Thursday, June 24, 2010

The beginning of the end for Political Correctness in England? The counter-revolution has begun in Doncaster

You do not have to go all the way in supporting the English Democrats party, whose silly proposal for an English parliament would add another superfluous layer to already excessive government, to raise a glass to Peter Davies, the party’s elected Mayor of Doncaster. Davies, the father of Tory MP Philip Davies, is one of just 11 directly elected mayors and he is enjoying increasing media exposure because of his outrageous agenda which, against all the tenets of consensual British politics, consists of doing what the public wants.

In his first week in office he cut his own salary from £73,000 to £30,000, which is putting one’s money where one’s mouth is. He also scrapped the mayoral limousine. He is ending Doncaster’s twinning with five towns around the world, an arrangement which he describes as “just for people to fly off and have a binge at the council’s expense”. He intends now to reduce (that’s right, reduce) council tax by 3 per cent this year.

The “diversity” portfolio has been abolished from the council’s cabinet. From next year no more funding will be given to the town’s “Gay Pride” event, on the grounds that people do not need to parade their sexuality, whatever it may be, at taxpayers’ expense. Black History Month, International Women’s Day and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month are similarly destined to become history.

Council funding of translation services for immigrants has been scrapped because he believes incomers should take the trouble to learn English. Officials have been ordered to abandon bureaucratic gobbledegook language. Davies is saving the taxpayers £80,000 by disaffiliating from the pointless Local Government Association and the Local Government Information Unit. He aims to abolish all non-jobs on the council, as epitomised by “community cohesion officers”. He is taking advice from the Taxpayers’ Alliance and the Campaign Against Political Correctness.

Davies’s views are calculated to put Harriet Harridan into intensive care for six months. He disregards all “green claptrap”, is creating more parking spaces to encourage traffic in the town for the benefit of business (”I’m not green and I’m not conned by global warming”). He has asked the Electoral Commission to reduce the number of Doncaster’s councillors from 63 to 21 (”If Pittsburgh can manage with nine councillors, why do we need 63?”).

You may be feeling disorientated, overcome by a surreal sensation, on hearing such extraordinary, unprecedented views. They are the almost forgotten, forcibly extinguished voice of sanity which most people had thought forever excised from British politics. These policies are common sense, which is something we have not experienced in any council chamber, still less the House of Commons, in decades. The establishment is moving heaven and earth to discredit and obstruct Davies. He is that ultimate embarrassment: the boy who reveals that the Emperor has no clothes.

If it is good enough for Doncaster, it is good enough for Britain. Our effete, corrupt, politically correct politicians must be compelled to follow suit. Once upon a time, such policies would have been axiomatic in the Tory Party. In the Cameron-occupied Conservative Party of today they are regarded as anathema.


Victory for the Boy Scouts‏ in Philadelphia

A Philadelphia jury has ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts, meaning they will not be evicted from their home or forced to pay rent, at least for now.

Outside the courthouse, a lawyer for the Boy Scouts, Jason Gosselin, told Fox News the Scouts won on the most important issue, that of First Amendment rights. The jury found the city posed an unconstitutional condition on the organization by asking it to pay $200,000 annual rent on property it was leasing for a dollar a year, in a building the Scouts built and paid for themselves, all because the city felt the Scouts were in violation of Philadelphia's anti-discrimination laws.

"What we really want is to sit down with the city and resolve this matter once and for all" Gosselin says.

Philadelphia's response: "We are disappointed that the jury did not appreciate the City's obligation to deploy municipal resources in a manner that protects the rights of all of Philadelphia's citizens. While the good work of the Boy Scouts cannot be disputed, the City remains steadfast in its commitment to prevent its facilities from being used to disadvantage certain groups. In the meantime, we will review the trial record to determine our legal options."

Previous report:

A jury in Philadelphia is now deliberating a case that could have a dramatic impact on the future of the Boy Scouts of America in the City of Brotherly Love.

For more than 70 years, the Boy Scouts' Philadelphia Chapter has had a sweetheart deal with the city, paying virtually no rent for a prime piece of downtown property.

But the Scouts' policy banning homosexuals has been challenged by opponents (the Scouts' lawyer calls them aggressive gay rights activists), who say any group that discriminates should not be supported by taxpayers. In the Scouts' case, it would mean paying fair market value for their historic headquarters building, $200,000 a year.

The Boy Scouts of America has a policy banning homosexuals that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. Since it's a membership organization, the Court ruled the scouts have the right to exclude gay youths and troop leaders.

Philadelphia has its own anti-discrimination policy that puts it at odds with the Scouts.

Ironically, in 2003 the Philadelphia chapter of the Boy Scouts (known locally as the Cradle of Liberty Council) adopted a non-discrimination policy that could've allowed gays to sign up (a version of don't ask, don't tell) but the Texas-based national organization threated to revoke their charter if the policy wasn't dropped.

The Council then worked with city leaders to come up with new language that would be acceptable to all parties and succeeded. Or so it thought.

Three years ago, an openly gay city manager worked with others to challenge the Scouts' right to a dollar-a-year lease on city property, saying the group's new policy was too vague. It either had to allow homosexuals or pay fair market rent.

The Scouts argued this violated their right to free speech and due process and besides, the organization couldn't afford the $199,999 rent hike. Not only that, the Scouts argued many of the 15,000 city members didn't have cars and wouldn't be able to travel to the nearest suburban office, in effect ending the Boy Scouts presence in Philadelphia.


Sharia Comes to Michigan

With the help of a police chief of Lebanese origin. Court decisions authorizing the Christians to do what they did don't matter to him, apparently

Under Sharia law, it is forbidden to proselytize to Muslims, and no Muslim can leave the faith. Dearborn, Michigan, is home to a substantial Muslim population, and there is strong evidence that local authorities now enforce sharia in preference to the Constitution of the United States. Thus this Associated Press story about the arrest of four Christian missionaries that took place on Friday:
Police in the heavily Arab Detroit suburb of Dearborn say they arrested four Christian missionaries for disorderly conduct at an Arab cultural festival.

Police Chief Ron Haddad says his department made the arrests Friday. The four are free on bond.

Christian proselytizing at the festival has been a matter of dispute for several years.

Haddad tells the Detroit Free Press he isn't taking sides in any dispute and says police have to keep peace at a festival that draws 300,000 over three days.

On Thursday, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals court ruled in favor of Anaheim, Calif., evangelist George Saieg (SAYGH). It overturned a lower court and said Saieg could distribute information on the festival's perimeter.

Here is video of the arrest. The "disorderly conduct" consisted of handing out copies of the Gospel of John outside the festival. Note the police demand that one of the group stop filming the arrest:

Many people seem to believe that concerns about creeping sharia are exaggerated or misplaced. This incident demonstrates, I think, the contrary.


A ‘toffee-nosed twit’ with wacky views welcomed by the new British government

Why has an anti-logic ‘stir-fry psychobabbler’ off the TV been invited into the upper echelons of Whitehall?

With every new government, it seems, a new generation of celebrity mumbo-jumbo psychobabblers also passes through the doors of 10 Downing Street.

The Blairs’ highest profile adviser was Carole Caplin, the crystal healer and advocate of exotic oils and celery-leaf teabags who once convinced Tony and Cherie to partake in a Mayan rebirthing ceremony. Gordon Brown had comedian Ruby Wax, who – after taking a course in psychotherapy and neuroscience – was invited to train Home Office officials to be ‘more aware of their colleagues, clients and partners and how to present a more human face using humour, empathy and honesty’.

Now, the appointment of C-list TV presenter Kris Murrin, dubbed the ‘stir-fry psychobabbler’ by delighted tabloids, shows that the Lib-Con coalition wants to continue the trend of inviting eccentric advisers into the corridors of power. In fact, Murrin is more than an adviser – she has been appointed to the higher echelons of the Civil Service as head of prime minister David Cameron’s ‘implementation unit’, on a salary rumoured to be close to £150,000. Her appointment has reportedly left some at Whitehall ‘bewildered’. That is hardly surprising: an overview of her career so far suggests she is a rather bewildering individual.

Murrin, who studied social and political sciences at Cambridge University, has become an apparent expert in a wide range of things from behaviour and psychology to sustainable transport, parenting and children’s issues. This remarkable 42-year-old has clearly obtained immense expertise in a wide variety of areas – even if what expertise actually means for some of these areas is unclear.

One thing that is clear, however, is Murrin’s low view of ordinary people, which was evident in her various preachy TV documentary series. In these programmes, Murrin’s expert status provides her with a licence to sneer, point at and preach to a wide range of the populace about their laziness and general ignorance.

