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Saturday, 9 August 2014

Tear down the ISIS flags!

The despicable and inhuman butchers of ISIS have a siren-like attraction for young Sunni moslems in Britain; slick propaganda, military prowess, a piratical badness and an achingly cool flag in black and white. I knew weeks ago that it would not be long before this flag - or versions of it - would start to appear in areas of the UK in which there is a concentration of youths of Pakistani descent. 

But England is ready for them - with the provisions of The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007. It is unlawful to fly any flag in England except flags of Class H (any country's national flag, EU, UN or Commonwealth flags, English County flags or the flag of any Saint) or flags bearing the name or device of the building owner (e.g. stately homes) or a flag advertising a specific event such as a Sale, and for a specific duration, without Planning Consent. The ISIS flag is not covered, nor are other, similar Jihadist flags. They must be taken down.

No doubt the usual whingers will crib at the 'discrimination' in the lawfulness of hanging a St George's flag from your roof and the unlawfulness of hanging a Jihadist banner, but there it is. And I doubt there's much inclination to change it at present.

In Tower Hamlets, Sister Christine has already taken one down herself - thus setting the standard for the rest of us. So reader, should ever you spot one, call the Council's planning enforcement team right away - and tell the local papers.

Friday, 8 August 2014


This post should by rights carry black borders. A hundred years ago today, just four days after the start of the War, Parliament passed the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA), the most reactionary, statist, centralist and draconian law ever passed by the British Parliament. So enamoured of these extraordinary and novel powers were Westminster and Whitehall that parts of the Act remain in force today. It was an end to localism, and the start of the modern State, and the people of this country have never yet succeeded in clawing back those freedoms and democratic rights they enjoyed up until 7th August 1914. 

There will be more on this as time allows.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

August Block

Apols for slow blogging - it's the annual August blog block. Indignation should be resumed shortly ....

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

4th August - Commemoration

All in all, last night's commemorative event, and the BBC's reporting, hit the right note. It was always going to be a difficult one, and I feared we'd get it wrong - with the debacle of the BBC's reporting of the 2012 River pageant repeated in spades. Dan Snow, a young graduate who wants to be an historian, gave us the authorised version with the keen enthusiasm of a student repeating a lecture from a favourite tutor. The best reading came from Prince Harry, who alone amongst the panjandrums collected there has tasted combat. I wondered at the identity of the young cleric in plain black cassock, and found out only this morning that this was the Archbishop of Canterbury. Cameron skated on the brink of cliché but managed not to fall, and much of the music was that modern slightly discordant stuff that is today's church sound. So all in all not bad.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Death's Harvest

It's not often that the telegraph's Charles Moore gets a mention on here; poor Charles is generally obliged to churn out column drivel on behalf of the Conservative Party; weak, feeble and pissy stuff not generally worth quoting or recommending. This morning however he's off-piste and on form with a cogent and succinct analysis of Germany a century on from the start of what we call the Great War and they call the Erster Krieg. The photograph below tells the story. It was taken in a small, old town with a factory on the outskirts, a place smaller than Diss but bigger than Lavenham, with a (then) population of about five thousand souls. The one beneath is from Lavenham.

In Germany, the dead of the Great War (outlined) are dwarfed by the victims of the second; in England the position is reversed. Perhaps most poignant on the German memorial - on all German memorials - is the large block of names at the end, with birth years but no death years. These are the German soldiers taken prisoner by the Soviet Union, who died unknown and unrecorded, of disease, starvation, beating and maltreatment, after the war had ended. 

Looking at these dreadful lists of lives unfulfilled, of death's cruel harvest, from just two of the smallest towns in Europe, surely no-one can remain unconvinced of the utter hopeless, pointless stupidity of war. 

Added 9.34
By not wanting to make this post over-long I fear I may not have done justice to this. I leave it to war correspondent Alan Moorehead to provide the words:-
"Five years of watching war have made me personally loathe war, especially the childish wastage of it. But this thing - the brief ennoblement inside himself of the otherwise dreary and materialistic man - kept recurring, again and again, up to the very end, and it refreshed and lighted the whole sordid story.

The point perhaps is a little over-mystical, a little intangible. Yet there it is. Whatever material hardship and monotony lie ahead, the soldier will remember that he made his ultimate gesture, that he did something quite selfless to justify his history, himself and his children. He was, for a moment in time, a complete man. If there was one lesson we learned in France and the other occupied countries it was this: it never pays to capitulate. As long as there are things like Belsen Camp you must go on protesting. You must protest.

We were indignant. We protested. We won. All mankind advances. And this will be a matter of some lasting strength to those who fought. This, in the end, I saw, was the thing I was seeking: the explanation of the war. It was the thought in the mind of the Jugoslav who, knowing he was about to die, wrote to his unborn son:
My child, sleeping now in the dark and gathering strength for the struggle of birth, I wish you well. At present you have no proper shape, and you do not breathe, and you are blind. Yet when your time comes, your time and the time of your mother, whom I deeply love, there will be something in you that will give you power to fight for air and light. Such is your heritage, such is your destiny as a child born of woman - to fight for light and hold on, without knowing why ...

Keep your love of life but throw away your fear of death. Life must be loved or it is lost, but it should never be loved too well.

Keep your heart hungry for new knowledge, keep your hatred of a lie, and keep your power of indignation.

Now I know I must die, and you must be born to stand upon the rubbish-heap of my errors. Forgive me for this; I am ashamed to leave you an untidy, uncomfortable world. But so it must be.

In thought, as a last benediction, I kiss your forehead. Good-night to you, and a good morning and a clear dawn."