London’s Potemkin Protest 25, October 2011Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
Tags: London protestors go home at night, London protests, St Pauls protest
So while the protestors in London vowed…
Turns out that unless they are lizards, 9/10 bugger off home, no doubt lubed up on a nice Macchiato from Starbucks [cheap shot, I know, I know], to return the next day.
Aside from numerous snide comments that I try to hold back (…I know…) it really irks me that some of these folk dare even hint that their protets are even remotely akin, alike or linked in any way to those in the Arab Spring.
I was most miffed to find that Tim Worstall nicked my headline…or rather he published before me (unless he read my mind, no actual thieving was involved). But still, fair’s fair: thanks.
Tags: Daily Express Muslim swimmingpool, Daily Hate, Daily Mail
…would have been the headline in at least two British daily newspapers had a council changed some facet of the road management system (or something similarly trivial) to accommodate the desires of the Muslim community. Witness this article in the execrable Daily Express on a similarly trivial issue.
Instead, this happened in North London where the council have installed an automatic road crossing timer so Jews don’t have to use a mechanical button on the Sabbath lest the world comes to an end.
I’ve no problem with this and think that as long as it’s not expensive or intrusive in some way, UK councils, for example, ought to try to accommodate the reasonable needs of their local communities. I don’t want to come across like the absurdly angry arab, who can find angst in…well…everything…but I’d just like a touch of balance. Obviously, if I’m waiting for that from the Daily
Thinking of home from abroad 7, September 2011Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
Tags: English defence league, Ex-pats, Expatriates, Expats
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One of my key peeves in this part of the world is moaning ex-pats. Don’t misunderstand me, there is plenty to be angry, exasperated or get fed up about in this part of the world, and I indulge in long tirades at times with my friends and family. But, I realise perfectly well that the UK, home, in my case, is not a bed of roses. I feel that many ex-pats forget this.
To them, ye olde England is a place of lush, green meadows, where children frolic, fish for tadpoles in streams, eat marmalade and say ‘blimey’ a lot. Such an England, I hardly need to note, has never existed.
But it is difficult, as one must not go too far the other way: castigating sunny England as some kind of ‘gone to the dogs’ slum, which comes with the obligatory sentiment that
It were never the same in ma’y day
Such sentiments really quite annoy me. People have been making these comments, that the ‘youth of today’ are a disgrace, since Roman times. Specifically in an English context, I think it was a monk in Jarrow well over a thousand years ago who jotted these sentiments down.
Certainly, when one reads horrific stories such as this one, where a student who asked a group of youths to stop throwing conkers at him was stabbed and killed, everyone surely has a natural impulse to hail the return of the death penalty as the simple, swift and sensible answer (or is that just me?) or one sees this bunch of rabid, unrepresentative misfits in the ‘English Defence League’, it is all too easy to admonish England as ‘gone to the dogs’ but, as they say in these parts, shway shway.
Yes, England has its issues. But name me a country on earth that doesn’t. True, right now with belts-a-tightening and all that, things are looking grim, but Blighty will survive, as she always has.
So, to reach an earth shatteringly dull and obvious conclusion the answer, as ever, lies in moderation and in, dare I say it for fear of appearing grey and dull, in the middle.
News of the World crossword last laugh 10, July 2011Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
Tags: News of the World, News of the World Brooks, News of the World crossword, News of the World finished
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Despite threats to the journalists to behave themselves and not to attempt to insert any coded criticisms in the News of the World’s last edition, which included hiring two journalists to scan the paper for any such examples, the NOTW crossword makers appear to have wholly stitched up their former and extraordinarily maligned boss, Rebekah Brooks.
In the quickie crossword clues were the words:
“Brook”, “stink”, “catastrophe” and “digital protection”
The clues for the cryptic crossword were plainer still:
“criminal enterprise”, “mix in prison”, “string of recordings”, “will fear new security measure” and “woman stares wildly at calamity”
The answer to this last clue is “disaster”
Other answers included
“stench”, “racket” and “tart”.
