Monday, February 28, 2011

Church of England shows some spine

Is this the first time in centuries?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has vowed he will never allow Church of England buildings to be used for gay weddings. Dr Rowan Williams told MPs that he would not bow to pressure to enable his churches to be used for same-sex unions.

His intervention comes as the Coalition consults on plans to allow civil partnerships between gays and lesbians to take place in religious settings for the first time. No church, mosque or synagogue will be forced to host the ceremonies - but some religious people are worried they could be open to discrimination suits if they do not open their doors to gay unions.

Some within the CofE have been calling on the Archbishop to move with the times and allow his churches to host gay weddings - pointing out that polls have shown that some two thirds of the British public would be in support.

But now Dr Williams, who was seen as a liberal when he took up his post, has indicated that on this issue he will ally himself with conservatives in the Church. He told MPs that the CofE believed marriage could only be a union between a man and a woman - and that he would not be changing course.

Challenged by Simon Kirby, the Tory MP for Brighton Kemptown, to explain what he would say to a same-sex couple wanting a church union, Dr Williams said he would not countenance weakening its teaching on marriage, and would not be dictated to by the Coalition.

Mr Kirby said the comments would alienate gay Christians and would make the Anglican Church look out of touch. 'I had hoped he might be more measured in his response and reflect on the cases for both sides of the argument more evenly, but he was very one-sided,' he said. 'Public opinion is moving faster than the Church on this issue and it is increasingly in danger of getting left behind.'

A consultation on allowing gays and lesbians to have civil partnership ceremonies in church will begin in April. It could even lead to gays getting full marriage rights.

Giles Fraser, canon chancellor at St Paul's cathedral, said the Church of England should be embracing gay equality in marriages. 'Gay relationships are perfectly capable of reflecting the love of God,' he said. 'Which is why the church should respond more imaginatively to the idea of same-sex blessings being celebrated in church.'

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: 'The Church still believes on the basis of Bible and tradition that marriage is between a man and a woman and does not accept that this needs to change. 'Civil partnerships now provide legal securities for same-sex couples but this does not, in itself, alter what we believe to be unique about marriage.'

Canon Glyn Webster, a senior member of the General Synod, said: 'It's only possible for a marriage to be between a man and a woman. I'm not saying there can't be loving relationships between people of the same sex, but that doesn't equate to marriage. 'I want the Church to keep to the policy of refusing to hold blessing services for same-sex couples.'


Why are British police so rude? Because they are trained to be


Last week the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published complaint statistics for 2009/10. And for senior officers – indeed for the public at large – they make uncomfortable reading.

For the second successive year the number of complaints increased by eight per cent, to record levels of almost 58,400, but within that headline figure there are trends that should give us all pause for thought. Almost 50 per cent of all allegations related to rudeness, incivility and neglect of duty.

Even the interim Chair of the IPCC, Len Jackson, felt compelled to comment that ‘the number of rude and late complaints ... will require forces to develop an open dialogue with the public’. That is Whitehall code for: ‘This has got to change!’

No one who cares about the maintenance of law and order in this country could view these figures with anything but concern – they expose worrying issues that we ignore at our peril. It is not a trivial point of manners but a reflection of the extent to which policing has changed for the worse in this country over the past 25 years.

I witnessed these changes as they began in the late Eighties and as they accelerated over the Nineties and the past decade. For 35 years, until I retired in 2001, I served in two forces and at the Home Office, at every rank from beat PC to Deputy Assistant Commissioner and HM Assistant Inspector of Constabulary.

I believe that we are now feeling the delayed impact of more than two decades of poor decision-making in policing.

Once upon a time the general public could confidently expect courtesy from their local constabulary. Particularly in the years following the Second World War, an easy accommodation emerged which had its roots in the continuing respect for authority figures that was the prevailing attitude of the time, and in recognition of the fact that civil society needed effective policing as crime rates soared.

This contract with the public lasted until the early Nineties when, under the dual pressure of economic and social change, a new generation of chief constables and commissioners, who saw policing as a ‘business’ rather than a vocation based upon service, decided that things had to change.

The new policing, enthusiastically supported by successive Home Secretaries, was about targets, response times and ‘measurable performance’, lifted straight from the MBA syllabuses of the best universities.

Beat patrols on foot in uniform were not part of this brave new world; unless effectiveness could be measured and converted into a ‘bottom line’ cost it was of no use, and had to be scrapped. Police discretion was submerged under a tsunami of directions, guidelines and data-gathering.

Then 9/11 happened and it was decided that the police service was on the frontline in the ‘war on terror’. Almost overnight, we all changed from citizens to suspects. Terrorism legislation and spurious ‘officer safety’ policies led to the militarisation of policing and the greatest change in attitude that had taken place for a century.

Police officers, the majority quite young – the average age of an operational PC is under 24 – have been trained to believe that they are continually under physical threat and must therefore be continually on their guard. It is clear that a significant minority of officers see the public as their enemy and as a potential hazard to be dealt with aggressively.

There is no doubt that standards of behaviour and civility, across the whole of Britain, have changed for the worse over the past quarter century.
Courtesy and good behaviour have been abandoned by many in our modern, ‘me’ society. It is clear that a significant minority of officers see the public as their enemy and as a potential hazard to be dealt with aggressively

The police are products of that society; they attend the same schools, live in the same communities and have the same attitudes and prejudices as the best and the worst of us. But police officers should be held to a different standard of behaviour.

This change in attitude has to be set alongside the simultaneous withdrawal from day-to-day street patrolling that has taken place.

Once all young officers would spend their first few years getting to know local communities and local people by patrolling designated beats, tightly supervised with disciplinary sanctions by their sergeants and inspectors. That has been abandoned. Now new recruits, fresh from training which emphasises the primacy of their own safety over that of the public, learn from those senior to them, who also know no better.

A concerned officer recently gave me this extract from a force training programme – the tone is chilling. It says: ‘What the public consider rude is usually just no-nonsense commands and attitude. Unfortunately, when you try to reason with people, they take advantage. Therefore, when you need immediate compliance, you must use stern, unambiguous commands that require no interpretation on the part of the person being talked to. Through experience you must learn to command and dominate ALL interactions.’ The emphatic block capitals were in the original training notes.

So it is hardly surprising that of the 58,399 alleg¬ations of misconduct recorded by the IPCC last year, 11,576 were of rudeness and incivility. It is also deeply worrying and one would expect that the senior leadership of the police would be as concerned as you or I.

The official response from Deputy Chief Constable John Feavyour of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), to his credit, acknowledges that a problem exists and encourages the public to complain if they consider that an officer’s conduct has been unsatisfactory so that ‘appropriate action’ can be taken. Sadly there is little evidence to show ‘appropriate action’, which should mean minor disciplinary sanction by middle managers, is ever effective.

I know from experience the default position for too many junior officers is to ‘close ranks’ and deny that anything improper has occurred.

The police have never been held in lower esteem than they are today but the situation is not irretrievable.

Firstly, there must be assertive leadership from those at the top. Most ACPO officers are educationally and socially quite different to their personnel yet they see it as their role to be cheerleaders for their officers rather than critical leaders. Supervision and the maintenance of discipline, lost arts among today’s sergeants and inspectors, need to be relearned.

Lastly, and most importantly, there should be a programme of return-to-uniform foot patrols for all officers during the formative years of their careers to rekindle the skills of talking to people and appreciation of the value of mutual respect.

We are all better served if our police are approachable and courteous rather than granite-faced bullies.

Many officers, throughout the UK, want nothing more than to do the best they can for the public they serve, and are often embarrassed and disgusted by the behaviour of boorish colleagues.


Insane fishing policy may go

A classic case of bureaucratic destructiveness

European fishermen may be banned from throwing a million ton of fish overboard every year to stay within EU quotas following a campaign by the television chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Maria Damanaki, the EU fisheries minister, will unveil a proposal to ban the practice of “discards” which as arisen as a bizarre consequence of a quota system designed to conserve fish stocks by preventing over-fishing.

Officials are bowing to pressure for reform of Europe’s fishing industry after more than 650,000 people signed a petition calling for “discards” to be banned following a series of programmes publicising the issue on Channel 4.

Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight series disclosed that around half of the fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back into the ocean dead because fishermen are afraid of exceeding their quotas.
His campaign to stop the bizarre "conservation" practice won the backing of celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais, Jamie Oliver and Jeremy Paxman.

In his contribution to the campaign, Paxman wrote: “If this is conservation, then I’m the Mad Hatter.”

Under Europe’s landing quota system, fishermen are required to throw back any fish that are too young, overfished or for which they have no quota. In mixed fisheries, it can be impossible for fishermen to control the species that they catch in their nets.

The result is that thousands of tons of overfished cod are thrown back every year so fishermen can continue trawling for more prolific species such as haddock. The vast majority of the discarded fish die.

A study by the United Nations Agriculture Organisation estimated that 1.3 million tons of fish and other marine animals are thrown back every year – amounting to 13 per cent of all catches. Scotland’s fishermen alone throw away an estimated £40 million worth of fish each year.

Mrs Damanaki’s proposal suggests that all catches should be landed and counted against quota. It is believed to be backed by Richard Benyon, Britain’s fishing minister, as well as the Danish, German, French and Belgian ministers.

But the policy is understood to be opposed by Spain and other southern European countries because the reforms could mean fishermen would have to stop fishing when they have reached their quota for a particular species to avoid catching it accidentally.

There are also concerns over the possible enforcement measures, which could include installing CCTV on all vessels or employing observers to ensure fishermen do not discard fish illegally.

But Henrik Hoegh, the Danish food minister, welcomed the proposed changes. "Fish is a common property and a common concern and society now wants a say," he said.


Libyans failed by Leftist orientalism

David Burchell says that Leftist hatred of their own society led them to underestimate the suffering of ordinary people in Muslim societies -- and failed to provide such people with a model to aspire to

SEVENTY years ago my father, along with 14,000 other Australians of the Ninth Division, was domiciled in the sleepy Libyan coastal town of Tobruk, where all year round the sky shone a fierce blue, the earth glowed red, and the ferocious heat of day and numbing cold of night seemed drawn from some other planet, where the seasons spin by in a single day.

Over the last week Tobruk and its neighbouring cities have been at war again - only this time it is the Libyans themselves who have been driving out the tinpot fascist and his functionaries, while instead of Stukas it has been Muammar Gaddafi's superannuated Sukhois dispatching terror from the skies. Yet the Libyan people are striving to free themselves without any moral succour from us, and without any obvious positive models to follow, so the crowds on the streets are far clearer about what they oppose than what they wish to create. And, once again, we are partly to blame.

The wartime generation was compelled by its narrowness of sympathy to pretend that the native populations whose territories they desolated didn't really exist, or that their lives were inconsequential. We, by contrast, fancy ourselves creatures of global sympathy and unlimited compassion - and so, far from wishing other peoples out of existence, we prefer to invent foreign peoples of our own imagining, to whom we entrust the task of assuming our fantasies and justifying our fears.

Nowadays the late American literary critic Edward Said passes for a moral authority on the historical relations of the Arab and Western worlds, and every single month a multitude of clever, ambitious, wind-sniffing young academic researchers pay homage to his memory. Said fitted himself perfectly to the needs of our era: though his entire adult life was spent in Manhattan, he purported to present the authentic voice of Arab victimhood to an intelligentsia yearning to reject everything their own countries stood for, as an act of spiritual self-purification.

Like his soulmate Noam Chomsky, Said presented a political perspective of almost child-like simplicity: the West, in its domineering ignorance, was forever doomed to "other" the Orient, and to treat it as its inferior, even while Said and his disciples blissfully "othered" the Middle East themselves, as a sepulchre of Arab suffering, in a mirror-image of those they deplored.

Said's acolytes are probably less familiar with the articles he wrote over many years for the Egyptian state press - articles devoid of the criticism of any existing Arab government; (least of all Mubarak's); and which reduce all the problems of the Arab world to the actions of those two familiar pantomime villains, the US and Israel. You will not be surprised to hear that Said had nothing whatever to say about Libya's absurd Mussolini imitator, Gaddafi - except to heap abuse upon the US when it responded to the colonel's various terrorist provocations.

Said reserved special contempt for brave Arabs who criticised the region's political, economic and social backwardness. As he wrote, in his customary lachrymose tones, in Egyptian state weekly Al-Ahram in 2003: 'I recall the lifeless cadences of their sentences for, with nothing positive to say about their people, they simply regurgitate the tired American formulas: we lack democracy; we haven't challenged Islam enough, we need to drive away the spectre of Arab nationalism.'

These ideals Said found aesthetically repugnant, since they offered the possibility that the Arab world - that shimmering ideal about which he knew so little and spoke so much - might become more like us. Instead, like any good Orientalist, he wanted the Arab world to remain pre-modern, atavistic, romantic - a figure out of his own fervid imaginings. You can search Said's articles in vain for the words now on the lips of young people across the region: democracy, freedom, women's rights. Instead, like earlier colonialist bromides they are souvenirs of pure social and political reaction.

What seems obvious about the young Libyans in the streets of Tobruk, Benghazi and Tripoli - like young Iranians and Egyptians, and quite possibly many Syrians and Saudis too - is that they no longer want any truck with those miserable self-serving fantasies of Arab victimhood and Zionist sorcery. Instead, they merely want to live - as Said was lucky enough to do - in a "normal" country, where their persons will be treated with dignity and their views with respect. But about how to create such a country, beyond toppling statues and setting fire to police stations, they have been left almost totally in the dark - partly through the agency of their own rulers, and partly by us.



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.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Half of Britain 'would vote for far-Right parties if they gave up violence'

This report emanates from the fringe-Left group "Searchlight". It could be a fundraiser in the manner of America's sensationalist SPLC. The findings may be correct but would need independent checking

Almost half the country would back a far-Right party if they gave up violence, an astonishing new poll revealed today. A total of 48 per cent said that they would support a group that vowed to crack down on immigration and Islamic extremists. They would also restrict the building of mosques and order the flag of St George or the Union Jack be flown on all public buildings.

Anti-racism campaigners said the findings were a clear sign that Britain's mainstream parties were losing touch with many voters on the issue of race.

There has been a recent wave of support for extremists such as the English Defence League and the British National Party.

And the poll, which will spark fresh fears of racial tension, suggests that the level of backing for a far-Right party could equal or even outstrip that in countries such as France, the Netherlands and Austria. France's National Front party hopes to secure 20 per cent in the first round of the presidential vote next year. The Dutch anti-Islam party led by Geert Wilders attracted 15.5 per cent of the vote in last year's parliamentary elections.

The revelations will spark fresh fears of racial tension in Britain amid a new wave of support for extreme right-wing parties like the British National Party and the English Defence League.

Findings of the survey, the largest of its kind and involving 5,054 people, are in a major report called Fear and Hope – the New Politics of Identity, which examines views on race, immigration and multi-culturalism.

Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband and campaigning Left-wing Labour MP Jon Cruddas will officially unveil the report, produced for the Searchlight Education Trust, tomorrow. They will also launch Searchlight’s Together project to tackle extremism among white and Islamic -communities with the slogan: ‘A plague on both their houses’.

Mr Cruddas, who fought a successful campaign against the BNP in his Dagenham and Rainham constituency in east London, told The Observer that the findings pointed to a ‘very real threat of a new potent political constituency built around an assertive English nationalism’.

The report identified a resurgence of English identity, with 39 per cent preferring to call themselves English rather than British. Just 5 per cent labelled themselves European.

In one of the most revealing questions, pollsters Populus asked people if they would back a party that ‘wants to defend the English, create an English parliament, control immigration and challenge Islamic extremism’. A total of 48 per cent said they would either ‘definitely support’ or ‘consider supporting’ a party with such an agenda, if it shunned violence and fascist imagery.

The results will alarm both PM David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband, who are worried about the rise of right-wing extremists.

In the 12 months to last September, 238,950 migrants were allowed into Britain, the highest figure since records began. Sixty per cent of people thought immigration had been ‘a bad thing’ for England, against 40 per cent who said it had been ‘good’. Thirty-four per cent said immigration should be stopped permanently or until the economy improved. The report also found opposition comes from all races, not just ‘white Britons’. 'And 52 per cent of Britons agree that ‘Muslims create problems in the UK’.

