Tuesday, April 22, 2008

British government obliged to give prisoners heroin substitute

Taxpayers have footed a 1 million pound compensation bill after almost 200 drug-addicted prisoners sued the Government, claiming that denying them a heroin substitute breached their human rights. The prisoners claimed that their rights were infringed when they were deprived of methadone and had to go "cold turkey". A High Court test case involving six prisoners was going ahead two years ago but the Government agreed to settle out of court and pay 750,000 to 197 inmates in jails in England and Wales. The compensation payments averaged 3,807 pounds per prisoner, with four in Wymott jail in Lancashire receiving a total of 15,228 and three at Preston prison 11,421. The overall bill to the taxpayer of 1 million includes the compensation payments plus the estimated lawyers' fees.

The Government decided against fighting the compensation claims to minimise costs. It had been warned that if the case had gone to court the prisoners could have won even larger amounts of compensation. The prisoners had been using methadone paid for by the Government but it was decided that they should go through cold turkey detoxification instead. They claimed that their human rights had been breached under Articles 3 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which bans discrimination, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

At the preliminary hearing in 2006 Richard Hermer, a human rights lawyer specialising in group actions against the Government, told the court: "Many of the prisoners were receiving methadone treatment before they entered prison and were upset at the short period of treatment using opiates they encountered in jail. Imposing the short, sharp detoxification is the issue." The addicts said that their treatment was handled "inappropriately" with the consequence that they "suffered injuries" and had "difficulties" with their withdrawal. They claimed that the treatment constituted trespass and accused the Prison Service of clinical negligence.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said that the payments made were in response to a minority of the claims. "We successfully defended the majority of claims. We make payments only when we are instructed to do so by the courts or where strong legal advice suggests that a settlement will save money," she added. Latest figures show that compensation payments to prisoners have fallen from a total of 4.4 million in 2005-06 to 2 million in 2006-07.


Where Are The Liberals When You Need Them? Not In Missouri...

Post below recycled from Discriminations. See the original for links

At their best, liberals have defended free speech for those with whom they disagree; defended the rights of workers to organize even when they didn't like the unions the workers were likely to choose; and defended voter registration drives even if they suspected the newly registered voters would support candidates the liberals opposed. Liberalism, that is, has in the past been as concerned with fair and democratic procedures as with politically appealing, i.e., Democratic, results. Now that sort of liberalism has, alas, been largely displaced by a results-oriented partisanship, famously derided by one of the founders of the ACLU, Roger Baldwin, as "civil liberties for our side only."

Take Missouri (Please!). I have already discussed at length how Robin Carnahan, the Democratic Secretary of State, and Jay Nixon, the Democratic Attorney General, have engaged in massively outrageous and illegal conduct in an attempt, unsuccessful so far, to block the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative from getting on the ballot. But enough about that.

Sometimes, as now, what Democratic office holders and their acolytes in the big newspapers (in this case, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star) don't do and don't say is far worse than what they do and say. As I write, right now, they are doing nothing and saying nothing while the organized defenders of racial preferences are importing and paying to thugs to intimidate, disrupt, and prevent supporters of the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative from gathering the signatures necessary to place that discrimination-banning measure on the ballot. An acquaintance who prefers not to be names emails from the Missouri battlefield:
If you have never seen a blocking operation, it involves individuals who are opposed to the initiative setting up shop adjacent to petition circulators and doing everything possible to keep citizens from signing the petitions being circulated.

The strategy of our opponents is to keep us off the ballot. By Any Means Necessary made it very clear when we started this campaign that such would be their approach. They are now even more aggressive, often sending out three and four physically intimidating individuals to threaten our circulators. In addition, they are sabotaging our efforts by falsely signing petitions.
Harry Stein, who has followed the state battles over civil rights carefully, writes in the current City Journal:
Democratic secretary of state Robin Carnahan, charged with what is normally the routine certification of ballot measures, instead went to work on this one, eliminating its straightforward language, derived from that of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and substituting wording that pleads the other side's case. The question, as she wanted to pose it to voters, was whether to amend the state's constitution to "ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment and education." So egregious was this subterfuge that a liberal county circuit judge took the unprecedented step of throwing out Carnahan's rewrite and reinstating the original language almost intact.