In Honey We’re Killing the Kids, Murrin used the latest computer-modelling techniques to artificially age children; it was intended as shock treatment to ram home to the parents the fact that if they don’t rear their kids the Murrin way then they will end up as baggy-eyed, bloated, balding slobs by the age of 40. Having turned the parents into tearful, guilt-ridden wrecks, Murrin could then be sure that they would acquiesce to her child-rearing techniques. Check out her quite creepy technique on YouTube. It’s no surprise that Murrin also played a leading role in working with the New Labour government to implement the equally patronising Jamie Oliver’s school dinner proposals, for which she was appointed to the board of the UK Schools Food Trust.

When she’s not wagging her finger and whining at working-class parents, Murrin can be found standing on the sides of motorways lecturing drivers. ‘We have a fantastic transport system’, she said to a driver in her 2008 Channel 4 series The Woman Who Stops Traffic. And what is that fantastic transport system? ‘A pair of legs.’ That four-part series showed Murrin stomp across the country on a one-woman crusade to wean Britons off their apparently mindless addiction to cars by pointing out the damage that their four-wheel dependency is doing to the environment and to children. Inevitably, ‘it’s about kids not dying of asthma and obesity’, she declared.

The negative reaction of the public was a welcome riposte to Murrin’s hectoring. In one episode, a man from Boston, Lincolnshire shouted at her angrily: ‘I’ve worked all my bloody life for what I’ve got there. I’m not going to let some toffee-nosed twit tell me what I can do and what I can’t do.’ The only things lower than Murrin’s opinions of the British public were the ratings for her anti-car TV show.

To my mind, Murrin comes across as a patronising misanthrope. Five years ago, even moralising liberal campaigners such as Lauren Booth were left open-mouthed (with awe, it should be noted) at how effectively Murrin was lecturing the British public. As Booth put it in the New Statesman: ‘I know I should dislike Kris Murrin for being so condescending, but the real problem I have with her show [on children’s eating habits] is that I want to be her. She says what we long to say to mums shovelling burgers into toddlers in the high street: “Do you want them to die? That is disgusting!”’

Murrin is also a management guru – a trade once described by The Economist editor John Micklethwait as being akin to ‘witch doctoring’. Workplaces, she believes, are repressing creativity through being straitjacketed by excessive rational and logical thought. This is the central idea behind Sticky Wisdom: How to Start a Creative Revolution at Work, a book Murrin co-authored with fellow ‘innovators’ at the ?What if! Innovation Company she helped to establish. (As the FT’s Lucy Kellaway notes: ‘Anything with a title that starts with a question mark is bollocks.’)

Murrin says it was Socrates who initiated a ‘tradition of logic and argument’ which we are now indoctrinated in ‘from the moment we go to school’. And apparently this logical rigour serves to suffocate the sparks of creativity that Murrin so cherishes, where ‘there is no right or wrong answer, there are only, and always, alternatives!’.

One way to overcome the straitjacket of rational thinking in the workplace, argue Murrin et al, is to start ‘river jumping’, in order to stimulate ‘fresh thinking’ and build up our ‘freshness store-cupboard’. The brain is ‘hardwired to make creativity difficult’ and therefore various stimuli are needed to ‘trick it out of its non-creative channel’. Or to quote Murrin et al’s Star Trek analogy: ‘Work is a place where Spock behaviour is approved of and Kirk behaviour often suppressed.’ It’s the space-cadet school of management theory.

The ‘stir-fry psychobabbler’ moniker, given to Murrin by some of the tabloids, is a reference to one exercise in her book, in which Murrin & Co made a ‘wok’ out of beanbags and chairs and asked food-industry participants to act out being ‘a stir fry’ for two minutes. Not surprisingly, the food-industry workers were a bit uncomfortable at first, especially when they were given specific roles: ‘beansprouts’, ‘oil’. The book also asked hairdressers to ‘physically act out the whole haircare process from beginning to end as a piece of hair’ as part of what is labelled a ‘re-expression exercise’ aimed at getting people ‘out of their comfort/analytical zones to consider the feeling and emotions of the washing process’.

It’s no wonder that not everyone in Whitehall has welcomed the appointment of Murrin: back in 2008, reported the Daily Mail, she was already waiting in the wings with a hatful of ideas on how to identify those potential ministers with psychological flaws who would be unable to run a departmental budget. At the time, these stories were rejected as simply being the proposals of a ‘freelance consultant’. Now that she has taken up office, it remains to be seen what treats she has in store for civil servants and MPs alike.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or 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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