Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

Comment about Poverty and the Destruction of the Irish Health Service from Video of Protests in Eire

September 26, 2022

Earlier this evening I found on my phone a video of a Cost of Living protest posted on YouTube by People Before Profit National two days ago. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it on my computer, so I don’t know what’s happened to it. I think it may have been from Eire, by a single comment I found posted to it. That was very interesting, and ran:

‘This cost of living crisis is not a new thing, and people’s lives have been adversely affected for a very long time.

As stroke, cancer, asthma patients, and disabled people have had no access to health, no access to medications, no access to treatment and no access to operations,, and no access to services for over four years, as GPs have stopped accepting medical card holders, and those minority vulnerable groups who are on low pay are faced with no other choice but to pay for GP, prescription and medication costs, in a country where healthcare is supposed to be free.

FF, FG and the Greens have a lot to answer for in the manner in which minority vulnerable groups are mistreated in Ireland, and this coming budget will do nothing to address those massive inequalities, or discriminations the silenced minority already face in everyday life. In 2022 it is a democratic, political and and human rights crisis how the sickest and the poorest people in society are living as fifth class citizens, and I hope the YouTube overlords do not block this from being posted in the comment section, like they do when people speak out against these issues.

Let’s Go Socialism (followed by a heart and a thumbs-up sign)’

The video to which this comment was attached only played for a few minutes before the screen turned black. I don’t know what happened to it or the comment so that I can’t find either of them using my computer. But I am very interested in the comment and what it says about the state of healthcare in the south. I don’t understand Irish politics and know nothing about the Irish healthcare system. But from reading the comment it sounds like Irish government have been starving it of funding, forcing the sick and disabled to pay for GP visits and their medicines. It sounds very much like what Liz Truss and the Tories would like to see in Britain with their cuts and privatisation of the NHS.

Best of luck and solidarity with everyone fighting these policies in Ireland, Britain and everywhere else.

Simon Webb Asks ‘What’s Wrong with Fascism?’

September 16, 2022

Well, it looks like Simon Webb of History Debunked has finally gone full Mosley. And you never go full Mosley. He’s put up a piece today asking, ‘what’s wrong with fascism?’ He argues that fascism is viewed negatively because it’s confusion with Nazism. But socialism has also committed horrible atrocities and run death camps. In contrast to this, he points to the Portugal of the dictator Salazar in the 1960s, which was prosperous and had kept out of the Second World War. And fascism, he explains, is neither communist nor capitalist.

No, I’m not going to put the video up here. Because he’s arguing for fascism after all. Now he’s got a point in that some political scientists and historians do make a distinction between Nazism and Fascism. Nazism is at its heart a form of biological racism and has its own origins unique to Germany, while Italian Fascism was a form of militaristic nationalism which included elements of both socialism and capitalism. However, Italian Fascism was also imperialistic, calling Italy a ‘proletarian nation’ that had been unjustly deprived of colonies by the great powers of Britain and France. It invaded Greece, Albania and Yugoslavia, as well as Tripolitania in north Africa and Ethiopia. In nearly all these countries the Fascists committed horrendous atrocities. They also developed racial policies similar, but not as harsh as the Nazis, defining Italians as Aryans as contrasted with the Jews, who were expelled from various professions. Both Nazism and Fascism supported and protected private industry, but the economy was centrally planned by the state. Germany was a complete dictatorship under Hitler, in which the Reichstag was only called once a year to sign the act stating that Germany was still in a state of emergency and so Hitler’s dictatorship could legally continue, In Italy Mussolini let the Italian parliament continue for a few years until he replaced it with a chamber of Fasces and corporations. A corporation in this case was an industrial organisation, one for each industry, that contained both management and the unions. By the 1930s there were 27 of these. They were supposed to run the various industries, but in practice they served just to rubber stamp the decisions Mussolini had already taken.

I’ve read some of the comments that have been left on the video. Some of them are rants against Tony Blair’s period in office and complaints that it was supported by a biased media. Well, one paper stood against him – the Daily Heil. And you can wonder who had the real power in Blair’s relationship with the media, as he was always worrying whether his policies would meet the approval of one Rupert Murdoch. And Blair was a Tory in all but name. Thatcher, remember, regarded him as her greatest achievement. I’ve also notice that several of the commenters can’t spell Nazism. They’ve spelled it ‘Natzim’.

