Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Campaigner arrested because 'the leaflet contained Biblical quotes'

From This Is London :

A police force was caught up in a freedom of speech row after its officers arrested an anti-gay campaigner for handing out leaflets at a homosexual rally.

South Wales police admitted evangelical Christian Stephen Green was then charged purely because his pamphlets contained anti-gay quotations from the Bible.

Mr Green faces a court appearance today charged with using 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour' after his attempt to distribute the leaflets at the weekend 'Mardi Gras' event in Cardiff.

A spokesman for the police said the campaigner had not behaved in a violent or aggressive manner, but that officers arrested him because 'the leaflet contained Biblical quotes about homosexuality'.

The rally was held in what was previously considered to be a public park, Bute Park.

The anti-gay campaigners were first asked by police to leave the site of the show following 'complaints from the public', and complied with the request. However, they were approached again by police when they began handing out leaflets at the entrance to the park where the Mardi Gras was staged.

Mr Green refused to stop distributing leaflets and was arrested, and then questioned for four hours at a police station. He was charged after refusing a caution.

The leaflets were headed Same-Sex Love - Same-Sex Sex: What does the Bible Say?, and included a series of quotations from the 1611 King James Bible, a text usually regarded as one of the foundation stones of the English language.

The charge against Mr Green is that he used 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby', contrary to the Public Order Act 1986.

Surely this is a sign that we are well into the Interphase.


Snafu on Ian Huntley :

Why should any prisoners be given anti-depressant drugs?

Prisons are supposed to be depressing places to be!

Tim Blair on Germaine Greer's curmudgeonly Steve Irwin "tribute".

Why the bitterness, Germaine? Someone take a bite out of your gingerbread house ?


I think I'd try to be a tad more nuanced than the Dumb One, but I think he's got the basics right on this sad story.

Yep, it’s Mohammed Sarwar MP

My mind is open because at the end of the day we have to ensure what is in the best interest of the children, the mother and father and I'm sure they will listen to me.

Yes, we need to decide what is in the best in interests of the child. We need some kind of body that can make these choices, something like, ooh, I don’t know, a family court perhaps ? () .... here we have Mohammed Sarwar, sitting in our Parliament, making our laws, but when the law goes against a ‘brother’, suddenly that’s just grounds for more discussion. Heads they win, tails we throw again. Just don’t expect anyone is the MSM to ask him what he thinks of the grounds the father uses to justify his actions.
A UK court had, for good or ill, awarded custody of Molly to her mother. Mr Sarwar seems to consider that an opening position, up for amendment - and so far the Brit media agree. If only Molly's father had been an American religious cult member, her mother might have found more media sympathy.

From the moment Mr Sarwar announced his intention to fly off to Pakistan as an honest broker, I had a feeling he might play the role the same way that Idi Amin acted as an honest broker between the Red Army Fraction and the Israeli hostages at Entebbe.

Monday, September 04, 2006

God-Shaped Hole

The battle by scientists against "irrational" beliefs such as creationism is ultimately futile, a leading experimental psychologist said today.

The work of Bruce Hood, a professor at Bristol University, suggests that magical and supernatural beliefs are hardwired into our brains from birth, and that religions are therefore tapping into a powerful psychological force.

English Blood, Irish Heart ...

The body of a British tourist who died on holiday in Ireland was flown back to the UK with an extra heart and pair of lungs, it emerged last night. The extra organs were found in a plastic bag stitched inside the body of Louis Selo, 55, by a pathologist who performed a second post mortem once the body was back in Britain.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Cheerful Anniversary

While Blair toyed with the idea of welfare reform in 1997, Clinton's 1996 legislation (which made benefits only temporary rather than an open-ended State commitment), while not perfect, has been fantastically successful. Surprise surprise - all those poor unemployed and single parents, the most excluded and victimised, let down by society etc etc were quite capable of finding jobs, once they realised the benefits had an end date.

As City Journal's Kay Hymowitz pointed out, it didn't get a good press from the poverty lobby.

