Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Rotten Government Spinning Out Of Control

More details are due to be revealed tomorrow of a disgraceful Tory smear campaign at the heart of Number Ten which has led to one of Brown's closest aides forced to quit a rotten government spinning out of control.

The Downing Street dirty tricks campaign to smear top Tories, including leader David Cameron, was exposed by one of the country's top political bloggers, Paul Staines, author of the Guido Fawkes political blog.

The smear campaign has been spun by Number Ten as a "juvenile and inappropriate" prank by two blokes in a pathetic attempt at damage limitation and to play down the seriousness of the spin operation at the heart of a fag-end of a government.

But a full blown political row dealt a bitter blow for Brown, when one of his most senior aides, Damian McBride, was fingered by Staines over emails discussing possible smear stories about Tory MPs, sent to New Labour blogger, Derek Draper to be used on a scurrilous New Labour pre-election website, 'Red Rag'.

Staines had alleged a Downing Street operation, co-ordinated by McBride tried to smear Conservative MPs, including lurid and totally unfounded allegations about the private lives of David Cameron and George Osborne.

Some of the smears, due to be published in tomorrow's News of the World, are revealed here by the Sunday Times. The Tories have already confirmed that David Cameron and his wife Samantha, George Osborne and MP Nadine Dorries, are among the targets.

But in a toxic mixture of deceit and spin, Downing Street today tried to play down 'Smeargate' as spinners tried on the tactic of a political battle between 'left' and 'right' when it's nothing of the sort.

Claims on Guido Fawkes and Twitter also point the finger at minister for digital engagement, Tom Watson, who denied involvement. SpAds and spinners are one thing, a government minister, quite another.

A Downing Street spokesman said it was Brown's view there was "no place in politics for the dissemination or publication of material of this kind."

But that's rich coming from the man who promised a new era of politics and vowed to put an end to the spin and SpAd culture which had dogged Blair and discredited the New Labour brand.

The allegations, which detail a smear campaign against various Tory politicians, were due to be exposed by one of the Sunday newspapers.

But, in what appears to be a spoiler and pre-emptive strike, the claims featured on the front page of today's Daily Telegraph.

Downing Street initially tried to hold the line and issued a statement saying McBride has apologised but the writing was on the wall as Downing Street's rapid rebuttal unit worked overtime.

The BBC pushed the Brown and the Downing Street line playing up the apology and playing down the seriousness of the affair with the toe-rag McBride being given the oxygen of air-time to drip more McPoison.

To spin this as some kind of 'juvenile and inappropriate' prank by one person in Downing Street is bollocks.

Spinners also tried the tactic of accusing Guido of money grabbing, claims which he strenuously denies: "Not a penny is changing hands. This is for pleasure, not profit."

McBride, dubbed McPoison, who has worked for Brown for many years, is well-known for downright devious briefings to journalists.

At the heart too is a long-running cyber-spat between Guido and Draper, a former spin doctor to the spinmaster Mandelson, who runs a weedy apology for a political blog Labourlist, as part of the 'Go Forth And Multiply' New Labour gang.

What is highly embarrassing for Number 10 is that its spinners and plumbers are spending their time obsessing about how they can smear the opposition with the politics of character assassination, rather than doing the job they are paid to do by the taxpayers. And that is trying to advise ministers on how best to run the country.

No political party of whatever colour is whiter than white when it comes to the dark arts of political dirty tricks, from Richard 'Tricky Dicky' Nixon in the US through to the Campbell and Mandleson spin of the Blair years.

But these sordid smears do reveal the increasing significance of the political blogsphere which is becoming a powerful political voice and the main forum for political debate, as is already the case in the US.

Once again, the problem comes when the spinner becomes the story. McBride is toast, Draper must surely follow. The more they spin, the deeper the hole.

The healthy UK blogsphere will become more important in the run-up to the general election as Downing Street spinners are all too well aware.

The Orange Party has pointed out before this arrogant bunch of chancers don't like it up 'em, and expects more of their dirty tricks, lies and downright deceit in the weeks to come.

Staines aka Guido has done a magnificent job exposing this particular New Labour brand of nastiness at the heart of a rotten government - but he should be careful about going for long walks alone in the woods.

