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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 8:22 am 
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The BNP's equivalent in France, Front National, the far-right French group led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, became the first European political party to open a headquarters within the virtual world, Second Life. And it's already under siege:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/ ... 82,00.html


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:28 am 
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Sadly this story has still not completely died down and is even being linked to the Celebrity Big Brother furore on the letters page of today’s Independent: http://comment.independent.co.uk/letter ... 175023.ece

Unfortunately the letter writer fails to grasp that disrupting a performance doesn’t endear protesters to any group of UK theatregoers regardless of their class.

Personally I fail to understand the uproar over the trivial events in the big brother house. Earlier in the week there was a programme on Channel 4 in which a group of men in the UK advocated violence against women and the killing of homosexuals, they went on to describe Jews as pigs and wanted everyone not sharing their religious beliefs to be slaughtered. http://www.channel4.com/news/dispatches ... sp?id=1066
Strangely no action was taken over this programme at all, no questions asked in parliament, no statement from the prime minister – nothing. Might this be a clue as to why Ms Clarke intends to vote for the BNP?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:34 pm 
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I think she must have been duped.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:54 am 
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Here is a link to an article in English on the present Italian bill on immigration from non-EU countires. It was created by the Berlusconi government and in particular made by the two representatives of the far-right Italian parties, Umberto Bossi of the Lega Nord (Northern League) and Gianfranco Fini of Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2024876.stm

For those who read Italian here is a link to the text of the bill and other related articles:

http://www.cestim.it/15politiche_bossi- ... o.htm#comm

Interestingly in Italy there is a small community of Albanian dancers who became famous thanks to a tv programme called "Amici", which is a kind of reality show presenting a performance school where students learn to dance, sing and act. Here the link to the site, only in Italian sorry:

http://www.mariadefilippi.mediaset.it/amici/

One of the former stars of the show was (and still is in a way) an excellent dancer from Albania, Kledi Kadiu, who has now opened his own dance school and formed his dance company. Here is the link to his site again only in Italian, but it has beautiful pictures and a video gallery:

http://www.kledi.it/home.html

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:02 am 
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Quote:
Ballet and politics intertwined
by ISMENE BROWN for the Daily Telegraph
published: January 27, 2007

For all the noise made over the British National Party membership of English National Ballet dancer Simone Clarke, ballet and politics have always been intimates. And no one exemplifies that more vividly than the supreme Soviet choreographer Yuri Grigorovich, whose 80th birthday is marked by a Royal Opera House gala tomorrow.
more...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:11 am 
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Simone Clarke has made it into the news again because of her membership of Solidarity:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/dance/article3029430.ece

When the Guardian first 'outed' a number of BNP supporters almost a year ago, more interesting people than Clarke appeared on the list. I remain baffled as to why there has been a media feeding frenzy over Ms Clarke and not the person alleged to have links to the Royal Family. My personal feeling about this is that there is an inbred contempt for the art of ballet amongst a number of left wing journalists and that they have seized on an opportunity to attempt to tear her apart simply because of her profession.

I didn't like the following at all:

Quote:
Ballerinas should, by definition, be seen and not heard.

Now why is that, may I ask? One doesn't have to share Ms Clarke's views to respect the principle of freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to political views whatever those views may be. Even ballerinas.

As far as I'm aware, Solidarity is an extremely left wing workers organization that opposes the Blairite moves towards "Social Partnership" and seeks to restore the trade union rights stripped away during the Thatcher era. I haven't heard it described as right wing, though my understanding of British politics has been tainted in the past decade by a weary cynicism that leaves me somewhat apathetic to politics in general, so I may have it wrong.

Judge for yourselves, as I can't find anything right wing here:

http://uk.geocities.com/solidarity_magazine/launch.htm


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:35 pm 
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Thanks for the update, Cassandra.

I'm not sure why everyone is so obsessed with her political views. And the line you quoted is particularly offensive.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:00 pm 
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I think there are a few issues...

For one - and I'm not sure where I stand on this - some people pointed out that the English National Ballet is heavily subsidsed by the government (Westminster) and thus Ms. Clarke is in part a government employee. Thus some would argue that - at least in public - she needs to maintain certain standards. The BNP, by any standards, is extremely right wing to the point of being bigoted and racist. (It is usual, at least in the US, that government employees are not allowed to publicly support or campaign for any person or political party).

Also, I can't remember how the story broke in the first place, but Ms. Clarke's subsequent comments were in violation of her contract, which specifies that such comments (because they were made at that point in the context of her job as a dancer) must be approved by the company's press department. Thus, irregardless of the story's merit, she was not all in the right.

I personally, also think Ms. Clarke put her foot in her own mouth big time. Joining a party that condemns immigration to the point of being offensively racist whilst being married and having a child by an immigrant, and whilst having many workmates who are immigrants is hypocritical. Fine if she had not made any fuss over it, and not commented after the story broke. But she continued to defend the BNP, which just made her look foolish and probably did not endear her to her fellow dancers.

I certainly think she has a right to her own beliefs, and that people had a right to protest her comments (but not to interrupt performances or obstruct those who want to see her dance). However, as a public persona, and someone who benefits from the government purse (in part), I think she has some responsibility for her public behaviour - and coming out in favour of the BNP isn't going to be high in most people's books as far as earning resepect. I don't the story merited being 'broken' to begin with, but I would have respected Ms. Clarke much more had she not made any response (following the letter of her contract) and let the story die down.

I find it hard to believe that 'left wing journalists' would have any contempt for ballet. Dance, and ballet in particular, tend to be inhabited by left wing persons.

Kate


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:20 am 
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Quote:
ksneds wrote:
I think there are a few issues...

For one - and I'm not sure where I stand on this - some people pointed out that the English National Ballet is heavily subsidsed by the government (Westminster) and thus Ms. Clarke is in part a government employee. Thus some would argue that - at least in public - she needs to maintain certain standards. The BNP, by any standards, is extremely right wing to the point of being bigoted and racist. (It is usual, at least in the US, that government employees are not allowed to publicly support or campaign for any person or political party).


I don't think she could be sacked simply for membership of a perfectly legal political party. If ENB did that she could sue for unfair dismissal and win.

Quote:
Also, I can't remember how the story broke in the first place, but Ms. Clarke's subsequent comments were in violation of her contract, which specifies that such comments (because they were made at that point in the context of her job as a dancer) must be approved by the company's press department. Thus, irregardless of the story's merit, she was not all in the right.


If I remember rightly the story broke when a Guardian journalist managed through false pretences to secure a list of names on the BNP's membership database. There was a huge furore that prompted her to speak (very inadvisably and probably without considering the implications) to the press.

Quote:
I personally, also think Ms. Clarke put her foot in her own mouth big time. Joining a party that condemns immigration to the point of being offensively racist whilst being married and having a child by an immigrant, and whilst having many workmates who are immigrants is hypocritical. Fine if she had not made any fuss over it, and not commented after the story broke. But she continued to defend the BNP, which just made her look foolish and probably did not endear her to her fellow dancers.



I agree with much of that, but I imagine it would be even more hypocritical to have backed down and not had the courage of her convictions (even controversial ones) in the face of press criticism.

Quote:
I certainly think she has a right to her own beliefs, and that people had a right to protest her comments (but not to interrupt performances or obstruct those who want to see her dance). However, as a public persona, and someone who benefits from the government purse (in part), I think she has some responsibility for her public behaviour - and coming out in favour of the BNP isn't going to be high in most people's books as far as earning resepect. I don't the story merited being 'broken' to begin with, but I would have respected Ms. Clarke much more had she not made any response (following the letter of her contract) and let the story die down.


I have to admit that the protest against her inside the theatre (at a performance designated as a children’s matinee!) made me extremely angry, as although I believe fervently in the right to demonstrate as a form of free speech, my tolerance of protesters evaporates when their behaviour degenerates into hooliganism.

Quote:
I find it hard to believe that 'left wing journalists' would have any contempt for ballet. Dance, and ballet in particular, tend to be inhabited by left wing persons.


Sorry Kate, but I feel they do. For some time now there has been a slow drip, drip, drip, against all the fine arts in the media in general and I find it more noticeable in those publications that class themselves as left wing.

I would have liked to have drawn a line under the Simone Clarke story, but it was the "Ballerinas should be seen and not heard" comment that made me post a link to the article as it made me very angry indeed, as LM Tech says, it is particularly offensive.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:21 pm 
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I agree that the press can be very nasty to artists in arts they consider to be elitist such as ballet and opera. It's uncalled for.

On the other hand, Ms. Clarke was a bit foolish to engage the media a far as she did. She should have simply made a statement to the effect that she has a right to her political beliefs and left it at that without any explanation. In cases like this, less is definitely more.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:13 am 
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Cassandra, "Solidarity Magazine" is as you say, a left-wing journal, which has been around for some time. However, Solidarity Union was formed in 2005 and is believed by many to have close links to the BNP and other far right organisations. The Union denies this, but see this section from the opening paragraph on their website:

"To counter the simplistic internationalist approach of the TUC unions, Solidarity has a national focus which means that we will fight for the rights of the British worker above all else."

Their main activity seems to be campaigning for those who have lost their jobs or membership of other unions through expression of far right views.

It is in my view, devious in the extreme to use the name "Solidarity"; they have even pinched the Polish Solidarity banner and added a Union Jack. When you go to their website you hear an American labour movement song "solidarity forever" from, I think, Woodie Guthrie, [corrected in the post below] who would turn in his grave to hear it used in this context.

Further information:

Solidarity Union website: http://www.solidaritytradeunion.net/

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidarity ... sh_Workers

Hilary Rose in The Times will win few friends here with her silly attention grabber: "Ballerinas should be seen and not heard." However, Ms Clarke has ratcheted up the original problem by standing and being elected to the Executive Committee of this dodgy organisation.

While I agree that membership of a legal party or "Union" is not a reason for her to be dismissed from ENB, personally I will avoid performances where Ms Clarke is dancing. I would not disrupt a performance, but I understand the fury of those opposed to the BNP, its neo-fascist agenda and prominent individuals who support the organisation.


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:34 am 
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Stuart Sweeney wrote:
"solidarity forever" from, I think, Woodie Guthrie, who would turn in his grave to hear it used in this context.


It's Pete Seeger, who is very much alive, although undoubtedly no less disgusted.


My question: Have the people whom Solidarity claims to represent really been dismissed merely for stating their views, or were there other, legitimate, reasons?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:53 am 
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It's difficult to find sources in the national press about Mark Walker, one of the recipients of Solidarity campaigning. But here is one quote from an anti-fascist website:

"Last March, Mark Walker, a teacher at the Sunnydale Community College for Maths and Computing in County Durham, was suspended from his job on full pay after it was found that he accessed the website of the BNP during a lesson. At the time, his candidature had been announced for the BNP in the local elections and he was also acting as election agent for the Sedgefield ex-BNP candidate Andrew Spence. His suspension was for 'misuse of school computer equipment'."

The BNP and solidarity claim that the "misuse" charge is a smoke screen for suspension because of his views.

Thanks for the correction to Pete Seeger, Jeff. I've sent an e-mail trying to alert those close to Mr Seeger about the misuse of his song.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:54 pm 
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The story thickens...Clarke broke up with Yat Sen Chang in April, for reasons apparently to with the fact that he "refused to support her", and is now marrying a BNP councillor.

If she wanted to be low key, this is not the way to do it. As she's 37, one wonders if it might be the time to announce a retirement and move on.

However, I find the whole affair a sad thing... since she and Chang have a five year old daughter, one assumes they've been together at least 6 years. For such a relationship to break down so quickly suggests that all is/was not well. It seems strange that her relationship with Chang would have survived this long if she'd expressed BNP views before - could something have happened to change her views?

Also, to be marrying someone else after only a few months seems most unwise. One almost wonders if she's trying to prove her seriousness about the BNP and her views...

I still feel that Ms. Clarke is probably very naive, and is being used by the BNP.


http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/arti ... tails/'BNP ballerina' ditches Cuban immigrant lover to marry far right councillor/article.do


Another article... click here

(The comment on 'indigenous people' seems absurd - are there are people who are truly 'indigenous' to the British Isles? Didn't the Anglo Saxons originally come from continental Europe?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:36 pm 
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Stuart Sweeney wrote:
I've sent an e-mail trying to alert those close to Mr Seeger about the misuse of his song.


If they paraphrased his words, there's probably nothing to be done; the tune itself is that of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, which dates from our Civil War and is very much in the public domain.

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http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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