Britain's violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European union, it is revealed today. Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa - widely considered one of the world's most dangerous countries. The figures comes on the day new Home Secretary Alan Johnson makes his first major speech on crime, promising to be tough on loutish behaviour.
The Tories said Labour had presided over a decade of spiralling violence. In the decade following the party's election in 1997, the number of recorded violent attacks soared by 77 per cent to 1.158million - or more than two every minute. The figures, compiled from reports released by the European Commission and United Nations, also show:
* The UK has the second highest overall crime rate in the EU.
* It has a higher homicide rate than most of our western European neighbours, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
* The UK has the fifth highest robbery rate in the EU.
* It has the fourth highest burglary rate and the highest absolute number of burglaries in the EU, with double the number of offences than recorded in Germany and France.
But it is the naming of Britain as the most violent country in the EU that is most shocking. The analysis is based on the number of crimes per 100,000 residents. In the UK, there are 2,034 offences per 100,000 people, way ahead of second-placed Austria with a rate of 1,677. The U.S. has a violence rate of 466 crimes per 100,000 residents, Canada 935, Australia 92 and South Africa 1,609.
Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This is a damning indictment of this government's comprehensive failure over more than a decade to tackle the deep rooted social problems in our society, and the knock on effect on crime and anti-social behaviour. 'We're now on our fourth Home Secretary this parliament, and all we are getting is a rehash of old initiatives that didn't work the first time round. More than ever Britain needs a change of direction.'
The figures, compiled by the Tories, are considered the most accurate and up-to-date available. But criminologists say crime figures can be affected by many factors, including different criminal justice systems and differences in how crime is reported and measured. In Britain, an affray is considered a violent crime, while in other countries it will only be logged if a person is physically injured.
There are also degrees of violence. While the UK ranks above South Africa for all violent crime, South Africans suffer more than 20,000 murders each year - compared with Britain's 921 in 2007.
Experts say there are a number of reasons why violence is soaring in the UK. These include Labour's decision to relax the licensing laws to allow round-the-clock opening, which has led to a rise in the number of serious assaults taking place in the early hours of the morning.
But Police Minister David Hanson said: 'These figures are misleading. Levels of police recorded crime statistics from different countries are simply not comparable since they are affected by many factors, for example the recording of violent crime in other countries may not include behaviour that we would categorise as violent crime. 'Violent crime in England and Wales has fallen by almost a half a peak in 1995 but we are not complacent and know there is still work to do. That is why last year we published 'Saving lives. Reducing harm. Protecting the public. An Action Plan for Tackling Violence 2008-11'.'
The timing of the Europe-wide violence figures is a blow for Mr Johnson, who will today seek to reassert Labour's law and order credentials. In his first major speech on crime since becoming Home Secretary, Mr Johnson is expected to promise a concerted crack down on antisocial behaviour. He wants to set up a website to allow the public to see what is taking place in their neighbourhood, such as the number of louts who have been served with Asbos. Mr Johnson is also known to support early intervention to stop children going off the rails.
Church of England school bans girl from wearing crucifix - but allows Sikh pupils to wear bangles
A school told a child to remove a Christian cross she was wearing even though it lets Sikh children wear bangles as part of their religion. Lauren Grimshaw-Brown was told to take off a necklace with a cross on it because of health and safety fears. But the eight-year-old's furious mother has accused the school of double standards because they allow children following other faiths to wear jewellery on religious grounds.
The mother-of-two says Lauren and brother Callan, five, have always worn crosses at St Peter's CE School in Chorley, Lancashire. 'We're a Christian family and my children wear the necklaces underneath their tops,' she said. 'On Thursday Lauren was told by a teacher to take it off because apparently they're not allowed to wear jewellery. 'I could understand it if it was a fashion accessory or a High School Musical necklace, but it's part of our faith.'
Mrs Grimshaw-Brown complained directly to the headteacher, Helen Wright, who referred the matter to the school's chairman of governors, Father Atherton. He upheld the ban.
Mrs Grimshaw-Brown added: 'I received a letter in my child's reading folder. It said that if she had been a Sikh child she would be allowed to wear bangles because it's part of their religion. 'I've got absolutely no problem with any other religion wearing bangles or another item of jewellery, but why can't my daughter wear a necklace with a cross? It's a church-led school. 'The necklace is designed to come apart if it snags. The school has suggested she wear a brooch but surely that's more dangerous because of the pin. 'Lauren was really upset by this and I feel very let down.'
The letter to Mrs Grimshaw-Brown said: 'The prospectus makes clear that jewellery may not be worn except for earrings and watches. 'This is because there have been incidents in schools where hooped earrings, bracelets and necklaces have caused injuries to children when caught in outdoor play or physical activity. 'The prospectus makes it clear that school will allow jewellery where it is a necessary part of the religious faith of the child, i.e. Sikh families must wear bangles as one of the "five Ks", the religious rules for dress.'
Mrs Wright denied there was any discrimination against people following a Christian faith. 'We do want children to be proud of their Christian faith, therefore we would like to encourage them to wear crosses,' she added. 'The best solution in this case for children to be kept safe would be for pupils to wear a brooch - in fact some children already do.'
Multiculturalism and the Case of the Unwanted Hello
Must not say "Hello" to a Muslim woman?
The Islamist campaign to undermine and ultimately supplant Western norms is waged on some of the most mundane battlefields. For example, a recent essay by Matthew Coutts describes a fascinating and instructive clash that arose in a residential hallway:
When the landlady of my Toronto apartment building said an outraged neighbor had filed a complaint about me over an apparently inappropriate hallway interaction with his wife, my mind raced through the countless conversations I've had with fellow tenants, none of which seemed a possible source of offense.This episode illuminates several aspects of radical Islam's growing foothold in the West, such as the treatment of women as property and the eagerness to surrender to Islamist demands. (Coutts writes that his landlady advised him to "turn my back to the couple as they pass, never make eye contact, and never hold the elevator for them, no matter what.")
It turns out, it wasn't a salacious transaction that had caused the complaint, but rather a neighborly and — to me — entirely forgettable greeting, little more than a brief "good morning" as I passed my neighbors on the way to work.
Still, it was enough of an affront for the man — once a doctor somewhere in the Middle East, my landlady clarified — to feel I had broken a cultural taboo. The incident started an awkward feud which has involved warnings not to repeat my indiscretion and one face-to-face shouting match, which included allusions to my impending death.
The collision between Coutts' "prairie upbringing" and his neighbors' "Muslim upbringing" also highlights a broader but closely related struggle over whether it is the individual or the group that should serve as the central building block of society. Coutts embodies the former view; by instinct, he sees the woman in the hallway as just another human being worthy of acknowledgment, no different than anyone else. In contrast, to Islamists and many of their multicultural allies, the author's first steps should have been to ascertain the race, religion, etc. of the couple and then modify his behavior according to presumed sensitivities.
This mindset is a recipe for discord, however, as it has a way of swelling localized disputes into wider, intergroup friction. Furthermore, few have the energy to keep track of the myriad, often contradictory rules that, we are told, must govern our interactions with the various groups we might encounter in the hallways of our lives. Indeed, Coutts just as easily could have raised Islamist hackles if he had started off by ignoring the woman; after all, CAIR lists "exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political or social process" as evidence of Islamophobia — and no "social process" is more mainstream than greeting one's neighbors.
In the end, Coutts decided to keep saying hello to others, determined not to let an Islamist's objections change the way he deals with the world. Western leaders could learn a lot from him.
Corrupt black Congresscritters trying to avoid scrutiny
Playing the race card
An apparent effort by the Congressional Black Caucus to deter ethics investigations of its membership is drawing sharp criticism from members of the black leadership group Project 21. CBC members reportedly are considering changes to the law authorizing the House Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE, in retaliation for the OCE referring allegations against several CBC members to the House Ethics Committee.
CBC members reportedly also have complained that the OCE does not have enough minority staffers, adding a racial element to the apparent retaliation.
"What does the racial or ethnic makeup of the Office of Congressional Ethics have to do with the fact that these members of the Congressional Black Caucus may have violated ethics laws? It has absolutely no bearing on the charge, and to claim that is a lack of diversity at the OCE is playing the race card plain and simple," said Project 21 member Joe Hicks, also a commentator for Pajamas Television. "It is laughable that CBC members are charging the OCE with some sort of racial targeting. The OCE was created by Speaker Pelosi, someone who shamelessly bends over backwards to be politically correct."
Of the three investigative counsels hired by the OCE, one is black. The chairman of the formal Ethics Committee investigation sparked by the OCE referral is a black Member of Congress, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), a CBC member.
"A legitimate complaint has been filed and an investigation has begun, but political pressure is now being applied to cover up the allegations and brush everything under the rug," said Project 21 member Bishop Council Nedd II. "So much for those promises to 'drain the swamp' and root out the 'culture of corruption.' It seems that swamp has turned into a hot tub for them rather quickly."
"President Obama has long proclaimed that it is special interest lobbyists who are the root of what is wrong with our federal government. This latest lapse in congressional sensibilities exposes the fact that it is wayward members of Congress themselves, whether Republican or Democrat, who pose the greatest threat to good government for the citizens of this country," said Project 21 member John Meredith. "The idea of disbanding the one avenue the citizens of this great nation have to track congressional malfeasance is an affront to the pledge of transparency in government and the use of the race card to facilitate the closing of the Office of Congressional Ethics is insulting not only to black people but to people of every color."
The controversy was sparked by an ethics complaint filed with the OCE by National Legal and Policy Center President Peter Flaherty.
In November 2008, Flaherty attended the "Caribbean Multi-Cultural Business Conference" on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. Although the conference officially was sponsored by the Carib News Foundation, according to Flaherty, signs and materials present indicate the event was funded by Citigroup, Pfizer, American Airlines, Verizon, IBM and other large corporations with business before Congress. CBC members Charles Rangel (D-NY), Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Delegate Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) attended the event.
Members of Congress have been prohibited since 2007 from taking funded trips of over two days if those trips are paid for or coordinated by companies that "employ or retain a registered lobbyist."
Flaherty alerted the OCE. In his letter to the OCE, Flaherty noted: "My characterization of the trip as a 'junket' is based on my observation that the sessions were lightly attended. Most attendees spend significant time at the beach or the pool. Members of Congress attended the sessions when they had a speaking role." Flaherty also said any suggestion that attendees could not see evidence of corporate involvement was "implausible."
Australia: Homosexuals want it both ways
IF IT'S OK for a couple of hundred men to prance along Oxford St with feather dusters strapped to their backsides during the Mardi Gras, who could be offended by comic Sacha Baron Cohen dressing up like a homosexual fashion designer and camping it up?
Sydney's self-anointed guardians of the homosexual flame, that's who. Who are they? Hairdresser Troy Thompson (no jokes about stereotypical gay occupations, please) and homosexual activist and hospitality worker Gary Burns, that's who. What is their complaint? They claim that the Bruno character in Cohen's latest movie will reinforce the straight community's stereotypical view of homosexuals as a group of mincing, lisping, limp-wristed queers and increase prejudice which could cause sniggering and ridicule.
Hold on, doesn't the annual Mardi Gras do more than enough to reinforce that view already? Most Australians would know some homosexuals - male or female - who don't fit the stereotype perpetuated by the Mardi Gras and the more extreme members of the homosexual community generally. There are lesbians who don't have basin hair cuts, who don't roll their own cigarettes and who don't wear workman's overalls.
And there are homosexual men who don't work in hair salons, wave their hands about as they speak or dance to Kylie Minogue's music, but the homosexual organisations don't seem to see them.
The Mardi Gras crowd likes to attract attention. For years, Mardi Gras organisers have claimed that their parade draws such a huge audience that, realistically, if everyone they boasted shows up actually did show up they could not fit on Oxford St even if they were jammed cheek-to-cheek, as it were. The organisers like to proclaim they are proudly out there, sometimes they are offensively out there. There is no other display of high-camp behaviour in the homosexual world that matches the Mardi Gras, even if it is getting a little tedious with its tired old attacks on Christianity (but not Islam) and its stereotypical marching boys and dancing queens.
The Mardi Gras mob get grants from the NSW Government and the Sydney City Council to fund this display of stereotypes. Shouldn't Thompson and Burns be objecting to the expenditure of public money on an event that only reinforces the high-camp image of the gay community?
Burns is a serial litigant. He sued John Laws for using the expression "pillow-biter" during a program and The Footy Show for lampooning Elton John. The origin of the term "pillow-biter" is interesting. It came to public notoriety when British MP Jeremy Thorpe, a former leader of the UK Liberal Party (not to be in any way confused with the Australian Liberals) was accused of having a homosexual affair with a model, Norman Scott. During an extraordinary trial, Scott claimed that Thorpe had subjected him to various sex acts during which he had no recourse but to "bite a pillow". Thorpe was acquitted but the English language embraced a new expression.
I don't know whether or not Baron Cohen's new film Bruno promotes a stereotypical view of homosexuals. I haven't seen it. But I do know that it would have to work hard to beat the Mardi Gras' record for promoting the stereotypical perspective.
What Thompson and Burns are trying to do is reshape the homosexual stereotype to fit their ideal. This is a big task that they are clearly unsuited for. "We have people coming over to our country stereotyping us in this imagery," Burns said of Bruno. "The majority of gay men are not like him. People will continue to hold prejudice against gay men as that's the stereotype imagery that causes ridicule and sniggering."
Homosexuals come in most shapes and sizes. They are not universally limp-wristed, nor do they all lisp, but nor are they uniformly creative or musical or good dancers. They are just people. Some of them, clearly, like to prance up Oxford St. Many of them don't.
If Thompson and Burns don't like the idea of Bruno, they should be even angrier about the Mardi Gras but I can't find any evidence that either of them have ever complained about the Mardi Gras' depiction of their friends.
Baron Cohen has done it again. He has outraged a minority, has exposed a deep vein of hypocrisy and probably attracted more viewers than he thought would ever pay to see Bruno.
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.