Picture: Happier spinning days - McBride (left) and Draper (right)


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Why Police Wear Balaclavas In Spring

The rise of balaclava-clad riot police, caught on camera over the death of innocent G20 bystander Ian Tomlinson, has exposed a disturbing new police tactic, with masked, unidentifiable officers now deployed in a chilling throw-back to the days of the discredited and now disbanded Special Patrol Group and the death of teacher Blair Peach. Are the police in danger of taking the law into their own hands?

The masked police thug caught on camera and seen by millions assaulting a man at the G20 protests minutes before he died, finally came forward last night.

But disturbingly the Guardian reports "fresh pictures suggested he had removed his shoulder number and covered his face with a balaclava before hitting Ian Tomlinson with a baton and pushing him to the ground last week."

The officer, from the Territorial Support Group (TSG), is part of a squad of officers who view themselves as the 'elite', now becoming common place on our streets as the unidentifiable balaclava brigade. 

Watching the Guardian video footage of the sickening unprovoked attack, the Orange Party was not alone in raising questions about the balaclava-clad assailant: "What is equally disturbing is that the officer is heavily masked with no shoulder number and only the words "MP" for Metropolitan Police on his helmet."

That  tactic of wearing a balaclava to hide the identity of specialist riot squad officers from prying eyes, is increasingly being used in crowd control tactics. 

On the surface it seems worthwhile. It prevents the officer from being identified in any reprisal in what is often a dangerous job and helps prevents any facial injuries. 

The Orange Party has no quarrel with that. Nor with the work of specialist police often at the sharp and dangerous end, dealing with the nasty criminal and terrorist underbelly which simmers near the surface of society.  

But the use of balaclava clad officers was also highly visible at the North Lindsey Oil refinery during the BJ4BW protests (opposite). Clearly then it wasn't just the cold which was being kept away. 

And that raises the sinister spectre of a political police force used to control the 'English mob' during legitimate and justified protests.

The TSG is an operations unit of the Met, specialising in public order. It is no stranger to the streets of London nor the provinces and replaced the controversial Special Patrol Group (SPG) in 1987. 

Officers should be identified as TSG from the 'U' in their shoulder or 'collar' number, which was not visible in the assault on Tomlinson who was not part of the demonstration and was assaulted from behind and pushed to the ground by a masked baton-wielding TSG officer.

Senior police officers have condemned the assault saying there is no excuse for what he did and at the very least he had committed a serious disciplinary offence and a criminal assault.

The rise of the balaclava brigade marks a disturbing trend reminiscent of the disreputable antics of the SPG which it replaced and the death of innocent bystander Blair Peach

The SPG's most controversial incident came in 1979 when teacher Blair Peach died as a result of alleged police brutality during a demonstration in London. 

Inquiries found SPG officers with baseball bats, crowbars and sledgehammers as part of their armoury. 

Police brutality was never proven but it was claimed Peach had fallen to a blow from a lead-filled cosh or rubberised police radio belonging to the SPG.

The current trend towards a police state is unacceptable but the danger lies when the police, as agents of the state, take the law into their own hands with tacit approval of their political masters. 

UPDATE 7pm: The TSG officer at the centre of the assault has been suspended.

Top Picture: Still from Guardian video footage of Tomlinson assault


Smith's Favourite Cop Quick Quits

The home secretary's favourite copper has been forced to quit after a bungling blunder ended the Met's cosy relationship with ministers. But it's taken a long while for blundering Bob Quick to be prised out of his job, as the wind of change finally blows, in a wake up call for the Met, the political police and the government. For the Tories, revenge is a dish best served cold. 

The government's cosy relationship with the Met is so over the top it's almost laughable. Quick is now knackered of the Yard - to be replaced by Yates of the Yard. His latest blunder is the final straw.

Strolling into Downing Street with a top-secret anti-terrorism document under his arm in full view of photographers hardly puts public faith in the head of counter-terrorism who is set to leave without his dignity but with a generous pension pot

But the home secretary's only response was to blissfully ignore the whole thing. Smith made no comment about the blatant blunder. Instead, she praised police for their professionalism.

