Saturday, September 24, 2005

Way To Go ?

In our April YouGov poll, one quarter of our respondents said there should be no arbitrary limit on the proportion of the UK’s population which is immigrant; while two-thirds think a proportion of over 15% is okay.

Since the migrant and ethnic minority populations are still below 10%, we have a way to go before Britons feel threatened by pure numbers.

Trevor Phillips, 'Sleepwalking To Segregation'.

The 'way to go' being the time lag neccesary for the 19.2% of children born in England (to a mother who was herself born abroad) to grow up. Not that long.

Social Mobility And The Corner Shop

Near Bromsgrove is a newsagent and general store which has been run by an Indian family for the last twenty years. I've called in off and on when visiting the old home town. When I first went there, the children were small, in and out from the back of the shop. As they grew older, they served customers under the eye of the matriarch. In time, they went away to university.

Called in a while back and there was a shiny executive saloon in front of the shop. Inside, the eldest son, now obviously doing very-nicely-thank-you in his chosen career, was behind the counter. His parents were having a well-deserved weekend away. With him was a child of about three. Also behind the counter - a blackboard on an easel. The child was being taught his letters in the intervals between customers.

The values of this Indian family - self-help, co-operation inside the family, respect for education - were once the common coin of the British working class, and the motor for their upward mobility from Victorian times up to the 1960s.

I was reminded of this by a Dalrymple aside from a piece entitled "Is The Guardian Institutionally Racist ?".

"These humble businesses, incidentally, have been the motor of a great deal of social mobility, something which their owners understood a great deal better than the intellectuals, moral entrepreneurs and bureaucrats. The quiet heroism of parents who have kept a little store for twenty or thirty years, often in the face of very difficult conditions (despicable racist abuse among them), that their children might be educated, ascend the social scale and enjoy richer, fuller lives than their own, moves me far more than the rage of those who see only racism and discrimination."

Friday, September 23, 2005

After Years Of Waiting ....

Jonathan Woodgate's debut for Real Madrid was a truly memorable one, the England defender scoring with a spectacular header.

Apparently "he trudged from the field to rapturous applause".

Per Vas Nefandum

As the Dumb One reports, sex education is too important to be left to parents and the Lib Dems want to make compulsory the kind of stuff which, presented by an adult in a teen chatroom, would lead to a charge of 'grooming for sexual activity'.

I dread to think what the Sexual Health Nurse Of The Year will dream up when she's digested this report.

More Bishop Bashing

Natalie Solent has links to the blogospheric bashing of the wainscot-faced bishops.

To which we must now add, via Normblog, that just man Nick Cohen, and the saintly Rev. Peter Mullen.

Cohen -

Saddam Hussein was responsible for the deaths of more Muslims than any other modern tyrant. One million died after he launched his war against Iran. Between 100,000 and 150,000 died in his war against Kuwait. Back home his police state murdered about 300,000 Iraqis and Kurds.

Admittedly, not all the dead were Muslims. In the mass graves are the bodies of Assyrian Christians, whose memory you might have expected the C of E to honour, and Iraqis, Kurds, Iranians and Kuwaitis who didn't believe in any god. Still, we have 1,250,000 Muslim corpses.

I'm an atheist. But if I'm wrong about the afterlife, the bishops may one day have to explain the moral basis of their toleration of mass murder to a higher authority than newspaper scribblers.

Mullen -

"Bishops and Synods in the Church of England have pronounced on every issue from glue sniffing to the hydrogen bomb these last twenty-five years. They want us to believe that they are lending us the divine perspective on matters too intransigent for professional political or military remedies. Thus they declare on the rightness or wrongness of all wars, they enter the minutiae of every aspect of social policy from the future of the inner cities to the operation of the coffee market.

Such gestures of assistance would be most welcome if only the bishops had demonstrated their competence in matters happening in their own backyard, so to speak. But instead we find that their theological and liturgical policies over the last thirty years have emptied the churches. These men are not faithful shepherds."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sad News

I posted a while back on the great Pakistani batsman Yousuf Youhana, the only Catholic in the side.

He's become a convert to Islam, apparently under the influence of former player Saeed Anwar and the religious organisation Tablighi Jamaat. Perhaps Nasser Hussein could get Freddie Flintoff off the pop in like manner.

I don't know if any other pressure has been applied.

Pakistani Christians aren't happy.

Tablighi Jamat has taken control over the Pakistan Cricket Team and one of the current members of the Team expressed his view in this way that they want to make the cricket team the most religious team of the world. They have achieved their first milestone, as a result of Youhana's conversion to Islam. Let see what is more precious to Danish Kaneria (a Hindu) his career or his faith ? Will Tablighi Jamat also convince him to accept Islam ?

As Pakistan Christian Post points out, they're not holding out hope he'll return to the fold. Converts from Islam to Christianity face sanctions up to and including the death penalty.

Officials in the Pakistan cricket board say members of the Tablighi Jamaat have been visiting the board's offices and training camps regularly over the last several years.

Most of the team members have become overtly religious over the last few years, the official said.

How unlike the home life of our own dear team.


Barry Beelzebub on the flimsiness of the modern 50 pence coin.

"have you ever tried decking a goalkeeper with one ?"

Large Fries Please, With An IUD To Go And Extra Condoms

Huzzah For Angela Star (warning - unintentionally amusing Powerpoint presentation), The Sexual Health Nurse Of The Year !

And her innovative approach to combatting the evils of teenage pregnancy.

The boss of a health trust has backed a nurse who gave a contraceptive injection to a schoolgirl in the toilet of a McDonald's restaurant.

Bob Smith, chief executive of Gateshead Primary Care Trust, said Mrs Star was attempting to engage with girls who would otherwise not seek help.

Mrs Star told a Royal College of Nursing conference in Belfast that she was forced to take radical steps to tackle high teenager pregnancy rates in Gateshead.

She was not available for comment, or to clarify the exact circumstances surrounding the case.

A spokeswoman for McDonald's said: "We were completely unaware of this situation and are deeply disappointed and believe it to be completely inappropriate that we were not approached or consulted by either Angela Star or the NHS Trust."

The doubtless richly-deserved award is a joint venture between the National Association of Nurses for Contraception and Sexual Health and a company called Durbin PLC.

You'd never guess what they sell for a living.

A Few Bare Patches On The Curate's Lawn

I forget how many hundreds of millions - ah yes, nearly a billion - have gone into Labour's anti-truancy strategy, but it's money well spent. Remember that billion next time you hear talk of 'investment in schools and hospitals'.

Truancy rates in England's secondary schools rose by over 10% last year, according to government figures.
Despite £900m spent on anti-truancy initiatives, the annual figures show the highest truancy rates since 1994.

This year's figures show that an estimated 55,000 pupils were missing classes every day during the school year - an annual increase of about 4,500.

55,000 into 900 million must be about £17,000 per truant.

And the number of university pupils from state schools is falling. Except for one part of Britain.

Universities and colleges in Northern Ireland had the highest rates.

It must be a coincidence that Northern Ireland is also the last place in the UK to retain grammar schools. Martin McGuinness, who has taught many lessons (warning - strong stomach needed) to people over the years, may not have decommissioned many IRA weapons, but as Education Minister he announced plans to decommission all the grammar schools. Mr McGuinness then lost his job when the NI assembly was suspended, but an English Labour MP replaced him and selection will be gone by 2008.

The enduring struggle to provide mediocrity for all continues.

You can't accuse Trevor Phillips of dull consistency. In February he was calling for forced segregation in schools, in September for forced integration.

And finally ... Harry Hutton (whose commenters are often as amusing as the man himself) live-blogs an air crash, while at Once More, Blimpish gives cuddly Ken Clarke both barrels. Oh, and Eric has a quote which sums up the UK pretty well (I think he approves).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Teachers Tales

More educational lunacy from Shuggy.

Our Caring Nation Part 523

A touching tale.


The Guardian on crime and punishment.

"a welcome and long overdue rebalancing of the criminal justice system, which hopefully will end the hardline and counter-productive era introduced by Michael Howard in 1993. A prison population that took four decades to increase by 11,000 between 1951 and 1991, climbed by 25,000 in the following decade, despite the largest and the most sustained fall in crime for more than a century."

Er ... any chance with replacing the word 'despite' with the words 'resulting in' ?

Or pointing out that while the prison population was increasing by 20%, crime rose by 1,000% - ten times ? And putting the 'large and sustained fall' in this context ?

"thousands of the 77,000 inside should not be there. They are the victims of other public service failings: one quarter having been taken into care as children, half have no qualifications from school, three-quarters have at least two mental disorders"

Public service failings ? The Guardian must be desperate for an argument. Isn't the State supposed to be 'the best possible nanny to all children' ? I'd have thought being taken into care implied failings in the child's parents. And aren't mental disorders and low qualifications much more likely when a child isn't brought up by two parents ?

Boldly he wants to align penal policy with the government's social goals of widening access to education and health.

Good idea - align it with the other failing policies - like Sure Start.

He wants to see more community programmes for non-violent offenders as well as a network of community prisons to house those that require a jail sentence.

Ah, those non-violent offenders !

Monday, September 19, 2005

Piggy Eyes II

James Hamilton writes to point out that you don't have to wonder whether Galloway's ranting style is reminscent of Oswald Mosley. You can hear the man himself in action. Certainly the Earls Court speech is there or thereabouts.

Elsewhere the Englishman In New York is in a rich vein of form, blogging lap-dancers, fisking Orla Guerin and the Gorgeous One. He's even contributed to a blogging book.

Galloway like Mosley ? No way !

Galloway is so full of anger and self righteousness that there was barely any need for a microphone. Moreover, his use of the lecturn as a prop to be leaned against and launched from as he delivered his tirades was eerily reminiscent of one Adolf Hitler. I can’t believe I am even comparing Galloway to the bogeyman of the 20th century, but it is no inch of an exaggeration. He delivers his bluster with such venom that he is a dead ringer for the leader of the Third Reich.

He's got some interesting ideas though. It seems that not only did America deserve 9/11, they may already be planning the next 'provocation'. Plenty of tin-foil needed at this site.

Previously Mr Galloway has suggested that there is a very real danger of the government engineering a situation where terror attacks can be manufactured and seized upon to forward the pre-planned agenda abroad and at home. On Friday Mr Galloway elaborated on these comments:

"There is a very real danger because you have elements within the state, you have theRichard Pearle 'axis of evil' snarling 'you're next' at this country or that country and yet the circumstance on the ground, the political collapse of the Bushites in the United States, the resistance in Iraq having taken such a terrible making the idea of another war simply ridiculous...and yet there are those in this Neo-Con, Zionist, Christian Fundamentalist axis that really are itching to get as much of this agenda pushed on whilst they still have the reins of power.

So you cannot discount some kind of provocation being staged by those elements who want to propel the US into an even more disastrous invasion"

Gary Younge ...

"the more contact you have with different races, religions and ethnicities, the less potential there is for stereotyping and dehumanising those different from yourself"

This lady should be alright then.

UPDATE - I've not had much to say about Trevor Phillips' 'ghetto crisis' as I'm not sure we're seeing anything but the effects of increased immigration. I don't know why it should be such a shock.

The number of people of Pakistani heritage in ghettos, which he defines as those with more than two-thirds of any one ethnicity, trebled between 1991 and 2001. In Bradford, 13.3% now live in such communities compared with 4.3% in 1991; in Leicester it has risen from 10.8% to 13.3%.

Well, that's what you'd expect if a) there are a lot more people arriving b) the people already here are having lots of babies and c) the natives are leaving.

He also has concerns about white working-class ghettos in places such as Barking, Essex, and parts of Yorkshire.

Well what about Scotland, then ? The whole place is one giant white ghetto. And as befits the most violent estate in the most violent developed nation, Easterhouse is the most hideously white place of all.

Religious Suicide Watch - Church Of England III

OK, so the pews get greyer and emptier each year. All around them the Ten Commandments are broken on an industrial scale by their countrymen.

But the Chuch of England has its priorities right. Why don't we apologise to Muslim leaders for overthrowing Saddam ?

Church of England bishops have suggested Christian leaders apologise to Muslim leaders for the war in Iraq.
A report from a working group of bishops says the war was one of a "long litany of errors" relating to Iraq.

As the government is unlikely to offer an apology, a meeting of religious leaders would provide a "public act of institutional repentance," it said.

It urges a "truth and reconciliation" meeting, but acknowledged that arranging it could be difficult.

I look forward to the comments on Thinking Anglicans.

Where are Latimer and Ridley when you need them ?


"There is no uniquely righteous nation. No country should see itself as the redeemer nation" - the Bishops Report (pdf)

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart" - Peter 1 2:9

UPDATE 2 - Stephen Pollard applies the whips and scorpions to the bishops, who turn out to be the usual suspects of Richard Harries and Peter Selby.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Sense Of Priorities

What's more important if you're a Government Minister ? Protecting the lives and property of Her Majesty's subjects, or not being like Norman Tebbit ?

Dennis MacShane is remarkably honest in the Sunday Times.

“My generation of Labour MPs don’t want to indulge in anything that smacks of Muslim typecasting or hostility. And as we tried very hard not to be like Norman Tebbit or the more ugly tabloids, it’s fair to say we failed to work out an adequate political response to Islamist politics in the UK.”

I'm sure the dead and injured will understand.

The Piggy Eyes Of Fascism (RealAudio)

Listening to the Galloway-Hitchens debate on Radio Four last night, two contradictory thoughts struck me.

The first, 'why can't all politics be like this ?' was a product of the fact that the issues were important, the audience passionate, and the battle-lines clearly drawn. It made for great listening. The last time I stopped what I was doing and listened transfixed was also a Galloway bout - against Colleen 'The Truth' Graffy in July.

The second thought was 'I wonder if this is what listening to Oswald Mosley was like ?'. Because in style, Galloway's side of the 'debate' wasn't a debate at all - it was a rally. Passionately he shouted, banging all the buttons - 'Bush and Blair run the two biggest rogue states' - '100,000 deaths' - 'Bush, Cheyney, the neocon agenda' and his followers whooped and hollered. Hitchens had opened by reminding the audience of Galloway's recent trip to Syria, and his history of support for authoritarian regimes. Galloway's response ? 'You opposed the first Gulf war, but since then you've changed from a butterfly into s slug. And like a slug, you leave a trail of slime'. How they cheered. Nothing like taking on your opponent's argument.

He's got the sartorial style too - a sharp if spivish dresser. I wouldn't be surprised to see him modelling a leather trench-coat or bomber jacket.

And he's got the blood-and-soil rhetoric. Liberal white guilt stops the British left from seeing anything amiss when GG calls for the 'Arab nations' to rise up or denounces attacks on 'Muslim countries', yet if you invert the targets he'd be somewhere to the right of Nick Griffin. There can be little doubt that a British nationalist who gave Galloway's Damascus speech would be arrested. (Imagine George Bush calling on the 'white nations' to support him, or Blair calling 9/11 an attack upon a Christian country and urging all Christians to defend America. Galloway does the equivalent without having to think about it).

The big difference is that Mosley, unpleasant as he might have been, was articulating a programme which
a) commanded support from a significant (though not large) section of his own people
b) had a track record - literally, with the newfound punctuality of Italian trains under Mussolini. Before WW2 and the Shoah, a good many people who weren't all monsters looked, if not kindly, at least with a respectful neutrality upon Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

Galloway will find little support for blowing up children and the unemployed, or cutting the throats of trades unionists, among the Glaswegian socialist movement whence he sprang. His new constituency is among Muslim immigrants, and countries which follow his programme (of unremitting anti-western hostility) have historically fared rather poorly over the last 50 years. Ask Mr Putin.

But like Mosley, Galloway sees a world in flux offering great political opportunities - worldwide, newfound Muslim assertiveness, demographic changes, a Muslim country with nuclear weapons and others with nuclear ambitions, a divided West. All thse factors are concentrated in Britain, with a large and increaing Muslim population concentrated in half a dozen geographical areas, and an ageing, shrinking, vanishing, guilt-stricken host culture filled with self-doubt. Who knows how far this wave of the future may take him ?