Friday, 30 November 2007

Marksman of the Day

A Texas man has become a hero after he took it upon himself to shoot and kill two burglars who had broken into his neighbour's house.

Joe Horn called the police to report the burglary and then stepped outside and shot the burglars dead as they left the neighbour's house.

A recording of the call suggests Mr Horn, 61, was itching to kill the two burglars.

"Don't go outside the house," the 911 operator pleaded.

"You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think."

"You want to make a bet?" Horn answered.

"I'm going to kill them."

Admirers, including several of his neighbours, say Mr Horn is a hero for killing the burglars, protecting his neighbourhood and sending a message to would-be criminals. Critics call him a loose cannon. His attorney says Mr Horn just feared for his life.

[...]

Horn was home in Pasadena, about 15 miles southeast of Houston, on Nov 14 when he heard glass breaking, said his attorney, Tom Lambright.

He looked out the window and saw 38-year-old Miguel Antonio DeJesus and 30-year-old Diego Ortiz using a crowbar to break out the rest of the glass.

He grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun and called 911, the police emergency number, Lambright said. "Uh, I've got a shotgun," he told the dispatcher.

"Uh, do you want me to stop them?"

"Nope, don't do that," the dispatcher responded.

"Ain't no property worth shooting somebody over, OK?"

Horn and the dispatcher spoke for several minutes, during which Mr Horn pleaded with the dispatcher to send someone to catch the men and vowed not to let them escape.

Over and over, the dispatcher told him to stay inside.

Horn repeatedly said he couldn't.

When the men crawled back out the window carrying a bag, Mr Horn began to sound increasingly frantic.

"Well, here it goes, buddy," Mr Horn said as a shell clicked into the chamber.

"You hear the shotgun clicking, and I'm going."

A few seconds passed.

"Move," Horn can be heard saying on the tape. "You're dead."

Boom.

Click.

Boom.

Click.

Boom.

Mr Horn redialed 911 and told the dispatcher what he'd done. "I had no choice," he said, his voice shaking. "They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick."

Mr Lambright said Mr Horn had intended to take a look around when he left his house and instead came face to face with the burglars, standing 10 to 12 feet from him in his yard.

Mr Horn is heavyset and middle-aged and would have been no match in a physical confrontation with the two men, who were young and strong, Lambright said.

So when one or both of them "made lunging movements," Mr Horn fired in self-defence, he said.

Family members of the two shooting victims have made few public statements.

Diamond Morgan, Ortiz's widow, who has an 8-month-old son with him, told Houston television station KTRK that she was stunned by Horn's statements on the 911 tape.

"It's horrible," she said. "He was so eager, so eager to shoot."
Yes, and your husband was clearly rather eager to help himself to other people's property. Had he been able to refrain from doing so, he would still be alive today. As it is, I for one won't be shedding any tears for him.

Update: They certainly know how to deal with burglars in Texas: here's another case of a Texan property owner shooting a thief dead, on Thursday afternoon local time.

One to bookmark...

MegaMosqueNoThanks.com

Hat-tip: Beer 'n Sandwiches

"Say goodbye to the Britain you once knew"

Singer Morrissey has sparked controversy by claiming British identity has disappeared because the country has been "flooded" by foreigners. The 48-year-old former Smiths star, whose parents were Irish immigrants, suggested that immigration was one of the reasons he would not move back to Britain.

Morrissey, who has spent most of the last decade living in LA and Rome, told NME magazine that countries like Germany still had their own identity and complained of not hearing "British accents" on the streets.

Asked whether he would move back to Britain, he said: "Britain's a terribly negative place. And it hammers people down and it pulls you back and it prevents you.

"Also, with the issue of immigration, it's very difficult because although I don't have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears.

"So the price is enormous. If you travel to Germany, it's still absolutely Germany. If you travel to Sweden, it still has a Swedish identity. But travel to England and you have no idea where you are.

He added: "It matters because the British identity is very attractive. I grew up into it, and I find it quaint and very amusing. But England is a memory now."

He agreed that immigration was enriching the British identity but added "you have to say goodbye to the Britain you once knew".

In a follow-up phone interview, Morrissey told the magazine: "I just think that it could be construed that the reason I wouldn't wish to live in England is the immigration explosion.

"And that's not true at all. I am actually extremely worldly and there are other reasons why I would find England very difficult, such as the expense and the pressure."

He said: "My favourite actor is an Israeli, Lior Ashkenazi, and my favourite singer was born in Iraq and now lives in Egypt. So I'm not a part of Little Britain. And by that, I don't mean the show, obviously."

Asked about his parents moving to Britain, he said: "It's different now. Because the gates are flooded. And anybody can have access to England and join in."

Admitting that he would be "pilloried" for his comments, he added: "You can't say, 'Everybody come into my house, sit on the bed, have what you like, do what you like.' It wouldn't work."

NME wrote: "Morrissey, the son of immigrants who has lived for most of the past decade in either LA or Rome, wants others to have the freedom to travel the world like him, but implies he would shut the gates to people coming to live in the UK.

"He might once have been the voice of a generation, but given his comments in these two interviews, he's certainly not speaking for us now."

A hypocrite he may be. And perhaps he doesn't speak for the second-rate hacks at the NME. But the concerns that he voiced about immigration, and about its effects on British society, are shared by the overwhelming majority of British people.

Assuming, that is, that he did voice those concerns. He is apparently planning to sue the NME for libel over the article in question.

But really, whether a faded eighties musician did or did not criticise immigration is irrelevant when compared to the real issue here. And the real issue is, of course, immigration itself, and its impact. There can be no doubt that immigration has had a huge impact on our society and culture. Even the national language is in the process of being replaced - English is now a second language for fully 40% of primary school children in London. Whole parts of London - and many, many other towns and cities - are entirely given over to immigrants, and those of recent immigrant stock. Indeed, there are even some parts of this country into which it is simply not safe for native Britons to set foot. Thanks to Muslim immigration, we now have in this country some 600,000 people who wish to see the imposition of Sharia law across Britain - an attitude of a kind which this country has not witnessed for hundreds of years. And, perhaps worst of all, we are now experiencing the widespread active suppression of native British culture, in order to make the immigrants feel more at home. Even the indescribably vile Keith Vaz has acknowledged that British society is changing. In his Newsnight debate with Nick Griffin he said that "it is wonderful that this country has been transformed" (video link, if you can stomach it, here; he says those precise words at 4:49). And that is the heart of the matter. Not, "has the country been changed by immigration?" (it's abundantly clear that it has been), but "do we like the change, do we want to quicken the rate of change, or do we, on the other hand, want to reverse the change?". Keith Vaz would choose the former option, I (and Morrissey, according to the NME) would choose the latter.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Liam Byrne Again

It looks like Liam Byrne would give Tony "jump up and down" McNulty a run for his money in any contest to find the stupidest of all the numerous stupid Labour government ministers. Consider his latest display of ineptitude:
A minister was warned illegal immigrants were working for the police, guarding sensitive Whitehall buildings, eight months before the scandal was made public.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne did not tell the Home Secretary for three months, it emerged yesterday.

Yet Home Office officials had been aware of the problem for more than two years.

