Monday, August 13, 2012

Child's tennis rackets destroyed by British airport security for being 'lethal weapons'

A furious holidaymaker has condemned airport security staff after his child's tennis rackets were confiscated and destroyed for being potentially 'lethal weapons'.  Richard Chew was flying to the holiday island of Majorca with his nine-year-old stepson Will when they were forced to hand over the rackets.

Mr Chew, a 46-year-old PR, was stopped at Leeds Bradford Airport because of the alleged threat to other passengers as he travelled to see Will's mother, Vicky Locklin, in Spain.

Bemused Richard said: 'I appreciate that we live in a security-conscious age but this is ridiculous and I think they should allow the security services to exercise some common sense.  'All I had was two kids' tennis rackets but they said I couldn't take them through.

'When I asked why they said it was because they were potentially lethal weapons. He actually said that I would be able to take it out of the bag and hit a steward or stewardess on the head with them rendering them unconscious.

'I mean it's possible but it takes a bit of a leap of imagination. You don't hear many people sleeping next to a kid's tennis racket just in case of a burglary, it's really silly.  'He even told me that you can take small scissors on board and knitting needles. You could do more damage with them than a tennis racket.'

Richard added: 'As a parting comment I asked him to make sure the rackets went to a good home, they're not particularly good but could make a child who has just watched Murray win the gold very happy.

'He replied by telling me they would be destroyed just like everything else that they confiscate. Apparently that's what they have to do. It seems really stupid. Conversationally he told me that he had binned a 99 pound bottle of Gucci perfume that he had confiscated earlier.

'It's madness. If this is happening across the country then millions of pounds worth of perfectly good products are being thrown away when they could be given to those less fortunate or sold.

'The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is actually based at the airport. Why not sell off the confiscated items and donate the money to them. I'm sure they would be very grateful.'

A spokeswoman for Leeds Bradford Airport said: 'Government legislation dictates what can and cannot be used as hand luggage.   'All UK airports are mandated to adhere to government legislation, compliance in this matter is frequently audited.'


Barbarity that shames Britain

 One title this country most definitely does not want to win is European Capital of Female Genital Mutilation. Alas, that is the appalling situation we find ourselves in, thanks to the “cultural sensitivity” of the authorities. According to a recent shocking report for BBC Two’s Newsnight, at least 20,000 girls a year are at risk from this barbaric practice, with parents of African backgrounds actually bringing their small daughters to Britain because it has such a relaxed approach to child mutilation. In Bristol they are holding “FGM parties”, if you please.

A Scotland Yard inspector explained, in all seriousness, that pursuing such cases could be “akin to child abuse”. In other words, if parents decide to maim their daughter, the police are not going to examine that child for fear of causing trauma – or being considered racist. Weep at the perverse, politically correct logic.

It was “cultural sensitivity” and the cowardice of politicians that killed Shafilea Ahmed. Shafilea’s father and mother, both sentenced to life imprisonment at Chester Crown Court last Friday, may have held the plastic bag which suffocated the 17-year-old, but other hands are implicated in her wholly avoidable and desperately sad death.

Back in June, the Home Secretary finally announced plans to criminalise forced marriages. It should have happened under New Labour, but the same people who made calling a police horse “gay” a hate crime were reluctant to legislate to protect girls like Shafilea from rape by a stranger called “husband”. They dropped plans to make forced marriage a crime before the 2005 election, fearing that it would be resented by ethnic voters as an intrusion into minority cultures. I’m sure the idea that it would damage their majorities in predominantly Muslim Labour-voting constituencies didn’t enter into it, aren’t you?

It is damnable that it is possible for a young woman like Shafilea Ahmed to be beaten by her parents and for her cries for help to be ignored. It is outrageous that a British citizen can be taken to Pakistan against her will and has to swallow bleach to avoid a forced marriage.

The problem is Shafilea didn’t live in Britain. She lived in a country within a country, where the law of the land does not apply. As Mr Justice Evans said when he was sentencing Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed for their daughter’s murder: “You chose to bring up your family in Warrington, but your social and cultural attitudes were those of rural Pakistan. Shafilea was a determined, able and ambitious girl who wanted to live a life which was normal in the country in which you had chosen to live and bring up your children. However, you could not tolerate the life that Shafilea wanted to live. You wanted your family to live in Pakistan in Warrington.”

Has there ever been a more furiously eloquent denunciation of the repressive country which has been allowed to flourish within our free nation? If so, I haven’t heard it. Mr Justice Evans was speaking up for Shafilea Ahmed and all those like her whose only crime is to want to participate fully in the society they were born into.

You only have to look at the story of Olympic champion Mo Farah to see what can happen when a family embraces their new country. Mo came to Britain from Somalia at the age of eight. With the encouragement of his PE teacher, Alan Wilkinson, he turned his talent for mischief into a gift for running. Mohammed Farah is a devout Muslim and a passionate Briton who wrapped his exhausted body in the Union flag on Saturday night and beamed for Britain. Now, that’s what I call cultural sensitivity.


Australian airline's insulting and discriminatory seating policy causes storm

The guy below should lodge a formal complaint.  This was patently illegal. Queensland has anti-discrimination legislation that explicitly forbids discrimination on the basis of sex.  See Section 7(1)a of the ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT  of 1991. No-one deserves to be publicly humiliated for no reason the way this guy was

In his inimitable way, Boris Johnson (now Mayor of London) had a story  about this some years back.  He was harassed on a British Airways flight for sitting next to HIS OWN SONS.  British Airways  ended the policy concerned a couple of years ago so Virgin are  prehistoric about this

Virgin Australia has promised a review after facing a firestorm of criticism from men outraged at its policy of barring males from sitting next to unaccompanied children.

The company was today widely criticised after a Sydney fireman reported his experience of being asked to swap seats because he was sat beside two unaccompanied boys.

After this morning defending its policy, the airline this afternoon announced via Twitter it was reviewing its stance.  "We understand the concerns raised around our policy for children travelling alone, a long-standing policy initially based on customer feedback," @VirginAustralia said.  "In light of recent feedback, we're now reviewing this policy. Our intention is certainly not to discriminate in any way."  [Except that they do]

A Virgin spokeswoman said the policy was shared by Qantas, Jetstar and Air New Zealand.

Earlier today Fairfax Media reported the story of Johnny McGirr, 33, who said he was flying home from Brisbane in April when he took his seat next to two boys he estimated to be aged between eight and 10.

He was assigned the window seat but sat in the aisle seat so the two boys could look out the window.  However, a flight attendant approached him just as passengers were asked to put on their seatbelts, asking him to move.  Mr McGirr said when he asked why, he was told, "Well you can't sit next to two unaccompanied minors."

"She said it was the policy and I said, 'Well, that's pretty sexist and discriminatory. You can't just say because I'm a man I can't sit there,' and she just apologised and said that was the policy.

"By this stage everyone around me had started looking."  Mr McGirr said the attendant then asked a fellow female passenger, "Can you please sit in this seat because he is not allowed to sit next to minors."

"After that I got really embarrassed because she didn't even explain. I just got up and shook my head a little, trying to get some dignity out of the situation," he said.  "And that was it. I pretty much sat through the flight getting angrier."

Mr McGirr pointed out that he works as a fireman in Newtown in Sydney and was trusted in his job to look out for the welfare of children. "[The attitude of the airline] is 'we respect you but as soon as you board a Virgin airline you are a potential paedophile', and that strips away all the good that any male does regardless of his standing in society, his profession or his moral attitudes," he said.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Australia this morning confirmed the policy and said while the airline did not want to offend male passengers, its priority was the safety of children. [So all men are unsafe near children?  What an insult!] "In our experience, most guests thoroughly understand that the welfare of the child is our priority," she said.

The spokeswoman said staff usually tried to keep the seat empty but, when that was not possible, a woman was seated next to the child.  "Virgin Australia takes the safety of all guests very seriously and, in the case of unaccompanied minors, we take additional steps to ensure their flight is safe and trouble free in every respect."

Mr McGirr, who wrote to Virgin to complain, said the policy was flawed.

"[It's] blatant discrimination that just because I'm a male I can't sit there," he said.  "They apologised that it happened on the flight and said it shouldn't have happened then but my issue is not with the mistakes made there; my issue is with the policy in general.

"The majority of sexual assaults are [also] committed by men. Does that mean that we can't sit next to women? Should we just have a seat by ourselves and that way women and children will be protected?"

Mr McGirr said he understood the children were vulnerable when not with an adult but said that fears about crimes committed by a small minority of people should not rule society.

Mr McGirr said Virgin should either allocate a chaperone for children to sit with them for the entire flight, have staff do regular checks on the children to see if they were all right or ask parents to purchase the seat that is vacant so it is always left empty.

Among other Australian airlines, budget carriers Jetstar and Tiger Airways do not accept unaccompanied minors on their flights, though the two airlines have different definitions of what constitutes a minor.

Qantas, which does allow unaccompanied minors over the age of five to travel on its flights, has not returned calls requesting information on its policy on seating male passengers next to unaccompanied children.

Online outcry

Criticism of the airline swelled online today, with the story attracting more than 700 comments across Fairfax Media news sites by 4pm.

More than 44,000 readers nationwide responded to an online poll asking whether the airline’s policy was fair, with 87 per cent agreeing the rule was  "sexist and suggests all men are potential pedophiles".

Twitter users were quick to voice their poor opinion of the policy under the hashtag #VirginDiscrimination, while Facebook users also responded with criticism.

One person wrote on Virgin Australia's Facebook page: "As a male school teacher, it saddens me that men are turned away from being a positive role model for children, because people have the attitude ‘male = potential molester’."

Another Facebook user wrote the policy was "disgracefully discriminatory", while another user said it was a "stupid load of nonsense" that insulted half the country’s population.

However, some on Facebook jumped to the airline’s defence, with one mother saying she appreciated the policy.  "I do recall once at check-in the seats being changed around so that my children were not seated beside a man. But it was done very discretely [sic] and you know what, as a mum I was comfortable with the decision," she wrote.

While Virgin Australia was adamant that it was not alone in implementing such a policy, Qantas has not responded to repeated attempts to clarify its position from Fairfax Media today.

However, the BBC reported Qantas and Air New Zealand had a similar policy in 2005, after a businessman successfully sued British Airways on the grounds of sex discrimination after he was moved away from an unaccompanied child on a flight.


Scandinavia and the Jews

Scandinavia is boring. People living there apparently have little to do. And as European history teaches, when there is nothing much to do you may as well amuse yourself by attacking the Jews.

It was bad enough when a judge in Germany barred circumcision, and that decision was followed by similar moves in Austria and Switzerland (and then widely attacked in Germany, by everyone from Chancellor Merkel on down). Now comes a suggestion from a Norwegian official called the “Ombudsman for Children in Norway” proposing that the ancient procedure be replaced by a “symbolic, nonsurgical ritual.” Apparently in Norway it is possible to create religiously meaningful rituals overnight, which is an insight into the understanding of religion in Norwegian public life. And Norway’s “Centre Party,” which is a member of the governing coalition, has just proposed that circumcision be outlawed entirely. One gets some inkling into local politics when that’s the view of the Centre Party—not the fringes.  In this context we might recall that, as the news story puts it, “Norway is among a handful of European countries where the kosher slaughter of animals is prohibited.”

But that kind of assault on Jewish practice isn’t sufficient for Scandinavians, because the anti-Israel element is missing or merely implicit. So on Tuesday we found that “Scandinavian activist groups are launching an aid ship destined for Gaza… hoping to challenge the Israeli blockade.” Their ship is “backed mainly by Swedish and Norwegian groups.”

“We have the same goal as the previous flotillas, to put an end to the blockade of Gaza by challenging the Israeli navy,” said Torstein Dahle, the leader of the Norwegian section of the activist group “Ship to Gaza.”

This action is perfectly timed. This week the new Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt has closed the main Gaza/Egypt border crossing at Rafah indefinitely and sent bulldozers to seal off the many smuggling tunnels after several terrorist attacks on Egyptian police and military personnel in Sinai. The Egyptians believe jihadists were able to meet, organize, and cross into Egypt from Gaza. Hamas has complained that this is collective punishment of Gazans by Egypt. There is even a religious element: “The shutdown at Rafah has so far prevented 3,000 Gazans from heading to Saudi Arabia for ‘umrah,’ the minor pilgrimage believed to bring greater merit if carried out during Ramadan.”

I have yet to see the news that the Scandinavians are turning their boat around or sailing it to Alexandria to “put an end to the blockade of Gaza,” but obviously that would be no fun. The fun comes in attacking Jews: their rituals, their religion, and the Jewish state. It is particularly disappointing to see how Norway has fallen into this pattern, because for many years it followed a balanced Middle East policy that avoided anti-Israel attacks. No longer; for example, in 2010 Norway “informed German shipbuilding company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) that it will no longer be allowed to test Israel-bound submarines in its territorial waters as part of the country's ban on security exports to Israel.” It’s less surprising to see this from Swedes, whose antipathy to Jews is not so new. There are so many attacks on Jews in Malmo these days that the city is considered unsafe for Jewish life, and the city’s mayor commented in 2010—apparently thinking he was defending the city—that “We accept neither anti-Semitism nor Zionism in Malmö.” Nor Judaism, it seems: Sweden too has outlawed Jewish ritual slaughter, as has Denmark.

Perhaps the “Ombudsman for Children in Norway” and the mayor of Malmo could join the “Ship To Gaza,” bringing together all the various forms of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel activity. After all, it’s summer in Scandinavia.



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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