Thursday, June 30, 2016

Neglected children can stay with gypsy parents 'in spirit of diversity,' says British judge despite social workers plea for three youngsters to be taken into care

Three neglected children from a traveller family should carry on living with their parents because of the need to respect diversity, a judge ruled yesterday.

Mr Justice Mostyn said he would allow the children to stay with their mother and father because he wanted to show tolerance ‘to the traditions of different communities’.

His decision at the High Court came despite a plea from a social worker appointed to represent the children, aged two, four and nine, for them to be taken into care.

Mr Justice Mostyn said there were ‘fairly serious concerns’ about the children’s welfare.

He added: ‘The standards of parenting of this family, who come from the travelling community, are certainly not to the same standards as one would expect from a conventional nuclear family.

‘However, I have always been strongly of the view that tolerance must be shown, in a spirit of diversity, to the traditions of different communities. The parenting in this case has certainly been far more, one might say, robust, also delegated, than one would expect in the conventional nuclear family.’

Mr Justice Mostyn said there had been ‘incidents which take the matter beyond mere tolerance’ adding there had also been events ‘which go beyond mere robustness into the realm of neglect’.

The judge said the guardian, a social worker who represents the interests of the children, had urged social workers ‘to take active consideration in the forthcoming weeks and months to considering issuing care proceedings’.

However, he said her views were ‘not in any sense decisive’ and that social workers ‘wish to continue to work with this family’.

The judge said he would not order that the children be made wards of court, which would mean that major decisions about their lives would have to be made with a judge’s permission. Instead, he set up a supervision order which places the children under the watch of social workers for six months.

Mr Justice Mostyn told the parents they ‘must understand very clearly that even though the court is tolerant of their different traditions, their fundamental obligation is to care properly for their children and they must do so’.

He said failure to do so during the supervision period would mean ‘further, more dramatic, steps will no doubt be taken’.

The judgment was made public in the week after 36-year-old Ben Butler was sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in jail for murdering his six-year-old daughter Ellie in 2013.

The killing happened less than a year after Ellie was sent to live with her parents, against advice from social workers, by High Court judge Mrs Justice Hogg.

Social workers have demanded an explanation of Mrs Justice Hogg’s decision from the senior judiciary and fresh demands have been made to end the secrecy around family courts. Neither the parents in the traveller case nor the council whose social workers are involved has been publicly named


Military Bishop: Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Means ‘People Not Able to Act According to Their Religious Beliefs’

Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who heads the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, said he believes some of the detrimental effects of the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, which legalized homosexual marriage, include “people not being able to act according to their fundamental religious beliefs.”

Broglio spoke at the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) fourth annual March for Marriage on Sept. 25 against same-sex marriage.

“I think some of the detrimental effects include people not being able to act according to their fundamental religious beliefs,” he told in an interview prior to the march on Saturday.

“I think there’s a certain pressure on those who uphold marriage as being between a man and a woman, they’re being pressured to change that belief,” said the archbishop. “Certainly people who work in areas, in service industries, are being also forced to compromise their religious beliefs, all of which at least, in my humble estimation, go against the First Amendment.”

The archbishop added that there is a tendency to “label anything that people disagree with as untenable or unacceptable and therefore hate speech, and that’s a problem because, of course, we’re required to teach the truth in love as Saint Paul told us.” asked Archbishop Broglio why it was important to him to come march for the issue a year after the Supreme Court decision in June 2015.

 “I think obviously standing for one man and one woman marriage is an important element of Catholic faith,” he replied, “and for that reason it’s important to use whatever catechetical moment we have to underline that and reiterate the importance of that truth.”


Know your Confucius and be less confused about values that matter

Confucius say: “Squirrel who runs up woman’s leg not find nuts.” That’s about the standard of Confucian education I received: schoolyard parodies of the 5th century BC Chinese sage’s quirky aphorisms.

It’s not quite the kind of thing Harvard academic Michael Puett and writer Christine Gross-Loh have in mind in their unexpected international bestseller, The Path: What Chinese Philosophy Can Teach us About the Good Life.

The Path, based on a popular Harvard undergraduate course, has been widely praised as a timely challenge to Western ideas about life, philosophy, and Eastern wisdom.

It has succeeded in reviving Western interest in Confucius at a time when Confucianism is also undergoing a revival in China after two great wrecking balls have swung through the country in the past half century, shattering trad­ition and shaking communities both rural and urban from their moorings. The first wrecker was the Cultural Revolution; the second was the market revolution.

Australians should get to grips with the ideas in The Path, for there is no other Western country where the imperatives of Asian engagement and Asian literacy are as urgent; America has Asia to think about, but it also has the Americas; Europe has Asia to think about, too, and it also abuts Russia and the Balkans; if you like, larger Europe. Asia is pretty much all Australia has got and we are, as a consequence, intimately tied to its destiny.

For the past decade policy makers have been pressing schools and universities to promote the cause of Asian language learning, but that’s not going anywhere fast. Contemplative Asian philosophy — Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism — offers an appealing key to the cultures to our north. Spark an interest in the Asian philosophies of living at schools and universities, and we might fuel the fire of mass Asian cultural literacy.

Knowledge of Asian philosophy, on the other hand, is not all about Asia. Traditional Asian philosophies challenge many of the assumptions that under-girder Western notions of the self, particularly the idea that there is a “true self” hidden within us all, which it is our duty to discover and to nurture.

As Puett argues in a recent New York Times interview, the pursuit of the authentic self sounds like a modern approach to life.

“But what if we’re, on the contrary, messy selves that tend to fall into ruts and patterns of behaviour? If so, the last thing we would want to be doing is embracing ourselves for who we are — embracing, in other words, a set of patterns we’ve fallen into. The goal should rather be to break these patterns and ruts, to train ourselves to interact better with those around us.”

The Path stresses the necessity of looking outward, not inward; the importance of personal change over personal acceptance. I would add a caveat here: pre-Christian western philosophies — particularly Aristotle and the Hellenistic schools — also stress these ideas.

Puett is no pop philosopher. He’s Harvard’s Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilisations and Chair of the Committee on the Study of Religion. And he brings to the book the scholar’s gift for fine distinctions.

He is well aware, for example, that the Chinese government is attempting to foster an appreciation of Confucian values.

He is equally aware that the kind of Confucianism encouraged by Beijing is a conventional — he uses the word stereotyped — kind of teaching whose emphasis is social, and self, control.

As he puts it: “Confucianism is again read as being about keeping people in their place — only now this is seen as a good thing.”

Sensing their moral authority weakening and the bonds of society beginning to fray, the rulers in Beijing are promoting an older idea of Confucianism as a kind of social mortar.

To explore this point its worth turning to The Analects of Confucius as translated by Pierre Ryckmans, the Belgian born scholar of Chinese art and culture who taught at the Australian National University and the University of Sydney.

Confucius, for Ryckmans, has been portrayed as a philosopher of moderation when in fact he was an active, vital figure who was driven by passion. Ryckmans summed up the Confucian political ideal this way:

“An aristocrat who is immoral and uneducated ... is not a gentleman, whereas any commoner can attain the status of a gentleman if he proves himself morally qualified. As only gentlemen are fit to rule, political authority should be devolved purely on the criteria of moral achievement and intellectual competence. Therefore, in a proper state of affairs, neither birth nor money should secure power.”

Ryckmans describes this as a political message with “subversive potential”; and its challenge — call it perhaps an equal opportunity elitism — is certainly not limited to contemporary Chinese politics.

So here are some very good reasons for thinking about Confucius: he offers a challenge to some cherished ideas about the self, about ethics, and about politics.

He also offers a guide to trad­itional Chinese — in fact East Asian — values. And to the extent that Confucian values are a contested topic in contemporary China, the more we know about these values the better we are equipped to read contemporary China.

What is more, the better we know our Confucius, the easier it is to discern the real from the mock Confucius. Confucius did not say: “Man who speaks with forked tongue should not kiss balloons.” Or did he?


Warning: Labels

John Stossel

When you use a coffeepot, do you need a warning label to tell you: “Do not hold over people”?

Must a bicycle bell be sold with the warning: “Should be installed and serviced by a professional mechanic”? Of course not. Yet that bell also carries the warning: “Failure to heed any of these warnings may result in serious injury or death.”

This is nuts. It’s a bell.

The blizzard of warning labels means we often won’t read ones we should, like the Clorox label that warns, do not use bleach “with other product … hazardous gasses may result.” No kidding. Mixing bleach and ammonia creates gasses that can kill people.

But I rarely bother to read warning labels anymore, because manufacturers put them on everything.

A utility knife bears the warning: “Blades are sharp.”

I know about such dumb labels because Bob Dorigo Jones, author of “Remove Child Before Folding,” asks his readers and radio listeners to send in ridiculous labels for his “Wacky Warning Label” contest.

“We do this to point out how the rules that legislatures and Congress make favor litigation,” says Dorigo Jones. “We are the most litigious society on Earth. If the level of litigation in the United States was simply at the level of countries that we compete with for jobs in Asia and in Europe, we could save $589 billion a year.”

America has more silly warnings mainly because, unlike the rest of the world, we don’t have the “loser pays” rule in courts. That rule means that whoever wins a court battle is compensated by the loser. It creates an incentive not to bring frivolous cases.

In the U.S., the incentive is to try even dubious legal arguments and hope you’ll hit the jackpot. Or maybe your enemy will pay you to avoid the bigger cost of hiring lawyers to continue the fight.

More lawsuits mean more frightened corporate lawyers smearing labels on everything, just in case “lack of warning” is an issue in a lawsuit.

That’s probably why a toy Star Wars lightsaber comes with the label, “Not to Be Used as a Battle Device.” Why would they bother to say that? Did someone sue, claiming they thought a lightsaber would do what it does in Star Wars movies? I don’t know. The company never responded to our questions.

Some dumb labels are brought to us by dumb politicians. California requires warnings that something may be “toxic” or cause cancer on everything from foods to theme parks: “Disneyland Resort contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Gee thanks, California, but it would probably be better to warn kids about alligators over in Florida.

Dorigo Jones offers a prize to whomever submits the wackiest label. The lightsaber label won this year, earning Susannah Peat of Carmel, Indiana, a thousand dollars. You can submit your choices to try to win next year’s prize.

Please do. It’s important to make fun of lawyer-driven stupidity that distracts us from more important risks.

