Thursday, March 08, 2012
When "all men are equal" unjustly hurts women
British women face £362 rise in car insurance: EU ruling means they lose benefit for having fewer accidents
Millions of women drivers could have to pay an extra £362 a year for their car insurance after a ruling by European judges, it emerged yesterday. The increase follows a decision that men cannot be charged more for their policies even though they are more likely to have a serious crash.
The ruling, described by critics as ‘madness’, means that from December 21 women drivers – although generally safer – will no longer be able to access cheaper car insurance rates because of their gender.
Labour transport spokesman John Woodcock said female drivers face an ‘insurance timebomb’ and called on ministers to curb the impact of the ruling.
Analysis by Labour found that women could end up paying an extra £362 a year, around £30 a month. A Treasury analysis revealed that women of all ages would see their premiums increase by up to 24 per cent on average. Young men would see theirs fall on average by 9 per cent.
Insurance experts warned that younger women will be hit particularly badly as they will end up having to pay the same premiums as ‘boy racers’. A woman under the age of 22 pays around £1,682 in car insurance while a young man is charged an average of £2,750. [Which is about 3 times as much as the same person would pay in Australia. Australia has much less insurance fraud]
This is because men under 22 are ten times more likely to have a serious crash, 25 times more likely to commit a driving offence and twice as likely to make an insurance claim.
Policies with more than one named driver will be adversely affected if the main policy holder is a woman.
When a man is the main driver and a woman the ‘named’ driver, premiums are likely to come down. The changes will be forced through without Parliament having the chance to fight the ruling by the European Court of Justice.
Experts say the overall cost to UK customers of the judgment – based on a case brought by a consumer group in Belgium – will be almost £1billion.
Motoring groups warn the ruling could lead to more deaths on the roads if young men benefiting from lower premiums buy faster cars.
Mr Woodcock urged ministers to put pressure on insurance companies not to round up rates to the average paid by men.
Labour wants to see every insurance company being forced to offer drivers at least one black box product. The boxes allow motorists to prove how safe they are by recording how they drive. Those who drive carefully or don’t drive at night could benefit from cheaper premiums.
Mr Woodcock told the Daily Mail: ‘At a time when motorists are already being squeezed by record fuel prices, women will be dismayed that out-of-touch ministers are not lifting a finger to defuse the insurance timebomb heading their way from Europe. ‘Premiums for women are currently less because they tend to have fewer accidents.
The Government must not sit back and let the insurance industry round up to the highest level they think they can get away with – that could mean hikes of up to £362 for women.
‘The ban on insurance by gender means women will need to find different ways to prove they are safe, but currently not enough insurers offer new black box technology that helps safer drivers get lower premiums.’
Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘Three weeks ago the Prime Minister held a meeting for the insurance industry at Downing Street. But because we are not prepared to do anything about Europe, we can do absolutely nothing about this madness.’
Until now, discrimination in setting insurance rates has been permitted under EU equal treatment rules allowing the market to base the price of a financial product on the statistical likelihood of a person having an accident, falling ill or dying.
All insurance products will be affected by the new ruling. For life insurance, men could see a 10 per cent fall in costs, while women’s rates could rise by as much as 20 per cent as they live longer.
Malcolm Tarling, from the Association of British Insurers, said: ‘This gender ban is disappointing news for UK consumers and something the UK insurance industry has fought against for the last decade.’
Let’s call it quits on Britain's equality law
The Equality Act is less about ending oppression and more about enforcing state-approved behaviour
On Monday, the Clearing the Ground inquiry, staffed by a cross-party group of Christian MPs, published its report into ‘the freedom of Christians in the UK’. The report called for the Equality Act 2010 to be used to enforce ‘reasonable accommodation’ for Christians, with legal recourse in the form of compensation for those deemed by the courts to have been treated unfairly on the grounds of their Christian beliefs.
The report comes at time when many in politics and in the media consider it is vital to offer their diagnoses of the state of spiritual life in the UK. On the one hand, we have Conservative Party co-chair Baroness Warsi, who earlier this month argued that the UK was suffering from a ‘militant secularisation’ and called for British people to be more ‘confident’ in their Christianity. On the other hand, we have evolutionary scientist and atheist poster boy Richard Dawkins claiming that actually none of us are as religious as we thought. Today, everyone who is anyone needs a view on religion and its place in British society.
Accordingly, Clearing the Ground was charged with answering the question: ‘Are Christians marginalised in the UK?’ It may not be surprising that their answer to that one was ‘yes’. But following in the tradition of public inquiries, it helpfully answered a lot of questions that no one had actually asked: ‘Is the United Kingdom displaying symptoms of “religious illiteracy”?’ Yes. ‘Do organisations need more guidance as to how to accommodate Christian people?’ Yes. While its initial remit was narrow, it soon becomes clear that this inquiry set itself the task of fixing the ‘endemic secularisation’ identified by Warsi.
Yet there was a contradiction at the heart of the report’s findings. While calling for an extension of the law into more aspects of religious life, it took as its starting point the idea that the interests of the law and religion are often fundamentally opposed. It noted, rightly, that this conflict is most profoundly felt in the UK when it comes to freedom of expression. The report was pained to list case after case in which the rights of religious people to express themselves freely had been disregarded in the name of laws purporting to promote equality.
Take the shocking case of Dale McAlpine, who was charged under the Public Order Act 1986 on the basis that his preaching, which included proclaiming that homosexuality was a sin, amounted to a hate crime. For expressing an unconscionable opinion, McAlpine was prosecuted and taken to court, only for the charges then to be dropped with an apology from the police. Or take Adrian Smith, who was demoted within Trafford Housing Trust for posting a Facebook status update opposing gay marriage and for arguing that ‘the state should not impose its rules on places of faith and conscience’. The report is full of examples of the law fostering a climate in which the rights of religious people to express themselves freely are routinely subjugated.
Yet, despite acknowledging that the law has frequently been used against religious people expressing their beliefs, the report bizarrely argues for yet more legal intervention. The problem, in the eyes of the inquiry, is that the law does not make things quite equal enough. This desperate, pleading, ‘what about me?’ logic is used by many religious pressure groups, who in the past have similarly argued that the law does not go far enough to enforce the rights of religious people. However, this argument does not chime with the demands of many out there in the real world, such as Adrian Smith, who do not want the state interfering in religious matters at all.
But this is not only about the rights of religious people. Litigation under the Equality Act has had a corrosive effect on one of the most fundamental rights of everyone throughout society: the right to discriminate. When Peter and Hazelmary Bull were hauled up in front of the courts in 2011 for refusing entry to two homosexual men to their bed-and-breakfast establishment, which was also their home, it was not the rights of the homosexuals to stay at any hotel they liked that was at stake. After all, if you spend a weekend in my old hometown of Brighton, where gay-only hotels abound, you will realise that the right to stay in any hotel you like regardless of your sexuality does not exist. Neither should it. Nor was it about religion: refusing someone entry to your home is hardly an act of worship.
Rather it was about the rights of two admittedly homophobic people to refuse to mix with people that they did not want to. At the conclusion of these proceedings, the Bulls were effectively told that their own judgement about who they did and did not want to mix with was wrong, and that they should have to pay damages of £3,600 for trying to uphold it. Ironically, the very legislation that Clearing the Ground now seeks to extend has already eroded a right crucial to religious people: the right to organise their institutions in a manner of their own choosing.
The right of individuals to discriminate allows us to organise our lives without having to justify ourselves to anyone. That is why it is a mistake to see the Equality Act as an heir to other legislative reforms that historically brought oppressed people to be more equal and free before the law. The act does little more than cajole private individuals and institutions into behaving the way the state wants them to.
This can’t make people more moral, nor society more fair, but it does try to make both more obedient. It’s not only religious people like Adrian Smith who should resist the ‘expansion’ of the Equality Act but anyone who values their own judgement in ‘matters of conscience’, religious or otherwise.
Prisoners, terrorists and gipsies should be handed MORE human rights, declares British equality qango
Prisoners, gipsies, terrorists and union activists routinely have their human rights abused, a highly controversial report will claim today.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has spent at least £150,000 of taxpayers’ money publishing a review into how public bodies safeguard people’s rights.
The left-wing quango, led by former Labour politician Trevor Phillips, has concluded that ‘more could be done to improve human rights protections of some,’ which also included vulnerable people in care homes and victims of crime.
But it contentiously calls for more rights for groups that include criminals, travellers and gipsies on illegal camps, and suspected extremists.
Some of the EHRC’s conclusions will spark anger because they are in defiance of the rulings of law made in Britain’s courts and decisions made in Parliament.
In one of its most controversial findings, the report, due to be published this morning, states that prisoners should be given the right to vote. In February last year, MPs voted to continue to deny inmates a chance to vote in elections despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
But the report, called How Fair Is Britain?, states: ‘Human rights... apply to everyone, even unpopular minorities.
‘Offenders may be punished with a prison sentence, which means a denial of their right to liberty. Treating the right to vote as a privilege to be removed for bad behaviour is a disproportionate interference with a fundamental right.’
The report also states that travellers and gipsies had no choice but to occupy sites illegally because local authorities had undermined their rights by failing to provide land for caravans. Evicting them therefore contravened Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – the right to a private and family life.
‘Gipsy and traveller communities face a shortage of caravan sites,’ the report claims. ‘This means it is difficult for them to practise their traditional way of life.’
It echoed a claim by the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe last week that October’s eviction of 80 families illegally camped at Dale Farm, near Basildon, Essex, was an outrage against human rights.
Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘I don’t really think the commission needed to spend tens of thousands of pounds telling us we need more human rights – that’s the reason for its existence. It seems a complete waste of money.
‘In many cases the people who the commission says are not getting human rights have forfeited them.
‘Do prisoners think of the human rights of the victims of their crime? Do travellers think of the human rights of those whose land they illegally camp on? Not for a second.
‘These are the only people who seem to have rights, not the decent law-abiding people whose rights seem to be ignored time after time.’
The document, which took more than two years to compile, also criticises Britain’s terror laws.
Currently, those suspected of terrorism-related offences can be held without charge for up to 14 days. ‘The EHRC has argued that the maximum period of pre-charge detention should be four days,’ states the report.
And only those who have committed terror-related crimes should be subject to Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) – Government orders which place strict restrictions on terror suspects. The report said that TPIMs ‘violate long-held principles of civil liberties, including the prohibition on punishment for what people might do rather than what they have done’.
Professor Geraldine Van Bueren, an EHRC commissioner, said: ‘Human rights should not only get our attention when people we might not like try to use them. Nor should the value of human rights be limited to when we see what happens to people in other countries when these rights do not exist.’
The EHRC report also criticised the ‘detailed rules for holding a ballot’ among members of a union threatening industrial action which meant it was ‘too easy’ for bosses to challenge strikes as unlawful.
The report also highlights its own study which found the treatment of vulnerable elderly people in some care homes was so appalling that pensioners were left ‘wanting to die’.
The War on Conservative Women
I'm sorry Rush Limbaugh called 30-year-old Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut." She's really just another professional femme-a-gogue helping to manufacture a false narrative about the GOP "war on women." I'm sorry the civility police now have an opening to demonize the entire right based on one radio comment -- because it's the progressive left in this country that has viciously and systematically slimed female conservatives for their beliefs.
We have the well-worn battle scars to prove it. And no, we don't need coddling phone calls from the pandering president of the United States to convince us to stand up and fight.
At his first press conference of the year on Tuesday, the Nation's Concern Troll explained that he phoned Fluke to send a message to his daughters and all women that they shouldn't be "attacked or called horrible names because they are being good citizens." After inserting himself into the fray and dragging Sasha and Malia into the debate, Obama then told a reporter he "didn't want to get into the business of arbitrating" language and civility. Too late, pal.
The fact is, "slut" is one of the nicer things I've been called over 20 years of public life. In college during the late 1980s, it was "race traitor," "coconut" (brown on the outside white on the inside) and "white man's puppet." After my first book, "Invasion," came out in 2001, it was "immigrant-hater," the "Radical Right's Asian Pitbull," "Tokyo Rose" and "Aunt Tomasina." In my third book, 2005's "Unhinged," I published entire chapters of hate mail rife with degrading, unprintable sexual epithets and mockery of my Filipino heritage.
If I had a dollar for every time libs have called me a "Manila whore" and "Subic Bay bar girl," I'd be able to pay for a ticket to a Hollywood-for-Obama fundraiser.
Self-serving opponents argue that such attacks do not represent "respectable," "mainstream" liberal opinion about their conservative female counterparts. But it was feminist godmother Gloria Steinem who called Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison a "female impersonator." It was NOW leader Patricia Ireland who commanded her flock to only vote for "authentic" female political candidates. It was Al Gore consultant Naomi Wolf who accused the late Jeane Kirkpatrick of being "uninflected by the experiences of the female body."
It was Matt Taibbi, now of Rolling Stone magazine, who mocked my early championing of the tea party movement by jibing: "Now when I read her stuff, I imagine her narrating her text, book-on-tape style, with a big, hairy set of (redacted) in her mouth. It vastly improves her prose."
It was Keith Olbermann, then at MSNBC and now at Al Gore's Current TV, who wrote on Twitter that columnist S.E. Cupp was "a perfect demonstration of the necessity of the work Planned Parenthood does" and who called me a "mashed up bag of meat with lipstick on it." He stands by those remarks. Olbermann has been a special guest at the White House.
Some of us have not forgotten when liberal Wisconsin radio host John "Sly" Sylvester outrageously accused GOP Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch of performing "fellatio on all the talk-show hosts in Milwaukee" and sneered that she had "pulled a train" (a crude phrase for gang sex). (Earlier, he called former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a "black trophy" and "Aunt Jemima.")
Or when MSNBC misogynist Ed Schultz called talk show host Laura Ingraham a "talk slut" for criticizing Obama's petty beer summit. Or when Playboy published a list of the top 10 conservative women who deserved to be "hate-f**ked." The article, which was promoted by Anne Schroeder Mullins at Politico.com, included Ingraham, "The View's" Elisabeth Hasselbeck, former Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann and others. Yours truly topped the list with the following description: a "highly f**kable Filipina" and "a regular on Fox News, where her tight body and get-off-my-lawn stare just scream, 'Do me!'"
And then there's the left's war on Sarah Palin, which would require an entire national forest of trees to publish.
A reporter asked Obama to comment on examples of liberal hate speech at Tuesday's press conference. He whiffed, of course. This is, after all, the brave leader who sat on his hands while his street thugs attacked tea party mothers and grandmothers as "Koch whores" during the fight over union reform in Wisconsin. (As I reported last week, his re-election campaign is now targeting the Koch brothers' private foundation donors in a parallel effort to chill conservative speech and activism.) He's leading by example.
So no, we won't get any phone calls from Mr. Civility. Acknowledging the war on conservative women would obliterate The Narrative. Enjoy the silence.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. 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.