The posts of Shenkuo 28 May – 3 June 2012

…….the banning of Shenkuo last night was particularly repugnant, and can only be explained by the usual suspects reporting him on mass – shame on the gutless moderators for buckling under mob pressure

101 – 3 June 2012

For the first time the posts of one of my monikers on CiF, Shenkuo, were deleted along with its profile. As always there is no abuse, just straightforward comment. So here they are:

On an editorial about the Greek and Spanish financial crisis:

French banks were only just behind German institutions in their loans to Spain.

Every cloud has a silver lining and one that’s close to the heart of many posters here is the rental housing market.

A friend in Alicante has just moved from a 24th floor flat to a far better one in a better location and saved £150 a month on her rent bill.


On an article about wearing the hijab 

The article’s writer says:

But in a society where a woman’s value seems focused on her sexual charms, some wear it explicitly as a feminist statement asserting an alternative mode of female empowerment.

In the same way as the veil in this religion?

The veil is a beautiful symbol of the natural order affirmed by Scripture: “Man was not created for woman, but the woman for the man” (1 Cor. 11:9). The man was not to cover his head “because he is the image and glory of God.” But “the woman is the glory of the man because she came from the man… Thus, the woman is under the power of her husband.” That women should remain veiled in church while men do not is one symbol of this harmonious natural order establishing the husband’s authority over the wife.

The veil represents the natural hierarchy established by God in which the woman is subject to the male: “Let wives be subject to their husbands as to the Lord; because a husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the Church (Eph. 5:22:23). This sublime comparison of husband and wife to the union between Christ and His Church suggests a benevolence in command unimagined before the rise of Christianity. It establishes the loving respect along with protection that a man should provide for his wife. The woman is not only the companion of a man’s life, but also of his spirit – destined to be the other half of his existence.

The veil is also a sign of espousal for both the bride of man and the bride of Christ. It is very significant that traditionally the great moments of a woman’s life show her concealed. This hidden role of women makes up part of the secret of Mary, the Morning Star — which rises in advance of the sun in order to lose itself therein. Mary does not come into prominence for her own sake, but for that of her Son. This spirit of self-sacrifice and surrender, which forms the very core of a woman’s nature, is what the feminists simply cannot abide. They would change all that. They would have women in the forefront, independent wage-earners and bold decision-makers. They perhaps understand the great symbolism of the veil better than the conservative, and thus have taken great care to throw it off it with a contemptuous laugh. But the ironic smile that lingers on their lips reveals a great unhappiness and discontent. For when a woman revolts against this divine order, it is easy to predict the beginning of the woman who has lost her self-identity and self-respect, or who has become the slave of man and his passions.


Isn’t this what modern Muslims should aspire to Nadiya Takolia, not what you do or don’t put on your head.

The bands that congregate there have names such as Osama’s Tunnel Diggers and Boxcutter Surprise. They drink beer and smoke pot, and among them is a spitfire feminist in a burqa – complete with a Dead Kennedys patch – who freely redacts chunks of the Qur’an with a marker pen. “That ayah advises men to beat their wives,” she says, about a contested verse in the holy book. “So what do I need that for?

The female punk in the burqa, Rabeya is the film’s most compelling character – a noisy, sexually liberated woman who refuses to ever show her face. Zahra sees her as “an exaggeration of an American Muslim. You can’t see her, she doesn’t say much, and then we juxtapose that with someone who’s not submissive at all. For some women who wear the hijab, it’s an act of protest – they’re wearing their faith on their sleeve.” Noureen DeWulf, the actor who plays Rabeya, describes the character’s burqa as “a fuck-you statement. She’s taking something that’s meant to make her invisible, and using it to make herself visible.


Not so long ago, it was quite common for middle class women to wear hats. It was considered to be both correct and polite and respectable. But when they arrived at their place of work they would remove them. To have worked with your hat on would have been seen as a display of bad manners.

Does Ms Takolia wear her hijab at work?


Backtothepoint – staunch member of the French Communist Party, who takes every opportunity to denigate the country of his birth and praise his adopted one.

