Friday, December 07, 2012
Feel the hate
Tories turn up heat on Human Rights Act as seven former ministers call on Cameron to repeal the law
Seven former ministers voted for the repeal of the Human Rights Act yesterday — as Tory MPs stepped up pressure on David Cameron to act on the issue.
Former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, former justice minister Crispin Blunt and former schools minister Nick Gibb were among 72, mostly Tory, MPs who voted for the repeal of Labour’s controversial legislation, which enshrined the European Convention of Human Rights in British law.
Other senior Tories involved included the former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth, former social security secretary Peter Lilley and former whips Bill Wiggin and James Duddridge.
Serving ministers and aides were barred from voting in the backbench bid, which was heavily defeated by 195 votes to 72 yesterday, as Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs mobilised to defend the Human Rights Act.
But the scale of the push will pile pressure on the Prime Minister to pursue his manifesto commitment to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.
The issue is currently deadlocked because of opposition from Nick Clegg and other Lib Dems. A commission set up to study the issue is widely seen as an effort to kick it into the long grass.
But Tory MP Richard Bacon said the current row over prisoner voting had underlined the need for action.
The South Norfolk MP said the Human Rights Act was a vehicle for the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to influence and change British law.
He added: ‘Although I do object to the idea of prisoner voting, my much more fundamental objection is to the idea that a court sitting overseas composed of judges from, among other countries, Latvia, Liechtenstein and Azerbaijan, however fine they may be as people, should have more say over what laws should apply in the UK than our constituents do through their elected representatives.’
Mr Bacon said it was ‘fundamentally undemocratic’ that unelected European judges could override the will of Parliament.
He said: ‘Judges do not have access to a tablet of stone not available to the rest of us that allow them better to discern what our people need than we can possibly do as their elected, fallible, corrigible representatives.
‘There is no set of values so universally agreed we can appeal to them as a useful final arbiter. In the end, they will always be shown up as either uselessly vague or controversially specific.
‘In the end, questions of major social policy - whether on abortion, or capital punishment, or the right to bear firearms, or workers’ rights - should be decided by elected representatives, and not by unelected judges.’
Opposition to the bid was led by Labour MP Thomas Docherty, who said the Human Rights Act was one of his party’s most important reforms during 13 years in Government.
Mr Docherty said the Human Rights Act guaranteed the fundamental rights held by British citizens - including a right to life and prohibition of torture. He rejected claims the Act allowed the Strasbourg courts rights to set British law.
Mr Docherty said scrapping the Act would send a dangerous signal to other countries about the importance of human rights.
He said: ‘To turn our back, to tear up, to cast aside this Bill that enshrines into law those fundamental human rights which we ask others to respect would remove the legitimacy of our position.
‘How can we ask developing countries, the new democracies, to respect human rights when we seek to remove them from our statute book?’
‘How can we ask developing countries, the new democracies, to respect human rights when we seek to remove them from our statute book?’
Another brutal sneak attack by a black in Britain
Following a similar brutal attack by Michael Ayoade
CCTV footage released by police shows a man using his scarf to choke the 37-year-old victim, who was making his way to work in the Earls Court area of London.
It shows the passenger, who police say has been left 'highly traumatised' by the incident, losing consciousness briefly before coming around, at which point the suspect can be seen trying to strangle him once again.
The assault took place as the commuter was en route to work on a single decker C1 bus in broad daylight in London at around 1.50pm on Saturday afternoon.
CCTV footage released by the Met Police shows the attacker boarding the bus, which was travelling to White City, at Cresswell Gardens and sitting down immediately behind the victim.
It shows the pair exchanging words briefly, before the suspect launches at his fellow passenger from behind, choking him with a scarf until he passes out.
When the victim regained consciousness a few seconds later, the assailant again tried to strangle him. In all the attack lasted around 30 seconds.
After being assisted by passengers, the victim got off the bus at Earls Court and told nearby police officers what had happened.
The suspect, a black male believed to be in his early to mid 20s, was captured on camera getting off the bus at Shepherds Bush at 1.57pm. He was wearing a grey beanie hat, a sleeveless puffa-style jacket over a beige sweatshirt, dark jeans and boots.
Detective Constable Thomas Norman, of Notting Hill CID, said: 'This was an unprovoked attack on an innocent passenger who was on his way to work. 'The victim has been left highly traumatised. It was so violent that he passed out and this could have been far worse.
'I would urge anyone with information or anyone who recognises this man to contact us as soon as possible. This man is a danger to the public.'
The Real Root of Atheists' Anti-Christmas Rage
Why do some atheists embarrass themselves year after year trying to eradicate Christmas from American culture? Why do they make themselves societal hemorrhoids during this hallowed season? Is it because they are crusaders for equality, secularism’s saviors and humanism’s heroes? I’m sure that’s what they tell themselves when they’re pouting on their couches all alone on Christmas Eve after every single one of their friends has dumped them for being a rabid jackass.
I believe, however—and I could be wrong—that the reason some rage against the machine is that they hate God and love their sin, and bringing up Jesus in December is not the way they wanted to finish off the year. Indeed, Christ really rains on their parade … and they love their parade.
Christmas, if you really get down to the brass tacks of it, isn’t about reindeer, elves, iPhones or Lindsay Lohan punching a gypsy, but about mankind’s sin problem and what God did to remedy it by sending His Son.
I know the chief facet most people focus on regarding Christ’s birth has been the peace on earth and good will toward men stuff, but if you dig around in the gospels a tad you’ll quickly see that the “peace on earth” thing is an ancillary perk to the main reason the second person of the godhead donned an earth suit and decided to hang out with us dunderheads. The core cause that necessitated Jesus’ incarnation was our jacked up carnality. Yep, Hambone, it was our sin. There, I said it. Sin. Yours, mine and ours.
Transgression was the reason for the season.
This is why El Diablo didn’t pass out cigars at Jesus’ birth. Happy he was not that the Son was not only going to address our sins but He was going to eternally and temporally salvage those who believe from sin’s fetid effects. This is why slewfoot energized Herod to put a hit out on the Nazarene when He was a wee little baby and why Satan’s demon inspired ilk are anti-Christmas to this day. Jesus’ birth equated to Satan’s demise.
This is not good news to some, though. Indeed, many atheists are up front about it and don’t want to leave their wantonness. As Jesus Himself said, they prefer darkness to light and don’t like to be reminded of their personal accountability for their sin—and thus their need for salvation—and therefore we should not expect them to be stoked about Jesus’ birthday party.
This is easy math, folks: A person who has no remorse and thus no desire to repent from their sins is probably not going to be a big advocate for the celebration of the person who reminds them they’re wrong and calls them to repent and believe.
Call me goofy, but I’m forever grateful for Jesus’ birth, His attesting miracles, His sacrificial death, burial and resurrection. While most atheists this Christmas will be drinking to forget, I will, as Martin Luther said, drink to remember the One who was and is and is to come.
Jihad on Christmas Trees. Welcome to Christmas Cubes!
"What will be next? Will all Easter eggs be banned in Brussels because they refer to Easter?" — Bianca Debaets, of Belgium's Christian Democratic and Flemish Party
More than 25,000 people in Belgium have signed a petition denouncing a decision to remove the traditional Christmas tree in the central square in Brussels and replace it with a politically correct structure of abstract minimalist art.
Critics accuse the Socialist mayor, Freddy Thielemans, of declaring war on Christmas by installing the "multicultural" structure of lights to placate the city's burgeoning Muslim population.
Historically, a 20 meter [65 foot] fir tree taken from the forests of the Ardennes has adorned the city's main square, the Grand-Place. This year, however, it has been replaced with a 25 meter  foot new-age-like structure of lighted boxes (see video here). Moreover, the traditional Christmas Market in downtown Brussels is no longer being referred to as a "Christmas Market." Instead, it has been renamed as "Winter Pleasures 2012."
The mayor's office, where more than half of the city's eleven councilors are either Muslim or Socialist or both, said the structure was part of a theme this year of "light." City Councilor Philippe Close, a Socialist, said the aim was to show off the "avant-garde character" of Brussels by blending the modern and the traditional to produce something new and different. He added: "The Christmas tree is not a religious symbol and actually lots of Muslims have a Christmas tree at home."
But critics say the non-tree, which was inaugurated on November 30 and will be on display through January 6, was installed to avoid offending Muslims. They also point to a recent Fatwa [a legal pronouncement in Islam], which states that Muslims are prohibited from having anything to do with Christmas trees.
The Fatwa states: "It is not permissible to imitate the kuffar [a highly derogatory Arabic term used to refer to non-Muslims] in any of their acts of worship, rituals or symbols, because the Prophet [Mohammed] said: 'Whoever imitates a people is one of them.'"
The Fatwa continues: "So it is not permissible to put up this tree in a Muslim house even if you do not celebrate Christmas, because putting up this tree comes under the heading of imitating others that is haram [banned], or venerating and showing respect to a religious symbol of the kuffar. What the parents must do is protect their children and keep them away from what is haram, and protect them from the Fire as Allah, may He be exalted."
The Fatwa concludes: "You should explain to your daughter that it is haram to imitate the disbelievers and that it is obligatory to differ from those who are doomed to Hell and to dislike what they venerate of clothing, symbols or rituals, so as to develop respect for her own religion and adhere to it."
Bianca Debaets, a Brussels councilor from the Christian Democratic and Flemish party, told the Flemish newspaper Brussel Nieuws that she believed an argument over Muslim religious sensitivities had prompted the Brussels City Council to put up the light sculpture.
Debaets said, "I suspect that the reference to the Christian religion was the decisive factor in replacing the tree. For a lot of people who are not Christians, the tree there is offensive to them. What will be next? Will all Easter eggs be banned in Brussels because they refer to Easter?"
Erik Maxwell, a resident of Brussels, told the BBC News: "We think the tree has been put up for cultural reasons. A tree is for Christmas and Christians but now there are a lot of Muslims here in Brussels. So to avoid discussions they have just replaced a tree with a couple of cubes!"
Others say the structure -- which cost the taxpayers of Brussels a total of €44,000 ($57,000), compared to €5,000 for the traditional tree -- resembles the green cross outside European drug stores, and some have nicknamed it "The Pharmacy."
A Facebook page called "Save the Brussels Tree" has nearly 5,000 "likes" demanding that the mayor of Brussels "give us back our tree." Another Facebook page called "For our Traditional Tree" has invited nearly 20,000 people to attend a December 8th "revolt" against the sculpture at the Grand-Place.
The conflict over the traditional Christmas tree comes as two Muslim politicians, who won municipal elections in Brussels on October 14, have vowed to implement Islamic Sharia law in Belgium.
The two candidates, Lhoucine Aït Jeddig and Redouane Ahrouch, both from the fledgling Islam Party, won seats in two heavily Islamized municipalities of Brussels, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean and Anderlecht, respectively.
During a post-election press conference in Brussels on October 25, the two councilors, who were officially sworn in on December 3, said they regard their election as key to the assertion of the Muslim community in Belgium.
"We are elected Islamists but above all we are Muslims," Ahrouch said. "Islam is compatible with the laws of the Belgian people. As elected Muslims, we embrace the Koran and the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed. We believe Islam is a universal religion. Our presence on the town council will give us the opportunity to express ourselves.
Speaking to a reporter from Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF), the public broadcasting service of the French-speaking part of Belgium, Ahrouch said: "I think we have to sensitize people, make them understand the advantages to having Islamic people and Islamic laws. And then it will be completely natural to have Islamic laws and we will become an Islamic state."
The reporter interjected: "An Islamic State in Belgium?" Ahrouch replied: "In Belgium, of course! I am for the Sharia. Islamic law, I am for it. It is a long-term struggle that will take decades or a century, but the movement has been launched."
The rise of the Islam Party comes amid a rapidly growing Muslim population in the Belgian capital. Muslims now make up one-quarter of the population of Brussels, according to a book recently published by the Catholic University of Leuven, the top Dutch-language university in Belgium.
In real terms, the number of Muslims in Brussels -- where half of the number of Muslims in Belgium currently live --- has reached 300,000, which means that the self-styled "Capital of Europe" is now the most Islamic city in Europe.
In practical terms, Islam mobilizes more people in Brussels than do the Roman Catholic Church, political parties or even trade unions, according to "The Iris and the Crescent," a book that is the product of more than a year of field research. The book's author, the sociologist Felice Dassetto, predicts that Muslims will make up the majority of the population of Brussels by 2030.
Meanwhile, critics of the "electronic winter tree" have called on Muslims in Belgium to sign a petition to show that they do not have anything against the traditional Christmas tree. The petition reads: "The removal of the Christmas tree on the Grand-Place in Brussels aroused strong controversy about the role of Muslims in this decision. I hereby would like to see Muslims sign this petition to show that they are not against this tree. I would like to gather as many signatures as possible to show that Muslims comply with Belgian traditions and do not want to remove this joy at home." Fewer than 80 of Belgium's 600,000 Muslims have signed the petition.
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.