Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Beer deregulation in Britain
Schooners (15 oz. in the old money) are mostly drunk in Sydney rather than in Australia generally. I have sunk a schooner or two there myself in the past. People who drank smaller measures tended to be suspected of homosexuality at the time
The traditional cry of ‘Mine’s a pint’ could become ‘Mine’s a schooner’. Under government proposals it will soon be possible to order a new range of measures of alcohol in licensed premises.
One of which would be the Australian schooner measure – which is the equivalent of two-thirds of a pint, or 400ml.
Currently there are strict rules which dictate the size of drinks on offer. For example, a beer can only be served in halves or pints, although a little-known ‘third’ does also exist.
But the Government has decided to rip up the traditional system in a move designed to discourage binge-drinking. And in an added plus for these austere times, the proposals should also slash the price of a round of drinks, as the amount of alcohol per round falls.
The rules will also apply to cider and lager and represents a radical change since the ‘pint’ was introduced by an Act of Parliament in 1698.
David Willetts, Science Minister, said: ‘This is exactly the sort of unnecessary red tape the government wants to remove. ‘We have listened to consumers and businesses. They have called for fixed quantities to be kept – but with greater flexibility. That is what this change will deliver.’
Some commonsense returning to British policing
The Asbo is to be scrapped as part of a major review on tackling anti-social behaviour that will see a return to the common sense policing of yobs, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Ministers will bin a series of measures, including Labour's flagship anti-social behaviour orders, and replace them with a streamlined set of powers to make it easier to deal with nuisance and minor crimes.
Officers will also be given more discretion on how to deal with incidents including forcing offenders to make immediate amends, such as repairing a damaged fence, rather than taking more formal action.
The review, expected within weeks, will signal a radical rethink by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, on how to deal with anti-social behaviour after more than a decade of failed promises by Labour.
Sir Denis O'Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, warned in September that police have lost control of the streets as figures showed that an estimated 14 million incidents of anti-social behaviour take place each year — one every two seconds.
In a related pilot scheme launched today, police will create personal logs for victims of anti-social nuisance to ensure repeat attacks are recorded together and no one falls through the net. The move, to run in eight forces, is aimed at preventing cases such as Fiona Pilkington who killed herself and her daughter, after little was done to stop years of torment from a teenage gang.
But it is the death of the Asbo that will mark the most significant shift in the Coalition's approach when the review is published. The orders were first unveiled by Tony Blair in 1999 and formed a key part of his Respect agenda. However, they soon became the subject of ridicule, with some offenders claiming it as a "badge of honour" and its use by local authorities has plummeted in the past five years. More than half of the orders are breached and only half of those guilty of a breach are sent to prison as a result. A total of 16,999 Asbos have been issued since 1999 but 55 per cent were breached at least once. In 2005, 4,122 were issued, but only 2,027 in 2008.
Mrs May sounded the death knell for last summer when she said it was "time to move beyond the Asbo". She called for a "complete change in emphasis", with communities working with the police and other agencies to stop bad behaviour escalating.
Labour has been criticised for creating a plethora of court orders to tackle nuisance, including parent orders, graffiti removal orders and dog control orders, on top of the Asbo but many of which have been hardly used. The review is expected to tear most of the orders up in their current form and streamline them in to series of simpler sanctions, still including some form of court orders, for the police and local authorities to use against anti-social behaviour.
However, whatever the outcome of the review, there will be nothing known as an Asbo. The move will be met with fierce criticism from Labour who have continued to defend the effectiveness of the Asbo in opposition, insisting it has made a "huge contribution".
Mrs May also wants to give police more scope to deal with local thugs and nuisance rather than always heading for the courts.
If an officers believes an incident can be dealt with by other action, and with the support of the victim, then they will be entitled to use their judgment. It could mean a yob repairing a fence he has damaged or cleaning up his own graffiti.
Ministers will also ensure more support for victims when reporting issues to the police. Authorities have been accused of not taking anti-social behaviour seriously enough, especially in the aftermath of cases such as Ms Pilkington. She killed herself and her 18-year-old Francecca Hardwick, who suffered from learning disabilities, in October 2007. Their deaths followed 10 years of torment at the hands of yobs who taunted them and pelted their property with stones, eggs and flour.
The Home Office announced a pilot in eight force areas today to ensure reports of anti-social behaviour are dealt with appropriately. Officers will change the way they respond to calls, introduce a new system to log complaints and improve their IT systems in a seven-month project designed to help quickly identify and protect vulnerable victims.
James Brokenshire, the crime prevention minister, said: "It is not acceptable that those most in need either slip through the net or are plain ignored. "It is essential those who raise the alarm and ask for help are listened to and their complaints acted upon promptly."
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Edens, the lead on the issue for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said the pilot scheme "will focus on improving handling and logging of complaints as well as looking at improvements to IT systems to ensure information from partners is shared more easily".
The trials, in Avon and Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, South Wales, Sussex and West Mercia will run until July.
The case for discrimination
Dr Walter Block outlines below some of the issues in his book: "The Case for Discrimination"
In the days of yore, to say that a man was discriminating was to pay him a compliment. It meant that he had taste; he could distinguish between the poor, the mediocre, the good and the excellent. His ability to make fine distinctions enabled him to live a better life than otherwise.
Nowadays, in our politically correct times, discrimination implies racial and/or sexual hatred. It evokes lynching the innocent, hanging black people who had committed no crime, and, yes, perhaps, even, in the extreme, a return to slavery. This at least was virtually the reaction that greeted candidate for U.S. Senate Rand Paul, when he averred that there were parts of the so-called "Civil Rights" Act of 1964 that were objectionable.
But all Senator Paul was saying is that while it would be illicit for government to discriminate on the basis of race or sex or any other such criterion, it is a basic element of private property rights that individuals be free to engage in exactly such preferences. If they were not, an important element of liberty would be lost.
The howls of outrage that greeted this reasonable distinction were so great that Dr. Rand Paul felt compelled to backtrack on his statement. However, we are now discussing a book, not an election. Here, the truth and justice is our only guide, not the hurt feelings of journalists working for the mainstream media and other sob sisters. As such, it is clear that discrimination on the part of individuals, but of course not the state, is part of our birthright of liberty.
If not, coercive bisexuality would be the logical implication of the anti-discrimination movement. Why? Well, male heterosexuals despicably discriminate against half the human race as bed/sex/marriage partners: all other men. Nor can female heterosexuals plead innocence against this dread charge; they, too, abjure half of their fellow creatures in this regard. Can male homosexuals deflect this deadly indictment? No, they, too, refuse to have anything to do with all females in such a context. Similarly, female homosexuals, lesbians, rotten creatures that they are, also avoid entangling alliances of this sort with all men, again, half the human race.
No, it is the bisexuals, and only the bisexuals, who are entirely innocent of discrimination of this sort. They are the only decent people in the entire sexual spectrum to refrain from this evil practice. (We now disregard the fact that bisexuals also make invidious comparisons based on beauty, age, sense of humor, etc.) Therefore, if we really opposed discrimination in matters of the heart, we would all embrace bi-sexuality. Since we do not, the logical implication is that we should be forced to do so. For, to hang back from this conclusion is to give not only tacit but active approval to discriminatory practices, surely one of the worst things in the politically correct panoply.
It might well be objected that the laws against private parties discriminating should apply only to business, not personal interactions. But why just in commerce and not, also, in human relations? Surely, if there is any such thing as the right not to be discriminated against, it applies in all realms of human existence, not merely in the marketplace. If we have a right not to be murdered, or stolen from, and we do, we do, then this right pervades all realms of human existence. It is equally improper to be killed or robbed in the bedroom as it is in the store. And, as a matter of fact, present anti-discrimination law does not even apply, across the board, in the commercial realm. Rather, it depends upon "power" relationships, a rather meaningless concept, at least as employed by our friends on the left.
For example, if I hate Chinese people, and therefore will not patronize their restaurants, I violate no law. However, if the owner of the Chinese restaurant, for example, despises Jews, he will not be legally able to forbid them from entry onto his premises. Why? Because sellers, in this case, are deemed to be more "powerful" than buyers. But it does not always work in this way. If a large buyer, say, Wal-Mart, refused to purchase from any female-headed firm because of their taste for discrimination against women, they would not for a moment be able to get away with such a policy. But why should "power" in this misbegotten sense determine the legality of economic decision-making? Surely, a "powerless" man in the sense of being poor would not be allowed to rape a "powerful" woman, in the sense that she is rich. Or would he? Well, this defense has not yet been tried, so who knows?
Another objection is that it might be acceptable for any one individual to discriminate against a downtrodden minority, but if many, or, worse, all of the members of the majority engaged in this practice, its victims will suffer unduly. For example, suppose that whites refuse to rent hotel rooms to blacks, or to employ them. Then, the latter will undergo grievous misery. But this objection is economically illiterate. If whites boycott blacks in this manner, the free enterprise system will rise up in defense of the latter. How so? If no landlord will rent to a black person, the profits from doing so will rise; it will then be to some entrepreneur’s financial advantage to supply this part of the market.
Similarly, in the labor field. If whites refuse to hire blacks, their wages will fall below the levels that would otherwise prevail. This will set up large profit opportunities for someone, be he white or black it matters not, to hire these people, and thus be able to outcompete those with great tastes for discrimination. (I am in these cases discussing only, employer/owner discrimination, and abstracting from customer and employee discrimination, complications I do analyze in the book itself.)
But, this phenomenon did not work with the plight of black people who were forced to sit in the back of the bus during the Jim Crow era in the south. Why not? Because entry into the bus industry was strictly limited by the political forces responsible for this reprehensible legal code in the first place. If all there were standing in the way of black people sitting in all reaches of the bus was private discrimination, this would have been an impotent force, as other, competing firms would have supplied bus service.
These are the sorts of questions wrestled with in this book. It is my hope that this volume will shed some light on these issues, and prove an interesting read.
Australia: Another pathetic Muslim
If they can't adopt civilized values, they should be sent back whence they come.
A MUSLIM girl caught between her religion, her parents and wanting to be a typical Aussie teenager is at the centre of an apprehended violence order against her father after he found she had a boyfriend.
Police were called to the family home after the man threatened to kill himself and the 14-year-old girl when he discovered the boy in a room of their home, Parramatta Bail Court heard yesterday.
The man, who cannot be named, allegedly told police the relationship was disrespectful to Muslim culture and brought shame on his family in the Afghan community.
The court heard he tried to detain the boy in the early hours of New Year's Day at the house in Blacktown. The family called police because they were scared the father would kill the boy.
After police arrived, the man became enraged because they would not arrest the boy, who had been invited into the house by his daughter.
He said the boyfriend would be killed if the incident happened in Afghanistan, the country he and his wife had emigrated from in 1998.
"The accused then stated, as the boyfriend would not be going to jail, the only thing left to do was kill his daughter and himself," police said.
"The complainant is stuck between her religion, strict parents and wanting to be a typical Australian teenager."
Officers claimed that on October 27 the daughter ran away from home. Her father said he would kill himself if she did not return by sundown. When she did not return, the father attempted to hang himself but was stopped by his wife and son.
"The daughter said she fears that her father will kill her because of her actions and that if he doesn't, she will be locked in the house unable to leave, unless he kills himself," police said.
Police took out an apprehended domestic violence order against the father on behalf of the girl. He was charged with stalking, intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm.
The father, who is a qualified surgeon in Afghanistan but employed as a taxi driver in Sydney, was refused bail because of his threats against the girl and self-harm history.
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.