This video from England says about itself:
Video For Cats – Birds in An English Country Garden
Filmed on September 20th 2016
Video Produced by Paul Dinning – Wildlife in Cornwall
This video says about itself:
16 June 2016
The suspected murderer of British politician Jo Cox MP being arrested and treated at the scene for a head injury. Mother of 2 Jo Cox was shot and stabbed multiple times in a brutal attack while meeting members of her constituency on the 16th of June 2016. Thoughts and prayers are with her family in this tragic time that has shocked the nation.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Nazi eagle found in Mair’s home, jurors told
Tuesday 22nd November 2016
The jury was shown photos of belongings found in his home in Birstall, including books and magazines on the “theory” of white supremacy.
Police also found a double-page press cutting on Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik and a stack of papers on Ms Cox and her political history.
He denies murder, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of an offensive weapon — a dagger.
Thomas Mair convicted: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
17 June 2016
Britain is in a state of mourning after a rising star in the British Parliament died Thursday when she was stabbed and shot in her district. Jo Cox was a 41-year-old mother of two who worked at Oxfam before being elected as a Labour MP last year. She was known for her passionate support for Syrian refugees and was a member of Labour Friends of Palestine. …
During the attack, eyewitnesses said, her assassin, Thomas Mair, shouted “Britain first“—a possible reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant political party of the same name …
We speak with Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has revealed that Mair is a longtime supporter of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. He notes Mair’s attack comes on the first anniversary of when self-declared white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine people in the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Nazi regalia found at Thomas Mair´s home by police: here.
By Richard Tyler in Britain:
Trial of fascist accused of murdering UK Labour MP Jo Cox begins
19 November 2016
The trial of Thomas Mair, the fascist charged with murdering Labour Party MP Jo Cox on June 16, began this week.
Cox, who represented the Batley and Spen constituency in West Yorkshire, was shot and stabbed multiple times in broad daylight on the way to her surgery at the local library in Birstall, near Leeds.
When asked to confirm his name at an earlier hearing before the trial, Mair told the court, “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” He refused to enter a plea and the court recorded a not guilty plea.
Opening for the prosecution, Richard Whittam QC said Mair “clearly held views that provided him with a motive–utterly misplaced of course. The prosecution suggests that motive was such that he killed her because she was an MP who did not share his views.”
Whittam introduced evidence to substantiate the political nature of Cox’s killing. Police had discovered Mair had spent at least six days researching the attack on computers at the public library where Cox’s surgery was due to take place, the court heard. The day before Cox was killed, Mair had accessed several far-right websites. These included Occidental Observer, which covers “politics and society from a white nationalist and anti-Semitic perspective,” Whittam said.
Computer records from two days before the murder showed that Mair had also looked at Nazi material and had researched the effectiveness of .22 ammunition, including a site that answered the question, “Is a .22 round deadly enough to kill with one shot to a human’s head?”
His research included viewing the Wikipedia entry for the Conservative MP Ian Gow, the last parliamentarian to be murdered, who was killed by an IRA bomb in 1990.
The jury were shown CCTV footage of the vicious attack, in which passer-by Bernard Carter Kenny was also seriously injured. The 77-year-old former miner, who had intervened to try and help Cox, has recovered following surgery.
The jury were told Cox had been shot twice in the head and once in the chest using a .22 Weihrauch bolt-action weapon with its stock and most of its barrel removed, leaving it just 12 inches long. The effect was “what the pathologists describe as ‘through and through’ gunshot injuries to her hands, consistent with her hands being used to protect herself,” Whittam said. She also received 15 stab wounds to her heart, lungs, abdomen and right arm from a doubled-edged dagger with a seven-inch blade.
Although the emergency services arrived promptly and carried out an emergency operation, her injuries were too traumatic and Cox died at the scene.
Cox had arrived at the library with her constituency manager Fazila Aswat, and case-worker Sandra Major. According to Aswat, Mair approached Cox from behind, stabbing and then shooting her. He then stabbed both Cox and Carter Kenny before shooting Cox again. Aswat said she could hear Mair shouting, “Britain first, this is for Britain, Britain will always come first.”
Taxi driver Rashid Hussain, whose cab was immediately behind the car in which Cox had arrived, confronted Mair demanding that he leave Cox alone. Mair then told him, “You just go away, otherwise I’m going to stab you.”
According to Hussain, Mair said words to the effect of “Britain first”. Another witness, Jack Foster, who saw Mair shoot Cox, also says he shouted, “Britain first.”
When Mair was arrested shortly afterwards, a knife and a firearm were found in his bag. As police recovered the weapons, Mair stated, “I’m a political activist.”
When they searched his home following his arrest, police found extensive evidence of Mair’s links to fascist and far-right groups. Mair had purchased books from the US-based neo-Nazi group National Alliance, founded by William Pierce, author of the notorious racist tract The Turner Diaries. These included guides on how to build homemade explosives, guns and a copy of Ich Kampfe, a handbook for members of Hitler’s Nazi Party. He also subscribed to the South African white supremacist S.A. Patriot. A note in a 2006 newsletter of the London-based far-right Springbok Club read, “Thomas Mair, from Batley in Yorkshire was one of the earliest subscribers and supporters of ‘S.A. Patriot.’”
What have not yet been addressed in the trial are the broader circumstances that led the undoubted fascist Mair to carry out his heinous murder of Cox.
… In January, she took to Twitter to denounce a demonstration … near her constituency by the neo-fascist and anti-immigrant organization, Britain First.
Both the Leave and Remain campaigns [in the European Union referendum] engaged in whipping up nationalism and xenophobia, particularly around the issue of immigration. The Leave campaign focused on the issue of immigration almost exclusively in the last weeks of the campaign. On the day Cox was murdered, the leading proponent of Leave, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage was photographed standing in front of a massive poster depicting a long line of refugees and the slogan “Breaking Point. The EU has failed us all.”
Top Labour pro-Remain figures, including deputy leader Tom Watson, declared that Labour too would no longer support free movement and would demand stronger policing of borders.
Nationalist, racist and Islamophobic violence spiked in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum. On August 27, 2016, 40-year-old factory worker Arkadiusz Jóźwik, a Polish citizen, was attacked in Harlow, Essex. He died two days later as a result of his injuries. Police are treating the attack as a hate crime and are also investigating an assault on two Polish men in Kitson Way, Harlow on the following day. In September, the National Police Chiefs’ Council released figures showing a 49 percent rise in such incidents to 1,863 in the last week in July, compared with the previous year. The following week logged a 58 percent increase in recorded incidents to 1,787.
Speaking at the end of September at a hearing at London’s City Hall, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said hate crime showed signs of decreasing after a sharp rise in June and July, but that it had still not returned to pre-referendum levels. Hogan-Howe told the hearing, “We couldn’t say it was absolutely down to Brexit, although there was obviously a spike after it. Some of them were attributed to it because of what was said at the time. We could attribute that, and eastern Europeans were particularly targeted within the race-hate crime [category].”
In October, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published its fifth report on the UK. It noted “considerable intolerant political discourse” in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration. “It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians,” said ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund.
This video from England says about itself:
18 October 2016
The BTO’s Nunnery Lakes Reserve is a County Wildlife Site which lies to the south of Thetford between the Rivers Thet and Little Ouse. It follows a series of lakes created by old gravel workings, and contains a rich variety of Breckland habitats within a relatively small area. These include dry, sandy heathland, wet woodland and flood meadow, which are home to a remarkable range of resident and seasonal wildlife.
Visit and support the reserve – www.bto.org/reserve.
All video was shot and kindly shared by Pete Castle.
This video says about itself:
2 July 2014
By Peter Frost in England:
Rural life of political struggle
Friday 28th October 2016
The initially sceptical PETER FROST is won over by a museum in Reading that chose to show the story of the countryside life as one that was far from the idyll pictured on biscuit tins
Views on the English countryside can be complicated. Here is a letter from one Victorian country gent to his friend in London: “On Saturday, I went out fox-hunting — seven hours in the saddle […] It’s the greatest physical pleasure I know. One fox killed and I was in at the death.”
Another Victorian was Alfred Palmer, one half of the famous Reading biscuit making partnership Huntley and Palmer. The company often sold their biscuits in beautiful tins covered with cosy idolised views of the English countryside.
This video is called HUNTLEY AND PALMER‘S CARR LU BISCUITS TINS.
They pictured thatched cottages with roses growing round the door; apple-cheeked yeoman farmers showed off their bulldogs and dutiful farmers’ wives, who when they weren’t churning butter were plaiting a quick corn dolly. It was never a very accurate picture but it entered the English culture and helped shape our national psyche.
Regular readers of this column will know I have a different view. Mine is the English countryside of Tolpuddle, Captain Swing, Wat Tyler, the Kinder Trespass, the Burston strike school, Joseph Arch and his Agricultural Labourers Union, the Braunston canal boat strike and a score of other chapters of rural history where working people have fought for their rights in the countryside.
