Tuesday, February 14, 2006

British Racism at work again -- Soldier rejected as police trainee because he was white

A hero soldier who served in Iraq and Bosnia has been rejected by his local police force because he is a white male. Mark Gough, 25, had wanted to be a cop since his teens but joined the Army for "life experience" first. He served six years with the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and his unit was among the first into Iraq in the 2003 toppling of Saddam. The dad of one did six months in Basra before leaving the Army and applying to the police.

He passed a preliminary course with flying colours and was described by some serving officers as a "perfect candidate". But Mark's application to the Gloucestershire force was turned down. And his shock turned to anger when he learned he was one of 109 white male hopefuls rejected, while minority groups and women had sailed through.

Every black, Asian and female applicant was invited to interview, but two-thirds of the white males were rejected.

Mark, who lives with wife Amanda, 29, in Quedgely, said: "I'm surprised I've been judged on the fact I'm a white male. "I can only assume I was one of the 109 because we aren't women or part of a minority group." The force had 301 applications for 192 vacancies. All 109 rejected were white males, leaving 63 to go through, along with all 129 female and ethnic minority applicants.

Gloucestershire Police said it was its duty to create a force representative of local minorities, although just 2.8 per cent of the county's population is from an ethnic minority. Assistant Chief Constable Michael Matthews said: "This positive action will undoubtedly mean disappointment for others."



Yes, that's right, Gloucestershire police are operating a racist and illegal recruitment programme that sets out to deliberately discriminate against white applicants in order to meet ethnic minority recruitment quotas!

No complaints from Gloucester City Council. No complaints from the local Commission for Racial Equality. No complaints from the local rag and no internal police investigation either!

But just imagine the furore had the police force been caught out operating a racist recruitment programme that deliberately discriminated against non-whites!

However not everyone is so complacent. Civil liberties group Liberty and Law, we today learn, has reported the Gloucestershire Constabulary to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) for what are blatant breaches of both the Race Relations Act and Sex Discrimination Act. Liberty and Law, regular Regional Voices readers will remember, has also recently done the same in respect of the racist recruitment practices of Somerset and Avon Police.

It is hoped that unsuccessful white applicants, being victims of racial discrimination and having suffering stress, anguish and humiliation, will take our advice and sue the Force concerned for damages, using one of the numerous "no win - no fee" schemes available.


An Islamic separatist women's group, known for its fierce opposition to Western-style romance, vowed to prevent couples celebrating Valentine's Day. "We will not allow anyone to observe Valentine's Day as it does nothing but spread immorality among youth," said Aasiya Andrabi, firebrand leader of the separatist Dukhtaran-e-Millat or Daughters of Faith. The group, which supports a 16-year-old separatist insurgency against New Delhi's rule in Indian Kashmir, is also engaged in a crusade to stamp out immorality in the Muslim-majority region. Valentine's Day, which is celebrated February 14, is "against our culture and Islamic teachings," Andrabi said in a statement reported by Current News, a local news agency.

The anti-Valentine's Day protest Andrabi's return to moral policing after her release from jail where she spent four months for harassing a couple. The group kicked off its campaign Friday against "Lover's Day" in Srinagar, the state's summer capital, by raiding half a dozen shops, confiscating Valentine's Day cards and making a bonfire out of them. The aim of Valentine's Day is to "pave the way for Western culture to invade youths' hearts and minds and distance them from their traditional culture and Islamic principles," added Andrabi. The group has previously smeared black paint on film posters portraying semi-naked women.

Andrabi, who wears a head-to-toe veil in line with Islamic tradition, has also been running a largely unsuccessful campaign to get women to wear similar attire in Indian Kashmir. Kashmirs largely Muslim population is socially conservative, but over the past few years couples have openly dated in parks, restaurants and Internet cafes.

"We want to save our youth from indecency and desire to see them as true followers of Islam. We won't like them to follow Western culture," Andrabi said on Saturday. Moderate and hardline factions of the regions main separatist alliance and other Islamic groups rallied around Andabi when she was in jail and urged her release, saying she was doing a good job fighting obscenity and immorality.



But they will continue to act as if nothing has happened

Article by Jeff Jacoby

I don't usually follow nutrition stories, but it was hard to miss last week's shocker about low-fat diets. Like many papers, The Boston Globe put it on Page 1, high above the fold: "Study finds no major benefits of low-fat diet." The study, a project of the National Institutes of Health, had taken eight years, cost $415 million, and involved nearly 49,000 older women, 40 percent of whom were assigned to a diet that kept their intake of calories from fat significantly below that of the other 60 percent. Researchers had expected to confirm what earlier studies and conventional medical wisdom had long suggested -- that consuming less fat is good for your health.

What they learned instead was that the women who dutifully cut back on fried foods, ice cream, and pizza ended up no better off than the women who ate whatever they wanted. The two groups developed breast cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks, and strokes at the same rates. Millions of Americans have been trying for years to reduce the fat in their diet -- eating bread without butter, salads without dressing, chicken without skin -- and now the largest study of the subject ever conducted says it has all been for naught. You could have had those fries after all.

And so once again we are reminded, as The New York Times sighed in an editorial on Thursday, that "the more we learn about nutrition, the less we seem to know." Does oat bran reduce cholesterol? Can dietary fiber prevent colon cancer? Are high doses of Vitamin E good for your heart? Once, the experts said yes. Then the experts said no. It sometimes seems that for every study that makes a nutritional claim, another study inevitably makes an equal and opposite claim.

Researchers can't even agree on whether eating less fat is the way to lose weight. Some insist that obesity is caused by ingesting too much fat, making a low-fat diet the key to shedding pounds. Others claim that reducing fat leads to overconsumption of carbohydrates -- and that it's carbs, not fat, that make people gain weight. Which theory did the massive new study confirm? Neither. Apparently there is still no clear-cut answer -- not even for $415 million.

But clear-cut answers are just what so many Americans want, and what so many of them think science ought to be able to provide. There is a seemingly inexhaustible willingness to believe that the voice of science is the voice of truth -- impartial, incorruptible, and unambiguous. It isn't, of course. Scientists are no less vulnerable to error or bias or ego than the rest of the human race. Scientists too can blunder or act from ulterior motives or convince themselves of things that aren't so. And yet on the whole they enjoy a level of deference and public trust that people in most other fields can only envy.

Which is probably not a good thing. Scientific pronouncements should be subjected to the same level of healthy skepticism as the promises of politicians or the claims of advertisers -- or the views of newspaper columnists. With the best of intentions (and otherwise), scientists sometimes peddle claptrap. Just because a statement begins with "A new study shows . . ." or "Researchers have found . . ." doesn't mean that what follows is true. "We in the scientific community often give strong advice based on flimsy evidence," Berkeley statistician David Freedman said last week in a comment on the low-fat diet study. "That's why we have to do experiments." And why the rest of us have to remember that contradiction, confusion, and changing opinions have always been a part of the scientific process.

One day after last week's low-fat story, the New England Journal of Medicine was out with a study concluding that saw palmetto extract, an herbal product, has no effect on the symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate. Earlier studies had found just the opposite, and more than 2 million American men take saw palmetto for their prostate condition. So does it work or doesn't it? Whichever answer you choose, there's a study to back it up.

In Newsweek last month, Dr. Harvey Simon of the Harvard Medical School recanted a view he had preached for years: that the only way to benefit from exercise was through intense aerobic activity, complete with pounding heart and rivers of sweat. Now, citing the latest research, he says he was dead wrong, and that gentle, no-sweat exercise -- even walking or gardening -- is also highly effective.

From cardiac health to climate change, it's worth keeping in mind that what the experts say today they may not be saying tomorrow. As that noted scientist Emily Litella used to put it in the old "Saturday Night Live" skits: Never mind.

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