Of course, it hasn’t just been the association with the Nazis that has tarnished Italian Fascism. It’s also the various brutal dictatorships that have appeared across the world that committed horrendous atrocities, like the various military dictatorships in Latin America, the most famous of which is General Pinochet’s in Chile, as well as Greece under the Colonels. You can also attack his argument by pointing out he deliberately confuses socialism with communism. Communism is a form of socialism, but it is not the definitive form. For most British Labour supporters and politicians before Blair and his stupid, Thatcherite ‘Third Way’, socialism meant democratic socialism, which supported and included parliamentary democracy, and a mixed economy. This was the type of socialism practised by the reformist socialist parties of western Europe, like the German Social Democrats. And this form of socialism was keen to support human rights and democracy to a greater or lesser extent, as shown in the various people who joined anti-apartheid and anti-racism movement and gave Khrushchev a hard time when he visited the country about the imprisonment of socialist dissidents in the USSR.

I’ve left this comment on Webb’s video. I wonder if anyone will reply.

‘Salazar is probably best viewed as a reactionary Catholic like General Franco, rather than a pure Fascist. His books apparently are pretty much about Roman Catholic dogma, rather the secular ideas which informed Italian Fascism. And Fascism wasn’t just nationalism or dictatorship. Would your readers want definitive features of fascism like a state-directed economy, even if it is done through private industry and the corporate state, in which parliament is replaced by a chamber representing industries, each corporation including management and unions, which is charged with running the economy?’

Priti Patel to Resign as Home Secretary

September 5, 2022

That’s the headline that’s come up on the online news feed for a piece from Sky News. I’d be delighted, as she has been a vile autocrat who care only for her self-aggrandisement, treats immigrants and this country’s native people of all race with absolute contempt, scorns such concepts as human rights and natural justice and screams and bullies her own staff. She’s nothing but a public school sneer in an expensive suit.

But I’m afraid her replacement will be even worse.

Get the lot of them out!

Message from John McDonnell about Left Labour Online Event ‘Tackling Truss’

September 5, 2022

I got this notification just this evening from Corbyn’s right-hand man about an online event Wednesday evening about resisting the newly anointed Tory leader, Liz Truss.

Tackling Truss – A message from John McDonnell

GET INVOLVED: Register here // Share me on FB here // Retweet me here

Hello David

The scale of the cost-of-living crisis deepened over the summer whilst Boris Johnson went missing. And now we have a new PM in Liz Truss who is proposing a massive offensive on our rights rather than the action people urgently need to protect jobs and livelihoods. At the same time, she will continue an economic policy aimed only at guarding corporate super-profits and further push a reactionary divide-and-rule social agenda.

But Truss though will also face growing resistance – from the wave of militancy and action sweeping through our trade union movement, to groups like Don’t Pay and Enough is Enough, to the ever-growing climate justice direct actions, to BLM, #KillTheBill and all those taking to the streets to defend our rights.

This situation could quickly become not just an economic crisis, but an unprecedented social and political crisis, meaning that it’s vital we discuss now what challenges Truss’ agenda poses for our movement and what it represents, but also what opportunities for resistance and winning the alternative may open up in the weeks ahead.

Please therefore join us on Wednesday September 7 at 7pm for a vital online discussion on ‘What Next?’ and let’s go forward together with our trade union and social movements, building the resistance, and ultimately changing the system too.

Yours in solidarity,
John McDonnell MP (via Arise.)

PS: Register now here and spread the word here.’

I’ve registered because Labour, and the broad left in general, need to unite and formulate proper tactics for resisting this latest inmate of free market ideology and the threat she poses for ordinary working people.

Labour Left Proposed Motions for the Labour Party Conference

September 4, 2022

The Labour party conference is looming and Arise, the Labour festival of left-wing ideas, has sent these suggested motions out to their supporters so they can propose them to their local constituency parties, in the hope that they’ll accept them and propose them at conference. The email I had and the proposed motions run:

Model Motions Recommended for Labour Party Conference 2022

Hello David

Please find below and online here suggested model motions for Labour Party Conference. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 15 September 2022 at 5pm and the word limit is 250 words. They are on supporting public ownership, defending asylum seekers, supporting a pay rise for workers plus those unions taking industrial action to this end. and speaking up for Palestine.

Best wishes,
The Arise – a Festival of Left Ideas Volunteer Team.

1) Public ownership Motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity

Public Ownership is Necessary and Popular
 
Conference notes:
That public ownership is popular with voters, with polling indicating these levels of support:

  • Energy – 66% (Survation, 2022)
  • Water – 69% (Survation, 2022)
  • Royal Mail – 68% (Survation, 2022)
  • Railways – 67% (Survation, 2022)
  • Buses – 65% (Survation, 2022)
  • Social Care – 64% (Survation, 2020)
  • NHS – 84% (YouGov, 2017)

Additionally, 61% of the public think local and central government should try to run services in-house first, before outsourcing (Survation, 2015,) 82% want schools to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020;) and 63% want utilities to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020.)

Conference believes:

  • The crisis caused by soaring energy bills and the scandal of raw sewage being dumped into rivers this Summer have highlighted the failures of privatisation in Britain.
  • Private companies are making mega-profits from public services – these vast sums should instead be invested to improve services, to give their workers a pay increase and to lower costs for consumers.
  • That the Tory corruption and outsourcing crises during the pandemic have further illustrated the need for public ownership and democratic control.
  • A clear commitment to extending public ownership of key utilities and public services can be a big vote winner for Labour.

Conference resolves:

  • To oppose further Tory privatisation and outsourcing, including of the NHS, education and council services.
  • To support public ownership of key services and utilities including energy, water, railways, buses, social care, the royal mail and the NHS.

2) Motion on asylum seekers & Rwanda from the Arise Volunteer Team:

Labour should oppose the sending of asylum seekers to Rwanda

Conference notes:

  • the commitment of both candidates in the recent Tory leadership to the unethical, inhumane and racist Tory policy of forcibly sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, and the widely-condemned Nationality and Borders Act (NABA,) with its two tier system of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ refugees that would prevent some 99 percent of refugees from seeking asylum and its threat to the citizenship of 6 million people in Britain. UNHCR said the Nationality and Borders Bill would “penalise most refugees seeking asylum”.
  • the scale of opposition to the Government’s inhumane treatment of refugees who just want to rebuild their lives here in safety.
  • the decision of the European Court of Human Rights which forced the cancellation of the first scheduled flight on 14 June 2022.
  • Public polling shows increasing support for asylum seekers’ rights, including their right to work.
  • Other disastrous aspects of the ‘hostile environment’ policy over recent years including the Windrush Scandal and the notorious ‘Go Home’ vans.

Conference resolves:

  • For the Labour party to clearly oppose this obscene Tory policy in its entirety as part of campaigning for an end to the ‘hostile environment’ and against racist anti-immigrant narratives, including through a commitment that the next Labour Government will immediately cancel the Rwanda Asylum Scheme.
  • To oppose “no recourse to public funds”, NHS access restrictions and other ‘Hostile Environment’ policies.

3) Pay and backing trade union action motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity:

Britain Needs A Pay rise

Conference notes:

Twelve years of the Conservative Government’s low-pay agenda has significantly diminished the real value of people’s incomes with average real wages still below 2008 levels;

The situation is getting worse. Real pay dropped by 4.1% in June compared to the same period last year, with record falls of 3.4% in the private sector and 6.7% in the public sector;

The imposition of significantly below-inflation pay awards which amount to real terms pay cuts;

An increase in trade union campaigning for improved pay awards, from protests to strike ballots and industrial action;

That 76% of people support the view that pay should rise in line with the cost of living (Survation August 2022)

Conference believes:

Below-inflation pay offers will increase poverty and hardship;

That the Government should not impose real terms pay cuts on public sector workers;

It is wrong that many private firms are imposing real terms pay cuts while making big profits, awarding bonuses and large dividend payments;

Recent trade union campaigns, including strike action, have led to numerous enhanced pay awards.

Conference resolves:

To oppose the Conservative Government’s imposition of real terms pay cuts;

To support inflation-proofed increases in pay in both public and private sectors and urgent measures to restore the real value of pay lost under successive Conservative Governments since 2010;

To support a National Minimum Wage of at least £15 an hour.

To support trade union campaigning, including through backing workers taking industrial action, to achieve these aims.

4) Palestine motion from Labour & Palestine / Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Justice for Palestine

Conference strongly condemns:

  • Israel’s renewed bombing of Gaza in August 2022 killing 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, and notes the UN Special rapporteur description of it as an  act contrary to International law. 
  • the Israeli army’s killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and beating of her coffin bearers by Israeli police.
  • the outlawing of 7 NGOs including Addameer; the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and Defence for Children International – Palestine.

Conference recognises that these events are illustrative of the conclusions of leading human rights organisations including B’tselem, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, and further erode any possibility of a just solution.

Conference notes policy passed at Labour Party Annual Conferences 2018 ,2019 and 2021 in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against Israel’s ongoing violations of their rights and of international law.

Conference Resolves:

  • To support the application made in April to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling for an investigation into the Israeli government’s systematic targeting of journalists.
  • To stand in solidarity with all human rights defenders and fully oppose the Israeli government’s attempts to silence them
  • To adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel in line with policy passed at previous Conferences, including banning trade with illegal settlements and ending the ongoing arms trade.
  • To oppose fully any UK legislation aimed at preventing legitimate and democratic solidarity actions in support of the Palestinian people.’

These policies are popular and necessary. Among the polls showing public support for renationalising the utilities, I’m massively impressed that 82 per cent want schools to be in public hands. As for the motion on Palestine, it really amazes me how anyone in a genuinely left-wing party could support the closure of quangos devoted to protecting women and children. If ‘100 per cent Zionist’ Starmer supports this, then he’s a depraved monster, utterly unfit to govern any country devoted to humanity and the rule of law. This shows that hardly anybody wants academies or a return to grammar schools, despite the Tories constantly pushing them. I’m going to check with my local constituency party to see if these or similar are among the motions they are going to discuss this Thursday prior to conference. If they aren’t, I will propose them.

This will undoubtedly annoy the Blairites, especially the motion on Palestine. I’ll let you know if they start throwing around any fake accusations of anti-Semitism again.

Professional Therapist Stephanie Winn Interviewed by Trans-Critical Author Helen Joyce about the Myth of Gender Conversion Therapy

July 4, 2022

On Saturday I posted a piece about the email I received from the chair of LGBTQ+ Labour and Anneliese Dodds about the Labour party’s proposed policies for gay and trans people and their intention to give them greater protection under the Equality legislation. I have no problem with gay equality. What does concern me is the pair’s proposals to ban trans conversion therapy alongside gay conversion therapy. Gay conversion was a brutal form of what can only be described as medicalised torture. Clive Simpson, a gay YouTuber, has described its horrors in one of the videos I put up yesterday to support some of the points I made in my reply to the Labour party. Gay conversion therapy used aversion therapy to try to ‘cure’ gay men of their sexual attraction to other men. They were given electric shocks while being shown pictures of naked men. Alternatively, they were given drugs that made them sick. They were also locked in their rooms for three days at a time, not allowed out even to go to the toilet. They were also deprived of food and water as this was also believed to make the process more effective. I have absolutely no hesitation in describing this treatment as hell, and that the people inflicting it on their patients were sadists. Such procedures have, however, been mercifully illegal since the 1970s.

There is a profound difference between gay conversion therapy and supposed trans conversion therapy. The activists demanding a ban on trans conversion therapy do not say what they consider trans conversion therapy to be. There’s thus a real fear that any such ban will mean that the only legally permitted form of treatment for gender-confused and trouble children and adults will be the affirmative model. This form of states mandates the therapist to agree with the patient that they really are of a different gender than their biological body, and must set them on the path for medical transition. This may be appropriate for some, but not all, as many sufferers who believed they were trans had underlying mental health or emotional issues which were the real sources of their confusion, and which should have received treatment instead. There is a growing community of detransitioners who believed they were trans, underwent clinical transition, but now believe they were wrong and are trying to get back, as far as possible, to their birth gender. There is an online community of 20,000 of them and its seems some of them are considering legal action against the therapists who put them on the trans pathway.

Stephanie Winn is a licensed therapist and councillor in Oregon in the US. She is also the host of this, the ‘You Must Be Some Kind of Therapist’ podcast. In this edition of the podcast, she’s interviewed by former Economist journo and anti-trans author Helen Joyce about how she came to be opposed to the affirmation-only model while treating confused teens. She speaks about the dangers of the laws in America as enacted in individual states, which seek to outlaw gender conversion therapy, as a result of which she stopped treating children and moved instead to setting up help groups for adults with children experiencing these problems. Because of this and her social media presence, she was targeted by trans rights activists and a former member of one these support groups, who complained to the board about her. She describes her struggle to combat these false allegations and her eventual success. She also goes through the specific Oregon legislation banning gay and trans conversion therapy, showing that it’s unnecessary and actually harmful in the case of trans people. She also foresees a time when the ban on trans conversion therapy will be seen in its way as savage and barbarous as lobotomy and other discredited and deeply unethical medical practices.

