Monday, October 18, 2010

More black people jailed in England and Wales proportionally than in US

The following article from The Guardian sees the high rate of black imprisonment as a problem. Given that ALL African populations everywhere have high rates of crime, it would be more reasonable to see it as a solution. Blacks just ARE very crime prone and no amount of Leftist outrage can hide that. They have high rates of crime in Africa itself as well as in Britain and America so blaming it on the society in which they live is ignoring the obvious.

So why is the rate of imprisonment higher in Britain than in the USA? One obvious reason is that British blacks are blacker. On some estimates, African Americans are overall 25% white genetically so their crime tendency is reduced by that. Most British blacks are wholly of African ancestry. Another factor is that American blacks tend to live in ghettoes which police tend to avoid -- so many crimes there go unsolved

The proportion of black people in prison in England and Wales is higher than in the United States, a landmark report released today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission reveals.

The commission's first triennial report into the subject, How Fair is Britain, shows that the proportion of people of African-Caribbean and African descent incarcerated here is almost seven times greater to their share of the population. In the United States, the proportion of black prisoners to population is about four times greater.

The report, which aims to set out how to measure "fairness" in Britain, says that ethnic minorities are "substantially over-represented in the custodial system". It suggests many of those jailed have "mental health issues, learning disabilities, have been in care or experienced abuse".

Experts and politicians said over-representation of black men was a result of decades of racial prejudice in the criminal justice system and an overly punitive approach to penal affairs.

"People will be and should be shocked by this data," said Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust. "We have a tendency to say we are better than the US, but we have not got prison right."

Lyon said that although there had been "numerous efforts to address racism in the prison system … we have yet to get a better relationship between justice authorities and black communities. Instead we have ended up with mistrust breeding mistrust."

Evidence of this damaged relationship can be found in the commission's report. On the streets, black people were subjected to what the report describes as an "excess" of 145,000 stop and searches in 2008. It notes that black people constitute less than 3% of the population, yet made up 15% of people stopped by police.

The commission found that five times more black people than white people per head of population in England and Wales are imprisoned. The ethnic minority prison population has doubled in a decade – from 11,332 in 1998 to 22,421 in 2008. Over a similar period, the overall number of prisoners rose by less than two thirds. The commission says that the total number of people behind bars accelerated in the last decade despite "a similar number of crimes being reported to the police as in the early 1990s … the volume of indictable offences has fallen over this time".

A quarter of the people in prison are from an ethnic minority. Muslims now make up 12% of the prison population in England and Wales.

Some on the left of the Labour party blame its policies while in power. Diane Abbott, who raised the alarm over the growing numbers of jailed black men as a backbencher, said she "very much regretted that the last Labour government swallowed [former home secretary] Michael Howard's line that 'prison works'."

"There was never a serious examination of the consequences of locking up a generation of young black men. The result is there are some prisons in the south east which are now virtually all black. Many are converting to Islam."

The problems may start at school. The commission points out that black children are three times as likely to be permanently excluded from education.

"We are reaping the effects of criminalising a community in the 1970s," says Ben Bowling, professor of criminal justice at Kings College London and a former adviser to the home affairs select committee.

"The question is how you break the cycle when young men experience custody. Three quarters simply re-offend. We have to intervene with families more effectively to stop kids going to prison. That means looking at school exclusions. You need to deal with issues like mental health and substance abuse. It is not enough to throw our hands in the air."

The policies implemented in the last decade mean incarceration levels in Britain are now among the highest in western Europe. England and Wales have an imprisonment rate of 155 per 100,000 and Scotland of 149 per 100,000 of the population. This contrasts with rates of less than 100 per 100,000 for most of Britain's neighbours.

The commission also warns of the rising numbers of women in jails. It says that the "number of women prisoners has nearly doubled since 1995 in England and Wales, and since 2000 in Scotland – currently around 5% of prisoners are women".

The Ministry of Justice said that the government would not comment on individual portions of the report.


Bundeskanzlerin says German multicultural society has failed

'Too little required of immigrants' says tough-talking Christian Democrat leader

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her country’s attempts to build a post-war multicultural society have ‘utterly failed’. In a landmark speech, she broke one of Germany’s last taboos and courted anti-immigration support by claiming those from a different background failed to live happily side-by-side with native Germans.

