Time to End Religious Apartheid in Scotland – and England 278


In all the wringing of hands about the violence at the end of the Hibs/Rangers Scottish cup final, there is a reluctance to tackle the root of the question. The debate has in recent weeks been reinvigorated over the Scottish law banning sectarian songs and displays at football matches, with speculation that the Scottish Parliament will now have a majority for lifting it. Public mass displays of hate speech do not to me come under freedom of speech. My guide as usual is the philosopher John Stuart Mill, who stated that to argue that corn merchants are parasites who thrive on the misery of the poor is freedom of speech. To yell the same thing to an armed mob outside a corn merchant’s house at night is not. That seems a precise analogy to sectarian songs in football grounds and Mill – whose father was from Montrose – is right.

But sensible as the ban is, it does nothing to tackle the cause of sectarian hatred. The greatest cause is segregated education. It is difficult to hate people when you grow up amongst them, share your earliest friendships and experiences with them, and learn together. It is easy to hate people when you are taught from your most innocent youth that they are different, and are forcibly segregated from them by the state for all the time you spend outside the family environment in young childhood. They are the other, different, rivals, the enemy. Name-calling, stone throwing, hostile chanting, sectarian singing and your football banner and scarf all ensue in obvious and logical succession.

I find the fact that the state routinely segregates Catholic and Protestant children in school, as the norm in much of Scotland, deeply shocking. The lack of intellectual honesty in facing up to the open consequences is pathetic. It behoves me as someone whose family is Scots-Italian and Hibs supporting to say that the Catholic Church bears a major share of the blame. So do Scottish politicians, who are in large majority too scared of voter reaction to take a firm stand on the issue.

The Catholic/Protestant divide is particularly acute in Scotland, but England has precisely the same problem with faith schools. If you filter out the substantial degree of Islamophobia in many reports, it is still plain that there is a problem with “Islamic” schools which teach values which have no place in modern education. (I would argue they are also a deviation from Islam, but that is a different argument for another day). I recently highlighted the interview by Mark Wallis Simons about education at a Jewish Orthodox school in England where pro-Israel propaganda was such that the pupils would fight for Israel against Britain. Thanks to Tony Blair, the leader who believes God wanted him to start war in Iraq, England has actually seen a growth in state schools which are a strong feature of the neo-cons’ “Academy system”. This has led to state schools being run by all shades of religious nutter including creationists.

Finally I would add to this sorry mix my experience in Blackburn, where with the active connivance of a Labour council there were apparently normal state schools under local authority control, within a couple of hundred yards of each other, which were 99% Muslim or 99% non-Muslim.

The answer to this problem is not to cherry-pick which faith is acceptable and which faith is not. The answer is simple. It has been accepted for centuries that the state has the right and duty to prescribe and provide education for children. There must be no segregated religious education in the UK. Children should attend school in a mixed environment and there learn a broad educational curriculum in which shade of religious belief has no place. Outside of school the religious life of the family is no business of the state. The children’s education is no business of the religion.

Private schools are a further different question. Quite simply I would abolish them, irrespective of the faith question, as they entrench the networks of growing social inequality.


278 thoughts on “Time to End Religious Apartheid in Scotland – and England

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  • giyane

    “My father likes chappattis. my mother Irish stew.. and so between the pair o them I don’t know what to do.”
    Poor Craig, there’s nothing like your DNA being mongrelised to make a strong character, but when your own spiritual inheritance is a mix of Papism and Presbytarianism, sparks are definitely going to fly.

    I’m sorry if that comes across rude. Mine is a cross-pollination of long-submerged English Catholicism, East-European Judaism on the conservative front and on the rebel front Welsh Methodism and French Huguenot Protestantism.

    I can’t stand the attempts in local schools to ban Christian teachings, when Christian teachings are a strong counterbalance to the Saudi racism against rival Arab-speaking Muslims in Syria which in turn appeals so strongly to Asian Muslim racism here. If you have enough money, as the Catholic church once did, or as the Saudis now have, and as Israel now has, you can try and impose your nasty racism onto the religion by force. But it is a self-defeating exercise which eventually will lead to Protestantism, secularism or Russia flattening your Daesh.

    Racism, dressed as Nationalism, sectarianism, or football rivalry is a tool of divide and rule, not a tool of enlightenment. Craig is right to object to the incitement to religious hatred by any of the elites in order to divide and rule us peeps. In Islam anybody who reads the Qur’an for themselves will find in the first few pages the condemnation of religious bigotry:

    2.25: But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is Gardens, beneath which rivers flow

    Can we agree that righteousness does not mean chopping off people’s heads who are not of your clan/ sect?