Now as many as 10,000 illegal immigrants are estimated to have been cleared to work in the security industry.

But it has emerged that fewer than 400 have been stripped of the right to work.

In April, Mr Byrne was told illegal immigrants were working for the Metropolitan Police.

But he did not inform the then Home Secretary John Reid, whose successor Jacqui Smith was finally informed three months later.

Pressed to explain yesterday, Mr Byrne told MPs on the Home Affairs Committee: "If there was a big public announcement back when we were just beginning to understand the nature of the problem that may have undermined enforcement operations."

That doesn't, of course, explain why he didn't bother to tell his boss what was going on for fully three months. And, since just 4% of illegal immigrants given the right to work in the security industry have had that right revoked, I have to ask, "what enforcement operations?". No, the only operation that has gone on here was a cover-up operation. And even that was managed with typical Labour incompetence.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Fascists at the Oxford Union!

I regret to inform readers that, this evening, a number of fascists succeeded in forcing their way into the Oxford Union, where they attempted to prevent two British citizens - one of them the leader of a well-known democratic political party - from taking part in, irony of ironies, a debate about the limits of free speech. The fascist activists jumped over a wall into the courtyard of the Oxford Union building, before barging into the debating chamber itself. Thankfully, their bid to prevent the debate going ahead was unsuccessful, and both Nick Griffin and David Irving proceeded to express their views freely and without let or hindrance, albeit in two separate rooms. One Oxford undergraduate described the debate as "very balanced" and added that "both sides did really well".

However, while they were unsuccesful in their attempt to prevent the debate from going ahead, the behaviour of these far-leftists is just the latest in a string of incidents which have demonstrated that it is the far-left which today poses the greatest threat to free speech in Britain, and in Europe as a whole. In the past few months alone we have had:
A petition organised by left-wing students at Oxford University, calling for the sacking of the university's Professor David Coleman, for working with the think-tank MigrationWatch (at least Prof Coleman managed to keep his job, unlike Dr Frank Ellis, driven out of his post at Leeds University by the far-left in July 2006).

The use of violence to prevent supporters of the Swiss People's Party from rallying in Geneva.

The attempted murder of SIOE activists in Denmark, and threats of violence made against SIOE demonstrators in this country.

Schoolmaster Mark Walker suspended from his job for being a member of the BNP.

A vicious attack on peaceful BNP members campaigning in Barnsley.

The hounding of a Nobel Prize winner, including calls for his prosecution under "anti-racism" legislation, and his ultimate dismissal from his job, for expressing a politically-incorrect viewpoint.
Needless to say, the far-left was responsible for all these incidents. And I doubt that the list I have produced is even remotely close to being definitive. But when did you last hear of right-wingers hounding leftists out of their jobs, or of right-wing "extremists" physically attacking leftists? I can't recall a single case of either! And yet the Unite Against Fascism thugs, and the useful idiots from the student body at Oxford, who they brought along with them, want us to believe that it is the BNP who are the real threat to democracy. Well, I'll believe that when I see the BNP sending thugs to attack campaigners from rival parties, or invading the Oxford Union to prevent those they dislike from speaking. Until then, forgive me if I believe that the people who actually do those things are the somewhat greater threat.

Update: Another point to bear in mind regarding last night's debate, is that some of the demonstrators outside the Oxford Union were reported to be chanting the words "Kill Tryl" (Oxford Union president, Luke Tryl). So, aside from attempts to physically prevent the debate from taking place, some of the anti-free speech mob were also calling for a student to be murdered, because he gave a platform to people they don't like. As Nick Griffin said in the course of the debate, had these "anti-fascists" lived in Germany seventy years ago, "they would have made splendid Nazis".

Update (2): Meanwhile, Gates of Vienna has a translation of a newspaper article by the Danish MP
Søren Krarup, on the subject of "Violence from the Left", which makes similar points to those I have made above, and gives yet more examples of this severely under-reported phenomenon.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Today's Thought Criminal

DAVID CAMERON has come under pressure to sack a Tory who praised the leadership of Ian Smith, the white minority leader of Rhodesia, who died last week.

Richard Willis, a councillor in Reading, Berkshire, who is on the list of Conservative candidates for the next general election, said on a website that Smith had been a “great and wise” leader whose rule had been “benign and successful”.

[...]

In comments on the politicalbetting.com website Willis defended Smith’s record and insisted there was nothing “inherently evil” about the all-white administration.

He wrote: “I refuse to submit to the prevalent ideology that a government that delivers stability and economic success is inherently evil just because the elite were of a racial minority. Rhodesia was the breadbasket for southern Africa under his wise leadership.” The statements, penned under the tag “Rik W”, drew a furious reaction from other users, who condemned him for supporting a “vile white supremacist”. Willis derided the criticism as “silly leftist responses”.

Sounds fair enough.

Yesterday he stood by the comments. Although apartheid was “indefensible”, Smith’s Rhodesian Front had been “infinitely” preferable to Mugabe’s regime.

He said: “You cannot judge governments of the past by 21st century standards. Ian Smith led a government that actually had people migrating to the country.”

Peter Hain, the cabinet minister who led the campaign against apartheid in the 1970s, said: “As someone who campaigned actively against Ian Smith’s racist, white minority tyranny I am disgusted by these comments. Yet again we see racism remains embedded in the Tory grassroots.”

What I really want to know is, what is a cabinet minister doing kicking up a fuss about the remarks of an obscure provincial councillor? Doesn't Peter Hain have anything better to do? Like jumping under a bus, for example?

As for Mr Willis's comments: well, if saying that Rhodesians/Zimbabweans, of whatever race, were better off under Ian Smith than they are under Robert Mugabe makes you some kind of evil white supremacist bigot, then Peter Hain had better apply that label to Paul Themba Nyathi of the Zimbabwean Movement for Democratic Change, who having fought against Smith's government in the 1970s, now says that life in his Rhodesia was "a paradise" when compared with life in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. And RW Johnson, the Sunday Times journalist who reported Mr Nyathi's comments, will also have to go down in the records as an unrepentant thought criminal, since he wrote that:

...everything then was better for Africans than it is now – education, healthcare, standard of living, life expectancy and employment.
Was Ian Smith's administration perfect in every way? No. But it was very far from being the worst government that Africa has ever seen, and it was a damn sight better than the administration that followed. Sadly, Ian Smith has, like Enoch Powell, been declared a heretic by the liberal-left, and anyone who has anything vaguely positive to say about him will receive the same designation, regardless of such irrelevancies as the facts.

And, since Peter Hain raised the issue of "racism", I would also point out that Ian Smith did not preside over an extremely successful campaign of ethnic cleansing. Robert Mugabe has done:
The last vestiges of the people that Ian Smith pledged to protect, the white Rhodesians, are being swept away. From their peak of 300,000, there are barely 20,000 whites, mostly the elderly, in Zimbabwe today...
Where, I wonder, is Peter Hain's "disgust" regarding this? Where is the condemnation of the leftists who were so quick to attack Richard Willis?

Update: In the comments, Mexicano points out that white Zimbabweans were not the first group to be ethnically cleansed in Mugabe's Zimbabawe. Mugabe also presided over the massacre of about 30,000 Matabele tribesmen in the early 1980s. Again, Ian Smith did not tend to go in for that kind of thing.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

The changing face of the growing population

Britain's population could soar to 90million over the next 50 years.

The dramatic increase, fuelled by immigration and a rising birth rate, would add more than 50 per cent to today's population and put enormous pressure on housing, transport and public services.

Statisticians said the rise would be the equivalent of adding a city the size of Sheffield to the country each year.

The figures are expected to be announced tomorrow by the Government Actuary's Department (GAD) and were seized on by the Tories yesterday as evidence that a cap is needed on immigration from countries outside the European Union.

Labour ministers claim that measures are already in the pipeline to deal with an expected population surge over the coming decades, including a new points-based system for screening migrant workers.

GAD statisticians have made a series of predictions based on estimates of three key factors - net migration, birthrates and lifespan.

Earlier this month, they published their central forecast, known as the 'principal projection', which predicted the number of UK residents would rise to 71.1 million by 2031 and 78.6 million by 2056.

Tomorrow, GAD will release 'variant projections' which describe how the population will grow if the three key factors turn out higher or lower than anticipated.

Independent statisticians, using calculations based on data already disclosed by the GAD, have been able to determine in advance the figures likely to be released on Tuesday through The Office for National Statistics.

Their estimates put the population at between 66million and 75million by 2031 and between 66million and 90million in 2056.

[...]

GAD's population forecasts, which are used to plan public spending, have proved to be too low in the past. Its previous estimates two years ago suggested the population in 2056 would be only 69.6million, with a 'high projection' of 82.6million.

The estimate has been increased due to the surge in immigration in the past two years, particularly from the new EU states in eastern Europe.

In order to emphasise the point that the rising birth rate is going to be among the causes of this, potentially massive, increase in the total population, the Daily Mail illustrates its article with a picture of twelve happy babies. However, if you click on the link, then you will find that the picture is somewhat misleading, since all the babies are white. Whereas in reality:
The overall UK average [birth rate] is 1.84 babies. The average for British-born women is 1.6 and for foreign-born women 2.2.
A significant discrepancy. And that's not all:
The highest birthrate in the UK is among Pakistani-born women, who have an average of 4.7 children each.
Well, well, well. And what might the implications of the extremely high birth rate of this particular group be? Personally, I think that the notorious Norwegian-based Islamic extremist Mullah Krekar had it about right:
We're the ones who will change you. Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries are producing 3.5 children...our way of thinking...will prove more powerful than yours.
The strain on resources, which we are already witnessing to such an extent that it has today even been acknowledged by The Observer, would be beyond all reckoning were the population to increase to 90million. But of far greater concern even than the increasing numbers of the population, is the changing face of the population. Because, as the figures above indicate, it is quite possible that, by the time the population of the United Kingdom does reach 90million, that population will not only be majority non-white, but might well also be majority Muslim.

Irony of the Day

Although the Labour Party is, in theory at least, strongly opposed to grammar schools, the actual number of pupils being taught at such wicked and academically elitist institutions has risen by over 20% since 1997 (clearly, parents are voting with their feet in favour of grammar schools as the institutions likely to provide their children with the best education). All I can say is, that I never thought that I'd be in a position to say that anything significant had improved under Labour - but I guess I was wrong! Of course, it would be nice if the improvements had been brought about by the competent implementation of good policies, rather than the incompetent implementation of bad policies, but you can't have everything...

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Undercover Mosque makers to sue police?

The documentary maker cleared by regulators of misleadingly editing a Channel 4 programme about extreme Islamic preachers is considering legal action.

David Henshaw, the managing director of Hardcash Productions which made the Dispatches film Undercover Mosque, said he was still "very, very angry".

With the backing of Channel 4 he hoped to launch a libel action against the West Midlands police and a Crown Prosecution Service lawyer who was quoted in a joint press release accusing Hardcash Productions of "completely distorting" what some of the preachers were saying. The media regulator dismissed the complaint saying it was a legitimate investigation.

"I really don't like the libel courts and believe in a world of free comment. I don't mind abuse, but Hardcash's reputation has been severely damaged and it was a good reputation," Henshaw said. "The Ofcom judgment is great and if anyone bothers to read it they'll realise this was a bloody good programme. But damage was done that day in August, huge damage."

The programme, which took nine months to make, went undercover in several mosques in the Midlands and showed examples of preachers calling for homosexuals to be killed, espousing male supremacy, condemning non-Muslims and predicting jihad.

Henshaw said: "A lot of these mosques were in terms of their public image very moderate and were apparently committed to inter-faith dialogue. Yet what was going on on a very regular basis was pretty uncompromising, hardline, antisemitic, homophobic, misogynist preaching."

Yes, that must have come as a huge surprise. Taqiyya, anyone?

As I wrote in last Sunday's post on this issue, it really is intolerable that the police (and the CPS) should be fighting the Islamists' propaganda battles for them, particularly when doing so involves traducing reputable film-makers. Hopefully the prospect of a damaging libel action might serve to show them the error of their ways.

Friday, 23 November 2007

A picture of the new Britain

Looking at al-Beeb's website this evening, I chanced upon the news that two Bollywood stars are claiming that they had racist remarks shouted at them from a passing car, as they shot a film in Southall. This, clearly very important and newsworthy, story is currently receiving second billing on the "England" section of the BBC News website, and has had quite a lengthy, illustrated, article devoted to it. Of course, the Beeboids did not see fit to publish a single paragraph on a rather more serious recent case in which a man had his skull sliced open with a machete in a racist attack, but that's understandable: the victim was only white, after all.

But, what struck me rather more than the anti-white racism (which, let's face it, is no more than you expect from al-Beeb), was this sentence, regarding the absolutely charming part of London in which the alleged shouting of racist abuse took place:
The town's Pakistani and Indian communities for the most part live happily alongside Somalis and the newest immigrants from eastern Europe.
Now, leaving aside the fact that this is a statement of somewhat questionable veracity, I was just thinking that, alongside the Pakistanis, Indians, Somalis, and east Europeans, there does seem to be one community missing from the multicultural love-in. Now, if only I could remember who they were...

Population replacement, anyone?

Stupid Criminals of the Day

Are these the most stupid muggers in Britain?

Minutes after attacking a teenager on a commuter train, these young lads shamelessly posed for CCTV footage.

Then, astonishingly, they tried to cover up their faces with their scarves and jumpers once they realised what they'd done.

The three youths had just mugged a 15-year-old for his mobile phone and iPod after jumping on him on the train to Guildford, Surrey.

They punched him repeatedly in the face before pinning him down and stealing his possessions.

The victim fled the train at Effingham Junction after the attack, which took place between Leatherhead and Effingham Junction around 4pm on 13 September.

But the suspects remained on board and strutted in front of the train's security cameras, brazenly pulling faces and making themselves easily identifiable.
And here are two of the three Nobel Prize nominees:


Charming, aren't they?


What would Elizabeth Fry do?

An inmate has failed to use human rights legislation to force a prison to charge him less for phone calls.

Richard Davison, serving 12 years for drugs offences at HMP Elmley, in Kent, wanted the High Court to back his bid.

But Mr Justice Mitting ruled Davison's right to family and private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had not been infringed.

The fact that prisoners received visits and letters demonstrated their rights were protected, said the judge.

Davison, who is not due for release from the jail until September 2009, had applied for permission to challenge a Prison Service refusal in January to attempt to renegotiate its BT contract, which runs until 2011.

Davison's lawyers had argued that the price of calling his girlfriend in Essex, or family members in Yorkshire, was unfairly higher from jail phones than from public booths.

They said prisoners currently pay 10p for the first 55 seconds of local or national calls to landlines, then 1p per every 5.5 seconds.

The cost of calls from BT public payphones is 40p for the first 20 minutes followed by 10p for each subsequent 10 minutes.

You get 20 minutes for 40p? What public payphones are these? And where can I find one? All the ones I find seem to give rather less value for money than the prison ones.

Nonetheless, my heart really does bleed for poor Mr Davison, and all his fellow criminals victims of bourgeois oppression. It is simply intolerable that he and other inmates should have to pay fully 10p per minute to use the telephone, and, being the great philanthropist that I am, I have devised a way of sparing all prisoners the great burden of the costs associated with the use of telephones: take away the phones! Do that, and never again will any prisoner have to endure the humiliating violation of their human rights that paying for their calls undoubtedly is. So take away the prisoners' payphones: their human rights demand nothing less!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Public money well spent

Following on from the triumphant release of last week's report into "Islamophobia" in the media (cost to the taxpayer: £30-50,000; written by a team including such impartial analysts as the Muslim Council of Britain's Inayat Bunglawala), Ken Livingstone has now found another, equally excellent, way to spend public money.

To be specific, he has initiated a survey enquiring into the "experience of Muslim students in further and higher education in London". As well as asking Muslim students to give their views on the extent to which "homophobia" and sexism (as well as, of course, "racism", and the cardinal sin of "Islamophobia") are tolerated or confronted at the institutions they attend, respondents are also asked for their views on "what needs to be done to effectively tackle Islamophobia against students in London". Now, this question would seem to imply that there is widespread "Islamophobia" occurring in London's universities. And since Red Ken and Co apparently already know this to be the case, one has to wonder what the point of the whole survey is! But leaving this aside, my answer to the question, were I eligible to take part in the survey, might well include such points as:
Muslims should stop demanding preferential treatment at every available juncture.
Or:
Muslims should stop crying "Islamophobia" given the slightest (or indeed, in the absence of any) excuse.
But then, I'm not a Muslim student, so I'm not eligible to take the survey. However, Livingstone is very keen for as many Muslims as possible to give their responses, so I would urge all my numerous Muslim readers to get ahead and respond. Of course, it would be very bad of any infidels who may be reading this to take the survey, and I trust that you will all refrain from doing so. Good dhimmis, know your place.

Hat-tip: Harry's Place

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Idiotic Academic of the Day

THE head of a Celtic supporters' trust has provoked outrage by defending the singing of pro-IRA songs by the club's fans during matches.

Dr Jeanette Findlay [actually Ms Findlay - she doesn't have a PhD], who chairs the Celtic Trust, which represents supporters and small shareholders, claimed chants about the IRA were "songs from a war of independence".

She was speaking during an interview on BBC Radio Five Live's breakfast programme. Her comments prompted a furious response from listeners.

Dr Findlay, who is a research fellow and economics lecturer at Glasgow University, had been replying to questions by presenter Nicky Campbell about the trust's opposition to the appointment as club chairman of the former home secretary, John Reid, who was a cabinet minister at the time of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Dr Findlay said the trust's opposition was to do with Mr Reid's "leading role in relation to what many believe is an illegal and immoral war".

Mr Campbell then asked her if she was more uncomfortable with the singing of pro-terrorist songs or the appointment of Mr Reid.

Dr Findlay responded: "I have tried to explain about the nature of Celtic as a club. It was founded to help the poor Irish immigrants to Scotland.

"They may take a particular view of the history, of what happened in Ireland, which is different from many other people, so I don't call those pro-terrorist songs. What history tells us is that it is facile to say that politics and sport will ever be separated."

Mr Campbell said he was not referring to songs such as The Fields of Athenry, but to "actually chanting: 'The IRA'."

She replied: "Many of those songs are songs from what was essentially a war of independence going back over a hundred years."

What a vile woman. Still, I can't say that I'm surprised to hear this kind of thing coming from within the groves of academe. After all, academics have repeatedly sided with the various terrorist organisations seeking to destroy Israel - supporting the IRA, or at least acting as an apologist for those who do, is simply in character for most of them.

Post-Colonial Hegemonic Tyranny Defeated!

I am pleased to report that the reign of the white male chauvinist oppressor, PCSO Steve, is at an end. PCSO Steve, readers may recall, was the unspeakably evil (i.e. white and male), symbol of neo-Colonialist hegemony, used to, as one Metropolitan Police sergeant put it, "isolate" women and non-whites within the police force. To be precise, he was an oversized costume, similar to the mascots commonly used by football clubs, which could be worn by a real-life PCSO for visits to schools and public events. A big waste of money, perhaps, but otherwise apparently harmless.

But, since the costume depicted a white man with blond hair and blue eyes, certain people, such as the police sergeant quoted above, seized on the opportunity to raise the cries of "racism" and "sexism". And I am sure that those people will have been delighted to read in yesterday morning's newspapers, that PCSO Steve will now be joined by three new friends, including PCSO Sunita, an Asian woman. And all at a bargain £15,000! The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, who one might think would have rather more important matters to worry about right now, said:
These characters will be more representative of London's population and the diverse range of police personnel. The choice of characters will allow the concept of a Safer Neighbourhoods team to be presented to young children as well as delivering an important message about the different roles of PCSOs and constables.
Because, of course, that just couldn't happen if you only had a white male mascot.

Meanwhile Islington-based PC Geoff Parker said:

One of the things that is damaging our job and our relations with the community is this constant overbearing political correctness. We seem to be taking the issue to the extreme, and pandering to every whim and gripe. We need to take a sensible approach to this and stop over-reacting.
What a bigot! It's such a shame, isn't it, that, eight years after the Macpherson Report, the Met Police still employs officers who possess such antediluvian views as this?

Monday, 19 November 2007

Terrorists for Peace?

I read that the Tories have called on the government to ban the head of Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV station, Ibrahim Moussawi, from visiting the UK next month. Moussawi, who, as head of Al-Manar, has presided over the showing of, among other fascinating programmes, a series based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, will be visiting the UK as a representative of Hezbollah, to speak at a conference scheduled for the first of December.

So, what conference is this, that Moussawi will be attending? The annual general meeting of Hizb-ut Tahrir, perhaps? Or a gathering of neo-Nazis and rabid anti-Semites?
Well, no. Actually it's the "World Against War Conference", organised by that splendid organisation, the Stop the War Coalition, where Moussawi will be speaking alongside such heroes as George Galloway, and the "campaigning comedian", Mark Thomas. Why, next to such creatures, he has half a chance of coming off as the sane and rational one!

Now, whatever one's opinions regarding the Iraq war, or any other war, it ought to be patently obvious by now that, whatever the Stop the War Coalition's interests may be, stopping war is not among them. If they were genuinely anti-war, would they invite to their conference a representative of an organisation which exists primarily for the purpose of waging war, an organisation that has carried out terrorist attacks against targets as far afield as Argentina, an organisation whose leader has been quoted as saying that "if Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide"? No, of course they wouldn't.
This is not the first time that the Stop the War Coalition has shown its support, not for peace, but for Hezbollah. In August 2006, a great abundance of Hezbollah flags (you know, the ones with the big gun in the middle, which might give some indication as to their stance regarding the use of violence) were on display at the Stop the War Coalition march demanding that Israel call a ceasefire in its campaign against Hezbollah. No, the Stop the War Coalition has never truly been anti-war. They're fine with war and violence - just as long as it's waged against the West.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

West Midlands Police: Looking out for the Islamists

Police have been criticised for taking action against a television programme which exposed how some Islamic preachers use British mosques to spread a message of hatred and segregation.

Broadcasting watchdogs have cleared Channel 4 of wrongdoing over the controversial documentary about Muslim extremism.

The programme featured footage of preachers at a number of mosques, including one who praised the Taliban for murdering British soldiers.

West Midlands police rejected calls to take action against the preachers for stirring up racial hatred – and turned on the film-makers.

Three months ago, the police, backed by the Crown Prosecution Service, made a formal complaint to Ofcom, alleging that the way 50 hours of videotape had been edited was 'distorted'.

But The Mail on Sunday has been told Ofcom has backed Channel 4's claim that the film was fair and has criticised the police response.

Thinking about the actions of the police, who now seem to be firmly mired in the same morass of PC liberalism into which the rest of the public sector has already sunk, I was reminded of this quote, from the beginning of Enoch Powell's so-called "Rivers of Blood" speech:
Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles: “If only,” they love to think, “if only people wouldn’t talk about it, it probably wouldn’t happen.”
Of course, we have, in the thirty-nine years since those words were spoken, gone beyond the situation Powell described. We now have a situation where problems are not just being predicted, but where they are happening, and where many of those in authority are so desperate to believe that there are no problems, that they fete the very people who are actually causing the problems (or who, indeed, are themselves the problem), while at the same time harassing and persecuting those who have the temerity to point the problems out. This would appear to be the case here: the police, confronted with a truth which, while correct in terms of being factually accurate, is not politically-correct, have chosen to take action, not against the Muslims who incited murder and terrorism, but against those who reported that they were doing so. After all, it would be so much nicer for everyone if Imams were not inciting murder in mosques, that it is simply not nice to point out that, actually, they are doing so. Because for the PC left, a designation which can now fairly be said to include at least the upper echelons of the police force, anything is better than to face the politically-incorrect, but factually accurate, truth.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Mega mosque death threatener arrested

Remember "abdullah1425"? He was the rather disturbing (and, as it turned out, disturbed) individual responsible for the posting on YouTube of a video containing an apparent death threat directed at Alan Craig, the Newham local councillor who has been leading opposition to the East London mega mosque.

Well, I now discover, via Jihad Watch, that "abdullah1425" has been arrested by police, presumably in connection with the threatening video. I am not aware of any details beyond this, but it would appear that he has since been released, since he logged onto his YouTube account just four hours ago, at the time of writing (i.e. at around 7pm, on Saturday).

Personally, I am pleased - and somewhat surprised - to see that the police are actually responding to this incident. Clearly, the video, which I and many others were able to see before YouTube took it down, did merit investigation, at least. It will be interesting to see what action the police take next.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Nigel Hastilow and James Watson murder Indian sailors, says Tribune

ON October 20, two Goan sailors, Gregory Fernandes and Finod Appa, were brutally attacked by a drunken gang of racist youths in the Hampshire village of Fawley.
Mr Fernandes, 32, and his friend were returning to their ship Garonne, moored alongside the marine jetty near the Fawley refinery, when they were surrounded and beaten. Mr Appa sustained a broken shoulder while Mr Fernandes, who was more badly beaten by the 20-strong gang, later died from his injuries.

Hampshire police said the unprovoked assault was racially aggravated. Shocked residents, ashamed by the racially-motivated attack, held an emotional candlelit vigil.

“The community is in shock”, said the Reverend Barry James of All Saints Church, who led the service. “People are dismayed and ashamed of what happened here, in what is normally a small, quiet, sleepy village.”

Christine English, who lives in Fawley, said: “We’re stunned that an innocent visitor could be killed in a racist attack, not in one of the tougher areas of the city, but in a quiet New Forest village.”

Well, I think that we can all agree that the people who committed this murder are worthless scum, who ought to be strung up. And if I lived in Fawley, I imagine that I would be quite shocked too, to have this kind of thing happen on my doorstep.

However, one thing I should perhaps have mentioned before, is that this article comes from the far-left magazine, Tribune. As a result, the above, pretty reasonable, reporting, is swiftly followed up with this idiotic statement:
A link is now being made between what is said in public by people such as Nigel Hastilow and James Watson and racially motivated violence such as this on the streets of Britain.
Really? And by whom is this link being drawn? And what evidence have they adduced to establish the existence of such a link? Have the unnamed drawers of the link uncovered evidence that, for example, racist violence by whites against non-whites rose sharply in the aftermath of Prof Watson's comments, or Mr Hastilow's article?
Nigel Hastilow was the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis in the West Midlands until his racist remarks – that Enoch Powell was right to talk about “rivers of blood” in his infamous speech on black immigration – embarrassed Tory leader David Cameron. James Watson is the controversial scientist who caused a row when he spoke of the “inferiority of black people”.
So, I guess we're not going to get any answers to the questions I raised in my previous paragraph. What we do get is the throwing around of the word 'racist', as if that is actually probative of anything.
We also get a bit of apparently deliberate dishonesty and misrepresentation. First, we are told that Enoch Powell talked "about 'rivers of blood'". Now, while his famous speech from 1968 has been dubbed the "Rivers of Blood Speech", Powell never actually used the phrase himself. He did refer to "the River Tiber foaming with much blood" (a quote from a passage in Virgil's Aeneid) but he never actually said "rivers of blood". And yet the author of this piece, Paul Donovan, appears, from his use of quotation marks, to imply that the words are taken verbatim from Powell's speech. This is patently untrue, although Mr Donovan might perhaps argue that his untruth serves to illustrate a wider truth.
The second, and more egregious, misrepresentation occurs when we are told that Prof Watson "spoke of the 'inferiority of black people'". Again, the use of quotation marks in this context would seem to suggest - and suggest quite strongly - that Watson himself actually used the phrase "inferiority of black people". Well, if he did, then it isn't mentioned in the Sunday Times report of the interview which sparked off the whole witch hunt last month. Furthermore, not only did Watson not use the phrase "the inferiority of black people", but he also did not use any other words or phrases tending to imply that blacks are inferior. On the contrary, he specifically said that there should be no discrimination on the basis of race. As such, it is hard to escape the conclusion that, unless Mr Donovan should happen to be privy to information withheld from the rest of us, then he is deliberately attributing to Prof Watson, not only words which he did not actually speak, but also sentiments which he did not actually express.

Content with this little piece of deception, Donovan continues:

When the Labour Government came to power it set up the MacPherson inquiry to look into the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. The inquiry’s remit was later extended to examine racism nationwide.

Lord MacPherson’s final report made 75 recommendations, many of which have been implemented. Race crime was upgraded among police priorities and heavier sentences handed down where racial motivation can be proven.

True. I don't personally think that that's a good thing, except insofar as it increases some sentences which might otherwise be woefully inadequate, but it certainly is what's happened.

Despite this, racially motivated violence has continued to increase in Britain.
True. But what Mr Donovan omits to add is that most racist crime is directed against white people. In 2004, white people were the victims in 51% of all racially-motivated crime, in 61% of cases of violent racist crime, and in fully 83% of the most serious instances of racist violence. Once these basic facts are known, then the whole issue of racism appears in a rather different light from that in which Mr Donovan is attempting to cast it.
While violent crimes such as the murder in Liverpool of black teenager Anthony Walker are the most extreme form of race hate, the Institute of Race Relations points out that “every day on the streets of the UK, in playgrounds, classrooms, shops and at work, minority ethnic people are racially harassed.”
And that's wrong, and those who perpetrate such offences should be punished. But still more frequent than a non-white person being racially harassed by a white person, is a non-white person racially harassing a white person.
The contributions to public debate made by people such as Mr Hastilow and Professor Watson and, before them, Enoch Powell create an atmosphere in which it is easier for racists to operate.
Any evidence for that?
Race relations legislation – and changing attitudes – mean that blatant racism of the sort that saw signs reading “No blacks, no Irish” displayed in windows no longer exists, but racism has become more covert.
Any evidence for the existence of this new "covert" racism? No? Well, actually there is, after a fashion:
Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Wales, said that Mr Hastilow’s remarks exposed the racist underbelly of the Conservative Party.
There's your evidence: Peter Hain says so. I suppose that is evidence, of a sort. Whether we should attach any weight to it is, of course, a rather different matter.
And anti-racist campaigners fear that when someone such as Mr Hastilow or Professor Watson expresses their inflammatory racist views in public they give succour to those intent on racial violence on the streets of Britain.
Some questions:

1. Who are these "anti-racist campaigners"? Why doesn't Mr Donovan name them and quote directly from them (or fabricate some quotes, since that seems to be his style)? Or is it in fact the case that Mr Donovan is expressing his personal views, and attributing them to "anti-racist campaigners", in a bid to give them some added moral authority (yes, I know that race hustlers have no moral authority whatsoever, but I doubt that Mr Donovan knows that)?

2. What evidence is there that when Nigel Hastilow or James Watson expresses an "inflammatory racist view" (i.e. a view with which Paul Donovan does not agree), violent thugs "intent on racial violence" derive succour? Do such thugs actually sit around thinking "hmm, James Watson made some remarks about race and IQ, therefore it's okay for me to kill an Indian"? Did racist violence against non-whites increase in the aftermath of the comments of either Mr Hastilow or Prof Watson? Does Paul Donovan's article consist entirely of unverified assertions?

That last one's easy...

“The tragic death of Gregory Fernandes proves how important it is to confront racism in all its pernicious forms,” said the Institute of Race Relations this week.
Well, I'd agree that the murder is tragic. And I'd also agree that racism should be confronted. I imagine, however, that my definition of what racism is would differ substantially from that endorsed by Paul Donovan, or the Institute of Race Relations.

Syria's man in the Cabinet

Lord Malloch-Brown, the controversial Foreign Office minister, was in a fresh row last night after telling senior members of the Syrian regime of his willingness to speak for them on the world stage.

The remarks were reportedly made last week at a reception hosted by Sami Khiyami, the Syrian ambassador.

One witness said the minister told the Syrians: "Think of me as your man in the Cabinet." Lord Malloch-Brown denies making the comment.

The reception was held to mark the visit of Abdullah Dardari, Syria's deputy prime minister. He and Lord Malloch-Brown are said to be close friends from when they worked at the United Nations in New York.

The Arabic newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, whose correspondent attended the reception, said Lord Malloch-Brown gave an "emotional" speech, recalling how he had considered himself to be "representing Syria inside the UN". The minister also spoke warmly about Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president.

An "emotional" speech? Hmm. I wonder whether the good Muslims of the London Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic serve alcohol at their receptions...

In the meantime, the people of Britain can only envy those of Syria. Wouldn't it be nice if we also had someone in the Cabinet looking after our interests, rather than the present disreputable bunch of lying, back-stabbing, cravens?

Lowering the school leaving age

Frank Field, MP for Birkenhead, has always stood out in my estimation as being perhaps the only decent politician among the massed ranks of unutterable scum who dominate the parliamentary Labour Party. In the past, he has deserved particular praise as being, so far as I am aware, the only Labour MP to speak honestly about the effect mass immigration is having on our country, and he has also been among those to call for a referendum on the EU constitution. Now, at the same time as our government is trying to compel all children, regardless of their aptitude for, or interest in, academic study, to stay in school up to the age of 18, and is busy inventing a set of essentially worthless qualifications for those extra sixth-formers to waste their time earning, Mr Field has come out and suggested that, so far from forcing seventeen and eighteen year-olds to stay in school, we should in fact be allowing some fourteen and fifteen year-olds to leave full-time education.

Of course, in an age when we are expecting ever greater numbers of children and young people to achieve an ever-higher level of education, Mr Field's proposals are certainly going against the grain, and no doubt they will not find favour among those sections of the Labour government who measure their success by the number of communications studies A-levels and leisure management degrees that they give out. But I think that he is absolutely right.
As of this year, at 12.3% of GCSE candidates fail to achieve five or more A*-G grades, including maths and English. Those 12.3% are essentially leaving school with absolutely nothing. A further 41.2% are failing to achieve five or more A*-C grades, including maths and English - the bare minimum qualification currently required for entry to most sixth forms. The fact that most sixteen year-olds are not currently achieving standards sufficient to allow them to proceed to the pursuit of A-levels should at least give pause for thought for those who wish to force them all to pass on to the sixth-form. But it should also raise the question whether it is worth compelling many of those pupils to study for GCSEs at all.

Of course, some of the shortfall in performance might be made up by improved teaching. But the fact remains that some people are just not suited for an academic education. There will always be a more-than-negligible minority of children who will, in essence, achieve no qualifications whatsoever at GCSE level. Rather than forcing them to stay on to eighteen - from which they will likely derive little or no benefit in terms of skills, knowledge, or qualifications - would it not be considerably more practical to allow them to leave school once they have achieved certain minimum standards in the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, and to enter the job market (possibly through some latter-day apprenticeship scheme), and gain valuable practical skills that way? After all, there is nothing stopping them from seeking to gain their GCSEs at a later date - like Wayne Rooney - should they be so inclined, and, indeed, Frank Field proposes that the money that would be saved by not keeping them in school until they were sixteen (or, indeed, eighteen), should be used to provide a fund with which to support those among these early school-leavers who wished to study for their GCSEs in their adulthood. So, rather than keeping children in school later, to pick up yet more worthless qualifications, why not let them leave earlier, when they might perhaps pick up some valuable practical skills?

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Paedophile has sentenced increased

Back in August I wrote about Michael Porter, the man who, after pleading guilty to twenty-five counts of indecent assault and gross indecency, was sentenced to just three years of community rehabilitation.

Well, I am now pleased to be able to report that, after the case was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney-General, the sentence was increased to an eighteen-month prison term. Still not very much for a man who committed crimes against numerous victims, one only eighteen months old, over a period of fourteen years, but at least it's a slight improvement.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Some are more equal than others

In the wake of the recent conviction of the self-styled "Lyrical Terrorist", Samina Malik, the Muslim Council of Britain's Inayat Bunglawala has penned a characteristically rambling piece, entitled "An attack on liberty", at the Guardian's Comment is Free site. After ranting for some time on various stock Muslim grievances, he concludes by saying that "a foolish young woman who did not harm anyone now faces a maximum 10-year term in prison for what can only be described as a thought crime".

Now, some might say that possessing terrorist propaganda and joining an organisation, Jihad Way, which aimed to disseminate such propaganda and to support al-Qaeda goes some way beyond mere "thought crime". Personally, I would definitely say that organisations such as Jihad Way ought to be illegal, although I don't really think that she should be punished for her (admittedly appalling) poetry, or for downloading offensive material from the internet. In any event, I fail to see why Samina Malik should be prosecuted, while the likes of Anjem Choudhary are left free to incite murder in peace. So, to some extent I do actually agree with Inayat Bunglawala, and I am certainly glad to see that he is taking a stance against thought crime, an issue which greatly concerns me, and about which I have written on numerous occasions.

But hang on a minute! This Inayat Bunglawala, this champion of free speech, this enemy of the criminalisation of thoughts, surely he cannot be the same Inayat Bunglawala who, in 2005, wrote in favour of the introduction of laws creating a new crime of "incitement to religious hatred"? He must be a different Bunglawala from the one who then said that:
We believe stirring up hatred against people simply because of their religious beliefs or lack of them should be regarded as a social evil...We understand the concerns about free speech, but we think that they are totally misplaced.
And he can't possibly be the same Bunglawala who last year supported plans to widen the scope of the laws against "inciting racial hatred", following the acquittals of Nick Griffin and Mark Collett. No, because anyone who felt that Nick Griffin should go to prison for saying that Islam was a "wicked, vicious faith" (which statement, I would point out, does not contain any explicit or implicit threat, nor any reference to individual Muslims), but that punishing Samina Malik for writing such delightful couplets as "Kafirs your time will come soon/and no one will save you from your doom" and "For the living martyrs are awakening/and Kuffars world soon to be shaking" is "an attack on liberty", would be a complete hypocrite.

Postscript: To be fair to Bunglawala, he's not the only person displaying a distinct hypocrisy over this. Following Malik's conviction, Martin Sullivan, of the Islamophobia Watch blog, quoted approvingly from both Bunglawala's article, and Boyd Tonkin's rather better written piece on the same theme. Yet in the past he too has repeatedly come out in favour of restricting the free speech of people like the BNP.

Bizarre headline of the day

From the BBC News website:
Bike sex man placed on probation
And yes, the story is just as freakish as it sounds!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Hastilow resignation rejected

Tory leader David Cameron faced fresh embarrassment after rebel Tory activists snubbed calls to ditch a Parliamentary candidate who said Enoch Powell "was right" on immigration.

The Halesowen and Rowley Regis constituency association refused to accept the resignation of would-be MP Nigel Hastilow and instead demanded crisis talks with the Conservative Party Board, the organisation's top decision-making body.

Senior Tories had hoped the local party would drop Hastilow, 51, who quit on November 4 after refusing to apologise for comments he made in a newspaper column in support of Powell's 1968 "rivers of blood" speech.

Officials have been lobbying the local association in a desperate bid to limit the bad publicity, asking them to move on and choose another candidate.

But local members remain furious at the way Hastilow was treated by the party HQ and refused to accept his resignation, saying his views on immigration have widespread support.

Excellent news!

Meanwhile, Neil Hamilton has written an excellent article on the Hastilow case in the Daily Express! Yes, I know he's a smarmy crook with a deranged wife and a worrying predilection for loud, spotty, bow-ties, but his article is excellent nonetheless. Some salient extracts:

Immigration is out of control and millions of indigenous Britons feel like foreigners in their own country. Even Gordon Broon recognises this. A few weeks ago, posing as leader of the Brownish National Party, he promised “British jobs for British workers.”

All spin and lies, of course. EU law, which Broon wants to extend without a referendum, stops us deciding who we want to let into this country.

Two weeks ago, Cabinet Minister Peter Hain (himself an undesirable immigrant) came clean, admitting 1.1 million foreign nationals have taken jobs here since 1997, not 300,000 as previously claimed.

The Office for National Statistics says it is 1.5 million. Governments have routinely deceived the British people about mass immigration. Those, like Enoch, who campaigned to close the door, were abused as fantasists and racists.

Yet, if we had had a referendum 40 years ago, how many of us would have voted to transform our great cities into colonies of foreign cultures?

[...]

But immigration is principally a question of numbers. Our major cities have become a kaleidoscope of ghettos, co-existing but not coalescing. Manchester University demographers forecast that, by 2011 Leicester will be the first British city where Brits are a minority. Birmingham will follow by 2027.

On current trends, ethnic Britons will cease to be the majority group in Britain sometime in the next century.

Would you vote for that? Don’t worry, the politicians won’t ask you to.
Personally, I agree with everything Hamilton has written. And, as an added bonus, he's managed to upset the execrable Cameronite mouthpiece Daniel Finkelstein, who says that describing Peter Hain as an "undesirable immigrant" is an "utterly unacceptable insult" (he does not, of course, actually bother to say what, precisely, is so "unacceptable" about it). So, well done Neil Hamilton!

Diplomas less valuable, say researchers

This post on the government's proposed new diplomas for sixteen and seventeen year-olds, which I wrote back in July, has been getting a bit of attention recently, with links from a couple of other sites, including a few hundred hits from Jerry Pournelle's blog. Readers who have read my original post, or who have read about this issue elsewhere, may recall that the diplomas were to be essentially vocational, including among their ranks the "Advanced Media Diploma", which, among other challenging tasks, would require examinees to "critically respond to a range of computer games", and print banners for a party. Back in July I intimated a mild scepticism regarding their worth, and suggested that, regardless of their (apparently limited) value as vocational qualifications, they would not (and, indeed, should not) be regarded as being equal to A-levels as academic qualifications.

Now I read that researchers at Oxford University have reached a similar conclusion. The Nuffield Review, led by Professor Richard Pring, said that the implementation of diplomas had been "rushed", described them as "the latest in a long line of broad vocational qualifications occupying the ground between academic qualifications and apprenticeship", and claimed that they would "suffer in the shadow of A levels", being regarded by teachers as being of less academic value, and therefore being taken primarily by academically weaker pupils. This follows the generally unenthusiastic reception that diplomas have received from university admissions tutors, of whom only 38% said that they saw them as "good alternatives" to A-levels.

