The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

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Postmodernism is fundamentally frivolous. Postmodernists routinely condemn racism and intolerance as wrong but then say that there is no such thing as right and wrong. They are clearly not being serious. Either they do not really believe in moral nihilism or they believe that racism cannot be condemned!

Postmodernism is in fact just a tantrum. Post-Soviet reality in particular suits Leftists so badly that their response is to deny that reality exists. That they can be so dishonest, however, simply shows how psychopathic they are.


30 June, 2013

More of Britain's multiculturalists

During her primary school years, Katie was considered academically gifted and dreamed of becoming a forensic scientist.

At home, her loving parents read her bedtime stories and would at times remind her to feed her giant African land snail.

But when she turned 12 her life changed forever. Sitting on some steps with a friend in Oxford, Katie was approached by two Pakistani brothers who befriended her with alcohol and cigarettes.

She was flattered by the attention they paid her, completely unaware she was being groomed for sexual exploitation until it was too late.

For almost three years she was violently and sexually abused by a gang and then sold for sex on hundreds of different occasions to a network of child abusers across Britain.

Shockingly, during her ordeal she told police and social services she was being abused, but nothing was done to help her.

As some of her abusers started long jail sentences yesterday, Katie spoke for the first time about her three-year nightmare.

She told the Daily Mail: ‘By all accounts I was a bit of a geek at school,’ she said.  ‘Then six months later I become somebody who went missing all the time, coming back days later, filthy and dirty.  'The sudden change is scary to think about, even now.’

Katie still struggles to comprehend how a girl with upstanding parents – her father is a civil engineer – could fall prey to such abuse.

‘At the start they made out like they wanted to be your friend.  Then the intensity crept up. They would put you off everybody. They would say your family was your enemy, your friends were your enemies.

‘By this point I thought my teenage friends wouldn’t like me any more. They would say if you go back to school no one is going to like you because you’re a slag.’

After several months, the Pakistani men began to ask her for sex, pretending to want a loving relationship with her.  But soon they were threatening violence if Katie refused to do what she was told.

‘It’s something I felt I had to do,’ she said. ‘Although I knew what sex was, there’s a difference between having sex as an adult and as a child. This was people taking advantage of a child.’

As her ordeal intensified, Katie was taken to rooms in guest houses and flats in the backstreets of east Oxford. ‘I was taken to parties,’ she recalled.

‘By party I mean everybody coming and having sex with me. If I said I didn’t want it, it would just happen anyway.’

Katie said: ‘They just thought they could do what they wanted with me, no matter how disgusting. It got to the point where I just went along with things.  'Mentally I shut down and just did it.’

Aged 14, and by now in a care home, she alerted her carer to the abuse but was ignored.

A month after her 15th birthday, she told police that one of her abusers, Akhtar Dogar, was forcing her to have sex with him and other men.  But instead of following up these allegations, she said officers threatened to arrest her for wasting police time.

‘My behaviour and appearance should have been sending alarm bells,’ she said.

Although Katie is now in a long-term relationship, memories of her past still haunt her.

She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder at the age of 15 and suffers from severe bouts of depression and OCD.


Politically correct British bureaucracy betrays foster mother

The foster mum who took in a 'vulnerable' boy of 16 - only to find he was a drunken asylum-seeking thug of 26

The aggression in the voice on the other side of my spare bedroom door was both startling and frightening — not least because it was supposed to be coming from a young boy.

I’d knocked respectfully before delivering clean washing to my foster son, Farood.  ‘Keep out,’ he snarled back in a deep, threatening baritone.

I was beginning to think this ‘poor, vulnerable, 16-year-old lad’, as he was described by social services, who had asked me to look after him, was not all he seemed.

Since his arrival 12 days earlier, Farood, an asylum-seeker from Afghanistan, had behaved disgracefully. He constantly reeked of alcohol and treated my house like a hostel rather than a home, coming and going as he pleased.

But it was his physical strength and raw aggression that I found the most frightening.

I’m a 60-year-old widow and retired school secretary, only 5ft tall, and I live on my own. This ‘boy’ on the other hand, was more than 6ft tall, stocky and had a demeanour and physical strength beyond his supposed years.

Where there should have been spots, there was stubble.

Where I’d expected a cowed and frightened child in need of love and a good meal, I found the arrogance and, quite frankly, terrifying swagger of a grown man.

Intimidated and frightened, I quickly stopped trying to enforce any house rules. I could almost see the aggression that bubbled off Farood, how could I match his brute physicality?

Even when I found condoms left casually on his bedside table and received a complaint from my neighbour about him leering at her teenage daughter over the garden fence while he smoked endless cigarettes, I felt powerless to act.

But when I tried to raise my concerns with my key worker — that Farood wasn’t the 16-year-old I’d been told he was — I was fobbed off.

‘Just hang on to him for a couple more days,’ I was told, with the assurance everything was being done to look into Farood’s background and find a more permanent placement.

Finally, after more than a week of sleepless nights wondering whether I was safe in my own bed, I begged, pleaded and insisted that Farood was rehomed — I watched him being driven away, racked with guilt and a sense of failure.

Weeks later, however, that guilt turned to anger when I discovered, to my horror, that all my suspicions about this ‘cuckoo’ in my nest were correct. I learned from my social workers that Farood was in fact 26, not 16.

Police had accessed criminal records in his home country that showed he’d previously been in trouble for theft and brawling. He was now in a detention centre while the Home Office considered his asylum application.

No one had even thought to assess all this before placing him under my roof a year ago. I still shudder when I think what could have happened. And no one has ever apologised to me for the danger I was placed in.


Anti-Islamic U.S. bloggers banned from entering the UK

Message to UK liberals: if you’re campaigning to bar two right-wing US bloggers from Britain, you’re no liberal

Something quite outrageous happened this week: the UK home secretary, Theresa May, banned two right-wing American bloggers from coming to Britain. Apparently their presence would not be ‘conducive to the public good’ because they do not accept what May calls our ‘shared values’. So they weren’t banned because they’d committed any crime, but because they’d committed a thoughtcrime - the thoughtcrime of thinking differently to May. This captures brilliantly the tyranny behind censorship: through stymieing clashes of opinions, it empowers an enlightened few to define what is a good value and what is an acceptable thought."

How it happened

Like, I’m sure, most of the British population, I hadn’t heard of Pamela Geller or Robert Spencer before their names appeared in the UK press at the weekend. Apparently, they are right-wing bloggers from America, who are planning to visit Britain to speak at a rally organised by the right-wing English Defence League (EDL). Cue much censorious fulminating from Britain’s misnamed liberal commentariat, who want the bloggers kept out.

Earlier this year, the UK anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate (HNH) adopted a refreshing new stance (commended by spiked): it declared that ‘No Platform’ - the practice of denying people on the far right a public platform to express themselves - was ‘outdated’. When it comes to combating far-right groups, said HNH, it’s better to do it through ‘argument’ and to ‘expose their ideas’.

Yet now, HNH has reverted to its earlier ‘No Platform’ stance: it has been at the forefront of a campaign calling on UK home secretary Theresa May to bar Geller and Spencer - who write the Atlas Shrugs and Jihad Watch blogs, and who were behind a New York subway ad campaign implying Muslims are ‘savages’ - from entering Britain. The pair are due to speak at an EDL rally in Woolwich, scene of the recent ‘jihadist’ knife attack, on Saturday.

In a petition to May, signed by 2,000 supporters in the first 24 hours alone, HNH writes a sentence that must surely be a shoo-in for Doublespeak of the Year: ‘We believe in freedom of speech and the rights of people to hold and express different views. However, in a democracy there have to be limits on people abusing these freedoms to incite hatred, and we believe that Geller and Spencer are seeking to do just that.’

In the strange minds of HNH campaigners, it seems you can believe in free speech yet lobby to ban individuals from entering your country to speak freely. You can believe in the right of people to hold and express different views, except views you personally dislike. And you can do all this in the name of democracy, presumably because the UK public itself, the demos, is so volatile and manipulable that it has to be sheltered from the poisonous views of Geller and Spencer.

The fear of the public becoming a big, ugly lynch mob seems to have led even Liberal Conspiracy blogger Sunny Hundal, who helped organise the Convention on Modern Liberty in 2009, to abandon any pretence at liberalism. He has uncritically plugged HNH’s censorious petition - at the cost of isolating his readership.

Under his HNH plug, a commenter cites a 2011 article in which Hundal defended a controversial Muslim preacher’s right to come to Britain regardless of what he planned to preach. ‘I’ve always been for having a consistent approach on this issue’, Hundal wrote in 2011. ‘Either you ban people who preach any form of hatred – from homophobia to religious segregation – or you only ban those that say things that would be illegal under our laws. I prefer the latter approach, because I believe that people should be allowed to make up their own minds on issues.’ Under this quotation, the commenter simply writes: ‘Hypocrite.’ Quite.

The only principles these censorious campaigners accept are those imposed by the EU. Anders Gravers, a leader of the group Stop the Islamisation of Europe, has also been invited to speak at the EDL rally, but he has not been named in the HNH petitions ‘because he is an EU citizen’ and therefore it seems must be allowed to travel freely throughout European Union counties. This rather gives the lie to the idea that these ‘incendiary’ speakers are genuinely a threat that must be stopped. If these various cranky bloggers and campaigners really were capable of causing moral mayhem in Britain, surely Gravers would be kept out, too? Perhaps HNH is only interested in keeping out vulgar American savages, in the same way right-wingers campaign to keep hot-headed Muslim preachers away from the UK.

May was following in the ban-happy footsteps of her New Labour predecessor Jacqui Smith, who at her height in 2008 was barring five people a month from entering Britain on the basis that their presence would not be ‘conducive to the public good’.

The EDL, of course, has no licence to play the free-speech card. It makes no bones about calling upon the state to outlaw the speech of ‘extreme’ Muslim preachers and it wants to ban poppy-burning protests. And neither can it plead an open-borders case for allowing its speakers to come to Britain: it routinely calls for the forced deportation of radical Islamists from the UK. But that is what you would expect from a nationalist organisation of the far right. Is it also now what we should expect from British liberals?


Abortion Rights Not Synonymous With Women's Health

When your grandmother gets some bad news, do you tell her: "Well, at least you have your abortion rights"?  Why not? Maybe it's because whatever you think of abortion, the right to have one is not synonymous with a woman's health.

But don't tell that to the liberal group Think Progress. On Twitter, it recently teased some shocking news: "Why 2013 is shaping up to be the worst year for woman's [sic] health in modern history."

When I followed to the linked story, there was nothing about a spike in cervical or breast cancer rates. Nothing about occupational safety for female workers and no mention of female life expectancy either. Instead, the story was about how the ACLU says anti-abortion laws are on the rise across the country.

Of course, this sort of thing is all over the place. Under the headline "Losing the Global Fight for Women's Health," Luisita Lopez Torregrosa, the "Female Factor" columnist for the international edition of the New York Times, writes of the allegedly horrific threat to women's health posed by restrictive abortion laws in places like Africa, Asia and Latin America. She makes no mention of the estimated 160 million women "missing" in Asia alone who were killed in gender-selective abortions.

Even the most ardent pro-life activist readily concedes that there are instances when an abortion is in the interest of the mother's health. But it is bizarre to suggest that women's health and abortion rights are interchangeable. The biggest killer of women is heart disease, followed by cancer, then stroke. I couldn't find "lack of a timely abortion" on the CDC list.

And yet, President Obama -- and nearly every other abortion-rights supporter -- blithely accuses Republicans of wanting to make women's "health care choices" for them.

"You've got a state legislature up here that sometimes acts like it knows better than women when it comes to women's own health care decisions," the president said at a rally in New Hampshire during the last campaign. "You know, my opponent's got the same approach."

How odd from the eponymous father of Obamacare, which will mandate that women (and men) pay for insurance coverage they don't need. It will cause many women (and men) to lose their existing health care plans. It will empower bureaucrats to decide what treatments for women (and men) the government will reimburse and which it won't. Under Obamacare, women who smoke or are overweight can be charged 30 percent to 50 percent more for their health insurance.

These features are defensible from a liberal or statist point of view, but not if you actually believe that women have a special and unique right to make "health care decisions" for themselves wholly unfettered by the government.

Which raises one irony to all this. By any objective measure, liberals are far more eager to use the government to make health care decisions for women, because liberals want to make health care decisions for all Americans -- slightly more than half of whom are female. It's Michelle Obama and Michael Bloomberg -- not Michele Bachmann and Mitch McConnell -- who want to tell women what they should eat and drink and how much they should exercise.

Conservatives want to leave it to women to make their own choices: about what to eat, whether to smoke, how fast they can drive, whether they can own a gun, etc. Many conservatives would also like to see women live long enough for the chance to make those decisions, rather than be snuffed out in utero.

Of course, this argument will be wholly unpersuasive to the folks shouting the loudest about "women's health decisions." Which raises an even greater irony. The basic conservative or pro-life view is that abortion is different than other health care decisions because there's a harmed party other than the mother. This fact, not sexism or traditionalism or theology, is what trumps the general conservative preference for individual freedom. You don't have an unfettered right to harm someone else.

But once you get beyond abortion, conservative public policies treat women like autonomous human beings capable of making their own choices -- about health care or anything else. It's the abortion-rights extremists who boil down the vast range of issues and choices raised by the term "women's health" to a single issue: sexual reproduction, as if women were nothing more than breeders. And yet conservatives are the ones who're called sexists.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


28 June, 2013

Another multicultural episode in Britain

A man who bludgeoned his wife to death with an ornamental elephant was yesterday jailed for life.  Devendra Singh, 33, will serve at least 16 years in prison after he was convicted of murdering his 41-year-old wife Charlotte Smith.

He repeatedly ‘smashed and shattered’ her skull after she demanded a divorce, using force described by a pathologist as ‘beyond the scale’.

After the attack Singh left the body lying on the lounge floor.  He then threw evidence – including the 4lb wooden elephant – over their garden fence into a field before fleeing the home near Leek, Staffordshire.

Stafford Crown Court heard Singh travelled to London, but put his wife’s SIM card into his phone so he could pose as her, sending reassuring text messages to her family and friends.

However her family discovered her body three days after she was killed last September.

Singh later handed himself in to police and admitted killing his wife, but denied murder on the basis that he suffered a ‘loss of control’.

During the five-day trial pathologist Olaf Biedrzycki said Miss Smith’s injuries were among the worst he had seen during his 20-year career.

He told the jury: ‘There were an awful lot of fractures to the front of the skull, and I could feel a lot of fractures to the face. The degree of force used to inflict the injuries is of an extreme nature.

‘It is one of the most severe head injury cases I have come across.’

Detective Inspector Glyn Pattinson, who led the inquiry for Staffordshire Police, said: ‘There is no doubt that Singh’s attack was brutal and sustained.’

Miss Smith, who worked as a health and safety manager, met Singh during a family holiday to Goa in 2008. They decided to get married in December 2010 and, after waiting for a visa, Singh moved from India to the UK.

When he struggled to find work, the Smith family even opened a shop in the town centre for him to run.

But prosecutors said by last summer the relationship was failing, and Singh had become prone to heavy drinking and aggression.

Miss Smith, who was known as Charlie, told work colleagues her husband had grabbed her around the neck during an argument just four months before she died.

Speaking after the sentencing, her parents, Irene Cork and Peter Smith, said: ‘No matter what length of sentence is served to him nothing will compensate for our loss.

‘Some years from now he will leave prison and be free to continue with his life. For Charlie there is nothing.  ‘Losing Charlie will continue to affect us for the rest of our lives.'


Black racism in Britain

A toddler has been left with a broken collar bone after he and his mother were attacked in broad daylight because the little boy appeared to be mixed race.

The two-year-old was tipped out of his pushchair and injured when a black man started hurling racist abuse and then went for his 30-year-old mother at Highams Park railway station in east London.

Police fear the suspect was attacking the unnamed woman, who is also black, because the child had lighter coloured skin and may have been mixed race.

As the mother tried to get off the train the apparent racist grabbed her by the hair, dragging her to the ground and knocking over the pushchair, badly hurting the toddler.

The woman and her son were first approached by the man at Walthamstow Central Station, east London, at around 3.03pm on Sunday June 23, and as they boarded the 2.47pm Liverpool Street to Chingford train.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Gerry Hughes said: 'When the train arrived at Highams Park station, the victim left the train with her pushchair. She was assaulted by the man, who pulled her hair, dragging her to the ground along with the pushchair. The man then made off from the scene.

'The victim was left understandably shocked but uninjured. Her son was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured collar bone. He was later discharged from hospital.

'This was an unspeakable attack on a mother and son, and we are determined to find the man responsible. I'd urge anyone who has any information into the incident, or recognises the man pictured, to come forward and assist officers in this investigation.'

A full search of the area was conducted but the man could not be found and British Transport Police have now released CCTV images of an apparent black male they wish to speak to in connection with the incident.

A British Transport Police spokesperson said: 'We know it was a racist attack because of what the mother reported the man as saying. He was commenting on the colour of the child's skin which he was saying was slightly lighter in colour that the mother's.'

Anyone with information is asked to call 0800 40 50 40 quotin


The fate of a whistleblower in Britain

Julie Bailey, who helped expose the horrific neglect at Stafford Hospital which cost up to 1,400 lives, says ‘vipers’ have victimised her ever since she set up Cure the NHS.

She started the pressure group in her own cafe following the death of her mother at the hospital. But yesterday she handed over the keys to the business, having agreed a cut-price sale on eBay.

‘People have been coming into the cafe shouting that nothing happened at Stafford, that I am lying and there were no unnecessary deaths,’ she said last night.

‘I have been run out of town by small minded people, leaving my home, my livelihood and my friends because a few misinformed local political activists have fuelled a hate campaign based on lies.

'This is a classic case of shooting the messenger.’

She said the final straw was the ‘desecration of my mum’s grave’ that continued for six weeks.

The 50-year-old mother of two says her troubles began in 2009 when a Healthcare Commission report into the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS put the future of its casualty department under threat.

She became a hate figure after local party activist Rolfe Pearce posted a video on YouTube in which a man signing a Labour petition to save the unit expresses a hope that Miss Bailey would die.

The video, which provoked a torrent of hateful emails and telephone calls, was posted by Mr Pearce in a personal capacity and was later taken down.  The 49-year-old said the comments were tongue in in cheek.

Miss Bailey’s plight became worse when another Labour party activist claimed she had said at a public meeting: ‘Let’s shut the hospital, let’s sack all the staff’.  That demand, the activist, Diana Smith, said, was ‘met by loud cheers from her band of followers’.

This year the campaign against her took a sinister turn when the grave of Miss Bailey’s mother, Bella, who was 86 when she died at the hospital after ‘being dropped’ by a nurse, was vandalised.

This was followed by a postcard saying: ‘Thank you for closing Stafford hospital, Ha, Ha, Ha, you better now spend more time watching your mother’s grave.’

Last month, emergency call handler Roy Guest, 54, was sacked by West Midlands ambulance service after comments appeared online about a wish for Miss Bailey to suffer ‘a life-threatening illness’.

Miss Bailey said residents have been boycotting her café, reducing takings to as little as £40 a day.

She is moving out of her rented home in Stafford this weekend, initially to live in a static caravan at an undisclosed location.

She sold the café for £14,000 and now plans to devote more time to turning Cure the NHS into a national charity.

Miss Bailey told last month how damage had been caused to her mother’s grave over a six-week period.

Speaking at the time, she said: ‘The momentum seems to be growing when I go out onto the streets of Stafford. People come up to me and say “It’s not true, you were lying. You brought shame on the town and nobody died”.

‘It just drains the strength from you and you’re back grieving again. But the one thing I do say is, “Have you read any investigations? Did you go to the inquiry?’’’

Last night, Mrs Smith, who was a volunteer assistant to David Kidney, the former Labour MP for Stafford, stood by her blog post and accused Miss Bailey of forgetting what she had said at the public meeting in 2009.  She said: ‘I have notes of what Julie said and witnesses who also heard her comment.’

Mrs Smith, who is involved in the Support Stafford Hospital campaign which organised a march through the town attended by 30,000 people in April, said: ‘Barely anybody will have read that blog until its contents were picked up and disseminated by Cure the NHS members and supporters.’

Cheryl Porter, one of the founders of the Support Stafford Hospital campaign, insisted: ‘We have had absolutely nothing to do with any of the problems Julie Bailey has faced.

‘We condemn the abuse Julie Bailey has received – the desecration of her mother’s grave, the abusive emails and phone calls. But these incidents are nothing to do with us.  ‘We were set up as a campaign group fighting against night-time plans to close the accident and emergency department at the hospital, two years ago.

'We are thankful for what Julie and Cure the NHS have done in exposing what went on at the hospital.  But we are now one of the top 20 hospitals in the country for safety and Julie is part of the reason why.  ‘We simply want to secure the long-term future of acute services at Stafford. We all need to work together to achieve this.’

She said it was sad that Miss Bailey had felt compelled to leave her home town.

In February Sir Robert Francis QC published his final report into Mid Staffordshire which said the trust had put corporate self-interest ahead of patients.

The public inquiry cost £13million.


The British woman who accused a stranger she found on Facebook of rape - and how it ruined her victim's life

False rape allegations are rife in Britain

Given everything he has been through, one wonders how Philip McDonald can even bring himself to look at Facebook. True, he’s hyper-conscious about his security settings, but then, so would you be if you’d endured what he has over the past two years.

For Philip, a polite and quietly spoken 26-year-old father-of-one, was plucked out of the blue by a total stranger who spotted his picture on the social networking site and decided to falsely accuse him of rape.

In an act of inexplicable viciousness, 31-year-old fantasist Linsey Attridge chanced upon a photograph of Philip and his then 14-year-old brother James and used it to back up a story she’d concocted. She’d done it, apparently, in order to win some sympathy with her boyfriend, when she feared his affections were waning.

It led to Philip, a wholly innocent chef, being harassed in the street and shunned at the school gates. He is still fighting, two years later, to salvage his battered reputation.

Philip, speaking for the first time to the Mail, still struggles to articulate the true horror of what happened to him.

‘It’s frightening,’ he says. ‘We have no idea why she picked on us.’

It is Philip’s partner Kelly Fraser, 27, who describes their experience.

‘It was like our lives were a deck of cards and someone just threw the whole lot up in the air and that was our lives for two years,’ she says. ‘We have only just started to pick up the pieces now.’

It was only two weeks ago that Linsey, a single mother, appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, where she admitted a charge of wasting police time.  And her punishment for a callous deceit that besmirched the names of two innocent young men? A risible 200 hours of community service and a social services supervision order.

Neither she, nor the police, have apologised to Philip or James.

The story has led many to ask, quite rightfully, how this could have happened. ‘You couldn’t make it up,’ is the general summary.

Well, it appears you could — if you’re Linsey Attridge, that is.

Philip describes himself as an ordinary ‘family guy’. He has a six-year-old daughter Erin and another baby on the way, and has never been in trouble with the law.  In fact, he has even applied to join the police force twice because he ‘likes helping people’.

He manages a rueful smile as he looks at the photograph that started it all: a close-up of the two brothers, the younger boy’s arm slung companionably over Philip’s shoulder, both staring directly at the camera. Two years ago, it was his profile photograph — the first image people see when visiting his Facebook page.

‘It was taken at a party,’ he says. ‘It was a wedding thing at my mum’s neighbour’s house.’

He had no inkling — and who would — that one night in August 2011, Attridge, sitting at her laptop, barely a mile away on the outskirts of Aberdeen, would alight on that photograph, as she trawled Facebook, looking for faces to fit a story that was in its entirety a figment of her imagination.

She’d claimed two men had broken into the home she shared with her boyfriend Nick Smith while he was away playing football.

The men, she said, subjected her to a brutal attack — she even punched herself in the face and ripped her clothing to make her tale more credible.

When, a few days later, two plain clothes police officers walked into the city centre cafe where Philip worked, he assumed they wanted some breakfast.

‘Then they shouted: “Philip McDonald”, and I said: “Yeah, that’s me,” and they said: “It’s CID, we want to speak to you”,’ he recalls.

Philip, totally unaware that he was in any trouble, was unperturbed. It was only when the detectives said there was an investigation that also involved his brother and that they needed to go to the police station that he began to panic.

‘They told me stuff in the car about the allegation of rape. I was completely shocked and burst into tears.’

Unknown to Philip, his brother, a student at a residential school for teenagers with behavioural problems, had been taken in handcuffs from his mother’s home half an hour earlier.

He recalls how frightened he was during the five hours in which he was questioned, fingerprinted and swabbed for DNA.

‘My life is clear, I’ve had no dealings with the police whatsoever,’ he says. ‘I was just panicking, panicking .?.?.

‘It was when they mentioned that it was such-and-such a day that I calmed down. I told them I was putting my daughter to sleep at that time. I had an alibi. Kelly’s family were there and everyone vouched for me, saying: “He was putting his daughter to bed.”

‘They finally released me at about half past two in the afternoon and said: “We will get back in touch with you.”

Kelly, who was alerted to the brothers’ arrest by their mother, picks up the story.  ‘I just felt utterly sick when I heard what the allegation was. No one can know how that feels unless they have been there.

‘When something like that happens, your mind goes into overtime, you don’t know what to believe. He could have lost his job, his family.

‘It’s a good job I’ve been with Philip for so long and not just a few months. I just knew he wouldn’t have done that.’

Philip and Kelly, who met at school and started their family aged 18, wish they knew why a blonde-haired stranger they had never met — indeed they’ve still only seen her in photographs — dropped such a grenade into their lives.

It took two months for the fiction she had concocted to fall apart, during which time Linsey submitted herself to the rigours of forensic investigation — intimate physical examinations, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, the kind of scrutiny that women who have genuinely been raped endure because they want justice.

Throughout this process, Linsey sobbed, shook with fright and even made herself sick to hoodwink the female friend supporting her through her ‘ordeal’.

Out in the real world, Philip’s ordeal was much worse: ‘He got harassed in the street; even in the school grounds parents were looking him up and down,’ remembers Kelly. ‘It was just horrible. I’m sure people were looking at me thinking “What is she still doing with him?”?’

The whispering at the gates of their daughter’s school became so unbearable that they withdrew her, moving her to another school where the pupils and parents knew nothing of Philip’s arrest.

‘We could tell what people were thinking by the way they were looking at us,’ says Kelly.

‘That’s why we ended up putting her in another school. That was hard.’

‘Why would you do something like that? How many lives has she ruined? I wonder if she realises that it was a little girl’s life she ruined, too?’

They are not alone. In a different part of the city, kickboxing instructor Nick Smith, 32, gives a disbelieving shake of his head as he recalls how he was taken in by his ex-girlfriend Linsey, who spent more than a year living under his roof while he supported her and her daughter.

‘I look back and see so many things and think: “What an idiot”,’ he says.

‘The things she put me through, the things she put those guys through. They didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that. There are very few people she didn’t convince.’

Strangely, it was through Facebook that Nick first met Linsey, who grew up in Grangemouth, near Falkirk, with her mother Marion, a seamstress, and father Alexander, a window cleaner.

The family were Jehovah’s Witnesses and Nick wonders whether her strict religious upbringing shaped the woman Linsey became.

‘When she left the faith, she told me her family stopped speaking to her for a time, but that may not even be true. I’ve met them and they are all nice people.’

Linsey married financial advisor Gary Attridge in 2008 in a civil ceremony, with her sister Julie as bridesmaid. This was followed by a rainy honeymoon in Malta.

A daughter, Emily, swiftly followed. But by 2010, the marriage was on the rocks and she found Nick online, perhaps attracted by photographs of a good-looking, fit young man. She left Grangemouth and moved to be with Nick in Aberdeen.

By the summer of 2011, that relationship was also in pieces. Linsey, says Nick, had sex with a friend of his in his home, while he lay sleeping upstairs.

The couple separated after Linsey confessed, but Nick allowed Linsey and her daughter to stay in his home to give the child some stability. ‘We were two people living in a house for the sake of a young girl who needed stability. I had formed a strong bond with Emily, to the point where it was me she came to if she hurt herself. She even called me Daddy.’

It was against this backdrop that the fiction began. Linsey was desperate to save her relationship and pretended she’d been attacked, presumably to garner sympathy from Nick. Little of the saga was revealed in court, but the Mail has learned that Linsey heaped lie upon lie.

She didn’t immediately claim rape, first saying that she’d been attacked, and only embellishing her tale — to garner more sympathy perhaps — a few days later.

Next she claimed that Nick’s friends, transport manager Raymond Henderson and his wife Tanya, and their two daughters aged eight and six, who supported her through her apparent ordeal, were going to be targeted by the ‘bad men’.

There were reports, presumably generated by Linsey, that men matching the description of the ‘rapists’ had been seen near the Hendersons’ home and they were forced to move into a hotel, on police advice, for their safety for a week.

Meanwhile, it was a terrified Tanya Henderson who listened to Linsey as she sobbed. It was also Tanya who accompanied her to the subsequent medical examination.

‘They actually had to stop the medical a few times,’ says Tanya with disgust. ‘She felt faint, she went to be sick .?.?. the things she put herself through. We went and got a pregnancy test, tests for Hepatitis C, Aids. The woman deserves an Oscar, she was such a good actress.’

By the time the pack of lies fell apart in October 2011, all concerned had begun to suspect Linsey’s tale. But no one dared question the account of a woman who claimed she had been raped.

After all, as Tanya says: ‘Who makes that up?’

In the end, it was when Linsey again harmed herself and attempted to lay the blame at Nick’s door that the lies came crashing down. She could no longer sustain the fiction and the police were called.

Philip was back in the cafe, working, when the police came calling again.  ‘All they said was: “You’re in the clear.” No apology. Nothing.’

Philip and Kelly are not the only ones left reeling by the web of deceit Linsey Attridge wove around their lives.

Linsey’s former friends Tanya and Ray are still understandably furious at how they were taken in. ‘I was livid and just talking about it now, I feel angry at the pain she has caused, at what she has done to my family, to Nick, to two guys. So many lives have been affected,’ says Ray.

‘Those poor guys were innocent, and they will have to live with the stigma that she attached to them for the rest of their lives,’ adds Tanya.

And what, you might ask, of Linsey Attridge?  The young mother is back living in Grangemouth, 130 miles south of the scene of her deceit.  A man answered the door when the Mail visited her flat and insisted she would not be commenting.

Meanwhile, her mother Marion Black, on her way to collect Linsey’s daughter from nursery school, said: ‘There are two sides to every story and it is not true, what has been written. Linsey has been very upset, this has been a humiliation for her.’

In their modest flat back in Aberdeen, where they are doing their very best to look after their daughter and prepare for a new baby, Philip McDonald and Kelly Fraser are remarkably composed considering all they have been through.

‘I think it actually made us stronger, believe it or not,’ says Kelly.  ‘We had to be strong for Erin. We have to get on with our lives. But talking like this is something Philip needed to do, he needed to get this off his chest, so that people know he and James are innocent.’

Philip, not a man who angers easily, is resigned to the fact that the apology he would like will probably never come. 

‘People like that should be locked up and taught to respect other people and their families,’ he says.  ‘Why is she allowed to walk away? If she’s done this to me and my brother, how many other people are there that she’s made up lies about?’



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


27 June, 2013

The love of a Daddy's Girl

The poor woman.  I feel so sorry for her.  But she is the winner in the end.  She obviously had a very close relationship with her father and feels he is still with her.  Try to tell her that fathers don't matter to daughters!

A Michigan wedding photographer has captured the heart-wrenching moment a bride who recently lost the father she adored falls to her knees next to his gravestone on her way to the altar.

Unable to have her dad walk her down the aisle at her June 7 wedding, Paige Eding, 23, requested to make a stop at the cemetery where her father Mark Winia was buried about 18 months ago after he passed away from a severe lung infection aged just 45.

Eding, dressed in her beautiful white gown, was so overcome with emotion standing by her father's grave, she crumbled to the floor - and photographer Kari Wieringa was there to capture the impassioned moment.

Wieringa shared the picture on the Facebook page of her company Zander & Breck Photography a week after the wedding, with Eding's permission, and the image has since gone viral, garnering more than 718,000 likes and being shared on websites like Reddit.

Under the photograph, Wieringa wrote: 'I had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful wedding last weekend. Before any photos were to begin she wanted to make a stop to the cemetery to visit her dad who had recently passed away.

'I'm not much of a crier for those of you who know me, but when she hit her knees, tears streamed down my face. What a beautiful thing to incorporate in her day.'

Eding's entire family was rocked when Winia, a father of four daughters, died unexpectedly in December 2011.

The chef, who coached the Zeeland East High School girls' soccer team, wasn't feeling well one Monday but he still made it to practice.

The next day, though, his illness worsened and he was rushed to Zeeland Community Hospital, then to Spectrum Health's Blodgett campus. There he died on December 14 of what was described as 'a severe pulmonary virus' - essentially a fierce lung infection.

A Facebook page dedicated to his memory paints a clear picture of the love his family, friends and soccer girls - but particularly his four daughters - felt for the man whose life was tragically cut short.

Eding and her three younger siblings, who are from a different relationship, regularly write about their grief for their father on the page.

On December 1, 2012, the 23-year-old wrote: 'Wow Dad. Today I lost it. All day (I) couldn't help thinking about you, every second. And I could not help the steady stream of tears down my cheek. I miss you so much and it hurts like it was just yesterday. Thank goodness for Kevin, and knowing exactly how to comfort and help me. We love and miss you terribly.'

While on April 10, she said in a post: 'Sometimes I have these dreams that things went differently and you are still here with us. Nothing has changed and you are so warm and so real. These dreams I could swear they are real I can almost feel he emotion of them. Then I wake up to reality. I miss you so much dad. It's days like these when I know you will be comforting me because today I'm so broken. Love you.'

Ahead of the wedding on June 7, Eding's mother Robin Leigh Bartz took to the memorial page.  'Today is the day Mark, I will proudly give our daughter away knowing Kevin is a great man, and Paige is an amazing woman, i know you will be there watching, Heather will proudly stand on your behalf,' she wrote. 'Much love, Robin.'

Wieringa's wonderful photograph encapsulates the love Eding felt for her father.  'I wanted it captured,' Eding told The Huffington Post of her trip to Winia's grave that day. 'I wanted to have that lasting memory.'

When they approached the grave, a group of family members who accompanied her hung back, leaving Eding to be alone with her dad.

'It all seemed pretty normal, she looked fine, and so we're standing there and I'm ready to take pictures, and she just fell,' Wieringa said.

Eding added: 'It was a moment of longing and wishing for him. I was so sad that he wasn't there physically ... but I was also joyous. ... Through my family, he still lives inside of each one of us.'

She said the photograph, which some online commentators have labelled 'tacky,' wasn't staged but came from the heart.  'I didn't even know she had the camera to her face,' she told the website. 'Everyone else didn't exist.'

According to Eding, her father would have approved of her new husband, Kevin, and the man has helped her cope with the loss of her dad. When it came to walking down the aisle, Eding's grandfather stepped in to take Winia's place.

Another stunning image Wieringa captured at the wedding was the newlyweds locked in a celebratory kiss.

'I've got my dad and my new husband. If she only took those two photos, I would be happy in life,' Eding said. 'Kevin and my dad, they're so alike. When's the sun's not shining they'll be your sun. It's a quality that I love to remember in my dad and that I'm so lucky to have in my husband.'


Why these squalid cover-ups in Britain? Because no politician dare admit the terrible truth about the NHS

By Melanie Phillips

So now, having had the inquiry into the inquiry that suppressed facts about the failure of the original inquiry, there is to be a further inquiry into the bullying of the woman who tried to blow the whistle on the uselessness — and worse — of the inquirers.

Really, the saga of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has progressed from tragedy through scandal to farce, and has now plumbed astonishing new depths of moral and political squalor.

For at the weekend, after the revelations of the cover-up over deaths from negligence at Morecambe Bay hospitals, we learned just what happened to Kay Sheldon, a non-executive director at the CQC, when she tried to bring to light failings at the regulator which were putting patients’ lives at risk.

And now we also know — just as had been suspected from the start — that the culture of bullying, intimidation and lies in the NHS reached to the very top.

When Ms Sheldon tried to air her concerns that the CQC wasn’t up to the task of uncovering bad practice in hospitals and care homes, her messages to chief executive Cynthia Bower and other board members were not answered, or were stonewalled.

In despair, Ms Sheldon decided to speak out at the public inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire Trust, where 1,200 patients had died needlessly through the incompetence and negligence of the staff.

As a result, the CQC’s chairman, Dame Jo Williams, wrote to then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley asking him to sack her.

Worse still, Ms Sheldon discovered that Dame Jo had commissioned a psychiatric report on her without her permission and that she was described — wholly falsely — as a paranoid schizophrenic.

It was, of course, the old Soviet Union which was given to silencing its critics by certifying them as insane.  The CQC seemed to be run by Stalin on steroids.

But this ruthless approach to dissent went all the way up to the Cabinet. At the weekend, it was revealed that after receiving a CQC report on Ms Sheldon’s Mid Staffs evidence, Andrew Lansley told her he was considering her dismissal.

How shocking that this supposed guardian of the public interest seemed not to have wondered whether Ms Sheldon might be correct and that patients were indeed at risk. Instead, he cavalierly assumed that the very body about which she was complaining must be in the clear.

Further revelations about this cover-up culture in the National Health Service are now coming thick and fast. A former CQC inspector, Amanda Pollard, has claimed she wrote two letters to Ms Bower expressing safety concerns — but was ignored.

Roger Davidson lost his job as the CQC’s head of media and public affairs just before the 2010 General Election after revealing that one quarter of NHS trusts had failed to meet basic hygiene standards.  He was forced to sign a gagging order when he left and was told the CQC was ‘railing against’ his action to ‘highlight issues’.

Sir David Nicholson, the outgoing chief executive of the NHS, who was in charge of Mid Staffs when the scandal began to break, is reported to have spent £2 million on severance packages including gagging orders for 50 staff — which bought their silence about mismanagement.

Now the Labour Party has been dragged into the scandal, too, with claims that the CQC came under pressure from Labour ministers to tone down any criticisms in the run-up to the 2010 election.

The former Labour Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has denied that he leaned on the CQC to sanitise its criticisms of Morecambe Bay hospitals.

But the then health secretary and now Labour's shadow health spokesman, told the health care regulator in November 2009 that its role was to 'restore public confidence in the NHS'.

And in her own evidence on Mid Staffs, the former CQC chairman Baroness Young said that health ministers — including Mr Burnham — had put the regulator under ‘pressure’ to ‘tone down’ its criticism of hospitals around that period.

This whole disaster goes back to the Gordon Brown government, which merged three failing NHS watchdogs to create the CQC in the teeth of warnings that this was asking for trouble.

The ensuing debacle was not just the result of a botched merger: it reflects an NHS culture which is profoundly, systemically and almost certainly irredeemably rotten.

At the very root lies an appalling litany of serial incompetence, indifference and even cruelty by front-line staff. Let us not forget the dreadful events themselves in Morecambe Bay hospitals, where at least 16 babies and two mothers are estimated to have died through neglect.

And in Mid Staffs, neglect and cruelty reached such a pitch that patients drank from flower vases to relieve their thirst.

Now, 14 more hospitals are being investigated for unusually high death rates. And we know from example after sickening example that too many elderly patients are treated all too frequently with a callousness that defies belief.

While thousands of NHS staff are highly professional and dedicated, far too many have simply lost the ethic of caring.

And these failings are not being addressed; because what rules in the NHS, from top to bottom, is a culture of ruthless unaccountability in which the buck stops nowhere. 

Kay Sheldon refused to be intimidated. For her heroic stand, she deserves a medal.

But the CQC cannot now be put right because the NHS cannot be put right.

For the root of this moral and professional corruption is that the entire bureaucracy of the NHS — up through the Secretary of State to the Prime Minister himself — conspires to tell the public the big lie that the NHS remains a national treasure because no other system matches it for decency and compassion.

In fact, the opposite is true. And until that fact is honestly faced and its consequences translated into a radical rethink of healthcare delivery, the horror voiced in official circles at Morecambe Bay, Mid Staffs and the rest will be no more than crocodile tears.


British government parenting advice is 'corrosive and harmful', report finds

Official Government advice telling people how to bring young children up should be torn up because it is “corrosive and harmful” and can damage family life, a new academic report argues.

The so-called “positive parenting” approach which involves avoiding punishment or even criticism while constantly accentuating the positive can do more harm than good and simply “sets parents up to fail”, it concludes.

In the study, published in the journal Ethics and Education, Helen Reece, an expert in family law at the London School of Economics, argues that the official obsession with being “nice” to children all of the time is “arduous, if not impossible” and can simply destroy the spontaneity of the parent-child relationship.

She argues that in extreme cases it has led to parents involved in contact or care cases being judged against an impossible standard and then unfairly marked down by social workers and even judges with major consequences for the rest of their lives.

In particular she takes aim at the official handbooks published by the Department of Health and given to parents of newborn babies, known as “Birth to Five” which combines practical advice on matters such as feeding with more subjective pronouncements about how to speak to children.

Under the heading “Be positive about the good things”, the guide advises new parents that even if their children’s undisciplined behaviour comes to “dominate everything” they must react by talking about something “good” and encourage children to “be themselves”.

It adds: “Move on to other things that you can both enjoy or feel good about and look for other ways of coping with your feelings.”

In the paper Ms Reece explains: “Arguably more than any other child-rearing resource, it represents the accumulation of official, mainstream, advice about how to discipline children: published by a government department, production and distribution costs are funded publicly. Given the contemporary proliferation of widely divergent childcare advice – an era in which we can choose to be a ‘tiger mother’, an ‘attachment parent’ or the mother of a ‘contented little baby’, as advised by Gina Ford, I am interested in exploring advice that comes with a clear and overt official stamp.”

Examining the advice line by line she concludes: “Positive parenting is hard if not impossible work, setting parents up to fail.