    2.27: Those who break Allah´s Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what Allah Has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: These cause loss (only) to themselves.

    Can we agree that making takfir of Muslim brothers and sisters because of their co-operation with the Western-backed Alawite dictator, while the Saudis hob-nob with George Bush is gross hypocrisy?

    2.28:How can ye reject the faith in Allah?- seeing that ye were without life, and He gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and will again bring you to life; and again to Him will ye return.
    2.29:It is He Who hath created for you all things that are on earth; Moreover His design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect knowledge.

    Can we agree that if God describes himself as the originator and sustainer of all life, in this world and the next, He might be more reliably informed than a mashed-up mongrel-mind – really no personal insult intended.
    It’s just a hard truth that most human beings have had their minds mashed by the political class dividing and ruling us.

    The cure is to listen dedicatedly to the intelligence of the heart, which is much more reliable than the garbage-in garbage out mishmash of the head and also as Craig rightly says, to mix us together and let our hearts be filled with mutual love and respect.

    • giyane

      I have to say that Craig Murray of all the human beings on this planet put together followed the intelligence of his heart when he objected to Western torture and rendition in the face of the ire of the vested interests of the political class.

      Who has greater authority to speak against institutional racism than Craig? He is a giant of commonsense amongst pigmies of politicians, each one scrambling to devour the fruit-machine rewards gedump-gedump-gedump of cash for war and inter-tribal conflict.

      We would be wise to listen to his advice.

      • Paul

        I agree with your sentiment but perhaps using “pigmie” as a derogative in this context is an unfortunate choice?

  • Cameron Brodie

    @ Loony
    You appear to have considered the views I posted yesterday, to be my own beliefs. I agree that no sane person would view the marketplace as an instrument of God but have you forgotten Lloyd Blankfein said that bankers ‘do God’s work’ ? The world does appear to be a binary equation to trumpets like him, i.e. the ‘damned and the entitled’.

    Re. cultural diversity and sustainability, you appear to be somewhat under informed. Your comment regarding Europe’s gene pool suggests you are an old-school white supremacist as well as an old-school moron? Would I be correct in this assessment?

    • Loony

      It would appear entirely reasonable to assume that the views posted by some-one are in fact their own views. However I now note that your views are not necessarily your views.

      Are your views on evolution your own? Operating on the assumption that they are then you may be interested in the following:

      Homo-sapiens have been around for a long time, for a minimum of 100,000 years and possibly longer. Population estimates covering the full spectrum of human existence are difficult to obtain. However as late as 1682 William Petty estimated global population to be of the order of 320 million. In other words in 1682 global population was less than the current population of Europe. Are you seriously suggesting that by 1682 the human species had not evolved due to a lack of population diversity.

      I try to form views based on reason, and reason prevents me from drawing conclusions for which I have no evidence. So, for example, you have no knowledge of my skin color or ethnicity but feel able to conclude that I am a white supremacist.

      • Cameron Brodie

        Well, you did suggest Europe’s biodiversity was fine as it is, which does kind of indicate a ‘fortress Europe’ outlook. See, I do base my views on reason. Btw, was it not yourself who started the name calling?

  • Jay

    Thyme to End Religious Apartheid in Scotland – and England

    Maybe not but The herb might.

  • Cameron Brodie

    @ Looney

    Cultural Diversity and Biodiversity for Sustainable Development

    Decisions on concrete measures to safeguard the environment and cultural
    diversity should be grounded not only upon well-conducted research and reliable
    evidence but also upon values concerning the kind of world we would like our
    children to inherit. In the words of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural
    Diversity, respect for cultural diversity “widens the range of options open to everyone”
    and, combined with maintaining biological diversity, is essential to our survival. If we
    loose diversity, the result will be a seriously reduced quality of life, if not the loss of
    the very meaning of life itself. If we allow languages and cultures to die, we directly
    reduce the sum of our knowledge about the environment and the various and many
    benefits that humankind can derive from it.

    http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001322/132262e.pdf

    • Loony

      Maybe you should ask UNESCO how it is that we are currently experiencing the worlds 6th great extinction event.

      Scientists believe that the natural “background extinction rate” is between 1 and 5 species per year. Current rates of extinction are between 1,000 and 10,000 times this natural background rate.