My viewpoint focuses on the battle against cruel sports and for fair agricultural wages, against lawbreaking gamekeepers and the outrage of tied cottages, badger culls and profit hungry agribusiness, fair milk prices and supermarket bullying, national parks as well as the common agricultural policy or mega-dairies.
The biscuit-maker Palmer — having made his fortune — gave his mansion on the edge of Reading to the town’s university in 1911. Today the house — much extended — has become home to the Museum of English Rural Life, which has just opened again after a two year, £3.3 million redevelopment.
I went along to see how the money had been spent, and to be honest, with some reservations. Too many of the rural life museums I have visited are far closer to Palmer’s biscuit tin idyllic images than to real life.
It seems I needn’t have worried. The museum may have plenty of farmer’s smocks, farm carts and curious agricultural artefacts but it also has a good supply of red radical rural blood coursing through its veins. Its focus is always on real people and real issues.
One of the first exhibits to catch my eye at the main entrance was socialist artist Walter Crane’s 1913 embroidered banner made for the National Agricultural Labourers & Rural Workers Union. It was that union’s very first banner.
Decorated with sun, plough, ears of corn, flowers and fruit, it is inscribed with the slogan: “We sow the seed that feeds the world.”
Alongside on display are plaster casts of Joseph Arch’s hands — the hands of the man who founded that first agricultural trade union. Arch was a skilled hedge-layer from Warwickshire.
In 1872 Karl Marx described what he saw in the British countryside as the “great awakening” of British agricultural workers.
It was in that year that Arch founded the National Agricultural Labourers’ Union under the chestnut tree on the village green in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire.
His supporters organised a meeting to hear him speak. On a wet and stormy night they hoped for crowd of perhaps 30.
In fact, over 2,000 agricultural workers arrived to hear Arch speak and to join his union.
Many other issues and disputes are aired among the thousands of exhibits packed into the new remodelled museum. I was surprised how many of my countryside issue boxes the museum managed to tick.
As well as real exhibits, archive film and evocative photographs bring alive the many stories. These include the Women’s Land Army, WWII child evacuees, hop pickers from London’s slums escaping to the fresh air and good food of Kent.
These and many other tales are told with both emotion and real understanding.
No museum today is complete without a good gimmick and this one has a beauty. It is a full-size animated plastic cow.
Children and embarrassment-resistant adults can press a lever at the front end for a satisfying moo, extract synthetic milk from the synthetic udders underneath or, best of all, approach the rear end and press the lever to get a realistically malodorous fart to remind you of the massive contribution that cattle make to greenhouse gases and ozone layer depletion.
I started this column with Huntley and Palmer biscuit tins and I’ll end with them too. Nearly 40 years ago the biscuit company, by then absorbed into mega-company Associated Biscuits, decided to re-introduce its rural idyll biscuit tin designs.
It commissioned an artist to produce an intricate scene of a happy garden party on the lawns of a thatched country cottage. It was very much in the Edwardian Kate Greenaway nursery rhyme rural style.
The artist was either very bored or very naughty. One version of the story has him as a disgruntled employee working out his notice. Whatever, hidden in the elaborate design he managed to incorporate a naked copulating couple and a pair of dogs engaged in the same activity. The tiny jam jar on the table appears to be labelled “shit.”
Thousands of decorative tins were sold before this rudery was spotted. Today these very collectable items sell for hundreds of pounds at auction.
Sadly, they didn’t actually have one on display at the re-opened museum, but there wasn’t much else missing from their comprehensive telling of the rich story of our English countryside.
To find out more about the Museum of English Rural Life visit www.reading.ac.uk/theMERL. Free admission.
This reggae music video says about itself:
David Hinds – Vocals, Guitar
Basil Glendon Gabbidon – Guitar
Ronald, Ronnie “Stepper” McQueen – Bass Guitar
Selwyn D.”Bumbo” Brown – Keyboards, Vocals
Alphonso “Phonso” Martin – Percussion, Vocals
Steve Nisbett, Stevie “Grizzly” Nesbitt – Drums
By Farhana Shaikh in Britain:
‘I’m interested in exploring how the personal becomes political’
Saturday 15th October 2016
SHARON DUGGAL tells Farhana Shaikh what impelled her to write her first novel, set during the 1981 Handsworth riots
The Handsworth Times is your first novel. How did you go about writing it?
I’d like to say I have a routine and a set process for writing but it would be a big fib.