Any PC plod would have been sacked on the spot but not the home secretary's best friend. But his fate was sealed when shadow home secretary, Chris Grayling, who, while not exactly calling for his head, said in politicianspeak: "It had to be decided whether he was really the right man for the job."

London mayor Boris Johnson too was quick to get in some credit for Quick's demise. A tad too quick. Sour grapes by the Tories maybe but Quick's fate was already sealed after the Downing Street blunder.  

For a top cop he has repeatedly shown a monumental lack of judgement as he sucked up to the government and rounded on the Conservatives, blissfully unaware they are Her Majesty's Official Opposition and the government-in-waiting.

In December, Smith's copper was forced to make an unprecedented apology  after a direct police attack on the Tories  blew out of the water any pretence the Met is not a highly politicised arm of the current government. 

At the time the Orange Party asked: Now the only question is how quick will Quick go? 

Quick was forced to  issue an "unreserved" apology to the Conservative Party after his outburst accusing the Tories of behaving in a "corrupt" way and mobilising the press against the Met. 

Publicly the Tories  drew a line under it, privately they must have been seething.

And, to top it all, Quick was clearly peeved with Mail on Sunday hacks sniffing around his wife's luxury car hire firm run from the family home but too quick to lay the blame.  

To make matters worse, Quick's absurd and damaging outburst re-ignited the whole Damian Green affair. Quick ordered the controversial arrest last year of senior Tory MP Damian Green and sent 20 anti-terrorist officers to search Green's parliamentary office. 

That called into question the political bias of Quick, a keen supporter of the home secretary's 42 day detention, who is also heading an inquiry into the alleged home office leaks which sparked off the Greengate scandal.

But times when police could pander to politicians and get away with it are changing and the Met should get used to it. 

Quick's shoes are being filled by Yates of the Yard, commander John Yates, who famously and doggedly pursued the 'cash for honours' scandal until he was told to drop it. 

Yates has the brains, temperament and sensitivity to handle this crucial top job. More importantly, it seems he's a copper who won't pander to politicians or be pushed around by politicians of whatever colour or flavour of the month. 

With a criminal investigation underway into masked police thuggery over the death of an innocent G20 bystander, Quick's quick exit may be a small step to restore some much-needed public confidence in the police.   

Picture: BBC


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Little Green Men Won't Save Brown

Deluded Brown is pinning his hopes on little green men to save his skin after digging himself into a fiscal stimulus hole, promising a new deal on jobs on which he cannot deliver and strutting around a G20 summit exposed as a con. 

With no green shoots of recovery to cling on to,  it's time to play the green' card, so Brown once again goes green, promising this month's budget will plot a "green" route to economic recovery". Little green men washed down with greenwash may well come to his rescue but only in his dreams. 

"A philosophical man down on his luck and running out of time" is how the headline in the Independent sums it all up, after an interview with Andrew Grice.

Brown's  empty suit was laid bare as he  told the newspaper what everyone knows. The cupboard is bare, the country bankrupt and there ain't room for a further painful fiscal stimulus on borrowed time and borrowed money.

Instead with sleep-inducing naivety, he said the April 22 Budget would be "a job creator, a quality of life improver, and an environment-enhancing measure."

But Brown's greenwash doesn't wash. It reveals a deeper problem as B-day approaches. 

In a refreshing bout of frankness his own hapless chancellor Darling has been forced to back-track on a misguided and misleading pre-budget report forecast and forced to admit what everyone else knew that the recession will be much worse than he expected.

And to top it all, the bank of England governor is breathing down his neck. As the Orange Party noted at the time, that leaves the Brown with little wriggle room on a road to nowhere

Brown has previously called for an international "green new deal" to stimulate growth and has said that moving the UK to a low-carbon economy would create 400,000 new jobs over the next eight years. But that is then, this is now.

Trials of electric cars, a roadside network of vehicle-charging points and incentives for environmentally-friendly carmakers are among the whizzo plans churned out in a half-baked eco-daze.

Half a million green jobs over eight years - that's 50,000 a year. A drop in the jobless ocean with 3m unemployed. 

The G20 summit has been exposed as a sham. A clever piece of grandstanding footwork which cut no ice with the Orange Party and many others who saw through the $1 trillion as nothing more than a smoke and mirrors magic trick

But one good thing that did come out of that G20 mess was that talk of a global fiscal stimulus is now dead in the water. 

