Eclectic Blue

Slaughter of the innocents

0 Comments 19 February 2019

Shamima Begum can’t stay out of the news, can she? One minute, she is telling us that the dustbins full of severed heads in Raqa didn’t faze her, the next she is saying we should feel sorry for her. Yet just when she is gaining a degree of public sympathy, although not from me, she says something so incredibly crass and tasteless that you wonder if a) she really wants to come back to the UK at all and b) whether she is in control of her faculties.

Now, Ms Begum is offering her views on the terror attack on the Manchester MEN arena when a psychopathic islamist maniac blew himself up after an Ariana Grande, killing 22 people. Here’s what she says:

“I do feel that it’s wrong that innocent people did get killed.

“It’s one thing to kill a soldier that is fighting you, it’s self-defence, but to kill the people like women and children…

“Just people like the women and children in Baghuz that are being killed right now unjustly, the bombings. It’s a two-way thing really.

“Because women and children are being killed back in the Islamic State right now and it’s kind of retaliation.

“Like, their justification was that it was retaliation so I thought ‘OK, that is a fair justification’.”

I suppose I could cut the wretched woman some slack because her words are little more than gobbledegook, an incoherent ramble which culminates in a final coherent assertion that the murders in Manchester were a “a kind of retaliation” so it was a “fair justification”. I am not sure the families of victims would see things in exactly the same way. On the contrary, I’d imagine they’d be mortified. But it gets worse.

Ms Begum has named her baby son Jarrah, which means ‘able fighter’ or ‘one who wounds’ in Arabic. Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, who was a general in the Arab crusades and was well known for massacring Jews. There’s a surprise. But still there is more.

The family lawyer, one Tasnime Akunjee, announces that Ms Begum is being treated “worse than the Nazis”. He adds, apparently without any semblance of irony, that, “The Nazis had the Nuremberg trials. They were given due process. This girl was a victim when she went out there at 15 years old. Our politicians are saying that she should be denied protections and due process that would have been granted to Nazis.” That only four of the 185 people indicted in the trials were found to be not guilty. I am not sure Mr Akunjee thought too much before engaging brain.

Every day in every way, Ms Begum and all her various spokespeople manage to make things worse. If at the start, she had shown any level of contrition and remorse, maybe, just maybe, a new beginning in the UK might have been possible. Instead, the fans of populism are stoking the fires and making it less likely than ever that she will come back.

For goodness sake, Ms Begum said she would have allowed her first son, who is now dead, to fight for ISIS. That does not suggest to me we have a woman who would return to the place she used to live with the best of intentions.

The mass murder of innocents at the MEN could never be used as justification for anything and certainly not the efforts to destroy the crazed lunatics of ISIS. Call it brainwashing, call it radicalisation, call it anything you like. I don’t know what I would call it but I don’t want her spouting her nonsense in this country. Sorry to be all illiberal. It’s honestly how I feel about it.

Eclectic Blue

It’s your fault, comrades

0 Comments 19 February 2019

A tweet this morning sums up perfectly the state of the Labour Party, a description of an imaginary conversation between the former Labour Party MP Luciana Berger, as she faced unprecedented levels of anti-Semitic abuse and indeed needed police protection when attending last year’s Labour Party conference for fear of her personal safety. Here it is:

Berger: Can you please stop being so antisemitic
Labour: No
Berger: Look, I’m going to have to leave, please just stop 
Labour: No
Berger: Okay this is your last chance, please stop or I’ll have to go, I really don’t want to
Labour: No
*Berger leaves*

And that’s exactly what happened. The day after seven MPs announced their departure from the Labour Party, the attack dogs of the hard left have piled in to attack them. Mike Gapes, it transpires, voted in favour of the Iraq war in order to end the rule of a genocidal maniac. Angela Smith’s husband has some interests in a privatised water company. And so it went on. In recent weeks, the comrades made it clear that there was no need for anyone to leave Labour. Now they have gone, they are splitters, traitors. This is what happens when the hard left gets its hands on power.

“Why don’t you fuck off and join the Tories?” say some. “You’re only a short step away from the Conservative Party. You should never have been in Labour in the first place.” Because, you see, if you do not worship at the altar of Jeremy Corbyn, you are a Tory. That Corbyn is far from an intellectual heavyweight, has achieved almost nothing in his political life and is the worst leader in the party’s history; none of that matters to the true believers. You are either with him or against.

Think how this plays out with regular voters, the vast majority of whom are not members of any political party. Granted many of them are instinctive Labour or Tory voters (other parties are available). However, there is a significant block of people who are either non-aligned or can be persuaded to vote on the basis of the issues of the day. That was how Tony Blair won in 1997, 2001 and 2005, by making an offer to the swing voter. New Labour demonstrated how Labour could win and then make Britain a better and more equal place. The attitude of Corbyn, his puppet-masters and his cult following demand only purity and rubbish those they deem to be the enemy, often by the most insidious methods. This is precisely what is happening with the seven ex Labour MPs today. Swing voters, who are considering to whom they should lend their vote, will not be encouraged by the shrill intolerance of the comrades.

I know what it is like to suffer the slings and arrows by way of abuse from the hard left in a lifetime of activity in the Labour Party and in the labour movement. I know how they operate the machinery of power and ensure they can never be challenged, let alone be defeated. I even had to switch off ‘comments’ in this website because of the abuse some of my posts attracted, notably when I supported – as I still do – Tony Blair. Five years into this website, I was not personally upset but such was the abuse I rather did not want to inflict that abuse on readers. I know how Militant tendency controlled Tony Benn’s old constituency party in Bristol East and decided who would be ‘elected’. I know all about the PCS union where machine politics has destroyed all opposition to the ruling hard left cabal, where the two factions vying for power enjoy politics that make Corbyn look like Iain Duncan Smith. This, I repeat, is how the hard left works. There can be no broad church in a party under the control of Stalinists and Trotskyists. When they say “Fuck off and join the Tories”, they mean it. If Clement Attlee came along today, the comrades would tell him exactly that.

I doubt now that Labour can be saved. On the day Luciana Berger finally said goodbye to Labour, the party re-admitted Derek Hatton, the then deputy leader of Liverpool Council who in 1985 hired taxis to “scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers” as part of a political stunt. It no longer includes members who hold unpleasant anti-Semitic views, it is run by them. A party led by people who actively supported the IRA, regard the murderers of Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends’, laid wreaths in respect of people who castrated and murdered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, took money to broadcast for Iranian state TV, a country which literally hangs gay people from cranes.

I cannot be in the same political party as Derek Hatton, Chris Williamson, Seumas Milne and Chauncey Gardiner himself, Jeremy Corbyn. So, I am not going to be in the same party. I am not going to “Fuck off and join the Tories”, as you might suggest, because I never would, yet here’s the thing. By encouraging Labour’s march to the far left extremes of British politics, it is you, Corbyn’s cult following and your fellow travellers, who are helping to sustain Theresa May’s breathtakingly incompetent government and enabling the Tories to win, post Brexit, when May will be unceremoniously dumped.

You can pretend, if you like, that Labour has not become a party where anti-Semitism has thrived under an inept leader who has all but actively encouraged it in a miserable lifetime of fringe protest politics. You can slur, abuse and slander people who stand up to the hard left. You can support Corbynistas who want nothing but political purity. You can do all these things. However, don’t expect to win a general election. You hate those nasty Tories who are tearing the country apart but just remember by your actions you will ensure they remain in power. It’s your fault, comrades.


Eclectic Blue

Stuck in the middle with you?

0 Comments 18 February 2019

Given that I resigned from the Labour Party as soon as Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader means that I could hardly be critical of the seven MPs who today resigned from it. As the one time people’s party becomes the preserve and plaything of Corbyn and his posh boy Jew haters and hard Brexiters, I am only surprised it took them so long and that more MPs have not followed.

The first question I would have to answer if I was a Labour activist, ‘knocking on doors’ in the wind and rain is this: do I want Jeremy Corbyn to be prime minister? Oh, let’s see. A hard Brexiter, an anti-Semite, the friend of the IRA, Hezbollah and Hamas, the man who took £20,000 from Iran state TV, a country which literally hangs gay men from cranes, the friend of Putin and friend of the Venezuelan tyranny that presides over an inflation rate of in excess of one million per cent. Is that all? Actually, no. There’s a lot more where that came from. I could not be a Labour activist and campaign for someone like Corbyn because I would have to lie about my feelings for him.

My feeling is that Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and co have done something very brave today. It simply cannot be argued that they have left Labour because of personal ambition. It is the precise opposite. It is far more likely that their political careers are now, to all intents and purposes, over. However, they have left the party on points of principle, whether it is the poison of anti-Semitism, Corbyn’s unprincipled position on Brexit (and just about everything else, if the truth be known) and the general hard left march of Labour. They could have stayed, nodded their heads, marched to Len McCluskey’s tune and kept their nice backbench salaries. Instead, unusually for politicians, they chose principled honesty.

What will come of today’s political fire storm, or storm in a teacup, we do not know. Will it herald in a new political party, somewhere to go for the millions left disenfranchised by the left wing lurch of Labour and the right wing lurch of the Conservative Party? I am rather hoping it will because at the moment there is no one for me to vote for.

Emmanuel Macron showed what can be done with a completely new political party in France so maybe we could soon get one of our own. Britain is crying out for new ideas, a plan of where it should be headed, led by people of compassion and vision to take it there.

The two main parties, Labour and the Tories, are surely destined to fracture over Brexit and as they scramble at full tilt to the fringes of politics, an opportunity like no other exists in the centre ground. Will anyone fill it? Today gave us some hope. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Eclectic Blue

Loyalty is earned, not demanded

0 Comments 17 February 2019

How about the pledge card above? I don’t know where it originated from. I do know that it was heavily publicised by the hard left Corbynista propaganda clickbait website Skwawkbox. At first I thought it was one of the better jokes on social networks. Then, I saw members of Corbyn’s laughably named ‘top team’, the likes of Dawn Butler and Rebecca Long Bailey, signing up to it. Butler, indeed, referred to it as a ‘no brainer’. As the excellent Mrs Martyn said on twitter, the ‘er’ was not needed.

This is not a manifesto for government. While it is childish and silly, there is something sinister about it to. At a time when the more dubious members of Corbyn’s cult following are issuing lists of Labour MPs who they deem unsupportive of the Blessed Leader, I’d say there is a lot more to it. Just a week ago, Luciana Berger was threatened with a no confidence motion in her Liverpool Wavertree constituency, whilst at the same time receiving industrial quantities of anti-Semitic, Jew-hating abuse. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said, in his usual thuggish manner, that if only Ms Berger would declare loyalty to Labour, all this abuse might end. Perhaps, he had this loyalty card in mind?

Allow me to quote the writer and comedian Lee Kern: “Anyone who actually signs a pledge to a political party is truly fucked up in the head. That is not normal behaviour. That is not how free people behave. Pick a value, not a team. If better ideas emerge, ditch your old ones. Do not sign a pledge of loyalty to a political party.” Exactly.

If loyalty pledges were around in the Kinnock, Smith, Blair, Brown and Miliband eras, you can bet your bottom dollar that the likes of Corbyn would never have signed it. Corbyn, lest we forget, voted against Labour more often than David Cameron. But then, sensible people do not put out loyalty cards for people to sign, to demand their loyalty at all times.

On the question of the pledge itself, would I support Labour under literally any leader? Well, frankly no. I happily voted for Callaghan, Kinnock, Blair, Brown, Miliband and, not so happily because of Brexit, Corbyn. The latter went well when Corbyn reverted to the hard Brexiter type he has always been. I’d never vote for a Labour Party led by the likes of Diane Abbott, Chris Williamson, John McDonnell or Corbyn. And would any Labour government be better than something else?

A Lib Dem government with its real values and not those of the Tory government of 2010 in which some of them had jobs would be infinitely better than Corbyn’s Labour. Unless Labour changes its tune, it is very likely the Lib Dems will get my vote next time. I am not voting for a hard Brexit, Jew-hating, terrorist supporting, pacifist Labour Party under any circumstances.

Labour is in such a mess that last week some of its members wanted a parliamentary debate about Winston Churchill who literally died in 1965. I owe them no loyalty and they can go whistle for mine.

If you want to know what a political organisation looks like when the hard left gain total control, then look at my old union the PCS. It lies in tatters, with virtually no power, no influence, a rapidly dwindling membership but plenty of far left politics. That’s what will happen with Labour and I won’t be pledging my loyalty anytime soon. Loyalty is earned, not demanded.

Eclectic Blue

When a child is born

0 Comments 17 February 2019

On a day when Donald Trump tells us that ISIS terrorists should be returned to their countries of origin and then prosecuted, we learn that Shamima Begum, the woman who went to Raqqa in order to live the dream with maniacal islamic fascists, has given birth to a baby. Her family have issued a statement through their lawyer (!) which says: “We, the family of Shamima Begum, have been informed that Shamima has given birth to her child, we understand that both she and the baby are in good health.”

I am not so hard-hearted that I do not wish the baby well. It is not her or his fault to be born at all, let alone in what appears to have been grisly circumstances in which, shall we say, the decision to procreate may not have been entirely hers alone. Nor has the baby been born into a particularly stable situation. Even in ‘normal’ circumstances, the baby would soon be proselytised into believing all the tenets of islam, the reality for children of all religions being forced to embrace the religion of their parents. No freedom for the children of theists.

It’s far worse now, though. Ms Begum remains in a refugee camp in Syria, a victim of her own stupidity and the failure of everyone around her, especially her family. When her family call on our government to ‘bring her home’, do they not have even the briefest concern that actually their actions or inactions were, in some part, relevant to their daughter cooking up an elaborate plot to escape to Paradise? You know, that Paradise where women are routinely raped and abused, where people are beheaded by crazed lunatics; a perverse kind of Hotel California where you can check out but never leave. Yes, that one.

Trump demands we take back those men who took off to help build the Caliphate. “The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” he tweets. So simple. Just take back ‘our share’ and put them on trial. On trial for what? Has the USA carried out intensive investigations and interviewed the ‘fighters’ and charged them with any crimes? This is not clear from Trump’s tweet, but it’s worse than that. The reason it’s not clear is because there is currently little actual evidence of illegality other than these men being there in Raqqa. In terms of natural justice, maybe Trump is right, but when these people left Europe to head to the Caliphate, they knew exactly what they were doing. I need to be persuaded that there is a single reason and justification for taking them back for any reason at all.

As for the baby, I can see a day when Mr Begum brings it ‘home’. Whilst home secretary Sajid Javid talks tough, not least because he has leadership ambitions, read his actual words: “My message is clear – if you have supported terrorist organisations abroad I will not hesitate to prevent your return.” What if it turns out that the authorities can find no evidence of her supporting terrorist organisations beyond fleeing to Raqqa? Javid is being deliberately vague here, allowing for a U-turn for which he, of course, cannot be blamed because he adds: “If you do manage to return you should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted.” You can see what he has done here. He is covering every angle, allowing for every possibility, so that when and if Mr Begum returns to Britain, as I am sure she will (and soon), he is still being tough.

Quite frankly, I don’t buy all this stuff about Begum and others being ‘groomed on-line’ and becoming ‘radicalised’. Read any holy book and follow it literally and you will find that the God/Allah character is a nasty piece of work. The God of the Old Testament was the biggest mass murderer in the history of fiction. And he’s supposed to be the good guy. Who is to say that when Ms Begum was studying the Qu’ran she found it literally radicalising? Maybe she worked it out herself?

I don’t want the fighters back, I don’t particularly want Ms Begum back, either. However, I expect both to happen.

Now I come to my broken record conclusion: Britain must become a secular state as a matter of absolute urgency. We should stop pandering to all religions and we should end religious privilege. There should be one law of the land and no religious sub-divisions. Of course, theists should be free to practice their religion but that their religion can never impact on those of other religions or to people with none.

There are consequences with secularity and it will not be popular with some. But what’s the alternative? If people want ‘faith’ schools, cruel methods of killing animals for food, laws against blasphemy and any other activities outside the secular mainstream, then this cannot be their country. We can have a secular country or we can carry on as we are. What’s it to be?

Eclectic Blue

Taking it to the streets

0 Comments 16 February 2019

Well, I supported the strike yesterday, where many thousands of children went on the streets to campaign on the subject of climate change. Naturally, stuffy politicians like Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom condemned them all for wasting time when they should be at school. These politicians waste time for a living.

On the subject of climate change, there is no scientific debate. It is happening, it is being caused directly by us. The legacy my generation is leaving for the next generations will be abysmal. Put to one side, the reduced opportunities that will be available for young people as a result of Brexit and instead look at the evidence. Extreme weather events are increasingly more frequent and the planet is heating up. Why the hell should young people not take to the streets? It’s their futures that are being destroyed.

Eclectic Blue


0 Comments 15 February 2019

I can’t help myself. Even though it isn’t spring, it feels like it. Even though it isn’t really warm, 12c in a cloudless sky with a mild breeze it feels warm. I’ve even got the door open in my Man Cave.

So, what the hell? The sun is shining, I have been playing music all day and now here is shuffle number two.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!

  1. Happy Together by the Turtles. Late 1960s harmony music from the USA, if it’s not the Beach Boys or the Association, it has to be the Turtles. Absolute belter.
  2. Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone by the Temptations. No description needed!
  3. Festival Times by the San Remo Strings. More wonderful Motown.
  4. Creedence Song by John Fogerty. From his Revival album, this is classic modern day JC Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame.
  5. (Da Le) Yaleo by Santana. From what was, I suspect, his last great album, Supernatural, Carlos is on top form, here. (On a point of information, the supernatural doesn’t actually exist but don’t let that spoil your enjoyment of this excellent record.)
  6. Going For the One by Yes. Bizarrely, this one starts like the Allman Brothers Band, until Jon Anderson reminds us who it really is.
  7. Woodstock by David Crosby. The Joni Mitchell classic revisited on Croz’s very latest album Here If You Listen.
  8. Venus by Television. From their epic Marquee Moon record. Everyone should own that.
  9. Helter Skelter by Roger Daltrey. Rog covers this Beatles belter on the Art of McCartney tribute record. The old boy shouts to reach the top notes these days, but it’s still unmistakably him.
  10. Feel The Groove by Little Feat. A rare vocal outing from Sam Clayton on this track from the excellent Down On The Farm album.

That’s really all, folks!

Eclectic Blue

That Friday Music Shuffle (15.2.19)

0 Comments 15 February 2019

What a glorious, sunny. springlike day it is, so why not spoil it by setting my portable telephone free and let it choose a random iTunes shuffle?

Yes, it’s Friday, I’m in my Man Cave and it’s time to shuffle away.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!

  1. Because I’m Me by the Avalanches. From their Wildflower album, this is absolutely great. Their gig at Motion was the best I saw in 2017 and arguably one of the best I have ever seen. I’m in love.
  2. Be Happy by Mary J Blige. Blige, this girl can sing. Lush R&B.
  3. Walking to New Orleans by Fats Domino. Classic.
  4. Guitarra G by G Club Pres. Banda Sonara. And now some banging Ibiza style dance music.
  5. Lay Down by the Strawbs. Some cracking electrickery from Dave Cousins’ legendary folk music outfit. Love it.
  6. Problem Girl by Rob Thomas. In my opinion, Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas is one of the best singers in popular music. This is from his Something To Be long player.
  7. Just Because by John Lennon. Absolutely beautiful cover version of the old Lloyd price tune from the excellent Rock N Roll album, confirming that Lennon was one of the great rock and roll singers.
  8. Within by Daft Punk Feat Chilly Gonzalez. This is one of the best cuts from Random Access Memories which, amazingly, came out in 2013.
  9. Shine Silently by Nils Lofgren. Nils will never write a song as good as this and I doubt whether anyone else will, either.
  10. It Had To Be You by Bobby Darin. “It hadda be you” sings Bobby, in his inimitable style. What a voice.

That’s all, folks!

Eclectic Blue

30 years of hurt

0 Comments 15 February 2019

Yesterday, I somehow managed to miss the 30th anniversary of the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie by some fruitcake Ayatollah or other for the apparent crime of writing a book. That book was the Satanic Verses. It really upset sections of the ‘muslim community’, whatever the muslim community is meant to be, because they considered the work to be blasphemous and for that the author had to die. Copies were burned, some muslims went on the streets to demonstrate and even set fire to copies of the book.

You might have expected muslim fanatics abroad to protest about the book, especially in countries run by muslims where free speech was not a thing, but did we expect such violent demonstrations in our own country? And demonstrations happened everywhere across the land, especially in areas where there were large muslim populations. Posters with ‘Death to Rushdie’ were not uncommon. There were people picketing outside bookshops. I was appalled, I went out and bought a copy, simply in order to cross a picket line of fanatics and removed my copy from my bag when I left the book shop. No one said anything but I felt better, in my narrow little world, for having done so. What surprised me was how the establishment bowed before the fanatics.

At that time, Margaret Thatcher’s hardline right wing government was in power, yet even they showed no bottle when the heat was on. Thatcher’s thuggish right hand man Norman Tebbit lined up alongside the Ayatollah condemning Rushdie as someone whose “public life has been a record of despicable acts of betrayal of his upbringing, religion, adopted home and nationality.” Think about that for a moment. A right wing Conservative government lining up alongside fanatics to stand against free speech. It really happened.

My loyal reader will know I have no truck with muslim opponents of free speech. I supported, without reservation, Salman Rushdie, I was appalled at the outcry regarding the Swedish cartoons, the attack on the offices at Charlie Hebdo was an act of islamic fascism and terrorism. Free speech means you have the right to criticise and mock anything, including religion. It also means you have the right to publish a book like the Satanic Verses and feel safe. Rushdie was not safe. A religious fanatic had issued a death sentence. In the end, he had to leave the country. This, make no mistake, was a defeat for free speech, freedom of expression and freedom full stop.

