Friday, November 30, 2012

A One-Sided Suicide Pact in Germany


Soeren Kern, writing for the Gatestone Institute in his November 16th article, "IslamNeeds a Fair Chance in Germany," reported a significant development in Germany that portends dire consequences for that benighted nation and for all of Europe: the city of Hamburg signed a "treaty" with organizations representing its Islamic population.

The "treaty" features a series of concessions, not by the Muslims to secular authority, but by the secular government of Hamburg to the Muslims. The "treaty," which requires ratification by the city's Parliament, grants Muslims "rights" and "privileges" enjoyed by no other religious group there.
The November 13 agreement, signed by Hamburg's Socialist Mayor Olaf Scholz and the leaders of four Muslim umbrella groups, is being praised by the proponents of multiculturalism for putting the northern port city's estimated 200,000 Muslims on an equal footing with Christian residents....

    The most controversial part of the accord involves a commitment by the city government to promote the teaching of Islam in the Hamburg public school system. The agreement grants the leaders of Hamburg's Muslim communities a determinative say in what will be taught by allowing them to develop the teaching curriculum for Islamic studies.

    Moreover, Muslim officials will also be able to determine who will (and who will not) be allowed to teach courses about Islam in city schools. In practice, this means that only Muslims will be allowed to teach Islam and that pupils will not be exposed to any critical perspectives about the religious, social and political ideology of Islam.

    Under the wide-ranging accord, Muslims in Hamburg will also have the right to take three Islamic holidays as days off from work. Up until now, it has been up to individual employers to decide whether or not to grant Muslim staff religious days off on a case-by-case basis. In addition, Muslim students will be exempt from attending school on Muslim holidays.

    The agreement also includes provisions for the construction of more mosques in Hamburg, the upkeep of cultural Islamic facilities, the authorization for Muslims to bury their dead without the use of coffins, as well as the counseling of patients and prison inmates by Muslim clerics.

Moreover, the "treaty" will guarantee "broadcast slots alongside Protestant and Catholic broadcasts on public and private radio and television, as well as broadcasting council seats for Muslims with the northern Germany NDR public broadcaster and Germany's federal ZDF television channel."

When has one ever heard of Muslims making concessions to the secular authority of a country they have settled in? "We will stop harassing, beating up, and shooting Jews. We will stop desecrating Jewish and Christian cemeteries. We will stop vandalizing churches and synagogues. We will stop preying on white non-Muslim women and raping them. We will stop demanding that people cease defaming, criticizing, and mocking Islam. We will stop subjecting our women to clitoral amputation. We will stop persecuting gays and apostates. We will stop murdering, maiming, or disfiguring Muslim women who refuse to wear any kind of head covering or veils or any other kind of effacing clothing. We will stop forcing our women into arranged marriages. We will stop the brutal butchering of animals by bleeding them to death while they are still conscious. We will stop demanding that infidels and non-believers respect and observe our holidays. We will stop...."

Well, no, they won't. Why should they? They've got the tiger by the tail, and the tiger is a toothless polecat.


The edifice of marriage is always worth repairing

Wedded bliss doesn't exist - but a deeper passion does happen.  Comment from Britain

There are innumerable reasons to admire our monarch, but 65 years of conjugal accord comes close to topping the list. Note that I do not use the trite expression "wedded bliss". I have yet to meet any long-hitched couple who've been skipping around in a permanent state of ecstasy for multiple decades. Most lengthy relationships are only one part romance to two parts endurance test. Many people claim they're never bored in their marriage, when what they really mean is they are yoked to someone who takes eccentricity and intransigence to new heights of bloody-mindedness.

Even when you do have the great good fortune to be married to someone interesting, they can't be riveting over the cornflakes every day for 50 years. My own husband is a walking compendium of intriguing facts, but I still want to sink an axe into his skull every time he mentions local planning regs. It's no wonder that when the late Anne Bancroft was asked the secret of her 41-year marriage to Mel Brooks, she growled, "Just working hard." I bet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would concur with that: not only have they had to head up "the Firm" for 65 gruelling years, they have also had to support three of their children through equally testing matrimonial disappointments.

I couldn't help but imagine the Duke sending a salute across the ether to retired Navy officer Nick Crews, whose excoriating email to his divorced children bemoaned their "copulation-driven" splits. I don't imagine Crews is any more prudish than most naval men of his ilk - more likely he believes it's weedy to abandon a decent spouse for the sake of erotic diversion. In the not-so-distant past, couples worked their way through such indiscretions in the same way they would tackle financial or medical problems: there may have been damage to the render and chimney pots, but nothing that troubled the whole stately edifice. But we Generation X types are too recreation-minded to bother with tedious repairs; it's no wonder we find the long-entwined so mesmerising, yet baffling.

I have had some fun imagining what Crews would say about the female banker who reportedly divorced her husband because of his "boring attitude" to sex. I imagine it would be something along the lines of, "Brace up woman! My generation didn't get to where we are today without enduring a spot of sexual tedium." As any marital veteran will tell you, you can cherish a passion for your spouse that's far deeper than mere sexual flames. However, you may have to stick in your marriage for a fair few decades to appreciate that wisdom.


Children must experience nature in order to learn that  it's worth saving

Britain's Greenie George gets practical

We don't have to disparage the indoor world, which has its own rich ecosystem, to lament children's disconnection from the outdoor world. But the experiences the two spheres offer are entirely different. There is no substitute for what takes place outdoors; not least because the greatest joys of nature are unscripted. The thought that most of our children will never swim among phosphorescent plankton at night, will never be startled by a salmon leaping, a dolphin breaching, the stoop of a peregrine, the rustle of a grass snake is almost as sad as the thought that their children might not have the opportunity.

The remarkable collapse of children's engagement with nature - which is even faster than the collapse of the natural world - is recorded in Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods, and in a report published recently by Britain's heritage conservation body, the National Trust. Since the 1970s the area in which children may roam without supervision has decreased by almost 90 per cent. In one generation the proportion of children regularly playing in wild places in Britain has fallen from more than half to fewer than one in 10. In the US, in just six years (1997-2003) children with particular outdoor hobbies fell by half. Eleven- to 15-year-olds in Britain now spend, on average, half their waking day in front of a screen.

There are several reasons for this collapse: parents' irrational fear of strangers and rational fear of traffic, the destruction of the fortifying commons where previous generations played, the quality of indoor entertainment, the structuring of children's time, the criminalisation of natural play. The great indoors, as a result, has become a far more dangerous place than the diminished world beyond.

The rise of obesity, rickets and asthma and the decline in cardio-respiratory fitness are well documented. Louv also links the indoor life to an increase in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other mental ill health. Research conducted at the University of Illinois suggests that playing among trees and grass is associated with a marked reduction in indications of ADHD, while playing indoors or on tarmac appears to increase them. The disorder, Louv suggests, ''may be a set of symptoms aggravated by lack of exposure to nature''. Perhaps it's the environment, not the child, that has gone wrong.

In her famous essay The Ecology of Imagination in Childhood, Edith Cobb proposed that contact with nature stimulates creativity. Reviewing the biographies of 300 ''geniuses'', she exposed a common theme: intense experiences of the natural world in the middle age of childhood (between five and 12). Animals and plants, she contended, are among ''the figures of speech in the rhetoric of play . which the genius in particular of later life seems to recall''.

Studies in several nations show that children's games are more creative in green places than in concrete playgrounds. Natural spaces encourage fantasy and roleplay, reasoning and observation. The social standing of children there depends less on physical dominance, more on inventiveness and language skills. Perhaps forcing children to study so much, rather than running wild in the woods and fields, is counter-productive.

And here we meet the other great loss. Most of those I know who fight for nature are people who spent their childhoods immersed in it. Without a feel for the texture and function of the natural world, without an intensity of engagement almost impossible in the absence of early experience, people will not devote their lives to its protection. The fact that at least half the published articles on ash dieback have been illustrated with photos of beeches, sycamores or oaks seems to me to be highly suggestive.


Yet More Sexual Insanity

The architects of the sexual revolution have a lot to answer for. Part of the 60s counter-culture revolution, the sexual anarchists did all they could to remake society in their own sordid image. And sadly they have basically succeeded. The levels of sexual insanity seem to be at an all time high.

But scarier yet, there seems to be no end in sight to the perversion and degeneracy. Everywhere we look we see more bitter fruit from the 60s sex revolution. A day does not go by without more examples of how Western societies are committing sexual hara-kiri.

So let me offer you four more recent examples of this. Undoubtedly next week I will have another four or so for you. But these matters must be pointed out, if for no other reason that it might produce a backlash of common sense and moral revulsion. Who knows, maybe this can be turned around if enough folks wake up to this reality.

Let me begin in Europe. Consider this headline: "Sex therapists call for legalisation of `virtual' child porn to `relieve paedophiles' urges'." The article begins, "Two sex therapists have sparked outrage in the Netherlands by calling for `virtual' child porn to be legalised to relieve the urges of paedophiles.

"Amsterdam hospital sexologists Rik van Lunsen and Erik van Beek claim allowing perverts to view drawings or computer-generated images of children would `regulate their desires'. The Netherlands outlawed all sexual representation of children in 2002 as technology made imaginary images too realistic.

"But Mr Van Beek told the Dutch media:'I think that repressing you fantasies can lead to frustration and ultimately, for some types of paedophile, to a greater likelihood of doing something wrong. `If you make virtual child pornography under strict government control with a label explaining that no child was abused, you can give paedophiles a way of regulating their sexual urges.'

"Mr van Lunsen added: `We don't make enough of a distinction in public debate between "healthy" paedophiles, people who are not paedosexually active, and delinquent paedosexuals. We're not responsible for our thoughts or our fantasies, we're only responsible for one thing - our actions'."

There you go folks - according to these two sexperts, there are "healthy" paedophiles, and we cannot control what we think about. Yeah right. What planet is this pair living on? But wait, there's more. Things are not a whole lot better in Britain.

Check out this headline: "Primary school teachers `could face sack' for refusing to promote gay marriage". As the news item reports: "Liz Truss, an education minister, refused to rule out the possibility that teachers, even in faith schools, could face disciplinary action for objecting on grounds of conscience.

"Miss Truss said simply that it was impossible to know what the impact of the legislation would be at this stage. Her admission came in a letter to a fellow Conservative MP, David Burrowes, last month. Mr Burrowes, a practising Christian, originally wrote to Maria Miller, the equalities minister, raising concerns about the impact on schools of the Coalition's plans to change the marriage laws.

"It followed the publication of a legal opinion by Aidan O'Neill QC, a barrister in the same London chambers as Cherie Blair, commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage, which campaigns against same-sex unions. Mr O'Neill, an expert on human rights, was asked to advise on the impact redefining marriage to include same-sex couples could have on schools, churches, hospitals, foster carers and public buildings.

"Among his conclusions was that schools could be within their statutory rights to dismiss staff who wilfully fail to use stories or textbooks promoting same-sex weddings. Parents who object to gay marriage being taught to their children would also have no right to withdraw their child from lessons, he argued. And, in theory, the fact that a school was a faith school would make no difference, he added."

In America things are just as bad it seems. From Washington we get this scary story: "Washington College OK's Exposure of Young Girls to Transgender Male in Locker Room". The story goes as follows: "College officials at Washington's Evergreen College gave approval to a transgender male to expose himself to young girls in the locker room. The college told the young girls to dress behind a curtain if they don't like it.

"Alliance Defending Freedom reported: Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to Washington's Evergreen State College Thursday after college officials claimed that its non-discrimination policy doesn't allow the school to stop a man from exposing himself to girls as young as six years old in a women's locker room. A local district attorney has also stated that he doesn't plan to enforce the state's indecent exposure statute to protect the girls.

"The 45-year-old male student, who dresses as a woman and goes by the name Colleen Francis, undressed and exposed his male genitalia on several occasions in the presence of young girls who use the college's locker rooms. Students from Olympia High School and children in the Evergreen Swim Club and Aquatics Academy share use of the locker rooms with the college. Rather than prevent the man from using the locker room, the school has installed curtains and asked the girls to change behind them.

"`Little girls should not be exposed to naked men, period. A college's notions about "non-discrimination" don't change that,' said Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. `The idea that the college and the local district attorney will not act to protect young girls is appalling. What Americans are seeing here is the poisoned fruit of so-called "non-discrimination" laws and policies. Placing this man's proclivities ahead of protecting little girls is beyond unacceptable'."

And in Maine we learn about this: "Middle Schoolers Subjected To Graphic Gay Indoctrination". The report states: "Shortly before Maine became one of the first states to approve gay marriage at the ballot box, a school district in the state was ahead of the curve with a presentation of graphic gay sex acts.

"Promoted as part of the school's `Diversity Day', 25 students in a middle school class were subjected to the filth by a group called Proud Rainbow Youth of Southern Maine. The reprehensible display included advising students about safe homosexual sex acts and suggesting the use of saran wrap during oral sex if a dental dam is not available.

"The mother of one 13-year-old upset by the presentation told the media that the PRYSM speaker also used profanity when spreading the gay-centric message. `I've had to let him know that no matter what situation he gets in, my suggestion is not saran wrap. My suggestion is to abstain altogether,' she said.

"School curricula regularly operates outside of parents' influence, and most children are taught to respect and obey their teachers. It must be incredibly frustrating for the millions of students who hear one view at home and a starkly different opinion in class.

"A spokesperson for Protect Marriage Maine weighed in on the controversial incident, saying this is likely just the tip of the iceberg. `If there was any doubt that gay marriage would be taught to young children in Maine schools just as it is in Massachusetts and Canada, that doubt should be removed now,' he said, adding activists will likely `force gay marriage instruction of young children' now that the state allows such unions."

Talk about bitter fruit. We have had a half century of the sexual revolution and things are looking pretty ugly. But sadly things have likely not bottomed out yet. Hopefully enough concerned parents and others will stand up and be counted here before the West goes the way of Sodom and Gomorrah.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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


Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Left will never learn

The Laffer curve has been well-known since the says of Ronald Reagan and even JFK knew of it, though not by that name:  Beyond a certain point, higher taxes will DECREASE government revenue

Around two thirds of Britain's highest earners deserted the UK after the 50p top rate of tax was introduced, according to figures.

While some 16,000 workers declared an income in excess of £1million in the 2009/10 tax year to HM Revenue and Customs, that number dropped to just 6,000 after then Prime Minister Gordon Brown brought in the new tax rules.

Tax paid by the top earners fell from £13.4billion before the top tax rate came in to £6.5billion in 2010/11.

It is thought that many of the highest earners moved abroad or reduced their taxable incomes to avoid paying the new levy.  Many are said to have avoided paying the new rate either by bringing forward payments or delaying them, by moving earnings abroad or by choosing to work less.

Many now appear to be returning to the UK, with the number of £1million plus earners rising again to 10,000 since Chancellor George Osborne announced that the top tax rate would be reduced to 45p from next April as part of the Budget earlier this year.

But while Conservatives used the figures to claim that Labour's decision to increase the highest rate of tax actually lost Government revenue, Ed Miliband highlighted separate figures to accuse ministers of handing Britain’s rich a tax break worth more than £100,000 yesterday.

Mr Miliband claimed that new figures showed that 8,000 people earning more than £1 million this year would gain an average £107,000 each as a result of George Osborne’s budget decision to cut the top rate to 45p for those earning more than £150,000.

Addressing workers at a sheet metal factory in Stevenage ahead of next week’s autumn statement on the economy, Mr Miliband said they were paying the price for the Government’s decision to stand up for the 'wrong people'.  ‘David Cameron and George Osborne believe the only way to persuade millionaires to make work harder is to give them more money.

But they also seem to believe that the only way to make you work harder is to take money away,’ he said.  ‘Cut your tax credits, squeeze your living standards, get rid of some of the services on which you rely, and put up VAT. That’s where the money is coming from for the millionaires’ tax cut.’

Mr Miliband faced embarrassment earlier this year after wrongly claiming that all millionaires would receive a £40,000 tax cut.

In fact the tax cut relates to earnings, not wealth - and critics pointed out that the Labour leader has assets worth well over £1 million.

Tory sources hit back strongly at Mr Miliband’s latest claim, suggesting that the introduction of the 50p rate was an ‘ideological move’, which had cost the country billions of pounds.

Tory MP Harriet Baldwin, who uncovered the figures suggesting that the 50p tax rate had seen the number of those claiming to earn more than £1million drop, said: ‘Labour’s ideological tax hike led to a tax cull of millionaires. Far from raising funds, it actually cost the UK £7 billion in lost tax revenue.

‘We have taken tough action to clamp down on tax avoidance and make sure those with the broadest shoulders bear the biggest burden.

'That’s why in every single year of this Government the rich will pay a greater share of our nation’s tax revenues than in any one of the 13 years that Labour were in office.’

An HMRC report into the tax concluded there was ‘a considerable behavioural response to the rate change, including a substantial amount of forestalling (deferring income to avoid the tax).’

Mr Osborne insisted on slashing the 50p rate, arguing that it made Britain uncompetitive and deterred entrepreneurs from coming to the UK.

