Sunday, April 01, 2012

Britain's Labour Party led the argument that the state should play a key role in regulation of the Press

Debate over reform of Britain's Press Complaints Commission

A Labour-dominated group of MPs and peers fiercely argued that the state should play a key role in regulation of the Press, the fine print of the report reveals.

This led to the committee being split and having to take the unusual step of voting on a series of proposed amendments to their findings.

One key proposal, which would reverse centuries of press freedom, was for the state to oversee a new media regulator replacing the Press Complaints Commission.

The move was backed by Labour peer and former newspaper publisher Lord Hollick, who failed to turn around the ailing Daily Express, once the most successful newspaper in Britain, and sold it and its sister titles to Richard Desmond.

The amendment said: ‘Regulation of the Press must be independent of government. But it is clear that the current system of self-regulation is broken and needs fixing.

‘We welcome the initiative taken by [PCC boss] Lord Hunt of Wirral in bringing forward industry-led proposals for substantial reform of the Press Complaints Commission.

Backing; Others who voted for the move included former Labour Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, left and former Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury Lord Boateng, right

‘However, we think that statutory oversight of the reformed regulator is desirable. Otherwise major publishers could opt out of its regulation. Statutory oversight of the regulator would give it more authority over the industry and give the public greater confidence in it.’

Others who voted for the move included former BBC journalist and Labour Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, who has helped lead the party’s pursuit of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers over phone hacking, and former Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury Lord Boateng. Lord Janvrin, who used to work as the Queen’s press officer, also supported the move.

Those who blocked the move included Conservative peers Lord Mawhinney, Lord Dobbs and Lord Black and MPs Penny Mordaunt, John Whittingdale and Philip Davies. Labour peer Lord Myners and Labour MP Paul Farrelly also voted against, as did Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood.


Brutal exercise, hard work and strict education - topped off with a bit of musical theatre: The days Borstals knocked yobs into shape

Borstals were introduced in Britain in 1902. The template was public boarding schools (with very secure locks) and the theory was that if delinquent youths (aged 16 to 21) were subjected to a similar regime of brutal exercise, house masters, dorms, endless lessons and the strict regime of the house system, they’d develop self-discipline and a sense of pride, and turn their backs on crime in a flash.

Unlike British boarding schools, corporal punishment (birching) was barred except in special  circumstances and with special permission.

But it wasn’t all outdoor swimming, flower arranging and jolly dorms. The day started at 6am sharp with a brisk two-mile run and no breakfast (cold porridge, bread and jam) for any stragglers.

Next came cleaning and chores — bricklaying, construction work, farming, hedge-trimming, or whatever was on the agenda, followed by six hours a week of evening education either in the Borstal or local technical colleges and singing and drama workshops. Food was basic but filling, the youths were generally fit and healthy, discipline was robust and visitors were discouraged.

Borstals were more about training, correction and developing employability, and less about punishment. For many boys, there was more on offer than at home — three square meals a day and physical, mental and religious discipline. Upon their release, they were given help with lodgings, jobs and funding, and reoffending rates were low.

It wasn’t just boys. Girls (housed in separate all-women Borstals) were taught to cook, sew, iron and clean, and learned basic farming skills, flower arranging and nursing. They let off steam with netball matches, group exercise classes, dancing and ping-pong.

Borstal training was not an unqualified success. Bullying among the boys was rife. Housemasters at Rochester Borstal were constantly combing the local Medway valley for absconders — in the early 1940s there were more than 100 escapees a year.

Which is little surprise, because although many of the youths had committed only lesser offences — petty theft, minor assault — and ‘training sentences’ were indeterminate, stretching anything up to five years, until they were deemed ‘corrected’. But most youths did emerge fit, able and, thanks to the skills training, ready and eager to work.

The abolition of borstals in 1983 by Margaret Thatcher’s government left a black hole in the youth justice system.

Many people (including London Mayor Boris Johnson) consider the unique combination of hard work, self-improvement and rigid discipline was far more effective than the young offender institutions that replaced them, and which seem to offer a daily diet of snooker and television shows on wide-screen plasma TVs.

Of the young rioters arrested last year, more than three-quarters were re-offenders whose incarceration apparently had little effect. It would be interesting to know how many of them are able to bake bread, milk a cow, build a wall or, indeed, whistle a tune from the Mikado.


Christian T-Shirt Company Faces Boycott & Investigation for Declining Service to Gay Pride Group

A t-shirt business in Lexington, Kentucky has drawn the ire of critics after refusing to print shirts for the city’s annual gay pride parade. The company, called Hands On Originals, told parade organizers that its Christian beliefs are the reason that it has declined the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington’s (GLSO) request.

In response, GLSO has filed a discrimination complaint with Lexington’s Human Rights Commission. The commission works on the local level to ensure that discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation and the like doesn’t take place in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The gay rights group wants to make the community aware of the situation and, based on statements from the president of the organization’s board of directors, is hoping that the stand-off will, to some degree, impact how the community interacts with the t-shirt company. Here’s a copy of the complaint:

“Hands On Originals does a lot of business in this town, and people should be aware of the situation, so they can make an informed decision about whether they want to buy from them,” said Aaron Baker, who is president of the group’s board of directors. ”It came as a shock because many of us are Christians, too, and what’s that have to do with anything?”

The problem, of course, is that most Christian denominations, based on biblical principles, stand firmly opposed to homosexuality, gay marriage and other related social phenomena. Interestingly, the company’s web site does have a logo that says “Hands on Faith” at the bottom left-hand side of its front page; it links out to a Christian apparel portion of the Hands On Originals business.

In addition to the complaint, a Facebook page has been created called “Boycott Hands On Originals.” Already, the effort has over 1,200 supporters. Additionally, the Fayette County Public School District has placed a temporary hold on all orders from the t-shirt company, with the city’s mayor, Jim Gray, saying, ”People don’t have patience for this sort of attitude today.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader has more about the situation:
Baker said the organization had gotten quotes from a number of Central Kentucky T-shirt companies, including Hands On Originals, and had selected it as the best local bid. The T-shirts for the fifth annual event were to include a stylized number 5 on the front along with “Lexington Pride Festival” and the event’s sponsors on the back.

Baker said Hands On Originals co-owner Blaine Adamson told the GLSO in a follow-up call that the company was declining the order “because we’re a Christian organization” but had found another company that would honor its price.

While Hands On Originals has declined to speak about the situation, the company did release a statement to the Herald-Leader. In it, while stating that the business does, indeed, employ and do business with people of all stripes, the business owners also made it clear that endorsing a cause they disagreed with was not something they were willing to do.

“Hands On Originals both employs and conducts business with people of all genders, races, religions, sexual preferences and national origins,” the company’s owner, Blaine Adamson, said. “However, due to the promotional nature of our products, it is the prerogative of the company to refuse any order that would endorse positions that conflict with the convictions of the ownership.”

The complaint that GLSO filed will likely lead Lexington’s Human Rights Commission to send a letter to the business asking for a written response. A formal investigation into consumer practices will then follow. If the parties don’t come to a settlement, the investigation could lead to compensatory damages being issued in GLSO’s favor, as there may be complications for the Hands On Originals in its fight, as it is a business and not a church or Christian group.

Recently, The Blaze asked you some questions surrounding this very important scenario. Should Christian business owners be able to turn gay customers away — and vice-versa? Here’s the original poll that allowed you to weigh in on the discussion.


Illinois acts to help job hunters maintain privacy on Facebook

Meticulously setting the privacy settings on your social media accounts could be for naught if a potential employer invites you to log in during the interview and reviews your Facebook page.

Researching job applicants through their social media use has become a well-known part of the screening process, but asking for total access is something one Illinois lawmaker thinks goes too far.

"It is just violating a person's right to privacy," said state Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago. After hearing from constituents who said they were asked to turn over Facebook access to prospective employers, Ford introduced a bill that would make the request illegal.

The legislation would provide a safeguard for those who would be too afraid to tell an employer no, he said. "They feel they would be fired or they wouldn't really get a fair shot at employment," he said.

The bill has received bipartisan support, and Ford said he expects it will be passed by the House and moved to the Senate this week.

Jay Shattuck, executive director of the Employment Law Council for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said he is checking to see whether there may be a need for exceptions. He doesn't believe the practice of logging into personal accounts is widespread among employers.

"There's some law enforcement and other areas ... that might require a higher level of security in making sure the employees they are hiring are who they say they are," he said. "We may have to tweak this at a later time to cover those issues."

Shattuck said the Chamber had worked out a compromise with Ford to define social networking sites in the legislation and to clarify that employers could still use information obtained from the public domain.



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 WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


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