As Simon Jenkins in the Guardian puts it: "It put 'global fiscal stimulus' back in the statist box and said to the citizens of the world: we have made a total mess of your economies and are leaving it to you to get out as best you can. Now those citizens have a chance."

Once again it has to be shouted from the rooftops ad infinitum, ad nauseam. The key to long term UK economic recovery is UK manufacturing, now at its lowest ebb since 1981

If Brown can save his banking buddies then why not UK industry and the thousands of jobs which go with it? 

UK industrial output, accounts for nearly one fifth of of the country's economic output. It's now slumped at the fastest rate in nearly 30 years. But UK manufacturing was already on its last legs as the government deliberately switched to the  now discredited economic boom growth based on their greedy pals in  the City. 

Output  slumped by 2.6 per cent in January, compared with the previous month, double the expected fall. This pushed the annual rate of decline to 11.4 per cent, the worst fall since 1981.

But any talk of saving UK manufacturing cuts into political dogma with a nasty whiff of protectionism. 

Exactly the kind of protectionism that's already being practised by 17 out of the 20 countries at the G20 summit and being used effectively by the French and Germans. 

Brown has dug himself into a hole from which there is no escape. Building up false hopes for the G20 summit which could not deliver on a highly spun false promise. Taking his eye off the ball of the domestic economy he strutted around saving the world with his New World Order and plotting his exit strategy with the IMF. 

All that's left now are a few hollow and boring eco-droppings. 

With the last gasp of a dying man, Brown told the Independent: "It is not just what we do to give real help to people and business now, but about setting a path for the future as well ... We always take into account both what we need to do now and what is the best future for the fiscal position."

Hardly the words of comfort and cheer, inspiration or confidence needed now for the thousands of people worried sick about their jobs, their livelihood, their businesses and how they are going to make ends meet.

The April Budget is the last roll of the dice before June's crucial local and Euro elections and the long-awaited general election. With that kind of meaningless grandstanding 'green' rhetoric, Brown has blown it. 


Smith Must Act Over Police Death Thugs

The home secretary is facing calls for a Scarman style inquiry into the death of bystander Ian Tomlinson after a masked police thug was caught on camera in a sickening unprovoked act of police brutality.  

Police brutality is laid bare in shocking video footage obtained by the Guardian which reveals the newspaper seller, who was not a protester, being viciously attacked from behind and thrown to the ground by a masked baton-wielding police officer in riot gear during last week's G20 protests. 

The video raises disturbing questions for the home secretary over police riot tactics and once again calls into question the version of events which differs from the one the police gave to the media at the time. 

What is equally disturbing is that the officer is heavily masked with no shoulder number and only the words "MP" for Metropolitan Police on his helmet. The  tactic of wearing a balaclava to hide the identity of specialist riot control officers from prying eyes, is  increasingly being used and was evident  during the BJ4BW protests. 

The video, obtained by the Guardian, along with eye-witness accounts,  contradict the official version of events given by police and has led to calls from LibDems for a criminal investigation and inquiry into Tomlinson's death.  

In a completely different version of events to that given by police, the video clearly shows the man sauntering home, hands in pockets, in a submissive pose, not making eye contact, before he's viciously attacked.

Police then stand round making no attempt to help and only a protester comes to Tomlinson's aid. Moments after the assault was captured on video, Tomlinson suffered a heart attack and died.

In an official statement on the night of Tomlinson's death, Metropolitan Police made no reference to any contact with officers and simply described attempts by police medics and an ambulance crew to save his life after he collapsed.

In a staggeringly toothless and useless gesture, the police complaints watchdog, the IPCC is only 'monitoring'  an investigation by City of London police.

At the time, IPCC commissioner, Deborah Glass, said: "Initially, we had accounts from independent witnesses ... who told us that there had been no contact between the police and Mr Tomlinson when he collapsed."

"However, other witnesses who saw him ... have since told us that Mr Tomlinson did have contact with police officers.

As in the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting, police seem to have briefed the media before establishing the full facts and made claims which simply do not stand up to eye-witness accounts and video scrutiny.

