Thursday, 30 April 2009

Britain - a Soft Totalitarian State

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0%2C%2C25361297-7583%2C00.html?from=public_rss



Thought police muscle up in BritainFont S

Hal G. P. Colebatch | April 21, 2009

Article from: The Australian

BRITAIN appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state. As a sometime teacher of political science and international law, I do not use the term totalitarian loosely.

There are no concentration camps or gulags but there are thought police with unprecedented powers to dictate ways of thinking and sniff out heresy, and there can be harsh punishments for dissent.

Nikolai Bukharin claimed one of the Bolshevik Revolution's principal tasks was "to alter people's actual psychology". Britain is not Bolshevik, but a campaign to alter people's psychology and create a new Homo britannicus is under way without even a fig leaf of disguise.

The Government is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalise politically incorrect jokes, with a maximum punishment of up to seven years' prison. The House of Lords tried to insert a free-speech amendment, but Justice Secretary Jack Straw knocked it out. It was Straw who previously called for a redefinition of Englishness and suggested the "global baggage of empire" was linked to soccer violence by "racist and xenophobic white males". He claimed the English "propensity for violence" was used to subjugate Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and that the English as a race were "potentially very aggressive".

In the past 10 years I have collected reports of many instances of draconian punishments, including the arrest and criminal prosecution of children, for thought-crimes and offences against political correctness.

Countryside Restoration Trust chairman and columnist Robin Page said at a rally against the Government's anti-hunting laws in Gloucestershire in 2002: "If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you." Page was arrested, and after four months he received a letter saying no charges would be pressed, but that: "If further evidence comes to our attention whereby your involvement is implicated, we will seek to initiate proceedings." It took him five years to clear his name.

Page was at least an adult. In September 2006, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Codie Stott, asked a teacher if she could sit with another group to do a science project as all the girls with her spoke only Urdu. The teacher's first response, according to Stott, was to scream at her: "It's racist, you're going to get done by the police!" Upset and terrified, the schoolgirl went outside to calm down. The teacher called the police and a few days later, presumably after officialdom had thought the matter over, she was arrested and taken to a police station, where she was fingerprinted and photographed. According to her mother, she was placed in a bare cell for 3 1/2 hours. She was questioned on suspicion of committing a racial public order offence and then released without charge. The school was said to be investigating what further action to take, not against the teacher, but against Stott. Headmaster Anthony Edkins reportedly said: "An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark. We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude towards pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and will not stand for racism in any form."

A 10-year-old child was arrested and brought before a judge, for having allegedly called an 11-year-old boya "Paki" and "bin Laden" during a playground argument at a primary school (the other boy had called him a skunk and a Teletubby). When it reached the court the case had cost taxpayers pound stg. 25,000. The accused was so distressed that he had stopped attending school. The judge, Jonathan Finestein, said: "Have we really got to the stage where we are prosecuting 10-year-old boys because of political correctness? There are major crimes out there and the police don't bother to prosecute. This is nonsense."

Finestein was fiercely attacked by teaching union leaders, as in those witch-hunt trials where any who spoke in defence of an accused or pointed to defects in the prosecution were immediately targeted as witches and candidates for burning.

Hate-crime police investigated Basil Brush, a puppet fox on children's television, who had made a joke about Gypsies. The BBC confessed that Brush had behaved inappropriately and assured police that the episode would be banned.

A bishop was warned by the police for not having done enough to "celebrate diversity", the enforcing of which is now apparently a police function. A Christian home for retired clergy and religious workers lost a grant because it would not reveal to official snoopers how many of the residents were homosexual. That they had never been asked was taken as evidence of homophobia.

Muslim parents who objected to young children being given books advocating same-sex marriage and adoption at one school last year had their wishes respected and the offending material withdrawn. This year, Muslim and Christian parents at another school objecting to the same material have not only had their objections ignored but have been threatened with prosecution if they withdraw their children.

There have been innumerable cases in recent months of people in schools, hospitals and other institutions losing their jobs because of various religious scruples, often, as in the East Germany of yore, not shouted fanatically from the rooftops but betrayed in private conversations and reported to authorities. The crime of one nurse was to offer to pray for a patient, who did not complain but merely mentioned the matter to another nurse. A primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class, faces the sack for seeking support from her church. A private email from her to other members of the church asking for prayers fell into the hands of school authorities.

Permissiveness as well as draconianism can be deployed to destroy socially accepted norms and values. The Royal Navy, for instance, has installed a satanist chapel in a warship to accommodate the proclivities of a satanist crew member. "What would Nelson have said?" is a British newspaper cliche about navy scandals, but in this case seems a legitimate question. Satanist paraphernalia is also supplied to prison inmates who need it.

This campaign seems to come from unelected or quasi-governmental bodies controlling various institutions, which are more or less unanswerable to electors, more than it does directly from the Government, although the Government helps drive it and condones it in a fudged and deniable manner.

Any one of these incidents might be dismissed as an aberration, but taken together - and I have only mentioned a tiny sample; more are reported almost every day - they add up to a pretty clear picture.

Hal G. P. Colebatch's Blair's Britain was chosen as a book of the year by The Spectator in 1999.














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In Praise of the Rain





My philosophy is to seek simplicity,
Purity, calm and natural beauty,
Far from all maddening men,
To walk along lost lonely lanes,
Spurned by speeding feral folk,
As Summers cry is in full throat,
And stand apart from all others,
In verdant fields of wild flowers,
Awaiting a sudden seduction of rain,
Whose heralds crash overhead,
Growling in their cage of clouds,
Calling the storm to whip the world,
And sweep away the factory stains,
Of chimneys and passing planes,
That belch and scar the perfect sky,
For then I strip away convention,
From the sacred temple of my skin,
Experience that simple revelation,
And naked beneath the rising wind,
Await the rain, to be reborn again.


Why do you all run from the rain,
For there is no mortal sin or shame,
To stand upon this sacred ground,
Swaddled no more, now unbound,
Free at last in our own homeland,
Washing all our daily sins away,
In the glory of a clouds cascade,
To feel the joy that was, before the Cross,
Which has now shamed such simple things,
For only fools flee like foxes,
From drizzle and downpours,
The torrent and the drench,
Running for dens of dry earth,
To hide inside until the rain,
Drifts once more gently away,
And the red, red sun is set free,
To scorch the fresh sky anew,
Its angry eye, roaring in the blue
Blistering our pale, precious skins,
As the deadly price of its dominion.


I seek sullen skies, rising high
Bruised anvils of cumulus cloud,
Which slowly rumble and drift,
Dragging their dark eagle wings,
Across the dull, dimming sun,
That fiery fiend, rains mortal foe,
Which you deign your friend,
Who burns you with its fury,
As you abase yourself before it,
Purchasing its bleak blessing,
Of brown upon your burnt flesh,
In hot foreign lands far away,
No home for pale folk like me,
Whilst I await cooling winds,
England’s wild, wilting storms,
Which salve and irrigate my skin,
With a soft and precious wet,
That slakes the thirst of soul,
And graces our Eden with green,
As serpent rivers rise in their wake.


Each rain drop that softly slips,
Every delicate, deadly drop,
That spits, pitters, pats and plops,
Are all my precious pleasures,
But beware their furious sisters,
Set free from their cells by the storm,
Cast forth from gourds of cloud,
That flash and rattle with hail,
They season the soil with salt,
With a wicked whim of winter,
In the midst of gilding summer,
Yet such tantrums will cease,
And soft rain return, bestowing
Upon the petals that nod,
And my naked skin, sky clad,
A burden of pellucid baubles,
That shiver me with their ecstasy,
As the sun returns to ride the sky,
Peeping through a veil of pale cloud,
Warming my wet skin with its whispers.
























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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Diversity and Enrichment in France

Great video here of a white, middle class, leftist getting enriched on the night bus in France.

http://www.fdesouche.com/articles/33981



Reading the comments of the white, middle class liberal twat who was beaten up here ;

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/3875


Its a real shame he didnt get more of a good hiding.

These weak, whining, white middle class, liberal arseholes will not learn or accept the reality of the criminal multi-cultural society they have created with their facile notions of diversity and tolerance until they are queuing up in extermination camps.


Even now the cringing little liberal idiot is being an apologist for his attackers - such is the way our civilisation will end - not with a bang, but with a liberal whimper.

Why is it these white pussys cannot fight ?

Faced with a black mugger half their size they shrink in upon themselves - when as the video shows not one of the gang of enrichers, and their rat faced white little accomplice, could throw a decent punch.

The least he could have done was throw a few punches and then grabbed one of them , held him close and then bit his nose or ear off.

As the old saying goes, ' Its better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6 '.

Self defence is no offence.

Instead he takes a hiding from a bunch of idiot, mob handed cowards who also could not fight.

Multi-culturalism has turned middle class white kids into pathetic pussys.

They better grow themselves a set of bollocks and learn to fight or else they are going to remain the perpetual prey of the alien predators they allowed into our nations.

I sincerely hope that more and more liberal idiots across Europe feel the force of the jackboots of multi-culturalism smash down upon their faces - for they are the instigators of their own nemesis and the betrayers of our people and nation.

Let them reap the bloody harvest that they themselves sowed.

In the words of good old white working class vernacular ' Fuck 'em '.

When the walls of civilisation come crashing down and they seek sanctuary amidst our ranks, all they will be given is our contempt and hate.

Let them rot in the hell hole that they created for us all.

The more members of the liberal / leftist establishment that are shot, stabbed, mugged and beaten by the animals they allowed into our nations, or who they supported coming into our nations, the better.

Here below is another story about the wonderful and vibrant French multi-cultural society.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/gang-on-trial-for-torturing-french-jew-to-death-1675965.html


Let them all rot in their hell hole together, the liberals and the enrichers, then one day we can come and clean the streets and political whorehouses of all the criminals and their political apologist masters.










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The Genetic Map Of Europe








The next time some insane genocidal Liberal Fascist says 'there are no indigenous British people' then send them this link ;

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/13/science/13visual.html

Not only are all the indigenous European people a unique related racial group, but also DNA tests can now reveal which nation we come from as the ethnic groups derived from the European racial group have unique DNA sequences which can be linked to a geo-specific region.

Also read the article in The Guardian below. This article points out that the future of medicine is race and ethnic based medicines called Pharmacogenomics, and race and ethnic DNA differences have a vast impact on disease and treatments for disease.

So the next time some Liberal Fascist says there are no indigenous British people then we can tell them they are insane, genocidal criminals who wish to ensure future generations die of diseases because the existence of race based medicines conflicts with their outdated and obsolete 20 th century Marxist rubbish that there are no races, just one human race.



Biologists have constructed a genetic map of Europe showing the degree of relatedness between its various populations.

All the populations are quite similar, but the differences are sufficient that it should be possible to devise a forensic test to tell which country in Europe an individual probably comes from, said Manfred Kayser, a geneticist at the Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

The map shows, at right, the location in Europe where each of the sampled populations live and, at left, the genetic relationship between these 23 populations. The map was constructed by Dr. Kayser, Dr. Oscar Lao and others, and appears in an article in Current Biology published online on August 7.

The genetic map of Europe bears a clear structural similarity to the geographic map. The major genetic differences are between populations of the north and south (the vertical axis of the map shows north-south differences, the horizontal axis those of east-west). The area assigned to each population reflects the amount of genetic variation in it.

Europe has been colonized three times in the distant past, always from the south. Some 45,000 years ago the first modern humans entered Europe from the south. The glaciers returned around 20,000 years ago and the second colonization occurred about 17,000 years ago by people returning from southern refuges. The third invasion was that of farmers bringing the new agricultural technology from the Near East around 10,000 years ago.

The pattern of genetic differences among present day Europeans probably reflects the impact of these three ancient migrations, Dr. Kayser said.

The map also identifies the existence of two genetic barriers within Europe. One is between the Finns (light blue, upper right) and other Europeans. It arose because the Finnish population was at one time very small and then expanded, bearing the atypical genetics of its few founders.

The other is between Italians (yellow, bottom center) and the rest. This may reflect the role of the Alps in impeding free flow of people between Italy and the rest of Europe.

Data for the map were generated by gene chips programmed to test and analyze 500,000 sites of common variation on the human genome, although only the 300,000 most reliable sites were used for the map. Dr. Kayser's team tested almost 2,500 people and analyzed the data by correlating the genetic variations in all the subjects. The genetic map is based on the two strongest of these sets of correlations.

The gene chips require large amounts of DNA, more than is available in most forensic samples. Dr. Kayser hopes to identify the sites on the human genome which are most diagnostic for European origin. These sites, if reasonably few in number, could be tested for in hair and blood samples, Dr. Kayser said.

Genomic sites that carry the strongest signal of variation among populations may be those influenced by evolutionary change, Dr. Kayser said. Of the 100 strongest sites, 17 are found in the region of the genome that confers lactose tolerance, an adaptation that arose among a cattle herding culture in northern Europe some 5,000 years ago. Most people switch off the lactose digesting gene after weaning, but the cattle herders evidently gained a great survival advantage by keeping the gene switched on through adulthood.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jan/23/stemcells.genetics

Detailed gene map will lift lid on diseases

Ian Sample, science correspondent

The Guardian, Wednesday 23 January 2008

An ambitious project to create the most detailed picture of human genetic variation yet has been launched by British and American scientists.

The 1000 Genomes Project will map the tiny fraction of genetic material that differs between people, giving scientists unprecedented insight into why some are more susceptible to disease than others.

Scientists know that any two humans are more than 99% identical on the genetic level. The remaining fraction helps explain differences in people's health.

The $50m (£26m) map, which is expected to take three years to complete, will be made freely available, allowing scientists to pinpoint the genetic causes of common disorders swiftly and help tailor medical treatments to individual patients. Researchers will scan the genetic make-up of at least 1,000 people who either live in, or have ancestry tracing back to, Europe, Africa, Japan, China, India and Mexico. From these scientists will create a catalogue of genetic variation found in as few as 1% of the population.

"Such a project would have been unthinkable only two years ago," said Dr Richard Durbin, a geneticist at the Welcome Trust's Sanger Institute in Cambridge, who co-chairs the project. "We are moving forward to building a tool that will greatly expand and further accelerate efforts to find more of the genetic factors involved in human health and disease."

Since the 13-year-long Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, scientists have strived to look deeper into 3bn pairs of letters that form the human book of life. One, the HapMap project, has revealed large-scale genetic variations between populations, which have helped scientists identify more than 100 regions linked to conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Scientists look for genetic causes of disease by comparing genome scans from healthy people with sick people. But these studies usually only point to vague regions in the genetic code that may be hundreds of thousands of letters long.

"This project will give scientists a complete map of all the variation in that region, so they'll be able to use it to tease apart what might cause the illness and that will lead to better diagnosis and better understanding of the disease," said Durbin.

The project will begin this year with three pilot studies. The first will involve an in-depth scan of two families; the second will sequence the genomes of 180 people, while the third will examine 1,000 genes in 1,000 people. The main project will begin next year.

















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Peter Hain - Leftist Nazi

So another immigrant terrorist attacks the BNP, this time its not an Al Qaeda
supporter but Peter Hain.

How Peter Hain voted on key issues since 2001:

* Has never voted on a transparent Parliament.
* Voted moderately for introducing a smoking ban.
* Voted strongly for introducing ID cards.
* Voted very strongly for introducing foundation hospitals.
* Voted strongly for introducing student top-up fees.
* Voted strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
* Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.
* Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
* Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.
* Voted very strongly for the hunting ban.
* Voted moderately for equal gay rights.
* Voted moderately against laws to stop climate change.

* Hardly ever rebels against their party in this parliament.

Writing in the attack rag of the Labour Party, the Guardian newspaper he tries to terrify the liberal and leftist lambs into voting once more for the big bad wolf of the Labour Party by attacking the BNP.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/29/bnp-european-elections-peter-hain


My favourite comment comes from someone who is responding to Hains rubbish ;



tomper2

29 Apr 09, 12:55am (about 8 hours ago)

Let's see: Labour are in the process of passing a law that will allow discrimination on the basis of race and sex, have invaded two countries, encouraged a politicised and violent police force, systematically eroded the right and ability to protest, and given thousands of civil servants the power to spy on citizens.

Remind me again who the fascists are. It's getting difficult to tell.



( Heres a clue - the BNP will repeal all the discrimination laws that seek to make everyone equal by making some more equal than others, the BNP will withdraw British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as they get into power, the BNP will sack all the politicised heads of ACPO and ensure the police simply solve crimes not act as a para-military wing of the governmment and political correctness, the BNP will allow individuals the right to protest and repeal all laws that prevent total free speech and pass laws to ban councils and other organisations from using CCTV systems and allow local people to decide whether such CCTV systems should be in their areas -now does that make us the only ANTI-FASCIST PARTY in Britain ! )



Heres anothe great comment ;


*
HarryFlashman's profile picture HarryFlashman

29 Apr 09, 2:23am (about 7 hours ago)

Can you imagine how awful it would be if Britain was run by Fascists?

They'd make sure everyone carried identity papers and you'd be arrested if you failed to show your papers to a policeman, a policeman who would be armed with stun guns and two handled billy clubs and who'd beat unarmed demonstrators to the ground if they protested government policy. The police would be granted the right to intern suspects without charge for months and if anyone spoke out against the government they'd be arrested as "terrorists".

There would be constant monitoring of every citizen by CCTV on every street corner, the government would have access to your emails and phone messages, Jesus, they might even do crazy stuff like implanting computer chips in your bins to monitor your rubbish!

Anyone who happened to dislike some aspects of the government's social policy would be forced out of business and making jokes or speaking your mind about certain protected classes of people could see you losing your job or even your children. The state would gain control over the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of citizens and anyone who deviated from "acceptable" standards of behaviour would be punished by being deprived of health or welfare assistance.

The state run media would be intimidated into parroting government spin and lies and everyone from doctors and nurses to teachers and neighbours would be expected to report to the government any behaviour which was deemed to be outside government decreed standards.

Who knows they might even go crazy and start invading other countries.













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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The Red Shaman of Paviland





The Red Shaman of Paviland.


He had slept between the worlds,
Within that dark womb of stone,
For aeons as the world slowly turned,
As icy tundra fell before the waves,
And forests felled by axe and fire,
Our grandfather at his journeys end,
The oldest man in ancient Albion,
The first of our Cro-Magnon Clan.
With trinkets of ivory and seashell,
To decorate him in his sacred death,
His body then gently laid to rest,
As a breathless seed by shaman kin,
Who ruddled with their loving hands,
His blessed bones with ocher stain,
So his questing soul may be born again,
Within a womb of glass and steel,
To teach us who we are, so we may live again.





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The Surfers Poem









Superb video here about surfers in Ireland ;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/outdoors/outdoor-activities/5232125/Surfing-movie-to-surf-where-others-fear-to-go.html


I wrote this poem about those who dare to challenge the ocean ;



The Surfers Poem.


Dare you seek to surf black waves,
Upon wild oceans that sneer,
With ravening snarls,
At the trembling shore ?

Do you dream of unseen glory,
Numb with cold and fear,
Alone upon the water,
Poised upon a breaking pit ?

Could you wait in silence for a break,
And seize those sacred seconds,
Where only death awaits,
Those who live closest to life ?

Would you carve yourself a line,
Upon a crashing wave,
Then watch the glass shatter,
Into a drowning pool and smile ?

Have you lain in breathless wonder,
Spent upon the shifting sands,
And seen the grace of god,
In every shining golden grain ?

Or are you just a junkyard dog,
Captive in your cage,
Dare you dream of liberty,
Alone upon a maverick wave ?