Hat tip: @blakehounshell
Qatar and the UK 23, February 2011Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar, UK.
Tags: David Cameron Qatar, Qatar UK, Qatar UK gas deal
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The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was in Doha today. In addition to visiting Qatar University and giving a pithy little speech to members of the Qatar British Business Council, he also signed a £2 billion gas agreement with Qatar.
This one agreement on its own construes 10% of the UK’s annual gas demand. This also does not take into account the huge imports of Qatari gas to South Hook in Wales.
The Times of London notes that this agreement replaces and supercedes previous deals between Qatar and Centrica, which were done on the open ‘spot market’ according to whatever were the prevailing prices.
This, therefore, guarantees supplies for the UK, sales for Qatar and suggests that those who think that there is a gas-OPEC coming may need to re-think. One argument proposed by those fearing such a future was that Qatar’s huge LNG supertankers could be diverted from port to port to seek the best price. Yet, with a long-term contract established, such arbitrage cannot take place.
On a more personal note, the Gulf Blog would like to inform readers that their author here in fact had a chat with David Cameron today in Doha. So, you see loyal readers, you really are getting the latest news from the highest sources. During our hugely long-winded, lengthy, extended and in-depth…err…five-minute chat today we discussed several key issues of central relevance to the world economy if not world well-being. I am sure – rest easy reader – that he is now significantly better informed and will now…err…do loads of good stuff. Or something like that.
UK to scrap £4.1 billion new spy planes 27, January 2011Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
Tags: British Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Defence, Nimrod MRA4, Nimrod MRA4 picture
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As a part of the UK Government’s cost cutting, £4.1 billion worth of brand new spy planes are to be destroyed and sold for scrap.
The Nimrod MRA4 reconnaissance aircraft were designed to patrol the Atlantic searching for submarines. However, one expert notes that the electronics in the planes [once again, I note that these are literally brand new plane] are
already out of date. You wouldn’t put them in last year’s Playstation
The Ministry of Defence says that it will save £2 billion in operation costs by axing the Nimrods. It would not be cost effective, they note, to mothball the planes as not only would this cost a fortune but they would be yet further out of date when they returned.
Couldn’t we sell them, I hear you ask. Nope.
the most expensive aircraft ever made for the RAF [the Nimrod] has almost no commercial value.
So scrap metal it is.
As much as I blamed Cameron for this seemingly absurd decision, it actually appears to be the right thing to do. What we need to do now, however, is find out which genius at the MoD ordered these planes and shoot him.
Are there any nuts and bolts from 100,000lb (45,000kg) of hardware that can be salvaged, re-used, or sold on?
…the BBC reporter asks finally.
“Not a great deal, I’m afraid…there’s nothing there of value bar scrap aluminium.”
Purile student protests in London 30, November 2010Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
Tags: Nelson's column, Student protests, UK stutend proteses, UK Universities, UK University fees
I’ve already made clear what I think about the issue of student fees in the UK. But – frankly – this is my blog and this gives me the luxury of, well, moaning on about the same thing again.
This afternoon I was in central London where there were small crowds protesting the rise in University fees. Seldom have I seen such an absurd, juvenile, immature and vaguely thuggish group of motley protestors.
Their key method of protest today was to chant vile slogans and to generally make a noise. “Fuck the government” they screamed when prompted. “Down with society” one curious fellow suggested, though that didn’t really take off. As they walked from Trafalgar Square in dribs and drabs towards Parliament, their swearing increased and they began to innovatively start giving passers-by – mostly tourists – rude gestures while screaming obscenities: who knew such people could multitask. Amazing.
Incidentally, many stopped off in McDonald’s en route for a quick burger before continuing to decry western capitalism amongst other revolutionary new topics. Truly not a shred of comprehension or irony was visible.
When they reached the police line at Parliament they informed the police there that they were “nob-heads” and “wankers”.
