Wednesday, May 03, 2017

The Man Who Invented Identity Politics for the New Right

After Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss to Barack Obama, the Republican establishment undertook a rigorous postmortem and, looking at demographic trends in the United States, determined that appealing to Hispanics was now a nuclear-level priority. And yet their successful candidate in the next election won by doing precisely the opposite.

The Trump strategy looked an awful lot like the Sailer Strategy: the divisive but influential idea that the GOP could run up the electoral score by winning over working-class whites on issues like immigration, first proposed by the conservative writer Steve Sailer in 2000, and summarily rejected by establishment Republicans at the time. Now, 17 years and four presidential cycles later, Sailer, once made a pariah by mainstream conservatives, has quietly become one of the most influential thinkers on the American right.

Sailer, a California native and the son of a Lockheed engineer, became a journalist in his mid-30s, starting his career contributing to National Review in the 1990s. His specialty was a plain-spoken form of science journalism, numerate and clued-in to developments in genetics and evolutionary theory, but also infamous for applying, often in a blunt and inflammatory manner, such methods to alleged racial differences in intelligence and behavior. Indeed, Sailer popularized the term “human biodiversity” (HBD) — now a mainstay on the alt-right — to describe his field of interest, which, despite winning a few lonely adherents in the academy, has been dismissed by critics as pseudoscience at best and eugenics at worst.

Sailer’s brief career at National Review ended in 1997, when William F. Buckley, Jr. eased out the magazine’s then-editor, the immigration hawk John O’Sullivan, in favor of Rich Lowry — part of a larger shift in the conservative world away from paleoconservatives and immigration skeptics near the turn of the millennium. Since then, he has largely been confined to smaller and less mainstream conservative outlets. But after Trump won last November by getting blue-collar, Midwestern whites to vote like a minority bloc, as Sailer had so memorably recommended in 2000, a number of Sailer’s establishment critics, such as Michael Barone, were forced to acknowledge that Sailer had been vindicated.

On foreign policy, too, Sailer has been a pervasive if subtle presence on the right. During the mid-2000s, he popularized the phrase “Invade the World, Invite the World” to parody the apparent bipartisan foreign policy consensus of the last two decades around large-scale military intervention abroad and large-scale immigration at home. It took some time, but by the summer of 2016, the mood of the country had caught up with Sailer. Breitbart began using “Invade the World, Invite the World” to describe the ideology of John McCain and Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump’s stated hostility to elites’ perceived “globalist” overreach proved to be a major asset in his campaign.

As Michael Brendan Dougherty of The Week has observed, Sailer has exerted “a kind of subliminal influence across much of the right … even in the places where his controversial writing on race was decidedly unwelcome.” Sometimes that influence has not even been subliminal — David Brooks has cited Sailer in The New York Times on the correlation between white fertility rates and voting patterns, Times columnist Ross Douthat has referenced Sailer’s analogy between Breitbart-style conservatism and punk rock, and the economist Tyler Cowen has described him as “the most significant neo-reaction thinker today.”

Meanwhile, Sailer’s ideas and catchphrases — including “the coalition of the fringes,” to describe the Obama coalition, and “elect a new people,” a paraphrase of Bertolt Brecht describing an alleged liberal plot to re-engineer the country’s demographics — have spread across the right-wing Internet like wildfire.

Perhaps the Sailerist idea most closely echoed by the Trump movement is “citizenism,” which he describes as the philosophy that a nation should give overwhelming preference to the interests of its current citizens over foreigners, in the same way as a corporation prioritizes the interests of its current shareholders over everyone else. Effectuating this philosophy — putting “Americans First,” as he put it in 2006—would, according to Sailer, require a draconian reduction in immigration levels.

Most liberals would take issue with citizenism as reactionary, and perhaps see it as a closeted form of the white nationalism openly championed by many bloggers on the alt-right. Yet Sailer describes citizenism as the best possible bulwark against ethnonationalist impulses. In Sailer’s view, people are naturally inclined to pursue “ethnic nepotism” — that is, to help those like themselves at the expense of those who are not. The goal of citizenism, therefore, is to redirect these energies by providing a more expansive definition of “us” than the race or tribe.

Of course, saying that citizenism is not white nationalism is not to exonerate Sailer. His record contains ample reasons to question the rather innocent description of his politics. In his most infamous and widely condemned blog post, written during the unrest following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Sailer wrote that African Americans “possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups. Thus, they need stricter moral guidance from society.”

And he regularly plays up a sort of white grievance politics — grousing about “black privilege” or complaining about Jordan Peele’s Get Out as “a remarkably racist kill-the-white-people horror movie.” Sailer usually dances around blatantly bigoted remarks in his writing, but if his ideal of citizenism is formally egalitarian, his view of people more generally is not.

In other words, Sailer’s body of work points to a politics very much like the Trumpism of the campaign trail — nationalistic, contemptuous of limitations on acceptable discourse, and laden with occasionally sinister racial undertones without directly challenging the principle of equality under the law. Sailer sees himself as having presented an intellectual justification for commonsense politics, which Donald Trump, by being ignorant of the (as Sailer put it in an email to us) “Davos Man conventional wisdom,” arrived at out of instinct.

And he’s not entirely wrong. Sailer’s influence is impossible to understand without recognizing how far what he refers to as the conventional wisdom has drifted from the common sense of a large part of the country, creating a demand for people who are indifferent to the castigation that normally deters the airing of sometimes wrong, sometimes merely inconvenient ideas.

“In 2017, I’m the voice of reason and moderation,” Sailer told us, in reference to the open ethnonationalists to his right and cosmopolitan liberals to his left. That isn’t true — Sailer is a perceptive thinker, but his views on race, for which he will inevitably be best-known, still represent the more resentful end of white opinion. Yet if current trends toward partisan and racial polarization continue unabated, Sailerism may indeed come to represent a kind of uneasy center, flanked by identitarian leftism on one side and raw white nationalism on the other. This is a future we should try to avoid.


Does the leftist love affair with multiculturalism have its limits? Even what's happening in Detroit may not be enough

In Detroit, a grand jury has indicted doctors Jumana Nagarwala and Fakhruddin Attar, and Attar’s wife, Farida, for female genital mutilation (FGM) and conspiracy. In addition, the doctors have been charged with making false statements to prosecutors. The charges arise from FGM surgery allegedly performed by Nagarwala on two seven-year-old girls from Minnesota at the Burhani Medical clinic in Livonia, Michigan. The surgery was performed after hours last February. The clinic is owned by Dr. Attar.

Through her lawyer, Nagarwala denied the allegations, insisting she performed a religious practice for families who belonged to a Muslim sect. She further insisted the practice did not involve any cutting, but rather scraping membrane from the two girls' genitalia, wrapping it in gauze, and giving it to the parents, who buried it in keeping with religious custom.

A doctor’s conclusion obtained by the Detroit Free Press completely contradicts that claim. “A juvenile protection petition filed on behalf of the victims in Minnesota, along with federal court documents, cite scarring, a small tear, healing lacerations and what appears to be surgical removal of a portion of her genitalia,” the paper reports.

The girls were brought to the clinic by their mothers after allegedly being told they participating in a “special girls trip,” one that became a visit to Nargarwala “to get the germs out,” according to one of the victims. And in a damning indication she knew she was doing something illegal, Nagarwala didn’t bill the family for the procedure, or document it for her medical records.

Sadly, prosecutors believe there are several more victims. The seven count indictment indicates all three perpetrators have been involved in this conspiracy for more than 11 years beginning in 2005. Nonetheless, Nagawala told federal agents “she has never been present” for FGM surgery on “any minor children,” and that she has “no knowledge” of it ever being performed, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors, who got their indictment based on a tip and trail of electronic evidence, paint a far more disturbing picture. Attar allegedly allowed Nagarwala to use his clinic, and helped coordinate the children’s trip to Michigan. His wife, charged with the same crimes, was also indicted for her presence at the procedure, during which she allegedly held each child’s hand, as well as instructing at least one member of her Indian-Muslim community to lie if they were questioned.

The Indian-Muslim community to which all three belong is known as the Dawoodi Bohra. It is a small, Gujarati-speaking sect of Shia Muslims with approximately 1.5 million members worldwide. Its current leader, Muffaddal Saifuddin, has recently said FGM “must be done, and must be done discreetly,” and the sect’s supporters claim the secretive ritual performed on girls between the ages of 6 and 8 is both safe and an integral part of their religious and cultural practice. The group has a mosque in a suburb of Detroit.

This is not the first time this sect has been involved with the law. It was part of an FGM prosecution in Australia in 2015 that resulted in three people being sent to prison. The case against the three defendants in Michigan represents the first FGM investigation in U.S. history, despite estimates by government agencies that as many as 500,000 women and girls in the United States are at risk of being subjected to it — and despite the reality the Illegal immigrant Reform and Responsibility Act of 1996 made the procedure illegal in the United States.