The blurb for the podcast reads

’11. ”Helen Joyce: Debunking the Myth of Conversion Therapy’, I recently emerged victorious from a harrowing battle and successfully defended myself against false allegations of “conversion therapy.” Part of how I got through the stress of it all was envisioning that some day I would be able to use my story to encourage and inspire others. But what I couldn’t have imagined was that I’d share it with the illustrious Helen Joyce. Under any other circumstances I would have loved to interview Helen. But in this conversation, she actually interviewed me, in the hopes that my story could help her organization demonstrate to UK officials how including “gender identity change efforts” in its “conversion therapy bans” could backfire. So today, this is my story: where I started off; my experiences as a gender-affirming therapist; what brought me around to seeing matters differently; why I decided to take a stand against gender ideology and medicalization; how I found the courage to share my views publicly; who targeted me, and why; how I defeated them; and what I want lawmakers around the world to understand about these proposed “conversion therapy bans” (hint: they’re not what they seem.) This is a very timely conversation, so I bumped it to the front of the queue and am publishing it right away. I hope to have Helen back another time to discuss her own ideas. But for now, I really appreciate this opportunity to share my story with Helen, and the world. If I do say so myself, this is an important conversation for therapists, governing bodies, lawmakers, those seeking therapy, and anyone who cares about the treatment of gender issues in today’s society. Helen Joyce is author of “TRANS: When Ideology Meets Reality”, published in July 2021 by OneWorld and in paperback since May 2022. A Times of London and Spectator book of the year, it is a UK and Amazon top ten bestseller. It received rave reviews in publications ranging from the Telegraph to the New York Times, and endorsements from, among others, Daniel Dennett (“A sane, humane book”), Lionel Shriver (“Utterly unintimidated by extremist orthodoxy”) and Richard Dawkins (“Thoroughly researched, passionate and very brave”). Helen now works as Director of Advocacy for Sex Matters, a human-rights organization that campaigns for sex-based rights. Her journalism can be found on her website: thehelenjoyce.com’.

In the podcast, Winn makes the point that the barbarous methods of gay conversion therapy are now illegal. Sexual orientation is fixed, and these methods were absolutely failures. They could not prevent gay men from still being attracted to other men, and certainly couldn’t make them attracted to women. All they could do is destroy their self-esteem. Gender-identity, on the other hand, is, in her words, incredibly mercurial. She makes the point that there are underlying mental issues with many of the teenagers experiencing difficulties with their birth gender. Sometimes these are mental health problems or mental conditions like autism, which can give some of the symptoms that may be interpreted as trans. Sometimes they’re internalised misogyny or homophobia. She talks about instances where the sufferer or their families believe it’s preferable to have a live daughter than a dead gay son. She also saw many lesbian girls, who seemed to want to transition partly out of loneliness. As lesbians they were in a narrower pool of potential romantic and sexual partners than if they were men. Part of the process of treating them involved reconciling them to the fact that as lesbians, they would have more difficulty finding partners, but that it was all right to be gay.

She makes it very clear that she’s opposed to gay conversion therapy, and that there’s nothing wrong with being gay. It doesn’t hurt anyone, except where there’s homophobia, and doesn’t cost anything. The affirmative-only model, however, sets gender confused people on a long medical process of puberty blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones and finally surgery. This has profoundly detrimental effects on the patients’ lives and health. The drugs and hormones actually shorten their lives and the treatment as whole sterilises them and leads them unable to experience orgasm, an important part of sexual relationships. She is afraid that the poor health many trans people therefore suffer will leave them vulnerable to suicide.

She also believes very strongly that the contemporary explosion of Rapid Onset Dysmorphia amongst girls is a social contagion. Previously there was only a small number of people seeking treatment as trans, and they were mostly boys. Now its a large number of girls. It looks very much to her like a social contagion, passed on by teenagers and young people reading about it on the internet. She is also concerned about children using the threat of committing suicide to force their parents and therapists into accepting that they are really of the desired opposite gender. This is another tactic kids have picked up from the Net. She talks about how she set up her support group for the parents of trans-identifying kids to reassure them that they were right and not the bigots their children and trans activists accused them of being. This, however, allowed one woman, who only attended the group once, to accuse her of malpractice. She was able to seek very capable legal advice, and the case was eventually dismissed. She also pre-empted the trans activists attack on her for what she was posting about on the Net by informing the ethics board first, resulting in their accusations also being dismissed.