I suppose I shouldn’t really blame companies. They’ve been sued successfully so many times for not having labels that they feel they must try to protect themselves. Injuries aren’t the real danger here. Lawyers and politicians are.

When companies get sued, they end up charging higher prices to cover the cost of the lawyers. So those warning labels not only distract us but also are part of a process that makes us all poorer.

I worry that they also make us stupider.

Economists say that when people assume that government protects us from all possible harm, we acquire a false sense of security. We stop looking out for ourselves.

Those warning labels give us the impression that the law has assessed every possible risk — if something were seriously dangerous, government wouldn’t allow it.

Lawyers and legislators' insistence that most every action be bound by written rules makes many of us forget to use own own brains.



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


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

WOW!  Homosexuality is VERY unhealthy

The odds ratio (2.82) for severe psychological distress among males was particularly strong as such statistics go.  Ratios close to 1.00 are often reported with great excitement in the medical journals.

Leftists will no doubt want to rubbish the findings but this is just about as strong a piece of survey research as you can get.  I criticise survey research a lot -- in part because I have done a lot of it myself  -- but none of my usual criticisms apply here. 

So I imagine that the Left will blame the poor health of homosexuals on the way they are oppressed by the evil cis patriarchy (If you can have a cis patriarchy).  Since homosexuals are in fact privileged these days -- it's even compulsory to make cakes for them -- that would be a hard case to make, but reality never bothers Leftists for long

Comparison of Health and Health Risk Factors Between Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults and Heterosexual Adults in the United States

Results From the National Health Interview Survey

Gilbert Gonzales et al.


Importance:  Previous studies identified disparities in health and health risk factors among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults, but prior investigations have been confined to samples not representative of the US adult population or have been limited in size or geographic scope. For the first time in its long history, the 2013 and 2014 National Health Interview Survey included a question on sexual orientation, providing health information on sexual minorities from one of the nation’s leading health surveys.

Objective:  To compare health and health risk factors between LGB adults and heterosexual adults in the United States.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Data from the nationally representative 2013 and 2014 National Health Interview Survey were used to compare health outcomes among lesbian (n = 525), gay (n = 624), and bisexual (n = 515) adults who were 18 years or older and their heterosexual peers (n = 67 150) using logistic regression.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Self-rated health, functional status, chronic conditions, psychological distress, alcohol consumption, and cigarette use.

Results:  The study cohort comprised 68 814 participants. Their mean (SD) age was 46.8 (11.8) years, and 51.8% (38 063 of 68 814) were female. After controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, gay men were more likely to report severe psychological distress (odds ratio [OR], 2.82; 95% CI, 1.55-5.14), heavy drinking (OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.08-3.58), and moderate smoking (OR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.39-2.81) than heterosexual men; bisexual men were more likely to report severe psychological distress (OR, 4.70; 95% CI, 1.77-12.52), heavy drinking (OR, 3.15; 95% CI, 1.22-8.16), and heavy smoking (OR, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.08-4.10) than heterosexual men; lesbian women were more likely to report moderate psychological distress (OR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.02-1.76), poor or fair health (OR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.24-2.95), multiple chronic conditions (OR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.12-2.22), heavy drinking (OR, 2.63; 95% CI, 1.54-4.50), and heavy smoking (OR, 2.29; 95% CI, 1.36-3.88) than heterosexual women; and bisexual women were more likely to report multiple chronic conditions (OR, 2.07; 95% CI, 1.34-3.20), severe psychological distress (OR, 3.69; 95% CI, 2.19-6.22), heavy drinking (OR, 2.07; 95% CI, 1.20-3.59), and moderate smoking (OR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.05-2.44) than heterosexual women.

Conclusions and Relevance  This study supports prior research finding substantial health disparities for LGB adults in the United States, potentially due to the stressors that LGB people experience as a result of interpersonal and structural discrimination. In screening for health issues, clinicians should be sensitive to the needs of sexual minority patients.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 27, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3432

The new bigotry in Britain

Not a single Leave campaigner ever said/suggested/hinted/implied that a vote to Leave was about racism. It was Remain who did that

I voted out, I’m 27 and I live in London. I don’t own anything with a Union Jack on it, even though I grew up in a council house and have working class parents. I studied politics and economics for 5 years at Queen Mary and the LSE, so I’m not ‘uneducated’. I don’t hold the same views as these institutions, I don’t belong to any ‘isms’, nor do I identify with left or right: I don’t watch mainstream news, so I don’t feel the need to put myself in any of these boxes. I am not a nihilist either; I’m a freethinking individual who wants peace and harmony for all human beings on this planet.

I do not regret my vote: mass hazing and melodrama do not easily sway me. Over the past couple of days, people have presumed that, because of my age and the fact that I’m a Londoner, I voted IN. Shockingly, I have many times been encouraged to verbally abuse people I do not know based on their class – those ‘scummy little-England, xenophobic OUT voters’. At work, the day after the referendum, emails were sent presenting some very troubling attitudes towards fellow human beings that happen to disagree with the REMAIN perspective, with a link ‘encouraging us’ to sign a petition asking for a second referendum. I’m sure a fair few OUT voters in London are dreading work on Monday. Admitting you wanted out makes you feel as exposed and ashamed as coming out in the 1950s must have done.

It is ironic that the vocal bulk of London’s IN voters (in reality, only 60% on average) seem so prone to prejudice, vulgarisation and over-simplification. Apparently, this referendum was won by “ignorant xenophobes” and “greasy fish n chip loving provincial menial workers”

This smug, self-righteous attitude has quickly spread to become the only ‘acceptable opinion’ on the streets of London. In the height of this hysteria, people are relinquishing their dignity in order to “stop this madness!” as one spoilt MP put it to parliament.

I couldn’t sleep on the night of the vote. As I don’t usually follow mainstream media, I was very sceptical. I didn’t expect victory against the monumental force of moneyed interests: one after the other, we had the entirety of the political establishment (Barrack Obama, Trade Unions, the Governor of the Bank of England, the IMF and a great many more) all speaking in unison: “If you don’t do what we want, there will be consequences”.

By 4am, I was elated. For the first time in my life, the people had actually delivered a resounding NO. More people turned out to vote than in the last 2 decades despite all the fear-mongering tactics, and the message to the establishment was clear: “We have no reason to trust you anymore. If you don’t want this, it must be the right thing for us. Things need to change and we are making our own decisions from now on.” This filled me with hope that we might be able to turn the tide on the horrendously corrupt political class that is swiftly turning our society into an Orwellian police state before our very eyes.

But living in London made celebrating difficult. I emerged from my home on that sunny Friday morning into a strange place. It seemed that absolutely everyone had been jolted awake and forced to confront something nasty they’d been ignoring for too long. I got the 55 bus into town and immediately saw that young, trendy London was not its usual distracted and giggly self. People were uncomfortable, morose and insecure. In front of me, two young women – of student age – were perusing twitter on their smartphones, making strange winey noises and sobbing without actual tears while intermittently glancing around, presumably hoping for engagement, attention, or comfort, in the mass hysteria. I’m sure they got it when they got to class in any case. “WHAT DO WE DO NOW!” one screamed, before the other said “I just don’t understand how people could be so DISGUSTING and RACIST”.

At work, a scene soon developed that made me feel like I was on the TV set of an AA meeting. A British colleague consoled an Italian colleague while everyone listened with an expression of shock or mourning: “So are you adversely affected by this then?” he asked “Well… no, but I’m sure some people are! I certainly DON’T agree with this!”, she fumed. “Yeah, I imagine you must know some people facing deportation.” “No, I don’t know anybody, but it is possible now.” The British colleague then faced the group and began explaining the mind-set of people who “lack empathy”. At this point I left the room, bewildered by the scale of ignorance and close to being physically sick at the virtue-signalling (“look at me, I’m so caring and progressive”). Later in the day, a Chinese colleague took me aside to confide that he’d voted OUT and was glad I “hadn’t drunk the cool aid”. I then approached another British Asian colleague who had looked uncomfortable during the ‘AA meeting’ and I summoned the courage to ask: “did you vote out?”. She looked defensive, but admitted she did. She was relieved when I immediately told her that I had too. I believe this experience of mass hazing and bullying is widespread across London.


A Named Person speaks out

A youth worker on why he’s opposed to the SNP’s Named Person scheme.

Up until a few weeks ago, my only interest in the Scottish government’s Named Person scheme was as the outraged parent of two young children. Last week, that all changed when I discovered that I am myself to become a Named Person.

The Named Person scheme is a compulsory provision within the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. It means that every newborn child is allocated a ‘single point-of-contact’ state guardian until his or her 18th birthday. Drawn from health visitors and head teachers, Named Persons will be responsible for considering any concerns raised about a child’s wellbeing and whether or not to take action. And now, as a senior youth-work practitioner, I will soon be the Named Person responsible for the young people I work with who have left school but who are still under 18.

This scheme isn’t about protecting children at serious risk of harm. That’s already covered, albeit by a somewhat threadbare social-work service. The Named Person scheme establishes a much lower threshold at which the state can intervene in family life – that is, when there is ‘cause for concern’.

Now, I understand that normal family life represents a rich tapestry of interaction, and I certainly don’t fancy myself as a sinister meddler in others’ affairs. I know that I am trustworthy and proportionate. I understand that kids bump their heads, get upset when their pets die and sometimes even scream that that they hate their parents. But while I am comfortable with my own judgement of what constitutes acceptable parenting, there will be hundreds of other Named Persons, with their own prejudices, equally as certain of what constitutes acceptable parenting.

If deciding when to intervene in a child’s life is left to the Named Person’s professional judgement, I know I’ll be fine. Having managed a children’s home in the past, I know what to be concerned about and what not to be. If the issue being raised causes me concern, it will be a serious risk and will therefore precipitate a social-work response. But, of course, these delicate decisions will not be left to the professional judgement of individuals – there will be the inevitable set of protocols to be followed.

Combine this bureaucratised demand to intervene when there’s a ‘cause for concern’ with a broader culture of risk-aversion, and the Named Person scheme promises to be a recipe for expanded interference in family life. Think, for example, of how almost every call to Scotland’s NHS 24 medical helpline results in the call handler telling the patient to attend A&E. Family life, likewise, has infinite ‘what if’ scenarios that will no doubt lead many Named Persons to ask for the intervention of social workers. The dragnet of safety is undiscerning.

