Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The leeches and legalists squabbling over Gaddafi
Neither Western leaders trying to wring moral mileage out of Gaddafi's death, nor UN officials denouncing it as illegal, deserve our backing
It is hard to know who comes out worse from the grisly aftermath of Colonel Gaddafi’s death. Is it Western leaders like UK prime minister David Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who are so desperate for some moral momentum, for a shot of adrenalin to their perfunctory political existences, that they will hold up the killing of a has-been tyrant outside a sewer as a great democratic moment? Or is it the UN and its cheerleaders in the liberal press, who complain that the killing of Gaddafi was potentially illegal and will thus have to be pored over for 500 years by a panel of experts to see if he was purposely killed (bad) or accidentally killed (not so bad)?
It’s a close-run thing. We may never decide upon a winner in this competition of degraded responses to Gaddafi’s demise. But one thing is certain: the post-Gaddafi debate has exposed some serious rot at the heart of the Western political class. On one side, we have prime ministers and presidents leeching off the killing of a tinpot tyrant in the hope that it will secure them a paragraph or two, maybe even a mugshot, in future books on world history. And on the other side, we have an army of naysayers, risk-averse pen-pushers dolled up as men of principle, for whom no earthly event can be allowed to pass without becoming the subject of an interminable inquiry.
No sooner had Gaddafi’s heart stopped beating than the first crowd - the leechers - were making speeches about a brilliant new dawn. Cameron was at the forefront, tilting his head for the cameras outside 10 Downing Street as he solemnly celebrated the passing of a wicked man. Cameron’s real emotions, however, his determination to claim moral ownership of the rather chaotic slaying of Gaddafi, were exposed at a later event to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali. He said it was fitting that Diwali, a festival that celebrates ‘the triumph of good over evil, the death of a devil’, should fall today, when, thanks to Cameron, a devil had been extinguished in Libya.
This speaks to the true motivation behind Cameron’s intervention into Libya - a desire for a Blair-style black-and-white standoff in foreign fields that might allow Cameron, temporarily at least, to rise above his domestic travails and pose as Good, even statesmanlike. Yet the idea that there’s a direct link between Cameron’s dropping of bombs on Libya and the killing of Gaddafi, to the extent that Cameron now poses as the architect of the colonel’s downfall, is a myth. Headlines about Cameron’s ‘foreign policy triumph’ give the impression that it was Cameron’s carefully worked-out policy on Libya which led to Gaddafi’s death. It isn’t true.
Cameron didn’t even have a policy on Libya. It is worth recalling, as Cameron, Sarkozy and US President Obama vie to claim responsibility for the end of Gaddafi, that just a few months ago they couldn’t decide whether the toppling of Gaddafi, never mind his execution, should be one of their aims. The lack of any causal tie between NATO’s actions in Libya and what happened outside that sewer in Sirte is brilliantly illustrated by the fact that Western leaders are now squabbling over which of them is the real Gaddafi killer. As one article asks, ‘Who can claim the credit for the success of the intervention in Libya?’. Was it Obama’s ‘cautious, backseat approach’ (that is, the fact that US forces withdrew 48 hours after the bombardment started) that killed Gaddafi, or was it Cameron’s ‘powerful alliance’ with the French that finished him off?
It was neither. Obama’s ‘cautious approach’ wasn’t a strategy at all, but the very opposite: a decision to opt out of this venture just a couple of days after it started. And there was no ‘powerful alliance’ between Britain and France, as evidenced by the fact that they spent most of the time accusing each other of not doing enough and arguing over which of them was in charge (neither wanted to be).
It is because Gaddafi’s death was actually the product of general chaos in Libya, rather than of any strategy drawn up in Washington, London or Paris, that the question of who can wring moral mileage from his death has become so open-ended and testy. The truth is that Western intervention in Libya did not drive events there over the past six months. Rather, the key dynamic has been the disintegration of Gaddafi’s regime - of his political grip, his institutions, his military forces - and both the rebel advances and the NATO bombings were responses to this slow-motion collapse of an Arab dictator rather than being the authors of it. In now claiming to be the killers of Gaddafi, and thus the liberators of Libya, Cameron, Sarkozy and Cameron are doing a political, PR version of what Lynndie England did in that Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq: posing next to a dead body in the hope that it will make them look good.
Yet if there’s one thing worse than these armchair trophy-hunters, it is the other group, the legalists, who insist Gaddafi should have been brought to The Hague rather than being killed. It is testament to the extreme disarray amongst those Western leaders now posing as Get Gaddafi geniuses that even as Cameron talks about killing a devil, his own defence secretary, Phil Hammond, says it would have been better to put Gaddafi on trial: ‘We would have liked to see [him] going on trial, ideally at the International Criminal Court, to answer for his misdeeds.’ Hammond echoes UN officials, who claim the killing of Gaddafi may have been illegal, as well as international lawyers and sniffy editorialists, who gnash their teeth over Gaddafi’s ‘gruesome’ and ‘deeply troubling’ death.
Not only do these people clearly not understand the first thing about war, which, by its very definition, does not play by the same rules as those normal, law-governed areas of life. But also, their motives are not as pure as they would have us believe. Their moral handwringing over Gaddafi is best understood as a kind of lynch-mob envy. They’re actually gutted that the actions of a literal lynch mob have deprived them of the opportunity to enact a judicial lynch mob against a dictator they love to hate. The killing of Gaddafi has upset them primarily because it means they won’t be able to do the thing that they so adore – stick a dictator, preferably an African one, in an air-conditioned court in Holland, and advertise their moral pre-eminence by interrogating him for years and writing endless articles about his evilness.
In the final few weeks of his life, as he moved from his palaces to a bunker and finally into a sewer, Gaddafi was effectively faced with two choices: subject himself to an angry lynch mob in Libya or turn himself over to a judicial lynch mob at the International Criminal Court at The Hague (which issued a warrant for his arrest in June). It is telling that he went for the first option. Perhaps he deduced that death by literal lynch mob would at least be less humiliating and quicker than having to sit in a court for seven or eight years as some floppy-haired QC from Islington made long, boring speeches about the importance of us decent folk over here taking a stand against foreign wickedness over there. How revealing that Gaddafi would rather be shot to death by an angry crowd than bored to death by pompous Amnesty-backers in wigs.
For all its pretensions to ‘justice’, the international court system is really a tool of moralism and realpolitik rather than a properly universal legal set-up. It is designed largely to facilitate the mob-style expression of Western liberals’ moral superiority over messed-up foreigners. Why do you think that everyone who has thus far been hauled before the International Criminal Court has a) been African and b) been black? Both the judicial lynch mob that wanted Gaddafi in court and the literal lynch mob that wanted him six feet under were driven by similar urges: a desire to make an example of a dictator, to let off some inner steam by judging/shooting a man we all recognise as wicked. Of course, Libyans’ desire to do this is far more understandable and just, and the fact that they did it is nothing to cry about.
The post-Gaddafi clash between leeches and legalists reveals a lot about the state of the Western body politic. It exposes our rulers as deeply opportunistic creatures, so desperate for a bit of political purpose that they’ll even try to milk some PR points from bloody events outside a sewer in Libya. And it suggests that the only ‘opposition’ to this weird and aloof meddling in other people’s affairs comes from an alternative gaggle of global moralists, who prefer to carry out cultural lynchings in rarefied courts at home rather than real violence in deserts over there. These people aren’t so far from the sewer themselves.
£5,000 compensation for falling out of bed in Britain
A council employee was awared more than £5,000 compensation after falling out of bed while trying to answer the telephone. Council staff have received a total of £75 million in the past five years as compensation following accidents at work. A catalogue of farcical payouts revealed another worker got nearly £6,000 for breaking their wrist in a fall during a demonstration on a first aid course.
And it was taxpayers who paid most of the pay-outs, as many local authorities had to stump up large excess fees to their insurers. Manchester City Council, which awarded £2.6million to injured employees, revealed its insurers only footed the bill for compensation payments over £250,000.
The local authority was one of 13 councils which had to pay compensation totalling more than £1million to staff after admitting liability for accidents.
Birmingham City Council topped the list with 274 payments totalling £4.9million, followed by Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, which paid out £3million to 152 staff.
Some of the biggest payments were to ex-employees who had developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while working for a local authority.
There were also hundreds of claims for slips, trips and falls in the workplace, as well as manual handling injuries to carers and labourers.
Teachers assaulted by pupils and refuse workers who had been injured during bin collections also received thousands of pounds in compensation payments.
But in some cases it seems the employee was lucky to win compensation. Lancashire County Council was forced to pay £5,500 to a member of staff who injured their back when they fell while getting out of bed to respond to a work call. And a teacher employed by the London Borough of Islington Council was awarded £9,065 after injuring their thumb with a school guillotine.
Huge sums of cash were also paid to employees who sustained seemingly trivial injuries. Dacorum Borough Council paid £7,750 to an employee who lost their toe nail when a pool table collapsed on it. And a member of staff working for Cookstown District Council in Northern Ireland was paid £16,549 after suffering cuts and bruising when he fell into a skip. Meanwhile Teignbridge District Council had to pay £5,017 to a member of staff who claimed "dust got into his eyes" while operating a manual street cleaner.
However, many of the claims were made following serious accidents.
An employee of East Sussex County Council was awarded £39,637 after being assaulted in a toilet by two colleagues during a Christmas party.
And £226,000 was paid by North West Leicestershire District Council to a member of staff who smashed his knee cap when he fell from scaffolding.
The Sun's request for information under the Freedom of Information Act also revealed some bizarre workplace accidents.
Lancashire County Council paid £9,575 to an employee who strained their back while putting paper in a printer.
London Borough of Lewisham Council paid nearly £6,000 to an employee who broke their wrist when they fell over during a demonstration on a FIRST AID course.
Wiltshire County Council paid £13,842 to a staff member who was struck in the eye with a pool cue.
And Telford & Wrekin Council paid £1,500 to an employee who suffered multiple injuries when he fell into an open grave.
Meanwhile a member of staff who was poisoned by a cleaner with a bleach tablet was awarded nearly £3,000 by Harrogate Borough Council.
And Birmingham City Council had to pay £1,750 to an obese member of staff who was injured when using a "defective toilet unsuitable for a very heavy employee".
In North Kesteven the district council paid £6,000 to an operative who injured their back while carrying a heavy bag of DOG POO.
And Gwynedd County Council in Wales paid £3,500 to an employee who injured their back while carrying a mere six tins of beans.
Meanwhile East Ayrshire Council in Scotland paid out £16,759 to an employee whose finger was bitten by a dog when they put a calling card through a mail box.
And a member of staff working for Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council was paid £1,500 after suffering emotional distress when they were trapped in a lift due to an electrical fault.
Emma Boon, campaign director at the TaxPayers' Alliance, called on councils to bring down the number of avoidable accidents. She said: "The bill to taxpayers for compensation pay-outs is unacceptably high.
"While some staff might have legitimate claims because of negligence there is a worrying rise in compensation culture in local government offices. "It's outrageous that people are getting away with making claims for things like falling out of bed or getting a huge wedge of cash simply for losing a toenail."
The Sun's request for information revealed councils have made 7,494 compensation payments to injured staff since 2006, totalling £74.6million. But the real total may actually be much higher because 20 per cent of local authorities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland failed to respond.
Fifty of the 348 councils that replied said they had made no compensation payments at all.
Lazy workers should be sacked without explanation, British government told
Firms would be able to sack lazy and unproductive staff without giving them a reason under a radical reform of employment law being considered by David Cameron. The Prime Minister has been warned that unless he makes it easier to dismiss those who ‘coast’ at work, it will stifle economic growth.
A report commissioned by Mr Cameron has recommended banning workers from claiming unfair dismissal so that companies and public sector bodies can find someone prepared to work harder.
The radical plans are contained in a study by venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft. He branded current employment laws ‘terrible’ and said that they are making it difficult for employers to find the workers they need.
A final draft of the Beecroft report, dated October 12, refers to ‘the terrible impact of the current unfair dismissal rules on the efficiency and hence competitiveness of our businesses, and on the effectiveness and cost of our public services’. It concludes: ‘The rules make it difficult to prove that someone deserves to be dismissed. This makes it too easy for employees to claim they have been unfairly treated and to gain significant compensation.’
Changing the rules would help lift the burden of red tape on small businesses who cannot afford to pay for the costs of industrial tribunals and wrongful dismissal lawsuits.
Mr Beecroft also takes aim at under performance in the public sector, where bosses often hand lucrative payoffs to unproductive employees to avoid costly tribunal cases. (They) accept inefficiency that they would not tolerate if dismissal of unsatisfactory employees was easier.
‘A proportion of employees, secure in the knowledge that their employer will be reluctant to dismiss them, work at a level well below their true capacity; they coast along.’
Mr Beecroft has recommended a new system called Compensated No Fault Dismissal, which would allow employers to sack unproductive staff with basic redundancy pay and notice.
His proposals are understood to appeal to Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, who have both called for an end to regulation on businesses.
But they will be fiercely opposed by the Liberal Democrats and the trade unions.
Last night a Downing Street spokesman made clear the Government has not decided whether to adopt the plans.
Nick Clegg said yesterday that employers will be given new powers to urge older workers to consider retirement without the risk of being sued for ageism.
The Deputy Prime Minister said firms should be free to have ‘frank discussions’ with underperforming staff regardless of their age.
Unveiling plans for a crackdown on red tape, Mr Clegg said ministers would change the law to allow employers to have ‘protected conversations’ with staff which could not then be dredged up in later employment tribunals as evidence of discrimination.
Australian court rules serial child rapist's identity to remain a secret
ONE of our worst paedophiles will keep his anonymity as he makes regular community outings, despite still being dangerous to children.
The serial child rapist is going shopping, socializing and visiting friends and there are plans for him to return to live in the community.
The Department of Justice urged Judge Wendy Wilmoth to let the man be named, saying those living in the places he visited should know the notorious figure was "in their midst".
David Grace QC had argued that the public should also know that the man was being kept under the watch of authorities.
The man is still considered such a risk that the County Court has ordered that he stay on a supervision order instead of being allowed total freedom.
That means he must live where he is told and obey other restrictions designed to protect the community.
But Judge Wilmoth refused to lift a secrecy order she made on the man's identity. This morning she continued the order, but her reasons are yet to be published.
The court earlier heard the serial child molester had been given approval for unescorted visits to Melbourne to see friends, and regularly visiting Ballarat for shopping and social activities.
There are plans to increase his liberty so he can eventually be allowed to live back in the community.
His lawyers had argued that more community outings would be difficult if the man's identity were known.
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.