It seems a good time to remember the drama—make that melodrama—that the bill unleashed in 1996. Cries from Democrats of “anti-family,” “anti-child,” “mean-spirited,” echoed through the Capitol, as did warnings of impending Third World–style poverty: “children begging for money, children begging for food, eight- and nine-year-old prostitutes,” as New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg put it. “They are coming for the children,” Congressman John Lewis of Georgia wailed—“coming for the poor, coming for the sick, the elderly and disabled.” Congressman William Clay of Missouri demanded, “What’s next? Castration?” Senator Ted Kennedy called it “legislative child abuse,” Senator Chris Dodd, “unconscionable,” Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan—in what may well be the lowest point of an otherwise miraculous career—“something approaching an Apocalypse.”

Other Washington bigwigs took up the cry. Marion Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund called the bill “national child abandonment” and likened it to the burning of Vietnamese villages. Immediately after President Clinton signed the bill, some of his top appointees quit in protest, including Edelman’s husband, Peter, who let loose with an article in The Atlantic Monthly titled, “The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done.” No less appalled, the Chicago Tribune seconded Congresswoman Carol Moseley Braun’s branding the bill an “abomination.” And while in 2004 the New York Times lauded the legislation as “one of the acclaimed successes of the past decade,” the editors seem to have forgotten that they were irately against it before they were for it, pronouncing it “draconian” and a “sad day for poor children.”

Now - who would have thunk it ? Nu Lab guru and aothor of the terminally boring "The State We're In", Will Hutton, has become a convert.

We know now that it has worked even better than its architects imagined, with major implications for the way welfare systems will be designed in future and for the wider politics of social spending. According to the Brookings Institution's Ron Haskins, the numbers claiming benefit in the United States have shrunk by 60 per cent and there has been a 30 per cent increase in single mothers at work. The incomes of the families formerly claiming benefit, mainly headed by women, have risen, sometimes dramatically.

The poverty rate among black children and children in female-headed families in 2000 fell to its lowest recorded level. Since 1995, the Index of Child and Youth Well-being has improved almost every single year. In 2000, the number of children being placed for fostering fell for the first time since 1980 and has continued falling. There has been a social revolution. The welfare mom has become the working mother. Even cases of child maltreatment have fallen.

The major conservative criticism of PRWORA (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act) is that it didn't address the problems of the fatherless child, and by converting single mothers on benefit to working single mothers took small children away from their only parent.

But Blair bottled it when he sacked Frank Field. In those days he just couldn't bear the potential for bad press. He's changed now, but it's all too late for Britain's underclass.

A Sombre Anniversary

It is three years since a stunned nation awoke to the horror that was Mary Riddell's sixth anniversary piece about Diana, which concluded with the meaningless statement that "personal tragedy is too frail a foundation to bear the weight of public recrimination".

Three years on, she's decided that Diana did make a difference after all.

"Look at a generation plagued by mental illness, by eating disorders and by the cult of fame, then say that Diana left no legacy".

Another Daniel Come To Judgement ?

Immigration to Britain today is fundamentally different from previous settlements because it is changing the composition of the nation, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality said last night.

Trevor Phillips, who provoked controversy last year by challenging the concept of multiculturalism and saying that Britain was "sleepwalking to segregation", said the social significance of the current wave of immigration was being overlooked.

More young people were arriving to compete for jobs with settled workers and a growing number of incomers were setting up their own institutions, such as churches, shops and media outlets.

Also, high levels of emigration by British nationals, at a time of record immigration, were having an impact on the make-up of the country.

''The result is that, though the total population numbers may not rise hugely, the composition of the population changes," Mr Phillips said in a speech to the Royal Geographical Society, in London.

He said that while the white ethnic population had fallen over the past 20 years there had been a 96 per cent increase in the number of ethnic minority Britons.

"We desperately need immigrants to sustain our workforce," he said. "But in this new world of more rapid and more diverse immigration, coupled with an unprecedented threat to global security, we cannot continue to pretend that there are no costs faced by our changing communities."

The full speech is here.

Guardianista Grief ...

A burglar is targeting his area, so his neighbours discuss setting man-traps in the gardens and hiring an ex-military guy, recommended by a jailed killer, to 'track down' the thief.

"But what if he kills him? We could be accomplices to murder," protested one neighbour. To my dismay, the proposal was vetoed.

What kind of murderous Nazi are we dealing with here, one asks ?

Just a Guardian correspondent after four years in South Africa.

(via Tottenham Lad, also posting on Ian Blair and Ruth Kelly)