      So like many people UNESCO are doing the opposite of what they say with regard to biological diversity. Ask why this might be.

      With regard to cultural diversity that is just their subjective opinion, and they are entitled to it. Just as others are entitled to point out that, with respect to their pronouncements on objective matters (such as biological diversity), they are a charlatan organization.

      • Cameron Brodie

        I’m glad we have you around to keep all those daft scientists and sociologists straight then, eh!

        Btw, please do not intemperate my presentation of the UNESCO document, as proof that I agree with the totality of it’s findings. It is, however, an important point of view, IMHO. Here’s another one to add to your background reading.

        Investigating Cultural Sustainability is a European research network focused in a multidisciplinary perspective on the relationship between culture and sustainable development. During its four year period (2011-2015) its main objective was to highlight European research across its members’ countries in order to provide policy makers with instruments for integrating culture as a key element of the sustainable development. Action’s network was composed of around 100 researchers from 25 countries within the EU, with participants as well from Israel, New Zealand and Australia. It held a wide variety of disciplines and fields of research, ranging from cultural, humanistic and social sciences, through political and natural sciences to planning. These were organised in three thematic clusters – Concepts, Policies and Assessments – which are broadly reflected in the structure of this document……

        The results of the work – including the publication of the present document, ‘Culture in, for and as Sustainable Development’ – were shared and discussed in a final public conference in Helsinki on 6-8 May 2015, ‘Culture(s) in Sustainable Futures: theories, policies, practices’.

        http://www.culturalsustainability.eu/conclusions.pdf

        • Loony

          I am already aware that you reserve the right to disagree with some or all of the views that you choose to express.

          You also appear adept at misrepresenting the views that other people may express. To be clear:

          There is scientific understanding and consensus that this planet is undergoing a 6th Great Extinction. Any organization that opines as to the necessity for bio-diversity without acknowledging this fact is an organization that is, by definition, without credibility.

          Human evolution is a complex matter, but it manifestly does not depend on the European continent importing more people – as is evidenced by the fact that the process of evolution has been in place for a very long time and for most of that time total global population was less than current European population. Therefore any attempt to justify mass migration on the grounds of evolutionary necessity is ludicrous.

          You reference things that talk of sustainable development. Absolutely no-one is interested in sustainable development. That is why we collectively consume 96 million barrels of oil per day.

          What evidence is there that “cultural diversity widens the range of options open to everyone”? There is no more evidence for this than there was for the practice of blood letting or the theory that the earth is flat, or the sun revolves around the earth..

        • Johnstone

          perhaps try Manfred Max Neef, so called barefoot economist, for a more enlightened perspective on Human (scale) development than the EU

          • Loony

            Manfred Max Neef is a man with an understanding of what is going on, which explains why so few people have ever heard of him!

  • Cameron Brodie

    Sorry for that formatting mess Craig. Is there any way you could enhance your preview box, or add an edit button?

  • kailyard rules

    My simple contention, when given in collective conversation, is usually met with variable head shaking.

    What if it was…

    “we are up to our knees in Yiddish blood”
    “we are up to our knees in Muslim blood”

    and not too far a transition to…

    “we are up to our knees in Indie blood”

    What is witnessed in Scotland is collective organized serious “scofflawing” with the authorities looking on with blind impotence or secret support depending , perhaps , on which schools and “clubs” they attended.

  • giyane

    Adel Al Jubair

    This what Virtual Mosque says about the word stem jabr.
    When Jabbaar is used for people, it is in a negative sense, because they have no right to be tyrannical and oppress others. If Jabbaar is used for humans as ‘one who restores,’ it is negative again because they use their oppressive nature to fix things. When Allah (swt) fixes things, it is not oppressive – it is positive. Jabr does not befit or suit human beings because they are supposed to be servants.

    http://www.virtualmosque.com/relationships/withthedivine/al-jabbar-the-compeller/

    Jabr by name and jabr by nature.

    • giyane

      This is the demented Chihuahua who represents the Saudi head-chopping pederasts in the UK.

      Like Breivic the child killer he thinks the only problem is that they haven’t explained themselves properly.

      In my opinion this country should break all ties with the sponsors of Al Qaida and Daesh Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The only reason for maintaining ties is that in 2008 the 1% re-capitalised their global gambling emporium, the Thatcher market forces banking embezzlement scheme, with Saudi cash. The Saudis do not represent Islam in any way whatsoever, and they knew perfectly well that by recapitalising the interest scoffers, they were funding haram.

      But they did it anyway so that the West would turn a blind eye to their own twisted terrorism.

  • BrianFujisan

    tens of thousands in Park head Cos of Manager Change

    Trident Protest

    Austerity Protest

    Fracking Protest

    bbC Bias Protest

    bbC pedophile Protest…Ect

    Sad.. I went to Hampden to see Japan v Spain, the terror visibly came from the police snipers on roof, Protecting the family carnival, AYE RIGHT

    It was Precious ££ spent to promote terror, and death to innocents in the ME

    Rant over

    • BrianFujisan

      Yes giyane

      good for water waste ..and water that’s left, seeping Creeping Weeping.

      And new technologies, Well Frack off with that

    • Jim

      A handy list of sensible people who have noted a glaring imbalance in the invitees to this conference. No Syrian activists. Anderson the vocal Assad apologist.

      • Laguerre

        Macky’s right. That link is wildly unbalanced, and simply out to shut down debate. Most Syrian refugees are not fleeing Asad, as they claim, but rather the war and often the impossible situation in Turkey.

          • Laguerre

            I guess you like showing off your ignorance. Even habba knows (in the carefully kept Stasi-style archives he keeps on all of us) that I work with the Syrian refugees. (I just tell you that to save you having to make more of a pointless effort).

    • bevin

      It is interesting to see Richard Seymour’s name along with Eliot Higgins’ and Nick Cohen’s.
      This is the NATO left at work. It takes a considerable talent to fail to realise that a “rebellion” led by Al Qaeda and Daesh, based in Turkey and Jordan, financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, directed by NATO and Israeli special forces and armed by the USA, is not, in fact a spontaneous uprising of the Syrian proletariat.
      Let these scoundrels- Seymour, Proyect, Higgins, Cohen- have meetings of their own. Let them use their luxurious platforms in the capitalist media to proclaim their demented messages. But do not countenance their stated intention of disrupting a meeting which, in contradistinction to their efforts, is designed to expose the machinations of the empire.
      An empire of which Higgins, Cohen, Eliot and Seymour are all licensed agents.
      Leninology indeed!!

        • Macky

          At least Jim is consistent in supporting those that want to shut debate down, by trying to shut down debate here.

          • Jim

            The spontaneous uprising against Assad, inspired by the eastward-moving wave starting in Tunisia, was not led by Daesh. It’s hardly worth even engaging with someone who seriously suggests such nonsense. The tragedy that has unfolded since those early innocent days is messy and complex, but using it to promulgate inane ‘anti-imperialist’ West-hating drivel such as Bevin does is sickening. The voices of those original anti-Assad Syrians are missing from this conference. Why?

        • spectacular failure

          Jim, even the most naive, casual observer of Syria in the last few years is aware that it’s a Western/Saudi/Qatar/others ‘uprising’ and has little support in the more moderate regions of Syria. In fact, if you can be bothered to educate yourself, search Google with something like, ‘Syrian internal refugees’. I can save you some time though…. The vast majority of fleeing Syrian victims of war have escaped to Assad government controlled areas. Here’s a handkerchief, wipe that egg off your face, would you?

          • Jim

            And to be clear, trying to conflate the tragedy of the proxy war that has developed since those earliest days with the efforts of people like Osama Nassar and his comrades is pretty despicable dissembling. The Assad regime is about as legitimate a regime as Saddam Hussein’s cuddly democracy was.

          • lysias

            And toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime turns out to have been a disastrous mistake.

          • Jim

            That’s undeniable and I’m no apologist for that crime, but it’s a separate issue from the murderous autocracy which was Saddam’s regime.

          • Loony

            Jim – Which aspect of the murderous autocracy of the Saddam regime are you referring to.

            Perhaps the gassing of the Kurds which was achieved with German supplied gas and carried out under the watchful eye of the CIA – who naturally were interested to see how things worked out in terms of efficiency and so forth.

            Would Germany and the US also qualify as murderous autocracies?

          • lysias

            The anarchy that followed the overthrow of Saddam’s regime was far more murderous than his autocracy had been. And there are strong reasons for suspecting that the anarchy was intended by the invaders.

          • Jim

            Lysias, your speculations as to the reasons behind the invasion do not make Saddam Hussein and his regime any more palatable to the poor bastards who had to live under him and his extended family. Get a clue.

          • Loony

            @Jim – The point is that the US-UK have killed vastly more people than Saddam ever did. Quite a lot of the people that Saddam killed were killed to order.

