Tuesday, September 16, 2014
The changing face of Britain: A child in Birmingham is now more likely to be a Muslim than Christian
There are more Muslim children than Christian growing up in Birmingham, figures show.
The latest statistics, extracted from the 2011 Census, give an insight into the fast pace of demographic change across Britain.
They pinpoint several parts of the country where traditional religious beliefs are being eclipsed for the first time.
In England’s second city of Birmingham, of 278,623 youngsters, 97,099 were registered as Muslim compared with 93,828 as Christian. The rest were of other faiths such as Hindu or Jewish, or none.
A similar trend has emerged in the cities of Bradford and Leicester, the towns of Luton, in Bedfordshire, and Slough in Berkshire, as well as the London boroughs Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets, where nearly two-thirds of children are Islamic.
Last night experts said more must be done to ensure that society does not become polarised along religious lines.
Professor Ted Cantle, of the ICoCo Foundation, which promotes community cohesion, said: ‘What we are seeing are several trends running together. There is a long-term decline in support for the established religions, notably Christianity; continuing immigration from the Asian sub-continent; and higher fertility among the Muslim population, which has a considerably lower age profile.
‘There is also deepening segregation exacerbated by the loss of white population from cities and more intensive concentration of black and minority ethnic groups as a result of replacement.
‘This is the real problem, as residential segregation is generally compounded by school and social segregation.
‘Nothing surprises me about the pace of demographic change. What does surprise me is that the Government has no policy to combat segregation because it inevitably reduces understanding and tolerance on both sides of the divide.’
The figures show that Christianity is still the dominant religion in every local authority area in England and Wales, even in the most culturally diverse towns and cities.
Of the 45.5million participants, 27.9million subscribed to Christianity, compared with 1.8million Muslims, the second largest grouping.
However, among dependent children – defined as those aged up to 15, or between 16 and 18 and in education and still living at home – the gap is narrower.
Of 12.1million youngsters, 6.1million were Christian and 1million were Muslim. And in some places, the balance has now tipped towards Islam.
In Bradford, 52,135 children are Muslims (45 per cent) next to 47,144 Christians; in Leicester the figures are 22,693 and 18,190 respectively.
The widest gap is in Tower Hamlets where 62 per cent of children are Islamic, outnumbering Christians by 34,597 to 8,995.
Sughra Ahmed, president of the Islamic Society of Britain, said: ‘Britain’s Muslims make up just 5 per cent of the population but have a younger demographic profile than other faiths, as these figures show. It matters to us all that this next generation of young British Muslims develops a clear and confident sense of their British identity alongside their Muslim faith. It’s important that schools teach all of our children the values of respect and tolerance.
‘Britain is doing better at this than many of our neighbours. A major new study this week showed that most people think the children of immigrants are integrating well.
‘This is one of the most tolerant countries in the world. It will continue to be so, provided we all understand how that depends on respect for the beliefs of others too.’
The REAL secrets of being a Bullingdon Club boy... and they're far more colourful than a silly new film suggests, says club member HARRY MOUNT
The late Kingsley Amis liked to sit through telly programmes saying: ‘He wouldn’t speak like that. She wouldn’t wear that. They wouldn’t do that.’
That was pretty much my reaction to The Riot Club, a new film due out this week about the behaviour of Oxford’s Bullingdon Club.
I feel somewhat ashamed of having joined the club when I was at Oxford in the early Nineties — and I can fully understand why people find the institution so ludicrous. The Bullingdon is ripe for satirical attack. But this clumsy, lazily-plotted film completely misses the target.
First — the facts. Or, should I say, the lack of them.
Members of the Bullingdon, however silly they might be, wouldn’t go around declaring to each other which schools are acceptably grand. Nor would they carry club-branded hip flasks or boast that they were at the top university in the world — or shoot clay pigeons within several yards of passing tourists.
No one — Bullingdon member or otherwise — would ever be so crass as to declare, as one Riot Club member says, ‘I’m sick to f****** death of poor people.’
And Bullingdon members would never have battered a pub landlord unconscious — the central incident in the film.
The club dinner at which this happens is clearly based on a Bullingdon evening in 2005. In a spine-shudderingly embarrassing evening, Bullingdon members got into a mass brawl and damaged a 15th-century pub in rural Oxfordshire.
Horrifying, yes — but the point was that they were beating each other up, not the landlord. In fact, he said they kept on breaking off from the fight to apologise to him.
Now I’m not trying to defend such odious behaviour. I’m just saying the details in the film are not only wrong — they’re also much less interesting than the truth. It’s extremely odd to keep on apologising in the middle of a fight, and it’s oddness that makes for wit and humour.
Class in real-life modern Britain works in a much more subtle — and more enthralling — way than in this bash-the-toffs drama. Watch The Riot Club and you’ll start to think Oxford is divided into thuggish lords in top hats and shy, Northern mill girls who don’t know what cutlery to use at dinner.
The truth is that Oxford’s undergraduate body is almost entirely made up of the middle-class group that lies in between these two crashing stereotypes.
At least the film is well-acted, though. Max Irons, the son of actor Jeremy, is particularly good as the reluctant Bullingdon member who steers clear of the pub fight. But compare Max Irons’s role with his father’s in the TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited — and there is a yawning gulf in the screenwriters’ understanding of how the rich behave at Oxford, and how the Establishment works.
The Riot Club suggests that the chairman of the Tory Party, a former club member, goes about securing powerful political positions for the current batch. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Members — such as David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson — didn’t find their way to power because of the club.
If anything, they made their way to the top despite the deep embarrassment caused by those infamous club photographs showing them in their swanky tailcoats and studied poses.
The simple fact is that the desire of clever, well-educated, ambitious men to join a supposedly exclusive club sometimes overlaps with the desire to be voted into Parliament.
Or foreign parliaments, in fact. It’s striking that Radek Sikorski, the Polish Foreign Minister, was in the Bullingdon with Cameron and Johnson. He wasn’t a rich undergraduate, but he shared that desire for election to a supposed elite. Of course, it’s utterly understandable that the media spotlight zeroes in on those awkward photographs of the Bullingdon Club.
But the Bullingdon didn’t loom very large in members’ lives. In fact, it meets only twice a year: once for the annual dinner, when those silly photographs are taken; and once for an annual point-to-point horse race meeting in the Oxfordshire countryside.
The Bullingdon’s origins are sporting. It began life as a hunting and cricket club in 1780 — the club badge still shows a cricket bat, stumps and a man on a horse. In 1796, the Bullingdon cricket team even played against the MCC.
It was at the annual Bullingdon horse race in the 1920s that the late Lord Longford, a member, is said to have converted from Conservative to Labour. He fell off his horse, bumped his head, remounted and started riding in the opposite direction around the course. And so began his lifelong devotion to Labour politics.
Still, the influence of the Bullingdon on modern British politics would be a tiny footnote in history but for those fatally ridiculous photographs. Mere snapshots in young lives have been blown up to mammoth, career-defining proportions.
The Bullingdon can behave appallingly — not least in 1894, when members smashed all 468 windows in Christ Church college’s Peckwater Quad, and in 1927, when they did it all over again. As a punishment, the club was banned from meeting within 15 miles of Oxford.
When the future Edward VIII, an undergraduate at Magdalen College just before the First World War, wanted to join, his mother, Queen Mary, was horrified. She let him do so only if he promised not to take part in a ‘Bullingdon blind’ — a drunken club dinner.
In his typical authority-defying way, the Prince of Wales attended a ‘blind’ anyway, prompting a furious Queen Mary to send a telegram asking him to leave the club. An impossible request, I fear — even from a queen. As far as I understand the unwritten rules of the club, once a member, always a member. The only way out of the dark blue tailcoat is in a wooden box.
The club assumed a darker air under the ruthlessly satirical eye of Evelyn Waugh. In two short passages in his novels, he was immediately wittier, and more amusingly barbed, about the Bullingdon, than this overlong new film.
In Decline And Fall, written in 1928, it is lampooned as the brutally destructive Bollinger Club — named after the champagne house.
At one Bollinger dinner, he writes, ‘a fox had been brought in in a cage and stoned to death with champagne bottles’.
Bullingdon members included ‘epileptic royalty from their villas of exile; uncouth peers from crumbling country seats; smooth young men of uncertain tastes from embassies and legations; illiterate lairds from wet granite hovels in the Highlands; ambitious young barristers and Conservative candidates’.
At another dinner, the club ‘broke up Mr Austen’s grand piano, and stamped Lord Rending’s cigars into his carpet, and smashed his china, and tore up Mr Partridge’s sheets, and threw his Matisse into the lavatory’.
Labour politician Tom Driberg said this description was a ‘mild account of the night of any Bullingdon Club dinner in Christ Church. Such a profusion of glass I never saw until the height of the Blitz. On such nights, any undergraduate who was believed to have “artistic” talents was an automatic target’.
In Brideshead Revisited, Waugh again attacked the Bullingdon — by name — for attempting to dunk one of those artistic undergraduates, the camp Anthony Blanche, ‘in Mercury’ — the fountain in Christ Church’s biggest quad. The members, Waugh writes, were dressed ‘like a lot of most disorderly footmen’.
But if the club’s appearances in modern literature are prominent, its influence on the Establishment is massively exaggerated.
Bullingdon membership — in a small minority — is a subconscious sign of future political ambition; and not a cause of later political success.
