The government has vetoed an order by the independent freedom of information watchdog to release the minutes of cabinet meetings held immediately before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
The decision was announced on Tuesday by Dominic Grieve, the attorney general, the only minister to have access to papers of a previous administration, in this case Tony Blair’s Labour government.
He described the case as “exceptional” and one where, in his view, the public interest demanded the papers should be kept secret. He says he took into account “serious potential prejudice to the maintenance of effective cabinet government”.
I can’t describe how surprised I am at this decision.
Gough’s latest conviction is his 17th in 10 years. Since May 2006 he has been in a run of short sentences broken by the same fleeting freedom: he’s effectively been in custody for nearly six years for refusing to get dressed. At a recent hearing, it was suggested he could be in prison for the rest of his life. “People often have to go to prison for many years,” he said, “before others see the light.”
Teehee, doesn’t Mill say everyone should have the right to design their own lifestyle? Gough’s nudity doesn’t cause harm, certainly not in the way Mill defines it, although it does cause offence. Should causing ‘offence’ be used as a justification to restrict someone’s liberty? Mill thought so in regards to modesty and anything sex related, which appears to be the exception to his rule. Funny how sex can do that…
In the summer of 1981 Bradford’s Asian communities were flush with rumours of an impending attack by neo-fascists. A group of young Asians, including Tariq Mehmood, made and stashed away petrol bombs to be used in the event of any such attacks. They were all members of the United Black Youth League, a group that had broken away from the Asian Youth Movement which they felt was not sufficiently radical. Police discovered the petrol bombs on some waste ground and twelve members of the UBYL were arrested and charged with conspiracy to cause an explosion and endanger lives. The trial of the ‘Bradford 12’ the following year created a national sensation. The defendants put up an audacious defence. They openly admitted making the petrol bombs – but argued that they were acting legitimately to protect their communities. Astonishingly, the jury agreed and acquitted all twelve.
To much of the press, an expression of shock and disappointment emerged with an apparent realisation that institutional racism had not been eradicated over the decade since the Macpherson Report.
I never would have guessed the police were still racist. Even after being repeatedly pulled over for “random” checks over the years.
About a year after the anti-NF riot, a group of young Asians met in a pub to form the Indian Progressive Youth Association. Why did men and women whose origins lay in Pakistan or Bangladesh call themselves Indian? In large part it was an acknowledgement of their debt to the Indian Workers Association. The IWA had originally been formed in Coventry in 1938 to agitate for Indian independence. It had been wound down after the demise of the Raj, but in the late 1950s it was reformed to give a voice to the new wave of immigrants from the subcontinent. The IWA organized both as a trade union, in factories, on the buses and in hospitals, and as an anti-racist campaigning organization within Asian communities. It had close links to the labour movement in Britain and to the Communist Party of India, and its members invariably supported any action that local trade unions were taking because, as the author and playwright Dilip Hiro put it, ‘they believed that the economic lot of Indian workers was intimately intertwined with that of British workers.’ The IWA was, in fact, often forced to organize industrial action itself, usually to the consternation of mainstream trade unions. In May 1965 it led the first significant postwar ‘immigrant strike’ at Red Scar Mill in Preston, Lancashire, involving Indian, Pakistani and African-Caribbean workers. Over the next decade, the IWA was involved in dozens of industrial disputes, trying to roll back the impact of the first major postwar recession.
Brilliant article. Muslims in Britain need to read this and understand their heritage. Your parents were involved in direct action, forming unions and fighting oppression. They looked beyond the bullshit of sectarianism and understood their common enemy. They joined with other oppressed people and got to work.
Think on it.
“We have allowed ourselves to be defined only by foreign policy and, in particular, by events in the Middle East for far too long. British Muslims can make a positive contribution to British society, but first we have to stop our navel-gazing and victim mentality. We must let the people, press and politicians of this country know that we are as British as we are Muslim, and we care about our shared future.”
I think some of the sentiments expressed in this article are wrong, but generally I agree that Muslims in the UK have no appetite for social activism. For me, this isn’t about getting involved in politics just to “show our fellow citizens” something, but to get involved and try and take down the power structures that corrupt everything - like Ibrahim and Musa.
In other words, culture war issues proliferate in line with increased assaults by the ruling class for much the same reason that rhetoric on immigration and race becomes more urgent and hysterical. Both serve as a diversion of anger, frustration and discontent into “safe” issues that don’t threaten the domination of the ruling class.
Accurate. We can all see this happen all the time - issues that never threaten the corrupt power structure dominate the news. We just can’t get past the bullshit.