Hay Festival: Tom Holland Gives Christopher Hitchens Lecture

  

Bumping into Peter Hitchens after his General Election discussion, and Tom Holland delivers the inaugural Christopher Hitchens Lecture on Deradicalising Mohammed.

It’s like a book camp holiday at Hay, as you look to see what talk you haven’t booked, rush to get a ticket, listen then queue to get your book signed. Collapsing drunk on words whirling through your mind, inside your tent, at the end of the day. An intelligentsia assembly line has been constructed on a welsh field. What motivates the workers here to unite is the inspiration of ideas and personality of the speakers. 

I bumped into Peter Hitchens having bought his “The Rage Against God” and mentioned our conversations on twitter. His bug bear is people not engaging with what is said, and the block button will follow if they do not. His analysis of British politics explains why I do not belong to a political party – it’s not about what citizens or activists think. Money and interests talk over us, and the Conservatives are playing New Labour so well Labour did not have much to say – while all turn a blind eye to mounting debt (national and private) that may lead to another financial crisis on the horizon.

One festival goer remarked feeling dejected by such talks. Yet the truth helps us see what may come, and at least puts things in the proper perspective. She had just come out of Tom Holland’s talk on deradicalising Mohammed. Forget the reformation Ayaan Hirsi Ali talks of – the salafists are that historical parallel and the internet has taken on the role of the printing press. If we wish to deny Jihadists the role model of a violent warrior prophet we have to acknowledge that the historical Mohammed hardly exists. Instead we rely on bibliography and sayings collected two hundred years after his death.

[Update: link to Tom Holland’s talk]

This is not without challenges – it questions a literal interpretation of Mohammed’s life. It suggests that accounts may be wrong, unreliable or deliberately bogus. Or as Tom put it: rather than treated symbolically they started in modern times to be taken literally. An academic understanding can reveal and centre Mohammed in his time – and if we can get over the “Great man” idea of historical figures with him – we might end Mohammed as the pin up for bloody jihadists to emulate.

Yet the real catalyst for peace and the transformation of ideas in the Middle East will have to be a despair of bloodshed. A point which might take way too many lives in the years to come. Tom mentioned the thirty years war. Where I differ, he does not think ground troops would help the situation against ISIS. In the thirty years war great powers got involved, but the bloodshed escalated rather than helped. Hearing Tom speak you can feel the emotion as he talks of the people being killed, and historical sites threatened. After the talk people spoke about his gentility. They warmed to him during the talk.

In the social media and blogosphere exchanges to do with Islam, I cannot help but feel that is the spirit we need more of, even if we disagree with each other.  

I spared a thought for Christopher Hitchens – this was the first memorial lecture in his name at Hay. Two completely different personalities are Holland and Hitch. Yet neither shying away from a controversy. 

It was a honour to have heard all three men above speak in person in my lifetime. For what gives me hope in these times are people facing the issues and using their intelligence and humanity to get through them. 

If you want to debate ideas, Hay is the place to come.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Bake Me A Cake – Opening Pandora’s Box?

A bakery in Northern Ireland was found guilty of discrimination for refusing to decorate a cake with a pro gay marriage message. The bakers cited their Christian views as a reason to refuse service. The media have exploded with “what if” someone asked a Muslim baker to decorate a cake with the picture of Mohammed on it? On the TV show “Loose Women” Nolan Coleen said what about a cake where the icing supported ISIS?

There seems to be confusion over what the Equality Act means, free speech and religious freedom. Different issues, all important as they overlap. So let me try to unpack all this in a short post. What follows is not legal advice – and any lawyers reading please feel free to comment or correct.

Ashers bakery refused an order for a cake which would have said “support gay marriage.” This failed the Equalities Act because it meant discriminating against gay people who would have wanted decorated cakes linked to being gay. Religious objections were invalid for a bakery, in a way they may not be for a religious organisation. The secular principle as workers and customers we are equal citizens first would apply.

The Mohammed on a cake example (the assumption being the Muslim would refuse service), cited by Simon Jenkins in an article and mentioned by Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You, is not the same. Both mention a Christian asking for this decorative cake from a Muslim. Such a cake has nothing to do with being a Christian. Refusal of service would not be based on the faith of the customer, nor indirectly linked to it (as in the support gay marriage).