A precedent for a judicial inquiry is well-founded. In 1975 a Labour home secretary set up a judicial inquiry under Lord Scarman into the riots in Red Lion Square that led to the death of student Kevin Gately, the  first demonstrator to be killed on the UK mainland for half a century.

A coroner's inquest concluded Kevin's death was the result of a blow to the head from a blunt instrument. The Orange Party like many journalists was convinced his death was due to an attack by mounted baton-wielding riot police. 

The circumstances surrounding Tomlinson's death must be investigated, criminal changes brought and a full jury-led inquest held, if only to restore some confidence in the police who have taken a severe battering by their disgraceful actions.

The shocking video is a terrible indictment of police brutality and unwarranted riot control tactics. On this matter the home secretary cannot bury her head in the sand. As was the case over the death of Kevin Gately, it is the duty of a responsible home secretary to order a full judicial inquiry. 

UPDATE 5pm: According to Guardian the IPCC has finally decided to reverse its earlier decision and will now "independently investigate" the brutal attack as a criminal investigation. Meanwhile it is still "trying to identify" the mystery masked 'officer'. The home secretary has been noticeable by her absence of any meaningful comment.

Picture Stills and Video: Guardian


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Masked Police Thug's Sickening G20 Brutality

A masked police thug has been caught on camera in a sickening act of brutality during last week's G20 protests in which London man, Ian Tomlinson, died. 

In a disgusting spectacle of unprovoked violence, the video footage reveals newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson, who was not a protestor, being viciously attacked from behind by a masked baton-wielding police officer. 

The video, obtained by the Guardian, along with eye-witness accounts, directly contradicts the official version of events given by police at the time.

Exclusive footage obtained by the Guardian which can be seen here, shows Tomlinson was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground by a masked baton–wielding police officer in riot gear.

Moments after the assault was captured on video, he suffered a heart attack and died.

In a completely different version of events to that given by police, the video clearly shows the man sauntering home, hands in pockets, in a submissive pose, not making eye contact, before he's viciously attacked.

What is equally disturbing is that the officer is heavily masked with no shoulder number and only the words "MP" for Metropolitan Police on his helmet. The  tactic of using balaclavas to hide the identity of specialist riot control officers from prying eyes, is recent and was also evident during the BJ4BW protests. 

Police then stand round making no attempt to help and only a protester comes to Tomlinson's aid. 

In a frame by frame account of the attack the Guardian reveals: 
  • As he walks, with his hands in his pockets, he does not speak to the police or offer any resistance.
  • A phalanx of officers, some with dogs and some in riot gear, are close behind him and try to urge him forward.
  • A Metropolitan police officer appears to strike him with a baton, hitting him from behind on his upper thigh.
  • Moments later, the same policeman rushes forward and, using both hands, pushes Tomlinson in the back and sends him flying to the ground, where he remonstrates with police who stand back, leaving bystanders to help him to his feet.
The video footage and eye-witness accounts contradict the official version of events given by police and strengthens calls for a criminal investigation and full jury led inquest into Tomlinson's death.  

In an official statement on the night of Tomlinson's death, Metropolitan Police made no reference to any contact with officers and simply described attempts by police medics and an ambulance crew to save his life after he collapsed.

The police complaints watchdog, the IPCC is only managing an investigation by City of London police into the circumstances of Tomlinson's death after the Guardian published photographs of him on the ground and witness statements indicated he had been assaulted by police officers.

At the time, IPCC commissioner, Deborah Glass, said: "Initially, we had accounts from independent witnesses ... who told us that there had been no contact between the police and Mr Tomlinson when he collapsed."

"However, other witnesses who saw him ... have since told us that Mr Tomlinson did have contact with police officers.

The Guardian is due to hand a dossier of evidence to the police complaints watchdog along with a full report and investigation in tomorrow's newspaper. 

Pictures: Stills taken from Guardian video footage


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Brown On A Wing And A Prayer

Three homes Hoon has joined two homes secretary Smith exposed with their snouts in the trough of the MP's expenses scandal. Brown's G20 summit swindle is being unpicked and unmasked as a con. And his hapless chancellor has admitted he got it wrong about the recession. Brown 'bounced' but now he's fallen flat on his face and hanging on by a wing and a prayer. 

