Sunday, July 20, 2008

British father branded a 'pervert' - for photographing his own children in a public park

When Gary Crutchley started taking pictures of his children playing on an inflatable slide he thought they would be happy reminders of a family day out. But the innocent snaps of seven-year-old Cory, and Miles, five, led to him being called a `pervert'. The woman running the slide at Wolverhampton Show asked him what he was doing and other families waiting in the queue demanded that he stop. One even accused him of photographing youngsters to put the pictures on the internet.

Mr Crutchley, 39, who had taken pictures only of his own children, was so enraged that he found two policemen who confirmed he had done nothing wrong. Yesterday he said: `What is the world coming to when anybody seen with a camera is assumed to be doing things that they should not? `This parental paranoia is getting completely out of hand. I was so shocked. One of the police officers told me that it was just the way society is these days. He agreed with me that it was madness.'

Father-of-three Mr Crutchley, a consultant for a rubber manufacturer from Walsall, West Midlands, was with his wife Tracey and their sons when the pleasant Sunday afternoon out turned sour. He said: `The children wanted to go on an inflatable slide and I started taking photos of them having a good time. Moments later the woman running the slide told me to stop. `When I asked why, she told me I could not take pictures of other people's children. I explained I was only interested in taking photos of my own children and pointed out that this was taking place in a public park.

`I showed her the photos I had taken to prove my point. Then another woman joined in and said her child was also on the slide and did not want me taking pictures of the youngster. `I repeated that the only people being photographed were my own children. She said I could be taking pictures of just any child to put on the internet and called me a pervert. We immediately left the show.'

Mrs Crutchley, 37, a teaching support assistant and qualified nursery nurse, said: `I was shocked by the reaction of those women. 'It is very sad when every man with a camera enjoying a Sunday afternoon out in the park with his children is automatically assumed to be a pervert.'

The slide was run by Tracey Dukes, 35, whose father Malcolm Gwinnett has an inflatables hire company. Mr Gwinnett, 58, a LibDem councillor in Wolverhampton, said: `Our policy is to ask people taking photos whether they have children on the slide. If they do, then that is fine. `But on this occasion another customer took exception to what the man was doing and an argument developed between those two people that continued without any further involvement from staff on the slide.'


Massachusetts Senate fast-tracks same-sex marriage expansion

Voice vote moves plan to state House, guv's signature expected shortly after

A resurrected plan to expand homosexual "marriage" opportunities has been fast-tracked by the state Senate in Massachusetts with a vote that moves the proposal immediately to the state House, with the governor's signature expected before the end of this month. The proposal, previously put in a "kill" file by lawmakers, suddenly was resurrected today and given a voice approval by senators who did not even take a roll call vote.

Pro-family organizations say the plan will allow out-of-state same-sex duos to fetch drive-in "marriage" certificates in Massachusetts, then return home and create "havoc" by demanding their companies, cities, counties and states recognize them as married.

The conflict comes in that voters in 27 states already have approved state constitutional amendments limiting "marriage" to one man and one woman, and California is expected to vote on its similar plan in November. Brian Camenker, chief of Mass Resistance, watched his state senate in action and described it as "completely orchestrated" by homosexual activists. "It was horrible," he said. "It was as if the gays were playing them like a violin." The voice vote, "was just a sort of murmur and that was it," he said.

"I'll tell you there's no more democracy in Massachusetts, no constitutional government. They were completely being run by the homosexual lobby," he said. "The general population would never vote for that. The extent to which the state senate just rolled over for the homosexual lobby is absolutely breathtaking," he said. "You would have thought they would have at least had a debate," he said.

What the senators decided to do was repeal a 1913 law that bars out-of-state couples from marrying in the state unless their "marriage" would be legal in their home state. That has precluded a mass assembly of homosexuals to "marry" in Massachusetts because until this year Massachusetts was the only state where such "marriages" were recognized. California's state Supreme Court in May said it was unconstitutional in that state for officials to deny the status of "married" to homosexuals, and California does not have the same residency requirement imposed by Massachusetts.

Observers say the Massachusetts House likely will hold a vote later this week, and Gov. Deval Patrick is supportive of the change. Opponents of the 1913 law said it was racist, even though Massachusetts has allowed interracial marriages since 1843.

Camenker said his organization and others lobbied earlier this year and the state senators placed the idea into a "study," which effectively stopped its advance. Suddenly, how, however, it was resurrected. "The recent events in California have apparently energized the homosexual lobby. They apparently persuaded Sen. Robert Creedon (D-Brockton), Senate chairman of the judiciary committee, to take the unusual step of resurrecting it from the study to be voted on. Creedon, normally a pro-life, moderately pro-family senator, isn't running for re-election this fall. According to press reports, Sen. Diane Wilkerson (D-Mattapan), who led the charge to push for huge taxpayer-funding for homosexual programs in the schools, is the major force behind this also," Camenker said.

In California, however, same-sex "marriages" face an uncertain future, since a proposed constitutional amendment promoted by the organization already has been approved for this November's election ballot. The amendment reads: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

And one of the followup questions would be: What happens to the "marriages" performed for same-sex couples between the time of the Supreme Court's opinion, and the possible veto of that opinion by the people of California. In fact, homosexual groups now are actively trying to prevent the California vote, saying the five majority justices on the state Supreme Court simply can change the definition of a traditional social institution by vote, but the people cannot vote to protect it.

In Massachusetts, the mandate for same-sex "marriages" does not face that same uncertain future. "This . would allow any homosexual couple in America to get 'married' here (in Massachusetts) - and cause havoc in their home states," Mass Resistance said. Such "couples" then would demand (using court challenges) that their home states legally recognize those marriages because of the US Constitution's 'full faith and credit' clause." "This would make Massachusetts a sort of Mecca for gay weddings, and there will be instability around the country," Camenker told WND.


The British Labour party's heartland is rotten to the core and dying of welfarism

When one thinks of Glasgow East - and the lucky ones are those who have to go no further than just think - one is reminded of Sir Christopher Wren's epitaph in St Paul's: si monumentum requiris, circumspice. If you seek Labour's monument, look at this hell-hole of a constituency. It is not merely in their heartland. It is not merely as devastated as it is after 11 years of Labour misrule. It is in a part of Britain controlled by Labour for generations, and serviced by epic amounts of public money since the invention, 30 years ago, of the Barnett formula for preferential funding of Scotland. And it proves two things.

First, that Labour's managerial incompetence is such that it not only cannot run anything, it cannot even ensure the survival of what passes for the normal social structures of the civilised world. Second, that throwing money at a problem, especially when the state is doing the throwing, is a guaranteed way of ensuring not only that it is not solved, but that it compounds and worsens.

The facts about Glasgow East have been much retailed, but a compendium is always useful, not least as a means of emphasising Labour's massive achievement in government. Its life expectancy for males is just about the lowest in Europe: 63, but in one ward, Calton, it is 54. Iain Duncan Smith, who has for years done what amounts to missionary work in the constituency on a heroic scale, has pointed out that the Calton figure ranks below the life expectancy of North Korea and Iraq.

In Glasgow, the weapon of mass destruction has been welfarism, and the removal of any incentive to work or to be enterprising. Heart disease is twice the national average, but alcoholism is a bigger killer either than the deep-fried Mars bar or tobacco: helped by the Government that brought us 24-hour boozing.

A half of the people in the constituency are unemployed. A half - possibly the same half - have no qualifications. Only a third of families own a car. According to Mr Duncan Smith, thousands of children in east Glasgow are heroin addicts. He has seen drug deals done in broad daylight, the police nowhere to be seen on streets so riddled with violent crime that they resemble a war zone. A local academic, Prof Ivan Turok, compares the area with South African townships: he should know, he is a United Nations adviser.

When Mr Duncan Smith talks of the role welfarism has played in the collapse of society in Glasgow East, he introduces a welcome moral dimension to the argument. Locally, the Roman Catholic Church has taken the moral dimension a step further, alerting its many communicants in the area to the lax views on abortion and embryo experimentation of some of the candidates: all part of the self-conscious "anything goes" attitude to ethics that has been fostered by the liberals who run the Labour Party these days, and which in its widest form has been the ruination of communities such as Glasgow East.

It cannot be stated strongly enough that Labour has created this morass. Its stranglehold on Glasgow politics for decades was widely recognised as corrupt and corrupting, yet no one - including many prominent Scots who ran the national party - bothered to do anything about it.

That three generations of some families in Glasgow East rely on welfare to survive shows how Labour's obsession with spending money entrenches poverty instead of alleviating it.

Nor was it the police who chose to turn themselves into a means of social engineering instead of fighting crime: the lead came from the Government. It is Labour's hopeless schools that turn out so many unqualified people, its so-called fight against "child poverty" that has bred new generations of poor children to poor families without providing the slightest ray of hope. And these people expect to be voted back on July 24, at the by-election.

Glasgow East is a peculiarly deprived and shocking place. We should not, though, allow it to become the sole focus of any attack on Labour and its failures. Most cities in Britain have evidence - less startling perhaps, but still bleak and depressing in the destruction it betokens - of Labour's utter inability to help what it patronisingly calls "our people". You give Labour your poor and your dispossessed, and by golly they stay that way. The lessons are clear. Welfare, as now administered, fails. Regulation fails. High taxation and high spending fail.

Think of what you personally have paid in tax since 1997, and think how little you have had for it. All over Britain, public services are failing because money is being wasted.

Even the most hardened cases of deprivation can be turned round, but the policies Labour has pursued towards the poor since 1997 have, manifestly, failed. So what can the Tories do? Mr Cameron picked up the Duncan Smith line on welfarism in Glasgow 10 days ago, as I noted last week. Last night George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, spoke of the need to reduce the demands on government in order to fix our "broken society". Are they at last getting it? No.

Any suggestions that they might were dispelled by Mr Cameron's dismal performance on the Today programme yesterday, in which he gave a flat "no" to a question about whether, in the light of the economic downturn, it was the right time to abandon his party's foolish promise to match Labour's spending policies. Because Mr Cameron has learned nothing and has forgotten nothing he even trotted out, without a hint of satire, the old claptrap about "sharing the proceeds of growth". This means always spending more public money, even though it is clear we already spend too much. If you can marry this philosophy to Mr Osborne's about reducing demands on the state, you're a better man than I am.

Then, talking to the CBI, Mr Cameron made his most economically ignorant observation yet, about making it easier for bad businesses to avoid liquidation. He really doesn't get it. The late Prof Hayek wasn't being a tease when he said that bankruptcies were good because they drove inefficiencies out of the economy. He meant it, and he was right. Mr Cameron takes us back to Heatho-Wilsonian socialism, propping up lame ducks and wasting valuable resources that ought to be put to more productive use.

Some of you get cross with me for being negative about Mr Cameron, but this is an object lesson in why he isn't up to it. All around us is the monument to Labour's profligacy, its penal taxation and its addiction to welfarism. Mr Cameron holds out hope of a fourth New Labour term, only with himself as Prime Minister, continuing Labour's gluttonous public spending, coddling failed businesses and maintaining a massive state apparatus. Isn't Glasgow East proof enough of just how utterly poisonous that sort of thing is? Or does he seriously want us to have a lot more?


Communist Loser: Eric Hobsbawm, revisionist

BOOK REVIEW of "On Empire: America, War and Global Supremacy", by Eric Hobsbawm. It may be of interest to note that Hobsbawn was born "Hobsbaum". He is originally from Germany and is one of the large legion of Jewish leftists. He has said that he would well have been a Nazi if he had not been Jewish. Despite his vicious loyalties he is still much respected in British intellectual circles

Yes, Eric Hobsbawm is still at it. The University of London professor, it should be remembered and endlessly repeated, was an early member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and perhaps the most prominent scholarly defender of the Soviet Union in the West. He remained a Party member even after the 1956 invasion of Hungary, when most of his colleagues quit in disgust, and stayed until the very end of the twilight struggle, when, rather than quit, he merely let his membership lapse. Asked by a television host if "the loss of 15, 20 million people might have been justified" to establish a communist utopia, he unhesitatingly responded: "Yes." He remains an "unrepentant communist" to this day.

While the fall of the Soviet Union may have chastened Hobsbawm about the practicality of communism, it has not tempered his disgust for the United States. Now 91 years old, he has recently compiled four brief essays about America and "imperialism" into a slim volume. Hobsbawm predicates his critique on "the strength and indestructibility of my own political convictions"-but an argument presented nearly 20 years after the end of the Cold War, by a man too stubborn to own up to the fatal contradictions of Marxism and his own role in justifying them, is bound to have many problems of its own.

Hobsbawm's vituperation at American "empire," "supremacy," and "hegemony" characterizes this angry little book. In the preface, he notes that his lectures were written during a period "dominated by the decision of the U.S. government in 2001 to assert a single-handed world hegemony, denouncing hitherto accepted international conventions, reserving its right to launch wars of aggression or other military operations whenever it wanted to, and actually doing so." Elsewhere he attacks American global hegemony as exceptionally malign and historically unique. September 11 produced a national trauma that "enabled a group of political crazies to realize long-held plans for an unaccompanied solo performance of world supremacy"; these maniacs have carried out a "megalomaniac American policy," he claims. Hobsbawm does not appear to have marked the irony of such a passage's being written by an apologist for the Soviet Union.

Hobsbawm goes on to argue that the nostrums of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia "were formally denounced by President Bush in 2002, namely that, in principle, sovereign states, acting officially, respected one another's borders and kept out of one another's internal affairs." It boggles the mind that a renowned international historian could maintain that the past 400 years of human history were marked by the existence of a widely agreed upon, not to mention respected, system of nonintervention in sovereign states' internal affairs that America somehow destroyed at the dawn of the twenty-first century. It's even more remarkable that an unreconstructed Marxist and defender of the Soviet Union could make such an observation-consider the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet invasions of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the Brezhnev Doctrine, and Soviet-funded insurgencies from Angola to Nicaragua, to name just a few of international communism's manifold acts of aggression against free peoples.

Hobsbawm's hatred for capitalism is evident in his suspicion of unchallenged American power. "The currently fashionable free-market globalization has brought about a dramatic growth in economic and social inequalities both within states and internationally," he complains. He doesn't much care for the enormous benefits that capitalism has brought mankind in terms of economic productivity and quality of life; rather, it is the persistence of "inequalities" that matter most. Fine, he's a Marxist. But Hobsbawm doesn't let his criticism of capitalism end there. "This surge of inequality, especially in the conditions of extreme economic instability such as those created by the global free market in the 1990s," he explains, "is at the roots of the major social and political tensions of the new century." What about militant Islam, many of whose funders, ideologists, and practitioners are hardly lacking in purchasing power? Amazingly, there is no mention of jihadism in these lectures, a remarkable omission in a book that seeks to explain the twenty-first-century international order. More proof that Marxists really don't understand the importance of religion.

On Empire is not an explicit apologia for the Soviet Union, though it might as well be. Hobsbawm grieves for the loss of the Soviet empire less for the glories that it might have bestowed upon the world than for its ability to check the rapacious United States. After the fall of the great European empires, international communism was the last obstacle to America's present-day "global supremacy," he writes. International competition between the two superpowers "kept at bay both the danger of a global war and the collapse of large parts of the globe into disorder or anarchy." But there was a great deal of "disorder" and "anarchy" during the Cold War, inspired by Soviet meddling in all corners of the globe. And whatever "order" existed at the time came with a price for the peoples living under Soviet rule. Yet that price is one that Hobsbawm, like any good apologist and revisionist, doesn't care to discuss.

Western Cold Warriors should at least appreciate the Soviet Union for the stability that it provided and realize that its disintegration is the major cause of today's "world disorder," Hobsbawm argues. For instance, he notes the dramatic increase in the "number of independent states" in the world but laments that "a number-probably a growing number-of these political entities appear incapable of carrying on the essential functions of territorial states or are threatened with disintegration by secessionist movements." This is true, but it's hardly a reason to bemoan the end of Soviet imperialism. It should not come as a surprise that Hobsbawm opposed NATO intervention to prevent the wholesale slaughter of innocents by Slobodan Milosevic in the postcommunist Balkans. In this book, he describes that crisis not as an attempted ethnic cleansing on the part of a racist, expansionist thug, but as a "rebellion against Serbia of an extremist minority group among Albanian nationalists in Kosovo." The Gulf War, presumably, was nothing more than an insurgency against Iraq among fringe Shiites, Kurds, and Kuwaitis.

The last lecture in the book, entitled "Why America's Hegemony Differs from Britain's Empire," seeks not only to distinguish between the British Empire and the alleged American one, but also to show why the latter is demonstrably worse. What makes our global hegemony so bad is that "unlike Britain and all other European states, America never saw itself as one entity in an international system of rival political powers." Hobsbawm asserts that "Britain certainly had a strong conviction of its superiority to other societies, but absolutely no messianic belief in, or particular desire for, the conversion of other peoples to the British ways of government." American democracy promotion abroad-which, predictably, Hobsbawm sneers at-is worse than British imperialism, because our latter-day raping and pillaging of the world makes a pretense of goodwill whereas the British were, at least, less sentimental about their intentions. But this isn't accurate, either; the British may not have wanted to "convert" Kenyans or Indians to parliamentary democracy, but they certainly had altruistic justifications for their foreign exploits.

Like all totalitarians, Hobsbawm abuses language. For reasons that go unexplained, "peace" and "order" never existed within the British or American "empires," yet somehow they flourished within the Soviet realm. Hobsbawm adds obligatory scare quotes to the words "tyranny" and "freedom." He concedes that American military bases abroad exist at the behest of their host governments-unlike British bases during the Empire's heyday-yet he doesn't seem to understand how this consensual relationship might discredit use of the word "empire" in describing America's global posture. And if America is an "empire," then what does that make China, with its economic exploitation of Africa and suborning of the mass murder of Sudanese, Zimbabweans, and Burmese? Or Russia, which seeks once again to dominate Eastern Europe?

Hobsbawm is no doubt a prodigious and prolific writer. But after reading his latest effort, I'm reminded of something that David Pryce-Jones observed in a review of Hobsbawm's 2003 memoir, Interesting Times: "Lifelong devotion to Communism destroyed him as a thinker or interpreter of events."



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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