Sunday, September 30, 2012

Homosexual couples should be allowed to marry in church, says British Leftist leader

Ed Miliband last night said gay couples should be allowed to marry in church.  The Labour leader backed Government proposals to change the law to allow gays to be married in a register office or other civil ceremony.

But he insisted the reforms should go further by enabling churches and faith groups to conduct ceremonies if they wish to.

Mr Miliband is expected to impose a three-line whip on his MPs - the strongest possible instruction on how to vote - when the Commons decides whether to back gay civil marriages following a consultation by the Home Office.

David Cameron will offer Tories a free vote, as he regards the issue as one of conscience.

The Government is committed to introducing legislation before the next election in 2015 and polls suggest a significant majority of MPs will back a change in the law.

At the moment, it is illegal for gay couples to be married in church. The Home Office intends to keep this ban.

Its consultation paper states: `It would not be legally possible under these proposals for religious organisations to solemnise religious marriages for same-sex couples.'

Gay couples can already enter a civil partnership, which can be carried out in church and gives them many of the rights of marriage.

But many religious leaders fear that if same-sex civil marriages are allowed, gay activists will use human rights laws to force churches to marry them.

In a video recorded for the Out4Marriage campaign, Mr Miliband said:

`Whether you are gay or straight, you should be able to signify your commitment, your love with the term "marriage".

`Where faith groups want to provide that opportunity for gay couples as well as straight couples, they should be able to do so. Equal marriage is... a sign of us being a modern country.'

Quakers and liberal Jews have suggested they would host services. But many Tories say gay marriages should not be carried out in church.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he was in favour of civil marriage, but added: `Churches should be protected.'

Colin Hart, of the Coalition for Marriage, said: `Poll after poll shows a majority of the public oppose these changes.

Voters have not had the opportunity to have their say and even within the gay community it is not a priority.' However, Benjamin Cohen, of

Out4Marriage, said: `There are many gay couples of faith and many faith groups that embrace gay people.

`It's only right for faith groups that wish to conduct same-sex marriages to be allowed to do so.

`We need full marriage equality, not a half-step that continues to deny gay couples the right to marry in churches, synagogues and meeting houses that are happy to accommodate them.'


Betrayed by the PC brigade: How politically correct British police and social workers betrayed underage white victims

For 20 years or more, there has been a shameful silence about the sexual exploitation of young girls in this country. Hundreds of children - some of them still at primary school - have been groomed by street gangs and turned into sex slaves.

And it is still going on today.

When I have written about this subject after investigations in towns and cities in the North of England, I have been reviled as a hater of our immigrant communities in abusive emails, letters and phone calls by those who continue to deny such things are going on.

For there is an uncomfortable truth about this abhorrent crime which we must not flinch from: the majority of girls ensnared by the street gangs are white, while most of the perpetrators come from the Pakistani and South Asian communities.

Of course, the great majority of people from these communities are decent citizens, and people from all races are capable of evil.

But I believe the controversial issue of these street gangs has been swept under the carpet, regarded as a taboo subject by police officers and social workers terrified of being labelled racist in ever more politically correct modern Britain.

Worried parents alerting social services and police about gangs have been ignored. NHS health clinics, treating the girls for sexual diseases, injuries and pregnancies, have sounded the alarm. Yet nothing has been done.

Teachers who reported teenage girls with hangovers and bruises taking constant calls on their mobiles from older men during school hours have been met with a wall of silence from officialdom.

Shockingly, one middle-class father from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, who told social workers that his 15-year-old daughter had been lured into an underage sex ring based at a local kebab shop, was told by them that the girl was making a `lifestyle' choice to be a prostitute.  The social services refused to help the teenager escape.

Meanwhile, the police told the father there was `no prospect' of convicting the gang members, who drove his daughter to `cash-for-sex' sessions with scores of Muslim men in rented houses or public car parks all over the North of England.

At the time, despite her parents raising the alarm and subsequent DNA swabs from the girl's underwear directly linking her to one of the gang, the police did not act and the gang's members remained free and continued to sexually abuse her - and many other girls in Rochdale - for another two years.

As this father told me just the other day: `The police were scared stiff of being called racist, so for years they didn't go after these men. `The social workers were just as bad. They were afraid of saying it is a crime against white girls.'

His is not a lone view. Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Lancashire-based Ramadhan Foundation, a charity working for ethnic harmony, has warned: `The police are over-cautious because they fear being branded racist. That is wrong. These gangs of men are criminals, and should be treated as criminals whatever their race.'

But I have discovered that it is not only the police and social workers who turn a blind eye. The very agencies set up to help the girls recover from the abuse are equally reluctant to admit there is a strong racial element to these hideous crimes.

One charity, Risky Business, operating in Rotherham, refused to answer any of my questions on the racial make-up of the men in the sex gangs.

At another, the Coalition for the Removal of Pimping, in Leeds, the chief executive told me: `This is a crime committed by men. We are trying to work in certain communities to change their attitudes to women. I cannot comment on the race of the criminals involved.'

This week, at last, the full truth began to emerge about the cover-up of crimes Scotland Yard estimates have affected 5,000 British-born children, the majority girls.

At least ten towns and cities on both sides of the Pennines have been particularly plagued by the gangs. Their members get rich because they can reap four times as much money trading young girls for sex as they can trading in drugs.

I have established that in the small city of Blackburn alone, at least 385 girls were groomed by men in a recent two-year period. Sheila Taylor, chairwoman of the National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People, has told me that this figure will be similar in any other town of the same size in the North of England or the Midlands.

What is most shocking is the fact that a series of new reports show police and social services have missed hundreds of opportunities to protect the child victims.

Yesterday, an official review of sexual exploitation of girls in Rochdale - ordered after the jailing of nine men aged between 22 and 59 for multiple child sex offences in the town - revealed that 50 children, the vast majority aged ten to 17, were identified [by the authorities] five years ago as having `clear links to take-away food businesses and to associated taxi companies'.

The girls, repeatedly raped, were treated by social workers as `wilful' young teenagers `engaging in consensual sexual activity'.

`When complaints reached the police, their investigations were inadequate,' the review said.

From South Yorkshire, confidential documents told the same sorry story. A police intelligence report compiled in 2010 says thousands of sexual exploitation crimes against young white and mixed race girls have gone on in the county.

`There is a problem with networks of Muslim offenders both locally and nationally,' it reported. `This is particularly stressed in Sheffield, even more so in Rotherham, where there appears to be a significant problem with Asian males exploiting young white females.'

Yet local police, social workers and councils ignored the growing crisis.

One white girl in Rotherham, who was sexually abused by one such gang, was - incongruously - offered lessons in Urdu and Punjabi by social services to help get her over her ordeal.

According to the documents, 54 girls in Rotherham were sexually exploited by three brothers from a `British Pakistani' family. Eighteen of the girls identified one of the brothers as their `boyfriend', and he had made several of them pregnant.

Three brothers from another `British Pakistani' family and 41 associates were linked to the sexual abuse of another 61 girls in the same area. Denis MacShane, the local Labour MP, says the serial sexual abuse of young girls should be a wake-up call for the police, local authorities and Britain's Asian community. He is demanding an independent public inquiry, and blames a `misplaced racial sensitivity' for the crisis.

So how are such vile crimes taking place in so-called civilised Britain, and why have such gangs been allowed to flourish so they now believe they can act with impunity?

`They are laughing at the police,' one youth worker in South Yorkshire told me this week. `These men may get called into the police station for a dressing down, but so few are taken to court.

`They now think they are invincible, and, of course, they're not frightened of accusing the police of racism themselves if things get tricky for them. Then everything is dropped.'

At the heart of the scandal are uncomfortable cultural issues. Many men of Pakistani heritage believe white girls have low morals compared to Muslim girls.

The same youth worker explained to me: `These girls wear what the men call "slags' clothing" and show too much of their bodies.'

To add to this cultural divide, the men are often in loveless arranged marriages with wives from Pakistan who speak no English. They want to have sex, and a young virgin free of sexual diseases is the perfect victim.

Gang members are often unemployed, so have time to groom girls - luring them into a trap which is nearly always sprung in the same way.

The girl might be out with her friends in the town centre, often on a Saturday afternoon. She is bored, and when a group of smiling men pull up in a flashy car with blaring rap music, she is flattered.

Tanya's story illustrates their modus operandi. In 2001, Tanya, a 13-year-old, became Britain's youngest mother after she was coerced into becoming the sex slave of a gang in Yorkshire.

Tanya went to the local secondary school and lived with her single mother in a neat terraced house.  At the shops one day, a group of men came up to her. They took her off in their car and plied her with vodka. They gave her a mobile phone to receive calls from them, and bought her gifts and meals.

After a week or two, they said they wanted to have sex with her in return. Frightened of them, she agreed. She became pregnant, but by then she had slept with so many men from the Pakistani community that she did not know who the father was.

DNA tests by police on five of the most likely candidates did not prove paternity. Two of the gang members who were tested confessed to sleeping with Tanya when she was 12.  Shockingly, they were never charged with any offence for having sex with an under-age child.

The birth was hushed up, and the gang got off scot-free. The local council and social services department then went to the High Court in London and secured an injunction stopping anyone - including Tanya and her family - ever talking about the matter again. They have never done so.

The terrifying question is just how many other girls like Tanya have been let down by a system that does not dare tell the truth?

Lessons need to be learnt. And they need to be learnt with great urgency.


Men and women are different in terms of genetic predispositions

A team of researchers from UNIGE shows that men and women do not have the same propensity to develop certain diseases

We are not all the same when it comes to illness. In fact, the risk of developing a disease such as diabetes or heart disease varies from one individual to another. A study led by Emmanouil Dermitzakis, Louis-Jeantet Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva (UNIGE) reveals that the genetic predisposition to develop certain diseases may differ from one individual to another depending on their sex. Together with his collaborators, the professor has shown that genetic variants have a different impact on the level of gene expression between men and women. The results of this research have been published in the scientific journal Genome Research.

For decades geneticists have been interested in genetic variants that affect the level of gene expression. These variants spark the interest of researchers because they play a role in the predisposition to certain diseases. Professor Dermitzakis' team from UNIGE, in collaboration with Oxford University, focused on the fundamental differences in the genetics of gene expression between men and women. After analyzing the impact of genetic variants on the level of gene expression in women, and then in men, the scientists have found that the effect of certain variants affecting gene expression and the genetic risk of developing a disease resulting from these genetic variants is different depending on the sex of the individual.

Everyone will agree that men and women are different but, beyond the obvious, genetics brings to light more subtle differences. The researchers found that even with the same DNA mutation in men and in women, the impact on the level of gene expression will be different. Of all the genetic variants that have an impact on the level of gene expression, about 15% work differently depending on whether they are acting upon a man or a woman.

«We already knew that certain environmental factors like diet had a variable impact depending on the sex of an individual. Today, we are able to confirm that genetic variants have a different impact on the level of gene expression in men and women; that is to say that although two individuals of opposite sex both have a same variant predisposing them to a disease, they will not have the same propensity to develop it,» states Professor Dermitzakis.


Butt: a new biography

Naomi Wolf has written a whole book about her sacred space under the title Vagina: A New Biography. She argues the vagina is the most important body part, the seat of all wisdom and the key to a woman's sense of self. As she puts it at one point: ''the vagina is a gateway to women's happiness and to her creative life''.

This is all very well but what about the rest of our bodies?

It only seems fair that other body parts are given the same intense, somewhat poetic, attention.

Index Finger: A New Biography The vagina might be a really terrific body part, you'll have no argument from me on that one, Naomi, but so is the index finger. Oh, mighty body part that can turn from admonishing a fellow road user, to beckoning a prospective lover and yet still be pressed into service when the need comes to pick your nose. Everyone praises Steve Jobs for developing the smartphone and the tablet computer, but where would he be without the index finger? There would just be a whole lot of people on the bus mashing vainly at their smartphones with their elbows.

Leg: A New Biography Legs are the loneliest body part, particularly male legs, asked to work away in the dark, rarely allowed to see their identical twin toiling away next door. From an early age they are covered by trousers, a sort of bottom-half burqa, and spoken about only when they fail. "Oh, you're limping" or "Here's old Hopalong". No mention, you'll notice, of the large and growing stomach that the legs are required to carry around; no acknowledgment that the slightly uneven gait might be caused by the increasing load being silently borne. Oh no, it's all down to the poor old legs. It's like a Third World country down there: legs forced to do all the donkey work yet afforded so few of life's pleasures. All they ask is the occasional compliment: "Oh, I notice you're not limping.'' Or: "Gee, your legs are doing an awfully good job.''

Butt: A New Biography Naomi may well believe in the supremacy of what is sometimes termed "the front bottom" but where would she be without a real bottom? As the writer Tim Winton established in his influential tome The Bugalugs Bum Thief, human beings missing their bums are not able to sit down. They lower themselves onto a chair and simply slip off. Yes, a vagina is absolutely terrific but only if you have enough energy to make the most of it, having not been on your feet all day.

Elbow: A New Biography You can imagine a world without elbows: it's basically the zombie apocalypse. Offices would have to be bigger, with people typing with their arms outstretched; to drive a car you'd have to be seated a full metre away from the wheel. Frankly, it's a pretty bleak place. A world without elbows is a world without soup: the stuff becomes impossible to consume. Solid foods could be eaten directly off the plate, in the same way as cows in the field, or - for a special occasion - food could be suspended on thin ropes from the ceiling, whereupon guests could stretch their necks like so many hungry giraffes, nibbling on a low-hanging lamb chop. Alcohol is more problematic: serving it in dog bowls is probably the best idea, with guests on hands and knees slurping up the last of your Penfolds 2010 Koonunga Hill Shiraz.

Mouth: A New Biography Talk about multitasking: breathing, eating and speaking, all through the same slot worked into the front of the face. The lips can be opened, the sides curling upwards, to create a friendly smile when you walk into a shop. The same device is then used to issue a polite instruction to the person running the shop: "I'll have a pie with sauce, thanks mate", the tongue leaping around the mouth like a Russian gymnast in order to create the appropriate sounds. There's then a two-minute wait - during which the mouth is being used to inhale and exhale air, in order that you might stay alive - after which the microwave goes ''ping'' and the pie is handed over. At this point the same device is used to a) thank the man ("Thanks, mate") and then b) eat the pie. Then - oh, what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry? - the lips narrow to create an airtight vacuum around a straw, the better to drink the milkshake that you have subsequently purchased to wash down the pie. The sigh of satisfaction at the end again employs the same slot, installed conveniently in the front of the face, just where you'd want it to be, so the eyes might better assess the food being ingested, while the nose double-checks it's not off.

After all of that, you'd be mad not to offer the world a smile, the better to express your satisfaction at the joyful service provided by your mouth, bum, index fingers, elbows and legs.

The vagina? Don't get me wrong: absolutely marvellous. It's the whole machine, though, that's really something special.



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


Friday, September 28, 2012

Women CAN'T have it all

Amanda Platell

The alarm goes off at 5.15 am and so does his complaining. ‘Do you really have to get up now, just ten more minutes in bed, call in sick …’ he says. ‘I have to get to the gym, my first meeting’s at eight, I’ve got to go.’ Then the familiar retort: ‘It’s always all about you... and your career.’

Such was our morning ritual — alarm ringing, complaints and an abiding feeling that I was letting my boyfriend down and spending more time and energy on my career than on him, a fact he constantly reminded me of.

Then there were the broken promises. ‘I’ll cook us a lovely dinner tonight,’ only to arrive home two hours later than planned with a lukewarm take-away.

Worse still, to call and say I was working late and could he meet me in town instead for dinner, when what he had planned for the evening could not be conducted in any restaurant.

Ten-hour to 12-hour working days, constantly on call, endless emails and texts at night and weekends . . . the pressure of a job at the top of your game is hard enough for you, but is often unbearable for your partner and relationship. The guilt — it’s enough to drive you mad, and him away.

Which is why looking back over my years — one broken marriage, three long-term relationships and now dating in my mid-50s (aaarggh!) — I have come to believe that it’s almost impossible for a woman to have a great relationship and a high-flying career.

Would I be able to do the job I do up as I was this morning at six to write this piece, often out at night meeting contacts, working weekends, early mornings and late nights, if I was married with children? I very much doubt it.

One always has to come first and, in my case, it has too often been my career.

It’s a conclusion that singer Florence Welch, of Florence And The Machine, has also reached. The singer, who has best-selling albums behind her and the world at her feet, recently admitted she broke up with her boyfriend ‘to concentrate on her career’.

Sources revealed the singer’s gruelling work schedule was getting in the way of her 15-month romance with the public school-educated James Nesbitt, and as the 26-year-old singer prepared for her American tour she just decided ‘enough was enough’.

While Welch’s decision was a calculated one, TV comedienne Miranda Hart has found that the unexpected benefit of being unlucky in love is a thriving career.

In her autobiography Is It Just Me?, she puts the phenomenal success of her TV career down to the fact that as a girl she looked ‘like a sack of offal’ and was never part of the ‘pretty girl circle’ at school who was courted by the opposite sex and asked out to parties.

‘This may seem miserable — but you’ll have space, space you can constructively use to discover and hone your skills, learn a language, develop an interest in cosmology, practise the oboe, do whatever you fancy, so long as it doesn’t involve being looked at or snogging anyone,’ she writes.

As well as the oboe, being single gives you space to climb the career ladder. If Miranda had married and was now the mother of children, she believes she would never have had the success she has today.

And I have to agree. But I never consciously set out to put my work before my relationships.

When I married, at 26, I never wanted a ‘career’. I loved my job as a reporter but I loved the idea of being a wife and mother even more. However, it soon became clear my husband wasn’t the staying kind, more the straying kind.

When I suspected he was having an affair, working late was far preferable to going home to an empty house, wondering where he was and who he was with.

The more my husband cheated on me, the more I worked. Some have put my success down to naked ambition, but I know it was caused by my abject misery at the thought of him in bed with someone else. If my ex-husband hadn’t been such a louse, I wouldn’t have the career I have today.

We divorced and I worked to keep the pain away. Part of me was determined I’d never let myself be that dependent on anyone ever again, and my job gave me the security my marriage never did.

I didn’t have children, despite years of trying, so there was no maternity leave for me or heading home early for the nativity play, or a sick child. I can now see that, at times, I put my work before the relationships that came after my marriage. It’s not a choice you want to make but one you have to if you want to survive at the top.

One Saturday night in 2000, when I was working for William Hague, I had no sooner arrived at a birthday dinner with friends when the phone went. There was a crisis — there was always a crisis — so I spent the entire night in their study working, with drinks and dinner brought up to me.

By the time I’d got through with it, at about 11pm, my boyfriend was done with me and had gone home. And who can blame him?

How many men are prepared to put up with a woman who works through the night and stumbles into bed exhausted, cancels weekend plans, misses anniversaries and birthdays, or on a night-in together falls asleep on the sofa watching Mad Men.

When I divorced after six years, my husband, who was also a journalist, said he grew tired of ‘living in my shadow’. I wanted to say, but didn’t: ‘Then try casting one of your own.’

Cruel but true, yet it did make me realise very early on that it is incredibly difficult for love to flourish if a woman has a better job or earns more than her mate.

Most men judge themselves by their careers. It makes them feel vulnerable if their wife or partner’s career is more successful. That doesn’t make for happy relationships. Women, on the other hand, will usually accommodate a more successful husband and will often put being a good wife and mother ahead of a career.

My friend Christine, a happily married mother-of-four working part-time as a doctor, admitted to me: ‘I’d always dreamed I’d be a surgeon, but my children got in the way of that. ‘It’s not that I’m unhappy, I love my family, but they sure put paid to any ambitions I had. I look at you and think, you may not have been able to have children, but you’ve had the chance few women get to fulfil their full potential as a person.’

That might be — but is doing well at work worth sacrificing so much for?

Last week, I was invited to speak to a group of men and women, most in their 20s, at the start of their careers. Expecting to be asked tough questions about politics or journalism, the hardest one came from among the lovely, young shining faces of the women.

‘You’re at the top of your game, I want that, too,’ one young woman said. ‘I want a great career — and children and a husband. Is that possible?’

It’s the same question I used to agonise about in my late 20s. I paused for a moment, wanting to cite superwoman Nicola Horlick and others who had managed a family with phenomenal career success. But I know they are the exception to the rule.

So I said: ‘I’m sure of one thing. If my marriage had lasted and I’d had children, I would never have the career I have today.'

The young woman gasped.

‘And I would give it all up in a heartbeat for the family I’d always longed for.


Poor Amanda! This article is something of an "Apologia pro vita sua", it seems. She has indeed been a big wheel in British journalism but being now in her 50s she will not have children. I hope her career is a comfort to her but I think it will be less so the older she gets.

There is no substitute for children. My fondest memories are of times when I was helping to bring up children. I regard my rather successful academic career as a bucket of ashes now -- though it still has some uses -- JR

Homage to Orwell

Here's the latest sign of the decline and fall of the BBC: According to Baroness Bakewell, a Labour peeress who used to broadcast for the network, the BBC's departing director-general, Mark Thompson, nixed the idea of erecting a statue of George Orwell in front of the BBC's posh new headquarters at the top of Regent Street. Even though Orwell, n‚ Eric Blair, worked for the BBC during the Second World Disaster -- an experience that only reinforced his distaste for official propaganda, including his own.

According to Lady Bakewell, the idea of an Orwell statue was turned down because the writer was thought "too left-wing." Huh? The author of "The Road to Wigan Pier," "Animal Farm," "1984," and numerous essays puncturing every left-wing bias in the book was too left-wing?

The BBC's esteemed director-general sounds not just autocratic but ignorant. Can he have read any of those books? Not to mention Orwell's masterpiece about the Spanish civil war, "Homage to Catalonia."

Just his one essay on "Politics and the English Language," which every political commentator should read and reread from time to time, would have earned him an enduring place among those trying to preserve the integrity of the language.

George Orwell was incorrigibly independent, a combination of Trotskyite zeal in his youth and Tory sensibility as he aged and learned better. Especially after having been chased out of Spain by the Communists, where he'd gone to fight by their side in that country's disastrous civil war during the 1930s. Accusing him of left-wing bias sounds like a joke -- except that the BBC lost its sense of humor long ago, along with its integrity.

When the literary critic V.S. Pritchett called Orwell "the conscience of his generation," he may have been indulging in understatement, for by now more than one generation has come to appreciate Orwell's enduring honesty, clarity and simple decency. For someone writing about politics of all things to embody those qualities was and remains remarkable. Orwell's work is not just an English treasure but the world's.

This doesn't mean putting up a statue of Orwell in front of the BBC is a good idea. Orwell, who gave the world the image of Big Brother in "1984," would have been be the last to encourage a cult of personality.


Australia: Police insist tougher data retention laws needed

This would catch only little fish. Real criminals and terrorists will be aware of what is monitored and what is not and will get around the snooping in various ways

Civil libertarians say the Government's new data retention plans are an intrusion on privacy, but law enforcement agencies say they are nowhere near tough enough.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security has started hearing from the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and state police and law enforcement agencies.

The spies and police want radical new powers, including forcing telecommunication providers to keep information indefinitely, but the Government's proposal would restrict them to two years of data retention.

NSW crime commissioner Peter Singleton says police are up against a net-savvy generation of crooks who juggle SIM cards and smart phones to stay one step ahead of the law.

"We have criminals who will walk around town with a pocket full of SIM cards," he said.

"They'll make one call, thrown the SIM card away; make the next call, throw the SIM card away. Each of these is done on a different telecommunications service."

It is against that sort of opponent that police argue for stronger laws to monitor phone and internet activity.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says what they want most is not the content but what is known as metadata - data about data.

"Not the content, but things like where the call or where the message or where the communication happened, the location, the time, the date, who the communication was to," he said.

"It's not the content that we're necessarily looking for storage on."

That is for phone and text, but Commissioner Scipione concedes that police also want records of where people have been on the net as well - "to the extent that we know where people were or what their ISP was that they were using, or the URL that they did visit."

At the moment some companies keep data, like SMS text messages, for only a matter of days.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus says that is frustrating. "There's no obligation on them at the moment to hold data," he said. "What we're saying is we'd like some consistency about how this is applied and that's really what the committee is here to consider."

Police originally wanted data to be kept for five years.

Stephen Blanks, from the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, says they have not really made a clear cut case for any reform.

"The current law is that telecommunications data can be accessed by these agencies without a warrant, but if they want to access content then they have to get a warrant," he said.

"But what's being proposed sounds like they want to wind back the supervision regime, they say there's never been a problem with corruption or misuse of these powers so the supervision regime is too onerous.

"They're looking at forcing telcos and others to retain data for up to two years so they can access it if they want to."

Keeping track of police

It is possible for anyone to keep track of what law enforcement agencies are up to, to a point.

The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act that allows bugging in the first place also requires that an annual report be published ever year, and it is available online at the Federal Attorney-General's website.

The document includes a table detailing which police agencies have been busy bugging and listening, and by far the most active is the New South Wales police force.

Over 2010-11, they carried out 1,279 intercepts and only three applications for a warrant were turned down.

The Federal Police carried out less than half as many at 523.

The various other state police forces tell quite a different story, carrying out comparatively fewer telecommunications intercepts.

Queensland had 177, WA 231, Victoria 317, and Tasmania, 27.

The overwhelming majority of intercepts are used in chasing down serious crimes like drug crimes, murder, money laundering, bribery and corruption.

Despite some popular perceptions, instances where they are used for suspected terrorism are comparatively rare.

Mr Blanks worries about an explosion of intercepts if federal law makers give police what they want.

"What this legislation, what this proposal would mean, is that all of these service providers would be turned into data collectors for the state," he said.

Seventeen separate law enforcement bodies have the legal right to get a warrant to listen to your phone calls, read your text messages and watch what you do on the internet.

Parliament will decide how long the information will be held, but the telco industry says it will not be cheap. It could cost as much as $700 million.

Police say the question of who would pay for that is a matter for politicians.


Australia: Grants to reduce extremist violence 'missing their target'

The Government has given community groups millions of dollars to try and reduce extremist violence, but some Muslim community members say the grants are not working.

The Federal Attorney-General's Department says the grants are aimed at building resilience to violent extremism and assisting individuals who are vulnerable to extremist influences.

Since the program began two years ago, $4.2 million has been handed out to sporting organisations, education providers and Islamic NGOs and community groups.

But some insiders have told triple j's Hack the money has been used to fund other programs which focus on mentoring high achievers instead of helping those likely to be at risk of extremism.

The Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA) is one of 52 organisations that have been given grants as part of the Countering Violent Extremism program.

The LMA's head, Samier Dandan, banded together a group of community organisations to jointly condemn the ugly scenes earlier this month during protests in Sydney.

This year, the LMA was given the equal biggest grant of $100,000 for its Positive Intellect Project.

But according to some Muslim community members, that $100,000 will go nowhere to build resilience to violent extremism and assist individuals who are vulnerable to extremist influences

"They were definitely missing their target audience," one member told Hack.

Rebecca Kay is a converted Muslim and former candidate for Bankstown Council and New South Wales Parliament.

She says those young people vulnerable to extremism do not feel engaged or represented and the LMA could have used the money more effectively.

"I think they really need to self evaluate how they've been running their organisation," she said.

They should be open and transparent about these things. That's one of the problems in our community

Hack asked the LMA for a response last Thursday, but the organisation requested the story not go to air for a few days so they could organise a response.

The LMA's project manager then said she would organise an interview with the group's head, but eventually they decided not to do the interview.

Hack has spoken to someone who was part of the LMA's program but who did not wish to be named.

They said the program gave leadership, religious, advocacy and media training to about 15 to 20 Muslims in their late teens and early twenties.

The participant said they were mostly all well educated and showed leadership potential.

But there was no mention of the training involving engagement with violent extremists.

Kuranda Seyit is the executive director of the Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations (FAIR). He has serious questions about what the grant program is achieving. "They should be open and transparent about these things. That's one of the problems in our community," he said.

Off target

Mr Seyit says the programs seem to be missing their mark.

"Well the question is whether we're doing this to empower the community or whether we're trying to counter extremism and radicalisation of Muslim youth," he said.

"If it's the latter then you've just got to look at the participants in the program and whether they're the actual target group or at risk youth.

"You can see that they're fairly strong sort of achievers in their own right so they're not the particularly at risk youth that we're targeting I think."

He says that if the programs are focused on empowering the community rather than directly targeting extremist youth, then it is not the role of the Attorney-General to be providing funding.

"After all the Attorney-General's main area is around legal and judicial issues and law enforcement so it does make sense if they were to put more effort into that side of the issue," he said.

Mr Seyit also has concerns about the level of scrutiny put on the organisations who received the grants.

"It may be excessively high for these organisations to receive such large amounts based on little research and potential for the programs to not really make an impact in the community," he said.

The Attorney-General's Department declined to be interviewed for this story but offered a statement.

It said the overwhelming feedback the Government has had is that these programs are incredibly popular and effective at starting the work to build community resilience.

The Department says these projects are designed to support a wide variety of activities, including mentoring for youth, intercultural and interfaith education in schools and leadership training.



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 WATCH, 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.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Obnoxious plans for secret justice coming unglued: British Liberals  unlikely to back Bill after party vote

That Britain's Conservatives are supporting this shows how spineless and unprincipled they have become

Nick Clegg suffered a humiliating setback yesterday when his party conference voted to scrap controversial plans for a major extension of ‘secret  justice’ courts.  Delegates in Brighton voted overwhelmingly for the widely criticised Justice and Security Bill to be abandoned.

The move means Lib Dem peers are almost certain to refuse to back the legislation in the House of Lords.

The Daily Mail has led criticism of the Government’s plans to allow so-called ‘closed material procedures’, in which cases are conducted entirely in private, in any civil hearing.

Defendants or claimants will not be allowed to be present, know or challenge the case against them and must be represented by a security-cleared special advocate, rather than their own lawyer.

Currently, such procedures are used in only a tiny number of immigration and deportation hearings, but the Government wants to extend them across the civil courts.

Mr Clegg has forced the Government to make a number of concessions, including abandoning the idea of extending secret justice to inquest hearings.

But critics say the proposals still represent a fundamental breach of traditional principles of open justice, and accuse the Government of allowing the security services to dictate the legislation.

Spy chiefs were deeply embarrassed by civil court claims against them by terror suspects, which had to be settled out of court rather than having sensitive intelligence material discussed in open hearings.

Last night Lib Dem members voted through a motion calling on their MPs and peers to ‘press for the withdrawal or defeat’ of the Bill, even in its amended form.

Baroness Ludford, the party’s European justice and human rights spokesman and a London MEP, said: ‘Our party’s core values are at stake on this Bill. Standing up for all the proud traditions of our common law system – open justice, the rule of law, accountability of the state for human rights abuses, redress for victims – is essential.’

She added: ‘Secret courts could mean impunity for state officials complicit in wrongdoing like torture.

‘If a government puts material before a judge in private, it can’t be called proper evidence. Material which is unchallenged can positively mislead.  ‘We can and should trust judges, not the state, to distinguish between genuine national security interests and attempted cover-ups.

‘Nick Clegg said we should distinguish those policies we would die in the ditch for from those we could compromise on. Please jump into the ditch on this one, Nick.’

Lib Dem peer Lord Strasburger said the proposed legislation was ‘hopelessly flawed and beyond repair’, adding: ‘This Bill is bad for transparency. It’s unfair, it’s illiberal.

He added that Mr Clegg would now have to tell David Cameron that the party would no longer support the legislation as it made its way through Parliament. Parliamentary  candidate Jo Shaw told the conference the families of those killed in the Hillsborough disaster could just as easily be excluded from court hearings as victims of torture under extraordinary rendition.

‘Evidence that has not been seen and challenged by the other side is not evidence at all. ‘Secret justice practically isn’t justice. It’s a dangerous perversion of justice.’

Sources close to the Lib Dem leadership suggested last night it would seek further changes to the legislation.

Lord Wallace, a government law officer, said: ‘We will  continue to work with parliamentarians from all sides, to ensure that the principles of open justice are protected.’


Army reservists are suffering 'outrageous' discrimination from 'despicable' British employers, says Duke of Westminster

Army reservists are suffering “outrageous” discrimination from “despicable” British employers who are refusing to hire them because of their service in the armed forces, according to the former head of the Territorial Army.

The Duke of Westminster, who as a two star major general quit as the army reserve’s commander earlier this month, said that foreign firms were much more likely to release staff to serve with the Army Reserve than “English companies”.

In his first interview since leaving the TA after 42 years’ service, the Duke also suggested there should be new National Insurance tax breaks for companies which employ reservists.

He also shed light on his plans for a £300million rehabilitation centre for wounded soldiers in the Midlands, disclosing that it could also include a new Government centre to research how to private sector back to work more quickly after illness.

The army is facing its biggest overhaul for decades, with 20,000 regular servicemen losing their jobs by 2020 and the loss being in part made up by a big boost in the number of TA battle ready soldiers, up to 30,000 from 20,000 today.

However, attempts to recruit are being hampered by employers which are discriminating against new recruits because of concerns about time off to train or to be deployed overseas in Afghanistan for months at a time.

The Duke told The Daily Telegraph in an interview on Monday: “There is undoubtedly positive discrimination against someone who at interview says he is in the Territorial Army.”

Application forms routine asked “Are you in the Territorial Army”, when employers were not allowed by law to ask if an applicant was pregnant, black, white or a Muslim.

He said: “Why is it there? It is the most outrageous form of discrimination. It is like asking – ‘do you play golf at weekends?’ It has been mentioned to me by my soldiers on more than 100 occasions.”

Foreign companies were far more willing to make staff available to serve in the TA than "English employers", he said, suggesting existing rules about discrimination should be tightened up.

The Duke, Britain’s seventh richest man with a property empire worth £7.35billion, suggested cutting National Insurance bills which take reservists onto their payroll. He said: “It will cost hardly anything.”

The Duke’s ideas – including renaming the TA as the Army Reserve - are likely to be considered in an MoD review into the future of the Territorial Army next month.

His focus now is to raise funds for a new £300million Defence National Rehabilitation Centre in the east Midlands, to replace an existing armed forces rehabilitation centre in Surrey.

The Duke bought the 145 hectare site, including Stanford Hall, for “rather more than” a reported £6million and is actively fund-raising from private donors.

He said: “I want to create a feeling that when a wounded solider goes there [he thinks] ‘Wow, someone is going to look after me’.”

The Duke added he had no regrets about quitting the TA, which he commanded between February 2011 and the beginning of this month.

He said: “I am not one to hang on to be a general for the sake of being a general. There are more generals than there are dukes anyway.”


Let your children go tree-climbing: National Trust attacks British parents who mollycoddle

Children are being cut off from nature by mollycoddling parents who refuse to let them play out in the rain, climb trees and get dirty, according to a National Trust inquiry.

In a report out today, the charity urges parents to give youngsters wellies and a raincoat and send them outdoors to build dens, make mud pies and go bug-hunting.

It warns that children are increasingly leading ‘sedentary and sheltered’ lives due to health and safety fears, the rise of indoor entertainment such as video games and the decline of outdoor activities in school.

Council bureaucrats and police sometimes have ‘negative attitudes’ and regard outdoor play as ‘something to be stopped rather than encouraged’. But parents are the most powerful influence over their children’s exposure to nature and the countryside, the two-month inquiry concluded.

Interviews with groups of children found that many had picked up messages from their parents that the outdoors is dangerous and they shouldn’t go out in the rain in case they ‘slip or catch a cold’. Activities such as climbing trees were also seen as too risky.

Only older boys were regularly allowed out without an adult, with others closely supervised, according to the interviews conducted by research firm Childwise on behalf of the Trust.

Grandparents also have a role to play, according to the inquiry, since they are likely to have spent more time outdoors as children and could pass this on to younger generations. The National Trust inquiry, which canvassed the views of organisations and members of the public as well as children, also found that youngsters’ time is ‘over-scheduled and pressured’ – often with activities that cost money.

‘The power of family life in shaping children’s experiences was perhaps the most emphatic message underlined by respondents,’ the report said. The inquiry was launched following the publication of a report in March, commissioned by the Trust, which found that children’s health and well-being was being damaged because they are losing touch with nature.

Stephen Moss, the naturalist and broadcaster who wrote the report, warned that youngsters were suffering from ‘nature deficit disorder’ and growing up ‘a generation of weaklings’.


Feminist Fantasies (the Latest)

The very unpleasant "Eve" Ensler.  Someone once married it, believe it or not

Certain feminists, like children discovering that certain words shock their mommies, like to talk dirty. Or at least naughty. Naomi Wolf climbs on this bandwagon once more with her eighth book, "Vagina: A New Biography." She joins aging shock jock ("jockette"?) Eve Ensler in shouting the word in a marketplace crowded with female monologues.

Wolfe, who helped Al Gore with his "earth tones" to make him more attractive to women in his presidential quest in 2000, imagines that she has grown up now and seeks to prove it by "liberating" a certain word in the female anatomy.

Contemporary feminism sprang from the heads of smart women who, like Athena, sprang from the head of Zeus. They changed the way women asserted themselves. Some of their rhetoric suffered from hyperbole, about bra burnings and witch sightings, but the most credible of the sisterhood addressed legitimate complaints about prejudice against women in the workplace and the objectification of women as sexual objects in cultural stereotypes.

Wolf's new revelations are what's wrong with so many contemporary feminist perceptions that gain such easy attention (and notoriety). Middle-class women have attained so much of what they sought in work and love, for better and for worse, that they've become sexual satires of themselves. They cheerfully gave up childhood dreams of a knight on a white horse, but they're disillusioned and unhappy now when they find themselves on an old gray mare in the rodeo of life.

As a revolution, it produced low-hanging fruit, ready for the picking, and the revolution coincided with the development of the pill, which gave women the ability to determine whether they would bear children, when and how many. The changes didn't usher in a perfect culture, as revolutions rarely do, but women got a new way to think of their bodies, their abilities to work outside the home, and how they could combine work and nurturing. This inevitably opened Pandora's box, letting loose all manner of new and unexpected vices, abusing language and love.

Naomi Wolf gives her repetitious sexual signature a patina of faux scholarship, claiming insights in the tradition of transcendence, described by William James in "The Varieties of Religious Experience," the moments of glory articulated by the poet William Wordsworth (when he finished his dance with daffodils) and the sublime as achieved through meditative states, such as those of the Dalai Llama. That's quite a tradition for someone with a taste for displaying sexual habits.

The experience of the mystical, transcendent and shining elevations that enable a woman to connect with the divine, or "greater self," Wolf writes, is available to all women in their "multi-orgasmic capacity." She writes: "Producing the stimulation necessary for these mind states is part of the evolutionary task of the vagina. Philosophers have spoken for centuries of a 'God-shaped hole' in human beings -- the longing human beings feel to connect with something greater than themselves, which motivates religious and spiritual quests."

If this argument sounds like a late-night skit for "Saturday Night Live," it's not. She is deadly serious about her spiritual "journey," and one reviewer, Toni Bentley, tartly observes that "so many women are taking journeys these days that I am surprised anyone is ever at home."

The reviews of "Vagina" are often coupled with discussions of Hanna Rosin's much-publicized book "The End of Men and the Rise of Women," in which she describes how the "new woman" has become the man she once railed against. As women become the dominant sex in education and in the workforce, they find their opposite sex, no longer so opposite, reduced to a passive partner.

Although Rosin argues that the heartaches of women in the college "hookup" culture are exaggerated, she concedes that two-thirds of the women in one survey of 20,000 only wished their last hookup had turned into something more than a one-night stand. They hope, wistfully and often desperately, that they will still marry and have families. This is evidence that some women reflect seriously on the nature of their trade-offs and the changes wrought in male-female relationships.

All this data, of course, must seem superfluous to women of other cultures, particularly women in Muslim cultures, where many must conceal their bodies, often in heavy wool armor, lest they unleash uncontrollable lust in their men. American society remains in the vanguard of women's rights in a democracy where we don't (yet) have to apologize for free speech, no matter how far-fetched or even irresponsible the speech may be.

These ladies overstate their case to the point of becoming foolish and even ludicrous, but Naomi Wolf, Eve Ensler and Hanna Rosin expose one great lie broadcast in the current presidential campaign. There's no such thing in America that could remotely be called a "war on women."



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


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

France is set to ban the words 'mother' and 'father' from all official documents under controversial plans to legalise homosexual marriage

France is set to ban the words 'mother' and 'father' from all official documents under controversial plans to legalise gay marriage.  The move which has outraged Catholics means only the word 'parents' would be used in identical marriage ceremonies for all heterosexual and same-sex couples.

The draft law states that 'marriage is a union of two people, of different or the same gender'.  And it says all references to 'mothers and fathers' in the civil code - which enshrines French law - will be swapped for simply 'parents'.

The law would also give equal adoption rights to homosexual and heterosexual couples.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira [above] told France's Catholic newspaper La Croix: 'Who is to say that a heterosexual couple will bring a child up better than a homosexual couple, that they will guarantee the best conditions for the child's development?

'What is certain is that the interest of the child is a major preoccupation for the government.'

The head of the French Catholic Church Cardinal Philippe Barbarin warned followers last week that gay marriage could lead to legalised incest and polygamy in society.

He told the Christian's RFC radio station: 'Gay marriage would herald a complete breakdown in society.

'This could have innumerable consequences. Afterward they will want to create couples with three or four members. And after that, perhaps one day the taboo of incest will fall.'

Leading French Catholics have also published a 'Prayer for France', which says: 'Children should not be subjected to adults' desires and conflicts, so they can fully benefit from the love of their mother and father.'

And Pope Benidict invited 30 French bishops to Italy to urge them to fight against the new law.  He told them: 'We have there a true challenge to take on.

'The family that is the foundation of social life is threatened in many places, following a concept of human nature that has proven defective.'

And leading French bishop Dominique Rey has called on the government to hold a referendum on gay marriage.

He said: 'A referendum must be held to allow a real debate and to make sure the government is not in the grip of the lobbies.

'A majority of the population agrees with the traditional view of marriage.'

President Francois Hollande pledged in his manifesto to legalise gay marriage.

The draft law will be presented to his cabinet for approval on October 31.


The intolerant war on “parochial pensioners”

In forever fretting about the ‘bigoted attitudes’ of ordinary people, Britain’s political class exposes its own prejudices

When it comes to describing everyday people, the words ‘extremist’ and ‘bigot’ are an integral part of the British political establishment’s vocabulary. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg might have hurriedly recalled a press release that branded opponents of gay marriage as bigots, but that only demonstrated that his minders have told him to keep his real views to himself. Poor Gordon Brown’s ‘Bigotgate’ moment, when, during the 2010 General Election campaign, he referred to a 65-year-old woman who asked him about immigration as a ‘bigoted woman’, was more compromising, because TV journalists recorded his outburst. Unlike Clegg, Brown couldn’t say ‘it wasn’t me!’.

Politicians’ promiscuous use of terms like bigot and racist to describe members of the public is not simply an affectation. Many of them sincerely believe that a significant section of the population - especially members of the white working classes and the elderly - are irredeemably prejudiced. Brown and Clegg’s throwaway remarks speak to a belief that people who refuse to accept the political class’s social etiquette and cultural assumptions about Europe, multiculturalism and family life are morally inferior. Today’s elite views ‘those people’, sometimes called ‘tabloid readers’ or ‘white van men’, as a kind of cultural enemy within.

The terms bigot and racist are frequently coupled with the word ‘extremist’. Why? Because, as a think-tank report published last week claimed, ordinary people have a natural disposition towards extremist ideology and causes.

Thankfully, unlike many parts of Europe, Britain has been more or less an extremist-free zone for a very long time. Now, however, a report published by the Extremis Project, an advocacy monitoring group devoted to discovering the extremist under your bed, warns against complacency on this issue. It asserts that, in fact, British people have a natural inclination towards supporting right-wing extremist parties. Its survey of 1,750 people ‘discovered’ that 41 per cent would be more likely to support a party that promised to end all immigration. Only 28 per cent indicated that they would be less likely to support such a party.

Matthew Goodwin, spokesman for the Extremis Project, says the research shows that there is a strong disposition on the part of the British public to support right-wing extremists. To substantiate this claim, he says: ‘Consider this: 66 per cent of respondents in our survey would be more likely to support a party that promised to stand up to political and business elites; 55 per cent would be more likely to back a party that pledged to prioritise British values over other cultures; 41 per cent would be more likely to support a party that pledged to halt all immigration into the UK; and a striking 37 per cent – or almost two-fifths of our sample – would be more likely to endorse a party that promised to reduce the number of Muslims in British society.’

What is interesting about these comments is that Goodwin clearly believes that any rejection of the cultural values of the political and cultural establishment can be described as a ‘far right’ attitude. His implicit definition of an extremist is anyone who is uninhibited about expressing their disdain for such values.

That is why he exclaims: ‘Consider this - 66 per cent of respondents in our survey would be more likely to support a party that promised to stand up to political and business elites.’ So, people who wish to prioritise their own cultural values over those of others, especially the elite, are perceived as suffering from some kind of moral deficit. For Goodwin, it seems that any kind of populist rejection of the establishment and its values represents a dangerous kind of political malady. It is striking that the Extremis Project assumes that populism is intrinsically a marker for right-wing extremism; perhaps it has never encountered radical, left-wing or plain old conservative populism.

Goodwin can barely suppress his outrage that so many of his fellow citizens would support a party that stood up to the political and business elites. Of course, he is fully entitled to his pro-establishment opinions. But it is worth noting that, historically, standing up to the political elite was an act associated with radical forces, from trade unionists to the Suffragettes all the way to radical movements of both the left and the right. What the Extremis Project’s report does is construct a new definition of the words ‘extremist’ and ‘far right’ that flatters the sensibilities of the current political establishment.

The main target of the report’s enmity is the elderly. Goodwin argues that Britain’s older generations ‘appear relatively clear and resolute in their desire for a party that adopts a tough, populist stance toward elites [and] immigration’, whereas ‘younger Britons are significantly less favourable toward this narrative’. No doubt there is a significant generational divide between the elderly and the young on a variety of political issues. However, from a sociological point of view, it seems pretty clear that these divergent attitudes spring from differences in generational experiences and from very different uses of language. Clearly, the elderly experience change differently to young people and are likely to find adapting to new circumstances more difficult than their children find it.

However, a generational divide on specific policies should not be taken as evidence that older and younger people have fundamentally different attitudes towards political life. Old-aged pensioners who are uncomfortable with change, but who have voted for mainstream parties all their lives, are unlikely to constitute the shock troops for a new extremist paramilitary force. Similarly, young people who are more attuned to what can be said to pollsters are more likely to express opinions that they think the interviewer wants to hear; like Nick Clegg, they know the virtues of censoring your real views.
Cosmos vs the plebs

What is most interesting about the Extremis report is what it reveals about its authors. It speaks to a profound dissonance between two different worlds: that of the establishment and that of the plebs. This is especially vivid in another report published on the Extremis Project’s website, titled Parochial and Cosmopolitan Britain: Examining the Social Divide in Reactions to Immigration. Written by Robert Ford and published in June 2012, the report makes a crude distinction between backward-looking elderly people and the apparently more open-minded younger generations. The ‘younger, more cosmopolitan voters’ are represented as being more morally with-it than ‘the more parochial older generation’. Throughout the report, the term parochial is used to describe the elderly, whereas the young are categorised as ‘cosmopolitan’.

However, on closer inspection it becomes clear that the generational difference flagged up by the Extremis Project is really about class. So the elderly who are hostile to immigration are not simply old - they are also ‘less-educated’ and ‘parochial’. And in contrast, the ‘tolerant’ young cosmopolitans are ‘highly educated, economically secure, and used to effortless travel across borders and regular mixing with people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds’.

The report concludes that: ‘Many of the factors that predict attitudes on immigration - age, education, migrant heritage and financial security - tend to overlap with each other. The result is a strong social division between the “cosmopolitan young” - highly educated, ethnically diverse and relatively comfortable with immigration - and the “parochial pensioners”: older, homogeneously white respondents who are deeply alarmed by the settlement of migrants.’

Here, the Extremis Project is drawing attention to the different moral outlooks of those who have benefitted from socio-economic changes and education and those who have lost out. And like Gordon Brown’s ‘bigoted’ pensioner, the people who have lost out serve as uncomfortable reminder of communities that are best written off as parochial fodder for extremist parties.


Bloggers’ imprisonment a dark point for Vietnam human rights

A press release from an Australian conservative Senator below

Queensland Senator Ron Boswell today condemned the imprisonment of three prominent anti-government bloggers by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, joining a growing chorus of human rights advocates around the world. “On Monday, three Vietnamese bloggers – Phan Thanh Hai, Ta Phong Tan and Nguyen Van Hai – were found guilty of spreading anti-government propaganda and jailed at a closed trial in Ho Chi Minh City that lasted less than six hours,” Senator Boswell said.

“Phan Thanh Hai, penname Anh Ba Saigon, was sentenced to four years in prison and three years house arrest. Ta Phong Tan, policewoman-turned-author of the blog Truth and Justice, received a ten year prison sentence and a five year house arrest term. Nguyen Van Hai, better known as Dieu Cay, was jailed for twelve years with five years house arrest.”

Senator Boswell criticised the sentences as an unjustifiable censorship measure by the Communist government of Vietnam. He also denounced the intimidation tactics used by Vietnamese police to prevent family members and supporters from attending the trials.

“The jailing of these bloggers by little more than a kangaroo court is a new dark point for press freedoms and human rights in Vietnam,” Senator Boswell said. “The only crime of these peaceful citizen journalists was to speak out against corrupt elements within their government.

This government is intent on wiping out all dissent against it on the Internet, as it has done by banning private media in Vietnam and tightly controlling the state-run newspapers and television channels.”

Earlier this year, Senator Boswell spoke in the Senate about Viet Khang, a Vietnamese musician imprisoned for posting two songs online critical of the government. Together with Labor Senator Mark Furner, Senator Boswell presented a community petition and successfully moved a motion in the Senate calling on the Australian government to improve its human rights dialogue with Vietnam.

Received via email

Australia:  Fear of violence could keep offenders in jail

A useful step forward towards protecting the community

The New South Wales Government is planning to introduce legislation to ensure violent prisoners can be kept in jail beyond the term of their sentence, if there is a fear they will re-offend.

The Attorney-General Greg Smith is proposing that a Supreme Court Judge will be able to make an order that a person who is a serious risk to the community has to either stay in jail, or be released under strict orders.

He told AM that similar laws are in place for serious sex offenders and the community needs wider protection.

"At the moment, once you finish your prison term you're out." he said.  "If you go to parole, you get parole and you're released under supervision but it's certainly not as strict as will be proposed under this legislation."

Mr Smith says it would be applied to murderers and other serious violent offenders who have shown no interest in rehabilitation.

He says it is not going to undermine the sentences handed down by judges.

"Some of these people get worse in prison, whether it's because of mental instability or other things, they turn into very dangerous people," he said.  "So we're just looking out how do we best protect the community and we're closing the gap."

The Opposition leader John Robertson says the Parole Authority already takes into account whether a prisoner has undertaken rehabilitation programs.

"I think the government's looking for a distraction here," he said.  "This proposed legislation would only impact on fourteen inmates over the next three years.  "So I'm not sure how significant this change would be anyway."

But a support group for crime victims says it is backing the moves.

Howard Brown from Victims of Crime says measures used to encourage serious sex offenders to participate in rehabilitation programs have been proven effective.

"It's that interaction with one-on-one psychiatrists and psychologists which actually start to engage these people," he said.

"They just think 'I don't want to become engaged', but once they are engaged with these therapeutic processes, you can actually see that there is a change."



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


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

British homosexuals 'seven times more likely to take illegal drugs than general population'

Gay people are seven times more likely to take illegal drugs than the general population, a new study conducted over two years has found.  And one in five show signs of dependency on drugs or alcohol.

The report, conducted by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) and the University of Central Lancashire, sampled more than 4,000 people over two years.

More than a third of gay, lesbian and bisexual people took at least one illegal drug in the last month, according to the study - the largest of its kind to date.  This compares to 5 per cent of the wider population who admitted using a drug in the last month in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

According to the researchers the most widely used substances among those surveyed were party drugs such as cannabis and 'poppers' - a liquid nitrite sold in a small bottle and inhaled.  These were followed by powder cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and amphetamines.

The study, reported in the Independent on Sunday, found they were 10 times more likely to have used cocaine in the last month than the wider population, and 13 times more likely to have used ketamine.

The use of heroin use was similar among both populations.  However crack cocaine use was again higher among the gay community.

David Stuart, education, training and outreach manager at London Friend, the UK's only targeted LGBT drug and alcohol service,  told the paper feelings of "rejection" and "fear" as well as "shame around sex" could contribute to drug use.

Kitty Richardson, 25, who runs the Most Cake, a blog for lesbians in London, said the scene had a lot to answer for.  She added: 'People are very quick to label gay people as troubled, or inherently needing those crutches, but all our methods of socialising revolve around drink or drugs.'  She added that this can lead to dependency.

The research was carried out at Pride events, which celebrate gay, lesbian and bisexual culture, and through online and postal surveys.

The research also found that whereas drug use in the general population declined with age - almost as many lesbian, gay and bisexual 36- to 40-year-olds were taking drugs as their younger counterparts.

Drug counsellor Sarah Graham, from London, told the Independent on Sunday her own experiences of being subjected to homophobic bullying was a factor in  her battle with addiction, which at one point saw her spending £600 a week on drugs and alcohol, such as cannabis, speed and acid, and then cocaine

She said: 'A lesbian, gay or bisexual person presenting in treatment can have specific traumas, in which workers need to be trained.'


The "marriage" slippery slide

I have recently written about one brave Australian politician who was crucified by the media and even fellow colleagues for daring to speak the truth in public. For his efforts, Cory Bernardi has been pilloried and viciously attacked, and has been forced to resign from one of his positions. See my write-up here.

But for suggesting that redefining marriage out of existence can possibly lead to others demanding their “rights” such as the polyamorists, and even those into bestiality, he is still being hounded and viciously attacked by the PC forces of tolerance and diversity.

This is all about the censorious stranglehold of political correctness, a secular left pro-homosexual MSM, and gutless politicians who refuse to support their own. It is also about shooting the messenger. The truth is there are all sorts of folks calling for the acceptance of bestiality, both within and without the homosexual community.

Indeed, one of the world’s ‘greatest ethicists,’ who even wrote the article on ethics for the Encyclopaedia Britannica is quite in support of it. So while Professor Peter Singer gets a Companion of the Order of Australia for his work, Cory Bernardi gets tarred and feathered and run out of town for his. Go figure.

BTW, you can see Singer defending bestiality here, on the ABC show Q&A with the host and most folks just joking about it, thinking this perversion is all just good fun.

The more radical the homosexual activists get, the more they embolden other sexual activists to push their agendas. It is happening big time with group marriage rights campaigners, incest rights campaigners, paedophile rights campaigners and bestiality rights campaigners.

So let me offer just a small sample of those pushing for their rights to ‘human-animal love’. I present them in no particular order, but it should be clear that a cumulative case can be made here.

-Headline: “Indiana Woman Wants to Marry Her Pet Dog – Tries to Rally Support From Gay Rights’ Activists”. The story begins: “Cassandra White of Northern Indiana has petitioned her local government to allow her to marry her dog Brutus.  White has sent several letters to gay rights activists to help her lead the march to stop discrimination against her and those like her who should get to ‘marry whomever they want’.  Ms. White has made several unsuccessful attempts to get a marriage license after listing only “Brutus” in the section asking for FULL NAME OF PARTY B on marriage certificate form.”

It concludes: “Ms. White applauded President Obama for announcing that he is in support for gay marriage and quoted the president saying, ‘I was so happy to hear President Obama yesterday comment on gay marriage.’ Ms. White is asking the state of Indiana to recognize what the president said and change their perspective on allowing her to marry Brutus. White has also received support from ‘Freedom To Marry Our Pets Society’ who plan to organize a protest in Washington to change definition of marriage to include pets.”

-A woman in Ghana has married her dog. The bride, Emily Mabou, 29 said this: “For so long I’ve been praying for a life with a partner who has all the qualities of my dad. My dad was kind, faithful and loyal to my mum, and he never let her down.” She claims that her relationships have all been with “skirt-chasers and cheaters.” The priest who performed the ceremony told people not to mock the wedding, but instead “rejoice with her, as she has found happiness at last.”

-Another incredible but true headline: “Leading Gay Activist Frank Kameny Says: “Bestiality OK ‘as Long as the Animal Doesn’t Mind”. Said Kameny, “If bestiality with consenting animals provides happiness to some people, let them pursue their happiness.”

-“Zoophiles” are now coming out of the closet. A very lengthy article on this entitled “Those Who Practice Bestiality Say They’re Part of the Next Sexual Rights Movement” has gone into quite a bit of detail on this. It begins this way: “During his sophomore year in high school, Cody Beck finally got fed up with hearing homophobic cracks. If his classmates thought being gay was weird (Beck was openly bisexual), he had a confession that would blow their minds. He told them he is sexually attracted to dogs and horses.

“‘I just couldn’t keep it in anymore, Beck says. Just for the hell of it, I figured I’d throw it out there and have them make fun of me even more. Which they did. An 18-year-old from Arizona who graduated from high school this past year, Beck says classmates taunted him by calling him Bestiality Dude. Being a ‘zoophile’ in modern American society, Beck says, is ‘like being gay in the 1950s. You feel like you have to hide, that if you say it out loud, people will look at you like a freak.’

“Now Beck believes he and other members of this minority sexual orientation, who often call themselves ‘zoos,’ can follow the same path as the gay rights movement. Most researchers believe 2 to 8 percent of the population harbors forbidden desires toward animals, and Beck hopes this minority group can begin appealing to the open-minded for acceptance.”

And of course these folks will tell you it is an orientation – they just can’t help it. Where have we heard all this before? “Among the seven zoophiles I consulted for this article, all say that theirs is an orientation and that to meet the definition, one must not harm an animal. For this reason, a man who has sex with chickens, for instance, is not a zoophile because the act is sure to hurt if not kill the chicken. Zoophiles I spoke with say they are as opposed to forcing sex upon animals as the rest of society is opposed to the rape of humans.”

-A homosexual pride march in Spain was quite happy to have their bestiality mates along for the ride. As one report states, “‘I like dogs, I like apples, in my bed I sleep with whomever I want,’ was one of the principal chants in the Gay Pride Parade last week in Madrid, where hundreds of thousands marched through the streets to advocate ‘gay rights’ and homosexualist ideology, according to local media reports.”

-And this just in from Florida: it seems legal loopholes are allowing folks to share the love with their animal friends. As one news item says, “Eric Antunes, 29, was arrested in May on charges of child pornography and bestiality. Prosecution has now dropped the bestiality charges due to a ‘loophole’ in Florida law. One man’s unique case may have uncovered a loophole in Florida law that allows for certain forms of oral sex between humans and animals.

“Eric Antunes, 29, was arrested in May on charges of child pornography and bestiality. After allegedly finding images of child pornography on his home computer, investigators say they searched his cell phone and discovered photos of Antunes engaged in sexual acts with his girlfriend’s three-legged dog. Florida outlawed bestiality in October 2011. When Antunes was first arrested, many believed he would be among the first few people to be prosecuted under the new law.”

These are just a few of many examples which I can present here. I presented more such cases of this in my earlier article on Bernardi. Once we allow marriage to be destroyed by the sexual militants, then anything goes. And all the various sexual activist groups know it.

A few decades ago pro-family forces were mocked, ridiculed and treated with contempt when they said that allowing de facto unions full marriage rights would open the door to homosexual marriage rights being demanded. They were derided and scorned as hysterical, fear-mongering extremists holding repugnant views.

Hmmm, exactly what they are saying about Bernardi right now.


Australian police suppress anti-Islam rallies

Will all Muslim rallies now be suppressed too?

A SERIES of anti-Islamic protests planned for every Australian capital city and promoted by members of marginal, anti-immigration political groups were effectively suppressed by police yesterday.

Despite trying to organise co-ordinated protests, demonstrators ultimately took to the streets only in Melbourne and Perth, with Sydney -- scene of the previous weekend's running battles between police and young Muslim men -- remaining quiet.

In Melbourne, members of the right-wing Nationalist Alternative were among a small crowd, which also included Muslims and atheist groups, who gathered outside the state library.

Speaking to the crowd through a microphone, one of these men said the former Victorian attorney-general Rob Hulls had gone too far when he changed the laws to make religious vilification illegal.

Under the gaze of dozens of police officers, the demonstration eventually ended without incident.

In Sydney, two men were arrested on Friday for allegedly using social media to incite violence over the weekend.

The pair was reportedly trying to whip up anti-Islamic sentiment, following the previous weekend's protests in the city against an online film, Innocence of Muslims, that ridicules the Islamic faith.

Eleven people have been charged over this violence, in which four people were taken to hospital. NSW Police commanders will continue to investigate those involved.

A number of other protests had been planned for Sydney, police said, with supporters of the anti-immigration Australian Protectionist Party among those who said they would demonstrate outside the NSW parliament.

A petition on Facebook had called for protests in every state and territory capital, saying the previous weekend's violence "once again shined a light on the darker side of Islam".

"It is time that we as Australians stand up and defend our land from this extremist behaviour," it said.

With hundreds of extra police in the Sydney CBD, however, no such demonstration took place.

The NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell, said the extra police had "exerted control".

"I think they've told people that this sort of extremism, this sort of violence, is unwelcome in any community," he said.

Police also outnumbered protesters in Perth, with less than a dozen turning up to an anti-Islam demonstration outside parliament house.

One of those, who gave his name only as Tony, said he was concerned that Australia was being too influenced by Islam.

"This is a country where people are free to express religious beliefs, but when you have one group of people that want to impose their religious and political beliefs, the average Australian should be concerned about it," he said. "This country has accepted people of all races, creeds and colours but the violence people are prepared to use is unacceptable. If it was a group of Catholics, I would still be here."

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said the violence in Sydney represented a dark day for Australia. "One of the great things about Australian society is people from all different races and backgrounds and religions have been able to live happily and peacefully together," he said.

"I will always support the right for people to protest . . . so long as they do it in a peaceful way. Unfortunately, in Sydney last weekend, it got out of control."


Australian minister's nudge theory doubts

A DECISION to hire an expert in "nudge theory" to advise the state government on innovative ways to influence people's behaviour has been called into question by suggestions it may be of limited use.

The initiative is inspired by the British government's "nudge unit", formally know as the Behavioural Insights Team, which was established in 2010.

The unit seeks to achieve social change without the need for government regulation by employing behavioural science techniques. For example, it might use peer influence to increase energy efficiency by telling one person how their power use compares with their neighbour's.

A senior member of the British team, Rory Gallagher, will be seconded to the NSW government for a year from November to assist the Department of Premier and Cabinet in formulating a local approach.

But last year the British minister for government policy, Oliver Letwin, told a House of Lords committee the nudge unit was experimental and there was no concrete evidence it would work.

"It is, of course, an open question as to whether any of this will have any effect whatsoever," he told the committee.

Mr Letwin defended the Behavioural Insights Team by saying it was low cost, with "almost zero risk". The unit, which employs seven people, costs £520,000 ($806,400) a year to run.

The admission followed a National Audit Office report that said it had been unable to convince government departments to consider any of its ideas. Earlier this month the president-elect of the British Science Association, Lord Krebs, said nudge techniques should not be seen as a replacement for traditional government regulation.

However, the Cabinet Office says it has saved British taxpayers at least £300 million.



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