It's starting to look dangerous for a beleaguered Brown as his cunning plans backfire and he faces the wrath of voters. It's all down to trust. Something that is sadly lacking in every twist and turn of the dying days of the now defunct and discredited New Labour brand. 

The Orange Party was among a few brave souls on Thursday/Friday who put their heads above the parapet and slammed Brown's $1 trillion boast as a smoke and mirrors sham. His deceitful G20 promises were exposed as a lie. 

That was reinforced in a devastating demolition job by Peter Oborne which came with a stark warning to the PM that you always get caught out in the end: "Hubris, hoopla and claims that were false, cynical and very, very dangerous".

Today it's the turn of Dominic Lawson in the Sunday Times: 'Gordon Brown's Gang pulls $1 trillion con trick'.

Despite all the hype and spin and the combined might of the White House, Downing Street and the BBC, Brown could only manage a pathetic little itsy bitsy 'bounce' - and that was at the expense of the LibDems not the Tories. 

The YouGov poll was the first test of public opinion since the G20 meeting. Public opinion that was blinded by the spin and hype of the news headlines and often fawning coverage, as Brown basked in his artificially created glory. 

The sad old tired Mirror stands alone milking it for all it's worth but all that happened was some Labour voters who protest against the government when in trouble, returned when, thanks to some of the media, Brown and the gang seemed to be doing OK.

A baby Brown 'bounce' but very short-lived. More importantly, despite all the spin, there wasn't a significant bounce at all. Now that does look bad. 

This was the first poll taken after Smith’s two homes expenses racket and her husband’s penchant for taxpayer porn, not forgetting unemployment minister McNulty. 

The Orange Party reckons the disillusionment with the government because of that sleaze would have been much higher and only the media manipulation of the G20 sham pulled it back from the brink. 

Now, to cap it all, another of the government's  greedy ministers has been exposed in a cheap second homes swindle in another nice 'n sleazy Sunday. This time old greybeard Geoff Hoon

In what must take the biscuit of bare-faced cheek, Hoon claimed a second home allowance for his Derby home while letting out his London home and, here's the rub, at the same time the transport secretary was living in a taxpayer-funded Whitehall flat which came with his then job of defence secretary. 

You can't make it up. It just all beggars belief. And the only question remaining is how long will the country have to suffer this fag-end of a government? 

It was and always will be the domestic economy stupid, not grandstanding on the world stage, so now all eyes are on the April 22 Budget.  

But chancellor Darling has told the Sunday Times: "You must not build up any false hope." Too right. But it was Darling who built up the false hope in last autumn's pre-budget report, egged on by a deluded Brown who had the audacity to continue the build up and exactly that "false hope" at his G20 save the world summit sham. 

The Orange Party takes one crumb of comfort. Darling has admitted he sees no green shoots and played down the recent Nationwide 'house price recovery' as a blip. More than a blip old chap. That was a priceless piece of shameless Housepriceballs, deliberately talked up on the day of G20. 

Both Brown and Darling are running out of wriggle-room. The April 22 Budget was put back to allow the spin of G20 to take centre stage. But they'll have to face the music sometime. 

The Budget had been billed as a jobs budget. But the cupboard is bare with just a large IOU note inside and the Bank of England boss is breathing down Darling's neck. There'll be no big deal about a New Deal so there will be no real deal. 

It's looking increasingly like the Budget is the last throw of the dice on the pre-election grid and that, like everything else, will turn out to be a damp squib. 

Brown could well feel the hand of history on him. 'Sunny Jim' Callaghan returned from an economic summit to a vote of no confidence in the commons. He lost the vote, his premiership and the trust of country. 

UPDATE 9pm: Putting angry taxpayers firmly in their place, an arrogant Brown says he has more important issues than MPs' expenses to deal with, according to the BBC


Bishop Is Right to Blast 'British' Bull

Spring is in the air and a young man's fancy turns to - England. But will St George come on down from the terraces and return to his rightful place at the heart of the nation? The Archbishop of York reckons the time is right. 

The flag of St George is hidden, buried, defiled and downcast in a crusade against the nation. Time to do more than just lie back and think of England. 

