Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Should the British state decide what clothes children are allowed to wear?

by Sean Gabb

In the past few days, I have made six appearances in the British media. Each one has been to argue against a proposal by the British Government to make an Act of Parliament to control the alleged sexualisation of children. This will involve trying to regulate the type of clothes worn by children, and trying to stop them from watching possibly indecent music videos. I have not been able to upload all the recordings of these media appearances. But you can – or will soon be able to – find them here.

The argument I have been putting is fairly simple, and I have not deviated from it in my various appearances. I argue as follows:

1. It is reasonable to assume that anyone who uses the "protecting the kiddies" argument is really interested in controlling adults. Indeed, one of the organisations most active in pushing for controls is Media Watch UK, which used to be called the National Viewers and Listeners Association, and which, led by Mary Whitehouse, spent most of the 1960s, 70, and 80s arguing for censorship of the media.

2. Ratings on music videos will have no effect, as many of these things are now downloaded from the Internet. As for controls on clothing, children will wear what they want to wear, and it will be hard in practice to do anything about it.

3. How children dress and behave is a matter for their parents to control, not the authorities. Doubtless, there are some rotten parents about. But any law of the kind proposed will not be used against a small minority, but against parents in general. It will be one more weapon in the armoury of social control that has already reduced parents to the status of regulated childminders.

4. Authoritarian conservatives deceive themselves when they think the authorities are fundamentally on their side. The moment you ask for a control to be imposed, you put your trust in people you have never seen, who are not accountable to you, who probably do not share your own values, and who will, sooner or later, use the control you have demanded in ways that you find surprising or shocking.

The attempted control of clothing, for example, will certainly be made an excuse for the police to drag little girls out of family picnics to photograph the clothes they are wearing, or to measure their heels to see if they are a quarter of an inch too long. Anyone who dismisses this as an absurd claim has not been reading the newspapers. That is how the authorities behave. Even when it is not an abuse in itself, any law will be abused by them.

As said, I have been six times on the radio in three days, and I expect to be called several times yet to repeat my case.

Now, rather than develop the points made above, I will try to explain what is actually happening. The idea that millions of parents, disgusted by what they see on the television or in the clothing shops, have called out spontaneously and in unison for something to be done is too absurd to discuss. The truth is that there is a continuing dialogue between authoritarian pressure groups and Home Office officials. There are jobs and there is power and status to be had from the sort of controls now proposed. There are these things, or there is simply the joy of telling everyone else how to live.

The people at large have no say in the matter. The politicians who go through the motions of arguing for the laws that emerge from these closed discussions are members of two or three parties which are themselves projections of the State. The media people who are supposed to hold the politicians to account simply read out the Home Office and pressure group news releases. They never question the false dichotomy set up in these releases.

For example, I have repeatedly been set into a spectrum of opinion that ranges between support for a new Act of Parliament and belief that it is a fine thing to dress your daughters like tarts and let them watch morally corrupt music videos. There is no room for the alternative claim that this is a matter for parents to decide, not the authorities. Short of mass-demonstrations, there is nothing that ordinary people can do except hope that the new law, as it finally emerges, will not be as demented as appears to be promised.

Ian B, who writes on the Libertarian Alliance Blog, has described this process as a secular equivalent of how things are done in most Islamic states. There is the ulema, or general body of religious scholars. These state what ought to be done, and give their reasons. There is then the mutaween, or religious police, who enforce whatever controls are imposed. Our ulema are the authoritarian pressure groups and various moral entrepreneurs. Our mutaween are the normal police and the army of social workers and other bureaucrats. We may be at “war” with radical Islam. But, allowing for differences of nomenclature and clothing, our own system of government is not so very different.

Most people who complain about what is happening have no idea of how to stop it. They usually whine about “political correctness gone mad,” or call on the authorities to learn some common sense. Neither approach touches the root of the problem. What is being done is not some accidental madness, but is part of an overall agenda of social control. The abuses we read about in the newspapers are the intended outcomes. As for common sense, this is not a debate, in which positions can be advanced and rejected in the abstract. I have said there are jobs involved in this agenda of social control. There are tens of thousands of people whose only justification for employment or funding at our expense is the part they play in controlling us. The only answer to the endless advance of moral authoritarianism is to sack every one of these people. In short, we need to demand the following:

1. That all the Home Office and other ministry officials who are now employed to do business with the authoritarian pressure groups should be sacked;

2. That none of our money should be given to any pressure group of whatever kind, and that, where they are registered, these fake charitiesshould be deregistered and made subject to the same oppressive taxation as the rest of us;

3. That all the social workers and other staff employed to control our lives should be sacked.

There is much else that could be done. But this would be the beginning of a solution to the problem of an increasingly despotic and over-extended British State.

I could boast that the Libertarian Alliance has so far been the only organisation to take a stand in the media against the proposed law. But we are a tiny organisation, with minuscule funding. It really is a sign of how bad things are that the only opposition so far made depends on whether I can find the time from all else that I do to go on against an immense and polished campaign for despotism. Where are the other allegedly conservative and libertarian policy institutes in this debate? The answer, I suppose, is that they are too busy arguing, on behalf of their sponsors, for the cracks between the paving stones to be “privatised” and made into an income stream for some corporate interest.

Oh, what a country!


Shelve your softer sentence plans, British PM tells minister after rape controversy

David Cameron has ordered Ken Clarke to rethink his plans for soft sentencing for the most serious criminals. The Prime Minister summoned the Justice Secretary to a one-on-one meeting in Downing Street yesterday and told him to go back to the drawing board.

MPs, victims groups and lawyers have all denounced Mr Clarke’s plans to slash jail terms by 50 per cent for those criminals prepared to plead guilty early. Police minister Nick Herbert revealed at the weekend that the measure would mean 10,000 felons, including murderers and rapists would see their sentences slashed.

The Justice Secretary had previously enraged rape victims by insisting he would halve the time behind bars for sex criminals. He was forced to apologise for suggesting that some forms of rape were more serious than others.

But the Prime Minister’s intervention means that the 50 per cent cuts are now set to be scrapped for serious crimes – and could be abolished for even minor offences. Instead, criminals would get a one-third reduction in their sentence for an early guilty plea – the same level as at present.

Mr Cameron is so troubled that the Tories are losing their reputation as the party of law and order that he is to make a speech later this month which will depict the Conservatives as tough on crime. A senior Government source told the Mail: ‘We wouldn’t make that speech unless we had something worth saying. It will come when we’ve concluded the sentencing review.’

A No 10 aide confirmed the talks took place: ‘It is not unusual for ministers to talk through their plans with the Prime Minister.’ Mr Clarke will now have to find more than £100million of savings from elsewhere in his budget.

His initial proposals, outlined in a Green Paper last year, would have cut 3,400 prison places and saved £130million by 2014-15 with the offer of 50 per cent discounts.

A source close to the Justice Secretary did not deny that he had been asked to re-work his plans. He said: ‘The policy has not been settled. Details of the costs and how to pay for them have yet to be decided.’

The rethink comes as it was revealed that a convicted rapist let out on licence half way through an eight-year sentence attempted to rape a woman weeks after being released. Fabian Thomas, 23, wore a balaclava and used a hunting knife to attack his victim as she walked home from a supermarket.

The 19-year-old woman managed to fight him off after a ‘considerable struggle’ in the car park of Aldi in Plymouth on February 20.

Thomas, of Plymouth, was arrested the following day and immediately recalled to prison. On Monday, he admitted one count of attempted rape at Plymouth Crown Court. He had originally been sentenced to eight years in a young offenders’ institution in 2006 after raping a woman twice during a 30-minute ordeal.


I warned about Londonistan years ago. Now ministers admit I was right

By Melanie Phillips

Now they tell us. Ministers have finally admitted what I revealed in my book, Londonistan, back in 2006 and have written many times since then – that, incredible as it may seem, hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money that was supposed to be spent on countering Islamic extremism has gone to groups or individuals actually promoting Islamic extremism.

Paralysed by political correctness, the previous Labour government, the intelligence agencies, police, universities and other institutions decided to try to promote ‘moderate’ Muslim groups to tackle the extremists.
Extremism: 7/7 was the face of terrorism on the streets of Britain. Now it has been revealed that countless Muslim terror groups have been funded by taxpayers

Extremism: 7/7 was the face of terrorism on the streets of Britain. Now it has been revealed that countless Muslim terror groups have been funded by taxpayers

As a result of refusing to listen to the many warnings that such a policy would not work because of doubts about how ‘moderate’ these groups actually were, they got it terribly wrong.

Here are just a few of the extremist Islamist groups the Government has been funding:

Muslim Council of Britain

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and related groups were handed £550,985 over a period of three years by the Department of Communities and Local Government. In March 2009 the Government suspended links with the MCB and demanded one of its leaders should be sacked for allegedly supporting violence against Israel.

The Cordoba Foundation

The Cordoba Foundation, an independent research organisation which advises leading Muslim groups and which was founded by Anas al-Tikriti, former president of the Muslim Association of Britain, has received ‘anti-extremist’ funding.
Anas al-Tikriti was the founder of the Cordoba Foundation
Radical group leader Dr. Abdul Wahid gave a speech at a Cordoba Foundation meeting

Extreme: Anas al-Tikriti, left, founded the Cordoba Group and was given 'anti-extremist funding. However he was forced to give some of it back when radical group leader Hizb-ut-Tahrir was invited to give a speech to the group

The group, which David Cameron once described as a front for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, was given £38,000 by Tower Hamlets council in East London in 2007 for two projects: A Muslim media project and a Muslim debating society which held a debate entitled ‘Has Political Participation Failed British Muslims?’.

Dr Abdul Wahid, the leader of radical group Hizb-ut-Tahrir (an extremist group which refuses to condemn suicide bombers, has called for the destruction of Israel and which Tony Blair promised to outlaw) was invited to speak. As a result, the Foundation was required to return some of the money given to it.

The Islamic Foundation

Described by the BBC’s Panorama as an ‘influential’ outpost of militant Islamist ideology, it was set up by members of Pakistan’s Jamaat-i-Islami opposition party, which campaigns for Pakistan to become an Islamic state governed by Sharia holy law. Panorama claimed the foundation promoted fundamentalist materials.


The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia used a body called iEngage as the group’s secretariat. iEngage is an organisation of Islamist sympathisers which has repeatedly defended extremists. It called on the Government to revoke a ban on a hardline foreign preacher who has said that ‘every Muslim should be a terrorist’.
Inflammatory: Preacher Abu Usamah called on gay people to executed during one rant

Inflammatory: Preacher Abu Usamah called on gay people to executed during one rant

The STREET project

Lambeth Council gave an unspecified sum to the STREET project, run by Abdul Haqq Baker, the chairman of the Brixton Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre.

The project was aimed at ‘reaching out’ to young Muslims who were susceptible to violent extremism, but Baker is an adherent of Salafism, a hard line form of Islam seen as in conflict with liberal democracy.

Green Lane and Central mosques

Government money was given to Birmingham’s Green Lane and Central mosques. They featured in an undercover Channel 4 Dispatches programme in which imams were recorded making inflammatory comments.

One preacher, Abu Usamah, called for gay people to be executed and was quoted as saying: ‘If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech, isn’t it?’.

Global Peace and Unity

Over four years the Met Police gave £26,500 sponsorship to the annual Muslim gathering, Global Peace and Unity. But one of the event’s main speakers had suggested the Queen’s decision to award a knighthood to Salman Rushdie was enough to justify suicide bombings by Muslims.

The Met also employed as an anti-terrorism adviser Mohamed Ali Harrath, who was wanted by Interpol and authorities in his native Tunisia because of his links to an alleged terror organisation.


Leftist destruction comes to Australia's cattle industry

In the name of animal rights, the Australian government halts live cattle exports to Indonesia. Livelihoods don't matter to this government

The Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association (NTCA) says the Gillard government's ban on live export will destroy the Australian cattle industry and won't stop the cruelty. The Federal government has suspended the export of live cattle to Indonesia, with port authorities stopping nearly 2000 cattle being loaded on to a ship in Western Australia yesterday.

Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig is understood to have signed the order last night, with the ban expected to apply for six months until mechanisms for the improved treatment of live cattle along the whole supply chain are in place.

The NTCA held a special meeting in Katherine, about 300km south of Darwin, yesterday before meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Darwin. NTCA president Rohan Sullivan the 100 pastoralists who attended the meeting agreed improved animal welfare would not be achieved by banning live exports.

"If we stop exports to Indonesian, we are walking away from the millions of dollars that Australian producers have invested in infrastructure, training and improved animal husbandry. "There is no Plan B for this industry. "If live exports to Indonesia are closed, families will be bankrupted and for what purpose?

"This doesn't help the cattle who will continue to be processed, just opens the door to imports from other countries which may not adopt our standards or spend what we do on animal welfare."

Mr Sullivan's comments were echoed by Rick Britton, the mayor of Boulia in Queensland's central west, who says the ban will have a devastating effect on cattle producers in northern Australia.

It is believed Cabinet decided to suspend the $318 million-a-year industry on Monday night in response to community outrage and the ire of some Labor backbenchers over the inhumane treatment of the animals.

Live cattle export bodies say they understand why the Government is banning exports to Indonesia and have undertaken to ensure the trade is reformed. In a joint statement released this morning, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and LiveCorp said under proposed reforms, the industry had committed to a reduction of trade to a core group of facilities in Indonesia independently accredited to meet OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) animal welfare standards.

A stringent supply chain, the rapid introduction of stunning and an ongoing review and monitoring program would ensure Australian cattle were processed only through these facilities, they said. "The Australian livestock industry understands the reasons behind the Australian Government's decision to temporarily suspend the live cattle trade to Indonesia until a controlled system that will assure the welfare of Australian cattle exported to Indonesia has been implemented," the statement said.

MLA chairman Don Heatley said the suspension of the trade would most certainly have an impact on cattle producers and communities in the north and that needed to be acknowledged. "However, industry is confident it can work with the Australian and Indonesian Governments to deliver the solution," he said in the statement.

"This decision gives industry sufficient time to implement the controlled system which will ensure the appropriate treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesia."

Prime Minister Julia Gillard met with livestock officials and Northern Territory cattlemen in Darwin last night. "In light of the evidence presented to us, we have resolved to put a total suspension in place," Ms Gillard said. She said the suspension will remain until cattle from Australia are treated properly at every step of the supply chain. "We will be working closely with Indonesia, and with the industry, to make sure we can bring about major change to the way cattle are handled in these slaughter houses," she said.

The Australian reports the Port Headland Port Authority had confirmed it had not been allowed to load more than 2000 cattle on to the stock carrier The Falconia, bound for Indonesia.

Mr Ludwig suspended trade to 12 Indonesian abattoirs last week after the ABC's Four Corners aired video footage of steers being abused at the facilities. Indonesia accounts for about 60 per cent of Australia's live cattle exports.

Independent MPs Andrew Wilkie and Nick Xenophon plan to launch private Bills into Parliament, calling for an end to all live exports within three years.

LiveCorp chief executive Cameron Hall said MLA and Livecorp were reviewing industry programs in all markets to ensure Australian animals were being treated humanely and with respect during management and processing. "These solutions will take time but the Australian industry is committed to ensuring Australian producers have confidence their livestock are well treated and retain access to key markets," he said.



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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