What is true is that modern politics is largely run not by Bullingdon members, but by a marginally broader group of public schoolboys and Oxbridge graduates.
And that’s not just the case with the Conservative Party. Nick Clegg went to Westminster School, Robinson College, Cambridge, and Minnesota University; Ed Miliband to Corpus Christi, Oxford, and the London School of Economics.
It says something for the elite nature of modern politics that even the maverick man of the people, Nigel Farage, went to private Dulwich College and worked in the City.
These are the real, tragic facts of exclusive modern politics — rather than this woefully weak make-believe vision of a university club.
New proposals for tougher planning laws set to give councils more muscle to fight gypsy encampments
Travellers setting up camp illegally may soon no longer be protected by soft planning laws. Councils could gain more power to enforce rules and evict those who ignore them. For years, communities across the country have been frustrated over unauthorised traveller sites.
The most notorious was Dale Farm which led to a ten-year fight to remove travellers living illegally on the six-acre site in Essex.
Currently, a council wanting to close a site has to find an alternative location. This can be a struggle and was one of the reasons why the Dale Farm controversy went on for so long.
Yesterday Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the rule is a ‘perverse incentive’ for authorities not to take action. Mr Lewis said: ‘We will not sit back and allow people who bypass the law to then benefit from the protection it can offer.
‘We have already strengthened the powers that councils have to enforce planning rules and take action against breaches which fuel community tensions. ‘This will not only tackle the abuse of the system but prevent long drawn-out cases like Dale Farm.’
However, the definition of travellers could change so local authorities have to cater only for those leading a ‘genuine travelling lifestyle’.
This would mean any application for a permanent site by those who no longer have a nomadic life would be treated the same as a bid from the settled population. Councils would also be free of the need to cater for any travellers who turn up and want to stay.
Instead, they would only have to provide sites for the number they could reasonably expect.
Ministers also want to strengthen protection for sensitive areas and the green belt. Plans include ensuring policies apply to traveller sites in the same way as other housing.
The proposals follow a fourfold rise in the number of illegal caravans sites from 2000 to 2009
Arrogant British social worker was ecstatic about breaking up a family
Obviously unfit for the work but she is still doing it
A social worker gloated about having three children taken into care on her publicly accessible Facebook page.
Siobhan Condon, 41, bragged about the power she felt at breaking up the family and revelled in the judge giving the parents a ‘massive rollicking’.
She even referred to the solicitor in the case complimenting her ‘fine nails and shoes’ before saying she was about to ‘do the mammoth grim task’ of removing the youngsters from their home and signing off with three kisses.
The children, all aged under ten at the time, were put into foster care following the court hearing last year.
Their mother reported Miss Condon’s comments to Essex County Council after spotting them on the social worker’s Facebook page, which was open to the public and gave enough information to identify the family.
Family proceedings are normally held behind closed doors and shrouded in secrecy.
The Health and Care Professional Council found Miss Condon guilty of misconduct and the local authority decided not to renew her contract.
However, she has not been struck off. Instead, she must be closely monitored by a line manager for a year.
Tory MP Simon Burns yesterday questioned the leniency of the punishment, saying: ‘There are some very difficult cases … where there are no winners and it seems incredible that someone in a position of trust and responsibility should post information on Facebook … to gloat is totally inappropriate.
‘I find it quite staggering and do question whether simply monitoring someone who does this is right.’
The case of ‘Family A’ was heard at Chelmsford Crown Court on May 9 last year. Miss Condon, who has a young daughter, posted comments the night before, speculating about whether the judge ‘might question my zero tolerance to domestic violence’.
The next day, after the case ended, the senior social worker who qualified in 1999, wrote: ‘Just experienced His Honour Judge [sic] give parents a massive rollicking. It was an amazing and extraordinary moment in my career and he complimented my court evidence.’
She added: ‘Me and [unnamed person] are reflecting on how the solicitor commented on [how] fine nails and shoes appear to be a requirement of our team lol. Anyway of [sic] now to do the mammoth grim task fingers crossed xxx.’
Miss Condon later wrote: ‘Its [sic] powerful to know that … children’s lives have been massively changed for the better.’
The council’s conduct committee heard the children’s mother, ‘Mrs A’, made a complaint on May 17.
A senior manager used Google to look for evidence and found the comments, despite not being a Facebook friend of Miss Condon’s. He reported that Mr and Mrs A were ‘upset and angry’.
Miss Condon claimed she thought a privacy setting on her account meant her entries could only be read by her friends. But the committee noted that even if this were true, around 70 of them were not involved in social care and the family were identifiable.
Last week the committee concluded her conduct fell ‘seriously below’ expected standards as the postings were ‘disrespectful and demonstrated poor judgment’.
Miss Condon, who now works for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham according to a friend, declined to comment. Essex council has apologised to Mr and Mrs A for her conduct.
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.