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Sunday, October 01, 2006


Forgot National Police Memorial Day, Remembered New Carpet

This BBC report on this years' National Police Memorial Day in Belfast caused my jaw to drop. Seemingly someone did a no show.

The President of the Belfast Islamic Society, Yaqub Joya, had been due to play a part but did not arrive at the ceremony.

But Mr Joya later insisted he had wanted to go to the service, indicating that he had simply forgotten to attend.

When contacted, he said: "Oh my God! We've been so busy with Ramadan. We had a meeting which finished at 12.30am last night.

"We've just had a new carpet fitted and all these things are going on and stressed me. I really wanted to go. All the words that I wanted to say had been prepared."

Dishonouring the memory of 4000 fallen police officers because of Ramadan is perhaps understandable if not forgivable. However, the new carpet line is just beyond the pale. Given how touchy Islam is collectively when it is subject to a perceived slight I trust this insult is dealt with quickly by Mr Joyas' community.

UPDATE Seemingly the PSNI Chief Constable was also not in attendance. He was running the Great North Run to raise funds for the RUC GC Foundation. Good for him.

Criticism of Sir Hugh does, in the circumstances, seem churlish.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Annual Whiskey Olympics Cancelled

I hear that the SDLP have cancelled their conference.

I wonder if that had anything to do with its' proposed start date- 24th November?

Monday, September 25, 2006


Hell Hath No Fury...

I love this story. Andrew Neils' minions were doing an OB on it from G-Mex this afternoon and now it's bloggable.

...Cherie Blair accused Gordon Brown of lying during his keynote Labour conference speech.
Bloomberg news agency reported that she said "well that's a lie" when she heard the chancellor saying it had been a privilege to work with Tony Blair.

No 10 denies the claim
No really. You couldn't make this up (or could you, Bloomberg?)


Praguetory: Political Joke Du Jour

Praguetory: Political Joke Du Jour




Philip Johnston pens a thoughtful piece in the opinion pages of this mornings' Telegraph. East London is maybe about to get a Mega Mosque.

It will be the largest place of worship in Europe, a gigantic three-storey Islamic centre, with schools and other facilities, able to hold at least 40,000 worshippers and up to 70,000 if necessary.

It will be called the London Markaz and it is intended to be a significant Islamic landmark whose prominence and stature will be enhanced by its proximity to the Olympic site. When television viewers around the world see aerial views of the stadium during the opening ceremony in six years' time, the most prominent religious building in the camera shot will not be one of the city's iconic churches that have shaped the nation's history, such as St Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey, but the mega-mosque.

I have to admit that the imagery does not bother me. I have lived in Bow and Mile End and anyone who thinks the history of the East End is strictly of WASP Pearly Kings and Queens is delusional. The culinary geography of the routes west into the City tells of waves of new arrivals bringing first bagels and then baltis. What is concerning is who is behind the proposals:
Its backers are the Tablighi Jamaat, a missionary organisation that says it is non-political and peaceful. Yet a senior FBI anti-terrorism official has called it a recruiting ground for al-Qa'eda, and the French secret services described it as "an antechamber for fundamentalism". Its current European headquarters are in Dewsbury, home town of Mohammed Siddique Khan, leader of the July 7 suicide bombers, who attended the local mosque.
I haven't made my mind up whether this is kerb-painting on a grand scale or a welcome sign of cultural confidence. That determination will be suspended until the memory fades of so-called Muslim areas.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Tory Boy

Given the buzz in local blogsphere that the NI Tories have generated of late I feel it is time, dear reader, to determine just how true blue we all are. As luck will have it The Independent has gone all Cosmo and provided a quiz.

Let me know how you get on.


Europe Wins

Today I understood the limits of my pan-European identity. After the Ryder Cup victory I realised that the UK can live with a Golfing Europe as opposed to a Federal Europe.

Keep your Euro, your pretend diplomatic service, your constitution and your stately ambitions all I want is a Europe of stroke play golfers. Hell, if the Turks can play let them join in!

I just want to know can we opt out of everything except the slacks and tank tops?

Friday, September 22, 2006


Fair Cop

Discrimination is an ugly blight on any society, worse when it is embedded by legislation and supported by a government. It is appalling when employment practices deemed unlawful elsewhere in the same country are imposed on another.

At least Gloustershire Police have had the good grace to apologise for the "distress caused" to those it discriminated against. I wait with baited breath the apology from the Police Service of Northern Ireland to those similarly disadvantaged by the aberation that is 50/50 recruitment.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Blog shall speak peace unto Blog

My licence fee reminder arrived yesterday. Just as my resentment began to fester the BBC posted this about NI political blogging. All the usual suspects were there including yours truely:
the DUP's blog presence is largely limited with the "We Perish If We Yield" blog espousing the party's views
Do I espouse?


Hain Watch#2

"I would like to see it done on my watch"- Peter Hain on "Hearts & Minds" in response to questioning about a November deal.

"I would like a deal to help my campaign to be Deputy PM"- what Peter Hain was thinking on "Hearts & Minds" when questioned about a November deal.

This man is ghastly. Blotting his CV and blighting his advancement is reason enough to stymie his bogus timetable. Nevermind the bigger issues of potential ministers refusing to endorse policing whilst their organisation still dabbles in criminality and the anti-democratic and sectarian assembly structures. So his final televised "threat" that the in the week after 24th November he will introduce legislation disolving that assembly is a matter for celebration not quaking.

Pity we have to wait 'till then.


Harsh But Fair?

Samy Wilson has had a pop at Lembit Opik. Seemingly the Montgomeryshire MP proved himself an "utter fool" on Good Morning Ulster.

Maybe, but if his media agent (yes media agent) is to believed
Lembit is a seasoned regular on many television programmes including This Morning, Have I Got News for You, Newsnight, and the Wright Stuff on five. Lembit is also a popular choice for many corporate speaking engagements.

His interests include Astronomy (he has been actively promoting awareness of the threat to earth from asteroids and meteors), flying (particular interest in gliders), motorbikes, and has even turned his hand to stand up comedy. He speaks fluent Estonian and is learning Welsh.
I'll reserve comment on Lembits' foolishness or otherwise until I see his stand up routine.


Former Minister Joins NI Tories

The NI Conservatives have a new scalp. Former junior minister at the Office of the First Minister/ Deputy First Minister James Leslie has called a day on his association with the floundering UUP and thrown his lot in with Camerons’ Tories. The BBC reports that:
Mr Leslie said the main reason for his decision to leave was his strong support for Conservative values.

"To get serious policy development you need the resources of a national party.

"You can see that clearly in all the political parties in Northern Ireland, there is no serious or fresh thinking."
I know James Leslie, I canvassed for him in North Antrim and was impressed that someone of his background and ability was willing to put up for Westminster against Dr Paisley. That ability was put into sharp relief when he was in the company of most of the UUP North Antrim machine- the same association that thought deselecting James and replacing him with James Currie for the 2003 Assembly elections was a good move. The seat was lost to Sinn Fein.

I wish James well in whatever direction his new party takes him. I understand the desire to be involved in national politics and have to admit to being very tempted by the NI Tories. However, experience of the last Tory government and their stewardship of the process before Labour arrived in 1997 make me wary.

Readers may recall that the Belfast Agreement came from a Talks process where the delegates were elected. The NI Tories stood in that election but were hampered somewhat by Sir Patrick Mayhews' assertion that should any of their candidates (Mr Shipley-Dalton included) be elected they would not need to attend the talks as the Conservative SoS would represent both the party and government interest. Unsurprisingly, no local Tories were returned.

I am a unionist who believes that unionist success will arrive when the Union is secure and unionist parties are therefore redundant. At that point I will happily offer my services to Smith Square. Until then any support for the local Tories will only be forthcoming if they can show a real input into the national partys' NI policy. It may be that only once a Tory SoS is back in Hillsborough can this influence be demonstrated.

I might have been a Young Unionist but I may yet be an old Tory.

UPDATE: Belfast Telegraph interview here.

Monday, September 18, 2006


This Afternoons' Exercise

Discuss Papal Infallibility in the context of Papal Apology. Please, whatever you do, avoid ANY criticism of Islam whatsoever. Cartoons, with or without Danish captions, will NOT be accepted.

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