The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

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

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


31 October, 2013

Religion in American life

There is no doubt that the Christian religion has played an important role in American history but the idea that a free society can exist only with Christian underpinnings is wrong. Australia is a most irreligious place yet is freer than America in many ways (e.g. on the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom). And Japanese civility puts everyone to shame, despite the Japanese clinging resolutely to their own Shinto and Buddhist religions. And the early New England Protestants were in fact very tyrannical

Those attending the Family Research Council's most recent Values Voter Summit heard a lot about religious liberty – and with good reason. In ways both large and small, that cornerstone of freedom has found itself under attack at home and abroad. All Americans should be concerned about its well-being.

Religious liberty is as characteristic of America as our democratic political system and our free-market economy. Nowhere in the world is there more religious diversity, with all manner of faiths existing in relative harmony in the same neighborhoods, and with different houses of worship sharing the same streets in many cases.

History is filled with wars based on religious differences. Yet in the United States, these problems, with rare exceptions, are a distant memory.

Faith has always played a major role in American history. From our Founding Fathers to politicians today, acknowledgment of God in public speeches is commonplace in American discourse. In a letter to his wife on the day the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, John Adams wrote that the Fourth of July “ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

But while the United States was founded by men with the deep and abiding belief in a Christian God, they took great care to ensure that any and all religions would be respected and protected by the Constitution.

Today, however, the Founders' attitude toward religion is widely misunderstood. A major source of confusion is the phrase “separation of church and state,” used by President Thomas Jefferson in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut.

Many have interpreted this phrase to mean that religion should be entirely personal, kept out of schools and other public institutions. However, as Heritage scholar Jennifer Marshall has argued, this interpretation is incorrect: “Jefferson wanted to protect states' freedom of religion from federal government control and religious groups' freedom to tend to their internal matters of faith and practice without government interference generally.”

America's Founding Fathers did not want the government to impose a government-sponsored church on all Americans. Neither did they seek to confine religion to a separate, private sphere of life.

On the contrary, they believed that religion had a vital and enduring role to play in the public affairs of the new American Republic. To cite Marshall again: “The Founders argued that virtue derived from religion is indispensable to limited government. In fact, the American Founders considered religious engagement in shaping the public morality essential to ordered liberty and the success of their experiment in self-government.”

We Americans are rightly proud of our tradition of political and economic liberty. Is an individual's freedom to choose, though, a sufficient guarantee of a good society? Our Founders did not think so. Social critic Irving Kristol observed, “It is religion that restrains the self-seeking hedonistic impulse so easily engendered by a successful market economy.”

One of the clearest expressions of the Founders' attitude toward religion – endorsed by most Americans today – came from our second president, John Adams. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,” Adams declared in 1798. “It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Only a moral and religious people could acquire and retain such traits of character as honesty, kindness, thoughtfulness, respect for law, fairness, self-discipline and self-reliance – virtues the Founders rightly deemed necessary for self-rule.

Faith has always been an integral part of American society. Indeed, Alexis de Tocqueville went so far as to call religion “the first of America's political institutions,” because although it “never mixes directly in the government of society,” it nevertheless determines the “habits of the heart” of all Americans.

Whether you choose to worship or not, or however you choose to worship, everyone benefits from the interweaving of faith into our societal fabric. To eliminate it from public discourse would deny our history – and remove a crucial component of the American spirit.


So much for social mobility… 1,000 years after they invaded, you still have to have a Norman name like Darcy or Percy to get ahead in England

Only the brightest study at our elite universities… but if your name is Darcy or Percy, you have a natural advantage.

A study showed yesterday that despite the dramatic changes in our lifestyles during the past 800 years, the same names have dominated the student rolls at Oxford and Cambridge over that time.

Researchers found that there have been Darcys, Mandevilles, Percys and Montgomerys at the two universities for 27 generations, their prestige unbroken by historic upheavals and technological revolutions.

The unchallenged status of great wealth has meant that the same names who were at the top of the social scale in the time of William the Conqueror remain among the elite now, the report said.

By contrast there are some family names whose bearers were poor 150 years ago who are still likely to remain outside the ranks of the wealthy.

Among the poorer surnames, selected by researchers because they are relatively rare and the family line can more easily be traced, are Boorman, Cholmondley, Defoe, Goodhill, Ledwell, Rowthorn, Sidwells and Tonbridge.

The researchers from the London School of Economics, Dr Neil Cummins and Professor Gregory Clark, said the name checks showed that social mobility in England is hardly greater than in medieval times and that people inherit their social status even more than they inherit their height.

Dr Cummins said: ‘Just take the names of the Normans who conquered England nearly 1,000 years ago. Surnames such as Baskerville, Darcy, Mandeville and Montgomery are still over-represented at Oxbridge and also among elite occupations such as medicine, law and politics.

‘What is surprising is that between 1800 and 2011 there have been substantial institutional changes in England but no gain in rates of social mobility for society as a whole.’

The study comes at a time of widespread concern about social mobility as large-scale research suggests that those born to less well-off families have had less chance of success since the 1970s.

Much of the blame has been pinned on the education system, with left-wingers attacking universities for failing to admit students from poor backgrounds, while right-wingers say the abolition of the grammar schools cut off the way up for working class children.

The LSE research said that the spread of mass education over the past 150 years has done nothing to break the grip of the longstanding elite on positions of power, and that the same families have been on top despite centuries of religious reformation, civil war, industrial revolution, the growth of democracy and education, and the birth of the welfare state.

Conventional estimates say it takes three to five generations for a wealthy family to fall to the middle ground and a poor family to rise to the same level.

The researchers tested the idea by examining student rolls for Oxford and Cambridge universities going back to 1170, four years after the Norman Conquest.

The two institutions were the only universities in England until 1832 and continue to accept only the best-qualified students.

'There has been modest improvement in social mobility rates between the medieval era and the modern world, with that change occurring around 1800,' the researchers said.

But they added: 'The remarkable status persistence found using Oxbridge attendance as the status measure is found just as strongly with a more general and democratic measure of status such as asset ownership.

'Over the generations there were substantial increases in the rate of taxation of wealth and income, especially after 1910. Yet this did nothing to increase rates of wealth mobility.'


Bibles banned at British student halls: Company branded 'anti-Christian' after stopping Gideons from leaving Holy Book in rooms

A company that manages student halls has been branded ‘anti-Christian’ after banning the Gideons from leaving Bibles in bedrooms.

Digs, which manages halls for Huddersfield University, said it wants properties to be ‘ethically neutral’. It also claims the ban is necessary because many students are from overseas.

But the Rev Mike Smith, a former minister at Huddersfield’s Golcar Baptist Church, said: ‘Our culture is not ethically neutral. “I am sure that university authorities would not consider it ‘ethically neutral’ if their accommodation was used as a brothel, crack-house or a store for terrorist weapons. ‘Banning bibles is not ‘ethically neutral’. It is a positive anti-Christian step, and could be the edge of a very dangerous wedge.’

He added: ‘What is considered perfectly acceptable in hotels, hospitals and prisons is not fit for students! How foolish can you get?

‘There are two reasons. Both are utterly spurious.

‘Are the university authorities not aware that the Christian faith is a worldwide faith? And as for non-Christian students, they are not compelled to read the bibles.’

Robyn Towning, marketing manager for the Digs, which has been responsible for refurbishing the 1,386 capacity Storthes Hall Park for Huddersfield University, said: ‘It’s not our role to be religious or have political views and impress them on our students. ‘We are here to provide accommodation and pastoral care.

‘Their bibles are in reception and there’s a Koran so students can access them if they want.’

Mr Towning added: ‘I don’t think the measure is anti-Christian; it’s our job to be neutral.’

The Gideons are an evangelical Christian organisation formed in 1899.


One in 10 foreign criminals back on the streets of Britain because officials have failed to kick them out of the UK

One in every ten prisoners held at a jail for foreign criminals was freed back on to Britain’s streets because officials failed to deport them, a damning report reveals.

Inspectors said the convicts were released without undergoing any behaviour programmes designed to keep the public safe.

It had been ‘irresponsibly’ assumed there was no point rehabilitating the criminals locked-up at HMP Canterbury since they were going to be booted out of the UK.

But, due to human rights appeals and other hold ups, at least ten per cent of the inmates were set free in the UK.

It is embarrassing for ministers because Canterbury was designated as a prison specifically for overseas convicts facing deportation.

At another jail, Lincoln, a Somalian rapist was still behind bars nine years after passing his release date because ministers had not been able to arrange his removal.

The failures were identified in the annual report of her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons, who warned that ‘cracks were beginning to show’ in the prison system.

Nick Hardwick was scathing of the efforts being made at some jails to get foreign offenders out of the country.

The report said that ‘in some prisons the relationship with the Home Office was poor or non-existent and foreign national prisoners had difficulty in progressing their cases or even knowing where they stood in relation to deportation’.

At HMP Lincoln, the Somalian rapist, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for rape, completed his sentence in 2002. But he was deemed too dangerous to be released prior to his removal from the country, which is being held up by legal wrangles.

Under human rights law, foreign criminals can dodge removal to Somalia on the grounds it is too dangerous.

In a recent snapshot of the scale of the problem, Home Office figures showed that, on a single day in August, 937 foreign nationals were behind bars despite completing their prison sentences.

Keeping them in jail costs the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds each year. The Lincoln case alone has cost the taxpayer almost £450,000.

Yesterday, the Mail revealed how a notorious gang ‘general’ who poses a ‘serious threat to the public’ could be back on Britain’s streets within months because ministers have failed to have him deported.

Joland Giwa, whose street name is Dexter, led a campaign of terror on the streets of Croydon, South London, and is ready ‘at any time to use knives and weapons’, police say.

He was thought to be from Nigeria or Sierra Leone, but both countries refuse to accept he is one of theirs and linguists have now said he has a strong London accent, despite finding that he used English spoken in Nigeria.

A judge ruled that immigration officials had three months to get him travel documents and if they failed Giwa should be released.

The Ministry of Justice closed Canterbury prison earlier this year as part of plans to modernise the prison estate.

The Home Office said it had unveiled plans to make it easier to deport foreign criminals.

They include making it harder for offenders to claim they have a human right to a ‘family life’ in the UK, and the introduction of a system where criminals are deported first, then appeal from their own country.



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.


30 October, 2013

Useless sh*ts murder a defenseless old man who was a real contributor to his community

What have any of this useless and cowardly dreck ever done for anyone? They should fry

A World War II veteran who became known as the 'Tamale King' and was a celebrity of the Delta region in Mississippi has been laid to rest with Navy honors after he was brutally murdered during a botched robbery.

Lawrence E. Thornton, 87, was a pillar of his community, beloved by all who knew him - especially his two sons, seven grand-children and six great-grandchildren.

His funeral Thursday included a U.S. Navy Honor Guard and the honor guard from his local Knights of Columbus society - a tribute to both his stature and his service aboard a Navy minesweeper in the Pacific during the Second World War.

'Shine' Thornton died October 20 - two days after he was attacked in his own driveway in Greenville, Mississippi, by four teens who wanted his wallet. Police allege they battered the elderly man and pushed him to the ground before robbing him.

Terrance Morgan, 19, Edward Johnson, 19, Geblonski Murray, 18, and Leslie Litt, 18, were arrested last Monday following a public manhunt that included a reward being offered from local business leaders.

They were charged with capital murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit a robbery.

Laura Cockrell Thornton, Shine Thornon's daughter-in-law, wrote on Facebook that he would have appreciated the ceremony.

'It's been a tough but beautiful day. Tough because we said our final goodbyes to our beloved Pa Shine but beautiful because it was the type of day he would have loved,' she said.

'It was a beautiful blue sky day. The funeral mass was perfect - from the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, to the homily, to the beautiful music, to the Navy Honor Guard at the cemetery, to the delicious meal we enjoyed together afterwards with family and friends - he would have loved every minute of it!'

Thornton served as a Fireman First Class aboard the USS Herald, a minesweeper that saw significant service in the Pacific. He remained proud of his service on her her until his death.

The coffee mug he used every morning at his favorite diner was a commemoration of the Herald. He drank from it so much, the inscription was worn entirely off.

At Jim's Cafe, his favorite haunt, they tied a black ribbon to his regular chair and placed his coffee mug on the table as a silent memorial to their reliable customer.

He was known in the Delta region for his award-winning Maria’s Famous Hot Tamales, which he began cooking in 1984, named after his wife, Mary. According to Southern Foodways, Shine entered the hot tamale business with a jerry-rigged recipe he got from a friend, and added his own spin to it.

Thornton earned his nickname Shine in high school when he began picking out the notes to ‘You are My Sunshine’ during the intermission of a performance. Members of the band started calling him Sunshine and eventually shortened it to Shine, according to his obituary.

His sunny disposition was still with him as he grew older. According to the website he would sell his snacks out of the custom built kitchen in his home and sit with customers, often playing the fiddle to entertain his guests.


A happy normal woman

One can only feel sorry for "liberated" women. My son was conceived because his mother decided that she "just wanted to be a mother" -- despite already having 3 children. I was delighted -- JR

Tripping over four pairs of glittery pumps in the downstairs hall, I stumbled into our playroom only to be greeted by squealing laughter and an overpowering waft of nail polish.

Tiny toes were being painted a kaleidoscope of colours and lashings of lip gloss indelicately sloshed onto sticky pint-sized pouts as three of my daughters immersed themselves in playing ‘beauty salon’.

Upstairs I could hear the roar of a hair dryer competing against a One Direction CD, while back in the playroom, my six-year-old Helena was ordering the customers of her toy sweetshop not to touch the little lollipops on the plastic shelf without ‘paying’ first.

Chaos? Yes. But for me, nothing out of the ordinary. For years, my house has been girls world central. With six daughters, it’s a place where bedrooms are a blizzard of fairies and Barbies and the bathroom is crammed with scented soaps and sparkly hair bobbles.

But suddenly, in the middle of this explosion of femininity, I catch a glimpse of powder blue. My gorgeous, chunky baby boy. George. My precious longed-for son — a baby boy born after six girls.

My son. I still can’t believe I can say these words. I never really thought it would happen. I pinch myself every morning when I scoop him from his cot and gaze at his little boyish face. I thought we only did girls. Girls who came one after another, all gorgeous and much loved, but none of them, well, boys.

I admit now I was prepared to keep going until we had a son. And if it meant we ended up with a houseful of girls, which we did, well, that was absolutely fine.

It’s not that I haven’t adored having daughters — I love all the girly shopping and baking, the softness and companionship. But as one arrived after another, part of me felt a deep, desperate yearning for a boy, fuelled in part by the fact that my husband Jamie didn’t have a son — someone he could kick a ball with in the park, go to the match with, pass on the family name to.

Whenever friends who had boys would say they were taking their sons on, say, a ‘lads and dads’ camping weekend I felt —what? — envy, sadness, longing.

I desperately wanted a boy and my husband Jamie longed for someone he could call ‘my son’.

But as baby girl followed baby girl, it seemed that having a son was a mere dream. That is, until September 4 last year, when the world turned blue and we were finally able to use the boy’s name —George — we’d chosen so long ago.

Every time I fell pregnant, the name had been there, ready to use if the baby was a boy. And each time it was quietly set aside as we welcomed another gorgeous little girl into our home. How long would we have to keep going until we could use it?

And there’s no question that our girls — Olivia, 19, Alicia, 14, Isabella, 8, Lucia, 7, Helena, 6 and Tallula, 3 — are gorgeous. They each have the perfect mix of my half-Jamaican background and their father’s blue-eyed blond genes.

But we ached for what seemed to elude us. It wasn’t helped by the increasingly ‘disappointed’ reaction of friends, family and people we knew. It’s amazing how people just say things without thinking. We stopped getting ‘Congratulations!’ and started to get ‘Oh, not another girl!’

You’d think something terrible had happened. It hadn’t, but in truth every new arrival only served as a reminder of what we didn’t have and what we so desperately wanted. And how I would have to keep going if I was ever going to be in with a chance of having a son.

When Jamie and I married after meeting through friends, we always knew we wanted to have at least four children. At the time, I was working in retail management but gave up work after having the first two girls to be a full-time mum.

At first, having girls was a novelty since Jamie, a highway maintenance manager, is one of three boys and I have three older brothers (and no sisters). But by the time Lucia — our fourth girl — arrived, we really started to wonder whether we were ever going to have a boy.

After each girl, we’d tell ourselves that was it, that our family was complete. But then, well, I love babies, and we’d give it another try. And I was quite young — I’m 37 — I just thought, we’ll keep going until we get one.

I never found it difficult to conceive and when I fell pregnant with George, I didn’t feel any differently to how I did in my other pregnancies. I seemed to carry my bump the same way too and didn’t have particularly bad morning sickness.

We’d always found out the sex of all our other babies at the 20-week scan. But for some reason, with George I decided not to. As Jamie said, it was bound to be a girl, so what was the point?

Meanwhile, as the birth drew closer, I began neatly pressing the pink Babygros stowed away from previous pregnancies as we steeled ourselves for another little girl. I went into labour on the first day of the autumn term last year.

We rushed the children off to school then raced to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester where 20 minutes later and with only a few gusts of gas and air, our 8lb 2oz baby came bouncing into the world. We’d told the midwife we wanted to see for ourselves what the baby would be rather than her telling us, so as soon as George came out she just held him up to us.

We were speechless. All we could both keep saying, over and over again was: ‘Oh my god, a boy!’ We’d done it! As she wheeled us back to the ward, the midwife stopped everyone she met in the corridor, proudly announcing that this baby boy had been born after six girls.

I stayed in hospital for only six hours. It had been an easy birth and I wanted to get home so that George could meet his big sisters. Their reaction was electric as they clamoured round him, squealing with delight. They couldn’t believe it. They kept saying: ‘We’ve got a little brother.’ They were as shocked as we were.

Nothing prepared me for the reaction from friends and family. Our five-bedroom semi in Timperley, Greater Manchester, was transformed into a sea of blue — from sprawling flower arrangements and baby presents to the huge balloons heralding the arrival of our own little prince.

Having this little bundle of blue among our brood was just incredible. The girls couldn’t stop fussing over him. And Jamie and I would just sit there looking at him.

As a tiny baby, apart from the blizzard of blue that had invaded our house, things weren’t that different. (Well, apart from nappy changes — I wasn’t prepared for the projectile wee which goes everywhere as soon as the nappy comes off.) George had no choice but to fit in with our girly household.

With so many children, we do our best to make sure order and routine prevail — from sitting down round the table to have dinner together at night, to homework, and systematic bed times. George was simply timetabled into this.

But as he gets bigger, I’m really beginning to feel the ‘boyish’ impact he makes. For a start, I’m used to girly appetites.

Then, the other day, the family sat down to their Sunday dinner only to watch in awe as George reached out for one roast potato after another.

The toys are changing too. We’re buying football nets for the garden and George now has his first train set — though he seems just as happy playing with the girls’ dolls! We’re also going to put up a blue play house in the garden to sit alongside the pink one.

Jamie loves tumbling about with him — the girls always seemed too delicate for that. And as he does so, he keeps calling George ‘my boy’ or ‘my son’.

I love shopping for his clothes, from tiny jeans to crisp shirts: in fact I’ve already bought him a smart shirt and tie for Christmas Day. After years of careful bulk buying frocks or passing down clothes for the girls, it’s such fun to pick out outfits for my son.

Everyone keeps asking if I’m calling it a day now on the baby front. Well, I do feel fit and healthy — I jog a few miles a couple of times a week to keep in shape — so in theory I could carry on. And Jamie has joked that he’d like a little brother for George.

But while that would be nice, we have learned over the years that there are no guarantees.

In fact there’s a lady I know on the school run who has just had her seventh boy. I don’t think I could have done that. It’s easy to keep going when you’ve got lots of girly girls, but I think the prospect of a houseful of noisy, messy boys might have been more of a challenge.

Now though, after such a long wait, we just want to enjoy what we have: a longed for baby boy, an utterly adored son, and a gorgeous little brother to six big sisters. I don’t think I could ask for much more than that ....



Chief calls for corrected training on 'extremists'

The chief of the U.S. Army has ordered that training for the military on “extremists” be halted until the program can be corrected and standardized to eliminate reported Christian-bashing

It was earlier this month that one such “training” course was reported to have labeled the pro-family American Family Association as a hate group – a designation that earlier was applied to the group by the domestic terror case-linked Southern Poverty Law Center.

According to Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes, Army Secretary John McHugh has given military leaders a memo with the orders.

“On several occasions over the past few months, media accounts have highlighted instances of Army instructors supplementing programs of instruction and including information or material that is inaccurate, objectionable and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy,” the memo said.

Starnes reported an Army spokesman, David Patterson Jr., said McHugh “directed that Army leaders cease all briefings, command presentations or training on the subject of extremist organizations or activities until that program of instruction and training has been created and disseminated.”

It was a soldier at a Camp Shelby in Mississippi who presented evidence to media that an Army presenter at a briefing identified AFA as a “hate group” because of its stance on homosexuality and marriage.

Army spokesman George Wright later confessed the characterization of AFA was “acquired from an Internet search” and “did not come from official Army sources, nor was it approved by senior Army leaders, senior equal opportunity counselors or judge-advocate personnel.”

Tim Wildmon, president of AFA, one of the country’s largest Christian ministries, said: “We are probably going to be taking legal action. The Army has smeared us. They’ve defamed the American Family Association.”

Brian Fischer, AFA’s director of issues analysis, said the Internet source likely was the Southern Poverty Law Center, which routinely labels Christians who adhere to biblical teaching on homosexuality as “hate groups.”

At the time, he said: “The blatantly false ‘hate’ allegation is coming from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is now a thoroughly discredited source on any subject, especially hate. In fact, for spreading malicious lies about pro-family groups, SPLC belongs on its own hate group list. They’ve made a despicable career out of using lies, distortions and innuendo to whip up reckless and dangerous animosity against groups which defend the values of the Founders.”

Fischer said the “real hate group here is the SPLC.”



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 October, 2013

Young British mother jailed for making two false rape claims within hours after getting drunk and sleeping with friend's partner

Another lying hotbox

A young mother has been jailed after she made two different false reports of rape within hours after drunkenly sleeping with her friend's partner.

The man only proved his innocence because he filmed the sexual encounter on his mobile phone and the footage showed she was a willing and active participant.

Ashleigh Loder, 25, wasted at least 100 hours of police time and subjected the man, who has not been named, to police questioning after inventing the two attacks in Bideford, North Devon.

She first contacted police - drunk on vodka - saying she had been dragged to the ground and raped in an alleyway by two strangers.

But when forensic tests seemed to disprove the story, she fabricated a new one - accusing a man of date raping her at home.

A friend of the man's partner, Loder admitted she fabricated a story fearing the consequences of sleeping with him.

She spread her claims about him around Bideford and he was forced to stay inside, becoming a recluse for two weeks to avoid reprisals, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Loder, of Bideford, admitted perverting the course of justice and was jailed for six months by Judge Phillip Wassall.

He told her: 'The man was branded a rapist locally and it caused him considerable distress and suffered threats within the local area and lost time off work.

'One can only imagine what it is like to be accused of a very serious crime which could carry a sentence of around six years.

'There are some offences so serious that the court has no option other than immediate custody.

'There must be a clear message to anyone who invents a serious allegation, particularly one such as this which carries such a stigma.'

Jonathan Barnes, prosecuting, said Loder called the police on the night of December 1 last year and initially claimed to have been raped in an alley near her home as she left for a night out.

But after changing her account of events, her friend's partner was forced to take time off work for police questioning.

He proved his innocence with images of their affair and a text Loder had sent him claiming to have been raped in an alley.

Mr Barnes said: 'The allegations had a considerable effect on him. They were bandied about the area and he had to live like a recluse for two weeks. He lost two stone of weight through the stress and had problems sleeping.'

Greg Richardson, defending, said: 'Her life was a complete dream and she convinced herself she had been raped. Who knows what was going on in her mind but she believed something within her had said no.

'She says the situation she got into was rock bottom. She wishes to apologise sincerely to the man.'


The Second Biggest Issue in America

Bruce Bialosky

The government was shut down and we had spent up to the limit of what we could legally borrow. But the country was not focused on the fact that our new health care law was beginning as a dismal failure. Or that our tax collectors are running rampant with no promised Presidential butt-kicking. Record numbers of people are on food stamps, even as our economy has supposedly grown for four years and the employment rate has supposedly shrunk. None of these constitute the second most important issue in America. That would be the name of Washington D.C.’s professional football team.

My commenting on this issue has no personal interest. I could not give a rat’s behind about the NFL. I am a Saturday football guy when teams like the Buckeyes, Bruins, Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish play. But watching the spectacle that has occurred over the name of a team that has existed for 81 years has been quite astonishing.

I am aware of some disruption that has occurred across America over teams named after groups now called “Native Americans.” Well, they were not actually Native Americans because they came from elsewhere also.It is just that they came here before the Europeans. We have to call them Native Americans because someone decided that at some point, and it made some people happy.

It did not exactly make the newly-named Native Americans happy. They are still being segregated on mostly worthless tribal lands. They are still living under the protection of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (who still call them Indians) on supposedly sovereign lands. They have not been mainstreamed into this society and suffer every cultural malady that could possibly occur when you are being helped by our federal government. The only thing that has advanced since they were moved around the country over a century ago is that they now own casinos. Yes, folks, we gave them the right to operate gambling parlors because they live on fictionalized sovereign land. And, of course, we changed their name to Native Americans.

Now we have this fight over the name of the football team. I don’t know what the Native Americans think because I hear conflicting reports. I do know, as a Jew, how I might feel if there were teams named the New Jersey Yids or the Florida Hebs. But those were always derogatory terms. The name of this football team is not. The team name was once honored and used by Native Americans. I don’t think the team took a name because they were dishonoring it. They thought it was a sign of strength. That is why we Jews never had a team named after us. Someone could have named their team the Maccabees. Now that the Israelis have proven to be such effective fighters maybe someone will name their team the Israelis. I think I would be proud.

When I grew up there were derogatory terms for many groups of people, but two that were not were Colored and Negro. "Colored” is obviously what the “C” stands for in NAACP. There is also the United Negro College Fund. Both of these organizations are still thriving with their names intact; but, if you use either of those terms, someone would look at you as if you had a few screws loose. We were then told we had to use the term Black. Then Jesse Jackson comes up with the term African-American and now what we use has to change again.

Yet with all the name changing, where have the Black people gotten? Yes, there have been some advancements with newly-elected officials, but the pace of improvement has been slow.Youth unemployment for Blacks reached a 25-year high in September at 49 percent. The rate of out-of-wedlock births is at 70 percent which is perceived as the prime road to poverty.

This is all about one issue and one issue only: White Liberal Guilt (WLG). That is why these subjects keep on being brought up and this is why these issues move forward.Sometimes WLG spreads beyond the liberals; for example, when we elected our current President who has proven in five years that he is not up to the job in so many ways. It manifests itself when the Stanford Indians became the Stanford Cardinals and adopt the silliest mascot in sports – a tree.

The problem with WLG is it never deals with the underlying problems.It only assuages the feelings of the liberals who get back to their cozy homes in their nice cars where they might write a check to further assuage their feelings.Or they will hold a fundraiser and bemoan the plight of whatever group they currently are focused upon.

A few Native Americans may feel better about themselves if the Washington football team becomes the Senators or the Wildcats. But for most they will still go back to their reservations and the pallid lives aided by a government worker. Now at least they can count their chips.


TV Has to Be at Least 42 Percent Gay?

The media elites glowed as they reported a judge had forced New Jersey to become the 14th state to honor and celebrate the "gay marriage" concept. When homosexuals marry in Hoboken, the gay left will be — should be — thanking Hollywood.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has issued a new report boasting that "TV hasn't merely reflected the changes in social attitudes; it has also had an important role in bringing them about. Time and again, it's been shown that personally knowing an LGBT person is one of the most influential factors in shifting one's views on LGBT issues, but in the absence of that, many viewers have first gotten to know us as television characters."

If network executives were honest, they'd be slamming this report. If. Haven't they routinely insisted that TV shows have zero effect on the audience? That's their constant mantra when defending sex and violence on TV. They're silent. They know exactly how much they influence.

GLAAD and The Hollywood Reporter commissioned a poll last fall that found in the past 10 years, about three times as many voters have become more supportive of "marriage equality" (31 percent) as more opposed (10 percent). When asked how television has influenced them, 27 percent said "inclusive" TV shows made them more "inclusive," while six percent were more "anti-marriage equality."

As GLAAD put it, "Telling our stories to a mass audience is an important role that television continues to play."

These cultural trend-enforcers went after the movies this summer, complaining that out of the 101 film releases by the major studios in the 2012 calendar year, "only 14 films contained characters identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual. There were no films containing transgender characters."

The silver-screen people need to catch up, they lectured: "But if the major Hollywood studios want a real barometer of how much has changed in our society and how much catching up they have to do, they need only look at what's become one of the greatest threats to their viability: television."

In the 2012-13 TV season, GLAAD found a record number of LGBT characters — 4.4 percent, or at least double their actual percentage of the population. Fox was honored for having these characters in 42 percent of their programming hours — although that wasn't enough for "Excellent" status, merely "Good."

There's no wonder that a Gallup poll in 2011 found that on average, American adults estimate that 25 percent of Americans are homosexual. They're getting that crazy idea from TV.

GLAAD is using that example to proselytize the movie studios: "The 'novelty' of these (TV) characters being LGBT has long since passed, and now they're simply unique personalities making up part of unique character ensembles."

That doesn't mean these guardians of inclusion aren't going to keep pressuring TV. The new gay-focused sitcoms "Partners" and "The New Normal" were canceled, alongside other shows with socially liberal agendas. To compensate, GLAAD is even bashing The History Channel for having zero gay characters.

They don't mean in the Civil War documentaries. History executives have loaded their schedule with fictional and "reality TV" shows, and GLAAD is having a tantrum. "The closest the network seemed to get was on the scripted drama 'Vikings,' which depicted one 'straight' Viking couple sexually propositioning a monk they had enslaved." They even expect Middle Ages dramas to have gay scenes or characters in 42 percent of programming hours.

They want children indoctrinated as well. GLAAD is also not shy when it comes to Teen Nick, Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel. Apparently, children also desperately need the propaganda of gay characters in 42 percent of programming hours. They're extremely happy with the liberalism of "ABC Family" and have relayed that Disney Channel executives promised GLAAD they will "introduce LGBT characters in an episode of its original series 'Good Luck Charlie' set to air in 2014, a first for the network." The first of many, they expect.

Here's the catch: Gay characters never face any real opposition to the gay agenda on these so-called "inclusive" programs. There is no measure of Orthodox religious inclusion and no real debates. The victory of the left is assumed without thinking. When a conservative character is created — like Ellen Barkin's "Nana" in "The New Normal" — it's a vicious cartoon, the kind that those "against defamation" folks deeply enjoy.

These people are all about tolerance and sensitivity. But if you disagree with them, they will have your head. Ask anyone in Hollywood who's pro-family.


There was a conspiracy behind Britain's immigration surge – our do-gooding silence

Mass immigration happened for the obvious, boring reasons: business likes cheap labour, and Labour likes new votes. There’s no organised, malign conspiracy

It’s difficult to know how to react, part one. A cabby said to me on Thursday night: “Do you think there’s a conspiracy?” We’d been talking about his holiday in France, and I’d asked him if he fancied retiring there.

From this we got to “They keep France quite French, you know?” and then, of course, to immigration. He thought that it suited capitalists and the Labour Party alike, delivering squeezed wages for the former (“that’s just a fact”) and plenty of votes for the latter.

I said: “Why would there need to be a conspiracy? Aren’t those reasons good enough explanation for the evidence?” I agree with both propositions, never quite able to join in the Boris?esque rejoicing at the changing face of London. Poor people work for rubbish wages: hooray. Not all diversity is good for cohesion: heresy.

He looked at me in his mirror. He thought I was copping out. I looked at myself in another mirror, later that night, brushing my teeth. Maybe I should have made more clear to the man that such hallucinatory theories lead to racism. Maybe I got it wrong, and should have confronted the conspiracy theory – of a “them” and “us” – more forcefully.

It’s difficult to know how to react, part two. When Tommy Robinson abruptly departed the organisation he’d founded, the English Defence League (EDL), and proclaimed himself opposed to violence, there was widespread joy, and not only from liberals. One sinner repenting, etc.

But I was never able to join in the mandatory Two Minutes Hate about the EDL, and found the commentariat’s inability to understand what they were witnessing quite baffling. To dismiss the EDL as “simply” fascists was an error, I think.

Maybe growing up in the west of Scotland, where young men often felt the need of a crowd in order to defend their group’s identity, even against phantoms – while, intellectually, rejecting the sectarianism of my youth – maybe it’s left me, subconsciously, empathetic to the yearning that fuels such collectives.

Maybe, too, living so long in east London – no. Tell the truth. Maybe that a significant reason for our departure from east London was that it had become increasingly unpleasant for gay people to live there: the verbal abuse we’d received, twice, walking home, “gay-free zone” stickers on lamp-posts. Maybe this, too, left me with a slight (and not subconscious) understanding of why working-class men from Luton would want to protest about the Islamification (as they saw it) of their (as they considered it) town.

What – you didn’t feel angry at the poppy-burning? You don’t read about yet another college which segregates the sexes at public events, and shake your head in bewilderment? Please do not pretend that I’m the sole non-racist Briton who can understand the incoherent anger, if not the methods, of the men who sought something like the EDL in order to give them voice.

It’s hard to say this, for fear of providing succour to racists, for fear of being accused of racism, but mainly, I hope, because my empathy isn’t a facility with directional control. It extends to people with very different backgrounds, to newcomers as well as the indigenous. Most newcomers make good Britons. Which makes it difficult to know how to react. Easier to condemn the EDL yobbery and assure ourselves that it was just that: yobbery.

It’s difficult to know how to react, part three. That video of a young man being beaten up by Muslim youths in east London, who smash a beer bottle in his face and then kick him to the ground.

Don’t be ridiculous. It’s not difficult at all. (And if you wish to dismiss this as “just” violence, imagine the news coverage were gangs of Christian youths found to be prowling Oxfordshire, beating up their atheist neighbours.)

It shouldn’t have been difficult, either, to react to (and stop) the EDL by being honest about the reasons for its growth. There is a link, I very much fear, between the simple-minded recitation of “Shut up, you racists” and the beating of that man. A climatic link, anyway.

The cabby drew the wrong conclusions from the evidence. Mass immigration happened for the obvious, boring reasons: business likes cheap labour, and Labour likes new votes. There’s no organised, malign conspiracy controlling society; no shadowy puppet-masters. No one planned that Islamist vigilantes would attempt to make east London a “gay-free zone”.

But there is a conspiracy of sorts, none the less. It’s the conspiracy of silence, which we wished into being, all by ourselves. The horror of it is that we did so for the kindest of reasons: we want to believe the best of people; otherwise, how can we think well of ourselves?

Difficult to know how to react? You tell me. With hindsight, a little more reaction in the late 1990s – a little more border control, a little more clarity about Britishness – would have been very welcome.



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 October, 2013

Jail social workers who take children without telling parents why, says Britain's top family judge

Sir James Munby said family courts must be exposed to the 'glare of publicity'

The country’s most senior family judge yesterday launched a furious attack on social workers who failed to tell parents why their children were being adopted – and suggested that in future the same offence could carry a jail term.

Local authority workers in Bristol ignored a court order requiring them to explain why the couple’s two children were being taken for adoption.

They only released the information to the parents 45 minutes before the decision was due to be finalised, giving the family no real hope of mounting a challenge in court.

Sir James Munby, who is President of the Family Division, said their behaviour was ‘deplorable’ and ‘symptomatic of a deeply rooted culture in family courts’.

In his judgment, he accused the social workers of having a ‘slapdash’ and ‘lackadaisical’ attitude to court orders.

He said the couple, who were facing the ‘permanent loss of two children’ had been denied ‘vitally important’ information.

He also warned that in future, there would be ‘consequences’ for social workers, suggesting that they could be jailed for contempt if they fail to comply with court orders – an offence that carries a sentence of up to two years.

Until now, local authority workers have largely been protected by family courts, which also routinely tolerate delays and inefficiencies in their work.

By contrast, members of the public who have failed to comply with court orders have been dealt with severely.

The most notorious case of this was the prison sentence for contempt handed down to Wanda Maddocks, who wanted to get her father out of a care home where she thought he was being ill-treated.

Miss Maddocks was jailed without representation and in secret until her case was revealed by the Daily Mail.

But Sir James’s warning suggests council staff will now face the same punishment as ordinary members of the public if they fail – either through incompetence or unwillingness – to hand over the required information on time.

He told the court: ‘That the parents should have been put in this position is quite deplorable. ‘It is, unhappily, symptomatic of a deeply rooted culture in the family courts which, however long established, will no longer be tolerated.

'The court is entitled to expect – and from now on family courts will demand – strict compliance with all such orders. ‘Non-compliance with orders should be expected to have and will usually have a consequence.’

He added: ‘There is simply no excuse for this. Orders must be obeyed and complied with to the letter and on time. Non-compliance with an order, any order, by anyone is bad enough. ‘It is a particularly serious matter if the defaulter is a public body such as a local authority.

‘It is also a particularly serious matter if the order goes to something as vitally important as the right of a parent who is facing the permanent loss of their child to know what case is being mounted against them by a public authority.’

Lib Dem MP John Hemming, who has campaigned for openness in the family courts, said: ‘At least anybody who is sent down for contempt by Sir James will not be locked up in secret.

‘He has put the boot on to the other foot. The next time courts are let down by the incompetence or bloody-mindedness of social workers, it will be a director of children’s services facing jail rather than a parent.’


Senior citizen forced to pay £3,500 in compensation to carer for constructive dismissal because her hours were cut when his wife died

A grieving pensioner was ordered to pay a carer £3,500 for ‘unfair dismissal’ because he cut her hours when his wife died.

George Lomas, 77, was told he breached Jayne Wakefield’s contract by not giving notice that her hours would decrease after his wife Rose’s death. Mrs Wakefield had cared for Parkinson’s sufferer Mrs Lomas for five years, with her wages paid by the council.

When his wife died, Mr Lomas offered to pay the carer himself – for fewer hours than before – to help as he coped with his loss. She sat next to the pensioner at Mrs Lomas’s funeral, holding his hand and wiping his tears.

But the very next day, she resigned by letter, demanding redundancy pay.

Yesterday, the ‘devastated’ grandfather of one said: ‘How was I supposed to give her notice? You don’t have notice when your wife is going to die. ‘My wife would be heartbroken because she trusted Jayne. We never thought she would do that.

‘At Rose’s funeral, she was telling everyone she was going to look after me, then the next day she was asking for redundancy money. ‘It’s unreal – we treated her like a daughter and she has betrayed us.’

Mrs Wakefield, 55, took Mr Lomas to an employment tribunal.

A judge rejected her claim, but on appeal she was awarded £3,568, including redundancy pay and compensation for constructive unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

Last night, her husband Leslie, 59, said: ‘She’s been given the redundancy money which she is entitled to and that’s the end of the story.

‘People die. Husbands die, children die, wives die – it happens, I’m afraid. Mr Lomas was Jayne’s employer, it is as simple as that. I don’t think it’s a large bill – he’s sitting on loads of premium bonds anyway.’

Even though Mrs Lomas’s care was funded by Cheshire East Council, Mr Lomas will have to pay the whole compensation sum from his own pocket. That is because he is legally classed as Mrs Wakefield’s employer after paying her privately for just a few days after his wife’s death.

The retired accountant said he does not know how he will cope and accused the council of ‘washing their hands of the issue’.

He said: ‘I’m on a company and state pension, but I just haven’t got the money to pay for this.’

Mr Lomas said he offered to pay the carer for 16 hours a week, when she had previously put in 30 hours a week caring for Mrs Lomas. But Mrs Wakefield told the tribunal in Birmingham that she quit because there was no written offer.

Mr Lomas added that the incident had taken its toll on him and he had since suffered a minor stroke. He said: ‘It’s ruined my health. My doctor told me it has been brought on by the stress of this case. ‘To contact me the day after I lost my wife is disgusting.

‘And when she pushed a letter through the door saying she was suing me – my world fell apart.

‘I will never forgive her,’ he said, speaking from his home in Scholar Green, Cheshire.

Mr Lomas started caring for his wife of 51 years, a retired quality controller, when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s almost 25 years ago. As her condition grew worse, Mrs Wakefield, a neighbour of the couple at the time, came in as a carer.

At first, the council paid Mrs Wakefield directly, but later Mr Lomas received a grant to cover the cost.

His son Adrian, managing director of a digital agency, said: ‘All this has really upset dad. ‘One day she was sitting in the front row of the church holding dad’s hand at mum’s funeral, the next there’s a letter pushed through his door.’

The 44-year-old said pensioners who pay for care should be careful. ‘Once the council stopped paying for care direct, people like Dad were made to employ people themselves and then pay them out of the money the council gave them,’ he said. ‘That means they have a responsibility for PAYE, holiday pay and even redundancy payments. ‘But no one made this clear to my father. He had never employed anybody in his life.

‘This has been a real kick in the teeth for all of us, especially dad. Legally I understand why the appeal was upheld, but morally there’s something very wrong about this.’

A council spokesman said: ‘Mr Lomas has not been in receipt of adult care services from Cheshire East Council. ‘His care arrangements, therefore, were a private matter and the council is not liable for claims made via an employment tribunal.’

Mrs Wakefield was not available for comment.


Prayers now axed in most British town halls: Just 22 per cent of councils still have Bible reading at start of meetings

Christian prayers are dying out at town halls, despite Government attempts to save them.

A Mail on Sunday investigation has found that just 59 of 271 councils, or 22 per cent, still have a Bible reading or prayer at the start of meetings.

Several have abandoned the practice since atheists won a landmark legal case last year. Many authorities now have only informal prayers or options that do not mention God, such as ‘silent reflection’ or even poetry.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘It clear that some politically correct town hall officials are still trying to marginalise faith and impose an illiberal and intolerant secularism. We have given clear guidance that councils can pray and councillors who want to do so should ignore any flawed advice that says otherwise.’

Last year, the High Court ruled that town halls had no legal power to hold formal prayers, although they would be permitted if they were optional.

Mr Pickles immediately said formal prayers could continue under the Localism Act – although the National Secular Society argues that the court judgment has legal precedence.

Under our Freedom of Information Act requests, 19 of the 271 councils that responded said they had stopped holding formal prayers as a direct result of the case.


Illinois Bishop Stops Gay Activists at Cathedral: ‘Praying for Same-Sex Marriage’ is ‘Blasphemous’

Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, head of the Catholic diocese of Springfiled, Ill., stopped pro-gay activists from praying for homosexual “marriage” inside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on Tuesday, and said in a video statement that “praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral.”

“The Rainbow Sash Movement has encouraged Roman Catholics to come to Springfield to ‘have a loud Catholic presence for marriage equality,” said Bp. Paprocki in the video. “They have announced plans to gather at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 4:30 p.m., just before the 5:15 p.m. Mass [on Oct. 22], to stand in the Cathedral and indicate that they are there to pray the rosary for ‘marriage equality.’”

“It is blasphemy to show disrespect or irreverence to God or to something holy,” said the bishop. “Since Jesus clearly taught that marriage as created by God is a sacred institution between a man and a woman (see Gospel of Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9), praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous, and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral.”

The bishop continued, “People wearing a rainbow sash or who otherwise identify themselves as affiliated with the Rainbow Sash Movement will not be admitted into the cathedral and anyone who gets up to pray for same-sex marriage in the cathedral will be asked to leave.”

Because of Bishop Paprocki’s actions and the fact that police were at the cathedral to stop the activists, the Rainbow Sash group did not follow through with its plans on Oct. 22.

Earlier that day, the pro-gay Rainbow Sash Movement rallied at the Illinois State Capitol to advocate for Senate Bill 10, legislation that would legalize “same-sex marriage” in Illinois.

