Monday, June 11, 2007

PC brigade ban pin-ups on RAF jets - in case they offend women and Muslims

British battiness keeps spreading

It probably shows how old I am but it was the picture of the great old plane above that I liked best

In killer heels and little else, they have a definite deadly charm. But the risque images of women that have decorated warplanes since the First World War have been scrubbed out. The Ministry of Defence has decreed they could offend the RAF's female personnel. Officials admitted they had no record of any complaints from the 5,400 women in the RAF.

But commanders are erring firmly on the side of caution and "nose art", as it is known, has been consigned to the history books. Harrier jump jet bombers currently launching daily airstrikes against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan have been scrubbed clean to comply with the orders. Critics said the MoD should be focusing on more important issues - such as the quality and quantity of equipment available to British forces sent off to war.

Nose art first appeared on warplanes during the First World War and enjoyed a golden age during the Second World War when thousands of American fighters and bombers were decorated with pictures of glamorous women. Military commanders tolerated the practice as a morale booster. Famous examples include the Memphis Belle, a U.S. Army Air Force B-17 bomber that was the subject of a 1990 Hollywood movie. Many RAF units picked up the practice from the Americans. During the Second World War it was common to see images of movie stars including Rita Hayworth and Jane Russell on British bombers heading for Germany. Nose art enjoyed another surge in popularity during the 1991 and 2003 Gulf Wars, when risque images appeared on many British warplanes.

The decision to ban the images followed a visit by glamour models to southern Afghanistan before Christmas. During the trip they signed paintings of themselves on RAF aircraft. Commanders decided the images were sexist and insisted there was no place for them in the modern armed forces. There was also concern that they could cause offence in a muslim country where until 2001 all women were forced to wear the head-to-toe burkha in public.

Glamour model Lucy Pinder, 23, who visited the RAF detachment at Kandahar last November and signed a painting of herself on a Harrier jet, said such images were only "harmless fun". "It's very flattering and it's nice that they get to do something that takes their minds off things for a while," she said from her home in Winchester, Hampshire.

Conservative MP Phillip Davies said: "Has the MoD really got nothing better to worry about at a time when there are serious concerns over equipment and resources available to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan?"

An RAF spokesman defended the decision to remove images which he said "cut across" the service's culture of equal opportunities. "If you have women flying aircraft and working on them as engineers then these kinds of pictures are inappropriate," he said. "That's why it's crossed the line and that's why they have been removed."


We're in danger of cosseting our children

WHEN I was eight years old, the biggest concern about me being out on the street without my parents came not from them but from my older brother. Given the task of walking me the few blocks to our primary school, he would stuff my hand into the pocket of his duffle coat. This was his attempt at disguising the fact he had to hold hands with his little sister. Two years later he was at high school and I was allowed to meander home from school on my own. At ten, I would catch the bus into town to meet my friends at the swimming pool and grab some hot chips on the way home.

By 14, my parents had little idea exactly where I was when I went "out" and life revolved around my mates. Some of the friends I made then are still the first I turn to in times of trouble or celebration.

Now, according to research from the UK charity The Children's Society, we have a very different idea of how much freedom our kids should have to socialise on their own with their peers. Almost half of adults think kids should not be out unaccompanied with their friends on their own until they are aged 14, or even older. The over-60s were the most cautious, with 22 per cent saying children should be aged over 16 before going out alone. The same research found that if a kid has a problem - like bullying - they are much more likely to confide in a friend than a parent.

"Children have told us loud and clear that friendship matters, and yet this is an area in which we appear to be failing them," says Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of The Children's Society. "As a society we are in a real quandary. On the one hand we want freedom for our children, but on the other we are becoming increasingly frightened to let them out. "If we go too far down the road of being overprotective and not allowing children to explore, to play, to be up with their peers, but also with children of other ages, then we may be influencing the way in which they look at society and social interaction later on."

The research also revealed that friendships formed when people are young are very important, with 69 per cent of adults still in touch with at least one childhood friend. There are also signs that kids growing up now may have less friends to chose from when they are allowed to socialise. The Children's Society Good Childhood Inquiry also revealed since 1986 the number of children with no best friends had increased from 12.5 to nearly 20 per cent.

When I was ostracised for a time from a close group of girlfriends at the age of about 13, I took myself to the local park and hung around until I was accepted by the group of teens that hung out there. I hope I have the courage to give my daughter that kind of freedom. The warning here is clear - we are in danger of creating a generation of kids wrapped in cotton wool, who will end up lonely and isolated because of our fears for their safety.


Abortion-Loving British Media Furious Over Catholic Bishops' Intensified Opposition

Bishops call publicly pro-abortion Catholics who receive communion "a cause of great scandal"

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales are on a pro-life roll that has infuriated pro-abortion media pundits. The Archbishop of Cardiff in Wales is the latest to enter the fray, in conjunction with the upcoming 40th anniversary of legalized abortion in Britain, with what amounts in British Church circles to stern words for political supporters of a "woman's right to choose."

Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, told BBC Radio that people who have publicly repudiated the Church's teaching "ought to remove themselves from receiving communion because it would be a cause of great scandal."

Archbishop Smith said, "A priest or bishop is not permitted to refuse communion unless it is quite clear that the person has been excommunicated or there is a very public rejection of church teaching."

Smith's comments follow those last week by Keith Cardinal O'Brien or Edinburgh, who called abortion "an unspeakable crime," and the chief prelate of England and Wales, Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor who told Catholic abortion proponents in Parliament to rethink whether their support is compatible with continuing to receive Holy Communion.

"The pastoral reality is," Smith continued, "that if a Catholic politician manifestly, clearly goes against the church's teaching, then they ought to remove themselves from receiving Communion, because it would be a cause of great scandal."

English Catholics, accustomed as they have been historically to persecution and diminished legal and social status, have traditionally kept a low religious profile in political life. But increasing pressure on religious freedom by the homosexual lobby, the growth of public sentiment in Britain against unfettered abortion and an increase in political activity by British Evangelicals has emboldened Catholic leaders.

The apparent ending of the bishops' 40 year long reticence on abortion has touched off a storm of editorial rage in the overwhelmingly pro-abortion British press, accustomed to more diffident language from English Catholics.

Jackie Ashley railed in the Guardian today, calling the bishops' defence of life "an assault on women's right to abortion." She predicted a "return to the dark ages...of the horrors of backstreet abortion."

Ashley said Bishop Smith's comments were important because of the "ferocity" of the tone and issued a threat against any further public opposition by Catholics. The bishops' statements, she said, are "language and thinking wholly against our constitution and tradition. What they have done is perilous for their religion, never mind for women who have decided to have an abortion."

In the Scotsman, columnist Dani Garavelli, who claims to be a Catholic "at odds" with the Church, called the Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life and sexuality, "dogmatic, intemperate and ultimately self-defeating." While she admitted that Cardinal O'Brien had a democratic right to dissent, Garavelli called his homily "at best emotional blackmail and at worst a threat to the political system."

"The Church is swapping its role as lobbyist for something altogether more sinister," Garavelli writes. "If it gets away with this, how long before the threat of `excommunication' is extended to the position of Catholic MPs and MSPs on other issues such as civil partnerships or sex education?"

Set against this, Jemima Lewis, a self-proclaimed "pro-choice liberal" and "lapsed Catholic" columnist in the Independent, wonders what has sent the "liberal establishment into conniptions." "I should have thought the freedom to voice one's beliefs was a central feature of any democracy," Lewis remarked. "As if we liberals would never dream of imposing our ideas about, say, gay adoption upon a doubtful public."

"You can't win a debate by shouting down your opponent. It makes you look as though you've got something to hide," Lewis concludes.


Who would be a boys' football coach?

A new survey shows many men are reluctant to work with children in case people think they're secret paedophiles

Both the UK government and big volunteering organisations have long denied that Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks and other child protection measures put adults off volunteering. The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill, which passed through the Houses of Parliament in London at the end of last year, requires that all those who work with children must submit to a background check first. As one Home Office official responsible for CRB checks recently assured me, it is only those who have something to hide who are put off.

Yet a new survey by the children's charity NCH - at the start of Volunteering Week - finds that 17 per cent of men wouldn't volunteer to work with children because they would face a criminal records check. Moreover, 13 per cent wouldn't volunteer because they fear that they could be perceived as a paedophile.

These results are a marker of twisted contemporary attitudes to adult-child relations. A man who says that he likes teaching children is now apt to draw glances. `So, why do you want to teach boys' football anyway?' To enjoy teaching and being with children - an enjoyment that is surely essential if we are to pass on experience and knowledge to the next generation out of enthusiasm rather than dry obligation - becomes suspicious.

Only the joyless bureaucrats, who have their child protection handbooks in their back pocket and know the `correct manner of comforting a child', are deemed okay to allow near tender young people. They are beyond suspicion because they have effectively placed themselves under perpetual monitoring. Working with children becomes less a source of enjoyment, because an adult is driven to develop young talent or has passion for a sport or art, and instead becomes a procedure that must be carried out correctly.

NCH is understandably worried by these survey results, and says that male role models are essential for children's development. How right it is. But NCH's response - to emphasise the ease of CRB checks, and outline the secure procedures it has in place - may not assuage the doubts of reluctant men. The NCH chief executive, Clare Tickell, gave a description of male volunteers that was not unlike that of prisoners on day release. `We work hard to ensure volunteers are checked by the police, trained and monitored, which we hope encourages men to come forward and helps assuage the public's concern.'

Come forward, football coaches, to be checked by the police, trained and monitored! Some men may be deterred because they don't want petty past convictions - youthful graffiti or pub fights - to be revealed to their fellow volunteers. Others may be deterred because this just doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun.

There is a bizarre assumption here: that if everybody is `careful' about how they behave with children, this does something to combat paedophilia. The withdrawing of ordinary human concern is seen as the solution to dealing with twisted individuals. This is quite the opposite of the truth. It is surely only by affirming good intentions that those with less good intentions are shown up and dealt with. Once we view millions of genuine adult child relationships as poisonous, we blur the distinction between the decent and twisted, the good and the bad.

Child protection procedures mean that children grow up in an increasingly sterile world, devoid of enthusiastic adult role models that could spark their passion for sports or hobbies. And when decent adults withdraw, or place themselves under perpetual checks and monitoring, this cannot leave children any safer either.



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, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


No comments: