Monday, October 31, 2011

Blame the Sexual Revolution, Not Men

Kate Bolick stares out at the world from the cover of The Atlantic magazine. She's wearing a black lace evening dress. "What, Me Marry?" asks the headline. She isn't smiling.

In fact, she isn't smiling in any of the photos that accompany her several thousand-word essay on singleness, marriage and the changing nature of dating and mating in America today. Bolick, 38, is groping toward accepting the idea that she may never marry. She badly wants to convince herself -- and us -- that older ideas about "unhappy" spinsters are silly cultural baggage best dropped off at the curb. And yet, there are those glamour shots -- Bolick behind the wheel wearing a fetching red dress; Bolick in a gold evening gown holding a glass of champagne; Bolick in a black cocktail dress -- but her expressions range from pensive to sad -- never happy.

Bolick seems genuinely conflicted about marriage. The daughter of a committed feminist, she marched off to third grade "in tiny green or blue T-shirts declaring: A WOMAN WITHOUT A MAN IS LIKE A FISH WITHOUT A BICYCLE." She recalls that when she was cuddling in the back seat of the family car with her high school boyfriend, her mother turned around and asked, "Isn't it time you two started seeing other people?" She took it for granted, she writes, "that (I) would marry, and that there would always be men (I) wanted to marry."

So sure was she of the limitless romantic opportunities available that at the age of 28, she broke up with a wonderful boyfriend. They had been together for three years. He was "an exceptional person, intelligent, good-looking, loyal, kind." Why did she discard him? "Something was missing."

Ten years later, she writes somewhat (though not entirely) ruefully "If dating and mating is in fact a marketplace . . . today we're contending with a new 'dating gap,' where marriage-minded women are increasingly confronted with either deadbeats or players."

There is a great deal of interesting data in this piece. According to the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of Millennials and 43 percent of Gen Xers think marriage is becoming obsolete. As of 2010, women held 51.4 percent of all managerial and professional positions, compared with 26 percent in 1980. Women account for the lion's share of bachelors and masters degrees, and make up a majority of the work force. Three quarters of the jobs lost during the recession were lost by men. "One recent study found a 40 percent increase in the number of men who are shorter than their wives." Fully 50 percent of the adult population is single, compared with 33 percent in 1950.

But these trends, however interesting, shed only an oblique light on the problem of the decline in marriageable males. Bolick edges closer to the truth in her discussion of sex.

"The early 1990s," she writes, "witnessed the dawn of the '"hookup culture"' at universities, as colleges stopped acting in loco parentis (actually they relinquished that role in the 1970s) and undergraduates . . . started throwing themselves into a frenzy of one-night-stands." Some young women, she notes, felt "forced into a promiscuity they didn't ask for," whereas young men "couldn't be happier."

According to economist Robert H. Frank, "when available women significantly outnumber men . . . courtship behavior changes in the direction of what men want." And vice versa. If there's a shortage of women, the females have more power to demand what they want, which tends to be (surprise!) monogamy. On college campuses, women outnumber men by 57 to 43 percent.

But economic analysis can take you only so far. Men's capacity to insist upon promiscuity rests completely on female cooperation. And women have been foolishly compliant for decades.

They've conspired in their own disempowerment, not because they love their sexual freedom (though a few may), but because people like Gloria Steinem and Ms. Bolick's mother convinced them that the old sexual mores, along with marriage and children, were oppressive to women.

The resulting decline of marriage has been a disaster for children, a deep disappointment to reluctantly single women and unhealthy for single men, who are less happy, shorter-lived and less wealthy than married men. The sexual revolution has left a trail of destruction in its wake, even when its victims don't recognize the perpetrator.


British Housing chief admits demoting Christian to protect award from gay charity

A housing association that demoted a manager for speaking out on gay marriage has admitted that it feared losing a coveted award from a gay charity.

Father-of-two Adrian Smith, 54, was found guilty of misconduct and had his salary slashed by £14,000 after saying on his private Facebook page that same-sex weddings in churches would be ‘an equality too far’.

Publicly funded Trafford Housing Trust in Greater Manchester was widely condemned for its harsh treatment of Mr Smith, with critics ranging from Tory MPs to gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

In a letter to Mr Smith after it rejected his appeal against demotion, the trust revealed its concerns over tarnishing the ‘quality mark’ it received last year from the Albert Kennedy Trust, which supports homeless young gays and lesbians.

The trust’s commercial director David Barrow said Mr Smith’s Facebook comments had distressed several colleagues and ‘had the potential to seriously undermine the Albert Kennedy Accreditation, which we were proud to receive last year’.

He told Mr Smith: ‘It is clear that your comments did have the potential to bring the trust into disrepute.’

The Albert Kennedy Trust is named after a 16-year-old who fell to his death from a car park while being attacked and its patrons include Lord Of The Rings star Sir Ian McKellen.

It launched its awards to recognise supportive housing trusts. Trafford Housing Trust said on its website that it had ‘achieved the highest score so far achieved by any organisation’.

In his letter from Mr Barrow, evangelical Christian Mr Smith was warned about preaching in church. Mr Smith, who now collects rent, was told: ‘I explained that in a private capacity this is your right. ‘If, however, you were preaching in this vicinity where you might be recognised or linked to the trust, there could potentially be an issue.’

Mr Smith is the latest in a series of Christians who have clashed with employers over their rights to express their views.

In the Commons on Thursday, Mr Smith’s demotion was described as ‘despicable’ by Peterborough Tory MP Stewart Jackson. He asked: ‘Should we be putting public money into an organisation that is, effectively, propagating state-sponsored intolerance?’

Leader of the House Sir George Young said he, too, was ‘a firm believer in freedom of speech’ and he would alert Housing Minister Grant Shapps to the case.

Gay activist Mr Tatchell said: ‘Mr Smith was not threatening or intimidating. In a democratic society, he has a right to express his point of view, even if it is misguided and wrong.

‘Freedom of speech should only be limited or penalised in extreme circumstances, such as when a person incites violence against others.’ Mike Smith of the Christian Institute, which is backing Adrian Smith’s legal action against the trust, said: ‘By their own admission, their fear about losing an LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual] award was a factor in their decision to penalise Adrian, a decision that has damaged his career and plunged his family towards financial hardship.

‘Sadly, they seem determined to waste more public money defending the indefensible in court.’

Trafford Housing Trust said last night: ‘We expect employees at all levels to act respectfully and adopt our ethos of valuing, respecting, supporting and treating people with dignity regardless of their age, disability, faith, gender or gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity status or race/ethnicity or sexual orientation.’


Poundland backs down on shopfloor poppy ban after customers threaten boycott

Budget retailer Poundland has been forced to review its dress code after a row erupted on Twitter and Facebook following claims that it had banned staff from wearing remembrance poppies.

In a statement on Facebook, Poundland said it was not against employees wearing a poppy, but they were not allowed to do so on the shop floor because it is not part of staff uniform.

But the company said today that it will now allow workers to 'use their own discretion in wearing poppies' after hundreds of customers threatened to boycott its stores.

It had been claimed on Facebook that one member of staff was sent home from work and faced losing her job after refusing to remove her poppy. But in a statement Poundland said: 'On Friday 28th October a situation in Northern Ireland was brought to the company's attention where a store colleague was politely asked to remove a poppy by our store manager in order to comply with company policy. 'The store colleague decided to walk out and stated that she would return on Monday next wearing her poppy.'

The red poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day and is worn as a mark of respect to servicemen and women who have been killed or injured fighting for their country.

The claims that Poundland had banned staff from wearing them sparked the row on Twitter and the store's Facebook page, with hundreds of people expressing outrage at the policy.

Comments included 'disgusting' and 'shameful', and some customers said they would no longer shop at the store, describing it as a 'disgrace'. One Poundland employee, Vicky Hill, left the message: 'I don't think this is right. It's a sign of respect. Everyone has the right to wear a poppy.

'Of course, I shan't be wearing my poppy at work simply because rules are rules, and at the end of the day I abide by them. But I am not pleased with this at all.'

Shane Brown said: 'I'm a Poundland employee and I find this a disgrace tbh we should be allowed to wear them with pride and respect at ALL times!!!' Poundland customer Linda Williams wrote: 'So wrong of you! Have some respect for those who fought and died for this country.'

Poundland responded on the website yesterday saying it listens to its customers and was giving their views 'serious consideration'.

Today, chief executive Jim McCarthy said: "We have listened to the views of customers and colleagues and have, in light of their feedback, reviewed the policy. "We have decided in the case of the poppy appeal to allow store colleagues to use their own discretion in wearing poppies. "This change in policy is consistent with recent reviews of policy made by other leading High street retailers. "We apologise for any unintended offence that has been caused."

The 2011 Poppy Appeal was launched on Thursday and is the culmination of the Royal British Legion's 90th anniversary year.