            Saddam is long since dead and yet the killing continues.

            What motivates you to concentrate on the crimes of a dead person, whose actions you were never responsible for. Why are the manifest crimes of the UK-US seemingly of so little interest to you?

          • Jim

            I wasn’t concentrating on them, stop trying to put words into my mouth. I was comparing the Assad family empire with Saddams regime, in a conversation with an obvious russbot trying to conflate the proxy war that has developed in Syria with the activists like Osama Nassar from the initial uprising. You are the one trying to link perceived historic Western crimes with this very specific conversation I’m having.

          • Loony

            @Jim – Thee crimes are neither perceived nor historic. They are actual and ongoing

      • Macky

        Seymour started going suspect as soon as he started writing for the Guardian; fuuny that !

  • nevermind

    Every fracked well is using perfectly good drinking water at a rate of 1 million gallons/per well. The current guist is that if we can foist it on gods own country, blah blah, break hard sodden Yorkshire folk’s spine, we can introduce it everywhere, nowt will be tougher.

    to the issue, I back up what Craig wrote about Blackburns school segregation. It was quiet horrendous to see the differences, and, I might hasten to add, the outrage shown towards modernity, pupils who wear their cloth in a western more exposed style were shouted at from driving cars. Some rude comments and much derogatory remarks such as’ doesn’t your mother teach how to dress with decency’.
    How did I know this? We had a campaigns trailer parked in front of one school on a major outfall road, and had to move it due to more complaints, just as school finished. I waited until the mass of pupils left and dispersed before I hooked the trailer up and made a safe exit.

  • RP

    ” My guide as usual is the philosopher John Stuart Mill, who stated that to argue that corn merchants are parasites who thrive on the misery of the poor is freedom of speech. To yell the same thing to an armed mob outside a corn merchant’s house at night is not.”

    I would argue that neither is “freedom of speech” or “not freedom of speech.” They are both merely examples of speech. The point is not that some types of speech are “freedom of speech” or not, which doesn’t really make any sense; rather it’s that some limits on freedom of speech are necessary (such as inciting violence, in this example, or arguably hate speech; I’d also argue that there should be limits on how much someone can use their wealth to influence politics through political advertisements or ownership of media).

  • giyane

    I think it’s worth noting that many New Labour MPs, my own, Liam Byrne, included, have made rich pickings from government office connections which stink of Tory corruption. Similarly vast funds have been made available from Saudi Arabia to ravage Syria for USUKIS and it’s very profitable for individuals to back Saudi terror, not only from Saudi money, but also from the West.

    Liam Byrne was involved in administrative duties while the war-mongers took apart Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Craig has just reminded us of the significance of accounting in colonial war. The only difference between then and now is that our democratic system allows Blair et al to launder their crimes by being unelected, and very soon David Cameron will be laundering his war-crimes in Libya and Syria by the same process.

    What’s this got to do with religious apartheid in education? John Stuart Mill. The war on terror and the Arab spring are presented to us as natural consequences of internal tensions in the Muslim world. Same as the right to blame mill owners profiteering from food shortages.

    But when we speak the truth, that Zionists have set alight the Muslim world we are shouted down as mob rule.
    John Stuart Mill was wrong, because if the political elite deliberately scupper the provision of food, or the ability to live in peace in the Muslim world, the masses have an absolute right to protest.

    The existing democratic system, if it serves to cover up the malign intentions of the elite, must be destroyed and replaced. The Zionists have had 30 years of rampage against Islam, dressed up as internal problems none of our business.

    When you change from 5th gear to reverse, the cogs of power are likely to be stripped.

    The establishment of Faith schools

  • Cameron Brodie

    JSM was influenced by Bentham and Malthus. Two giants of sociological phenomenology?

    This paper analyses the views of Bentham, Malthus, and Mill, on poverty, population, and poor relief, in order to investigate the influence of the two former on the latter. It argues that all three shared two basic assumptions which led them to frame a similar problem. Mill, like Bentham, and unlike Malthus, defended the public provision of relief to indigence on utilitarian grounds, while his position on the conditions of that relief was impeccably Benthamic. However, Bentham’s poor plan was itself premised, in the absence of perceived population pressure, on deliberate expansion of both population and of subsistence, while Mill had absorbed Malthus’s lesson that restriction on growth of population was the pre-requisite for improvement in the material condition of the labouring poor. For Mill, the legislative imposition in 1834 of the conditions of relief envisaged by Bentham as deterrents to unjust claims, served to rescue the poor laws from Malthus’s fears of their effect in encouraging irresponsible procreation.

    https://etudes-benthamiennes.revues.org/185

    • lysias

      The British laissez-faire-believing civil servants in Lord John Russell’s Liberal ministry who treated the Irish Potato Famine with a policy of not-so-benign neglect were very much influenced by Malthus’s thinking. I’ve long thought that the Potato Famine was the reductio ad absurdum of laissez-faire.

