The creeping dictatorship of the Left...

The primary version of "Political Correctness Watch" is HERE The Blogroll; John Ray's Home Page; Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Greenie Watch, Dissecting Leftism. The mirror sites are updated several times a month but are no longer updated daily. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing). See here or here for the archives of this site.

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 May, 2014

Doctor who told undercover reporter he could arrange female genital mutilation to be carried out on two girls aged 10 and 13 could be struck-off

A doctor faces being struck off after he told an undercover reporter that he could arrange for female circumcision to be carried out on two girls aged 10 and 13.

Dr Ali Mao-Aweys was caught on camera discussing female genital mutilation (FGM) with a female investigator, who posed as an aunt asking about the procedure for her nieces.

The practice, which in its most extreme form can involve the almost complete sewing up of a girl's vagina, has been illegal in the UK since 1985.

Dr Mao-Aweys denied offering to assist in arranging female genital mutilation, and was released without charge by police following an investigation.

However, a fitness to practise panel at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester today ruled that he had offered to help the undercover reporter, and will now consider whether he should be allowed to continue to work as a doctor.

Dr Mao-Aweys, who has private clinics in Birmingham and Haringey, north London, was targeted in an undercover Sunday Times sting masterminded by 'Fake Sheikh' Mahzer Mahmood in April 2012.

The Somalian national was filmed discussing the barbaric procedure on a camera hidden in the handbag of an unknown female investigator. Posing as a patient 'Ms A', the reporter told the GP she wanted her two fictional nieces, aged 10 and 13, circumcised during a visit from Ghana.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 made it an offence to carry out the procedure on a British female anywhere in the world.

Mao-Aweys was arrested along with Birmingham dentist Omar Addow in May 2012 following the publication of the story on the investigation in the Sunday Times.

Both were released without charge, but Addow was struck off by the General Dental Council last year after he was found to have offered to perform circumcision on the girls.

Mao-Aweys, who denied the charges, is now facing the same fate after the fitness to practise panel ruled against him today.

'The panel decided that the recordings indicate that Dr Mao-Aweys initially considered doing the operations himself,' said chairman Dr Anthony Morgan. 'Even if Dr Mao-Aweys did not understand the English word 'nieces' he quickly established the ages and genders of the children to whom Ms A was referring.

'He then described an FGM procedure by drawing a diagram, which he referred to as a pharaonic cut [the most extreme form of FGM].'

Dr Morgan added: 'It is clear that Dr Mao-Aweys knew that all FGM operations are illegal in the United Kingdom by the references he made to this fact in the consultation and by the comments of it being 'dangerous' with the possibility of going to jail.

'At no point in the consultation did he raise the issue of safeguarding children or any objections on his part to FGM.

'He did not seek to dissuade Ms A from continuing with her plans and only suggested that it would be safer (in the sense of not being illegal) for her to go abroad to have the operation carried out.'

The panel saw video footage from two consultations at Mao-Aweys' Birmingham clinic as well as the transcript from a phone call made by the journalist.

When asked about the procedure, sometimes referred to as 'cutting', he can be heard to say: 'Ah yes. I can help you.' At one point he also said: 'A Girl. Yes I do girl.'

During their meetings Mao-Aweys offered to assist the investigator in her efforts to have two girls circumcised and said he knew a doctor in Birmingham who could help.

He told her it was a very short procedure, lasting less than ten minutes, as well as explaining the potential psychological problems and risks if the girls talked to friends or teachers.

At times the doctor seems reluctant to discuss performing the operation and warns the reporter of the legal ramifications if caught.

He said: 'In Gambia, Somalia - my country - it's no problem, but here they talk too much,' adding: 'I think it's best you go to Africa.'

When Mazher Mahmood phoned Mao-Aweys on April 21 to put the allegations to the doctor he denied offering to assist in FGM.

He continued to deny the claims in interviews with police after he was arrested on 4 May 2012 and said he thought the reporter was referring to boys when she said nieces.

During the hearing, Mao-Aweys, whose first language is German, claimed he had been 'entrapped' by the journalist and had thought he was discussing a legal FGM 'reversal' procedure or circumcision on boys.

He failed to mount a full defence case when he walked out of the hearing after splitting with his legal team and losing a string of legal challenges to halt proceedings, claiming he had racked up around £250,000 in legal fees since the allegations emerged.

The panel found his version of events was 'not credible or reliable' and that the recordings show he quickly established they were talking about females.

'Dr Mao-Aweys' own account of the tone of the consultation with Ms A appears to be at odds with what is seen and heard in the video footage,' said Dr Morgan.

The panel will now decide if his fitness to practise is impaired due to misconduct before considering what sanction to impose.


Prizes for none? Organisers of Edinburgh Marathon refuse to publish results 'out of respect' for runners

Angry runners have lashed out at organisers of Edinburgh's Marathon for not allowing them to see a complete list of winners and losers - because they are being 'respectful'.

The race organisers for one of the major events in Britain's sporting calendar have only announced times and placings for the top three in an event that featured almost 10,000 runners.

But other entrants have been told by GSi Events, a company that specialises in fundraising projects, that their achievement will be 'exclusively available' to them and published only if they give permission.

This comes as furious runners threaten to boycott future events amid questions that hard-earned times and placings would not count if they were not officially published.

Simon Hart, a 50-year-old from Brentwood in Essex, ran the race in 2 hours 38 minutes and finished fourteenth.

He said: 'To find out that my result would not be published is disappointing in the extreme. Unless the policy changes, I will not be participating in events run by GSi Events again, and would advise other club runners to avoid as well.'

A Scottish Athletics spokesman said: 'It is a matter of concern. We're acutely aware of it and in discussions with the company, trying to get to the bottom of it.'

GSi Events, have not given a comment or responded to online criticisms on the marathon's own Facebook page.

But the marathon's website says: 'All your personal data and information, including your running times, are treated with great respect. Your result information is exclusively available to you.

'We will only openly publish the top three finishers of each race. You will need to log in to get your times, splits and finishing position within the race. You can then choose to share this information as you see fit.'

Ian Kiltie, a veteran runner from Derby, was amazed he could not access a friend's result.

He said: 'What next - no one is allowed to watch in case they see how people did? Stop televising the London Marathon, Great North Run, etc.?'

Such a policy is virtually unheard of - and runners yesterday were claiming it breaches International Amateur Athletics Association rules and could endanger Edinburgh's status as a recognised event.

The IAAF rules state clearly: 'Official results for all participants should be made available on the race's website within the shortest possible time.'

It is unclear who wanted the policy of not publishing results, but the supposed confidentiality is undermined by the event's own photographs section, where runners can enter anyone's name and see a selection of pictures of them in various amounts of distress, along with their finishing time.

Edinburgh runner Hector Haines said: 'Not having results after the race devalues the whole event.


Proof that tougher sentences DO work: 3% drop in crimes after post-riots crackdown

Tough punishments really do deter criminals, an academic study of the London riots of 2011 shows.

Researchers found that firm sentences handed down in the wake of the disorder cut crime for months afterwards across the capital and elsewhere around the country.

The effect of the harsher punishments was to reduce crime levels by 3 per cent in the months after the summer riots. There was a fall-off in burglary, criminal damage and crimes of a violent nature.

The report compared crime rates before the riots with those six months later. There was a drop in crime even in London boroughs far away from the disorder and in areas of England and Wales which had not been involved. Researchers said this proves the threat of prison is a powerful deterrent.

The study found that six months after the riots, there was still a ‘significant’ drop in crime in all areas of London. ‘We observe a decline in crime even in London areas located far from the riot incidents and in police force areas in England and Wales that were not affected by the riots,’ said the researchers.

‘This is consistent with the operation of a deterrence effect from tougher sentencing.’

The researchers from University College London and Oxford University said that usually crime rates change too slowly to be able to work out the effects of tougher sentencing.

However, the riots offered an ample opportunity as 4,600 rioters were arrested and 2,250 were brought to court over a short period.

They were given longer sentences by judges who decided that those who took advantage of public disorder needed harsher treatment.

Up to 15,000 people took part in five days of rioting that followed the shooting of Mark Duggan by the Metropolitan Police.

There were five deaths and more than 5,000 crimes were committed, mainly burglary, criminal damage and violent crimes such as assault.

The study, published in the Economic Journal, found that rioters brought to court were almost three times more likely to be jailed than people with a similar profile who had committed similar crimes in 2010.

On average, their jail terms were two months longer than those handed down for the same kind of crimes in the previous year.

Among the most notable examples of firm sentences was the six-month term given to Nicholas Robinson by a district court judge for stealing six bottles of mineral water worth £3.50, and the ten months Danielle Corns received for stealing two left-footed trainers during disorder in Wolverhampton.

The researchers said that the fall in burglary, violence and vandalism was not the result of increased police presence – in fact, there were fewer police patrols after the riots than beforehand.

Neither did the drop occur because the riot criminals were in jail, as crime fell in areas far away from where the jailed criminals had been active.

The report found there was a small increase in crimes untypical of riots, such as robbery.

Researchers suggested this also showed deterrence worked, as criminals turned to offences less likely to attract a long sentence.


Christian GP 'refused to help lesbian couple have a baby, saying he did not believe same-sex couples should have children'

A lesbian couple claim they were denied fertility treatment by a Christian GP practice that said they should not have children.

Lisa Gilligan and Amy Hyde say their doctor delayed a crucial application letter, while a manager told them staff ‘did not believe same-sex couples should have children’.

The couple, who have been together for seven years, tried to conceive with a sperm donor for two years before their GP Tom Accialini, of Lambeth Street surgery in Blackburn, Lancashire, sent them to a specialist clinic.

But when tests showed they needed treatment, he did not send off their application for funding, they said.

Couples have three months from the time they are referred to get funding approved – and all letters must be signed by a GP.

Miss Gilligan, 30, said: ‘I kept ringing and ringing but no one would tell me anything. I rang the site manager, Mary Piper. At first, I was told the letter was on the doctor’s desk .?.?. but then she said they couldn’t do it. She said they were a Christian practice and .?.?. don’t believe same-sex couples should have children.’

Cornerstone Practice, of which Lambeth Street is part, has apologised and agreed to send the letter, more than two months after the couple say it was given to Dr Accialini. They have complained to the NHS.

Miss Gilligan said the delay was ‘heartbreaking’, adding: ‘We are just hoping it’s not too late, otherwise we’ll have to go through this whole process again.’

Miss Hyde, also 30, said: ‘Why, if it was against their Christian beliefs for us to have children, would they refer us for tests?’

Cornerstone Practice’s website states it has ‘a Christian foundation’ but ‘will not discriminate against anyone because of gender, sexuality, sexual preference, religion, race or age’.

NHS Lancashire said it was investigating, adding: ‘If a doctor is unable or unwilling to act for personal ethical reasons, he or she has a duty to ensure a patient can access another opinion.’

Katie Stanton of Cornerstone said it could not comment due to patient confidentiality.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


29 May, 2014

More multicultural wife-murder in Britain

A husband who strangled to death his pregnant wife two weeks after police arrested him for threatening to kill her with a hammer was sentenced to life imprisonment today.

Mohammed Badiuzzaman, 34, pleaded guilty to murdering mother-of-three Sabeen Thandi at the Old Bailey earlier this month.

Before the killing he told colleagues he planned to kill his wife, bragged that UK jail was ‘easy peasy’ and ranted about Oscar Pistorius.

He was today sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison by Judge Christopher Moss QC, who described the defendant as ‘manipulative, devious and controlling’.

Mrs Thandi was strangled at her home in Forest Gate, London, in July last year, a fortnight after she obtained a restraining order against her husband, and after police had arrested him for making death threats.

Police officers are now under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission for releasing Badiuzzaman before he went on to kill.

Badiuzzaman had forced Mrs Thandi into a Muslim marriage and had moved in with her two months after they began dating in November 2012.

He was controlling, preventing her from leaving the house alone, forcing her to throw away ‘revealing’ clothes and instead wear a hijab because otherwise she would ‘feel his wrath’.

The security guard even tried to sell her home by visiting an estate agents and pretending he owned the property.

Doctor’s receptionist Mrs Thandi grew sick of Badiuzzaman’s abuse and visited solicitors in Watford in June last year seeking a divorce. She took out an order from Watford County Court on June 17 against Badiuzzaman to prevent him from entering her home, as she feared for her children’s safety.

But two days later Badiuzzaman became enraged after discovering Mrs Thandi was in love with a man in Pakistan whom she had met on Facebook, named in court as only as Majid.

Badiuzzaman duped his wife into getting into the car with him on the premise of taking her to work, but instead he drove her around for three hours and threatened her.

He said he had a hammer in his car boot and that if she did not revoke the order against him she would never see her son again, and that police would ‘find parts of her body in bits in bin bags’.

Mrs Thandi pleaded with her solicitors to revoke the order, and they proceeded to call the police. Badiuzzaman was arrested on suspicion of threats to kill and unlawful imprisonment. While being cautioned he made no comment and grinned at police, but he was later released.

In the early hours of July 7 police received two silent 999 calls from the home the couple had shared and were met by Badiuzzaman at the door who said his wife was at work. He was calm and made conversation with officers but when they searched the property they found her lifeless body under a duvet in the bedroom.

Badiuzzaman told police: ‘I’ve killed my wife.’ But when paramedics asked him to tell them what he had done so that they might attempt to save her, he said he did not know.

Mrs Thandi was taken to Newham University Hospital where she was confirmed dead, and a post-mortem gave the cause of death as strangulation.

Before the killing he had told colleagues he intended to ‘stab’ Mrs Thandi and had talked for an hour about high-profile domestic violence murder cases of Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani. He told colleagues ‘they have got away with it’ and ‘jail in Britain is easy peasy’.

Sentencing Judge Moss said: ‘From all that I’ve heard about you I have no doubt that you are a manipulative, devious and controlling person with a serious anger management issue.

‘It’s clear from the way in which she died that you intended that she should die. You strangled her in her bedroom in her own home.’

He added: ‘You murdered your estranged wife in her own home which you were excluded from by order of the county court.

‘It’s clear from the evidence in the case that this was an order you deserved and which you had no respect for, indeed you resented it.

‘You have deprived those children of the love and care of their mother in their formative years of their lives. You had no conceivable defence.’

The judge said he took into some account the fact that the defendant had pleaded guilty one day before the case was listed, and that he had shown some remorse, but added: ‘I suspect you feel sorrier for yourself than those affected by your actions.’

Officer in the case, Detective Inspector Euan McKeeve said: ‘We are very satisfied with the outcome of the case. Domestic violence in all its forms is totally abhorrent and cannot be tolerated. There’s likely to be some learning from the IPCC investigation, but because that investigation is ongoing I am unable to comment further at this time.’

Hertfordshire Police and the Met Police are now being investigated by the IPCC in relation to the incident.

An IPCC spokesman said: ‘The investigation is nearing conclusion, with most lines of enquiry completed by investigators.

‘We have interviewed ten officers and a civilian staff member from the Metropolitan Police Service under misconduct caution, in relation to their contact with Mrs Thandi prior to her death on 7 July 2013.

Two officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary have also been interviewed under misconduct caution, in relation to their contact with Mrs Thandi on 19 June 2013.

‘We have also taken statements from several independent witnesses, and are keeping the family updated on the progress of our investigation.’


Fort Lauderdale Flash Mob A Masterpiece Of Not Noticing

My friend Eustace (not his real name, or even close) down in the Peninsular State told me his wife drove through this fracas with their infant child in the car.

Fort Lauderdale police believe hundreds of young people made their way to the beach for one reason this Memorial Day, to cause trouble. Police described a volatile scene Monday night as they had to arrest dozens of people that were part of unruly crowds . . .

Police said around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, hundreds of young people made their way to the beach for one reason this Memorial Day, to cause trouble. Fort Lauderdale Police were in riot gear as a large crowd of young people moved through A1A reportedly causing mayhem.

“We had several reports of individuals who were reaching into vehicles, striking drivers. We have reports [of] individuals who were jumping on top of taxicabs,” said Detective Deanna Greenlaw with Fort Lauderdale Police Department . . .

Fort Lauderdale Police officials said a group of young people came to the beach to fight and when police quickly broke it up, they scattered through the streets . . . [Police Arrest Dozens During Memorial Day Ruckus By The Beach, by Carey Codd; CBS Miami, May 26th]

Eustace tells me his Missus was thinking the whole time about my “Talk” column. He then added: “There is, of course, no mention of the singular, conspicuous characteristic of the ‘unruly crowd’.”

I replied thus:

Why, Eustace, I don’t understand. The descriptions seem perfectly clear to me. I actually tallied them all: “young people”; “people”; “unruly crowds”; “young people”; “young people”; “individuals”; “individuals”; “young people”; “individuals”; “troublemakers”; “people”; “a young person”; “people.”

You can’t get more specific than that! Not in the United States of Not Noticing, you can’t.


We read elsewhere: Arrests by Race: 118 black males, 58 white males, 9 black females, 6 white females

Ducking from the Truth: The 'Gay Agenda' v. Liberty

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” –George Washington (Farewell Address, 1796)

For five decades, a relentless and insidious campaign to undermine faith and family, the foundational tenets of our Republic, has been on the rise. With the 2008 election of Barack Hussein Obama, the most faith-intolerant regime in the history of our Republic, the growth of that campaign has become a malignant battle for the hearts and minds of American voters.

Most of the participants in this battle are unwitting pawns of the political Left, believing that they are simply supporting individual rights. In reality, they are systematically eroding the ground beneath the two most critical pillars of Liberty: faith and family. In the end, the inevitable and irrevocable terminus of these actions is tyranny.

Though social research organizations consistently find that those with gender identity issues make up less than 3% of the population, that tiny minority has become the most vociferous enemy of faith and family – and has rallied a substantial political constituency. For that reason, few social and political commentators will even venture into this arena, fearing public vilification and removal of their public platform by Leftmedia print and TV outlets under pressure from weak-kneed advertisers.

No such fear here, but as a prerequisite for this analysis, let it be stated clearly that the central government has no constitutional authority to regulate sexual activity between consenting adults. However, our Republic most assuredly has a stake in protecting religious Liberty, and marriage as defined by the Laws of Nature.

The first target of the Left and their homosexual agenda constituency is the first clause of the First Amendment to our Constitution, which states simply, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

That succinct proscription notwithstanding, Leftist judicial supremacists, who occupy what Thomas Jefferson called “the Despotic Branch,” have adulterated the plain language of that clause to greatly suppress the free exercise of Liberty across the nation. They have succeeded in large measure to supplant Rule of Law with the rule of men – the rule of egocentric executives and legislators who believe they are the font of wisdom sufficient for ruling over their subjects.

The second pillar of Liberty targeted by the Left is the family – beginning with marriage. In the words of Justice Joseph Story, “Marriage is … in its origin, a contract of natural law. … It is the parent, and not the child of society; the source of civility and a sort of seminary of the republic.”

As you recall, in 2008 candidate Obama himself feigned disdain for same-sex marriage and asserted a pretense of faith: “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian … it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix. … I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage.” Of course, that was just another bald-faced election-year lie. A full 12 years earlier, while running for Illinois State Senate, Obama said this: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

Obama’s expressed sentiment therefore lasted only as long as the campaign. No sooner had he been elected than he began a concerted effort to undermine marriage by promoting “gay rights.” Most notably in 2010, just weeks before the “Tea Party Republicans” who had decimated the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections took control of the House, Obama signed last-minute legislation overturning the Clinton-era policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” thus subjecting military ranks to overt homosexuality.

What Leftist politicos understand, but most of their constituents do not, is that the deconstruction of religious Liberty and the family, starting with the redefinition of marriage, will ultimately result in the rise of an oppressive and dictatorial successor.

Occasionally, the Left attempts to merge both its assault on religious Liberty and upon the family into one battle, endeavoring to kill two birds with one stone – the first being the “Natural Law” contract of marriage, and the second being the objection to homosexuality by every religion on the planet.

Such was the case in May 2012, when homosexual advocates managed a successful coup d'état against one of the most faith- and family-centered organizations in the nation – the Boy Scouts of America – opening the door for homosexual members in order to open the next door for homosexual leaders.

Emboldened by that success, they began a national campaign to target Christian-owned pro-family businesses – small and large – endeavoring to break their support for marriage by way of legal injunctions against their expression of their faith. Finally, the coercive “gay lobby” campaign met its match.

A very high-profile failure was the homosexual assault on Chick-fil-A due to CEO Dan Cathy, and his very vocal Christian affirmation of faith and family. Cathy’s rejection of so-called “gay marriage” was the catalyst for an attempted national boycott against the restaurant chain, but the result was an outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A.

But homosexual advocates suffered a far more spectacular defeat just last month, as you undoubtedly heard, when the Arts and Entertainment network attempted to expel the patriarch of one of the most successful cable television programs in history, solely due to his expression of faith and support for marriage and family in a GQ magazine profile.

The details of the A&E defeat provide a useful case study in “David and Goliath” politics – grassroots activism versus huge media and political adversaries.

Phil Robertson, who heads the popular Duck Dynasty clan featured on A&E, was asked by GQ editors about sin and repentance, and he responded with a paraphrase from 1 Corinthians 6: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers – they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” Robertson added a few comments considered crude by “cultured” leftists, but reflective of the provincial language of his Louisiana culture.

As soon as the article was published online, Robertson was attacked by the two most influential national homosexual advocacy organizations – the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the so-called “Human Rights” Campaign – for making “anti-gay remarks” in the GQ magazine profile. Typical of how Robertson’s remarks were framed are these pathetic pontifications from GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz: “Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”

A&E, which previously asked the Robertson family to reduce its show’s references to guns and closing with prayer – requests the Robertsons refused – swiftly expelled Phil, noting, “His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.”

Within days of A&E’s decision, Sandra Cochran, CEO of Cracker Barrel, one of the largest family restaurant chains in the nation, announced with much fanfare that she was ordering merchandise connected to Phil Robertson removed from their shelves. Cochran noted, “We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture.”

As I wrote Cochran, “Nothing Phil Robertson said offends your ‘corporate culture,’ unless you are offended by the foundational sacrament of marriage between man and woman as defined in the Old and New Testaments of Christian Scripture – and every other major world religion.”

The nation’s largest retailer, Walmart, wisely kept its shelves loaded with Duck Dynasty products.

The execs of A&E, Cracker Barrel and the highest profile homosexual advocacy organizations assumed the rest of the Robertson clan was more invested in their lucrative contracts with A&E than their faith, and their viewers were more invested in the asinine antics of reality shows than the substance and world view of the characters in this particular show.

Bad assumptions. Neither the Robertsons, nor their fans, duck the truth.

In less than 48 hours, Cracker Barrel issued one of the most stunning corporate apologies on record. “When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done. You flat out told us we were wrong. We listened. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores, and, we apologize for offending you.”

Days later, after Phil Robertson’s family advised the network that they would not go on without their patriarch, A&E folded its hand. Apparently the network execs were more invested in their viewer share revenue than being “strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.” As some sort of recompense for their gender-confused audience, they announced, “We will use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty.”

This week, the Robertson family announced their new endorsement line of firearms, undoubtedly a source of additional heartburn for A&E.

This resounding defeat of the homosexual lobby is a case study in how grassroots Americans can successfully confront and crush the Left elite. By extension, it is also a strong indication that Patriots across the nation are poised to deliver the same humiliating defeat to leftists in 2014 that they did in 2010.

The bottom line is that a growing number of grassroots Americans recognize that the Chick-fil-A and Duck Dynasty showdowns are not about homosexuals, chickens or ducks, but about the suppression of faith expression and the undermining of Liberty. Phil Robertson is not a bigot, but those who suppress religious Liberty in the name of “tolerance and diversity” certainly are.

Those who support the “gay agenda” certainly think they do so for the right reasons. But they’ve been lulled into thinking that this issue has no overarching implications for the Liberty of future generations. They are wrong.


Is this hospital a miracle cure for the NHS? It has a Michelin chef, happy patients and is run by doctors and nurses. And shock, horror, it's operated at a profit by a private firm

Just imagine an NHS hospital whose standards match those of a top-quality hotel, with a welcoming reception area, polished floors, tasteful artwork on the freshly-painted walls, and menus inspired by a Michelin-starred chef.

A public hospital where the doctors and nurses — and even porters and cleaners — are free to decide what’s best for the patients, and to put good ideas into practice without waiting for the orders of some remote, out-of-touch mandarin.

Where the innovative working practices owe more to successful modern companies such as Toyota and Argos than a welfare state system created more than 60 years ago to cater for the needs of a very different Britain.

In a week when the failings of the NHS have again been laid bare, with hospital trusts begging for bail-out loans to pay for vital equipment, and discharging thousands of elderly patients during the small hours to ease the pressure on wards, it sounds like a pipe-dream.

Unlikely as it might seem, however, last week I visited just such a hospital.

For someone like me, who grew up during the halcyon days of social healthcare in the Fifties and Sixties and has lived through its decline with mounting despair, my day at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, was enormously uplifting.

And it was all the more remarkable because, barely three years ago, a health minister wrote off this same hospital as ‘a financial and clinical basket-case’, and placard-waving trade unionists were camped at the gates in protest against its seemingly certain closure.

Opened with great expectations in 1983 as one of the new wave of small, consultant-only hospitals, for a brief few years Hinchingbrooke had performed well enough. But by the mid-90s, the quality of its service had faded along with its cheap, breezeblock façade.

John Major, the then-Prime Minister, was embarrassed by an acute bed shortage at the hospital just as he was proclaiming the NHS ‘safe in his hands’.

The hospital made headlines again soon after, when a supposedly dead woman came back to life in its mortuary; but as time marched on, and the Tories gave way to Labour, Hinchingbrooke itself seemed beyond miraculous revivals.

A few years ago, standards in some departments were among the worst in the country. In A&E, patients languished for ages in a dank, garishly-painted waiting room, and treatment, when it came, was so haphazard that one toddler was sent home with an undetected broken leg.

The colorectal unit was worse still. During one botched operation, a surgical instrument was stitched inside a woman patient.

Entering the unit now, it is hard to believe its grim recent history. The first thing that struck me was the cheerfulness of the nurses. Then, written on brightly-coloured stars pinned to the noticeboard, I read the patients’ own glowing tributes, copied from the feedback forms they must now receive before discharge.

‘So much care and attention .?.?. environment light, clean and airy .?.?. food is brilliant .?.?. fantastic! Everybody was great.’

The transformation was summed up by staff-nurse Leighann Shoebridge, who has worked at Hinchingbrooke for 14 years. ‘It wasn’t very nice coming to work, to be honest,’ she says, recalling the hospital’s darkest days. ‘We faced staff shortages every day, and there was no back-up if we needed help.

‘Patients’ bells weren’t answered; medication records were poor.

‘I feel so much happier now — this is a totally different place today.’

And while ward matron Joanne Dixon admits the unit’s problems ‘aren’t completely resolved’,

71-year-old Gillian Peacock, due to be discharged that day after recovering from an infection, told me she would gladly stay longer.

So how has this spectacular turnaround happened? How has one hospital managed to shake off its ‘basket-case’ tag and flourish, while dozens more are failing to cope?

What has happened at Hinchingbrooke only serves to confirm the inefficiency of the National Health Service’s hidebound bureaucrats, with their sclerotic systems and outdated ideology.

In truth, its fortunes have been reversed by the entrepreneurial vision and energy of Circle Partnership — the private equity health company handed a ten-year, £1?billion contract to run it as a franchise under the NHS ‘brand’.Mortality levels, waiting lists and treatment times are down; patient and staff satisfaction levels up.

Last week, the 235-bed hospital’s achievement was recognised when it was voted the best in the country for quality of care.

Visitors are greeted by landscaped grounds, facades of terracotta and smoked glass, and Scandinavian-style pinewood. A new critical care unit is on the way.

That Circle has come this far in just 27 months makes it all the more commendable. And it has done so while reducing its capital debts, and turning a £10million-a-year deficit into a predicted £2million profit this year — a figure expected to soar to £60?million by the end of their tenure.

Given that the NHS is expected to face a £30?billion shortfall by 2020, we might even think it is little short of miraculous.

When I asked Steve Melton, the company’s CEO, how it was done, the word most frequently on this 52-year-old former Argos, Faberge and Unilever executive’s lips was ‘empowerment’.

It was, he said, all about stripping away layer upon layer of management and red-tape that strangulates other NHS hospitals, and handing power back to the people who really understand the needs of the infirm: the frontline staff.

The average hospital trust is governed by a board of ten to 15 members, perhaps two of whom will be doctors or nurses — and often not practising. Between them and the clinical director are multiple tiers of middle-management through which front-line concerns and ideas permeate painfully slowly, if at all.

By contrast, 11 of the 15-strong board at Hinchingbrooke Hospital are practising clinicians, and there are no clipboard-wielding bureaucrats.

In early 2012, when Circle — a John Lewis-style partnership of stakeholder workers and private investors — took the reins, it invited the 1,700 workforce to a half-day meeting and asked them to map out the hospital’s future.

Some 500 were too apathetic or sceptical about the company’s motives to attend. The majority showed up, however, and their goals, set out in a booklet handed to each staff member (or ‘partner’ as Circle prefers to describe them) now underpin the hospital’s ethos.

They include taking a pride in their work, striving to be the best, making the hospital safer and healthier, forging closer ties with the community they serve, and the ‘six Cs’: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

The manifesto also makes it the duty of every employee to call a halt to any procedure immediately and raise the alarm if he notices something awry.

Devised by Toyota workers to prevent faulty cars from leaving the production line, this measure, known as ‘stop the line’, has already prevented a repeat of the surgical instrument fiasco.

As a patient was about to be stitched, a theatre nurse spotted that a swab was missing and stopped the operation — an act that would have incurred the consultant’s wrath under the old regime. It was duly found inside the open wound.

Other buzz-phrases have become the norm among Hinchingbrooke’s evangelical staff. When someone wants to rectify some problem, or improve efficiency, they might ‘swarm’ it by brainstorming with colleagues, or call an impromptu group ‘huddle’.

If all this creates a rather cultish ambience, it is plainly working. In the well-equipped maternity unit, the standard induction drug, prostaglandin, costing £27.95 per dose, is seldom used these days.

Instead, women are offered reflexology, aromatherapy and acupressure to speed up difficult labours — a gentler New Age method devised by one of the midwives.

In orthopaedics, I met Mr Arpit Patel, who came to Hinchingbrooke as a junior doctor in 1997, and now doubles as a consultant surgeon and hospital board member.

Before Circle, he said, the hospital was riven with divisions: ‘We thought the managers were all useless, and they thought we doctors weren’t working hard enough.’

At first, he was among the sceptics where Circle was concerned. But he decided to try the business-style methods the company was proposing.

By listening to his own staff and adopting their simple suggestions to get patients on and off the operating table quicker, he can now perform four operations a day, not three, and sometimes hits six.

‘What people don’t realise is that if I do three knees, the hospital makes about £800; but if I do just one more, that increases to £3,000, and if I do five we make £6,000 or £7,000. That is because staff costs stay the same and my operating time doesn’t change.

‘The whole staff feel they can really do things now. The NHS could learn tremendously from Circle’s approach to management.’

The mood was similarly buoyant in A&E, where staff have opted to wear theatre ‘scrubs’ rather than nursing uniforms, and name-tags so patients can identify them.

They also use a colour-coded computer system (similar to that used to keep the tills working at Argos) to flag up outpatients who are waiting too long.

In the kitchen, head-chef Lisa Normanton, 46, cooks fresh, locally-sourced food instead of standard-issue frozen supplies, and takes inspiration from the company’s Michelin-starred head chef Andreas Wingert.

The restaurant-standard meals not only make patients happier. As ever with Circle, there is a financial benefit, too. Though they are more expensive — £10 a day as opposed to £7 — well-nourished patients tend to recover quicker and go home sooner.

Politicians on all sides are surprisingly reluctant to claim credit for Hitchingbrooke’s success. In a risible volte-face, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, who sanctioned the franchise during the last Labour government, now criticises it.

Why? Because the very idea that public services might operate more efficiently under private stewardship is anathema to Ed Miliband.

As for the Tories, who rubber-stamped the deal, they are under orders from their Australian election strategist, Lynton Crosby, to avoid at all costs the sensitive NHS debate and concentrate on the economy.

Were David Cameron to take a bold step and champion the wide-scale franchising of our failing hospitals, however, it could be a gamble worth taking — revitalising, and perhaps even saving, the National Health Service



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


28 May, 2014

Who are the 'racists’ now?

Would-be immigrants from the old white Commonwealth are kept out by strict immigration controls, yet this is not deemed racist

The most vehement speech I have ever heard attacking Roma immigrants came last summer from the hard-working Romanian wife of an Italian restaurateur in a small town in Italy.

After we mentioned the nuisance posed by a horde of Roma beggars in the centre of Florence, she explained how angry she and other law-abiding Romanians feel over their country’s reputation being blackened by the antisocial behaviour of that racially distinct Roma minority that has long been such a problem in parts of central Europe, and is now fanning out across the EU.

It is impossible to discuss immigration rationally without recognising this particular problem, not helped by the efforts of the BBC and too many politicians to obscure it – as when the BBC reported on the trouble being caused by “Romanian” families in Belfast, carefully failing to explain that they were Roma.

Again, in light of the endless agitation over immigration, isn’t it odd how the BBC and others are so eager to brand as “racist” any talk about migrants from the EU, when by far the strictest immigration controls already in place are those rigorously enforced by both Labour and Conservative governments against would-be immigrants from the old “White Commonwealth”?

If it is “racist” to express concern about uncontrolled migration from the EU, why is it not equally racist to keep out people from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, let alone refugees trying to flee from genuinely racist persecution in Zimbabwe?


The real problem with welfare is not welfare parasites but Red Ed and the politicians who have encouraged people to believe the world owes them a living

By Richard Littlejohn

White Dee's sickness benefits may at long last be frozen after her drunken jolly to Magaluf, where she was pictured guzzling pints of beer, tequila shots and champagne.

And not before time. I've heard of benefits tourism, but this was ridiculous. Deirdre Kelly, Dee's real name, has become something of a minor celebrity since she 'starred' in the gruesome TV documentary series Benefits Street.

She has made a rap record, worked as a guest DJ in a Birmingham disco and been flown to Majorca for 'promotional work', including judging a wet T-shirt contest. All the time, she has continued drawing welfare payments, as she has done every week since she was sacked from her last full-time job for stealing £13,000.

This hideous, obese slattern has become the poster girl for Britain's obscene benefits culture, yet she is unrepentant. 'Blame the Prime Minister,' she replies when she is asked why taxpayers should support her life of amoral sloth and drink-fuelled debauchery.

She's right, too. Well, maybe not this Prime Minister, whose Government is belatedly trying to dismantle the scandalous system which bred the likes of White Dee.

But we can certainly blame Gordon Brown, who positively encouraged a festering culture of fecklessness and entitlement, which costs billions of pounds every year and helped bring this country to the brink of bankruptcy.

Brown's byzantine benefits regime, and his no-questions-asked generosity to claimants, institutionalised idleness and ensured that for millions work didn't pay. No wonder they concluded that they were better off on the dole.

Take the case of 34-year-old Portia Clarke, an aspiring 'glamour' model, who has never worked a day in her life. She has just kicked the father of one of her three children out of the taxpayer- funded home they shared so that she can receive more benefits to spend on 'luxuries'.

The money he brought in as a factory worker meant she was unable to claim the maximum handout from the State.

At her council house in Greater Manchester, she said: 'Paul only earned £800 a month and by the time we'd paid rent we didn't have much left. I couldn't buy myself nice clothes or go on holidays.' She now rakes in £17,000 a year from the taxpayer, via an assortment of benefits.

Has she ever thought about getting a job? 'Paul wanted me to get a job, but I knew I'd never find anything that paid decent money. I'm not flogging my guts out for low pay.'

Why should she, when the mug British taxpayer will provide? Pouting Portia, who at 34 is well past her prime potential as a 'glamour' girl, reckons she has £1,000 a month disposable income after all the bills have been paid.

Which is enough to provide her with a 50in flatscreen TV, nights out on the lash, the latest fashions and five-star holidays to Turkey.

Meanwhile, the man her children called 'Dad' has been given the order of the boot because he got in the way of Portia filling her boots with free money. So Brown's benefits bonanza didn't only turn a generation into dependency junkies, it breaks up families, too.

And until the heroic Iain Duncan Smith grasped the nettle and capped benefits, the unemployed weren't just living on run-down council estates, they were routinely billeted in some of the most desirable properties in town.

Never mind Benefits Street, some lucky claimants are still living on Benefits Boulevard. This week, Captain Hook, aka Abu Hamza, has been convicted of terrorism offences in America and will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

His family back home in England, however, will continue to live the life of Riley at taxpayers' expense. Hamza's wife and eight children live-rent free in a £1.25?million house in one of the more desirable streets in Shepherd's Bush, West London, popular with BBC types.

They are reported to receive £33,800 a year in handouts. What happened to the much-trumpeted £26,000 limit?

Four of Hamza's sons and a stepson have served time for terrorist crimes and are unlikely ever to secure gainful employment.

Who would give them a job? Is it any wonder that decent people who pay their taxes, ask for nothing and keep their noses clean are outraged?

Yet while Duncan Smith wrestles the welfare monster, his Coalition 'partner' Nick Clegg defends the right of the Hamza clan to live in subsidised luxury.

Self-proclaimed 'liberals' appear to have no problem with the widespread abuse of the system and the affront to decency created by cases like these.

They condemned Benefits Street as 'poverty porn' and consider the anger directed at the ghastly White Dee and her low- life companions to be the modern equivalent of bear-baiting.

Don't forget that Labour has opposed every single one of Duncan Smith's welfare reforms, while at the same time Ed Miliband pretends to be on the side of 'hard-working' families.

The real problem here isn't White Dee, it's 'Red Ed' and all those Left-wing politicians who have encouraged millions of people to believe the world owes them a living while asking nothing in return.


Nature is not so warm and fuzzy

Bloodied and dazed after being slashed by the claws of a brown bear, a woman struggled to walk 2 miles along a curvy, hilly trail to find someone to help her. The woman, who has asked that her identity not be released, was hospitalized in stable condition Monday, a day after the attack on an Anchorage military base, officials said. She suffered lacerations to her neck, arms and legs.

The woman was jogging with her soldier husband Sunday morning on the northwestern part of the sprawling Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The couple became separated, and as she jogged down a hill near a bend, she came upon a bear leaving a trail at the same time. Air Force Maj. Angela Webb said they startled each other, and the bear, with two cubs in tow, assumed a defensive position in the largely wooded, remote area. “The bear attacked her, defending her babies, seeing her as a threat,” said Mark Sledge, senior conservation law enforcement officer at the base.

The bear knocked down the woman and took at least one swipe at her. Officials still haven’t interviewed the woman and don’t know if she was knocked unconscious or played dead until the animal left the area. Playing dead is the appropriate response when meeting a female bear protecting cubs, Sledge said

My Take - We have to disabuse ourselves of the idea that wild animals are Disney characters. They're violent and.....let's get this right......they will kill people, they will kill livestock, they will kill children, and they will kill pets. In short - settlers killed them when they moved into an area because they weren’t' safe to have around. Why is that so hard to understand?

A number of years ago there was a “nature is warm and fuzzy” nut by the name of Timothy Treadwell who proclaimed grizzly bears were all misunderstood and needed be embraced….because he did “research” that demonstrated “he could get close to bears with his gentle and non-threatening personality and communicate with them. Treadwell boasted that he could understand their communication and they could understand him. He claimed that he knew 21 bear vocalizations and various different body languages. He wanted to see if he could be accepted by 1,000 pound wild coastal brown bears.”

He was hyped by the leftist celebrity crowd and gained as substantial amount of notoriety. But it was like every other phony philosophical flavor of the day perpetrated on an unsuspecting public. His name wasn’t even Treadwell….it was Dexter…… and everything he said, and everything he said he did was a phony as his name. Well reality finally caught up to Dexter. Dexter and his girlfriend both died practicing his theories on real wild bears, in a truly wild environment, not with semi-tame bears in a national park. Apparently this was a bear that didn't speak the same language as Dexter, since this bear didn't understand - or care about - a thing he said.

There is a benefit to all of this.

First, he truly qualified for the Darwin Award. What's the criteria for nomination? The Darwin Award is presented - posthumously- to those who contributed to human evolution by self-selecting themselves out of humanities gene pool in the most sublime fashion, i.e., in the most idiotic manner, and secondly we can now dismiss all the misleading and dangerous horsepucky he promoted about bears. Bears kill, that’s why they’re called “wild”.


Festival of Australia and NZ arts launches in London

I can't say I am much in favour of this groupy thing. Australian cultural talents do quite well abroad on their own merits and under their own steam. Emphasis on Australia as a location or a group seems more likely to revive a "cultural cringe" impression.

And that Australians often need to go abroad to optimize their careers needs no apology. The Australian population is relatively small and cultural products are very much a minority interest. So exposure to large potential audiences is needed to achieve a critical mass of income.

Why does anyone think that English theatre companies regularly tour the despised North? Because they need the money of the Northeners. And they won't get that money unless they go to where the customers are. So even the trickle of cultural interest from the North needs to be grabbed

From time to time, Australia launches little cultural assault fleets back to the mother country.

One year it might be a Leo McKern, who ruled the Old Bailey in his television portrayal of Rumpole, tying a neat bow around the whole convict saga.

Another year it might be a John Pilger or a Julian Assange, doing the journalistic equivalent of selling ice to the Eskimos: a bolder, freer, cooler brand of ice, more sharp and uncomfortable than the usual Fleet Steet sleet.

And of course there are Clive James, Barry Humphries, Germaine Greer and, uh, Rolf Harris – the Gang of Four whose mega-talents allowed an allegedly indecent assault on swinging London. Indecently successful, that is, m’lud.

Some of these Aussie Vikings settled down, hung up their helmets and became part of the landscape. Others came back home, Patrick White-style, Tim Winton-style, with new perspective or homesick hearts.

Though ... it seems a little unfair. Do we really have to come cap in hand to Europe or North America seeking success and recognition, or some kind of validation stamp in the career passport?

This month Australia launches a new, full-frontal literary invasion of London.

But the aim is not a reverse colonisation. Instead, according to Jon Slack, it is to demonstrate that no matter how far or how wide our writers roam … etc etc.

"Over here people have a very narrow view of what happens in Australia – the top-level, stereotypical view," he says.

"There’s some truth to stereotypes but there's so much more - writing talent, acting talent, film - there’s so much to show off."

Slack – ex-Adelaide, now a UK resident for just over a decade - is the director of a new, ambitious summer festival in the UK.

This Way Up, the Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts, boasts some of the two nations’ biggest talents, supported by some familiar international names, in 60 events over four days.

Tim Winton will discuss his new novel, Helen Garner talks about memory and imagination, Fay Weldon chats to New Zealand writer Paula Morris, other events feature Anna Funder, Greta Scacchi, Kathy Lette and Anita Heiss.

Clive James is doing a new one-hour show about his life in writing, and the festival closes with a new composition by composer Mark Bradshaw set to the biblical poem Song of Solomon, read by actor Ben Whishaw.

I meet Slack on a sunny day in Brighton. He says the idea grew out of a touch of homesickness. "I wanted to work out a way of connecting what I was doing here [in the UK] with back home [in Australia and New Zealand]. I was getting really out of the loop on everything that was happening back in Oz.

"There are so many festivals over here but having a country-specific focus was quite unique … There’s rivalry, affection, understanding [between Australia and the UK]. The more I looked into it the more sense it made."

There is a risk of backfire in attempting this kind of showcase. Last year London’s Royal Academy, to great fanfare, opened an exhibition of some of Australia’s best and most iconic works of art, from pre-colonisation to the present day.

Reviews were mixed. While few were as scathing as those of the Sunday Times, whose critic ended up musing that in Australia the wrong people became artists, some found the whole idea old fashioned. The Guardian said an exhibition whose "aim is the broad sweep of a country, let alone a continent" risked ending up as "potted history and pop-up content".

"I am not interested in what might constitute some sort of Australian artistic identity, because I doubt there is one," the reviewer wrote.

Another critic wrote in the Independent that "more than most countries, [Australia] has carried a baggage of hyper-sensitivity about its place in the world".

Slack says the reaction to the exhibition showed there was a lot of passion about Australia’s representation in the UK. He hopes the multi-event format of his festival will immunise against such criticism.

He does believe there is a character to Australian writing that will emergeduring the festival.

"If you watch a film from Australia or read a book or even just go back home, there’s something very intangible but you can sense it," he says. "There is such diversity … [but] the person who described it the best was Tim Winton."

In a speech in London last year, Winton said he found new perspective on what his home country meant to him when he lived in Paris in his late 20s – his first trip abroad.

He thought the difference would just be language and history, but "the moment that I stepped off a plane at Charles de Gaulle [airport] I knew I was not a European," he said. "[Australia’s] geography, distance and weather have moulded my sensory palette, my imagination and my expectations."

Winton found Europe's land and the sky less beautiful, even saccharine and closed. From afar he recognised Australia as the Neverland of Peter Pan – more wild, a place "more landscape than culture" where the night sky would threaten to suck you up into the stars.

"I was calibrated differently to a European," he said. "Everything we do in our country is still overshadowed and underwritten by the seething tumult of nature."

Slack says the Australian voice can vary widely – contrast Winton with Christos Tsiolkas – but at the same time sound alike.