“Another persuasive objection is a concern with how parenting positively may destroy the spontaneity of parent–child interactions: ‘I’m praising my child – check; I’ve got a positive tone of voice – check; I’ve adopted appropriate body language – check.’

“The nub of this point is that it is impossible to tell somebody how to be nice, because the very essence of being nice is that it cannot be forced: coerced kindness is a contradiction.”

She adds: “Its serious consequence is that any shortfall in a child’s behaviour can always be explained by the fact that the parent’s treatment of the child was not positive enough.”

Ms Reece called for the Government to remove advice on such issues from official guidelines while still giving parents important information on matters such as a safe temperature for a baby or nutrition.

“I think to be told how to relate to your child is really corrosive and harmful,” she said.

Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister, said: "We want to do everything we can to support parents in giving their child the very best start in life.

"A new child is a wonderful experience but it can be daunting, especially for first-time parents.

“It is therefore important that all those who care for children have access to the most up to date information and advice.

"The new NHS Information Service for Parents - launched just last year - provides expert, trusted advice for both mothers and fathers and it has proved extremely popular.

"Over 160,000 parents have signed up so far and the feedback we receive is excellent.”

Dr Ellie Lee, director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies at Kent University: “The view has become prevalent that bringing up children is far too difficult and too important to be left to mere parents. The main beneficiaries of this have been so-called ‘parenting experts’.

“There is no evidence, however, to suggest Britain’s parents have gained anything from being told that professionals have the answers.

“This article makes some very important points about the dangers of making policies about how to raise children and I hope some politicians will listen to what she is telling them.”


New drive to bring in marriage tax breaks: British PM faces fresh revolt by backbench MPs to enshrine pledge in law

David Cameron is facing a fresh backbench revolt as Tory MPs launched a bid to force him to introduce tax breaks for married couples.

Former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton yesterday introduced plans to enshrine Tory pledges to recognise marriage in the tax system in law.

He said it is ‘long overdue’ that David Cameron made good his pledge to introduce marriage tax breaks and urged the Prime Minister to ‘put our money where his mouth is’.

Mr Loughton said the government needs to act because the measure will support stay-at-home mothers, who have been penalised by other coalition tax moves like child benefit cuts.

The Prime Minister has pledged that a tax break for married couples will be introduced by 2015 and the measure was written into both the last Tory election manifesto and the coalition agreement.

But Tory MPs are concerned that Mr Osborne has been dragging his feet and they want the measure put into law now to convince voters that the measure is ‘not just an afterthought’.

Dozens of Tory MPs are expected to back an amendment to the Chancellor’s Finance Bill, tabled by Mr Loughton yesterday, to force George Osborne’s hand. Mr Loughton said: ‘The Prime Minister has reiterated his huge enthusiasm for marriage.

‘It is long overdue for him to put our money where his mouth is and honour the longstanding Conservative pledge to restore a transferable married couple’s tax allowance and send out a clear message that we value marriage and family socially and financially.

‘There are many hardworking married families or in civil partnerships where one of the parents is working hard at bringing up children in the home. Yet almost uniquely amongst Western economies they receive no recognition in the tax system and many have been big losers from changes to child benefits and other allowances.

'More than 3 years on from our manifesto commitment, it appears no nearer and the patience of many hardworking home based parents is being severely stretched.

‘It is vital that we do not discriminate against those parents who often sacrifice their own careers for the good of their children.’

Under the plan introduced yesterday, transferable tax allowances would be introduced for all married couples - and those in civil partnerships - with at least one child under the age of five living at home.

The tax breaks would be introduced in 2015, giving Mr Osborne time to find the money to pay for the measure.

Under plans previously endorsed by Mr Cameron any member of an eligible couple would be allowed to transfer £750 of their tax-free personal allowance to their partner, reducing their partner’s tax bill. This would be worth £150 a year to basic-rate taxpayers.

But Mr Loughton’s amendment will let the Chancellor set the level of the allowance in future and could change the number of couples who qualify.

That move is designed to maximise the support of MPs who want the principle of married couples tax allowances enshrined in law but who don’t want to force Mr Osborne to spend money the government doesn’t have.

The amendment has the backing of Andrea Leadsom, a leading light in the 2010 intake of Tory MPs.

The campaign group Mothers at Home Matter also endorsed the plan. Spokesman Laura Perrins said: ‘This is a very welcome move to lessen the financial penalties targeted at families who care for their children themselves.

'It is first step to recognising caring duties in the tax system but more needs to be done to lessen the discrimination against them.’

It is highly unusual to seek to amend the government’s Finance Bill, which enshrines Budget tax changes in law. But a large number of MPs are expected to vote for the measure when it is considered at the report stage of the Bill.

With both Labour and the Lib Dems expected to oppose the measure it has little chance of passing.

But Mr Loughton said he expects considerable support from Tory backbenchers, something that could embarrass Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne.

He said: ‘Time is running out to make good on our very clear commitment and the Report Stage of the Finance Bill presents one of the last opportunities to put this important measure on the statute book before the next election.

‘My amendment gives the Chancellor maximum flexibility to do this and I hope he will seize this late opportunity.’

It is the second time that backbenchers have sought to force Mr Cameron to enshrine his pledges in law after the Prime Minister was recently forced to back a Private Members Bill to guarantee an in-out referendum on Europe.

A Treasury spokesman said: ‘The commitment is very clear. We will introduce some form of recognition in the tax and benefits system in this Parliament at the appropriate time.’



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


26 June, 2013

More multiculturalism in Britain:  Unlicensed Algerian cab driver is jailed for rape

An unlicensed taxi driver was jailed for raping a passenger in his car nearly one decade after being cleared of an almost identical attack.  Mohamed Hacene-Chaouch, 46, of Catford, south-east London, took advantage of the drunken 24-year-old woman after she spent a night out in Soho, central London.

The victim had been at a birthday party with friends and was so intoxicated that licensed black cabs had refused to take her home.

By the time the Algerian married father-of-five  picked her up on Tottenham Court Road, she was slipping in and out of consciousness.

Hacene-Chaouch, who was unlicensed and had convictions for touting, drove to her home in Hackney, east London, before the attack. He admitted picking the victim up but claimed no sexual activity could have taken place because he was only parked up for a minute. However, CCTV cameras proved he was lying.

Hacene-Chaouch was convicted of rape following a trial at the Old Bailey, before being jailed for seven years and three months today.

Jurors were not told Hacene-Chaouch had been acquitted of an almost identical attack in the Tottenham Court Road area in 2004.

Sentencing, Judge Wendy Joseph QC told him: ‘It must have been clear to you that she was helplessly and hopelessly drunk. ‘She told you she was so drunk no black cab would take her. It is clear she could hardly stand and was barely able to walk.

'You had positioned yourself where such people as her were found and you knew well that such touting was against the law. I am quite satisfied there was an element of predatory behaviour.

‘She trusted you to take her safely home. She was clearly vulnerable, obviously helpless and in your power. After that attack she suffered panic attacks and had great difficulty in sleeping.

‘She has found it impossible to form any new relationship with a man. She is a straightforward, sensible and practical young woman.

‘She holds out some hope for the future but recognises it will take a long time to get over what happened to her. You refuse to accept the wrong you have done. I have never heard the least scintilla of remorse.’

Before being led down to the cells, Hacene-Chaouch gestured to his wife in the public gallery and said: ‘I am innocent. I never touched her’.

He was convicted of touting for hire on several occasions between 2004 and July 2012. On January 27 this year he was waiting at the junction of Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road.

The woman had been out for a meal to celebrate a friend’s birthday before joining others at a bar.  She became separated from her friends and was trying to get a cab home when she bumped in Hacene-Chaouch.

She said: ‘I remember having the overwhelming feeling of being alone. I remember being in the car, in the back seat, and going in and out of consciousness. It’s very blurry but I think I got sick in the car and he was upset.’

Hacene-Chaouch stopped at a garage so she could withdraw £25 for the fare before parking up near her home. He then groped her between her legs before forcing her to perform a sex act on him.

She told her flatmate the following morning and the attack was reported to the police. The driver was traced through CCTV from the garage and from the street outside the victim’s flat.

Hacene-Chaouch denied oral rape but was convicted. He was also alleged to have stolen her mobile phone and camera, but a separate theft charge was withdrawn by prosecutors during the trial.

He was banned from operating as a taxi driver for ten years and ordered to pay a £120 surcharge. Hacene-Chaouch will also have to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life.


A defence of the British social class system

Unlike Alan Milburn, I like the games of class and status because they give point, style and texture to existence

There is something sordid about SM. Its advocates indulge themselves in smutty special pleading to justify their peculiar tastes. I refer not, of course, to sado-masochism, but to that other contemporary vice: social mobility. Or, at least, to fussing about it.

Alan Milburn, a Blair health secretary, is now fussing on behalf of the Government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. Two thirds of correspondents in its latest survey complained that progress in Britain depends on who, rather than what, you know. (Opinion was split, however, on whether their own background had been influential.)

Any advanced culture has class systems: methods of attributing merit to individuals. Once, that merit was determined by how much of Sussex you owned (something which had earlier been determined by how murderously you roughed-up your neighbours).

Britain’s class system was well-established by Chaucer’s day, with its nice hierarchy of yeoman, esquire and “gentilman”. This last category, still with us, was then enhanced by a mobile immigrant. This was an idea: the “gentiluomo” of Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier, which established an enduring conception of elegance and manners.

Socially, anyone can mobilise to become a gentleman. It’s a matter of talent and desire more than contacts or inheritance. True, education creates the opportunity. Education is capital, a priceless source of immaterial wealth. That’s the point of getting one. Redbrick powered my own record-breaking lap times in the mobility race.

The problem is different: all too often the social mobility argument is not about enhancing opportunity, but inhibiting the exceptional. Exceptionality worries the SM lobby. We have seen this before. Procrustes insisted on making everyone fit his standardised iron bed, using amputation if necessary. Then there is Kurt Vonnegut, whose 1961 short story Harrison Bergeron is set in 2081, and has a Handicapper General whose job is to put masks on beautiful people, attach weights to the athletic and make the intelligent listen to nasty sounds on headsets to impair their superior thinking.

The SM argument is founded in fear and doubt, not good materials for any foundation. Yes, our class system presents many obstacles – but the mobile negotiate them, while the stationary stare dolefully at what stands in their way. If it is true that David Cameron has never spoken to Commissioner Milburn about his role, it may not be because Eton and Stokesley Comprehensive have their cultural differences, but because PM finds AM dull.

Of course things are determined by who you know. Life is a performance, not solitary confinement. But why should this surprise us? Genius might be cultivated in solitude, but its exercise requires a public audience. The same goes for charm and wit. You cannot be charming and witty alone in a room.

As for wealth, I do not know any rich kid who would not have been better off if his banker’s card had been taken away at birth. And while the present cabinet has a lot of sumptuous Etonian bottoms, the school’s pupils have been less mobile in sport, architecture, literature, science, technology and pole-dancing. So c’mon, fusspots.

I like the games of class and status because they give point, style and texture to existence. But if we are to be socially mobile, I want a two-way street. As de Tocqueville knew, a healthy culture can be judged by whether people hope to rise or fear to fall. I want a bit of each. Perhaps more of the latter, since fear is so inspiring. “I’m sorry, Mr Milburn,” I imagine the BA hostess saying. “I know you’re Handicapper General, and you’ve had a government handout for a first-class ticket, but we don’t think you’re suitable.” Down you go. That’s the promise of real social mobility.


DOD Produces Special Poster for Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay Pride

On Tuesday, June 25, the U.S. Defense Department will give special recognition to "gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers"--as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civilian workers--for their "dedicated service to our country."

And this year, "Pride Month" at the Defense Department comes with a poster:

The red, white and blue poster -- designed for the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute located at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida -- includes the followiong quotation from President Barack Obama:

"For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America's promise to all our citizens. Armed Forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans."

OutServe-SLDN, an advocacy group for LGBT military personnel, called it "appropriate and gratifying" that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is following the precedent set in 2012 when then-Secretary Leon Panetta hosted the Pentagon's first LGBT Pride Month.

But the group isn't happy that the DOD memorandum announcing Tuesday's Pride event for gays, lesbians and bisexuals did not mention transgenders in uniform:

"While acknowledging transgender civilian DOD employees, the memorandum notably omits any mention of the contributions of transgender people in uniform -– presumably because transgender people remain barred from service by outdated and obsolete medical regulations.

“Transgender people have served this nation with pride, honor, and distinction –- and continue to do so in the hundreds, if not thousands. It’s past time to honor them for their service and sacrifice, and past time to end the discredited and obsolete practice of forcing them to serve in silence and fear,” said Army veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson in a news release issued earlier this month.

LGBT Pride Month is celebrated each June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City that erupted after a police raid on a gay bar.

Tomorrow, the Defense Department will celebrate the December 22, 2010 repeal of the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Homosexuals have been allowed to openly serve in the U.S. military since September 20, 2011.


German Left Attacking critics of Islam

National parliamentarians from Die Linke, Germany's post-communist Left Party, recently presented the federal German government with a Minor Inquiry (Kleine Anfrage or KA) concerning the government's policy towards the conservative German website Politically Incorrect (PI).  This is only the latest effort by left-wing multiculturalists to quash open discussion, and criticism on Islam by designating the discourse "anti-democratic"and "right-wing extremist."

As the online rules of order for the German parliament or Bundestag explain, the KA in Section 104 allows the Bundestag's president to receive questions for the federal government about "certain delineated areas." Normally the president calls upon the government to answer the questions in writing within 14 days, although agreement with the KA authors can extend this time limit. 

As the German-language KA Wikipedia entry explains, this procedure serves as a means of parliamentary control over the government by calling upon it to give account of a given state of affairs.

Die Linke's May 13, 2013, KA (document 17/13573, available in PDF format here) notes that "Islam-hostile internet portals" like PI with its "tens of thousands of visitors daily" and parties such as the Freedom Party (Die Freiheit) and Germany's Pro movement (Pro NRW/Pro Deutschland) "warn against a supposed ‘Islamization of Europe.'"  In PI reader comments, meanwhile, Muslims "are collectively humiliated and denigrated in a racist, xenophobic, insulting, hate-filled, and at times violence-glorifying manner."

Referenced by the KA and previously reported by this author (see here and here), PI and Die Freiheit, with common members such as Michael Stürzenberger, have conducted a petition drive for a referendum to stop a proposed Center for Islam in Europe-Munich (Zentrum für Islams in Europa-München or ZIE-M). 

The KA references a story from the Munich-based German national newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung discussing how Stürzenberger commonly compares the Koran with Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf and Die Freiheit rallies have featured signs stating "Christ is truth, Muhammad is a lie." Previously reported by this author as well (see here and here), the KA also notes that the Bavarian Office of Constitutional Protection (Verfassungsschutz) has recently begun monitoring Bavarian chapters of PI/Die Freiheit due to "anti-constitutional" sentiments.

A previous August 18, 2011, Die Linke KA (17/6823)  had also dealt with PI/Die Freiheit in the wake of the July 22, 2011, massacre perpetrated in Norway by Anders Behring Brevik.  This earlier KA bemoaned in Germany an "increasing hostility to Islam precisely among high earners and people with high levels of education." In this context "populist and xenophobic campaigns against ‘Islam'" appeared to the "extreme right in Europe" as a "recipe for success for their propaganda" and an "entrance ticket into the political middle." Die Freiheit was one of several attempts to found "anti-Islam parties" while PI had become a "central forum of Islam haters in the German-speaking area."

Yet in citing an article from Berlin's leftwing Tageszeitung (taz), the 2011 KA noted that the federal Verfassungsschutz had not deemed PI's outlook as anti-constitutional given PI's self-professed "pro-Israeli, pro-American" character.  The article noted additionally PI's "emphatic profession of loyalty to the Grundgesetz," Germany's Basic Law or constitution.

The government's answer on September 5, 2011, (17/6910) to the various questions concerning matters such as membership and statements of PI/Die Freiheit and other groups in the 2011 KA continued this analysis. With respect to Die Freiheit, there were "not sufficient indications" to classify Die Freiheit as "rightwing extremist." The "overwhelming majority of PI entries," meanwhile, "made no use of classical rightwing extremist argumentation patterns, but rather was to be situated within the Islam-critical spectrum."

While some PI contributions had "anti-Muslim or in parts even racist content," these were "practically exclusively" in the comments section and were "even there the exception." Thus a "rightwing extremist effort (still) did not allow itself to be discerned" at PI.

Not to be deterred, Die Linke responded on October 31, 2011, with yet another KA (17/7569) about "anti-Muslim agitation" citing several sources such as newspapers warning against PI, Die Freiheit, and other groups.  In this KA, Die Linke indicated that it was not so much interested in a "secret service surveillance of the Islam- and Muslim-hostile scene" by the federal Verfassungschutz as a "societal ostracism of this body of thought just like every other form of racism and anti-Semitism."

Among other questions, Die Linke wanted to know what connections PI had to "religious groupings from the evangelical, dogmatic-Catholic, and old Catholic milieus." The government's response (17/7761) on November 17, 2011, however, reiterated the position taken in 17/6910 and noted that "individual statements" did not suffice to define an entity as "extremist" but rather demanded an "overall observation."

In 17/13573 Die Linke repeated many of its previous questions and inquired whether the federal government still maintains its previous outlook in light of recent Bavarian decisions.  This is the latest Die Linke salvo in an ongoing campaign to bring about a self-proclaimed political "ostracism" of PI/Die Freiheit and other groups. 

Yet the irony was not lost on Stürzenberger, who pointed out to PI that Die Linke, with much of its roots in East Germany's Communist Party, is itself an object of federal Verfassungsschutz surveillance.

The future of a free and open discussion of Islam in Germany seems perilous with the likes of Die Linke, a totalitarian-legacy group, continually demonstrating its propensity to use the German federal government as a tool of intimidation against Islam's critiques.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


25 June, 2013

The sinister reason they're robbing the Guides of God

If this country still had any spirit, tens of thousands of families would this weekend be resigning from the Girl Guides  (or ‘Girlguiding’ as it is now modishly known) and setting up a pro-British, pro-Christian breakaway.

An important youth movement, in which young minds are formed, has been taken over by radical revolutionaries, who plan to cut references to nation and God from the Guide ‘promise’ – a pledge they themselves describe as the organisation’s ‘beating heart’.

They know what they are doing. The same people long ago captured the schools and universities, which are now factories of Left-wing conformism. Now they want the youth movements as well.

But there will be no revolt. This is partly because the New Left are masters of a technique known as ‘salami-slicing’, by which they slowly change the country into somewhere else.

Each individual action is so thin a slice that only a few people will mind, and most will jeer at them for caring. ‘Moral panic!’ they will squawk.

But once enough of these slices have been taken, it is clear that a deep and lasting change has happened. By then it will be too late. People will quickly forget that Girl Guides were ever Christian or patriotic. And the pledge to honour the Queen – which has been kept for now – will go later.

As one of nature’s stroppy non-joiners, I’ve never been a Boy Scout. For me, the joys of the outdoors are overrated.

But I can’t help noticing that youth movements have been hugely important in the political struggles of our age. The Russian Communists and the German National Socialists both banned the Scouts and Guides.

And both Hitler Youth and Communist Pioneers had one thing very much in common – recruits were urged and even ordered to attack the Church. Pioneers jeered at priests in the street and even campaigned against Christmas trees.

Hitler Youths (whose meetings were held at the same time as church services) spied on priests and denounced them for the slightest criticism of the regime.

Hitler knew well what he was up to. To those many German adults who refused to follow him, he sneered: "When an opponent declares “I will not come over to your side”, I say calmly, “Your child belongs to us already ..... what are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community”.’

Or, as the brainwashed Hitler Youth sings in the film Cabaret, ‘tomorrow belongs to me’.

Parents who struggle to bring up children to love God and country know already how true this is, how their young come home from school stuffed with politically correct equality and diversity rubbish and ignorant of our history and tradition. Now the same process will affect the Guides.

Why should this happen? For those who think the Scouts and Guides are too patriotic or too religious, a Left-wing scout movement, the Woodcraft Folk, has long been available. I rather admire them for their independent-minded guts.

Long may the Woodcraft Folk flourish in our free, Christian country, but why should the Girl Guides copy them, and introduce this sickly little pledge of selfishness and squidgy loyalty to their ‘community’?

You’ll have to ask those who appointed Julia Bentley as the organisation’s chief executive. Ms Bentley is a zealous sexual liberationist, condom outreach worker, Blairite commissar and abortion apologist, so what did they expect?

But who, apart from her, actually wants this change? A few months after she was appointed, the Guides sent out a ‘Consultation’ questionnaire. Questions 7, 8 9 and 10 are all about the wording of the promise. I asked, and asked and asked ‘Girlguiding’ to give me figures on how respondents actually answered these questions. They flatly refused to tell me. Draw your own conclusions.


Homosexual violence blamed on conservatives

Events at Tel Aviv’s Barnoar social club for gay youth:

The barest facts are not in dispute: A masked individual entered the youth center the night of August 1, 2009 and started shooting, killing two (a 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl), injuring 11 others, then escaping into the night.

“Having insisted for decades that homosexuals are ‘just like everyone else,’ few gay activists in Israel or abroad seem prepared to admit that those ‘everyones’ are bound to include sinners as well as saints.”
The reaction offers a glimpse into the Tel Aviv psyche. Whereas the average foreign observer, Jew or gentile, might automatically guess that the killer was yet another Muslim terrorist, Tel Aviv’s intelligentsia immediately pointed the finger at the Jewish religious right.

After all, liberal secular Jews pointed out, hadn’t Haredi Yishai Schlissel stabbed three marchers during the 2005 Pride Parade in Jerusalem?

And what about equal-opportunity hater Jack Tytell, who, among many other things, once distributed instructions for building “your very own Molotov cocktail,” which he nicknamed the “Schlissel Special”?

Such homophobic ignorance was practically to be expected from those backward (and badly dressed) religious barbarians in Jerusalem—but Tel Aviv? The Barnoar massacre literally hit Israel’s elite where they lived.

Labour and Likud quickly issued official expressions of outrage so laden with the mandatory therapeutic jargon about “tolerance” and “homophobia” that their statements were virtually indistinguishable—a rare (and revealing) display of political unity.

Candlelight vigils popped up across the city, then around the world, culminating in a 20,000-strong rally in Tel Aviv a week after the shooting. A bipartisan array of Knesset members was conspicuously present, including President Shimon Peres himself.

And then…nothing.

That is, until last week, when—just before the annual Tel Aviv Pride Parade—police announced they’d finally arrested four people in connection with the lukewarm case.

One of those detained was Shaul Ganon, Barnoar’s high-profile and very homosexual founder.

Huh?  I struggled to piece together a sensible narrative out of vague, often contradictory English-language versions of Israeli news stories that were written under the constraints of a judge’s short-lived gag order. Eventually, a sordid soap opera emerged out of a “lost in translation” fog:

According to some gay jailhouse snitch, another gay guy—Ganon, it emerged—had molested some underage male who’d been hanging around the center. The victim told some lowlife family member, who got another lowlife to shoot up Barnoar in revenge.

Everyone arrested has since been named publicly, and they’re denying pretty much everything. Ganon first proclaimed his innocence, then admitted to “having sexual contact” with an underage boy—not the boy at the center of the revenge plot, however (who now denies Ganon ever touched him), but with a gay state’s witness whose latter-day jailhouse confession broke the case open.

And a “transgender woman” has just come forward to accuse Ganon of raping her ten years ago when she was still a he.

The only constant throughout this weird saga has been the liberal elite’s unshakable belief that the Barnoar massacre was a homophobic “hate crime,” an overt political act rather than, as now seems apparent, the culmination of a highly personal, almost feudal feud.

Never mind that two of those allegedly involved are gay men themselves, one a well-known hero in the “community.” Those facts don’t fit their well-practiced victimhood narrative, so Israel’s professional left keeps insisting those facts must be wrong.

A common refrain is that acts of revenge target specific individuals, not random strangers who happen to be in the right place at the wrong time. (Have these amateur criminologists ever heard of Sharon Tate, who was innocently subletting that Cielo Drive house from Charles Manson’s real target?)

Their desperation is palpable, and why not? If Ganon really did have sex with a minor at Barnoar, then “right wing” condemnations of a sinister, pedophiliac gay “agenda” will be impossible to dismiss any longer as mere hysteria.

Israel’s gay activists and their straight allies can’t accept that the tragedy they’d lovingly fashioned into a valuable souvenir of their own immaculate victimhood may have been just a sleazy “rape revenge” movie come to life—The Last Gay Youth Club on the Left, perhaps?


Marine Le Pen to face prosecution for comparing Muslims to Nazis

Her father was prosecuted without much effect so this will also be futile, I would think.  She will get a small fine and ignore it.  It will be good for her vote though

Marine Le Pen faces prosecution for comparing Muslim immigration to the Nazi occupation of France after the European Parliament's legal committee recommended that the far-Right leader be stripped of her immunity.

The full parliament is now expected to formally lift her protection from prosecution as an MEP after a vote on the recommendation on July 3, clearing the way for her to face race hate charges in a French court.

Sajjad Karim, a British Tory MEP on the parliament's legal affairs committee, voted in favour Ms Le Pen losing her parliamentary immunity.

"There is a red line between freedom of speech and inciting racial hatred," he said. "I, along with many other MEPs, today voted to drop Ms Le Pen's immunity and I am confident that the majority of the European Parliament will follow our lead in July."

French prosecutors asked the EU assembly last November to lift the French National Front leader's immunity as a lawmaker so she could be prosecuted for remarks likening Islamic prayers to the Nazi occupation.

Ms Le Pen faces charges for comments she made in a speech to National Front supporters in December 2010 when she denounced the holding of Muslim prayers in the streets of France in areas where there are no mosques.

"For those who like to talk about World War II, to talk about occupation, we could talk about, for once, the occupation of our territory. There are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is an occupation all the same and it weighs on people," she said.

She follows in the footsteps of her father Jean Marie, founder of the French National Front, who was stripped of his legal protection as an MEP to face German Holocaust denials charges in 1998, he had previously been convicted of similar charge in France.


"Protection" of female employees backfiring in Britain

As a mother-of-five and wealthy entrepreneur, she knows only too well how much effort it takes to juggle demanding personal and professional roles.

But Anya Hindmarch has launched a stinging attack on maternity laws – which she believes hinder rather than help women in the workplace.

‘There is a brown envelope  flashing above every woman’s  head in terms of tribunal threat,’ she declared.

The ‘tricky and suffocating’ regulations could force firms to employ men rather than women, Mrs Hindmarch, 45, told MPs. The luxury handbag and accessories company which bears her name counts celebrities such as the Duchess of Cambridge as fans.

Mrs Hindmarch, whose warning of the ‘brown envelope’ refers to the money which can be made from employment tribunals, has also been made one of the Government’s trade ambassadors.

The laws stop bosses from insisting a pregnant employee reveal her plans for maternity leave, such as if and when she will return to work.

They can ask but she is not required to answer and her company must not do anything which could be seen as pressurising her.

Mrs Hindmarch made her  comments when she appeared before the Commons Business Innovation and Skills Committee.

Asked by Labour MP Julie Elliott why she could not have these  types of conversation, she replied: ‘I find myself treading on eggshells and becoming hugely legal. It just feels really wrong.

‘It would be great if you were able to have a sensible chat. I would prefer it to go a stage further. It would work much better for women if they were asked to commit to how long they will take off.’

Even if a female employee planned to take only two months off, her firm has to hire a replacement for a year to cover the maternity leave.

‘You cannot hire someone for two months and keep rehiring,’ said Mrs Hindmarch.

Of her mostly female team of 50, a total of 13 had babies in 2011. But she added: ‘I think it [regulation] could end up working against women, unfortunately.

‘As a woman, a mother-of-five and an employer of a lot of women with children, it would end up making you make a choice between employing a man or a woman.

‘You probably might pick the easier route because the  regulation and consequential cost and eggshell treading would just be too onerous.’

She added: ‘I cannot say strongly enough that any more regulation will cripple this country. We are so over-regulated.’

Maternity rules have changed dramatically in the last decade, allowing women to take up to a year’s leave, with nine months paid, and request flexible working.

The committee’s report into women in the workplace was published yesterday. It called on the Government to highlight companies which encourage flexible working to ‘dispel the myth’ that this is ‘problematic and cannot work’.

Large firms should also publish  pay audits to highlight where large gender pay gaps exist, it added.

A Department for Business spokesman said a new system of shared parental leave was replacing ‘old-fashioned and rigid’ rules.

This allows working couples to choose how they share childcare in the first year after birth, he said.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


24 June, 2013

More multiculturalism in Britain

An Eritrean imprisoned and raped a woman EIGHT YEARS after he dodged charges for similar sex attack due to lack of evidence

An asylum seeker who escaped justice after he imprisoned and raped a 20-year-old student in his flat went on to commit another brutal sex attack eight years later.

Ybrah Haylemaryam, 26, who entered the country illegally from Eritrea in 2003, grabbed his first victim as she was walking home from a night out and forced her back to his home in Hull.  The desperate young woman eventually managed flee after he went to the bathroom.

But although the victim reported the rape in 2004, and Haylemaryam was interviewed, prosecutors said there was not enough evidence for him to be charged with the offence.

Eight years later he carried out another attack on a young mother who had been on a date with him after she spurned his advances.  Her baby was in the next room during the horrific three-hour ordeal.

The crime led to Haylemaryam's previous case being reopened and he was charged with four counts of rape, two counts of false imprisonment and three sexual assaults on the two victims.

Today, he was found guilty by a jury and jailed for 20 years at Hull Crown Court.

But police believe more women may have suffered at the hands of Haylemaryam in the intervening years and appealed for any potential victims to come forward.

His first victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said today: 'Although I’m really happy with the sentence, I’m angry that this has happened to someone else and he has been allowed to do that.  'I was upset at the time that it wasn’t taken any further but I could understand the reasons because it was my word against his.'

Now 29 and working in social care, the victim expressed her shock when she discovered during the trial that Haylemaryam was living near to her at the time of the attack.

She said: 'I can’t believe he lived just a few streets away from me, that really shocked me.  'I don’t know what I’d have done if I had seen him in the street in the years after my case. I would have probably froze in my steps.

'He pestered me and all of a sudden just flipped, and the other victim described to me exactly the same what he did to me to her. I thought he was going to kill me.

'I feel lucky that I did get out, and I have got to thank the specialist support and counselling I have had from everyone.

'I hope I get a bit of closure now, but it’s the fear of someone doing that to you again that never goes away.  'If he was deported, then I won’t have to worry about him ever again. I’m hoping to now move on with my life, knowing he is behind bars.'

Judge Mark Bury called Haylemaryam a ‘dangerous offender’.  'You have been convicted by a jury of two sex attacks on two different women, eight years apart,' Judge Bury said. 'You pose a significant risk to members of the public, and you are a dangerous offender.

'(In the case of the first victim) you took full advantage of a vulnerable victim and you were a stranger to her.

'Once inside your flat, you were aggressive to her and raped her. She was terrified, and thankfully managed to run away.

'She was very distressed in the witness box after being shown photos of the flat where the rape took place, and the memories came flooding back to her.

'The second victim’s ordeal lasted three hours, and you forced her against her will.'

Judge Bury said it is unlikely that Haylemaryam will be returned to his home country of Eritrea upon his release, and could possibly be deported to South Africa.

Paul Genney, defending, said that Haylemaryam was on his way to coming to terms with both rapes, which he initially denied at trial.

Detective Inspector Alan Bentham said: 'Officers from Humberside Police’s public protection unit are appealing to any further women who may have been subjected to attacks from Ybrah Haylemaryam to contact them.

'Haylemaryam has been convicted of numerous rapes and sexual assaults against two women.

'We praise the victims in this case for having the courage to come forward, having been put through horrendous ordeals by Haylemaryam, who falsely imprisoned them and subjected them to violent, sexual attacks.'


Censoring the 'Anti-Gay' Viewpoint

The media elites have never been less interested in objectivity than they are right now on "gay marriage." They don't wear rainbow flags on their lapels when they appear on television, but the coverage speaks for itself.

Even liberals are admitting the obvious. The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) studied a sample of almost 500 news stories from March to May and admitted "statements of support dominate" the daily narrative.

"The study lends credence to conservative charges that the nation's news media have championed the issue of same-sex marriage at the expense of objectivity," media reporter Brian Stelter asserted at The New York Times. "Others have argued that news organizations are right not to overly emphasize opposition to what many see as a core civil rights issue."

That's very euphemistic. Some argue reporters are "not to overly emphasize" opposition? No, many liberals believe whoever still refuses to endorse "gay marriage" has as much moral authority as the Ku Klux Klan.

Their voice should be ignored.

In many corners of the liberal media, the space for a social conservative to argue against "marriage equality" is vanishing before our eyes. It becomes twice as difficult the more and more anchors and reporters come out and declare themselves gay, and then the gay lobby expects those journalists to perform with perfect obedience to their agenda.

In their somewhat strange roulette-wheel method of analyzing a list of rotating media outlets depending on which day it is, PEJ analysts still found 47 percent of stories "included twice as many statements in support of same-sex marriage than in opposition. Less than a fifth of that number (9 percent) included more statements in opposition." They found zero difference in tilt between "objective" news stories and opinion articles.

In their scattershot sample, the network evening and morning news shows never produced a story with more conservatives than leftists, and "all three of the major cable networks, for instance, had more stories with significantly more supportive statements than opposing, including Fox News."

The headline on their report is "News Coverage Conveys Strong Momentum for Same-Sex Marriage." A very young or inexperienced media observer might argue that the momentum came before the media, that the media are only catching the recent wave of "justice." That would ignore how the liberal media have favored the gay agenda for decades.

In recent years, the promotion of homosexuality has gone beyond the "news" programs and became heavily entrenched in network entertainment shows, with entire programs devoted to gay characters and their struggle to overcome the alleged ignorance and oppression of religious villains. This easily explains why so many young people are dramatically pro-gay marriage in the opinion polls.

So if you're a religious conservative favoring traditional marriage, your media choices are between cultural poison and diluted cultural poison. The fierce debate within the media establishment is whether the social conservatives should be allowed to speak at all.

The official gay censorship lobbies — from the Orwellian-named "GLAAD" to the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association — define "fairness and accuracy" as being stories that try to scrape "fairness" away, treating opposition like used gum on someone's shoe. GLAAD created what they call the "Commentator Accountability Project" designed to discourage reporters and TV bookers from booking "hate" guests.

"Progressive" censors have confronted MSNBC's Chris Matthews in public and urged him to stop booking Family Research Council president Tony Perkins because of his "hate speech," like calling gay activists "vile."

The left-wing lobby calling itself "Faithful America" tried to take out an ad on MSNBC urging Matthews to keep Perkins off TV: "People of faith are speaking out, demanding MSNBC stop hosting hate."

Their argument was based on the fact that the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center officially designated FRC and other conservative Christian organizations as "hate groups." The SPLC designation became for them a handy blacklist to instruct the liberal media on which guests to ban. For unhinged (but unsuccessful) shooter Floyd Corkins, the SPLC created a hit list of people to kill at the FRC and two other conservative outfits.

To quote GLAAD censor Aaron McQuade, "Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from the consequences of speech." If they prevail, the "consequences" of speaking in opposition to the gay lobby equals zero bookings. In their dreamland, every "news" segment looks like the usual MSNBC "Lean Forward" gay segment where everyone embraces the equality and fluidity of "sexual preference."

But they're not censors, they insist.


A Flagrant Feminist Failure

Feminism as a political cause is on such wobbly knees that it must rely on charges of rampant sexism that have no basis in reality. The current Exhibit A is "Think Progress" blogger Alyssa Rosenberg, who surely scrunched up her face in disgust as she wrote the headline "Women Are Half Of Video Gamers, So Where Are The Female Video Game Characters?"

Serious long-term video game fans should laugh at Rosenberg's ignorance and laziness. This headline had all the style and finesse of a belly flop into an empty swimming pool.

To document the first half of the headline, she referred to a new report on demographics from the Entertainment Software Association, which found that women 18 and older make up 31 percent of the video game-playing population. Another study released by Magid Advisors found that 70 percent of women between the ages of 12 and 24 play video games. The study also found 61 percent of women between the ages of 45 and 64 also play games, compared to 57 percent of men in that age group.

The videogame culture has evolved, and there are many more female "gamers" now. But surveys counting more female "gamers" are very broad, reflecting that anyone who occasionally plays "Angry Birds" on their smart phone gets counted as a "gamer."

At least there's more evidence on the audience than on the silly second half, the question "Where are the Female Video Game Characters?"

Rosenberg turned to feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian, who reported that the makers of the new Xbox One console were harassed at the recent E3 electronic-entertainment expo for failing to promote games with female characters (which in itself isn't evidence of a lack of female characters). But for Rosenberg, this apparently underscored "why it's so hard to convince the branches of the entertainment industry that they ought to try harder to offer up female characters and characters of color."

What's hard is to get Rosenberg to try a simple Google search. Type in "female characters in video games" and you're sent to a Wikipedia page where it reports on 110 entries on female characters, and that's only a fraction of them.

Just how wrong is Rosenberg? Even her ally Sarkeesian admits in one of her YouTube video lectures that "we have seen a moderate increase in the number of playable female characters."

In many "role player" games, characters can be customized by their gamers; and in many games, there is the option for a female character. Take the popular action game series "Mass Effect," where the Commander Shepard character can be either male or female. The game's manufacturer, BioWare, boasted in 2007 how its female fighter was "very strong, in a way you'd expect from a real-life military officer. She's not a caricature of the idea of role-playing as a female, but instead she's very impressive as a strong female character that's sensitive yet extremely confident and assertive."

BioWare even labored to appease the loony "Think Progress" crowd by offering "same-sex romance options" for Commander Shepard regardless of gender in "Mass Effect 3."

Many role-player game series these days offer female protagonists, including "Dragon Age," "Dragon's Dogma," "Elder Scrolls, "Fable," "Fallout" and "Saints Row," as well as "Halo 4." Most if not all Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games (including the popular "World of Warcraft" and "Star Wars: The Old Republic") also have female-character options.

Fighting female protagonists aren't remotely new:

--Even non-gamers remember "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," which debuted in 1996. Lara Croft was played by Angelina Jolie in a 2001 movie. The game series is still popular.

--The TV show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" inspired an Xbox video game version in 2002. Before that, there was a "Buffy" game for Nintendo Game Boy Color in 2000.

--Joanna Dark is the protagonist of the "Perfect Dark" series, which debuted in 2000. She's nicknamed "Perfect" in honor of her "flawless performance in training tests."

--Jill Valentine appeared as a playable protagonist in the U.S. police force in the first version of "Resident Evil" in 1996, and many versions (including movies) thereafter.

--Samus Aran was the first popular female action star in the game "Metroid," which was first issued in 1986 and remains a popular character over a quarter-century later. The creators were inspired by Sigourney Weaver's character in the movie "Alien."

Angry feminists can certainly criticize how many female characters are scantily clad and designed for sex appeal. They could argue that too many female characters not listed above are merely damsels in distress. They could argue that violent video games normalize or trivialize violence against women.

But that's not what Rosenberg argued. She suggested female characters were nearly nonexistent. That, like so much of feminist boilerplate, is fraudulent.


Free Speech Goes Down to Defeat in Australia

Student newspaper members at Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra have recently learned the hard way how various Muslims do not accept criticism and condemnation like adherents of other faiths. Amidst the ecumenical satire of ANU's Woroni, the outrage and disciplinary threats provoked by the school newspaper's mocking of Islam suggests that this faith shall enjoy a privileged position among all beliefs.

As the Woroni editors explained on the newspaper website on May 26, 2013, the "'Advice from Religion' infographic on the back page" of the year's Edition 5 from April 18 "caused a flurry of activity." This infographic mocking Islam "was the fifth in a series that satirized facets of different religions; chronologically, Catholicism, Scientology, Mormonism, and Judaism." Many readers "condemned the piece as insulting and offensive to Islam and to religion in general." The editors acknowledged being "accustomed to receiving heated feedback," but "in this instance the extent of interference" by university officials "was unprecedented."

The day after publication, ANU Chancellery members met with Woroni's entire editorial board to discuss a "formal complaint submitted by the International Students Department" (ISD). As the Chancellery later stated to Woroni, the Islamic infographic violated "University rules" and Australian Press Council (APC) principles. The Chancellery added that the "University has a large international footprint and is mindful of maintaining its reputation of providing a welcoming environment for a diverse student and academic population." Referencing the 2005 Danish Muhammad caricatures and September 15, 2012, Muslim protests against the Innocence of Muslims film in Sydney that turned violent, Chancellery officials expressed concern about ANU's reputation and security.

To Chancellery calls for an apology and the infographic's official retraction, Woroni reacted "in a similar manner" to past complaints. A published "apology" would follow "to any readers who felt victimized... stressing" the infographic's "satirical" intent. The subsequent April 19, 2013, Woroni public response expressed these sentiments and denied any intention "to make anybody feel uncomfortable."

Yet the Chancellery remained unappeased. Regular uploading of Edition 5 as a PDF to the Woroni website archive and Facebook pages prompted a second meeting with Woroni editors and the three infographic authors. The Chancellery therein warned that the continued presence online of the Edition 5 PDF would lead to disciplinary action under Section 3.1(b) of the ANU Discipline Rules condemning as "misconduct" behavior that "unreasonably hinders other persons in the pursuit of their studies in the University or in participation in the life of the University." These disciplinary measures, along with threats to Woroni's ANU student funding, prompted removal of the back page from the Edition

As The Australian reported (subscription for original story required), the infographic at the origins of the controversy asked from a mockingly Islamic perspective "How should I value women?" The "answers referenced Aisha, the prophet Mohammed's nine-year-old wife, and described the 72 'houris' -- women depicted in the Koran as large-bosomed virgins who are a reward in paradise -- as a 'rape fantasy'." The Australian added that someone from ISD effectively told one of the authors, Jamie Freestone, that he did not "understand the seriousness of this. In Pakistan, people get shot for this kind of thing."