In an Oct. 13 statement posted on their web site, the Rainbow Sash Movement explained the plan for the rally and march and said, “If you come from a specific parish you can title yourselves ‘Friends of ( name of the parish or parishes).’ We encourage Roman Catholics to speak out on this issue, your voices will mean so much to our equality effort. …

"The Rainbow Sash Movement is calling for silent prayer to begin 4:30PM just before the 5:15PM Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. A Rosary for Marriage Equality will be said in silence. By standing up in the Cathedral you will indicate you are there to pray the rosary for Marriage Equality. Let us come together as a spiritual family in prayer after the march.”

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage was set by nature and God as being between one man and one woman. “Marriage is a basic human and social institution,” states the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate either from the church or the state, but from God. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.”

The Church teaches that homosexual persons should be treated with the same respect, charity, and dignity as any person but states that homosexual behavior is morally wrong. “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” states the Catholic Catechism. “They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

In closing his video statement, Bishop Paprocki said, “Of course, our cathedral and parish churches are always open to everyone who wishes to repent their sins and ask for God’s forgiveness.”

There are about 143,000 Catholics in the diocese of Springfield, which stretches across central Illinois, and 132 parishes. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1928, is the primary church of the diocese



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 October, 2013

Today's installment of multiculturalism in Britain

A woman subjected a five-year-old boy to a two month campaign of abuse in which she sprayed corrosive bathroom cleaner in his face and doused him in boiling coffee.

Tennesh Massaquoi, 29, inflicted a series of injuries, and attacked him by punching and kicking him to the back, legs, torso and chest. He was also found to be suffering severe bruising and swelling to his genitals.

Massaquoi, of Greater Manchester, was found guilty after a trial on four counts of child cruelty. She was jailed at Manchester Crown Court for five years.

Police said the boy was taken to hospital on Monday 9 July 2012, for treatment to a burn-like injury to his face. Staff had been told that he had sprayed a bottle of bathroom cleaner onto his cheek, and were even shown the bottle.

Further examination however uncovered a catalogue of injuries to the boy, who initially was reluctant to answer any questions.

Massaquoi was later arrested and the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was admitted to Manchester Children’s Hospital for a detailed examination.

In all, the boy suffered a black eye, a full thickness burn to the back of his neck, serious bruising to his back, bruising to his legs, torso and chest, severe bruising and swelling to his genitals, as well as the chemical burns to his face.

Analysis by four independent medical experts concluded the injuries could not have been caused accidentally, despite what the authorities had been told throughout the investigation.

The experts also said that the bruising on his body was likely to have been caused by trauma, more specifically by punches and kicks, and the burn to the back of the neck was most likely to have been from hot liquid being poured onto him deliberately.

They concluded that in all, the abuse spanned over a matter of months.

The boy initially refused to speak about how the injuries were caused, but after days of careful questioning by specially trained officers, who were working closely with Children's Services, he revealed that Massaquoi had kicked him.

He also confirmed that she poured hot coffee on him and said it was done 'on purpose'.

Other disclosures followed, and further inquiries lead to witnesses also putting the injuries down to Massaquoi’s actions.

Detective Constable Kate Burrows of the North Manchester Child Protection Team said: 'Not only was this boy severely injured, he was also a terrified and traumatised child, who has been through more than any five-year-old should ever have to endure.

'The process of treating him and offering support to him needed to be a joint effort between the NHS, Children’s Services and the police. The response to this incident by Children’s Services in particular was outstanding.

'Specially trained police officers needed to not only support the boy through the investigation and subsequent court case, but also ensure there was enough evidence against the person responsible.

'The fact that after a seven-day trial a jury unanimously returned a guilty verdict in less than two hours is a testament to our efforts.

'As for the child, the excellent partnership working between all of the agencies concerned will ensure he has a safe future, and he can get on with enjoying his childhood.'


BBC attacked for giving George's historic christening bottom billing on flagship news broadcast

Sour old Leftists don't understand the widespread affection for the monarchy in Britain -- and the pleasure that great royal occasions give. They lift people out of the humdrum and the routine

The BBC yesterday came under fire for treating the christening of Prince George as a ‘tail end afterthought’ on its flagship news programmes.

While the historic occasion was featured on front pages around the world, BBC1’s half-hour News at Six and Ten gave it bottom billing.

Both programmes devoted just two minutes and 20 seconds to the ceremony on Wednesday. BBC2’s current affairs show Newsnight failed to mention it at all.

Yesterday, Tory MP Andrew Rosindell said he was ‘appalled’ an event of national importance had been given such scant attention.

He added: ‘The BBC is the national broadcaster. An event such as that should have been given greater prominence.

‘People will be very surprised to see that it was an “and finally” item bearing in mind that it is a slot usually reserved for non-serious items.’

The BBC’s News at Six found time only for a short pre-recorded clip about the christening which was narrated by royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell.

Instead of exploring the historical significance of the event or seeking comment from royal experts, he restricted his report to a brief rundown of the guests as they left the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.

The short clip was placed last in the news agenda, just before the weather at 6.30pm.

It was deemed even less important than the story of a venomous spider outbreak in a school in Gloucestershire and a segment on proposals to give motorists a five-minute grace period after parking tickets run out.

The News at Ten recycled the same Witchell clip, and also gave it bottom billing. On Newsnight at 10.30pm, the christening was omitted altogether.

Instead, presenter Jeremy Paxman interviewed controversial comic Russell Brand, giving him a platform to espouse his desire for a political revolution.

Tory MP Michael Ellis said: ‘I’m disappointed with the BBC’s coverage on the royal christening, which is an important occasion in the life of the nation. The monarchy is a cherished institution in this country. It attracts more support than almost any other aspect of our national political life.

‘This is the first, formal occasion on which three heirs to the throne are in one place for well over 100 years. The public want to see and hear as much of this as possible.

‘It’s disappointing that the BBC have chosen to relegate this to a tail end afterthought.’

The royal christening was featured on the front pages of seven of the UK’s national newspapers, and on the front pages of newspapers around the world.

ITV News at 6.30pm and 10pm both devoted three minutes to the christening story, giving it top billing in the second half of each programme.

The slot is typically reserved for major stories as the channel needs to regain the attention of its viewers after the advert break.

Tory MP Rob Wilson said: ‘The royal christening was an important national event which newspapers have given huge coverage to in response to their readers’ desire to properly commemorate the event.

‘After a very difficult year, it’s probably fair to suggest that the BBC is struggling to stay in touch with what its audience wants.’

The BBC said it had received four complaints that its news coverage of the royal christening was insufficient.

A spokesman added: ‘The BBC provided extensive coverage of the royal christening across all platforms yesterday, including live coverage on the BBC News Channel, as well as a range of reports across our television bulletins and radio and online.

‘The christening was in the BBC1 bulletin headlines at both 6pm and 10pm, with a full report by our royal correspondent Nick Witchell.

'There were several major news stories yesterday, including the loss of many jobs following the shutdown of Scotland’s biggest industrial site, and David Cameron’s announcement that day that the Government will review green taxes in response to rising energy prices. All our reports are there because we judge them important and of audience interest.’


British council threaten Christmas tree switch on over health and safety fears

A council threatened to ban the switching on of a Christmas lights display due to health and safety fears. Brighton and Hove City Council threatened to pull the plug on the event over fears that children would have to cross a small road between their local church and the square in order to enjoy the festivities.

Even with a lollipop lady to assist the children it was considered too dangerous, organisers have revealed.

Traditionally the council has taken responsibility for the event in Palmeira Square, Brighton, but have turned their back on it this year.

A local charity decided to step into the breach, but was warned that they could not organise an identical event due to health and safety.

The charity, Brunswick in Bloom, had planned to put on the same show that the council have run for many years - a children's choir performing in St John's Church followed by the switch on of the lights by the Mayor at the tree. But there were fears that children would have cross the road between the local church and the Christmas tree.

They were told that the lights would be switched on and left on by the workmen installing the tree instead.

The charity, which consists of four volunteers, went back to the drawing board and said they would arrange a lollipop lady to cross the adults and children from the church to the Floral Clock in the Square. They were told this was still too much of a risk and the chairperson has started to organise plans for local police to be present on the day.

Trisha Gaskell-Watkins, who runs Brunswick in Bloom, said: 'Initially we were very disappointed and upset. “We use the Christmas lights display in our portfolio for the In Bloom so we really need it. The children love watching the lights get switched on as well.”

The council have now agreed to let the event go ahead on their insurance, she said, and police have indicated that they will come and help the children cross the road.

“To be honest if they can't cross that road with their parents they shouldn't be going to school, where they have to cross lots of roads,” she added. “I suppose when it is an organised event this is what you have to do.

“The road was the main issue for the council I think they said I needed a certified lollipop person, or a registered road safety member or the police.”

Conservative councillor Ann Norman said: “One of the reasons for the council reaching this decision was that there were health and safety concerns that children had to cross a small road.

“The school children are always accompanied by a number of teachers and numerous parents and there are a good number of us councillors who will attend the whole event, carol singing and switching on the lights and are also available to assist with road safety. “I am pleased this has now been resolved and that common sense has prevailed."


AFA: 'God' Already Gone...

Getting it partially right, Fox News reported this week that the Air Force Academy is contemplating the removal of “so help me God” from its Cadet Honor Oath. However, on the facing page in Contrails, the Cadet handbook, “so help me God” has already been removed from the Cadet and Officer oaths.

As first reported by Mark Alexander last May in “The DoD's Frontal Assault on Faith,” up until 2011, the Cadet Contrails handbook contained the words “so help me God” in bold letters, after the Cadet and Officer oaths. However, those words were removed from the Class of 2016 handbooks. When Alexander inquired with the AFA's Public Affairs Office as to whom removed “so help me God” in the 2011-2012 Contrails, and why, the PAO dodged the question and tersely responded that he could file a “Freedom of Information Act” request. In other words: “Take a hike.”

While Obama's top military appointees at the AFA are claiming its review of “so help me God” in the Honor Oath is the result of a challenge by ultra-leftist Mikey Weinstein's so-called “Military Religious Freedom Foundation” (MRFF), in fact, Weinstein is little more than an atheist proxy for the Obama administration – a surrogate doing the bidding of the most faith-intolerant regime in the history of our Republic. (Of course, if any military officer suggested this was their CINC's agenda, they would be civilians the next day.) The MRFF is dedicated to freedom from religion, not freedom of religion.*

The Obama/MRFF strategy: Given that AFA administrators have already removed “so help me God” from the Contrails Cadet and Officer oaths, they have, in effect, made Weinstein's legal case. It will be difficult for the AFA to argue for retaining “so help me God” in the Honor oath, if they have already started removing it from the Cadet and Officer oaths. Thus, if Weinstein “wins” his case against the AFA, their will be a domino effect eradicating oaths in the other Service Academies – and by extension throughout the Service Branches.

So the question remains, who exactly ordered the removal of “so help me God” from the 2011 Cadet handbook?

Under the pretense of “religious tolerance,” Barack Hussein Obama's administration has been quietly advancing his mandate to remove any expression or manifestation of faith, particularly Christianity, from government forums – first and foremost, the U.S. military. His civilian “leaders” at DoD have ramped up that eradication, even threatening UCMJ charges against military personnel whose expression of faith might be interpreted as “proselytizing.”

Alexander's colleague, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William “Jerry” Boykin, notes, “The very troops who defend our religious freedom are at risk of having their own taken away. The worst thing we can do is stop soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, especially for the chaplains, from the free exercise of their faith.”

Eradicating references to God in military oaths, is part of Left's larger objective to replace Rule of Law with the rule of men – because the former is predicated on the principle of Liberty “endowed by our Creator.” Obama's administrators constantly look for ways to undermine Rule of Law by driving wedges between our Liberty and its inherent foundational endowment.

Obama and his Leftist cadres should heed this formative advice regarding faith and our Armed Services: “While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” –George Washington (1778)

*(For example, in 2011, Weinstein, an AFA graduate ('77), demanded and received an apology from the AFA for its cadet support of “Operation Christmas Child,” which assembles and fills millions of shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and other gifts for impoverished children in 130 countries! Weinstein objected because OCC places a Christian tract in those boxes.)



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 October, 2013

Some Pakistani multiculturalism in Britain

It is usual for people of Pakistani or Bengali origin to be referred to as "Asian" in Britain. Both populations are almost entirely Muslim and were once part of British India

Francesco Hounye had been in the UK for just three days when he was set upon by the gang, who smashed a bottle in his face as well as kicking and punching him in the vicious assault.

Detailed CCTV footage captured the attack on 22-year-old Mr Hounye, who was left covered in blood and needed 23 stitches in his face.

Mr Hounye had been out for the night in the Brick Lane area of East London with a friend he had been staying with when he was attacked.

CCTV images show Mr Hounye and his 23-year-old pal being followed by a number of Asian men as they made their way back to the friend's home in Shadwell, before a confrontation is seen to begin.

Police do not know what sparked an argument, but the exchange quickly became heated and the suspects threatening and aggressive.

One of the men grabbed the bottle that Mr Hounye was drinking from and smashed it against his face.

Mr Hounye desperately tried to escape and sprinted across the street to get away, but the group chased after him and continued to beat him before they eventually ran away.

The victim was taken to the nearby Royal London Hospital with deep slash wounds to his head and around his right ear. He needed 23 stitches to his face and more stitches internally. He has suffered permanent scarring and a chipped tooth.

In a statement, traumatised Mr Hounye, who had come to London to study, said: 'As a result of this incident I am now scared to go out on my own in London. 'I am a visitor to the UK and was considering continuing my studies here but this incident has made me think twice.

'I feel very emotional about the whole situation. I also now face the rest of my life with the permanent scarring that will be left on my face as a result of this attack. 'Every time I look in the mirror from now on I will be reminded of this incident.'

Despite extensive work by officers to find the suspects, they have not yet been identified, prompting the Metropolitan Police to release CCTV footage from the attack, which occured at around 20 past midnight on June 17 in a bid to track down the thugs behind the assault.

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Ben Mott, said: 'We believe the suspects picked a fight with the victim as he was obviously not from the local area and they took exception to the fact that he was a bit different. 'The victim has an Italian accent, his own style of dress and mannerisms and, when challenged by the Asian males, answered them back.

'They retaliated by grabbing the bottle and launching a vicious attack that has left him scarred for life.

'He had come to the UK to enhance his studies and has been left so shocked and horrified by what happened that he feels unsafe and is unsure if he wants to stay here.

'The CCTV footage is exceptionally clear and I believe the suspects to be local. I would ask people to please look closely at the faces of the attackers and help us identify them. I am positive someone would know who they are from looking at the footage.'

Police described the suspects as Asian and aged in their late teens to early 20s. They are possibly Bengali. The man who used the bottle was wearing a red and white striped short-sleeved top with black trousers, white trainers and a large watch.


French opposition leader pledges to ban citizenship for children of illegal immigrants born in France

A would-be president of France has pledged to end the right of the children of illegal immigrants born in the country to gain citizenship.

Jean-Francois Cope, the leader of the main opposition party, the UMP, wants to do away with the ancient concept of 'jus soli', or 'right of the soil'.

It means that a child born in France to non-French parents can acquire citizenship at birth if at least one parent was born in France.

Even if this criteria is not met, parents can petition for French nationality for children born on French soil from age 13 if the child has lived in France at least five years.

In Britain, one of a baby's parents has to be a UK citizen, or legally settled in the country, for the child to gain citizenship.

Germany is another country which does not offer immediate legal rights to someone simply because they were born on German territory.

Mr Cope wants France to have similar restrictions because of the amount of illegal immigrants flooding into the country and having children.

Thousands of them are Roma gypsies who live in makeshift camps on the edge of major cities like Paris, often in large families.

Last week the deportation of a 15-year-old Roma schoolgirl along with her parents and five siblings put immigration right back at the top of the political agenda.

Mr Cope, a protege of former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy, said he would introduce a new parliamentary bill to cancel automatic nationality for children of illegal immigrants by the end of the year.

'Children born in France to parents illegally on French soil cannot automatically become French,' said Mr Cope. 'It's incomprehensible and it's hardly seen anywhere else in Europe.'

As UMP leader, Mr Cope is likely to run for president himself in 2017.

All parties - including the governing Socialists - are doing all they can to win votes from the far right National Front (FN), which is enjoying a renaissance in France. It has long pushed for a reform of the immigration system, to include the systematic deportation of illegal immigrants, and large cuts in the number being allowed into France.

The FN is making huge electoral strides thanks mainly to the failing policies of Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Many expect the FN to do particularly well during upcoming municipal and European elections next year.

Anti-immigrant rhetoric reached new heights earlier this month when Interior Minister Manuel Valls suggested that Roma gypsies could 'non integrate' and should be deported. His hardline is supported by the vast majority of French people, according to recent polls, although there have been demonstrations against his policies by students.

Wednesday, Mr Valls said proposals to overhaul France's asylum system in depth would be submitted to the government by mid-November, following several months of consultations.

The reform will seek to shorten the amount of time between an application for asylum and the judge's final decision.


Manufactured indignation: 'Redskins' foes take offense where none is intended

by Jeff Jacoby

AMERICANS ARE are sharply divided over all kinds of things these days, but whether the Washington Redskins need a new name doesn't seem to be one of them. In an Associated Press poll earlier this year, 79 percent of respondents said the team's name should remain unchanged; only 11 percent wanted "Redskins" to be replaced.

I'd have thought it was good news that four-fifths of Americans can still agree on something. The grievance industry sees things differently.

The online journal Slate announced in August that it would no longer use the name "Redskins" to refer to Washington's NFL team; two other journals followed suit a day later. To his credit, Slate's editor David Plotz acknowledged that "the word 'redskin' has a relatively innocent history" and that the team wasn't named to impugn American Indians but to invoke their bravery and toughness. Nonetheless, he wrote, the name today is "tacky and dated" – it's like using "Negroes" or "colored people" to refer to blacks. "Would any team, naming itself today, choose 'Redskins' or adopt the team's Indian-head logo?" asked Plotz. "Of course it wouldn't."

By that reasoning, Slate should also be banning references to the United Negro College Fund and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The term "lady golfers" has certainly grown tacky and dated. Is that an argument for changing the "L" in LPGA to something more fashionable?

NBC's Bob Costas jumped into the fray during the Redskins-Cowboys game last week, telling viewers in his halftime commentary that "no matter how benign" the intent of the Washington team's owner and fans, the name "Redskins" today can only be regarded as "an insult, a slur." President Obama weighed in too. "If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name … that was offending a sizable group of people, I'd think about changing it," he told an interviewer.

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, a group of lawmakers — including the Maryland congresswoman whose district includes the Redskins' stadium — have signed on to a bill that would effectively outlaw the team's name by stripping it of trademark protection. And in case that weren't sufficiently over the top, the New York Daily News on Thursday published an incendiary cartoon depicting a Nazi swastika and a Confederate flag alongside a Washington Redskins banner. The trio is labeled: "Archaic Symbols of Pride and Heritage."

Reasonable men and women don't take offense where no offense is intended, and they don't gratuitously give offense merely to be offensive. But people who traffic in manufactured indignation aren't reasonable. It's easier to parade their enlightened sensitivity, after all, if other people's sensitivities can be trampled underfoot. The enthusiastic crowds singing "Hail to the Redskins" are football fans, not Nazis or defenders of slavery. They're not the same thing, even if the sensitivity posse has a hard time remembering that.

I'm not a sports fan. I have no interest in Redskins football. And I have no trouble understanding why the team's name genuinely rubs some people the wrong way. But there is no limit to what may rub people the wrong way. Start scrapping names and emblems on the basis that someone finds them offensive and you'll be scrapping names and emblems forever. Institutions and societies can't function that way. No one is guaranteed the right to go through life unoffended. You may not like the name of a sports team, or a company logo, or a school's mascot. But disapproval isn't an argument, let alone a definitive one.

Why don't four-fifths of Americans — many American Indians among them — think the Washington Redskins need a new name? Not because they're in the habit of using "redskin" as a racial designation for Native Americans, but because they grasp that context matters, and that while a word used one way may not be respectful, used a different way it shouldn't offend reasonable people.

These name-and-logo battles are nothing new. Twenty years ago a group of students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst demanded that the school change its logo — a Revolutionary Minuteman — to something more sensitive than, as one of the protesters characterized it, "a white man with a gun."

The UMass chancellor's first reaction was to meekly acquiesce. "It's an issue we should look at," he agreed. It took a snort of derision from Governor William Weld, who mocked the demand as "political correctness run amok," to stiffen the chancellor's spine. The Minuteman remained. And the protesting students, one hopes, learned a useful lesson: Being offended isn't the same as being right. "Redskins" foes, take note.


Angel of Woolwich 'threatened with arrest' after tackling yobs

The politically correct British police again

A woman dubbed the 'Angel of Woolwich' after she confronted the alleged killers of soldier Lee Rigby says she was threatened with arrest for intervening when a group of boys threw eggs at her home.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, 48, confronted the soldier's alleged killers seconds after he was slaughtered in a London street while on a visit to the capital.

But Ingrid, who lives in Helston, Cornwall, now claims she was threatened with arrest herself after a group of young boys began pelting her house with eggs and stones.

The half-French mother of two says she has been targeted by local youths because of her accent ever since moving to the area three years ago, but that it had become worse after she came to media attention following the Woolwich attack.

Ms Loyau-Kennett told reporters she dialled 999 and went outside to "calmly" remonstrate with the group of boys aged between eight and 12 after seeing them outside her home on Monday evening.

But when police arrived she claims they took the boys' side rather than hers. "The police were saying that I should stop ringing them and that I had no proof. He told me that if I didn't calm down I would be arrested,” she said. "They made me out to be the wrongdoer - he just wouldn't understand my side of the story and that I was actually the victim.”

She added: "[The gang has] been throwing eggs and stones at my house for months. On Monday night, I heard something hit my wall and that's when I caught them. "Sometimes I just find the eggs all over my walls the following day, but this time I managed to catch them in the act.

"I asked them why they continued to harass me and they began shouting at me. One of the young boys pulled his trousers down and showed me his bottom. Then they ran away.

"I called the police as soon as the incident happened. They arrived after 20 minutes which was useless as by the time they got here, the kids had left.”

Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed they were called out and a woman was given advice about her behaviour, but denied she was threatened with arrest. A spokesman said: "At no point was she threatened with an arrest. The policemen gave the woman advice and left it at that. It is not appropriate to comment any further on the matter.

"We are aware of community tensions on the estate and are stepping up patrols with a visibility police presence."



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.


24 October, 2013

Multiculturalism hits a British bank

A bank cashier has denied being part of a plot to steal almost £3million from Royal Bank of Scotland customers' accounts.

Derek Annan, 24, is accused of passing customers' security details and passwords on to fraudsters who attempted to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts.

The gang had only managed to take £135,000 before they were caught, but attempts were made to withdraw a further £2.5million.

The Old Bailey heard that members of the gang would go into RBS branches and attempt to cash cheques stolen from their victims using fake identification.

If they were challenged with security questions by the cashier, they were able to answer the questions thanks to the information allegedly supplied by Annan, who worked part time at RBS branches in Chelmsford and Colchester, in Essex.

Prosecutor Nicola Merrick told the court that Annan provided the names of signatories on bank accounts, information about the signatures themselves, how much money was in the accounts as well as security details and passwords.

One of the victims, Peter Hewitt, from Solihull, West Midlands, had £14,800 taken from his account in three withdrawals in January 2011.

Undertakers LM Funerals Ltd had its chequebook stolen and 98 cheques were put through the banking system in an attempt to take around £836,000 in May 2011.

Fortunately, RBS investigator Richard Cross discovered the fraud before the gang were able to steal any more money.

A subsequent probe found that each account had been accessed by Annan shortly before the cash was withdrawn.

Annan, who worked part time for RBS while studying finance at Southbank University, in south London, was arrested on suspicion of fraud in December 2011, but denied any involvement.

He was arrested for a second time in March of this year in connection with another 20 attempts to defraud RBS customers.

This time he refused to answer police questions, the court heard.

Ms Merrick said: ‘Mr Annan obtained (customers') information because as a bank employee he was able to access accounts and get all of that information and provide it to others.

‘The defendant played an important and significant role, along with others, to ensure the frauds in counts one to 11 were successful and played a significant role in attempting to ensure the fraud in count 12 was successful, although it was not.'

Annan, of Chafford Hundred, Essex, denies 11 fraud charges relating to £135,500 and an attempted fraud charge concerning a further £2.5 million.


High school graduation rates among children of same-sex households

The academic journal article below would seem to be dynamite in the debate over homosexual adoptions. I would give every child the right to a normal family life so that is very much reinforced by the research results below -- which are of unusually high quality. Sad to see that daughters fare so badly. Daughters clearly need a loving normal father -- JR

By Douglas W. Allen


Almost all studies of same-sex parenting have concluded there is “no difference” in a range of outcome measures for children who live in a household with same-sex parents compared to children living with married opposite-sex parents. Recently, some work based on the US census has suggested otherwise, but those studies have considerable drawbacks. Here, a 20 % sample of the 2006 Canada census is used to identify self-reported children living with same-sex parents, and to examine the association of household type with children’s high school graduation rates. This large random sample allows for control of parental marital status, distinguishes between gay and lesbian families, and is large enough to evaluate differences in gender between parents and children. Children living with gay and lesbian families in 2006 were about 65 % as likely to graduate compared to children living in opposite sex marriage families. Daughters of same-sex parents do considerably worse than sons.

Review of Economics of the Household

Trust government with your personal information? Sure can!

A law-abiding family man was ordered to quit his job after a criminal record check wrongly labelled him a hardened criminal with convictions stretching back a decade.

David Reay was wrongly identified as being guilty of offences including burglary, theft and possession of cocaine when details of a criminal with a similar name were given to his new employers after they asked for a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.

Mr Reay, who lives with his wife Stephanie and six-year-old son Robert in South Benwell, Newcastle, had just taken up a training post for his new position with the National Citizen Service as child and adult welfare helpline advisor, when the mistake occurred.

The 33-year-old has now been left in limbo as he cannot return to work while he waits for the verdict of his appeal.

He said: 'I’d got the job and started my two weeks of training when my wife rang and said "your CRB has arrived and there seems to be a problem with it". 'I immediately told my employers who said they were sorry but I’d have to leave and they’d keep the post open for me while I appealed against the results of the check.

'That was back at the start of September and I’ve been without work or a wage ever since while my appeal to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was dealt with.

'I was left in limbo despite the criminal record obviously not belonging to me as so many of the details were different. I was angry as it could have so easily been sorted out, but I was told I’d have to wait for at least three weeks before I could even chase up my appeal.'

Authorities asked Northumbria Police for any criminal convictions linked to Mr Reay as part of the enhanced CRB, which is now known as the Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

But the details of a different person from the North East were sent.

Criminal convictions including burglary, theft, possession of cocaine and drink driving, spanning over a decade, were all on the record.

Mr Reay said: 'It was ridiculous, I’ve never even had a driving licence. We were meant to be taking a trip to Cadbury World for my son’s birthday but with no wage had to cancel it. 'I was in limbo not knowing when it would be sorted out.'

Northumbria Police moved to resolve the identity error with Mr Reay, who now hopes to restart his training on November 2.

A force spokesman said: 'We acknowledge that in this case, due to a human error, Mr Reay’s details were incorrectly matched to another individual with similar details and this resulted in information that did not relate to Mr Reay being disclosed on his Enhanced Disclosure Certificate.

'We have spoken to Mr Reay, and unreservedly apologised, and have advised him that his dispute has been returned to DBS and a revised, accurate certificate will be provided to him as quickly as possible.

'We have also reassured him that his employment will not be affected, and with his permission, have spoken to his employer to explain our error. We will keep Mr Reay updated with progress and advised him he can contact us at any time if he has concerns.'

Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: 'This highlights why the ability of people to check their disclosure before it is sent to employers is so important.

'The process needs to be in place for people to not spend huge amounts of time waiting to them to be corrected, as any delay could do serious harm to their job prospects.'


Herbert Marcuse (1898 - 1979) -- the 1960s prophet of Leftist intolerance

In 1965, Marcuse published an essay titled, “Repressive Tolerance,” which foreshadows very clearly the direction in which left-wing opinion and practice has developed since that time.

The essay is essentially an argument against the Western liberal tradition rooted in the thinking of Locke, with its Socratic and Scholastic precedents, which came into political reality in the nineteenth century and which was a monumental achievement for civilization. In this essay, Marcuse regurgitates the conventional Marxist line that freedom of opinion and speech in a liberal state is a bourgeois sham that only masks capitalist hegemony and domination. Of course, there is some truth to this claim. As Marcuse said:

But with the concentration of economic and political power and the integration of opposites in a society which uses technology as an instrument of domination, effective dissent is blocked where it could freely emerge; in the formation of opinion, in information and communication, in speech and assembly. Under the rule of monopolistic media – themselves the mere instruments of economic and political power – a mentality is created for which right and wrong, true and false are predefined wherever they affect the vital interests of the society. This is, prior to all expression and communication, a matter of semantics: the blocking of effective dissent, of the recognition of that which is not of the Establishment which begins in the language that is publicized and administered. The meaning of words is rigidly stabilized. Rational persuasion, persuasion to the opposite is all but precluded.

Marcuse proceeds from this observation not to advocate for institutional or economic structures that might make the practical and material means of communication or expression more readily available to more varied or dissenting points of view but to attack liberal conceptions of tolerance altogether:

These background limitations of tolerance are normally prior to the explicit and judicial limitations as defined by the courts, custom, governments, etc. (for example, “clear and present danger”, threat to national security, heresy). Within the framework of such a social structure, tolerance can be safely practiced and proclaimed. It is of two kinds: (i) the passive toleration of entrenched and established attitudes and ideas even if their damaging effect on man and nature is evident, and (2) the active, official tolerance granted to the Right as well as to the Left, to movements of aggression as well as to movements of peace, to the party of hate as well as to that of humanity. I call this non-partisan tolerance “abstract” or “pure” inasmuch as it refrains from taking sides – but in doing so it actually protects the already established machinery of discrimination.

This statement reflects the by now quite familiar leftist claim that non-leftist opinions are being offered from a position of privilege or hegemony and are therefore by definition unworthy of being heard. Marcuse argues that tolerance has a higher purpose:

The telos [goal] of tolerance is truth. It is clear from the historical record that the authentic spokesmen of tolerance had more and other truth in mind than that of propositional logic and academic theory. John Stuart Mill speaks of the truth which is persecuted in history and which does not triumph over persecution by virtue of its “inherent power”, which in fact has no inherent power “against the dungeon and the stake”. And he enumerates the “truths” which were cruelly and successfully liquidated in the dungeons and at the stake: that of Arnold of Brescia, of Fra Dolcino, of Savonarola, of the Albigensians, Waldensians, Lollards, and Hussites. Tolerance is first and foremost for the sake of the heretics – the historical road toward humanitas appears as heresy: target of persecution by the powers that be. Heresy by itself, however, is no token of truth.

This statement on its face might be beyond reproach were it not for its implicit suggestion that only leftists and those favored by leftists can ever rightly be considered among the ranks of the unjustly “persecuted” or among those who have truth to tell. Marcuse goes on to offer his own version of “tolerance” in opposition to conventional, empirical, value neutral notions of tolerance of the kind associated with the liberal tradition:

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: … it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word. The traditional criterion of clear and present danger seems no longer adequate to a stage where the whole society is in the situation of the theater audience when somebody cries: “fire”. It is a situation in which the total catastrophe could be triggered off any moment, not only by a technical error, but also by a rational miscalculation of risks, or by a rash speech of one of the leaders. In past and different circumstances, the speeches of the Fascist and Nazi leaders were the immediate prologue to the massacre. The distance between the propaganda and the action, between the organization and its release on the people had become too short. But the spreading of the word could have been stopped before it was too late: if democratic tolerance had been withdrawn when the future leaders started their campaign, mankind would have had a chance of avoiding Auschwitz and a World War.

The whole post-fascist period is one of clear and present danger. Consequently, true pacification requires the withdrawal of tolerance before the deed, at the stage of communication in word, print, and picture. Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger. I maintain that our society is in such an emergency situation, and that it has become the normal state of affairs.

Here Marcuse is clearly stating that he is not simply advocating “intolerance” of non-leftist opinion in the sense of offering criticism, rebuttal, counterargument, or even shaming, shunning, or ostracism. What he is calling for is the full fledged state repression of non-leftist opinion or expression. Nor is this repression to be limited to right-wing movements with an explicitly authoritarian agenda that aims to subvert the liberal society. Marcuse makes this very clear in a 1968 postscript to the original 1965 essay:

Given this situation, I suggested in “Repressive Tolerance” the practice of discriminating tolerance in an inverse direction, as a means of shifting the balance between Right and Left by restraining the liberty of the Right, thus counteracting the pervasive inequality of freedom (unequal opportunity of access to the means of democratic persuasion) and strengthening the oppressed against the oppressed. Tolerance would be restricted with respect to movements of a demonstrably aggressive or destructive character (destructive of the prospects for peace, justice, and freedom for all). Such discrimination would also be applied to movements opposing the extension of social legislation to the poor, weak, disabled. As against the virulent denunciations that such a policy would do away with the sacred liberalistic principle of equality for “the other side”, I maintain that there are issues where either there is no “other side” in any more than a formalistic sense, or where “the other side” is demonstrably “regressive” and impedes possible improvement of the human condition. To tolerate propaganda for inhumanity vitiates the goals not only of liberalism but of every progressive political philosophy.

If the choice were between genuine democracy and dictatorship, democracy would certainly be preferable. But democracy does not prevail. The radical critics of the existing political process are thus readily denounced as advocating an “elitism”, a dictatorship of intellectuals as an alternative. What we have in fact is government, representative government by a non-intellectual minority of politicians, generals, and businessmen. The record of this “elite” is not very promising, and political prerogatives for the intelligentsia may not necessarily be worse for the society as a whole.

In this passage Marcuse is very clearly advocating totalitarian controls over political speech and expression that is the mirror image of the Stalinist states that he otherwise criticized for their excessive bureaucratization, economism, and repression of criticism from the Left. Marcuse makes it perfectly clear that not only perceived fascists and neo-nazis would be subject to repression under his model regime but so would even those who question the expansion of the welfare state (thereby contradicting Marcuse’s criticism of bureaucracy). Marcuse states this elsewhere in “Repressive Tolerance.”

Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc”

Marcuse’s liberatory socialism is in fact to be a totalitarian bureaucracy where those who criticize leftist orthodoxy in apparently even the slightest way are to be subject to state repression. This is precisely the attitude that the authoritarian Left demonstrates at the present time. Such views are becoming increasingly entrenched in mainstream institutions and in the state under the guise of so-called “political correctness"



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 October, 2013

The Charmed Life of the Unbelievers

It's a charmed life for non-believers, because when you basically believe in nothing, you can watch history pass you by, and chalk up monumental shifts and changes in sociopolitical life to whatever cause you want. All you have to do is find a way to make history, and the ever-shifting tectonic plates of society, spell out the need for the end of religion.

This was basically what renowned atheist Richard Dawkins was doing on CNN recently. When asked whether or not a society without religion would leave us with no moral compass, Dawkins said, "So we live in the early 21st century, and our moral compass in the early 21st century is quite different from 100 years ago, or 200 years ago," Dawkins said. "We are now much less racist than they were, much less sexist than they were. We are much kinder to non-human animals than they were -- all sorts of respects in which we are labeled with a moral compass. So something has changed, and it certainly has nothing to do with religion."

Of course, I'm sure Protestant Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be quite shocked to find out that religion had nothing to do with the changing of race relations in this country, were he alive. Especially surprised might be the survivors of King's Birmingham civil rights campaign. All of whom, were required by King to sign a pledge to do 10 things.

The first one of which was, "MEDITATE daily on the teachings and life of Jesus." Other requirements included, "WALK and TALK in the manner of love, for God is love." And let's not forget, "PRAY daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free."

Yes, curious language indeed for a movement that supposedly had "nothing to do with religion."

But again, why should we hold Dawkins responsible for being aware of the fact that the leader of the 20th century's most significant civil rights movement was a devout Christian named after the leader of the Protestant Reformation, who acquired a Ph.D in Systemic theology before following in his father's footsteps and becoming a reverend?

I mean, in Dawkins world, we just woke up one day and decided racism had gone out of style. Much the same way, we decided the piano key necktie and parachute pants had gotten old. I, for one, am hoping society gets over skinny jeans sooner rather than later.
Equally shocked to hear that religion had nothing to do with the improvement of race relations over the last couple hundred years would be the people who ended slavery in the largest empire in the world!

Thomas Clarkson was just a 25-year-old divinity student at Cambridge when he first seriously studied the horrors of slavery. Not long after, this white Christian minister from England decided to devote his life to freeing a group of people he had never met and had no understanding of.

And who did he decide to align with, to begin his crusade to abolish this most cruel and inhumane practice of human enslavement? The London Atheist Society? The British Foundation of Secular Reason & Logic?

Oh, no. Thomas Clarkson reached out to the Quakers! Quite possibly the most severely observant group in all of Christendom. As David Brog relates in his incredible work, In Defense of Faith, Clarkson and this group of fellow Christians would form the nucleus of what was to be the British abolition movement.

"Thus it came to pass that on May 22, 1787, twelve men met in the London shop of a Quaker printer and established the Society for the Abolition of the African Slave Trade. These twelve founders were all men of deep Christian faith: nine were Quakers, and three others, including Clarkson, were Anglicans."

The group then recruited a passionately Christian member of Parliament named William Wilberforce, who championed the cause in the halls of power. In 1789 Wilberforce introduced the first bill to abolish the slave trade in Parliament. It wouldn't be his last, because it and many other such bills were defeated. It took 18 years before Parliament passed a bill to abolish the slave trade.

And what did Clarkson and Wilberforce do after that? Party it up? Get in line for the 19th century version of the Nobel Peace prize? No. Almost immediately, they reconvened the original members of the slave trade abolition group and started working on banning slavery altogether. It would take another 26 years, but they would do it.

And so it came to be, that a group of Christian men fought tirelessly for over 45 years, for the rights of people they didn't know from Adam. And they managed to win their freedom at a time when the British Empire was profiting immensely from slave labor, and desperately trying to outproduce the rival French empire.

But why? How could Clarkson, Wilberforce, and their Quaker friends be motivated to such ends? Precisely because of their Christian belief in the worth and dignity of every human being, regardless of his skin color or where he came from.

Atheists like Richard Dawkins probably believe this sense of human worth is universal human trait, something that has always existed, and he could add that to the list of other things he's wrong about. The belief in the moral worth of even the lowliest human beings is a distinctly Judeo-Christian ethic. Neither the Romans nor the Greeks believed in, nor could they understand, this central belief that is as old as the Golden Rule itself.

Richard Dawkins looks at the passing history and changes in attitudes, and through willingness or ignorance, gives credit to "time", or the lack of religion, the things that are distinctly Christian achievements. We can have any debate we want about whether or not there is in fact a God. I welcome it. But, there's no debating the record of God's followers when it comes to conquering evil and civilizing society.

Slavery died in the British Empire far earlier than it otherwise would have because of men fueled by powerful religious conviction.

The Aztec massacres at the hands of Spanish Conquistadors would have been even worse had it not been for the determined resistance of Dominican Friars who stood up for them at great personal peril.

And yes, it was Dr. King's faith that largely formed his vision of a peaceful movement to achieve a colorblind society. The kinder, more enlightened society we have today isn't a product of evolutionary biology the way Richard Dawkins would like to believe it is. It's a product of people following a God who commanded that they "love one another, the way I loved you."


British recruitment boss brands unemployed 'lazy' after NO ONE applies for FIFTY jobs - in town where 2,000 people are without work

A company boss who advertised 50 vacancies in a city with nearly 2,000 unemployed has branded local jobseekers 'lazy' after nobody came forward.

Danny James, owner of recruitment agency Consistent Personnel, urgently required unskilled workers for at least three months' work at a local food factory.

But when he posted an advert at the local Jobcentre not a single person came forward in time for the start of the contract.

Mr James said the response was 'unbelievable' and the attitude of local job-seekers was 'a disgrace'.

Recruitment boss Mr James claims that many do not want to work and have no intention of taking menial jobs they are offered.

He said: 'If I lost my job, I would have a job tomorrow, even if it was cleaning toilets. I don't understand the mindset of these people.'

Mr James contacted Worcester Jobcentre at about 12.20pm on October 9 seeking people for warehouse work at the local Senoble food factory, which would last through the Christmas period.

The firm then followed up the call with an e-mail at 12.41pm with more details about the minimum-wage £6.31-per-hour jobs.

Inductions for the Monday-to-Friday roles were due to begin at 5pm that day, before the shift.

However, a job centre source said the problem was the 'very short timescale' given to find people for a night shift.

Mr James, 29, said: 'People need no skills whatsoever.
New figures released last week revealed there are more jobseekers than available jobs in Worcester, with 1,870 residents signed on

New figures released last week revealed there are more jobseekers than available jobs in Worcester, with 1,870 residents signed on

'It's the most simple cake-packing, box-stacking position. My three-year-old daughter could do it. But not one person has rung me up. 'It's a disgrace. Everybody should know. People who pay their taxes will be so disappointed in that. 'There is work and it is beyond me why nobody has rung me. They couldn't even get me one person. It's unbelievable.

'I see so many people hanging around on street corners, people outside the job centre smoking and then something like this comes up where I need just 50 people old enough to work in a factory.

'It's beyond me that they can't even get one person from the job centre. It is so very frustrating.

'The only conditions are that they have to be over 18 and have a national insurance number and no criminal convictions. You don't need any experience whatsoever.'

Mr James managed to get 10 people himself by using his contacts, records and by calling friends, claiming he had effectively had to act as a Jobcentre himself to fill at least some of the positions.

But one of those who considered the job hit back saying he had no choice because he is better off on benefits.

Dean Scollan, 37, says it is 'not worth the money' because the take-home pay of £220 will leave him out of pocket. 'I do want to work but what is the point of me going if it's going to make me worse off?' he said. 'I'm not going to work for peanuts. 'If the finances were right, I would have gone for the induction. I would have got a pushbike and gone up there but it wasn't worth the money.' The Senoble job would only earn him £200 to £220 per week after tax, less than he received on benefits, he said.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said the short notice of the shifts meant staff were unable to fill the roles. 'Every day Jobcentre Plus staff up and down the country are successfully helping employers fill their vacancies and get people into work,' he said.

'On this occasion, however, the very short timescale given by the agency and the need for jobseekers to be available to work the night shift, that same day, meant we were unable to help on this occasion.'

Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, said: 'It seems disappointing that there aren't people prepared to take those jobs. 'You would have thought there would have been a reasonable amount of take-up given the number of people out of work.'


Britain's TV licence fee is a 'medieval anachronism' and those who pay it should have more control over the BBC, MP tells Parliament

The BBC licence fee is a ‘medieval anachronism’ and can only be justified if those who pay it elect the chairman and board, have a more direct say on programme-making and an input on celebrity pay, MPs will hear today.

Tory MP Robert Halfon will argue the licence fee is a ‘coercive system backed up by the threat of fines and prison’ in a backbench business committee debate on the Corporation’s future.

Mr Halfon believes the fact that fee-payers have little input into how the Corporation is run makes the BBC as undemocratic as a ‘feudal monarchy.’

A debate in parliament on the Corporation’s future will hear that public trust in the BBC has been eroded by the Jimmy Savile and severance pay scandals.

The debate will hear that in order to win back public trust, the licence fee should be reformed so fee payers are treated like shareholders in a business they have invested in.

Under proposals, Mr Halfon will suggest today people who pay the £145.50 a year licence fee should be allowed a vote on both the election of the chairman and the board.

They would have some say over the annual report, programme making and celebrity pay, and the ability to call for board members who have ‘grown out of touch with public opinion’ to be sacked.