"It’s very direct, it’s bold, it’s just in the character. Even though there’s a lot of bullshit, there’s no bullshit. That’s what people respond to over here."

Slack says Winton is still a little "under the radar" in the UK, despite the many highlights of his long career.

There is an ongoing question as to whether Australian writers do better if they make a more permanent move to the northern hemisphere, he says. It is even being addressed during the festival, in a "big debate" on whether the cultural cringe is over.

"It’s hard to deny that if you’re based here you’ve got that ongoing presence, it’s easier to have those meetings, do those events, have those conversations you need to have," Slack says. "The tyranny of distance is still a thing.

"There are some people who still make jokes about ‘cultured Australians, oxymoron’ ...People love and respect individual Australians, in films or writers, but I think there is still quite a long way to go. There’s definitely an ignorance of what’s going on ... Unless someone has been to Australia you just don’t get past the beach and the sport. It’s really hard for people to do that."

The festival has a "shoestring budget" in proportion to its scale, but Slack says in planning it became a "controlled explosion" as more people agreed to take part. The event has been part-funded by the Australia Council – which at one stage doubled its support when the project’s ambition grew. One of the council’s aims is to establish a reputation for Australia as an "artistically ambitious nation", says Jill Eddington, director of literature funding at the council.

But the festival is there, in a nutshell, to help the authors find their market, and the market to find the authors.

"The big challenge for all writers worldwide is discoverability in a huge global online market," says Eddington. "No, [writers] don’t need to move to the northern hemisphere. The old boundaries and borders are less and less relevant. The work of great Australian writers is relevant to readers anywhere in the world."

This Way Up is at Kings College, London, from May 29 to June 1.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


27 May, 2014

The Isla Vista shootings

In their usual brain-dead way, liberals are blaming the shootings on an inanimate piece of metal -- a gun. That the shooting was actually done by a person seems to have escaped them. For anyone who is able to think, however, what made the person concerned do what he did is surely the crucial question. And the plain fact that he had long been psychologically unwell -- to the point of having undergone therapy several times -- is an obvious thing to point to.

But his ability to convince the police that he was a 'perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human' indicates that he was not too bad. Given different circumstances he might have made something of himself. So what were the circumstances that led him down the wrong road? I think that is fairly clear. Modern Left-based ideas of child-rearing and education teach that everyone is a star and everyone is entitled to win and have all they want without effort. And it is certainly clear that Elliot Rodger did have a strong sense of entitlement. He thought that success should come to him rather than feeling that its lack was his problem and that should go out and work for it.

If he had had an old-fashioned Christian upbringing, however, he would have learnt that man is a fallen and imperfect creature who has to work for his blessings and must be thankful for what he has.

In short, Leftist nonsense pushed a fragile man over the edge; A Christian upbringing might have saved him and his victims.

I reproduce below two things: An account of the terrible loss that this badly guided man inflicted and a commentary on the claims that more gun control is needed. That three of the victims were knifed to death may undermine the anti-gunners a bit, though. Do we need knife control as well? It may be noted that in Britain, where only blacks and farmers have guns, fatal stabbings are common -- but even the British have not attempted knife control, though it is talked about.

Father of Veronika Weiss, shooting victim, speaks

When Bob and Colleen Weiss learnt that their daughter may have been a victim in the Isla Vista shooting rampage, they immediately got in their car late on Friday night and drove from their home in Thousand Oaks, California to Santa Barbara.

But once they arrived in the Santa Barbara County coastal community around midnight, authorities were unable confirm whether 19-year-old Veronika Weiss was among those killed. It was hours before they heard back from sheriff’s officials.

"It was 4 o'clock in the morning and Veronika's not a 4 o’clock in the morning type of girl," Bob Weiss said in an interview on Sunday. "I'm not a fool. I knew what happened."

After a student riot broke out in Isla Vista in March, Veronika called her parents and told them, "I'm safe in my room. Don't worry about me."

This time she didn't call. They used her "Find my iPhone" app and her phone was in the middle of one of the crime scenes, her dad said.

Bob Weiss said his daughter was wise and mature beyond her years. He said he would go to her for advice sometimes if he was having a problem with her brothers, Cooper, 17, and Jackson, 15, or even a minor argument with his wife.

Weiss said his daughter was always a tomboy. She played four sports in high school, which is a rarity. She participated in cross country, baseball, swimming and water polo and she earned straight A's. Her strength was maths.

Starting at age six she loved playing softball, he said. Later she played baseball. He said she was the only girl out of 500 players in the Westlake baseball league.

"She was tough," he said. "She was a big strong girl and she was tough."

On the water polo team at Westlake High School, which she graduated from, the coach always put her as the defence player against the top scorer on the opposing team.

He said she always organised events for her circle of friends. He described her friends as nerds and serious students. They would study every Friday night and it was not unusual for her to spend Sundays working on her advanced maths work. "She loved it," he said.

He said many of her friends went on to other prestigious schools such as Princeton and she wanted to go to the University of Washington. But the out-of-state tuition and financial situation made that prohibitive.

"She would always wear her purple and gold University of Washington sweatshirt," he said.

"She wanted to be a financial wizard, and use her high aptitude with complicated math."

He said her mother and grandmother belonged to the tri-Delta sorority so it makes sense that she would join it too at UCSB. She didn't know many people at the Santa Barbara campus but the sorority gave her a built-in circle of friends, he said.

He described her as being gregarious. She liked to laugh a lot, he said. She was loud and "she made everybody else laugh".

"She was happy all the time," he added.

She graduated high school with a high, 4.3 grade point average.

He said she would sometimes visit him at his office in Newbury Park. She would just come over spontaneously and bring him lunch and they would eat together. "Who does that? How many high school kids are thoughtful like that and want to spend time with their parents?"

Veronika and her parents had just gone snowboarding together two weeks ago. That was their last trip together. They had planned to spend Sunday together. Bob Weiss and his wife had planned to drive up to Santa Barbara to take her to lunch and go shopping.

He said he doesn't know what happened on Friday night but he does know that Veronika would have put herself in harm's way to help her friends or even the young man who shot her. "She always reacted to a situation quickly. She always wanted to help. She was very courageous."

"She will be an inspiration to me every day of my life," he said.

"There was never a day I wasn't proud of her. Never a single day."


Elliot Rodger is Proof that Gun Control Doesn’t Work!

By now, you have probably heard about the recent mass-shooting in Isla Vista, California.

First of all, I want to express my condolences to the victims and their families. This kind of senseless violence is absolutely deplorable and could shock everyone's conscience, regardless of political affiliation.

Unfortunately, the gun control advocates are at it again, arguing that if Federal and State gun control laws were just a little stricter, this tragedy could have been avoided. This couldn't be farther from the truth!

It didn't take long to get a statement from the shooter's family. Alan Shifman, the lawyer representing the family, announced that they were "staunchly against guns," support gun-control laws, and would devote the rest of their lives to stopping tragedies like this from happening again… In this press release, the family blamed the NRA and gun culture in America for allowing their son to arm himself.

Really? They are blaming the NRA because their liberal son bought three guns over a period of months and chose to indiscriminately shoot people? Is it just me, or does it seem like the family is blaming everyone except their own son?

Residents of California know how ridiculous it is to blame the state’s gun control laws. California's gun laws are the strictest in the nation and still, for a deranged and plotting teen who flew under the radar, they did nothing to stop him from arming himself. This shooting is a textbook example of how no amount of gun control laws can stop an individual hell-bent on causing harm to people.

Elliot Rodger was also able to buy all three of his handguns legally, which in California is no easy task. A prospective gun owner has to jump through a number of hoops before they are allowed to take ownership of a gun, let alone three.

If Elliot Rodger bought his weapons from a gun store, which is likely, he would have had to submit to a thorough background check that ran his criminal history, mental health history, and even the applicant's fingerprints. This costs $25. Then, the gun buyer has to wait exactly ten days before he or she is allowed to actually take ownership of the firearm (providing they passed the background check). This operates under the assumption that waiting 10 days to take ownership of a pistol will stop “crimes of passion.”

California also has a law prohibiting the purchase of more than one handgun a month, meaning that Elliot Rodger's would have to have built his collection of handguns over a three month period.

California prohibits citizens from carrying a loaded gun on their person or in their car unless they demonstrate an impossible to meet "good cause." Elliot Rodger broke the law when he took loaded pistols into his car.

California and Isla Vista also have laws against indiscriminately discharging firearms into crowds of people. Elliot Rodger, like other violent criminals, disregarded this law.

At every step of the way, gun control laws failed to stop Elliot Rodger from committing these murders. Even if they were successful at stopping Rodger from arming himself, the fact the first few victims were actually stabbed to death shows that this type of hatred will always find a tool to commit the crime.

Gun control advocate are chomping at the bit to introduce a piece of legislation that would have “prevented” the shooting. But the entire premise of putting words on a piece of paper to deter deranged killers is ludicrous. Elliot Rodger broke a plethora of gun laws. Suggesting that one more would have made a difference is ridiculous.

The only reason you aren't seeing gun control advocates like Dianne Feinstein calling for more gun control measures is because this happened on a weekend. You can rest assured that come Monday morning, these Liberals will be out in force trying to take away YOUR Second Amendment rights because of the actions of a liberal, disturbed young man in Commiefornia.


Five-month-old boy taken from loving parents and put up for adoption after father 'was hostile towards social workers'

Who wouldn't be?

A five-month-old boy who has not yet been given a first name by his parents must be put up for adoption, a judge has ruled.

Mrs Justice Parker said it was ‘emotionally harmful’ that the boy had not been named as she made the ruling at a Family Court hearing in Watford, Hertfordshire.

The judge described the case as 'terribly sad' but said there was a high risk of the child suffering significant emotional harm and a possibility of him being caught up in violence.

She highlighted that his father had assaulted one social worker, by punching him several times in the face, and threatened to kill another after accusing workers of being 'invasive'.

She said the father could be 'dangerous' and accepted that the child's mother was in a vulnerable position as she had been diagnosed with a learning difficulty.

In her ruling, the judge said the father had been behind the decision not to name the baby but did not address the reason as to why. She said: 'His father has refused to give him a name. I think ideally the mother independently would not have taken that view. ‘Every child needs a name. I truly think that it is emotionally harmful not to give a child a name.’

The court heard the couple also have a two-year-old son, who was taken into care last year over similar concerns, and the mother has a third child who is currently being looked after by a relative.

Mrs Justice Parker said the man and his partner believed they did not need any help from the local authority and had become 'increasingly frustrated and intolerant' towards social workers.

Commenting on the case, she said: 'I think I'm a fairly hardy plant. But I have to say I found his simmering anger quite difficult to cope with. 'I think he can be dangerous.'

She continued: 'I am in no doubt there is a high risk of significant harm to baby. Due to a combination of the vulnerability of the mother and the father's attitudes and behaviour.'

Mrs Justice Parker accepted that neither parent had set out to deliberately physically harm their sons.

'This is a terribly sad case because father and mother, each of them, have many excellent qualities,’ she said. ‘It is absolutely plain to me that both of them love each of their sons, their boys, from the bottom of their hearts.'

She said as there was no family member available to care for the child, then it was 'quite clear' that adoption was the only answer.

Mrs Justice Parker ruled that the family could not be identified but Hertfordshire County Council who took the case could be.

The child's father and his partner have indicated that they will appeal the adoption ruling.


Race riot in Britain after Gypsy influx

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has called for tough police action after a violent street fight between rival groups of immigrants.

The Labour MP spoke out after Page Hall in Sheffield - part of his constituency - was consumed by violence on Monday, which led to several arrests and one teen needing hospital treatment.

He had warned last November that tensions between local people and Roma migrants in the are could escalate into rioting unless action was taken to improve integration.

Tensions came to a head when more than 25 people got involved in the mass disturbance which broke out in the residential area at around 8pm.

A 17-year-old boy suffered a suspected broken arm in the disturbance, which was watched by dozens of concerned residents who poured into the street to watch the clash unfold.

Several rang 999 after becoming concerned at the scale of the disorder and many have now called on the authorities to do more to help ease community tension.

Mr Blunkett said: 'We were all very apprehensive about the emergence of the long warmer nights, and recognise this was going to be a moment of pressure.

'The police have devoted sufficient manpower and expertise, but what is required is a clear, visible presence in the evening, so there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind about the determination to clamp down on any kind of unacceptable behaviour.

'It’s fine having the numbers but they have to be there at the right time. Those who perpetrate unacceptable behaviour need to understand the police mean business.

'The cause of the problem is believing they can behave in this fashion.'

One local said: ‘Members of the existing community are tired and quite frankly frightened at the swiftness of how the situation became enflamed.

‘Council and Government agencies need to be aware of the truth and how the decent residents of this troubled district need support and assurance that they are safe to walk the streets.’

South Yorkshire Police has not revealed the ethnicity of the 25 people involved in the disturbance but confirmed no arrests have yet been made.

A Section 60 order, which allows officers to stop, search and disperse individuals, was issued in the area to help ease tensions.

Inspector Richard Burgess said: ‘There was a police presence in the area throughout the evening to ensure no further issues developed and we will continue to provide a high visibility policing presence in the following days.

‘Officers are thoroughly investigating and are continuing with enquires. We are determined that those responsible for this outbreak of disorder will be held to account for their actions.’

Last year Mr Blunkett warned of potential rioting in the suburb which is plagued by unrest among ethnic groups.

The MP, who was born in the city, said the area could ‘explode’ in the same way that street warfare broke out in other northern towns between ethnic groups two decades ago.

‘We have got to change the behaviour and the culture of the incoming community, the Roma community, because there’s going to be an explosion otherwise,’ he said at the time.

He also accused the coalition Government of ‘burying their heads in the sands’ over the sheer scale of gipsy arrivals.

The Roma population in Sheffield is said to be between 2,000 and 4,000 and growing. More than 1,000 Roma patients are registered to two GP practices alone.


Fairtrade 'fails to help poor farmers': Damning investigation says profits sent to help in Uganda and Ethiopia do not reach much of the workforce

The Fairtrade scheme is not helping the poorest workers it was set up to support, a damning investigation has found.

Fairtrade goods, which include bananas, coffee and chocolate, generate annual UK sales of £1.78billion. Farmers signing up to the scheme must agree to meet social, labour and environmental standards set by Fairtrade International.

But research by the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies has found that on Fairtrade farms in Uganda and Ethiopia, profits failed to trickle down to much of the workforce.

The Government-sponsored report claimed the scheme, established more than 20 years ago, has not effectively improved the lives of the poorest people.

It even concluded that wages on non-certified farms were actually higher than for those growing Fairtrade products.

Researchers also found evidence of ‘widespread use’ of child labour – with some workers as young as ten – when doing checks on 1,500 Fairtrade workers.

One of the report’s authors, University of London economics professor Christopher Cramer, said: ‘Wages in other comparable areas and among comparable employers producing the same crops but where there was no Fairtrade certification were usually higher and working conditions better.

‘In our research sites, Fairtrade has not been an effective mechanism for improving the lives of wage workers, the poorest rural people.’

The study found that some social projects funded through Fairtrade were found not to provide equal benefit to all.

In one example, modern toilets funded through the scheme were reserved for managers, while poor workers did not have access to proper facilities.

Meanwhile, when workers aged over 14 years were interviewed, ‘a very large proportion of them said they had been working since the age of 10, or even earlier’, the report said.

‘What is clear... is that very significant numbers of young, school-age children are having to work for wages in the production of agricultural export crops, including Fairtrade-certified commodities.’

The authors attacked a ‘combination of idealism and naivety’ to explain why Fairtrade did not reach the poorest people.

‘One possibility is that Fairtrade producer organisations are always established in significantly poorer, more marginalised areas where an accumulation of disadvantages means smallholder farmers are unable to pay even the paltry wages offered by smallholders in other areas without Fairtrade producer organisations,’ the report said.

‘Fairtrade attempts to support and subsidise co-operative groups of ‘smallholder’ producers on the remarkably naïve assumption that the benefits of this support are distributed evenly amongst the group. This assumption about egalitarian distribution is unwarranted.’

Fairtrade International said in a statement that the report was ‘unfair and generalised’.

A spokesman said: ‘In several places it compares wages and working conditions of workers in areas where small-scale Fairtrade-certified tea and coffee farmers were present with those on large-scale plantations in the same regions,” it said in a statement.

‘The report itself identifies farm size, scale and integration into global trade chains as major factors influencing conditions for wage workers, but then its conclusions appear to be based on unfair and distorted comparisons between farms and organisations of dramatically different size, nature and means.

‘When comparisons are based more on like-for-like situations, such as the study’s own analysis of Ugandan coffee in small scale coffee production set-ups, it finds key areas where workers in areas with Fairtrade-certified farmer organisations in fact had better conditions compared with those in non-certified, such as free meals, overtime payments and loans and wage advances for workers.

‘This is in sharp contrast to the more generalised conclusions being presented by the School of Oriental and African Studies team.’

Fairtrade was founded by overseas development and consumer groups including Oxfam and the Women’s Institute - and has grown into one of the world’s most trusted ethical schemes.

It is involved with 1.24 million farmers and workers around the world, and the Fairtrade Foundation contributes to the funding of schools, health clinics and sanitation projects.

Farmers joining the scheme must agree to meet social, labour and environmental standards.

Fairtrade products are not only popular with individual consumers but also served by Starbucks, the House of Commons and airline Virgin Atlantic.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


26 May, 2014

A multicultural wife killing

A Pakistani immigrant allegedly beat his wife to death with a stick for making him the wrong dinner, a court heard. Noor Hussein, 75, believed he had the right to discipline 66-year-old Nazar at their apartment in Brooklyn, New York, his defense said.

But prosecutors claim he murdered her because she had made the mistake of cooking him a vegetarian meal made of lentils instead of goat meat.

At the start of Hussein's murder trial yesterday, a court heard the victim was left a 'bloody mess'.

Court papers quoted by the New York Post said: 'The defendant asked [his wife] to cook goat and [his wife] said she made something else.

'The conversation got louder and his wife disrespected defendant by cursing at defendant and saying motherf***** and that the defendant took a wooden stick and hit her with it on her arm and mouth.'

Defense attorney Julie Clark said Hussein admitted beating his wife but said that in his home country, beating your wife is customary.

She argued that Hussein, who met his wife in Pakistan before the couple married and moved to Brooklyn, is guilty of only manslaughter because he didn’t intend to kill her.

In her opening statements at the Brooklyn Supreme Court bench trial, Clark said: 'He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife.

'He culturally believed he had the right to hit his wife and discipline his wife.'

However, Assistant District Attorney Sabeeha Madni said: 'This was not a man who was trying to discipline his wife.' She said neighbours would testify to the 'years of abuse' Hussein's wife suffered.

Madni said that on the day of her death, Hussein attacked his wife as she lay in her bed, leaving deep lacerations on her head, arms and shoulders, and causing her brain to hemorrhage.

Court papers state he beat her with a stick that the family had found in the street and used to stir their laundry in a washtub.

He then tried to clean up the blood that splattered onto their bedroom wall before calling his son for help, Madni said.


Tories talk about immigration reform in response to UKIP victories

David Cameron is drawing up new immigration laws in response to rising anger over the number of EU migrants moving to Britain, The Telegraph can disclose.

The first details are expected in a Bill to be announced in the Queen’s Speech next week, a senior government source said.

Even stronger measures to block Europeans from poor countries coming to Britain for work are likely to be included in the Conservative manifesto for the general election next year.

The plans represent a concerted attempt to combat the rising popularity of the UK Independence Party which threatens to derail the Tories’ hopes of winning an outright parliamentary majority.

Measures under discussion include a law to discourage British-based companies from employing cheaper foreign workers, deporting unemployed Europeans after six months and a new “wealth test” to prevent vast numbers coming to Britain from the poorest EU countries.

News of the proposals emerged as senior Tories called for action on immigration after Ukip’s surge in last week’s local elections.

Nigel Farage’s party may also top the popular vote when the European election results are announced tonight.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, promised yesterday to “listen” and “respond” to public concern over the issue.

“We need to take the public anger about issues like immigration, jobs and welfare — and deliver answers that work,” he told a ConservativeHome conference in London.

Another senior Tory minister said that the party had to “demonstrate that we are listening”.

Labour had their own problems last night as there were signs that Ed Miliband’s allies were beginning to attack him.

A shadow cabinet minister said there were voters who named Mr Miliband as “a problem”. The MP said: “We have good policies and we are not communicating them. I don’t think we had a plan for the election.”

In other key developments yesterday:

* A poll of 26,000 people in key marginal constituencies suggested Labour was on course to win the next election. The survey by Lord Ashcroft, the former Conservative Party vice-chairman, found a 6.5 per cent swing away from the Tories in 26 battleground seats. If the result is repeated next year it would give Ed Miliband a healthy majority of up to 70 in the Commons.

* Mr Osborne called on Ukip voters to “focus” ahead of next year’s general election and said the “only choice” was between Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband.

* Criticism of Labour’s local election campaign grew, with Frank Field, the former Labour Cabinet minister, warning that Mr Miliband faced “big questions” over his ability to connect with voters.

* Ukip was embroiled in new turmoil after one of the party’s new councillors was alleged to have referred to gay people as “perverts” and African migrants as “scroungers”.

Dave Small, who was elected to Redditch borough council, is facing a party investigation.

He also attacked Clare Balding, the BBC broadcaster, and Sir Elton John, the singer, over their sexuality and referring to “our sworn enemies in the Muslim world” in comments on Facebook.

The Conservatives introduced a target to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by May next year.

However, according to figures last week, net migration — the difference between migrants arriving and leaving — rose to 212,000 last year, fuelled by an increase of 43,000 European migrants.

The Coalition has brought in controls on the number of non-Europeans entering the country and new rules that say European migrants cannot automatically claim benefits in Britain. The Tories now want to go further.

Some of their more radical plans – especially on reforming European laws – would be unlikely to win support from Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats and are expected to form part of the Tory manifesto for next year’s general election.

“We are in government with the Lib Dems so we are not going to be able to close borders,” a senior Conservative source said.

Plans being discussed by senior Tories include a new law to stop immigrants “undercutting” British workers looking for jobs.

Employers who failed to pay the minimum wage would face heavier fines under the reforms, with maximum penalties of up to £20,000 for each individual worker they have underpaid. The current highest fine is £5,000.

A plan is also being examined to deport European migrants who have been claiming benefits for six months and have no realistic chance of finding work.

Conservatives are considering replicating a German proposal to deport unemployed Europeans, regardless of whether they claim benefits. Another proposal is to extend the length of time EU migrants must wait before they can claim benefits, from three months to six months or longer. Despite legal difficulties in European courts, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is said to be working on the issue.

A fourth measure under consideration is a restriction on the number of European migrants who come to Britain from new EU member states, potentially including a “wealth test” banning migrants from the poorest countries until their economies improve.

This would require agreement in Brussels.

The plans for immigration reforms were already under way before the local and European elections.

The Cabinet has been shown a draft of the Queen’s Speech, which the Queen will present to both Houses of Parliament on June 4. “None of this is in response to these elections because the Queen’s Speech has already been agreed between the Coalition partners,” the minister said.

With one council election result outstanding yesterday, there was strong support for Mr Farage’s party, although Tories said the Ukip vote was 6 per cent lower than in last year’s local elections.

Ukip won 161 council seats in England, while the Conservatives lost 231.

The projected national share of the vote, compiled by the BBC, put Ukip on 17 per cent, Labour on 31 per cent and the Conservatives on 29 per cent, with the Liberal Democrats on 13 per cent.


Dave and Ed just don't get it: by branding Ukip racist they're damning millions of decent Britons

By Stephen Glover

Barring a last-minute bolt of lightning on the way to the polling station, I shan't be voting Ukip in today's Euro elections. But, my goodness, over the past few weeks I have sometimes been sorely tempted to do so.

Anyone who has the remotest sympathy for the abused underdog will have felt for Nigel Farage as the major parties and much of the media have lined up to trash him.

This has been the smear campaign to end all smear campaigns. Nick Clegg has spoken about Ukip's 'fake solutions and dangerous fantasies'.

He has had the gall to suggest that it is 'unpatriotic' to call for Britain to leave the European Union. I wouldn't suggest that Mr Clegg doesn't love this country, so why impugn the patriotism of Eurosceptics?

David Cameron, who has a track record of saying rude things about Ukip members, has excelled himself by referring to Ukip's 'appalling' views.

That presumably means that he thinks the millions of people who will vote for the party today are 'appalling', too.

The Prime Minister has also declared that Ukip represents 'the politics of anger'. But what on earth is wrong with being angry if so many things are going wrong with your country?

A bit more genuine anger from Mr Cameron would be welcome. For his part, George Osborne stirred the pot yesterday by suggesting that Ukip (though he didn't actually name the party) presents a threat to the economy. Come on!

They haven't got a single MP, and yet somehow they are a danger to our economic well-being.

Meanwhile, Ed Miliband has described Mr Farage's remark that he would feel 'uncomfortable' if Romanians moved in next door as a 'racial slur'.

I happen to believe the Ukip leader did go too far on that occasion - though he has since apologised - but what he said hardly amounted to a slur, racial or otherwise.

Much of the media has obediently been doing the work of the three main parties. The BBC's normally admirable political editor, Nick Robinson, interviewed Mr Farage in the tones one might employ for a convicted international war criminal.

Most newspapers of Left and Right (though not the Mail) have depicted Ukip as an extremist party inhabited by fruitcakes, crooks or dangerous lunatics.

The normally Eurosceptic Times and Sun have been among Mr Farage's most unforgiving critics. Of course, Ukip harbours some undesirable characters, and the media would be failing in their duty if they did not expose them.

But I suspect that the majority of Ukip members are solid types who are not racist, and I am sure the same can be said for most people who will vote for the party today.

But here is the extraordinary thing. Despite this barrage of insults from the political class and much of the media class - surely unprecedented in scale in modern times - Ukip still rides high in most opinion polls, and it seems likely that it will outdo the Tories in today's vote, and very possibly Labour, too.

In other words, Ukip's support has remained remarkably resilient to the all-encompassing scare stories, and the insinuations that the party is almost literally diabolic. Why should this be so?

I suggest it is because many people can see that what Nigel Farage says about uncontrolled immigration reflects their own experiences.

They know that the influx of foreigners has put enormous strain on housing, hospitals, schools and, in some cases, on the availability of jobs.

And these people who are tempted by Ukip can also understand Mr Farage's argument that, so long as we stay within the EU, we will remain powerless to control our borders, and to stem immigration from any of the other 27 member states.

Tories, Labour, and even the Lib Dems when the wind is blowing in a particular direction claim they understand people's anxieties over immigration, but of course they don't. If they did, they would not describe Mr Farage and his party as racist.

Because in doing so they are effectively describing the millions who vote for Ukip today as racist - the decent working-class voters, especially in northern England, who are deserting Labour, and the former Tory stalwarts who don't like or trust David Cameron and his clique.

To characterise such people as racist or extremist amounts to one of the greatest acts of political idiocy I can remember.

To be fair, one or two people in the main parties have recognised the danger. Lord Glasman - Labour's so-called 'guru', and an occasional adviser to Mr Miliband - has said it is wrong to 'abuse' Mr Farage for saying what he thinks, and that people are 'genuinely entitled to feel concerned about immigration'.

The trouble is that Lord Glasman is an exception. For the past few weeks have served to prove, if we did not already know it, that the leaders of the three main parties are as lofty and detached from the experiences of ordinary people as they are steeped in condescension.

There's a huge political lesson here. If I am right, and Ukip triumphs in the polls, the three major parties must change their game.

It is no longer good enough to rubbish Ukip. It doesn't work. The parties will have to show that they want to find solutions to the problems worrying many people.

And the lesson that scare-mongering usually backfires should be extended. The tactics that have been employed so disastrously against Ukip are similar to those visited upon the Scots.

Brethren north of the border have been bombarded with every threat you can think of short of pestilence, and every attempt to terrify them seems to weaken support for the Union.

George Osborne is said by some to be a brilliant political strategist, but if he is the brains behind the negative attacks on Ukip and the blood-curdling threats to the Scots, I beg to suggest that he may not be the genius he is cracked up to be.

In the end I shan't be voting Ukip, and I'll tell you why. It's too much of a one-man band. It only has two thought-out policies - on Europe and immigration. Nigel Farage's unnecessary remarks about Romanians living next door also made me wonder about his judgment.

It was a silly thing to say, as he seems now to realise. Shabby And I don't like his wild way with figures, though he's certainly not the first politician to be fast and loose in this respect.

For example, it turns out that Ukip's assertion that 92 per cent of cash machine crime in London is committed by Romanians is based on the experience of one policeman. That's not good enough.

Moreover, if you believe, as I do, that this country's membership of the European Union must be put to a referendum, we should be realistic.

It is only going to happen if the Tories win the next general election. But it should be said that over the past few weeks, Mr Farage has eclipsed his rivals, and made them look shabby, devious or lightweight.

The Ukip leader is an old-fashioned political campaigner - courageous, brimming with as much enthusiasm as his counterparts have negativity, and full of conviction.

If I am right, he is about to deliver a shock to the established parties such as they have seldom experienced.

And they will be little short of certifiably insane if their main response is to continue to maintain that he and his millions of supporters are racist.


The man who can't even eat a bacon butty

A "butty" is a Northern word for a sandwich and in the North and among the workers generally chip butties and bacon butties are popular food. I myself am quite partial to a late-night bacon butty. But in a typical display of Leftist elitism, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband showed that he had no idea how to eat one. He looked as if he were being poisoned. I guess it was not much like his mother's gefilte fish

This should have been one of the best weeks of Ed Miliband’s career. In fact, it has been by far the worst. Disaster followed disaster.

Having made the ‘cost of living crisis’ the centrepiece of his local and Euro election campaign, the hapless Miliband suggested that his family’s weekly shop cost around £70 or £80 — a figure most commentators agreed was a woeful underestimate, suggesting that he didn’t really know what he was talking about.

Then the man who lives in a London house worth £2.5?million announced rather coyly that he is only ‘relatively comfortably off’.

Worst of all were those pictures of him clumsily scoffing a bacon-and-ketchup sandwich in a desperate attempt to look like a man of the people. Those images, above all, will remain in the public’s minds.


Abortion Clinic Traumatizes 15-Year Old Girl

We live in a country where women are allowed to choose whether to have an abortion or not. Now, I wish that wasn't the case. I wish that the rights of the unborn were protected as well. We should do everything in our power to protect the rights of the unborn, but for now, abortion remains legal across the country.

But what if women aren't even allowed to choose? What happens when ideology or simply the bottom-line forces abortion clinics to compel patients to get abortions? What do we do when abortion clinics literally kidnap young girls and refuse to let them go until they agree to go forward with the procedure?

That is exactly what happened in one Buffalo abortion clinic!

A 15-year old girl (who will remain nameless) went to a Buffalo, New York clinic for a routine ultrasound. Her controlling boyfriend would not let her visit the local pregnancy clinic, so she sought out an ultrasound at the abortion clinic in her area. After talking with nurses, it became clear to the girl that the clinic wasn't interested in performing an ultrasound... They were determined to pressure her to abort her pregnancy. When the young girl asked to leave the facility, the clinic refused to let her go and locked her in the room until she would agree to the procedure. The girl's hysterical mother was forcibly removed from the premises and it actually took a call to 911 to force the abortion clinic to get this traumatized girl released.

Stories like this happen across America as young and vulnerable women are forced to get abortions by clinics eager to make a profit. This Buffalo clinic is just the first in a new trend of combining birth centers with abortion clinics. The goal for organizations like Planned Parenthood is to make their facilities the one-stop-shop for all pregnancy procedures. As a result, they will be able to access government funding previously cut off from them and be able to funnel it into their abortion side of the business.

When presented with the option to either carry a baby to term or abort it, these clinics will always push women to choose the latter for ideological and financial reasons. That is why we have to stop these clinics from merging with birth centers and cut off their funding all-together!

What happened to this young girl in Buffalo is absolutely despicable. Yes, the kidnapping/detainment itself was horrible, but that seems to be a rather rare occurrence. What isn't rare, however, is abortion clinics trying to "up-sell" pregnant women to agree to have an abortion.

You have women who go to these facilities looking for an ultrasound or a simple OB-GYN visit and they end up being pressured by nurses and the staff to just get an abortion instead. This 15-year old Buffalo girl wanted to see her ultrasound, but the staff refused to show it to her. Why? Because they know when a women is given the opportunity to see the life that is forming within her, she is much less likely to agree to kill it.

That hurts clinics like Planned Parenthood's bottom line.

That is why many states have tried to mandate ultrasounds for anyone seeking an abortion. This isn't too much to ask, is it? Is it too much to ask abortion recipients to first look at the life that they plan to snuff out?

Unfortunately, while these clinics do advertise ultrasound services, this is usually nothing but a bait-and-switch. That's how they got this 15-year old girl to walk through the door and this happens every day across the country.

These abortion/pregnancy clinics receive taxpayer funding. They receive YOUR money. In many cases, federal funding cannot be used for abortion related procedures or advertising, which is ludicrous. Not because abortion should be publicly financed, but because these restrictions do nothing to stop abortion clinics from moving the money around once they receive it.

The new trend is to combine abortion clinics with birth centers. This gives the illusion that abortion is a natural part of the birthing process, but it also allows these centers to receive more federal funding because they provide more non-abortion services. But when it comes down to it, these centers cannot quench their thirst for money and their ideological support for abortion.

This 15-year old girl is just one of the many stories of women going into clinics for simple check-ups only to be pressured into terminating their pregnancy. And the worst part of this is, YOU are paying for this! You are allowing this bait-and-switch to happen!

Life is our most precious commodity. It should be protected at all costs, not stamped out. Yet today, pregnancy centers are treated like some door-buster sale on Black Friday: whatever it takes to get them through the door so nurses can "up-sell" abortion procedures. Women and girls come in seeking normal check-ups and, in the case of the Buffalo girl, are kidnapped until they agree to terminate their pregnancy.

This should offend the conscience of mankind. Abortion, the murder of the unborn, is deplorable at any level. However the fact that this type of bait-and-switch is funded in part by YOUR tax dollars is absolutely unacceptable!



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


25 May, 2014

Multicultural welfare fraud

A shameless father is facing jail after he claimed almost £50,000 in child benefits for 11 years after his daughter died.

Jem Bakalej, 56, swindled thousands of pounds of taxpayers' cash in the decade-long scam, in which he pretended to be the single parent of Grace, who tragically passed away in 2001.

A court heard that between June 2001 and November 2012 he pocketed a total of £49,000 in state handouts for his daughter.

Prosecutor Richard Dewsbury said Bakalej made a claim for benefits as a single parent of Grace - who was born prematurely on June 16, 2001.

But the child was actually living with her mother in Northampton and tragically died a month after her birth, on July 21, 2001.

At Northampton Crown Court last week, Bakalej pleaded guilty to three counts of cheating the public revenue.

The court heard Bakalej also applied to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in March 2002 for income support as a lone parent of Grace, eight months after his daughter died.

He continued to claim income support until November 2010, stealing a total of £35,359.64 from the taxpayer.

Bakalej also claimed child tax credits as a lone parent of Grace after August 2010, worth a total of £6,806.21.

As a result of his false statements he also received £6,826 in child benefit, which he claimed until March 2011.

Mr Dewsbury told the court: 'The child benefit should have ceased to have been paid the first Monday after the child’s death in July 2001.

'But he failed to inform Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs about Grace's death, and payments continued until 2011.'

Mr Dewsbury added: 'They only ceased when he failed to respond to enquiries from HMRC.'

Bakalej was told to expect a prison term when he is sentenced at Northampton Crown Court next week

The court heard he has not worked since 2000 and is repaying the money back at £120 a month - which will take him 34 years to do.


Catholic family branded 'bigoted' by social workers for not wanting their children to be adopted by gay couple

A Catholic family were labelled bigots by social workers after they complained about the adoption of their children by a gay couple.

The parents, of Slovak Roma origin, protested after they discovered that their two youngest boys, aged four and one, were not going to be adopted by the Roman Catholic family they had asked for.

They claimed the gay adoption would humiliate the children and deprive them of their Roma heritage and Catholic faith, and said the decision amounted to ‘social engineering’.

Yesterday, the country’s most senior family judge upheld the adoption plan. But he criticised social workers from Kent for the way they condemned the parents because of their views.

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, said in a High Court judgment: ‘It was, in my view, unfortunate that the local authority should have referred at one stage in the proceedings to the parents’ views on homosexuality in such a way as to suggest that they are bigoted. The label is unnecessary and hurtful.’

His criticism is understood to follow a report submitted to the court by social workers which said: ‘The attitude of the parents could be perceived as bigoted.’

The row comes at a time when social workers are under pressure from the Government to abandon rules which have meant that adopted children can be placed only with new families of the same ethnic or cultural background.

The doctrine has been blamed for preventing ethnic minority children from being adopted by a stable family, because there are two few people from ethnic minorities are willing to adopt.

Four children of the Roma family were taken into care last year while the family were living in a four-bedroom house in Kent arranged for them by a charity.

Social workers found the children were not going to school or getting medical care, and were ‘over-chastised’, dirty and unkempt.

They said the parents failed to keep one of the younger boys in a ‘smoke-free area’.

Protesting against the adoption of their two youngest boys, the parents said in a statement to the High Court that the adopters ‘are a homosexual couple and as such their lifestyle goes against our Roma culture and lifestyle'.

They added: 'The children will not be able to be brought up in the Catholic faith because of the conflicts between Catholicism and homosexuality.'

The parents said that if when the children were older they discovered ‘the huge differences’ between the Roma culture and the couple who brought up, ‘this is likely to cause them great upset’.

The parents said the adoption ‘would cause the children great psychological harm as homosexuality is not recognised in the worldwide Roma community. Having Roma children live with homosexuals or being adopted by them would be found to be humiliating’.

They added: ‘This is social engineering and is a conscious and deliberate effort by Kent County Council to transform our children from Slovak Roma children to English middle class children.'

But Sir James rejected their pleas, saying: ‘The children’s welfare needs outweigh the impact that adoption would have on their Roma identity.’

He said the future of the two boys should be finally settled by judges at the Family Court in Canterbury.

A Kent County Council spokesman said: ‘We are pleased that the court has recognised that... our paramount consideration has been the children’s long-term welfare.’


Police launch probe into church sign that suggested non-Christians will burn in hell after ONE person complained

A baptist church was at the centre of a police probe after a sign which suggested non-Christians would 'burn in hell' was investigated as a 'hate incident'.

The offending sign at Attleborough Baptist Church in Norfolk, pictured burning flames below words which read: 'If you think there is no God you better be right!!'.

Now the church has been forced to remove the sign after a passer-by complained to police that it could 'not be further' from the Christian phrase, love thy neighbour.

Robert Gladwin, 20, said: 'It is my basic understanding that Christianity is inclusive and loving in nature.

'The message being displayed outside of the church could not be further from the often uttered phrase ‘love thy neighbour’.'

Mr Gladwin said he was 'astounded' when he spotted the poster by chance as he was walking home.

He said: 'I was just astounded really. We live in the 21st century and they have put that message - that non-Christians will burn in hell - up to try and scare people into joining their mentality.'

The strongly-worded sign - which was put up next to a notice board which promises that visitors 'can always be sure of a very warm welcome' - was taken down by Pastor John Rose, 69, after police launched an investigation into the complaint.

Mr Rose said he 'regretted' how the poster could have been interpreted.

He said: 'Attleborough Baptist Church offers a variety of ways in which people are able to engage with the Christian message. 'Jesus encourages us to love God and to love our neighbour and we therefore regret that the poster has been seen as inciting hatred.

'Indeed, we want to assure all members of our local community that they would be made to feel very welcome at any of the church's activities.'

Mr Rose said he changed the posters on his notice board every two weeks. The poster has now been replaced by another one with the message : 'God loves you!' and a picture of a meerkat and a speech bubble saying: 'Simples'.

But despite the sign now being removed, it has still caused controversy in the church's local area.

Chris Copsey, from Norfolk Humanists, branded the sign 'pernicious nonsense'. He said: 'I believe the people of Attleborough have more common sense than to give this sign any credence.'

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, also defended the church and said police involvement was the equivalent of 'banning the Bible'.

He said: 'Personally I don’t find it offensive. But we did fight a long battle of freedom of speech together with Christian groups because we believe that freedom of speech is essential to a functioning society.

'If you don’t give free speech to everybody then it isn’t free speech and as long as they aren’t inciting violence then I think it is acceptable to say whatever you want to say.'

But the Reverand Simon Ward, of the Diocese of Norwich, said: 'I guess they are trying to open a conversation and cause people to think. 'However, I think there are more positive conversations that you could have and more positive reasons for coming to church.'

A Norfolk police spokesman said: 'Norfolk Constabulary received a report regarding a poster outside a church in Attleborough which was deemed offensive by the complainant.

'National guidance required us to investigate the circumstances and the matter has been recorded as a hate incident. 'Having spoken to the pastor of the church, it has been agreed the poster will be taken down.'

The controversy has echoes of a freedom of speech debate sparked in January 2009, after the British Humanist Association launched an anti-religion advertising campaign on London buses.

The campaign was made up of posters disputing the existence of god, which read: 'There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.'

The campaign was originally intended for buses in London, but the appeal spread across the country because it became so popular.


Opera is getting better -- even if that is "sexist"

I must say that poorly cast singers have reduced my enjoyment of opera on various occasions -- JR

Suspension of disbelief is hard-wired in to opera as an art form. Everything is implausible, from the basic fact that everyone is singing rather than talking to those wild implausible plots full of exaggerated coincidences and long-lost relatives. To ask "why" at every juncture is missing the point: there’s no "why". The music should tell you everything. Yet, the narrative of an opera, however ludicrous, cannot be divorced entirely from the music. Ideally a staging should bring music and story together as close as possible.

A certain implausibility seems to have sparked this week's big row about Tara Erraught’s Octavian in Glyndebourne’s new production of Der Rosenkavalier. In reviewing the piece, the international press have used words such as "chubby", "dumpy", "unsightly". The fact that these notices were all from male writers has created a row about sexism.

In defence of his review, Rupert Christiansen of this paper puts forward his argument ("I stand by every word") that Erraught "falls on the wrong side of dramatic plausibility". Opera is as much a visual art form as audio – so visual coherence must be carefully considered.

Body-shaming is not new in opera. Verdi’s premiere of La traviata was an unmitigated flop because his rather stout Violetta, Fanny Salvini-Donatelli, looked nothing like a woman wasting away in the last stages of consumption. One audience member shouted "I see no consumption, only dropsy!" on the opening night.

But in the last 30 years or so things have ramped up to to another level. What I really want to know is what made us demand less of this area of plausibility (a singer’s physical shape) when Dame Joan Sutherland, Luciano Parvarotti, Monserrat Caballe and Jessye Norman were active on the international stage. We have moved from unquestioning devotion to overweight or notably plain singers to modern ones who must look like movie stars – glamorous creatures such as Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko, Angela Gheorghiu and Renée Fleming, to name a few. There’s also a whole breed of singers collectively known as "barihunks" with gym-fit bodies.

What created this culture of Hollywood charisma in the opera world?

The collapse of the classical CD recording industry has something to do with it. In the past, most of us encountered singers through audio recordings. It’s not always geographically possible, or economically viable, to attend live performances. Most people listened to Pavarotti. A small portion of people worldwide get to see "Big Lucy" playing the love interest.

These days recording companies don’t bother with all-star studio recordings. Instead they put out HD discs. Recording a performance and then capitalising on it is the only financially viable way. At the same time opera houses are bringing music to cinemas via live simulcasts. Excerpts of these performances then find their way on to YouTube.

Suddenly everybody around the world is up close and personal with opera singers. The business of selling opera becomes a much more visual affair. Presentation is vital. Collectively we expect visual and audio to link up more in the service of story telling.

So what of Miss Erraught’s appearance? I’ve watched her singing Rosina on YouTube and she’s feisty, winsome and delightful. In fact her press pictures are positively glamourous.

I don’t think the press sets out to destroy a young artist at the beginning of her career. I think the reaction would be far more unforgiving if she couldn’t sing. But we have to accept this: some people just don’t look right in drag – men or women. I think better styling, as Dame Kiri has suggested, is a start. It seems daft for a mezzo with her ability to avoid trouser parts. Will she look plausible as Giulio Cesare, or Cherubino? I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to find out



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


23 May, 2014

The recently privatized Royal Mail is to start delivering parcels and opening delivery offices on Sundays as part of a new trial

Remarkable stuff, that privatization

Online shoppers could soon be receiving their purchases on Sundays under a new service from the Royal Mail.

The postal service will begin to distribute parcels on the traditional rest day in a large-scale trial this summer.

The move was welcomed by internet retailers who said customers should be given “as many options as possible” to receive deliveries at a “convenient” time.

Royal Mail announced on Wednesday that parcels will be delivered in the trial to addresses within the M25, which encircles London. The initiative is part of a move by the group, which was privatised last year, to make it easier for shoppers who are not at home on working days to receive goods.

It will help the firm keep pace with commercial rivals who are already carrying out deliveries on Sundays. In January, Amazon started offering Sunday deliveries through its Amazon Logistics service.

About 100 delivery offices with the highest parcel volumes will be open on Sunday afternoons. Delivery offices are currently open six days a week.

