Sunday, July 31, 2011
Bosses still bullying me, says 'cross on the dashboard' British Christian
Bizarre: To get rid of the cross on his dashboard, they took away his van. What help is an electrician without a van for his gear?
The electrician who won his battle to display a cross in his company van after his plight was highlighted by The Mail on Sunday has accused his employers of victimising him following his return to work.
Former soldier Colin Atkinson was facing the sack from the publicly-funded housing association where he has worked for 15 years before a public outcry forced his bosses to back down.
But since his return to the job in early May he says Wakefield and District Housing has reneged on its agreement with him by moving him to another workplace 16 miles away, then withdrew the company van at the centre of the row and told him to travel by bus instead. He claims the company is trying to force him out.
Mr Atkinson, 64, said: ‘I thought common sense had triumphed when the company agreed I could go back to work. But I have found there is still a lot of hostility against me, even though I have done nothing more than defend the basic rights of Christians to express their faith in public.
‘My employers have broken their promises and I believe they are trying to humiliate me or dismiss me for seeking to stand up for my rights. It is disgusting what they are doing.’
He clashed with the housing association, the fifth largest in Britain, after refusing management requests last year to remove the eight-inch cross from his van.
Senior managers had insisted that Mr Atkinson was breaching ‘diversity’ policies as well as uncompromising new rules they introduced in December last year banning employees from adorning company vehicles with personal symbols.
But following heavy criticism by religious leaders, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, the firm backtracked. Not only did they allow Mr Atkinson to display his cross on the van’s glove compartment, they also dropped all disciplinary action against him.
He was also told he could return to his three-day-a-week job as a training officer overseeing apprentices at the association’s Austin Road depot in Castleford, West Yorkshire.
However, he said he was subsequently treated coldly by one of his managers, who had been one of those who had asked him to remove his cross from his van last year. About a month after Colin returned to work, the manager disappeared from the office.
Mr Atkinson, who lives in Wakefield, said: ‘The company told me that one of the reasons the boss was off was because I was in the office, though I had never been anything but civil towards him. They asked me to move to another centre, Winston House, which was about 16 miles away. I was the only person from my department working there. I agreed reluctantly at the start of this month but it was very difficult to do my job properly there.
‘Moreover, they withdrew my company van, saying that I could travel on the bus if I needed to see apprentices working on site. I was told this was part of general financial cutbacks.’
Mr Atkinson, who has been represented by human rights lawyer Paul Diamond, said he lodged a grievance procedure against the company for breaching its agreement and a week later was asked to stay at home.
He added: ‘Meanwhile, the boss resumed work three weeks ago but I feel he should be the one who should be moved, not me. My bosses have now offered me a pay-off to retire early but a condition is that I, my wife Geraldine and all my family would be prevented from speaking out publicly. That is not my style. It would be breaching my human rights.’
Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Mr Atkinson, said: ‘After a public outcry, Colin was allowed to return to work and to continue to display a palm cross in his van.
‘However, since the media attention died away, he has suffered continued harassment and victimisation, and Wakefield and District Housing has not honoured its agreement to allow him to return to work. It seems that WDH hoped that Colin could be bought off and go quietly. But he will not be gagged or bullied.’
Wakefield and District Housing was unavailable for comment.
Mother wins right to more than half of ex-husband's £500,000 crash compensation payout as `her needs are greater'
A woman battling her amputee ex-husband for the lion's share of his £500,000 compensation has won her right to over half of his money in a landmark ruling, after the Appeal court declared her and their children's immediate needs were more important than those of the disabled man.
Lord Justice Thorpe ruled that the money Kevin Mansfield received in 1998 after losing a leg in a road smash - five years before he met his former wife Cathryn - ought to be 'available to all his family' and that her needs and those of their children are 'primary' and outweigh his own.
Mr Mansfield, 41 now faces having to sell his home, a specially adapted bungalow in Chelmsford, Essex - to meet the court's order that he pay £285,000 to 37-year-old Cathryn, so she can buy a new home for herself and their two children.
But Lord Justice Thorpe left Mr Mansfield with a glimmer of hope by also ordering that £95,000 of the money must be paid back to him by his ex-wife if she remarries a partner who can support her, or in 14 years time, once their children have grown up.
Mr Mansfield was still a student when he lost a leg and suffered serious spinal injuries when he was hit by a car in 1992. He met his now ex-wife Cathryn five years after receiving £500,000 compensation in 1998.
The couple split up in 2008, soon after having twins, Carys and Corben - now aged four - through IVF treatment. Mr Mansfield told the court that almost the whole of the family's wealth at the point of their divorce derived from his damages payout.
