Thursday 28 February 2008

More database fun

Thousands of DNA samples taken from criminals have been filed under the names of innocent people, it was revealed yesterday.

There are 550,000 false, misspelt or incorrect names on the Government's vast DNA database, which contains more than 4million samples.

That means one in every eight records is thought to be inaccurate.


Most alarming is the revelation that many criminals are using other people's names if they are caught.

Home Office Minister Meg Hillier gave the example of somebody who was arrested, and gave their sister's name.

"That data would be on the database," she told MPs.

Politicians are worried that people could be charged with crimes they have not committed if DNA belonging to a criminal who gave their name later turned up at a crime scene.

It was stressed that innocent people could provide an authentic sample of their own DNA to prove it did not match.

However, they would still be forced to undergo the stress and humiliation of a criminal investigation.

Presumably, the police could easily verify someone's identity, simply by searching them. After all, they managed it when they arrested Euan Blair.

But, in over half a million cases, they simply haven't bothered, but have stored the DNA, without knowing for sure whether it actually belongs to the person they think it does.

And some among us want to give these idiots a database containing the DNA of every man, woman, and child in this country! Still, we shouldn't be too worried: on the basis of this showing, the Plods would struggle to organise a piss-up in a brewery, let alone a DDR-style police state...

Hat-tip: House of Dumb

Wednesday 27 February 2008

The morally bankrupt left

The deputy leader of the party that has ruled this country for nearly eleven years was answering questions from readers of the Independent on Monday. Along the line, this interesting little nugget arose:
David Newton, Edinburgh: Fidel Castro: hero of the left, or dangerous authoritarian dictator?

Harriet Harman: Hero of the left – but time for Cuba to move on.
She's right, of course: plenty on the left do regard Old Uncle Fidel as a hero. And arguably, David Newton was creating a false dichotomy: being a "dangerous authoritarian dictator" is no bar to being hero-worshipped by the left. Indeed, some might say that it was a necessary qualification.

But since Harman is a proud member of the (far) left, one assumes that she was proclaiming Castro to be one of her heroes. Now, how long do you think any vaguely right-wing contemporary politician would last, proclaiming his admiration for, say, General Franco? Indeed, just think how quickly Nigel Hastilow's career was killed off after he expressed agreement with Enoch Powell, a man who, so far as I am aware, was not responsible for the deaths of over 100,000 people. Among those who weighed in against Hastilow was one Harriet Harman, who said that his comments demonstrated that the Tories were "the same old nasty party". If admirers of Powell are "nasty" what, I wonder, are admirers of Castro? Is there a word strong enough to describe them?

Of course, unlike Nigel Hastilow, Harriet Harman won't lose her job over her admiration for Castro, because the media, which launched a witch hunt against Hastilow, is largely ignoring this. Only the Times and the Spectator's Coffee House blog have devoted any real attention to Harman's comments, although the Daily Mail did mention them, very briefly, in passing. The BBC, which happily stoked the flames for the burning of the heretic Hastilow, makes no mention of this. Quelle surprise!

Harman's remarks expose the utter moral bankruptcy, and complete hypocrisy, that is the hallmark of the modern left. As Pete Moore of ATW, to whom I owe a hat-tip for this story, puts it "no matter how low your opinion of them, they'll always demonstrate that it wasn't low enough". Damn right!

Update: It seems that Harman is not alone in her admiration for Castro. Via CentreRight, I see that sixty-nine other MPs have signed an Early Day Motion tabled by obscure Labour backbencher Colin Burgon, which states that "
this House commends the achievements of Fidel Castro".

Monday 25 February 2008

Thought criminals make bad parents, part 2

Last October, I wrote about Vincent and Pauline Matherick, the Christian couple removed from the register of foster parents in Somerset, after they said that they would not be happy discussing homosexual relationships with eleven year-olds.

Thankfully, the Mathericks were subsequently reinstated. However, now a similar case has arisen, up in Derby:
Lawyers are to seek a judicial review of a decision by social workers to ban a Christian couple from fostering young children because they refused to sign up to new gay equality laws.

The action against Labour-controlled Derby City Council is likely to become a test case for the Government's Sexual Orientation Regulations. Social workers rejected an application by Eunice and Owen Johns, who have four grown-up children, to be foster parents because they refused to agree to tell any children in their care that homosexual lifestyles were acceptable.

The couple, who have been married for 39 years, had applied to offer weekend respite care for foster children under the age of 10.

Okay, so far, so bad. But there's more:
But the adoption panel was also unhappy that the couple was adamant that any child in their home would have to go to church with them on Sundays. Mrs Johns, a retired nurse, is a Sunday school teacher.

The adoption panel has admitted in internal documents that Mr and Mrs Johns could feel that they had been "discriminated against on religious grounds".
Now why on Earth would they think that?
Mrs Johns said: "I would love any child, black or white, gay or straight. But I cannot understand why sexuality is an issue when we are talking about boys and girls under the age of 10."
Clearly the words of an unfit parent, and all round ne'er-do-well.

As I wrote back in October, regarding the Mathericks:

Is there even any suggestion that, were a child with homosexual tendencies to be placed with them, they would do him any harm? No - simply because a (foster) parent might disapprove strongly of some of their (foster) child's lifestyle choices does not mean that they cannot raise them in a loving and appropriate manner. I would add that I find it very unlikely that foster parents - or, indeed, legal parents, whether by birth or by adoption - commonly sit their eleven year-olds down and lecture them on the wonders of homosexual relationships, or that they take their teenagers to "gay association meetings" (whatever those are). Yet, somehow, children do not seem to be growing up permanently scarred by the absence of these formative experiences. I would therefore suggest that they are, at best, completely unnecessary.

And as for banning foster parents from taking children in their care to church: well, I think that just illustrates the extent to which far-left, anti-Christian, ideology dominates social services departments. It's fine, it seems, to sit children down and force them to hear about homosexuality, but raising them in the religion which is still adhered to by the majority of Britons - well, that's just beyond the pale!

This case is particularly ridiculous, when one considers that we have for some time had a nationwide shortage of foster parents. Banning couples like the Mathericks, or the Johns, from fostering is not going to solve that situation, and will not help any children. But for the social workers, helping children evidently comes a poor second to promoting leftist ideology.

Hat-tip: Cranmer

Sunday 24 February 2008

The subtle advance of the police state

The government has rejected demands for the introduction of a compulsory national DNA database, on the grounds that such a database "would raise significant practical and ethical issues". Senior police officers have also declared that they remain unconvinced of the need for such a database.

Of course, this is good news. The idea of compelling every British citizen to provide the police with a sample of their DNA, to be kept on file in perpetuity, is deeply sinister in itself, is a huge violation of our privacy and freedom, and is particularly unnerving when you consider the rather cavalier attitude that the government has shown towards the security of our personal records. Besides which, I think that a slippery slope argument is valid here: give the police a database of all our DNA, and it will make it that bit easier for the advocates of compulsory ID cards, and other authoritarian measures, to persuade the public to accept them.

But the news that the government will not (yet) be imposing a nationwide DNA database masks the very worrying fact that the police already have a vast DNA database. Because whenever anyone is arrested, the police take their DNA - and keep it. In 2001 the law was changed to allow the police to keep the DNA of people who had been acquitted, and they now have a database containing DNA samples from approximately 4 million people, hundreds of thousands of whom have never been convicted of any criminal offence. Per head of population, this is by far the largest such database in the world.

Other manifestations of a burgeoning police state are all around us, most notably the government's plan to force us all to carry ID cards, which the Home Office minister Liam Byrne
assures us "will soon become part of the fabric of British life" and "another great British institution without which modern life...would be quite unthinkable". I don't know about you, but I don't find that possibility to be all that alluring. But that's the way the future is looking: databases and ID cards for all.

I'm a professional...get me out of here!

Britain is experiencing the worst "brain drain" of any country as highly qualified professionals settle abroad, an authoritative international study showed yesterday.

Record numbers of Britons are leaving - many of them doctors, teachers and engineers - in the biggest exodus for almost 50 years.

There are now 3.247 million British-born people living abroad, of whom more than 1.1 million are highly-skilled university graduates, say the researchers.

More than three quarters of these professionals have settled abroad for more than 10 years, according to the study by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

No other nation is losing so many qualified people, it points out. Britain has now lost more than one in 10 of its most skilled citizens, while overall only Mexico has had more people emigrate.

The figures, based on official records from more than 220 countries, will alarm Gordon Brown as tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money is spent on educating graduates. The cost of training a junior doctor, for example, is £250,000.
There are, of course, particular problems with emigration and immigration in relation to the medical profession. The fact that we are importing large numbers of foreign doctors, while simultaneously telling thousands of British-trained physicians that they should look to other countries for employment, for example. In these circumstances, we shouldn't really be surprised if doctors take that advice.

More generally, there are an abundance of reasons why people might choose to leave Britain. Some will leave for purely personal reasons, and others will have more political motives. As examples of the latter, the shadow immigration minister Damian Green cites taxes and government interference, and he's probably right, although I would guess that the present excessive levels of immigration into Britain might also play a very significant role in encouraging people to leave. As would crime levels. And plenty of other things too: just read a few posts from this blog, or any one of a large number of others, to see some examples.

People do not, by and large, move, unless they think that their quality of life will be significantly improved by doing so. The fact that so many British people do believe this is a colossal indictment of the manner in which Labour has run Britain for the past eleven years. They may have won the last election, but large numbers of Britons are voting with their feet, and this vote is not going Labour's way.

Wednesday 20 February 2008

Demonising an entire community

I have to confess that when the news that the Stephen Lawrence memorial had been vandalised broke, I didn't follow the story as attentively as I might have done. I did, however, note that Ken Livingstone had come out and claimed that it was an "outrageous act of racism", and that various race hustlers (such as the lowlife at BLINK) had made the same claim.
But while I read about the claims that evil white racists had been behind the crime, I did not see the following descriptions of the people who are really alleged to be responsible:
Officers, who have studied CCTV footage, said three suspects were seen approaching the £10 million building from a footbridge over the Dockland’s Light Railway before fleeing the scene after the attack.

Two of the suspects are described as white, between 16 and 18 years old, wearing plain dark hooded tops.
See! Evil white racists! See, Ken was right! Only:
The third is described as a light-skinned black man in his late teens or early twenties and shorter than the other two suspects. He was wearing a dark hat and had facial hair.
It's true that the police are continuing to treat this as a racist incident. But that probably says more about the cowed and politically-correct nature of the Metropolitan Police than it does about the truth. After all, one finds it difficult to imagine in what circumstances a black vandal would have an anti-black racist motive for his crime. Furthermore, as the black suspect was a few years older than the two white ones, it seems quite probable that he was, in fact, the ringleader. If this was the case, then the possibility of a racist motive would be further negated.