I am quite unorganised and a bit sporadic as a writer but I do always carry a notebook, jot down ideas as they arise and revisit them later. I have taught myself to write quickly through necessity and I can bang out a shoddy first draft at speed.
This is because I know my time is short due to other commitments, so I have to get whatever is in my head down on paper before it is too late. From there I revise and redraft a lot and I suppose that has organically become my process.
You’ve set your novel in Handsworth in Birmingham but your story has at its heart a Punjabi family. What personal experiences did you draw on?
I grew up in the 1970s and ’80s in a British-Asian family in Handsworth, surrounded by the joint values of traditional Indian culture, family loyalty and an emphasis on hard work as a way of progressing through life and becoming upwardly socially mobile.
However, I was also surrounded by people of diverse cultural backgrounds living in reduced circumstances, struggling to make ends meet, and it soon became apparent that actually, for the working-class communities that I was in the midst of, opportunities for social mobility and aspiration were severely restricted whatever we did.
Having said that, Handsworth was also an extremely lively and exciting place to grow up with the street, doubling as a playground, central to community life.
I come from a big family with lots of siblings and cousins so there was a rich pool of material to draw on for ideas and characters. Like most extended families, stories about legacy and family history get passed down and become fragmented over time but some things, even though you don’t quite know whether they actually happened or not, do stick in the mind and resurface when writing.
The novel’s set in 1981 and, while it’s fiction, it feels as though we’re very much grounded in reality.
How much research did you do about the period and were you surprised by what you uncovered?
The novel started as part of a research degree so I was well placed to do research as part of the process but, rather than heavy academic research, I found what I had to do was a lot of googling to check things like TV listings and pop charts from the time. I do remember certain things about the period but it was a long time ago so I did have to do my homework, especially on the cultural and news references.
What made you want to write about the riots of 1981?
Birmingham in general is under-represented in mainstream literary output. Not enough stories about the city get published and I don’t know why.
But it is hugely interesting, both for its industrial past and how that has shaped its present, including its demography. It must be among the most multicultural places in the world yet, for some reason, publishers are not choosing stories based there.
This, coupled with the political landscape of the 1980s, of which the riots were a consequence, continues to be of interest, not least because our politicians and governments don’t seem to have learnt anything from what happened then.
Unfortunately, as ordinary people get squeezed tighter with welfare cuts, archaic education policies and lack of investment in communities and as racism and xenophobia rise, stoked as political tools by certain politicians and by their media mouthpieces — or vice versa? — manifestations of social unrest like rioting have and could so easily happen again at any point.
We see the struggle within the household juxtaposed against the one happening in the community. What were you interested in exploring by setting the story firmly within the space of domesticity?
I suppose I was interested in exploring how the personal becomes political, especially for the younger female characters, and how the domestic world and the social external world are inextricably linked.
The world beyond the house very much influences how characters develop and this, in turn, begins to transform how they exist alongside each other in the domestic sphere. They each go on a journey of some kind that helps equip them for the challenges of the world beyond the domestic sphere or, in the case of the father Mukesh, a journey that actually contributes to his demise.
I also wanted to convey something of the claustrophobia of living in a large family in a small house and how this can mirror the claustrophobia of living a seemingly fish-bowl like existence in a community like Handsworth.
Plenty of writers have written about the immigration experience but British stories set outside of London still seem few and far between. What were your hopes for the story you wanted to tell?
Like most people, I get frustrated by the stereotypes that continue to get churned out in books, sitcoms, film etc. It seems that there is an acceptable face of multiculturalism that mainstream publishers and other cultural gatekeepers want to perpetuate for some reason — I suspect it is because it is what they perceive as marketable.
The novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a great talk a few years ago where she warned against the danger of a single story as it leads to misunderstanding and stereotypes which are almost always untrue. I couldn’t agree with her more.
We have a long way to go to change the lack of diversity in literary output despite some really good recent interventions.
The saddest thing is that this is at the expense of some very talented writers that don’t fit the mould and at the expense of the reading public who, I am sure, are thirsty for different kinds of stories and voices.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about writing about the past?
Bring the past alive as part of the research by exploring personal accounts, diaries, social histories, film archives and oral testimony.
Luckily, with more recent history, we have a lot more access to this kind of primary source material online, including digital archives housed on library and community sites.
I found old photographs, music videos and news footage particularly helpful to informing some of the more descriptive passages of the book. Visual stimuli really are useful.
The Handsworth Times by Sharon Duggal is published by Bluemoose Books, price £8.99. A longer version of this interview was first published in The Asian Writer, theasianwriter.co.uk.