Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Royal Marine told to cover up regimental tattoo at Heathrow because it was 'offensive' to other passengers
A former Royal Marine was told to cover-up a tattoo of his regimental badge by security staff at Heathrow Airport, because it was 'offensive' to other passengers. Paul Fairclough, a former medic with the 539 Assault Squadron, was furious after he was challenged over the famous Marine dagger insignia as he arrived for a transfer flight. The 29-year-old, who served in Kosovo and Iraq, had just arrived at Terminal 5 from Toronto and was transferring for a Manchester flight when he was stopped by a female security operator as he passed through a metal detector.
After he put his bag on to an x-ray machine he was told to take his jacket off - revealing the 12-inch tattoo on his right arm. The female operator spotted the tattoo and said: 'That tattoo is offensive. You will have to cover it up.' The father-of-one, who joined the Army at 19 and now works as a safety officer on oil rigs, refused to cover the design and walked past the guard.
Mr Fairclough said: 'I tried to explain that she was mistaken and that it was the insignia of my old regiment, the Royal Marines. 'She said she knew exactly what it was but that it made no difference. They had a policy that tattoos showing offensive weapons of any kind must not be on show. 'I was half annoyed and told her that there was no way I was covering it up and I walked on as she glared at me. 'I half expected to feel a tap on my shoulder but I just walked through the arch and went on my way.'
Mr Fairclough, who lives with wife Nicky and 1-year-old son Matthew in Tranmere, Wirral, then attempted to make a complaint after passing through security. 'I demanded to see a supervisor to ask for an explanation. 'He said they had a policy that offensive tattoos connected with gangs and weapons must be covered-up in the airport. 'But he said there was no ban on military insignia tattoos and tried to explain it away by saying that the operator concerned must have made a mistake. 'When I said that she had insisted that she knew exactly that it was a Royal Marines' badge he tried to say she must not have been trained properly. 'He didn't apologise and I was left feeling insulted, angry and incensed. I served my country and lost mates who were blown-up in Iraq. 'I am proud of my service with the Royal Marines and this left a bitter taste in my mouth.'
The Commando dagger is the formation flash of the Royal Marine Commando regiment and reflects its ability to adapt to combat situations. It does not appear on their uniform, but does appear on the Royal Marines Commando insignia.
A spokesman for British Airports Authority at Heathrow said: 'This should not have happened. We have no policy against tattoos. 'We do sometimes ask passengers to cover-up things like slogans that would be offensive to other travellers, but that is clearly not case on this occasion. 'BAA would like to offer our sincere apologies to the passenger concerned.'
Lord Carey of Clifton: ‘Christianity is victim of bullying campaign’
Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has warned that Christianity is being marginalised by a “strident and bullying campaign” against the faith. Lord Carey, speaking at a symposium on Christian persecution in the House of Lords, said: “Christianity, which has given so much to our country, is now being sidelined as never before as though it is a stranger to our nation.”
Warning that Britain’s Christian heritage was in danger of being abandoned, he continued: “We have reached a point where politicians are mocked for merely expressing their faith. I cannot imagine any politician expressing concern that Britain should remain a Christian country. That reticence is a scandal and a disgrace to our history.”
He urged Christians to become more assertive about their faith: “If we behave like doormats, don't be surprised if we are treated as though we are. It is time to return to the public square.”
Recently, a number of Christians have been sacked or suspended for speaking about their faith. Olive Jones, a teacher who lost her job for asking permission to pray for a sick pupil, told the meeting: “Twenty years of teaching dismissed for sharing the goodness of God in this Christian nation. I felt I had been treated as a criminal.” Caroline Petrie, a nurse, was suspended for offering to pray for a patient, said: “I was told if I continued what I was doing I would be struck off the nurses’ register.” She was reinstated after seeking legal assistance.
British police do deal with Islamic radical
Sir Ian Blair signed a formal agreement with an Islamic extremist to treat him as the Metropolitan Police’s "principal" representative of the Muslim community, it can be disclosed. The activist, Azad Ali, was accepted by the Met as a trusted interlocutor. The force also agreed to give him information on forthcoming anti-terror raids. – Mr Ali has previously justified the killing of British troops in Iraq, believes al Qaeda is a "myth," and has praised a key mentor of Osama bin Laden.
Mr Ali signed the deal, a copy of which has been seen by the Daily Telegraph, in his capacity as the then chairman of the Muslim Safety Forum – a body closely linked to the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE).
In yesterday's Sunday Telegraph a Labour minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, accused the IFE of infiltrating the Labour Party and British politics along the lines of the far-Left Militant Tendency in the 1980s. The IFE believes in jihad, sharia law and the transformation of Britain into an Islamic state. It will be the subject of a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary tonight.
The Muslim Safety Forum was set up, in its own words, to challenge the "unfair focus on the Muslim community when it came to policing activities and enforcement of anti- terror policing legislation." It was accepted by the police as a legitimate body. The agreement, dated December 2006 and personally signed by Mr Ali and Sir Ian, who was Commissioner of the Mat at the time, states: "The Commissioner will recognise the MSF as the principal body in relation to Muslim community safety and security."
Sir Ian or his deputy committed to meet Mr Ali and the MSF at least twice a year and to hold monthly meetings with the MSF at "New Scotland Yard or other suitable premises." Met chiefs, including counter-terrorist commanders, also committed to attending the MSF's own meetings "whenever possible”. Both the current head of the antiterrorist command, Commander Shaun Sawyer, and his predecessor, Commander Bob Quick, who the MSF described as a "close partner”, have had regular meetings.
The agreement says that the Met and MSF will "use the MSF as a consultation body to help formulate policy or practice." and "progress an annual plan of work through agreed priority workstreams," jointly led by Met and MSF representatives. The workstreams included counter-terrorism and "Islamophobia." Mr Ali was the MSF lead on counter-terrorism.
In the wake of the controversy about the abortive terror arrests in Forest Gate in summer 2006, the Met also agreed to set up a four-strong panel with the MSF to offer the Muslim community a chance to comment on whether the information police had on a suspect was too flimsy and the consequences of a raid for community relations. Mr Ali, one of the panel members, said at the time: "This will allow independent scrutiny of intelligence."
Mr Ali was also described by the Metropolitan Police Authority as a "key member" of the Met's ‘Communities Together Strategic Group’, chaired by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Rose Fitzpatrick, which met fortnightly to "oversee and review community reassurance and engagement measures." He was a member of the Kratos Review Group, to examine the Met's response to suicide bombings.
However, Mr Ali, who is also a senior official of the IFE, has a strong track record of extremism. Last year, by which time he had become the MSF's treasurer, he was suspended from his job as a civil servant after praising Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden's key mentor. Writing on his blog on the IFE website, he described Azzam as one of the "few Muslims who promote the understanding of the term jihad in its comprehensive glory" as both a doctrine of "self-purification" and of "warfare." He then quoted Azzam's son, approvingly, as saying: "If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier's uniform inside Iraq, I would kill him because that is my obligation ... I respect this as the main instruction in my religion for jihad."
In January Mr Ali lost a libel action against a newspaper which reported his comments. Ruling against him, the judge, Mr Justice Eady, said that Mr Ali "was indeed ... taking the position that the killing of American and British troops in Iraq would be justified."
Following the controversy over his remarks Mr Ali left the post of MSF treasurer, but he remained a trustee and director of the group. The group also preserves its close links with the IFE, whose headquarters it shares and several of whose trustees and activists also sit on the MSF.
A Met spokesman said the 2006 agreement between Sir Ian and Mr Ali, which was subject to annual renewal, was not renewed after it expired in December 2007, although links between the Met and the MSF continued. The spokesman said: “We are currently working with the Muslim Safety Forum to review how it can best represent London’s diverse Muslim Communities so that we can better understand and then act on their concerns about safety and security.”
Australian businesses to be compelled to employ more females
So capable women will be unable to prove themselves. People will think they owe their position to quotas, not ability
BUSINESSES will be forced to employ minimum numbers of females in the workplace under new laws being considered by the Federal Government. Bosses employing 15 or more people will be required to report on the gender balance in the workplace under proposals in a new government commissioned report. The KPMG report was commissioned last year to review the role of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency.
Among the suggestions was a push for workplaces to have a voluntary 40 per cent female representation at all levels within three to five years. If this failed, mandatory quotas enforced by sanctions and penalties would be introduced.
But industry groups have rejected the quota concept. In its submission, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it supported "the attainment of equal opportunities based on merit, rather than the filling of quotas".
But Australian Institute of Management state chief executive officer Carolyn Barker said she supported quotas. "There is evidence that when governments particularly put in quotas . . . the number of women in executive positions and on boards increase," she said. "And I have to say, is that such a bad thing?"
The Brisbane Institute CEO Karyn Brinkley said quotas were not the long-term solution for women's careers. "I don't know that I see a lot of point in quotas," she said. "I think it detracts from the argument that you appoint them because they have amazing sets of skills, and attributes that are very complementary."
A further suggestion was for the publication of league tables, listing the best and worst businesses that met gender targets.
The report showed only 54 per cent of the female labour force was in a full-time occupation, compared with 84 per cent of males. At the same time, males received 17 per cent more in their paypackets than women.
A spokesman for Minister for the Status of Women Tanya Plibersek said the department was considering the report and would release its findings in coming months.
Bureaucracy is irredeemably stupid
Sara Husdon comments below on attempts by Australian governments to "help" indigenous blacks
Despite extensive consultation with communities in the Northern Territory about what type of new houses they would like as part of the government’s Indigenous housing program, it appears that the government is still following the same old tired designs for the construction of houses.
Two years ago, federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, promised ‘a makeover with a difference’ as part of the government’s $672 million ‘strategic’ Indigenous housing program (SIHIP).
NT Housing Minister Rob Knight said that design teams would look at the territory’s outdoor lifestyle and climate when designing houses.
But as Nigel Scullion, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs, pointed out in a recent media release, the new houses built under SIHIP look surprisingly similar to the old ones.
In the past, houses in remote NT communities were regularly criticised as being designed by white bureaucrats with no understanding of the way in which Aborigines live and no consideration for the 40 plus degree temperatures. ‘They are sweat boxes ... you wouldn’t put your dog in there during the heat of the day,’ said one government official in The Age.
Yet, it seems the two new houses built in Wadeye have not been built according to local residents’ wishes. During the extensive consultation process, residents repeatedly said that they wanted large verandas; outdoor living areas; and toilet access from outside, but these three design features have not been included.
Pictures of one of the new houses taken by Nigel Scullion as part of his press release show an ugly grey rectangular box, with a bright yellow metal awning. These houses look almost identical to the ones they were meant to replace.
Residents of existing homes have also been ignored by the government, with recent refurbishments in Ali Curang falling far short of their expectations. Houses remain filthy and incomplete. New stainless steel benches have been installed but not much else, prompting concerns that the houses would fail to meet the standards of the Residential Tenancies Act.
Macklin has come out in defence of these refurbishments, saying that they were only meant to include new kitchens and bathrooms – in contrast to her promise two years ago for a ‘makeover with a difference.’
It seems Aboriginal people have been duped again.
Rather than continuing to look to the government to meet their housing needs, residents of remote Indigenous communities would be better off copying the residents of the Ilpeye Ilpeye town camp near Alice Springs. There, traditional owners have allowed the Australian government to acquire their land and change the community lease to freehold title. This change will enable residents to become home owners and perhaps finally kiss the government and their broken promises goodbye.
The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated February 26. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.
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 or 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.