Tuesday, 22 July 2014

So long, suckers

From Huffington Post by Chris York

Irrelevant Party Leader Stops Leading Irrelevant Party

In a political move that will affect approximately no one, Nick Griffin has stepped down as Chairman of the BNP.

The irrelevant Mr Griffin will be replaced by the even less relevant deputy chairman, Adam Walker, who will now lead the irrelevant party into further irrelevance.

A press release from the BNP states the former leader actually stepped down on Saturday but the whole world failed to notice until two days later.

The BNP have had a tough time of late, losing all of their seats in the European elections as their voters switched to the much shinier, Ukip.

The main key performance indicator for the new Chairman will be to boost the BNP's share of the electoral vote above the 1.1% mark.

Griffin will take up the position of 'President', a grand-sounding title that will give him absolutely zero political influence and do nothing to increase his approval ratings which are so low everybody stopped bothering to measure them years ago.

It is not known if Griffin will continue with his unintentionally hilarious cookery show in which he dispenses such golden tips as: 

Remember to remove the foil from stock cubes.
Griffin's departure marks the ideal time to look back on the overly long and ultimately fruitless history of the BNP.

Highlights include:

1) That BNP Youth video that showed terrifyingly brainwashed kids pledge allegiance to an ideal of Britishness that never existed while decrying gays, Zionists, bankers, media, immigration and Stephen Lawrence's mum.

2) The time Griffin was reduced to eating roadkill and selling scrap metal to fund his party.

3) When he said children will die if they are brought up in "homes which aren't married".

4) Oh, and let's not forget the feeling of sympathy that failed to sweep the nation when Griffin was declared bankrupt.

So Nick, here's to repeating the success of your old job in your new one. CHEERS!


 Past Norfolk supporters of the BNP drumming up funds for Nick Griffin's retirement plan

As Nick himself might say to all those who supported this sad, racist, homophobic, misogynist far right party dedicated to fomenting hatred and division in our communities:
So long suckers, and thanks for all the dosh!

Past Norfolk supporters of the BNP at BNP's money-making Trafalgar Night dinner

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Humanists' Meteorite Meeting Tonight

From the Norfolk Humanists:

Meeting 7.00 pm in the Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich on the 3rd Thursday of each month (apart from August and December)

This Thursday evening: a talk and visuals on Marvellous Meteorites starting at 7.30 pm tonight (doors open from 7.00pm)

Anyone interested in free discussion and debate in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, please come along.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Mustard Macaron

Enjoy a free macaron from Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum!

As part of our Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum's celebrations of 200 years of Colman's in Norwich, there's a free mustard macaron giveaway on Wednesday 16th July!

Colman’s Mustard Shop & Museum will be remembering the birthday of Jeremiah Colman, the founder of Norwich’s unique brand, by giving the first 200 customers to the store a free mustard macaron made by MasterChef runner-up Tim Kinnaird of Macarons and More.

Pop along to the store and claim your free mustard macaron!


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Migrant Brits

From the Daily Mail by Matt Chorley from UN statistics:

- United Nations report shows a record 232million people are living outside country where they were born worldwide

- More than 5million people born in the UK have emigrated, a quarter flying halfway round the world to live in Australia

- Top 10 countries for Brits abroad includes USA, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Germany and Italy

- There are also 7.8million immigrants living in the UK, the fifth highest number of any country in the world

The number of Britons living abroad has soared in the last decade to top 5million for the first time.

Official data from the United Nations reveals where people born in the UK have chosen to settle, with a quarter emigrants jetting halfway around the world to live in Australia and four settling in San Marino.

A league table of immigrants also shows the UK has the fifth highest number of foreigners of any country in the world.

Official data from the United Nations reveals where the 5million Britons who have emigrated have chosen to settle

Cheap flights, more open borders and the need to find work in the wake of the financial crash mean more people live outside the country they were born in than ever before.

Last year a total of 232million people, or 3.2 per cent of the world’s total population, had moved to live in another country.

In 2000 the figure was only 175 million and just 154 million in 1990.

The total number of Brits living abroad rose 23 per cent from 4.1million in 1990 to 5million 2013.

Australia was the most popular destination, with 1.277million expats, well ahead of the US where 758,919 Britons live and Canada, home to 674,371.

Spain remains the most popular European country to live in for Brits, followed by Ireland, Germany and Italy.

The biggest increases in emigration from the UK were mostly to eastern Europe, including countries which have since joined the European Union.

It includes a huge leap in the numbers in Slovakia, up from 34 to 4,276 in 13 years.