If you want to argue free speech means they must bake the Mohammed cake, for the baker must be detached from their creation to serve the wants of their customer, bare in mind there is no legal obligation to bake. The ISIS cake asks are there red lines that are understandable for the conscience of a baker, or are all irrelevant? Rather than call for Coleen to be sacked, I would say here is the bottom line: if it does not breach the Equalities Act, a baker can refuse service to someone. So that Mohammed or an ISIS cake could be refused, because making those cakes are not an equality issue regarding discrimination to the person asking.

There are more interesting hypotheticals that the QC defending Ashers bakery could have used instead: a Christian asking a Muslim baker to make them a batch of hot cross buns for a Church celebration at Easter or a butcher legally required to supply halal meat if asked, or would they be discriminating against muslims if they object against Islam requiring this? If the Muslim baker declined, would the law state both have protected religious characteristics. If the judgment in Northern Ireland may be read you cannot discriminate against religion, it would mean that anyone supplying a made to order service would have to supply a religious festival or dietary requirement they disapproved of if their objection was they disagreed with it.

Pandora’s cake box is opened much wider than the discussion may have led you to believe. Religious freedom either means all citizens must be catered for by services offered to the public, or services are recognised as being staffed by citizens whose religious freedom means they can refuse citing their own religious freedom to disagree in participating. The law is favouring universal service to end discrimination of customers. The question is will this lead to unintended consequences.

In summery: you cannot cite religious objections if that leads to discrimination or indirect discrimination that contravenes the Equalities Act. Being gay is a protected characteristic, as is being religious, for customers or potential customers. Denial of service by the bakery was discrimination. A Christian denied a Mohammed cake would have to prove discrimination based on their being a Christian – something which would fail the direct or indirect discrimination case in examples mentioned above. By contrast, a Muslim given a Mohammed cake might well have a case for harassment if it was known they were a Muslim that would object. A butcher may not be able to say “I disagree with Islam on this” as a reason to refuse obtaining halal meat.

Hopefully I have given you food for thought. This is one subject where it may give indigestion trying to have your cake and eat it.

NB I am going to be at the Hay Festival this Sunday night till Wednesday morning. So do say hi, and feel free to get in touch via twitter, if you want to discuss things if you are there. Ideally over a drink.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Accomodate Or Oppose The Islamic Right? Choose Wisely

The hope is by reaching out to the Islamic Right, their participation in society will reduce the threat of extremism. It misses two key points. One, most on the Islamic right are not violent or going to be as it is their personal view, the other that this accommodating undermines the very muslims that are countering this view of Islam both in their community and by how they live their own lives. We should be standing for the liberal principles that fundamentalists oppose, instead of promoting groupthink over individual rights.

The fear that your house will be burnt down, because you have publicly left a faith. A return phone call from a company to ensure you do not break Islamic tenets, because of your name, having placed an order. Gender segregated events at a political rally, with parliamentary candidates.

Secularism supports citizens being free in their opinions regarding religion. Universal human rights promote that no authority may impose religious opinions on others by law or coercion. That should be easy enough – no one should be threatened with violence, no one should have a stranger phoning up to reprimand them on religious dietary requirements they do not follow. It is not though. As The Observer article mentions having cited those two examples:

There has been a great deal of public debate in recent years about what drives young Muslims towards radicalisation. It’s an urgent subject of study in various disciplines of academia, has spawned a library of books, and is the focus of well-funded government programmes.

What is much less known about, and far less discussed, is the plight of young Muslims going in the opposite direction – those who not only turn away from radicalisation but from Islam itself.

Although it is fraught with human drama – existential crisis, philosophical doubt, family rupture, violent threats, communal expulsion, depression, and all manner of other problems – the apostate’s journey elicits remarkably little media interest or civic concern. According to Cottee, there is not “a single sociological study… on the issue of apostasy from Islam”.

I have written about how some will argue that they oppose sharia councils, gender segregation, the veil as a face mask etc on principle but see such things as needing accommodating as a means to prevent fundamentalism having a grievance and to try and draw the muslim right into civic politics. In short, this is about preventing extremism to keep themselves safer.

