Galloway wins the Bradford West by-election.

George Galloway’s victory at Bradford West was to be expected.  His rhetoric consistently mirrors the political aspirations of people who believe our troops in Muslim lands to be “occupying forces” according to Respect’s leader, Salma Yaqoob, on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning; he also resonates with old-Labour values. Looking at any issue from a radical Muslim perspective, Galloway ticks all the boxes. Do the same for disaffected Labour voters and Galloway provides a tempting protest vote. Make no mistake about this: Galloway’s Muslim supporters will always vote for him. He is the man who sides with any sabre-rattling Muslim cause because that is what many Muslims in the UK want to hear; it is also, however, what the sabre-rattlers want to hear too.

I know that many in Britain will be able to understand Labour voters who feel disenfranchised by, what they might call Blue-Labour, as opposed to New Labour. The Muslim lynchpin of Galloway’s success is, however, far more dangerous and extreme. I have been a Muslim. I am a white British man married to a Moroccan woman, though we are now separated. It is two decades since I learned of the belief, widespread amongst Muslims worldwide, that there is no such thing as a ‘British’ Muslim. Either you are a Muslim or you have distanced yourself from Islam.

In this way, Galloway is a rallying cry for illiberal Mulsims, i.e. those who seek to challenge the British way of life, set themselves apart and maintain their very distinct, religio-cultural diffferences. Of course, many of the people who voted for this egomaniac yesterday do not hold such fundamental beliefs, but the risk here is that that is exactly how the heartland Muslim’s see it. Islam is not just a religion – it is a political docrtine too. Our security services must be more than aware that Galloway is to Muslims, what Geert Wilders is to European Nationalists. There is no victory here, not even for this pathetic, dictator-loving Glaswegian. The misery that will ensue in the fulness of time will make the Enoch Powell saga seem like a storm in a teacup: that will be the undoubted legacy of Galloway’s ‘success’.


The reason that I rejected my son’s prospective new school … a letter to the Head

When I completed my son’s secondary school preference form, it was done so in in the belief that your school had remained Falmer High School, which I have since discovered it hasn’t.
I am not prepared to commit my son to a system of education that seems to rely on philanthropists chucking money at chosen, educational establishments – ‘academies’ – in what seems to be a quasi-privatisation of state education; nor do I wish to see him subjected to the nascent socio-educational experiment of the Rt. Hon. Michael Gove, that once again drags the education of the nation’s children into the political arena with very little qualitative opinion on how this type of school would work if generalised across the entire state school system.
The government claims to want to increase parental choice and the school’s accountability to them, whilst forcing Academy schools on parents in some areas and calling them ‘Trots’ because they are alarmed at the prospect of Govite education:
Inside the Department for Education, civil servants “are nervous about the prospects for judicial review”, says a well-informed source. “They are also nervous about his [Mr. Gove’s] language. He’s not just calling teachers or trade unionists ‘Trots’ – he’s calling ordinary parents ‘Trots’, too.” (
Mr. Gove’s attempts to shake up education provision have been injudicious, have been challenged legally and have been more notable for the howling mistakes than organic success. Anyone can throw large sums of money at schooling to improve attainment – the independent schools have proven that for well over a century – but whether this system can be made universal remains to be seen. If we are not careful this country will end up with a two-tier state school system, where middle to upper income bracket parents can afford the uniforms and extra-curricular costs and most of those that cannot will likely remain in schools with lower achievements or, worse still, we will witness a hark-back to the days of Grammar and Comprehensive schools – which is probably, more likely, this government’s intention.
Do, please, look closely at the photo of the Education Secretary above, as ironically he has more than a passing resemblance to Mr. Bean. However, the latter is a successful, much-loved clown, whereas Mr. Gove gives all the appearances of just being a clown at the helm of the nation’s education system – and he can’t even get the juggling act right!
You may have gathered by now that I am rejecting your school on behalf of my son because of the unfairness and uncertainty that this system will likely bring.

You wouldn’t do this to your dog – his parents have to because there is no alternative!

It is a sad fact that we take for granted the most precious, but fundamental things, like health and freedom. Today I opened a web page and was confronted by a young man who has neither health nor freedom and I have to say that I was shocked; I have to admit here and now that when I saw the image I cried at the anguish it caused me. The photo to the left is that of Wei Yun, who has been caged on a daily basis for 21 years because his parents have no other way of looking after him.

Wei, a mentally disabled Chinese man, has spent almost his entire life locked inside a wooden cage because his family cannot afford to look after him. He cannot walk or talk and is caged by his parents when they are working. He had an accident when two years old and knocked over a pan of boiling water. From that point onward his father and stepmother took this drastic action ‘for his own safety’. They say they have no choice as they have to work to support the family and there is no one to care for Wei.

Many of China’s mentally ill people are forced to live in the most appalling fashion especially in rural areas where poverty is rife and there are no state facilities to care for them. Wei Yun’s plight echoes that of 40-year-old Tang Zuhua, whose 76-year-old mother has kept him locked in a ruined barn in Chongqing, southern China for 23 years.

It is often truly awful to look at the miserable conditions that others have to suffer elsewhere in the world, but in Wei’s case and likely the same as many other people with mental health illnesses in poor countries, this makes the horror and despair that much more painful and harder to bear.