UKIP win Clacton; almost pull off Heywood and Middleton heist

“It’s a protest vote,” they said. “UKIP will never win a seat in Westminster,” they crowed. “They’re all ex-Tories,” they tried to convince. “A vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour,” they claimed, with increasing doubt.

Douglas Carswell stormed to victory in the Clacton by-election, John Bickley came within a mere 617 votes of poaching Heywood and Middleton, a Labour heartland. On a quite remarkable night, both Labour and the Conservatives were left punch drunk, floundering for answers, lying, and resorting to desperate amounts of spin.

The knowledge of polling and Carswell’s personal following made it rather clear early on that Clacton was going to be more of a coronation than a contest. The size of the victory however was unprecedented. A near 12.500 majority on a 51% turnout, Carswell took just shy of 60% of the vote – a 7% increase from when he stood on a Conservative ticket in the 2010 General Election.

But the real story of the evening came up North. Heywood and Middleton has always been a Labour seat, created in 1983 it was originally held by James Callaghan – no, not that one. In just 1997 they carried a majority of over 17,500. Admittedly since then the gap has reduced, but when the seat was retained the seat in 2010 Labour were still around 6,000 to the good. Squeaking to victory by just over 600 votes was not cause for celebration.

Opinion polling suggested Labour were on course to increase their share of the vote by around 10%, mainly aided by the collapse of the Liberal Democrats. That didn’t happen. A puny rise of just 1% was quite frankly abysmal for an opposition party in one of their strongholds. To almost be beaten by a party that has so often been dismissed as a threat to the Right is astounding. UKIP took almost 39% of the vote – for an hour or so it stood as their highest share in a by-election – an increase of over 36% from 2010. In fact, a recount was called for on realization of just how tight it was.

One could argue that if UKIP spent more time up in Heywood and Middleton than they did down in Clacton they may have pinched it. Indeed, if the by-election took place after Clacton, momentum and belief that UKIP are a viable alternative may well have carried them through. Labour were evidently well aware of the threat posed, despite their pitiful efforts to dismiss it. In an apparent urgency to set the by-election date as early as possible and halt the UKIP charge, they didn’t even wait until after Jim Dobbin’s funeral.

Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage enjoy a McFlurry in Clacton
Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage enjoy a McFlurry in Clacton

The UKIP problem is just an addition to Labour’s growing malaise. Ed Miliband has shown himself to be clumsy at best, incompetent at worst. His approval ratings are woefully poor – lurking at around 20% – and his recent conference speech is already infamous for failing to mention both immigration and the deficit. Poll ratings hovering at around 35% do not suggest they are a party on the brink of government. A combination of weak policies and lame efforts to attack the rich – the poorly thought out ‘mansion tax’ being the latest example – have failed to inspire voters. Neither has a strategy reliant on another party splitting the vote of their opponents allowing them through the back door, possibly hand-in-hand with Nick Clegg.

Even that may not be that simple though. Labour are under threat in areas which previously would have been unimaginable.

The implications of the Scottish Referendum has seen a surge in support for the Scottish National Party who are certain to seriously challenge in the Labour heartlands. Unless further devolution for Scotland is achieved as promised by the No campaign, Labour risk losing a chunk of their 41 Scottish MPs.

However it is the UKIP surge in the North which is most intriguing – Nigel Farage is even teasing the prospect of Labour MPs defecting. Old Labour voters have been left disaffected by Miliband’s leadership, and are flocking to UKIP. Heywood and Middleton is the latest indicator, the European elections provide further proof for UKIP’s growing influence. Open-door immigration has directly impacted the working class, an unlimited supply of labour has suppressed wages and put the squeeze on those who have for so long been staunch Labour voters. The mass immigration promoted under Tony Blair’s government, has served to alienate traditional Labour voter.This Labour is no longer a champion of the working class, UKIP may not have all the answers, but for those who have suffered as a result of immigration, they feel UKIP is their only option.

It is now very much a case of the Conservatives splitting the UKIP vote in the North – the 3,500 Tory votes in Heywood and Middleton effectively cost UKIP the seat. With UKIP the only realistic challenger to Labour in those northern regions, could we see a further exodus from the Conservatives in an effort to defeat Labour? A Conservative vote there is now a wasted one.

