Saturday, June 09, 2012
Grandad's words made Churchill and the Queen cry. How sad Beardy misquoted them this week...
This may seem a minor matter but it is eloquent testimony to the decay of the Church of England that on an important occasion the Archbishop of Canterbury could get so wrong one of the Queen's most significant and beloved speeches.
One of my mother’s proudest possessions is a touching letter written by King George VI’s Private Secretary to her father, thanking and congratulating my grandfather on a speech he had written for the then Princess Elizabeth.
It was a speech that has been much quoted in the public prints over the past few days, the one that contained the future Queen’s ‘solemn act of dedication’: ‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.’
On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury even took it as his starting-point and basis for his Jubilee thanksgiving sermon in St Paul’s. As usual, however, dear old Dr Rowan Williams got it all slightly wrong. But more of that in a minute.
The letter from Sir Alan ‘Tommy’ Lascelles to my grandfather, Dermot Morrah, is dated March 10, 1947, and headed in English and Afrikaans ‘The White Train, Die Wittrein’ — the special ivory-painted, air-conditioned saloons ordered for the three-month royal tour of South Africa that year.
It opens by revealing that the draft of the now famous speech had at last turned up, having got lost somewhere between my grandfather’s typewriter and the Princess’s in-tray.
‘The steward in the Protea diner had put it in the bar, among his bottles,’ explains Lascelles, ‘little knowing that it was itself of premier cru.’
He then piles on the praise, in language that makes my family’s hearts swell to this day.
‘I have been reading drafts for many years now,’ writes the King’s right-hand man, ‘but I cannot recall one that has so completely satisfied me and left me feeling that no single word should be altered.
'Moreover, dusty cynic though I am, it moved me greatly. It has the trumpet-ring of the other Elizabeth’s Tilbury speech, combined with the immortal simplicity of Victoria’s “I will be good”.’
I can imagine my grandfather preening with pleasure. It’s not often that we humble hacks (his day job on the royal tour was reporting it for the Times) have our work likened to the timeless words addressed by Elizabeth I to her troops on the approach of the Spanish Armada: ‘I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a King, and of a King of England too.’
But, for me, Lascelles’s letter becomes most moving when he gets on to the personal stuff about how the Queen and the Princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, had reacted on reading the speech.
‘The ladies concerned, you will be glad to hear, feel just as I do,’ he writes. ‘The speaker herself told me that it had made her cry. Good, said I, for if it makes you cry now, it will make 200 million other people cry when they hear you deliver it, and that is what we want.’
As it happens, among those who admitted to being reduced to tears by the speech was Winston Churchill — as I learned only this week, from my colleague Robert Hardman, who is omniscient in matters royal.
Now scroll forward six decades, to Tuesday’s clunking sermon in St Paul’s by muddle-headed old Archbishop Beardie — a man I’ve long thought could do with a decent speechwriter himself.
‘What we remember,’ he said, ‘is the simple statement of commitment made by a very young woman, away from home, suddenly and devastatingly bereaved, a statement that she would be there for those she governed, that she was dedicating herself to them.’
Well, if that’s what we remember, all I can say is that our archiepiscopal memories must be playing tricks with us.
To be absolutely fair, I suppose it is just possible that Dr Williams was referring to some other speech the Queen may have made nearly five years later, before she flew back from Kenya in 1952 after hearing of her father’s death. If so, neither I nor the royal historians I’ve consulted can find any trace of it.
It is just conceivable, too — though surely stretching credulity a bit — that the ‘sudden and devastating bereavement’ he mentioned referred to some other death than her father’s. A corgi’s, perhaps.
No, let’s face it, he was just plain wrong to say she made her ‘act of dedication’ in a moment of sudden bereavement. For the only speech he can possibly have had in mind was the beautiful and famous one written by my grandfather to mark her 21st birthday in 1947.
Certainly, she was away from England at the time (although if the Archbishop had bothered to listen to the speech on the Buckingham Palace website, he would know that she insisted: ‘As I speak to you today from Cape Town [South Africa, not Kenya, you notice] I am 6,000 miles from the country where I was born. But I am certainly not 6,000 miles from home.’)
Far from being grief-stricken over the death of the King, who still had almost five years to live, she was having a very happy time with him on the tour. Madly in love and secretly engaged to Prince Philip, she was especially enjoying her 21st birthday (apart from an understandable twinge of nerves, detectable in her voice, over having to make the first really important speech of her life).
In his own really important sermon, perhaps his last at an historic state occasion, you might think the departing Archbishop would bother to get these little details right.
But what annoyed me almost more was his claim that the Queen promised in her speech to be ‘there for’ those she governed. No she didn’t. Unlike her late daughter-in law, Princess Di, she would never say anything so vulgar or touchy-feely (except when forced to read out Alastair Campbell’s bilge in a succession of toe-curling speeches at the State Opening of Parliament).
And I can assure you that my grandfather would sooner have cut off his arm than put such a banal Americanism into his sovereign’s mouth.
What she actually promised was to devote her life to the service of those she governed. And, by God, she has kept her word so far.
British social workers cover up for Muslim gang of sex predators
Social workers knew for six years that a teenage mother, murdered for bringing shame on the families of two Pakistani men who had used her for sex, was at clear risk from predatory Asian gangs.
Laura Wilson, 17, from Rotherham had been groomed by a string of British Pakistanis before she was stabbed and thrown into a canal to die for informing her abusers' families of the sexual relationships.
Her killer Ashtiaq Asghar, who was 18 at the time, was given a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 17-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to murdering Laura in October 2010.
But it has now emerged that Rotherham County Council's social services were well aware she was at risk and had received information about certain adults suspected of targeting her from the age of 11.
Last week the council's Safeguarding Children Board published a serious case review but key passages which reveal they knew she was at particular risk from 'Asian men' had been blocked out with black lines.
The council went to court in an attempt to tried to suppress the hidden information after a uncensored copy of the report was leaked to the Times newspaper but they have now abandoned legal action.
The uncensored report confirms that Laura, identified as Child S, had dealings with 15 agencies and identified 'numerous missed opportunities' to protect her. It states that she eventually became 'almost invisible' to care professionals.
Details hidden included the knowledge that at the age of 13 Laura and a friend had been given alcohol by men at a takeaway who then asked what she would give them in return. She had also been referred to a child sexual exploitation project just three months after her 11th birthday.
Another censored passage reveals that Laura had been 'mentioned' during a 2009 police inquiry that eventually led to the conviction of five Pakistani men for sex offences against three underage girls.
While the published report mentioned the fact that a friend, who Laura knew when she was 10, was 'thought to have become involved in sexual exploitation', it concealed the succeeding passage which read: 'with particular reference to Asian men'.
Laura was murdered in October 2010. She was repeatedly knifed by 18-year-old Ashtiaq Asghar before pushed her into a South Yorkshire Canal, where he used the point of the knife to force her head below the surface as she fought to stay alive.
Asghar was furious after the young mother revealed details of their sexual relationship to his Muslim family and was on ‘a mission to kill’.
He exchanged a series of texts with married friend and mentor Ishaq Hussain, 22, who had also had an affair with Laura, and who the judge described as a man who regarded white girls as ‘sexual targets, not human beings’.
In one message, sent a day before he killed Miss Wilson, Asghar wrote: ‘I’m gonna send that kuffar (non-Muslim) bitch straight to Hell.’
In another he wrote: ‘I need to do a mission.’ He talked of buying a pistol and ‘making some beans on toast’, a reference to spilling blood used in Four Lions, a satirical film about suicide bombers.
Asghar is serving life in prison after he pleaded guilty to murder and was jailed for life. Mr Hussain was acquitted of murder by joint enterprise after a retrial.
Sentencing Asghar, Lord Justice Davis told him: ‘I take the view you came under the influence of Mr Hussain who is something of a mentor to you. 'He seems to have regarded girls, white girls, simply as sexual targets. He does not treat them as human beings at all. You got into that mindset yourself. ‘You no doubt once had feelings for Laura but treated her with contempt in the latter stages.’
In 2007, when Laura was 13, she and her family appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show. During the programme – about out-of-control children – her sister warned her that ‘your attitude is going to get you in big danger’.
Workers at a child sexual exploitation project later sent a report to social services, but no action was taken to remove her from what became a continuing spiral of sexual abuse.
By the time she was 16, she had embarked on an affair with Mr Hussain, who was then 20 and already married.
She gave birth to a daughter in June last year, but Mr Hussain refused to accept that the child was his.
Four months later, and just days before she was murdered on October 12, she ‘shamed’ Asghar and Mr Hussain by informing their families of her relationship with both men.
She told Asghar’s mother she loved her son and ‘wanted to have babies’ by him. But Mrs Asghar was furious and attempted to hit Miss Wilson with a shoe, branding her ‘a dirty white bitch’ who should ‘keep your legs closed’, the trial was told.
