Thursday, December 20, 2012
Lord Ashcroft: British voters defecting to UKIP because they are fed up with political correctness
Voters are defecting from the Conservatives to Ukip because they are fed up with political correctness, not because of Europe, Lord Ashcroft said today.
The major Tory donor and Number 10 adviser said Ukip is stealing voters because many are uneasy about "the way life is changing in Britain today", fuelled by unhappiness about immigration and a benefits culture.
Amid polls showing a surge of support for Ukip, Lord Ashcroft commissioned new research showing 12 per cent of Conservative voters would side with Ukip at the next election. Half of those turning to Ukip are former Tories, he found.
It also showed that just seven per cent of Ukip voters say Europe is the single most important issue for them. It ranks behind economic growth, welfare, immigration and the deficit.
However, he said Ukip's general outlook, rather than policies, is driving support.
"Certainly, those who are attracted to UKIP are more preoccupied than most with immigration, and will occasionally complain about Britain’s contribution to the EU or the international aid budge," Lord Ashcroft wrote on his ConservativeHome blog.
"But these are often part of a greater dissatisfaction with the way they see things going in Britain: schools, they say, can’t hold nativity plays or harvest festivals any more; you can’t fly a flag of St George any more; you can’t call Christmas Christmas any more; you won’t be promoted in the police force unless you’re from a minority; you can’t wear an England shirt on the bus; you won’t get social housing unless you’re an immigrant; you can’t speak up about these things because you’ll be called a racist; you can’t even smack your children.
"All of these examples, real and imagined, were mentioned in focus groups by UKIP voters and considerers to make the point that the mainstream political parties are so in thrall to the prevailing culture of political correctness that they have ceased to represent the silent majority."
He identified the typical Ukip voters thinking "Britain is changing for the worse".
"They are pessimistic, even fearful, and they want someone and something to blame," he said. "They do not think mainstream politicians are willing or able to keep their promises or change things for the better. UKIP, with its single unifying theory of what is wrong and how to put it right, has obvious attractions for them."
However, the peer said David Cameron can win round dissaffected voters by "delivering our promises on immigration, that welfare reform is both firm and fair, and evidence that the right decisions are being made on the economy".
His comments come after Ukip had a strong showing in the recent by-elections, coming second in Rotherham and in Middlesbrough and third in Croydon North.
Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, said the party “should be taken seriously” given its growing support.
Polls have recently shown Ukip getting between seven per cent and 14 per cent of the vote, taking their support to a record high. According to a new Populus poll for The Times, the Tories have dropped six points, leaving them with 29 per cent of the vote, with Labour remaining at 40 per cent and Ukip rising six points to gain 10 per cent of support.
Britain's drift into becoming a new East Germany derailed in the House of Lords
The House of Lords is one of the few constitutional safeguards in Britain but it can only do so much against a determined government
Cabinet minister Ken Clarke gave ground on the Justice and Security Bill after a series of defeats in the Lords. He told MPs that judges, not ministers, will have the right to decide what is heard in secret, even in cases of national security.
But he admitted that secret hearings could be used when families of dead servicemen sue the Government for negligence. Mr Clarke also insisted that closed proceedings are necessary in cases where suspected terrorists claim mistreatment, to allow evidence from the security services to be submitted.
Ministers have agreed that plaintiffs in civil trials should also have the right to request a secret hearing, not just the Government. They have already ditched plans to hold inquests behind closed doors, following a campaign by the Daily Mail.
At the second reading of the Bill yesterday Mr Clarke told MPs: 'The Bill leaves it to the judge to decide what is necessary in any particular case, rather than seeking to impose disclosure requirements or fetter the discretion of the judge in deciding whether to have a closed process.'
The government has previously had to pay out millions to suspects because they cannot defend the charges without compromising the intelligence services.
But critics reacted with fury after Mr Clarke also revealed further details of the circumstances in which secret courts might be used. In such cases the government's evidence is not even disclosed to their opponents lawyers.
Asked whether legal cases brought by the families of service personnel over the death of a loved one as a result of MoD failures could see the use of secret courts - known as Closed Material Procedures (CMPs) - by the Government, Mr Clarke responded, 'This could actually arise' in cases where a soldier dies in a 'highly secret operation'.
He said: 'I can't rule out that a CMP application would be made.' Mr Clarke also refused to rule out that the Government could make use of secret hearings in claims where they might face embarrassment over arms deals, in response to a question from Jeremy Corbyn MP.
Clare Algar, Executive Director of human rights pressure group Reprieve, said: 'At last the Government has admitted the wide range of circumstances in which these dangerous plans could be used.
Ken Clarke has accepted that secret courts could be used in cases where the MoD has neglected its own soldiers, or the government has been involved in dubious arms deals.
'Once these plans have passed, ministers will find irresistible the prospect of using a secret court to avoid embarrassing disclosures over negligence or wrongdoing. Parliament must vote against plans for secret courts, or risk putting government above the law.'
Isabella Sankey, Director of Policy for Liberty, said: 'Our politicians continue to tinker around the edges of a Bill that would change our justice system forever.
'These concessions are minor nips and tucks, and leave the chilling prospect of secret justice intact. Even the architect of the draft Bill now admits secret courts could apply to many more cases than the Government was originally prepared to admit."
Tory MP David Davis condemned the proposals as threatening centuries old liberties.
'What part of this Bill does today is create the power to take parts of the civil judicial system not only out of the public domain but completely out of the normal judicial testing procedure.
'Evidence can be presented by the Government which the other side cannot see and even the defence lawyers cannot see, that evidence cannot be tested and therefore may be wholly wrong and misleading. This undermines the very thing that makes the system work.'
Denmark Jews advised to keep faith symbols hidden
Jews in Denmark are advised to avoid wearing the Star of David or the religious headpiece, the kippah, in public according to advice given out by the Israeli Embassy and Jewish faith groups.
Israel’s ambassador, Arthur Avon, speaking to Jyllands-Posten newspaper for their report on anti-semitism, said that wearing these symbols in public increased the risk of harassment.
“We advise Israelis who travel here and want to go to the synagogue that they should only put their kippah on once they are inside,” Avon told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “They shouldn’t wear them on the street, even in areas that are considered safe.”
Avon and the Jewish faith group, Mosaisk Troessamfund, also advise Jews not to visibly wear the Star of David in public.
The Mosaisk Troessamfund has been informed of 37 cases of possible anti-Semitism this year, including an incident in November in which an elderly Israeli man had a necklace bearing a Star of David ripped from his neck while he was eating at a shawarma restaurant.
This incident took place in Nørrebro, a district of Copenhagen that has a large Middle-Eastern and Arab population, which according to the victims accounted for the majority of the physical and verbal attacks.
But Imran Shah, a spokesperson for the Muslim faith group Islamisk Trossamfund, denied that there was widespread anti-Jewish sentiment within Denmark’s Muslim population.
“Some of our rituals are almost identical, such as the slaughter of animals and other religious rituals such as circumcision,” Shah told Jyllands-Posten.
Despite this, both the police and the City Council have urged Jews to be particularly cautious in Nørrebro. In September, the council advised Jewish participants of an international food fair that was being held in Nørrebro not to bring Israeli flags as a safety precaution.
While Copenhagen's deputy mayor for employment and integration, Anna Mee Allerslev (Radikale), faced accusations of discrimination over the flag saga, police have also suggested that Jews need to take precautions while in Nørrebro.
“In areas where it is known that there is conflict and a risk of confrontation and harassment, it’s best to stay away,” police commissioner Lars-Christian Borg told Jyllands-Posten. “It’s sad to have to say, but it is some of the advice we give.”
While Allerslev argued that the advice to not bring flags was given to protect public safety, she acknowledged that it was disappointing that Jews in Denmark are harassed because of their faith.
“I don’t think we have given sufficient attention to anti-Semitism. The 37 cases reported this year is far too many,” Allerslev told Jyllands-Posten. “Minorities should never have to shoulder the burden of harassment alone.”
Politicians from across the political spectrum have expressed sadness and disappointment following the release of yesterday’s report by Jyllands-Posten about the problems faced by Jews in Denmark.
City councillor Lars Aslan Rasmussen (Socialdemokrater) said that it was “grotesque” and that more needed to be done to tackle anti-Semitism.
“We often see racism as an issue of the majority against a minority. But we need to direct our efforts tackling anti-Semitism toward the Muslim communities,” Aslan told Jyllands-Posten.
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, the spokesperson for the far-left party Enhedslisten, framed the problems facing Jews in terms of a larger problem: the persecution of minorities in Denmark
”It’s completely unacceptable that Jews in Denmark feel the need to hide their religion,” Schmidt-Nielsen wrote on Facebook. “It’s not okay that Jews have to hide their kippahs, that homosexuals can’t hold hands, or that women wearing headscarves are spat at. Attacks against the Palestinian population by the Israeli government are no justification for anti-Semitism.”
‘Benevolent Sexism’ is bad too, apparently
Beware! It’s far more insidious than old-fashioned misogyny
By Katherine Connell
Katy Perry recently joined Taylor Swift, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and French former first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in the ranks of prominent women who declined to identify themselves as feminists when prompted by reporters. Internet responses to this trend ranged from outrage over their false consciousness to snarky derision of their stupidity to concerned introspection about the failures of feminist branding.
Another possibility that should be considered is that feminism seems largely irrelevant to an increasing number of Western women because it often appears to be at odds with their experience of reality and their desires. Bruni-Sarkozy explained, “I’m not at all an active feminist. On the contrary, I’m a bourgeoise. I love family life, I love doing the same thing every day.” Her remark is an indication of the gap that often exists between the concerns of feminism and the concerns of women, as was Mayer’s insistence in an interview that she remained unaware throughout high school that girls were supposed to be bad at math and science.
This gap shouldn’t be that surprising, since feminists aren’t particularly interested in empiricism. This is revealed every time the media write up academic research with findings that feminists deem objectionable. CNN a couple of months ago reported on a study in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science about the effects of ovulation on women’s voting preferences. This study was denounced as patently offensive — more offensive than, say, the Obama campaign’s telling women they should “vote like your lady parts depend on it.” In response to the backlash, CNN yanked the piece from its website, explaining that “some elements of the story did not meet the editorial standards of CNN.”
Meanwhile, last week on Slate, Amanda Marcotte began a piece decrying a study whose results she didn’t like by noting that at least it was unlike other studies whose results she didn’t like in that it avoided “theorizing that women are hard-wired to like shiny things in velvet boxes because something something caveman days.” In the study, researchers surveyed 277 students at UC Santa Cruz and found that two-thirds of them “definitely” thought that men should propose marriage to women. Only 2.8 percent of the women felt that they would “kind of” want to propose to their boyfriends, and zero men felt that they would like to receive such a proposal. Marcotte worried that “this benevolent sexism . . . leeches women of much of their autonomy” and predicted that this pernicious state of affairs will persist until we “dramatically restructure our cultural understanding of gender and romance.”
If you’re wondering what “benevolent sexism” is and why it’s a problem, don’t worry — there are reams of social-science literature dedicated to addressing those questions. Here’s a definition from an article by Juliet Wakefield et al. in the November issue of Psychology of Women Quarterly entitled, “Thanks, but No Thanks: Women’s Avoidance of Help-Seeking in the Context of a Dependency-Related Stereotype”: “Whereas some forms of sexism are explicitly misogynistic, others are less so, and it is common to distinguish between hostile (old-fashioned) sexism and benevolent (modern) sexism.”
Rachael Robnett, the graduate student who surveyed the students at UC Santa Cruz, is also on the case. She explained to Live Science that people who hold traditional notions about romance and marriage tend also to believe that women should be cherished and protected, which sounds nice but actually is not: It’s benevolent sexism. “The flip side, which is more insidious, is that it is robbing women of some agency,” she said.
Charles Murray recently highlighted another Psychology of Women Quarterly study on benevolent sexism in a blog post he titled, “The Bad News Is That Gentlemanly Behavior Makes People Happy.” Kathleen Connelly and Martin Heesacker found that the phenomenon was “associated with life satisfaction for both women and men” and concluded: “The results imply that although benevolent sexism perpetuates inequality at the structural level, it might offer some benefits at the personal level. Thus, our findings reinforce the dangerous nature of benevolent sexism and emphasize the need for interventions to reduce its prevalence.” Murray wondered, “When social scientists discover something that increases life satisfaction for both sexes, shouldn’t they at least consider the possibility that they have come across something that is positive? Healthy? Something that might even conceivably be grounded in the nature of Homo sapiens?” That, however, would require them to accept the idea that there is such a thing as human nature, and that it is fixed.
Because benevolent sexism is so much more insidious than old-fashioned “hostile sexism,” social scientists are forced to be creative in their attempts to measure it and analyze the negative effects they know it has on women. Consider the scenario constructed by Juliet Wakefield and her colleagues in their study of how women avoid seeking help in the context of “a dependency-related stereotype.” The university women selected for the experiment are individually allowed to “overhear” a fake phone call the female researcher supposedly receives from Joe the plumber, who is working in her apartment and has moved some of her furniture around without asking. After she hangs up, she says to some of the participants in the study, “Sorry about that — my plumber is such a typical man — he thinks that women are incapable of doing anything on their own!” To the others she says, “Sorry about that, my plumber is the most impatient person in the world.” It turns out that the young women exposed to the former statement — which sounds as if it is describing something a bit more hostile than benevolent — were subsequently less likely to ask for help with solving some anagrams, and they felt bad about themselves when they did ask for help. Conclusion: “All in all, our findings underline the point that the benevolent sexism in everyday banal interactions can be consequential for women’s emotions and behavior, and is, therefore, anything but banal.”
I tried to reflect a little on whether my banal interactions with benevolently sexist men have been undermining my emotional health and affecting my behavior without my realizing it. The other day, I asked a male co-worker for assistance with a technical issue. It’s hard to know if he was subtly robbing me of my agency, because he didn’t reply, “Oh, the network server, that’s so difficult and frustrating for a woman to grapple with. Let me do it for you,” as did the man in a script presented to students in the 2011 study “Damned if She Does, Damned if She Doesn’t: Consequences of Accepting versus Confronting Patronizing Help for the Female Target and Male Actor.” Instead, he just sent me the relevant link and went back to work.
I don’t think most women actually want to live in a world where men don’t offer to help them lug heavy suitcases up staircases or hold doors for them or propose marriage — never mind going down with the Titanic. If feminists find these things deplorable and in need of eradication, they can hardly be surprised when women fail to identify with their cause.
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.