Her comments, to the youth wing of her own Christian Democrat Union party, came amid growing resentment about immigration in Germany. There are about seven million foreign residents living in the country. Some 4.3million of these are Muslim and there are more than 3,000 mosques across Germany.

Mrs Merkel said the so-called ‘multikulti’ concept – ‘that we are now living side by side and are happy about it’ – does not work. ‘This approach has failed, utterly,’ she said just days after a poll showed a third of all Germans viewed immigrants as nothing more than welfare cheats.

Addressing fears of ‘German-ness’ being lost amid new mosques, headscarves in classrooms and Turkish ghettos in cities like Berlin, she added: ‘We feel bound to the Christian image of humanity – that is what defines us. Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here.’

Mrs Merkel joined leading political and business leaders who have questioned immigration policies in recent months. Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin recently moved the debate centre-stage when he wrote a book that said the country’s four million Muslims were ‘dumbing down’ society and that the national Christian identity of Germans was in danger of being lost.

A poll taken after his book was published showed that one fifth of all Germans would vote for a party headed by Mr Sarrazin if he chose to form one. Against that backdrop, Mrs Merkel – with her own and her CDU conservative party ratings in the gutter – has chosen finally to speak out.

Until now, mindful of the German legacy of the Second World War and atonement for racial policies responsible for the deaths of millions, German politicians since 1945 have tended only to speak in broad positive terms of the ‘multikulti’ society.

Germany began to evolve into a country of immigration in the 1960s when Turks and others arrived to fill the labour vacuum left by the nation’s war dead.

Mrs Merkel addressed this in her speech saying: ‘At the beginning of the 60s our country called the foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country. We kidded ourselves a while, we said: “They won’t stay, sometime they will be gone.” But this isn’t reality.’

She tempered her comments by insisting that Germany still welcomed immigrants – particularly the skilled ones it needs for its export-driven economy – and echoed recent comments made by the country’s president that Islam was ‘part of Germany’, like Christianity and Judaism. But Mrs Merkel also added that those who did come must adapt, and learn German ‘as quickly as possible’.

The ratcheting up in the political tone, allied as it is with the fears of the population about unemployment and loss of identity, triggered a sharp warning from Jewish leaders in Germany that democracy is under threat.

Stephan Kramer, of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said yesterday that the current debate on immigration was making people feel ‘uneasy and scared’. He also referred to a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which showed that more than a third of those surveyed thought Germany was being ‘over-run by foreigners’ and that more than one in ten called for a ‘fuehrer’ to run the country ‘with a strong hand’.


The undeniable Jewish state

Is ISRAEL a Jewish state? Is the pope Catholic?

Nothing about Israel could be more self-evident than its Jewishness. As Poland is the national state of the Polish people and Japan is the national state of the Japanese people, so Israel is the national state of the Jewish people. The UN's 1947 resolution on partitioning Palestine contains no fewer than 30 references to the "Jewish state" whose creation it was authorizing; 25 years earlier, the League of Nations had been similarly straightforward in mandating "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." When Israel came into existence on May 15, 1948, its Jewish identity was the first detail reported. The New York Times's front-page story began: "The Jewish state, the world's newest sovereignty, to be known as the State of Israel, came into being in Palestine at midnight upon termination of the British mandate."

Today, half the planet's Jews live in that state, many of them refugees from anti-Semitic repression and violence elsewhere. In a world with more than 20 Arab states and 55 Muslim countries, the existence of a single small Jewish state should be unobjectionable. "Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people," President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly last month. By now that should be a truism, no more controversial than calling Italy the sovereign homeland of the Italian people.

And yet to Israel's enemies, Jewish sovereignty is as intolerable today as it was in 1948, when five Arab armies invaded the newborn Jewish state, vowing "a war of extermination and a momentous massacre." Endless rounds of talks and countless invocations of the "peace process" have not changed the underlying reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is not about settlements or borders or Jerusalem or the rights of Palestinians. The root of the hostility is the refusal to recognize the immutable right of the Jewish people to a sovereign state in its historic homeland. Until that changes, no lasting peace is possible.

That is why the Israeli government is correct to insist that the Palestinian Authority publicly recognize Israel as the Jewish state. It is the critical litmus test. "Palestinian nationalism was based on driving all Israelis out," Edward Said told an interviewer in 1999, and the best evidence that most Palestinians are still intent on eliminating Israel is the vehemence with which even supposed "moderates" like Mahmoud Abbas will not -- or dare not -- acknowledge Israel's Jewishness as a legitimate fact of life. "What is a 'Jewish state?'" Abbas ranted on Palestinian TV. "You can call yourselves whatever you want, but I will not accept it. . . . You can call yourselves the Zionist Republic, the Hebrew, the National, the Socialist [Republic]. Call it whatever you like. I don't care."

There are those who argue that Israel cannot be both a Jewish state and a democracy. When Israel's parliament decided last week to require new non-Jewish citizens to take an oath of allegiance to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic" state, some people bristled. "The phrase itself is an oxymoron," one reader wrote to the Boston Globe. "How can a state openly favor one ethnic group over all others and declare itself to be democratic?"

But there is no conflict at all between Israel's Jewish identity and its democratic values. Indeed, the UN's 1947 partition resolution not only called for subdividing Palestine into "independent Arab and Jewish states," it explicitly required each of them to "draft a democratic constitution" and to elect a government "by universal suffrage and by secret ballot." The Jews complied. The Arabs launched a war.

Many of the world's democracies have official state religions. Think of Britain, whose monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England; or of Greece, whose constitution singles out the Eastern Orthodox Church as the country's "prevailing religion." The linking of national character with religion is a commonplace. Israel stands out only because its religion is Judaism, not Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism.

Nor is democracy incompatible with ethnic or national distinctiveness. Ireland waives its usual citizenship requirements for applicants of Irish descent. Bulgaria's constitution grants the right to "acquire Bulgarian citizenship through a facilitated procedure" to any "person of Bulgarian origin." It is not oxymoronic to describe Ireland as "Irish and democratic" or Bulgaria as "Bulgarian and democratic." Israel's flourishing little Jewish democracy is no oxymoron either.

It is something different: a beacon of decency in a dangerous and hate-filled neighborhood. If the enemies of the Jewish state could only shed their malice, what an Eden that neighborhood could become.


The British welfare state is not a ‘guardian angel’

Both the critics and defenders of welfarism are blind to the detrimental impact it is having on autonomy and the human spirit

This week, by accident, I caught some of that BBC1 show Saints and Scroungers.

It features a loud little bald man exposing the ‘scroungers’ who fraudulently claim welfare benefits they are not entitled to, before praising the ‘saints’ in welfare services who help pensioners, single mums and other down-at-heel people to access benefits they are entitled to. The show has caused a stink, with some accusing it of promoting a view of people on benefits as scrounging con-artists. But I was far more alarmed by the ‘saints’ section, where welfare workers were described as ‘guardian angels’ helping to ‘turn poor people’s lives around’. I mean, if you’re going to be insulted on TV, surely it’s better to be demonised rather than super-patronised?

Saints and Scroungers, for all its awfulness, captures the essence of the welfare debate today. On one side, mainly amongst the right-wing, only the extreme problems with the benefits system – such as incapacity benefit or the way some sections of society have become reliant on handouts – are held up as problematic. And on the other side, the largely left-wing side, the welfare state is looked upon as a saintly institution, a sacred cow, against which no insult or slur can be tolerated. Neither side is ready to pose truly awkward or probing questions about benefits, and to ask whether, 70 years after it was instituted as a post-Second World War initiative, we really want to continue living in a ‘welfare society’.

Following the Conservative Party conference, many liberal defenders of the welfare state are accusing David Cameron and Co. of taking a Thatcher-style cudgel to the benefits system. They are a ‘chainsaw mob’, says one commentator, cutting everything they can: ‘They can’t contain a cocksure excitement with their brand new chainsaws. They enjoy it and it shows.’ Maybe cocksureness is in the eye of the beholder – because in truth, the most striking thing about the Tory attitude to welfare (it would be stretching things to call it a strategy) is how tentative it is. Cameron has not taken a chainsaw to the welfare system so much as a scalpel, promising to cut off little bits here and there while avoiding doing anything that might damage his party’s carefully crafted new image as Caring and Not Thatcherite.

Cameron’s welfare cuts do not spring from an overarching plan – whether of the economic or ideological variety – but rather look like exercises in spin. The announcement at the party conference that the traditionally universal child benefit would be cut for parents who earn more than £43,875 a year was clearly designed as a very public pronouncement that the Tories are no longer ‘the nasty party’ that attacks the less well-off. In a desperate bid not to be seen to be attacking the poor, the Conservatives cut from the middle classes instead, in a move that wasn’t economically essential but which was politically useful inasmuch as it sent a message about the New Tories.

Likewise, the Conservatives’ new drive against incapacity benefit – with pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith arguing that 500,000 of the people claiming that benefit could actually start work right away – shows that when it comes to welfare they are only interested in attacking easy targets. Incapacity benefit is the most extreme expression of what people refer to as ‘welfare dependency’. It is viewed by many as problematic, because it involves inciting tens of thousands of actually able-bodied people effectively to conceive of themselves as ill. In taking on this extreme form of welfarism, the Tories can once again appear to be taking action while avoiding being tarred with the Thatcher brush. Far from cocksure, their tinkering with the benefits system reveals their lack of an economic or ideological project, and their profound unwillingness to tackle, head on, the welfare cornerstone of British society.

The other side in the debate – the side opposed to Cameron’s cuts – is equally uninspired. Its supporters treat the welfare system as the great unchallengeable institution of British society. Anyone who criticises it is anti-poor and right-wing. It is important to note that this defence of welfarism, this erection of an intellectual forcefield around the postwar way of doing things, is based less on a die-hard commitment to all things welfarish than on the left’s utter inability to imagine how society might look and function without this safety net. It is their failure to understand how social relations would work without benefit payments, their lack of faith in such things as spontaneous social bonds and real community solidarity, that leads them to view welfare almost as a religious institution – literally as the ‘guardian angel’ for the otherwise unpredictable, incapable poor.

Yet from a humanist perspective – rather than from a money-saving, anti-scrounger one – there is much about welfare that can be, and ought to be, called into question. To take the extreme: incapacity benefit (IB) should definitely be rethought, not as a money-saving exercise, but as a way of challenging the welfare state’s problematic redefinition of the relationship between the state and the individual, as a way of recovering important ideals such as autonomy and solidarity. Properly instituted (ironically enough) during the Thatcher years, IB is explicitly about encouraging people to accommodate to the fact of being unemployed, to see their lack of employment not as a political problem that might be fixed through protest or reform or economic development, but as a natural state, a product of their own inability to hold down a job.

It is no coincidence that the numbers of men claiming IB rose exponentially in the 1980s and 1990s, increasing every single year (apart from 1997), from 463,000 men in 1981 to 1,276,000 in 1999 (today, an estimated two million people, including women, claim IB). This is because in the 1980s, when thousands of working-class men were being thrown out of work, they were being encouraged to see themselves as sick, as physically or mentally incapacitated rather than as being deprived of work by social and economic factors.

It was inconceivable that hundreds of thousands of working men had actually fallen gravely ill. Rather, the welfare state was cynically soaking up these people, desperately attempting to offset their potential political anger at being unemployed by inviting them to view their predicament as a health-based problem instead. This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy: told they are ‘incapable’, left to watch self-pity-inducing daytime TV, it’s not surprising that some people come to conceive of themselves as genuinely unable to work. It might be right that half-a-million of these people could start work tomorrow, but in the act of rethinking certain benefits we shouldn’t leave unchallenged the backward political and cultural trends that led to an explosion of IB in the first place.

Incapacity is only the most extreme form of such welfarism. In other areas, too, the spread of the welfare state is further harming social bonds, community solidarity, and even individual self-reliance and belief, to the extent that welfare has become increasingly therapeutic, too. And yet on one side we have a government only chipping away at aspects of welfare because it is so scared of how people will respond, and on the other side various commentators and activists are passionately defending welfarism because their lack of faith in people’s capacities is so profound, so deep-rooted, that they cannot comprehend how we would cope without permanent external assistance. We urgently need a new debate, one based neither on penny-pinching or people-pitying, but on the question of whether a social institution brought into existence 70 years ago is really the best we can expect today.



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, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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