Searchlight director Nick Lowles told the Sunday Mirror: ‘The harsh truth is we are in danger of losing touch with the public on race, immigration and multi-cultural¬ism.’


A Stranger in My Own Land

I have just returned to London, where I have lived since I was 11. I have been away for four years, living as an ethnic minority in a monocultural part of the world, amassing a host of stories to tell to disbelieving friends. On the whole, I am glad to return. I shan't miss some locals' assumptions that, being a white woman, if I was outside after dark, as I occasionally was, usually to walk the few metres between my house and the church, I must be a prostitute eager to give them a blow job. I shan't miss the abuse my priest husband received: the daubing of "Dirty white dogs" in red paint on the church door, the barrage of stones thrown at him by children shouting "Satan". He was called a "f***ing white bastard" more than once, though, notably, never when in a cassock. I will also not miss the way our garden acted as the local rubbish dump, with items ranging from duvets and TV sets, to rats (dead or twitching) glued to cardboard strips, a popular local method of vermin control to stem the large numbers of them which scuttled between the rubbish piled in gardens and on pavements. Yes, I am very glad to have left Britain's second city.

For four years, we lived in inner-city Birmingham, in what has been a police no-go area for 20 years. We know that because some plain-clothed cops told us when they asked to use our vicarage as a stake-out to bust drugs rings that pervade the area. Having heard a parishioner's tales of what his neighbours did to him when he was wrongfully suspected of having grassed up a cock-fighting ring, we refused, explaining that we had to live here, they didn't. Even during this time we saw the area change. When we arrived, the population was predominantly Pakistani. Now Somalis are there in equal number. Most of the run-down Irish pubs were turned into mosques during our time.

As a woman, it was difficult for me to gain many first-hand impressions of the Muslims. I was generally ignored by both men and women, and on the rare occasion that I had to interact, when for example a car was parked illegally and blocking my gate, I was addressed as if inconsequential. My husband, however, faithfully reported conversations which you may find somewhat alarming. One of our favourite dinner-party pieces is this: opposite our vicarage there is a "library" which has some computers, some burkas and occasionally tracts that say offensive things about Jews and Christians. My husband did his photo-copying there, and got on rather well with everybody. One day he was chatting to a man with a passing resemblance to Lawrence of Arabia, who had just arrived from Antwerp — one of an increasing number of Muslims who are arriving here with EU passports. He asked him why he had come to Birmingham.

He was surprised at the question: "Everybody know. Birmingham — best place in Europe to be pure Muslim." Well, there must be many places in Europe where Muslims are entirely free to practise their faith, but I suspect there are few places in which they can have so little contact with the civic and legal structure of a Western state if they choose. It seems to be particularly easy to "disappear" if that is their intention. A parishioner once described a lorry pulling up outside his house, the side opening to reveal stacked mattresses full of sleepy, and presumably illegal, immigrants, who staggered out into broad Brummie daylight. We heard tales of how houses are exchanged for cash payments in our area. An untaxed car was once clamped by a frightened-looking official at 8am, but within hours the owner of the vehicle had organised the clamps to be sawn off, and he sped away.

Another instance of separation from the Western world is revealed in the following: my husband frequently chatted to a neighbour who could be described as one of the more questioning Muslims, and who has often provided an insight into the locals' mindset. Even this man, however, believes what the whole community thinks: the 9/11 planes were organised by Jews. Everybody knows there were no Jewish people in the World Trade Centre that day, as they had been tipped off. Oh, and the Mumbai terrorists had been kidnapped and brainwashed by Indian people. The tendency towards denial is strong. When my husband mentioned the "dirty white dogs" graffiti to a local Muslim, the response was, "One of your people did it." I have to say that the police's response was no better when the local Methodists complained about the same thing. They chose not to believe it had happened, since we had removed all sign of it with the buckets of anti-graffiti chemicals we had stocked since we arrived. They asked, somewhat pathetically: "Are you sure it was racist?"

To a London reader, born and bred with multiculturalism, I know that my stories may come across as outlandish and exaggerated, and that I must surely be a BNP voter — I have observed people's expressions as they have listened to my tales of life in Brum. When I recently told a friend how a large Taliban flag fluttered gaily on a house near St Andrew's football stadium for some months, her cry of "Can't you tell the police?" made me reflect how far many of our inner cities have been abandoned by our key workers: our doctors and nurses drive in from afar, the police, as mentioned before, have shut down their stations and never venture in unless in extremis — they and ambulance crews have been known to be attacked — even the local Imam lives in a leafier area.

Only the priest remains, if you can get one — the thriving but clerically-vacant church down the road has had no applicant in two years. In their absence, we get stabbings that never make the news, dog- and cock-fighting rings, cars torched as pranks and cars used for peddling heroin. (One of the more amusing moments of our time came when a local lad provided one reason people often gave us stares when we drove past such deals: "Two white people wearing seatbelts — you've got to be cops.") In their absence, we simply have the witness of those who are unlikely to be heard, who, through a variety of unfortunate circumstances, have not been able to move out: the elderly, the infirm, the illiterate, the chronically poor. Indeed, some of the Muslim residents deeply regret the flight of the non-Muslim population. It is they who now have to live in a crime-ridden ghetto.

On holiday in Germany recently, we watched a TV documentary about how schools were coping with Essen's growing Muslim community, and how the community itself felt. When it was over, we turned to each other, and said simultaneously (a drawback of having been married for a while), "This could not have been made in Britain." At the moment, also in Germany, the whole country is debating Thilo Sarrazin's controversial book Deutschland schafft sich ab ("Germany abolishes itself"), in which the author — a former member of the board of the Bundesbank and the German Social Democrats — examines research about immigrant communities and then makes specific recommendations about the integration of the Muslim community. I have only seen scant reference to this in the British press, which usually dismisses it, wrongly and lazily in my view, as good old German racism. This has nothing whatsoever to do with race. The Muslim community in Birmingham, for instance, is made up of people from many continents and races, including Afghans, Yemenis, Pakistanis, Indians and Somalis.

There is no doubt in my mind that we need to have the same openness in discussing what is happening to many cities in Britain. If current demographic trends continue over the next few decades, the West Midlands, as well as other parts of the country, will become a predominantly Muslim area. Much more needs to be done to integrate the communities among whom I lived, and we need to be much less negligent of our own values too. Frankly, if we happened to walk down Broad Street on a Friday night, where mobs of identically undressed and mostly aesthetically unpleasing gals and lads were on the piss and pull, it was almost a relief to drive back to our ghetto enclave.

It is time to rub the rime from our eyes and to look clearly at the shape of Britain today. Everyone living here needs to be able to talk about what they see, without the lazy or fearful, but certainly paralysing, accusation of racism. Only then will we be able to discern what is best for the future.


Here we go again: Yet another false rape claim from Britain

A mother-of-three was jailed for falsely claiming she had been abducted and raped because she was worried her husband would find out that she had a one-night stand. Nicola Osborne, 32, told police she had been bundled in a car by a stranger and taken to a public toilets where she was forcibly raped.

Today the mother, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, was jailed for 18 months after her lie unraveled.

The hearing was told that Osborne, who had been drinking, was walking home when she began talking to a stranger in the street. She went home with him where they engaged in 'extensive sexual activity' and swapped telephone numbers before she left, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

But it was as she walked home that she became upset as she realised the potential consequences on her marriage from the fling. Passers-by found her in a distressed state in the street and contacted police who she then told that she had been the victim of a stranger rape.

Martin Booth, prosecuting, told the court that a major investigation was launched which took up 548 hours of police time. He said: 'Other investigations had to be put on the back-burner as police resources had to be diverted to this case.'

He explained that a 26-year-old man was arrested after DNA samples taken from Osborne matched those taken from him for a previous minor criminal offence. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested and detained for 12 hours following the incident on July 5 last year.

His victim impact statement, which was read to the court, said: 'I remember sitting in the cell and the door slamming shut. 'It's a horrible feeling, you feel like you are the only person in the world, I felt very frustrated as I knew I had done nothing wrong. I found it very humiliating.' He added: 'People like her make a mockery of women who have really been raped.'

Osborne pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to a charge of perverting the course of justice. Sentencing her, Judge Roger Hetherington said she had become 'entangled' in her lie. He said: 'I believe it suddenly hit you what the potential consequences were as to what you were going to be able to tell your husband about what you had been doing and a possible fear of pregnancy.'

He added that a custodial sentence reflected the seriousness of the offence which led to a 'vast deployment of police manpower' and caused 'intense anxiety' for the victim.


Australia: Parasitic white bureaucrats feed on black misery

IGNORANT outsiders are not helping to end the spiral of drunkenness in Alice Springs.

Many people live on the gravy train that runs on Aboriginal suffering. And there is no shortage of suffering. We are up to our necks, swimming in misery.

I don't write from a distant perspective of an observer. I write from deep within the misery. I am the one burying nieces and nephews on a regular basis and crying for a brother dead far too early from the abuse of drugs and alcohol. I'm the one who, after a long night on the streets of Alice Springs two weeks ago, was called down to the hospital because my niece was in intensive care after attempting suicide.

Yet one of the problems in Alice Springs is that people feel free to comment on contemporary Aboriginal society from the safety of their computer keyboards without venturing on to the streets of the town and observing the nightlife.

These people object that recent media reportage has all painted the same bleak picture of life in Alice Springs. There is a reason for that: it is because there is only one view late in the evening around KFC Cross, the junction of Todd and Stott streets.

Some claim that there are effective services already working hard to treat the problems. But there is nothing effective about youth services in Alice Springs. The Youth Action Plan, the result of bipartisan commitment and consultation across the sector, and the Youth Hub have never materialised.

Yes, petrol sniffing has been targeted through the introduction of Opal fuel. This program has been a boon for BP. Unfortunately, our youth have just moved on to other drugs, especially ganja. The underlying issues remain the same.

Aboriginal people don't need to be saved by the legions of outsiders who have come to Alice Springs to speak for us, to hold our hands, to encourage us to pursue their romantic vision of a traditional Aboriginal lifestyle. We can speak for ourselves.

The Aboriginal leaders in central Australia know that we have a deep crisis on our hands. We want action. We back local businesses and the local community's call for change.

At a meeting in Alice Springs on Tuesday, the business community was present in droves. So, too, were Lindsay Bookie, chairman of the Central Land Council, and Sid Anderson, my brother, president of MacDonnell Shire. All people of standing in central Australia want to see this crisis resolved by strong action.

Potential solutions include: real truancy programs, schools adequately funded for the full cohort of Territory children, implementation of the Youth Action Plan, business community input into the management and funding of the Gap Youth Centre, normalisation of the town camps; putting Night Patrol and Day Patrol services out to tender, significant welfare reform and land tenure reform.

Even more important will be establishing a new culture of accountability in the Territory. Our problems may be complex, but they are not insurmountable. Government must be accountable, bureaucrats administering program funding must be accountable, youth service providers must be accountable.

I expect a hostile reaction to these observations and proposals from those on board the gravy train. Too bad.

Aboriginal people are not lesser human beings and we are not animals. We want an end to segregated "animal bars" that allow members of our community the humiliation of lower standards of behaviour and dress. We do not want our children scared into obedience by dogs with gnashing teeth. We want to be treated with the same high expectations, rights and responsibilities as any other human being.

We cannot wait any longer for change. I am tired of the funerals. I am frustrated with those who refuse to act. The pain of living with the ongoing loss of our young people is almost unbearable.

I am no longer shocked by life in central Australia, but I am sad and extremely concerned about our future.



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.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Anger as word 'marriage' vanishes from British birth statistics

Married couples have disappeared from official family records for the first time. In a further blow to the status of marriage, records of the number of women who become pregnant will no longer show how many were or were not married. Instead, Government statisticians will publish the number of mothers-to-be who were in ‘a legal partnership’ at the time they conceived – which will include both marriages and women in civil partnerships.

Eight years ago Labour ministers ordered that the word ‘marriage’ should no longer be used on official documents because they said it led to discrimination against gays.

However, there has been a growing chorus of complaints that the censorship of the word will warp official records and erase the evidence which shows that married couples and their children live healthier and happier lives.

The Office for National Statistics’ new figures show that there were 896,300 conceptions in England and Wales in 2009. But, rather than referring to numbers inside and outside marriage, they only show that 57 per cent of pregnancies began ‘outside a legal partnership’.

The disappearance of marriage statistics has come despite a plea from Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. In a major speech earlier this month, Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘I have asked my department to ensure references to marriage are included on relevant forms and research in the future.’


An old hatred revived in Britain

If it ever went away

What is worse, being falsely labelled a Tory or wrongly called a Jew? This question might have flashed through the mind of Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students, when police escorted him away from a group of anti-fees protesters in Manchester who taunted him with cries of "Tory Jew scum."

Given that Porter is not Jewish and is a member of the Labour Party, the choice of insult may seem bizarre. But Porter probably managed to decode the message. He knows that on the extreme fringe of left-wing activism in this country, "Jew" has become a term of political abuse.

Surprisingly, this does not always relate to Israel or Zionism — at least not directly. Shortly after the incident, Porter went on a fact-finding mission to Israel and the West Bank where he met Israeli and Palestinian students. But his venture into the Middle East imbroglio is not what annoyed the crowd in Manchester.

Porter was being heckled by protesters from that faction of the student movement who believe that the NUS under his leadership has not done enough to challenge the government's policy on university fees. They also condemn the NUS's refusal to do more in defence of those charged with various offences committed during the rioting in central London last year. They think Porter has sold out his members, not the Palestinians. So why on earth accuse him of being a "Tory Jew?"

There is a clue to this in the activity of Clare Solomon, president of the University of London Students Union. An ex-member of the Socialist Workers Party, now involved with Respect, she has consistently taken a more militant line in opposition to the hike in student fees and repeatedly outflanked Porter on the left.

In addition to her militancy on this front, Solomon has pronounced views on Zionism, Israel and the Jews. On Facebook last May, she declared that "there is no such thing as the ‘Jewish race'." She went on: "The view that Jews have been persecuted all throughout history is one that has been fabricated in the last 100 years or so in order to justify the persecution of the Palestinians."

Solomon has since apologised, explained that the offending words were written in haste and stressed that she does not dispute whether six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. She denounced unreservedly expressions of anti-Semitism. But while she has made a welcome retraction, we are left with this articulation of her unfiltered thoughts, a statement of beliefs so deeply rooted that, until challenged externally, did not merit a moment's doubt or self-questioning.

That may be because in the circles in which she moves it is the received wisdom that supporters of Israel manipulate the Holocaust for their own ends. Yet how does this ideological fixture connect with university fees and the NUS in this country? Because, in these self-same circles there is a concatenation between Zionism, Israel, Jews and everything that is perceived as bad in the world.

As if to make the point right on cue, on the same day that Porter was being barracked in Manchester, hundreds of students in central London were demonstrating against university fees with the chant, "London, Cairo — unite and fight." In the eyes of this faction, the struggle against higher fees and the Coalition government in England is at one with the global struggle against American-backed authoritarian regimes who are propped up, at the behest of the American Jewish lobby, as a carapace for Israel.

To this segment of student militants the enemy is global capitalism, which is identified with the United States which is, in turn, identified with Israel. They are convinced that Jews run the US and that any effort anywhere to thwart the thrust of progressive politics is probably the result of Jewish interference. To them, it makes perfect sense to bark "Tory Jew scum" at Porter.

Yet, even if we can find a serpentine logic to their behaviour, is it anything more than the ephemera of student politics . Is it even worth noting? Well, yes — I think it should ring alarm bells. The danger is that in the sub-culture of the far Left and in the world of student politics such received ideas go unchallenged and cement young peoples' view of the world. It is from this matrix that the leaders of tomorrow emerge. As weird and transitory as it may be, this is the breeding ground for future trades union leaders, college lecturers, journalists, MPs, and even cabinet ministers. Think of Peter Hain, Sue Slipman, Jack Straw and Charles Clarke, who were the student leaders and activists of their time.

Most of those who are protesting today will eventually learn that the anti-globalisation conspiracy theories and the demonisation of Israel which is central to them are based on fantasy, and will quietly disavow them. Some may even develop a sense of shame for the things they thought, said, and did. Others will carry their stereotypical perception of Jews with them to the top of their chosen fields. The consequences of that will be incalculable.


When Politics Overrides Justice

(Shenandoah, Pennsylvania) In 2008, two male teens got onto a late-night, drunken fight with a male Hispanic who died from his injuries.

Derrick Donchak, 19, and Brandon Piekarsky, 17, were subsequently charged with crimes of violence, including murder, in the death of 25-year-old Luis Ramirez Zavala.

Donchak and Piekarsky were tried in May 2009 in Schuykill County Court on charges of murder, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, ethnic intimidation and simple assault. A jury returned verdicts of not guilty of all charges except simple assault.

Despite the acquittals, immigrant and racism activists pursued action against Donchak and Piekarsky in federal court. Legal scrabbling for an offense found that the Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to interfere, with violence or threats, with a person's right to live where he chooses to live.

Consequently, for violating the Fair Housing Act, Donchak and Piekarsky were tried in federal court on charges that they interfered with Luis Ramirez Zavala's right to live where he wanted.

Yesterday, Donchak and Piekarsky were sentenced to nine years in federal prison.

The MSM has characterized the case as a hate-crime conviction since the victim was an illegal alien and the alleged perpetrators were white males. I would contend that it was a political conviction.

Think about it. The case was about a late-night drunken brawl leaving one dead and, as a result, two guys get sentenced to prison for violating the Fair Housing Act.

It has to be political to make any sense.


Muslims are not the same as earlier immigrants to Australia

ALMOST everything George Brandis said this week about Australia's successful creation of an inclusive society "receptive and respectful of people of race and faith" is true.

In an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, the senator paid tribute to Australian tolerance by recalling his experience growing up in the suburbs in the 1960s. Amid the colonial terraces and semi-detached houses of Petersham in Sydney's inner west, Chinese, Greek and Italian families lived happily alongside their Anglo-Celtic neighbours, and half the youngsters at his local school came from non-English-speaking backgrounds.

The idea that Australia under the rule of Robert Menzies did not resemble apartheid South Africa or the segregated south of the US will shock those who subscribe to the popular view that the coming of Gough Whitlam changed everything.

Brandis usefully reminded us that a multicultural Australia pre-dated the official invention of that policy by the Whitlam government in the 1970s. He also reminded us that our proud and enviable history of integrating migrants since the end of the World War II is attributable in part to the essential decency of the overwhelming majority of ordinary Australians.

Australia became a successful nation of immigrants because the egalitarianism that is central to its national character -- the principle that Jack is as good as his mate -- was extended by "old Australians" to include "new Australians".

Hence there was no white flight from Petersham or other suburbs in response to the influx of migrants from southern Europe in the 50s and Indochina in the 70s because newcomers of all colours and creeds were made welcome and accepted into the workplaces, the schools, the churches and the sporting clubs of suburban Australia.

Brandis was also right to suggest that these achievements should not be put at risk by cheap populism that seeks to exploit prejudice for political advantage. However, the senator for Queensland went too far in trying to shut down the debate about multiculturalism.

The debate was sparked in Coalition ranks by the publication of Scott Morrison's alleged remarks in shadow cabinet about Muslim immigration and community concerns in western Sydney.

"I can still remember the playground taunting of Italian kids, from which I formed my lifelong detestation of bullies who pick on a vulnerable minority," Brandis wrote in a thinly disguised rebuke to his colleagues. "Whether they realise it or not, the same sentiment that drives those who bullied those kids then, animates those who beat up on Muslims now."

This is a variation on a common grievance aired by many members of the multicultural industry: "Australia is a racist country because kids teased me about what was in my sandwiches at lunchtime."

Judging how a civilisation treats minorities based on what eight-year-olds call each other is ludicrous. To equate this with a legitimate debate about the success or otherwise of Muslim integration is just as ludicrous.

This is especially so when this debate is belatedly being had in Britain, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Scandinavia, now that the evidence of non-integration and the failures of multicultural policy are undeniable.

Europe has discovered that a nation of tribes united by a common welfare state does not create the harmonious society multicultural theorists said it would.

Instead, divisions between native and immigrant populations have been entrenched and the social fabric frayed. Australia does not confront challenges on the same scale, but we are kidding ourselves if we think we have nothing to worry about.

From Petersham, it is a 15-minute drive southwest to Lakemba. It is 30 years since [mostly Muslim] refugees fleeing the civil war in Lebanon received asylum in this country, and still Lakemba and its surrounds remain ghettofied.

The usual pattern of dispersal by first-generation children of immigrants has not occurred to the same extent and the area is plagued with poor educational achievement, high unemployment and crime.

The community concerns that exist in western Sydney about Muslims and multiculturalism are based on these jarring realities on the disintegration of some parts of Sydney from the mainstream, and the failure to repeat the successful patterns of integration of other ethnic groups.

To blame racial or religious prejudice, whether formed in the playground or otherwise, is avoiding the real issue. So is reaffirming the national commitment to multiculturalism, as the Gillard government has done, as if that and the proposed anti-racism campaign will be a cure-all.

The conventional wisdom among most elites is that we should not discuss these issues because it will unleash the racist sentiments that still lurk in the hearts of most Australians.

I think the opposite is true. It is because most Australians believe in the immigration and integration of all comers that what is going on in southwest Sydney is of concern.

Perceptive politicians have picked up on this. Effective politicians will honestly address the issues and propose solutions. Ineffective ones will shut their eyes and lecture an unimpressed electorate about respecting "diversity".



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.


Friday, February 25, 2011

British government wants to measure people's happiness

So it can "help"

Hundreds of thousands of people will be asked whether they think the lives they lead are “worthwhile” as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s wellbeing.

Government researchers will begin questioning the first 200,000 over-16s across Britain from April to assess how satisfied they are with their lives on a scale of 0 to 10, and how anxious or happy they feel.

Further research is expected to focus on detailed areas that affect individuals’ perceptions of their own happiness, such as the state of their marriage, friendships and personal health.

The initiative has a budget of £2 million a year with the first four questions in the initial survey of 200,000 people costing £500,000 to conduct, according to the Office for National Statistics, which is running the scheme.

The Prime Minister believes the state can have a role in helping citizens “feel better” and has argued that successful governments should improve the quality of life as well as the strength of the economy.

His programme to develop Britain’s first “wellbeing index” follows a similar initiative in France, announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The ONS drew heavily on the recommendations of the French commission when drafting the first questions to be used to measure “subjective wellbeing” in this country.

Initially, four new questions will be included in the ONS’s integrated household survey from April. Respondents will be asked to give answers on a scale of 0 to 10 to the following questions:

· Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?

· Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?

· Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?

· Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?

Paul Allin, head of the wellbeing project at the ONS, said he was confident the questions would produce robust results and that any bias in the answers would be ironed out across such a large sample. “We essentially trust people to give us the answers they give us and we will work what they say,” he said.

Ultimately, the project aims to create a set of results against which the changing health of the nation’s feelings about itself can be measured. Officials also want to enable comparisons to be made between Britain and other countries and will be working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Mr Allin said: “Subjective wellbeing is one approach to understanding and measuring the wellbeing of the nation. While we want to produce consistent results over time, we will initially regard the results as experimental. There is more work to be done.”

In developing the new questions, the ONS commissioned further research into subjective wellbeing. It found that life satisfaction in Britain had failed to keep pace with rising household income and GDP over the past 40 years.

Other findings from the report, which reviewed a wide range of existing research, suggested that women are generally more satisfied with their lives than men and young people are happier than the middle-aged.

Married people are happier than those who are unmarried and it is more important to “keep up with the Joneses” and match the income of your peer group than to have objectively high rates of pay.

However, the study also suggested that it is possible to be too happy. Excessively happy people can be “gullible” and make “careless” decisions. The optimum level of happiness is to be at seven or eight out of 10, the research said.


The Catastrophic Failure of European Multiculturalism

Europe's leaders have realized, and are acknowledging one after another, that that continent's multiculturalist policy--the idea that geographic areas could be ceded to immigrants from Islamic countries who would treat them as Islamic enclaves, rather than being encouraged to assimilate--has been a disastrous failure. CBN has a good report on the current status of multiculturalism in Europe. It begins:

France has some 751 "No Go" zones. The French government has labeled these areas "sensitive urban zones" that are dangerous for whites and non-Muslims to enter.