No doubt the line parroted will be that strange things happen in by-elections and they don’t necessarily reflect how voters act in a general election – the idea being that a by-election is regarded as a free shot whereas in a general election voters choose who they want to govern the country. To an extent I agree, for the by-election is the agency which has seen the likes of George Galloway elected into Westminster.

But if UKIP ever were a protest vote, they are no longer. Consistently gaining in the polls over the past couple of years, and victory in May’s European Elections was the culmination of what has been an astonishing period. UKIP now has a core vote, a growing number of people are putting a cross in their box not because they are disenfranchised, but because they agree with the party’s policies. The idea that the UKIP vote will drastically collapse sometime over the next seven months is dead in the water. For the main parties to believe it is an act of either sheer ignorance, or staggering naivety.

The Establishment are still not listening, either that or they are not understanding. Listening to MPs trying to explain and counter the continued UKIP success is like listening to robots. Labour choose to ignore the threat they face and take salvation in the fact that UKIP is still more of a Tory problem than a Labour one. The Conservatives are still plugging the line that a vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour – quite frankly, UKIP voters care anymore. The prospect of Ed Miliband in Downing Street rather than David Cameron is now a minor detail.

A by-election in Rochester and Strood is next on the UKIP radar. Defecting Tory MP Mark Reckless will attempt to hold the seat he won in 2010 under the UKIP banner. Recent polling suggests he holds a 9% lead over his former party and the election of Carswell is likely to see that boosted, UKIP could well have a second MP in around a month’s time.

British politics has never been so exciting, or if you prefer, in such a vast state of flux. Whether or not you believe UKIP to be the long-term future is largely irrelevant. Anything that aids the destruction of Labour and Conservatives can only be welcomed, they have had their grubby little hands on this country for long enough.

A masterstroke or just a bit Reckless?

Nigel Farage and UKIP produced another promised earthquake on Saturday with the defection of Conservative MP Mark Reckless – culminating in him standing down and triggering a by-election in his Rochester and Strood constituency.

Reckless becomes the second Tory MP to defect to UKIP in the past month following Clacton’s Douglas Carswell in late August. Carswell also stood down and called a by-election which will be held next Thursday where he is widely expected to become UKIP’s first elected MP.

MP defections aren’t all that unusual – many have “crossed the floor” over the years – but these two are extremely significant. Both Carswell and Reckless have seeked the permission of their electorate to represent them under different colours in the form of a by-election – something that hasn’t happened for decades. Not to mention that UKIP currently have no representation in the House of Commons.

Unlike Clacton, the stakes are much higher for both the Conservatives and UKIP in Rochester and Strood. Carswell has built up a firm following over the past 10 years and Clacton has been labeled one of the most receptive constituencies for UKIP in the country. Reckless will not be afforded this luxury. He was only elected as an MP in 2010 and the seat has a near 10,000 Conservative majority. Moreover, Rochester and Strood didn’t originally feature in UKIP’s top 250 target seats.

Many Conservative activists in the area feel betrayed by Reckless, who had previously told them that he would not be defecting. The reception Reckless has received on return to his constituency hasn’t been as welcoming as Carswell’s according to the media anyway. Yet his decision to call a by-election instead of just sitting under a UKIP banner is a noble act. He could very well lose, although I imagine that he has research telling him he has a strong chance of re-election.

A loss in Clacton for the Conservatives could be brushed aside as something of a one-off. Indeed, Carswell is seen by even his former party as something of a one-off, albeit somebody who has commanded a great respect. But if Reckless carries Rochester and Strood, the Tories UKIP headache will develop into a severe migraine. Potential other Tory defectors – Farage assures us there are some – may think they’d be better off on a UKIP ticket next May.

And you wouldn’t blame them. Staunch Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party are surely only still there because of the 2017 referendum promise. It’s clear that David Cameron has no intention of pulling the UK out of the European Union. If he is still in office in 2017, he will claim some bogus renegotiation before begging everyone to vote to stay, in a campaign that will be based on fear.

