.”
Laurie Penny is to be the next Doctor Who companion – official.
“My very own Christian Grey-flavoured popsicle” is not a phrase I’m going to be able to burn out of my brain any time soon.”
That is the phrase that won her the coveted place.
I repeat, “”Penny is someone who was thrown out of ballet classes at an early age “for teaching the other girls how to masturbate.”
Thus says Michael Ezra.
Who is to gainsay the sage of St John’s Wood (domicile just next to the Norman Bates Hotel, his own gaff former prop Charles Montgomery Plantagenet Schicklgruber Burns).
Indeed it turns out to be true.
Here is somebody who knows something about the matter, Beatrix Campbell
As well as funnier, if equally frank, accounts of how she got thrown out of a ballet class for teaching the other little girls how to masturbate and why her alleged lack of “emotional boundaries” and predilection for large grey knickers have precluded the possibility of ever selling her body for sex.
Shahid Akmal, “white women have the least amount of morals.”
The Birmingham Mail has just revealed another scandal behind the ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations,
Undercover report reveals Birmingham school chief claimed women are ‘emotionally weaker’ and that British people have ‘colonial blood’.
By Nick Sommerlad
One of the ringleaders of the Islamist plot to take over British schools is exposed today as a sexist, racist bigot.
School chief Shahid Akmal told an undercover reporter from Birmingham Mail sister paper the Mirror, that “white women have the least amount of morals”, white children were “lazy” and that British people have “colonial blood”.
Akmal claimed that women were “emotionally weaker” than men and that their role was to look after children and the home.
He defended jailing or exiling gays and adulterers under Sharia Law as a “moral position to hold”.
Until he was removed last week, Akmal was the chairman of governors at Nansen Primary School in Birmingham, where music was banned and inspectors found pupils were not sufficiently protected from radicalisation.
The hardliner revealed he has plans to set up a series of after-school tuition centres to instil “our morals and our values and our principles” in impressionable youngsters.
Over a series of meetings, Akmal made a string of extraordinary statements and defended Britons fighting in Syria and Iraq as “freedom fighters”.
In a defiant attack, Akmal claimed the Government wanted to keep Muslims “suppressed” so they are easier to control.
Asked if white children were lazy he said: “Exactly. Thank you very much. And they don’t want to accept that.” He insisted: “I tell you, our women are much, much better consciously in the heart than any white women.
“White women have the least amount of morals.”
He argued that girls should be taught skills like cooking and sewing while boys should be taught trades like construction and mechanics.
Akmal attacked women who became “high flying” politicians: “She has to sacrifice her family, she has to sacrifice her children, she has to sacrifice her husband, all in the name of equality. And there are so many marriages that have broken up because of this.”
He appeared to defend British Muslims joining rebels in Syria and Iraq, despite official warnings of a terrorism threat when they return to the UK.
He said: “The fact that he has gone there to fight, they say that he is supporting terrorists. Because they don’t believe in the freedom fight.”
The alleged Trojan Horse plotters had been attacked for “wanting the best for our children”, claimed Akmal. He said: “They basically don’t want the children to do any better because they will demand education, they will demand better qualifications, they will want to go to Oxford and Cambridge and that’s a white only place. Very few non-whites go there.
“They want to keep us suppressed. It’s easier to control. If you get education you get a mind. When you get a mind, you ask questions. They don’t like that.
This comes as the Clarke report into Birmingham schools was formally presented.
Amongst its findings ITN highlights this,
Teachers at schools involved in the ‘Trojan Horse’ investigation allegedly claimed the murder of Lee Rigby was “some kind of staged event or hoax”, according to a government report.
The report’s author, retired counter-terrorism officer Peter Clarke, analysed the contents of a social media discussion between teachers at Park View School who called themselves ‘The Park View Brotherhood’.
The teachers allegedly joked about Lee Rigby’s death on the WhatsApp messaging service. Credit: Daniel Reinhardt/DPA/Press Association Images
Clarke’s report says the group of teachers exchanged “highly offensive comments about British service personnel” on the WhatsApp messaging service.
He also described the general contents of the teachers’ discussions as “grossly intolerant of beliefs and practices other than their own”.
School chiefs and parents ‘involved in promoting Islam’
Last updated Tue 22 Jul 2014
Governors, deputy and acting headteachers, trustees and parents were involved in a pattern of behaviour “moving between schools” in Birmingham, an inquiry into alleged ‘Trojan Horse’ schools has found.
In a 151-page report for Birmingham City Council, Ian Kershaw concluded: “The evidence shows individuals have been seeking to promote and encourage Islamic principles in the schools with which they are involved, by seeking to introduce Islamic collective worship, or raising objections to elements of the school curriculum that are viewed as anti-Islamic.”
Mr Kershaw’s report said the problems had been allowed to run “unchecked” due to what he branded “weaknesses in the system and poor oversight of governance” mainly by the city council, but also by Ofsted, the Education Funding Agency and the DfE.
In his report, Mr Clarke, who served as head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit, said he “neither specifically looked for, nor found, evidence of terrorism, radicalisation or violent extremism in the schools of concern in Birmingham”.
But he went on to say: “I found clear evidence that there are a number of people, associated with each other and in positions of influence in schools and governing bodies, who espouse, sympathise with or fail to challenge extremist views.”
The inquiry concluded: “There has been co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action, carried out by a number of associated individuals, to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools in Birmingham.
It said witnesses had expressed three key concerns about the impact of the situation on pupils:
- The first was that teachers feared that children are learning to be intolerant of difference and diversity.
- Secondly, that although good academic results can be achieved by narrowing the curriculum, this means young people are not getting a broad education, and instead their horizons are narrowed.
- Thirdly, that the evidence of young people being encouraged to “adopt an unquestioning attitude to a particular hardline strand of Sunni Islam” raises real concerns about their vulnerability to radicalisation in the future.
Criticising the role of Birmingham city council, the report concluded the authority was “aware of the practices and behaviours that were subsequently outlined in the ‘Trojan Horse’ letter long before the letter surfaced”.
It goes on to say that the council has not supported headteachers faced with “aggressive and inappropriate behaviour”.
Mr Clarke also warned that the DfE had allowed Park View Educational Trust (PVET) – the trust at the centre of the allegations – to move from running a single school to being responsible for three too quickly, without systems in place for holding the new academies to account.
” There has been no evidence of direct radicalisation or violent extremism,” she said. “But there is a clear account in the report of people in positions of influence in these schools, with a restricted and narrow interpretation of their faith, who have not promoted fundamental British values and who have failed to challenge the extremist views of others.
“Individuals associated with PVET in particular have destabilised headteachers, sometimes leading to their resignation or removal. Particularly shocking is the evidence of the social media discussion of the Park View Brotherhood group whose actions betray a collective mind-set that can fairly be described as an intolerant Islamist approach which denies the validity of alternative beliefs.”
She said that it was “upsetting” that efforts to encourage more British Muslims to become school governors had been “damaged by the actions of a few” and urged parents to continue to come forward to serve on governing bodies.
A new education commissioner is to be appointed at Birmingham City Council to oversee action to address the criticisms of the authority in the Clarke and Kershaw reports.”
Shiraz Socialist commented a few days ago,
So we now have a situation in which the two reports commissioned into ‘Trojan Horse’ have both concluded that there was a real issue of organised, ultra-reactionary Islamist influence in some Birmingham schools. The newspaper at the forefront of the campaign of denial that followed the allegations has now relented and faced reality. The leader of Birmingham City Council has acknowledged what happened and apologised. But will those on the left (in particular, but not only, the SWP), who took the Guardian ‘line’ now admit their mistake? More importantly, will the NUT leadership, instead of prevaricating on the issue, now take a clear stand in support of secular education?
One solution: secular education!
Boot Religious Authority out of Schools!
Humanists Show the Way Forward.
Faith Schools Undercover: No Clapping in Class (Monday 14th July at 8pm on Channel 4) revealed:
- Exclusively that even before the so-called anonymous ‘Trojan Horse’ letter came to light the Prime Minister’s office had been warned of what was going on
- Claims by current and former members of staff at Park View – one of the schools implemented in the ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations – that male pupils were given worksheets saying women couldn’t say no to sex with their husbands and also girls at the school were sent home from a sports event because only a male coach was present
- The ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jewish schools in the London Borough of Hackney ‘operating illegally and without the most basic health, safety and child welfare checks’. Channel 4 Dispatches has shocking evidence that Hackney Council, the Department for Education and Ofsted have all known about the schools for years
The programme began with concerns at Oldknow Academy Birmingham. A parent had complained at Christmas not being celebrated and got short shrift. He wrote to the PM.
The most important item was on Park View school,
A former teacher said, on camera, but anonymously that,
“about 60 male pupils were given a worksheet saying women couldn’t say no to sex with their husbands.
She says: “The work sheet categorically said that you know the wife has to obey the man. Well I think it makes the boys feel that they have got that power over girls. The east Birmingham area has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country.”
This was flately, and not very convincingly, denied, by the school.
Local MP Khalid Mahmood says: “I am not talking about here extremism in schools although ultimately it could lead to it, and that’s my fear, is that when you are grooming young people into that sort of a mind-set then its very easy once they leave school is to go that extra additional step.”
He also dismissed suggestions the controversy smacks of Islamophobia.
“Over 200 people complaining to the local authority about what’s gone on and you can’t really claim that it’s a witch-hunt,” said Mahmood, whose own actions have shown him sensitive to the difficulties raised by racist attacks on Birmingham Muslims.
There was a report on Olive Primary School in Blackburn.
During this there was evidence that music in school was discouraged, that clapping was not encouraged, and that other “un-Islamic,” practices were frowned on.
Olive Primary is run by the Tauheedul Education Trust, with two other secondaries in Blackburn.
The Lancashire Telegraph draws attention to one feature of the Trust’s activities,
The programme revealed trust schools hosted lectures by three extremist preachers, including Mufti Ismail Menk banned from six UK universities for preaching same-sex acts were ‘filthy’.
It showed him saying of gay people: “With all due respect to the animals, they are worse than animals.”
In Hackney illegal Jewish religious schools (for the ultra-orthodox) exist,
Channel 4 Dispatches discovered that more than 1,000 boys aged 13 to 16 have disappeared from registered schools in the London borough of Hackney.
Instead they are being sent by their parents to be educated in yeshivas – fee-paying schools where the curriculum is solely religious.
We have identified more than ten unregistered, illegal, schools.
And what’s really shocking is that Hackney Council, the Department for Education and Ofsted have all known about these schools for years.
We’ve seen internal government briefing documents that reveal as early as 2008 the Department for Education was aware of the issue. One document states the Department knows a number of schools are ‘operating illegally and without the most basic health, safety and child welfare checks’.
In 2012 the Department acknowledged those running the schools were breaking the law, but said they preferred to work cooperatively with the community.
There were shots of a school, including a room where Hasidic instruction and disputation was taking place. Students went in an out till late in the day.
The conclusion of this section was very unsettling.
Dispatches contacted the schools featured but have received no response.
Hackney Council, Ofsted and the Department for Education told Dispatches their concerns date back many years and they are aware of all the schools on our list.
They say they’ve been working to get them registered.
The Department for Education, who Ofsted and Hackney say have the power to take action against the schools, told Dispatches that ‘where applications for registration are still not forthcoming we will press for a prosecution as it is a criminal offence to operate an unregistered illegal schools.’
The programme seemed to suggest that the Council, out of concern for religious and cultural feeling, was unwilling to act.
Andrew Gilligam reports,
Government documents obtained by Channel 4’s Dispatches and the Jewish Chronicle newspaper say that many of the schools are “operating illegally and without the most basic health, safety and child welfare checks”.
Many boys in the Orthodox Jewish community in Stamford Hill, London, “will stop secular studies at the age of 13 or 14 and start attending ‘yeshivas’ where the curriculum is solely religious,” the documents say.
Between 800 and 1000 boys aged between 13 and 16 are “missing” from the school system in the borough of Hackney alone, the papers add.
Undercover filming by Dispatches in and around the schools shows the boys packed more than 50 to a classroom in dirty, run-down buildings, some converted houses. More than a hundred boys were filmed going in to an illegal school in Lynmouth Road, Stamford Hill, arriving from 7.30 in the morning and leaving late at night. The establishment is believed to be one of twelve illegal schools in the neighbourhood.
In 2011, about one third of the 20,000 state funded schools in England were faith schools, approximately 7,000 in total, of which 68% were Church of England schools and 30% were Roman Catholic . There were 42 Jewish, 12 Muslim, 3 Sikh and 1 Hindu faith schools.
The British Humanist Association says,
“Around a third of all state-funded schools are schools ‘with a religious character’ – the legal term for ‘faith’ schools. This number has grown in recent years as successive governments have increased the influence of religious groups in the state-funded education system.”
That is, with the introduction of Academies and Free Schools, this percentage is believed to have risen.
Faith Schools Undercover noted their role in encouraging ethnic and cultural segregation.
The idea that parents have the right to run, publicly funded, education that promotes their religion, is fundamentally wrong.
Some liberals seem unable to respond to the issues raised.
There are those who claim to be on the left who find excuses for these arrangements.
They claim that criticisms of, notably, the Birmingham schools, are an ‘Islamophobic’ conspiracy.
This completely fails to look at the problems religiously-run schools create – as indicated by the Channel Four Dispatches documentary.
It indicated that concerns had a solid basis.
The National Secular Society sets out a much better position that those wishing to sweep the subject of Faith education under the carpet.,
Rather than facilitating the segregation of pupils along religious lines, we would like to see steps taken to ensure children of all faiths and none are educated together in a respectful but religiously neutral environment.
As long as faith schools are publicly funded, we campaign for an end to exemptions from equality legislation that allow them to select pupils on the basis of the religion, or religious activities, of the child’s parents.
We are concerned that the Government’s desire for greater proportion of academies and free schools, which are independent and self-governing, will see more and more control of state funded education handed to religious organisations.
Dispatches showed more than enough reasons to back this stand.
The author of many of the pro-religious education policies, Michael Gove, is now Chief Whip.
He has been replaced by even more faith-influenced minister, Nicky Morgan, a Tory MP who voted against same-sex marriage, as education secretary. She “continues as minister for women and equalities”.
Happier Days for ‘Red’ Charlie Kimber.
How a respectable public schoolboy fell amongst reds and came to a horrible end.
“Young Charlie Kimber was a real hard red,
He even read Das Kapital in bed,
At Eton, where he studied hard,
The scholars thought him quite a card.
When Kimber, he was twenty-three,
His daddy bought him S.W.P.
His comrade, the honorable Alex,
Was both his helpmate and his bollix.
Charlie stopped the port and vintage wine,
and going out to restaurants to dine.
Just mushy-peas and Mars-bars fried,
no more tomatoes ripe sun-dried.
He dropped his ‘aitches one by one,
And shouted when the Gunners won.
He drank white cider by the bucket,
And stacked his tinnies on the buffet.
One day their paper made a joke,
A first – against a younger Eton bloke.
A Bear and death, were cause for fun,
And a very laboured pun.
Dukes and Lords, they cut him out
The papers loathed the filthy lout,
Kimber, he was full of glee,
He kept right on his prolo spree.
One day he journeyed to the Zoo,
It was a conservationist do.
He drank Jack Frost till he was tight,
And then he sailed off to the night.
Pausing by a large black cage,
A Polar bear in hopeless rage.
A paw reached out, and struck him dead.
That was the end of Charlie Red.
It is the duty of the wealthy man,
Not to ape the artisan.
Polar Bear in London Zoo: not unlike the one that thumped Charlie Kimber.
Below: Socialist Worker. See The Independent.
Hudūd Penalties and Tax on Kuffār: The Caliphate.
A Sunni armed group which controls large areas of Iraq and Syria has announced the establishment of a “caliphate” straddling the two countries, urging other groups to pledge allegiance.
In an audio recording released on Sunday, the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant declared its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, “the caliph” and “leader for Muslims everywhere”.
“The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organisations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas,” said the group’s spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani. “Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day.”
As another source (The Long War Journal) says,
“The lengthy statement largely defends the Islamic State’s decision to announce the formation of the Caliphate, a controversial move that is sure to send shockwaves throughout the jihadist world
Here are some extracts,
This Is the Promise of Allah.
“succession is to utilize all that for the purpose of compelling the people to do what the Sharia (Allah’s law) requires of them concerning their interests in the hereafter and worldly life, which can only be achieved by carrying out the command of Allah, establishing His religion, and referring to His law for judgment.”
“The time has come for those generations that were drowning in oceans of disgrace, being nursed on the milk of humiliation, and being ruled by the vilest of all people, after their long slumber in the darkness of neglect – the time has come for them to rise. The time has come for the ummah of Muhammad (peace be upon him) to wake up from its sleep, remove the garments of dishonor, and shake off the dust of humiliation and disgrace, for the era of lamenting and moaning has gone, and the dawn of honor has emerged anew. The sun of jihad has risen. The glad tidings of good are shining. Triumph looms on the horizon. The signs of victory have appeared.”
“Here the flag of the Islamic State, the flag of tawhīd (monotheism), rises and flutters. Its shade covers land from Aleppo to Diyala. Beneath it, the walls of the tawāghīt (rulers claiming the rights of Allah) have been demolished, their flags have fallen, and their borders have been destroyed. Their soldiers are either killed, imprisoned, or defeated. The Muslims are honored.”
“Ahlus-Sunnah (The Sunnis) are masters and are esteemed.”
“The hudūd (Sharia penalties) are implemented – the hudūd of Allah – all of them. The frontlines are defended. Crosses and graves are demolished. Prisoners are released by the edge of the sword. The people in the
lands of the State move about for their livelihood and journeys, feeling safe regarding their lives and wealth. Wulāt (plural of wālī or “governors”) and judges have been appointed. Jizyah (a tax imposed on kuffār) has been enforced. Fay’ (money taken from the kuffār without battle) and zakat (obligatory alms) have been collected. Courts have been established to resolve disputes and complaints.”
It does not take much imagination to see that this is a totalitarian hell-hole.
One wonders how some on the ‘left’ like Socialist Worker continue to come out with lines like the following,
“Muslims who want to fight Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship in Syria and now the government in Iraq are being portrayed as the major problem.
The politicians and police never consider the feeling of injustice and persecution that leads young men to want to go and fight.”
It would be more accurate to say that the minority of Muslims from Europe, who respond to the call of the Caliphate, wish to inflict injustice and persecution.