CBN's video begins with the story of a French shopkeeper who has refused to leave her home inside a no go zone:

In a northern district of Paris, a brave shopkeeper named Marie-Neige Sardin guards her newsstand like a military fort. As a white woman, she is a minority in the mostly Arab-speaking Muslim area.

Sardin has been the victim of dozens of crimes -- raped, robbed, and having acid thrown at her, as other residents try to get her to leave.

Still, Sardin -- the daughter of a French soldier -- calls her little shop "a piece of French soil inside occupied territory," and says she will not leave.


Oklahoma Police Captain Faces Disciplinary Action for Refusing to Attend Islamic Event

The Tulsa Police Deptartment is investigating a captain who refused an order to assign officers to attend an upcoming Islamic event because he said it would violate his religious beliefs.

Capt. Paul Fields was reassigned after he refused to order officers under his command to attend the Islamic Center of Tulsa’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, a spokesman for the department said. “It is my opinion and that of my legal counsel that forcing me to enter a Mosque when it is not directly related to a police call for service is a violation of my Civil Rights,” Fields wrote in an internal police department memo obtained by Fox News.

“I have no problem with officers attending on a voluntary basis; however, I take exception to requiring officers to attend this event,” Fields wrote in an e-mail to his superior officer obtained by Fox News. “I believe this directive to be an unlawful order, as it is in direct conflict with my personal religious convictions.”

Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan told FOX23-TV the event was about community relations, not religion. “This was not religious,” he said. “I would never assign a police officer to participate in religious service,” he told the TV station. “This is about a group who bonded together because of their religion. We are not going there because they are Islamic. We are going there because they are Tulsa citizens.”

However, according to a promotional flyer, the Islamic event included not just food and entertainment, but “presentations” on “beliefs, human rights, and women.” They would also be able to watch a Muslim prayer service and take a tour of the mosque. “It’s up to you,” the flyer stated.

Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the incident an example of “anti-Muslim bigotry.”

Gary Allison, a professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law, said the case poses a dilemma. “It is true that individuals have their own religious beliefs and that they come to their workplace with their own religious beliefs,” Allison said. “The question is, how far can an employer go to require people to go against their religious beliefs for something to do the job that they are supposed to do?”


Australia: Muslims lose one

No cash to fund privacy curtains for female-only pool classes. How come nobody is asking the local mosque to fund this? Why should it be a bite on the taxpayer? Do we fund everything Muslims want?

THE State Government has refused a council's bid to help fund $45,000 curtains at a public pool so Muslim women can have privacy during female-only exercise classes. There were calls yesterday for the City of Monash to dump the controversial plan amid claims it promoted segregation and was a waste of ratepayers' money.

Monash Council confirmed the Victorian Multicultural Commission had knocked back a grant application to fund half the curtains' cost. Two weeks ago, the Herald Sun revealed that VCAT had given the green light for Monash to bypass equality laws and run the fortnightly women-only sessions.

Monash Mayor Greg Male said yesterday that the council still wanted to introduce the program, but it would have to pass the budget review process.

But Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis called on the council to scrap the plan, given the VMC's decision to reject the grant application. "They have made a wise decision - it only leads to segregation and we don't need that in Australia," Mr Davis said.

A spokeswoman for Multicultural Affairs Minister Nick Kotsiras said Monash had received a $1 million grant for a separate program and the VMC encouraged the council to re-apply for the privacy screen grant next time.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

British woman on welfare owing £3,500 rent can't be evicted: New European human rights ruling could lead to thousands of tenants refusing to pay

Evicting a woman from her council home for failing to pay rent would breach her human rights, judges ruled yesterday.

Town Hall chiefs wanted to evict Rebecca Powell, who receives thousands of pounds in benefits, after she ran up more than £3,500 in arrears on the accommodation she was given because she was homeless. But the Supreme Court said that – under the controversial European Convention on Human Rights – this would be a breach of the right to ‘respect for a person’s home’.

Council leaders and the Government had fought the case and fear it may now be harder to evict thousands of council tenants who fall into arrears. Legal experts said there was an increasing ‘trend’ for tenants – including ‘neighbours from hell’ – to use human rights law to thwart eviction.

Passing yesterday’s judgment, Lord Hope made it clear the ruling had its origins in Strasbourg. He said the ‘time had come to accept and apply the jurisprudence of the European court’.

The ruling brought fresh demands for reform of Labour’s Human Rights Act, which enshrines the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law, and of the unelected Strasbourg court.

It comes in the wake of cases saying that prisoners must be entitled to vote and that paedophiles can apply to be taken off the Sex Offender Register.

Last night Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘It seems to me that the courts always find in favour of the human rights of people who are doing something wrong. We have got to change that balance, it is getting completely out of hand. ‘What about the human rights of the landlord to get their rent, what about the human rights of the taxpayer?’

Miss Powell, now 23, was given a home in Cranford, West London, by Hounslow Council in April 2007. By June the following year Miss Powell, who lives with her partner and four children, owed the council more than £3,500. She was entitled to around £15,000 a year in housing benefit which could have covered the payments, but had not applied for it properly.

Eviction proceedings began but were halted when Miss Powell appealed under the Human Rights Act. At one stage the council moved the family out in order to renovate the home at taxpayers’ expense, then moved them back in.

Yesterday, Lord Hope and Lord Phillips ruled that the council had not considered whether it was ‘proportionate’ to evict Miss Powell and ordered that the eviction be quashed.

Hounslow Council, anticipating defeat, has offered her ‘suitable alternative accommodation’ and she has never been without a home.

Judges will have to consider the ruling when looking at similar cases involving people who would otherwise be homeless.

Miss Powell has agreed to clear her arrears of £3,536.39 at £5 per week, or sooner if she can.


A police force once renowned for civility: British police now get 58,000 complaints in a year

The legacy of Leftist management that made quotas and box-ticking their over-riding goal

Police receive a formal complaint every 20 minutes for being rude, late, slow or neglecting their duty.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed there were a record 58,339 allegations made against officers and staff last year. Overall, this is the equivalent of one in every five police workers being the subject of a complaint in a single year. Some 11,576 – or 20 per cent of the total – were for ‘incivility, impoliteness and intolerance’.

A further 14,983 complaints were for ‘neglect or failure of duty’, which includes being late, slow or not keeping victims of crime informed what is happening with their case. It comes at a bad time for the police, who are campaigning against budget cuts.

The Police Federation said the public would be ‘worried if the police stopped providing the current range of services as a result of budget cuts’. But a survey revealed that support for the police falls among people who have met an officer.

The Ipsos MORI poll found that, of those people who have come into contact with an officer, 12 per cent say their local police are performing ‘poorly’. Of people who had no dealings with the police, only 7 per cent said the service was sub-standard.

Overall, only 59 per cent of the public said the police were doing a good or excellent job. The IPCC figures show complaints against the police have increased for seven years in a row.

The report shows 33,854 different files of complaint were submitted – more than double the number in 2003-04. They contained 58,399 allegations of misconduct, with some people making more than one allegation, the IPCC said.

In some cases, individual officers receive multiple complaints. Last year, it emerged one officer in the West Midlands had to wear a headcam on duty to check his conduct following the allegations.

The complaints follow recent admissions by police that four out of ten victims of crime do not get a visit from an officer.

Police have also been under fire for wrongly writing-off thousands of vicious assaults and thefts as ‘no crime’. This happens when officers dismiss a person’s report of a crime without even making cursory inquiries. In effect, they take a decision the victim is wrong or lying.

Deputy Chief Constable John Feavyour, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: ‘Police officers have thousands of interactions with members of the public each day and these are of vital importance in maintaining the trust and confidence of the public in the police service.’


European Free Speech Under Attack

Defending the right to say that Islam is primarily a totalitarian ideology aiming for world domination


"The lights are going out all over Europe," British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey famously remarked on the eve of World War I. I am reminded of those words whenever I read about Europeans being dragged into court for so-called hate-speech crimes.

Recently, Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard, president of the International Free Press Society, had to stand trial in Copenhagen because he had criticized Islam. Mr. Hedegaard was acquitted, but only on the technicality that he had not known that his words, expressed in a private conversation, were being taped. Last week in Vienna, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, an Austrian human-rights activist, was fined €480 for calling the Islamic prophet Muhammad a pedophile because he had consummated his marriage to a nine-year old girl. Meanwhile, my own trial in Amsterdam is dragging on, consuming valuable time that I would rather spend in parliament representing my million-and-a-half voters.

