The Glorious 29th

Brexit Day Today has seen the UK give notice to the EU that we intend to leave their club. This doesn’t mean that anything at all has changed today, only that the long and complex process of leaving the EU can now begin. I’ve seen people wondering why people who voted leave aren’t making more of a song and dance about it, and whilst I can’t speak for anyone else I can say why I’m not.

  • Many of the people I know have spent the last year or so accusing people that support the idea of Brexit of being racist, gullible, stupid, backward, ignorant and much more. I don’t really want to argue with those people
  • A lot of people I know are quite upset about the decision to leave the EU and I’m polite enough to not want to add to their woes.
  • This is merely the start of the process, as the saying goes “now begins the real work”, if we let our politicians implement the kind of Brexit that everyone is afraid of then there will be noting to celebrate. I’ll celebrate when we’ve actually left the EU, if we do so in a manner which strengthens and broadens our international relationships, is less protectionist, more outward looking and more democratic then we ever could be in the EU.

Today is merely the start of a process, where that process takes us depends on our politicians and civil servants. If you don’t like the direction they seem to be taking us now isn’t the time to sit back and say “they voted for it, they can fix it”. Now is the time to contact your MP and tell them what you want the UK to look like once we leave the EU. Do you want to keep favouring wealthy western nations over the rest of the world? Do you want to continue protectionist policies that disadvantage developing nations? Do you want to stick to the poorer standards of animal welfare that the EU require over the stronger standards the UK proposed? Do you want to give current EU citizens resident int he UK the right to stay, ask for it. All of this and so much more is still up for debate and you can sit and moan and be angry on social media or you can do something about it, the choice is yours. As so many people keep saying no one has agreed what we want from Brexit so why not actually tell your MP what you want? I did, and will be doing so again.

Today nothing changes, leaving the EU doesn’t mean a return to a former years, it doesn’t mean leaving Europe, it doesn’t mean the end to trade and co-operation, it doesn’t mean that the rest of Europe cease to be our friends, colleagues and partners, it doesn’t mean turning our back on the rest of the world, it doesn’t mean abandoning human rights or anything else. Though of course it could end up meaning all of those things if you let it, leaving the EU brings accountability back to Parliament, so it’s up to us to hold our elected representatives to account to deliver the sort of post EU country that we want. Once we leave the EU our politicians can no longer pas responsibility off to someone else, they will be the ones representing us on international standards committees and in trade negotiations and everywhere else where in the past they’ve delegated responsibility to the EU. This means that it’s up to us to hold them to account and to vote and campaign for the issues that matter to us. Or we could just say it’s other peoples problems, change our profiles pictures and complain on social media and let other people decide which direction our country goes in. No political party is in power for ever, no political party is even significant for ever if we decide they no longer represent us and actually do something about it.

So what today signals is that we all need to grow up and take responsibility for the actions of our representatives and for making sure they act on our behalf in the manner we desire. Alternatively wash your hands of the responsibility, say it’s up to the people you’ve called stupid and backward, say your ashamed of this country and then later you can wonder why it all turned out so badly.

Another day, another terror attack

1993 rewritten This week has been London’s turn to be the latest target of Islamic terrorist activity, and all of the usual platitudes and nonsense has been wheeled out. Exactly the same as last time and the time before that. The police and powers that be are worried about yet another anti-Muslim back lash, even though there’s not been one yet. Our glorious leaders are saying we must carry on as normal whilst surrounding themselves with the more blocks of concrete, whilst demanding we give up more freedom. we’re assured it’s a lone wolf attack that has immediately led to 7 other arrests. There’s another candle lit vigil, and random buildings have been lit up in pretty colours to show “solidarity” and we’re told repeatedly that the only reaction that can defeat our attackers is to pretend that nothing has happened.

