Friday, March 30, 2007

Among The Bumpkins.

Somehow I missed the Independent's report earlier this month from the very heart of darkness, the British countryside!
Downside of rural life: poverty, racism and mental illness

Far from idyllic, small villages are frequently a place of poverty, inequality, bigotry and isolation.
Very much like towns, or cities, or any other type of human settlement then?
In many cases, troubles such as racism, homelessness, mental health problems, low take-up of higher education and access to key services go unreported.
Very much like in towns, cities etc?
Racially-motivated incidents are increasing faster in rural areas with some of the country's prettiest counties - Northumberland, Devon and Cornwall - experiencing the ugliest rises in hate crimes. North Wales has seen a 400 per cent jump in such crimes in six years.
First of all, they just said that it was going unreported now they are telling us that it is being reported. Secondly racially motivated crimes are not going to increase or decrease at the same rate everywhere, it has to be increasing faster somewhere doesn't it?

Deeply entrenched cultural patterns and a tradition of self-reliance has meant that serious mental health problems often go unrecognised with much lower consultation rates.
We must eradicate self reliance!
Migrant workers suffer most with little access to services.
I thought it was entrenched cultural patterns that were the problem so shouldn't migrant workers be affected less. The most extraordinary claim is yet to come however.
Accidents and deaths among such workers, the report said, largely go under-reported.
What!!!!! Deaths are going unreported in the countryside! Do they really not think that people would have noticed if dead Poles were littering our countryside decaying in the hedgerows? Mind you it was probably the racist country dwellers who lynched them in the first place.

Volleyball Hooligans.

Whenever a football riot occurs some pundits invariably claim that the violence somehow is caused by integral aspects of the sport itself, I wonder how they'd explain this:

ATHENS, Greece — The Greek government suspended play in all professional team sports for two weeks Friday after a fan was killed in a volleyball riot.

The ban, which covers soccer, basketball, volleyball and other sports, will last until April 13.
A man was killed and seven others were hospitalized Thursday when fans from rival women's volleyball clubs Panathinaikos Athens and Olympiakos Piraeus fought near Athens.

A Feminist Goes To Iran.

In the midst of the ongoing crisis about Iran I thought it would be fun to remind everyone what former Liberal Democrat MP and current head of the RSPCA had to say about her time in the country. The article titled 'Another Kind Of Freedom' appeared in the Guardian five years ago and I like it so much that I've referred back to it frequently. Put it this way she makes Walter Duranty look like a perceptive observer of tyranny. I won't add any further comments myself, the only purpose is to point and mock. Although I'm sure she's going to appear on the media soon spouting off about the hostage crisis, so feel free to refer back to this post. All bolding is by me.
But how many "liberals" who blame the religion for denial of women's rights, especially the compulsory wearing of hijab (a headscarf and roopush or coat), blame protestantism in Britain or catholicism in Mexico for endemic domestic violence? ....

....The other day I had lunch with three Iranian women.... They talked about their lives and what they thought about the west - only the older woman had been out of Iran. She felt sorry for western women who not only have to bring up children and run a home, but also have to go out to paid employment. She thought in that respect Iranian women were more free......

...Women in Iran have other freedoms denied to many in the west. I have a British friend, for example, married to an Iranian, who has a one-year-old child. Rather than finding the baby (who is still being breastfed) a barrier to resuming her academic career she has been given help and encouragement, including a work-based creche, by potential employers. She also will happily feed her baby in public - in restaurants (not in the toilets) and in shared taxis, and no one complains or comments....

....I find it refreshing not to see naked or half-naked women on posters advertising everything from cars to ice-cream. On the other hand, I am reliably informed that Iranian men see it as their duty to make sure their wives are satisfied in bed - not a responsibility I think many British men are familiar with. Women also keep their own names after marriage, whereas in the west the woman who does this is still seen as an oddity.

It is many years since British women have felt free to walk the city streets after dark without fear of attack. I feel very safe here.....

.... If women dress in a sexually provocative or attractive way, perhaps it is not surprising that men respond to them as sexual beings rather than as professional women or mothers or shop assistants. I am not saying that a woman who wears a short skirt is "asking for it" but I do think western women ought to examine their complicity in a society in which men are given "come-on" signals and "don't dare" messages in confusing profusion.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Child Killer Writes.

Gerry Adams wites in Comment is Free*-
Inside every election candidate - including Ian Paisley and myself - is a little boy aiming to please.
Little boys like this pair that he murdered presumably.

* I'm not going to link to him.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


What is worse, that a gangster regime like Iran can abduct British sailers and marines without shots being fired or the Jimmy Carter like response of Tony Blair, a man who has never seen an enemy of the state he hasn't wanted to roll over for (see his attitude to the IRA & the Argentinian Junta for examples). Iran is not a powerful country and its economy is dependant on the export of oil. It would not be hard to prevent oil tankers from entering Iranian water and sabotage their oil pipelines but instead the government prefers to discuss Iran's piracy as though they were chatting about trade policy with Belgium. Now he is going to get 'tough', and has issued Iran with a blood curdling threat that.... the situation "move into a different phase". A warning whose gravitas might have been enhanced had it not been made on GMTV. Unsurprisngly this does not appear to have concentrated Iranian minds even though it does represent a scaling up of Blair's previous stance which was to talk descreetly to Tehran.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Careers Advice- Don't Teach In Nigeria.

Oluwatoyin Oluwasesan had allegedly collected books from her students before they were to write an exam and tossed them outside of the classroom. A copy of the Koran was apparently among the texts, sparking uproar by the pupils, Nigeria's This Day newspaper said.....
.....According to police, the students beat the teacher to death, although This Day said she and parts of the school were set on fire. Schools in the area, in the northeastern town of Gombe, were shut down to prevent any outbreak of violence.
The most striking aspect of this story is that it demonstrates just how deeply murderous religious intolerance is in some islamic societies. The murderers here don't appear to have been egged on by outside forces, rather their spontaneous reaction for something as trivial as a book being mishandled is to kill a defenceless woman.

Friday, March 23, 2007

An Act Of War.

I've been pretty sceptical about the necessity of going to war with Iran becasue I don't believe that they are a major threat. However the abduction of 15 British sailors from international waters is quite clearly an act of war and merits a milatary response. This is second time that they have pulled a stunt like this and they have to be taught a lesson.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Evidence Trawls Yield 'Evidence'.

Boris Johnson is onto something when he raises the question of whether men are put off teaching careers by the possibility of being the victim of bogus paedophile accusations. It may sound ridiculous but it is a genuine problem because of the way allegations are investigated which makes teachers extremely vulnerable to false accusations. Because teachers deal with so many children in their careers they are far more likely than most people to come into contact with emotionally unstable children who may at some point in their lives make an accusation. This may occur decades after the supposed incident when exonorating and corroborationg evidence is non existant.

This is bad enough but so far what I have described is not something which can really be avoided, but the way the police investigate the charges can be incredibly irresponsible and often amounts to trawling for evidence. The most notorious method is writing to all people who were in contact with the accused as children asking if they were abused by the suspect. Unsurprisingly if you cast the net wide enough you will find some people willing to make false allegations in the hope of a criminal compensation award at a later date. This is the method which was used in the attempt to ensnare the football manager Dave Jones on utterly bogus charges.

The problem faced by care home staff is even worse than that faced by teachers, since their former charges are disproportionatley likely to be people with emotional problems in the first place. Operation Rose by Northumbria Police investigated over 200 men and women in this manner and unsurpringly have managed to convict half a dozen care home staff, but can anyone have confidence in the guilt of those six?

See FACT for more information.

World's Shortest Fisking.

David Wilson wites in CiF:
Sadistic foster mother Eunice Spry is no different to the rest of us.
I haven't abused any children, not recently anyway, so I am quite different from Eunice Spry thank you very much.

Wilberforce- Abolitionist Or Double Agent?

At first glance this might seem a stupid question, and indeed on 2nd, 3rd and 4th glances it remains so. However in an illustration of why you should smoke crack whilst you write this bloke has figured out William Wilberforces cunning plot to protect slavery.
The recruitment of Wilberforce by the Prime Minister is an important clue suggesting that he may have been appointed to perform a subversive role designed to hold up the abolition process....
...Some readers might find it strange to think in terms of Wilberforce having operated as an under cover government spy working to subvert the abolitionist movement. However, we know that Pitt was really against the abolition of slavery because of his response to the Haitian revolution. When the world saw the Afrikan people in Haiti rise up and abolish slavery, Pitt failed to offer them either his government's support
This is the kind of fantasising that is inevitable when marxists try to reconcile their concept of an irredeemably corrupt West with reality.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Confusing Butterfly Bookcase Design..

Al Gore's new book, 'The Assault On Reason' is coming out soon. Sadly given the known intelligence of Al Gore supporters it seems inevitable that many of them are going to buy Pat Buchanan's 'Death of the West' inadvertently due to the confusing order forms they have to fill in.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Another Guardian Writer Is Extremely Silly.

Party Reptile fisks a particularly stupid Guardian column by Priyamvada Gopal. Rather than quoting from the article itself lets just say that something has to be pretty much off the scale for obtuseness when this needs to be pointed out:
There is no useful comparison to make here. Comer was a violent drunk resisting arrest, Witchalls a pregnant woman out for a walk with her toddler.

Parsis Piqued.

Whilst Iran has been making itself a laughing stock with its complaints about the film '300', with Borat-esque boasts about the 'glorious Persian civilization', another group with more reason to be upset by the film has been largely overlooked. India's Parsis have been objecting too. Unlike Iran the Zoroastrian Parsi's culture derives directly from that of ancient Persia as their ancestors fled from that land centuries ago to escape religious persecution, for all Iran's complaining about the depiction of Persians as sub human their own attitude to their pagan past is hardly respectful and if Xerces found himself in modern Iran he would be a second class citizen. The Parsi community is tiny but high achieving, Britain's first two asian MPs back in the 1890s were both Parsi for example.

Guardian Writer Says Something Silly.

Josh Freedman Berthoud writes at Comment is Free about the recent outbreak of youth violence in London. Can you guess who's fault it is?

Thatcher's children

The unfettered individualism which permeated British society in the 80s also fuels our violent gang culture.
It's an odd thing the supposed Thatcherite crime wave which began about ten years before she came to power. Another strange thing is that despite 'unfettered individualism' being the cause of violent crime, it is the militantly anti-Thatcher Scotland which has the highest rates of violence, including murder, in the UK wheras the comparatively Thatcherphile England which has a very low murder rate.
Scotland has the second highest murder rate in western Europe and Scots are more than three times more likely to be murdered than people in England and Wales, according to a study by the World Health Organisation.

The study, based on the latest crime figures from 21 western European countries, finds that only Finland has a higher murder rate than Scotland.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Book Reviews.

In the right hand column of this blog I have put a link to my book reviews at Amazon, I have only just started them so there aren't many yet, but it will grow.

Remarkable Fact.

Googling the phrase 'not about social engineering' reveals over 100 results, as far as I can tell they are all very much about social engineering!

'Not About Social Engineering'

Until around thirty years ago British Universities, particularly Oxbridge, operated a system wherby the children of alumni would get preferential treatment when it came to admissions. To most people the abolition of this system was just because applicants should only be judged on their personal academic merit and what your parents did or did not do should not be a factor. Our current government disagree:
LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The government will allow university admissions officers to consider the occupation and education of parents as part of the process to decide whether their children will be accepted to study for a degree.....
..... "I do think this is a sensible change to widen public participation in higher education," Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell, told BBC radio on Friday. "It is not about social engineering -- I want people from all backgrounds to access higher education."
The government appear to view the Universities as instruments in class war rather than as
scholarly institutions. In some esoteric sense it is undoubtably true that it is unfair that someone's ability to develop academically is heavily influenced by their background, but the University system has a limited amount of resources and their job is not to try to equalise all life's inequalities (in 3 years) but to take the students who are best prepared for higher education and teach them. It isn't even very good for the supposed beneficiaries of the scheme seeing as studies repeatedly show that admitting students with lower academic achievements simply causes a higher drop out rate, meaning that there will be a lot of heavily indebted young people without much to show for it.

Of course two practical problems exist with this proposal too, it is very easy to lie on the application and a degree is a very vague indicator of someone's family educational background.

ps. Laban Tall points out that this supposed concern with 'access' to higher education comes mostly from people sho have waged a jihad on the most effective methods of educational mobility.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Infidel Or Apostate?

Vacuous US presidential candidate Barack Obama has denied stories that he was once a muslim, as well as a previous claim that he used to attend a madrassa. Actually his denial of the former claim is more nuanced, he denies having been a practising muslim. It certainly seems unfair to bring it up as he is clearly not any kind of muslim now and I believe that most voters don't care if he once attended a mosque although in the USA they do seem rather keener of current religious affiliations than we are over here. Of course their may be a more pressing reason for him to deny that he was ever a muslim, namely that this means that he technically an apostate, a 'crime' liable for the death penalty in the eyes of islamist fanatics, that is more death than general infideling warrants. Obama's behaviour may be more an act of self preservation than politics.

Equality Unequal.

Labour peer Baroness Corston has produced a report arguing that prison be abolished for most female offenders, because:
The report claims: "Women and men are different. Equal treatment of men and women does not result in equal outcomes."
The Guardianistas are on board with this proposal, which is odd because up until now I had gotten the distinct impression that the absence of equal outcomes was prima facie proof of unequal treatment. Silly me.

Monday, March 12, 2007

General Custer Brings Little Bighorn To An End..

Richard Dawkins expert in biology, really not an expert in anything else, writes in a letter to the Times that:
Ever since Mr Gorbachev brought the Cold War to an end, the deterrence argument for British nuclear weapons has been void.
Well one thing Dawkins is good at is rebranding, losing has become 'bringing to an end'.

Via Comment Central.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Books & Stuff.

The first page on the books 'Recommended for You' at Amazon at the moment, based on previous purchases and ratings has the following 15 titles:

So if anyone has read any of those and can leave a comment with their opinion on whether they are worth buyingm please do so.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Oh Lordy!

When I first heard that they were going to reform the Lords my response was,"Wow I didn't realise that the Finnish monster rock gods had split up!"After receiving a severe slapping for my foolishness I realised that it was a reference to the reform of the House of Lords and the vote by the Commons for an elected Lords. As I have been commenting on several other sites about my opinion for the new improved Lords I have decided to summarise what should be done to preserve the independence of the Lords whilst democratising the chamber.
  • Single term limits. This ensures that the members of the Lords are not dependent upon their party hierarchies for constant re-selection and re-election. They would also under little pressure to put what is popular ahead of what they believe is right.
  • Long but fixed terms of between ten and fifteen years. If there is no re-election then long terms are useful for enticing talented people to round off their working lives in politics. The slow nature of change would mean that it would reflect long term public opinion whilst the Commons is more immediate.
  • Elections are staggered. So the House is less susceptible to short run swings in the nation's mood.
  • It has real power to delay all but financial bills for as long as it takes.
  • A lower age limit of around 45 or 50, this is so it becomes a chamber where experienced people enter to culminate a career, not a chamber where the members are all vying for promotion to a higher level.
  • Party Memberships must be suspended once elected. Whilst they will still form de facto groupings they will have fewer obligations to outside forces.
Whilst the current House of Lords does its job well, and most observers find it to be more impressive than the Commons in terms of intelligent discussion of the ramifications of what they must vote upon, it will never have the legitimacy to challenge the House of Commons with it's legion of whipped drones unless each and every member can justify their right to check the government with a democratic mandate of their own.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stanley Baldwin.

I'm currently reading Woy Jenkins's biography of Stanley Baldwin, he is often overlooked nowadays but seeing as he was overlooked even when he was the most powerful man in the country this should not be surprising:
During his second premiership he noticed during a train journey that another occupant of the compartment was looking at him with some puzzlement. After a time this gentleman leaned forwards and tapped Baldwin on the knee, 'You are Baldwin aren't you?' he said. 'You were at Harrow in 84' Baldwin nodded assent to both propositions. His former school fellow seemed satisfied. But after a few minutes he again became puzzled a tapped once more 'Tell me' he said, 'what are you doing now?'.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Another Remarkably Trivial Post.

I was just watching the Graham Norton programme on BBC2. The guests included the elf Orlando Bloom, early in the show Legolas started twittering on about the enviroment and Al Gore's documentary, and how he had been to Antarctica to see the effects of global warming, including a rather flowery comparison of ice bergs to dinosaurs.

Twenty minutes later he was telling a luvvie anecdote about what a great time he had with Johnny Depp on Depp's private jet.

The Voice Of Yoof!

I was so struck by the stupidity of the anti free speech activist in the previous post that it occurred to me that there is almost certainly further evidence of his idiocy on the web so I googled the name 'Kieran Hutchinson Dean' to put my theory to the test. Guess what? I was right! The BBC''s Question Time website has a forum for suggesting possible guests for future shows, and Oxford's answer to Kim Jong Il suggests:
More young people! For example members of the youth parliament. How do you expect young people to get interested in politics if they never see their peers on programmes such as Question Time?
Kieran Hutchinson Dean MYP, Leeds
MYP stands for 'Memberof the Youth Parliament'. How deluded and egotistical does a spotty teenager have to be to effectively propose himself as guest on a leading public affairs programme? He views himself as the voice of yoof when if the impression I'm getting is correct his presence on Question Time would repel 99% of 'young people' and 100% of 'all other people'. I'm not sure what he would do on the show anyway, start squealing unless the producers agreed to axe all guests with opposing views perhaps. This is what happens when schools teach kids the importance of self esteem without merit. Anyway if people were interested in a infantile political neophyte whose arrogance goes hand in hand with his ignorance, then Johann Hari's Independent columns would be far more popular than they are.

And yes, I do realise that this may rank as the most trivial post that I shall ever write.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Orwell Lives.

Some student Stalinists at Oxford are trying to get a professor, David Coleman, sacked for disagreeing with them.
One of the students behind the petition, Kieran Hutchinson Dean, 19, said the aim was to invite debate.

He said: "We are not expecting the professor to be sacked straight away. But we ask that he refrains from using his academic status when promoting his own views.
Invite debate by sacking people who disagree with you, good one. It isn't as if Professor Coleman is pulling a Chomsky and using his prestige in one field to pontificate about other subjects where he has no expertise, Coleman is an expert in demographic change who is has been using his expertise to discuss demographic change brought about by immigration.

(via A Tangled Web)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Corby - Hideously White.

The town of Corby in Northamptonshire, which was voted the 9th crappest town in Britain, is too white for the Prison Service whose spokesdroid justifies an imminent move to Leicester by saying that the latter city has the "ability to attract a more diverse workforce - 93.7 per cent of the population of Corby are white British, compared to 59.6 per cent in Leicester.". Why race should be a factor in recruiting a workforce is not explained.

I live fairly near to the town. Corby is almost a Scottish enclave within England with Rangers and Celtic shirts outnumbering Man Utd and Liverpool shirts on the streets and the Church of Scotland is more visible than the Church of England. This is because for many years it was basically a medium sized village until a steel company moved there from Glasgow 50 years ago and brought their Scottish workforce with them, and the town grew around the steel industry which went into a terminal decline about 20 years ago leaving widespread unemployment in its wake and a set of social problems that were more akin to those of the Dumbarton and Paisley than to those of neighbouring towns like Kettering and Daventry. Politically it has been fairly loyal to Labour with the council remaining Labour at the height of Thatcherism and only electing Tory MPs because of the surrounding rural villages, this might I change pretty dramatically at the next election, their Labour MP will be adding to Corby's unemployment problem very soon. Latterly Eastern Europeans live there as well, presumably attracted by the Soviet looking town centre.

It is somewhere that needs jobs and investment. Leicester on the other hand is a larger and more prosperous location than Corby and has been growing very comfortably for several years. On almost any criteria Corby needs large employers more than Leicester, but because Leicester is more 'diverse' it loses out.

The assumption that because Leicester has a lot of Asians it needs extra government investment is bizarre. There are Cities in England with large Asian populations which have social problems but those are up North in places like Bradford, Blackburn and Oldham, and the commitment of civil servants to boosting ethnic recruitment suddenly dissapates if it means they have to live in depressed former cotton towns without an acceptable array of middle class amenities.

PS. The prison service claim that other factors like transport links and the interests of the tax payer were more important factors, given that Corby is a far cheaper place to buy property than Leicester and has one of the lowest levels of car ownership in the UK this strikes me as preposterous.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Slave Trade & Abolitionism.

With the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade last month there has been a flurry of interest in the struggle for abolition. There is a tendancy by some commentators with an axe to grind to portray the end of the slave trade as something cynical which was done because the practice was no longer profitable. This is untrue slave traders were making record profits at the time of the ban and besides how can it be unprofitable to steal someone else's labour and provide nothing in return? If it was unprofitable it would have been pretty pointless for Britain to employ the Royal Navy to prevent other countries trading in human cargo.

Another form of diminishing the abolitionists is to imply that they just get the credit for it because they are white* and in actual fact slavery was really undermined by slave rebellions such as in Haiti. This is was not what happened, slave revolts were damaging to the cause of anti slavery because the brutality that frequently ensued terrified the opinion formers of they day as to the consequences of letting slaves run free. Anyway slave revolts had been a recurrent problem for over 2000 years, Spartucus most famously, and slavery showed few signs of abating in that time.

It may be a result of my political predjudices but I have always associated the sneering faction with left, so I am pleasantly surprised to come across this superb article on the British Abolitionist movement in the left wing American publication Mother Jones that does justice to the almost unprecendented selflessness and altruisn that drove the campaign.
Uprisings of the oppressed have erupted throughout history, but the anti-slavery movement in England was the first sustained mass campaign anywhere on behalf of someone else's rights. Sometimes Britons even seemed to be organizing against their own self-interest. From Sheffield, famous for making scissors, scythes, knives, razors, and the like, 769 metalworkers petitioned Parliament in 1789. Because their wares were sold to ship captains for use as currency to buy slaves, the Sheffield cutlers wrote, they might be expected to favor the slave trade. But they vigorously opposed it: "Your petitioners...consider the case of the nations of Africa as their own."
The essay is a couple of years old but has been put back up in time for the anniversary.

* There were several important black abolitionists, but the idea that their contribution has been unfairly overlooked in favour of less deserving white abolitionists is not the case.