[Read – The Betrayal Of Believers to Theocracy]

The problem we have, in this rush to bend over backwards out of selfish self-interest, we have suggested that the Islamic right is islam. We have compromised to suggest that Islam requires fasting and face veiling even for children, gender segregation increases participation, that children can be denied music lessons at faith schools. When there is no theological consensus on this, but a sub-cultural and subjective view in play. Most importantly everyone is free to express their opinion in matters of religion regardless of their heritage, skin colour or name. I would like to add even if they are children, and you can read my own apostasy story for more on that here.

As Alom Shaha says: “If your concern about bigotry Muslims face means you’re unwilling to admit problems ex-Muslims face, you’re doing whole liberal thing wrong.” We must be appalled by a woman being verbally abused at wearing a hijab as we are at a woman wearing a hijab fearing what her family will do if she did not. Being liberal is being concerned about individual rights, and not allowing them to be subject to communal whims of religious figures that promote group think for their own platform.

‘Why do you not ask the women at gender segregated events?’, has been the remark to me on twitter. Well I have, when I was standing as a councillor for the Liberal Democrats. I had to have conversations through letter boxes with women, who told me that their husband would make the decision how they would both vote, though they would pass on my remarks. Where people feared putting a poster up for me would result in a brick being thrown through their window. Where a Labour activist told me not to offer my hand to women as against their culture, and when some women did shake my hand I replied, will you tell them it is against their culture to have done that?

Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour Party, has said she hated the idea of a gender segregated public meeting, but she hated the idea of men only meetings even more. My reply would be not to attend either, just as I would not a racial segregated meeting or one where only white men were invited to attend. Would we promote women wearing a face mask, because the alternative is them being locked up indoors for the same reason – or would we say such ideas need to be challenged for they are designed to control the movement and appearance of women? We accommodate while ignoring muslims stating these things have nothing to do with Islam. We expect ex muslims and muslims to think like the muslim right – using the logic of the very racists and anti-muslim bigots that they all must be the same because of their skin and names. That should be enough to shame anyone, but the irony is ignored as they claim to be championing a suppressed minority by promoting the Islamic Right.

I really do not want to mention cartoons again on this blog. People still seem determined to kill others for putting ink to paper, as the Texas attempted massacre showed where security shot dead two armed wannabe killers at a cartoon of Mohammed event. It would be easy to go, but they are right wing bigots, accept it should not matter whether it is Pam Geller or anyone saying:

“This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters? Two men with rifles and backpacks attacked police outside our event. A cop was shot; his injuries are not life-threatening, thank Gd. Please keep him in your prayers,” she posted.

“The bomb squad has been called to the event site to investigate a backpack left at the event site. The war is here.” [Source]

Even hate group leaders organising events do not deserve to be executed at them, nor those that attend. Former President Morsi should not be executed in Egypt, and secularists should be speaking out against military juntas that decide to wear civilian clothing while subverting democracy as they should Islamists that deny human rights. Words or opinions should not mark out anyone for death – nor should we respond they were asking for it by expressing them. Unless the victim is the guilty party, not the man with the gun, or the man with his dick in his hand as he is about to rape a protester. Were the women asking for it as they demanded their human rights? Enough with blaming the victim.

Of course the gun is not always the weapon of choice. With the machete, a third secular blogger in Bangladesh is killed this year. Chased down the street as he went to work, Ananta Bijoy Das was hacked to death in what is increasingly seen as a “culture of impunity” for religiously motivated killings.

His murder comes a week after al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent claimed responsibility for Roy’s killing on 26 February in which his wife was badly injured. An Islamist has been arrested over his murder. Another atheist blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was hacked to death in Dhaka in March. Two madrassa students have been arrested over that attack. [Source]

Religion does not deserve a culture of impunity in a free society. Yet, that is exactly what we are in danger of doing, not out of principle but expediency. I have met too many people who have been threatened and shot at, read about too many who I will never get to meet because they have been killed. Like Sabeen Mahmud, shot dead in April:

In Karachi, Sabeen established a not-for-profit organization “to promote democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement,” called The Second Floor (T2F). T2F worked to keep its doors open for artists, performers and marginalized voices, with Sabeen’s fearless and welcoming attitude creating a home and a safe space for conversations, discourse and peace in Pakistan. [Source]

If we want intellectual and cultural engagement, we cannot accommodate the very reactionary ideology that stands against it. The religious right have to be challenged for the sake of a free and open society for everyone. The islamic right should be no exception. Just as we should condemn the words of the French Mayor that said “The Muslim religion must be banned in France”, who has been suspended by his party for this tweeted remark to former President Sarkozy.

