Friday, June 19, 2009

Amazing British government racism

This makes America's "affirmative action" seem weak-kneed

Want to see a GP? Gipsies come first as NHS tells doctors that travellers must be seen at once. Gipsies and travellers should be given priority in NHS hospitals and GP surgeries, doctors have been told. They will be fast-tracked for doctors, nurses and even some dentist appointments above all other patients. GPs have also been told to see any travellers who simply walk in without an appointment, even if all consultation times for the day are full.

They will also be given longer consultations than other patients. Five or ten minutes is the average but travellers will be given 20 minutes and allowed to bring relatives into the consulting rooms. Staff will be given 'mandatory cultural awareness' training so they can fully understand what it is like to be a traveller or gipsy.

It raises the prospect that other patients will suffer worse healthcare and have to wait even longer to see their GP. The guidelines have been introduced because, under race laws, gipsies and travellers are defined as minority ethnic groups and the NHS is obliged to consider their special needs and circumstances. Yet no special treatment is promised for other groups such as those from the Asian sub-continent or Africa.

The guidance also encourages Primary Care Trusts to establish new services for travellers if none exist, and to designate a senior manager to be a named lead for 'Gipsy and Traveller Health'. The rules form part of the Primary Care Service Framework, drawn up by the NHS Primary Care Commissioning - an advisory service for local health trusts - to help all PCTs understand the Department of Health's policy.

It will go on trial for between three and five years, Although PCTs do not necessarily have to follow the guidelines, they could be breaking human rights law and the Race Relations Act of 2000 if they do not. Groups covered by the framework include Scottish gipsy travellers, Welsh gipsies, bargees, circus and fairground showmen and new travellers.

Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: 'No one should get priority treatment in the NHS apart from our Armed Forces, to whom we owe a special debt of gratitude. 'Decisions about who should be treated first should be based on a patient's medical needs, not their ethnic group. 'NHS managers need to get off doctors' and nurses' backs and start letting them get on with what they do best - looking after sick people. 'Such a policy of fast-tracking one section of society over another goes against the founding principles of the NHS.

Labour's botched handling of the new GP contracts and obsession with a tick-box target culture in the NHS mean many people find it difficult to get a GP appointment quickly. 'Families will feel aggrieved that it will now be even harder.'

Mark Wallace, from the Tax-Payers' Alliance, said: 'This kind of special treatment is totally uncalled-for and utterly unjustified. 'The NHS is meant to treat people equally so matter who they are or whatever their race. 'The only priority should be how ill someone is, not their politically-correct concerns. 'This will be incredibly frustrating for people who have paid tax all their lives to fund the NHS and are left struggling to get a doctor's appointment and prompt treatment. 'Hardworking people will be outraged at this double standard.'

The NHS estimates there are 120,000 to 300,000 gipsies and travellers in the UK but there are no firm numbers as the census does not include them as a category.

Traveller spokesman Gratton Puxon, from the illegal camp at Crays Hill in Essex, welcomed the initiative. He said: 'The problem stems from years ago when there was simply no access to healthcare, but things have greatly improved. Health workers visit the site quite regularly if people have chronic problems.'

The Department of Health said: 'We are aware that gipsies and travellers have experienced tremendous difficulties in accessing primary care. 'Partly as a result, community members experience the worst health inequalities of any disadvantaged group. 'The framework suggests fast-tracking for two reasons. First, as a matter of urgency, inroads need to be made into the health problems of gipsies and travellers. 'Second, if mobile community members are not seen quickly, the opportunity could be lost as they move on or are moved on. This should not be to the detriment of service provision to the settled community.'


British Police 'illegally' stopping white people to racially balance stop-and-search figures, watchdog claims

The political correctness news from Britain never stops coming

Police are making unjustified and 'almost certainly' illegal searches of white people to provide 'racial balance' to Government figures. Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terror laws, said he knew of cases where suspects were stopped by officers even though there was no evidence against them. He warned that police were wasting time and money by carrying out these 'self-evidently unmerited searches' which were an invasion of civil liberties and 'almost certainly unlawful'.

The searches of, for example, 'blonde women' who fit no terrorist profile come against a backdrop of complaints from rights groups that the number of black and Muslim people being stopped by police is disproportionate. Lord Carlile suggests whites are being needlessly stopped in order to balance the books. Last year, the number of whites searched under anti-terror laws rocketed by 185 per cent, from 25,962 to 73,967. Whites made up around two-thirds of all those stopped, although, compared to the overall population, blacks and Asians remain far more likely to be stopped and searched.

Lord Carlile, a Liberal Democrat peer and QC, condemned the wrongful use of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in his annual report on anti-terror laws. He said police were carrying out the searches on people they had no basis for suspecting so they could avoid accusations of prejudice. Lord Carlile wrote: 'I have evidence of cases where the person stopped is so obviously far from any known terrorism profile that, realistically, there is not the slightest possibility of him/her being a terrorist, and no other feature to justify the stop. 'In one situation the basis of the stops was numerical only, which is almost certainly unlawful and in no way an intelligent use of the procedure.

'I believe it is totally wrong for any person to be stopped in order to produce a racial balance in the Section 44 statistics. There is ample anecdotal evidence this is happening. 'I can well understand the concerns of the police that they should be free from allegations of prejudice, but it is not a good use of precious resources if they waste them on self-evidently unmerited searches. 'It is also an invasion of the civil liberties of the person who has been stopped, simply to 'balance' the statistics. 'The criteria for section 44 stops should be objectively based, irrespective of racial considerations: if an objective basis happens to produce an ethnic imbalance, that may have to be regarded as a proportional consequence of operational policing.'

Lord Carlile later said the number of Section 44 searches could be cut by half in London without damaging national security. He added: 'If, for example, 50 blonde women are stopped who fall nowhere near any intelligence-led terrorism profile, it's a gross invasion of the civil liberties of those 50 blonde women. 'The police are perfectly entitled to stop people who fall within a terrorism profile even if it creates a racial imbalance as long as it is not racist."

Officers in England and Wales used the powers to search 124,687 people in 2007/8, up from 41,924 in 2006/7 and only 1 per cent of searches led to an arrest. Nearly 90 per cent of the searches were carried out by the Metropolitan Police which recorded a 266 per cent increase in its use of the power. Lord Carlile said he could see no reason for the whole of Greater London to be permanently designated an area where the power could operate.

He added: 'I repeat my mantra that terrorism related powers should be used only for terrorism related purposes; otherwise their credibility is severely damaged. The damage to community relations if they are used incorrectly can be considerable.'

Shadow Security Minister Baroness Neville-Jones said: 'It is a hallmark of this Government that powers available under terrorism legislation are used for reasons entirely unrelated to those for which they were put on the statute book. 'Inappropriate use of stop and search power is the surest way to lose public support and damage community relations. Lord Carlile rightly condemns this. 'The Government needs to make absolutely sure that anti-terrorism powers are used proportionately and only for terror-related purposes.'

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'We must row back from random and excessive use of stop and search and reach out to the communities we most rely on for intelligence in the fight against terrorism.'

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the Metropolitan Police had already begun to review how Section 44 was used across the whole of the capital, including a pilot of its more restricted use.

Today's report also warns of the continuing terrorist threat to the UK. Lord Carlile says there is evidence of ‘small, dissent active and dangerous’ paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. The Peer also remains pessimistic about ‘the future of international terrorism as promulgated by violent Islamist jihad’.


The Green Dam Phenomenon

Governments everywhere are treading on Web freedoms

The Chinese government may be backing down from its plan to install new "filtering" software, Green Dam, on all Chinese computers. But it would be naïve to think that scrapping the Green Dam mandate means the end of headaches for computer- and device-makers world-wide. More and more governments -- including democracies like Britain, Australia and Germany -- are trying to control public behavior online, especially by exerting pressure on Internet service providers. Green Dam has only exposed the next frontier in these efforts: the personal computer.

First, some context: China currently has the world's most sophisticated and multi-layered system of Internet censorship. Objectionable content on domestic Web sites is deleted or prevented from being published, and access to a large number of overseas Web sites is blocked or "filtered." Decisions about what to censor are based on the Chinese Communist Party's desire to maintain power and legitimacy. There is no transparency or accountability in the censorship system, no public consultation in developing block lists or censorship criteria, and no way to appeal the blockage or removal of Web content.

Green Dam purports to take censorship to a whole new level. A report by the Open Net Initiative, an academic consortium dedicated to the study of censorship and surveillance, finds the Chinese government's mandate of censoring software at the PC-level "unprecedented." Companies installing the software risk becoming part of the existing opaque extension of regime power, at the other end of the chain that already includes Internet service providers, Web hosts and Web content companies.

But Green Dam is only an extreme example of a global trend: The Internet censorship club is expanding and now includes a growing number of democracies. Legislators are under growing pressure from family groups to "do something" in the face of all the threats sloshing around the Internet, and the risk of overstepping is high.

In Germany, Internet users and civil liberties groups are fighting proposed legislation mandating a national censorship system. The Bundestag votes today on a bill authorizing German police to establish and maintain a list of Web sites that Internet service providers would be required to block. In a petition against the bill, German civil liberties groups call it "untransparent and uncontrollable, since the 'block lists' cannot be inspected, nor are the criteria for putting a Web site on the list properly defined." These concerns aren't unfounded: Some German politicians have already suggested extending the block list to Islamist Web sites, video games and gambling Web sites, while book publishers have suggested it would also be nice to block file-sharing sites too.

Since 2007 Australia's Labor government has advocated a policy of mandatory national filtering. In the face of fierce public criticism the censorship plan may be downgraded to a voluntary industry initiative. But critics remain concerned the block list will not be selected and maintained in a transparent or accountable way -- and that the process for appeal is very unclear, making it likely that some Web sites will be blocked in error or that "mission creep" could take place without adequate public supervision.

In Britain, a "block list" of harmful Web sites, used by all the major Internet Service Providers, is maintained by a private foundation with little transparency and no judicial or government oversight of the list. At least one British family protection group, Mediamarch, has already spoken out in support of the Green Dam concept of moving censorship from the network down to the device level.

Back in China, the silver lining of the Green Dam mandate is that it has unleashed a passionate nationwide debate over the appropriate role of the government, the IT sector, media, parents and educators in protecting children from real threats. While some argue that the threat requires national mandates and tougher enforcement, others counter that draconian crackdowns and technical "auto-parent" solutions are no substitute for good parenting and teaching -- and that decisions about what children can or can't do and see must be left to individual families and schools. Sound familiar?

There are no easy answers. The argument will never end, but the right to keep arguing is an essential component of a functioning democracy. In a world that includes child pornographers and violent hate groups, it is probably not reasonable to oppose all censorship in all situations. But if technical censorship systems are to be put in place, they must be sufficiently transparent and accountable so that they do not become opaque extensions of incumbent power -- or get hijacked by politically influential interest groups without the public knowing exactly what is going on.

Which brings us back to companies: the ones that build and run Internet and telecoms networks, host and publish speech, and that now make devices via which citizens can go online and create more speech. Companies have a duty as global citizens to do all they can to protect users' universally recognized right to free expression, and to avoid becoming opaque extensions of incumbent power -- be it in China or Britain.

A new multi-stakeholder initiative called the Global Network Initiative aims to help companies do the right thing. Founded by Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft in conjunction with human-rights groups, socially responsible investment funds and academics, the initiative centers around a set of core principles for protecting users' right to free expression and privacy around the globe and helps companies to uphold those principles. Participating companies agree to develop robust human-rights policies, conduct human-rights impact assessments and be held accountable. While the initiative supports efforts to protect children and fight crime, they should "be narrowly tailored and subject to the rule of law" to prevent infringement of users' rights.

It is very encouraging that a coalition of industry groups has pushed back publicly against the Green Dam mandate, calling on the Chinese government to reconsider. But the Green Dam incident is yet another example of why it behooves companies to think ahead about how they are going to uphold their larger responsibility to society. Industry has a choice: be reactive -- and be forced into growing complicity with government censorship and surveillance around the globe. Or be pro-active, develop robust human-rights policies, and consider how to responsibly handle the inevitable pressures by all kinds of governments to serve as national auto-parent, if not auto-cop.


Australia: Bosses show bias against ethnic applicants

People are always going to be most comfortable with people like themselves. You are never going to be able to alter that

THE key to nailing a dream job may be all in a name - your name. New research has found job seekers with ethnic-sounding names have a harder time securing an interview than their Anglo-Saxon colleagues. Researchers from the Australian National University sent more than 4000 fake CVs to employers hunting for staff through job advertisements as part of a 2007 experiment.

Professor Alison Booth said the researchers varied just the names on CVs to take a gauge of "hiring discrimination" and found people with ethnic names were less likely to be called up for an interview.

Job hunters with Anglo-Saxon names had a 35 per cent hit rate with employers in getting a phone call in response to their application. But aspiring workers from different backgrounds had to work more than twice as hard in some instances to get a call back. "To get the same number of interviews as an applicant with an Anglo-Saxon name, a Chinese applicant must submit 68 per cent more applications, a Middle Eastern applicant must submit 64 per cent more applications, an Indigenous applicant must submit 35 per cent more applications, and an Italian applicant must submit 12 per cent more applications," Professor Booth said.

In Brisbane, the research suggested Chinese job hunters faced the greatest discrimination, having to send out more than double the number of applications to get the same results as their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. Italian workers fared better in Melbourne and Sydney but in Brisbane were forced to post almost a third more applications to get the equivalent number of interviews.

The level of discrimination also varied between job types with hospitality employers much less likely to give interviews to Middle Eastern and Chinese workers. Chinese women also had a harder time securing interviews than Chinese men. That trend was reversed for Italian women, who had a better success rate than the opposite sex.

Among the last names surveyed were Rosso, Ferrari and Romano (Italian), Chen, Huang and Chang (Chinese), Kassir and Baghdadi (Middle Eastern) and Tjungarrayi (Indigenous). They were pitted against Anglo-Saxon last names including Abbott, Adams and Johnson.



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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