At a divorce hearing in May last year, he heard a judge rule that his compensation should be regarded as an asset of the marriage and divided accordingly. He took his case to the Appeal Court, but Richard Todd QC, for Cathryn Mansfield, insisted it made no difference that his damages payout pre-dated his marriage.
'No part of a personal injury award is sacrosanct. No part of the award is ring fenced, not even that part awarded under the heads of pain, suffering and loss of amenity,' Mr Todd said. 'When he took on the responsibility of a wife, and they decided to have two children, he knew that the capital would have to be used for their benefit too.'
'The court would regard it as illogical that, whilst earnings should be taken into account and thus be fully available for the support of the family, a sum paid by way of compensation should be treated otherwise. 'This is capital which replaces earnings which would otherwise form part of the marital acquest. The wife has suffered real relationship-generated disadvantage.'
Turning to Mr Mansfield's request that some of the money should be returned to him by way of a charging order over his wife's new home, Mr Todd continued, 'The husband talks of a charging order. Such an order would leave the parties locked together contrary to the spirit of the clean break and would also make it impossible for the wife to meet her long term reasonable needs.
'When confronted with competing needs, the court is required to give first consideration to the needs of the children. The court carefully weighed the competing needs of the parties. The need of the husband to be properly housed, fully taking into account his disabilities, was carefully measured against the wife's need to care for the children.' he said.
The QC added that the wife disputed that all the assets of the marriage came from her husband's damages award, claiming she had contributed £30,000 to buying the former marital home, plus the 'sweat of her brow' in carrying out a 'great long list' of DIY improvements to the house.
Mr Mansfield, representing himself, told the court, 'I love the children I think the world of them. I wouldn't be here today if I didn't care. There has been a lot of effort put into attacking me, but not a lot of due diligence. 'For me this chapter of my life should be closed. The insurance company did not just pay out the money to me on a whim.'
Giving the court's judgement, Lord Justice Thorpe said, 'This appeal raises a single point of significance - the degree to which a judge in ancillary relief proceedings should reflect a substantial award for a personal injury claim. The husband received approximately half a million pounds in his personal injury claim in 1998 before he ever met the wife.'
He added: 'I have been of a fluctuating mind during argument, but have come to the conclusion that the judge went into the conflicting needs of the parties with considerable care and found that £285,000 was the minimum needed to meet the needs of the wife and children.'
'£285,000 may be on the high side and it might be that the wife was fortunate to receive that quantification, but it would be unprincipled for this court to interfere.'
The judge went on to impose a £95,000 charging order on Mrs Mansfield's new home, to be paid back either when the couple's children turn 18, or when they finish their first degree, or if she remarries a partner who can support her.
In a statement outside court after the judgement, Mrs Mansfield said that she had brought the case for the sake of their children.
'From first to last, this case was all about our wonderful twins and how they would be housed. I am so very glad that a very wise Court of Appeal has approved the orders made by the lower courts that I should have £285,000 for housing both them and me," she said.
Mr Todd added: 'The judge achieved what he wanted to achieve which was the security of the roof over the children's heads during their minority.
Commenting on the legal importance of the case, the barrister went on: 'This case is going to be of huge importance to many other cases in future involving divorce and personal injury. 'It will now become the authority for all such future cases and emphasises that personal injury is significant factor when looking at any damages in a divorce case.'
Murdoch Made Scapegoat For Ills of British journalism
It shows that the country is on a downward trajectory and confirms the fact that since the age of Diana, Princess of Wales, Britain has become emotive, reactive and possibly worse. We have lost our individualism and sense of fair play, replaced by a lemming-like hysterical group reality.
I am talking about what is now becoming known as Murdoch-gate, the all consuming news story about phone-hacking that has brought down one of this country's oldest and widest-circulated newspapers, The News of the World.
The fact that the scandal has not taken on the name of the newspaper, or phone-gate or hack-gate, but has been personalised to vilify Mr Murdoch is quite telling - and quite disturbing.
Let me be clear - other than an admiration for Murdoch as one of the great captains of industry of our time, a businessman and capitalist with few peers - I have no specific brief for him. I have had only tenuous links to Mr Murdoch (talkSPORT, for instance whose chief executive at the time was Kelvin McKenzie, the former Sun editor. News Corp, I believe, was an investor, but to what extent I do not know).
Let me also be clear that I am not defending the actions of individuals, or even a possible culture - that I'm sure was not limited to The News of the World or News International titles, but probably found itself endemic - especially in the highly competitive world of tabloid journalism and even possibly the broadsheets.
There is no way of defending the indefensible act of hacking into the phone of Milly Dowler. The pursuit of a story is one thing. But those that crossed that line should be held responsible to the full extent of the law.
But there is more at play here and this has progressed from news story to an all engulfing firestorm of around the clock 24-hour coverage, fuelled by a large dose of rank hypocrisy and blown up by a storm of emotional game-play that has created a lynch-mob mentality.
We now find ourselves at a point where a newspaper is closed down in a week.
Other newspapers - who either to a lesser or greater extent may have also used dubious methods to get a story - have weighed in solely out of commercial interest.
Those on the left - such as the Independent and the Guardian are foaming at the mouth over the destruction of Murdoch - his papers and his company, for ideological reasons.
Yes, credit must be given to the Guardian for uncovering and doggedly pursuing this story in fine journalistic traditions - it goes to the heart of government and the police. But personalising it around Murdoch, or the calls for the head of Rebekah Brooks, is purely ideological.
The liberal left hate Murdoch for several reasons: He is successful, he is pro-American, he stands up for Israel, he owns Fox News and is seen and perceived as a conservative.
It is a meme of the left that they - and only they - hold the truth. Any other view is not only wrong but evil, and has no place in society. Author Jonah Goldberg wrote a book about it entitled Liberal Fascism. It really is.
In this country, a lynch-mob mentality has developed. Preening actors such as Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan are allowed to rant and rave in the most fantastical way ("all NOTW journalists are scum"... "just in it for the money") without much challenge. Parliament, instead of addressing its own faults and the fact MPs cozied up to journalists, called for Murdoch to call off his bid for BSkyB ahead of his official bid withdrawal on Wednesday - as if a private business decision is any of their business.
The police, who corruptly passed information, are now trying to pass the blame on to Murdoch. By making Murdoch, the person, a hate figure, instead of uncovering the individuals at his papers that did wrong, we are entering a very dangerous area.
I say to the newspapers that are fomenting this campaign, be careful what you wish for as you may just get it. The free press that holds governments to account will be eroded.
I am not in favour of hacking the phones of tragic missing young girls, but I am for the vigorous pursuit of stories in the public interest, blowing the whistle on malfeasance and exposing corruption and waste in government as the News of the World did a very good job of for many years.
And those of us who, as a group, have been scapegoated in the past, should be wary when it happens again - even to Rupert Murdoch.
The Norway Massacre and Europe's War on Free Speech
by Soeren Kern
Media outlets in Europe and the United States are accusing Western critics of Islam and multiculturalism of complicity in the mass killing of more than 70 people in Norway. The attempt to exploit this crime for political gain is not just a case of malicious opportunism. It also represents the latest and most unsavoury salvo in the long-running war on free speech in Europe.
Anders Behring Breivik, a deranged Norwegian accused of bombing government buildings in Oslo and then killing scores of young people during a 90-minute shooting rampage on a nearby camping island called Utoya, published a 1,500-page manifesto in which he vents his anger at the direction in which mostly leftwing elites in Norway and elsewhere in Europe are leading his country and the continent as a whole.
As it turns out, parts of the manifesto include cut-and-pasted blog posts from European and American analysts and writers who for years have been educating the general public about the destructive effects of multiculturalism and runaway Muslim immigration. By dint of duplicitous logic, these analysts and writers are now the victims of a smear campaign: multiculturalists are accusing them of inciting Breivik to murder.
These same analysts have, of course, been a constant bane on an unaccountable European elite determined to foist its post-modern, post-nationalist and post-Christian multicultural agenda on a sceptical European citizenry.
Unwilling to countenance opposition, these self-appointed guardians of European political correctness have laboured to silence public discussion about issues such as the rise of Islam in Europe and/or the failure of millions of Muslim immigrants to integrate into European society.
The primary weapon in this war on free speech has been lawfare: the malicious use of European courts to criminalize criticism of Islam.
Prosecutions of so-called anti-Islam hate speech are now commonplace in Europe. Some of the more well-known efforts to silence debate about Islam in Europe have involved high-profile individuals like Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician, and Brigitte Bardot, a French animal rights activist.
Other recent assaults on free speech in Europe include the show trials of: Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a housewife in Austria, Susanne Winter, a politician in Austria, Lars Hedegaard, a journalist in Denmark, Jesper Langballe, a politician in Denmark, Jussi Kristian Halla-aho, a politician in Finland, Michel Houellebecq, a novelist in France, Gregorius Nekschot, the pseudonym of a cartoonist in the Netherlands, and the late Oriana Fallaci, a journalist and author in Italy.
In other cases, physical violence has been the preferred method of silencing contrary views of Islam in Europe. In 2002, for example, Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated for his views on Muslim immigration, and in 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was stabbed to death for producing a movie that criticized Islam. In 2010, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard narrowly escaped being assassinated by an axe-wielding Muslim extremist in Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city.
Many theories attempt to explain the rise of multiculturalism in Europe. Among these is the idea that European elites, determined to prevent a repeat of the carnage of the Second World War, embraced multiculturalism as a tool to try to dilute or even eliminate the national ethnic, religious and or/cultural identities that contributed to centuries of violence in Europe.
But in recent years, the secular purveyors of European multiculturalism have moved far beyond their initial objective of creating an American-style "melting pot." European socialists now view multiculturalism as a means to eliminate the entire Judeo-Christian worldview. This is certainly the case in Spain, where socialists have joined arms with Islam in a "Red-Green Alliance" to confront a common enemy, Christianity, as represented, in this case, by the Roman Catholic Church.
To be sure, decades of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration have already transformed Europe in ways unimaginable only a few decades ago. In Britain, for example, Muslims currently are campaigning to turn twelve British cities -- including what they call "Londonistan" -- into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence. More than 80 Sharia courts are already operating in the country. At the same time, Mohammed is now the most common name for baby boys.
In France, large swaths of Muslim neighbourhoods are now considered "no-go" zones by French police. At last count, there are 751 Sensitive Urban Zones (Zones Urbaines Sensibles, ZUS), as they are euphemistically called. An estimated 5 million Muslims live in the ZUS, parts of France over which the French state has lost control.
In Germany, anti-Semitism (which is often disguised as anti-Zionism), has reached levels not seen since the Second World War. An April 2011 report, for example, found that 47.7% of Germans believe "Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians," and nearly 50% of Germans believe "Jews try to take advantage of having been victims of the Nazi era."
In Norway, large sections of Oslo are being turned into Muslim enclaves subject to Sharia law and to the dictates of local imams. The citizens of Oslo are also struggling to cope with an epidemic of rapes. According to recent statistics, 100% of aggravated sexual assaults which resulted in rapes over the past three years were carried out by Muslim immigrants. Norwegians are now trying to deal with the large-scale torching of automobiles, which, as in France, is being attributed to Muslim youth.
In a Wall Street Journal essay titled "Inside the Mind of the Oslo Murderer," Bruce Bawer, an American analyst who lives in Oslo, writes: "Norway, like the rest of Europe, is in serious trouble. Millions of European Muslims live in rigidly patriarchal families in rapidly growing enclaves where women are second-class citizens, and where non-Muslims dare not venture. Surveys show that an unsettling percentage of Muslims in Europe reject Western values, despise the countries they live in, support the execution of homosexuals, and want to replace democracy with Sharia law. (According to a poll conducted by the Telegraph, 40% of British Muslims want Sharia implemented in predominantly Muslim parts of the United Kingdom.)"
Bawer describes Norway as a country that stands out for its refusal to confront any of the real dangers posed by Islamic radicalism. He also says the failure of mainstream political leaders to responsibly address the challenges posed by Muslim immigration has contributed to the emergence of extremists like Breivik. Pressure cookers without a safety valve eventually will explode.
Bawer writes: "In bombing those government buildings and hunting down those campers, Breivik was not taking out people randomly. He considered the Labour Party, Norway's dominant party since World War II, responsible for policies that are leading to the Islamization of Europe -- and thus guilty of treason. The Oslo bombing was intended to be an execution of the party's current leaders. The massacre at the camp -- where young would-be politicians gathered to hear speeches by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland -- was meant to destroy its next generation of leaders."
The question remains: in the aftermath of the attack, will the Norwegian left rethink its non-interventionist approach to Islam and Muslim immigration? In a number of other European countries, governments on the center-right have been doing an about-face on multiculturalism.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have all declared in recent months that multiculturalism has failed. In June, the Dutch government announced it would abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands. In Spain, the conservative Popular Party, which is widely expected to win the next general election, has promised to enact new measures that will require all immigrants to learn the Spanish language to obtain residency permits.
Some analysts say these measures are too little too late. But one thing seems clear: European multiculturalists are feeling some unfamiliar political heat. After decades of high-handed stifling of debate, the gradual unravelling of multiculturalism in Europe explains the obsessive zeal with which many are exploiting the Norwegian tragedy.
By falsely accusing conservatives of complicity in a crime in which they had no part, multiculturalists are seeking to delegitimize and silence criticism of their social re-engineering scheme. But they are unlikely to succeed as the consequences of their worldview are becoming clear for all to see.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
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.