Wednesday, 3 December 2014

First Norwich Global Village Market

Come visit The Forum on Friday and Saturday
for goods from all over the world -

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Paul Stott on British Jihadis

From  I Intend To Escape ......................And Come Back

Some Comments On the Risk From British Jihadis In Syria

by Paul Stott of UEA

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 who joined Franco).

Britons in jihadist organisations in Syria, like their predecessors who went to Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Bosnia, are not just fighting against something, but for something. And the 'for' bit of the equation is where any positive sides to this adventure collapse. The Britons reported in Syria are not to be found in nationalist or broadly secular groups, but in those fighting to establish the type of state established most recently by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Do these fighters pose a problem when they return? In security terms - yes. Prisons across the world are littered with veterans of similar jihads. We have just seen one veteran of the Bosnia Mujahideen, Londoner Babar Ahmad, plead guilty to terrorist offences in the US. There are plenty of others.

In broader social terms, the best outcome for community relations, women's rights and democracy in the UK is that most of these combatants do not come back. Sadly that is unrealistic, just as it is wishful thinking to hope all our fascists will one day ship themselves off to some of the Aryan dream lands trailed in the north western states of the US.

We are now in the third decade of a small number of Britons travelling to fight in Mujahideen type organisations, and it is indicative of the timid approach traditionally taken that this is in some way being portrayed as a new problem - it is not. The 7/7 bombings were arguably only possible because of the training two of the suicide bombers - Khan and Tanweer - received at the camps of 'freedom fighters' in Kashmir.

The gloves really should have come off then - with both Britons joining such camps, and those in this country who finance them. Now that seems to be changing - witness the arrests across the country of those returning from, or trying to travel to Syria, in recent months. 

We are going to see a lot more arrests, a lot more complaints of 'Islamophobia' and further desperate attempts (from useful idiots on the left as much as from Islamists) to portray jihadists as freedom fighters. Whenever you hear such claims, remember that these individuals are not just fighting against Assad, they are fighting for something. And unless you want to live in the seventh century, what they are for is as bad, or worse, as Assad's Syria.

Monday, 15 September 2014

EDL March In Rotherham Ends With Arrests

The Huffington Post UK/PA claims that four men have been arrested as an English Defence League march kicked off in Rotherham to protest recent shocking revelations about child sexual exploitation in the town.

The Star newspaper later added that seven had been charged with offences related to the EDL march:
EDL Supporters in Rotherham demanding the Burka is banned
From The Star:

There were around 800 EDL supporters in Rotherham yesterday as well as members of Unite Against Fascism which held a counter protest in All Saints Square.

Police said there were also members of far right wing organisations, including the National Front and Combat 18, in town.

There were ugly scenes when police officers and some protesters clashed.

Officers were forced to drawn their batons at one flashpoint when a crowd started pushing officers and hurling missiles at them.

Metal barriers were pushed over and thrown at officers as a splinter group of EDL supporters left the march, but after 15 minutes of mayhem order was resumed and the protestors continued along the pre-arranged route to end up at Rotherham Main Street police station.

Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, of South Yorkshire Police, said: 
Around 1,500 police officers were drafted in to police the event and to ensure the safety of local residents and those taking part in the protests.
Overtime for Police at the EDL protest in Rotherham

Before the march Malatesta lists what is so objectionable about the self-promoting far right knuckling into this national scandal, and reports from the pre-march EDL camp:

Whilst the entire country is wondering how 1400 children could have been sexually abused for so many years in Rotherham, as inquiries are being set-up to discover what went wrong, and whilst many people have expressed heartfelt sympathy for the victims, the English Defence League have decided to help out as well. The EDL have set-up what looks like a refugee camp for thugs and drunks in a bid to 'support' the victims, and what should be a sombre vigil has turned into a rowdy, rain sodden mini-festival for the beer clutching attention seekers on the far right.

As usual the EDL complain that the media is portraying them as a bunch of drunken hooligans. But if you look like a drunken hooligan and you act like a drunken hooligan, then ...

Of course with any event hijacked by the far right all the little grupuscules are trying to claim credit and publicity, saying the demonstration in Rotherham on the 13th of September is their own. The EDL responded by saying it is their ball and no-one can play with it. The other grupuscules are naturally chagrined as they need a publicity fix for their little vanity tribes as well so the infighting has started already ...

Whilst squatting in their own filth, the EDL have claimed the entire population of Yorkshire supports them and have supplied them with beer, fags, pies, beer and fags. One of the more desperate EDL members has been on hunger strike for several days, surviving on a meagre diet of Stella and crisps (and all the millions of free pies and fags the EDL have been given by the entire population of England). It appears that the EDL's main sponsors are Stella and Charlie, their royal couple.

The EDL are merely making a bad situation worse by trivialising it and claiming it was they who 'exposed Asian grooming gangs' but in fact, they simply read it in the paper and put it on Facebook.

The BNP and the far right in general are very keen to blame the Labour council – of whom we have no political affiliation with – but conveniently forget that in 2008, there were 2 BNP councillors in Rotherham, who likewise did nothing (like every other BNP councillor).

As usual, the EDL are making up their usual inflammatory lies by saying they were 'shot at' by 'muzzies' going by in cars. This is clearly drive-by bullshit as the road is closed due to their own protest and surely plod, whose house they are besieging, would have mentioned summat.

The EDL are still politically clueless and promote the false syllogism that 'I hate pedos; anti-fascists hate me; therefore anti-fascists support pedos.' Firstly, how you 'support pedos' is anyone's guess (send them a prussic sandwich?) but this is also symptomatic of their naïve polarised reasoning and they cannot see why people are angry at their gross opportunism and vulturing over an already emotional issue. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) have declared that they will be in Rotherham to oppose the EDL but this will do anti-fascists no favours and only inflame the EDL's false theorising.

It is clear that this is a last ditch attempt for the EDL to show that it isn't completely atrophied (it is!). They are down to a few hundred members, have no idea who their actual leader is, and are sulking with Mr Tommy who left them to their own desperate devices. But at least they've got their faces in the paper so they can show their mates in the pub. Well done.

Read more from Malatesta here.

And in the meantime here are three important and pertinent questions for the EDL and other far right "Vultures of Rotherham" from the anti-fascist network:

If their concern for victims of child abuse was genuine, why restrict their campaign to Rotherham? 

Why not march against the systematic abuse perpetrated by the clergy, especially that of the Catholic church? 

Why have they not campaigned for the release of the “lost” Whitehall files relating to abuse and cover-ups at the heart of the British government?

The story of child abuse in Rotherham with its corrupt authorities and blind eyes turned to the exploitation of young working class girls, making them effectively disposable people, has much in common with the other child abuse scandals that have enraged us all. Jimmy Saville and Cyril Smith profited from a similar disregard for lives not important to the establishment.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Far right flock to Rotherham – separately

From Searchlight by Sonia Gable:
We report elsewhere that the English Defence League are gathering their forces to march in Rotherham on Saturday 13 September, after camping outside a police station since the publication of the report detailing the sexual abuse of at least 1,400 girls in the town over 16 years. And the Islamophobic Britain First group staged a march in Rotherham last weekend, with a reported 250 supporters.

The British National Party will also be in Rotherham this Saturday, not for a march or protest but for what the party’s website describes as a “day of community action”. Accusing other groups of holding “drinkfests”, the BNP’s aim, according to the website, is “to raise awareness of the issues surrounding Muslim rape gangs in Rotherham by supplying the good people there with knowledge on how to keep their children safe. Where others have failed, we will be there to protect and educate those who are most vulnerable.” As if anyone would trust the BNP to protect and educate anyone vulnerable.

Strangely, an email today from Clive Jefferson, the party’s treasurer, who is rapidly carving out a bigger role for himself under Adam Walker’s useless leadership, says nothing about raising awareness and educating the vulnerable. It’s all about calling for criminal charges against “all those on the council, in the social services and the police who neglected their duty”.

So that all is clear, Jefferson writes (and I quote in full and with his emphasis):

“FACT: Just ONE BNP Councillor would have blown the whistle!

“64 local councillors in Rotherham and NOT ONE took action for the victims or against the Muslim gangs preying on our girls:

“• 50 Labour Councillors

“• 10 UKIP Councillors

“• 2 Conservative Councillors

“• 2 Independent Councillors

“Just ONE BNP Councillor would have blown the whistle and stopped them getting away with these horrific crimes.

“Are you a Rotherham voter? Your BNP vote could have saved hundreds of victims!”

Jefferson has read the report and is well aware that the abuse took place over a 16-year period. If he wants criminal charges against all the councillors who failed to stop the paedophiles and rapists, surely he must mean all the councillors who served over the 16 years not just the present council. And that must include the two BNP councillors elected in 2006 by Rotherham voters.