For UKIP, a win in Rochester and Strood is the only option. A failure and momentum is halted, other potential defectors will become doubtful over whether they could hold their seat standing as UKIP. However, if they win it will be something of a game-changer and their biggest success to date. The likelihood of more defections will increase and belief that UKIP may win enough seats in Westminster to hold the balance of power next year will strengthen. The prospect of one or two UKIP MPs could genuinely develop into 10 to 20 – particularly if Cameron maintains his weak stance over the EU.

Early betting has Reckless around a 1/2 favourite to win back his seat but much will remain a mystery until some opinion polls are released. Expect the Tories to plough millions into this by-election as they did in Newark back in June. They will believe that winning here is very possible, as much as it is a necessity. Staving off the UKIP assault here would be a major boost.

Yet something tells me the UKIP juggernaut will roll on and that Reckless will win. For those whose priority is Europe, they are the only option. Cameron has kicked the issue into the long grass for far too long, and the only thing that would keep a genuine Eurosceptic with the Tories is the fear of letting Ed Miliband in to 10 Downing Street.

But Labour are also threatened, many Old Labour voters are flocking to UKIP in their droves despite the notion that they are a right-wing party. UKIP’s recent conference aimed to appeal to those Old Labour people, and if they could win the by-election coming up in Heywood and Middleton, UKIP will be as much a Labour problem as they are a Tory one.

The Establishment as they are so often labelled these days are extremely worried. Farage has teased further defections, with another potentially coming on Wednesday, when Cameron will give his conference speech to the Conservatives. No one knows when they will happen, who they will be, and the impact it might have. We are in very exciting times.

There is no place for quotas in an equal society

The HeForShe movement has gained much traction over the past week, particularly after Emma Watson’s speech. And for a while it all sounded very good. Both men and women need to get involved, that being anti-men was unacceptable, and that we need true equality. But then that dreaded six-letter word reared its ugly head again. Quotas.

The apparent solution to gender inequality is to enhance the prospects of one gender over another. The hypocrisy is quite astounding, yet unsurprising for we have come to expect it. The anti-male woman and the self-hating man now believe that the only way to boost women’s chances in the workplace is through regulation.  If we can’t promote equality, it must be forced.

A quote from the great Austrian School economist Friedrich  Hayek is rather appropriate: “There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal”.

A buzz phrase you quite  often hear is “equal opportunities”. Something I could not agree with more. No matter what your gender is, your race, your sexuality, or your creed, you should not be discriminated on those grounds.

Yet neither should they ever aid you when it comes to employment. The idea that we would rather see a government or a boardroom made up of equal representation rather than those best to do the job is simply ludicrous.

Whatever happened to meritocracy? Should a better qualified male not get the job because it is required to go to a woman? Or vice-versa for that matter. Are we prepared to see meritocracy and true equality thrown out the window for this nonsense?

Apparently so. The Conservative government recently produced a junior minister shoe-horned in through quotas that didn’t know the difference between the national debt and the national deficit!

Meanwhile Labour have been supporting all-women quotas when it comes to choosing parliamentary candidates. Where in order to achieve “equality”, all potentials to become the party’s candidate for a constituency must be women. Sheer lunacy, although perhaps if there were all-men quotas elsewhere it may work. Of course, there aren’t!

More importantly, the suggestion that we require quotas to enhance women’s opportunities in the workplace is completely disrespectful, as well as unhelpful to women. If quotas are advocated then there will always be the elephant in the room that a woman may be there because of her gender rather than her credentials. And I can’t think of any self-respecting woman who would want that.

Did Margaret Thatcher need a quota to make her Prime Minister? No. Did the CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty need a quota? No. I could go on but that would be demeaning. The fact is that if a woman is good enough for a job then she doesn’t need a quota to help her get there.

Looking on the flip side how far do we go with these quotas? Should 50% of midwifes now be male? Should 50% of builders now be female? Once you open the can of worms the drive to further regulation is irreversible.

What many of these feminist movements do is promote equal representation for women in areas where they are under represented with no consideration to anything else. A huge oversight, for there are many departments where women take the lions share of jobs.