Yet, as the May 26 explanation indicated, Woroni "regularly features material that is challenging, and even at times confronting," befitting universities as "forums to critique ideas and beliefs." Edition 1's premiere backpage "Advice from Religion" infographic, for example, asks "I'm a man. Can I have sex with this person?" Sarcastic answers from "Catholicism" included molesting priests and lack of female consent.

Edition 2 references various conspiracies and esoteric beliefs in presenting the answers of "Scientology" to "Should I be candid and tell the truth?"

While Edition 3 only has its cover page uploaded, Edition 4 shows "Judaism" giving answers of "Exterminate them" (Old Testament) and "Segregate them and claim what's yours" (modern Israel) to the question "How should I treat other cultures?"

Nonetheless, pages 10-11 of Edition 6 posted on the Woroni Facebook page document the controversy the Islam infographic generated in reader letters. ISD President Muhammad Taufiq bin Suraidi bemoaned that the student-funded Woroni had not shown a "certain level of cultural sensitivity" amidst ANU's student body, a quarter of which is from abroad. Bin Suraidi promised, though, that the ISD would "work closely with the Woroni... such that an incident of this nature does not reoccur."

Nadiatul Akmal Mohd Radzman from the executive committee of ANU's Muslim Students Association (MSA) also took issue with Woroni. She, for example, contested various assertions of the infographic such as the "myth" of "72 virgins in Paradise," something controverted by Freestone in his adjacent letter with Koranic verses (55:56, 56:22, 78:33).

Radzman called "making fun of others... bullying" and falsely equated Islamic beliefs as a "way of life, not just a religion" with ethnicities like Asians. "We have racial tolerance, why can't we have religious tolerance?" she mistakenly analogized. "There are many other funny things that you can make fun of," she superficially concluded, "like botox and iPhones."

In contrast, Freestone's Edition 6 letter, also published on his personal website, saw no "reason to have a special standard for established religions that we would never conscience for any secular group, political party or new religious movement," even though "it's highly unsettling and confronting for believers to have their faith mocked."

In the future, though, Freestone will no longer make this principled stand for open debate at Woroni, for he described this letter as "my last contribution to Woroni." As the May 26 explanation noted, though, the evident "implications of these events for freedom of speech" will remain.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


23 June, 2013

Today's "British" multiculturalist

Hissan Dar -- a Muslim name, probably Pakistani

NatWest cashier defrauded learning difficulties couple of £110,000 and spent nearly half of it on roulette machines and horses

A gambling-addicted bank cashier who stole £110,000 from the account of a couple with learning difficulties was jailed for three-and-a-half years today.

NatWest worker Hissan Dar, 26, persuaded Stephen and Frances West to give him their cash card after promising to protect them from fraud.  Dar then took money from the couple, who he had advised for years, when they received a £200,000 inheritance from Mr West's mother.

Dar, who had worked for the bank for ten years and earned a £26,000 salary, told them he was paying their bills, managing their cash and paying into a funeral plan for them.

Instead he spent £36,000 on roulette machines and bets on horse racing at a Ladbrokes store yards from the branch he was working at in Richmond, southwest London.

Dar also made cash withdrawals totalling £68,000 and £3,000 of credit card purchases, as well as applying for thousands of pounds of loans.

He was finally caught when other cashiers noticed suspicious activity on the West's account.

When he was arrested, he tried to claim the Wests had blown the money themselves on an extravagant lifestyle.

He later admitted fraud and was jailed at the Old Bailey for what Judge Timothy Pontius described as a 'deliberate and mean-minded' scam.

Judge Pontius said: 'You deliberately targeted the account and therefore the very modest income of a thoroughly decent couple who had reposed a high degree of trust in your handling of their financial affairs.

'They relied on your professional acumen and advice to a significant degree given their learning difficulties and obvious lack of familiarity with the complexities of managing an account in a time of fiscal constraint and uncertainty.'

The Wests have been refunded by NatWest and the judge said the bank should be commended for this.

But he added: 'That financial loss is perhaps less significant to them than the undoubtedly shocking effect upon them of learning that the man in whom they had so completely placed their trust over a period of years had disgracefully abused that trust to such an extent.'

The court heard Mrs West, in her 50s, had learning difficulties and poor eyesight, while Mr West, in his 60s, also had 'below average' intelligence.  Both worked part-time in a poppy factory.

Prosecutor Juliet Oliver said: 'They are physically quite frail as well.  'But Mr and Mrs West have always endeavoured to live as an independent couple as best they can, although they do receive support in the community.

'Their main aim is to try and avoid being thought of as stupid.   'They believed bank employees were not only trustworthy but able to assist them in organising their financial affairs.'

Their trust was shattered on June 29 last year when they went to NatWest to withdraw money.

'They explained they needed more than the £200 cash Mr Dar had allowed them to cover the period he was away on holiday,' said Ms Oliver.  'They didn't have their cash card as Mr Dar held them, he said to protect them from fraud.

'Staff did a check and saw £300 had been withdrawn earlier that day through an ATM.

'There was a pattern of recent withdrawals in sums of hundreds of pounds.  'When asked, the Wests said it was probably Hissan. They refused to believe anything could be amiss with their accounts.  'Such was their trust that they actually telephoned him that evening.'

Further investigation showed huge amounts of money had gone missing since March 2011, with a large chunk spent on gambling.

Mr West said he had only ever bet £5 on a horse race and £4 on the Eurovision song contest.

When he was arrested, Dar claimed the Wests had spent the money themselves, telling police they ate out at restaurants three times a day.  He later owned up, but claimed he had been trying to support his family after his father was laid off.


Facebook and Twitter trolls will avoid prosecution in Britain if they apologise -- as new rules impose a 'high threshold' for court action

Some sense at last, it would seem

Twitter and Facebook users posting offensive messages online must pass a 'high threshold' before they are prosecuted, new official guidance has said.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has published final guidelines for prosecutors on the approach they should take in cases involving social media posts.

Mr Starmer said the guidelines, which have been finalised today after a three-month consultation, seek to address the 'potential chilling effect' that might arise from high numbers of prosecutions in cases in which a communication might be considered grossly offensive.

The changes come after the May 2010 conviction of Paul Chambers for joking on Twitter about blowing up Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire.

His conviction for sending a 'menacing' tweet drew widespread condemnation and was eventually quashed on appeal in the High Court in July.

In addition, prosecutors must recognise the right to 'freedom of expression' and only proceed with a prosecution when a communication is 'more than offensive, shocking or disturbing, even if distasteful or painful to those subjected to it'.

Mr Starmer said: 'Millions of communications are sent via social media every day, and prosecutors must be equipped to deal appropriately and consistently with cases arising from the growing use of these new ways of communicating.

'When I published the interim guidelines on prosecuting cases involving social media, I aimed to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and the need to uphold the criminal law.

'Encouragingly, the public consultation showed there is wide support for the overall approach set out in the guidelines, which state there should be a high threshold for prosecution in cases involving communications which may be considered grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false.'

The guidelines make the distinction between communications that should be prosecuted, such as those that amount to a credible threat of violence, a targeted campaign of harassment against an individual or which breach court orders, and those communications which may be considered grossly offensive, to which the high threshold must apply.

Another Twitter post that sparked a legal battle was written by speaker's wife Sally Bercow, who had to pay costs thought to total more than £100,000 for libelling a Tory peer on Twitter.

She lost a High Court battle with Lord McAlpine over a tweet suggesting he was a child sex offender.  Mrs Bercow had to pay after the court decided the message was libellous.  The tweet – sent to her 56,000 online followers on November 4 last year – said: ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’

She wrote it just two days after the BBC’s Newsnight programme wrongly implicated the former Conservative Party treasurer in allegations of abuse at a Welsh children’s home in the 1970s and 1980s.

In February 2012 two teenage friends who racially abused Newcastle striker Sammy Ameobi on Twitter were given final warnings by police.  The 17-year-olds were arrested in November after the up-and-coming 19-year-old forward was called a 'n****r'.


Welsh pub in New York FINED for race discrimination after advertising for bar staff with ‘knowledge of British culture’

The owner of a Welsh bar in New York has been fined £1,600 for race discrimination after trying to hire staff with a 'knowledge of British culture'.

Ex-pat Michael Colbert, 54, was hauled up in front of a human rights commission after advertising for new staff with an interest in Britain.

The landlord placed a job advert for the Longbow - the only Welsh pub in the Big Apple - looking for bar tenders with a knowledge of the UK.

But he was accused of discrimination with the city's authorities claiming he is being unfair to workers of different nationalities. Michael and his American wife Jennifer couple had been due to take their case to court.

But they agreed in a pre-trial conference to pay a fine of $2,500 (£1,600) issued by New York City's Commission of Human Rights.

Part of the agreement also stipulates that the couple and their staff have to undergo anti-discrimination training within the next 120 days. In a statement the couple said: Free speech is not so free after all it seems'.

Michael said: 'We advertised for someone with a knowledge of Britain and Wales, the culture and the differences we have. We are looking for people with a certain skill set who will create the right atmosphere for people walking in. To create that nuanced Welsh thing within the pub. But somewhere along the writing of the advert we fell a foul of the authorities.'

Michael is an ex-carpenter who moved to New York from Wrexham, North Wales, more than 20 years ago. He married his American wife and opened the bar in the Brooklyn area of the city.

The bar is popular with tourists and ex-pats, they have a Welsh rugby shirt behind the bar, serve curry and chips and show the Premier League. The vacancy at the bar has now been filled by a 'football mad' Irish woman.

But the couple added they were looking forward to getting on with running the pub.

'We are grateful for all the support we have received, locally, nationally and internationally,' they said in a statement.

Jennifer said: 'We are New York's only Welsh pub a fact that we are very proud of and we get thousands of Welsh visitors every year. We're introducing everybody to Welsh culture and telling them all about Wales.'

'So it is imperative that our staff understand British culture. We are not looking to discriminate against anyone based on their culture but Brits have their own culture - we are not the same as Americans.

'And just because we all speak English doesn't mean Americans and Brits are interchangeable.'

The couple's legal problems started when they posted an advert on website Craigslist looking for new staff. The job description read: 'Energetic and enthusiastic men and women with an appreciation of craft beer, good food, whisky and real football (a.k.a. soccer).  'Being British definitely works in your favour - Bring an ex-pat or lived in the UK - also a plus.'

It also said staff should know why Liverpool vs Everton is an important match, and that the Old Firm refers to a match between Celtic and Rangers and not a law company.

Cliff Mulqueen, general counsel of the New York City Commission of Human Rights, said: 'There's an argument that someone who works in a Chinese restaurant, for example, may need to speak Chinese in order to communicate with their co-workers.

But there's a difference between saying you have to speak Chinese and saying you have to be Chinese. The point is that they posted an ad that is discriminatory because she is expressing a preference for one group of people over another.'

New York City's human rights commissioner Patricia Gatling said it would not be illegal to 'demand a knowledge of the food, spirit or culture that conforms to your business model.'

She said: 'But you cannot give a preference to anyone from a particular country. It is our hope they understand that discrimination in this city is illegal and at the end of the day violators will pay.'  [Pompous twit!]


European Lesbians in Canada complain about wedding present, wanted money

How totally un-English.  Very poor form.  Social concerns  discarded in exchange for a focus on their genital organs?

A war of words between a pair of disgruntled brides and two guests who brought them a 'cheap and embarrassing' gift, has sparked a debate over wedding etiquette.

Kathy Mason from Hamilton, Ontario, and her boyfriend, who wished to remain anonymous, decided to create a food hamper for their friends' same-sex marriage and packed it with a mix of 'fun' treats including pasta, olive oil, croutons, biscuits, Marshmallow Fluff and Sour Patch Kids.

They attached a carefully worded card to the parcel which read: 'Enjoy . . . Life is delicious.'

However, the European newlyweds were less than impressed with the gesture and contacted the couple the next day via text message to ask if they had the receipt so they could get the money back instead.

An insulted Ms Mason decided to reveal the ensuing back-and-forth exchanges to The Hamilton Spectator in a bid to prove that what she and her partner had done was 'thoughtful and not out of place.'

In the conversation trail, conducted via text and Facebook, the unnamed brides argued that it cost $200 to have Ms Mason and her plus one at their big day.

Apparently Ms Mason was one of only two invitees who didn't gift at least $150 cash - the other gave a present in addition to money.

'You ate steak, chicken, booze, and a beautiful venue . . . If anything you should be embarrassed for being so cheap and embarrassing,' the brides said in one message.

The bitchy spat, published on The Hamilton Spectator's site on June 11, has attracted widespread interest.

One commentator named Vince sided with the brides, agreeing that dollars would have been more appropriate.

And Louise Fox, a Toronto-based etiquette coach who has appeared on shows including Slice TV's Rich Bride, Poor Bride, says even requesting the receipt was out of order.

She suggests the just-wed couple should have 'offered the basket to family, friends or a food bank, then written a thank-you note that focused on the thought behind the act of gift-giving.'

An infuriated Ms Mason then told the happy couple 'you should never host a party that you cannot afford, or expect your guests to pay for it.'

But the angry brides did little to settle her temper. 'Weddings are to make money for your future. Not to pay for peoples meals,' they said.

Speaking to The Hamilton Spectator after the incident the brides, who are of Italian and Croatian descent, put it down to cultural differences.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


21 June, 2013

A blast from the past

The British Liberal party of today is firmly in favour of Britain's membership of the EU, meaning that British law is subjugated to EU law.  A great Liberal Leader of the early 20th century would be incredulous. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman wrote in 1902:

"It means that we abandon our fiscal independence, together with our free-trade ways; that we subside into the tenth part of a Vehmgericht which is to direct us what sugar is to be countervailed, at what rate per cent. we are to countervail it, how much is to be put on for the bounty, and how much for the tariff being in excess of the convention tariff; and this being the established order of things, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer in his robes obeys the orders that he receives from this foreign convention, in which the Britisher is only one out of ten, and the House of Commons humbly submits to the whole transaction. ("Shame.") Sir, of all the insane schemes ever offered to a free country as a boon this is surely the maddest."

He was complaining about British participation in an international price-fixing cartel for sugar. To this day, the EU levies a heavy tariff on sugar imports -- €419 per ton on white sugar.

 A Vehmgericht was a German secret court.  CB was using the term mockingly.

DISCRIMINATION! 70% of women say a man 'wouldn't stand a chance' if he was under 6ft

There are all sorts of howls about discrimination against women, or certain types of women, but what about short men?  Is there a "meat market" for men too?  It seems so

The vast majority of women say a man 'wouldn't stand a chance' in the love stakes if they were under 6ft in height, and 'would struggle' to get their attention... despite the average height of the British man being just 5ft 10ins, two inches below a 'perfect' height.

And although men are getting there (slowly but surely), having shot up by four inches in the past 100 years, 71 per cent of females still say the ideal height for a male partner is between 6ft and 6ft 6ins, according to a new poll.

Meanwhile, the average height of women in the UK is 5ft 4ins - just one-and-half inches more than 100 years ago.

And as far as men are concerned, 45 per cent would date a woman taller than them - if she would have them - and 49 per cent said the ideal woman was between 5ft 7ins and 5ft 10ins tall, according to the study of 1,400 British women by men's big and tall brand High And Mighty.

Of these women, 71 per cent want their man between 6ft and 6ft 6ins, 26 per cent between 5ft 7ins to 5ft 11ins, and three per cent between 6ft 6ins and 6ft 11ins.

A total of 63 per cent also said they thought that 'taller men' were sexier than smaller men - mirroring Hollywood's penchant for taller leading men such as 6ft 3ins tall Thor star Chris Hemsworth and 6ft 3ins tall Transformers star Josh Duhamel.

Women also said they believe that 'short man syndrome' or 'small man's inferiority complex' - also called the Napolean complex after the famous emperor Napolean Bonaparte, who was 5ft 6ins tall - really does exist, with 62 per cent saying smaller men had an inferiority complex linked to their height.

A total of 33 per cent of women polled said they believed tall men were happier than short men.

Women were also asked which factors were 'most important in a man', with the top answer being a sense of humour, followed by kindness, height, grooming, physique, fashion sense and hair.

The poll found that 72 per cent of men were 'happy with their height', with the most ideal height listed as 6ft by 23 per cent, 6ft 2ins by 17 per cent, and 6ft 3ins by 10 per cent.

Some 54 per cent of men polled said they thought 'height made no difference to their attractiveness'.

Sally Smith, 32, of Birmingham, said: 'I'm 5ft 8ins and my ex-boyfriend was only 5ft 7ins. After a while I got a bit sick of looking down on him and never being able to wear heels, so after a year I gave him the push.'

The accounts worker added: 'I'm now dating a man who is 6ft 2ins, and now I can wear whatever kind of shoes I want without feeling like I'm towering over by boyfriend.'

Psychologist Portia Hickey said: 'Psychological research has found that women tend to describe their ideal man as taller than average.

'Women's attraction to taller men is likely to be driven by both evolution and positive stereotypes about tall men.  'Women are likely to associate a tall man with higher social and professional status as well as reproductive potential, making them seem more attractive.'


Britain's Stalinist public service

It takes huge pressure to breach their reflexive secrecy

The NHS watchdog may be forced to name officials at the centre of a "cover-up" over a hospital where babies died through neglect after an outcry from ministers, MPs and victims’ families.

There was criticism of the regulator’s refusal to name those who instigated the apparent cover-up over deaths of mothers and babies at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMB) NHS Trust.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) claimed it could it not disclose the identities of those who ordered the destruction of a report which highlighted failings by the watchdog, nor whether those responsible were still employed, due to data protection laws.

However the Information Commissioner’s office said the legislation was “no blanket ban preventing senior managers being held to account”.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, demanded that those responsible for the apparent cover-up ultimately be publicly identified, despite defending the CQC’s decision not to name the individuals immediately.

David Behan, chief executive of the CQC, was forced to pledge to look again at the legal advice to not reveal the names of those involved.

Mr Behan told BBC's Newsnight programme that he had been advised that "to put people's personal data [into the report] would be a breach of their rights".

"I was acting on the legal advice I was given, I acted in good faith," he said.

However, he added: "We've decided today that we will review that legal advice and we've commissioned a review of that legal advice to see if we can put this information into the public domain."

Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, said he doubted the legal advice given to the CQC.

"This feels like a public authority hiding behind the Data Protection Act, it's very common, but you have to go by what the law says and the law is very clear,” he said. “You have to process data fairly, you have to take into account people's expectation of confidentiality, patient data, obvious, but officials, there you have to apply a public interest test.

"I'm not convinced that the Care Quality Commission have been correctly advised. I think they are going to have to look at this again."

The watchdog was embroiled in a deepening controversy tonight as it attempted to defend its decision to censor the damning report, which says the organisation may be involved in a “broader and ongoing cover-up”, suggesting that the whole truth about the CQCs suppression of the scandal has yet to emerge.

The report, published today, revealed that the CQC deleted the review of their failure to act on concerns about UHMB, where police are investigating the deaths of at least eight mothers and babies. It concluded that the CQC was guilty of a “cover-up” but did not name individuals.

Those protected include one senior manager who ordered an internal review that uncovered major weaknesses in its inspection systems, which may have cost the lives of mothers and babies, and a second official who said that the report must “never be in a public domain”.

The CQC said it could not publish the names because doing so “would have been breaching the Data Protection Act”.

Norman Lamb, a health minister, yesterday called for “full transparency”.

Mr Hunt has asked the CQC to report back to him on what action should be taken within the next two months.

He said: “The whole truth must now come out and individuals must be held to account.”

Mr Hunt apologised to the families of those who had died. He said: “I want to apologise on behalf of the Government and the NHS for all the appalling suffering they have endured.”

However, Mr Hunt said redacting the names of officials in the report was the “right decision” at the moment on the basis of the legal advice.

MPs said that the decision not to publish the names was “flawed”. Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat President, who is MP for Westmorland & Lonsdale has now referred the apparent cover-up to the Metropolitan Police.

He said: “Grieving families deserve to know who made these decisions”, adding: “The Data Protection Act is supposed to protect the powerless against the powerful — not the other way round.”


Brazil Lawmakers OK Bill for Treatment of homosexuals

A Brazilian congressional human rights committee on Thursday approved legislation that would allow psychologists to treat homosexuality as a disorder or pathology.

The commission is led by evangelical pastor Marco Feliciano of the Social Christian Party, who has been accused of homophobia and enraged activists by calling AIDS a "gay cancer" in a tweet. His appointment as head the Commission for Human Rights and Minorities in the lower house of Brazil's Congress was fiercely opposed by gay and human rights groups.

The measure approved Tuesday seeks to lift a prohibition on psychologists treating homosexuality that was established by the Federal Psychology Council. The ban has been in effect since 1999.

"In practice, (the initiative's) result would be that a person over 18 years of age, responsible for his actions, who is homosexual and wants to reorient his sexuality, can be attended by a psychologist," said lawmaker Joao Campos, a member of the evangelical bloc of Brazil's lower house.

Feliciano had tried for weeks to put the "gay cure" initiative before the commission but had failed as opponents maneuvered to block a vote. The initiative was passed Tuesday amid a low turnout by commission members.

The psychologists' council had called on commission members to vote against it.

"Today psychology, as wells as other scientific disciplines, recognize that sexual orientation is not a pathology that should be treated, it is not a perversion nor a disorder nor a behavioral disturbance. Since this is the case, we cannot offer a cure, and that is an ethical principle," said council member Huberto Verona.

The initiative still must be debated by other committees before going to the full Chamber of Deputies and the Senate for votes.

Jean Wyllys, Brazil's first openly gay lawmaker, expressed confidence the initiative would not make it through the legislative process.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


20 June, 2013

More of that GREAT multiculturalism in Britain

Aras Hussein appears in court accused of beheading 18-year-old woman then attacking five people while he was being treated in hospital.  I kinda think I can guess Mr Hussein's religion.  "Aras" appears to be mainly a Turkish given name

A 20-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a young woman who was beheaded in a knife attack.  Aras Hussein appeared at Sheffield Magistrates' Court today accused of murdering Reema Ramzan, 18.

Miss Ramzan, who was from the Darnall area of Sheffield, died on June 4 following an incident at a property on Herries Road, in the city.

Detectives said she suffered a severe knife attack resulting in fatal injuries, including the severing of her head.

Hussein, of Sheffield, is also charged with assaulting five people at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital, where he was taken following his arrest by police.

He stood in the glass-fronted dock today flanked by two uniformed police officers.  Sporting full beard and short, dark hair, he wore a navy blue T-shirt and spoke only to confirm his personal details and that he understood the charge.

Hussein was remanded in custody following a 10 minute hearing and told he will appear again a Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday.

Miss Ramzan’s family issued a statement through police today.

It said: 'Following the death of Reema, a loving and caring daughter and sister, we as a family would like to pass on our heartfelt thanks for all of the messages and support we have received from our extended family, friends, people in the community where we live and especially from the staff and students at Sheffield College.

'These messages and support have given us strength and helped us to try to deal with the nightmare we have found ourselves in.

'As a family, our thoughts now turn to being able to bury Reema and to let her finally rest in peace.


And there are female multiculturalists in Britain too

Shocking picture that 'shows two on-duty carers asleep in £580 a week home for the elderly after turning off elderly patients' alarms so they wouldn't be disturbed'

This picture shows the moment two carers were apparently found asleep after allegedly unplugging the alarms of elderly patients so that they would not be disturbed.

Titilayo Ajala and Henretta Offae are accused of falling asleep during their 9pm to 7am night-shift at Westlands care home in Olney, near Milton Keynes.

Aylesbury Crown Court was told that care home manager Salina Ballard and a colleague took the picture during an unannounced 3am check.

Ajala, 56, from Milton Keynes, and Offae, 41, from Derby, deny 19 counts of ill treatment or neglect of a person who lacks capacity, between January 1, 2011 and August 19, 2011.
A jury was shown this picture of two care home assistants

Shocking: A jury was shown this picture of two care home assistants Titilayo Ajala and Henretta Offae apparently asleep on the night-shift after allegedly unplugging the alarms of the elderly and infirm people

The prosecution alleges the defendants left their patients - aged from 75 years to 100 years - unable to call for help.

The prosecution told the jury the pair disabled alarms and put extra incontinence pads on the residents, so they could sleep and would not have to change their soiled garments.

No paperwork was filled out, which they were required to do in a night log, the jury was told.

The care home assistants were allegedly discovered fast asleep in lounge armchairs on August 19 with a fan heater running by their care home manager Salina Ballard.

The home, run by St Andrews Care Home Ltd, charges £580 pounds per week per patient.

Mr Moore told the hearing that mats were placed at the side of the residents' beds which would set off an alarm if they fell.

However, the prosecution says 11 of the mats had been disabled so if the residents had fallen in the night, no alarm would have sounded.

Prosecutor Neil Moore told the jury: 'The prosecution case, in a nutshell, is that when they worked together during [their shifts] they would disable alarm systems, which would otherwise alert them if one of these elderly residents fell out of their beds.

'They would pad the residents up with extra incontinence pads or place waterproof sheets on the bed so they didn't need to be changed.

'Basically, the two defendants would then tuck themselves up in warm clothing in front of a television in one of the lounges and have a night's sleep.  'Therefore, the prosecution says, putting the welfare of the elderly residents at risk.'

The 17th Century building caters for high risk elderly people who suffer from dementia or are unable to look after themselves.

The trial heard today that the carers were allowed a 45-minute break, but not at the same time.  Mr Moore said it was considered 'gross misconduct' if they slept.

Offae, who was known by the name Mapel Mensah, of St Chad's Road, Derby, worked at the home from October 24, 2010, and Ajala, of Fishermead, Milton Keynes, joined on August 9, 2009.

Mr Moore said after Mrs Ballard and Ms May arrived at the home, they took it in turns to check on the residents, before taking a picture of the two defendants half an hour later.

The prosecutor told the court that when Ms Ajala woke up she said 'My God Salina, what are you doing here?'

He added: 'Mrs Ballard replied by telling her she had been watching her sleep for half an hour and informed her some of the fall pads had been unplugged.

'Mrs Ajala said: "Salina, Barbara, you have to forgive me."

'Ms Offae said: "I hold my hands up, you caught me. What we have done is inexcusable". They had been caught red-handed and Mrs Offae at that time accepted it.'

Both were dismissed from their jobs that day and were later arrested by police. Both women denied the allegations when they were quizzed by detectives.

Mr Moore said: 'They neglected each and every resident. They went to sleep, 11 pressure mat alarms had been disabled so if any of these had fallen in the night they wouldn't have been found until the defendants decided to wake up.

'None of the residents had the more absorbent night pads on, they hadn't been changed since the afternoon shift and not at midnight when they should have been.

'Some of residents were fitted with two incontinence pads which should never have been the case. Some had pads shoved underneath them.  'Pads were soaked with urine and in one case faeces.'

Giving evidence Mrs Ballard said sleeping on the job was 'absolutely forbidden.'

She said: 'It amounts to gross misconduct. We're responsible for our residents' well-being. They (the defendants) were there to do a job to protect them (the residents).'

Mrs Ballard refuted suggestions by the defence barristers that the defendants were not asleep and were dozing or 'resting their eyes' during a break.

'They were asleep,' she said. 'I was standing there for half an hour and I took a photo. I stood watching them sleeping.'


British Guides drop God and country – but keep the Queen

The Girl Guides are to drop references to “God” and “country” from their traditional pledge but are to retain a public expression of allegiance to the Queen.

In one of the biggest changes in the organisation’s 103-year history, the promise to “love my God” is to be replaced with a more individualistic pledge to “be true to myself” and to “develop my beliefs”.

And a patriotic commitment to serving their country is to become one to the “community” in the oath taken by Brownies and Guides when they join the organisation.

But in a consultation which attracted almost 44,000 responses Guides made clear that they wanted to retain a public expression of allegiance to the Queen, who is also their patron.

A vow to “help other people” and to “do my best” are also to remain in the new promise, which will take effect from September.

It is not the first time that the organisation, founded in 1909 under the leadership of Agnes Baden-Powell, sister of Robert Baden-Powell, the creator of the Scouting movement, has altered the wording of its traditional promise over the last century but it is by far the most radical change.

The rethink followed the appointment of the group’s new chief executive, Julie Bentley, the former head of The Family Planning Association, who described the Guides as “the ultimate feminist organisation”.

Gill Slocombe, the Chief Guide, said the changes would make the promise less “confusing” and easier for the organisation’s 550,000 members to take with sincerity.

“I honestly think the Baden-Powells would have approved, they were so free thinking and good at thinking in terms of people’s needs,” she said.

“I don’t know whether it is radical I just think it is fantastic that our members have come up with a promise that they feel they can confidently say and feel that they can keep.”

She said she was also “delighted” that, despite the reference to God being dropped, there would still be a spiritual dimension to the promise and that the Queen would continue to be a focus of unity.

Among responses to the consultation, one young girl wrote that she felt like she was “lying to the Brownies” by making a promise to a God in whom she did not believe.

Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society, said: “By omitting any explicit mention of God or religion the Guide Association has grasped the opportunity to make itself truly inclusive and relevant to the reality of 21st century Britain.

"The new secular promise can now be meaningful and relevant to all guides and potential leaders, whatever their beliefs – and sends a clear signal that Girlguiding is equally welcoming to all girls."

But Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said: “It sounds like jargon from a consumerist self-help manual completely at odds with the true ethos of the Guiding organisation which was set up to encourage belief in God and a corporate identity, not about individualism but to understand what it really is to be part of a community.”

David Landrum, advocacy director of the Evangelical Alliance said: "No doubt, the Girls Brigade will be the main beneficiaries from this erroneous decision, because as the growing poplularity of faith schools attests, parents will always seek to provide religious rather than secular humanist values for their children."


Government spending cuts needed in Britain

Something is rotten in the state of Britain, but those who believe the problem is that the Government isn’t spending enough of our money have got it all wrong.

True, given our dilapidated infrastructure and health service, a visitor from Mars might be forgiven for thinking that public expenditure had been cut to the bone. Yet the sobering truth is that the public sector still spends almost half of our national income, in a shocking indictment of its inefficiency, misplaced priorities and intractable structural flaws.

Public expenditure was 49pc of GDP in 2012, the OECD calculates, almost as much as Sweden’s 51.3pc, and yet there is immense pressure for even greater amounts of spending, in the short as well as the longer term. The Office for Budget Responsibility has run various scenarios as part of its Fiscal Sustainability Report. Its central projection is that health spending will rise from 6.8pc of GDP in 2016-17 to 9.1pc by 2061-62 as the population ages. Even such a modest rise would devastate the public finances.

But new treatments, and the likelihood that productivity growth in the NHS will remain feeble, suggest that health’s share of national income could actually explode uncontrollably. Depending on the assumptions used, health spending could easily grab more than a 10th of national income – and quite possibly even a crippling 20pc to 25pc under extreme but plausible scenarios. This would sink the public finances and send the national debt to more than 350pc of GDP.

Population ageing will have other consequences. State pension costs will increase from 5.6pc of GDP to 8.3pc by 2061-62.

Even with public sector pension costs falling a little, that represents a substantial increase. Social care spending is meant to increase from 1.1pc of GDP to 2pc; the final bill is likely to be even higher now that the Government is becoming involved.

None of this includes the cost of other major projects such as high-speed rail and energy investments to prevent the lights from going out. Wherever we look, there is immense, pent-up demand for higher spending; this will eventually prove irresistible to whoever is in power.

If unchecked, the state’s size could rise by 5pc to 6pc of GDP on the rosiest of scenarios and most likely by 10pc to15pc.

To allow this would be madness. We need a much smaller state, not an even bigger one. No political party is telling the truth: sooner or later, the welfare state as we know it will become unsustainable – and keeping it on life support for as long as possible, trimming on the margins while taxing until the pips squeak will only plunge us into a vicious spiral of decline.

What we need is a drastic new programme of cuts, accompanied by a radical restructuring of the way key services are financed, delivered and managed.

There are various ways this could be achieved – but here are my own 10 favourite ideas ahead of next week’s spending review. Some would help shrink today’s deficit; others address longer-term challenges.

1. First, the easy one: George Osborne must set up a commission on public spending. Paradoxically, this body needs to have a decent budget to hire consultants and accountants to plough through all public spending, uncovering as many savings as possible, waging war on non-jobs, waste, poor contracts, restrictive practices, duplication and useless expenditure. Prizes should also be offered for money-saving ideas from within the public sector.

2. Next, the Government needs to be remodelled. Councils would benefit from economies of scale by merging, if not entirely then at least their back offices. In a paper for the Free Enterprise Group, Dominic Raab, the Tory MP, wants to merge or abolish a number of Whitehall departments, cutting the total from 20 to 11 and saving £8bn a year.

3. Subsidies to business, green energy, the arts, foreign aid and pseudo-charities should be slashed. Eventually, a shift in the UK’s relationship with the European Union would allow additional savings in our contributions to Brussels. The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s latest Bumper Book of Government Waste lists many projects and areas that are ripe for pruning.

4. There should be further cuts to benefits and welfare reform. The richest 10th of households are in receipt of almost £5bn in cash benefits a year, according to Mike Denham’s Burning Our Money. The think-tank Reform puts the cost of middle-class welfare at £31bn a year. Prosperous pensioners should not be getting free TV licences or treated better than the rest of the public.

5. The Coalition has improved the way the Government purchases supplies, but more is needed. The Institute of Directors recommends centralising buying to manage key relationships and contracts. There should also be increased tendering: by law, anything that can be provided more cheaply by the private sector should be contracted out, albeit with proper, tight contracts. This could save billions.

6. It is also time for a further 10pc cut to all non-frontline public sector staff numbers, new contracts to boost working hours and productivity, the end of national pay scales and another two years of genuine pay freezes. In the interest of fairness as well as fiscal prudence, the aim must be to eliminate the pay gap with the private sector, which sees state employees paid significantly more on average. Their pension contributions also remain insufficient to fund liabilities, which must be rectified.

7. The private sector should build all new airports, rail links, motorways and tunnels, charging consumers; private firms should be allowed to develop shale gas and other kinds of commercially viable energy, with subsidies for other kinds of electricity phased out.

8. As to pensions, the sensible solution is to ditch the triple-lock, raise the retirement age to 70, starting as soon as 2030, and move towards an Australian or Singaporean-style system where people save for their own retirement. The new National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) system could be used as a starting point.

9. We also need to get more for less in education. That means taking all schools away from local government control, increasing parent choice and allowing for-profit companies to set up and run taxpayer-funded schools more efficiently. Technology needs to be used to boost productivity, with increased online learning co-ordinated by teachers.

10. Most controversially of all, the only way we are going to spend more on health without bankrupting the state is to encourage the public to pay more itself, as already happens in almost every other country. We need a European-style, insurance-based universal health system, with co-payments by those who can afford it and much greater private provision. Everybody should have access to high quality health care, regardless of ability to pay, but it will no longer be possible to provide it all through the NHS.

The UK is facing a terrifying public spending time bomb, and our mismanaged, sprawling government needs radical reform.

Trimming waste isn’t enough: now is the time to start thinking the unthinkable about what functions we want the state to perform in the years ahead.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


19 June, 2013

Multiculturalism thriving in the Netherlands

Six teenage footballers and a father are jailed for kicking volunteer linesman to death after he officiated his son's junior match in Holland.  Unusually for the Daily Mail, there are no pictures of the offenders, but we are told that they come from a "a mostly immigrant neighborhood".  We read in a Dutch source, however, that the offenders were:

"all of North African origin. Their names: Yassine, Soufyan, Ibrahim Fady, Daveryon, and Mohammed Othman".  The name of the father was "El-Hasan D."  The Netherlands has a large and aggressive Muslim minority

Six young footballers and one of their fathers have been jailed for beating a linesman to death as he officiated his son's junior match in the Netherlands.

Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, from Buitenboys, died after being punched and kicked by players from opponents Nieuw Sloten on December 2 last year, apparently because they believed he had made a bad decision.

A Dutch court convicted the seven people involved of manslaughter in the death of the volunteer linesman who was knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked after a youth match last December in a brutal attack.

Judges in Lelystad sentenced the 50-year-old father to six years in prison. Five teenaged players were given two-year sentences in youth detention for their roles in the attack and another was sentenced to a year.

A seventh player, age 15, was sentenced to 30 days detention for assault.

All the defendants had insisted they were innocent. They have two weeks to appeal. Their lawyers had argued that the linesman, Richard Nieuwenhuizen, had an underlying medical condition that contributed to his death but Dutch forensic experts said he died as a result of the beating.

Judges said the young players acted together in the fatal beating and gave them the highest sentences available.

'The seriousness of the event, the lack of a clear reason for it, the terrible consequences, the fact that they haven't accepted responsibility for their acts and the enormous shock it caused throughout society and the entire football world meant that the minors received the maximum possible sentence,' the court said in a statement.

The fatal attack took place on December 2 in the Dutch city of Almere, after the home team Buitenboys drew 2-2 with Nieuw Sloten, which is based in a mostly immigrant neighborhood of Amsterdam.

In a statement, the court said the father sentenced to six years had received a heavy punishment because 'instead of setting a good example to the youths by criticizing their behavior he joined them in kicking and beating the linesman and has never accepted responsibility' for his actions.

Nieuwenhuizen's death triggered a bout of soul-searching in Dutch football and beyond about the loss of respect for sports officials among youth players. 'You can't imagine it happening,' said Ajax coach Frank de Boer. 'That boys of 15, 16 years short circuit like that. You wonder about the parenting.'  [Why the shock?  It was nothing to do with the Dutch.  It was just Muslims doing what many Muslims do]

More than 12,000 people attended a silent march for Nieuwenhuizen in Almere on December 9.

'What can I do to teach today's football youth the difference between anger and aggression?' said Dutch football association chairman Michael van Praag at a ceremony afterwards. 'Football is emotion, but it's also winning and losing. You have to be able to do both, otherwise you don't fit in our sport.'

Nieuwenhuizen's sons said Monday they hoped the convictions would send a message around the world that such attacks should not be tolerated in sport.


Are we caught in a happy trap?

Happy ever after: We want it for ourselves, we want it for our kids, and we want it now. But what if everything we know about happiness is a lie? What if the relentless pursuit of pleasure is in fact making us miserable?

A growing number of psychologists and social researchers now believe that the "feel-good, think positive" mindset of the modern self-help industry has backfired, creating a culture where uncomfortable emotions are seen as abnormal. And they warn that the concurrent rise of the self-esteem movement - encouraging parents to shower their children with praise - may be creating a generation of emotionally fragile narcissists.

Some therapists believe this positivity obsession is partly to blame for rising rates of binge drinking, drug use and obesity. The more that genuine contentment eludes us, the more we seek to fill the gap with manufactured highs. But as we try to anaesthetise feelings of sadness, failure and disappointment, our rates of depression and anxiety continue to climb.

"So many people now think, 'If I'm not happy, there's something wrong with me.' We seem to have forgotten that feelings are like the weather - changing all the time; it's as normal to feel unhappy as it is to have rainy days," said Russ Harris, a British-born Australian doctor and author of The Happiness Trap, in which he argues popular wisdom on happiness is misleading and destined to make you miserable. "Painful emotions are increasingly seen as unnatural and abnormal and we refuse to accept that we can't always get what we want."

As the "happiness industry" of life coaches and self-help gurus has exploded, parents have been taught that self-esteem is the cardinal virtue for raising well-adjusted kids.

But it has had unexpected consequences. Researchers say the value of hard work has been replaced by the belief that every child is "special" - a phenomenon fuelled by rampant consumerism and reality TV shows, which promise: "If you want it enough you can have anything."

Some of the world's leading happiness experts now fear that the self-esteem juggernaut will leave future generations hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with life's disappointments.

On Wednesday, some of those experts will converge on Melbourne for the Happiness and Its Causes conference. Among the delegates will be

Harris, and Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University. "More and more, parents are unwilling to let their children struggle," she says. "They want them to feel good at all times so they're telling them how smart they are, they're really showering them with what we call person praise - 'you're talented, you're smart, you're special.' My research shows it backfires. It makes kids worried and tells them that the name of the game is to be smart.

"Then, when we give them harder problems they don't do well and they lie about their performance because their ego gets so wrapped up in all of this. But if we give them what we call process praise - 'you focused well, you tried hard, you used good strategies' - then it makes them want hard things, where they can apply their effort and strategies and be resilient."

Professor Dweck urges parents to talk to their children not just about their victories but their struggles. Like Harris, she maintains that accepting setbacks and unpleasant emotions, rather than trying to block them out, is the key to building resilience.

Already, clinicians are seeing the first casualties of the self-esteem movement entering therapy.

In a 2011 Atlantic article, US psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb reported that many young adults - largely from happy, loving, advantaged homes - were feeling confused, anxious and empty due to overprotective parenting that focused too much on happiness and shielded them from adversity. Thrust into the real world, even minor setbacks became catastrophic.

Australian social researcher Hugh Mackay addresses these issues in his latest book, The Good Life: What Makes a Life Worth Living, and says we must look beyond the pursuit of success and happiness as life's main aspirations.

He believes that the self-help movement, which took off in the 1980s as a well-meaning antidote to rising rates of depression in Western society - born out of a turbulent period of social, economic and technological change - has morphed into a beast that sells happiness as a commodity.

"It's been hijacked by the pop psychology movement to suggest that we've all got to look for positive outcomes, that we've all got to be bright, shining optimists and extroverts. It's become an industry - there are conferences about it and a whole spate of books and talk shows and people on the lecture circuit who are feeding this idea that one of our emotions [happiness] is sovereign and that should be our default position."

Instead of viewing happiness as an entitlement, Mackay maintains that a sense of wholeness and meaning is what brings satisfaction. Indeed, he points out that even those in the Buddhist faith are starting to question the Dalai Lama's tenet that the very purpose of life is to seek happiness.