The country is being force-fed a diet of Britishness, with only the occasional outing for the nation in the sports stadiums and on the towers of the churches of England. 

The Orange Party has never bought into this Britishness thing and suspects some nasty little political motives at work behind the scenes. 

But St George isn't dead. He's the proverbial Monty Python parrot. He's only resting. Trotted out as English pride in football and ruby and holding its own alongside similar Welsh, Scottish and Irish pride in the sporting arenas of England and everywhere else. 

Now the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has heaped praise on the England football team and fans for rescuing the flag of St George from the bigots, turning it into a banner of unity. A symbol of modern Englishness.

Once a year it's begrudgingly let out of its Britishness box for St George's Day. But the Bishop reckons England’s patron saint is now such a positive national symbol, it could be time to recognise his day as a public holiday.

Not too long ago anyone flying the flag for England was instantly branded a racist as the wave of misguided multiculturalism swept the country and anyone whispering Englishness branded a bigot. 

The Orange Party does not, cannot and will not accept that argument. Why can't an old leftie have a dose of English pride in a liberal democracy? Britishness doesn't exist. Never did. It's a figment of the politically correct NewLabourspeak imagination. And so-called "Britishness" is as illeberal as the pseudo-liberals can get. 

Nothing to do with Britishness, it was spun to bolster Brown, as New Labour's support evaporated in swing English regions. New Labour's cack-handed attempts to resuscitate a British 'national' identity were desperate, motivated by self-interest rather than national pride. 

Britishness can be viewed just as much a sign of exclusion tinged with racism, as the flag of St George, the saltire of Scotland or the Welsh dragon. 

Sentamu offers a ray of hope. The Orange Party has a lot of time for the Uganda born archbishop. He wears his Christian heart on his sleeve, speaks with humility about humanity. Most of all he's not afraid to speak out. Even if that does get up the nose of the pseudos. 

Go along to any football or rugby game. The songs on the terraces are sung by children and adults, men and women, minority and majority ethnic groups belonging to all faiths and religions. You cannot get more inclusive than that. A "shared narrative" if you like the New Labour lingo.

The penny finally dropped when Brown's half-baked plan for a British Day was declared dead in the water. There never was such a thing as Britishness, expect in an ad man's dream and in the minds of smart alecs who dream up television programmes and political soundbites.

Sentamu, the most senior black Anglican, warned that it was vital for the country to find a sense of identity by looking deep into its largely Christian history using symbols such as St George.

It was vital he said “not to forgo our appreciation of an English identity for fear of upset or offence to those who claim such an identity has no place in a multicultural society. Englishness is not diminished by newcomers.”

Those who smell a scent of nationalism and the destruction of the United Kingdom in Sentamu's sentiments have nothing to fear. This has nothing to do with the constitutional monarchy of a United Kingdom. No one is arguing that should change. But the danger it is may not be united for much longer. 

Without this, Sentamu warned, more dangerous influences could fill the vacuum, “whether it be the terror of salafi-jihadism or the insidious institutional racism and bigotry of the British". 

A liberal democracy? Brown's plan to celebrate Britishness had nothing to do with national identity or pride. It was motivated by pure self political interest, an attempt to recreate Blair's 'Cool Britannia', a nostalgic throwback to days of Empire and a belated attempt to get naturalised UK citizens 'on side'.

The Orange Party has long argued that St George's Day should be a national holiday, sitting alongside a St David's Day national holiday for Wales. Scotland and Ireland already have one for their patron saints. 

Shakespeare placed St George at the heart of the national conscience, Spenser too in the Faerie Queen. As St George's Day approaches, the calls will be made once again for a St George's Day but will fall on deaf ears. 

With a twisted irony, the biggest stumbling block to Englishness is the English themselves. That English temperament prefers to sit back, fall down and let political correctness trample all over us, do nothing, look awkward and hope it will all just go away. 

Lie back and think of England but do nothing about it while the country is raped and ravaged and the English heart is ripped out. 

It's time for the English to wake up and take a lesson from Sentamu's heartfelt plea.

The Bishop rounded off his English sermon with the words of 'Land of Hope and Glory' and everyone joined in singing a verse of 'Jerusalem'. Now that's pure Heaven.