Television presenter David Dimbleby ignored BBC guidelines and wore his poppy on Thursday night's edition of Question Time - 36 hours before the go-ahead from BBC bosses. David Jordan, director of editorial policy and standards, ordered that poppies should be worn on screen from 6am today until '23.59pm on Sunday November 13 — Remembrance Sunday.'

Last year the Armed Forces charity achieved a record-breaking total of £36million and hope to improve on this in 2011 with a fundraising goal of £40million.


The decline and fall of British Conservatism

Neil Davenport says that the Conservative Party may still live on, but its pragmatic defence of authority, tradition and autonomy are dead. There is something in what he says but the way the Canadian Tories have come back from the dead should limit pessimism

This week, UK prime minister David Cameron faced the biggest challenge to his leadership of the Conservative Party: the proposal for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. In the end, 81 Tory MPs defied a three-line whip by supporting the proposal, while others abstained in Monday night’s House of Commons vote. Pressure had been mounting on the Prime Minister as critics attacked his handling of backbenchers and his decision to have a confrontation with them over Europe. One rebel went so far as to describe it as a ‘monumental failure’.

The Commons motion was easily defeated, thanks to the votes of those Tories who observed the party whip plus Labour and Lib Dem MPs. But the large majority at Westminster against a referendum seems to be at odds with public opinion. A recent poll found that 70 per cent of people wanted to see a referendum on Britain’s EU membership - and 49 per cent would vote to withdraw from the EU, compared to only 40 per cent who would choose to stay in. Conservative voters were shown to be more eurosceptic than others, with 56 per cent saying they would vote to leave the EU. Among all voters, over a third said they would ‘definitely’ leave the EU if given the choice.

Of course, the Conservative Party has long been torn between its ideological commitment to British national sovereignty and the pragmatic needs of the UK’s economy. Eurosceptic former prime minister Margaret Thatcher lost both the UK premiership and the leadership of the Conservative Party in part because she failed to soft-pedal her eurosceptic rhetoric. The needs of UK plc won out in the end.

Cameron himself has displayed schizophrenic tendencies towards the EU, saying there should have been a popular vote on previous EU treaties; ‘it was wrong we didn’t have referendums on Maastricht and on Lisbon’, he repeated in the Commons this week. But while this internal feud has festered within the Conservative Party for over 30 years, there’s something new about why Conservatives across Britain have attached so much importance to opposing the EU.

In many ways, the EU has become a focus for a wider sense of political disorientation felt by an older generation of Conservatives. There’s an instinctive sense that, while the Conservatives are (just about) back in office, the wider political climate is no longer hospitable to conservative ideas and values. If only Britain could pull out of the EU, the thinking goes, then maybe we could see a return to conservative values dominating Britain. In truth, it would be far better to question whether Conservatism as a set of beliefs and values, rather than the Conservative Party as an organisation, will survive the twenty-first century.

Conservatism is, above all else, a belief in defending the existing social order achieved through a promotion of tradition, authority, paternalism and the organic society that attempted to legitimise existing arrangements. The organic society, the belief that society has evolved through the natural relationships between men and women, was core to conservative values, which is why conservatives were historically hostile to both feminism and gay rights. Support for the free market also has a place within Conservatism, but it’s a qualified support even from supposedly staunch free-marketeers in the past such as Thatcher and the New Right. What they liked about the free market was its connection with private property ownership and the way it provided discipline, order and personal responsibility in wider society. Nevertheless when the free market undermined existing social structures, traditional values and authority, conservatives could be equally hostile to the dynamic, disruptive drive of the free market – as many were during the 1960s (though this opposition had its roots in the failure of the market in the 1930s).

It’s also wrong to see Conservatism as a rigid and dogmatic belief system obsessed only with the past. A key source of Conservatism’s success was always knowing when to change pragmatically in order to conserve existing power structures in society. Whether it was the postwar compromise or Harold Macmillan’s proposal that multiculturalism replace imperial values in 1950, conservatives have often been skilful in knowing when to ditch out-of-date ideas. This was one of the reasons why the Conservative Party was once the most successful political party anywhere within the Western world. While many on the Left, from the Labour Party to Trotskyist organisations, tended to live forever in the shadow of 1945 even as late as the 1980s, conservatives were sensitive to genuine changes in society and seized the moment accordingly. So why does this normally flexible-but-firm belief system have so many difficulties today?

The first problem Conservatism faced is that, through the demise of working-class oppositional movements, its historical role as defenders of the status quo had become utterly redundant. As a major consequence, it also meant that the ideas by which it justified conserving the status quo – such as the family, deference, authority, holding the line, support for British nationalism - have all become empty and redundant, too. As an essentially reactive ideology, by the 1990s there was very little for Conservatism to react against and, in the process, define what it was for. The sheer exhaustion and meaninglessness of its former historic role, and the ideology that justified that, created an urgent need for new sources of morality and authority to be established throughout wider society. This is why the concepts of anti-elitist inclusion, non-judgementalism and therapeutic protection have dominated politics for the past 15 years. The demise of Conservatism has led to the complete re-organisation of the British state around ideas once associated with the cultural left.

Whereas conservative values once set the agenda that the Labour Party had to follow, particularly on race and nation, now it is conservatives who have to prove that they are reconstructed enough to be part of New Britain. A belief in the organic society, deference and authority has been replaced by the managerial society, inclusion and relativism. The old insistence on traditional family values has given way to support for civil partnerships and gay couples adopting. A Thatcherite championing of the free market, prosperity and growth has been replaced by green restraint, austerity and measuring ‘happiness’ rather than GDP. A quick glance at Cameron’s awkward ‘social conservatism’ suggests it’s not very conservative at all.

Nevertheless, the demise of Conservatism is not the euphoric victory for progressive politics that it should be. Conservatives had something in common with anyone seeking to dramatically change society – an understanding of the importance of winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of citizens through a wider ideological struggle. Conservatives recognised that politics and society are more effectively run through shared agreements, or at least seeking to strive for shared agreements, based on autonomous individuals. As a consequence, they often understood that it’s counter-productive, or at least ineffective, to run society based on passing petty laws, restricting autonomy and cranking up regulations (although admittedly the last years of the Thatcher and Major governments were heading in that direction). So although Conservatives would insist that their moral codes were the ones that were universal and absolute, most of the time they attempted to convince us of this view through words rather enforcing such ideas through regulations. The same cannot be said for the new breed of managerial politician today.

Of course, when it came to defending narrow class interests – as we’ve seen recently with the Tory shires over preserving Green Belt land – its backward attitude towards women and gay rights, its promotion of race and empire values, we should be saying ‘good riddance’ to such reactionary and oppressive ideas. Unfortunately, in the absence of a progressive alternative to current government policy, the defeat of Conservatism has ripped apart a political culture built on informal relationships and autonomous individuals. Ideas like informality, going on your instincts and a rejection of instrumentalism were key planks of Conservatism and, by default, British and Western society. Conservatives often believed in being pragmatic rather than instrumental about running society as they understood you have to be responsive to new problems and dilemmas that no end goal can account for.

In this sense, conservatives’ understanding of the relationship between the individual and society - based on consent rather than coercion - is far more nuanced and historically progressive than the policy of recent UK governments - to hack away at areas of life that were once rightly seen as private or informal, replacing personal choice with state regulation. The demise of Conservatism, unfortunately, has meant the demise of politics and the opportunity to act as political citizens, too. The withdrawal of Britain from the EU will not, as many old conservatives tend to believe, lead to a revival of Conservatism or of civil society. The problem goes much deeper than 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, 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.


Young boy wishes to join Girl Scouts

I suspect ideologically-motivated pressure from the mother on this poor kid

Bobby Montoya is a 7-year-old boy from Denver. Unlike a lot of young boys, Bobby has no desire to join the Boy Scouts. Instead, he wants to be a Girl Scout.

We first saw Montoya's story over at The NBC affiliate reports that when the boy's mother, Felisha Archuleta, tried to sign her son up for Girl Scouts, a troop leader told her no.

Archuleta spoke with 9News about the incident. "I said, 'Well, what's the big deal?' She [the troop leader] said, 'It doesn't matter how he looks; he has boy parts, he can't be in Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts don't allow that, [and] I don't want to be in trouble by parents or my supervisor.'"

Reporters with 9News contacted Girl Scouts of Colorado about Montoya's application, which prompted the group to release a statement: "Our requests for support of transgender kids have grown, and Girl Scouts of Colorado is working to best support these children, their families and the volunteers who serve them. In this case, an associate delivering our program was not aware of our approach. She contacted her supervisor, who immediately began working with the family to get the child involved and supported in Girl Scouts. We are accelerating our support systems and training so that we're better able to serve all girls, families and volunteers."

We placed a call to Rachelle Trujillo, vice president of communications at Girl Scouts of Colorado, for further clarification. She replied with this statement: "Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization, and we accept all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child lives life as a girl and the family brings the child to us to participate in Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her. Girl Scouts of Colorado respects the privacy of all girls and families we work with. When a family requests membership for their daughter, we do not require proof of gender, we respect the decisions of families."

