Category Archives: Mayor of London

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.

UKIP’s Runners and Riders for London Mayor

For political parties in London it’s choose-your-mayoral-candidate time.

city-hallA couple of weeks ago the Greens selected Sian Berry as their candidate for the May 2016 election; any day now the LibDems are expected to announce Caroline Pidgeon is their woman for the race; and on Friday Sadiq Khan upset all expectations except his own and won the Labour Party ballot for the position. The Tories are expected to announce their man for the job by the end of the month.

UKIP too is selecting and reckons to announce the party’s mayoral candidate in a couple of weeks. And, as it happens, I’ve thrown my hat into the ring…

I was enjoying the white beaches, blue skies and blistering heat of Sardinia last month when the news website Breitbart London, jointly run by Nigel Farage’s former election strategist and right-hand man Raheem Kassam, published an assessment  of UKIP’s ‘runners and riders’ for the mayor contest. RaheemKassamKassam reckoned my ‘tough stance against gay marriage’ and my campaign against the London mega-mosque could cause the party ‘operational and public relations problems’ – but nonetheless scored me 6/10.

Then, on successive days over the August Bank Holiday weekend, Breitbart published each candidate’s responses to ten key questions, seven of which were common to all and three of which were tailored to the individual. The other candidates’ responses are here: Suzanne Evans, Richard Hendron, Elizabeth Jones, David Kurton, Shneur Odze and Peter Whittle.

I was abroad and I missed out on the Breitbart exercise, but my formal party interview was postponed until this coming week. So here are my responses to Kassam’s questions and assessment:

Question 1: What makes you the best person to represent UKIP in London in 2016?

AC: For three decades I have lived and worked at street level in east London which is about as far from Boris’s Westminster/Whitehall/City Hall bubble as a Londoner can get, and my track record for standing up for ordinary people against the establishment powers-that-be is as good as anyone’s.

Locally I cut my political teeth campaigning – both successfully and unsuccessfully – against the council’s social cleansing, imposed top-down ‘regeneration’ and the large corporate developers who make people’s lives a misery.

Lemons-and-limeI have lengthy experience of UKIP-style grassroots and outsider politics. For a time I was the sole Opposition councillor on Newham Council and, later, leader of the small Opposition group. In 2008 I stood for London Mayor against Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone and also for the London Assembly. 

Q2: If it were a straight choice, would you rather be a London Assembly member or UKIP’s Mayoral Candidate?

AC: In May 2016 I’d rather be UKIP’s Mayoral Candidate. The May election almost certainly will be held prior to the vital EU referendum and I want to bend every sinew to promote London’s own case against the EU.

Debating at hustings with Sadiq Khan and maybe Zac Goldsmith about London in the EU will be a great high-profile opportunity to promote the ‘Leave’ campaign. 

Q3: Uber – are you for it or against it?

AC: I am in favour of commercial competition in principle, and we’ve seen that under pressure from Uber the black cabs recently reduced their fares for off-peak long-distance rides. This is good for the customer.

black-cabBut the black cab is an iconic part of London scene and a safer choice especially for women at night. It must retain its privileged status as, for instance, the only taxi that can be hailed on the street.

Q4: Tube strikes and union drivers. What is the solution?

AC: The tube drivers’ unions held us to ransom before the Olympics and filled their wallets at our expense. They must not do it again.

So, eyeball them and see who blinks first.

Advertise externally for new drivers and introduce driverless trains as soon as possible.

Q5: How do you feel Boris has done as Mayor? What would you keep, what would you change?

AC: He’s brought fun, laughs and global media attention to London. When he retires as mayor next year he ought to do stand-up at the Hammersmith Apollo rather than on the green benches at Westminster. He also removed the western extension of the Congestion Charge zone.

But he and his Russian billionaire friends who push up property prices simply do not understand London’s burgeoning housing crisis caused also in part by mass immigration. Ordinary young people – the future of the capital – cannot afford their own home and are being squeezed out by the lack of affordable housing.

Q6: What are the best things about London in your estimation?

london-2012-crowdAC: Londoners’ vitality, variety, open can-do spirit, and the city’s rich culture and history.

Q7: What are the worst things about London in your estimation?

AC: The widespread poverty caused by London’s exorbitant cost of living.

Also the personal pushiness on public transport that is threatening to the elderly and vulnerable. I’d welcome back some old-fashioned English queuing!

Q8: You left the Christian Peoples Alliance party and joined UKIP. Why?

I left CPA in 2012 having been variously joint-founder, leader and CPA local councillor since 1999. I had no major issues with the party. I just thought I’d done my bit.

I met UKIP MEP Gerard Batten in 2008 when we both stood for London Mayor and he started encouraging me to join UKIP. Four years ago or so I sat on the same political panel in Tottenham as Nigel Farage and he impressed me by his forceful but, then, politically lonely opposition to the EU. In 2012/13 UKIP confirmed its gutsy anti-establishment status by standing alone against the imposition of gay marriage by the metropolitan political class.

In 2014 I threw in the towel and joined the party.

Q9: You have run a lengthy high-profile campaign against the proposed Tablighi Jamaat mega-mosque at West Ham. That can’t make you an attractive UKIP candidate to the Muslim community can it?

telling-the-localsAC: When I started the campaign in 2006 I got all the knee-jerk insults – racist, Islamophobe, bigot, Christian crusader, the lot. But while I strongly opposed these mosque plans and the separatist ideology behind them, I like and respect Muslims and slowly bit by bit this message got through.

Further, I campaigned closely with moderate Muslims who also oppose the fundamentalist Tablighi Jamaat ideology and their mosque plans. There is no single ‘Muslim community’; there is a variety of ‘Muslim communities’.

Lastly, I live in the Green Street West ward of Newham which according to the 2011 Census has the highest concentration of Muslims in London. They are my neighbours and I like and respect them even when I don’t agree with them. I think they know that.

Q10: You took a strong stand against same-sex marriage. That isn’t going to get UKIP votes from the LGBT-types.

AC: Alone of all the national parties, UKIP too stood against same-sex marriage. This gained the party a lot of recognition and votes from social conservatives like me.

The gay marriage debate centred on adult rights and issues and ignored the rights and nurturing needs of children. Also, in order to make their legislation fit the lifestyle of many gays, the government – like a monster Ashley Madison – deliberately undermined the loyalty and faithfulness implicit in traditional marriage.

But currently there is no political will to repeal the Act and, like UKIP, I do not seek to do so.

Sharia Rides Up The Agenda

Since 2011 I’ve been working with the outstanding crossbench peer Baroness Caroline Cox on her legislative initiative, the Mediation and Arbitration Services (Equality) Bill.

Sharia Council of BritainThis turgid title masks sensitive and combustible issues: The primary purpose of the Bill is to tackle gender-discrimination in the 85+ Sharia courts across the UK. The secondary purpose is to tackle the growth of a parallel legal system in the UK.

Two years ago I covered the background to this proposed legislation in a post about the Bill’s Second Reading debate in the House of Lords. Despite multiple testimonies and clear evidence of discrimination against women, and strong cross-party back-bench support, the government opposed the Bill on the head-in-the-sand grounds that adequate legislation is already in place to deal with the issue.

Memorably, this inflexibility earned the new and junior minister responsible, Lord Gardiner, a magisterial put-down from one of the country’s top lawyers: “(Lord Gardiner) has given an Olympian exegesis of the processes and laws and consultations that are available to deal with the intellectual problem,” Lord Alex Carlile QC thundered from the LibDem benches behind and above the minister. “However we are concerned here with real people and real cases.”

baroness cox giving the keswick lecture week 2 09We had sat with many real Muslim women and heard their real and distressing cases at the hands of Sharia courts. We greatly relished Lord Carlile’s broadside.

This was Parliament’s first ever debate about Sharia. It was an historic debate – but this still cut no ice with the government.

Since then we’ve continued to push the issue in Westminster and Whitehall. We held briefings for Peers and met with individual MPs; we set up an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on ‘Honour’ Based Abuse ; we met and listened to more Muslim women; we supported vital research by Muslim women’s group Aurat led by the inspirational Habiba Jaan; we worked with other women’s groups like IKWRO, Inspire and Karma Nirvana; and we met off-record with a junior government minister and on-record with a key senior one.

Theresa MayThe first sign that things were beginning to change came at the Conservative Party conference last September. For the first time Home Secretary Theresa May raised publicly the issue of Sharia law and women. “Across the country, there are concerns about the way Sharia law is being applied, the way women are told to live and the intolerant attitudes shown to people of different beliefs and ways of life,” she said. “We must not sleepwalk into separation, segregation and sectarianism.”

Encouraged that we may not be banging against a brick wall after all, we continued to work the corridors of Westminster and Baroness Cox grabbed every opportunity to speak out.

Then on Monday last week and in collaboration with the Bow Group, we were about to publish a report calling for a judge-led investigation into Sharia courts when Theresa May, now a Tory leadership contender thanks to David Cameron, announced the government’s new counter-extremism policy; unexpectedly this included an independent review of Sharia courts.

“There is evidence of women being “divorced” under Sharia law and left in penury, wives who are forced to return to abusive relationships because Sharia councils say a husband has a right to “chastise”, and Sharia councils giving the testimony of a woman only half the weight of the testimony of a man,” said  Mrs May. “We will commission an independent figure to complete an investigation into the application of Sharia law in England and Wales.”

This was fantastic as far as it went, but on Tuesday we published our report anyway. The Ministry of Justice has previously run scared and aborted an investigation into Sharia courts citing lack of co-operation by Islamic authorities; we reckoned a formal judge-led investigation with powers to subpoena witnesses is more likely to succeed.

Boris_Johnson

On Wednesday Boris Johnson, current favourite in the Tory leadership stakes, weighed in saying that Sharia law is “absolutely unacceptable” in the UK and should not be allowed to preside even over family disputes.

On Thursday journalist Leo McKinstry – who famously turned on his former boss, Labour’s anti-marriage deputy leader and Shadow Deputy Prime Minster Harriet Harman, and accused her of preaching a “dangerous gospel of feminist fascism” – praised “robust” Boris and spelled out his support on the issue. Harriet Harman on the other hand, like most feminists, remains culpably silent.

So the cat is out of the bag and the hare is running. There’s been a sea change and Sharia is open for proper political scrutiny at last.

Muslim women up and down the country will be grateful.

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.

Gay Marriage and the Elephant

US psychology professor Albert Mehrabian (here) argues that 55% of human communication is through non-verbal behaviour such as body language, 38% is through tone of voice and only 7% is through the words themselves. Personally I reckon that significant information is also communicated by what is not said at all. Gay ex-cop and former naked I’m a Celebrity contestant (here) Brian Paddick is a case in point.

I met Brian a couple of times when he was running as LibDem candidate for London mayor in 2008. On the luvvy liberal left and now promoting himself as a ‘TV personality’, he would undoubtedly consider himself as right-on, politically correct and progressive. He was also friendly, likeable, modest and – unlike Ken and Boris – interested in other people. I was just one of the minor party candidates, but when I bumped into him at a railway station six months later, he still remembered our election encounters.

At a mayoral campaign hustings in a north London church, he had related from the platform how an officer at Scotland Yard had led him to Christ some years before – although he admitted wryly that many Christians would not agree with his lifestyle since then. “But once planted, faith does not simply go away,” he said.

(It was at the same hustings that atheist Ken Livingstone claimed that many of his political views are based on the teachings of Jesus. Hmmm.)

But to the point: Brian Paddick gave a speech about gay marriage at the LibDem party conference last week and it appears that what he did not say was so typical and illustrative of the PC liberal-left mindset that he easily could have been a senior staff member at the BBC. “Yes, we have to be sensitive to religions and what they feel on this issue,” he said (here), “and we are not talking necessarily about forcing religions to marry same-sex people in their synagogues and churches and temples. But what we are saying is that there should be equality. If I want to marry my same-sex partner then I should be allowed to do that.”

Did you notice that all-important missing word? I checked with other media reports of his speech and it was missing in those too. So I’m confident he didn’t say it: “Mosques”.

Why not same-sex marriages in mosques as well as “synagogues, churches and temples”? Did Paddick simply forget about Islam? That’s unlikely as the politically correct like Paddick are hard-wired for inclusion; to exclude a significant minority group – especially the Muslim community – is a mortal sin in our multi-cultural society.

I reckon the best explanation comes from outspoken atheist, leading commentator and fellow gay, Johann Hari: Paddick left out “mosques” because of Fear, the elephant in the room wherever Islam raises its head.

A couple of years ago Hari publicly identified this elephant and with stunning honesty admitted to his own cowardice, confessing that considerations of personal safety had tempered his comments about Islam, especially when compared with his scathing attacks on Christianity (here). Hari describes the elephant as a “pincer movement trying to silence critical discussion of Islam. To one side, fanatics threaten to kill you; to the other, critics call you ‘Islamophobic’”.

So fear of Islamic violence or verbal abuse shuts down public debate. In the liberal mainstream Islam is ring-fenced and protected against challenge, in this case over marriage in mosques. Judaism, Christianity, even Hinduism can be confronted, but not the ‘religion of peace’.

Like I said, sometimes it’s what is not said that is most instructive. And we’ve learnt that even the former boy-in-blue ex-Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick can be silenced by fear. Presumably Hari would accuse him of cowardice too.

The Beeb Bites Back – From The Graveyard

In my last post I laid into the BBC for aiding and orchestrating the dominant social-liberal agenda. Now the BBC has bitten back. TV journalist John Ware has produced a couple of BBC 2 programmes, The Death of Respect (here), the first of which was broadcast last Thursday. In them he tracks changes to British values and behaviour over the past 50 years.Ware distances himself from the easy cost-free optimism of the liberals: “You may be one of those who pats the nation on the head and says, ‘There there, don’t panic. We’re not all going to hell in a handcart’,” he said before stating emphatically, “I am not.”

There was lots of informative stuff in the first programme, including highlighting the shame of increased poverty for many despite our apparently growing national prosperity. But what interested me on this occasion was how the melt-down of the family is clearly shown to be the cause of so much social dysfunction.

crying-child1Listen to these conclusions from the programme: “Marriage is the most successful arrangement we have yet discovered for raising children” and “The consequence of children growing up in single parent families have been profound – a huge increase in emotional and behavioural problems and a welfare bill that just keeps growing.” And this from the BBC! And from John Ware, himself a divorcee he tells us.

The Christian Peoples Alliance has been saying exactly the same for years of course and I ran in the London Mayor election last year on such a platform: “Promoting marriage and the stable family as a long-term solution to youth crime, educational under-achievement and child poverty” was our top policy priority. The evidence for marriage is utterly overwhelming for those with eyes to see. But policy-makers at the Home Office and elsewhere are so locked into their blinkered liberal mindset that they cannot acknowledge the truth when it hits them on the nose.

However it seems the Beeb has now done us a public service and helped get the story out.

Or has it? Ware’s programmes are broadcast on Thursday evenings – at 11.20pm. Yup, the BBC has given these quality programmes a graveyard slot. Now I’m not naturally cynical or suspicious, but maybe my original strictures about BBC bias were not too far wrong after all. The programme schedulers have effectively buried The Death of Respect.

So it’ll have to be another late night for me on Thursday.