Monday, July 14, 2014
Multicultural taxi usage in Britain
Award-winning EastEnders actor Khali Best punched a taxi driver in the face after refusing to pay a £61 fare on his way home from a red carpet ceremony, it is claimed.
Best, who plays mechanic Dexter Harman in the BBC One soap, allegedly left 63-year-old Peter Callow with a bleeding black eye and £600-worth of damage.
Cautioned by police for criminal damage and common assault, the 26-year-old star was also suspended from his role in EastEnders for three months following the attack in March.
Best was leaving the Television and Radio Industries Club Awards at London's Grosvenor Hotel when he hailed Mr Callow's cab and asked for a lift to Enfield in north London.
But he soon realised he had no money for the trip - which lasted 45 minutes and cost £61 - and began to phone friends, according to the Sun on Sunday's Dan Sales.
Mr Callow told the paper: 'I told him if he had a card he could put it into the machine I had in the cab but he wasn't having any of it. 'He then said "No, no, no" and with that he started kicking the car door. 'I got round to stop him doing it and he managed to open the door and thumped me.'
Left with an alleged £600-worth of damage, Mr Callow contacted police, who attended Best's flat.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'Officers from Enfield CID investigated an allegation of assault on 11th March in Tysoe Avenue in Enfield.
'A 23-year-old man from the EN3 area attended a north London police station on 9th April and received a conditional caution for common assault and criminal damage.'
In May, it emerged the star had been suspended from his role in the soap for three months. A BBC spokesperson said: 'Khali Best has been suspended from EastEnders for three months. We will not comment any further on this matter.'
Earlier that month, Khali was involved in a road collision when he crashed his £18,000 Audi A3 car in busy rush-hour morning traffic. The star’s vehicle collided with a van as Khali tried to drive past it, according to an eyewitness.
British Film Institute tells filmmakers to tick new diversity targets or miss funding
Movie companies have been told they must meet new targets for ethnic minority, gay and female characters on screen to be eligible for future funding from the British Film Institute.
The BFI, Britain’s largest public film fund, announced a “Three Ticks” scheme to ensure diversity in films and behind the scenes as it set out new rules for funding.
Under the system, to be implemented in September, films must “tick” at least two of three criteria: on-screen diversity; off-screen diversity and “creating opportunities and social mobility”.
The BFI, which allocates lottery funding and invests more than £27 million in film production, sales and distribution, supports about 30 new projects a year. It backed The King’s Speech and Philomena.
The new rules will compel filmmakers to place “diverse” actors and subjects at the forefront of their projects, as well as ensuring minority workers are represented on set and in the crew.
On screen, at least one lead character must be “positively reflecting diversity”, with the story more likely to receive funding if it “explicitly and predominantly explores issues of identity relating to ethnicity or national origins, a specific focus on women, people with disabilities, sexual identity, age and people from a socially disadvantaged background”.
Among the films the BFI has praised for content include Suffragette, the story of the battle for women to gain the vote, and Pride, about gay activists supporting the miners’ strike. It will ask filmmakers to ensure that at least 30 per cent of supporting and non-speaking characters are also “diverse”.
Off-screen, at least two heads of department must be from diverse backgrounds, as well as a range of “key creatives” including the director, screenwriter, composer and cinematographer.
The third category requires companies to offer paid internships and jobs to “new entrants from diverse backgrounds” and to help them progress.
“Three Ticks” is likely to raise fears about compromising scripts’ authenticity, with period dramas less likely to naturally represent “diverse backgrounds”.
A spokesman for the BFI insisted all films would have the opportunity to meet the criteria, with even those not fulfilling them onscreen able to “tick” the other two sections.
Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, praised the initiative as helping to “raise the bar”, adding that he would like to see all television, film and performing arts companies following the BFI’s example.
Amanda Nevill, the CEO of the BFI, said it was “vital” to reflect British society in order to stay relevant and said the announcement “is just the beginning”.
Last month, the BBC announced it would ensure one in seven actors and presenters will be either black, Asian or ethnic minority in the next three years.
At the time, critics including Philip Davies, the Conservative MP, called it “absolutely ridiculous” political correctness, saying that all recruitment “should be done on ability”.
Our liberties must not be given away lightly
A written constitution would create more litigation, and require the judiciary to pass judgment on the constitutionality of legislation
The Commons political and constitutional reform select committee has today published a proposal for nothing less than a “new democratic settlement” in the UK. This has been prompted by the approach of the 800th anniversary next year of Magna Carta. Research by King’s College London has identified what it calls the “sprawling mass” of conventions, statutes and common law precedents that make up our constitution – and the suggestion is that this should all be brought together in one document to clarify the rights and liberties of the citizen, in a new Magna Carta.
The report suggests that a written constitution would entrench the requirement for popular and parliamentary consent. It considers the present unwritten constitution “an anachronism riddled with references to our ancient past, unsuited to the social and political democracy of the 21st century and future aspirations of its people [which] fails to give primacy to the sovereignty of the people and discourages popular participation in the political process”.
A written constitution would also create more litigation, and require the judiciary to pass judgment on the constitutionality of legislation. To that end, one wonders what they would make of the Treasury’s efforts to give HM Revenue and Customs the power to examine everyone’s financial details – bank statements, savings accounts etc – to see whether they have been dodging tax. This idea surfaced in the Budget in March, alongside a proposal for HMRC to seize money directly from the bank accounts of recalcitrant debtors without obtaining a court order.
Appearing before the Treasury select committee this week, Lin Homer, HMRC’s chief executive, rejected claims that these measures would breach Magna Carta protections for the individual against the state. Yet Article 39, which became law in 1297, and remains so, says: “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned or stripped of his rights or possessions… nor will we proceed with force against him or send other to do so except by the lawful judgment of his equals, or by the law of the land.”
Miss Homer said there would be safeguards against the abuse of power, and that it was an easier and more cost-effective way of securing payment than going to court. It is argued that since the state already has powers of detention, confiscation and distraint, there is no reason why it should not have more.
But such powers must be exercised through due process of law. This is not an arcane constitutional point, but the very basis of our liberties, literally fought for down the centuries. Parliament should not give them away to make life easier for the taxman.
Australia: Christian army officer Bernie Gaynor pays the price for marching out of step with top generals
The Australian Army will terminate Major Bernie Gaynor's commission tomorrow.
Gaynor served three tours of duty in Iraq while serving in Army intelligence. In a column published on March 17, I quoted a speech he had given to a conference in Melbourne: "It is my unpleasant duty to inform you that the Australian Defence Force has a fundamentally broken approach to religion, an approach shaped partly by the triumph of bureaucratic administration over battlefield considerations but mostly by political correctness …
"The ADF has a fundamentally flawed understanding of Islam. Just look at Iraq. I was one of the last Australians to serve there. All the politicians and military hierarchy were saying the withdrawal of Western military force was based on success. And yet al-Qaeda today controls more of Iraq than it ever did while Western forces were in the country …"
None of this is why Gaynor is being drummed out of the army. Rather, Gaynor sees this military failure as a symptom of a cultural issue over which he was willing to sacrifice his army career: his Christian faith. On this issue, by his own admission, he has been a provocateur and a serial litigator.
He formally protested the decision by the army to allow service personnel to march, in uniform, in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. He argued that army personnel are barred from participating in political activities while in uniform and that the Mardi Gras is a political event as defined by its own articles of association.
He also pointed out that Mardi Gras had a long history of openly vilifying the Catholic church, and Catholic clergy, over its opposition to same-sex marriage. Gaynor, who is Catholic, argued this was offensive to many Catholics, who make up about 40 per cent of military personnel.
The army’s "quick assessment" response to his complaint even conceded his core points while dismissing his complaint:
"The ADF traditionally avoids overt support of specific political viewpoints. By allowing official participation in the 2013 Mardi Gras by uniformed personnel the ADF could be seen as now being comfortable in supporting politically polarising issues.
"If a uniformed member were to support a gathering that insulted strongly held beliefs of a religion other than Christianity (to use Gaynor's example), vilifying Islam with 'Mohammad is Gay' signs… that member would be severely dealt with. In the case of the Mardi Gras, the opposite occurred."
Gaynor half-won that argument but he over-stepped the army’s mark by using his private blog to wage a cultural war against what he calls politically correct policies. Eventually, Major-General A.J. Campbell requested his resignation, stating: ''In short, army does not share your views, which are both offensive and divisive and not in the interests of army or our people.''
This view was ultimately confirmed by the Chief of the Defence Force. Gaynor will thus be gone tomorrow.
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 and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.