She states very clearly that the affirmative-only model is not the sole method of treatment. For the majority of gender confused kids it is only a phase they go through before emerging as gay adults. And that’s fine by her. There are also plenty of other therapies and forms of counselling that can effectively treat the condition so that the sufferers do not have to transition. What therapists should not be doing is giving in to children who insist they are of different gender. These are teenagers, and no-one makes sensible decisions or knows what’s really best for them as a teenager. Many of them are uncomfortable going through puberty, and Winn asks if anyone was ever comfortable with this period in their lives. Unfortunately, the law has given these children a terrible weapon to use against those therapists who disagree with them and believe it is more appropriate to use alternative forms of therapy. She also states that if all the therapists were like her and stood up against the affirmation model, then the laws banning gender conversion would be struck down. But they’re not. Many are afraid of their patients suing them if they don’t agree with them. She concludes by saying that people must stand up as the responsible adults to this oppressive, harmful attitude. She compares it to an incident when her 13 year old son accidentally drilled into his hand. This caused a lot of pain and distress, but the injury wasn’t serious. And so, she says, into gender confusion. But she is very critical of the passage in Oregonian legislation that states that gender confusion is not a mental disorder. She states that according to the accepted medical definitions, a mental disorder is a condition that causes distress so extreme that the person experiencing it is unable to get on with their lives properly. And most trans people do indeed spend their time consumed with this problem to their great distress. She also observes that there has been a mental change in young people generally. While previous generations were more outward-oriented, geared towards others, this one has become more inward-oriented, obsessed with how they present and what others will think of them. She states that when she started off, she believed that most of the issues she would experience with girls would be about crushes. But it isn’t. She therefore spent her time treating girls by telling them that not everyone would like them, and some would even actively dislike them, but that this was normal and natural.

The pair discuss what the proposed legislation about banning gender conversion therapy may mean in England. Winn tries to answer the question by citing her experience as a therapist in Oregon. Winn states that gay conversion therapy is already banned, and all trans conversion therapy means is that someone questioned whether the patient really was a member of the opposite sex to that of their birth. She is also expresses the same scepticism towards the statistics cited in the Oregon legislation, though she accepts that some of the people cited as having experienced gay conversion therapy are probably older men, who really did go through such horrific maltreatment. When it comes to England, the pair hope that such legislation banning gender conversion will be rejected by MPs and voted down.

This is a fascinating video, as a proper, licensed therapist Winn is well worth listening to for her criticisms of the trans ideology, the affirmative-care model of treatment, and the misguided laws that mandate and support this. The podcast is, however, 2 hours and four minutes long, so if you listen to it, you may wish to do so in sections.

Niall Ferguson and the Right-wing Historians Are Wrong: Property Rights in Islam Existed Before British Empire

June 29, 2022

Okay, this is another post in which I’m going to break my own feeble attempts not to write anything about Ed Hussein’s book, Among the Mosques, until I finish it, when I will write a proper review. But there’s a piece in the book where Hussein makes a point that is very much relevant to the debate about the compatibility between Islam and modern British society and its constitutional underpinnings. And it contradicts part of the propaganda for the British empire spouted by Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts. Both these historians have argued that the British empire was a Good Thing because it gave the world democracy, capitalism and property rights. But one of the imams Hussein talks to, Mufti Jalal, the deputy imam of an Islamic seminary in Luton. Jalal praises the British constitutions and its freedoms because, in his view, these preserve the fundamental higher objective – maqasid – of the Islamic law, as identified by the 11th century imam, al-Juwaini. Hussain writes

“Our sharia is the British constitution.’ he says. ‘The Maqasid of the sharia are best preserved in Britain. I came back here after Egypt, Turkey and Yemen with a deeper recognition of the historical freedoms of England, but too many Muslims don’t understand that turning against this country is turning against our own selves.

‘At one point I studied under Haitham al-Haddad, who thinks we need to implement Islamic law against the “liberalism” of the West. I didn’t agree with this, so I left, but his influence is on the rise.’

