Saturday, June 13, 2009

Arrogant British social workers again: Making a mockery of the "care" they are supposed to provide

D-Day hero, 93, starved himself to death after care home 'refused to let him go home to wife'. Since he had been living at home satisfactorily before he became ill, there was no reason to prevent him from returning home after his illness. The bureaucratic love of power was what killed him

A veteran of D- Day starved himself to death after being held against his will in a care home. Alfred Tonkin, 93, went on hunger strike when he was prevented from being reunited with his wife of 68 years, Joyce. The great-grandfather, who lost a leg to a Nazi machine gunner, was initially admitted to hospital with a blood disorder.

But social services claimed he was suffering from dementia and insisted that a round-the-clock care package would need to be arranged before he could go home. He was transferred to a care home and was still there four months later when he was taken to hospital with dehydration and malnourishment. Mr Tonkin died six days later on June 3 - three days before the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

His son Ian said yesterday: 'It was a dreadful experience. My dad thought we had betrayed him but we were in social services' hands because they knew the rules and we didn't. 'The care he received at the hospital and care home was excellent but social services were useless.'

The 60-year-old, who works for Royal Mail, added: 'Dad told me he was going on hunger strike and even refused to eat for me. Then he stopped drinking too. 'My dad starved himself to death.'....

On December 6 last year, Mr Tonkin was taken ill at his home in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and admitted to Watford Hospital with a blood disorder. He spent four weeks there before Hertfordshire County Council social services moved him to Wilton House Nursing Home in Shenley, six miles outside St Albans, while they arranged 24-hour home care.

On May 28, a GP wrote to social services to protest at the time it was taking for him to be reunited with his wife and recommended he be immediately discharged. The letter warned that his intense frustration over the delays had led to him refusing food. Three days later, Mr Tonkin was admitted to Watford Hospital with renal failure and died days later.

The family have made an official complaint to Hertfordshire County Council's adult care services and are being supported by St Albans Tory MP Anne Main.

An adult care services spokesman said: 'Equipment and care services had been purchased and commissioned and we were in the process of putting them in place but sadly Mr Tonkin died before he could return home.'


Traveller (gypsy) sites are booming as they exploit Britain's Human Rights Act to defy the law

The number of illegal traveller sites has soared since Labour introduced the Human Rights Act, figures showed yesterday. A new site is appearing every three days as travellers use the controversial legislation to sidestep planning laws. They buy cheap green-belt farmland and construct sites without planning permission, then contest any efforts to evict them as a breach of their human rights. The figures show a particularly sharp increase in illegal sites ' tolerated' by councils which feel helpless to challenge them.

When Labour introduced the Human Rights Act in 1999, fewer than 300 illegal sites were tolerated on land in England owned by travellers. By January this year that had risen more than fourfold to 1,279. The total number of illegal sites - including those built on other people's land - soared by 1,166 to 3,680. This is equivalent to more than one new site every three days for almost a decade.

Conservative critics warned last night that planning rules are straining community relations. They called for a return to 'fair play' where the same rules apply to everyone.

The Human Rights Act made it possible to fight cases in British courts using the European Convention on Human Rights instead of having to travel to the European Court in Strasbourg. Travellers have used their right to respect for their homes and family lives under the Act to stop councils evicting them from illegal sites.

Critics also blamed planning guidelines introduced in 2005. These ordered local authorities to consider 'diversity and equality' in planning matters and to take 'positive action' to avoid discriminating against any groups.

By contrast, homeowners face masses of red tape in order to build an extension, and often have to demolish buildings put up without planning permission.

Some of those who have written protest letters about camps have had their complaints dismissed because they are deemed racist.

The figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government show the number of illegal sites in England on land owned by travellers rose from 729 in January 2000 to 2,365 this year. With a further 1,315 illegal sites established on other people's land, the total number in England has risen from 2,514 to 3,680. That does not include the 4,820 authorised sites provided by local councils at taxpayers' expense.

With more travellers buying land and then abusing the planning laws, there is evidence councils are losing their appetite for enforcing the rules. Since 2006, the number of sites where officials are trying to evict the travellers has fallen from 1,440 to 1,086. But the number of 'tolerated' illegal sites rose from 964 to 1,279.

Bob Neill, Tory local government spokesman, said it was wrong that law-abiding homeowners face huge bureaucracy to build an extension while travellers flout the rules. 'The perception of unfairness this breeds causes tension in local communities,' he added. 'We need fair play, with the same planning rules for everyone, rather than special treatment for certain groups.'

Last month, the Mail reported how 50 travellers descended on the Gloucestershire village of Newent at 5pm one Friday, just as council offices closed for the Bank Holiday weekend. They spent three days and nights concreting over a beauty spot and installing sewerage, toilets and electricity, all without permission. It followed a series of similar incidents in which travellers have exploited holidays to move in.


A new Yalta

Yalta was where FDR gave Stalin Eastern Europe

IN his bid for re-election, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran is a nuclear power, ready (and entitled) to take an active role in running the world. Whether he will be re-elected today remains to be seen, but Iran's nuclear ambitions preceded Ahmadinejad and will undoubtedly continue with his successors.

Assuming Iran succeeds in its goals, what would the world look like under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear arsenal? Does Iran seek nuclear capability merely as an instrument of dissuasion against what it sees as powerful and threatening enemies? Or is the bomb an instrument to fulfil Iran's hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East? Can Iran be deterred, much like the Soviet Union was?

To answer, we must grasp the nature of Iran's regime.

Thirty years after its revolution, Iran's regime remains devoted to its founding ideals: not just the establishment of an Islamic order inside Iran, but also its export to the region, in open antagonism with the established Sunni Arab powers, and beyond, in the name of a Shia brand of anti-Western revolutionary zeal.

In the context of Islam, Iran's aim no doubt is to redress what is clearly perceived as a terrible injustice of Islamic history: the dominance of Sunni over Shia Islam.

While traditional Shia Islam sees the origins of this schism - the martyrdom in Karbala of the prophet Mohammed's grandson at the hands of his political adversaries - as a tragedy to mourn, the fiery brand of revolutionary Shiism espoused by Iran's revolutionary clergy viewed it as an injustice to be redressed. This indicated that the era of Sunni dominance could be challenged; under Iran's leadership the Shia would regain its leadership at the expense of the other powers, whose monarchical rule Iran's revolution viewed as the iniquitous outcome of that schism.

Iran's revolutionary world view thus poses a direct challenge to Sunni dominance in the world of Islam and Sunni monarchical rule in the heartland of Islam: Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf. But this should not be construed, simplistically, as evidence of Shia hatred for Sunni Muslims or proof of the irreconcilable nature of the Shia-Sunni divide.

Iran's revolution seamlessly blended the subversive and the divine - Shia revivalism alongside Marxist revolutionary doctrines - turning Iran into a power constantly searching for a new regional status quo. This synthesis transcended both Iran and Shiism. Its goal was to put Iran at the helm of a revolutionary front stretching across the barrier of Persian-Arab, Shia-Sunni and East-West divisions, in the name of a common struggle against imperialism, the dominance of Western values and their underlying international economic and political order. It proclaims Iranian leadership in a worldwide front of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist forces and it seeks to limit or nullify the influence of its enemies in the region and beyond.

The new world that Iran seeks to create will be dominated by Tehran. It will be characterised by fierce competition with the US for hegemony over the gulf and by efforts to cement alliances to confront Iran's ideological antagonists: America and Israel.

Challenging the regional status quo and the economic, legal and political foundations of the international order remain today at the heart of Iran's revolution. Iran's quest for nuclear weapons must be understood and explained within this context.

Iran's nuclear ambitions do not necessarily serve the logic of apocalyptic politics, though its shrill rhetoric suggests otherwise.