There were also large rises in the numbers in Bulgaria (up 5,000 per cent), Romania (1,240 per cent), Czech Republic (1,170 per cent), Latvia (1,116 per cent), Hungary (1,019 per cent) and Poland (892 per cent).

Europe remains the most popular destination region with 72 million international migrants in 2013, compared to 71 million in Asia, the UN said. Despite there being almost 200 countries in the world, half of all immigration takes place into just 10 countries – including the UK.

While 5million Britons live abroad, there are almost 3million more immigrants living in the UK.

The US was home to the most immigrants anywhere in the world, with 45.8 million people, followed by Russia (11 million), Germany (9.8million), Saudi Arabia (9.1 million) and United Arab Emirates (7.8 million).

Despite being the country ranked 80th in the world by size, the UK was home to the joint fifth highest number of immigrants with 7.8 million, just head of France (7.4 million), Canada (7.3 million), Australia (6.5 million); and Spain (6.5 million).

The government has come under pressure to do more to tackle immigration.

The figures come from the UN’s Trends in International Migrant Stock report. Speaking at its launch, Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said: 
Migration, when governed fairly, can make a very important contribution to social and economic development both in the countries of origin and in the countries of destination.

Migration broadens the opportunities available to individuals and is a crucial means of broadening access to resources and reducing poverty.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Veggie Fayre 26th July

IT'S BACK! Norwich Veggie Fayre in its fourth year, bringing you vegan food and animal sanctuaries in the beautiful surroundings of the Quaker Meeting House.

This year's event will see the return of stalwarts and favourites including Deerly Beloved Bakery. (Vegan), Rainbow Wholefoods and Lush NORWICH as well of plenty of newcomers. There will be stalls present from sanctuaries including Wing and a Prayer as well as direct action groups such as Sea Shepherd UK and The Black Fish.

It will also see the return of last year's ridiculously popular vegan wine tasting, hosted by Tom Loudon.

So bring your friends, family, foes, and friendly animals for a beautiful day out supporting veg*nism and animal rights throughout Norfolk and beyond.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

What is Norwich Pride?

From Norwich Pride:

Norwich Pride is the celebration from the LGBT community for everyone. 

It is not just for LGBT people – we want the whole city to join in the celebrations and we encourage people to bring their friends, families and colleagues. It’s a day when everyone can relax, dress-up, dress-down and be themselves.

Photograph by Matthew Dartford

We want to live in a city where everyone can feel safe and proud to be themselves. 

Having a vibrant and visible Pride is an essential way for Norwich to show that we are a safe, tolerant, diverse city.

Let’s turn Norwich into a rainbow! 

The rainbow flag is the international symbol of LGBT Pride and an important part of our campaign is to get as many civic buildings, businesses and organisations in Norwich to fly the rainbow flag and show they value and respect their LGBT staff, clients, customers, student, patients etc. We also want shops to do rainbow displays and ordinary people to put Pride posters in their windows. We want the last Saturday in July to be the most colourful and vibrant day in the city’s calender.

In 2014 we are celebrating the 6th Norwich Pride. 

Thousands of people will be in the city on 26th July 2014. When we did a survey in 2009 to see what people would want from a Pride celebration, we were amazed to get comments from people saying that they wouldn’t go on a march because “people might see me”. There was also anxiety that Norwich was a nice city to be LGBT if you went about your lives quietly and a Pride celebration might “stir things up”. It was if it was “ok to be gay but not too gay”. The first Norwich Pride was amazing – 3000 people turned up for the Parade and we got loads of fantastic feedback telling us how much more confident they felt to be themselves. Every year, that confidence has grown and we are proud to celebrate the 6th Norwich Pride this year, turning Norwich into a rainbow!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Norwich Pride 2014


Saturday 26 July sees the city’s sixth annual Pride, a celebration from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans community for everyone.

Our key events are free, inclusive and family friendly, so we look forward to seeing thousands of you in the city, helping us to turn Norwich into a Rainbow.

We’ll have our annual parade through the city centre, picnic and entertainments at Chapelfield Gardens and stalls & talks at the Forum.

It’s up to you to make the day as fabulous as possible by painting your face, wearing a colourful outfit, flying the rainbow flag or simply sharing a and family. It’s a day when everyone can feel safe and proud to be themselves –enjoy!

Dean Simons, Chair of Norwich Pride 2014

For more details see:

Pride Programme 2014

The Pride Show & Picnic 2014

Pride Parade 2014

Pride Talks

Pride Without Prejudice arts exhibition

Youth & Kids Pride

Pride Discounts

Friday, 11 July 2014

NEW FACTS on UK Immigration

– not fear and hate fuelled fiction

From Hope not hate, by Elisabeth Pop: 

The employment rate and pay of the UK-born working-age population was practically unchanged by the immigration of Central and European workers since 2004.

This is the conclusion of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) who was asked in May 2013 by the Minister for Immigration to advise on the issue of low-skilled work immigration, the factors driving it and the resulting economic and social impacts.

MAC’s findings – an independent, non-departmental public body - come as a new slap in the face of populist, anti-immigration politicians who despite overwhelming evidence still claim that Britain is being invaded by foreigners taking jobs from British people and of a tabloid media set on an agenda of legitimising and reinforcing these myths and sometimes plain falsehoods.

The finding of the report published this week, which brings to light yet more facts on the positive impact of sustained migration to the UK, have either been massively underreporting or blatantly misreported.

The infographics below detail these findings and thus address hand-on the xenophobia we unfortunately encounter every day in the media, in the political rhetoric and in our communities.

- Migrants not a drain, but net contributors

 - Immigrants do not take jobs from British workers

- Migrants do the jobs we do not want or cannot do

- British and migrant workers are equally at risk of exploitation and abuse

- Government’s “benefits tourism” is a myth

- Blaming migrants will not solve the ills in our economy and society

HOPE not hate will continue to ensure that facts and real stories on UK immigration are the ones informing the public debate, and not the fear and hate fuelled fiction that some understand to use to divide our diverse communities for political gains.

We will continue to work in and with our settled and new communities to ensure that HOPE brings us together around the Britain we want to live in – a modern, inclusive one.

Celebrate Norwich City of Literature

From Writers' Centre Norwich:

The City of Norwich wants to see your writing!
Have your writing showcased across Norwich.
City of Stories is a new campaign which celebrates Norwich, UNESCO City of Literature and the people and places that make this fine city so wonderful. 

If you’re a writer who loves, lives in, or has some connection to Norwich, Visit Norwich would like you to submit your city themed writing – you could have your work showcased online and in print. 

We know that you are the city’s best storytellers, and Visit Norwich would like to give you the chance to share your work across the streets of Norwich. If your submission is successful your work will be published digitally, and appear in the real world on beer mats and posters, giving you valuable exposure.

Want to see your work displayed in Norwich? Here’s what and how you can submit: 

1. Write a quote (max 60 words) – We would love to hear why Norwich is special to you. Perhaps your first memory of the city, or your most recent; perhaps a facet of Norwich you find enchanting, or a reason why you’ll keep coming back. These quotes could be used across beermats, posters, writing pads and online.

2. Write some beermat flash fiction or poetry (max 60 words) – What better time to ponder a story, get lost in your imagination or discuss the meaning of a poem with your friends than while having a drink? We’d like people to turn over their beer mats and find a great (yet small) piece of creative writing. Whatever you decide to write, there is only one stipulation: it must fit on a beermat.

3. Write a longer piece set somewhere in Norwich city centre – Once people have come to Norwich and discovered some of the places that they’ve heard (and not heard) about, what better way to immerse them in the experience than to give them a short story about the very place that they’re in? If there’s a spot in Norwich city centre that inspires you, we’d love you to write a short story set there. These can be of any length.

4. Create a piece of beermat art (dimensions 94 x 94mm) – We would love to inspire people who have never been to Norwich with some of the city’s best contemporary art, created by the artists that live and work here. What you design is up to you – it could be inspired by Norwich, tell a story about the city, or be of a subject of your choosing – we ask only that it’s the size of a beermat.

Submit your work:
By Thursday 31st July by email to nikkihg@agencyforchange.co.uk.

You must be local to Norwich or the region, or have some connection to Norwich City of Literature to submit.

For more details please contact:
Nikki Holland-Gladwish
E: nikkihg@agencyforchange.co.uk
T: 01502 726161

If you’re a successful contributor:

You will be invited to the City of Stories launch party on the 18th August, where you’ll hear more about the City of Stories campaign and hear some of the Norwich tales. There’ll be good food, great company, and plenty of culture- much like the city itself!

Of course, you’ll also get to see your work published across the city, and online, sharing your art and writing across Norwich and further afield.

Happy Writing! 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

"I love my foreign spouse" Day of Action

From Steven of BritCits:

Quick update from day of action 9th July 2014 . . .

