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The ‘Little Man’ Syndrome

By ATWadmin On February 15th, 2007 at 8:48 am

Everybody has met a small man with a big ego sometime during their life.  Aren’t they a pain?  They are either bragging about their sexual competency, or flexing their biceps, or telling their work colleagues how they single-handedly kicked the s*** out of five gorillas the previous Friday night.  Most, if not all, of these stories are complete codswallop and offer a tonic to their real acknowledgement of their size and capabilities.

I think Dublin, the Republic’s capital city, has a touch of the ‘little man syndrome’.  It may be a good night out for stag and hen parties; it certainly has its fair share of interesting history; and it undoubtedly has been at the vanguard of that country’s economic growth over the past ten years or so.  But let’s not pretend it is anything other than a minor player in the league of world cities.  Nor should we think it is a large city by European standards, let alone global ones.

So I had to chuckle yesterday when I read reports from the Irish Urban Forum about how Dublin could soon have an urban sprawl the size of Los Angeles.  Los Angeles lies at the heart of the world’s largest continuous urban area.  At over a thousand square miles it is half as big again as London’s (which itself is by far the largest in Europe).  Even at current growth rates, it would take Dublin another 200 or so years to equal the size of London, let alone that of LA.  This is a recent satellite image of Dublin taken by NASA 200 miles about the earth.  The orange area clearly indicates the limit of urban growth.  By comparison this is a satellite image of Los Angeles taken from five times the distance away.  Even from 1,000 miles up in the sky, there is simply no comparison.  If anything, this report shows a predilection for certain Irish agencies to engage in sensationalist forecasts, and the willingness of the Irish media – caught up in the wave of economically-inspired arrogance, to go along with them.

Dublin was always marketed as an almost quaint city.  It would be better and more believable if the same method of promotion was applied.  I concede that Dublin has experienced considerable change over recent times – in all sorts of positive ways.  It still shouldn’t brag in a manner that causes those of us who live in countries with GENUINELY massive cities to giggle uncontrollably by making out it is up there with the big boys.

On This Day…15.02

By ATWadmin On February 15th, 2007 at 8:40 am

399BC – The philosopher Socrates is sentenced to death.

1898 – US battleship Maine is blown up in Havana harbour, Cuba.

1901 – Winston Churchill enters Parliament for the first time as MP for Oldham, Lancashire. He had been returned in the 1900 Khaki election but missed the opening of Parliament. MPs of the period were unpaid and Churchill was forced to take a speaking tour in order to fund his tenure.

1971 – Decimalisation of British coinage is completed on Decimal Day.

1984 – British comedian and magician Tommy Cooper collapses and dies on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre,  London during a televised performance.

1988 – Austria’s President Kurt Waldheim rejects calls for his resignation after details emerge of his earlier association with the Nazi Party.


By ATWadmin On February 14th, 2007 at 10:06 pm

795151-605926-thumbnail.jpgJust to let everyone know that ATW goes “live” on-air tomorrow night at 8pm GMT. It will be 30 minute show and I know that Mike Cunningham will be joining me for one of the 10 minute sections! Alison may also be able to call in. Here’s the agenda for Tangled Talk;

1. The Northern Ireland Elections – or a return to Big Nothing? I want to lead this discussion on why I think the elections are a farce, and worse an affront to any thinking democrat. I’m hoping Andrew can be in on this one, not sure yet if it is convenient for him.

2. Islam in the UK. We chat about it enough here, let’s discuss if we really believe Islam is compatible with a thriving democracy. Loaded question? Hey Osama – wanna give me a call?

3. Blogging – new wave vs old MSM. Mike Cunningham is on with me for this. Is the blogosphere really any different to MSM, and if so, why?

Now then, I have a VERY IMPORTANT GUEST to announce. Yes – YOU!

If you feel like talking to me simply call in to 001 646 652 2582. That gets you through to my switchboard. It costs one cent per minute, and it should be fun if you call to say Hi and give a comment. This is very much a trial run, we’ll see how we go from here on in, but best start it and see where we go. The show runs for 30mins, and it’s going to be..interesting.

TANGLED TALK RADIO – live on-air tomorrow night – call me! If you click the BlogTalkRadio button in the top left part of this page, it takes you to the show. The show will also be archived so you can listen at YOUR convenience if you’re not able to make it on-air with us. 

On St. Valentine’s Day, Some Thoughts On Love and Diversity

By ATWadmin On February 14th, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Given that today is St. Valentine’s Day, and given that it’s typically given over to shows of affection to one’s beloved, I thought it’d be interesting to take a brief look at the diversity of love expressions. Here at ATW we have, for the most part consistently, taken a definite line on the alien nature and inherent problem of the Islamic mindset against the Christian mindset (though some people appear to have trouble telling the two apart) and the preference for the Christian mindset over and above mohammedanism and the cultural liberalism that allows it a creeping victory. With this in mind, I’d like to present some exerpts from recent articles I found by way of the ever-excellent Jewish World Review (and its sister publication, Political Mavens) looking at the St Valentine’s phenomenon and the related issue of love and its expression under the differing worldviews.
The first article, published by Diana West on the 12th of this month,  discusses briefly the difference between the Western method of reverence for women (‘putting them on a pedestal’, as she puts it) and the Islamic idea of hiding and forcibly subjugating women. West writes that:

"Valentine’s Day, now driven as much by Hallmark [huge greeting card company] as by the shadow of the pedestal, follows from a societal ideal deriving from the chivalric code — a signal influence on Western civilization — which celebrated women for nobility and strength of character.