"We have to nurture our relationships, our engagements with other people, our responsibility for other people's wellbeing - that's what nurtures community, and we are sustained by those communities," Mackay says. "If we focus only on happiness we're neglecting the richness of the full emotional spectrum and we're overlooking the fact that you couldn't make sense of happiness if you didn't know sadness."

New Zealand psychologist Chris Skellett knows this only too well. His book, When Happiness Is Not Enough, explores how a fulfilling life can only be achieved by balancing being happy in the moment, with a drive towards longer-term goals.

When he speaks at the conference this week it will be from a position of tragic, lived experience. Last month, his 21-year-old son Henry died suddenly and unexpectedly. While processing overwhelming grief, his understanding of the importance of the full range of human emotions has never been greater.

"The loss gives you access to a wonderful array of very real human experiences, especially the connection between people," Skellett say. "Sadness is tinged with an incredibly profound depth of appreciation of life. You're acutely aware of what's important. A lot of the things that preoccupied me before seem rather trite and superficial now. Now, I'm much more connected to the little things. I'm much more profoundly moved by music. A walk in the evening just seems like a gift."


New British law will 'protect gay marriage critics': Act will help those who believe marriage should be 'between a man and a woman'

Critics of gay marriage are to get a new protection in law, senior government sources say.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller is said to be about to propose changing the Public Order Act so those who believe same-sex weddings are wrong can say so publicly without fear of prosecution.

The move is part of government attempts to prevent legislation running into further trouble as it progresses through Parliament.

Faith minister Baroness Warsi abstained in a key vote in the House of Lords, telling friends that religious groups needed extra protection.

Now the Culture Secretary is preparing to amend the Public Order Act so it is ‘clear that people will be protected who want to express their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman’, a source said.

Protections in the Act that exist for critics of ‘sexual orientation’ will be updated to cover same-sex marriage, it is understood.

‘It addresses the concern that there will be a chilling effect so that people, such as those of faith, will be afraid to express their views in public.’

The Government’s amendment is expected to be confirmed by Lords whip Baroness Stowell during the committee stage of the Bill, which starts today.

The Department for Culture, which oversees the legislation, refused to comment on the plan. But during a Commons debate last month, Mrs Miller signalled the Government’s thinking.

Referring to Britain’s tradition of tolerance and ‘rich tapestry of faith, belief and culture’, she said: ‘It is because of these strong traditions that enabling same-sex couples to marry will in no way undermine those who believe... that marriage should be between a man and a woman, they can continue to believe that. That is their right.’

Today’s move will be seen as an attempt to heal rifts over gay marriage.

The Government has also suggested it would consider measures to address concerns that teachers might have to promote same-sex marriage despite conscientious objections.

Veteran Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh, said on the ConservativeHome website that same-sex civil marriage had done ‘irreparable damage’ to Tory electoral prospects.

‘Some of the damage can be healed by ensuring there are adequate protections for conscientious objectors, especially chaplains, teachers, and registrars,’ he said.


Risky history

I was sacked from a museum teaching about the Roman Army, a job I had done for 3 years. The subject: ‘The Roman Army’…

    My crime? Teaching an ‘inappropriate’ military subject, the Roman Army. I even showed the museum’s own leaflet advertising the events, saying ‘Learn about the Roman Army from one of UK’s leading experts’.  Did no good. I got the sack.

    I hold two degrees in the subject, a doctorate, and have appeared on TV and film as a scholar and commentator. Even that did not protect me.

    I also got into trouble because when asked by a Moslem school pupil, ‘Why were Moslems not in the Roman Army?’ I replied ‘because Islam came into existence 500 years after the period’ I was talking about. My Archaeological Society received a letter stating I had made a racist comment. These events rook place some years ago but now it is all too commonplace. And people simply put up with it.

    A few weeks ago, at an exhibition of Roman cooking, using food ingredients from the day, a Moslem family complained about the use of pork and ‘wine vinegar’ in their presence.

    In that case the organisers had the guts to ask them then, ‘Why do you visit the site, when you should know that such ancient methods will be used? Do you expect us to change 2,000-year-old methods, just to suit you out of the thousands of visitors we get?’

    Thankfully, we never had a letter of complaint. But I think this bodes ill for the future, where we will have to change even the past to suit Moslem sensitivities.   Mad! Absolutely mad…



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


18 June, 2013

'Fathers are treated as mere sperm donors': Captain Corelli's Mandolin author hits out at family courts

Father's Day has become a day of sorrow and anger for many because family courts treat men like 'sperm donors', the best-selling author of Captain Captain Corelli's Mandolin has claimed.

Louis de Bernieres, 58, argues that Father's Day goes by completely unnoticed by many children as a man's role in the family is being made to seem increasingly unimportant.

And, on the annual celebration of fatherhood, he has slammed the courts for treating 'fathers heartlessly as mere sperm donors and bankers' and for always favouring the rights of mothers.

He said: 'For too many men, Father's Day is a day of sorrow, frustration and anger, and for too many children it passes unnoticed.'

The author, who has previously spoken about his own struggle to see his children after splitting from their mother, also blamed 'political incorrectness' for making a father's role seem irrelevant.

He argued that the vital role of fathers is left out of literature for new parents and from teaching at school - instead concentrating on the importance of the mother.

In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph, he wrote: 'In schools nobody tells boys that fathering is the most important and responsible thing they will ever do, nor that, when done well, fatherhood bestows upon you the deepest, most satisfying and fun relationships of your life.

'The only explanation for this neglect is terror of the political incorrectness of offending single mothers, and the general mythologising of fathers as irrelevant and feckless abusers.'

He called for fathers to be included in education about parenthood and for their role in 'children's lives to be properly respected'.

Mr de Bernieres has been campaigning for equal custody rights for fathers for several years after revealing he was left 'suicidal' after splitting from the mother of his children.

In 2010, the patron of Families Need Fathers (FNF) told how difficult it was for him see his young children, Robin and Sophie, after his 11-year-relationship with Cathy Gill, an actress and theatre director, broke down in 2009.

In newsletter sent out by FNF, he said that mothers do not have a 'divine right to own the children' and called for equal parenting to be the normal arrangement for parting couples.

He said: 'It was really dreadful.  'The worst thing, practically, was finding the house so quiet, because it was always so full of laughter and rampaging and stampeding.  'There was always a lot of noise and fun, and it suddenly went quiet.  'The emotional desolation is hard to describe.

'There were many times when I felt suicidal. One of the most extreme things you feel is a fantastically deep, bitter, anger at being treated so outrageously.'


Shut half of British government departments and save billions, says Dominic Raab

Nearly half of the departments in Whitehall should be shut to save billions of pounds and avoid cuts to frontline services, a Tory MP has said.

Dominic Raab MP suggested that the numbers of departments should be cut from 20 to 11, which if combined with a one per cent public sector pay cap would save £10billion a year.

Under Mr Raab’s plan the Home Office and Ministry of Justice would be merged into one department, reversing a split which happened under Gordon Brown in 2007.

Similarly the Foreign Office and Department for International Development, as well as the departments for Energy and Climate Change, and Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs would be merged.

The culture and transport departments would be combined, as well as the Communities and Local Goverment and the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish offices.

Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Mr Raab said: “Britain doesn’t need such a bloated bureaucracy. By slashing the number of government departments – from 20 to 11 - we could cut a huge amount of waste without sacrificing front line services.

“We need an overhaul of Whitehall. The UK has twenty separate government departments. That is high by international standards: the US has 15, Japan 12, Germany 14, while even high-spending Sweden only has twelve.

“As well as inflating public spending, the proliferation of departments encourages mandarins to amass self-serving fiefdoms, fuels excessive regulation, and hampers a joined-up approach to policy-making in cross-cutting areas.”

Mr Raab added that “some departments, like DCMS - which also includes the pointless Government Equalities Office - and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), don’t merit separate bureaucracies with all their associated costs, churning out red-tape.

“In other areas, the proliferation of Whitehall silos hampers coordinated policy making. Too often, for example, the Department for International Development has operated a shadow foreign policy – it should be put back under the wing of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“Likewise, do we really need two departments for the environment? In practice, it dislocates energy and de-carbonisation policy from vital task of strengthening UK environmental resilience, such as flood and coastal defences.”

The news came as a Government-commissioned report said the Prime Minister should be given the power to appoint the most senior civil servants who run Whitehall departments, a Government-commissioned report recommended.

The IPPR think-tank said Cabinet ministers should also be able to appoint an “extended office” of staff who work directly for them comprising political advisers and non-partisan outside experts as well as career civil servants.

The proposals are intended to make officials more accountable and responsive to ministers without undermining the fundamental commitment to a non-partisan, merit-based Civil Service.

They are likely, nevertheless, to prove highly contentious and provoke fresh accusations that ministers are trying to politicise Whitehall.

The recruitment process for permanent secretaries would still be overseen by the independent Civil Service Commission which would be responsible for drawing up a short list of suitable candidates.

However the final selection would be made by the Prime Minister who, the report argues, is the person best placed to pick the key personnel who are needed to ensure the successful delivery of his political programme.

The successful candidates would be given fixed-term four-year contracts which would be renewable depending on performance.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who commissioned the report, welcomed the proposals, describing them as “evolutionary” and saying they went “with the grain of our Westminster system”.


Sad when it takes a Russian leader to puncture European fantasies

He’s no Milton Friedman, but he’s right about the welfare state

"Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking ahead of the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland on 17-18 June, said his country would not follow the mistakes of Europe that led to the eurozone crisis. In a wide-ranging interview he blamed the EU’s “mentality” for endangering the economy and the “moral basics of society”. …

Asked if Europe’s welfare state model can be competitive today, Putin said Europe is living beyond its means, losing control of the economic situation and that Europe’s structural distortions were “unacceptable” to Russia. “Many European countries are witnessing a rise of [the] dependency mentality when not working is often much more beneficial than working. This type of mentality endangers not only the economy but also the moral basics of the society. It is not a secret that many citizens of less developed countries come to Europe intentionally to live on social welfare,” Putin said."

It’s hard to disagree with anything Putin says in that passage.

Seems like he understands that Europe made a big mistake by having too many people in the wagon and too few people pulling the wagon.


Depardieu: Never mind Russia, it’s France that’s “almost Bolshevik”

Remember the saga of Gerard Depardieu, the wealthy and much-maligned French actor who had the nerve to seek residence (and, presumably, a lower tax burden) elsewhere? French Socialist politicians flipped their lids when the well-known actor headed for the exits, and even though he hasn’t completely renounced his French citizenship, the actor was pretty clear in a recent interview that nobody has succeeded in guilt-tripping him into backing down. Via The Independent:

In his first lengthy press interview since he announced six months ago that he was “sending back” his French passport, Mr Depardieu said he now saw himself as a “citizen of the world”. …

Last December the actor engaged in a public slanging match with the Socialist government in France after announcing that he intended to live in Belgium to avoid high French taxes. In his interview yesterday with the Journal du Dimanche, he denied that he was a “tax exile”. He said that he still paid 30 per cent of his income in French taxes – but not the 87 per cent that he claimed he would have to pay if he lived full-time in his native country. …

France, he said, was “almost a Bolshevik country”, in view of the “hidden scandals” such as that of the former Budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, who avoided taxes by having an illegal bank account abroad.

Well, I don’t know about this guy specifically — getting all buddy-buddy with Vladimir Putin does feel pretty sketchy — but the point is, more central-planning does tend to lead to more corruption and plutocracy, and that the Socialist French government is delusional if they think that wealthy individuals and businesses are going to wait around patiently for the government to serve them with still more decrees about how it’s their duty to pay a still larger majority of their income to sputtering, stalled-out mess that is the inefficient and extravagant bureaucracy. Neither economic pragmatism nor some misbegotten sense of patriotism are going to stop people from making choices in their own rational self-interest, no matter how much outrageous outrage Socialist politicians care to muster.

And speaking of merely that latest of Socialist French President Francois Hollande’s litany of political problems, the WSJ has the scoop:

The French government kicked off a fresh round of talks on Friday to overhaul the country’s state-backed pension fund, the fourth attempt in a decade to fix a generous but underfinanced system.

The effort will test the ability of the Socialist President François Hollande to push through painful measures. Although his predecessor, the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, increased the standard pension age to 62 from 60 in 2010, the government says it is imperative to consider new changes.

Without revision, the retirement of waves of baby boomers, combined with the increase in life expectancy, will leave the pension fund with a €20 billion ($27 billion) deficit in 2020—about 1% of the country’s gross domestic product."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


17 June, 2013

Interview with Helen Smith on men's role

Any man well-advised about British and American divorce laws would NEVER marry.  To do so is putting his neck in a noose.  And women wonder why men won't "commit"  -- JR

John Hawkins

Helen Smith is one of best writers in the business about men’s rights issues and her new book, Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters, is a must read masterpiece on the subject.

I was very pleased to get the opportunity to interview Helen about her book and what follows is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Q. The standard liberal feminist response to a book like this is that men have every advantage over women and I know you don’t agree. Tell women why men don’t have every advantage and why they certainly don’t feel like they have every advantage.

A. Well if you’ve ever read Warren Farrell’s book, The Myth of Male Power, it talks about some of the issues that men have faced over the years. Men go to war, men tend to make up more of a homeless population. We always think of men at the top, but actually that’s not really true. Men are at the top and they’re at the bottom and the thing is, a lot of times women tend to be in the middle.

But what happens is women look up and they say, “Oh, a few men are at the top.” Well, like Scott Adams wrote in the Dilbert cartoons, “Those are other men.” The average man himself is looking around and saying, “You know what? I don’t have such a good deal anymore.” And we don’t know that they ever really did.

Believe it or not, 100 years ago or more, if their wife did something they would actually be held accountable and put in jail. So a lot of times what we think is a horrible injustice against women is actually also an injustice against men because if men didn’t keep a woman in line, the government or the establishment would put them in jail for something that a woman did.

But we always look at things in terms only through the lens of what do women need and what do women want and we don’t turn it around and say, what’s the right thing for men?

Q. If a man came to you and he said listen, “I think marriage is great there’s no downside to it.” What would you say to him? Not telling him not to do it, but maybe saying, “Have you thought about the other side of this?” What are some of the negatives for men in marriage that are making men less likely to marry?

A. Well, the first negatives are the legal ones. If man does get divorced, he’s much more likely to pay alimony. For example, about 97 percent of alimony is paid by men, only about 3 percent of by women. Men tend to lose with their children more often. Only about 10 percent of men get custody of their children if there’s a divorce. In marriage, …if a man finds out a couple of years down the line that the child isn’t his, the state, in certain states — not most states — a man can be forced to pay for that child even though that child is not his. At the same time, if he wants a vasectomy — now this one is hard because it’s actually not on the books — but if a married man goes to a doctor and wants a vasectomy, most doctors in this country will not perform a vasectomy unless that man gets his wife to sign off.

…If he wants to leave the marriage, a woman can just point her finger and tell her lawyer that a man committed child abuse, domestic abuse — and a lot of times it’s just taken as a given. If a woman wants a restraining order against a man in a marriage, men most often are taken to jail when you know the woman calls the police. However, studies actually show that violence in domestic relations is almost 50% from men and 50% from women. If a woman gets angry for any reason, she can simply accuse a man and men are just assumed guilty in our society.

The other thing is psychological reasons. Men’s self-esteem suffers more than women when they don’t see their friends as often and that’s because women tend to congregate a little more. When men lose contact with those friends, their mental and you know their psychological health can suffer from that. Men are also generally given the worst part of the house once kids come along. The man is kind of put downstairs to the basement, whether he wants to be there or not. Now sure, a lot of men might enjoy the basement but they shouldn’t be forced down there.

In my work over the years, I’ve actually seen men who hang around outside or they’ll say, “I don’t mind being outside in the garage,” but the minute they get a divorce they’re right back in that house and wanting the full use of it.

So, I do think that there are a lot of issues that men want to consider when they think about marriage because in our society if you make a mistake and if you’re a man, there’s a lot more at stake. If you’re a woman and you make a mistake, yes it can be bad, but the state is with you, you probably are going to get your children, you probably are going to get some child support, it’s more than likely you’re not going to be kicked out of your house. There’s even more support for you. There are a lot of organizations to help women, there are almost none to help men.

Q. One of the biggest issues, because it impacts people throughout their whole life is that women have surpassed men in college. There are more women graduating then men — and that’s an every year thing. This is huge because we have such a highly educated workforce. If you don’t get that college degree it can literally put you behind for your entire life. Why do you think men are falling behind at college?

A. Well, there are a number of reasons and one of them is proposed by Christina Hoff Sommer, who wrote The War Against Boys. And what she says is that a lot of these colleges have become very woman oriented and a lot of the classes that we have are more oriented towards women.

In a lot of the schools, I think boys actually lose out earlier. We don’t teach boys to like school, to want to be in school. …And the other thing is that they make worse grades. There was a study at the London School of Economics and they found that boys actually get worse grades if they’re taught by females and since only 15 percent of elementary school teachers are men, most of the teachers boys have during the day are women. Those women tend to describe boy’s behavior as much worse than they would the girls. They also tend to give those boys lower marks. I’m talking in generalities, but a lot of times boys don’t emphasize the same types of things. For example they’re not as rule oriented, where they do everything they’re told to do. They’re less likely to sit still. They’re more likely to learn a little bit differently. And the schools are more oriented towards the way that girls learn and boys are sort of told to sit down, keep quiet, and read Toni Morrison.

There are really just very few boys who are that interested in that type of situation, and these high schools are not geared towards boys. There are boys who fall through the cracks, don’t further their education and like you say, it’s a shame because those boys do tend to make less. They tend to end up in jail. They tend to just do worse in life in general and we in our society we say that those boys aren’t important. I do want to point out that in addition to white boys, you’d think people of the liberal persuasion would at least care about the minority boys. But apparently that’s not even enough to get you any help.

Q. There was a funny phrase you used in the book, dripping with contempt each time you used it — it’s called an Uncle Tim. Tell people what an Uncle Tim is.

A. Well, an Uncle Tim is just a male sell-out. …They are either are guys who just want to get laid and they just go along with whatever women want to say because they figure, “Oh, if this woman thinks I’m a feminist type, she’ll want to have sex with me.” Then there’s the other type that benefit because they’re either political or because their job makes it easier to go along with the whole feminist bent. In politics, especially in Democratic politics, it’s just much easier. Remember women make up a majority of Democratic voters. So you have to sort of placate them and so I think that we see a lot of Uncle Tim’s in Democratic politics.

But I don’t think that’s to negate the other side of it, which are the conservatives. I’m talking about white knights. If you actually read the men’s rights blogs, and I’m sure you do, they talk a lot about white knights and a white knight is just simply the more the chivalrous type. They approve of things like the Violence Against Women Act because they like to see men as the big bad wolf that women need protecting from. I think they see women more as needing protection and not as being strong and independent.

Q. One of the things I have long believed is that women already had their basic revolution in behavior in the 60s when they’ve got out into the job market and so they’ve had this big change in their behavior. I don’t see that same change in men. To me, men basically seem to look at things the same way they did and think about things the same way they did 50 years ago. So I think there’s a big change coming in society. And so I’m just reading a little passage from your book,

“Men are opting out, bailing out, and going on strike in response to the attack on their gender. A society can’t spend more than 40 years tearing down almost half the population and expect them to respond with, “give me another” forever.”

So what is the response? Where do you see this going with men? What do you see men doing in response to this? What’s the men’s revolution?

A. According to Warren Farrell, he talks about the revolution as two parts. There’s an economic one, where men really feel that they’re being held down and at the same time, there’s a psychological one in that men really feel that they’ve lost respect, there isn’t a whole lot there for them and they feel sort of downtrodden. I think as you see that more, I think those are the two issues that are really going to propel men forward to speak up for their own needs.

Because in the past, men have never really spoken up for their own needs. They’ve always worried about the community and what women and children need, but I think that men are starting to put some of their needs first and it’s not a selfish thing. I think I’m looking at it more in terms of political and legal aspects because I don’t see how anyone in the United States of America can say it’s OK to treat one gender worse.

There was a “Dear Colleague” letter that was sent out in 2011 by the Obama administration telling those colleges that take federal funds that they want them to lower the standards of evidence to one that says if there is a school that thinks or if a man is accused of a sexual assault, all they need to believe is that it was 50+1 percent true. Even a criminal has more rights than a young man on our college campuses today and I don’t see how people can think in the United States of America that it’s OK to have young men’s due process rights destroyed this way or that it’s OK for 50,000 men on any given day to be in jail for child support arrears. I thought we got rid of debtor’s prisons, but apparently it’s alive and well in the feminist states of America.

I’m not against feminism. I think feminism has done something wonderful themes for women, but at the same time what feminism has become is special privileges for women and more responsibilities for men. It’s just its unfair. I think people who believe that we can hold one gender down while elevating the other one are going to collapse our society at some point.


Multiculturalism thriving in Britain

A gang of drug dealers who enjoyed a millionaire lifestyle after flooding the capital with more than £5.5million worth of heroin have been jailed for a total of 72 years.

The pushers bought a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce, a £21,000 Rolex watch and designer threads from Paris after raking in a fortune running a string of drugs factories.

They also drove supercars including a Lamborghini and amassed an impressive collection of Dom Perignon and Cristal champagne, worth £700 a bottle.

A total of 55.62kg, worth an estimated street value of more than £5.5million, was seized during a series of raids across London and Kent.

The gang brazenly photographed themselves with the ‘spoils’ of their crimes, posing to show off the soles of their designer shoes and wearing three Rolexes, said prosecutor Kerry Broom.

The supply operation, busted in February this year, was led by Warren Desmangles, described as ‘pretty close to the top of the tree’.

The gang brazenly photographed themselves with the ‘spoils’ of their crimes, posing to show off their three Rolexes, said prosecutor Kerry Broom

The 31-year-old was jailed for 16 years in March this year, while drugs courier Dalwar Davis, 30, received a nine-year prison sentence.

Alistair Odoi, 37, and Duane Watson, 30, were each jailed for a total of 17 years on Friday.  Desmangles’ cousin, Darren Husbands, 33, who acted as a courier, received a seven-year term, while Jason Willis, 25, got six years.

Sentencing Desmangles and Davis, Judge Anthony Leonard QC said: ‘You enjoyed the luxury trappings including watches which cost five figures to buy, and a Rolex worth £21,000.

‘You enjoyed the benefit of Cristal champagne worth £700 a bottle, and Louis Vuitton trainers costing up to £795.  ‘It’s reasonable to assume you were living a millionaire lifestyle - you had that sort of money to spend.  ‘You were making vast profits from the trading of buying and selling heroin on a commercial scale.’

Drugs were stashed in a rented flat conveniently located in the same block as Desmangles’ home in Canary Wharf, east London, and also at Davis’ home in Chingford, east London.

After the duo were arrested, new factories were set up in Enfield, north London; Hackney, east London; and Dartford, Kent.

A hoard of paraphernalia was also discovered, including two presses and food processors, together with numerous kilos of cutting agents including caffeine and paracetamol, and money counting machines.

Davis, of Walthamstow, east London; Desmangles, of  Canary Wharf, east London; Odoi, of Stoke Newington, north London; Husbands, of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire; Watson, of Tottenham, north London; and Willis, of Waltham Abbey, Essex, all admitted conspiracy to supply heroin.

Davis also admitted a further charge of possessing criminal property, as did Odoi, who also pleaded guilty to having a prohibited stun gun.


Britain is  too weak to face up to  extremism

It is less than a month since Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich, yet already the incident feels half-forgotten. In terms of the legal process, all is well. Two men have been charged. There will be a trial. No doubt justice will be done. But I have a sense that the horror felt at the crime is slipping away.

The media, notably the BBC, quickly changed the subject. After a day or two focusing on the crime itself, the reports switched to anxiety about the “Islamophobic backlash”. According to Tell Mamma, an organisation paid large sums by the Government to monitor anti-Muslim acts, “the horrendous events in Woolwich brought it [Islamophobia] to the fore”. Tell Mamma spoke of a “cycle of violence” against Muslims.

Yet the only serious violence was against a British soldier, who was dead. In The Sunday Telegraph, Andrew Gilligan brilliantly exposed the Tell Mamma statistics – most of them referred merely to nasty remarks on the web rather than actual attacks, many were not verified, no reported attack had required medical attention, and so on. Yet the “backlash” argument has sailed on, with people shaking their heads gravely about the need to “reassure” Muslims. Tell Mamma equates “hate inspired by al-Qaeda” with the “thuggery and hate of the EDL [the English Defence League]”.

A trap is set here, inviting those of us who reject such statements, to defend the EDL. I do not. While not, in its stated ideology, a racist organisation like the BNP, the EDL has an air of menace. It must feel particularly unpleasant for Muslims when its supporters hit the streets. But the EDL is merely reactive. It does not – officially at least – support violence. It is the instinctive reaction of elements of an indigenous working class which rightly perceives itself marginalised by authority, whereas Muslim groups are subsidised and excused by it. Four days ago, six Muslim men were sentenced at the Old Bailey for a plot to blow up an EDL rally. The news was received quietly, though it was a horrifying enterprise. No one spoke of “white-phobia”. Imagine the hugely greater coverage if the story had been the other way round.

All journalists experience this disparity. If we attack the EDL for being racist, fascist and pro-violence, we can do so with impunity, although we are not being strictly accurate. If we make similar remarks about Islamist organisations, we will be accused of being racist ourselves. “Human rights” will be thrown at us. We shall also – this has happened to me more than once – be subject to “lawfare”, a blizzard of solicitors’ letters claiming damages for usually imagined libels. Many powerful people in the Civil Service, local government, politics and the police, far from backing up our attacks on extremism, will tut-tut at our “provocative” comments.

Much more important – from the point of view of the general public – you frequently find that Muslim groups like Tell Mamma get taxpayers’ money (though, in its case, this is now coming to an end). You discover that leading figures of respectable officialdom share conference platforms with dubious groups. You learn that Muslim charities with blatantly political aims and Islamist links have been let off lightly by the Charity Commission. And you notice that many bigwigs in Muslim groups are decorated with public honours. Fiyaz Mughal, for example, who runs Tell Mamma, has an OBE. Obviously it would be half-laughable, half-disgusting, if activists of the EDL were indulged in this way; yet they are, in fact, less extreme than some of those Muslims who are.

More than two years ago, David Cameron delivered an important speech in Munich when he emphasised that Islamist terrorism arises from the poisoning of young minds. He said that extremism does not have to be violent for it to be dangerous. If it stirs up hate and spreads lies, it rolls the pitch for violent action. He wanted the Government’s counter-terrorism Prevent programme reviewed in this light.

The results were initially good. Grants were cut and people were denied access. But there was too little follow-through within government, Civil Service or police. Although consistently tough himself, Mr Cameron has not persuaded others to be the same. Seeking a sop for Lady Warsi, whom he wanted to demote from the Tory chairmanship, he made her the “minister for faith and communities” without thinking of its consequences for his Munich agenda. This strange job, which gave her a foothold in two government departments, has made her a spokesman on these issues. Yet Lady Warsi is very slow to condemn Muslim sectarianism and has appeared on the platform of FOSIS, the federation of Muslim students which has repeatedly given house room to extremism. Five subsequently convicted terrorists have held office in Muslim student societies in British universities, yet the university authorities usually disclaim any responsibility.

Malcolm Grant is the president of University College London, whose student Islamic society was run by the “Underpants Bomber”, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He resists the suggestion that he should prevent such extremism on his premises. Now, as well as UCL, Prof Grant manages to be chairman of NHS England. I predict a peerage very shortly, or at least a knighthood. I also predict that preachers of deadly hate will continue to operate easily in our universities under the banner of academic freedom. FOSIS encourages “community cohesion”, according to a universities spokesman.

I come back to the killing of Lee Rigby. This act of blatant, total barbarism on an English street in broad daylight shocked every decent person, but not quite enough. Almost as shocking as the bestial cruelty was the brazenness. When you saw young men with blood-soaked arms standing there and talking about what they said they had done, you knew that they would be arrested. But that was not as much comfort as it should have been. You also sensed that they had little fear: they felt that they almost had permission to act as they had done from a society too weak to make such an act unthinkable. They were, unfortunately, right to think that way.

In Britain today, extremists intuit that organised society is at a disadvantage to them. They understand that what makes them feel strong – the power of obnoxious ideas – is exactly what the authorities do not want to investigate and attack.

It is worrying, for example, that MI5 has a “behavioural sciences unit” to try to understand the psychology and anthropology of young terrorists, but no comparable unit studying ideology alone. It actually states on its website that the threat of subversion in Britain is “now [since the end of the Cold War] considered to be negligible”, and so it no longer investigates it. Intelligence agencies think in terms of state power, and they know that subversion by enemy states is not happening now. They have not adjusted to the new reality – subversion that goes way beyond states, the capture of hearts and minds by evil.

This weekend, Nelson Mandela is gravely ill. When he was a boy, his teacher – whose name was Wellington – replaced his African first name with that of a British hero: he called him Nelson. It stuck. Anti-imperialist though he is, Mandela was educated with a profound respect for the British culture of parliamentary democracy. It became, in many respects, his model for a multiracial South Africa. It arose from good beliefs inculcated early in life. In our own country today, almost the opposite happens. In our state schools, in mosques, on the internet, in university gatherings, many young people are taught to detest the freedom in which they live. Just as surely as good teaching, bad teaching has its power. We refuse even to face it, let alone to stop it.


Australia officially recognises third gender of 'intersex' on all documents for people who do not feel they are male or female

Australia has announced new guidelines to recognise the gender category 'intersex' on official documents.  Under the new system, which will come into effect from July 1, individuals will not be required to have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy to select the new category.

Since 2011 Australian nationals who were biologically not entirely male or female, have been able to select 'X' as a gender category on their passports.

Transgender people have been able to pick whether they are male or female providing their choice is supported by a doctor.

The changes mean people will now have the option to select M (male), F (female) or X (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified).

It follows a recommendation by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2009 for the government to consider setting out guidelines for the collection of sex and gender information.

According to Australia's Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus the new guidelines will make it easier for people to establish or change their sex or gender in personal records held by federal government departments and agencies.

He said: 'We recognise individuals may identify, and be recognised within the community, as a gender other than the gender they were assigned at birth or during infancy, or as an indeterminate gender.  'This should be recognised and reflected in their personal records held by departments and agencies.'

If an Australian wants to change the gender entry on their personal record, the government will now accept a statement from their doctor or psychologist, a valid Australian passport or a state or territory birth certificate or other document which shows their preferred status.

Mr Dreyfus said:'Transgender and intersex people in Australia face many issues trying to ensure the gender status on their personal records matches the gender they live and how they are recognised by the community.  'These guidelines will bring about a practical improvement in the everyday lives of transgender, intersex and gender diverse people.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


16 June, 2013

Muslims must reject jihad

Pat Condell addresses British Muslims

Ministers refuse to mark Waterloo: Campaigners say Government do not want to celebrate 200th anniversary in case they offend France

It is often regarded as the British Army’s greatest military victory.  Led into battle by the Duke of Wellington, UK troops routed Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, a triumph ushering in almost a century of peace and stability in Europe.

But the Government is refusing to mark the battle’s 200th anniversary in 2015 amid suspicions it does not want to offend France.

That decision is in stark contrast to Belgium - where the clash took place. The government in Brussels is spending at least £20million on commemorative events, including restoring the battlefield.

Instead, there will only be ‘initiatives’ at military museums and ‘some commemorative activity’ at the Duke’s former homes.

The decision also contrasts with the major events organised to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007 which involved an apology on behalf of the nation by then prime minister Tony Blair.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has told the bicentenary campaign group Waterloo 200 that he will not help. The Government has also declined to hand over a single penny for any events.

James Morrow, secretary of Waterloo 200, which is organising commemorations including a service at St Paul’s and a re-enactment of the Waterloo Despatch, where British troops travelled with three captured French troops to London to tell the King of victory, said he was ‘disappointed’.  He said: ‘The Government has given us its blessing but it is difficult to know why they are not being overly supportive.  ‘They have encouraged us but they have not got behind us.

‘The Belgian government has spent millions on events to commemorate the battle but we have been given zilch, zippo, nothing. I think it’s very disappointing.

‘The Battle of Waterloo was a milestone in European history which ended over 20 years of conflict in Europe.  ‘We can’t let the 200th anniversary pass without marking it and learning lessons about why it was so important.’

Ian Fletcher, editor of the Waterloo Association’s journal, said: ‘When you look at some of the crazy ideas that the Government wastes money on, you would have thought they might have found some for the Waterloo commemorations.  It’s an appalling indictment of where their priorities lie.’

David Green, director of the Civitas think-tank, said: ‘This is very unsatisfactory, especially if the reason is not to insult the French or because celebrating the victory would be seen as bad or triumphalist.  ‘It appears to be ludicrous hyper-sensitivity.

‘Waterloo was a battle of the most immense importance. Britain was fighting a tyrant who had conquered Europe. It was a momentous moment that should be commemorated. We should be shouting it from the rooftops.’

In a message to Waterloo 200, the 8th Duke of Wellington said: ‘I am often asked whether we should not now, in these days of European unity, forget Waterloo and the battles of the past.
Napoleon Bonaparte, French Emperor, whose power was broken at Waterloo

‘My reply is, history cannot be forgotten and we need to be reminded of the bravery of the thousands of men from many nations who fought and died in a few hours and why their gallantry and sacrifice ensured peace in Europe for 50 years.’

Waterloo was fought a few miles south of Brussels on June 18, 2015.

Wellington described his own troops as ‘very weak and ill-equipped, and a very inexperienced staff’.

Britain and its allies had 68,000 men, and were joined by about 45,000 Prussians on the evening of the battle. The French had 72,000 troops.

Heavy rain had turned the battlefield into a swamp. The scale of casualties was staggering - around one in four men were killed.

But the victory brought about the final destruction of Napoleon’s army and the end of his bloody reign as dictator.


People worried about immigration and EU are not 'Little Englanders'

David Cameron today attacked Labour for dismissing people worried about immigration and the over-bearing power of Brussels as 'Little Englanders'.

The Prime Minister used a major speech on Britain's place in the world to condemn the other 'wrongheaded approach' of people who embrace globalisation 'so enthusiastically that they lose sight of the national interest'.

He said: 'We’re familiar with their frankly patronising approach to those who may disagree.   '"You’re a Little Englander" they say. "You don’t get the modern world".

'This approach – largely pursued under the last Government – didn’t feel too good for ordinary people – and frankly it didn’t do too much for our competitiveness either.

'We saw mass, uncontrolled immigration changing communities in a way people didn’t feel comfortable with, putting huge pressure on public services.

'We saw large bureaucracies like the EU having a huge impact on our way of life in a way no one voted for, while at the same time burdening our businesses with red tape and regulation.

'We saw, fundamentally, a political class too easily seduced by the rewards of globalisation – and not alert enough to the risks.'

However, Mr Cameron also insisted that remaining part of the European Union is vital to Britain being able to compete in the world.

He vowed to take on people who adopt a 'stop the world, I want to get off' approach and ignore the threat posed by 'leaner, fitter countries'.

He claimed opponents to reforms of the ‘bloated welfare system’ and underperforming state schools are 'in denial'.

The Prime Minister lay out three key goals - creating a world-class education system, reforming benefits and rebalancing the debt-fuelled economy - which he described as ‘national weaknesses’.

In a bullish speech ahead of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland next week, he revealed ‘ruthless’ plans to ‘turn our country around and give all our people the best chance of success’.

Taking on welfare spending, after a week in which the Labour party finally committed to caps on benefits, and economists predicted that austerity could last another decade, he said: ‘We have identified, very clearly, our key areas of national weakness compared to the rest of the world.

‘One – our debt-fuelled, unbalanced economy. Two – our bloated welfare system. Three – our under-performing education system.

‘These are the priorities that define and drive our domestic agenda. A stronger economy. Welfare that works. A world-class education system. And we are pursuing them with ruthless ambition for everyone in this country.’

He attacked Labour’s record on education, and say a ‘sense of opportunity’ has been lacking for too long for children in the worst performing schools.

Britain’s national interests are a battle ‘on two fronts’, with the need to both competing at home and stand up for British values abroad, and every government department will be focused on the global race, he said.

He also set a goal to make Britain one of the top five places in the world to do business and the number one country to do business in Europe in the next three years.

'When your prosperity is won in far-flung places, when your fortunes are disproportionately affected by what happens beyond your borders then your national interest is not just about standing up for yourself – but standing up for what’s right, and standing for something more.

‘At the UN. The Commonwealth. NATO. The WTO. The G8. The G20. And yes – the EU. Membership of these organisations is not national vanity – it is in our national interest’, he said.

‘The fact is that it is in international institutions that many of the rules of the game are set on trade, tax and regulation. When a country like ours is affected profoundly by those rules, I want us to have a say on them.

‘That doesn’t mean supinely going with the flow…far from it. At the European Union we are prepared to stand up for Britain’s interests with resolve and tenacity.

'In Europe, actions speak louder than words. This is about boldly pursuing our interests - not by withdrawing from the world but engaging with it.’

Mr Cameron boasted of how he secured a cut in the EU's seven-year budget, removing Britain from the Eurozone bailout mechanism and vetoing an EU Treaty.

But Mr Cameron argued a single market of 500million people in Europe would be a ‘huge advantage in this world’ if it worked properly and was not bureaucratic.

He added: ‘The EU is a way off that goal yet’ which is why he is seeking to negotiate a new membership deal for Britain and put it to a referendum.

He highlighted investment in apprenticeships which are equivalent of a degree, and ‘re-writing the benefits system so that work actually pays.’

He went on: ‘I have a very clear vision of the country we are building. It’s one where there is a sense of opportunity that was lacking for too long.

'Where children in all our schools – in the roughest areas, the places that were once written off are encouraged to dream, inspired to learn and feel good about where they’re going.

‘Where those who want to work hard can get a good job, with prospects and a decent wage each month - enough for a home to raise their family in, enough to feel that things are getting better.

'As a parent what you want more than anything is to be able to look at your children and know they will grow up and be able to fulfil what they were born to be.

‘We tell them that if they try, they can make something of their lives. That is what we teach our children. And we need to build that country for them. Where everyone who works hard can get on. Where effort is rewarded. Where we pull together to make life better.’


Diversity at work

An image has emerged showing a Wendy’s server filling his mouth with ice cream directly from the nozzle of a Frosty machine.

The photo is just the latest in a series of unpleasant images to go viral showing fast food employees doing things that their employers wouldn't approve off.

The only certainty with this PR disaster is when the fast food chain catches the culprit he will undoubtedly get sacked for doing untold damage to the chain’s brand.

The photograph surfaced on Reddit on Wednesday along with the words: ‘I was going to buy a frosty from Wendy's until I saw the employee do this’.

The photograph appears to have been taken behind the counter which suggests that the person taking it was also an employee.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


14 June, 2013

France: Man attacked by two Muslims because he was eating a ham sandwich

A few years ago, Muslim cabbies at the Minneapolis airport began to refuse to carry passengers who were carrying alcohol. It became a big controversy, as some counter-jihad activists began asking whether the cab drivers would soon begin enforcing other Sharia rules upon their non-Muslim customers. Would they, for example, refuse to carry a passenger who had a ham sandwich?

Such concerns were dismissed at the time as hysterical exaggerations of what was presented as a completely innocuous attempt by the cab drivers to exercise their religious freedom.

But now, with this incident, we see the next step that we predicted all those years ago: the violent enforcement of Sharia provisions on non-Muslims -- in what still is, for the moment, a non-Muslim country.

It sounds incredible but it is being treated with great seriousness by the police in Reims police station (Marne). A 23-year-old man filed a complaint on the 8th of June after having been attacked the previous evening at 9.30 pm in a city tramway by two strangers. They struck him several times on the face because he was eating a ham sandwich.

The two attackers, who claimed to be Muslims, said they were offended by this consumption of pork in front of their eyes before attacking the young man.

A witness, a friend of the young man who was present when the incident occurred, has been interviewed by the investigators and has confirmed the reality of the attack. The two attackers, who fled, have not yet been found. The CCTV tapes in the tramway are currently being examined.


France:  Uneven outrage

In March of last year, when a Jewish teacher and three students were gunned down in Toulouse, the international left smugly and giddily j’accused “French neo-Nazis” of carrying out the dirty deed.

“One could be forgiven for concluding that Meric and his pals went to that Fred Perry sale looking for a fight and got one, with tragic consequences.”

Until a few days later that is, when the killer turned out to be a Muslim, and then suddenly (as the kids say these days) not a f*ck was given.

Maybe it’s just me, but few things scream “Holy crap! The Nazis are coming!” quite like reports of Jewish kids being randomly executed in broad daylight in and around the general vicinity of Europe.

But then again, I’m not a super-duper sophisticated French leftist, none of whom took to their (tree-lined) streets to condemn that crime or any other recent outbreaks of anti-Semitism in their country. (OK, stop laughing….)

Smash cut to June 7, 2013. Across France, a reported 15,000 or so protesters assembled to condemn the death of 18-year-old “left-wing activist” and Anti-Fascist Action member Clement Meric, who “died after being attacked by skinheads.”

In good ol’ Toulouse, we’re told, “demonstrators”—apparently all born without the irony gene—“held banners that read ‘As some protest, others kill.’”

And note that only “some” are allowed to “protest”: The city’s mayor rushed to ban “fascists” from holding a previously planned rally to commemorate the Christian victory over Muslim invaders in the 721 Battle of Toulouse.

Not to be outdone, the French prime minister himself has ordered the “dissolution” of a “fringe far-right” youth group that may or may not have had something to do with Meric’s death.

(The French government can apparently “dissolve” groups it doesn’t approve of, and yes, that does sound kind of, well, fascist of them.)

Now, as to the death of Meric itself, what happened exactly?

No one with even passing familiarity with the Official (Leftist) Version of History—from Sacco and Vanzetti and the Rosenbergs to Tawana Brawley and Trayvon Martin—will be surprised to learn that the victim in this case may not have been entirely blameless.

Anyway, even the reliably left-leaning Reuters reports (albeit eight paragraphs in) that “Meric’s head injuries came when he fell against a metal post after being punched by tattooed Right-wing youths he had been taunting in a typical clash between the two camps.”

This “typical clash” occurred outside “a Fred Perry private sale.” We’re further informed that Meric and his three friends “started mocking the skinheads’ [sic] over their outfit [sic].”

For those unschooled in the finer points of postwar teenage subcultural anthropology, note that preppy, Lacoste-like “Fred Perry” apparel has long been treasured by, first mods, then skinheads (of various political stripes or none at all.)

They are decidedly not the clothing of choice among those on the “no-logo” left.

In other words, one could be forgiven for concluding that Meric and his pals went to that Fred Perry sale looking for a fight and got one, with tragic consequences.


University of Chicago Removes Pews from 88 Year-Old Chapel to Accommodate Muslim Prayers

University of Chicago (UC) administrators permanently removed pews from an 88-year old chapel on campus in order to accommodate Islamic prayers, according to a local news report.

Chicago NPR affiliate, WBEZ news, reported on May 23, the pews, which are now part of display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago, were “removed in order to provide Muslim students a place to pray.”

Literature describing the artwork that was created by UC Director of Arts and Public Life Theaster Gates, also describes the removal of the pews as symbol of religious tolerance.

“The pews were recently removed from the chapel in order to offer Muslim students a place to pray, a symbolic gesture of religious tolerance,” according to an official description of the exhibit which includes a “set of repurposed pews from the University of Chicago’s campus church.”


IRS Caught on Tape Telling Nonprofit: “Keep Your Faith to Yourself”

The IRS scandal is deepening as a new tape has been released today showing a disturbing phone call the Internal Revenue Service placed to a non-profit organization.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-life legal group, made the audio available today of IRS officials telling a group that provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations to keep its faith to itself. In the recorded phone conversation, an IRS agent lectures the president of the organization about forcing its religion and beliefs on others and inaccurately explains that the group must remain neutral on issues such as abortion.

ADF is providing legal representation for the group — which did not receive its tax-exempt status until last week after waiting nearly two and a half years after applying for it.

“The IRS is a tax collector; it shouldn’t be allowed to be the speech and belief police,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The current scandal isn’t new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms.”

ADF tells LifeNews that, in January 2011, Pro-Life Revolution, which operates from Texas under all three purposes for whcih religious groups can obtain nonprofit status, filed an application for tax-exempt status with the IRS. Four months later, the IRS sent a letter requesting “more information” and an explanation of how the organization’s activities are educational or charitable even though IRS rules specify that an organization need only operate for “one or more” of the three exempt purposes. President of Pro-Life Revolution Ania Joseph nonetheless replied and answered the IRS’s questions.

ADF indicates Joseph received a call from IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Sherry Wan in March 2012.

Wan told her that, in order to obtain a tax exemption, “You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else…. You have to know your boundaries. You have to know your limits. You have to respect other people’s beliefs.”

In February of this year, the IRS requested additional information in another letter and attempted to apply a standard for tax exemption to Pro-Life Revolution that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held to be unconstitutional in 1980. Alliance Defending Freedom pointed this out in a letter responding to the IRS, which finally granted tax-exempt status to the organization in a letter received Thursday.

“The power to tax is the power to destroy,” added Stanley. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We cannot allow the IRS to ruthlessly dictate against legitimate non-profits simply because it does not approve of the organization’s mission. It must be held accountable.”

“The IRS has approved applications for tax exemption for pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and Life and Liberty for Women,” ADF said.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


13 June, 2013

Britain's  battle over  badgers is just another class war

Picture a line of cows’ carcasses, nose to tail, stretching from Piccadilly Circus to Radcliffe Square in Oxford. This image of the 38,000 cattle killed every year by bovine TB is not my own, but that of John Yorke, who owns a farm in Gloucestershire. That horrific toll, he told a Sunday newspaper, is the reason he supports a badger cull.

The reasons why Mr Yorke is a target for animal-rights groups are rather simpler: he runs a 3,000-acre estate, went to Eton and can trace his ancestors back to the Norman Conquest. With a keen sense of PR savvy, activists have decided that while terrorising poor farmers makes them look nasty, terrorising members of the landed gentry will go down very well.

How depressing, if true. Trespassing on someone’s property, armed with vuvuzelas and flashing cameras, may not rank as a serious felony. But I hope no one, apart from a few rabid members of the Stop the Cull lobby, would think that the Yorkes of this world deserve to have their homes trashed.

Sadly, the politics of envy has come to the countryside. Class warriors cleverly conceal their true objective under a sentimental camouflage: saving furry little animals from brutal killing. Yet the new sans-culottes are attacking badger-culling and fox-hunting as the hateful practices of a much-resented elite. The premise is the same, whether it be trotted out by the RSPCA as it prosecutes local hunts, or Stop the Cull, which pledges to trespass on its enemies’ property: toffs with posh accents don’t deserve to be safe in their National Trust homes, any more than astride their thoroughbred horses.

Like hunt saboteurs, anti-cull activists don’t want to wreck a few traps or trip up a few riders – they seek to overthrow the establishment. They can’t get the aristos to the guillotine, so they hope to wrest them from their privileged perches by intimidation. The landed gentry must be made to tremble in the knowledge that activists in balaclavas lurk behind every bush and shrub.

The sad thing is, they might get away with it. Farming has become a minority occupation with which very few Britons have any link. For swathes of urban and suburban dwellers, primary-school trips to petting zoos are as close as they ever get to rural life. The most familiar farmer is Mr McGregor, wielding a pitchfork in Beatrix Potter’s stories.

It’s easy, under such circumstances, for activists to write a nursery tale of their own, complete with cruel humans and innocent four-legged creatures. (Sadly, neither the horses that get injured when hunt saboteurs strike, nor the cows that die of TB carried by badgers, earn a mention.)

It hasn’t helped matters that, when it comes to the badgers, the science behind the cull is confusing – or, at least, the Government’s handling of the science is. First, the Coalition announced a cull, after taking advice from scientists who had carried out a 10-year study of the bovine TB epidemic. When the Badgers’ Trust and RSPCA bared their teeth, ministers took fright and scampered off.

It took the National Farmers’ Union two years to convince the authorities to stop the destruction of their members’ livelihood. Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, has now allowed that culling can make a “significant contribution” to reducing the incidence of bovine TB, and has finally given the green light to two pilot projects in Somerset and Gloucestershire, where marksmen will shoot the pests.

Activists, however, are determined that the reign of terror will descend not on the disease-ridden badgers, but on those carrying out the cull in their mud-splattered wellies and Barbours. And if they overstep the limits of the law, they can always point out that their victim went to Eton. Pity the Yorkes in our midst.


TV's feckless fathers 'give dads a bad name': Programmes attacked for 'casual contempt' of men

It's enough to shake dads out of their slumber and get them leaping out of armchairs with rage.  Fathers are routinely misrepresented as useless and lazy in TV shows, according to a survey of parents.

Children in particular are bombarded with the ‘casual contempt’ of men and the damaging stereotype continues in adult programmes - reinforcing the negative impression.

Many parents complain it amounts to form of ‘discrimination against dads’ that would cause an outcry if women were treated the same way.

Children’s programmes guilty of the peddling the unfair depiction include, according to a Netmums report, Peppa Pig, The Simpsons and The Flintstones.  The onslaught continues in adult shows such as My Family, Outnumbered and Shameless.

An overwhelming 93 per cent of mums and dads said that the way fathers appear on television, as well as books and adverts, bears no relation to their real-life contribution to family life.

Almost half complained children were surrounded by images of feckless fathers, with over a quarter attacking the ‘subtle form of discrimination’ and a fifth saying mums wouldn’t accept being portrayed the same way.

The Netmums survey - released before Father’s Day this Sunday - looked at the opinions of 1,650 mothers and 500 fathers.

More than half agreed society was becoming ‘more appreciative of how important a dad’s role is’ and that fathers are ‘much closer to their kids than in the past’.

Nine in ten dads said they felt they were working harder than their own fathers to be a good parent.  Two thirds said they were proud to work harder to support their family and a similar proportion are ‘happier and more settled’ than before they had children.

One in eight quit smoking and one in 30 overcame a drug habit after learning they were to become a father.

Despite their efforts, a third of parents said mothers continue to be viewed as more important that dads. One in 20 even believe society sees fathers as ‘feckless, lazy or sperm donors’.

An Oven Pride advert for a cleaning product that used the phrase ‘so easy, even a man can do it’ prompted nearly 700 complaints.

Boots also produced an ad for cold and flu products using the line ‘when he’s ill and you don’t have time to be’.

A Chartered Institute of Marketing survey in 2001 found two-thirds of women believed women were portrayed in adverts as intelligent, assertive and caring, while men were shown as pathetic and silly.

And there was a difference of opinion between the sexes about how they viewed their efforts as parents. Nearly two-thirds of men said they were ‘hands-on and fully involved’ in parenting but only half of women agreed.

A quarter of mothers also warned the more permissive attitude to divorce was undermining fatherhood as many dads lose touch with their children following a break-up.

Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard said: ‘The types of jokes aimed at dads would be banned if they were aimed at women, ethnic minorities or religious groups. Some people claim it’s just a joke but there is nothing amusing about taking away good role models.

‘Academic studies show children with involved fathers do far better at school, have a much lower chance of getting involved in crime and have better mental health, so we should be celebrating and encouraging what dads do.’


More multiculturalism in Britain:  "All three men were career criminals"

A disabled pensioner has today revealed the terrifying ordeal he faced as he stabbed a gunman to death in self defence during a bungled robbery.

Cecil Coley, then 72, was playing dominoes with a friend after closing time at his son’s florists shop when four masked men burst in and demanded the takings.

A violent struggle then followed which culminated in Mr Coley stabbing raider Gary Mullings in the heart with a knife he used to cut flower stems.

Mullings, 30, staggered outside and was found lying in the street outside.  Neighbours tried to revive him but he was pronounced dead in hospital with two stab wounds to the chest - one collapsing his lung.

Mr Coley - known as Roy - was later arrested on suspicion of murder but was freed without charge after he said he killed the gunman to save himself and acted in lawful self defence.

Today at an inquest into Mullings’ death a statement from regular churchgoer Mr Coley, now 74, who was too unwell to attend the hearing was read out detailing his torment.  'I was terrified and intimidated and fighting for my life” he said in his statement. 'I was jabbing the knife wildly in the air. I was so scared I just pushed out and jabbed the knife again.

'I was thinking to myself that I was finished, that this was the last moment of my life.  'I was feeling weak and nervous and I passed out and collapsed.'

The hearing was told the incident occurred at 9.40pm on July 26, 2011, as Mr Coley who helps his son run the Feathers Frills and Flowers shop in Old Trafford, Manchester playing dominoes with 67-year old Neville 'Carl' Marrett in a back room.

The robbers, who were wearing balaclavas, were reportedly armed with at least two hand guns and possibly a knife as they demanded cash.

Mr Coley who is registered disabled and takes 32 prescription tablets, said in his statement: 'I heard a knock at the front door and when I opened it both of us were overpowered.

'I couldn’t force them off and they came in and both of us were hit and I was hit with either a first or the butt of as gun. A man went through my pockets shouting, "where’s the money, where’s the money"?

The man took £260 from his pocket before kicking Mr Coley in his side and around the hip area. The man then pulled off the pensioner’s wedding ring and a ring belonging to his daughter he was wearing on his little finger.

'I then heard the noise of a gun being fired and I felt a stinging sensation on my cheek.

'The knife was still in my right hand. I began to jab the knife and I saw the men going out the front door and closing it afterwards.

'I went outside, I was still holding the knife in my hand. I don’t know why this shop would be targeted by these people, I can only think it was opportunistic.'

Mr Coley was quizzed and kept on bail for six weeks until the Crown Prosecution Service concluded he had acted in ‘reasonable self-defence’ whilst fearing for his life and acted instinctively to protect himself.

In his statement Mr Coley said it was 'stressful’ when he was arrested and waiting to find out whether he would be prosecuted for murder. His health was affected and he battles with worry every day.

A colt 45 pistol and an imitation Glock pistol was used in the raid. Police belive the blank firearm was fired close to Mr Coley’s face.

Mr Marrett who was knocked unconscious and had £40 stolen told the Sale hearing: 'We could do nothing.  'I thought this is it, I thought I was going to die.

'I have got a bad shoulder so I couldn’t lift my hand to defend myself when I got hit - there was nothing I could do.'

Mullings’ two brothers Kyle Mullings, 19, who was also stabbed twice in the raid, and Joseph Junior Mullings, 24, and a fourth man Nathan Walters, 26, were all arrested.

Kyle was jailed for three years and six months, Joseph got five years and Walters was jailed for five years and seven months after admitting to robbery and possession of firearms. All three men were career criminals.


Rent controls are madness, we need to build more homes

It is not just house prices that are out of control, increasing again despite being already dangerously over-valued. An even more pressing crisis is that rents are shooting up, tightening the screws on the growing minority of Britons who rely on private landlords.

Generation Rent, which includes the majority of 20 and 30-something professionals and 15.6pc of all households, is being hit by a vicious double whammy: the average rent in England and Wales is now 3.9pc higher than it was this time last year and yet the average wage in the private sector hasn’t gone up at all, with pay rises grinding to a complete halt.

The squeeze is especially acute in London, where rents are 7.6pc higher and where a quarter of residents rent privately, in Wales (up by 5pc) and in the East Midlands (up 4.1pc), according to LSL Property Services. The cost of renting is now over half the average wage in two thirds of London boroughs.

No wonder, therefore, that we are starting to hear tentative calls for rent controls – compulsory limits on how much landlords are allowed to charge, and caps on annual rent hikes.

Yet, while something drastic needs to be done to tackle Britain’s housing crisis, rent controls would be complete madness: they are one of the stupidest economic policies known to man.

They are based on a denial of a simple reality: if prices (such as rents) are going up, that means that there is a scarcity of available homes to let.

The only way to tackle the issue is either to reduce demand or to increase supply, or both. Yet rent controls would achieve the exact opposite: increase demand (by keeping rents low) and reduce supply (by making it less worthwhile for landlords to let out homes).

The policy has failed with horrifying consequences everywhere it has been tried, including in New York, and is the perfect embodiment of the adage that no problem exists that cannot be made worse through government intervention.

Typically, the reduction in the supply of homes triggers a spike in homelessness. Landlords who are no longer allowed to hike rents are robbed of any incentive to improve homes, many of which are left in disrepair, often to force out tenants; and only the worst, least desirable properties tend to be let out.

Once the Government starts to interfere, rents become a political football and investing in property becomes riskier, requiring higher returns and thus rents to make it worthwhile. Rent controls typically also cripple mobility, with people remaining in homes to avoid higher rents elsewhere, which increases unemployment and commute times.

Polls of economists consistently show that opposition to rent controls is one of the few policies almost all agree on, regardless of politics. The most seminal of these, a survey of 464 economists in the May 1992 issue of American Economic Review, found that 93pc agreed that “a ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available”. There have been other such surveys since.

Try telling that to our advocates of rent controls, however, and you are met with a mixture of economic illiteracy, an antiquated, quasi-Victorian class hatred of landlords, generational strife and downright incomprehension.

Earlier this week, the London Assembly’s housing and regeneration committee, a Labour and left-wing dominated sub-group, called on Boris Johnson to adopt a pilot scheme for “rent stabilisation” – in other words, rent controls. The Tory members of the committee rightly put out a dissenting report, cogently arguing that such a policy would chase away the investment in extra rental properties – especially by large institutions seeking to professionalise the market – that is so desperately required to bring rents down and improve security of tenure.

Yet the writing is on the wall. If rents keep on going up, such calls will become more common, and will find increasing support among struggling tenants.

Ed Miliband recently called for local authorities to gang together to reduce the rents they are forced to pay to place their social tenants. On the face of it, this may appear a sensible means of ensuring taxpayers get value for money but it has been welcomed privately by some on the left as a first step towards increasing intervention in rents. While not currently Labour party policy, it is a fair bet that rent control would end up on the agenda if Miliband becomes prime minister in 2015.

Instead of focusing on the manifestation of the crisis – higher rents – politicians need to focus on its causes.

There were just 101,920 housing starts in the 12 months to March, down 3pc, a scandalously low figure. With the population set to go on rising, prices are being pushed up and far fewer people can afford to buy: the share of owner occupiers fell to 65.3pc of UK households in 2011-12, the lowest level since 1987 and down from a peak of 70.9pc in 2003.

In turn, this has pushed up rents: the scarcity of homes is affecting both the owner-occupier sector and the rental sector.

The answer is not to build more council flats, which people don’t want to live in, but to allow the construction of far more private homes of the right kind and in the right places, pushing down prices (for those who can buy) and rents (for those who can’t).

It would be absurd to blame buy to let investors: they provide a valuable service, risking their capital, and their rise is partly a symptom, not a cause, of a dysfunctional housing market.

The fundamental problem is an antiquated, almost Soviet planning system stuck in the 1940s, combined with hidden taxes and levies, which push up the price of buildable land and construction costs, and create a myriad of perverse incentives, including the erection of tiny flats and land-banking by developers, who know their holdings will be worth more in the future.

Liberalisation is essential. Land needs to be released for construction as it is needed and continental-style self-build needs to be made much easier, creating competition for developers.

House prices would soon fall to more sensible levels when compared with incomes, as would rents. The housing benefits bill, which has risen in tandem with rents, would also start to drop. The vast numbers of people on these benefits – currently 5.06m – could be reduced as rents become more manageable.

In the 1930s, after the last great meltdown, a boom in private housebuilding had a hugely beneficial impact. Nick Crafts of Warwick University has shown that terraced houses in London could be bought for £395, at a time when average earnings were £165, allowing a new generation of working folk to own their own home for the first time. Rents also fell.

Like every other problem in economics, the answer to our housing crisis can be found in the laws of supply and demand.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


12 June, 2013

The proud moment when I realised I was worth hacking

The inimitable Boris Johnson on PRISM and internet privacy:  "An Englishman’s laptop is his castle"

Shock horror! Hold the front page. It turns out the internet is a gigantic snooperama, a sinister governmental periscope inside your most personal electronic possession – by which THEY can keep a watch on YOU. Even now there are men in dark glasses in Langley, Virginia, whose task is to track the websites you visit, chortling with incredulous laughter. Out in Beijing, there are special agents building your psychological profile from the stuff you like to buy from Ocado. It’s a global conspiracy to invade your privacy, my friends.

It seems that the big US internet companies have been helping the American security services with a Big Brother-type probe called Prism; and the suggestion now is that UK spooks may somehow have been using the results. Everyone is getting understandably worked up. The champions of liberty are in full cry, and in principle I am with them all the way. An Englishman’s laptop is his castle, and all that kind of thing.

My only question is: what on earth did you expect? I have never trusted the security of the internet, or emails, or indeed texts – because it was obvious from the very dawn of what was once called the information superhighway that any data you sent to some server or database or gizmo could no longer be in any sense private. It was no longer shared between you and one recipient. It was stored in the memory of some vast global intermediary. It was out there, in the ether, just waiting to be hacked or lost or stolen or accidentally blurted to your enemies. That is why I have always rather assumed that any email I send should be drafted as if for public consumption, and that all kinds of people could be reading it – should they wish so to fritter their lives – as soon as I pressed “send”.

One night, a few years ago, I was working very late in China, when a hilarious warning sign came up on my screen informing me – I have forgotten the exact words – that “other users” were on my machine. I felt very proud. Someone thought I was worth hacking! I am afraid I just forged on with whatever I was doing, and it may be that the moles are still there in the innards of my laptop, secretly relaying useless information to their masters. Maybe the only way to get rid of them is to take out the hard drive and melt it down, rather as Arnie kills the Terminator. But then I will need a new machine, and that, too, will be immediately vulnerable to infestation.

The whole point about the internet is that everything is, as they say, everywhere; and that makes it hard for anything to be properly private. I see that Larry Page, the CEO of Google, claims it is “completely false” to say that his company gives away information about your internet activity. Pull the other one, Larry. If that is the case, how come all users of your Gmail email accounts get those advertisements pinged at them – ads triggered by words in the very CONTENT of the emails themselves? I don’t give a monkey’s whether it is a machine or a person: someone out there is monitoring my thoughts, as reflected in my emails, and that someone is trying to sell me stuff on the basis of what they have gleaned from my PRIVATE BLOOMING CONVERSATIONS!

I think if I were Shami Chakrabarti, or my old chum David Davis, I might get thoroughly aerated at this point; and I have some sympathy with their general position. But then I am afraid I also have sympathy with our security services, and their very powerful need to use the internet to catch the bad guys – the terrorists, the jihadis, the child porn creeps. There is a trade-off between freedom and security, as Barack Obama rightly says; between the citizen’s right to total internet privacy, and the duty of the state to protect us all from harm.

The question is where you draw the line, and how you enforce it; and in the meantime, I have two suggestions for those libertarians who have been scandalised by the revelations from America. The first is to look at the bestseller lists, and the amazing success of a sweet little book called Letters to Lupin – the gin-sodden epistles of Home Counties racing buff Roger Mortimer to his wayward son.

People adore this book because it evokes those men who fought in the war – Dear Bill characters whose conversation involved dirty jokes, the state of the lawn, the soundness of horses, what the dog had done on the carpet and the general insanity of their wives and other female relatives. They remind us of a generation now fading, capable of stiff upper lip but also of expressing great love and devotion; and they remind us of how that love was expressed. The letter was an event in itself. It wasn’t just a piece of information pinged into your inbox. It was a lovely hodge-podge of gossip and news and jokes, an art-form that needs to be revived, and so all those who want to beat the internet snoops – just get out the old Basildon Bond, suck the end of your biro, assemble your thoughts carefully and do as our grandparents did.

Failing that, there is clearly a massive business opportunity for a British tech company. Look at all these US tech giants: I don’t need to name them – you know who I mean. They don’t pay their fair share of tax; they collaborate with US snoopers; they are altogether too big and powerful. They have had a lot of paint chipped off them lately. We in Britain have produced all sorts of technological breakthroughs – indeed, Tim Berners-Lee actually came up with the World Wide Web. But we have not yet produced a giant on the American scale – and now the gap yawns for a British internet provider that somehow roots out the terrorists and the child molesters, and yet allows the blameless punter to send an email in complete security. We want a British Google that cracks the freedom vs security conundrum. Come on, you Tech City brainboxes, it can’t be that hard!


Stop tip-toeing around race of grooming gangs, say MPs: Committee says police and prosecutors must be able to raise issue without being accused of racism

Public officials must stop ‘tip-toeing’ around race when tackling child sex gangs, MPs said last night.

A dangerous trend of Pakistani men grooming young white girls does exist, according to a Commons home affairs committee report.

Police, prosecutors and social workers must be able to raise the issue without fear of being accused of racism, the committee said.

But it warned against stereotyping offenders because there is no straightforward link between race and child sexual exploitation. In shocking conclusions to a year-long inquiry, MPs said there were still areas where victims were being failed by the authorities.

They accused councils in Rochdale and Rotherham of being ‘inexcusably slow’ to realise sex abuse was taking place on their doorstep.

And they said both councils had a ‘woeful lack of professional curiosity’ and were responsible for the ‘appalling consequences of their indifference to the suffering of vulnerable children’.

Writing in the report, MPs said: ‘There is no simple link between race and child sexual exploitation.’

However, as the Mail has frequently highlighted, they add: ‘Evidence presented to us suggests there is a model of localised grooming of Pakistani-heritage men targeting young white girls.

‘This must be acknowledged by official agencies who, we were concerned to hear in some areas of particular community tension, had reportedly been slow to draw attention to the issue for fear of affecting community cohesion.

‘The condemnation from those communities of this vile crime should demonstrate that there is no excuse for tip-toeing around this issue. It is important that police, social workers and others be able to raise their concerns freely, without fear of being labelled racist.’

Last month seven Oxford men, mostly of Pakistani heritage, were convicted at the Old Bailey of running an appalling paedophile sex ring.

The case followed another, almost exactly 12 months earlier, in which nine Asian men based in Rochdale were involved.

In both crimes, teenage girls, most of whom were vulnerable and in care, were picked up in the street and at takeaways and groomed for sex with gifts of drugs and alcohol.

The committee called on the Government to introduce special courts to ensure child sex attackers are brought to justice.

It said vulnerable victims deserve better treatment and demanded the Ministry of Justice act quickly to protect them.

The committee highlighted how some young victims found the trial of their abusers more harrowing than their crimes.

Some vulnerable victims were subjected to marathon cross-examinations by teams of aggressive defence barristers.

On one occasion bungling staff showed the face of a victim to everyone in court, despite the judge ordering only an audio link was needed.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: ‘Protection of these vulnerable children must be our first priority.’

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘We constantly look for new ways to support and protect  vulnerable witnesses when appearing in court.’


The foul British police again

A businessman who confronted suspected burglars raiding his premises at night could be jailed after he grabbed one of the gang’s weapons and used it to fight back.

Andrew Woodhouse, 43, claims he was chasing thieves off his property when one of them ‘came at’ him with a wooden stick.

In the scuffle, he managed to grab the stick and used it to injure the man’s legs before holding him down and screaming at his wife to call the police.

After a series of burglaries at his paving firm in Abergavenny, South Wales, Mr Woodhouse thought he might finally have helped to bring one of the robbers to justice.

But then police arrested Mr Woodhouse as well and held him in a cell for 18 hours.

He has been charged with grievous bodily harm with intent and will appear before magistrates on Thursday, along with the two men he apprehended.

‘I was scared. It was pitch dark, they had hoods on and I was getting hit,’ the father of five said last night.

‘I can’t see what else I could have done. I thought it was a man’s right to protect his property. I’ll fight to clear my name.’

While the law was changed a few months ago to protect those who use force against burglars, the rules apply only at home, not if thieves are chased outside.

Mr Woodhouse’s case has led to calls for the Crown Prosecution Service to show ‘common sense’ in dealing with those who defend themselves outside, with MPs calling the decision to prosecute him ‘astonishing’.

If found guilty, he could face a sentence of life imprisonment.

Mr Woodhouse was in bed with his wife Lisa at their detached home in the village of Govilon when his burglar alarm went off at about 12.30am. The alarm is fitted to his business premises on an industrial estate a mile from his six-bedroom £350,000 home.

He drove to the estate, where he saw two men trying to steal diesel from the engines of his fleet of vehicles. His wife, 42, said: ‘He shouted at them to stop and when they turned and ran he chased them.

‘One of them turned and faced Andrew. He was holding a stick. Andrew defended himself, he grabbed the stick off the bloke and whacked him with it.

‘The fellow was on the floor screaming at him. It all happened so quick, it was dark, I’m not sure anyone knew what was really going on.’

As Mr Woodhouse held Kevin Green, 52, the other alleged burglar, Timothy Cross, 31, is said to have returned with a third man, both carrying planks.

Mrs Woodhouse had, by this time, also driven to the scene. She said: ‘When I got there Andrew was chasing one of the chaps. He saw me and shouted, “Get the police, get the police”.

‘The police arrived and Andrew admitted he’d whacked the chap with the stick. The police said he had two broken legs and a broken wrist. They arrested Andrew and took him into custody. I didn’t see him until 6pm the next day.’

Police charged Mr Woodhouse with causing grievous bodily harm with intent because he used ‘unreasonable’ force.

His wife said: ‘I fail to see where there was any intent on Andrew’s part. He didn’t intend to get up in the middle of the night to assault anyone. All he did was protect his property.

‘People may think he took the law into his own hands but what was he supposed to do, stand by and watch?’

Mr Woodhouse employs six staff including two of his sons at the family business, which was set up 20 years ago. The firm has lost £15,000 in recent years to thefts of diesel and tools.

There is much support for him locally. He claims to have collected about 50 character references, including ones from a policeman and a priest.

MPs are calling on the CPS to drop the case against Mr Woodhouse and his local MP, Tory David Davies, said he would raise the issue in Parliament.

‘If someone came at him with a piece of wood, my sympathy is with the hard-working businessman, not with the people breaking into his property,’ he added.

Gwent Police said the 52-year-old man arrested at the scene had been taken to hospital with ‘serious leg and arm injuries’. A spokesman added that the decision to charge Mr Woodhouse was taken after CPS advice.


Don't be horrible to the Germans! First World War commemorations begin next year... but ministers are afraid of saying who started it

Britain should mark the centenary of the First World War without being too patriotic – or causing offence to the Germans, ministers declared yesterday.

Commemorations would simply ‘set out the facts’ rather than making a judgment on who was to blame for the conflict, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said.

And Communities Secretary Eric Pickles also warned against memorial events turning into ‘an anti-German festival’.

The announcement came as Mrs Miller revealed that two children from every state secondary school will be sent to the former battlefields of the Western Front as part of a four-year, £50million programme to mark 100 years since the outbreak of hostilities.

She said a range of national events would highlight the sacrifice and lessons of the Great War of 1914-18, which left more than 900,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers dead and affected ‘every family, every village, every town’.

The programme will include a candlelit vigil at Westminster Abbey on August 4 next year – a century after Britain declared war on Germany – and a remembrance service near Mons, Belgium, where the first and last British soldiers to be killed in the war are buried.

Major battles, including the Somme, will also be commemorated.

But there was criticism that ministers are reluctant to recognise the importance of the UK’s victory over the Kaiser’s armies for fear of offending the Germans.

Military historian Professor Sir Hew Strachan, a member of the advisory board for the commemorations, said the events should symbolise the reasons Britain went to war – to fight for freedom.

How we shall remember them

‘At one level it is completely accepted in Germany that Germany was responsible for causing the war, though I think it’s actually debatable,’ he said.

‘But with a possible British referendum on the EU, they are worried about the centenary being used  for Germany-bashing by the British Press. For understandable reasons, given Germany’s history, just using the word ‘krieg’ [war] is very difficult.’

Mr Pickles said it would be a ‘tremendous tragedy’ if the occasion was used to bash Germany and its Great War ally Turkey.

‘Equally, it would be a tragedy if we forgot what happened, if we forgot why we fought, if we forgot we won,’ he added. Some £5.3million will be spent sending two ‘student ambassadors’ and a teacher from every state secondary school to sites of battles including the Somme, Verdun and Fromelles from spring next year.

Around £10million of Lottery money will help fund a series of cultural events, while £1million will go towards securing the future in Belfast of HMS Caroline, the Great War’s last surviving warship.

Mrs Miller said: ‘Every day of the conflict saw extraordinary acts of courage, ingenuity and valour both on the battlefield and on the Home Front.

‘It is right we remember and mark the centenary, bringing its importance alive for younger generations and remembering the price that was paid by all involved.’

Andrew Murrison, the minister asked by Downing Street to coordinate commemorations, said he had consulted officials in Germany, Austria and Turkey about the anniversary.

He added: ‘They are fully apprised of the need to engage, and the discussions I’ve had with the countries leads me to suppose they wish to commemorate this.’



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


11 June, 2013

‘Murdering old terrorist’: BNP leader Nick Griffin’s insult about ailing Nelson Mandela sparks fury

No forgiveness for speaking truth, apparently.  I remember when Jo'burg was an orderly, peaceful and very civilized place.  That was based on injustice but how just was it to make it what it now is:  The chaotic murder capital of the world?  And Mandela DID lead a bombing campaign against government targets.  A dubious means to a dubious end it seems to me.  But it is Mandela's race that makes him sacred, of course.  Race is all to the Left.  Nothing else gets a look-in -- JR

BNP leader Nick Griffin sparked anger on Twitter yesterday by posting a series of offensive messages about Nelson Mandela.

The former South African president is in a Pretoria hospital in a ‘serious but stable condition’ with his family at his bedside.

But that didn’t stop Mr Griffin, the MEP for the North West, using Mr Mandela’s illness to promote his views on South African history.  He said: ‘Saint #nelsonmandela on last legs it seems.  ‘Make sure to avoid BBC when the murdering old terrorist croaks. It’ll be nauseating.’

In another message Mr Griffin wrote: ‘Statesmen must be judged on results not rhetoric.  ‘Before Mandela, South Africa was safe economic powerhouse. Now crime ridden basket case.’

Another tweet said: ‘No surprise #Mandela’s lungs are shot - all those burning tyres. Smoking necklaces very bad for the health.’

There was an angry response to Mr Griffin’s views on Twitter yesterday.  Michael Bennett wrote: ‘A towering figure in world history and an inspiration to millions. Nick Griffin - an irrelevant footnote, thankfully soon forgotten.’

Elin Roberts wrote: ‘What a vile individual Nick Griffin is. Mandela’s legacy will be one of forgiveness and hope, his of ignorance and hate.’


House Panel Moves to Protect Religious Liberty for Military

 The House Armed Services Committee approved a measure on Thursday to protect religious liberty in the military amid growing disputes over expression of faith.

The measure, approved as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), comes less than a week after a painting with reference to a Bible verse was removed from a dining hall at the Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho in apparent response to demands from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a church-state separation group. The NDAA now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

“The men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms should not have their own religious freedom jeopardized during their military service,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), who offered the amendment.

“Steps to protect the religious liberties of our armed forces were taken in last year’s NDAA, but troubling reports indicate that the military may be focused only on protecting beliefs of service members and not the exercise or expression of those beliefs. My amendment is necessary to ensure that men and women of faith will not be discriminated against in the armed forces, and will be free to exercise their religious beliefs.”

The amendment was approved by a vote 33-26.

Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) President Mikey Weinstein has met with Pentagon officials to express concerns about proselytizing in the military. The MRFF claims that within 56 minutes of Weinstein’s telephone call to the Pentagon, a painting with a reference to Matthew 5:9 -- “Blessed are the peacemakers” -- was removed from an Air Force base in Idaho last week.

Weinstein said his group is not anti-Christian or anti-religious. He nevertheless puts religious proselytizing on a par with terrorist groups and sexual assault.

“This is a national security threat internally to this country every bit as much as we’re facing externally by Taliban, al Qaeda and the jihadists,” Weinstein told CNSNews.com. “Let me make it very clear. What we’re talking about is a fanatical religiosity.”

Weinstein, in an interview with CNSNews.com, said religious proselytizing can be dehumanizing.  “If you’re in the workplace, the military workplace can be a cockpit, can be a foxhole, a ship, it can be any place, in a Bradley fighting vehicle, in duty hours in uniform during the work day, and you outrank the person you’re proselytizing to, you are in violation of your oath to the Constitution and a million different Department of Defense directives,” Weinstein said.

“If people are routinely, as they do around the clock, violating DOD instructions, regulations and the Constitution with regard to spreading their faith, if you don’t punish someone visibly and aggressively, all it does is make a mockery of the laws against it and increases the problem a million fold,” Weinstein said.

“To this point, we have never seen a single example of anyone in the history of the Pentagon be punished for essentially becoming religious predators on otherwise helpless subordinates that can’t fight back,” he said.

The Washington Post reported on an April meeting with Weinstein and Pentagon personnel in which they talked about court-martialing superior officers who proselytize to subordinates. In an interview with CNSNews.com, Weinstein did not back away from comparing spreading the faith with sexual assault.

“If a military superior of any rank tells a subordinate that you lack integrity, character, trust, intelligence, honor and honorability because of your chosen religious faith or lack thereof, why is there no difference between that and telling someone they’re stupid for the color of their skin or because they were born a female?” Weinstein said. “That’s why we use the term spiritual rape. They’re being denigrated. They are being oppressed.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins commended the House committee.  “Congress acted appropriately after investigating numerous incidents involving service members who have had their careers threatened simply for practicing their faith in a real and tangible way,” Perkins said in a statement.

“The religious liberty violations have grown more frequent in recent months including a report yesterday that an Army master sergeant has been reprimanded for serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion ceremony. A rear admiral also recently recounted how he defied military regulations by giving a Bible to a soldier who had attempted suicide.”

More than 167,000 Americans signed a Family Research Council petition calling on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to enact a department-wide policy protecting the right to service members to practice their faith, Perkins said.

“Instead, the Pentagon under the secretary’s leadership has continued to comply with the demands of anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein,” Perkins continued. “The chilling effect of this religious suppression has reached every branch of the military, particularly the Air Force, which is why this congressional action is so urgently needed.”


Suicide a wake-up call for France

It was a Tuesday afternoon, May 21, but the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was busy. About 1500 people were visiting or praying when a French historian, Dominique Venner, walked to the main altar, placed a sealed letter on the steps, then reached into a pocket for his gun.

Venner, a conservative ultra-nationalist who as a young man had been jailed for violence against Communists, was 78, ailing, and had come to the extreme conclusion that French civilisation was dying and being replaced by an "Afro-Maghreb culture" and would give way to sharia law. The former colonies were overrunning the republic. In his final message before leaving for the cathedral, he wrote on his internet blog: "Peaceful street protests will not be enough to prevent it … It will require new, spectacular, and symbolic gestures to wake up the sleepwalkers, to shake the slumbering consciousness and to remind us of our origins … and rouse people from their complacency … We are entering a time when words must be backed up … by new, spectacular and symbolic actions."

He had his own spectacular symbolic action in mind. His timing was prompted by the passage, the week before, of a law legalising gay marriage in France. Venner regarded this as a key element in the dismantling of French culture. He also regarded the immigration of millions of Muslims as a demographic and cultural disaster for France. And he saw white French culture as being overwhelmed by Americanism.

Venner predicted current social trends would lead to a "total replacement of the population of France, and of Europe". He sent a letter to his colleagues at Radio Courtoisie (which describes itself as "the free radio of the real country") warning that gay marriage was a symptom and symbol of the "pervasive individual desires that destroy the anchors of our identity, particularly the family, the intimate base of our multi-millennial society". His note explained why he chose the altar of Notre Dame for his self-sacrifice: "I chose a highly symbolic place that I respect and admire."

At about 4pm, Venner put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. After news of his death spread, the woman who polled the third-highest vote in last year's French presidential election, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front party, wrote via Twitter: "All our respect to Dominique Venner, whose final gesture, eminently political, was to try to awaken the people of France."

The people of France are wide awake. Millions are agitated about the direction of the nation. A year ago, one-third of French voters opted out of centrist politics and voted for presidential candidates representing the hard edges. The field of radical ideas, held by people ranging from Venner to his Marxist opposites, has become crowded.

A year after that election, the nation is in recession. Again. Confidence in the Socialist president, Francois Hollande, has fallen. Unemployment has risen from 9.9 per cent to 10.4 per cent, the highest in 15 years. Youth unemployment has risen to 26 per cent. Long-term unemployment is at a record high. Warnings of social dislocation are coming from leaders such as Henri de Castries, chief executive of AXA, one of France's biggest companies, who said last week: "France is in dire need of serious structural reform."

That is obvious, yet President Hollande refuses to even acknowledge the crippling cost of France's massive public spending and rigid labour market. Add to these pressures the visceral issues of race and religion. The changing demographics of France, with the growth of a large immigrant population, is causing wide anxiety.

A survey conducted last year by the French Institute of Public Opinion found that 43 per cent of respondents believed France's 5 million Muslims represented "a threat to French national identity". Just 17 per cent said the Muslim minority enriched society. A large majority of those surveyed, 68 per cent, blamed problems with immigrant communities on Muslims who refused to integrate.

Then there is the crisis of the euro, the great Paris-driven, post-colonial project that was meant to keep France at the centre of power in Europe. Instead it has turned into an economic combat zone. Democracy itself has come under stress in the struggle to keep the euro experiment from collapsing.

The stable centre of French politics is under siege. In the presidential election in April last year, Le Pen's hard-right National Front received 18 per cent of the vote. The Communist Party, operating under a new brand, the Left Front, received 11 per cent. Four far-left parties polled a combined 4 per cent. An anti-Euro protest party, Arise The Republic, got almost 2 per cent. Which meant that 35 per cent of the French electorate cast their first vote for either a Communist, a Marxist, the National Front or a Eurosceptic.

With so much hardline politics in society, the law of averages dictated there would be political violence. Two weeks ago, a French soldier patrolling in Paris was stabbed in an unprovoked attack by a Muslim extremist. Last Wednesday, a far-left student activist, Clement Meric, 18, was killed by a skinhead after being punched in the head outside a clothing store in the centre of Paris when a group of leftist students exchanged words with several skinheads affiliated with the far-right JNR, the Jeune Nationaliste Revolutionnaire.

The fraught nature of French politics explains why the campaign for gay marriage has been noticeably more volatile in France, with large hostile demonstrations and a suicide in Notre Dame Cathedral.

Another straw in the wind: the most famous citizen of France, Gerard Depardieu, has voted with his feet, away from the policies of President Hollande. He now resides in Belgium.


Part-time women doctors ARE a real problem in Britain. Why is it sexist to say so?

Never did three words, surely, have a more explosive and utterly disproportionate effect.  In a Commons debate last week on the deficiencies of the new 111 emergency service, a Tory MP, Anne McIntosh, suggested one reason why there were too few GPs to answer urgent calls.

Since some 70 per cent of medical students were now women, she said, the fact that many of them wanted to have children and then go part-time meant a ‘tremendous burden’ on the NHS if it effectively had to train two GPs to do the work of one.

In reply the junior Health Minister Anna Soubry said: ‘You make a very important point when you talk about, rightly, the good number of women who are training to be doctors, but the unintended consequences ..... ’

She didn’t actually finish her sentence, but left the thought of ‘the unintended consequences’ hanging in the air. For these three words, she was instantly jumped upon and metaphorically beaten up by a steady procession of angry women.

Dr Clare Gerada, head of the Royal College of GPs, was incredulous ‘that women doctors are being blamed for problems in the NHS’. Another commentator accused Ms Soubry of having delivered ‘the biggest guilt trip of all when it comes to flexible working’.

