Sunday, 30 September 2007

Some employees are more equal than others

MUSLIM supermarket checkout staff who refuse to sell alcohol are being allowed to opt out of handling customers’ bottles and cans of drink.

Islamic workers at Sainsbury’s who object to alcohol on religious grounds are told to raise their hands when encountering any drink at their till so that a colleague can temporarily take their place or scan items for them.

Other staff have refused to work stacking shelves with wine, beer and spirits and have been found alternative roles in the company.


Mustapha, a Muslim checkout worker at the company’s store in Swiss Cottage, northwest London, interrupts his work to ensure that he does not have to sell or handle alcohol.

Each time a bottle or can of alcohol comes along the conveyor belt in front of him, Mustapha either swaps places discreetly with a neighbouring attendant or raises his hand so that another member of staff can come over and pass the offending items in front of the scanner before he resumes work.

Some of the staff delegated to handle the drink for Mustapha are themselves obviously Muslim, including women in hijab head coverings. However, a staff member at the store told a reporter that two other employees had asked to be given alternative duties after objecting to stacking drinks shelves.

So, let's see: these people, knowing that Sainsbury's sells alcohol-based products, agree to work for Sainsbury's, presumably under a standard contract of employment. No one has forced them to work for Sainsbury's, and they could always have chosen not to, if the prospect of having to sell alcohol is really so repugnant to them. They then refuse to fulfil the duties imposed on them by their contract. In response to this, Sainsbury's backs down, and allows them to pick and choose the work they do. I wonder whether this remarkably lenient treatment would be extended to non-Muslim employees? Or is it perhaps the case that if anyone else started raising moral objections to doing the job Sainsbury's paid them for, then Sainsbury's would - quite rightly - sack them quicker than you can say "Muslims get preferential treatment"?

I am quite a regular visitor to Sainsbury's stores. Sometimes I even buy alcohol there (not to mention pork-based products - will Muslim staff soon refuse to sell those as well?). And when I do so, I expect the people behind the counter to serve me quickly, politely, and without complaint. To refuse to serve a customer is the height of rudeness and unprofessionalism (as, indeed, is publicly making an unwanted and unrequested moral judgement on a customer's purchases), and should any damn Mohammedan low-life treat me with such rudeness, then you can be sure that I shall respond with equal discourtesy. Indeed, I would be sorely tempted to open the offending beverage, and pour it over the offending Mohammedan...

Low-life Politician of the Day

Most readers have probably come across the case of Carl Lewis, the man who is being taken to court by the Commission for Racial Equality, for organising a petition against the creation of a gypsy encampment in his neighbourhood. Now, via the Devil's Kitchen, I read about the equally disgusting treatment meted out to retired soldier Jake Reid, after he sent an e-mail to Dundee's lord provost, Labour councillor John Letford:

Mr Reid had sent two e-mails to Lord Provost Letford after being outraged by Mr Letford's failure to properly address the Queen during a royal visit to the city. He headlined his e-mail "Dundee and Dignity", and wrote: "Sir, You are an embarrassment to Dundee, when will you resign?"

Days later, a riot squad arrived at his door and ordered him to stop sending e-mails to the provost.

Mr Reid, 56, said: "I e-mailed the lord provost as a citizen of his city after I was embarrassed at his handling of two recent events. There was the official re-opening of Baxter Park, which Her Majesty the Queen attended, and Provost Letford mumbled, 'I'll now ask the Queen to open the park'.

"He has no protocol, no awareness of how to be around dignitaries, and I was embarrassed. It was the same thing at a recent veteran's parade in Dundee."

When he failed to receive a reply, Mr Reid sent a second e-mail to Lord Provost Letford, quoting A Man's A Man For A' That.

But Mr Reid was shocked when riot police suddenly arrived at his home in Dundee.

He explained: "Out of the blue, there is a knock at my door and the police are standing there, complete with a riot police van. The cops asked me if I had sent two e-mails to the lord provost.

"I told them that I had and they told me not to send him any more e-mails. But I said, 'Don't tell me not to write to an elected official'.

"When he retires I will stop, but not before."

I'd say that an "embarrassment to Dundee" is a fairly apt description of Letford. How else do you describe a politician who sets the police on those of his constituents who send him critical e-mails? Well, I suppose that a few terms do spring to mind, of which "self-righteous scum" would be among the more temperate...

As for the police: they have apologised, for all that that's worth. In the meantime, I would advise anyone in the Dundee area who has had their home burgled to send their lord provost an abusive e-mail: at least then there's a chance that the police will actually bother to come round.

Gold digger? Surely not!

A 24-year-old man married an 82-year-old woman in Argentina yesterday, insisting it was a union based on "great love" rather than money.

Reinaldo Waveqche, who has lived with his elderly lover Oleander Volpes since the age of 15, said he preferred "mature women''.

Ms Volpes, a retiree who is single and does not have any children, said the age difference had never mattered to either of them.

"I am very pleased,'' she said. "Reinaldo is marvellous, very good, kind and educated. The age difference has never been important for us.''
To paraphrase Mrs Merton, I wonder what first attracted unemployed Reinaldo to the octogenarian millionairess?

Straitjacket Alert

A quote from a Cameronite commenter at Conservative Home, after yet another bad poll for the Tories:
If this party was populated by more David Camerons and less Norman Tebbits, it could quite conceivably win any election from 2008 onwards.
And they called supporters of grammar schools delusional!

Failing the Citizenship Test

In The Times, I read that one of the government's shiny new citizenship tests for immigrants was administered to a hundred people - an official from English Heritage among them - in a London pub, and that not one of them managed to gain the 75% score necessary to pass. Having seen the questions, which The Times helpfully reproduces, I can quite see why - some of them look bloody hard!

So, does this test, and, more specifically, the abject failure of the pubgoers who attempted it, mean that "Britishness" does not exist, or that those immigrants who take such tests - two thirds of whom pass - are in fact much more British than the natives will ever be? No doubt some on the left would like to think so. However, I would suggest that the reason that so many people failed the tests is that they bear no relationship to what it is to be British. Indeed, looking at the questions, I can see only seven which have any real place in such a test (numbers 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 16, and, at a push, 24). Of those only question 9 ("What type of constitution does the UK have?") is of essential importance in understanding our culture or history. As for the remaining seventeen questions: they are merely a set of random general knowledge questions, the answers to which could easily be learnt in a few days by anyone possessed of even the meanest intellect.

Certainly the questions contain absolutely no reference to any major events in British history; the events that gave birth to the nation as it is today are passed over in silence. There is no reference to King Alfred, to the Battle of Hastings, to Magna Carta, the Peasants' Revolt, the Hundred Years' War, the War of the Roses, the Reformation, the defeat of the Armada (not even to the role of the Turks!), the Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, John Wilkes, the development of the Empire, the Napoleonic Wars, the Great Reform Act, Catholic, Jewish, or female emancipation, or either world war. However there are three questions on the history of immigration to the UK (possibly in an attempt to promote the myth that "we are a nation of immigrants"?), as well as this one:

When was the first census carried out in the United Kingdom? A 1785 B 1801 C 1851 D 1912

Now, censuses may be important, but I hardly think that the date of the institution of the first one is a matter of vital importance. Knowing it might help you to win a pub quiz, but it won't give you any real understanding of British history. The same goes for the following question:

What year did women in the UK gain the right to divorce their husband? A 1810 B 1857 C 1901 D 1945

While British history is largely turned into a matter of immigration and quiz questions, British culture fares far worse. Insofar as it is covered at all, that coverage consists of questions like the following:

How might you stop young people playing tricks on you at Hallowe’en? A Call the police B Give them some money C Give them sweets or chocolate D Hide from them

Now, my first objection is that the options exclude my personal choice, "give 'em a clip round the ear". Beyond that, however, I would point out that Hallowe'en, at least in its present form, is not a British cultural event at all, but an American one, imported into this country in the 1980s. One might as well include questions about The Simpsons, or Hollywood.

