Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lazy British police again

Call someone "queer" or a "n*gger" and they will be there like a shot. Otherwise .....

When a gang of youths rolled his girlfriend's parked car on its side, Simon White thought there was a good chance that the police would catch the culprits. But instead of the swift response he had hoped for, they told him to call the AA. 'I couldn't believe they were telling me to call a breakdown service,' said estate agent Mr White. 'I explained to them that a neighbour had seen a gang of about 30 youths hanging about when he was walking his dog and had come back half an hour later to see my girlfriend's car on its side. 'At no point did the police ask me anything to do with solving the crime. There was no mention of witnesses, possible fingerprints, or any desire to catch who'd done it. 'All they said was call the AA or Green Flag. When I told them there was petrol leaking from the car they said they'd call the fire brigade and then ended the conversation.'

Mr White, 37, added: 'I sat there fuming for a few minutes and then rang them back and demanded someone come to investigate but even then they said all they could do was put out a call to see if there was a police car in the area.'

The vandals struck at about 7.30pm one evening last week. Mr White and his girlfriend Colleen Donnelly, 28, who have two children Chantelle, 11, and Joshua, nine, were in their home in Bloxwich, West Midlands, watching television at the time and were told by the neighbour who knocked on the door that the Fiat Punto - parked about 300 yards away - had been overturned.

Mr White initially dialled 999 but was told it wasn't a serious enough crime and that he should call his local police. It was when he called Bloxwich police station that he was told to phone the AA, he says.

Miss Donnelly does not belong to the AA or have breakdown cover.

Mr White said: 'The police are always telling people to report antisocial behaviour and vandalism but when we did it seemed they didn't care. It was only because I insisted someone came out that the crime is being investigated. 'To be fair, the two officers that did come were very helpful, but by then the youths had gone.'

The car is a write-off and Miss Donnelly, a charity worker, now has no means of transport when Mr White is out at work. No one from West Midlands Police was available to comment.


The "caring" attitudes of British social workers again

Social workers sacked over 'sick' image of paedophile Gary Glitter carrying a child in a shopping bag

Fifteen council staff, including social workers, have been sacked or reprimanded after circulating a tasteless e-mail of reviled paedophile Gary Glitter carrying a child in a shopping bag. An investigation was launched after an employee alerted bosses to the appalling image, which shows the convicted paedophile holding a plastic bag with a superimposed child's head popping out of the top. Staff had circulated the email on the office network, where it spread within hours. Some of those sacked are trained social workers - whose job is to protect vulnerable children.

A council source said: 'These emails mocked the very children these people were being paid to protect.' Yesterday, South Lanarkshire - the authority at the centre of the scandal - confirmed that staff had been sacked or warned.

The council would not confirm how many staff had been sacked or warned because employees have the right to appeal against any decisions resulting from the disciplinary action carried out yesterday. Most of those involved are based at the council's office in Rutherglen, near Glasgow.

Last night Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke, an ambassador for children's charity NSPCC, said: 'It is totally unacceptable that anyone, let alone anyone involved in child protection, should find Gary Glitter's behaviour remotely amusing.'

Former rock star Glitter - real name Paul Gadd - served almost three years in prison in Vietnam for sex crimes involving two young girls. He was deported at the end of his prison term and flew to Thailand and then Hong Kong. But airport officials refused to let him into their countries and he returned to Britain in August. Glitter has a prior conviction for possessing child pornography, for which he served two months in jail in 1999.


Secret-Ballot Hypocrisies

The Democrats believe in one man, one vote, one time

This week's 137 to 122 vote of House Democrats to replace John Dingell with liberal Henry Waxman at the energy and commerce committee would likely not have happened but for the secret ballot. Even Rep. Louise Slaughter, chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, told Congressional Quarterly she was relieved the vote would be a private one: "It's a secret ballot. . . . Thank the Lord."

After all, the fearsome Mr. Dingell, who will become history's longest-serving House member next year, has been known to hold grudges.

Yet the obvious irony is that Democrats now will try to deprive workers of the same privacy privilege in workplace unionization battles. So-called "card check" legislation would require an employer to sign a union contract as long as a simple majority of workers sign a form authorizing a union to represent them -- a move that necessarily makes workers more vulnerable to coercion and intimidation than if they are voting by secret ballot.

And the ironies keep piling up. The leading House sponsor of card check is Rep. George Miller, who also served as campaign manager of Mr. Waxman's race against Mr. Dingell, settled by secret ballot. What's more, along with 10 House Democrats, Mr. Miller wrote a 2001 letter to Mexican government officials encouraging the "use of secret ballots in all union recognition elections." The letter states: "We feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose."

Rep. Miller and the other signers now say their demand was for secret ballot votes only when "workers seek to replace one union with another union. " Funny. Their letter made no mention of that specific situation and instead referred to "all union recognition elections."

A better explanation is that Democrats' principled support for a secret ballot flies out the window when it comes to union organizing efforts sponsored by the special interests who helped them win control of Congress.


British parent bashing

It all stems from an elite loathing of the working class -- from what was once allegedly the party of the worker

All the main political parties in Britain seem convinced that government should assume the role of a supernanny and train mothers and fathers to be responsible parents. Former UK children's minister Margaret Hodge is unapologetic about this idea, arguing that government has a `powerful' role to play in family life.

Parent-bashing is not confined to the domain of politics. Back in 2001, hectoring parents about their inability to manage their children's behaviour or to provide their kids with a nutritious diet had not yet become a popular way to entertain the public. There were no TV shows such as Supernanny or The House of Tiny Tearaways to remind parents of their congenital defects on the childrearing front. Over the past five or six years, however, the notion that parental incompetence is quite normal, even widespread, has become deeply entrenched - especially in the TV schedules. One intelligent 36-year-old mother wrote to me recently: `I know it exploits my emotions, I know that I should not watch these shows - but I do, even though they make me feel shit.' Sadly, the images and arguments that haunt her imagination have been embraced by significant sections of British society.

The perpetual politicisation of parenting has two destructive outcomes. The constant labelling of parenting as some kind of `problem' undermines the confidence of mothers and fathers. Although the target audience of politicians is a minority of so-called dysfunctional parents, the depressing message our leaders communicate about the problems of childrearing has a disorienting impact on everybody. Consequently, the numerous helpful initiatives designed to `support' parents do anything but reassure us - they simply encourage the public to become even more paranoid about parenting. The second regrettable outcome of the politicisation of childrearing is that it has intensified our sense of insecurity and anxiety about virtually every aspect of children's lives and experiences.

At the turn of this century, it was evident that children had become subject to an obsessive culture of childrearing. At the time, Paranoid Parenting documented the growing tendency to extend adult supervision into every aspect of children's lives. It was apparent that `outdoors' had become a no-go area for many youngsters, and that the majority of parents did not even allow their offspring to walk to school on their own.

The idea that children were too vulnerable to be allowed to take risks had already become entrenched. Many readers of my book shared with me their hope that the regime of child protection would gradually give way to more relaxed and balanced attitudes. Little did they suspect that paranoia towards the safety of children was about to expand even further and encompass even children's experiences that it had hitherto not touched.

Who would have imagined that British children would be prevented from pursuing the age-old custom of conkering? Many adults were rightly shocked and bemused when a few local authorities introduced a new policy of `tree management': a euphemism for preventing children from climbing on chestnut trees or playing with conkers. More than any other bans introduced in subsequent years, the attempt to discourage children from playing with chestnuts symbolised the relentless drive to diminish young people's experience of the outdoors. At the time, many people sneered at the busybodies who decided that children were not fit to go near conkers. Today, however, when local authorities chop the branches off horse chestnut trees to save children from this terrible danger there is barely a murmur of protest.

In recent years, banning children from activities that appear remotely adventurous has become an institution of British political life. It seems that kids are so feeble that we must protect them from everything. Earlier this month, a teacher informed me that children in her school are actively discouraged from running around or playing ball games during break time. Her rationale for promoting this anti-activity ethos was that `someone could easily get hurt'.

Traditional children's games are disappearing because experts claim that they are too dangerous. Some primary schools have banned tag during break time, while some have got rid of contact sports. In January 2007, Burnham Grammar School banned impromptu football in order to prevent young people being hit by stray balls. The headteachers argued that pupils were `kicking balls quite hard at each other'. In February 2007, St John's primary near Lincoln banned games like kiss chase and tag because staff felt that such activities were too rough.

Suspicion towards adult motives has become a pathology in British society. Numerous informal rules have been introduced to prevent adults from coming into direct physical contact with kids. Even nursery workers feel that their actions are under constant scrutiny. Adult carers have not been entirely banned from applying suncream to children; some still follow their human instinct and do what they believe is in the best interest of the child. But frequently, such practices require formal parental consent: it is now commonplace for nurseries and schools to send out letters to parents asking for their signed consent to allow teachers to put suncream on their child.

Some schools would rather that teachers had no physical contact with their pupils at all, and insist that either the parent or the child applies the suncream. Schools now state in their handbooks for parents that `it is most helpful if children are able to apply their own suncream'! Some nurseries have sought to get around this problem by asking their employees to use sprays rather than to rub suncream on children's bodies. One former nursery worker told me she packed in her job after she was `banned' from taking the kids in her care to the toilet on her own.

There is now an informal ban on adults taking pictures of children. Although taking photos is not against the law, many petty officials have decided to take the law into their own hands. As a father, I resent the climate of hysteria that makes it difficult for parents to take photos of their children during school plays or concerts and sporting activities. I would love to have a shot of my son Jacob running with the ball, but after four years of competitive football I still don't have a single picture of him in action.

In January, a friend of mine who decided to take a photo of his son during a Saturday football match was accused of gross irresponsibility. He was lucky, however: the referee at least allowed the game to continue. There are numerous reports of officials stopping play when they spot a parent taking pictures. One referee stopped an under-15s match in Ashford and instructed both team managers to confiscate parents' cameras. `You can't take photographs, it's child protection', he lectured a parent.

When it comes to sport, many parents have given up on the idea of taking snapshots for the family album. They don't want to end up in the same predicament as a married couple who took pictures of a junior rugby game on a sports field in Surrey: they were detained by club officials and were later visited at home by the police.

The promotion of paranoia in relation to every aspect of children's lives accomplishes the very opposite of what it sets out to do. When youngsters are protected from risks, they miss out on important opportunities to learn sound judgments and build their confidence and resilience. The promotion of suspicion towards adult behaviour seriously undermines the ability of grown-up people to play a constructive role in the socialisation of youngsters. The estrangement of adults from the world of children has the perverse effect of leaving youngsters to their own devices and diminishing their security.

We do not have to abide by the rules concocted by self-appointed experts intent on policing how we engage with children. Nor do we have to acquiesce to a culture that denigrates parental competence and fuels suspicion about adult motives towards children. Although none of us can opt out of the culture that we inhabit, we can challenge it. We can challenge it in small ways, by protesting against the many idiotic but all-too-insidious bans that aim to restrict children's freedom or adults' access to youngsters. We can challenge it by encouraging our children to develop a positive attitude towards the outdoors and the adult world. Most important of all, we can challenge it by working together as active collaborators committed to providing more opportunities for children to explore their world.



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, OBAMA WATCH (2), 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.


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