Yet others heaped withering scorn upon the hapless Health Minister. Didn’t she understand that women had babies? So of course women doctors wanted to work part-time. Duh!

And because it suited women to do so, there couldn’t possibly be any problem with that. It was obviously the perfect solution for absolutely everyone. End of argument. No awareness whatever of the total absence of logic in such claims — not to mention the failure to acknowledge the interests of anyone other than women doctors.

No, the only possible explanation for Ms Soubry’s three words had to be her outrageous prejudice against, er, women. 

In a letter to one newspaper a GP, Dr Hannah Mitchell, accused Ms Soubry of using ‘sexist language’.  Another GP, Dr Sharon Bennett, claimed in another paper the suggestion female doctors were a burden to the health service was ‘not just insulting, but a display of sexism’.

Drs Bennett and Mitchell happen to be the wife and daughter of Ms Soubry’s fellow Tory MP, the former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell — himself no stranger to controversy in the ‘Plebgate’ affair.

Ironically, when Ms Soubry previously came under attack from backbenchers for her comments about assisted suicide made shortly after her appointment, Mr Mitchell came to her defence, telling them to ‘give her a break and time to find her feet’.

Furthermore, as a single mother who complained about female typecasting when she was given the public health brief, Ms Soubry hardly fits a ‘sexist’ stereotype.

Alas, not even Mr Mitchell could save Ms Soubry from his own wife and daughter over the dread accusation of betraying feminism. But why is she thus accused?

Neither Ms Soubry nor Ms McIntosh had said women should not become doctors. Neither of them had said women doctors should not work part-time.

All they had said — or in the case of Ms Soubry, only half-said before she beat a grovelling retreat by saying she fully supported women GPs and that her comments ‘were not intended to be derogatory’ — was that certain unfortunate and unintended consequences were involved. What in heaven’s name is ‘sexist’ about that?

For sure, there are many things going wrong with the NHS that cannot be laid specifically at the door of women doctors.

Its intractable problems are rooted in the fact that it cannot now deliver the unlimited expectations being laid upon it.

This has been exacerbated still more by an erosion of the idea of public service among GPs in general, causing many of them to refuse to provide a personal out-of-hours service.

Dr Mitchell claimed Ms Soubry had blamed the failings of the health service — which came in fact from ‘decades of political mismanagement’ — on women doctors.

But the Health Minister had said no such thing. All she had done was agree that Anne McIntosh was making an important point about the unintended consequences of part-time working which were putting the NHS under a lot of pressure.

Doctors themselves have said much the same thing. Indeed, it is nothing other than a statement of the obvious.

The problem here is that the make-up of the medical profession is rapidly changing. The proportion of women entering medicine has increased by 50 per cent since 2001. And in the next decade, women doctors are expected for the first time to outnumber their male colleagues.

These numbers do indeed have serious consequences. An estimated quarter of those women doctors choose to work part-time for a few years at least while their children are small. And a startling 60 per cent leave the profession altogether.

This loss of medical manpower is putting many surgeries under severe strain.

Dr Mitchell claimed two female (or male) doctors working a 50/50 job share due to family commitments were more productive than a single doctor.

But medicine is not a production line, and patients are not widgets. What patients need is continuity of care. They don’t get that from a job share. Patients’ interests, however, are not mentioned at all by Ms Soubry’s critics. They view this issue purely and simply through the prism of women’s rights.

Those rights are indeed important. The great fight to allow women to enter the medical profession at all was a bitterly fought landmark in the great 19th century struggle for female emancipation.

But that painful victory surely should not mean women have carte blanche to do what they want — with the only permitted criticism to be directed at those who have the temerity to suggest this is not an unmitigated blessing for everyone else.

The inescapable fact is that, if this part-time trend continues, the number of GPs will have to double. Since the cost of training a doctor is around £250,000 per head, the expense would be enormous.

And given the high proportion of expensively-trained women doctors who are choosing to land the service with this problem, don’t they have a responsibility to consider the effects of their actions? Isn’t it remarkably selfish and anti-social to refuse to do so?

Certainly, in certain circumstances part-time working can indeed ease the conflict between work and motherhood. I worked part-time after my children were born.

But as a middle manager for a while, I also saw first hand the problems caused when a high proportion of women holding down very responsible positions went off on long periods of maternity leave, chose to work part-time in jobs where continuity was essential, or left work altogether.

The dilemma of combining work or a career with motherhood is a difficult one, perhaps even insoluble. But surely it is essential that we should discuss it?

Instead, any honest acknowledgement of the problem brings forth the instant denunciation of ‘sexism’, which seeks to shut down discussion by substituting insult for argument.

On Planet PC, after all, you are not allowed to deviate even one iota from the sole approved line.

But wait! Relief is at hand. The BBC is reportedly considering making the next Doctor Who a woman. Should this occur, we trust that the time-travelling actress will be offered a job share.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


10 June, 2013

Report Details U.S. Government’s ‘Disastrous Muslim outreach’

A new report documents the failures of Muslim outreach conducted by the U.S. government before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, faulting both Republican and Democrat administrations for reaching out to known terrorist funders and leaders.

Published by the Israel-based Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center by Patrick Poole, a counterterrorism consultant and investigative reporter, the 14,000-word exposé details the federal government’s “long-standing policy of engaging extremists.”

Among the many examples, Poole cites government leaders inviting radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to the Pentagon, just months after one of his spiritual disciples had flown a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

The report, “Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy,” finds that a “campaign of political correctness”  has been ingrained in government, hindering investigations and resulting in culturally sensitive policies towards Islam, such as guidelines that required FBI agents to remove their shoes before raiding a mosque that financially supported the Taliban.

According to the report, President Obama issued a directive in August 2011 ordering law enforcement to engage “community partners” to help combat “violent extremism.”

“One example of the effect of this new policy are the Shari’a-compliant guidelines that federal law enforcement officials must now comply with when conducting raids related to Islamic leaders or institutions,” Poole explains.  “This was exhibited in May 2011, when the FBI raided a South Florida mosque and arrested its imam and his son for financially supporting the Taliban.”

The rules required law enforcement officials to remove their shoes before entering the mosque and dogs were barred from property, Poole said.  “The common sense of these new rules undoubtedly would have been put to the test had the subjects tried to flee, to be pursued by shoeless federal agents.”

The report also reveals that numerous leaders linked to terrorism have been used as conduits for the Muslim community since the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

Poole points to Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, who was a regular visitor to the White House under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who asked him to help train Muslim military chaplains.  He made six taxpayer-funded trips as a civilian goodwill ambassador to the Middle East for the State Department beginning in 1997.

But throughout his time working with the government, al-Amoudi was a major fundraiser for al-Qaeda.

Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born Imam who was killed in Yemen by a drone strike authorized by Obama in 2011, was also a go-to community partner for the U.S. government.

“One of the first Muslim leaders that the government turned to was Anwar al-Awlaki,” says Poole, “the al-Qa’ida cleric who was in direct contact with at least three of the September 11 hijackers.”

“As the cleanup from the terrorist attack on the Pentagon continued, Awlaki was invited by the Pentagon’s Office of Government Counsel to speak at a lunch in the building’s executive offices as part of the government’s new Muslim outreach policy,” Poole writes.  “Ironically, one of the September 11 terrorists who had helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77 that was flown into the Pentagon had described Awlaki as ‘a great man’ and his ‘spiritual leader.’”

Awlaki had ties to terrorist suspects dating back to 1999, and continued to support terrorism, including email exchanges with Ft. Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan.

In another example, Shaykh Kifah Mustapha, a long-time supporter of Hamas who was caught on video singing the terrorist group’s praises—“calling for violence against Jews as children danced around him carrying guns”—was given a guided tour of top-secret FBI facilities in 2010.

In November 2010, under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s leadership, U.S. Ambassador to Britain Louis B. Susman visited the East London Mosque, a “longtime hotbed of extremism.”  The year before, the mosque hosted a conference where Awlaki phoned in.  Weeks before Susman’s visit, the mosque chairman said Awlaki’s involvement was an act of “fairness and justice.”

“The U.S. government…failed to even acknowledge the blunder, let alone attempt to reconsider its long-standing policy of engaging extremists,” he added.  “In fact, the American Embassy issued a statement explaining that the visit was ‘a part of President Obama’s call for a renewed dialogue with Muslim communities around the world.’”

As a result of that dialogue, several terrorists have been invited to the Obama White House, affecting U.S. foreign policy, Poole argues.

“In 2012, Hani Nour Eldin, a known member of the Egyptian al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (a U.S.-designated terrorist group), was invited to Washington, D.C.” the report says.  “Eldin was escorted into the White House to meet with Obama’s national security staff.”  At the meeting Eldin demanded the release of the Blind Sheikh, currently in federal prison for masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

An “even more egregious” example is Nafie Ali Nafie, a Sudanese war criminal and architect of genocides in the Nuba Mountains and in Darfur, who was invited by the State Department to a Sudanese Delegation in May 2012.

“As these examples demonstrate,” Poole writes, “the U.S. government’s ignoring the terrorist support of its Muslim outreach partners has had a slippery-slope effect in its foreign policy by inviting members of terrorist groups and war criminals to Washington, D.C. for ‘dialogue.’”

“The legacy of the U.S. government’s Muslim outreach programs since the 1990s is a monument of failure by any measure,” Poole concludes.  “With more American lives and body parts strewn across American streets once again in Boston, these outreach partners threaten the health and legitimacy of our constitutional republic with their demands.

“It is clearly past time for Congress to ask whether this long since failed experiment should come to an immediate end.”


Obama/Holder Justice Department Threatens First Amendment

Reacting to reports that the Obama Department of Justice may prosecute those who write and post articles offensive to Muslims, Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative has vowed, "We will fight you on this every step of the way. We will drag your dhimmi asses all the way to the Supreme Court. This is Sharia enforcement, and we are not going to stand for it."
The term "dhimmi" refers to submission to or enforcement of Islamic law, also called Sharia.

Geller, who also co-founded Stop Islamization of Nations (SION) with Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, has endorsed a rally for free speech on June 4 in Manchester, Tennessee, to protest anti-free speech comments by Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Killian has generated outrage by vowing to use federal civil rights laws to punish those making critical comments about Islam.

A local paper reports that Killian and Kenneth Moore, special agent in charge of the FBI's Knoxville, Tennessee, Division, are speaking at a public event and "will provide input on how civil rights can be violated by those who post inflammatory documents targeted at Muslims on social media."

A U.S. Attorney usually prosecutes offenses such as foreign terrorism, child pornography, violent crimes and drug trafficking.

But Killian told the local paper that civil rights laws can have certain "consequences" for the First Amendment right of free speech. The paper said, "Killian said Internet postings that violate civil rights are subject to federal jurisdiction."
Killian is apparently basing this campaign against free speech on a Facebook post from a local politician showing a picture of a man pointing a shotgun at the camera with the phrase, "How to wink at a Muslim." The local politician is a Democrat who says he intended it to be humorous.

The American Muslim Advisory Council, which denounced the "hate-filled post," advertises the June 4 event as being about "public discourse in a free society." It is scheduled for 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Boulevard in Manchester, Tennessee.

The demonstration for free speech is scheduled for 5:30 pm at the same location. "Change your plans, get off from work-go," Geller says. "Tweet it, Facebook share, get the word out."

The Killian address is apparently part of an "Arab American and Muslim Outreach Program" conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the local office of the FBI, and mandated by President Obama's and Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice.

Killian's official website also highlights a keynote address he delivered on August 25, 2012, when the Chattanooga (Tennessee) Islamic Center hosted a grand opening celebration. The center features "Strong Islamic studies," a term that implies Sharia.

But radical Islam does not appear to be a potential problem for Killian. Instead, his office officially represents the United States in civil litigation and declares "we sue individuals or entities who have violated federal civil laws," according to Killian's official newsletter.

In the context of his warnings about posting comments critical of Muslims, this statement takes on ominous implications and must be treated seriously.

A wealthy former adjunct professor in trial advocacy at the University of Tennessee School of Law, he is clearly a showboat who wants to please his bosses in Washington, D.C. He is featured in eight photos in his official 12-page newsletter and has been described by a local paper as "a longtime Democrat."

In an article about Killian's anti-free speech efforts, the conservative legal group Judicial Watch comments, "In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S., the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights."

Exercising her own First Amendment rights, Geller, the founder, editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com, is strongly urging "every Atlas reader, twitter and Facebook friend who can be in Tennessee to join us" for the demonstration for free speech.

"Don't think that this is just going to go away," she warns. "They have declared war on our very freedoms. While we still have freedom of speech, we must use it." She urges the public to bring free speech signs to the event.

In a story on the controversy, Politico quotes Floyd Abrams, one of the country's most respected First Amendment attorneys, as saying about Killian: "He's just wrong. The government may, indeed, play a useful and entirely constitutional role in urging people not to engage in speech that amounts to religious discrimination.

But it may not, under the First Amendment, prevent or punish speech even if it may be viewed as hostile to a religion. And what it most clearly may not do is to stifle political or social debate, however rambunctious or offensive some may think it is."


Conservative Christian Soldier Told Not to Read Levin or Hannity in Uniform

A veteran member of the U.S. Army Band said he is facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.

Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a 25-year Army veteran and conservative Christian based at Fort Myer in Washington, believes his outspoken opposition to gay marriage prompted higher-ups to take a closer look at his beliefs. The recipient of an Army Commendation Medal and a soloist at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford, Sommers said his core beliefs are enough to mark a soldier for persecution in today’s military.

“It seems like with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – that the Christians have been the ones who’ve had to go underground and in the closet – for fear of retaliation and reprisals,” Sommers told me.

“Christians feel like they can’t be forthright with their faith. They have to hide.”

Ret. Navy Commander John Bennett Wells is representing the master sergeant. He said there is no doubt in his mind that the U.S. military is discriminating against Christians – and specifically his client.

“There’s no question about it,“ Wells tells me. “Because he is religious, because he feels that homosexual conduct is wrong for religious reasons, he is basically being persecuted.”

Lt. Col. Justin Platt, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon released a statement to Fox News noting that the military branch cannot comment on ongoing investigations or administrative actions.

“With respect to the political activities, soldiers are expected to carry out their obligations as citizens in accordance with applicable regulations,” Platt said.

Army documents I’ve obtained indicate Sommers was told that his actions bordered on being disrespectful to President Obama and the “slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.”

“You should strive to express your opinion while being aware of the overall ramifications of your statements,” the Army noted.

Sommers’ troubles began last April when he was told to remove pro-Republican, anti-Obama bumper stickers that were on his privately owned car.

The stickers read: “Political Dissent is NOT Racism,” “NOBAMA,” NOPE2012” and “The Road to Bankruptcy is Paved with A**-Fault.”

His superior officer told the solider that the bumper stickers were creating “unnecessary workplace tension.”

“The types of stickers on your car were creating an atmosphere detrimental to morale and were creating unnecessary workplace tension,” the officer wrote in an Army document obtained by Fox News. “A Soldier must balance their personal feelings with the mission of the U.S. Army. Even the slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.”

Attorney Wells said once he got involved, the military backed off of filing a formal reprimand.  “He’s allowed to have those bumper stickers on his car,” he said. “The DoD regulation allows it. There was nothing obscene about it.”

During the summer months, Sommers came under fire for reading the works of Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and David Limbaugh.

Sommers was reading Limbaugh’s “The Great Destroyer” backstage at a U.S. Army Band concert at the U.S. Capitol. A superior officer told him that he was causing “unit disruption” and was offending other soldiers.

“I wasn’t reading aloud,” he said. “I was just reading privately to myself. I was told they were frowning on that and they warned me that I should not be reading literature like that backstage because it was offensive.”

In another episode, he had been caught backstage reading a copy of Levin’s “The Making of Ameritopia.”  Sommers said he was told to refrain from reading the book “while in uniform or within sight of anyone from the band.”

“This is the first time since (my superior officer) indicated I had offended others with my choice of reading material, that I was officially counseled about it,” he said. “The statement took my breath away. I was speechless.”

In spite of those incidents, the Army promoted the soldier in September to the rank of master sergeant. But the promotion would also mark the launch of an effort by the military to punish the soldier.

His promotion coincided with a controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. The company’s president told a reporter that he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting traditional marriage. Gay rights activists pounced- calling for a boycott of the Christian-owned company. And some Democratic officials vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in their cities.

In response to that, Fox News Channel host Mike Huckabee launched a national Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to rally support for the restaurant chain.

“I was inspired by Gov. Huckabee’s appreciation day,” Sommers told Fox News. “And since I wasn’t able to participate in the event, I decided to serve Chick-fil-A at my promotion party.”

It’s a long-standing tradition within the U.S. Army Band for promoted soldiers to host a party for their fellow troops. So the soldier decided to have Chick-fil-A cater the meal.  “My family likes Chick-fil-A and we like what they stand for,” he said. “I can make a statement and at least express a religious point of view at my promotion party – theoretically without any fear of reprisal.”

The soldier also tweeted about the party: “In honor of DADT repeal, and Obama/Holder’s refusal to enforce DOMA act, I’m serving Chick-fil-A at my MSG promo reception for Army today.”

He also tweeted to radio host Mark Levin: “@Marklevinshow ‘luv ya, Mark! Fellow Virginian & MSG, Army. Being promoted today, serving Chick-fil-A @ reception in honor of DADT repeal.”

Both tweets were cited in an official military document.  “As a Soldier you must be cognizant of the fact that your statements can be perceived by the general public and other service members to be of a nature bordering on disrespect to the President of the United States,” the document stated.

Sommers said he paid for the party with personal money, not government funds.  “I had no idea a Chick-fil-A sandwich would get me in trouble,” he said.

He was later summoned by a superior officer, who the soldier said is openly gay, and was told that unidentified individuals were offended by the tweets and some considered them to be racist.

Sommers was reprimanded, threatened with judicial action and given a bad efficiency report. An investigation was also launched.

“It’s an obvious attempt to set him up and force him out of the military,” Wells said. “They recently did an NCO evaluation that effectively torpedoed his chance at promotion and he could be forced out of the Army.”

During the course of their investigation, the military unearthed a tweet from 2010 that included a derogatory word for homosexuals. The soldier admitted that he had retweeted someone else’s original tweet.  “Lordy, Lordy, it’s f****t Tuesday. The lefty loons and Obamabots are out in full force,” the retweet read.

The soldier was hauled in to explain himself before a superior officer.

“He explained to me that homosexual Soldiers were now afraid of me,” Sommers said. “He showed me a letter from an Army Band colleague that demanded that I publicly apologize (to) the band for my statements and that I should be removed from positions of leadership and influence.”

Sommers admitted the retweet was a case of bad judgment on his part, but he said he believes that a group of homosexual soldiers are on a witch hunt and they were “attempting to dig up any negative information they could in order to silence me or ruin my career.”

Attorney Wells said Sommers is taking a “courageous course.”  “He’s not going to abandon his beliefs,” he said. “It would be easy for him to stand up and say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen the light. Yes, I was wrong – and I’m going to do everything I can to embrace the political correctness and all will be forgiven.’”

But Wells said the soldier’s “conscience won’t allow him to do that.”

Sommers said he has worked alongside gay soldiers for quite some time and does not have a problem serving with them.  “My point is everybody has a right,” he said. “Christians also have a right to express their points of view and that’s what’s being squelched here. There is no tolerance or dissent from the military’s point of view.”

The soldier fears that the military is becoming less tolerant.

“Ironically, the liberals are preaching tolerance,” he said. “They are saying, ‘We can tolerate you.’ But if you have a certain belief that doesn’t align with what the military wants you to believe – particularly religious beliefs – you’re no longer welcome in the U.S. military.”

Attorney Wells said his client is not going down without a fight – and they are vowing to file a federal lawsuit and reach out to Congress if necessary.

Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty said stories like this are becoming commonplace in the military post-repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“These stories are the ones that have not been told – about some of the more subtle ramifications of the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,” he said.

One service member received a severe reprimand for expressing his faith’s religious position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog.

A chaplain was relieved of his command over a military chapel because he could not allow same-sex weddings to take place in the chapel.

And a chaplain who asked senior military officers whether religious liberty would be protected in the wake of the repeal of the law against open homosexual behavior in the military was told to “get in line” or resign.

Crews said they are sharing these stories to let other service members know there is a place to get help. He said Chaplain Alliance publishes a religious liberty palm card – explaining constitutionally protected liberties to service members.

“If you believe your religious liberties have been violated, here’s what you can do,” he said. “We will see that you get the help that you need.”

As and what about Sommers?  “We’re going to stand with this soldier who did nothing wrong,” Crews said. “There is nothing wrong in saying he wants to celebrate DOMA – which happens to be federal law.


Australia:  No vote for gay marriage bill before election

GREENS MP Adam Bandt has accused Labor of deliberately delaying a vote on his gay marriage private members bill.

Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt had hoped his marriage equality private members bill, before the lower house, would go to a vote on Thursday.  However, it is not listed on the schedule.

Mr Bandt accused Labor and the coalition of deliberately delaying a vote.  "It's disappointing for me and heart-breaking for many others," he told AAP.

"Labor is worried about Kevin Rudd being on one side of the chamber and Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott sitting together on the other side trying to hold back the tide of history."

A spokesman for the manager of government business Anthony Albanese told AAP that debate on the bill was continuing and many more MPs wanted a chance to have their say.

Last year the Greens had pushed for a vote to be delayed for Labor backbencher Stephen Jones's gay marriage bill until there was more support within the parliament, he said.

Since last year's unsuccessful vote, France and New Zealand have legalised gay marriage.

A stream of Australian MPs have announced their support and a change of heart on the issue, including former prime minister Kevin Rudd.  Labor has granted its MPs a conscience vote on the issue.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has opened up some wiggle room and the prospect of a conscience vote for coalition MPs after the election.

Mr Bandt is optimistic another Greens bill, giving legal recognition to same sex marriages conducted overseas, might be voted on in the Senate before parliament rises at the end of June.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


9 June, 2013

An apparently distorted study of homosexual parenting

There is an a priori expectation that children growing up in a family outside the biological norm will be disadvantaged in some way or ways. So pro-homosexual groups have been keen to refute that. 

How keen they are can be seen in the study reported below.  Its introductory elements were reported in a leading medical journal  long before any results were in.  "Watch out for good news" seems to be the implicit message of that.  In my entire academic career I have never before seen the  preamble to a research report published before the report itself. 

And, in addition to that,  we now have a "preliminary report" of the findings issued by way of a press release  -- although it is acknowledged that the study is still half done.  Press release  science reporting is dubious enough as it is without adding to it that the study in incomplete.

To be assigned any credibility the normal scientific criterion is that an article has passed peer review.  Not only has this report not passed peer review, it is not even ready for peer review.

As an author with a large number of published papers in social psychology, I would be regarded as a person qualified to do a peer review of the work.  So I decided to do a review of what we have so far.  I was however handicapped by the lack of detail made  available so far. 

I did however find two methodological limitations.  1). Most of the parents (80%) were lesbians so this is essentially a study of what happens in lesbian homes only.  2).  There appears to have been no control for social class.

I also found that the study detected NO differences in mental health.  Only physical health was different. Given the  obvious role of experimenter expectations (the Rosenthal effect) in the research, the lack of mental health differences must have been disappointing.  One imagines that psychological superiority in  the lesbian-reared kids was expected.

So the one difference found, better physical health, is a puzzle  for us all.  Nobody of any orientation expected that.  And the authors can only speculate about its causes.  It doesn't float anyone's boat.

There is however a glaring methodological lacuna that could explain the finding quite well:  The failure to control for social class.  Social class is one of the best known predictors of better  health generally.  So if the homosexual families studied were of a higher social class, all would become clear. And from the sparse details given about recruitment of the families it seems to me highly likely that recruits were indeed more likely to be middle class. 

So we are just seeing the boring old class effect in this data again:  Nothing else.  The one positive finding is readily explained without any reference to sexual preferences.  The bright-eyed faith behind the study is rather chopped up by Occam's razor.

And once we start talking about class, another fact emerges.  Middle class children should have been BETTER in psychological health.  That they were not in this study indicates that their expected psychological advantage was being cancelled out by something else:  Their abnormal family arrangements? 

So, if anything, this study confirms an adjustment deficit in the children of lesbian families.  About children in male homosexual families it tells us nothing.
Children with same-sex parents are healthier than those with heterosexual parents, new Australian research suggests.

Children aged five to 17 who live with gay parents have ‘significantly better’ general health than those with heterosexual parents.

There is also greater family cohesion in families led by same-sex parents, the research shows.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne, in Australia, studied 500 children aged between one and 17 as part of The Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families.

For general health and family cohesion children aged 5 to 17 years with same-sex parents showed a significantly better score when compared to Australian children from all backgrounds and family contexts.

The children of same-sex couples scored so much higher for general health that researchers said it would only occur by chance less than 1 in 10,000 times.

However, for all other health measures, including self-esteem and emotional behaviour, there were no statistically significant differences.

Currently, the researchers do not know why the children of same-sex parents have better general health and family cohesion.

The lead researcher on the study, Dr Simon Crouch, told The Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Because of the situation that same-sex families find themselves in, they are generally more willing to communicate and approach the issues that any child may face at school, like teasing or bullying.

‘This fosters openness and means children tend to be more resilient. That would be our hypothesis.’


Another one:  British woman, 31, falsely claimed two strangers broke into her house and raped her

A woman who falsely accused two strangers of raping her in a bid to win back her boyfriend has escaped jail.

In an attempt to garner sympathy from her partner, Linsey Attridge, 31, claimed the two men broke into her house in Aberdeen and attacked her.

She even punched herself in the face and ripped her own clothing to make her story seem more credible.

Attridge then spent three days trawling social networking sites so she could hand over profiles of the men she claimed were responsible to police.

The two men were detained, questioned and had to undergo forensic and medical examinations because of her claims.

It was two months before police dropped the case against them because there was no evidence to support the allegations.

Attridge appeared in Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Wednesday, where she admitted wasting police time.

Yesterday, her former partner Nick Smith, 32, said she had put the lives of the two random men she pinpointed as rapists through hell.

Mr Smith said he had also suffered difficulties because he chose to support her.  He added: ‘I’ve spent the last two years trying to build bridges with my parents, my sister and some of my friends – just because of everything that happened.

‘I also feel sorry for the two guys on Facebook. I don’t know who they are, she just picked them off Facebook.  ‘They didn’t deserve that, no one deserves that. These poor guys were tormented. They won’t get any compensation for this.’

Attridge had been in a relationship with Mr Smith for 18 months at the time of the incident in 2011.  But their romance had hit the rocks and the  couple looked likely to split.

She thought, however, that  she could save their relationship by making up a story claiming to have been raped.

Mr Smith spent weeks comforting her after she told him she was attacked and raped by the strangers in their home while he was playing football.

The court heard single mother Attridge, now of Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, had made up the story so Mr Smith would be more caring towards her.

But after she was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work in the community rather than jail, Mr Smith said: ‘I think  the sentence was ridiculous. I actually walked out of the court as soon as I heard it. I think the justice system has let us all down.’

The kickboxing instructor from Aberdeen said the worst part of the whole experience had been listening to her lies come out in court.

He added: ‘Sitting in court and hearing that was hard to take. But I’m glad it’s done and dusted and I can move on.

‘It’s been really quite bad, as while we were together I lost touch with family and friends.  ‘She started arguments with friends. I think it was because they had figured her out.’

Mr Smith said her sentence was not enough, as she could have potentially ruined lives with her lies. He added: ‘She doesn’t think about anyone else or the consequences of her actions. She should have been locked up.’

Attridge has 12 months to complete her community  payback order. She was also placed under the supervision of the social work department for two years.

Police refused to comment on the case yesterday.


Horror British police again

Rugby coach hands son's drug dealer to police...and is charged with kidnapping

Furious that his 14-year-old son had been buying cannabis, Cenydd Nickels vowed to bring the dealer to justice.  His anger was made worse by the fact his mother had recently been violently mugged for the sake of just £6 to buy drugs.

But when the 53-year-old tracked down the culprit and carted him to a police station, officers were not interested.  They let the suspect walk free...and put Mr Nickels in the dock instead.

Their decision triggered a five-month, £100,000 legal battle that ended only when the Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop the charges without explanation.

Mr Nickels had confronted the drug dealer in a ‘sting’ operation at a park, having been promised by police they would be there to make an arrest.  No officers arrived and – following a fight – Mr Nickels, who is a dog warden and junior rugby coach, put the younger man in the boot of his car and drove to a police station.

The station was closed so he telephoned officers who arrived 20 minutes later.

To Mr Nickels’s horror, they arrested him for assault – even though the dealer told them he did not wish to press charges.  The next day he was charged with kidnap and causing actual bodily harm.

That led to ten court appearances until, at Swansea Crown Court last month, prosecutors decided to offer no evidence and he was formally acquitted of both charges.

One of his neighbours in Ystradgynlais, near Swansea, said: ‘Cenydd is a pillar of our community.  ‘He’s there for young people week in week out at the rugby club and is well known in the area for being a lovely guy.

'No one here will have a bad word to say about him. It’s a joke that he was arrested in the first place. What a waste of everyone’s time and money.’

Mr Nickels posted an emotional message on Facebook about his arrest in January.  In it he said his mother had been left black and blue by her mugging ordeal and needed hospital treatment, including stitches, for her injuries.

He added: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, county councillors, community councillors, scout leaders and the people who have supported me over the past few weeks.

‘We have won the battle, but not the war over drugs in our community. We must stick together and keep on top of the drug dealers and report them to the police, so that they will always be looking over their shoulder in future.

‘We as a community have to help the police to get rid of this scum and hope they will respond to our concerns.

'There will always be someone out there who will try to make money on the backs of our children by selling drugs to them.  ‘They will cause misery and heartache to our families. Our community is worth protecting. Our children are worth protecting. Our children are worth fighting for.’

No one from Dyfed-Powys Police was available for comment yesterday.


Labour: Force landlords to bring down rents to reduce welfare bill

Leftists never learn.  Rent control always REDUCES the accommodation available to the poor

Local authorities should be able to force private landlords to bring down rents to reduce the housing benefit bill, Liam Byrne has said.

Mr Byrne, the Shadow Work and Pension Secretary, indicated that a future Labour government will introduce curbs on high rents in a bid to stop the overall welfare bill going up.

His comments came as Ed Miliband prepares to give a speech in which he will promise that a Labour government would seek to cap some parts of the welfare budget.

The Labour leader will also suggest that a Labour government could also cut the benefits paid to welfare claimants who have never worked, and give higher payments to people with a record of work.

The speech is being seen as Mr Miliband’s latest attempt to try and shed his party’s high-spending image.

Mr Byrne told the BBC that one way Labour would seek to reduce the welfare bill is by cracking down on private landlords.

“A lot of people say to us why are we spending £24 billion on housing benefit – a lot of that money is going to private landlords,” he said. “Why don’t we give local councils the power to bring down the cost of rents, particularly in the private rented sector, and use some of those savings to actually build more social housing?

“That would stop the housing benefit bill going up and up and up.”

The Tories seized on a Labour decision to accept the Coalition’s cuts in child benefit for high-earners. David Cameron said that showed Mr Miliband was inconsistent in its policies, since Labour has previously suggested it would reversing the cut.

With less than two years until the general election, Mr Miliband is moving to answer Conservative attacks that his party remains committed to high spending and borrowing, and an over-generous welfare system.

Mr Miliband will use the speech in East London to argue that Labour now accepts the need for restraint in public spending, especially welfare.

Mr Miliband’s most significant promise is a cap on some parts of the welfare budget.

A Labour government would limit “structural” social security spending, the parts of the welfare system that do not vary in line with economic growth.

Labour officials said that the party will not set out any more detail on the welfare cap until closer to the general election

George Osborne, the Chancellor, suggested in his Budget that such a cap could be applied after the general election.

Mr Miliband will also confirm that Labour is considering adopting a “contributory principle” in welfare, where the level of benefit someone receives varies according to their history of work.

Labour will consider a plan to restrict the number of unemployed people who qualify for contributory Jobseekers’ Allowance.

That would mean that people with a long history of work could receive significantly higher benefits than those who have not worked.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


7 June, 2013

Another lying British bitch

Feminists say that women never lie about sexual assaults.  They sure do in Britain  -- and hurt a lot of innocent men

A Tory MP accused of trying to lure his lesbian housemaid into a threesome with his wife yesterday told of his relief after her 'cynical' case was thrown out.

Richard Drax said the allegations had been 'extremely stressful' for him, his wife Elsebet and his four children with his ex-wife, the sister of former Royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke.

Anne Lyndoe-Tavistock's case was dismissed after her former lover told an employment tribunal that she had falsely accused a previous employer of sexual assault and had been awarded £16,000.

The 'manipulative' serial litigant also received two other payouts after bringing claims against former bosses in the last 15 years.

In her latest claim, Miss Lyndoe-Tavistock, 53, alleged the MP for South Dorset and his wife groped her and tried to perform a sex act on her as they drank wine in the sitting room of their Elizabethan stately home.

She told the tribunal she felt  suicidal after the alleged assault and claimed that a few weeks later she was told to leave the house and her £24,000-a-year job. She also claimed Mr Drax, 55, used to walk around the house naked in front of her.

The MP, a Harrow-educated former Coldstream Guards officer whose full name is Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, had always denied the claims and described himself to the hearing as a 'courteous gentleman'.

Miss Lyndoe-Tavistock's claims were dismissed after her former civil partner – who is currently divorcing her – told the tribunal she believed the housekeeper had  'concocted' the stories for financial gain and to 'satisfy a grudge'.

Jo Lyndoe-Tavistock said her former partner's attitude when she was in a dispute was one of 'I have an issue with that person, how can I get them back?' She told the hearing that before they had met her partner had brought a successful claim involving an alleged sexual assault against her former employer, the Royal Mail.

'She admitted to me that she had been in a tussle of some sort with a colleague and that she had invented an allegation that he had touched her breast,' she said.  Miss Lyndoe-Tavistock received £15,960 after bringing the claim.

She received another payout from the Royal Mail after alleging she had hurt her shoulder after the company overfilled a bag. 'In fact it was an injury she had had for many years which was unrelated to her work,' her civil partner said.

She also received a £3,000 payout from a store where she was working after yet another dispute.

Her ex-partner added said she believed the case against the MP was another attempt to 'extract money from an employer'.

'She knows Mr Drax is a public figure and I imagine she thought he was in a strong position to secure a settlement from him as I know she has done from previous employers.

'I believe she concocted the allegations in her claim to cause embarrassment to Mr and Mrs Drax and their family in the expectation that she would receive a financial settlement.'

A few weeks after the alleged assault, Miss Lyndoe-Tavistock said the MP told her she had an hour to leave, citing a series of fallings out she had had with other members of staff. She said he gave her £300 and a letter falsely claiming they had discussed disciplinary proceedings and that a severance deal would be drawn up.

The housekeeper's former partner told the tribunal that when she spoke to her after she had been sacked by the MP, she boasted she had something 'big' on him.

The housekeeper had claimed sexual discrimination, unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and for unpaid holiday pay. Mr Drax wiped his eyes as he sat holding his wife's hand as chairman of the panel, Judge Roger Peters, rejected her 'utterly incredible' claims.

Outside, the MP said. 'This finding vindicates our position throughout these proceedings that we acted lawfully and properly and that her serious allegations of sexual discrimination were untrue.

'These allegations have been extremely stressful for my wife and I, and my children, and my family. We are all now relieved that we can put these matters behind us.'

A spokesman for the Forum of Private Business said: 'It is wrong that one angry employee can humiliate her boss, even if there are no grounds.

'We think the culture needs to change where somebody is to blame – and that is always the employer.'

Outside court, the housekeeper's solicitor said: 'We are sorry that she has not been able to prove her case at this tribunal and we will be considering an appeal.'


I'll curb new red tape on small firms, says British Business Minister: Michael Fallon vows to 'reform or bin' any rules that would hit companies

Believe it when you see it

New Government regulations which would hurt small businesses will be 'reformed or binned', the Department for Business will announce today.

In a dramatic attempt to crackdown on red tape, Michael Fallon will ban the introduction of new regulation by any Government department which would hit small firms.

He is expected to say: 'On my watch, new regulations will now only extend to small businesses if they are essential, justified and where disproportionate burdens are fully mitigated. And where regulation is not fit for purpose it will be reformed or binned.'

The crackdown will come into effect immediately, and will apply to small businesses employing up to 50 staff.

The vast majority of British businesses will benefit. Of the 4.8million businesses in this country, only 1.2million actually employ one or more people, according to official figures.

It comes after red tape has for years been regularly cited by small firms as the biggest problem that they face.

While entrepreneurs want to be focused on growing their business, millions complain their time is wasted on the constant mountain of red tape paperwork which needs to be filled in.

Small business lobby groups have regularly warned their members are 'hammered' by red tape which they insist is thwarting Britain's chance of a full economic recovery.

Today Mr Fallon will say he has listened to their fury about red tape, and promise to stem the flow of time-consuming regulation which distracts them day in, day out.

He will say: 'We all want faster growth. As Britain recovers, small businesses are leading the generation of ideas, the creation of new jobs and the shift towards a balanced economy.  'We cannot afford to hold them back with more rules and regulations.'

Last night, business lobby groups welcomed the move, which will affect all new ideas with immediate effect and apply to all regulations coming into force after 31 March 2014.

John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: 'The burden of regulation often falls heaviest on the smallest of firms.

'This announcement should mean that business owners will be able to devote time to growing their business and creating jobs, rather than form-filling.'

Alexander Ehmann, head of regulatory policy at the Institute of Directors, said they are 'much-needed powers to throw out rules which are unmanageable for the UK's smallest businesses.'

Under the new system, all new regulations must be scrutinised by two committees, which have the power to veto them if they are deemed to be harmful to small businesses.

Alternatively, the committee can grant an exemption to small businesses, or change the rules to mitigate the impact on small firms.

For example, the rules around record-keeping for small firms – one of their biggest bugbears – might be simplified, but not for large firms.

The British Chambers of Commerce said it will 'keep an eye' on the new policy to ensure that it is actually making a difference to firms, rather than just becoming another failed attempt to curb the explosion of red tape.

It comes after the Prime Minister said yesterday he will accept all the recommendations made by his small business tsar Lord Young in his recent report.

They include scrapping the age restriction, currently 30, on people who can apply for a popular 'start-up loan' from the Government to allow entrepreneurs of all ages to apply.


John Bercow: migrants are better workers

Bercow is a piece of work but he is right about the large numbers of lazy Brits.  Their welfare State has created  a culture of idleness.  "Benefits" are more profitable than work in many cases.   Australians know Brits well and a common comment about Brits from Australians is that "they wouldn't work in an iron lung" (meaning that nothing can move them)

Eastern European immigrants to Britain show more “aptitude and commitment” to work than British people, the Commons Speaker has said.  The arrival of thousands of workers from eastern Europe has had “great advantages” for Britain, John Bercow said.

In remarks that have raised questions about his political neutrality, the Speaker also attacked British critics of recent trends in immigration for their “bellicose and strident tone”.

As Speaker, Mr Bercow is expected to stay out of active political debates. Ministers and MPs are currently debating how Britain should prepare for next year’s lifting of European immigration restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians.

In remarks on a visit to Romania last week, Mr Bercow appeared to give his support for policies that have allowed eastern Europeans to travel to Britain and work.

Since 2004, about one million eastern Europeans have come to Britain under European Union freedom of movement rules.

From next year, Romanians and Bulgarians will have the same right.

Some MPs argue that the arrival of eastern Europeans can bring social and economic problems in parts of Britain.

Ministers have promised changes in public service rules to make it harder for newcomers to use services such as the NHS.

During a visit to Bucharest, Mr Bercow spoke about the “important wave of immigrants” that have come to Britain in recent years, and praised their work ethic.

“I believe things should be controlled and monitored when it comes to migration, any state that wants to protect its own people should do this, but there are also great advantages,” he said.

“I want to underline the fact that there has been an important wave of immigrants that came to Great Britain from new member states and in many cases they came with aptitudes and a commitment, an involvement we haven’t always seen in our labour force.”

Mr Bercow made the remarks during an official visit to the Romanian parliament last week. He was given a full ceremonial welcome, addressing the parliament and meeting senior politicians.

He also gave a press conference where he criticised the British media for raising doubts about immigration, accusing some journalists of “negative and discriminatory” reporting on the issue.

British media coverage of immigration is not reflective of British opinion on the issue, Mr Bercow told reporters in Bucharest. He added: “A free media is a vital part of a democracy. But the media is not the Government and it is not Parliament,” he said. “I am here as a friend of Romania and someone who sees the benefits of immigration.”

Mr Bercow’s decision to speak about the benefits of immigration has been questioned.

Nigel Farage, the UK Independence Party leader who challenged Mr Bercow at the last election, said the Speaker had failed to fulfil his duty to remain above politics.

He said: “It is outrageous that Mr Bercow is happy to overthrow the wisdom of ages and think it acceptable to comment on matters that are both highly political and deeply contentious. He is a disgrace to the office of Speaker.

“There are very good practical and constitutional reasons why the Speaker is neutral, reasons that he obviously believes are beneath his own august self image.”

Rob Wilson, a Conservative MP who has questioned Mr Bercow’s fairness in chairing parliamentary debates, said his comments raised concerns.

Mr Wilson said: “Immigration is an incredibly important and sensitive matter that generates very strong opinions. The Speaker needs not only to be neutral in his handling of debates on the issue, but he needs to be seen to be neutral.

“It would be a dangerous precedent if a Speaker were to start airing their views too freely on a subject like this.”

As Speaker, Mr Bercow determines which MPs can speak in Commons debates, and some members are wary of criticising him publicly.

Another MP said Mr Bercow was unwise to comment on the immigration debate in the way that he did. “He should stay out of things like this,” the MP said.

Some MPs defended Mr Bercow’s decision to discuss immigration.

Philip Hollobone, a Conservative MP who has criticised liberal immigration rules, said he did not object to Mr Bercow’s actions.

