Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Bureaucratic hatred of Branson again
He's too successful for the bureaucrats so they will do anything to take him down a peg or two. They tried to take his trains away but he routed them with legal threats
Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has lost out to his arch-rivals in a battle over air routes to Russia. But watchdogs say passengers will benefit through cheaper and more 'dynamic' fares and that British Airways and easyJet's plans were 'likely to deliver the greatest benefit to consumers'.
The tycoon learned tonight that his airline Virgin Atlantic had been rejected by aviation regulators in a fight to operate UK to Moscow flights.
With more flights now available between the UK and Russia, British Airways, easyJet and Virgin had been vying for the right to fly on the London-Moscow route.
The Civil Aviation Authority ruled that BA, which already operates to Moscow, and easyJet should be allowed to take up the Moscow flights - meaning that Virgin had missed out.
The decision follows the Department for Transport ruling in August that FirstGroup rather than Virgin Rail should take up a new 13-year franchise on the West Coast Main Line.
Sir Richard launched a legal challengers against the ruling and the DfT has now scrapped the West Coast bidding process, suspended three civil servants and asked Virgin to carry on for the time being.
The CAA's two-from-three decision came after what is known as a scarce capacity hearing at which a panel of CAA board members considered the arguments put forward by each of the applicant airlines.
The panel decided to allow BA to continue to operate the services it currently operates from London Heathrow to Moscow's Domodedovo Airport and to grant easyJet permission to operate between London Gatwick and Moscow Domodedovo.
Iain Osborne, the CAA's director of regulatory policy, and chairman of the panel, said: 'On balance, allocating scarce capacity to BA and easyJet is likely to deliver the greatest benefit to consumers.
'EasyJet's proposal will introduce an innovative product into the market and has the potential to deliver the greatest dynamic fare benefits for consumers.' He added: 'We concluded that easyJet's proposal would introduce a distinctly different product into the market and would stimulate innovation on the route as a whole, as well as satisfying and stimulating consumer demand that is currently under-served, in particular, people who prefer or are content to use Gatwick.'
The CAA said easyJet was expected to begin operating services to Moscow from early 2013. The CAA understands that BA will continue with its current schedule.
EasyJet said it would operate an Airbus A320 on two services a day between Gatwick and Moscow. Each aircraft will have 180 seats and the airline expects to fly more than 230,000 passengers in its first year of operations.
EasyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall said: 'We are delighted to have been awarded the rights to fly between Gatwick and Moscow. 'We believe this is the right decision for consumers both in the UK and Russia.'
A Virgin Atlantic spokeswoman said: 'We are very disappointed with the result of the CAA hearing which we believe flies in the face of what the consumer wants and our economy demands.
'Data shows that passengers travelling between Moscow and London want to use Heathrow airport and not Gatwick, long haul connectivity is far greater via Heathrow and this decision will also reduce capacity between the two capitals.'
'We are perplexed by what we consider a very short-sighted decision. We will review the CAA's report in full before considering all of our options.'
British council plans to remove Mr and Mrs titles from all documents to protect city's transgender community from offence
A city is proposing to ban titles such as Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms in case they offend the transgender community.
Councillors in Brighton will vote on the proposal to remove the words from official forms and paperwork after complaints that they forced people to ‘choose between genders’.
The proposal is backed by Brighton and Hove City Council deputy leader Phelim MacCafferty, who has called the titles 'useless'.
But the new proposal has been branded 'political correctness gone too far' by an opposition councillor who says the idea is 'ludicrous'.
Brighton is known for its diverse community, and the council plans seek to scrap 'useless' titles after a study into the transgender community
A scrutiny panel will put forward a number of recommendations, including the scrapping of Mr and Mrs, to the council for approval in December.
Green Party deputy leader Coun. MacCafferty said: 'Trans people aren't necessarily male or female and sometimes they don't want to be defined by their gender.
'Putting Mr and Mrs on a form is completely useless. 'This is an issue that concerns most institutions from banks to mobile phone companies. 'Why is Mr on my debit card, for instance? 'I don't understand why it is there. 'We should at least examine the issue and we will have the recommendations early next month.'
Coun. MacCafferty said the change would be 'done sensitively' and with the backing of the public.
Brighton is recognised nationally for its its diversity, with the city's Primary Care Trust estimating that one in six people is estimated to be from the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender community.
LGBT activist Steph Scott said: 'Being called Mr or Mrs forces me to choose between genders. 'It's assuming people live in a binary world where you're either one thing or another and it pigeonholes people.
'I think it's a good idea to expand across the city because it's about getting people to be aware that gender isn't just male or female.'
Dawn Barrett, Conservative councillor for Hangleton and Knoll, said: 'It's completely ludicrous and shows a complete lack of respect. 'How are they going to address letters properly? This is just political correctness gone too far.'
The Trans Equality Scrutiny Panel was set up to examine issues affecting transgendered people's safety, welfare and job opportunities.
It includes chair Coun MacCafferty, Conservative councillor Denise Cobb and Labour councillor Warren Morgan.
The panel visited support groups across the city in July to hear about the issues facing the trans community and will present a set of recommendations to the council in December.
One in four British criminals go straight back to crime and 1,000 are on the run from jail
One in four criminals went straight back to crime, according to new figures which the government admitted are ‘shameful’.
And almost 1,000 offenders have been recalled to prison but are still on the loose.
The figures are particularly embarrassing for ministers coming just days after David Cameron’s crime and justice speech in which he promised a ‘rehabilitation revolution’.
Almost 50,000 offences were committed by offenders who had spent time in jail last year. Labour claimed the government’s justice policy is ‘in tatters’.
In 2010, a total of 497,969 offences were committed by 173,274 offenders.
More than half (55.3 per cent) of the offences were committed by 78,149 offenders with 11 or more previous offences.
More than 50,123 of these involved 10,000 offenders who had previously been jailed more than 10 times.
For criminals leaving jail, the reoffending rate was 47.5 per cent, up from 46.8 per cent in 2009.
Among adults jailed for less than 12 months, 57.6% went on to commit another crime.
Meanwhile, separate figures showed more than 150 violent criminals and sex offenders are at large in the community despite breaching the terms of their release or committing another offence.
A total of 988 criminals had been recalled to prison but not put back behind bars by the end of June.
These include 17 killers - 16 of them murderers - 11 rapists and at least four paedophiles.
Some 379 have been on the run for more than five years, the figures showed.
A MoJ spokesman said: ‘We are tackling the shamefully high reoffending rates in this country by introducing a rehabilitation revolution - offenders must be punished, but we must also deal with the root causes of offenders' behaviour so they don't return to crime.’
The Prime Minister used a major speech to declare he wanted to break the cycle of reoffending by the end of 2015.
All but a small number of high-risk prisoners would receive help to turn their lives around.
But Labour’s shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: ‘This Government’s justice policy is in tatters. David Cameron's latest re-launch 29 months after first becoming Prime Minister won’t change these appalling figures.
‘He should be aggressively addressing the scandalous rates of reoffending rather than stunts. Cutting police and probation, reducing Judges’ powers and reducing help to victims shows how out of touch he is.’
Mandating 'tolerance' through hate speech laws is no tolerance at all
There is a common mantra among certain groups of Americans today that tolerance is wonderful and is something we should strive for. Hate speech must be stopped. Open-mindedness is ideal.
These are some of the most intolerant people that live in this country.
They don’t stress tolerance like the hippies did in the 1960s and ‘70s, which was sort of harmonious anarchy where everybody loved one another and there was no war. No, today there is very much a war — a war on hate speech led by the government’s mighty warriors for political correctness. It is an odd paradox that those who preach tolerance are really agitating towards a much less tolerant, less free society.
Tolerance as action may be fine. For example, we tolerate all religions in the U.S. as long as they aren’t harmful to others. We tolerate free speech as well, provided it does not directly incite violence.
The real problem arises when policymakers begin petitioning for anti-hate speech laws and regulations. This is where the real intolerance starts, and where the fundamental menace of totalitarianism lies.
There is no reason people should tolerate anything that runs contrary to their values. As long as they are not infringing upon the human rights of others, we must dispel the notion that personal intolerance is inherently bad.
It is the job of the government to be tolerant of the people and to keep them safe; it is not the job of the government to force tolerance upon the people.
Real tolerance isn’t necessarily the understanding and acceptance of all views, but rather the freedom to peacefully do and say as one wishes without being persecuted.
There is some amount of violent rhetoric from both sides of the political aisle, but only the Left has the hubris to scream “hate speech!” and “intolerance!” while chasing away Ann Coulter in a shrieking riot of death threats. The American Left is extraordinarily intolerant of conservative stances.
And this is fine, as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of conservatives.
Nobody has to “tolerate” other people’s opinions. In fact, I encourage intolerance of anything a person believes deeply to be wrong. I encourage rational discussion and argument and deeply-held, adhered-to systems of values.
The difference — and this is an enormous difference — is one of freedom.
Should the government prohibit hate speech? If so, how would they draw the line?
A recent offensive 13 minute video that some claim incited the riots in the Middle East has led to calls for the maker to be arrested and for laws banning hate speech to be passed.
This goes against the very fabric of our country. When a government begins to legislate tolerance its decline is inevitable, for it has fallen into totalitarianism.
We have not quite reached the point of legislating political correctness, but the forces emphatically pushing for big government grow ever stronger and ever more intolerant of those who value freedom.
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, 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.