Still, as [Ward] Connerly observes, "all the forces of the Left are converging in Missouri-Acorn and the rest of the race industry, the feminists, the unions, the contractors who feed off this stuff-and George Soros is providing a lot of the funding. They're enlisting the whole vast left-wing conspiracy-and, believe me, it's a lot vaster than the supposed right-wing one." The ugliness is most evident on the streets, where supporters of the ballot initiative are busy gathering signatures. Opponents' chief tactic is to use "blockers"-often burly union men-to shadow signature gatherers and scare off potential signers by charging not only that the initiative is racist and has the support of the Ku Klux Klan, but also that the signers risk identity theft. In addition, the pro-preferences sources have dispatched their people to sign petitions with false names and addresses, so that they will be invalidated later.
Where is the liberal outrage against this anti-democratic thuggery? Where is their vaunted concern for fair and democratic procedures? Perhaps I've missed the editorials in liberal newspapers calling attention to these ongoing attacks on the rights of citizens to engage in the democratic process. Perhaps I've missed the attempts of unions to reign in their members who are being used to disrupt the petition-gathering process. If so, please out to me what I've missed.

Meanwhile, we can do two things. First, take comfort in what produces this thuggish behavior from opponents of colorblind equality: they know that they would lose if citizens are given the opportunity to vote for or against race preferences. They can't win an election, so they choose to try to prevent it, By Any Means Necessary.

Second, you, or anyone you know or can enlist, can volunteer to go to Missouri right now (the deadline for submission is May 4) and gather signatures. And you can do well by doing good: earn up to $1000 a week for the next several weeks!

Clintons And Dems Face The Monster They Created

Why is propaganda dangerous? I believe it is because it has two elements that can get out of control real quick. First it tries to harness mob think, creating a false sense of emergency in tandem with labeling some group as the root cause of the emergency. This focuses the mob's anger and resentment onto the political opposition. It was used to great extent in Nazi Germany to make the Jews the source of all Aryan problems past, present and future.

The second component is what makes it hard to stop - it is built upon lies. Once someone buys into the lies many will refuse to face the fact they may have been duped or wrong, so they hold to the lie until something shakes them so soundly they can face the truth. This personal vesting in the propaganda makes it hard to stop. The fact it is built upon lies makes it escalate. As for some they have to become further invested in the lies so as to avoid the pain of being wrong. In some cases the lies are so outlandish in order to hold back reality to the outside (and still untouched) observer it seems like insanity to believe such garbage.

But if you build up the lies slowly, over time they can seem incredibly reasonable. Look at the Palestinians after decades of being brain washed. Now I have used extreme comparisons to make my point because a broad range of people can easily appreciate them. But deep down we are no different humans than Germans and Palestinians - so we too are susceptible to manipulation if we are not careful.

And so I get to the point of my post. After decades of the Democrats feeding the far left incredible propaganda, including how the GOP wants to starve people by throwing them out of welfare and school programs to the idea Bush and Cheney invaded Iraq for oil based on forged documents and 9-11 was actually committed by them, we have the expected results. An angry out of control mob, which has been told for decades the GOP is trying to kill people (while giving tax cuts to the "rich"). They are backed up by a military industrial complex which has been compared by democrat leaders to the Nazis, Pol Pot and Stalin relative to GITMO, have been accused of terrorizing women and children in the night, have committed acts reminiscent of Genghis Khan.

The heroes of the far left are now propagandists who can create the best lies about evil America, the ones who ran to the guns and bible in their evil bitterness. The old time heroes are those who "God Damn" America and who set bombs on the symbols of power back in the 60's - killing to prove a point. After decades of creating the mindless mob think on the left, which exists on pure fantasy (I know, I used to believe in them), the Clintons and the Dems are shocked at how they have turned on them, for simply trying to be occasionally reasonable in the battle against the evil GOP.
At a small closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton blamed what she called the "activist base" of the Democratic Party - and MoveOn.org in particular - for many of her electoral defeats, saying activists had "flooded" state caucuses and "intimidated" her supporters, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by The Huffington Post.

"Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] - which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."
Emphasis mine. It is true the radical far left wanted us to take our licking on 9-11 and apologize for being stronger and more productive than the rest of the planet. They want America punished - for what who knows and honestly who cares. They have issues with America, irreconcilable ones if massacre is the only answer for them. The Democrats created this monster out of laziness and indefensible policies, replacing debate on issues with propaganda to keep their base `energized' - which equates to keeping the mob angry. They had to feed more exaggerated lies to keep the anger focused and the voters coming out over a period of decades. They had to feed their beast.

By contrast Reagan rallied his base on optimism and thanks for our great nation. Sadly even the far right has succumbed at times to trying to generate anger in the mob instead of reason on the issues. I hope it wakes up and realizes America is not a mob-think country but a diligent, hard-working, caring testament to mankind's potential. We are not evil, just human. When we makes honest mistakes it natural because humanity is as imperfect as nature. But when we use exaggeration and propaganda to rally the mob against political opponents we are undoing all we have done before. This is not an honest mistake, it is criminal negligence.

The far left monster is out of control now. It feeds on extrapolations from the propaganda to make new propaganda (such as the idea 9-11 was an inside job). There are also those in the Democrat Party with no scruples and a lust for power that blinds them to the dangerous game they are playing. And there are those who know exactly what they are doing, building a new world power structure where they reign supreme. The monster is out and out of control.

All I can say to the Clintons and Dems is you should have thought about what you were doing when you were raising this beast. Now that it has a mind of its own and is destroying the Democrat Party it is too late to moan about the monster. The true irony in all of this is the only way to destroy it is to ally with the GOP and start destroying the mythology the beast thrives on. By destroying the propaganda and bringing the GOP back to respectable status the beast loses its power.

Same for the baby-beast on the right, though that one does not seem to be surviving. McCain is beating down that proto-monster nicely, mainly because everyone on the right still basks in the sunshine of Reagan's optimism. The right respects individual accomplishments, it still sees the shining city on the hill. If it can jettison the purity wars and go back to respecting diversity and losing debates with honor and integrity (instead of propaganda of its own) it will survive to lead America again. The left. They seem to be a lost cause.


A Leftist argues for English nationalism

Good to see in many ways -- as long as it does not go down the Fascist path. I tend to think that only conservatives can be trusted with nationalism. Leftists take to extremes anything that they adopt -- and we have already seen where one brand of national socialism ended up. Note: Wednesday is St George's Day, the day of England's patron Saint and the English flag (of St. George) is below. There is a discussion from a conservative viewpoint of the need for an English parliament here

There are certainly plenty of reasons to be suspicious of nationalism, and plenty of historic examples of its dark side. There are reasons, too, to be concerned about some of those who take on the mantle today, many of whom do come from a dark political place. But wait a minute: how have the Scottish managed to get themselves a government that is both nationalist and left-wing? How is it that the French are able to invoke '‚tat from the left as well as the right? Why do the Zapatistas in Mexico, who talk proudly of their Mexican as well as their indigenous identity while conducting armed insurrections against the state, attract the admiration of young English radicals? Why is nationalism good in Venezuela or Cuba but not here? And why is talk of identity and culture admired among our ethnic-minority communities, yet when the English as a whole discuss such ideas, the spectre of Enoch Powell and the British National Party is immediately conjured up?

It is customary at this point to invoke George Orwell, who wrote, nearly 70 years ago, that "England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality". The average English liberal, he observed, was so out of touch with popular culture that he considered it "a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings". Orwell is still worth the reference, because this attitude is one of the few things that doesn't seem to have changed much in England in seven decades.

Still, among some of the more regressive strands of the English left, the self-loathing continues. We will probably see it on 23 April, Shakespeare's birthday and St George's Day, as ageing liberals are wheeled out to instruct us that "English culture" does not even exist, that everyone is an immigrant anyway, that morris dancing was invented by the Victorians, that St George was Lebanese and that, besides, we're all "multicultural" now, so talking about it will probably offend somebody (though it will never be specified exactly who).

But decades of such cultural self-harm have had three dangerous consequences. The first is that the far right has been able to colonise Englishness for itself, conflate it with whiteness and make us all even more nervous about discussing it. The second is that the genuine political injustices under which England currently labours are not being addressed by the left. And the third is that the door has been flung wide open for global capitalism to gleefully tear up what remains of the English landscape, both physical and cultural, and replace it with strip malls, motorways, corporate farms and gated communities for the rich. England is losing its soul, and the left has had far too little to say about it.

I would argue that there are two strong cases for an English nationalism of the left: a political case and a cultural one. Since 1997, the political landscape within the UK has changed dramatically as a result of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These devolutions were the right thing to do. They responded to a desire, particularly in Scotland, for increased self-governance, a desire which sprang both from a sense of national identity and a sense of injustice and which was articulated in Scotland by the Scottish National Party and in Wales by Plaid Cymru, both nationalist parties of the left.

Yet the devolution process was flawed because it confused Britain with England. The UK contains four nations. Three of them now have governments separate from, though answerable to, the British government. The fourth - England - does not. The English, as a result, have a problem.

Instead of our own elected parliament or assembly, England today is governed by eight unaccountable, undemocratic and largely unknown "regional assemblies", stuffed with corporate shills and political placemen, which make hugely important decisions on housing, spatial planning and transport. Meanwhile, at Westminster, Scottish and Welsh MPs are making decisions about the future of England for which they will never have to answer to their constituents - though English MPs cannot do the same in those countries.

This, the hoary old "West Lothian question", has already had a gravely undemocratic impact on the people of England. In 2003, for example, Tony Blair's controversial bill creating foundation hospitals, rejected by the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, was imposed on the English despite the opposition to it from a majority of English MPs: new Labour drilled its Scottish and Welsh MPs into the lobbies to force upon the English something their own people had already rejected. The next year, university top-up fees (also rejected in Scotland and Wales) were forced down the throats of the English by just five votes - the votes of Scottish MPs.

England, the only British nation without any form of democratic devolution, is also, startlingly, the only nation in Europe without its own parliament or government. It receives less money from the Treasury per head of population than the other British nations (the poorest part of Britain, incidentally, is in England; it is Cornwall) and has fewer MPs per head of population, too. Despite devolution, the British government has ministers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - but no minister for England.

Growing numbers of English people are angry about this, and Gordon Brown's clumsy campaign to promote "Britishness" should be seen as a deliberate attempt to fend off growing English demands for political justice, which would torpedo new Labour's (largely Scottish) power base. Yet the point here is not to criticise the Celtic nations, to be "anti-Scottish" or anti-anyone. The point is to be pro-justice and pro-democracy.

Then there is the cultural case. In today's England we are losing what makes us who we are, at a frightening rate. Some of the world's most rapacious corporations, in a cosy alliance with an overcentralised government in love with the notion that business values are national values, are tearing meaning and character from the landscape. The independent, the historic and the diverse are everywhere being replaced by the corporate, the bland and the controlled.

Consider some of the casualties. The English pub, probably the best-known international symbol of our folk culture, is dying; 57 pubs shut up shop every month. Under new Labour we have lost 30,000 independent shops (including half of our independent bookshops), half of our orchards, a quarter of all our post offices (with many more to come) and 40 per cent of our dairy farms. The number of out-of-town shopping centres has increased fourfold in 20 years. We are seeing the streets of our major cities sold off to private corporations. Inner-city markets that serve poor communities are being cleared to make way for executive flats. Property prices have risen so sharply since 1997 - in some places by almost 400 per cent - that entire communities have simply shrivelled and died. This is a huge, and in some cases irreversible, cultural loss, a loss of the everyday culture of the people.

Political justice for England, then, and economic and cultural justice, too: this should be the rallying cry for a new breed of English nationalists. Most of us, Tory or Labour or anything else, would agree that the BNP should not be allowed to hijack our national identity (the BNP, as the name makes clear, is a British, not an English, nationalist party).

But if this is the case, why should we also allow the more respectable right-wingers to have it all to themselves? English folk culture belongs to all of us; the political injustices of the current constitutional settlement are injustices whoever you vote for. Why should those who consider themselves "left-wing", however they define that term, not be able to consider themselves English nationalists, too?

In truth, there is no good reason, other than fear and prejudice. It is time to reclaim both England and the proud tradition of radical nationalism, rooted but not chauvinistic, outward-looking but aware of our past, attached to place not race, geography not biology. The need to belong - the need for a sense of place and culture - is a basic human impulse. It should not be denied, and neither is it a bad thing unless it is perverted. If we don't want it to be perverted we need to see that it isn't, by claiming it for all of us.

More here


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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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