He said: “As Speaker of the House of Commons, it is absolutely right that if he is asked a question, he is able to answer it freely and honestly.”

A Commons spokesman confirmed Mr Bercow’s remarks about immigration during his visit to Romania last week.

He said: “Mr Speaker was on an official visit at the invitation of the Romanian parliament, supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he delivered a speech about the role and importance of parliaments in the democratic system. Mr Speaker was responding to a question about British media coverage in relation to future EU migration.


Australian corporate regulator's  blundering attempt to censor  one website took down 250,000

They are arrogant to be blocking any sites.  Nobody voted for  this.  And arrogance is a good predictor of blundering

Australia's corporate watchdog has admitted to inadvertently blocking access to about 250,000 innocuous websites in addition to the 1200 it had already accidentally censored.

ASIC made the concession in a statement at a senate estimates hearing on Tuesday night, after it caused controversy by interpreting a 15-year-old law in the Telecommunications Act as giving it the ability to block websites.

The largest number of sites censored when attempting to block one particular site ASIC believed was defrauding Australians was 250,000. Of these, ASIC said about 1000, or 0.4 per cent, were active sites. It said the 249,000 other sites hosted "no substantive content" or offered their domain name up for sale, rather than hosting a fully-fledged active site.

ASIC asked internet service providers (ISPs) to block sites it believed were defrauding Australians by IP address (such as instead of domain name (such as sitedefraudingaustralians.com). This meant thousands of other sites were blocked in the process, as many sites are often hosted on one shared IP address.

ASIC told senate estimates in its opening statement that it was now examining how it could ensure only a site's specific domain name was blocked and ways it could alert the public to a site being blocked via a pop up page. It was also examining ways such a page could indicate why access was blocked and to whom queries could be made to dispute a block.

ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell told estimates the watchdog had used section 313 of the Telecommunications Act on 10 occasions in the past year to request a number of Australian ISPs to block sites. ASIC sent the notices to four or five ISPs on each occasion.

On all 10 occasions it requested websites be blocked by IP address instead of by domain name.

In another already reported case, about 1200 sites were blocked by mistake. On the other eight occasions ASIC said "only the targeted criminal site, or the targeted site and a very small number of other sites" were affected.

So far ASIC, the Australian Federal Police and a yet-to-be-revealed national security agency under the Attorney-General's remit have used section 313 to block sites at a federal level. State and territory law enforcement authorities are also able to use section 313 but it is not yet known if they have done so as there is no one agency that has oversight.

ASIC has vowed to report annually on its blocking of websites, the only authority to do so.

Use of section 313 to block websites was only uncovered last month after the webmasters of the Melbourne Free University site couldn't figure out why it was no longer accessible. After making a number of inquiries to their ISP, the webmasters were told that the Australian government had blocked access to the site. The ISP wouldn't provide any more detail.

It wasn't until after the media and Greens Senator Scott Ludlam got involved that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy revealed to tech publication Delimiter that ASIC was behind the censoring.

Soon after the revelation, the department convened a meeting on May 22 with federal government departments and agencies, including ASIO, to discuss use of section 313.

Communications Minister Senator Conroy has since expressed his support of there being more transparency around the way section 313 is used by law enforcers.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


6 June, 2013

Guilty: Barristers watchdog (looking into the Leveson lovers scandal) is condemned for its shoddy handling of complaints

Lawyers look after lawyers

Failures and flaws in the way barristers handle complaints against themselves are leaving  the public at risk, an investigation has found.

A scathing inquiry from a state watchdog said that the Bar Standards Board – which regulates the elite of the legal profession – has failed to reach satisfactory standards in every area in which it operates.

It said the findings raise a question mark over the legitimacy and legality of the complaints system.

The strongly worded verdict from the Legal Services Board is a blow to the legal profession at a time when lawyers are trying to demonstrate the bodies through which they regulate themselves are working.

Criticisms levelled at the BSB, which is run by barristers, include delays that see hundreds of complaints against lawyers unresolved for years – with some still unfinished after almost a decade.

Two in three of those who complain to the BSB think they are treated unfairly, the investigation found.

The charges come at a time of political controversy for the Bar Standards Board.

Following the publication of the Leveson report, which calls for an end to self-regulation of newspapers and the imposition of Press regulation laws, it emerged that two of the barristers who worked on opposing sides during the Inquiry were having an affair.

David Sherborne QC, who represented celebrities and others calling for state regulation of the Press,  and Carine Patry Hoskins, who represented the Inquiry, went for a break together to the Greek island of Santorini four months before the Inquiry ended.

The pair have said they went on holiday to discuss the possibility of a future relationship, decided against it, but changed their minds later on.

And Lord Justice Leveson rejected any suggestion that the Inquiry may have been compromised, and has said it is for the Bar Standards Board to settle a complaint from senior Tory MP Rob Wilson over the conduct of the lawyers.

The BSB, which was launched seven years ago, has come in for repeated criticism. Nevertheless, last year its chairman Baroness Deech insisted it was in ‘rude health’.

But the report from the Legal Services Board said one survey had found more than two thirds of people who complained to the BSB about the conduct of barristers thought its methods were neither open nor fair.

The BSB, which polices the conduct of 15,000 barristers, ‘has very little evidence’ about the views of ordinary people who pay them, it found.

However, user satisfaction surveys showed ‘a significant number of those that have had reason to complain about an individual regulated by the BSB do not consider the process open and fair’.

The figure was 67 per cent, or two out of three complainants.

During 2013, the Legal Services Board said, the BSB has been handling 316 complaints about barristers which date back to 2010 and 2011.  There were a number of even older unresolved cases, with one going back to 2004.

‘Such delays are not fair to those regulated by the BSB who face such allegations for such a long period and raise risks to consumers who receive services from barristers who may be unfit to practise or need to undertake remedial action,’ the report said.

The inquiry questioned the independence of the BSB because its purse strings are held by the Bar Council, the organisation which speaks for barristers.

The Bar Council can reject any item of BSB spending, must approve any cheques for more than £1,000, and can veto staff appointments.

The report said in some incidents the watchdog had ‘been concerned about the Bar Council’s attempts to fetter this independence’.

It added: ‘Involvement of the representative body in regulatory matters raises risks to the legitimacy of the independent regulatory body’. It might also break the law, the report said.

The inquiry also criticised the way the regulator operates through eight different committees with 130 members, adding the Legal Services Board ‘does not believe that it can deliver effective or efficient governance’.

The Bar Standards Board currently claims that by the end of 2013 ‘the term BSB-regulated will be an assurance of good, honest, independent advocacy and expert legal advice’.

However, the Legal Services Board said the BSB had in reality promised only to achieve satisfactory grades in all areas by the spring of 2016 and that even this task was ‘ambitious’.

It said some improvements would need ‘culture change’ and in other areas the BSB ‘has painted an overly optimistic picture about the progress it has made’.

BSB director Dr Vanessa Davies said: ‘The report praises the BSB’s self-assessment and progress in this area while identifying areas for improvement.

She added: ‘Like any organisation that serves the public – and this one does so at no expense to the public – we want to improve constantly.

‘We welcome the fact that the LSB agrees with how we have analysed our progress so far and how we are going to continue to modernise.

'We know that is ambitious and tough: but we also know that the public deserves no less.’


57,000 suspects are left in bail limbo as police 'drag their feet' with one man waiting three-and-a-half years to find out if he will be charged

Thousands of criminal suspects are ‘left dangling’ on police bail for months before they are told if they will be charged.

More than 57,000 people are on this type of bail – where conditions are set by the police rather than the courts – including 3,000 for more than six months.

One fraud suspect is still on bail three years and seven months after being arrested, a survey found.

Many of those arrested and bailed will ultimately not face charges. In some cases, suspects are suspended from their jobs while allegations against them are investigated.

The Law Society, which represents solicitors, is calling for a 28-day limit on police bail, after which it said officers should be required to go before a magistrate to justify further bailing of a suspect.

Freedom of Information requests by BBC Radio 5?Live found at least 57,428 suspects were on bail in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while 3,172 have been on bail for more than six months. In Scotland, bail is set by the courts, not the police.

Scotland Yard has more than 12,000 suspects on bail, including 910 for over six months. In London, a man, 45, has still not been told if he will be charged after he was arrested in October 2009 on suspicion of fraud.

Senior police officers appear divided on the issue, with Andy Trotter, the head of the British Transport Police, calling for a six-month limit on bail. However, the Association of Chief Police Officers said that bail was an ‘essential tool in securing justice’.

Richard Atkinson, chairman of the Law Society’s criminal law committee, said: ‘It is not unusual for people to be on bail for several months while fairly routine investigations meander their way to a final decision.

‘Because there is no requirement for the police to act within any time, there is an attitude among some officers of “let’s put off until tomorrow what we could have done today” and things are just left to drag along.’ He said one suspect accused of stealing a bicycle had been left on bail for seven months.
Peak: The largest number of bailed individuals are in London, with 12,178 waiting to hear from the Metropolitan Police

The largest number of bailed individuals are in London, with 12,178 waiting to hear from the Metropolitan Police

Civil liberties campaigners have condemned the excessive use of police bail, which allows officers to restrict suspects’ activities. This can include forcing them to live at a certain address, handing over their passport and making them report to a police station on a regular basis.

There is no time limit on how long bail can continue and how many times it can be renewed.

Earlier this month, Mr Trotter told The Mail on Sunday: ‘In the past, police have released people without bail and that hasn’t stopped us continuing the investigation, particularly if they are unlikely to abscond. We have re-arrested them at a later stage when we have had sufficient evidence. That way, they are not left dangling.’

But Chris Eyre, Acpo spokesman and chief constable of Nottinghamshire, said: ‘Police bail  is an essential tool in securing justice. It allows investigators to ensure every possible avenue is explored, while those arrested need not remain in custody.’

Steve White, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the lack of resources made it more difficult for investigations to be concluded quickly.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We continue to keep police bail provisions under review to ensure they strike the right balance between protecting an individual’s right to civil liberty and allowing police to carry out thorough criminal investigations.’


Church leaders may ask Queen to dissolve Synod if it continues to oppose creation of women bishops

Senior bishops have raised the prospect of asking the Queen to dissolve the Church of England’s ‘Parliament’, the General Synod, if it continues to oppose the creation of women bishops.

The unprecedented proposal was made in a confidential meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury last week and reflects Church leaders’ frustration with the Synod for narrowly defeating legislation in November to allow women priests to become bishops.

The House of Bishops unveiled fresh plans on Friday to push through the historic reforms within two years and is preparing for a battle with traditionalists.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby held a confidential meeting last week about the issue

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby held a confidential meeting last week about the issue

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are due to urge the Synod, when it meets in July, to accept a law that will allow women to be consecrated.

But some bishops fear that opposition can be overcome only by dissolving the Synod and electing new members who are more sympathetic to reform.

One senior traditionalist said last night: ‘It seems the new Archbishop is determined to steam-roll this through, but if he is not careful he will be risking another disaster.’
The Archbishop is to urge the Synod to accept a law that women should be concentrated in July

The Archbishop is to urge the Synod to accept a law that women should be concentrated in July

As in Parliament, elections to the Synod are normally every five years, but the Archbishops can in theory seek an early dissolution. To take this step, they would have to petition the Queen, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, who has the power to force new elections.

Sources said, however, that the idea had not ‘gained traction’ with the majority of bishops because they were confident the Synod would not be able to defeat the motion again.

In November, the reform was defeated despite widespread support by only a few votes in the House of Laity, one of the three houses of the Synod alongside the Houses of Bishops and of Clergy.
Sources are confident that the Synod, (pictured) will defeat the motion as it did in November

Sources are confident that the Synod, (pictured) will defeat the motion as it did in November

The fallout was highly damaging to the Church’s credibility and MPs have threatened to impose women bishops by passing legislation in Parliament if the Church fails to resolve the crisis.

The Synod can reject the Archbishops’ proposals in July, but observers said the mood is now strongly in favour of introducing women bishops as quickly as possible and that the traditionalists will try only to gain favourable terms.


The fate of Sally Bercow suggests it's all too easy to side with the baying mob

Sally Bercow is a nasty Leftist bitch who grievously and falsely defamed a prominent British Conservative

'It follows that, for these reasons, I find that the Tweet meant, in its natural and ordinary defamatory meaning, that the Claimant was a paedophile who was guilty of sexually abusing boys living in care.” Thus the conclusion of Mr Justice Tugendhat’s judgment in McAlpine v Bercow, on whether or not the now infamous tweet from Sally Bercow was “defamatory at law”. He has ruled that it was.

Since Mrs Bercow had tweeted “Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*” at the height of the furore over (false) allegations aired by Newsnight (that a senior Conservative had been involved in child abuse in the 1980s), this is a judgment that for once is entirely consonant with common sense. There is a huge difference between “Why is Lord McAlpine trending?” and the same words with the addition of that faux-naive “*innocent face*”. To suggest otherwise defies credulity. Faux-naivety is the hallmark of the modern Left-wing smart alec (think Radio 4’s The News Quiz). Only a Martian could fail to recognise the semantics of the form.

So, good: justice for the McAlpine One. I do think, though, that the case exemplifies a problem for humans that is ancient and universal, but which, thanks to technology, is more dangerous than ever. The tendency to rush to judgment, and the desire to be part of the crowd.

After all, Mrs Bercow was hardly alone in casting aspersions on Lord McAlpine: the Twittersphere had decided it knew who was the subject of the BBC’s sensational report. Why not join in? The temptation is hard to resist (it’s one reason I gave up on Twitter for a while; I’m not immune to the phenomenon). No one wants to be left behind; everyone wants to cast those stones.

A man I know well recently found himself in disagreement with the rest of his work-team. The issue would sound trivial compared with allegations of child abuse, but the same sort of dynamic was in place. All the team wanted to do “X”. The pressure on Tom to conform was enormous, but he thought “X” wasn’t merely sub-optimal; he found it ethically troubling.

He’s a good man: he didn’t back down, and was ultimately successful in convincing the team to change course. But even he felt the pressure to shrug and get on with it. If everyone else says 2+2 = 5, not only is it hard to disagree, it’s hard not to say “I believe 2+2 = 5, too”. Big Brother (one of Mrs Bercow’s friends, I recall) ruled because people wanted to belong.

A nagging worry about the baying mob has been growing in me since the Jimmy Savile revelations. Some victims are finding long-delayed justice. But other innocent people must (where “must” is a statistical term denoting high probability) find themselves publicly ruined. I can feel the mob smack its lips with every “revelation”. Remember the paediatrician whose house was vandalised in 2000, most likely because of the root of her profession’s noun? Television personalities who may turn out to be falsely accused are no less deserving of concern.

A more serious point, this most awful of weeks. Given that we know this human desire to side with the loudest majority, what on Earth was the BBC doing giving Anjem Choudary a platform to spew his filth? An invitation to appear on Newsnight (that “flagship” programme, again) is so prestigious that a form of legitimacy is conferred on any studio guest.

Was the day after the most shocking atrocity in London since 7/7, the day the victim was named, a good time to confer such a status on Choudary? Not only in terms of its effects on those of us who worry about Islamic extremism from the outside: what do you imagine his interview, hard on the Woolwich horror, caused someone sympathetic to the EDL to feel? More inclined to demonstrate, or less? But also (and more important), didn’t anyone contemplate its consequence on those who fight that extremism from within? What about those who are fighting it within themselves?

I’m not arguing “no platform”, like some (sheeplike) student activist. There’s a time to allow the extremists to hang themselves, metaphorically, in debate. But we know that humans have a tendency to gossip (and that while gossip is not always deleterious, it often is); know that humans are more prone to wicked behaviour once their individuality is rolled up into a herd; know that we all wish to belong to a herd; know that the media confers legitimacy upon those subjects it chooses to feature; know, too, that the gossip contingent upon that legitimacy can circle the world in a second. Thus the creation of a mob. Thus the entirely predictable injustices. Shouldn’t we be more careful with our words?

Because a mob can now form, worldwide, in the time it took me to type this sentence. “Did you see Newsnight? What’s trending? I think that too! LOL.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


5 June, 2013

I'll risk the Judgment of Future Generations

Mike Adams

Everyone must be judged from time to time. It's a fact of life. Nonetheless, I'm getting tired of judgmental statements directed toward me for my unwavering defense of marriage. I'm talking about real marriage between one man and one woman, which is the only kind of marriage that really exists.

People often try to call something a marriage when it isn't. Calling a union between two men or between two women a marriage doesn't make it one. It's like embedding the name "Jesus Christ" in the official title of the LDS church and thinking that makes Mormonism somehow Christian. Call a square a triangle if you like but it's still a square. Your hardheadedness won't make it become a triangle. It will only make you appear obtuse.

Of course, the marriage destroyers are not content merely to call non-marriages "marriages" as part of their ongoing effort to denigrate the institution. They also insist that everyone else do the same. And when we don't, we incur the wrath of the godless. While accusing others of being judgmental, they will cast judgment upon all others. But for this generation of leftists that isn't enough. Increasingly, they have insisted on invoking the judgment of "future generations" as well. Let me provide three examples:

1. During a debate last October, a liberal historian told me that those who oppose same-sex “marriage” will be "shamed by history for their refusal to join in this great cause for civil rights." The great cause was, of course, destroying marriage for everyone, black and white alike.

2. A retired professor living in my community said opponents of same-sex “marriage” are "hopelessly bigoted." He also said that "after we are gone" the next generation will look back and ask "what were you thinking?" to those who opposed redefining marriage. He didn't specify how we will answer after we are "gone." That’s a strange argument coming from a self-professed philosophical naturalist.

3. Finally, a man I've never met bombed my Facebook fan page with several angry remarks on the issue. He concluded by telling me that my bigotry would not escape "the judgment of future generations." In a fit of judgmental bigotry, I banned him from my page forever. I couldn't help it. I guess I was born with the anti-gay agenda gene.

These references to how I will be remembered are getting spooky. Maybe I'm dying soon and everybody knows it but me. Just in case, let me get something straight about what I want my legacy to be. Put simply, I want to be remembered as someone who feared the judgment of an eternal God more than he feared the judgment of future generations.

With all the peer pressure surrounding the marriage issue that’s what it boils down to in America. I guess you could say that we now have a divide between two kinds of people. There are: a) those who fear the judgment of man and b) those who fear the judgment of God.

There are good reasons why the latter do not need to be intimidated by the former. First and foremost is the rank hypocrisy of the man-fearers. The same people who invoke the "fear of future generations" argument also support abortion, which tends to dismember future generations before they can judge anyone. These future generation fearers are also the ones running up the national debt with entitlements that only the present generation will have a chance to enjoy.

So I say to my critics, keep living in the present and treating the culture like a giant ATM machine. Withdraw often, never make a deposit, and redefine institutions in order to accommodate your sex life. But stop feeding me this nonsense about your concern for future generations.


Hate mustn’t be made a thought crime – only acting on it is

Words must be regarded differently in law from acts. It distinguishes a free nation from a totalitarian one

Whatever arguments there may be about the scope and power of government, one point that nobody disputes is that its primary function must be to protect the safety of the people. In democratic countries, national security – the preservation of life and property – trumps everything. But what if the danger to public safety gets overtaken by the danger of what is being done in its name?

At the moment, we – by which I mean what used to be called the “Western world” – are being forced to decide just how much personal liberty should be curtailed in the interests of safety. And we are having this debate in the wake of personal tragedy and terrifying threats from an enemy within. That is pretty much the most dangerous concatenation of circumstances that the values of a free society can face.

In Britain, where inherent liberty has been a fundamental principle of the political culture for centuries, we are seriously considering banning (that is, making illegal) whole categories of speech: not just forms of words that specifically incite crime but the propagation of potentially incendiary ideas and hateful expressions of feeling.

The BBC’s decision to present the radical Islamist Anjem Choudary with an opportunity to address the nation in the immediate aftermath of a hideous murder in a London street by men who identified themselves as Islamic extremists was stupid and offensive. In the alarm and hyper-sensitivity of the moment, it instantly gave rise to demands that such stupidity must, in future, be prohibited by law. As if the only way to stop self-indulgent broadcasters from doing asinine things was to criminalise them. (The BBC’s defence was patronising to the point of absurdity: “It is important for people to understand what we are up against.” Well, I think they can stop worrying. We’ve all got it.)

Choudary’s appearance was an insult to the family and friends of the murdered Lee Rigby, and a provocation to the general public. But was it a crime?

Interestingly, in the US where it would be constitutionally impossible to bar anyone from expressing his opinions, there has, to my knowledge, never been such a platform offered to any Islamist by a mainstream television network. Perhaps there is something about that root-and-branch legal commitment to freedom which makes broadcasters take their responsibilities very seriously. Or, more cynically, maybe it is just that US networks have to worry about the reactions of their sponsors, and so cannot be quite as unworldly and cavalier about public censure as the BBC.

As it happens, the US is having its own wrestling match with free speech. President Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, actually tried to justify his department’s wholesale interference with the freedom of the press, which is specifically protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, on the pretext that a reporter’s inquiries might have solicited a government leak which might have jeopardised national security. Presumably, the fact that the reporter in question (James Rosen) worked for a cable news channel (Fox News), which the Obama White House regarded as pestilential, was neither here nor there.

Except, of course, that it wasn’t. Under the cover of “protecting the national interest”, the supreme law officer of the land procured a search warrant for a journalist’s private emails and movements that effectively defined his lawful news-gathering process as criminal conspiracy. America has not forgotten the principles on which it was founded and Mr Holder is probably going to have to resign. The confounding of “threats to national security” with threats to the Obama White House has become too embarrassing even for the liberal media to accept.

But the issue goes beyond this Attorney General and this White House. In a time of amorphous danger and almost fiendishly unidentifiable enemies, is it possible to hold the line on the indivisibility of freedom? How difficult is it to create a trumped-up concern about public safety, which then allows government officials to become capricious and vindictive with the powers that they seize? And what sort of chance is there that these powers would ever be enforced with any consistency or even any real understanding of the significance of arguments and ideas? Once governments get the hang of it – redefining and limiting who has the right to say what – is there any guarantee that they won’t decide that they like it altogether too much?

But, you may say, it is only the wickedness of those who abuse freedom that makes this necessary: the right to speak and to proselytise one’s religion should not extend to those whose beliefs involve fomenting hatred. Humane as this may sound, there is a problem here. Freedom of speech (especially in the form in which it is enshrined in the American Constitution, as a universal God-given right) does not apply only to nice people. Incitement to violence is already a crime: there should be no difficulty in prosecuting it and any hesitation in doing so is a legitimate matter for complaint against the criminal justice system.
But the expression of hate is quite different. In a free society, you should be able to hate anybody you want – for any reason – so long as you do not act on it. (Incitement can be classified as an “act”.)

For that matter, how close are we already to creating thought crimes? Hate can sometimes be considered an aggravating factor in assault: if the attack is thought to be motivated by homophobia, or racism, then the criminal act is deemed worthy of a harsher punishment. And the expression of hatred alone is a crime if it is directed against an ethnic or a religious group. Of course I understand that it is naïve to say that words do not have a power of their own, or that they can be clearly differentiated from actions in their effect on the world. I am a member of the ethnic group whose persecution and mass murder in the last century was a direct consequence of a campaign of vicious hate speech. But that does not alter the fact that words (and thoughts) must be regarded differently in law from acts. It is the recognition of that difference that distinguishes a free nation from a totalitarian one.

Governments have to be reminded of this every single time they step over the line – even if they are doing so to public acclaim as the Coalition might be if it “bans” Islamic extremist preachers from the airwaves. In the febrile moments after a public outrage or in a climate in which partisan politics seems to license the odd nasty little strike, vigilance becomes more important than ever. Even if it is your side – the good guys – who are messing around with the concept of freedom now, who might be in charge in a couple of years’ time? The Washington media army are thinking a lot about that at the moment.


Now it's a social worker for every child - in Scotland

More state interference in families will not protect children

For anyone familiar with how our “child protection” system too often works in practice, rather loud alarm bells might be rung by a Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament that takes the state’s intervention in family life to a startling new level. Under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, every child from birth will be given a “named person”, charged with keeping an eye on that child’s interests until it reaches adulthood.

We are familiar with the idea that state employees are expected to take an interest in a child’s welfare, from health visitors to teachers at school. But this proposal that local authorities should be empowered to appoint an official to act as a personal “guardian”, or social worker, to oversee every aspect of a child’s life from birth onwards is a world first.

In fact, the Bill is remarkably vague about the powers to be given to these “named persons”. Will they be free to arrive unannounced at the family home to check on how a child is being treated by its parents, when it goes to bed, what food it is given, what political or religious opinions it is being brought up with? In other words, the Bill gives no idea of how this hugely ambitious scheme, estimated to cost Scotland’s local authorities up to £138? million a year, will work in practice. And most worrying of all, to anyone familiar with the failings of our existing “child protection” system, is how often the most damaging errors can arise when professionals are charged with reporting to social workers their suspicion that something in a child’s life might be amiss.

In too many of the cases I have followed where children have been removed from their families for what seems to be no good reason, their nightmare began with a report by a teacher or a doctor that got some overheard remark or slight injury absurdly out of proportion. Too often, such suspicions then harden into allegations that are never properly tested against the evidence, and the damage is done. However admirable, in theory, the thought of appointing a “guardian” to watch over every child might seem, experience suggests that, in practice, this may exacerbate those weaknesses in our existing “child protection” system, which make a mockery of the noble aims it was set up to promote.

ÞLast week I promised to give an update on the increasingly bizarre story of Vicky Haigh, the mother of a two-year-old daughter who was last month sent back to prison for breach of a probation order, on the basis of a solitary “witness statement” that she hadn’t been allowed to see. After evidence was produced that seemed to show that this statement was highly questionable, Miss Haigh was released from prison to return to her bemused family.

Last week, however, she was called back, fortunately accompanied by an experienced solicitor, for an exhausting formal interview with two policewomen, who seemed to be trying to find new reasons for returning her to prison.

Although the interview ended inconclusively, the officers said they would like to interview her again this week. I will say no more until their enquiries are completed.


UK foreign aid, the final insult: Ethiopian sues Britain after claiming it supports 'Stalinist' regime

Four million people forced off their land by security forces while their homes and farms are sold to foreign investors

It is hard to think of many more blessed spots on Earth than the Gambella region of Ethiopia, with its fertile soil, lush vegetation and flowing rivers – so different to the usual famine-struck images of barren terrain and starving infants we see from that country.

There are even rich seams of gold running under the verdant fields of fruit and vegetables, panned for centuries by the tribes that lived in the area.

As my bearded companion describes his homeland to me in his deep voice, he whips out his mobile phone to show me pictures that remind me of the more bucolic parts of Britain.

‘We lived in a village alongside the river where you could grow anything – maize, sorghum, lemon, bananas, oranges, pineapple. We were so happy growing up there and living there in our village.’

‘I wish I could take you to see my home,’ he adds. ‘It is so beautiful.’ Instead, this man is stuck in the living hell of the world’s largest refugee camp, forced to abandon his family when he fled in fear over the border to Kenya after vicious beatings and torture.

Yet he was lucky to escape with his life. Friends and relatives from his village of Pinykew and others nearby have been butchered, the women subjected to mass rape by gun-toting soldiers and gangs armed with machetes.

Now he is fighting back on behalf of his Anuak people, instructing lawyers to confront the paymasters of the repressive regime that ripped apart his life. Those paymasters are the British Government.

In a landmark case, he aims to issue proceedings against the Department for International Development (DFID), arguing its money supports a Stalin-style programme of brutal forced relocations driving large numbers of families from their traditional lands.

The London law firm he has instructed to look at launching the case, Leigh Day, says the aid breaches the department’s own human rights policies. In effect, the case challenges the way Britain hands aid to some of the world’s most despotic regimes.

In response, the Government must spend taxpayers’ money defending itself from charges it is destroying the lives of some of the world’s poorest people, rather than helping them.

If it loses, it might have to abandon key aid projects and pay compensation to thousands of exiled Ethiopians. This could cost millions of pounds.

The test case marks the culmination of long-held concerns over Ethiopia. It has become the biggest recipient of British aid, despite being an autocratic one-party state, run in similar style to the old Soviet Bloc countries.

Britain is giving £1.3 billion to Ethiopia over the course of the Coalition, the annual handouts rising by nearly two-thirds between 2010 and 2015 as the DFID struggles to find places to spend its soaring, ring-fenced budget.

Yet this is a regime that shoots street protesters, locks up dissidents and jails more journalists than almost any other country in the world.

The ruling party uses foreign handouts to strengthen its tyrannical grip, giving food and vital farming aid only to supporters, even in regions suffering hardship and hunger.

This is why the friendly man I met insists on only being known as Mr O; he is terrified taking this case could lead to fatal reprisals against his family. ‘I am very angry about this aid,’ he said. ‘Why is the West, especially the UK, giving so much money to the Ethiopian government when it is committing atrocities on my people?

‘The donations have not gone on development but on supporting the government and the army. We would be happy if it really went on development; instead, the very opposite has happened with your money.’

At the centre of the case is Ethiopia’s ‘villagisation’ of four million people in the west and south of the country, areas that have opposed a government dominated by northern Tigrayans. Among them are 225,000 Gambellans, Protestants living in a former British enclave the size of Belgium.

They are being forced from their farms and homes into new villages, just as Stalin did with such disastrous consequences in the Ukraine.

The lucrative land they lived on  for generations is being sold off to  foreign investors or given to well- connected Ethiopians.

Mr O learned of these plans at the end of 2011 when officials from the ruling party turned up one day in his village and ordered them to move.

‘The government was pretending it was about development, but people refused straight away,’ said Mr O. ‘They just want to push the indigenous people off so they can take our land and the gold.

I heard similar stories from other Gambellans. One blind man said he was beaten in the face after resisting relocation; his sister was raped by soldiers and now has HIV.

A 39-year-old mother told me she and her husband were taking a sick child to hospital when armed soldiers and highlanders from the north confronted them. Her husband was shot dead and she was beaten in the face; the scars were clearly visible.

Officials then told villagers to move. ‘Our first question was about the water but they said move first, then we will supply water pipes. But we had all these rivers in our home village and their new village was six hours’ walk away from water.

‘So we put conditions on the move, saying we would go if you put water pumps in, schools and a health clinic. But the government, despite saying it was all about development, refused the deal.’

Instead, the army and gangs went on the rampage, burning homes  and killing people. Three soldiers grabbed her and raped her; one teenage son was abused with an electric prod then taken off to prison. ‘Thankfully he managed to escape,’ she said. ‘After that, we knew the next step was to kill him, so we had to leave quickly.’

Like others I met, her life has been devastated. She is exiled in a camp where the majority of refugees are Somalis and the Islamist terror group al-Shabaab operates, so must wear long clothes and cover her head.

She blames British aid policies for inflaming her misery. ‘If your country wants to help development, stop co-operating with the government that is throwing us off our land.’

Zerihun Tesfaye, a leading Ethiopian journalist who fled four years ago after threats forced the closure of his paper, said British-backed projects to aid agriculture were routinely manipulated, with access to seeds and fertiliser used to control villages and crush dissent.

‘The Ethiopian government knows the West, especially Britain, is ready to assist its repression,’ he said.

‘And they play the anti-terror card to get all the money. Sadly, people in the West give money because they have heard these famine stories since their childhood. But the money is not going to the poor – it is going to support a government making things worse in many areas, not better.’

But DFID denies British money is used to force people from their homes and argues its assistance has helped millions in Ethiopia.

‘We condemn all human rights abuses and, where we have evidence, we raise our concerns at the very highest level,’ said a DFID spokesman.

‘To suggest that agencies like DFID should never work  on the ground with people whose governments have been accused of human rights abuses would be to deal those people a double blow.’



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


4 June, 2013

A Congressman's Racial Slur

Today we start with a quiz. Two politicians, one black and one white, have a disagreement on an issue. One airs an opinion, and the other responds with a racial insult. What will happen next?

A) The politician who used the racial insult will be roundly and widely denounced and forced to resign from office.

B) Nothing.

The answer is: It depends. It's impossible to determine the correct answer without knowing whether the epithet came from the white politician or the black politician. In a society that treats racism, correctly, as a grave offense, it shouldn't really matter. But apparently it does.

If you don't believe me, consider the case of Illinois' U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a black Democrat, and Sen. Mark Kirk, a white Republican. Kirk has been urging law enforcement agencies to destroy Chicago's biggest gang by arresting its members -- all 18,000 of them.

It's easy to spot possible flaws in this proposal. There is no jail in Chicago big enough to hold all those arrestees. There are not enough police in the city to carry out such a massive detention. There is no reliable membership list to make sure that only the guilty get picked up.

It would cost a lot of money -- Kirk wants the federal government to provide $30 million for the task. It would divert cops from just about everything else they normally do.

Some of these defects obviously occurred to Rush, who found no merit in the idea. "It's a sensational, headline-grabbing, empty, simplistic, unworkable approach," he told the Chicago Sun-Times. All fair points, made in perfectly acceptable language.

But Rush wasn't content to stop there. Kirk's proposal, he declared, is "an upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about."

After reconsidering, Rush issued a more temperate statement, expressing his sincere regret that Kirk's "current plan does not include the option to create jobs, provide affordable and safe housing, quality health care and improve schools in urban areas." But on the topic of the senator's pale complexion, Rush saw no need to amend or retract his words or apologize for them. (His spokesperson did not return my calls asking for comment.)

Nor did the Sun-Times treat the comment as scandalous. Kirk's spokesman ignored it in a mild statement, saying, "The senator will continue to work with Sen. Durbin, Mayor Emanuel, law enforcement and the entire congressional delegation to keep Illinois families safe."

But consider how things would have gone if it had been Kirk instead of Rush who made an insulting racial comment -- not even the N word, but something less offensive.

I won't attempt to come up with a hypothetical equivalent, since ethnic slurs are really not my strong suit. But it's fair to assume that if Kirk had used any sort of pejorative racial term to refer to Rush, he would have soon been renouncing it in a desperate attempt to save his political career.

It's true that Kirk grew up in comfortable circumstances, attended outstanding institutions of higher education and lives in a serene suburb where African-Americans are thin on the ground. So calling him a highborn dilettante unversed in urban problems is not outrageous, though it is irrelevant.

After all, I would guess that on the West Side of Chicago, there are black residents who wouldn't mind seeing thousands of gang members locked up. It would not be surprising to hear sentiments similar to Kirk's coming from black conservative political figures -- such as Herman Cain, a tea party favorite, or Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who has a near-perfect rating from the American Conservative Union. Rush didn't question Kirk's expertise when he voted to expand background checks for gun purchases, which Rush also supports.

For Rush to now dismiss Kirk because of his background is no more legitimate than it would be for Kirk to remind everyone that Rush was a leader of the violent Black Panthers and spent time behind bars on a weapons charge. Neither approach addresses the real problems of crime in Chicago.

The congressman has every right to decry the substantive shortcomings of Kirk's proposal. But those shortcomings would exist regardless of who made it. What he has no business doing -- what no one has any business doing -- is using patronizing language that disparages an entire race.

Rush wouldn't quietly endure insults like that directed at him. They are no more tolerable coming from him.


Britain's social work Gestapo again

Secret court jails father for sending son 21st birthday greeting on Facebook after he was gagged from naming him

A father has been jailed at a secret court hearing for sending a Facebook message to his grown-up son on his 21st birthday.  Garry Johnson, 46, breached a draconian gagging order which stops him publicly naming his son, Sam, whom he has brought up and who still lives with him.

In a case which is certain to fuel concerns about Britain’s shadowy network of secret courts, a judge sent the former music executive to prison for contempt at a closed-doors family court hearing in Essex at the beginning of last month.

He was not arrested by police or even represented by a lawyer.

The order silencing Mr Johnson – which follows an acrimonious divorce eight years ago – means he cannot mention either of his boys, 21-year-old Sam and Adam, 18, in public, even by congratulating them in a local newspaper announcement when they get engaged, married or have children in the future.

The extraordinary gag is set to last until the end of his life, although his boys are now adults. Last night they condemned their father’s jailing as ‘cruel and ludicrous’.

After their parents’ divorce, the two boys chose to live with their father, following a series of rows with their mother over her new boyfriend.

But within a year of the divorce, Mr Johnson’s ex-wife made allegations to Essex social workers that he was neglecting the children and not feeding them properly at his smart family home.

An investigation by social workers cleared him of any wrongdoing and said the boys were fine.

A year later, in 2006, she made further allegations to social workers that he was mentally unfit to care for the boys.

Medical documents shown to the Mail by Sam and Adam reveal that Mr Johnson was examined three times by a local psychiatrist hired by social workers. The doctor wrote to social workers saying:

‘There is no evidence of mental illness. I cannot understand why there are concerns about Mr Johnson’s mental health.’

Social services refused, as a result, to get involved.

In 2007, the ex-wife started private care proceedings to remove the boys from their father. A judge put the boys under a ‘living at home with parent’ care order.

It meant they would continue to live with their father, but under supervision by social services.

This care order was accompanied by the gagging order to stop an increasingly anguished Mr Johnson talking about the case publicly.  Even naming his sons in the most innocuous circumstances – such as on Facebook – became a contempt of court.

The care order on Sam expired on his 18th birthday three years ago. The one on Adam in October last year when he reached 18. Normally, a gagging order imposed by a family court judge on a parent expires at the same time as a care order on the child. This one did not.

Mr Johnson was imprisoned at the height of the Mail’s campaign against jailings by this country’s network of secret courts.

The secretive family court system, which jailed Mr Johnson, deals with custody wrangles, children’s care orders and adoption.

Mr Johnson received a letter in late April from Chelmsford County Court officials ordering him to go to Basildon Magistrates’ Court building on May 2 for a hearing regarding his children.

He was not warned he might face imprisonment or that the hearing was about his Facebook message, posted on Sam’s birthday a few days earlier on April 23.

On arrival, he was escorted by court security guards to a private room in the building for a half hour hearing under family court rules before His Honour Judge Damien Lochrane.  He was not warned that he might need a lawyer.

At the private hearing, Mr Johnson learned he had breached a gagging order, imposed by the family courts in 2007, by sending the Facebook message.

He informed the judge that he had had four heart attacks and was awaiting a triple by-pass operation. But he was sentenced to 28 days’ jail and sent down to a court cell to await transport to Chelmsford prison.

In the court cell, he had a heart attack caused by the shock. Rushed to a local hospital by ambulance, he was then shackled and handcuffed to a bed while on oxygen and receiving morphine.

A team of prison officers were put on 24-hour shifts beside his bed to make sure he did not escape.

He recovered and was sent to prison two days later, serving two weeks of the sentence before being released. Details of the horrifying case were made public to the Mail by his sons, who are not subject to any gagging order according to their Essex-based lawyer, Alan Foskett.

The jailing provoked a horrified response from MPs last night. John Hemming, the Lib Dem MP who has campaigned against the secret courts, said: ‘This is yet another example of how the secret courts are stopping freedom of speech. I have never heard of a gagging order of this kind going on into adulthood. This is a surreal case.’

Mr Johnson’s local MP, John Baron, said: ‘I have helped Mr Johnson and his sons – who always wanted to live with him – over several years. To find he has been imprisoned for sending a birthday message to one of them is troubling.

‘Whilst I appreciate the need to protect children, the family court system often ignores the legitimate wishes of families. This needs to change, and quickly.’

Sam, a telesales manager and former professional footballer, said last night: ‘My dad is a good father and has never been in trouble with the police. He was treated like a criminal. This ludicrous gagging order should not exist and must now be lifted.

Both Adam and myself are adults. This cruel ruling is now hanging over my father to silence him about the sons he loves for the rest of his life. That is a terrible thing in what is meant to be a free country.’

Mr Johnson was imprisoned a day before senior judges, on May 3, reacted to the Mail campaign by saying they planned to stop courts jailing defendants in secret for contempt.

The Ministry of Justice this week said that it does not count up people jailed by the family courts because the numbers are ‘so small’.

A spokesman said of the courts: ‘It is very rare for anyone to be imprisoned for contempt of court and it only ever happens in extreme circumstances when a person has continually disregarded legally binding requirements made by the court and clearly communicated to them.

‘A person accused of contempt of court will always be given their full legal right to defend himself or herself at a hearing will always be heard in an open court.’

However, it is estimated by campaigners and MPs that up to 200 parents a year are imprisoned for contempt by the family courts.  Because of the controversial secrecy rules, some have been sent to jail for discussing their case with MPs or charity workers advising them.


Human rights fraud

He may not be much of a comedian, but he's certainly having a laugh: Paul Shiner and The Great Human Rights Swindle

For the past decade, Phil Shiner, head of the Birmingham-based Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), has made a handsome living suing the British taxpayer - at the British taxpayers' expense

For the past decade, Phil Shiner, head of the Birmingham-based Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), has made a handsome living suing the British taxpayer - at the British taxpayers' expense

Human rights lawyers are not famous for their sense of humour. So it was something of a surprise to learn that the sour-faced solicitor Phil Shiner lists comedy as one of his hobbies.

For the past decade, Shiner has made a handsome living suing the British taxpayer — at the British taxpayers’ expense.

Shiner is head of the Birmingham-based Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) — not to be confused with the post-punk band Public Image Limited (PiL), put together by Johnny Rotten after the self-immolation of the Sex Pistols.

Rotten once starred in a movie called The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle. If Shiner is ever immortalised on the silver screen it should be called The Great Human Rights Swindle.

Shiner’s firm specialises in bringing actions against the British Army.

I first crossed swords with him on TV during the Iraq war when his representatives were harvesting claims in the back streets of Baghdad and Basra. PIL is a yuman rites version of one of those Blame Direct outfits who advertise on daytime TV.

Have you been tortured by a British soldier? You could be entitled to com-pen-say-shun.

Shiner is always on the lookout for a jihadist with a grievance which can be used to discredit the Army and win some hard cash. Unlike Blame Direct and the rest of the ‘no win, no fee’ brigade, Shiner gets paid win, lose or draw.

He is bankrolled out of the legal aid budget.

Over the years he has secured £3?million compensation for his clients, mostly foreign nationals who have alleged abuse at the hands of British troops in Iraq.

His work won him the prestigious accolade ‘Human Rights Lawyer of the Year’ in 2004. I bet that was a fun night.

We don’t know how much he has earned, but legal aid fees clocked up in cases filed by PIL must run into millions.

And at a time when the Government is attempting to bring under control the burgeoning £2?billion legal aid budget, Shiner continues to thrive.

As part of the proposed £350 million cuts, members of middle-class households with an annual income of £37,000 will no longer be entitled to legal aid for a whole raft of civil claims, including debt and divorce.

Yet the funding for firms such as PIL to bring claims for damages on behalf of foreign nationals over incidents alleged to have taken place thousands of miles away would appear to be unaffected.

This week Shiner turned up on Radio 4’s Today Programme peddling his latest crusade for truth and justice.  He was given a prime platform by a gleeful BBC to denounce ‘Britain’s Guantanamo Bay’.

Shiner claimed that dozens of Afghans are being held in a ‘secret prison’ at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province.

He demanded they should be brought before a court or released. He said: ‘This is a secret facility that’s been used to unlawfully detain or intern up to 85 Afghans that they’ve kept secret, that Parliament doesn’t know about, that courts previously when they have interrogated issues like detention and internment in Afghanistan have never been told about — completely off the radar.

‘It is reminiscent of the public’s awakening that there was a Guantanamo Bay.

‘And people will be wondering if these detainees are being treated humanely and in accordance with international law.’

This must be where Shiner’s legendary sense of humour comes into play. He should know full well that this isn’t a ‘secret prison’. And he is aware that the Army has been trying to get rid of these prisoners for years.

Back in 2010, Britain wanted to hand over the detainees to the Afghan justice system. Eventually the High Court in London ruled that they could not be transferred to the Afghans because they might be tortured, which would breach their yuman rites.

Far from being ‘detained unlawfully’ they are being held in British custody on the specific orders of a British court.

You’d expect Shiner to know that. Because in 2010, the original Camp Bastion case was brought by, you guessed, one Phil Shiner. On legal aid, natch. So how does he explain telling the BBC this was a ‘secret camp’, ‘off the radar’, that the courts haven’t been told about?

Now, three years later, he’s heading back to court to argue that the detainees should be put on trial or set free.

Talk about playing both ends. Like Boris Johnson, Shiner appears to be pro-having cake and pro-eating it.

But thanks to the success of his earlier lawsuit, the High Court has ruled the prisoners can’t be entrusted to the Afghan legal system.

Since Shiner doesn’t approve of military justice, that means they would have to be released back into the local community, where they would be at liberty to resume their terrorist activities.

In comedy, as in life, timing is everything.

Just a week after a British soldier was murdered by Islamist terrorists on the streets of South London, this is an odd time to argue that we should be releasing their comrades-in-jihad on to the streets of Afghanistan to kill more of our troops.

Whatever happens next, one thing is certain: yet again the final bill will fall to the mug British taxpayers.

Shiner may not be much of a comedian, but he’s certainly having a laugh.  And the joke’s on us.


How far does 'marriage equality' go?

by Jeff Jacoby

IT WAS DURING oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, one of two same-sex marriage cases the Supreme Court took up in March, that Justice Sonia Sotomayor raised the inescapable question, the one that has always loomed over the campaign to radically redefine marriage: Where would the changes end?

"If you say that marriage is a fundamental right," Sotomayor challenged Ted Olson, the lawyer urging the court to invalidate California's Proposition 8 defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, "what state restrictions could ever exist?" If the Constitution won't permit marriage to be limited to spouses of the opposite sex, then how can it allow "state restrictions with respect to the number of people … that could get married" or "the incest laws?" Presumably states would still be free to ban child marriages, she said, but other than that, "what's left?"

In other words, if it's arbitrary and unjust to forbid same-sex marriage, isn't it just as arbitrary and unjust to forbid plural marriage? Or sibling marriage? Once the right to "marriage equality" is enshrined in law, how could any union of consenting adults be denied a marriage license, regardless of traditional norms or definitions?

There is nothing new about this concern, of course. Opponents of same-sex marriage have sounded it for years. Frequently they were accused of pandering to bigotry, or engaging in slippery-slope hysteria. "This is not an argument, it's a panic," wrote Andrew Sullivan, one of the earliest champions of same-sex marriage, in 1996. "To the best of my knowledge, there is no polygamists' rights organization poised to exploit same-sex marriage to return the republic to polygamous abandon. Indeed, few in the same-sex marriage camp have anything but disdain for such an idea."

Sullivan's mocking putdown may have been effective a decade and a half ago. Even now many gay-marriage advocates are inclined to smear as "haters" and "homophobes" those who warn that the drastic revision of marriage won't end with same-sex weddings.

Yet today the avant-garde of "marriage equality" has moved far beyond merely demanding that two men be allowed to marry, or two women.

"Let's not forget that the fight doesn't end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy too," wrote Jillian Keenan in Slate last month. "Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less 'correct' than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults."

Keenan's view may not yet command majority support, but her essay is calm, thoughtful, and well-argued, and Slate is a popular, mainstream liberal journal. Her arguments for legalizing multiple-partner "marriages" come across not as scandalizing or outrageous, but as—familiar. After all, they're just a logical extension of what by now is the well-known case for same-sex marriage. For years, Americans have been instructed that the marital laws should be inclusive and nonjudgmental, that people should have the right to marry whomever they love, that only a bigot or a reactionary would deny a marriage license to Heather's two mommies. Why should anything change if Heather has three mommies and a daddy?

Isn't "marriage" is whatever consenting adults say it is?

In a lawsuit underway in federal court, Kody Brown and his four wives are challenging Utah's anti-bigamy law. "The Browns wanted to show people that a plural family is not a monstrosity," George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told the judge. The ACLU has long opposed "all criminal and civil laws prohibiting or penalizing the practice of plural marriage." Utah's law may be safe for now, but it will only grow harder to make a principled case that "marriage equality" should be denied to anyone for reasons of tradition or morality.

And you don't have to be a social conservative or an opponent of same-sex marriage to realize it. Sotomayor, an Obama appointee, is one of the high court's staunch liberals, but she knows that the logic of "marriage equality" — of declaring that marriage can mean whatever consenting adults want it to mean — is a lot easier to unleash than to call back. Increasingly, many gay-marriage activists embrace the idea that even more dramatic changes, and the undermining of still other family norms, are to come. It is to Sotomayor's credit that the prospect gives her pause.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


3 June, 2013

Introducing Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader who's charming the ladies...

Britain's most "incorrect" politician

It was an apparent late surge by female voters that led to Ukip’s electoral success last month Melissa Kite checks out party leader Nigel Farage’s girl appeal
'People see me as approachable. Perhaps they don¿t see me as a politician. That¿s the point'

'People see me as approachable. Perhaps they don't see me as a politician. That's the point'

Going to the pub with Nigel Farage is very therapeutic. Within seconds of our drinks arriving, I realise I am telling him my troubles as we sit beneath an umbrella at a table in the street.

He is nodding sympathetically, sipping from a pint of beer and puffing on his trademark cigarette. As I offload my frustrations, he says all the right things. Before long, we are setting the world to rights and I catch myself thinking that I must tell Nigel about that problem I had with my local police because…
Because what, exactly?

Farage has that indefinable quality that makes you believe he is interested in your problems and even that he might be able to put them right. But to be realistic, he can’t possibly put anything right, can he?

He’s the leader of a fringe party that, on the face of it, hasn’t a hope in hell of getting into power. Yet with the UK Independence Party hitting 19 per cent in the council election polls last month, people have started to sit up and take notice.

And they are now looking at its chirpy leader as someone who cannot be as easily dismissed as David Cameron would like.

Most surprising of all, given that Ukip was once a nerdish, male-dominated party, is the fact that Farage, 49, is becoming a hit with women. Indeed, it was apparently a late surge in the female vote that led to Ukip’s stellar performance in last month’s council elections.

A few weeks ago, I asked my circle of friends how they voted in the local elections and one glamorous, wealthy divorcee revealed she had voted Ukip, saying: ‘Nigel Farage is a straight talker. He isn’t surrounded by spin doctors. He’s a real man.’

‘There is a country out there desperate for success. You see it in the Olympics, in football. People want to belong, to be proud'

Perhaps it’s the pint, the cigarette, the reassuringly macho banter. Perhaps women are tired of the touchy-feely, organic, free-range posturing of Cameron and his Notting Hill metrosexuals.

After all, Farage wouldn’t make a song and dance of telling voters he went home early for bath time.

This is the man who emerged with minor injuries from a serious plane crash while campaigning in the 2010 general election.

He wouldn’t tell us how he loves to cook lasagne, naming his favourite celebrity chef’s recipe.

But is he really becoming a sex symbol? Farage rocks with laughter. ‘Oh, I don’t…ha ha… Oh, no, you are not going to get me to answer a question like that. I very much doubt it anyway. I’m English, for God’s sake.’

 ‘I can cook. I’m good at fish I’ve caught. It’s the hunter-gatherer thing’

And he goes on chuckling, but looking ever so slightly flattered. When he eventually calms down, he says: ‘Look, people see me as approachable. Perhaps they don’t see me as a politician. Perhaps that’s the point.’

But I have obviously planted an idea because Farage develops the sex symbol theme as he sips his pint.

‘Isn’t it funny? It’s the perception thing: how women see men and how men think women see men. Men can never work out why some women find some men interesting or attractive. “Why is he so popular with women?” they say.’

But Farage is still pondering the sex symbol comment. ‘I’m going to go all shy now,’ he says.

‘Seriously, maybe the others are a bit too polished.’ I put it to him that the others are indeed polished, and that politicians such as Cameron and Clegg make all sorts of slick claims about being good with children and cooking Sunday lunch.

He says: ‘I’m really good with nobody’s children. But I can cook, actually. I’m good at fish.’

What fish? ‘Fish that I’ve caught.’ Macho cooking, you see. His press secretary Annabelle reveals he is a dab hand at gutting sea bass. ‘He’s useless at cooking artichokes, though,’ she adds.

But who needs artichokes when you’re a man who can gut bass? Farage, a keen angler, has even written columns for Total Sea Fishing. He enjoys shooting as well. ‘It’s the hunter-gatherer thing,’ he explains, rather extraneously.

The effect of this old-fashioned chauvinism on the numbers is impressive. Female support for Ukip is now only fractionally behind male votes and the party has burgeoning numbers of female councillors, some of whom arrive at the pub later for a drink with Nigel and are really quite chic.

By contrast, while Cameron brags about doing the school run, his female vote continues to plummet.

One might postulate that women, who have keen antennae for authenticity, warm to Farage because he does not put a gloss on things. He is prepared to manfully put his foot in his mouth if the moment requires it. He described the first president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, as having ‘the charisma of a damp rag’ and called Belgium ‘pretty much a non-country’.

Has he consciously cultivated this maverick streak? ‘That’s just the way I am,’ he says, before adding wistfully, ‘I’m an accidental politician.’ For a moment, he looks reflective, almost troubled. ‘I had no plan to do this. It wasn’t my boyhood dream.’ He is staring into the middle distance as he slowly exhales smoke. What was his dream?

‘I had different ambitions and aspirations. I thought in my early teens I would join the army. Then Thatcher got elected. The birth of the yuppie. I thought, “I’d like to be one of those. I want to make lots of money.”’

That’s Nigel, you see. Ask him what he wanted to be and he’ll tell you that he wanted to make lots of money. Cameron would never admit that. He would come out with some guff about how he wanted to serve his country.

Farage says: ‘In my late 20s I didn’t change, the world changed. Maastricht [the 1991 agreement that gave birth to the EU], the ERM [European exchange rate mechanism, a precursor to financial union that went disastrously wrong for Britain in 1992]. These things motivated me to get involved.’

But what else drives him, personally? I ask about his wife and four children, who – unlike other party leaders’ wives and families – are never trotted out for the cameras. I offer him a chance to say what a devoted father he is, but he turns it down.

‘If I was honest with you, I’m not there enough because of the demands of this job. I have sort of failed on that score really.’ Failed? Even by Farage’s standards of straight-talking, a politician using the f-word is astounding. ‘I’ve had four children. I wouldn’t say when they were little that I was particularly brilliant. I try. I have tried. But I’m not very good.’

His German-born wife Kirsten is an elusive figure. They met when he was working in the City and she was a bond dealer. Now she’s works as his PA. She is obviously devoted, yet he refuses to put her on display.

‘I haven’t mentioned my wife because you can’t have it both ways. If you make your family public property… I have tried to make sure there isn’t a single photo of my children.’

When he talks about his hobbies his face lights up.  ‘I love the big outdoors. I enjoy watching cricket. Going to Lord’s for the Ashes. I won’t sleep the night before.’

When he outlines his vision for Britain it is tinged with the same excitement and idealism:

‘There is a country out there desperate for success. You see it in the Olympics, in football. People want to belong, to be proud. And we cannot have any sense of pride or self-respect if we are not a self-governing nation. Our entire political class has given up on this country. It’s the concept of managed decline: “Let’s go down the tubes with dignity. We are no bloody good, let’s admit it.” Well, I think we are an extraordinary country. Of course we can turn it around.’

I can almost hear Elgar in the background. And no, I haven’t been drinking pint to pint with Farage. I’m on the mineral water. But does it have to be hokum? Can’t we believe in Farage’s simple, patriotic vision? He makes it sound so straightforward: ‘You can’t pussyfoot around.

You have got to get the hell out of the EU political union. You have got to have an amicable divorce and replace it with a trade deal.

‘But we have got these spineless, pathetic, weak politicians and this weak prime minister who says, “Sorry, it makes me sick to my stomach, but there is nothing I can do about it.”’

Farage, a former Tory who resigned from the party during John Major’s leadership, clearly does not have much time for David Cameron.

The most damaging insult he levels at the prime minister is an aside that comes out casually as he poses for photographs. As he reaches into his pocket for his Rothmans, he reveals something Cameron used to do when the two were between takes on TV debate shows: ‘He was always nicking my fags. He never had his own.’

Authenticity. Cameron cultivated his wholesome image while sneaking cigarettes from his adversary. Farage may be flawed. But at least he wears his vices on his sleeve.


Tony Blair says murder of Lee Rigby PROVES 'there is a problem within Islam'

He's finally getting it right

Tony Blair today makes his most powerful political intervention since leaving Downing Street by launching an outspoken attack on ‘the problem within Islam’. 

The former Prime Minister addresses the shocking killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich by going further than he – or any front-rank British politician – has gone before over the issue of Muslim radicalism.  

Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, he departs from the usual argument that Islam is a peaceful religion that should not be tainted by the actions of a few extremists.

Instead, Mr Blair urges governments to ‘be honest’ and admit that the problem is more widespread.

‘There is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology which is a strain within Islam,’ he writes.

‘We have to put it on the table and be honest about it. Of course there are Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu ones. But I am afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies.’

He adds: ‘At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the world view goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So by and large we don’t admit it.’

Mr Blair’s comments are likely to be seized on by critics who will argue that by leading us into the Iraq War he has helped to swell support for radical Islam around the globe.

The former PM’s remarks come as David Cameron prepares to make a Commons statement about the Woolwich murder tomorrow afternoon.

The statement will come just hours after the first meeting of the Prime Minister’s Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation Task Force (TERFOR) – made up of senior Ministers, MI5, police and moderate religious leaders – tomorrow morning.

Whitehall sources said that it would be a ‘preliminary meeting’ to draw up the agenda for a full meeting within days. The group, which the Muslim Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi, will examine new powers to muzzle hate preachers.

Mr Cameron’s Commons speech is also expected to address the situation in Syria.

In his article, Mr Blair, who is trying to establish a Palestinian state through his work as a peace envoy, also addresses the Syrian situation, warning: ‘We are at the beginning of this tragedy ..... Syria is in a state of accelerating disintegration.

‘President Assad is brutally pulverising communities hostile to his regime.’ Mr Blair says that ‘the overwhelming desire of the West is to stay out of it’, which he goes on to describe as ‘completely understandable’.

He suggests that ‘the problem within Islam’ can start to be tackled by ‘educating children about faith here and abroad’. 

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former Foreign Secretary and chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, said: ‘Much of what Tony Blair says is sensible.

‘The Islamic terrorists who kill people have the silent support of many more in their community who share their ideology, if not their methods.

‘But even combined, they represent only a small minority of British Muslims, and we must never forget that.

‘However, he appears to be still trying to justify the Iraq War rather than acknowledging that that war provided an unprecedented opportunity for the Sunni and Shia extremists to slaughter so many of their co-religionists.’


Violent Far-Left "anti-Fascists" arrested in Britain

Violent clashes took place outside the Palace of Westminster between anti-fascist campaigners and  BNP supporters.  As the trouble erupted, dozens of police officers rushed to break up the disorder.

The angry scenes led to groups kicking and punching each other as police struggled to keep the opposing sides apart.

A total of 58 people - all anti-fascist campaigners - were arrested at the scene by police officers and packed onto London buses.

They were then transported to London police stations for further questioning.

At least one man, a BNP activist, suffered a large cut to the nose after fierce shouting from either side of gated barriers spilled into violence. 

Police dogs were also deployed to the scene as the protesters fought with each other.  The crowd of anti-fascist protesters heavily outnumbered the BNP supporters. They held banners which read 'smash the BNP' and 'say no to Islamaphobia'.

The BNP had planned to march from Woolwich Barracks, but were banned from doing so by Scotland Yard, amid community fears that their presence could prompt disorder.

Around 100 people gathered on Old Palace Yard, clutching BNP banners and calling for 'hate preachers out'.

A short time later, counter protesters began directing chants at them, calling them 'fascist scum', 'you racist Nazis'.

Scotland Yard said that a group, believed to be part of the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) protest, gathered in a pre-arranged penned area - but some were unwilling to remain within that area.

The BNP had planned to march from Woolwich Barracks, but were banned from doing so by Scotland Yard, amid community fears that their presence could prompt disorder

A spokesman added: 'Due to police concerns about serious disruption to the life of the community, and the potential for serious disorder should this counter protest confront the BNP organised protest, police have imposed conditions under Section 14 of the Public Order Act.

'Those conditions state that the protest must take place in Whitehall Gardens junction with Whitehall.

Around 50 anti-fascist protestors were reported to have rushed towards one man as he was escorted by police to the area containing the BNP group.

BNP leader Nick Griffin also attended the protest. He said the murder of soldier Lee Rigby would not be an isolated incident.

Labour leader Ed Miliband today joined celebrities and thousands of others in signing a letter to a newspaper in protest at far-right groups using the death of Drummer Rigby for their own agenda.

In the letter to the editor of the Daily Mirror, they wrote: 'The EDL and Islamic extremists are more similar to each other than to us. They share a violent, hate-fuelled desire for conflict and war, and we will not let either group tear our country apart.

Meanwhile officers in Scotland last night said a 25-year-old man had been charged in Inverness in connection with an alleged hate crime on an internet memorial page for Drummer Rigby.

In a statement, police in Scotland said a man was charged 'in connection with an enquiry into alleged hate crime comments on Facebook'.

The man is expected to appear at Inverness Sheriff Court on Monday.


Feminists warn British supermarkets: Stop selling raunchy lads' mags or we will sue

Shops selling ‘lads’ mags’ with covers of featuring scantily-clad women, could be sued for sexual harassment by their own customers and staff, feminist groups have claimed.

Campaigners are warning high street retailers to remove magazines that display naked and near-naked images on their covers or face the risk of legal action.

The Lose the Lads' Mags campaign, by pressure groups UK Feminista and Object, says displaying publications in stores or requiring staff to handle such magazines could amount to sex discrimination or sexual harassment.

In a letter in the Guardian today, 11 equal rights lawyers say there have been previous cases of staff suing employers in respect to exposure to pornographic material at work, and called on retailers to stop selling 'lads' mag' publications.

'High-street retailers are exposing staff and, in some cases, customers to publications whose handling and display may breach equality legislation,'  the letter said.Displaying lads' mags and pornographic papers in 'mainstream' shops results in the involuntary exposure of staff and, in some cases, customers to pornographic images.

'Every mainstream retailer which stocks lads' mags is vulnerable to legal action by staff and, where those publications are visibly on display, by customers.'

The group says it has been contacted by employees who dislike handling such magazines but who feel they have no power to take the issue up with their employers.

UK Feminista and Object are discussing with lawyers about bringing a test case and will support employees who are uncomfortable with images of naked or near-naked women on magazines, the Guardian said.

Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista, told the newspaper: "For too long supermarkets have got off the hook, stocking lad's mags in the face of widespread opposition, but this time we have the law on our side.

The barnyard lady.  Guaranteed to deflate anyone

Every shop that sells lads' mags - publications which are deeply harmful to women - are opening themselves up to legal action."

Sophie Bennett, campaigns officer for Object, added:  'Lads' mags dehumanise and objectify women, promoting harmful attitudes that underpin discrimination and violence against women and girls.

Reducing women to sex objects sends out an incredibly dangerous message that women are constantly sexually available and displaying these publications in everyday spaces normalises this sexism.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


2 June, 2013

`The latest Lefty mantra: Check Your Privilege

Whatever you’re doing, stop. Actually, you’re reading this, so it’s probably best to carry on for the minute. But then when you’ve finished you need to stand up, step back, and take the time to “check your privilege”.

Until today I wouldn’t really have known where to even find my privilege, never mind scrutinise it. But thanks to Twitter – sociology’s version of NHS Direct – I am now fully up to speed.

Last week, in the midst of a debate about some vital issue of the moment (possibly something to do with Ed Miliband and Willy Wonka), someone indignantly instructed me to “check my privilege”. I didn’t have a clue what they were on about, and politely told them I thought they were nuts. But since then I’ve seen requests/demands for people to CYP popping up all over the place.

So this morning, after I saw Labour MP Tom Harris state he was off to conduct his own privilege audit, I threw myself upon Twitter’s mercy, and asked what this perplexing phrase actually meant. And now I know.

Apparently, if any of us wish to comment on a particular issue we have to first “check our privilege”. It’s like a sort of moral entry exam. Before expressing a point of view we must first establish our bona fides. So for example, if you want to talk about an issue such as welfare reform, you have to consider whether you are middle-class or not. If you are, then sadly you fail the test. You can’t comment. Or if you do comment, then your point of view is in some way invalidated.

Sufficiently briefed, I sat down to give myself a comprehensive privilege MOT. White: tick. Male: tick. Middle-class: tick. Public school education: fail. Able-bodied: tick (well, half a tick. I’ve only got one eye. But you get two for a reason). Heterosexual: tick, (though never say never).

My initial response was delight. I’d given my privilege a thorough going over, and everything looked to be in good working order. But then to my horror I realised this was in fact a catastrophe. Unless the debate veers off towards comprehensive education for the partially sighted, I literally have nothing to contribute. Or if I do contribute, who will listen? My privilege will act like a gag. A beautiful and very expensive Liberty silk gag. But a gag none the less.

Well, I’m sorry, but that’s not on. This is naked “privilegeism”. And I for one shall not sit still for it.

For a start, how do we actually define privilege? Let’s go back to the example I gave about welfare. Who really holds the privilege in this debate? Is it someone like me, who has never taken a penny of welfare, except to make regular withdrawals from the bank of mum and dad.? Or is it those who are actually subsisting on, and benefiting from, welfare themselves? Who, in this case, actually enters the debate from a position of self-interest? Shouldn’t it be those Shameless types who we all know are merely idling and scrounging and swinging the lead, who should be giving their own privilege the run down?

Also, who actually came up the whole CYP concept? How’s their own privilege looking, eh? Apparently the phrase “check your privilege” first originated on the social justice blog Shrub.com, (no, I’ve no idea what a social justice blog is either). Shrub was set up by Andrea Rubenstein, who describes herself as the site’s “primary blogger”, which sounds a touch hierarchical.

Anyway, from what I can glean, Andrea appears to be a woman, white, relatively able-bodied and university-educated. Something of a mixed bag, privilege-wise. Though, to be fair, she does acknowledge, “Once you have a basic grasp on the system of privilege, the next step is one simple self-realisation: you are privileged … we are all privileged”. To help us come to terms with this, she helpfully provides some useful “primers”, including “Privilege in action”, “Occasionally conversations with my men are instructive” and “Privilege is driving a smooth road and not even knowing it”. Where not holding a driving licence puts you on the pyramid of oppression isn’t made clear.

I’m sure Andrea means well. But I’m sorry, I’m still old enough to remember the days when being a white, middle-class male actually meant something. And surely if we know one thing about privilege, it’s that it doesn’t give up without a fight.

So fight we must. From now on, I shall be confronting the privilegists head on. Far from letting my privilege silence me, I shall use it to give my arguments wings.

So those of you who would have me “check my privilege” hear this. I’ve got my latest copy of Esquire sitting on my desk right now. It contains an article on page 110 on the philosophy of Pamela Anderson, and I’m going to read it, and I’m going to enjoy it.

I’ve seen the Phantom Menace three times. And though I hate Jar Jar Binks as much as the next man, it never even occurred to me he was a crass racial stereotype. And it never will.

Yes, I will wait till Gatsby is on at the Greenwich Picturehouse, rather than the Odeon, because it’s a more refined cinematic experience, and there will be fewer people complaining “Oi, this isn’t The Hangover Part Three”.

Believe me, I’ve checked my privilege. I’ve looked under the bonnet, checked the oil and kicked the tires. It’s in immaculate working order.

Privilege isn’t driving a smooth road and not even knowing it. It’s driving a smooth road, with the wind in your hair, the sun on your face and not a care in the world. I'm sorry about that. Really, I am.


The Daily Mail did not kill Lucy Meadows

A coroner’s ruling that the press helped drive a transgender teacher to her death marks a new low in the culture of ‘You can’t say that’.

Since the UK phone-hacking scandal broke and the News of the World closed in 2011, it has been open season on the popular press. Self-righteous critics have felt free to blame the tabloid newspapers for everything from the recession to rape. Now matters have moved a little further down the slippery slope, with a state official effectively accusing the British press, and the Daily Mail in particular, of helping to cause the death of a transgender primary-school teacher.

Michael Singleton, the coroner for Blackburn in Lancashire, this week told the inquest into the death of Lucy Meadows that the ‘sensational and salacious’ press coverage of the teacher’s gender change had been a big factor in her decision to commit suicide in March. The coroner declared his intention to call on the government to implement Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals for controlling the press, to ensure that nobody else was driven to their deaths by such ‘ill-informed bigotry’. Singleton concluded his ruling by turning to the media reporters present in court and declaring, like an Old Testament prophet, ‘Shame on you all!’. (The Guardian headline omitted the ‘all’ from this judgement, perhaps because they were certain he could not be talking to them.)

Nobody has to like the Daily Mail, of course, and anybody must be free to criticise its coverage. But this is different. A coroner now feels free not only to declare that the Mail and others contributed to a tragic death – despite the absence of any real evidence to support that claim – but to demand that the government crack down on the press. That is a sign of how far the lobby to curb press freedom has advanced across British politics and society.

We have seen throughout the Leveson circus that anti-tabloid crusaders have used high-profile victims of phone-hacking as ‘human shields’ behind which to pursue their wider agenda of purging the press. Now it seems that some are prepared to use a suicide as a weapon in the propaganda war over press freedom. What was that about the ‘sensational’ exploitation of people’s lives to make headlines?

The story of Lucy Meadows hit the news late last year, after the head of a primary school in Accrington, Lancashire, wrote to inform parents that teacher Nathan Upton had ‘recently made a significant change in his life and will be transitioning to live as a woman’. Mr Upton returned to the school after Christmas as Ms Meadows, wearing women’s clothes. First the local and then national press picked up on the story after some parents expressed concerns about the effect this dramatic change might have on their children; one father was widely quoted as saying that his three sons at the primary school were ‘too young to be dealing with that’.

Then Richard Littlejohn, the conservative Mail’s notoriously provocative columnist, weighed in with his characteristically forthright opinion on the case. His column, published in December under the headline ‘He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job’, asked whether anybody had considered the ‘devastating effect’ this teacher’s gender transformation could have on the young pupils, and suggested that Ms Meadows should have left the school and gone to teach elsewhere.

In January, Ms Meadows complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) about ‘press harassment’ and about the Littlejohn column in particular. As a result, the Mail removed the offending article from its website, and Ms Meadows thanked the PCC for helping to resolve the dispute.

The tone of the Littlejohn article is clear from this extract (worth reprinting since it is no longer available on the Mail’s website):
‘The school shouldn’t be allowed to elevate its “commitment to diversity and equality” above its duty of care to its pupils and their parents. It should be protecting pupils from some of the more, er, challenging realities of adult life, not forcing them down their throats.

‘These are primary-school children, for heaven’s sake. Most of them still believe in Father Christmas. Let them enjoy their childhood. They will lose their innocence soon enough.

‘The head teacher denies that pupils will be punished for referring to the teacher as Mr Upton but added ominously that they would be “expected to behave properly around her”. Nathan Upton is entitled to his gender reassignment surgery, but he isn’t entitled to project his personal problems on to impressionable young children.’

To some of us at the time, Littlejohn’s column about Lucy Meadows seemed fairly constrained by his own standards. For instance, he acknowledged her right to change gender, and to continue to teach – though not at the same school where she had been Mr Upton.

To many others, however, it seemed that Littlejohn had committed a hate crime by criticising Lucy Meadows and the school. The outrage exploded on social networking websites in March, when it was reported that Ms Meadows had been found dead in her home, having apparently poisoned herself after two failed suicide attempts. Protesters gathered outside the Mail’s offices, and launched a Twitter onslaught and online petitions calling for Littlejohn to be sacked. These petitions now claim to have gathered a quarter of a million signatures.

The gathering storm of outrage culminated this week in the coroner’s official ruling that the press – and the ‘ill-informed bigotry’ of the Mail and Littlejohn in particular – had contributed to Lucy Meadows’ suicide. He called on the government to implement ‘in full’ Lord Justice Leveson’s proposals for taming the press, in order to prevent further deaths.

In fact, as the Mail and others have since pointed out, there was no real evidence to suggest that the press coverage of Ms Meadows’ gender change contributed to her death. She left a long and eloquent suicide note, trying to explain her reasons for taking her own life. It made no mention at all of the press.

Instead, she talked about her financial problems, the stress of her job and, most importantly, the way she had been left bereft by recent bereavements, including the loss of her parents. Ms Meadows’ therapist told the inquest that she had found the media intrusion ‘very stressful’ but ‘easier to deal with than she had thought’, because she had been more concerned about the terminal illness and death of somebody she loved. The woman who had previously been married to Nathan Upton, and had his child, said that Ms Meadows had been ‘more annoyed than anything’ about the press ‘intrusion’ into their lives. She said her former spouse had first discussed suicide in February: ‘She said there was not enough to keep her here.’

Like many suicides, Lucy Meadows’ death appears to have been the tragic outcome of a complex set of personal circumstances, difficult for anybody to comprehend from the outside. Such events do not lend themselves to sweeping explanations. That did not stop the coroner, despite the absence of any evidence, declaring that the shameful press had helped drive her to her death. He acknowledged that she had not mentioned the press in her suicide note, but effectively decided that he knew better than her.

It is also worth asking: even if Lucy Meadows’ note had blamed the media coverage, or named Richard Littlejohn, would it really have changed anything? The coroner said that if she had mentioned the press at all, he would certainly have summonsed ‘various journalists and editors to this inquest to give evidence and be called into account’. Yet whatever she had said or thought, the press reports and comments about the transgender teacher would still remain only words. It would still have been her who committed the act of suicide, and the ultimate responsibility for taking her own life would still lie with Ms Meadows herself.

As her suicide note put it, ‘I have simply had enough of living. I am not depressed or mentally ill in some way. I may have different worldviews to others to the point that most may not consider this a rational act. But it is right to me. All the things I have wanted to accomplish I have done. I have no regrets other than leaving behind those dear to me and causing them pain in doing so, for which I am deeply sorry.’

Coroner Singleton complained that the case showed ‘nothing has been learned from the Leveson Inquiry’ into the ‘culture, practices and ethics’ of the press. The implication is that the treatment of Lucy Meadows shows that the tabloid press is still free to do what it previously did to such victims as the parents of Madeleine McCann or Christopher Jefferies, who were star witnesses at the Leveson Inquiry.

But from my point of view, this case shows that things have indeed moved on since Leveson – and in the opposite direction. The Mail and others did not make false factual allegations of serious offences against Ms Meadows, as newspapers did against the McCanns or Jefferies. Instead, what Richard Littlejohn did was to express his opinion about the transgender teacher returning to the same school.

That opinion may have offended many, including the coroner who deemed it ‘ill-informed bigotry’. But it remains an opinion, not an offence. Yet the expression of opinions deemed outside the respectable mainstream of polite society is now apparently considered a suitable case for punitive action by the government and the courts, acting on the word of the good Lord Justice Leveson. That is a major change – and one for the worse.

It may seem perverse to some to have to defend the principle of press freedom in such a sad case as the suicide of Lucy Meadows. But these are the hard cases in which it is important to hold the line. Not because we necessarily agree with anything Littlejohn might say, but because we agree with another popular journalist, George Orwell, that ‘if liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear’. The fact that some might use press freedom for ends of which we disapprove is no reason to allow others to encroach upon it.

No doubt a coroner should be free to express his prejudices about the press, just as a tabloid columnist is at liberty to express his opinions and prejudices and be judged on them. But there is no excuse for demanding state action to curb the expression of opinions that are not to the taste of the bench.

The discussion around the Lucy Meadows case reveals how persuasive the creeping culture of ‘I blame the media’ and ‘You can’t say that’ has become. You do not have to like the British tabloid press at all. But in a free society, I’m afraid you really should have to lump it.


Gay marriage opponents like supporters of apartheid, says  C of E bishop who apparently can't find his Bible

Is God an apartheid practitioner?  Presumably he must be if we regard him as the author of Leviticus

A senior Anglican bishop has likened opponents of gay marriage to Christians who used the Bible to justify slavery and apartheid.
Opponents of gay marriage like supporters of apartheid, says senior bishop

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, suggested Christians should “rethink” their interpretation of Scripture in light of changing attitudes towards homosexuality in society.

In a strongly worded intervention as members of the House of Lords prepare to debate the Government’s draft legislation introducing gay marriage, Bishop Holtam told peers that allowing gay couples to wed would be a “very strong endorsement” of the institution of marriage.

Bishop Holtam previously opposed gay marriage, but is now the only diocesan bishop in the country to publicly favour the proposed new law.

In a letter sent to Lord Alli, a gay Muslim peer, and published in The Daily Telegraph, Bishop Holtam distanced himself from the Church of England’s official opposition to same-sex marriage, saying: “Christian morality comes from the mix of Bible, Christian tradition and our reasoned experience.

“Sometimes Christians have had to rethink the priorities of the Gospel in the light of experience.

“For example, before Wilberforce, Christians saw slavery as Biblical and part of the God-given ordering of creation. Similarly in South Africa the Dutch Reformed Church supported Apartheid because it was Biblical and part of the God-given order of creation. No one now supports either slavery or apartheid. The Biblical texts have not changed; our interpretation has.”

Bishop Holtam’s intervention comes as peers from all main political parties prepare to mount a last-ditch attempt to block the draft legislation, which has been championed by David Cameron.

Among peers set to criticise the Bill on Monday are the former head of the British army Lord Dannatt and Lord Lothian, or Michael Ancram, a former Conservative Party chairman.

Lord Dear, the retired chief constable of West Midlands Police and crossbench peer leading opposition to the Bill, has described the Bill as “ill-thought through”, saying its critics were not “anti-homosexual”. Earlier this week he said Monday’s vote would be “too close to call.”

The Church of England, which has 26 bishops in the Lords, formally opposes the move and there has been speculation that the Most Rev Justin Welby, the recently appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, will be among bishops voicing their concerns about the policy at the debate.

A statement issued by the Church’s House of Bishops and Archbishops’ Council last year and endorsed by the Archbishop, said same-sex weddings were against Anglican teachings and would undermine the state of marriage, as well as being “divisive” and “legally flawed”.

However, the statement prompted a groundswell of opposition within the Church and two suffragan bishops broke ranks to say it did not speak for them, nor for a substantial number of clergy and churchgoers.

Bishop Holtam, a diocesan bishop who sits in the House of Bishops but not the Lords, indicated his support for gay marriage in an interview and a speech last year but has been cautious about intervening in the ongoing debate.

Lord Alli, however, asked the bishop to set out his views for the benefit of peers debating the Government’s legislation next week.

In the letter to the Labour peer Bishop Holtam said: “You, as a gay Muslim, will not be surprised that there are a variety of views within the Church of England where we are experiencing rapid change similar to that in the wider society.”

He added: “The possibility of 'gay marriage’ does not detract from heterosexual marriage unless we think that homosexuality is a choice rather than the given identity of a minority of people.

“Indeed the development of marriage for same sex couples is a very strong endorsement of the institution of marriage.”

The Church’s leadership indicated as part of its opposition to the move that it favours civil partnerships as a way for gay couples to demonstrate their commitment to each other.

However in the letter Bishop Holtam suggests civil partnerships are same-sex marriage in all but name, saying “this now needs recognition in law.”

He said: “Like the Archbishops now, I used to think that it was helpful to distinguish between same sex civil partnerships and heterosexual marriage. Many in the churches think the commonly used description of civil partnerships as 'gay marriage’ is a category error.

“However, the relationships I know in civil partnerships seem to be either of the same nature as some marriages or so similar as to be indistinguishable. Indeed, the legal protection and public proclamation which civil partnership has afforded gay relationships appears to have strengthened their likeness to marriage in terms of increasing commitment to working on the relationship itself, to contributing to the wellbeing of both families of origin, and to acting as responsible and open members of society.

He added: “Open recognition and public support have increased in civil partnerships those very qualities of life for which marriage itself is so highly celebrated. It is not surprising this now needs recognition in law.”

The legislation was passed by the House of Commons last week despite an attempt by almost half of Conservative MPs, among them two Cabinet ministers, to block the move.

It includes so-called “quadruple locks”, described by Bishop Holtam as “extraordinarily robust”, to protect religious groups, including the Church of England, who do not wish to carry out same-sex ceremonies.


Homosexual weddings pave the way for polygamy, warns former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey

A former Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday warned David Cameron that his ‘equal marriage’ reforms open the door for multiple weddings and marriages between siblings.

Lord Carey said that same-sex marriage laws amount to a radical and disturbing upheaval which is likely to lead to unintended consequences.

Among them he listed the inclusion of polygamous and multiple relationships into the definition of marriage, and the right for two sisters living together to demand a legal wedding.

The intervention from Lord Carey, one of the most prominent campaigners against same-sex marriage since the Prime Minister first announced his plan in the autumn of 2011, comes as peers prepare to debate the new marriage law.

Ministers are braced for an attempt to wreck the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill next week.

A group of MPs have already written to members of the House of Lords urging them to vote down the Bill, on the grounds that in the supposedly free vote in the Commons they were warned by Downing Street that their careers would be at stake if they failed to back it.

Lord Carey, 77, said that the Bill overturns the historic understanding of marriage as a platform for a man and a woman to raise children that has lasted since the dawn of Christianity.

That, he argued in a paper published by the Civitas think tank, means that the doors will fly open for very different legal versions of marriage in the future.  ‘A reason why we should be worried by the redefining of marriage is the unintended consequences of such a step,’ Lord Carey said.

‘Once we let go of the exclusivity of a one-man one-woman relationship with procreation linking the generations, they why stop there?

‘If it is about love and commitment, then it is entirely logical to extend marriage to two sisters bringing up children together. If it is merely about love and commitment, then there is nothing illogical about multiple relationships, such as two women and one man.’

The former Archbishop, who stepped down from Lambeth Palace in 2002, cited the arguments of US academic and lawyer William Eskridge, a prominent advocate of gay marriage rights, who has maintained that it is illogical to limit the number of people in a relationship.  Instead he has proposed the scrapping of any laws that limit the numbers or sex of people entering a marriage.

Lord Carey said: ‘In no way do I mean to be alarmist about the possibility of this happening in a large scale way, but it is happening in the United States and there is nothing to stop the trend continuing.’

He added that the idea promoted by Home Secretary Theresa May that people who care deeply for each other and want to spend their lives together should have the right to marry is ‘a wholly inadequate understanding of marriage.’

The former Archbishop said: ‘Those of us accused of being on the wrong side of history can only plead with the Government to respect our concern that extending marriage to same-sex couples is not only unwise, but also sets a dangerous precedent.’

Lord Carey’s plea for rejection of same-sex marriage was published alongside a series of arguments both in favour and against the reform published by Civitas in The Meaning of Matrimony: Debating Same-Sex Marriage.

Among contributors was Culture Secretary Maria Miller, the minister in charge of piloting the new law through the Commons.

Mrs Miller said: ‘Much of the strength of marriage lies in its ability to change with the times. As society has changed, so marriage has changed, and become available to an increasingly broad range of people.

‘In the 21st century marriage is an inclusive - not exclusive - institution. It is available to all adults who are prepared to make vows of life-long fidelity and commitment. Except, that is, if you happen to love someone of the same sex. I believe that simply isn’t right.’



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

Sarah Palin is undoubtedly the most politically incorrect person in American public life so she will be celebrated on this blog

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take chidren away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

Postmodernism is fundamentally frivolous. Postmodernists routinely condemn racism and intolerance as wrong but then say that there is no such thing as right and wrong. They are clearly not being serious. Either they do not really believe in moral nihilism or they believe that racism cannot be condemned!

Postmodernism is in fact just a tantrum. Post-Soviet reality in particular suits Leftists so badly that their response is to deny that reality exists. That they can be so dishonest, however, simply shows how psychopathic they are.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amedment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds