Wednesday, March 06, 2013
No old-fashioned chivalry in a value-free world
Below is the sort of thing you get when you preach: "There is no such thing as right and wrong". And feminist man-hatred doesn't help either. Contempt for women is the obvious answer to such hatred
It was supposed to be a meeting of the brightest young intellects. Sadly, some of those involved in a prestigious student debating competition were only interested in small-minded behaviour.
They reduced two female speakers to tears with a barrage of sexist heckling. Students at Glasgow University made derogatory comments about the looks and chest sizes of Rebecca Meredith [above] and Marlena Valles as they took part in the finals of the annual Glasgow Ancients debating championship.
When one judge attempted to stop the heckling she was called a ‘frigid b***h’. Offensive comments continued during a party and ceilidh afterwards, it was claimed.
Miss Meredith, a politics student at King’s College, Cambridge, and Miss Valles, a law undergraduate at Edinburgh University, had reached the finals of the annual tournament that sees teams from Britain’s oldest universities compete. But as they spoke to the motion ‘This house regrets the centralisation of religion’ on Saturday evening, they were repeatedly interrupted.
Miss Meredith, 20, ranked among the top 20 speakers in the world, said that she was reduced to tears as she tried to make herself heard over the sexist heckles and intimidation.
‘The amazing Marlena Valles and I were openly booed by a small number of misogynistic male Glasgow Union debaters and members,’ she said. ‘Sexist comments were made about our appearance.’
One man yelled ‘Get that woman out my union,’ she said. ‘Our speeches were interrupted by cries of “shame woman” and boos at mention of female equality.’
When she and her debating partner complained, they were told it was ‘to be expected’ that female speakers would be booed.
Kitty Parker-Brooks, a judge at the competition, was abused as she tried to quieten the hecklers. She said: ‘I was sitting behind the boys from Glasgow Union and could hear them making audible derogatory comments about the speakers’ appearances – their hair, dresses, chest size, how attractive they were – physically picking them apart, as well as yelling “shame woman” and booing.
‘I shushed them – and one then called me a “frigid b***h”. I stood up and made a speech in the floor debate calling them out on their behaviour, saying they had acted absolutely atrociously.’
Miss Valles said on Facebook she was shocked and horrified. She wrote: ‘It is difficult to speak confidently to an audience that is booing you for the sole reason that you are a woman in a dress talking about women’s rights, especially when you are the only girls in the final. I had six separate members of the Glasgow University Union approach me and give the exact same apologist speech – “I’m sorry they did that but they aren’t bad guys and it’s just how it is here and how they are. They are only joking”.’
Marlena Valles, one of two female debaters heckled at Glasgow University
Miss Meredith said: 'The amazing Marlena Valles and I were openly booed by a small number of misogynistic male Glasgow Union debaters and members'
Cambridge University’s debating club, the Cambridge Union Society, yesterday voted unanimously to end its reciprocal membership with the GUU and says it will not send students to debate there again.
GUU president David Lockhart said last night: ‘We would like to offer a full and unreserved apology. We will be contacting the individuals concerned to apologise personally. Displays of behaviour that are misogynistic or sexist are entirely incompatible with our values.’
The GUU did not admit women until 1980 and continues to host an annual men-only meal. Former debaters include the late Donald Dewar, the late Labour leader John Smith, Sir Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy.
Britain's top judge attacks Theresa May's criticism of judiciary
Britain’s most senior judge has launched an attack on Theresa May for criticising judges over their failure to deport foreign criminals.
Lord Neuberger said the Home Secretary’s strongly-worded criticism of immigration judges was “inappropriate, unhelpful and wrong”.
Neither ministers nor judges benefited and the attack last month, which singled out some judges for ignoring rules designed to enable more foreign criminals to be deported, were inherently unfair as judges could not fight back.
Lord Neuberger, who took over as president of the highest court in the land last October, also warned that such public attacks risked “destabilising” the delicate balance between Parliament and the judiciary.
Mrs May said the failure of judges to take new rules into account meant she would bring in new laws to stop them allowing foreign rapists and violent criminals to stay in Britain by claiming a right to a family life.
Asked about Mrs May’s attack, Lord Neuberger, president of the Supreme Court, said: “I’m concerned about it because I think it’s inappropriate and unhelpful for ministers to attack individual judges or groups of judges.
“For a minister to attack a judge I think is also wrong.”
He told the Daily Telegraph: “If we start attacking each other in public when each group was honestly trying to do its job, even if we don’t agree with the way they’re doing it, it does no credit either to the minister who’s attacking or to the judge who is being attacked.
“It’s bad for both of us and I don’t see what the benefit is.”
Asked if ministers should stop making such public attacks, he added: “Obviously I would prefer it if there weren’t any because I don’t think they’re appropriate.”
Lord Neuberger said ministers’ criticisms were unfair on judges who “don’t speak out in public against ministers”.
“One of the reasons why we don’t speak out is it just is destabilising for the system,” he said.
“We have a very good system in this country of distributing power and balancing power between the legislature, Parliament and the executive, civil service, ministers and the judges. We each respect each other’s turf.
“Inevitably there’s going to be tensions, indeed if there weren’t tensions something would be wrong. If the judges always did things ministers liked then there would be understandable suspicion as to what was going on.”
But he said any Government minister has “his or her own solution if a judge reaches a conclusion or adopts an approach the minister doesn’t like”.
“They can appeal the decision and if the appeal fails and the minister still isn’t happy then the minister can go to Parliament to change the law,” he said.
However, Lord Neuberger, 65, acknowledged the “pressures on people in public service, in particular on politicians” were great.
“I think that this happens from time to time,” he added. “It’s not the first time it’s happened.
“It’s fair to say, for both this government and the last government, that while there have been attacks on judges from time to time, which in my view are regrettable and shouldn’t happen, there’s never been any question of the government trying to do anything to undermine the independence of the judiciary, and that remains the position now.
“I’m concerned but I’m not alarmed.”
The Home Office declined to comment on Lord Neuberger's remarks.
Bungling armed police involved in British triple murder inquest couldn't be named - to protect their human rights
Crooked cop Cobain
A coroner banned the naming of bungling firearms officers in a triple murder inquest to protect their human rights.
In the latest secret justice farce, officers who wrongly allowed Michael Atherton to own guns were given anonymity to respect their ‘right to privacy’.
Police lawyers said their clients were worried about ‘the way in which they were talked about’ and feared ‘media pointing the finger’.
The ban was overturned following an appeal by the Daily Mail and it soon emerged that one of the officers dealing with Atherton, 42, had been selling on confiscated firearms while serving with the police.
It is the latest in a long line of orders banning journalists from reporting on the courts, which are supposed to be open to the public.
The order was made by Coroner Andrew Tweddle during the inquest into the death of Atherton, who killed himself, and three victims.
The taxi driver, who legally owned six guns, opened fire at his home in Horden, near Peterlee in County Durham, on January 1 last year. He killed his partner Susan McGoldrick, 47, her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, and Alison’s daughter Tanya Turnbull, 24, before turning the gun on himself. He also wounded his step-daughter Laura McGoldrick, 19, as she fled.
The inquest in Crook, County Durham, heard Atherton had successfully applied for a licence for a shotgun in 2006 and five further guns in 2008.
Officers in the firearms licensing unit at Durham Constabulary knew he had a history of domestic violence and self-harm but decided to grant his application.
One of them was Damien Cobain, a firearms inquiry officer later convicted of selling guns.
In his evidence, Cobain said he had never seen guidance by the Home Office or the Association of Chief Police Officers on the issuing of gun certificates.
Although he found Atherton had not disclosed his history of domestic violence he recommended that his application be accepted. Mr Tweddle describe the force’s procedures as ‘ad hoc ’.
An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the shootings found that Atherton’s applications had not been properly scrutinised by Durham Police.
Six officers were to be made anonymous by Mr Tweddle. The order to hide their names was made under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights despite there being no legal precedent for it in the UK courts.
But after reading submissions by the Daily Mail and other media outlets, the coroner overturned the ruling, saying that open justice was more important.
Cobain has since left the force after his conviction in 2010, where he was given a suspended sentence for selling guns that were due to be destroyed after being surrendered by the public.
Was Mother Teresa not so saintly after all?
Researchers spark controversy by claiming her care of the sick was 'dubious' and handling of cash 'suspicious'
Researchers are calling into question the saintly image of Mother Teresa after carrying out research into her life.
Born Agnes Gonxha in Albania, she founded the Missionaries of Charity and spent much of her life in Calcutta, caring for the sick and poor.
She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was beatified by the Vatican in 2003, six years after her death - one miracle away from sainthood.
But a number of critics have questioned how much of the image is justified.
Writing in journal Studies in Religion/Sciences, Serge Larivie and Genevieve Chenard, say her hallowed reputation does not stand up to scrutiny.
Prof Larivie said: 'While looking for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for a seminar on ethics, one of us stumbled upon the life and work of one of Catholic Church's most celebrated woman and now part of our collective imagination - Mother Teresa.
'The description was so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to research further.'
After studying nearly 300 documents on her life, they concluded that a number of issues surrounded the nun were not taken into account by the Vatican.
These included 'her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce.'
At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries.
But these missions have been described as 'homes for the dying' by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta.
Doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers.
But the authors say the problem is not a lack of money, as the foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundred of millions of pounds.
They also say that following numerous natural disasters in India she offered prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid.
But she accepted the Legion of Honour and a grant from the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti, said prof Larivee, and although millions of dollars were transferred to the various bank accounts, most of the accounts were kept secret.
Dr Larivie says: 'Given the parsimonious management of Mother Teresa's works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?'
He says that her image may have been built upon a meeting in 1968 with the BBC's Malcom Muggeridge, an anti-abortion journalist who shared her right-wing Catholic values. It was his promotion of her which led to her fame, they say.
But whether or not her image is deserved, the authors accept that there are many positives to her reputation.
Dr Larivie said: 'If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice.
'It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media.
'Nevertheless, the media coverage of Mother Teresa could have been a little more rigorous.'
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.