Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Black British Leftist caught lying to her party

But they still love her. They prefer myth to reality. Rather like the American Left's belief in forged documents being "fake but accurate"

It was among the most emotional speeches at last year’s Labour Party Conference. A young anti-crime campaigner, Narraser Gordon, was given a standing ovation from MPs including Tessa Jowell and Yvette Cooper when she movingly told how eight members of her family had been murdered.

But now it has emerged that most of the ‘victims’ the campaigner claimed had died are in fact alive and well.

After Miss Gordon was forced to admit using ‘misleading’ words in her speech, Labour officials were criticised for not checking her story before she was presented to the conference last September.

The 24-year-old, a member of the Bristol West Labour Party, took to the stage in Liverpool to address the party faithful and accused the Coalition Government of carrying out PR stunts rather than tackling the important issues.

She told the audience last September: ‘I am here to talk about why our young people are dying before they can see the age of 21. ‘We are here to challenge young people in asking the important question: Why join a gang, use a gun, or use a knife?’

She continued: ‘This is an issue that is causing a huge problem across the UK, including London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Birmingham and in my own area Bristol – with eight of my family members being murdered there. I am not a celebrity, I am simply a young person who has had enough of seeing family members, friends and other lives being taken before they can succeed in life.’

In a subsequent newspaper interview, Miss Gordon, of Easton, Bristol, gave two examples of genuine victims to whom she had links. One, Leon Plummer, who was stabbed to death in the city in 2002, was her cousin, although the pair had never met. She said another, 17-year-old Shevon Wilson, who was killed in September 2009, was a friend of hers.

But a BBC current affairs team making a documentary about Miss Gordon’s work began investigating her claims to have lost eight members of her family to knife and gun crime, and say it emerged that most of the people she claimed had been murdered were actually alive. They claim she was also found communicating on Facebook with some of the people she had insisted were dead.

When questioned by the BBC, Miss Gordon admitted that the majority of the people she told them about had not been murdered. Yesterday she said she ‘may have used words which could be seen as misleading’ and expressed ‘regret’.

She told the regional Inside Out programme, broadcast last night on BBC One: ‘I have lost three family members and five very close friends who I consider as family. ‘I realise I may have used words which could be seen as misleading and I do regret this.’

She then bizarrely claimed that she had changed the names in her story to shield the families of the ‘real’ victims, explaining: ‘I do admit that the names originally given to [the BBC] were false. This was done to protect the families of my friends that I have lost.

‘But I was not corresponding with anyone on Facebook, I rarely talk to people on Facebook.’ Miss Gordon, who met Labour leader Ed Miliband when he came to Bristol after last summer’s riots, stood for the party during the 2011 local council elections.

She was said to be in London yesterday and is currently working on a campaign calling for more funding for community activists.

Last night Phil Gaskin, regional director of Labour South West, said: ‘She has not been suspended and we will not be making any further comment on the matter.’

The ‘star’ of the same Labour party conference at which Miss Gordon spoke last year was 16-year-old Rory Weal. The schoolboy was feted as a ‘hero’ after his impassioned speech telling how the welfare state saved his family from ruin.

But the Daily Mail revealed that he was actually the privileged son of a millionaire property developer, and attended private school until his father’s business went bust.


More than one in 10 rape allegations is being dismissed by British police

Just to secure a higher conviction rate and meet their famous bureaucratic "targets"

The Criminal Justice Joint Inspection study claims that in some cases, officers are wrongly recording that “no crime” had been committed. It warns that target cultures have put forces under pressure to keep recorded crime to a “minimum”

The report states that the “performance management regime of the past” overvalued what could be measured, with forces asked to concentrate on producing figures on the proportion of rape allegations solved.

It is suggested that this could lead to genuine reports of rape being written off as if they had never occurred.

The study says police should only end an investigation with a “no crime” classification, removing the allegation from records, if they receive additional evidence that it did not take place. “If there is any doubt, the crime remains recorded.”

The report by HM Inspectorates of Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service states: “If crimes of rape are incorrectly removed from crime figures, services to victims are reduced and offenders left at liberty to commit further offences.”

But Home Office figures show 2,131 rape claims were “no crimed” in 2010-11 – nearly 12 per cent of the total. In Kent the figure was 30 per cent. By contrast, just 3 per cent of GBH [Grievous Bodily Harm] allegations were later re-classified as no crimes.

The inspectors looked at about 100 records of various crimes in each police force and found that 11 per cent of them had been “incorrectly ‘no crimed’”.

The ACPO lead for rape and serious sexual offences, Chief Constable Dave Whatton, said: “This review rightly acknowledges improvements in recent years to the way victims of rape are treated. Improvements in specialist training of officers, introduction of early evidence kits, better access to sexual assault referral centres and significantly improved crime recording practices have assisted the policing response. But we know that there is no room for complacency.”

Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, said: “The Joint Inspectorate’s report shows how important DNA evidence and forensics are for solving rape cases, and how they should be used more to improve conviction rates.

“Why then is the government going in the opposite direction, taking 17,000 rape suspects off the DNA database and closing the forensic science service with no proper service in its place?


The attack on shows the intolerance of religion's enemies

By Cristina Odone

When I was 30, and the new editor of the Catholic Herald, I went to interview the – now late – Auberon Waugh at his club, The Academy. In the course of a long dinner and many many glasses of excellent wine, I told him I didn't think I'd stay in journalism for long: I wanted a nice easy life, and I'd probably drift into writing novels sooner rather than later. Bron didn't believe a word of it, needless to say. He assured me that I could have a very easy life as a hackette (those were the days when the industry was still thriving): "Just don't stick your head above the parapet."

Easier said than done. Over the years, I've grown more, not less, passionate about certain issues; keeping schtum has grown impossible. Unfortunately for me, the positions I hold on a whole gamut of issues (abortion, gay marriage, faith schools) run counter to the liberal establishment. This has pitted me against the likes of Polly Toynbee (you can listen to our ding-dong on the Today programme), Richard Dawkins, the National Secularist Society and – most viciously of all – Johann Hari.

I've recovered from having my Wikipedia entry manipulated by Hari (still no apologies from the discredited hack) but now I face a new foe: a sophisticated hacker who has disabled, my website promoting (irony of ironies) tolerance.

Like so many Britons, I have taken tolerance for granted. It's everywhere, after all: in the legislation establishing gay rights and in the laws protecting faith schools.

Suddenly, though, a BA employee was banned from wearing a cross to work; Catholic adoption agencies forced to accept gay adopting couples; an elderly couple banned from fostering because of their views on homosexuality. Tolerance was suddenly no longer a given, but a battle: atheists wanted to impose their views on the rest, and persecute anyone who disagreed.

The tone of the debate made me uneasy: with every intervention, the anti-religious, and in particular anti-Christian, tone grew more strident. I decided I couldn't sit by as a cherished principle was trampled; yes, I could write about the new intolerance in this blog, and in the paper; but I wanted to dedicate more time and energy to the defence of faith.

I approached Tim Montgomerie, founder of ConservativeHome, last summer with the idea of setting up a website to defend tolerance of and between the faiths. Tim, the most inventive and generous of intellectual entrepreneurs, immediately assured me of his support, organised meetings with Paul Goodman (editor of ConHome) and Paul Waugh (editor of PoliticsHome), and taught me the basics of website design. He aso came up with a name for the site.

In the website I covered the obvious issues – anti-semitic attacks in Britain, anti-Christian court cases, the plight of Egyptian Copts, the martyrdom of Christians accused of apostasy in the Middle East. It generated some traffic. Most comments were viciously anti-religion, but I didn't mind: at least someone was reading it.

Now, they can't. Last Friday, a sophisticated hacker embedded a malicious code in my FTP access, and disabled I'm not pointing any fingers, but a review of the Tweets my appearance on Question Time prompted, reveals that my faith earns me some vicious enemies. The programme did not raise any religious questions; nor was I introduced as a Christian or even as the ex-editor of the Catholic Herald; yet the tweets are all about my being a "theocrat" and a "Christian apologist". As such, I must be condemned – and silenced. So much for tolerance. So much for an easy life.


Santorum rejects the separation of church and state

It isn't in the constitution so he is entitled to -- but it is vastly "incorrect" in Leftist circles

Rick Santorum, the ultraconservative presidential hopeful, has intensified his Christian rhetoric as he rejected John F Kennedy's promise to maintain an absolute separation between church and state as an idea that "makes me throw up."

The appeal to the party's Christian base – dismissing the famous 1960 campaign speech by President Kennedy to keep his Catholic faith out of politics – represents a further lurch to the right in the acrimonious battle to find a Republican candidate to face Barack Obama in November.

"I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute," said Mr Santorum, an evangelical Catholic who would become the second Catholic to win the White House after President Kennedy.

"The first substantive line in the [Kennedy] speech says, 'I believe in America where the separation of church and state is absolute," the former Pennsylvania senator told ABC News, "You bet that makes you throw up."

His remarks came on the eve of Tuesday's crucial primary in Michigan where Mr Santorum is hoping to upset the Mitt Romney, the long-time front-runner, who finds himself is scrambling to win his 'home state'.

An aggregate of polls by Real Clear Politics has put Mr Romney two points clear in the Rust Belt state, which several senior Republican figures have said the former management consultant must win if his claim to be the man only who can beat Mr Obama is to retain credibility.

Mr Santorum has surged to the front of the Republican nomination contest in recent weeks with a message of social conservatism, attacking Obama health care reforms that obligated religious-affiliated hospitals and schools to provide contraception to employees.

However in a year where the economy is uppermost in most American's minds, it remains far from clear that the appeal to conservative social issues will prove a winning formula for Mr Santorum.

"One place Santorum may have hurt himself in the last week is an overemphasis on social issues," said Public Policy Polling (PPP), observing that 69 per cent of Michigan voters were concerned with economic issues this year compared to only 17 per cent who picked social issues.



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. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Show some backbone! Former top retailer tells British firms to defy militants on work experience scheme

The former boss of Marks & Spencer yesterday told firms to show some ‘backbone’ and stand up to anti-capitalist protests over the Government’s work experience scheme.

Sir Stuart Rose, who started out shelf-stacking and sweeping floors 40 years ago, said it was ‘baffling’ that anyone would complain about unemployed youngsters being given similar opportunities.

He said parents should tell their jobless children to ‘get stuck in’ and snap up any opportunity at a time of high youth unemployment.

Ministers are preparing for talks this week with some of the firms taking part in the scheme, in which youngsters on jobless benefits are invited to volunteer for work experience placements of up to eight weeks.

So far, more than 34,000 under-24s have taken part in the programme and half have come off benefits as a result.

But the scheme has been thrown into turmoil by protests led by a campaign group called Right to Work, which ministers say is nothing more than a front organisation for the hard-Left Socialist Workers Party. The SWP advocates the overthrow of capitalism via a Marxist revolution.

Though only a tiny cabal of extremists appear to be leading the campaign to brand work experience ‘slave labour’, several companies have been sufficiently rattled to announce that they are reviewing their involvement. Employment minister Chris Grayling insists that no firm signed up at national level has withdrawn, although some have done so locally. Tesco, Waterstones, TK Maxx, Poundland, Oxfam and Burger King are among those which have expressed concern.

Sir Stuart, who restored the fortunes of Marks & Spencer, urged firms not to bow to the campaign to ‘sabotage’ the scheme.

‘We’ve got the economy which has been through terrible times, we’ve got a need to get people’s confidence going, get the country back to work. We’re offering young people the opportunity to really understand what the workplace is about and it appears there is some plan to sabotage this, which I think is nonsense,’ he told Sky News’s Murnaghan programme.

‘It’s about getting people into the routine of working, making sure they are up in the morning, making sure they’re presentable, make sure they arrive on time, make sure they know what it’s like to have a properly constructed work programme, and shelf stacking is just a part of it.

‘When I started off in my retail career as a management trainee in Marks & Spencer’s 40 years ago, I was put to shelf stacking and indeed to sweeping out the warehouse for a day.

‘If you are drawing unemployment benefit and you are looking to get into the workplace and somebody says to you, “We’ll give you some experience” and you have got a week apparently to withdraw from it if it doesn’t suit you, why would you not do it? ‘If I was the parent of one of these people I’d say, “Go on to it, lad, get in there, get stuck in”.

‘So I find it quite baffling and I think it’s very, very sad, with I think it’s 20-odd per cent of unemployment around the age of 18, that kids are being led to believe that big business is exploiting them, which is nonsense.’ Sir Stuart said firms were apparently being ‘intimidated’ by the campaign against the scheme, adding: ‘One or two have shown a little less than backbone, if I might say so.

‘I think you have got to stick with it. If there are one or two issues of administration in the process that need sorting out, then let’s sort it out, but it seems to me quite straightforward.

‘You can come in, you can get work experience and if you like it you can stay here and possibly get offered a job; if you don’t like it after the first week you can go away. I don’t get it, what’s the problem?’

Mr Grayling told the Daily Mail he would deliver a similar message to company bosses when he meets them on Wednesday. ‘I hope now that everyone involved in the scheme realises we have been targeted by a small group of extremists who created a noise utterly disproportionate to their number, they agree it would be a disaster for young people if we allowed that campaign to prevail,’ he said.

He is prepared to discuss firms’ concerns about sanctions attached to the scheme which mean that benefits can be withdrawn if youngsters who have not opted to leave a placement after a week fail to turn up without good reason or are rude and unco-operative. But he added: ‘I don’t think any employer wants to be in a position where somebody behaves badly and faces no consequences.’

Tory MP Harriett Baldwin said: ‘I’m disappointed that some leading employers appeared frightened at the first whiff of grapeshot from a bunch of socialist campaigners. I hope they realise what an important role they have to play in giving youngsters a chance.’


Britain's angry generation: Lack of parental discipline is blamed for aggressive and anti-social children

Parents who fail to discipline their offspring properly are creating a generation of angry children who lash out in the classroom, a study has found.

Pupils were twice as likely to be aggressive and disruptive if they had parents who were violent, critical or inconsistent in what they allowed them to get away with at home.

In contrast, children tended to be better behaved if their parents combined warmth with clear and consistent rules and boundaries.

For the study, nearly 300 families with children aged four to seven were assessed for both the children’s behaviour and their parents’ discipline techniques.

The researchers, led by Professor Stephen Scott, director of the National Academy for Parenting Research, said: ‘A negative parenting style, characterised by harsh, inconsistent discipline, was clearly associated with more severe child anti-social behaviour.

‘Parents who used negative discipline had twice the rate of children with severe behaviour problems compared to the other parents.’

The finding follows claims by experts that some middle-class parents lavish material possessions on their children but are distant and barely involved in their upbringing.

Poor supervision of children’s activities and mothers suffering depression were also linked to bad behaviour.

The researchers said they were unable to rule out the argument that ‘irritating’ children were themselves to blame for ‘evoking harsher parenting’.

But they added: ‘A whole range of studies has shown the causal effect is there too, and that harsh parenting trains children to become anti-social.’ These children were at risk of underperforming at school and even turning to crime and drug or alcohol abuse.

The researchers claimed that their study, which was funded by the Government, reinforced the benefits of parenting lessons to teach mothers and fathers across all sections of society how to discipline their children.

Ministers are already preparing a two-year trial of parenting classes in three areas as part of a £5million experiment which will deal with issues such as discipline, communication and managing conflict. From the summer, the lessons will be introduced for about 50,000 families in Middlesbrough, High Peak in Derbyshire, and Camden in North London.

But ministers hope that if the scheme proves successful they will eventually extend it across the country and make the classes available to all parents.

The research team reported that mothers who were less educated and had lower incomes were more likely to resort to negative parenting. However they admitted the link was ‘weak’ and urged against viewing the problem as being confined to these types of families.

The report added: ‘It underlines the fact that there is the opportunity to improve children’s life chances through directly intervening with programmes that are effective in changing parenting styles.’

Child literacy expert Sue Palmer blamed parents relying on ‘electronic babysitters’, and claimed in her book Toxic Childhood that many children starting school had led a ‘very solitary, sedentary, screen-based existence’. She added: ‘Many children now watch bedtime TV rather than sharing a bedtime story, songs and chat with parents. This is a serious erosion of important family time.’


The Left Declares Victory

“The culture wars are over, and the Republicans lost.” So says liberal columnist John Alter.

He’s not the only one declaring victory. Over at the Daily Beast, one columnist judged the Republican Party as “flat-out nuts” for taking on social issues and mocked Rick Santorum as “a refugee from the 16th century.” And Andrew Sullivan takes things a step further, saying that “Republicans are losing the pop culture wars” played out in music, movies, and art. And Salon, the predictable liberal voice, shrills about “the Right’s lost causes” and claims victory.

So what have they “won?”

Let’s look at two examples of the ‘achievements’ wrought by liberalism:

1). Fractured families and a soaring out-of-wedlock birth rate: The liberals’ mantra that ‘there’s nothing inherently better about a married mom and dad raising their own kids’ has produced dismal results. According to new data from Child Trends, and reported in the New York Times, 53% of children born to women under 30 (the age group that is responsible for two-thirds of the birth rate) are now born out of wedlock. And, tragically, the leading cause of poverty in America is single motherhood.

Other predictable results for children born outside the stable structure of marriage? Educational deficits, greater risks of emotional, psychological, and behavioral problems. And the problems are not evenly distributed: minorities and women with only a high-school education reflect startlingly high rates of unmarried births: 73% of African-Americans are born to single mothers and only 43% of women whose highest level of education is high school will give birth within marriage. Those least equipped to overcome the long odds of unmarried parenthood are the most likely to shun marriage. In some schools and neighborhoods, the next generation of children will not only grow up without the stability of marriage, they also will encounter fewexamples of intact, married families. It’s a situation that’s tragic for the children, destabilizes society, and swells the ranks of folks dependent on government handouts for a steady monthly income.

That’s victory?

2). Meaningless sex and soaring STD rates: The left’s triumph on the sexual front is empty indeed. Columnist Michael Lind boasts that, “Now practically anything can be viewed on PCs and phones, and most award-winning dramas feature profanity and softcore sex scenes that would have provoked nationwide protests a few decades ago. This is a triumph for libertinism, if not liberalism.”

As a result, children have little protection from adult sexual indulgence. The fruit? Children exposed to sexual content are more likely to have sex earlier, generating a spiral of negative consequences, even apart form pregnancy and abortion. Forty percent of sexually active teenage girls have a sexually transmitted disease. Among minorities, those rates are even higher--and as STD rates skyrocket, cures are becoming less likely. Gonorrhea, for example, is fast becoming resistant to the antibiotics currently used to treat it. The sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV)---which has already been identified as the cause of most cases of cervical cancer, now appears to be causing an increase in oral and throat cancer as well. Add to all this the tragedy of young human hearts who experience sex merely as animalistic gratification; they never learn the tender connection between sex, commitment, and self-giving love.

This is what victory looks like? And I haven’t even mentioned President Obama’s record-breaking 3.8 trillion dollar budget or his disastrous “lead from behind” foreign policy.


Government Anonymous (As in Alcoholics Anonymous)

Mark: "My name is Mark. I'm here at Government Anonymous because I'm addicted...addicted to government aid."

Leader: "Welcome Mark. What made you finally decide to come tonight?"

Mark: "I've always had a job. I've always earned my own way. When I lost my job two years ago, I thought I could get a job right away. I'd always done that. I updated my resume, used all my contacts, took interview after interview. I couldn't get a job."

Leader: "You're not alone. It's been difficult for many in this economy."

Mark: "I applied for unemployment. They suggested that I apply for food stamps. With their help, I was applying for any benefit I could get. Pretty soon I was spending more time applying for and keeping my aid than finding a way off. I was going on the minimal interviews required. I was just going through the motions. Government aid is designed to help, but it became a trap to me, an all-too-comfortable crutch. Even worse, I stopped believing that I could make my own way."

Leader: "Go on."

Mark: "I know that everyone is going to have times that they need help. I just thought it was my turn. After all, I had convinced myself that the money was there. Then when President Obama said that the rich--those top 1% he's always talking about--needed to step up and pay more, I wanted to believe that was fair. I didn't want to give up my benefits, but I didn't realize how much the rich already paid."

Leader: "What do you mean?"

Mark: "When I found out that the top 1% of American income earners already pay 38% of the federal income taxes and nearly 50% of Americans pay no income tax, I couldn't believe it. While I was being encouraged to game the system, I felt like I was justifying stealing from my neighbor. That's far from fair. And it's more than the poor who are getting these benefits. It's out of control."

Leader: "But why are you here tonight?"

Mark: "It's not just wrong to justify taking more from my neighbor; the government is broke. I didn't realize how much until I saw John Stossel explain it in a way I could understand. He didn't talk about trillions in debt. Who can understand how big a trillion dollars really is?. Stossel put the problem in terms of an average American family. If America was a family, its average income would be $24,700--its annual spending $37,900. This year, that family would have added $13,300 in new credit card debt. But that is nothing compared to the existing credit card balance--$153,500. Who could sleep with a debt like that? And who would be paying for this? Our kids will! We are taking now, and they will get the bill later."

Leader: "Is that why you’re here?"

Mark: "I'm tired of being dependent. I'm tired of taking instead of contributing. I'm tired of politicians over promising and not being responsible for my son's future. The president says he's ready to cut spending, but the deficit just keeps growing."

Leader: "I can see why this might impact your vote, but I'm not sure why it would get you here to Government Anonymous tonight?"

Mark: "I'm addicted, and I'm ashamed of being one of the takers. I'm ashamed of being dependent on government when I want to work. I want to be a better influence on my son. I want him to have a dream...the dreams I once had. Dreams I still want to have."

Leader: "Your son?"

Mark: "Yesterday, my son asked me something I didn't want to answer."

Leader: "What did he ask?"

Mark: "He asked me, 'When I grow up, will I have food stamps, too?' I wanted to cry. That's not the dream I want for him. That's not the dream I want. I want off."

Leader: "That's what we were waiting to hear."



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. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, February 27, 2012

The picture that shames Britain: As a man's body floats in three and a half feet of water, 25 emergency workers stand and watch because they aren't 'trained' to go in water

The busy scene on the banks of the lake appears to show our emergency services at their dynamic best. An air ambulance stands by as two specialist officers in yellow ‘immersion suits’ deliver a man who has collapsed into the water to paramedics at the water’s edge.

They attempt to resuscitate him inside an inflatable tent. A queue of ambulances and fire engines stands by ready and waiting near a small crowd of shocked onlookers. Yet the story behind this picture is anything but impressive.

This was Walpole Park in Gosport, Hampshire, on an overcast lunchtime last March when no fewer than 25 members of the emergency services, including a press officer, descended on a 3½ft-deep model boating lake minutes after Simon Burgess, 41, fell into the water when he suffered a seizure. But as an inquest heard last week, he lay floating face-down for more than half an hour while firemen, police and paramedics watched and did nothing.

The reason? Even though they could all swim, the first fire crew to arrive hadn’t been ‘trained’ to enter water higher than ankle-deep. Instead they waited for ‘specialists’ to arrive to retrieve his body. They had decided Mr Burgess must surely be dead because he had been in the water for ten minutes. When a policeman decided to go in anyway, he was ordered not to. A paramedic was also told not to enter the water because he didn’t have the right ‘protective’ clothing and might be in breach of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

The tragic incident made headlines around the world, held up as a shocking example of ludicrously risk-averse Britain. And it prompted a coroner to demand that fire, police and ambulance services improve training to prevent a repeat.

Following the inquest, a Mail on Sunday investigation has now discovered that:

* The ‘ankle-deep’ rule was meant for fast-flowing water and is taken from guidelines drawn up to deal with floods.

* Other rescue agencies believe people can survive submerged for much longer than ten minutes – some will still try resuscitation at 90 minutes.

* The incident happened despite a previous reassurance from the Health and Safety Executive that firefighters would not face prosecution if they performed acts of heroism that break rules.

* Mr Burgess could have been reached within two minutes of emergency crews arriving at the scene – as proved by our reporter who went into the lake and waded 25ft to the spot where his body had been floating.

Mr Burgess had been feeding swans from a plastic bag that blew into the lake. He went in to retrieve it and while he was in the water he had a fit and fell unconscious. Last week, Coroner David Horsley ruled his death was an accident on the balance of probabilities, but said there was a chance, ‘albeit a slim one’, he could have been saved had the emergency services intervened sooner.

Fire station watch manager Tony Nicholls arrived at the scene within five minutes but refused to try to rescue Mr Burgess because, he told the inquest, his crew’s ‘Level 1’ training only allowed them to go in the water up to their ankles.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue said all its firefighters were trained to Level 1, which includes ‘general water safety awareness and basic land-based rescue techniques’. To comply with the guidelines, they had to wait for a specialist water rescue team to arrive. Mr Nicholls said these officers were ‘Level 2-trained’, meaning they could ‘go in chest- high’. Only those who had completed the Level 3 course would be allowed to swim, however.

Although it wasn’t made clear at the inquest, the rule about not entering water more than ankle-high is based entirely on guidelines drawn up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for tackling flood emergencies.

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue spokesman admitted the service knew the guideline was originally intended as advice to be followed at flood incidents – but the service insists firefighters apply it in ALL water-related incidents.

A Defra spokeswoman explained: ‘Our guidance is only ever to be used by the emergency services in response to a flood. This is because floods by their very nature are highly unpredictable, unlike existing bodies of water. Our guidance should never be used in any other instance.’

However, the Government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, Sir Ken Knight, has included the Defra training recommendations in an ‘operational guidance’ document on water safety.

One of the police officers at the scene, PC Tony Jones, told the inquest that he volunteered to go in, but was ‘strongly advised’ not to by Mr Nicholls. The PC also told the inquest that Mr Nicholls refused to let him borrow his lifejacket.

Then PC Jones was told by his control room that ‘under no circumstances’ should he attempt a rescue. Asked to explain that decision, Hampshire Police said yesterday: ‘The fire service were already there and they were recovering a body.’ The decision to downgrade the incident from a rescue to a ‘body retrieval situation’ reflected the confusion over submersion victims.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution said the only instances in which its rescuers would not attempt resuscitation would be if a body was already decomposing, or had been submerged for more than 90 minutes. Rescuers in the US believe a person can be revived after being immersed in water for up to an hour.

Professor Mike Tipton, of Ports–mouth University, concluded in a report for the emergency services last year that if ‘water temperature is warmer than 6C [42F], survival is extremely unlikely if submerged longer than 30 minutes’.

Chances of survival are much higher if water temperature is lower than this, but not if the body is submerged for more than 90 minutes.

He produced examples of people who had been saved after submersion of between 20 and 60 minutes.

Despite the safety rules, those at the scene could have entered the water under Health and Safety Executive guidelines that exempt 999 workers from prosecution if they perform acts of heroism. This follows Lord Young’s report, Common Sense, Common Safety, which called for an end to ‘senseless’ rules and regulations.

Last night, Fire Minister Bob Neill said: ‘Health and safety rules should be there to save lives, not put them at risk.’ He added that the Government would review existing guidance and take into account lessons learnt from recent incidents.


The new tyranny of temperance

Some government officials will only be happy when Britain resembles a giant Alcoholics Anonymous meeting

Whether it’s ‘hidden alcoholics’, middle-class professionals ‘for whom one glass of wine after work is never enough’, or yobbish working-class drinkers causing a nuisance in public, the attempts by government and campaigners to root out and tackle those deemed to be drinking ‘excessively’ have never been more aggressive.

From the prime minister to the media, there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on: Britain’s boozing has reached ‘scandalous’ proportions. ‘This is a national problem, it needs the government really to focus on it’, UK prime minister David Cameron declared last week, referring to what he called the ‘rising tide’ of irresponsible drinking across the country.

But it’s not just loud yobbish drunks going out on the lash and injuring themselves and others and winding up in hospital casualty departments on Friday and Saturday nights that are the problem: it’s also the ‘hidden alcoholics’, the middle-class wine drinkers who sup several glasses of sauvignon blanc on the sofa at night. Tonight on the BBC’s Panorama, former New Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell will confess, once again, to having been a secret alcoholic himself, and will highlight the fact that ‘nearly 9,000 people’ die each year from alcohol-related diseases. He will also wheel out an assortment of medical experts who will diagnose a ‘health crisis’ in the country.

But, given we’re all going to die of something, surely we should have the freedom to shorten our lives a little by having pint or two too many if we like? Apparently not. As well as emphasising the ‘anti-social behaviour’ alcohol causes, the government and campaigners alike are quick to point to what the Observer yesterday called ‘the intolerable burden being placed on the health services’. Even by overindulging on the vino by ourselves at home, we are apparently being irresponsible and causing a public nuisance – by potentially contributing to what David Cameron claims could be between £17 billion and £22 billion per year spent on ‘alcohol-related costs’. Campaign group Alcohol Concern has claimed that each taxpayer stumps up £1,000 of tax per year to tackle this problem.

The precise way such figures are arrived at is questionable. It is certainly the case that the amount of revenue brought in through taxation on alcohol covers the NHS bill for alcohol-related issues, with a couple of billion pounds left to spare. And, strikingly, the increase in hype about a drinking ‘epidemic’ in Britain coincides with a significant decline in per capita alcohol consumption. According to the Office of National Statistics, since 2002 there has been a steady drop in the amount of alcohol drunk by people of all ages.

Exactly why and how an increase in excessive drinking coincides with a fall in alcohol consumption is currently a source of confusion. But, regardless, the political and media classes are convinced they know the solution: to drink even less. While welcoming the drop in alcohol consumption as ‘good news’, an Observer editorial declared ‘a strong strategy is still urgently required if we are all to learn when put a stop on the bottle’.

Many have already given up on the idea that we can ‘learn’ when enough booze is enough, however. Increasingly, drinking more than the government’s recommended units of alcohol each week – which, notoriously, was a figure plucked out of thin air – is being portrayed as the result of addictive behaviour. As Alcoholics Anonymous famously put it, we are ‘powerless over alcohol’. Our addiction has apparently impaired our rationality. Typifying this trend was Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, who last week spoke of his decision to go tee-total after discovering to his youthful horror that he would often drink alcohol on social occasions. This was diagnosed as alcohol addiction, best tackled by abstaining completely.

Later this year, the coalition government is set to unveil an alcohol strategy which will outline ways to curb people’s drinking habits. While David Cameron has argued that ‘this isn’t just about more rules and regulation’, it is evident a barrage of new rules and regulations are coming our way. He has expressed a personal desire to introduce minimum pricing of alcohol, to have police patrolling hospitals and to introduce US-style ‘drunk tanks’ where people deemed to be too drunk are incarcerated until they’ve sobered up. Some campaigners go even further, with one suggesting that drinking licences should be given to everyone on their eighteenth birthday. These would then be revoked should a certain number of points be obtained through irresponsible drinking.

While such a proposal seems not to be on the cards just yet, the fact that campaigners feel sufficiently emboldened to make such illiberal proposals shows the extent to which the new temperance movement is gaining force in Britain today. Alcohol is set to get more expensive; anyone getting drunk in public could be banged up; and those choosing to drink at home will be increasingly stigmatised as alcohol addicts. To many anti-alcohol campaigners, this is simply a small step in the desired direction: to get the whole country to adopt an Alcoholics Anonymous mindset.