So it would seem that Bobby will get his wish. Gender-identity issues are becoming more common, especially among young children--which makes it more likely that the policy of the Girl Scouts will face future tests in the months and years ahead.


British father-of-two beaten up and left for dead by Pakistani gang for being white

Probably Bangladeshi Muslims. They're the most aggressive group

A father-of-two was subjected to a racist and brutal attack by a gang of Asian men who targeted him - simply for being white. Andrew Goodram, 31, suffered a punctured lung and two broken ribs after the gang of four thugs shouted: 'white b*****d' at him before subjecting him to a vicious assault.

During the assault Mr Goodram, a labourer, was repeatedly kicked in the head, face and body at Queens Park in Bolton, Greater Manchester. One of his attackers then stood over him and stamped on his chest causing what police described as 'significant injuries'.

The beating only came to an end when one of the men decided the group should leave and they all ran off in different directions.

Mr Goodram, a father of two managed to stagger home after the assault but had to spend six days in hospital.

Greater Manchester Police yesterday confirmed that the attack, which took place at 7pm on October 19 was being treated as a racially motivated incident.

Mr Goodram who has two sons said: 'I was in such terrible pain after the attack, I was yelping and my eyes were watering. 'I'm scared now and when I see groups of Asian people. This attack has changed how I feel about going out. 'When I'm walking around especially on my own I feel intimidated and worried I might get attacked again.

'The fact is, I am not racist, I have got loads of Asian friends, and I'm really saddened that this has happened to me. 'I do believe the attack was racially motivated because I am white but I don't understand why. 'I thought we are supposed to live together in peace'.

On the night of the attack, Mr Goodram was taking a shortcut through the park when he encountered four Asian men - who were with four friends. As he walked past, one said: 'what did you say you white b*****d'?' before launching the attack. Mr Goodram added: 'I carried on walking and put my hood up and ignored them, but then they jumped me and I was pulled to the ground. 'They were kicking me and hitting me and one of them twisted my arm behind my back. 'One of them jumped on me and, when I winced in pain, they ran off.'

Police say the attackers were Asian and aged between 20 and 30. One of the men has been described as in his early 30s, 6 ft 2in, of heavy build, with a bald head and a thin 'lined' beard. He was wearing a dark hooded top with tracksuit bottoms and white NIKE trainers. Mr Goodram was unable to describe the other members of the group.

A spokesman from Greater Manchester Police said: 'The victim was walking through the park at about 7pm when he was attacked by a group of Asian men. 'The man was repeatedly kicked in the head, face and body, one of the men stood over him and stamped on his chest causing significant injuries. 'Racist abuse was shouted at the man before the attack.

'One man in the group shouted for them to leave and they all ran off in different directions. 'A group of four men are wanted for the assault'.


British PM's plans to fine criminals on benefits a third of their handouts

It's unlikely that he will have the spine to actually do this

Convicted criminals on benefits could be stripped of more than a third of their handouts under radical plans announced yesterday. The maximum amount they will have to pay in fines will be raised from £5 a week to £25 in a bid to deter welfare claimants from a life of crime.

David Cameron approved the plans following public anger about the summer riots in London and other major cities. More than one in three of those convicted of looting and violence were living on taxpayer-funded state handouts. Around 200 of the rioters were on disability benefits. ‘Frankly they were taking the mickey,’ a senior Government source said.

The current £5 limit on contributions towards fines is widely seen as a derisory sum that is ignored by criminals on benefits and does little to deter them from breaking the law.

Ministers believe the new system will send a stronger signal that criminal behaviour will be met with meaningful economic sanctions.

A fine of £25 a week represents 37 per cent of the weekly £67.50 Jobseeker’s Allowance. It is nearly half the £53.45 paid to jobless claimants under the age of 25.

The amount taken away each week will still be decided by the courts, but the Prime Minister made clear that he expects them to use the new powers.

He said: ‘People need to understand that if they commit a crime they will face the consequences. ‘The system as it stands is far too soft and does not send the right signal. I am determined to see responsibility and fairness restored to the welfare system, and this policy does precisely that.’

The changes will be introduced in 2013 when the Government’s Universal Credit scheme, replacing most existing out of work and disability benefits, is up and running. The new rules on fines will apply across the board to claimants of all types.

The move is controversial since the Government has a legal obligation to provide a minimum level of support to those on welfare, but Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said it was important to take a stand.

He said: ‘I do not want to leave people without any means of supporting themselves. But equally, individuals must know that they cannot commit crimes that impact on the livelihoods and communities of hardworking people without consequences.

‘The summer riots showed that, for many people, the present system didn’t make them think twice about what they were doing.'


The majority of Brits now want out of this bloated EU dictatorship, we at least need a referendum

A tumultuous week for the European Union, and our relations with it, included the publication on Monday of a remarkable opinion poll. It showed a majority of the British respondents in favour of leaving the EU: 49 per cent, against 40 per cent who wished to stay in.

How times have changed. When the same polling organisation, ICM, asked that question ten years ago, only 19 per cent wanted to go, while 68 per cent wanted to stay.

The intervening decade has forcibly acquainted the British public with many of the unpleasant realities of rule from Brussels. It has reminded people that a developed, supposedly sovereign democracy like Britain ought to be able to make its own decisions about matters of fundamental importance.

Thanks to the EU, this is not always so. Europe can over-ride our justice system. It can over-ride our immigration policy.

It inflicts regulation on us that suppresses growth and prosperity. It costs taxpayers and businesses an extraordinary amount of money.

Above all, the EU’s inability to govern itself with probity and economic prudence has made it an object of our contempt. It is not just that fraud and corruption prevent its accounts being signed off year after year: it is also that its arrogant belief in a one-size-fits-all currency has gone horribly and predictably wrong, with serious consequences for all EU member states, in or out of the euro.

It has been clear for years that many feel our submission to Brussels has gone too far, and that there should be a renegotiation of our relationship to allow for key powers to be repatriated to Westminster.

The new ICM poll suggests that frustration at thus far being denied such a renegotiation has forced more people towards outright opposition to the EU.

The EU and its propagandists have always been effective at pressuring the citizens of member states into believing that any attempt to leave the warm embrace of Brussels would result in disaster, with the offending nation suffering isolation, penury and irrelevance.

However, a pamphlet published this week by David Campbell Bannerman, a Tory MEP, seeks to argue (against party policy) the contrary. Its title says it all: ‘The Ultimate Plan B: A Positive Vision Of An Independent Britain Outside The European Union.’

Coinciding as it does with the ICM poll findings, his thesis deserves to be studied carefully. Firstly we need to break out of the mindset that anyone who tries to make the case for Britain leaving the EU is mad — or, to judge from the contempt in which such a view is treated on certain BBC programmes, downright evil.

Mr Campbell Bannerman’s strongest argument is that there would be no economic downside to our departure. As the EU sells more to us than we do to it, it would be very much in its interests to enact a free trade agreement with us were we to leave. In 2009, our trade deficit — the excess of what we bought over what we sold — in manufactured goods with the EU was a shade under £35 billion.

Better than that — and here, at last, there is something to be said for the 2007 Lisbon Treaty — such a free trade agreement would not be a matter of conjecture. Article 50 of Lisbon requires the EU to make a trade arrangement with any nation deciding to leave it.

So the claim that there would be inevitable and large job losses is cast into doubt. He also argues that — with the ascent of China, India and Brazil — Britain would do well to leave a trading bloc whose share of world GDP is forecast to fall to 15 per cent in 2020, down from 36 per cent in 1980.

Just as the EU took no account of its role in a post-Soviet world, it seems incapable of understanding how to remain competitive in relation to rising powers such as China.

Britain also enjoys trading relationships elsewhere in the world that are not shared by other EU countries. We send 18 per cent of our exports to the U.S.: Germany sends only 7 per cent. And the biggest external investor in Britain is America.

Mr Campbell Bannerman rests much of his case for leaving the EU on the liberation it would bring from over-regulation of every aspect of our lives — one of the reasons for the EU’s poor competitiveness. He says that more than 100,000 regulations and directives have been imposed upon us since we joined the EU in 1973.

For example, the working-time directive — designed to limit the number of hours we can work, and which is estimated to cost £11.9 billion a year in lost productivity — would go if we left the EU. So, too, would a host of environmental orders such as the EU renewables directive, which insists we derive 20 per cent of our energy from renewables such as wind power, at an estimated £22 billion a year.

The Open Europe think tank reported last year that EU regulations had cost Britain £124 billion since 1998. This figure is not a partisan invention, but based on the Government’s assessments.

But the truth is the ‘bonfire of regulations’ that ministers talk about would be possible only if we left the EU or had a successful renegotiation to repatriate such powers.

This week, as desperation mounted among eurozone leaders, Angela Merkel has taken up Nicolas Sarkozy’s line that the peace of Europe is preserved only by the existence of the EU. In fact, as Mr Campbell Bannerman points out, the peace of Europe has long been preserved by Nato with its huge American involvement.

He also dismisses as a myth the idea that British influence in the world would disappear if we left Europe. Our membership of the G8 and G20, our seats on the UN Security Council, the World Trade Organisation and the IMF are not dependent on our being in the EU.

We remain one of the top ten manufacturing nations in the world. We have the sixth largest economy, and London (despite EU attempts to handicap it) remains the world’s financial centre.

Leaving the EU, Mr Campbell Bannerman says, would mean ‘Britain would take back control over its own destiny, defence, economy, foreign relations, environment, transport, fishing, farming and market controls’.

It would also avoid the proposed Financial Transactions tax that the EU proposes, and which our Prime Minister has called ‘an attack’ on the City of London.

Britain would save its net contribution to the EU of £6.7 billion a year. This equates to 44 new hospitals, 268 schools or 62 bypasses a year; or a penny off income tax or VAT.

Those who argue that withdrawal need not damage Britain have a right to put their case. Instead of dismissing them as ‘cranks, gadflies and extremists’, as Michael Howard did when leading the Conservative Party, it might be politic to debate the points that now even a Tory MEP makes.

If Mr Cameron believes what he says about the importance of the UK being in the EU, he will take the advice of this newspaper and call a referendum on whether or not the public would like him to renegotiate our terms of membership.

This might, at least, buy him some goodwill — by making the country feel not just that he’s aware of the depth of feeling on the issue, but also that he is prepared to do something about it.

He should see that a persistent refusal to do this is hardening sentiment in this country and in his own party against Europe, and against a political class that seems resolved to ignore public opinion.

And he should realise that the longer he leaves it before allowing us a say, the worse the outcome is likely to be for him.



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.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

An army of "offended" people always lurking

David Penberthy writes from Australia:

One of the interesting features of modern public debate is the emergence of a small army of thin-skinned souls on permanent stand-by to be offended by pretty much everything.

And they call that entertainment.And they call that entertainment.

The way we talk, the jokes we crack, the way we describe each other, all these things are subject to such an increasingly prohibitive set of strictures that it is easier to keep your mouth shut for fear of upsetting someone.

While the scourge of mental illness is not to be taken lightly, and is something which has touched us all, it still puzzles me that one of Australia’s leading mental health organisations is spending its time vetting newspaper articles and sending letters to journalists asking that they excise certain figurative expressions from their writing.

My colleague Tory Maguire wrote a piece last year where she used the term “policy schizophrenia” to describe the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s inconsistency on border protection. She received a letter saying the term was an insult to schizophrenics everywhere and that she should not use it again.

If we take this approach we will end up with a language where ideas are never stillborn and pauses never pregnant, where movement can be impeded but not retarded, where we rewrite all of Shakespeare’s plays, and receive letters from the haemophiliacs association if we write a column stating the bleeding obvious.

One of the weirder examples of the new squeamishness came from an unusual source this week, those supposedly libertarian sensualists at the Eros Foundation, who issued a press release under the cracking headline “Customs seizes dwarf porn.” The press release was interesting not so much for the news that the films Midget Mania (Volumes 7 and 8) have been refused classification – well, that’s my weekend buggered – but more for the politically correct gymnastics the Eros Foundation used to tip-toe around the word “midget”.

The intro was pure gold: “The Australian Customs Service has set a new benchmark for the importation of adult films into Australia by confiscating two of the latest release US titles featuring vertically challenged people.” Eros CEO Fiona Patton said the ruling was “discriminatory to short-statured people and quite possibly offended the Federal Discrimination Act.” It will be interesting to see if it stands up in court.

It is in the area of racism where the trend is most pronounced. I received a yawn-inducing string of outrage this week after writing the most limp-wristed pro-republican column, which was barely republican at all, more a pathetic form of surrender at the fact that we all seem to like the royals so much and can’t agree on an alternative model that we’re stuck as a constitutional monarchy. In passing I noted that this was all a bit disappointing for republican ultra-minimalists who simply wanted an Australian head of state, and would also be happier if the Pommy flag no longer sullied our national ensign.

The use of the word Pommy sent several readers into apoplexy, no doubt because they were, you know, Poms.

From one reader: “Pommy flag? That’s a racist slur. Lucky it’s a racial attack against the white majority, otherwise, you’d be before the courts like Andrew Bolt was.” From another: “Getting the pommy bit off our flag are downright pathetic comments in fact they border on racist.” And another: “I have no interest in anything you have to say, it’s rude, tactless and uncivil…to talk about the pommy flag is just so rude I can’t believe you actually printed it.”

And so the whinge-fest continued. Another recent column, about the Andrew Bolt vilification case, was highly critical of his writing but said the judgment posed a threat to free expression as it put the onus on anybody to prove they were not racist should somebody take offence at their sentiments. Examples included declaring that the Serbs who disrupted the Australian Open should maybe bugger off to Serbia, the opinion that female circumcision by some African communities is barbaric and inhumane, the belief that Israel is a pariah state whose businesses should be the subject of a formal boycott. Several censorious folks wrote in saying that each of these opinions were potentially racist and should also be the subject of legal action under the Racial Discrimination Act. See you all in court, along with the people of short stature.

The stink over the performance of the Haka by the All Blacks in Sunday’s final was a double treat for those who enjoy being offended. First, there was there were claims that one of the Kiwis had made an apparently offensive throat-slitting gesture while performing the chant. So what if he had? This ain’t the chicken dance or the bus stop. The haka in its origins was a war dance performed by pumped-up Maori warriors shortly before they killed their enemies. The idea that it should be rendered more genteel is absurd.

After this kerfuffle it emerged that the French had not shown due deference to the haka by stepping forwards towards the All Blacks as it was being performed. This was also offensive and the team was fined, in keeping with the view that, out of respect for Maori tradition, opposing teams should stand there and do nothing. This too seems kind of absurd. If a bunch of blokes are sticking their tongues out and threatening to murder you, it seems only fair that opposing teams can respond, perhaps in a manner which is culturally appropriate –some mooning from the Wallabies, Morris dancing from the Poms, the French standing around waiting to be saved by another nation, in keeping with their historical traditions.

Meanwhile the Adelaide Zoo has cancelled its Free Rangas Day after complaints from redheads. Turn it up. Even Julia Gillard could crack a quality gag about her state of ranga-ness when she spoke to fellow blood nut Cameron Ling at the AFL Grand Final breakfast. Someone was probably offended by that too. Still what would you expect from a Prime Minister who wouldn’t curtsy before the Queen. Even though protocol says she didn’t have to, and did nothing wrong.

The whole thing is just offensive.


Workshy Black British cop says it was racist not to give him special treatment

Readers of literary classics may be remninded by the story below of "The N*gger of the 'Narcissus' " by Joseph Conrad

A senior Metropolitan Police officer forced to resign in the wake of the phone hacking scandal was racist and homophobic, an employment tribunal heard today. Assistant Commissioner John Yates, due to formally step down in November, was allegedly 'extremely brief' when dealing with the case of a black, gay officer who was off sick with depression.

Detective Constable Kevin Maxwell, who is suing the force based on claims he was bullied due to his race and sexuality, wanted discretion to keep his £40,000-a-year salary longer than the normal six month period.

However, Mr Yates refused to grant him the special treatment, usually reserved for hero officers injured in the line of duty, traumatised child abuse investigators and the terminally ill.

Kweku Aggrey-Orleans, representing Detective Constable Maxwell, told Mr Yates: 'I suggest that you dealt with Mr Maxwell's application for an extension of pay extremely briefly and without properly considering it because you knew that he had raised allegations of racism and homophobia.'

Mr Yates replied: 'No that's complete nonsense. I gave very careful consideration to this. 'I was very concerned about Kevin, very concerned about his well being.'

Mr Aggery continued: 'And also that you dealt with the appeal extremely briefly because Kevin was black and gay.' Mr Yates replied: 'That doesn't merit an answer but it's absolute nonsense.'

Detective Constable Maxwell claims he was bullied by colleagues at Heathrow Airport and witnessed racism while on duty. He claims a colleague refused to eat a curry on a trip to a mosque aimed at building community relations because 'they would have spat in it', and said fellow officers did not like being lectured to by imams.

However, Mr Yates said it was not his responsibility to deal with issues related to Detective Constable Maxwell's claims he was off sick because he was discriminated against at work.

Mr Yates said in written evidence to the tribunal: 'I did not reject Detective Constable Maxwell's appeal on the ground of his race or his sexual orientation. 'I rejected his appeal because his case did not meet the criteria. 'I have declined to extend the full pay of other officers who did not meet the criteria.'

The tribunal heard how Detective Constable Maxwell was offered any job he liked as senior Metropolitan Police officers were left 'bending over backwards' trying to get him back to work. He was told he could move to a different part of London where he would never see the officers who he worked with at Heathrow Airport again.

However, he turned down the offer and the tribunal heard how he wanted the Met. to address his concerns about racism and homophobia, rather than simply moving him elsewhere.