I felt 100% sorry for the police: they just stood there in the cold for hours on end waiting to be abused by a bunch of angry children who had no real idea why they were there. I spoke to a few of them.
The first told me to “fuck off” when I asked what his rationale was for demonstrating. The second and the third were similarly devastating in their verbal reparti and eloquence of argument. I asked the fourth if she expected a world-class education for free. After 30 seconds of umming and arring (she was giving out the leaflets: think she might know their gist) she launched into a bitter tirade about how her mum had been paid to go to University with grants and even rent-help.
‘Mine too’, I replied,’but is that it? You’re here because you’re jealous of your mum? The past is, well, gone…things change and if the money is not there the money is not there’, I suggested.
‘Yeah well…corporation tax is…umm…you know…banks take our money….fucking Tories…’ and it generally descended from there.
Not one coherent sentence among the lot.
The majority – today at least, and by looking at the TV pictures of previous demos, the majority then too – were there purely and simply for a chance to skip school/class and to swear at police and saunter through central London spouting profanities because they could get away with it. This was it: their raison d’etre. Barely a brain-cell between them. Just an embarrassing, utterly and profoundly juvenile bunch of petty-minded idiots.
To cap it all off, it seems they spent some of the afternoon desecrating Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square. Charming. Even were I one of those ‘students’ who wanted fees to be scrapped and say I was on the demonstration, one of the last things that I would do is desecrate a national symbol: I’m fairly sure that I didn’t need a University education to teach me that such an act would be perceived rather poorly by the general public to the determent of ‘my’ cause. Clearly, the ones that did this – painted revolution on the column – don’t actually have a cause and are there, once again, for the vandalism and yobbish opportunities that such a demonstration affords.
Saudi curriculum in British schools 22, November 2010Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia, UK.
Tags: Panorama, Panorama Saudi educaiton in Britain, Panorama Saudi schooling in Britain, Saudi education, Saudi education in Britain
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The BBC flagship investigative programme Panorama tonight airs a show focusing on the Saudi curriculum being taught in British schools.
Around 5000 pupils are being taught at schools and clubs using the official Saudi curriculum and Saudi Ministry of Education textbooks.
Anti Semitic and homophonic content is rife. One diagram even shows exactly how and where thieves’ hands and feet are chopped off. Charming.
The Saudi government insisted that it had no direct ties with the schools even though their official curriculum was being taught and Panorama obtained one of the Saudi textbooks from a building owned by the Saudi Government in the U.K.
The Saudi education establishment has had a notorious reputation for instilling anti-Shia, homophobic, anti-Semitic and generally anti-foreigner messages for decades. Under the particular delineation of powers in Saudi Arabia, traditionally social spheres like education were administered by the Wahhabi authorities. Only after 9/11 and enormous pressure from America were changes begrudgingly begun. Exactly how far such changes have gone is difficult to judge. While the more egregious examples of racist content may have gone, a general intolerant ethos remains.
Bishop to bless gritters ‘to protect them’ 21, November 2010Posted by thegulfblog.com in UK.
Tags: Bishop to protect gritters, God's gritters, Gritting roads
In the English county of Lincolnshire, a Bishop is to bless the gritting lorries used to salt the roads in winter to protect them.
This is frankly the kind of medieval nonsense for which I usually mock Saudi Arabia. I suppose the silver line in the UK is that firstly, these bishop-type-people have no real power here and secondly, the vast majority of the people here reading this will think that this is some kind of absurd if quaint throwback. In Saudi, however…
The Right Reverend Dr John Saxbee, who retires in January, has blessed the county’s fleet each year since 2003.
He said past ceremonies had been followed by a reduction in road deaths, which was “perhaps not a coincidence”.
The more I think about this the more offensive I find it; as if s/he/it would make a choice to protect a bunch of trucks as opposed to the litany of real misery experienced by swathes of the planet. Priorities…anyone?