While there is a statutory requirement to consult its licence fee payers, Mr Halfon said this process is in reality a ‘sham’ as most of the decisions they are consulted on, are made well in advance.

The MP calls for a new system whereby the public are able to cast a vote online using a unique pin number, as a cheap way to ‘democratise’ the BBC for viewers and listeners.

He said it would also help to ‘spark a genuine debate - a battle of ideas-about the kind of BBC that we want, and how it should spend our money’.

'The BBC is monopolistic, with about a third of TV viewing and half of radio, it is often branded as anti-competitive because it does not have to make a commercial return on its products, and the licence fee is a mediaeval anachronism’, he told the Mail.

'Some might feel that the licence fee is a regressive tax which penalises those on low incomes. 'Others will be upset by the salaries of senior BBC executives and celebrities.

‘The reality is that licence fee payers want choice. Some might want a beefed-up World Service, paid for by reducing expense elsewhere - perhaps by cutting the £50,000 a day that the BBC spends on taxis.

‘At the moment we are powerless' he said, adding: 'As licence fee payers, we are compelled to pay our dues, and if we do not like that, our only choice is to abandon TV altogether.’

The BBC made £3.6billion from the licence fee in 2012/13.

It emerged this year that 3,700 a week were prosecuted for not having a TV licence - around one in ten of all cases coming before the courts in England and Wales.

They face fines of £1,000, compared with £80 spot fines handed to shoplifters, petty vandals and drunken yobs. It later emerged a private firm employed to catch licence fee evaders has hundreds of officers who can earn four-figure bonuses for them to court.

Yet BBC managers received £25milion in secret severance deals between 2009 and 2012, and nearly £3million was paid over and above what they were entitled to in their contracts in the six years to 2012, according to an official report this year.

A debate entitled ‘the Future of the BBC’ will be held this afternoon in the House of Commons by the backbench business committee, which represents rank and file MPs.

Mr Halfon said it was no longer acceptable to argue that giving the public a say would result in dumbing down of content.

‘Look at Classic FM and Sky News’, he said. ‘The BBC cannot continue-dare I say it-to be a kleptocracy, indifferent to the public who pay for it.

‘Auntie pays out huge salaries to executives and celebrities alike. Her bureaucracy grows exponentially. Her undemocratic licence fee has become an anachronism in the days of multi-channel satellite television.

‘If the BBC really does depend on the licence fee for its survival, then there must be some genuine checks and balances. What better way than democratising the licence fee?’

‘It would be similar to shareholders having the ability to hire and fire their board, but with one main difference-every licence fee payer would hold just one share and one vote.’


We can win wars against the Human Rights Army

In the past two years the [British] Ministry of Defence has received 5,827 claims for damages, and paid out £36 million in lawyers fees, with the majority of cases relating to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As if our military did not have enough on its hands trying to defeat the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents, it must now do battle with the army of judges, lawyers and human rights activists who scour their every move for the possibility of taking legal action.

As the Telegraph reported earlier this week, it is actions like this that have led to the creation of a "hostile recruiting environment" which is having an adverse effect on the Army's recruitment drive for the new Reserve force.

It might seem trite to say so, but going to war is a dangerous business, fraught with risk, and the brave men and women who serve in our Armed Forces regularly place their lives in peril in defence of our freedoms. But it becomes another matter when, assuming they manage to return home unscathed, they must then face the human rights lobby which is invariably more inclined to give credence to the enemy's (often unsubstantiated) claims of wrong-doing, and often results in legal action.

It is a well-known fact that the al-Qaeda handbook urges its followers to exploit the West's liberal legal system to sow discord, and the legal actions brought against the military in the past two years have certainly had the effect of damaging the morale of our service men and women who, quite apart from accepting the risks involved in undertaking combat operations, must now face the prospect of having to justify their actions before a court of law. No wonder Ministers are cautious about committing ground forces to military action.

It is certainly the case that the present system needs to be reviewed if we are to stand any chance of winning the wars of the future. For who nowadays would want to risk their life only to find themselves in the dock for committing war crimes.



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 October, 2013

Multiculturalism comes to Ireland

A [black] mob went on a wave of random race violence on Temple Bar, which left five Dubliners with horrific injuries.

One man—a Dublin DJ—was almost killed in the attack as he suffered serious head injuries when he was set upon by the gang.

The level of violence has shocked gardai and the many witnesses to the race hate orgy—believed to be the first of its kind in the city.

One member of the African gang was arrested today in pre-dawn raids by detectives across the capital.

Five Dubliners, all aged in their 20s, were left with horrific injuries in the October 2010 attacks, which have only come to light now.

The gang—all aged in their late teens—savagely attacked six Irish people in the Temple Bar area of the capital in the early hours of October 10 last.

The gang, who are heavily involved in other street robberies and beatings, are all expected to appear in court.

Sources say that even seasoned detectives were left “horrified and shocked” by the extreme level of violence used in the attacks which occurred in the Eustace Street and Curved Street areas of Temple Bar at around 3.30am on the date in question.

A senior source explained: “We believe that what happened on the night was motivated by racism—that is racism against white people.

“When the suspects were first questioned they tried to use racism as a defence—they tried to say that they had been racially abused by the victims for being black. “But absolutely no evidence of that was ever uncovered and gardai are satisfied that the culprits were not racially abused.”

Dozens of people witnessed the shocking chain of events which started when two young men and a woman were randomly attacked at Eustace Street.

In the space of less than three minutes, five people were left with terrible injuries as bottles, punches and kicks were used to hurt the victims.

In the most serious incident, a DJ who was standing on Curved Street was set-upon and almost killed by the gang of thugs. A source explained: “The DJ was standing outside a premises while other assaults were going on around him. His DJ bag—with records in it—was on the ground beside him.

“One of the gang picked up the DJ’s bag and ran off, with the victim running after him. Then the attacker turned around and punched the victim, knocking him unconscious. “When the DJ hit the floor, the culprit stamped on the man’s head in what was a ferocious display of violence.

“This victim is very lucky to be alive—the entire left side of his head was broken because of that stamping incident. The victim ended up having to have a metal plate inserted into his head—if this did not happen he would have lost his eyesight.”

Sources have revealed that another victim suffered a fractured skull in an incident in which gardai believe a glass bottle was used.

The gang are now expected to face a huge number of charges, including multiple serious assault charges, violent disorder, theft and production of an offensive weapon.

The mother of one of the suspects has a conviction and served jail time for trafficking children into France from Nigeria.

The gang is suspected of being involved in other street assaults and have links to a criminal who was involved in robbing head shops and has been convicted of hijacking a Dublin taxi.


Another welfare crackdown works wonders in Britain

One in ten claimants stripped of the £15-a-week spare room subsidy have come off benefits altogether, figures show.

The scrapping of the subsidy caused protests by Left-wing activists, who called it ‘the bedroom tax’ and claimed it would inflict misery on less well-off families.

But Freedom of Information requests show that, in tens of thousands of cases, the move encouraged people to find a job.

As a result, they no longer require any state support – delivering a huge saving for the taxpayer.

Ministers had estimated that by removing the subsidy, paid to social housing tenants who have a spare room, the bill would be cut by around £500million a year.

But, by encouraging people to stop claiming benefits such as jobseekers’ allowance altogether, this figure doubles to around £1billion-a-year.

The new rules apply to housing benefit, typically worth between £50 and £100 a week. Since April, claimants of working age with a spare bedroom have received a reduced payment.

The figures were revealed by Harry Phibbs, a Tory councillor, in an investigation for the ConservativeHome website. He surveyed councils across the UK and 141 responded.

In their areas, 25,238 of the 233,732 people stripped of the spare bedroom subsidy – or nearly 11 per cent – were no longer claiming any benefits.

Mr Phibbs said that extended across the UK, it would be the equivalent of 71,000 out of the 660,000 claimants predicted to be affected stopping claiming benefits.

‘Before this change it wasn’t rewarding for people to work,’ he said. ‘This is giving people a reward for working – they are able to stay in their homes rather than downsizing into a smaller home.

‘Because work is now being rewarded, many people are coming off benefits altogether and getting full time jobs.

‘I would expect you will see far more people coming in to jobs in the coming months.’

The ending of the subsidy means that if tenants have one spare room, the amount of rent eligible for housing benefit is cut by 14 per cent. If they have two or more spare rooms, the reduction is 25 per cent.

On average, claimants receive £15 a week less from the taxpayer. Council tenants get about £14 a week less, while those in housing association properties get £16 a week less.

The savings to the taxpayer from removing the subsidy are an estimated £505million in 2013-14, and £540million the year after.

Figures obtained by Mr Phibbs show that in Tower Hamlets, East London, 948 out of 3,000 people (32 per cent) stopped claiming housing benefit, but in Liverpool only 300 claimants came off, out of 11,600.

Bromsgrove in Worcestershire saw 178 out of 605 come off benefits (29 per cent).

The responses do not give the reasons why individuals came off housing benefit, but any suggestion that the policy is helping families back into work is a huge boost for the Government.

Left-wing politicians and campaign groups repeatedly said the ‘bedroom tax’ would inflict misery on thousands.

Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged to reintroduce the subsidy, claiming its withdrawal was ‘unfair’ and would force families into real hardship.


The rise of 'motherism': Stay-at-home mothers face prejudice assuming they are lazy, stupid and unattractive, expert warns

Many would say that bringing up children is the most important job there is. But according to experts, stay-at-home mothers are facing an increasingly vicious backlash by those who think they are lazy, stupid and unattractive.

A top academic has said full-time mothers are now subjected to ‘motherism’ - a prejudice which in many circles was unspoken but highly damaging.

Dr Aric Sigman attacked the clichés which shape derogatory attitudes towards women at home and said they should be treated as seriously as racism and sexism.

The leading child development expert told a conference that the rise of prejudice had helped make it socially unacceptable to argue that children benefit from ‘full-time’ parenting.

He added that evidence from biosciences showed that mothers provided ‘unrivalled benefits’ to young children that other people, including fathers, cannot.

Dr Sigman said: ‘You should take on “motherism” - the prejudice against stay-at-home mothers - a prejudice that expresses itself in derogatory clichés like: “You gain a baby and lose a brain” and comments that refer to “schoolgate mother mentality”, or to being “willingly self-lobotomised”.

‘The implication is that by being a full-time mother you are “subjugated and servile” and even sexually unattractive once you are a mother - a quality only associated with women who return to work with their high heels and clipboards.’

He added: ‘Motherhood must not hide its light under a bushel. Greater maternal contact in the early years, especially during infancy, is greatly advantageous to the child. ‘Society must be asked why this could possibly be construed as contentious.’

The event was organised by the Mothers At Home Matter group, which has campaigned against taxpayer-funded child care support for parents who both work, reported The Sunday Telegraph.

The group recently challenged the Chancellor George Osborne over his remark that being a full-time mother was a ‘lifestyle choice’.

Recent figures show the majority of mothers now work, with many seeing full-time parenting as something confined to the rich or those on benefits.

Experts disagree over whether having a mother go out to work impacts on a child’s development.

Some studies show those who go to good nurseries or childminders can be better prepared for school and are able to communicate more efficiently.

But Dr Sigman, a fellow of the Society of Biology and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, has argued in the past that there may be long-term effects of sending toddlers to full-time day care.

The academic, who has four children, said that the derogatory attitudes towards stay-at-home mothers appeared to be the result of a political and economic agenda.

Sally Goddard Blythe, an expert in child development at the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, agreed.

She said: ‘We are the only mammal that deliberately separates its young from its mother for economic and social reasons before it is physically able to fend for itself.’


MAURICE SAATCHI says that real-life capitalism in Britain is not much like the theory -- so Conservatives should stress individual liberty more

I recently had the most extraordinary conversation with Ed Miliband. There was I – the man who helped propel Margaret Thatcher to power in 1979 and a former chairman of the Conservative party – debating the merits of The Communist Manifesto with the leader of the Labour Party.

Asked what should be his priority as leader, I answered: ‘Read your father’s books.’ Apparently he has. He looks forward to startling the House of Commons as Sir William Harcourt did more than 100 years ago by announcing: ‘We are all socialists now.’

Many Conservatives rejoice at this news, that Labour is again about to sign ‘the longest suicide note in history’. Is that true?

It’s been 21 years since the Conservative Party won an Election. You hear it said that the party was unlucky to have a succession of five leaders with insufficient appeal to voters. That seems statistically unlikely.

A more plausible explanation is that the party has lacked a marching tune people can respond to.

This might be because it has underestimated the power of socialism. Isaiah Berlin described socialism as ‘the greatest organised social movement of all time’.

But we went off socialism because it didn’t produce any money. The central Thatcher/Reagan critique of Marxist socialism was that it didn’t create wealth for its citizens.

So then we liked capitalism. But now we have gone off that too because it seems to produce too much worship of the golden calf. So now we don’t know what we like. That is probably why, on so many key political issues, when the public is asked which party has the best policies, the answer is often ‘neither’.

The fatal flaw of capitalism is said to be greed. But greed is part of the system – more politely known as rational self-interest.

The central mechanism by which capitalism is said to work is competition, best described by Professor Lionel Robbins: ‘Every day thousands of people cast their votes for the hundreds of products and services on offer, and from the competition to win their votes better and better products and services arise.’

That is said to be how the capitalist system brings the best outcome for all.

But that is not how things have worked out in recent years. On the contrary, there has been a dramatic widening of inequality. As Ed Miliband put it, the rising tide lifted only the yachts.

Some blame the ‘lone gunman’ – the rogue trader who wreaks havoc in the whole system. This Bad Apple Theory is popular with Conservatives because it is easier to blame one rotten apple than the whole barrel.

Another possibility, much less attractive, is that after all Marx was right: ‘The end result of competition is the end of competition.’ He described the outcome: ‘After years of internecine warfare amongst capitalists there would be fewer and fewer capitalists controlling vaster and vaster empires.’

Who can doubt the accuracy of that prediction when considering the banks, the trains, electricity, gas, water, oil, or any other large global industry?

The unintended consequence of globalisation is the creation of global cartels in which there is a huge imbalance of power between the individual customer and the giant corporation; a sense of powerlessness and unfairness that results from a world of global corporations whose governance (and maybe tax payments) are beyond the reach of national governments.

The overwhelming power of money in such a climate is a dangerous moment for Conservatism. What scares people most is soon money will talk in health as well as everything else. As a New York investment banker explained to me: ‘Money means a better car, a bigger house and, in time, a longer life.’

People may conclude they need someone to protect them from that kind of ‘free market’, such as, perhaps, the state. This is why Labour thinks they have struck gold with a state price freeze on energy.

Conservatives like to say state socialism is a return to 1970s failure. But will that do? Perhaps not. Because one thing has changed radically since the 1970s, which is that the new economic superpower of the world is itself a socialist state.

China calls its own system ‘state capitalism, or capitalism with Chinese characteristics’. The particular characteristic they have in mind is that the state owns 100 per cent of all large companies.

According to the text books, this is a road to ruin, but the bosses of these Chinese companies (mostly good Harvard or Princeton men), are encouraged to compete with each other vigorously, just like American bosses. If they hit their profit targets, they stay. If they don’t, they get fired.

According to research by the Russian Government, the Russian people can’t tell whether the state owns 100 per cent or zero per cent of a company.

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor fully appreciate the intellectual challenge of this new world order, and will not stubbornly insist on the existing version of free-market capitalism as the only way forward.

That would open the door for Labour to access millions of people, especially young people, who do not accept the status quo. Studies show that many people are not sure what’s worse – big companies or big government.

For Conservatism, there is only one answer – to remind people of the connection between money and the most heartfelt Conservative value of all – freedom. As Professor J.?K.?Galbraith understood: ‘The greatest restriction on the liberty of the citizen is a complete absence of money.’

The Conservative Party does not need to shy away from its understanding of the importance of money in people’s lives. It can be proud of its economics and what it can do for personal freedom, independence and individuality. To shy away from that is to try to row the Conservative boat with one oar.
Critics say Conservatism is ‘money-obsessed’, and has a heart of stone. But that is only because, as Mrs Thatcher wisely put it: ‘Caring that works costs cash.’

The Labour leader says the tide has lifted only the yachts, but Conservatives know that whatever kind of boat you have, the most important thing is that an individual can say: ‘I am the captain of my ship.’



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.


21 October, 2013

Have 1 in 3 over-50s REALLY suffered age discrimination in their everyday life? Claims older people receive worse service in shops and are patronised

At age 70, I am well over 50 but I can't remember ever being discriminated against because of my age. To the contrary, I find my fellow Australians to be most kind. When I am out in public and drop coins, there is always someone nearby who swoops to pick them up for me. And when I am struggling to open some packaging, people quite often grab it off me and open it for me. I can't imagine better behaviour.

But Australians generally ARE very nice people. We can afford to be. Life in subtropical Brisbane (for instance) is easy and our largest minority is Chinese -- who are very civilized people. One can only pity the frazzled inhabitants of London or NYC -- JR

One in three over-50s say they have been discriminated against because of their age.

They claim they receive worse service in shops and hospitals, and are treated discourteously, patronised and even harassed simply for being older.

The figure for the over-65s is even higher, at 37 per cent.
One in three over 50s say they receive worse services in shops and hospitals because of their age

One in three over 50s say they receive worse services in shops and hospitals because of their age

The study, by University College London, found that well-qualified, retired men in their seventies were most likely to feel victimised.

Researchers pooled data on 7,800 men and women aged 52 and above from across the country and in different walks of life.

They were asked whether they had to put up with one or more of five types of age discrimination in their daily lives, including harassment, being talked down to, being disrespected, discrimination in medical services and discrimination in restaurants and shops.

A little over 2,600 – a third – said they had encountered prejudice of some sort, with the proportion rising to 37 per cent among over-65s. For those still working, the figure was 28 per cent.

A lack of respect or courtesy was experienced by 18 per cent, while 11 per cent said they felt talked down to because people assumed they were not clever.

Around one in ten believed they receive worse treatment in doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, restaurants and shops, and 5 per cent think they suffer harassment purely because of their age.

The report – published in the journal Age And Ageing – states: ‘These findings highlight the scale of the challenge of age discrimination for older adults. The population continues to age due to a decrease in fertility coupled with an increased life expectancy. With people living longer, age discrimination is likely to gain greater prominence.

‘A key aspect that separates age discrimination from other forms of unfair treatment is that everyone is potentially at risk of experiencing it at some point in their lives.’

Paul Green, of the Saga lifestyle group for the over-50s, said: ‘Discrimination is a nasty trait – but against older people it is also pretty self-defeating. Older people have 80 per cent of the nation’s wealth, they are savvy consumers who know how they should be treated and their life experience makes them wise and good company.

‘Some in the private and public sector need to lift their game when dealing with an ageing society.’

Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, said: ‘Sadly, age discrimination is all too prevalent today. Whilst there is legislation making it illegal, this needs to be accompanied by a seismic shift in societal attitudes towards older people and ageing.’


I am 50-plus and often treated like an idiot - but does that really mean I'm a member of an oppressed minority?

By Tom Utley

White, male, middle-class, Christian, able-bodied, heterosexual... Will no one spare a thought for poor wretches like me who can make no plausible claim to membership of an oppressed minority?

At a push, I could just about argue that I suffered religious discrimination in my childhood, when I was one of only three or four Roman Catholics in a predominantly Protestant boarding school of 100 boys.

When I annoyed my schoolfellows, they would sometimes chant ‘Arsee, Arsee’ (R.C.) at me, and accuse me of supporting the Gunpowder Plot or paying the Pope for indulgences.

But I can’t honestly say that this troubled me much. Indeed, I found my tormentors’ taunts could be answered quite adequately with a wittily-phrased ‘fatso’, if they happened to be overweight, or perhaps ‘four-eyes’ if they wore glasses.

It’s true that I still get the occasional letter from a religious maniac, ranting against the Church into which I was baptised. But I can’t pretend that my Catholicism has ever caused me a moment’s setback in life.

With only slightly more justification, I could perhaps make a case for belonging to a persecuted minority in my capacity as a smoker. After all, I became addicted to the filthy weed when it was perfectly legal to light up in shops, restaurants, offices, buses and trains.

Yet these days, my fellow addicts and I are turfed out on the street in all weathers to indulge our habit, while otherwise civilised people feel entitled to be abominably rude to us at parties.

Certainly, this treatment gives us something to grumble about — which is always nice. So, too, is the frisson of fellow-feeling we get from the knowledge that most of the world is against us.

But as a gold-star grievance, entitling us to full victimhood status, I’m afraid it doesn’t cut the mustard. I can’t see Jenni Murray inviting us on to Woman’s Hour, clucking at us and tutting over society’s discrimination against smokers.

Nor can I see the BBC sending dear old Stephen Fry round the world, at licence-fee payers’ expense, to harangue smokophobic African health ministers or shed manly tears over the plight of persecuted Marlboro Red addicts.

No. For a grievance to be properly worth having in 2013, we must be able to claim that people are being beastly to us because of something that in no way, shape or form can be said to be our own fault. Which means smoking’s out.

So what’s left for a bloke like me, cursed with a blessed life, who would dearly love a respectable excuse for a good moan?

This week, researchers from University College London gave me the answer I’ve been looking for.

After interviewing 7,800 people aged 52 and above, they found that as many as one in three claimed to have suffered some form of discrimination because of their age, with the proportion rising to 37 per cent among the over-65s.

Offered five examples of prejudice to choose from, 18 per cent complained of a lack of respect or courtesy, while 11 per cent said they had felt talked down to because people assumed they were not clever.

Another tenth believed they suffered discrimination in medical services, with a similar number complaining of poor service in restaurants or shops. Finally, 5??per cent said they had suffered ‘harassment’ purely because of their age.

Clearly, I’ve been missing a trick here. With my hand on my heart, I can say that I’ve suffered every single one of those five forms of ill-treatment.

People have often been disrespectful to me: other motorists and my own sons spring to mind. I’ve often been treated like an idiot (again, my young are among the worst offenders). I’ve been kept waiting until lunchtime for 9am hospital appointments, and I’ve endured rotten service in shops and restaurants.

Meanwhile, I’ve felt harassed almost every day of my life — not least by cold-callers, door-to-door duster salesmen and the people behind me in the queue when I’m trying to work those infernal computerised ticket machines at the station.

But the big question is: which of us hasn’t suffered every one of these annoyances, whether we’re 18 or 80?

Indeed, it had never occurred to me, until I read this study, that everyone might have been treating me so badly for no better reason than that I’m staring down the barrel of my 60th birthday next month.

I hate to spoil a good grievance, but how can the moaning not-so-very-oldies be sure they’re being picked on simply because of their age?

Couldn’t the explanation be that manners in general are in decline, and that the young are less courteous to everyone — each other included — than we were in the days of our own youth?

Could it even be (dare I say it?) that of the 11 per cent who say people talk down to them because they assume they’re not clever, at least one or two may not be very clever?

Certainly, I’m a great deal more stupid than the young when it comes to working computers or self-service checkouts at the supermarket. So I feel I can’t fairly blame them when they treat me like the technological baby that I am.

Mind you, I’m not saying for one moment that age discrimination isn’t a serious problem in Britain today. But I do find it very hard to believe that it starts working against us while we’re still in our 50s.

And I wonder if people of every age might not be just a little too quick to spot prejudice where it doesn’t really exist.

Women, I grant you, are a separate case from men — and they surely have stronger reasons for feeling aggrieved. Indeed, so shallow are members of my sex that most of us would rather have the TV weather forecast read to us by a dolly-bird airhead than by a venerable middle-aged blue-stocking with degrees in meteorology coming out of her ears.

So I have a great deal of sympathy with fifty-something women presenters who complain they’ve been shunted out of their jobs because of their age.

Much more sympathy, anyway, than I have with the likes of John McCririck, the 73-year-old tic-tac man of racing who claims he was dumped because he’s old — when it’s clear to most of us that it was simply because he’s ghastly.

But then, perhaps, the most interesting finding of the UCL study is that well-qualified, retired men in their 70s are the most likely to feel victimised. Well, I’ll just have to wait and see.

But can any seventy-something, of either sex, honestly claim to suffer worse discrimination than those in their 80s and 90s — the ‘forgotten million’ elderly people, to be cited by Jeremy Hunt today, who are left chronically lonely in their own homes because relations never visit them?

Indeed, the Health Secretary hits the nail on the head when he says that the way Britons treat their grandparents is a ‘national disgrace’.

But will mere exhortation from a politician bring about the ‘seismic shift in attitudes towards older people’ that Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, says is necessary to end the suffering endured by the abandoned elderly? I wouldn’t count on it.

Strictly between you and me, I may not be all that sorry if my diet of Marlboro Reds means I won’t be around to find out.


That's how to catch a burglar! Judge's praise for builder who took just 3 hours to find thief... only to face arrest himself for 'ruining' police investigation

When builder Joseph Ingham received a call from his distraught wife to say £3,000 of gadgets and family heirlooms had been stolen from their home, he was initially furious.

Then he decided to get even – by tracking down the culprit and forcing him to hand back his possessions.

Three hours later, the father of two had returned home with most of the stolen goods – even before the police had finished taking down a statement from his wife.

But to Mr Ingham’s dismay, the officers accused him of ruining their own investigation and threatened him with arrest.

Now Mr Ingham, 32, has been vindicated after a judge praised him for ‘showing other people how to investigate a case’, and helping to convict serial burglar Dean Harris.

Mr Ingham launched his own investigation straight after wife Rachel, 33, called him with the news their home near Bridlington, East Yorkshire, had been burgled.

An iPod and two tablet computers belonging to daughters Jodie, 15, and Ayesha, 12, had been stolen along with a laptop, camera, jewellery, a watch and heirlooms.

Mr Ingham said: ‘I did what anyone should have done. I was so angry that my house had been burgled and I was not insured.

‘I knew I would never hear the last of it from my girls, and my wife was so upset. ‘Bridlington is not that big a place. People know each other in this town.’

Hull Crown Court heard Mr Ingham visited a bail hostel for criminals and promised £20 to a resident for information. The man revealed Harris’s name and the estate where he lived.

Mr Ingham quickly discovered that he knew Harris’s girlfriend, Emma Miles, from his school days. Luckily she was in when he called at their home. Mr Ingham said: ‘I told her to get her boyfriend on the telephone. I was 90 per cent certain he had robbed my house.’

When Harris denied all knowledge, Mr Ingham threatened to ‘ransack’ his house and look for the stolen goods himself.

Harris told Mr Ingham his possessions were ‘under the bed in his daughter’s room’.

Miss Miles found a rucksack containing the valuables and handed them over. Around £600 of items – mainly jewellery – were missing.

But on returning home triumphant, Mr Ingham said he was ‘treated like a criminal’ by police. They criticised him for threatening a witness and offering a reward. ‘They were threatening to arrest me. They were saying I had ruined the investigation,’ he added.

However, at Harris’s trial last week, Judge Michael Mettyear was more forgiving. ‘I am sorry to say Mr Ingham has shown other people how to investigate a case,’ he told the court.

‘I may not approve of all his behaviour. The police are not able to use his methods but at least he gave it a go and made all the inquiries. 'He brought to justice a persistent long-term burglar.’

Harris, 43, was found guilty of committing two burglaries and was jailed for three-and-a-half years.


Names can hurt you

By Rick Manning

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me

This familiar chant from little kids in response to being verbally abused or mischaracterized is typically taught by parents hoping to encourage children to ignore the hurtful taunts of others. But in the adult world, the adage is proven to be false time and again.

This past week White House Adviser Dan Pfeiffer compared Tea Party Republicans to, “people with a bomb strapped to their chest.”

“It is not a negotiation if I show up at your house and say, ‘Give me everything inside, or I’m going to burn it down.’”

The White House never denounced the remarks, and in fact sought instead to disassociate tactics they have used in the past during various fiscal cliff “crises” from those currently being employed by their political opponents.

Why does this matter?

Why should America be concerned by this harsh increase in rhetoric and the Obama Administration’s use of legally actionable words by a staffer sent out to defend their position to the media?

It matters because this Administration has the power to enforce law enforcement action against those they deem to be terrorists, and by characterizing their political opponents in this manner it is no longer just words, it is a not so veiled threat.

Fox News reported on Columbus Day that soldiers were told at an official U.S. Army briefing that a well-respected Christian ministry group is the equivalent to domestic hate group with the Ku Klux Klan among others.

Several dozen U.S. Army active duty and reserve troops were told last week that the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values.

This follows an article co-written by a former Army Colonel who teaches at Fort Leavenworth (not the prison, but the Army base) that hypothesizes a scenario where “tea party” groups in Darlington County, South Carolina embrace the Declaration of Independence and disband the local government. To quote the article, “While mainstream politicians and citizens react with alarm, the “tea party” insurrectionists in South Carolina enjoy a groundswell of support from other tea party groups, militias, racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, anti-immigrant associations such as the Minutemen, and other right-wing groups.”

The article then outlines how the military could be deployed to put down the tea partiers.

When a White House official throws around the words “terrorists” in conjunction with the opposition political party engaged in a legitimate legislative battle on Capitol Hill, it triggers bureaucratic responses.

When the same Administration is already embroiled in a scandal involving the IRS and other federal government agency’s using intimidation tactics to silence tea party oriented groups, one would think that Team Obama would be particularly sensitive in using incendiary language that could elicit unacceptable bureaucratic actions.

And one would expect that the media would universally condemn and demand a retraction of language that has real implications to the future of American political dissent.

Yet, with the Obama Administration’s defense of Pfeiffer, the defining of an Administration’s political opponents as “terrorists” is now acceptable.

In this instance, sticks and stones may break one’s bones, but names can get you arrested. It is past time for President Obama to disavow Pfeiffer’s remarks and fire him from his Administration. No other reaction should be acceptable to anyone who values the inherently American right to political dissent.



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 October, 2013

Scientist called a "whore" because she wouldn't work for free

The story below is touted as telling us something about discrimination. As far as I can see, it is in fact a story about just one nasty person (male or female we do not know) with such a weak ego that they could not take "no" for an answer. Ofek is an Israeli name so maybe Ofek's Yiddisher Momma spoilt him/her. It is of course common for bloggers (male or female, black or white) to write for free so that expectation tells us nothing about discrimination

This is a cautionary tale for all of the people out here who seem to think sexism in the sciences is still ok. Actually, for anyone who thinks sexism at work… online… anywhere is ok.

It’s also a lesson in how our brave new media world is slowly eating itself by expecting everyone to work for free*.

It all started when DN Lee, who runs the Urban Scientist blog on the prestigious Scientific American network, got asked to do some blogging for Biology-Online.

It would be a monthly article, he said, and she would have to wait two weeks before she was allowed to repost the blog on her own site.

“Regarding payment,” editor “Ofek” replied in response to her question. “Truthfully, we don’t pay guest bloggers”. “Thank you very much for your reply,” DN Lee said. “But I will have to decline your offer. Have a great day”.

It should have stopped there. Why should a respected blogger and scientist provide content to a website for free?

But instead, Ofek decided to send this reply: “Because we don’t pay for blog entries? Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?”

Just let that sink in for a moment.


Calling a professional woman who wants to be paid for her work a whore is so far out of the ballpark it’s a new sport entirely.

DN Lee responded by posting a blog and video that said this: “I do need you to recognise that how you behave matters, not just to me but to a lot of people because it sets the tone. For far too long the presumption has been that if you are a woman, a person of colour, or of low socio-economic status, that they think they can get you, your energy and talent for free.”

So what did Scientific American do? They took down her blog. That’s right. Scientific American seemed to think DN Lee was the one that should be punished.

There is SO much outrageous behaviour involved in this I don’t even know where to start.

We all know that women are paid less than men, and are more uncomfortable asking for pay rises. Often this is framed as an issue that just requires women to toughen up and be more like a man.

But what events like this show is that it’s actually not just about us, but that there are broader social issues at play that make it perfectly understandable that women have less confidence than men in asking for what they deserve (I’m not saying this is a good thing).

As the ‘rivers of gold’ (classified ads) that used to fund jobs like mine have dried up, media companies have increasingly turned to writers to do what they do for free – and I suspect that it’s women who will end up disproportionately taking on the bulk of this free work as well. This is not OK.

At least the Scientific American fiasco how provides a handy and well-documented case study of how NOT to handle sexism. After first saying that they took the blog down because it wasn’t about science – an embarrassing response given the Urban Scientist blog is clearly about more than just straight science – they have eventually put it back up and changed their story to say that they were actually worried about defamation, not science, when they took it down).

It’s true that we all need to start ‘leaning in’ and asking for what we want like DN Lee, but we also need some serious changes to the way women are treated and seen in the workplace.**

Hopefully now we can at least all cross “calling women whores” off the list of “things considered acceptable at work”. Baby steps, sisters, baby steps.

Post-Script: Biology Online, at least, handled this issue better than Sci Am, and have fired the editor who was involved.


English 'too nervous' to celebrate St George's Day

Because they have been told it is racist -- JR

The English are more likely to be able to correctly name the date of the US Independence Day and St Patrick’s Day than they are their own national saint’s day, a new poll has found.

The survey found only 40 per cent were able to identify St George’s Day as falling on April 23, compared with 71 who could give July 4 as the American national holiday and 42 per cent who knew that March 17 was the Irish one.

British Future, a think tank specialising in identity and integration which carried out the study, says the results suggest many English people are too “nervous” to celebrate St George’s Day.

It cites concerns among many that national symbols like the St George’s Cross flag may be interpreted as racist by others, and that celebration of the national saint’s day could upset ethnic minority groups.

It also accused politicians failing to “engage” with the concept of Englishness, to help to promote more pride in it.

The poll found that people in England are twice as likely to say they are more English than British than the other way round. Forty per cent said they were more English than British, while only 17 per cent feel more British than English. Just over a third (37 per cent) felt equally English and British.

The survey also found that two-thirds of those polled in England considered the Irish saint’s day as more widely-celebrated in Britain that St George’s Day. Only seven per cent believed April 23 received more attention than March 17.

St Patrick’s Day is marked by parades in several English cities, such as London, Liverpool and Birmingham, which attract crowds in their tens of thousands. By contrast, events marking St George’s Day have traditionally been lower key.

The research did suggest, however, that there was an appetite among the English to do more to celebrate their national identity. Three quarters (76%) wanted St George’s Day celebrated more or at least as much as St Patrick’s Day. Just under two thirds (61%) felt the flag of St George should be flown more widely across England.

Four in ten (41 per cent) citied the lack of a Bank Holiday when asked why St George’s Day is not celebrated more. Less than one in three (29%) thought it was because people did not care.

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, said: “Why shouldn’t we be able to celebrate Englishness? We’re all happy to come together as a nation when there’s football or cricket on, so why keep the flags in the drawer for the rest of the year?
“It’s a bit baffling that people in England will happily enjoy a pint of Guinness on St Patrick’s Day but then get nervous about celebrating St George’s Day too. We need to get over it and celebrate Englishness more.

“There’s clearly an appetite for bringing Englishness out of the stadium and into our everyday lives – but politicians have been very wary of engaging with it. It’s time they joined this national conversation. People think a Bank Holiday and flying more St George’s flags would help and it’s hard to see why anyone would disagree.”

British Future released the findings ahead of a “Festival of Englishness” it is holding in London this Saturday, with the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The event has been organised to discuss Englishness in areas such as politics, comedy and sport. Among those involved is Vanessa Whitburn, the former editor of The Archers, who will discuss English culture.


Bad parents are to blame for society’s ills, says Ofsted chief: Sir Michael Wilshaw attacks 'hollowed out and fragmented families'

As boss of school standards, Wilshaw knows the contribution of Britain's Left-run schools to declining British civility but he is undoubtedly right in pointing out that defective parenting has much to answer for as well. Unsaid is that much of the problem parenting is among blacks

Parents who fail to teach their children right from wrong are at the root of Britain’s biggest problems, Ofsted’s chief inspector has said.

Sir Michael Wilshaw attacked ‘hollowed out and fragmented families’ where parents suffer a ‘poverty of accountability’.

He said child abuse and neglect were not the fault of councils alone. Such issues were the product of social breakdown.

Sir Michael warned that the problems exposed in child abuse scandals were being deepened by an apparent national obsession with ‘pussyfooting around’ and ‘making excuses’ for bad parents.

He said many children were ‘alienated’ from their natural father and that this lay at the root of the wider problems.

‘Some people will tell you that social breakdown is the result of material poverty – it’s more than this,’ he said. ‘These children lack more than money: They lack parents who take responsibility for seeing them raised well. It is this poverty of accountability which costs them.

‘These children suffer because they are not given clear rules or boundaries, have few secure or safe attachments at home, and little understanding of the difference between right and wrong behaviour.

‘If we believe that the family is the great educator – and I certainly do believe that – and the community the great support system, then we as a society should worry deeply about the hollowing out and fragmentation of both.’

He spoke as Ofsted’s first report on England’s 152 children’s services departments found 20 areas where children are poorly protected.

He said Birmingham was one of the worst places to grow up in the developed world.

His comments come after a review of the death of two-year-old Keanu Williams was published

Sir Michael said: ‘It is an absolute disgrace and government needs to look at this with real urgency. 'Why is it that nearly a third of children in the city live in households on low incomes? ‘Why is it that infant mortality is almost twice the national average, worse than in Cuba and on a par with Latvia and Chile?

‘These are shocking statistics and a national disgrace. They are a testament to failure of corporate governance on a grand scale.

'What is shocking is that this is the city council with responsibility for more children than any other, our second city, the largest unitary local authority in the country.

'This is a city that should be nipping at London’s heels for power, status and influence.’

'Sir Michael said children’s services had been undermined because one in three of the country’s departmental directors have either quit or been sacked in the past year – 50 out of the total of 152.

‘Incompetent and ineffective leadership must be addressed quickly,’ he added. ‘But where those in leadership positions have capacity and potential, this must be recognised and nurtured.’

The report found 86 of the 152 councils had children’s services that were ‘less than good’. The 20 judged inadequate were Barnsley, Bexley, Birmingham, Blackpool, Calderdale, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire East, Cumbria, Devon, Doncaster, Herefordshire, Isle of Wight, Kingston on Thames, Medway, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Rochdale, Sandwell, Slough and Somerset.

A spokesman for Birmingham council said: ‘This is a long-standing problem which we acknowledge. ‘While we can only agree with the seriousness of what Sir Michael has said – indeed we have said it ourselves – we now need improvement rather than further diagnosis.’


More Disgusting Anti-Semitism From The Scum On ‘The View’

Maybe they should change the name of the show to the “The Anti-Jew.”

While running on the treadmill at the gym, this morning, I made the mistake of watching ABC’s “The View,” and I could not believe what I was hearing. On second thought, though, I shouldn’t have been surprised, as the various co-host hags of the show defended skank Miley Cyrus’ anti-Semitic comments (last week, Ms. Virus she said she wouldn’t let a “70-year-old Jewish man” tell her how to run her sleazy career) and engaged in their own anti-Jewish comments because the show has a history of Jew-hatred, which I’ve covered on this site (more on that later).

On today’s episode of the annoying anti-male yenta hag-fest, Jenny McCarthy made the comment , “I would always trust any Jew ‘cuz they know how to make money.” (This whore, McCarthy, made money by spreading eagle on video and in magazines for Playboy. She also bragged about giving oral sex at truck stops to pay for her spring break vacation. I don’t think this aspect of “making money” came from Jews.) When show producer Barbara Walters, a Va-JINO (my word for a female Jew In Name Only) told her that the comment is anti-Semitic, McCarthy didn’t apologize. Instead, she made more anti-Semitic comments.

Guest co-host, Singer Gavin DeGraw, defended Cyrus, saying that her comments about Jews were Cyrus’ way of “being rebellious.” He explained that that’s “rock ‘n’ roll.” Really? Since when did rock become an SS officers reunion . . . and why weren’t Gene Simmons (real name: Chaim Witz), Paul Stanley (born Stanley Harvey Eisen), David Lee Roth, and Bob Dylan (real surname: Zimmerman) tipped off about this apparently major feature of “rock rebellion”?

In response to DeGraw’s defense of Cyrus’ dissing of the Jews, Jenny McCarthy responded, “Well, you won’t be hosting the Shabbat telethon anytime soon” and then started laughing. Shabbat is the Hebrew word for the Jewish Sabbath, and here’s a tip, Jenny: we don’t have telethons on the Jewish Sabbath, dummy.

And, then, of course, Whoopi Goldberg, who defended Mel Gibson and said he’s not anti-Semitic, defended Cyrus by saying that she only made the mistake of “being a few decades late.” Goldberg said that about four decades ago, Jews controlled the music industry.
Really? Did Berry Gordy have a secret Bar Mitzvah? Did he have a bris even his own penis doesn’t know about? Just askin’.

And, of course, not to be outdone in idiocy, Sherri “I still think the world is flat” Shepherd, defended Cyrus by giving some cockamamie figure, claiming that six out of eleven top executives of record companies are Jews. Well, I can play that absurd logic game, too, by saying that two out of two Black co-hosts of “The View” are fat, ugly, dumb, anti-Semitic racists who look like lesbians, and therefore, that must apply to all Blacks.

Newsflash for Sherri Shepherd: the word “Sony”–which is in the name of three of the 12 major record labels over the past two decades, Sony, Sony BMG, and Sony Music Entertainment–is not Japanese for Epstein or Horowitz. BMG–which owns in part or in full two of the 12 major record labels–BMG and Sony BMG–stands for Bertelsmann Music Group. It’s a German company. Just because the Germans extinguished six million Jewish lives doesn’t make ‘em Jews, themselves. Today, Sony, which absorbed BMG, is the second major record label among the three biggies in the record biz. It’s not owned by Jews.

Last week, I watched these hags and guest co-host Jesse Ventura yell and scream about the name of the Washington Redskins NFL team and how offensive it is to American Indians, er . . . “Native Americans.” In the past, I’ve watched them whine about Don Imus’ comments about the hair and sexual habits of Black female basketball players at Rutgers, demanding Imus’ head. And I watched them, including Goldberg, walk off the set of the show, when Bill O’Reilly said Muslims hijacked the planes on 9/11.

As I’ve noted before, “The View” has a history of anti-Semitism, including:

* “View” co-hosts said that Chassidic Jewish women are “ugly,” “weird,” and “bizarre,” and laughed about it (including current FOX News morning co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck);

* “View” co-hosts defended the Muslim terrorist bombing of Jews while they celebrated the Passover Seder, saying “we have to understand their [Muslims'] culture is different than ours;”

* “View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg defended Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic comments;

* “View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg defended Helen Thomas’ anti-Semitic comments; and

* a “View” co-host Star Jones was hired after she defended and praised killer Lemrick Nelson, who murdered Chassidic Jew Yankel Rosenbaum in an anti-Semitic hate crime inspired by an Al Sharpton rally.

These are just a few examples I remember off the top of my head, but there are plenty more.

Frankly, as I’ve noted before, the name “Whoopi Goldberg”–the stage name of unfunny comedienne and talentless affirmative action beneficiary, Caryn Elaine Johnson–is anti-Semitic. I mean, how would Black people like it if I took the stage name, “LaDebbie Shaniqua Tyronetta Ax Me a Question No You Di’in’t Jackson?”

As I’ve previously pointed out, that would be racist, so why does “Goldberg”/Johnson get a pass? Oh, yeah, she’s Black. So, she gets away with it and her many racist, anti-Semitic comments.

But, Jews, are fair game for bigoted attacks on this show because Barbara Walters looks the other way, in a way she never would if the hosts made these comments about Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims or other preferred minorities.



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 October, 2013

More joys of multiculturalism for Britain

Police are warning people not to approach a convicted murderer who has escaped from a mental health centre.

Lerone Michael Boye, 27, walked out of the medium security John Howard Centre in Kenworthy Road, Homerton, east London, at about 2pm today.

He was sentenced to life last December for the murder of Kelvin Chibueze and told he must serve a minimum of 28 years.
Convicted murderer Lerone Michael Boye, 27, walked out of the medium security unit on Wednesday

His 17-year-old victim was fatally stabbed at the Arteflex Club in Ilford High Road, east London, on August 15 2011. He was chased out of a birthday party and attacked with glass and broken bottles. Boye's three co-accused are also serving life sentences.

Boye is described as black, about 5ft 10in and of slim build with short black hair and a goatee beard. He has a horseshoe-shaped scar on his right cheek. He was last seen wearing grey jogging bottoms and a grey or blue sweatshirt with a grey vest over the top. He is known to have links to the Ilford area.

Members of the public have been warned not to approach him but call 999.

East London NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the centre, says it has launched an investigation into Boye's escape. A John Howard Centre spokesman told the BBC: 'The trust is working with the police to assist them with their investigation. 'We are reviewing our security as a matter of urgency.'

At last years trial, Boye was identified by Judge John Bevan as a ringleader of the attack, along with fellow murderer Dale Williams.

'To say those originally in the dock did not know who inflicted the fatal injuries is nonsense', said Judge Bevan. 'That, of course, is a secret they are not going to divulge.'


British theatre tells patriotic ex-gunner that people aren't allowed to stand for the National Anthem in case they start dancing dangerously

An army veteran has been told that he would not be allowed to stand for the National Anthem during a military concert because of health and safety rules.

Retired Royal Artillery gunner Doug Speller, 74, was informed by booking staff at a concert theatre that audience members had to be seated at all times during a performance by an RAF band.

When he questioned whether the rule would apply if the band played a traditional rendition of God Save the Queen, he was told not to stand at any time.

According to Mr Speller, organisers said the rule was a health and safety precaution which prevented people dancing dangerously in the stands.

The veteran of Thetford, Norfolk, paid £18 for balcony ticket at the Apex theatre in Bury St Edmunds for a 'Path to Peace concert' by the RAF Honington Voluntary Band in November.

He booked to see the performance having served for six years as a Royal Artilleryman in Singapore and Germany before a further 18 years as a Territorial Army Sergent.

But after being told about the no standing rule, Mr Speller described the decision as 'silly'. He said: 'How dare they tell me I can't stand for the national anthem? The national anthem is what this country is all about.' 'It's what people fought for, so that we could be free. As far as I am concerned we should be standing up to protect it, not banning people from respecting it because of silly regulations.

'It's a lovely theatre but if they want to survive they shouldn't be doing things like this. It's like so many things in this country, they want to stop this and stop that.

'You've got to wonder whether they'll try to do away with the national anthem all together. Health and safety is a good idea when it's done properly but things like this really beggar belief.'

St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which runs The Apex, said there had been a 'misapplication of health and safety principles'.

A council spokesman said the rules were there to stop audiences dancing dangerously and not to ban them from standing in respect.

He said: 'We will make sure that our staff understand how rules apply to this part of the building, for the various types of events held here.'


An Israeli Soldier to American Jews: Wake up!

As a young Israeli who had just completed five years of service in the IDF, I looked forward to my new job educating people in the Pacific Northwest about Israel. I was shocked, however, by the anti-Israel bigotry and hostility I encountered, especially in the greater Seattle area, Oregon, and Berkeley. I had been very liberal, a member of the leftist Zionist party, Meretz, but the anti-Semitism and hatred for Israel that I have seen in the U.S. has changed my outlook personally and politically.

This year, from January through May, I went to college campuses, high schools, and churches to tell people about the history of modern Israel, about my experience growing up in the Jewish state, and about my family. I also always spoke about my military service as an officer in an IDF COGAT unit that attends to the needs of Palestinian civilians who are not involved in the conflict and promotes Palestinian civil society. Each time I would speak and take questions for an hour or more. I have shared my personal story with over 16,000 people at many, many college campuses and high schools, including UC Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Washington, Seattle University and many others. Many of those to whom I spoke were supportive, friendly, and open to hearing about my Israel. But, sadly, far too many were not.

When I served as a soldier in the West Bank, I got used to having ugly things said to me, but nothing prepared me for the misinformation, demonization of Israel, and the gut-wrenching, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hostility expressed by many students, professors, church members, and even some high school students right here in the Pacific Northwest.

I was further shocked by how unaware the organized Jewish community is and how little they are actually doing to counter this rising anti-Semitism, which motivated me to write this article.

This new form of bigotry against Israel has been called the “new anti-Semitism,” with “Israel” replacing “Jew” in traditional anti-Semitic imagery and canards, singling out and discriminating against the Jewish state, and denying the Jewish people alone the right to self-determination. The new anti-Semitism is packaged in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS), which claims to champion Palestinian rights though its real goal is to erode American support for Israel, discredit Jews who support Israel, and pave the way for eliminating the Jewish state. One of BDS’ central demands is the “complete right of return” for all the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees, subtle language that means the end of Israel as the Jewish homeland because it would turn Israel into a Palestinian-Arab majority state.

It is surprising that an extremist group like BDS is ever taken seriously, but BDS advocates have found receptive audiences in some circles. Their campaigns are well organized and in many cases, well financed. They have lobbied universities, corporations, food co-ops, churches, performing artists, labor unions, and other organizations to boycott Israel and companies that do business with Israel. But even if these groups don’t agree to treat Israel as a pariah state, the BDS activists manage to spread their anti-Israel misinformation, lies and prejudice simply by forcing a debate based on their false claims about Israel.

To give you a taste of the viciousness of the BDS attacks, let me cite just a few of the many shocking experiences I have had. At a BDS event in Portland, a professor from a Seattle university told the assembled crowd that the Jews of Israel have no national rights and should be forced out of the country. When I asked, “Where do you want them to go?” she calmly answered, “I don’t care. I don’t care if they don’t have any place else to go. They should not be there.” When I responded that she was calling for ethnic cleansing, both she and her supporters denied it.

And during a presentation in Seattle, I spoke about my longing for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. When I was done, a woman in her 60’s stood up and yelled at me, “You are worse than the Nazis. You are just like the Nazi youth!” A number of times I was repeatedly accused of being a killer, though I have never hurt anyone in my life. On other occasions, anti-Israel activists called me a rapist.

The claims go beyond being absurd – in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none. She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, “You IDF soldiers don’t rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won’t touch them.”

Such irrational accusations are symptomatic of dangerous anti-Semitism. Yet, alarmingly, most mainstream American Jews are completely oblivious to this ugly movement and the threat it poses. They seem to be asleep, unaware that this anti-Jewish bigotry is peddled on campuses, by speakers in high schools, churches, and communities, and is often deceptively camouflaged in the rhetoric of human rights.

The American Jewish community and its leaders are not providing a united front to combat this latest threat. Unfortunately, this repeats a pattern of Jewish communal groups failing to unite in a timely way to counter threats against us individually and as a community.

Shockingly, a small but very vocal number of Jews actively support BDS. They often belong to organizations that prominently include “Jewish” in their names, like Jewish Voice for Peace, to give cover to BDS and the anti-Semitism that animates it. A question that we, as a Jewish community must ask ourselves, is whether it is ever appropriate to include and accept Jews who support BDS and directly or indirectly advocate the ultimate elimination of the Jewish State of Israel.

I think it is not.

My experiences in America have changed me. I never expected to encounter such hatred and lies. I never believed that such anti-Semitism still existed, especially in the U.S. I never knew that the battlefield was not just Gaza, the West Bank, and hostile Middle Eastern countries wanting to destroy Israel and kill our citizens and soldiers. It is also here in America, where a battle must be waged against prejudice and lies.

I implore American Jews: do more.

Israel cannot fight this big battle alone. If you are affiliated with a Jewish organization, let it know you want it to actively, openly and unequivocally oppose the BDS campaign and those who support it. Inform yourself, your friends and families, by visiting websites of organizations like StandWithUs, Jewish Virtual Library, AIPAC, AJC and others that will update you and provide information about BDS and anti-Semitism.

I urge the organized Jewish community and its members to wake up and stand up for the Jewish state of Israel, and for all it represents, and for all it works to achieve.


Fury as the Guardian links Tory reforms to the deaths of Baby P and Hamzah Khan

The Guardian was under pressure to apologise last night for a ‘disgraceful slur’ against Michael Gove by appearing to link his reforms to the deaths of Baby P and Hamzah Khan.

Polly Toynbee suggested that the Education Secretary’s decision to dismantle Labour’s ContactPoint child protection database had made it easier for vulnerable youngsters to slip through the cracks.

The online version of the veteran Left-wing columnist’s account was headlined: ‘It is the Baby Ps and Hamzah Khans who pay for this Tory vandalism: Michael Gove’s dismantling of successful schemes like ContactPoint has left abuse victims even more vulnerable.’

Miss Toynbee claimed the database ‘would have raised the alarm’ about Hamzah, who was starved to death by his mother and left in his cot for almost two years. In fact, both children were killed before the Coalition came to power in May 2010.

And ContactPoint was not scrapped until August 2010 – nine months after Hamzah is thought to have died. Peter Connelly, known as Baby P, died in August 2007.

Chris Skidmore, a Tory member of the Commons education committee, called on the Guardian to apologise. ‘This is a disgraceful slur,’ he said.

‘It is deeply disappointing that anyone should stoop so low as to use the tragic deaths of children to score cheap political points. Polly Toynbee and the Guardian should apologise.’

Miss Toynbee yesterday acknowledged the headline on her article was ‘provocative’, but said she had not written it. She insisted she was not blaming Mr Gove for particular child deaths and acknowledged that no government could prevent all child abuse.

A spokesman for Guardian News and Media said the paper stood by both the article and the headline. She added: ‘The reference to “the Baby Ps and Hamzah Khans” in the headline is clearly referring to victims of child abuse in general, rather than to those two tragic cases.’

An education source pointed out that Mr Gove had acted to ensure that serious case reviews into child deaths are now routinely published.

The Education Secretary’s wife, Sarah Vine - who writes a column for the Mail - criticised Miss Toynbee in a message on Twitter. ‘I respect you very much, but your piece today does you no justice,’ she said. ‘It displays ignorance, laziness and blind tribalism.’

Responding to online criticism from her own readers, Miss Toynbee said: ‘No government can ever protect every child. I say that emphatically. ‘There is no magic bullet, and even the best systems will fail some children. But learning the lessons of these exhaustive reviews is important.

‘I am not accusing Gove of killing children, but the combination of less collaboration and larger than ever crisis caseloads for social workers is a serious risk.’

The ContactPoint database was set up in 2004 in an attempt to improve information-sharing between child protection agencies following the death of Victoria Climbie.

But it was widely condemned on privacy, security and child protection grounds.

Critics said it was too easy for people to access information inappropriately about vulnerable children.



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.


17 October, 2013

Some more multiculturalism in Britain

A man convicted of murdering his on-off girlfriend hours after brutally raping a stranger has been jailed for life with a minimum of 33 years for the 'horrifying' attacks.

Marvin Samuels, 31, stabbed Sharlana Diedrick, 32, 16 times and would have continued the frenzied attack if he had not hurt his hand.

Hours earlier he attacked a 43-year-old woman as she walked her chihuahua around a reservoir in Brent, north London, because she looked like Ms Diedrick.

The victim was dragged into the undergrowth before being ordered to strip naked and was then raped.

The Old Bailey heard he tried to strangle her with her scarf, before repeatedly beating her over the head with a bottle and tree branch. He then left her for dead.

He was found unanimously guilty of murder at the Old Bailey last week and had admitted two other charges of rape and grievous bodily harm.

Sentencing Samuels today, Judge Timothy Pontius told him: 'These three crimes are all individually horrifying in the extent of the mere brutality with which they were committed. Taken together, they represent a level of violent behaviour carried out during a period of just a few hours that I have rarely encountered.

'You went out armed with at least one knife that day and by the time you murdered Sharlana Diedrick you had two knives.'

The judge said it was noted that he did not use a knife on his rape victim.

'Nevertheless, you raped her brutally and beat her savagely with a tree branch and, on your own admission, a bottle,' he said.

'Furthermore, you used a scarf to strangle her.'

The woman 'remains so traumatised by the extent she suffered at your hands that she has been unable to describe any of it', the judge added.

'It was only six hours or so later that you killed Sharlana Diedrick, the mother of your young son.'

Powerfully-built Samuels, of Stonebridge, north west London, showed no emotion as he was told he would serve three concurrent life sentences for the three counts.

He denied murder, claiming he was not 'mentally responsible' at the time.

The judge went on: 'In all the evidence the jury and I have heard, in particular the number of blows and the force with which they were inflicted on a wholly defenceless woman sitting at the wheel of her car, I am not of the slightest doubt that you intended to kill her.

'Furthermore, whatever your mental state at present, there is no doubt in my mind that on September 29 last year your mind was not so afflicted as to lessen the culpability of what you did to any extent.'

Jurors heard he launched the terrifying attack on a 42-year-old woman who was walking her pet chihuahua by Welsh Harp Reservoir in Neasden, north west London, at around 5pm.

He battered the woman, who looked like Ms Diedrick, with a bottle and a piece of wood after dragging her into undergrowth. He strangled her with her scarf, rendering her unconscious, and then left her for dead.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was unable to give information about what happened to her but forensic evidence was found linking Samuels to her. Her naked and badly-beaten body was found when her worried husband and others carried out a search after she did not return home.

Ms Diedrick, with whom Samuels had a 'volatile' relationship, was found at 11.16pm that night with her body slumped halfway out of her Hyundai car, which was parked near his home.

Witnesses said they had heard her screaming. She suffered 16 stab wounds to the chest and abdomen.

Samuels, who the court heard has suffered from an anti-social personality disorder and paranoia since childhood, was also charged with the attempted murder of the rape victim but was cleared by jurors.


China to ban people with HIV from spas and public bathhouses in move condemned by UN

China plans to ban people with HIV from accessing spas, hot springs and public bathhouses, it has been revealed today.

The Chinese government has posted a draft regulation online, ordering spas and similar premises to display signs prohibiting 'people with sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS and infectious skin diseases'.

The proposal, which has been condemned by the United Nations' AIDS agency (UNAIDS), has sparked outrage among campaign groups.

It is the latest instance of ongoing discrimination against HIV carriers in the world's most populous country.

China already bans those with the virus from becoming civil servants - with HIV-positive people facing the possibility of losing their jobs if their employers discover their status.

Others HIV carriers have sought hospital treatment, only to be turned away.

Hedia Belhadj, China's coordinator for UNAIDS, said she was concerned by the proposed Ministry of Commerce rule, which was posted online by China's State Council today.

She called for it to be removed - pointing out there is no risk of transmission of HIV in a spa or bathhouse setting.

'UNAIDS recommends that restrictions preventing people living with HIV from accessing bath houses, spas and other similar facilities be removed from the final draft of this policy,' she said.

She also urged that 'any other policies preventing people living with HIV from accessing public or private services be revised'.

Campaign groups have also spoken out against the proposal, which could affect as many as 780,000 people living with HIV in China.

'The only value of this draft law is in discriminating against those with AIDS,' said, Yu Fangqiang, director of the Nanjing-based anti-discrimination NGO Justice for All. 'This law must be changed. All the HIV NGOs know this new rule, and they want to fight it.' He added that his organisation and five other domestic NGOs are seeking to collaborate on a response.

In 2010, China lifted a long-standing ban on HIV-positive foreigners entering the country - although, in recent years, top officials have spoken more openly about HIV prevention and control.

The country has also extended access to free antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people.

However, discrimination against those with HIV and AIDS remains an issue at hospitals, workplaces and other establishments across China.

In January, a draft regulation in south China's Guangdong province proposed to ban people with HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases from becoming teachers. But officials dropped the provision in April after an outcry from rights groups.

Most attempts by HIV-positive people to sue over discrimination have failed.

However, earlier this year, a plaintiff who was denied a teaching job after it was revealed he was HIV-positive was awarded 45,000 yuan (£4,605) from an east China county education bureau, state media reported.

The case marked a milestone that activists have cited as a cause for hope in future legal battles.

Ms Belhadj said that widespread stigmatisation of those with HIV in China has complicated efforts to curb its spread.

Addressing the 'stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with HIV essential in the national response,' she added.


Press regulation plan 'would break the law'

Plans to regulate Britain’s 300-year-old free Press are in breach of the law, a senior peer and lawyer is warning.

Lord Lester, an eminent QC who is the architect of reforms to Britain’s notorious libel laws, suggested that punishing newspapers that refuse to join a new Press regulator with exemplary damages would violate Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of expression.

The Liberal Democrat peer said: ‘The British Press is subject to our plentiful criminal and civil laws. There is no need for further state intervention, as proposed by the “Hacked Off” celebrity campaigners.

‘We need a system of independent self-regulation that encourages professional standards and provides effective redress, avoiding unnecessary litigation.’

Boris Johnson yesterday urged newspapers to boycott the Government’s proposed Royal Charter on Press regulation, branding the exercise a ‘monstrous folly’.

The London mayor said the Leveson Inquiry into media standards had arisen from a ‘string of essentially political embarrassments’, including the MPs’ expenses scandal.

Last week, the three main parties agreed the detail of a Royal Charter setting up a system of regulation in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry.

An alternative put forward by the Press, which would have meant a new independent regulator having strong investigative powers and the right to impose fines of up to £1million, up-front corrections, with inaccuracies corrected fully and prominently, and independence from the industry and politicians, was rejected.


A chilling lesson from history and why shackling the Press is inimical to liberty

On January 5, 1895, in the centre of Paris, watched by 4,000 soldiers and 20,000 civilians, a Jewish artillery officer, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, was publicly degraded.

All the insignia of his rank — the gold braid, the buttons, even the piping on his trousers — were torn from his uniform. His sword was snapped in half.

As the crowd yelled ‘Death to the Jews!’ and ‘Judas!’ he was paraded around the Ecole Militaire.

The following month he was transported to Devil’s Island off the coast of South America, and forbidden to speak to anyone — even his guards — for the rest of his life.

Nobody dared to defend Dreyfus in public; nobody wanted to. He was universally loathed as a traitor who had betrayed secrets to the Germans. Trying to imagine the equivalent hate-figure in modern Britain, I can think only of Jimmy Savile. But there was one great difference: Dreyfus was entirely innocent.

The story of how Dreyfus was framed, convicted and then rescued from his dreadful fate is the subject of my new novel. It is a tale worth retelling: a perennial warning of how easily justice can be corrupted, especially by secret trials; how ruthlessly so-called respectable organisations (not just governments) will conceal their mistakes; and how vital it is to have newspapers willing to defy not only the conventional opinions of the great and the good, but even — if necessary — the law.

This last lesson is one we in Britain need to consider urgently as we sleepwalk into State regulation of the Press for the first time in 300 years.

Dreyfus owed his eventual salvation to two very modern phenomena: whistleblowing and muck-raking journalism. The whistleblower was Georges Picquart, the youngest colonel in the French army, who was put in charge of the military’s secret intelligence service a few months after Dreyfus was exiled.

Like everyone else, initially he believed Dreyfus was guilty. But the following year he discovered the Germans still had a spy operating on French soil — a womanising gambler, Major Charles Esterhazy.

By the summer of 1896 he was sure Esterhazy was acting alone, and that Dreyfus had been convicted on the basis of forged intelligence documents.

Picquart was unable to persuade his superiors to reopen the Dreyfus case. Eventually, he passed what he knew to a lawyer, who — through an intermediary — briefed the Dreyfus family, who then publicly named Esterhazy as the real traitor.

Naturally, Esterhazy protested his innocence, backed by the full weight of the French state, desperate not to admit their complicity in Dreyfus’s wrongful conviction.
The story of Captain Alfred Dreyfus (left) shows how vital it is to have newspapers willing to defy not only the conventional opinions of the great and the good, but even - if necessary - the law

The story of Captain Alfred Dreyfus (left) shows how vital it is to have newspapers willing to defy not only the conventional opinions of the great and the good, but even - if necessary - the law

But on November 28, 1897, Le Figaro published private love letters written by Esterhazy 13 years earlier to his mistress, Madame de Boulancy, in which he expressed his hatred of his fellow countrymen (‘I would not harm a little dog, but I would have 100,000 Frenchmen killed with pleasure’).

Of course, it is possible that if the French in 1897 had had something in place like the UK’s proposed new Press watchdog, it would have ruled in Le Figaro’s favour: that it would have accepted it was in the public’s interest that Esterhazy’s private correspondence should be printed, despite the obvious breach of his copyright and invasion of his privacy.

But that is with the wisdom of hindsight. I would not bank on it — not in the political climate of that time; not when all major parties, the Catholic Church, the army and the great bulk of the Press subscribed to the belief Dreyfus was guilty and Esterhazy was being traduced by a sinister ‘Jewish syndicate’.
In January 1898, a court martial unanimously cleared Esterhazy of all the charges, and the Minister of War issued a warrant for the arrest of the whistleblowing Colonel Picquart (pictured)

In January 1898, a court martial unanimously cleared Esterhazy of all the charges, and the Minister of War issued a warrant for the arrest of the whistleblowing Colonel Picquart (pictured)

Two months later, in January 1898, a court martial unanimously cleared Esterhazy of all the charges, and the Minister of War issued a warrant for the arrest of the whistleblowing Colonel Picquart.

Again, one can imagine the excellent use that Esterhazy and his lawyers would have been able to make of a statutory Press complaints procedure, set up under Royal Charter and designed to be responsive to public opinion.

They would surely have been able to argue that to print further allegations against him, now that he had been officially declared innocent by a court of law, would be tantamount to persecution — ‘trial by the Press’ — a witch hunt.

It would have been a brave newspaper editor who would have defied that ruling.

The author Emile Zola famously defied the court martial, and in the newspaper L’Aurore published the truth about the Dreyfus case under the headline: ‘J’Accuse?.?.?!’

He was prosecuted for criminal libel, fined, and sentenced to a year in prison. The managing editor was sentenced to four months and fined 5,000 francs. These were swingeing penalties.

Even so, it is salutary to contemplate the prospect, more than 120 years later, that Britain may soon have much stricter rules which, had they been in force in France at the time of Dreyfus, might have closed L’Aurore altogether.

In truth, a free Press is seldom a pretty sight. The Press in France at the end of the 19th century was awash with xenophobia, anti-Semitism and lurid sexual scandal.

Journalists fought duels with outraged readers. In 1914, the wife of the Minister of Finance, fearing her husband’s adultery was about to be revealed, shot dead the editor of Le Figaro — and was duly acquitted by a jury who thought she had a point. The Press was ugly but it was indubitably free, and unlicensed: that was its glory.

Like roughly 70 per cent of the British public, according to the opinion polls, I too have a deep distaste for the methods of some elements of the tabloids, especially in their treatment of the families of murder victims; I welcome their prosecution under the existing laws.

But I fear such excesses are part of the price of liberty.

In the words of the philosopher, Isaiah Berlin: ‘Everything is what it is: liberty is liberty, not equality or fairness or justice or culture, or human happiness or a quiet conscience.’

The proposal that newspapers should have to register with a regulator or face the prospect of crippling damages in the courts if they are sued, strikes me as fundamentally inimical to liberty. The notion this regulator should meet in private to decide its judgments is troubling.

The idea that any such regulator would somehow operate in a bubble of dispassionate rectitude, unmoved by the fierce and vulgar prejudices of the day, is nonsense.

I fear it is entirely typical that the driving force behind this anti-libertarian proposal should be the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.

In 1965, the playwright Joe Orton wrote: ‘We live in a country which would give the power of arrest to the traffic lights if three women magistrates and a Liberal MP would only suggest it.’ And nothing much has changed since.

In 1899, the French government was finally shamed into granting Dreyfus a pardon, but he had to wait until 1906 to be fully cleared. For 12 years the politicians and the judges failed him repeatedly.

The lesson of the Dreyfus affair is that liberty depends on free newspapers, and those newspapers are most vitally needed precisely when they are most awkwardly, stubbornly and disgracefully opposed to the prevailing consensus.

If the French Press had been regulated in the 19th century in the way we propose to regulate ours in the 21st, I have a horrible suspicion Dreyfus would have died on Devil’s Island.



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 October, 2013

It's a vigorous, voracious press that keeps our country honest

Regulating the media would undermine its ferocious ability to highlight wrongdoing, writes Boris Johnson

Good for Fraser Nelson. It strikes me that he is 100 per cent right. The editor of The Spectator has announced that his ancient and illustrious publication will have nothing whatever to do with any new system of press regulation. He will neither bow nor truckle to any kind of control. He will not “sign up”. He will politely tell the new bossyboots institution to mind its own beeswax, and he will continue to publish without fear or favour.

I think the whole of the media should do the same. Stuff all this malarkey about the Privy Council and a Royal Charter. Who are the Privy Council, for goodness’ sake? They are just a bunch of politicians, a glorified version of the government of the day. We are on the verge of eroding the freedom of the press. We are undermining the work of everyone from John Milton to John Wilkes – men who fought for the right to say and publish things of which politicians disapproved.

Why are we embarking on this monstrous folly? Because of a string of essentially political embarrassments that led to the Leveson Inquiry – and at the beginning of it all was the expenses scandal, and the sense among MPs that they had been brutally treated by the press.

It is true: they were mercilessly kicked for what they thought was a venial sin – padding out their pay with expenses claims that did not stand up well to scrutiny. But then it should have occurred to Parliament – collectively – that they were not being entirely frank with the public about the way the system worked. They were allowing the world to think their salaries were relatively modest, when in fact they had found ways of inflating them – and some of those ways were innocent, some were baroque, and some were criminal.

Yes, it is true that many good and honourable people (and their spouses) were made to feel like lepers. But you could not seriously argue that the story should have been suppressed, or that the actions of the media were in any way improper, or invited some new legislative curb. That was the political context in which Leveson was called into being, with MPs seething for revenge. It was the hacking cases that gave them their pretext, the deep public revulsion against what appeared to have been done in the case of Milly Dowler by the News of the World – and the sensational potential implications for the No 10 spokesman, Andy Coulson, a former editor of that paper.

A public inquiry became inevitable, and before that inquiry there trooped a succession of famous people who felt that the media had been not so much wrong as plain beastly; just horrid in the way they behaved, the kinds of questions they asked, the appalling things they wrote. By the end of the whole fandango – and it was a long time coming – it was obvious that we would have some kind of attempt at regulation; and it was also obvious that any such regulation was a nonsense.

We already have abundant law against obscenity, or breach of official secrets. We have laws against libel and defamation, against bugging, hacking, theft, bribery of public officials. We have a growing tort of breach of privacy. We have no need of some new body backed by statute, or the Privy Council, and it is wrong in principle. You either have a free press or you don’t. You can’t sell the pass, and admit the principle of regulation – because it is in the nature of regulation that it swells and grows. You can’t be a little bit pregnant.

Every day I see signs of investor confidence in London – and why do international companies and individuals want to put their money in the British capital? It is not just because of our bikes and our beautiful new buses. It is because of the rule of law, the absolute certainty over title, the virtual absence of corruption. They know that the British system is as transparent and honest as any on earth, and I am afraid that is not just because of the natural purity of the British soul: it is because we have a vigorous, voracious and sometimes venomous media. And that is why the ruling classes don’t dare bend the rules, in the way they do in other countries; because no one wants to be dangled before that great media beast and look into its bloodshot yellow eyes and feel the hot carnivorous breath of its displeasure.

I am afraid it is inevitable that a vigorous media will cause occasional heartache, and dish out the odd uncalled-for insult. It strikes me that Ed Miliband was well within his rights to stick up for his father, for instance. But you can’t regulate the press just because they are insulting, or subversive, or find stories in tainted sources. We need someone to tell us that we are all being spied on by the American security services – that strikes me as being an invaluable bit of news, if hardly surprising. And if papers are genuinely at risk of compromising our national security by their revelations, then we have the D-notice system – to which all editors subscribe – to keep them in order.

The last and most powerful point against any new regulation of papers is that it is so completely pointless. We live in a world in which vast quantities of news can be instantly disseminated across the internet, and by companies way beyond any conceivable reach of parliament or government.

So I hope the press will tell the Privy Council to stick it in the privy; and if you are bothered by those nasty people from the media, and they won’t go away, and they continue to sit outside your house asking questions to which you have already told them the answer, may I recommend that you do as my children and I once did years ago. We imitated Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, and we stuffed bananas secretly up the reporter’s tailpipe, and I remember us laughing helplessly at her air of puzzlement as she kaboing-ed up the road. Far better than regulation.


Culture's Casualties

It's the 40th anniversary of Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying," which some have described as a breakthrough book for women and for modern feminism.

Reduced to its common (and I do mean common) denominator, the book, which was written in the appropriately named "Me" Decade of the '70s, encourages women to behave like promiscuous men, having meaningless sex without fear of consequences. "Fear of Flying" gleefully encourages women to engage in the so-called "ZF." Don't know what that means? Look it up.

Henry Higgins' question, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" has been asked and answered. She can. She is. And it's not a good thing. Some ask, "If the Playboy philosophy was good enough for some men, freeing them from a marital commitment in order to have sex, why not the same for some women?" No reason, says "Fear of Flying." What's good for the goose, right? Everybody into the pool!

Except that it wasn't "good" for men or for women. The fallout from the culture bombs dropped on America, beginning in the freewheeling '60s, continues to infect the younger generation today. Their role models are not parents, or even sports figures, but rather young twits like Miley Cyrus. Even she is nothing new. Cyrus is just the latest desperate exhibitionist in a long list of desperate exhibitionists who'll do anything and everything, usually while nearly naked, to get noticed and talked about.

What was once considered deviant behavior is now accepted and appears to go unchallenged for fear of a lawsuit or public condemnation. Out-of-wedlock births, the glorification of thug life, the cloying, sycophantic fascination with pseudo celebrity, the tacit acceptance of recreational drug use, it's all there on the downward slope to depravity. Cole Porter wrote, "In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking. Now, heaven knows, anything goes!" He was ahead of his time.

The main character in "Fear of Flying" is 29-year-old Isadora Wing, who says, "The (ZF) is absolutely pure. It is free of ulterior motives. There is no power game. The man is not 'taking' and the woman is not 'giving.' ... The (ZF) is the purest thing there is."

She's talking about "quickies," a fast sexual encounter for pleasure with no expectation of a call in the morning. No commitment. No conversation. The ZF.

In a worshipful Washington Post article on Jong's book, writer Neely Tucker quotes Shelley Fisher Fishkin, professor of English and director of the American studies program at Stanford University: "It wasn't unusual to have sex talk in a book. It was unusual to have it in a woman's head, in a woman's point of view." Is this the equality women fought so hard for, for the right to degrade oneself on an equal level with unrestrained cads?

Such celebrations of promiscuity rarely examine the consequences of the behavior they promote. One can view the repercussions of doing what pleases nearly every day on "Dr. Phil" where women, especially, are seen suffering from abandonment, abuse and the drugs and alcohol they often turn to, in the false hope it will ease their pain. Many of their children are also addicted to one substance or another and hate one or both of their parents for damaging their lives. Is this who we want to be as a society?

While Washington is consumed about the debt ceiling, America should be concerned about its smelly "sewer ceiling," which is constantly raised with very little resistance.

TV writers put words in the mouths of female characters that would have shocked my grandmother. Modesty is a museum piece. There seem to be fewer men of honor everywhere. When we promote sleaze, we get more sleaze. When we talk ourselves into believing that impropriety is respectable, we corrupt ourselves.

Ancient wisdom from the Prophet Isaiah serves as a warning about the consequences of ignoring what once was called objective truth: "What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter." (Isaiah 5:20 New Living Translation)

Sorrow indeed.


When capitalism’s done properly it’s wildly popular in Britain

The Royal Mail sell-off, welfare reform, even spending cuts have all met with voters’ approval

It will now be clear to David Cameron that he lacks a convincing answer to Labour’s new energy policy. Ed Miliband is promising something solid: to freeze the energy bills for 27 million households. In response, the Prime Minister offers something woolly: he’d make the energy market work properly, even though he has failed to do that in the past three years. In Parliament this week, he was making weak jokes about Marx, but he had no better offer than the Labour leader’s. The socialist devil, in this case, seems to have the best tunes.

But yesterday, a different kind of tune was being whistled around Britain: an ode to privatisation. The sell-off of the Royal Mail has been an extraordinary success, with some 700,000 of us applying for shares. The Royal Mail’s staff do not seem to share the revulsion expressed by trade unions: just 0.24 per cent of them opted out of the share deal. State control is being replaced by mass ownership, and a company that has been in and out of losses for years will now become a new FTSE100 giant. It is a remarkable achievement.

It’s not the only thing that is going badly right for the Government. A poll this week shows that Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms are backed even by Labour voters by a margin of two-to-one. His opposite number, Liam Byrne, was sacked by Miliband on Monday after having failed to persuade anyone that a welfare cap is a bad idea. When Tony Blair tried some tentative welfare reforms he gave up after protesters chained themselves to the gates of Parliament. This was with a landslide majority. A Tory Welfare Secretary has gone far further, constrained by coalition. And he has been cheered to the rafters.

But perhaps most striking of all is an opinion poll commissioned by the BBC asking people how they’ve found public services since the crash. A list was provided: schools, GP clinics, bus services, street lighting, rubbish collection, parks, libraries. And in each of these categories more people thought things had got better than grown worse. I’m told this rather wrong-footed the BBC, which had originally planned to give far more coverage to the poll. As things turn out, there is no Armageddon induced by cruel cuts. The story is one of quiet progress on public services, with radicalism on schools and welfare. All of it is popular.

If this surprised Labour, it seems to have flabbergasted David Cameron. He said he thought he had “died and gone to heaven” upon reading the result of the BBC poll – but he ought not to be surprised. Given that Labour’s cash splurge did not wildly improve public services, modest Tory cuts were never going to cause much damage. Over 13 years, Labour tested to destruction the idea that state spending helps. Now Cameron is proving that cuts can coincide with improvement. As he told MPs on Wednesday, the idea that cuts would bring calamity is “one of the many pillars of Labour’s policy that has collapsed today”.

It had actually collapsed several years ago; the difference is that the Tory leadership is only noticing now. In the middle of the last decade, a political car crash left all three parties mangled together, with policies strewn everywhere. Tories were relaxed about the state spending that was to go on to bankrupt the country, and applauded the green taxes that have made energy so painfully expensive. Now, things are far clearer. Ed Miliband is midway through an ideological purge and anyone suspected of Blairite sympathies has been cleared out or demoted. His Leftwards lurch gives the Tories an opportunity to spring-clean their own intellectual inventory. The compromises with a failed Labour agenda can be identified and discarded. Lessons can be drawn from three years in power. In almost every Government department, radicalism has paid off and hesitancy has not.

This has several implications, especially for George Osborne as he prepares for a mini-budget. For the first time, the Chancellor will have good news to impart: tax receipts are coming in twice as fast as expected, factory orders are at their highest for 20 years and more people are working than ever before. So why not use the extra money to cut taxes – and, in so doing, spur the recovery and help the cost of living? In the past, Osborne has felt himself hostage to the Labour thinking: that tax cuts would somehow promote instability rather than recovery. But that was the old theory. The actual trajectory of the recovery, in Britain and abroad, suggests differently.

Ironically, it is Barack Obama who is proving that cuts need not harm the economy. US government spending has been falling at a rate not seen since the end of the Korean war. Rather than crash, the American economy is recovering fast and its deficit is – remarkably – under control. In Sweden, the conservative-led coalition has just issued a fifth round of tax cuts. Its response to the crash was a permanent tax cut for the low-paid, which boosted employment so much that the policy paid for itself. Hard economic experience suggests that Osborne need not be so wary of greater savings, or tax cuts. They may not work in Keynesian theory, but they do seem to work in practice.

In theory, people should be outraged at cutting benefits for some of the poorest people in the country. In practice, it’s the most popular reform the Government has carried out because even Labour voters know it’s the only way to end the poverty trap. In theory, selling the Royal Mail would be hugely controversial, a privatisation which even the Thatcher government did not attempt. In practice, Britain is a country that prefers shopping to politics and regards the post as a service, like any other. If the parcels arrive on time, we’re happy.

Last night, it was decided that those who applied for more than £10,000 of Royal Mail shares will get nothing, and all those who applied for £750 will be fully satisfied. A brilliant idea, which embodies popular capitalism – an offer aimed for the many, not just a handful of merchant banks. Protests about Royal Mail’s sell-off are now almost inaudible – a reminder that the British public is moving to the Right, just at the time when Miliband is moving Labour to the Left.

Cameron’s next step should be to look at the green taxes which are so unfairly woven into our bills, which cost the average household £112 a year. Energy companies with fewer than 250,000 customers are already exempted from such taxes, and I gather ministers are considering doubling this to 500,000 to encourage greater competition. “The remedy to the big six is making them a small six,” says one minister. Or Cameron could scrap the taxes entirely. Miliband may freeze your bills, he could say, but they’ll rise later. Tories will cut them, by cutting green taxes, and keep them down.

One Marx quotation does spring to mind when considering Miliband’s energy policy. In the 1933 political satire Duck Soup, Groucho’s character is made president and promises to address the cost of living. “If you think you’re paying too much now,” he says, “just wait till I get through.” This line comes to mind when considering Ed Miliband’s energy proposals.

In the same film, Chico Marx has a line that Mr Cameron ought to consider: “Who are you going to believe – me, or your own eyes?” The Prime Minister’s eyes should tell him that cuts have none of the consequences Labour predicted, that capitalism, done properly, is wildly popular – and that radical conservatism, where applied, works best of all.


Supreme Court: Affirmative Action on Trial

The United States Supreme Court will consider next Tuesday whether or not Michigan violated the Equal Protection Clause by banning affirmative action in public university admissions.

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action dates back to November 2006 when:

“fifty-eight percent of Michigan’s voters adopted a proposal that amended Michigan’s constitution to prohibit discrimination, or the granting of preferential treatment, in public education, government contracting, and public employment based on race, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.”

In 2011, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative claiming it restructured the political process along racial lines and classified individuals on the basis of race.

The proposal to ban race consideration would hinder minorities, an affirmative action coalition wrote, because these groups would no longer be permitted to:

“ask the universities to consider the cultural biases in the standardized tests that allow the poorest white students to score higher on those tests than the most privileged minority students….minorities may not fight for their children’s future, and the universities must pretend that race and racism do not exist.”

Despite claims that the law discriminates against minorities, University of San Diego law professor Gail Heriot said Thursday the initiative requires equality:

“It’s discriminatory in the sense that a racial group can’t petition for preferential treatment”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Wednesday he believes the Justices will respect the the decision of Michigan voters and uphold the state amendment:

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”



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 October, 2013

Backflip! British Labour party now claims it will crack down on Britain's giant welfare bill

Labour will be tougher than the Tories on the long-term unemployed in a bid to slash Britain's giant welfare bill, the new shadow work and pensions secretary has said.

Rachel Reeves, who replaced Liam Byrne last week following Ed Miliband's frontbench reshuffle, said under a Labour government those who have been out of work for long periods of time would have to take a guaranteed job offer or face losing their benefits.

The guaranteed job scheme proposed by Labour would offer under-25s work if they have been unemployed for one year. Over-25s would have to take a job after two years of unemployment.

The scheme would be paid for by reintroducing a tax on bankers' bonuses.

The former Bank of England economist claims the scheme would take 230,000 people off benefits.

In her new role, the 34-year-old also said she has three main priorities - to show people Labour is on the side of the 'ordinary people'; to force work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith to admit his introduction of a new benefit system was a failure and to promote a new Labour vision of 'responsibility, decency and fairness'.

According to Miss Reeves, the government is spending £9billion more now on social security yet more people are unemployed, on housing benefit and 4.8million are being paid less than the living wage.

She told The Observer: 'If you can work you should be working and under our compulsory jobs guarantee if you refuse that job you forgo your benefits.

'We have got some really good great policies - particularly around the jobs guarantee and cancelling the bedroom tax - that show we are tough and will not allow people to linger on the benefits, but also that we are fair.'

Last week all three party leaders wielded the axe as they fired key figures from their frontbench to promote the team that will take them into the general election.

Ed Miliband lurched to the left, demoting Blairites including Jim Murphy and Liam Byrne but kept Andy Burnham as shadow health secretary.


Pressure mounts to ease ban on hunting to hounds

A full pack of hounds would be allowed to help kill foxes in England and Wales under a relaxation of the Hunting Act being considered by ministers

Under the proposals the law banning farmers from using more than two dogs to flush out foxes and shoot them would be scrapped allowing them to use a full pack.

The move, which is backed by a cross-party alliance of MPs, would be the first change to one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in modern times.

It is certain to reopen the furious debate between supporters of fox hunting and its opponents, who are bound to see any relaxation of the rules as reintroducing hunting “by the back door”.

Farmers say attacks on lambs have been on the increase, signalling that limited pest control measures allowed under the Act are not working. Hill farmers, who suffered devastating losses last spring as a result of the late snow, say a change in the law is desperately needed to fend off a growing threat to their livelihood.

Rules already in place allow farmers to flush foxes out of their dens and shoot them in order to protect flocks but it is a criminal offence to use more than two dogs.

However MPs from the Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Plaid Cymru parties, are joining farmers groups in pressing the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to scrap the limit.

The change, which is likely to require a vote in Parliament but not a fresh bill, would bring the law in England and Wales into line with that in Scotland.

It comes after a study demonstrated for the first time that deploying a full pack of hounds to flush foxes from cover can be almost twice as effective as using a pair of dogs.

The study also concluded that it could even improve animal welfare, because using a full pack of hounds can draw foxes out of their dens to be shot much more quickly rather than enduring a lengthy pursuit. More effective shooting could also reduce the use of snares, which have been condemned as cruel.

Last night the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs confirmed that it had been receiving evidence of an apparent growing threat to flocks from foxes and would study the research “with interest”.

Although Mr Paterson, a long term supporter of lifting the hunting ban, has made no commitment to the change, a spokeswoman said he was “aware” of the calls from farmers.

The Coalition Agreement between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats contains a commitment to giving MPs a free vote on repealing the Act which was introduced by Tony Blair in 2004 after a gruelling stand-off between Commons and Lords.

But many Conservatives accept that they might not have enough support to secure a repeal and see amending the pest control provision as a way of helping farmers. It could also help firm up Conservative support in rural areas affected by the HS2 rail plans.

But it comes at a time when Defra is already facing anger from animal rights protesters over the badger cull.

Farmers backing the calls said the losses last spring were the “last straw” and a spur for action. In addition to the thousands of newborn lambs which became stranded and froze to death amid the late snow, some farmers lost up to 50 to foxes, which were themselves short of food because of the deep drifts.

The Federation of Welsh Farmers’ Packs – a group representing huntsmen who shoot foxes under the current law – commissioned the study to assess whether lifting the limit on dogs would make a difference.

A team led by Dr Jeremy Naylor, a vet and racehorse trainer, spent four months comparing the effects of pairs of hounds and full pack at 80 sites in Scotland.

David Thomas, the federation’s secretary, said that while many still hoped for a full repeal, the amendment could ease pressure. “We feel that this is something that could be very easily done,” he said.

“It is necessary for sheep farmers, it is not going to cost the Government or the country any money at all, it is just a win-win situation.”

Roger Williams, the Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, said: “This is a debate that must be had. “I hope that they take it seriously … I have received letters from constituents and across Wales about this.”

Glyn Davis, the Tory MP for Montgomeryshire, and himself a former farmer, said: “Whether you are in favour of a ban on hunting or not, if you accept that you can have dogs to flush foxes out, to limit it to two has no logic.”

Kate Hoey, the Labour MP for Vauxhall in London, said: “I think what this deserves is a very sensible and dispassionate look at the research and for some way of being able to allow the extra number of hounds to be used.

“Unless you are someone who does not believe that a fox should ever be killed I cannot understand why in terms of welfare this is not something that could be supported by a broad range of opinion.”

Jonathan Edwards, of Plaid Cymru, said: “I am very much on the left of the political spectrum, I don’t see this as a left-right fight. “We have a duty as politicians to have laws that work. “It seems common sense to me that we would use best practice. “We need a reasonable debate rather than reacting gung-ho.”

Derek Morgan, chairman of the Farmers’ Union of Wales’s hill farming committee, added: “The hunting ban was aimed at what Labour saw as posh people on horses, but the people who have suffered most are working class hill farmers whose incomes are already well below the UK average.

“If Government increased the number of hounds we are allowed to use it would significantly reduce the number of lambs we lose.

“It’s a small step the Government can take to show they really support hill farmers and it would not change the basic principles of the hunting act.”

A spokeswoman for Defra said: “We have been receiving reports on increased predation of lambs by foxes and the burden this has placed on hillfarmers in what has already been a tough year. “We will look at all research into this with interest.”

A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said that while it would continue to campaign for a repeal, it understood the “urgent need for the only effective method of fox control in many upland areas to be reinstated.”

A spokeswoman for the League Against Cruel Sports said: “The Hunting Act is a successful piece of legislation and it works – ultimately we do not want to see it weakened. “If the Farmers’ Union of Wales are supporting this do they not have anything better to do with their time? “This would ultimately be changing the legislation quite considerably.”


France's Le Pen hails victory for anti-immigration party in key by-election

Marine Le Pen has hailed a victory for France’s National Front after it won a bellwether local by-election that the far-Right party believes will help springboard it towards the political mainstream.

National Front party candidate, Laurent Lopez (L), waves to supporters as he arrives with French National Front party deputy Marion Marechal-Le Pen (R) after winning the second round of the local by-election in Brignoles. Marion is the niece of Marine

Laurent Lopez, the clean-cut 48-year-old candidate for the Provence town of Brignoles, scored 54 per cent, beating the conservative UMP’s 46 per cent in the second round run-off.

Miss Le Pen, who took over the leadership from her father, the party’s founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, said it was a “beautiful victory” that showed “when united, the French are invincible”.

“It shows a willingness for change among the French,” she said.

Until last week, Brinoles was best known for its dried prunes. But it sparked national interest when Mr Lopez knocked out left-wing rivals in the first round vote and took twice as many votes as the UMP, the party of Nicolas Sarkozy.

Vincent Peillon, the country's education minister, said the FN victory was "bad news for democracy and for the republic".

The FN, which took 6.4 million votes in last year’s presidential vote, has traditionally been a magnet for protest votes. Miss Le Pen however has tried to ditch the party’s image as a movement of racists and anti-Semites, increasingly reaching out to disgruntled mainstream voters with tough talk on crime and immigration, as well as capitalising on the state of the French economy.

The FN’s triumph comes just days after an opinion poll said one in four voters said they would vote for the party in next May’s European parliament elections, pulling ahead of the two mainstream parties for the first time. Miss Le Pen was also recently placed joint third in a table of politicians the French want to see more of in the future.

The unpopular Socialist government and the deeply divided UMP are alarmed by the rise of the FN, whose next major political test will be municipal elections in March in which Miss Le Pen says she wants the party to build up a strong local base by winning control of hundreds of seats in local councils.


Church beatifies 522 'martyrs' of Spanish Civil War

And the Left is furious. What do a few dead priests matter to them? They cheerfully murder millions when they can

Spain's Catholic Church has beatified 522 "martyrs", mostly clerics killed during the Spanish Civil War, prompting fury from Franco-era victims' groups who say the honour "legitimised" his dictatorship.

The mass kicked off with a pre-recorded video greeting by Pope Francis, rebuffing an umbrella association of groups who said the beatification would be a "political act of pro-Franco affirmation" by the Church.

"I join all the participants in the celebration with all my heart," the pope said to long applause from the thousands attending the beatification mass in the eastern coastal city of Tarragona.

Spanish media described the event as "the biggest ever beatification in the history of the Church".

Historians have estimated that about 500,000 people from both sides were killed in the 1936-1939 war. After Francisco Franco's victory, Nationalist forces executed some 50,000 Republicans. Franco's dictatorship lasted until his death in 1975.

Several thousand priests, monks and nuns were thought to have died at the hands of the Spanish republic's mainly left-wing defenders, among whom anti-Church sentiment was strong.

The Spanish Catholic Church apparently sought to sidestep the controversy by referring to the 522 to be beatified as "martyrs of the 20th century in Spain".

But Pope Francis on Sunday was more explicit, saying at the Vatican that they were "martyrs killed for their faith during the Spanish Civil War."

The umbrella association of dozens of groups supporting Franco-era victims had written to him, saying: "Under the guise of a religious act, the (Catholic) hierarchy is committing a political act of pro-Franco affirmation."

The Platform for a Truth Commission added: "You should know that the Catholic Church backed Franco's military uprising against the Spanish Republic in 1936."

The Church "considered the war 'a crusade' by backing the generals who revolted, (and) legitimised the fascist dictatorship and the fierce repression that it afflicted on the Spanish," said the letter published Friday.

It has "forgotten the victims of Francoist repression", the letter said.

Some more progressive sections of the Spanish Catholic Church, a minority in Spain, also opposed the beatification, saying it would reopen the wounds of the past.

In addition to 515 Spaniards, three French, and a citizen each from Cuba, Colombia, the Philippines and Portugal were among those beatified, which is the last formal step before possible sainthood.

Spain's conservative government was represented at Sunday's beatification mass by the justice and interior ministers, Alberto Ruiz Gallardon and Jorge Fernandez Diaz.

Nearly 4,000 family members or descendants attended the mass at an education complex, along with some 2,700 clerics, according to organisers.

The youngest of the "martyrs", Jose Sanchez Rodriguez, "was killed at age 18 against the wall of a cemetery" in Madrid at dawn on August 18, 1936, along with seven other clerics, by a group of militiamen, according to the Madrid diocese.

The oldest, Sister Aurora Lopez Gonzalez, had fled her convent near Madrid in July 1936 when it was "taken over by revolutionaries". She was executed some five months later aged 86.

The Vatican has regularly beatified Spanish Civil War victims.

In 2007, Francis's predecessor Benedict XVI staged the Vatican's largest previous beatification ceremony, involving 498 victims of religious persecution during the war.



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 October, 2013

British authorities nearly banned new £5 note with Churchill on it in case it upset the Germans...and officials worried about Jane Austen 'private life'

Bank of England bosses thought twice about putting Sir Winston Churchill on the new £5 note – because they didn’t want to upset the Germans.

Officials warned Sir Mervyn King, then Governor of the Bank of England, that Churchill’s wartime record might make him highly controversial, documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday show.

The same officials also insisted on carrying out a background check on Jane Austen, the prim spinster author of Pride And Prejudice who will appear on the £10 note from 2017, to reassure themselves there were ‘no issues in her private life’.

Previously classified documents, obtained under freedom of information laws, shed light on the hitherto secret process of how the Bank of England decides which historic figures are honoured.

In a memo dated April 11, 2012, Sir Mervyn was advised Churchill will be a popular choice because of his ‘broad name recognition’ and the public’s ‘very affectionate view’ of him as a wartime leader. But officials also warned him that ‘the recentness of World War II is a living memory for many here and on the Continent’.

The rest of the comments, which relate to Britain’s relationship with its former wartime enemies, have been redacted from the files. A source at the Bank last night said: ‘Public bodies are obliged to redact any material which might impact on Britain’s international relations with another country, and this is what has happened here.’

Andrew Roberts, Churchill’s biographer, said: ‘The comments redacted would have been about irritating the Germans. I don’t think a German or Japanese tourist would be in the slightest bit put off by the fact there is Churchill on a £5 note and he is the man who flattened Dresden and Hiroshima.

‘They appreciate he’s the greatest Englishman who ever lived so you put him on the currency. It’s surprising this hasn’t happened earlier.’

Officials also warned Sir Mervyn of Churchill’s ‘disastrous’ decision to return Britain to the gold standard in the 1920s. Churchill’s critics at the time claimed the move, with the backing of the Bank of England, produced the mass unemployment, deflation and industrial strife of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Bank staff who conducted ‘considerable research’ into Churchill’s role in the debacle noted: ‘If academics do pick up on the move to the gold standard it is likely they will refer to the role of the Bank and Churchill’s own criticism of the Bank.’

Austen was considered in 1984 but ruled out because there was ‘a lack of suitable art work’. The fact no new art work has come to light since will lead to concerns she was ruled out because she was a woman. Officials also said ‘name recognition’ for the novelist – whose works are often GCSE set texts – had increased significantly thanks to film and television adaptations.

The papers note the writer’s ‘high-brow, middle-brow and mass appeal’; and confirm ‘they have found no issues in her private life’.

The interest in Austen’s private life may strike some as odd given fellow writer Charles Dickens, who appeared on the £10 note from 1992 to 2003, had at least one mistress.

Maureen Stiller, of the Jane Austen Society, said: ‘I love the fact they went to the trouble of checking her private life. But there is absolutely no controversy there.’

Churchill will appear on the £5 note from 2016. A Bank spokesman said: ‘We have taken great care to ensure men and women chosen are admired by the British public.’


'Sweden's integration debate skewed by political correctness'

The fear of being labelled "politically incorrect" keeps Sweden's main political parties from engaging in an honest debate about integration, and plays into the hands of the far-right (anti-immigration "Sweden Democrats"), argues contributor Ruben Brunsveld.

On August 19th, local politician and human rights activist Robert Hannah came out of the closet in dramatic fashion by publishing an article in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper with the headline "From now on I will be myself".

The article made waves as it was not only a personal story about his decision to come out as a homosexual, but also a public denouncement of the honour culture still prevalent in some parts of the Assyrian immigrant culture in which he was raised.

Since then, the waves have become stronger as both support for and the attacks on Hannah have grown in intensity. His article exposed Sweden's sensitive nerve of political correctness for what it really is: a self-imposed strait jacket.

Since he went public and shared his experiences as a gay man living under the moral oppression of the Assyrian honour culture, it seems the strongest criticism he has faced has come from within the ranks of Sweden's left-wing progressives. He has been accused of feeding xenophobia, abusing rhetorical techniques to "win a debate" and of using his own personal experiences as scientifically unsound evidence for making generic statements about immigrants. In short he has been accused of playing straight into the hands of the extreme right.

Ironically enough, this almost Pavlovian reaction by the politically correct establishment is reminiscent of a mantra employed by former US President George W. Bush which later became known as the Bush Doctrine: you're either with us or against us.

It denies the reality that the world of immigration and integration is not black and white but one with at least 50 shades of grey. Worse than that, it prevents an open and honest debate about the challenges of integration. These challenges are not only about honour violence, women's rights, and individual freedoms. They also include language training, housing, and social integration, just to name a few. And the solution cannot be one; they must be many, taking into account the vast array of talents, skills, and backgrounds of immigrants of all different kinds.

Sweden is rightfully proud to see itself as a role model in the EU when it comes to immigration and asylum policies, as proven by its recent decision to grant permanent residency to all Syrian asylum seekers. But if Sweden wants to avoid falling into the Dutch-Danish trap of a political backlash by the extreme right, the country's pundits, papers, and politicians must shed their blanket of political correctness and acknowledge that a high number of non-western immigrants also brings with it the increased potential for cultural clashes.

It is not Hannah who plays into the hands of the far-right, it is the fear among the main political parties of being labelled "politically incorrect".

Integration and immigration will be one of the main political issues in the coming decades. Yet in Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven's "vision article" published recently in DN, it was painfully absent.

Meanwhile, the government of Prime Minister Reinfeldt seems more focused on the macro-economy, giving the impression that the leadership of the Moderate Party considers "growth" a goal in itself instead of an instrument to achieve well-being.

By consciously avoiding the topic of "immigration and integration", the main political parties are directly guilty of contributing to feelings of socio-economic insecurity amongst a part of the electorate. If they want to know why the far-right and anti-immigration Sweden Democrats reached an all-time high of 12 percent in a recent opinion poll, they don't need to hire a consultant, they need to look in the mirror.

The main political parties' failure to come up with a comprehensive integration agenda that addresses not only the need for immigration but also the challenges that come with it gives those who are unhappy in the current socio-economic climate only one alternative.

Hannah's courageous article has opened the door for an honest debate on integration. Let's hope that in this upcoming year of elections (European Parliament in May, Sweden's Riksdag in September) Sweden's political leaders have the courage to follow him through it.


Large scale of European immigration to Britain

More than 600,000 unemployed European Union migrants are living in Britain at a cost of £1.5 billion to the NHS alone, according to an EU report.

The authoritative study, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, shows the number of jobless European migrants coming to Britain has risen dramatically in the past five years, intensifying demands for the Government to renegotiate EU membership.

Opponents of the EU seized on the figures to suggest Britain could not afford to allow European migrants to come here at will while continuing to provide a universal benefits system.

The 291-page report, to be published this week by the European commissioner in charge of employment and welfare, discloses:

* The number of “non-active” EU migrants in Britain has risen by 42 per cent between 2006 and 2012;

* 611,779 “non-active” EU migrants were living in Britain last year, up from 431,687 just six years ago. The total is equivalent to the population of Glasgow;

* The number of EU migrants coming to Britain without a job increased by 73 per cent in the three years to 2011;

* The current annual cost to the NHS of “non-active” EU migrants is estimated at £1.5?billion (€1.8 billion);

* In contrast, the estimated cost to France’s health system of “non-active” EU migrants is a fraction of that to the NHS, at just £3.4 million.

The report was written for Brussels and ordered by Laszlo Andor, the socialist commissioner in charge of employment and social inclusion.

The Sunday Telegraph can disclose that he is to bring a court case to make it easier for European migrants to claim benefits in Britain.

He will challenge a scheme that makes certain benefits available only to migrants from the EU who are “economically active” and is intended to make Britain less attractive to so-called benefit tourists.

But the EU-sponsored legal case would overturn this scheme, a move the Department for Work and Pensions said would make Britain more attractive to people wanting to live off the state.

Meanwhile, a court case last week detailed how a gang of Czech benefit fraudsters stood to make £1 million in bogus claims for child tax credits and child benefit, emphasising that benefit tourism can also include fraud on a vast scale.

Eurosceptic MPs said last night that the study and court case showed that Britain had to tighten up its borders and introduce stronger controls on welfare handouts.

The Government currently has no idea how much of Britain’s welfare budget, including unemployment benefits, is given to EU citizens because a claimant’s nationality is not recorded in the system.

Douglas Carswell, the Conservative backbench Euro-sceptic MP, said yesterday: “It is extraordinary how the European project has debased and debauched the original, noble idea of the welfare state. “These figures show that the wave of benefit migrants has become a tsunami of economic refugees fleeing the eurozone crisis to try to find jobs here. “We cannot both continue the free-at-the-point-of-use welfare state and benefits system and allow Europeans to flee the eurozone and come here. “It is decision time. I would rather we quit Europe and had our own system of social protection.”

The details of the report are the first concrete assessment of the impact of mass migration on Britain and other countries from predominantly eastern European countries including Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The report studied the numbers of unemployed EU citizens coming to Britain looking for work, showing that the number coming without jobs has risen by 73 per cent in three years.

The report suggests that: “Between 2006 and 2012 there has been a steady increase of 42 per cent in the number of non-active EU migrants in the UK. While between 2005 and 2006 the growth of non-active EU migrants in the UK stagnated, since 2006 it has been steadily rising.

“A particularly high increase can be noticed between 2009 and 2011. The number of job-seeking EU migrants increased by 73 per cent between 2008 and 2011, while the total EU migrant population (active and non-active) increased by only 28 per cent.”

The report also shows the extraordinary burden on the NHS, concluding it is equivalent to more than one per cent of the total NHS budget of £1.5 billion. The NHS is under financial pressure because although it is excluded from government austerity measures, demands on it are outstripping the growth in its budget.

Only Italy, of the major countries, came close to such a burden on its health care system, with a bill of £620 million, the report finds.

Open Europe, the think tank, said evidence from the study — described as a fact-finding analysis — suggested Britain was counting the cost of an EU migrant boom. The rise suggests that many EU citizens have been coming to Britain as a result of economic difficulties, especially in eastern Europe and Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Portugal.

Although the report details the cost to the Government in stark terms, it comes with a conclusion that there is “little evidence” that EU citizens came to Britain to collect state benefits – and the practice known as “benefit tourism” was largely a myth.

The study states “the vast majority of migrants move to find (or take up) employment”. The report concludes that “the budgetary impact” of claims by “non-active” EU migrants “on national welfare budgets is very low” and adds: “The same is true for costs associated with the take-up of health care by this group.”

Open Europe said the report was misleading — “possibly wilfully” — in its conclusions and in apparently ignoring the evidence its authors had gathered.

Mr Andor, who commissioned the report, is to use the conclusions that migration is mostly for work as part of a landmark European Court case he is bringing against the Government. Mr Andor has accused Britain of discriminating against EU citizens by restricting their ability to claim state benefits through a “right to reside” test introduced in 2004 to stem the flow of claimants from the new Eastern European member states. The test does not apply to UK citizens.

Mr Andor plans to lodge a legal action with the European Court of Justice. If successful, it would outlaw the “right to reside” test. This would open Britain’s benefits system to tens of thousands of extra EU citizens at an estimated cost of £150 million — although the figure could be far higher. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has suggested the figure might be as high as £2 billion.

Experts point out that while most EU migrants may move between countries to look for jobs the British system makes it easier than most other countries’ to claim benefits. This is because British benefits are based on means-testing rather than on the recipient having made previous national insurance contributions.

European law says all EU citizens in a member country must have the same rights, so it is illegal to stop migrants from the rest of the EU claiming the same as British citizens. Similarly, NHS facilities are not dependent on paying any form of health insurance, as they are free at the point of access.

Conversely, the law means British people who move to countries such as France which only pay benefits to people who have contributed in the past cannot receive benefits and are likely to face severe restrictions on health care.

Stephen Booth, research director at Open Europe, said: “The European Commission is, wilfully or otherwise, presenting this whole issue misleadingly. It is the European Commission that is attempting to move the goalposts by taking the UK to court over the existing safeguards that ensure the UK’s welfare system is not abused. “If the commission gets its way, the UK’s rules for gaining access to benefits will be relaxed substantially.”

The Department for Work and Pensions said last night it would resist attempts by the EU to weaken its “right to reside” tests. A spokesman said a new, streamlined universal benefits system would make it more difficult to abuse.

The spokesman said: “We have strict rules in place to protect the integrity of the British benefits system and make sure it is not abused. “We are also going further by strengthening the habitual residence test and time-limiting how long some migrants can claim benefits.”

The commission has accused the Government of failing to provide proof of the extent — or even existence — of “benefits tourism”.
A submission to the report’s authors by the Government said it did not keep statistics on the nationalities of benefits claimants.


IRS/White House Collusion in the War on Religion

It is outrageous enough that the IRS and The White House were working in tandem so that the IRS shared confidential taxpayer information with the president and/or his aides. What makes the law-breaking doubly contemptible is that the information was shared in the context of a lawsuit against the despicable, unconstitutional ObamaCare abortifacient/contraceptive mandate:

[Top ObamaCare official Sarah Hall] Ingram attempted to counsel the White House on a lawsuit from religious organizations opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate. Email exchanges involving Ingram and White House officials — including White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz and deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew — contained confidential taxpayer information, according to Oversight.

This news is significant, as more incontrovertible evidence that there was collusion between the IRS and The White House -- in this context, designed to help President Obama and his administration combat the furor elicited by the mandate.

What's more, note that the confidential taxpayer information came in the context of the lawsuit from religious organizations. It seems the administration was trying to get the upper hand in the litigation involving them. And that the confidential information was, presumably, that of such (a) group(s) just highlights the Obama administration's adversarial stance toward religion, especially Catholicism. Look at the other evidence of administration indifference (or worse) to faith:

Preventing a priest from conducting Mass voluntarily;

Analogizing religious education to segregation;

Allowing Plan B to be offered over-the-counter to girls of all ages;

The President's offensive behavior at Georgetown;

The President's penchant for leaving the "Creator" out of the Declaration of Independence;

The administration's threat to court-martial Christians in the military who discuss their faith.



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 October, 2013

Multiculturalism getting very strong in Britain

Drug dealers inspired by gangster movies kept student slave and repeatedly tortured him with hot iron, blowtorch and boiling water

Two drug dealers who were obsessed with watching gangster movies have been jailed for a combined total of 33 years after they enslaved a graphic design student and repeatedly and ruthlessly tortured him to force him to carry out tasks for them.

Roy Sawyers and Carlos Wilmot, both 23, poured boiling water on to Nathaniel Smith’s body and groin, scalded him with a hot iron and used a blowtorch on his neck during a series of attacks on the 21-year-old student who played the piano for his church.

The defendants were obsessed by gangster films and were inspired by the violence used in them, according to police.

Wilmot and Sawyers, originally from London, pleaded guilty to a series of offences including false imprisonment and causing grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm as well as supplying class A and B drugs.

They also attacked a second student, Sean McGrath, who they also bullied into working for them.

Judge Ian Pearson sentenced Wilmot at Portsmouth Crown Court to 16 years’ imprisonment with an extended period of four years because he deemed him a dangerous offender at risk of re-offending.
Sawyers was jailed for 13 years.

Sentencing them, Judge Pearson said: 'You exploited and bullied two relatively young, inoffensive, timid students. 'That bullying and intimidation continued with a course of conduct that can only be described as torture.' He continued: 'This was a gratuitous degradation, there is absolutely no reason for you to continue assaulting him in the way you did.'

Rob Welling, prosecuting, said that Mr Smith was a 'family man' who had come from London to study at the University of Portsmouth when he became coerced into acting for Wilmot as well as Sawyers, who was studying for a human resources degree at the time of the attacks.

Mr Welling described how Wilmot had moved into Mr Smith’s room in a university hall of residence and refused to leave unless he did his bidding and act as a drugs runner for the two defendants.

He added that if Mr Smith did anything to displease the two men then he would be 'ruthlessly' attacked. He said: 'Nathaniel Smith had effectively become enslaved by both Mr Sawyers and Mr Wilmot, drawn into dealing their class A drugs for them. 'He was beaten ruthlessly for any perceived slights on his behalf to them.'

Mr Welling said that on one occasion Mr Smith was choked with a belt until he blacked out and was regularly whipped with industrial wires which the defendants described as their 'everyday weapon'.

On another occasion, Mr Smith was hit on the shins with golf clubs until they broke and he also had his jaw broken and his eyelid torn when he was kicked and had his head stamped on.

The defendants also prevented Mr Smith from returning to his family for his birthday as part of their bid to control him 'socially and financially', according to Mr Welling.

Mr Smith was most savagely attacked on July 4, 2012, when he failed to beat up another man, Mr McGrath, at the request of the defendants. The court heard that the defendants stripped Mr Smith, poured boiling hot water on his groin before putting an iron to his arm at which point Mr Smith passed out.

He was found half-naked in the front garden of a neighbouring house in such a bad state that the woman who found him thought that he had had petrol poured on him and set alight.

Mr Smith was taken to a specialist burns unit at Salisbury District Hospital.

Mr Welling said that Mr Smith suffered post traumatic amnesia after the final incident and lost his memory of an entire week.

He added: 'This has had a continuing and and lasting effect on Nathaniel Smith. 'He still has a number of physical scars, he feels self-conscious about having his hair short because of the scars on the back. 'He still has issues with memory, still lacks confidence, he is too scared to go out socially.'

He added that Mr Smith was now restarting his degree at a university closer to his London home.


Newspapers warn of deep reservations over Press regulation deal

Plans to regulate the Press are a political stitch-up that is neither ‘voluntary nor independent’, critics warned last night.

The three main parties finally agreed the detail of a royal charter setting up a system of newspaper regulation in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry.

But the newspaper industry last night warned there were major problems with the deal – holding out the prospect that papers may boycott the deal and press ahead with plans to set up their own regulator.

In a statement, the industry steering group, representing national, regional and local newspapers, made clear that while it would consider the proposals it had deep reservations.

‘This remains a charter written by politicians, imposed by politicians and controlled by politicians,’ it said. ‘It has not been approved by any of the newspapers or magazines it seeks to regulate.

'Meanwhile the industry’s charter was rejected by eight politicians, meeting in secret, and chaired by the same politician who is promoting the politicians’ charter.

‘Lord Justice Leveson called for “voluntary, independent self-regulation” of the Press.

'It is impossible to see how a regulator operating under rules imposed by politicians and enforced by draconian and discriminatory provisions for damages and costs in civil cases, could be said to be either voluntary or independent.’

Culture Secretary Maria Miller insisted she had worked hard to wring concessions from Labour and the Lib Dems.

The changes include provision for a fee for use of a new arbitration service, intended to deter speculative claims, with the option for regional and local newspapers to opt out altogether in some circumstances.

They also agreed that serving editors can be involved in drawing up a code of conduct for the Press, to be approved by the independent regulator. But the views of editors will not be ‘decisive’.

The deal was struck at talks between Mrs Miller, Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman and Lib Dem peer Lord Wallace of Tankerness and will now go forward to the Privy Council for final agreement on October 30.

Mrs Miller said: ‘We have made really important changes which I think will make this charter work much better, safeguarding the freedom of the Press and also importantly helping safeguard the future of our local Press which so many of us value so much. We want to make sure that this works for the long-term.’

Chris Blackhurst, content director of The Independent, said there were concerns within the industry that it did not provide sufficient protection against future interference by politicians.

Hacked Off, which has campaigned for tighter regulation, said that with the latest concessions there was no longer a reason for newspapers not to sign up.


For generations, radical Leftists fought for press freedom. Why have they abandoned it now?

By Brendan O'Neill

If you get into an argument about press regulation this week, as the Privy Council unilaterally decides on the fate of the British press, I guarantee you this: it will be the Lefties among your acquaintances who will most vociferously champion state intrusion into the press, while the voices criticising such intrusion are far more likely to come from your Right-leaning mates.

It’s been like this since the Leveson Inquiry was first set up in 2011. The Left not only cheered this modern-day Star Chamber stuffed with the great and the good dictating to the press what its “culture and ethics” should be; they actually worked for it and on it. In his role as Hacked Off’s chief propagandist, Brian Cathcart, former New Statesman man, pretty much ghost-wrote Leveson’s 2,000-page screed against the wicked press. Lib Dem MP turned roving campaigner for censorship Evan Harris is another Leftie begging the state to rap the red-tops’ knuckles. Shami Chakrabarti, heroine of every Leftie with a conscience, actually sat on Leveson’s press-judging panel. The Guardian is, like a turkey marching for more Christmases, in favour of state meddling in the press. Radical Leftists, meanwhile, clog up Twitter with shrill demands that evil Uncle Rupert and his foul newspapers be taken down a peg or two by state officials.

Why are Leftists so spectacularly hostile to the principle of press freedom, which, very simply put, means having no state interference in the press? It wasn’t always like this. The radical folk that the modern Left claims to be descended from – from the Levellers to Karl Marx to the intellectual Leftists of the 20th century – were so in favour of press freedom that they were willing to sacrifice their lives for it.

The Levellers, the most radical political movement of the English Civil War, who demanded greater suffrage and religious tolerance, were implacably opposed to state licensing of the press. Only full press freedom would allow ordinary people to exercise their sovereign power against “Tyrannie”, these brilliant rabble-rousers declared. They argued that liberty of the press is “so essential unto freedom, as that without it, it’s impossible to preserve any nation from being liable to the worst of bondage”. Those words should ring in the ears of every Leftist currently giving an enthusiastic nod to the medieval Privy Council’s deliberations on the press’s freedoms.

Later, Thomas Paine, my personal hero, the corset-maker turned revolutionary pamphleteer who did so much to stir up the tradition-trampling revolutions in both America and France in the late 18th century, also argued for complete press freedom. He said state interference in the press was always more a “sentence on the public [than] the author”, because it effectively tells the public “they shall not think, they shall not read”. It’s the same today, where snooty officials’ desire to rein in red-top papers in particular is really about preventing the readers of those papers from seeing saucy or offensive things – Page 3 girls, anti-immigrant stories, so-called “Islamophobia” – and potentially acting on them. Paine knew very well how tyrannical state meddling in the freedom to press one’s ideas could be: in the 1790s an English court sentenced him to death in absentia for the “crime” of writing Rights of Man.

Later still, in the 19th century, a young Prussian journalist by the name of Karl Marx was unapologetic in his insistence that the press should be utterly free of external meddling. He said of press freedom: “I feel that its existence is essential, that it is something which I need, without which my nature can have no full, satisfied, complete existence.” He described a free press as “the ubiquitous vigilant eye of a people’s soul… the spiritual mirror in which a people can see itself, and self-examination is the first condition of wisdom”. How sad that modern Leftists are willing to let the press go from being a “vigilant eye” on the world to the plaything of officialdom.

In the 20th century, too, Leftists clung to the ideal of press freedom. Not official Labour Leftists, who have never been in favour of liberty of the press, but certainly more intellectual Leftists. George Orwell decried the fact that “anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness”, and said freedom of the press is essential if one is to “criticise and oppose”. Leftists of all people, who are surely in the business of criticising and opposing, should know better than to let politicians decide the moral parameters to the activities and arguments of the press.

The modern Left’s casual abandonment of the ideal of press freedom is an about-face of epic proportions. It represents a two-finger salute to the greatest traditions of the Left and to those radicals who fought long and hard for the right to think, write and publish whatever they wanted without needing the approval of state licensers, the moral majority or anyone else. Why is the Left today taking a flamethrower to this key ideal that its political forebears so passionately supported? Some of them will say that sections of the press are now far scummier and dangerous than they were in earlier eras and therefore it’s legit to ask the state to clean them up. Not so. In Marx’s time, too, there were some extremely dodgy press outlets, yet in his wise words, “You cannot enjoy the advantages of a free press without putting up with its inconveniences”. Other Leftists will say that because so much of the press today is owned by super-wealthy oligarchs, it is not truly free and thus the state must get involved and even out the playing field. Nonsense. In Orwell’s time there were big press barons, and he recognised that some of those barons were “enemies of freedom of thought”, but a far bigger problem was “the weakening of the desire for liberty among the intellectuals themselves”, he said.

The truth is that it isn’t the press that has changed; it’s the Left. Fundamentally, the Left today, unlike the radicals of the past, has no faith whatsoever in ordinary people, in humanity itself, and thus it constantly turns to the state and asks it to fix the alleged problems blighting society or giving Leftists a headache. The reason modern Leftists want state interference in the press is because they don’t trust the people, the rabble, the little folk, to be able to read and see things and rationally make up their minds about what is good and bad, right and wrong. In the words of Brian Cathcart, “public interest journalism” is “obviously not the same thing as what interests the public… [because] that would legitimise all kinds of gratuitous cruelty and dishonesty, reviving the morality that permitted bear-baiting and public executions”. That is what modern Leftists think of the masses – that they’re cruel, dishonest, immoral, violent, and apparently these tendencies must be tamed by depriving the oiks of their daily fix of tabloid titillation. This is the true story behind the modern Left’s enthusiasm for more state interference in the world of ideas and news: the Left once believed in people; now it despises them.


So which is the REAL sin: to criticise the Marxist views of Red Ed's father or to help terrorists and put British lives at risk?

PAUL DACRE, Editor of the Mail, answers the paper's critics. Dacre has never been a shrinking violet so the claim that he was afraid to defend his paper personally was always a laugh

Out in the real world, it was a pretty serious week for news.

The U.S. was on the brink of budget default, a British court heard how for two years social workers failed to detect the mummified body of a four-year-old starved to death by his mother, and it was claimed that the then Labour Health Secretary had covered up unnecessary deaths in an NHS hospital six months before the election.

In contrast, the phoney world of Twitter, the London chatterati and Left-wing media was gripped ten days ago by collective hysteria as it became obsessed round-the-clock by one story — a five-word headline on page 16 in the Daily Mail.

The screech of axe-grinding was deafening as the paper’s enemies gleefully leapt to settle scores.

Leading the charge, inevitably, was the Mail’s bête noire, the BBC. Fair-minded readers will decide themselves whether the hundreds of hours of airtime it devoted to that headline reveal a disturbing lack of journalistic proportionality and impartiality — but certainly the one-sided tone in their reporting allowed Labour to misrepresent Geoffrey Levy’s article on Ralph Miliband.

The genesis of that piece lay in Ed Miliband’s conference speech. The Mail was deeply concerned that in 2013, after all the failures of Socialism in the 20th century, the leader of the Labour Party was announcing its return, complete with land seizures and price fixing.

Surely, we reasoned, the public had the right to know what influence the Labour Leader’s Marxist father, to whom he constantly referred in his speeches, had on his thinking.

So it was that Levy’s article examined the views held by Miliband senior over his lifetime, not just as a 17-year-old youth as has been alleged by our critics.

The picture that emerged was of a man who gave unqualified support to Russian totalitarianism until the mid-Fifties, who loathed the market economy, was in favour of a workers’ revolution, denigrated British traditions and institutions, such as the Royal Family, the Church and the Army, and was overtly dismissive of Western democracy.

Levy’s article argued that the Marxism that inspired Ralph Miliband had provided the philosophical underpinning of one of history’s most appalling regimes — a regime, incidentally, that totally crushed freedom of expression.

Nowhere did the Mail suggest that Ralph Miliband was evil — only that the political beliefs he espoused had resulted in evil. As for the headline ‘The Man Who Hated Britain’, our point was simply this: Ralph Miliband was, as a Marxist, committed to smashing the institutions that make Britain distinctively British — and, with them, the liberties and democracy those institutions have fostered.

Yes, the Mail is happy to accept that in his personal life, Ralph Miliband was, as described by his son, a decent and kindly man — although we won’t withdraw our view that he supported an ideology that caused untold misery in the world.

Yes, we accept that he cherished this country’s traditions of tolerance and freedom — while, in a troubling paradox typical of the Left, detesting the very institutions and political system that made those traditions possible.

And yes, the headline was controversial — but popular newspapers have a long tradition of using provocative headlines to grab readers’ attention. In isolation, that headline may indeed seem over the top, but read in conjunction with the article we believed it was justifiable.

Despite this we acceded to Mr Miliband’s demand — and by golly, he did demand — that we publish his 1,000-word article defending his father.

So it was that, in a virtually unprecedented move, we published his words at the top of our Op Ed pages. They were accompanied by an abridged version of the original Levy article and a leader explaining why the Mail wasn’t apologising for the points it made.

The hysteria that followed is symptomatic of the post-Leveson age in which any newspaper which dares to take on the Left in the interests of its readers risks being howled down by the Twitter mob whom the BBC absurdly thinks represent the views of real Britain.

As the week progressed and the hysteria increased, it became clear that this was no longer a story about an article on Mr Miliband’s Marxist father but a full-scale war by the BBC and the Left against the paper that is their most vocal critic.

Orchestrating this bile was an ever more rabid Alastair Campbell. Again, fair-minded readers will wonder why a man who helped drive Dr David Kelly to his death, was behind the dodgy Iraq war dossier and has done more to poison the well of public discourse than anyone in Britain is given so much air-time by the BBC.

But the BBC’s bloodlust was certainly up. Impartiality flew out of the window. Ancient feuds were settled. Not to put too fine a point on things, we were right royally turned over.

Fair enough, if you dish it out, you take it. But my worry is that there was a more disturbing agenda to last week’s events.

Mr Miliband, of course, exults in being the man who destroyed Murdoch in this country. Is it fanciful to believe that his real purpose in triggering last week’s row — so assiduously supported by the liberal media which sneers at the popular press — was an attempt to neutralise Associated, the Mail’s publishers and one of Britain’s most robustly independent and successful newspaper groups.

Let it be said loud and clear that the Mail, unlike News International, did NOT hack people’s phones or pay the police for stories. I have sworn that on oath.

No, our crime is more heinous than that.

It is that the Mail constantly dares to stand up to the liberal-Left consensus that dominates so many areas of British life, and instead represents the views of the ordinary people who are our readers and who don’t have a voice in today’s political landscape — and are too often ignored by today’s ruling elite.

The metropolitan classes, of course, despise our readers with their dreams (mostly unfulfilled) of a decent education and health service they can trust, their belief in the family, patriotism, self-reliance, and their over-riding suspicion of the State and the People Who Know Best.

These people mock our readers’ scepticism over the European Union and a Human Rights Court that seems to care more about the criminal than the victim. They scoff at our readers who, while tolerant, fret that the country’s schools and hospitals can’t cope with mass immigration.

In other words, these people sneer at the decent working Britons — I’d argue they are the backbone of this country — they constantly profess to be concerned about.

The truth is that there is an unpleasant intellectual snobbery about the Mail in Leftish circles, for whom the word ‘suburban’ is an obscenity. They simply cannot comprehend how a paper that opposes the mindset they hold dear can be so successful and so loved by its millions of readers.

Well, I’m proud that the Mail stands up for those readers. I am proud that our Dignity For The Elderly Campaign has for years stood up for Britain’s most neglected community.

Proud that we have fought for justice for Stephen Lawrence, Gary McKinnon and the relatives of the victims of the Omagh bombing, for those who have seen loved ones suffer because of MRSA and the Liverpool Care Pathway.

I am proud we have led great popular campaigns for the NSPCC and the Alzheimer’s Society, on the dangers of paedophilia and the agonies of dementia. And I’m proud of our war against round-the-clock drinking, casinos, plastic bags, internet pornography and secret courts.

No other newspaper campaigns as vigorously as the Mail and I am proud of the ability of the paper’s 400 journalists (the BBC has 8,000) to continually set the national agenda on a whole host of issues.

I am proud that for years, while most of Fleet Street were in thrall to it, the Mail was the only paper to stand up to the malign propaganda machine of Tony Blair and his appalling henchman, Campbell. (And, my goodness, it’s been pay-back time over the past week!)

Could all these factors also be behind the Left’s tsunami of opprobrium against the Mail last week? I don’t know, but I do know that for a party mired in the corruption exposed by Damian McBride’s book (in which Ed Miliband was a central player) to call for a review of the Mail’s practices and culture is beyond satire.

Certainly, the Mail will not be silenced by a Labour Party that has covered up unnecessary, and often horrific, deaths in NHS hospitals, and suggests instead that it should start looking urgently at its own culture and practices.

Some have argued that last week’s brouhaha shows the need for statutory Press regulation. I would argue the opposite. The febrile heat, hatred, irrationality and prejudice provoked by last week’s row reveals why politicians must not be allowed anywhere near Press regulation.

And while the Mail does not agree with the Guardian over the stolen secret security files it published, I suggest that we can agree that the fury and recrimination the story is provoking reveals again why those who rule us — and who should be held to account by newspapers — cannot be allowed to sit in judgment on the Press.

That is why the Left should be very careful about what it wishes for — especially in the light of this week’s rejection by the politicians of the newspaper industry’s Charter for robust independent self-regulation.

The BBC is controlled, through the licence fee, by the politicians. ITV has to answer to Ofcom, a Government quango.

Newspapers are the only mass media left in Britain free from the control of the State.

The Mail has recognised the hurt Mr Miliband felt over our attack on his father’s beliefs.

We were happy to give him considerable space to describe how his father had fought for Britain (though a man who so smoothly diddled his brother risks laying himself open to charges of cynicism if he makes too much of a fanfare over familial loyalties).

For the record, the Mail received a mere two letters of complaint before Mr Miliband’s intervention and only a few hundred letters and emails since — many in support. A weekend demonstration against the paper attracted just 110 people.

It seems that in the real world, people — most of all our readers — were far more supportive of us than the chatterati would have you believe.

P.S. This week, the head of MI5 — subsequently backed by the PM, the Deputy PM, the Home Secretary and Labour’s elder statesman Jack Straw — effectively accused the Guardian of aiding terrorism by publishing stolen secret security files.

The story — which is of huge significance — was given scant coverage by a BBC which only a week ago had devoted days of wall-to-wall pejorative coverage to the Mail.

Again, I ask fair readers, what is worse: to criticise the views of a Marxist thinker, whose ideology is anathema to most and who had huge influence on the man who could one day control our security forces ..... or to put British lives at risk by helping terrorists?



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.



11 October, 2013

Multiculturalism in British hospitals too

The Sudanese way

A teenage hairdresser was groped by an NHS doctor during an examination where he told her 'you’re very beautiful', a court heard today. Dr Kamal Abusin, 54, is accused of treating the hairdresser as 'a model' rather than a vulnerable patient.

The 19-year-old woman went to A&E with stomach pains after having an operation. A court heard Abusin told the teenager she was 'very beautiful' before stroking her breast and groping her during the stomach examination.

The court heard that after the 20-minute examination, she walked into the waiting room and burst into tears when her boyfriend asked her how it had gone.

Prosecutor Janet McDonald said Dr Abusin had abused his 'position of trust and authority' to sexually assault the young woman.

Miss McDonald said: 'This was not a nightclub where a drunken reveller might try it on and go too far with a pretty girl. 'This was a consultant room with a sober and senior consultant in attendance.

'The groping or touching are very serious to this young woman and for society. 'We put trust in the medical profession to deal with a patient appropriately. We don’t expect to be groped.'

Cardiff Crown Court heard the young woman, who cannot be named, had undergone keyhole surgery 'just below her belly button' six weeks earlier.

The jury heard Dr Abusin lifted her top to 'remove a hair' before groping her.

Miss McDonald said: 'She was called into the room by the doctor and he made comments about her appearance before telling her to lie on the examination table. 'He told her she was beautiful, had a well proportioned body, a good figure and asked her to take her hair down. 'She trusted him and did what he asked.

'Was he looking at her as a patient or more as one might admire the physique of a model?

'He didn’t ask her to assist and pushed her top up so he could see her tummy and this exposed one of her breasts in her bra.

'He went to remove a strand of hair that was on her right breast - and he took the opportunity to grope her breast.

'This was not the way he was supposed to examine her tummy.'

Miss McDonald said this made the young patient 'uncomfortable' - and she tried to get the doctor to concentrate on diagnosing the cause of her stomach pains.

But during the stomach examination with his hands he ran them up her thighs and touched her intimately - over the top of her leggings.

Miss McDonald told the court: 'There was absolutely no reason for him to do that. 'It was not a medical examination - it was the doctor sexually assaulting a vulnerable patient.

'He did examine her tummy but then put his hands down onto her pubic bone and left it there before a hand back on the inside of her thigh.

'She sat up thoroughly unnerved by the situation and asked him what she should do next about the pain she was suffering from. 'He gave her some advice about going back to the GP.

'As she walked left the room she walked straight out and burst into tears and told her boyfriend what had happened.' The young woman immediately told her concerned boyfriend and asked the A&E receptionist how she could complain.

Dr Abusin, who is originally from Sudan but was doing shifts in hospitals around Britain, was arrested by police soon after the complaint.

The consultant surgeon 'vehemently denied' all accusations of sexual assault when questioned by police.

He said the examination as outlined by the young woman was not one that would be required from a medical point of view and was not what he had given her.

Dr Abusin, of Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, denies two charges of sex assault.


French journalist is prosecuted under 19th century press law for questioning Islam during a radio debate

A French journalist is facing a criminal trial under the country’s strict press laws for remarks made during a radio debate about the influence of Islam.

Ivan Rioufol, 61, believes the way he is being treated is an example of how writers are criminalised when the state is able to control the media.

He was summoned to court under strict press laws which date back to the 19th Century following a complaint from a pressure group called the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF).

‘In seeking to undermine liberty of expression, a sacred principle of our civilisation, the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) takes the risk of appearing like a menace to democracy,’ said Mr Rioufol.

‘This is essentially what I hope to be able to explain in court, because I will have to appear in a few months before the 17th Criminal Court in Paris.’

Mr Rioufol, who has written for Le Figaro newspaper for almost 28 years, made some allegedly defamatory remarks on November 15th 2012 during an RTL radio programme called ‘We Reshape the World.’

Mr Rioufol particularly objected to a CCIF poster campaign which showed pictures of predominantly bearded and veiled Muslims under the slogan ‘We are the Nation’.

The journalist said that this was against the spirit of France’s inclusive, secular republic – something which CCIF objected to.

Mr Rioufol said that France’s 1881 Press Law was being used to ‘penalise criticism, intimidate journalists, censor the media’ and even ‘to reintroduce the offence of blasphemy’.

The 1881 law was nominally meant to guarantee the ‘freedom of the press’ but in fact criminalised a range of journalistic behaviour. So called ‘press offenses’ ranged from insulting the President of France, to defaming private citizens through comment.

Mr Rioufol said about the case’s first hearing: ‘The judge reminded me that he himself had no opportunity to verify the existence of the alleged offense, the procedure - Press Law 1881 - leading automatically to court, where the case will be considered on its merits.’

Mr Rioufol said the law was ‘easily manipulated’ by those who wanted to persecute journalists.

A spokesman for CCIF said it had a duty to challenge ‘Islamophobia’ and the press laws were a logical way of challenging journalism it objected to.

'Mr Rioufol will in court seek to prove that his words were true – one of the defences against defamation.'


'The under-25s in Britain should NOT get the dole'

Under-25s should be banned from claiming the dole, David Cameron warned today as he signalled a fresh Tory crackdown on welfare.

The Prime Minister used his speech to the Tory party conference to set out his vision of Britain as a 'land of opportunity' where everyone has the chance to get a decent job, buy a home or start a business.

But he revealed the next Conservative manifesto is likely to promise to withdraw benefits for school leavers so that they can no longer 'opt for a life on benefits'.

It is estimated that more than 1million people could be affected, including more than 360,000 aged 18-25 claiming Jobseeker's Allowance last month.

Removing housing benefit from under-25s is estimated to save the Treasury £2billion.

Mr Cameron said young people should be given a clear choice between going to school or college, doing an apprenticeship or getting a job.

Speaking in Manchester he said: 'Today it is still possible to leave school, sign on, find a flat, start claiming housing benefit and opt for a life on benefits. It’s time for bold action here.

'We should ask, as we write our next manifesto, if that option should really exist at all. 'Just choose the dole? We’ve got to offer them something better than that.'

He conceded that the controversial idea of limiting housing benefit and jobseekers allowance to the over-25s will be seized on by opponents as 'callous'.

But he said: 'Think about it: with your children, would you dream of just leaving them to their own devices, not getting a job, not training, nothing?

'No - you’d nag and push and guide and do anything to get them on their way… and so must we.

'So this is what we want to see: everyone under 25 - earning or learning.

'And you know – on this, as on everything else, Labour will fight us but remember: we are giving people real opportunities.'

The idea of limiting benefits to the over-25s is likely to feature in the next Tory manifesto, but government sources suggested they will try to persuade the Lib Dems to introduce it sooner.

Mr Cameron added: 'We don’t patronise people, put a benefit cheque in their hand and pat them on the head.

'We look people in the eye as equals and say: yes, you’ve been down – but you’re not out, you can do it, you have it in you, we will give you that chance.'

A government review by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood is already examining training and education offered to under-25s.

It will now be expanded to look at which benefits are available to school leavers.

Officials said that under existing rules, young jobless people lose their benefits if they train for more than 16 hours a week.

But this means that the system pays them if they are not in training - but stops supporting them when they do.

The Heywood review is looking at ways to support young people once they start training programmes.

However, those who refuse to take part in the scheme risk having their benefits cut including job seekers' allowance and housing benefit.

He also praised Education Secretary Michael Gove for the energy he had brought to his job of creating a string of free schools, describing him as a cross between 'Mr Chips and the Duracell Bunny'.

The Prime Minister said key to his vision of a 'land of opportunity' required a tougher education system to prepare youngsters for the future.

He said: 'It’s OK for the children who have parents reading them stories every night – and that’s great but what about the ones at the back of the class, in the chaotic home, in the home of the drug addict or alcoholic? 'We need these children – and frankly they need us.'

He said Mr Gove's reforms were already achieving results with more students studying proper science and more children learning a foreign language.

He went on: We’ve ended the dumbing down in exams. For the first time – children in our schools will learn the new language of computer coding.

'And we’re sending a clear message to children: if you fail English and maths GCSE, you’re going to have to take and re-take them again until you pass.

'Because as I tell my own children – there’s not a job in the world where you don’t need to spell and add up properly.'


Australia: No more dole, Prime Minister warns the under-30s

TONY Abbott has proposed banning the dole for people under 30 in a bid to entice the unemployed to head west and fill massive skill shortages in the booming resources sector.

The Opposition Leader made the controversial remarks during a two-hour meeting with about 15 senior resources industry leaders in Perth on Monday night.

Mr Abbott told the roundtable briefing he believed stopping dole payments to able-bodied young people would take pressure off the welfare system and reduce the need to bring in large numbers of skilled migrants to staff mining projects.

His comments were attacked last night by Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes, who described them as "Hansonesque".

"If he genuinely thinks you are going to solve an economically crippling skills shortage by taking punitive measures against welfare recipients, he has clearly never lived in the real world," Mr Howes said.

"You can't just get any old Joe off the street and plonk them into a mine, and think that's going to mean they can work."

Six of the attendees confirmed yesterday that Mr Abbott had raised the idea of banning welfare payments for young people to encourage them to fill the thousands of jobs emerging in states such as Western Australia and Queensland.

"He said he was thinking more and more about it, with a view to formulating something on it," said one of the participants, who asked not to be named.

Another recalled: "He definitely said it was something he was considering as a policy."

A third executive said: "It certainly wasn't a throwaway line. He brought up the issue twice during the meeting."

Mr Abbott also told the business leaders that safety mechanisms would be needed under such a scheme to protect disabled people or those with mental health problems. And he raised the possibility that employers would need to be given funding to train the unemployed, according to those present.

Some of the business leaders were surprised by the remarks, while others were impressed Mr Abbott was considering new measures to address the labour shortages in Western Australia that threaten to crimp the next resources boom.

"I thought to myself: here is a guy who thinks outside the square," said one participant.

The Minerals Council of Australia said the number of workers in the resources sector would need to grow by about 86,000 in the next decade to maintain Australia's share of global minerals markets. It said 31,000 of those workers would need to be skilled tradespeople.

The demand for labour is expected to be most severe in Western Australia, which has about $200 billion in resources projects either under way or in the pipeline.

This is led by the $43bn Gorgon liquefied natural gas project on Barrow Island and the planned expansion of Woodside Petroleum's Pluto gas plant near Karratha.

Among the attendees at Mr Abbott's roundtable were BHP Billiton iron ore chief executive Ian Ashby, Rio Tinto's Pilbara managing director Greg Lilleyman, Woodside general counsel Rob Cole, Fortescue Metals Group director Graeme Rowley, Gindalbie Metals chief executive Garret Dixon and Inpex's Australian head, Seiya Ito.

Mr Abbott's views echo comments he made as employment services minister in 2000 when he announced that people on the dole in South Australia's Riverland would be required to seek fruit harvest work before receiving benefits.

Last night a spokeswoman for Mr Abbott confirmed he had made the remarks about the dole to the mining leaders.

The spokeswoman said Mr Abbott had posed a question about the dole for the benefit of the argument and the debate at the meeting. But, she said, Mr Abbott's comments did not mean the approach was Coalition policy.



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.



10 October, 2013

British Scouts will still do 'their duty to God': Leaders decide recruits will make religious promise unless they ask for atheist version

The Scout movement is to preserve the historic promise by its members that they will do their duty to God, its leaders said yesterday.

They bowed to pressure from secular lobbyists and offered boys and girls from atheist families the chance to make a special non-religious pledge when they sign up as Scouts.

But new recruits will continue to make the religious promise unless they ask for the atheist version.

The decision opens a gulf between the Scouts and the Guides, who earlier this year dropped all references to God and religion from the promises girls are asked to make when they join.

It was welcomed by church leaders, who praised the Scouts for ‘affirming the importance of spiritual life.’

The Scout choice to keep God in its main membership pledge follows months of argument over whether the country’s two biggest youth movements should continue to honour religion as one of their central principles.

Guide leaders said in June that their organisation’s longstanding demand that girls who sign up should promise to ‘love my God’ was ‘confusing’ about belief and ‘discouraged some girls and volunteers from joining us.’ Instead new Guides now pledge ‘to be true to myself’ and ‘to serve my community’.

But Scout officials said yesterday that following a 10-month consultation ‘the core Scout Promise remains in place and scouting remains fully committed as a movement that explores faith and religion as a core element of its programme.’

The decision opens up a new element of competition for recruits between the two organisations.

Although the Guides remain an all-female group, Scouts have accepted girls as members since the 1970s and now have more than 77,000 girls among 537,000 members.

The Scout Promise, which dates from the foundation of the movement in 1907, requires that new members declare: ‘On my honour, I promise that I will do my best, to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law.’

Different versions for the use of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists have been available since 1960, although all have included a religious reference.

There are also versions for foreign members which allow them to pledge duty ‘to the country in which I am now living’ rather than to the Queen.

The new wording for atheists says: ‘On my honour I promise that I will do my best to uphold our Scout values, to do my duty to the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law.’

Scout Chief Commissioner Wayne Bulpitt said yesterday: ‘Throughout its 106-year history the movement has continued to evolve and today marks an important step in that journey.

'It also signifies the determination to become truly inclusive and relevant to all sections of society that it serves.

‘We are a values-based movement and exploring faith and beliefs remains a key element of the Scouting Programme. That will not change.’

Churchmen from the main denominations welcomed the move.

The Right Reverend Paul Butler, Church of England Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, said: ‘As the recent national census demonstrated, we remain a faithful nation where the majority of families find identity and meaning in religious belief.

‘In enabling people of all faiths and none to affirm their beliefs Scouting has demonstrated that it is both possible, and I would argue preferable, to affirm the importance of spiritual life and not to restrict meaning to arbitrary self-definition.’

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society welcomed the decision but said: ‘We think the Guides’ response to this issue was infinitely superior. They introduced a secular oath for everyone.

'This approach relieves young people of having to make a decision about what they believe at a time in their lives when maybe they haven’t decided.’


Press regulation is only to "protect toffs", says Rupert Murdoch

Newspapers will be gagged “to protect toffs” if plans by the Press to regulate themselves are thrown out by politicians this week, Rupert Murdoch has said.

The media tycoon, who owns The Times, Sunday Times and Sun newspapers, also attacked the BBC for being a “taxpayer funded mouthpiece for tiny circulation leftist Guardian”.

The comments from Mr Murdoch are thought to be his first comments since Mr Murdoch was dragged in front of MPs at the height of the phone hacking scandal last year.

In an entry on Twitter, Mr Murdoch wrote: “BBC massive taxpayer funded mouthpiece for tiny circulation leftist Guardian. Meanwhile print media about to be gagged to protect toffs.”

That came shortly after another entry on his Twitter feed: “Huge lack of balance in UK media with 8000 BBC left wing journalists far outnumbering all national print journalists.”

The timing of Mr Murdoch’s remarks come a day before a group of politicians on the Privy Council is set to decide whether to accept a proposal for self-regulation by newspapers.

Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that the decision would not be affected by the row over the Daily Mail’s articles about Ed Miliband’s father Ralph.

He suggested the Council’s sub-committee looking at Press regulation had already made its decision. He told Sky News’ Murnaghan programme: “I guess the judgement made by the sub-committee that has been looking at this press proposed charter will have come to their view before the latest row because they will have been looking at this over the summer.”


A threat to press freedom in Britain

Britain's politicians are proposing to bring back statutory press control for the first time in more than 300 years. This is unacceptable

A free press is one that is free from government or political interference. Our politicians maintain that they are defenders of a free press in this country and yet they persist in wanting to impose legal constraints upon it. Ever since the Leveson report was published last November, the newspaper industry has endeavoured to draw up a new regulatory structure that would be both robust and independent.

Overseen by a Royal Charter, it would be the toughest form of self-regulation in the democratic world – and be paid for by the industry. It would provide the same safeguards and opportunities for redress that MPs want to see, with the added virtue of being completely free of political control. But this is not good enough for our politicians, who appear to take their lead from the pressure group Hacked Off.

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, told the Commons yesterday that a committee of the Privy Council had rejected the newspaper industry’s petition for the granting of a Royal Charter “because it falls short of government policy on the self-regulation of the press, based on the Leveson report”.

The politicians have devised their own structures, also to be enshrined in Royal Charter, but one that they seek to impose upon the press.

This is the first time it has been proposed that an industry should be forced to sign up to a Royal Charter rather than voluntarily accede to one. Moreover, the cross-party charter – cobbled together without any discussion with the industry – would be underpinned by legislation, thereby giving it the very statutory basis that David Cameron rightly said would be “crossing the Rubicon”.

For all their protestations to the contrary, our politicians are proposing to bring back statutory press control for the first time in more than 300 years. This is unacceptable.


British police tell children it's a 'crime' to play in street

Police sent flyers to families in a Surrey town warning them it was a crime for children to play football and go on skateboards in the street.

The leaflet said police wanted to remind parents of their “legal and social responsibilities” about playing games in the road, and also warned: “Ignore the law and you may be liable to prosecution.”

Parents reacted angrily to the flyer, saying their children had benefitted from being able to play outside.

Posting on the About Thames Ditton facebook page, Colin Harrison wrote: "I have 3 children who have been playing in Southville Road ..... yep guilty as charged ....they have been playing on scooters and skateboards, making new friends and having fun and I can assure you their safety is paramount!

"I actually had to tell my kids this week that the police and certain residents of our community want you back indoors in front of tvs and computers."

Teresa Templeton also wrote: "And the next complaint will be about the children getting obese, and how lazy and rude they are.

Playing together nurtures social skills, it encourages healthy living, the same people agreeing to keeping the kids off the streets will be the same people complaining that their tax money is being used to fund surgeries for the overweight adults they may become."

Inspector David Hollingworth apologised to all residents in Southville Road in Thames Ditton who received the leaflet from the Surrey force, the BBC reported.

Speaking about the leaflet, he said: "It correctly identified that playing games such as football on the highway may be unlawful in some circumstances; however this would not in any way be criminal behaviour.” He added: “Please accept my apologies for the way in which the leaflet put this message across and for any offence it may have caused."

The leaflet referred to recent complaints about young people roller skating and skateboarding in the street. It said: “Playing football or other sports in the street is a criminal offence, particularly if someone is affected, such as being involved in an accident, or where the activity has caused them annoyance, alarm or distress.”

Residents said children started to go outside to play after the road was resurfaced a week ago.

Catriona Riddell also posted: "I can't tell you how much this has affected our poor kids - some won't even go out on their scooters on the pavement now for fear of being told off. A very sad state of affairs!"

Tom Muir, a resident, described it as a “knee jerk” reaction to complaints of cars being hit by footballs.



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.



9 October, 2013

Human rights perversion: Dossier reveals taxpayers' bill for European court payouts to murderers, terrorists and traitors

Britain has lost a staggering 202 European human rights cases involving murderers, terrorists, paedophiles and rapists, it emerged yesterday.

Judges in Strasbourg handed the criminals taxpayer-funded payouts of £4.4million – an average of £22,000 a head.

Recipients since 1998 include the traitor George Blake, extremist cleric Abu Qatada and the IRA killer dubbed Mrs Doubtfire.

The House of Commons figures fuelled fresh demands for Britain to pull out of the convention on which the European Court of Human Rights bases its rulings.

Because they are political appointees many of the court’s judges are not even legal experts.

Soviet spy Blake, who was jailed for 42 years, one for each of the MI6 agents he sent to their deaths, was awarded £4,700 in 2006 because Britain stopped him profiting from the memoirs he wrote when he fled to Russia. The court ruled that this breached the double agent’s ‘right to free expression’.

Qatada, who was finally deported this year and was regarded as Al Qaeda’s ambassador in Europe, pocketed £2,000 because the court ruled he was unlawfully detained.

Kirk Dickson kicked to death a man who refused to give him cigarettes. But he won £18,000 from the court, which said he had been denied the right to father a child by artificial insemination.

Rupert Massey was jailed for six years for the abuse of three boys over a 14-year period. But he won £5,496 because he was ‘stressed’ after he waited four years for his case to reach court.

IRA killer Liam Averill was dubbed Mrs Doubtfire after escaping in drag from the Maze prison in 1997. He pocketed £5,000 in 2000 while still on the run because the court said it was wrong he had no lawyer for 24 hours after his arrest.

Somali paedophile Mustafa Abdi was sentenced to eight years behind bars for raping a child. Ministers spent more than a decade trying and failing to deport him, which allowed him to pocket £7,237 for being ‘wrongfully detained’.

The figures were obtained by Tory MP Philip Davies and placed in the House of Commons library.

He said last night: ‘To me, it’s just an absolutely scandalous waste of money. I’m not aware of my decent law-abiding constituents running off to the European Court of Human Rights.

'It is a charter for illegal immigrants and criminals.

‘We’re in a situation where we’ve got pseudo judges who are making decisions about this country. These cases highlight what an absolute racket it has become. The sooner we scrap the Human Rights Act and leave the European Convention on Human Rights the better.’

When claimants fail to get a ruling in their favour in a British court, they go to the ECHR and the UK Government is obliged to defend the case, effectively acting as a representative of the British courts system.

That means that even when cases involve a claimant who is in dispute with a private company, the damages and compensation are still awarded against the Government – meaning taxpayers pay.

But many of the cases, where the Government has had to pay up, have set potentially damaging legal precedents that end up costing taxpayers millions more than the relatively modest compensation payments.

Other cases have overturned aspects of the stop and search powers and rules designed to prevent sham marriages.

The case which has sparked a rethink from ministers was that of rapist Robert Greens, who complained to the European Court that banning British inmates from taking part in elections is illegal.

The Government was ordered to pay Greens costs of £4,230 and to give all convicts the vote. But Parliament has voted to ignore that ruling and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has made clear that the Tories will make sure a new system they devise means Britain can refuse to obey.

Mr Grayling said: ‘As I’m sure the victims and their families feel, I find it very unpalatable to such sums are being handed over to some very unpleasant individuals.’

The review he has set up will examine whether the Conservatives should ditch the convention and enshrine the Supreme Court in London as the ultimate arbiter of British law in a new Bill of Rights.

Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, who sat on an official review of the humans rights system, warned that unless there is a change the Strasbourg court could dramatically increase the fines in future and Britain would be powerless to resist.


Catholic League President Turns Tables on Gay Critics Over Host-Topped Burger

A writer for The New Civil Rights Movement, a gay website, gleefully predicted that Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, would be “stroking out” over the “Ghost Burger” - a hamburger patty topped by a red wine reduction and an unconsecrated Communion wafer created by a Chicago restaurant.

But Donohue wasn’t biting. In fact, he turned the tables on his critics.

“Five years ago we protested the desecration of a Communion Host by P.Z. Myers, an anti-Catholic atheist professor. Yesterday, I decided not to protest the antics of Kuma's Corner, a Chicago restaurant, for serving a burger with a Communion wafer,” Donohue said in a statement.

“The difference: Myers secured a consecrated Host and drove a nail through it; the sandwich shop played games with an unconsecrated wafer. While Kuma's showed disrespect, what Myers did was despicable.”

“An unconsecrated host does not have the sacred meaning for Catholics as one that is consecrated and contains the Real Presence of Jesus,” Donohue told CNSNews.com. “So this is more edgy humor. P.Z. Myers is a sick man who wanted to wound Catholics. On a scale of 1 to 10, what Myers did was a 10. This would be closer to a 4 or 5.”

In response to the website’s prediction that he would be “stroking out” over the burger, which the restaurant says is named after a heavy metal band from Sweden, Donohue said:

“Sorry to disappoint, boys. In fact, the only angst I feel is toward people like them. They say that what Kuma's Corner did risks the wrath of ‘every Christian born without a tolerance gene or a sense of humor.’ I'll remember that the next time they complain about one of my gay quips.

“By the way, I thought tolerance was a function of nurture, not nature. So what is it? A preference or an orientation? Please advise, as this is very confusing to a straight guy.”

Jeff Young, a New Orleans resident who blogs at “Catholic Foodie,” told the Associated Press that he was offended by the restaurant’s offering even though unconsecrated wafers are “not, for us, the Eucharist.” “This wafer is a symbol. There’s a cross on it. It’s like taking a flag and burning a flag.”


Berkeley’s 8-Year-Old Book-Banner

You may or may not already have read about this. This summer, according to a news story that appeared last week on the website of the Today Show, a woman named Constance Cooper, who identifies herself as a science-fiction writer took her daughter, whose name was given only as KC, to a bookstore, Half Price Books, which is located in Berkeley, California, where Cooper and her daughter live. It was supposed to be a fun expedition, but, as reporter Morgan Brasfield put it, “KC became upset.”

Note to reader: this is a key word here. Upset. Plenty of eight-year-olds, needless to say, get upset all the time. They get upset because they’ve been served baked potatoes instead of French fries. They get upset because they’ve been told to clean up their room, or to turn off the TV or computer, or to go to bed. But no, KC didn’t get upset because of those ordinary kid-type reasons. Because, you see, she’s no ordinary kid. No sirree! She’s a super-kid, of the sort that super parents in super places like Berkeley, California, are raising these days by the truckload. Not to put too fine a point on it, KC got upset because, even at her tender age, she is, doubtless thanks to her mother’s magnificent parenting, possessed of a highly developed sense of justice. Hers, in short, was not an outburst of obnoxious brattiness that should have nipped in the bud with a sharp, disciplinary word, but a worthy display of righteous outrage of the sort modeled by heroes like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks.

“We were browsing around in the bookstore, and suddenly I heard my daughter calling out, ‘Mama! You have to look at this!’” a proud Cooper testified. “So, of course, I thought she’d found something she wanted to buy, but it was completely the opposite. She was looking at two books that had made her so enraged she was actually in tears.” The books were both entitled How To Survive (Almost) Anything. But one was meant for boys and the other for girls. The boys’ book focused on surviving cool stuff like whitewater rapids, frostbite, a shark attack, a polar bear attack, a croc attack, a snake bite, an avalanche, a tornado, and quicksand; the girls’ book was full of entries entitled “How to Survive a Fashion Disaster,” “How to Survive Shyness,” “How to Survive Embarrassment,” “How to Survive a Crush,” and so on. Some of the chapters weren’t even about survival: “How to Pick Perfect Sunglasses.” I will not for a moment challenge the proposition that these books, considered side by side, constitute a pretty open-and-shut case of crude gender stereotyping – although I would hasten to add that if the books did not share a title and pretend to be a matching set, both would sell briskly enough to readers in their target demographics.

KC, if you haven’t guess already, was “upset at the sexist nature of the books.” Why should she, as a girl, be treated as somebody who’s more preoccupied with fashion, shyness, crushes on boys, and other such silliness than with all those big, scary things that might happen to you when you’re out in the wild, living dangerously, the way that both males and females should be allowed to do? So upset was KC about this terrible injustice, in fact, “that a bookstore employee took notice and asked her what was wrong.” KC – who is apparently in no need of instructions about how to survive shyness – readily explained. “After looking through the books,” recounted Cooper, “the employee agreed they were offensive and pulled them from the shelves! She said if she had seen them first they wouldn’t have been there to begin with.” Cooper, in addition to expressing pride in her daughter “for recognizing sexism and for speaking her mind,” gushed with praise for the clerk, who not only for “took action” but “validated my daughter’s feelings.” Cooper also congratulated herself for having raised her daughter “to think critically.”

It doesn’t appear to have occurred to Cooper that KC’s very reaction to the books, and Cooper’s own reaction to her daughter’s reaction, validated – to coin a phrase – the very prejudices they were condemning. Think about it: the book for boys was addressed to hardy tykes who thrill to the idea of venturing far from civilization and facing life-threatening perils; the book for girls was aimed at tender hearts that are crushed by the thought of committing a fashion faux pas. In other words, one book sought to trigger rushes of adrenalin, the other to try to cope with inevitable outbursts of helpless tears over trivial everyday disappointments – thus reinforcing the age-old notion that girls are by nature more emotional than boys, and the corollary proposition that boys should be encouraged to subdue whatever feelings they might have, while girls should be encouraged to embrace, be preoccupied with, and perhaps even cultivate theirs.

And the fact is that despite Cooper’s rhetoric about the evils of sexism, she’s plainly done precisely that. By all indications, she’s trained her daughter, as a chapter in the girls’ book might have put it, “How to Use Your Feelings to Get Your Way.” KC, we’re told, was “upset by the books”; she was “in tears”; the bookstore worker “validated” her “feelings.” KC’s own review of the books, which she posted on Amazon after the traumatic episode, also highlighted her emotional response to this deeply traumatic encounter with views differing from her own: “Do not buy these books for your daughter,” she wrote, “or it may make her cry like I did.” Forget the fearlessness and determination of, say, Harriet Tubman or Amelia Earhart or Aung San Suu Kyi or Ayaan Hirsi Ali; this is twenty-first-century establishment feminism in a nutshell: “You hurt my feelings!” “You offended me!” “You made me cry!”

The story at Today‘s website seemed to imply throughout that both Cooper and her daughter deserve a pat on the back for creating this incident and drawing outside attention to it. “Cooper,” wrote Brasfield with apparent admiration, “describes her 8-year-old as articulate, passionate and a great reader, qualities parents hope their children exhibit as they grow.” (Similarly, a Huffington Post writer, citing Cooper’s pride in KC’s ability to spot sexism and speak her mind, commented: “Perhaps next time, the How To Survive books should have added chapters on those skills, instead.”) Here’s one curious detail, however: the web page on which Brasfield’s piece appeared was in fact part of a subsidiary Today Show site called “Moms.” Not “Moms and Dads.” Not “Parents.” Just “Moms.” Isn’t that sexist? What, don’t fathers care about their kids? Brasfield’s piece actually ran under the heading “Mom Topics.” What could be more offensive, more demeaning, more profoundly distressing to a proud feminist? Is KC going to kick up a ruckus over this, too?

It should be noted, by the way, that the Today website, in an update to its story, informed readers that the Berkeley bookstore’s manager had issued a clarification: contrary to Cooper’s triumphant original report, the two offending books had not been removed entirely from display, but only transferred to a “less prominent area of the children’s section.” The manager explained: “While we certainly understand why the books upset her and commend the girl for speaking out against stereotypical portrayals of gender roles in books, I would like to stress that we are strong advocates of First Amendment rights and do not advocate censorship or removal of ‘objectionable’ books from circulation.”

Interesting. While there’s nothing in the First Amendment, of course, to prohibit a bookstore from banning any book from its shelves, the bookstore manager’s sentiment is commendable. Too bad Cooper couldn’t find time to instruct her daughter in that whole Voltaire thing about tolerating – and even defending – the freedom of expression of people with whom one disagrees, including those with whom one disagrees violently. No, Cooper, like all too many parents nowadays who consider themselves eminently enlightened (and not just parents in Berkeley, either), was too busy raising her kid to be a pint-sized commissar – an officer in the PC Thought Police. Well, such is the Brave New World we’re living in – and, even more so, the one we’re transitioning into. The future of America – and of freedom – could not be in scarier hands.


Australia: No excuses for Aboriginal brutality to women and children

Gary Johns

IN 2010, Ernest Munda of Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia killed his common law wife of 16 years, with whom he had four children. He was sentenced to prison for seven years and nine months, with a non-parole period of three years and three months.

The taxpayer funded an appeal to the High Court that his sentence was too harsh. He claimed that the Court of Appeal of Western Australia failed to have "proper regard" to his personal circumstances as a "traditional" Aboriginal man. In particular, "an environment in which the abuse of alcohol is endemic in indigenous communities", was not taken into account.

The High Court knocked him back. The court reiterated that while a person's background could play a part in mitigation, it needed to be "weighed by the sentencing judge". At present, judges have discretion, but in future, if Aboriginal culture is recognised in the Constitution, do not be surprised if the likes of Ernest Munda get lighter sentences.

The desire among many for Aboriginal recognition in the Constitution is genuine and there is a very real possibility of a "yes" case succeeding. The task ahead for sensible people is to draft a yes case that eliminates the risk that bad behaviour will be excused.

The "experts" who advised the Gillard government, recommended, among other things, "respecting the continuing cultures, languages and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples". This inclusion will increase the likelihood of a "Munda appeal" succeeding.

Just so the foolishness of the cultural recognition proposition is understood, here are the facts of the Munda case.

Munda and his common law wife were drunk and Munda had used cannabis. The pair argued. Munda punched his wife, threw her about the bedroom and repeatedly rammed her head into the walls. Munda "caused the deceased to fall on to a bed mattress". He then stood over her and repeatedly punched her in the face. The next morning, Munda had sexual intercourse with his wife. He then left the house to get some tea. When Munda returned, his wife was dead.

She had died from traumatic brain injury. She also had a fracture to her left jaw and broken ribs. In 2009, Munda had been sentenced to 12 months' jail, suspended for 12 months, for "unlawfully causing grievous bodily harm" to his wife. The injuries included a fractured femur, tibia and right radius as well as deep lacerations to her forehead inflicted by a metal shovel. Earlier in 2009, Munda was also sentenced to six months' jail, suspended for 12 months, for common assault upon his 13-year-old niece and the ex-partner of Munda's sister.

This is a sick culture. And it is a weak society that pays for this person to go to the High Court of Australia to attempt to get less than three years and three months in jail for his horrific crime. Politicians and Aboriginal leaders who want you to vote to change the Constitution to make it possible for the likes of Munda to spend less time in jail should be ashamed.

These cases are not rare. In 2005, a "traditional" man who anally raped his 14-year-old promised bride was convicted to 24 months for "assault and unlawful sexual intercourse", which in effect had him released after one month. The Court of Criminal Appeal of the Northern Territory heard the appeal and marginally increased the sentence.

Sitting in the old man's settlement of Yarralin for sentencing, Brian Martin, then chief justice of the NT Supreme Court, made the following sentencing remarks to the convicted man. "I accept that these offences occurred because the young child had been promised to you. This is not a case where you simply sought out a young child for sexual gratification ... I have a great deal of sympathy for you and the difficulties attached to transition from traditional Aboriginal culture and laws as you understand them to be, to obeying the Northern Territory law."

An alternative yes case is to recognise the historical truth in a preamble to the Constitution: that an Aboriginal people lived on the continent before its settlement by the British.

The experts also recommended "recognising that the continent and its islands now known as Australia were first occupied by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples". This is sensible, as long as it sits in a preamble. The Constitution is not a storybook, it is a rule book, and every Australian should play by the same rules.

Presently, judges have discretion in sentencing. If you want to look after the Ernest Mundas of the world, go ahead and vote yes for "cultural" recognition. If you are for human rights, then vote yes for "historic" recognition.



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.



8 October, 2013

Black hate crime -- in America but featured in British media only. Mainstream American media silent

A 20-year-old white soldier was stabbed to death on Saturday in what authorities believe could be a hate crime. After a desperate 911 call, officers discovered Tevin A. Geike, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier, in a parking lot in Lakewood, Washington suffering multiple stab wounds just after 2:30 a.m. He died at the scene.

The victim's two friends, also soldiers and also white, told police they were walking south on Pacific Highway when a vehicle approached them and someone inside called out a racial slur.

One of the soldiers yelled back something about those in the car treating combat soldiers with disrespect, Lawler said.

The car then turned around, stopped next to the soldiers and five black males piled out of the vehicle. A verbal confrontation started, Lawler said, but the driver called his friends off when he learned some of the soldiers were actually combat veterans.

As the group returned to the car, one of the suspects appeared to bump into Geike, Lawler said. The two soldiers then saw their friend fall to the ground as the car sped away. That's when they discovered Geike had been stabbed and was bleeding profusely.

'At this point, it appears that it could have been a hate crime,' Lawler said, according to the News Tribune. 'We're certainly looking at it now as a potential hate crime. We're not going to say that it is, but according to two guys at the scene, it appears to be racially motivated.'

Police are seeking a midnight blue sedan, perhaps a BMW or a Volkswagen Jetta, with four doors, tinted windows and stock rims with low-profile tires.

The main suspect is about 6 feet 1, medium build and was wearing a blue zip-up sweater, while the driver was described as being 5 feet 7 with short cropped hair and wearing a blue-and-white horizontal-striped shirt.

Another suspect is 5 feet 7 with short hair and was wearing a gray tank top, while another was described as 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 7, wearing camouflage pants. The fifth man is described as 5 feet 6.

According to the Tribune, Lt. Col. Joe Sowers, of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said Geike and his two companions were members of the 7th Infantry Division. Sowers said Geike had been in the Army 35 months and had no combat experience. He could not confirm Geike's rank.

Geike graduated from high school in North Charleston, South Carolina, in 2010.

Investigating officers have recovered some surveillance video, Lawler said, but have not yet found anything to identify the suspects.


Female TV presenters who are 'sidelined because of their age' first got their jobs because of their looks, says Terry Wogan

They kid themselves that they got there by their ability so they think their later sidelining is unjust

TV legend Terry Wogan has said female TV presenters shouldn't complain about not getting work later in their careers because they used their good looks land roles when they were young.

The British broadcasting icon waded into the sexism on television row, saying women use their 'glamour' to make a name for themselves when starting out in the industry.

He said that females who complain when the work dries up later should remember why they were given presenting jobs in the past, describing broadcasting as a 'visual medium'.

Wogan's comments come after the Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman accused TV bosses of being 'very rude' to older female stars. The Shadow Secretary of State for culture was responding to figures which showed that eighty per cent of TV presenters over the age of 50 in the UK are men.

But Wogan, who has worked for the BBC for almost 5 decades, said it was natural for older woman to phased out as they age - even saying that stars of today such as Holly Willoughby and Tess Daly will be 'replaced' by the next generation of attractive presenters.

Speaking in The Times magazine, he responded to Herman's outburst, saying: 'I think a number of the people who have been protesting originally got the jobs because of their glamour. 'I think it’s a little unfair, but it is a visual medium.'

Wogan's comments are the not the first to come from a veteran male broadcaster reacting to claims that their is a shortage of older women on TV.

Alan Titchmarsh has said that women who complained about being sidelined on TV when they got older should stop 'whingeing'. Speaking earlier this year, the TV gardener said: 'Men in television tend to last a bit longer at the end of their careers, but it is women who make hay at the beginning.' “They don’t complain in their early days when they are disporting themselves on sports cars.'

Despite the row over sexism on TV being stoked by Wogan's latest remarks, the former voice of the Eurovision Song Contest said he hopes scandals such as executives pay and the Jimmy Savile affair will strengthen the public broadcaster rather than send it into decline.

He said: ' I just hope that nothing happens to diminish the BBC because without it, for this country, it would be like losing royalty.'


British judges bid to banish the Bible from court over fears witnesses and defendants no longer take the oath seriously

Defendants and witnesses in British courts will no longer swear on the Bible to tell the truth under controversial plans being considered by a powerful body of judges.

The traditional religious oath could be scrapped amid concerns that many giving evidence in criminal cases no longer take it seriously.

Instead, all witnesses and defendants would promise to tell the truth without mentioning God, and would acknowledge they could be jailed if they are caught lying.

It is claimed the new oath would be fairer for everyone and make it easier to understand the importance of what they are saying.

But critics point out non-believers already have the option of promising to tell the truth without any reference to a sacred text, and that the change would further erode Britain’s Christian heritage.

The historic change will be debated this month by the Magistrates’ Association, and if it is voted through the organisation’s influential policy committee will draw up plans to be sent to the Ministry of Justice.

Ian Abrahams, a Bristol magistrate, has proposed ending centuries of tradition by axeing the religious oath. He told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘More and more I see people shrug their shoulders or say “whatever” when asked to take it. ‘Other witnesses think it’s wrong to swear on a holy book, and make an affirmation instead.

‘I’m suggesting we take holy books out of the process. Instead, people will have to show they understand they could be sent to prison if they don’t tell the truth.’

The married 62-year-old was raised in the Jewish faith but now calls himself an atheist. ‘I don’t intend my motion to make any comment on religion,’ he said. ‘It is certainly not anti-religious.’

But it has been seen by senior figures in the Church of England as another attempt to chip away at the country’s Christian foundations.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester, said: ‘This could be the slippery slope towards the increasing secularisation of society. Where will it end – with the Coronation Oath? The Bible is bound up with the constitution, institutions and history of this country. It is right for people to have a choice of oath, a religious or non-religious one. But we are being urged, in the name of tolerance and secularisation, to restrict that choice.’

The Rev Arun Arora, director of communications for the Church of England, added: ‘Given that the last census showed almost 60 per cent of respondents self-identified as Christians and two thirds as people of faith, this proposal seems to ignore the statistical reality that we remain a faithful nation. This kind of proposal seems driven more by blinkered campaigning agendas than abiding interests in justice and truth.’

John Glen, Tory MP for Salisbury and a magistrate until last year, said: ‘This smacks of political correctness gone mad.’

Legal expert Lord Carlile QC said: ‘It would be unacceptable for the choice to take a religious oath to be removed.’

Existing religious oaths have, for hundreds of years, required Christian witnesses to hold the Bible and state: ‘I swear by almighty God that I shall tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’

Followers of other faiths are given copies of their sacred texts with Muslims swearing on the Koran and Jews on the Old Testament, for instance. Those who choose instead to make an affirmation are required to ‘solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm’ the truth of their evidence.

Under Mr Abrahams’ proposal, the holy books would be removed and the oath would read: ‘I promise very sincerely to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and I understand that if I fail to do so I will be committing an offence for which I will be punished and may be sent to prison.’

The plan will be debated at the agm of the Magistrates’ Association, representing 23,000 lay judges, in Cardiff on October 19.

A MoJ spokesman said: ‘We have no plans to change the arrangements for swearing an oath or making an affirmation in court, which have worked well for many years and still do.’


A cup of civility: The lesson in the Starbucks non-backlash

by Jeff Jacoby

IT HAS been more than two weeks since Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz issued a "respectful request" for customers to stop bringing guns into his company's coffee shops, and the response by and large has been one of courteous compliance.

Considering how polarized and emotional America's gun debates usually get, some people were sure Starbucks was in for weeks of controversy. "The backlash and boycott talk has already begun," reported the Los Angeles Times the day Schultz's open letter appeared. Entrepreneur.com's Ray Hennessey, an experienced business editor, warned that Starbucks risked "alienating a large portion of its customer base."

That didn't happen. And to judge from a new nationwide survey, it isn't going to.

Asked about the Starbucks no-guns request in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, two of every three respondents — 66 percent — call it a good idea. Even among individuals from gun-owning households, 52 percent support Starbucks' position. The overwhelming majority, 72 percent, say it won't make any difference in where they get their coffee. The scale of that placid response is the same across every demographic subgroup: Democrats and Republicans, men and women, Northeasterners and Southerners, city-dwellers and rural residents — and, yes, gun owners — all say by lopsided majorities that Starbucks' shift on guns isn't going to change their economic behavior.

For the record, I've long been a Starbucks customer. I've been a supporter of gun rights for even longer. I often find myself in the minority on political or cultural questions, but on this I share the mainstream view: I have no problem with Schultz's request, and my coffee-buying habits won't change.

Some anti-gun advocates applauded Starbucks' appeal to customers last month as a gain for their side — "the first step to setting boundaries for America's gun-loving culture," as an admiring essay in National Journal was headlined. But the broad approval measured by the Quinnipiac poll is clearly no proxy for public feelings about guns or gun control. Most states allow citizens to carry firearms openly, and opposition to stricter gun restrictions is at its highest level in over a year.

It's just as clear that Americans aren't backing Starbucks so strongly because they can't live without the company's grande lattes and double espressos. Half of the voters surveyed by Quinnipiac never even go to Starbucks.

The lack of an anti-Starbucks backlash isn't about brand loyalty and it doesn't reflect hostility to guns. Rather, it suggests that Americans appreciate the civility of Schultz's request, and instinctively sympathize with the right of a private company not to be turned into an ideological battleground against its wishes. In his letter, the Starbucks CEO acknowledged the "deep passion for and against the 'open carry' laws adopted by many states" and expressed dismay at how "increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening" the debate over gun rights has become. The company preferred not to take sides, and its longstanding rule had been to defer to local law, permitting customers to openly carry guns in states that allow it.

But with pro- and anti-gun activists "ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction" and using Starbucks cafés to force the issue, Schultz pleaded for a truce. People who want to fight about gun laws should use the "legislative and policy-making process." Starbucks is for people who want coffee, tea, and free Wi-Fi. Plenty of people disagree with Schultz's decision. But the majority of Americans — including a majority of gun owners — are OK with it.

If only this were the norm when it comes to the intersection of private companies and public controversies.

If a traditionally Christian florist wishes to politely decline the offer to arrange the flowers for a same-sex wedding, why shouldn't she be free to do so? If a passionately liberal shopkeeper courteously asks a customer not to come in with a T-shirt proclaiming "Impeach Obama," or a conservative landlord says he'd prefer not to rent to an unmarried cohabiting couple, would it be so terrible to shrug and let it go? If a restaurant owner has no objection to letting customers smoke, couldn't diners accept the house rule gracefully and go elsewhere if they want a smoke-free meal?

Under current law, scenarios like these are often grounds for a lawsuit or prosecution. Must that be the case? Most merchants are not in the habit of turning customers away, and in general commerce operates to break down bigotry and irrational discrimination. But life isn't always so tidy. Sometimes there are rifts between a private company's idea of what's good for business and other people's idea of what all right-thinking people should believe. The world won't end if everyone doesn't march in lockstep.

The Starbucks non-uproar is a reminder that we could do with a little more live-and-let-live in this country. The hardliners on divisive issues may always be spoiling for a fight. They needn't be encouraged to wage their battles with other people's livelihood.



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.



7 October, 2013

The Ghettoization of Europe: “We Are the Last 3 German Children in Our School.”

There are now only three German children left in the Jens-Nydahl-Grundschule in Kreuzberg, Berlin—a shocking demonstration of how Europe is being ethnically cleansed by Third World immigration.
A story in the Bild magazine on the development was headlined: “We are the last 3 German children in our German school. The rest are Muslims.”

Kreuzberg in Berlin has long been a destination for Turkish immigration into the German capital, and now the inevitable point has been reached where Germans have been ethnically cleansed from that part of the city.

In the playground Talina (11), Svenja (11) and Jason (9) can’t understand a word. Because, here, their classmates only speak Turkish and Arabic, the Bild article continued.

Here 99 percent of the 313 pupils have an immigrant (Muslim) background. For 285 of those, the parents receive financial support from the state.

Talina is in the 6th year. “When she first went to school, she could read and write her first words. Her fellow pupils couldn’t say ‘Thank you’, ‘Please’ or ‘Good morning’,” says her mother Mara M. (45).

The German children are teased about being ‘pork eaters’. Her classmate Svenja: “I wish there were more pupils who could speak my language.” Jason’s mother says: “It’s not good that there are so few German children at the school.”

A teacher was quoted by Bild as saying: “We have tried in vain to get Germans in the school. Now we’re concentrating on the clientele that we have. In the canteen, there is no more pork.”
Kreuzberg is now the largest Turkish city outside of Turkey and is known as “Kleine Istanbul” (Little Istanbul).

According to Berlin government statistics, 90 percent of the inhabitants of certain areas of Kreuzberg live below the poverty level and subsist on taxpayer handouts—making a mockery of the liberal claim that immigration into Europe is needed to “keep the pension system and economy running.”


International 'Islamophobia' Conference Promotes Sharia Agenda

Objective observers should be rightfully concerned by the "International Conference on Islamophobia: Law & Media" held by the Turkish government's Directorate General of Press and Information (DGPI or BYGEM in Turkish) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) this past September 12-13 in Istanbul's Grand Tarabya Hotel. Conference participants substantiated all too many threats emanating from various Muslims and their allies, calling into question their respect for free speech and freedom of expression.

The conference website defined "Islamophobia" according to the Greek suffix phobia as a "groundless fear and intolerance of Islam and Muslims." By "culminating in hate speech and attitudes towards Muslims," this phobia is "detrimental to international peace." There should be "recognition of Islamophobia as a hate crime and Islamophobic attitudes as human rights violations."

In Istanbul, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an reiterated his well-known meme (see here and here) that "Islamophobia" as a "kind of racism" is a "crime against humanity." "No monotheistic religion," Erdo?an elaborated, "adopts, supports, permits or leads terror."

"If Christianity and Judaism cannot be mentioned with terrorism," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç seconded in his remarks, "then our noble religion Islam cannot be defamed this way either." Arinç discerned the main cause of "Islamophobia" in the belief that "Islam and democracy are not compatible," yet "Muslims are democrats in essence."

Representing the OIC's 57 Muslim-majority states (including "Palestine"), a fellow Turk, OIC Secretary General Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, reprised themes from the OIC'slongstanding attempts to restrict criticism of Islam. Ihsanoglu decried the "exploitation....of freedom of speech."

The conference's first session featured internationally renowned Islam scholar and regular Islamist apologist John Esposito. Esposito cited "irrational fear" being behind "anti-Sharia legislations" in the United States. Turning toward Egypt, Esposito criticized those who "think it is legitimate to overthrow a democratically elected government."

Joining Esposito on the panel to compare anti-Semitism with "Islamophobia" was Norman Gary Finkelstein. The Jewish child of Holocaust survivors, Finkelstein has a long record of comparing Israel to Nazism and supporting groups such as Hezbollah while having his views of fellow Jews celebrated among anti-Semites.

Nathan Lean appeared at the conference as well. Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jeffrey Taylor has criticized Lean's recent "maladroit, bungling critique" of atheist Richard Dawkins as an "Islamophobe." Bête noir among Lean's ilk, Islam scholar Robert Spencerhas likewise condemned various sloppy errors in Lean's public correspondence. Spencer has also condemned Lean as a "stalker" for threatening to release publicly supposed pictures of Spencer's home and family.

Joining Lean on a panel were American and Iranian professors Stephen Sheehi and Saied Reza Ameli. During a 2011 visit to the University of Florida, Sheehi had defined "Islamophobia" as merely being a "hatred of brown people." Ameli, meanwhile, was afounder and leading member of the United Kingdom's Islamic Human Rights Commission(IHRC), a "radical Islamist organization" in the assessment of Israel's Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism.

The self-proclaimed Turkish "Marxist academic" Ali Murat Yel and his American colleagueHatem Al Bazian were also in Istanbul. Yel has praised Erdo?an's ruling AKP party for having "paved the way for…a democratic society" in Turkey despite Islamist concerns. "The West," Yel has also opined, "may come to appreciate the Muslim experience of both Andalusia and the Ottoman past in dealing with their religious minorities." The "outspoken anti-Zionist" Bazian, meanwhile, has in the past stated notoriously genocidal Islamic hadith against the Jews.

Turkish academic Bülent ?enay oversaw the conference declaration drafting. In a 2010 presentation to the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Senay deemed "Islamophobia" as "today…the strongest form of hate crime," extending to the "psychological terror" of "cultural terrorists." ?enay condemned "hate speech…targeting all the tenets and adherents of Islam…under the banner of the freedom of expression." Additionally, "hate crimes originate from hate speeches," ?enay argued in another 2010 OSCE presentation. ?enay is the founder of the European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion (EMISCO), an entity prominent in the past for seeking OSCE opposition to "Islamophobia" speech (see here, here, and here).

Dahlia Mogahed rounded out the conference participants. This Esposito protégé and Obama Administration appointee has had numerous associations with MB-linked groups in the United States. She has also downplayed the extent of violent extremism among Islamists globally as well as the dangers of sharia.

Distinguishing between "legitimate criticisms…and hate-filled or irrational criticisms" was for BYEGM Director General Murat Karakaya in the conference final statement a "fundamental question." Yet the conference did not inspire the confidence that freedom of expression was a consideration in the discussion, particularly in light of host country Turkey's own harsh treatment of irreverence towards freedom of expression (see here andhere). The Istanbul agenda is yet another example of Islamists seeking to internally codify blasphemy under Sharia.


Making a Right turn

So, let’s say you realized, that, try as you might, you’re not like the rest of them.

You’re different. You don’t instantly agree with them. Their assumptions are no longer yours. Maybe, secretly, they never were. But now, you find yourself the odd man out as they rant, they rave, they ridicule.

You realize–in a quiet, private moment–that you aren’t a liberal. What next? What do you do? Can you let go from the safety net of agreeable party conversation and follow your own path? It’s quite a leap. Anyone who has done it will tell you–it’s never easy. See: David Mamet.

And I know–I know–you’ve never considered, ever, that you might be a conservative. Because, for the longest time, being a conservative was met with edgy derision and mockery. The “typical conservative,” as identified by the media and those in entertainment, is a cloddish clown–a humorless scold devoid of contemporary caché and hip fashion. Some of them make you angry. Some make you laugh at their earnestness. Some… you just don’t get. They’re weird.

I get it. I was there, once, facing a new terrain of oddballs. It’s important to note, however, that this stereotype–although true in some parts–in the larger sense is false. And it is a stereotype created by a movement and its proponents in the media that has owned the narrative since I was in diapers (at least ten years). The idea that conservatives are somehow more intolerant and angry than liberals is a lie. Both have their fair share, but the nature of conservatives is “live and let live.” It’s a shame that a few of them still don’t get that part. But all in all, the oddballs are oddly cool.

How do you make that transition from left to right? How do you accept that you are now the hated? The reviled? The dork? The hater of women, minorities, and women minorities? Should you even bother, if bothering means you’ll be smeared as a racist? Is it better just to walk out of one group and avoid the other? Disown any identification and remove yourself from such ideological battles? That would be easy, if you did not live in a liberal world. But if you do live there, then what do you do? How do you come out of the closet, as a rightie, without ruining your life?

By asking that question, you answer it. The animus directed at one who leaves the fold explains the value of the journey out. Its struggle dictates the meaning. The slings and arrows one experiences means, quite simply, that you are onto something. For the anger toward your move is a sweaty reaction to courage that others (like the attackers) lack.

If you were to define real rebellion–the act of a true recalcitrant–it would be through the condemnation of your leap. Consider that by becoming a liberal–moving from right to left–you will be the recipient of the age old “strange new respect.” You will be lauded. You will gain opportunities afforded to the cool who made that leap already. You will keep friends, and make more. You will experience opportunities that are available only to those who speak what pretends to be daring, when it is solely predictable. That observation tells you that there is nothing rebellious about it. Ariana reaped a new life from it. So did David Brock. And every celebrity on the wane. It’s the lifeline for dead ends.

Consider the opposite, my dear troubled liberal. Moving right cannot be done at night. The first time you reveal a traditionally conservative thought (you are pro-life, you believe in American exceptionalism, you decry dependence and government interference, you balk at racial politics, you embrace free markets while eschewing punitive taxes and regulations*), it cannot be hidden. The spotlight finds you, and, like a magnifying glass on a spider, it seeks to fry.

For that alone, your change is worth it. There is nothing more rebellious, truly, than turning right. There is nothing more daring than standing alone, facing the onslaught of a smirking media, and saying, “Here I am, I am not you.” There is nothing edgier than saying to the edgy, “You lie. You are as edgy as a frisbee.”

The colonial rebels were resisting the same thing. They didn’t want to be overtaxed, controlled from afar, or have all aspects of their lives regulated. They were TRUE rebels, not fake Sean Penn champagne rebels. That’s what the country was founded on, and that’s what we’re in danger of losing. (It’s STILL what defines us. Unlike every European country, we find “security,” i.e. a safety net available at our beck and call, beneath us. That may be the most significant manifestation of the American mindset. THAT is American exceptionalism. “Rugged individualism” is NOT dead. We’re NOT that far from the frontier, nor do we wish to be. We’ll leave a stultifying, deadening desire for “security” at all costs to the ossified empires of the past. We want freedom, and the risk is the exhilaration.

The only way I truly changed was interpreting the rejection of my “change” as validation. It was liberating. It was freedom. And it’s the only way to convey the value of such transformation to the young and confused. It is time to accept that a peculiar creaking creepiness exists in certain places on the right, for it will only open doors to new recruits, relieved that you understand their reticence.

And when they come, accept their own weirdness with open arms


The BBC has come to loathe those it serves

A great organisation has grown too Leftie and too big

It has been an interesting week. Syria, the Tory conference, Islamic terrorism in Kenya, Yemen and Nigeria, budget-lock in Washington: the world overflowed with news – but not on the BBC. That once-great news organisation seemed determined to turn every bulletin into a seminar on the life and opinions of Ralph Miliband.

As Lefties would say, there was a sub-text here. The BBC went well beyond objectivity. It was using the Miliband affair to attack its enemies. In so doing, it was also exposing its own cast of mind.

When John Birt became director-general of the BBC, he realised that there was a problem with many of his journalists. In recent years, there had been an infestation of soggy Leftism (my paraphrase, not his words). These characters often lived in an intellectual bubble, socialising solely with their colleagues and with others who held the same opinions. They never met anyone who argued that there might be a case for the death penalty, or that Maggie was not a monster any more than Reagan was a slow-witted war-mongering cowboy.

As they all held the same views, they also persuaded themselves that theirs were the only permissible ones and that anyone who disagreed was morally inferior. Some Marxists used to talk approvingly of “fused groups”: cells of like-minded comrades who would reinforce each others’ revolutionary rigour. The BBC was in danger of becoming a fused group.

John Birt also thought that his employees were underpaid. There, he was able to take corrective action. But the fused-group mentality persisted, especially over Europe and the environment. The BBC is not incapable of neutrality. It would like to have displayed more of it during the Falklands War. But on the EU and climate change, it preferred to act as a political commissar, suppressing all criticism.

That brings us to press regulation, and the next negotiations over the BBC licence fee. As the Marxists would say, it is no accident that the BBC should have tried to embarrass the Daily Mail just before the regulatory proposals are discussed. Plenty of people in the BBC would like to regulate the press, in the hope that thus tamed, newspapers would be less willing – and less free – to complain about the BBC and the licence fee. Papers have to earn their living in the free market. The BBC earns its living, courtesy of the criminal law. No wonder it seems keen to deploy that law against the free press.

There is a further factor. Marxists in their fused groups, wondering why the populace is not rallying behind the socialist revolution, have come up with the answer: “false consciousness”. If people appear to reject socialism, they are clearly suffering from false consciousness, so their views can be disregarded (cf the BBC with Eurosceptics and climate-change doubters). But one of the major proponents of false consciousness is the capitalist press.

It is impossible to overestimate the extent to which the Left hates the so-called Right-wing press, especially the popular Murdoch papers. Disregard the manufactured indignation about the hacking of Bimbo Bimbette’s phone calls. Lefties believe that but for the Sun, Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock would have won elections.

They also loathe the Daily Mail. Forget raucous football chants. For the Left, the two greatest obscenities are “lower-middle class” and “suburbia”. Hence their detestation of the Mail, which is the laureate of both. When they think of Mail readers, those on the Left imagine that they are all like Harry Potter’s adoptive parents, the neo-fascists of Privet Drive. When the Left sneers at the Mail, it is sneering at millions of decent people who get up in the morning, go to work and generally help to keep the country going – while also paying a large number of licence fees.

On the subject of suburban decencies, as the Cameroons would say, the BBC just doesn’t get it – as was proved by its despicable coverage of last year’s Royal River Pageant. There was a basic problem. It did not seem to occur to those in charge that tens of millions of their fellow countrymen revere the Queen and would expect the BBC to cover such a royal event in the way that would have come naturally to Richard Dimbleby.

In his era, one Home Service announcer, closing down the programme for the night, said “home, service: two of the most beautiful words in the English language. Goodnight.” It is impossible to imagine anyone in the BBC talking like that today. The BBC does not love its country.

So why should it benefit from a licence fee? That could be justified, if the BBC were like Covent Garden or the National Gallery: supplying a cultural service which the market cannot provide. When it comes to culture, however, the modern BBC is in the Hermann Goering camp. As regards current affairs on television, the BBC is living on its past reputation. Today’s output is feeble. The main concern seems to be low-grade popular entertainment, which is not especially popular.

The other month, I was deep in the country, on my own, trying to do some intensive writing. At the end of a day’s work, I was in the market for light entertainment: something like Dad’s Army, Steptoe and Son, Dr Finlay or Upstairs, Downstairs. I searched the BBC schedules in vain, and made do with DVDs of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People (both much better than the books). The BBC used to be a great organisation, at many levels. But it has grown too Leftie and too big, even though it often gives the impression that it only consists of two sections: the directorate of paedophilia and the bureau of pay-offs.

So what about a £50 licence fee, to pay for the Home Service, the World Service, the Third Programme and one television channel, along the lines of BBC2’s original remit? In the interim, before the BBC next attacks the free press, it should look up the passage about motes and beams – assuming that there is a Bible somewhere in Broadcasting House.

As for Ralph Miliband, his reputation can look after itself. Although sons are entitled to express their filial piety, Ed Miliband should be careful. He almost gives the impression that he has been crying himself to sleep every night over the insults to his father. This invites cynicism about his motives, and scrutiny of his father’s beliefs.

We are assured that far from hating this country, Prof Miliband loved it. He had a funny way of showing it. He wanted to abolish all our institutions plus our current economic system, replacing them by Marxian socialism, which has been so successful wherever it was practised. That is an odd way of displaying love. If Ralph Miliband loved this country, Oscar Wilde was right: “Each man kills the thing he loves.”



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.



6 October, 2013

Is the "Daily Mail" antisemitic for pointing to out that the father of the present British Labour Party leader was a prominent Marxist theoretician?

Abuse and accusation is the Leftist modus operandi so I doubt that anyone is much surprised at the torrent of abuse heaped on a newspaper that pointed out the fervid Marxist background of Britain's current Labour Party leader. The accusation that the DM is antisemitic is rather desperate, considering that both the author of the offending article, Geoffrey Levy, and the paper's deputy editor, Jon Steafel, are Jewish. But the article by Alex Brummer below answers that accusation comprehensively anyway.

Amid the abuse, however, it is interesting to see if any substantial refutation -- of the claim that Ralph Miliband hated Britain -- has emerged. The only one I have seen is that Ralph enlisted in the British navy during WWII. Note however that he first volunteered in January, 1942 and was finally enlisted in June 1943, both dates being AFTER Hitler had attacked Stalin (in June 1941). Ralph's loyalty was to Stalin, not Britain

With my psychologist's hat on, it seems fairly clear to me that Ralph's hostility to Britain and British society was at least partly personal. To the British establishment, he would have been seen as an ugly little troll (which he largely was) and definitely "not one of us". To be "one of us" in the Home Counties, the usual minimum requirement is to have been educated at a British "public" (i.e. private) school. A Polish Jew doesn't cut it.

As an intelligent man not inducted into the intricacies of the British class system, this would have provoked in Ralph a not incomprehensible resentment. Had he been more sophisticated, he could have nonetheless gained considerable acceptance by immediately cutting his hair, abandoning those dreadful spectacles, acquiring a "cut glass" accent and cultivating an air of self-confident detachment. No doubt, however, he was too rage-filled for any of that

As it is, Ralph didn't even get on all that well with his fellow Jewish Marxists. His big row with Hobsbawm (born "Obstbaum") has been noted. But perhaps in that he was just being a good Marxist. Karl Marx hated more or less everyone -- even his own mother -- JR

This year I celebrate my barmitzvah (13th year) as a Daily Mail journalist — having made the long ideological journey from my previous job at the Guardian newspaper.

The very idea that I would have made such a move across the spectrum of economic and political thinking, and stuck with it for so many years, if I believed that this paper was anti-Semitic, is utterly risible.

Indeed, the cynical attempts by Lord Kinnock, the political Left and the Labour Party to shift the debate about the Mail article that explored Ed Miliband’s late father Ralph’s views on politics, international affairs and economic models, to one about alleged anti-Semitism within the Associated Newspapers group is absolutely deplorable.

When it comes to anti-Semitism, I, as a practising Jew in the orthodox tradition, regard myself as something of an expert with very sensitive antennae.

This is not surprising. My wonderful father, just like Ralph Miliband, arrived in Britain on a boat as a refugee, from what is now Ukraine in 1939 after the Jewish population where he lived was rounded up and deported to Nazi concentration camps.

My father’s parents died at Auschwitz. His younger sisters survived the horror of the death camps, partly because Nazi doctors found them useful as human guinea pigs during their eugenics experiments.

I regret to say that any Jewish child brought up in Britain in the Fifties and Sixties, when the world was still trying to come to terms with the horror of the Shoah (Holocaust), will likely have experienced anti-Semitism.

For instance, a brilliant City fund manager friend of mine who went to Rugby School before Oxford University suffered virulent anti-Semitism and tells me that is still fresh in his mind.

For myself, as a grammar school boy in Brighton, I encountered frequent taunts and abuse from teachers and pupils alike. It was part of the minority upbringing experience.

At the Guardian, though, which I joined as a graduate trainee in the financial section, my Jewish origins never seemed to matter as I rose through the ranks, eventually becoming Associate Editor of the paper.

But as events in the Middle East changed in the later decades of the 20th century — and given the way the Zionist dream was portrayed by the Left — I felt increasingly uneasy. Coverage of Israel had become hostile, with the country’s leaders depicted as bullies — and, in most part, the Arab world as ‘victims’.

There was at least one occasion, when attending the morning news conference, that I felt it necessary to challenge a news editor publicly over what I regarded as a deeply anti-Semitic attack on Israel’s behaviour. He apologised.

Since arriving as a Jew at the Mail, I have felt much more comfortable away from the knee-jerk anti-Zionism shown by the Left and its totally disproportionate efforts to demonise Israel.

Over the past 13 years, I have taken part in the Mail’s leader conferences, where the paper’s policy is set under the watchful eye of editor Paul Dacre, and where rigorous discussion has taken place about Israel’s behaviour and the moral contribution of Judaism to the world.

If Israel has been perceived to have behaved badly towards the Palestinians — such as over the Israelis’ enthusiastic settlement development in areas like the West Bank and the Golan Heights — criticism has been voiced.

But throughout my time at the Mail, the paper’s loyalty to Israel, as a beacon of democracy and economic success in a region of often ghastly sectarian dictatorships, has never wavered.
Moreover, it is a newspaper that has nurtured and promoted Jewish staff in every editorial department.

When the allegations of anti-Semitism emerged — a sub-plot to attacks on the paper from the Left for its coverage of Ralph Miliband’s views — a colleague (who has worked on the paper for 34 years) burst into my office to express his outrage at the very suggestion that this was the case.

But the real danger in these completely phoney allegations is that they detract from the genuine anti-Semitism that is suddenly on the march again in Eastern and Southern Europe.

For example, in Hungary, we are witnessing the rise of the virulently anti-Semitic nationalist party Jobbik, which is linked to paramilitary-style militias. And in Greece there has been a surge in support for the extremist Right-wing Golden Dawn party, which beats up immigrants on the streets.

It is absurd to suggest that the Mail is anti-Semitic — for its deputy editor has Jewish origins, and a leading columnist and many other staff are Jewish.

It is hardly likely that Melanie Phillips, one of the most outspoken and fervently pro-Jewish, pro-Israel voices in British political discourse, would have served the paper for so long, so bravely and so brilliantly, were that the case.

As for the article itself about the beliefs and politics of Ralph Miliband’s life, it would have been impossible for the paper, or anyone else for that matter, to try to piece it together without referring to his arrival in Britain as a refugee from Nazism and his Jewish background.

The fact that he and others on the Marxist Left happened to be Jewish cannot be avoided. But it doesn’t mean that anyone who writes about such issues is anti-Semitic. Nor is such journalism a ‘smear’.

The Mail’s reasons for scrutinising the family background of Ed Miliband, in an article by Geoffrey Levy, cannot be attributed to the base notion of exposing his Jewishness. It was simply to try to explain why Ed Miliband was, as he declared (from a soapbox in my home town of Brighton a few days earlier), a ‘socialist’.

And it was also to get a better understanding of where some of his more extreme anti-free market views came from. As an experienced financial writer, it was hard for me to ignore the repeated assaults on enterprise in his party conference speech.

It included a threat to freeze prices of energy companies; to grab back land from house builders suspected of hoarding unused real estate; to punish big corporations with higher taxes and to increase the so-called ‘bonus’ taxes on the banks.

Understanding where a political leader’s deep-rooted political beliefs stem from is what newspapers and biographers have done over the ages.

Nearly always, the first couple of hundred pages of a political biography investigates the subject’s family background.

For example, Charles Moore’s recent biography of Margaret Thatcher partly explores the sometimes starkly conservative views of her shop-keeper father Alfred Roberts, including some latent anti-Semitism.

Such views, absorbed at the hearth during childhood, help to frame adult beliefs. Of course, these may be shed in adulthood — as they were in Mrs Thatcher’s case — but they are a fascinating part of the human puzzle.

The next time anyone wants to accuse the Daily Mail of poor standards of journalism, I suggest they talk to the paper’s department editors first and learn about the rigorous standards that are followed to produce accurate reporting.

Also, the next time someone wants to accuse the paper of anti-Semitism, I have an invitation for them.

Join me in my office with other members of staff — Jewish and non-Jewish — as we light the Chanukah freedom lights in that season of the year, or join us for apple and honey at the Jewish New Year.

That is part of our lives on a news floor where different religions and cultures are celebrated.


The Guardian and Left-wing mass murderers: a love story

First, an admission. I’ve worked for both the Guardian and the Mail, and I can report that both papers are staffed by lots of nice, intelligent people. Really.

But that doesn’t stop these papers making complete fools of themselves – as the Guardian has ably demonstrated this week, during the debate as to whether Ed Miliband’s dad, Ralph, was just an amiable old duffer with a penchant for Marks and Spencer vests, or a grisly Marxist quisling, hell-bent on blowing up Prince Philip (personally, I suspect the truth lies somewhere between the two).

As of this morning, the Guardian has published approximately 3,894 articles on the Miliband-Mail spat, a frenzy of moral superiority which culminated in an editorial, couched in lofty tones of weary disappointment, in which the Guardian gently reminded its readers that the Mail used to support the blackshirts in the 1930s.
And this is true. The Mail did publish some odious bilge back in the day.

But is the Guardian completely blemish-free when it comes to Dubious Opinions From The Past?

Here’s the Guardian in 1919, getting an interview with Lenin. The Guardian finds him “pleasant” and “refreshing”. This, of course, is the same pleasant refreshing Lenin who, alongside the humorous, delightful Stalin and the wryly charming KGB pleasantly refreshed 30 million Russians into their graves, in a decades-long campaign of torture, starvation, imprisonment, slave labour and brutal purges.

But maybe that was a one-off? After all, anyone can be taken in by a dictator with a really nifty goatee.

Well, no. Here in 2007 is Guardian writer Neil Clark hurling rose petals at agreeable, kitten-saving Slobodan Milosevic. Yes, that Slobodan Milosevic – the one who, six years before Clark’s article, was brought to The Hague, accused of savage war crimes and racialised slaughter.

According to the Guardian’s Neil Clark, however, Milosevic was just a victim of nasty western neo-liberal discrimination. I’m not joking. These are Clark’s very own words in The Guardian, after Slobo’s death in prison: “Milosevic was mourned not just in Serbia, but throughout the world: in China, Africa, Asia and South America, as a hero of the anti-imperialist, anti-globalist struggle.”

The Guardian’s refreshingly pleasant tolerance of unusual journalists does not begin and end with Clark. They are also happy to hire enemy spies who work constantly to undermine Britain, in fact, I understand they positively prefer it. For instance, in the 1930s their Chinese correspondent was Agnes Smedley, an enthusiast for all things communist, and a big, big fan of that affable Chairman Mao. Trouble is, in 2005, it was proved she was actually a secret agent working for the Soviet Union and Comintern.

The pleasant experience with Smedley was such a refreshing success the Guardian later went on to hire Richard Gott, a public-school Marxist (like his younger Guardian colleague Seumas Milne). In 1994 it was revealed that Gott had been working for the KGB for years and had taken Red Gold. Gott tried to dismiss his espionage as an “enjoyable joke” (yes, how they laughed in the Gulags when they heard); nonetheless Gott was, eventually, forced to resign in disgrace.

And yet he didn’t. He’s still working for the newspaper now. In 2007 the self-confessed KGB informant Richard Gott wrote an article in the Guardian, saying that Britain really should hand the Falklands back to Argentina, “regardless of the islanders’ wishes”.

Imagine if the Daily Mail hired a journalist. Imagine the Mail was then told this journalist was a fascist spy, taking money from fascists, so they were forced to sack him. Imagine the Daily Mail then thought "To hell with it", and hired the same guy again – to write some more sinister articles? How would the Guardian react to that?

Perhaps they would find it all rather refreshing.


Ever since I criticised a leftist icon, the Beeb hasn't stopped calling me

Rod Liddle

Ring, ring goes the telephone every minute God sends. Sometimes I pick it up and say hello, sometimes I don’t. I know who is calling, anyway. It is one or another media representative from the bien-pensant absolutist liberal left, and they are all in a dither about a man called Ralph Miliband, of whom they had probably never heard until a few hours ago, and whom they have most certainly not read. Their sense of excitement, these youngish callers from a multiplicity of BBC news stations and, of course, Channel 4 News, is palpable; it fizzes and crackles down the line, their outrage and their delight at possibly finding someone who might add to their outrage, perhaps cube their outrage. Unless it’s just the jackdaws hacking away at the telephone lines again. It could be that.

The phone only ever rings like that when I’ve made a transgression against the sensibilities of these relentlessly busy people by saying something with which they disagree. Then all hell is let loose and my wife wanders into my room with a terribly weary expression on her face and says, ‘Why can’t you just keep your bloody mouth shut for once, you imbecile?’ and slams the door. Quite often the provisional wing of the bien-pensants gets involved, the Press Complaints Commission. But only when it’s the liberals who have been transgressed.

The odd thing is, it never, ever happens when I have a go at the right, no matter how recklessly, personally or unpleasantly. Sometimes when I’ve been spiteful about the crop of smug and inept public-school boys who currently run this country, I sort of hope that the phone will start its incessant ringing, because it would make a nice change. But it never does. I could write an article insisting that David Cameron was created from the frozen semen of Adolf Hitler by Soviet scientists and that he enjoyed nightly intercourse with feral goats — and the Beeb and Channel 4 wouldn’t give a monkey’s. ‘He’s probably right,’ they’d all be saying to themselves, ‘for once.’ There would be no calls for sackings, or prosecutions. The Guardian Comment is Free website would be utterly uninterested.

The problem on this occasion was a blog I had written for The Spectator agreeing, in a small part, with an article written by the Daily Mail’s Geoffrey Levy about the sociologist and, uh, activist, Ralph Miliband — father of the Labour leader Ed, of course. As it happens, I don’t think it was a particular brilliant article — as I said in the blog, I thought Levy’s hatchet was constructed from thinnish gruel, to coin a somewhat confusing metaphor. I don’t think the comments of a very young Ralph Miliband about Britain being full of horrible gung-ho nationalists should define the man forever as a hater of the country which took him in, as an émigré from Belgium, all those years ago. Nor do I think that Ed’s politics owe very much to his father’s view of the world, which, like that of most mid-20th century Marxist academics, was Manichean and corrupt. Further, if the Levy article was a smear, an attempt to sway voters away from Labour, I don’t think for a second that it will have worked; if anything, Ed’s stoic defence of his father might have swung a few votes his way.

But Ralphy? Not good, really not good. A competent writer (for a sociologist, at least — certainly a lot better than his mate C. Wright Mills), but possessed of views which wished to see the overthrow of the British state. A view steeped in a sort of intellectual, distanced, hatred; effete and pointless and hugely damaging to the Labour party, of which Ralph Miliband was a member for most of his later life. (To his credit, he never quite signed up to the Communist party.)

My real objection is the way in which these British-based Marxist academics are still revered, still taken seriously, despite having been proved wrong about almost everything. It is true that Ralph Miliband was markedly less of a poisonous influence than the ghastly Eric Hobsbawm, or the gentle and deluded E.P. Thompson, or Raymond Williams, or Stuart Hall or John Berger. Universities are just about the only place in the western world where you will find people who sign up to the dull, Victorian, mechanistic plodding of Karl Marx; somehow both Marx and his disciples have a sort of tenure in the soft social sciences, the faux disciplines of sociology and lit crit and meeja studies, and of course any module with the word ‘ethnic’ or ‘cultural’ in its heading. It is a form of radical chic dilettantism, laughable today (ever since Malcolm Bradbury created Howard Kirk in The History Man), but dangerous in the scary postwar years when the Communist party controlled several major unions and still posed threats both existential and via the ballot box.

And I repeat the charge. If George Osborne’s dad was as far to the right as Ralph Miliband was to the left, and this fact was reported (having read interviews with Osborne’s father, this might not be far from the truth), nobody would howl in anger that this was a smear, would they? The BBC and Channel 4 News would, instead, leap in and kick the living daylights out of Osborne Sr and think themselves entirely justified in so doing. Ralph Miliband may have been a lovely dad, but he was a damaging and unjustly revered influence. It should not be a crime to say as much.


Another shifty Shi-ite

Mehdi Hasan, who writes for the Huffington Post UK blog, attacked the Daily Mail over the Ralph Miliband controversy on BBC1's Question Time on Thursday.

But the senior political journalist was not always such a passionate opponent of this newspaper.

Indeed, in July 2010, while working at the left-wing New Statesman, Mr Hasan wrote to the Daily Mail editor asking if he could write for the paper.

Here we print extracts of what he said then - and what he said on Question Time on Thursday.



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.



4 October, 2013

The multiculturalism never stops in Britain

Three pedestrians were struck by a car in a deliberate Grand Theft Auto-style revenge attack, a shocking video revealed today.

The friends - one of them partially blind - were crossing the road after a night out in Manchester city centre when the Vauxhall Corsa was used as a lethal weapon to knock them over ‘like skittles’.

Aqab Hussain, 21 - who was today convicted of four counts of attempted murder - drove straight into the victims, who were hurled through the air, before he sped off and left them for dead.

Eyewitness Corey Gordon, 26, who watched the attack from inside his car, later compared it to a sequence from the violent computer game series in which users play the role of car thieves.

He said: ‘It was like ten pin bowling where you hit the skittles and they go up in the air. I can only describe it as unreal - a computer game like Grand Theft Auto - as he swerved off line to hit the men. It knocked one of the men at least 7ft into the air.’

Hussain even wobbled his vehicle so he could shake off one of the men who was still on the bonnet, Manchester Crown Court was told.

It left Michael Ward, 28, - who was already partially sighted - with skull fractures. He spent 20 days in intensive care after emergency brain surgery and is now paralysed on his right side.

The incident occurred after father-of-three Mr Ward, of Bolton, and his friends had gone to the Silks lap dancing club in Manchester city centre, just after midnight on August 21 last year.

Five minutes after the party arrived at the club, a group of five men, including Hussain, also entered and bought a Grey Goose vodka bottle from the club for £100 to celebrate the Eid festival.

When the club closed at 2.15am there was a fight in which a cap was taken from one of Hussain’s friends during horseplay but was handed back.

A further row erupted outside during which one of the Hussain’s group was heard saying ‘watch, you just watch yourself’.

Minutes later Hussain’s silver Corsa emerged from a side road, turning the wrong way then sped up to 40mph as it mowed down Mr Ward and his three friends as they crossed the road.

One stepped back on to the pavement in time and was uninjured, but the other three men were hit by the car. Martin Harris suffered minor injuries and Paul Hulme had a broken leg which needed surgery to insert a metal rod.

Mr Ward was carried on the bonnet of the Corsa for several feet as the driver swerved to throw him into the road.

He is now unable to use his right hand and she said his cognitive functions including speech had been seriously affected and would leave him dependant on others.

Ian Metcalfe, prosecuting, said: ‘What other intention could the defendant he have had in driving the way he did other than attempting to murder those who he drove into.

‘The Corsa didn’t stop and the occupants made no attempt to stop or assist. Even at the point of impact with the young men, the driver did nothing to apply his brakes to swerve to avoid the collision - nothing at all to avoid the pedestrians crossing.

‘That vehicle only starts to veer from side to side when it has one of the victims is on the bonnet and veers in an attempt to throw him off the bonnet.’

‘The only sensible interpretation of the manner the Corsa was driven is the driver, no doubt inflamed by whatever had gone on a couple of minutes before intended to kill. He was deliberately using that vehicle as a lethal weapon.’

Hussain, of Rusholme, Greater Manchester, was arrested on October 11 as he arrived back in Manchester on a flight from Pakistan.

He denied driving the car and denied all charges. It emerged he had previous convictions for dangerous driving and failing to stop after an accident. He was remanded in custody to face sentence later.

Judge Robert Atherton told him: ‘There will be a substantial prison sentence.’

In a statement issued by police six months after the attack, Mr Ward’s wife Mayrose said: ‘The impact this has had on our lives has been truly devastating and our three children have been left with broken hearts.

‘I go and see Michael every day at the hospital and it is deeply upsetting to remember him how he was before the incident and to see how he is now.

Today Rachael Pavion, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: ‘Aqab Hussain used his car as a weapon, he sought revenge by driving at speed deliberately at the four men with a clear intention to kill.

‘After he struck his victims, he drove from the scene and showed complete disregard for the harm he had caused.’


How typically hypocritical of the Left, who danced on the grave of Mrs Thatcher, to be upset about debate over Red Ed's Marxist father

Listening to Ed Miliband and his henchmen in the BBC and elsewhere, you would think that this newspaper was guilty of a smear against his late father unprecedented in the annals of human history.

Some hysterical commentators have suggested that the Right in British politics is well-versed in throwing rotten cabbages at its opponents, dead and alive, whereas the virtuous Left never said a nasty thing about anyone.

Of course, in asserting in a headline that the Marxist academic Ralph Miliband ‘hated Britain’, the Mail was merely offering its interpretation of the facts. Others, including some of his friends and Ed Miliband, have a different interpretation.

But I would not have thought it the most damning or surprising suggestion in the world that a Marxist internationalist might regard this country’s institutions with a jaundiced eye. His utterings bear this out.

Compare the Left’s reaction to this supposedly disgraceful smear to its response to the death of Margaret Thatcher in April. The former Prime Minister was put through the mangle in a way Miliband senior certainly has not been.

Her body was barely cold, and her distraught family were mourning her, as various Lefties poured out their bile.

After Lady Thatcher’s death, Ed Miliband was relatively statesmanlike in his remarks in the Commons. Good for him. But a photograph taken nearly two years earlier shows him with his arm around a Labour councillor, Keir Morrison, who is wearing a T-shirt on which these words are emblazoned: ‘A Generation Of Trade Unionists Will Dance On Thatcher’s Grave.’

Mr Miliband must surely have seen this inscription, and yet was happy to put his arm around Mr Morrison. Both men are grinning in the photograph. Perhaps they are amused by the idea of dancing on Lady Thatcher’s grave.

The point is that she was still alive, and, although unwell, capable of being hurt or offended by this photograph had it been shown to her. Ralph Miliband, on the other hand, is beyond being hurt.

And what has been said about him by this newspaper can surely not be compared to the tasteless and cruel suggestion by a Labour councillor, embraced by Mr Miliband, that he and his pals would like to dance on Lady Thatcher’s grave.

The Labour leader is being — shall we be kind? — inconsistent. The same observation can be made of the hordes of Leftists who are dabbing their eyes in memory of Ralph Miliband, having publicly celebrated the death of Margaret Thatcher only a few months ago.

In Glasgow and Brixton, campaigners shouted from loudspeakers: ‘Maggie, Maggie, Maggie’, as the mob ecstatically replied: ‘Dead, dead, dead.’ Some were carrying banners, with one proclaiming ‘Rejoice. Thatcher is dead’.

The Left-wing MP, and former member of the Labour Party, George Galloway tweeted ‘May she burn in the hell fires’.

Derek Hatton, a former Left-wing Labour councillor from Liverpool, who brought that city to its knees in the early Eighties, tweeted his ‘regret’ that Lady Thatcher had ever been born.

Nice fellows. Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I can’t recall Ed Miliband rebuking them, or expressing any regret over the behaviour of the louts who held parties to mark Margaret Thatcher’s death before her funeral had taken place.

Oh, I shouldn’t forget that the BBC, which has been scandalised by the suggestion that Ralph Miliband was not a paid-up British patriot, gave endless airtime to a long succession of people who wanted to vent their anger and resentment against the just-deceased Margaret Thatcher.

The truth is that Leftists who reach for the smelling salts when the record of one of their own is reasonably questioned require no lessons in the tricks of denigrating or smearing their political adversaries.

We have recent evidence of this phenomenon, even if most of Damian McBride’s victims were in his own party. By his own admission in his memoirs serialised by the Mail, the former Labour spin doctor helped to destroy the careers of two Labour ministers, and briefed mercilessly against others.

Almost every Labour spin doctor of recent times seems to have been skilled at smearing, whereas it is difficult to think of a Tory counterpart so schooled in these dark arts, though it is true that Sir Bernard Ingham, Lady Thatcher’s press spokesman, sometimes hung ‘semi-detached’ Cabinet ministers out to dry.

McBride — like Labour spin doctors Alastair Campbell and Charlie Whelan before him — was an expert in the smearing business. According to the memoirs, Ed Miliband ‘might have problems’ if his exchanges with Derek Draper, another former Labour spin doctor, were revealed.

I strongly suspect that Ed Miliband — a close ally of Gordon Brown, for whom McBride worked — was himself no beginner in this field. The former Blairite minister Tessa Jowell has said she found McBride’s revelations ‘truly shocking’. She evidently believes Ed Miliband must have known what was going on.

And yet this same Ed Miliband presents himself — or more precisely his father — as the innocent victim of an ugly smear. It is an extraordinary piece of legerdemain that has enormously increased my respect for Mr Miliband’s political abilities, if not for his integrity.

What we have seen over the past few days is a show of calculated hysteria on the part of the Labour leader. Of course, no man likes to hear his dead father publicly criticised. But, as I have said, one can think of a thousand more damaging criticisms than the one this paper made against Ralph Miliband.

On one level, Red Ed knew that, as he has bound himself to his father in a series of speeches, he could not afford to let the accusation that Miliband senior had hated Britain go unchallenged.

On another level, Ed Miliband realised that his diatribes against this paper would go down well with the party faithful, and possibly convince the wider electorate that he was stronger and more determined than they had thought.

He may also hope that, by creating such an almighty hullabaloo about his supposedly traduced father 19 months before the general election, he will somehow neutralise a potentially embarrassing issue — the influence of his Marxist father on his own beliefs — and deter the Press from returning to it in the near future.

Let us acknowledge his political guile. But the notion that he is the hapless victim of an overmighty Press is as far-fetched as the suggestion that the Right is more successful in vilifying its enemies than the Left. In recent times, the opposite is much closer to the truth.

Consider that picture of Red Ed with his arm round Councillor Keir Morrison, who wanted to dance on Margaret Thatcher’s grave. He did not give a fig for the sensibilities of an elderly lady and former Tory leader. Without doubt, his late father — who bitterly opposed the Falklands War — would have been very proud.


Marxism...and just how much did Ralph influence Red Ed?

Nothing is more natural than a child’s love for its parents.

Indeed, Ed Miliband struck a chord with many readers by springing to his father’s defence after the Mail’s exposé of the latter’s political philosophy – a philosophy that underpinned incalculable human misery.

But while it is certainly astute PR for the Labour leader to present his complaint against the Daily Mail in purely personal and emotional terms, it is also a mite disingenuous.

For as he is aware, this is not just a personal issue. It is a fundamental question of ideology and enormous public interest.

Indeed, his father cannot be portrayed as an innocent private figure, irrelevantly dragged into the public arena. On the contrary, he was one of the foremost Marxist thinkers of his generation, an academic and author who devoted his life to preaching one of history’s most poisonous dogmas.

Supporting the Labour leader, Nick Clegg tweeted the platitude: ‘Politics should be about playing the ball, not the man, certainly not the man’s family.’

But what this wilfully ignores is that, in a crucial sense, Professor Ralph Miliband’s ideology is the ball – and not least because his son has made it so.

Indeed, in every major speech Red Ed has made since becoming leader, he has spoken of his refugee parents, their flight from Nazism and the debt he owes them for his convictions and values.

If the man who hopes to be Prime Minister says his father’s outlook helped shape his politics, how can his father’s life and work be declared beyond the pale of legitimate journalistic inquiry?

In his attacks on us, repeated ad nauseam by a gleeful BBC, Mr Miliband has focused on our headline ‘The Man Who Hated Britain’.

Yes, we accept that he can be justly proud of his father’s war record. But consider the following words by the 45-year-old Ralph.

His disdain for Britain included: ‘Eton and Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge, the great Clubs, the Times, the Church, the Army, the respectable Sunday papers...

‘It also means the values of the ruling orders, keep the workers in their place, strengthen the House of Lords, maintain social hierarchies, God save the Queen, equality is bunk, democracy is dangerous etc...

‘Also respectability, good taste, don’t rock the boat, there will always be an England, foreigners, Jews, natives etc are all right in their place, and their place is outside.’

And these are the words of a man who ‘loved Britain’? Indeed, he argued for nothing less than workers’ revolution to change this country beyond recognition.

The Marxism he espoused underpinned Stalin and his genocide, graphically described by Michael Burleigh.

Ralph Miliband must have known this horror was happening. Yet he and his fellow ‘useful idiots’ of the extreme Left continued to teach their warped ideas to the young.

Indeed, it is a measure of their baneful influence that their ideology is still taught in universities, long after similarly vile creeds of the Right have been banished.

What is so disturbing is that Miliband Jnr, with his plans for state seizures of builders’ land and fixing prices by government diktat, appears to have absorbed so many of his father’s ideas.

Now he leads the charge for political control of the Press, calling for a national debate on how newspapers should conduct themselves. Very well.

But the Mail would also welcome a dispassionate and honest debate on the views of his father and their influence on Britain’s would-be Prime Minister.


Feminist Blogger Hanna Rosin Slammed for Being Sane

It sure is hard to be a feminist blogger these days. The agitated masses are always demanding more: more extreme claims, more pseudo-scientific evidence of widespread oppression, and more anecdotes testifying to the unconscionable struggle of women the world over. It is precisely why Hanna Rosin, senior editor at the Atlantic and co-founder of Slate’s DoubleX feminist blog, is so out of place: she is surprisingly conservative.

Wherever Rosin writes becomes a hotbed of controversy. She does not hesitate to use cold, hard facts and intelligent analysis to challenge Barack Obama, Equal Pay Day activists, and other liberals who twist statistics to support a wage gap discrimination narrative. It is easy to see how her posts, including “’The Patriarchy’ is Not to Blame for Your Juice Cleanse” and “The Gender Wage Gap Lie,” receive an enormous amount of backlash from her intended audience. Militant feminist commenters on her posts and across social media platforms retaliated, accusing Rosin of upholding rape and criticizing her marriage.

The blogger’s detractors also include fellow journalists. Rosin’s observation that present-day feminism vitally depends on an “irrational attachment to the concept of unfair” so outraged Kat Stoeffel of The Cut that she wrote a satire blaming “the patriarchy” for everything from juice cleanses to public restrooms. Nora Caplan-Bricker of the New Republic dismissed Rosin’s conclusions as mere “mansplaining,” a bizarre feminist term for men telling women what to think and a baffling expression to use against another woman. Feminists from the Nation to Jezebel to the Huffington Post have added to the onslaught of attacks.

Yet Rosin never fails to deliver a quick-witted response to her extremist progressive critics. On one occasion, when accused of misrepresenting the female population as a “rich white lady,” Rosin replied, “I am a rich white lady. So are the people responding to me. Rich white ladies are generally the ones who bother with feminist showdowns.”

Although Rosin is not a perfect conservative (after all, she is still a feminist blogger), she does a consistently excellent job of summing up sane Americans’ reactions to modern feminism: “again, I’m not sure how blaming the patriarchy will help.” One can only hope the others will eventually catch on.



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.



3 October, 2013

There's nothing like a bit of multiculturalism

Jewellery cases smashed. Mobile phones ripped from displays. Cash registers emptied. Alcohol stocks plundered.

For the second time in two months, Kenyan security forces that moved in to control an emergency are being accused of robbing the very property they were supposed to protect. First the troops were accused of looting during a huge fire in August at Nairobi's main airport.

Now shop owners at Westgate Mall are returning to their stores after last week's devastating terrorist attack to find displays ransacked and valuables stolen.

One witness told The Associated Press that he saw a Kenyan soldier take cigarettes out of a dead man's pocket.

The shock revelation that looting businesses and robbing bodies took place comes a day after the first pictures from inside the mall were revealed.

Shopping trolleys abandoned, bags dropped on the floor and beer bottles left where they stand, these haunting images show the shops which were deserted in the aftermath of the Nairobi mall massacre which left 67 people dead and dozens more missing.

Carts full of goods were left standing in Westgate Mall as shoppers fled for their lives when jihadi terrorists rushed the building and started gunning down customers.

The photographs show how people apparently dropped bags on the ground as they made their escape, forming a disturbing portrait of the moment chaos broke out.

Shopkeepers spent Monday carting merchandise and other valuables out of their stores and restaurants to prevent any more thefts. No one can say for sure who is responsible, but Kenya's security forces are strongly suspected.

Soon after the attack began on September 21, Kenyan officials put a cordon around the mall, allowing only security forces and a few government personnel to pass through.

Since then, alcohol stocks from the restaurants have been depleted. One business owner at the mall said money and mobile phones were taken from bags and purses left behind in the mayhem. The owner insisted on anonymity to avoid retribution from Kenya's government.

Employees of a book shop on the mall's second floor returned to find registers yanked open and cash gone. The store's laptops were also stolen. All the shop's books remained in place, said owner Paku Tsavani.

Perhaps reluctant to blame Kenyan security forces, Tsavani said he doesn't know who took his goods. 'Obviously the terrorists wouldn't steal those things, so we just don't know,' Tsavani said.

Sandeep Vidyarthi went into the mall Sunday to help a relative retrieve equipment from his dental practice. Inside he said he passed shop after shop that had been looted, including the Rado store that sells high-end Swiss watches.

As he was leaving the mall, Vidyarthi passed a jewellery shop near the front entrance. The owner, he said, was presenting security officials with a long list of missing precious stones and high-end necklaces. 'The jeweller had written down this very long list,' he said.

It is ironic, said the management team of one Westgate business, that store owners must now make reports of stolen goods to the same security forces suspected of doing the thieving.

Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku confirmed the reports of theft Sunday in a news conference. The majority of the responders to the terrorist attack came from Kenya's military. A military spokesman did not answer repeated calls for comment.

'Those responsible for looting will be prosecuted,' Lenku said.

The mall attack also saw good Samaritans. Paresh Shah, a volunteer who helped evacuate the injured and recover the dead during the first day, said he carried out the body of Aleem Jamal.

Shah frowned at the memory and said he saw a Kenyan soldier take Jamal's cigarettes while in the ambulance. 'I could never do that, take a dead man's cigarettes,' Shah said.

Jamal's family retrieved the body at the morgue, where his wife, Taz Jamal, said her husband's wallet was missing.

A team of terrorists entered Westgate Mall shortly after noon on a busy Saturday, firing guns and throwing grenades. The attackers - the Somali extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility - held off Kenya's military and controlled at least parts of the mall for four days.

The attack killed at least 67 people. The mall now has a gaping three-story hole in it from the siege.

FBI agents, along with investigators from Britain, Canada and Germany, are participating in the investigation into the attack and are aiding Kenyan forensic experts. Results are not expected until later this week at the earliest.

Kenyan authorities have used anti-terrorism laws to detain a total of 12 people in connection with the attack, including one on Sunday. Three have been set free, including a British man with a bruised face who was reportedly arrested last week as he tried to board a flight from Nairobi to Turkey while acting suspiciously, the British Foreign Office confirmed Monday.

Ndung'u Githinji, chairman of parliament's foreign relations committee, said officials will 'rethink' Kenya's hospitality in supporting refugee camps, a reference to Dadaab, a camp near Somalia filled with more than 400,000 Somalis. Security officials say some elements in the camp support and facilitate terror attacks.

In addition to the 61 civilians and six troops reported killed in the attack, the government has said five of the attackers were killed by gunfire and at least one more is thought to be in the building's rubble.

The militant group al-Shabab has said it carried out the mall attack to punish Kenya for sending its troops into neighboring Somalia to fight the Al Qaeda-linked militant group that had seized large parts of that country for years before being dislodged from the capital, Mogadishu.


Kathy Shaidle doesn't think much of her native Canada

Will Canadians call for her beheading?

In Canada, David Gilmour is what passes for a famous author north of the 49th parallel. That is, he puts out a new novel every few years that sells well under a thousand copies before it’s remaindered. He’s handed awards at respectable intervals and shows up on prize juries and the occasional TV or radio show....

Hunkered down in my office, I kept half-hearing televised news reports murmuring from the living room about some kind of shocking incident taking place on or about a University of Toronto campus.

From the grave tones being affected by reporters, I briefly feared some lone loony named “David Gilmour” had just gunned down a dozen or so female students at Victoria College à la the Montreal Massacre.

The truth was nowhere near as exciting.

No, 67-year-old novelist and university lecturer Gilmour has merely granted an interview to a previously unheard-of publication and was now being mocked and denounced in international news stories and opinion pieces.

His crime against humanity? When asked about which books he assigns to his U of T students, Gilmour replied:

I’m not interested in teaching books by women. Virginia Woolf is the only writer that interests me as a woman writer, so I do teach one of her short stories. But once again, when I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women.…

Usually at the beginning of the semester a hand shoots up and someone asks why there aren’t any women writers in the course. I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.

Dryly humored and notoriously petulant, as well as a crashing bore on the topic of his many ex-wives, Gilmour has never been in danger of being dubbed “Canada’s Most Lovable Writer.” It’s easy to imagine him uttering his now notorious “racist, sexist, homophobic” words through his familiar perma-smirk, perhaps to amuse himself while submitting to the time-wasting questions of a female reporter who fell below his “boinkability” standards.

Need I tell you that calls for Gilmour’s dismissal came thick and fast? Or that the most “offensive” statement he made last week was his defensive, semi-sucky “apology”?

Despite the stale Marxist jargon being pitched in Gilmour’s general direction, this “controversy” reveals less about “patriarchy” than it does about parochialism.

Never mind the proverbial “small stakes” of academia. There really is no puny, pointless “controversy” quite like a Canadian one.

Whereas British or American politicians can at least be relied upon to indulge in some ill-advised screwing once in a while, the closest Canada’s had to a sex scandal in recent memory involved the cabinet minister who left his briefcase on his girlfriend’s coffee table and no, I’m not joking.

Meanwhile, the Gilmour Affair is at least slightly more entertaining than our last literary cause célèbre, when a foreign Giller Prize juror joked about the overstock of “dreadful” Canadian novels comprised mostly of “flashbacks to Granny’s youth in the Ukraine or whatever,” and Noah Richler, son of novelist Mordecai (and who normally presents himself in public as a world-traveling gourmand) responded with a wounded, humorless word-fart in the pages of the nation’s paper of record.

(As you had guessed, the CanLit crowd is more inbred than the mythical “hillbillies” who populate their treasured anti-American fever dreams.)

At one of Lord Black’s London dinner parties, diplomat (!) Daniel Bernard famously called Israel a “shitty little country,” a remark Lady Black duly reported and condemned in the Daily Telegraph.

Although my fellow Canadian, the former Barbara Amiel, is conventionally patriotic, I wonder if she’d agree with me that at times like this, that inelegant phrase is a pretty apt description of “our home and native land.”


A Free Press, Swedish Style

Sweden is proud that it guarantees freedom of the press. Every news outlet is free to publish anything it wants — provided that it agrees with the consensus of the government and the major political parties, if the minister of culture has her way.

Swedish media outlets depend on government subsidies for the survival of their operations. Without the help of taxpayers’ kroner, a newspaper would find it hard to survive, as attested by the recent experience of Dispatch International.

Up until now the government has guaranteed the impartiality of press subsidies. No matter the opinion expressed, the government would not curtail the funding of any newspaper. But what the government may grant, it may also withhold, and the temptation to manipulate content by withholding state subsidies is all but irresistible.

One suspects that this principle of government neutrality has been more honored in the breach than in the observance, even in Sweden. However, the real state of affairs has now been revealed — the iron fist is out of the velvet glove.

According to Fria Tider:

"Swedish Government: Press subsidies must depend on attitude to immigration

Stockholm (Fria Tider). Swedish minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn-Liljeroth (Liberal) is critical of a Parliamentary committee and its decision to uphold the rules stating that press subsidies may not depend on newspapers’ political content.

According to the responsible minister, a “democracy clause” should be included in the new legislation, barring “immigrant-critical” news outlets from receiving the statutory subsidies.

“One example is the debate that occurred while the pronounced immigrant-critical newspaper Nationell Idag received press subsidy” Adelsohn-Liljenroth writes in an article published on SVT Debatt.

She notes that it was against this background [that Nationell Idag was granted press subsidy] that she gave the Parliamentary Committee on Press Subsidies the directive to determine whether rules should call for “respect for the ideals of democracy” or otherwise ensure that subsidies are justified from a “democratic perspective”. The wordings denote the sharing of views on migration policy proposed by the Swedish government, most political parties and mainstream media. However, the ministerial directive to the committee resulted in an unwelcome conclusion. Mrs. Adelsohn-Liljeroth: “The Committee concluded that such a requirement could be seen as a way to hinder the printed word. I disagree with that assessment”.

Now the government threatens to introduce a political section in the subsidy rules nevertheless — even though all members of the relevant parliamentary committee oppose it. “I am now awaiting the respondents’ views on the proposal of the Press Subsidies Committee. I hope the responses provide a basis for imposing a democracy clause in the new press subsidy regulation,” Adelsohn-Liljeroth concludes."


British government minister: I'll kick out illegal migrants BEFORE they get chance to appeal

Foreign criminals, terrorists and illegal immigrants will be kicked out of Britain before they get the chance to claim their human rights are being breached.

In a massive shake-up of immigration law, Theresa May today tells the Daily Mail the Government plans to ‘deport first, and hear the appeal later’ – after they have been put on a plane home.

The Home Secretary will also slash the number of grounds on which migrants can lodge an appeal from the current 17 to just four after the fiasco of the deportation of Abu Qatada, who finally returned home to Jordan earlier this year after a 12-year legal battle.

Home Office officials expect the crackdown to more than halve the astonishing 68,000 cases lodged against the Government every year.

‘I am clear that the law must be on the side of people who respect the law, not those who break it,’ Mrs May said.

Her move came as David Cameron gave the strongest signal yet that the Tories are ready to quit the meddling European Court of Human Rights.

The Prime Minister said he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to ensure Britain can throw out people who pose a threat to the country and have no right to be here.

The court’s interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is enshrined in British law in the Human Rights Act, has been condemned by many Conservative MPs.

Asked if the party is considering complete withdrawal, the Prime Minister said: ‘It may be that that is where we end up.’

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling will tell the Conservative Party conference in Manchester today that the court has become a ‘big international frustration’.

A Tory government, he will insist, would ‘scrap Labour’s Human Rights Act and make sure that with legal rights go legal responsibilities’.

Ministers have tried for years to take a hard line against preachers of hate, foreign criminals and illegal immigrants. But they can drag out the appeal process for years – usually by citing the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ECHR has been invoked by scores of people fighting deportation from Britain. They argue its provisions mean they are entitled to various rights, including the right to a family life. As soon as an appeal is lodged, deportation proceedings are halted.

In a Daily Mail interview, Mrs May said public trust was being undermined – and tens of millions of pounds squandered – by migrants and their lawyers playing the system.

In future, officials will be told to throw people out of the country as soon as their case has been decided by the Government – a system which is already in place in France. They can still appeal, but only from their homeland.

The only exception would be in cases where there is a ‘risk of serious irreversible harm’, such as torture or execution.

Migrants who claim to have a right to a ‘family life’ under article 8 of the Human Rights – the biggest frustration to the public – can still be thrown out.

Tory backbenchers will hope the tough stance, which will be unveiled in Mrs May’s speech to the conference today, will help to win back voters who have defected to Ukip.

Mrs May said: ‘The Abu Qatada case proved that we need a dramatic change in our human rights law. We’re going to cut the number of appeal rights, extend cases where we deport first and hear the appeal later, and use primary legislation to make sure judges interpret the “right to a family life” properly.’

Mrs May also wants to end the farce of migrants being able to build up ‘rights’ to stay in Britain by stringing out an appeal for as long as possible. The longer a person can remain in the UK - even if they are facing removal - the easier it is to claim they have established a ‘family life’.

A new Immigration Bill will be introduced when Parliament returns. The 17 existing rights of appeal will be cut to just four. A right of appeal will only exist where the decision is complex and fact-specific.

The Tories say it will reduce the number of appeals by nearly 60 per cent, leading to an estimated net saving of £219million over ten years.



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.



2 October, 2013

Some California multiculturalism

An enraged customer punched a female store clerk in the face after becoming belligerent over only 41 cents.

The customer was trying to pay for a $1.41 cigar at a Lakewood, CA., Conoco gas station earlier this month with just a $1 bill when he became enraged after being told he needed the other 41 cents, causing him to bash the 23-year-old clerk in her face.

Police still have yet to find the suspect and are asking for the public’s help identifying him.

Identified by KCBS under the pseudonym ‘Yadira,’ the helpless young woman fought back tears as she told of the incident.

‘There’s cowards out there willing to do stupid stuff,’ the emotional girl told the station.

Explaining that he tried to short-change her by 41 cents while buying a Swisher Sweets cigar, Yadira told KCBS that he said ‘ this is all I have… b***h whatever.’

Yadira then asked the man to leave the store and he tried to snatch it from her.

‘It just happened so fast… I didn’t think he was going to hit me,’ Yadira said, adding [then] he just socks me.’

Security footage of the incident shows the suspect trying to grab the cigar from the young clerk before leaning forward, then winding up and smashing her in the face.

Perhaps shocked by what they had just seen, customers in line behind the violent man stood still as he angrily stormed out of the Conoco.

‘It’s a brutal attack on an innocent victim,’ a police spokesperson told the station.

The punch threw her glasses off her face and injured her eye, but she was otherwise okay. She finished her shift that night, but told KCBS she is afraid when she goes to work.

‘Really? Over 41 cents? Imagine if he got like that, imagine what else would have happened?’


Tory pledge to scrap Human Rights Act

The Conservatives will scrap the Human Rights Act if re-elected, in a move that would pave the way to Britain leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, Theresa May said.

The Home Secretary’s announcement is likely to raise concerns among the Liberal Democrats, as well as among several senior Tories.

But Mrs May dismissed the fears, saying that Labour and the Lib Dems “will have to explain why they value the rights of terrorists and criminals more than the rights of the rest of us”.

Mrs May told the Conservative conference that from now on, Britain “should deport foreign criminals first and hear their appeal later” and added that she would be reducing the appeal rights available.

“At the moment, the system is like a never-ending game of snakes and ladders, with almost 70,000 appeals heard every year,” said Mrs May.

Appeal rights for foreign criminals will be reduced from 17 to four. One of the grounds for appeal is the “right to a family life”, which Mrs May said had become a “free-for-all”.

David Cameron admitted in an interview at the weekend that leaving the ECHR was an option Britain could pursue. Mrs May said the system was failing Britain. “That’s why the next Conservative manifesto will promise to scrap the Human Rights Act. And it’s why the Conservative position is clear — if leaving the European Convention is what it takes to fix our human rights laws, that is what we should do.”

Mrs May finally won her battle to deport the radical cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan in July, after a bruising fight with the European Court of Human Rights. “I admit I was crazy,” said Mrs May. “Crazy with the European Court of Human Rights, and I know I wasn’t the only one.”

Her attack on the ECHR was echoed by Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, in his speech to the conference.

He said human rights law was written by Conservatives in the 1950s as a response to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and added: “Never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined it would end up where it has, twisted by political correctness, with the all-too-familiar yob’s catchphrase, 'I know my rights’.”

Mrs May and Mr Grayling face disagreement within the Cabinet. Yesterday, Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, insisted that leaving the ECHR “could be interpreted as a sign that Britain is not interested in creating a better world”.

“If we leave it then we have to take the international reputational consequences of doing so,” he said.


Another example of how fathers can be super-important to their daughters

A renovated oak sideboard stands against the freshly painted cream wall in our sitting room while three new shelves hang, spirit-level-straight, nearby.

New carpets are being laid, family portraits hung and, slowly, this house is starting to feel like ours.

My husband, Cornel, has spent the past few weeks painting, grouting, tiling and putting furniture together in our new home in Hampshire. Each time he builds another piece or complains of a pain in his neck from painting the cornices, I nod sympathetically and smile appreciatively at his handiwork.

But I always find myself thinking that my father would have done a better job.

My beloved dad, Derek, died in 2005 after a long and gruelling battle with cancer. He was only 59, a staunchly old-fashioned, stiff-upper-lip kind of man.

An electronics engineer by trade, he was a whizz at anything that needed fixing around the home. If televisions stopped working, they were back in action minutes later. If furniture broke, it was fixed within the hour.

He could plumb kitchens, lay floors, fix bikes and knew how to take apart a computer’s entire circuit board and put it back together again more efficiently than most people log on.

He was always distant when it came to fatherly affection, and as a child I barely got a peck on the top of the head most nights when I went to bed. But what he lacked in demonstrative love, he made up for by being a capable and eminently practical kind of dad.

When I was 18, I worked as a waitress in a pizza restaurant.

On the regular occasions when my car broke down late at night, I would phone my father and stand outside the restaurant in the dark waiting until he arrived, fixing me safely in the beam of his headlights — my knight in a Vauxhall Astra, come to tow me home.

Somehow I thought this giant of a man would be around for ever, so while I was worried when he fell ill with cancer in 2003, I never doubted he would beat it.

Dad had, after all, been battling a pre-cancerous condition in his mouth, called leukoplakia, for two decades. Every year he’d had surgery on his tongue to remove parts where pre-cancerous cells had grown.

When full-blown cancer was diagnosed, everyone who knew my father agreed he wouldn’t go down without one hell of a fight. And fight he did. As the months passed, I watched in stunned and sometimes sickened awe as Dad drew on every ounce of his prodigious strength in the face of depressingly diminishing odds.

A man’s man, a gentleman to the last, he never complained. He was full of dignity and fighting spirit — and quite simply was the bravest man I ever knew.

When he finally succumbed in April 2005, I was as shocked as I was distraught. How could he die? My able, strong, super-dad? It seemed absurd, impossible, that this giant of a man could not ‘fix it’.

As time passed I tried to forget the details of his illness — too painful to remember — and instead concentrated on recalling his courage. Faults and failings were erased from my mind, as so often happens when someone is no longer around.

So much so, that, when I met Cornel on holiday in Venice just a few months later, my father had acquired an almost saint-like status. The timing for Cornel, this wonderful man destined to be my husband and by default the most important man in my world, could not have been worse.

Cornel is a talented pianist who has played on the Orient Express and in five-star hotels, but he was humble about his achievements and had a wicked sense of humour very like my father’s.

Yet, bad as it sounds, I knew from the outset that despite Cornel’s many wonderful characteristics — his kindness, talent, sense of fun — he would never measure up to my father. Who could?

I knew it was cruel of me to judge Cornel so harshly. It made me feel guilty and ungrateful, and I also felt huge sadness that my father and the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with would never meet.

But it wasn’t just raw grief that made me feel this way. Comparing my fiance with my late father, in sometimes the most petty and almost laughable circumstances, is a habit which has endured over the years. If Cornel seemed to hesitate, for example, when dispatching a particularly gruesome-looking spider, I’d immediately think of Dad’s fearlessness in the face of any arachnid.

Mostly I kept these thoughts to myself, but sometimes they came bubbling to the surface. If Cornel couldn’t fix the vacuum cleaner, for example, and suggested we buy a replacement, I’d think about how Dad would have persevered until it was mended.

Am I alone in this, I wonder? Do all women compare their husbands with their fathers? And do sons compare their wives with their mothers?

Perhaps, I concluded, I was behaving this way simply because I miss my father, and feel he disappeared far too soon. I’d hoped to see him live way into his 80s, and I miss him terribly. He has left such a gaping hole in my life that I struggle to fill it, in whatever way I can. Maybe my endless comparisons, however damaging, are a way of keeping his memory alive.

We’re now expecting a little girl and Cornel is thrilled and excited that he will have a relationship with her that will be different from the one he has with our four-year-old son, Alex.

Part of me wonders: will our daughter one day feel the same way about Cornel as I do about my own father? Will I be able to step back and watch as the relationship of which I was robbed before I was ready is passed to the next generation? Will I finally be able to give my husband a break?

My father taught me that men are good, brave and strong — and deserving of love until the end. I look forward to watching my daughter learn the same thing.


The real reason the Left's so livid about tax breaks for marriage

By Dominic Lawson

Seldom in the 40 months of his occupancy of 10 Downing Street has the Prime Minister suffered a weekend of such abuse.

What had David Cameron done to provoke such fury from his political opponents? Declared war on an unarmed country? Sold the NHS to an American private equity firm? Neither of the above.

The fury from the Left has been caused entirely by the PM’s announcement, in Saturday’s Daily Mail, that the Government would give married couples earning less than £41,150 an annual tax-break worth about £200. That’s all.

It made Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, very angry indeed. She described this token of official respect for the institution of marriage as ‘terrible’. No, not terrible because it is so small a sum, but that it should even have been considered at all. Harman fumed that ‘it combines smugness and blaming. It’s stigmatising and moralising. It’s Victorian finger-wagging’.

Rachel Reeves, the fast-rising deputy to Ed Balls in Labour’s shadow Treasury team agreed that ‘it’s a policy about division and stigma’.

And Julianne Marriott, a Labour Party member and a director of the Don’t Judge My Family lobby group, said: ‘It’s not going to help single parents and cohabiting couples.’

Well, no: if you intended a tax break to encourage marriage, you wouldn’t give it to people who aren’t married.

The claim that David Cameron is ‘stigmatising’ those who choose not to get married is hysterical over-reaction. As he wrote in this newspaper: ‘All we are saying is that marriage is a good thing for our country — it’s the ultimate form of commitment under the law — and we want to show our support for it.’

Moreover, the idea that marriage is the surest way to ensure a stable family life for children — and therefore the most resilient society in the future — is not merely based on ancient prejudices.

The most up-to-date research in social science has demonstrated conclusively that the 50-year trend away from marriage has been a catastrophe: and a catastrophe especially among the poorest sections of society that Labour claims to care about most.

There is now overwhelming evidence that married relationships are a more stable environment for children than co-habitation: a baby born to co-habiting parents is ten times more likely to see its parents separate than one born to married parents.

Obviously there are many marriages which dissolve, to no good end for the children. A long-lasting marriage makes great demands upon those joined together in matrimony, requiring qualities which not all of us naturally possess in sufficient measure: solidarity, commitment, responsibility.

Yet these are also the essential virtues without which a society will atrophy and atomise. It is the paradox of the Left’s unease with the celebration of marriage that it is the social institution best designed to check man’s rampant and selfish individualism.

That was not the view of Karl Marx. He wrote that: ‘The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production. The bourgeois claptrap about the family, about the hallowed correlation between parent and child, becomes all the more disgusting.’ This did not prevent Marx from paying conventional homage to this institution himself: he was largely devoted to his many children, but left the exhausting business of home-making to his wife.

Yet those influenced by this remarkable intellectual took this part of his doctrine more seriously than its originator. The Soviet Union’s first Commissar for Education, Lunacharsky, declared the nascent socialist state would ‘do away with the household and free women from the care of children’.

This, he said, would produce ‘that broad society which will replace the domestic hearth, yes, that stagnant family unit which separates itself off from society’. More, this ‘would avoid such a permanent pairing as marriage [and each] would seek to satisfy his needs by a freedom of mutual relations?.?.?.?so that you can’t tell who is related to whom and how closely’. This is an eerily accurate description of the social chaos and complete family breakdown which has swept through the most deprived areas of our own inner cities.

I am not claiming that the entire British Left had read their Marx: they are less rigorous than that. But it is certainly true that there is in the socialist mind-set a feeling that the family unit is somehow distinct from ‘society’ and even subversive of it. It does not see the special intergenerational solidarity of the family as beneficent, but selfish.

This, in part, is why the last Labour government was so stunned by the ecstatic reaction to George Osborne’s pledge as Shadow Chancellor to raise to £1?million the level below which inheritance tax would not be levied on estates. It completely underestimated how much families object to the taxation of the bequests from parents to children. It should not have been so surprised: great Labour dynasties such as the Milibands and the Benns have used Deeds of Variation to pass property down through the family in a way that avoids the full impact of inheritance tax.

This is not just about money, however — although unbroken families are much less expensive for taxpayers as a whole than the fissiparous alternative. As the Centre for Social Justice has pointed out: ‘The growth in broken families has been mirrored by the huge increase in the number of children considered to be “at risk”. Children living with their natural mother and a guesting father are eight times more likely to be on the at-risk register.’

It’s taken policy-makers rather a long time to catch up with what social scientists have been saying for decades.

Back in 1994, two Canadian academics, Professors Martin Daly and Margo Wilson, in their paper ‘Differential attributes of lethal assaults on small children by stepfathers versus genetic fathers’, cited research which showed that ‘the youngest children (aged 0-2) incurred about 100 times greater risk at the hands of step-parents than of genetic parents’.

Child P, tortured and battered to death by one of his mother’s transient partners, was just the most notorious recent example of this social phenomenon.

After all, this was what generations have understood from children’s literature down the ages: the wicked step-parent was a recurring theme for a reason — and nothing to do with stigma. Of course there are wonderful step-parents, but it is simply statistical fact that parents’ solicitude for children generally exceeds that of step-parents — let alone that of fleeting ‘partners’.

So yes, marriage should be encouraged in the tax system; and I suspect Labour’s fury with Cameron is mere displaced anger that the public is on his side.



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.



1 October, 2013

I'm sorry, but we have to talk about the barbarism of modern Islamist terrorism

In Western news-making and opinion-forming circles, there’s a palpable reluctance to talk about the most noteworthy thing about modern Islamist violence: its barbarism, its graphic lack of moral restraint. This goes beyond the BBC's yellow reluctance to deploy the T-word – terrorism – in relation to the bloody assault on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya at the weekend. Across the commentating board, people are sheepish about pointing out the historically unique lunacy of Islamist violence and its utter detachment from any recognisable moral universe or human values.

We have to talk about this barbarism; we have to appreciate how new and unusual it is, how different it is even from the terrorism of the 1970s or of the early twentieth century. We owe it to the victims of these assaults, and to the principle of honest and frank political debate, to face up to the unhinged, morally unanchored nature of Islamist violence in the 21st century.

Maybe it’s because we have become so inured to Islamist terrorism in the 12 years since 9/11 that even something like the blowing-up of 85 Christians outside a church in Pakistan no longer shocks us or even makes it on to many newspaper front pages. But consider what happened: two men strapped with explosives walked into a group of men, women and children who were queuing for food and blew up themselves and the innocents gathered around them. Who does that? How far must a person have drifted from any basic system of moral values to behave in such an unrestrained and wicked fashion?

Yet the Guardian tells us it is “moral masturbation” to express outrage over this attack, and it would be better to give into a “sober recognition that there are many bad things we can’t as a matter of fact do much about”. This is a demand that we further acclimatise to the peculiar and perverse bloody Islamist attacks around the world, shrug our shoulders, put away our moral compasses, and say: “Ah well, this kind of thing happens.”

Or consider the attack on Westgate in Kenya, where both the old and the young, black and white, male and female were targeted.

With no clear stated aims from the people who carried the attack out, and no logic to their strange and brutal behaviour, Westgate had more in common with those mass mall and school shootings that are occasionally carried out by disturbed people in the West than it did with the political violence of yesteryear. And yet still observers avoid using the T-word or the M-word (murder) to describe what happened there, and instead attach all sorts of made-up, see-through political theories to this rampage, giving what was effectively a terror tantrum executed by morally unrestrained Islamists the respectability of being a political protest of some breed.

Time and again, one reads about Islamist attacks that seem to defy not only the most basic of humanity’s moral strictures but also political and even guerrilla logic. Consider the hundreds of suicide attacks that have taken place in Iraq in recent years, a great number of them against ordinary Iraqis, often children.

Western apologists for this wave of weird violence, which they call “resistance”, claim it is about fighting against the Western forces which were occupying Iraq in the wake of the 2003 invasion. If so, it’s the first “resistance” in history whose prime targets have been civilians rather than security forces, and which has failed to put forward any kind of political programme that its violence is allegedly designed to achieve.

Even experts in counterinsurgency have found themselves perplexed by the numerous nameless suicide assaults on massive numbers of civilians in post-war Iraq, and the fact that these violent actors, unlike the vast majority of violent political actors in history, have “developed no alternative government or political wing and displayed no intention of amassing territory to govern”.

One Iraqi attack has stuck in my mind for seven years. In 2006 a female suicide bomber blew herself up among families – including many mothers and their offspring – who were queuing up for kerosene. Can you imagine what happened? A terrible glimpse was offered by this line in a Washington Post report on 24 September 2006: “Two pre-teen girls embraced each other as they burned to death.”

What motivates this perversity? What are its origins? Unwilling, or perhaps unable, to face up to the newness of this unrestrained, aim-free, civilian-targeting violence, Western observers do all sorts of moral contortions in an effort to present such violence as run-of-the-mill or even possibly a justifiable response to Western militarism.

Some say, “Well, America kills women and children too, in its drone attacks”, wilfully overlooking the fact such people are not the targets of America’s military interventions – and I say that as someone who has opposed every American venture overseas of the past 20 years.

If you cannot see the difference between a drone strike that goes wrong and kills an entire family and a man who crashes his car into the middle of a group of children accepting sweets from a US soldier and them blows himself and them up – as happened in Iraq in 2005 – then there is something wrong with you.

Other observers say that Islamists, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the individuals who attacked London and New York, are fighting against Western imperialism in Muslim lands.

But that doesn’t add up. How does blowing up Iraqi children represent a strike against American militarism? How is detonating a bomb on the London Underground a stab at the Foreign Office? It is ridiculous, and more than a little immoral, to try to dress up nihilistic assaults designed merely to kill as many ordinary people as possible as some kind of principled political violence.

We have a tendency to overlook the newness of modern Islamic terrorism, how recent is this emergence of a totally suicidal violence that revels in causing as many causalities as possible.

Yes, terrorism has existed throughout the modern era, but not like this. Consider the newness of suicide attacks, of terrorists who destroy themselves as well as their surroundings and fellow citizens. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were an average of one or two suicide attacks a year. Across the whole world. Since the early and mid-2000s there have been around 300 or 400 suicide attacks a year. In 2006 there were more suicide attacks around the world than had taken place in the entire 20 years previous.

Terrorists’ focus on killing civilians – the more the better – is also new. If you look at the 20 bloodiest terrorist attacks in human history, measured by the number of causalities they caused, you’ll see something remarkable: 14 of them – 14 – took place in the 1990s and 2000s. So in terms of mass death and injury, those terrorist eras of the 1970s and 80s, and also earlier outbursts of anarchist terrorism, pale into insignificance when compared with the new, Islamist-leaning terrorism that has emerged in recent years.

What we have today, uniquely in human history, is a terrorism that seems myopically focused on killing as many people as possible and which has no clear political goals and no stated territorial aims.

The question is, why? It is not moral masturbation to ask this question or to point out the peculiarity and perversity of modern Islamist violence.

My penny’s worth is that this terrorism speaks to a profound crisis of politics and of morality. Where earlier terrorist groups were restrained both by their desire to appear as rational political actors with a clear goal in mind and by basic moral rules of human behaviour – meaning their violence was often bloody, yes, but rarely focused narrowly on committing mass murder – today’s Islamist terrorists appear to float free of normal political rules and moral compunctions.

This is what is so infuriating about the BBC’s refusal to call these groups terrorists – because if anything, and historically speaking, even the term terrorist might be too good for them.


British Students Ban "Blurred Lines" From Their Own Universities

Once upon a time, students’ political leaders kicked against authoritarianism; now they enforce it.

Over the past fortnight, five prestigious institutions in the U.K. have banned Robin Thicke’s saucy R&B ditty Blurred Lines from playing anywhere on their premises, on the basis that its overly sexual lyrics might encourage bad behaviour in men.

Which institutions, I hear you ask? Stuffy churches, perhaps, aghast that a song would promote casual sex? Islamic groups, maybe, believing that lines like “I know you want it” are not suitable for young ears, especially female ones? Or maybe it was killjoy police forces, not exactly renowned for their ability to chill out, which forbade the playing of Thicke’s tune?

Nope, it was student unions. Five student representative bodies—at the Universities of Edinburgh, West Scotland, Leeds, Derby and Kingston—have banned Blurred Lines in all the premises in which they have dominion, including student bars and dancehalls, on the basis that it “undermines and degrades women” and “promotes an unhealthy attitude toward sex and consent”.

Once upon a time, students’ political leaders kicked against authoritarianism; now they enforce it.

In the space of a generation, they’ve gone from demanding the right of young adults on campus to listen to, dance to, read and watch what they want, to placing a paternalistic hand over students’ ears and eyes lest they hear something a bit raunchy.

Blurred Lines, a massive global hit sung by Thicke with Pharrell Williams and the rapper T.I., has been the subject of controversy since it was released in March. The modern breed of sexless, censorious feminist has been particularly vocal in slamming both the song and its accompanying video, which features the three singers, fully clothed, cavorting with some very attractive models wearing only flesh-colored thongs. Blurred Lines is “creepy” and “a bit rapey,” says one observer.

Now, British student unions have taken this shrill reaction to what is just a pretty good and perfectly harmless pop song to its logical conclusion. The student union at Edinburgh kicked things off on 12 September by banning Blurred Lines from every student building. It did this as part of its policy to “End Rape Culture and Lad Banter” on campus.

It’s hard to work out what is most shocking about the Edinburgh union’s ban-happy antics: the fact that it thinks nothing of behaving like a nun at a convent-school disco and switching off any song that mentions the sex act, or the fact that it has an actual policy to “end lad banter”—that is, to prevent young men from speaking in a certain gruff, licentious fashion. Quite when student leaders switched from fighting for students to fighting against them, and against their apparently demonic thought and speech patterns, is a mystery.

The Edinburgh union said Blurred Lines “trivializes rape,” and in doing so it contributes to “a culturally permissible attitude to rape.” Really? Are the minds of male students so malleable, so putty-like, that a single encounter with lyrics like “You’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature” and “Let me liberate you” might be enough to push them towards committing rape?

Behind the Edinburgh union’s pseudo-radical, feminism-justified banning of Blurred Lines there lurks the old, highly discredited spectre of media effects theory—the idea that media images and words pollute people’s minds and make them behave in all sorts of sordid and even criminal ways. Just as Britain’s stuffy old censors of the pre-1960s period refused to let the public read D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover on the basis that it might make them immoral and depraved, so today’s youthful, rosy-cheeked student censors refuse to allow their charges to hear Blurred Lines on the basis that it could turn them bestial.

The instinct behind the Edinburgh union’s banning of Blurred Lines is the same one that has motored every act of censorship in history: a paternalistic urge to keep the little people’s base motives in check by protecting them from sexy, blasphemous, or shocking imagery.

Other student unions have followed Edinburgh’s authoritarian lead. The union at Leeds University banned Blurred Lines on the basis that it “degrades women.” Kingston University in London has banned it due to “the disrespectful nature of the lyrics.” If universities only play songs with respectful lyrics, what will happen to gangsta rap, the Sex Pistols, the Velvet Underground, death metal, or any other musical genre that broaches the old chestnuts of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll?

Student leaders’ intolerant war on Blurred Lines fits a depressing pattern in modern British university life. In the UK, as in other parts of the Western world, students have become extraordinarily censorious in recent years, seeking to obliterate from campuses any song, book, newspaper or person that has the temerity to offend their sensibilities.

Various British student unions have banned Eminem’s songs (they’re homophobic and misogynistic, apparently); the tabloid newspaper, The Sun (because it has a naked woman on Page 3, and men and women over the age of 18 can’t possibly be exposed to tits); and right-wing or Zionist speakers—numerous unions have “No Platform” policies, which means they forbid inviting far-right or Zionist spokespeople to take part in debates on campus.

We seem to have nurtured a spectacularly narcissistic generation, many of whom seem truly to believe that it is perfectly natural and reasonable to demand the squishing of anything that offends them. This is the grisly end product of the self-esteem culture: having educated young people to believe that their self-esteem is sacrosanct, and that anything which dents it is evil, we cannot now be surprised that they believe they have the right to erect a moral, censorship-powered forcefield around themselves and their peers in order to ward off any idea or image or song that makes them feel bad.

Universities, or at least some of them, were once hotbeds of radicalism, sites of feverish and excitable political debate in which any idea was permissible, especially if it railed against adult society. Not now. Today, universities in Britain and elsewhere have become breeding grounds for nanny staters and nudgers, training courses for the blue pen-wielding authoritarians of the future. That’s the most worrying thing about the student reps currently bashing Blurred Lines—one day, these joyless, casually censorious, fun-allergic misanthropes will be running Britain


British government minister says that welfare claimants will have to work for their dole money

Welfare claimants will have to “work for the dole” by cooking meals for the elderly, picking up litter and cleaning up graffiti, George Osborne will announce.

The announcement, at the Conservative Party conference, is the latest toughening of the Coalition’s welfare rules, a key part of the party’s pitch to voters at the next general election.

The Chancellor will also use his conference speech to sound an optimistic note about the economy, but warn that the Coalition’s “battle to turn around Britain” is “not even close to being over”.

Despite coming under pressure from Ed Miliband’s pledge of a cap on energy prices, Mr Osborne will not announce specific help on the cost of living, insisting that a stable economic recovery is the only way to improve household finances.

The Tories have dedicated their conference to “hardworking people” and will use the meeting in Manchester to highlight Coalition policies, which they say will reward work.

The new Help to Work scheme will be put in place next year and could see as many as 60,000 long-term unemployed people doing Community Work Placements. Other claimants will have to visit Jobcentres every day to find work, or attend mandatory training and therapy sessions to deal with problems like poor literacy or drink and drug addiction.

The rules will mean that it is no longer possible simply to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance without doing anything to earn it, Mr Osborne will say. “No one will be ignored or left without help. But no one will get something for nothing,” Mr Osborne will tell the conference. “Help to work – and in return work for the dole.”

He will add: “For the first time, all long-term unemployed people … who are capable of work will be required to do something in return for their benefits to help them find work.”

The new rules will apply to around 200,000 long-term Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants a year, who have failed to find employment after completing the Coalition’s Work Programme.

They will then be given an “end of term report” assessing why they have not found work and assigning them to one of three compulsory programmes. Ministers estimate that around a third of those would end up on the Mandatory Intensive Regime to address underlying problems including illiteracy, alcoholism or mental health troubles.

Another third will be expected to visit a Jobcentre every day, signing an attendance register in the morning then spending the day working on job applications.

The remaining third would go on to Community Work Placements, spending 30 hours a week doing community work organised by Jobcentre staff or local charities.

Claimants who fail to attend any of the compulsory programmes will face an accelerated sanctions regime with fewer appeals. The first breach of the rules will mean a loss of four weeks’ benefit and the second will forfeit three months’ money.

However, the total number following each of the three routes is expected to be significantly lower than 200,000.

Ministers say that many claimants, faced with a tougher new regime, will simply choose to stop claiming benefits.

One source predicted a large reduction in the total number of claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance when the new scheme starts next spring. “A lot of these people are actually working on the black economy, and as we make the rules tougher, we know that many of them will just drop out of the system because it is no longer worth their while trying to claim,” the source said.

The new welfare rules, devised by Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, will cost around £300 million to implement — money Mr Osborne will find from Whitehall departments’ budgets.

The fact that Mr Osborne is unveiling Mr Duncan Smith’s policy reflects a thaw in relations between the two men. A book published this week discloses that in the early months of the Coalition, Mr Osborne told friends he believed Mr Duncan Smith was “not clever enough” to oversee the complex welfare system.

The Coalition has been in office since May 2010, but Mr Osborne will argue that the number of long-term benefits claimants is Labour’s fault.

The last government left office with almost 5 million people on out-of-work benefits, something Mr Osborne will describe as “a waste of life and talent” that the Coalition is addressing.

Cabinet ministers privately admit that Labour’s eye-catching pledge on energy prices has put them on the defensive over living standards, but Mr Osborne will not respond with a similar offer. Instead, he will insist that only the Coalition’s plan to reduce the deficit by 2018 will reduce the strain on household finances squeezed by inflation.

He will add: “Our economic plan is the only plan for living standards. In fact, if you don’t have a credible economic plan, you simply don’t have a living standards plan.”


BBC gives Left the freedom of the airwaves: Radio 4 and 5 Live give pressure group with links to Labour's radical wing extraordinary on-air platform

During BBC coverage of David Cameron’s marriage tax break, a little-known campaign group was given an extraordinary – and largely unchallenged – platform to voice its opposition.

Listeners to Saturday’s news programmes on BBC Radio 4 and 5 Live could have been forgiven for thinking the pressure group Don’t Judge My Family was politically independent.

The 10am Radio 4 bulletin, in which the group was the only quoted organisation, was typical.

Newsreader: ‘Announcing the move David Cameron said he wanted to recognise the commitment and responsibility of married couples. But Julianne Marriott from campaign group Don’t Judge My Family explained why her organisation was opposed to the measure.’

She said: ‘It’s not going to help families who need it the most – single parents, widows, widowers, cohabiting couples and couples who both work... It’s out of touch and out of date. The Tories should be trying to help families and not judge them.’

No mention was made of any political affiliations, but a cursory look at the group’s directors reveals deep ties to the Labour Party – so much so that a Conservative MP questioned if the group was merely a Labour ‘front’.

Miss Marriott, its campaign director, is a professional Left-wing campaigner and a Labour Party member with links to the radical wing of the party.

Part of the Labour Uncut blogging team, she is also involved with Pragmatic Radicalism, the self-proclaimed ‘New Forum for Labour Ideas’ and reportedly handles Government relations for the Press regulation lobby group Hacked Off.

Another director, Josie Cluer, describes herself as a ‘public sector reformer with fingers in many pies’, including the Labour Women’s Network which exists to get more Labour women elected to public office.

And according to Labour MP Chuka Umunna, the campaign was launched by Matthew McGregor, the man hailed as Barack Obama’s ‘digital attack dog’ in last year’s US presidential election – who has just been recruited for Labour’s 2015 General Election campaign.

The trio are inextricably linked to the Labour Party, yet there was no mention of any political affiliation when Miss Marriott was given a platform to speak on the BBC at the weekend.

Don’t Judge My Family was launched in 2010 with a video in which soap star Michelle Collins and actor Neil Pearson attacked Conservative plans for the marriage tax break. It has urged supporters to sign its online petition against the allowance, although by last night it had attracted fewer than 5,000 signatures.

Conservative MP Greg Hands said the group was a front for Labour to attack the policy. He said: ‘What is it about the family that these people can’t stand? Setting up front groups like to criticise our policies is nasty politics all over again.’

The BBC did not respond to requests for comment.



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.



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 children 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

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And the command in Leviticus 20:13 that homosexuals should be put to death makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in Romans chapter 1 that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

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.

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

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."

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

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms.

You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE

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

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans