Sunday, September 21, 2014
Anti-immigrant party does well in Sweden
Scotland is not the only place to have an election recently. Sweden did too. The Sweden Democrats are greatly hated by the political establishment in Sweden but they have just become the third largest party in the Riksdag. From Wikipedia:
"The Sweden Democrats believe that the current Swedish immigration and integration policies have been a failure. SD is the only party in the Swedish Parliament without an integration policy. They oppose integration because they believe that integration involves "meeting in the middle" and do not think that the Swedish people should have to bear the burden of what they see as a reckless immigration policy. SD feels that the current situation with a large number of immigrants living in cultural enclaves is not beneficial for the country. They argue that the immigrants themselves are rootless, that there have been rising antagonistic tensions between various population groups (socially, ethnically, religiously and culturally), and the immigration in itself, SD says, has caused social and economic strains on the country.
As the party considers Sweden to have had too much immigration in later years, which it claims have seriously threatened national identity and societal cohesion, SD wants to reinstate a common Swedish national identity which in turn would mean a stronger inner solidarity. SD rejects the policy of multiculturalism, but accepts a multiethnic society where cultural assimilation is promoted. SD wishes to strongly restrict immigration, and give generous support for immigrants who instead of wanting to assimilate in Sweden voluntarily prefer to emigrate back to their country of origin. As more state funds are made free from funding mass immigration, SD believes that Sweden in turn will have the possibility to better help refugees in their own nearby locations.
SD has referred to the recommendations from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which state that the return of refugees should be the solution to refugee problems. Former party secretary between 2003–2004, Torbjörn Kastell had said in 2002 that the party wanted "a multicultural world, not a multicultural society." In a 2008 survey, a significant minority of 39 percent of all Swedes thought that there were "too many foreigners in the country", and in 2007 a survey showed that 49 percent of all Swedes wanted to restrict the number of asylum seekers. In recent years, SD has tried to approach the immigration policy of the Danish People's Party, which from 2001 to 2011 provided parliamentary support for the former Danish liberal/conservative government in return for a tightening of Danish immigration policies and stricter naturalization laws."
The detailed election results are set out below (from here)
The SD took most of their votes off the conservatives so the conservatives got fewer seats than the socialists. So the socialists seem most likely to form a government. Since the socialists got only 31% of the vote, however, they will need coalition partners and we have yet to see how that plays out. It will certainly be a weak and indecisive government that will probably not be able to do much, which is good.
Salmond does the right thing
After the clear failure of the campaign he led, he has announced his resignation as Scotland's First Minister -- and his call for the poll result to be accepted by all was an important bit of peacemaking. Excerpt:
In a dignified speech to a solemn Scottish National party (SNP) rally in Edinburgh, Salmond said that although the Highland region had yet to declare, "we know that there's going to be a majority for the no campaign. And it is important to say that our referendum was an agreed and consented process and Scotland has, by a majority, decided not at this stage to become an independent country. And I accept that verdict of the people. And I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland."
The Scottish Referendum: A Win for England
by Sean Gabb
Last week, in Bodrum, I wrote my Thoughts on Scottish Independence. In this, I made three points:
* That the issue was a nuisance, and I regretted the need to discuss it;
* That a narrow vote against independence would allow Scottish politicians to continue demanding English money with menaces until they could find an excuse for another referendum;
* That a vote for independence would at least save England from the Labour Party.
Well, the votes are now counted, and the result was rather close. Yet, rather than gloomy, I feel increasingly pleased. The difference between then and now is that I could not be aware of two important facts.
The first of these facts was the promise, made last Monday, that, if the Scottish voted to stay in the United Kingdom, they could have nearly full domestic autonomy and an eternity of English subsidies. I saw this in the newspapers at Gatwick Airport, and it threw me into a rage. That swinish fool Cameron had sold us out, I told myself. He should have told the Scottish to vote for the Union or to get stuffed – preferably the latter.
The second fact, however, was only revealed this morning. David Cameron stood in Downing Street to confirm his promise of greater autonomy. He then added:
“It is absolutely right that a new and fair settlement for Scotland should be accompanied by a new and fair settlement that applies to all parts of our United Kingdom….
“We have heard the voice of Scotland - and now the millions of voices of England must also be heard.
“The question of English votes for English laws - the so-called West Lothian question -requires a decisive answer.
“So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland….
“We will set up a Cabinet Committee right away and proposals will also be ready to the same timetable”
So, there it is. Letting the northern half of our island fall under the sway of a pack of embittered Anglophobes would have been inconvenient. They might have started a civil war among themselves. They might have opened their borders in the reasonable knowledge that Scotland would only be a corridor into England. They might have done any number of things that required us to build an electric fence at the border, or to hand out endless bribes in Edinburgh. We now have all the benefits of Scottish independence without the costs. The only cost I can identify is the continuing subsidies. But these are petty cash, bearing in mind how much else of our money the Government wastes.
The Scottish seats return 59 members to Parliament. Only one of these is a Conservative. They others are leftists and Anglophobes. Many are in the Labour Party. Cut this number to six, and there will not be another Labour Government. Simply keep all 59, but exclude them from voting on English affairs, and a Labour Government, if conceivable, is not very practicable. It could win confidence votes, but would not be able to get its programme through the Commons.
And this will now be an election issue. The necessary legislation cannot be drafted and put through this Parliament. The Conservatives will go into the 2015 general election, promising English votes on English laws. If Labour and the Liberal Democrats agree, they stand to lose the Scottish strongholds in the election after that. If they disagree, they will lose dozens of their seats in England on account of English indignation. Even if they do agree, they can be credibly accused, on the basis of their most obvious self-interest, of planning to defraud the English.
I therefore predict – and will run off to the nearest betting shop first thing tomorrow morning to stake £50 on it – that the Conservatives will win the next election. On balance, this is a good thing. In the longer term, of course, a neutered Labour Party will allow us to sack the Conservatives, or their present leadership. So, it looks as if the referendum is a win for England.
Was this plotted by Mr Cameron from the beginning? It may have been. Ask them to do something about immigration, or political correctness, or even the law of land registration – certainly, allow them to take us into a war – and these people will make a mess of things. But, since it is all they ever think about, they can often be good at stuffing their opponents. That would explain why Mr Cameron was so willing to give Alex Salmond his referendum when he wanted it, and why he appeared to panic when there was little chance this Scottish would vote to leave. On the other hand, he might have come to his current position only by a process of unfolding revelation. Whatever the case, this may have been an excellent result for England.
I share Sean's feelings about the "West Lothian question" but I would not call the poll results close. 55% to 45% is normally a landslide in democratic politics -- JR
Big consitutional upheaval in Britain: Labor party fights against fairness for the English
The political truce that saved the Union collapsed on Friday as David Cameron’s plans for English “home rule” were condemned by Labour.
Following Scotland’s No vote, the Prime Minister immediately set out plans to ensure that there are “English votes for English laws”. Those plans could result in England having its own first minister and would herald one of the biggest reforms of Britain’s tax system.
But they could prevent Scottish MPs voting on English-only issues in the wake of the independence referendum.
Excluding Scottish MPs from votes concerning only England would represent a disaster for the Labour Party.
Westminster sources said Mr Cameron’s announcement was calculated to kill Labour’s electoral chances.
Labour has 40 MPs in Scotland and could in theory be left without a majority in Parliament during many key votes if the party was to win the next general election.
Mr Miliband, the Labour leader, on Friday refused to sign up to Mr Cameron’s plans, with sources accusing the Prime Minister of “political gimmickry”.
It means that just days after pledging a cross-party agreement to give Scotland more powers in an attempt to save the Union, those plans were in disarray.
The Prime Minister’s announcement was designed to head off a rebellion by Conservative MPs, who were furious at the “vow” he made last week alongside Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg to transfer more powers to the Scottish government in the event of a No vote.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, appeared to criticise the Prime Minister’s decision to pledge to devolve further powers to Scotland.
“I didn’t sign any such vow,” he said. “I’m just reflecting my strong feeling that you can’t endlessly give fiscal devolution to Scotland and continue to subsidise Scotland through the Barnett formula without addressing some of the constitutional and fairness issues that it throws up in the rest of the country.”
Labour said on Friday that it would oppose any plans to stop Scottish MPs voting on English issues. “We are not in favour of Westminster-led rushed solutions to these issues,” a Labour source said. “[Mr Cameron] failed to live up to the occasion. It did not call for a political gimmick. The moment called for a considered response. We think that Cameron’s response will be seen for what it is.”
Meanwhile, Downing Street accused Mr Miliband of “turning his back on England”.
Mr Cameron pledged the Unionist parties would keep promises made to Scotland in the heat of the referendum campaign. But he added: “In Wales, there are proposals to give the Welsh government and Assembly more powers and I want Wales to be at the heart of the debate for how to make our United Kingdom work for all our nations.
“In Northern Ireland, we must work to ensure the devolved institutions function effectively.
“But I have long believed a crucial part missing from this national discussion is England. We have heard the voice of Scotland and now the millions of voices of England must also be heard.
“The question of English votes for English laws, the so-called West Lothian Question, requires a decisive answer so just as Scotland will vote separately on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England as well as Wales and Northern Ireland should be able to vote on these issues.
“All this must take place in tandem with and at the same pace as the settlement for Scotland.”
Mr Miliband instead called for a constitutional convention to address demands for wider devolution of power thrown up in the wake of the referendum.
The Labour leader said there needed to be a series of regional “dialogues” covering every area of the UK on how power could be dispersed from Westminster, including in England.
“The Labour Party will not now sit back and put up a 'business as usual’ sign over Westminster. Nor will I allow this moment to be used for narrow party political advantage,” he said. Experts warned that the row between the two parties could lead to a protracted constitutional crisis.
Labour had initially appeared divided in the hours following Mr Cameron’s announcement. Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, criticised the plans. However, Lord Reid, the former Labour home secretary, said plans for further devolution in England are “perfectly logical and predictable”.
And John Denham, a close adviser of Mr Miliband’s, said: “While it is not yet clear precisely what additional powers on tax, spending and welfare, the Scottish Parliament will get, the binding pledge of the main Westminster party leaders will have to be honoured. But in the process, the English question must be settled too.”
Mr Cameron also suggested that similar proposals would in future apply to Welsh and Northern Irish MPs.
William Hague, the Commons Leader, will draw up the detail of the plans, to be discussed in a Cabinet committee, with the same November deadline as that for the detailed proposals for Scotland. Mr Cameron and Mr Hague will meet Conservative backbenchers next week at a special meeting of the 1922 committee, which is chaired by Graham Brady.
A source described it as an opportunity for the pair to hear the views from backbenchers about “the way forward”. One idea that will be discussed is a plan for a English executive which would take control of the devolved policy areas which only affect England, possibly with its own first minister.
It is thought that this would lead to departments that are already effectively English, such as health, education and communities and local government, being subsumed into this bigger body. The hope is that this meeting would herald the start of the talks on the changes to the constitution.
The “bottom line” for the Tory backbenchers is understood to be a ban on all Scottish MPs having any say over administration over laws and decisions that solely affect England. The would create a “degree of symmetry”, with days set aside in the House of Commons purely for English legislation. Effectively English MPs would be “double hatting” – sitting some of the time as an English MP and some of the time as a British MP. This would mean that a new legislature just for English MPs would not be required.
Mr Brady said: “The devolution settlement 16 years ago was profoundly unfair and was weighted in favour of Scotland.
“That injustice should have been resolved before now in the interest of democracy and fairness.”
Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, said: “As the Prime Minister has said, we need a new and fair settlement not just for Scotland – but for every part of the United Kingdom. And we want to work on a cross-party basis to make that happen. But Ed Miliband’s proposal would kick this vital issue into the long grass.
“If he is serious about delivering on our joint commitment to publish draft legislation on devolving more powers to Scotland by January, Ed Miliband must say whether he supports an equal settlement for England – English votes for English laws.”
All three Westminster party leaders pledged last week to transfer more powers over taxation and welfare to the Scottish government in the event of a No vote. It led to a furious reaction from Conservative ministers and MPs, who accused the Prime Minister of ignoring the needs of English voters.
Alex Salmond warned that the row between Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband could prevent more powers being devolved to the Scottish government.
However, Mr Miliband said: “Alex Salmond is wrong. We will deliver on our promise of further powers to Scotland on timetable set out.” A Downing Street source said there would be no change to the timetable for further devolution in Scotland and added: “We will press on with our plans for English laws.”
TX: Child Services to Mom Who Did Nothing Wrong: 'Just Don't Let Your Kids Play Outside'
Children's book author Kari Anne Roy was recently visited by the Austin police and Child Protective Services for allowing her son Isaac, age 6, to do the unthinkable: Play outside, up her street, unsupervised.
He'd been out there for about 10 minutes when Roy's doorbell rang. She opened it to find her son —and a woman she didn't know. As Roy wrote on her blog HaikuMama last week, the mystery woman asked: "Is this your son?"
I nodded, still trying to figure out what was happening.
"He said this was his house. I brought him home." She was wearing dark glasses. I couldn't see her eyes, couldn't gauge her expression.
"Yes. He was all the way down there, with no adult." She motioned to a park bench about 150 yards from my house. A bench that is visible from my front porch. A bench where he had been playing with my 8-year-old daughter, and where he decided to stay and play when she brought our dog home from the walk they'd gone on.
"You brought him home... from playing outside?" I continued to be baffled.
And then the woman smiled condescendingly, explained that he was OUTSIDE. And he was ALONE. And she was RETURNING HIM SAFELY. To stay INSIDE. With an ADULT. I thanked her for her concern, quickly shut the door and tried to figure out what just happened.
What happened? The usual. A busybody saw that rarest of sights—a child playing outside without a security detail—and wanted to teach his parents a lesson. Roy might not have given the incident a whole lot more thought except that shortly afterward, her doorbell rang again.
This time it was a policewoman. "She wanted to know if my son had been lost and how long he'd been gone," Roy told me by phone. She also took Roy's I.D. and the names of her kids.
That night Isaac cried when he went to bed and couldn't immediately fall asleep. "He thought someone was going to call the police because it was past bedtime and he was still awake."
As it turns out, he was almost right. About a week later, an investigator from Child Protective Services came to the house and interrogated each of Roy's three children separately, without their parents, about their upbringing.
"She asked my 12 year old if he had ever done drugs or alcohol. She asked my 8-year-old daughter if she had ever seen movies with people's private parts, so my daughter, who didn't know that things like that exist, does now," says Roy. "Thank you, CPS."
It was only last week, about a month after it all began, that the case was officially closed. That's when Roy felt safe enough to write about it. But safe is a relative term. In her last conversation with the CPS investigator, who actually seemed to be on her side, Roy asked, "What do I do now?"
Replied the investigator, "You just don't let them play outside."
There you have it. You are free to raise your children as you like, except if you want to actually give them a childhood. Fail to incarcerate your child and you could face incarceration yourself.
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.