But, more important still, is the fact that, while questions about Hallowe'en and Mother's Day are left in, British literature, art, music, and philosophy is entirely excluded. There is no Shakespeare, no Fielding, no Dickens, no Hogarth, Constable, Turner, or Millais, no Byron or Wordsworth, no Elgar, and no Locke, Hume, or Burke. And as for our national religion - the only question on that is one about the number of Catholics in the UK.

I have listed a number of areas which I believe that citizenship tests should cover. If the test were reorientated around these areas, would we see an improvement in the results achieved by our pubgoers? Possibly not. But we could at least be sure that those immigrants who did pass the test had passed because they had some real knowledge of our history and culture, rather than because they had memorised a set of unrelated and largely irrelevant facts.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

UCU Israel Boycott Defeated

The union that represents academics in the UK has announced today it will not proceed with plans to debate a boycott of Israeli universities following legal advice.

The University and College Union, whose members passed a motion at its conference in May to circulate and discuss a call to boycott, has been told by lawyers that the move would be unlawful.

Sally Hunt, the union's general secretary, has called a halt to a proposed regional tour to discuss the issue with members. Branches are to be told that making a call to boycott Israeli institutions would "run a serious risk" of infringing discrimination legislation.

The boycott call was also deemed to be outside the aims and objectives of the union.

Delegates at the UCU conference voted by 158 to 99 in favour of a motion to recommend boycotts in protest at Israel's "40-year occupation" of Palestinian land and to condemn the "complicity" of Israeli academics.

However, lawyers told the union that while members were free to debate Israeli policies, it should not spend resources on gauging opinion of something that should not be implemented.

The union said it would now consider ways to press ahead with the non-boycott elements of the motion, such as ending joint projects between UK and Israeli academics.

This decision of the UCU's actually leaves me with somewhat mixed feelings. I have always opposed the boycott, so I am happy to learn that it will not be going ahead. However, I would much prefer the pro-boycott campaign to have collapsed due to lack of support from within British academia, rather than simply because it infringed anti-discrimination laws. Had it collapsed as a result of opposition from within the UCU, then that would have indicated that the majority of British academics were not rabidly anti-Israel. As it is, we are left with the distinct possibility (and, indeed, the strong impression) that the majority of our university professors would love to push ahead and boycott Israel, and that only the law is stopping them from doing so.

On a related topic, I would like to point readers in the direction of two posts at Melanie Phillips's blog, describing some of the ways in which left-wing teachers feed anti-Israel propaganda to our children, under the guise of teaching "citizenship". Well worth a read.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Coming soon to a neighbourhood near you?

A man who raped a 91-year-old woman and who police believe still poses a serious risk to the public, is to be released from prison within weeks.

Eamon Foley, from Castlederg, has served half of his 16-year sentence, and must be freed under the system of automatic 50% remission.

Mary-Anne McLaughlin died a month after the attack in January 1999.


While in jail, the 47-year-old has refused to take any sex offenders courses and an assessment panel termed him a high risk offender who presents a danger to any female - child or adult.

Police have been granted an interim order which means that when he is released he can only live at an approved address, can only use public transport and can have no access to children or vulnerable adults.
Of course, one has to wonder how successful this will prove in preventing him from committing rape, should he be so minded. After all, I imagine that if one is prepared to go out and rape people, the prospect that the act of rape might also be in breach of an interim order is perhaps not a great deterrent.

Apparently the sixteen-year sentence that Foley received was the maximum available under Northern Irish law. Steps are now being taken to give judges the option of life sentences in cases like this, and to remove the automatic 50% remission, whereby criminals in Northern Ireland automatically become eligible for parole after serving half their nominal sentence (and which means that Foley's sentences was, in practice, eight years, not sixteen). Such steps are to be welcomed - after all, if someone has committed a crime as heinous as that committed by Foley, and continues to pose a threat to public safety, then the only sensible options are life imprisonment and execution. However, it appears that they will come too late to prevent the release of this unrepentant and dangerous pervert.

A police sergeant writes...

For some reason known only to themselves, senior figures in the Metropolitan Police recently decided to create a model of a Community Support Officer (PCSO). This bears some resemblance to the mascots used by football teams, in that it consists of an oversized costume, which can be worn by a real-life police officer (or, more likely, PCSO). The character, known as PCSO Steve, has been toured round primary schools and other public events in London, presumably on the basis that even if the police can't actually keep you safe, they can at least keep five year-old children entertained.

However, PCSO Steve has not proved universally popular. Because, you see, Steve is a white man, with blond hair and blue eyes. In other words, the embodiment of evil. And this has upset certain people, who feel that Steve is insufficiently diverse for London. Indeed, one police sergeant was so angered by the depiction of Steve as a white man, that he wrote to the Met's in-house magazine, The Job, to complain:
An Asian member of our team agreed to fulfil the role of Steve, getting inside the suit. However, he was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and, because the character is a white, blond-haired male - who would not have dark-skinned arms - it became apparent that the officer would not be able to perform the role. Female members of the team also felt isolated, due to the gender issue. I understand the concept of using a mascot. However, why wasn't more thought put into the development of the character?
Possibly because they're creating a mascot to entertain children with, not writing a novel with the aim of winning the Booker Prize.

Now, as far as I'm concerned, there are far better things for police money to be spent on than this costume (although, to be fair, PCSO Steve is probably no more useless than any other PCSO). While I can understand the police wanting to build relations with local communities, including schoolchildren, I think that this would be achieved rather more easily by sending real-life PCSOs (or better yet, real officers) to talk to the children. At least they ought to be able to command the respect of the children, whereas PCSO Steve is merely a figure of fun, who will make the police force as a whole appear (even more) ridiculous.
But isn't this letter just contemptible? "Female members of the team felt isolated", for Heaven's sake! These people are adults, aren't they? Well, maybe not all of them, but most probably are, and I would have thought that adults - particularly those who are employed in some form of law enforcement capacity - would have had sufficient fortitude to be able to cope with a costume which depicted someone of a different race or sex from them.
And, really, if the Asian PCSO wanted to play Steve that badly, then I'm sure it wouldn't have mattered that much if Steve's arms had been a different colour from his face. I hardly think that realism is of the essence of the 'Steve' character, anyway!

What really worries me, however, is that this ridiculous letter was not written by some Guardian-reading academic or social worker, but by a police sergeant. Further evidence, I fear, of quite how far political correctness has infiltrated every corner of the public services. Now, wouldn't it be nice if this sergeant was rather more concerned with, you know, cutting crime, than with whether comical mascots might hurt the feelings of women or non-whites?

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Another efficient use of police time

A boy of ten who claims to have been attacked by a Slovakian woman with an iron bar could be charged with inciting racial hatred, it emerged last night.

Jake Stedman admitted that the woman hit him after he threw a berry at her and told her to 'go back to her own country'.

As a result, the boy - who was left with two black eyes - could become the youngest person in the country ever to be charged with the offence.

A police source said: "There have been allegations that he used racist language and it is necessary for us to investigate the claims."


Jake Stedman was found in a pool of blood after insulting the woman in her 20s, who is believed to have a child at the same primary school.

He says she chased him down an alleyway before repeatedly striking him on the head and back with the 2ft pipe as he cowered on the floor, leaving him with two black eyes.

Now, throwing berries at people, and telling them to go back to their own countries, is not very polite. It's the kind of thing that might justify a stern word and a clip round the ear. But such behaviour does not warrant a police investigation, still less the possibility of prosecution. Of course, there is precedent for it, in the case of George Rawlinson, the ten year-old who was interrogated by two policemen after using the word 'gay' in an e-mail. Still, one hopes that even if the police do regard Jake Stedman's crime as sufficiently serious to be worth prosecuting, the Crown Prosecution Service will refuse to do so. After all, since they apparently believe that a fourteen year-old is too young to know that negative consequences might accrue as a result of shooting someone in the face with an airgun, one cannot see how they could ever justify prosecuting a ten year-old over something like this.

Somewhat more sensibly, the police have also arrested the Slovak immigrant woman, who may now be charged with assault. Hopefully the Kent Police still possess a sufficient degree of residual common sense to enable them to work out that beating up a ten year-old with an iron bar is worse than throwing a berry at someone.

Of course, this is not just a one-off incident. Rather, it comes against a backdrop of heightened tensions between native British families in the area, and the large number of Slovak immigrants who have moved in in recent months and years, and whose children now take up fully a third of places at the local primary school. Locals claim that the Slovak children go around in gangs intimidating and attacking the British children. Whatever the truth of the situation, this case does serve to demonstrate, once again, that if you bring large numbers of people from different backgrounds together in one place, then you are almost inevitably going to get tensions, and, often, violence. A spokesman from Medway Council, commenting on this incident, referred to the importance of community cohesion. But the fact is, that mass immigration serves only to disunite society, and to undermine its cohesiveness. If we don't want to see many more situations like this, then we need to start imposing severe limits on immigration.

Hat-tip: ATW

Stupid Little Tit(ley)

Labour's leader in Brussels risked further controversy over the revived EU constitution yesterday as he claimed campaigners for a referendum wanted to "overturn Parliamentary democracy".
Um, yes. Because of course, it's the opponents of the EU who have stripped parliament of its status as the supreme legislative body, and who now want to hand over even more of its powers.
In any event, I fail to see how indicating a desire to see the party of government abide by its manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on the constitution can be seen as an assault upon parliamentary democracy. Surely it is the people (if Labour politicians may be so termed) who promise one thing at election time, and do something else after the election, who are behaving undemocratically?

Gary Titley said opponents of the new reform treaty "hate the EU" and insisted the Government would ratify the blueprint and "move on".
FR says "Gary Titley hates rational thought and debate". Certainly, he seems to be utterly incapable of engaging in either, and it looks like he wants to deny other people the opportunity to engage in the second. There are plenty of objections to the constitution, and there are plenty of people who are actually in favour of EU membership who are nonetheless opposed to the constitution. To declare that all opponents of the constitution (i.e. most people) are merely harbouring an irrational hatred of the EU, and that there is no other explanation for their opposition, is indicative of either deep dishonesty, extreme stupidity, or, most probably, both.

Meanwhile, the BBC has interviewed a number of delegates to the Labour conference (and, I might add, an uglier group of people you would have to travel many miles to see) about their views on the constitution, and, more specifically, the calls for a referendum. Their views suggest that, among Labour party members, Gary Titley may well be some kind of Aristotelian genius. For example, consider the views of Joseph Fitzpatrick, of the Oldham East and Saddleworth Labour Party:
[Brown] shouldn't [hold a referendum] because it isn't a constitution.
If we had a referendum it would not be about the constitution anyway.
It's quite impressive that he managed to contradict himself in the space of two sentences, denying that the "reform treaty" was a constitution in his first sentence, before calling it a constitution in the second. As for the point that it's not a constitution: well, Valery Giscard d'Estaing and EU commissioner Margot Walstrom beg to differ. As does Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. And Spanish PM Jose Zapatero. Not to mention numerous pro-EU MEPs. But perhaps they're all wrong, and Mr Fitzpatrick (and the Labour leadership, whose line he parrots) know better...

Or there's Pat Brown, of Hornchurch and Upminster:
I think there are too many consultations and referendums.
Now, as far as I am aware, the last time we had a nationwide referendum was 1975. There have been a couple of regional referenda since, but they haven't applied to most of us.
We elect people to represent us and if we disagree with them we put our views across in different ways.
As I said before, Labour was elected on a platform which included a commitment to hold a referendum on the constitution, and they are now denying us a referendum. When a government is elected promising to do one thing, and then proceeds to do something quite opposite, the argument that we should accept what they do because we elected them is negated.

I don't think there is any point in having a referendum on a constitution when most people don't understand what it is about.
Ah yes, the public are too stupid to understand. Which, incidentally, is also an argument that one could use against the very concept of democracy, were one so inclined.
But, in any case, I think that, while the public may not be aware of every single detail contained within the constitution (particularly considering that it has been written in deliberately obscure language), they are certainly more than capable of understanding (and rejecting) the very concept of a constitution, as well as the more significant contents of this one.
Even if you explained it better to people, it would just be taken over by the eurosceptics.
What does she actually mean by this? It sounds to me like she regards it as a sufficient argument against holding a referendum on the constitution, to say that people who opposed the constitution would campaign in such a referendum. Not overly keen on popular democracy and open argument, are they, these Labourites?

They don't seem overly bright either. But then, how stupid must we be, that we have allowed these idiots to rule over us?

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Send not to know for whom the bell tolls... tolls for thee, Cameron:

Labour's lead has risen to 11 points after Gordon Brown's first conference speech as leader, according to Channel 4 News poll. The YouGov opinion poll, which began after Gordon Brown finished his keynote address yesterday, puts Labour on 44 points, eleven points ahead of the Conservatives on 33. The Lib Dems' support is squeezed further, to 13 points.

On Monday a poll of polls in the Independent put Labour on 38 points, a lead of just four points over the Tories, with the Lib Dems on 17. If Labour were to win a similar share of the vote at a general election, they could expect a majority even larger than Blair's landslides in 1997 and 2001.

True, Cameron has yet to give his own big conference speech - that may lower the lead. And it's also true that the polls overstated Labour's lead before the 2005 election. But it must be unheard of for a government to have an 11% lead after ten years in power, particularly ten years as controversial as this government's have often been. Indeed, for those of us who truly loathe David Cameron, the only possible downside is that the polls are now looking so bad, that if he can only keep Labour's majority from getting any bigger, then he may be able to cling on until the election after next.

As for Brown: if he doesn't go ahead and call an October election after this, then I can only conclude that Cameron is in possession of some rather compromising photographs of him!

Stealing our heritage

I see that everyone's favourite race baiter, Trevor Phillips, has told a fringe meeting at the Labour conference that British history is insufficiently "inclusive", on account of the fact that it is dominated by white people, and has said that it needs to be rewritten, to rectify this fault. Thus, whereas in the past it has always been thought that the Spanish Armada was defeated in part by Lord Howard of Effingham's fleet, and in part by the vicissitudes of the weather ("God blew, and they were scattered", etc), children will now learn that, to quote a noted historian (T. Phillips, Esq), "it was the Turks who saved us". Whether or not this is actually true is irrelevant as far as Phillips is concerned: all that matters for him is that non-whites (and, in this particular instance, Muslims) should be represented as having made a sizeable contribution to the development of British society, throughout the last thousand years or more. Perhaps he will also suggest that, as the 100 Great Black Britons website has laughably claimed, Edward III's wife, Queen Phillipa, was in fact black, and that, accordingly, her son, the famous "Black Prince", was a half-caste. Maybe we will now be told that Shakespeare was black. And perhaps that Queen Victoria was Chinese, Dickens Indian, and the Duke of Wellington an Australian Aboriginal.

The fact is, that, regardless of the specifics of what happened to the Spanish Armada, it is simply not true to claim that non-whites have made a substantial contribution to British history. Rather, their contribution has been completely negligible, because their numbers have, historically, been negligible. Our history is overwhelmingly dominated by white people, because we are a historically white country, and those non-whites who now live here are unlikely to have roots in this country stretching back any more than sixty years. This simple fact, of course, is not one which finds favour with the likes of Trevor Phillips. After all, it does tend to undermine the repeated assertion that Britain has always been a "nation of immigrants".

Trevor Phillips' demand that our history be rewritten is yet another example of the willingness of many on the liberal-left to abuse the education system in order to further their own ends. It does not matter to them whether what is taught as being British history is true or not. Rather than schools teaching our children what is true, they want our children to be taught what they think ought to be true. And since they think that it ought to be true that Britain was historically multiracial and multicultural, that is what they want other people to believe. I very much doubt that they will actually succeed. No matter what people like Phillips may claim, I think (and hope) that the majority of ordinary people are sufficiently intelligent and well-informed to realise that our society has historically been neither multiracial nor multicultural. But for Phillips and others in the race relations industry to claim that one of our greatest naval victories was in fact someone else's victory, or that our national heroes, or our greatest writer, were in fact black, constitutes nothing less than a racist assault upon the cultural heritage of the native white British.

Cross-posted from ATW, where David Vance has added his own comments regarding Trev's somewhat, ahem, dubious grasp of history.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Racial Stereotyping for Dummies

Lesson 1: Racial stereotyping is wrong and bad.

Lesson 2: The "boorish" white working class are the exception to this rule. They may be stereotyped and vilified at will.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Trevor Phillips Interviewed

A veteran of race politics, it was Phillips who declared that multiculturalism wasn’t working, sounding the death knell for that oh so British doctrine that for 30 years decreed we should live alongside each other, let different communities and races do their own thing and not worry about integration, helping immigrants learn English or inculcating British values. It was a doctrine that died on 7/7 when British-born Muslim suicide bombers murdered their fellow citizens.

Though undoubtedly the right thing to do, Phillips’s condemnation of multiculturalism made him massively unpopular with many of his former brothers – as I found out when I interviewed him about his new job on stage at the CRE’s farewell race convention last year. I was there to talk to him about the role of the new commission. Questions from the floor were hostile. Voices were raised. Many veterans of the race riots of the 1970s saw Phillips as a sell-out, furious that the focus on race was to be lost as the CRE merged into a wider body. Phillips was taken aback by the “bullying” attitudes.

Not, of course, that this has stopped him dishing out similar treatment to others. Trevor Phillips may not be the most extreme race hustler around, and he may find that he is himself targeted by the more hardline elements of the race relations industry, but a race hustler he nonetheless remains. He's right about multiculturalism, though.

This time we are in his offices in Victoria Street without an audience, but he is still uncompromising on his old comrades. “They have to grow up. That militancy must be consigned to the dustbin of history. The CRE was set up to deal with a different set of circumstances. Now we have to chart a course for how we can deal with difference. We have to be more proactive and more friendly.”

Race is, as he puts it, “no longer black and white”. In terms of life chances, a black African girl is likely to do better than a white British boy. A Chinese baby born today will probably be much better paid than his or her white contemporaries. It is no longer the case that ethnic minority kids get a raw deal because of white racism.

Indeed, it could arguably be said that some white children are getting a raw deal because of anti-white discrimination in the education system. After all, there is £178 million set aside each year specifically to help poor non-white pupils, but no comparable funding aimed at the white working class.
But despite such progress, Phillips is aware of the challenges we face to integrate the new arrivals. “We are now in the age of difference, not just in our big cities, but everywhere. We are all struggling to get used to this. But people like Andrew Green at Migrationwatch are saying these new arrivals can’t fit in. I believe that shows contempt for the tolerance of the British people. As a nation, because of being Welsh, Scots, Irish, English and still British we are pretty good at absorbing people. Once we get our brains in gear and stop being frightened about race, we are pretty good in this country at doing the immigration job. We just have to treat it positively. We have to tell immigrants the rules and what we expect.” Tell that to Cambridgeshire police.
Quite. And, far from Sir Andrew Green showing contempt for the British people, I think that it is Phillips who is doing so. After all, he appears to imply that any failure of immigrants to integrate is down to a failure of tolerance on our part, with the immigrants themselves bearing little or no blame. Of course, this is completely wrong. The British people have been exceptionally tolerant of immigrants - too tolerant for our own good, some might say. Those immigrants who have wanted to integrate have been embraced with open arms. However, most immigrants, particularly Muslim ones, have actively rejected British society. After all, given the diametric opposition of our culture and theirs, Muslims at least could not embrace British culture unless they rejected every tenet of their own culture and religion. And given the extreme tolerance we have extended to them, whatever their behaviour, they have had no incentive to do so.
Another particular problem has been the level of immigration. It is notable that those immigrant groups which have integrated best tend to be those that are small in number - the Chinese, for example. By contrast, those that have come here in bulk, such as the Pakistanis or the Bangladeshis, are the least well-integrated. After all, they have been able to retreat into substantial ghettos comprised entirely of their own people, and to thereby minimise their contact with native British culture. A somewhat more "intolerant" attitude towards mass immigration, resulting in a substantially reduced number of immigrants, would have compelled those immigrants that there were to have more to do with the natives, substantially increasing the likelihood of their full integration.
“Governments since the 1960s have been terrified of talking about race because of the spectre of Enoch Powell,” says Phillips. “They are scared of raising these issues for fear of being branded racist. But we must be able to have an honest conversation about racial difference and immigration. We must recognise diversity, not pretend it doesn’t exist. It is okay to say ‘I don’t like what you do’, but not okay to say ‘I don’t like what you are’. Many of us don’t know how to talk to each other. My job is to work out how to make it work.”
It's good to hear that Phillips objects to the label 'racist' being used to stifle debate about racial and cultural issues. But, once again, what he says has the faint reek of hypocrisy about it. After all, Phillips has been prominent among those quick to stick the 'racist' label on the BNP, often for saying things not much different from what he himself has lately come to advocate.
So what are his proposals? He thinks that in divided communities such as Oldham or Burnley that rather than quotas to mix the races in schools, or bussing pupils from one part of town to another, the key is getting different kinds of kids together for music or sport – or sending them on summer camps (all things his new body will be advocating and funding).
I don't believe that these plans are likely to work. The children will go away to Summer camp together, probably get along reasonably well, and then go back to their own, separate, lives. If there is to be genuine integration and community cohesion, the key is to genuinely annihilate multiculturalism. And that is going to entail destroying the non-white ghettos, in which cultures utterly alien to our traditional way of life fester. Whether this can be done is unclear.
It is also going to entail what I have already mentioned: an end to mass immigration. Since integration can only be achieved with a limited number of immigrants, it is essential that immigration be very limited. Too many immigrants, and you get the creation of ethnic ghettos, after which, fostering integration becomes difficult, if not impossible.

I will leave off the quotes from the interview here. Suffice to say, that Phillips's ideas for bringing about an integrated society are that we should promote "Britishness", and that everyone should speak English. While I have no objections in principle to either of these aims, I do not believe that they will succeed, at least not in the situation this country is presently in. For a start, "Britishness" has become an utterly meaningless concept. When asked to define it, our politicians blether on about tolerance, fair play, and democracy; all things good enough in themselves, but utterly inadequate as an attempt to truly describe British culture. Tolerance and fair play are indeed part of British culture, but so too is our history, our arts and literature, and, yes, our national religion (Christianity, for those who might mistakenly have assumed that it was Islam). If we are going to promote British culture, and we should, then it must include all these things. Anything less will simply serve to belittle, and, ultimately, to undermine, it. Certainly, one cannot build a common culture out of fair play and tolerance. Nor can one build it out of a shared language. The evident linguistic differences between immigrants and natives are merely veils hiding the more substantive cultural and, yes, racial differences.

I do not know whether we can succeed in creating a unified society. Certainly, I do not believe that we can if we merely promote Britishness of the half-hearted kind generally favoured by politicians. Even if we promote Britishness as I define it, then I am dubious as regards the chances of success. For example, the Muslim population in Britain is numbered in its millions, and growing fast. I cannot see that Islam is in any way compatible with Britishness, correctly understood. Unless they renounce their religion, can those millions of Muslims ever be truly integrated into our society? And that is without considering the tension caused solely by racial differences, a tension that I regard as unlikely to go away, even in the unlikely event that a unified culture is forged.

So, what do I make of Trevor Phillips? Well, he is to be congratulated on recognising the wrongness of multiculturalism, and the extent to which the word 'racism' is used to stifle debate. However, I do not believe that he understands what is necessary to build a cohesive society, nor do I believe that he has really cast off the mantle of the race hustler. I continue to dislike and distrust him, and it will take more than this interview to change that.

First wife beating, now shoplifting!

After Andrew Pelling's (alleged) altercation with his good lady, another senior Tory has found himself in a spot of legal bother:

Coronation Street star-turned-Tory blue-eyed boy Adam Rickitt was facing political ruin last night after being caught shoplifting.

Rickitt, one of Tory leader David Cameron's 100 A-listers, had hoped to secure a safe seat at the next General Election.

But his political aspirations could be destroyed after he tried to walk out of a supermarket in Auckland, New Zealand, with a block of cheese, a bottle of HP sauce and a jar of coffee.

Last night Rickitt - who is starring in popular in New Zealand TV soap Shortland Street - was in tears as he apologised for his actions.

He said: "I recently found out some very upsetting news. I was feeling helpless to deal with it because of the distance.

"I was so stressed-out that without thinking during my weekly shop I failed to pay at the checkout for a jar of coffee, a bottle of HP and cheese."

You'd think that, as an actor-turned-politician (i.e. as someone who specialises in deceiving people, one way or the other), he could at least have come up with a more imaginative excuse!

In more bad news for the Tories, the latest MORI poll has shown them lagging 8% behind Labour (up from 5% at the start of the month). As Conservative Home puts it, "it's now going to be difficult for Brown not to call an autumn election"! Still, with both an MP and an "elite" parliamentary candidate arrested within the space of a week, it's hard to see how, short of David Cameron actually murdering someone, things can get all that much worse...

Hat-tip: House of Dumb

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Common Sense Prevails

A while back, the police force introduced a set of role-playing exercises for applicants, designed to root out their hidden racial prejudices. Applicants' performances in these exercises are marked, and they are supposed to score 60% in order to demonstrate their fitness to serve as police officers.

Personally, I regard these tests with distaste. For as start, I cannot see how their accuracy can be other than highly questionable. After all, how, precisely, do you assess the accuracy of a set of tests designed to measure subconscious attitudes? Secondly, I object to the notion that someone might be declined a job, not on the basis of anything they have said or done, but on the basis of subconscious attitudes - attitudes that they didn't even know that they had. I don't know about you, but I would have thought that past conduct was a far better guide to character, than pseudo-psychological personality tests.

My scepticism was not diminished when I read about the roll-play test that one applicant was forced to take part in. As part of the application process, Chris, from Hampshire, had to pretend to be the boss of a shopping centre, who had found graffiti containing racist remarks about one of his employees daubed on a wall. He was asked what he would do in response to this, and said that his first concern would be to remove the graffiti. Which seems perfectly reasonable to me. However, he failed the test, on the basis that he should have paid more attention to "the racist aspect and its effect on staff and customers". So there you have it: actually doing something about the problem and then getting on with more important things: indicative of the bigoted mindset of a thought criminal. Making a mountain out of a molehill: indicative of fitness to be a police officer.

And it seems that these ridiculous tests are causing some police forces a few problems. Indeed the number of otherwise qualified would-be officers who are failing these tests is so large, that Hampshire Police has had to contact fully 252 of those who failed, to tell them that, actually, they can continue to the next stage of the application process. While I think that this is a damn good thing, Keith Jarrett of the National Black Police Association is not quite so happy about it. He said:
These criteria are set for a reason. The fact they are being ignored shows the duplicity of the police service. This lack of respect for a worthwhile exam means people who are unfit to be police officers may be allowed in.
Of course utterly unfit people have always been able to get into the police force. Keith Jarrett would appear to be a case in point, as would his friend Ali Dizaei. I do not see that these tests will make any difference to that. Indeed, if anything, they would appear to penalise sensible and pragmatic applicants, in favour of politically-correct morons.
Now, if only there was a test to identify potential race hustlers...

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Pope Rage

Coming in 5-4-3-2-1...

The Pope has again risked provoking the wrath of the Islamic world, by criticising its treatment of Christians.

Benedict XVI attacked Muslim nations where Christians are either persecuted or given the status of second-class citizens under the Shariah Islamic law.

He also defended the rights of Muslims to convert to Christianity, an act which warrants the death penalty in many Islamic countries.

It's nice to see the Pope addressing these issues - issues which "moderate" Muslim leaders in this country tend to want to sweep under the carpet. The appalling treatment of Christians (and, indeed, all non-Muslims) in the Islamic world emphasises the utter pettiness of those - Muslim or otherwise - who cry "Islamophobia" over such things as village fetes, pet food factories, and of course, cartoons. And more cartoons. And more cartoons. And...well, you get the picture (as it were). Perhaps those who are so quick to complain at the slightest criticism or mockery of Islam should pay heed to the Pope's words, and consider that their religion might not be so reviled by so many if its followers accorded the same rights to Christians that Christian countries accord to them. But, measured reflection has never really been the Mohammedans' strong suit. Screaming, whinging, seething, lynching, burning, threatening, and bombing is more their style, and there's a good chance that we shall see them display their talents in at least some of these areas over the next week or so.

Hat-tip: LGF

Friday, 21 September 2007

My heart bleeds...

Chris Langham has been tormented and bullied since being jailed for ten months for child-porn offences, his wife has said.

The 58-year-old actor has been pelted with missiles, taunted and had his cell flooded by other prisoners while being ignored by guards, according to Christine Cartwright.

She has stayed loyal to the Bafta-winning star despite his conviction for downloading internet material including vile footage of an eight-year- old being abused by her father.

Miss Cartwright, 54, wept with emotion as she spoke in detail for the first time about her husband's conviction, saying she was keen for their two young children to visit him.

"He's been verbally abused, taunted continuously, had missiles thrown at him and his cell flooded out by other prisoners," she said.

"He is trying to be a model prisoner. He says 'Good morning' to the prison officers, but they just tell him to shut up."

The choreographer and actress claimed Langham was guilty only of "stupidity, arrogance and ghoulish curiosity".

Yes, and also fifteen charges of downloading child pornography. One might have rather more sympathy for Langham's plight, were it not for this last point. As it is, I have absolutely none, and I doubt that anyone else has any either.

It's also interesting to note that even criminals have a grasp of morals sufficient to enable them to identify Langham as scum. When I wrote about the attack by a group of prisoners on the terrorist Dhiren Barot, Mr Smith pointed me in the direction of an interesting article on the subject by Theodore Dalrymple, which is worth reading. Now, if only the average liberal had the same grasp of morality and justice as the average criminal, then we might be in business!

Miranda Grell Convicted

An update on this story:

LABOUR Cllr Miranda Grell has been found guilty on two counts of making false statements under the Representation of the People Act 1983 - the first case of its kind in Britain.

She was alleged to have claimed during last year's Waltham Forest local election that Liberal Democrat rival, then Cllr Barry Smith, was a paedophile.

Announcing his findings of guilt this afternoon at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court, District Judge John Woollard fined Grell £500 on each of the two charges and ordered her to pay £3,000 costs.

She has also been banned from holding public office for three years, so will be forced to resign her seat, triggering what should be an interesting by-election.

Well done tourists!

A suspected burglar fell 30 feet from a top-storey window of a London hotel after being disturbed by guests.

He is fighting for his life after plunging face first on to the pavement from the second-floor window of the building in Victoria.

Five men, all of whom are believed to be tourists and guests at the hotel, are being interviewed by police. "Two men have been arrested and are being held at a central London police station," a Scotland Yard spokeswoman said.

Witnesses heard shouting and smashing noises from the top floor of the building just before the man fell at 6pm last night.

The man is believed to have been disturbed by two Italian guests returning to their room at the Cedar Guest House in Hugh Street.

Detectives are trying to establish if the intruder fell trying to escape or was pushed during a struggle. The police spokeswoman would not confirm the man was a burglar but said it was one of several lines of inquiry.

Because there are so very many alternative explanations for why he was poking through someone else's hotel room.

As with the similar case of Patrick Walsh, my sympathies are firmly with the two arrested men. While Mr Walsh's situation was somewhat worse - he was one-on-one with the burglar, who disturbed him as he slept in his flat, while these two tourists were two against one, and appear to have disturbed the burglar in the practice of his trade - I support the right of all law-abiding people to use whatever force is necessary to defend their property, no matter how little. From the information that we have at this point, this appears to be precisely what has happened here. And if the burglar gets injured, and if he dies, then that's just his hard luck. He chose to go out and break the law, and he must take whatever negative consequences accrue to him as a result of that decision.

"Acting like he's white"

One story that our American readers, at least, will no doubt have come across is that of the so-called "Jena 6". These are six young black men in the town of Jena, Louisiana, who are charged with a variety of serious offences, including attempted murder, after a vicious assault on a white schoolboy, who was knocked unconscious and then kicked and stamped upon by his attackers. As so often happens when a black person is caught committing a crime, the race relations industry circus has come to town, with groups and individuals ranging from the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People through to the rapper Mos Def condemning the decision to charge the alleged perpetrators. After all, if some brothers want to kill a white devil, who has any right to deny them that pleasure?

However, it is not about the alleged offence itself that I wish to write, but rather about certain statements made by the doyen of the American - and indeed the worldwide - race relations industry, Jesse Jackson. It seems that Jackson was not best pleased with the failure of the black presidential candidate Barack Obama to run away and join the Jena circus, and so, speaking at a black college in South Carolina, Jackson accused Obama of "acting like he's white". Such comments about Obama are not, apparently, uncommon among the American black community, where he is regarded with suspicion as being "not black enough".

Now, if a white person dared to suggest that another white person was "acting like a black", with the implication that this was a bad thing, he would be pilloried by the race equality lynch mob. But it is extremely common for non-whites to compare those of their own race whom they dislike to white people - the term 'coconut' springs particularly to mind. And Jesse Jackson is no ordinary black man. Rather, he is someone who is fairly consistently lauded as a great champion of racial equality, and as a fervent "anti-racist". In truth, however, he is as racist as they come. Indeed, his apparent dislike of white people is rather mild compared to his anti-Semitism: he has previously denounced Jews as "Hymies", and described New York as "Hymietown".

This is not the first time that a self-proclaimed "anti-racist" has been shown to be anything but. In March of this year Sheffield-based "anti-racism campaigner" Herald "Ruggie" Johnson was convicted of racially-aggravated harassment, while I have previously written about the overtly and violently racist lyrics of supposedly "anti-racist" rappers, such as the group Public Enemy. Of course, his conviction has not killed off Ruggie Johnson's career, nor has Public Enemy's black supremacism stopped them from being held up as great champions of racial equality. The reason for this is simple: the "anti-racist" movement is not, in truth, anti-racist, it is anti-white, and utterly pervaded by double standards. Jesse Jackson is one of the most vile embodiments of the hypocrisy of the movement, and it is high time that he is torn down from the pedestal on which the liberal-left has placed him, and cast into the gutter where he belongs.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Cameron's Caring Compassionate Tories: no longer the Nasty Party

A Tory MP has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting his wife.

Croydon Central MP Andrew Pelling was questioned by police after Lucy, 26, his wife of less than a year, called the police.

The couple married last November after starting their relationship while Mr Pelling was still married to his first wife, with whom he has three children.

Mr Pelling, 48, who is also a London Assembly member for Croydon and Sutton, was taken to a south London police station on Tuesday and released on bail without being charged.

He is due to return to a police station on 1 October.

Of course, we should remember that he has not yet been charged, still less convicted. All that we know for certain is that he is an adulterous scumbag, with a penchant for wasting parliamentary time and public money with early day motions about the dogs of minor celebrity chefs. So, he's a bit of a shit, but not necessarily a criminal one.

Incidentally, the verdict in Miranda Grell's case is due in tomorrow. Those "mainstream" politicians, eh? Beacons of respectability, every last one of them!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

So, where did you go for your holidays?

An airport toilet.

Today's Scum

A retired lecturer who moved to the seaside in search of "the good life" was kicked to death by a thug who started pestering her in the street.

Susan Grundy, 56, was walking home after an evening with friends when Stephen Browning approached her for a cigarette.

When she refused, Browning, a convicted thug who had just been bailed by police after a drunken outburst, unleashed the most sickening attack.

He punched, kicked and stamped on Mrs Grundy more than 20 times, Bradford Crown Court heard.

High on a cocktail of drink and drugs, he then stripped her naked, sexually assaulted her and left her dying on the ground.

Then he went to a nearby nightclub and bought a round of drinks with £50 he had stolen from her purse.

Browning, 31, who admitted murder, was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 25 years.

So, he'll be 56 when he gets out - the same age Mrs Grundy was when he killed her. Personally, I think that Stephen Browning is an excellent argument for the death penalty. I think that there can be no doubt that such a vile creature deserves nothing less than an appointment with Jack Ketch.

And there's more:

Two weeks earlier, he had been released from a four month jail term for an assault on his girlfriend in November 2006.

After his release on January 9, he went to his sister's home and got drunk, before being arrested for breaching the peace and obstructing a police officer.

He was still on bail at the time of the murder. He was also separated from his wife, whom he had attacked in 2002.

So, if this man, with his clear predilection for violence, particularly, it seems, against women, had not been granted bail, then Mrs Grundy would still be alive today. Another great triumph for British justice!

Monday, 17 September 2007

The threat faced by apostates of Islam

Once again, the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, has proved a rare voice of sanity and common sense in a Church of England sliding ever further into the morass of cultural and moral relativism. While the likes of the Revd Canon Chris Chivers go into spasms of delight as they discuss the wonders of Ramadan, Mr Nazir-Ali warned tonight's Dispatches programme on Channel 4 of the dangers faced by people in Britain who have publicly rejected Islam, saying:
It is very common in the world today, including in this country, for people who have changed their faith, particularly from being Muslim to being Christian, to be ostracised, to lose their job, for their marriages to be dissolved, for children to be taken away.
He added that he suspects that it is only going to be so long before a Muslim apostate in Britain is killed.

Certainly, he is right that Muslims who convert are at risk. Consider these cases documented by The Times in February 2005:
THE first brick was thrown through the sitting room window at one in the morning, waking Nissar Hussein, his wife and five children with a terrifying start. The second brick went through his car window.

It was a shock, but hardly a surprise. The week before, another brick had been thrown through the window as the family were preparing for bed in their Bradford home. The victim of a three-year campaign of religious hatred, Mr Hussein’s car has also been rammed and torched, and the steps to his home have been strewn with rubbish.

He and his family have been regularly jostled, abused, attacked, shouted at to move out of the area, and given death threats in the street. His wife has been held hostage inside their home for two hours by a mob. His car, walls and windows have been daubed in graffiti: “Christian bastard”.

The problem isn’t so much what Mr Hussein, whose parents came from Pakistan, believes, but what he doesn’t believe. Born into Islam, he converted eight years ago to Christianity, and his wife, also from Pakistan, followed suit.


Ruth, also of Pakistani origin, found out recently that she had only just escaped being murdered. When she told her family that she had converted, they kept her locked inside the family home all summer.

“They were afraid I would meet some Christians. My brother was aggressive, and even hit me — I later found out he wanted me dead,” she said. A family friend had suggested taking her to Pakistan to kill her, and her brother put the idea to her mother, who ruled against it.
Cases like this illustrate the fundamental difference between Western civilisation and Islamic barbarism. In Britain, or other Western nations, you can renounce the established religion and join any other religion you please, and the only option open to those who wish to prevent this is to try to convince you by force of argument. Whereas, if you reject Islam, then those who object to this will have swift recourse to the threat of sheer physical force in order to induce you to change your mind. How anyone can argue that there is any form of equality between these two cultures is completely beyond me!

Some Muslims, such as the author of the Islamics blog, have claimed that Mr Nazir-Ali is merely scare-mongering. They say that he is demonstrating his "prejudice and the deep rooted hatred...for Islam". As evidence for this, they say that while Islam does mandate the death penalty for apostasy, it only does so for those who commit apostasy in Islamic countries, and that, since Britain is not an Islamic country, apostates here have nothing to fear. There are two points to consider here. First, even if what they say is exactly true, then it is hardly a ringing endorsement of Islamic civilisation to say that Muslims only violate the right to freedom of thought when they form the majority of a nation's population. If nothing else, this should further demonstrate why it is imperative that we do all we can to resist the Islamification of this country.
However, the second point is that what they say is not true. However the Koran may be interpreted, the fact is that the cases that I have cited from The Times, demonstrate that for a Muslim in Britain to renounce Islam is to put themselves at risk of physical harm from their former coreligionists. This is also the case in other non-Islamic countries. In the Netherlands, for example, Ehsan Jami, the chairman of the Dutch committee of ex-Muslims, has been provided with increased security after he was attacked by three Muslims outside a supermarket. This was the third such attack to which he had been subjected.

The Islamic death penalty for apostates is something of which a great many people are unaware. Indeed, I have found many people who refuse point-blank to accept that it exists, so well indoctrinated have they been into the mantra of "Islam is a wonderful Religion of Peace". Michael Nazir-Ali's willingness to come out and tell the truth about this is once again to be welcomed.

Yet another idiotic education proposal

Pupils should mark their own class work and decide what their school tests should cover, according to the Government's exams advisers.

Teachers should train secondary school children to set their homework and devise mark schemes, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) said.

Pupils should then assess the results, grading their own efforts and giving "feedback" to their classmates, the latest National Curriculum guidance said.

The QCA, which devised the new secondary curriculum, said such an approach helps children support each other and develop independent study skills.

It said: "Peer assessment and self-assessment are much more than learners simply marking their own or each other's work. In order to improve learning, self-assessment must engage learners with the quality of their work and help them reflect on how to improve it.

"Peer assessment enables learners to provide each other with valuable feedback so that they can learn from and support each other."

The guidelines suggested teachers in schools that decide to adopt the system would need to train pupils in marking techniques.

The suggested "strategies" for developing pupils' peer assessment skills could include asking pupils in groups to write five questions on a topic and, following whole-class discussion, pick the two best questions from each group. "Then ask learners to answer all the selected questions for homework."

Pupils could be asked to "analyse mark schemes and devise their own for a specified task", or to "mark each other's work but not give them the answers. Instead, ask them to find the correct answers from available resources".

The QCA proposed that pupils should also be involved in drawing up internal school tests and assessment tasks, which are separate from the official National Curriculum "Sats" tests and GCSEs. The QCA's guidance said the approach had "fundamental implications for the learning ethos in a school" and should be adopted across all subjects areas.

These "fundamental implications" presumably consist of screwing the final nail into the coffin of the British education system.

Let's get this straight: children are not adults, and pupils are not teachers. The ability to set, and, more especially, to mark, work in an objective and impartial manner requires a certain level of maturity; a level of maturity which the average schoolchild is unlikely to possess. Are they really going to be willing or able to give poor marks to their fellow pupils (particularly those with whom they are friends), for example? (I appreciate that this question may be academic, since the concept of "poor marks" seems to be disappearing rapidly from our exams system).
Equally, whatever training children may be given in marking, will not come anywhere near to equalling the years of training and experience possessed by the average teacher. It is an essential part of a teacher's job to be able to set exam papers that relate directly to the most important parts of the syllabus, and to mark them in an appropriate, objective, and at the same time constructive and helpful manner. A good teacher is an expert at doing this; a child, no matter how intelligent, is not. And on that note, I wonder how children of below average intelligence will cope when it comes to marking and providing feedback? Are we supposed to believe that they will be able to do it anywhere near as well, or as usefully, as a trained teacher?

