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Paul Stott
Academic, studying British Jihadism. A libertarian and a family man.
Interests: Politics, parapolitics, libertarian beliefs, cycling, boxing, Manchester United, studying terrorism and counter terrorism.
Recent Activity
I know I should not take the 'Home' supplement of The Sunday Times too seriously, but Charlotte Vowden needs to be flayed through every high street in the country for this nonsense in a feature "Turning up the heat" on the economic prospects in Birmingham: "Unemployment has blighted Birmingham - despite its four universities - so giving its young folk the best start in life is high on the agenda here. To tackle the problem, some schools such as Perry Beeches the Academy, in Great Barr, have added balti cooking lessons to the curriculum." So there you have it. What... Continue reading
Apologies to anyone who tried to visit this blog in recent days, and found it off line. My provider, Typepad, has suffered a series of denial of service attacks, for motivations that are unclear (although there is no reason to think they were aimed at this site). Things seem to be back to normal now, but it does serve as a reminder of my current, favourite aphorism: "The problem with technology is that a lot of the time it does not work, or does not work in the way that its proponents tell others it should" Continue reading
The Evening Standard's editorial on Ukraine of 16 April 2014 is a classic example of both British muddle, and the innate ability of journalists to call big issues, not by events, but their perception of the facts. Ukraine on the brink The advance of Ukrainian troops into the dissident eastern city of Kramatorsk marks a new phase in a conflict which, as President Putin unhelpfully remarked, brings Ukraine to “the verge of civil war”. It is however a necessary move; it would be quite intolerable for any government to see entire cities and regions fall under the control of dissident... Continue reading
Amongst the acres of gushing news print about Liverpool FC and their supporters this week, as the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster was marked, there was also a very familar story. A group of Manchester City fans were 'shocked' and 'shaken' after their minibus was attacked by Liverpool fans throwing bricks and stones before yesterday's Premiership match. Shaken I can understand (amongst those on the bus was a 70 year old woman) but if anyone on that minibus had attended a game at Anfield in the 1970s or 1980s, they surely cannot have been shocked. Such actions were the... Continue reading
Oh dear. Clearly the Daily Star Sunday's magazine, TV Extra, is printed some time ahead of the rest of the newspaper. Page 3 of todays edition has a picture of the late Peaches Geldof, with the sub-heading "25 - Drop in for a cuppa with Peaches". Turn to p.25 a full page spread tells us about the countryside of North Kent. Under the title "What Stars Might I See" and a picture of Peaches, we are informed: "Peaches Geldof and her young family have a house nearby and often spend time at Trosley Country Park, a ramblers' paradise close to... Continue reading
On Tuesday 8 April the Hellenic Centre in London is playing host to Dr George Kassimeris of Wolverhampton University, who is talking on "Terrorism in Greece: Will It Ever End?" Long after revolutionary left terrorism peaked, and broadly died off in France, Italy and Germany, armed struggle groups flourish in Greece, a trend continuing even after the sudden dismantling of the N17 organisation in 2002. Contrary to popular understanding, specific types of terrorism do tend to come to a close, which raises the interesting question of why such violence appears to have become a permanent fixture of Greek life. George... Continue reading
Just ahead of Saturday's selection process, some interesting issues have emerged concerning the candour of Ruth Smeeth, one of three candidates seeking selection for Labour in the parliamentary constituency of Stoke North and Kidsgrove. These questions, raised on the Notes From the Borderland website, include the revelation (via Wikileaks) that she is considered a protected source by the American Embassy in London. Combined with what appears to be a very selective CV set out on her campaign website, real concerns emerge about where she would actually stand if elected to Parliament. The NFB letter to Labour Party members in Stoke... Continue reading
Our politics appears to go through distinct periods of self-doubt, something particularly noticeable in concerns about low voter turnout, and especially low levels of participation in politics from young people. Once the solution was to get younger politicians, more women, and more black people. Before that was the need to put Commons debates on television. More recently we have had the rise of postal voting and e-petitions. None have made a significant difference. Next it seems is e-voting, as promoted by the Speaker, John Bercow (as if we have not had enough fraud cases with postal voting). This evening at... Continue reading
I have only just spotted a piece by Natalie Zinets and Elizabeth Piper in the i of 28 March 2014 (it does not seem to be online). "Kiev pulled closer to Europe by £16bn deal" discusses credits and loans being extended to the Ukraine by the European Union, United States and the International Monetary Fund: "Kiev opened the way for the IMF deal by announcing on Wednesday a radical 50 per cent hike in the price of domestic gas from 1 May and promising to phase out energy subsidies by 2016". Continue reading
Our politics appears to go through distinct periods of self-doubt, something particularly noticeable in concerns about low voter turnout, and especially low levels of participation in politics from young people. Once the solution was to get younger politicians, more women, and more black people. Before that was the need to put Commons debates on television. More recently we have had the rise of postal voting and e-petitions. None have made a significant difference. Next it seems is e-voting, as promoted by the Speaker, John Bercow (as if we have not had enough fraud cases with postal voting). This evening at... Continue reading
I have somewhat lacked the will and energy to battle through all the conspiracy sites and claims about the fate of the missing Malaysian airliner. I do note that one particular claim unites several recurrent conspiracy themes - anti-Semitism, a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2014 at 9/11 CultWatch
Reports state that the BBC is to to remake the series 'Civilisation' on art, architecture and philosophy, first made made by Kenneth Clark (father of Alan) in 1969. I can't help thinking such a programme will be a lot more challenging to make - and a lot more challenged - today. Here is Phillip Hensher in the Telegraph: The moment when a series about Western art could be described as covering “civilisation” is long gone. Quite rightly, the successor, even if limited to the highest achievements of civilisation, is going to want to talk about Benin bronzes, Mughal culture, the... Continue reading
"There is no compelling evidence that genetically modified crops are any more dangerous to humans or the environment than conventionally farmed food, and it is time for Europe to be stripped of its obstructive control of the technology, scientists have advised the Prime Minister". Steve Connor, Science Editor, i, 14 March 2014. Continue reading
Tucked away on page four of the Business supplement of today's Daily Telegraph: "The Serious Fraud Office recovered just over one-tenth of the proceeds of white-collar crime it intended to in the last financial year, a fall on 15pc of intended assests it confiscated in the previous years. According to data obtained by Pinsent Masons, the SFO recovered just £3.9 million against a £31.9m target in 2012-13. The agency, charged with deterring financial crime, has endured shrinking budgets." Continue reading
Samira Shackle has an article on the Rationalist Association website, asking what risk British fighters in Syria pose on their return to Britain. It is a rather bland assessment, although not as irritating as attempts to portray such fighters as a latter day version of the International Brigades. Here is my reply to such sentiments: It really is embarrassing seeing people compare British fighters in groups like ISIS or the al-Nusrah Front to those who fought fascism in Spain (a better comparison for the GB jihadis, in terms of both politics and perhaps competence, may be to the Irish Blueshirts... Continue reading
We recently had Tree-Fu-Tom visit our local shopping centre. I don't really get his appeal myself, Hong Kong Phooey was a lot better, but in the world of CBeebies and children's television, he is quite a big name. Being the dutiful dad I thought it a good idea to take son number one and son mumber two to see Tom and have their pictures taken with him. Big mistake. Firstly, son number two protested the whole way, as he wanted to....... stay in and watch CBeebies. A clear victory for those who believe in the power of television - at... Continue reading
In the 1970s, if the National Front had applied to affilate to the National Council for Civil Liberties, would you have opposed them? If so, why did you not oppose the affiliation of the Paedophile Information Exchange? As pressure mounts on Harriet Harman, there is one way of noting when the pressure is really telling on Patricia Hewitt. When she was struggling as Health Secretary, New Labour windmill Andrew Marr took to refering to this most haughty of politicians as 'Pat' Hewitt, in a vain attempt to make her seem just like the rest of us. We will know this... Continue reading
If you fail to pay your subscription to Virgin or Sky, Richard Branson or Rupert Murdoch will cut you off. Fail to pay your subscription to the BBC, and you can be fined up to £1000, and ultimately go to prison. 107 people have been jailed in the past two years for this 'offence', and non-payment of the TV licence amounts to an astonishing one in ten court cases. When laws are so routinely broken, it is evidence, not of bad behaviour, but bad law. And the TV licence is a bad law. It is certainly a regressive tax, but... Continue reading
Mark Williams-Thomas is a former Surrey Police officer who specialised in child protection issues, and was responsible for the October 2012 ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile. On 16 February 2014 he gave an interview to the Sunday Times (hidden behind their paywall I'm afraid) for the regular 'Fame and Fortune' column in the Money supplement. Amongst the usual questions about shares versus property or best and worse investments, was this fascinating indication into how the influential ITV documentary came about: "I was doing some work for Newsnight and somebody working in television came up to me... Continue reading
The business section of today's Daily Telegraph has a small piece which sees BP pitching for tax breaks to encourage further investment in oil and gas resources. Of more long term significance is arguably the penultimate paragraph of Andrew Critchlow's article, which reminds us that: "According to the International Energy Agency, the US will overtake both Russia and Saudi Arabia by 2015 in oil production and will achieve energy self-sufficient over the next 20 years". This refers to an IEA announcement last November, based on the Americans succesful use of shale. If we take all this at face value (and... Continue reading
Welcome to our irregular Monday morning summary of recent events in the world of 'truth' movement activists, activism and anything else which tickles our fancy. Firstly we must start with congratulations. Annie Machon, the former Secretary of the UK and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2014 at 9/11 CultWatch
I have just finised Morrissey's marvellous autobiography, and the politics blog of the University of East Anglia, Eastminster, was good enough to publish my review. For some reason they left out my line that it is only £3.87 in Tesco, which must be the bargain of the year. Anyway, here are my thoughts............ In autobiographical terms, 2013 belonged to Manchester. Barely had Sir Alex Ferguson passed a burning torch to David Moyes, than his second (!) autobiography was topping the sales charts. Not far behind, in the immodestly titled Penguin Classics series, was Morrissey’s memoir, of his home city, The... Continue reading
This occasional feature looks to bring together some of the articles and issues which have either caught the eye of 9/11 Cultwatch, or have been passed to us as important, by our contributors. If you see something that you feel... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2014 at 9/11 CultWatch
Last nights Evening Standard had a letter on the British fighters in Syria, by Amandla Thomas-Johnson of Cage (formerly Cage Prisoners), which ended with the words "Listening to their views should be at the heart of forming policy". I have no idea if the Evening Standard will print my reply, but this is what I sent them: Amandla Thomas-Johnson of Cage takes an ahistorical approach to the question of British Muslims fighting in Syria (Letters, 4 February). Combatants from earlier jihads litter high security prisons across the world, the most recent British example being Bosnian Mujahideen 'veteran' Babar Ahmad, who... Continue reading
The Observer of 2 February 2014 contained this letter in response to Tony Blair's recent concerns that religious extremism fuels conflict: The fact that Tony Blair is using a faith-based institution to resolve problems caused by people motivated by faith rather than reason is ironic at best. Jim Pettman Anglais-Juillac France Continue reading