    • bevin

      Interesting link. A reminder of where the current government gets its appalling welfare policies from.
      Anyone reading the piece should be warned that the section on the Failure of the English Poor Laws (1.2) has an empirical basis which is wholly imaginary. Nobody ‘bred’ children in order to obtain the outdoor relief (about two pence a week of four ounces of bread, per child). Nobody preferred idleness on outdoor relief to work (and those wondering about wages should bear in mind that in Dorset, for example, the weekly wage for the labourer in husbandry was about six shillings (30p) and remained so from the early C18th to the mid C19th).
      The ‘ideas’ of these three enemies of the people (Bentham, Mill and Malthus) were buttresses of an ideology in which property’s duties were being dispensed with and the idea that the labourer’s living standards should be set by the needs of subsistence and reproduction rather than in the emerging labour market was being developed.

    • Johnstone

      No that can’t be right…. utilitarian ethical theorists like Bentham used hypothetical reasoning ..not phenomenology. Where did that come from?

    • Jim

      That clip someone posted last night of the poor guy getting beaten to a pulp by out of uniform police for having the temerity to ask who they were when asked for his ID made me shiver. The first thing that came to mind was the Brownshirts, ‘tomorrow belongs to me’ etc. Bloody frightening stuff.

  • Republicofscotland

    “British soldiers are training troops for regimes on the UK’s own human rights watchlist, including authoritarian states such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Burma and Bahrain.

    Information released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) shows that since 2014 UK military personnel have given training to 16.”

    https://www.rt.com/uk/344075-troops-training-human-rights/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

    Who knows how far British forces could go, if we leave the EU and its ECHR.

  • Paula Varley

    The freedom of speech point is only relevant if it is deemed a right. Offensive speech is protected under this right, but all rights are qualified if they infringe of the exercise of another’s rights. This would distinguish between expressing an opinion about a person or group, or going mob-handed to intimidate them, shouting this opinion in a way that’s clearly threatening. Today we have public order and harassment laws – quite apart from the knotty little beast “hate speech” – which address this difference.

    Where religion in schools is not a contentious issue, religious schools are often sought after by those not of that religion, or indeed no religion, (as with Catholic and Cof E schools here in East Anglia) because they get better GCSE results. When I was at school, we had a Christian morning assembly from which pupils of other faiths were excused, and separate assemblies for collective worship were held in classrooms for those pupils. It doesn’t have to be a minefield.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Letter to David Cameron calls for urgent investigation into ‘scandal’ of UK-supplied BL-755 cluster bomb being used in village in northern Yemen”

    “Government is asked for ‘full disclose’ over whether UK personnel have played any part in dropping banned cluster bombs from UK-supplied Tornado jets”

    “Yemeni villages turned into cluster bomb ‘minefields’, with thousands of ‘bomblets’ liable to kill civilians – children especially at risk”

    “Cluster bombs are one of the nastiest weapons in the history of warfare … it’s truly shocking that a British cluster munition has been dropped on a civilian area in Yemen”

    https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/saudi-arabia-led-coalition-has-used-uk-manufactured-cluster-bombs-yemen-new-evidence

    One has to wonder whether Britian has signed an agreement not use or even supply such vile weapons.

  • bevin

    This link, relating to Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr’s finding on Free speech limitations is interesting, especially to those, like me, who will go to considerable pains to rinse the sour taste of the Mill family’s feelosophy out of their mouths.

  • Robert Wilson

    What non sense. Parents should be more involved in their kids education, not less. The problem with state education has been that too many pa\rties and that includes parents, churches and “cooncils” leave education to the so called professionals. These professionals who mostly trained in seventies and eighties still clog up schools with their four highers and a BeD degree with little understanding of the world , never mind their subject. An idea would be to ban soccer as sport in schools and foster rugby or shinty or hurling etc.
    The idea that to stop ” theatrical football finals” and to stop tax avoiders beating their partners on match days, we should abolish parental choice and moral teaching is absurd and silly. I think that we need more parental input, less lazy priests and ministers, sacking of incompetent teachers, retraining of folks with vocational calling and deepening of subjects to embrace positive marking rather than the negative push to get the answers the uninspired want. This use of the phrase apartheid is as nasty as Red Kens inappropriate reference to Hitler in his recent spat.l

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I do not know what is going on in France, and have very little information. So far as I can tell virtually nothing of what is going on in France has been published by the mainstream media in the UK.

    I do have a good friend in France who is French and is highly politically aware.

    My comment – question really – on open social media – was deleted so quickly by who?

    UK or French – or American????

    That there is extremely little chance he would have read it and able to reply.

    I guess, I could phone him up, but we tend not to do that until about 30 minutes before we arrive once every 10 years or so.

    Does the UK or French or American Governments have Sanctions re Internet Communications between English and French Citizens??

    And what does this have to do with The The Germans?

    My wife speaks a bit – but its mainly sign language..if either The French or Germans don’t speak perfect English (which to be fair they usually (but not always do))

    If they are Really having a Revolution in France – how TF are we going to get home with No Petrol?

    just askin’

    I don’t know wtf is going on – but something is..

    Maybe we should go to Disneyland in Florida instead??

    Will The Americans let me in?

    Tony

    • RobG

      Tony, the riot police went in during the early hours of this morning and cleared the protestors at the 8 oil refineries. Apparently it was quite bloody at the Fos-Sur-Mer refinery near Marseille. Footage of the violence keeps being removed from the likes of YouTube. Fuel tankers have been running again today, but I don’t know how long that will last, because the protestors are determined to continue the blockade.

      This latest industrial action has come about because a week or so ago Hollande pushed through the reforms to employment laws, using a presidential decree, and without giving the French parliament a vote on it (because Hollande knew he would lose the vote). A large majority of people in France are hopping mad about this (latest polls show that up to 80% of the population are against these employment reforms). I can’t see these protests ending anytime soon, unless Hollande backs down and withdraws the new employment reforms. For example, the railway workers are presently striking for two days each week. From 2nd June the railway workers are going on permanent strike.

      The 3 month state of emergency in France, brought in after last November’s terror attacks in Paris, has been extended yet again for another 2 months. This has further inflamed an already tense situation. The state of emergency – which effectively suspends the rule of law in France – was supposedly an anti-terrorism measure, but is now blatantly being used against the people of France.

      I wouldn’t call what’s going on here a revolution (not least because the revolt as yet has no real leadership), but it’s definitely a mass uprising. I’m sorry if your holiday plans have been disrupted. They’ve been disrupted because of what’s probably Europe’s last stand against the neo-con loons.

  • fwl

    Battle of the words going on re Russian success or failure in Syria. BBC suggesting ISIS major strike on Russian air base, which if true needs further investigation because either Russia has suffered a major embarrassment or ISIS have somehow been able to dramatically up their game RT running with how Russia has killed a quarter of ISIS. Fog of war. Maybe both true?

  • Graeme MacMaster

    This separation of children should have stopped years ago & it’s existence is the reason for some of the major problems of society today. I believe that it has not been tackled because of the fact that the benefits of ending this separation takes about 20 year’s & the political cycle is only a few years.

  • bevin

    “The spontaneous uprising against Assad, inspired by the eastward-moving wave starting in Tunisia, was not led by Daesh. It’s hardly worth even engaging with someone who seriously suggests such nonsense.”
    OK Jim. I know the theory but there are problems with it.

    Perhaps you can explain why, if this was a spontaneous popular rising against tyranny, it immediately got the support of Qatar and the Saud family? And how that “eastward moving wave” (almost poetic that image) managed to carry hundreds of tons of armament from Libya with it? And why Hillary Clinton rushed to support it? And why Jordan and Turkey provided bases and logistic support to the revolutionaries? And why Israel provided military hospitals to treat the wounded militiamen? And why Al Qaeda joined in with it? And why Daesh, too rushed in presumably aiming to set up a Proletarian Caliphate where Lenin would be given some prophetic roles?
    In my view your theory is rubbish and the Syrian regime-change coup, long telegraphed in Washington, was entirely the work of imperialist agents employing islamic proxies as they are wont.
    And that explains the tragedy to which you aver in tones that would make Obadiah Slope envious.

