Friday, April 12, 2013
British law of insult which made it illegal to call a police horse 'gay' is to be changed
A law which has been used to try to convict a student who said “woof” to a police dog, or called a police horse ”gay” is to be changed
Home secretary Theresa May said the Government will accept a House of Lords amendment to remove the word 'insulting’ from Section 5 of the Public Order Act. The amendment had been promoted in the House of Lords by Lord Dear, a former HM Inspector of Constabulary.
Six years ago police tried to prosecute Oxford student Sam Brown after he said to a mounted officer: “Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?"
Mr Brown, who made the comment during a night out with friends in Oxford after his final exams, was arrested under section 5 of the Public Order Act for making homophobic remarks.
However, after he refused to pay a £80 fine, the Crown Prosecution Service declined to pursue the case.
The following year Kyle Little, a 16-year-old from Newcastle, was fined £50 with £150 costs for saying “woof” to a Labrador dog in front of police officers.
Eventually the magistrates’ decision was overturned by a crown court. He had been arrested and charged under the Public Order legislation.
The amendment had been pushed for by comedian Rowan Atkinson who had warned that criticism, unfavourable comparison or “merely stating an alternative point of view” could be interpreted as an insult and lead to arrest.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph last month, Lord Dear, said that the law had “no place in our country” because the law was being “used to undermine free speech because of the way it is framed”.
Last month House of Lords vote saw peers vote overwhelmingly by 150 to 54 in favour of the change. Campaigners welcomed the change. Simon Calvert, Reform Section 5 campaign director, said he was “very pleased” by the Government’s statement.
He said: “This is a victory for free speech. People of all shades of opinion have suffered at the hands of Section 5.
“By accepting the Lords amendment to reform it the Government has managed to please the widest possible cross-section of society. They have done the right thing and we congratulate them.”
A ComRes poll commissioned last year by the RS5 campaign showed that 62 per cent of MPs believed it should not be the business of government to outlaw “insults.”
Teachers of hatred: The drama mistress and the master from Miliband's school who helped organise the Maggie 'death parties'
Two teachers are today unmasked as key architects of the vile Thatcher ‘death parties’.
One is employed at Labour leader Ed Miliband’s old school and has worked with the youngest and most impressionable pupils there, while the other teaches troubled and vulnerable children.
Yet both were behind disgraceful ‘celebrations’ to mark the passing of Baroness Thatcher.
Craig Parr, a teacher at Haverstock School in north London – nicknamed ‘Labour’s Eton’ – was pictured parading with a sick placard which read: ‘Rejoice. Thatcher is dead.’
The 27-year-old special needs teacher and union activist led chants of ‘Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, dead, dead, dead’ at a death party he organised in Brixton, south London, on Monday night which ended in violent scenes.
Meanwhile, drama teacher Romany Blythe, 45, used the internet to encourage thousands to take part in the tasteless celebrations. Miss Blythe, who specialises in teaching troubledchildren at schools in Brighton, wrote of Lady Thatcher: ‘Who wants to p*** on her grave?’
She urged more than 5,000 people to attend a death party in central London by creating an internet page called: ‘The witch is dead.’
Last night critics condemned the pair’s behaviour as ‘revolting’ and ‘offensive’.
Douglas Carswell, Tory MP for Clacton in Essex, said: ‘We must not have teachers working in schools with young people at the public’s expense who think it’s acceptable to behave like this. Such behaviour is wrong.’
The fresh revelations about those behind the death parties emerged as:
÷ Sir Mark Thatcher said his mother would be ‘greatly honoured as well as humbled’ by the Queen attending her funeral;
÷ Left-wing MPs, including Glenda Jackson, used a Commons debate to launch vicious attacks on Lady Thatcher;
÷ David Cameron led tributes in the house, saying: ‘She made the political weather, she made history, and – let this be her epitaph – she made our country great again’;
÷ Union leader Bob Crow provoked outrage by saying he hoped Lady Thatcher would ‘rot in hell’; and
÷ Police stepped up their operation to thwart efforts by anarchist groups to disrupt the funeral.
Mr Parr, a member of the Socialist Workers Party, joined Haverstock School in September last year and was given the sensitive role of teaching children with special needs. He was also made a form teacher for Year 7 children, who at the ages of 11 and 12 are the youngest and most impressionable pupils.
Mr Parr is a member of the Lambeth branch of the National Union of Teachers and has previously urged fellow teachers to strike.
Last night headteacher John Dowd said he condemned Mr Parr’s behaviour ‘in the strongest possible terms’. Mr Dowd said Mr Parr had resigned from his post in February after concerns were raised about his conduct. However, he is still employed by the school and will officially remain a teacher at Haverstock until the end of this month.
The school, situated in the fashionable London district of Camden, has been described as a finishing school for the Labour politicians of the future. Its former pupils include Ed Miliband’s brother David, former Labour MP Oona King, Tom Bentley, who is a special adviser to Australia’s Labour prime minister Julia Gillard, and the author Zoe Heller.
Mr Parr, who was brought up in a modest home in Oxford, will have little or no memory of Lady Thatcher’s time in power given that he was just five when she left office.
The teacher was invited to speak at a House of Commons committee two months ago on the issues within schools surrounding same-sex marriage.
Mr Parr, a member of Schools OUT, an association for gay and lesbian teachers, said pupils should be given a ‘balanced view’ of the world.
Wearing a suit and tie, he told MPs that his own beliefs ‘take a back foot’ when teaching. He said: ‘We have a duty to treat pupils with dignity and build up relationships of mutual respect, and we must also show tolerance and British values.’
Such noble words appeared to be forgotten in the hours after Lady Thatcher’s death on Monday. Dressed in black, he was reported as saying: ‘We’re here to rejoice the death of Thatcher, but her legacy lives on today. ‘We can see that here in Brixton the poorest are suffering with the bedroom tax and benefit caps.
‘If Thatcher was a good Christian woman then maybe she’ll go to heaven, but I’m an atheist so I won’t worry about that.’
A snapshot of his Facebook page also provides a disturbing insight. A message written in large letters, which any of his students could find, reads: ‘We don’t need sex, the Government f**** us!’
Mr Parr describes himself as a ‘revolutionary socialist’ and appears to support various anarchist groups who have caused unrest in the past.
When asked about his actions at his two-bedroom flat in a semi-detached Victorian house in West Norwood, south London, he said: ‘Why does it matter if I’m a teacher?’
Last night Mr Dowd said: ‘Craig Parr was employed from September 2012 as a teacher of Special Educational Needs on a one-year fixed term contract. ‘He resigned his post in February 2013 due to concerns that I raised with him about his conduct and he has not attended school since that time. ‘His views and actions are his alone, but I would condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.
‘Our approach to the teaching of politics and indeed to developing an objective understanding of the range of political positions, doctrines and views are fundamental to our ethos.
‘Margaret Thatcher’s death has clearly led to a polarisation of views about her role as prime minister. As a school community we would offer her our respect and offer our condolences to her family as we would for any of our families suffering bereavement.’
Meanwhile Mr Parr’s fellow rabble-rouser Miss Blythe, 45, stoked up anger by creating a Facebook page called ‘The witch is dead’.
On it she called for ‘demonstrations of disapproval’ across the country. She wrote: ‘So the old bag has copped it finally! Party in the square tomorrow then! Come and celebrate our liberty and freedom from tyranny! On the day Maggie stands down, once and for all!’ A number of places on the list were the locations of the sick ‘death parties’, including Bristol, London and Glasgow.
Miss Blythe is a drama teacher with a workshop company that visits secondary schools. She specialises in ‘facilitating workshops for young, excluded and potentially criminalised individuals and uses drama techniques she has developed to explore resolution of conflict and oppression’, according to the company’s website.
On Facebook she appears in photographs holding a hammer and sickle flag and posing alongside the former Cabinet Minister Tony Benn.
Miss Blythe, of Worthing in West Sussex, could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, in an interview last year, she said her dislike of the former prime minister came from being told she might never find work on leaving school in 1984.
U.S. Army Email Allegedly Labels Christian Organizations That Oppose homosexual Marriage as ‘Domestic Hate Groups’
In a new report alleging anti-conservative bias in the military, Fox News Todd Starnes claims that a U.S. Army officer sent an e-mail to subordinates, listing the American Family Association and the Family Research Council as “domestic hate groups.” The basis for this label? Both organisations oppose same-sex marriage and homosexuality.
The message, apparently sent by Lt. Col. Jack Rich at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, also instructed those who received the e-mail to be on the look-out for fellow soldiers who might be supporters of the organizations (or who, at the least, aren’t upholding “Army Values”).
“Just want to ensure everyone is somewhat educated on some of the groups out there that do not share our Army Values,” the note read, according to Starnes’ report. “When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values — don’t just walk by — do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem.”
Starnes has more about the controversial e-mail in question:
"The 14-page email documented groups the military considers to be anti-gay, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. Among the other groups mentioned are Neo-Nazis, Racist Skinheads, White Nationalists and the Ku Klux Klan.
"The Family Research Council and the American Family Association were listed as being anti-gay.
“The religious right in America has employed a variety of strategies in its efforts to beat back the increasingly confident gay rights movement,” the officer wrote. “One of those has been defamation.
"The officer accused the “Christian Right” of “engaging in the crudest type of name-calling, describing LGBT people as ‘perverts” with ‘filthy habits’ who seek to snatch the children of straight parents and ‘convert’ them to gay sex,” he wrote."
Some cultural warriors would likely look at this, teamed with some of the other incidents unfolding of late, and assume that there’s a war on Christianity — one that has worked its way into the U.S. military. Of course, others would dismiss such a notion as silly and unfounded. While Tony Perkins, who heads FRC, called the e-mail evidence that the military has become anti-Christian in nature, a Pentagon spokesperson denied such allegations.
“The notion that the Army is taking an anti-religion or anti-Christian stance is contrary to any of our policies, doctrines and regulations,” said Army spokesperson George Wright. “Any belief that the Army is out to label religious groups in a negative manner is without warrant.”
Wright told Starnes that the military is looking into the e-mail’s origins, who commanded it be sent and other surrounding details.
This story follows another from last week in which a U.S. Army training instructor listed Evangelical Christianity, Catholicism and even “Islamophobia” as examples of “religious extremism” during a training brief.
Wash. State Suing Christian Florist After She Refuses to Provide Flowers for homosexual Wedding
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a consumer protection lawsuit against a business that refused to provide services for a same-sex wedding. Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts, located in Richland, is the focus of the legal drama, after its owner cited Christian views and apologized for an apparent inability to offer up flowers for the nuptials.
Wash. State Files Lawsuit Against Florist After She Refused to Provide Flowers for Gay Wedding | Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts
SeattlePI.com reports that the choice to file a lawsuit came after Ferguson attempted to get owner Barronelle Stutzman to reconsider the refusal to provide wedding flowers to a customer named Robert Ingersoll. The incident began on March 1, when the client first learned of Stutzman’s views.
After a March 28 letter from the attorney general failed to sway the business owner, legal action has been taken. The outlet explains:
"An employee at Arlene’s Flowers and Gifts said late Tuesday that Stutzman was not present, adding: “None of us will have any comment.” Last month, Stutzman told KEPR-TV in the Tri-Cities:
“He (Ingersoll) said he decided to get married and before he got through I grabbed his hand and said, ‘I am sorry. I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.’ We hugged each other and he left, and I assumed it was the end of the story.”
Ingersoll and his partner, Curt Freed, were decade-long customers of Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts. They went online with the refusal and the story went viral. Stutzman refused to change her position, saying: “It’s a personal conviction. It’s not a matter of being right or wrong. It’s my belief.”
Ferguson’s office is seeking an injunction that would permanently require Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts to provide services to gays and lesbians. Should the company continue to avoid compliance, a $2,000 fine would be imposed for each failure to abide by the law.
“As attorney general, it is my job to enforce the laws of the state of Washington,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Under the Consumer Protection Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation. If a business provides a product or service to opposite-sex couples for their weddings, then it must provide same-sex couples the same product or service.”
Stutzman seems ready to fight, though, with her lawyer responding to the challenge and claiming that non-profit legal groups are ready to represent the florist’s interests in court.
As the AP notes, the state’s anti-discrimination laws were expanded in 2006 to include sexual orientation, which is why the incident is being handled in this manner.
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.