Saturday, January 27, 2007

Today's Indie Front Cover

"No wonder the prisons are full", featuring :

Two pensioners jailed for not paying the iniquitous council tax. I don't think they should be banged up either, but then I think a great deal of taxation is evil and that payment of it should be avoided as much as possible. I thought the Indie were rather keen on us all paying our taxes.

An Asian lady from Leeds who falsely claimed £40,000 of benefits which she apparently "needed for her children's education". I thought the Indie disapproved of taxation going to fund private schools. If she'd been white the Indie would have called for the death penalty.

"The depressed mother". Ahhh ! Fancy banging her up for being depressed ! What's that ? She tried to kill her toddler ?

An RAF officer who refused to obey a lawful order. Presumably like me the Indie feel he should have been shot. That would free up a space.

A famous sexual deviant, hopelessly addicted to exposing himself. Rampton is the place for him, so the Indie have a point.

Another one of those mad 60s leftovers who vandalises military bases. She only got 23 days, so she's not exactly clogging up the system. Send her to Guantanamera next time !

Joseph Scholes. A sad case, mental hospital would have been better for this boy. Perhaps his parents should have been banged up instead. But as he killed himself nine days into his prison sentence he can hardly be accused of bed-blocking either. If all prisoners were to follow his example we'd only need half a dozen jails.

Two pointy-headed hippies who let the clients deal smack at their hostel. Mind you, if allowing drugs to be dealt and consumed gets you a sentence, half the mental hospital staff and prison staff would be inside. Then quis custodiet ipsos custodes ?

Then "teenager who took her own life", liberal pin-up Sarah Campbell. Not until she'd taken someone else's first.

Research Using A Blog

I had google hits way back for "Rod Liddle Assault" and it turned out to be true. I got hits for "Dagenham shootings Parsloes Avenue" and it turned out to be true. I wonder if any of the hits were from the criminals looking for news stories the way they would once read the news coverage - and if the police have taken this possibility into account ?

Prague Tory is using this phenomenon to do research.

I have no idea if the hits I'm getting for "Shilpa Shetty no knickers" are true. I doubt it. She's a well brought up Indian girl.

UPDATE - tsk, tsk, sister.

Naught For Your Comfort ... Again

Actually, that's not true. Ageing hippy academic and Master-lookalike Rod Morgan, head of the so-called Youth Justice Board, spat the dummy and resigned, claiming too many ickle kiddiewinkies were being banged up. I thought banging up small children was what this government ... never mind.

Though somebody loves him, even the government thought he was crap.

Newsnight said he told the programme he had been working behind the scenes in the Home Office trying to get a change of policy.

But when ministers decided to advertise his job rather than extend his contract for another three years, he chose to resign and tell his staff and the BBC about his concerns.

He said: "It's self-evident that you can't occupy a post such as mine if ministers don't have confidence in you and, if you come to the point where you think that is clear for all parties to see, then it is your duty to go, and that is why I am going."

The BBC give you the Guardian perspective.

"But Mr Morgan could not be accused of being an "ivory tower" academic divorced from the realities of the criminal justice system."

Oh yes he can !

"Throughout his years of research, he worked as a lay magistrate and chairman of a youth court."

My Lord, Exhibit A. I rest my case.

The rest is bad news.

Smackheads ! We'll pay you not to take drugs !

Drug addicts could win prizes including televisions and MP3 players in clinic lotteries to help them keep off drugs, a Government advisory agency recommended yesterday.

The prizes could be worth £20 to £100 in incentive schemes being suggested by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which turned down a new bowel cancer drug for use on the NHS three days ago.

A second proposal from the consultation document is for addicts to receive £10 food vouchers if they keep off drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

Young people apparently need encouragment to masturbate.

Children should be shown explicit videos of masturbation as part of sex education, campaigners said yesterday.

Many pupils form impressions of sexual activity from internet pornography and need better lessons at school, said Rebecca Findlay of the Family Planning Association.

I forget how much taxpayer money the FPA gets, but it's a lot.

And this tale which tells us more about how the rights culture is rotting our criminal justice system than any number of cross judges.

A mother has spoken of her fury after police refused to chase her sons' stolen motorbikes — because the thieves weren't wearing helmets.

Pauline Nolan, of Droylsden, Greater Manchester, claims traffic officers told her they could not pursue the pair in case they fell off and sued the police force.


