Category Archives: Politics

Norfolk News: County Councillor Phillip Hardy cannot be trusted to represent his electorate.

Philip Hardy, former Green Councillor now Tory Councillor. (Source: Norfolk County Council)

I first saw this case last month and I have finally been asked to sign a petition started by one of his constituents. It only took five weeks.  Better late than never.

I grew up in Thorpe Hamlet. There is no way a Tory would ever be elected here.  I reckon even Tory voters within the seat would attest to that.
In 2009, Phillip Hardy won his seat as a Green county councillor for Thorpe Hamlet with 46% of the vote – taking what was in 2005 a safe Lib Dem seat, who came second with a  measly 21%. The Conservatives were third on 19% ahead of Labour who scraped in with just under 14%. Labour lost 19 seats on the County Council in that ballot, which was the last before the parliamentary elections of 2010 and so the encumbents at Number 10 were punished. The Tories gained  14 seats and the Greens got 7, including of course Thorpe Hamlet. The LDs wobbled and got one gain.

In Thorpe Hamlet in 2005, the Lib Dems had won with nearly 41% of the vote, ahead of Labour’s almost 29%. The Tory candidate got just over 18% and the Greens a little more than 12%. 2009 was a dramatic swing in favour of the Green candidate, but clearly the swing had not come from  the Conservative voters, but from those who were once Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters, disillusioned with the mainstream parties after the MPs’ expenses debacle and seeing positive things from Norwich City Council

As far back as I remember, Thorpe Hamlet had LD councillors. In the 2007 City Council Elections, the LD’s defeated the Greens by one vote and when there was another City Council Election the next year, the Greens took the seat with 46% and have held it since. Hardly surprising then that a Green was elected to the County Council the following year.

But Thorpe Hamlet would NEVER have elected a Conservative candidate.

This man has pissed on those who voted for him, the Green Party and democracy in the UK. If he were confident of the constitiuency’s support, he would call a for a local by-election, but he has not done so.
Someone so dishonest and power-hungry should be prevented from holding public office any further!
To those amongst you who lean towards the right of the political spectrum – you can’t surely desire to have this man standing amongst your ranks?!
Did he not lose all credibility when he changed his party affiliation?
If as it seems, he is capable of reversing his political bias from left to right without regret, hesitation or remorse, what damage might he do if allowed to keep his job?
Who’s to say he won’t do it again, should some new opportunity for self-advancement present itself?
What kind of beast could he become, were such low moral fortitude combined with mercenary Conservativism?

If you are resident in Norfolk (UK), please sign
this petition and any like it. Help end the disdain with which you, the electorate, are held by some of those who seek political office.


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Lebanese military shameless in their persecution of human rights campaigners.

I picked this up on Middle East Transparent’s English language website. It reflects a brutality that seems to persist in so many parts of the world, particularly – as we have seen, throughout the Middle East  over the last year or so.

The case has been ongoing since last March. It is clearly in response to “a complaint filed by Amal Movement against The Lebanese Centre for Human Rights (CLDH), following their publication on February 10, 2011 of a report entitled Arbitrary Detention and Torture : the bitter reality of Lebanon.” 

Over sixty pages, the report’s authors detailed systematic abuse, arbitrary detention and torture by the security services, particularly from Amal Movement affilliated officers. The Amal Movement was the military wing of a major Syrian-backed  Shia Faction from the Lebanese Wars. Hizbollah is an offshoot and reluctant ally of this bunch. After the  Taif Agreement brought an end to the Civil War, around 9,000 of their 14,000-16,000 forces joined the new Lebanese Army and security services.

This isn’t the only case of corruption and persecution of human rights campaigners in Lebanon. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Saadeddine Shatila, of the international human rights group Alkarama,  who is claimed by a military court to have “published information harmful to the reputation of the Lebanese Military.”

The general director of the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), Ghassan Abdallah and Hatem Meqdadi have been detained, harassed and interrogated with Meqdadi held for four days and subjected to conditions the US playfully like to call ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ and which the rest of us know as torture.

Of course, such abuses aren’t unique to Lebanon.

While the whole world proclaimed the marvel of  ‘free and democratic elections in Egypt’, the military rulers – who have never released their grip on the reins of power – took steps to silence dissent using Mubarak’s 2002 NGO law (which will likely be amended following the elections) that has amongst it’s restrictions  on operating in Egypt, a ban on receiving funding from foreign countries.

The Saudis meanwhile, seemingly detain Saudis (subjects/citizens) and torture them just because they are disabled.

As for Syria, they are utterly debased – maniacally clinging to power by slaughtering unarmed protestors and arresting journalists, human rights observers and others.  HRW has documented reports of abductions, torture (sometimes to death), executions…

Such corruption of the human spirit seems to be endemic throughout the world, and as the last few decades of conflict and then last year’s Arab Spring have shown us, it is deeply rooted in many Arab societies, in most cases because the military see their role not as protectors and defenders, but as overseers and dicators – the ones who know and decide what is best for everyone. Until the military grasp on the balls of  Middle Eastern politics becomes a gentle cupping, we will continue to see such abuses and the factionalism and petty squabbles that divide otherwise strong nations or prevent the oppressed from making a unified stance shall continue.

Yesterday, Human Rights Watch issued their World Report 2012, which I’ll write about some more in a couple of days, once I’ve read it. Click the link and watch their Arab Spring video and download the PDF, if you are interested. It’s pretty slick and it starkly shows the importance of social media in the political upheavals of  the past twelve months.

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