Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Cowards Have Beaten The Idiots

Or to put it another way, Scotland voted "No" to independence. So now we are all back to normal as a United Kingdom with a broken constitution.


Saturday, September 13, 2014


It is my hope that Scotland votes to keep Britain together next week, partly for emotional reasons- I'm half Scottish and much of my family is from there and I feel a sense of nationhood that doesn't stop at Berwick. It also seems to me that Britain is a stronger and more formidable country than merely England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Having said that I do think the 'No' campaign are wrong to concede nationalist demands on control of the welfare system in North Britain. Single currency areas like the UK require transfer payments from rich to poor areas in order to compensate for poor areas being unable to devalue their currency to compete. One of the quickest ways that an economically hard hit region to receive transfer payments is through the welfare system.

Paul Krugman (who despite his hyper partisanship is a renowned economist) explains the process with a comparison of how Spain and Florida were affected by the global recession here. Essentially when Florida's economy crashed, it automatically received more money from Washington whereas Spain did not automatically receive extra cash from Brussels leading to a much weaker fiscal position- because despite currency union Germany isn't willing to fund Spain's welfare system.

If Scotland manages it's own welfare system some of the automatic stabilisers won't work in the case of a shock to Scotland's economy.

More devolution is inevitable but welfare should remain substantially a UK wide issue.

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Rotherham Scandal- The Culture Behind It

There is an interesting piece about the Rotherham scandal and other similar cases of Pakistani sex abuse gangs by a British Pakistani woman:
Growing up in an Asian Muslim household, ever since I can remember to be like a white girl, a “gori” was a very bad thing indeed. At primary school age, we were taught how “goras” were dirty. They didn’t wash when they went to the toilet. I was told not to eat with goras, because they ate pig – only dirty people could eat such a filthy animal. 

As a teenager, I discovered there was nothing worse than acting like a gori. I was a rebellious youth, pushing all the boundaries. I didn’t want to wear a hijab and traditional Asian dress. I wanted to be in jeans. I wanted to wear my hair out. I wanted to go out and see my friends. I wanted to meet and talk about boys. I learned that these were “white things”: what white girls did, and so strictly forbidden to me by my parents. Why? Because they were seen to be against Islam and therefore shameful. There was no honour or value in girls who dressed or acted like that. Girls like that, it was made very clear to me, didn't deserve any respect. They were the lowest of the low. 


That is why I find it so infuriating in light of Rotherham that some Asian men (and women!) are still looking to blame Western culture – "the goras' culture" – and denying the part their own plays in the abuse. Gora culture, like the white girls who were targeted, is deemed to be shameless and without honour. I’ve read articles describing western culture as “pornified”, like they describe those girls as “whores” to then conclude that the abusers were somehow led astray or not fully responsible. 
On the last point about  how Western culture is "pornified" and girls wearing inappropriate clothes, that might be the justification used but I doubt it is how the victims were targeted. 

I have a female friend who worked in a heavily Pakistani part of Leicester when she was about 19/20, and there was more than one attempt to behave very inappropriately towards her- unwanted grabbing, men trying to get her in the car etc. What was interesting is that these incidents tended to happen when she was very dressed down- in baggy clothes with not much skin showing- not when she was wearing the sort of clothes that get blamed for leading men astray.

This makes sense when you think about it- the abusers target girls they perceived as vulnerable and lacking in self confidence, not those who were confident in themselves.

Rippers & Coppers

The Jack the Ripper murders seem to have been solved. The DNA evidence seems fairly conclusive and it fits in with what I said back in 2006:

I'm not sure why so many ridiculous notions about Jack the Ripper are given serious consideration, when the 'suspects' bear absolutely no relation to the sort of people who we know do commit serial killings. 

The idea that the Ripper would be a son of the Queen or a famous artist was always absurd. The killer was Aaron Kosminski- a Pole who came to Britain to escape anti-Jewish violence in his home country. One part of the story that amused me was how the crucial piece of evidence was still available in a relatively untainted state into the 21st century:
the shawl had been taken by a police officer for his wife, but she never wore it, and it was passed down through generations until it went up for sale. 
 So back in  the late 19th century there was a bobby whose first reaction upon finding a brutally murdered young woman was to steal the clothes that he thought his wife might like! Dodgy police officers aren't a new phenomenon, they were just less likely to get caught in the past.