Thanks to those who attended. A fuller update will provided in due course, but some highlights :

From the morning All-Party Parliamentary Group session, chaired by Paul Blomfield MP :

Andrew Percy MP (Conservative) and Katy Clark MP (Labour) provide case studies of constituents affected, as well as a thoughtful contribution from the centre-right think tank Bright Blue on values, and an excellent contribution from the Lib Dem peer Lord Teverson. Very heartening to see members of all parties speaking out on this - including Conservatives.

Many great contributions from the floor as well, in particular Guy Taylor of JCWI made an excellent speech calling on politicians to make a commitment to scrapping the rules and reuniting families. Guy wants one more day of action next 9th July, and then for it to be done. 'A review of the rules would be nice, but scrapping them is what we need'. I couldn't agree more.

On the streets :

Demo outside the Home Office - a joyous occasion for solidarity, protest, friendship and laughter, and some excellent chanting (ably led by Lee ) :

'I love my foreign spouse... ' Facebook group has more photos:

The parliamentary session in the evening and the launch of the JCWI/BritCits adult dependant relatives report, chaired by Sarah Teather MP :

'You can't see the carpet' :

Many great contributions, including linking the adult dependant relative issues with the rights of children.

'Harsh, Unjust, Unnecessary' : Adult Dependant Relative Report, by JCWI with BritCits, launched 9th July 2014 :

Please read this detailed and moving report!

'I don’t want to leave my country. I will miss my home I will miss my friends and school. I want to live in my country with my whole family and friends. I really really don’t want to go to any other country. It doesn’t feel nice and I don’t want to do it.'

— British child, 7 years old

JCWI : Immigration restrictions condemn elderly parents to lonely twilight years :

In particular : Shadow Immigration Minister David Hanson committed to reviewing the family immigration rules should Labour win office. This follows on from the Liberal Democrats' endorsing a similar position a couple of months ago (see : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/welcome-news-liberal-democrats-endorse.html ). This is a most welcome statement and one we will certainly follow up on.

Our blogs on last year's day of action :

Soldiers to be separated from spouses and children by new rules

From Free Movement by Colin Yeo:

Newly introduced Immigration Rules (Statement of Changes HC 803)  (which took) effect on 1 December 2013 (ends) a concession for family members of members of the armed forces, forcing many such families to separate if the soldier is stationed to the UK.

Ending the concession and bringing soldiers into line with other British citizens and foreign nationals subject to the minimum income threshold ignores the unique position of the armed forces. 

A soldier does not have any control over the country to which he or she is posted or for how long, so the position is not analogous to any other British citizen or foreign national choosing to work abroad or relocate to the UK. 

Soldiers who are posted abroad may well put down family roots during foreign postings. It ignores the reliance of the armed forces on foreign national soldiers, many of whom of course have families abroad. It also ignores the fact they are putting their lives on the line.

United by Love – Divided by Theresa May, JCWI Campaign

These new rules were introduced with a somewhat misleading spin:
New rules have been announced to ensure Armed Forces personnel are not disadvantaged by immigration rules and family members can integrate into society.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper went on rather disingenuously to imply that the rules would be of benefit to soldiers and their families:
I am pleased to announce these changes to the Immigration Rules, which will remove unnecessary differences in the treatment of the dependants of British and Foreign and Commonwealth HM Forces personnel. The Armed Forces community makes a huge contribution to this country and they deserve our respect, support and fair treatment.
In reality the end of the concession means that any ordinary soldier earning less than £18,600 (more if the soldier has any children) will have to leave family behind when stationed in the UK. This may include British children, as it will not in practice be possible for the children to live in the UK unless the foreign national spouse is also admitted.

A normal soldier can expect to earn “at least £17,767″, according the MOD website.

The rules which will now apply to soldiers require the main earner to have income of at least £18,600 before being eligible to sponsor a spouse or partner. If the couple have children the income threshold increases by an additional £3,800 for the first child and £2,400 for each subsequent child. A two child family needs an income of £24,800 otherwise the foreign spouse will not be allowed to enter.

The rules were found to be unlawful when applied to British citizens and refugees in the High Court case of MM & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 1900 (Admin) essentially because the income threshold is so far in excess of the national minimum wage (“High Court finds minimum income rules disproportionate and unjustified“). Information has also emerged demonstrating that the new rules have introduced an additional bias against female sponsors (“British women disproportionately affected by new immigration rules“). 

The Home Office is appealing the MM judgment, however, and all affected decisions are on hold until the case is finally resolved, probably eventually by the Supreme Court in a matter of years rather than months.

Many hard working but low income British citizen parents and children remain separated in the meantime, and ordinary members of the armed forces and their families can now expect to join their ranks.