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More Brutality – And More Grace

A couple of weeks ago I made my seventh visit in as many years to the persecuted church in northern Nigeria, this time accompanied by a British writer and commentator who wanted to see for himself what is happening there. (I’ve blogged my previous visits, for instance here, here and here.)

Together we talked with many people, and it was as distressing as ever to hear the stories of Christians and other minorities who are being crushed by the iron fist of Islam – a fist wielded in the north east corner of Nigeria by the madmen of Boko Haram, and across the north and ‘middle-belt’ of the country by murderous Fulani cattle herders.

Nonetheless some of the stories were inspirational.

In one IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp we met a woman who, together with her husband and a 30-strong group of others, tried to escape Boko Haram violence by crossing into neighbouring Cameroon in early 2014. They were caught by the militants at a river bank. All the men were slaughtered and the women and children were carted off to the now infamous former game-reserve, Sambisa Forest, where the Chibok girls are believed to be held.

During a captivity that lasted two years she was forcibly converted to Islam and married off to a young Boko Haram fighter, with whom, she says, she quarrelled incessantly. Once she received 80 lashes across her back when she and other women tried to escape. In the end they were rescued by Cameroon soldiers who defeated the Boko Haram militants in a fire-fight; the militants ran away and the abducted women were left free to return home.

At eight months pregnant by her Boko Haram ‘husband’, she in due course gave birth to a baby boy whom she breast-fed as she told us her story. When asked how she felt about the boy, she told us quietly that she had been taught by her Pastor to love even in the most difficult circumstances; she felt nothing but love towards her son despite his brutal Islamist father.

We were profoundly moved by her dignity and courage.

Other people’s stories were informative.

We met with the elderly wife of a Pastor who had ministered for decades in and around Gwoza which borders on Sambisa. Boko Haram has decimated the thriving Christian community there, killed or injured many believers, destroyed dozens of churches and, in August 2014, declared Gwoza town the headquarters of their Caliphate in Nigeria along the lines of the  Mosul headquarters of the Islamic State Caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

The causes of the rapid rise of Boko Haram have been much debated. Although Boko Haram’s official Arabic name when translated means ‘People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad’, most authorities refuse to blame any form of Islam. Some, like the US State Department, prefer to cite poverty, bad education and “poor government service delivery”. Others reckon it is the malign influence of armed Islamists crossing the border from West African states such as Mali, Chad and Niger. Yet others identify locals’ adverse reaction to foreign influences such as decadent Western secular lifestyles and to the residual impact of British colonialism (Nigeria gained its Independence in 1960).

We asked the Pastor’s wife what she thought. She was clear: fifteen years ago or so Afghan men dressed like the Taliban arrived unexpectedly in Gwoza and started taking young Muslim men away for education and training. That is when local Muslims became radicalised, she said, and previously good relations between many Muslims and Christians cooled noticeably.

So at the territorial centre of its operations, Gwoza, Boko Haram arose out of a radical Islam imported from a country nearly 4,000 miles away. I haven’t read that in the mainstream media.

Yet other interviewees were insightful and prophetic.

“I said it would happen,” explained the charismatic if diminutive Archbishop of Jos, Ben Kwashi. We were discussing the recent slaughter of Christians by armed Fulani herdsmen in southern Kaduna. “This persecution of Christians came from the north and started here in and around Jos in Plateau State,” said the Archbishop. “I forecast then that the Fulani violence would spread south, as it has done now into southern Kaduna. I further forecast that Niger State will be next. They will not stop, you mark my words.”

The Archbishop also pointed out that in 2015 many Christians voted for Muhammadu Buhari for Federal President even though he is a committed Muslim; he had a reputation as a former military hardman and he said he would be tough on terrorism. They have been disappointed, the senior cleric told us, as government inaction over the slaughter of Christians is difficult to explain apart from the fact that Buhari himself is Fulani.

I returned to the UK sickened once again by the Islamic and Islamist violence and inspired by many Christians’ grace under pressure and persecution.

A Happy Christmas For Geert Wilders

Christmas came early this month for Dutch politician Geert Wilders, just ahead of the country’s general election in March.

2014-05-22 09:04:56 DEN HAAG - PVV-leider Geert Wilders bij basisschool De Walvis waar hij zijn stem uitbracht op een kandidaat voor het Europees Parlement. ANP BAS CZERWINSKI

During the autumn he has been dragged through the courts by Dutch authorities and a couple of weeks ago they successfully secured his conviction for ‘inciting discrimination’ and ‘insulting’ Moroccan immigrants.

Wilders is an anti-establishment, anti-Islam, anti-EU politician who, at huge personal cost  to himself and his wife, is articulating popular discontent at the country’s entrenched elite and the growing Islamisation of the country.

The authorities’ inadvertent seasonal gift is the spike in popularity of Wilders’ PVV party (Party of Freedom) that resulted directly from the the court case. In the final opinion poll of 2016 PVV is ahead of prime minister Mark Rutte’s liberal party.

censorshipWilders argued throughout that this was a political trial about free speech brought by the country’s politically-correct establishment who want to control and undermine what he says about Islam and immigration, and there is evidence he is right.

Although state prosecutors could have demanded a jail sentence for – as they claim – a serious hate crime against an immigrant community, in the event they balked and requested only a symbolic 5,000 euro fine.

The judge, Hendrik Steenhuis, went further and refused to impose any sentence at all in the belief that conviction alone will sufficiently blacken Wilders’ name. It’s clear too that Steenhuis wanted to avoid creating a pre-election martyr.

So it seems the Dutch legal establishment prefers playing to the gallery and massaging public opinion rather than imposing proper punishment. Although they’re not competent in implementation, their strategy might have come straight from a Blair/Campbell/Mandelson New Labour handbook on the dark arts of spin.

grumpy-judgejudge-holding-gavel-in-courtroomAnd the Dutch judiciary has form on this. Wilders was subject to even more blatant official skulduggery in his previous 2010 trial.

He stood accused then of inciting racial hatred against Muslims. Backed by what the media cited as ‘soaring’ popular support, he argued that his hostility is against Islam not Muslims, and certainly the case against him was so weak that the Dutch public prosecutor did not want to pursue it.

However a Dutch court of appeal led by Judge Tom Schalken insisted, and in January 2010 the trial started.

Early on in the trial Wilder’s lawyers attempted to remove a judge for bias when the court president Jan Moors, faced with Wilders’ assertion of his right to remain silent, had commented idiotically that the politician was known for making bold statements but avoiding discussion, and that “it appears you are doing so again.” It was unjudicial sniggering knockabout, but the judiciary closed ranks and refused to replace Moors.

Then, on 6th May, Wilders’ lawyers were due to call their expert witness on Islam, retired Arabist professor Hans Jensen, in order for him to verify the injunctions to violence written into in the Quran.

mud-hits-fanBut three days earlier on 3rd May, Jensen had been invited to an informal ‘dinner of friends’ by the organiser of a pro-Palestine committee of academics and professionals. By design but unknown to Jensen, Judge Schalken was invited too. At the dinner, according to Jensen, the judge repeatedly engaged with him about Wilders, Islam and the trial in order to persuade him that the legal proceedings were justified.

Nobbling a witness is a serious crime of which the mafia are acknowledged experts. It is not however expected of a senior judge.

This time the mud hit the fan. Following disclosure of Schalken’s dinner party intervention, a legal review panel was convened and the case was dramatically terminated due to this “degree of (judicial) bias”. However although judges had been guilty of prejudice and the public prosecutor remained firmly against pursuing the case, the panel farcically ordered a retrial.

This took place the following year and, as widely anticipated outside court, Wilders was acquitted of all charges. The fiasco irreparably damaged Dutch judiciary’s reputation for competence and neutrality.

As highlighted in my previous post, the political tide has turned across the western world. While in the past Dutch authorities could use anti-discrimination and hate-speech legislation to close down debate and silence opposition, they’ve been exposed as fraudulent and now find themselves preaching their message to a shrinking choir. People outside their circles are no longer listening.

christmas-presentWilders’ court appearances have boomeranged back on the authorities and become a potent badge of honour for the politician. He will of course appeal the conviction in order to milk it for all it’s worth, so the case may run and run.

It’s a welcome Christmas present and boost to his chances of becoming prime minister following the elections in March.

A New Day Dawns

It was an off-the-Richter-scale earthquake, followed by an even bigger – because American – aftershock. Brexit, followed by Brexit plus plus plus. History before our eyes.

farage_trumpWhen it comes to forcing new realities upon disconnected political elites, Donald Trump’s election victory in the US is the biggest thing since 9/11 and Nigel Farage’s Brexit victory in the UK is bigger even than the 1956 Suez debacle.

For decades politically-correct liberals – of all parties – have succeeded in every skirmish and won every battle in the culture wars. They’ve established their hegemony and new morality right across the institutions.

They’ve done this so effectively that, when it came to the highpoint of trendy right-on progressive gestures, gay marriage, they were able to impose it on society without electoral mandate, popular support or, in the UK, statutory consultation or proper debate.

But almost single-handed, the two unashamed unapologetic older straight white males have taken on the political establishments, said the unsayable, spoken for the sidelined masses, and won.

The shock-waves will reverberate for years. The elite will fight back of course and no doubt win some battles. But the lights have come on, the tide has turned and the hypocrisy, shallowness and manipulation of the politically-correct has been exposed for what it is.

One benefit is that freedom of speech is being restored. free-speech-voltaireThe abusive language through which the liberal elite controlled discourse and confined debate, has been shown, in the event, to be so overused and misapplied as to be rendered powerless. ‘Racist’, ‘fascist’, ‘misogynist’, ‘homophobe’, ‘Islamophobe’, ‘hate-fuelled’, ‘bigot’, ‘prejudiced’, ‘uneducated’, ‘narrow-minded’ – the list of insults intended to shut down discussion and cast outsiders back into outer darkness is endless.

But now thanks to Farage and Trump these epithets are bouncing off like Teflon and have little effect, at least amongst the electorate. Indeed they are becoming a badge of honour and success.

“UKIP are closet racists,” railed David Cameron. He’s gone, thanks to Farage.

“Love Trumps hate,” campaigned  Hillary Clinton. She’s gone too, thanks to Trump.

Not just powerless and a badge of honour, but hypocritical as well. The poisonous post-referendum torrent of social media bile towards Brexit voters was a vivid illustration of metropolitan Europhiles’ authoritarian intolerance and rejection of ordinary patriotic Brits’ majority decision. Liberal, open-minded and charitable they are not.

geldof-on-boatLuvvy Bob Geldof is a well-heeled millionaire from southern Ireland. His invective and visible loathing for out-of-work fishermen from English east coast ports whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the EU, rivalled Labour MP Emily Thornberry’s famous tweet for contempt and condescension.

And furious feminist Grace Dent’s anti-Trump anti-men tirade – published centre-page in a self-described ‘concise quality newspaper’ and complete with expletives – is a public window on her partisan soul.

So the liberal elites’ emperor is wearing no benevolent tolerant clothes after all, and their fangs have now been pulled by Farage and Trump. While they rant and rave in protest, a new day of freedom to discuss real issues has dawned for the rest of us.

During the passing of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in 2013, doubters were intimidated into silence by Peter Tatchell of OutRage! who claimed across the media that anyone who opposed gay marriage (which then included Nigel Farage and UKIP of course) was “homophobic”. Ben Summerskill, then CEO of Stonewall, merely damned us as “bigots”.

However, following Brexit and Brexit plus plus plus, and embracing this new freedom of speech, I’d like to see the gay marriage debate reopened:

There is now credible peer-reviewed evidence  that same-sex parenting is damaging to children compared with that of still-married heterosexual biological parents.

There is credible evidence too that sexuality is fluid, orientation is not fixed from birth and therefore people are not necessarily ‘born gay’ – the claim that was the central plank of gay marriage campaigners’ platform.

Also, since the legislation was passed in 2013, the prestigious but liberal Royal College of Psychiatry has been forced by the facts to concede that “post-natal environmental factors” at least partly determine sexual orientation.

In the light of this and for the sake of our children, I personally reckon we should resurrect the gay marriage debate and consider repealing the same sex marriage Act.

And if this means that the gay Tory LBC Radio presenter Iain Dale yet again abuses his position and calls me a homophobic bigot on air, it doesn’t matter. He is yesterday and on the wrong side of history.

Let’s Get The Party Sorted!

“UKIP could be dead within months if the party’s existential crisis isn’t resolved,” claims former UKIP deputy leader and current leadership contender Paul Nuttall MEP.

I agree with Paul, although an existential crisis for the party is almost inevitable – even necessary – following the outstanding success of UKIP’s Brexit campaign and resignation of the irreplaceable Nigel Farage: What now is the party for? What are its objectives? Where is it going?

Brexit series for FT.

I have no doubt that there is an urgent need for a radical anti-establishment party that will stand up for ordinary people against the self-serving political class, sneery liberal elite, virtue-signalling media luvvies (latest recruit Gary Lineker) and Remoaners and High Court judges who would wreck Brexit.

Only UKIP can fill that need, so I have put my name forward for the party’s National Executive Committee. I want to be in on the debate about the party’s future direction to ensure it stays radical, anti-establishment and unconcerned about hostile media headlines.

I understand there are dozens of eager applicants for just seven vacant NEC places so my prospects are remote. But nothing ventured nothing gained…

NEC nominations closed yesterday, voting starts in about 10 days’ time and the result will be declared on 29th November, the day after the new party leader is announced.

As required, I have submitted a 150-word Personal Statement which will be mailed out to party members together with the ballot paper. I wrote:

        “I am a Christian family man, social conservative and effective political       activist/campaigner. I led the small team that stopped the massive London Olympic mega-mosque. 

        “Let’s get the party sorted! Following the Brexit success UKIP now needs a relaunch and new mission that’s based firmly on our existing core values. 

        “At heart UKIP is radically and fearlessly anti-establishment and speaks up boldly for ordinary people and families. 

       _57869184_shariacouncil “We must fight to save Brexit from the Remoaners who would cripple or steal it. Also we must develop new policies: for instance we should tackle (a) the growth of Sharia courts, which are a putrid abscess on the British legal landscape; and (b) the epidemic of family breakdown which drains the nation’s coffers and is devastating for our children. 

        “The NEC should be expanded numerically and made more accountable. A Policy Board should be created.”

I have just launched my campaign website too. Have a look: www.AlanCraigUKIP.com

If you’re a UKIP member I’d welcome your vote.

Goodbye Scotland?

12376_haggis-1I was born the son of a London-based proud Scot who to the end maintained his distinctive Glaswegian brogue, contended that haggis isn’t haggis without bashed neeps and a nip (ie. mashed swede and a tot of whisky), reckoned that sugar on porridge is solely for Sassenachs, and even on his death-bed required a dram of his favourite single-malt Scotch.

So I’ve watched with disappointment as that once significant nation, home of the Calvinist rectitude that some believe made Scotland the moral standard for the world, and of the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment whose intellectual and scientific accomplishments reached around the globe, has deteriorated since the war into a small-minded whingeing country with the national motto, nicked from the terraces at Hamden Park, of “ABE” (Anyone But England).

A country gets, sometimes, the politics and politicians it wishes for: recently Scotland has voted overwhelmingly for the blustering Scottish National Party and has got its chip-on-the-shoulder nationalists, Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, as First Minsters.

p1080018So a breakaway from England – but not, if Scots get their way, from the European Union – is on the table and I determined during my summer holiday to try to understand why. I took historian Lynda Colley’s magisterial work, ‘Britons: Forging the Nation 1707 – 1837’, with me to the sun-drenched beaches of Sardinia. It was a fascinating read.

Colley reminds us that Britain was only created in 1707 following the Act of Union between England, Wales and Scotland and therefore – I for one had overlooked the obvious fact – the British nation is just a few decades older than the young country the other side of the Atlantic which forged its own Brexit  (Amexit?) and independence in 1776.

Historically British identity is a modern concept, superimposed on the older but enduring identities of Englishness, Scottishness and Welshness and other regionalisms. union-jackColley traces how this new overarching identity gained so much pull and power amongst ordinary people as well as social elites in the 130 years leading up to the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837, and – my particular interest – gives explanation why the collective identity seems now to be unravelling.

Colley cites three reasons why British identity prospered:

Her second reason is mutual hostility across the English Channel. Colley point out that Britain and France were at war six times during this period culminating in Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815 – and “these were only the most violent expressions of a much longer and multi-layered rivalry”. The external threat from France united the peoples of the British Isles such that, most visibly, Scottish, Welsh and English regiments fought closely together in the decisive Waterloo victory over the French that brought extended peace to Europe after twenty bloody years of war.

british_empire_1921Colley’s third reason is the expansion of Britain’s global empire and the opportunity this gave people from different ethnic and social backgrounds to fight, trade with, govern and otherwise benefit from Britain’s increasingly valuable colonial possessions. They had a real interest in accessing Britain’s subjects and captive markets world-wide rather than limiting their livelihoods to these islands. Fame and fortune lay abroad.

However Colley’s first reason is the big surprise. Our secular age is blind about religion so her thesis is unexpected: Protestantism, she argues, was the unifying and distinguishing bond.

linda-colley“More than anything else,” she writes, “it was this shared religious allegiance combined with recurrent wars that permitted a sense of British national identity to emerge alongside of, and not necessarily in competition with, older more organic attachments to England, Wales or Scotland, or to county or village. Protestantism was the dominant component of British religious life. Protestantism coloured the way that Britons approached and interpreted their material life. Protestantism determined how most Britons viewed their politics. And uncompromising Protestantism was the foundation on which their state was explicitly and unapologetically based.” (p18)

So why have we ignored the impact of the Protestant faith on 18th century society, and its subsequent role in creating 19th century Victorian Britain? “The absolute centrality of Protestantism… is so obvious that it has proved easy (for historians) to pass over,” Colley argues. Personally, I reckon in secular UK it is opinion-formers’ and academics’ anti-Christian bias that has led to this omission; although Colley is British-born and educated, she lives, publishes and is a professor of history in the more church-going United States.

john_wesley_by_william_hamiltonIt is regretable too that Colley herself passes over the impact of Protestant preacher and one of my all-time heroes, John Wesley, plus his fellow founders of Methodism. In the half century from 1738 when Wesley first preached the Christian gospel outdoors to crowds of unwashed ragged miners at Kingswood, Bristol, “their tears making white channels down their grimy faces”, to 1791 when he died as “the most loved man in the country”, Wesley travelled 290,000 miles mainly on horseback (equivalent to circumnavigating the globe 12 times), preached 15 sermons a week sometimes despite violent opposition, and created Methodist churches up and down the land from, primarily, working and lower-middle class converts.

Wesley and his evangelical colleagues were also social reformers. Methodism promoted education and health-care amongst the poor as well as ‘manners and morals’ and a commitment to wider society. The Protestant faith brought prosperity and patriotism: “Get all you can, save all you can, give all you can,” preached Wesley, and the changes in behaviour led to widespread uplift and social improvement that benefitted the nation as well as the individual.

(c) Ferens Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Perhaps as a concession to our religious illiteracy Colley notes only the public impact of the change, not the spiritual source. “In the early and mid-eighteenth century it had been possible for high-ranking politicians like Viscount Bolingbroke or Robert Walpole to flaunt the fact that they were keeping mistresses and to be blithely unconcerned about newspapers and cartoons publishing it. But by 1800 the fashion amongst politicians… was for ostentatious uxoriousness… (and they) wallowed in domesticity. Public men acknowledged the vital importance of practicing regular church-going and conventional sexual morality.” (p189)

If Colley’s three-point thesis is right, and Protestantism amongst all social classes, armed enmity across the Channel and the widespread fruits of global Imperialism were the main contributors to British identity, it is not difficult to see why this identity has declined. Public religion, Anglo-French hostility and the British Empire have all virtually disappeared, and local identities have begun to dominate again. So Scotland may yet go independent.

But eighteenth-century Englishmen did not all want the 1707 Union anyway, according to Colley. “(M)any regarded the Scots as poor and pushy relations, unwilling to pay their full share of taxation, yet constantly demanding access to English resources…” (p13)

Hmm… Plus ça change.

Oxford’s Gender-Bender Agenda

neutral looThe rise of the gender-bender agenda, recently highlighted by the ‘bathroom wars’, is the latest phase of the ongoing sexual revolution. It is, like previous phases, imported from the US and entirely top-down and media driven.

It sees gender identity as a social construct rather than a biological given. It claims our gender is fluid, should be chosen by ourselves as we grow up and may change if we wish; it is not settled by nature (or God if you are a believer) at the time of our birth.

It is also dangerous nonsense. But it is coming your way.

It came my way this week when a polite young woman from LBC Radio contacted me. Oxford City councillors are introducing the gender-neutral option of Mx – pronounced “mix” – to official forms with a view to phasing out the conventional Mr and Ms: “Do you have views?” she asked.

Half an hour later I found myself on LBC’s Iain Dale show together with trans journalist and equality campaigner Paris Lees. (If you want to check out our chat, it’s the first item on the 16/08/16 show here (£)).

Paris’ arguments were excruciatingly unpersuasive. The stronger the binary male-and-female gender identities, she claimed, the greater the violence against women. 3935258_origThe solution is to “blur the boundaries between men and women”, she said – happily ignoring inconvenient facts like, for instance, the high level of lesbian and gay same-sex violence which some consider has reached epidemic proportions.

For my part, I welcomed the good sense of Oxford Pride chairman Rob Jordan who stated he doesn’t mind Mx as a simple addition to the current available titles, Mr and Ms. If Oxford Council wants to add a gender-neutral title in order to increase choice and inclusivity, that’s OK.

But of course it doesn’t stop with this apparently innocuous change to council paperwork. Indeed the sexual revolution does not stop anywhere. So the Oxford councillors have determined that next they want to drop Mr and Ms because these titles “are not inclusive of transgender people”.

In other words they are, wittingly or otherwise, promoting a gender-destruction ideology which reduces choice and, uninvited, imposes a gender-free framework on everyone: all Oxford residents will be titled Mx on all council forms.

The-10-Richest-Transgender-People-In-The-World-2The wider gender ideology is a cancerous virus that is creeping across the western world. It is destroying foundational categories such as ‘man’ and ‘woman’ and helping undermine time-honoured healthy family structures and relationships.

And gender activists like all sexual revolutionaries are targeting our kids. They insist even pre-pubescent childen have the right to question – and receive medical help to change – their gender identity.

Fortunately for once some influential professionals have stood their ground. The American College of Pediatricians recently issued an important statement called “Gender Ideology Harms Children”. It’s worth reading in full, but I quote here excerpts that should be read out loud to Oxford City councillors at their next council meeting:

“Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: ‘XY’ and ‘XX’ are genetic markers of sex, male and female respectively… The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. This principle is self-evident… 

“Human beings are born with a biological sex… People who identify as “feeling like the opposite sex” or “somewhere in between” do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women.” 

I thank God for this rock of sanity and common sense that stands out against the West’s rising tide of sexual madness and gender muddle.

UKIP – Defender Of The Faith

UKIP has a track record of saying the unsayable and promoting inconvenient truth against the mainstream consensus. mikeBrexit, control of immigration and opposition to gay marriage are just three issues where the party has, famously, refused to kowtow to the liberal establishment.

There is another issue too: the public role of the UK’s traditional religion.

Until recently Tory MP Andrea Leadsom had been a less than high-profile politician. But she’d frequently gone public about her Christianity and her religious reservations about – but personal support for – same-sex marriage.

These, together with some naïve comments about motherhood, brought a storm around her head from party colleagues and media alike during her brief bid for the Conservative Party leadership earlier this month.

andrea-leadsomConservativeHome editor Paul Goodman described the ferocious attacks on her as ‘prejudice’, ‘feral’ and ‘bullying’, while commentator Iain Dale called the media assaults ‘astonishing’.

Faced with this onslaught the MP withdrew from the contest. Journalist Allison Pearson interviewed her afterwards and concluded that “Leadsom was genuinely shocked by the poisonous attacks from within her own party. She said it was highly unlikely that the daily stories saying how useless/dishonest/Christian she was ‘are coincidental’.”

Anti-religious prejudice in the UK is reserved only for traditionalist Christians like Leadsom it seems. In her article Pearson drew attention to the fact that no-one calls London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan a ‘religious nutter’.

And when celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins claimed that then New Statesman editor Mehdi Hasan was disqualified for the job because of his Islamic beliefs, the media leapt en masse to the Muslim’s defence and it was Dawkins who came under sustained media fire.

for everyoneBy the end of the 19th century, laws requiring holders of public office to assent to particular religious beliefs had been repealed. Jews, Catholics, Puritans, Atheists – they were all free to participate in public life. It was a long time coming, but freedom of religion had come of age.

But step-by-step today’s secular Britain is turning back to public prejudice. As Andrea Leadsom found out, there is a new intolerance in the air.

Hotel owners, registrarsmagistrates, doctors and counsellors have lost their livelihoods because of their Christian beliefs.

anti-christian_hateAnd a wider targetted hostility can be observed, for instance, via the stand-up comedians in the popular TV series Live at the Apollo. Mock Christians or Christianity and the audience falls about laughing. This is no problem in a society that values satire and freedom of speech of course. Except that it does not, it seems, translate across onto Islam or atheism.

So who will step into the breach and stand against this rising tide of prejudice against the nation’s traditional religion?

Yup, once again: only UKIP.

In last year’s general election, ours was the sole party to publish a manifesto specifically for the faithful. In the document Policies for Christians, Nigel Farage wrote “UKIP is the only major political party left in Britain that still cherishes our Judeo-Christian heritage” and “we need a much more muscular defence of our Christian heritage and our Christian constitution”.

He had made similar comments previously to Fox News in New York and at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

UKIP’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall was reported as saying too that “UKIP is the only party that will confidently protect the rights of Christians in the UK and speak out against the attack on our Christian heritage.”

The party was as good as its word. In the 2015 manifesto UKIP promised to “extend the legal concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’ to give protection in law to those expressing a religious conscience in the workplace“- in this case over same-sex marriage.

QuakersSince 1757 our society has been broad-minded enough to allow Quakers and other pacifists to refuse military service even in times of national peril, and freedom of conscience has developed into a fundamental feature of western democracy.

Yet the establishment’s growing liberal authoritarianism has meant that UKIP’s pledge on this issue is unique amongst the main political parties.

UKIP also has been the only party to speak up for Christian refugees from the Islamic Middle East and North Africa.

In Syria Christians are a vulnerable minority who frequently suffer the double whammy of having to flee first from Islamist violence in their home towns and villages, and subsequently from the hostility of militant Muslim migrants inside the refugee camps. In 2013 Nigel Farage faced down a storm of politically-correct censure when he called for the UK government to take in only Christian Syrian refugees.

MigrantBoatAerialEighteen months later, after African Muslims threw Christian fellow migrants out of the boat while crossing the Mediterranean, the UKIP leader repeated his call for Christians only, this time from north Africa, to be offered refuge in Europe.

Farage and Nuttall have both resigned from party leadership and currently UKIP is looking for a new leader. Nominations close today, and hustings and voting will take place during August. The successful candidate will be announced at the party conference on 16th September.

Will he or she be sympathetic towards Christian values and defend the nation’s traditional religion? To find out, some CAUKIP (Christian Action in UKIP) colleagues and I have formulated an online questionnaire which we will be submitting to each declared candidate.

You can view it here.

We plan to publish the responses of the candidates on the CAUKIP website. If you’re interested, watch this space too.

Battling For Brexit

It feels like I’ve been in election mode all year.

In February I was selected by UKIP to stand for the London Assembly election on 5th May. No sooner was that election over than the campaign for tomorrow’s EU referendum commenced.

superhero-businessman-revealing-british-flag-classic-superman-pose-tearing-his-shirt-open-to-reveal-t-shirt-union-jack-68347921The latter is immeasurably more important of course, and for me the London campaign during March and April was actually about the EU. I cited the adverse impact of Brussels on London at every opportunity.

Campaigning over the past seven weeks though has been particularly intense as it is absolutely vital that we Leave the EU. The proposed European Union superstate, the ‘United States of Europe’, has many hallmarks of the Moscow-based USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) which imploded in 1991 after 70 years of economic misery and social/political woe; we must get out before it is too late.

The latter was socialist of course while the former is corporatist; the latter was hard authoritarian whereas the former is soft. But the intention of both was/is to shoe-horn more and more countries into an undemocratic structure of central control and regulation in order to force a massive single entity with a single identity.

The EU’s flag-waving European Anthem, the Ode to Joy, a “celebration of the brotherhood of man”, has become a masterpiece of irony as Greek pensioners and Spanish young unemployed will tell you. EU joy and economic brotherhood doesn’t extend to vulnerable people at the margins.

The same hubristic empire-building spirit has been abroad before in Europe. The EU superstate is Napoleon without the guns, Hitler without the gas chambers, and the British are right to be sceptical once again.

EU-flags-at-half-mastA Brexit result in the referendum undoubtedly will be a Waterloo defeat for Brussels. However it will also create an opportunity for self-reflection and a new humility amongst the Eurocrat elite. And maybe, just maybe, there will be decentralisation and democratic reform of the EU and a return to the original concept of a common market.

It has been a fascinating seven weeks. I have distributed thousands of leaflets; had discussions and occasional arguments on the streets; engaged in public debate with Remainers from both Houses of Parliament; discussed the EU and immigration on Turkish state television; spoken at two church Brexit meetings; campaigned both from UKIP’s national battlebus and from UKIP MEP Gerard Batten’s Vote to Leave minibus; written a Brexit piece for the local paper; and tonight will be out in the early hours erecting Vote Leave posters ahead of polling which starts tomorrow at 10.00am.

But two things stand out for me:

First, I have been delighted at the support for Brexit from ethnic minority communities. I’ve campaigned primarily in multi-ethnic east London where I live. It is clear from here that established immigrant families from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean are concerned about the recent and rapid migrant influx from eastern Europe with the resulting downward pressure on jobs and wages and the growing burden on schools, housing and hospitals.

They also rightly see EU migration policy as giving preference to white Europeans, and therefore racist.

I reckon 60% of ethnic minorities are firmly for Brexit.

geldofSecond, I stood on Westminster Bridge during the Bob Geldof’s ‘Battle of the Thames’ last week when the millionaire luvvie on his luxury floating gin-palace, his face contorted by hate, sneered and pumped vulgar V-signs at the flotilla of fishermen, led by Nigel Farage, whose livelihoods have been wrecked by the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. As Brendan O’Neill points out, Geldof brilliantly if inadvertently illustrated the cosmopolitan establishment’s superior and dismissive attitude towards what their frock coat and top hat-wearing Victorian forbears called the lower orders.

I spotted young children in one of the small rubber dinghies that accompanied Geldof and harassed the fishermen’s flotilla. “They’ve lost the plot! They’ve got young kids in that boat!” I blurted out to my companion, eyeing the rough water and hostile boats. “Why are those kids not in school?” he asked.

The next day we learned about Jo Cox’s tragic death in her constituency, and I learned with disbelief that it was she and her husband Brendan who had taken their children into the river drama in the vulnerable small boat.

jo-cox-boatingMy heart goes out to her husband and the children for their loss. However in the light of Geldof’s bile and the on-river risks to which the out-of-school children were subjected, I found Brendan’s high-minded statement following Jo’s death, that people should “unite to fight hate” and that “our precious children should be bathed in love” rather too hypocritical for my taste.

Will we win the referendum tomorrow? Three months ago I reckoned we were faced with an impossible uphill task and that status quo inertia would win the day.

But we gained traction thanks to the uncontrolled immigration issue and the over-reach of David Cameron’s Project Fear, and today, despite continuous pounding by the heavy guns of the political, media and corporate elite, the polls tell us it is neck and neck.

I remain hopeful that we will vote Leave.

The Greek Tragedy Of Suzanne Evans

Her political descent has been a tragedy.

A year ago Suzanne Evans was riding high in UKIP. Appointed deputy chairman of the party, she was widely applauded for producing the party’s best-ever manifesto for the May 2015 general election and was seen by many as the next leader. Indeed Nigel Farage recommended her for interim leader after he resigned following his defeat at South Thanet.SuzanneEvans

But ten weeks ago Suzanne was sacked as deputy chairman and four weeks later suspended from the party for six months. As a result, she was dropped from the party’s London-wide list of candidates for yesterday’s London Assembly elections.

Since then she has become a minor celebrity both as a surprisingly inert panellist on the quick-witted BBC TV show Have I Got A Bit More News For You  and as a participant in a women-only debate on the EU organised by the feminist Fawcett Society.

However, despite her disputed claim that she is still UKIP’s Parliamentary spokesperson (she is spokesperson only for UKIP’s sole and semi-detached representative in the House of Commons Douglas Carswell; she is not authorised to speak for the three UKIP peers in the House of Lords) and her stated hope that she still has a future in UKIP, her return to the party fold must be in severe doubt.

And I was an unwitting participant in her downfall.

In a recent post I wrote how, back in February after I had been selected as a UKIP candidate for the GLA elections that took place yesterday, my defeated opponent, gay activist and lawyer Richard Hendron, rushed off to the anti-UKIP Pink News to complain that I was a “vile nasty homophobic individual”. He resigned from the party too with the maximum of noise and self-publicity.

mad-doctorWithin hours fellow UKIP gay activist Richard Hilton set up a public petition accusing me of being “an outspoken homophobe who has addressed ‘gay cure’ meetings” (I haven’t) and demanding that I should be removed from UKIP’s list of approved candidates.

The next day Pink News too commenced a series of hostile and inaccurate articles claiming that I believe in ‘gay cure’ (I don’t) and that I have compared gays to Nazis (I haven’t).

Suzanne was still deputy chairman of the party at the time so it was astonishing that she immediately joined the baying herd. She tweeted excitedly that she had signed Hilton’s petition. She informed the twittersphere that “Alan Craig’s views have no place in @UKIP” and commented on the petition website that, by choosing me as a candidate, the party’s selection process “has clearly failed”.

I immediately emailed her suggesting that, as a matter of courtesy let alone party protocol, she should contact me before publicly criticising both my selection and me. There was no reply. Instead the same day she gave an exclusive interview to Pink News  . She told them she was confident that I would not remain a candidate.

The next day I emailed her again, asking what evidence she had to back up her statement that there had been a “failure in the party’s selection process.” Again, no reply.

Two weeks later she was sacked as deputy chairman.

A month after that, following a disciplinary hearing of UKIP’s National Executive Committee, she was suspended from the party. The NEC cited as the reason a complaint that she had “publicly criticised a fellow candidate in breach of party rules”.

squarepegIn an attempt to prevent her suspension, Suzanne sought an injunction in the High Court. Acting on her behalf was, yes, the same Richard Hendron. In the documents presented by Hendron to the court Suzanne repeated the Pink News falsehood that I have compared gays to Nazis. She also claimed that she publicly signed Richard Hilton’s petition because she “did not agree with Mr Craig’s stance on ‘gay cures’ for homosexual people” – a stance about which clearly she had no knowledge except what the hopelessly biased, unreliable and foolish Hendron-Hilton-Pink News faction had told her.

The High Court rejected her application. Her suspension went ahead.

Of course there were many bigger factors leading to Suzanne’s downfall including her perceived lack of loyalty to Nigel Farage. But it seems her unfounded public criticism of me was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Certainly it was the trigger for her suspension.

Janice-Liu-AntigoneIn Greek tragedies the demise of the hero is often self-inflicted. In her rush to censure me and her zeal to climb aboard the shrill Hendron-Hilton-GayNews bandwagon, Suzanne didn’t check the facts. She didn’t restrain herself from knee-jerk public criticism of a fellow party candidate and the party’s selection process. Nor did she demonstrate the discretion and adherence to party protocol expected of a deputy chairman.

She also lacked judgement. She leant on broken reeds; she relied on her unreliable friends.

In the end she brought her demise down on her own head.

It was a tragic waste of talent.

C’mon Nigel, It’s Your Churchill Moment

We’ve been here before of course. The UK is facing an existential threat from a corrupt unelected assertive Imperium from across the Channel chamberlainand we have been landed with an appeasing invertebrate weasel occupying the prime minister’s residence in Downing Street.

The huge difference this time is that, in a magisterial act of betrayal that could only be perpetrated by a certain type of Philby-esque former public school boy, the occupant of 10 Downing Street and his establishment friends are the ones who are training their guns on us.

Night after night the Biased Broadcasting Corporation bombards us with pro-EU and Remain stories and highlights the latest salvo orchestrated and fired by prime minister’s heavy weaponry:career children elite figures from the military, the scientific community, the arts and media, academia and FTSE 100 companies are obediently paraded across BBC airwaves to trot out Pavlov platitudes about the supposed benefits of remaining in the EU.

Next door in No 11 the Chancellor of the Exchequer moves the beads around on his abacus and expects us to believe his forecast that each household will be £4,300 worse off if we leave the EU. Really, George? abacusIs this one similar to your previous economic forecasts? So why not £14,300? Or £144,300?

And together these two architects of austerity Britain lavish £9m of our money on a glossy pro-EU propaganda publication that is dumped unsolicited on every home.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” someone nasty said once. That’s certainly the hope of the Quisling boys in Downing Street.

Then last week weasel turned poodle; the prime minster hosted the president of the United States at Downing Street and asked him to do battle on behalf of the Remain campaign. poodle-groomingCameron stood smilingly obsequious beside the presidential podium while his friend Barak Obama instructed us with threats to surrender our sovereignty to Brussels and to become a sort of Michigan in a United States of Europe.

Followed by similar stuff from Hillary Clinton, there is no doubt this was a US Exorcet that hammered at the heart of the Leave campaign, and it hurt. An acquaintance tweeted that he has never harboured a scintilla of anti-US feeling in his life, until now. I was reminded of the Duke of Wellington’s comment at the height of the Battle of Waterloo; “Hard pounding this, gentlemen,” he exclaimed as Napoleon’s cannon ripped into the British troops.

Many Leave troops are struggling from the onslaught of Cameron’s guest and the official Vote Leave leadership seem to have been battered into silence or, like London mayor Boris Johnson, into squawking impotence. Although some believe Obama’s intervention in UK domestic affairs will boomerang back on the Remain campaign, the president was strong in challenging Leave arguments – and also in making clear that the ‘special relationship’ between the US and UK is a dead letter and not worth the paper it was never written on. True friends don’t publicly threaten each other.

But we Leavers have two key factors in our favour:

First, timing is everything and Cameron may have fired his heaviest guns too early. There are still two months to go until Referendum Day and a week is a long time in politics.

Second, there are not many people who single-handedly have changed the national agenda and turned political tides, but Nigel Farage is one.

nigel_farageWith focus, courage and a thick skin, for twenty years Nigel has toured the country promoting the benefits of leaving the EU. Dismissed by many including Cameron as a fruit cake, nutter and worse, he has sung his song and made the strong case for Brexit. Slowly the tide has turned in his favour until the prime minister, who a few years ago instructed the Tory Party to “stop banging on about Europe”, has been forced to hold a referendum and to bang on about Europe almost full-time.

Now, post-Obama, we must urge Nigel to step up to the plate and raise his game even further. He must take the lead to raise morale amongst Leave grassroots campaigners, to constrain the squabbling Leave factions,winston_churchill with cigar to re-frame the Brexit arguments, to set a fresh campaign direction, and to hold aloft the vision of a sovereign independent Britain that together we can achieve once again.

No one else can do it.

Nigel, it’s your Churchill moment to Speak for England and save the nation.

We’re right there with you.