Opposing Israel policies is not anti-Semitism

So there’s been this brouhaha in the media about whether Labour have an anti-Semitism problem or not. Meanwhile, as if by magic, a number of other important issues seem to have disappeared from the news. Take this as an example: on Monday the 25th of April, 4 days before Ken Livingstone’s clumsy intervention in the debate about Naz Shah’s Facebook posts, Tory MPs voted down an amendment to the Immigration Bill calling on the government to take in 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children from Europe. Let’s repeat those words so we can be clear exactly what they mean. “Unaccompanied”: they are … Continue reading Opposing Israel policies is not anti-Semitism

CJ Stone in the Independent

My first article in the Independent appeared in the Saturday Magazine, on Saturday 22nd March 1997. It was the first of a series a columns collectively entitled “Going Home“, about my return to my home city, Birmingham, in early 1997. The story is called “Back to Brummagem“, Brummagem being the local name for the city. It’s not, as it sounds, just a nickname. The name “Brom” or “Brum” appears as a prefix for a number of places in the area: West Bromwich and Bromsgrove, to name but two. So Brummagem is probably the original name, and “Birmingham” the tarted up … Continue reading CJ Stone in the Independent

Ian Pollock’s Illustrations for Housing Benefit Hill

Housing Benefit Hill was a series of columns which appeared in the Guardian Weekend between September 1993 and September 1996. Originally it featured a cartoon series by Steven Appleby, which were very funny, but not specifically intended as illustrations of the text. (Mind you, sometimes they could be accidentally appropriate). However in September 1995 the editors at the Guardian commissioned Ian Pollock to illustrate the stories, and the results are shown below. They are remarkable drawings, not least because somehow or another Ian seemed to be able to capture not only the essence of the story, but the actual appearance … Continue reading Ian Pollock’s Illustrations for Housing Benefit Hill

Unbalanced reporting is feeding our ignorance

I overheard one of my colleagues at work the other day. He was listening to a news report about the prospect of British jets bombing Isis targets in Syria. “Let’s bomb them,” he said. I often hear him saying such things. He’s not a right wing bigot or a racist, although he might be Islamophobic. Many people are Islamophobic these days. I said, “that’s exactly what they are saying about you right now.” He turned from his frame and looked at me sceptically. “So what would you do?” Unfortunately my answer was a lot less succinct than the three words … Continue reading Unbalanced reporting is feeding our ignorance