What I love in France is the lifestyle, the fact that you can argue bitterly about politics and religion in a café without anyone taking a swing at you, the sheer stubbornness and refusal to take things lying down of the French people……

You mean other than on 22 June 1940? 0:(

As for the Marseillaise, what ever happened to the Internationale?


On Boris Johnson

Reading  Sonia Purnell‘s article I get the impression that there’s a lot she’s discovered since writing her book that she should have researched better and included in it. I can’t imagine there’s anyone who would have been surprised that Boris and team “mounted a systematic undercover campaign to suppress my book.”

This voice of innocence doesn’t sit well with “a journalist known for her investigative skills”.


On Baroness Warsi’s scandal

Was Baroness Warsi one of Black Londoners Forum’s success stories?

The same Forum which received £371,550 from the Greater London Authority “to influence decision-making at all levels of London governance” and for which Simon Woolley was Vice Chair.


Orthus asks:

Is she, indeed, a Black Londoner?

Well according to her she’s been living in Wembley, north London and works in the capital – so I guess the answer is yes – at least in part.


On Britain’s older post graduate success story

Well done Bertie Gladwin  and now how about something ATL about Bletchley Park that you’ve discovered from your research and we’re not aware of.


On the Benefits System

But isn’t this the same Labour Party that said it would implement the same cuts, albeit on a slightly longer time scale?

Or was that another Labour Party with another Liam Byrne?


 The welfare system does need reform, but this needs to start with a change in attitude at the very top. The reality is that society’s most vulnerable are struggling to survive and are treated with little respect by the system. A society can be judged by the way it treats its children, elderly and vulnerable. On this test, the UK fails.

Sadly this is not the case.

The people who answer the phones, receive and deal with the forms, make the threats about not attending “training sessions”, interviews or not seeking employment, are civil servants and agency staff often on little more than minimum wage, who worry constantly that they will be the next to be made redundant.

“The system” as your experience demonstrates does actually work, albeit rather more slowly than many of us would like and certainly with insufficient funds. So there is a lesson here for everyone who might at some time seek help from that system, and that is to familiarise themself with its requirements – like when and how to provide medical certificates, before the need arises and to recognise that whatever the attitude of those at the top, they are not the ones who make the day to day decisions, who are rude and heartless on the phones, and who provide a daily ration of stories to the likes of the Mail and the Express.

And right on cue we have Liam Byrne who has a history of demonising those on benefits and was only recently suggesting even more draconian Workfare policies for the sick and disabled, suggesting that he’s the one at the top who’ll listen.


Seems the legendary fighter for disabled people, Sue Marsh, has thrown her lot in with the most reactionary wing of the Labour Party.

How people’s principles are so easily corrupted. Desperation is understandable, but this is still very sad.


Jellihead you say:

If you have never received benefits it is unlikely that you will know what you need to provide and when.

But that is true of every aspect of life you are experiencing for the first time, and if you get the process and procedure wrong, how can the person who gets your request divine what it is you want or what your entitlement is? Believe me this is a universal truth.

Sadly your experience proves this point but you make no suggestion as to how this all too common characteristic might be remedied.



It is remedied by providing much clearer information.
The current form for claiming ESA has a leaflet that has 4 sections, the section about filling the form in has three sentances.
The whole form is less than half an A5 sheet of paper.

There’s 7 web pages here

and a 52 page Disability Rights document here

and lots of other web sites from among others the NHS and the Consumer Action Group.



Sunny Hundal reports

Others to have fallen out with the leader include Liam Byrne, the Blairite shadow pensions secretary, who subsequently declared his intention to run for Birmingham mayor.

The two clashed over Byrne’s desire for a tougher approach to welfare.

Ed became sick of Liam always telling him what to do, to do it this way, that way,” says one source.”

Liberal Conspiracy

With all due respect to the heroic Sue Marsh, I think Byrne’s support could well be the kiss of death for her campaign with large numbers of the electorate. It seems to me to rather like welcoming Tony Blair to the campaign to end the war in Afghanistan or Jack Straw to join the campaign for justice for those who were subject to rendition. I’m sure you can think of similar examples from the 13 years of Labour government.

And Liam Byrne is no late Jack Ashley by any stretch of the imagination.


When was the last time you heard a politician discuss disability without resorting to the language of condescension? Of judgment? Possibly even of hate?

Well these from Simon Hughes took me a few seconds to find.



When people are sick, disabled, scared, fighting to keep a grip on what little health they have, trawling through websites, downloading docs just to find out how to fill forms in is a big ask.

Which presumably why this site says:

If you claim Employment and Support Allowance by telephone or textphone an adviser at the contact centre will:

go though the application with you
fill in the form
You will not have to fill in any forms yourself.

Lines are open Monday to Friday, from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.


On Rape of Women in War

cbarr – a “what about the menz” poster.

Taking the numbers of women raped and then stating that this clearly demonstrates the need for a gendered approach is absurd because it completley ignores the evidence from the other side of the equation it makes the lazy assumption that only women are raped in conflict.

So given your expertise in this matter cbarr, would you tell us how many of the rapes were committed by women and how many by men?

I suggest to you that 99.9% of the rapes that Lee Webster documents were committed by men.

This makes it very much a “gendered crime”. And the men concerned should be brought to justice. This should be your concern, not rubbishing the writer.



Bella can we have a response to this article? A gedered approach to tackling conflict violence including rape has being horrifically harmful to victims of conflict in the past. Not to mention the article is mind blowingly missing a much broader picture.

No cbarr the article is fine.

The picture you miss is that virtually all rapes in conflict and peace time are committed by men. They are the criminals and need bringing to justice.

That is the gendered aspect of this crime; always has been; probably always will be.


On the current generation of young people

The youngsters of the generation now entering the so-called “labour market” have been groomed and honed to believe that their life task is to outshoot and leave behind the parental success stories, and that such a task is fully within their capacity.

If that’s true which I very much doubt, they can only blame themselves for not educating themselves by reading papers like the Guardian and the Times. After all they’ve been pushing this message for at least the last ten years.

Even well-qualified graduates have found the job market an uphill struggle this year. Dave Greenwell, a postgraduate chemist at Leeds University, has been dismayed by the lack of job opportunities from big pharmaceutical companies.

Times Higher Ed 2002

And plenty more like it.

Time for a reality check.

But then just think of all the happiness he brought into peoples lives with that Guinness which personally speaking I put ahead of Springsteen any day of the week.

Bit of a dilemma I suppose.

Where do you draw the line?

ps what’s the min you need to get into the 1% and is it global or national?


Downward mobility is now a reality | Zygmunt Bauman

Or into a supra-generational consent that this world of ours, prominent as it is for using duplicity as its survival weapon and for burying hopes alive, is no longer sustainable and in (already criminally delayed) need of refurbishment?

And as a sociologist, precisely how Professor Bauman?


On Housing Benefit

I joined the local council housing waiting list when I was 17, and was told by the council that unless I found private accommodation then claimed housing benefit I would always be at home. I never see that money – it goes straight into my landlord’s pocket.

If you offered the same treatment to your landlord as you demand from the BBC  I doubt you’d have made this statement without providing your readers with more information such as:

How much does your landlord get?
Does he /she own the property outright?
Does he / she pay any tax on the rent you pay?
Are there any upkeep and maintenance cost?
Does he / she pay agency fees?
Is there a mortgage on the property?
What is the return on the investment he / she has made?

You do seem sufficiently knowledgeable about the situation to conclude that your landlord is: effect heavily subsidised for buying second homes by housing benefit payments, while I have to claim benefit to afford basic rent.

But isn’t it the case that every government has set housing benefit rates at a level needed to ensure that those who cannot live in social housing, can find somewhere to live in the private sector? How would you feel if your council took your advice and set its housing benefit rate so it was closer to that in less expensive parts of London or even the rest of the country?

Finally your council says on its website:

It is our job to ensure that houses and flats let by private landlords are safe, sound, warm and well managed.

We do this by:

inspecting homes for health and safety hazards
advising landlords about the minimum legal standards
licence high risk private rented homes
target areas of poor quality or high risk housing for inspection
take legal action to improve sub-standard housing.

Hardly the uncaring authority you portray.


Burpy suggests that Shanene‘s landlord is getting a return of 14.3% because he / she read it on a website. But what does Shanene or her landlord say? We don’t know as she hasn’t told us.

piratetwin how do you know Shanene’s landlord is a latter day Rachman?

In order to maximise his rental from his properties, Rachman drove out the — mostly white — sitting tenants of the properties he owned in Notting Hill, who had statutory protection against high rent increases, and then packed the properties with recent immigrants.

That’s some accusation to make about someone we know nothing about. Shanene hasn’t said that but you feel comfortable assuming it. I can’t imagine she’s looking for supporters like you in her quest for justice.

And if local authorities are going to provide sufficient social housing for everyone, at what rent would this be? You don’t say, neither do you say what the cost to Council Tax payers like Shanene would be. Or doesn’t that matter?



This is a woman who is working to support herself and her child. If you bother to read the article, she could have stayed at home and leeched a good deal more in benefits. Instead – even though she would only gain an extra £20 per week – she went out to work instead.


Becomes speechless.


Are you saying that single mums who can’t find a job are leeches?

That’s not very nice of you is it?

And aren’t you a barrister with two houses?

How do you describe that?



I was referring to the general principle underlying the thesis of the piece (that people should live with their parents), illustrating that it’s ridiculous as a universal rule.

You might consider it to be ridiculous but it’s the norm in much of the world. And given the housing situation in Europe with so many people owning two or more homes, quite likely to become the norm here. And given parents’ responsibility to their children, which ones are prepared to force their children to sleep on the street?


I’m all in favour of people living as close to their place of work as possible.

But if Shanene were to move to Newham – 12 minutes from Whitechapel on the tube, her net gain per week once lower rents and increased travel costs were taken into account would be c £45.

That’s the kind of choice millions of Londoners have had to make during their lives so why not Shanene?

If someone can come up with a solution to this problem for Shanene and all other Londoners, please let us know.



I don’t need to know her rent as I was looking at the relative cost of flat rents in Newham and Tower Hamlets. And the former is considerably cheaper than the latter.



They are both open and closed questions depending how you choose to answer them.

For all of us, including Shanene, learning how to perform well on television is a difficult skill to acquire. It takes a lot of training and practice. And if you haven’t had the necessary training you are a fool to assume you won’t be made to look foolish.


On the Julian Assange Extradition Case

Amy Goodman

The cases remind us that all too often whistleblowers suffer, while war criminals walk.

So what are you proposing should happen to a man who has been accused of rape and sexual assault by two women? Allowed to go free without even being questioned?

And isn’t this reference to Pinochet, one of the world’s most foul dictators, rather a slur on their characters and totally irrelevant to the reason he should return to Sweden.


rosieh2 and AndyLucia

You might be justified in defending Shanene’s reluctance to answer questions about her personal circumstances but she has made statements about the personal circumstances of her landlord – in effect heavily subsidised for buying second homes by housing benefit payments.

Unless she can provide us with the gain the landlord gets from having a tenant in receipt of housing benefit compared to one who isn’t, people are right to question her statement.

Reading the posts here I’ve come to the conclusion that the Guardian might have put Shanene in exactly the same situation as the BBC – with a forum that refuses to accept that her version of events is the only interpretation possible.



Of course, if you’re a politician, a closed question is nothing but a free licence to talk about whatever you want.

Which is precisely why you’re advised never to be interviewed by the media unless you’ve had the proper training. Also Tony Benn, always carried a tape recorder with him to ensure he had a copy of both the questions and his answers. Then when he needed to challenge the BBC etc, he had the evidence.

And a television studio isn’t a court of law. You cannot be compelled to answer “yes or no”.


When people die because they want to complete the London Marathon – run at sea level, or drown surfing, at an even lower altitude, or die scuba diving at below sea level, no one blinks an eye lid. Well one or two I suspect.

But when someone wants to pay to climb the highest mountain, shared between the world third richest country (China) and one of its poorest, (Nepal) somehow there’s a moral dimension.

And people blame the Nepalese, rather than those western first world people who prefer to sign up to amateurs to guide them to the summit because they’re cheaper, and then if they’re really unfortunate, to their death on the way down, – which is where most of the deaths occur.

So for me I’m all in favour of increasing the income of those Nepalese climbers who for years have tried to convince us to rely on them to get us to the summits of Himalayan peaks, but who western travel companies have rejected as unnecessary.

But if budget conscious tourists who believe the hype of adventure travel companies are worth risking their lives for, then so be it.

I’m all in favour of the transfer of cash from the rich west to the poor east and hope that increasing numbers of westerners are prepared to pay to make the greatest trip the world can offer.


From You Tell Us 

fripouille on his daughter’s perception of Churchill:

She said that he was the English equivalent of De Gaulle…

I think you should be worried about how your daughter is being educated.

To the critical, De Gaulle was the world’s most proficient opportunist.

De Gaulle was allowed to capture the leadership of France courtesy of English and American generosity. But the idea that he was anything other than an Allied supported opportunist who through obstinacy, denied France its rightful place in the world, is rather delusional.


There are unpleasant and aggressive posts all over CiF – it’s the nature of the beast.

There are two options – either the mods just let people get on with it as long as they are not in breach of the Ts & Cs, or they start zapping everything that they deem has crossed the line of politeness.

Or there are those who in defence of their CiF status report anything that challenges their assumption to be the adoration of all who venture here and demand that those who refuse to accept this, need to be expunged.

Or there’s pure and simple freedom of speech where mature adults who don’t have bipolar disabilities or other like conditions can disagree with each other without the need of storm troopers intervening.



So why do you think there has been no realistic intervention in Zimbabwe then, despite the manifest human rights breaches that have happened?

One of the saddest things about our expectations of post Mandela Africa has been the almost total absence of rebellion in Zimbabwe.

Maybe it’s rather like the situation the CiF revolutionaries decry, namely the failure of Britons to rise up against the cruel, barbarous government that stands its iron heel on their collective neck.

But rather than do anything about their oppression, they prefer from the comfort of their armchairs, to pretend they are the vanguard and post their rebellious threats here, hoping against hope that no one will call on them to abandon their keyboards and do something revolutionary.



She is French, therefore she knows far more about De Gaulle than she does about Churchill

So that’s rather like the two Swedish women who were raped and sexually assaulted, about whose claims you said were a “pile of steaming crap”.

I’m not sure you’re the right person to rely on for an accurate opinion.




What an odd thing to say, were the MDC not a rebellious grouping then? The West’s lack of support to the MDC in 2007-08 was utterly shameful.

Are you saying the MDC was a revolutionary movement who the comrades on CiF missed while they were chuntering on about overthrowing Gordon Brown and David Cameron?

Or was the MDC too much like the Zimbabwe leadership it claimed to oppose?

You tell me.



Funny how someone who on these very boards robustly defended the teacher who was imprisoned for having an affair with a 15 year old pupil, can presume to criticise the parenting of people they’ve never even met.

One of the consequences of smoking so much dope mschin is that it affects your short term memory.

What I defended, if that’s the right term, was that the tax payer should not be required to pay for a prison sentence when a far less expensive non-custodial sentence would have satisfied all but the most rabid right winger, of whom you seem to have promoted yourself to be spokesperson.

So congratulations on your new post.



Well I don’t know who comprises this “revolutionary movement” or who the comrades were, but at the time I was representing in dozens of asylum cases for the MDC members who had managed to make their way here and seek refuge.

The revolutionary movement would have been the equivalent of Mandela’s ANC.

So who were your defendants?

Any names, given that you’ve got them asylum?


And not surprisingly that was the final post.

A coincidence I suspect, just a coincidence.

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