The article below, printed in "De Telegraaf" in Holland, describes the cancellation of a big celebration party that was to be held in honour of the appointment of a new police chief in the province of South Holland - a region that has been without a police chief for the past year and a half. The reason for cancelling? The new police chief, Teun Visscher, is white!
The Dutch Minister of Internal Affairs, Ms. Ter Horst, has also refused to give her approval to the promotion of Police Chief Visscher, stating that the choice should have been for either a woman or a black person. The minister has demanded that the police corps of South Holland give him a guarantee that Visscher will be the "last white man to fill the top post" in the corps.
This decision was made despite the fact that the province has been unable to find a black or female police officer qualified to fill the post of police chief.
The severe anti-discrimination laws of Holland apparently no longer apply to Government Ministers or the Police Force.
Groot feest promotie afgelast: Blanke politiebaas taboe
Een feest voor een nieuwe korpschef in Zuid-Holland is in allerijl afgeblazen, na discussie over de benoeming van 'weer een blanke man' in de politietop.
Minister Ter Horst (Binnenlandse Zaken) gaf de gevraagde en verwachte goedkeuring voor deze benoeming niet. Voor de installatie van Teun Visscher was schouwburg Kunstmin in Dordrecht al afgehuurd voor een groot feest, aanstaande dinsdag. Het korps moest de boeking annuleren.
Haar ministerie zegt dat zo'n feest dan 'veel te vroeg' is gepland. Bij een informele bijeenkomst bespraken diverse korpschefs deze week openlijk dat Ter Horst dwarsligt. Zo moet de politie garanderen dat Visscher de l tste 'blanke man' is die voorlopig in de politietop komt. De volgende moet per se een vrouw zijn of een kleurtje hebben - ongeacht of er betere kandidaten zijn.
"De korpsbeheerders hebben met de minister afgesproken dat vijftig procent van de politietop vrouw of allochtoon wordt", zegt een woordvoerder van het ministerie. "Als nu een blanke mannelijke korpschef wordt benoemd, kan de volgende geen blanke man zijn."
Het korps in Zuid-Holland zit al bijna anderhalf jaar zonder korpschef. Voor de functie werden wel twee vrouwen benaderd. Maar zij konden niet, of waren niet gekwalificeerd.
Daarop werd Visscher voorgedragen. Ter Horst wil ook uit de subtop 'blanke mannen' weren. Deze bestuurslaag moet minstens voor 30 procent vrouw of allochtoon zijn. Hier is veel gemor over bij de politie. Prima kandidaten worden geblokkeerd, terwijl de eisen omlaag gaan omdat er nauwelijks vrouwelijke en allochtone kandidaten zijn.
Zo werd in Noord-Holland-Noord een vrouwelijke korpschef benoemd, afkomstig van stadstoezicht in Amsterdam. De promotie is zeer omstreden.
Boris Johnson on censorship of what children see
The perennially untidy Boris Johnson is the Conservative Mayor of London and has far and away the best sense of humour of any leading politician anywhere -- Which is refreshing after the perennial rage of Leftists. I don't always agree with him but enjoy his writing immensely. Not very surprisingly, his father is a brilliant humorous writer too. See here and here. He read classics at Balliol so had a good but old-fashioned education. Which makes it surprising that he misspells "krater" as "crater" below. Perhaps a spell-checker "corrected" what Boris originally wrote. A krater was a large decorative pot used in ancient Greece to mix wine and water. It is spelled with a "k" (kappa) even in Greek. The mention of Liege below refers to several recent shocking crimes against children in Belgium. Oxfam is a self-righteous British charity that runs thrift shops
The risk of going on holiday with friends is that you inadvertently expose the vagaries of your child-rearing methods to the scrutiny of others. Some parents seem to be breast-feeding lusty six-year-olds. Some of them have strange systems of potty training. And I am now accused by my fellow parents of being eccentrically liberal in what I consider suitable for the kiddies to watch on television. It happened like this. We were all chuckling at a DVD of For Your Eyes Only, a superbly bad 1981 Bond film starring Roger Moore, and I was just thinking what wholesome family viewing it was. For those of us in the throes of middle age it was cheering to watch the elderly Roger Moore as he creaked around the set while younger, fitter women flung themselves at his wobbly jowls. It is not so much an action movie as an anti-ageism tract.
So there we were giggling away, when another friend and mother came in and said - very nicely - would we mind pressing the pause button, because she didn't want her 11-year-old exposed to the sex'n'violence of James Bond; and of course we immediately complied, though I was puzzled. There was no swearing; the violence was so parodic as to be completely undisturbing. As for sex, the only racy scene involved Bond and the girl taking off their dressing gowns, so that you saw their undraped knees - in the case of Roger Moore, a reassuringly wrinkly knee.
What was wrong with that, I wondered; and then another parent piped up and observed that we let our children watch a film called Hot Fuzz - an acutely observed satire of rural policing - even though it carried a 15 certificate, and most of our children were not yet 15. Yes, said someone else, and what about this DVD of Shaun of the Dead? Don't tell me you let your children watch Shaun of the Dead? Er, yes, I said. Like families across Britain, our family has been richly entertained by the bit where they bludgeon the zombies with cricket bats, and the bit in Hot Fuzz where the spire falls from the church and skewers someone.
But I have to admit that under the interrogation of my friends I felt a spasm of guilt. Am I contributing to the erosion of public morals? Am I failing to set the right boundaries? Am I partly responsible for Broken Britain? Well, yes, you are, said one friend and mother. These James Bond films glamorised violence, she argued. They carried the implication that chaps with guns were successful with women, and she didn't like the way her three-year-old rushed around pointing his finger and going bang.
And what's this, said someone else, riffling through the pile of DVDs: not Desperate Housewives! Not Sex and the City! Did we really let our children watch these shows? I don't think I am grown-up enough to cope with a full episode of Sex and the City, since it is Aristophanic in its vulgarity, but I had to admit that some of our children might have seen some of it, and they might have seen some of Desperate Housewives; and by this time I realised that I stood convicted in the eyes of my peers. We have been so lax as to allow our nation's future - at their most impressionable age - to be exposed to shattering images of New York harlots, exsanguinating zombies and Roger Moore's knees.
I have been racking my brains for a defence, and the first point to make is that we are always slightly stunned to discover what the younger generation is reading or watching. I remember my grandmother being amazed that I was reading David Niven's risque memoir, The Moon's a Balloon; and no one stopped me picking up Flashman, at the age of 11, and discovering that the hero gets off to a cracking start in life by being expelled from school and raping his father's mistress. I speak for most of my generation when I say that in every group of 13-year-old boys there was always a porn merchant who did a lively trade in Knave or Fiesta before going on to hone his skills at Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs.
Did these literary or visual stimuli corrupt us, or make us any more dysfunctional than we would otherwise have been? I doubt it, any more than children in fifth-century Athens would have been corrupted by sneaking a look at the images on their parents' red?figure calyx-craters.
Every generation is phobic about the effect of new technology on the morals of the next, and the truth is, I don't like the idea of kids spending hours on the web, probably being groomed by paedophiles from Liege; and yet all the kids I know - whatever they have been goggling at - seem remarkably unruffled, and surprisingly moralistic. No matter how sordid the programmes, they disapprove vehemently of swearing. Anything remotely racist or homophobic sounds much more profane, to their ears, than it did to children 30 years ago. I could direct you to an 11-year?old who certainly likes Desperate Housewives, but the show she really loves is called High School Musical and is so clean as to be positively emetic.
Sometimes I think our censoriousness is not so much about protecting children as it is about preventing them from seeing the embarrassing silliness of adult behaviour. Of course there must be limits. It's just that I am not sure we always put them in the right place. The satirical schlock of Hot Fuzz is apparently only suitable for those of 15 and above, while the much nastier and more violent Batman yarn, The Dark Knight, rates only a 12A. What's that about? In so far as there is any potential for corruption in these films, it depends, I suppose, on what else is going on in the lives of our kids and what else they do with their time.
The real trouble is that they watch too much blasted electronic media altogether, and for a treatment of this painful issue I direct you to the micro-selling volume, The Perils of the Pushy Parents, by me, published by HarperCollins, and still available at the local Oxfam.
Why is it 'Left wing' to allow millions to live on benefits and let children get each other pregnant, asks the ex-minister who broke Labour's last taboo
By Tom Harris, Labour Mp For Glasgow South
A prominent Labour politician in Glasgow once told me of a family he knew, every member of which was claiming incapacity benefit. When one of the sons managed to get a job, he was pressured by the rest of the family into giving it up, since an adult in the household gaining employment put the family at risk of being deprived of other benefits, including council tax.
The benefits culture remains Glasgow's shame, and it is not confined to my city; many other post-industrial areas of Britain suffer the same malaise of second and third generations of families being brought up to believe a life on benefits is acceptable. It isn't, as I said a few days ago on my blog. I was not just trying to make the point that young women's lives are wasted by early pregnancy and a subsequent life dependent on benefits. I was also seeking to reverse what I see as a culture of tolerance, where we are now expected to accept everyone else's choices without criticism or judgment, even when those choices have a negative effect on the wider community.
This has led us to a place where children are giving birth to children. There is no criticism of 16, 15 or even 14-year-old girls (and boys) who become parents. Yet why is it so difficult for us to admit that when a 14-year-old becomes pregnant, or gets his girlfriend pregnant, it is a personal tragedy and a social failure?
This is where politicians are completely out of step with the public. I have been taken aback by the number of people who have told me how relieved they are that I have come out and said what to most people has been blindingly obvious for years.
Politicians are not expected to talk about moral absolutes. Raising questions about other people's choices, after all, could offend someone and nothing is less acceptable these days than causing someone offence. I certainly seem to have offended a lot of people in the past few days. I was severely criticised by some on the Left and a number of women have contacted me to say they felt insulted, pointing out that since becoming single parents at a young age, they had gone on to further and higher education and made a success of their lives. Which is brilliant. I have nothing but admiration for them.
But I was very specifically criticising our acceptance of those young women who lose all their educational and career opportunities because of their pregnancies and who spend the rest of their lives on benefit.
So why are so many on the Left angry at me? For some it is because they don't feel it is a problem; they believe that, as a rich society, we can afford to fund this 'lifestyle choice'. Others are uneasy at a Labour politician making judgments about other people's choices; I have 'no right' to put greater value on one person's choices than on another's, it seems. Still others fear I am adopting the rhetoric of the Right-wing by 'doing a Peter Lilley', the Social Security Secretary who caused controversy by lampooning benefits cheats with his 'I have a little list ...' Gilbert and Sullivan pastiche at the 1992 Tory conference - and by attacking vulnerable young women.
But I'm attacking no one. I am pointing out that we have an unacceptably high level of teenage pregnancies. I am stating a fact that, for many of these young women (and far fewer young men), parenthood will mean fewer opportunities and a higher chance of life on benefits. There is no doubt that raising yet another generation of young men in fatherless homes is a recipe for social disaster.
Yes, I'm generalising and, yes, there are plenty of homes where the absence of a violent, abusive father is a blessing to the mother and children. But common sense dictates that, in general, children benefit from having the love of a mother and a father. Yet what kind of society have we created when the above statement will inevitably be seen by some as offensive, narrow-minded and intolerable? As for the accusation of giving comfort to the 'Right-wing', when did it become 'Left-wing' to tolerate such a colossal waste of lives? Why is it 'Left-wing' to allow millions of people to remain on benefits instead of working? When did 'Labour' stop meaning 'work' and start to mean 'benefits'?
There are many others who believe the gradualist approach to moving people off benefits and into work is the right way to go. But my instinct tells me more radical measures will have to be introduced to see the step-change needed to make a real difference to the number of claimants. I know of some Ministers who would prefer this issue not to be raised, who would rather be able to get on with quietly and doggedly chipping away at the mountain of claimants, encouraging here, facilitating there, empowering here ...
But if more extreme measures, such as financial penalties for long-term claimants, need to be implemented in future, they will need public support. That means being absolutely honest about the scale of the problem and the devastation that long-term benefit dependency can cause.
I have written before about the responsibility the Thatcher Government bears for initiating the benefits dependency culture in the Eighties, when millions of redundant workers with no hope of further employment were encouraged to claim invalidity benefits to keep the headline jobless figures at a 'politically acceptable' level. That argument is still valid. But I don't care which government or politician was responsible for the problem 25 years ago. I don't want to know who is to blame for the fact that the problem has barely receded since then. The only thing that matters is that children are still getting each other pregnant and that their children will grow up without the life chances I think they deserve. And another generation is about to be lost to the benefits culture. No matter who wins the arguments in the TV newsrooms and the Commons about who should accept the blame, our society will remain hobbled by benefits dependency.
No single party, I'm convinced, has all the answers. James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has proposed some of the most radical changes yet to the welfare state. But just because Labour is in Government does not give us a monopoly on solutions. Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa May, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, have much to add to this debate, as has Frank Field, the Labour MP who was asked by Tony Blair to 'think the unthinkable' back in 1997, who did - and was sacked for his efforts.
It has taken nearly three decades of failure to get to this point. It could take us a similar time to repair the damage. So the sooner we start, the better. Instead of our political leaders blaming each other for our past failures, far better, surely, for them in years to come to be able to share the credit for their success by giving back hope and ambition to our young people.
The EU equality law that will let 'upset' atheists sue companies that hang up crucifixes
Organisations which hang crucifixes on walls could be sued if they upset atheists under equality laws proposed by the European Union. Any group offering a service to the public, including hospitals, charities, businesses and prisons, would be at risk. Legislation may also allow Christians to bring an action against a hotel if it displayed something they deemed offensive - such as a poster for the 1979 Monty Python film The Life Of Brian.
There are already laws banning harassment in the workplace, but the new Brussels regulations are designed to offer people protection from providers of goods and services. However, they are so broad that critics say they could lead to a spate of civil cases by anyone claiming their dignity has been violated by the 'hostile environment' of an organisation. The Church of England says hospices or charities for the homeless could face legal action if people using their services felt degraded by their religious practices or symbols, such as the cross. The Archbishops' Council even fears that charities could be challenged by atheists if grace is said before meals. The Law Society says religious believers may also be able to launch a civil action for harassment.
In an official submission to the EU, the society said: 'For instance, in a shop or shared lodging house, there may be a notice board on which is posted material that some of those who see it will find offensive on religious grounds (for instance, a poster for a film, such as The Life Of Brian).'
The proposals, which go before EU governments for approval later this year, are part of a new directive outlawing discrimination by businesses on the grounds of sexual orientation, age, disability or belief. If approved, it will become the latest in a swathe of European-inspired equality laws which critics say stifle freedom of speech and marginalise religion.
The Government tried to introduce a similar law in 2005 but dropped it after a resounding rejection by the House of Lords. Peers feared it would encourage politically correct officials to stop public expressions of religion, such as carol services or Bibles by hospital bedsides.
Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, said the proposed EU directive would 'open a Pandora's box'. He asked: 'What about Gideon Bibles in hotel bedrooms? Would councils ban nativity scenes from Christmas displays?' A spokeswoman for the Government Equalities Office, which is responsible for the EU directive, said it was felt that existing UK law was 'adequate'.
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.