In a free market there are areas where women will be over represented, others where they are equally represented, and some where they are under represented. This is healthy for an economy. We should not be trying to regulate to achieve some sort of utopian equality that nobody in sane mind would ever want. Not to mention that preventing an economy to allocate its resources in the most efficient way is economics from the madhouse. Something that can never be afforded, not least in these economic times.

Is this to say we don’t have a problem? Probably not. There is rife gender inequality, particularly in the third world. Of course we should be promoting the idea that men and women should be treated equally. No one should be discriminated by their gender. But going back to Hayek, there is a hell of a lot of difference between promoting equality and forcing it.

We have a problem when a woman is not given the opportunity to succeed. And this is what organisations like HeForShe should – and for a large part to their credit – have been focussing on. Yet by advocating quotas I feel I can’t really support them.

There is an issue here and of course it needs addressing. I’m not the one with all of the solutions but I would like to see a scenario where both men and women are given equal opportunities across the world for whatever job they choose. As a libertarian I look past discriminators, I want the best person for the job.

The HeForShe movement is by and large doing a good job. Far better than the pesky left-wing, man-hating Feminist Initiative that thankfully fell below the 4% threshold in the recent Swedish Elections. They once advocated a man tax for those unaware.

A true equality movement is needed though. One that doesn’t revolve around the dreaded quotas that if not proudly promoted, are always hidden in the small print. I would argue we could all benefit from a little bit of libertarianism.

Something I find very unlikely since the government have never really been keen on keeping their noses out of peoples lives, and when citizens comply to being slaves of the system.

Where is the real independence?

On Thursday Scotland will go to the polls to “determine their future”. In a historic referendum that will decide whether to stay as part of the United Kingdom, or to split and become an “independent” country.

I put the term independent in quotation marks because any promise of independence that has been made by the Yes campaign is phony. Instead of the Scots offering up their sovereignty to Westminster, they have been given the chance to pledge allegiance to Brussels instead – and become a province of the ever-growing European empire.

The European Union claims to be the world’s second largest democracy, after India. Unfortunately for the citizens within this Union, there is no democracy. The only elections that take place are European Parliament elections, which is where the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) sit. This “Parliament” if it can even be called that, is not your average parliament. There are is no law making body it is simply an amendment chamber. The European Commission is the law-making body, they propose legislation and send it down to the European Parliament for approval. If MEPs vote yes to a piece of proposed legislation it will be passed, if they vote no the Commission will redress it and keep bringing it back until it is.

A conservative estimate is that the EU accounts for at least 50% of a country’s laws. The true figure is likely far higher but we’ll stick with committed Europhile Nick Clegg’s figure for the sake of argument. 50% is still 50% too much. If this Commission were elected by the people of Europe then there would be at least a thin veneer of democracy – but they are not. They are appointed without the requirement for them ever to have been elected for anything in their lives. Baroness Cathy Ashton is a prime example. Shoehorned in to the House of Lords to rush through the Lisbon Treaty, she was then appointed to the Commission to become head of foreign policy. She was for a period a few years back the highest paid female politician in the world. And I would argue she isn’t doing a very good job either, as we head stupidly into a clumsy, and I fear inevitable conflict with Russia. I digress.scotland-europe-1

The fact is, the European Commission that accounts for a high percentage of a country’s laws has not been elected by anybody. One could argue that the European Union is less democratic than North Korea. At least they get to vote on who is in charge, despite there only being one name on the ballot, and that Kim Il-Sung who remains President until this day, has been dead for over 20 years.

There are those who will tell you that the European Union is not perfect and that it needs reform. Indeed it does, it is completely illegitimate as a political body, and should have never been allowed to mutate from being a free trade area. Reform however is impossible. To quote Peter Hitchens: “To complain that a European Union is a federalist is like complaining that a bicycle has handlebars, that’s what they are”. The lone stance of David Cameron to try and stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming President of the European Union was completely pointless – I would argue fake. If it wasn’t Juncker, it would have been somebody else. The intention has been made perfectly clear that further integration and further destruction of national sovereignty is the aim of the game and for anyone to believe otherwise is an act of extreme gullibility.

