Friday, July 07, 2006

One year on from 7/7, Britain and America are further apart than ever

Some (US) commentators like to refer to 7/7 as Britain's 9/11. But in its reaction to 7/7, Britain could not be more different.

Twelve months after 7/7, Britain is more anti-American than ever. In fact, the tone of its anti-Americanism is getting uglier and uglier. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. There were many in the chattering classes who said in the days following 9/11 that America had it coming.

All that 7/7 has done is to highlight just how much Britain and America have diverged. See this excellent article by Gerard Baker.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

British Muslims in the front line

There is a tragic story in today's Times about Britain's first Muslim soldier to be killed fighting the Taleban. He was described by his family as a “committed soldier and a committed Muslim”.

You can read it here.

A great loss to Anglo Jewry

On Shabbat, Anglo Jewry lost one of its great leaders, Dr Louis Jacobs, a man who was once referred to as "the greatest Chief Rabbi we never had."

My Father-in-law has written an obituary which can be found here.

A year on from 7/7, there are some disturbing views from Britain's Muslim community

A poll carried out for today's Times reveals some alarming views being held by Britain's Muslim community.

More than one in ten thinks that the men who carried out the London bombings of 7/7 should be regarded as “martyrs”, whilst sixteen per cent of British Muslims, equivalent to more than 150,000 adults, believe that while the attacks were wrong, the cause was right.

On the other hand, more than half (56 per cent) believe that the Government has failed to combat extremism, (compared to 49 per cent of the general population who agree). Nearly half (49 per cent) of Britain’s 1.6 million Muslims also think it acceptable for the authorities to monitor what is being preached in mosques more closely. More than nine out of ten Muslims (92 per cent) say their community makes a valuable contribution to British society.

The survey tells a tale of two communities, the law abiding majority who back the government in fighting terror, and a growing minority who are at war with this country. This minority have been allowed to hijack the community for far too long, and much of the blame lies with the government and the law enforcement agencies. On countless occasions, moderate mosques have been forcibly taken over by what can only be described as thugs (the Finsbury Park mosque being the best example). On such occasions, law abiding muslims have pleaded with the authorities for help, but the authorities have done nothing, regarding any interference in communal affairs as racist.

If the authorites are serious about combatting extremism, they need to make a start by combatting their own naivety.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Connemara and Kylemore Abbey

Less than an hour from Galway bay is Connemara, an area of outstanding natural beauty.


The Twelve Pins, which are twelve mountain peaks in the heart of Connemara

Me with the scenery of Connemara in the background

Kylemore Abbey which is now a convent school, in the heart of Connemara

The lake alongside Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

The Victorian kitchen garden at Kylemore Abbey

The Victorian kitchen garden at Kylemore Abbey

The Victorian kitchen garden at Kylemore Abbey

Galway Bay

After visiting Dublin, we went on to Galway which is on the West Coast of Ireland. To give you an idea of how small Ireland is, it only takes a few hours to drive from the East Coast to the West Coast.

These photos were all taken at Galway Bay, a few minutes walk from the Bed and Breakfast where we were staying.

More photos from our trip to Ireland

Here are some more photos from our time in Dublin:

The city itself is not a particularly attractive place, but this is compensated for by the locals, who are friendly, animated, entertaining, and have a great sense of humour. Just to illustrate, they have come up with some affectionate sounding names for their local statues....

The James Joyce statue (above), also known as the prick with the stick

The Oscar Wilde statue, also known as the fag on the crag

Statue of some local shoppers (above), also known as the hags with the bags

Statue of Molly Malone (above), also known as the tart with the cart

The Dublin Spire, also known as the stiletto in the ghetto