Sunday, February 17, 2008

HEARTBURN: BBC is "racist"

[Black] Comedian Lenny Henry has attacked the lack of ethnic diversity in Britain's broadcasting industry. "When I started, I was surrounded by a predominantly white workforce, and 32 years later, not a lot has changed," he told the Royal Television Society. In his own field of television comedy, he added, ethnic minorities were "pitifully underserved".

Last year, BBC executives waived their annual bonuses for failing to meet their full diversity targets. Henry criticised the so-called "golden age" of television, citing such shows as Till Death Us Do Part and Mind Your Language. "TV producers of the '60s and '70s missed a great opportunity," he said in London on Thursday. "Rather than reflect the reality of multi-ethnic Britain, they chose a more xenophobic route - emphasising points of difference instead of similarities."

In a seven-point plan, he encouraged programme-makers to "be bold" in setting targets and appointing ethnic minority staff. "I'm not talking about cleaners, security guys, scene shifters or anyone wearing a uniform," he added. "I'm talking about decision makers, producers, directors [and] commissioners." However, he said advances had been made in children's television and praised the BBC for its "fantastic" range of presenters.

Last year, Cracker writer Jimmy McGovern accused the BBC of being "one of the most racist institutions in England".


Berkeley council becomes home to intolerance

I have no doubt that the members of the Berkeley City Council have acted with conviction and sincerity in their actions relating to the U.S. Marine Corps recruiting center the past two weeks. I have met many of the members of the council, and honestly believe they are good, honorable people. But that doesn't change the fact that many on this council are, to steal a line from John McCain, agents of intolerance. It was a term coined to describe members of the far right-wing in this country who espouse a moral superiority over all who see the world differently, but the Berkeley City Council has proved sadly during the Marine furor that the phrase applies equally well to the far left.

First, it's important to understand what the council did and didn't do early Wednesday morning. It retracted the incendiary statement it made Jan. 29 calling the Marines "unwelcome and uninvited intruders" in the city. Instead, it acknowledged the obvious -- that the Marines have a right to operate a recruiting center in Berkeley and people have a right to "protest or support that presence." It also reiterated that it opposes "the recruitment of our young people into this war."

But while the council retreated on the symbolic aspect of its actions from Jan. 29 (it never was in a position to make the Marines leave), it ignored the practical -- giving a free parking space and noise permit once a week to the protest group Code Pink to harass people at the station; and encouraging people in the city to impede the Marines' recruiting mission. Therein lies the intolerance and sense of moral superiority.

To illustrate, let's take a hypothetical scenario involving an equally controversial issue in a very different city far, far away. Let's assume for a moment there is a small, conservative city called Perkeley somewhere in Alabama. Say there's an abortion clinic in this city. The members of the Perkeley City Council all believe abortion is tantamount to murder and that Roe v. Wade represents an assault on the most defenseless among us. The City Council passes a resolution calling this abortion clinic and the people who work there "unwanted and uninvited" intruders and gives a free parking space and noise permit to a protest group called Code Black to harass people trying to enter that clinic.

After a national outcry, the Perkeley City Council changes the language of its motion to acknowledge that the abortion clinic has a right to operate in the city. But it reiterates that it "opposes the murder of unborn children in this city" and continues to encourage residents to impede the activities of that clinic. Code Black gets to keep its special parking place and noise permit. I wonder what would be the reaction of the Berkeley City Council members who are trying to drive the recruiting station out of town upon learning of these events? More to the point, what would they do if Code Black came to Berkeley and tried to shut down an abortion clinic here? If they would grant the anti-abortion activists the same encouragement and preferential free-speech treatment they have given Code Pink, I would take back what I said about them being agents of intolerance. But we all know what their reaction would be to Code Black, don't we?

Some will argue that these council members are elected to represent the will of the people of Berkeley and pursue actions that further that will. Well, let's assume for the sake of argument that the people of Berkeley agree with their position on the recruiting center, something I find highly doubtful given the level of outrage expressed over the past two weeks by many residents.

The council's job is to enact policy decisions that reflect the values of its constituents; not to afford special rights and privileges to groups that share those values at the expense of organizations that have a legal right to conduct business in the city. What if a Republican-controlled Congress had granted special parking and noise privileges to demonstrators who supported the Bush administration's Iraq policy in the months leading up to the 2003 invasion? Would liberals have supported such action based on the argument that these Republicans represented the will of the people who elected them?

For most of the 20th century, cities in the South were dominated by people who believed African-Americans were an inferior race. Were the city councils in those cities justified in taking actions designed to segregate and discriminate against African-Americans? What if the City Council in Perkeley, Ala., had given a special parking space and noise permit to those who wanted to demonstrate in front of a civil rights office?

So what conclusion can we come to regarding the events of the past two weeks? That the Berkeley City Council is home to the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of the left? It's unfortunate but true. These council members may be able to look in the mirror today and tell themselves that they did the right thing, that they made an important statement about this war and took action to bring it to an end. They will say they followed their conscience. And that will all be true. Along with the fact that, in their own way, they have become the same agents of intolerance that they deplore on the right.


Horror in France: Sarko Wants to Remember the Holocaust

Post below lifted from Jammie Wearer. See the original for links

Not only does he want to honor French victims of the Holocaust, he has the temerity to suggest France remember their Christian faith. Why, is this man crazy or something?
President Nicolas Sarkozy has triggered a row over religion by saying faith has a place in the public sphere and schoolchildren should study the 11,000 French Jewish child victims of the Holocaust. Sarkozy has angered secularists with repeated praise for faith and references to France's Christian roots, and he told a French Jewish organization that the violence and wars of the 20th century were due to an "absence of God".
Why do these lefties get so angry when someone expresses their faith. Perhaps they ought to attend anger management classes and seek to find the root cause for their anger.
Ten-year-old pupils "should know the name and life story of a child who died in the Holocaust", he told the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) on Wednesday.

He attracted criticism on Thursday from two camps -- secularists keen to keep religion out of public discourse and those worried that pupils could be traumatized by studying the Holocaust through child victims with whom they could identify. "The president should not turn into a kind of preacher, as he is doing now," said left-wing Senator Jean-Luc Melenchon. Centrist deputy Francois Bayrou predicted "a clash between France's values and those of Nicolas Sarkozy".
What values are those? Capitulation? Collaboration? Laziness? Whining?

Multiculturalism is making Britain 'a soft touch for terrorists'

Britain has become a soft touch for terrorists, leading defence experts warn today. The world-renowned Royal United Services Institute has delivered an unprecedented attack on the Government's security policy. It warns that a failure to "lay down the line" to immigrant populations is undermining the fight against domestic extremism. It condemns the country's "fragmented" national identity and obsession with multiculturalism. And it accuses ministers of a "piecemeal and erratic response" to urgent threats to the nation and of starving the armed forces of cash to the point of "chronic disrepair".

The security think tank, which has unrivalled contact with senior political and military figures, urges ministers to abandon "flabby and bogus strategic thinking" and to make the defence of the realm the "first duty of Government". The bleak assessment comes as top security officials warn that planned job cuts could undermine the UK's intelligence performance. The Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS), which analyses information with GCHQ, MI6 and the Ministry of Defence, is facing the loss of 121 posts. DIS staff are central to the intelligence community and provide expertise on the development of weapons systems and arms proliferation, as well as support to UK operations overseas. John Morrison, the former Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence, claims such losses - amounting to a staff cut of more than 20 per cent - would be "ludicrous" and seriously compromise large areas of its work.

The study also follows two blows this week to Labour's anti-terror strategy. Appeal judges have given an Algerian pilot the go-ahead to claim compensation which could run into millions for being wrongly accused of training the September 11 hijackers. And five young Muslim men had their convictions for terrorist offences quashed by the Appeal Court.

Laws making it a crime to possess extremist jihadi propaganda and literature could now have to be re-written and dozens more prosecutions could collapse after senior judges ruled that police and prosecutors must prove to juries that terror suspects not only possessed potentially dangerous material but were intent on using it in an attack.

In Wednesday's ruling the Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips stated that unless there was clear evidence of "terrorist intent", merely possessing or sharing extremist material did not amount to a crime. The law was designed to help police catch so-called "clean-skins" - would-be terrorists who have yet to carry out an atrocity but are in the early stages of planning one. But the effect of the ruling is that the police will struggle to build a watertight case against suspects based on such early planning or research for an attack, and will instead be forced to wait until plans are far more advanced - increasing the risk of a successful atrocity.

The Appeal Court ruling was the latest instance of counter-terrorist laws being defeated or watered down by senior judges, but RUSI's damning report raises fundamental questions over the Government's ability to protect Britain from the gravest threats. The work of a panel of senior military commanders, diplomats, politicians and academics, it contrasts the erosion of national confidence with the "implacability" of Islamist terrorists.

The study calls for a radical shake-up of government to take away oversight of security and defence from "the arena of short-term party politics" - in the same way that interest rates are now set independently of politicians. "The United Kingdom presents itself as a target, as a fragmenting, post-Christian society, increasingly divided about interpretations of its history, about its national aims, its values and in its political identity," it states. By contrast those who refuse to integrate into British society have a "firm self-image".

"This is a problem worsened by the lack of leadership from the majority which in misplaced deference to "multiculturalism" failed to lay down the line to immigrant communities, thus undercutting those within them trying to fight extremism. "We look like a soft touch. We are indeed a soft touch, from within and without."

The authors suggest the world is living through a "time of remission" between the September 11 attacks six years ago and a yet-worse future atrocity which will deliver "an even greater psychological blow". The British people are "uncertain" about wars abroad, fearful over security at home and doubtful over the "muddling" of responsibility for protecting them between Westminster and Brussels. "Repeated assertions by ministers that all is well, that the matter is well in hand and can be safely left to them to manage in-house, no longer carry conviction," the report warns.

Against this backdrop a serious decline in the armed forces has left Britain "open to ambush", with the military engulfed in an "atmosphere of chronic disrepair". The RUSI study echoes concerns raised by five former heads of the armed forces who spoke out against military underfunding in the House of Lords last year. It likens the lack of adequate spending on defence over the past ten years to "a breach made by the defenders themselves in the walls of their own city".

The report particularly condemns the savage cuts to the Royal Navy in recent years, accusing politicians of suffering from "sea blindness". The Navy has seen its fleet of warships and submarines as well as its manpower drastically reduced in recent years, and is struggling to maintain training in the face of crippling budget pressures. Britain now has a "bare-bones defence and security establishment", according to the report's authors, yet we lack the knowledge of future threats which would justify such a risk.

New threats are emerging besides Islamist terrorism - "ferocious" Russian nationalism, climate change and competition for resources - while international bodies which Britain relies on such as the United Nations, Nato and the EU are "weakening".

The report urges a return to "traditional alliances with the English-speaking world" - particularly the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada - adding: "Foul-weather friends are to be preferred to fair- weather friends; and the British people know precisely which are which."

It calls for oversight of security and defence to be handed to two new committees - one joint Lords and Commons group, chaired by a senior opposition MP, tasked with identifying gaps in security, and another within the Cabinet to coordinate activity across the whole of Government.

Tory security spokesman Baroness Neville-Jones said: "This report sends a powerful message to Government that leadership is badly lacking at a time of significant threat to our country. Conservatives agree that multiculturalism has been a disaster for national cohesion and has increased our vulnerability to the terrorist threat."

With the Government's long-awaited National Security Strategy due to be published within days, the damning attack by such respected experts will add to the intense scrutiny of policies on terrorism and defence. The Ministry of Defence rejected RUSI's warnings of military decline, saying: "The UK's Armed Forces have the ability to meet the broad range of tasks they may be required to undertake, often at short notice. "They have a battle-winning capability that is second to none. The broad range of capability gives us insurance against the inherent uncertainty of the future."



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 INTERNATIONAL 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.


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