The British Labour party's 3,600 new ways of making you a criminal
Ever tried selling a grey squirrel, impersonating a traffic warden, importing Polish potatoes or disturbing a pack of eggs without permission? If you do, you will be breaking the law. These are among the 3,605 new criminal offences created by the Labour Government since it won power in 1997 - almost one for every day it has been in office. Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne has described the plethora of new laws as 'legislative diarrhoea'.
The new offences are made up of 1,238 which were brought in as primary legislation - meaning they were debated in Parliament - and 2,367 by secondary legislation, such as orders in council and statutory instruments. Under Tony Blair, Labour introduced 160 new offences in its first year, but in 2003, 493 offences were created. Offences brought in during the past five years include:
Sell types of flora and fauna not native to the UK, such as the grey squirrel, ruddy duck or Japanese knotweed
Disturb a pack of eggs when instructed not to by an authorised officer
Offer for sale a game bird killed on a Sunday or Christmas Day
It has slowed slightly in the past two years with 288 new offences in 2007 and 148 so far this year. Mr Huhne said: 'In what conceivable way can the introduction of a new criminal offence every day help tackle crime when most crimes that people care about have been illegal for years. 'This legislative diarrhoea is not about making us safer, because it does not help enforce the laws that we have one jot. It is about the Government's posturing on punishments.'
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has proved the most prolific law creators, introducing some 852 new offences. Meanwhile the Home Office has been responsible for 455 new offences.
Mr Huhne said minor criminals should be kept out of jail to allow the Home Office to redirect funding from prisons to the police. It is the fear of being caught - and not the severity of punishment after conviction - which deters people from committing crime, he said outlining the Lib Dem's vision for policing and criminal justice.
Mr Huhne - whose party is already committed to funding 10,000 more police by scrapping ID cards - said: 'We rely on prison far too much. 'First, reoffending is appallingly high, as prisons are colleges of crime. Secondly, the chances of being caught are still far too low, as only one in 100 crimes leads to a conviction. 'We do not need to increase the severity of punishments, but we do need to increase the chances of being caught. Catching criminals works better than posturing about penalties.'
Some more offences introduced in the past five years:
To wilfully pretend to be a barrister (A provision of the Legal Services Act 2007 aimed at modernising the legal profession and increasing competition between barristers).
(Part of a detailed set of regulations last year controlling the production and marketing of eggs).
Obstruct workers carrying out repairs to the Dockland Light Railway (The offence is created under legislation designed to boost capacity on the DLR in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics in London).
Attach an ear tag to an animal when it has previously been used to identify another animal (A regulation introduced last year to tighten up identification of cattle).
Land a catch at a harbour that includes unsorted fish without permission (Regulations two years ago controlling fish taken from seas around Britain).
Fail to use an approved technique for weighing herring, mackerel and horse mackerel (Banned under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006).
Allow an unlicensed concert in a church hall or community centre (The 2003 Licensing Act introduced a maximum penalty of six months' prison for breaking the law).
Prominent Psychiatrist: "No Particular Need for Sex-Education"
Commentary by Dr. Philip Ney
I am a retired professor of psychiatry, having taught in 5 universities in different parts of Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand. I have also run child and adolescent psychiatric units. I have been on school boards. It is from a review of the literature and from my experience that I write this brief opinion.
1) There is no particular need for "sex education." For many centuries there was no sex education, yet children were conceived and their parents enjoyed the process. Discovery of each other and what is pleasant in bed, on the wedding night and thereafter, is an important part of the exciting and unique pleasure that bonds the couple.
2) Sex education inhibits pair bonding. To educate young people about something that comes naturally robs them of the spontaneity and joy of sex that is vitally important for pair bonding and thus family stability.
3) The more sex education, the more sexual self-consciousness. There is substantial evidence that the more sex education, especially on technique, the more the couple is sexually inhibited. The greater the emphasis on sexual performance, the less communication and interpersonal intimacy there is.
4) The more sex education, the more sexual activity. It is quite conclusive now, that the more sex education, the more sexual activity and all the problems that go with that. The introduction of sex education is well correlated with the increase in abortion, STDs and boy-girl interpersonal problems. Good education gives people the desire to try it out or learn more experientially. Paradoxically, in that respect, current forms of sex education are good education but have the wrong results.
5) The earlier the sex education, the younger children explore sex and try various sexual techniques. Present evidence makes it possible to also conclude that the earlier the sex education, the earlier the sexual behavior. Thus sexual education is sexual titillation.
6) In preventing disease and pregnancy, sex education has been a failure. Sex education has had the opposite effect in preventing young people from engaging in "risky sexual behavior."
7) The idea of "safe sex" has failed. Frightening children with the dangers of "unprotected sex", drugs, fast driving, alcohol, etc. for many children has the paradoxical effect of increasing their interest in trying it.
8) The reliance on condoms has been dangerously misleading. There are sexually transmitted diseases (eg. Human Papilloma Virus) for which condoms offer no protection. The most effective use of the best condoms offers 87% protection from lethal HIV, transmitted by anal intercourse. Condom use has failed particularly in Africa. Condom use creates the false impression of safety, thus encouraging sex, when there is a 13% (at least) chance of dying as a result.
9) There is nothing in sex education that cannot be part of a more effective general health education. Everything of value in sex education can be integrated with the necessary knowledge of how the body and mind work. We found that by using the young person's curiosity and letting them discover how their heart, lungs etc. work, gives them a natural desire to protect something very precious - their body and mind.
10) The sex industry profits from sex education. There is an enormous sex industry that financially profits from natural biological drives and makes billions on fashions, condoms, contraceptives, etc. It is understandable they contribute to the sex problems.
11) Sex education creates mind absorbing conflicts and preoccupations. Exposing children to sexual titillation (sex education) creates conflicts and preoccupations that interfere with their mental health, education and personal development.
12) Sex education tends to result in mental images that interfere with the appreciation of nature and art.
13) No sex education teaches the beauty and hazards of pair bonding. To my knowledge there is no sex education program that informs kids about inadvertent pair bonding. Humans are made one flesh through sex. Thus many kinds of sexual behaviour create life long pair bonds. These interfere with the intimacy and durability of a later committed marriage. Statistics indicate that the more "premarital" sex the more extramarital sex.
14) Many kinds of sex education, including "chastity" education, leave a young person with the impression that any kind of sex except vaginal intercourse is okay when it is not.
The Tribe of Sarah: A Guide for the Perplexed Media
Our friends in the media just do not understand the popular following Sarah Palin has attracted. In an effort to help, I thought I should explain her popular appeal to them in terms even an Ivy League graduate could understand.
If you consider yourself a member of the intelligentsia, think of Sarah's unexpectedly numerous admirers as a kind of tribe. We are going to examine a few of the folkways of strange and foreign people. Think of them as exotic and it may help you stifle any revulsion you may feel at their differences from your own familiar accepted ways.
Many of you probably read excerpts from Colin Trumbull's description of the Mbuti tribe of the Congo (The Forest People) in one college course or another. In a similar mindset you can begin to understand the values and the ways of the Tribe of Sarah, and maybe begin understand how the world looks to them, even though it is a very different way of understanding reality than your own. (Okay, I admit the respectful insistence that these are also a complex people, well adapted to their environment and possessed of a beautiful spirituality is probably going to be a stretch for many of you. But still, it is worth a try while you still have careers left.)
We haven't got an entire semester, so I will just hit a few important concepts.
The basic values
Unlike your own refined and infinitely more complex moral understanding, these people believe in abstract concepts known among them as "right" and "wrong" (alternatively "good" and "evil.") They regard those among them whom see as championing the cause of right and defeating wrong as role models to emulate, and frequently accord them honors and deep respect.
Perhaps misinterpreting media characterizations of big oil companies, they see Sarah Palin as someone who stood up to wrong, and thus revere her example. They harbor a belief that she will continue to support good and fight evil, and accordingly project a vision of her success when leaving their world for your own in Washington, DC.
A side note for future reading: a widely believed legend among them has it that a great leader they call Jesus championed good, fought evil, and suffered horribly for it. This martyrdom and its aftermath are a subject of considerable elaboration in their folkways and ritual, and this cultural detail may conceivably amplify their anger when another honored champion is made to suffer.
The role of "Mom"
The person who is assigned the gender role of carrying unterminated fetal tissue mass is the central figure of the family structure among the tribe of Sarah. Known familiarly as "mom" (never "mother"), these moms organize the foundational structures of their civilization. The behavioral norms learned from a mom determine the entire life course of the children. Accordingly, moms are also deeply honored, indeed revered to the point of abject love and devotion among them. Those who threaten harm to a mom occasion deep disgust within the tribe.
Sarah Palin, as the mother of five, including one child facing serious life challenges, is a person widely admired among them for her devotion, which they regard as exemplary. One of their folk celebrations, the "Special Olympics" celebrates the achievements of these children. Nearly all of you have heard of the Clan of the Kennedys in your own tribe; it has actually played a major role in this particular festival. Perhaps that will help you make the mental leap required to understand the feelings engendered by Baby Trig.
Many of the tribe's moms, seeing Sarah's love for her baby with challenges and empathizing, regard attacks on her as an attack on themselves. Jung's concept of the archetype may be helpful to you in understanding this admiration and empathy for Sarah and explain their hostile response to your recent work.
Moms closely communicate with one another, and these information flows work to determine where the children attend school and under what conditions, where the family will obtain its staple foods, and see to the enforcement of behavioral norms among all members of the comunity. Think of them as sensitivity trainers, if it helps, but remember that nobody gets to leave at the end of the work day.
The moms have a number of distinctive organizations which channel their social ties and lines of communication. We have no time or space to cover major topics ranging from "church" to "kaffe klatsch." More material for future reading.
Sarah's followers know she first attained a formal leadership role in society within an organization called the "PTA," and a little context is helpful. Moms regard the shepherding of their offspring as their primary duty in life, aside from supporting the person assigned the male gender role, known among them as the "hubby." From the moment of the first child's birth until a phase decades later known among the tribe as the "empty nest," the development of children is regarded as the sacred duty of a mom and her hubby, as well as life's greatest and most rewarding experience.
PTA meetings are held at schools, with moms and a few hubbies gathering with teachers and discussing topics related to the education of the offspring. Because education is regarded as second only the mom's own influence on children, moms can have strong opinions on the content and processes of education. Frequently moms vie for honor among themselves, and seek to champion a change, or perhaps fight in opposition to one, resulting in very intense bursts of activity, communication and seeking of political support within the PTA community and beyond. Indeed, serious differences among moms can lead to feuds and vendettas, giving rise to colorful local legend that animate their communal folklore.
Members of the tribe regard someone who began a political rise within a PTA as evidence of adherence to the welfare of her children, and also as evidence of great political favor among members of her community, which subsequently elected her village head man, or mayor. But that term may confuse you, so a brief explanation.
Unlike the figures familiar to you such as Mayor Daley, those who carry the title of "mayor" in places like Wasilla must be available to their citizenry at all hours, and are expected to have met them face to face if they hope to gain their vote. Constituents feel little compunction about complaining personally to the mayor. A small town mayoralty qualifies as a rite of passage for nascent tribal politicians, ensuring their responsiveness.
This is going to be a tough one, because there is no comparable concept in your culture. But associated with the abstract concepts of good and evil is one known as sin, defined as the commission of acts which partake of the quality of evil. Now what is really tricky about this admittedly complex cultural construct is that tribe members believe everyone sins. Even good people. They believe that sin is inborn. Rather than categorize someone as evil merely on the basis of sin, they have developed methods of driving away the unwanted effects of the sinful behavior. When one has successfully made the best of the situation, repented, and corrected the disapproved behavior, they speak of "redemption."
This has important consequences for the tribe's regard of your work on Sarah Palin. If you discover sin within her family, the tribe accepts that sin is inevitable. Instead, they judge how Sarah and the family deal with the consequences. And if they perceive that the "right" thing is being done, they admire her all the more.
In short, understanding the Tribe of Sarah is going to require you to stretch your minds and learn some new and unfamiliar concepts. Further reading will pay big dividends. But this sort of mental exercise can be both useful and fun, for it can enhance your understanding of yourself, too. That's the great benefit of cross-cultural studies. Happy Learning!
Dobson: 'If I Went into the Polling Booth Today, I Would Pull the Lever for John McCain'
Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family told his radio listeners on Friday that he now supports Sen. John McCain for President. Dr. Dobson said on a special Focus Action radio broadcast that McCain's pick of Gov. Sarah Palin as his future vice-president helped secure his vote on the Republican ballot. He spoke of Palin in glowing terms, calling her "a genuine reformer" and "a deeply committed Christian."
He applauded the Republicans' stronger wording against embryonic stem-cell research in the new party platform, which many consider the most pro-life in history, concluding, "If I went into the polling booth today, I would pull the lever for John McCain."
Dobson first commented on Palin when she was chosen as McCain's running mate last week. He exclaimed, "Sen. McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is an outstanding choice that should be extremely reassuring to the conservative base of his party. She is a strong executive who hates corruption and puts principle above politics."
Dr. Dobson joins a chorus of pro-life and pro-family leaders supporting McCain for solidifying his ticket with the strongly pro-life and pro-family Palin, and giving voters confidence that the Republican nominees will actively champion the rights of the unborn if elected to the White House.
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 readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.