Do not kid yourself that you can appease the fundamentalists with gestures. It never does. Death or surrender is the choice they offer. We should want neither, as we promote liberty and freedom for all, while tackling bigotry against muslims and ex muslims.

Free speech for everyone, whether they are Anjem Choudary or Pamela Geller, is the way to allow this to happen.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Save Me From Myself – The True Danger of Gay Marriage in Ireland

Robert McLiam Wilson, an Irish writer for Charlie Hebdo, guest posts on the forthcoming referendum in Ireland on equal marriage next week. and the curious change that this law is having on him. Robert may yet escape his “depressingly heterosexual” life. The No campaign’s worst nightmare come true – gay marriage might appeal to straight men wanting to flee the crushing sanctity of heterosexual union.

As you get older, you get more conservative, more fearful, mortal and reactionary. We’ve always known this. It’s not news. The ancient Greeks complained about it.

It could be argued that the median age for this little rightward lurch is coming down. What used to happen at sixty then happened at fifty and forty is no longer safely the hopeful, permissive time it used to be. It doesn’t matter. It’s a law. As you get older, you get more right wing. It’s nature. It’s trees in leaf, snow on the hills and fucking spiders everywhere.  Like I say, nature.

We fear it, we feel it and we watch for it, terrified that we are going start complaining that music is now just shouting, that famous people are scruffy and immigrants are…well, you know. But there is another, related, phenomenon with which we are less familiar. The terrible moment when you come upon a subject or issue, and despite summoning all your liberalism and good faith, you suddenly see with blinding clarity that the Right are, after all, perfectly correct.

For this, dear readers, is what has recently happened to me. It has been very personal and very intense. I have come to understand that those wonderful people campaigning for a No vote in the Irish gay marriage referendum (including, of course, the superbly homophobic Jim Wells and his ilk) are right. They may seem dreadful or stupid or strangely badly dressed. You might find them intolerant and bizarrely old-fashioned. But their sincerity is absolute and they genuinely hope to protect us from a terrible danger.

My Damascene conversion came when I realised that since the prospect of gay marriage in Ireland is about to be realised, I simply have not been able to stop thinking about sucking cocks. Seriously, I’m out of control. Sucking cocks. I think about it in bed, at my desk, under the shower, on the street. My heart pounds and my skin tingles, I sweat and tremble with a kind of gay madness. Cocks, hundreds of them, nay thousands of them. And me. Doing that thing to them.

Now, I have an almost embarrassing absence of homosexual incident, major or minor, in my sexual history (it used to make me feel unsophisticated in polite society). I am a working class, intellectual, romantic, fatherly type. I’ve been depressingly heterosexual. I’ve lived a life ruled and ruined by women. And now, at the advent of this evil law, I simply can’t stop thinking about cocks, about drowning myself in a gotterdammerung of gymnastic homoerotic excess, losing myself in a forest of phallus.

I am dismayed to find that I want the rough touch of manly stubble on my inner thigh. I want to lick the ears of footballers and rock stars. I want to dance in cemeteries with a hundred oiled and naked youths. I want to put on lipstick and wear a polka dot dress. I want to build my muscles and wax my chest. I wanna be roughly taken by bearish Belgians with beards and birkenstocks. I want to ruin studious bespectacled artist boys and to corrupt young priests with surprisingly pert buttocks. I want to fuck sturdy hobbledehoys and effete sons of the bourgeoisie. I want it all and I want it now.

Sometimes in the street, when I walk past building sites, I worry what I might do. At home alone, I cackle and roar with delighted and savage laughter. So delighted am I to escape the dreary shackles of heterosexual misery that my blood sings and my head swims. No more a prisoner of the feminine. I can finally relinquish the shame of pretending that I liked Penelope Cruz for her acting, of showing fake interest in cushion covers or curtain colours. I can escape the menstrual tempests and child-rearing horror.