Why has this generation so easily given up its right to govern itself? Possibly because it is the first to not have to defend its own freedom. The European Union was allegedly formed to bind nations together, so that we would never go to war again. The complete opposite has happened, we have not become stronger. The failure of the Eurozone has caused misery across and has if anything created a further divide between Northern and Southern Europe.

I’ve not even mentioned the economic crisis that has crippled Southern Europe as a result of total ineptness. For those interested in how the European Union is totally clueless over financial matters and how the Eurozone has failed and left countries trapped in an economic prison, I suggest checking out some of former MEP Godfrey Bloom’s speeches on YouTube. Bloom is one of the few politicians who has had the guts to explain why the banking system has failed, revealing its total incompetency as well as the complete illegitimacy of the European Union. Unfortunately Bloom was hounded out by his own party UKIP around 12 months ago after a political correctness attack by the mainstream media.

So there is your choice Scotland, or rather your lack of it. You can either leave and submit yourself to this faux-democracy or remain in a current Union that you have a right to be equally uneasy with. Westminster is grovelling to make you stay, offering deals and promises preferential treatment that it will fail to deliver due to its rejection by the rest of the British public. Whatever you choose, the grubby fist of Brussels will remain clenched around your balls. It doesn’t really matter, the promise that you can have sovereignty and govern your own affairs is not an option. Until a country elects a government that doesn’t hate its own people and offer them a chance to get out, very little can change. One can only hope that if a country such as the UK or France finally does get a referendum and votes to leave, that the rest of Europe will also follow suit. Until that happens, nothing will change.

Scotland deserves far better, as does everyone else.

Do Sweden Democrats gains set the tone for 2015 General Election?

The Swedish Elections may have resulted in an overall shift to the left, but the big story of the night was the rise of the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna).

The Sweden Democrats (SD) took an unprecedented 13% of the vote – up over 7% from 2010 – to become the third largest party in the country, and increase their representation in the Riksdag to 49 – up 29 seats from 2010. The party famed for it’s anti-immigration stance polled far higher than both opinion and exit polls suggested, whilst the Feminist Initiative who were predicted to be on the cusp of the 4% threshold required to gain seats in Parliament, fell short with 3.1%.

In an attempt to distance themselves from the Swedish Democrats, alliances from both left and right have been ruled out. Social Democrats leader and Prime Minister-designate Stefan Lofven has announced a desire to form a group with the Greens and other “anti-racist” parties. Meanwhile the Moderate Party, the big losers from the Election, have also refused to co-operate with the Swedish Democrats.

The results rather confirms the mood from May’s European Elections. Euroscepticism and concerns over immigration are continuing to grow, reflected in the rise of the sometimes unfairly dubbed ‘far-right’. Media bias and smears have failed to turn voters away from them, if anything they have strengthened their support.

The news has come as a shock to many, particularly around the rest of Europe. Yet with Sweden’s liberal immigration laws – an estimated 80,000 asylum-seekers will enter the country this year – the rise of a party like the SD, rightly or wrongly should have been anticipated, particularly after the European Elections. The fact that these Elections have been reported as such a shock is further proof that the growing concerns of the public are still being ignored. Branding people who hold these opinions as xenophobic and racist is foolish and has only served to further alienate ordinary people from mainstream politics.

Looking from a UK perspective, the news from Sweden will come as a boost to the UK Independence Party. The Sweden Democrats and UKIP form part of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group in the European Parliament.

Opinion polls in Britain show UKIP consistently polling at around 15%, slightly higher than the Sweden Democrats. However due to the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system in the UK it is highly unlikely that UKIP will garner anywhere near the representation in the House of Commons that the Sweden Democrats have in the Riksdag. Similarly, if Sweden operated under FPTP, votes for the Sweden Democrats would almost certainly not have translated in to seats in the numbers that they have.

Does this indicate a significant problem in the UK voting system? Well not if you support either Labour or Conservative, or hold a dislike for UKIP. Based on current voting intentions for the General Election in 2015, the likely scenario is that UKIP will pick up around 15% of the vote yet no more than around five seats. Labour are currently predicted to gather around two and a half times the popular vote of UKIP, which predictions suggest would give them around 350 seats. Two and a half times the vote, 70 times the number of seats. This isn’t a case of being sympathetic to UKIP. In 2010, the Liberal Democrats polled 23.2% of the vote, compared to Labour’s 29%. The Liberal Democrats won 57 seats, Labour 258. The Conservatives took 36.1%, which gave them 307 seats.