Moreover in 2013, Congress amended the statute, criminalizing the knowing transportation of a girl under 18 years old from the United States abroad for the procedure — often referred to as “vacation cutting.”

Yet the fact that this is the first domestic prosecution of FGM in 21 years prompts a troubling question: Are we to believe, despite the outlawing of the procedure, government officials at every level were completely unaware it was taking place — or did political correctness induce a case of willful blindness on the part of those same officials?

It is useful to remember that Kermit Gosnell, convicted of murdering live babies at his filthy abortion clinic in Philadelphia, was a known quantity to many people who could have put an end to his butchery. Yet leftists' pro-abortion bias resulted in many referring to Gosnell as a “pillar of the community” and an “advocate for women’s ‘reproductive health.” Moreover, their media allies virtually ignored the trial at which he was convicted.

Is the same political correctness in play here too? Political correctness that defines any questioning of Muslim practices, no matter how barbaric, as “Islamophobia?”

A statement issued by an organization that oversees the community insists the Dawoodi Bohras are law-abiding, and FGM “does not reflect the everyday lives of the Dawoodi Bohras in America. … We take our religion seriously but our culture is modern and forward-looking.”

Tellingly, the parents of the girls have not been charged. Minnesota authorities initially removed both girls from their respective homes, but one was returned. The fate of the other remains under protective seal.

The attorneys for the defendants remain defiant. Nagawala’s lawyer denied the mutilation charges and insisted she was performing a religious custom. The Attar’s attorney, Mary Chartier, claims Fakhruddin Attar “was not aware of any crimes that occurred in his clinic,” and that the couple are “being persecuted for their religious beliefs.”

One bright note: Henry Ford Hospital, where Nagawala worked as an emergency room doctor, has fired her.

Dr. Qanta Ahmed, Associate Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York Stony Brook, reveals what FGM is really all about. “These girls can never be made whole again,” she writes. “At age 7, years away from their own sexual knowledge, denied an intact clitoris, they will never experience sexual gratification as consenting women. Yes, they may be able to have babies, but their pregnancies, labor, and deliveries will be high-risk because of the profound anatomic destruction to the birth canal. And this is not even accounting for the incredible psychological injury they will come to experience.”

Ahmed explains there are four categories of the procedure, ranging from a clitirodectomy alone, to an operation where the vagina is completely sealed shut and all “menstruation, sexual penetration, and childbirth becomes painful and rife with major complications.”

All for what? “FGM is the symptom of harmful cultural beliefs that girls and women must be sexually pure, modest and that their bodies exist to breed,” writes FGM victim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who adds the practice is one “venerated in the identity politics pantheon.”

American feminists? Would that they condemned culturally inspired child abuse with the same fervor they demonstrate in support of abortion on demand.

“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States,” stated Acting United States Attorney Daniel Lemisch. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”

One can only hope. Twenty-one years of ignoring the problem engenders a great deal of skepticism.


The Left's War on Free Speech
By Kimberley Strassel

I like to introduce the topic of free speech with an anecdote about my children. I have three kids, ages twelve, nine, and five. They are your average, normal kids — which means they live to annoy the heck out of each other.

Last fall, sitting around the dinner table, the 12-year-old was doing a particularly good job at this with his youngest sister. She finally grew so frustrated that she said, “Oliver, you need to stop talking — forever.” This inspired a volley of protests about free speech rights, and ended with them yelling “shut up” at each other. Desperate to stop the fighting and restore order, I asked each of them in turn to tell me what they thought “free speech” meant.

The 12-year-old went first. A serious and academic child, he gave a textbook definition that included “Congress shall make no law,” an evocation of James Madison, a tutorial on the Bill of Rights, and warnings about “certain exceptions for public safety and libel.” I was happy to know the private-school fees were yielding something.

The nine-year-old went next. A rebel convinced that everyone ignores her, she said that she had no idea what “public safety” or “libel” were, but that “it doesn’t matter, because free speech means there should never be any restrictions on anything that anybody says, anytime or anywhere.” She added that we could all start by listening more to what she says.

Then it was the five-year-old’s turn. You could tell she’d been thinking hard about her answer. She fixed both her brother and sister with a ferocious stare and said: “Free speech is that you can say what you want — as long as I like it.”

It was at this moment that I had one of those sudden insights as a parent. I realized that my oldest was a constitutional conservative, my middle child a libertarian, and my youngest a socialist with totalitarian tendencies.

With that introduction, my main point today is that we’ve experienced over the past eight years a profound shift in our political culture, a shift that has resulted in a significant portion of our body politic holding a five-year-old’s view of free speech. What makes this shift notable is that unlike most changes in politics, you can trace it back to one day: January 21, 2010, the day the Supreme Court issued its Citizens United ruling and restored free speech rights to millions of Americans.

For nearly 100 years up to that point, both sides of the political aisle had used campaign finance laws — I call them speech laws — to muzzle their political opponents. The Right used them to push unions out of elections. The Left used them to push corporations out of elections. These speech laws kept building and building until we got the mack daddy of them all — McCain-Feingold. It was at this point the Supreme Court said, “Enough.” A five-judge majority ruled that Congress had gone way too far in violating the Constitution’s free speech protections.

The Citizens United ruling was viewed as a blow for freedom by most on the Right, which had in recent years gotten some free speech religion, but as an unmitigated disaster by the Left. Over the decades, the Left had found it harder and harder to win policy arguments, and had come to rely more and more on these laws to muzzle political opponents. And here was the Supreme Court knocking back those laws, reopening the floodgates for non-profits and corporations to speak freely again in the public arena.

In the Left’s view, the ruling couldn’t have come at a worse time. Remember the political environment in 2010. Democrats were experiencing an enormous backlash against the policies and agenda of the Obama administration. There were revolts over auto bailouts, stimulus spending, and Obamacare. The Tea Party movement was in full swing and vowing to use the midterm elections to effect dramatic change. Democrats feared an electoral tidal wave would sweep them out of Congress.

In the weeks following the Citizens United ruling, the Left settled on a new strategy. If it could no longer use speech laws against its opponents,  it would do the next best thing — it would threaten, harass, and intimidate its opponents out of participation. It would send a message: conservatives choosing to exercise their constitutional rights will pay a political and personal price.

We’ve seen this strategy unfold, in a coordinated fashion and using a variety of tactics, since 2010.

One tactic is the unleashing of federal and state bureaucracies on political opponents. The best example of this is the IRS targeting of conservative non-profits. To this day, Obama acolytes and Senate Democrats characterize that targeting as a mistake by a few minor IRS employees in Cincinnati who didn’t understand the law. That is a lie.

Congress held several investigations of this targeting, and the truth is clear. In the months following the Citizens United ruling, President Obama delivered speech after speech on behalf of Democratic midterm candidates, repeating the same grave warning at each stop — thanks to Citizens United, he would say, shadowy and scary organizations are flooding into our elections. He suggested these organizations might be operating illegally and might be funded by foreign players. He noted that somebody should do something about it.

These speeches acted as a dog whistle to an IRS bureaucracy that was already primed to act. Former IRS official Lois Lerner was well aware of Democratic demands that the agency go after conservative Tea Party and non-profit groups. Senate Democrats and left-wing interest groups had been sending letters to the agency for months, demanding it go after the very groups it ultimately went after. And Ms. Lerner had her own biases — we know this from her recoverable emails — that put her politically and substantively in the anti-free speech camp. The result is that the IRS deliberately put some 400 conservative organizations, representing tens of thousands of Americans, on political ice for the 2010 and 2012 elections.

It is hard not to believe that this was designed to help Democrats in those elections. We know that senior members of the Treasury Department were aware of the targeting abuse in early 2012, and took steps to try to slow it. Yet those officials did not inform Congress this was happening, and chose not to divulge the abuse until well after that year’s election.

Another intimidation tactic is for prosecutors to abuse their awesome powers in order to hound and frighten political opponents. The most terrifying example of this was the John Doe probe in Wisconsin. Democratic prosecutors in Milwaukee launched a bogus criminal campaign finance investigation into some 30 conservative groups that supported the public-sector union reforms championed by Governor Scott Walker. Wisconsin’s John Doe law gave these prosecutors the right to conduct this investigation in secret and to subject their individual targets to gag orders. Prosecutors secretly looked through these individuals' financial records, bank accounts, and emails.

Prosecutors also conducted pre-dawn raids on some of their targets' homes. In one horrifying instance, the target of such a raid was on an out-of-town trip with his wife, and their teenage son was home alone. Law enforcement came into the house and sequestered the boy, refusing to allow him to call a lawyer or even his grandparents, who lived down the road. They hauled items out of the house, and as they left they told the boy that he too was subject to the gag order — that if he told anyone what had happened to him, he could go to jail.

We only learned of this because one brave target of the probe, Eric O'Keefe, told The Wall Street Journal what was going on. We broke that story, and it became national headline news. But it ultimately took a lawsuit and the Wisconsin Supreme Court to shut down the probe. In its ruling, the Court made clear its view that the probe’s purpose had been intimidation. The prosecutors had been sending the message: if you dare to speak, we will turn your lives into a living hell and potentially put you in prison.

More recently we have seen this tactic in the joint action of 17 state attorneys general, who launched a probe into Exxon and some 100 different groups that have worked with Exxon over the years. The implicit prosecutorial threat: get on board with our climate change agenda or we might bring racketeering charges against you.

A third intimidation tactic is for activist groups to use blackmail against corporations and non-profits in order to silence them. One subject of such attacks was the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that works to promote free-market policies at the state level. As a non-profit, it is largely funded by corporate donations. Because it is so successful, it has long been despised by left-wing activist groups.

These groups focused their efforts on ALEC in 2012, in the wake of the tragic shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. ALEC had played a tangential role in crafting the popular stand-your-ground laws that the Left attacked after the shooting. On that basis, left-wing activists branded ALEC a racist organization and threatened to run ad campaigns against its corporate donors, branding them as racists too — unless they stopped funding ALEC. In a coordinated action, Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin sent letters to a thousand organizations across the country, demanding to know if they supported ALEC and suggesting they’d get hauled in front of Congress if they did. ALEC lost nearly half of its donors in the space of a few months.

We’ve also seen this tactic employed against private individuals. One such person was Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot, who Barack Obama’s reelection campaign singled out in 2012, following a VanderSloot donation to Mitt Romney. The campaign publicly branded him a disreputable person, painting a target on his back. Not long after that, VanderSloot was audited by the IRS and visited by other federal agencies.

Out in California, left-wing activists targeted donors to the state’s Prop 8 ballot initiative, which supported traditional marriage. They combed through campaign finance records, and put the names and addresses of Prop 8’s donors on a searchable map. Citizens on this list had their cars keyed, their windows broken, their small businesses flash-mobbed, and their voicemails and emails flooded with threats and insults. Some of them even lost their jobs — most notably Brendan Eich, the founder and CEO of Mozilla. In later depositions, many of these targets told lawyers that they wouldn’t donate to future ballot initiatives. So the attacks were successful in silencing them.

Note the use of disclosure in these attacks. We have come to associate transparency and disclosure with good government. But unfortunately, our system of disclosure has been turned on its head. Disclosure was supposed to enable citizens to keep track of politicians; but if you followed Hillary Clinton’s server scandal, you know that politicians have now become expert at hiding their business. Instead, disclosure is increasingly becoming a tool by which government and political thugs identify people and organizations who oppose them.

Sadly, our federal judiciary has refused to honor important precedents that protect anonymity in politics — most notably the famous 1958 case, NAACP v. Alabama. In that case, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled against the Alabama attorney general, who had demanded a list of the state’s NAACP members. The civil rights group knew this was tantamount to making targets of its members in a state that was riven at the time with race-related violence. The Court held that some level of anonymity is sometimes required to protect the rights of free speech and free assembly. The Court expanded on this precedent until the Watergate scandal, when it too got caught up in the disclosure fad. Political privacy rights have been eroding ever since.

What is to be done? For starters, we need to be aware that this is happening, and that it is not random. The intimidation game is very real. It is the work of left-wing groups and politicians, it is coordinated, and it is well-honed. Many of the targets of intimidation who I interviewed for my recent book weren’t aware of what was happening to them, and that allowed the intimidation to go on for too long. Awareness is key.

We need to think hard about ways to limit the powers of the administrative state, to stop rogue agents at the IRS and other agencies from trampling on free speech rights. We can make great progress simply by cutting the size of federal and state bureaucracies. But beyond that, we need to conduct systematic reviews of agency powers and strip from unaccountable bureaucracies any discretion over the political activities of Americans. The IRS should be doing what it was created to do — making sure taxpayers fill out their forms correctly. Period.

We need to push corporations to grow backbones and to defend more aggressively their free speech interests — rather than leaving that defense to others.

We need to overhaul our disclosure laws, and once again put the onus of disclosure on government rather than citizens. At the moment, every American who donates $200 or more to a federal politician goes into a database. Without meaning to sound cynical, no politician in Washington is capable of being bought off for a mere $200. We need to raise that donation threshold. And we need to think hard about whether there is good reason to force disclosure of any donations to ballot initiatives or to the production and broadcast of issue ads — ads designed to educate the public rather than to promote or oppose candidates.

Most important, we need to call out intimidation in any form and manner we see it — and do so instantly. Bullies don’t like to be exposed. They’d rather practice their ugliness in the dark. And one lesson that emerged from all my interviews on this topic is that speaking out works. Those who rolled over merely set themselves up for future attacks. Those who called out the intimidators maintained their rights and won the day.

Finally, conservatives need to tamp down any impulse to practice such intimidation themselves. Our country is best when it is engaging in vigorous debate. The Framers of the Constitution envisioned a multiplicity of interests that would argue their way to a common good. We succeed with more voices, not fewer, and we should have enough confidence in our arguments to hear out our opponents.


UK Gov’t Considers Raising Shooting Club Fees by More Than 1,000 Percent

In a move to rein in what it calls a taxpayer subsidy for gun owners, the British government is considering raising license fees on shooting clubs by more than 1,000 percent.

Local police forces in Britain are responsible for granting firearms licenses. In recent years, law enforcement bodies such as the Association of Chief Police Officers have complained that low fees charged to applicants have forced the agencies to spend millions of pounds out of their own budgets to complete them.

In 2015, fees for individual gun owners were raised for the first time since 2001. An initial firearms certificate now costs $114 (£88) for five years, as opposed to $65 (£50) before.

Earlier this year the Home Office announced it was now considering raising fees on shooting clubs and museums that displayed guns, and asked for public response on a new set of fees it proposed.

Currently, the government estimates that the British taxpayer subsidizes each gun club application – which involves background checks on members, police interviews, and inspections of the club premises – by 93 percent.

Under the proposals, clubs would pay a fee of $1,355 (£1,050) for a new six-year license, a jump of more than tenfold.

“Charging in this way ensures the real economic cost of safeguarding high risk activities is understood by license holders,” the Home Office said at its initial briefing.

In response, the British chapter of the National Rifle Association called the proposals “grossly unreasonable” and said that the increases would be “simply unaffordable for the vast majority” of its clubs.

The Countryside Alliance, an organization which promotes rural life in Britain, said that the Home Office had failed to show how it would spend the enormous additional costs it is asking for.

“The lack of clarity surrounding the administration costs being used to justify this price hike leaves the shooting community thinking that they are once again being unfairly treated,” the organization’s head of shooting, Liam Stokes, said earlier.

Garry Doolan, a spokesman for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation said in an interview that helping members with the various issues around licensing and applying for a license was what took up the majority of his group’s time.

Many of his group’s members depended on their licenses for their livelihoods – whether they used their guns as part of sporting pastimes or for pest control – and it all was “very vexing,” he said.

A study by the BASC released in February revealed that applying for a license turned out to be a “postcode lottery” for many applicants. In some areas of Britain, it would take eight days to renew a firearms certificate but in others, it would take 225 days.

The BASC believes that in the long term, the increased fees will make target shooting less accessible to newcomers and damage the firearms heritage of Britain.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron, who resigned last year, is known to be a deer and pheasant hunter. There was speculation in some parts of the British media that he favored holding back on increasing fees.

Doolan, however, said that change at a governmental level takes place slowly, and he did not see the new proposed costs resulting from the changeover from Cameron to his successor and fellow Conservative, Theresa May.

“It’s not something that changes with a swipe of a pen,” he said.

Public consultation over the fee hike closed in March but a spokesman for the Home Office said any decision would be deferred until after the next general election on June 8.

In 2014, police in the county of Surrey came under criticism for returning a shotgun to a local farm owner, who then used it to murder his common-law wife and her daughter.

Last week, the Independent Police Complaints Commission found that firearms licensing unit at the Surrey Police lacked the necessary training and was staffed by individuals who “were failing to undertake their duties with rigor.”

The IPCC also made a number of recommendations to strengthen firearms licensing both in Surrey and nationally.

“We hope forces across the country will use this as a catalyst for ensuring their licensing teams are working as effectively as necessary,” said associate IPCC Commissioner Tom Milsorn.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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