Such origins, however remote in a post-feminist world, put the holiday in the middle of that clash we read about between the West and Islam. Distinctly non-Islamic (St. Valentine was a Christian martyr from pre-Islamic times), it embodies an old-fashioned salute to La Femme that helps distinguish the West from Islam. Where the West dreamed up the pedestal, Islam bought the burqa. Where the West gave liberty and justice a female face, Islam depicted womanhood as a lowly state of fearful passion. Where in the West sexual equality evolved, in Islam sexual inequality remains."

As anybody who’s read their Arthurian legends (15th C) will know (see particularly the story of Gawain and Dame Ragnelle), this kind of respect and reverence for women is not a product of the Age of Enlightenment (18th C) but an age-old Western (dare I say Christian?) trait.


 On the other hand, we have an almost anti-love sentiment from moslem corners, as reported by Walid Phares (author of Future Jihad and The War of Ideas) in his article on St. Valentine’s Day:

" “Al Gharam mamn’uh, al Gharam kufr,” screamed the self-declared cleric in al-Ansar’s chat room this Friday. “Love is forbidden, love is infidel” — said the online fatwa about the “legitimacy of loving and being in love.”

A weekend before Valentine’s Day, jihadist souls were not questioning the “commercialization” of romance, but inquiring about the ban on “being in love.” The “scholars” said human love is evil. The simple feeling of being attracted to or in love with someone is a terrifying sin if it is committed outside of their religious dogma — and it warrants serious punishment."

Disturbing stuff, and not least because as certain as we can be that there are those even here in the (vestigially) free West who seek to blow us up because of a rabid politico-religious ideolody, we can be equally certain that there will be those who agree that ‘love is the enemy’. A strong and perhaps shocking difference to the (largely Christian) ideal of romantic love that we hold and cherish in the West.

Thankfully, though, there is hope. Ms West reports on five brave women coming out from amongst the theocrats of ‘the Islamic world’ speaking out (loudly) against the threats that ‘come out of the founding texts and living traditions of Islam’. These brave women are: Bat Ye’or, author, speaker, and dot-joiner on the Eurabia conspiracy; Nonie Darwish, a convert to Christianity (from mohammedanism) and author of ‘Now they call me Infidel‘; Brigitte Gabriel, Christian survivor of the Lebanese civil war, author of ‘Because They Hate‘ and speaker on the jihadi mindset and agenda; Wafa Sultan, recently brought to light in a an Al Jazeera debate on the ‘clash of civilizations’, citing it as "a clash between civilization and backwardness"; and of course the renowned Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of ‘The Caged Virgin‘, ‘Infidel‘ and ‘Ich Klage An‘ (‘I accuse’).

Added to this, Walid Phares tells us of a growing desire amonst the young in the ‘Islamic world’ for "not decadence, but the early stages of a romantic revolution". This is heartening. One doesn’t need to be immoral or act in stupid and irresponsible ways to be in love, and Dr Phares’ examples are at just that balance. Heroic, reckless, possibly insane, and in love, but not (as far as is known) tainted or sullied by actual immorality.

So there is hope, because there is love. There are clouds in the sky, but they’ll pass too, and when they do, the spirit of St Valentine’s Day, that of the Love and reverance characteristic of real romance, will bloom that much sweeter.

Happy St Valentine’s Day. I hope you enjoy it. 

just what I choose it to mean,

By ATWadmin On February 14th, 2007 at 11:52 am

According to this commentator, Iran is deeply misunderstood, is not functioning as a clearing house for ‘jihad’ fools; is not fuelling terror against Israel by funding the rockets and bombings of Hamas; is planning to build a nuclear reactor powered by it’s own enriched uranium because it believes in a spread of power-generation methods; is not bent upon the destruction of Israel, but rather the destruction of ‘Zionism’; and finally the writer is convinced that Iran is more in danger of a nuclear holocaust from Israel than the other way around!

Now seeing that the website is South Korean, I can maybe understand why the editors have labelled Mr. Bailey’s piece ‘Opinion’, as perhaps they don’t understand the weird and wonderful ways of the apologists for terror, but I would have at least thought they would have removed the ‘Opinion’ tag, and re-labelled it as ‘Fiction’!

nothing to see here, move along please

By ATWadmin On February 14th, 2007 at 11:19 am

You couldnt make it up. "Congestion in central London is almost as bad as it was before the daily charge was introduced four years ago, according to official figures. Traffic delays have risen sharply in the past two years and will rise further next week when the zone doubles in size with a westwards extension into Kensington and Chelsea, Transport for London said. The loss of most of the benefits of congestion charging is causing concern in other cities that have been considering whether to follow London’s lead"

Ken Livingstone, is so concerned by the rise in delays …that he is ramming up charges. He said that he hoped that drivers would “take the opportunity to switch to public transport”.

This, KEN, would be the public transport that adds to the congestion – the buses that are backed up from New Oxford Street to Finsbury. The ones that hoover up passengers at bus stops til you cant breathe, were designed for handicapped people and mothers with buggies that you never see on them and which you failed to organise any air conditioning for. Oh and gone are the days when getting on a bus simply required purchasing a ticket from the driver or a grumpy (how i miss them!) conductor. Now it involves something akin to getting your passport to travel abroad more commonly knows as your Lobster ( i mean ‘Oyster’) card.  Since red is his colour: Happy Valentines Day – you bastard.


By ATWadmin On February 14th, 2007 at 9:40 am

I think it says it all about the perverted values of our Government that it puts the lives of SAS soldiers at risk so that they can extricate four terror suspects from likely execution overseas. Naturally, the four alleged Jihadists were released on to Britain’s streets hours after being rescued by the Government. 

The four, who are British citizens of North-African origin in their twenties, were seized on the Kenyan border with Somalia by special forces – possibly the SAS, who are known to be operating in the area. They were reportedly trying to escape from Somalia where they were suspected of fighting in a Jihadi struggle with terrorists linked to Al Qaeda.

Get that? Four Britains – (Muslims naturally) – fighting Jihad overseas! And what to do we do when the lawful forces that they are waging Jihad against capture them? Yes- spring ’em from captivity, whisk them back to freedom and liberty in good old Blighty. Unbelievable.

Sooner, rather than later, these emboldened Jihadists will strike again in the UK, and our Government will ONLY have itself to blame for the ensuing carnage. It actually now IMPORTS Jihadists – rather than permit foreign Governments to deal with them! How we can win a war on terror when our Government colludes with the terrorists????


By ATWadmin On February 14th, 2007 at 9:18 am

I happened to catch an item carried on Radio 5 this morning focusing on the impact sport has on our global environment. In essence, the BBC story was suggesting that any sport that involves people travelling by air is having a serious impact on the environment.

Tennis was being singled out this morning for the eco-wacko treatment with the point being made that because Tennis is an individual sport (Gasp horror!) this means tennis players travelling all around the world to participate in various tournaments. In turn this results in them having an increased carbon footprint, ergo they become a menace to the planet. Events like Formula 1 Grand Prix Racing were also singled out as hazardous to Planet Earth.

I got the impression that hiding at the back of this story was the agenda that we may need to stop international sport – in the name of saving Planet Earth. If we want to stop global warming, then it may mean that the concept of global sports is abolished.

bottom of the league

By ATWadmin On February 14th, 2007 at 9:11 am

The UK and US have come bottom of Unicefs league on child well being. Whilst European countries dominate.  The wide ranging report examines general well being.  In ‘risk behaviours’ the UK is at the foot of the rankings by "a considerable distance". (Risk behaviours being defined as smoking, being drunk, using cannabis, fighting and bullying and sexual behaviour).  Their subjective sense of well being also falls well short.  You dont need Unicef to tell us these problems. They are obvious.  In covering the report last night Newsnight interviewed a range of kids and covered a number of issues.  The issue of boundaries came up.  The lack of them.  Parents and kids are fearful of each other, parents don’t or are unable to establish boundaries and probably lack even basic parenting skills, and kids are frightened of their peers. Kids didnt feel that families spend enough time together, one mentioned there is ‘nothing to do except have sex and drink’ – and they dont rate their own sense of self worth very highly.   Typically Labour blamed poverty.  The Tory shadow minister however seemed to be more on the right track.

"I don’t actually think government has the answer to all these problems.  This is not all about politicians in Westminster passing laws, it’s about social responsibility, it’s about parents taking greater responsibility for their children, it’s about trusting teachers in classrooms, it’s about us as neighbours in a society playing our part as well…. children also need boundaries and those in charge of children, whether its teachers in the classroom, need greater responsibilities in terms of disciplining those children, but also parents need to play their part."

I dont think we have a great sense of family here in comparison to our European neighbours – and government could do something to improve that, he touches on that himself since disciplining kids will land you in court – you could consider offering similar financial support support packages for families to spend more time with their kids, encourage other skills in kids who arent academic rather than merely forcing everyone through a weak low level university system or onto welfare and early parenthood.  But ultimately no, he’s right the government does not have all the answers.


By ATWadmin On February 14th, 2007 at 9:09 am

So, here we are on the 14th February – Valentine’s Day. Didn’t want to let it pass without dedicating this song to my wife. It’s not the original version but it’s from the movie about the song-writer’s life. I happen to think it is a lovely song – a charming few moments to reflect on what is really important in life. Be good to each, y’all hear?