OIC “Workshops” Speech Crime

Stealth and violent jihadists have discovered the alchemist’s secret of turning gold into lead – that is, of turning freedom of speech into a risky and unwanted liability. It’s really quite simple, obvious for all to see. The formula is similar to the “good cop/bad cop” routine of detective movies.

Start with a cartoon of Mohammad, or a dozen of them, or with public remarks that directly or indirectly hold Islam and Muslims responsible for terrorism, or publish a scholarly, cogent paper on the totalitarian and brutal natures of Islam, or give a mooning “arse-lifter” on a public street the literal boot in a heart-felt moment of disrespect for a manqué bowing to meteorite and who’s in your way.

Of course, the remarks, the charges, the papers, and even the disrespect are responses to about thirty years of irrational Muslim behavior.

Any one of those actions will precipitate riots, calls for death to apostates and insulters of Islam, noisy, ugly demonstrations, chants of “Islam will dominate,” the waving of black jihad flags, and general pandemonium across the globe. And a few dozen or few score deaths at the hands of the insulted. All incidents starring Muslims. Not to mention the self-censorship of newspapers and book publishers, who abandon the issue for safety reasons; who, to borrow a line from “Seinfeld,” draw their heads into their shells like frightened turtles.

When the fires have been put out and the streets cleared of debris and the signs stashed away until the next defamation or insult, things will be quiet for a while.

Then will come calls to tone down the anger and the rhetoric – addressed, not to the rioters, murderers, and Muslim clerics – but to those whose words, cartoons, or actions “offended” the congenitally offendable. The calls will be made by those responsible for keeping law and order and establishing policy. In order to maintain civil order and manageable budgets, it is decreed that anyone criticizing Islam or making fun of Islam and Muslims, will be charged with hate speech, or exhibiting disrespect for one of the world’s oldest religions, or some such, in order to prevent more destructive and costly demonstrations. It’s a matter of cause and effect, you see. If Muslim feelings weren’t hurt, if their beliefs weren’t examined or satirized or opened to the cruel sunlight of rational scrutiny, Muslims wouldn’t resort to mayhem, rape, murder, and car-burning.

It’s quite simple. Almost scientific. Just like global warming.

The calls come basically from two sets of liberals: those who are outraged that Islam has been insulted or defamed, because they are so tolerant and non-judgmental and it makes them feel good and virtuous to be so tolerant and non-judgmental; and from those who are intimidated by brute force and ugly chants and irrational behavior of any kind, and they’d just rather people shut up in the name of “community cohesion” so they won’t need to hear or see the brute force and ugly chants of those less “cohesed” than they might want to imagine.

The pattern has been repeated numerous times over the last few decades. It works. It gets results. Why? Because our political and intellectual establishments are governed by egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and moral relativism. That is, by the irrational. And irrational policies benefit only the irrational, and punish the rational. There are two classes of irrationalists: those who are irrational on principle – otherwise known as nihilists – and those whose minds have been enfeebled by egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and moral relativism. Both classes can be identified by their political correctness.

But it takes some shoulder-rubbing and much intensive study to distinguish between the nihilists and the white-tailed deer, between those who want to just shut you up and reduce you to rags, and those who flee at the first sign of a wolf.

Having proven that their mumbo-jumbo works on the cowardly and credulous infidels, the irrationalists are taking their alchemy to a new level: a ban – by hook or by crook, by shame or by sedition, by ostracism or by force – of any and all criticism of Islam and Muslims, by way of the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC is a gang that works within that club of tyrannies, dictatorships, religious régimes, and clueless, compliant, and wimpy “democracies.”

Much more HERE

Must not insult Muslim "honour"

Others would call it a complete lack of honour

Cowering under her living room table with a duvet for comfort, Dr Alison Hewitt prepared to spend a sleepless night in her small Brighton flat.

In one hand, the trainee GP clutched her mobile phone ready to dial 999 at the slightest noise. In the other, she gripped her alarm clock which, she reasoned, would provide a useful source of light in an emergency. Then, uncertain if she would survive the night, she waited.

Alison was convinced that she was about to be visited by her ex-boyfriend Al Amin Dhalla, who had subjected her and her family to a vicious campaign of harassment over several months.

Her terror was heightened knowing that police, who knew all about Dhalla, had freed him on bail after finding him firing a cache of weapons – including a crossbow, air pistol and air rifle – in the Wiltshire countryside. In his car, police had found masking tape, tools and a satnav that was programmed with addresses for Alison and her mother. His claim that he had been carrying out target practice suddenly held chilling significance.

The discovery was terrifying enough to force Alison, 37, to calculate where best to position her makeshift bed if, as she feared, Dhalla turned up with a crossbow.

Last week, Dhalla, 42, a Canadian who worked in the City, was found guilty of nine charges following a four-week trial at Lewes Crown Court, including two counts of harassment, theft, arson with intent to endanger life, criminal damage and possession of an offensive weapon.

Dhalla was described as a narcissistic psychopath whose outwardly mild-mannered personality and stable career was completely at odds with a violent and obsessive streak, which was only revealed after he was spurned by Alison after a year-long romance.

She has endured what she describes as a nightmare so far-fetched and surreal that she still struggles to understand it.

Speaking at her mother's thatched cottage in the pretty hamlet of Aston Abbotts near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, she says: 'I've been in major shock and total disbelief all the way through. I'm still in shock. I've also felt humiliated and mortified that I let these things happen, that my judgment was so bad.

To anyone who met Dhalla, he appeared a gentle and unassuming man with impeccable manners.

Dhalla, from Toronto, told Alison he was 35, had been in the UK for five years and was orphaned when his parents died in a car crash. All would later turn out to be lies. But he maintained the pretence – and confessed his love for Alison within two months.

He demonstrated an odd determination to move in to her flat by bringing a bag of possessions each time he visited, and Alison was flattered. After all, she was busy at work and he seemed happy to look after her.

Alison's suspicions about Dhalla were first aroused when he was introduced to her family at the wedding of Alison's mother Pamela, 66, who married David Gray in June 2010. Alison's father Anthony, a social worker and lecturer, had died 15 years previously.

Alison recalls: 'My gran confided she thought there was something suspicious about Al. She'd asked him about the car crash and decided that he was evasive. She wondered whether he was married or had kids.'

David's job, as a weapons scientist with BME, a subsidiary of global defence giant BAE Systems, required him to notify his employers of any changes to personal circumstances. Since he had recently remarried, he had mentioned his new stepdaughter's boyfriend.

Alison says: 'David's company had carried out some basic screening and some suspicions had been raised. It was vague, but suggested a criminal record. They had also hired this private detective who said Al had lied on his visa to get into the UK. He'd put "doctor in training" for his job.'

The family told Alison to leave Dhalla, saying he was dangerous, and she moved out of her flat and into a Premier Inn for some breathing space. She soon returned – after being pestered by Dhalla's telephone calls to the hotel – but after the inquest in mid-December, Alison finally confronted the relationship.

Then Dhalla's employers received an anonymous letter repeating the claim that he had lied on his work visa, and he resigned rather than face an investigation. Alison believes it was the private investigator who tipped them off, but it gave her the strength to summon her courage.

On Christmas Eve, just before starting a night shift at the hospital, she suggested they should break up. He seemed calm, and said he'd think about it. When Alison came home the following morning, their Christmas decorations, including the Christmas tree, had all gone. 'Al was angry,' she says. 'He said the decorations were in the bin outside, along with a butterfly picture from the wall and my medical degree certificate, which he'd ripped apart. That really upset me.'

On January 8, 2011, David and Alison's brother, Paul, persuaded Dhalla to move out. But Dhalla did not take rejection well.

She says: 'For the first time, I saw his eyes blazing. His pupils were animated and angry, like he was enjoying the argument. It was suddenly really intimidating. I had to promise to see him on Monday to get him to leave. But I spoke to the police and they agreed to come along and arrest him on Monday night.'

Dhalla was arrested on March 28 as he arrived at Alison's flat, on suspicion of harassment and theft of documents. He was given a restraining order, banning him from Sussex and forbidding him from contacting Alison or her family.

But on April 4 a policeman arrived at Alison's work to tell her about the arrest in Wiltshire, and how Dhalla had been shooting at targets in a field. Though his anger had clearly escalated, he was released on bail the next day. Alison says: 'I was really shocked. I had felt relieved that he would be locked up. I just knew he would come and find me. The police put a red alert against my phone number and address.

At 3am, police arrived at Alison's flat to tell her that her mother's home had been set on fire. Fortunately, the damage was limited to the front door and wall and the thatched roof did not catch alight.

At the time, Pamela and David were away on holiday in a cottage on Lundy Island – but the police were concerned enough about their safety to send a helicopter to airlift them to a safe house in Eastbourne, where Alison had also been taken.

By now, red alerts were also in place on Alison's workplaces and Dhalla was seen on CCTV at the Princess Royal hospital at Haywards Heath, West Sussex, where Alison was working at the time in obstetrics. He had posed as a doctor by stealing a stethoscope and had been asking staff about work rotas.

That night, Dhalla tried to set fire to a police station in Wing, a couple of miles from Alison's mother's home. He returned to the hospital at 5am – when Alison should have been working – and was spotted by staff and locked in a toilet until armed police arrived.

In his hired car, police found a loaded crossbow, a large knife, a claw hammer, pliers, bolt cutters, and a doctor's outfit.

Dhalla's trial lasted four weeks. Alison learnt he had rented a flat on a neighbouring street in Brighton in a bid to follow her movements, and police later said that arresting him had prevented three murders. He is due to be sentenced in April.

Alison is still unable to reconcile the apparently gentle man she knew with the armed stalker in the dock. 'I never want to see him again,' she says. 'I feel very sad that this happened, and that people can have such anger and revenge in them that it gets so out of control. I feel sad about the whole thing, rather than angry, but I know I'll recover.'

More here


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. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Meet the ‘Mosquebusters’: British Legal Team Out to Stop Islamic Influence in its Tracks

Meet the Mosquebusters — or as they’re officially known, the Law and Freedom Foundation – a group of anti-Islamic vigilantes in Britain with a subtler approach than their peers: Rather than picket Mosque sites, or lead demonstrations of any kind, they sue under Britain’s byzantine legal code to make it illegal for those Mosques to be built in the first place.

Anti-Islamic sentiment in Britain is not new. Groups such as such as England Is Ours and Stop Islamisation of Europe have, for some time, been defending what they see as traditional British/Western culture against a group they see as closeted Islamic extremists who will kill “infidels” or take slaves at the drop of a hat. In fact, they believe that the Koran urges precisely that. Some — like the English Defence League (EDL) — verge on paramilitary fascism in their use of tactics.

Others simply run around in public yelling incendiary phrases. The Mosquebusters, however, are apparently clever enough to avoid those obvious trappings of pro-Western resistance. Foreign Policy Magazine describes their approach as “a war against Islam, but one that often resembles a bureaucratic turf battle more than a clash of civilizations.”

Their leader, who calls himself “The Lawman,” also takes a subtler approach to the question of fighting Islamic influence in Britain. Rather than play into liberal stereotypes of “Islamophobia” and racism, he makes it very clear up front that what concerns him is Islamic doctrine, not people. From his manifesto: “It is primarily about the division between Islamic and non-Islamic society, and the lawless violence at the heart of Islamic doctrine and practice.”

The key message, especially for those with concerns about scandals like the one surrounding the Mosque being built at Ground Zero last year, is as follows:

It’s very seldom that a Mosque outfit will put forward a Mosque calling it a Mosque. They will always try and say it’s for the benefit of the community, it’s a prayer room, it’s a community center for all faiths or all ethnicities. No, it’s not, it’s going to be a Mosque, and if you disobey parts of Islamic law whilst you’re on the premises, you’d better look out. They go under all kinds of names and local authorities lap it up because local authorities are afraid to nullify the politically correct gravy train that they’re riding. It’s good business for them, and things go through under all kind of euphemisms, but they are Mosques.

Foreign Policy:

It’s not religious practice, claim the Mosquebusters, it’s parking. Or noise pollution. Or building codes. And with downloadable petition templates, generic letters to councilors, and free legal advice for begrudged locals, it‘s Boby’s mission to make it as easy as possible for your average, disgruntled suburbanite to join in. If there’s a trial or hearing about planned construction, Boby will come down to the courthouse to provide free legal representation; if a mosque site has been proposed, he’ll arrange volunteers to paper a neighbourhood with flyers.

But the Mosquebusters aren’t just a resource for aggrieved pensioners — the group actually wants its volunteers to spread out, actively trolling city planning offices and public records for mosque applications. “It is satisfying detective work, rooting around Islamic deviousness!” reads the instructional e-mail sent to volunteers.

The process begins by searching for D1 planning applications (non-residential buildings), then checking floor plans for a “prayer room,” checking names of applicants and agents for names that sound Muslim. “It might be lodged under the label of ‘multi-faith center‘ or ’community center,’” says Boby. “Mosque applicants are crafty and often try to hide what it’s really about.”

It might seem that the Mosquebusters is a quixotic, xenophobic campaign limited to a handful of small towns in England, but it has ties to other anti-Islamic groups around the world. People from Australia, Canada, Germany, Scandinavia, and the United States comment on the Mosquebusters website regularly, and the group is often written about by far-right organizations.

“Mosquebusters racks up another win, all was needed was for someone to oppose it’s [the mosques] construction,” crows Tundra Tabloids, a Scandinavian website that claims to keep tabs on the political correctness that allows Islamic extremism to flourish. “This is brilliant. I hope council was paying close attention,” reads a caption on MRCTV, a right-wing news website.


Trees cut down after single complaint about 'slippery berries'

A British bureaucracy would not of course think of consulting with the public

A British council cut down three well-loved rowan trees after receiving just one complaint that fallen berries posed a "slip risk".

Croydon council sent in tree surgeons earlier this month to chop down the 20ft trees, outside warden-assisted accommodation for the elderly.

The trees had been planted at the south London housing complex, Ashwood Gardens, more than 30 years ago.

Pensioners living there spoke of their anger at the council’s action, and even suggested that the name Ashwood Gardens was no longer appropriate.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “The area we live in is very urban and the trees were put up in the 1980s to give at least a sense of being close to the country. "But now everyone thinks the name of the accommodation should be changed as it can hardly be classed as a 'garden’ any more.”

Susan Findlay, 72, who has lived there for three years, said: “No one could quite believe it. "The beautiful trees have gone. They have been here for decades, more than 30 years, and now all that has gone to waste.

“The council worker told me the trees were being chopped down because there was a fear that one of us could fall over by slipping on the berries which had fallen from the trees, but it is just rubbish. I cannot believe the council has listened to just one person.”

A spokesman for the council confirmed it had received one complaint about berries “causing a slip risk”.


Swedish Artist Egged During Lecture on Muhammad Cartoons & Free Speech

Swedish artist Lars Vilks is no stranger to controversy. In the past, he has angered Muslims by creating drawings and art that are highly critical of the Prophet Muhammad. On Tuesday, Vilks, 65, was speaking at Karlstad University in central Sweden when protesters (purportedly Muslims) began attacking the artist with eggs. Ironically, he was invited to the university to speak about free expression (he also presented yet another drawing of Muhammad).

According to Vilk’s account, around a dozen people started yelling at him and throwing eggs while he was addressing the audience. Of course, this isn‘t the first time he’s been targeted and it likely won’t be the last — something the well-known figure has accepted.

“They were just waiting for the right moment to go to attack,” he told the Associated Press. “I’ve experienced this so much now. It is what it is. You have to expect these things. I have good protection and it works the way it should.”

Video footage of the incident shows Vilks running away with security guards covering him as the eggs were hurled in his direction. The disruption, while chaotic, lasted only about one minute and Vilks is said to have not been hit (though individuals assisting him were visibly pelted with the eggs):

“They were also shouting some slogans. We removed them as well as two people who had started shouting back at the 15 (egg throwers)”, explained Tommy Lindh, a police spokesperson. “At the time it was a bit tumultuous but the commotion only lasted for about a minute.”

The Local reports: "The local Islamic Culture Association (Islamiska kulturföreningen) and Karlstad Young Muslims (Unga muslimer i Karlstad) had called for a boycott of the lecture earlier in the day, writing in a statement that Vilks ”abuses the freedom of speech that we all enjoy and uses it in such a way as to create tensions in society.”

During the question and answer period, Vilks spoke of the importance of preventing censorship: “Insults are part of democratic society. If we begin censoring ourselves, it will mean undermining freedom of speech in the long run,” he said. “I don’t think that the problem is that artists are too provocative but that we are not provocative enough.”

Vilks has received death threats in the past from radical Islamists, particularly as a result of his depiction of Muhammad as a dog back in 2007. In 2010, two brothers were put in jail after trying to burn his home down and, in 2011, a Pennsylvania woman pleaded guilty of participating in a plot to kill the artist.

This isn‘t the first lecture during which he’s had problems. In 2010, he was forced to cancel an event at another university after protesters stormed the stage and clashed with police officers.


'Live in the real world' - Australian judge backs smacks

SMACKING your kids can be OK, a judge said yesterday. Judge Paul Conlon yesterday overturned the assault conviction of a stepfather who cuffed his 13-year-old stepson lightly over the head after he swore at his mother and refused to wash the dishes.

The man also grabbed the boy on top of his arm when he tried to go to the bathroom to get out of chores.

The man had been convicted in Wollongong Local Court of assault causing actual bodily harm after the boy's birth father called police. The court had rejected the man's rarely used defence of "lawful correction".

In a decision that will further inflame the debate about smacking, Judge Conlon said children needed effective discipline. "One of the reasons that so many young persons find themselves in trouble with the law is that there has been an absence of any effective discipline in their lives," Judge Conlon said in the NSW District Court.

"I find that the application of that physical force was reasonable, having regard to the fact that the complainant was a healthy 13-year-old boy," he said.

The judge said there was no way he was condoning violence against children. "However, it is a sad day when caring parents, attempting to impart some discipline to the little princes and princesses, are dragged before our courts and have convictions imposed against them in circumstances such as the present," he said.

Judge Conlon said anti-smacking "experts" did not "live in the real world".



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. 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, February 25, 2012

Muslim Admits to Attacking Atheist; Muslim Judge Dismisses Case -- in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania State Director of American Atheists, Inc., Mr. Ernest Perce V., was assaulted by a Muslim while participating in a Halloween parade. Along with a Zombie Pope, Ernest was costumed as Zombie Muhammad. The assault was caught on video, the Muslim man admitted to his crime and charges were filed in what should have been an open-and-shut case. That’s not what happened, though.

The defendant is an immigrant and claims he did not know his actions were illegal, or that it was legal in this country to represent Muhammad in any form. To add insult to injury, he also testified that his 9 year old son was present, and the man said he felt he needed to show his young son that he was willing to fight for his Prophet.

The case went to trial, and as circumstances would dictate, Judge Mark Martin is also a Muslim. What transpired next was surreal. The Judge not only ruled in favor of the defendant, but called Mr. Perce a name and told him that if he were in a Muslim country, he’d be put to death. Judge Martin’s comments included,
“Having had the benefit of having spent over 2 and a half years in predominantly Muslim countries I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact I have a copy of the Koran here and I challenge you sir to show me where it says in the Koran that Mohammad arose and walked among the dead. I think you misinterpreted things. Before you start mocking someone else’s religion you may want to find out a little bit more about it it makes you look like a dufus and Mr. (Defendant) is correct. In many Arabic speaking countries something like this is definitely against the law there. In their society in fact it can be punishable by death and it frequently is in their society.

Judge Martin then offered a lesson in Islam, stating,
“Islam is not just a religion, it’s their culture, their culture. It’s their very essence their very being. They pray five times a day towards Mecca to be a good Muslim, before you die you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca unless you are otherwise told you can not because you are too ill too elderly, whatever but you must make the attempt. Their greetings wa-laikum as-Salâm (is answered by voice) may god be with you. Whenever, it’s very common when speaking to each other it’s very common for them to say uh this will happen it’s it they are so immersed in it.

Judge Martin further complicates the issue by not only abrogating the First Amendment, but completely misunderstanding it when he said,
“Then what you have done is you have completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very very very offensive. I’m a Muslim, I find it offensive. But you have that right, but you’re way outside your boundaries or first amendment rights. This is what, and I said I spent about 7 and a half years living in other countries. when we go to other countries it’s not uncommon for people to refer to us as ugly Americans this is why we are referred to as ugly Americans, because we are so concerned about our own rights we don’t care about other people’s rights as long as we get our say but we don’t care about the other people’s say”

But wait, it gets worse. The Judge refused to allow the video into evidence, and then said,
“All that aside I’ve got here basically.. I don’t want to say he said she said but I’ve got two sides of the story that are in conflict with each other.”

And: “The preponderance of, excuse me, the burden of proof… “

And: “…he has not proven to me beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant is guilty of harassment, therefore I am going to dismiss the charge”

The Judge neglected to address the fact that the ignorance of the law does not justify an assault and that it was the responsibility of the defendant to familiarize himself with our laws. This is to say nothing of the judge counseling the defendant that it is also not acceptable for him to teach his children that it is acceptable to use violence in the defense of religious beliefs. Instead, the judge gives Mr. Perce a lesson in Sharia law and drones on about the Muslim faith, inform everyone in the court room how strongly he embraces Islam, that the first amendment does not allow anyone ” to piss off other people and other cultures” and he was also insulted by Mr. Perce’s portrayal of Mohammed and the sign he carried.

This is a travesty. Not only did Judge Martin completely ignore video evidence, but a Police Officer who was at the scene also testified on Mr. Perce’s behalf, to which the Judge also dismissed by saying the officer didn’t give an accurate account or doesn’t give it any weight.

Needless to say, this is totally, completely and unequivocally unacceptable. That a Muslim immigrant can assault a United States citizen in defense of his religious beliefs and walk away a free man, while the victim is chastised and insulted by a Muslim judge who then blamed the victim for the crime committed against him is a horrible abrogation.

This reeks of those cases we used to read about where a woman is blamed for her own rape because she “was asking for it” by virtue of the clothing she chose to wear, and then having the Judge set the rapist free.

I can promise you this, you have not heard the last of this issue. Not by a long shot.


British PM attacks 'snobs' who criticise big business for making money and having 'no moral worth'

David Cameron has made a passionate defence of big business’s ability to change society for the good as he declared it a ‘powerful force for social progress’.

In a speech this afternoon the Prime Minister also spoke out against the growing ‘anti-business snobbery’ towards large firms that claimed money-makers had ‘no inherent moral worth like the state does’.

The business world has been increasingly accused by critics from across the political spectrum of being greedy and out of touch - typified in recent weeks by attacks on bankers’ bonuses.

More fuel was added to the debate today when taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland unveiled losses of £2 billion but revealed it had paid staff nearly £1 billion in bonuses last year.

But Mr Cameron used the speech to industry leaders at a business summit, attended by the Prince of Wales, to counter the accusations.

Speaking at the conference organised by Charles’ Business in the Community (BITC) organisation, he said: ‘In recent months we’ve heard some dangerous rhetoric creep into our national debate that wealth creation is somehow anti-social, that people in business are somehow out for themselves.

‘I think we have to fight this mood with everything that we’ve got. ‘Not just because it is wrong for our economy, because we need the jobs and investment that business brings, but because it is also wrong for our society. ‘Business is not just about making money, vital as it is, it is also the most powerful force for social progress that the world has ever known.’

He added that ‘snobbish attitudes' towards money-makers should also be confronted: He said: ‘The snobbery that says business has no inherent moral worth like the state does, that it isn’t really to be trusted, that it should stay out of social concerns and stick to making the money that pays the taxes.’

Mr Cameron also launched two new initiatives today to improve the ‘transparency’ of business. Philip N Green, the Government’s advisor on corporate responsibility, will chair an informal working group called the Open Business Forum to look at the issue. While an online directory called Trading For Good would be established to allow consumers to learn about small businesses doing ‘good things’ and reward them for it.

The Prime Minister returned to his idea of the 'big society', telling the invited business people from companies as diverse as Thomas Cook, BT and Marks and Spencer: 'Corporate responsibility is an absolutely vital part of my mission for this Government to build a bigger, stronger society.

'The big society is all about people recognising that they have obligations beyond paying their taxes and obeying the law not just doing no harm, but doing good. ‘And this applies to businesses just as much as it does to individuals.’

The Prime Minister's words come after George Osborne's warned of 'an anti-business culture' developing in Britain.

Two weeks ago the Chancellor said the growing row over fat-cat pay and bonuses was threatening the economy. He told a meeting of the Federation of Small Businesses: 'At stake are not pay packages for a few but jobs and prosperity for the many.'

Mr Osborne insisted the Government had to do more for commerce and that he was battling against a 'relentless pressure to regulate' within Whitehall.

In a swipe at the BBC, he said: 'It would be so easy to give into the constant stream of vested interests demanding that you regulate a problem away – every time you are interviewed on the Today programme, or meet with the single issue lobby groups or face the trade union campaigns.

'Everything in politics encourages more red tape – everyone insists government must step in – "something must be done" is always the cry. We have to resist these pressures.'

The Chancellor said he understood public concern about bonuses, but insisted it must not be allowed to undermine efforts to restore growth by curbing rewards for success. 'Of course rewards for failure are unacceptable and those who believe in the free market are the first to say so,' he added. 'But a strong, free market economy must be built on rewards for success.

There are those who are trying to create an anti-business culture in Britain – and we have to stop them.'


Cantuar does rather well in debate with Dawkins

I would have expected rather more waffling from His Grace

God does not "clutter up" explanations of how the universe began, the Archbishop of Canterbury has told Britain's most famous non-believer, Professor Richard Dawkins.

Dr Rowan Williams was speaking during a discussion between the pair at Oxford University on Thursday after Dawkins said he did not see why the archbishop would want to clutter up the explanation "with something so messy as a god".

The archbishop said: "I don't see clutter coming into it at all, I'm not thinking of God as an extra who has to be shoehorned into it."

Dawkins said: "That's the way I see it." And the archbishop replied: "That's where we disagree," going on to say that God was "a combination of love and mathematics".

Earlier in the debate a question was asked as to whether Biblical writers "got it wrong" by not saying that the universe is billions of years old.

The archbishop said: "The writers of the Bible, inspired as I believe they were, were not inspired to do 21st century physics, they were inspired to pass on to their readers what God wanted them to know.

"In the first book of the Bible is the basic information - the universe depends on God, humanity has a very distinctive role in that universe and humanity has made rather a mess of it."

Dawkins said: "I am baffled by the way sophisticated theologians who know Adam and Eve never existed still keep talking about it."

The archbishop replied: "It's something that's not a 21st century innovation, but the way people have read Genesis since very early days."

Dawkins said during the debate that he is an agnostic. It was put to him that he is described as the world's most famous atheist. "Not by me," he said. But he was not the kind of agnostic who thought there was a 50/50 chance that God existed. "On a scale of seven, where one means I know he exists, and seven I know he doesn't, I call myself a six." He went on to say he was a "6.9", saying: "That doesn't mean I'm absolutely confident, that I absolutely know, because I don't."

The discussion was on the nature of human beings and the question of their ultimate origin.


It’s Mademoiselle Moutet to you, Monsieur

The French language must not lose the term of address favoured by Chanel and Deneuve, says Anne-Elisabeth Moutet

I commented previously that from what I hear, some French women like to be addressed as "Mademoiselle". Mlle Moutet seems to agree -- JR

It may feel like a victory to all those new feminist groups who’d decided to campaign over it, but I for one shall be sorry to see my Mademoiselle disappear from official French forms. The agitators had been after it for some time, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that if you want a quick media victory, you need only ask Nicolas Sarkozy when he’s running for a difficult re-election.

The issues that really matter to French women – like, say, equal salary in the workplace (women currently earn 27 per cent less than men in the same job) or the dearth of female bosses in the top corporations (current number: 0) – aren’t about to be addressed any time soon. Far too complicated. But a purely cosmetic change that few, apart from a handful of spin-savvy groups such as Les Chiennes de Garde (Guard Bitches) really cared about? A push two months before the first round of the Présidentielles will get you an administrative decision guaranteeing headlines around the world.

It’s not that I disagree with everything the brash French women’s groups have been fighting for. But was it really necessary to deprive the French language of such an interesting nuance simply because it gives an indication of one’s married status? And don’t give me the line about demoiselle meaning “a virgin” in the 16th century. Nobody remembers that any more, and even back then, it only applied to the noble 1 per cent. The others had to make do with fille or jeune fille; a spinster, until about half a century ago, was known as une vieille fille.

But Mademoiselle? It always had its own panache, from princess to Grande Cocotte to stage diva. Think Sarah Bernhardt or Miss Howard, Napoleon III’s mistress. In French history, La Grande Mademoiselle (as court protocol correctly styled her) is a true heroine: Louis XIV’s first cousin, Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier, led the aristocratic revolt known as the Fronde at the age of 25 against her young cousin’s project of absolute power. The Grande Mademoiselle led troops, rallied Orléans under siege, and had the Bastille cannons fired against the king’s army. At the age of 43 she married, against the wishes of the king, a nobleman who was six years her junior and whom she had freed from prison; she did eventually kick him out when he cheated (too much) on her.

By Emile Zola’s time, in his great novel of the late 19th-century department stores, The Ladies’ Paradise, Mademoiselle was being used as a class put-down. A staid bourgeois lady deploys it pointedly when addressing a shop assistant. But these days, Madame used in the same context sounds unbearably dowdy; it’s Mademoiselles who dress in Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant or Jean Paul Gaultier. Karl Lagerfeld, meanwhile – a man of variegated insults distributed with easy abandon – used the word “dadame” to describe to me the House of Chanel BK (Before Karl). In his mouth, it was the supreme term of abuse.

Madame was deemed an insult, too, by Coco Chanel herself. A thoroughly modern woman, she always insisted on being Mademoiselle Chanel. She had lovers, but no husband; she had an English duke, Bendor Westminster, stamp every signpost and lamp in London with her initials; she used men’s shapes and fluid jerseys to build clothes in which women could run, play, show their bodies.

Take another famous Mademoiselle-by-choice, Catherine Deneuve. Never mind that she was married to David Bailey and had high-profile affairs and children with Roger Vadim and Marcello Mastroianni. She was resolutely never Madame. Compare her with Vadim’s earlier wife, Brigitte Bardot, who did become a Madame, several times over. It’s difficult not to see Bardot, who gave up her career early on to devote much of her time to animal welfare and the cause of Marine Le Pen, as more of a victim than a feminist star.

By contrast, Deneuve, a style icon and a great beauty at 68, comes off as a winner. When I interviewed Vadim, a surprisingly spiteful serial seducer of great beauties, he was still resentful of Deneuve, decades later, for never marrying him. She had dropped him! Like une tonne de briques! She controlled their son’s education! She went on to have a better career after she left! As far as Deneuve was concerned, calling a woman Madame certainly meant making her walk three paces behind, metaphorically speaking.

Far from indicating a kind of mere real‑woman-in-waiting status, Mademoiselle had become pretty useful to sandbag some people into realising that you are making your own way on your own terms. I plan to keep using it, and intend to encourage my independent‑minded friends to do the same.

After all, now it’s no longer official, we can truly celebrate it as the ultimate rebellion.



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. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.