Today, we tend to think that there is no such thing as an accident. Anything bad that happens ‘could have been avoided’. Of course, it’s easy to be wise after the event, but the methodology of early intervention means that Named Persons will be tracking concerns forward and predicting future outcomes… for every child in Scotland. It is a trapdoor to the absurd.

Workloads will also inevitably increase. Add Named Person duties for a handful of kids to meetings, case conferences, follow-ups and consultations, and my day job will suffer, as will those of other Named Persons.

What’s more, because being a Named Person is a legal obligation, and because no one wants to get blamed if anything goes wrong, minor issues will be prioritised over other work. Those of us who work with children will lose our sense of where interventions are necessary. And the children who are at significant risk of harm will inevitably get lost amid all the clutter.

The Scottish government has been forced to recognise the pandemonium that it is about to unleash, and is looking for ways to water down the proposals. It was no accident that first minister Nicola Sturgeon used the term ‘entitlement’ instead of ‘obligation’ when she was setting out her plans recently. But that doesn’t change the fact that the whole scheme is rotten. Even if every practical problem with the Named Person scheme were resolved, the new threshold for state involvement in family life would still be unacceptably low.

The Named Person scheme is borne of a corrosive suspicion of ordinary people, led by politicians who desperately want our votes but don’t trust us to bring up our own children. It would be farcical if it wasn’t so pernicious.


Jewish Leader Blasts Guggenheim Museum for Accusing Israel of being racist

Longtime Jewish leader Abraham Foxman sharply rebuked the Guggenheim Museum on Friday for publishing an article on its website accusing Israel of a litany of serious crimes.

Foxman — who was tapped to head a new center on the study of antisemitism at New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage following his retirement as national director of the Anti-Defamation League — was commenting on an article by Israeli artist and curator Chen Tamir, titled “Censorship in Israel,” which accuses “racist and lopsided” Israel of failing to uphold freedom of speech, oppressing Palestinians and acting as an occupying power.

“The metanarrative in Israel is one of continuous existential fear and victimization, which leads to the increased justification of insularity and nationalism, and the silencing of opposition,” Tamir wrote. 

Foxman told The Algemeiner he was “surprised” that the Guggenheim “would permit itself to be used for such blatant anti-Israel propaganda. This article goes beyond the discussion of art, its political. It’s inappropriate and ill-advised. If the Guggenheim wants to make their website a place to discuss censorship, I can give them a list of 25 countries they should start with and not Israel.”

According to Tamir, Israeli officials and private citizens have “taken matters into their own hands and established paramilitary organizations to spy on human rights activists and organizations.” One of these “paramilitary organizations,” she says, is Im Tirtzu, an Israeli Zionist youth group that she claims works covertly and overtly to censor Israeli culture.

In yet another example of “censorship,” Tamir points to an exhibition at the Museum of Petach Tikva:

Artist-choreographer Arkadi Zaides was criticized for a video and dance work incorporating footage from B’Tselem’s Camera Project (through which cameras are given to Palestinians to document conflicts with the army and neighboring settlers). The Museum of Petach Tikva, which presented the work, was asked by the municipality to close the exhibition early following pressure from a “concerned citizen,” while the Ministry of Culture withdrew its funding from the show (although the exhibition remained open until its scheduled end date a few days after this incident).

Foxman said that if the Guggenheim “wants to become a platform to discuss art and censorship, this is legitimate. However, to the best of my knowledge, Tamir’s article seems to be the only one about Israel, which is a blatant distortion on what is happening in Israel.”

According to pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon, since 2006 the Guggenheim has been attempting to build a museum in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which “routinely engages in real censorship of art. Not the false ‘withholding funds’ definition that idiot artists like Chen Tamir whine about where a government doesn’t want to support someone publicly defecating on their flag, but honest-to Allah censorship of art.”

“When an artist or a museum sees an opportunity for self advancement, suddenly censorship is not so big a deal,” he wrote. “The Guggenheim, by publishing an article about the horrors of nonexistent Israeli censorship, has no problem with partnering with a country where art censorship is normal and explicit. The double standards to which Israel is subject by these supposed defenders of art and freedom of expression is stunning, and their hypocrisy is blatant.”

In response to The Algemeiner’s request for clarification as to why the Guggenheim would promote on its website an article demonizing Israel, a spokesman for the museum said, “As an arts institution, the Guggenheim welcomes a multitude of voices and perspectives on topics of interest to the wider artistic and cultural community. The views expressed are those of the writer, a curator who lives and works in Israel, not necessarily those of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation.”



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


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Blame Juncker! Brussels chief told he stands for everything Britain voted against and must now quit

There's a lot of truth in that.  The EU had caught Britain but it was their own politically correct and authoritarian behaviour that drove Britain away

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker faced calls to resign last night as he was blamed for the Brexit vote.

Czech foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek said the EU’s chief bureaucrat was a ‘negative symbol’ of the kind of federalism British voters rejected in the referendum.

‘In my opinion, he is not the right person for that position. We have to ask who is responsible for the result of the referendum in Britain,’ Mr Zaoralek told Czech television.

Mr Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg who has been dogged by rumours of ill health, has insisted he will not stand down.

European leaders yesterday accepted it could take months for Britain to kick-start the process of leaving the EU because the country is facing a ‘very significant political crisis’.

Members of the European Parliament had been pushing for David Cameron to immediately trigger the two-year exit process when he attends a summit in Brussels tomorrow.

But last night diplomats from all 27 other member states agreed that it was unrealistic for the country to formally begin negotiations until a new prime minister had been appointed.

A senior EU official said: ‘We as the EU27 expect a notification as soon as possible but everyone understands that right now there is quite a significant crisis in the UK. Not only of the change in the ruling party, it goes much deeper.’

The official added that ‘we are ready to start ASAP’ but said the other leaders understand ‘this is a very significant political crisis ... expecting a kick-starting is not a realistic option.’

While the Prime Minister will attend the EU summit tomorrow, he will be pointedly left outside the room on Wednesday as the other 27 members discuss measures including security and counter-terrorism.

Under the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009, countries can leave by a process contained within Article 50 – which has never before been invoked.

Once this is triggered it sets a two-year clock ticking for negotiating a formal exit arrangement.

'The EU said yesterday that no negotiations could begin with the UK until the process is started formally – and officials warned the country would not be able to finalise a trade deal until after it has left.


One Year After Same-Sex Marriage Decision, Dissent Not Permitted

By now, nearly one year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, it should be clear that the aggressive and unreasonable elements of the LGBT movement cannot harmonize themselves with freedom for Christians and other conscientious objectors.

With few, commendable examples, the LGBT movement’s activist class, who advocated for same-sex marriage and who are now aggressively pushing for government at all levels to implement their morality through special rights protections, bans on counseling for same-sex attraction, and now gender identity protections, simply want no dissent.

Beneath their policy demands is a desire for approval and forced participation in a regime endorsed one year ago by the Supreme Court itself. But approval is not obtained when others still have a legal right to conscientiously object.

If you want more evidence, look no further than recent efforts to attack Mississippi’s law protecting the rights of people to opt out of being involved in same-sex marriages.

Instead of recognizing Mississippi’s law (HB 1523) for what it is—a series of reasonable accommodations with explicit requirements that the government not interfere with same-sex couples’ rights—some of the usual suspects have chosen to sue because the accommodation isn’t good enough for them.

For example, Section 3(8)(a) of the law states that the person:

shall take all necessary steps to ensure that the authorization and licensing of any legally valid marriage is not impeded or delayed as a result of any recusal.

And Section 8(2) provides that:

[n]othing in this act shall be construed to prevent the state government from providing, either directly or through an individual or entity not seeking protection under this act, any benefit or service authorized under state law

The ACLU claims that the law makes same-sex couples feel different, and the Campaign for Southern Equality claims that they may be treated differently under the law; never mind the provisions cited above mandating otherwise.

Most tellingly, this group requests “any person recusing himself or herself under Section 3(8) of HB 1523 must treat all couples equally and shall therefore desist from issuing any marriage licenses to any other couples, including opposite-sex couples” (emphasis mine).

Never mind that no one has impeded any access to any licenses. So why demand that the clerk be ordered to desist from issuing all licenses if a same-sex couple would not notice any difference? Because, as seen in attacks on judges who wish to opt out elsewhere, this is about suppressing religious expression. The activist class can’t stand the idea that someone would not agree with their same-sex marriage, so they seek to stop the expression of these dissenting views—all in the name of “equality.”

The last group of plaintiffs to challenge HB 1523 claims that the law is invalid because it only allows people to opt out of the regime who hold certain beliefs. Never mind that that’s the point of opting out; no one is violating the consciences of those who support same-sex marriage. Such religious accommodations have been permitted in our laws in numerous ways for many years. Yet when it comes to the progressive LGBT agenda, there shall be no dissent.

The ACLU and like-minded allies don’t just want court-imposed same-sex marriage. They want approval from everyone else for these same-sex marriages. This approval is not gained by exempting an individual from participation in a same-sex marriage, but by forcing them to participate.

The legalization of same-sex marriage has not slowed the push for these coercive policies. After Obergefell, same-sex marriage licenses are being obtained without delay—but that’s not satisfactory to the activist class of the LGBT movement, who still has the same desire to stomp out any disagreement.

Ask yourself: who is being reasonable here?

On the one year anniversary of Obergefell, we have our answer. The question is what the future will hold. Will we as a society incline toward accommodation of religious views, or intolerance and suppression of deeply-held beliefs?

We must get this right, for our survival as a free and pluralistic nation depends on it.


Shut down the sheiks who incite violence by Muslims

Janet Albrechtsen, writing from Australia

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out  -- because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me -- Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984

The Protestant pastor who, for being an outspoken critic of Hitler, spent the final seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps

That history often repeats itself imperfectly shouldn’t discourage us from learning from the past. Martin Niemoller’s lesson about political apathy, first delivered in Europe’s postwar years, has ramifications in the 21st century.

Islamist terrorists, under different names, from al-Qa’ida to Hezbollah to Islamic State and others, came for the Jews first. Then they came for the Americans on 9/11, then the British people on buses and walking along London streets.

Then other Islamist terrorists, using different names but infused with a similar religious ideology, came for prepubescent Nigerian schoolgirls. Others came to murder Yazidi boys and men; they came for the Yazidi girls too, selling and raping them.

They came for the gays in Syria and Iraq, tossing them off rooftops. They gunned down iconoclastic French cartoonists in Paris, young Parisians in a nightclub too, others in a restaurant, a cafe. French policemen were slaughtered on the street. Men advocating the same Islamist terrorist cause came for customers in a Sydney cafe, a Sydney police worker.

Then, on Sunday at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, they came for the gays, murdering 49 people. They will come for others, too. Every Western country is on high alert to prevent further murder at the hands of Islamic terrorists. It’s not that we are saying nothing. We say plenty each time Islamic terrorists strike. But too few say what’s needed. And that leads to the challenge raised by Niemoller: does silence equal complicity when it allows evil to continue?

Three fundamental failures rooted in politics, law and culture have led the West to a dangerous inflexion point in relation to the way we use words in the terrorism space. Politically, we fail to discuss the critical issue of the relationship between Islam and terrorism. Legally, we have laws that fail to prosecute those who incite murderous violence. Culturally, we have created a system of competitive victimhood, where people vie for victimhood status, become infantilised by a bevy of laws and concomitant social diktats about what can and cannot be said.

There is a direct relationship between each of these societal failures. The explosion of feelings-based claims, legal or otherwise, distracts us from confronting those who incite others to violence and, most critically, it fuels a modern veneration of victimhood that stifles critical debates about the values and future of Western liberal democracies.

US President Barack Obama has come to symbolise the political failure. Time and again, he has shied away from even mentioning the root cause of modern terrorism: radical Islamic ideology. This week, Obama confected outrage over this analysis of his presidency. He built a straw man that he could easily tear down. “Not once has an adviser of mine said, ‘Man, if we really use that phrase (radical Islam) we’re going to turn this thing around’,” he said as he criticised the term as just a talking point.

Except that Obama hasn’t managed to talk about this talking point. Not once this week has he engaged on the great challenge facing the West: the relationship between Islam and terrorism. If the leader of the free world cannot speak honestly about this, who can?

Refreshingly, in July last year British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It’s dangerous to deny the link with Islam because when you do that you neuter the important voices challenging the religious basis which terrorists use for their own warped purposes.”

Alas, one good speech is not a conversation. In Australia, Malcolm Turnbull begrudgingly manages to mention “radical Islamists” and there the real conversation stops before it’s even started.

The departure of Sheik Farrokh Sekaleshfar from Australia on Tuesday night raises questions for us to consider. Sekaleshfar came as a guest of the Imam Husain Islamic Centre in Sydney’s Earlwood. Sekaleshfar has previously said having the death penalty for homosexuals in Islamic societies “is nothing to be embarrassed about”.

He outlined those views in Orlando just weeks before gays were slaughtered in the Pulse nightclub. He told the ABC, “I am a follower of the Islamic faith” and, according to Islamic faith, gays can be put to death in certain circumstances.

According to the sheik, death is appropriate, indeed compassionate, to end the life of sinning homo­sexuals if they have sex in public. “You will sin less … we’ve saved you,” Sekaleshfar said.

The sheik has left Australia. He has been rightly condemned. The Turnbull government is reviewing visa processes. And now? Silence and a hope maybe that the sheik’s rapid exit from Australia will let sleeping dogs lie.

Yet uncomfortable and important questions remain not just unanswered but unasked. Do the members of the Imam Husain Islamic Centre, as followers of the Islamic faith, also accept the sheik’s views about death sometimes being an appropriate punishment for gays? What about members of the Islamic faith beyond this Islamic centre in Earlwood? Do they agree with Islam’s violent attitude towards homosexuals?

On Thursday evening at Kirribilli, the Prime Minister hosted senior Islamic leaders, including Sheik Shady Alsuleiman, president of the Australian National Imams Council, who has condemned gays for “spreading diseases” and delivering “evil outcomes to our society”. Among the guests was Hafez Kassem, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, who has said gays should be treated with medication; and Supreme Islamic Shia Council head Kamal Mous­selmani, who defended Sekaleshfar’s right to ­believe that gays should be put to death. Just imagine the outrage from the Left if a Catholic leader had said such things.

How many Australians Muslims represented by these Islamic leaders support these homophobic and violent views? Cultural relativism doesn’t cut it here. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week, Muslim homophobia is institutionalised by Islamic law and homosexuality is criminalised in 40 out of 57 Muslim-majority countries.

Iran hangs men for being gay. Islamic State throws homosexuals off tall buildings. “Homophobia comes in many forms,” writes Hirsi Ali. “But none is more dangerous in our time than the Islamic version.”

If you advocate death for a group of people, you are inciting violence. That ought to be a crime. Even ardent defenders of free speech shouldn’t tolerate words that incite violence. Yet NSW, where so many terrorist attacks have happened and many more have been planned, has become an unfortunate template for the wretched legal and political failures to prevent those who knowingly and deliberately incite others to cause physical harm to people.

Section 20D of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, enacted in 1989, prohibits those who incite violence towards others on the basis of race. There has not been a single prosecution, let alone a conviction. Not even when the spiritual leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Ismail al-Wahwah, called for “jihad against the Jews”, when he called Jews a “cancerous tumour” that had to be “uprooted” and destroyed. His violent words were uploaded to YouTube, accessible to every young man with murder on his mind and hatred in his heart.

There have been empty political words and undelivered promises from NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton about keeping the state safe: the state’s Liberal government has done nothing so far to ensure this law is enforceable and enforced.

Meanwhile, laws at the federal level haul young students into court for using words that simply hurt the feelings of a woman who worked at the Queensland University of Technology.

We have not just lost all sense of proportion. We have lost sight of principle. Inciting violence should limit our right to speak freely. Hurting someone’s feelings should not. Our failure on both fronts is dangerous. Laws that protect hurt feelings have created a wider, informal but no less powerful muzzle on us, preventing us from having necessary conversations about Islam. The same strictures infantilise Muslims as too irrational or too vulnerable to discuss their own faith.

Islamophobia epithets are routinely thrown around to enforce what has become a deadly silence. If a few Australian Muslims won’t critique their religion, just as Christianity and Judaism have been challenged from within over hundreds of years, then, as Orlando shows, an internal problem for Islam becomes our problem. Islam’s homophobia, divined from scripture and most recently enunciated by Sekaleshfar, struck at young gay men and women dancing in the nightclub in Orlando. Who’s next? And when will someone finally speak up about what is at stake for Islam and the West?


Heroic Tales in the Twenty First Century

One of the most regrettable things about the Twenty First century is that, now that we finally have swept aside the pall of Twentieth Century’s obsession with grim, unheroic, nihilistic literature, and emerged into the glorious era eager for heroic tales, the Twenty Firsters almost know how to tell one, but not quite.

Even a simple tale of heroism, wonder, romance and adventure such as all previous generations knew how to tell, the Twenty-Firsters cannot tell, or not quite.

From Achilles and Hercules onward, there have always been tales of larger than life heroes who make larger than life sacrifices to save the innocent. In the ancient world, they were myth, in the latter days, fairy tales, fables, tales to fill a thousand Arabian nights and a night. In the modern day, they are superhero tales.

The Twenty Firsters can get all the basics correct: strong characters with dramatic motivations meeting overwhelming odds and clinging to hope when hope is gone, struggling onward, achieving, overcoming. The dialog, the clever plot twists, the three dimensional verisimilitude of the characters, all put the simple juvenile literature from which they spring to shame. I have been dumbfounded on many an occasion, when watching the recent television versions of DAREDEVIL, or FLASH, or THE ARROW, or LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, or SUPERGIRL, or movies from the Marvel Universe, at the sheer brilliance of the writing and grace of the action. The Twenty Firsters shine brightly at what they do so well.

But what they do badly is egregiously bad.

For the Twenty Firsters cannot tell a twice told tale of a modern day Robin Hood, or a runner as fast as Mercury, or a group of heroes as bold as the Argonauts, or a cute girl-type Hercules, without intruding unwelcome, tin-eared, heavy-handed, preachy, silly and sick-minded political points.

And they are silly points because they concern matters that, in the West, at least, are solved: No law and no custom in my whole adult lifetime erected a barrier to women based on sex, nor none to blacks based on race. To the degree that the unruly passions in the human heart can be bridled by laws and customs, they have been. Anything more that is done allegedly to aid the case has proved itself unambiguously to be counterproductive: policies allegedly enacted to diminish racial hatreds, nonsense like affirmative action, set-asides, and reverse discrimination, have throughout my life formed irreconcilably opposed racial groups to whom nothing else matters but skin color.

The Twenty Firsters think the source of the problem is the lack of characters in popular literature who represent minorities, and, in the case of superheroes or other longstanding characters, the lack of actresses or minority characters portraying roles originally depicted as male or white. I have heard this conclusion announced on many, many an occasion, but never once with the alleged chain of reasoning upon which it is based mentioned, so I am in no position to judge its soundness, or even judge whether it even attempts to be sound.

So to solve the imaginary problem of a lack of minorities playing white character roles, and the even more imaginary problem of violations of the civil rights of those who commit acts of sexual deviance, our elite class has taken it upon themselves to use the popular culture, first, to benumb us to sexual deviance until we all think (or pretend to think) it is licit, healthy, and normal, and, second, to use the popular culture to have blacks play white characters. As I said, the point of this escapes me: the effect is to make us acutely conscious of their skin color, and ever more acutely aware (and, for our weaker members, resentful) of the special privileges shown the protected classes who enjoy antidiscrimination privileges under our laws.

Let me turn a baleful eye to my favorite form of popular entertainment: superhero shows and films.

We live in the golden age of superheroes, and let no one tell you otherwise. Even minor comic properties like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXIES are blockbusters. The original comics by and large were crudely written and aimed at kids. These shows have some of the best writing I have seen, and I will forgive all their flaws because everything else about the shows are perfect.

But the flaws are all one flaw: political correctness.

And political correctness kills storytelling. Story tellers serve truth, they merely do it by means of non-literal ways of portraying the truth. Political correctness serves propaganda. Stories entertain and educate, and offer insight into the human condition, even the humblest tale of derring-do. Propaganda serves to indoctrinate, to limit the insight, to instill one viewpoint and to close the mind to all others, dulling the thought and stunting the reason.

Stories put you in another man’s shoes, to see the world with new eyes. Propaganda hinders or reverses this.

