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Thoughts about Trump and ‘the ban’

atheistEarlier today I was having a little mooch through Twitter, like I do most days (OK every day!). One of the authors that I follow there is Frank Schaeffer. Frank is the author of the book ‘Why I Am An Atheist Who Believes In God’, a book which I found quite profound. Frank has also had quite a lot to say on Twitter about President Trump. This morning I read one of his tweets about the ‘Muslim Ban’, I found myself in agreement with the content of the tweet, so (as is the trait of the Twitter user) I hit the ‘retweet’ button.

Another of my Twitter friends is a man that I met a few years ago, a man with whom I share a set of interests and values, however politics is an area where we differ quite radically. On a few occasions we have exchanged views on Twitter, sometimes these exchanges have been a bit ‘testy’.

Today this friend responded to my retweet with the question ‘how can it be “Muslim Ban” when India, with 172m Muslims’ isn’t on the list of banned nations?’ My initial response, to be fair, was a little sharp.

The problem with Twitter is that it’s very difficult to have a proper discussion on any subject in 140 characters, hence these discussions can quickly descend into arguments. So I thought I’d take a look at the question and put some thoughts down, I’m no expert in this matter, these are just a few musings.

So, as my Twitter friend pointed out 172m Muslims is a lot to ignore, so I decided to take a look at some stats.

There are indeed 172 million people in India identifying as adherents of Islam. According to the 2011 census this equates to 14.2% of the population.

Let’s have a look at each of the seven countries that are listed in Trump’s 90 day ban.

The population of Iran is 77.45 million. 99.4% of the population are Muslim

The population of Iraq is 33.42 million. 95% of the population are Muslim

The population of Libya is 6.2 million. 97% of the population are Sunni Muslim

The population of Somalia is 12.3 million. 99.8% of the population are Sunni.

The population of Sudan is 38 million. 97% of the population are Muslim

The population of Syria is 22.85 million. 90% of the population are Muslim

The population of Yemen is 24.4 million. More than 99% of the population are Muslim.

So no, Trump’s ban does not exclude all Muslims, just those from these seven countries that are almost exclusively Muslim. It’s hardly surprising, is it, that this has been widely interpreted across the world as a ‘Muslim Ban’?

The people who will suffer most from Mr Trump’s actions are the people who have had to flee from their own countries in fear of their lives. Often leaving everything they own behind and being separated from their families. In short the people who will suffer most are the refugees.

America has long called itself a Christian country. The American Evangelical Christians were major supporters of Trump’s campaign. Trump stated categorically in one of his election addresses that the Bible was his ‘favourite book’.

deuteronomy-10-19It’s a pity then that neither he, nor apparently any of his supporters, have read, for instance, Deuteronomy 10:19, or any of the countless other references in the Bible in which God reminds his people how they were once exiles, refugees and strangers in a foreign land and instructs his people to show compassion to the refugee.

OK, so reading the above text back I’ve realised that I’m coming across as a self-righteous, lefty, liberal twat. Honestly that wasn’t my intention. I’m no politician and it’s a simple task to Google ‘how many Muslims in XXX?’.

People, please feel free to vote for whoever you want and support the policies of whoever you want, that is democracy. When you live in a democratic country the vote doesn’t always go the way that you wanted it to go, sometimes you have to accept that the majority of people (or sometimes not the majority, depending upon how your electoral system works), feel differently than you do about how the world should work. But at least you can have the freedom to disagree openly, you may not always agree, even with your family and friends, that is fine, just please don’t stop standing up for what you believe to be right.

To my Twitter friends. Frank Schaeffer, thank you for your insight and wisdom, please keep doing what you do, and to the other friend mentioned above, whose name I purposely left out, please keep challenging me too and let’s try not to shout at each other too much. I’ve got the feeling that you might feel differently about some of Mr Trump’s other ideas.

 

 

After the Hustings…

Last night’s election hustings for Newport East was a great success. We drew a crowd of around 120 people and the evening saw some lively debate around a variety of topics.

My thanks to Owain Phillips from ITV Wales for hosting the event, it would not have been the same without his help.

The panel consisted of Natasha Asghar (Conservative), Jessica Morden (Labour), Paul Halliday (Lib Dem), David McLean (Green) and a latecomer David Stock (UKIP)

the evening was kicked off with a question about MP’s expenses and from there we discussed alternative voting systems, coalitions and welfare before moving on to a local issue concerning TATA steel workers pensions. After that we discussed help for the self-employed and small businesses and the importance of the family unit.

The final question came from 14 year old local resident Mason, who wanted to ask UKIP why they demonise immigrants. A chorus of mixed cheers and boos ensued, leading to the most animated part of the evening.

