Tell Mama is Britain’s most prominent opponent of anti-Muslim prejudice. It monitors everything from criminal assaults to everyday abuse. The far right loathes it, and the Conservative press sells the grotesque pretence that the group exaggerates prejudice to divert attention from the horror of Islamist violence.
But attacks from the right only wound. Tell Mama’s ‘friends’ in the Muslim community have turned out to be far more dangerous and are threatening to destroy the organisation.
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[/audioplayer]In Ukip’s Mayfair headquarters there is a copy of Banksy’s monkey with the sign around its neck: ‘Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge’. It seems appropriate. For years, Nigel Farage and his party were dismissed as a bunch of cranks.
Imagine you lived in a country which last year had 3,000 allegations of police corruption. Worse, imagine that of these 3,000 allegations only half of them were properly investigated — because for police officers in this country, corruption was becoming routine. Imagine that the police increasingly used their powers to crack down not on criminals but on anyone who dared speak out against them. What sort of a country is this? Well, it’s Britain I’m afraid — where what was once the finest, most honest service in the world is in danger of becoming rotten.
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[/audioplayer]Puccini’s doesn’t seem like George Osborne’s sort of restaurant. It is a pizza-and-pasta place in the safely Labour constituency of Salford and Eccles, Greater Manchester, most notable for the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson once took his whole squad there.
For a moment, the sound of shelling is drowned out by a thumping beat coming from a camouflaged van. ‘Separatysty [Separatists]!’ says the rousing chorus: ‘The day of your death is here!’ We are with a Ukrainian nationalist militia in a village outside Donetsk airport, which is in the hands of pro-Russian rebels, usually referred to by the Ukrainians as terorysty or bandyty. But despite their bravado, the war is not going well for the Ukrainian side.
Imagine that you have stepped back in time to the 1970s. Feminists are out on the streets of London protesting against the Miss World competitions. There you meet a sleazy men’s magazine publisher who tells you he has a new idea for getting women to show men their breasts. He’s not going to offer them money or fame like Playboy or Penthouse. No, he’s going to get them to take off their tops in the name of women’s liberation.
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[/audioplayer]Just for once, let us try this argument with an open mind, employing arithmetic and geography and going easy on the adjectives. Two great land powers face each other. One of these powers, Russia, has given up control over 700,000 square miles of valuable territory.
My first visit to Athens as a student gave me a set of impressions that the present crisis has only validated. The man designated to meet us at the airport did not turn up. I will never forget his name. It was Nic Katsoudis. So we got in a taxi anyway. It crashed twice on the way to our apartment in the Vouliagmeni resort south of the city. Once inside, the plumbing was Periclean in age if not in grandeur.