Regardless of one's views on the Stephen Lawrence case, and, more particularly, on the victimhood circus to which it has given rise, the fact is that vandalising a memorial to a murder victim is a particularly obscene act. Hopefully, the individuals who have done this will be swiftly brought to justice.
However, equally obscene was the speed with which Livingstone and his race hustler friends leapt up to scream "RACISM" at the tops of their voices, without bothering to produce any real evidence to back up their claim. Had they directed their false allegations against any group other than whites, they would, no doubt, have been accused of "demonising an entire community". Indeed, in those circumstances Livingstone and BLINK might well have been among the first to make the allegations of demonisation...

Too much time on their hands?

Tea and coffee could be restricted in schools to pupils over the age of 16 in plans to encourage a healthy diet.

It is an option being considered as part of a consultation exercise by the School Food Trust (SFT).

Teachers' unions say this is another example of official bodies meddling in areas where they should not interfere.

The SFT stresses it has no intention of issuing an outright ban on the traditional "British cuppa".

General secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers Mick Brookes said such advice would cut into people's civil liberties.

He said: "Words fail me.

"I can understand the anxiety about young people eating appropriate food. But this nannying really has to end."

I never thought I'd find myself agreeing with the head of a teachers' union. But I do: it's ridiculous that public money (£21 million of it over the next three years), is being spent on debating such unimportant issues as the amount of tea and coffee that schoolchildren (most of whom tend not to be afficionados of those beverages, anyway) should be allowed to consume.

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Persecuted saint update

Hot on the heels of his suspension as Ken Livingstone's advisor (not to mention the impending police investigation into his financial dealings), the Blessed Lee Jasper suffers another setback:

Lee Jasper has resigned from a group that advises Scotland Yard on how it tackles gun crime within the black community.

The aide to London Mayor Ken Livingstone has stepped down from his position as chairman of the Trident Independent Advisory Group.

Mr Jasper is currently fighting to clear his name after accusations that he is linked to the misuse of public funds.

Writing to members of the group, he said the media's "politically-motivated racist smear campaign" had forced his resignation.

It's a racist conspiracy, I tells ya!

Hat-tip: Battle for Britain

Sunday 17 February 2008

Parlez-vous Francais?

No, of course not. I have a GCSE in it!

In the latest instance of the lowering of British educational standards, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), the regulatory body for public examinations and qualifications, is set to recommend that the oral component of language GCSE examinations be
abolished. Since pupils can already pass GCSE French (the most commonly-studied language) without actually writing a word of French, this proposed reform will mean that the only skill that a GCSE in the subject will have tested via examination will be the ability to read the language.

Of course, this won't have any impact on the majority of schoolchildren, since languages have already become minority subjects under Labour. In 2003, the curriculum was altered to remove the requirement that pupils study at least one language to GCSE, and this change has already had significant results. Last year, only 48% of pupils pursued a GCSE in French, German, or Spanish, massively down from the 83% who studied one or more of those subjects in 2000. Perhaps the QCA is hoping that by making language GCSEs easier, they will reverse this trend.

The oral examinations that currently account for half of all available GCSE marks will be replaced by "continual assessment" by teachers. This method of assessment can hardly be regarded as objective, particularly when, as Buckingham University's Professor Alan Smithers points out, the teachers assessing the pupils will themselves be assessed on the basis of their pupils' achievements.
The QCA feels that the existing oral exams are "too stressful" for pupils. Well, it is true that exams generally tend to be stressful, although I can't see why oral exams should be any more stressful than written exams. But then, a great many important things in life involve stress. Indeed, I would suggest that learning to deal with stress was a significant incidental benefit attendant upon school exams. Apparently, though, the QCA would rather shield sixteen year-olds (hardly fragile infants!) from the real world, than employ the most effective means of assessing their performance.

Educational standards are in general decline. The increasing popularity of such unacademic new subjects as the infamous "media studies" is matched by the increasing easiness of the traditional subjects. Regrettably, the QCA appears to be more desirous of facilitating this trend, than of reversing it. The result will be the more of what we are already witnessing: better and better exam results, combined with less and less actual achievement.

Saturday 16 February 2008

Our friends the police

A policeman who helped in a fatal attack on a pensioner's home can be unmasked today.

Stephen Smith, 49, used the police national computer to find Bernard Gilbert's address on behalf of an assailant hell-bent on revenge after a row over a parking space.

The officer's involvement in the tragedy can be revealed after two brothers were found guilty of manslaughter by a jury yesterday at the end of a two-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

PC Smith, a police officer for 24 years, resigned from the Derbyshire force before he could be sacked.

A police source said Smith had kept his pension, but it was frozen at the point he resigned.
Yeah, that'll teach him!
The court heard that 79-year-old Mr Gilbert, of Spondon, near Derby, argued with Zoe Forbes, 26, after she "nipped into" the parking space he was intending to use at their local Asda in January last year.

She wrote down his car number and passed it to her husband Mark, who gave it to a friend, Dale Phillips, who knew Smith.

The court heard that the following day, 40-year-old Forbes texted his wife, assuring her: "I've got someone on to it.

"Fingers crossed, I'll get an address. Then we'll smash his car to bits - and then his hire car and then whatever he gets after that until he dies."

Smith traced the pensioner's address and it was passed back to Forbes, who sent another text reading: "Bingo! Number 17, your time is up!"

Days later, armed with the information supplied by Smith, Forbes and his brother Steven drove to the pensioner's bungalow and Steven, 22, hurled a half-brick through the window while Mr Gilbert was watching television.