Alan Hazell, Chair of the Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: 'We refute in the strongest possible terms any suggestion that information was redacted from the published report for any reason other than to protect the interests of Laura’s daughter, immediate family and other third parties.'
In a statement following the publication of the review Mr Hazell denied that more could have been done to save Laura. He said: 'This is a wide ranging study which shows a very complex situation surrounding Child S and her child which made it difficult for agencies to engage with her.
'There is no suggestion that anyone could have saved Child S from what ultimately happened to her but clearly her care could have been improved. There were chances for those agencies to be more proactive in how they dealt with the case and all agencies involved accept that and apologise that the standards of service were not as high as they should have been.
'It is vital that agencies learn from what happened here and there is clearly a commitment in Rotherham to make that happen. As the report comments, there are already many initiatives in place to ensure that services are now improved.'
Last month following the trial of nine men, mainly of Pakistani origin, who were found guilty of raping and abusing up to 47 girls - some as young as 13 - after plying them with drink and drugs Tory cabinet minister Baroness Warsi hit out at the 'small minority' of Pakistani men who see white girls as 'fair game' for sexual abuse.
She told London’s Evening Standard newspaper: 'There is a small minority of Pakistani men who believe that white girls are fair game. 'And we have to be prepared to say that. You can only start solving a problem if you acknowledge it first. 'This small minority who see women as second class citizens, and white women probably as third class citizens, are to be spoken out against.'
Who Will Protect the Freedom to Blog?
Free speech is under fire. Online thugs are targeting bloggers (mostly conservative, but not all) who have dared to expose a convicted bomber and perjuring vexatious litigant who is now enjoying a comfy life as a liberally subsidized social justice operative. Where do your elected representatives stand on this threat to our founding principles?
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, bravely stepped forward to press this vital issue. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Chambliss decried the "harassing and frightening actions" of Internet menaces who recently have gone after several conservative new media citizen journalists and activists.
GOP Rep. Kenny Marchant of Texas added his voice, telling Holder in a statement that he is "very afraid of the potential chilling effects that these reported actions may have in silencing individuals who would otherwise be inclined to exercise their Constitutional right to free speech." And the American Center for Law and Justice, a leading conservative free speech public interest law firm, announced it was providing legal representation to the National Bloggers Club -- a new media association that has provided support and raised funds for targets of this coordinated harassment. (Full disclosure: I volunteer on the National Bloggers Club board of directors.)
The ACLJ described the importance of the case very simply: "Free speech is under attack."
Chambliss and Marchant called specific attention to one terrifying tactic against these bloggers: SWAT-ting. These hoaxes occur "when a perpetrator contacts local police to report a violent incident at a target's home." Callers disguise their true identities and locations in order to provoke a potentially deadly SWAT/police response descending upon the targets' homes.
As online conservatives -- and now ABC News -- have reported, recent SWAT-ting victims include New Jersey-based Mike Stack, a blogger and Twitter user targeted last summer after helping to expose disgraced former N.Y. Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner's shady social media activities; California blogger Patrick Frey, a deputy district attorney at Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office who recently posted a bone-chilling account and audio of his summer 2011 SWAT-ting on his blog, Patterico.com; and CNN contributor and RedState.com managing editor Erick Erickson, whose Georgia home was targeted by a faker claiming an "accidental shooting" there late last month.
A common thread among these and other online targets: They all have published web links, commentary or investigative pieces related to Brett Kimberlin, the infamous "Speedway Bomber."
In 1978, Kimberlin was sentenced to more than 50 years in federal prison for drug dealing, impersonating a federal officer and a weeklong bombing spree in Speedway, Ind. The violent crimes left one victim so severely injured that he committed suicide. A civil court awarded the widow of the victim, Carl DeLong, $1.6 million. Kimberlin was released from jail in 2001, but has yet to pay up.
Investigative journalist/researcher Mandy Nagy, who blogs for the late Andrew Breitbart's Internet media powerhouse, Breitbart.com, dared to chronicle Kimberlin's lucrative business and political ventures over the past two years. Kimberlin has a large hand in two well-funded outfits, Velvet Revolution and the Justice Through Music Project, that have received funding from the likes of George Soros' Tides Foundation and left-wing activist and singer Barbra Streisand. The charitable groups have viciously attacked prominent conservative individuals and groups, including Breitbart, investigative journalist James O'Keefe and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Nagy has been hounded relentlessly online and falsely accused of wild criminal conspiracies by Kimberlin associates for blowing the whistle on his shady online network.
After providing brief pro bono legal services to a liberal blogger who refused to whitewash Kimberlin's past, conservative blogger and lawyer Aaron Walker lost his job. His employer was terrified by the thought of Kimberlin bombing his office and also fired Walker's wife, who had worked for the same firm.
Walker is embroiled in Kafkaesque, free speech-squelching litigation with serial lawsuit-filer Kimberlin in Maryland. Last week, an inept judge who admitted abject ignorance about the Internet -- and appalling apathy toward key free-speech Supreme Court cases -- essentially gagged Walker from exercising his First Amendment rights and blogging about Kimberlin. Kimberlin pulled off a snow job in court, bizarrely claiming that an independent online effort to support Walker and expose Kimberlin's past amounted to a criminal terror campaign against him. Renowned constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh of UCLA is providing pro bono help to appeal the order against Walker.
National Bloggers Club President Ali Akbar was targeted for spearheading charity efforts for Kimberlin targets; stalkers publicized his mother's home, and Texas authorities are now investigating. Another conservative blogger who had the audacity to report on Walker's plight, Robert Stacy McCain, was forced to move out of his home last month after Kimberlin phoned his wife's employer and intimidated his family.
Never in the eight years that I have worked as an independent blogger have I seen such a concerted threat to the fundamental right of citizen journalists to speak their minds freely and without fear of bodily harm. As former Justice Department official J. Christian Adams points out, it is a federal violation of Title 18 U.S.C. Section 241 to conspire to deprive someone of his "free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States."
Members of Congress swore an oath to uphold the Constitution -- all of it. Who means it?
Homosexuals are finally getting to the U.S. Boy Scouts
This could end up like pro-gay Canada, where boy scout membership dropped sharply off as parents became worried about the security of their sons' behinds
The Boy Scouts of America will consider ending its longtime opposition to allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the organization after it received a resolution by a "high-ranking" member from the Northeast.
The resolution, which was submitted in April, is "largely procedural," according to Deron Smith, spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America.
The Scouts will consider that proposal to allow local charter organizations to decide for themselves whether to accept gay members and leaders.
The resolution has coincided with a separate petition inititated on the advocacy website Change.org, which was delivered last week to the service organization by Zach Wahls, a 20-year-old Iowa Eagle Scout whose video in support of his two gay mothers went viral last year.
More than 250,000 had signed the petition demanding that the Boy Scouts end the ban on openly gay membership.
Smith said in a statement that, "Contrary to media reports, the Boy Scouts of America has no plans to change its membership policy. The introduction of a resolution does not indicate the organization is 'reviewing' a policy or signal a change in direction."
He told ABCNews.com that this is not the first such petition to amend the ban on openly gay membership and was "unrelated" to the meeting that the organization had with Wahls.
The Scouts met Wahls out "of courtesy and respect for differing viewpoints," according to Smith.
"[Wahls] is a third party with an opinion and a nice, young man," said Smith. "I had a great meeting with him and we agreed to disagree."
"We have some leaders who don't agree with us, but we don't feel like this is the place to reconcile [the ban]," he said. "They come for the greater good and feel it is more important than one single issue."
The resolution will go into a subcommittee, which will make a recommendation to the national executive board, a process that will be complete likely by May 2013.
Wahls is optimistic the measure will pass. "One, is the fact that they were even willing to consider it -- this is a really big development," he said. "It has also happened at a time when we have this level of online mobilization ... that allows real change."
Wahls met last week in Florida with Smith and other top-ranking BSA officials.
Even with the Boy Scouts' stand on gay rights, Wahls said he is still a supporter of the organization. "Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout," he said. "I am unwilling to quit because of a single policy. They do so many things right."
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Boy Scouts of America of America and ruled 5-4 that the organization is exempt from state laws that bar anti-gay discrimination.
The court overturned a ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court to require a troop to readmit a longtime gay scoutmaster who had been dismissed.
The Girl Scouts of America has had a diversity policy and non-discrimination clause since 1980.
The Boy Scouts have been "trying to push [the issue of gays] under the rug after the Supreme Court ruling," said Wahls. "The fact that they would meet with me is a huge step."
The Change.org petition began in April when Jennifer Tyrrell, an Ohio mother of four, rallied support after she was fired as leader of her 7-year-old's Cub Scout pack because she was a lesbian.
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.