Well that is all nonsense just as much as the comparison to the IRA bombing campaign is. I’m not going to provide a load of links if you want that sort of thing you can start at Wikipedia. Before I begin if you’re going to rebut what I’m saying by claims that times have changed and we’ve progressed that’s well and good but int hat case the comparison to the treatment of Irish people during the IRA’s campaigns can’t be made. I grew up in London during the IRA’s bombing campaigns the child of an Irish Catholic immigrant, and whilst it may have been known that it was only a few people in the IRA that didn’t stop the wider community being blamed. Being young and not knowing better at the time I was happy to talk about my Irish heritage, the first couple of beatings taught me better. I sat in general studies classes where nice polite educated people discussed how reasonable it would be to deport anyone of Irish heritage. I remember having to repeatedly condemn the IRA’s actions, and repeated calls for the Irish community to condemn and cease supporting the actions of the IRA.

All very different from today, where calls for the Muslim communities to condemn terrorists are met with cried of “but they’re not real Muslims”, during the IRA’s activities there were no claims they weren’t really Irish or weren’t really nationalists. They were acting in the name of the Irish community so it was up to the Irish community to condemn them, as the Muslim community is starting to do. Politicians were happy to talk about the Irish problem, being clear that the solution ultimately had to come from the Irish, from all the people that for whatever reasons enabled or just turned a blind eye to the actions of the few amongst them. When some nutter in a balaclava shot up a pub shouting “Éirinn go Brách” there was no talk about how it had nothing to do with Ireland and how they probably had mental health problems – it was a problem laid firmly at the door of the Irish community. All in all it was quite a shit time to have an Irish back ground, though still far better than it was for those that were victims of the IRA’s attacks. There was a time in my youth when I could have been radicalized and joined “the cause”. Being a bit of an outsider and trying to see the other side of the debate if I’d fallen in with the wrong crowd, maybe I’d have been one of those nutters and I’d have been wrong and it wouldn’t have been British actions that would have driven me to it, it would have been the romance and the power of fighting for a cause. I suspect the same is true for many of the people being “radicalised” today, though it’s probably even easier now with all the apologies being made for our current crop of terrorists.

If we want to do anything about the problem of Muslim terrorists we have to be clear that it is a Muslim problem, the people making the attacks see them selves as Muslims. There are other people in Muslim communities who see themselves as Muslims that are in one way or another supporting them, so as with the IRA we have to tell these communities that we do hold them responsible and that it is up to them to stop enabling the evil that lives among them. We have to be prepared to name our attackers and support those that would turn against them and stop making excuses. If we want to win this battle we need rediscover western values and stand up for them, present an alternative to the violent ideals that are fueling those that attack us. We need to keep the rule of law, and not sacrifice ever more freedoms and privacy destroying the values we’re fighting for. Our great and good need to carry on as normal and take their chances with the rest of us, not hunger down behind ever taller barriers and ever more guards. We’ve got to be allowed to ridicule the religion these idiots fight for, and to name our attackers. I won’t be told on one hand that it’s fine to tar all men or all white people with a broad brush but not to apply the same logic to a group whose members are running people down in the street. If we are to have nuance then lets stop lumping all sects of Islam in together, just as we know the west borough baptists are nutters let’s start talkign about what sects of Islam are sane or not, lets differentiate between Sunni, Shi’ite, Wahhabis and Ahmadiyya. Lets talk to the reformers and the integrators and tell the rest to get their act together and that they won’t be indulged.

These attacks will stop when we stand firm for our culture and way of life and when the communities that are sheltering these “lone wolves” stop doing so, and all the time we keep making apologies and excuses for them it’s easier and safer for them to continue to turn a blind eye. Until we stand up for our way of live (vague and diverse though it may be) and hold these communities to account for the actions of their members maybe all we can do is….
Pray for London

Registering with the Raw Tobacco Scheme III

Mission accomplished! In the post today I received a very dull letter on gray paper from HMRC, providing me with me Raw Tobacco approval number which “should be quoted on all correspondence relating” to my “controlled activities”. I still wonder just why growing plants and throwing them away should be controlled but there you go. I’m now approved for a year to throw away up to 15kg of dead Nicotiana plants. All it took was a short letter and a phone call to be allowed to throw away legal garden waste. Time will tell if they come round to inspect me or not. Also I note that this says it doesn’t approve “receipt of raw tobacco in any form” – which makes me wonder how that relates to non-registerable levels.

Baccy approval  - page 1 Baccy Registration -page 2