Friday, 29 November 2013

Sing with Pride

Sing with Pride, the Norwich Pride choir, will be singing at this year's World Aids Day Service - Sunday 1st December, 2.30pm, St John's on Timberhill. All welcome.

November with the Norfolk Humanists

From the Norfolk Humanists:

Clive Lewis (pictured above left, with members), Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich South, prompted a lively discussion on 'Progressive' politics pointing out that the word 'Progressive' is often used carelessly by Parties to denote a new era for the body politic. 

What the substance of that 'era' might be tends to get lost in the realities of economic pressures and an obsession with private funding, which appears to be the only answer to all our ills. 'Progressive' is certainly a word that means different things to different people, so perhaps it would be better not to use it at all. 

The presence of a new Labour candidate prompted members to examine the 'Blair' era and discuss why voters had become disillusioned with party politics and politics in general.  

Clive was the first person in his family to go to University where he studied economics and has worked as a BBC journalist. We talked about whether economists were effective advisers and whether they now hold any validity following the biggest economic crash most of us have experienced in our lifetime. We naturally talked about Government funding of faith schools and selection procedures, as well as the many private funding initiatives that seem to be taking over every social/civic function in our society and where accountability and transparency seem sadly lacking. 

As humanists we want to see a fair, equal, humane and tolerant society with all its members making a contribution to that aim.

The Norfolk Humanists said a fond farewell to Vince Chainey (pictured above) who was one of the founding members of the Norfolk Secularist and Humanist Group. Vince is moving away from Norfolk.

As a Celebrant Vince conducted over one thousand celebrations. The Norfolk Humanists thanked Vince for all his hard work both as Chairman and as a member. Vince will be much missed. 

The Norfolk Humanists in the New Year

January 2014 

We will be starting off the new year (January meeting) with a presentation from our local Celebrants who conduct Humanist weddings, funerals and birth ceremonies. 

If you are contemplating a Humanist wedding you may be interested in getting some ideas for your ceremony from an experienced Humanist Celebrant. When it comes to the final exit, you may have your own ideas about how this should be conducted; perhaps as an alternative to the impersonal funeral service frequently experienced. Celebrants can help you prepare. Finally, the birth of a new born is a very special occasion and a Celebrant can help you organise a non-religious naming ceremony. 

Further details can be found on the Ceremonies page.

Monday, 25 November 2013

We are Norwich presents -

Hollie McNish 
the Piratones

Immigrants welcome here: 

an evening of poetry, politics and music


If you hate the racist Home Office van, welcome immigrants to Norwich (and beyond), celebrate multiculturalism and love to be entertained - this is the event for you.

Thanks to our friends at the Blueberry - this event is now free for everyone, but you will be able to give donations to We are Norwich.

Whilst the venue is accessible to wheelchair users access to the toilets is a little on the snug side.

The Blueberry
28th November 2013

20 Cowgate
Norwich NR3 1SY 
19.00 hours

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Despicable hate crime

From the Norwich Evening News by Peter Walsh:

Norwich grandmother of eight tells of ‘terrifying’ gang assault by youths who kicked her in head and urinated on her.

A disabled Norwich grandmother has bravely spoken out about the terrifying moment she was abused and beaten by a gang of youths, some of whom urinated on her, in a sickening attack as she walked home from the shops.

Mother of four Denise Bright, 57. who lives near Fifers Lane, Norwich, has told her story to encourage members of the public to come forward with information.

The grandmother of eight underwent life-saving surgery last Christmas after an artery in her groin exploded and was just used to getting out again before her life was turned upside down in the attack.

Mrs Bright, who has back problems, had been to the shops at the junction of Brightwell Road and Catton Grove Road and was returning home when she was approached by a large group of teenagers. Some of them were on bicycles and they shouted abuse at her.

She said: 
I was walking home minding my own business, not causing anyone any problem, when all of a sudden these youths started to shout at me because I had a really bad limp because of the operation I had at Christmas.

They just called me a retard and a waste of space. They said people like me shouldn’t be walking the earth. I just said, ‘just go away, leave me alone’ and the next thing I know I was kicked in the back of my legs - at the knee - and knocked to the ground and they started kicking me in the head and in the body - kicking all my shopping all over the road.

I was trying to scrape my dog food up and they were kicking it out of my hand and then they weed all over me.
Mrs Bright managed to get up and ran into the road to try and escape her attackers and attract the attention of passing motorists.

She said: 
One car nearly hit me but swerved and carried on but the next car stopped. These two lads said ‘get in the car, get in the car’. They looked pretty scared but saw the youths running off.

If they hadn’t picked me up I hate to think what things could’ve happened. I was petrified.
Fortunately Mrs Bright only suffered bruising as a result of the attack, which happened at about 7.30pm on Saturday, October 19, but the psychological impact has been much more damaging.

She said: 
I don’t want to go out - I’m so frightened of going out. I don’t know what these lads look like so I can’t keep my eyes open for them. I’m so frightened they’re going to come after me. It’s got to the stage where all I want to do is stay indoors and that’s not right.

I’ve already got spinal problems so I like to try and get out and walk if I can. My husband comes and picks me up - I don’t want to give up. I’m trying to get my life back on track.

If anyone saw anything please come forward because these lads need to be caught because they’re not going to stop at me.
Anyone with information should contact PC Alexis Darby at Norwich North Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

■ Have you been the victim of a crime? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email


This is not just crime, this is hate crime

As described by Mrs Bright this seems a case where cowardly youths have deliberately selected a disabled person to attack, safe in the knowledge that she is unable to defend herself.

Here is the definition of a hate crime, according to Norwich City Council website: 

Hate crime or incidents

A hate crime or incident is an action which is motivated by hostility or prejudice based upon the victim’s perceived:
- Disability
- race
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- transgender status

Hate incidents or crimes can take many forms including:
- physical attacks - such as physical assault, damage to property, offensive graffiti, neighbour disputes and arson
- threat of attack - including offensive letters, abusive or obscene telephone calls, groups hanging around to intimidate and unfounded, malicious complaints
- verbal abuse or insults - offensive leaflets and posters, abusive gestures, dumping of rubbish outside homes or through letterboxes, and bullying at school or in the workplace.

A victim does not have to be a member of the group to perceive the incident as hate related.

For further information on hate crime, please visit the Home Office website.

If you feel that you have been targeted in this way, you can report the incident using the antisocial behaviour hotline.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Local Crafts at The Forum Thursday until Saturday

This is always a craft show worth a visit, as it showcases a thrilling variety of local hand-made crafts and exploratory arts at reasonable prices. 

Modern Country Crafts is where you can check out talented local designers at the very beginning of their careers; doctoral students turned silversmiths, nature lovers turned photographers and teachers turned hatters.  

Thanks to The Forum, this relaxed public space is where entrepreneurs can test the market, craftspeople nervously set out their stalls, and visionaries share their dreams -  

Past Exhibitors

Monday, 18 November 2013

Norfolk Humanists: "Good is Great"

The Norfolk Humanists were represented at the annual British Humanist Association GRAM meeting at the Institute of Education in London last Saturday.

The meeting was to encourage and support regional British Humanist groups. Here is David Warden of Plymouth Humanists who presented a slice of history of the Humanist movement.  

At least fifteen other regional groups were represented, including one member from Ipswich, and several from Cambridge.

BHA staff were present to talk about their work and research, and there were also presentations on side subjects such as Sunday Assemblies. Michael from Norwich Humanists (on the right) seems quite sceptical.

Representatives of affiliated organisations such as GALHA explained the processes that brought them to Humanism.

Humanist and LGTB groups mutually benefit from such affiliations, and Humanist groups are invited to march at Pride events - they can even apply to GALHA for their own banner!

It has to be acknowledged that our gathering was mainly "male and pale". Humanist groups needs more diversity!

Representatives from groups all over the country were able to network and share good ideas and best practices. Yes, it was a talking shop, but with focus and purpose.

The day was too short.

Interested? The Norfolk Humanists have a meeting in Norwich this Thursday 21st November @ 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane with the Labour Party PCC, Clive Lewis.

Clive Lewis will be speaking on Education. 

Format: Introduction; 
15 minute break to chat followed by a 
Q&A session. 

We look forward to seeing you there.

See also    
and Facebook

And please visit the Dorset Humanists' website that won an award at the BHA meeting - and GALHA.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Norwich, World City of Literature

From the Writers' Centre Norwich:

Look, look! Brand new 'Welcome to Norwich' signs, which declare that Norwich is a UNESCO City of Literature! And our logo too!

It's National Short Story Week and we suggest you celebrate by booking onto one of our brand new short story workshops.

If you'd like to devote a weekend to honing your short story crafting, then we recommend our workshop with Dave Pescod:

Or if you fancy spending the day exploring the art of the short story, and developing your own writing, then take a look at our workshop led by Philip Langeskov:

This month's e-news is dedicated to all those writers that want to take a leap forward.

Free Reads is go. If you're a writer based in the East of England, then you can apply to have your writing critiqued by The Literary Consultancy - for free!

Our new season of workshops led by award-winning writers such as George Szirtes, Tobias Hill and Helen Mort is open for bookings.

TLC Free Reads

Application deadline: 5pm Friday 29th November 2013

Are you a serious writer living in the East of England wanting to progress? Or do you know someone who is? Make sure you/they make the most of TLC Free Reads. With a successful application, we can offer you the opportunity to have your work read and reported back on by a professional writer from The Literary Consultancy. Yes, for free!

Get more information and apply online

No-one is illegal: busting myths tonight

Thursday, 14 November 2013


Congregation Hall 0.17

UEA Greens 2013/14 are very pleased to announce that they are hosting Jean Lambert MEP to give a talk on immigration at UEA on November 14th. 

Jean Lambert has been a Green Member of the European Parliament for London since 1999 and works on a number of issues including Migration, Climate Change and Human Rights. In 2005, she was named Justice and Human Rights MEP of the year and is currently the Green Party spokesperson on immigration issues. 

The talk will focus on busting the myths on immigration given in mainstream political discourse and offering a pro-immigrant alternative to the rhetoric heard in the right wing media and ever pervasive politics of UKIP. 

November 14th, 7pm, C. Hall 0.17. 

All welcome!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

No respect from the EDL

EDL supporter convicted of defacing war memorial
From EDL News by Gary Hasting

An EDL supporter has been convicted of defacing the Bomber Command war memorial in central London at Westminster Magistrates court.

Daniel Smith, 21, from Grecian Street North, Salford, Lancashire, was told by the judge that he will face a minimum suspended jail sentence and will return before the courts on Thursday for sentencing.

Judge Purdy told Smith "I make this clear that because of the criminal damage you chose to do back in June - that has to be met by a term of imprisonment, though it may be that that can be suspended - so the minimum penalty is a term of suspended imprisonment,"

Smith, who has 44 previous convictions, committed the act on the 5th June and wrote 'EDL', 'Lee Rigby's killers must hang' and 'fuck the police' 

Smith's defence council claimed that Smith did not know it was a war memorial.


Meanwhile in Norwich many paid their respects to our fallen, our veterans and our serving members of the Armed Forces on Remembrance Sunday.

The Quakers remembered all war victims, but then some self-promoters of the local EDL threatened the sobriety of the proceedings by clambering onto the steps of the War Memorial to posture and pose, making inexplicable and inappropriate V signs: 

That is until a dignified ex-serviceman told the unwelcome interlopers - politely and quietly - to get lost.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A year ago today -

From Ann Nicholls/LookSeeClick Photography:

One year ago today the good people of Norwich came out in force to give the loud and clear message to the drunken thugs of the EDL that they were definitely not welcome here.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Immigrants contribute to British society

From HOPE not hate by Elisabeth Pop:

“Britain must say 'no' to Eastern European workers, says Cameron” (The Telegraph, 28 Oct 2013)

“98% demand a ban on new migrants as thousands support our Crusade” (The “Crusade” launched by the Daily Express on 1 November to prevent a new surge of “Bulgarian and Romanian workers” to Britain has already gained 12,000 signatures)

“How do I claim benefits when I get to Britain? Romanians demand help from job agencies in the UK” (Daily Mail, 3 Nov 2013)

These are some of the daily instances in which political figures and the tabloid press use Eastern European migrants as (scapegoats) for many, if not all of the perceived ills in British society.

Hence, those rare occasions when professional, non-partisan research sheds some light and underlines the real facts behind the contribution of Eastern European migrants to this country, have to be signposted.

A new study by the University College London shows that recent immigrants are less likely to claim benefits and live in social housing than people born in Britain. 

Contrary to what the Government and populist parties and pressure groups would have you believe, this latest report shows that rather than being a "drain", European Economic Area (EEA - the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) migrants contribute three times more to British economy than they receive in benefits.

The study also discusses "benefit tourism" by EEA immigrants as being “disconnected from reality", confirming a recent European Commission study which has found that jobless EU migrants make up 1% of those claiming social benefits in EU member states and in the UK.

We know that over the next few months we have our work cut out in terms of myth busting over the Romanian and Bulgarian immigration, in view of their UK work restriction being lifted from 1 January 2014. But just as a heads up, Romanian migrants, who are part of this latest wave of EEA migration, find themselves pawns in a political and media strategy intended to shift British rhetoric and politics on immigration further to the right. 

According to compiled data from the ONS, DWP and British Labour Force Survey, more than 75% of Romanian citizens in the United Kingdom are aged 18-34, working full-time in skilled jobs or setting up their own businesses. They do not require access to social benefits, because their main reason to immigrate to the UK is to find a fairly paid job in line with their skills and work ethic. In fact, 95% of Romanians living in the UK are employed. Almost 40% have a university degree.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

"No hiding place" for racists

From the pink'un by Paddy Davitt:

Russell Martin backs Norwich City’s hardline stance on racist abuse

Russell Martin has applauded Norwich City’s hardline stance 
on combating racism within the professional game.

Canaries’ chief Chris Hughton has recently been subjected to alleged abuse on social media sites which has sparked a strong response from the club. City officials have pledged to issue lifetime bans to anyone found guilty of racist abuse and Martin has added his growing voice to the condemnation.  He said:

It is disgusting. The club have made it clear publicly if they find who is responsible they will be banned for life and might be subject to punishment outside of football. It is not right. I think this club have been great in how the have dealt with the issues. It is the minority not the majority but this club deals with in the right way.
Both Martin and his manager have endorsed Uefa’s decision to order a partial closure of CSKA Moscow’s ground for their next Champions League game following the racial abuse suffered by Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure last month.  Said Martin:

It is hard to say what is the right punishment but there is no place for it (racism) in the game or society. Who am I to say Uefa have made the right or wrong decision, but they (racist abusers) deserve to be punished.
Hughton believes such overt racist behaviour inside stadiums would no longer be tolerated in England.  The City boss said:

Firstly, what I have been pleased with is the speed of that decision. There will be different opinions whether it is a good thing or whether the sanction is over the top. They have acted and quickly. Clubs are aware of what can happen and I am quite sure if they continue to experience those problems then sanctions will get tougher. Ultimately it is about eliminating those within a stadium who are at the forefront of that behaviour. In England with the cameras we have inside the stadiums we are able to identify those individuals so there is no hiding place.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Myth-buster at UEA

Thursday, 14 November 2013


Congregation Hall 0.17

UEA Greens 2013/14 are very pleased to announce that they are hosting Jean Lambert MEP to give a talk on immigration at UEA on November 14th.

Jean Lambert has been a Green Member of the European Parliament for London since 1999 and works on a number of issues including Migration, Climate Change and Human Rights. In 2005, she was named Justice and Human Rights MEP of the year and is currently the Green Party spokesperson on immigration issues.

The talk will focus on busting the myths on immigration given in mainstream political discourse and offering a pro-immigrant alternative to the rhetoric heard in the right wing media and ever pervasive politics of UKIP.

November 14th, 7pm, C. Hall 0.17.

All welcome!

Youngsters sell Poppies for Peace

From the Huffington Post:

Poppy Selling Campaign By Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association Branches Nationwide

A group of young Muslims have taken their campaign to sell poppies nationwide to spread their message of "peace and unity between all nations, peoples and religions."

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) are hoping raise over £40,000 for the Poppy Appeal after their success selling poppies at London's Underground and train stations over the past two years.

100 volunteers from the AMYA are to sell poppies at 
London underground and rail stations from Monday. 

Although there have been reports of poppy sellers in Bradford being sent out with chaperones after being targeted last year, AMYA spokesperson Farooq Aftab told the Huffington Post UK any difficulties experienced have been "minor."  He said:

Irrespective of whether you are Muslim or Christian there’s always going to be a few who don’t understand and try to undermine what you are doing. Thankfully most people do understand and are supportive.

Countering claims that the poppy glorifies conflict, Mr Aftab said the symbol promoted community feeling.

The poppy is not about war; it’s about solidarity and showing loyalty to one’s country and standing together for a worthy cause. It’s about communities standing together as one.

Lots of Muslims actually served in World War I and World War II and lots have ancestors who served in the army. We therefore hope that our participation is a clear indication of our desire for peace and unity between all nations, peoples and religions.

The poppy campaign is being launched at Fazl mosque, 
which was used as a bomb shelter during World War II

The Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said in a statement:

Muslims are obliged to be loyal to the country in which they live. Honouring those who fought to defend and safeguard one’s country is an important principle of Islam and in fact is an important principle of peace – especially when it is carried out with a sincere heart and for the sake of winning God’s pleasure.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson also backed their intitiative, saying 
We should never forget the sacrifice of those who put their lives on the line to protect us and this time of the year gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our gratitude in a more tangible way.

I urge everyone to give generously to these young volunteers as they join thousands across the country in raising money for The Royal British Legion.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Middle Eastern buffet for Palestine

7 pm

St Thomas Church Hall, Earlham Road, Norwich

Norwich Palestine Solidarity Campaign 
Norwich Stop the War and the Neesa Project. 

An authentic Middle Eastern buffet supper 
prepared by the Neesa Project

There will be a short film and guest speaker from the Palestine Trauma Centre as well as some poetry and live music.


from The Greenhouse, Bethel Street, Norwich
Sara 01603 259472 or
Frank 01493 664499 to order a ticket

PRICES: £15 full price, £10 unwaged and
£5 children under 16


Friday, 1 November 2013

Confused signals

From EDL News:

Nazi fantasist expelled from Asda

From The Huffington Post UK/PA:

Shoppers in Asda in Cambridge were shocked to see a middle-aged man wandering the aisles dressed as a Nazi.

The man, wearing what resembled a black SS uniform complete with cap and red armband, was asked to leave by staff after other customers complained.

The manager of the Beehive Centre store asked him to leave after complaints from other customers.

Police were called to the incident at 2pm yesterday but a spokeswoman said: "By the time we got there he had already left peacefully."

A spokeswoman for Asda said: "We had a number of customer complaints so we asked him to leave the store."

Rosina Rusin, 60, from Milton, told the Cambridge News: 
I was waiting in a queue when a lady came up and she was really quite distressed about it.

I thought it was a Salvation Army person at first

People's mouths were falling open. You are not going to come out like that unless you want to draw attention to yourself.
It was unclear whether the incident was a Halloween prank.

Marisa Baker, 38, told the Cambridge News: 

We had come from Toys ‘R’ Us and I thought it was a Salvation Army person at first. But then I saw the tattoo on his neck and a swastika on his hand. It’s not what you want to see, especially as there’s children around.