Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Baden-Powell undone as today's Scouts are told: Forget the knot-tying and earn badges in IT and public relations
B-P was a tormented old queer but what he created gave much to many -- even though he couldn't bear sleeping with his wife. And his emphasis on outdoor skills and living is probably needed now more than ever -- when the alternative is turning into blubber in front of a screen
It's been a proud tradition since Robert Baden-Powell first wore the woggle – but the Scouting movement says its leaders no longer need to know how to tie knots.
Officials say modern recruits are too busy earning badges in public relations, circus skills and IT to bother mastering a sheepshank or a clove hitch.
In his handbook Scouting for Boys, first published in 1908, Baden-Powell stressed the importance of knot-tying and told of how three people were swept to their deaths near Niagara Falls because rescue ropes were not secured properly.
He wrote: ‘People often think, “What’s the good of learning such a simple thing as tying knots?” Well, here is a case in which that knowledge might have saved three lives.
'To tie a knot seems to be a simple thing, and yet there are right ways and wrong ways of doing it, and Scouts ought to know the right way. A life may depend on a knot being tied properly.’
However, a Scout Association spokesman said the movement was ‘very different’ from Baden-Powell’s founding days and now offers members ‘a lot of exciting challenges and the chance to contribute to the community’.
‘Clearly, tying knots is a useful thing if leaders are taking young people rock climbing or on raft-building expeditions,’ said the spokesman.
‘But the reality is what’s important now is their ability to do youth work – not climb mountains or do knots. It is all about inspiring young minds.
‘In the old days, you had to do much more hardcore activities yourself – but now there is an activities centre down the road.’
Officials said woodland crafts are not relevant to the many new badges introduced and today’s volunteer leaders do not need any basic skills to begin training.
However, former Scout and best-selling children’s author GP Taylor said Baden-Powell would be ‘spinning in his grave’. ‘Scouting changed my life and I found the knot-tying and woodland craft side of it fascinating,’ he said. ‘It is something we have taken from the past and preserved for the future. That’s part of our heritage.
‘This just shows what a pathetic society we are becoming. Baden-Powell would be outraged by this.’
Campaigner hijacks £100,000 statue depicting two mixed-race single mothers and their children as a 'typical family'
A bronze sculpture by Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing unveiled outside the Library of Birmingham on Thursday was 'hijacked' by a furious New Fathers For Justice campaigner over the weekend.
'A Real Birmingham Family' depicts a heavily pregnant Emma Jones, 27, and her sister Roma, 29, hand-in-hand with their children Kyan, four, and Shaye, five - but has drawn criticism because of the lack of any adult male or father figure.
But Bobby Smith, 32, stuck photos of himself and his two young daughters Ellie, seven, and Mollie, 10, onto the artwork and threw a sheet over the other mother.
The father-of-two spent all of Saturday and today at the statue and said the £100,000 sculpture suggests fathers are not an important part of family life.
Sharia law or gay marriage critics would be branded ‘extremists’ under Tory plans, atheists and Christians warn
Anyone who criticises Sharia law or gay marriage could be branded an “extremist” under sweeping new powers planned by the Conservatives to combat terrorism, an alliance of leading atheists and Christians fear.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, unveiled plans last month for so-called Extremism Disruption Orders, which would allow judges to ban people deemed extremists from broadcasting, protesting in certain places or even posting messages on Facebook or Twitter without permission.
Mrs May outlined the proposal in a speech at the Tory party conference in which she spoke about the threat from the so-called Islamic State – also known as Isis and Isil – and the Nigerian Islamist movement Boko Haram.
But George Osborne, the Chancellor, has made clear in a letter to constituents that the aim of the orders would be to “eliminate extremism in all its forms” and that they would be used to curtail the activities of those who “spread hate but do not break laws”.
He explained that that the new orders, which will be in the Conservative election manifesto, would extend to any activities that “justify hatred” against people on the grounds of religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability.
He also disclosed that anyone seeking to challenge such an order would have to go the High Court, appealing on a point of law rather than fact.
The National Secular Society and the Christian institute – two organisations with often diametrically opposing interests – said they shared fears that the broad scope of extremism could represent a major threat to free speech.
Keith Porteous Wood, director of the NSS, said secularists might have to think twice before criticising Christianity or Islam. He said secularists risk being branded Islamophobic and racist because of their high profile campaigns against the advance of Sharia law in the UK.
“The Government should have every tool possible to tackle extremism and terrorism, but there is a huge arsenal of laws already in place and a much better case needs to be made for introducing draconian measures such as Extremism Disruption Orders, which are almost unchallengeable and deprive individuals of their liberties,” he said.
“Without precise legislative definitions, deciding what are ‘harmful activities of extremist individuals who spread hate’ is subjective and therefore open to abuse now or by any future authoritarian government.”
Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of the Christian Institute, said traditionalist evangelicals who criticise gay marriage or even argue that all religions are not the same could find themselves accused of extremism.
“Anyone who expresses an opinion that isn’t regarded as totally compliant with the Equality Act could find themselves ranked alongside Anjem Choudary, Islamic state or Boko Haram,” he said.
He added: “How many times a day do intellectually lazy political activists accuse their opponents of ‘spreading hatred’?
“The left does it, the right does it, liberals do it, conservatives do it, it is routine.
“Hand a judge a file of a thousand Twitter postings accusing this atheist or that evangelical of ‘spreading hatred’ and they could easily rule that an EDO is needed.
“It’s a crazy idea – the Conservatives need to drop this like a hot brick.”
A Conservative spokesman said: "Freedom of expression and freedom of speech are a vital part of a democratic society.
"In Government, Conservatives have always tried to strike the right balance on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom to manifest one’s religion, and the need to protect the public. We have never sought to restrict peaceful protest or free speech, provided it is within the law.
"Our proposal to introduce Extremism Disruption Orders reflects the need to go further on challenging the threat from extremism and those who spread their hateful views so that we can keep that democratic society safe."
Kerry, Qatar and the poisonous tree
Binyamin Netanyahu recently: "Isis and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree"
It would be interesting to know which Arab leaders are telling US Secretary of State John Kerry that the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “a cause of recruitment” to Islamic State.
Is that something he is hearing from Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani? The Qatari leader, whose kingdom has been cited by the US Treasury Department as a major funder of Islamic State (IS), is certainly one of Kerry’s favorite regional leaders.
If Thani did blame Israel for the rise of IS, then his statement would constitute yet another instance of the double game Qatar has been playing with the Americans. On the one hand, the regime is financing jihad, and other the other hand, it pretends to side with the West against the jihad that it is funding.
This is certainly the case in Jerusalem. According to an investigative report published Friday in Yisrael Hayom , Qatar is financing the violence in the capital. Veteran Jerusalem affairs reporter Nadav Shragai wrote that the Islamic rioters who daily attack Jewish visitors and police forces on the Temple Mount are paid by Qatar through the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.
The Qatari government and other Islamic funds are transferring vast sums of money to the Islamic Movement’s radical northern branch headed by Sheikh Ra’ed Salah. The Islamic Movement in turn is paying thousands of shekels every month to hundreds of women and men, mainly Muslim Israeli citizens, who call themselves the Murbitat.
The Murbitat presents itself as an Islamic prayer group, but according to Shragai, the group’s job is to harass Jews and police on the Temple Mount. They scream and curse at Jewish visitors and in recent months have escalated their violence against them, and their police escorts. These violent attacks include assaults with rocks, firebombs and firecrackers.
To prevent the police from blocking their entry to the Mount, members of the Murbitat enter the mosques in times of relative calm and then remain there for weeks at a time. The women are used as well to smuggle firecrackers and other weaponry onto the Temple Mount by hiding them in their burkas.
In a report published Sunday by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Palestinian affairs researcher Pinchas Inbari explained the goals of the violence.
The riots and assaults on the Temple Mount have two goals. First, they aim to incite the Islamic world against Israel and return attention to the Palestinians. And second, they seek to destabilize the regimes in Egypt and Jordan.
Regarding the goal of galvanizing support for jihad by attacking Israel, Inbari recalled how immediately after longtime Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential cleric, Qatar-based Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, gave a speech at a mass rally in Cairo and called for the Muslims to march on Jerusalem.
The rally was organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and attended by two million people. It marked the first time that Qaradawi had returned to Egypt since he was forced to flee in the 1960s for his support for jihad.
From Doha, Qaradawi has become the most influential cleric on the regime-controlled Al Jazeera satellite network. As such, he has become the most important Islamic cleric in the Sunni Islamic world.
As Inbari noted, following his speech in Cairo Qaradawi authored a book titled Jerusalem: The Problem of Every Muslim, in which he restated his call for an Islamic conquest of the city.
Saleh, who is extremely close to Qaradawi, stated that “Jerusalem is the capital of the imminently approaching Islamic Caliphate.”
In other words, the Palestinians and their Qatari financiers are seeking to galvanize the forces of global jihad, including IS, to view the Palestinian war against Israel and the Jews as the centerpiece of the jihad.
These efforts are backed by both Fatah and Hamas, who are competing for Qatari money. Fatah chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas resonated the claims of the most radical jihadists when earlier this month he referred to Jews on the Temple Mount as “herds of cattle,” and called on Muslims to attack them for they “desecrate” the holy site simply by being there.
Doha-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal called on the Palestinians “to defend Jerusalem and al-Aksa, and on the Muslim nation to send a painful message of rage to the world.”
As to the goal of using the violence on the Temple Mount to destabilize Egypt and Jordan, Inbari noted that efforts to intensify violence in Jerusalem have grown since the Egyptian military overthrew Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in July 2013. “Presumably,” Inbari argues, “Qatar tried indirectly to help the Brotherhood in Egypt by inspiring support for them on the Jerusalem issue.”
The Jordanian regime is even more acutely threatened by the violence on the Temple Mount. Israel recognized Jordan as the custodian of the Temple Mount in its peace treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom. The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has capitalized on the violence on the Temple Mount to condemn the regime for what it claims is its failure to protect al-Aksa from the Jews.
In contending with the violence in Judaism’s holiest site, and throughout its capital city, the Israeli government is caught in a trap.
While telling their fellow Muslims that they must wage a jihad for Jerusalem, Fatah and Hamas as well as the Israeli Islamic Movement tell Western leaders that their violence against Jews in the city owes to actions that Israel has taken to safeguard the lives and civil rights of Jews.
To appease these specific purported grievances, the Palestinians demand that Israel deny protection and civil rights to Jews by among other things, denying Jews the freedom to visit the Temple Mount and denying Jews property rights in Jerusalem.
Rather than recognize that they are being played by double-speaking Palestinians and their jihadist supporters, Washington and Brussels are going along with their deceit. Both the Obama administration and the EU firmly side with the Palestinian demand that Jews be denied civil rights in Jerusalem. Both have condemned and threatened Israel for not preventing Jews from lawfully purchasing homes in Silwan and for allowing contractors to build homes for Jews in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
This places the Israeli government in an impossible position. It is being attacked by jihadist forces who seek its destruction. It is told by Washington and Europe that if it doesn’t appease those who cannot be appeased by denying protection and civil rights to Jews, then it will lose whatever is left of its good relations with the US and Europe.
And this brings us back to Kerry’s claim that Arab leaders are blaming Israel for the rise of Islamic State.
As IS forces draw closer to Baghdad and expand their control over Anbar Province in Iraq, it is becoming more and more apparent that the US-led campaign against the terrorist army is failing.
To a significant degree, Washington’s inability to forge a coherent and feasible strategy for containing and defeating IS owes to its refusal to understand the nature of the enemy and its goals.
What we see in Qatar’s financing of the violence on the Temple Mount is that the same forces that are financing IS are financing the violence against Israel.
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.