Without getting too technical, the Riksdag in Sweden more or less equally represents the popular vote. If we applied this to the current opinion polls in the UK, UKIP would be on course to make up around 100 of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons in 2015 – a whole 20 times more than what they are currently on target for. Using this system for 2010, the Liberal Democrats would have won around 150 seats (up 93), Labour 189 (down 69), and the Conservatives 235 (down 72). A far more accurate representation of how the public voted.

Of course, it’s a lot easier to decry calls for an electoral system to be changed providing it doesn’t affect a party you support. Everyone knows the Greens like a good shout, if it were they who were picking up a sixth of the vote but facing less than one hundredth of parliamentary representation, you can guarantee you wouldn’t be able to move in the liberal hotbeds for weeks.

In a democratic society, if the public vote for something they have the right to be heard, no matter their opinions. It is time outdated systems which serve to protect the Establishment parties who have little interest in offering any real change left or right were abolished.

Euroscepticism, immigration concerns and a desire to regain sovereignty is on the rise across Europe. But not all countries will show it.

Good people, bad people, no other difference

“There are only two kinds of people in this world. Good people who do good deeds, and bad people who do bad. That’s the only difference in human beings. There’s no other difference.”

As we descend into further chaos, the world would do well to take note from the highly successful Hindi movie, My Name is Khan. The 2010 film, starring Shahrukh Khan and Kajol is one of the most successful Bollywood productions ever for a reason. One, the star cast, and secondly – and perhaps more importantly – the film’s powerful message.

The film is centred around Rizwan Khan (Shahrukh Khan), a Muslim man with Asperger’s syndrome and his quest to meet the US President in a bid to prove his innocence and win back his wife Mandira (Kajol) in an America reeling from the shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Without focusing too much on the plot, Khan’s character is one of humility and hope, battling American anger and Islamic fundamentalism through various acts of goodness, in a journey across the country.MNIK

Race, religion, and any other discriminator pales into insignificance – or at least should – when making a judgment between right and wrong. This core principle is ever present in My Name is Khan and is one that would be worth adopting by a British society becoming more and more apologetic for increasingly despicable acts.

We must be very clear in showing no compassion to those who have committed unforgivable acts of wrong. The sheer barbarism seen in recent weeks from the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria are some of the worst in living memory.

To think that there is nothing to stop terrorists who have left Britain to fight for this “cause” returning and slipping back quietly into British society is both frightening, and unbelievable.

The human rights argument completely falls flat when considering the human rights of those whose lives they have ruined or worse, taken away. The inseparable attachment the UK in particular now has to human rights continually acts as a prevention to achieving justice for the victims of such crimes. As necessary as they are, they should not serve to protect those who have committed heinous crimes.

It is my belief that once you infringe on the human rights of another person you begin to lose your own. That is fair. The “eye for an eye leaves everybody blind” argument does not hold when it is the innocent who are the victims.

It is not a case of perpetuating hatred but protecting ourselves from acts of terrorism as well as the silent growth of it. Protection isn’t being insular, in cases like these it’s required. Ir is a country’s duty to act first in the best interests of its citizens.

Another case of being apologetic and fearful of causing upset has become apparent in Rotherham where it has emerged 1,400 children have been abused since 1997, from rape, trafficking, to abduction, predominantly by Pakistani men.

Yet in fear of being labeled racist, the authorities made every effort in order to cover themselves. Criminals were shielded whilst the victims were left helpless. Any consideration for justice was completely disregarded. Referring to the point I made earlier, race, creed or culture has no bearing on whether something is right or wrong.

Unless sensible action is taken to secure justice, and all criminals are held to account, the door will remain open to unchallenged crime.

However, whilst there should be no fear of being labeled racist for pointing out factual evidence, there is also no justification for real racism, which is still a prominent issue and is given somewhat of a platform when events aforementioned occur.

Tolerance is key. I don’t need to explain that discrimination on race is never acceptable but neither should it be for religion.

Religion can be used as a moral compass, and a guide to how somebody can lead a good life. The God fearing little old lady at the Church has almost certainly not used religion as a hate tool.

Although if religion is interpreted to justify criminal acts – most significantly on those of opposing beliefs – then it has no place.. Die hard religious – I use the term religious lightly – fundamentalist organisations such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Islamic State have no place in this world.

I am no expert on religious scripture but feel certain that no sane minded person attempting to lead an honorable life would ever murder or abuse other human beings, or see religion as a way to justify it.

Being apologetic and sympathising for those who have committed wrong is not an act of tolerance, but one of cowardice.Yet criminalising people on baseless accusations is equally indefensible. Distinguishing between whether something is right or whether something is wrong is made far easier when removing race, creed, culture etc. from the equation.

For those who haven’t seen My Name is Khan – which is probably most considering most people reading this I assume are from a Western background – I couldn’t recommend it further. Not only is it a good damn watch but it re-emphasises the values I have tried to put forward, as well as offering a different perspective to the modern world than the Western one we are almost solely accustomed to.

Having spent time in India, I’ve also developed a soft spot for their cinema. The Indian film industry isn’t the world’s biggest for no reason you know.

The West or Putin? Who really wants war?

When Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine last month the world took another step towards what is looking more and more like an inevitable conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind yet another provocative act of war, resulting in the murder of almost 300 innocent civilians.

Well, that was the line that offered by both the West’s governments and their media. Copious amounts of propaganda purporting that Ukraine based Russian rebels were behind the attack have been churned out over recent weeks, despite there being very limited factual evidence to support the claims, not to mention a host of discrepancies that throw a thick cloud of doubt and suspicion over the whole situation.

To begin with, the suggestion that Putin is interested in any international war at all to me seems to be unfounded. As far as international policy is concerned, the Russian leader is one of the world’s biggest protectors of national sovereignty. Which is the reason for why he made no attempt to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria. Unlike the West, Russia has no intention of warmongering or intervening in Syrian affairs.

The justification of the proposed war in Syria was based on the tyrant of a leader having chemical weapons, have we not heard a similar tale before? Over the following year it has transpired that the intention was to frame Assad, before intervening for humanitarian means. Quite how supporting a rebel organisation, riddled with extremism is in any way humanitarian, I am not quite sure. No real proof, despite what the media has offered has ever suggested that Assad used chemical weapons, simple logic would indicate that he would not have needed them for a war that he was winning.

The actions of Putin to point out that it was not necessarily Assad to have used chemical weapons, and to warn against any military action unless that the claims were proven “beyond doubt” was one of the key factors that led to there being no intervention in the country. And for those that suggest that it was our duty to wage war and to “free” or “liberate” Syrian citizens from the Assad government, I point you around 1300 miles west to Libya. A country that was “freed” and “liberated” a couple of years earlier.

Claiming that Vladimir Putin is one of the greatest protectors of national sovereignty is a statement that may appear rather silly following the Russian annexation of Crimea earlier in the year. However, as quite often with international politics, the picture is very rarely black and white, and a debate of good against bad.

What happened in the Ukraine back in February? A democratically elected leader, Victor Yanukovych was toppled with the backing of the European Union. Now, it is common knowledge that the European Union very rarely conforms with democracy. Following the economic crisis in Greece, a former Vice President of the European Central Bank as shoehorned in as Prime Minister, unelected by the Greek people. Not to mention that the EU Commission, the law-making body, is also unelected by the public.

I digress, what the European Union has done in regard to the Ukraine was offer the country, as it had previously done with Georgia an unrealistic dream of joining both the EU, as well as NATO. The prospect of the EU becoming an even larger union with an unprecedented growing political power is concerning enough in its own right. The very idea of national sovereignty, one of the cornerstones to a free and democratic world is being etched away.

The actions to try and lure the Ukraine over was both a violation of national sovereignty, as well as an act seen as deeply provocative by Russia. It must be noted that Ukrainian connections with Russia both culturally and historically have been much stronger than they have to Western Europe. The majority of Ukrainian’s also speak Russian whilst a third of all Ukrainian migration is to Russia, with the Russia-Ukraine border being the second biggest migration corridor in the world. Without attempting to explain a very deep and complex situation, any effort to try and move Ukraine away from Russia was always going to be seen as an unacceptable act, that the Kremlin would not let pass.

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Putin is, to use pub talk, a no nonsense leader. Whilst generally not being prepared to involve his country in conflicts that are of no concern to Russia, he is not scared to act when the interests of his nation are challenged. Annexing Crimea was an action that was both undesirable and ugly. However, whilst I won’t try to justify it, it is worth making the point that Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, the majority of the Crimean population are ethnically Russian, and that in a poll over 90% of the Crimean people expressed a desire to become part of Russia. So when pro-Russian President Yanukovych, who it must be stressed was democratically elected by the Ukrainian people, was ousted by pro-EU protestors, seeing Russia act was not wholly surprising.

Seeing the European Union denounce an annexation also came as a major surprise considering that is what they have done since they advanced from being an organisation who’s main priority was that of free trade.

Fast forward to July and a passenger plane carrying almost 300 innocent civilians crashes over eastern Ukraine. The blame has been heaped almost entirely on Russia, the evidence to support it meanwhile is sketchy at best, and nowhere near strong enough to give the go ahead for the continued sanctions being placed on the country.

The widely publicised story was that Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine were behind the attacks, and that the weaponry used to carry it out, had been supplied by Russia. The actual concrete evidence supporting this however isn’t really there, or at least I haven’t seen it. What I have seen though is the citation of social media as “proof”, forged satellite images in attempt to divert the blame from Kiev, and the general fabrication of evidence.

People may question how I believe that governments could lie about a situation which could potentially have such grave consequences. From governments that lied continuously about Iraq, from claims that Saddam Hussein had links to Al-Qaeda to the country possessing WMDs, I have no hesitation in believing that I am not being told the truth. The only belief I hold with certainty about Western governments, is that they have no moral compass.

Serious questions need to be asked of Kiev and their involvement in the crash of MH17. Why did Kiev Air Traffic Control order that the plane’s route was changed to travel right through an area deep in conflict, an area that was deliberately avoided previously? Why did Kiev forge time-stamps  in an attempt to clear themselves from any potential blame? It is essential that questions like these are asked, nor should someone be labeled a conspiracy theorist for pointing out hard factual evidence that goes against what you have been told.

If I was writing this to talk conspiracy theories, I would mention that Putin’s plane transporting him to Moscow was in the same airspace in the previous hour to the attack on MH17 and that he was the real target. But that isn’t the purpose of this article, the purpose is to make judgments based on fact, and question what is provided by the mainstream media. That is why I advocate at least watching RT (formerly Russia Today), a Kremlin-funded international news channel that offers a different perspective of the world news. Yes, it may sometimes be biased in favour of Russia, but is the BBC not guilty of being biased in favour of the West?

Wary of being subject to a misunderstanding in regard to my opinions of Vladimir Putin, as Nigel Farage was, it is essential I clarify them before rounding off the article. As far as domestic policies are concerned, I endorse nothing of what Putin does. That isn’t to say I disagree with everything, it just means that I don’t endorse them. On international policy, I respect anybody who looks to maintain national sovereignty, who doesn’t intervene in other countries affairs without worthwhile reason, and who isn’t looking to start a war.

Far from the deranged comic book villain that Putin has been portrayed as, he is an astute leader who knows what he is trying to do, whether you perceive it to be right or wrong. Comparisons to Adolf Hitler are both pathetic, as well as very dangerous, and should not be being made by a potential future President like Hillary Clinton. That to me is the real scaremongering and warmongering.

Perhaps Putin was behind the MH17 crash, and my assessments, as well as many others from people much more intelligent than me are wrong. From what has emerged post the event I find that scenario becoming increasingly doubtful. Regardless of what you believe happened, and who caused it, to base your opinion from a media who oppose Russia, funded by governments who are searching for conflict with Russia, is rather foolish.

Move away from mainstream media, or at least listen to it from both sides, and start forming your own opinions. They have lied in the past, do not doubt that they are capable of doing it again.

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