I salute all those that slash the sea,
Who dare to live their dreams,
Those tiny black dots in the distance,
Being the very best, that they can ever be.



























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Swine Flu - Facts and Bullshit

Below are some safety tips on how to make a safety kit that will allow you the proper protection in the event of the flu epidemic becoming a real problem.

The government and the media will not publicise the facts below, primarily as the media are thick and the government busy stockpiling what it needs to keep itself safe.

I have watched the people in Mexico walking around with those blue surgical masks and dust masks on their faces and realised that this is just a way of diverting peoples fears.

Dust masks do not stop the flu virus as the virus can pass between the weave of fabric in the mask and gaps in the seal on the face.

Surgical masks also do not stop the flu virus.

The only face masks that can prevent inhalation of the flu virus have to be of the UK standard of FFP3. There are only limited stocks of these kinds of masks.

The blue surgical type masks are useful only to stop people with the disease from spreading it to others as when they sneeze the mask stops the mucous spray and droplets travelling in the air out into the environment and onto other people - therefore if your family member gets the disease then make them wear a surgical mask at all times to prevent them infecting you.

Wear the surgical masks at all times once the threat reaches the low to high ranking, but then once the virus is in your area or you are travelling through a virus affected area then wear the FFP3 respirators at all times.

The blue masks will prevent the majority of the flu virus from being inhaled as they block the sneezes of other people and also prevent mucous from their sneezes getting into your nostrils - but when you are in a hot area where the virus is highly active with many people infected then wear the FFP3 respirators as opposed to the surgical masks - IF YOU HAVE THE FFP3 RESPIRATORS.

If you dont have the FFP3 respirators then wear the surgical masks at all times and do not go near anyone who is not wearing a surgical mask.

The surgical masks work when the person with the disease blocks their sneezes from travelling out into the environment and others wear the same masks which also act as a secondary barrier to the infection. Thats why everyone must wear some sort of mask once the virus begins to spread widely.

For American readers the masks you need to buy are to the standard of N95 which are only 95% effective. To be the most effective you need N100, which are 99.97% effective IF worn properly. You have to order N100s and N95s can be bought at home depots.

Therefore the tips below are what you need to buy now in order to prepare for the worst.




1) Wearing those blue surgical masks that you see the Mexican people wearing will not stop you inhaling the swine flu virus.

In order to ensure your safety you need to buy FFP3 FACE MASK RESPIRATORS as these are the only respirators up to the relevant standard that can prevent the flu virus from passing through the fabric of the masks.

FFP3 respirators are about £ 15 for a box of five, but you best buy them now before they are bought up by those who are planning for the worse but hoping for the best.


2) You also need to buy a pair of full face safety goggles. The flu virus can be spread via the eyes, so the eyes have to be protected as well as the nose and mouth. Wearing goggles and an FFP3 respirator is the best way to avoid infection.

The goggles prevent people sneezing the virus into your face. They also prevent you rubbing your eyes and transferring the virus into your eyes where it can then enter the body via the moist membrane of the eyes. Many viruses are spread via the eyes.



3) You need to buy a few boxes of disposable latex gloves to wear when out in public and handling money - door handles can allow the flu virus to survive for up 2 days. The flu virus can survive on cash. Therefore when in public wear disposable latex gloves and discard them in a bin bag outside your home.


4) Take with you anti-viral hand wash and wipes. When you return home wash your hands with a hand wipe and soap before you enter the house. If the pandemic explodes then create a secure unit with platic sheeting just inside your front door. Then remove your clothing once you enter the house and put it into a bin bag for storage for up to 24 hours as the virus can survive on clothing for up to 8 hours. Spray the contents of the bag with anti-viral spray, seal it and leave the clothes for 2 days to ensure the virus dies. Put your cash into the bag and leave it with the clothes for 2 days as well.

Then take a shower.


5) Store your face mask and goggles in a sealed airtight plastic box for up to 24 hours. A spray of Hydrogen Peroxide will kill the flu virus as will various sprays you can buy from the supermarket. Spray the goggles and inside of the box and then leave the goggles and mask to sit overnight in the sealed unit.

I would advise people to buy the FFP3 masks now and store them. The less secure masks are okay to wear and use until the virus becomes a real threat in your street / area and then when you leave the house wear the FFP3 units rather than the standard face masks.


6) If you need to use the public toilets then shut the lid before flushing the toilet. When you leave the lid open a spray of faeces and water rises from the bowl over three feet into the air. Decontaminate your hands with hand wash after being out in public.


For less than fifty pounds you can buy masks, gloves, goggles and hand wash that can be used to make a safety kit.

I would rather spend fity quid now rather than not be able to buy those products later when needed.

You dont see many sailors setting out to sea without an inflatable liferaft and bouyancy jackets on board their boats.

This is because the moment the boat sinks the few hundred pounds spent on buying a liferaft can save your life.












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New Labour Racism - but wheres Gerry Gable ?

No doubt old Gerry and Nick Lowes will be in Parliament arse kissing MP's and getting their pockets stuffed with cash as they rant about 'BNP racism' but say nothing about the real racists in the Labour Party such as Mahmood Hussain.

It appears that under the tyranny of Political Correctness racism is okay as long as the victims are white, male or Jewish.

But I betcha of Gerry 'The Cash Machine' Gable and Nick Lowes dont write this example of racism up in next months Searchlight.



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1174046/Labour-Party-embroiled-race-row-candidate-told-white-Jewish-selected.html



The Labour Party has become embroiled in a race row after a prospective female councillor was allegedly told she was 'too white and Jewish' to be selected.

Elaina Cohen claims that Labour councillor Mahmood Hussain said he would not support her application for an inner-city ward because 'my Muslim members don't want you because you are Jewish'.

Mrs Cohen, 50, has made an official complaint about the alleged remarks made by Mr Hussain, a Muslim and former lord mayor of Birmingham.

She said: 'I am shocked and upset that a member of the Labour Party in this day and age could even think something like that, let alone say it.

'People should not be allowed to make racist comments like that. If someone in the party feels I cannot represent them because of my colour or religion, that's ridiculous.

'I felt particularly aggrieved because I have worked across all sections of the community, particularly with the Muslim section, and have been on official visits to Pakistan.'

Mrs Cohen had applied to stand as a Labour councillor for the Birmingham ward of East Handsworth and Lozells, which has a high Asian and Afro-Caribbean population.

As one of Labour's safest seats on Tory-led Birmingham city council, the final candidate would be almost certain of victory at the June 4 by-election.

But when Mrs Cohen telephoned 57-year-old Mr Hussain for his support, she was astonished to be told that she was too 'white and Jewish' to be considered.

Lorraine Briscoe, who runs a local community association, was sitting next to Mrs Cohen when the conversation took place on speakerphone last Tuesday.

'I was disgusted that a councillor could make comments like that in 2009,' she said.

'He told her, "They will not vote for someone who is white and Jewish. My Muslim members don't want you because you are Jewish".

'Elaina then asked him if he had talked to his Muslim members about it and he said, "I don't want to talk about it with you" and hung up.

'Elaina does a lot of good work in this community and she does not see race or religion, she just sees people.'

Two days after the alleged conversation, Mrs Cohen and another candidate were rejected by a pre-selection panel after failing to gain the support of the local party.

Instead, members were presented with one candidate, black South African Hendrina Quinnen, who was selected by an almost unanimous vote.

Mrs Cohen has now sent an official complaint to Labour Party general secretary Ray Collins and Birmingham city council accusing Mr Hussain of improper conduct.
Mr Hussain said yesterday: 'I would not make those sort of comments. The allegations are not true.'















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Monday, 27 April 2009

21st Century Geo-Politics

The Revenge of Geography

By Robert D. Kaplan Page 1 of 8


May/June 2009

People and ideas influence events, but geography largely determines them, now more than ever. To understand the coming struggles, it’s time to dust off the Victorian thinkers who knew the physical world best. A journalist who has covered the ends of the Earth offers a guide to the relief map—and a primer on the next phase of conflict.



When rapturous Germans tore down the Berlin Wall 20 years ago it symbolized far more than the overcoming of an arbitrary boundary. It began an intellectual cycle that saw all divisions, geographic and otherwise, as surmountable; that referred to “realism” and “pragmatism” only as pejoratives; and that invoked the humanism of Isaiah Berlin or the appeasement of Hitler at Munich to launch one international intervention after the next. In this way, the armed liberalism and the democracy-promoting neoconservatism of the 1990s shared the same universalist aspirations. But alas, when a fear of Munich leads to overreach the result is Vietnam—or in the current case, Iraq.

And thus began the rehabilitation of realism, and with it another intellectual cycle. “Realist” is now a mark of respect, “neocon” a term of derision. The Vietnam analogy has vanquished that of Munich. Thomas Hobbes, who extolled the moral benefits of fear and saw anarchy as the chief threat to society, has elbowed out Isaiah Berlin as the philosopher of the present cycle. The focus now is less on universal ideals than particular distinctions, from ethnicity to culture to religion. Those who pointed this out a decade ago were sneered at for being “fatalists” or “determinists.” Now they are applauded as “pragmatists.” And this is the key insight of the past two decades—that there are worse things in the world than extreme tyranny, and in Iraq we brought them about ourselves. I say this having supported the war.

So now, chastened, we have all become realists. Or so we believe. But realism is about more than merely opposing a war in Iraq that we know from hindsight turned out badly. Realism means recognizing that international relations are ruled by a sadder, more limited reality than the one governing domestic affairs. It means valuing order above freedom, for the latter becomes important only after the former has been established. It means focusing on what divides humanity rather than on what unites it, as the high priests of globalization would have it. In short, realism is about recognizing and embracing those forces beyond our control that constrain human action—culture, tradition, history, the bleaker tides of passion that lie just beneath the veneer of civilization. This poses what, for realists, is the central question in foreign affairs: Who can do what to whom? And of all the unsavory truths in which realism is rooted, the bluntest, most uncomfortable, and most deterministic of all is geography.