    As to using it to:
    “promulgate inane ‘anti-imperialist’ West-hating drivel” It is time that you faced facts, modern imperialism is a “western” construct. It has been for five hundred years. And western culture makes much of its imperial achievements. It is not something that I’m pinning on an innocent chest here. I’m not framing the “west” I’m giving credit where it is due. And if you think that the Empire came from somewhere else, I’m sure that I won’t be the only one amused by your explanation.

    As for characterising my argument as “sickening” you are,, as we learned in your Troll Pot days, easily sickened. Do you train yourself to vomit as an alternative to making rational arguments? Simon Cowell could be interested.

    Then there is this final question:
    “The voices of those original anti-Assad Syrians are missing from this conference. Why?”

    I can think of two reasons. The first being that you are talking about a handful of “western” based academics (plus Eliot Higgins of course and Louis Proyect of New York) most of the original protestors having been either shot dead by the sniper provocateurs (anticipating the Maidan proletarian uprising supported by Nazis) or rallied to the government being well aware of the fate that awaits them if qaeda or daesh catch up with them.
    The second reason is that the conference organisers probably think that Syria’s enemies have conferences enough of their own (from all of which they are banned) and they want to have one free of imperialist propagandists-for-hire disrupting the proceedings.

    • fwl

      Good post though who is Obadiah Slope? I would just say that we are not the only ones at fault, Russia is also an Imperialist force albeit less successful as of late. China is canny but not without her own ambitions in the South China Seas, in the surrounding nations, who all once were required to pay tribute and economically on the post WWII British model in Africa. Maybe ys too if they lucky with IT and nuclear infrastructure investments in the UK.

      But yes since 1963 there has been an escalation and since 9/11 we gave gone at it hammer and tongs (funny metaphor that with its allusions to both the USSR and China).

        • Jim

          ‘Of that ilk’ Macky. Yet another of the host of ‘anti-imperialist’ piffle sites infecting the minds of the credulous. I’d like to hear what Osama Nassar thought of your views.

          • Macky

            Ah ! The superior mind of Jim, all knowing & totally Impervious to having his mind infected with State propaganda !

            Why would the thoughts of Osama Nassar matter more than those of the millions of Syrians who voted for, support, & chose to live under the protection of the Syrian State ?

          • Jim

            Ho ho! The world renowned Syrian democracy! ? Name me the cuddly family whose prisons have been full of political opponents for decades? You’re fooling nobody Tovarich.

    • fwl

      It has got as far as the Today programme covering the recently appointed minister after the leaking of a pre-coup conversation about getting rid of the former President because the Petrobras corruption which was being investigated was just too big. New president says investigation is continuing.

  • fwl

    Once again my apologies for diverting from yet the main theme. I have two questions for anyone:

    1) how did the EU Commission come to introduce the new power in or about 2014 that allows it to disenfranchise right wing states. Poland has just been threatened and apparently Austria would have such swarming and loss of its vote and possibly even an intervention if the vote had gone the other way.

    I don’t like such a power but it would be funny if the Ukraine were admitted.

    2) I see Trump has brought up the suicide of Arkansas John Foster. This is not good form for a deep state actor. Which faction of the Deep State supports Trump and which Clinton? Some of you mat say the same. It’s fascinating though I doubt I will learn the answer.

    • lysias

      Just as funny if Turkey were admitted.

      Trump’s bringing up Vince Foster is an implicit threat: he can reveal all the deep state’s secrets if people do not play ball with him. That was also the point of his saying earlier that Cruz’s father had something to do with Lee Harvey Oswald. And his false claim that Muslims in New Jersey had been celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers, when in fact it was Israelis.

    • lysias

      From a Deutsche Welle article on the threat made against Poland: Rule of law under threat: Poland in the EU pillory:

      Can the EU really punish Poland?

      The EU Commission has no way of imposing penalties on a member state. Only the EU Council can do that – the committee made up of representatives of the governments of all 28 member states. According to Article 7 of the EU Treaty, the Council can decide with a four-fifths majority that “the clear danger of a grave infringement” of common values exists in Poland. Poland would receive recommendations on how to remedy these deficiencies. If that doesn’t work, the Council can establish that a “grave infringement” of common values has occurred. This must be decided unanimously; Poland would not be entitled to vote. However, it is highly unlikely that all of the remaining 27 member states – including Britain – really would show the Polish government up in this way. The Hungarian premier, Viktor Orban, has already declared his solidarity with Poland. As a final step, the Council can then impose penalties on Poland: it can either revoke its voting rights or cut financial resources. After all, Poland is the biggest beneficiary of the EU funding.

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