Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Store security guard is fired for chasing a thief who swiped 20 DVDs... because of crazy British 'elf and safety obsession

When security guard Charles Oloro spotted a shoplifter slipping out of his store with an armful of DVDs, he knew exactly what to do. He gave chase through the shopping centre before catching him and marching him back to the store.

But instead of being congratulated by his bosses, the 42-year-old HMV worker was sacked for apprehending a suspect outside the shop premises.

HMV policy is for security guards to avoid all confrontations with suspects that have the potential to escalate into something more serious. That includes trying to catch thieves once they have carried their stolen goods through the exit doors.

A spokesman for the chain said the rules were introduced in 2007 after a member of staff was stabbed to death in Norwich after apprehending a thief.

Mr Oloro, who has worked for HMV for 14 years, caught the thief in the St Nicholas Centre, Sutton, South London, on New Year’s Eve. He had been watching him acting suspiciously around a display of DVDs. The man had picked up about 20 films before making his way towards the exit.

Once he was close to the doors, he darted out pursued by a quick-thinking Mr Oloro – who caught him 30ft away.

The security guard then frogmarched him back to the shop where he called police. But despite recovering the stolen goods, his actions saw him hauled in front of his bosses, and led to him losing his job.

Mr Oloro, who has two mortgages to pay, said he was just trying to help the shop and save them from losing money. He said: ‘Twenty DVDs is £200 for the shop and that was too much to lose. ‘In a time of recession, I just wanted to save the shop money, and this is how they repay me.’ He said he even went to his manager after the incident to apologise for leaving the shop.

HMV later issued a statement defending their actions.

A spokesman said: ‘While I am not in a position to give specific details of why Mr Oloro has been dismissed... not least because he still has a right of appeal, which we would not wish to prejudice, I can confirm he was asked to leave for an accumulation of reasons.’

But HMV customer Kieran Spears, defended Mr Oloro’s actions. ‘Charlie is a hero,’ he said. ‘He has been there as long as I remember, he’s such a nice guy and everyone knows him. ‘What is the point in having security guards if they cannot tackle thieves?


Let people wear the cross with pride: Bishops join motion to defend Christianity against human rights zealots

Three bishops will call for the Church of England's national assembly to stand up for the right of Christians to wear a cross. They are among more than a hundred members of the Synod to sign a motion condemning the 'silencing' of outward displays of Christianity.

Supporters say the Church should defend Christians against the 'overzealous' interpretation of human rights and equality legislation by judges, politicians and employers.

The motion also calls for the Church to make a landmark statement that wearing a cross is an integral part of the Christian faith. It cites 'ludicrous' cases of Christian practices and symbols being forbidden.

The motion also adds that attempts to scrap prayers at council meetings and to ban employees from wearing the cross could ultimately lead to religion being confined to the home.

The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Rev Donald Allister, told The Sunday Telegraph: 'It is to say, OK, if you say wearing a cross isn’t a compulsory part of Christianity, we agree. 'But it is a duty of a Christian to be public about their faith as well as private, and that is clear New Testament teaching.'

The intervention by clergy and lay members of the General Synod comes as four Christians who believe they have suffered discrimination for their beliefs fight a landmark legal battle in the European Court of Human Rights.

The motion highlights the case of Gary McFarlane, a marriage counsellor who was fired for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexual couples.

Mr McFarlane is one of four Christians taking legal action at a landmark European Court of Human Rights hearing because they believe British laws have failed to protect their human rights to wear religious symbols or opt out of gay rights legislation.

Mr McFarlane, from Bristol, was sacked by marriage guidance service Relate in 2008 after he said he could not do anything to promote gay sex.

The former church elder has again appealed on the grounds of religious discrimination that Relate had refused to accommodate his religious beliefs.

He lost his appeal for unfair dismissal at Bristol Crown Court in April 2010 and accused senior judges of being biased against Christianity.

The other cases in the action are of Shirley Chaplin, a Devon nurse banned from working on the wards after she failed to hide a cross she had worn since the age of 16, Nadia Eweida, a check-in clerk for British Airways who was told to remove her small crucifix at work and registrar Lilian Ladele, who was disciplined by Islington council in North London after refusing to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies.