He had wanted to scrap the top rate entirely for anyone earning more than £150,000 a year, but that move was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.

Many Tories believe the cut will lead to higher tax receipts in future, arguing that the wealthy will have less incentive to avoid the lower rate.

The Lib Dems also blocked his plan to reduce the top tax rate to its previous level of 40p, claiming that it would send out the wrong signal at a time when the less well off were being asked to contribute more to paying off the deficit.

Labour will hold a Parliamentry debate today to criticise the reduction of the top rate with senior coalition figures thrashing out next week's Autumn Statement which sets out Government tax policy for next year.


Call a truce, before centuries of free speech are brought to an end

With MPs eager to take power over the press, the Prime Minister must lead them back from the cliff edge

For years, Britain's politicians have wanted to pass judgment on whether the press has been abusing its freedom, but they have encountered a basic constitutional obstacle: the newspapers are not theirs to control, and haven't been since the Licensing Act lapsed in 1695. In the intervening centuries, our country has developed a raucous, hugely popular and uniquely disrespectful press. Jeremy Paxman tells how he was drawn into the trade after being told that the relationship between a journalist and politician should be that between a dog and lamp post. For generations, the lamp post has put up with this. Now it wants its revenge.

In America, free speech is protected under the first amendment to the constitution. In Britain, our liberties have been protected by convention - but they are being heavily undermined. Once, we would have deplored the Bahraini state's actions and asked what kind of regime imprisons people for what they say, as opposed to what they do. Today, we know the answer - as does the teenager recently arrested by Kent police for posting a picture on Armistice Day of a burning poppy; as does Petra Mills, found guilty of racial abuse for calling her neighbour a "stupid, fat Australian". An American is free to say what he pleases. A Briton is not.

Given that the state is busily arresting bloggers and Twitterers - and even disputatious neighbours - freedom of the press all of a sudden starts to look rather anomalous. And when Lord Justice Leveson produces what is likely to be a 200-page J'accuse against our newspapers next week, dozens of Tory MPs have decided what they want the consequence to be. About 70 - including 42 who signed a letter to the Guardian - are pushing the Government to impose a statutory remedy, and No 10 is now briefing that poor David Cameron may have no option. Unless he regulates the press - or, ahem, "protects" press freedom by defining its parameters - then his MPs will rebel.

It is not quite clear at what stage Conservatives stopped thinking that freedom of speech is important, but we have a useful point of comparison. Five years ago, the then Labour-dominated Culture, Media & Sport Committee made a powerful declaration in a report. "Statutory regulation of the press," it concluded, "is a hallmark of authoritarianism and risks undermining democracy." This was a point of principle: you can't have a little bit of state control, any more than you can be a little bit pregnant. Either the press is free, or it must operate within parameters defined by the state.

Inside Downing Street, there is a suspicion that the press are simply hysterical. "Some journalists say their parents fled the Nazis to get away from the kind of press regulation we're looking at," says one No 10 insider. There is genuine bafflement. The Leveson report will not propose that politicians dictate the terms of debate, but may suggest government "underwrites" some new system of regulation designed to protect victims. And everyone, journalists included, must obey libel and other laws anyway. Where is the problem in adding some more?

Lord Justice Leveson famously assured Michael Gove that he does not "need to be told about the importance of free speech". But when the Education Secretary mocked the judge this week for his "truth-telling" skills, he made a deadly serious point. Throughout the inquiry, the judge seemed not to grasp a very important principle: that for a government to prescribe regulation for the press establishes a hierarchy of power - it puts the politicians in charge. It also creates a tool of political control, which can be ratcheted up later. MPs might speak softly, but they would be carrying a very big stick.

Some won't even wait for Leveson. In the past few weeks, as editor of The Spectator, I have been contacted by politicians wanting a quiet word about journalists who have displeased them. One Labour MP complained about something a writer said about him on Twitter. "Does The Spectator want to be associated with someone like that?" he asked. His implication - that the journalist should face sanction for annoying an MP - was repugnant. A week later, a Tory minister called asking me to take down an online article which criticised him. Did it contain any factual errors? No. But I might like to consider whether it was "over the top".

Telephone calls like these simply didn't happen a year ago. Now, our MPs are warming up for an era in which they feel they will - at long last - be the judges of what the press ought to be doing. Fleet Street ought to be outraged at the very idea. But, depressingly, some journalists say they could quite happily live with this set-up, as long as it hurts their rivals more.

Having spoken to some of the Tory MPs who signed the Guardian letter, I am struck by how little thought they have put into the matter. One fact: abuses such as phone hacking are already illegal, which explains why so many journalists will be standing in the dock over coming months. "But it is very Conservative to stand up to power, and the press is too powerful," one Tory told me. A second fact: the press has never been less powerful, which is partly why it's in this mess. When Margaret Thatcher was elected, three quarters of Britons read a national daily newspaper. That's power. Today, just a third of us do. That's a crisis.

If the press really annoys our MPs, they should just be patient. Should David Cameron win a third term - though a second may seem a stretch - there could be no more than a handful of newspapers left to hurl the brickbats or bouquets. On current trends, neither the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Daily Express or the Independent will last until the end of the decade. Their digital-only rivals will be even harder to regulate, especially those headquartered abroad.

And what about publications only put out on iPad? And given that no one even had an iPad three years ago, how do you regulate whatever comes in five years' time?

As so often, it is the Mayor of London who best puts things in perspective. Picking up a gong at The Spectator's Parliamentarian of the Year awards on Wednesday, Boris Johnson appealed for a ceasefire. The battle started, he said, with The Daily Telegraph's investigation into MPs' expenses and now looks like it may escalate into MPs ending Britain's 317-year tradition of press freedom. Michael Gove, looking on, applauded warmly. The MPs who I saw at the Savoy Hotel bar afterwards said that they, too, wanted a truce - but how to calm down the others? Only one man is capable of doing so. This time, there really is no substitute for prime ministerial leadership.


Swedish toy firm drops gender roles for Xmas

Sweden's largest toy chain said Friday that its toys are "gender neutral" after picturing boys holding baby dolls and banishing girls from the dolls pages of its Christmas catalogue.

"We have produced the catalogues for both BR and Toys R Us in a completely different way this year," Jan Nyberg, director of sales at Top Toy, franchise-holder for US toy chain Toys R Us, told the TT news agency Friday.

"With the new gender thinking, there is nothing that is right or wrong. It's not a boy or a girl thing, it's a toy for children."

The country's advertising watchdog (Reklamombudsmannen - RO) reprimanded the company for gender discrimination three years ago following complaints over outdated gender roles in the 2008 Christmas catalogue, which featured boys dressed as superheroes and girls playing princess.

"For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we ... have had to adjust," Nyberg said.

A comparison between this year's Toys R Us catalogues in Sweden and Denmark, where Top Toy is also the franchisee, showed that a boy wielding a toy machine gun in the Danish edition had been replaced by a girl in Sweden.

Elsewhere, a girl was Photoshopped out of the "Hello Kitty" page, a girl holding a baby doll was replaced by a boy, and, in sister chain BR's catalogue, a young girl's pink T-shirt was turned light blue.

Top Toy, Sweden's largest toy retailer by number of stores, said it had received "training and guidance" from the Swedish advertising watchdog, which is a self-regulatory agency.


A feminist revolution that cruelly backfired - and why Amsterdam's legal brothels are a brutal lesson for Britain about telling the truth on sex gangs and race

Seven girls laugh together at the supper table. One talks of her sister, a fashion model signed with a famous London agency. Another mentions her married brother, an artist in the north of England. A third - 17 with blonde hair tucked under an Alice band - says she plans to become a beautician on a cruise ship.

At the small house, the blinds are closed so no one can peep in. Two terriers and a bull mastiff bark ferociously if there is a footstep outside the bolted front door.

For these middle-class girls, groomed into sex slavery by street gangs, have been rescued and are living in a safe house a few miles from De Wallen, the notorious red-light area of Holland's capital, Amsterdam.

They are the lucky ones. Thousands of other young Dutch girls, some only 11 or 12 years old, are still in the power of the prowling gangs after a controversial social experiment to legalise brothels.

In a chilling parallel to the scandal sweeping Britain's towns and cities, where a multitude of girls have been lured into sex-for-sale rings run by gangs, the Dutch pimps search out girls at school gates and in cafes, posing as `boyfriends' promising romance, fast car rides and restaurant meals.

The men ply their victims with vodka and drugs. They tell them lies: that they love them and their families don't care for them. Then, the trap set, they rape them with other gang members, often taking photos of the attack to blackmail the girl into submission.

Befuddled, frightened, and too ashamed to tell parents or teachers, the girls are cynically isolated from their old lives and swept into prostitution. 

So dangerous are the gangs that the girls at the safe house never venture out alone, and when they have a coffee together in the back garden they are not allowed to talk about their past in case neighbours overhear.

`You never know who has big ears,' says Anita de Wit, 48, the mother of three who set up the safe house last month. It is thought to be the first of its kind in the world. `The gangs can kill, and will try to get these girls back because they earn them money. We do not want them coming here to harm them. '

Anything-goes Amsterdam has long been hailed as a sex mecca. The red-light district attracts thousands of customers, many of them tourists, who walk through alleys where half-naked prostitutes prance in the windows of some 300 brothels illuminated with scarlet bulbs.

A century ago, the brothels were banned to stop the exploitation of women by criminal gangs of Dutch men. But gradually the sex establishments crept back, with the authorities turning a blind eye.

In 2000, after pressure from prostitutes (demanding recognition as sex workers with employment rights) and Holland's liberal intelligentsia (championing the choice of women to do what they wished with their bodies), the brothels were legalised. The working girls got permits, medical care, and now there are 5,000 in the red-light district.

But things went badly wrong. Holland's newly legal sex industry was quickly infiltrated by street-grooming gangs with one target: the under-age girl virgin who can be sold for sex.

The men in the gangs are dubbed - incongruously - `lover boys', because of their distinct modus operandi of making girls fall in love with them before forcing them into prostitution at private flats or houses all over Holland, and in the window brothels. The lover boy phenomenon has appalled Dutch society, not least because of the sheer numbers of girls involved.

As Lodewijk Asscher, 38, a leading politician, says: `Hard-line criminal behaviour is happening behind those windows. Girls are physically abused if they don't work hard enough. It is slavery, which was abolished a long time ago in the Netherlands.'

He has championed new rules in Amsterdam's red-light district from January. Prostitutes will sign a register and the minimum age for sex workers will be raised from 18 to 21, to try to stop girls being forced to work by the gangs.

Holland hopes the rot will be halted. Last year, 242 lover boy crimes were investigated by police, half of them involving the forced prostitution of girls under 18. Campaigner Anita de Wit says this is a fraction - `one per cent' - of the true number. `There are thousands of girls being preyed on by male gangs in Holland,' she says.

Anita visits schools to warn girls exactly what a lover boy looks like, and makes no bones of the fact that most of the gangs are operated by Dutch-born Moroccan and Turkish men.

`I am not politically correct. I am not afraid of being called a racist, which would be untrue. I tell the girls that lover boys are young, dark-skinned and very good looking. They will have lots of money and bling as well as a big car. They will give out cigarettes and vodka. They will tell a girl that she is beautiful.

`The gangs know who to pick out: the girl with the confidence problems, with the glasses, or who looks overweight. They flatter her and seem like the "knight in shining armour". She is drawn to her new boyfriend like a magnet.'

Anita's bluntness is a far cry from the approach in Britain, where political correctness has stopped police and social workers telling girls the same home truths: that in many towns, particularly in the north of England, the handsome men chatting them up at the school gate are very likely to be of Pakistani descent. They, too, ply the girls with alcohol and gifts, pretending to be genuine boyfriends.

This week a report into our own sex gangs - by Sue Berelowitz, Deputy Children's Commissioner for England - was criticised (by the NSPCC, among others) for discounting the evident link between Asian gangs and the sexual exploitation of white and mixed race girls. Berelowitz chose to downplay the race factor, despite official figures showing a worrying percentage of men involved in this type of sex crime are of this heritage.

Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Lancashire-based Ramadhan Foundation, a charity working for ethnic harmony, has just visited Holland to see the work of Anita de Wit and her charity `Say No to Lover Boys Now', which believes that girls should be warned where the danger lies - for their own sakes.

He has complained that the British authorities treat the subject as taboo because of fears of being branded racist. `That is wrong. These gangs of men should be treated as criminals whatever their race,' he says.

In Holland, as in Britain, the abusers are drawn from a tiny minority of their communities - which are appalled by their crimes. But the lover boys seem to see white girls as worthless, to be abused without a second thought.

Anita began her campaign when her own daughter, Angelique, then aged 15, was lured into a sex gang after meeting a 21-year-old Moroccan boy at a coffee bar near her school.

Anita was divorced and running a restaurant in a village outside Amsterdam when it all began. It was eight in the evening and Angelique came into the restaurant with three male friends. She said one of them was her new boyfriend, Mohammed. `He had long curly hair, was very handsome and polite to me,' remembers Anita.

`Angelique asked if she could take the three boys back home for a coffee, and I said yes. I was due back at eleven that night and I thought my other two children - Angelique's younger brother, who was 13, and her older sister - would be there.'

But when Anita got home, she found that every bottle in the drinks cabinet was empty. Angelique was lying in bed drunk. Mohammed and his two pals had disappeared. Although Anita did not know it then, Angelique had been raped by two of the men. The other man had taken her son to play football in the park to get him out of the house. Angelique's older sister was, in fact, staying with friends.

`I was horrified,' says Anita. `Angelique lied, saying she had just had too much to drink. I was annoyed she had been drinking at all. I said I did not want Mohammed at my house ever again. We had a row. But that is the classic technique used by the lover boys - they deliberately engineer a rift between the girl and her parents.'

From then on, Angelique's behaviour changed. She went missing from school. If she did go to class, Mohammed and the lover boys would be waiting to pick her up in a big car with dark windows and false number plates. Her teachers complained to Anita, but Angelique was in love with Mohammed and at war with the teachers and her mother.

She would disappear from home for hours, often coming back only late at night. Sometimes, she would go missing for days, saying she had been with friends.

In fact, Angelique had been sleeping with a host of Moroccan men and earning money for her `boyfriend', Mohammed. `Her mobile phone would ring continuously, all day and through the night, too. She would even take it into the loo with her.

`When I looked at it later, there were violent texts saying: "If you don't come out now, you are for it and your family, too,"' recalls Anita today.

After several months, Anita rang the police for help. Her daughter was taken to the family court where a judge placed her under a curfew at home. She had to report to her mother every two hours. `Angelique would come in say hello, and then run out of the house again,' says Anita. `The judge said she had to leave her mobile phone downstairs at night. But the gang just gave her another one, and the men kept ringing her. They gave her cannabis and she became dependent on them for it.'

The judge, in desperation, sent Angelique to a youth prison where, for 11 months, she used her phone card to keep in touch with Mohammed, but gradually the relationship fizzled out. 

When, at last, she was moved to an open centre for troubled youngsters, Anita hoped for the best. But her daughter met another lover boy there. He was called Rashid and was a stooge planted to recruit girls by the gangs. He persuaded her to escape from the centre and together they hitch-hiked to Rotterdam.

There, Angelique found that Rashid was also part of a sex gang. She was put in a seedy house and again made to work as a prostitute.

`She was forced to swallow 14 ecstasy tablets a day and take the date-rape drug, GHB. The gang beat her with a baseball bat if she refused to sleep with the men who were brought to her. They dyed her brown hair with kitchen bleach because they said men would pay more for blondes. She's never told me how many men she had to go with,' says Anita. After six weeks, Angelique escaped. She ran to a shop and called her mother, who brought her home.

Yet - incredibly enough - even then the lover boys came after her. She visited the city centre with a girlfriend and a stranger, a young Moroccan, asked her out for a date. He promised Angelique that he was a proper boyfriend, that he loved her: but he was grooming her, too.

The Moroccan plied her with drugs, and asked her to live with him in a flat near the red-light district. When Angelique, by now 18, agreed, he said he was in debt and put her to work in the De Wallen window brothels.

`I went to see her in the windows,' says Anita. `I had to keep in touch with my daughter. It was only in January of last year that she realised she had been exploited by the gang and returned home at last.'

Angelique's story is terrifying. But, at the safe house, there are equally disturbing tales. There is Eline, who was an 18-year-old virgin when she met a Turkish lover boy at a New Year party at her local youth club.

Eline thought she was in love with him, but within a few weeks the rest of his group had gang-raped her on a patch of waste land, photographed their crime, and were threatening to tell her parents if she did not sleep with other men to earn them money. 

I hear about Beatrice, who met her lover boy as she rode her bike to a new school. She was 12 years old. He was leaning against his car outside; with a big gold chain round his neck, he looked like an actor in a rap video.

He was back a few days later, and told her she was pretty. The fourth time they met, she agreed to go for a drive. He took her to a house where he raped her. He told her she was now his prostitute, his property, and that their relationship was perfectly normal.