The former Rolls Royce aero worker collapsed in front of his wife Betty.

By the time a paramedic arrived, he was already dead. He was later found to have been suffering from angina.

Smith, of Oakerthorpe, Derbyshire, admitted disclosing personal data contrary to the Data Protection Act 1988 at Derby Magistrates' Court in March last year and was fined £1,200.


Smith was living with a girlfriend and their children but the couple recently split up and he now stays with his mother, Joan.

He refused to comment yesterday but his mother said he had been under stress at work at the time of the incident.

She said: "It has affected him immensely. Steve had been suffering from stress and depression - and still is - and I have been left to pick up the pieces.

"He has found a new job, but he is still suffering because of all this. Why won't people leave him alone?"
I know how she feels. You commit one tiny little violation of your duty to the public, one person - only one - gets killed because of it, and suddenly, you're the bad guy.

Cases like this provide one of the reasons why we should all be extremely wary about the ever-increasing number of databases held by various agencies of the state. Because it only takes one bad apple for the records to end up in the wrong hands. Or indeed, one government cock-up of the kind we've seen rather a lot of recently.

In other Plod news, there's a rather entertaining argument going on between the author of the Devil's Kitchen blog, and the members of the Police Oracle forum. The comments at the Police Oracle forum, and those left by policemen in the comments section of this post (the one which started the whole thing off) are especially interesting, in illustrating the contempt with which many police officers view the general public (something which I, for one, am more than willing to reciprocate), as well as their self-righteous detachment from reality. They're rather reminiscent of our social worker friends in that respect...

Friday 15 February 2008

Shock of the day: multiculturalism not good!

I imagine that by now most UK-based readers will have read about the Royal United Services Institute's very welcome comments about the weakening effect multiculturalism has had upon British society, and the encouragement that this has given to Muslim terrorists anti-Islamic activists. For those that haven't, here is the most important part:
"The UK presents itself as a target, as a fragmenting, post-Christian society," the report says, and is "increasingly divided" on its history, national aims, values and political identity.

"That fragmentation is worsened by the firm self-image of those elements within it who refuse to integrate."

The report places most of the blame for this on a "lack of leadership from the majority, which, in misplaced deference to 'multiculturalism', failed to lay down the line to immigrant communities, thus undercutting those within them trying to fight extremism".

"The country's lack of self-confidence is in stark contrast to the implacability of its Islamist terrorist enemy, within and without.

"We look like a soft touch. We are indeed a soft touch, from within and without."

It's hard to really disagree with that, although I'm sure that some leftists, race hustlers, and Mohammedans will attempt to do so. The report has already been cited as an example of "Islamophobia" at Islamophobia Watch.

The point about the national lack of cultural self-confidence is particularly interesting, and would appear to be borne out by the results (pdf) of a Pew Global Attitudes Project poll, released last autumn. According to this, only 31% of Britons surveyed agreed with the statement "Our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior to others". Just 8% agreed completely, while 64% disagreed. British levels of agreement with the statement were the second lowest of all the countries surveyed, behind Sweden, and Britain was one of only four countries where the majority expressed disagreement (the others being Germany and France). By contrast, levels of agreement with the statement were 82% in Pakistan and 86% in Bangladesh, with the average level of agreement in Muslim countries running at 74%. The highest levels of agreement worldwide were found in India, where an impressive 93% of respondents believed their culture to be superior.

Figures like these explain why this country has so often capitulated in the face of demands from immigrant communities (particularly Muslims). India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have all sent large numbers of immigrants to Britain, and there is little reason to doubt that those immigrants share in the sense of cultural superiority which is common in their home nations. Accordingly, they are likely to feel strongly driven to uphold and promote their culture, even in the face of apparent public or state opposition. By contrast, since the indigenous population has been brainwashed into believing that all cultures are essentially equal, they have very little reason to resist cultural change, particularly if doing so is likely to involve any personal inconvenience. The determined (not so) few beat the indifferent many.

It's difficult to see that anything is likely to be done to change this. The institutionally leftist teaching profession has been indoctrinating the young into cultural relativism for over thirty years now, and looks set to continue doing so. Last April, the head of the National Union of Teachers (an immigrant herself) told the NUT's annual conference that teaching "Britishness" in schools was "racist". And earlier this month, a report from the Institute of Education denounced British culture and history as "corrupt" and "morally ambiguous", and said that patriotism should be discouraged in schools. Yet at the same time, schools and teachers across the country happily take part in such ridiculous charades as "Black History Month", which, as the Department for Children, Schools and Families puts it

...provides a wonderful occasion to celebrate the diversity of our society and the contributions Black and Asian men and women have made to the development of British society, technology, economy and culture.

So, British patriotism is discouraged and frowned upon by the same teachers, who happily promote and "celebrate" the heritage of immigrant children. This must surely have the effect of further reducing the already low levels British cultural self-confidence, while further increasing the already high levels of immigrant cultural self-confidence. Which is probably what the leftist teachers and educationalists want...

Are we all doomed, then? Perhaps. If there is some saving grace, then it may well lie in the possibility that there is a difference between what people believe they believe, and what they really, subconsciously, believe. By this, I mean that there may well be a discrepancy between how people view the statement "all cultures are equal", when considered as a purely abstract notion, and how they respond to different cultures, when brought into actual contact with them.
That the left has been successful in promoting the idea that a belief in British/European cultural superiority is racist, fascist, and generally evil, is undeniable. And so only a minority are prepared to admit, even to themselves, that our culture
is superior to that of pretty much all other nations (especially Islamic ones). However, it is possible that they know, in their hearts, that this is the case. 54% of British respondents to the Pew poll agreed that "Our way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence". Although this figure is lower than than in most nations (but much higher than the probably doomed Sweden, where only 29% felt this way), it is still a clear majority, and as such is encouraging. One can also look at the strength of the recent outcry against Rowan Williams's Sharia law remarks. It is hard to believe that the real anger that was felt by so many, at the prospect of widespread Sharia law in Britain, would have existed, had it not been based, at root, on the idea that British culture is superior to Islamic culture. Nonetheless, so long as schools (and much of the media) remain bastions of liberal orthodoxy, there is likely to be a significant problem.

Hat-tip: Thanks to Alison at ATW for flagging up the Pew poll, back in October.

Another one bites the dust

First Rosemary Emodi, now the Blessed Lee Jasper himself. It's a racist conspiracy, I tells ya!

The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today demanded a police investigation into misconduct allegations involving his race adviser, Lee Jasper, in the hope that the inquiry would prove his innocence.

The mayor also announced that Jasper, who has faced a series of allegations about his role in suspect spending decisions by the London Development Agency (LDA), would be suspended from office during the police investigation.

Jasper stressed that he had personally suggested to Livingstone that the allegations should be referred to the police.

Livingstone said it was now time for Jasper's critics to "put up or shut up".

"I believe this investigation will exonerate Lee Jasper and show this to be a shameful campaign," the mayor said in reference to the series of media reports about the allegations, mostly run in the Evening Standard.

The London assembly is investigating grants worth a total of more than £2 million that were paid by the LDA to projects run by Jasper's friends or alleged associates.

Jasper said today he had not been given the chance to prove his innocence.

"I am being prevented from clearing my name. Black organisations across London are being weakened by a systematic campaign in the Evening Standard, and a deliberate attempt is being made to divert attention from the real issues confronting London at the mayoral election," he said.

Poor "black organisations"! Still, there is one faint silver lining from which they, and the persecuted saint, can draw some small comfort:

Jasper, who earns about £120,000 a year, will continue to be paid while he is suspended.
Nice work if you can get it!

Meanwhile, up in Scotland, an even crazier set of far-leftists also seem to be having a few small legal difficulties. In this case, it's those pesky perjury laws that are the trouble...

Thursday 14 February 2008

"Christian Ramadan"

Dutch Catholics have re-branded the Lent fast as the "Christian Ramadan" in an attempt to appeal to young people who are more likely to know about Islam than Christianity.

The Catholic charity Vastenaktie, which collects for the Third World across the Netherlands during the Lent period, is concerned that the Christian festival has become less important for the Dutch over the last generation.

"The image of the Catholic Lent must be polished. The fact that we use a Muslim term is related to the fact that Ramadan is a better-known concept among young people than Lent," said Vastenaktie Director, Martin Van der Kuil.
This is what happens when you have an education system which seeks to deprive native children of a knowledge of their own heritage, or to teach them that their own heritage is wholly evil, while at the same time continually promoting all immigrant cultures as wholly good and benign. So successfully have the youth of the Netherlands been deracinated, and, to a large extent, socially Islamified, that in order to understand a major part of their own religious and cultural heritage, they must have it explained to them using the culture and religion of the immigrants as a point of reference, as though Dutch culture were merely a derivation from Islamic culture. And I doubt that the situation is much, if any, better in the UK, or in many other Western European nations. This hardly bodes well for the future: if a people lack even the most basic knowledge of their own heritage and culture, how are they going to protect and preserve it?

Wednesday 13 February 2008

The jobs the British Bangladeshis won't do

First, read this extract from the Office for National Statistics website:
In 2001/02, among men, Bangladeshis had the highest unemployment rate in Great Britain at 20 per cent - four times that for White British or White Irish men.


The picture for women was similar to that for men, although the levels of unemployment were generally lower. Bangladeshi women had the highest unemployment rate of all at 24 per cent, six times greater than that for White British or White Irish women (4 per cent each). The rate for Indian women was slightly higher than for White women at 7 per cent.

For all ethnic groups unemployment was highest among young people aged under 25. Over 40 per cent of young Bangladeshi men were unemployed.
Now, consider the following news story:
The Home Office is being urged to ease restrictions on migrant workers entering Britain from Bangladesh, to avert a crisis in the curry industry.

Curry houses are struggling to fill thousands of kitchen staff vacancies, says the Immigration Advisory Service.

For years, many staff in the UK's 9,000 curry restaurants have been recruited directly from Bangladesh.

But restrictions on the workers have been tighter since eastern Europeans were given employment rights.

So, there are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of unemployed home-grown Bangladeshis, and yet the (publicly-funded) Immigration Advisory Service (whose head, former Tory MP and convicted fraudster Keith Best, feels that immigrants make better citizens than the native British) wants to import thousands more Bangladeshis to carry out what is, for the most part, fairly unskilled work. Not very logical, is it? Unless, of course, the IAS's aim is simply to get as many immigrants into the country as possible...

Monday 11 February 2008

New blog feature

As readers may have noticed, I haven't written as regularly in the last couple of months as I had done previously. For the most part, I just haven't had the time. One of the results of this is that there are a lot of new stories which attract my attention, but which I never get round to commenting on.

And so, following the example of the Pub Philosopher and Guido Fawkes, among others, I have added a feature, entitled "I've been reading", which lists some of the stories which I've read about in newspapers or on blogs and have found interesting, but which I haven't had the time, energy, or inspiration to write about myself.

Today's illegal immigrant security breach

An illegal immigrant was able to work at the House of Commons using a fake identity pass in a serious breach of security.

The Government stands accused of a cover-up after leaked documents, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, showed that Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, was informed immediately of the case of the Brazilian woman, a cleaner, when she was arrested at Parliament 10 days ago. Yet the Home Office confirmed the security breach - one of the most serious to affect Westminster - only after being contacted by this newspaper last night.

Elaine Chaves Aparecida was detained by police after a random check on her security pass showed that it belonged to someone else. She had been working there, since December 3 last year as the employee of a ­cleaning company, Emprise Services.

Under questioning, Miss Chaves, 31, admitted that she had run away from immigration officials at Heathrow Terminal 4 in December 2004 before she could be refused entry.

The letter from Tony Smith, the regional director of the immigration agency, admits that officials still have no idea how the Brazilian came to obtain a Commons pass or even to whom it belonged.

But, crucially, it predicts that the level of controversy will be "high" and advises ministers that they should take a "reactive approach" to the scandal.

It must be said that Mr Smith's warning was somewhat unnecessary. Advising this government (and particularly the Home Office, and especially Liam Byrne) to carry out a cover-up operation is, I think, akin to advising Derek Conway to stop being so selfless and consider his own interests once in a while.

As for Miss Chaves: I'd be particularly interested to know precisely what she meant when she "admitted that she had run away from immigration officials". Did she literally outrun them? Did she point behind them, say "look over there", and make her getaway while their backs were turned? Did she evade capture in some other, more subtle, manner? Whatever it was, it doesn't reflect very well on the immigration service. But then again, what does?

Friday 8 February 2008

There's a first time for everything. The only constant: angry Muslims

Astonishingly, the government (and, indeed, the normally particularly inept Home Office) has done something with which I agree:
The controversial Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been refused a visa to visit Britain.

The Home Office said the UK would not tolerate the presence of those who seek to justify acts of terrorist violence.

During his last visit in 2004, Dr Al-Qaradawi defended suicide attacks on Israelis as "martyrdom in the name of God", during a BBC interview.

Dr Al-Qaradawi applied for the visa eight months ago, so that he could receive medical treatment in Britain.

Reacting to the decision, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called it deplorable, and said the government had caved in to unreasonable demands spearheaded by the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron.

Inayat Bunglawala of the MCB said the decision had "worrying implications for freedom of speech".

"Whatever one may think of some of Qaradawi's views, the way forward is surely to allow them to be aired and then, if appropriate, to challenge them openly."

You know, calls for free speech always sound so much more convincing when made by people who don't have a track record of trying to suppress the free speech of others. As I have previously noted, Bunglawala was an enthusiastic supporter of the restrictions imposed on free speech by the Religious Hatred Act, and was among those calling for the laws against "inciting racial hatred" to be expanded in scope after Nick Griffin's acquittal. Why is it that Bunglawala thinks that Qaradawi's opinions should be challenged and debated, but that Griffin's should be silenced?
Furthermore, it is almost universally accepted that the right to free speech does not extend to the right to incite others to criminality, which is what Qaradawi certainly came very close to doing, when he sought to justify acts of mass murder.

In any event, this is not really a free speech issue. Qaradawi is not having any of his human rights violated: there is no right to be granted a visa to enter the UK, and the question of a right to exercise free speech here only arises once someone has arrived here. Accordingly, it is perfectly reasonable for the government to make this decision based solely on the question of whether or not his presence would be beneficial.
Last week Mr Cameron called Dr Al-Qaradawi "dangerous and divisive", and called on the government not to allow him an entry visa.
Well said Cameron. Not something I say a lot, but when set against the likes of Inayat Bunglawala, even Call Me Dave comes up smelling of roses.
"This decision will send the wrong message to Muslims everywhere about the state of British society and culture", said Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council.

He said Dr Al-Qaradawi was respected as a scholar throughout the Islamic world.
Well, that tells you rather a lot about the Muslim world, doesn't it? As I wrote in my last post, there are very few shared values between them and us.

He's right about it sending the wrong message about "the state of British society and culture", though. This is, after all, an unusually tough response on the part of the government to Islamic extremists, and as such sends a rather misleading message. The more usual response to such people is to stick them on a government taskforce.

Mohammed Shafiq, from Muslim youth organisation the Ramadhan Foundation, criticised the decision.

He said: "We've had figures like Nick Griffin and the BNP operating freely and promoting violence towards ethnic minorities, and nothing is done.

"This smacks of double standards, and will isolate Muslim communities further."

So far as I am aware, there is no evidence that Nick Griffin, or the BNP as a party, has ever promoted violence towards anyone, and certainly not towards non-whites in general. Nor is it accurate to say that "nothing is done". As Shafiq might recall, Nick Griffin, and his associate Mark Collett, were twice brought to trial on charges of "inciting racial hatred" (a crime which is itself a restriction on free speech). The police and CPS have hardly shown themselves to be averse to prosecuting Mr Griffin: on the contrary, they seem all too keen to do it.

Indeed, the only cases that I can think of in which people have openly incited violence and got away with it have involved Muslims. I am thinking in particular of the police response to last year's television programme, Undercover Mosque. As readers will no doubt recall, that programme featured Islamic clerics inciting a variety of crimes, including murder. And yet the response of the police was to investigate the possibility of having the film-makers charged with "inciting racial hatred", before making a complaint about the programme to the media regulator, Ofcom (a complaint which was subsequently rejected). So, while there may well be double standards, it doesn't look like they are operating against Muslims.

It should also be noted, once again, that Qaradawi has no right to enter the UK, and, as such, cannot have a right to exercise free speech here. Nick Griffin, by contrast, is a British citizen, and does, therefore, have the right to live here, and to exercise free speech here. As, indeed, do the likes of Bunglawala, Bari, and Shafiq. Considering the above, I have to say that Shafiq's remarks, based as they are on a possibly libellous accusation, a misleading comparison, and a falsehood so severe that it completely inverts the truth, serve only to demonstrate the utter weakness of Muslim claims that they are being oppressed and discriminated against.

Anyway, Qaradawi isn't coming, and, as an added bonus, we may also be getting shot of Abu Hamza pretty soon. Now, if only we could find someone willing to take Rowan Williams...

Thursday 7 February 2008

More Newspeak

A new counter-terrorism phrasebook has been drawn up within Whitehall to advise civil servants on how to talk to Muslim communities about the nature of the terror threat without implying they are specifically to blame.

Reflecting the government's decision to abandon the "aggressive rhetoric" of the so-called war on terror, the guide tells civil servants not to use terms such as Islamist extremism or jihadi-fundamentalist but instead to refer to violent extremism and criminal murderers or thugs to avoid any implication that there is an explicit link between Islam and terrorism.

Whoever could imagine that such a link might exist?

In any event, describing people like the July 7th bombers (for example) as "Islamic terrorists" does not necessarily imply anything. It is simply fair labelling: these people were Muslims, and they committed terrorist attacks, which they justified on the basis of their interpretation of Islamic theology. The fact that most Muslims don't blow people up, and that there may be other interpretations of Islamic theology, does not change any of this.

It warns those engaged in counter-terrorist work that talk of a struggle for values or a battle of ideas is often heard as a "confrontation/clash between civilisations/cultures". Instead it suggests that talking about the idea of shared values works much more effectively.

40% of Muslims in Britain want to impose Sharia law upon the country. 36% of young Muslims favour executing those who convert away from Islam. Apologies if my frequent reiteration of those figures is getting boring, but they really do demonstrate the breadth of the ideological gulf between Islamic and British cultural values. Talk of widespread "shared values" is just myth-making.

The Guardian goes on to tell us that this newspeak represents "a new sophistication", on the part of the government. Which is, I suppose, one way of expressing it, although I prefer the more concise 'dishonesty'. It is dishonest, rather than "sophisticated", to pretend that terrorism carried out by Muslims in the name of Islam has nothing to do with Islam. Still, what else do you expect from a government which characterises terrorist attacks by Muslims against non-Muslims as "anti-Islamic activity"?

Sunday 3 February 2008

ATW Post - Crooked Politicians

Over at ATW, I've written a post on the further revelations about the endemic corruption of our political class, which have been published in many of today's newspapers. Click here to read it.

But they all worship Hitler, don't they?

One thing of which I was, until yesterday, unaware, was that Michael Barnbrook, the man who made the formal complaint about that corrupt lowlife Derek Conway, which led to Conway's eventual downfall, is a BNP member. I discovered this after reading a blog post by the veteran Guardian journalist Michael White, who briefly discussed Mr Barnbrook's political activities, before adding that:
...the media, raised on the two-party model of politics, isn't very comfortable with small parties of either left or right at a time when major party loyalties have been unravelling for years. The Greens, for instance, are permanently frustrated by their inability to get attention to match their voting strength in some places.

Admittedly, they're not very good at the mechanics of politics, all that debate about ''principal spokesman'' - not leaders, for instance. Ukip messed up its own chances at some sort of breakthrough at Tory expense during the Kilroy-Silk fiasco in 2004 and afterwards. The BNP and the sectarian left often give the impression of being more interested in internal feuds, and purges too.

But many of their voters are just normal, frustrated people who don't feel heard, aren't they? Former Inspector Barnbrook may well be one of them.

Well, it's certainly an improvement on "people who support the BNP are without exception racist scum". Perhaps the MSM is actually beginning to realise that large numbers of perfectly decent people (who are clearly not Nazis) have concerns about the direction this country is heading in, and that those concerns are going unaddressed by any of the three main parties.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has an article on the campaign by BNP member Donna Bailey to be elected onto the parish council of the Sussex village of Upper Beeding (population: 3,798). Aside from the "shocking" revelation that Ms Bailey has peach walls, rather than swastikas, in her living room, the following quote from parish councillor Simon Birnstingl was particularly amusing:
You give the BNP a toehold in a place like this today - and what happens tomorrow?
Today, Upper Beeding. Tomorrow - THE WORLD!!

Saturday 2 February 2008

The Religion of Peace and death threats, part 2

Now, as we all know, Islam is a Religion of Peace. And this is something for which we must all be eternally thankful. After all, just imagine what its adherents might be like if it wasn't a RoP!

From today's Times:

The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, is under police protection after he and his family received death threats over his claim that parts of Britain had become “no-go areas” for non-Muslims.


Dr Nazir-Ali was in India when staff at his home in Rochester took a number of phone calls threatening his family and warning him that he would not “live long” if he continued to criticise Islam. He has been given an emergency number at Kent Police, along with other undisclosed protection measures, and said that the threats were being taken “seriously”.

So: Nazir-Ali suggests that Muslims have established no-go areas in some cities, into which it is unsafe for non-Muslims to venture. Muslims get upset about the imputation that some among them have a tendency to indulge in violence against non-Muslims. Some of them are so outraged by the association of Islam with violence that they...threaten to kill anyone who suggests that such an association exists. Hmm...

More lies and corruption

Ken Livingstone’s campaign instructed public servants to write articles in support of his last reelection as Mayor of London in a breach of rules forbidding political abuse of taxpayers’ cash.

Documents passed to The Times prove that staff paid for by public money were told to carry out campaign work during office hours. One e-mail to the mayor’s former senior adviser on Asian affairs, Atma Singh, sent at 9.30am, explicitly asks that he write two articles in support of Mr Livingstone by noon that day.

The evidence directly contradicts the Mayor of London’s claim last week that senior public officials could not and did not carry out such work during the 2004 campaign. He said officials could engage in political activity “as long as they obey the law, which is that they can’t publicly campaign, which is they can’t make a speech for me or write an article for me”.

Asked if an investigation would find that no one had used office time to prepare articles in pursuit of his campaign, he replied: “Absolutely right.”

Yet on May 27, 2004, Mr Singh received an e-mail from the campaign office of the Ken4London based in the headquarters of the London Labour Party. It said: “We are still waiting for your article for the Asian Post . . . and the East Muslim News (400-500 words on Why should Muslims vote for Ken Livinsgtone? – this is urgent, publication date June 1st). Both required 12 noon today.”

Mr Singh also told The Times that he spent up to 90 per cent of his days during the campaign working for Mr Livingstone’s reelection, in contravention of electoral rules.

The e-mail, along with others, is being handed over to the Electoral Commission today as part of a formal complaint against Mr Livingstone.
Well, at least now we know where Rosemary Emodi (Livingstone's former "race adviser", who resigned last week after it was revealed that she used her position to get a free holiday at an expensive African resort, and then lied about it) got her inspiration from.

Friday 1 February 2008

Quotas for judges?

Monday's paper edition of the Guardian bore, at the top of the front page, pictures of the bewigged visages of the ten newest appointees to the High Court. These, the headline informed us, were the "first 10 high court judges [appointed] under [the] new diversity rules".

The report then went on to complain that the new high court judges were all white, male, barristers. Such oppressed groups as non-whites, women, and, um, solicitors were still dangerously under-represented, we read. In support of this contention, they cited that renowned paragon of virtue and goodness, Keith Vaz. With such moral authority as his name confers, can we doubt that the Guardian is right, when it implies that there is a significant problem?

Well, yes, of course we can. For a start, neither Vaz (who, lest we forget, has something of a track record of making unevidenced claims of discrimination, in respect of the legal profession, as elsewhere) nor the Guardian has actually produced any evidence of discrimination. They simply infer, from the fact that the new appointees are all white men, that some form of discrimination must have taken place. And this simply is not sufficient evidence on which to base any reasonable claim.

Their implicit suggestion that there was anti-female discrimination is particularly dubious. Judicial appointments have, since 2006, been the business of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC). The creation of the JAC marked a move away from appointment of judges by the Lord Chancellor, after consultation with other judges, and was created because it was alleged that the existing system was leading to an insufficiently diverse judiciary (hence the reference to "new diversity rules" in the Guardian headline). A cursory examination of the JAC's website reveals that seven of the fifteen commissioners are female, as are three of the five members of the commission's "leadership team". Presumably they all engaged in discrimination against their own sex. On the ethnic front, two of the commissioners are non-white, including the chairman, Baroness Prashar. Although this is obviously a minority, it does nonetheless constitute 13% of the entire body, which means that non-whites are, in fact, over-represented. So, in essence, what Vaz and the Guardian, not to mention numerous outraged letter writers ("disgusted of Islington"?), are alleging, albeit only by implication, is that a body composed of roughly equal numbers of men and women, in which non-whites were over-represented, and which was headed by a non-white woman, discriminated against, um, non-whites and women.

One has to wonder what the Guardian are hoping to achieve. After all, they stuck their (implied) allegation of discrimination on the very front page of the newspaper. One assumes that they feel that some change is due. And, since the JAC asserts that it appoints by merit, one can only assume that this change will involve racial and sexual quotas. This approach has previously been advocated by Britain's first black woman High Court judge, Mrs Justice Dobbs, and it is as idiotic now as it was then. As idiotic, indeed, as demands for such quotas always are. And the reason why they are idiotic is clear. Since there is no evidence to contradict the JAC's claim that is selects on merit, we can only assume that quotas will either have no effect (if the number of non-white/female candidates who are the best candidates meets or exceeds the quota), or will lead to the appointment of inferior candidates over superior candidates. If it's the former, it will be pointless, and if it's the latter (as I suspect it would be), then it will be positively harmful. After all, it is important that any job should be done as well as possible, and this applies doubly when the job is one so vital as the administration of law and justice.

Embarrassing Parents

Like ATW's JammieWearingFool, I'm not overly impressed with Omar (son of Osama) Bin Laden's claim that he wants to be a "peace envoy". However, the following extract from a report by China's Xinhua News Agency did provide me with mild amusement:
...Omar also called on his father to try to stop using bombs and weapons and to find another way to reach his goals.
And some people think they have it bad when their father gets over-competitive at sports day...

Hat-tip: Jihad Watch, which also has some rather more serious comments on young Bin's rejection of his father's methods.