The Rev Stephen Trott, a rector in Boughton, Northampton, who drew up the motion, said: 'There are four cases being appealed currently to the ECHR and that’s an example of the sort of court action where we would be able to say that the established Church, which is part of the law of the land, takes the view that it’s not only a right, it’s a duty of Christians to manifest their faith in public.'

In December, former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron on their behalf.

But the Government told the European Court of Human Rights that it backed the British judges and does not accept that the Christians have suffered discrimination. To the dismay of Lord Carey, the Government even said that wearing a cross or a crucifix was not a 'generally recognised' Christian practice – even though Church leaders say it is a hugely significant symbol.

Lord Carey said: ‘I am very disappointed for the individuals concerned who have simply followed their conscience. 'Such is the result of a liberal establishment that has become deeply illiberal.'


No chance of the Church of England connecting with British youth

As if the Guardian were not already preachy enough, it has signed up an actual preacher to write its leaders and op-eds. The Rev Dr Giles Fraser resigned as a canon of St Paul’s in sympathy with people camped on its doorstep for whom I think the kindest word is “troubled”. His departure puzzled his colleagues, who had detected beneath his right-on sound bites a Trollopian eagerness for preferment. They were wrong. Giles is now a professional hack, and he has used his first big article to suggest that the Occupy movement may “revitalise traditional Christianity”.

Of all the delusions nurtured by Left-wing Christians, perhaps the loopiest is that anyone under the age of 40 gives a monkey’s about their opinions. Let me spell this out for ex-Canon Fraser (who, like his former boss Richard Chartres, is jolly keen on his “Doctor” title, though unlike the bishop he at least has a proper doctorate).

Chartres could don mitre and nose-peg and ordain the Occupy protesters as priests of the Church of England and it still wouldn’t revitalise Christianity. England’s few remaining churchgoers have lost any sympathy they had with the smelly fanatics, who yesterday locked boy scouts out of their London headquarters so they could squat in it.

But the crucial point is that the sharpest young opinion-formers are atheists. This is a development that seems to have been missed by the old boobies who pass for bishops in the Anglican and Catholic Churches. It’s a rapid and startling change in our religious landscape and not one that is going to be reversed.

The average bright 25-year-old Briton isn’t looking for supernatural solutions to existential problems. Senior churchmen speak of the “spiritual hunger” of the young. That’s wishful thinking. The next generation don’t believe in God. Few of them frame their arguments as rabidly as Richard Dawkins; they don’t all use the word “atheist” – “humanist” is cooler – but that’s what they are. If they worship anything, it’s “human rights” or, in the case of Johann Hari, Laurie Penny and Owen Jones, themselves.

Their attitude towards Christians ranges from indifference to hatred. This is partly thanks to the paedophile scandal in the Catholic Church. We can argue about the extent to which this has been misreported, but not about the fact that crimes against children were covered up by bishops (and not just conservative ones, either). These crimes were seized upon by academics, writers and opportunistic publishers to create an indestructible caricature of institutional Christianity.

One reason that caricature isn’t challenged is that this is the first generation of young people whose parents didn’t go to church themselves. Their religious education consists of nativity plays, visits to Sikh temples and lectures about energy-saving light bulbs.

But that doesn’t make the new atheists stupid, despite their intergalactic levels of conceit. The brightest of them are far, far cleverer than the bishops, who (if you ignore the puzzling anomaly of Rowan Williams) are men of middling intellect – and that’s being polite, in the case of the Catholic hierarchy. All that drivel about “religion in the public square” makes me want to convert to a more rigorous creed, such as a Prince Philip-worshipping cargo cult. I was going to suggest that, for all the good they do, the bishops might as well join Giles Fraser and write Guardian leaders for a living. But, frankly, they’re not up to it.


The lessons of the fall of communism have still not been learnt

The air is filled with noisy outrage about the moral emergency of the day. We are, according to the leaders of every major political party, in the midst of a crisis of capitalism. However bountiful the free market system may have been at its best, it is now in such deep disrepute that any politician who wishes to remain credible must join in the general vilification.

Even in this storm of condemnation, everyone has to admit that there is actually no alternative to free market economics or to the private banking system. So the competition is strictly between adjectives: “responsible” or sometimes “socially responsible” banking are great favourites, but now Ed Miliband has produced something called a “national banking system”, which is presumably not to be confused with a nationalised banking system. The Miliband neologism is intended to suggest banking that takes the concerns of the nation (or the population?) as its own. Whether he sees this role as voluntary or enforced was unclear from his speech last week.

But in spite of the official agreement that there is no other way to organise the economic life of a free society than the present one (with a few tweaks), there are an awful lot of people implicitly behaving as if there were. Several political armies seem to be running on the assumption that there is still a viable contest between capitalism and Something Else.

If this were just the hard Left within a few trade unions and a fringe collection of Socialist Workers’ Party headbangers, it would not much matter. But the truth is that a good proportion of the population harbours a vague notion that there exists a whole other way of doing things that is inherently more benign and “fair” – in which nobody is hurt or disadvantaged – available for the choosing, if only politicians had the will or the generosity to embrace it.

Why do they believe this? Because the lesson that should have been absorbed at the tumultuous end of the last century never found its way into popular thinking – or even into the canon of educated political debate.

Can I suggest that you try the following experiment? Gather up a group of bright, reasonably well-educated 18-year-olds and ask them what world event occurred in 1945. They will, almost certainly, be able to give you an informed account of how the Second World War ended, and at least a generally accurate picture of its aftermath. Now try asking them what historical milestone came to pass in 1989. I am willing to bet that this question will produce mute, blank looks.

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism which followed it are hugely important to any proper understanding of the present world and of the contemporary political economy. Why is it that they have failed to be addressed with anything like their appropriate awesome significance, let alone found their place in the sixth-form curriculum?

The failure of communism should have been, after all, not just a turning point in geo-political power – the ending of the Cold War and the break-up of the Warsaw Pact – but in modern thinking about the state and its relationship to the economy, about collectivism vs individualism, and about public vs private power. Where was the discussion, the trenchant analysis, or the fundamental debate about how and why the collectivist solutions failed, which should have been so pervasive that it would have percolated down from the educated classes to the bright 18-year-olds? Fascism is so thoroughly (and, of course, rightly) repudiated that even the use of the word as a casual slur is considered slanderous, while communism, which enslaved more people for longer (and also committed mass murder), is regarded with almost sentimental condescension.

Is this because it was originally thought to be idealistic and well-intentioned? If so, then that in itself is a reason for examining its failure very closely. We need to know why a system that began with the desire to free people from their chains ended by imprisoning them behind a wall. Certainly we have had some great works of investigation into the Soviet gulags and the practices of the East German Stasi, but judging by our present political discourse, I think it is safe to say that the basic fallacies of the state socialist system have not really permeated through to public consciousness.

It would, if one were so inclined, be fairly easy to assume that the grotesque activities of the Stasi, or the Soviet labour camps, were aberrations or betrayals of the true communist philosophy – and a great many people (even within the mainstream Labour party) did believe precisely that for decades. When the entire edifice simply dissolved with an almost bloodless whimper and its masses were free to tell their stories of what life had actually been like under the great alternative to capitalism, that was the end of self-delusion – and it should have been the beginning of the serious discussion.

But in our everyday politics, we still seem to be unable to make up our minds about the moral superiority of the free market. We are still ambivalent about the value of competition, which remains a dirty word when applied, for example, to health care. We continue to long for some utopian formula that will rule out the possibility of inequalities of wealth, or even of social advantages such as intelligence and personal confidence.

The idea that no system – not even a totalitarian one – could ensure such a total eradication of “unfairness” without eliminating the distinguishing traits of individual human beings was one of the lessons learnt by the Soviet experiment. The attempt to abolish unfairness based on class was replaced by corruption and a new hierarchy based on party status.

If the European intellectual elite had not been so compromised by its own broad acceptance of collectivist beliefs, maybe we would have had a genuine, far-reaching re-appraisal of the entire ideological framework. And that might have led to a more honest political dialogue in which everybody might now be talking sensibly about capitalism and how it needs to be managed. It is people – not markets – that are moral or immoral.

Communism’s fatal error was in thinking that morality resided in the mechanisms of an economic system rather than in the people who operated them. There is no way of avoiding the need for individual responsibility, which lies with citizens, not governments – or with bankers as people, not with the “banking system”. Some political leader (David Cameron?) needs to have the nerve to say this or we shall be talking nonsense forever.



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. 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.


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