By 14, Beatrice had slept with dozens of men and, unbeknown to her civil servant parents, was even coerced into acting as an agent for her lover boy's gang by introducing them to other girls.

The girls in the safe house, who are aged between 15 and 25, have now escaped from the horrors of their past. They are learning to live again. And with the new minimum age and register of prostitutes, the winds of change are blowing in Amsterdam's red-light industry.

But Eline shakes her head a little sadly as she says: `The lover boys are always one step ahead. They are making a fortune from these young girls. It is everyone's duty to tell the truth about what is happening - particularly to potential victims.'

It is a sobering lesson not only that political correctness must not prevent people voicing their fears about grooming gangs, but also that Holland's liberal approach to sex has backfired disastrously on many of these damaged victims.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Scrap law on 'insulting words and behaviour' that censors free speech, British MPs urge

Controversial legislation that criminalises ‘insulting’ words and behaviour should be scrapped, MPs and peers urged yesterday.

The law – which has been used to arrest a Christian preacher, a critic of Scientology and a student who made a joke – has a ‘disproportionate impact on freedom of expression’, the Joint Committee on Human Rights said.

In a report, it recommended that ministers accept an amendment which would remove the ‘insulting’ offence from the Public Order Act.

Section 5 of the 1986 Act says someone is guilty for just using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the sight or earshot of a person ‘likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress’.

Critics say the law is a catch-all which censors innocent remarks and leaves it to police and courts to decide what constitutes ‘insulting’ words or behaviour.

Home Secretary Theresa May began a consultation on scrapping the offence last year but the Government has not yet responded.

The joint committee said: ‘We understand the sensitivities within certain communities on this issue, but we nonetheless support an amendment to the Bill.’

An amendment could be debated during the House of Lords report stage of the Crime and Courts Bill today.


Britain waltzes further down the East German path

The oddest thing happened this morning.  Sitting at my desk, some woman just wandered in through our warehouse and asked to talk to a director. I replied that I'm one so how can I help. She tersely declared that she works for HMRC and demanded a payment of œ15,000 for overdue corporation tax.

I was taken aback for a moment as she looked about 60 and was dressed in jeans and a sweat shirt - it's not the kind of thing one would expect her to come out with.

As it happened, the people who deal with our accounts were both at a funeral at the time, so I said I'd have to talk to them first. She, however, insisted that as I was a director I would be able to sign a cheque right there and then. Of course I could, but there was no way I would even consider doing that, especially for someone who just breezes in arrogantly from the street.

She fixed me with a surprised glare (perhaps for not shitting myself when faced with a rep of the government, I dunno), before handing me her card and telling me all the nasty things that might happen if it's not paid in the next week. Now, I've often said that tax is effectively extortion with menaces, but I've never seen it illustrated in such a blatant manner.

On later talking to our credit controller, she said that we'd paid a huge amount up front and were just waiting for some communication of the balance due before settling it - that's what one would expect from a government agency, after all. However, we'd not received a single letter or phone call to tell us what we were supposed to pay. Wouldn't it have been much more professional - and less costly in time and, therefore, money - to ring or write rather than sending some late middle-ager round to ask for a cheque out of the blue?

And when did employing similar intimidatory methods to 1930s mafia protection racketeers become an acceptable state policy?


Another example of little men in Britain with their ego-driven  bureaucratic pettiness

Only media exposure produced a belated twitch of decency in the matter

A 90-year-old war hero, who risked life and limb for his country during World War Two, was slapped with a œ70 parking fine as he attended a Remembrance Day service - because his blue badge was upside down.

Disabled George Roberts, who served as a gunner and a driver transporting artillery across Africa, has hit out at jobsworth traffic wardens who gave him the ticket while he paid his respects to fallen comrades in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

The wheelchair-bound veteran was driven to the service at St Chad's Church by his son Michael, 43, who parked in a nearby disabled bay.

But when Mr Roberts, who has also survived a stroke and four heart bypass operations, and Michael returned to the car after the emotional service, they were shocked to find a parking ticket on the windscreen.

Attempts to reason with a traffic warden fell on deaf ears as the pair were told they would have to contact the local council.

The warden even echoed the chilling excuse of some of Hitler's men when he claimed he had issued the ticket because he was 'following orders'.

Mr Roberts served in the Royal Artillery Regiment in World War Two and attends the Remembrance Day procession and service every year.

Earlier this year he was forced to stop driving but still qualifies for a blue disabled badge because son Michael is his dedicated carer and driver.

George, who has four grown-up children, 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, said: 'I was struggling to get out of my car and I must have disturbed my blue badge.

'Many millions of men never came back from the war, and I went through it all without a bullet - only to get shot by this.

Red-faced bosses at Shropshire Council today apologised to George, and promised to cancel the ticket.


Unmarried parenthood in Sweden is different

We're all well aware of Polly Toynbee's mantra that "We should be more like Sweden". I'm sure at least some of you will be aware of the various times I've made fun of that very mantra. What, you mean we should privatise the fire and ambulance brigades? Have a pure school voucher system? Charge people a (nominal) sum for a doctor's visit? Have a state financed and multiple providers health care system? Switch the national dish from roast beef to meatballs?

While I do have fun with making such japes there is an important underlying and usually unacknowledged point to be made. Sure, we can look at Swedish childcare and say that's not so bad (or is, to taste). Or births outside marriage and see that they don't cause the fall of civilisation. But looking at only such things andnot at the deeper structure of the society can make that a very dangerous method of comparison. As one of my favourite up and coming economists points out here:

In a responce to Ross Douthats thoughtful column, Krugman writes “In Sweden, more than half of children are born out of wedlock — but they don’t seem to suffer much as a result, perhaps because the welfare state is so strong. Maybe we’ll go that way too. So?” This is highly misleading. In secular Sweden, family traditions differ from those of the United States. Cohabitation (“samboförhållande”) is formally recognized and treated by the law as virtually identical to marriage. Swedish couples typically cohabitate, get children and only then get marry.

Statistics Sweden explains: “Living together without being married has long been common and majority of the children born in Sweden are born out of wedlock, but usually cohabiting, parents. Cohabitation can in many respects equated with being married, and young adults has been widely accepting of couples with children remaining unmarried. Despite this, most couples choose to get married eventually.

Of the couples that are followed in this report and still lived together at the end of 2010, 73 percent married, while 27 percent were still cohabitating….About 10 percent of couples did not live together when the child was born, but most of these couples have lived together before or after birth. Approximately 3 percent of all couples never lived together and had a child outside of a relationship.”

There's a very large difference between couples living together and having children without a church or state sanctioned piece of paper and people being single parents from the get go. A society in which that true single parenthood is rare will be different from one where it is common. And this isn't to say that that true single parenthood is either good or bad: only that it is indeed different from non-married coupledom.

The point being that we cannot look at a socially extremely conservative country like Sweden and then import a system wholesale into a much more socially liberal one like the UK. Well, we can of course and to some extent that's what a large number of people are campaigning for. But it's not going to work the same way at all: because the underlying attitudes are different. And this doesn't just apply to the UK and Sweden either. We can't, wouldn't, import the US attitude to guns, imprisonment or race either.

Another way to put this is that sure, many systems to do many things work in many other countries. But the important thing to work out, before trying to adopt them, is why do they work in those societies? Only once we've done that can we even attempt to work out whether they would work in our own, rather different one. As an example I offer you this thought: Britain, and certainly England, has always been rather more individualistic than much of the rest of Europe. So why does anyone think that simply importing a foreign communalism will work 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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New rights for British householders who attack burglars to be unveiled

A big step forward for Britain, where vindictive police have virtually criminalized self-defence

Changes to the law to ensure householders who attack burglars will not be prosecuted unless they use "grossly disproportionate" force are to be introduced.

In a major victory for a campaign run by The Sunday Telegraph, the Department for Justice will move to amend the existing law which says only "proportionate" and "reasonable" force can be used by home owners and tenants who confront criminals.

Ahead of the changes being introduced in the House of Lords this week, Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, declared today that the changes will give householders the protection that they need - the confidence that the law will be on their side".

He adds: "Now the deal will be this: if you are confronted by a burglar in your own home and you fear for your safety, or the safety of others, and in the heat of the moment use force that is reasonable in the circumstances, but in the cold light of day seems disproportionate, you will not be deemed guilty of an offence."

The move follows a string of high-profile cases in which home owners who have confronted burglars have been arrested.

In the most recent, in September, Andy Ferrie and his wife Tracey were held in police custody for almost three days after two burglars were shot in their house near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

This newspaper has campaigned under the slogan "The Right To Defend Yourself" for greater legal protection for householders who deal with intruders.   The campaign won the support of many politicians and senior criminal justice figures - and its proposed changes regularly win overwhelming public backing in opinion polls.

On two occasions - in 2004 and 2005 - MPs have made unsuccessful attempts to change the law using private members' bills while there have been two "clarifications" to the criminal law on self defence - in 2008 under Labour, and last year under the coalition.

Until this week, however, the law has remained rooted in the "reasonable" force test, which campaigners say does not offer enough protection to householders and which the Conservatives promised to change in 2009 when the party was in opposition.

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP whose Private Members' Bill on the issue in 2004 failed after not getting the support of the then Labour government, said: "This has been a very long time coming. At last my constituents and very householder will be properly protected against intruders.   Even habitual criminals tell me that this will deter them. There can be no better reason for these ideas to be turned into law."

Mr Grayling writes in an article for "The public should be in no doubt that in such circumstances that the law really is on their side. We need to get rid of doubts in this area once and for all. This isn't about encouraging vigilantism, or taking the law into your own hands. Of course, you should always in the first instance see if there's a way to get to safety.  "But there should be no doubt that people who act instinctively and honestly in self defence are victims of crime, and should be treated that way."

"I want people in these unfortunate circumstances to be interviewed as witnesses, and not interrogated as criminals.

"Only if it emerges that they have acted in a way that is clearly unacceptably over the top - like stabbing a burglar who is already out cold on the floor - should the question of prosecution even arise."


Victims of the thought police: Snatched foster children are 'traumatised' say loving couple branded racist for supporting UKIP

The parents in the UKIP fostering row last night appealed for the return of the children they love.

The three Eastern European youngsters were taken away after social services discovered the couple were members of the political party. The astonishing decision by Labour-controlled Rotherham Council has been attacked by MPs from all sides.

And it has left fostering teams open to claims they are acting like ‘Thought Police’. Council chiefs will today receive the findings of an internal inquiry into the handling of the case.

Asked whether he and his wife would welcome the children’s return, the foster father told the Mail: ‘Of course. We love those children.’

But he said the priority was the welfare of the ‘completely traumatised’ baby girl, boy and older girl, who came to them in September. ‘They have been passed from pillar to post,’ he added.

Tim Loughton, a former children’s minister, said the decision was guided by ‘politically correct mumbo jumbo’.  ‘It’s bonkers, it’s deeply misguided, this decision that’s been made, and it’s political correctness gone mad,’ the Tory MP told the BBC’s Sunday Politics:

‘We need to be doing what’s in the best interests of the children; political correctness has no part in all of this.  ‘The most important thing is were those foster parents providing a safe, loving family placement for those children, and if they were and they continue to do so, then they should stay there.’

The couple in their 50s are former Labour voters who live in a village near Rotherham. They have looked after a dozen children over the past seven years.

Their nightmare began earlier this month following an anonymous tip-off to the council that they supported the UK Independence Party. This was followed by a home visit on November 12.

The three children, who are understood to be from Eastern Europe, were placed with them in September and stayed for eight weeks.

The baby gained weight and the girl began calling them ‘mum and dad’.

But the wife said they started to feel like ‘criminals’ when the children’s social worker told them about the tip-off.

She said the official said: ‘We would not have placed these children with you had we known you were members of UKIP because it wouldn’t have been the right cultural match.’

The couple insist they were meeting the children’s cultural needs by learning their language, singing their folk songs and choosing an appropriate school for their religion.


'We, too, know what it's like to face the great PC inquisition': The scrutiny endured by one family to become foster parents

Alex and Dominic Bemrose know exactly what it’s like to face the care ‘thought police’.

They had to jump through hoops to prove to their local authority they could offer a child from a different culture and race a loving, nurturing home.

Before being approved as adoptive parents, they had to endure nine, three-hour interviews by a social worker and every aspect of their lives went under the microscope.

Their finances were examined with a fine-tooth comb. Their moral, religious and personal beliefs were scrutinised and even their sex lives were picked over. Family, friends and ex-partners were also interviewed.

‘Short of asking for inside leg measurements, absolutely everything was questioned which at times I found ludicrous and far more intrusive than necessary,’ says Alex, 50, from Middlesex.

‘At the end of the whole questioning process, which took three months, I think the social worker knew more about me and my life than my own mother.’

When Alex said she was Roman Catholic she was asked by the social worker to go away and write an essay on what it meant to her, as if it were some kind of cult instead of a mainstream religion.

Indeed, the couple had to do a lot of written homework whenever an ‘issue’ from their past surfaced - such as bullying at school, or the time Alex had a miscarriage.

A great deal of the questioning, it seemed to Alex, was designed to help the local authority decide how ‘politically correct’ the couple were in their attitudes to racism, homosexuality and private education.

‘They seemed very concerned about the fact we’d both been to boarding school, which was discussed at length, asking how we’d felt about this “rejection” by our parents. I rather resented the question because neither of us had felt rejected in the slightest,’ she said.

‘They wanted assurances from us we would not send an adoptive child to boarding school, which we were happy to give because it wouldn’t have been appropriate and we couldn’t afford it anyway.

‘I have no issue with local authorities being very thorough and I’m sure they would say they are trying to build up a complete picture about you, but are your political beliefs really relevant? As for taking children away from foster parents because they belong to a political party, that on the face of it, seems crazy.’

Alex, now a campaigner for other parents fighting their way through the adoption system, says the Rotherham case is deeply disturbing.

‘People can be members of political parties and perhaps not agree with 100 per cent of every single policy. Does being a member of UKIP or believing in immigration controls even make you racist?

‘Surely if you were racist you wouldn’t open your home to a child of different ethnicity in the first place. On the one hand they are crying out for more foster families and then on the other taking away children from would appear to be, on the face of it, perfectly good homes.

‘What really matters is whether the parents involved can provide a loving home to a child who would otherwise remain in care, and to be rejected because your waistline is too big or you belong to a particular political party seems to me ridiculous.’


It’s not this family who are bigots — it’s the multicultural
thought police

Melanie Phillips points to the hate-filled neo-Marxist training of British social workers

The story sounds just too idiotic and outrageous to be true. A Rotherham couple, by all accounts exemplary foster parents for nearly seven years, took on two children and a baby in an emergency placement.

Eight weeks later, social workers came and took the children away — despite the fact that they were thriving — on the grounds that because the couple belonged to the UK Independence Party this was not ‘the right cultural match’.

Astonishingly, the official in charge is still unrepentant. Joyce Thacker, the council’s director of children and young people’s services, has said that the children, who were from ‘EU migrant backgrounds’, had been removed to protect their ‘cultural and ethnic needs’ from UKIP’s ‘strong views’ and apparent ‘opposition to multiculturalism’.

This is as ludicrous and illogical as it is sinister.

This apparently splendid couple have been treated as criminals merely because social workers disapproved of their political views — which happen to be shared, incidentally, by millions of fellow citizens. This is the kind of behaviour we associate with a totalitarian state.

The clear implication is that they were racists. But there is nothing racist about opposing multiculturalism. Indeed, many immigrants themselves oppose it. To damn this couple in this way is an appalling smear.

In any event, this was merely a short-term emergency foster placement. These children clearly needed as a matter of urgency a safe and loving environment — which by all accounts this couple gave them.

Ms Thacker said: ‘I have to think about how sensitive I am being to those children.’ Is this woman for real? Clearly, she is actually doing them harm by putting ideological dogma above the children’s own needs.

The whole thing sounds beyond parody. But, alas, this goes far wider and deeper than this one incident.

In the early Nineties, I unearthed what, it is no exaggeration to say, was a climate of totalitarianism in social-work training.

Anti-racist zealots had captured the social workers’ training body, and built into the social-work diploma the explicit assumption that society was fundamentally racist and oppressive.

What followed was an utterly chilling degree of intimidation and thought control. Blameless social work students were forced in tears to ‘confess’ to their own racism; some failed to qualify unless they identified racist attitudes even where none existed.

These and other politically correct dogma, and the requirement to enforce them, remain stamped into social-work culture like the name of Blackpool in a stick of rock.

As a result, the needs of vulnerable children and other social-work clients have been junked in favour of the overriding requirement to impose an ideological view of the world in which minorities can do no wrong while the majority can do no right.

Over the years, this has given rise to one horror story after another. Twelve years ago, an eight-year-old Ivorian child, Victoria Climbié, was tortured and murdered by her guardians under the noses of social workers who believed such behaviour had to be respected as part of African culture.

In the early Nineties, Islington council was revealed to have ignored the systematic sexual abuse and prostitution of children in its care because it was terrified of being called racist or homophobic if it disciplined black or gay staff perpetrating such crimes.

In Rotherham itself, the sickening sexual enslavement of under-age white girls by organised prostitution and pimping rings was largely ignored for more than two decades, in part because the abusers came overwhelmingly from Pakistani Muslim backgrounds.

And for years, would-be adoptive parents have been turned down by social workers because they are deemed to be too white, too middle class or in some other way fall foul of the politically correct inquisition.

All this goes far wider and deeper even than the failings of public sector professionals.

The grip of the Left on our culture has meant not just that many perfectly reasonable things are now deemed to be unsayable in civilised society.

Worse still, since political correctness stands truth and lies on their heads, people are vilified as extremists or bigots simply for telling the truth, connecting to reality or standing up for right over wrong.

Let us be clear: the claim that it is racist to oppose multiculturalism is the opposite of the truth. This is because multiculturalism does not, as is so often mistakenly believed, mean being tolerant of other cultures. It is a creed which holds instead that no one culture can trump any other.

That means you can’t uphold human rights, equality for women or freedom of religious belief over cultures that don’t uphold these values.

So multiculturalism inescapably involves abandoning certain ethnic minorities to violence, inequality and persecution. And that is truly racist.


Why is Welsh racism allowed?

Some racisms are more equal than others, it appears

By Roger Lewis

Half a century ago, I was born in Caerphilly Miners' Hospital and raised across the sludge of the Rhymney River in Bedwas, Monmouthshire, where my family owned the village butcher's shop, which had been in operation since 1868 but has since closed.

I was a Mixed Infant at primary school locally, and the Eleven Plus having been abolished, I was then a pupil at the comprehensive in Bassaleg, near Newport.

I am therefore Welsh - and very proudly Welsh. But I've never spoken the Welsh language, except for the odd untrans- latable word like 'cwtch', which means 'cuddle', 'cosy', 'safe' or 'hidden', and 'mochyn', which though it means 'pig' is nevertheless always affectionately meant, when you are called it, like 'rascal' or scallywag'. I also know that 'Popty-Ping' is the word for microwave.

In South Wales, where I am from, there was never any tradition of Welsh speaking. And at the turn of the last century, though my great-grandparents spoke Welsh to each other, they deliberately didn't impart the Welsh to their 11 children, because they wanted them to be able to get on in life.

Rightly or wrongly, English was seen as the language of the future, Welsh as the sign of regional backwardness.

In some respects, I rather fancy knowing more Welsh. It would appeal to my hankering after lost things, like steam trains or gas chandeliers.

But that surely doesn't mean the Welsh language should be imposed on people living in Wales today.

For Welsh has become a political and divisive weapon in the principality - and the stories one hears are like those tales of oppression that used to seep out from behind the Iron Curtain.

Now, we learn that at one school in  Ceredigion - which used to be quite happily  Cardiganshire when I was a lad - the children are not allowed to use  the toilet unless they ask the teacher in Welsh.

Furthermore, one mother is said to have been urged not to read her child English bedtime books, and at another school, a child was admonished for speaking English in the playground.

Some children are, it seems, too frightened to speak English, even at home. This sort of thing would have done the Warsaw Pact proud. It is despicable.

But what can be done about a place that now states, on job applications, 'Welsh speaker preferred'? Unless you are willing to go to classes and learn Welsh, what such xenophobia means in practice is that third-rate local people get the posts - as doctors, teachers, psychologists, architects, and so forth. The Welsh language becomes a trade union ticket for employment.

One architect told me that he can't get his plans through unless he submits them in Welsh.

Yet those youngsters being educated exclusively in Welsh are also going to be a bit stuck. Where else can they go but Wales? Patagonia? They are ill-equipped for anywhere else the other side of the Severn Bridge.  Even Bristol will be abroad. How can you teach French in Welsh to children who think in English? It creates a maze of confusion.

I have been told that English-sounding announcers on Radio Wales have been purged; that the Welsh Arts Council turned their back on the great artist Sir Kyffin Williams because he had a posh accent and a moustache; and that Sir Anthony Hopkins and comedian Rob Brydon would never land an acting role on BBC Wales in 2012 because they don't speak the old lingo.

There's an outfit in Cardiff - a writers' society - now calling itself The Welsh Academy, which though I'd never heard of it, tried to elect me: I resigned immediately because they spelt it 'academi', which got my goat for some reason.

The fact is that the Welshifying of Wales is a mad nonsense. It has nothing to do with history. So, how has it all happened?

I asked a former colleague of mine at Oxford, whose speciality was changing speech habits in the United Kingdom from 1800 to 1914.

He explained that an analysis of the late 19th-century census data revealed that Welsh-speaking was in steep decline and that, left to its own devices, the language would have 'died of inanition because Welsh people themselves were casting it off as a mark of backwardness'.  This was the view of my great-grandparents in Bedwas. 'English was embraced for reasons of social and economic advancement.'

This is what those teachers in  Ceredigion - and those who support them - can't accept: what my friend at Oxford called 'the evident cultural superiority of English', i.e. that  English has, for example, a richer  literature, going right across  the world, from Irish writers such  as Shaw or Wilde to everyone  in America.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as of yet there isn't a Welsh Shakespeare.

However, Welsh has survived - initially because of a political deal done in Whitehall when the Liberal Government in 1907 created a  Welsh Department of the Board of Education, which 'captured state resources' i.e. taxpayers' loot, and allowed Welsh to be taught in the schools and artificially revived.

Allowed to be taught - not made obligatory, please note. Out of the 1,000 pupils at my school in Bassaleg in the Seventies, Welsh O-level was taken by two in seven years.

One failed and the other got a grade C in the re-sit. But the chief problem has been the perversion of the Welsh Language Act of 1993, which stated that Welsh and English should be 'treated on the basis of equality', that there should be an 'equality of treatment', 'equal validity', and so forth, in matters dealing with public administration.

Equality, however, has not been in evidence. The first thing that happened was a pressure group called the Welsh Language Society - a mob that could teach the Taliban a thing or two - went round vandalising the English road signs.

Tenby was always Tenby, for example, until a few years ago when it suddenly became  Dynbych-y-Pysgod - a bit of nonsense about 'bay of the little fishes'. Millions were spent printing official communications in two  languages.

One thing led to another and now children are wetting themselves because they are not allowed to go to the loo.

It doesn't end there. Because a taxi in Bangor didn't have the Welsh spelling 'tacsi' on it, a man preferred to walk home.

Even though it is true that there is no letter 'x' in Welsh, this is 'twp' (daft). No doubt the Welsh Language Society chieftains, not renowned for a sense of humour, would rather drop dead than get into an ambulance instead of an 'ambiwlans', and refuse pudding if it's not 'pwddin'.

I'm sorry, but proud Welshman that I am, I find all the anti-English stance of the ethnic cultists vicious and stupid in equal measure - particularly as it is English taxes that keep the Welsh language going.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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


Monday, November 26, 2012

The Crews missile

A British father, retired nuclear submarine captain Nick Crews, has recently got a lot of publicity by sending his three children a critical email, somehow made public.  You can read it here.

Two of his children have become what American sociologists call "skidders", people who have dropped down into a lower social class ("station in life", to use the British euphemism) than their parents -- and the third is unhappily living in France, married to a French dentist.

The father is greatly disappointed by all that and finally let his feelings be known in the email.  He gave his children the very considerable advantage (in Britain) of a private school education and feels that they have squandered their opportunities in life.

Responses to his email have been very mixed, with people both approving and disapproving of it.  But what I want to point out is that there is an extent to which the email is not personal.  It is an intergenerational email and marks a large transition in British values over recent decades.  The views of Capt. Crews RN are probably still the dominant values in Britain but not by a big margin.  Younger Brits are notably more libertine and morally unanchored.  The old British values of duty, hard work, patience  and self-restraint are fading.

I suppose I stand somewhere in the middle on all that.  I have been married four times so am no exemplar of the old values.  Yet I put in a lot of effort in my earlier years that has seen me comfortably situated economically and also given me cordial personal relationships generally.  And that includes relationships with my son and three stepchildren.  And my stepson, with whom I get on exceptionally well, is actually a bankrupt!

So were the children of Capt. Crews RN my children I would certainly be disappointed that they were living unflourishing lives but would not be at all critical of their financial or social situations.  I would offer what advice I could but would draw the line -- as he has -- at becoming a listening ear for a torrent of whining.  "Making something of oneself" does not really figure in my scale of values.  There are many paths to a happy life.

More than 150,000 parasites forced off the British welfare teat

More than 150,000 jobless people have been stripped of benefits after refusing to accept help to get back into work.

One in ten long-term unemployed on the Government’s flagship back-to-work programme opted to go without benefit rather than accept help to get them a job.

And thousands more voluntarily stop claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance as soon as they are referred to the Work Programme.

Reports last night claimed that results to be published this week would reveal that fewer than one in 20 on the scheme had so far found a permanent job.

Welfare critics will hail this as proof that many benefit claimants are ‘dole cheats’ who are secretly working on the side.

But there are also suspicions the figures may have been released to distract from the Work Programme’s wider performance.

The Work Programme, launched in June 2011 with a £5 billion budget, pays private firms and voluntary bodies to retrain the long-term unemployed for the jobs market.

Those who refuse to participate can have their unemployment benefit docked for three months in the first instance and six months for a second refusal.  Anyone who refuses three times in the same 12 months can lose benefits for up to three years.

Last night, the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that up to April this year, 73,260 of these sanctions had been handed out – accounting for roughly one in ten potential participants. By September, the figure was on course to rise beyond 150,000.  The Mail on Sunday understands that sanctions are now running at about 15,000 a month.

Last night, Employment Minister Mark Hoban said: ‘Sadly, some people are clearly very determined to avoid getting a job at all.

'But we are very clear – sitting at home on benefits is not an option for those who are fit and capable of work.

'Through the Work Programme, we are offering the hardest-to-help claimants extensive support in order for them to take control of their lives and return to work.  ‘They need to do their bit to find a job but we’ll be there to help them.’

But in an interview yesterday, Mr Hoban admitted that returning people to work was ‘proving difficult’ and called on the firms running the programme to ‘get their act together’.

Earlier this month, Labour welfare spokesman Liam Byrne claimed that referrals to the scheme were plunging as Jobcentre staff lost faith in it.  He said: ‘The Government’s back-to-work schemes are descending into a chaotic mess.’


'I need more staff but they'd rather live off benefits': Bakery boss blasts claimants - and the system that rewards idleness

When orders for their award-winning pies took off, a family bakery business urgently tried to recruit more staff.

They offered decent pay rates and a permanent job. The only skills boss Roger Topping asked for were ‘common sense and a work ethic’.

But what followed has left Mr Topping ‘frustrated, bewildered and shocked’ and more convinced than ever that reforms to the benefits system can’t come soon enough.

For it soon became clear that the recruits who turned up at the Topping Pie Company in Doncaster weren’t interested in a job.

Ministers plan to bring in a Universal Credit payment to simplify the benefits system to ensure those who take a job don’t lose out financially.

Last night Mr Topping criticised the way the current system rewards the workshy. ‘They don’t want to work and more to the point they don’t have to work,’ he said.  One young man lasted just two minutes into his first shift before he walked out.

The company gave another 22-year-old, who had been to prison, the chance to turn his life around. But after two weeks doing a packing job, he stopped coming in and decided ‘he couldn’t cope with working’.

Another applicant was a middle-aged man who put on his CV that he had just served a long prison term for aggravated burglary, was a member of the BNP and suffered from a bad back.

‘I assume he put all that down to make sure he didn’t get a job,’ said Mr Topping, 64. The pie company has seen its order book almost double in value since the spring.  Their freshly-made pies are sold in supermarkets across the country, as well as Selfridges, Fenwicks and numerous upmarket delis and farm shops.

Yet despite a recruitment drive, their 34-strong permanent workforce is slightly down on what is was six months ago.

The only way the company has been able to fulfil its orders is by overworked staff doing even more hours than before.

Management want to hire ten workers in the bakery and packing departments, but it is proving an almost impossible task.  The unemployed of Doncaster – of which there are officially 18,100 – don’t seem up for the job.

Mr Topping, whose father started the company as a butcher’s in 1960, said: ‘I don’t think this is a local problem, it’s a national problem. We all know the system is wrong.

‘It would appear to be too easy not to have to go to work to earn a living and to pay the bills. How are they paying their bills?

‘From an employer’s situation it’s extremely frustrating. The work ethic is sadly lacking.’ Mr Topping said he used local agencies to hire staff, who are given a pay rise and taken on permanently if all goes well after a short trial period.

‘I don’t care what background they come from I just want good, honest hard-workers,’ he said.

‘We are a family business and our staff are not just numbers, they are people. If the company is successful, they keep a job and we all prosper.’

However, Wendy McMahon, the supervisor who sifted through dozens of CVs, said usually the raw recruits complain after a few days about having to do proper work hours. ‘They always seem keen and committed to the job and then we start getting excuses. All they need is to be willing to learn and do a hard day’s work.

‘We tell them they have a future here and can move up the ladder, they just don’t seem interested.’

It’s not the first time the business has faced recruitment problems. Mr Topping took on six Poles several years ago because vacancies were left empty and has been delighted with their work ethic. ‘The problem seems to be with the long-term unemployed,’ he said.


Investigation launched into why couple's foster children were taken from them 'after they joined Ukip'

A council that broke up a foster family because the parents were members of the UK Independence Party (Ukip) was strongly criticised by the Education Secretary today for its 'indefensible' decision.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said social workers at the council had made 'the wrong decision in the wrong way for the wrong reasons' and that he would be personally investigating and exploring steps to 'deal with' the situation.

The married couple claimed they had their foster children taken away from them for joining the political party by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

By the council's own admission the youngsters were happy and there was no question mark over the foster parents' provision of care.

The council has also launched an investigation into why the three youngsters were removed.

Mr Gove, who heads the Government department responsible for children's services and who was himself adopted as a child, accused Rotherham of sending out a 'dreadful signal'.

'Rotherham council have made the wrong decision in the wrong way for the wrong reasons,' he said.  'Rotherham's reasons for denying this family the chance to foster are indefensible.

'The ideology behind their decision is actively harmful to children. We should not allow considerations of ethnic or cultural background to prevent children being placed with loving and stable families. We need more parents to foster, and many more to adopt.

'Any council which decides that supporting a mainstream UK political party disbars an individual from looking after children in care is sending a dreadful signal that will only decrease the number of loving homes available to children in need.  'I will be investigating just how this decision came to be made and what steps we need to take to deal with this situation.'

Roger Stone, leader of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, today said 'We are going to investigate to make sure everything has been done professionally. If the professionals give advice, we take it.

'We are going to investigate - we always would if somebody complains. We are looking to make sure all the correct procedures were carried out before the decision was made. There is no policy, as has been implied, that if you are a British National Party member you can't foster children.'

Social workers told the couple, who were caring for three children from ethnic minorities, that the party had ‘racist’ policies and that their membership of it made them unsuitable carers.

The foster parents, who have been caring for children for nearly seven years and had been described as ‘exemplary’, said they were left feeling ‘stigmatised and slandered’.

The case has provoked outrage from across the political spectrum with Labour leader Ed Miliband saying: 'Being a member of Ukip should not be a bar to adopting or fostering children. 'We need an urgent investigation by Rotherham Council into the circumstances of this case.

'I don't know all the facts of this case but I am clear, what matters is children in Rotherham and elsewhere, and being a member of a political party like Ukip should not be a bar to fostering children.  'We need to find out the facts and the council urgently needs to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.

'The couple concerned are making extremely serious claims, very disturbing claims.

'Right-thinking people across the country will think there are thousands of children who need to be looked after, who need fostering, we shouldn't have the situation where membership of a party like Ukip excludes you from doing that.

'We need loving homes for children across the country. That can come in different forms, it's not about what political party you are a member of.'

The couple are worried they will be stopped from fostering again because of their membership of the UK Independence Party, which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU.

Around a dozen children have been cared for by the couple, who do not want to be named.

The three latest children, a baby girl, boy and an older girl from a troubled family, came to them in September on an emergency placement. But just eight weeks later, two staff from the Labour-run Rotherham council – the nearest to their village home in South Yorkshire – arrived and announced the local safeguarding children team had been told they were Ukip members in an anonymous tip.

The wife told the Daily Telegraph: ‘I was dumbfounded. Then my question to both of them was, “What has Ukip got to do with having the children removed?”

‘Then one of them said, “Well, Ukip have got racist policies”. The implication was that we were racist.

'[The social worker] said Ukip does not like European people and wants them all out of the country to be returned to their own countries.

‘I’m sat there and I’m thinking, “What the hell is going off here?” because I wouldn’t have joined Ukip if they thought that. I’ve got mixed race in my family.’

She claimed the social worker said: ‘We would not have placed these children with you had we known you were members of Ukip because it wouldn’t have been the right cultural match.’

The children were all removed by the end of the week, leaving the couple ‘bereft’. The wife said that the children had been loved like they were the couple's own.  The wife said: ‘We felt like we were criminals. From having a little baby in my arms, suddenly there was an empty cot.’



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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