It’s time that Jefferson told us exactly what these BNP councillors did or did not do to blow the whistle and stop these horrific crimes. The ten UKIP councillors were only elected this May, yet Jefferson wants to hold them responsible for what happened for 16 years before their election. So what about the BNP councillors? Or is Jefferson trying to airbrush them out of history, because they were as useless as the rest of the BNP’s councillors around the country?

No wonder Nick Griffin, the BNP’s chairman for 15 years until he was forced out in July, has turned against Jefferson and Walker in a damning document outlining major problems in the party, of which more (at Searchlight site)   later.

Monday, 8 September 2014

English Defence League cancel Colchester demonstration

From Daily Gazette  News:

The EDL march in Colchester last year

THE English Defence League cancelled a demonstration which was due to be held in Colchester on Saturday.

The far-right group has announced it will focus all of its sources on the group’s ongoing national protest in Rotherham.

The Colchester demonstration will not be rearranged until next year.

Regional organiser Dave Bolton said: “We will be coming back to Colchester.”

Dave Bolton: He loves 'Britian'
Dave Bolton: He loves 'Britian'

Racist fans in court

From BBC News

A football fan who admitted racially aggravated threatening behaviour at Norwich City’s match with Watford last month has been sentenced.

Bronson Sims, 18, of Longwick, Princes Risborough in Buckinghamshire, was arrested in the away fans’ section at Carrow Road during Norwich’s 3-0 victory on 16 August.

He was conditionally discharged for nine months by Norwich magistrates.

They were asked to impose a football banning order but declined to do so.

Sims was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

David Bonner, 46, of Byron Road, Wealdstone, Middlesex, also appeared in court charged with racially aggravated threatening behaviour, having been arrested in the visitors’ section at the same match.

He did not enter a plea and his case was adjourned until 2 October.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Equality & Human Rights Commission seek evidence

From the

Secular views needed for equality and human rights consultation

You may have noticed a spate of recent articles (e.g. Andrew Brown, Cristina Odone, Dominic Grieve) claiming Christians, in this country are being persecuted and unable to comment about their faith. They blame "hard secularism", our equality laws and the outcome of court cases which they consider to be unsatisfactory or biased against them.

Cristina Odone paints a grim but grossly unrealistic picture of:

The conscientious objector who cannot marry a gay couple because to do so would run counter to her religious beliefs will lose her job; the pharmacist who won't sell the morning-after pill because he thinks abortion is a sin will lose his.
NSS president Terry Sanderson has called this a "disgracefully dishonest narrative", in his piece dismantling common falsehoods and misrepresentations behind these articles and others like them.

Andrew Brown may have been closer to the truth than he realised when he remarked:

The difficulty is that most of the (Evangelical) alliance's cases appear to the outside world to be Christians claiming that unless they can discriminate against gay people, they are themselves the victims of discrimination. This is not a view with wide appeal.
The National Secular Society is encouraging supporters to respond to the Commission's consultation and offer their views and experiences.

It's important that both in the workplace and when we use publicly-funded services such as schools, hospitals and other services provided by local authorities, no-one is treated unfairly or denied access on grounds of religious belief or non-belief.

• Have you been denied (or been unable to apply for) a job or promotion because of your religion, belief or lack of belief?
• Have you been unable to access a public service because of your religion, belief or lack of belief or someone else's?
• Have you or your child had your school choice restricted because of your religion, belief or lack of belief?
• Have you been denied goods or a service because of someone else's religion or beliefs?
• Are you worried that expansions to religious exemptions could prevent you from accessing goods or services?

You can take action to defend principles of secularism and equality by submitting a response to the consultation.
Equality and Human Rights Commission calls for evidence on religion or belief issues

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a major call for evidence from individuals and organisations about how their religion or belief (including non-belief), or that of other people, may have...

Attempts to erode equality and undermine secularist principles must be challenged, argues Stephen Evan

Grievous nonsense

The narrative that Christians are somehow persecuted in the UK – which the Daily Telegraph and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve were happy to promote this week – is a dishonest appeal for privilege, argues NSS president Terry Sanderson.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tackling Islamist extremism must be an issue for the British Left

About time this subject was tackled by the left!

From Hope not hate by Nick Lowles:

The awful murder of photojournalist James Foley, supposedly at the hands of a British jihadist, is just the latest outrage from a group that is seeking to impose its Islamist extremism on all around them.

While ISIS is currently operating just in the Middle East, the ideology that underpins it is found throughout the world and so must be combated wherever it raises its head.

Our opposition to ISIS, and its supporters in the UK, is not down to the terrorist threat they pose but of a rejection of their politics of hate and a worldview that we do not share. They want to impose a system that is totally at odds with one that respects human rights, diversity and equality and we have to oppose it.

It is no surprise to find Anjem Choudary and his al-Muhajiroun network cheerleading for ISIS. For too long he and his group have been dismissed for their clownish antics but the society they want to impose on us is the same as what is being carried out in the supposed 'Islamic State'.

The al-Muhajiroun network is unquestionably the single largest recruiter for ISIS in this country and, as recent videos have made abundantly clear, many of their activists have been involved in some of the worst atrocities being carried out by the group.

For too long, much of the British left has remained silent on the threat from Islamist extremism, partly out of ignorance but also because fear that opposing it will stoke Islamophobia. This has to change. Islamist extremism stands in opposition to our belief in equality, fairness and tolerance and it is in fact the left's unwillingness to confront this threat that leaves a vacuum for Islamophobes and racists to spread their poison.

ISIS represent the most terrifying force in the world today. It is not good enough to shake our head and deplore their actions abroad whilst staying silent on its supporters in the UK.

Above all, the failure to develop a progressive opposition to Islamist extremism, that is based on our values and principles, is letting down the very people and communities that are now under attack.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Uniting families

Fill in the name of any one of the thousands of separated families below:
London Demonstration for the rights of British Citizens and their foreign spouses

A chance for everyone affected by the 2012 "Rules against Families" - and their friends and families - to dress up and make a stand to be with those they love. The new rules mean that more than 2 in 5 *British workers* can no longer expect to marry and live with whomever they choose.

Please invite your friends!

To be held on Saturday 23rd August 2014

Our Itinerary

11am - Meet up at Parliament Square. 1hour protest.
12:15 - Be at Downing Street. 1 hour protest.
1:15pm - Coffee/toilet break for 30mins
2pm - Be at Trafalgar Square. 1 hour protest.
3:15pm - Be at Leicester Square. 30 min protest.
Finish at 3:45pm

Then drinks and celebratory hugs after that.

We do ask that you wear a wedding dress, suit or cultural wear to grab peoples attention. We want people walking past to stop and ask why we are dressed this way and that's when we can get talking and educate people as to why we are campaigning. It doesn't have to be a big wedding dress ladies but something white (a maxi dress is a comfy choice) and a cheap veil from a charity shop will do nicely. Alternatively, wear all-white to symbolise the #whitefeather campaign.

Please make and bring your own placards too. Hobby craft sell stiff foam board for £3 each. Make them as personal as possible, paste photos of you and your spouse and your children, wedding photos and family days out. We need people to see that our spouses are not just another foreigner in the UK, but part of a family unit.

Educational leaflets and banners are being arranged.

Our aim of this demo is to get noticed, to share our story with as many people as we can and educate people about what our government is doing to us.

We need to curb this misconception that foreigners are bad and a "burden on society". We need to tell everyone how the Minimum income requirement is tearing families apart. Keeping parents away from their children, lovers apart and force exiling British Citizens that cannot afford the income requirement [over 40% of the working population].
If you can't be there on the day, but still want to support the activity, please put some time aside to share pictures and information about the event. Internationally it would be great to have companion support events in other countries, no matter how big or small. Aside from the demo, follow 'BritCits', 'Migrants Rights Network' and 'Love Letters to the Home Office' for more details and ongoing updates about the wider situation.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Wade's book "plausible and preposterous"

The Paradox of Racism By Andrew Gelman:

Why the new book by the New York Times’ Nicholas Wade is both plausible and preposterous.

Racist views of Germans as warlike and subhuman seem preposterous now but plausible at the time

The paradox of racism is that at any given moment, the racism of the day seems reasonable and very possibly true, but the racism of the past always seems so ridiculous.

I’ve been thinking about this recently after reading the new book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History by New York Timesreporter Nicholas Wade, who writes about the big differences in economic success between whites, blacks, Asians, and other groups and offers a sophisticated argument that racial differences arise from genetic differences that are amplified by culture.

Wade’s argument has three parts: First, along with the divergence of physical traits such as skin color and types of earwax, racial groups have genetically evolved to differ in cognitive traits such as intelligence and creativity. Second, Wade argues that “minor differences, for the most part invisible in an individual, have major consequences at the level of a society.” Third, he writes that his views are uncomfortable truths that have been suppressed by a left-wing social-science establishment.

The word “inequality” does not appear in the book’s index, but what Wade is offering is essentially a theory of economic and social inequality, explaining systematic racial differences in prosperity based on a combination of innate traits (“the disinclination to save in tribal societies is linked to a strong propensity for immediate consumption”) and genetic adaptation to political and social institutions (arguing, for example, that generations of centralized rule have effected a selection pressure for Chinese to be accepting of authority).

Wade is clearly intelligent and thoughtful, and his book is informed by the latest research in genetics. His explanations seem to me simultaneously plausible and preposterous: plausible in that they snap into place to explain the world as it currently is, preposterous in that I think if he were writing in other time periods, he could come up with similarly plausible, but completely different, stories.

As a statistician and political scientist, I see naivete in Wade’s quickness to assume a genetic association for any change in social behavior. For example, he writes that declining interest rates in England from the years 1400 to 1850 “indicate that people were becoming less impulsive, more patient, and more willing to save” and attributes this to “the far-reaching genetic consequences” of rich people having more children, on average, than poor people, so that “the values of the upper middle class” were “infused into lower economic classes and throughout society.”

Similarly, he claims a genetic basis for the declining levels of everyday violence in Europe over the past 500 years and even for “a society-wide shift ... toward greater sensibility and more delicate manners.” All this is possible, but it seems to me that these sorts of stories explain too much. The trouble is that any change in attitudes or behavior can be imagined to be genetic—as long as the time scale is right. For example, the United States and other countries have seen a dramatic shift in attitudes toward gay rights in the past 20 years, a change that certainly can’t be attributed to genes. Given that we can see this sort of change in attitudes so quickly (and, indeed, see large changes in behavior during such time scales; consider for example the changes in the murder rate in New York City during the past 100 years), I am skeptical of Wade’s inclination to come up with a story of genetics and selection pressure whenever a trend happens to be measured over a period of hundreds of years.

Wade’s attitudes toward economics also seem a bit simplistic, for example when he writes, “Capital and information flow fairly freely, so what is it that prevents poor countries from taking out a loan, copying every Scandinavian institution, and becoming as rich and peaceful as Denmark?” The implication is that the answer is racial differences. But one might just as well ask why can’t Buffalo, New York, take out a loan and become as rich (per capita) as New York City. Or, for that matter, why can’t Portugal become as rich as Denmark? After all, Portuguese are Caucasians too! One could of course invoke a racial explanation for Portugal’s relative poverty, but Wade in his book generally refers to Europe or “the West” as a single unit. My point here is not that Haitians, Portuguese, and Danes are equivalent—obviously they differ in wealth, infrastructure, human capital, and so forth—but that it is not at all clear that genetic differences have much of anything to do with their different economic positions.

What if Wade had been writing his book in 1954 rather than 2014?

Wade contrasts his model with various other explanations of the rise of the West, most notably Jared Diamond’s idea, expressed in his influential book Guns, Germs, and Steel, that European countries had a series of geographical advantages, including regular trade and exchange of ideas with other cultures, challenging terrain that made it difficult for a single government to rule the continent, and a low level of parasites. Wade expresses dissatisfaction with Diamond’s “pretty arguments,” which he thinks are “designed to drag the reader away from the idea that genes and evolution might have played any part in recent human history.”

But in many ways, I think a better comparison would be to global historians such as Arnold Toynbee, who in his massive 12-volume Study of History traced the rise and fall of different world civilizations over the centuries. Toynbee’s work in turn is a response to traditional history that is based on considering individual countries as units.

In his book, Wade moves somewhat uneasily between racial groups and smaller entities, at first writing about distinctive characteristics of Caucasians but then later focusing on Europeans and “the West” as being distinct from Caucasians of the Middle East and India. Similarly, he moves away from considering East Asians as a race and instead focuses on Japan, China, and Korea, with other nationalities in the region being excluded from the favored club:

The Malay, Thai, or Indonesian populations who have prosperous Chinese populations in their midst might envy the Chinese success but are strangely unable to copy it. ... If Chinese business success were purely cultural, everyone should find it easy to adopt the same methods. This is not the case because social behavior, of Chinese and others, is genetically shaped.
I suspect that had this book been written 100 years ago, it would have featured strong views not on the genetic similarities but on the racial divides that explained the difference between the warlike Japanese and the decadent Chinese, as well as the differences between the German and French races. Nicholas Wade in 2014 includes Italy within the main European grouping, but the racial theorists of 100 years ago had strong opinions on the differences between northern and southern Europeans.

Nowadays, though, Europe seems more like a single culture, and China, Japan, and Korea don’t seem so different either, which allows for this sort of generalization:

Japan and China, two of [the West’s] chief economic rivals, show no present sign of being better innovators. ... No one can yet say exactly what patterns in the neural circuitry predispose European populations to prefer open societies and the rule of law to autocracies, or Chinese to be drawn to a system of family obligations, political hierarchy, and conformity. ... There is clearly a genetic propensity for following society’s rules and punishing those who violate them.
Indeed, Wade writes, “Without Western production efficiencies, the countries of East Asia might still be locked in stagnant autocracies.” Maybe, but I don’t think Toyota got where it is today by copying the production efficiencies of General Motors.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Race, again

From The Daily Mail:

World's leading geneticists attack 'racist' book based on their research: Work claims racial basis for behaviour and intelligence

Nearly 150 geneticists criticise contents of new book by Nicholas Wade

*  Science writer's work includes claims there is a biological basis for race

*  Leading geneticists claim he has 'misappropriated' research from their field

*  Mr Wade, an old Etonian, emigrated from Britain to America in 1970 

*  Leading geneticists from around the world have joined forces to slam a new book which claims there is a biological basis for racial differences in behaviour.

*  Nearly 150 geneticists have signed a letter condemning the book, written by science writer Nicholas Wade, called A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History.

*  The book sparked controversy after claiming recent human evolution has led to racial differences in economic and social behaviour.

Nearly 150 geneticists have signed a letter condemning the book, written by science writer Nicholas Wade (left), called A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History.

But some of the scientists on whom he based parts of his work have lashed out claiming the old Etonian - a former New York Times science editor - has ‘misappropriated’ elements of research from their field.

According the the book's description on the Amazon website, 'Wade argues that what we might call middle-class social traits: thrift, docility and nonviolence, have been slowly inculcated genetically within agrarian societies.

'Also controversial are his findings regarding the genetic basis of traits we associate with intelligence, such as literacy and numeracy, in certain ethnic populations, including the Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews.'

The description continues: 'Wade believes deeply in the fundamental equality of all people but he is determined to investigate what new genetic science shows about how race relates to human history and traits, even if it courts controversy.'

In a letter to the New York Times Book Review, they wrote: 

Wade juxtaposes an incomplete and inaccurate account of our research on human genetic differences with speculation that recent natural selection has led to worldwide differences in I.Q. test results, political institutions and economic development.

We reject Wade’s implication that our findings substantiate his guesswork. They do not.

We are in full agreement that there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures.

Prominent geneticists including Evan Eichler of the University of Washington, Seattle and Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona were among those who signed the letter.

According to the Independent, Mr Wade writes in his book that natural selection on the main continents has prompted differences in aspects of the function of the brain. 

A description of Nicholas Wade's new book on says his work includes 'findings regarding the genetic basis of traits we associate with intelligence, such as literacy and numeracy, in certain ethnic populations' (file picture)

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Festival of Cultures TODAY

Well its time to have some fun on Saturday 16 August Norwich Mind celebrates its 10th anniversary of the Festival of Cultures, a colourful festival of the diverse food, music, crafts, culture, stories and history of the communities that live in our fine city.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Norwich Stop the War in London

From Lottie Carlton's photos of the Gaza Protest in London - 9th August 2014:

Thanks to Lottie Carlton

Monday, 11 August 2014

A Mammoth Adventure!

Walk alongside the West Runton Elephant

Wednesday 13th August 2:30 – 4:30
West Runton Beach, Water Lane

This Wednesday you can join us to celebrate the life of an historic elephant and experience the size of one of the largest and most iconic animals ever to have walked the planet.

Aircraft engineer Jeremy Moore has constructed an astonishing, life sized, 4 metre high model of the West Runton Elephant. Jeremy constructed the body from laminated pine and aero plywood. Tin House Arts have created the head, fashioned from woven white willow.

The result is a beautifully crafted, articulated model that, with the help of several Norfolk firemen, will walk along West Runton beach. The real elephant used to live there 700,000 years ago, when the area was covered by forest.

Joining in the celebration will be fossil and geology experts Richard Belson and Martin Warren, along with Margeret Hems and Tony Stuart, who helped excavate the real elephant's remains (1990-95).

A pay and display car park is available at end of Water Lane. Refreshments are available at Beach Café and there is no admission fee for this event.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Visitors flock to see The Wonder of Birds

Since The Wonder of Birds exhibition opened on 24 May, 39,000 people have visited Norwich Castle, compared with 32,000 in a similar period last year.

This stunning show has attracted national media attention best summed up in this quote from The Spectator, ‘…this is a real event in the museum world, and worth travelling to see.’

If you haven't seen it yet, there's still time, the exhibition is open until 14 September. And for an insight into the conservation of the exhibits and the challenges of hanging such a complex show click here.

This beautiful and compelling painting by Hans Holbein the Younger is one of the stars of the exhibition. Research suggests the subject in A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling is likely to have been Anne Lovell from East Harling in Norfolk.

Hans Holbein the Younger A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling © The National Gallery, London. Bought with contributions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The Art Fund and Mr J. Paul Getty Jnr (through the American Friends of the National Gallery, London), 1992

Inspired by Birds: Norwich Castle Open Art Show

Visitors have been snapping up original art work at Inspired by Birds, this year's Open Art Show. The works have been created by artists living and working in East Anglia - and all of it is for sale. To date we've sold 56 pieces worth over £10,000.

With prices for individual pieces starting from as little as £28, you might like to treat yourself.

Inspired by Birds runs until 31 August. 

Norwich Castle presents....

Three special events supporting The Wonder of Birds and Inspired by Birds.

Birdsong as Music: An Evening with Richard Mabey - Thurs 28 Aug, 6 to 8pm. Price £15, Musuems Pass £13.50.

Golden Gobblers: The Turkey in Art and Life - Weds 3 Sept, 5.45 to 8pm. Dr Tom Duncan presents this year's National Art Fund lecture. Price £12.

Why are Birds Wonderful? Sat 6 Sept, 10am to 4.30pm. A study day with writer and environmentalist Mark Cocker, who will lead a panel of expert speakers including Katrina van Grouw, Adrian Marsden, Mike Toms, Francesca Vanke and David Waterhouse. Price £30, Museums Pass £27; includes refreshments and lunch.

For details and to book tickets, telephone 01603 495897.

Free family holiday activities at Norwich Castle

Birds for all Seasons Mon 11 - Sat 16 August. Help create giant bird collages using fabulous designs created by mosaic artist Jon Page.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust Event Day Friday 15 August. Go wild with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust for a day packed with wildlife talks, activities, things to make and plant, a quiz and animal face painting.

RSPB Event Day Thursday 21 August. The last of our wildlife-themed summer events with birdy face painting, mask making, storytelling and the RSPB's bird experts.

Don't forget, our Bird Brain programme of summer activities takes place every day during the school holiday!

What's On at Norwich Castle and the Norwich Museums

For full details of current exhibitions and events at Norwich Castle, Strangers' Hall and Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell download the What's On booklet.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Beyond the jingoism

Whilst mainstream media overheats on WWI memorabilia there is danger that the other side of the argument is being overlooked.

Not many media hours have been given to those who countered the jingoism of the time; the conscientious objectors, the pacifists, those against any war, and those who were against this war in particular. .

It took a great deal of courage and commitment to stand up against the forces leading to what we now call World War One. Those challenging the movement towards war were not treated kindly.

Time has thrown a new light upon those brave objectors, and arguably those against British mobilisation at the time were right. At the very least they made some good points.  WWI destroyed a generation, an economy and a way of life. Most of us know of family forebears from that time who died, who were horribly damaged, or who were left bereft.

More attention should have been paid to those warning against war in 1914. Those voices should be remembered today.

At least one activist from Norwich was determined to remind others of the forgotten few who spoke out against WWI.

Ellen Nierop wrote: 
(The) WW1 commemoration at the Forum in Norwich had no mention of opposition to the war in any of its exhibitions and displays.

I made a sign with "conscientious objector" on and held it next to the 'Recruiting Office' mock up.

The organisers were initially negative and refused to take on board how disgracefully one sided it was, but after two hours of complaints, debate and discussion one of the gentlemen re-enacting as a recruiting officer showed me a copy of a newspaper dated August 5th 1914 with a full page anti-war message.

The organisers argument that the event was commemorating only the first day, and COs only existed after conscription, and how it wasn't putting across political sides was all forgotten by them.

I showed it to them, asked them to photocopy it, and they did so and put it up on a board with an apology for not putting across both sides as it had not come up in their discussions and asked me to get involved in future events to put across the CO view.

Big thanks to the chap in the photo who goes round schools and educated about the war, dressed as he was today, or as a medic or as a conscientious objector. He had the newspaper copy which I never would have seen otherwise. 
At least the organisers at The Forum did eventually listen to Ellen and displayed proof that there were those voices against War from the very beginning.  Many thanks to the gentleman who found the page.

Ellen adds:
If anyone has other knowledge of anti war WW1 resources please (let me know through comments below) so I can send it on. They will be doing many other events over the next 4 years so its good to get it out there...

Please raise awareness of the anti war perspective at any WW1 events where you live.
Local teachers covering the topic in class and curators of smaller local museums with a WWI display, please do not forget the other side of the jingoism. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Reporting UK Internet Hate Crime and Abuse

From Stand Up to Hate:

There is a common belief amongst UK internet users that anything can be posted or said on-line if the website is hosted abroad.

For instance it is believed that racism, homophobia, threats of violence, incitement to religious hatred etc cannot be acted on by the British Law enforcement agencies or the UK justice system if it is posted on You Tube, Facebook, Twitter etc, because they are American owned companies and therefore come under their “Free Speech Laws”.

Recently a number of convictions in the UK have proven this to be a common myth and a lie.

Material (videos, documents, music etc) posted on any site anywhere in the world by a person in the UK still falls under the “Obscene Publications Act 1959 and 1964” and therefore the person posting it is liable to arrest and prosecution.

Comments or posts deemed to be of a racist, homophobic, slanderous, religious hatred or violent nature are also breaches of UK law no matter where the site is hosted and are a breach of the UK’s “Communications Act 2003”.

Both laws have been used to arrest and convict people posting on foreign hosted and foreign owned website.
This post outlines the laws and gives people the relevant information on how to gather evidence of a breach of these laws, how and where to report them.

Gathering Evidence and Making a Report

The more information you can supply the stronger the case the police and the Crown Prosecution Service will have to prosecute the person. If you follow the steps below they should have all the information they will need.

1) Record all relevant information about the item. This information should include; what website it is posted on, who posted it, the date of upload (if shown) and any comments.

2) Write down how the item makes you feel. This is a handy piece of information to give the police, they will ask.

3) If possible copy the source item. This may mean copying the image, video or music as it may be removed before the police see it and they will want a copy. If it's abusive comments please follow the instructions in point 4.

To copy an image right click on it then select "save image as".

To copy a video or music item, please Google the website name followed by "download". Select a website that will do the download rather than software and follow the instructions.

We do not advocate copyright theft and items should only be copied to aid the police in catching the culprit.

We will suggest some sites at the bottom of this article to help.

4) Take screenshots of the item. Still images in all cases will be of help. Please visit this site that gives full instructions on how to take a screen capture.
5) When you have done all this contact your local police department via the link below. You can do it via email or telephone. Give them the full details about the item and the evidence you have gathered.

That's it

The UK law enforcement agencies have the ability and legal right to find where that person is located, so don’t worry about the logistics of how it’s done.

Don’t listen to lies; the incitement to religious hatred is a crime!

The incitement to religious hatred or religious intolerance falls under UK anti-Racism legislation. And thusly is also a breach of the United Kingdoms laws.

Please check out a few news items that demonstrate how these laws have been used to arrest, prosecute and convict online hate promoters and abusers.

From recent Norwich Pride Rally

Monday, 4 August 2014

Norwich Stop the War to demonstrate in London

As even more people are killed in the current conflict between Israel and Gaza, some in Norwich are organising in serious protest.

First there is a free performance tomorrow night - 

And then there is a coach to take demonstrators from Norwich to London on Saturday -

Norwich Stop the War will be taking a coach to the national demo on Saturday Here are the updated details: 



TICKETS £12 / £10 concession / £15 solidarity
(Our main concern is to fill the coach. Anyone who wants to go and is
worried about the cost should speak to Rita. If you cannot come please
consider a donation)

Tickets can be purchased at Greenhouse, Bethel Street, Norwich or call
Rita on 01986 897082 or 07906093354.

If you have a list of contacts feel free to forward this to them.

Earlier this week Norwich Stop the War protested outside the BBC at Norwich Forum about their biased coverage of the conflict in Gaza (photo courtesy of Lottie Carlton)