Indeed, what is at work in the recent return of realism is the revenge of geography in the most old-fashioned sense. In the 18th and 19th centuries, before the arrival of political science as an academic specialty, geography was an honored, if not always formalized, discipline in which politics, culture, and economics were often conceived of in reference to the relief map. Thus, in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, mountains and the men who grow out of them were the first order of reality; ideas, however uplifting, were only the second.

And yet, to embrace geography is not to accept it as an implacable force against which humankind is powerless. Rather, it serves to qualify human freedom and choice with a modest acceptance of fate. This is all the more important today, because rather than eliminating the relevance of geography, globalization is reinforcing it. Mass communications and economic integration are weakening many states, exposing a Hobbesian world of small, fractious regions. Within them, local, ethnic, and religious sources of identity are reasserting themselves, and because they are anchored to specific terrains, they are best explained by reference to geography. Like the faults that determine earthquakes, the political future will be defined by conflict and instability with a similar geographic logic. The upheaval spawned by the ongoing economic crisis is increasing the relevance of geography even further, by weakening social orders and other creations of humankind, leaving the natural frontiers of the globe as the only restraint.

So we, too, need to return to the map, and particularly to what I call the “shatter zones” of Eurasia. We need to reclaim those thinkers who knew the landscape best. And we need to update their theories for the revenge of geography in our time.

If you want to understand the insights of geography, you need to seek out those thinkers who make liberal humanists profoundly uneasy—those authors who thought the map determined nearly everything, leaving little room for human agency.

One such person is the French historian Fernand Braudel, who in 1949 published The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. By bringing demography and nature itself into history, Braudel helped restore geography to its proper place. In his narrative, permanent environmental forces lead to enduring historical trends that preordain political events and regional wars. To Braudel, for example, the poor, precarious soils along the Mediterranean, combined with an uncertain, drought-afflicted climate, spurred ancient Greek and Roman conquest. In other words, we delude ourselves by thinking that we control our own destinies. To understand the present challenges of climate change, warming Arctic seas, and the scarcity of resources such as oil and water, we must reclaim Braudel’s environmental interpretation of events.


So, too, must we reexamine the blue-water strategizing of Alfred Thayer Mahan, a U.S. naval captain and author of The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Viewing the sea as the great “commons” of civilization, Mahan thought that naval power had always been the decisive factor in global political struggles. It was Mahan who, in 1902, coined the term “Middle East” to denote the area between Arabia and India that held particular importance for naval strategy. Indeed, Mahan saw the Indian and Pacific oceans as the hinges of geopolitical destiny, for they would allow a maritime nation to project power all around the Eurasian rim and thereby affect political developments deep into Central Asia. Mahan’s thinking helps to explain why the Indian Ocean will be the heart of geopolitical competition in the 21st century—and why his books are now all the rage among Chinese and Indian strategists.

Similarly, the Dutch-American strategist Nicholas Spykman saw the seaboards of the Indian and Pacific oceans as the keys to dominance in Eurasia and the natural means to check the land power of Russia. Before he died in 1943, while the United States was fighting Japan, Spykman predicted the rise of China and the consequent need for the United States to defend Japan. And even as the United States was fighting to liberate Europe, Spykman warned that the postwar emergence of an integrated European power would eventually become inconvenient for the United States. Such is the foresight of geographical determinism.

But perhaps the most significant guide to the revenge of geography is the father of modern geopolitics himself—Sir Halford J. Mackinder—who is famous not for a book but a single article, “The Geographical Pivot of History,” which began as a 1904 lecture to the Royal Geographical Society in London. Mackinder’s work is the archetype of the geographical discipline, and he summarizes its theme nicely: “Man and not nature initiates, but nature in large measure controls.”

His thesis is that Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia are the “pivot” around which the fate of world empire revolves. He would refer to this area of Eurasia as the “heartland” in a later book. Surrounding it are four “marginal” regions of the Eurasian landmass that correspond, not coincidentally, to the four great religions, because faith, too, is merely a function of geography for Mackinder. There are two “monsoon lands”: one in the east generally facing the Pacific Ocean, the home of Buddhism; the other in the south facing the Indian Ocean, the home of Hinduism. The third marginal region is Europe, watered by the Atlantic to the west and the home of Christianity. But the most fragile of the four marginal regions is the Middle East, home of Islam, “deprived of moisture by the proximity of Africa” and for the most part “thinly peopled” (in 1904, that is).

This Eurasian relief map, and the events playing out on it at the dawn of the 20th century, are Mackinder’s subject, and the opening sentence presages its grand sweep:

When historians in the remote future come to look back on the group of centuries through which we are now passing, and see them fore-shortened, as we to-day see the Egyptian dynasties, it may well be that they will describe the last 400 years as the Columbian epoch, and will say that it ended soon after the year 1900.

Mackinder explains that, while medieval Christendom was “pent into a narrow region and threatened by external barbarism,” the Columbian age—the Age of Discovery—saw Europe expand across the oceans to new lands. Thus at the turn of the 20th century, “we shall again have to deal with a closed political system,” and this time one of “world-wide scope.”

Every explosion of social forces, instead of being dissipated in a surrounding circuit of unknown space and barbaric chaos, will [henceforth] be sharply re-echoed from the far side of the globe, and weak elements in the political and economic organism of the world will be shattered in consequence.

By perceiving that European empires had no more room to expand, thereby making their conflicts global, Mackinder foresaw, however vaguely, the scope of both world wars.

Mackinder looked at European history as “subordinate” to that of Asia, for he saw European civilization as merely the outcome of the struggle against Asiatic invasion. Europe, he writes, became the cultural phenomenon it is only because of its geography: an intricate array of mountains, valleys, and peninsulas; bounded by northern ice and a western ocean; blocked by seas and the Sahara to the south; and set against the immense, threatening flatland of Russia to the east. Into this confined landscape poured a succession of nomadic, Asian invaders from the naked steppe. The union of Franks, Goths, and Roman provincials against these invaders produced the basis for modern France. Likewise, other European powers originated, or at least matured, through their encounters with Asian nomads. Indeed, it was the Seljuk Turks’ supposed ill treatment of Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem that ostensibly led to the Crusades, which Mackinder considers the beginning of Europe’s collective modern history.

Russia, meanwhile, though protected by forest glades against many a rampaging host, nevertheless fell prey in the 13th century to the Golden Horde of the Mongols. These invaders decimated and subsequently changed Russia. But because most of Europe knew no such level of destruction, it was able to emerge as the world’s political cockpit, while Russia was largely denied access to the European Renaissance. The ultimate land-based empire, with few natural barriers against invasion, Russia would know forevermore what it was like to be brutally conquered. As a result, it would become perennially obsessed with expanding and holding territory.

Key discoveries of the Columbian epoch, Mackinder writes, only reinforced the cruel facts of geography. In the Middle Ages, the peoples of Europe were largely confined to the land. But when the sea route to India was found around the Cape of Good Hope, Europeans suddenly had access to the entire rimland of southern Asia, to say nothing of strategic discoveries in the New World. While Western Europeans “covered the ocean with their fleets,” Mackinder tells us, Russia was expanding equally impressively on land, “emerging from her northern forests” to police the steppe with her Cossacks, sweeping into Siberia, and sending peasants to sow the southwestern steppe with wheat. It was an old story: Europe versus Russia, a liberal sea power (like Athens and Venice) against a reactionary land power (like Sparta and Prussia). For the sea, beyond the cosmopolitan influences it bestows by virtue of access to distant harbors, provides the inviolate border security that democracy needs to take root.

In the 19th century, Mackinder notes, the advent of steam engines and the creation of the Suez Canal increased the mobility of European sea power around the southern rim of Eurasia, just as railways were beginning to do the same for land power in the Eurasian heartland. So the struggle was set for the mastery of Eurasia, bringing Mackinder to his thesis:

As we consider this rapid review of the broader currents of history, does not a certain persistence of geographical relationship become evident? Is not the pivot region of the world’s politics that vast area of Euro-Asia which is inaccessible to ships, but in antiquity lay open to the horse-riding nomads, and is to-day about to be covered with a network of railways?

Just as the Mongols banged at, and often broke down, the gates to the marginal regions surrounding Eurasia, Russia would now play the same conquering role, for as Mackinder writes, “the geographical quantities in the calculation are more measurable and more nearly constant than the human.” Forget the czars and the commissars-yet-to-be in 1904; they are but trivia compared with the deeper tectonic forces of geography.

Mackinder’s determinism prepared us for the rise of the Soviet Union and its vast zone of influence in the second half of the 20th century, as well as for the two world wars preceding it. After all, as historian Paul Kennedy notes, these conflicts were struggles over Mackinder’s “marginal” regions, running from Eastern Europe to the Himalayas and beyond. Cold War containment strategy, moreover, depended heavily on rimland bases across the greater Middle East and the Indian Ocean. Indeed, the U.S. projection of power into Afghanistan and Iraq, and today’s tensions with Russia over the political fate of Central Asia and the Caucasus have only bolstered Mackinder’s thesis. In his article’s last paragraph, Mackinder even raises the specter of Chinese conquests of the “pivot” area, which would make China the dominant geopolitical power. Look at how Chinese migrants are now demographically claiming parts of Siberia as Russia’s political control of its eastern reaches is being strained. One can envision Mackinder’s being right yet again.

The wisdom of geographical determinism endures across the chasm of a century because it recognizes that the most profound struggles of humanity are not about ideas but about control over territory, specifically the heartland and rimlands of Eurasia. Of course, ideas matter, and they span geography. And yet there is a certain geographic logic to where certain ideas take hold. Communist Eastern Europe, Mongolia, China, and North Korea were all contiguous to the great land power of the Soviet Union. Classic fascism was a predominantly European affair. And liberalism nurtured its deepest roots in the United States and Great Britain, essentially island nations and sea powers both. Such determinism is easy to hate but hard to dismiss.

To discern where the battle of ideas will lead, we must revise Mackinder for our time. After all, Mackinder could not foresee how a century’s worth of change would redefine—and enhance—the importance of geography in today’s world. One author who did is Yale University professor Paul Bracken, who in 1999 published Fire in the East. Bracken draws a conceptual map of Eurasia defined by the collapse of time and distance and the filling of empty spaces. This idea leads him to declare a “crisis of room.” In the past, sparsely populated geography acted as a safety mechanism. Yet this is no longer the case, Bracken argues, for as empty space increasingly disappears, the very “finite size of the earth” becomes a force for instability. And as I learned at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, “attrition of the same adds up to big change.”

One force that is shrinking the map of Eurasia is technology, particularly the military applications of it and the rising power it confers on states. In the early Cold War, Asian militaries were mostly lumbering, heavy forces whose primary purpose was national consolidation. They focused inward. But as national wealth accumulated and the computer revolution took hold, Asian militaries from the oil-rich Middle East to the tiger economies of the Pacific developed full-fledged, military-civilian postindustrial complexes, with missiles and fiber optics and satellite phones. These states also became bureaucratically more cohesive, allowing their militaries to focus outward, toward other states. Geography in Eurasia, rather than a cushion, was becoming a prison from which there was no escape.

Now there is an “unbroken belt of countries,” in Bracken’s words, from Israel to North Korea, which are developing ballistic missiles and destructive arsenals. A map of these countries’ missile ranges shows a series of overlapping circles: Not only is no one safe, but a 1914-style chain reaction leading to wider war is easily conceivable. “The spread of missiles and weapons of mass destruction in Asia is like the spread of the six-shooter in the American Old West,” Bracken writes—a cheap, deadly equalizer of states.

The other force driving the revenge of geography is population growth, which makes the map of Eurasia more claustrophobic still. In the 1990s, many intellectuals viewed the 18th-century English philosopher Thomas Malthus as an overly deterministic thinker because he treated humankind as a species reacting to its physical environment, not a body of autonomous individuals. But as the years pass, and world food and energy prices fluctuate, Malthus is getting more respect. If you wander through the slums of Karachi or Gaza, which wall off multitudes of angry lumpen faithful—young men mostly—one can easily see the conflicts over scarce resources that Malthus predicted coming to pass. In three decades covering the Middle East, I have watched it evolve from a largely rural society to a realm of teeming megacities. In the next 20 years, the Arab world’s population will nearly double while supplies of groundwater will diminish.

A Eurasia of vast urban areas, overlapping missile ranges, and sensational media will be one of constantly enraged crowds, fed by rumors transported at the speed of light from one Third World megalopolis to another. So in addition to Malthus, we will also hear much about Elias Canetti, the 20th-century philosopher of crowd psychology: the phenomenon of a mass of people abandoning their individuality for an intoxicating collective symbol. It is in the cities of Eurasia principally where crowd psychology will have its greatest geopolitical impact. Alas, ideas do matter. And it is the very compression of geography that will provide optimum breeding grounds for dangerous ideologies and channels for them to spread.

All of this requires major revisions to Mackinder’s theories of geopolitics. For as the map of Eurasia shrinks and fills up with people, it not only obliterates the artificial regions of area studies; it also erases Mackinder’s division of Eurasia into a specific “pivot” and adjacent “marginal” zones. Military assistance from China and North Korea to Iran can cause Israel to take military actions. The U.S. Air Force can attack landlocked Afghanistan from Diego Garcia, an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The Chinese and Indian navies can project power from the Gulf of Aden to the South China Sea—out of their own regions and along the whole rimland. In short, contra Mackinder, Eurasia has been reconfigured into an organic whole.

The map’s new seamlessness can be seen in the Pakistani outpost of Gwadar. There, on the Indian Ocean, near the Iranian border, the Chinese have constructed a spanking new deep-water port. Land prices are booming, and people talk of this still sleepy fishing village as the next Dubai, which may one day link towns in Central Asia to the burgeoning middle-class fleshpots of India and China through pipelines, supertankers, and the Strait of Malacca. The Chinese also have plans for developing other Indian Ocean ports in order to transport oil by pipelines directly into western and central China, even as a canal and land bridge are possibly built across Thailand’s Isthmus of Kra. Afraid of being outflanked by the Chinese, the Indians are expanding their own naval ports and strengthening ties with both Iran and Burma, where the Indian-Chinese rivalry will be fiercest.

These deepening connections are transforming the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian and Pacific oceans into a vast continuum, in which the narrow and vulnerable Strait of Malacca will be the Fulda Gap of the 21st century. The fates of the Islamic Middle East and Islamic Indonesia are therefore becoming inextricable. But it is the geographic connections, not religious ones, that matter most.

This new map of Eurasia—tighter, more integrated, and more crowded—will be even less stable than Mackinder thought. Rather than heartlands and marginal zones that imply separateness, we will have a series of inner and outer cores that are fused together through mass politics and shared paranoia. In fact, much of Eurasia will eventually be as claustrophobic as Israel and the Palestinian territories, with geography controlling everything and no room to maneuver. Although Zionism shows the power of ideas, the battle over land between Israelis and Palestinians is a case of utter geographical determinism. This is Eurasia’s future as well.

The ability of states to control events will be diluted, in some cases destroyed. Artificial borders will crumble and become more fissiparous, leaving only rivers, deserts, mountains, and other enduring facts of geography. Indeed, the physical features of the landscape may be the only reliable guides left to understanding the shape of future conflict. Like rifts in the Earth’s crust that produce physical instability, there are areas in Eurasia that are more prone to conflict than others. These “shatter zones” threaten to implode, explode, or maintain a fragile equilibrium. And not surprisingly, they fall within that unstable inner core of Eurasia: the greater Middle East, the vast way station between the Mediterranean world and the Indian subcontinent that registers all the primary shifts in global power politics.

This inner core, for Mackinder, was the ultimate unstable region. And yet, writing in an age before oil pipelines and ballistic missiles, he saw this region as inherently volatile, geographically speaking, but also somewhat of a secondary concern. A century’s worth of technological advancement and population explosion has rendered the greater Middle East no less volatile but dramatically more relevant, and where Eurasia is most prone to fall apart now is in the greater Middle East’s several shatter zones.

The Indian subcontinent is one such shatter zone. It is defined on its landward sides by the hard geographic borders of the Himalayas to the north, the Burmese jungle to the east, and the somewhat softer border of the Indus River to the west. Indeed, the border going westward comes in three stages: the Indus; the unruly crags and canyons that push upward to the shaved wastes of Central Asia, home to the Pashtun tribes; and, finally, the granite, snow-mantled massifs of the Hindu Kush, transecting Afghanistan itself. Because these geographic impediments are not contiguous with legal borders, and because barely any of India’s neighbors are functional states, the current political organization of the subcontinent should not be taken for granted. You see this acutely as you walk up to and around any of these land borders, the weakest of which, in my experience, are the official ones—a mere collection of tables where cranky bureaucrats inspect your luggage. Especially in the west, the only border that lives up to the name is the Hindu Kush, making me think that in our own lifetimes the whole semblance of order in Pakistan and southeastern Afghanistan could unravel, and return, in effect, to vague elements of greater India.

In Nepal, the government barely controls the countryside where 85 percent of its people live. Despite the aura bequeathed by the Himalayas, nearly half of Nepal’s population lives in the dank and humid lowlands along the barely policed border with India. Driving throughout this region, it appears in many ways indistinguishable from the Ganges plain. If the Maoists now ruling Nepal cannot increase state capacity, the state itself could dissolve.

The same holds true for Bangladesh. Even more so than Nepal, it has no geographic defense to marshal as a state. The view from my window during a recent bus journey was of the same ruler-flat, aquatic landscape of paddy fields and scrub on both sides of the line with India. The border posts are disorganized, ramshackle affairs. This artificial blotch of territory on the Indian subcontinent could metamorphose yet again, amid the gale forces of regional politics, Muslim extremism, and nature itself.

Like Pakistan, no Bangladeshi government, military or civilian, has ever functioned even remotely well. Millions of Bangladeshi refugees have already crossed the border into India illegally. With 150 million people—a population larger than Russia—crammed together at sea level, Bangladesh is vulnerable to the slightest climatic variation, never mind the changes caused by global warming. Simply because of its geography, tens of millions of people in Bangladesh could be inundated with salt water, necessitating the mother of all humanitarian relief efforts. In the process, the state itself could collapse.

Of course, the worst nightmare on the subcontinent is Pakistan, whose dysfunction is directly the result of its utter lack of geographic logic. The Indus should be a border of sorts, but Pakistan sits astride both its banks, just as the fertile and teeming Punjab plain is bisected by the India-Pakistan border. Only the Thar Desert and the swamps to its south act as natural frontiers between Pakistan and India. And though these are formidable barriers, they are insufficient to frame a state composed of disparate, geographically based, ethnic groups—Punjabis, Sindhis, Baluchis, and Pashtuns—for whom Islam has provided insufficient glue to hold them together. All the other groups in Pakistan hate the Punjabis and the army they control, just as the groups in the former Yugoslavia hated the Serbs and the army they controlled. Pakistan’s raison d’ĂȘtre is that it supposedly provides a homeland for subcontinental Muslims, but 154 million of them, almost the same number as the entire population of Pakistan, live over the border in India.

To the west, the crags and canyons of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, are utterly porous. Of all the times I crossed the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, I never did so legally. In reality, the two countries are inseparable. On both sides live the Pashtuns. The wide belt of territory between the Hindu Kush mountains and the Indus River is really Pashtunistan, an entity that threatens to emerge were Pakistan to fall apart. That would, in turn, lead to the dissolution of Afghanistan.

The Taliban constitute merely the latest incarnation of Pashtun nationalism. Indeed, much of the fighting in Afghanistan today occurs in Pashtunistan: southern and eastern Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan. The north of Afghanistan, beyond the Hindu Kush, has seen less fighting and is in the midst of reconstruction and the forging of closer links to the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, inhabited by the same ethnic groups that populate northern Afghanistan. Here is the ultimate world of Mackinder, of mountains and men, where the facts of geography are asserted daily, to the chagrin of U.S.-led forces—and of India, whose own destiny and borders are hostage to what plays out in the vicinity of the 20,000-foot wall of the Hindu Kush.

Another shatter zone is the Arabian Peninsula. The vast tract of land controlled by the Saudi royal family is synonymous with Arabia in the way that India is synonymous with the subcontinent. But while India is heavily populated throughout, Saudi Arabia constitutes a geographically nebulous network of oases separated by massive waterless tracts. Highways and domestic air links are crucial to Saudi Arabia’s cohesion. Though India is built on an idea of democracy and religious pluralism, Saudi Arabia is built on loyalty to an extended family. But while India is virtually surrounded by troubling geography and dysfunctional states, Saudi Arabia’s borders disappear into harmless desert to the north and are shielded by sturdy, well-governed, self-contained sheikhdoms to the east and southeast.

Where Saudi Arabia is truly vulnerable, and where the shatter zone of Arabia is most acute, is in highly populous Yemen to the south. Although it has only a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s land area, Yemen’s population is almost as large, so the all-important demographic core of the Arabian Peninsula is crammed into its mountainous southwest corner, where sweeping basalt plateaus, rearing up into sand-castle formations and volcanic plugs, embrace a network of oases densely inhabited since antiquity. Because the Turks and the British never really controlled Yemen, they did not leave behind the strong bureaucratic institutions that other former colonies inherited.

When I traveled the Saudi-Yemen border some years back, it was crowded with pickup trucks filled with armed young men, loyal to this sheikh or that, while the presence of the Yemeni government was negligible. Mud-brick battlements hid the encampments of these rebellious sheikhs, some with their own artillery. Estimates of the number of firearms in Yemen vary, but any Yemeni who wants a weapon can get one easily. Meanwhile, groundwater supplies will last no more than a generation or two.

I’ll never forget what a U.S. military expert told me in the capital, Sanaa: “Terrorism is an entrepreneurial activity, and in Yemen you’ve got over 20 million aggressive, commercial-minded, and well-armed people, all extremely hard-working compared with the Saudis next door. It’s the future, and it terrifies the hell out of the government in Riyadh.” The future of teeming, tribal Yemen will go a long way to determining the future of Saudi Arabia. And geography, not ideas, has everything to do with it.

The Fertile Crescent, wedged between the Mediterranean Sea and the Iranian plateau, constitutes another shatter zone. The countries of this region—Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq—are vague geographic expressions that had little meaning before the 20th century. When the official lines on the map are removed, we find a crude finger-painting of Sunni and Shiite clusters that contradict national borders. Inside these borders, the governing authorities of Lebanon and Iraq barely exist. The one in Syria is tyrannical and fundamentally unstable; the one in Jordan is rational but under quiet siege. (Jordan’s main reason for being at all is to act as a buffer for other Arab regimes that fear having a land border with Israel.) Indeed, the Levant is characterized by tired authoritarian regimes and ineffective democracies.

Of all the geographically illogical states in the Fertile Crescent, none is more so than Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, by far the worst in the Arab world, was itself geographically determined: Every Iraqi dictator going back to the first military coup in 1958 had to be more repressive than the previous one just to hold together a country with no natural borders that seethes with ethnic and sectarian consciousness. The mountains that separate Kurdistan from the rest of Iraq, and the division of the Mesopotamian plain between Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south, may prove more pivotal to Iraq’s stability than the yearning after the ideal of democracy. If democracy doesn’t in fairly short order establish sturdy institutional roots, Iraq’s geography will likely lead it back to tyranny or anarchy again.

But for all the recent focus on Iraq, geography and history tell us that Syria might be at the real heart of future turbulence in the Arab world. Aleppo in northern Syria is a bazaar city with greater historical links to Mosul, Baghdad, and Anatolia than to Damascus. Whenever Damascus’s fortunes declined with the rise of Baghdad to the east, Aleppo recovered its greatness. Wandering through the souks of Aleppo, it is striking how distant and irrelevant Damascus seems: The bazaars are dominated by Kurds, Turks, Circassians, Arab Christians, Armenians, and others, unlike the Damascus souk, which is more a world of Sunni Arabs. As in Pakistan and the former Yugoslavia, each sect and religion in Syria has a specific location. Between Aleppo and Damascus is the increasingly Islamist Sunni heartland. Between Damascus and the Jordanian border are the Druse, and in the mountain stronghold contiguous with Lebanon are the Alawites—both remnants of a wave of Shiism from Persia and Mesopotamia that swept over Syria a thousand years ago.

Elections in Syria in 1947, 1949, and 1954 exacerbated these divisions by polarizing the vote along sectarian lines. The late Hafez al-Assad came to power in 1970 after 21 changes of government in 24 years. For three decades, he was the Leonid Brezhnev of the Arab world, staving off the future by failing to build a civil society at home. His son Bashar will have to open the political system eventually, if only to keep pace with a dynamically changing society armed with satellite dishes and the Internet. But no one knows how stable a post-authoritarian Syria would be. Policymakers must fear the worst. Yet a post-Assad Syria may well do better than post-Saddam Iraq, precisely because its tyranny has been much less severe. Indeed, traveling from Saddam’s Iraq to Assad’s Syria was like coming up for air.

In addition to its inability to solve the problem of political legitimacy, the Arab world is unable to secure its own environment. The plateau peoples of Turkey will dominate the Arabs in the 21st century because the Turks have water and the Arabs don’t. Indeed, to develop its own desperately poor southeast and thereby suppress Kurdish separatism, Turkey will need to divert increasingly large amounts of the Euphrates River from Syria and Iraq. As the Middle East becomes a realm of parched urban areas, water will grow in value relative to oil. The countries with it will retain the ability—and thus the power—to blackmail those without it. Water will be like nuclear energy, thereby making desalinization and dual-use power facilities primary targets of missile strikes in future wars. Not just in the West Bank, but everywhere there is less room to maneuver.

A final shatter zone is the Persian core, stretching from the Caspian Sea to Iran’s north to the Persian Gulf to its south. Virtually all of the greater Middle East’s oil and natural gas lies in this region. Just as shipping lanes radiate from the Persian Gulf, pipelines are increasingly radiating from the Caspian region to the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, China, and the Indian Ocean. The only country that straddles both energy-producing areas is Iran, as Geoffrey Kemp and Robert E. Harkavy note in Strategic Geography and the Changing Middle East. The Persian Gulf possesses 55 percent of the world’s crude-oil reserves, and Iran dominates the whole gulf, from the Shatt al-Arab on the Iraqi border to the Strait of Hormuz in the southeast—a coastline of 1,317 nautical miles, thanks to its many bays, inlets, coves, and islands that offer plenty of excellent places for hiding tanker-ramming speedboats.

It is not an accident that Iran was the ancient world’s first superpower. There was a certain geographic logic to it. Iran is the greater Middle East’s universal joint, tightly fused to all of the outer cores. Its border roughly traces and conforms to the natural contours of the landscape—plateaus to the west, mountains and seas to the north and south, and desert expanse in the east toward Afghanistan. For this reason, Iran has a far more venerable record as a nation-state and urbane civilization than most places in the Arab world and all the places in the Fertile Crescent. Unlike the geographically illogical countries of that adjacent region, there is nothing artificial about Iran. Not surprisingly, Iran is now being wooed by both India and China, whose navies will come to dominate the Eurasian sea lanes in the 21st century.

Of all the shatter zones in the greater Middle East, the Iranian core is unique: The instability Iran will cause will not come from its implosion, but from a strong, internally coherent Iranian nation that explodes outward from a natural geographic platform to shatter the region around it. The security provided to Iran by its own natural boundaries has historically been a potent force for power projection. The present is no different. Through its uncompromising ideology and nimble intelligence services, Iran runs an unconventional, postmodern empire of substate entities in the greater Middle East: Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Sadrist movement in southern Iraq. If the geographic logic of Iranian expansion sounds eerily similar to that of Russian expansion in Mackinder’s original telling, it is.

The geography of Iran today, like that of Russia before, determines the most realistic strategy to securing this shatter zone: containment. As with Russia, the goal of containing Iran must be to impose pressure on the contradictions of the unpopular, theocratic regime in Tehran, such that it eventually changes from within. The battle for Eurasia has many, increasingly interlocking fronts. But the primary one is for Iranian hearts and minds, just as it was for those of Eastern Europeans during the Cold War. Iran is home to one of the Muslim world’s most sophisticated populations, and traveling there, one encounters less anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism than in Egypt. This is where the battle of ideas meets the dictates of geography.

***

In this century’s fight for Eurasia, like that of the last century, Mackinder’s axiom holds true: Man will initiate, but nature will control. Liberal universalism and the individualism of Isaiah Berlin aren’t going away, but it is becoming clear that the success of these ideas is in large measure bound and determined by geography. This was always the case, and it is harder to deny now, as the ongoing recession will likely cause the global economy to contract for the first time in six decades. Not only wealth, but political and social order, will erode in many places, leaving only nature’s frontiers and men’s passions as the main arbiters of that age-old question: Who can coerce whom? We thought globalization had gotten rid of this antiquarian world of musty maps, but now it is returning with a vengeance.

We all must learn to think like Victorians. That is what must guide and inform our newly rediscovered realism. Geographical determinists must be seated at the same honored table as liberal humanists, thereby merging the analogies of Vietnam and Munich. Embracing the dictates and limitations of geography will be especially hard for Americans, who like to think that no constraint, natural or otherwise, applies to them. But denying the facts of geography only invites disasters that, in turn, make us victims of geography.

Better, instead, to look hard at the map for ingenious ways to stretch the limits it imposes, which will make any support for liberal principles in the world far more effective. Amid the revenge of geography, that is the essence of realism and the crux of wise policymaking—working near the edge of what is possible, without slipping into the precipice.



Robert D. Kaplan is national correspondent for The Atlantic and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security





























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The Jewish Congress and the 'Nazis' - Column 88 and Searchlight




Image - Gerry' The Cash Machine' Gable. Britains most succesful con artist.

" Cash or a cheque will do mate. Thanks a lot".





Interesting story below about how Canadian Jewish activist groups set up, ran and paid the main organiser of Canada's first Neo-Nazi organisation in order to ensure the group did not dwindle away and vanish before its first incompetent 'Fuhrer' could pull on his jackboots and swastika armband and then march through the streets thereby inflaming media and public sentiment.

Note also that the article reveals that contrary to the myth of 'nazi violence' that is the staple of such anti-Nazi propaganda, the only violence was from primarily Jewish groups directed at 'the Nazis'.

Its a pity that the Jewish anti-Nazis didnt realise that the Neo-Nazis were in fact being run by other Jewish groups !

It appears that whilst one arm is doing the Hitler salute, the other is busy filling its pockets with cash donations from the alarmed public.

Sound familiar doesnt it.

It sounds very much like the Searchlight founded Column 88 group that was set up in the 1980's by Gerry gable, Searchlight and Special Branch.

It appears that whenever the shysters in Searchlight who peddle the myth of the 'nazi menace threatening society and the 'Jewish / Muslim/ Black / Gay/ Lesbian community' fear that their income stream is jeopardised from a lack of actual 'nazis' in society that they then go and set up a fake 'nazi group' to use as a fundraiser.

It also appears that whenever the government want to pass more laws to restrict free speech, then up pops a new 'nazi group' whose rhetoric and actions provide the pretext for passing those new laws.

Sieg Heiling Nazis = plenty of sheckels for the plethora of anti-Nazi groups and the perfect excuse to undermine free speech.

This is simply classic PROBLEM - SOLUTION - REACTION.

New laws were wanted by the Tory government in the 1980's to restrict free speech, undermine support for the Nationalist right in the form of the National Front at that time and also to bring in more donations to Searchlight.

So Searchlight and Special Branch set up Column 88.

Column 88 allowed the Tory government to bring in new Hate Speech laws to fight 'racism' as defined in the Public Order Act 1986 and also draw in massive donations to Searchlight to fight the 'Nazi menace of Column 88'.

The government got the anti-free speech laws it wanted and Gerry Gable made another shit load of dosh.

It was a win / win situation for the State and Searchlight.

Kerching ! Kerching !

Note also that Richard Warman, an employee of the Canadian Jewish Congress, in the article below was busy posting anti-semitic messages on Stormfront - which is exactly what the idiots on Lancaster Unity admit doing. Those that post on Lancaster Unity have frequently boasted about how many fake identities they have on Stormfront and how easy it is to wind up the 'nazis' on the Stormfront site by posting up Nazi comments on the site.

It appears that the same methodology is employed across the world, from Canada to the NPD in Germany ( who were infiltrated by agents of the German security services who published illegal propaganda designed to get the party banned ) to Lancaster Unity activists posting anti-semitic comments on Stormfront, an American web site.

The real tragedy is that whilst scum bags like Gerry Gable and Lancaster Unity are profiting from peddling the myth of the nazi menace, the money donated to Searchlight and Lancaster Unity would be far better spent on dealing with the real anti-semites in Britain - the Islamists and the Far Left who are responsible for the overwhelming majority of racist attacks against Jews in Britain.

Whilst Gable, Lancaster Unity and their cronies in Special Branch profit personally and politically from the myth of the nazi menace, the Jewish community in Britain have to bear the burdens of their pathetic plans and machinations.

Every pound spent on fighting the phantoms of bogus 'nazi extremism' is a pound that would be better spent on fighting the real threats of Islamist and Far Left extremism.



For more information on Gerry ' The Cash Machine ' Gable and Column 88 read here ;

http://www.searchlight.org.uk/o-hara/ray-hill.html

http://www.searchlight.org.uk/o-hara/c88-c18.html

http://www.searchlightexposed.com/fable01.htm





http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Nazis+best+simply+ignored/1536856/story.html


Neo-Nazis are best simply ignored


By Ezra Levant, Citizen SpecialApril 27, 2009 8:27 AMComments (5)



In 1965 and 1966, the Canadian Jewish Congress helped organize the fledgling Canadian Nazi Party. That sounds crazy, but it's true, and I wrote about it in Shakedown, my new book about Canada's human rights commissions.

In a letter to the editor in the Citizen last week, the CJC's current co-president, Rabbi Reuven Bulka, called my book's description of the CJC's role "fiction." He said all the CJC did for the Nazis was buy them a bottle of rum.

It's true that the CJC did buy drinks for Nazis in the 1960s. That's pretty strange in itself, and I'd like to hear more of Rabbi Bulka's thoughts on spending Jewish charitable donations that way. But the CJC did a lot more than that: they hired an ex-cop named John Garrity to go to work for the Canadian Nazi Party.

Garrity helped organize that rag-tag band of losers, though they never amounted to anything except for fodder for the press.

There were only a dozen active Nazis when Garrity joined them and they weren't really a political party. He called them "harmless misfits," and they were -- their leader, John Beattie, was a nervous, gaunt, unemployed 24-year-old clerk who spent much of his time dodging angry Jews who tried to beat him up. (One of Garrity's jobs was to help Beattie escape street fights.)

Garrity brought more than just rum to the Nazis. He brought with him pretty much the only organizational talent the group had. They put him in charge of membership. Garrity called himself the "Heinrich Himmler" of the party, and a "Nazi leader for the Jewish Congress."

I'd like Rabbi Bulka's thoughts on that, too.

Of course, Garrity helped his paymasters at the CJC, too, giving them information about the names of party members and donors. And when Garrity finally quit the Nazis, he wrote a tell-all about his adventure in Maclean's magazine.

Garrity larded that report with personal insults toward Beattie and the Nazis. But he did acknowledge that they had never done, or even contemplated doing, anything illegal. All of the violence he witnessed was directed at Beattie, usually by Jewish vigilantes. "Sadly, it is the ... anti-Nazi extremists who, in their attempts to destroy Beattie, provide him with most of the publicity he craves. If it weren't for the riots and the assaults and the public protest meetings they hold, there'd be no real news in Beattie," Garrity wrote.

And that is the importance of this story and why I put it in my book about human rights commissions. Beattie hadn't done anything illegal. He was just a loser who believed in a discredited ideology. But the CJC wanted to bring in political censorship laws and I believe they needed to build up the threat to persuade Parliament to abridge Canada's freedom of speech.

Garrity puffed up a group of Nazi nobodies into a national menace, first through organizational support and then through spectacular media publicity. And, sure enough, Parliament enacted section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which censors offensive speech.

That's become a pattern. Twenty years after the Canadian Nazi Party vanished, CSIS, Canada's spy agency, inserted an operative named Grant Bristow into another rag-tag racist group called the Heritage Front.

Unlike Garrity, Bristow didn't play second-fiddle.

He became the boss, turning the Heritage Front into Canada's leading white supremacist group. This time it wasn't just Jewish money that was spent propping up neo-Nazis -- all taxpayers paid for it.

Which brings us to the present day -- and back to Rabbi Bulka and the section 13 censorship law. Canada's largest customer of section 13 is Richard Warman, who has been the complainant in all but two cases heard by the tribunal this decade. The CJC was so impressed that they gave Warman an award.

But, in a stunning human rights tribunal ruling last month, Warman himself was rebuked for posting anti-Semitic comments on Stormfront, a neo-Nazi website, including a message calling Jews "scum." Warman has stated that he was attempting to gather information on real Nazis, but the tribunal called his actions "disappointing and disturbing," and ruled that he risked encouraging more hateful messages himself.

Warman's actions appalled the tribunal, but apparently not the CJC. Just as the CJC did with Garrity, Nazi opponents continue to stir up neo-Nazi incidents -- as if there aren't enough real threats to Jews as it is.

Perhaps Rabbi Bulka can explain that one, too.

Ezra Levant is the author of Shakedown: How our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

















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Swine Flu, Consumerism and Globalism

The apocalypse begins not with a whimper, but with a cough.


The swine flu crisis is a crisis of globalism, in that the globalist mass transit system is the most efficient mechanism yet invented by man to transmit dangerous infections diseases from one continent to another.

At the same time the free movement of livestock, many of them infected with diseases, is a fundamental part of the global food mechanism.

Brazilian rainforest reared beef end up in British beef burgers.

Pork from Mexico ends up in sausages sold in Britain.

Immigrants with AID's and TB are allowed to enter the UK, with AID'S infected nurses from Africa even allowed to work with vulnerable patients in the NHS.

It appears that along with drugs smuggling, people smuggling, international terrorism, mass immigration, arms smuggling, sex slave trafficking and the importation of foreign diseases is the price we the people have to pay in order to keep the globalist corporations rich and happy.

The swine flu epidemic is the clearest proof yet that localism has to become the basis of sustainable economic, industrial, employment and environmental systems.

Rather than importing in workers we should be retraining our own people to take local jobs.

Rather than importing in food from abroad we must ensure national self sufficiency as far as possible.

Instead of importing in AID's infected nurses from around the world we should be employing our own nurses.

The subsidy paid every year to airlines by the British government is around £ 10 billion per year.

If the true cost of tourism and travel were paid by holidaymakers taking those trips, rather than poor British taxpayers who cannot afford overseas holidays, then the price of such flights would rise vastly.

This needs to be done as soon as possible - why should the poor in Britain subsidise the rich who like cheap foreign holidays ?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-airlines-16310bn-government-fuel-subsidy-842770.html

The Government has been urged to abolish a £10bn-a-year "hidden subsidy" to the airline industry to bring it into line with hard-pressed motorists struggling with higher petrol prices.

Although the aviation industry claims it is being badly hit by the soaring price of oil, it still enjoys a double boost denied to drivers because it does not pay fuel duty or VAT on the fuel for its planes. New figures suggest this subsidy is worth £9.92bn at current levels of fuel tax.

WHILST THE GOVERNMENT SITS BACK AND DOES NOTHING AS PENSIONERS FREEZE TO DEATH IN THEIR TENS OF THOUSANDS PER YEAR, IT SUBSIDISES THE WEALTHY WHO WANT CHEAP TRIPS ABROAD !

Over recent weeks we have seen various idiot journalists like Daniel Hannan of The Times and others on the left / liberal wing of the Establishment argue whether the BNP is a right wing or a left wing party - in reality it is neither.

Those who still define politics as left wing / right wing are retarded.

The issues are now simply ;

A) Nationalism versus Globalism

B) British Culture versus Multi-Culturalism

C) Liberty versus Political Correctness

D) Classical Liberalism versus Liberal Fascism

E) Localism versus the Socialist 'Big State' and the Corporate International Fascist Consumerist system.

F) National Self Suffiency as opposed to slavery to Arab oil, russian gas, foreign food imports and all the other essentials that we are forced to import instead of producing our own.


The old left / right divide in British politics is now an irrelevance - what matters is simply those that want a return to the values of Nationalism and those that still espouse the systems of Globalism, consumerism, international socialism and their systems and structures.

The BNP stands for Localism in that we intend to devolve political power down to people at the local level so that they have power over their own lives, we want the state to serve the people rather than the people serve the state, we stand for Distributism and workers ownership of their own companies as opposed to the socialist Big State which nationalises industries and banks and the monopoly capitalist system of the international corporate fascists that ensures only the rich own a stake in the companies that workers work for.

At every level we oppose the Globalist Consumer Paradigm and its dysfunctional structures and mechanisms - and that is why we are attacked by the left, liberals and capitalists as each are the enemies of Nationalism and the British people.



































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The End Of Consumerism

An interesting article below from The Ecologist.

Note the main missing issue - IMMIGRATION.

Anyone with a brain realises that you cannot have a sustainable environment, sustainable economics and a sustainable nation without regulating population numbers.

An open borders of policy on immigration, an open borders policy on asylum seekers and an open borders policy on allowing in economic migrants to drive continual economic growth means that the goal of a Green Energy Revolution, a sustainable environment and an economic system based on sustainable economics cannot be created.

To have a nation, such as the British Isles, allowing in hundreds of thousands of new immigrants a year and thereby in 20 years have a population around 80 million requiring 6 new cities the size of Birmingham to house them is the politics of the madhouse.

The greatest betrayal of the 20th century has been the betrayal of the Green movement as regards the fundamental issues of immigration and human population control.

The failure of the Green Movement to accept the fundamental reality that mass immigration equates to the death of national environments and that the human population is the primary cause of 'climate change', as opposed to the facile science of 'global warming which seeks to blame 'industrial development' when industrial development is merely the growth of industry to supply the needs and demands of rising human populations with their foods and consumer trinkets, means the Green Movement have been the perpetrators of the primary problem.

The Red / Greens merely divert youth and environmentalists into the fake solution of the system controlled Red / Green Pseudo-Environmentalism.

As long as people like Zac Goldsmith run The Ecologist, red liberals run the WWF, Greenpeace and other environmental groups and idiots like Carol Lucas and her cabal of nonces and communists run The Green Party then each of these groups and organisations are a part of the problem - they can never be part of the solution.

The solution is clear - before the Green Movement takes another step it must first state that ;

1) All immigration into the UK has to end and voluntary repatriation policies be imposed to assist all those economic migrants who have entered the UK over recent decades to return home. This will apply to everyone regardless of race, creed, religion, colour or nationality.

2) Compulsory repatriation policies be imposed on all foreign criminals, illegal entrants to the UK, people smuggled into the UK, those whose asylum status has been refused, those whose asylum status needs to be reviewed in light of changing national and social circumstances in their own homelands, those who are here on invalid visas, those who did not declare their criminal convictions before they came into the country, those who status as economic migrants has changed and those whose presence in the UK is detrimental to our national security. These have to be Compulsory Repatriated and deported. This will apply to everyone regardless of race, creed, religion, colour or nationality.

That way the British national population level can stabilise and we can start to then put in place the structures that will support the Green Revolution.

Until then the Green Movement, or the Red Greens as they should be known as they are communists and liberals and not Greens, will continue to assist Consumerism and Socialism in its war against our national environment and the global environment.







http://www.theecologist.org/pages/archive_detail.asp?content_id=2214



The end of consumerism

Jules Peck 16/04/2009

Last month my friend Satish Kumar said in Sustained magazine that the happiest people are those who live close to the land and use their hands – craftspeople and farmers. As a naturalist, keen gardener and soon-to-be vegetable-plot devotee, this resonates with me.


It also tallies with the evidence from wellbeing studies which show that people who live their lives framed around extrinsic values of self-focus, image, greed and acquisition, and are suffering from ‘affluenza’, are diminishing their own wellbeing as well as those around them. They also tend to have far higher environmental footprints than others. Conversely, those whose lives are focused on intrinsic values such as personal (not economic) growth, emotional intimacy and community involvement, have far higher levels of wellbeing and lower footprints.

It’s more complex than saying they are ‘happier’, but they certainly experience far more ‘flow’ in work and play, better relationships and balance – things to which we could all aspire. The philosopher Aristotle had lots to say about wellbeing. In his view, to be a flourishing individual – one who experiences high levels of ‘meaning’ and wellbeing – you should aspire to be an active participant in the flourishing of community. So Thatcher had it all wrong: there really is such a thing as society, and it matters that we are active citizens striving for the good of the wider community, not just in an enlightened self-interest manner but in a deeper manner that respects the lives of all.

In www.citizenrenaisance.com, an online e-draft wiki book that I am currently writing with a friend, Robert Phillips, we call for a shift in societal values away from the consumer in us all to citizen values and advocacy for change. In short we are saying you are not what you buy. But it’s hard to get that message heard amid the cacophony of background noise and brainprint of the advertising world.

These are things I take as self evident – but don’t just listen to me: others have said it far more eloquently. Playwright Dennis Potter said in 1994 in Seeing the Blossom: ‘The commercialisation of everything means of course you’re putting a commercial value on everything. And you turn yourself from a citizen into a consumer’. Booker Prize-winning novelist Ben Okri said in the Times in October 2008: ‘The meltdown in the economy is a harsh metaphor of the meltdown of some of our value systems. Individualism has been raised almost to a religion, appearance made more important than substance. The only hope lies in a fundamental re-examination of the values that we have lived by in the past 30 years’.

Vaclav Havel has stated beautifully the fundamental shift that is needed: ‘What could change the direction of today’s civilization? It is my deep conviction that the only option is a change in the sphere of the spirit, in the sphere of human conscience. It’s not enough to invent new machines, new regulations, new institutions. We must develop a new understanding of the true purpose of our existence on this Earth. Only by making such a fundamental shift will we be able to create new models of behaviour and a new set of values for the planet’. For Havel, our refreshingly outspoken bishops and many others, the environmental crisis is ultimately a crisis of the spirit.

One of my heroes, Aldo Leopold, the father of the land ethic, wrote to a friend that he doubted anything could be done about conservation ‘without creating a new kind of people’, and in the must-read A Sand County Almanac, from 1949, that ‘a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it… it implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such’. And as Professor Tim Jackson says, ‘the transition to a sustainable society cannot hope to proceed without the emergence or re-emergence of some kinds of meaning structures that lie outside the consumer realm’. Brilliant thinkers such as Dr Tom Crompton at WWF are doing crucial work on these questions. We must urgently spread the conversation.

Right now there is a terrifying vacuum of values, vision and leadership in our political discourse and from our politicians. And it’s hard for business to do the right thing when it’s designed to make money and little else, and when the market is set up so perversely. Our politicians are (to borrow a phrase from the wonderful Thomas Homer-Dixon) like drunk drivers in the fog. Harvard Professor John Quelch’s 2008 study Too Much Stuff says: ‘The mass consumption of the 1990s is fast fading in the rearview mirror. Now a growing number of people want to declutter their lives and invest in experiences rather than things’.

And Jeremy Paxman has told us that we are witnessing the ‘end of capitalism’. Our current form of corporate-consumer-capitalism has been shown to be what many of us knew it was: a fundamentally flawed system.

Luckily just the kind of citizen renaissance we need is beginning with groups like CRAGs and Transition Towns – described by Jeremy Leggett as ‘scalable microcosms of hope’. And online digital democracy is giving individual citizens and collectives a new voice and real power in politics. Moveon.org, Getup.org, Dosomethingaboutit.org.uk, Localeyes.org and 38degrees.org.uk are names that if you have not heard of you soon will have. What do I think all this citizen power needs to call for? Well, it’s nothing short of a radical updating of our current operating system – no sticking plaster will do. We urgently need a Green New Deal to act as a transition phase to a steady state, economic development (not growth) paradigm that aims to maximise the wellbeing of people and planet, not the bank balances of the rich. And we must beware the snake-oil salespeople trying to flog us the dead-ends of green consumerism and cheatneutral ‘offsets’. Those are phoney solutions just as dangerous as what most of our current myopic flock of politicians would sell us.

Wake up, get angry (in a positive way), unite and become a citizen. It’s our only hope. Oh, and take a look at my book I would love your feedback.

Jules Peck is a freelance writer and citizen with 20 years experience advising NGOs, government and the corporate world.


This piece first appeared in the Ecologist March 2009










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