Detective Inspector Ajoy Gosain, his welfare officer, said: 'When I met Det. Chief Insp. D'Orsi we discussed the issue of identifying a suitable post for Detective Constable Maxwell to return to. 'I thought that Detective Chief Inspector D'Orsi was taking a genuine and generous approach towards Kevin Maxwell in that regard. I felt he was bending over backwards to try to assist Detective Constable Maxwell in getting back to work.

'In that he had such an open ended offer, Detective Constable Maxwell was in a favourable position.'

Detective Inspector Gosain, a former president of the Kent Black Police Association, described how he met the officer in June 2010 to try and convince him to return to work. 'The following day Detective Constable Maxwell emailed me to say that he didn't feel he could return and to ask me not to raise the issue of returning again. 'I was deeply disappointed with Detective Constable Maxwell's reaction.

'I had genuinely tried to help get him back to work in any way possible and I was disappointed that he seemed to totally dismiss what I had been saying.'

Detective Constable Maxwell, of Wilmington Square, London, is facing dismissal from the force under the Unsatisfactory Performance Procedure after being off sick since July 2009.

He said he developed depression after being bullied at work due to his race and sexual orientation. He had worked his way up to Detective Constable after first joining the Greater Manchester Police in 2001. He transferred to the Met Police in October 2008.


Your call will be answered in 37 HOURS: Retired headteacher faces day-and-a-half on hold after phoning council to complain about bin collection

All he wanted was for his rubbish to be taken away so when the binmen were four days late John Regan decided to find out why. The retired headteacher picked up the phone and called Winchester City Council helpline hoping for a swift answer to his query. But the taped message the 60-year-old father of two received stunned him. He was 'in a 37-hour queue'.

Exasperated and, unsurprisingly, not prepared to wait a day and a half for an answer he then called the council's main number, only to be diverted to Hampshire County Council switchboard. Today his rubbish bins had still not been collected, seven days after they were meant to be emptied.

Mr Regan, from Winchester, said: 'I just want my rubbish collected. What is so difficult about emptying my bin? He added: 'I rang Winchester council after four days and I was told I was in a 37-hour queue. 'I thought this was ridiculous so I rang their main number but I was then diverted to the county council where the operator said the city council number was overloaded.

'I am increasingly exasperated. We are in the country so there is a potential vermin. It is also unsightly. I just want my rubbish collected. 'In any sort of business you would not be tolerate being treated like this.'

Winchester Council today admitted it had received a staggering 4,000 queries about the new waste collection service it had introduced with East Hampshire Council using the contractor BIFFA. Of that number 558 were about bins not being emptied.

A Winchester City Council spokesman said: 'We had an issue with our telephone system which was telling people there was a 37-hour wait but nobody waited more than 30 minutes. 'We have his case as a missed bin. BIFFA is now going around doing additional collections.'


WW2 play cancelled over 'censorship' claims

A playwright has cancelled a play set during the Second World War after claiming he was asked to remove references to Nazis, Jews and the invasion of Poland over fears of "offending" the audience.

Rod Tinson, whose Halloween play was due to be staged at Pendennis Castle in Falmouth, has accused English Heritage of trying to create a "Disneyfied" version of history by insisting on changes to his script.

The play featured scenes from different periods in the Tudor castle's history, including its role during the Second World War as a key coastal defence against German invasion of Britain.

Mr Tinson says the quango asked him to tone down parts of the script, including a young Jewish character expressing fears about his family in occupied Poland, over concerns that visitors would be "offended" by the material.

The playwright cancelled the play after refusing to make the requested changes. He said he could not understand why his script would be deemed offensive.

"They said it was inappropriate for an English Heritage audience. What version of history are they trying to illustrate at this place?" Mr Tinson added.

"It was intended for adults, many of whom remember the War or know people who were involved in it. I cannot understand it. I refused to change it because it would have changed the whole storyline.

"The reason the buildings are there was to fight off any attempts by the Germans to invade."

The play was due to be performed as part of the castle's adults-only 'ghost tours' programme, which runs for four nights over the weekend.

Mr Tinson's script made frequent reference to the venue's historic World War Two gun batteries.

Charlie Fear, events manager at Pendennis Castle, said the programme would go ahead with a script from a different writer.

"It's unfortunate that we've had to pull Mr Tinson's play and we will reimburse him for his time and effort," she said. "This was our first time working with Mr Tinson and we were unable to agree on the right approach for our event."

In an email said to be from Ms Fear, she wrote: "I need to be very clear here, and in order to make this work, we have to remove any references to sex (including buggary (sic)) and any swear words, including 'bloody' I'm afraid. I would also like the references to Poland, Jews and Nazis removed too please.

"Our English Heritage visitors would be offended by the content as it still stands and it is essential that I ensure that this does not happen.

"I understand that you want to bring your characters to life, but we have to tone down the language. I hope you understand this and the responsibility I have to ensure that I meet our visitors' expectations."

Pendennis Castle was built between 1540 and 1545 to protect the Fal river estuary from attack by France and Spain. It is the Cornish end of a chain of coastal artillery fortresses built by Henry VIII.

It was later updated during the reign of Elizabeth I and again before the Civil War, when it was subjected to a five-month siege by Parliamentarian forces.

The castle is also home to a collection of wartime cartoons of Hitler and Mussolini by illustrator George Butterworth.



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.


Friday, October 28, 2011

We need free speech for all – even bigots

A football fan has been jailed for posting sectarian comments on the internet. Why aren’t civil libertarians alarmed?

Stephen Birrell doesn’t like Catholics, he doesn’t like Celtic Football Club manager Neil Lennon and he doesn’t like Celtic supporters. These are not exactly unusual sentiments in certain parts of Scotland. But what is unusual is that last week Birrell was jailed for expressing such prejudices. His crime was to join a Facebook page and share his unpleasant views with the rest of us.

Birrell’s pearls of wisdom included: ‘Hope they all die. Simple. Catholic scumbags. Haha.’; ‘Proud to hate Fenian tattie farmers’; and ‘They’re all ploughing the fields, dirty scumbags. FTP [Fuck the Pope]’. This guy is not a pleasant individual and obviously not likely to turn up on many lists of people we would most like to have dinner with. But no threats were made, there was no incitement to commit acts of violence and Birrell did not actually harm anyone.

Yet the 28-year-old football fan was charged with ‘religiously aggravated’ breach of the peace and sent to prison for eight months. He was also banned from attending any football games in the UK for five years. In short, this was seen as a religious hate crime and all this has happened even before the new Offensive and Threatening Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Bill (Scotland) is passed by the Scottish Parliament - a law that would introduce prison terms of up to five years for making sectarian comments at football games or on the internet.

The idea of sending someone to prison for expressing their personal hatreds seems bizarre in a society that claims to allow freedom of speech. But in the frenzied atmosphere being whipped up around the new laws, a judge sitting in a Scottish courtroom felt emboldened to deprive a person of his liberty by criminalising his words.

Birrell is not the only victim of this draconian new mood. Last month, my nephew Brendan travelled all the way from West Belfast to Glasgow to see his beloved Celtic play, only to be arrested while entering the ground for shouting ‘Up the IRA’, a slogan still found on many gable ends in his hometown. He was held in prison all day and overnight before being charged with ‘religiously aggravated breach of the peace’. Given the prevailing climate, the addition of ‘religiously aggravated’ turns a minor incident that has been normal behaviour for a section of Celtic fans at games for many years into a serious crime with serious consequences.

And then there were the two fans whose banner mentioned the ‘Huns’, a term used by Celtic supporters (and even some Rangers fans) for many years to describe the Rangers football team and its supporters, a term that has now been criminalised in the rush to label every expression as a symbol of sectarian hatred. These fans were also arrested and one was charged with a hate crime. The case was postponed several times, leaving the fans unaware of their fate.

For months, I have warned that politicians are using the physical attack on Celtic manager Neil Lennon by a Hearts fan to blur the distinction between words and deeds. This poses a serious threat to free speech and civil liberties. But few civil liberties champions have joined this particular campaign, apparently finding the principle of free speech easy to sacrifice when it comes to ‘uncouth’ football fans who upset their liberal sensibilities.

But you don’t need to like fooball fans to defend their right to free expression. I don’t like anything Birrell says or represents, but I defend absolutely his right to say it without being locked up and labelled a criminal.

Birrell’s case, and the many more that will inevitably follow as fans outdo each other in their rush to take offence at the sectarianism of their rivals, have nothing to do with justice and everything to do with the ongoing demonisation of one group – football fans – in society.

Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, can now claim the dubious distinction of presiding over one of the most authoritarian and illiberal pieces of legislation in Western Europe. Anyone who remotely cares about basic civil liberties should howl with rage at the imprisonment of Stephen Birrell and should stand up now to defend free speech and the right of football fans to be offensive, whether on Facebook or in the stands at Ibrox and Celtic Park.


Two strikes and you’re inside: Repeat criminals to face mandatory life sentences in Britain

Good if it happens but British judges are a law unto themselves

Repeat criminals convicted of a second serious offence will face a mandatory life sentence, under new ‘two-strikes’ rules.

Life terms will automatically go to anyone twice given jail terms of ten years or more for crimes such as rape, child abuse, serious GBH and terrorism offences.

They will also apply to the crime of ‘causing or allowing the death of a child’ - the offence for which Baby Peter’s mother and boyfriend were jailed.

The sentences will replace Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection (IPPs) which saw dozens of criminals locked up indefinitely without any prospect of parole.

As the plans were revealed last night, it emerged Justice Secretary Ken Clarke had suffered a major defeat in his opposition to mandatory jail terms for 16 and 17 year-olds caught wielding a knife.

Just 24 hours earlier Mr Clarke had made clear his opposition to such a move. On Tuesday he told the Home Affairs Select Committee compulsory jail terms for young offenders were ‘a bit of a leap’ for the British judicial system.

But Mr Clarke faced pressure from his Cabinet colleagues, including Home Secretary Theresa May, to accept tougher terms.

On Tuesday he told MPs: ‘The idea that mandatory sentences now apply to certain types of offence, to young offenders, to children, to juveniles, is a bit of a leap for the British judicial system.’ But last night he said the term was necessary to ‘send out a clear message about the seriousness of juvenile knife crime’.

The knife sentences apply to any offenders who are convicted of the new offence of ‘aggravated’ knife carrying - when they used the blade to threaten or endanger life. Anyone aged 16 or 17 would face a four-month detention and training order.

The Government has already announced proposals for a mandatory six-month sentence for adults convicted of the same offence.

As well as mandatory life, Mr Clarke also announced a new ‘Extended Determinate Sentence’ that will see serious offenders required to serve at least two-thirds of their term. Currently they are released automatically at the half-way point.

It will apply to serious sex and violent crimes and jailed for four years or more. After they have served two-thirds, they will only be released when the Parole Board says they are safe to go back on the streets.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said: ‘Under our plans we expect more dangerous offenders to receive life sentences.

‘Those getting the new Extended Determinate Sentence will have to serve at least two-thirds of it behind bars before release. ‘We are clear that there will be no automatic release before the end of the full sentence for the most serious cases.’


Repeat offenders responsible for half a million crimes

Rehabilitation is a fantasy for these people. Only permanent detention can protect the community

More than half a million crimes were committed by known offenders last year, with half carried out by career criminals. The crimes were all committed by repeat offenders and included 3,400 serious violent or sexual offences. It is the first time such figures have been released and more than 270,000 offences were by criminals who had at least 25 previous convictions or cautions to their name.

Separate figures showed 134 dangerous criminals were suspected of carrying out serious further offences such as murder, rape and other violence despite being monitored by the authorities.

The figures once again raise questions over the ability of the justice system to rehabilitate offenders. Prisons minister Crispin Blunt said: “Reoffending in this country is unacceptably high and these statistics underline the urgent need for steps to reform the system and introduce a rehabilitation revolution to our prisons and community sentences.”

A total of 510,000 offences were committed in 2009 by criminals within a year of them completing a previous sentence, the Ministry of Justice figures showed. More than 10,000 burglars went on to commit another 1,800 domestic burglaries within a year, and almost 3,000 thefts.

And more than 6,000 serious violent offenders went on to commit more than 650 violent offences, 48 of which were classed as serious.

The breakdown of figures also showed that more than 8,000 sex offenders, including more than 4,000 who abused children, went on to commit more than 1,200 further sex crimes, including 330 against children.

Of the 134 dangerous or sexual offenders charged with a serious further offence last year, 26 were managed with regular multi-agency public protection (Mapp) meetings, other figures showed.

Three of these were assessed as posing the highest risk to the public and eight serious case reviews were ordered after the offenders went on to kill or rape, or tried to murder or rape, despite being monitored.

Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) panels, which include police, councils and other Government agencies, were set up to manage the risks to the public from dangerous criminals after they leave prison.

In raft of justice statistics, it also emerged that the prison population is still on course to hit 92,000 by 2014, despite Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary’s plan to cut the population by 3,000.

However, the projections do not take in to account sentencing reform measures currently going through parliament.

It is also estimated that the summer’s riots will result in numbers behind bars increasing by 1,000 for the next 12 months.


Contempt for ordinary Australians among the self-selected arts and media elite

I SUPPOSE it takes a special form of moral courage and artistic sensibility to mount a comedy television series that "satirises people living in public housing" (The Diary, Monday). It promises to be a hoot. The individual responsible, one Paul Fenech, has uncovered "a whole bunch of people in Australia who spend so much effort not working that it would be easier to get a job". I cannot wait. Such clever japes have not been heard since the Murdoch family comedy troupe were at their peak.

It is comforting to know that Fenech is not on his own in the creative community in teaching us about the debased lower orders. Only last week, the Herald's Spectrum pages ("Career on track" October 15-16) marked the arrival of "an artist with promise", a Mr Nigel Milsom, a latter-day resident of Glebe. This chap likes to draw dogs, apparently as "metaphors for our own nature".

However, Milsom has had a nasty surprise of late. As he tells it, "it seems that every Friday and Saturday there's an influx of weirdos into the area". These freaks are the people who attend the Wentworth Park greyhounds and who do so in order to "change their lot in life" and gain a "golden ticket out of their situation". Mr Milsom knows all this because he took his crayons to the course one night and observed these worse-than-senseless things in the flesh.

In times past, these "weirdos" were actually known in and around the inner city as "residents" before the whole area was much improved by the land clearing occasioned by the arrival of sensitive and creative people who are good at colouring-in and such. Over the decades many thousands of families have been forced out, some even to public housing in the city's outskirts where Fenech can now expose to the world their essential worthlessness.

Such developments are sadly consistent with some other trends in the creative and performing arts. The television series Kath & Kim consistently depicted its subjects as crass, materialistic and emotionally stunted. There was a form of characterisation in it that provided a superior and condescending perspective for the viewer. We laugh at them; not with them.

Worse still is the work of Chris Lilley, who moves well beyond gentle mockery. His work sneers at the ordinary people with everyday lives he focuses on.

There was a time when satire was directed at exposing the follies of the privileged, the powerful and the self-important. Apparently, modern Australia has rulers who are doing a cracking job. Our rich are beyond reproach. Marie Antoinette would approve.



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.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The enduring appeal of the Monarchy in Australia

As in Britain, it has deep emotional roots that the politically correct brigade will never even begin to understand

The papers have now given up billing this as the ‘farewell tour’. Anyone watching the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh steadfastly working their way through the multitude and boarding a tram in Melbourne yesterday could understand why.

No one was saying: ‘Goodbye.’ So what if they are, respectively, 85 and 90? The question on Australian lips now is: ‘When are they coming back?’

Even the most ardent monarchists Down Under have been surprised by the euphoria for the Queen in recent days as she has travelled coast-to-coast across her colossal realm.

Monday saw 45,000 people crammed 30-deep on the riverbank in Brisbane just to see her step off a boat. Many required first aid for heatstroke after waiting since before dawn.

Yesterday’s scheduled 15-minute walkabout in Melbourne’s Federation Square stretched on for more than half an hour after tens of thousands turned out for a glimpse. There were so many flowers for the Queen the royal party ran out of hands.

Even more remarkable, perhaps, has been the behaviour of Melbourne’s ‘Occupy’ protesters.

This is the same anti-capitalist movement currently camping outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London. But whereas the ‘Occupy London’ crowd won’t budge for anyone, the ‘Occupy Melbourne’ brigade yesterday agreed to suspend their protest in the city centre. Organisers decided it would be counter-productive and ‘belligerent’ to spoil the Queen’s day. So they called a truce.

Extraordinary stuff.

As for the royal couple, they have not betrayed a flicker of fatigue from the moment they landed in Canberra last week and embarked on a full schedule without so much as a rest day. One might say that she hit the ground reigning.

All those around the Queen — her staff and footsore veterans of the royal press pack — have noticed she is positively relishing the pace and atmosphere of this tour, happily letting the schedule slip when the crowds show no sign of letting up.

This may be her 16th tour of Australia but there is seldom a dull moment. Today she visits Clontarf Aboriginal College where pupils have devised an unusual royal menu: scones and kangaroo stew. As for the Duke, one royal official observes: ‘People keep asking us what he’s on. He’s in cracking form.’

Indeed, as the royal launch came into dock in Brisbane on Monday, Prince Philip could not stop his old nautical self and started helping to moor the thing. Now the world’s most hyperactive nonagenarian, he is off to Italy next week for a multi-faith environment conference.

Aside from one Brisbane construction worker arrested for ‘mooning’ at the monarch (it turned out to be a wager rather than a statement), this has, thus far, been a glitch-free tour.

So what on earth happened to the republicans? Is this the same feisty, self-confident nation which, just 12 years back, was the cheerleader for replacing the Sovereign? Of all the Queen’s 16 realms, which cover a large part of the planet, Australia was the one which seemed most likely to seek a new constitutional settlement.

And then came that referendum in 1999. With the liberal establishment and most of the media batting for a republic, metropolitan Australia put on its party clothes and prepared to celebrate.

But the public, as they so often do in these matters, had other ideas. In the end, 55 per cent of them preferred the Queen to the republican model of a president chosen by the politicians. [It was nearly two thirds in favour of the monarchy in my home State of Queensland -- JR]

Received wisdom, at the time, was that support for the monarchy would gradually wither away and that the republicans would waltz like Matilda through the next referendum. Except it did not work out like that.

The Royal Family continued to visit on a regular basis and Australia turned its attention to more pressing world issues.

And as royal fortunes have improved in Britain, so the mood has changed in Oz. Few countries could match Australia’s enthusiasm for this year’s Royal Wedding.

It came just weeks after Prince William had made an emergency visit Down Under, on behalf of the Queen, to meet those afflicted by a series of natural disasters — a visit which had a profound impact on the victims.

And now we have this week’s scenes. Opinion polls show that supporters of a presidential system have dwindled to 34 per cent. The activists have all but given up. Not so long ago, the Australian Republican Movement was a multi-million-pound organisation drawing the cream of the chattering classes to its champagne-fuelled soirees. Today, it is so hard-up that it can run only to a single part-time employee.

The reason? It certainly helps that the Queen and the Duke are so conspicuously happy to be in Australia. But it goes much deeper than that. We are witnessing, as one royal official put it to me this week, a ‘revival’. And much of it, surely, is down to the age-old attraction of a constitutional monarchy.

In times of uncertainty and trouble, there is something reassuring in an institution which stands for permanence and stability. And there is no greater symbol of continuity than a monarch who has been on her throne for longer than half of the countries on Earth have existed in their present form.

At the time of Australia’s referendum, republicans made much of the fact that one in four modern Australians was born overseas and, therefore, lacked a link with the ‘mother country’.

What social commentators are now discovering, however, is that support for the monarchy is just as strong among the immigrant community because newcomers feel a 1,000-year-old Crown offers greater protection of their freedoms than a fledgling president.

But there is something else here. Having spent the last two years with privileged access to the Queen and her staff for my new book, Our Queen, I have seen the way in which the aura around her has changed.

People who may seldom have given her much thought suddenly find themselves overawed by the most famous — and some would say respected — public figure on the planet. The sentiment was epitomised by one man in the Melbourne crowd yesterday. Dick Johnson told ABC Australia that he was surprised at how emotional he had suddenly become. ‘I’m not a terribly strong monarchist and I’m not a republican, but it just seems there’s something special about it,’ he said.

To which republicans say that the mood will be very different come a change of reign. But the Prince of Wales, part-educated in Australia, has a deep attachment to the place which does not go unreciprocated.

The new Duke of Cambridge can expect Queen-sized crowds when he brings his new Duchess Down Under. And, in any case, these are enduring bonds which go far beyond a mere popularity contest. Back in 1954, when she was the first reigning monarch to visit Australia, the Queen drew unprecedented crowds.

Millions of people — up to three-quarters of the population it was suggested — turned out to see her. Inevitably, her subsequent tours could not compete; comparisons would always invite a sense of anti-climax. Hence, the sense of monarchy in decline.

Well, now there is a sense of things going the other way. It may not be for ever. Australia will, doubtless, one day seek a new constitutional arrangement. For now, though, we are seeing the way in which historic symbols of kinship and shared values are sometimes more appealing than hard, rational modernity.

It is a fact worth remembering in a week when brutal European realities are set against the warmth of old Commonwealth friendships.


Occupying St. Paul’s

A centuries-old building is rendered useless by demonstrators

British history has been punctuated by stories of turbulent priests more often than by stories of recalcitrant congregations. As Thomas à Becket discovered to his detriment, it is usually the clergy — and not their flock — who find themselves in danger of being ousted. As of October 16, London’s famous St. Paul’s cathedral sits squarely in this tradition, with its dean, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, now publicly regretting the leniency he initially showed the camped-out members of “Occupy London Stock Exchange” — the British franchise of the now-global “Occupy” brigade.

If Dean Knowles had expected to be afforded the same respect by OLSX that he has become accustomed to from his parishioners, he was sorely mistaken. Since their free pass was issued, the people-in-tents have made it blindingly obvious that they are not merely differently dressed members of the City of London’s laity, but, literally, occupiers intent on holding the fort at all costs.

And there are costs. When the first protesters arrived, the cathedral’s authorities turned the other cheek, accepting the imposition of the protest camp with alacrity. St. Paul’s even took the unusual step of instructing London’s police to leave the protesters where they were. In doing so, an unfortunate precedent was set. As the crowd has grown to 2,000 strong, access to the landmark has been gradually blocked, forcing St. Paul’s to close its doors for the first time since 1940, when German bombs rained indiscriminately down on the city during the Blitz and an unexploded incendiary forced evacuation for a few days while the device was removed.

“We have done this with a very heavy heart,” the Right Reverend Knowles announced at a press conference, “but it is simply not possible to fulfill our day-to-day obligations to worshippers, visitors, and pilgrims.” Reluctantly, the dean has now asked the protesters to leave, which they have predictably refused to do. Clearly, “we’ll stay here as long as we have to” is a common refrain on both sides of the Atlantic.

Aside from keeping away worshippers and tourists alike, the closure is having a real impact on what is one of Britain’s finest pieces of Restoration architecture. Each day that it is shuttered, St. Paul’s loses between £16,000 and £23,000 in revenues ($26,000 to $37,000), a crippling blow to a glorious 300-year-old building that receives little financial support from the state. And then there is the fire risk: “Health, Safety and Fire officers have pointed out that access to and from the Cathedral is seriously limited. With so many stoves and fires and lots of different types of fuel around, there is a clear fire hazard,” wrote the dean in a press release explaining his decision. No doubt the irony that St. Paul’s was the grand centerpiece of the rebuilding program after 1666’s devastating Great Fire has not been lost on observers.

The closure of St. Paul’s provides a key insight into the nature of the “Occupy” protests: Making a scene is the sine qua non of the movement, the one thing on whose necessity all participants can agree. In his sad statement to the press, Knowles noted that the church was “alongside those seeking equality and financial probity” and that “the debate about a more just society is at the heart of much of our work at St. Paul’s.” But that’s not the point — for the occupiers, the medium is the message. “The fight has to go on,” said protester Ronan McNern, and then promised he would be there until Christmas if necessary.

Never mind that St. Paul’s is not the London Stock Exchange, and that its management is supportive of OLSX’s goals. (The same goes for Zuccotti Park; as one lower-Manhattan resident told me, “They aren’t occupying Wall Street!”) Never mind that the cathedral is one of Britain’s national treasures and is desperately in need of money for maintenance. Never mind that for many of the 99 percent that the “Occupy” movement claims holistically to represent, St. Paul’s is a place of pilgrimage and sanctuary and keen historical significance. As long as the performance continues, all is well. The show must go on!

London’s literati are starting to catch on to this. Writing in the Times, professional moderate Libby Purves noted that “it is impossible to think of any clear, feasible action by an elected government that would satisfy and shift them.” She is right, but then there never has been such an action. As OLSX protester Naomi Colvin put it, “We’re in the business of defining process, and specific demands will evolve from this in time.” Witness, thus, the ever-present appeal to mañana.

St. Paul’s cathedral has stood proud, open, and unharmed through twelve monarchs, an abdication crisis, two world wars, repeated terrorist atrocities, the fight over female suffrage, and fundamental constitutional change. During the dark days of the Second World War, it seemed almost preternaturally preserved from harm: As bombs dropped all around, destroying everything in sight, its celebrated dome poked imperforate through clouds of smoke, and a famous photograph provided succor to millions of weary Londoners. Since its consecration in 1708, St. Paul’s has been a happy constant in British life. It would be a tragedy if this stellar record of openness and repair were eventually blighted by 2,000 heedless members of a rag-tag mob camped out aimlessly on the streets of the capital.


Now you CAN fight back against burglars in Britain: Law change protects anyone using violence to defend home

Homeowners who fight to defend their property will have the full backing of the law for the first time. In an historic move, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke yesterday announced a major strengthening of the rights of victims standing up to intruders in their property. It means anyone who reacts ‘instinctively’ to defend their home and possessions will be protected if they use reasonable force.

The current law says they can act only if they feared for their life or those of their family. It also places duty on victims to retreat from an attacker if they are acting in self-defence. This will also be scrapped.

At the same time, the Home Office is set to change guidance for police on whether to arrest someone who has attacked an intruder in their home. It could mean arrests are not necessary when householders and businessmen say they have acted in self-defence.

Mr Clarke said: ‘While fleeing is usually the safest option if you feel threatened, people are not obliged to retreat when defending themselves or their homes. ‘We will ensure that if you do react instinctively to repel an intruder you will not be punished for it – as long as you used reasonable force. People should feel safe in their communities and especially in their own homes and these measures will ensure they are protected.’

A string of cases in recent years have fuelled public outrage at the law and led to demands for a change. They include that of Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who shot dead a burglar, and Munir Hussain, who chased and beat a man who held his family at knifepoint.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Justice published amendments to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

MPs will vote on the measures next week and the Bill could become law before Christmas. Tory MP Priti Patel said: ‘This is a long overdue reform to give power back to the victims of burglary and other personal crimes. ‘It will send a clear message to criminals who break in to people’s homes that the law is on the side of the homeowner.’ A string of court judgments led to demands ‘reasonable force’ be changed to allow anything that was not ‘grossly unreasonable’.

Criminologist Dr David Green, director of the Civitas think-tank, said the law was ‘not quite there yet’ but endorsed the move as a ‘step in the right direction’. He added: ‘Previously, reasonable force was uncontroversial but it started to be interpreted in a way that meant you had a high chance of being arrested if you fought back in the way any self-respecting person would.

‘If someone is in your house, especially at night, then you should be able to disable them until the police come. If they get severely injured or even killed in the process, then that’s the way it is.’

Mr Hussain, a millionaire businessman, was ambushed by masked robbers at his family home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. They forced him and his family to lie on the floor and threatened to kill them. But he and his brother were jailed for attacking and injuring a criminal who they chased down the street.

The case went to the Court of Appeal where the Lord Chief Justice ruled Mr Hussain should have been given a suspended sentence.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the law will ‘put beyond doubt that homeowners and small shopkeepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted.’

In other law changes, squatters will face a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of £5,000. For the first time squatting will be a criminal offence, as ministers aim to end the misery faced by homeowners who find strangers occupying their property.

‘Far too many people endure the misery, expense and incredible hassle of removing squatters from their property,’ Mr Clarke said. ‘Hard-working homeowners need and deserve a justice system where their rights come first.’

And fees paid to middle men and blamed for huge increases in insurance premiums will be scrapped. Insurance companies regularly sell details of their clients to no-win, no-fee lawyers for thousands of pounds. Lawyers then bombard victims with calls, urging them to claim.

Mr Clarke said: ‘Our ban on referral fees together with our changes to no-win, no-fee arrangements will reduce legal costs and speculative suing, so businesses, schools and individuals can be less fearful of unnecessary claims encouraged by those looking for profit rather than justice.’


Britain has had enough of deception. It's time to close the yawning gap between the ruling and the ruled

How's this for a starkly unequivocal promise? ‘The European Union has evolved significantly since the last public vote on membership over 30 years ago. Liberal Democrats, therefore, remain committed to an in/out referendum the next time a British Government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU.’

Such was the solemn manifesto pledge made to the British people by every Lib Dem candidate who stood for election less than 18 months ago.

Yet on Monday night, guess how many of the party’s 57 MPs stood by that promise and voted for a Commons motion approving the principle of an EU referendum that would include an in/out option?

The shocking answer is just one — Adrian Sanders of Torbay — a solitary honourable man in a party of puppets. As with tuition fees, the other 56 apparently thought nothing of breaking their word to the people who voted them into power.

Or how about this for another unequivocal manifesto pledge? ‘We will be positive members of the European Union but we are clear that there should be no further extension of the EU’s power over the UK without the British people’s consent. We will ensure that by law, no future Government can hand over areas of power to the EU or join the euro without a referendum of the British people.’

So said the Conservatives, every one of them, before that same election in May 2010 — and all praise to the 96 (out of 306) Tories who mounted the biggest rebellion in their party’s modern history on Monday night, keeping their word to their constituents and defying their leader’s orders to vote against the motion.

But given that manifesto pledge, what in the name of integrity possessed David Cameron to impose a three-line whip in the first place, instructing his MPs to breach their electors’ trust on pain of losing their government jobs or their hopes of promotion to the front bench?

And how profoundly depressing and unedifying to see those lifelong Eurosceptics William Hague and Michael Gove wriggling like maggots on a hook as they betrayed every belief about Europe they’ve espoused throughout their political careers.

Truly, there is something hideously wrong with the state of democracy in Britain today, when candidates say one thing to the electorate, only to be told by their party leaders to do the direct opposite when they are voted into the Commons.

The supreme irony of Monday’s debate is that it was called in answer to a mass public petition, in accordance with a pre-election Conservative pledge that was meant to prove the party’s determination to reconnect the political class with the people. In the event, the e-petition gimmick served only to highlight and deepen the yawning democratic deficit between the rulers and the ruled.

Nowhere, of course, has that deficit been more glaringly apparent over the years than in the political establishment’s contempt for voters in all matters touching upon Europe.

Indeed, the entire history of the relentless expansion of the EU’s powers since we joined what was then the Common Market in 1973 has been a tale of brazen deceit, broken promises and disenfranchisement of the electorate by all three major political parties.

Remember Labour’s 2005 manifesto pledge on the new European Constitution? ‘We will put it to the British people in a referendum.’ Nothing, surely, could have been more unequivocal.

Yet when it came to signing the Lisbon Treaty, in which the new constitution was enshrined, Gordon Brown conveniently forgot about it. Or, rather, he fobbed off the public with the monstrous lie that Lisbon (referred to in official documents as ‘the Constitutional Treaty’) was not, in fact, a European Constitution at all.

The Tories and Lib Dems were no better. Both promised explicitly to put the Constitution to a referendum. But as soon as they were in a position to do so, they smirked and said: ‘No point now. Lisbon’s been signed.’

Wherever Europe is concerned, there’s always some snivelling shyster’s excuse, some weasel-worded legalistic technicality seized on by the politicians to wriggle out of their commitment to give the public their say. (And these days, when all else fails, there’s always that catch-all standby: ‘Sorry, old boy. The Coalition agreement won’t allow it.’)

So it is that, one by one, the ancient powers of Britain’s once sovereign Parliament, paid for by the blood of our ancestors, slip away to Brussels — into the hands of unaccountable European Commission, where voters will never be able to touch them again.

(And how can we boast of the West’s belief in liberal representative government while that abomination against democracy holds increasing sway over every aspect of our lives, from immigration control to working hours?)

Meanwhile in the Continent’s capitals, the Europhile political class pushes its ambitions ever further, enmeshing one nation after another in its anti-democratic web.

Today, on the streets of Athens, Lisbon, Madrid, Rome and Dublin, we are seeing the disastrous consequences of those political ambitions. For the slow-motion car crash of the euro — long predicted by wiser heads who understood the economic madness of a one-size-fits-all single currency for countries as diverse as Germany and Greece — is bringing misery and unemployment to countless millions.

How deeply disturbing is the news, then, that the Eurozone countries have called off today’s summit because they can’t even agree on an agenda. And more worrying still is the latest appeal to the International Monetary Fund, which will mean — you’ve guessed it — once again, British taxpayers will be involved in bailing out the euro.

Let the Mail lay all its cards on the table. This paper has no desire for Britain to pull out of Europe — and particularly not at a time like this, when withdrawal would add immeasurably to the uncertainties threatening our recovery and rocking the confidence of the markets. For the same reason, we earnestly hope EU leaders will find a solution that saves the euro from disorderly collapse.

Inevitably, we believe, this will mean re‑writing the EU constitution yet again, to bring the countries of the Eurozone under a single economic government, with more uniform tax and spending policies — almost certainly to be dictated by Germany.

Whether this can work in the long run is anybody’s guess. The Mail doubts it. But in the depths of this crisis, we see no other way. Herein, of course, lies great danger for Britain. For as a leopard never changes its spots, so the Euro empire-builders will surely seek to extend any new fiscal and regulatory powers beyond the Eurozone, with their eyes fixed firmly, as ever, on the wealth of the City of London.

But here, also, lies a golden opportunity, perhaps never to be repeated, to redefine our own relationship with the EU in a way that sets democracy back on its rightful throne at Westminster.

For what the Mail wants passionately — and we believe the overwhelming majority of Britons share our wish — is to reclaim powers over such matters as immigration, social policy and business regulation, which should never have been conceded to Brussels and which are daily threatening our ability to compete with developing super-giant economies such as India and China.

We have no illusions. Yet again, the Europhile elite will seek to introduce its constitutional changes in a way that leaves a loophole for the Coalition to duck out of its statutory obligation to hold a referendum on the transfer of any new powers to the EU.

So the Mail has a simple proposal: let there be a single-question referendum, asking the public if we wish to reclaim powers from Brussels, yes or no. True, it will not satisfy those who wish to withdraw altogether. But for them, better this than the nothing they will otherwise be offered.

As for the timing, let the referendum be called the moment a new treaty is drawn up. Or if it becomes clear that the new rules are to be introduced on the sly, without a treaty, then let it be held within 12 months from today.

There can be no more lies, no more deceit, no more creeping federalism without consent. This time, those unequivocal manifesto promises must be honoured. Only then will our political class redeem the disgrace of Monday night — and begin to reconnect with the people they were elected to represent.



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.