How can all this be possible in supposedly liberal Europe? The Dutch penal code states that anyone who either "publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately expresses himself in any way that incites hatred against a group or people" or "in any way that insults a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief, their hetero- or homosexual inclination or their physical, psychological or mental handicap, will be punished."

Early in 2008, a number of leftist and Islamic organizations took me to court, claiming that by expressing my views on Islam I had deliberately "insulted" and "incited hatred" against Muslims. I argued then, as I will again in my forthcoming book, that Islam is primarily a totalitarian ideology aiming for world domination.

Last October, my former colleague in the Dutch parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, wrote in these pages of the way in which Islamic organizations abuse our freedoms in order to limit them. "There are," she wrote, "the efforts of countries in the Organization of the Islamic Conference to silence the European debate about Islam," citing their strategy "to pressure international organizations and the European Union to adopt resolutions to punish anyone who engages in 'hate speech' against religion. The bill used to prosecute Mr. Wilders is the national version of what OIC diplomats peddle at the U.N. and EU."

Indeed, in 2008 the EU approved its so-called "Council Framework Decision on combating Racism and Xenophobia," and the EU's 27 nations have since had to incorporate it into their national legislation. The decision orders that "racist or xenophobic behavior must constitute an offence in all Member States and be punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties." It defines "racism and xenophobia" so broadly that every statement that an individual might perceive as insulting to a group to which he belongs becomes punishable by law.

The perverse result is that in Europe it is now all but impossible to have a debate about the nature of Islam, or about the effects of immigration of Islam's adherents. Take my own case, for example. My point is that Islam is not so much a religion as it is a totalitarian political ideology disguised as a religion. To avoid misunderstandings, I always emphasize that I am talking about Islam, not about Muslims. I make a clear distinction between the people and the ideology, between Muslims and Islam, recognizing that there are many moderate Muslims. But the political ideology of Islam is not moderate and has global ambitions; the Koran orders Muslims to establish the realm of Allah in this world, if necessary by force.

Stating my views on Islam has brought me to court on charges of "group insult" and incitement to racial hatred. I am being tried for voicing opinions that I—and my constituents—consider to be the truth. I am being tried for challenging the views that the ruling establishment wants to impose on us as the truth.

When I stand before my judges I do so in defense of free speech and human liberty. Freedom is the source of human creativity and development. People and nations wither away without the freedom to question what is presented to them as the truth. There is reason for concern if the erosion of our freedom of speech is the price we must pay to accommodate Islam. There is reason for concern if those who deny that Islam is a problem do not grant us the right to debate the issue. I want to be able to make my case without needing to fear criminal prosecution. It is already bad enough that I have been living under permanent police protection for more than six years because jihadists want to murder me.

My trial is a political trial. It is tragic that after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, political trials in Europe were not cast onto the ash heap of history. Former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky has previously referred to the European Union as the "EUSSR." One of his arguments is that in the EU, as in the former USSR, there is no freedom of speech.

I should be acquitted. My trial in Amsterdam is not about me, but about freedom of speech in Europe. As Dwight D. Eisenhower, Europe's liberator from Nazism, once warned, freedom "must be daily earned and refreshed—else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die." Today in Europe, freedom is being neither earned nor refreshed.


Distorted history of U.S. naval aviation

Egregious slant towards blacks, women

A foundation set up to celebrate Navy aviation’s 100th birthday has disavowed an official history on its website, after former combat pilots complained of inaccuracies and political correctness.

As the first celebration commenced last month at a naval air base in California, a number of enraged former pilots began bombarding the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Foundation with complaints. The Navy views the commemoration with high regard, with celebrations planned at Navy and Marine Corps air stations from California to Florida.

The foundation‘s official history slide show featured four “firsts” for women, such as the first female operations officer in 1992. It also accentuated humanitarian missions. But it devoted only two slides to World War II and barely mentioned Vietnam, during which the Navy orchestrated a decade of multiple aircraft carrier operations.

“There is ‘history’ and then there is ‘revisionist history’ written to support a political agenda,” said Roy Stafford, a former Marine attack aircraft pilot. “This timeline offered up the first female naval aviator and first female navy astronaut and first black Blue Angel pilot as major milestones and high-water marks for naval aviation to the exclusion of the real history makers. That just didn’t sit well with my simple Marine Corps mind.”

Mr. Stafford is among a group of retirees who wrote e-mails of protest that ended up in the foundation‘s lap.

Screen capture of the website for the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Foundation (Courtesy of
“The true facts are that women’s contribution to naval aviation has been minimal to nonexistent for 80 of the first 100 years,” said Mr. Stafford. “The simple truth is they were not there, not World War I, not World War II, not Korea nor Vietnam. Men who pushed the limits of mankind to levels never before reached, to relegate them to footnote status while elevating the social agenda is a disservice to all who went before them.”

The retired aviators’ irate criticisms directed at the 100th anniversary foundation were tinged with surprise, since it is run by men like themselves.

One of them, retired Marine Maj. Gen. Bob Butcher, told The Washington Times that after reading the e-mailed complaints, he agreed with them and the timeline was taken off the website. A reporter found the timeline still posted at a foundation address:

Gen. Butcher, who is the 100th foundation‘s co-chairman, said the contested history was written by public affairs specialists. “It should not have actually been on the website,” he said. “But it did frankly get up on the website. And, of course, people objected to it because it was certainly not an accurate depiction of the significant events of naval aviation.”

Gen. Butcher, who is also chairman of the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation and Aviation Museum, said a new history is being written by the U.S. Navy’s National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla.

More here


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.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another legal attack on an innocent British family

On the basis of a bruised ear! While grievous harm to other children goes unchecked. It should never have gone to court but is typical of the biased practices of British social workers

A judge broke up a family in just 15 minutes, it was revealed yesterday. Judge James Orrell ordered that three children should be taken from their parents after doctors gave evidence in his court about bruising to the ear of one young child. The doctors said it was their opinion that the bruising could have been caused by pinching.

The ruling made at a family court in Derby was exposed after an Appeal Court judge overturned Judge Orrell's decision and condemned the way a family was nearly destroyed in a quarter of an hour. Appeal Judge Lord Justice Thorpe said he was 'aghast' at the handling of the case.

The incident came to light amid continued controversy over the secrecy in which the family courts deal with cases despite repeated scandals over misjudgements or high-handed behaviour by social workers and wrong evidence by expert witnesses.

Last year Labour Lord Chancellor Jack Straw ordered the family courts to open their proceedings to outside scrutiny. But judges have been deeply reluctant to let anyone but lawyers, social workers and expert witnesses into the courts, and have effectively kept them closed to all outsiders.

Judges and lawyers say the risk of the plight of vulnerable children becoming known to the public by name is too great and that such publicity would be greatly damaging to children.

As a result the public can know nothing of what happens, and must rely on regular assurances from judges and insiders that all is well and standards are maintained in cases that decide the future of parents and children.

Details often only become public if a family case comes to a criminal court - as happened when the circumstances of the killing of Peter Connelly, Baby P, were revealed when his mother, her boyfriend and his brother were tried at the Old Bailey in 2008.

In the Derby case social workers sent the evidence of the doctors to the court before Judge Orrell held his hearing. Their lawyers expected a preliminary hearing, but the judge heard the doctors and then ordered the social workers to remove the children from their home.

Lord Justice Thorpe said today: 'I am completely aghast at this case. There is nothing more serious than a removal hearing, because the parents are so prejudiced in proceedings thereafter. 'Once you have lost a child, it is very difficult to get a child back.'

He added of Judge Orrell: 'I know he is a very experienced judge and I know he has done wonderful work in Derby for many years. 'But there is a point where a judge’s brisk conduct of business in his search for protection of a child is just not acceptable. 'This does not seem to me like acceptable process or natural justice.'

Lord Justice Thorpe sent the case back to the county court in Derby, which handles the most serious local family cases, but he said any further decisions on the children's future should be taken by a different judge. He added: 'Judge Orrell is a pillar of the family justice system, but I do believe it is important that the parents have confidence in the tribunal.'

Lawyers for the parents said the judge listened to evidence from the doctors but failed to hear what the parents had to say. He had also failed to listen to the bruised child, who is said to be 'of sufficient age and maturity' to speak for himself.


'British justice has lost the plot': Now businessman forced to pay £5,000 damages to thieving employee he frogmarched to police faces court costs that could ruin him

Ask flooring company boss Simon Cremer if he regrets the day he took the law into his own hands, and it’s clear he is rather torn: he gives a yes-but-no answer. Not for a second, though, does he regret humiliating sub-contractor Mark Gilbert, whom he paraded through the streets of Witham, Essex, in September 2008 with a crude cardboard sign around his neck pronouncing him a thief.

He’d discovered that Mr Gilbert had written a company cheque for £845 to himself, forging his boss’s signature — and maintains that the walk of shame he subjected Mr Gilbert to, as he frogmarched him to the police station, was deserved.

‘I didn’t feel sorry for him then, and I still don’t today,’ says 46-year-old Mr Cremer, who became the talk of Britain after inviting the local papers to record his ‘citizen’s arrest’ for posterity. ‘Yes, it was humiliating for him, but I felt he deserved it.

‘He humiliated me, in my eyes, by betraying my trust and stealing from me. It made my blood boil to think he’d probably get nothing more than a slap on the wrist from the police.’

But would he do it again? Well, that’s a completely different matter. He hesitates to say ‘Yes’, for it’s obvious he very much regrets how much his actions will cost him.

And who could blame him for wondering if he was a little too swift to act. For the high price this small businessman must pay for his stand emerged this week. He could even end up being forced to sell his home.

Mr Gilbert, 41, a self-employed carpet fitter who has moved from Colchester to Bristol following the incident, sued Mr Cremer for £40,000, claiming the embarrassment of being paraded through the streets had left him too traumatised to work for two years.

He claimed he’d feared for his life after he was allegedly set upon, punched, tied up, and forced to read the thief sign aloud three times before being bundled into a back of a van to drive him to the High Street to be publicly shamed. ‘It was almost a relief,’ he said, ‘when I saw the police station in sight rather than a remote field.’

Last week in an out-of-court settlement, Mr Cremer — who vehemently denies Mr Gilbert’s allegations of violence — reluctantly agreed to pay him £5,000 in compensation for the ‘humiliation’ he suffered, rather than risk the crippling legal costs of fighting the case through the civil courts.

It was reported that Mr Cremer would be out of pocket to the tune of £13,000 after taking the legal costs into account. In fact, the bill he faces could be far higher than that. Later in the week, Mr Cremer says, the bill from Mr Gilbert’s lawyers arrived. The sum was, he says, an eye-watering £25,000. So that walk of shame could cost Simon Cremer a staggering £30,000.

‘I don’t want to pay Mark Gilbert a penny, because I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong,’ says Mr Cremer in an exclusive interview. ‘I would have preferred to fight his claim in the civil courts, but I couldn’t afford to.

‘When my solicitor phoned me after we settled, she said: “I hope you’re sitting down.” Then she told me what Mark Gilbert’s lawyers were charging. It sounded like telephone numbers to me — a heart-stopping amount. ‘With the recession, business is very tight, and I can’t lay my hands on that kind of money.

‘So, basically, Mr Gilbert can steal a cheque off me and get a couple of months’ holiday in Australia at my expense, while I may be forced to sell my home to settle his enormous legal costs. How can that be justice?

‘He was never threatened with violence. If he had, don’t you think we would have been arrested for assault? We only tied him up because I was worried about how he might react when confronted, and feared for our safety.’ He adds that they even put carpet down in the back of the van so Mr Gilbert wouldn’t get hurt.

‘I’m not a violent person. I spoke calmly to him at all times, and explained everything that was going to happen. Obviously he didn’t want to be embarrassed. Perhaps that was a stupid thing for me to do, but I stand by it and accept the consequences.

‘This will be the most painful cheque I’ve ever had to write, and the worst part is I’d never have been put in this position if he hadn’t stolen from me in the first place.

‘People have accused me of being judge, jury and executioner, but I had the evidence in my hands — the company cheque with my forged signature. He admitted it.


Australia: Camouflage uniforms (!) for prisoners

IF QUEENSLAND'S highest-security prisoners escape from custody, they could be difficult to recapture for one reason - their uniforms. Queensland Corrective Services has "camouflaged" 5470 of the state's 5631 inmates since issuing new-look green, khaki and denim uniforms last year.

The uniforms were designed by Brisbane TAFE students as part of a competition which provided $1000 prizemoney to three students.

While prisoners around the world are forced to dress distinctly to hinder their escape, Queensland prisoners could blend into their mostly rural surrounds. US prisoners wear orange or yellow jumpsuits and violent offenders wear red and white striped uniforms, while escape-risk inmates in the UK wear bright-coloured boiler suits.

But Queensland prisoners had the choice of a two-tone green T-shirt, singlet or jumper with shorts, tracksuit or cargo pants, which were made by prisoners at Lotus Glen, Townsville, Woodford and Brisbane Women's Correctional Centres. This colour scheme more closely resembles what armed forces wear to help them avoid detection in battle.

Opposition corrections spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said the gaffe was symbolic of the problems within corrective services. Mr Bleijie said escaped inmates would blend into the bushland surrounding most jails and would also be indistinguishable from non-prisoners in crowded spaces.

"Having just completed a comprehensive induction to Queensland prisons I was shocked to see first-hand the camo-like prison-issue uniforms," he said. "Many an eyebrow was raised when I mentioned the issue with prison staff and it was clear frontline prison officers had no input into the design. "You should be able to distinguish between an average `Joe Blow' walking down the street and a prisoner."

Corrective Services Minister Neil Roberts said the uniform would not be changed. "The words `Correctional Centre Issue' are clearly marked on the new uniforms in upper-case, white lettering, which is also slightly reflective," he said. [And those not in the know could well assume that the lettering describes STAFF!]

Mr Roberts said that some prisoners wore bright orange uniforms within workshops at high-security jails. "There has not been an escape from a high-security prison in Queensland since the Nationals were last in power in 1998," he said.


Survey finds many Australians are critical of Muslims and Jews

This report was of course headlined as showing "racism". It does nothing of the sort. As psychologists have known for decades, negative attitudes about various groups do NOT predict any wilingness or intention to treat the groups concerned badly (See e.g. here and here. Andrew Bolt has some sarcastic comments )

Half of Australians harbour anti-Muslim sentiments and a quarter are anti-Semitic, according to the biggest survey ever done on racism in this country. One in three also admit some level of racist feelings against indigenous people, reported the Herald Sun.

The survey of 12,500 people, conducted by leading universities, found Victoria to be one of the most tolerant states. But comparisons between 15 regions statewide show stark differences.

People in Melbourne's outer north, including the shires of Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Hume, recorded Victoria's highest rates of negative sentiments against Jews (31.4 per cent), Asians (26.8 per cent) and Britons (12.8 per cent).

Anti-Muslim feelings were highest in outer western council areas of Melton, Wyndham and Brimbank, but these areas also reported the state's lowest rates of racist attitudes to Asians and Italians.

The 12-year study found 84 per cent of people have seen evidence of racial prejudice. And more than 40 per cent believed "Australia is weakened by people of different ethnic origins sticking to their old ways".

Study co-author Dr Yin Paradies, from the University of Melbourne, said racism against minorities was most common in areas that were more highly populated by those minorities. "There is a general finding across the world that ethnic density tends to be related to levels of racism, but not always," he said. "The inner (Melbourne) suburbs tended to have very tolerant attitudes, but there is quite a bit of ethnic diversity there."

The council areas of Melbourne, Port Phillip, Stonnington and Yarra boasted Victoria's highest levels of "cross-cultural relations" and fewest calls for "pro-assimilation". However, inner Melbourne residents surveyed for the Challenging Racism Project also recorded the highest rates of anti-Christian (21.3 per cent) and anti-Italian (12.6 per cent) sentiments.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke praised Victorians generally, but admitted concern at some of the findings. "Multiculturalism isn't an end point. It's something we have to keep working on," she 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.