Not only all this but I feel compelled to broadcast to diffuse and sow my epiphany, to sway and persuade others to my view. I want to rush into schools and tell the kids to forget geography and start listening to Judy Garland. It is not enough that I sense this new truth. You must all join me. You and your children’s children (well, if they have any, that is, after I make them all incredibly gay).

All this because of the mere possibility of a change in the law! I daren’t even imagine the vile madness that would befall me where this to become the law of the land. It’s nightmarish. Here I am, a man of a certain age, mild-mannered and stable. And the only thing between me and phallic abyss is one last legal safeguard.

I need to be protected from myself. I feel like I am in some tortured nineteenth century Russian novella. An explicitly gay one. I don’t want to want to suck cocks. Someone has to help me. Are the socialists going to save me from myself? No, I don’t think so. I am left with those who fight the good fight, The Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage (ADFAM) are my personal favourites (Being gay causes cancer is their schtick) or the Catholic church (hey, I’m Irish – I trust the sexual probity of the Catholic church with an absolutist faith).

So guys, girls, please, help me. Please save me from myself.

Post written by Robert McLiam Wilson as a guest post on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Non-white people can be racist.

John Sargeant:

Tom writes on the “I cannot be racist, because …” phenomenon. Maybe we can raise awareness this sticks out like “I’m not racist, but …”

Originally posted on Politics ad Infinitum:

This is Goldsmiths university student union welfare and diversity officer, Bahar Mustafa, explaining why she can’t be racist:

 

I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist to white men because racism and sexism describe structures of privilege based on race and gender.

Therefore, women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist, since we do not stand to benefit from such a system. For our actions to have been deemed racist or sexist, the current system would have been that enabled only women and people of colour to benefit economically or socially on such a large scale and to the systematic exclusion of white men, who for the past 400 years would have had to be subjected to colonisation..

To be racist is to be powerful. Racism is racial prejudice married with power. This definition of racism – nourished in Liberation groups, circulated by social…

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The Massacre Of Election Night


Nick Clegg leader of the Liberal Democrats, said his party was an anchor to Labour or the Tories. Offering various body parts too, brain or heart, as needed. The British electorate responded to the thought of this Frankenstein’s monster coalition by throwing 90% of his MPs overboard. The body part shown to Nick Clegg was the finger.

The least he could do, despite holding on to his seat in Sheffield, was to go down with the sinking ship. It was not liberalism that died at the polls. It died as a national party with the coalition.

Ed Balls, the Labour Shadow Chancellor, lost his seat by about 400 votes. Labour leader Ed Miliband did worse than Gordon Brown. Worse than 2010, following a financial crisis and a leader publicly calling a pensioner a bigot for worrying about immigration. One million people are now using food banks. Disabled people are dead, while a letter comes through their letter box saying they are fit to work.

Those things mattered not as much as these issues for the electorate: ensuring a commitment to pay off the National Debt with big deficit cuts, challenging the SNP in the House of Commons who claimed they would boss a Labour Minority government, and finally letting the British electorate have a say on Europe.


David Cameron has a majority government. I had an inkling it was going to be their night, but not this outright majority. Family members and people I know in care industry were voting Conservative because of those three big issues above – especially regarding SNP. Having voted for the Liberal Democrat (one of those wiped out) candidate in a constituency where Labour only get 5%,  I saw a dead baby chick in the road outside the polling station. The omens and what people were saying, were clear enough.

Ed Miliband has now resigned as well as I write. Labour failed to grasp and deal with realities about narrative on the economy. They failed to look credible as a Government in waiting. Stone pledges, milifandom, proud not to have responded to a tyrant launching chemical weapons, failing to acknowledge national debt was rising under Labour before the financial crisis.

In some ways it is a relief that we do have a majority government, as I wrote in April to avoid the poisoned chalice the SNP offered Miliband. How Sturgeon could say she offered to lock out the Tories with Labour, while advocating the English go out and vote Green  which would prevent effectively doing that. Yet with just one Labour MP, one Conservative MP, one Liberal Democrat MP ultimate victory in Scotland is Sturgeon’s. The massacre of Labour senior MPs was something to behold as the leader of Scottish Labour Murphy went and shadow foreign secretary Alexander to a university student.

David Cameron has to play this well against the SNP, and he has the hand to do it, all be it with a small overall majority. Will he now push for a federal United Kingdom with devo Max to save the Union, or will SNP exploit any chinks that he will be the last UK Prime Minister? Will we end up leaving the EU? Who will be the new Prime Minister when Cameron steps down during this term?

The biggest problem Cameron will have is a leadership candidate wanting to use those above issues to force a leadership contest sooner rather than later. That consideration should rule out thoughts that a Conservative majority will guarantee stability. The political manoeuvring and planning was probably happening as the champagne flowed for the Conservatives.

As David Cameron meets the Queen to confirm he will form a government, the electorate have spoken. Their will be done, and has been to devastating effect. The Conservatives now this second have a majority with 326 MPs, with seven more results to come.

On VE Day, it is a Conservative victory in England and therefore in the House of Commons.

The cartoon of my tweet  was done live here.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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A Quick Personal Guide To The General Election 2015

Despite a last minute surge in opinion polls to Labour, the Conservatives look set to have the most MPs in a hung parliament. The magic number both parties will fall short of is 323. Not 326, because Sinn Fein MPs do not attend the Commons and a vote that was tied is by convention broken by the Speaker of the House voting for the Government.

A minimum winning coalition is usually the more likely to happen with no outright winner, crucially depending on number of seats won. To put that in perspective, Conservatives need at least 290 seats (with LDs and Unionists supporting) whilst Labour need at least 270 (with SNP and either LD or Unionionists). Some scenarios will work if a party abstains rather than supports.

Under the constitution, we vote for our MPs. It is then their job to form a government. One reason why Ed Miliband has already said that if the Conservatives have the largest number of seats they should have first shot at forming a government. As the incumbent Prime Minister, David Cameron already has that opportunity even if he did not, though naturally if Labour had an outright majority or was able to form a clear majority coalition, Cameron would resign and Ed Miliband would be asked to form a government as Prime Minister.

Some Labour bloggers have feared Cameron trying to hold on, and going for a Queen’s Speech. If the arithmetic is unclear, we would do well to remember he has that right, and a legitimate claim to try if he has more seats than Labour. Let alone as the current Prime Minister he has a constitutional basis to attempt.

[For how the above relates to the fixed terms of parliament legislation please do read Professor Adam Tomkins blog post]

Constituencies To Watch

The Times has a very comprehensive guide to seats to look out for. From there they mention “seats Labour must win – and Tories can’t afford to lose”

Dewsbury 1.526 majority

Pudsey 1,659 majority

Hove 1,868 majority

Enfield North 1,692 majority

Hastings and Rye 1,993 majority

Ipswich 2,079 majority

Did you stay up for … (my personal five)

Nicky Morgan, Education secretary, standing in Loughborough with a majority of 3,744. Since 1974 whichever party has won this constituency has gone on to form the government.The Conservatives won this seat from Labour in 2010. A swing to win this back would suggest Labour were on course to be the biggest party.

George Galloway, Respect, standing in Bradford West. He called his 2012 by election win the “Bradford Spring” and was the biggest swing in a by election (36.6%) since 1983. When he is not busy saying he is not anti semitic, as he tells Israelis they are not welcome in Bradford, or instructing solicitors to sue, he might be found in parliament. Usually earning hundreds of thousands via media appearances. Ready to cheer if he is booted by the electorate.

Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, South Thanet. UKIP had the media in an uproar following the European Election. Now, a really goodnight would be winning 5 seats, Yet even less than a handful might see a Conservative Party dependent on their support. In a close three horse race this is one to watch.

Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats. Sheffield Hallam, Labour may well win unless Conservatives tactically switch votes to prop him up. His decision to form a coalition with the Conservatives may well cost the Lib Dems half their seats – yet they may still be crucial to either Conservatives or Labour. Will he even be in Parliament, much less the leader, following such a cull?

Maajid Nawaz, founder of Quilliam. A photo finish close three horse race in 2010, Hampstead and Kilburn is one to watch. It may be asking much for the Liberal Democrats to go from third to first given national hammering expected. A smear campaign has been launched by the usual suspects against Maajid Nawaz. Whether inside or outside parliament, Nawaz has an important civic society role still to play. Assuming United States does not tempt him away.

Above cartoon from here

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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