Why, oh why, must educationalists insist on foisting this rubbish on teachers and pupils? What, may I ask, is so very wrong with the idea that pupils should just be taught? Not taught by self-assessment, not taught by "analysing mark schemes" but taught by a teacher who stands up at the front of the class and teaches them things they need to know. That's what used to happen in schools, and standards were far higher then than they are now. Proposals like this, if put into practice, would simply waste good teaching time.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Dhimmi of the day

For this deep sense of what it means to be truly integrated, I am so grateful to my Muslim sisters and brothers for Ramadan. I love its measured rhythms and purifying disciplines. They are truly restorative for my own faith. But more than this, at a personal level they address me directly, as they invite me to redress the imbalance I so often detect in my failure to care properly for my own body while deluding myself that my soul's passage to heaven is assured through the power of my intellect and the spiritual insights which may come through regular theological reflection.

The holy month of Ramadan reminds me that I need both body and soul to be in good shape if I'm to approach the heavenly courts. It also teaches me that the taqwa, which is the divine gift to all people of faith and goodwill, will only come my way when I achieve a more balanced nurturing of both.

So, who wrote this then? Some devout Muslim, no doubt?

Well, no, actually. It was in fact the canon chancellor of Blackburn Cathedral, the Revd Chris Chivers, who has written an article in The Guardian bearing the headline "Thinking about the meaning of Ramadan has made me a better Christian". He adds that "Muslims seem to express a more integrated relationship between body and soul" than Christians.

Looks like we might just have another Ann Holmes Redding on our hands!

And does anyone want to speculate on the chances of a Muslim imam talking of how grateful he was to his Christian brothers and sisters for telling him about Easter, and thereby making him a better Muslim?

Environmentalist nutters of the day

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. It does what is says on the tin.

Are these people serious? They appear to be, but you can never quite be sure about a movement led by anyone bearing the name Les U Knight.

Lib Dems in good idea shocker!

Patients needing emergency NHS treatment after becoming drunk or incapacitated by drugs would be charged under proposals yesterday from Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman.

The plan is one of a series of policy shifts in a strategy paper he published before the party's annual conference in Brighton next week. Mr Lamb said: "If you get rat-arsed on a Friday night and get taken to A&E where you are foul and abusive to staff, is it right for the taxpayers to fund your life-saving treatment?"

He called for wide public debate on whether the community should pay for the excesses of the individual. There was a strong case for charging drunks for stomach pumps or treatment of injuries, and pubs and clubs should also be made to contribute if their complicity could be proven.
You know, aside from this very last bit, I actually agree. I really fail to see why the taxpayer should fund the treatment of those who use up valuable resources through their own vice and stupidity. I recall that on the one occasion when I was unfortunate enough to find myself in A&E, the room was filled with the sound of drunken idiots, and a nurse told me that I was the only person in there who was not there as a result of alcohol or drugs. And this was a Tuesday night - imagine what it must be like on a Friday or a Saturday. No, as far as I'm concerned the taxes that we pay entitle us to free NHS treatment when we fall ill through natural circumstances which are no fault of our own. When, on the other hand, we fall ill entirely as a result of our own actions, then we are imposing a burden on the NHS that we could quite easily have avoided imposing, and we, not the taxpayer, should bear the cost of that.

Why do I disagree with that last bit, about pubs and clubs also being obliged to contribute? Well, basically, because it's not their fault if their customers drink too much. It is not unreasonable to expect individuals to exercise self-control, and, indeed, the Lib Dem proposals seem designed to promote the idea of personal responsibility. Thus, if you go into a pub, and have a drink, you are responsible for seeing that you exercise self-control in the amount of alcohol you consume. This is your personal responsibility, and not that of anyone else, including the person who supplies alcohol to you. To suggest that pubs and clubs should bear part of the responsibility if a drunk injures himself is to deny or reduce the personal responsibility of that drunk for his actions.

Universities biased against the poor?

The universities secretary John Denham has complained that top universities are biased against state schools when it comes to admissions. As evidence for this, Denham pointed out that it is generally the case that the better a university is, the fewer of its students were educated at state schools.

However, while this is undoubtedly the case, Denham makes the classic leftist mistake (also made when discussing supposed racist or sexist discrimination) and assumes that inequality of outcome proves the existence of discrimination. In fact, in cases where widespread discrimination on the basis of background has been alleged it has almost always been the case that admissions tutors were engaging in "positive" discrimination against those from private schools, and sometimes also against those from high-performing state schools. And does anyone really believe that academics, who tend overwhelmingly to hold left-wing views, are deliberately refusing to offer candidates places based in whole or in part on the fact that they do not come from a well-off background?

What John Denham might like to consider is, that it is the poor quality of the education that many of those from the poorest backgrounds are receiving in state schools that lies behind their failure to achieve places at elite universities. The fact is, that while there are excellent state schools and appallingly bad private schools, state schools do tend, on average, to be worse (with the distinguished exception of grammar schools, which are usually better). Those that educate pupils from the poorest background are often the worst of all, in terms of both basic teaching quality, and school discipline. As such, it is almost certain that if you have two newborn babies of equal ability, and you send one off to the Dragon and Eton and the other off to a state primary where the children carry knives, and a secondary school where they carry guns and deal drugs, then the first one will perform at a substantially higher level in his exams. Doing something to genuinely increase the standard of education at state schools (as opposed to increasing the number of state school pupils passing increasingly easy exams) might be the answer that Denham is looking for, if he wants to reduce the disproportionate number of the privately-educated at our best universities. But, of course, doing something useful is the difficult option for a Labour politician; it is far easier to play at class warfare and blame someone else.

The climate change debate is not over

Global warming is an entirely natural phenomenon and its effects can even be beneficial, according to two leading researchers.

Recent climate change is not caused by man-made pollution, but is instead part of a 1,500-year cycle of warming and cooling that has happened for the last million years, say the authors of a controversial study.

Dennis Avery, an environmental economist, and Professor Fred Singer, a physicist, have looked at the work of more than 500 scientists and concluded that it is very doubtful that man-made global warming exists.

Since I am not a scientist, and, indeed, have little interest in most areas of science, I do not tend to write about climate change a great deal, nor do I tend to espouse any particular position on the issue. However, I am interested in seeing that impartial debate takes place, and desire that the public in general, and schoolchildren in particular, are not brainwashed into accepting as absolute fact a theory which is, in truth, not generally accepted as true by those who do know about these things.
As it is, the government and the MSM has unquestioningly accepted the claim that man-made global warming is a proven fact, and treat those who oppose it as dangerous heretics. Some readers may recall that in February it was announced that every secondary school in England was to be sent a copy of Al Gore's propaganda film, "An Inconvenient Truth". The then Environment Secretary David Miliband claimed then that "the debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over". When I recently had occasion to visit a primary school, I found a vast wall display at the centre of the school telling children that they were killing the Earth. Meanwhile Bjorn Lomborg, a statistician and former Greenpeace activist who is sceptical of the existence of man-made climate change, was physically assaulted by an environmental activist, for daring to suggest that, actually, we aren't all doomed. And last week, Greenpeace released a video which came rather close to threatening similar (or worse) action against those who oppose its ends.

The existence of man-made global warming is increasingly treated as an article of faith by those on the left, and those who, like Mr Avery and Professor Singer, dissent from it, are increasingly regarded as, not just wrong, but actually evil. And this is what our schools brainwash the nation's children into believing. After all, since Al Gore is in no way a scientist, and since his film can in no way be said to represent a balanced assessment of the subject, it is simply brainwashing to show it as representing some form of scientific truth universally acknowledged. Contra Miliband, the debate appears to be far from over, and adults and schoolchildren alike deserve rather rather better than to have politicians and the media attempt to brainwash them: we deserve a continued debate on this issue, and we deserve the real, rather than the politically-correct, truth.