And, of course, the Nuffield Review, and the admissions tutors, are right. No good teacher is going to want any decently intelligent pupil to undertake a diploma in travel and tourism, hair and beauty, or "Advanced Media", in preference to pursuing an A-level in a traditional subject such as maths, English or history. And there is no way that any of the former group of subjects could be possessed of anything like the academic rigour of any traditional A-level, even after the considerable lowering of standards that has taken place over the past twenty years or so. It has been suggested that the government's ultimate wish is to do away with A-levels (and GCSEs) altogether, and to render the new diplomas the major educational qualifications pursued in our schools. Arguably, that need not be too great a disaster: after all, there is no inherent reason why diplomas in academic subjects should be less rigorous than A-levels, and to the extent that qualifications are being made manifestly easier, there is no reason why this should be any more the case with diplomas than with A-levels (personally, I would like to see school exams made more difficult, and am unconcerned whether this happens within the framework of A-levels or of diplomas, so long as it happens). But under the government's present proposals, with diplomas consisting almost exclusively of essentially vocational qualifications, it is clear that A-levels will be seen as, and will be, more academically valuable.

Shahid Malik sues Tory activist

Britain's first Muslim Government minister yesterday launched a libel battle in the High Court over claims that he organised "gangs of Asian thugs" to intimidate voters in a local election.

International Development Minister Shahid Malik is said to have "overseen and directed" up to 200 Asian Labour activists to help secure victory for a Muslim councillor.

The men are said to have breached electoral rules by escorting voters to the polling station while telling them in Urdu to choose the Muslim Labour candidate.

Mr Malik is also accused of encouraging ethnic division in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, by urging Asians to vote for "their Muslim brother" rather than according to their political opinion.

The allegations were first made by former Conservative councillor Jonathan Scott in a letter to the Dewsbury Press newspaper, after he was unseated as a local councillor.

It describes how "Malik's ethnic entourage behaved no better than BNP thugs" on polling day in the Dewsbury South ward of Kirklees Council.

Of course, I've never actually heard of an occasion on which the BNP have behaved in anything like the manner that Mr Scott alleges Mr Malik's supporters behaved in. But we'll let that pass...

The letter - and a follow-up news story on the same topic - went on to claim that "Malik convinced local Asian voters to vote for Labour candidates... on the grounds that those candidates were 'Muslim brothers'".

Mr Malik, who denies the allegations, appeared in court in London to give evidence against Mr Scott, the newspaper and the newspaper's editor. He said the letter was "his worst nightmare", adding: "In my line of work, if your integrity is damaged you have nothing left."

Really? Then an awful lot of people in your "line of work" must have nothing left, then.

I have no knowledge as to whether Mr Scott's accusations are true, or whether they are merely the lies of an embittered defeated candidate. I am looking to the present case to indicate where the truth lies. However the result pans out, it should be interesting, and should reflect pretty poorly on at least one of our two major parties.

Note: Comments off on this post, for reasons which should be obvious.

Local Tories to reject Hastilow resignation?

If this BBC report is correct, the Halesowen and Rowley Regis Conservative Association ought to have met last night to debate whether to accept Nigel Hastilow's resignation, proffered after he committed the sin of expressing agreement with Satan Enoch Powell. Apparently, there was serious disquiet within the association regarding the fact that the Tory Party's top brass had compelled Hastilow to resign for expressing views which are shared by a very sizable number - indeed, probably a majority - of the general public (and, presumably, by many in the Halesowen and Rowley Regis Tories as well), and it was quite possible that the local party association might reject his resignation. If they should do so, then Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) has threatened to bring the seat "under special measures", and, presumably, to impose their own candidate. Quite how they expect to win a marginal seat by initiating a conflict with the local activists, I don't know.

Personally, I'm hoping that the local association stands up to the central party, and refuses to accept Nigel Hastilow's resignation. I am in full agreement with what Nigel Hastilow said (and, indeed, with what Enoch Powell said), and I consider it to be both disgraceful, and an indicator of the extent to which the Tory Party has allowed the liberal-left to impose its definition of "acceptable debate" upon political debate as a whole, that he was compelled to resign over this. So come on local Tories: stick two fingers up at the Cameronites, and dare them to do their worst!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Democracy, Islamic-style

A Conservative parliamentary candidate and two former Tory councillors will appear in court this week in connection with a suspected vote-rigging conspiracy that was uncovered by The Times.

They are among seven men accused of electoral fraud following a lengthy police investigation into alleged malpractice in Bradford, mostly relating to the use of postal ballots.

The criminal inquiry was prompted by an article in The Times that exposed postal voting irregularities in the Bradford West constituency during the 2005 general election campaign.

Those charged include Haroon Rashid, 37, from Buckinghamshire, who stood as the unsuccessful Tory candidate in Bradford West.

Mr Rashid has been a member of the Conservative Party for more than 15 years and an active campaigner for increased Asian representation.

In the run-up to the 2005 poll he was photographed with then Tory leader Michael Howard and other leading Conservatives, including Baroness Thatcher.

Also due to appear before Bradford magistrates on Wednesday are two former Conservative councillors in the city, Jamshed Khan, 53, and Reis Khan, 38.

Hmm. I wonder whether Messrs Rashid, Khan, and Khan have anything else in common, beyond the fact that they are all Tories?

And could there be some common factor linking this case to this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one?

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater

A row is growing over plans to shut the most successful school in Stoke-on-Trent as part of a £200m area-wide reorganisation.

The local council is proposing to shut all its secondaries, many of which perform badly, and reopen 12 new ones.

One of those in the frame is a Catholic selective school, St Joseph's College. It could not reopen as a grammar and perhaps not even as a faith school.

Parents are up in arms and pupils are organising online petitions.

Stoke's restructuring is part of the government's Building Schools for the Future refurbishment programme.

Its informal consultation says: "Some areas of the city that once had lots of young people now have fewer and other areas of the city are due to have new homes built.

"To make sure that we have the right size schools in the right places, we have looked again at the number and location of all secondary schools. Some changes are needed."

It says it is trying to avoid, "a two-tier system, where some schools are perceived as being better than others by virtue of their name, facilities or governance."

Isn't that just so typically socialist? Not all schools can be equally good, therefore all must be made equally bad.

You are never going to have a system in which all schools everywhere are equally good, and it does seem that Stoke-on-Trent is cursed with a lot of failing schools. And of course it is quite reasonable that the council should want to take action - possibly quite drastic action - to try to resolve the problems faced by those schools. But what good can possibly come of closing down a school which, so far from being a failing school, is in fact very successful?
Given St Joseph's' apparently excellent record, the likelihood is that children who are at present being educated at St Joseph's will, if the council's plans go through, receive an education which is, to one degree or another, inferior to that which they are receiving at the moment. Certainly it is highly unlikely that they will receive a better education. As such, it's difficult to escape the conclusion that Stoke's Labour mayor and council leaders are just taking the opportunity to reduce the number of grammar schools in the UK, to push the British education system that little bit further towards a state entirely free of such elitist anachronisms as selection and excellence. And if they should happen to harm the education of hundreds of children in the process - well that's just too bad.