Tonge Gone

3 03 2012

Category: Politics, Middle East

So, Jenny Tonge has been set adrift from the Liberal Democrats, as I predicted – see here for more on Jenny Tonge and the Liberal Democrats.

The story was carried on Radio 4 with an interview with Tonge and  little context or background – listen here to the honey-tongued hatemonger. Read the rest of this entry »





People in Glass Houses

21 06 2011

Category; Middle East, Media

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles has been giving lectures on Western morality recently, and explaining that the West does not have the moral authority to condemn Arab dictators:

 …the West no longer has the moral high ground in the way that perhaps it did in the Middle East…we cannot really preach to the Arab world, we cannot really be seen to have the moral force we need… (BBC Newsnight, 15 June 2011)

He’s the sort of person who might think twice before lecturing others on morality on national television. But he’s also the sort of person who ought not to be invited onto news programmes as a neutral expert. Read the rest of this entry »





Why the Middle East should remind us of the Falklands

28 01 2011

Category; Middle East, Politics

Almost 30 years ago an Argentinian military oligarchy went to war with Britain over the Falkland Islands to divert its people from domestic issues.

Those same pressures are at work in the Middle East today and we should be concerned.

Read the rest of this entry »





Don’t tell the Minister…

15 09 2010

Category: anti-semitism, Media, Middle East, Politics

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has revealed he knew nothing about EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht’s comments about irrational Jews and the Jewish Lobby.

Louise Ellman MP asked whether he’d heard them during Foreign Office Questions in Parliament. He hadn’t. Hague knew nothing at all about de Gucht’s comments.

He certainly wouldn’t have heard them from the BBC, which decided not to report the matter. It now appears the Foreign Office decided to leave it off ministerial briefings too. Click on ‘read the rest’ to read the exchange… Read the rest of this entry »





All the news that’s fit to ignore

5 09 2010

Category: Media, Middle East, Politics, Anti-Semitism

Peter Hitchens, writing today, has a bee in his bonnet about the BBC;

The BBC remains reliably pro-EU, pro-PC, anti-Israel…

An example he might have pointed out was the BBC’s coverage of the remarks by EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht. On 2nd Spetember de Gucht said on Belgian radio that Jews are not rational and cannot be reasoned with when it comes to the Middle East. He also said that America is in the grip of the Jewish lobby.

Hardly surprisingly the remarks sparked a storm of protest and condemnation, especially coming a few days after a German Bundesbank board member said that Jews have a gene that distinguishes them from others.

The EU Trade Commissioner is one of the most important figures not just in Europe but the world; representing Europe in discussions and negotiations involving the global economy.

So what was wrong with the way the BBC handled de Gucht’s comments?

They didn’t. They covered them in no way at all. Read the rest of this entry »





Rowan Laxton Retrial

25 03 2010

Category: anti-semitism, criminal law, middle east, rowan laxton


To call Rowan Laxton’s second trial an ‘appeal’ could sound misleading. It was a brand new trial, from scratch. Everyone convicted in the magistrates court has the right to this. The whole case is brought again and decided on again.

I’ve had the chance to read some more about the judgment here. I’m puzzled by it.

The bench held that he either didn’t say ‘f——- Jews’ or if he did say it he didn’t think anyone would have been able to hear him.

That sounds like the sort of judgment Bishop Berkeley or Monty Python might come up with – ‘I didn’t do it, and if I did do it I didn’t think anyone would notice me doing it.’… Read the rest of this entry »





Rowan Laxton – No Conviction

24 03 2010

Category: anti-semitism, criminal law, middle east, ROWAN LAXTON

It’s ironic that minutes after publishing a post noting that Rowan Laxton had the very best legal representation there is, word came through to me that his conviction had been overturned on appeal.

The appeal was heard at Southwark Crown Court on 5th March 2010. Read the rest of this entry »





Rowan Laxton – Invisible Civil Servant

23 03 2010

Category: Anti-Semitism, Law, Middle East, Politics, Rowan Laxton

 

(Update – In March 2010 Rowan Laxton was acquitted of racially aggravated public disorder after a retrial – see here for more)

Senior Foreign Office staff are listed on the internet. Here is a chart of of the top level of the Foreign Office from July 2009 – FCO Senior Management . The spot where Rowan Laxton ought to have been (Political; South Asia) is filled by Philip Barton, listed, diplomatically, as ‘Additional Director’ because Laxton was suspended pending his trial for public disorder.

Having been convicted of that offence, Laxton returned to the Foreign Office, but to what role? We don’t know and we’re not allowed to know.

Influence

This is important because it restricts what kind of job he can be doing… Read the rest of this entry »





Rowan Laxton – Secret Official

20 01 2010

Category: Anti-Semitism, Law, Middle East, Politics, Rowan Laxton

I have had the final word from the Foreign Office on my questions about Rowan Laxton: They are not permitted to answer any of my other questions because the information I have requested is ‘personal’ and therefore beyond the scope of the FOA; it’s personal information because it relates to a person. I can’t really argue with that; the logic is flawless. However… Read the rest of this entry »





Rowan Laxton and Derek Pasquill

30 10 2009

Category: Middle East, Politics, Rowan Laxton

I was hoping that one of the after-effects of  Foreign Office senior civil servant Rowan Laxton’s conviction might be a little more transparency about the culture of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The thing that troubled me is that such views don’t come from nowhere. They don’t emerge fully formed one day in the gym. Read the rest of this entry »





Laxton in Limbo

25 10 2009

Category: Middle East, Politics, Anti-Semitism, Rowan Laxton

It’s now more than a month since Rowan Laxton was convicted and fined for his aggravated unpleasantness in a gym. (See below for details)

We still haven’t been told what the Foreign Office has decided to do with Mr Laxton (the former Head of the South Asia Group, number two in Kabul and Charges d’Affaires in Pakistan[source]). Why not?

He was suspended in February, presumably on full pay, and 9 months later we still don’t know whether they’re sacking him or putting him back to work. After almost nine months suspended on full pay his garden must be looking lovely.