Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Unbelievable Britain: Coastguards can't start a rescue until they fill out a health and safety form

Can socialist bureaucracy get any more deranged? No mystery where the obsessive bureaucracy came from, however. Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

Coastguards have been ordered to fill in a health and safety questionnaire before they can respond to calls for help. All 400 of Britain's rescue units have been told that before they travel to an accident scene they must complete a 'vehicle pre-journey risk assessment'. It is feared lives may be lost as vital minutes could be taken up with the assessments just as rescuers are preparing their response to emergency callouts. Under the new rules, the teams have to take the time to answer four questions on the type of rescue and journey they are about to undertake.

After first filling out the date and time, the lead rescuer must outline the 'reason for journey' and detail any risks the team may encounter during the rescue, including both current and forecast weather conditions. The form then demands an account of any 'actions taken to mitigate risk' before the leader can fill in a 'yes' or 'no' as to whether the risk is 'acceptable'.

The forms have caused outrage among Britain's 3,200 coastguard rescuers, who are furious after a string of health and safety rulings recently issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Yesterday, one coastguard said: 'When we were first told about this, we simply couldn't believe it. 'When we get a call asking us to go out and rescue someone, we need to go there without delay. 'But they are asking us to waste time in the office filling out this stupid form. 'Also, none of us really knows what we are realistically meant to fill in.

'I mean, how are we meant to know what risks there might be before we get there? 'And do they expect us to get a full weather forecast before we go out? Do they really want us to find out what the traffic conditions will be? 'It's ridiculous. All we want to do is save lives. 'The impression we get is that the bosses are doing everything they can to make sure their hands are legally clean if there is any kind of problem.'

The pre-journey risk assessment form is designed for when coastguards use their specially-equipped Land Rovers for land rescues. Rescues by boat are not affected. It is just the latest in a series of bizarre health and safety rulings to affect the agency, which is a branch of the Department for Transport.

In November last year, coastguards were told that they can no longer use flares during night-time rescue missions as they could 'cause considerable injury'. Even though the flares light up a large area and are considered essential for finding people at night, the Agency told its teams that they should use torches instead.

In August, a three-man coastguard crew from Devon were disciplined because they rescued a 13-year-old girl using a boat that had not been passed by health and safety officials. The girl had been only 150 yards out at sea.

Coastguards patrol the entire length of the UK's 10,200 miles of coastline in conjunction with the lifeboatmen from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Most coastguards work full time in other jobs but carry pagers to alert them when they are needed. They are paid for the time they spend undertaking rescue missions.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the MCA insisted that filling in the questionnaire does not cause any delay as it 'can be done at the same time as the rest of the team prepare equipment.' The spokesman said the pre-journey risk assessment had been introduced to protect the coastguards' safety.


Getting up the noses of the (Leftist) 'guilt-tripping white folks'

When I asked Trevor Phillips why he'd turned his back on a successful career in television and taken his last job as head of the race relations commission, he replied: 'Because I can say things you can't.' Not that it's ever stopped me, but I took his point. As a black man on the inside track, he could tell the truth without being accused of 'racism'. And he's been as good as his word. In one of his first pronouncements, he attacked the 'gold chains and no brains' culture which leads to young black men in Britain apeing nihilistic American rappers and ensures they become trapped in a ghetto of their own creation. That kind of statement of the obvious from a white man would have been howled down.

Now, as chairman of the new all-singing, all-dancing Equalities Commission, he has gone further, endorsing what this column has been arguing for years and shattering one of the Left's great articles of faith. In a thoughtful, courageous article for the Daily Mail, timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the official inquiry report into the genuinely racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, he declares that Britain is the least racist country in Europe. He also says that the label of 'institutional racism' which has hung over the police like a 'badge of shame' ever since is no longer valid and we need a new vocabulary. Those of us who argued at the time that it was ludicrous to accuse the entire police force of racism, over what was a bungled murder inquiry, were ourselves slandered as 'racists'.

The phrase was seized upon by those Trevor identifies as ' guilt-tripping white folks' as a potent stick to batter every public institution in the country. They have used the catch-all cliche; of 'racism' to advance their own agenda, silence dissent and bully the paying public into submission. Until recently, anyone who questioned whether mass immigration was either desirable or sustainable was vilified. The blameless, courteous chairman of Migrationwatch - who exposed the reality behind the Government's fiction over immigration - was subjected to a vicious campaign of character assassination. Fear of being accused of 'racism' has paralysed the police force. It has been exploited by cynical chancers such as Ali Desai and Tarique Ghaffur to enhance their promotion chances and shake the money tree.

We've reached an absurd impasse in which police are prevented from objecting to the siting of a gypsy camp on the grounds that to do so would be 'racist' - despite compelling evidence that it would lead to a rise in crime, which is what the Old Bill are supposed to be in business to prevent. In local government, it has led directly to the tragic murder of Victoria Climbie, who was tortured to death while Haringey social services stood back because 'chastisement' was considered to be part of her African 'culture'. Fear of being accused of 'racism' stalks the corridors of our Town Halls and government departments, creating a generation of box-ticking, brain-dead bureaucrats. Zey are only obeying orderz.

Where I'd take issue with Trevor is over the description ' guilt-tripping white folks'. While it is true most of the phoney allegations of 'racism' come from humourless, middle-class, white Guardianistas, they're not on a guilt-trip. As far as they are concerned, they are good people. And the way in which they reinforce their own self-righteousness is via a constant crusade to make the rest of us feel guilty. They've pulled the same trick with 'homophobia', hysterically accusing of hating gays anyone who has reservations about same-sex couples adopting children, or who objects to men having sex with each other in public parks and toilets.

