Brick Lane and our right to be offensive
Britain under New Labour has certainly become a more reactionary, conservative and oversensitive place to live and work. It seems as though the worst thing you could possibly do to someone is offend their feelings or sensibilities. Witness the bizarre spectacle of Ruby Films being forced to shoot a film about Brick Lane in another location, all because some locals have objections
about the content of the film being made.
Abdus Salique, the self-appointed leader of the Brick Lane 'community' has gone further and has threatened to blockade streets in the area and burn Monica Ali's book
, 'Brick Lane' at a forthcoming demonstration this Sunday. Salique also added that if Monica "has the right to freedom of speech, we have the right to burn books. We will do it to show our anger. We don't like Monica Ali. We are protecting our community's dignity and respect."
Well, I'm sorry, but that is blatantly ridiculous. Imagine a society where we have to avoid hurting someone's feelings all the time. The simple answer to that, is we would never say or write anything that smacked of controversy anymore. The problem is, people in a truly free and open society express strong opinions, they also uphold deep and sincer beliefs that might upset some people - but, that's just tough, that's life. Nobody has the right to demand silence from those who have hurt their feelings or who have offended their sensibilities.
I don't know about Salique and his bunch of miserable book burning zealots, but, what I do know is I want to live in a society that is open and free, I want a society where we feel free to say or film whatever we choose. I'd suggest that those like Salique who want to live in a world devoid of any offensive thoughts and ideas, that they should take up being a Benedictine monk instead.
UPDATE: I also recommend you look at this highly opinionated post by the Pub Philosopher
. No apologies if this post causes great offense.
Environmentalism, it should be classed as a religion
Environmentalism seems to be converting what are legitimate concerns into some all-purpose cult like religion. It's fast becoming the supreme source and standard of all values in human day-to-day life. Humanity, does in fact, face a very real threat in the future, but, it's not from the melting polar ice-caps, or from too many hurricanes. The danger isn't from the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, nor is it from planetary levels of CO2, or global warming - the threat comes from environmentalism itself.
What are the fundamental goals of environmentalism? Is it a project to advance human health and life? Why has nature become valued above humanity, and why is the natural world worshipped like some kind of primitive religion? Environmentalists loathing of the industrial world, and of the technological and scientific revolutions, demonstrates perfectly their contempt for humanity. Otherwise, they would welcome and support the technological and scientific achievements that have eradicated pestilence, famine and diseases that had plagued humanity before the Industrial Revolution.
When environmentalists talk about 'sustainability', what exactly are they talking about? What does sustainability really mean? In reality, and in social terms, it actually means satsis, an abnormal state of inactivity, to sustain oneself you need to stand still, to not make great stride forwards, to not make progress - because, at the end of the day, what exactly is the ideal world for the environmentalist? It's certainly not 21st-century Western civilisation that's for sure - it's more like the Garden of Eden, or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Environmentalism is being forced down our throats like never before. According to one well known climatologist, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, a bishop in the Church of England, those who do not repent at his altar of global warming righteousness, are deemed not holy enough for his forgiveness. Indeed, the wrath of the mighty and holy church (of environmentalism) will be bought to bare against the sinners who have the termerity to go 'flying on holiday or buy a large car'
. Imagine having the bare face cheek to go on holiday, or to buy a 4x4? Global warming is no longer even a scientific issue these days, as Rev Chartres argues, we "stand before God’s judgment on these matters."
Authoritarianism: ID card's through the 'green' door
Everytime I talk about 'green' authoritarianism, I'm constantly told that I'm exaggerating the extent of any authoritarian streak environmentalists may have. Well... I say don't take my word for it, take a quick look at what the environmental secretary, David Miliband
(pictured right) has in store for us all. He's proposing a scheme that would force people to carry a swipe card, that would have to be presented whenever you make a purchase. Apparently, everyone from the 'Queen down' would be expected to account for their carbon 'footprint' by being allocated a 'personal' and annual carbon allowance.
David Adam, environment correspondent for the Guardian
, made a very important point about this 'green' scheme; "The move marks the first serious step towards state-enforced limits on the carbon use of individuals". Adam's also mentions that the scheme "extends the principle of carbon trading - already in place between heavy polluters such as power companies and steel makers - to consumers, with heavy carbon users forced to buy unused allowances from people with greener lifestyles".
Just in case you thought you might still have some individual choice in the matter, Colin Challen, Labour chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on climate change, added that "it will inevitably have to be introduced so that consumers, along with other sectors, take responsibility for what they do". So now it looks as if we will have no choice but to accept the governments draconian measures to 'fight against climate change', and the Isle of Wight looks set to be 'green' guinea pigs for Milibands pilot scheme - apparently, it's the 'obvious' place for a pilot (only because it's an island, so you can't get off). Funny thing is, Challen seemed apprehensive about testing this scheme on the people of the Isle of Wight - indeed, he moaned that he was "not sure how happy they would be with that". Well.. If they wanted to make people 'happy', they should first stop trying to sneak in compulsory ID cards through the 'green' door for a start.
All the Middle East's a stage
The kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers
by the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, has set into motion dreadful and appalling consequences for the people of the Middle East. The region is now fast becoming a worldwide stage-show, a theater where militarised public relations stunts are now pretty much the norm.
William Shakespeare once wrote that; "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players"
. All sides and players in this conflict seem to be playing to the gallery, or in other words, all sides are hell-bent on provoking reactions that are guaranteed to get the most amount of international coverage and media headlines. Take for example Hezbollah's threat to engage in a 'all-out-war'
, but, the reality is rather different, wildly firing rockets in the general direction of Israel and snatching a couple of squaddies does not really amount to much, let alone all out war. In Clausewitzian terms, Hezbollah and Hamas are engaging not in an 'all-out-war', but more a militarised PR stunts.
The same can be said for Israeli military strategy at present. For example, the bombing of Beirut airport and bridges are simply symbolic gestures on the part of Israel. These bombings will not end Hezbollah attacks in southern Lebanon, so what was the point? With Israel becoming more, and more isolated throughout the world
than ever before, Israel finds itself under emence pressure to demonstrate it's continuing authority. However, these demonstrations of Israeli might have unforeseen consequencies for Israel, and for the rest of the Middle East.
The danger now, is that the Middle East is heading towards a process of 'Balkanisation' as pointed out by Mick Hume
"Things are unravelling across the Middle East, raising the danger of an increased Balkanisation of the region as states fall apart. It is not that the conflict is worse than in the past; the military exchanges have been pale shadows of the wars and invasions of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 or even 1982. But from America downwards, none of the political players involved today is capable of getting a grip on events."
All of the political players in this current cycle of bombing and counter bombing are being swept away by events - there seems to be no end game in sight - but, if there's one thing I know, is that the solution to all of this military mess rests solely with the peoples of the Middle East, and no one else. Not the UN, the EU, the G8 or NGO's, they all just need to keep their dirty meddling hands off.
The rise, and rise of 'green' authoritarianism
(pictured left), a single mother of three children from Exeter, has become the first person to be charged and prosecuted for alledgely failing to recycle her household waste properly. Exeter city council have accussed Challice of putting improper waste, like food into her 'green' recycling bin, kindly provided by the new green authoritarians, Exeter city council.
However, the council did not have any evidence whatsoever that Challice had contaminated the recycling bin. Indeed, the miserabalist Mike Trim, who is the recycling officer for the council tried to argue that it 'will be hard to bring cases like this if there has to be direct evidence of an individual contaminating a recycling bin'
. Stupid me, thinking that you need 'direct evidence' before you can prosecute someone for a crime. Fortunately, for Challice, the local magistrates decided to throw the councils case out of court because... you guessed it, 'there was insufficient evidence to convict' Challice.
I suppose now we can expect council jobsworth like Mike Trim, to be hiding in bushes near you soon, armed with a pair of binoculars, a dictaphone and a camera with a zoom lens, at the ready to get his 'direct evidence', and woe betide any man, woman or child that has the termerity to flout the city council's ribbish, draconian 'green' recycling policies.
Picture: The Times (London). 2006
Peter Tatchell: the real threat to free speech
"Does free speech include the right to encourage racist and homophobic murder? Asks Peter Tatchell
in an article he wrote on comment is free - well... the answer to that is 'yes, it does'. As far as I'm concerned, music, in and of itself, is a straight issue of free speech. We either have the right to play, sing or listen to whatever music takes our fancy, or we don't have that right. It's as simple as that.
Alternatively, we could have a new 'free speech aparthied'
, which is what Tatchell, and the rest of his ban-happy-mob really wants, but, they are so dishonest, they wouldn't openly admit that. Tatchell, and his followers of cronies apparently do believe in the idea that free speech is a worthy cause, so long as they have made their approval of it first. If they don't approve, then they do what they did last week, and run to the police to stamp over somebody else's right to free speech. As Brendan O'Neill quite rightly argues, Tatchell, and his band of free-speech-is-ok-but floozies 'have no shame' in begging the police to clamp down on black peoples rights and freedoms.
Modern jet-set lifestyle, represents freedom
Those professional miserabalists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change
published a report late last year, which suggests that the government needs to put the brakes on air travel in the future if we are to combat climate change. The current environmentalist obsession with reducing CO2 emissions means that any growth in aviation would be catastrophic to their main aim of 'decarbonising' the planet and 'stabilising' the climate.
I've always thought it was quite funny and hypocritical how ecological journalists, activists and politician's jet around the planet in order to tell a worldwide audience that the aviation industry was eco-enemy number one. Indeed, some went further by arguing that flying in a jet plane was just as bad as being a child abuser. How jetting to the Mediterranean, or America, once a year can be equated with being a kiddie fiddler is not difficult to understand, if you're a hardcore environmentalist.'Global warming means that flying across the Atlantic is now as unacceptable as child abuse'.
Well... I fly across the Atlantic (and elsewhere), on a regular basis, and I view my travel around the globe as a fundamental freedom that simply cannot be curtailed. But environmentalists like the columnist George Monbiot, thinks my jet-set lifestyle is akin to being a child abuser. Monboit and other eco-worriers are pointing their green fingers at those awful people like me who are quick to jump on jet planes because the price is so cheap - how could I unthinkingly jet to the Med, or the States, and pollute as I go?
In fact, air travel is not a problem. If there is a problem with air travel, is that it's still over priced for my liking - and should be cheaper still. In any case, cheap air travel has meant that millions of ordinary Britons can now explore the world, and seek out new horizons. Why anyone in Britain would want to go to Blackpool or Skegness for their summer holidays is beyond me (I'd rather not bother going on holiday at all). That seems to be the objective behind environmentalist concerns with cheap air travel, to get all those cultureless proles to abandon their jet-set lifestyle and settle for the cold waters of Hastings, or Brighton instead.
Any curbs on cheap air travel is a direct attack on my freedom to travel anywhere I want to go. I consider jumping on a jet plane as a liberating experience - what we need is a bit more 'skies the limit' thinking, not the middle-class miserable morality of reduced consumption and sustainability.
Really good arguments against nuclear power? Well... I haven't heard any yet!
The issue of nuclear power has exploded back on the political table in Britain, like never before. Everyone seems to agree that the UK desperately needs to find a way to secure our future enrgy supplies - and at the same time, commit Britain to the strict Kyoto Protocol programme of global-decarbonisation.
However, this debate in Britain is effectively being run soley by anti-science/nuclear environmentalist organisations like the Sustainable Development Commission
- yeah right, who are they? When it comes to the issue of nuclear power, it is these people who have had all the running. Backed, and funded by New Labour, and supported by nearly every other Green party/organisations
throughout the country.
Who knows, there might really be a decent argument out there for opposing the development of nuclear energy and science - but I have not heard a decent one yet. All I've heard is scaremongering of the highest order, from an un-elected quango, who actively seek to deny our society even the mearest possibilty of developing nuclear science for such things as medicine, or for transport, and of course, as a source of energy.
If you ask me, I think the SDC is suffering from a mild dose of radiation sickness. How else can you explain their statement that 'a new nuclear programme would give out the wrong signal to consumers'? The wrong signal? Ahh... you mean we might get the foolish idea that state-of-the-art nuclear power stations, up and down the country, will stop us believing that we have to consume less energy - when, in fact, we'll be able to buy even more energy than ever before, and for less money as well - instead of being brainwashed into believing that we should make do with a lot less energy.
The SDC are deep down dishonest, why don't they just come out with it, and openly say they despise most new technologies, especially nuclear, they don't trust ordinary people, and they think the skies going to collaspe on their heads.
Our modern way of life, is second to none!
I have total faith in the Western modern way of living. I'm sick to the teeth with those who continually bombard my hightech, multimedia communication systems, banging on and on, about how the modern way of living is a complete nightmare
, or worse - a total disaster.
Our society has indeed lost faith. There is no faith even in its own finest achievements. People in the West now live longer, are richer in wealth, and fitter in health than ever before. Even those who are now classified as poor in developed societies like mine (the UK), have access to goods and services that are far beyond even the imagination of the super-rich a century ago.
I've heard modern farming methods described as 'like Auschwitz'.
Modern food is more often as not, described as 'toxic'
- the people who eat food bought from supermarkets are said to be in a state of 'toxic overload'
. Modern medicine is deemed by many to be the real killer of people
, and not the other way around. But the real truth is, there is no substance to most of these stories. Critics of the project of modernity have no real viable alternative to it. Critics of modernism seem to want less and less technological advances, not more. The critics of the modern way of life would love humanity to go back to a 'pre-modern era', ie... back to the caves no doubt.
I want to see the unfettered growth of Western science and its application in society, and throughout the world. It was not wars that led to great social change in the past, it was the compass and the telescope that overthrew religious fuedalism over two hundred years ago. The broadband internet is my weapon of choice against the modern day philistines. So viva modernity and Western science - because, this is what I have faith in.
Picture: Erno Goldfinger building in Elephant & Castle. London. 2006.