Thursday, 13 June 2013

UKIP councillor to resign after shoplifting in Thetford

From EDP24:

A UKIP councillor who shoplifted from Poundstretcher has said he will resign stating the pressure on him was too great.

The resignation of Peter Georgiou, who took Thetford West for UKIP by one vote from Labour, will spark a by-election in Norfolk’s closest-fought division.

It also marks the end of two weeks of speculation surrounding Mr Georgiou’s future after he admitted he was banned from Thetford’s Poundstretcher store in Minstergate for shoplifting last year.

Police dealt with the incident through a “community resolution” in which Mr Georgiou agreed to pay for the goods and was banned from the store.

He put his behaviour down to the result of medication he was taking for depression.

Revealing that he would resign, he told the Eastern Daily Press yesterday that he was shocked by the “mudslinging” against him after his past was made public.

He said: “I am disappointed because we all know there is mudslinging that goes on. I just thought it (the reaction) was a little bit over the top.”

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Norwich's peregrine falcon chicks fledge!

High on a ledge at Norwich Cathedral a family of peregrine falcon chicks have been followed on livecam from eggs, to fluffy chicks and now to fledglings

"Fledging" seems too formal for the tumbling out of the nest it seems to involve (visit the Hawk and Owl Trust website for the funny videos)

Credit to Andy Thompson for photographs

The Hawk and Owl Trust announce:

We're running our 'Name The Chicks' competition this weekend! Get your suggestions to by midnight on Sunday! The lovely Ellie Harrison from Country File will pick the winning four names. Ellie helped us ring the chicks recently whilst filming the peregrines for a new series called 'Big British Wildlife Revival' which will be screened over the summer as part of the BBC 'Summer of Wildlife'. Winning names will be announced on Wednesday 12. Get naming! ;0)

Muslims march with Ipswich EDL

From EDL News:

It is not often that we bring positive news about the English Defence League as there is usually very little to bring you.

If more EDL members followed the lead of East Anglia regional co-ordinator, Ivan Humble, and engaged with the local Muslim community instead of taking part in drink fueled marches shouting 'Allah is a paedo' and threatening to burn mosques, the organisation might be taken a little more seriously by the general public.

With the increased interest in the EDL, after the death of Drummer Lee Rigby, this is the idea opportunity to call time on beered up violent and racist marches and engage with the Muslim community. That means kicking out every violent pisshead and racist and cleaning up their Facebook groups.

Mr Humble and his group's initiative have our full support.

Local Muslims, members of the East Anglian English Defence League and members of the community wanting to show their support for armed forces

From the Huffington Post:

It might seem a provocative pairing, but when the English Defence League marched with Islamic charity Jimas to pay tribute to Lee Rigby, the protest was peaceful.

Since the Woolwich attack, the far-right group has clashed with anti-fascist organisations in marches organised in response to the killing.

Mosques have also been targeted with anti-Muslim graffiti sprayed on walls, and one place of worship was attacked with petrol bombs.

He said: "We were strongly motivated to match for three reasons. Perhaps first it was to show our respect and offer our condolences to Lee Rigby's family. We also wanted to support our troops in general and show respect for the job they do.

"The third reason was defiance. We wanted to send a message to the extremists that they are committing crimes against Islam. They are not doing these things in our name.

"Although we don't support the far right, I don't like to paint people in general terms. They happened to be there and marching alongside them was about bridge building and preventing other parts of the Muslim community from coming to harm. By being there and opening up lines of communication we helped avoid a fracas."

Ivan Humble, regional co-ordinator for the East Anglia Branch of the EDL, told the Ipswich Star:

This is what we need. We need to be seen working together and talking together. 
If we can work together, that has got to be good.
From the JIMAS site:

JIMAS seeks to promote an organic, home-grown, indigenous following of Islam, which is relevant to British Muslim concerns in particular and issues of the UK in general. As such JIMAS is distinct from those political movements and ideologies that had originated abroad which by their nature is not synchronised with the needs of the British public.

However, there has been some fallout from this unexpected pairing.

More about that on Sunday.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Sunrise over the Norfolk Broads

From "Actively Yours", the National Parks photo competition:

The winning photograph of a canoeist as she paddles through Surlingham Broad in the Norfolk Broads at sunset was taken by the amateur photographer Fraser Johnston
Canoeing at sunrise on Surlingham Broad
Amateur photographer Fraser Johnston, who took the winning image, is originally from Tasmania. He said: 

It's a beautiful memory of a beautiful winter's morning setting off in the canoe after camping the night before. The position the shot is taken from puts the viewer right in the action, taking the stern position in the canoe.
Fraser only moved to Norwich in 2007 after meeting his Norfolk girlfriend while she was on holiday in Tasmania. He said: 
At the time I didn't even know Norfolk existed. It's much different to Tasmania where there is barely a flat piece of ground anywhere. However I learned to love the landscape especially after we bought an old hand-made canoe. About this time I took up photography and we started exploring the Broads, putting a tent and some warm clothes in our leaky old canoe and setting off from Norwich, headed down river for the weekend.
Ben Fogle chose this because: 
It's evocative and moving. A beautiful winter's scene that makes you want to dive into the image. I find it surprisingly moving and breathtakingly beautiful. Canoeing is accessible to everyone. It requires no expertise. And, just like the National Parks, it's for everyone.
View all the entries from each National Park:

Six things the EDL should probably learn about England

From usvsth3m:

1. St. George’s Day is on April 23

2. St. George wasn’t English

He was born in Palestine to Greek parents, served in a foreign army and never even visited England. He’s also the patron saint of so many other things - including people suffering from syphilis - that there is a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to it.

3. Brighton Pavilion is NOT a mosque

4. Their motto is literally taken off a fag packet

5. We’ve ALREADY got a “defence league”. They’re quite expensive but at least they do what parliament tells them and we can sack them if they do bad things. Sometimes.

6. This is how the vast majority of the English population picture them

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Hasten to St Margaret's Church of Art for the last three days of a fabulously eclectic exhibition

by Eppie Zandvoort
These are the Mapeople
People are a journey
No-one is an island
by Ian Brownlie
by Marion Stuart
Space Oddity I
Space Oddity II
Space Oddity III
All by Jo Stafford
Paper cut
by Claire Knight
by Eppie Zandvoort
(with reflections)
Vessels like ship wreckage made from translucent porcelain
with illegible written script and broken fragments
by Marion Stuart
The figure is explored with written texts and gold lustre
like the tattooing of skin
by Marion Stuart
by Mary Howard
Taking the Dog for a Walk
by Heather Tamplin
Losing my Religion
by Heather Tamplin
by Heather Tamplin
Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder version
by Heather Tamplin
In Front of the Fire
by Gill Duly
Photograph of Snail
by Annie Snowdon

Photograph of Sculpted Spiral Shell
by Nikki Dods
by Nikki Dods
The Thief
by Elke McKinley
Winter Tree, Norfolk
by Nikki Dods

Drift 2013
Sculpture by Keita Jackson
Layered World
by Laragh Spearman

Thetford Forest
from the Norfolk series
by Tricia Frances

Falling Man
by Heather Tamplin

Prices from an unbelievable £10 - well worth a visit, but hurry.  Last day Saturday 8th June.

Apologies if I did not get every name right, I was on my way somewhere else when I stumbled upon this thrilling exhibition, so did not spend as much time there as I would have liked to - if there are errors, please comment below and I will amend accordingly.

St Margaret's Church of Art is near St Benedicts, NR2 4.  See Facebook under Arts and Crafts Collective 2013

(Photographed with permission)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

From the Mirror by Owen Jones:

EDL protesters
You can accuse the English Defence League of lots of things – being a bunch of racist thugs, for a start – but they’re not lacking in irony.

Last Monday, EDL goons were snapped doing Nazi salutes on their London demo. Don’t tar us all because of the actions of a few, some of them moaned. But that’s exactly what they have done to Britain’s Muslims.

The disgusting murder of 25-year-old Lee Rigby sickened people of all faiths and none.

His two-year-old son will grow up without his dad, and one day will have to be told about his horrifying last moments. As the Muslim Council of Britain put it, it was a “truly barbaric” act with “no basis in Islam”. Muslims marched in Ilford and Barking in memory of Lee Rigby.

But it hasn’t stopped the EDL hijacking a horrendous tragedy to incite hatred against Muslims.

Meanwhile, Muslims have faced abuse on the streets and Twitter. Mosques have been attacked, including with a petrol bomb in Grimsby. Bombing mosques to spread fear and hatred – sounds like terrorism, doesn’t it?

It is a hijacking that goes against the wishes of Lee’s own family. “We would like to emphasise that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others,” they’ve said.

Like so many of us in our diverse country, he had friends with different religious beliefs and cultures. His regiment has also damned those seeking to exploit his death as “wrong and disgraceful”. It’s not just the EDL either. The BNP’s Nick Griffin – the David Brent of British fascism - has used this to try to turn us against each other.

We have a proud history in this country of taking on racists and fascists. Working men and women took on Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts in 1936. “They shall not pass,” they yelled. Hundreds of thousands died fighting Hitler and Mussolini.

Those marching against the EDL and the BNP stand united. The racists want us to clash with our neighbours. Let’s listen to Lee’s family – and not let them.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

National campaign: Don’t let the racists divide us

Unite Against Fascism is launching a campaign – Don’t let the racists divide us – to organise a nationwide response to the attempts by the racist and fascist English Defence League and British National Party to exploit the tragic death of Lee Rigby to whip up racism and hatred.This campaign will be launched at its ‘United communities – Don’t let the racists divide us’ event, taking place at 12 Noon, tomorrow Saturday 1 June, opposite Downing St

The campaign is being launched in response to the stepped up activities of racist and far right groups in the aftermath of the murder, which have cynically attempted to exploit this tragedy to pursue their own agenda directed against Black, Asian and especially Muslim communities.

This has already led to a spike in Islamophobic attacks and a wave of assaults on Mosques. Muslim communities are experiencing verbal abuse, women’s headscarves have been torn off as well as more serious threats and violent attacks. Racists are simply stepping up their campaign.

This Saturday the English Defence League are organising 55 protests in different towns and cities across the country over the weekend. The far right British National Party is trying to re-launch itself after its recent splits by holding a national protest in Whitehall, Central London at 1pm – the first time they have done so since 1998.

UAF is organising local community responses around the country and the event in Whitehall to counter the BNP’s mobilisation

The ‘Don’t let the racists divide us’ campaign will include:

- Events around the country on Saturday 1 June including:

Hitchin: 12noon, Briggate (by Body Shop)
Sheffield: 12noon, Celebrate and defend One Sheffield Many Cultures/Unity in the Community, UAF peaceful protest – assemble Bakers Pool, City Centre
Leicester: 9 am, Clock Tower
Reading: 12noon, meet by Library Town Centre
Coventry: 10.30am, Precinct (by Top Man)
Cambridge: e mail
York: ‘Unity in the Community’ UAF peaceful assembly – meet 1.30pm, North Eastern Railway War Memorial, Station Rise
Colchester: 1pm, War memorial
Burton on Trent: 12noon, Town Cntre
Birmingham City Centre: Peaceful ‘Unity in the Community’ demonstration details, this Saturday, June 1, assemble 11am, Centenary Sq, City Centre.
Manchester: Peaceful Unity event, 9.30am, St Peter’s Square
Colchester: 1pm, War Memorial
Southampton: 12 noon, City Centre
Edinburgh: 1pm, Scottish Parliament

- A launch rally: Unity in our Community – Don’t let the Racists Divide Us, 7pm Monday June 3rd – Meeting at University of London Union, Malet St, WC1. Speakers include:Peter Hain MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP; Christine Blower gen sec NUT, Ava Vidal comedian;Owen Jones writer and journalist; Daniel Trilling asst editor New Statesman, Shakeel Begg

- a national petition based on the statement launched by Unite Against Fascism in the immediate aftermath of the Woolwich tragedy. For initial signatories see below

- ‘Don’t let the racists divide us’ public meetings and events around the country

- Love Music, Hate Racism concerts

- local counter events wherever the racists and fascists assemble with local community, trade union, faith and other organisations

The campaign starts this weekend when Unite Against Fascism will be opposing the BNP and EDL around the country. We will not let them have their weekend of hatred unopposed.

UAF statement: Don’t let the racists divide us
Unite Against Fascism sends its condolences to the family and friends of the soldier murdered yesterday in Woolwich. There can be no justification for such a terrible attack on an individual.

But we must recognise that fascist organisations such as the English Defence League and British National Party are trying to use the murder to whip up racism and direct hatred against all Muslims.

EDL thugs attempted to start a race riot in Woolwich last night. Mosques have been attacked by racist thugs. These fascists and racists should be condemned and opposed. We must not give a quarter to those who would judge an entire religion, race or nationality by the actions of a few.

We do not hold Norwegian Christians responsible for the actions of the fascist Anders Breivik, whose 2011 rampage left 77 dead. We do not hold white people collectively responsible for Timothy McVeigh, the US neo-Nazi whose 1995 Oklahoma City bomb killed 168 people, or for David Copeland, the former BNP member who planted bombs across London in 1999. Nor should anyone suggest that Britain’s Muslims are collectively responsible for the murder in Woolwich.

The fascist organisations that are trying to stir up trouble and racist violence in the wake of the Woolwich killing do not care about the dead soldier, his family or the interests of any community. They want only to see Muslims attacked and a race war on our streets.

UAF condemns them and opposes their attempts to call “demonstrations” to exploit these issues. UAF also calls on the media and politicians to stop using inflammatory language that feeds the fascists and racists. We must challenge Islamophobia wherever it raises its head. We must reject those who want to divide our communities and set them against each other, and stand fast to the ideals of anti-racism, multiculturalism and respect for all.

Initial signatories to the statement include Ken Livingstone (Former Mayor of London), Brian Simpson MEP, Diane Abbott MP, Jean Lambert MEP, Bruce Kent, Len Duvall AM, Murad Qureshi AM, Reverend Hazel Barkham, Varinder Singh (Sikhs Against the EDL) Louise Baldock (Liverpool City Councillor), Martin Mitchell (Blackpool Councillor) and hundreds more who have signed the statement online.