Overall it was a great success and I hope that the attendees found the evening useful.

You can read a live report from the South Wales Argus here

Newport East General Election Hustings – Tonight!

 

Friday 17th April 2015

The last couple of months has seen my spare time taken over by the organisation of a general election hustings for Newport East. Finally the day has arrived! I’m looking forward to tonight’s debate, but I’ll be glad when it’s over too and I can relax.

If you fancy coming along and meeting some of the candidates it’s at:

St Julians Baptist Church, Beaufort Road, Newport

7:30-9:00 followed by light refreshments and informal chat.

There are seven candidates in the constituency of Newport East.  Four of them will be present this evening, these are; Jessica Morden (Labour), Natasha Asghar (Conservative), Paul Halliday (Lib Dem) and David McLean (Green Party.

I am disappointed that we had no response to the invitations sent out to Plaid Cymru, UKIP and SLP, despite the fact that I tried really hard to get them there, however I think we are in for a really interesting evening.  The host for the evening will be Owain Phillips (ITV Wales).

It’s an open question session to the audience and we will try to cover as many pics as possible.

Hope to see you there.

Andy

 

Newport East General Election Hustings – Candidate Profile No. 4

As you may already know I have organised a Hustings for Newport East, at St Julians Baptist Church, Beaufort Road on April 17th (7:30), which will feature several of the candidates in a question time format.

In the run up to the event on Friday I have decided to blog each day, presenting a profile of each of the candidates that will be at the event.  The profiles are taken direct from the candidates own websites and I present them here with no bias or preference, they are simply presented to give you a little more insight into each person.

So here is the fourth one, in no particular order. Check back tomorrow for another.


David McLean (Green Party
David McLean (Green Party

David Mclean

Green Party candidate for Newport East

 It’s time for Newport to get selfish. It’s time to put the interests of Newport and its people above the interests of multinational corporations and shareholders elsewhere in the world.

It’s time to rebuild a strong and sustainable Newport with a sustainable economy supporting sustainable jobs.

Newport is a fabulous city, with wonderful people and a rich industrial and cultural heritage. However, the city has been mismanaged and let down by successive councils, governments and politicians, and continues to be let down by those who should be serving us better.

As a result, Newport now has one of the lowest levels of private sector business growth and private sector jobs growth in the UK, and one of the highest levels of Job Seekers’ Allowance claimants. Yet local private sector business is the key to a healthy future for Newport. It provides good jobs, genuine career prospects, and profits that remains in the city. But instead of giving our local business community priority and support, the city’s future is being handed over to multinational corporations that increasingly take wealth out of the city, give little value in return, and show no loyalty to the city or its people when times get tough.

Worrying issues such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), tax dodging, and creeping privatisation of essential services will hit Newport hardest. We need to stand firm against these things.

Newport CAN rise again. The rich gene of engineering, innovation and excellence that can be found here can be put to good use to once again make us a city where we develop and make products and services that we can sell to the rest of the world. But to do that we need to embrace and nurture innovation.

Sadly instead, Newport is being transformed into a city many of us no longer recognise. On the one hand it is becoming a commuter city for those fortunate enough to find good jobs elsewhere because there are not enough here. And on the other hand we are becoming a city where too many people are facing a future of zero-hour, minimum wage jobs with no clear career path open to them, where they don’t feel motivated or valued, and where the inevitable march of automation threatens their livelihoods.

Our young people are having the dream of further and higher education taken from them, and with it goes any possibility that they can build strong careers and a bright future. Older people are also having the choice of higher education taken away from them. I returned to university at the age of 30 and changed my life for the better. Could I do that today? No I couldn’t, because of the politicians that are moving education and training out of the reach of so many people.

So it’s time to say ‘enough is enough’. We need a city fit for the 21st Century, where our own businesses and people can prosper. But to achieve that we need to wrestle the city from the hands of politicians who refuse to recognise how the world is today, and refuse to embrace the opportunities that are open to us. They have given up the ghost and are handing over the city to corporations that do not have our interests at heart, and who see us only as a resource to be exploited.

It’s time for us to stand firm and to take the all-important steps to deliver a just and positive future for the sake of our children, where they can be what they want to be in a city that can sustain them, their families, and their ambitions. It’s time to stand firm against the creeping privatisation of the NHS and other services we all rely on. It’s time to stand firm for fairness and equality. It’s time to stand first against a misguided idea of ‘austerity’ that punishes the poor while rewarding the rich. It’s time to stand firm against the destruction of our proud history and heritage.

If elected as Member of Parliament for Newport East I pledge to work to stand firm in defending Newport from the policies that will further damage our city and its people. I will work to influence local government to give more support to our own business community. And I will work to halt the bad planning and lack of integration that is turning our city into one big traffic jam.

I believe I have the vision and the drive to help Newport take advantage of the 21st Century. We’re already 15 years in, we need to make the change now! We can do it!

BIOGRAPHY

David Mclean is a PR consultant and is married with two children. He moved from Cwmcarn to Newport in 1982 and worked in the South Wales steel industry throughout the 80s and into the mid-90s, when he then embarked on a degree course at the University of Wales College Newport, gaining a First Class Batchelor of Arts degree.

Over the course of 19 years as a journalist and then a PR consultant, David has gained considerable knowledge and experience in engineering and manufacturing, sustainable technologies, IT and telecoms, sustainable infrastructure, and retail and distribution.

David is a passionate Newportonian and is proud to be bringing up his family in the city.

David Mclean

Wales Green Party

 


The hustings is a free event, for more information please contact me:

Andy Long

andy@andylong.org.uk

tel:07801 883420

Newport East General Election Hustings – Candidate profile no.3

As you may already know I have organised a Hustings for Newport East, at St Julians Baptist Church, Beaufort Road on April 17th (7:30), which will feature several of the candidates in a question time format.

In the run up to the event on Friday I have decided to blog each day, presenting a profile of each of the candidates that will be at the event.  The profiles are taken direct from the candidates own websites and I present them here with no bias or preference, they are simply presented to give you a little more insight into each person.

So here is the third one, in no particular order. Check back tomorrow for another.


 

Newport East Liberal Democratics – Paul Halliday

key_Paul_Halliday.jpg

Paul Halliday is a Minister and Retail Development Manager who has been a part of Newport’s community for almost 10 years. Honest and compassionate he is the people’s voice on some of biggest changes Newport has seen in a generation.

When the University of South Wales announced that Caerleon campus was set to close Paul called on the Welsh Labour Government to reverse this closure and keep the vital campus open.

As one of the largest employers, it’s loss will have a bitter impact on Newport’s economy and its communities. But Labour council leaders, AM’s & current MP’s are all standing by and watching while the campus is closed.

Paul campaigns to keep Newport’s libraries open; to help save Newport’s heritage, for the scrapping of the Severn Tolls; and improved transport links across South East Wales. He is committed to more nurses in hospitals & encourages local businesses to take on more apprentices to ensure a stronger future enabling everyone to get on in life.

Only Paul and the Welsh Liberal Democrats can beat Labour in Newport East. A vote for anyone else will see Labour puppet Jessica Morden head back to Westminster and leave the people of Newport with nobody fighting their corner for another five years.

Newport East needs a strong voice. Vote Paul Halliday for Newport East.


The hustings is a free event, for more information please contact me:

Andy Long

andy@andylong.org.uk

tel:07801 883420

Newport East General Election Hustings – Candidate profile No. 2

As you may already know I have organised a Hustings for Newport East, at St Julians Baptist Church, Beaufort Road on April 17th (7:30), which will feature several of the candidates in a question time format.

In the run up to the event on Friday I have decided to blog each day, presenting a profile of each of the candidates that will be at the event.  The profiles are taken direct from the candidates own websites and I present them here with no bias or preference, they are simply presented to give you a little more insight into each person.

So here is the second one, in no particular order. Check back tomorrow for another.


 

NATASHA ASGHAR

Natasha Asghar (Conservative)
Natasha Asghar (Conservative)

CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE FOR NEWPORT EAST

I was born and raised in Newport and have worked across the country in business and industry. As your MP, I’ll serve our area with commitment and passion.

Above all, I want to secure a better future for you and your family – and I have the plan to achieve it:

1. More investment in Newport to create jobs. With my business experience, I’ll deliver investment in roads and local infrastructure to attract businesses and jobs

2. Safer roads. I’ll work with local police to ensure all residents, including children and the elderly, feel safe walking our streets, day and night

3. Help for people out of work. I’ll support those looking for a job, helping equip them with the skills they need to find work and get on in life

4. Support for people with addictions, health problems and disabilities. I’ll stand up for every member of our community and do all I can for local rehabilitation and support groups – as someone who’s cared for a disabled person myself, I know how vital these groups are

If you elect me on 7 May, I’ll deliver all these commitments and more for our area.

So please support me at the election, and let’s secure a better future for everyone in Newport.


The hustings is a free event, for more information please contact me:

Andy Long

andy@andylong.org.uk

tel:07801 883420

Newport East General Election hustings – Candidate Profiles no. 1

As you may already know I have organised a Hustings for Newport East, at St Julians Baptist Church, Beaufort Road on April 17th (7:30), which will feature several of the candidates in a question time format.

In the run up to the event on Friday I have decided to blog each day, presenting a profile of each of the candidates that will be at the event.  The profiles are taken direct from the candidates own websites and I present them here with no bias or preference, they are simply presented to give you a little more insight into each person.

So here is the first one, in no particular order. Check back tomorrow for another.


 

Jessica Morden

Labour Candidate for Newport East

Dear Resident,

This election is one of the most important we have had for a generation. The choice on 7th May is between a Tory Government putting a privileged few first or a Labour Government that cares about the people of Newport East.

Over the past 5 years as your MP I have worked hard to help those who have been affected by Tory/Lib Dem Government policies.

If re-elected on 7th May I will continue to campaign on the local issues that you raise with me. I will push for a reduction in the Severn Bridge tolls when they return to public ownership in 2018, better rail services and infrastructure, policies to support local jobs in industries such as steel, and the public sector hit hard by Tory Government cuts.

I pledge to continue to support Newport Council and the Welsh Government’s excellent initiatives which are regenerating our City, and to work with groups from Maindee to Caldicot to make our communities better.

I would be grateful for your support for Labour in this election.

Best wishes,
Jessica Morden
Labour Candidate

Jessica Morden was the Labour MP for Newport East from 2005 up to this General Election, and is standing again. She was elected in the 2005 General Election and was re-elected in the 2010 General Election. She was elected as the first female MP in South East Wales.

Jessica_Morden_009.JPG

Jessica and her partner Sion live in Maindee. They have two children, Mali and Ifan, who both attend local schools.

Brought up in nearby Cwmbran, she was educated at Croesyceiliog School before reading History at Birmingham University. Following University she was also a student at Coleg Gwent Nash Campus. Before becoming a Member of Parliament Jessica worked for two local MP’s (Llew Smith in Blaenau Gwent and Huw Edwards in Monmouth) and served as General Secretary for the Welsh Labour Party.

PARLIAMENTARY WORK:

Shadow Parliamentary Private Secretary to Owen Smith MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.

Secretary of the Welsh Group of MPs.

Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Wales The Rt Hon Peter Hain MP until May 2010

Member of the Welsh Affairs Committee

Vice-Chair for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Steel and other Metal-Related Industries (July 2005 – 2015)

Chair for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children in Wales (July 2005 – 2015)

In her first term Jessica successfully completed the Police Parliamentary Scheme, spending a month during recess with a range of Departments and frontline Police Officers in Gwent Police.

Appointed by the speaker to the Members’ Advisory Committee to oversee the setting up of the first ever Nursery in the House of Commons.

Member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Suicide Prevention


The hustings is a free event, for more information please contact me:

Andy Long

andy@andylong.org.uk

tel:07801 883420

Newport East General Election Hustings – more news

For a long time now I have been planning a hustings for Newport East as we approach the general election in May.  I ran a similar event approaching the last general election and it was extremely well supported.

If you’re wondering, a ‘hustings’ is an organised event in which candidates address their constituents. In this case the candidates sit on a hosted panel in a similar format to the TV programme ‘Question Time.

There is now less than a week to go to the event that I’ve organised and I’m getting a lot of online support so I’m really hopeful that we will get another packed house.

The details for the event are:

Friday 17th April, 7:30 – 9:00pm

Venue: St Julians Baptist Church, Beaufort Road, Newport

Admission: free and unreserved (capacity around 200)

Followed by light refreshments and an opportunity for informal chat with candidates.

Our host for the evening is ITV Wales political reporter Owain Phillips

As you may know there are seven candidates for Newport East. All the candidates have been invited and all will be welcome. 

At the time of writing four of the candidates have confirmed that they will be there, these are:

Jessica Morden (Labour)

Natasha Asghar (Conservative)

Paul Halliday (Liberal Democrats)

David McLean (Green Party)

I have been chasing every avenue available to get the other candidates there, but so far I have not heard from Tony Salkeld (Plaid Cymru), David Stock (UKIP or Shangara Singh Bhatoe (Socialist Labour). I would love to get all candidates there so please get in touch guys.

I hope that some of you reading this out there will be able to attend and will bring some questions with you. I am not taking questions in advance this year so we will be having a couple of roaming mics on the night.

For more details please contact me at:

Andy@andylong.org.uk

tel: 07801 883420

Thanks

Poster for the Election Hustings in Newport East

Please download and share this poster for the Newport Election Hustings. Stick it in your window, shop or workplace. Come along and meet the candidates.

Click the link to go to the poster.

Thanks

hustings poster

 

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