Tuesday, November 27, 2012
New rights for British householders who attack burglars to be unveiled
A big step forward for Britain, where vindictive police have virtually criminalized self-defence
Changes to the law to ensure householders who attack burglars will not be prosecuted unless they use "grossly disproportionate" force are to be introduced.
In a major victory for a campaign run by The Sunday Telegraph, the Department for Justice will move to amend the existing law which says only "proportionate" and "reasonable" force can be used by home owners and tenants who confront criminals.
Ahead of the changes being introduced in the House of Lords this week, Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, declared today that the changes will give householders the protection that they need - the confidence that the law will be on their side".
He adds: "Now the deal will be this: if you are confronted by a burglar in your own home and you fear for your safety, or the safety of others, and in the heat of the moment use force that is reasonable in the circumstances, but in the cold light of day seems disproportionate, you will not be deemed guilty of an offence."
The move follows a string of high-profile cases in which home owners who have confronted burglars have been arrested.
In the most recent, in September, Andy Ferrie and his wife Tracey were held in police custody for almost three days after two burglars were shot in their house near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
This newspaper has campaigned under the slogan "The Right To Defend Yourself" for greater legal protection for householders who deal with intruders. The campaign won the support of many politicians and senior criminal justice figures - and its proposed changes regularly win overwhelming public backing in opinion polls.
On two occasions - in 2004 and 2005 - MPs have made unsuccessful attempts to change the law using private members' bills while there have been two "clarifications" to the criminal law on self defence - in 2008 under Labour, and last year under the coalition.
Until this week, however, the law has remained rooted in the "reasonable" force test, which campaigners say does not offer enough protection to householders and which the Conservatives promised to change in 2009 when the party was in opposition.
Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP whose Private Members' Bill on the issue in 2004 failed after not getting the support of the then Labour government, said: "This has been a very long time coming. At last my constituents and very householder will be properly protected against intruders. Even habitual criminals tell me that this will deter them. There can be no better reason for these ideas to be turned into law."
Mr Grayling writes in an article for telegraph.co.uk: "The public should be in no doubt that in such circumstances that the law really is on their side. We need to get rid of doubts in this area once and for all. This isn't about encouraging vigilantism, or taking the law into your own hands. Of course, you should always in the first instance see if there's a way to get to safety. "But there should be no doubt that people who act instinctively and honestly in self defence are victims of crime, and should be treated that way."
"I want people in these unfortunate circumstances to be interviewed as witnesses, and not interrogated as criminals.
"Only if it emerges that they have acted in a way that is clearly unacceptably over the top - like stabbing a burglar who is already out cold on the floor - should the question of prosecution even arise."
Victims of the thought police: Snatched foster children are 'traumatised' say loving couple branded racist for supporting UKIP
The parents in the UKIP fostering row last night appealed for the return of the children they love.
The three Eastern European youngsters were taken away after social services discovered the couple were members of the political party. The astonishing decision by Labour-controlled Rotherham Council has been attacked by MPs from all sides.
And it has left fostering teams open to claims they are acting like ‘Thought Police’. Council chiefs will today receive the findings of an internal inquiry into the handling of the case.
Asked whether he and his wife would welcome the children’s return, the foster father told the Mail: ‘Of course. We love those children.’
But he said the priority was the welfare of the ‘completely traumatised’ baby girl, boy and older girl, who came to them in September. ‘They have been passed from pillar to post,’ he added.
Tim Loughton, a former children’s minister, said the decision was guided by ‘politically correct mumbo jumbo’. ‘It’s bonkers, it’s deeply misguided, this decision that’s been made, and it’s political correctness gone mad,’ the Tory MP told the BBC’s Sunday Politics:
‘We need to be doing what’s in the best interests of the children; political correctness has no part in all of this. ‘The most important thing is were those foster parents providing a safe, loving family placement for those children, and if they were and they continue to do so, then they should stay there.’
The couple in their 50s are former Labour voters who live in a village near Rotherham. They have looked after a dozen children over the past seven years.
Their nightmare began earlier this month following an anonymous tip-off to the council that they supported the UK Independence Party. This was followed by a home visit on November 12.
The three children, who are understood to be from Eastern Europe, were placed with them in September and stayed for eight weeks.
The baby gained weight and the girl began calling them ‘mum and dad’.
But the wife said they started to feel like ‘criminals’ when the children’s social worker told them about the tip-off.
She said the official said: ‘We would not have placed these children with you had we known you were members of UKIP because it wouldn’t have been the right cultural match.’
The couple insist they were meeting the children’s cultural needs by learning their language, singing their folk songs and choosing an appropriate school for their religion.
'We, too, know what it's like to face the great PC inquisition': The scrutiny endured by one family to become foster parents
Alex and Dominic Bemrose know exactly what it’s like to face the care ‘thought police’.
They had to jump through hoops to prove to their local authority they could offer a child from a different culture and race a loving, nurturing home.
Before being approved as adoptive parents, they had to endure nine, three-hour interviews by a social worker and every aspect of their lives went under the microscope.
Their finances were examined with a fine-tooth comb. Their moral, religious and personal beliefs were scrutinised and even their sex lives were picked over. Family, friends and ex-partners were also interviewed.
‘Short of asking for inside leg measurements, absolutely everything was questioned which at times I found ludicrous and far more intrusive than necessary,’ says Alex, 50, from Middlesex.
‘At the end of the whole questioning process, which took three months, I think the social worker knew more about me and my life than my own mother.’
When Alex said she was Roman Catholic she was asked by the social worker to go away and write an essay on what it meant to her, as if it were some kind of cult instead of a mainstream religion.
Indeed, the couple had to do a lot of written homework whenever an ‘issue’ from their past surfaced - such as bullying at school, or the time Alex had a miscarriage.
A great deal of the questioning, it seemed to Alex, was designed to help the local authority decide how ‘politically correct’ the couple were in their attitudes to racism, homosexuality and private education.
‘They seemed very concerned about the fact we’d both been to boarding school, which was discussed at length, asking how we’d felt about this “rejection” by our parents. I rather resented the question because neither of us had felt rejected in the slightest,’ she said.
‘They wanted assurances from us we would not send an adoptive child to boarding school, which we were happy to give because it wouldn’t have been appropriate and we couldn’t afford it anyway.
‘I have no issue with local authorities being very thorough and I’m sure they would say they are trying to build up a complete picture about you, but are your political beliefs really relevant? As for taking children away from foster parents because they belong to a political party, that on the face of it, seems crazy.’
Alex, now a campaigner for other parents fighting their way through the adoption system, says the Rotherham case is deeply disturbing.
‘People can be members of political parties and perhaps not agree with 100 per cent of every single policy. Does being a member of UKIP or believing in immigration controls even make you racist?
‘Surely if you were racist you wouldn’t open your home to a child of different ethnicity in the first place. On the one hand they are crying out for more foster families and then on the other taking away children from would appear to be, on the face of it, perfectly good homes.
‘What really matters is whether the parents involved can provide a loving home to a child who would otherwise remain in care, and to be rejected because your waistline is too big or you belong to a particular political party seems to me ridiculous.’
It’s not this family who are bigots — it’s the multicultural
Melanie Phillips points to the hate-filled neo-Marxist training of British social workers
The story sounds just too idiotic and outrageous to be true. A Rotherham couple, by all accounts exemplary foster parents for nearly seven years, took on two children and a baby in an emergency placement.
Eight weeks later, social workers came and took the children away — despite the fact that they were thriving — on the grounds that because the couple belonged to the UK Independence Party this was not ‘the right cultural match’.
Astonishingly, the official in charge is still unrepentant. Joyce Thacker, the council’s director of children and young people’s services, has said that the children, who were from ‘EU migrant backgrounds’, had been removed to protect their ‘cultural and ethnic needs’ from UKIP’s ‘strong views’ and apparent ‘opposition to multiculturalism’.
This is as ludicrous and illogical as it is sinister.
This apparently splendid couple have been treated as criminals merely because social workers disapproved of their political views — which happen to be shared, incidentally, by millions of fellow citizens. This is the kind of behaviour we associate with a totalitarian state.
The clear implication is that they were racists. But there is nothing racist about opposing multiculturalism. Indeed, many immigrants themselves oppose it. To damn this couple in this way is an appalling smear.
In any event, this was merely a short-term emergency foster placement. These children clearly needed as a matter of urgency a safe and loving environment — which by all accounts this couple gave them.
Ms Thacker said: ‘I have to think about how sensitive I am being to those children.’ Is this woman for real? Clearly, she is actually doing them harm by putting ideological dogma above the children’s own needs.
The whole thing sounds beyond parody. But, alas, this goes far wider and deeper than this one incident.
In the early Nineties, I unearthed what, it is no exaggeration to say, was a climate of totalitarianism in social-work training.
Anti-racist zealots had captured the social workers’ training body, and built into the social-work diploma the explicit assumption that society was fundamentally racist and oppressive.
What followed was an utterly chilling degree of intimidation and thought control. Blameless social work students were forced in tears to ‘confess’ to their own racism; some failed to qualify unless they identified racist attitudes even where none existed.
These and other politically correct dogma, and the requirement to enforce them, remain stamped into social-work culture like the name of Blackpool in a stick of rock.
As a result, the needs of vulnerable children and other social-work clients have been junked in favour of the overriding requirement to impose an ideological view of the world in which minorities can do no wrong while the majority can do no right.
Over the years, this has given rise to one horror story after another. Twelve years ago, an eight-year-old Ivorian child, Victoria Climbié, was tortured and murdered by her guardians under the noses of social workers who believed such behaviour had to be respected as part of African culture.
In the early Nineties, Islington council was revealed to have ignored the systematic sexual abuse and prostitution of children in its care because it was terrified of being called racist or homophobic if it disciplined black or gay staff perpetrating such crimes.
In Rotherham itself, the sickening sexual enslavement of under-age white girls by organised prostitution and pimping rings was largely ignored for more than two decades, in part because the abusers came overwhelmingly from Pakistani Muslim backgrounds.
And for years, would-be adoptive parents have been turned down by social workers because they are deemed to be too white, too middle class or in some other way fall foul of the politically correct inquisition.
All this goes far wider and deeper even than the failings of public sector professionals.
The grip of the Left on our culture has meant not just that many perfectly reasonable things are now deemed to be unsayable in civilised society.
Worse still, since political correctness stands truth and lies on their heads, people are vilified as extremists or bigots simply for telling the truth, connecting to reality or standing up for right over wrong.
Let us be clear: the claim that it is racist to oppose multiculturalism is the opposite of the truth. This is because multiculturalism does not, as is so often mistakenly believed, mean being tolerant of other cultures. It is a creed which holds instead that no one culture can trump any other.
That means you can’t uphold human rights, equality for women or freedom of religious belief over cultures that don’t uphold these values.
So multiculturalism inescapably involves abandoning certain ethnic minorities to violence, inequality and persecution. And that is truly racist.
Why is Welsh racism allowed?
Some racisms are more equal than others, it appears
By Roger Lewis
Half a century ago, I was born in Caerphilly Miners' Hospital and raised across the sludge of the Rhymney River in Bedwas, Monmouthshire, where my family owned the village butcher's shop, which had been in operation since 1868 but has since closed.
I was a Mixed Infant at primary school locally, and the Eleven Plus having been abolished, I was then a pupil at the comprehensive in Bassaleg, near Newport.
I am therefore Welsh - and very proudly Welsh. But I've never spoken the Welsh language, except for the odd untrans- latable word like 'cwtch', which means 'cuddle', 'cosy', 'safe' or 'hidden', and 'mochyn', which though it means 'pig' is nevertheless always affectionately meant, when you are called it, like 'rascal' or scallywag'. I also know that 'Popty-Ping' is the word for microwave.
In South Wales, where I am from, there was never any tradition of Welsh speaking. And at the turn of the last century, though my great-grandparents spoke Welsh to each other, they deliberately didn't impart the Welsh to their 11 children, because they wanted them to be able to get on in life.
Rightly or wrongly, English was seen as the language of the future, Welsh as the sign of regional backwardness.
In some respects, I rather fancy knowing more Welsh. It would appeal to my hankering after lost things, like steam trains or gas chandeliers.
But that surely doesn't mean the Welsh language should be imposed on people living in Wales today.
For Welsh has become a political and divisive weapon in the principality - and the stories one hears are like those tales of oppression that used to seep out from behind the Iron Curtain.
Now, we learn that at one school in Ceredigion - which used to be quite happily Cardiganshire when I was a lad - the children are not allowed to use the toilet unless they ask the teacher in Welsh.
Furthermore, one mother is said to have been urged not to read her child English bedtime books, and at another school, a child was admonished for speaking English in the playground.
Some children are, it seems, too frightened to speak English, even at home. This sort of thing would have done the Warsaw Pact proud. It is despicable.
But what can be done about a place that now states, on job applications, 'Welsh speaker preferred'? Unless you are willing to go to classes and learn Welsh, what such xenophobia means in practice is that third-rate local people get the posts - as doctors, teachers, psychologists, architects, and so forth. The Welsh language becomes a trade union ticket for employment.
One architect told me that he can't get his plans through unless he submits them in Welsh.
Yet those youngsters being educated exclusively in Welsh are also going to be a bit stuck. Where else can they go but Wales? Patagonia? They are ill-equipped for anywhere else the other side of the Severn Bridge. Even Bristol will be abroad. How can you teach French in Welsh to children who think in English? It creates a maze of confusion.
I have been told that English-sounding announcers on Radio Wales have been purged; that the Welsh Arts Council turned their back on the great artist Sir Kyffin Williams because he had a posh accent and a moustache; and that Sir Anthony Hopkins and comedian Rob Brydon would never land an acting role on BBC Wales in 2012 because they don't speak the old lingo.
There's an outfit in Cardiff - a writers' society - now calling itself The Welsh Academy, which though I'd never heard of it, tried to elect me: I resigned immediately because they spelt it 'academi', which got my goat for some reason.
The fact is that the Welshifying of Wales is a mad nonsense. It has nothing to do with history. So, how has it all happened?
I asked a former colleague of mine at Oxford, whose speciality was changing speech habits in the United Kingdom from 1800 to 1914.
He explained that an analysis of the late 19th-century census data revealed that Welsh-speaking was in steep decline and that, left to its own devices, the language would have 'died of inanition because Welsh people themselves were casting it off as a mark of backwardness'. This was the view of my great-grandparents in Bedwas. 'English was embraced for reasons of social and economic advancement.'
This is what those teachers in Ceredigion - and those who support them - can't accept: what my friend at Oxford called 'the evident cultural superiority of English', i.e. that English has, for example, a richer literature, going right across the world, from Irish writers such as Shaw or Wilde to everyone in America.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but as of yet there isn't a Welsh Shakespeare.
However, Welsh has survived - initially because of a political deal done in Whitehall when the Liberal Government in 1907 created a Welsh Department of the Board of Education, which 'captured state resources' i.e. taxpayers' loot, and allowed Welsh to be taught in the schools and artificially revived.
Allowed to be taught - not made obligatory, please note. Out of the 1,000 pupils at my school in Bassaleg in the Seventies, Welsh O-level was taken by two in seven years.
One failed and the other got a grade C in the re-sit. But the chief problem has been the perversion of the Welsh Language Act of 1993, which stated that Welsh and English should be 'treated on the basis of equality', that there should be an 'equality of treatment', 'equal validity', and so forth, in matters dealing with public administration.
Equality, however, has not been in evidence. The first thing that happened was a pressure group called the Welsh Language Society - a mob that could teach the Taliban a thing or two - went round vandalising the English road signs.
Tenby was always Tenby, for example, until a few years ago when it suddenly became Dynbych-y-Pysgod - a bit of nonsense about 'bay of the little fishes'. Millions were spent printing official communications in two languages.
One thing led to another and now children are wetting themselves because they are not allowed to go to the loo.
It doesn't end there. Because a taxi in Bangor didn't have the Welsh spelling 'tacsi' on it, a man preferred to walk home.
Even though it is true that there is no letter 'x' in Welsh, this is 'twp' (daft). No doubt the Welsh Language Society chieftains, not renowned for a sense of humour, would rather drop dead than get into an ambulance instead of an 'ambiwlans', and refuse pudding if it's not 'pwddin'.
I'm sorry, but proud Welshman that I am, I find all the anti-English stance of the ethnic cultists vicious and stupid in equal measure - particularly as it is English taxes that keep the Welsh language going.
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.