The Maqasid, or Higher Objectives, are aspects of the sharia that were enshrined in Islamic law by jurists as early as the eleventh century, particularly by Imam al-Juwaini (d. 1085) in his Ghiyath al-Umaan (The Salvage of the Nations) and his students over the centuries. There are five aspects to the Maqasid as laid out by al-Juwaini: the preservation of family, life, faith, intellect and property; these are intended to form the basis on which the sharia has followed. The British legal system, with its fundamental values of individual liberty and freedom of expression, is a perfect working model of the main aspects of the sharia, applied to the context of modern life.’ (p. 236).

John Locke,, one of the founders of the British liberal tradition, believed that people had the inalienable right to life, liberty and property. This influenced the American Founding Fathers, but they changed it to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, although they also strongly supported property rights. But as Hussein’s conversation with Mufti Jalal shows, property rights were most definitely recognised in Islam, and not an import from the West. As for the compatibility of Islam and western democracy, I found a review of Hussein’s book from the Financial Times in 2021, written by Tanjil Rashid. It criticises Hussein’s book for focusing on the highly reactionary mullahs and their rejection of democracy and western values. Rashid argues that the clergy are unrepresentative and out of touch. He points instead to an Ipsos Mori poll that found that 88 per cent of British Muslims strongly feel British, 7 in 10 believe Islam is compatible with western liberal society, and only 1 per cent want separate, autonomous Muslim communities. The early Persian activists campaigning against the despotism of the Qajar shahs also admired Britain and its traditional liberties. An early revolutionary book, written in Turkish, called for the introduction of civil rights and praised British law, which the writer believed were based on the sharia. They weren’t, obviously, but clearly at that time social opinions in western society were sufficiently similar to those of progressive Muslims that they were considered to be identical.

Message from the Stop the War Coalition about their National Day of Action Tomorrow

June 24, 2022

Stop the War Coalition sent me this email this afternoon giving the details about the protests they’ve organised up and down the country as part of a day of action tomorrow, Saturday 25th June 2022.

International Day of Action – Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the International Day of Action for Peace in Ukraine. It also coincides with Armed Forces Day and the NATO Summit in Madrid where global leaders will discuss upping the alliance’s ante in response to Ukraine.

That means we must step up our campaign too. Tomorrow is the anti-war’s opportunity to get out onto the streets and say loud and clear No To War & No To NATO. 

The British government has taken one of the most aggressive and belligerent positions on the conflict. Britain is pouring arms into Ukraine and is training Ukrainian troops. Boris Johnson has twice flown to Kyiv to pour cold water on any prospect of peace negotiations. Our focus has to stay on shifting British government policy and opening up prospects for a negotiated end to the war. 

In London we are holding a protest tomorrow outside the Ministry of Defence. We will be there from 2:00-4:00 pm. Do join us.

We have a great line-up of speakers including: Mohammad Asif, Director of Afghan Human Rights Foundation; Alex Gordon, President of RMT; Lindsey German, Convenor StWC; Andrew Murray, Vice President StWC; Roger McKenzie, Liberation general secretary; Kate Hudson, CND general secretary; and musician Sean Taylor.

Join the Protest Tomorrow

And, it’s not just London… The anti- war movement is growing all over the UK. We have a record number of groups up and down the country organising on a local level, from Dorset to ManchesterSheffield to Shrewsbury!

Get along down to your local event. Find the FULL list and details by clicking below. 

Protests Around the Country

We are asking all groups to report back on how it went. So please do send us pictures and a few sentences about your Day of Action by emailing us back so we can include yours in our roundup.

.Email us Back!

Their email also discusses a new pamphlet available from the Coalition against NATO’s aggressive eastward expansion. This helped to provoke Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, although that certainly doesn’t it excuse his invasion.

NATO; A WAR ALLIANCE – NEW PAMPHLET!

Get your pamphlet – newly updated for 2022 today.

The events of 2022 have put the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and its policies under the spotlight more than at any time in the post-Cold War period. The brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in February forced many to reflect on the effect of NATO’s aggressive eastward expansion. Though it does not excuse Russia, there is no doubting that it has contributed to the current dangerous situation the world finds itself in.

Featuring contributions from Andrew Murray, Lindsey German, Kate Hudson, Chris Nineham, Carol Turner, Matt Willgress and Jenny Clegg.

Get your pamphlet Today!

Stop the War Coalition on their Protests Planned for this Saturday

June 21, 2022

I got this email from the Stop the War Coalition about a number of protests they’ve organised for this Saturday, 25th June 2022.

We have groups up and down the country – from Glasgow to Southampton – organising for the International Day of Action this Saturday. 

In London we are holding a protest outside the Ministry of Defence.

We will be there from 2:00-4:00 pm. Do get along if you can.

We have a great line-up of speakers including: Mohammad Asif, Director of Afghan Human Rights Foundation; Alex Gordon, President of RMT; Lindsey German, Convenor StW; Roger McKenzie, Liberation general secretary; Kate Hudson, CND general secretary; George Solomou, former British soldier who resigned over the Iraq War; and musician Sean Taylor.

The war in Ukraine is ongoing and on the brink of escalation. It is fast developing into a proxy war between Russia and NATO and it is the Ukrainian people who are suffering the consequences.

Rather than sending extra missiles to Ukraine, the British government should be urging for a ceasefire and getting both sides around the negotiating table in peace talks. From the beginning of the war we demanded that Russian troops withdraw from Ukraine and that the British government stop fuelling the conflict.

Join the Protest

There are protests organised in DorsetLondonManchester, Sheffield, BrightonGlasgowSouthampton and Cardiff plus other events in NottinghamYork,  Hull and Shrewsbury.

If you’ve got a protest or event organised let us know

I’m Organising An Event on 25 June

I strongly support Ukraine’s right to exist as a free, independent sovereign state and utterly condemn Putin”s invasion. As for Putin, he’s a monster. Since he came to power Putin has demonstrated over and over again that he’s an authoritarian butcher with nothing but contempt for democracy and the rule of law. He’s done everything he can to all but outlaw public protest, has banned those parties that look like beating him in elections, and the journalists that dare to criticise him have had visits from his thugs to show them the error of their ways. And twenty years later, the murder of the Russian dissident Politovskaya, who was a very trenchant critic of the arkhiplut, still looks very suspicious. He started a murderous war in Chechnya at the beginning of this century, which included horrific massacres of the civilian population, such as in the city of Grozny. And his wretched long arm has stretch out over here to assassinate his critics and foes who’ve taken refuge in our great nation.

But Stop the War’s analysis of the situation is right. There is a profound danger of the war escalating. We had a general only the other day telling us that British troops should be prepared to fight in Europe. This is terrifying. I think the Coalition are correct in saying that NATO should not have expanded up to the Russian border, so that the Russians felt threatened. This was the original agreement signed after the Fall of Communism and the end of the Cold War. But it was violated and as a consequence this terrible, evil war has broken out.

We desperately need peace, and far more jaw-jaw not war-war. As John Lennon said, ‘Give peace a chance’.

European Court Bans Rwanda Flights, So Tories Now Talking about Leaving It and Getting Rid of Its Human Rights Legislation

June 20, 2022

More dangerous nonsense from the Johnson gang currently holding Britain hostage. A few days ago the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the deportations of the channel migrants to Rwanda was illegal and stopped it from taking place. This has sent the Tories and their supporters into what Molesworth would sa was ‘a fearful bate’. They and various right-wing YouTubers are now suggesting that Britain should leave the court, and that Boris should issue a British bill of rights. You know, like parliament did at the time of the Glorious Revolution. They’ve been talking about this for as long as Brexit has been an issue, if not before. How dare those dreadful foreigners tell us what to do! Patrick Stewart made an excellent video about this issue a few years ago. He played a Prime Minister, who said he was physically sick of Europe and European legislation. His cabinet then inform him that the European legislation on human rights is based very much on British law, and that we were one of the major parties to its compilation. If you’re against European Human Rights Legislation, you’re also attacking it’s basis in British law, at least when it was formulated. But why worry about such petty historical facts when you have the chance to get the Brexiteer public into a frothing nationalistic rage?

And then there’s the problem of what the Tories are going to replace the European legislation with. The chances are that it’s going to be much weaker on protections. We’re already seeing the Tories passing legislation to clamp down on demonstrations, especially after the various protests by Extinction Rebellion. My guess any Bill of Rights the Tories pass will be worse, and very much curb the right to free speech and assembly, as well as a range of other rights, all while proclaiming that it’s doing the opposite.

Tony Benn is absolutely right. He said that what the Tories would do to migrants, they will start doing to the rest of us. And they are.

They are using the public outrage against migrant deportation – outrage they have done much to foment – to begin another stage in their campaign to deprive the rest of us of our rights. Let’s not fall for their lies and nationalist hysteria.