Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Britain: PC ban on throwing sweets to children at Christmas pantomine

Throwing bonbons and boiled sweets into the audience has been a tradition of the festive pantomime for many decades. But bureaucrats are set to stamp out the tradition because they claim boiled sweets could injure a member of the audience. Instead organisers of one pantomime have been told they must go down into the crowd and hand out the sweets. It is just the latest example of health and safety fears and political correctness stamping out some of our oldest Christmas traditions. Since the early 20th century pantomime characters - usually the Dame - have thrown sweets to children in the audience as a Christmas treat.

The ruling was made by a committee for the Preston Drama Club in Lancashire which fears an injury could spark a compensation claim. The club, which attracts huge numbers of children and adults to its performances each year, is staging Sleeping Beauty at Preston Playhouse this season. But committee members believe it would be far too costly to insure against a member of the audience losing an eye or sustaining another injury. So rather than fork out for the costly insurance they have banned the tradition of throwing sweets to the children instead.

Some members of the group have branded the move as "ridiculous" and say health and safety restrictions are killing tradition in Britain. Don Stephenson, president of Preston Drama Club, said: "There are so many rules and regulations now we were not really surprised because this is just another one. "We have had so many of these things about what you can and can't do. They are only sweets, they wouldn't hurt anybody."

Another member said: "It was felt that insuring against an injury - say someone losing an eye - in a freak accident would cost too much money. "We're only a small outfit and while the chance of such an injury occurring is remote, to say the least, it is a risk we cannot take. I do lament the death of traditional practices but people are increasingly litigious and only to ready to turn to the courts and so that is the way it is." A final decision will be taken after January 6 by the club at the close of the Sleeping Beauty production on January 6.

The ruling is the latest in a long line of politically correct rulings that aim to wreck the experience of Christmas. One school which took turkey off the Christmas menu to replace it with halal chicken was met with fury from parents. But Oakwood Technology College in Rotherham has backed down after parents of non-Muslim pupils complained. The 1,000-pupil comprehensive planned to scrap the festive tradition even though only one in five students is Muslim.

A survey by the Daily Mail found Jesus in his manger with three wise men appeared in just one in every 100 cards. Hundreds of cards avoided any images linked to Christmas at all, including fir trees, baubles, snowmen or Santa Claus. Laura Midgley, co-founder of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, said: "No-one has ever been serious injured at a pantomime from something throwing a sweet to the audience. "Instead of carrying out these preposterous risk assessments maybe they should concentrate on polishing their performance."



Homosexuality trumps everything in Massachusetts now -- despite their puritan past. Maybe their puritanism always was a bit queer. Excerpt below from Jeff Jacoby:

A lawsuit filed in US District Court last week accuses 109 Massachusetts lawmakers of violating the US Constitution. The plaintiffs are leaders of, a grass-roots campaign to amend the Massachusetts constitution by defining marriage "only as the union of one man and one woman." It was a year ago this week that the proposed amendment, having attracted a record-setting 170,000 signatures, was formally transmitted to the Legislature by the Massachusetts secretary of state. What was supposed to happen next is spelled out in the state constitution. Article 48 directs the House and Senate to meet jointly and vote on amendments proposed by citizen initiative; those that get at least 50 votes in two consecutive sessions are then put on the state ballot.

But for a year now, the overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature has declined to obey the law. On May 10, it voted to delay consideration of the marriage amendment until July 12. On July 12, it recessed until Nov. 9. On Nov. 9, by a vote of 109-87, it recessed yet again, to Jan. 2, 2007. Which just happens to be the day the current legislative session expires -- and all unfinished business dies with it. If that happens, it will mark the second time in five years that the Legislature has killed a marriage amendment by flouting the Constitution and brazenly refusing to vote.

So the amendment's sponsors have gone to court, in the longshot hope that a federal judge will either order the recalcitrant legislators to comply with the law and take the required vote, or put the amendment on the 2008 ballot anyway if they won't. (Governor Mitt Romney has filed a similar complaint in state court. So have sponsors of another amendment, one dealing with statewide healthcare.)

The response to all this from many supporters of same-sex marriage has been a tortured explanation of why defying the Massachusetts Constitution is actually a good thing. "It's not a matter of following the constitution," the legal director of the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU told my Boston Globe colleague Sam Allis. "It's following the constitution down the drain." In other words, nothing must be allowed to jeopardize same-sex marriage -- not even democracy and due process of law.

More here

Multiculturalism is dead?

Article below from Britain's Leftist "Guardian"

So farewell then, multiculturalism, dumped like prog rock and fondue sets in that dustbin for fads, the 1970s. Shall we kill it off? asked the man from the Times. "Yes, let's do that," replied Trevor Phillips, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality. "Multiculturalism suggests separateness. We are in a different world from the 70s."

Just four years ago Phillips served on the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain that produced a blueprint for multiculturalism. But now, in an instant, the inviolable wisdom of a generation of liberals is buried. Confirming the sudden passing of the idea, Polly Toynbee, writing yesterday in this paper, congratulated Phillips: "[He] breaks with unctuous, unthinking platitudes about the richness of all diversity in a multicultural society, as if any difference was a self-evident asset."

What must poor David Goodhart think of this abrupt volte-face? The recent author of a thoughtful and carefully reasoned 10,000-word essay on the limits of diversity, he was dismissed for his pains as a racist by many on the left, including Phillips, who compared him to Enoch Powell. "I have always suspected [Goodhart] is too brainy for his own good," noted Phillips.

In other words, why bother with a lengthy egghead argument when you can simply issue a diktat? But whether or not the liberal state apparatus will now throw its gears into reverse remains to be seen. The April Fool's Day leader in this newspaper pointed to the confusion over the path to greater social cohesion, suggesting that successive governments have been too slow in setting up Muslim schools. "The resources were inadequate to promote a vibrant Islam of which these British youngsters could be proud." I must confess, I have difficulty in understanding how dividing children along faith lines brings them together, or why it is the state's responsibility to promote religion, but perhaps it's one of those ideas that you just have to go with until someone in authority sometime in the future decides that it doesn't make sense after all.

The truth is, of course, the liberal elite can debate equality and diversity, liberty and responsibility until Abu Hamza turns up on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, but it is impossible to legislate for identity. Toynbee states: "Muslim teaching on women staying one step behind will not do: respect for religion cannot take precedence over respect for British law." Perhaps she's speaking figuratively, but there is no law that prevents Muslim women from walking one step behind men, which is the formation that I notice increasingly on the streets near where I live. Should there be a secular police, some grotesque parody of the Saudis' Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, to intervene and ensure that they reform in double file?

Nowadays I see noticeably more young British Muslim women adopting the full veil with only slits for the eyes. To remove themselves so completely from sight seems like an act of self-erasure, but if it is, then it's one they appear to perform willingly and, judging by the manner in which they parade, with no little pride. My guess is that many second-and third-generation Muslims choose this dress not out of religious beliefs, but because they think it's cool. By which I mean, they like the identity that the accoutrements of religious observance afford them, how it sets them apart, makes them visible, albeit by making them invisible. For that, after all, is what most young people want: a sense of their own identity.

In the 1970s, there was a craze for skinhead haircuts and clothes among young whites. The immediate response of liberal critics was to denounce them all as Nazis, but it soon became apparent that the majority of them were attracted to the image, the identity, and had no real interest in the ideas. The danger, of course, is when style becomes stance. And there is little doubt that among a significant minority of young Muslims in this country, a stance of violent anti-Americanism and, to a lesser degree, anti-westernism has become de rigueur. I would imagine that a fair portion of the 13% of British Muslims who said in a recent Guardian poll that they wanted to see further terrorist attacks on America did so because they thought it was the cool, angry, radical thing to say. Young people, alas, are like that.

Predictably, the knee-jerk liberal response is to shout "alienation", start looking for evidence of social deprivation and talk of the reaction to "American imperialism". However, the handful of British Muslims who have been arrested on terrorist charges appear to be from middle-class backgrounds and do not seem to have gone short of education or employment.

There is a country in which Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are treated little better than slaves, performing menial tasks with no rights and negligible protection. It's called Saudi Arabia and it is the home of the Wahabbism that informs the international spread of Islamic fundamentalism. Similarly, whatever your view of the war in Iraq, to say that it is a war on Islam raises the question of what the intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo was: presumably a war for Islam. Of course, if you're young, angry and striking a pose, you can't get bogged down in those kinds of complexities.

In the April 1 leader, it was suggested that "the perception everywhere is that the proud, expansionary faith of Islam is under attack". Back in the 70s again, some angry whites thought the proud, expansionary creed of Britishness (also known as colonial domination) was under attack and joined the National Front. They were correctly identified as fascists and a zero-tolerance policy was put in place by the liberal left, without much concern about the alienating effects on the fascists. The fear was that if they were not denied a platform, racial violence would increase, and so might support for them.

Yet there is much more trepidation about how to deal with Islamo-fascist groups such as al-Muhajiroun. The fear now is that if they are denied a platform, racial tension will increase, and so might support for them, as a generation of Muslims radicalise behind the veil and the beard. But just as al-Muhajiroun should not be excluded from debate, nor should anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, hesitate to call them reactionary zealots simply because they are non-white.

One of the shibboleths of multiculturalism was that different communities needed to be treated differently. Ultimately, though, the aim must be to be treated the same. In this respect, it's important to see that the difference between the posture of fashion and politics of fascism is the same in all communities, regardless of what they wear. One will pass, the other needs to be sent on its way.


British public dislike political correctness

Political correctness is overwhelmingly unpopular among the people it is supposed to be helping, according to a poll showing that four in five questioned are fed-up with it. The Yorkshire Post can reveal the results of an ICM poll commissioned by the Campaign Against Political Correctness (CAPC), which suggest that positive discrimination and action on the basis of race or gender are disliked irrespective of people's own background.

When asked "Are you fed- up with political correctness?" 72 per cent of people living in Britain who do not describe themselves as "white British" - because of their race or nationality or both - answered "yes". This was only 10 points lower than the same answer among those who class themselves as "white British". Women are almost as opposed to political correctness as men, with 79 per cent agreeing with the question, alongside 82 per cent of men.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the most hostile towards political correctness were the middle aged. Among those aged 45 to 54, 85 per cent agreed with the question and it rose to 88 per cent among those aged 55 to 64. Of young adults, aged 18 to 24, 22 per cent were content with political correctness, but 72 per cent were still "fed-up" with it.

Shipley MP Philip Davies, a patron of the group, added: "The figures make it clear that everyone dislikes it, irrespective of race or gender. "Most of this political correctness seems to be carried out by white, male, middle class do-gooders with a guilt complex, who only serve to help build up resentment that wouldn't exist otherwise." Mr Davies last night put down a Commons motion highlighting the poll's findings and urging the Government to reverse positive discrimination policies.


No comments: