Category Archives: Olympics

Mega-Mosque: The End

I was waiting on Dagenham East station one Saturday recently when out of the blue I received a call from Andrew Gilligan of the Sunday Telegraph.DagenhamEast

I had been door-knocking with Peter Harris, the excellent UKIP candidate for Dagenham & Rainham at the general election last May and for the London Assembly in the GLA election in May next year. He had discovered that Barking & Dagenham council were trying quietly to foist a mosque onto greenbelt land in the predominantly White English neighbourhood of Eastbrook, so we had been assessing local opinion with a door-to-door survey.

But Gilligan had good news for me about a different and much bigger mosque, the proposed London mega-mosque at West Ham in Newham close to the 2012 Olympic stadium. Mega-mosqueOriginally this mosque had a futuristic design and a proposed capacity of between 45,000 and 70,000 which would have made it one of the biggest in the world. In the face of our vociferous opposition the mosque capacity was downsized but the mosque architect still claimed the building would be the size of Battersea Power Station with a capacity three times that of St Paul’s Cathedral. I’ve been campaigning against it for nearly a decade.

At first on my own but in due course backed by a superb small team, I had spent months studying, analysing and understanding Tablighi Jamaat – the fundamentalist and isolationist group behind the project. As our opposition campaign took off I encountered vicious verbal hostility and a death threat, and had a website set up against me personally; our combative team produced the MegaMosqueNoThanks campaign website, video channel and Facebook page and participated in two huge Public Inquiries; we delivered at least one campaign leaflet to each of the 97,000 homes of Newham’s 300,000 residents, and four or five leaflets to each home in the West Ham neighbourhood;  2000px-Seal_of_the_Ronald_Reagan_Presidential_Library.svgI was flattered to receive a ‘Hero of Conscience’ award for our efforts at a glittering American Freedom Association event in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California; I undertook public debates in Newham and at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park, and engaged in informal discussions in cafes and on the street with mosque supporters many of whom live near my home in Muslim-majority Forest Gate; and I was interviewed by journalists and on TV and radio from around the world as well as in our national media.

crossculturalHandshakeIt has been an extraordinary journey during which I have come to like and respect the overwhelming majority of Muslim people I have engaged with, but also to loathe the dark fundamentalist Islam that is rising across the world from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East to the UK and Europe, from Pakistan in South Asia to Nigeria in West Africa. And recently in Paris too.

But the journey was coming to an end. “The mega-mosque isn’t going to happen,” Gilligan told me. “Reliable sources say that the DCLG (the Department of Communities and Local Government) will announce soon that the trustees’ appeals have failed. The mega-mosque isn’t going to be built. My exclusive on this will be in tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph,” he continued, “and I need a quote from you.”

My joy was great and relief was deep.  I could hardly believe my ears. Gilligan swore me to silence until his exclusive was published the following day, but that didn’t matter. This massive platform for promoting fundamentalist Islam globally which also would have had a disastrous effect on social integration locally, was over, sunk, dead. My colleagues and I could relax, be grateful and celebrate. Our job was done.

Gilligan’s story was published and four days later the formal decision of the Secretary of State at the DCLG, Greg Clark, was published too. To our amazement he took a firmer line against the mosque project than the Planning Inspector recommended;Bulldozer not only is the mega-mosque not to be built, but within three months the mosque trustees must cease using the site and must demolish the 2,000-capacity wood-frame buildings they are using there as a temporary mosque.

Technically the trustees still have the right to challenge the Government decision. However, due to new and tighter regulations that came into force just two days before the decision was announced – the Government was astute in its timing – they have first to apply to the High Court for permission to make the challenge before submitting the challenge itself, and they have to do so by 9th December. Also the challenge can be only on technical points of law and not about the decision itself. This is a huge mountain to climb for the trustees and if they have any sense they will not waste their time and money.

Meanwhile I now find myself involved with UKIP in the much smaller mosque project close to Dagenham East station where I took the call from Andrew Gilligan. Here, as in Newham, the authorities have been secretive and ignored local opinion until we forced the issue into the open: Peter Harris contacted and briefed the Dagenham media; we undertook a door-to-door survey where we found 93% of locals were against the mosque for reasons ranging from “too much traffic already” and “save our greenbelt” to “no Muslims live here so no need for a mosque”; Eastbrookmeetingand ten days ago we held a residents’ meeting in a pub and invited UKIP heavyweights Peter Whittle – our London mayoral candidate – and Roger Gravett. The pub was packed. You can read about it here and here.

Inevitably, as in Newham, Labour’s borough leadership in Barking & Dagenham has been incensed by our actions.

So deja vue. Here we go again…

Our Children: Putin or Tatchell?

HenryJacksonSocietyThe Henry Jackson Society (here) is an admirable Atlanticist think tank based in London that among other things gives home to the redoubtable Douglas Murray (here). But yesterday, for a robust and independently-minded organisation, HJS got it badly wrong.

Their bias was on the tin. They held a meeting in Parliament called ‘LGBT Rights In Russia, Sochi 2014 and Beyond’. The only speaker was Peter Tatchell and the event was chaired by sponsoring gay MP Chris Bryant.

What I see in the mirror: Peter TatchellThe director of HJS’s Russia Studies Centre, Andrew Foxall, tried to persuade us that the event was also about corruption and security issues at Sochi 2014, Russia’s current Winter Olympic Games, but Peter Tatchell put paid to that; “LGBT rights is our main focus” he stated firmly at the beginning.

There is nothing wrong with discussing the issue of course. Russia’s abuse of human rights is a matter of real concern. But there was no discussion. The audience were allowed only to listen and ask questions. It was a one-way platform for the promotion of international gay rights under the guise of attacking the fairly easy target of Vladimir Putin and his regime – with the added bonus of Bryant and Tatchell recounting juicy stories about their own experiences as gay men in Russia. The former apparently had to wait 20 minutes at the reception desk of the Moscow Marriot hotel while he patiently explained that, yes, he planned to share both his room and his bed with his male partner.

PutinInterestingly the MP also objected strongly if briefly to the “obscene” amounts of money that have been spent on Sochi 2014, with no reference at all to the many billions spent just down the road at London 2012. It’s not difficult to see why Putin is gaining global traction with his claims about ‘Western hypocrisy’.

The rest of the world listens to the Russian President but, despite him being named The Times’ International Person of the Year last year (here) partly for his brilliant out-manoeuvring of Obama and Cameron in order to stop their military adventurism in Syria, we don’t. So when Putin claims that his prime concerns are the protection of children and Russia’s traditional family structure (here), we are so deafened by the West’s gay rights discourse that we cannot or will not hear.

But he does have a point and ironically, as a prime anti-Putin protagonist, Tatchell’s sexual ideology also makes Putin’s point for him. It is foully anti-children and, as I told the HJS meeting, the ideology renders Tatchell utterly disqualified from addressing the issue:

wolf in sheeps clothingFrom the 80’s when Tatchell was part of a team of contributors to a depraved pro-paedophilia book Beyond Youth edited by former vice chair of the Paedophile Information Exchange (here) Warren Middleton  (Tatchell wrote a chapter about reducing the age of sexual consent), to the views on his website today that school children should be taught anal sex and sadomasochism (here), he has demonstrated that Putin is right. Our children do indeed need protecting from this sort of sexual propaganda.

The HJS meeting was set up to promote Tatchell’s LGBT line and my interventions – “What about children?” I asked loudly a number of times – were not welcomed by the chair. I was faced with being ejected or leaving. I chose the latter.

Before I did so I distributed my contact details and a flyer with the following text:

Fathers Against Child Sexualisation 

Putin is a fascist brute but maybe he also wants to protect his children from this Tatchell-promoted sexualisation:

1. Tatchell advocates teaching anal sex and sadomasochism to school children:

“Sex education has an obligation to give all the facts and tell the whole truth about every kind of sex and relationship. This includes… anal intercourse and sadomasochism… Nothing must be off limits.” (www.petertatchell.net/sex_education/schoolsex.htm)

2. Tatchell bewails robust punishment of pederasts:

“…any man who has sex with Lee (a 14 year old boy) could face a maximum sentence of 10 years for kissing, touching, sucking or wanking, and life imprisonment for anal sex.” (www.petertatchell.net/lgbt_rights/age_of_consent/14-gay-boyfriend.htm)

3. Tatchell quotes sex abuse of 9-year-olds as “great joy”:

“Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of 9 to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy… It is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.” (The Guardian: 26th June, 1997)

4. Tatchell contributes chapter on reducing age of sexual consent to 1980’s paedophilia book about (inter alia) ‘Incest’, ‘Child Pornography and Erotica’, ‘Child Prostitution’ and ‘How to Make Paedophilia Acceptable’, edited by paedophilia advocate and former vice-chair of Paedophile Information Exchange, Warren Middleton:

“(I)n the realm of sexual ages of consent, we need to ask whether the law has any legitimate role to play in criminalising consenting, victimless sexual activity.” (The Betrayal of Youth, p 118)

So who offers the greater threat to our children’s welfare?

It’s a relevant question especially if you’re a parent. Putin or Tatchell: whose views do offer the greater threat to your children’s wellbeing?

Stepping Down And Moving On…

After a decade at the helm it’s time for me to step down as leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA).

The party is currently reviewing its way forward for the next few years and in my view my resignation is necessary so that new blood can come forward and a new vision develop, unimpeded by the past.

Furthermore since ceasing to be a Newham councillor in May 2010 many fascinating and hopefully useful new doors have opened, ranging from working in Baroness Caroline Cox’s parliamentary office to supporting the church against militant Islam in northern Nigeria and challenging the aggressive and culturally destructive gay political agenda here at home.

The role of national leader of our small party has proved fulfilling, but especially enjoyable were my eight years as CPA local councillor and leader of the Opposition on Newham Council and also the campaign as candidate for London mayor in May 2008.

Promoting CPA’s Christian democratic vision at national and local level is a tough call in our selfish materialistic society where money, power and now celebrity are the public measures of personal value and the elderly, the unemployed, the vulnerable, the inarticulate and the ugly are consigned to the margins. A sleek self-centred liberal individualism dominates all public life and, despite exciting bits of progress especially in the technical/scientific/medical arenas, our once-vibrant national culture is decaying, our social capital is dissipating, and our previously prosperous civilisation seems in terminal decline.

What’s more the current fashion- and arts-driven ‘Cool Britannia Mark 2’ and the capital’s Jubilee/Olympics feel-good froth have encouraged the complacent liberal media to salivate over the wonders of the UK’s politically correct multi-culturalism (necessarily only the polished version made visible on our screens by Team GB of course) and the undoubted creativity of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. But these enjoyable diversions are simply metropolitan mood music played by the orchestra on the deck of the stricken Titanic.

The nation’s underlying and intractable greed-fuelled debt-driven financial crisis continues to push us towards the economic precipice. This is but a deep symptom of an even deeper malaise caused by the loss of our civilisation’s foundations: integrity, self-restraint, public service, objectivity, responsibility, patience and commitment to family and community have all but disappeared as public values, with no adequate replacement.

As on the Titanic (here), the funereal ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ seems the appropriate national swansong as Britain and Europe steadily sink under a cynical secular public discourse, an indigenous birth-rate below replacement, widespread welfare-bred apathy, and the loss of hope, descendants and a future. The decline and fall of Roman civilisation took more than quarter of a millennium; ours looks to be much quicker. How urgently we need the rich revitalising truth-based love-your-neighbour teachings of Jesus Christ.

Despite (Sally reckons because of) the odds and Labour Party hostility, I hugely enjoyed pioneering Christian democracy at the local level in east London. There’s no doubt our CPA team usefully impacted the Newham agenda on a wide range of issues, including challenging the brutal Canning Town housing regeneration project, disputing the closure of local Post Offices, supporting a local UNISON trade union leader against Council persecution, exposing the separatist and sexist fundamentalism behind the proposed West Ham mega-mosque, defending the excellent Queens Street market at Upton Park from senseless redevelopment and opposing the massive biennial arms fair at ExCel exhibition centre.

In particular I enjoyed helping local people with their individual problems. Unlike the then-West Ham Labour MP Tony Banks, I received real satisfaction from serving constituents. It’s a mystery why Banks was idolised locally when he so publicly despised the lives of the people he represented (here). But his dismissive attitude was typical of Newham Labour Party and explains why I battled against them so much.

So I step down with great personal memories, no regrets and many thanks to my party colleagues and to the voters in Newham.

CPA now needs to move forward with optimism and expectation. I find myself doing just that in new pastures and at full speed by God’s grace.

The resignation takes place formally at the party’s AGM on 13th October, dv.

Back to a new normal

Back from a family holiday in blistering sunny Spain last night to find that the UK has just completed the most sunless August since records began.

But also to find that the world has changed significantly while I’ve been away: Team GB has won an unimaginable 19 golds in Beijing, and a little Russian escapade in Georgia has finally nailed the post-Berlin Wall nonsense that we live in a unipolar world of a single super-power, the USA, that can unilaterally police the globe – supposedly on behalf of all of us.

A camp-site in Catalonia is not the best place for a ringside seat at such seismic events, as the occasional international version of The Guardian together with irregular access to the TV set in the poolside bar hardly sufficed to keep us abreast of world developments. But I did manage to see some of the Olympic action and – along with others – my jaw dropped as we won medal after medal (47 in all) and came 4th in the table. I mean, Brits simply don’t do sporting success. Ever since left-wing local authorities sold off schools’ sports facilities in the 70s/80s, we’ve flunked it on the international sporting scene. Our single gold in Atlanta in 1996 (Steve Redgrave of course) said it all.

But there’s a more serious point to be made about China and their impressive Olympic Games. With its human rights abuses, one-child policy and crackdown in Tibet, the Beijing government leaves a lot to be desired. But it has self-consciously announced its emergence onto the world stage as a 21st century superpower with an entertaining peaceful event that has amazed us all, and leaves London (and my own east London Olympic Host borough, Newham) a mountain to climb to match it in 2012.

Not so the pirate Putin, who paraded Moscow’s new-found oil-fuelled virility by sending his tanks into little Georgia who wants to join NATO and the West. “Russia is back,” was Putin’s blunt message, “and the world and the West had better take notice.” The parallels with Cold War Moscow and the Russian military occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 are striking.

Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of Moscow’s current case, the contrast between the Russian and Chinese approaches could hardly be greater. Suddenly there are two new kids on the block; in fact one of them is simply returning to his old haunt with a sore head and a knife.

All of which poses a headache for the incoming US President.  The relative superpower status of the USA has diminished, is diminishing and will continue to diminish, and Bush’s successor will have to adjust American policy to these new realities.

Can we be confident McCain or Obama will do so? The temptation to return to the escapism of my sunny Spanish camp-site cannot be attributed solely to the awful English weather.