In truth, most of the hatred comes from the Left, who enforce the cult of 'diversity' with Stalinist zeal, deliberately destroying the careers and reputations of decent people who dare to disagree with them. Being wrongly accused of racism is as hateful as racism itself. They always deny it, but it is the Left who drive people in desperation into the arms of the BNP. And as Trevor Phillips rightly acknowledges, inequality today is more economic than racial, with poor whites as much victims as those from ethnic minorities. Yet disadvantaged whites feel there is no one to speak up for them. That's why some turn to extremists.

I first realised Trevor was riling the Guardianistas when the odious Ken Livingstone accused him of sucking up to the BNP. It's difficult to think of a more vile slur to level at a black man. But that is the level to which these hate-mongers are prepared to descend.

Of course, racism hasn't gone away. I doubt it ever will. But things have improved immensely. I've described before walking through London Weekend Television with Trevor in the mid-1990s, when it dawned on me that his was the only black face which wasn't pushing a broom or working in the canteen. We shouldn't be complacent, but things have progressed.

It's easy to understand why older folk, who grew up in a monochrome Britain, have trouble coming to terms with a multi-racial society. But to my children's generation, race isn't an issue. The growing number of mixed-race children, the Lewis Hamiltons and Leona Lewises, are evidence of that. Beige is the new black and white. I've long argued that left to their own devices, people rub along quite well together. The indigenous British have been far more accepting of incomers than any other nation in Europe - and far more scandalously traduced by their own political leaders.

Trevor and I would probably part company on this, but I've always considered the race relations industry to be as much part of the problem as the solution. I look forward to the day he announces that his own commission is being wound up. Until then, Trev, keep telling it like it is.


An antisemitic Leftist newspaper

No surprise about that. Disappointing when it is a major Australian newspaper though. Some of us hoped that the departure of "Wee Andy" Jaspan as editor of The Age might have led to more mature policies there but it seems that the paper has got worse rather than better. Their circulation is already a mere fraction of the rival "Hun". Looks like they want to reduce it further. I think they are going to find that the antisemitic market is rather small. The article does not seem to be online at the site of "The Age" itself but, funnily enough, a Muslim newspaper has reprinted it. So, you can read their latest reiteration of all the old antisemitic tripe here. Below is an outraged response from the Melbourne Jewish community

John Searle, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), and Dr Danny Lamm, president of the Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV), today jointly called on Melbourne's The Age to apologise for publishing a blatantly antisemitic article (attached) in the Saturday Age yesterday. Searle and Lamm stated:

"Sometimes criticism of Israeli foreign policy becomes so irrational and so hate-filled that it spills over into antisemitism. Yesterday Saturday's Age (17/01) published such a piece wherein its columnist Michael Backman encapsulated centuries of hate speech against Jews in a few hundred words. Among other things, Backman wrote:

* Israel's conflict with the Palestinians caused the London, Bali and World Trade Centre bombings.

* Israel has united the Islamic world against Western nations.

* The historical persecution of Jews constitutes punishment for Jesus' death.

* Israelis and Jews are uninterested in the welfare of others, and do not invest financially or socially in the broader community.

It is inexplicable why The Age would publish such a pernicious article, and why by one of its business columnists, a man whose field of expertise is Asian business and art, a man apparently without credentials on the Middle East, international politics or contemporary religion.

Each of the above statements is demonstrably wrong as are other assertions in the article. It is sheer nonsense to claim, for example that "The enmity many Muslims now feel for Israel has nothing to do with religion". Really? Perhaps Backman should read the hate-filled Hamas Covenant which explicitly talks about extermination of all Jews, not merely Israelis.

It is unacceptable that The Age gave a platform to this man's hatred of Jews and Israelis and incitement against them. The Victorian Jewish community's experience is that such commentary rouses violence and hatred against local Jews. Indeed, the JCCV and the ZCV made this very point to The Age only two weeks ago. We were assured by acting editor Mark Baker that its reportage was totally even-handed. And yet its editors saw fit to publish this vile piece. We are outraged with The Age for publishing Backman's disgusting falsehoods.

The JCCV and SZC have complained to The Age today in the strongest possible terms on behalf of the Victorian Jewish community. We have further committed ourselves to further steps, including possible legal action. This is not 1930s Germany. We will not accept this hatred."

SOURCE. See also here

Australia: More destructive bureaucracy

After a sperm donor in Sweden was ordered to pay child maintenance, is it any wonder that potential donors are now very wary?

A controversial plan for a sperm and egg donor registry has sparked concerns donations will end and women will be forced into one night stands to conceive. Under new State Government regulations for the fertility industry, a database containing highly confidential and sensitive information about donors will be handled by government staff. But fertility specialist Dr Joel Bernstein, from Fertility East in Bondi Junction, said the "over-policing" could turn donors away and may affect hundreds of couples who can't be helped by IVF. "It could turn responsible reproduction into irresponsible reproduction. Donations will reduce and I have little doubt that women will go down to the pub or ask a friend (to donate)."

One in six couples in Australia is infertile and many go overseas to find a donor due to the shortage. Donations plummeted when the law changed in 2004 allowing offspring access to information on their donor once they turned 18. It is believed only a dozen men are registered donors in NSW.

The draft Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation, on display until February 27, will also allow inspectors to enter fertility clinics to view records and take samples. "I think the Government should be encouraging more donors and not (taking) an aggressive approach," Dr Bernstein said.

The industry is divided over the registry, which may also force donors to update their address and include information on other offspring and partners. IVF Australia medical director Professor Peter Illingworth said the clinic supported a registry but "question marks" remained over its operation. His clinic has a 12-month waiting list for sperm donations while egg donors must be known to applicant couples. "Our view is the donor registry will not affect our ability to attract new sperm donors," he said.

Egg donation is so low in Australia women spend up to $15,000 and travel to Greece and Spain where donors are not identified.



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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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