The fact of the matter is, an Iranian bomb would enable Tehran to fulfil the goals of the revolution without using it. For if there is one purpose for nuclear capability, it is power projection; a nuclear bomb is a force multiplier that, as US President Barack Obama aptly said, constitutes a game changer. Iran's success will forever change the Middle East, and for the worse.

Once obtained, an Iranian bomb will set Iran on a collision course with its regional adversaries and its ideological banes. Terrorists will act with impunity under Iran's nuclear umbrella; and neighbours will seek nuclear capability in response. These are givens. Less understood are the dynamics that will emerge even if Iran chooses not to use the bomb against its enemies. Little does it matter that Tehran may act rationally.

Yes, the Western arsenal and an explicit threat to use it may deter Iran against initiating a nuclear strike. But the possibility of an uneasy peace that a nuclear equilibrium may guarantee tells us next to nothing about the conventional proxy wars nuclear powers wage against one another. During the Cold War, the price of nuclear equilibrium - never settled, always fragile - was the recognition of spheres of influence.

If Iran goes nuclear, the Western world will have to negotiate a Middle East Yalta with Tehran, one that may entail a retreat of US forces from the region, an unpleasant bargain for the smaller principalities on the Gulf's shores and an unacceptable one for Israel and Lebanon's Christians. Middle East crises that are difficult to resolve today will become intractable, much like conflicts in Africa and central America had to wait for the collapse of the Soviet Union in order to be resolved.

And in the end, we may not avoid a conflict, either. Even the Soviet Union and the US teetered on the brink of nuclear war at least once, during the Cuban missile crisis. It happened between two countries who knew each other well, had diplomatic relations, and kept important official and discreet channels of communication open even as they competed for ideological dominance.

Iran and many of its prospective nuclear adversaries do not share such luxury: no Israeli or American embassy in Tehran, no hotline between the supreme leader and the Saudi king. The potential for misreading, misunderstanding and miscalculating is immense, especially as Iran will aggressively pursue its revolutionary aims of changing the region to its own ideological image under the shadow of the bomb.

We can ill afford this risk. That is why Iran must be stopped.


Sotomayor and the Politics of Race

Americans thought they were electing a president who would transcend grievance


President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court points to a dilemma that will likely plague his presidency: How does a "post-racialist" president play identity politics?

What is most notable about the Sotomayor nomination is its almost perfect predictability. Somehow we all simply know -- like it or not -- that Hispanics are now overdue for the gravitas of high office. And our new post-racialist president is especially attuned to this chance to have a "first" under his belt, not to mention the chance to further secure the Hispanic vote. And yet it was precisely the American longing for post-racialism -- relief from this sort of racial calculating -- that lifted Mr. Obama into office.

The Sotomayor nomination commits the cardinal sin of identity politics: It seeks to elevate people more for the political currency of their gender and ethnicity than for their individual merit. (Here, too, is the ugly faithlessness in minority merit that always underlies such maneuverings.) Mr. Obama is promising one thing and practicing another, using his interracial background to suggest an America delivered from racial corruption even as he practices a crude form of racial patronage. From America's first black president, and a man promising the "new," we get a Supreme Court nomination that is both unoriginal and hackneyed.

This contradiction has always been at the heart of the Obama story. On the one hand there was the 2004 Democratic Convention speech proclaiming "only one America." And on the other hand there was the race-baiting of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Does this most powerful man on earth know himself well enough to resolve this contradiction and point the way to a genuinely post-racial America?

The Sotomayor nomination suggests not. Throughout her career Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated a Hispanic chauvinism so extreme that it sometimes crosses into outright claims of racial supremacy, as in 2001 when she said in a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, "a wise Latina woman . . . would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male."

The White House acknowledges that this now famous statement -- both racist and dim-witted -- was turned up in the vetting process. So we can only assume that the president was aware of it, as well as Judge Sotomayor's career-long claim that ethnicity and gender are virtual determinisms in judging: We need diversity because, as she said in her Berkeley lecture, "inherent physiological or cultural differences . . . make a difference in our judging." The nine white male justices who decided the Brown school-desegregation case in 1954 might have felt otherwise, as would a president seeking to lead us toward a new, post-racial society.

But of course "post-racialism" is not a real idea. It is an impression, a chimera that grows out of a very specific racial manipulation that I have called "bargaining." Here the minority makes a bargain with white society: I will not "guilt" you with America's centuries of racism if you will not hold my minority status against me. Whites love this bargain because it allows them to feel above America's racist past and, therefore, immune to charges of racism. By embracing the bargainer they embrace the impression of a world beyond racial division, a world in which whites are innocent and minorities carry no anger. This is the impression that animates bargainers like Mr. Obama or Oprah Winfrey with an irresistible charisma. Even if post-racialism is an obvious illusion -- a bargainer's trick as it were -- whites are flattered by believing in it.

But the Sotomayor nomination shows that Mr. Obama has no idea what a post-racial society would look like. In selling himself as a candidate to the American public he is a gifted bargainer beautifully turned out in post-racial impressionism. But in the real world of Supreme Court nominations, where there is a chance to actually bring some of that idealism down to earth, he chooses a hardened, divisive and race-focused veteran of the culture wars he claims to transcend.

I have called Mr. Obama a bound man because he cannot win white support without bargaining and he cannot maintain minority support without playing the very identity politics that injure him with whites. The latter form of politics is grounded in being what I call a challenger -- i.e., someone who presumes that whites are racist until they prove otherwise by granting preferences of some kind to minorities. Whites quietly seethe at challengers like Jesse Jackson who use the moral authority of their race's historic grievance to muscle for preferential treatment. Mr. Obama has been loved precisely because he was an anti-Jackson, a bargainer who grants them innocence before asking for their support. So when Mr. Obama plays identity politics -- as in the Sotomayor nomination -- he starts to look too much like the challenger. Still, if he doesn't allow identity to trump merit so that he can elevate people like Judge Sotomayor, he angers the minorities who so lavishly supported him. So far he is more the captive of America's ongoing racial neurosis than the man who might liberate us from it.

Judge Sotomayor is the archetypal challenger. Challengers see the moral authority that comes from their group's historic grievance as an entitlement to immediate parity with whites -- whether or not their group has actually earned this parity through development. If their group is not yet competitive with whites, the moral authority that comes from their grievance should be allowed to compensate for what they lack in development. This creates a terrible corruption in which the group's historic grievance is allowed to count as individual merit. And so a perverse incentive is created: Weakness and victimization are rewarded over development. Better to be a troublemaker than to pursue excellence.

Sonia Sotomayor is of the generation of minorities that came of age under the hegemony of this perverse incentive. For this generation, challenging and protesting were careerism itself. This is why middle- and upper middle-class minorities are often more militant than poor and working-class minorities. America's institutions -- universities, government agencies, the media and even corporations -- reward their grievance. Minority intellectuals, especially, have been rewarded for theories that justify grievance.

And here we come to Judge Sotomayor's favorite such ingenuity: disparate impact. In the now celebrated Ricci case the city of New Haven, Conn., threw out a paper and pencil test that firefighters were required to take for promotion because so few minorities passed it. In other words, the test had a disparate and negative impact on minorities, so the lead plaintiff, Frank Ricci -- a white male with dyslexia who worked 10 hours a day to pass the test at a high level -- was effectively denied promotion because he was white. Judge Sotomayor supported the city's decision to throw out the test undoubtedly because of her commitment to disparate impact -- a concept that invariably makes whites accountable for minority mediocrity.

Challengers are essentially team players. Their deepest atavistic connection is to their aggrieved race, ethnicity or gender. Toward the larger society that now often elevates and privileges them, they carry a lingering bad faith -- and sometimes a cavalier disregard where whites are concerned, as with Judge Sotomayor in the Ricci case.

With the Sotomayor nomination, Mr. Obama has made the same mistake his wife made in her "This is the first time I am proud of my country" remark: bad faith toward an America that has shown him only good faith.



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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