Tuesday, March 03, 2015

England excels at one thing... hypocrisy

That the English are hypocritical is an old accusation that goes back long before the era of political correctness.  I believe it is correct.  I also believe, however, that it arose from a long tradition of British politeness -- an instinctive desire to be diplomatic and not antagonize people.  It arose from a desire not to hurt people's feelings if at all possible.  That may explain why political correctness is now so powerful in Britain

England gave the world Shakespeare, the steam locomotive, the computer, Isaac Newton and photography.  But when it comes to what the country excels at, Alan Bennett believes there is only one answer. Hypocrisy.

Playwright and author Bennett, who penned The History Boys and Talking Heads, claims that no other country in the world is so adept at saying one thing and doing another.

Bennett made the comments in a BBC Radio 4 broadcast to mark the 50th anniversary of the World at One. As part of the celebrations, 50 public figures have been asked to decide what sets Britain apart from the rest of the world.

The playwright said he had debated choosing Swaledale, in the Yorkshire Dales, medieval churches or even the National Trust for his nomination, but what he really felt England is best at, “better than all the rest” is ‘hypocrisy’

“In England, what we do best is lip service,” he told presenter Martha Kearney. “A substantial minority of our children receive a better education than the rest because of the social situation of the parents.  “Then we wonder why things at the top do not change or society improve. But we know why. It’s because we are hypocrites.”

Bennett said language was a good example of refined hypocrisy where we want to have it both ways. “Words which start off as good and meaningful, terms like environment and energy saving, rapidly lose any credence because converted into political or PR slogans, ending up the clichéd stuff of an estate agents’ brochure. A manual for hypocrisy.”

And warning listeners not to grumble – Bennett held his hands up and said he didn’t exempt himself from these criticisms. “How should I?” he says. “I am English, I am a hypocrite.”

In January the World at One heard nominations from the Prime Minister David Cameron and Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband and other party leaders.

Mr Cameron said Britain could be most proud of its science and its universities, an area where the country was ‘still first class’ and has the potential to ‘solve the problems we face.’

“Whether exploring the first moments of the universe of the genetic code, Britain is great at it,” he said.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minster and Liberal Democrat Leader, said Britain excelled at civil rights and the law. He said it was ‘marvellous’ that the UK has ‘settled, quiet habits of liberty.’

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the NHS was Britain’s biggest achievement. “It’s so important we protect it for the future,” he told the programme in January.

UKIPs Nigel Farage said the UK justice system was the envy of the world, while green leader Natalie Bennett said British apples deserved recognition.


British supermarket chain bans customers using the words 'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' in messages when they are ordering flowers online - but jihad is okay

The words 'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' have been placed on a list of banned words by Marks & Spencer and cannot be used in gift messages.

Customers buying a bunch of flowers who try to add a free message containing them are prevented from completing their order. An on-screen notification, which pops up if any blocked words are entered, reads: 'Sorry, there's something in your message we can't write.'

'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' join other banned words including 'f***' and 'gay' - but some terms including jihad, Buddha and Allah are accepted.  'Terrorist' and 'd**k' can also be included in messages.

The policy emerged earlier today after one customer was stopped from buying a £35 bouquet for a funeral because she said in the gift message that it was from a family in 'Christ Church Teddington'.

When Gerardine Stockford, 53, phoned customer services an employee told her that it must be a blocked word, according to The Sunday Times.

Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, was shocked. He said: 'If Christ becomes an offensive word in a Christian land then all of us should be alarmed.'

Despite the supermarket giant being made aware of the issue yesterday, it still has not changed the facility.  A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said: 'An automatic phrase checker is in place to prevent the use and misuse of certain words and it includes hundreds of words of varying nature. 'The words Jesus and Christ are included to prevent their misuse.'


Knock the shine off Shiner

Human rights lawyers smeared British soldiers with false accusations of the torture and murder or innocent Iraqis, a government dossier claims.

A report drawn up on the Prime Minister's orders claims Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) pursued claims against soldiers despite realising the allegations of abuse might have been 'untrue'.

It comes after a public inquiry spent £31million exonerating British soldiers of claims they went they went on a killing and torture spree following a fierce battle in southern Iraq in 2004.

After five years of investigations, the Al-Sweady inquiry in December concluded there were some breaches of the Geneva convention following the battle. But it also ruled allegations of murder and torture were based on 'deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility'.

Now the government is gearing up to sue law firms for millions of pounds in legal costs and calling for the PIL's chief lawyer, Phil Shiner, to be struck off.

The MoD's dossier, seen by at least two Sunday newspapers, accuses PIL and another law firm, Leigh Day, of continuing to pursue the case even after evidence emerged that the allegations may be untrue.

It suggests PIL had doubts about the credibility of its clients' evidence as early as March 2013 but failed to withdraw the allegations for another 12 months, Tim Ross of the Sunday Telegraph reported.

That led investigators to take evidence from around 100 further witnesses, costing taxpayers an extra £780,000, the paper reported the Government's dossier as saying.

It is also alleged that PIL used a local 'agent' to trawl Basra for potential victims, a breach of a ban on solicitors touting for business that brought hundreds of extra claims against the Army.

The Birmingham-based law firm even continued to represent one claimant in a separate judicial review after he admitted to Al-Sweady investigators he had lied about his sister dying on the battlefield, the dossier alleges.

Leigh Day are accused of failing to disclose a key document for six years, according to the Sun on Sunday.

The claims came after the Battle of Danny Boy on May 14 2004, a fierce firefight which erupted when insurgents from the Mahdi Army ambushed a patrol of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Their reinforcements, the 1st Battalion of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, were also ambushed and after three hours of fighting 28 Iraqi fighters had been killed.

Claims which subsequently emerged that enraged British soldiers had tortured and executed innocent local people in the aftermath of the battle were dismissed by the Al-Sweady inquiry, which was named for an alleged teenage victim.

Former 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment corporal Brian Wood has previously told the Daily Mail he felt he and his colleagues who fought in thad 'done the right thing'.

Mr Wood, 34, who was awarded the Military Cross for his role in the battle, according to the paper, said: 'We have been dragged through five years of hell. That in my view is a betrayal of our service.  'We did what we had to do as soldiers and we did the right thing.'

Ann Hoolin, 50, the mother of soldier Scott Hoolin, told the paper her son was 'upset and disturbed' following the inquiry.  'To be accused of wrongdoing in the aftermath of what happened is disgraceful,' she said.

Sir Thayne Forbes, the retired judge who led the Al-Sweady inquiry, did find that there had been instances of ill-treatment during 'tactical questioning' of the detainees at Camp Abu Naji, near Majar-al-Kabir in southern Iraq, on the night of May 14/15.

These included depriving the prisoners of sight, food and sleep, and using threatening interrogation techniques contrary to the Geneva Convention.  It amounted to ill-treatment and fell below the high standard to be expected of the British Army, Sir Thayne said.

After Sir Thayne's report, Public Interest Lawyers insisted the inquiry had been 'legally necessary, morally justified and politically required'.

Responding to a request for comment on the allegations against PIL and Leigh Day, an MoD spokesman told MailOnline: 'The MoD is assisting the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which is investigating issues that came to light as a result of the Al-Sweady Inquiry.'

PIL said last night in a statement seen by the Sunday Telegraph: 'The Al-Sweady inquiry thoroughly investigated the subject of these matters during which no criticisms were made of Public Interest Lawyers or Phil Shiner by the chair.'

'It is not appropriate to comment any further while SRA proceedings are ongoing. 'PIL and Mr Shiner are confident that they have acted in accordance with their professional obligations.'


Muslim Australia:  19-year-old man charged over 'wedding' to 15-year-old

A backyard Islamic marriage between an 18-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl was only discovered when the young bride took herself to a western Sydney hospital believing she had suffered a miscarriage, police allege.

Mustafa Abdel Ghany, 19, was charged on Wednesday with marrying a 15-year-old girl in the backyard of her father's Sydney home in November.

A sheikh allegedly officiated over the ceremony and the couple moved into a granny flat at Abdel Ghany's parents' home in south-west Sydney soon after.

Detectives from the Child Abuse Squad were alerted to the marriage when the 15-year-old attended Bankstown Hospital on January 20 believing she had suffered a miscarriage.

It is the first time the state's Child Abuse Squad has charged a man with marrying an underage girl.

Abdel Ghany was granted strict bail in Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday and ordered not to go near his wife, not to drink alcohol or take drugs and to abide by an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order taken out against him.

His 15-year-old wife, who cannot be identified, had stopped attending high school at the time of her marriage and was not working, police said in documents tendered to the court.

Her parents did not know where she had been living for the past four to five months and had had little contact with her when police spoke to them in January.

When her horrified mother found out about the union, she confronted the couple and was allegedly told by her new son-in-law that he would "finish" her.

"What's done is done. She's my wife. If you want to start a war, I'll finish it," he allegedly told the mother when she questioned why he married her daughter in such a manner.

Police allege that the bride's father, who was present when they married, told police they were simply engaged.

In early February, Abdel Ghany and his parents grew suspicious that his in-laws were speaking to the police.

An intercepted phone call allegedly revealed he planned to harm his bride's parents, police documents state.

In other phone calls, detectives also allegedly heard Abdel Ghany's parents telling him to move his wife's belonging out of the granny flat and into the main house to hide the relationship.

Just days ago, however, Abdel Ghany struck up a relationship with another woman while his young wife was visiting his family in Canberra, police documents state.

"Police allege the accused has stated that he is considering divorcing the victim," the documents state. "The victim is unaware of the extent of the [new] relationship and is hoping that she and the accused will continue to live as husband and wife."

Abdel Ghany, who was 18 at the time of the marriage, denied that the ceremony took place when interviewed by police on Wednesday and has denied having sex with the 15-year-old girl.

A recent report estimated there were around 250 child bride cases across Australia.

NSW police made their first child bride arrest last year.

A 26 year-old man was convicted of several sexual abuse matters after marrying a 12-year-old girl in a backyard ceremony. The imam who oversaw the marriage was also convicted.



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


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