As for the Satanic Verses itself, I rather enjoyed it, although it was slightly above my head. Perhaps it was not the kind of thing I would normally read. There were those who will have greatly enjoyed it.

The reason so many people condemned Rushdie, the Swedish cartoons and Charlie Hebdo is because they were frightened of being killed in retaliation by the ‘religion of peace’. To be honest, I’d be scared of that, too. So our leaders should be stronger and clearer when they condemn all kinds of fascism, including religious fascism. Appeasement, as we should know, does not work.

Eclectic Blue

No regrets

0 Comments 14 February 2019

It was four years ago when Shamima Begum and her two friends left the UK to spend the best days of her life in Syria with the maniacal islamic fascists of ISIS. Now, nine months pregnant and in a camp in Syria, she wants to come home. She doesn’t regret going to Raqqa, but now she wants to come ‘home’. “I’m not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago,” she says.

I wasn’t the most mature 15 year old, I admit, but sneaking off abroad to meet up with a group of psychotic lunatics in some kind of religious caliphate, or some kind of equivalent was not on my horizon. I had a whole of interests back then, including music, football and girls, pretty well in that order. Another thing was that I was not attached to a religion which in the case of islam is all encompassing.

With no God in my life, I was never going to face religious indoctrination, or radicalisation, from any religious group. My immaturity was, in effect, immaterial. Ms Begum and her friends were in a different place.

They didn’t attend a muslim school, as such, but the majority of pupils there are muslim. There is no evidence that they were radicalised at school, although being schooled in an islamic environment can’t help. Similarly, it is likely, almost certain, that her home life would be based on religious tradition. How much would it take to persuade a child of 15 that the religion her family, her mosque, told her that the truth, the full truth and the only truth was being expressed in Raqqa? The answer is not much. Should we allow Ms Begum back into the country? I’ll come to that in a moment.

As someone who believes in a secular society, where no religion gains any special privileges, and everyone lives under the same laws with the same entitlements, I feel strongly that we need to change. Of course, in a secular society everyone is free to believe in any God they like, but that cannot in any way affect the lives of anyone else. There can be no Sharia law, there can be no kosher or halal slaughter of animals, there can be no religious schools, there can be no representatives of religion in parliament (the UK and Iran are the only two countries in the world who allow this). In short, believe in whatever you want, but the law of the land comes first. Multi-ethnicity yes, multiculturalism no. Sadly, at the moment, this simply does not happen.

Thanks to successive governments, there are now more ‘faith’ schools than ever, even though we know that ‘faith’ schools encourage division. Look at Northern Ireland. That went well. We need to get rid of the lot and we need to do it now. I repeat, people should be free to express their own religions but that should not impinge on society or affect the lives of others. This will include the end of catholic schools, COfE schools, islamic schools – every single one. This will be a valuable start to making our country better, through secularism.

Now I shall sound like some right wing lunatic, but here goes anyway. What people object to the fact there are no longer any religious schools? The law of the land, which reigns supreme, declares there are no religious schools. It is up to theists to decide what they want to do. Nothing can stop them taking their children to church, or encouraging them to read religious writings, although I would rather parents didn’t force their children to be religious. It is not a coincidence that children almost always have the same religion as their parents. But unless children are persuaded at an early age that God is a thing, religion will die out. You can see why there would be an almighty fight to if and when the government showed the courage to ban religious schools. But unless we mean business, things will not stay the same; they will get worse. If you want a religious school, you won’t find one in the UK.

As for Ms Begum, my first reaction was that I would not want her back in this country in a month of Sundays. My second was much the same. In any event, Britain has no consulate in Syria so even if we wanted to help her return home, sort of sending people into a very dangerous area to collect someone who decided to live among religious maniacs, wasn’t ‘fazed’ when she saw a rubbish bin full of decapitated heads in Raqqa and still doesn’t regret going, there’s nothing we can do. I’m very happy to leave it that way.

In my view, all religions are bad but some are worse than others. Islam is definitely worse than most but in order to reduce the risks we face, we need a secular country. Anything less merely encourages the extremists. It’s a very simple choice although it is one that would require courage. Politicians of all colours are not noted for courage and I expect things to carry on getting worse.

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