Posts tagged ‘Britain’

March 12, 2017

Is International Women’s Day Patronising?

We’re women and we’re feminists. Bunty and I have always identified as feminists and we grew up in feminist households where the men were also feminists. What is International Women’s Day about?

Is it an annual appraisal of ‘women’s issues’ based on progress and regress of women’s rights? Is it about celebration and protest? It it

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August 27, 2015

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Bidisha & Mohammed Osborne

Yasmin Alibhai Brown and Bidisha

For a few seconds, time stopped and the audience dropped a collective jaw as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown asked if we knew that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s brother was a Muslim convert, Mohammed Osborne. No we didn’t! But…but… how did that happen?

exotic_england_ Yasmin Alibhai Brown

It was a sell out session with the charismatic journalist and writer,

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January 14, 2015

Charlie, Muslims & Me

paris protests

Well, I hardly need to explain the title and the background news story. Shocking on so many levels for so many people.  24 hour rolling news, debates across current affairs programmes had almost every angle covered.

In homes and offices over the world the general public debated the meaning of freedom of speech. What does freedom of speech mean to you? The freedom to offend? Standing up for the rights of other people you disagree with to offend? Why should all Muslims apologise for the crimes of crazy people or reassure others that we are not terrorists?

I’m part of a Muslim family in Britain so what was our reaction?

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June 25, 2014

Passport Control

British_passportMurderers and drug smugglers can hold on to their British passports but the British government is considering revoking passports of Britsh born Muslim men/boys who have decided to go and fight in the Syrian war against the Assad regime and the creeping mission to other parts of the Middle East.

Does the British government represent the people or are we under its rule and at the mercy of its whims and disregard of human rights?

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March 14, 2014

Letters From a Prince

Prince Charles

Earlier this week the Guardian newspaper won a nine year court battle with the UK government in order to see letters sent by Prince Charles to UK ministers under the Freedom of Information Act.

The letters apparently show evidence of the prince lobbying senior government ministers to change policies that he is unhappy with.

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September 28, 2013

The Sound of Cinema

StarWars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. the opening lines of one of my favourite movies of all time, Star Wars.  The majestic musical score written for the Star Wars movies has been voted the UK’s favourite soundtrack as voted for across all BBC Radio listeners.

Instantly recognisable from the first notes

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September 14, 2013

From Scotland With Love

Aberdeenshire-20130831-00875

Loads of my friends in London have never been further north than Manchester.  Scotland? Why go there when you can fly somewhere warm for the same price?  I understand that point, however, home is where the heart is and mine is firmly in Scotland.

I live in London and Delhi too and I love the difference in climate, culture and things to do.  A rather compact country, Scotland is best

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August 18, 2013

The Most Overpaid Apprentice in the World

prince-charles

HRH Prince Charles, the world’s longest serving and most overpaid apprentice, has been making MPs nervous with his increasing desires to meddle in British politics.  The Guardian newspaper reported over the weekend that Prince Charles has seconded two of his staff to government offices, one was even in the cabinet! 

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July 29, 2013

I’m Off To Co-op

co_op

Oh my god! The Co-op supermarket has given lads’ mags 6 weeks to clean up their front covers or they will no longer stock them.

I can’t believe it. I remember as a very young girl feeling hugely uncomfortable

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July 26, 2013

Handsome Enough To Tempt Us To Spend!

Jane-Austen-new-bank-note

What wonderful news that Jane Austen is to be commemorated on our new £10 notes. Shock, horror, can campaigning really work?

The glorious Bank of England announced that it was going to replace Elizabeth Fry, the only female historical figure on a banknote, with Winston Churchill.  This sparked a huge campaign

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June 17, 2013

Syria: Herewegoagain…urgh…and Whose Side Should We Be On?

syrian-refugee-camp

The names and places change but the sad fact is that I am war fatigued and rather disillusioned and skeptical of Western governments justification of their desire to intervene in Syria.  No one listens to the general public and there is no alternative political party to vote for, only war-mongering ones. The Assad regime is no longer fashionable and Britain is on the side of the rebels.  Except the British government’s mouthpiece, the BBC, casually mentions towns that are captured by the rebels and the death toll of civilians at the hands of the rebels –  67 was the number of civilian deaths in ONE town in the last news report I listened to and they are meant to be the goodies!!

The old global political alliances seem to be reassuring us that nothing has changed in their mentality since the Cold War. 

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May 17, 2013

A Letter To The Independent

Squirrel sisters first

Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, flow sister!!

I have a big sis and she is amazing and loads of fun and even acts like a big brother (why the F*** is that guy staring at you??!)!  She’s also a lawyer, something I mention to freaks around the world that I don’t want to do Bijness (business) with so they back off.

News of the Oxford child abuse ring is once again in the headlines as convictions are passed and the limelight once again falls on the Asian Community and in particular Muslims and Pakistanis.  It’s interesting as my sis and I discussed why it is that our white British friends aren’t asked to reflect on Christianity and feel guilty for child abuse and molestation by the likes of Jimmy Saville and everyone accused since.  We are meant to walk with our heads hung in shame and white Brits can Keep Calm and Carry On…abusing??

So today, my sis sent this letter to the Independent newspaper in response to a reader letter:

Dear Sirs

I am a Scottish Pakistani Muslim and now live in London.

Pakistan does not present  the world with immigrants from one all-binding culture, so why don’t some of your readers stop forcing one label on to all of us?  All  of my cousins are university educated

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May 15, 2013

Young British Victim of Indian Organ Harvesting

DQ190513INJC-26.jpg

The parents of Gurkiren Loyal, an 8 year old British schoolgirl that died in a hospital in India whilst on a family holiday, alleged that their daughter was murdered by the hospital for her organs.

Gurkiren was taken into a local clinic for treatment of mild dehydration after complaining of a sore tummy.  Her heart broken parents allege that the little girl was receiving a drip when a staff member came up to her with an injection. 

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May 6, 2013

Fashion Victims and Villains

Soho neon pocket tank top 2

Top by new ethical fashion brand, sketch london.

Left-leaning newspapers have been running a series of articles ever since the Bangladesh garment factory collapsed.  The death toll has now sadly passed 500, mostly women, but why are consumers and fashion brands being made to bear the majority of the guilty burden? That fingers have been pointed at some brands was inevitable and fashion is regularly targeted for being a poison of the world: the very sick and visible face of capitalism and greed.  In Bangladesh and India the tragedy is being reported as a corrupt failure of building regulations not a story about Evil Fashion Brands.

The usual suspects of British ethical fashion have been carted out with the usual snippets of condemnation and hissing at the likes of Primark, GAP and so on.  Will consumers care they ask? Can they afford to I ask?  This could be a long article so please get a cuppa or a glass of wine.  I promise you will learn a thing or two.

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April 14, 2013

Who Deserves Military Honours?

CEREMONIAL PROCESSION ENTERS WHITEHALL

Queen Mother’s funeral

Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher will receive military honour for her funeral and this has caused great concern amongst some, especially (apparently) from Buckingham Palace.

That there seems to be huffing and puffing about an extraordinary Brit receiving military honours usually reserved for Royalty is astonishing.  Margaret Thatcher did far more for her country than the Queen Mother and Princess Diana

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April 9, 2013

The Iron Lady Dies

Margaret Thatcher

You will have read and heard enough of Margaret Thatcher’s death yesterday on 8 April.  Although she was a polarising politician like no other, she was Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister.

I grew up in a world when a woman ran the country and was an excellent stateswoman, holding her ground amongst the other great leaders of the world.  My mother would often remind me that her father owned a shop and look where she was! Prime Minister of Great Britain!

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April 4, 2013

Not So Great Britain

The funerals of the six Philpott children at St Mary's church in Derby on 22 June 2012

The Philpott case sends shivers up us all. There were several programmes on yesterday that went over the case (the couple and their friend having been found guilty of manslaughter) and I was moved to tears watching one of them. I guess it was worse because I was with my baby nephew and we were curled up on the sofa together.

You’ll know the case facts but at the risk of going all Daily Mail, how on earth were 11 children allowed to live in a 3 bedroom house?

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March 17, 2013

Mr Wonderful

Princess-Diana

Princess Diana’s ‘Mr Wonderful’ also known as Pakistani heart surgeon, Dr Khan is reported to be pursuing maximum damages from News International after Scotland Yard informed him it was possible his phone had been hacked.

Dr Khan is of course one of the 600 potential new phone hacking victims

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March 12, 2013

High Pryce To Pay

Vicky Pryce

Am I alone in feeling sorry for Vicky Pryce? She was sitting next to her husband whom she loved for almost 30 years and he turned to her and said it was over, he was with a younger woman, he wanted a divorce. And then he went to the gym.

Then the press find the whole thing hilarious because the younger woman had been in a relationship with another woman.

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March 6, 2013

Eat Yourself to Life

Sardines escabeche

Lookin’ good!

We Brits will die before our European neighbours, so claims the latest research.  As we all know a healthy diet plays a big part towards our longevity.   The Mediterranean diet may well be wonderful but many Mediterranean breakfasts consist solely of black coffee and cigarettes.  Very healthy! 

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February 24, 2013

I Don’t Debate With Israelis

oxford

British MP George Galloway must only be second to Madonna as the best self-publicist.

Last week, George (a former Big Brother contestant) stormed out of a debate at Oxford University after a student stood up to ask him a question.  The purpose of the debate was to open a dialogue regarding Israel and Palestine.  George used his speech to condemn Israel but then went on to say he didn’t recognise the state of Israel.  Isn’t this contradictory?

I think that George planned his reaction in advance

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February 2, 2013

Cheaters

exam hall

Not the TV programme about relationship cheats I’m talking about exam cheats! Have you ever cheated for an exam??  I have not ever ever cheated for an exam or test, however, I am constantly shocked by my sister, a law lecturer at one of the UK’s top universities, as she recounts stories of catching cheats in action during exams.

Harvard University recently caught

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January 20, 2013

War and Pre-Crime

french soldier mali

Do you remember when countries (usually the USA) were considering striking another country and there would be news conferences and statements of intent, solidarity and reasoning?  This would be followed by a statement from the British Prime Minister stating the UK’s position.  One morning I woke up to news that France had started a war in Mali, albeit on the side of the Mali government, against Islamist insurgents inside Mali. None of the previous protocol seems to have taken place.

It was several days before

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January 10, 2013

Church Rules

church of england liverpool

So, if you are a straight man and married or single, you can become a bishop.

If you are a single gay man, you can become a bishop providing that you promise not to cosy up with another gay man.

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January 2, 2013

Oops EU Did it Again

paula hamilton

The woman in the 80s Volkswagen Golf advert has a new reason to be angry and throw her pearls off:  women, it seems, are a soft target for the European Union and in my opinion the institution is misogynistic.   The EU ruling, now in force, that women cannot benefit from lower car insurance due to gender discrimination is pathetic since the EU will not come down with such a hammer and with such zeal against companies that do not give equal pay to women.

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January 2, 2013

A Woman in Delhi

India Gang Rape

You couldn’t have escaped one of the most tragic and gut-wrenching stories to have come out of India over the New Year period.  A 23 year old med student was gang raped in Delhi on a moving bus, then beaten with an iron rod for 45 minutes, thrown semi-naked off the moving bus and it emerged today that the bus driver tried to run her over but she was saved by her boyfriend who was also violently beaten during the attack.

Reading about this tragic and awful story is hard enough but this story gives me shivers as I live in Delhi half of year and I’m going there this week

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December 21, 2012

Travelling on Donkeyback

christmas rush jpeg

Donkey may be the fastest option for those facing travel chaos in the lead up to Christmas.  Today is expected to be the busiest day for the mass movement of Britons hoping to reach loved ones in time.  Hundreds of thousands of people will leave London in the coming days

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December 18, 2012

Judges, Not Mothers, Know Best

mother and baby drawing

A woman, Sally Roberts, started a nationwide missing persons hunt for running away with her son, aged 7, as she did not want him to undergo surgery to remove a tumor on his brain.  The decision was finally given to a judge who ruled in the favour of the medical team and advised that her son be given the operation as soon as possible.

I have a seven year old niece and can only imagine the trauma the mother is going through.  It must be so incredibly

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December 5, 2012

Does Charity Begin At Home?

The government announced yesterday that £2 billion will be put towards “Climate Aid” in developing countries to help countries such as Columbia and Uganda go green.

How do you feel about this news?

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November 8, 2012

Ambassador Hamilton of Formula 1

The rubber tyres screech in from the Indian Formula 1 track and Lewis Hamilton leaves the glamour, girls and champagne behind to jump on to a small jet waiting to show him tiny premature babies in incubators that proved to him that India still needs British aid.

In recent weeks the British government announced that it would be cutting back aid to India.  India is touted as a fast developing nation, Indian MPs sniff at British aid donations saying it is unnecessary and the British public is less concerned about a country that has a growing number of millionaires with an insatiable appetite for Range Rovers.

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November 4, 2012

Remembrance Day

During the First World War more than 1.3 million soldiers volunteered from India and it is estimated that more than 70,000 lost their lives.  Of course India at the time included Pakistan and Bangladesh.  I briefly mentioned this in a previous post about a debate I attended at the Royal Society of Arts.

Millions of people died during the First World War

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October 15, 2012

Marriage and Prejudice

Dear Diary,

I have been with my partner for over ten years. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, in the beginning we were just friends but then one day I realised that we were not going out to dinner as friends: we were on a date.

I am from Pakistan, though I have lived abroad for many years. My boyfriend is white British. I knew it wasn’t going to go down very well if my parents found out about him, they made no secret of how they felt about inter-racial marriages.  One day, while back in Pakistan on holiday, my mum found out about my boyfriend.  She made me promise to break up with him which I, very reluctantly, said I would do.

But I didn’t as I never intended to. My boyfriend and I continued our lives in London but I kept him a secret from most of

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September 25, 2012

Pleb-Gate

Here is an embarrassing incident that just won’t go away.

 

Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell has been officially logged calling serving officers of the Metropolitan police “plebs”. It was leaked to the press on Monday and today and following two apologies from Mr Mitchell, you would think that would be the end of it.

Not in this case. Is there more to this than meets the eye? Could it be because Mr Mitchell refuses to tell what he exactly did say? Could it be that the use of the word “pleb” demonstrates just how out of touch with the British public the government are or are we all just so insulted that the people who meant to serve us, who were voted in by us think of us as lower than them. Will this story only end in the resignation of Andrew Mitchell?

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September 13, 2012

Mo Murray!

After Wimbledon tears and Olympic cheers, everyone’s favourite miserable Scot, Andy Murray sealed his place in British tennis history by winning the US Open.  It has been 76 years since a Brit won and it was truly wonderful news to wake up to.

One of the endearing stories to come out

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August 21, 2012

Assange: A Battle for Free Speech?

Is Julian Assange a hero of democracy and freedom of speech or someone who fell foul of technology like a celebrity who didn’t think before hitting ‘send’?

Technological improvements and new product launches promising instant and global communication pour out across the world almost monthly.  We are still naïve about the reach of the mass communication tools in our possession often to our detriment as recipients of fines for racist tweets are finding out.

Did Julian Assange honestly believe that there would be no consequences

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July 24, 2012

Please Plug the Gap

The Chancellor, George Osborne has entered the tax dodging debate by declaring cash payments to plumbers and the type ‘morally wrong’.  He has some cheek as both the coalition and previous governments have fallen over themselves to help create and encourage the system whereby the rich pay hardly any tax at all.

Last week it was reported that £13 trillion is lost every year through loop holes

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July 9, 2012

Gallant Loser

What a Wimbledon final!!! Britain hasn’t seen a finalist in Wimbledon in 74 years and despite Andy Murray’s bad PR a few years ago, it really felt like the nation was behind him and what a worthy finalist he was. The last British champion was Fred Perry in 1936 and in the first set, it looked like he it could be Andy Murray’s day.

His post match summary was extremely British. Dignified in defeat heralding the champion and ready to move on.

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July 5, 2012

Times Of Oliver

A really sad story in the news today was research indicating that UK has a child hunger crisis. According to Net Mums and Kids Company, 1 million children live in homes without enough to eat. The forthcoming summer holidays is real problem for these families as children rely on free school dinners as their only meal of the day.

Hungry children is not an epidemic as it is in some developing countries but a 223% increase in the last 12 months due to the economic climate in the UK is frightening. I just cannot believe it.

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June 26, 2012

Kinder Than London

Having just spent a weekend in Brussels, I was overwhelmed by the numerous genuine acts of kindness in the city. I rarely experience kindness in London from strangers and in the few times that I have, it has been from those visiting the city. However, in Brussels, people were really helpful.

Is the world really a kinder place across the Channel?

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June 12, 2012

The Gods Unite

As the gay marriage debate rolls on I do wonder why gay people want to participate in a religious institution, often at a religious institution, when all mainstream religions hate homosexuality and recognise it as a sin where gays will burn in hell or even worse.

I went to a gay wedding in Delhi

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