Separately, Parcelforce Worldwide, Royal Mail Group’s express parcels business, will begin a permanent Sunday delivery service in June through internet retailers which choose to take part in the scheme.

Customers will be able to opt for Sunday delivery if the individual retailer has a contract with Parcelforce.

Moya Greene, the chief executive of Royal Mail Group, said: “Through these new Sunday services we are exploring ways to improve our flexibility and provide more options for people to receive items they have ordered online.”

Patrick O’Brien, a retail analyst at Verdict Research, suggested the move was a response to the growing popularity of “click and collect” services, which let shoppers buy goods online and pick them up at local stores or collection points.

“The couriers are quite concerned about the level of click and collect that is taking place now,” he said. “Our research shows that 50 per cent of click and collect sales are sales that would have been done online for home delivery.”

The popularity of the service could largely depend on whether it is more expensive than receiving deliveries during the rest of the week, he added.

Shoppers who choose Parcelforce’s Sunday service will receive a text message between 30 and 90 minutes before delivery.

The online auction website eBay predicted that Sunday deliveries would prove popular with internet shoppers.

A spokesman said: “Shoppers want convenience, speed and choice — they want to shop any time, anywhere, on any device.

“They also want to be able to get their hands on their purchases as quickly as possible, and Royal Mail’s Sunday parcel pick-ups will no doubt prove popular, as around 60 per cent of UK shoppers have used click and collect services in the past year.

When consumers are buying online, they don’t want to have to work around Sundays.”

Royal Mail said the moves were being planned under its “agenda for growth” agreement with the Communication Workers Union.

Dave Ward, the union’s deputy general secretary, said: “As the online retail market goes from strength to strength, consumer expectations are rising fast. That’s why it’s great to see Royal Mail providing customers with this much-desired Sunday delivery service.”


Richard Scudamore's 'sexism’ isn’t worth getting steamed up about

I have started to loathe the words “unacceptable” and “inappropriate” and what they reek of. Previously reserved for heinous or obnoxious behaviour, unacceptable has started to branch out. Unacceptable has gone into showbusiness. There is almost no area of life, it seems, where something “unacceptable” is not going on, or where an individual cannot be accused, with hand-rubbing glee, of doing or saying something to upset a sensitive flower.

The perfect 2014 story would be about a person who has done something “unacceptable” that leaves social media instantly boiling with rage. Take the case of Richard Scudamore, which I discussed earlier this week on Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio 2 show.

The chief executive of the Premier League had a temporary PA called Rani Abraham. Ms Abraham saw some emails that Mr Scudamore had exchanged with an old friend. The emails were crude, blokey and contained a jibe about a female colleague called “Edna”.

Ms Abraham decided that, because her boss’s emails contained “inappropriate remarks”, it was her “duty” to take them to a Sunday newspaper. She was so upset and disgusted that she appeared in full make-up on breakfast television.

Thanks to Ms Abraham, Richard Scudamore became Dirty Dickie, the hate object of thousands of souls so virtuous they have never shared a tasteless joke with a friend. When I suggested on Twitter that the reaction to Scudamore’s sexist emails was out of proportion, one respondent tweeted: “Vile that someone thinks this about half the population.”

So it’s not how the head of the Premier League conducted himself professionally that counts. No, it’s a crime to even have entertained such incorrect thoughts in an email, even though it was meant to be private. It’s here that we enter more sinister waters. Are the social-media Stasi entitled to pass sentence on someone for what they think that he thinks? Shall we really know the content of a man’s character by his email?

The claim that Mr Scudamore was doing a high-profile, “public” job, so his behaviour was even more culpable, hardly bears scrutiny. If sexist thoughts were a bar to people entering public service, the UK would have neither an Army nor a Navy, which could be awkward.

As total strangers on social media took grave offence, all of Richard Scudamore’s female colleagues stood by him, including Peta Bistany, the woman he called “Edna”. The Premier League’s planning and projects director said she was not offended by her chief executive’s emails. Believe me, women do not rally around hate-filled misogynists. If Scudamore were a dirty old man, the office mavens would have put the LK Bennetts into his centre-forwards. When the league announced that its “previously unblemished” boss would face no further disciplinary action, Margaret Byrne, chief executive of Sunderland FC, said: “I am delighted that common sense has prevailed.”

Not everywhere, alas.

The Prime Minister told Radio 5 Live that Mr Scudamore’s emails were – go on, have a guess – yes, “unacceptable”. David Cameron hadn’t actually read the “specific emails”, but this need be no impediment to finding them inappropriate. Was the PM aware, I wonder, of a subsequent revelation: that one of the tasteless jokes in his inbox had been forwarded to Scudamore by a female colleague? Such telling details seem to be missing from accounts of the scandal.

I’m not going to downplay how hideous it is to work for an old lech of a boss who treats female staff like a box of Milk Tray, but I’m damned if Richard Scudamore is one of them. Rani Abraham says that the Premier League’s decision not to take further action is “a kick in the teeth for all women”.

Speak for yourself, honey. Or, better yet, try reading an interview in The Telegraph with Julia Gillard. Australia’s former prime minister was subject to sexist abuse that really did merit the term “vile”, and she came back not whingeing but fighting. I would also suggest that, very often in life, it is Mr Squeaky Clean not Dirty Dickie that you have to watch out for.

According to G K Chesterton, a Puritan “is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things”. In that case, we are beset by pesky Puritans. As I write, there is another synthetic “sexism” row brewing, this time over a large opera singer at Glyndebourne. Male critics are under fire for pointing out that Tara Erraught, who plays Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, is, ahem, a bit hefty to make a credible principal-boy type. Alice Coote, a leading mezzo soprano, fumed: “We cannot people our operatic stages with singers that, above all, are believable visually or sexually attractive to our critics – that way lies the death of opera.”

Perhaps Ms Coote hasn’t noticed that, in a highly visual age, it is no longer ideal if an opera’s romantic heroine – or hero – is so fat they have to be wheeled on stage on castors. That’s not sexist, it’s just life.

Besides, what frivolous nonsense it all seems when Meriam Ibrahim, a pregnant Sudanese woman, has just been sentenced to hanging for apostasy (leaving Islam), but not before she has 100 lashes for adultery (not that she actually committed adultery; she merely married a Christian).

If we treat “inappropriate” or “unacceptable” language in private emails as a hanging offence, what does that leave for actual hangings and the truly barbarous treatment of women? Words can hurt, of course, but try facing real sticks and stones.


Theresa May goes to war on police: Furious Home Secretary accuses officers of holding public in 'contempt' as she axes ALL funding for Police Federation

Home Secretary Theresa May left rank and file officers in shock today - after launching a furious assault on the police. The Tory minister, speaking at the Police Federation's annual conference in Bournemouth, accused officers of treating the public with 'contempt' over the way they treated victims of abuse and domestic violence.

She also announced that she was scrapping all Police Federation funding because the organisation sits on 'vast reserves' of cash worth tens of millions of pounds.

Mrs May's intervention came as a fourth police officer was sacked over the Downing Street 'plebgate' row involving the former Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell.

Theresa May, addressing the Police Federation's conference in Bournemouth today, launched a furious assault on officers' behaviour and accused them of holding the public in 'contempt'

Theresa May, addressing the Police Federation's conference in Bournemouth today, launched a furious assault on officers' behaviour and accused them of holding the public in 'contempt'

Theresa May's bombshell attack came as a it emerged another police officer has been sacked following the investigation into the Downing Street 'plebgate' row.

Susan Johnson, a serving PC with the diplomatic protection group - which mans the gates in Downing Street - was dismissed today for gross misconduct.

The 'plebgate' row erupted after Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell launched into a foul-mouthed outburst when he was denied permission to cycle through the main gate at Downing Street on September 19, 2012.

Mr Mitchell and the gate officer at the time PC Toby Rowland gave conflicting accounts of what happened. The officer claiming Mr Mitchell used the word 'pleb', something Mr Mitchell has always denied.

Scotland Yard said a person 'closely connected' to PC Johnson, who was not on duty at the time of the incident in Downing Street, contacted The Sun newspaper the day after the incident.

Another officer, PC Gillian Weatherley, was sacked at the end of April over leaks to the press linked to the row. She was on duty in Downing Street on the day of the confrontation.

Four officers have now been sacked over the scandal. Scotland Yard today confirmed one further gross misconduct case remained.

Mrs May warned the Federation, which represents ordinary police officers, that it was time for them to 'face up to reality' and change their ways.

Mrs May said she was determined to change the way officers behave and announced that she was willing to grant the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, more powers to investigate corrupt PCs.

She said: 'It cannot be right when officers under investigation by the IPCC comply with the rules by turning up for interview but then refuse to cooperate and decline to answer questions.'

The minister said this behaviour 'is often encouraged by the Federation'. She said this revealed an attitude 'far removed from the principles of public service felt by the majority of police officers'.

Mrs May added: 'It is the same attitude exposed by HMIC when officers, called to help a woman who had suffered domestic violence, accidentally recorded themselves calling the victim a “slag” and a “bitch”.

'It is the same attitude expressed when young black men ask the police why they are being stopped and searched and are told it is “just routine” even though according to the law, officers need “reasonable grounds for suspicion”.

'It is an attitude that betrays contempt for the public these officers are supposed to serve – and every police officer in the land, every single police leader, and everybody in the Police Federation should confront it and expunge it from the ranks.'

She said 'it is not enough to mouth platitudes about a few bad apples' in the face of a slew of high profile scandals that have hit the police. Mrs May said a third of the public do not trust officers to tell the truth.

During questions and answers, one Police Federation representative, who said he had served as an officer for 21 years, told the Home Secretary: 'I've never had such an attack and a personal kicking from what you said there.'

He added: 'We all accept we need to change. We want to do that. We do not need to be politicised.' 'You're threatening to bully us,' he said.

Earlier, delegates heard from outgoing chairman of the Police Federation Steve Williams, who said the organisation was 'more than stories about plebgate'.

The chairman, whose successor is expected to be chosen on Friday, told the Home Secretary said that members are 'deeply concerned' that officer numbers are falling across the country in the face of 20 per cent budget cuts, and claimed that staff levels were falling close to those in the 1980s.

Despite previous claims that he had been bullied out of his role, he received a long round of applause at the end of his final annual address.

The Government has already reduced the Police Federation's funding from £320,000 to £190,000 a year. But in a speech to around 2,000 officers Mrs May said: 'I can announce today that this funding will be stopped altogether from August.'

The Federation came under fire earlier this year for having tens of millions of pounds stashed in unregulated accounts.

There were murmurs through the audience after Mrs May told members: 'It is not acceptable that when the Federation is sitting on vast reserves worth tens of millions of pounds, it is in receipt of public funds to pay for salaries and expenses of the chairman, general secretary and treasurer.

'We have already said we would reduce this spending from £320,000 to £190,000 per year but I can announce today that this funding will be stopped altogether from August.

'Instead, the money will go into a new fund to accelerate the introduction of Police First - a new scheme designed to attract the brightest young university graduates into the police.'

The Home Secretary also announced that officers will no longer automatically become members of the federation, and instead will have to opt in.

Earlier, the Home Secretary told police officers who question the need for change to 'face up to reality'.

Mrs May listed a string of damning controversies faced by forces across the country including the findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and the so-called plebgate row .

She said: 'If there's anybody in this hall who doubts that our model of policing is at risk, if there is anybody who underestimates the damage recent events and revelations have done to the relationship between the public and the police, if anybody here questions the need for the police to change, I am here to tell you that it's time to face up to reality.'

In a forceful speech, Mrs May told members if the Federation does not change and accept reforms recommended by Sir David Normington, it will be forced to do so. She said that she will change the law to allow the Home Office access to the Federation's so-called 'number two' accounts, many of which are currently inaccessible even to the Federation's national leadership.

Mrs May said: 'I do not want to have to impose change on you, because I want you to show the public that you want to change. 'I want you to show them that you have the best interests of the police and of the public at heart.'

But Mrs May added that she would overhaul the police with or without their support.

She said: 'Make no mistake, if you do not make significant progress towards the implementation of the Normington reforms, if the Federation does not start to turn itself around, you must not be under the impression that the Government will let things remain as they are.

'The Federation was created by an Act of Parliament and it can be reformed by an Act of Parliament. If you do not change of your own accord, we will impose change on you.'

Mrs May was greeted with silence from audience members as she finished her speech, and no round of applause.


Are cavemen the reason we believe in God and ghosts? Deeply engrained survival instinct makes us believe in supernatural, claims expert

There is no doubt that man is a religious animal

Notions of gods arise in all human societies, from all powerful and all-knowing deities to simple forest spirits.

A recent method of examining religious thought and behaviour links their ubiquity and the similarity of our beliefs to the ways in which human mental processes were adapted for survival in prehistoric times.

It rests on a couple of observations about human psychology.

First, when an event happens, we tend to assume that a living thing caused it. In other words, we assume agency behind that event. If you think of the sorts of events that might have happened in prehistoric times, it’s easy to see why a bias towards agency would be useful.

A rustling of a bush or the snapping of a twig could be due to wind. But far better to assume it’s a lion and run away.

The survivors who had this tendency to more readily ascribe agency to an event passed their genes down the generations, increasingly hard-wiring this way of making snap decisions into the brain. This is not something that people need to learn. It occurs quickly and automatically.

The second trait is about how we view others. While living together in a tribe would have had many advantages for survival in prehistoric times, getting along with everyone would not always have been easy.

Comprehending others’ behaviour requires you to understand their thoughts and beliefs, especially where these may be incorrect due to someone not knowing the full facts of a situation.This is known as 'theory of mind'.

This idea says that we automatically assume that there are reasons behind others’ behaviour which we try to work out in order to better understand why they behave the way they do. Not having this ability has been proposed to underlie developmental disorders such as autism.

You may be wondering what these two hard-wired processes have to do with belief in gods.

Imagine a pebble falling in the back of a cave. Our agency device tells us that someone caused that to happen. With nothing in evidence, could it be an invisible creature or a spirit? If so, why would it be sneaking around? To find out secrets about us or to discover if we are good or bad people?

Another example might be a volcanic eruption. In the absence of geological knowledge, our tribal ancestors' agency system would have ascribed this event to a person - but one that surely has superhuman ability.

And why would they want to cause such destruction? Perhaps the eruption signified a punishment, perhaps because the tribe had not acted in accordance with the being’s wishes.

These two very simplistic examples should help illustrate how these hard-wired mechanisms could lead to the beginnings of a belief in gods, as well as ghosts and other supernatural creatures.

Our ancestors would have drawn conclusions about supernatural occurrences by fitting together these instincts towards agency and the theory of mind.

This even applies to the Abrahamic, all-knowing, all powerful god. He may seem very inhuman at first glance, but it has been shown that we reason about Him in a very human way.

For example we depict Him helping one person before moving to the other side of the world to help someone else. Hard-wired reasoning processes helps explain how religious ideas are so durable, spreading across continents and down through generations.

Both these and other ancient instincts appear to be in evidence from observations of children. Very young children seem to show very accurate understanding of physical laws.

For example they know that two solid objects cannot merge into one or that horses do not have metal gears inside them. Developmental psychologists have suggested that children are intuitive biologists, physicists and - using theory of mind - psychologists.

Concepts which violate these intuitive understandings seem to be more memorable than others. A rose that whispers in Latin violates an intuitive understanding that plants do not have minds or mouths and therefore cannot whisper in an ancient language - or any language for that matter.

It may be that violating an intuitive concept draws special attention and interest and therefore helps embed the idea in memory.

Many religious stories contain concepts that seem to violate this special kind of intuition, such as a man walking on water or a burning bush that talks. These tales take advantage of this feature of memory to successfully propagate themselves and resist being forgotten.

Putting these ideas together is one way of explaining religious thought and behaviour. You could go further and suggest that, if these ideas are correct, religion is merely a by-product of mental processes operating in error.

But this assumes that religious/supernatural experiences are not true. If the human mind was to truly experience a god, then the theories of agency and mind and our memory for the counterintuitive would help us make sense of it. If that were to happen, the conclusions would not be in error at all.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


22 May, 2014

Psychopathic multiculturalist in Britain

A 'budding psychopath' who murdered a friend after saying the rap music he listened to made him 'want to stab up someone's face' has been found guilty of murder.

Uriah Gardner, 16, plunged a knife into the chest of 17-year-old Fico Dougan with such force that it emerged from his back.

Gardner launched the unprovoked attack at a house in Croydon, south London, in the presence of a two-year-old girl.

Jurors at the Old Bailey heard that Gardner - described as a 'budding psychopath' by a psychiatric examiner - had been listening to music on his phone before the attack and told Mr Dougan's girlfriend that it gave him violent urges.

Gardner - whose identity was protected during proceedings - can now be identified in light of his conviction.

The judge postponed Gardner's sentencing while his mental state is fully assessed, but warned that he will likely face the equivalent of life in prison.

He had denied the murder, claiming the stabbing was accidental and a result of his post-trauamtic stress disorder, but was found guilty after a week-long trial.

The court heard that Gardner had no problems with his victim before the attack in September last year, and had gone to the address in Croydon to watch television with Mr Dougan and his girlfriend.

Paramedics were called to the scene of the violent attack, but Mr Dougan died in hospital. Fleeing the scene, Gardner threw his knife down a drain and was later spotted trying to burn his clothes in his back garden.

Judge Stephen Kramer, postponing sentencing, said: 'I need an independent psychiatric report on this young man before I pass sentence, which is likely to be detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure - the equivalent of life imprisonment'.

Relatives of the victim sat holding hands in court and wept as the guilty verdict was announced.

The court heard that before the stabbing Gardner was listening to music on his headphones and said: ‘When I listen to rap music I want to stab somebody’.

Mr Dougan arrived later on, and after he had watched television with them for a while Garden left then room with a ‘vague stare’ on his face.

Shortly afterwards he came back to the living room holding a large kitchen knife and attacked Mr Dougan as he sat on the sofa.

The victim's girlfriend, Montana Riley, told the court how she desperately tried to stop the stabbing as Gardner continually tried to stab Mr Dougan.

She said: ‘He came out of nowhere and leapt over his sister to get to Fico. He was just stabbing Fico constantly. I tried to get between them and stop him.

‘He looked like he was trying to stab his face so I had my hands over his face and his heart.

‘I was trying to talk to Fico and to see if he was breathing but he wasn’t responding. His eyes had rolled back.’

Miss Riley told detectives the teenager had been listening to music on his mobile phone in the hours before the attack.

She told them: ‘He said, “When I listen to depressing songs I feel depressed, when I listen to love songs I feel sexually frustrated, and when I listen to rap music I want to stab up someone’s face'.

'He started clenching his fist. I thought it was weird but you don’t think he actually would. He did not look serious.’

Mr Dougan, a business management student at John Ruskin College in Croydon, died the 14cm-deep wound, which pierced his heart.

Gardner was arrested on the day of the murder, and made no comment in interview. He has previously been convicted of sexual assault, robbery, grievous bodily harm, violent disorder and theft. The sexual assault conviction came when he was just 12 years old.

In the wake of the conviction, Mr Dougan's mother Sandra Opoku issued a statement on behalf of the family, describing the loss of their 'wonderful, beautiful son'.

Ms Opoku said the loss 'has been heartbreaking and very, very distressful for all of us.'

She said: 'The initial shock of it all has now given way to the reality that Fico has been killed by someone he did not offend and had no chance to defend himself. We are living with numbed emotions because we are struggling to be strong for each other and suppress the pain and sense of injustice.

Detective Inspector John Finch, of Homicide and Major Crime Command, described the killer as 'calculating'.

He said: 'Fico was a talented young man with a bright future a head of him. He was from a close family who have understandably been left completely devastated by his death.

'Gardner's attack on him was unprovoked and he stood no chance of defending himself. I am pleased that the jury have convicted Gardner of murder today.

'His actions following the murder were calculated - he disposed of the weapon and set about trying to destroy evidence. I would like to thank Fico's family and friends, who have all acted with great strength and dignity throughout what has undoubtedly been an extremely difficult time.

'Whilst today's conviction will in no way alleviate their grief, I hope it goes some small way towards bringing them some comfort.'


BBC Misrepresented Me Over UKIP Article, Says Peter Hitchens

The BBC has apologised to journalist and author Peter Hitchens after misrepresenting an article he wrote about UKIP. The apology comes after Breitbart London yesterday reported Mr Hitchens' anger at his treatment by the BBC's 'News Briefing' programme, which was aired on Radio 4 at 5am on Sunday.

Peter Hitchens writes that the BBC told him: "We acknowledge that the quote used in the paper review did not accurately reflect the full nature of your article. We apologise, and would like to assure you that your concerns were raised with the relevant editorial staff at BBC News."

However, they have still not commented on why they only chose to quote articles seemingly hostile to UKIP, and have not said whether this breached impartiality rules.

Hitchens writes:

"Obviously, this can only be the start. The clear and swift admission of fault by the BBC only strengthens my desire to pursue the matter, since the action has much wider significance than my annoyance at being misrepresented.

"How did this happen? How was it a) done and b) approved for transmission?

"What about the context? Why were the articles selected for the press review all hostile to UKIP (except mine, which was made to seem so)?

"And what about the breach of due impartiality, enjoined on the BBC in its Charter and especially important in the days immediately before an election?

"I have submitted a further complaint, pointing out that these matters have not been dealt with. I will let readers know what happens."


'Islamic Jew-hatred' ads appear on Washington buses

Washington: Bus ads linking "Islamic Jew-hatred" with Adolf Hitler are out on the streets of Washington, and the US capital's transit authority says it is legally powerless to ban them.

The elongated broadsides on 20 Metro buses feature a photo of the Nazi German dictator in conversation with "his staunch ally" Haj Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem during World War II.

"Islamic Jew-hatred: It's in the Quran. Two-thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop racism. End all aid to Islamic countries," the ad states, over a fine-print disclaimer from the Metro transit authority.

The ads, which are to run until mid-June, were placed by the American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI), which aims to "raise awareness of the depredations of Islamic supremacism", according to its website.

It hopes the campaign will raise $US20,000 ($A21,639) by Friday via an online crowd-funding campaign that, as of Tuesday, had yielded about $US7,500.

"We're not able to refuse ads on the basis of content," a spokeswoman for Metro told AFP, citing a 2012 court case that allowed another AFDI bus ad on the grounds that it was free speech.

On its website, AFDI co-founder Pamela Geller called the campaign a direct response to like-sized Washington bus ads placed in April by American Muslims for Palestine which read: "Stop US aid to Israel's occupation."

As Muslim leader in then British-ruled Palestine, Husseini sought Hitler's support for an Arab and Muslim homeland that would be free of Jews.

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said that such "inflammatory" ads were clearly intended "to promote hatred of Islam and Muslims".

He told AFP that CAIR is developing on its own bus ads "to promote mutual understanding as a response to Geller's hate ad". In the meantime, he added, it's giving away free Korans


Graduation, Celebration and the Obfuscation Generation

Mike Adams

It’s no secret that university graduates are becoming more intellectually lazy with each passing year. It is also undeniable that they are becoming more arrogant, in spite of the fact that they are less capable of forming solid opinions and defending them with well-reasoned arguments. A letter written to me (by a recent UNC-Wilmington graduate) is illustrative. I've reproduced it below with my usual angry and fearful rhetoric interspersed at appropriate intervals:

Dear Dr. Adams: I was perhaps struck most by the tone of your rhetoric, which was both angry and fearful. (By way of background information, this newly-minted graduate is responding to my column "Purple, Lavender, White and Colored," which was recently published on Townhall).

The opening line of her response is typical of today's college graduate in at least two specific ways. First, there is the tendency to respond to the tone rather than the substance of an argument. Second, there is the tendency to project motives of anger and fear onto others simply because they hold a different opinion. Gone are the days when we evaluated arguments. Today we evaluate emotions. This is particularly the case when sexual orientation is either directly or tangentially related to the topic at hand.

I would like to respond to some of your charges against this ceremony; particularly your claim that it consisted of a “separate graduation” for LGBTQIA students, and also your complaint that it segregates queer and non-queer students. The event was not a graduation at all (a fact that I am hoping you overlooked, rather than intentionally misrepresented). It was a “celebration,” which was detailed in the email you so roundly mocked. Students in attendance received a lavender or purple cord to wear on their graduation day, but did not actually graduate until their respective official dates.

Well that certainly clarifies everything. A graduation is a ceremony where they give you a degree. This is to be distinguished from a celebration where they give you a cord to wear when you get your degree.

This may make things clearer but it also makes them much weirder. The idea that UNCW gives students a chord to wear to graduation (in order to signify that they enjoy sex in non-traditional ways) is just creepy. I wish I had known this before I ran my column. It would have been even funnier. (In other words, it would have been an even angrier and more fearful column).

As to the second concern you raise, I can tell you the ceremony did not exclude any student based on their {sic} heterosexuality. I identify as straight and yet I was still invited, and received a lavender cord which I wore with pride at my graduation ceremony as I received my Master’s Degree in English Literature. I may not be gay, but my cord signifies my support of my fellow transgender, gay, and queer students.

So, let me get this straight, no pun intended (okay, pun intended). If you do not get to wear a gold cord, signifying high grades, you can get a lavender cord to signify that you approve of the way the people wearing purple cords like to have sex. And this is a source of "pride." I always thought getting good grades and earning the gold cord was a legitimate source of pride. But I just can't understand how approving of certain sexual behaviors is an accomplishment that justifies a feeling of "pride." Could it be that these young Leftists think that their political and social opinions are marks of intellectual distinction?

Much of the content you create is intentionally inflammatory, designed to incite outrage against minority campus groups (I notice you didn’t raise objections against the annual Men’s Leadership Summit for excluding women in its subject matter).

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that every idea is an incitement. In other words, most ideas potentially anger someone regardless of their intent. Much of my content is intended to make people laugh. The fact that some readers become angry isn't my fault. It's a character deficiency on their behalf. It is also a sign of intellectual deficiency. When they say "hate speech" what they really mean is that they hate my speech. The reason they hate it is that it reveals their own sanctimonious hypocrisy.

In fairness, I must concede that my critic is correct about one thing. I did not criticize the Men's Leadership Summit. That's because I've never heard of it. All the university emails I get concern events for women, blacks, Hispanics, and gays. The university only advertises certain segregated events. To repeat, this was the thesis of the column: Certain forms of segregation are approved by the university and others are not. In other words, some animals are more equal than others.

I encourage you to examine our campus for the ways in which inclusivity and diversity are important by talking with students who have benefited from these programs. I do not believe circumstances are as dire as you portray them to be, Dr. Adams. In fact, I think they are better than ever.

I noticed that the LGBTQIA Office sponsored a film that promoted partial birth abortion. I'd like to talk to some of the children who benefited from that kind of diversity and inclusivity but unfortunately I can't. Dismembered babies cannot talk. And they’ll never become students.

Furthermore, if things are better than ever then why are the taxpayers being forced to pay for segregated safe zones for homosexuals? I just wish these gay activists would make a woman's womb a safe zone by calling for a cease fire in their war against the unborn.

I understand this letter will be unlikely to change your mind about LGBTQIA or black student resources on campus, as you and I value fundamentally different objectives for UNCW. However, I hope I have effectively addressed the concerns you raised about Lavender Graduation and its purpose on our campus.

And there you have it. This college graduate who took the time to write me a letter and slip it under my office door has completely wasted my time. She began by chastising me for referring to a "celebration" as a "graduation." She ends it by referring to the very same "celebration" as a "graduation." So I guess it really was a graduation after all (a fact that I am hoping she overlooked, rather than intentionally misrepresented).

To the casual observer, celebrating the way people have sex is strange. Conferring credentials upon those who approve of their lifestyles is even stranger. In a few short years it will all seem normal. That’s why I’m writing about it now.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


22 May, 2014

A faith that moved mountains!

Don't get caught with your pants down: Tennessee city creates ordinance that makes wearing saggy pants illegal

Standards - and pants - have been slipping in the Tennessee city of Pikeville, where the mayor has decided things have gotten as low as they can go.

Mayor Phil Cagle is the author of an ordinance that will soon see anyone wearing their pants 'more than three inches below the top of the hips' fined for public indecency.

Pikeville is just the latest place in the U.S. to take issue with where young men position their trousers.

Two in Louisiana, Jefferson Davis and Terrebonne Parish have passed ordinances in recent months banning the public wearing of saggy pants with hefty fines for those who choose not to belt up, and others have followed suit in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi.

So why all the palaver over pants?

'All I know is we just don’t want them running around half-naked on our streets,' Cagle told the Times Free Press. 'That’s the bottom line.'

The City Council of Pikesville unanimously approved the ordinance, which will require anyone guilty letting their pants hang 'more than three inches below the top of the hips (crest of the ilium)' to pay a fine of $25 for the first offense, and $50 for each offense thereafter.

'Myself and the City Council, we wanted an ordinance passed in black and white that our officers know what to tolerate and what not to tolerate,' Cagle told the Times Free Press. 'Now they know what we expect, and they know how to handle it.'

Pikeville's ordinance purports to be for the health of its citizens. It states that 'there is evidence that indicates that wearing sagging pants is injurious to the health of the wearer as it causes improper gait.'

The trend for wearing the pants very low on the hips may have originated in the U.S. prison system, where inmates are not allowed to wear belts.

The look was adopted by hip hop culture and by the 1990s, young men around the country were wearing their pants perilously low with underpants-clad buttocks on prominent display.

Even the President addressed the trend in 2008: ‘Brothers should pull up their pants,' Obama said. ‘You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What’s wrong with that? Come on. Some people might not want to see your underwear. I’m one of them.’

Civil Liberties groups have in the past argued that such bans are ‘unconstitutional’ under the 14th Amendment, which says no citizen should be deprived of ‘life, liberty or property’ and no person should be denied equal protection of the law.


British supermarket accused of racism for dressing MANNEQUIN in outfit matching lead character from 12 Years a Slave next to stand selling DVDs of the film

You've clearly got to be very careful about how you promote DVDs these days

Sainsbury’s has apologised after one of its stores dressed a mannequin in a 'slave outfit' to promote the sale of the 12 Years a Slave DVD.

The Heyford Hill store in Oxford has now been forced to remove the display after a Twitter backlash.

The supermarket chain has since said sorry for the tasteless promotion stand, adding that 'it should clearly have never gone up'.

It featured a barefoot headless mannequin wearing an outfit similiar to that worn by Solomon Northup, the main character of Steve McQueen’s film.

The Oscar winning epic graphically depicts the brutality of slavery.

The model was wearing a beige shirt and cropped black trousers, with a twig in its pocket, and was placed on a stand selling DVD and Blu-ray copies of the film.

Around the model's neck is a sign saying 'new' - although it is not clear whether the clothes themselves were on sale as part of the promotion.

The display was photgraphed and shared on Twitter, where it was roundly condemned as appearing to promote 'how to get the slave look'.

Beautycouture wrote: 'Er... what?! Not sure what Sainsbury's were going for with their 'get the slave look' for the film 12 Years a Slave... ?#?fashionfail?

Milena Buyum ?@MilenaBuyum said: '@sainsburys What the heck is that mannequin doing on your display for 12 years A Slave? You into slave chic now? #slavesburys #wtf'

Lee McEwan ?@leemcewan, added: 'Sainsbury's shows shoppers how to 'get the slave look' with 12 Years A Slave display mannequin'

A spokesperson later confirmed that the outfit had never been on sale in the store as part of any promotion associated with the film.


London subway driver suspended after angering colleague by putting up a picture of the QUEEN in office

A picture of the Head of State is offensive?? Clearly it was some far-Left nit who got his knickers in a knot

A Tube driver who put up a poster of the Queen at work has been suspended after a colleague accused him of creating a 'hostile' environment.

London Underground has removed the framed A4 image and another picture on a desk from an Essex depot while they investigate the complaint, it has been revealed today.

The suspended driver's union today criticised the 'bizarre' suspension and want it reversed.

But the Central Line worker who complained said the issue was also about wider allegations of bullying and intimidation.

The A4 picture of the Queen and a smaller portrait were removed on Friday, after a year on display.

It is understood that the two drivers had repeatedly clashed over the images because they had 'vastly differing political allegiances', a source told the Evening Standard.

The suspended staff member's union organiser, Finn Brennan said today the driver denied all allegations of harrassment.

'It is extraordinary that a public corporation under the control of Boris Johnson is instructing staff to remove photographs of the Queen. We have written to the company to ask them for an immediate investigation and for this bizarre decision to be reversed,' he told the Standard.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


20 May, 2014

An unmentionable triumph of privatization in a British hospital

You might think that if one of the Government’s most controversial decisions had been triumphantly vindicated, they would be shouting the good news from the rooftops. But not, apparently, if it involves the NHS.

Last week, Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust was named the top hospital in England, based on 12 indicators for ‘outstanding performance in high quality care to patients’.

Hinchingbrooke, in Cambridgeshire, had been the only small hospital even to make it onto the shortlist in the 25th year of the annual CHKS Top Hospitals Awards.

Yet the expert panel awarded it the coveted first prize ahead of such leading NHS foundation trusts as Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Chelsea and Westminster.

But Hinchingbrooke is unique: it is the only NHS district general hospital to have been put under the control of a private company — the Circle Partnership, which is co-owned and run by doctors and nurses.

In 2011, Hinchingbrooke was failing, having had three notices served because of ‘inadequate’ results in accident and emergency, colorectal and breast cancer treatment.

But when the Conservative-led Government approved Circle’s bid to take over its running, there were dire warnings and howls of fury from the unions and the Labour Party.

Unison declared: ‘This is a disgrace, an accident waiting to happen, putting patients at risk.’ Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, protested: ‘This is not what patients, public or NHS staff want.’

Yet when I visited Hinchingbrooke in 2012, it was clear that the staff there felt invigorated and liberated, now they were no longer under the intensely bureaucratic management of the NHS.

Its medical director, Dr Hisham Abdel-Rahman, told me: ‘You had to almost kill yourself to get what you needed. The system positively encouraged people to coast — you move up a grade and get more money just on the basis of another year served. Now it’s on the basis of what you have achieved of agreed objectives in clinical performance.’

And another long-term Hinchingbrooke employee, Jenny Williams, said: ‘Under the NHS routine you have to go through a particular supplier. I remember being told if I wanted a new dishwasher it would cost £5,500 — I’m not kidding.

‘Now I’ve been allowed to find one myself — for £99. All I need is something which gets up to 100 degrees and kills germs. I don’t need something which can give me the time in three different languages.’

The point is that such attention to value — standard in the private sector — releases resources to be devoted to improving patient care.

And with the NHS heading for a funding shortfall of an estimated £30?billion a year by the end of the decade, truly radical improvements in medical productivity are essential. Last week’s news that cancelled operations had hit a ten-year high is just one indication of what the public can expect otherwise.

Indeed, as one Circle Partnership doctor told me last week: ‘I’m deeply worried that as things stand, there will be further disasters like Stafford [where 1,200 people died “needlessly”]. More and more NHS hospitals are being put into “special measures.”’

His frustration is all the greater because Circle’s attempts to get the Government to allow it to bid to take over the management of other failing hospitals have been greeted with not the slightest suggestion of enthusiasm by the Department of Health.

In March, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, in special measures for having high death rates, was stopped from going into a Hinchingbrooke-style franchise.

This seems incredible, given the success Circle has made in Cambridgeshire by returning power to clinicians and nurses — in stark contrast to the bureaucrat-led model that became standard within the NHS.

The reason is that the Conservatives have decided the words ‘privatisation’ and ‘NHS’ together are electoral poison for them in the run-up to the General Election. Indeed, I’m told that Lynton Crosby, the formidable Australian political tactician managing their election campaign, has ‘forbidden any discussion of the NHS’.

So, when Ed Miliband last week declared that the Tories were ‘putting the principles of competition and privatisation at the heart of the NHS.

That’s why it’s going backwards’, not a single Conservative spokesman pointed out that Hinchingbrooke’s winning of the top hospital award refuted the Labour leader’s accusation that competition was putting the NHS ‘backwards’.

This is shameful, not least because it would have been a much-needed recognition of what the doctors and nurses at Hinchingbrooke have achieved — in the face of a continuing campaign by the unions nationally to have Circle’s management contract cancelled.

It also underestimates the intelligence of the public, who are content with the fact that GP practices are private partnerships, not owned or run by the NHS monopoly.

Thus, when a polling organisation presented the public with the statement that ‘it shouldn’t matter whether hospitals or surgeries are run by the government, not-for-profit organisations or the private sector’, no less than 83 per cent agreed.

In Germany and France, it is completely normal for private healthcare firms to run hospitals caring for patients within the state insurance scheme.

Unfortunately, many on the Left in this country are still much more concerned about how a service is provided than whether it is any good.

This ideology has actually been revived by Labour under Ed Miliband. His shadow care service minister, Liz Kendall, said back in 2008 that ‘opening up NHS services to new providers — including from the private and voluntary sectors — can help challenge under-performing parts of the system’. She wouldn’t be allowed to say that now — even though she had been right.

Similarly, in 2007 Andy Burnham declared: ‘Now, the private sector puts its capacity into the NHS for the benefit of NHS patients, which I would think most people in the NHS would celebrate.’ Indeed, as the final Health Secretary of the last Labour government, Burnham set in train the process that ended up with Circle taking control of Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Now, under Miliband’s comprehensive rejection of public sector reform (to the delight of trades union leaders), Burnham is in the absurd position of criticising the sort of policies he promoted when in power.

Yet even that is less absurd than the Conservative Party’s Trappist silence at the remarkable success at Hinchingbrooke. It could have exposed Labour and the unions as NHS scaremongers. Instead it has run scared of any debate at all.

What a betrayal of principle — and of some wonderful doctors and nurses.


Hagel: Military Should Review Transgender Ban

The prohibition on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military "continually should be reviewed," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday.

Hagel did not indicate whether he believes the policy should be overturned. However, he said "every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it."

A transgender individual is someone who has acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or presents themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.

A panel convened by a think tank at San Francisco State University recently estimated that about 15,450 transgender personnel serve in the military and in the National Guard and Reserve.

In 2010, Congress passed legislation allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. Hagel said the issue of transgender people serving in the military is more complicated. He said "these issues require medical attention" that at times cannot be provided in austere locations.


An apology to all the mothers I used to hate

“I have to get out of this neighborhood,” a young woman wrote on a real estate website. “There are too many [mom]s. I keep almost getting run over by huge strollers. Some of these moms seem to use their babies as an excuse to be rude, pushing everyone else out of the way.”

Not too long ago, I would’ve nodded along. So many times I’d been impeded in the grocery store, backing up through a narrow aisle with a menacing double stroller coming at me from the other end.

“Sorry! I’m so sorry!” the moms usually said, but I barely heard them. I was in a hurry.

Reading the young woman’s comment now, I feel a little hurt. An excuse to be rude? Have you tried navigating a city footpath with an infant stroller? I want to ask her. It isn’t easy! It’s like an obstacle course with a crying baby and deep social potholes thrown in. When I first ventured outside after having a baby, I felt like all I did was apologise and try to stay out of people’s way. I felt slow, off-balance, distracted. I was trying to do five things at once. I was trying to muster a smile at the same time.

I remember, when my baby was new, meeting a group of other inexperienced moms at a restaurant. I parked in the back, pulled my wriggling baby out and settled at a table, leaving a trail of fuzzy hats, nappies, and brightly colored baby toys in my wake. I was awkward. Things that I had once done without thinking, like taking the train or using a public bathroom, now seemed complicated and overwhelming. But worst of all, I couldn’t help but notice that everyone hated me.

OK. That’s an exaggeration. Not everyone hated me. Some people cooed at the baby and called, “Congratulations!” and “He’s adorable!” (my daughter apparently gives off distinctly male vibes). But much of the casual compassion I’d experienced during my pregnancy had been replaced with expressions that plainly read “not another damn mom with a stroller clogging up the footpath", and it was worse in restaurants. It was especially bad when I was out with other new mothers. Young women at the next table over shot us annoyed glances that grew openly hostile as the babies began to fuss. They had laptops, they were trying to do important things on them, and we were interrupting everything.

During the winter, it isn’t easy to get together with other mums and babies in the city. There isn’t enough indoor space anywhere. Apartments are small and so are cafes. The park is freezing. It’s something that I’d never given a moment’s consideration until I had a baby. When I became a mother, I started thinking differently about many things, and the animosity between the young women at the next table over and the new moms suddenly struck me as strange, disorienting.

Maybe because I had just a moment ago been in the other camp.

We are so close together, our lives are practically brushing, like our nappy bags and sleek purses. We are just a phase or two apart. I was a single woman and then I was a married woman and eventually I had a baby and guess what? This is all very, very ordinary. These are predictable, normal phases of life. Which is not to say, of course, that everyone will experience them or wants to experience them. This isn’t a judgment about any of that. I really don’t care if you decide not to have kids or to never marry.

What I mean is, if you do decide to get married and have a baby, you will find yourself suddenly like me, the way I found myself suddenly like the women whose strollers I’d hopped around in the grocery store. I was an unattached young woman who couldn’t be bothered to sympathise, and then one day I was a mother, my world automatically, unavoidably redefined.

But of course, I was the same woman all along. And sometimes I still feel like the woman at the next table over, rolling my eyes at my friend, inconvenienced by the loud, cluttering mums’ group. That was just three seconds ago. I blinked, and now I’m here.

I guess this is just human nature. Us/them. The satisfying, reaffirming dismissal of the “other,” whatever that other currently is.

But still, I wish I could retroactively apologise to those moms apologising to me in the grocery store.

OK, I’ll just do it: I’m sorry, moms! I didn’t know. Now I do. I’ll try to be more compassionate, in the future, about the other people who are doing something I’ve not yet done. Even if I never end up doing that thing. It’s still better to be compassionate.

Also, as a continuing favour to all you people without babies out there, I will make a huge effort not to run you over with my stroller. I swear.


US legal bubble can't pop soon enough

by Jeff Jacoby

IS AMERICA'S lawyer bubble getting ready to pop?

Critics have long bewailed our national glut of lawyers, to little effect. Chief Justice Warren Burger predicted 35 years ago that America was turning into "a society overrun by hordes of lawyers, hungry as locusts." At the time, the population of attorneys in the United States had surpassed 450,000, and law schools were graduating 34,000 new ones each year. By 2011, the annual production of law degrees was up to 44,000, and at 1.22 million, the number of lawyers in the country — which included me — had nearly tripled. Over the same period, the population of the United States had risen just 40 percent.

But the wind has changed. In 2011, the number of students entering law school dropped by 7 percent, an unprecedented fall. In 2012, the drop accelerated: Enrollment of first-year law students sank another 8.6 percent. It plunged still further in 2013. According to the American Bar Association, 39,675 new law students matriculated last fall — an 11 percent decrease from 2012, to a low-water mark not seen since early in the Carter administration.

Much of the flight from law school reflects the brutal reality of the employment market for lawyers. The National Association for Law Placement reports that fewer than half of lawyers graduating in 2011 eventually landed jobs in a law firm. Only 65 percent found positions requiring passage of the bar exam. At a time when many law school graduates are shouldering student-loan debts of $125,000 or more, compensation has declined painfully — the median starting salary for new lawyers in 2012 was just $61,000. And quite a few can't find any work at all: Nine months after receiving their law degrees, 11.2 percent of the class of 2013 was unemployed.

Only some of this is cyclical. The legal profession, like so many others, has been permanently disrupted by the Internet and globalization in ways few could have anticipated 10 or 15 years ago. Online legal guidance is widely accessible. Commercial services like LegalZoom make it easy to create documents without paying attorneys' fees. Search engines for legal professionals reduce the need for paralegals and junior lawyers. Maurice Allen, a senior partner at Ropes & Gray, is blunt: "There are too many lawyers and too many law firms," he said in a published interview last week. That means less work for new law school grads, and therefore less reason to go to law school.

And who, except perhaps for law school admissions deans, would be sorry to see America's lawyer bubble finally burst?

With almost 1.3 million lawyers — more by far than any other country, and more as a percentage of the national population than almost all others — the United States is choking on litigation, regulation, and disputation. Everything is grist for the lawyers' mills. Anyone can be sued for anything, no matter how absurd or egregious. And everyone knows how expensive and overwhelming a legal assault can be. The rule of law is essential to a free and orderly society, but too much law and lawyering makes democratic self-rule impossible, and common sense legally precarious.

Scarcely a day goes by without a fresh example of the damage caused by a legal system that so often puts the innocent at the mercy of the spiteful. To avoid legal liability, companies and institutions must comply with brain-numbing regulations and restrictions that destroy initiative, smother good ideas, and force grotesque results that benefit no one.

Because it is so overlawyered, "American culture is corroding before our eyes," writes Philip K. Howard, a big-firm lawyer and well-known reform advocate, in The Rule of Nobody, his new book. "It would have been inconceivable, a few years ago, for a teacher to be scared to put an arm around a crying child, or for a fireman to stand on the beach for an hour and watch a man drown because he had not been recertified for land-based rescue. Creeping legalisms are eating away at America's social capital."

From environmental rules so inflexible that fixing a bridge can take years to licensing rules so onerous that kids' lemonade stands get shut down, all of us are paying for those "hordes of lawyers, hungry as locusts," that Warren Burger warned of long ago. Students by the thousands are shunning law school? That's the best trend I've seen in ages.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


19 May, 2014

Immigrants must learn to be British, says Asian Tory

Immigrants must learn English and “respect our way of life”, the new Culture Secretary says as he criticises migrants who have lived here for years but still cannot speak the language.

In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Sajid Javid says voters have legitimate fears over “excessive” immigration and are justified in wanting Britain to have more control over its borders.

Mr Javid, the first Asian Secretary of State, defends Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, against charges of racism but insists that only the Conservatives can deliver the reforms to European Union laws needed to cut immigration.

“People want Britain to have more control over its borders, and I think they are right,” Mr Javid, who is the son of Pakistani immigrants, says.

“People also say, when immigrants do come to Britain, that they should come to work, and make a contribution and that they should also respect our way of life, and I agree with all of that. It means things like trying to learn English.” The tough message on immigration, coming from Britain’s highest ranking Asian MP, who is also the Minister for Equalities, will provoke debate on controls to migration in a crucial week of elections.

On Thursday, voters go to the polls across the UK to elect MEPs for the European Parliament. Elections are also being held in 161 English council areas. Immigration is a key battleground in the current campaign and will be central to all parties’ manifestos in the run up to the general election.

In other developments:

* An ICM/Sunday Telegraph poll shows the Tories have overtaken Ukip in the running for the European elections and now lie in second place. They have also taken a 0.7 point lead over Labour in a separate general election poll.

* Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, says more coalitions are “inevitable”, declaring that the era of two-party dominance is over. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, the Liberal Democrat leader says the Coalition “will last” until polling day next May, despite “stark and fiercely held” differences and “intense argument” between the Tories and Lib Dems.

* In his interview, Mr Javid also expresses deep concern over The Telegraph’s disclosures of an alleged plot by radical Muslims to “Islamise” state schools in Birmingham. He goes on to warn that there is “no place” for Islamic law in the English legal system, after reports that Sharia courts have been established in parts of London and the Midlands. At present, most migrants applying for British citizenship are required to provide evidence of their English language skills, unless they are over-65 or have a long-term medical condition which prevents them doing so.

However, there is no requirement on EU migrants to be fluent in English and they are free to travel to the UK to work whenever they choose.

In his interview, Mr Javid suggests that some immigrants who are already well-established in the UK also need to take greater responsibility for integrating with the rest of society.

“I know people myself, I have met people who have been in Britain for over 50 years and they still can’t speak English,” he says.

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable for British people to say, look, if you’re going to settle in Britain and make it your home, you should learn the language of the country and you should respect its laws and its culture.”

The minister insists that the “vast majority” of immigrants want to integrate with the rest of society. The Conservatives have set a target for reducing net migration – the difference between how many people move to the UK and the number that leave each year — to the tens of thousands by the time of next year’s election. Latest figures saw a rise of 212,000, driven partly by the number arriving from Romania and Bulgaria, the EU’s two poorest countries. One minister suggested last week that the party was on course to miss this target.

Mr Javid defends the target but concedes that it is impossible to control levels of immigration from Europe under current EU laws.

“Currently we don’t have control of our borders within the EU and that’s why we need fundamental reform,” he says. One option would be to ban migrants from poor countries arriving until their country’s wealth levels have risen, “so that you don’t have these vast migrations that take place from poorer countries to richer countries in the EU”.

The controversy over Ukip’s stance on immigration, and the views of many of its candidates, continued yesterday. Nigel Farage spoke out to reject accusations that his party was racist and attempted to defend his claim that families should be concerned about Romanians moving in next door.

“Ukip will never allow the false accusation of racism levelled by a politically correct elite to prevent the raising of issues that are of concern to the great majority of the British public,” he said.

“The unfortunate reality is that we are in political union with a post-Communist country that has become highly susceptible to organised crime.”

The Ukip leader also said that “any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door”.

In his interview with The Telegraph, however, Mr Javid said he did not believe Mr Farage was racist. “Do they have some candidates who have racist views? Of course, and we have seen some evidence of that recently,” he says. “But I don’t think they are a racist party and I don’t think Nigel Farage is racist. I have met him and I don’t think that at all.”

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, told yesterday’s Daily Telegraph that he also believed that Mr Farage was not racist.

Their comments are likely to be seen as an effort by the Tory leadership to woo Ukip’s supporters by refusing to join the chorus of outrage directed at Mr Farage.

However, Bill Cash, a leading Tory Eurosceptic MP, said yesterday that Mr Farage’s party was undermining Conservative chances in marginal seats, which could deny the party a Commons majority next year and prevent David Cameron holding a referendum on Europe. Mr Cash claimed Mr Farage was doing “untold damage” to the Eurosceptic cause and “toxifying the debate” with his divisive rhetoric.

Michael Fallon, the Tory energy minister, suggested his party would campaign to leave the EU if Mr Cameron’s negotiations in Brussels failed to deliver a better deal for Britain.

He told the BBC: “If we don’t get the reforms we want, yes of course the Government will then recommend a 'no’ vote ... but we’re not going into these negotiations planning to concede defeat. We think we can get these reforms.”


Banned Benham Brothers Will Let ‘Free Market’ Decide Fate of TV Show

Twin brothers whose Christian beliefs on marriage and the sanctity of life got their real estate show canceled by a cable network before it ever aired say they’re open to other TV offers if “the free market” will allow it.

Pressure generated by a left-wing website led to HGTV’s dropping “Flip It Forward,” the show that was to feature David and Jason Benham. The unstated reason: One or both twins expressed what they consider Bible-based views in support of marriage as a man-woman union and in opposition to abortion on demand.

Now, though, one or more other networks could make a play for the Benham brothers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A dispatch by Paul Bond identifies INSP—a “traditional values” television outlet that reaches 75 million households—as one suitor.

“David and I are solid individuals with strong beliefs, but if these networks are willing to put us on the air, we’d be willing to talk,” Jason Benham told Bond. Brother David Benham added:

"I think it would be healthy for America to show a balanced approach. But at the same time, we’re in the free market, and they have a choice to make. If they don’t choose us, it’s no big deal. We are not pushing this at all.”

The brothers, fitness freaks who once nurtured dreams of playing major league baseball, instead made money in real estate and were set to buy, renovate, and re-sell houses in the fall on a new HGTV show, “Flip It Forward.” But HGTV announced Wednesday on Twitter—after calling the brothers and without publicly giving a reason—that it “decided not to move forward with the Benham brothers’ series.”

The website Right Wing Watch, a project of the liberal group People for the American Way, had labeled the brothers as “anti-gay” and “anti-choice” because of past comments and political advocacy in support of traditional marriage and pro-life causes.

In an interview the brothers did yesterday with commentator Glenn Beck at TheBlaze.com, Jason Benham said they operate their business on one principle, “and that’s to lift up Jesus Christ,” adding: “When you hold everything that God has given you with an open hand, then He never has to pry your fingers loose when it’s going to be removed.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal defended the Benhams in a commencement address Saturday at Liberty University, the brothers’ alma mater, with them in attendance.

Jindal appeared to side with cultural commentators who liken the dropping of the brothers’ show to A&E network’s suspension of “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson for remarks on sexuality in a media interview and the ouster of Mozilla chief Brendon Eich as “anti-gay” because of his private financial support for traditional marriage in California.

“For some who favor the redefinition of marriage, tolerance appears to have been a useful rhetorical device along the way to eliminating dissent,” The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson wrote about the resignation of the Mozilla CEO.


Welcome To The Gay Agenda Re-Education Camp

It seems the politically correct liberals in charge of the NFL are admirers of communism. In Red China, Cambodia, Vietnam and other countries communist tyrants forced citizens into re-education camps to “enlighten” their subjects about the wonderful “benefits” of totalitarianism.

Those brutal examples of communist treachery should be relegated to the dustbin of history. Instead, in the supposedly free country of the United States, re-education camps are used to enlighten our citizens about the evils of racism, homophobia and sexism.

The latest incident occurred just this week with Dolphins safety Don Jones. He had the audacity to object to ESPN promoting gay football player Michael Sam and his boyfriend. The network hyped the 7th round selection of Sam by the St. Louis Rams and showed him kissing his boyfriend in celebration after the pick. Of course, the other 7th round selections were ignored by ESPN, who decided to focus on Sam only due to his sexual orientation.

Sam is now a celebrity, just as journeyman NBA center Jason Collins, who also announced he is gay. Sam may not even have the talent to play in the NFL, but if the Rams cut him, they may receive a call from President Obama, who, incredibly, called Sam to congratulate him upon his selection. The President did not call any other player selected in the 7th round and probably called few, if any, of the other 250+ players selected in the entire draft. He called for one reason, to show his politically correct support for gay rights.

Years ago, such a kiss would have never been broadcast on television, but today, passionate displays from same sex partners are commonplace. Even though millions of Americans have strong religious views in opposition to homosexuality, our media and political establishment have identified gay rights as a cause that merits strong support and plenty of attention.

After witnessing ESPN’s coverage of Sam kissing his partner, Jones posted on his Twitter account “OMG…horrible.” For that expression of his opinion, a 1st Amendment right guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution, Jones was suspended, fined and forced to apologize to Sam. In his apology, Jones expressed his “regret” for “the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media.” He was even blasted by his head coach, Joe Philbin, who called the comments “unacceptable.”

While some may view the penalties leveled at Jones for sharing an opinion as unduly harsh, the NFL believed they were insufficient. As a result, Jones will also be sent to “educational training,” to learn about the merits of the homosexual agenda and become more sensitive to the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

This type of “training” is an American styled re-education camp for Jones. He will undoubtedly emerge with a new and enlightened view of homosexuality. If not, he will no longer be playing football in the NFL. Today, in the NFL, and in the other professional sports leagues, players must subscribe to a politically correct agenda or their careers will be over.

This type of mandated political correctness is also occurring throughout our society, not just the NFL. Promotion of the gay agenda will soon be prevalent across the nation, regardless of the views of Americans. An elite group of celebrities and politicians are demanding that all Americans accept this agenda or face serious repercussions.

It is quite sad that in a country with such robust constitutional protections, we are forcing our citizens to accept certain viewpoints and agendas. If Americans don't agree, they better keep quiet or they will have to undergo the type of punishment that Don Jones is now enduring.

With this toxic environment, imagine what our Founding Fathers would think about their country today.


27,000 serial crooks in Britain spared jailed in a year: All got community sentences as it's revealed use of punishment is up 75% in a decade

More than 27,000 criminals were given a community sentence last year despite having at least 15 crimes to their name.

The use of such punishments - which criminals regard as a ‘laughing stock’ because they are so soft - has shot up by 75 per cent in a decade, a report reveals today.

The damning report by the Centre for Social Justice published today finds community sentences ‘lack credibility’ and are held in utter contempt by the criminal class.

It calls for US-style instant punishment of up to a week behind bars for anyone who breaks the terms of their court order.

The ‘short sharp shock’ of up to seven days in jail would act as a major deterrent and restore faith in community sentences, it says.

In US states which have introduced swift jail sentences, the level of reoffending by those on community sentences has plummeted.

The idea is likely to be given serious consideration by senior Conservatives as they draw up plans for the next Tory manifesto.

The report lays bare the staggering failure of community sentences to turn offenders away from crime.

And it shows how repeat criminals who have offended time and time again are nevertheless allowed to walk free from court with a non-custodial sentence.

The report, based on official Ministry of Justice figures, shows the startling rise in community sentences given out to repeat criminals.

Despite having at least 15 previous crimes under their belts, some 27,632 criminals were given a community sentence in 2012/13.

That represents a rise of 76 per cent from the level in 2003/4 of 15,709.

Every year, criminals on community sentences commit more than 160,000 offences - or more than 435 every single day.

The researchers found among the criminals most likely to breach their community orders were those required to undergo drug rehabilitation.

Lax rules allow them to ‘game’ the system because drug test appointments are scheduled, rather than random.

This allows heroin users to stop taking drugs for a few days beforehand, knowing they will be out of their system by the time of the test.

Even those who fail drug tests are rarely hauled back to court. The researchers found one criminal who failed half his tests over a six month period and faced no further sanction because he was not reported by his probation officer.

Edward Boyd, editor of the ‘Sentences in the Community’ report said: ‘Many prolific offenders are refusing to take their punishment and rehabilitation seriously and are getting away with it.’

‘What we have found in the US is that the consequences of a day or two in prison shows offenders that they have to comply and means they take more responsibility.’

‘This approach is slashing reoffending rates as offenders realise they can’t get away with breaking the rules. This new idea offers the government an opportunity to restore faith in community punishments’.

The report also revealed that it can take up to five months for an offender to start their community sentence from when they walk out of court.

Such ‘punishments’ can include clearing litter, painting walls or doing other unpaid work in the community.

A programme of immediate prison sentences of a few days is in use in around 20 states across the US.

In Texas, a programme of short prison terms for criminals found more than nine in ten finished their community sentences, and only a handful broke the rules.

Currently, in the UK, around a third of offenders given community sentences reoffend within a year of being sentenced. And thousands more may commit crimes which they are never caught for.

Community sentences are also used repeatedly, despite criminals’ flagrant reoffending. In 2012, 25 per cent of those given a custodial sentence already had at least five previous community terms - or 37,019 individuals.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


18 May, 2014

Multicultural sex abuser

A leading neurosurgeon has been accused of sexually abusing ten of his female patients. Nafees Hamid, who worked at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, denies the 13 charges.

It is alleged that the 50-year-old carried out six sexual assaults and seven other offences of a serious sexual nature between May 2009 and June last year.

It is alleged that the 50-year-old, pictured, carried out six sexual assaults and seven other offences of a serious sexual nature between May 2009 and June last year.

Hamid is accused of preying on the woman at the private Priory Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, both in Birmingham.

The trust said Hamid was excluded from practising while the inquiry is going on.

Yesterday Hamid, of Moseley, Birmingham, pleaded not guilty at the city’s Crown Court.

He appeared in court wearing a grey suit and tie, and spoke only to confirm his pleas.

Hamid was granted conditional bail and will face trial at the court on September 1.

More than 30 witnesses are expected to give evidence at the trial, which will last for up to four weeks.


Property busybodies

A political battle that is shaping up in San Francisco has implications for other communities across the country.

The issue that will be on the June ballot is whether voter approval shall be required to change the height restrictions on buildings along the San Francisco waterfront. Like so many other political issues, this one is being debated in runaway rhetoric bearing no resemblance to reality.

Former San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne, for example, says that "the people" own the waterfront and therefore should be "consulted." Really? Can one of "the people," who supposedly own the waterfront, decide that he wants to sell his share of it and pocket the money?

As for being "consulted," how many of "the people" -- who have lives to lead, careers to pursue and families to take care of -- are going to study the economic and other complexities created by height restrictions?

What we are really talking about are little coteries of self-righteous busybodies, who have been elected by nobody, wrapping themselves in the mantle of "the people," in order to oppose elected officials, who have been elected precisely in order to give such issues the professional attention they deserve, in a system of representative government.

Height restrictions have serious economic implications that are not immediately obvious to those who do not look beyond rhetoric about "saving" this or "preserving" that.

In a place with very high land prices, such as San Francisco, the difference between building a ten-story apartment building and being restricted to building a five-story apartment building can be a big difference in what rent will have to be charged, when there are only half as many renters to cover the costs of the land.

When a city cannot expand upward, its growing population must expand outward. That means far more commuter traffic, from ever greater distances, to get to work in the city.

Anyone who has seen the huge amount of traffic clogging the bridges into San Francisco, as early as 6 o'clock in the morning, will understand that such repercussions exact a price that goes beyond money to time lost in traffic and lives lost in traffic.

None of these hidden costs of height restrictions is likely to be noticed, much less weighed, by those who speak or hear self-indulgent rhetoric about how the waterfront is a "treasure" that needs "careful and attentive stewardship" by the voters, as a San Francisco Examiner editorial put it.

And just how many of those voters -- "the people" with jobs, homes and families to look after -- are going to have time to carry out this "careful and attentive stewardship"? Does anyone seriously believe that most people have time to be poring over maps, reports and statistics about the San Francisco waterfront?

Is not the whole point of representative government that you cannot run a city, much less a state or a nation, as if you were having "town meeting democracy" in some little New England village, where virtually everybody knows everything that is important to that village?

Nothing is easier than to rhapsodize about the waterfront as "a public resource beyond compare." But, however impressive the San Francisco waterfront may be, no resource is "beyond compare."

Comparing -- weighing one thing against another -- is what rational decision-making is all about. Exempting what some segment of the population wants from the process of weighing alternatives is what rhetoric-driven political stampedes are all about.

Ms. Renne's assertion that those who own the waterfront should be the ones to make decisions about it is an argument for a policy the opposite of what she advocates.

Constitutionally protected property rights, which have been seriously eroded by judicial "interpretation," were meant to keep many decisions out of the political arena.

It is not that individual waterfront property owners will get together to make such decisions. Instead, market processes can make property owners "an offer they can't refuse," based on how much other people want their property, in order to build whatever there is a real demand for by others. And we will be spared rhetorical flourishes.


Modern feminism has got it wrong about men

Earlier this year I was asked to present at a feminist society event in one of the UK's largest and most prestigious universities. I espoused the view that I must be really lucky, because if recent feminist musings in the press and online are to be believed, misogyny is absolutely rife, yet I have very rarely encountered it.

I've had the odd blustering huffer-puffer over the years who has clearly thought himself superior, but I've always presumed that's because of my comparative age and slightly avant garde fashion sense, rather than the simple fact of my vagina. (Whilst it isn't right to form assumptions about someone based on these criteria, it does take the issue out of the realms of feminism.) These instances have, however, been incredibly few and far between. As for the men I regularly spend time with - my male colleagues and friends, boyfriend, dad, my three brothers and numerous uncles and cousins - they've never given me any cause to suspect they're anything but pro-gender equality.

At the end of the session, one of the Society's senior members said: "It's great that you don't think there's any misogyny in your world, but I think if you talked to these men for long enough you'd find there were some pretty sinister ideas about women buried somewhere beneath the surface."

In that moment, I suddenly realised why so many aspects of the modern feminist movement in Britain irritate me so much. Don't misunderstand, I'd consider myself a feminist and I'm all for structural changes which ensure equal treatment of the sexes - the types that are working to ensure we have an equal number of female MPs and laws to prevent female genital mutilation, for example. But cultural "feminist" changes, the types that insist lads mags, Page 3 and wolf-whistling are automatically offensive and should therefore be scrapped from the public consciousness, I have always struggled to comprehend. For, at their crux is the notion that men are either genetically or socially conditioned to be evil. This explains why relatively harmless acts - an admiring glance, a whistle, a propensity for lads mags - are imbued with such weighty significance, often lazily labelled as "rapey".

If a man looks at me, I infer he's doing it for the exact same reason a woman would - because he finds me interesting to look at. If a man whistles at me, I take it as the compliment I believe it was intended to be. If I see a man looking at a female glamour model, I suppose nothing more than he is looking at her because a naked woman is pretty much universally aesthetically pleasing. I have always assumed that Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines transpired to be the most downloaded single of all time in the UK because it's well produced and ridiculously catchy, not because huge swathes of the male population delight in the notion that men "know women want it" and use the lyrics as their life mantra. Call me naive if you must.

I've become increasingly bemused by the "Twitter activists" whose "feminist" world view, however much they try to disguise it, necessitates a dim view of mankind. Some, for example, have taken to posting pictures of men looking at Page 3 on the train, with captions branding these individuals "creepy", "vile" and "disgusting" without any sort of meaningful explanation. These women have made a broad assumption about what their male subjects are thinking - based on we know not what - and despise the product of their own projections.

Similarly, I'm horrified with the regularity and ease with which the word "misogynist" is flung about online. Recently, I wrote an article for a feminist publication on the importance of prioritisation and pragmatism in social progression and suggesting these were often sadly absent from feminist campaigning. During the subsequent inevitable Twitter storm (during which "feminists" threatened to "rip me apart", called me a "piece of s---" and a "brainless bimbo" in an incredibly sisterly fashion) a male tweeter calmly pointed out several historical instances where negotiation had resulted in progression. As a result, he was publicly called a "pendantic misogynist" by the mob.

A pedant he might have been, but it's worth noting the official definition of misogynist as "someone who hates women" rather than "anyone who dares question the popular feminist status quo".

In the same article, I dared to suggest that we should take into account men's feelings and viewpoints on key feminist issues. "Men have had their voices heard for FAR TOO LONG! IT'S OUR TURN!" came the online battle cry, as though even garnering some male opinions would be a threat to womankind's empowerment, so toxic and self-serving they would inevitably be.

The Everyday Sexism movement is a fantastic idea - an opportunity for an open debate on the ways in which genders mindlessly form prejudices against each other. So why have its followers largely excluded men from the conversation? "You can't be sexist towards men!" was a university student's response to this question at another debate I attended (she was studying feminism, by the way). Which is a bit like saying black people can't be racist.

In Britain in 2014, girls are entitled to the same education as boys, they can then go on to get any job they want and be paid the same as a man. Not only is this not true for millions of women throughout the world, it wasn't true for our foremothers. I'd much rather say to young women, "these rights were hard won. Go and make the most of them" than "no wonder you can't fulfil your potential! Men whistle at you and there are boobies in the newspaper, you poor helpless little things".

Today's feminism teaches British women to see themselves as victims and victims cannot exist without a villain, in this instance – men. In order for this thesis to have any kind of logic, feminists have made sweeping, inaccurate judgments about an entire demographic, based on nothing more than their gender. Ironically, the exact practice they claim to be fighting.

Gender equality requires co-operation on all sides. As a humanist, I'd like to see today's feminists give men a bit more credit - they might just be surprised.


This Just In: Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance Is Constitutional in Massachusetts

We’ve known since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 1943 in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that it violated the First Amendment to compel students to say the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. But does it violate the Constitution to give students the option to say the pledge?

Last week, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that voluntary participation in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance did not violate Massachusetts’ state constitution or its antidiscrimination law, and the ruling should inform a proper understanding of the U.S. Constitution as well.

Two anonymous students sued to stop their school district from allowing schoolchildren to recite the pledge. If you’re skeptical about whether the anonymous students were being used, you might be recalling the 2004 U.S. Supreme Court case in which Michael Newdow, a perennial litigant, tried to sue on behalf of his estranged daughter.

In this case, the two anonymous students claim to be “atheists and Humanists,” and they declined to say the pledge while in school. Were they bullied as a result? No. Were they even criticized? No. As Chief Justice Roderick Ireland wrote: “The plaintiffs’ claim of stigma is more esoteric. They contend that the mere recitation of the pledge in the schools is itself a public repudiation of their religious values.”

The Massachusetts Supreme Court rightly rejected these claims, holding that “[t]he fact that a school or other public entity operates a voluntary program or offers an activity that offends the religious beliefs of one or more individuals, and leaves them feeling ‘stigmatized’ or ‘excluded’ as a result, does not mean that the program or activity necessarily violates equal protection principles.”

This seems sensible. Mere offense that someone is voluntarily expressing religious views other than your own during school hours does not violate the Constitution. Indeed, as the Massachusetts Supreme Court noted, if this were the case, then the Massachusetts school condom vending machine program could be successfully challenged by traditional Christians or Jews who oppose birth control and are offended by having to see birth control in schools.

Certainly, last week’s decision is a victory for those who want to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Massachusetts. But the troubling fact is that across the country, aggressive litigants are suing to block crosses, the Ten Commandments and other traditional accoutrements of American civic religion, purely on “offended observer” grounds. This type of easily offended litigant is not going away.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


16 May, 2014

Multicultural car racketeer

In Britain, Khans are mostly Pakistani

The mastermind of a multi-million pound car theft scheme has been jailed after he was caught taunting police with a personalised number plate that read S20LUN.

Shanwaz Khan, 30, led a ring of carjackers who stole vehicles and sold the parts abroad.

But he was tracked down after brazenly driving around in his £55,000 Audi RS4 with the bragging registration plate designed to resemble the word 'stolen'.

Officers who followed his car across Birmingham in March 2012 found it was one of a convoy of stolen cars.

Launching a six-month investigation into his dealings, they discovered he was linked to more than 80 thefts and violent carjackings - valued at £1.1million.

Finally, on October 15, 2012, they raided his home and lock-ups across Birmingham and found an 'Aladdin's cave' of chopped up car parts.

A court heard Khan, his brother Wajid, 24, and cousin Seyed, 32, sold more than 3,000 parts stripped from the cars to unwitting buyers on the auction site eBay.

The trio worked with fellow conspirators Ross and Matthew Dunham to steal vehicles from driveways and car-jack other victims.

Khan admitted conspiracy to commit burglary and handle stolen goods and at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday and was jailed for seven years. Wajid Khan and Seyed Khan, both from Birmingham, admitted conspiracy to handle stolen goods and were both sentenced to 30 months behind bars. Ross, 21, and Matthew Dunham, 24, from Coventry, West Midlands, were jailed for five years and 39 months respectively.

After the case Detective Constable Mo Azir, from West Midlands Police, said: 'We meticulously pieced together their network of premises and, when officers raided one unit in Aston, we found an Aladdin’s cave of stolen cars and parts.

'Many of these were high-value luxury cars that had been brutishly ‘chopped’ up, whilst another premises in the city centre was used exclusively to store engines ripped from the stolen cars.

'The scale of their criminal operation was vast and they showed a complete disregard to the trail of destruction and misery left behind to victims of these offences.

'The brazen attitude of Shanwaz Khan was typified by his personalised number plate; this was a clear jibe at the authorities and he believed his underground theft racket was going unnoticed. 'The joke is on him now, though, as he starts a long prison term.'

The gang were linked to 82 vehicle thefts during 2012 all but 17 in the West Midlands with Audis and BMWs their favoured marques.

They included a petrol station car-jacking at a Total garage when a man was dragged from behind the wheel of his £25,000 Ford Focus ST.

And in the early hours of April 27 they stole two Mercedes C-Class from a driveway in having grabbed keys during a break-in,

Late on June 11 they drove off in a Seat Leon from outside a house in Coventry’s Standard Avenue.

However, the owner spotted her car being driven around Coventry on false plates the next day and later picked Matthew Dunham out as the driver during an ID procedure.

The court heard Shanwaz Khan was responsible for stripping down cars and storing parts at industrial units across the West Midlands.

He also rented space at City Self Storage, in Digbeth, Birmingham, to stash stolen engines before shipping many of them abroad.

Det Con Azir added: 'The premises were leased by the Khans using false names and documentation of the cars were stolen to order for engines which the Khans shipped out to the continent.

'All five are subject of on-going Proceeds of Crime Act investigations and we’ll look to seize any assets obtained through criminal activities.'


A Lesson on Racial Discrimination

Walter E. Williams

Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers owner, was recorded by his mistress making some crude racist remarks. Since then, Sterling's racist comments have dominated the news, from talk radio to late-night shows. A few politicians have weighed in, with President Barack Obama congratulating the NBA for its sanctions against Sterling. There's little defense for Sterling, save his constitutional right to make racist remarks. But in a sea of self-righteous indignation, I think we're missing the most valuable lesson that we can learn from this affair -- a lesson that's particularly important for black Americans.

Though Sterling might be a racist, there's an important "so what?" Does he act in ways commonly attributed to racists? Let's look at his employment policy. This season, Sterling paid his top three players salaries totaling over $46 million. His 20-person roster payroll totaled over $73 million. Here are a couple of questions for you: What race are the players whom racist Sterling paid the highest salaries? What race dominated the 20-man roster? The fact of business is that Sterling's highest-paid players are black, and 85 percent of Clippers players are black.

Down through the years, hundreds of U.S. corporations have faced charges of racism, and many have been subjects of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigations, but none of them had such a favorable employment and wage policy as Sterling. How does one explain this? People with limited thinking ability might conclude that Sterling is a racist in his private life but a nice card-carrying liberal in his public life, manifested by his hiring so many blacks, not to mention paying Doc Rivers, the Clippers' black head coach, a healthy $7 million a year. The likelier explanation is given no attention at all.

Let's use a bit of simple economics to analyze the contrast in Sterling's private and public behavior. First, professional basketball is featured by considerable market competition. There's an open opportunity in the acquisition of basketball playing skills. Youngsters just buy a basketball and shoot hoops. There's open competition in joining both high-school and college teams. You just sign up for tryouts in high school and get noticed by college scouts. Then there's considerable competition among the NBA teams in the acquisition of the best college players. Minorities and less preferred people always do better when there are open markets instead of regulated markets.

Recently deceased Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker pointed this phenomenon out some years ago in his path-breaking study "The Economics of Discrimination." Many people think that it takes government to eliminate racial discrimination, but economic theory predicts the opposite. Market competition imposes inescapable profit penalties on for-profit enterprises when they make employment decisions on any basis other than worker productivity. Professor Becker's study of racial discrimination upended the view that discriminatory bias benefits those who discriminate. He demonstrated that racial discrimination is less likely in the most competitive industries, which need to hire the best workers.

According to Forbes magazine, the Los Angeles Clippers would sell for $575 million. Ask yourself what the Clippers would sell for if Sterling were a racist in his public life and hired only white players. All the evidence suggests that would be a grossly losing proposition on at least two counts. Percentagewise, blacks more so than whites excel in basketball. That's not to say that it is impossible to recruit a team of first-rate, excellent white players. However, because there is a smaller number of top-tier white players relative to black players, the recruitment costs would be prohibitive. In other words, a team of excellent white players would be far costlier to field than a team of excellent black players. It's simply a matter of supply and demand.

The takeaway from the Sterling affair is that we should mount not a moral crusade but an economic liberty crusade. In other words, eliminate union restrictions, wage controls, occupational and business licensure, and other anti-free market restrictions. Make opportunity depend on one's productivity.


Why I'm sick to death of modern men who think it's their job to play mum (When they should be unblocking my sink!)

When my computer crashed the other day, I reached for the phone to call my trusty technical support man. Then, with a heavy heart, I remembered.

Last month, while he was at my house installing a new printer, he told me he wasn’t going to be available soon, because his wife was having a baby.

How long would he be out of action? I asked. Weeks? Months? He couldn’t say. He was just going to play it by ear. ‘Any day now,’ he said with a faraway look, before checking his phone for the millionth time to see if his wife had called.

So when my computer broke down, I tentatively texted him to see if he had surfaced after the birth. ‘Are you around?’ I said. ‘I really need your help.’ The text came back: ‘I have my little daughter sleeping on me at the moment. Can I call you back in an hour?’

To be fair, he did call back. But he couldn’t come out. He said he might be able to come out next month. But he couldn’t be sure.

Basically, until the tech man felt able to leave his baby, I would have to cope with my laptop not being properly hooked up to the internet.

Feeling mounting frustration, all sorts of questions ran through my mind. Where was his wife? Did the baby really need both of them tending to it full time?

Why did he seem to be relishing taking on the traditional role of a woman?

It wouldn’t have been so bad if my brush with modern fatherhood had been an isolated incident. But it wasn’t.

I recently tried to book a horse trainer to school my young thoroughbred. But the trainer said he wasn’t taking any new clients because — you’ve guessed it — his wife had recently had a baby.

‘Oh no!’ I almost blurted out. Instead, I forced myself to say ‘congratulations!’ through gritted teeth.

Then I asked whether he could see his way clear to maybe train my horse at some point in the foreseeable future. I was prepared to wait two, three months if it meant I could secure his services. ‘How long,’ I wanted to say, ‘do you really want to stay at home mopping up baby sick and changing nappies?

Wouldn’t you rather get back to tending the business you have built, so that you will be able to pay the bills and make the financial contribution needed to raise your child?’ But I bit my lip and resolved to find a child-free person to train my horse.

So what on earth is going on? Is the baby brain-drain that stops women breaking through the glass ceiling now starting to take middle-aged men out of gainful employment as well? It would appear so. Both these men were successful, affluent professionals.

A generation ago, they would have seen their role as providing the best financial support they could for their family.

But now it seems it’s becoming a badge of shame for men to take pride in their traditional role of breadwinner. Today’s breed of new men see doing the night feed as more important than doing the nightshift at work.

The problem, as I see it, isn’t the two weeks’ statutory paid paternity leave so beloved by David Cameron and Nick Clegg. It’s the whole culture of paternal rights they have fostered that has led a generation of men to believe they are duty-bound to spend oodles of quality time at home with their offspring.

I see examples of this depressing ‘New Man-dom’ everywhere.

What I object to is the growth of a father-centric culture which means that vast swathes of the workforce will soon be off work simply because they have managed to pro-create

Now don’t misunderstand me. Of course men need to take responsibility for their children, particularly if something happens to the mother which makes her unable to take full care of the baby.

Nor am I being unfairly critical of parents because I am a jealous, single woman who has never had children — an assumption I know many will immediately leap to.

I was the first to applaud an acquaintance of mine who recently took two weeks off from his job at an investment bank because his wife had a difficult labour, ending in an emergency Caesarean, and needed help with the baby while she recovered from the operation.

What I object to is the growth of a father-centric culture which means that vast swathes of the workforce will soon be off work simply because they have managed to pro-create.

Since 2003, fathers have been entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave following the birth of a child — they can also negotiate extra weeks with their employer throughout their child’s first year. Now it’s about to get even worse — and more complicated.

From next April, parents will be able to share their parental leave, dividing the year between them — either in six-month chunks each, or individually crafted arrangements.

To me, as a simple customer desperate to get my computer fixed or my kitchen sink unblocked, it sounds like utter lunacy.

What must it be like for employers? Even for big companies, the disruption and lack of continuity is likely to be intolerable. For small companies, where even the scheduling of the holiday rota impacts every penny generated, I can see many being brought to their knees.

Resentment will seep in, inevitably. Let’s not forget that just as the poor, sad singletons are expected to tailor their holidays around the demands of smug marrieds who throw the proverbial beach towel over the whole of the school holidays, it will be those same sad singletons who have to cover when the family guys are home winding infants and making carrot puree.

It’s terribly hard to see the greater good for society when one is constantly forced to bear the brunt of other people’s decisions to have a family. The new scheme — the seventh change to parental leave in a decade — is the brainchild of Nick Clegg, who could quite easily be crowned king of the new men.

Cast your mind back to the opening months of the Coalition and you may remember the farce of Mr Clegg and David Cameron both trying to take time off from running the country to spend more time with their children.

At one point, they competed so frantically with each other to see who could be the newest man that they were both trying to do the school run in the morning. Cabinet meetings had to be postponed as a result. This is senseless posturing, designed to prove a political point.

But to ordinary working fathers the obsession with extended paternity leave is either deeply irrelevant — one in four fathers don’t take any leave — or, worse, an excuse to be lazy.

Even if a new dad genuinely can’t bear the idea of being away from his baby for the length of a working day, whether or not he is helping the child by doing so is another matter.

As most of us brought up in the Seventies will testify, it never seemed to matter that fathers did very little with their children, aside from providing for them.

When I ask my mother now if she wished my father had spent more time at home when I was a baby, she says: ‘Goodness no. He would have got under my feet.’

But nowadays men don’t seem to mind if they have no natural ability in the baby-rearing department. They want to spend time learning how to make up formula and fit the perfect nappy.

But is this really time well spent? And what will the implications be for our already fraught relationships if men do persist in getting under their wives’ feet?

The battle of the sexes will almost certainly become more heated as women lose their hegemony in the home as surely as men have lost theirs in the board room.

Eventually, firms could become less willing to take on new staff of childbearing age, male or female, because they cannot know how long they can be relied upon.

It may even become standard practice to try to employ men with stay-at-home wives as the only guarantee that the man will not demand baby time.

In the future the job market might not be the family-friendly utopia Clegg predicts, but a nightmarish place where desperate employers offer underhand incentives to remain childless.

And that, in the end, cannot be good for any of us


Bicycle wars

Below is a comment from a left-leaning lady in which she rightly detects something of a "war" between cyclists and motorists. She misattributes the war however. It's rather simple. Motorists resent cyclists for slowing them down

The bicycle is a machine of utmost elegance. If you had to invent the minimum-gesture device to address the maximum number of contemporary crises – carbon, congestion, pollution, obesity, health costs, land-pillage, sprawl – that device would surely be the bike. Is that why Australians hate it?

The weekend cycling death of Mudgee grandmother Jill Bryant will no doubt intensify Roads Minister Duncan Gay’s urge to ban cyclists from certain roads. In NSW, 14 cyclists were killed last year: double the year before. But to ban bikes for that reason would be the transport equivalent of closing primary schools because kids were shot at Sandy Hook.

Instead, the Minister should expedite measures for making cycling safer without pushing cyclists off the road.

There is tempting symbolism in the Mudgee accident: eco-minded female run down in daylight, from behind, on Mother’s Day by that hyper-male vehicle, the 4WD ute. In general terms, if not in the particular, the symbolism is real. Any cyclist knows it. The bike wars are culture wars.

Bike-hate is not principally about delay. Motorists show remarkable patience for other cars. They’ll sit comfortably behind stoppers, parkers, turners and incompetents of all kinds. But sitting behind a bike makes many people mad. Really mad. Why? Because bikes represent cultural change. Cultural change is threatening.

This is ironic, since the bike easily predates the car. But the bike is also the form of the future. That makes it dangerous.

Admittedly, there are rainy days and long trips that cycling does not suit. But for the half of household trips that are under 5 kilometres, cycling is perfect.

The car, by contrast, is deeply last century. Aggressive, loud, fast, filthy, thrilling, conscienceless and blindingly convenient, it either exacerbates these crises or has caused them.

Don’t get me wrong. I love driving. I adore road trips. But this isn’t about what I want. Sadly, it’s not even about what you want. It’s about the wants of the other 7.2 billion planetary humans. Which makes it, simply, obvious. We can’t all drive everywhere.

In cycling policy, as in all things green, Australia lags. Well, naturally. Just being young, wealthy, educated, immense and sunny is no reason for us to lead the way to the future.

Yet even in America, people are driving less. This is especially marked amongst millennials (born 1981-2000) and, since it predates the downturn, is not economically driven. Which is why it is increasingly seen as the way of the future.

For 80 years, from 1920, vehicle use in the US grew steadily. In 2004 it peaked, and by 2010 was roughly ten 10 per cent below the long-term trend. The same shift, though smaller, has characterised Australian cities. Young people are choosing to drive less.

This phenomenon is so striking that it has been seriously studied. Dozens of explanations are proposed, including smartphone connectivity and the non-car-dependent availability of sex.

But what matters is that it’s not a cost thing. It’s a lifestyle thing. A choice.

Greg Fischer, entrepreneurial mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, is completing the Louisville Loop, a 180-kilometre shared cycleway, specifically to attract inner-city residents. San Francisco and Boston have major ‘'walk first'’ programs, prioritising pedestrians, then bikes, then cars. San Francisco has its amazing Critical Mass event and dozens of small Michigan communities are pursuing '‘complete streets'’ – designed to validate bikes, transit and pedestrians, as well as cars and trucks, as essential street users.

Pedestrians are core. You can run a city without cars (Venice, say, or Sydney in Olympic mode). But a city without pedestrians is inconceivable. Such a city has no retail. No bars. No music. No buskers. No theatres. No sense of place, connectedness or community. A city without pedestrians is not a city. It’s a business park. And bikes are pedestrians on wheels.

Cars have economic upsides, certainly. But they also have economic, as well as health and environmental, downsides. A Texas Transportation Institute study found that in 2007 congestion caused an annual $78 billion fuel-loss.

Yet in Sydney, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian cancelled funding for the Inner West GreenWay, a cycleway along the new light-rail. She defunded the last, connecting bit of the Liverpool Street cycle lane.

Instead we have Lend Lease’s hideous, $25 million engineering extravaganza, the Albert (Tibby) Cotter Walkway on Anzac Parade, opposed even by cycling groups, yet contracted before it was even approved. The entire Seacliff Bridge cost only twice this amount – and all so that visitors to the 2015 Cricket World Cup won’t have to cross at the lights.

This is madness. Grade separation has never worked well for cities. What sane pedestrian will loop-the-loop when you can cross at grade? Groundedness is a pedestrian’s right, and a cyclist’s. Cities need pedestrians and, increasingly, pedestrians demand cities.

This is why Surry Hills and Redfern continue to skyrocket. It’s why youngsters bus in every night and why opinion-leaders are immigrating from Gordon and Hunters Hill. Everyone wants that walking-and-cycling lifestyle.

For me, cycling to a downtown meeting is quick, reliable, clean, fun and free. Better still, it saves me from gym-time. But it’s not safe. Cycling deaths are up, but fewer than 20 per cent are caused by cyclist error. License cyclists if you must, Mr Gay, but it won’t reduce deaths. We need cycle paths: more, connected, now.

It’s no longer an inner city thing. In Bateman’s Bay, Coffs, Junee and Coonabarabran, cycleways proliferate. Three-quarters of NSW people want to be able to cycle.

We know the benefits. Weight loss. Clean air. Interesting streets. Walkable nightlife. Explorable shopping. Street talk. And time not-spent-commuting to enjoy it. In short, villages.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


15 May, 2014

Try telling my little girl it's sexist to love pink!

ANGELA EPSTEIN says that warnings against letting girls love pink is 'Lefty hokum'

Ms Epstein is an outspoken Jewish lady -- a Jewish Mancunian, rather startlingly -- and I am greatly pleased to read her comments below. But I can't help asking myself why we had to leave it to a Jewish lady to answer the feminist idiocy. Where are all the goyim who might have replied with equal verve? -- JR

As I run through the official checklist of the things my ten-year-old daughter Sophie needs for Brownie camp, I notice a handwritten postscript added in a flourish at the bottom of the form.
‘Mummy, whatever you buy, just make sure it’s pink!!!!’

I do my best to fulfil the remit. Pink swimming cap? Tick. Pink torch? Tick. Pink hiking boots? Well, that’s a struggle but I find some with pink laces. So, almost tick.

Where Sophie is concerned — to misquote U.S. motor manufacturer Henry Ford — she will have any colour… so long as it’s pink.

Ever since she was old enough to point an autocratic finger at her colour of choice, that little digit has always swung to the most feminine end of the palette. On planet Sophie, the world is one unapologetic riot of pink, from the rose-coloured bows she clamps in her hair to her favourite strawberry ice cream.

Yet, if right-on ‘experts’ are to be believed, by allowing my daughter to succumb to her love of pink, I could be boxing in her ambition, damaging her prospects and condemning her to a life chained to the kitchen sink.

Only the other week, Hannah Webster from the Independent Association of Prep Schools warned that having blue for a boy and pink for a girl is ‘pernicious’ because it leads them towards certain roles.

In the biggest pile of Lefty hokum, she wrote: ‘If we designate a particular colour to a gender, it leads us to designate all manner of other things by gender, too. The result is girls and boys read different kinds of books, play with different kinds of toys, study different subjects, consider different occupations, have different roles within the workplace and family, and are ultimately valued differently by society.’

Clearly, she has never met my daughter — a steel-willed, focused and determined young lady, whose choice of pink is a robust and frank expression of her own ideas and identity.

Ironically, there was every likelihood Sophie would become a tomboy — arriving as she did after three brothers. Yet despite the prevailing toilet humour and boys-will-be-boys influences in our house, her love of pink has remained steadfast. This then is nature, not nurture, leaking from within to literally colour every choice she makes.

And why shouldn’t it? She’s a girl, for goodness’ sake. Does giving in to her feminine instincts somehow mean she won’t be encouraged — as I have done with her older siblings — to aim high, work hard and set her cap at a professional career? Of course not.

She only has to look to her mother, working as a writer and broadcaster, to see how much I believe in women having strong careers.

Webster isn’t the only one to peddle the lazy, oven-ready view that girls playing with pink dollies and boys ramming footballs into a net is somehow offensive to the evolution of the modern child. Marks & Spencer has now pledged to make toys ‘gender neutral’ (despite happily taking thousands of pounds from me over the years for Sophie’s frilly pinafores).

In a recent parliamentary debate, MPs Jenny Willott, Elizabeth Truss and Chi Onwurah fretted over the ‘pinkification’ of toys for girls, maintaining it was adding to gender inequality in science, technology, engineering and maths careers.

Yet Melbourne academic Cordelia Fine, writing recently in the New Scientist, admits ‘there is no research linking gendered marketing of toys and books and later occupational discrimination or sharing of household chores.’

So why do so many people persist in peddling such inane views? Why can’t little girls be left to be little girls?

We live in an age when more girls than boys go to university, when our medical schools churn out more female than male doctors. Yet we still have these deeply misguided voices who — like forcing left-handed children to pick up pencils in their right — keep insisting that pink stymies girls’ development.

If Sophie wants pink, she can have pink — in fact, I’m proud to say, I wouldn’t be able to stop her, since her will and determination are unapologetic and immovable.

Once again modern feminism has shot itself in the foot. By spoiling for fights where they don’t exist and failing to acknowledge that biology doesn’t make us unequal, just different, today’s ‘pro-wimmin’ lobby squashes my daughter’s voice.

If the blinkered anti-pink campaigners think neutralising a love of this colour is the way to greater equality and career satisfaction, they need to drop those rose-tinted glasses. Or whatever colour they choose to wear.


Some Leftist objections to Sharia law in Britain

About 70 protesters rallied outside the office of the Law Society to condemn their endorsement of discriminatory sharia law on April 28 2014.

The protest was organised by anti-racist, feminist and human rights groups, namely One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, Centre for Secular Space, and London School of Economics SU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society.

Chris Moos was the master of ceremonies of the rally.

At the protest, Pragna Patel, director of Southall Black Sisters called upon the Law Society to withdraw its guidance:

Our message to you is this: Wake up: You are the Law Society and not a body advising on the compatibility of the law with religious principles! You have no business in normalising discriminatory religious principles in the legal culture and practice of this country. Your business is to ensure that the law is human rights complaint and not anti-rights compliant. Your business is to tear up the guidance. Your business is to stand with us on this side of the fence and on this side of history.

Maryam Namazie, founder of One Law for All and Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation argued:

There is no place for Sharia in Britain’s legal system just as there is no place for it anywhere. Sharia – like all religious laws – is based on a dogmatic and regressive philosophy and a warped understanding of the concepts of equality and justice. It is primitive and patriarchal and based on inequality, retribution and religious [im]morality. It is not a rule for equals and has no place in a modern state or system of law. Law Society listen up: you must immediately withdraw your shameful guidance. Now! In the words of Algerian women singing for change: “We aren’t asking for favours. History speaks for us”.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

The Law Society is violating its own equality policies by providing guidance on Sharia-compliant wills and offering training courses in Sharia law for high street lawyers. It is colluding with Sharia law principles that discriminate against women, non-Muslims and children who are adopted or born to unmarried parents. This is a direct attack on the equal rights of many Muslims, especially women. The Law Society is supposed to uphold the equality values of British law. Instead, it is undermining them. The Law Society would never provide guidance to facilitate racist or homophobic-compliant wills. Why the double standards?

Kate Smurthwaite, comedian and activist, appealed to the Law Society:

Religious bigots are highly skilled at trampling on the rights of women, children and non-believers. They don’t need The Law Society to help them. The value of daughters is THE SAME as the value of sons. All marriages, religious, non-religious, gay or straight are marriages. And every child is legitimate. Faced with bigotry it is the job of all of us – including the Law Society – to challenge it. The protestors today did exactly that. When will The Law Society follow suit and rip up this ‘guide to discrimination’?

Abhishek Phadnis, president of the LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society, added:

I come from a country which has seen this divisive trend being taken to its logical conclusion – where a woman’s rights to, among other things, alimony and inheritance, depend entirely on her religion, there being different laws for each community. The resulting discrimination has visited appalling suffering upon Muslim women in particular. I have no wish to see it replicated here. A man may choose to be as spiteful and chauvinistic as he wishes, but it is not something our public institutions should encourage or condone. I hope the Law Society will withdraw this Note before it causes any further damage.

James Bloodworth, the Editor of Left Foot Forward, said:

In issuing its guidance on Sharia-Compliant Wills, the law society is lending respectability to something that should have none: the view that women are in some way second class citizens.

Diana Nammi, Chief Executive of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, commented:

I am here today to represent thousands of women and girls from the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan who live here in the UK. Many of these women, like me, have fled countries where Sharia law is practiced. […] There is a lot of money to be made by lawyers from drafting Sharia compliant wills. We cannot allow for women’s rights to be sacrificed so that lawyers can cash in. The Law Society must never step beyond its remit of secular law. It has no just reason to legitimise any religious law.

Ramin Forghani, Vice-Chair of the Scotland Secular Society, who had travelled from Glasgow to join the protest, asserted:

I’m Iranian and I well know what happens when the barrier between religion and legal system gets destroyed. Shame on the Law Society!

Rumana Hashem from Nari Diganta – Women in Movement for Social Justice, Secularism and Equal Rights added:

As a Bengali-Muslim resident in the UK, I faced enough discrimination in this country in relation to ethnicity, gender and migration for the last seven years. I cannot tolerate further discrimination in relation to my religion and sex. [...] When Muslim countries like Bangladesh are moving away from religious law and moving towards secularism and gender equity by overcoming religious rules, how can the Law Society in the UK provide guidance for legitimising Sharia Law in a state which is meant to provide secularism and human rights for all?

Other speakers at the rally included Jason Scott of the London Atheist Activist Group and Yasmin Rehman of the Centre for Secular Space.

The rally finished with protesters tearing pages from a copy of the Equality Act and pinning them to the fence of the Law Society, symbolising the contravention of the Act by the Law Society.

As the master of ceremonies of the rally, Chris Moos concluded:

Our protest has sent a clear and loud signal to the Law Society that secularists and equality campaigners will not stand by and watch while the Law Society is undermining the basic principle of secular equality enshrined in the law. We hope that the Law Society will accept our legitimate concerns and address them by immediately withdrawing the practice note. The Law Society needs to act now, or face even more scrutiny from secular and human rights campaigners.

The open letter kick-starting the campaign against the Law Society on March 23rd was signed by scientist Richard Dawkins; Egyptian activist Aliaa Magda Elmahdy; writer Taslima Nasrin; Founder and Director of Basira for Universal Women Rights Ahlam Akram; founder of Secularism is a Woman’s Issue Marieme Helie Lucas; and Raheel Raza, President of Council of Muslims Facing Tomorrow amongst others.


Bill Maher’s blistering anti-Islamist rant

Bill Maher may be a major financial supporter of the Democratic Party, but he is anything but a blind follower.

Last Friday night, Maher used his usual brand of intellectual, scathing sarcasm to challenge his liberal guests about Islamic violence during a discussion of Nigeria’s Boko Haram.

Maher took his audience, and panelists Arianna Huffington and comedian Baratunde Thurston, off-guard when he pushed them on the role of Islam in justifying Boko Haram’s kidnapping of 300 young women and threatening to sell them on the open market. He questioned why liberals do not openly condemn Islamic violence, and pointed to the strong link between current day terrorist attacks and the religion.

Maher noted, “There’s no mention here of connecting this to the religion, which is always what I am seeking to do because I think that’s the elephant in the room. And that in the religion at large, women are seen as property, second-class at best, often as property.”

Both Huffington and Thurston challenged Maher, warning him against blaming an entire religion for the work of a few extremists.

Thurston’s statement that Islam does not have a monopoly on extremism prompted a swift retort from Maher, who noted, “Kind of, they do.” Maher pointed out that while other religions may have occasional instances of extremism, Islam seems to have large numbers of radicals.

Maher’s reply to Thurston’s statement that Christians also commit acts of violence was equally scalding, “If this was the 14th century,” said Maher, “I would be coming down on the Christians because that’s when they were too violent.” Then he added, “Religions and cultures change.”

Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza then backed Maher, noting that most modern day terrorist attacks have some tie to Islam, making an odd team of Maher and D’Souza versus Huffington and Thurston.

Maher’s most scathing comment was in response to Huffington, after she asserted that it is dangerous for people to stereotype all Muslims as terrorists.

Maher noted, “Where it becomes dangerous is that liberals like yourself do not stand up for liberalism. Liberalism means, one, mostly, equality of women.”

The talk show host is notoriously liberal, and is also a rabid backer of the Democratic Party. In 2012, Maher publicly disclosed that he gave $1 million to President Obama’s Super Pac.


Everything’s offensive: Since when did we become a society of politically correct Nazis?

Most people have heard about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but it seems to have escaped the notice of the people who run Instagram (the same people who run Facebook).

Especially this bit —Section 2(b): “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.”

Like, Instagram?

With exquisite timing, just before Mother’s Day, Instagram shut down Heather Bays’ account because it featured pictures of her breastfeeding her 20-month old daughter. Heather, who’s originally from Winnipeg and now lives in Toronto, may have thought she was sharing a beautiful picture celebrating motherhood with her community, but Instagram apparently thought she was trafficking in child pornography.

Seriously. One photo showed her daughter’s bare torso, and another one exposed a full breast and someone took offence and complained.

Let’s remember that Heather Bays is a maternity photographer. Unlike millions of moronic selfies, her photos are actually good.

Meanwhile, over in Vancouver, people are trying to get Dr. Seuss banned again. This time, it’s If I Ran the Zoo, because there’s a line about zoo helpers who “all wear their eyes at a slant” alongside illustrations of Asian stereotypes. While this was all viewed as perfectly acceptable back in 1950, it is offensive through a 2014 lens.

The Vancouver Public Library is resisting the call for the ban, wisely recognizing that if they ban Dr. Seuss, they would have to ban half the world’s literature, from Sophocles to the Arabian Nights.

At one time or another, everything and everyone offends. These days, everyone is offended. I don’t envy the gatekeepers. When everything is offensive, what do you do?

If you ask me, it’s simple. Just remember the Nazis. They loved to find things offensive. They burned books and banned works of art because they were decadent or written by Jews. The Nazis weren’t interested in freedom of thought, belief, etc. In fact, they loathed and opposed such things.

Good thing we’re not like the Nazis, eh?

Look. As far as I’m concerned, lots of things are offensive. There are times when I wish country music, Hallmark greeting cards and cat videos were ruthlessly suppressed. But then I come to my senses.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


14 May, 2014

A really scummy multiculturalist

Mittal is an Indian surname

A thieving GP stole £130 from a mother’s purse after she left the consulting room to attend to her sick baby son.

Kelly Wissenden, 29, caught family doctor Nurpal Mittal rifling through the handbag she had left with her son’s buggy in the office.

The physician, 33, now faces being struck off the medical register after a jury found her guilty of theft. She is also likely to receive a large fine for ‘breaching the sacred trust between doctor and patient’, the court heard.

Judge James O’Mahony told Mittal: ‘A patient has the right to expect that the last person in the world who would steal from them was a doctor. ‘I want to know why on earth you could have done this.’

Miss Wissenden took her nine-month-old son Zaio Headley, who had an upset stomach, to White Cliffs Medical Centre in Dover on June 19 last year.

During her appointment, the mother of two was asked to take Zaio to a baby changing room in the surgery to take a specimen sample for tests. But when she returned to the GP’s office, she found Mittal going through her bag.

Prosecutor Andrew Forsyth told the court: ‘Miss Wissenden described seeing Dr Mittal fiddling round near the change bag and the buggy, looking very flustered.’ He added: ‘She thought it strange at the time but didn’t say anything.’

Cross-channel ferry stewardess Miss Wissenden had £130 cash in her purse, which she had withdrawn earlier that day to pay for a car repair. But she said she realised the money was missing only after she had left the surgery.

Miss Wissenden returned to the practice straight away and spoke to a receptionist, Canterbury Crown Court heard. They searched the doctor’s room and the changing area where she had taken Zaio, finding nothing.

But when Mittal persuaded them to check the changing area again, the cash had mysteriously appeared on the floor.

Miss Wissenden reported the incident to police later that day.

In the evening, she received a phone call from Mittal asking her to withdraw the theft allegation, the jury was told.

After being convicted of theft, Mittal, from Shepherdswell, near Dover, was bailed until June when she will be sentenced. The court heard she had previously received a caution for shoplifting in Scotland.

The judge told Mittal: ‘This is a sad state of affairs. The jury have found you guilty on overwhelming evidence of being a thief, and not just a thief but one who stole from one of your own patients.’

He requested a mental health report before sentencing, saying: ‘Given the fact she probably receives a healthy salary, who knows why she would want to steal £130 or go shoplifting?’

Miss Wissenden said: ‘It’s really shocking, it’s horrible. ‘I put my faith in her, my son’s life was in her hands and she stole from me. It’s been such a stressful time. The reaction you get when you tell people is, “Really, but she’s a doctor?”

‘The barrister even told me to expect a not guilty verdict because the jury was more likely to believe a doctor over me.’


Lessons Learned from the 'Brave German Woman'

The spirit of the Lord rose up in her

On November 10, 2013, a Muslim imam was invited to give the Islamic call to prayer inside the Memorial Church of the Reformation in the city of Speyer, Germany—a church dedicated to honoring Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.

"When the brave German woman, whose real name is Heidi Mund, heard about the event, she prayed," reports CBN News. Not sure what she would do upon arrival, she grabbed her German flag emblazoned with the words "Jesus Christ is Lord" and headed for the concert:

"Until the imam started with his shouting ["Allahu Akbar!"], I did not really know what to do. I was just prepared for what God wants me to do," she told CBN News.

Then the Muslim call to prayer began, and Heidi said she felt something rising up inside her.
"I would call it a holy anger," she recounted. "And then I rose with my flag and I was calling and proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord over Germany"…

And she repeated the words of Martin Luther in 1521 after he refused to recant his faith in scripture alone: "Here I stand. I can do no other" and "Save the church of Martin Luther!"

Video shows another concert-goer trying to calm her by saying, "This is a concert for peace."

Mund can be heard responding in German, "No it's not! Allahu Akbar is what Muslims scream while murdering people! Don't be fooled! Don't be fooled! This is a lie!"

She was thrown out of the church.

"They should have thrown the imam out and not me because I am a believer in Jesus Christ, but he serves another god. This Allah is not the same god. And this is not the truth."

"This 'allahu akbar,' they use it when they kill people," she argued. "This is, for me, worship to an idol, to their god. And when a Muslim calls 'allahu akbar' in a church, that means this church is not a church anymore, it's a mosque."

For more details on this story, check out CBN News' various interviews and videos of and with Mund.

Now for some lessons concerning the significance of this anecdote:

Mund's observations about the phrase "Allahu Akbar" are spot-on. Islam's war cry, signifying the superiority of Muhammad's religion over all things, the takbir ("Allahu Akbar"), is habitually proclaimed in violent contexts, specifically attacking and slaughtering non-Muslims, whether beheading "infidels" or bombing churches.

Muhammad himself used to cry it aloud prior to attacking non-Muslim tribes that refused to submit to his authority and religion.

Accordingly, Mund's outrage at hearing an Islamic imam hollering out Islamic supremacist slogans is justified. Proclaimed in a church, "Allahu Akbar"—which in translation literally means "Allah is greater [than X]"—means "Allahu is greater than the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible, and Father of Christ."

And assuming the imam proclaimed Islam's credo or shehada as is standard in the Muslim call to prayer (that "there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger") that too is tantamount to declaring that the biblical God is false, and the message (or Koran) delivered by Muhammad—which includes a denunciation of Christ's divinity, death, and resurrection—is true (see for examples Koran 4:157, 4:171, 5:17, 5:116, 9:30-31, 19:35).

This is precisely what the vandal who earlier painted in Arabic the phrase "Allahu Akbar" across the door of another German church likely had in mind.

Yet despite all this, despite the fact that only two or three generations ago, almost every Christian would have been incensed to hear a Muslim shouting Islamic slogans that by nature contradict Christianity inside a church, Mund was chastised by fellow Christians for her stand and kicked out.

This speaks volumes about how far Western European nations have plummeted into a cesspool of moral relativism, where even in prominent churches Christian truths are attacked, and those who take a stand are ostracized for being "intolerant"; it speaks of the naivety and nihilism that predominate in the West; of the effects of years of brainwashing and indoctrination in the name of "multiculturalism," crippling the ability to think rationally; of how political correctness has censored not only words but the ability for people to connect-the-dots in the quiet of their own minds.

There is, however, a flipside to all this: Mund's video denouncing the imam "went viral," says CBN News, signifying its appeal; and many who saw it interpreted her actions as "brave"—hence the appellation. "Bravery" often refers to an act that, while laudable, few have the courage to do. That this title is so naturally and widely applied to Mund suggests that there are many who agree with her; they just lack the same courage, or conviction, to take a vocal stand—hence why she is the "Brave German Woman."

The fact is, beneath Western Europe's nihilistic veneer, many there would agree with Mund's sentiments. Not all are sheep. But due to the aforementioned forces—decades of indoctrination in militant secularism/atheism, multiculturalism, Christian-bashing, and political correctness—they are unable to articulate their grievance.

Yet, whether they are able to express it or not, they remain disgruntled at Muslim affronts and weak responses from European elites.

After all, Muslims hollering Islamic slogans inside European churches is not quite an infrequent phenomenon. Last Christmas, the Chaplain of Royal Holloway University invited a veiled Muslim woman to read Koran verses during church service, again, despite the fact that the Koran contradicts the key tenets of Christianity.

Sometimes Muslims "invite" themselves to churches. Thus, days ago, also in the UK, a Muslim man—"dressed like a terrorist" and wearing a bandana with the Arabic phrase, "Allahu Akbar"—entered a church during service and started yelling things like "this is rubbish, you should be preaching Allah, turn to Islam, we send boys of 10 to war."

And last Easter in France saw a Muslim man dressed in traditional Islamic attire enter a church during mass, set up his carpet next to the altar and start reading the Koran.

This is to say nothing of the violent crimes and rapes Muslims are increasingly responsible for in Europe.

The point is, more and more Western Europeans are becoming disgruntled, even if most are not yet "brave" enough to show it, and even if the powers-that-be, including media and government, continue to downplay and suppress them.

Days ago, for example, Britain's Liberty GB party leader Paul Weston was arrested and is facing up to two-years' jail time simply for quoting Winston Churchill's unflattering observations about Islam in public.

In short, time will tell whether the powers-that-be will allow legitimate criticism of Islam to vent in Europe, or whether they will continue to suppress it—until the simmering cauldron of discontent spills over in ways much more dramatic than quoting Luther or Churchill, as has happened all too often in European history.


Ambiguous performer wins the judges but loses the people

I am beginning to appreciate Mr Putin for defending normality

After taking home the coveted title at the Eurovision Song Contest, Austria’s “bearded lady”, aka Conchita Wurst, has copped a slew of abuse for her less than traditional performing style.

In a bitter aftertaste, the singer’s stunning victory has been branded “the end of Europe” by Russia’s anti-gay lobby.

The hirsute alter ego of Austrian performer Tom Neuwirth took out the competition in Copenhagen with Rise Like a Phoenix, an anthem reminiscent of classic James Bond theme tunes.

Social media went into overdrive overnight after BBC Eurovision’s page posted in honour of the “gender neutral” performer.

But in an unexpected twist, users instead posted shocking grievances against the performer, calling to “wake up Hitler” and “kill it with fire”. “I believe in future without “things” like these”, wrote one user. “Go and kill yourself”, said another. “The most messed up thing I’ve seen on TV. I can already tell the Eurovision 2015 winner. It’ll be a song about love between an old woman with a 6-year-old boy and they’ll end up kissing on stage. Easy win. Or a gay couple kissing. The world’s changing. Going so wrong.”

Among the posts were calls for the BBC to ensure homophobic abuse “is not tolerated”, but it took other users to step up in Conchita’s honour. “I’m disgusted by the comments on this post honestly,” wrote Jordan Jon. “Just when you think the future is getting better with LGBT, this comes up.”

But the “bearded lady” received a heroine’s homecoming in Vienna after winning the Eurovision Song Contest. After the win, hundreds of excited fans gathered at Vienna’s International Airport to welcome Conchita — who was clutching her Eurovision trophy tightly — back to home soil.

But in Russia, some branded Wurst‘s win as an example of the West’s decadence. After the victory, Russian state television broadcast a debate on Conchita, with anti-gay MP Vladmir Zhirinovsky calling the result “the end of Europe.”

“There is no limit to our outrage,” he said. “It has turned wild. There are no more men or women in Europe, just it.”

The competition was marred by controversy over widespread persecution of gay people by Russia’s vocal anti-gay lobby, and its apparent sanctioning by the gonvernment.

Wurst’s inclusion adding oil to that fire even before the show; and during the final there was loud booing in the Copenhagen arena whenever Russia’s act received a vote.

Afterward, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vice-premier Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that the Eurovision result “showed supporters of European integration their European future — a bearded girl”.

The drag queen, who was initially written off as too provocative for some socially conservative countries, was the favourite to win the contest.

The act proved so popular that Austria was declared the winner after 34 of 37 countries had given their votes on Saturday evening.

After being announced as the winner, Wurst said: “This night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom.”


Note also that Eurovision voters from the United Kingdom awarded an eye-catching performance from Poland's Donatan and Cleo first place in Saturday's song contest, despite the official UK jury placing the Polish entrants last. The final judgment was probably much influenced by political correctness.

Welby tells Church schools to teach respect for gay and lesbian relationships

In the best Anglican style he manages to speak out of both sides of his mouth at the same time but if he were a Christian (so few of the Anglican clergy are!) he would tell schools to teach that homosexuality is an abomination unto the Lord -- because that is what the Bible says

Children at Church of England schools must be taught to “revere” and “honour” gay and lesbian people despite its centuries-old teaching that homosexual acts are a sin, new rules published by the Archbishop of Canterbury insist.

Guidelines intended to combat homophobic bullying, make clear that words such as gay must not be used in a “derogatory” or “negative” way in Anglican schools.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, insisted that the Church’s official stance - that sex between people of the same gender is sinful - had been clear “for centuries” and had not changed. But he said that even if the Church taught that it is “wrong”, that did not justify bullying or discrimination.

The document, sent to all CofE schools, says primary school pupils should be taught about same-sex relationships as a basic “fact of people’s lives”. It adds that church primary schools should draw up policies specifically recognising the needs of transgender pupils.

Meanwhile older children who decide to come out are to be given “unequivocal support” from teachers and chaplains.

Secondary school children should, it adds, be given frank information to help them to “explore their identity”.

Meanwhile traditional Church doctrines on homosexuality are to be presented only alongside a range of alternatives. It urges heads to ensure the atmosphere in church schools is like a “Bedouin tent” in which “different views can be aired and honoured”. [Bedouins are Muslims! Hardly a model for Christians. And Muslims are not tolerant anyway]

The 72-page document was drawn up following a call from the Archbishop last year that the Church must face up to a “revolution” in attitudes on sexuality. His remarks came just weeks after he had voted against the introduction of gay marriage.

The document acknowledges that the global Anglican Church is deeply divided about sexuality and that many clergy in England openly disagree with official teaching. “Within the Anglican Communion there exists a wide spectrum of beliefs about this issue and it is a very divisive matter for the Church at this time,” it says. “Within a school community of pupils, staff, parents and governors many different views may be held and it should be acknowledged that this is a sensitive topic.”

But it adds that church schools already have teachers who live with same-sex partners and that pupils will have gay friends and parents. “This is the lived reality of educational contexts in modern England,” it says.
“To deny this reality is to choose to be blinkered.”
The document cites, at the top of a list of reasons why pupils might be involved in homophobic bullying, the belief that homosexuality is “wrong”.

But the Archbishop said: "No sense of something being right or wrong justifies another wrong. "There is never a point in which because you say that a particular form of behaviour – whether it is this or any other – is wrong that that justifies you saying that it's OK to bully someone.”

Asked if this meant the Church of England would continue to teach that homosexual practice is a "sin", he said: "The Church of England's statement on this is absolutely clear in its canons and has been for centuries.”

The Archbishop, who was educated at Eton, added that he had seen anti-gay bullying at school and had been “appalled”.

During a visit to Trinity Church of England School in Hither Green, South London, he joined a discussion with pupils about homophobic bullying. Among them, 15-year-old Ruby Tarrant described how told how Christians had told her she was “going to Hell” after she came out aged 12. “I was made to feel that I wasn't a girl, I was pushed down stairs – I was told constantly that I was wrong, there was something wrong with me,” she said.
“In the changing rooms they would push me to change in the showers.”

Benjamin Cohen, publisher of the website PinkNews, who campaigned for same-sex marriage, said: “I think it is really positive that he is talking about it and listening to pupils – but there is a fundamental challenge.

“How can you tell 11-year-olds that it is OK to be gay and that it is wrong for people to be bullied for being gay but at the same time, theologically, to say that being gay is wrong and that same-sex relationships are not of equal value?”



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


13 May, 2014


UKIP wants Britain out of the EU and is also critical of immigration

The media is already trying to downplay it: last night's UKIP rally in London was raucous, glorious, and dare I say... electric. Even a lot of the hecklers in the room left without saying a word – such was the impact. UKIP promised a political earthquake in the UK on May 22nd. It delivered an earthquake in London last night.

Speaking to a capacity crowd at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster, speaker after speaker took the main UKIP platform tonight to issue a plea. It was simple, but it wasn't patronising. It was specific, but it wasn't quota-orientated. Tonight, UKIP was out to prove that it wasn't a racist party.

The audience, it must be reported, was still predominantly white, and older. But as Nigel Farage said during his speech, today was UKIP's Clause Four moment, as in amongst the rows of expected UKIP supporters were dotted many younger faces, many more brown faces, black faces, female faces. The 2011 census showed that London was 60 percent white, 18 percent Asian, 13 percent Black, 5 percent mixed, and 3 percent 'other'. Last night's London audience was not far away from being perfectly that.

And Farage was not even the star of the show, not by a long shot. He joked himself about feeling like the supporting act.

Steven Wolfe, Suzanne Evans, Amjad Bashir, the house-rocking former boxer Winston McKenzie, and more. These crowd-pleasers of ethnic extraction grabbed the last remaining weapon of UKIP's opponents and proceeded to do with it what Average Joe's did to Globo-Gym in the cult classic film Dodgeball: smack them around.

Lulled into a false sense of security over its one and only attack line life, the political and media establishments have been digging up stories for weeks on UKIP candidates. Some have some terrible things, others have inadvertently taken the opposition bait. Last night's line-up of speakers were tasked with one job: crush the myth.

In the beginning there was Steven Wolfe, who after being heckled by protestors issued a warning about how such people, mainly from the Socialist Worker Party, called him a "fake" and a "racist". He responded emotionally telling the crowd how he himself was "called a n***er at the age of 5 years old". Wolfe did not censor his own comments to the room, and was met with applause for his handling of the situation.

Paula McQueen, a London-born grandmother of Jewish and Black extraction told the crowd, "We are libertarians, we believe in individual freedom, and we want the government to interfere less in people's lives."

Evans quoted Thatcher to great cheers from the crowd: “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

But the real star of the show was Winston McKenzie, the former champion boxer who took to the stage and almost shouted his way through an entire 10 minute speech. He had the crowd in hysterics with his jokes, and wolf-whistling at his key line: "I'm black and I'm proud and I shout it out loud!"

"Why is it only at election time that we get this [racist] nonsense?"

McKenzie tore into David Cameron, Ed Miliband, and Nick Clegg, "The three little pigs... are running scared!"

"I'm tired of seeing these tragedies", McKenzie said, holding up a newspaper front page showing one of London's latest victims of knife crime – a young boy. "Didn't [Boris] Johnson say knife crime and gun crime were his priorities?"

Farage was even somewhat of an after thought considering the gravitas of the earlier speakers. He delivered his stump speech, crediting Nick Clegg with UKIP's ascendency, and blaming "a bunch of college kids... who have never done a day's work in their lives" for running and ruining the country.

"Huge sections in the mainstream media defended their friends in the so-called 'main parties' or as we prefer to call them, the legacy parties.

"I don't care what you call us," he said, "You can call us right wing, left wing, you can call us small-minded, I don't care what you call us. But from this moment on, please, do not ever call us a racist party. We are not a racist party".

Outside the event, protesters from the Socialist Worker Party and other hard-Left organisations gathered in their dozens, shouting, "UKIP, No Way! Immigrants, here to stay!" Various protesters abused those queuing to get into the UKIP event, with one man calling this reporter, "a faggot" for wearing a pink shirt


Spain going Fascist again?

Parents take note: Spain is cracking down on its sulky teenagers.

And not before time, some argue.

Under a draft bill approved in the Spanish Parliament, under 18s will be legally obliged to do chores and be 'respectful'.

If it is passed, children in the country will have to help out with the housework 'in accordance with their age and regardless of their gender'.

They will also have to 'participate in family life' and respect 'their parents and siblings', Spain's ABC newspaper reported.

The Child Protection Bill children would also have to 'respect school rules' and 'study as required'. More generally these children 'will have to maintain a positive attitude about learning'.

At the same time, will also have to 'respect their teachers and other staff at education teachers', as well as their fellow students.

The draft law doesn't set out penalties for children who fail to fulfill these requirements, but marks a new shift in the legislation with its focus on the responsibilities of children.


Can you still speak your mind in today's America?

John Stossel

Last week, when the NBA banned racist team owner Donald Sterling, some said: "What about free speech? Can't a guy say what he thinks anymore?"

The answer: yes, you can. But the free market may punish you. In America today, the market punishes racists aggressively.

This punishment is not "censorship." Censorship is something only governments can do. Writers complain that editors censor what they write. But that's not censorship; that's editing.

Fox is free to fire me if they don't like what I say. That's the market in action, reflecting preferences of owners and customers.
It's fine if the NBA -- or any private group -- wants to censor speech on its own property. People who attend games or work for the NBA agreed to abide by its rules. Likewise, Fox is free to fire me if they don't like what I say. That's the market in action, reflecting preferences of owners and customers.

But it's important that government not have the power to silence us. We have lots of companies, colleges and sports leagues. If one orders us to "shut up," we can go somewhere else.

But there is only one government, and it can take our money and our freedom. All a business can do is refuse to do business with me, causing me to work with someone else. Government can forbid me to do business with anyone at all.

Of course, government never admits it's doing harm. Around the world, when government gets into the censorship business, it claims to be protecting the public. But by punishing those who criticize politicians, it's protecting itself.

That's why it's great the Founders gave America the First Amendment, a ban on government "abridging the freedom of speech."

But I wonder if today's young lawyers would approve the First Amendment if it were up for ratification now.

There is a new commandment at colleges today: "Thou shalt not hurt others with words."

Students are told not to offend. At Wake Forest University, for instance, students cannot post any flyers or messages deemed "racist, sexist, profane or derogatory."

The goal is noble: create a kinder environment. But who gets to decide how much "hurt" is permissible? Recently, a fourth-grade teacher in North Carolina was ordered to attend sensitivity training after teaching students the word "niggardly." When the power to censor lies with the people most easily offended, censorship never stops.

A few years ago, I asked law students at Seton Hall University if there should be restrictions to the First Amendment. Many were eager to ban "hate speech."

"No value comes out of hate speech," said a future lawyer. "We need to regulate flag burning ... and blasphemy," said another. One student wanted to ban political speech by corporations, and another was comfortable imprisoning people who make hunting videos.

Only when I pulled out a copy of the Bill of Rights and slowly wrote in their "exceptions" did one student finally say, "We went too far!"

So does free speech mean that we must endure hateful speech in the public square? No.

I'll fight it by publicly denouncing it, speaking against it, boycotting the speaker. That's what the NBA's employees and customers demanded, and quickly got.

What convinced me that almost all speech should be legal was the book "Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought" by Jonathan Rauch. He explains how knowledge increases through arguments.

Rauch is gay. In an updated afterward to his book, he points out how quickly the world has changed for people like him. Twenty years ago, "gay Americans were forbidden to work for government, to obtain security clearances, serve in the military ... arrested for making love, even in their own homes ... beaten and killed on the streets, entrapped and arrested by police for sport."

This changed in just two decades, he says, because there was open debate. Gay people "had no real political power, only the force of our arguments. But in a society where free exchange is the rule, that was enough."

Fight bigotry with more speech.


How Hawaii (Legally) Discriminates Against Non-Native Hawaiians

Some senators are trying to push through a bill that would re-authorize the discriminatory housing policies implemented in Hawaii by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, which provides special benefits for “Native Hawaiians.” Native Hawaiians are defined as “any descendant of not less than one-half part of the blood of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778.” According to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ website, this means “you must have a blood quantum of at least 50 percent Hawaiian.”

S.1352 has a seemingly innocuous provision, Section 503, which simply re-authorizes the Native Hawaiian Home-Ownership Act through 2018. You have to dig into the existing federal law to find out that, under 25 U.S.C. §4223(d), Hawaii is exempt from the nondiscrimination requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act when it is distributing federal housing funds made available by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to “Native Hawaiians” or “a Native Hawaiian family.”

This exemption means the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands can discriminate in favor of “Native Hawaiians” and a “Native Hawaiian family” and against others such as whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. In other words, the federal government is authorizing Hawaii (and providing it with taxpayer funds) to engage in blatant discrimination by providing government benefits for some of its residents and denying federally funded benefits to others based solely on their ancestry and “blood quantum.”

The Equal Protection Clause of the post-Civil War 14th Amendment specifically was intended to stop laws that singled out Americans based on ancestry and blood quantum. Yet Hawaii, with the approval of the federal government, has engaged in such reprehensible conduct for years.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a highly critical report in 2005 saying that Hawaii was “in a league by itself” when it comes to officially sanctioned discriminatory conduct. As the Commission pointed out, Hawaii administers a huge public trust worth billions of dollars that provides “benefits exclusively for ethnic Hawaiians.” In discussing the proposed Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005 (S.147), the commission recommended against “any other legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege.”

S.1352 would re-authorize the Native Hawaiian Home-Ownership Act for another four years, specifically approving Hawaii’s official discrimination and exempting it from the requirements of the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act. No federal funds of any kind should be distributed in a manner that directly authorizes discriminatory conduct against American citizens based on their ancestry, race, or “blood quantum,” an appalling legal concept that was used by slave-owning Southern states prior to the Civil War to determine the legal rights (or lack of rights) of its residents.

As we mark the 50th anniversary this year of the Civil Rights Act, nothing could be a greater betrayal of that law than to revoke its protections for many residents of Hawaii and exempt Hawaii’s state government from its mandate that all Americans be treated equally under the law.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


12 May, 2014

TV-loving multiculturalist in Britain

An abusive father attacked his own son - and almost killer his wheelchair user wife - in a row over watching Emmerdale.

Ajit Sekhon, 59, was watching the soap over breakfast with his wife Manjit and son Paul, 32, but flew into a violent rage when the picture cut out.

He battered his son, who had been adjusting the aerial to fix the television, with a metal cereal bowl before trying to strangle him.

Mrs Sekhon managed to escape the attack to raise the alarm, but when she came back her husband turned on her, beating her with a heavy ornament, pouring burning liquid on her and even biting her fingers.

He used a heavy ornament to attack her head, causing significant injuries to her scalp.

Sekhon was found standing over his unconscious wife - whom he had beaten and abused for years - in his blood-spattered home in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

He was jailed for sixteen and a half years after admitting two counts of grievous bodily harm against his family members at Sheffield Crown Court.

Sentencing him at Sheffield Crown Court, Judge Julian Goose said: 'It was a sustained attack on both of them with repeated blows when they were defenceless.'

Kirstie Watson, prosecuting, explained that Mrs Sekhon, who had been married to her Sikh husband for 38 years, had missed an episode of Emmerdale and wanted to catch up over breakfast.

She was watching the show with her son Paul when her husband came into the lounge and got two breakfast bowls for them.

'There was a problem with the reception and Paul tried to improve the picture,' said Miss Watson. 'Suddenly and without any warning the defendant jumped up and with his metal cereal bowl began to hit Paul about the head,' she said.

The prosecutor described how he fell onto his mother, who has mobility problems and uses a wheelchair, as she sat on the sofa.

Sekhon repeatedly hit his son with the bowl on the head and arms as his mother screamed 'you are going to kill him, you are going to kill him.'

Sekhon then began strangling Paul, who nearly passed out. He then picked up a sharp-edged bracelet and began hitting his blood-soaked son with it on his arms and body before Mrs Sekhon escape through the a patio doors and raised the alarm.

When she returned shortly afterwards her husband was still brutally attacking her son on his legs. But he managed to escape, leading his father to turn on Mrs Sekhon.

He turned to his wife, grabbed her by the hair, pinned her face down on the floor and said: 'I’m going to kill you now you have let that bastard go.' He struck her repeatedly about the head with a heavy ornament and sat on her as she was face down.

Miss Watson said at one point she pretended to be dead but when she moved her husband began beating her again. He bit one of her fingers and she felt he was trying to burn her as some liquid was poured over her.

When the police arrived Sekhon was stood over his unconscious wife who was still on the floor and he then stopped the attack and went to wash his hands.

Officers said Sekhon could only stare at them when they arrived - and they had to use a Taser to restrain him.

Miss Watson said: 'The police and paramedics found a scene of complete devastation. There was blood all over the room, on the walls, on the floor and on the sofa.'

Mrs Sekhon was rushed to hospital where she needed emergency treatment to survive. She has been left scarred for life and has had three operations on her badly damaged scalp and suffered injuries to her head, arms and hands and had broken fingers.

Her son had cuts to his head, arms and hands as well as broken fingers.

The court heard Sekhon had been controlling and abusive to his wife from the start of their marriage, both verbally and physically.

He broke her arm only a week after she had a caesarean birth and was also violent towards his children, one of whom ran away from home in fear of him.

Sekhon was effectively his wife’s carer on October 18 last year when the attack took place. She said in a victim impact statement that she still bears the mental scars, is scared to be alone and her road to recovery 'will be a long one.'

She said: 'I consider the arrival of the officers saved my life.'

Her son Paul had to take time off from his work as a carer and was now his mother’s main support. 'I don’t understand why my father acted as he did,' he said.

In mitigation Nawaz Hussain said the attack was not pre-meditated. He said: 'It was a normal family gathering and what came afterwards was all the more horrifying. It was a horrific loss of temper and self-control.'

He had clearly failed in his role as a 'husband and father' and when accounts of the incident were given to him he was 'sickened' as he remembered little of it.

'He will have no family on his release from prison and will not seek to contact them', said Mr Hussain. 'He may well see his final days in prison. 'He will have to live with the horror he has inflicted on his family to his last days.'

Judge Goose said: 'An argument developed, the cause is irrelevant but you lost your temper and began to attack Paul in a sustained and violent attack whilst your wife begged you to stop.'

He said Paul was defenceless as he was repeatedly struck with the bowl and then he was nearly strangled.

The judge went on: 'You knew your wife was vulnerable and had mobility problems and required a wheelchair yet still you struck her repeatedly on the head.

'You threatened to kill her and carried on a sustained attack with a heavy object. It was feared she might not survive due to the amount of blood she lost.'


Syphilis rate reaches highest level in the U.S. since 1995 as gay and bisexual men account for most of the rise

An unhealthy lifestyle

Health officials say syphilis has reached its highest level since 1995 with the increase all in men.

Syphilis remains far less common in the U.S. than many other sexually spread diseases. But there has been a steady rise in gay and bisexual men catching the disease. They account for most of the recent infectious cases.

Since 2005, the rate in men has nearly doubled. It is much lower in women and hasn't changed much.

Syphilis is a potentially deadly bacterial disease that surfaces as genital sores. It was far more common until antibiotics became available in the 1940s, slashing the number of annual cases to below 6,000.

Last year, there were nearly 17,000 cases.


The The Clarkson 'racism' row shows how out of touch liberal bullies are with the real world

Jeremy Clarkson has had a very bad week. The Top Gear host is reportedly being divorced by his wife of 21 years, with whom he has not lived for some time.

He is also being investigated by the media regulator Ofcom over his use of the word ‘slope’ about a bridge in an episode of the BBC2 motoring programme that was filmed in Thailand.

Evidently a ‘slope’ is not just a slight incline but also a derogatory reference to Asians. This was news to me.

And he has been carpeted by the BBC director-general Tony Hall after apparently mumbling the ‘N-word’ in a clip that was never broadcast. According to Clarkson’s own account, he has been given one more chance.

‘If I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked,’ he wrote.

We should therefore assume that, if the BBC sticks to its threat, the TV presenter will be shown the door pretty soon, because he loves scandalising people by saying things which normal, well-mannered folk do not say.

But is he a racist? I very much doubt it. Better call him a rebellious, ex-public schoolboy who loves larking around and has never really grown up. This is one reason why young people often like him, despite his relatively advanced years.

He was expelled from his school, Repton. I can imagine him sitting at the back of the class, not learning very much but occasionally coming up with a cunning and subversive question designed to drive his poor teacher crazy.

New boys at Repton were called ‘stigs’, and when Clarkson started Top Gear with an old school-mate, Andy Wilman (he’s the producer), they had the perhaps not very original but somehow appropriate idea of calling their sometimes put-upon test driver ‘The Stig’.

Top Gear is not really about cars. It is about Jeremy Clarkson — striking poses, challenging received wisdom, being rude, accepting (and making) daft and often infantile challenges.

And it has been fantastically successful — almost certainly the most successful series ever made by the BBC. In Britain, it attracts audiences of seven or eight million, making it BBC2’s most watched programme; while globally it has an international audience of some 350 million.

It has earned tens of millions of pounds for BBC Worldwide, which markets the programme, and made Clarkson and, to a slightly less extent, Wilman, very rich men. Clarkson is said to be worth £30?million, of which his wife Frances will deservedly get a large chunk if they do divorce.

This is my question. If Jeremy Clarkson really were a racist, would millions of people in this country watch Top Gear, and would hundreds of millions in Asia and other parts of the world, where almost no one is white, also remain glued to it?

There is an enormous gulf here between home-grown, sensitive, liberal types versed in all the by-ways of political correctness, and ordinary punters in Britain and abroad who like Clarkson and recognise that there is no apparent nastiness in him, let alone racism.

If Clarkson exuded a whiff of racism, or even a touch of post-imperial grandeur, tens of millions of television sets throughout the world would be switched off, and millions in this country would never be turned on.

They like him because he is an odd man who makes them laugh. Of course, I can’t vouch for what he may allegedly have said in the past to his nearest and dearest.

Look at the recent charges against him. In the unshown video, Clarkson recites the old nursery rhyme ‘Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe etc’, and when he gets to the N-word he mumbles it almost inaudibly, almost as an afterthought.
Jeremy Clarkson took to Twitter to apologise over his use of the 'Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe' nursery rhyme

Jeremy Clarkson took to Twitter to apologise over his use of the 'Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe' nursery rhyme

Yet human rights lawyer Lucy Scott-Moncrieff told the Daily Mirror, which published the video: ‘It is all about context. If there was a crew member who was distressed by it, then there could well have been a breach of equality legislation.’

Another lawyer, Lawrence Davies, said: ‘Clarkson has to be sacked, no matter how much money he makes for the BBC.’

This character, who runs the law firm Equal Justice, claims there have been ‘repeated’ racist jibes on Top Gear at the expense of Germans, Mexicans and Asians, among others.

What can you do with humourless people who are constitutionally programmed to make a mountain out of the tiniest molehill, and see scope for some idiotic legal action whose sole, and doubtful, benefit would be to make a clutch of wealthy lawyers even richer?

As for ‘slope’, Andy Wilman has apologised. He says the word was employed by way of a joke to convey ‘both the build quality of the bridge and a local Asian man who was crossing it’.

They hadn’t realised it was thought offensive by some people, and Clarkson wouldn’t have used it if he had known.

But among all the tens of millions of people who watched the show, it seems that not very many were upset. Ofcom, in all its pomp, has launched its inquiry after receiving just two complaints following the broadcast on March 16.

Oh, I SHOULD also mention that he did provoke a complaint from a hitherto rather obscure actress called Somi Guha, who consulted our old friends at Equal Justice with a view to suing the BBC.

Perhaps it would have been better if Clarkson hadn’t mumbled the N-word on a programme that was never broadcast. (It would, of course, be a different matter if it had been.)

And maybe ‘slope’ was a tactless thing to say. But at the very worst, these amount to minor errors of taste. They’re not evidence of racism.

My point is that, like many 17-year-old public schoolboys of his era, Clarkson cannot resist a rebellious dig at orthodoxy. And the orthodoxy in this instance is the stifling cloak of political correctness, which seeks to determine not only what can and cannot be said, but what can and cannot be thought.

He was recently accused of racism for naming his black terrier ‘Didier Dogba’, after the black former Chelsea football star Didier Drogba.

This was pretty puerile and rather unfunny, but it wasn’t racist. Clarkson was trying to enrage the politically correct wallahs, and, predictably over-sensitive as they are, I have no doubt he succeeded.

If Clarkson were not a cash cow for the BBC, he would of course have been sacked long ago. As he says a final warning has now been issued, it is hard to see how he can survive very long.

Last year, the BBC gained full worldwide distribution rights for Top Gear, paying Clarkson £8.4?million (plus a £4.86?million dividend payment) for his share, while Wilman trousered £5.6?million for his stake.

So it can get rid of its unruly presenter, and select an anodyne anchorman to carry on with the series. In which case it would soon collapse.

As an only occasional viewer, I can’t say I would lose much sleep. But I wouldn’t like to see Jeremy Clarkson felled by his narrow-minded critics.

For all his faults, he is an independent spirit who connects with tens of millions of people of all creeds and races. However absurd he sometimes is, they are confident he is not a racist.


Racist ThinkProgress Asserts black gun advocate Must Have Been Manufactured By The NRA

If you listen to the assertions made by ThinkProgress’s Jessica Goldstein, Colion Noir was manufactured by the NRA virtually overnight in an effort to con minorities into supporting gun rights.

Does that sound like too harsh a criticism of Goldstein’s rant? Judge for yourself.

Goldstein seems to believe that it is impossible that Noir could exist without someone else creating him. The incredible depths of racism exposed in her thought patterns are terribly disconcerting. She shows the depths of her dark fantasies by imagining precisely how he was created… by the demonic old white men that run the NRA, no doubt:

"As you can probably guess, Colion Noir is not his real name. It’s Collins Idehen. (Can you imagine the pitch meeting, trying to come up with the just-right fake name for the face of young black gun ownership? “How about Jack Black? Wait, that’s taken.” “You know, Noir means “black” in French.” “French? Isn’t that a little liberal-elite for our taste?” “No, trust me, people are going to like it.” “BOOM. Best brainstorm ever!”)"

She’s told us nothing about Noir, but she does strongly suggest that she sincerely thinks that a black American male cannot be well-spoken, have refined tastes for well-made things, be “hip,” and produce video with good production values without someone speaking through him, using him as a puppet.

Goldstein indulges in her thinly-veiled racism even more in the next paragraph:

"Noir seems to have emerged out of the ether; evidence of his earlier, real-name career is scant. In interviews, he recites an origin story that sounds too good to not be scripted: he told conservative news site The Blaze that he was “not too fond” of guns as a kid and didn’t fire one until after college, when he went with gun-owning friend to a range one day. “Quite frankly, when I stepped in I was terrified.” But once he fired, “it was literally love at first shot.”

You’ll note that she specifically chooses the term “origin story,” (a term generally used in the context of a comic book hero’s backstory) to continue her thesis that he couldn’t be a self-made man, but was the product of someone else’s imagination. She insists that he’s a scripted character.

Noir, the newly-manufactured (“scripted,” with a “just-right fake name”) NRA shill that Goldstein insists must be muttering lines in someone else’s minstrel show, just celebrated the third anniversary of his first video, uploaded May 8, 2011.

She cannot accept the thought that in a nation of 312 million souls, there exists young, successful, discerning minorities that hold views other than those approved by racial gatekeepers.

We haven’t learned anything about Colion Noir in this article, but I’m afraid that we’ve learned quite a bit about what Jessica Goldstein really thinks about black men in our society, and perhaps something about the sort of editors who would allow such an obviously bigoted article go to print.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


11 May, 2014

Another one of Britain's multicultural doctors at work

Four young boys left without a father

A grieving widow has won a five-year-battle and £50,000 in damages, gaining justice for her husband who died after his GP mistook his deadly bowel cancer for piles.

Christopher Goodhead died aged 41 in January 2009, four years after going to see GP Dr Asim Islam complaining of rectal bleeding.

His widow Melissa Cutting claimed Dr Islam's inadequate examination - carried out on his first day at a new practice - caused a fatal delay in diagnosing her husband's condition.

Mr Goodhead, a father-of-four, was not told he had rectal cancer until June 2007 - just weeks after completing the London Marathon.

The IT expert, originally from Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, had visited the doctor two years earlier in April 2005 at The Stansted Surgery, in Essex, near his new home near Stowmarket, in Suffolk.

Lawyers for Mrs Cutting told London's High Court that Dr Islam carried out nothing more than a 'simple visual examination' and failed to thoroughly investigate the problems.

Dr Islam denied any responsibility for the death, and his legal team insist Mr Goodhead 'would have died in any event' - even with specialist treatment from 2005.

Judge Dame Frances Patterson, sitting at the High Court, has now ruled that 'with earlier treatment Mr Goodhead would have lived for a short further period of some four months until May 2009'.

Following a five-year court battle, Mrs Cutting today told MailOnline: 'This judgement acknowledges a terrible wrongdoing that resulted in the early death from bowel cancer of my soulmate and husband.

'It can't ever right it and bring Chris back to me and our four young boys, but it highlights the failings of his GP, Dr Islam, that denied Chris a two-year window of cure from his illness and meant that from the moment he was finally diagnosed he was given no hope of beating the cancer.

'I was very pleased that the wrong that was done to my husband was acknowledged. 'In particular, that Chris was absolved of any responsibility was very, very important to me. 'He did feel hugely responsible but he had only believed what he was told. It was a huge relief for me to get that.'

Paying tribute to her late husband, Mrs Cutting, who has since remarried, said: 'Chris was a really beautiful man, both inside and out. We were married for 14 years. We met and married within the year, and three weeks after meeting him I knew he was the one.

'He was the most wonderful husband and father, he had a good job, he never invented anything, he didn't change the world. 'But he was just a wonderful, wonderful family man and we were very, very happy together. 'The only dream we had was to grow old together, losing him was just the biggest nightmare.

'He was utterly devastated to have to leave his family at such a young age and in such a terrible way.

'He endured the most horrific treatments to try and prolong his time with us and it breaks my heart to know that he lost a significant opportunity to be cured, or at the very least to gain more time with us, simply because he wasn't given the advice he should have been given.

'A partner at Dr Islam's surgery said to me shortly after Chris's death that thank goodness I had the boys, because she questioned whether I would be here without them, and I think she was right.

'I hope and pray that this ruling may help to save other families going through what we've had to endure by encouraging GPs to be vigilant to the threat of bowel cancer, especially with younger patients, and also patients with symptoms of bowel cancer to be persistent in making sure their symptoms are properly investigated.'

She added: 'Finding out he would have only survived four months longer had he been diagnosed - while I understand how the judge had to look at it from a legal point of view - I think it is hard to take.

'We all know early diagnosis is very important when it comes to bowel cancer.

'Even Dr Islam's side admitted during the case that had Mr Goodhead been diagnosed two years earlier, he would have had a 46 per cent chance of being cured. 'Our side said he would have been cured - cured - not just survived for longer.

'The trouble is, in trying to establish what might have happened to Chris, data relating to older patients was bowel cancer had to be used.

'I personally still believe the evidence given by my oncologist that said Chris would have been cured had he been diagnosed in 2005.'

Mrs Cutting said the couple's four sons, now aged 10, 13, 15 and 16, have found the last five years 'incredibly difficult'.

'They have absolutely backed me, all the way,' she said. 'They just wanted to see justice done for their dad.'

While the full settlement and costs have yet to be decided, Mrs Cutting said the £1.25million the family could receive as a result, pales into insignificance in the face of the judge's ruling.

'All the focus has been on the money but I am not someone who wants that kind of money,' she told MailOnline. 'I have a lovely life in Suffolk, we have talked about helping a charity in Uganda.

'But the judge's finding has taken the money out of the equation, this is about the right and wrongs of what happened to Chris.

'From a personal point of view I want to get across the need for people to be really vigilant to the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.

'No matter how old you are, it can happen to anybody. Keep questioning your doctor, ask for second opinions, even if your doctor sounds certain.

'There is a lot more publicity about bowel cancer now than there was when Chris fell ill. Beating Bowel Cancer is an amazing charity.

'I would also urge GPs to be vigilant too, make sure you know about the signs and symptoms.'

Despite the anguish losing her husband has caused Mrs Cutting and her family, the mother-of-four said she holds no ill feelings towards Dr Islam, accepting everybody makes mistakes.

'I would have loved Dr Islam to have acknowledged earlier what had happened,' she added.

'The trial was horrendous for me and my family, you certainly wouldn't go through that if you didn't have to.

'It would have been great not to have had to go through it. But I don't want to ruin his reputation, he is just a man, everybody makes mistakes in life.

'I do forgive him. I have a new life and I want to look forward. The grief never leaves you, I can't even contemplate watching a video with Chris in, even now five years on.'


Feminist old bag resents an attractive woman

The feminist

Legendary feminist scholar Gloria Jean Watkins ripped into Beyoncé during a panel discussion in New York this week, branding her 'anti-Feminist' and even a 'terrorist.'

Ain't I a Woman? author Gloria Jean Watkins - who goes by pen name 'bell hooks' was at a New School panel discussing the subject 'liberating the black female body' when she tackled the famous singer and her effect on young girls.

The subject was broached initially by Janet Mock, a transgendered activist and author, who wanted to discuss how inspirational she found the 32-year-old singer to be when writing her own book.

While noting she has issues with the controversial lyrics in Drunk in Love that refer to the domestic abuse between Ike and Tina Turner, for example, Mock lauded Mrs Carter for 'owning her body and claiming that space.'

But hooks disagreed: 'I see a part of Beyonce that is, in fact, anti-feminist - that is a terrorist, especially in terms of the impact on young girls.

'I actually feel like the major assault on feminism in our society has come from visual media and from television and videos.'

Queen Bey, of course, identifies herself as modern day Feminist and penned her own essay about the struggle to achieve gender equality.

Wearing a white bikini on a recent edition of Time, didn't advance the mother of one's case with bell. 'She probably had very little control over that cover, that image,' hooks said.

She added that she was adding to the 'construction of herself as a slave.'

Another panel member, Marci Blackman countered: 'Or she's using the same images that were used against her and us for so many years, and she's taking control over it and saying, "If y'all are going to make money off of it, so am I." There's collusion, perhaps, but there's also a bit of reclaiming, I think, if she's the one in control.'

She explained: 'Wealthy is what so many young people fantasize, dream about, sexualize, eroticize...and one could argue even more than her body is what that body stands for...wealth, fame, celebrity - all the things that so many people in our culture are lusting for, wanting.'

The radical voice continued: 'Let's say if Beyonce was a homeless woman who looked the same way, or a poor, down-and-out woman who looked the same way -would people be enchanted by her?

'Or is it the combination of all of those things that are at the heart of imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy?'


The New Statesman on Islam: both craven political correctness and fearless dissent

There is little doubt in my mind that the New Statesman magazine is suffused with the worst political correctness and abject apologia at the success of Western, liberal, open, capitalistic society. To its great credit, however, it also often gives space to dissenters from that Guardianista orthodoxy.

Those two faces of its personality are well displayed in its issues of 2nd – 8th May.

In the leader column the New Statesman declares "overwhelmingly, most Muslims, whether as a minority in Europe and the United States or in countries where Islam is the dominant faith, are no more or less peaceful than any other people on planet". That may or may not be so.

But how peaceful do the Muslim majorities, let alone the Christian minorities, find it in countries under Muslim majority rule? How about Syria, or even Pakistan, where Christians by the hundred have been incinerated in their churches? Where does The New Statesman find Christian car bombers slaughtering the innocents in Nigeria, Afghanistan or Iraq? Is there a Christian Boko Haram in Nigeria? Yes, there was the Lord's Resistance Army but little support for it from Christians or non-believers.

Of course mainstream Christianity has its history of violence and sectarianism, but Northern Ireland excepted, those days are long gone.

The editorial's wilful blindness to reality is compounded further on by the question "So what should we tolerate here in this country, concerning the subservience of women, for example, and pursuit of an extreme agenda by violence?.' and the answer given is "The former is tolerated as a price of pluralism; the latter is plainly criminal."

I find myself wondering what would the New Statesman be saying about the sex-selective slaughter of unborn baby girls, female genital mutilation, forced marriage of young girls, divorce on the whim of husbands, but not of wives, if these were advocated and practised by The Plymouth Brethren, the Salvation Army or the Vatican.

The struggle between The New Statesman's liberal conscience is well expressed in the leading article's final paragraph: "… sensitivity to complex cultural dynamics … must not lure liberal and progressive minds into apology for unjustifiable acts or views."

Well amen to that, but it goes on to tell us to be "equally vigilant against Islamophobia and against the misogyny, homophobia and anti-Semitism of radical Muslim preachers…"

That mythical beast, the PushMePullYou, is alive and well, being nourished at The New Statesman.

To the credit of the magazine, it also contains the antidote to its own leader column in the same edition in the substantial article by David Selbourne entitled "The Challenge of Islam". Perhaps I should compromise myself with one and a half cheers for the New Statesman.


David Selbourne: The challenge of Islam

The [Leftist] author was asked by John Kerry to write a briefing paper on the Islamist threat. He explains here what he told the US secretary of state and why he feels progressives have allowed themselves to be silenced by frightened self-censorship and the stifling of debate

A beheading in Woolwich, a suicide bomb in Beijing, a blown-up marathon in Boston, a shooting in the head of a young Pakistani girl seeking education, a destroyed shopping mall in Nairobi – and so it continues, in the name of Islam, from south London to Timbuktu. It is time to take stock, especially on the left, since these things are part of the world’s daily round.

Leave aside the parrot-cry of “Islamophobia” for a moment. I will return to it. Leave aside, too, the pretences that it is all beyond comprehension. “Progressives” might ask instead: what do Kabul, Karachi, Kashmir, Kunming and a Kansas airport have in common? Is it that they all begin with “K”? Yes. But all of them have been sites of recent Islamist or, in the case of Kansas, of wannabe-Islamist, attacks; at Wichita Airport planned by a Muslim convert ready to blow himself up, and others, “in support of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”. “We cannot stop lone wolves,” a British counterterrorism expert told us after Woolwich. Are they “lone”? Of course not.

A gas facility in southern Algeria, a hospital in Yemen, an Egyptian police convoy in the Sinai – it’s complex all right – a New Year’s party in the southern Philippines, a railway station in the Caucasus, a bus terminal in Nigeria’s capital, and on and on, have all been hit by jihadis, with hostages taken, suicide belts detonated, cars and trucks exploded, and bodies blown to bits. And Flight MH370? Perhaps. In other places – in Red Square and Times Square, in Jakarta and New Delhi, in Amman and who-knows-where in Britain – attacks have been thwarted. But in 2013 some 18 countries got it in the neck (so to speak) from Islam’s holy warriors.

There are battlefields and battlefields in this conflict. Some are theatres of actual or potential civil war, most often when Sunnis and Shias are at each other’s throats on behalf, respectively, of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Other battlefields are in failed or failing Muslim states, others again where the “infidel” has unwisely intruded upon and assaulted Muslim lands. At the same time, weapons and warriors are in constant movement in Islam’s cause across dis­solving national boundaries, many of them of western colonialism’s creation. And in India, with its 175 million Muslims, their mujahedin will be in action soon enough if Hindu nationalists come to power this month.

Jihadist groups, from Pakistan to the Philippines, also fight each other. But for the most part they are consolidating and expanding – often as affiliates of al-Qaeda – in the Arabian Peninsula, in the Maghreb, in Somalia and Kenya, in Iraq and Syria, in Gaza, in Bangladesh and in south-east Asia. There are separatist or secessionist Islamic insurgencies, too, from Russia’s Caucasus to north-west China, in southern Thailand, in Burma, in northern Nigeria and in divided Kashmir.

Warriors for Islam, believing that they are under “infidel” threat, today range an increasingly frontier-less world. That’s “globalisation” too. A car-bombing in New York – which failed – was planned by a Pakistani-American trained in a tribal area of northern Waziristan. Many would-be warriors from western countries learned their skills from Taliban instructors, going on to fight in Iraq as they now fight in Syria. There, ubiquitous “Bearers of the Sword” and “Defenders of the Faith” from Britain and France, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, Indonesia and Kazakhstan, and even Uighurs from Chinese Xinjiang, are to be found armed to the teeth in the battle against Assad while being trained for future combat in their countries of origin.

In the Islamist merry-go-round, jihadis from Libya – after the country’s collapse – went on to Syria, Tunisian holy warriors crossed into Mali, Egyptian and Canadian Muslim fighters were among the attackers on the refinery in Algeria, and Somalis from Minnesota have returned home to join al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda affiliate that carried out the Kenyan mall attack. Ugandan Islamists are in eastern Congo, and a Malaysian army captain was linked to two of the 9/11 hijackers. Beat this? No.

It is not “Islamophobia” that registers these facts. Instead, there is an objective historical need, and duty, to record radical Islam’s many-sided and determined advance upon the “infidel” world. Most still do not know what manner of force – the millions of peaceful Muslims notwithstanding – has struck it. And, with its own arms and ethics, it will continue to do so, perhaps till kingdom come.

Here US and western defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq – what else were they? – weigh heavily in the scale of things. In Afghanistan, despite the loss of many thousands of lives and at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, with huge waste and corruption by military contractors and with reliance on unsavoury local satraps, the Taliban remain active throughout the land. Even the US-trained Afghan army is riddled with their supporters. Yet American illusion has seen victory in the coming retreat, and in defeat a “mission accomplished”, in David Cameron’s absurd judgement.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan, set to recover from yet another western incursion into its land, has entered a long-term security pact with Iran. Similarly in Iraq, years of death and destruction and billions in reconstruction grants mostly lost to local and US corruption have left no stable government nor a reliable western ally. Instead, there is an intensifying Shia-Sunni civil war, with thousands of dead in 2013, while al-Qaeda insurgents have reconquered areas in western Iraq previously “captured” – another illusion – by US marines.

The complexities (and double-games) of the Islamic world are a labyrinth for the “infidel”. It is a labyrinth that western reason, such as it now is, has never mastered, and that it cannot master now with hellfire missiles and unmanned drones.

After all, the political wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood calls itself the “Freedom and Justice” party – well, yes and no, and it certainly offers little freedom or justice to women. Again, some of the Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia included, pose as western allies and host US air and naval bases but give covert support to selected jihadist groups. And what does the western illus­ionist make of the fact that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, and are said to have had covert financial and logistical support from Saudi diplomats and intelligence officials?

There is little in all this for “progressives” to cheer. Yet the left continues covertly to celebrate US foreign policy blunders and defeats, while the naive see jihadists as a minority of “fanatics”. It is not so simple. To add to the confusion, President Obama’s stances, however well intentioned, have made their own contribution to the Islamic renaissance. Or as he expressed it in a speech in Cairo in June 2009, America and Islam “share common principles . . . of justice and progress, tolerance” – tolerance? – “and the dignity of all human beings”.

In Shia Iran, memories of the historic Persian empire are quickening as Tehran’s foes flail around in the face of its ayatollahs’ ambitions and wiles. Above all, Iran has got the west on the ropes with its nuclear programme. The interim “freeze” to its uranium enrichment activities was not what it seemed; on Iranian TV on 21 February Behrouz Kamalvandi, of the national Atomic Energy Organisation, declared that the country’s nuclear commitments were “temporary and non-obligatory”. Iran still has a stockpile of enriched uranium, and still has tens of thousands of centrifuges, with nuclear research continuing, including on new advanced centrifuges. A “freeze” on further enrichment up to weapons grade, and a “downgrading” of some of its existing stockpile to less potent levels, were more tokens than substance. It left Iran usefully on the cusp of producing a nuclear weapon within a very short time, if (or when) it chooses, while it can continue to develop and test ballistic missiles.

With more than 500 executions, including for “waging war on God”, since the “moderate” Rowhani came to office – more per capita, one might say, than any other country – with its new pact with Afghanistan, its joint naval manoeuvres with Pakistan, its growing influence in Iraq, its behind-the-scenes accords with Russia, its improving relations with Islamising Turkey (and even with Jordan and Morocco), its dominance over Damascus, its ambitions to rule the Gulf and with two warships despatched in January to the Atlantic, Iran’s present course is clear. Moreover, the true secret of the nuclear “deal” was that Iran does not yet need a nuclear weapon, but it did urgently need sanctions relief. With its Revolutionary Guard shipping arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon and to Hamas in Gaza, it will move on to nuclear weapons in its own good time.....

To the aid of Islam has also come the betrayal by much of today’s left of its notionally humane principles, as Christians are assaulted and murdered (shades of what was done to the Jews in the 1930s) and their churches desecrated and destroyed from Egypt to the Central African Republic, from Iran to Indonesia, and from Pakistan to Nigeria. Islam can kill its own apostates, too; in many Muslim countries denies reciprocity to other faiths in rights of worship; and seeks to prevent reasoned discussion about its beliefs by attempted resort to blasphemy laws.

So where is the old left’s centuries-long espousal of free speech and free thought? Where is the spirit of Tom Paine? The answer is simple. It has been curbed by frightened self-censorship and by the stifling of debate, in a betrayal of the principles for which “progressives” were once prepared to go to the stake. And just as some Jews are too quick to call anti-Zionists “anti-Semites”,
so some leftists are too quick to tar critics of Islam as “Islamophobes”.

To add to such falsehoods come the illusionists of every stripe, with their unknowing, simplistic or false descriptions of Islam as a “religion of peace”. Even today’s Pope – as the Christian faithful were being harried, persecuted or put to the sword in Nigeria, Syria, Iraq and beyond – told the world in November 2013 that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Quran are opposed to every form of violence”. But read the text yourself, and you will see that jihadists can find plenty justification for the acts they commit, even if most Muslims are pacific.

Karl Marx was wiser than the Pope. In March 1854, he wrote that for “Islamism” – the word was already in use – “the Infidel is the enemy” and that the Quran “treats all foreigners as foes”.

The present renaissance of Islam, additionally provoked, as ever, by western aggressions against its lands, is an old story of swift movement and conquest, as in the 7th century. Is something like it stirring again? Perhaps; you decide. In 50 years’ time the world will know for sure.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


9 May, 2014

Admissions of wrongdoing are very rare from blacks

They mostly maintain their assertions of innocence to the end -- even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Just one more example below. In most accounts of black crime on this blog, no admissions were made

The family of 19-year-old Dante Williams, shot while attempting to rob a Waffle House in South Carolina, say that Williams didn’t have to die and was a “respectable boy.”

The incident, caught on security cameras, shows Williams and Jawan Craig enter the Spartanburg Waffle House, point a gun at the cashier, and demand the cash in the register.

Justin Harrison, a concealed carry permit holder, was sitting at the bar area. “They’re yelling ‘everybody get down, get down’ and I’m not getting on the floor. I am not going to be a victim,” Harrison recalls.

After Harrison refuses to get down, Williams starts to approach him but Harrison stands up and fires multiple shots at Williams. Harrison then turns to Craig who tries to wrestle the gun away but is unable to and ends up fleeing. Police later arrested him and charged him with armed robbery.

“This was the only time. If I am going to fight it was that one time. He was approaching me and I saw that as him engaging me,” Harrison says.

Former Spartanburg deputy David Blanton was Harrison’s concealed weapons permit instructor and says “not only was he defending his own life, which the law says he can do, but there were other people in the restaurant.”

Of course, Williams’ cousin Tamika McSwain disagrees. “I understand he felt threatened by the situation but he said the gun was pointed at him so he fired. In fact, [Williams] was walking out,” says McSwain.

Recalling her time with Williams, she says “he was always sharp, always goofy, loved to dance, he was a respectable boy.”

Regardless of Tamika’s qualms, Harrison’s shooting has been ruled as justified by both the Sheriff’s Office and the Seventh Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Meanwhile, Craig has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for taking part in the thwarted robbery.


Policing Thought Crime

Jonah Goldberg

In 1920, a bond salesman walked into Joseph Yenowsky's Waterbury, Conn., clothing store. Yenowsky was a tough sell. During their lengthy conversation, Yenowsky told the salesman he thought Vladimir Lenin, the Russian Bolshevik leader, was "the brainiest man" in the world. The bond salesmen turned Yenowsky in to the police for sedition. Yenowsky got six months in jail under a Connecticut statute.

This was hardly an isolated incident during the so-called "Red Scare" of the World War I era. In Syracuse, three activists were arrested for circulating fliers protesting the conditions of America's political prisoners. The subversive flier quoted the First Amendment. They got 18 months in prison. In Washington, D.C., a man refused to stand for the The Star-Spangled Banner. A furious sailor shot the "disloyal" man three times in the back. When the man fell, the Washington Post reported, "the crowd burst into cheering and handclapping." An Indiana jury deliberated for two minutes before it acquitted a man of murdering an immigrant who'd said "To hell with the United States."

A number of conditions were necessary for this totalitarian fever that gripped America. The law -- state, federal and local -- was arrayed against any free speech deemed "un-American." But so were the people. There was a broad consensus that there was a real threat posed to the U.S. from abroad -- and from within -- in the form of Bolsheviks, anarchists and disloyal immigrants or "hyphenated Americans" (e.g. German-Americans or Irish-Americans). Woodrow Wilson's administration fueled this climate. Wilson himself proclaimed that "Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready."

It's valuable to remember all of this for several reasons. First, it's good to know such things can happen here ("even" under the leadership of liberals and progressives). Also, it's good to understand that things have been worse than they are today. There's a tendency to think our government has only become more intrusive and censorial than ever. That's simply untrue. Last, we should be wary of thought-crime panics.

Again, things aren't nearly so bad as when Wilson's Attorney General, Mitchell A. Palmer, set about to eradicate the "disease of evil thinking." That's a pretty low bar for an open and tolerant society. Still, in the last few months, many institutions have been struggling to clear it. Rutgers University invited Condoleezza Rice to be a commencement speaker, but she was bullied out of it. Brandeis University offered Ayaan Hirsi Ali -- a Somali-born women's rights champion and critic of Islamic fundamentalism -- an honorary degree until protests from faculty and students kiboshed that. Azusa Pacific University recently chickened out of a speech invitation to Charles Murray.

I visit about a dozen campuses a year, and at nearly every one, it's common to hear tales about how the social or administrative policing of thought crimes is all the rage. The latest buzz phrase is "microaggression." These are allegedly racist, homophobic or sexist statements made by people with no bigoted intent. Essentially, if someone can rationalize a reason to take offense that's all the proof required. Microagressions are the new vectors for the "disease of evil thinking."

Off campus, things haven't been much better. Watch MSNBC for 10 minutes and you will learn that Republicans are simply champions of "white supremacy" deserving no respect or quarter. I have no sympathy for disgraced L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling's views about race, but there's something troubling about how so many people are comfortable with vilifying a man for something he said in private, possibly even during couples' counseling. While conservatives and libertarians have lamented various calls to silence dissent, mainstream liberals seem unconcerned by calls to prosecute climate change skeptics.

In Washington, Democrats increasingly resort to charges of racism or sexism whenever they hear ideas they don't like. Democratic House leaders Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer have dubbed critics of Obamacare "simply un-American." Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid insists the libertarian Koch brothers are "un-American." President Obama himself has a knack for suggesting that he cares about America while his opponents don't. He also likes to suggest the time for debate is over on the issues where he's made up his mind.

Defenders of the thought-crime crackdown will fairly insist today is different from things in Yenowsky's day. Fighting bigotry is an obvious good, unlike the crackdown on domestic radicals. Yes and no. Sure, fighting bigotry is right and good, but so is defending the United States from those who would do it harm. The test isn't in the motives but in the methods. Today, it is a kind of evil-thinking not to be part of the war on evil thinking. And so the cause of tolerance demands evermore intolerance.


Revulsion over Jeremy Clarkson has become a badge of honour for the left

Even The Guardian thinks political correctness is going too far. See below

If you wait by the river long enough, they used to say, the body of your enemy will float by. Unfortunately, these days you may be unable to discern it among the teeming flotilla of lesser and distractingly irrelevant corpses, comprising – but certainly not limited to – obscure prospective Ukip councillors, footballers, presenters, and applicants to second-tier reality formats.

Maybe race rows are cheaper by the dozen, in which case the last month has represented incredible value for the great British public. However, if you are one of those oddbods who loathe racism but find yourself increasingly troubled and/or bored by the form such thrice-weekly things take, then these are not the most encouraging of times.

Clearly there are plenty who think that Jeremy Clarkson should have been sacked for the mumbled Top Gear outtake he is documented as having been at pains to rescind – just as I'm sure there were plenty within US law enforcement who were perfectly satisfied with Al Capone's conviction for tax evasion. It's a question of ambition. It's unfashionable to have too much of it, which is why all right-thinking people to the left of Ukip – from Tories to commies – are supposed to regard it as a triumph each time a news outlet's exposé forces Nigel Farage to outlaw some nobody for a vile thing they said on social media three years ago. This, apparently, is a win, even though the evidence suggests it simply calcifies the sense of asymmetric warfare against Ukip out there in the unreachable spaces where all those rising numbers of people who are going to vote for the party are living their unknowable lives.

Admittedly, Clarkson rather complicated matters on Thursday night by releasing a video statement that seemed to begin as a classic non-apology apology, but ended up in a bizarre class of one: perhaps the first recorded instance of the hugely apologetic non-apology. He was "begging your forgiveness" for something he was simultaneously claiming not to have done.

But if we discount that for a moment, it is hard not to be struck by the blunt and useless standard of debate that has characterised this latest flare-up on an issue of monumental sensitivity, just as it has characterised so many before it. Most of the coverage of – and an unscientific half of the reaction to – Clarkson's mumbling of what sounded like the N-word in a Top Gear outtake has appeared to be based on the misapprehension that the only context in which to consider one of Jeremy Clarkson's remarks is a selection of Jeremy Clarkson's other remarks. It's a sweet idea, but it's not going to win any arguments. In fact, as should be obvious by now, it's more likely to lose them.

Even if they are born from the same small and nasty place – and for me it is an if, though for others it won't be – calling your dog Didier Dogba just isn't of the same magnitude as publicly ridiculing Mexicans as feckless and fat and lazy. The apparently unpalatable truth for many on the left, where it is tempting to wear our reflexive revulsion at this sort of thing as a badge of honour, is that the journey towards a kinder and more civilised society can be hampered as much by the overly pious progressive as it can by the recalcitrant regressive. How can you possibly demand others realise the power of nuance if you shrilly decline to deploy it yourself?

By trotting out a smorgasbord of Clarksonisms, Jeremy's would-be nemeses imagine they are producing an irresistible weight of evidence, when in fact their failure to distinguish between the gravity of dismissing an entire, frequently vilified race, and what someone chooses to name their private pet, implies an equivalence in such a specious manner that it undermines what ought to be a just argument. It should smell wrong to anyone, whether they do it knowingly or out of stupidity. It certainly smells wrong to people who might need persuading that the world should move on, with the result that they switch off entirely at a moment that might in more nuanced hands be regarded as a teachable one.

Still, we've all got to have a view, haven't we, and the apparent popularity of these stagey debates among the vocal might seem to imply that to be tired of race rows is to be tired of life. But are these increasingly, troublingly identikit explosions what the idealists might hope: a sign of hand-over-fist progress, where what once might have been regarded as a minor offence is now come down upon like a ton of bricks by a righteously avenging force that swells in number by the day? Or are they becoming the elevator music of public life, an insidious reinforcement of a polarised status quo, a pseudo event in which the chief bigots are privately more than happy to get caught up because it galvanises their own troops?

To listen to the airwaves or read the internet when these things are running is to watch little more than the rabid restating of previously held views. Behold the endless entrenching of positions, which appears not to result in a single defection from either side to the other – a sort of rolling wasted opportunity, which will be coming around again before the spittle's dry on this round.


The War Against The Jews

Nearly seventy years after the end of the Holocaust and its recent commemoration, Jews frequently recite the pledge of "Never Again"; yet, the war against the Jews continues and with the exception of a few lone voices, no one within government, Jewish leadership, the media, or authority is responding.

The war against the Jews did not end with the defeat of Nazi Germany. While there may have been a respite for a few decades, it has raised its ugly head once again, and presently threatens European Jewry, Israel, and increasingly North American Jewry. From Western European capitols to Ukrainian cities in the east, anti-Semitism is on the rise, while we in North America are witnessing an ever increasing climate of anti-Semitic hate on college campuses and the Internet.

The Nazi uniform of yesterday has been replaced by young Muslim men hiding under their keffiyehs (terrorist scarves) chanting "death to the Jews" and "death to Israel". Under the guise of freedom of speech, they terrorize Jewish youth on the streets of Paris, American campuses or as in NYU, their dormitories. The Muslim Student Association, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, with over 1000 chapters across our college campuses is permitted to incite and wreck havoc upon young Jews that would never be permitted against Muslims or Blacks. During Israeli Apartheid Week, young Jews are called Nazis, racists and baby killers. Where are the cries of the righteous among us? Where are the voices of the Chancellors, the Presidents, Board of Directors, and the faculties in the halls of academia? Their eerie silence speaks volumes and their tolerance of evil is a moral failure that will haunt their universities for time to come.

Israel, the only Jewish state, with half of the Jewish population has been earmarked for destruction by those who wish for a Judenrein Middle East. While Muslims have a majority in 49 countries with an Arab land mass of over 5 million square miles, Jews with a sliver of land to call their own are begrudged the right to self-determination, a right allotted to all other nations. Condemnation for the Jewish ancestral homeland is a favorite pastime at the United Nations, the European Union, and this American administration. On April 25th of this year, John Kerry, warned Israel at a meeting with world leaders that "Israel will become an apartheid State if it doesn't make peace soon." Note that this warning was not directed at the "Palestinians" who refuse to even recognize a Jewish state, but at a Jewish democratic ally who has traded land for peace, only to receive acts of terror in return.


In a recent study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress, results from the 2013 survey show that anti-Semitic attacks are growing in their intensity and cruelty. The number and type of violent attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions is worsening.
There were 554 registered violent anti-Semitic acts, perpetrated with weapons or without, by arson, vandalism and direct threats, against persons, synagogues, community centers and schools, cemeteries, monuments and private property in 2013.

The highest number of recorded incidents comes from France: 116, a rise in violent cases has also been noted in the UK, with 95 cases compared to 84 in 2012, and in Canada, 83 compared to 74; in Germany: 36 compared to 23; 23 in the Ukraine, compared to 15; 15 cases in Russia (11 in 2012), and 14 in Hungary (12 in 2012). (IsraelNationalNews.com, 4/27; "Europe: Jewish Life "Unsustainable" Due to Rising Anti-Semitism")

In Canada, B'nai B'rith Director, Frank Diamant recently stated "The current level of anti-Semitism in Canada as compared with data from a decade ago shows a leap of 49%,". "Jews of all ages are subjected to hate acts at work, in school and even in the playgrounds," he added. Despite Canada's efforts - both domestically and internationally - to deal with anti-Semitism, the prejudices still exist in the country."


Taking a page from Nazi Germany during the 1930's when many Jewish intellectuals were ostracized and Jewish businesses were boycotted, today's Muslims are hoping to achieve what they could not achieve on the battlefield, the delegitimization and isolation of Israel. What started out as a "Palestinian" movement across college campuses in an effort to dismantle the Jewish state, has now blossomed into a world wide movement to strip a Jewish country of international recognition and its very livelihood. While Israel has a healthy vibrant economy, the BDS movement with its vicious deceitful propaganda has made inroads among today's youth, the media, universities, and businesses throughout the globe. And once again reminiscent of the 1930's, Jewish professors are barred from symposiums in Europe and Israeli scientists are not welcome at various European universities.


While individual Jews are feeling the sting of anti-Semitism world wide, it is Israel, the collective Jewish home that is existentially threatened for eradication. The Mullah's in Iran have been quite clear about their intentions; yet, the United States, formerly the leader of the free world, is permitting Iran to move full steam ahead. Under a charade of a coalition of nations, we have decreased economic sanctions for a short term freeze of portions of Iran's nuclear program; yet, there is no indication that Iran has given up their mission to wipe Israel off the map. On the contrary, the vitriol continues. The Ayatollah Khomeini called Israel a "fake" regime that will be "eliminated" and during Al Quads (Jerusalem) Day thousands chant "Death to Israel" at mass rallies. Iran's calls for genocide is a violation against the 1948 Convention Against Genocide to which it is a signatory and calls for the destruction of a U.N. member state is a violation of the U.N. charter, but the world body remains silent. What other country, but a Jewish one, is continuously threatened with genocide or has to justify its existence?

Prior to the establishment of Israel, Jews were at the mercy of others, and too often found themselves staring down the barrel of a gun. Out of the ashes of the Holocaust sprung forth a rebirth of a Jewish nation with the promise that Jews will never have to fear their persecutors again. This time, they too will be armed and ready should the need arise. Well the need has arisen. There is a war against the Jews....on college campuses, in the biased media, within governments, and the United Nations. Islam and its practitioners seek to finish the job begun by the Nazis. History appears to be repeating itself; the world once again has turned a blind eye, as have many Jews. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised that there will be no second Holocaust. We should hold him to that promise. Unlike the 1930's, I urge you to rise up. Stand up and be not afraid.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


8 May, 2014

Multicultural nutritionist exploits faith in vitamins

A Harley Street nutritionist has been fined after claiming his fitness regime could combat cancer as effectively as chemotherapy.

Former bodybuilder Dr Stephen Ferguson, 45, provided a range of protein shakes and multivitamin drinks, which had 'cured' two of his clients.

The health food range could also heal epilepsy, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis, according to his website.

With 300 video testimonials from satisfied clients on the website, The Natural Health Clinic enjoyed a turnover of £70,000 in its first year of business.

But today, Dr Ferguson was fined £1,750 for violating the Cancer Act. The act was designed to protect vulnerable people from unprofessional advice.

Sentencing, District Judge Adrian Turner told Hammersmith Magistrate's Court: 'The written material refers to cancer, with a link to the clinic. 'It is plainly implied this is someone who treats cancer. 'Any member of the public would believe this is someone who has treated and in two cases cured cancer.

'I’m satisfied Dr Ferguson was fully involved with everything that’s on his site and anyone reading this would have no doubt this was an offer of services for those seeking treatment for cancer.

'I’m in no doubt those YouTube testimonials are a major part of the company’s business in treating cancer and Dr Ferguson’s approach to the Cancer Act has been a head in the sand one.'

Vitamin C capsules sold on Dr Ferguson's website were captioned with the testimonial: 'Many have said it helps them get rid of cancer.'

Other products included Multivitamin PH Balancer, Blood Cleanser & Energy Booster and a Tropical Fruit Whey Protein Powder, which were advertised as cures for the life-threatening disease, as well as for asthma, arthritis, and diabetes.

It was also implied the clinic was involved in the successful treatment of a patient with prostate cancer.

The business flourished between June 17 and October 2 last year, until the council received a complaint.

In a bid to distance himself from the website's content, and video adverts uploaded to YouTube, Dr Ferguson told the court a female employee was responsible. 'She was meant to stick to specific guidelines and not put on anything about treating cancer or anything like that,' he said. 'She was asked not to include her own personal views on there.

'I know it should not say anything that says we are treating cancer. It’s purely for diet and fitness and exercise and nothing else.'

Acknowledging a video strap line that included the word 'cured' for a Merkel cell tumour treatment, Dr Ferguson told the court: 'I don’t know how it got there.'

He denied uploading the YouTube content to a page owned by username ‘SFSTEVE100’, and claimed not to know who did.

'I don’t write on my website, I have other people update it for me. I was checking the website, but obviously not everything that went on there, there’s three thousand pages,' he added.

The judge also ordered Dr Ferguson to pay £2,500 costs and a £120 victim surcharge, telling him: 'You are not accused of quackery, no one is saying you are not a qualified nutritionist.

'These are reckless offences, not a deliberate attempt by you to exploit the vulnerable.'


The economics of political correctness

Over the past few years, spiked online magazine has consistently and robustly defended the principle of free speech against the censorship demands of the politically correct, whatever quarter they may come from. It is great, of course, that there is at least one magazine in which the phrase ‘I believe in free speech’ is unlikely to be followed by a ‘but…’, and more likely to be followed by an ‘even for…’. But while I fully support the spiked line, I also think the spiked authors sometimes misinterpret the intentions of the ‘PC brigade’, and would like to offer an alternative interpretation rooted in boring, old-fashioned textbook economics.

Spiked authors believe that PC is driven by a loathing for ordinary people. According to spiked, PC brigadiers view ordinary folks as extremely impressionable, easily excitable, and full of latent resentment. Exposure to the wrong opinions, even isolated words, could immediately awaken the lynch mob. PC, then, is about protecting ‘the vulnerable’ from the nasty tendencies of the majority population.

But if PC was not really about protecting anyone, and really all about expressing one’s own moral superiority, PC credentials would be akin to what economists call a ‘positional good’.

A positional good is a good that people acquire to signalise where they stand in a social hierarchy; it is acquired in order to set oneself apart from others. Positional goods therefore have a peculiar property: the utility their consumers derive from them is inversely related to the number of people who can access them.

Positionality is not a property of the good itself, it is a matter of the consumer’s motivations. I may buy an exquisite variety of wine because I genuinely enjoy the taste, or acquire a degree from a reputable university because I genuinely appreciate what that university has to offer. But my motivation could also be to set myself apart from others, to present myself as more sophisticated or smarter. From merely observing that I consume the product, you could not tell my motivation. But you could tell it by observing how I respond once other people start drinking the same wine, or attending the same university.

If I value those goods for their intrinsic qualities, their increasing popularity will not trouble me at all. After all, the enjoyment derived from wine or learning is not fixed, so your enjoyment does not subtract from my enjoyment. I may even invite others to join me – we can all have more of it.

But if you see me moaning that the winemakers/the university have ‘sold out’, if you see me whinging about those ignoramuses who do not deserve the product because they (unlike me, of course) do not really appreciate it, you can safely conclude that for me, this good is a positional good. (Or was, before everybody else discovered it.) We can all become more sophisticated wine consumers, and we can all become better educated. But we can never all be above the national average, or in the top group, in terms of wine-connoisseurship, education, income, or anything else. We can all improve in absolute terms, but we cannot all simultaneously improve in relative terms.

And that is what positional goods are all about – signalising a high position in a ranking, that is, a relation to others. This leads to a problem. Positional goods are used to signalise something that is by definition scarce, and yet the product which does the signalling is not scarce, or at least not inherently. You can increase the number of goods which signal a position in the Top 20 (of whatever), but the number of places in that Top 20 will only ever be, er, twenty. Increasing the number of signalling products will simply destroy their signalling function. Which is why the early owners of such a signalling product can get really mad at you if you acquire one too.

We have all seen this phenomenon. Those of my age (1980 vintage) have probably witnessed it for the first time in their early teens, when an increasing number of their schoolmates tried to look like Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, and being a fan of that band lost its ‘edginess’. ‘Being alternative’ is a positional good. We cannot all be alternative [1]. Literally not.

Now remember how the ‘early adopters’ responded when Nirvana fandom went mainstream, and their social status was threatened, because there are clear parallels with PC: some of them went on to more extreme styles; others tried to repair the broken signal by giving endless sermons about the differences between ‘those who are in the know’ and ‘the poseurs’.

PC-brigadiers behave exactly like owners of a positional good who panic because wider availability of that good threatens their social status. The PC brigade has been highly successful in creating new social taboos, but their success is their very problem. Moral superiority is a prime example of a positional good, because we cannot all be morally superior to each other. Once you have successfully exorcised a word or an opinion, how do you differentiate yourself from others now? You need new things to be outraged about, new ways of asserting your imagined moral superiority.

You can do that by insisting that the no real progress has been made, that your issue is as real as ever, and just manifests itself in more subtle ways. Many people may imitate your rhetoric, but they do not really mean it, they are faking it, they are poseurs (here’s a nice example). You can also hugely inflate the definition of an existing offense (plenty of nice examples here.) Or you can move on to discover new things to label ‘offensive’, new victim groups, new patterns of dominance and oppression.

If I am right, then Political Correctness is really just a special form of conspicuous consumption, leading to a zero-sum status race. The fact that PC fans are still constantly outraged, despite the fact that PC has never been so pervasive, would then just be a special form of the Easterlin Paradox.

Keep up the good work, spiked team. But bear in mind that you are up against a powerful economic force.


There does seem to be a competition to find more and more things "offensive"

Sri Lanka thanks Australia for its support against UN "Human rights" inquisition

Judging by recent human rights criticisms of Britain by the UN, the UN is off with the fairies in such critiques. See here and here

The Sri Lankan government has publicly thanked Australia for its "bold" decision not to co-sponsor a UN resolution to investigate alleged human rights abuses in the south Asian nation.

According to a statement by the Sri Lankan high commission, Sri Lanka thanked Australia for the "bold decision of not co-sponsoring this year’s human rights resolution on Sri Lanka’’.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and the head of Operation Sovereign Borders, Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell, welcomed a Sri Lanka delegation, including Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, formally invited by the federal government.

"[The] government of Australia considers accountability and human rights concerns should be addressed within an internal mechanism and not by any international investigation as suggested by other countries," the high commission statement said.

"[The] Australian side indicated that they would render all possible assistance to Sri Lanka in this regard," it said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop then met with the country's External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris. During their meeting, Mr Peiris also thanked Ms Bishop for her understanding of the "Sri Lankan situation", and for declining to co-sponsor the Resolution against Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council in March, the high commission said in a separate statement.

A spokeswoman for Ms Bishop said the meeting between the two ministers was confidential.

"The Australian Government has a well known policy of engagement with the Sri Lankan Government and a constructive and diverse relationship with Sri Lanka. We continue to work closely with the Sri Lankan Government on a range of matters," she said.

International lawyers have strongly condemned the delegation meeting, saying it was a distraction to the country's gross human rights violations - including forced abductions, torture, and extrajudicial killings by state forces, land seizures by the military and oppression of political opponents that plagued Sri Lanka during the 26-year civil war that ended in 2009.

“The visit shows the price this Government is willing to pay in its one-eyed obsession to stop the boats," said Emily Howie, director of Advocacy and Research Human Rights Law Centre. "Not just silence on ongoing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, but a concerted effort to stifle international efforts at justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity," Ms Howie said.

Ms Bishop voiced her opposition to an international investigation into the alleged war crimes in March, saying she was not convinced that the UN-backed inquiry was "the best way forward", refusing to co-sponsor the UN's independent investigation.

During November's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Australia did not join other major countries that crtiticised the regime's human rights abuses. Both India and Canada boycotted the meeting, while the United Kingdom's prime minister David Cameron publicly condemned the regime. In contrast, Prime Minister Tony Abbott presented the government with two patrol boats.


Liberal Press Silent on Boko Haram

220 schoolgirls haven't been 'abducted' by Boko Haram, they have been enslaved. Boko Haram is a vile manifestation, yet the liberal press stays silent, fearful of 'demonising the other'

Terrorists from a religious cult so reactionary you don't have to stretch the language too far to describe it as fascistic attack a school. The assault on a civilian target, filled with non-combatant children, has a grotesque logic behind it. They call themselves "Boko Haram", which translates as "western education is forbidden". The sect regards learning as oppression. They will stop all teaching that conflicts with a holy book from the 7th century and accounts of doubtful provenance on the life and sayings of their prophet written hundreds of years after he died.

A desire for sexual supremacy accompanies their loathing of knowledge. They take 220 schoolgirls as slaves and force them to convert to their version of Islam. They either rape them or sell them on for £10 or so to new masters. The girls are the victims of slavery, child abuse and forced marriage. Their captors are by extension slavers and rapists.

As you can see, English does not lack plain words to describe the foulness of the crimes in Nigeria, and no doubt they would be used in the highly improbable event of western soldiers seizing and selling women.

Yet read parts of the press and you enter a world of euphemism. They have not been enslaved but "abducted" or "kidnapped", as if they will be released unharmed when the parties have negotiated a mutually acceptable ransom. Writers are typing with one eye over their shoulder: watching their backs to make sure that no one can accuse them of "demonising the other".

Turn from today's papers to the theoretical pages of leftwing journals and you find that the grounds for understanding Boko Haram more and condemning it less were prepared last year.

Without fully endorsing Boko Haram, of course, socialists explained that it finds "resonance in the hearts of many poor and dispossessed" people, who are revolted by "the corruption and flamboyant lifestyle of the elites". Islamism is recast as a rational reaction to local corruption and the global oppression of "neoliberalism", one of those conveniently vague labels that can mean just about anything.

Once, rightwing newspapers or ultra-Catholic or orthodox Jewish writers would have been the least concerned about the subjugation of women and the most willing to find excuses for religious persecution. But with the reliability of a speaking clock, it is leftwing writers of the 21st century who seek to minimise violent reaction if – and only if – the reactionaries are anti-western. (They speak out against the lesser crimes of the US religious right, without a thought for their own double standards.)

"The mechanical denunciation of the west," wrote the French political theorist Pascal Bruckner in 2010, "forbids the western bloc, which is eternally guilty, to judge or combat other systems, other states, other religions. Our past crimes command us to keep our mouths closed." He might have been writing today, so persistent is the belief that the west is the root cause of the only oppression worth mentioning.

But the appearance that nothing has changed is deceptive. It was always absurd, and in its own way racist, to blame the problems of the world on "the west". Leftists came to resemble American neoconservatives. The US right, or an element of it, thought American military power could solve any ill. The left, or an element of it, talked as if the west was responsible for all ills. Both were self-obsessed. Both believed that the west remained the motor of history while the rest of humanity were bit players.

The most grievous offence was the failure of solidarity. You cannot ally with what liberal and leftwing forces there are in any country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe if your are blaming their oppression on colonialism, neoliberalism or any other "ism" that is buzzing around in your head. You will end up excusing your comrades' enemies instead.

If occidentalism was absurd in the past, it's preposterous now. Boko Haram is not reacting to western intervention in Nigeria, for there is none. The only way you can pretend the west is to blame is by agreeing that knowledge is "western knowledge", rather than the property of the entire human race, and that the education of girls is "western cultural imperialism" – a road that leads you to nihilism as soon as you step down it.

Meanwhile, we are moving faster than anyone expected to a new age in which China will be the world's largest economy. For the first time since the 18th century, the dominant power will not allow internal opposition or the Chinese equivalent of the campaigns on behalf of the victims of its foreign policy that we saw in Britain, France and the US in the last 200 years. We have not begun to understand the turn for the worse the cause of global human rights is taking as empires shift.

On the few occasions western leftists feel they have to justify themselves, they say they must dedicate their energies to challenging what they can change. They cannot influence the Taliban or Boko Haram, but can lobby their own governments. Even if you take these explanations at face value – and I don't – they have a Tory feel to them. Until recently, it was conservatives, not leftists, who said that "charity begins at home" and quarrels in faraway countries were no concern of ours.

Peter Singer, a great radical philosopher, made the old distinction clear with a thought experiment. Imagine you are passing a shallow pond and see a child going under. You know that if you save the child you will ruin your clothes. Should you wade in? Of course you should, everyone replies: "It would be obscene to put your desire to save spending £50 on a new outfit before the life of a child."

Why then, asks Singer, do you not give money you can afford to spare to save the life a child in Africa?

The majority of conservatives say the deaths of children they know nothing of are not their business. Leftists, and again I accept I am generalising, revolt against such parochialism. Yet when it comes to violence against civilians and, most notably, the denial of women's rights, they change the conversation to anything except the deeds of the criminals in front them. The girl can drown or be enslaved and raped. They have more pressing concerns



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


7 May, 2014

A powerful dialogue about abortion

Author’s Note: The following column is based on a real life conversation, which occurred last May. It originally appeared on www.ClashDaily.com in July

Mike Adams

Teenager: Dr. Adams, may I have a few minutes to speak with you?

Me: Sure. What is your name? (Gives name).

Teen: I enjoyed listening to your talk on abortion just a few minutes ago. Your points were solid. But I have just one problem. It’s with the rape exception. Can you honestly tell me that you could look a rape victim in the eye and tell her that she could not have an abortion and that she must take the rapist’s baby to term?

Me: (pulls out phone). Yes. Give me the number of any pregnant rape victim you know and I will call her right now and talk to her. I can’t look her in the eye but I will talk to her.

Teen: (Laughing nervously). I don’t know any pregnant rape victims.

Me: Well, before I put my phone up, can I ask a favor of you?

Teen: Sure.

Me: I have a friend who was conceived in rape. Do you mind if I call her and give you the phone so you could explain why it would be permissible for her be killed just because she was conceived in rape? Her mother is still alive, by the way. I’m sure that her continued existence reminds her mother of the rape. My friend’s name is Laura.

Teen: No, I won’t do that. She shouldn’t be killed, now. That isn’t my position.

Me: Oh, I see. You think that there is some difference between the adult she is now and the embryo she once was that would have justified killing her at that earlier stage of development.

Teen: I see what you are doing. This is the SLED thing, isn’t it?

Me: Yes it is. Size, level of development, environment (whether she is inside or outside of the womb), and degree of dependency. These are the four differences people generally rely upon when they say you can kill the unborn but not the born. Which one is it?

Teen: Well, none of them, I guess. I see your point.

Me: Good. Now, let’s talk about who benefits when the child conceived in rape is aborted.

Teen: Ok.

Me: Would I, or any of the close friends of Laura, have benefited from her death at the hands of the abortion doctor? I mean, would it not have been a tragedy had her friends never known her?

Teen: Well, yes, I suppose it would have been a tragedy.

Me: Well, how about Laura? Would she have benefited from the abortion?

Teen: No, of course not.

Me: Ok, then who benefits?

Teen: Well, the rape victim benefits. Obviously.

Me: But is it really obvious?

Teen: I think it is.

Me: You know if a woman becomes pregnant through consensual sex and has a crisis pregnancy it is a toss-up as to whether she will have the abortion. But if she’s raped and becomes pregnant then the chances she’ll abort are much lower.

Teen: How much lower?

Me: The odds are about three to one that she won’t abort. It may seem counterintuitive but it really isn’t difficult to understand upon further consideration. She’s just been the victim of a violent crime. She identifies with the evil of violence and is reluctant to inflict it on another human being. So she usually decides to suffer evil rather than inflict it.

Teen: I’ll have to think about that one.

Me: Good. It will give me time to ask you another question.

Teen: Okay.

Me: You believe that the woman impregnated by a rapist will suffer great stress bringing the baby to term. You obviously believe that the abortion will reduce that stress. But your argument turns on the assertion that the stress saved by the abortion will actually outweigh any guilt she might experience over the memory of the abortion for the duration of her life. Is that a fair characterization of your reasoning?

Teen: Yes, that’s fair enough.

Me: Well, how did you arrive at that conclusion? Can you point me to some evidence?

Teen: No, I was just speculating.

Me: Well, you haven’t convinced me that the pregnant woman really benefits. The abortion doesn’t solve the problem. She suffers terribly regardless. But when those conceived in rape are aborted there are multiple tragedies. One human is deprived of life, one adoptive couple loses a child, and others are deprived of ever knowing the innocent child who would have had a long life and formed many friendships. I think that the weight of the evidence is against the abortion. I just cannot see who really benefits from the abortion.

Teen: Well maybe I just have some maturing to do as I think about this issue.

Me: I’m not sure it’s really a thinking problem.

Teen: What do you mean?

Me: You have a steady girlfriend, don’t you?

Teen: Yes, I do.

Me: Are you sleeping with her?

Teen: What? I’m not answering that question.

Me: Well, you don’t have to answer it. You just did. You’re sleeping with her.

Teen: Ok … what does that have to do with the discussion?

Me: Well, everything.

Teen: Please explain.

Me: Every time I am in a discussion of abortion that turns to the so called rape exception, there are two common denominators. First, it is always a guy. Second, he’s always sexually active. If he is sleeping with a lot of women he really supports unrestricted abortion. So he just feigns concern for the rape victim in order to preserve unrestricted abortion so he can have unrestricted sex. Then there are guys like you who are just sleeping with a girlfriend and want to preserve a tiny crack in the wall — a safety valve just in case you get into trouble. The idea of an absolute ban on abortion makes you nervous because you are taking risks you know you ought not to be taking.

Teen: I guess everything you are saying makes sense. Maybe I just need to grow up.

Me: No, not really. You pulled me aside and started this conversation because your conscience was bothering you. You weren’t really worried about the rape issue. You were worried about your own circumstances. That’s why it took courage to initiate the conversation. You knew I wasn’t going say things you wanted to hear. You were mature at the beginning of this conversation and you are even more mature now.

Teen: Thanks.

Me: Now it is time to stop treating you girlfriend like she’s already your wife. It will clear your mind and help you make better decisions on a whole range of moral issues. Remember that it is always better to decide what you believe and let your beliefs guide your behavior. When it’s the other way around, you become lost and you eventually lose your moral compass altogether. You eventually become a law unto yourself.

Teen: Well, how do I explain this to my girlfriend?

Me: Well, that should be easy. Tell her you are not yet ready to be a parent. Tell her that if she became pregnant it would be your child, too. Make sure you look her in the eye and firmly tell her that you could never allow her to abort your child. In other words, start living your life according to rules instead of clinging to exceptions.


The racism of the Israel-bashers

The Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement against Israel is often seen as progressive — so it’s astounding to see its supporters turn to racism. The latest target: Chloé Simone Valdary, an African-American undergraduate at the University of New Orleans and founder of the Allies of Israel Association.

Valdary recently wrote an article criticizing the Jewish Museum’s decision to invite Judith Butler, a University of California, Berkeley professor and outspoken BDS supporter to speak — an invitation Butler at first accepted, then declined.

BDS supporters’ response to Valdary was vile. Activist Zaid Jilani tweeted, “Non-jew [Chloé Valdary] smears famous Jewish academic as ally of Hitler,” then mocked her outspoken stand against anti-Semitism. (Jilani, by the way, was ousted from a liberal think tank last year for use of what his boss called “terrible anti-Semitic language.”)

Then there was Max Blumenthal, a former writer for the pro-Hezbollah Al Akhbar newspaper. (The Nation found Blumenthal’s recent book notable for its “equation of Israel with Nazis.”) He tweeted that Valdary is “beyond sickening” and “irrationally hateful” — and a “non-Jew” who represents “the future of Zionism.”

And Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam, a blog focused on “exposing the excesses of the Israeli national-security state,” posted on his Facebook page, with a link to her piece: “They finally did it: found a Negro Zionist: Uncle Tom is dancin’ for joy!”

The attacks from his allies are offensive enough, but Silverstein’s racial slurs are beyond the pale. And his river of hate continued to flow, as he called this young African-American woman a “house slave” and said the “Israel Lobby is her Master.”

His racist intent with such loaded language could hardly be more clear. For many in the African-American community, the phrase “Uncle Tom” is as bad as, if not worse than, the N-word. The pejorative has historically been used against African-Americans seen as subservient to oppressive whites. Few words could be more hurtful, especially from a Caucasian man publicly castigating a young African-American woman.

I’ve seen this too many times before: a supposed “progressive” stepping on the backs of African-Americans, then walking away as if the pain he’s inflicted is different from that caused by any other racist.

Why should such hate speech go unchallenged, just because it’s cloaked as criticism of Israel? As a civil-rights activist and leader in the African-American community, I’m exceptionally disturbed to discover that the response to this attack on Valdary has been subdued, almost nonexistent.

Just as Jews stood with African-Americans during the fight for civil rights in the 1960s, so too must we as leaders of the Black community stand together today with Chloé Simone Valdary, on the one hand, and the Jewish community, on the other hand. Don’t dismiss this incident as a one-off. It represents a deeply troubling trend in an anti-Israel movement that goes way beyond honest criticism of Israeli policy to dehumanize and vilify Israel, Israelis and anyone who supports the Jewish state.

They do so not only through calls to boycott a liberal democracy, but also by dropping any pretense of decency, fairness or humanity. To these haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

For years some have warned that opponents of Israel are indulging in a new form of anti-Semitism. The vilification of Israel may not always be carried out by non-Jews or directed at Jews, but the dynamic is remarkably similar to the old version. The caricatures, the obviously twisted double standards and the hatred that drives it are all the same.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper put it eloquently before the Knesset in January. Calling the anti-Israel hatred “sickening,” he added that “This is the face of the new anti-Semitism. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation.”

We who have visited Israel know the truth first hand. The country isn’t perfect (whose is?), but it strives for peaceful coexistence with its neighbors. Israel is the Middle East’s lone functioning democracy and by leaps and bounds the region’s leader in respecting human and civil rights. Israel welcomes Arabs as citizens contributing to its democracy and legislative process, its military institutions,and universities, sitting in its parliament and in high judicial posts.

It’s also the only nation in history to bring tens of thousands of Africans (Ethiopian Jews) out of Africa to be citizens, not slaves.

Valdary’s writings eloquently make the substantive argument for Israel. The comments by Silverstein and his allies show that there is still hate, racism and ignorance in this country that must be confronted. So while Chloé Simone Valdary continues to fight for Israel, let all good people denounce Silverstein’s racism and stand with her.

This is doubly true for liberal Americans, who have so long stood for rooting out hatred, discrimination and bigotry. They should make clear that they believe in these things just as strongly when it comes to the subject of Israel.


Rev. Graham: Gays ‘Absolutely’ Can Go to Heaven But They Must ‘Repent'

Homosexuals can be forgiven and can go to Heaven if they repent and turn from their sins, and this is “the same for any of us,” said Rev. Franklin Graham on the Easter Sunday edition of ABC’s This Week, adding as an example that “a person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God.”

Graham, son of world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, also defended his comments about Russia protecting its children from gay propaganda and noted that with President Barack Obama, “We used to have a president in this country that did what was right for this country, but we don’t seem to have that right now.”

On the April 20 program, hosted by ABC’s Martha Raddatz, footage was shown of Franklin Graham telling the Charlotte Observer recently that gays can “recruit” children to their cause and that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for a law banning gay propaganda was prudent. “I think I agreed with Putin, I think protecting his nation’s children I think was probably a pretty smart thing to do,” said Graham.

Raddatz then asked, “I suspect you still support that, what you said. You still support Putin?”

Graham, said, “No, I think Putin is going to do what’s right for Russia, not what’s right for America, but for Russia.”

“We used to have a president in this country that did what was right for this country but we don’t seem to have that right now,” said Graham, who heads the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse. “Putin is going to make these decisions that he thinks is best for the Russian people and he thinks taking advantage of children, exploiting children, is wrong for any group, and so it passed a law.”

As the panel discussion continued in the program, Graham said, “When we talk about families and when we talk about gay people – many people and maybe gays that are watching will want to know, ‘Can God forgive me?’ or ‘Can I go to Heaven as a gay person?’ Absolutely. But the same for any of us, we have to repent of our sins and turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God.”

ABC’s Raddatz then, in reference to gays adopting children, asked, “What would you say to those children? What would you say to those children of gay parents – about their parents?”

Graham answered, “Of gay parents? That like any parent who’s living in sin, if we repent – Franklin Graham is a sinner, I’m no better than a gay person. I’m a sinner. But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. And for any person who’s willing to repent and turn, God will forgive. And you can be gay and go to Heaven, no question.”

Regular ABC panelist Cokie Roberts then commented, “A lot of gay people feel that they are sinners but not because they’re gay.”


Sex: The New War on Men

It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that on May Day (May 1, 2014), and within hours of one another, the nation and the media have been bombarded with more than a half dozen exquisitely choreographed and coordinated reports demanding action based on claims of skyrocketing sexual assaults occurring on campus and on the battlefield.

But are these claims plausible? I argue not.

Singly, or in combination, all of these claims suffer from one or more of the following five fatal flaws.

1. Sexual allegations made by females are not taken as allegations but rather as “settled fact.” These claims do not even consider the possibility that women might lie about any manner of things sexual and there is no statistical correction for false sexual allegations.

2. Women commit sexual assaults on men but female sexual perpetrators only rarely are prosecuted and male reports of abuse by female sexual predators only rarely are believed.

3. In order to “cook” the rapidly rising numbers needed for political effect, the Obama Administration has demanded that all investigations lower the standard of proof required for conviction or expulsion from “clear and convincing” evidence to a “preponderance” of evidence, which basically is a coin toss.

4. In order to falsely boost the rapidly rising numbers needed for political effect, the Obama Administration has moved the goal posts by expanding the definition of “sexual assault” to activities and circumstances most citizens would not even remotely consider to be rape. The former definition of forcible rape has morphed into anything sexual without “consent” and with the determination of “consent” left entirely up to the woman, even to be determined on the morning after.

5. Forcible rape is ranked second only to murder as a serious crime. Yet, Obama and the Progressives want to remove the investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes from the venues of the police and the courts and rather transfer these responsibilities to unqualified but ideologically sympathetic administrative units in universities and the military where the conclusion is foregone. Under Obama and the Progressives, men are stripped of all due process and cross-examination rights that they normally would be guaranteed in a court of law. Truly innocent men have no way to prove their innocence.

Finally: Men — don’t drink and have sex. A core principle of the Obama Administration’s New World Order is this: If alcohol crosses anyone’s lips, the male automatically is guilty of sexual assault and the female automatically is an innocent victim. With the consumption of any amount of alcohol, consensual sex does not exist.

The overwhelming onslaught of exquisitely choreographed and coordinated claims suggests that Obama and the Progressives are launching a War on Men to get the votes of women and advance their political base. This War clearly is designed to create not only “hostile work environments” but “dangerous work environments” for men on campus and in the military. This War further appears to be designed to eliminate men from the institutions to which they have striven and attained in the past and rapidly to make these coveted, prestigious and high paying positions open only to the political base of Obama and the Progressives.

Will Congress and the nation succumb to this loss of due process for men?

One hopes not. In my view, the words engraved above the entrance to the United States Supreme Court should prevail and apply equally to the sexual lives of both men and women: “Equal Justice Under Law.”



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


6 May, 2014

Fertility guru's IVF warning: Rich could pay to have brighter babies, says Lord Winston

Winston is just another old obstructive Leftie. He originally opposed IVF but reversed when he saw how popular it was.

Leftists don't like naturally-occurring human differences so it is no surprise that he dislikes accentuation of those differences. The fact is that a higher percentage of smarter, healthier, prettier (etc.) people in the population would be beneficial to the population as a whole.

But rich people might end up with smarter kids! he shrieks. They do already and why should they not? He never answers that question. It is just the usual kneejerk of hate that defines Leftists

Breakthroughs in IVF could ‘threaten our humanity’ by prompting parents to demand designer babies, Robert Winston has warned.

The fertility pioneer said that he feared a time when the rich could alter the appearance and ability of children by tinkering with their genes.

And he claimed a ‘toxic’ climate had been created by the desperation of childless couples and the pace of scientific developments in the booming IVF industry.

Warning of a resurgence in eugenics, the broadcaster and Labour peer said there was a ‘real risk that we could see that kind of attitude in our humanity occurring again’.

In the future, he claimed, the rich may be able to pay to have babies with enhanced intelligence, musical ability and strength.

Lord Winston’s comments will be hugely controversial among fertility experts, not least because he is a pioneer in IVF treatment and has helped to bring more than 10,000 babies into the world.

Medical ethicists last night praised him for speaking out, saying it was refreshing to hear a scientist who ‘saw the bigger picture’ about the potential dangers. But his comments angered fertility groups. They said IVF was a ‘lifeline’ and it was wrong to suggest childless couples were looking to have a designer baby as the vast majority simply wanted a child.

Lord Winston, who is instantly recognisable from his TV programmes such as Child of Our Time and The Human Body, told a fertility conference that new genetic screening technologies meant scientists working with IVF needed to be particularly aware of the danger of eugenics becoming more prevalent.

Taking aim at fertility colleagues and patients, he said: ‘One of the problems with our work is that we have been carried away with massive enthusiasms in reproduction. That mixture of enthusiasm and patient desperation is actually a very toxic and heady mixture. It is worthwhile standing back a little from the technologies that we employ.

‘One of the issues of the market is that rich people may well be able to afford, in due course, the kind of enhancement to their genetics that other poor people may not be able to afford.’

The 73-year-old added that a growing market for fertility treatments and pressure to enhance human qualities could mean we ‘end up with a society where some people may actually have something that might threaten our humanity’.

Lord Winston, emeritus professor of fertility studies at Imperial College London, was delivering a speech at the University of Kent titled Reflections on IVF technology – will we be human in 100 years?. He told fellow fertility experts: ‘The age of eugenics is one that we don’t think of as being important now.’

But he added: ‘In a world where there is conflict, where there is shortage of resources, shortage of water, shortage of food, climate change, I don’t think it is impossible that this is necessarily going to die out.’

The hugely controversial theory of eugenics suggests that humans can be improved by preventing people with supposedly undesirable qualities or genetic defects from reproducing.

Similarly, those seen to have ‘desirable qualities’ should be encouraged to have babies.

It has been regarded as a toxic doctrine since it was used by the Nazis to justify a compulsory sterilisation programme, whereby ‘defectives’ were not allowed to reproduce.

Josephine Quintavalle, of campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said that IVF gives people the chance to think about having a perfect baby. She added: ‘In many aspects, the opportunities to think about best and better are increasing by the moment.’

Philippa Taylor, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: ‘If Lord Winston is saying this, I hope that people take notice. He is someone who is an expert in the area but also someone who sees the bigger picture.’

But Susan Seenan, chief executive of support group Infertility Network UK, said: ‘Most patients just want to have a baby. They are not looking to have a designer baby.’ She added that to the average patient, IVF is a lifeline – and eugenics is the last thing on their mind.

Dr Allan Pacey, the chairman of the British Fertility Society, said he doubts we will ever have the skill to alter complex traits such as musical ability. He added: ‘The law prohibits it, even if it was technically possible.

‘Most infertile couples are desperate for a baby, rather than a specific type of baby, and I don’t see that changing.’


Making girls wear pink is WRONG: Education expert says colour-coding children by gender is damaging

Feminists are pushing sh*t uphill on this one. I once came across a feminist mother who dressed her toddler daughter in brown but all the other mothers I have come across dress their boy babies in at least some blue and their girl babies in at least some pink. I suspect that in some cases it is in fact a deliberate defiance of feminism.

I am in a position where I often get to speak briefly to young mothers and I routinely congratulate them on their children. And only in the "brown" case mentioned above have I ever got wrong whether the child was a boy or a girl. Even in the case of the littlest ones, the colour and manner of dress make the identity of the child obvious

Making girls wear pink is wrong and could harm their future, an education expert has warned.

Hannah Webster, a spokesman for a private schools' organisation, said the idea of having blue for a boy and pink for a girl is 'pernicious' because it leads them towards certain roles regardless of their real identities.

She said: 'There will be those who say that pink and blue colour coding does not matter - that it is just a fact that boys like blue and girls like pink. They are wrong.'

She added: 'If we designate a particular colour to a gender, it leads us to designate all manner of other things by gender too.

'The result is girls and boys read different kinds of books, play with different kinds of toys, study different subjects, consider different occupations, have different roles within the workplace and family and are ultimately valued differently by society.

'What is pernicious about this is that everyone is then attributed with roles and characteristics regardless of their individual identities and talents. And this then occurs before a child is even born.'

Writing in the magazine Attain, produced by the Independent Association of Prep Schools, she writes that, at the time of the First World War, the colours were reversed.

According to a 1918 edition of Ladies' Home Journal, the rule at the time was pink for the boy and blue for the girl.

Blue was considered a softer colour which was prettier for girls, and also the colour in which the Virgin Mary was often depicted.

Ms Webster, the association's communications manager, wrote: 'Most of us want a society in which people are judged according to their whole identities rather than just their gender.

'We can only have a hope of this if we stop presuming an array of character traits - starting on the basis of colour preference - go hand in hand with a person's biological sex.'

Ms Webster spoke out after the parents' group Let Toys Be Toys launched a campaign to remove 'boys and girls' signs in shops.

Marks & Spencer and Toys R Us are among those who have already pledged to make its toys 'gender neutral'.

As previously reported in MailOnline, Let Toys Be Toys was set up by a group of British parents in November 2012, calling for a change in the way toys are marketed to boys and girls.

They had noticed girls were increasingly being encouraged to play with dolls, prams and kitchens - all inevitably in pink colours - while toys deems to be for boys were cars, guns and sports-related.

One of the campaign's founders, Tricia Lowther, 44, a self-employed copywriter from Durham, who has a six-year-old daughter, told the MailOnline: 'It does bother a lot of parents, we seem to have tapped in to a huge and growing sense of frustration with the way toys are promoted according to outdated, illogical and sexist stereotypes.

'I can't speak for any of the others but what pushed me to make a stand was the realisation, after my daughter was born, that gender stereotyping in children's products had become worse than when I was a child myself back in the Seventies. It's something that has become almost impossible to escape and is very limiting for children.'

A similar Let Books Be Books project, calling for reading material not to be marked as 'for boys' or 'for girls' is backed by children's laureate Malorie Blackman, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and the author Philip Pullman.


Being homosexual is only partly due to gay gene

Research finds that while gay men share similar genetic make-up, it only accounts for 40 per cent of chance of a man being homosexual. So many homosexuals COULD be cured!

Homosexuality is only partly genetic with sexuality mostly based on environmental and social factors, scientists believe.

A study found that, while gay men shared similar genetic make-up, it only accounted for 40 per cent of the chance of a man being homosexual.

But scientists say it could still be possible to develop a test to find out if a baby was more likely to be gay.

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, Dr Michael Bailey, of Northwestern University, has been studying 400 sets of twins to determine if some men are genetically predisposed to being gay.

The study found that gay men shared genetic signatures on part of the X chromosome - Xq28.

Dr Bailey said: “Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice. Our findings suggest there may be genes at play – we found evidence for two sets that affect whether a man is gay or straight.

“But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved. “The study shows that there are genes involved in male sexual orientation.

“Although this could one day lead to a pre-natal test for male sexual orientation, it would not be very accurate, as there are other factors that can influence the outcome.”

Dr Alan Sanders, associate Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern University, who led the study said that it was it was an 'oversimplification’ to suggest there was a 'gay gene.’

“We don’t think genetics is the whole story. It’s not. We have a gene that contributes to homosexuality but you could say it is linked to heterosexuality. It is the variation.”

The study builds on work by Dr Dean Hamer from the US National Cancer Institute in 1993 who also found an area of the x chromosome that he believed was linked to male sexual orientation.

Last year Canadian scientists found that the more older male siblings a man has, the greater change he will be gay.

They believe that the immune response produced by a pregnant mother increases with each son, increasing the odds of producing more feminine traits in the developing brain of the foetus.

Each older brother raised the odds that a man was homosexual by one third.

Researchers at the University of California believe that homosexuality can be explained by the presence of epi-marks — temporary switches that control how our genes are expressed during gestation and after birth.

Daryl Bem, a social psychologist at Cornell University, has suggested that the influence of biological factors on sexual orientation may be mediated by experiences in childhood. A child’s temperament predisposes the child to prefer certain activities over others.

Interestingly no similar genes have been discovered which influence female homosexuality. “No-body has found something like this in women,” he added.

Dr Bailey said environmental factors were likely to have the biggest impact on homosexuality.

He added: “Don’t confuse “environmental” with “socially acquired.” Environment means anything that is not in our DNA at birth, and that includes a lot of stuff that is not social.”

Richard Lane, of Stonewall, said that while studies into the origins of homosexuality have yet to produce firm evidence, they do to point to a biological root.

He said: 'The thing that’s consistent across all of them is that they all point to sexual orientation being something fundamental to a person rather than the lifestyle choice some opponents of equality repeatedly suggest.’


British police failing to record one in five crimes: Official report says up to 740,000 victims are being denied justice

One in five crimes goes unrecorded because of failures by police.

Up to 740,000 victims of violence, burglary and other offences are being denied justice, a report revealed yesterday.

One rape was not logged because the officer thought it would be too much work. An attack on a boy with autism was written off as ‘sexual experimentation’.

The report by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary piles pressure on forces already under fire for Plebgate, Hillsborough and the abuse of stop and search powers.

It said the sheer number of unresolved crimes meant some officers had to be guilty of ‘discreditable or unethical behaviour’.

And the investigation reinforces warnings from statisticians and MPs that crime figures cannot be trusted.

Spelling out the human cost, the report said: ‘Victims are failed because the crimes against them are not investigated, they have no hope of justice according to the law.’

The unrecorded rape case led to accusations of laziness from campaigners.

‘This is about much more than inaccurate statistics or poor number-crunching,’ said Adam Pemberton of Victim Support. ‘Each mistake represents a victim losing their chance to get justice and to access support services.

‘It is completely unacceptable that victims of any crimes – let alone serious sexual offences such as rape – should have their complaints go unrecorded or downgraded because of police incompetence or even laziness.

‘Most victims want more than anything for their offender not to commit another crime, but if the police can’t reliably recognise and record when and where a crime has been committed, their efforts to cut crime may well be misdirected.’

Police ignored a complaint made on behalf of a female rape victim by a doctor who had examined her injuries.

A report of several assaults by a member of staff at a care home on teenage victims went similarly unrecorded.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘I commissioned HMIC to carry out this investigation in order to get a detailed assessment of how the police are treating recorded crime statistics. HMIC’s interim report exposes unacceptable failings by the police.

‘It is quite possible, once HMIC has completed its work on recorded crime statistics and made recommendations on how the police need to improve, that we will see an increase in recorded crime.’

She pointed out however that offending was at its lowest level since 1981.

Inspectors carried out checks on 13 police forces and listened to phone calls made by members of the public.

These were checked against police records to see if the incidents had been properly logged.

Out of a sample of 3,102 incidents, HMIC found 2,551 crimes should have been recorded, but 523 were not, including sexual offences, crimes of violence, robbery and burglary and even 14 rapes.

The watchdog said the figures suggested 20 per cent of crimes may be going unrecorded. Last year, police recorded 3.7million offences.

The inspectors said: ‘In the light of what we have so far found it is difficult to conclude that none of these failures was the result of discreditable or unethical behaviour. The failure rate is too high.’

HM chief inspector of constabulary Tom Winsor said: ‘The consequences of under-recording of crime are serious, and may mean victims and the community are failed.’

The report comes after serious concerns were raised over the integrity of crime figures, sparked by claims made by former Metropolitan Police officer James Patrick last year.

Mr Patrick told MPs that massaging crime figures to hit performance targets had become ‘an ingrained part of policing culture’.

Police forces inspected so far are Cheshire, City of London, Devon and Cornwall, Essex, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Gwent, Hertfordshire, Metropolitan, Norfolk, North Wales, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire.

The remainder will be checked ahead of a final report in the autumn.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


5 May, 2014

Girl, 8, taken from loving mother to live in one room with father

British judges seem intent on moving children from one parent to another - even against their will

Anyone trying to penetrate the murky underworld of our “child protection” system may be struck by how the same curious patterns of behaviour continually recur, so that one can build up a picture of the more obvious ways in which this system has gone off the rails. One of the most disturbing is how often judges seem determined to remove children from a mother they have happily lived with all their lives, only to hand them over to a dysfunctional or even abusive father whom they do not wish to live with at all.

I have now followed many such baffling cases, like the one I reported a few months ago, where two boys, aged 14 and 11, were dragged from their beds by six police officers at 7.45 on Christmas morning, to be handed over at the other end of London to a father who had walked out on them years earlier. This resulted in such chaos, with the police being several times called to attend violent incidents between the boys and their father, that when the boys eventually managed to escape back to their mother, the social workers sensibly agreed that, despite the judge’s orders, they should remain with her.

Last week, another such case came my way, involving a girl of nearly nine, who has always lived with her mother and was bright, engaging and doing well at school. Her father, who left them years ago, has a long criminal record, was a drug addict, is currently unemployed and lives in a single room. The mother had not stood in the way of contact between the girl and her father, but when this eventually caused problems due to his behaviour, the courts became involved, along with a “guardian” from Cafcass, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (“making sure that children’s voices are heard”), and a psychologist hired by the local authority.

Last month, as I gather from someone present in court, the judge, Mrs Justice Williscroft, quite unexpectedly seemed to have changed her mind. She ruled that the girl must leave her comfortable home and be given over to the permanent care of her father, in his single room. For the time being, the child and her mother could have no contact. Unsurprisingly, the girl ran back to her mother, but had to be returned, in accordance with the judge’s wishes, to the father.

Not the least disturbing way in which this parallels other cases I have followed is that, although the girl was desperate to appear in court to say that she did not wish to live with her father, the judge, I am told, ruled that this could not be allowed, because it would be “emotionally abusive”. Repeatedly I have come across this happening, even though Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, passed into British law in 1992, clearly states that one of those rights is for the child’s voice “to be heard in any judicial proceedings”, and if appropriate, “directly”. Yet in every case where I have heard of an articulate child demanding this statutory right, the judge has denied it, preferring to listen to a Cafcass guardian who wished to express a view flatly opposed to the child’s wishes.

In this case, I am told by the mother’s legal advisers, there are so many question marks over the way the judge handled the case that she is seeking permission from another judge to appeal. But the more general question that arises is: why do so many judges think it right to remove children from a mother who is their chief centre of love and security, and expect them to live with a long-absent father who cannot possibly give them the same?

As with so much else that goes on in our “child protection” system, it seems to make a total mockery of that constantly intoned mantra derived from the 1989 Children Act: “The child’s interests are paramount.” This is a very strange business, to which I shall return.


Air force memorial to famous 'Memphis Belle' bomber crew fenced off 'to avoid offending Libyans'

Bungling military officials erected a 10ft fence around a US Air Force memorial in case it 'offended Libyan soldiers'.

The 'Memphis Belle' monument was erected at RAF Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, to honour the USFA's Eighth Air Force - who were based there during the Second World War.

Memphis Bell was the nickname given to the Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress bombers flown by the 91st Bomb Group (Heavy) - which suffered huge losses of men between 1942 and 1945.

The US Air Force Memorial was erected at RAF Bassingbourn 20 years ago, left, but was fenced up, right, when it was announced that 2,000 Libyan soldiers were due to relocate to the base for training

But the structure was fenced off when it was announced that 2,000 Libyan soldiers were to be trained at the base.

The Libyans will spend two months training at the base as part of efforts to help disarm the country's government after the removal of despot Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

After an uproar from enthusiasts and locals alike, officials have now removed the 10ft fence.

The commander responsible for erecting it will be investigated in a Ministry of Defence probe.

A ministry source said the official was 'some bloke with a clipboard' who oversaw an extraordinary 'error of judgement'.

No official comment has been made as to why the fence was put around the monument but the source said: 'I expect the rationale was it might offend the Libyans.'

The memorial was erected 20 years ago and USAF veterans frequently make pilgrimages to England to see it to remember their fallen comrades. One group that regularly visits, Friends of the Eighth, formed almost 40 years ago. Peter Worby, 55, a long-standing member of the group, said: 'I am glad someone has seen sense but this was a disgusting insult to the memory of the young airmen who died saving our bacon. 'The MoD should be hugely embarrassed by this - they should be promoting these memorials, not shunning them.'

A Facebook page was set up to shame the base after the memorial, which features the propeller of a B-17 bomber, was fenced off.

One member said: 'We are not going to let the veterans down and those who died for us.

'If the MoD wants a row they have got one. We owe the veterans more than we can ever hope to repay - letting them or their memory down doesn't even enter the picture.'

Another branded the move 'disgusting', adding: 'Why do we have to put up with Britain as it is today ? It’s all going down the pan.'

The 91st Bomb Group (Heavy), whose duty it was to fly in the B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft, suffered the greatest number of losses of any heavy bomb group between 1942 and 1945. [The expert German pilots in their ME-109s had the B-17s for lunch]

The elite unit within the Eighth Air Force participated in 340 operational missions losing 197 of its aircraft.

887 of the crew were killed - around 19 per cent - and 123 were declared missing in action.

Their missions inspired both a 1944 documentary film called Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, and a 1990 Hollywood feature film Memphis Belle.

A Defence Infrastructure Organisation spokesman said: 'A temporary screen was erected around the US War Memorial at Bassingbourn. This has now been removed.'

Libyan armed forces will be taught basic infantry skills as part of a two-month course starting next month at RAF Bassingbourn.

It is part of efforts to help the Libyan government disarm and integrate militias and improve stability following the toppling of despot Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

US-Libyan relations have been strained since President Ronald Reagan ordered air strikes, code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon, in 1986.

In 2011 America led military intervention in Libya and, with British naval forces, fired more than 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles during the civil war.


The death of personal responsibility

In case you have not noticed, our society's collective sense of personal responsibility is in the toilet. Everywhere one turns, one finds ample evidence of a blend of insolent arrogance, audacious irresponsibility, delusional martyrdom, and mindless entitlement which read more like a pathetic fiction novel than the brutal reality of an increasingly devolving societal integrity. One need only look at a few lawsuits over the past year to smell what is rotten in the state of personal responsibility.

The most recent, and perhaps the most blatant, example of this absurdity involves the woman who is suing the families of the teens she injured and killed while speeding. Accusing the two teens she injured and the one she killed of being incompetent cyclists who did not apply their brakes properly, the woman conveniently ignored the fact that, according police reports and the dead teen's family lawyer, she may have been speeding, intoxicated, and talking on her cell phone at the time of the accident. This driver suing the families for $ 1.35 million in damages due to psychological suffering including depression, anxiety, irritability, and post-traumatic stress. The injured and dead teens' families speak of feeling doubly abused by a woman whose clueless sense of personal responsibility is only dwarfed by her utter lack of compassion.

In another absurd case, a father sued his son's high school for $ 40 million for kicking the son off the track team due to excessive absences. Claiming that the action will cost his son heavily in lost scholarships, the delusional father seems to have forgotten that showing up for personal commitments is a minimal level of personal responsibility. Rather than use the experience to teach his son about commitment and consequences, the father has merely used the incident to further twist his son's already scarce personal responsibility into a level of arrogance and gall which is off the charts. We should add selfishness to the mix since attorneys agree that such frivolous lawsuits only serve to undermine already scarce school resources, thereby undermining and hurting school programs enjoyed by students who actually show up.

We can also consider the case of a homeless ex-con and freeloader suing his parents for being indifferent, cold, and uncaring enough to not endanger their financial state to finance his delusional path to success, or the grad student suing her school for a low grade and lost career opportunities despite evidence of unprofessional conduct while enjoying free tuition for both college and grad school because her father is a professor . Just in case you have not had enough, consider the case of the knife-wielding robber who sued the store owner who shot him three times as the robber attacked him with a knife for not having safe gun use policies, or the case of the porn-addicted former attorney suing Apple for, among other things, causing his porn addiction via too convenient porn, hurting smaller porn outlets, and creating unfair competition between his wife and the young porn actresses he regularly viewed online, destroying his marital relations. In one final example, inmates sued beer companies, claiming that they were not sufficiently warned regarding alcohol's addictive properties and that hence the companies were responsible for the inmate's various crimes.

The above horror stories would be humorous if they were not so tragic and indicative of a society so intoxicated in the brew of entitlement, selfie mentality, victimization, and pointing fingers of blame everywhere but in the mirror. This mental and behavioral malignancy is the result of a poisonous message spread by a twisted media, lax parents, clueless schools and, at the top of a veritably disastrous irresponsibility sundae, the cherry of a noxious leadership which gleefully pushes entitlement and victimization while ignoring personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.

A mere cursory sweep of the trash that the Left calls its agenda reads like the script of a blame game, wherein hypocrites dine while culprits whine, victims pine, what matters is what is mine, and excuses form a line. I wish that I could predict a resurgence of personal responsibility in the near future but, sadly, every time I am cursed at for daring to get in the path of some fool too busy talking on a cell phone to watch where he or she is going, or nearly run into by some jackass driving as if he was walking in his living room, my hopes for such a resurrection of personal responsibility dim just a bit more.

If truth be told, we have a fading sense of what class, personal integrity, professionalism, good taste and, with regard to this piece, personal responsibility, ever meant. The next time you have a nightmare where Abraham Lincoln chews gum and poses for selfies, or where John Wilkes Booth sues Ford's Theatre for making its presidential balcony so high that no self-respecting assassin can safely jump without breaking his leg, consider the possibility that your so-called personal nightmare only reflects the national nightmare we are facing today, where narcissism begins at the top, culprits point fingers, and true victims get the finger.


The more hysterical the opposition, the more reform is needed

Hysteria over government proposals is now a badge of honour for NHS workers, teachers and barristers

Nearly every day this week, I’ve read about another public sector group protesting about a government reform. I thought it might be handy, for those embarking on such campaigns, to present a cut-out-and-keep guide to their construction.

Step 1. You’re not opposed to reform itself; only this Government’s reform, which is all about “cuts” and which “might” put patients/crime victims/children [delete as applicable] at risk.

Note the importance of the conditional voice. Here’s a public health expert, writing about food policy: “We may be facing a public health emergency. The spectre of Oliver Twist is back.”

This letter is a masterpiece of the form. We aren’t facing a public health emergency, but the protester didn’t say we are, only that we “may” be, so he can’t be called a bare-faced liar. The spectre of Oliver Twist is back – but only because the writer has mentioned him. No one else is talking about Oliver Twist.

Step 2. Having raised the “spectre” of your choice with which to frighten government into submission, there remains the alarming prospect that an intelligent interviewer could ask you: “So, how would you reform your public service? I mean, your pension scheme is unaffordable, isn’t it, and paid for by people much poorer than your members. You know, people who can’t save for their own retirements, in part because they’re taxed so much in order that yours be funded at such a high level.”

Such a challenge demands misdirection as its response. Remember to glare at the interviewer – think Germaine Greer in full, unstoppable flow – because even to pose such a question is an “insult to hard-working teachers/doctors/ barristers” [delete as applicable] “many of whom barely earn the minimum wage”. Go on to use the following terms: “bankers”, “impossible workloads”, “high levels of stress”.

Ah, yes: stress. A phenomenon that apparently only ever impacts members of the public sector. Nobody else is stressed; if they were, they’d be marching down Whitehall with placards, wouldn’t they?

And while we’re at it, remember that the term “caring professions” is preferred to “public sector”. People who don’t work in a caring profession are therefore, almost by definition, uncaring, particularly if they pause in their utterly stress-free working day to wonder just what it is their GP does to earn that salary of more than a hundred grand a year.

With a bit of luck, both the interviewer and the viewer will be so impressed by your rage, they’ll forget the truth: that the only reform your organisation has ever supported is that it should receive ever larger amounts of other people’s money.

I’m being sarcastic, of course, which is never attractive. But not the least deleterious impact of the endless shroud-waving public sector campaigns is exactly this erosion of trust.

Reform of the public sector is, along with fixing the economy and protecting our borders, one of the fundamental requirements of government. It is to the Coalition’s credit that, even with the cards stacked against it, it pushed ahead with reforms to GP contracts, exam rules, legal aid and the police.

The teaching unions hate Michael Gove. The BMA hates Jeremy Hunt. The Police Federation… well. Well, we all know what the Police Federation does when it’s upset that Britain’s government is Tory-led.

I suspect there’s a law of politics that goes something like this: the more hysterical the opposition to policy, the more the reform is needed.

Here’s a Friday tweet from the BMA: “The NHS should always be the preferred provider of patient care.” On the same day, the Royal College of GPs reacted to a reform intended to tidy up their ferociously complex payment system thus: “700,000 patients are at risk of being left without a family doctor.” (See Step 2 – “at risk” means “won’t happen”.) The reform might have “disastrous consequences”.

Really? The last time I looked, there was plenty of evidence that the NHS presides over hospitals that too often kill people. There is surely also consensus that our health outcomes aren’t good enough.

But guess which reform the president of the Royal College of GPs does favour? You’ll be astonished to learn that “the Government” – he means us – should ensure that “general practice gets the investment it needs”. He means we should give him more money.

In the PR world of the “caring professions’?” trade unions/Royal Colleges [delete as applicable], government reforms “might” harm people. In the real world, the union-defended unreformed structures kill them.

Glare righteously at us as much as you like, Royal College of Whatever, but reform of your practice is long overdue. The Government will see you now, doctor/teacher/ policeman/barrister. [Delete as applicable.]



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


4 May, 2014

Multicultural judge goes to jail in Britain

Constance Briscoe, Britain's most senior black woman judge, has been sentenced to 16 months in jail after being found guilty at the Old Bailey of lying to police investigating the Chris Huhne speeding points scandal.

Briscoe, of Clapham, South London, was found guilty of trying to pervert the course of justice in connection with the investigation into how disgraced cabinet minister Mr Huhne passed speeding points to his then-wife Vicky Pryce a decade ago.

Jailing her, judge Mr Justice Baker told Briscoe that if she and Pryce shared anything in common it was "arrogance by educated individuals who considered respect for the law was for others".

He said the conviction was a "personal tragedy" for a woman who had been "something of a role model for others".

The 56-year-old had been suspended since her arrest in October 2012 and could now be barred from sitting as a judge.

The judge said: "Constance Briscoe you are the third individual to be convicted of criminal offences arising out of a saga whose origin arises from 2003 when both Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce lied about who had been driving a speeding motor vehicle."

He said Briscoe hid her true motives for her involvement and then compounded the position in 2011 by "deliberately fabricating evidence when you thought you would be exposed".

He also spoke of her achivements, which saw her become the first person in her family to go to university and a part-time judge.

"Although blessed with intelligence you did not have every advantage in life. However, you worked hard at school and were the first person in your family to go to university."

He said the defendant went on to be given the privilege of being a part-time judge while "raising your two much-loved children".

But said he: "You were motivated, as was Vicky Pryce, by a joint desire to ensure the downfall of Chris Huhne.

"I'm sure that you realise only too well that this conduct strikes at the heart of our much-cherished criminal justice system."

He sentenced Briscoe to four, five and seven months for the three counts, totalling 16 months in jail.

Mr Justice Baker said he had taken account of her previous good character and the "devastating effect" of the conviction on her career in deciding sentence.

Briscoe's jail sentence was double that of Huhne and Pryce.

Following her conviction it emerged she is also facing a criminal investigation into allegations she fraudulently obtained documents used to defend libel claims brought against her by her own mother, Carmen Briscoe-Mitchell, who sat in the court throughout her daughter's Old Bailey trial.

An Old Bailey jury found Briscoe guilty of all three counts of intending to pervert the course of justice after five hours of deliberations.

After the verdict, Mr Huhne, who was forced to resign over the speeding points scandal, released a statement in which he described Briscoe as a "compulsive and self-publicising fantasist".

He declared: "British justice is likely to be a lot fairer with Briscoe behind bars."

Detective Inspector John McDermott, of Kent Police, also welcomed the verdict, saying it showed no-one was "above the law".

And the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) announced it would be preparing a report on whether Briscoe should be removed from the judiciary.

Briscoe was unanimously found guilty on all charges.

The first alleged that, between May 16 2011 and October 6 2012, Briscoe provided police with two inaccurate statements, and the second that on October 6 2012 she produced an altered copy of a statement but claimed it was the correct version.

A third charge alleged that between October 5 2012 and October 8 last year she deliberately got a document expert to view the wrong version of her witness statement.

Briscoe stood trial for a second time after a jury at Southwark Crown Court failed to reach verdicts.

The Old Bailey trial heard that Briscoe helped economist Ms Pryce, who was a friend and also her neighbour, to reveal information about Mr Huhne's points-swapping to newspapers after the couple split in 2010.

The scandal led to Mr Huhne's resignation and subsequent prosecution. He pleaded guilty in February last year, while Ms Pryce was convicted after a trial. Both have now served jail sentences.

When the allegations emerged in 2011, Briscoe made a witness statement to police on May 31 that year claiming Ms Pryce confided in her in 2003 after she found out that Mr Huhne had asked her to take his speeding points, portraying herself as an "independent and objective" witness.

In a second statement on August 16 2012 she denied having any contact with journalists or newspapers about the story but emails obtained by court order ahead of the Huhne-Pryce trial showed that Briscoe had spoken to journalists.

Once her involvement was revealed, Briscoe was dropped as a witness in Huhne and Pryce's trial and she was arrested in October 2012.

The jury heard that Briscoe was intent on bringing about Mr Huhne's downfall and knew how to manipulate the criminal justice system to her advantage.

It was claimed that she misled police in her witness statements.

It was also alleged that she deliberately gave police an altered copy of one of the statements into which she had inserted an extra "I" to change the meaning to suggest she had refused to speak to journalists about the story – only for emails handed over by newspapers to prove she had been in touch with reporters.

The third charge alleged that Briscoe then deliberately handed a different copy of the altered statement to an expert so he would find that the alteration was due to a printer malfunction.

The defendant denied deliberately misleading police, saying it was always clear she had spoken to journalists by the fact her name was used in newspaper stories about the speeding points scandal.


Canada bars Christian lawyers

Ontario and Nova Scotia have banned lawyers educated at a Christian university from practising law in their provinces. The reason? It's really quite straightforward: the Trinity (= Christian) Western University School of Law, while fully approved by the British Columbian Ministry of Advanced Education and accredited by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, discourages same-sex intimacy and disagrees with same-sex marriage.

The fact that the University is otherwise excellent and, they tell us, has been "consistently ranked among the top universities in Canada for Educational Experience by the National Survey of Student Engagement", is of no consequence. The fact that it holds four Canada Research Chairs is irrelevant. TWU has at the heart of its ethos a Community Covenant which requires all staff and students to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

This, of course, is unacceptably narrow-minded and discriminatory, not to say homophobic and bigoted. It is entirely legal and constitutional - indeed the Supreme Court, no less, has ruled it to be so. But such religiously-induced apartheid is a manifest evil to an elite body of barristers and must be eradicated from society. And so TWU's law degrees are not fit to be recognised by the law societies of Ontario and Nova Scotia, meaning its future law graduates are not fit to be admitted to the bar. Cardus Daily observes: "In short, students who are taught at TWU are presumed - before the school has even produced a single graduate - to be so bigoted as to not be worthy of practicing the same law which upholds the right of their school to teach them and to require them to sign a commitment to a particular conception of sexual conduct."

No one forces students to enrol at TWU, and the moral pledge is entirely voluntarily: it is, in effect, no different from the oath required by Roman Catholic seminaries for ordinands to abstain from sex and abjure marriage altogether. It is a matter of free choice; of vocation. By enforcing a secular conformity and uniform moral compliance on a Christian university, the law societies of Ontario and Nova Scotia are effectively asserting an equality fascism which overrides religious beliefs. It must be remembered that TWU has not yet produced any graduands in law: it is simply assumed that, on qualifying, their conjectured private beliefs render them so utterly illiberal as to disqualify them utterly from practising law in these provinces.

Quite where this leaves lawyerly supporters of traditional marriage in other provinces is unclear. What do freedom and democracy mean when an elite enlightened body can set aside the Constitution and ignore judgments of the Supreme Court to impose by stealth a secular moral liberalism which is no liberalism at all? What happens to freedom of speech? Where is Freedom of religion? What about the freedom to believe as the conscience leads?

This is Canada, but we are seeing the same here in the UK. Christian registrars who believe that marriage is an exclusive covenant between one man and one woman are losing their jobs; Christian teachers who believe the same are rebuked and reviled; Christian business owners are being persecuted, sued and bankrupted. And there's not a hope in hell of hetero-normative marriage-believers being employed in the public sector or of being selected by the main political parties as a candidate: the ideology is infallible; the orthodoxy immutable; its uniform imposition inviolable. As Jonathan Chaplin notes:

"Liberalism [does not] bring about a universal realisation of “tolerance”... Every political system, not only authoritarian ones but liberal ones as well, is a “regime” which facilitates a particular zone of toleration, and simultaneously demarcates clear boundaries to such toleration. These will often be legal boundaries imposed, if necessary, with coercion. Such boundaries are acts of intolerance."

Do not be deluded or deceived about what is happening here: Canada shares our Queen, who is constitutionally sworn to uphold the Protestant Reformed religion established by law and to govern her peoples in accordance with their customs and traditions. But it seems that our Reformation freedoms are being undone: a man's personal beliefs must now be interrogated by the inquisitorial high priests of equality to ensure that they conform to the totalitarian precepts of secularism before he may enter public service, practise law or even donate to a political party. 'Right belief' must precede public interests, personal vocation and acts of altruism.

Our freedoms are disappearing. Our liberty is dying. And the concerning this is that so few people are noticing or even care.


Habitual burglar who raided a mother's holiday savings walks free from court...but a pair of vigilantes who kidnapped him to get the money back are jailed

A serial burglar who stole money a mother-of-two had been saving for a holiday has avoided prison weeks after vigilantes who kidnapped him in a bid to retrieve the cash were jailed.

Michael Price-Rutherford took £280 from Kelly Hilton, 32, who had saved the cash for a trip to Lanzarote when he broke into her home in Blackburn, Lancashire.

A short time later, the 22-year-old was then bundled into a van by her boyfriend and another man, punched in the face and humiliated in an act of revenge.

He was eventually dumped half naked and crying in the road nursing a chipped tooth after being held prisoner by Daniel Finn, 27, and Daniel Howarth, 23, for five hours.

The two men were jailed for a total of five years in March after a judge said they had 'crossed the law'.

However Price-Rutherford escaped with a suspended sentence, despite having 12 convictions to his name, claiming he was a 'shy un-forceful character'.

Preston Crown Court in Lancashire heard he had been on bail for another break in at the time, and had ignored previous curfew orders.

But the defence said he was 'put up to the crime' by other people, and only acted as a look out.

After the sentencing Miss Hilton, a golf club waitress said: 'I can’t believe this lad has escaped jail after what he did. I’m just shocked and upset.

'I was due to go to Lanzarote with my parents, Danny and family and had been saving up for months.

'The tin was hidden behind my bed and I was also collecting coins for the trip. All of it went in the raid.

'I know Danny did wrong and he got a really tough judge on the day - but I don’t understand why the burglar should go free.

'I thought he’d be going down especially with his track record. I don’t think this will be the last time the courts will be seeing him again. He’s got away with it.'

The incident occurred last June last year when Price-Rutherford and an accomplice Timothy Hartley, 29, were seen breaking into the house by a neighbour who took pictures on her mobile phone.

Hartley was seen climbing between a gate and up to a window where he forced it open with a hammer.

Price-Rutherford acted as a look out and was handed a tin from an upstairs bedroom where up to £250 was kept. The burglars also snatched a bottle containing £30 in change.

That evening, Miss Hilton returned home from work to be met by the neighbour who warned her she had been burgled and showed her the pictures.

Miss Hilton felt so 'violated' by the raid she was afraid to bring her two children home as she didn’t feel safe.

Both burglars were identified in the photos and shortly afterwards Finn, her boyfriend, turned up at a house where Price-Rutherford was staying.

He grabbed him by the right arm and pulled him towards the side door of the van demanding the return of the stolen money.

The thief tried to resist, but Howarth appeared and took hold of the burglar’s other arm and both men forced him into the van. Finn then turned to the victim and punched him in the face chipping his tooth.

The vehicle then set off, but when the men realised Price-Rutherford could not tell them where the stolen money was, he was punched another seven or eight times.

The shutters were pulled down and the van was driven around for another five hours and when he was eventually ejected from the van.

The men had a pit bull type dog with them and Price-Rutherford was made to made to take off his jacket, t-shirt, socks and shoes before being kicked to the ground.

Price-Rutherford was eventually let go and staggered to a nearby a house where he raised the alarm. In a victim impact statement he said: 'Throughout this time I was so scared I started crying. I honestly thought they were going to kill me.'

He was arrested over the burglary but whilst he accepted being present he initially denied keeping watch.

On March 28, Howarth, of Blackburn, was jailed for 44 months whilst Finn, from Blackpool, got 27 months after they admitted kidnap.

At the time Judge Graham Knowles QC told them: 'You decided to punish this man for what you were convinced he had done.

'Your message was "cross us and you will pay the price". If the courts were to allow that kind of message without severe punishment, the result would be anarchy. If you cross the law, you must pay the price.'

At Price-Rutherford’s hearing on Thursday no mention was made of the vigilante attack. He admitted two charges of burglary and was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months with an 18 month supervision order.

His lawyer David Farley said Price-Rutherford’s father had been diagnosed with cancer.

He said: 'That’s encouraged and proved his attitude to his own life. His antecedents started in 2012 borne out of the fact he didn’t have a fixed address.

'He would drift around with his friends motivated to commit offences. He was with people who he didn’t have the strength to stand up to or walk away.

'He was put up by people determined to commit crime. He wouldn’t mind me describing him as a shy un-forceful character.'

Sentencing Price-Rutherford, the judge Mr Recorder Michael Blakey told him the burglary was 'serious' but added: 'If Mr Farley is right and you recognise you are going down the right road it is all well and good.'

Hartley of Blackburn, Lancashire, was given a suspended sentence of 18 months in prison suspended for two years - despite having a record of 30 offences including 16 for theft as well as shoplifting, drug handling and burglary.


Subway removes ham and bacon from nearly 200 British stores and offers halal meat only after 'strong demand' from Muslims

Fast food giant Subway has removed ham and bacon from almost 200 outlets, and switched to halal meat alternatives in an attempt to please its Muslim customers.

It has confirmed turkey ham and turkey rashers will be used instead in 185 of its stores, where all the meat will now be prepared according to halal rules.

The chain, which has around 1,500 outlets across the UK, explained its decision by saying it had to balance animal welfare concerns with 'the views of religious communities'.

Traditional halal slaughter sees animals have their throats slit before bleeding to death. But Subway stressed that the meat served in its sandwiches would come from animals that have been stunned first, a practice that aims to reduce any suffering.

In Arabic the word halal means 'permitted' or 'lawful' and defines anything that is allowed or lawful according to the Qur'an.

It is often used to indicate food - particularly meat - has been prepared in accordance with Muslim principles and techniques.

Muslims are forbidden from eating any non-halal food and meat from pigs and Subway said customers can identify those stores selling halal food by the special 'All meats are Halal' sign, which must be displayed in participating branches.

In the halal-only branches ham and bacon has been substituted by turkey ham and rashers.

Many animal charities condemn halal slaughter as being cruel to animals.

Traditionally in halal abattoirs the throats of the animals are cut while they are fully conscious - an act many campaigners say is inhumane and needlessly cruel.

In non-halal abattoirs, livestock are stunned before killing to prevent any unnecessary suffering. Some halal butchers also practise pre-stunning, though it is not permitted by some Islamic scholars.

In Britain, killing an animal without prior stunning is illegal, but the law gives special exemption to Muslim and Jewish meat producers on the grounds of religion.

There are thought to be around 12 abattoirs dedicated to unstunned slaughter in the UK, while hundreds practise stunned halal slaughter.

A Subway spokeswoman told MailOnline all halal meat served in the participating branches is from animals who were stunned prior to slaughter.

She said: 'The growing popularity of the Subway chain with the diverse multicultural population across the UK and Ireland means we have to balance the values of many religious communities with the overall aim of improving the health and welfare standards of animals.

'We put a programme into place in 2007 to ensure that the population demographic is taken into account when new store openings are considered in order that we meet consumer demand in each location.

Animal campaigning charity PETA urged people to opt for a vegetarian diet to ensure they have the best interests of animals at heart.

A spokesman said: 'At the best of times, meat is a product of a bloody and violent industry with no respect for other living beings who value their lives in the same way that we do and experience the same pain and terror that Subways' customers would if they were killed for a sandwich.

'Most religions, including Islam, preach kindness to animals, but words are one thing and practice another.

'As the Dalai Lama said, "My religion is kindness". And a diet that expresses kindness, is open to all religions and truly respects animal rights is a vegan one.

'Subway-goers, no matter what their religion, can eat with a clear conscience by opting for the veggie patty, the veggie delight or, heaven forbid, a salad.'

Speaking about the general issue of halal slaughter, an RSPCA spokeswoman added: 'Scientific research has clearly shown that slaughter of an animal without stunning can cause unnecessary suffering, and the RSPCA is opposed to the slaughter of any animal without first making it insensible to pain and distress.

'At present, the only legal exemptions to stunning during slaughter exist for kosher and halal methods of slaughter, however, it is important to differentiate between ‘religious’ and ‘non-stun’ slaughter as around 90 per cent of all halal in the UK receives a stun before slaughter.

'Our concern has nothing to do with the expression of religious belief but with the practice of killing by throat cutting without pre-stunning.

'We believe that meat produced from animals stunned or not stunned before slaughter should be clearly labelled to allow consumer choice, and continue to press for changes in the law that would improve the welfare of all farm animals at the time of slaughter.'



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


2 May, 2014

Multicultural car theft in Britain

A contributor to society has been removed by two useless parasites

Two men have been found guilty of stabbing a businessman to death in a botched carjacking which would only have earned them £500.

Rory Gordon, 23, and Jae'Don Fearon, 21, attacked Harjinder Singh Bhurji, 32, after he refused to hand over the keys to his treasured Mercedes SLK coupe.

The attack ended with Mr Bhurji getting stabbed in the heart, and left dying on the side of the road in Ilford, Essex, in the early hours of September 13 2011, as the pair drove off.

Jurors unanimously found Gordon guilty of murder at the Old Bailey, while Fearon was convicted of his manslaughter after being found not guilty of murder.

A third defendant, Andre Campbell, 23, was found guilty of a charge of handling stolen goods after exchanging the victim's iPhone for £100.

Adjourning sentencing to May 27, Judge Michael Topolski told Gordon: 'You have been convicted of a brutal murder of a innocent man. 'A brutal murder committed with a knife in the course of a commission of a crime, and all for perhaps £500.'

He said he would need to consider what minimum life sentence term to impose, adding: 'That time in circumstances such as these is a very significant one indeed.'

The trial had earlier heard that Mr Bhurji was parked in Stoneleigh Road, Ilford, talking to a female friend when the carjackers suddenly struck,.

They pulled the woman out of the vehicle and demanded the keys, which Mr Bhurji, who was proud of his car with personalised number plates, said he did not have after throwing them behind the driver's seat.

He was stabbed in the heart but was able to lean down to retrieve the keys and hand them over before he collapsed.

The Mercedes - which was fitted with a tracking device - was then driven off 'at speed' leaving Mr Bhurji dying by the road. It was later found parked neatly near Epping Forest.

Opening the trial on April 2, prosecutor Sally O'Neill QC told jurors: 'Mr Bhurji made the mistake of protesting against his car being taken.'

Fearon and Gordon were convicted after CCTV footage and mobile phone data put the pair at the scene of the murder.

Gordon drove there in a black Corsa and left in the Mercedes. Fearon then picked him up in the Corsa after the the stolen car was left to see if it would be found by police, the court heard.

Gordon, of east London, admitted stabbing Mr Bhurji and that he went to steal the car armed with a knife. But he said he did not mean to cause him serious harm and his death was an 'accident'. He admitted the lesser charge of manslaughter but denied murder.

Fearon, of Chingford, Essex, denied murder and manslaughter and said he had been smoking cannabis on the fatal night, claiming he did did not know anything about the knife or the stolen car.

A victim impact statement was read out to the court by Ms O'Neill on behalf of the family, which described Mr Bhurji as a 'humble and reserved character' who 'enjoyed life and loved to travel'.

It said Mr Bhurji had a 'passion' for cars from an early age and studied electronics before getting a job at Mercedes-Benz, where he won many awards and certificates.

He went on to realise his 'dream' of starting his own business, becoming the main breadwinner of the household so his parents did not have to continue working.

'Knife crime has got to stop,' the statement added. 'No one should have to experience the pain of losing their loved one this way.

'Rory Gordon and Jae'Don Fearon have deprived Raj and his family of the rest of his life. At 32, a healthy, intelligent man was snatched from his future his hopes and dreams.'

Detective Inspector Andy Yeats, of the Metropolitan Police's homicide and major crime command, said: 'Mr Bhurji was a loving son and brother who had everything to live for. He was a successful businessman and worked hard to provide for his family.

'Gordon and Fearon have no concept of hard work. They spotted Mr Bhurji's car and decided they would take it by force without a single thought for the devastating consequences.

'Mr Bhurji's female friend was threatened with a knife before Mr Bhurji was stabbed through the heart without any chance of defending himself.

'We can only hope that today's result offers the family of Mr Bhurji some solace.'


An utter moron: British Labour party leader wants to bring back rent controls

Ed Miliband will today pledge to bring back discredited rent controls – despite warnings that the move could worsen Britain’s housing crisis.

In a dramatic intervention in the free market, the Labour leader will vow to cap rent rises in the private sector and force landlords to offer long-term tenancies.

Mr Miliband will claim new laws are essential to help millions trapped in ‘generation rent’ who are at risk of being ripped off by grasping landlords.

But the move raises the spectre of previous attempts to control private rents, which have led to housing shortages and a decline in the standard of rented property.

It will also reinforce fears that Mr Miliband’s left-of-centre agenda will involve widespread 1970s-style State intervention in markets.

The Labour leader has already announced controversial plans to freeze energy prices and introduce Soviet-style land grabs against developers who fail to build houses.

The populist policies have been branded ‘anti-business’ and led to warnings that they could spark a catastrophic collapse in investment.

Rent controls have long been backed by the Left and are a key demand of the militant Unite union. But experts warn they have a disastrous history and could worsen Britain’s housing crisis.

In a major report on housing last year, the respected Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors said: ‘All political parties should make a commitment not to introduce rent controls in the private rented sector, as this would reduce the level of supply in the rented housing market at a time when the country is becoming more dependent upon the sector.’

Rent controls have a chequered history around the world.

Supporters claim they have proved effective in countries such as Germany and Ireland, but they are blamed for the spread of slum dwellings under socialist regimes in Vietnam and Venezuela. They deter landlords from renting out their properties or from maintaining houses that are already rented out, leaving tenants with dilapidated accommodation.

In the UK, rent controls were introduced as a ‘temporary’ measure during the First World War and were only finally abolished by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

Labour last night insisted that its new plans do not amount to the return of traditional rent controls.

‘Some landlords will not like this, but millions of tenants will,’ a source said. Mr Miliband will today say intervention in the rented housing market is a key plank in his agenda to tackle Britain’s cost of living ‘crisis’.

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s local and European election campaign he will say the nine million people now living in rented accommodation have been ‘ignored for too long’.

‘The next Labour government will legislate to make three-year tenancies the standard in the British private rented sector to give people who rent the certainty they need,’ he will say.

Under Labour’s plans most tenancy agreements would automatically last for three years. Although landlords would be free to set the rent at the start of the agreement, future rises would be capped by the Government.

This could be based on inflation or the average increase in market rents and could vary in different parts of the country.

There appears to be no provision for dealing with a sudden increase in interest rates, which could leave many landlords unable to raise rents to cover their costs.


Australia: Debate? Not When You Can Silence your critics

Writing in Quadrant, Mervyn Bendle took to task the new breed of historians who seem bent on destroying the Anzac Legend. One of his subjects, rather than the debate the issues he raised, reacted by demanding that the essay be removed from public view. Alas, such arrogance is entirely typical. Bendle was Senior Lecturer in History and Communications at James Cook University, where he taught a course on war and remembrance, but resigned in 2012

I can confirm the Leftist hegemony in Australian universities. I taught in two of them and I too eventually got fed up enough with the environment there to resign, even though I had tenure.

Anzac day is when Australians remember their war dead and praise the quality of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The Left have long hated it. They want all praise for themselves and their brainless ideas -- JR

A prominent professor at the Australian National University has sought to suppress a recent Quadrant article I wrote critical of the negative academic attitude towards the Anzac Legend. Professor Joan Beaumont, of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, emailed the editors of Quadrant and Quadrant Online, claiming that her book Broken Nation had been “distorted, misrepresented and misread” by Mervyn Bendle, in his article “The Military Historians’ War on the Anzac Legend” in Quadrant‘s April edition.

“It does Quadrant no credit to publish such prejudicial reviews, and I request that you withdraw it from the web”, she told the editors. She insisted that she has “no issue with reviewers engaging critically with my book”, but believed that I had not done this.

My Quadrant article discusses her book in the context of a broader appraisal of the anti-Anzac campaign centred on the ANU, the Australian Defence Force Academy, and the Australian War Memorial. It follows up earlier articles dating back five years detailing this campaign”.

See: “The Intellectual Assault on Anzac”
“Anzac in Ashes”
“How Paul Keating Betrayed the Anzacs, and Why”
“Lest They Forget To Sneer”
“Gallipoli: Second Front in the History Wars”

Taken together, these reveal the systematic assault on the Anzac Legend undertaken by Australian historians leading up to the centenaries of the outbreak of the Great War and the Gallipoli campaign. These historians have made it quite clear that they wish to destroy the Anzac Legend.

I wasn’t surprised at Professor Beaumont’s reaction, as I imagine it’s easier for her to seek the article’s suppression than face up to addressing the issues it raises. I feel compelled to note that Professor Beaumont’s first reaction was to demand my article be withdrawn from the public view, not to debate the questions raised in my article. Alas, many Australian academics prefer to suppress criticism rather than engage in free and uninhibited exploration of ideas and their validity. In my experience they resent attempts to hold them to account and always try to avoid discussions that might reveal inadequacies, mistakes, prejudices and ideological commitments.

The simple fact is that academics take refuge in their exalted status. They don’t feel any need to justify themselves — nor is there very much in the way of pressure to do so, as academic history in Australia has become a closed shop. Indeed, when it comes to considering ideas outside the narrowly “acceptable” range, the profession is hermetically sealed. Prof Beaumont might be more used to dealing with robust discussion, and more prepared to confront my criticism of her work, if the history profession in Australia wasn’t so stitched up and insular.

Beaumont’s is typical behaviour and I have experienced it before. Academics attacked me over articles I wrote for Quadrant and The Australian discussing their sympathetic attitudes towards terrorism. They refused to debate the issues and instead mounted a determined attempt to have me sacked and also threatened legal action. One even threatened physical violence

See “Hijacking Terrorism Studies”
“Terrorism and the Rise of Radical Orthodoxy”
“Radical pacifists deny a murderous reality”

They wanted me to apologize to them and to have all the copies of Quadrant recalled and pulped! I was able to detail all this in a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Academic Freedom, which was included in their report. This eagerness to resort to threats rather than academic debate in these types of dispute reflects the excessively comfortable situation of Australian academics.

It is undeniable that the Humanities, Arts, and the Social Sciences in the universities are dominated by a leftist intellectual monoculture, which everyone is expected to agree on if they want to survive. Academics review each other’s books, give favourable referees’ reports to each other’s’ grant proposals and academic articles, give scholarships and jobs to each other’s graduate students, and generally perpetuate the same leftist orthodoxy.

Academically, it’s incestuous and stultifying — and that critical mass of like-mindedness and intolerance of dissent has now turned its attention to destroying the Anzac Legend, doing everything in its power to achieve this. The last thing they want to hear is criticism.

My grandfather was an Anzac who fought at Gallipoli and in France, and Australians of his generation and later made a pledge very nearly a century ago that must be honoured and redeemed.

As a nation we declared, ‘Lest we forget’. We should now be allowed to honour these centenaries without constant sniping from an anti-Anzac elite of obsessive academic leftists.


Sterling's words were vulgar and bigoted, but private

by Jeff Jacoby

A FEW thoughts on the Donald Sterling scandal, but first a personal disclosure: I have sometimes uttered words in the heat of a domestic squabble that I later regretted. I have expressed thoughts in personal conversation that I would never want to share with the world. On occasion I have yielded to impulses in private that I would be loath to be judged by in public.

Maybe you have too.

Torrents of contempt have been raining down on Sterling since the release of an audio recording, apparently genuine, in which the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers tells his mistress to stop posting online pictures of herself with black men, including Magic Johnson, "and not to bring them to my games." Sterling's comments are repulsive, vulgar, and saturated with bigotry. His girlfriend — who is black and Mexican — effortlessly goads him. "If it's white people, it's OK?" she asks at one point. "If it was Larry Bird, would it have made a difference?"

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver yesterday suspended Sterling for life and imposed a $2.5 million fine as a penalty for "the hateful opinions" heard on the recorded audio clip.

My sympathy for Sterling is nonexistent. His racist remarks are odious, and they couldn't have come as a shock to anyone who has followed his career. Yet the most alarming part of this story has less to do with basketball or the racial prejudices of an 80-year-old plutocrat than with what it says about the rapidly disappearing presumption that things we say in our personal lives will stay personal.

Of course any decent person should be disgusted by the gross things Sterling allegedly said to the girlfriend. But as former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote on Monday: "Shouldn't we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media? Didn't we just call to task the NSA for intruding into American citizens' privacy in such an un-American way?"

There is good reason why it is illegal in many states (including California and Massachusetts) to surreptitiously record a private conversation, just as there is a good reason for the traditional common-law privilege that protects certain kinds of confidential communication — like that between husband/wife, priest/penitent, or attorney/client — from being disclosed unwillingly in court. They reflect a value critical to a free society: Private lives and private thoughts aren't supposed to be everyone's business.

But everywhere today that value is being eroded by the intrusions modern technology makes possible. It is becoming harder than ever to be sure anything you say or do is being said or done in true privacy. Creeps with cellphone cameras take "upskirt" photos. Intimate encounters end up on YouTube. Tens of thousands of surveillance cameras combine with ever-more-sophisticated facial-recognition software, and the upshot is that no matter where you go, you're on candid camera. And websites like TMZ encourage the exploitation of personal embarrassments for public entertainment.

Prudent politicians must assume that everything they say is being recorded and may be used against them. Presidential candidates no longer have the luxury of speaking in privacy to groups of supporters, a lesson learned by Barack Obama from his "bitter clingers" experience in 2008, and by Mitt Romney when his "47 percent" remarks were secretly taped and disseminated. Louisiana Representative Vance McAllister announced on Monday that he would not run for re-election after a security surveillance camera showed him kissing a married female staffer, and someone leaked the video to a local newspaper.

Do you bear in mind at all times that your words, actions, and whereabouts are being captured for posterity on security cameras?

None of this is meant in defense of Sterling's bigotry or congressional hanky-panky or any other dishonest activity. It is meant as a reminder that it isn't only other people's dirty laundry that the whole world can get a good look at. It is yours and mine, too. Once our privacy is gone, don't count on getting it back.



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.


1 May, 2014

Did Britain really need Sameer Babar?

A religious fanatic who was unknowingly suffering from paranoid schizophrenia stabbed his neighbour to death in an 'unexplained and frenzied attack’.

Leonard Flower, 67, known as Len, was stabbed 17 times - including through the heart - by Sameer Babar, 35, as he was doing odd jobs in his garage in Luton, Bedfordshire.

His wife, Linda, to whom he had been married for 47 years, was just metres away inside the couple's home when the brutal attack took place.

But Mrs Flower only found out about her husband's death when he was found lying in a pool of blood by a couple who were delivering leaflets around the area.

During the hearing yesterday at Luton Crown Court, Babar denied murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The court was told Babar, who lived opposite Mr Flower, a retired computer analyst, had fled the scene after carrying out the attack on October 22 last year by stealing the couple’s car.

He then drove north up the M1 motorway but was arrested five hours later in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

Psychiatrists now believe Babar - who has written two books containing extreme religious rhetoric - was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia in the years leading up to the attack.

He has now been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Flower said she was 'heartbroken and devastated' about her husband's death.

She said: 'We have lost a good husband, father, grandfather and a kind man who was liked and respected by everyone who met him.'

At the hearing, Judge Michael Kay QC said Babar's behaviour had been 'bizarre' in the year or two before the attack, but there had been no warning that he would be violent.

The court was told that Babar had written two books in 2011 and 2012 containing extreme religious rhetoric, which had led to angry reactions from local mosques.

Babar had also been planning to hold a lecture at Luton library and had been referred to a crisis mental health team, to be treated for depression, after contact with police.

The court was told that the defendant had even been visited by police the day before the killing but had refused to let them in. Police had no power of entry and were forced to leave.

The killing took place around lunchtime the next day.

Prosecutor Beverley Cripps said: 'The defendant was in the grip of mental illness, which has since been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. 'He had been treated for depression but not significant mental illness.'

When Babar was arrested he was fit to be interviewed, the court was told. A month later he made a statement saying he had little memory of the day.

A psychiatrist who is now treating Babar told the court that Babar was probably suffering from paranoid schizophrenia for a number of years, but it had not been diagnosed.

Judge Kay said: 'Words are inadequate to describe the extent of the tragedy which hit the Flower family completely out of the blue on October 22 last year.

'One’s heart goes out to that family. He was a good husband, father and grandfather, a man liked and respected by many people. Nothing anyone can do can put matters right.

'There is no doubt that this was a wholly unexplained and frenzied attack. 'There was no suggestion of any ill feeling or problems between you and anyone in the Flowers family.'

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Flower said: 'I’m heartbroken and devastated at the way my husband’s life was taken. 'Len was a kind, generous and caring husband for 47 years - still fit and able. He helped anyone who asked for a favour. 'As a computer analyst he was an intelligent man, described as such by all who knew him and also very practical.

'I am lost without him as I am housebound and he was my full-time carer. 'We did everything together. The fact that a good, decent man died in such a way hurts me too much.'

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Liz Mead, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: 'The Flower family find themselves in tragic circumstances.

'They now have to cope without Len who should be enjoying his retirement with his wife.

'Len was killed in his own garage, where he should have been safe, but on that October afternoon Sameer Babar carried out a violent attack which has now changed the course of so many innocent lives.

'The medical experts have agreed that at the time of Mr Flower’s death, Sameer Babar was suffering from a mental illness and continues to receive the appropriate medical attention for his condition.

'Today sees some closure for the Flower family but nothing that has happened in this court room will fill the void that Len’s death has left.'


Britain has just witnessed a political arrest. Where is the liberal outrage?

Over the weekend, a candidate was arrested for addressing his potential voters. Clear aside the incidental details, scrape away the mitigating circumstances, and ponder that elemental fact. Paul Weston, standing for election to the European Parliament (against me, as it happens, in the South East) was arrested in the middle of a speech on the steps of the Winchester Guildhall.

When such a thing happens in Burma or Belarus or Bahrain, we report it in suitably shocked tones. Yet here it is happening in Britain, without any discussions on the Today Programme, any Amnesty vigils, any complaints from Liberty. To repeat, a candidate was arrested for making a hustings speech.

It is perfectly true that the candidate was attempting to provoke. He almost certainly set out with the intention of getting himself in trouble, thereby publicising his message and winning sympathy votes. He was quoting, through a megaphone, a passage written by the young Winston Churchill 1899, which says disobliging things about Muslims. Sure enough, as Weston must have been hoping, the few headlines there have been have focused on this aspect of the story: "Man Arrested for Quoting Winston Churchill".

This isn't about the provenance of the speech, though. Churchill's words are not Holy Writ. He was a an extremely prolific author, and was just as capable of writing bilge as anyone else. Nor is it about whether you agree with Weston. A few people do – many of them seem to troll this blog from their mother's basements – but, as I hope we shall see on polling day, their numbers are negligible.

Nor yet is it about the propriety of Weston's behaviour. Most British people are diffident when it comes to discussing religion, and consider insulting an entire faith the height of loutishness. Weston likes to pose as a defender of British values; but religious pluralism is one of those values as, frankly, is courtesy.

None of this, though, is relevant. In a free society, we tolerate eccentricity up to the point of madness, boorishness up to the point of intimidation, obnoxiousness up to the point of incitement. While Weston's behaviour was narcissistic, there is no evidence that he was inciting violence.

Why should it fall to me to defend him? Where are the lion-hearted liberals who are so quick to denounce political arrests in distant dictatorships? I realise that "political arrest" is a strong phrase, but it's hard to think of any other way to describe a candidate for public office being taken into police custody because of objections to the content of his pitch.

This is not the first time that the police have invented a right not to be offended, and chosen to elevate it over the basic freedoms we used to take for granted. I often wonder, as a Hampshire ratepayer, whether my local constabulary might not spend less time on politics and more on catching criminals (it hit a low point over Christmas when it chose to investigate for racism the man who had put up this sign).

The point of having elected Police Commissioners is to bring the priorities of local coppers into line with those of the community they serve. I can't see any reaction from the Hampshire and Wight Commissioner, Simon Hayes, to this case, though I've asked him via Twitter. You might like to ask him yourself.


White male checks his privilege

He’s 20, he’s white, and he’s a freshman at Princeton University.

According to the ethnic and feminist studies college students and professors who frequently and vehemently complain that this country is steeped in racism and sexism and is only fair and just and equal for white, heterosexual males – he is the poster child for so-called “White Privilege.”

His name is Tal Fortgang, and just eight months into his Ivy League experience, he’s been told on numerous occasions to “check his privilege” – a phrase that has taken social media social justice campaigning by storm.

It is meant to remind white, heterosexual males that they have it so good because they’re white, heterosexual males. They haven’t faced tough times, they don’t know what it’s like to be judged by the color of their skin.

Oh, but they do.

Those sick of being labeled are the very same ones doing it to others, and Tal Fortgang has a powerful message for them:

There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens to strike down opinions without regard for their merits, but rather solely on the basis of the person that voiced them. “Check your privilege,” the saying goes, and I have been reprimanded by it several times this year. The phrase, handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laser-like at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness, and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung. “Check your privilege,” they tell me in a command that teeters between an imposition to actually explore how I got where I am, and a reminder that I ought to feel personally apologetic because white males seem to pull most of the strings in the world.

I do not accuse those who “check” me and my perspective of overt racism, although the phrase, which assumes that simply because I belong to a certain ethnic group I should be judged collectively with it, toes that line. But I do condemn them for diminishing everything I have personally accomplished, all the hard work I have done in my life, and for ascribing all the fruit I reap not to the seeds I sow but to some invisible patron saint of white maleness who places it out for me before I even arrive.

Furthermore, I condemn them for casting the equal protection clause, indeed the very idea of a meritocracy, as a myth, and for declaring that we are all governed by invisible forces (some would call them “stigmas” or “societal norms”), that our nation runs on racist and sexist conspiracies. Forget “you didn’t build that;” check your privilege and realize that nothing you have accomplished is real.Talinside

But they can’t be telling me that everything I’ve done with my life can be credited to the racist patriarchy holding my hand throughout my years of education and eventually guiding me into Princeton. Even that is too extreme. So to find out what they are saying, I decided to take their advice. I actually went and checked the origins of my privileged existence, to empathize with those whose underdog stories I can’t possibly comprehend. I have unearthed some examples of the privilege with which my family was blessed, and now I think I better understand those who assure me that skin color allowed my family and I to flourish today.

Perhaps it’s the privilege my grandfather and his brother had to flee their home as teenagers when the Nazis invaded Poland, leaving their mother and five younger siblings behind, running and running until they reached a Displaced Persons camp in Siberia, where they would do years of hard labor in the bitter cold until World War II ended.

Maybe it was the privilege my grandfather had of taking on the local Rabbi’s work in that DP camp, telling him that the spiritual leader shouldn’t do hard work, but should save his energy to pass Jewish tradition along to those who might survive.

Perhaps it was the privilege my great-grandmother and those five great-aunts and uncles I never knew had of being shot into an open grave outside their hometown. Maybe that’s my privilege.

Or maybe it’s the privilege my grandmother had of spending weeks upon weeks on a death march through Polish forests in subzero temperatures, one of just a handful to survive, only to be put in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she would have died but for the Allied forces who liberated her and helped her regain her health when her weight dwindled to barely 80 pounds.

Perhaps my privilege is that those two resilient individuals came to America with no money and no English, obtained citizenship, learned the language and met each other; that my grandfather started a humble wicker basket business with nothing but long hours, an idea, and an iron will—to paraphrase the man I never met: “I escaped Hitler. Some business troubles are going to ruin me?” Maybe my privilege is that they worked hard enough to raise four children, and to send them to Jewish day school and eventually City College.

Perhaps it was my privilege that my own father worked hard enough in City College to earn a spot at a top graduate school, got a good job, and for 25 years got up well before the crack of dawn, sacrificing precious time he wanted to spend with those he valued most—his wife and kids—to earn that living. I can say with certainty there was no legacy involved in any of his accomplishments. The wicker business just isn’t that influential. Now would you say that we’ve been really privileged? That our success has been gift-wrapped?

That’s the problem with calling someone out for the “privilege” which you assume has defined their narrative. You don’t know what their struggles have been, what they may have gone through to be where they are. Assuming they’ve benefitted from “power systems” or other conspiratorial imaginary institutions denies them credit for all they’ve done, things of which you may not even conceive. You don’t know whose father died defending your freedom. You don’t know whose mother escaped oppression. You don’t know who conquered their demons, or may still conquering them now.

The truth is, though, that I have been exceptionally privileged in my life, albeit not in the way any detractors would have it.

It has been my distinct privilege that my grandparents came to America. First, that there was a place at all that would take them from the ruins of Europe. And second, that such a place was one where they could legally enter, learn the language, and acclimate to a society that ultimately allowed them to flourish.

It was their privilege to come to a country that grants equal protection under the law to its citizens, that cares not about religion or race, but the content of your character.

It was my privilege that my grandfather was blessed with resolve and an entrepreneurial spirit, and that he was lucky enough to come to the place where he could realize the dream of giving his children a better life than he had.

But far more important for me than his attributes was the legacy he sought to pass along, which forms the basis of what detractors call my “privilege,” but which actually should be praised as one of altruism and self-sacrifice. Those who came before us suffered for the sake of giving us a better life. When we similarly sacrifice for our descendents by caring for the planet, it’s called “environmentalism,” and is applauded. But when we do it by passing along property and a set of values, it’s called “privilege.” (And when we do it by raising questions about our crippling national debt, we’re called Tea Party radicals.) Such sacrifice of any form shouldn’t be scorned, but admired.

My exploration did yield some results. I recognize that it was my parents’ privilege and now my own that there is such a thing as an American dream which is attainable even for a penniless Jewish immigrant.

I am privileged that values like faith and education were passed along to me. My grandparents played an active role in my parents’ education, and some of my earliest memories included learning the Hebrew alphabet with my Dad. It’s been made clear to me that education begins in the home, and the importance of parents’ involvement with their kids’ education—from mathematics to morality—cannot be overstated. It’s not a matter of white or black, male or female or any other division which we seek, but a matter of the values we pass along, the legacy we leave, that perpetuates “privilege.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Behind every success, large or small, there is a story, and it isn’t always told by sex or skin color. My appearance certainly doesn’t tell the whole story, and to assume that it does and that I should apologize for it is insulting. While I haven’t done everything for myself up to this point in my life, someone sacrificed themselves so that I can lead a better life. But that is a legacy I am proud of.

I have checked my privilege. And I apologize for nothing.


‘We are living in a post-Christian Britain and things will get worse’ claims former Archbishop of Canterbury as Christians admit they are afraid to practise their faith

The majority of Roman Catholics and Anglicans are scared to practise their faith in ‘post-Christian’ Britain says a former archbishop of Canterbury.

Lord Williams of Oystermouth, the former Dr Rowan Williams, claims that the country is not ‘a nation of believers’ and further decline is inevitable.

While the country is not populated exclusively by atheists, the former archbishop said that the era of regular and widespread worship is over.

Lord Williams’s comments come in the wake of remarks by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, that Christians should be ‘more evangelical’ about their faith and that Britain is a Christian country.

Mr Cameron’s comments led to a plethora of atheists coming forward to claim that Britain was a secular country culminating in Nick Clegg, the deputy premier, calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England.

However, a poll for The Sunday Telegraph backs the Prime Minister with more than half the public – 56 per cent – regarding Britain as a Christian country, a figure which rises to 60 per cent among men and 73 per cent among the over 65s.

The poll also found that 48 per cent of respondents believe that Christianity receives less protection than other faiths. That figure rose to 62 per cent among non-practising Christians.

Fifty per cent of those who took part believe that Christians are afraid to express their faith because of the rise of religious fundamentalism.

Lord Williams, now the master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, has weighed into the issue telling the newspaper: ‘[Britain is] post-Christian in the sense that habitual practice for most of the population is not taken for granted. A Christian nation can sound like a nation of committed believers, and we are not that.’

‘It’s a matter of defining terms. A Christian country as a nation of believers? No. ‘A Christian country in the sense of still being very much saturated by this vision of the world and shaped by it? Yes.’

He also claimed that a lack of knowledge among people under 45 could result in ‘a further shrinkage of awareness’ although he denied that British Christians have been persecuted, a view that many would not be in agreement with.

He blamed the ‘real stupidity’ of some organisations for what many saw as the persecution of Lillian Ladele who left her job at Islington Town Hall because she refused to preside over civil partnerships for gay couples. She argued that forcing her to preside over civil partnerships went against her Christian beliefs.

In October 2006, Nadia Eweida, a Christian employee of British Airways, was asked to cover up a Christian cross, and was placed on unpaid leave when she refused either to do so or to accept a position where she did not have to cover it up.

The online survey for the newspaper polled 2,000 adults and showed further evidence of concerns that Christian beliefs are being marginalised in modern Britain.

The poll found that 62 per cent of practising Catholics and Anglicans along with 61 per cent of non-practising Christians agreed that they were scared to express their beliefs, and 56 per cent of Christians also felt that the state gives less protection to their beliefs than to those of other faith groups.

Some 14 per cent of respondents defined themselves as practising Christians, while a further 38 per cent said that they were Christian but ‘non-practising’.

The present Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby called the criticism of Mr Cameron by ‘atheist protesters’ over his remarks ‘baffling’.

He wrote in his blog that it was a ‘historical fact (perhaps unwelcome to some, but true)’ that UK law, ethics and culture were based on Christianity’s teachings and traditions.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Baroness Warsi, the former Conservative Party co-chairman and now the minister for faith, defended the Prime Minister: ‘Christianity is part of the landscape of this country and always will be.’

She said that large numbers of immigrants such as Polish Catholics and members of Chinese and African churches were leading to a religious revival in Britain.

‘It’s when countries have a weak identity that things start to go wrong and people start to feel that they are under threat,’ she said.

‘Sadly that’s what happened in Britain for many years. Politicians didn’t talk about their faith because they were seen to be odd to do so.’ This fuelled a rise in support for far-Right groups in the UK, she said.

‘People say they are drawn to extremist groups because they feel their identity is under threat, that they are not allowed to be who they are or believe what they believe.

‘That happens because people become unsure of what we stand for in our country. There is still sometimes a sense that the Christian heritage of Britain is not spoken about, not displayed. People don’t feel that they can dress in a Christian manner, can’t talk about Christianity and faith. These groups exploit that feeling and we have to stand up to that.’



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 POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. 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

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

Index page for this site


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
Western Heart
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page (Backup here).
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: