Monday, November 22, 2010
Christmas overtime pay axed after British bosses say it discriminates against other religions
A chain of care homes is refusing to pay its staff overtime this Christmas – claiming that it would discriminate against other religions. The firm said it had an ‘ethical belief in equality’ which means it cannot favour Christmas over ‘other religious festivals’.
Staff were told that it would only pay bonuses for bank holidays, which rules out Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year because they fall at the weekend.
One member of staff said: ‘We have learned that senior head office management have decided that all staff who work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day will be paid standard, flat-rate wages with no bonuses whatsoever. ‘The management themselves are on two weeks’ annual leave. It has come as a shock and left us all stunned.
‘Due to the nature of the work we expect to work festive times and give up our own time with our families knowing we are giving time, care and support to those who are unfortunate enough to need to live in care homes. ‘But for the management to deem that we do not deserve some sort of bonus, like the majority of other employees at this time of year, is not a reflection of their mantra of care and support in the community. It obviously excludes their own staff.’
Mick Green, senior human resources manager for Guinness Care and Support, said that it was company policy not to pay extra to staff working at Christmas. He said: ‘We would like to make our position on pay clear. We have a strong ethical belief in equality and diversity and are unable to recognise one religious festival over others. ‘Our policy is not to pay extra when staff work during a religious festival.
‘We would like to stress that many of our office-based staff will also be working over the Christmas period in order to support staff in our homes during this busy time.’
Mr Green said there was a statutory responsibility to recognise bank holidays, and people working on Monday, December 27 and Tuesday, December 28, would receive extra pay as outlined in their contracts.
Guinness Care and Support runs more than 20 residential homes across Devon looking after hundreds of elderly men and women.
Exeter Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said that he would be contacting Guinness Care and Support for a more comprehensive explanation of the company’s position. He said: ‘I am surprised at their stance. We are still an overwhelmingly Christian society and Christmas is a religious festival and a public holiday. ‘Other religious festivals are not public holidays and I do not think Guinness is comparing like with like.’
Hugo Swire, Conservative MP for East Devon, added: ‘I can give you my reaction in one word – bonkers.’
Sarah Austin, an employment expert at Foot Anstey solicitors, in Exeter, said: ‘Unless there is a contractual provision to the contrary, employers aren’t actually obliged to pay more than the standard rate of pay to employees who work on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. ‘But they will sometimes exercise their discretion to do so in the interests of maintaining good relations with their employees.’
BBC broadcasting a show written by a Leftist that portrays the army as sadistic brutes
The BBC is refusing to pull a controversial TV drama which shows a culture of bullying among troops in Afghanistan.
The head of the army has written to the corporation’s director general Mark Thompson expressing dismay over BBC1 programme Accused, which shows a young soldier being brutalised before taking his own life.
Sir Peter Wall, the Chief of the General Staff, said in a letter to the broadcaster’s top boss that the drama was ‘deeply offensive’ and ‘distasteful’ to those serving in Afghanistan and also to their families. It is understood that he had also indicated that it would be his preferred option if the programmme, penned by left wing writer Jimmy McGovern, were dropped. His letter comes after other former military figures such as Colonel Tim Collins have also condemned the programme as insensitive.
But last night the BBC were insisting they had no plans to remove the programme from the schedules and said it was going ahead as planned. It claimed it was clear that the drama was a work of fiction and was in no way an attempt to ‘denigrate’ service men and women.
Mr McGovern said it was not his intention to ‘slur’ British soldiers and that the drama was about his belief in ‘the sanctity of life’.
But a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: ‘The view of the Chief of the General Staff is that this programme is deeply offensive to all those serving. ‘There are fears that those watching it will believe this is what is really happening to their loved ones. ‘We have asked the BBC to make it clear that this is a fictitious programme, is not accurate and that the Army has nothing to do with making it.'
The BBC has confirmed that Mr Thompson had received a critical letter from Sir Peter and had responded. But it has refused to release the Director-General’s reply.
The controversial second episode of the six-part drama, which airs tonight at 9pm, stars Mackenzie Crook as a bullying corporal. The programme shows his character singling out a weak soldier he calls ‘the bitch’ In one scene a barrel of human excrement thrown over a victimised soldier.
Writer McGovern is the Bafta-winning TV dramatist whose credits include Cracker and The Street.
Speaking before the row flared up, Crook said taking on a fictional portrayal of soldiers during an ongoing conflict was 'a very serious matter'. He said: ‘I can’t begin to comprehend what these guys go through - it’s a job that takes guts and courage. ‘I feel lucky that I was never in any real danger and just doing make-believe.’
The drama has already faced criticism from Gulf War veteran Colonel Tim Collins, who gained worldwide fame for his eve-of-battle address to his men in the Royal Irish Regiment during the Iraq conflict.
He criticised the episode for its ‘generous lashings of gratuitous violence’ and ‘constant and slightly contrived use of foul and abusive language’, telling the Radio Times the drama ‘abjectly fails’ the ‘responsibility test’ and ‘fails the soldiers on the front line’.
Reacting to what they fear will be the negative impact of the drama the MoD sent out an official Army briefing note on Friday criticising the drama and stressing that bullying would not be tolerated. These kind of notes, displayed on noticeboards at all bases at home and abroad, are normally reserved for guidance on operational matters.
A BBC Spokespesman said: ‘In the promotion of this new drama series by award winning writer Jimmy McGovern, it has been made clear that ‘Accused’ is a work of fiction. It is in no way an attempt to denigrate the service men and women of the British army. '
Jimmy McGovern, the show’s writer said: ‘This episode is a work of fiction and as a dramatist I was in interested in exploring how soldiers have to be at a certain mindset to kill. It is not my intention to slur British soldiers, for whom I have the greatest respect. At the heart of the drama is my belief in the sanctity of life.’
He's ignorant, cruel and un-Christian. But don't expect the spineless Church of England to banish Bishop Pete
"His Grace" is obviously full of hate -- unsurprising in such a Left-leaning church
For those who despair that the Church of England has progressed beyond satire, along comes a joke bishop to ram the point home. The Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent, has predicted on his Facebook page that the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton will last for only seven years.
This was because the young couple were, he declared, ‘shallow celebrities’ and the Royal Family full of ‘philanderers’ with a record of marriage break-ups — notably the divorce of ‘Big Ears and the Porcelain Doll’, otherwise known as Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Such remarks were unbelievably crass, spiteful and stupid. How on earth can this absurd churchman purport to know how long William and Kate’s marriage will last?
Does he perhaps have a professional sideline reading the tea-leaves at church fetes?
He may not care for the hoopla around the impending nuptials; but to call William and Kate ‘shallow celebrities’ surely only reveals the shallowness of his own mind.
For he has no idea whether they are shallow or deep. All he knows is how the media represent them.
Yet on that basis he gratuitously insulted their characters. And his remarks about Prince William’s parents amounted to no more than cruel and infantile name-calling.
Yet look at the feeble way Lambeth Palace has responded to this diatribe, declaring that the bishop was ‘entitled to his views’.
Well actually, no he is not. As a bishop of the Church of England, anything he says has the imprimatur of the Church.
These were sour, offensive, hurtful remarks which by themselves therefore risk bringing the Church into disrepute.
But this wasn’t all he said. In a previous Twitter entry (and isn’t there something more than faintly ludicrous and unseemly about a cleric aged 58 calling himself ‘Bishop Pete’ and who burbles incontinently on Twitter and Facebook?) he tweeted: ‘Need to work out what date in the spring or summer I should be booking my republican day trip to France.’
The remark then appeared on his Facebook page, provoking the question: ‘Isn’t the Queen your boss?’
To which Bishop Broadbent replied: ‘I am a citizen, not a subject!’— adding elsewhere, for good measure, that the hereditary basis of the monarchy was ‘corrupt and sexist’.
Now all this takes the bishop’s remarks onto a different plane altogether. For he was not just shooting his mouth off over the ‘national flimflam’ of the wedding.
He was not just being offensive about members of the Royal Family. Nor was he just embarrassing his immediate superior, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, who also happens to be a close confidant of Prince Charles.
He was also effectively denying the constitutional position of the Church of England — and indeed, similarly repudiating his own undertakings as a bishop of that Church.
For the monarchy and the Church of England are umbilically linked. The Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church — as will be Prince William when he inherits the Crown — and the monarch is pledged to defend the faith which that Church represents.
Moreover, when he was ordained into the Church of England, Bishop Broadbent will have sworn ‘true allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law, so help me God’.
So did he falsely swear an oath in which he didn’t believe at the time? Or does he no longer believe it, making him a hypocrite who should depart the Church whose vow of loyalty he now rejects?
And when he ordains priests in turn, how can he require them to swear allegiance to an institution he regards as ‘corrupt and sexist’?
It would seem to many scarcely credible that a bishop can be so ignorant and — well, so un-Christian. But alas, it is only too credible given the recent record of this Church.
After all, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams loses no opportunity to apologise for just about everything the Church has done.
Instead of providing a bulwark against the secular onslaught upon the Judeo-Christian values which form the bedrock of this society, the Church has been in the forefront of appeasing ideologues of every stripe who are intent upon destroying family, morality and nation.
This supine and suicidal cultural cringe has developed remorselessly from a loss of faith by the Church in its own supernatural story, a process going back to the middle of the 19th century if not before.
As it came to believe that the Bible was no more than a kind of fairytale, the Church filled the vacuum it was creating by turning itself into a branch of social work at home and cheerleader for radical ‘liberation theology’ abroad. It thus lined itself up with the Third World and Marxists at home and abroad, often taking their part against the West.
Far from shoring itself up, as it so vainly hoped, the Church not only found itself as a result with empty pews but proceeded to tear itself apart over divisive issues such as women priests and homosexuality.
It is not surprising that the Pope chose Britain for the warning he delivered on his recent visit that Christianity needed urgently to rediscover its voice and resist the tide of secularism which was threatening to take the West back to a dark age of irrationality, intolerance and even fascism.
What’s really striking is that Benedict XVI, so thoughtlessly excoriated as the ultimate reactionary, has now shown a measure of tactical adroitness quite absent from the Church of England.
It has emerged to general astonishment that he has written in a new book that the use of condoms might be justified in certain circumstances, such as preventing the spread of HIV and Aids.
Such a softening of his previously apparently unshakeable opposition to all forms of contraception is surely calculated to help garner support for a Catholic creed he fears may be crumbling, taking Christian Europe with it.
By comparison, the Church of England remains paralysed by a political correctness which threatens to spell its destruction. This in turn threatens the nation. The decline of the Church has already helped undermine and enfeeble Britain’s values and its sense of itself, leaving it undefended against a series of destructive ideologies.
And the more these values have been eroded, the more the Church has allowed itself to be sucked into a vortex of appeasement, giving increasing ground to the secular dogma which ultimately will destroy it — and with it Britain’s historic identity.
The fact is that the fates of monarchy, Church and nation are inextricably linked. Which is why Prince William’s marriage is important, as is his commitment to defend the faith of this nation when he becomes King.
But if the Church that is the vehicle for that faith itself repudiates the monarchy, then Britain’s historic identity will finally fade away.
Which is why, to demonstrate that Bishop Pete is merely a rogue cleric, the Church might perhaps do well to conclude that his manifold, er, talents are simply wasted on this country. What a kindness it would be to appoint him instead to an Anglican see somewhere that is not groaning under the yoke of monarchy.
Congo, perhaps, or Korea, or Yemen. No shallow royal ‘flimflam’ there, for sure. So come on, Lambeth — release Bishop Pete from his misery in ‘fawning, deferential’ Britain. Send him to a third world tyranny where he would discover just what ‘fawning, deferential’ behaviour really amounted to.
Willesden’s loss — which it would bravely bear — would surely be his (and the nation’s) gain.
Homosexual marriage demands should be left on shelf
By Christopher Pearson, commenting from Australia -- where there is some agitation from the Green/Left for homosexual marriage to be legalized
THE most obvious thing about arguments for same-sex marriage is their shallowness.
IN last Saturday's Focus, Paul Kelly wrote a memorable piece, taking issue with Labor senator Mark Arbib's suggestion that it's time for the ALP to support gay marriage.
"Why is it time?" Kelly asked. "Because the Greens are stealing Labor's votes, that's why. So Labor should cynically abandon its support for the foundational social institution, a move that will trigger a deeply polarising debate and brand Labor indelibly as a libertarian personal rights party ready to ditch any institution or principle. In the process, Labor will alienate permanently an important section of its base."
Kelly's analysis was in marked contrast to that of The Age's political editor, Michelle Grattan. She told ABC Radio National's Breakfast show this week that Julia Gillard would have to change tack on the subject, preferably sooner rather than later.
Mind you, she was talking to the show's presenter, Fran Kelly, whose agenda on same-sex issues is well known, and to some extent may have been framing her remarks accordingly.
Grattan's argument is the same sort of vulgar inevitabilism that she, Paul Kelly and the press gallery at large displayed on the outcome of the republican referendum. But Kelly at least has more of a feel for the values of blue-collar workers in the outer suburbs. As he says, Arbib's push to change the law on marriage "testifies to how politicians can be fooled by opinion polls and miss the bigger picture".
The most obvious thing about the arguments in support of same-sex marriage is their shallowness. The best Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young could manage last week was to remind us breathlessly that we are living in the year 2010, as though that settled the matter. The Greens' line that all loving couples deserve to be treated equally is just as specious.
Few have argued more consistently over many years than I have done that same-sex partners should get a fair deal on superannuation and other entitlements of that kind. Labor's reforms in the last parliament mean that couples are treated pretty much equally except in the matter of marriage.
But the few remaining privileges reserved for matrimony are there for sound, practical reasons.
Men and women tend to have different needs and priorities when they enter a mature sexual relationship.
Most men are not naturally disposed to be monogamous, for example. One of the purposes of marriage is to bind them to their spouses and children for the long haul and to give the state's approval to those who enter such a contract and abide by its terms.
Another of the purposes of marriage is to affirm that parenthood is a big, and in most cases the primary, contribution a couple can make, both to their own fulfilment and the public good.
It follows that societies which want to sustain their population size, let alone increase their fertility level, should positively discriminate in favour of stable, heterosexual relationships and assert the preferability of adolescents making a normal transition to heterosexual adulthood.
It should be obvious to unprejudiced observers that, while there are plenty of well-adjusted gays who manage to lead satisfying and productive lives, rational people do not of their own volition choose to be homosexual.
It should be equally obvious that those who, through whatever mixture of nature and nurture, end up at whatever age identifying as homosexual, bisexual or whatever, need to be protected from any kind of persecution.
Among the reasons the Greens are so keen on same-sex marriage is that they want to reduce the population and drive down national fertility. Their refusal to discriminate positively in favour of heterosexuality and uphold the distinctive value of normal marriage shows their political project yet again for what it is: a dead end.
Speaking of dead ends, some American bishops have recently given a persuasive account of why same-sex marriage has come to look like a modest reform. They put it down to a culture where contraception and abortion are so widely practised that the crucial differences between a fertile couple, a couple childless by choice and a gay couple have been largely obscured and each partnership is seen as morally equivalent. They also lay some of the blame on a UN version of entitlement, in which marriage could be reduced to an unqualified abstract right.
The blue-collar social conservatives of the outer suburbs inhabit a less theoretical world. They are often unapologetically tribal in outlook and their best hopes are often invested in their children.
Most parents on low wages routinely make sacrifices on their kids' behalf in ways middle-class couples seldom do these days. There is also still something self-sacrificial among many of them on marriage: the notion that it's hard work much of the time but worth the effort.
There is another core constituency, sometimes overlapping, who have been critical to Labor's victories in the past two elections. I'm talking about not just the Christian vote but the votes of people who are adherents of all the main, organised religions.
Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists all take the institution of marriage very seriously. As things stand, Labor can normally count on a fair share of those people's votes. However, the electoral implications of giving them a faith-based reason for voting for the Coalition are obvious.
Perhaps Arbib should look beyond the Galaxy polling commissioned by an advocacy group, Australian Marriage Equality. A sample of 1050 found, after a prompt-question on gay marriage being introduced overseas, that 62 per cent supported changing the law.
Another 33 per cent were opposed and 5 per cent were unsure.
The Greens in triumphalist mode have claimed more support for their cause than these figures warrant.
Far more substantial polling comes from Roy Morgan's Single Source face-to-face surveys, which reach more than 50,000 people each year. His data uses proxy questions: Do you think homosexual activity is immoral and are you in favour of gays getting adoption rights?
Attitudes vary widely, of course, between the regions and the inner and outer suburbs, which is why Galaxy's 62 per cent in favour should be treated with caution.
The strongly negative territory included most of regional Queensland, traditional Labor turf comprising three western Sydney seats (Blaxland, Chifley, McMahon), three more in Sydney's southwest (Barton, Banks, Watson), some parts of suburban Melbourne (Lalor, Hotham, Bruce) and the north Tasmanian seats of Bass and Lyons.
Running the risk of alienating so much of your traditional support base, at this stage in federal Labor's history, is daylight madness. At least Gillard seems to have grasped that fact.
SOURCE. (Note: Christopher Pearson is himself homosexual)
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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.