Monday, October 05, 2015
Neo-Marxist elitists in charge of the British Left
TOBY YOUNG was brought up surrounded by Champagne socialists. Hearing Labour sing their anthem brought back toe-curling memories. Their claim to represent the worker is an absurdity. Money insulates them from the real world. Their anthem is "The people's flag is deepest red". It would more frankly be: "The spoiled elite's flag is deepest red"
Frankly, I can't say I was surprised that Jeremy Corbyn had no hesitation in accepting the £125,000 salary and chauffeur-driven car that comes with his new job.
After all, this veteran campaigner against inequality was brought up in a seven-bedroom mansion and went to private school.
Like so many Labour leaders before him, it's a case of do as I say, not do as I do.
Being the son of a prominent Left-wing intellectual — and brought up in North London, not far from Corbyn's constituency — I witnessed this hypocrisy at first hand.
When I saw the footage of Corbyn singing the Red Flag at the Labour conference this week — not long after staying tight-lipped during a rendition of the National Anthem — my mind was transported back to Christmas Eve in the mid-Seventies, and a memorable supper party at the house of Anthony Crosland, then a Labour Secretary of State.
Tony was one of my father's closest friends in the Labour Party. He is probably best remembered for vowing to get rid of grammar schools, the greatest engines of social mobility this country has ever produced.
'If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to destroy every f***ing grammar school in England,' he said, shortly after becoming Harold Wilson's Education Secretary in 1965. And he was as good as his word. Today, there are only 164 grammars left.
Every Christmas Eve, my father, Michael Young, a writer and sociologist who co-authored Labour's 1945 manifesto, would drive our family over to Tony's house where the Croslands and the Youngs would break bread together and sing carols by the fireside.
Needless to say, Tony's house in Pimlico was a far cry from the cottages of his constituents in Great Grimsby, the working-class constituency he served from 1959 to his death in 1977.
It was a grand, four-storey affair, featuring six bedrooms, a beautiful dining room and a large, sweeping drawing room with a magnificent fireplace.
On the mantelpiece were stiff, cardboard invitations to various society soirees. In the lavatory, if memory serves, were framed photographs of Tony at his alma mater — the famous (and fee-paying) Highgate School in North London.
There was Tony in his cricket kit, about to open the batting against a rival establishment, and there was Tony in his tennis whites.
He was, quite literally, the picture of a privileged public schoolboy.
On this particular occasion, he'd invited his colleague Shirley Williams, then the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection and soon to become Education Secretary. Like Tony, she was determined 'to destroy every f***ing grammar school in England', and did her very best to do so, although, curiously, her own daughter went to agrammar school — just like Jeremy Corbyn's son.
Supper was pleasant enough, as always in this hotbed of socialism. Tony's American wife, Susan, was a gracious hostess and made sure guests were well fed and well watered — a selection of fine wines was on offer.
It wasn't quite Downton Abbey, but there were employees on hand to help with the cooking and the serving. Nothing but the best for these tribunes of the masses.
After supper we retired to the drawing room and Shirley Williams led us in carol singing, accompanied by one of Tony and Susan's daughters on the piano. I can picture it now — the perfect Christmas tableau. I think there were even snowflakes piling up on the window frames.
But then something happened to interrupt this chocolate-box scene. Susan broke out the 25-year-old Macallan — a favourite tipple of my father's — and as the whisky started to flow, the guests became more emotional.
Before long, the two Labour Secretaries of State, along with my father, who was a peer of the realm, were demanding something a little more 'authentic' than Good King Wenceslas.
Sure enough, they started singing The Red Flag: 'The people's flag is deepest red/It shrouded oft our martyred dead/And 'ere their limbs grew stiff and cold/Their hearts' blood dyed its every fold.'
I distinctly remember Tony Crosland, red-faced and animated, pumping his fist in the air and crying: 'Balls to the bourgeoisie.' This week, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell cut a similar figure as he raised his clenched fist while belting out the socialist anthem.
Quite what Crosland's staff made of that spectacle, all those years ago, I don't know. They hovered discreetly in the background, waiting to replenish the whisky glasses of these Left-wing firebrands. I daresay they'd seen it all before.
This was probably the most egregious example of champagne socialism I encountered in my childhood, but there were plenty of others.
I hesitate to criticise my father, whom I loved dearly, but his commitment to equality didn't extend to his choice of motorcar — a vintage Bentley.
Like Tony, he was a passionate advocate of comprehensive education, but that didn't stop him sending three of his six children to Dartington Hall, then the most expensive private school in England. He'd been there himself, paid for by a rich Australian uncle, so perhaps that was understandable.
We lived in a large, detached house in Highgate Village, and spent summers in our second home in the South of France.
No doubt my father would have been happy to share those advantages with the less fortunate if the red flag ever flew over the Houses of Parliament. He had a habit of inviting homeless people to share our Christmas lunch, so in that respect, at least, he practised what he preached.
I never asked my father about the disconnect between his socialist values and his affluent lifestyle. Every rich person I knew growing up in North London was a passionate egalitarian, so I just thought of it as normal.
It was only later, when I experienced more of the real world, that I realised how bizarre it was. Most people don't live such gilded lives, and those who do are unlikely to spend Christmas in the lap of luxury, shouting 'Balls to the bourgeoisie'.
Even today, such hypocrisy is commonplace on the Left.
For instance, Jeremy Corbyn singled out 'zero-hours contracts' in his victory speech, vowing to do away with this modern form of 'slavery' if he becomes Prime Minister.
That's a bit rich, considering 68 Labour MPs have employed staff on zero-hours contracts in the past two years. And by 'staff' I mean Parliamentary researchers, not domestic servants — although I daresay Shaun Woodward employs a few of those.
Woodward, who has a net worth of £300 million and divides his time between six houses, was the Labour Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2007 to 2010.
Andy Burnham, Corbyn's leadership rival, bangs on and on about the Tories 'privatising' the NHS, forgetting that 4.4 per cent of NHS services were outsourced to private providers under the last Labour government, while only a further 1.5 per cent have been outsourced since 2010.
Harriet Harman, Corbyn's predecessor as Labour leader, branded Chancellor George Osborne a 'posh boy' — even though they both attended exactly the same independent St Paul's schools.
The list goes on.
Perhaps my favourite moment of this year's General Election campaign was watching Ed Miliband abase himself at the feet of Russell Brand, a revolutionary socialist so committed to the cause he has a personal hairdresser on call 24/7 and travels everywhere by private jet.
Quite why the leader of the Labour Party thought turning up at the £2 million penthouse of the then 39-year-old multi-millionaire was a way to win over the 'yoof' vote is anyone's guess.
Luckily, the British public has a good nose for this type of hypocrisy.
As I discovered on that Christmas Eve in Pimlico, the red flag is made of velvet and sits on top of a corner table in a large drawing room where the expensive whisky is kept.
Political correctness causes unnecessary Loss of Life among American troops
By Walter E. Williams
War is nasty, brutal and costly. In our latest wars, many of the casualties suffered by American troops are a direct result of their having to obey rules of engagement created by politicians who have never set foot on — or even seen — a battlefield. Today's battlefield commanders must be alert to the media and do-gooders who are all too ready to demonize troops involved in a battle that produces noncombatant deaths, so-called collateral damage.
According to a Western Journalism article by Leigh H Bravo, "Insanity: The Rules of Engagement" (http://tinyurl.com/p59nlqs), our troops fighting in Afghanistan cannot do night or surprise searches. Also, villagers must be warned prior to searches. Troops may not fire at the enemy unless fired upon. U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present. And only women can search women. Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney said: "We handcuffed our troops in combat needlessly. This was very harmful to our men and has never been done in U.S combat operations that I know of." Collateral damage and the unintentional killing of civilians are a consequence of war. But the question we should ask is: Are our troops' lives less important than the inevitable collateral damage?
The unnecessary loss of life and casualties that result from politically correct rules of engagement are about to be magnified in future conflicts by mindless efforts to put women in combat units. In 2013, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta officially lifted the ban on women serving in ground combat roles. On Jan. 1, 2016, all branches of the military must either open all positions to women or request exceptions. That boils down to having women serve in combat roles, because any commander requesting exceptions would risk having his career terminated in the wake of the screeching and accusations of sexism that would surely ensue.
The U.S. Army has announced that for the first time, two female officers graduated from the exceptionally tough three-phase Ranger course. Their "success" will serve as grist for the mills of those who argue for women in combat. Unlike most of their fellow soldiers, these two women had to recycle because they had failed certain phases of the course.
A recent Marine Corps force integration study concluded that combat teams were less effective when they included women. Overall, the report says, all-male teams and crews outperformed mixed-gender ones on 93 out of 134 tasks evaluated. All-male teams were universally faster "in each tactical movement." The report also says that female Marines had higher rates of injury throughout the experiment.
Should anyone be surprised by the findings of male combat superiority? Young men are overloaded with testosterone, which produces hostility, aggression and competitiveness. Such a physical characteristic produces sometimes-poor behavior in civilian society, occasionally leading to imprisonment, but the same characteristics are ideal for ground combat situations.
You may bet the rent money that the current effort to integrate combat jobs will not end with simply a few extraordinary women. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus told the Navy Times that once women start attending SEAL training, it would make sense to examine the standards. He said, "First we're going to make sure there are standards" and "they're gender-neutral." Only after that will the Navy make sure the standards "have something to do with the job."
We've heard that before in matters of race. It's called disparate impact. That is, if the Navy SEALs cannot prove that staying up for 18 hours with no rest or sleep, sitting and shivering in the cold Pacific Ocean, running with a huge log on your shoulder, and being spoken to like a dog are necessary, then those parts of SEAL training will be eliminated so that women can pass.
The most disgusting, perhaps traitorous, aspect of all this is the overall timidity of military commanders, most of whom, despite knowing better, will only publicly criticize the idea of putting women in combat after they retire from service.
Navy Secretary Dismisses Risks to Women in Combat
A new study reveals the disturbing facts
For Navy Secretary Ray Mabus it would appear that progressive ideology trumps inconvenient reality. In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) Mabus criticized a nine month study revealing that women sustain injuries at a higher rate than their male counterparts and shoot with less accuracy under combat-simulated conditions. “(The study) started out with a fairly large component of the men thinking this is not a good idea and women will never be able to do this,” Mabus told NPR’s David Greene. “When you start out with that mindset you’re almost presupposing the outcome.”
Apparently Mabus is immune to the irony that attends his own presuppositions. The study itself, known as the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force (GCEITF) and conducted with 200 male and 75 female volunteers, couldn’t have been clearer. As the executive summary reveals, all male squads, teams and crews “demonstrated higher performance levels on 69% of tasks evaluated (93 of 134) as compared to gender-integrated squads, teams and crews.” By contrast, gender-integrated units outperformed their all-male counterparts in two events.
In the Speed category, and regardless of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS), all-male squads were faster than gender-integrated ones in each tactical movement. Furthermore, those differences “were more pronounced in infantry crew-served weapons specialties that carried the assault load plus the additional weight of crew-served weapons and ammunition,” the summary stated.
The Lethality category showed similar discrepancies. Other than the probability of hit and miss with the M4, all-male squads demonstrated greater accuracy than gender-integrated ones with a “notable difference” recorded between genders for “every individual weapons system.” All male squads had higher hit percentages, engaged targets in shorter time periods and registered more hits on those targets than their gender-integrated counterparts, with the only exception being M2 accuracy.
In addition, all male squads demonstrated superiority in the performance of the basic combat tasks that required negotiating obstacles and evacuating casualties. “For example, when negotiating the wall obstacle, male Marines threw their packs to the top of the wall, whereas female Marines required regular assistance in getting their packs to the top,” the summary revealed. “During casualty evacuation assessments, there were notable differences in execution times between all-male and gender-integrated groups, except in the case where teams conducted a casualty evacuation as a one-Marine fireman’s carry of another (in which case it was most often a male Marine who ‘evacuated’ the casualty).”
In the Health and Welfare of Marines category, “well documented comparative disadvantage in upper and lower-body strength resulted in higher fatigue levels of most women, which contributed to greater incidents of overuse injuries such as stress fractures,” with men outperforming, or demonstrating greater degrees of strength and endurance, than women in all categories, including body composition, anaerobic power and capacity, and aerobic capacity.
The injury differences were especially stark. According to research at the Infantry Training Battalion, females undergoing that entry level training sustained injuries at six times the rate of their male counterparts. In the categories of task movements while carrying loads, males were injured at a rate of 13 percent while females sustained injuries at a rate of 27 percent. Female musculoskeletal injury rates were more than double those of males, coming in at a staggering 40.5 percent, compared to just 18.8 percent for males.
Mabus was unmoved, insisting that “empirical standards” are determined by “what you put in” the tests and that the Center for Naval Analyses have discovered ways to “mitigate this so you can have the same combat effectiveness, the same lethality, which is crucial.” He further insisted the idea that women are injured more often than men was not shown in the study, but based rather on “an extrapolation based on injury rates,” and that the Marines could have chosen women for the study better suited for the task of shouldering heavier loads. “For the women that volunteered, probably there should have been a higher bar to cross to get into the experiment,” he said, apparently ignoring what the word “volunteers” actually means.
Sgt. Danielle Beck, a female anti-armor gunner with the task force was contemptuous of Mabus’s contentions. “Our secretary of the Navy completely rolled the Marine Corps and the entire staff that was involved in putting this [experiment] in place under the bus,” she said. That sentiment was echoed by Sgt. Joe Frommling, one of the Marines acting as a monitor for Beck during the tests. “What Mabus said went completely against what the command was saying the whole time,” Frommling explained. “They said, ‘Hey, no matter what your opinion is, go out there and give it your best and let the chips fall where they may.’”
Another Marine officer took Mabus to task for the Secretary’s suggestion the test was rigged. “If you were to look at our training plan and how we progressed from October to February, you’re not going to find any evidence of institutional bias or some way we built this for females to fail,” he stated. “We consulted physical trainers from [the school of infantry] to help develop an appropriate hike plan, and we fired roughly a year’s worth of ammo for a regiment in a quarter. In the time that we had, there wasn’t a day wasted when it came to training for California … From the top down, we were trying to level the playing field.”
Congressman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, took it one step further, calling on Mabus to resign. In a scathing letter sent to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Sept. 17, Hunter, who served as a Marine in both Iraq and Afghanistan, criticized Mabus’s assertion that he would not support any requests for gender-related exemptions before he was even briefed on the 900-page report’s findings. “This alone underscores the fact that the Navy Secretary is biased in his judgment and should be withdrawn from any decision-making with respect to the Marine Corps' gender integration plan,” Duncan wrote. In calling for Mabus’s resignation, Hunter cited the Secretary’s disrespect for the Marine Corps as an institution and for insulting its competency “by disregarding their professional judgment, their combat experience and their quality of leadership.”
Four days later, Mabus penned an editorial for the Washington Post reiterating his commitment to diversity, and once again implying the tested were rigged. “The Marines deconstructed each job in a unit to specifically detail its requirements so that individual members could function better as a team,” he wrote. “During the study, however, the Marine Corps did not rely on the data for, or evaluate the performance of, individual female Marines; instead, it used only averages. Averages have no relevance to the abilities and performance of individual Marines.”
In its Oct. 1 release, the Center for Military Readiness (CMR) refuted that assessment. “Secretary Mabus betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of statistical analysis,” CMR stated. “Data points are derived from the performances of multiple research participants – not just the highest-scoring or lowest-scoring. It matters, therefore that all-male squads, teams, and units outperformed gender-integrated teams in 93 of 134 tasks” (bold in the original).
Mabus sounded even sillier when he noted the language rescinded by former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey to integrate combat units had its roots in a 1992 recommendation by the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces that excluded women from combat. Mabus insisted the Marine Corps “relied on that language” when conducting its tests.
Yesterday was the deadline for armed service recommendations for gender integration into combat units by top U.S. military leaders. The Marine Corps has requested a partial exemption from the 2013 directive issued by Panetta and Dempsey. According to Reuters, the Army, Navy, and Air Force have “hinted that they will not seek exemptions.” Current Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford recommended maintaining the Marine Corps exemption. Secretary Carter, who stated he would “carefully review” reports from all four service branches and the Special Operations Command, remained noncommittal. “Everyone who is able and willing to serve and can meet the standards we require should have the full opportunity to do so,” he told reporters. “I am going to be very facts-based and analysis-based. I want to see the grounds upon which any actions that we take at the first of the year are going to be made.”
Few things are more emblematic of the fecklessness of Obama administration than its obsession with progressive pieties while Vladimir Putin and the Iranians are turning the Middle East into their personal playground. While Obama and company pursue the Holy Grail of diversity, our enemies pursue a realignment of the world in ways utterly inimical to our national security. If it continues, these doyens of gender equality irrespective of reality may get their wish: every soldier in uniform may be called upon to defend this nation from an unprecedented level of aggression. Aggression enabled by what is arguably one of the worst assemblages of clueless government officials and their military enablers in the history of our nation.
Class War vs Cereal Killer: a riot for poverty
Ignore the paint-flinging pillocks – gentrification is good. The British slang word "pillock" translates roughly into American slang as "jerk"
On Sunday night, a mob of 200 anti-gentrification protesters descended on Shoreditch in east London as part of an event called Fuck Parade. The event, organised by bedraggled anarchist outfit Class War, featured a burning wicker policeman, balaclavas aplenty and an alleged attack on a dog. It culminated with the mob vandalising the Cereal Killer café on Brick Lane and threatening its terrified customers with smoke bombs and burning torches. Cereal Killer’s crime? Well, according to Class War, the owners are part of the social cleansing of the previously run-down area.
Cereal Killer has become synonymous with the gentrification brought to Shoreditch by hipster culture. With customers happily paying up to £3.50 for a bowl of cereal, it is testament to the revival of the previously impoverished area. And it is this newfound affluence that provoked the anger of Sunday’s mob; the Facebook event claims that the community is being torn apart by the influx of ‘Israeli scumbag property developers, Texan oil-money twats and homegrown Eton toffs’. The anti-gentrification sentiment that Class War expresses indicates an aversion to economic growth, and an aversion to investment in the community, which it claims to represent. Surely the most immediate threat to the local community is mob vandalism and intimidation from within, not economic investment from without.
The café was attacked while it was still open, and the panicked customers were forced to take shelter downstairs as a smoke bomb went off and red paint and cornflakes were hurled at the shopfront. The vandals wore masks and balaclavas as they shouted abuse, and one man spraypainted ‘Scum’ on the café window. Does selling expensive cereal to happily paying customers make you scum? No. But intimidating the members of the local community that you claim to defend certainly does.
The gentrification that the café represents should be celebrated. The two men who founded the café, Irish-born twins Gary and Alan Keery, employ a number of local people and are among a number of entrepreneurs who have helped to revive the previously unpleasant area. There is no agenda of social cleansing here, as the mob’s organisers claim.
The ‘progressive’ media has helped make this small business the target of such bile. Given that gentrification represents entrepreneurship and is indicative of progress, it is ironic that so-called progressives take such issue with it. The Guardian has taken potshots at the café in the past, and it even published a piece by one of the protesters hours after the Fuck Parade took place. When I spoke to the café’s manager, Matt Moncrieff, he said the attack was definitely ‘influenced by the café’s media coverage’.
Class War claims to represent a local community that is sick of rising house prices and an influx of wealth from overseas. However, Cereal Killer employs people from the local community, and many more residents come to the café to socialise and bond over a bowl or two of Coco Pops. The café remains defiant in the face of bullying and intimidation, and locals have since rallied behind it, with other businesses dropping off care packages for the owners. Moncrieff told me that footfall has actually increased since the attack.
The Fuck Parade was made up of a small core of balaclava-wearing pillocks and a lot of posers. People who rail against gentrification are, thankfully, the minority, and they have no right to speak for residents who are probably too busy enjoying new amenities and job prospects to protest.
Gentrification is not part of some conspiracy against the poor. Opportunities for people in Shoreditch to improve their lives are growing, and that is no bad thing. Fortunately, a bunch of idiots throwing cornflakes at a shopfront won’t change that.
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.