Martin Bright

Denham challenged on Prevent

By Martin Bright, October 1, 2009

Britain’s leading moderate Muslim organisation has challenged Communities and Local Government Secretary John Denham over his claim that government money was not being used to fund groups and institutions promoting radical Islamist ideology.

Speaking at a fringe event during Labour Party conference in Brighton, Ed Husain, director of the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation, said he would provide Mr Denham with a list of organisations funded by the government’s Prevent strategy that should be a cause for concern to ministers.

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Analysis: Not going to extremes with £60m

By Martin Bright, October 1, 2009

Chris Grayling’s interview puts significant blue water between the Conservatives and Labour on extremism and anti-terror policy. The Shadow Home Secretary could not be clearer in his rejection of multiculturalism and the policy of “engagement for the sake of engagement”.

Mr Grayling has taken some time to come to these conclusions — he was appointed in January — but at least he cannot be criticised for rushing to judgment.

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Chris Grayling: No more funding for extremists

By Martin Bright, October 1, 2009

Chris Grayling is a cool customer.

He has a reputation as a Tory attack dog, a ruthless opposition politician who can put the squeeze on any government minister unfortunate enough to cross his path.

He has already seen off one Home Secretary during his short time in the shadow post and is building a reputation as a worthy adversary to the current incumbent, Alan Johnson.

He has the demeanour of an establishment man — crisp pink shirt, Tory blue tie, House of Commons cufflinks — and speaks with the authority of someone heading for the Cabinet.

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Tories will review Prevent policy on extremism

By Martin Bright, October 1, 2009

A conservative government would stop all funding to groups that promote radical Islamic ideology and target money at organisations with a record of bringing Britain’s diverse communities together.

In an interview with the JC, Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said Labour's policy risked creating ghettoes.

He revealed that the Tories were planning an immediate review of the Prevent anti-extremism strategy, which he accused of channelling money to radical organisations.

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Analysis: Denham reveals how government's Islamist stance unresolved

By Martin Bright, September 24, 2009

Our interview with Communities Secretary John Denham illustrates that the British government’s stance on engagement with home-grown Islamism remains unresolved.

Mr Denham has made it clear that the Muslim Council of Britain will remain out in the cold while its deputy secretary general remains a signatory to the Istanbul declaration calling for attacks on Israel and the Royal Navy.

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John Denham interview: let's talk to the Muslim Council but not yet

By Martin Bright, September 24, 2009

Few politicians are as well-mannered and gracious as Communities Secretary John Denham. He is popular with the Labour Party faithful because he is has no airs and is prepared to discuss his ideas openly. In the past decade he has navigated the Blair-Brown sectarian divide with great skill and made an astonishing comeback after resigning from the government over Iraq. But he is not without enemies.

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John Denham: Government were wrong on terror

By Martin Bright, September 24, 2009

The government’s strategy on terrorism following the 7/7 attacks was fundamentally flawed, admits the Cabinet minister now responsible for community cohesion.

Speaking to the JC on the eve of the Labour Party conference, Communities and Local Government Secretary John Denham said the strategy to tackle extremism in the wake of the suicide bombings of 2005 was too centralised, with solutions being sought from Whitehall without reference to the reality on the ground.

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Analysis: Human Rights Watch is naive

By Martin Bright, September 18, 2009

The suspension of Human Rights Watch senior analyst Marc Garlasco is a devastating blow for the reputation of a group which stands or falls by the independence of its reporting on government abuses.

It is hard to imagine why anyone would wish to surround himself with the ephemera of fascism.

And yet, it is theoretically possible for an individual to be fascinated by Second World War military history and remain objective when reporting on the Israeli-Palestinan conflict (one of Mr Garlasco’s areas of expertise).

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Analysis: TUC in chaos over Israel

By Martin Bright, September 18, 2009

There was nothing edifying about the sight of trade unionists fighting each other in Liverpool this week over an attempt by the Fire Brigades Union to introduce a boycott of Israeli goods .

Did no one tell the brothers there is a recession on?

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'Secret sect giving PSC mask of respectability'

By Martin Bright, Political Editor, September 18, 2009

One of Britain’s most longstanding Jewish anti-Zionists has accused an ultra-left political faction, with links to Ken Livingstone, of infiltrating the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Tony Greenstein, a pro-Palestinian activist, says Socialist Action is acting like “political freemasons” in their takeover of the PSC and suggested that the organisation’s leadership has allowed itself to be treated as “useful idiots”.

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Nick Clegg: I won't silence Jenny Tonge

By Martin Bright, September 18, 2009

Nick Clegg is angry. No, it’s beyond angry. Incandescent almost gets it, but that still doesn’t capture the full fury of the man as he leans forward from his chair in the Liberal Democrat leader’s office in the House of Commons.

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Why has liberal Britain deserted Derek?

By Martin Bright, September 17, 2009

One man’s long and heroic struggle for justice has gone largely unreported. Derek Pasquill is a former Foreign Office civil servant who was responsible for a series of leaks in 2005 that revealed the full extent of the influence of the Muslim Council of Britain and other Islamist institutions within Whitehall.

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Unison and Unite to back Israel boycott

By Martin Bright and Jessica Elgot, September 15, 2009

Britain’s biggest trade union Unite, has confirmed it will be backing a boycott of Israeli goods proposed by the Fire Brigades Union, along with public sector trade union, Unison.

Unison and Unite’s support will now make the FBU’s chance of successfully getting the TUC to agree to the motion far greater.

Motion 76, tabled by the firefighters, called for the TUC to review its links with Histadrut, its Israeli trade union counterpart.

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What makes the left vilify Israel?

By Martin Bright, February 5, 2009

When I stood down as political editor of the New Statesman at the end of last month, I decided to write my final piece for the magazine about Israel’s military intervention in Gaza.

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