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Prime Minister Liz Truss, apologises for making mistakes

Prime Minister Liz Truss, desperately trying to save her job in an exclusive interviewee early this evening ( 17 October 2022)  she tells BBC Chris Mason, she was determined to lead the conservative Party to the next election in  2024; and she said she was sorry for thousands of British people having to see their mortgage payments go up. She admits to making mistake.  

“ I do want to accept responsibility and say sorry, for the mistakes that have been made. I wanted to act but to help people with their energy bills to deal with the issue of high taxes, but we went too far and too fast. ” Said Liz Truss in response to Masons’ questions on who was to blame for this mess? “  I’ve acknowledged that. I put in place a new chancellor with a new strategy to restore economic stability. And now what I’m focused on is delivering for the public, whether that’s delivering on our energy price guarantee and we’ve made sure people are only paying a typical household £2500  but also delivering on the promise of growth, making sure we’re delivering on the roads, the broadband, the mobile phone signal, all of those things which is going to help our economies succeed.”

 Challenged by Mason that her very vision for Britain was dead, she said that she was

focused on delivering on energy supplies, on delivering new roads, new opportunities across our country. “We have to make sure though, that we have economic stability, and that has to be my priority as prime minister. I’ve acted in the national interest. I remain committed to the vision, but we will have to deliver that in a different way. And that’s what I’m determined to do. With the new chancellor Jeremy Hunt.”

 On her  ‘belittling of Treasury orthodoxy’ she said “…. we have to, of course, make sure we have economic stability as a country, and it was my responsibility as prime minister to take the tough decision and make sure we delivered that. We also need higher longer term growth and that’s vitally important to fund our national health service, to make sure families are able to succeed, to make sure we’re able to afford a great education system. .” However,  she  admits to getting a few thigs wrong  “But I recognise that we did act too fast, and that’s why I’ve adjusted what we’re doing and I do think it is the mark of an honest politician who does say, yes, I’ve made a mistake. I’ve addressed that mistake. And now we need to deliver for people, you known what we’ve said we’ll deliver.”

Mason  asked whether she still believed what she believed before, in what she said  ‘in those hustings’,  ‘ the kind of conservative philosophy, even though it didn’t work?’

She said she still believed  in a high growth low tax economy.  “What I recognise though is we do face very difficult circumstances at the moment. We’ve got rising interest rates across the world. We’ve got the war in Ukraine, perpetrated by Putin and what we had to do, and what I had to take the decision as prime minister to do, is make sure we acted to protect economic stability. Now, I do believe we need to get things in Britain moving faster, to help grow our economy. I want to get on with the road projects, the infrastructure we need the new energy supplies we need because we become far too dependent on global energy prices. But I recognise we did act too far and too fast and I’ve made the necessary adjustments to that.”

Was Rishi Sunak right all along, then?, Mason asked .

 “We had a very robust leadership campaign this summer where we debated ideas, we debated philosophy.” Truss said.

 Was Sunak proven right?

 “ I’m committed to a low tax high growth economy, but I have to reflect the real issues we face and my responsibility as prime minister is making sure that we have economic stability, that we protect people’s jobs. We’ve got the lowest unemployment since 1974. And we get through this very difficult winter. What I have delivered is we’ve already reversed the National Insurance increase which is important for families. We’ve also delivered on the energy price guarantee. Yes, Chris. I couldn’t deliver everything I wanted, “ she said .

But Mason challenged her on ditching everything.  

“ I delivered the energy price guarantee and the National Insurance and we will continue to work to deliver economic growth for our country. This week we’re introducing new legislation to make sure that we have smooth running rail services and that commuters can get into work and we were dealing with militant unions. So we will continue to deliver our agenda. “ was her reply .

Chris Mason  then asked : ‘

You talk about the energy package and that’s been the crutch if you like that you’ve leant on in the last couple of weeks when you faced difficult questions, proudly saying that it was bigger and bolder than Labour’s and yet that shrivelled as well, that hasn’t survived contact with the new chancellor?’