Political Correctness harps endlessly on one theme: the evils of the Modern West. Since the Modern West has no evils that the ancient or middle ages, West or East, did not have in more abundance, the accusation of evil must of necessity revolve around the two areas where there has been nothing but an uninterrupted stream of progress for a century: the civil equality of the races and of the sexes. Since, as mentioned above, that has been achieved, the criticism must invent ever more shrill and outlandish accusations of ever more hidden, invisible, and imaginary manifestations of an alleged, yet somehow never defined, inequality. And this requires the Political Correctioneers to lose all sense of proportion, all sense of reality, and all sense.

And, of necessity, it necessitates a false picture be painted of the present, and of the past, so that no true comparison can be made between them.

The matters hence on which their obsession bears are those touching race and sex.

FLASH has roughly nine love triangles going at once, of which one and only one is not a mixed race couple. One or two white-and-black couples would be enough to make the point that such pairing are normal in this day and age (for so they are, I knew five among my circle of friends alone). But what does it mean that all but one fit this pattern? It is as if the writer is straining mightily to urge us to reject the miscegenation laws that were rejected a century ago, or to shed attitudes seen only in the Democrat-controlled South, and predominant only in my long-vanished youth.

(I note that the problem has been vanished long enough that the word miscegeny is not in my spelling checker.)

The orphan boy is in love with his adopted sister, which is gross, but no one in the show seems to notice this: apparently the show takes place in a nearby parallel universe where everyone follows the moral example of Woody Allen.

When the cop’s partner fornicates with the cop’s daughter, she is given a latchkey, not a wedding ring, to show the full degree of his devotion. And the cop does not shoot him.

And the orphan boy always tells his team mates that the team is a ‘family’ rather than a team or a brotherhood. It is as if the normal emotion of team loyalty, philos, friendship, is alien to this universe, but that the word family refers to any arbitrary group of people interconnected by a strong bond.

When a young, strong, muscular Latino man and a petite, curvy, attractive black woman in skintight black leather pants and nosebleed high heels are cornered by a zombie, the man tells the woman to get behind him, as he is offering to protect her with his life.

She impatiently orders him to get behind her, because she is offering to throw a temper tantrum.

Absurdly, he does. I was wondering what the writer had in mind for petite, curvy, attractive black woman in skintight black leather pants and nosebleed high heels to do to fend off the zombie, because logically she should be killed for her folly and her alleged brains eaten, but the writer chickened out. Zombie then turns another direction and shambles off. Which somehow proves that the self-sacrifice of muscular Latino man was comedy relief worthy of nothing but scorn or something.

On THE ARROW, when the daughter of hardboiled cop returns after years when she was missing, thought dead, and exchanges hot and passionate lesbian kisses with her hot and passionate lesbian lover and she-assassin ninja-babe on the street, the dad’s only remark is that he is glad she found someone to love.

Ah, but in other episodes, he browbeats and chastises her for sleeping out of wedlock with drunk, rich, white frat boy with a yacht. Not, of course, because fornication is a sin, but because he is a rich playboy. Which is apparently worse than getting entangled with a she-assassin ninja-babe.

The hot lesbian lover is the daughter of an ageless Oriental supervillain Assassin Lord who disapproves of the unisex pairing, not, as one might expect of a supervillain Assassin Lord in a Leftwing sermon-story, because he thinks it is an unnatural abomination or he wants grandchildren. In the scene where hot lover confronts ageless supervillain, the Assassin Lord Dad reveals that his sole source of discontent with the hot young lesbian unisex pairing was that the cop’s daughter was disloyal, and would leave.

One wonders what the other option was supposed to be? Settle down as wife and wife and form a substitute family? Grow old together and adopt cats as a substitute for children? Kidnap gypsy babies to raise?

I will mention in passing that no ageless man of the centuries before this one, pagan or Christian, Western or Eastern, would have adopted these odd modern looking-glass ethical standards, as opposed to, say, a standard saying it was okay to force his daughter into an arranged marriage for his political and economic convenience. Why both oriental characters are here played by whites is a mystery, since all the characters from Japan and China are played (ably) by Japanese or Korean actors or actresses.

In neither FLASH or THE ARROW or SUPERGIRL is there even one married couple with an intact family.

Much more HERE


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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Monday, June 27, 2016

Gun regulation:  Is Australia a model that the USA should adopt?

In the wake of the recent shootings at Orlando and elsewhere, many Leftist commentators have pointed to the strict gun controls introduced by Australia in 1996 and have noted that Australia has had NO mass shootings since the laws were enacted.  They assert that this is powerful evidence for the enactment of such laws in America. But is it true?  Did Australia's strict laws reduce gun deaths?

Before I answer that, I think I might point out that there are important demographic differences between the U.S. and Australian populations.  In particular, the minorities are different.  Australia has negligible Africans but large numbers of Han Chinese.  And those two groups differ greatly in propensity to crime generally and homicide in particular.  The Chinese are as pacific as Africans are violent.  I don't think I have ever heard of a Han Chinese breaking into someone's house, whereas that happens daily in the USA.  So Australians have a much smaller need for guns as self-defense.  I love the Han.

But one part of the Leftist claim is true.  There have indeed been no mass shootings since 1996 in Australia. But such shootings were rare anyway and gun crimes were already on the way down in Australia so how do we allow for that?  Below is an article from a major medical journal that has done all the statistics. Its conclusions have been widely reported but almost always misreported.  So I produce the actual journal abstract below.

As you can see, they found that the decline in gun deaths had speeded up but not to a statistically significant degree.  More interestingly, the rate for all crimes had declined even more than the decline in gun deaths.  So all we can say is that Australia has been getting steadily safer for a long time now.  There is no evidence that guns have anything to do with it.  The journal article:

Association Between Gun Law Reforms and Intentional Firearm Deaths in Australia, 1979-2013

Simon Chapman et al.



Rapid-fire weapons are often used by perpetrators in mass shooting incidents. In 1996 Australia introduced major gun law reforms that included a ban on semiautomatic rifles and pump-action shotguns and rifles and also initiated a program for buyback of firearms.


To determine whether enactment of the 1996 gun laws and buyback program were followed by changes in the incidence of mass firearm homicides and total firearm deaths.


Observational study using Australian government statistics on deaths caused by firearms (1979-2013) and news reports of mass shootings in Australia (1979–May 2016). Changes in intentional firearm death rates were analyzed with negative binomial regression, and data on firearm-related mass killings were compared.


Implementation of major national gun law reforms.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Changes in mass fatal shooting incidents (defined as ≥5 victims, not including the perpetrator) and in trends of rates of total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and suicides, and total homicides and suicides per 100 000 population.


From 1979-1996 (before gun law reforms), 13 fatal mass shootings occurred in Australia, whereas from 1997 through May 2016 (after gun law reforms), no fatal mass shootings occurred. There was also significant change in the preexisting downward trends for rates of total firearm deaths prior to vs after gun law reform. From 1979-1996, the mean rate of total firearm deaths was 3.6 (95% CI, 3.3-3.9) per 100 000 population (average decline of 3% per year; annual trend, 0.970; 95% CI, 0.963-0.976), whereas from 1997-2013 (after gun law reforms), the mean rate of total firearm deaths was 1.2 (95% CI, 1.0-1.4) per 100 000 population (average decline of 4.9% per year; annual trend, 0.951; 95% CI, 0.940-0.962), with a ratio of trends in annual death rates of 0.981 (95% CI, 0.968-0.993). There was a statistically significant acceleration in the preexisting downward trend for firearm suicide (ratio of trends, 0.981; 95% CI, 0.970-0.993), but this was not statistically significant for firearm homicide (ratio of trends, 0.975; 95% CI, 0.949-1.001). From 1979-1996, the mean annual rate of total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths was 10.6 (95% CI, 10.0-11.2) per 100 000 population (average increase of 2.1% per year; annual trend, 1.021; 95% CI, 1.016-1.026), whereas from 1997-2013, the mean annual rate was 11.8 (95% CI, 11.3-12.3) per 100 000 (average decline of 1.4% per year; annual trend, 0.986; 95% CI, 0.980-0.993), with a ratio of trends of 0.966 (95% CI, 0.958-0.973). There was no evidence of substitution of other lethal methods for suicides or homicides.

Conclusions and Relevance

Following enactment of gun law reforms in Australia in 1996, there were no mass firearm killings through May 2016. There was a more rapid decline in firearm deaths between 1997 and 2013 compared with before 1997 but also a decline in total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths of a greater magnitude. Because of this, it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to the gun law reforms.

JAMA. Published online June 22, 2016. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8752

Multicultural illegal immigrant, 28, who carried out a 10-day campaign of sex attacks on lone women on their doorsteps is jailed for eight years

A serial sex attacker has been jailed for eight years after assaulting a string of women over a 10-day spree in South London just months after he arrived in the UK.

Algerian Mehdi Midani, 28, followed eight 'vulnerable' women as they walked home at night.

The former mechanic conducted a campaign of 'terror' across the Brixton Hill and Clapham areas of the capital, even attacking four women in the space of just four hours.

He was handed a sentence of 10 years with eight to be served in jail, two on licence following his release.

Passing sentence Judge Nicholas Madge said: 'You moved from one offence in an evening to two in an evening to four in an evening.  'You waited, watched and followed women.'

Judge Madge said one victim turned to see Midani 'grinning' at her while another caught him 'ducking behind a car' as he followed her.

'All these offences were committed against lone women during a 10-day period. 'On each day that you assaulted women you travelled from North London to Brixton or Clapham and then returned to North London after carrying out the assault.'

He added: 'The experience of this court is that sexual attacks on women by strangers in the street are rare. In that sense, London is a relatively safe city.

'However, courts will do all they can to keep it that way and to protect women by imposing long sentences upon anyone who attacks women, especially at night.' 

Midani was convicted of six counts of sexual assault and one count of common assault in April and pleaded guilty to a further count of sexual assault at Inner London Crown Court.

The court heard that he entered Britain via Ireland after leaving his native Algeria and that his immigration sentence is currently 'unknown' - but it is believed he may have entered illegally and the Home Office will seek his deportation once he has been sentenced.   


The Left's Assault on Our Values

I want to tell you about the left’s ongoing assault on the First Amendment.

California has mandated that all insurance policies must cover elective, surgical abortions as “basic health care.” At least three churches filed a federal lawsuit against the mandate, which flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

The churches also asked the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate whether the California mandate violated federal legislation, known as the Weldon Amendment, intended to protect rights of conscience.

The Obama administration ruled [Tuesday] that church health insurance policies are not protected by the Weldon Amendment and, thus, churches can be forced to pay for elective abortions.

It is hard to imagine a more outrageous and blatantly anti-First Amendment order than this. If the government can force churches to pay for abortions, it’s not far from ordering pastors to perform same-sex marriages.

Meanwhile, another First Amendment controversy has been brewing, this one related to free speech. A number of left-wing state attorneys general are attempting to prosecute global warming skeptics for fraud. They are using the brute force of big government to shut down the debate.

Thankfully, this overreach is getting serious pushback. Last week, more than a dozen conservative state attorneys general publicly warned that if climate change skeptics could be prosecuted for fraud, so could global warming alarmists like Al Gore, whose wild predictions have never panned out.

Not long ago, the left was panicking about the coming ice age, not to mention global famine caused by overpopulation and “peak oil.” I’d say the right has a far stronger case to make when it comes to prosecuting environmentalist fraud.

The Importance Of Judges

As utterly ridiculous as these examples are, they are yet more evidence of the left’s growing intolerance for religious liberty and free speech. And as I noted in both examples, these issues are being fought over in the courts. They will be decided by judges.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of this upcoming election when it comes to control of the courts. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has left the Supreme Court evenly divided between four reliably liberal justices and four generally right of center justices.

The decision upholding an individual’s Second Amendment right to own a firearm was a 5-to-4 decision. The Hobby Lobby decision, upholding religious liberty, was a 5-to-4 decision. Both could be overturned depending on Scalia’s replacement.

That’s how important this election is. Religious liberty and the Second Amendment are at stake — and your vote will determine the outcome.

That’s right. The men and women we elect to the White House and the Senate determine the judges who sit on our federal courts.


Horror and Hush-Up in Twin Falls, Idaho

Michelle Malkin

Something wicked happened in Idaho's rural Magic Valley. The evil has been compounded by politicians, media and special interest groups doing their damnedest to suppress the story and quell a righteous citizen rebellion.

On June 7, a brief news item appeared on local Twin Falls, Idaho-based KMVT about a "reported sexual assault that possibly occurred near the Fawnbrook Apartments" five days earlier. Unconfirmed accounts of the alleged crime on conservative-leaning websites, plus reports from area members of anti-jihad activist Brigitte Gabriel's Act for America group and longtime watchdog Ann Corcoran's Refugee Resettlement Watch blog, culminated in coverage on the powerhouse Drudge Report.

The social media groundswell, untethered from the constraints of political correctness, forced government authorities to respond.

Police and the local prosecutor's office grudgingly confirmed that an investigation had begun into the incident. The victim: A mentally disabled 5-year-old girl. The alleged perpetrators: Three boys, ages 7, 10 and 14, from Sudanese and Iraqi immigrant families (predominantly Muslim) who have been in the country for less than two years -- all but confirming that they are refugees.

What happened? The case is under seal because it involves minors, but prosecutor Grant Loebs said there is videotape of the alleged sexual assault (a fact which local activists first divulged). Two of the boys are in custody. It's not clear what happened to the third.

Here's the sickening thing: The people who should have been asking tough questions -- like, you know, mainstream journalists -- have spent more time attacking local whistleblowers and bloggers than they have spent demanding answers and holding public officials accountable.

Why? Consider the backdrop. Residents in Twin Falls have been worried about the impact of an increasing influx of refugees, many from jihad-coddling countries, over the past several years. Their concerns about crime, welfare, health care, and schools echo those of communities across the country who are bearing the coercive brunt of Beltway bleeding hearts' refugee resettlement policies enacted in a shroud of secrecy.

Members of the Twin Falls City Council smugly likened refugee resettlement critics to "white supremacists." Regional newspapers including the Idaho Statesman and the Spokane Spokesman-Review rushed to discredit the on-scene reporting of internet writers such as Leo Hohmann, who had interviewed a witness to the crime for World Net Daily.

"Jolene Payne, an 89-year-old retired nurse who lives at the complex" told Hohmann that she spotted one of the boys "taking pictures with a camera" outside the apartment complex's laundry room. She went inside and found the 5-year-old naked with two of the younger boys naked standing over her. "The worst thing was the way they peed all over her clothes," she recounted.

Pro-mass immigration advocates may not like the sources of some of the original reporting that forced the case into the sunlight, but the watchdogs got more right than wrong. These critics now have Twin Falls' political leaders sputtering to cover their backsides and police brass defending themselves against explosive charges that they dragged their feet.

Instead, the "professional journalists" dwelt on a few early factual errors about whether the boys were from Syria and whether a knife was used -- and filled their dismissive articles with "can't we all just get along" propaganda from refugee resettlement advocates and contractors with vested financial interests in the game.

The callousness of local officials and indifference of local and national media reminds me very much of an international incident that went viral on YouTube earlier this year in the eastern German town of Bad Schlema -- located in a region overrun by Muslim refugees.

A concerned grandfather whose granddaughter under the age of 10 was sexually harassed by Muslim migrants protested to mayor Jens Muller. In response to his plea for help, Muller told the elderly man to direct his family to "not walk in areas" where refugees would be.

"Just don't provoke them and don't walk in those areas."

The grandfather lamented at the public meeting: "You're not allowed to walk in your own city anymore."

To which the jaded mayor replied: "This is the way it is."

Thank goodness there are Americans still fighting against the collective shrug of sovereignty surrender. Louder, please.


Third acquittal in the Freddie Gray case

Officer Caesar Goodson, who was driving the police van inside which suffered his fatal neck injury last April, has been found not guilty of second-degree “depraved heart” murder by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams.

Goodson, 46, has also been found not guilty on charges of manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

Goodson waived his right to a trial by jury. His bench trial began June 9 and final arguments were heard Monday.

Gray, a 25-year-old black man from the Sandtown area of Baltimore, died of his injury on April 19, 2015. A week earlier, Baltimore City police officers put him in the back of Goodson’s van, handcuffed and shackled, but unrestrained by a seat belt.

His death set off more than a week of protests followed by looting, rioting and arson that prompted a citywide curfew.

After the verdict was read, protesters began chanting “Murderer!” over and over again outside the courthouse.

Inside court, with high security present, “People were quiet … There were a few people shaking their heads, some people who were emotionless,” WJZ’s Mike Hellgren reports.

The judge said that the evidence for conviction simply was not there, and that there was no way that Goodson would have known that Freddie Gray was injured until the van’s final stop at the Western district police station, which is where a medic was called.

The prosecution’s theory of the case did not fit the facts that they presented, which clearly troubled Judge Williams.

Williams also chided the state for using the term “rough ride,” calling it a highly-charged term that they failed to define.



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


Sunday, June 26, 2016

This is the most tumultuous event of modern times, a people's revolt against the elite that's been brewing for years

There are times, not very often, when you can feel history being made. An archduke falls, a wall comes down, a plane hits a building, and in that moment you can feel the ground shifting beneath your feet.

When those initial results came in from Sunderland and Newcastle in the early hours of yesterday morning, I could barely believe it. Even now, to write the words 'Britain has voted to leave the EU' feels extraordinary, like a leap into some alternative reality.

For once, all the cliches are justified. This was not merely an electoral earthquake. It was a popular revolt by vast swathes of England and Wales against the political, financial and cultural elite, whose complacent assumptions have been simply blown away.

Indeed, for once it really is impossible to exaggerate the significance of the moment. What happened was undoubtedly the most dramatic, the most shocking and even the most revolutionary event in our modern history. We will live with the consequences for the rest of our lives.

Every rule of politics has been broken.

Barely a year after winning a stunning majority, the Prime Minister has gone, a broken man. The Tory Party, plunged into a three-month leadership battle, has been divided almost beyond repair, while Labour's leaders have been exposed as almost comically unpopular and out of touch.

Scotland has probably never been closer to secession from the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland, which will now have our only land border with the EU, has been thrown into tumult. And to cap it all, the pound — ironically, the supreme symbol of the independence for which millions of people voted on Thursday — has plunged on the exchange markets.

Perhaps never in living memory has our national story become so unpredictable. Never has our country been more divided, and never has the future been more uncertain.

I cannot think of a modern political moment to match it. The fall of David Lloyd George after leading Britain through World War I until his Liberal-Tory coalition broke up in 1922, the Labour post-war landslide of 1945, the advent of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, all supposedly seismic events, feel trivial, even irrelevant, by comparison.

What makes all this so dramatic, though, is that it represents something new — a revolution by millions of people, many of them traditional working-class voters, against the massed ranks of the political and financial Establishment.

If nothing else, the result should banish for good the stereotype of British voters as deferential, forelock-tugging yokels, dutifully falling into line behind the country squire.

The Prime Minister, the Chancellor, the Governor of the Bank of England, the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Italy, the IMF, the World Bank and the head of the TUC all lined up to lecture the British electorate. But what is now clear is that every time they hectored and cajoled, every time they piled on the doom-laden prophecies, millions of ordinary voters bristled with resentment.

The curious thing is that despite the shock and disbelief among the Establishment yesterday, you can't deny it has been coming. After all, for years, resentment has been building and Ukip has been piling up votes in by-elections and European elections.

Indeed, what happened in Scotland in last year's General Election, when the Scottish Nationalists triumphantly stormed areas that had voted Labour for generations, now looks like a warning of the tempest that broke across England two days ago — a gigantic revolt against a political elite who, for far too long, had taken working-class voters for granted.

As it happens, I thought Britain would vote to remain in the EU. I thought that when it came to the crunch, voters would revert to the status quo, as they so often do.

Perhaps, instead of poring over the polls, I should have re-read some of my own articles for the Mail. For years I have warned that the gulf between the Establishment and the people was widening into an unbridgeable chasm. Too many politicians have lost the ability to speak in ways that people understand. Indeed, nothing says more about the failure of the Westminster elite than the fact that so many working-class Labour voters, especially in the old industrial heartlands of the North and Midlands, defied their party's warnings and voted Leave.

In this context, David Cameron and George Osborne were the worst possible salesmen for the Remain campaign.

Born and educated amid immense privilege, the very picture of public-school entitlement, they have never been able to reach voters outside their natural Tory heartlands. Yet although future historians will devote millions of words to the events of the past few weeks, the campaign itself was probably irrelevant to the outcome.

Even before Mr Cameron fired the starting gun — a moment that will go down as the greatest own goal in political history — I suspect the public had made up their minds. The roots of this revolt, I think, go back at least 50 years, since even before Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973.

In this respect, the fact that immigration dominated the campaign was enormously revealing — not merely because it is the most toxic and emotive issue of our age, but because concerns about it had been building for so long.

If I had to pick a moment when the great rebellion really began, I would be tempted to pinpoint April 1968, when thousands of dockers and market porters marched on Westminster in support of Enoch Powell, who had been kicked off the Tory frontbench after his controversial anti-immigration 'Rivers of Blood' speech.

At the time, the rebellion of these traditional working-class Labour voters sent tremors through British politics. Yes, there was a racist element — but there was more to it than just racism, or even opposition to immigration per se.

As the Left-wing political commentator Peter Jenkins remarked at the time, Powell attracted so much support among ordinary working-class Britons not because they were all monsters of prejudice, but because he tapped their sense that 'the politicians are conspiring against the people, that the country is led by men who have no idea about what interests or frightens the ordinary people in the back streets of Wolverhampton'.

What Powell's appeal reflected, in other words, was exactly the same disquiet that has driven so many people towards Ukip during the past decade: a deep sense of anxiety at the decline of working-class communities, the eclipse of British industry, the pace of cultural change and the rise of globalisation, all of which have left so many ordinary people bewildered and bereft.

Indeed, in recent years that sense of disconnection between the leaders and the led, between the affluent London elite and the working-class voters of provincial England, has become greater than ever.

The financial crash in 2008, bankers' bonuses, the MPs' expenses scandal, even the revelations of the Panama Papers (which revealed that Mr Cameron's father had set up his investment fund in a tax haven) — all these things heightened the popular sense of a nest-feathering elite that had become fatally out of touch.

And for the result, just look at what happened in Powell's old stamping ground, Wolverhampton, on Thursday. A traditional Labour city, it voted overwhelmingly, by 62.6 per cent to 37.4 per cent, to leave the EU.

It was the same story in the rest of our old industrial heartlands — in Stoke and in Sunderland, in Hartlepool and in Hull, where the Labour message fell on deaf ears and the Leave camp piled up massive majorities.

Some liberal commentators, fulminating with rage against what they see as the 'ugly' side of British life, would have you believe this is all a question of racism. White working-class voters, they say, are bigots, raging against the modern world.

You don't need me to tell you what snobbish, condescending rubbish this is, not least because, during the campaign, it proved so disastrously self-destructive.

The truth is that as the BBC's head of political research, David Cowling, argued last week in a leaked memo, the 'metropolitan political class' have lived for far too long in a 'London bubble'.

'There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values, yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that,' he wrote. 'Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist.'

There is, however, another dimension to all this, to which many of those inside the metropolitan bubble have been similarly blind. The fact is that Britain — well, England and Wales at least — has always been a deeply Eurosceptic place. Indeed, perhaps the really remarkable thing was not that we decided to come out of the EU, but that we ever joined in the first place.

What took us into the Common Market, as it then was, was not Euro-enthusiasm, but anxiety about our own weakness during a period of unprecedented introspection and self-doubt.

It is no accident that Britain first applied to join in the early Sixties, when our Empire was breaking up, we were floundering to find a new role in the world and the headlines were full of doom and gloom about our relative economic decline.

Remember, too, that when the British people voted to remain in the EEC in 1975, they did so against a backdrop of extraordinary industrial unrest and political impotence, with inflation surging towards a post-war record of 26 per cent.

Even at the time, few people were very enthusiastic.

In 1962, during our first attempt to join, Labour's leader Hugh Gaitskell claimed that European membership would mean 'the end of a thousand years of history'. In that respect, he was a lot closer to the views of traditional Labour supporters than many of his successors.

If the economic circumstances had been different — if Britain had been a more confident, successful country in the Sixties and Seventies — then I suspect the 1975 referendum outcome, too, would have been very different. Perhaps, like Norway and Switzerland, we would never have joined at all.

And by the end of the Thatcher years, as Britain began to recover its self-belief, so popular Euroscepticism began to reassert itself. In a sense, public opinion returned to its natural position.

As the Cambridge professor Robert Tombs writes in his definitive history of England, the English have always seen themselves, rightly or wrongly, as an exceptional nation, set apart from the Continental neighbours by geography, culture and constitutional tradition.

When Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church in the 16th century, he famously proclaimed that 'England is an Empire', by which he meant that it was different from the rest of Europe, special and self-contained. And whether you believe in it or not, the idea of our own uniqueness has always played a central part in our national story.

Over the next few centuries, the vision of Britain as a cradle of liberty, a unique bastion of Protestant freedom against Catholic Europe, became entrenched in our national imagination.

Even during World War II, that vision endured: it is hard to imagine any other nation's monarch writing, as George VI did after the fall of France in 1940: 'Personally, I feel happier now that we have no allies to be polite to and to pamper.'

All stirring stuff, of course. I can imagine the leaders of the Leave campaign nodding enthusiastically at the thought of such sentiments.

Yet nations cannot live by myths alone. And even the most enthusiastic Brexiteers would surely have to admit that Britain now faces perhaps the most febrile and uncertain period in our modern history.

The challenges are immense. In the next few years, David Cameron's successor as Prime Minister will need to take Britain out of the EU, negotiate new trade deals with our international partners and introduce a new system to control immigration.

On top of that, the new PM will need to move mountains to mollify Scotland and Northern Ireland — both of which voted to Remain — and somehow keep the United Kingdom intact.

And all this against a background of unprecedented political chaos and national division, with fully 48 per cent of the electorate, including the vast majority of youngsters, having voted to Remain.

The stakes could hardly be higher. Never before in our peacetime history have we so desperately needed calm, mature, effective and decisive leadership, embodied by a Prime Minister who understands the mood of the country and can bring the British people together.

That much is clear. What is less clear, as the dust settles after the most extraordinary rebellion in our political history, is whether we will get it.


Take a bow, Britain! The quiet people of our country rise up against an arrogant, out-of-touch political class and a contemptuous Brussels elite

What an awesome tribute to the British people. Day after day, month after month, voters were bombarded with hysterical threats and terrifying scares — everything the Government machine, the mainstream party leaders and the global political and financial elites could throw at them.

They endured insults and abuse. Those who believed Britain could prosper as an independent nation, both in Europe and the world beyond, were attacked as 'Little Englanders'.

Those who were concerned about the effects of uncontrolled immigration on jobs, wages, housing, public services and the welfare of their children were smeared as 'racists'.

Most insidious of all, it was even suggested that Leavers were somehow implicated in the tragic death of MP Jo Cox.

But outside the echo-chamber that is the metropolitan liberal class, the real people of Britain saw things differently.

They held their nerve, saw through the lies and trusted their instincts.

In a magnificent affirmation of national self-belief and character, their resounding message to the elite was:

* We are fed up with being disdained and ignored over the issues about which we feel strongly.

* We deserve better than to be treated as a mere offshore province of an unelected, anti-democratic, corrupt pan- European bureaucracy.

* We have less to be ashamed of than any other nation on Earth. We gave the world Parliamentary democracy, the industrial revolution, Magna Carta, human rights and free trade.

* So we will not go on bowing to unaccountable judges and commissioners, while being denied any more power than countries such as Latvia and Lithuania.

* We want to make our own laws, control our own borders, choose our own trading partners — and, crucially, we want to reclaim the right to elect our rulers and dismiss them if they betray our trust.

Indeed, one of the most moving aspects of this victory for Britain is that it showed no class divide in the Brexit camp. Voters in the rich Tory shires and the Labour heartlands of the North, the haves and the have-nots, were united in rejecting the threats and blandishments of their party leaders and proclaiming their faith in our country.

The lesson of this vote is that we yearn for more honesty in our politics. And we are fed up with career politicians who have no experience of the real world.

Which brings us to the tragedy of David Cameron. Hugely able, highly articulate and the possessor of great leadership qualities, he was a masterly chairman of the 2010-2015 Coalition, which set Britain on the road to recovery after the great banking crisis.

Yet he was fatally flawed. Lacking any detectable convictions, he made terrible misjudgments about people and some of the great issues of our time. You have to pinch yourself to remember that he made his early reputation as a Eurosceptic, in accord with his party's grass roots.

But when push came to shove, this one-time sceptic preferred to throw in his lot with the Merkels, Junckers and Hollandes of the summit-going euro-elite, turning his back on the British people.

And what a disastrous campaign he then conducted. Instead of trying to persuade voters of his positive view of the EU, he threw everything into Project Fear, prophesying Armageddon if we withdrew.

In what was a preposterous and mendacious Remain campaign, he threw integrity and truth to the wind, devaluing the currency of political discourse — and ensuring that if he lost, he would have to resign, followed by the architect of Project Fear, George Osborne.

Weary of Westminster lies, the British people were simply not naïve enough to believe him.

Why on Earth did he rush into this referendum, instead of leaving it till 2017? If only he had waited, he could have led a great, reforming Tory government following his fine victory last year.

And what of Jeremy Corbyn?

If only the Labour leader had stayed true to his beliefs and fought to pull out, he could have reconnected with the Labour heartlands, positioning himself as a potential Prime Minister.

As it was, he surrendered to his MPs and spin-doctors, forsaking his principles to back Remain (albeit half-heartedly), and today he looks as pathetically out of touch and unelectable as ever.

Then there are the winners — among them Michael Gove, who brought high intelligence and discipline to the Leave campaign, Iain Duncan Smith, whose convictions never wavered, Labour's Gisela Stuart, the feisty Priti Patel, Nigel Farage (without whom neither the referendum nor Brexit would have happened) and the extraordinarily eloquent Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan.

What all of these courageous men and women have in common is that they put their country and passionately held beliefs above any selfish consideration of personal advantage.

This paper would add Boris Johnson to the list, if it weren't for a queasy suspicion that he knew he had everything to win, and nothing to lose, by backing Brexit.

But he has been a huge asset to the out campaign, conducting himself in a manner that could almost be described as statesmanlike. It will be surprising if he doesn't emerge among the favourites to succeed Mr Cameron.

And what happened to Armageddon, so terrifyingly prophesied by the Prime Minister and Chancellor?

Yes, there were wild fluctuations in the markets yesterday morning — as there were bound to be after such a momentous decision. But these sprang from the speculations of greedy gamblers, who had hoped to make a killing from the referendum result.

They tell us little about the City's confidence in Britain's economic future outside the EU. Indeed, when the FTSE share index closed yesterday, it was up on the week!

Meanwhile, our partners (who offered us nothing but scorn in their arrogant presumption that we'd vote to Remain) know how heavily they depend on British markets, and how strongly it is in their own interests to reach an amicable deal that will profit us all.

This paper hopes and believes that we have opened a new phase in our dealings with the Continent, based on firm friendship and that ingredient which has been missing for so long, mutual respect.

Indeed, this is not a day for triumphalism or recriminations. After a campaign that often descended into bitterness and rancour, it's a day to start building bridges — both within our political parties and between Britain and the rest of Europe.

Clearly, the priority must be to thrash out a new relationship, of common advantage to all. To that end, the Mail suggests the UK should form a negotiating body, drawn from all parties and including the best brains in the City, big business, science and education.

There is no need for a precipitate rush to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will set a two-year clock ticking to withdrawal.

But nor should it be delayed for too long (and hellfire to any MP or peer who seeks to overturn the will of the people).

As for those of our readers who decided to vote Remain, judging that the dangers of Brexit were too great, this paper has enormous respect for their conscientious concern for our country. But we firmly trust and believe that their fears will prove unfounded.

This is a magnificent day for Great Britain. We should celebrate our new freedom — and pay tribute to the countless ordinary Britons who showed so much more wisdom than the self-serving political and financial elites that for too long have ignored their anxieties and aspirations


Brexit: New Labour (Blair) should have listened to 'racist' immigration concerns years ago.  As years passed and migration soared, those who spoke up were dismissed

James Bloodworth is an unusual Leftist in that he tries to  deal with reality rather than peddle myths. And I think he gets it mostly right below

In the coming days the blame for Britain's vote to leave the European Union will be distributed liberally among today's crop of politicians. David Cameron and George Osborne will, finally, be seen for the mediocre politicians that they are. Cameron has already announced without fanfare that he will step down as PM and a new Tory leader will be in place by October. With Osborne as equally tainted by Brexit, the smart money is on Boris Johnson to be the next Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will rightly be slaughtered by his MPs for being practically invisible for most of the referendum campaign. Even Alan Johnson, the best leader of the opposition Britain never had in the eyes of many, has singularly failed to ignite the passions of Labour's former heartlands in the north of England.

But taking a longer view, New Labour probably carries more of the blame than Labour's current leadership for Britain crashing out of the EU. Had the former demanded transitional controls on Eastern European migration way back in 2004, there's every chance that we would be waking up today to a resounding victory for Remain. It was, as the former home secretary Jack Straw recently admitted, a 'spectacular mistake' to throw open the doors in 2004, a 'well-intentioned policy we messed up'.

Labour expected only around 13,000 migrants a year to arrive in Britain; instead the figure was in the hundreds of thousands, hitting a record level of 333,000 just four weeks ago. In many ways the influx of migrants from the former eastern bloc countries had a tremendously positive effect. Migrants have done the jobs that Brits have been unwilling to do and they have contributed far more to the exchequer's coffers than they've taken out in return. Ultimately, they have been quietly paying for the pensions of those who've just voted to kick them out.

For all the economic benefits, immigration on this scale was incredibly unpopular, even among recent immigrants

But for all the economic benefits, immigration on this scale was incredibly unpopular, even among recent immigrants. Poll after poll told us as much. According to a recent British Social Attitudes Survey, 60% of those who came to Britain in the 1960s and 1970s said they wanted to see a cut in immigration. Meanwhile 39% of non-UK born white respondents earning £75,000 per annum reported preferences for 'a lot less' migration.

The former Tory leader Michael Howard ran his party's 2005 election campaign on a platform of reduced migration, so large and unexpected was the initial influx from eastern Europe. The party took out a full-page advert in the Sunday Telegraph calling for 'an annual limit on immigration and a quota for asylum seekers'. But it was too soon. There was certainly resentment back then.

Together with the Conservative election campaign, the far-right started to reappear in down-at-heel northern towns after almost 20 years in the doldrums. But Labour politicians promised to listen to voters' concerns about migration and it got them through. Shortly before the 2005 election The Sunday Times revealed that home secretary Charles Clarke planned to 'steal part of the Tories' immigration policy by announcing a new Australian-style points system for economic migrants'. And so for a time the public believed it and gave them the benefit of the doubt.

But the promises to 'listen', to 'get serious' and to 'respect people's concerns' sounded increasingly hollow as the years passed and European migration to Britain continued to soar to record levels. Those who banged the drum the loudest on immigration were often racists, thus it was assumed by well-meaning progressives than anyone who emitted even the mildest squeak of disquiet about immigration were, if not racist themselves, then happy to play the sordid politics of the 'dog whistle'.

Anyone who wishes to lazily ascribe racism to more than half the electorate is making the very mistake which got us into this sorry mess.

Nuance fell right out of the debate. Immigration was either a boon to the British economy or it was irreversibly changing the nature of the country at a speed which most people were decidedly uncomfortable with. Anyone who pointed out that it might be both was drowned out by the cries of 'racist' from one quarter and a pack of lies about migrants 'milking the benefit system' on the other.

When people were listened to on immigration, their fears were quietly put down to false consciousness. Their grumbles were, it was said in polite circles, code for something else: concerns about jobs, wages or the size of the mortgage. Jeremy Corbyn perhaps epitomised this sense of detachment from reality better than anyone. Even following the referendum result he has persisted in saying that the Leave victory was down to jobs, housing and the same old material things that cod-Marxists like Corbyn believe can explain everything.

There is of course some truth to materialist explanations, but they don't give the whole picture. Hostility to immigration – and by extension hostility to Europe – is driven by cultural concerns as much as by economic worries. That's certainly what the University of Oxford's Migration Observatory has been saying in recent years. It has pointed out on a number of occasions that cultural concerns better explain negative attitudes towards migration than a person's economic position. In essence it is about whether England feels like England. And that is no more the England of Enoch Powell or the English Defence League than it is the England of George Orwell, who wrote of 'something distinctive and recognisable in English civilisation. It is a culture as individual as that of Spain'.

In urging voters to 'take back control', the Leave campaign tapped into this in a way that the Remain camp, with their statisticians and endless parade of captains of industry, was unable to. Yes, racism played a part; but anyone who wishes to lazily ascribe racism to more than half the electorate is making the very mistake which got us into this sorry mess.

The tragedy of course is that Brexit is unlikely to reduce immigration, nor improve the economic prospects of resentful working class voters trapped in economic turpitude in the grimmest corners of England's north. At a time when placing any political bet is a high risk endeavour, you can bet the house on the fact that it won't be the Nigel Farages and Boris Johnsons of the world who will feel the pinch as the British economy takes a hammering.

Beyond Britain's shores, the rise of the far-right now looms ominously over the European continent like a fearsome rain cloud. Fascism is the small man writ large, and the small man (and woman) is in the ascendancy. France's National Front leader Marine Le Pen has said that the French must also have the right to choose. Meanwhile Dutch anti-Islam politician Gert Wilders and Italy's far-right Northern League have said much the same thing.

We are witnessing nothing less than the creeping break-up of Europe. It will go out with a whimper rather than a bang, and it was set in motion a decade ago by Labour politicians who saw the English working class as a superfluous force who had nowhere else electorally to go. They pushed and pushed and pushed them and today, finally, the great unwanted have pushed back. The salt of the earth were treated as the scum of the earth and, unsurprisingly, they wouldn't stand for it. The dark consequences will be felt for generations to come.


We're out of touch with ordinary, 'ghastly' Britons, says ex-BBC chief: Leaked email says it 'ignores and despises' millions because they do not embrace liberal views

The BBC 'ignores and despises' millions of Britons because they do not embrace the liberal views of a metropolitan elite, a leaked memo has revealed.

The Corporation was said to be 'completely bewildered' about how to respond to the concerns of 'ghastly' ordinary people.

There would be no end to the issues facing the broadcaster until the 'London bubble' had burst, said a report by David Cowling, former head of the BBC's political research unit.

Sensitive subjects that worried households were barely acknowledged by the political class, his analysis claimed.

Although he did not name specific issues, Mr Cowling would almost certainly have in mind mass immigration – routinely among the biggest fears of voters – and the way foreign arrivals have changed communities in the UK.

For decades, politicians and the BBC have been accused of censoring debate, branding as 'racist' those who voiced concerns about the perceived erosion of our national identity or the pressure on jobs, housing, schools and healthcare. Fury at being overlooked for so long has led to vast numbers of Britons – many casting a ballot for the first time – to vote to quit the EU in a howl of frustration at the political elite.

Mr Cowling, a former special adviser to a Labour Cabinet minister in the 1970s, made the withering assessment in an internal memo that was leaked on the internet.

His words are damning because the BBC's political research unit provides extensive background briefings for journalists and programme-makers.

But his findings appear to have been dismissed amid fears at the Corporation that it may be perceived as a Right-wing political agenda.

Mr Cowling, who is now a visiting senior research fellow at King's College London, wrote: 'It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation.

David Cowling, former head of the BBC's political research unit
'There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist.

'Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond ('who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?' doesn't really hack it).

'The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.'

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, a leading Vote Leave supporter, said: 'This analysis is right and refreshing. The political parties and the BBC do not appreciate the legitimate concerns of a large proportion of the population.

'The size of the leave vote will be a demonstration of the size of people's frustrations. A huge swathe of the population feel that their views are irrelevant to the metropolitan elite and the European elite. 'The Establishment is out of touch with a huge proportion of our population.'

Mr Cowling, a specialist on political opinion polling, is a former editor of the BBC's political research unit, which runs a small team of researchers. He now works for the corporation as a freelancer on an 'ad hoc' basis.

He has helped in the commissioning of polls by the BBC in all forms of elections, including at local, parliamentary and European level. Between 1977 and 1979 he was a special adviser to Environment Secretary Peter Shore in James Callaghan's Labour Government.

His words echo those of the BBC's former director-general Mark Thompson who in 2011 admitted there had been 'some years' when the broadcaster was 'very reticent about talking about immigration'.

Mr Thompson said such 'taboo' subjects were avoided by the BBC. He added: 'There was an anxiety about whether or not you might be playing into a political agenda if you did items on immigration.'

A BBC spokesman said: 'This was an internal memo intended to help programme-makers create thought-provoking and broad-ranging impartial coverage. 'It would wrong to read any more into this analysis than that.'



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here