Tuesday, July 05, 2011
From human rights to the EU, the tide's turning against the liberal thought police
By Melanie Phillips
Might the tectonic plates of British politics be beginning to shift just a fraction towards a state approximating to reality?
The Home Office is shortly to publish a discussion paper about rethinking one section of human rights legislation. This is Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the ‘right to family life’.
Increasingly, it is being used by foreign criminals and illegal immigrants to dodge deportation by claiming they have the right to family life in the UK.
But other parts of human rights legislation cause just as much trouble — such as Article 3, which bans inhuman treatment, and which has been similarly used to paralyse deportations of undesirables.
To bring to an end the grotesque carnival of injustice and erosion of Britain’s security caused by human rights law, Britain would have to leave the Human Rights Convention altogether, or at the very least officially derogate from whole sections of the treaty.
But the Government has so far been extremely reluctant to embark on either course, due to the likely political and legal repercussions.
Human rights law is not the only issue on which it has been reluctant to face up to necessary hard choices and where the ground seems to be shifting rapidly.
Scarcely a day passes without some fresh and outrageous imposition upon Britain by the EU: a rise in its budget forcing Britain to cough up another £1.4 billion each year; threats to the hard-won British rebate; yet more invidious and crippling taxes.
And all this on top of the steady erosion of British self-government by the unceasing tsunami of European laws, rules and regulations.
Such is the mayhem being caused by human rights law and the EU that something rather significant is happening to British political life. Views hitherto derided as extreme and beyond the pale are becoming mainstream.
Only recently Lady Hale, a justice of the Supreme Court usually associated with overwhelmingly ‘progressive’ views, warned that the increasingly pervasive use of Britain’s Human Rights Act should be reined in. She also suggested that European human rights judges may have got it wrong by ruling that prisoners should have the right to vote. When an ultra-liberal such as Lady Hale voices such sentiments, it’s time to man the lifeboats!
Similarly, the view that Britain should leave the EU — once derided as the wittering of swivel-eyed, Little Englander fanatics — is being voiced by well beyond the usual suspects. Reportedly, two of David Cameron’s arch party ‘modernisers’, policy guru Steve Hilton and Policy Minister Oliver Letwin, say they think Britain should get out of the EU. And an ever-swelling number of Tory MPs appear to agree.
It is far too premature to say that the Prime Minister would even agree to derogating from the Human Rights Convention, let alone taking the far more explosive and separate step of leaving the EU.
Nevertheless, it is remarkable that, at the very least, it is becoming possible to have a debate about these propositions. For the terrible fact is that, until now, such a debate has been impossible because the Left-wing intelligentsia has ruthlessly shut it down.
This is true of a wide range of issues — such as immigration, multiculturalism, man-made global warming, equality and anti-discrimination laws, overseas aid and many more — on which only one viewpoint is permitted.
This has created a hidden iceberg of issues where the views of the people are not only ignored, but scorned as extreme or bigoted — and those who express them are accordingly deemed to be beyond the pale.
The results have been chilling. The equality agenda has deprived people with traditionalist religious views of the freedom to live according to their precepts.
Worse still, adherents of the ‘one view’ agenda lose their ability to tell right from wrong and truth from lies — and so end up justifying their own wrongdoing as a moral act.
This was vividly illustrated by the scandal over the leaked emails from the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, which revealed that prominent proponents of man-made global warming theory had tried to suppress the evidence that the world was getting cooler rather than warmer.
What was so remarkable was that they did so because they believed unshakeably that any challenge to their own viewpoint was simply impossible. So faced with evidence that actually busted their theory wide open, they felt morally justified in manipulating the data to shore up their own agenda.
The point about the Left-wingers who police and thus control our public debate is this: they believe above all else that they alone occupy the moral high ground. They thus divide the world into good and bad. Only their own view is to be permitted; any dissent is by definition evil.
So all dissenters are Right-wing, all Right-wingers are evil and all who oppose the liberal consensus are therefore evil Right-wingers who must be damned as beyond the pale.
This is, of course, a totally closed thought process, similar to the totalitarian tyrannies imposed by the medieval Church or Stalinism. Yet this monstrous repudiation of reason has effectively hijacked public debate. So how on earth can this have happened to Britain? In brief, it has been caused by a number of factors.
There was the onslaught by secularism upon Christianity and the moral codes of the Hebrew Bible.
There was the demoralisation of the political and intellectual elites after World War II, caused by the near bankruptcy of Britain and the end of Empire.
There was the resulting loss of belief in the nation. And so the elites were vulnerable to the ultra-Left ‘long march through the institutions’ that aimed to capture the citadels of the culture and turn all its values upside-down and inside-out.
The outcome was that Britain’s whole centre of political gravity shifted, as what was formerly considered ultra- Left thinking became deemed mainstream while what was formerly mainstream was labelled ‘Right-wing’. You have only to listen to BBC group- think to realise how completely all this has been achieved.
One result is that language itself has been hijacked. Words such as ‘rights’, ‘justice’, ‘tolerance’, ‘liberal’ and ‘centre ground’ have come to mean their precise opposite.
And argument has been replaced by gratuitous abuse and insults, such as ‘institutionally racist’, ‘homophobic’, ‘fundamentalist’, ‘extremist’ or ‘mad’.
There is, of course, nothing remotely extreme or bigoted about wanting your country to govern itself, or for the justice system to protect people against wrong-doers, or for your country to uphold its ancient traditions and laws. On the contrary, these are all main- stream aspirations that have been denied systematically.
We are, in short, living through a terrifying erosion of freedom of expression and dissent of any kind, and an attack on thought and reason itself.
If ever there was an agenda for which conservatism was fitted, then dealing with all this is surely it. Conservatives spent much of the last century fighting off Soviet-style communism. But this bastard child of that creed is even more dangerous because it has undermined us from within.
The great task of politics is to reclaim politics for the long-suffering mainstream voters who find themselves disenfranchised.
Unfortunately, the Conservative Party has gone in the opposite direction, choosing instead to plant its standard on that Left-wing terrain masquerading as the centre ground.
The Government cannot deal with issues such as the EU or human rights law unless it addresses head-on this hijacking of language, morality and politics that threatens to engulf Britain and the west.
The prize would be great indeed for the politician who meets this, the supreme civilisational challenge of our times.
UK jobless have lost the work ethic, says Iain Duncan Smith report
Why work when the welfare state says you don't have to?
Jobless Britons have lost their work ethic, forcing bosses to employ migrants with a more conscientious attitude, a report has concluded. The study, by the Centre for Social Justice think-tank, set up by Iain Duncan Smith, also called for a fourth ‘R’ – responsibility – to be added to schools’ traditional core subjects of reading, writing and arithmetic.
Mr Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, last week issued a plea for firms to take on more Britons, only for employers to say domestic labour lacked the work ethic of migrant workers.
Now his think-tank has supported that view, finding that, increasingly, bosses are unable to find reliable candidates among the British long-term unemployed – with two thirds saying they have turned down applicants for unskilled jobs because of a poor attitude. Employers, it concluded, see a good attitude to work and punctuality as more important than skills such as literacy and numeracy in securing a job.
Increasingly, they have been forced to turn to overseas workers, who are preferred because of their ‘motivation, capacity for hard work and ability to turn up for work on time’.
A survey carried out by the think-tank found that an overwhelming 82 per cent of employers rated attitude and work ethic as important when recruiting for ‘entry-level’ posts, compared to just 38 per cent who named literacy and numeracy.
Asked why they turned down applicants for unskilled jobs in sectors such as catering, manufacturing and retailing, some 62 per cent of employers cited ‘poor work attitude and ethic’ and 57 per cent ‘poor presentation’, compared with just 29 per cent who complained of a lack of academic skills. Jobs of this kind make up about one-third of the total workforce of 27million, but the report said many are taken by migrants.
Between 2002 and 2008, the proportion of migrant workers has risen by 50 per cent, with the rise even more prominent among entry-level jobs. Around 80 per cent of the jobs created during Labour’s time in office went to immigrants, and official figures suggest numbers have risen since the Coalition took power last year.
The report said: ‘Many employers told us that they believe students should leave education “work-ready” and that currently too many students fall short. ‘Timekeeping, self-awareness, confidence, presentation, communication, teamwork and an ability to understand workplace relationships are too often below the standard required.’
The Dutch Ditch Multiculturalism
Yep, the red light land of Heineken, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, legal weed, and 16 million bicycles has had enough of this multi-culti crud—especially as it pertains to the Creed of Tranquility. It appears as if the Dutch’s daftness in buying into the Kumbayah approach to relating with this wonderful, serene faith has bit ‘em in their own Euro butts.
Indeed, the sweet immigrants from Asia and Africa who, supposedly, simply wanted to expand the market for shawarma wraps in a fairer clime all of the sudden grew fangs when they got to Utrecht, became culturally defiant to Dutch distinctiveness and started killing the Netherlands’ national celebrities. Arnhem, we have a problem.
Garsh, who saw that comin’? Who’d a thunk it, Milly? Those criminal and cantankerous acts aimed at Dutch citizens are the mirror opposite of the PR that the PC police pummeled the Dutch with. Therefore now, because of the hell the greatest religion ever, ever, ever has levied on the land of levees, the Netherlands has been left with no other option but to say nevermore to multicultural yumminess.
To be specific, here is what’s going down from Ede to Amsterdam legislatively:
- The Dutch government is saying geen meer to multiculturalism because it has paved the way for the most amazing belief system ever to spawn parallel enclaves that hate the Dutch. Oops.
- On June 16th Dutch Minister of the Interior Piet Hein Donner tabled to parliament the official doc that states that both the government and the people are overwhelmingly sick and tired of the relativistic slop and are gonna shift gears and laud Dutch culture from here on out, and if any immigrant doesn’t like it they can kiss their chocolate sprinkles.
- In addition, the Dutch are not only refusing to play the nice game with zealots who loathe them but are also demanding obligatory integration to their norms, or you can say tot ziens to their windmills.
- All immigrants will be required to learn Dutch, and the Dutch authorities will not be lax with those who blow off Dutch ways and laws—which entails no more funky, full-face headgear for a certain awesome religion’s ladies, as well as no recognition of said special religion’s courts or laws.
- Also, the Dutch will not fund with exclusive monies the immigration of any group, especially those from the Religion of Calmness.
All of the above leads me to ask the following question of my fair readers in both the U.S. and abroad who are also experiencing, let’s say … challenges … with you-know-who: Have the Dutch gone crazy, or are they now where we infidels need to be?
Australia: NSW police to get power to lift the veil under new burqa laws
MUSLIM women who refuse to remove their burqas when ordered to by police face up to a year in jail after some of the world's toughest burqa laws were announced in NSW yesterday.
Police are to be given the power to force anyone to remove a face covering during routine traffic stops, if suspected of committing a crime or if they are considered a potential security risk.
If a woman defies police and refuses to remove her veil she could be jailed for up to a year or fined $5500. The penalties are in line with some of the world's toughest burqa rules. In France, where burqas are completely banned in public, women face fines of $202.
The unprecedented laws follow a furore over Carnita Matthews' refusal to remove her niqab - a full-length covering - when her car was pulled over by police.
Ms Matthews' conviction for making a false statement was overturned after a judge found he could not prove it was really her who made the statement, because her face was covered.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione called for the government to close the legal loophole that was preventing officers from identifying suspected criminals.
Premier Barry O'Farrell yesterday said there should be no discrimination - in favour of or against - any race when it came to helping police identify people suspected of criminal breaches.
"I don't care whether a person is wearing a motorcycle helmet, a burqa, niqab, face veil or anything else - the police should be allowed to require those people to make their identification clear," he said after a cabinet meeting.
Attorney-General Greg Smith is in charge of drafting the laws, which are expected to be introduced when parliament resumes in August.
Not every person who disobeys the police orders will be fined or sent to jail, with first offenders possibly given a warning. In a situation like Ms Matthews', a court will be able to apply a maximum sentence of 12 months and a $5500 fine.
Muslims Australia president Ikebal Patel said he supported the new laws but only for law enforcement purposes. "We are very supportive of any legislation required to ensure the law enforcements are not impaired," he said. "We would expect that this be done in a sensitive way."
Police previously had the power to ask women to remove veils during the investigation of serious offences but did not have such powers during routine car stops.
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.