“this winter families will be protected, they won’t be paying the up to £6000 bills that they were facing. Now a typical household will pay no more than £2500 and we are putting that protection. ”

 On long term reassurance to families, Truss said  “ I can can reassure people off is that the most vulnerable will be protected into next winter. We’re looking at exactly how we can do that. And being in government is always about a balance or being able to make those decisions but I also have to think about and the chancellor has to think about economic stability. So we will make sure those households who are struggling, do have that support into next winter. We’ll be saying more about that in due course. Families will be protected this winter from those very very high bills. And as I’ve said, given the worsening conditions, we do have to make sure that we maintain economic stability that that has to be a priority.”

 And on massive increases in mortgage payments?

Well, look, I understand it is very difficult for families across the country.

and the fact is we are facing, face a difficult economic situation internationally where interest rates are rising, as well as pressure here in Britain.”

 Ditching that her policies made it worse,  Truss said “ what we’ve been through over the last few years is a very low interest rate world and that is changing and that is changing across the globe.”  And the same went for bills, Mason asked. That got her to apologise

“Well, first of all I have said sorry for the fact that we did act too far. We went too far and too fast… The reason I did that was to make sure that we were dealing with the immediate issue of the energy crisis. And we did help people with their energy bills. Now interest rates are a matter for the Bank of England. They are rising internationally. We will do what we can to help families, I’m particularly focused on helping the most vulnerable families. But we are in a difficult situation as a country and this difficult situation is being faced around the world. And we’ve had to adjust our policies as a consequence Chris.”

Mason  :  ‘ what do you say to people who say that you are now a prime minister in name only, that you’ve had to junk almost your entire plan, the very thing that you were elected upon you and you now have a chancellor who is executing a plan that’s a million miles away from your own and you have acknowledged that what you’ve had to pause, what you’ve had to stop is still what you really believe. You’re now leading a government that’s executing an agenda that you don’t even believe in.’

Truss  “ Well, I appointed the chancellor because I knew that we had to pursue these policies. I knew that we had to act to protect economic stability, and that’s why I appointed Jeremy Hunt. I’d been working very closely with the chancellor over the last few days to make sure that we have the right package in place, but it would have been completely irresponsible for me not to act in the national interest in the way where I have. I am somebody who’s honest. I’ve said that mistakes were made. But I’ve also acted to address that to make sure the country is in a strong position. And that’s what I will continue to do as prime minister.”

Chris Mason  ‘ Can you convince our listener and viewer that you have credibility still as Prime Minister because a reasonable minded observer might wonder from here on in, whether they can believe what you’re saying because so much of what you’ve said in your early weeks in office has been binned?’

Truss “ I’ve been absolutely honest about what I want to achieve for this country. I want us to be a country that has higher growth, where people can benefit from more opportunities across the country. I’ve also been honest that we’re facing a very difficult economic situation. So we’ve had to change our ways of achieving that and it will take longer. I mean we did go too far and too fast. But we are delivering, you know, we’re delivering on energy prices for people this winter. We’re delivering on minimum services on railways, we’re delivering on our speeded up road projects, we’re delivering on reversing national insurance. So yes, I have been honest with the public about what we’ve needed to change because of the circumstances. But I am completely committed to delivering for this country, and that’s why I’m in the job. That’s why I get up each morning, Chris is because I want this country to be a better place where everybody has opportunities and everyone can succeed, that’s what motivates me.”

Chris Mason ‘ People will say look, we all change our minds, all Prime Minister’s change their minds, but this is a wave of U-turns, unprecedented in scale and speed. Do you feel humiliated?’

Truss “ I feel first of all, that I did make mistakes and I’ve been upfront and honest about that. But what I’m spending my time thinking about Chris is about how we deal with the situation and how we deliver for the public. That’s what motivates me and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. I care deeply about this country. I care deeply about our success. Because I know what that success means for people it means the difference between having a job and not having a job, it means the difference between being able to feed your family or not being able to feed your family, and that’s that’s what motivates me and what I’m doing. Yes, it hasn’t been perfect. It’s been a difficult time and I think we did an interview before I got the job and I said it was going to be tough because of the circumstances we’re facing as a country. I was expecting it to be tough, and it has been tough. I think it’s fair to say. “

Chris Mason : ‘ Let me read you some of what your own MPs have told me about what’s been going on – ‘it’s checkmate were stuffed’. ‘It’s dire. They’ve taken no responsibility for hiking mortgage rates’. ‘We’re all done for.’ These are your own colleagues. What do you say to them because they’re convinced that as a result of your actions, they and your party are going to lose?’

Truss “ What I say to them is that we should be focusing on the people of the United Kingdom and how we deliver for them. We were elected on the Conservative manifesto in 2019 to level up our country, to provide more opportunities, to deliver for our public services. That’s what I’m focused on doing. And I don’t think people want to hear about internal discussions in the Conservative Party. I think people recognise that we are facing a very serious situation internationally, that there are serious economic headwinds, and they want a government and a Conservative Party that deals with that.”

Chris Mason ‘

Tell me about the sacking of Kwasi Kwarteng. You were longstanding friends from the same if you like wing of the Conservative Party, finally being able to deliver your vision of conservatism and he’s out the door in weeks. What impact did that have having to fire him?’

Truss “ Look, it was a it was a very tough decision. It was painful and Kwasi is a friend of mine, but I’ve been put in this job. I was elected by Conservative party members I was elected to deliver for this country and ultimately I have to make those decisions about what the right thing to do was, and I have made the right decision. It was right that we changed policy. It’s right, that we have a new chancellor. And now what I’m determined to do is make sure that works.”

Chris Mason ‘

Are you sticking around because you want to stick around or because you’ve waiting for your party to find a successor?’

Liz Truss “ I’m sticking around because I was elected to deliver for this country. And that is what I am determined to do. And he next general election; Well look, yeah, (laughs) I’m not focused on internal debates within the Conservative Party. The important thing is that I’ve been elected to this position to deliver for the country. We are facing very tough times. We simply cannot afford to spend our time talking about the Conservative Party, rather than what we need to deliver. That is my message to my colleagues. What I’m worried about is delivering for the people of Britain.”

Chris Mason ‘ You must have had moments in the last few weeks given the scale the swirl of noise that you felt, we’ve all felt at Westminster, amongst your own colleagues, the deep sense of unrest, the deep sense of concern that because of your decisions, the fear among so many Conservative MPs is your party’s going to lose and lose big time in the next general election. And they blame you for that.’

 Truss  “  Well my message to my colleagues is yes, I completely acknowledge that there have been mistakes. I have acted swiftly to fix those mistakes. I’ve been honest about what those mistakes were. And what we now need to do is move forward and deliver for the country because that’s ultimately, that’s ultimately what people care about. People care about us delivering and that’s what we as elected politicians need to focus on. I will stay in the job to deliver for the national interest

Observations on Kuwait Parliamentary Elections 2022

Kuwaitis voted to replace over half of their MPs in the country’s 50-member National Assembly and elected two women to the legislature last Thursday (29 September 2022); Kuwaitis voted to replace over half of their MPs in the country’s 50-member National Assembly and elected two women to the legislature last Thursday (29 September 2022); while only two women were elected. only two women were elected.

The new Kuwaiti National Assembly    will include 27 new members, around a dozen of whom were part of previous parliaments. Although twenty two women stood and many of whom received a high percentage of votes, only two were elected. The previous parliament, dissolved after a stand off with government over budget and mass protests led by women, were all male since December 2020 when the only female MP lost her seat in a byelection.

The country’s Shia sect strengthened its position in the new parliament increasing their share to 18 percent ( from six to nine seats). The ultra-conservative Islamic Constitutional Movement also made good gains while the tribes MPs share declined to 46 per cent after losing six of their 29 seats. Younger candidates are on the increase, according to local media observers continuing the trend of the last parliament elected two years ago.

However, many doubt whether the new parliament will change the awkward three way lock between the ruling Sabah family, their appointed executive cabinet ( 16 members. 15 of whom can also sit in the Assembly )  and the elected 50 MPs that has often played the role of opposition. This customary deadlock with the cabinet, which has delayed the approval of a state budget for the fiscal year 2022/2023 and other economic reforms, is unlikely to get any better. The budget, which has to be voted on before November, had set spending at 23.65 billion dinars ($77.2 billion) compared with 23.48 billion for the 2021/2022 budget. But observers are not too optimistic about ending the stand-off. Political analyst Naser al-Abdali, told Reuters news agency the rise of MPs from Islamist movements in these elections will have a great impact in the next National Assembly.

It is worth noting a few other observations I made during a four day to the oil rich OPEC member country, which had the first elected parliament in the Arabian Peninsula.  

Hardly any of the candidates during the campaign bothered with regional or security issues, since all were campaigning on local demands; which, apparently, is a healthy phenomenon; however, I noticed that Middle Eastern reporters saying candidates not taking grave regional, and international issues seriously. But it is worth bearing in mind the that the parliament, in general, has little say in foreign policy or defence under the current constitution.

The slogan, or the catchphrase of this election season, endlessly repeated in the state media and copied by the independent outlets, was ‘correcting [ or readjusting] the path’ : ” تصحيح المسار… This was a bold statement indicating that the previous  ( dissolved ) parliament and the way it was performing and the process of electing it had gone wrong somehow; although there has been no change in the electoral law, this is something up to the parliament itself to address. But with an assembly with a majority opposing the government reforms, little is likely to be corrected in order to push the process on the desired path.

At the international press centre, the TV tape put on loop on the election channel was about the resistance during the 1990-1991 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, and the ‘martyrs’ especially women murdered by the Iraqis. This was a departure from the visual and TV message in previous elections, thus the emphasis was on regional threats and security.

Since it is government controlled press centre, this is likely to reflect government and state strategic thinking in forming the next government and sending this message out as what  should be the priority and what emphasise they should put.  on the list of priorities

 speaking with senior Kuwaiti politicians and diplomats ( both  in office and in experience of long serving in office ) , they emphasise that ‘ national security is a prime issue that has been ” neglected ” for two decades . Although they did not spell out directly where is the threat coming from; western diplomats I managed to meet suggest they see now threat from Iraq and Iran as ‘ one  threat with two heads’.

Furthermore, what I managed to glean, was a strong desire (some said ‘determination ‘ )  from the top, to go back to the traditional Kuwaiti doctrine of security through a bilateral defence pact with a superpower .  They prefer this superpower to be America (since UK , the traditional ally ,  can’t afford it any more, as one veteran Kuwaiti diplomat  put it ) but they are also weary and suspicious of the USA commitment during  the Biden democratic administration , thus they hope for a republican administration and a major British role  . Some senior Kuwaiti diplomats  were critical of the regional policy ( which they saw as inseparable from national security)  of  the late Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad (1929-2020) who ruled for fourteen years, who carried a deep Pan-Arabism sentiment  with some unrealistic expectations (, and being  too involved, some said) in  in Pan-Arab commitment,. Some said his obsession with the idea of collective Arab interest and security through collective Arab solidarity was neither realistic nor healthy. Veteran Kuwaiti politicians who were involved in the country’s  defence and foreign policy for decades, and some were active in the resistance during Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait thirty years ago, emphasised that ‘ Kuwait must prioritise its national interests, mostly security regionally and internally’.  Given that those officials and diplomats are still in office; I take it that this must have got some official approval from the top.  This explains that lack of multiple Arab flags at the entrance of the hotel where world media has been packed into a national press centre; and also the loop tape emphasising the dangers and  ” list of martyrs ( mostly women) ” and sacrifices during the Kuwait invasion by Iraq .  However, the question remains – how much this message is taken in by ministers and officials and fully understood, especially the message of ” correcting the path ” ?

Media and many officials still mouth the old clichés… even top officials briefing the foreign press where using clichés that only a new independent third world country would raise when they hold elections for the first time . Meanwhile the secretary general of Parliament (-

 I guess the equivalent to the  Clerk of  the House of Commons- )  was emphasising something different with his modernisation focusing on administrative and MPs services  issues. The Assembly set accommodations like the US congress, where the MPs can physically sleep in, and good space for each member’s staff and researchers. However the new MPs quarters’ design resembles portcullis House, but smaller and half a circle shape with the other half into another building  with large auditorium and modern digitalised reactive screens and other facilities including members library- and there is no traditional vote office like in Westminster. There was a talk about bringing  back a veteran parliamentarian, the  retired speaker Ahmad al-Sadoun ( speaker 1985-1999 and Feb-June 2012 ) who, in 2012,  resigned his post declaring that the elections were invalid. The hope was Sadoun would help reform the electoral law ( ie from each voter voting for a single candidate, they would give a list of preference  of four candidates ) , the idea was to combat tactical voting via bribing constituents with lavish gifts and grants Strangely there is no ceiling of how much a candidate could spend on their campaign.

Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, 1989 revisited

Just a reminder of how the Islamists are thirsting for Salman Rushdie’s blood ( and for anyone’s who dare to think ); and how did we get there. Here are some of what I remember from various reports and reviews I published in 1988 and 1989 .

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Rushdie with his  book The Satanic Verses

 The 1988 (September) published The Satanic Verses , part historical , novel ( by Viking-Penguin) was contemporary to the 1980s and the decade’s social and political events and events. It was a satirical criticism of Thatcher’s Britain, strongly anti-racist, anti-colonial and dealt with the issues of  of migrants and how they lived in cultural ghettos. The book was specifically about Britain of the 1980s. The novel’s narrative is set by turns in the London of Conservative Government that came to power in 1979 led  by Margaret Thatcher (1925-1013) which Rushdie calls in the novel ‘ Mrs Torture ‘ – this is the conscious realism part- and the second ‘ location (if we can it as such) the imaginary   ancient desert city of Jahiliyah ( interpreted as Mecca), taken by Muslims as their  holiest site. The bits relating to the latter location is  an imaginary time and place ( many interpreted as Arabia in the seventh century during Muhammad’s conflict with the merchants Mecca who were resisting his teaching as they thought it was bad for their trade. The latter location’s events was part of a dream of the two main characters; the dream of Gibreel Farishta, a movie star in Bollywood. The other was the English educated very British Saladin Shamsha. Their hijacked plane explodes over the English Channel. They survive the blast and fall from the sky and re-emerge on an English beach and mix with immigrants in London, the story unfolding in surreal sequences reflecting Rushdie’s magic realism style. Saladin later grows horns metamorphosing into a Satan-like creature, and hides with a self-isolating Muslim family in Brick Lane. Sofian the former school teachers in India reduced to helping hand in his wife, Hind’s restaurant. Sofian and Hind, seventh century Mecca aristocratic couple, are prominent figures in Muslim history.

Salman Rushdi
Rushdie used a story from Early Islamic history to symbolise the leader’s dilemma in appeasing radicals and trying to be pragmatic

Rushdie’s narrative employs a story from Islamic faith early history ( the 7th century satanic verses from the Quran 53d Chapter the al-Najm/Nagm Surah ( or swrat) or The Star Chapter . The Quran is believed by Muslims to be words of their god, Allah, delivered, as revelation, to Muhammed by the archangel Gibreer ( Gebril) . Rushdie uses this story  to symbolise the Neil Kinnock ( the then leader of HM opposition) dilemma of choosing between the radical left in the 1980s labour party and the pragmatic centre to get elected . The story of Muslim historic references to the satanic verses as recorded by Muslim historians and scholars was interpreted as a compromise that Muhammed reached with the ruling elite in Mecca to elevate three of their goddesses ( Al-lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat ) to the status of ” Allah’s daughters”,  which achieved a temporary short lived peace in Mecca. But the radical wing of the movement, when the Mohammed followers got stronger rejected that compromise based on an earlier lesson he preached them that Allah was a monolithic deity  with no siblings, offspring or relatives. In response, Muhammed then said it was Satan that put those words on his tongue hence known as the “satanic verses” by historians . The whole section about Mecca and the prophet Mahound’s mission (Muslims interpreted as it was Mohammed ) was a dream in the head of Farishta ( the name means Angel, hence Gibreel Farishta) . So, the personae, and events were all symbolic and nothing really about Islam except in the terms of the patrician of India and the revolutionary radicals against the pragmatists . Ironically, the first nation to ban the Satanic Verses was his birthplace India by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (1944-1991), immediately after Pretoria banned it and and cancelled Rushdie’s visa. He was supposed to be visiting apartheid South Africa to give some lectures on the subject of “racism as a legacy of colonialism.” The South African regime came up with the excuse that the novel disrespected Muslims (before Muslims thought of it ) and cancelled his visa and banned the book.

Gandhi banned the book in October 1988 to attract Muslim voters before elections

Indian politics also played a large part in this, when Prime Minster Gandhi  banned the book from India in October 1988, ahead of  elections . The reason was a it had become an issue in a by-election in Tamil Nadu who the congress party candidate used it successfully to win the constituency.

The others jumped on the bandwagon ; another 20 countries followed India in banning the book and declaring that Rushdie would be banned from entering their countries. It is worth noting that hardly any of protestors who burnt the book in public bothered to read it. The novel is a gigantic effort with a massive amount  of research    ( the satanic verses event of the 7th century AD was a subject of Rushdie’s essay for his master at Cambridge ). Although the novel itself, as a work of fiction and satirising contemporary politics by drawing on real events is quite remarkable literary work, you also need a vast knowledge of Indian culture, Bollywood industry as a national institution, the history of sectarian conflict and partition of India; also detailed knowledge of Islamic scholars’ studies of the early conflicts between the revolutionary Mohammed mission and his followers on one side, and with the establishment in Mecca on on the other, and of course a detailed knowledge of British politics in the 1980s, the split in the labour party and the decline of inner cities in UK.  It is in this context and the vast complex subjects the novel dealt with, some might find book and some might find it overbearing or uninteresting. Others, familiar with Rushdie magical world, his style of writing and interested in one or more of those issues, couldn’t put the book down.

The late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini (1902-1989) only targeted Rushdie after  other countries competing for influence among British Muslims ( Pakistan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and other lesser players ) funded groups started the protests .

In February 1989, thousands of Pakistanis attacked the US Information Centre in Islamabad, shouting “American dogs” and “hang Salman Rushdie”. Police opened fire, killing five. Radical Shia’s told Khomeini of the incident and that there was  a section in the Satanic Verses depicting an Imam exiled  in London who was plotting against the empress in his home country, which they interpreted as Rushdie’s ridiculing him. The Fatwa came in February 1989.

To understand how the protests started in UK, specifically in the towns with Muslim populations, one needs to put it in context of the time . There was a case of blasphemy tried in English courts 10 years earlier that was launched by Dame Mary Whitehouse CBE (1910-2001) . The Mary Whitehouse winning the blasphemy case ( 11 July 1977) against Gay News was ( and still is abroad) has been quoted at the time as precedent to incite agitation and protest .

Bradford Protest
In January 1989 Muslim protesters publicly burnt The Satanic Verses in Bradford , England UK

 The first burning of the book in Bradford was January 1989 (a month before Khomeini’s fatwa ) was, allegedly , in response to CPO  rejecting a petition from some self-styled Muslim committee ( later evolved into the Muslim Council of Great Britain) to ban the book and put Viking-Penguin books and Rushdie on trial for blasphemy citing Whitehouse V. Gay News ( blasphemy laws weren’t abolished in England & Wales until My 2008) .

Khomeini’s fatwa provoked horror around the Western world.

There were protests in Europe, and London and Tehran broke off diplomatic relations for nearly two years.

Although there were attempts to find a compromise with the Iranians and other Muslim countries, especially those having big trade deals, there were also many of us supporting Rushdie and urging for protecting Freedom of Speech.   

A few of us were warning about the long-term implications if we bowed to the mob calling for censorship . We organised a big event at the Conway Hall in spring 1989 when Radical Islamists had already flown abroad to Lebanon and some to Iran to meet with Hezbollah and Khamenei’s men . At the same time people like Kelim Sadiqi and the like were funded by Islamist institutions from abroad, and the six years Gulf war between Iran and Arabs and USA backed Iran that ended in summer, found a new cultural and social battle ground in UK as rivalry between Shia and Sunni heated up. Rich powerful Sunni Arab originations  & Iran’s proxies would fund and exploit the ( some true, some imaginary and some made up) grievances voiced by some British Muslims ( most of them were living in cultural ghettos isolated from mainstream British culture and society). The players included Egyptian, Turkish. Libyan and UAE intelligence too were funding Islamic centres and Islamic activists in UK . The Conway Hall event was significant as we had a long list of artists, musicians, writers and poets from various faiths ( at least five or may be six) and ethnic background. ( UK, USA, Australia, Sudan, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Israel, Iran, India etc) as well as reading from the Satanic Verses we also deliberately told blasphemous jokes and verses. The faiths that weren’t present on the stage, audience from other faiths participated with their blasphemy. It was successful; and largely ignored by BBC and other left-wing media which surprisingly were more sympathetic to  Muslims than backing the principles of free expression. There are complicated reasons for such bias but I will mention two main ones : The left wing media and BBC were anti-Tory seeing them as too pro-Saudi Arabia ( the main reason Thatcher Government was a bit hesitant ) ; and the left were pushing the idea of multicultural society ( I am very much against this concept which deepens division and prevents integration and assimilation since we are multiracial or multi-ethnics but we should be all under one culture called British culture ) . During the Conway hall event; there were loud protests (but verbal and largely non-abusive) from mostly younger Muslims . When I challenged them to discuss any specific passages in The Satanic Verses that upset them, it turned out that none of them has read the book. Back in 1988-1989,  there was very few of us who were thinking of the long-term implications if the protesters got away with it . I was right. Self-censorship ( also known as political correctness) , thought police ( the police forces now investigate more of alleged ‘ hate speech’ on twitter than they do robberies and car theft ) and the cancel culture.

Francophone Egyptian philosopher Taha Hussein whose book cast doubt on the authenticity of the Quran

The worst of all:  You cannot publish a book like The Satanic Verses today or like the 1926 Taha Hussein’s “fi-el-Sher El Gaheli ” ( on pre-Islamic Poetry) . in which the great francophone Egyptian thinker and writer argued that some pre-Islamic poetry was inauthentic, and cast doubt on the authenticity of the Quran. ( by the way the Azhar – which is the de-facto official Muslim church in Egypt) tried via the courts to ban the book and charge Dr Hussein with incitement of hatred against Islam. Egyptian Courts at the time threw out the case on the ground that ‘ courts aren’t the place nor the institution to rule on academic and literary works ‘. The outcome today will be different. Not only British publishers won’t touch a book like The Satanic Verses , they wont even dare to discuss  publishing a book that the courts in Egypt praised  100 years ago… Hence when you start on the slippery slope of censorship, the entire foundation of our civilisation could be washed away when the drip-drip- of being ‘ sensitive to cultural difference ‘ (another expression for intolerance generated self-censorship) turns into a flood, then turns into a tsunami. Just think now of un-platforming, banning speakers from universities campuses, the cancel culture, the Orwellian rewriting of history and BBC & CO blacklisting guest commentators who dare to question the prevailing orthodoxy ( as dictated by the loudest lynch-mobs favoured by MSM ) . Sorry to sound gloomy, in post 1984 Britain ,but, as the cliché goes ‘ we saw it coming 40 years ago but the captain placed the spyglass on his patched eye !’

FCDO minister Wendy Morton in Evidence Session 13 July

Foreign and Commonwealth Office ( and international development) minister, Wendy Morton, (who is undersecretary of state for foreign affairs), is expected to give evidence on Tuesday 13 July (13:30 GMT) to the Foreign Affairs Committee, as the final evidence session in the committee inquiry into global health security.

The session is the final one a series of sessions that started in March this year and was followed on 30 April and 22 June as part of the committee inquiry into global health security.

Those participants are:  

  • Wendy Morton – Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas, FCDO
  • Darren Welch – Director of Global Health, FCDO
  • Robert Tinline – Director for Covid-19, FCDO

The Committee is expected to discuss the lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic, and the prospects of reform to the World Health Organisation (WHO) following criticism of its handling of the pandemic. The session will likely cover the impact of the merger between the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), and recent aid cuts. Additionally, the Committee is likely to explore concerns over disinformation and vaccine diplomacy, particularly in relation to Russia and China. The Committee will hear from Minister Wendy Morton, and officials Rob Tinline and Darren Welch.

Wendy Morton is the Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). Her responsibilities include health, global health security, multilateral health organisations including the WHO, and international organisations such as the Global Fund and GAVI. Wendy was appointed as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the FCO and DFID in February 2020. She was elected as an MP in 2015.

Tom Tugendhat (Chair) (Tonbridge and Malling), Conservative; Chris Bryant (Rhondda), Labour; Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark), Labour; Alicia Kearns (Rutland and Melton), Conservative; Stewart Malcolm McDonald (Glasgow South), Scottish National Party; Andrew Rosindell (Romford), Conservative; Bob Seely (Isle of Wight), Conservative; Henry Smith (Crawley), Conservative; Royston Smith (Southampton, Itchen), Conservative; Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton), Labour; Claudia Webbe (Leicester East), Independent.

Ending the Eviction Ban for Rent Arrears is a Crisis of the Government own making

The latest report from Joseph Rowntree Foundation after a large-scale survey reveals that around 400,000 renting households have either been served an eviction notice or have been told they may be evicted, when the eviction (for rent arrears) ends Monday 1 June, is disturbing, but this is not the full picture especially with mostly leftwing-liberal media demonising landlords .
But the picture is far from what you read in the Guardian or hear on the BBC. It is a complex picture. The majority of landlords are small investors, heavily mortgaged., and the gross income from the property is not much higher than the average income before the British taxpayer starts paying tax, while more than half of landlords’ investment is actually their pension . The crisis if of the treasury and the local authorities making and could have been avoided had they paid the rent directly to the landlords and deducted from the tenants’ benefits.

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A Palestinian’s take on the current Hamas operations

 An Open Letter to My Palestinian Brethren

by Bassem Eid
Special to IPT News,May 19, 2021

with misinformation, and unclear picture on what is going on in the tragic escalation between Israel and the extremest Islamist group Hamas, many people left with the impression that the conflicts is between Israel and the whole Palestinian people. This is far from the truth and doesn’t reflect reality. Hamas do not represent the Palestinian people. Fed up with the misinformation, Bassem Eid,   a Jerusalem-based Palestinian political analyst, human rights pioneer and expert commentator on Arab and Palestinian affairs, sends a open letter to his people to warn them about Hamas hijacking their cause and spreading fake news (Standfirts by InsideUkPolitics Blog)

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Israel/Gaza Conflict: Facts left out by Media

There is more to the Israel/Hamas conflict and tragic loss of life than meets the eye. There is a  great deal of facts left out by the mainstream media. I was a foreign correspondent, covered that region from the time of the six-day war (1967) to the late 1990s. There is a great deal of misinformation by liberal/left groupthink locked media.

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UK Government and Valneva confirm multi-million-pound up-front investment in Livingston manufacturing facility, following agreement to secure 60 million coronavirus vaccine doses. The Valneva’s site in Livingston will manufacture the vaccine, supporting the jobs of more than 100 highly-skilled scientists and technicians. The  Latest deal follows a number of agreements to procure millions of doses of vaccines, ensuring the greatest possible chance of securing access to a safe and effective vaccine.

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Egypt’s Mubarak left a mixed legacy, mostly negative.

Hosny Mubarak who was fourth president of Egypt for thirty years left a mixed legacy. He opened the door for changing the personality cult of a president and improved economy; regionally he played a major role in 1990 in building Egypt lead regional coalition forces to liberate Kuwait and was one of several architects who helped the Palestinians and Israelis to reach a peace agreement in 1993.

Interviewing President Mubarak, Qubbah Palace, Cairo 1988. But he was responsible for wide corruption and ending 160 years of modernity paving the way for the islamisation of Egypt and ending secular liberalism. I met him several times and this is my personal view as a historian .

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HM Government in Full 2020

Prime Minister Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, elected December 2019, 365 MPs Majority 44 to pass bills.

Boris Johnson cabinet 14 February 2020

No 10 take more control of the Treasury and other departments. Rising star Rishi Sunak the new Chancellor of the exchequer, Suella Braverman Attorney General, want yo reform Judiciary relationship with westminster, John Whittingdale back in digital media culture and sport  to keep an eye on the BBc and he is a strong believer in Free Speech, former army officer James Cleverly who did a great job as Chairman of the party is now a Min of State at Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will bring fresh experience especially he is jointly in charge of dept of international development.

Government Departments: Continue reading