After I wrote this :

I get bored with writing about race and demography. I get cheesed when those who don't like black or Asian people assume that I agree with them. I worry that some of the remarks in the comments threads will put off the people I want to attract to the blog - lefties who've got the odd niggling doubt as to whether all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, and who might be prepared to look at evidence to the contrary. I worry that this blog's getting a bit monochrome in its choice of subjects.

I got some supportive comments that made me feel a little less like a voice shouting in the wilderness.

I also got this email which, with permission, I reproduce. Not much there I can disagree with.

I have two daughters and a son, I was born and raised in Birmingham, and as you will know, when you have children, your whole perspective changes, and you start to think about what kind of world they will grow up in. I like reading your blog because it is honest and it chimes with worries that I have too, and if I will be honest, quite a few Indian people I know wonder on these issues, especially those of my age and at this stage of life. I don't read the comments though for fear of what they may contain!

I would say before 9/11 I was a fairly typical kind of defensive-about-race British Indian guy, an instinctive defensivness that was probably half genuine insecurity (memories of the National Front) and half posturing. It was the reaction of some people to 9/11, coupled with a growing awareness that there was a tangible, shall we say, 'excitability' in the air amongst some of the Muslim youths I share a city with, along with fatherhood, and a need to be honest about certain things, certain persistent dysfunctions that changed my mood. Ultimately, nobody I know that is British Indian was surprised when the 7/7 bombers came from the British Mirpuri community --- if we are honest it has been bubbling under, the rhetoric was in our face even long before the Iraq war.

We have serious issues --- generally, Asians need to become less defensive and open up, some more than others. You will know about the differentials from amongst the Asian communities themselves. The situation is dynamic, but all sorts of indicators like the relative success of Indian children at school do point to the possibility of Indians and eventually (most or at least some) Pakistanis and others following the Jewish model of academic/business success and melting into the bourgeoisie.

What terrifies me, I mean really terrifies me, is the X factor, the suicide bombers, the continuing perpetuation of this grievance culture that has, I have to admit, been fostered, or at least stoked, by some on the left. Terrified because of the sheer horror of what they can do, and a secondary horror of any backlash. I don't want my daughters and son growing up in an atmosphere as thick with hate that might accrue because of these issues. It's why I lose my patience with those on the left, and some Muslim identity politicians that don't face up to the problem.

And if we are serious too ---- yes, we need a moratorium on immigration for at least ten years and work things out. We'll always need immigrants, but let's be more selective. And we need to somehow stop chain migration from Mirpur and Sylhet. Supporting a law to discourage marrying boys and girls from back there has to be brought in --- there are enough British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and Indians in the UK now for parents to introduce to their children if that is what they want to do in terms of marriage. This will be tough, but something has to be done to discourage that practise, especially amongst girls, especially amongst the young. Certainly the forced marriage legislation needs to be seriously considered. Continually importing women and men who bring the 'back home' culture doesn't allow the kids to find their own settlement with British society on their own terms and leads to frustrations and failure to integrate, which becomes like a vicious cycle, this becomes like a self perpetuating thing and when relations between them and mainstream society get worse it becomes more difficult to break the process, the rejection on both sides, belligerence and so on and so on.

So many issues, so much to say.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Today's "Released Under Supervision" Murderer

Shaun Clarke.

Staffordshire Probation Service has also launched an inquiry as Clarke was under its supervision since being released from Sudbury Open prison, Derbyshire, in 2003 - 16 years into a life sentence for a murder.

Chief probation officer Rob Mandley said: "I can confirm that Mr Clarke was sentenced for murder in 1987 - life imprisonment. He was released from prison in May 2003."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

British Lessons For English Children

Worried about social cohesion ? Britishness in need of a boost ?

The obvious thing to do is to ask three (non-English) educationists from London, Keith Ajegbo, Dina Kirwan and Seema Sharma, what English children should be taught. Not Scottish, Northern Irish or Welsh children, you note. They can be taught about their distinct national heritage and culture. But the English must be British (after all, someone's got to be), taught the British values so ably articulated by Gordon Brown. They cannot be English.

Sir Keith said: "Britain is committed to the values of free speech, the rule of law, mutual tolerance and respect for equal rights. They are things that are fundamental to our society."

He suggested that schools should be prepared to tackle controversial topics in the news such as the debate over immigration, and the UK's place in the European Union as well as the legacy of the British Empire.

He said: "It is the duty of all schools to address issues of `how we live together' and `dealing with difference', however difficult or controversial they may seem".

(you might want to look at the map - then read the last few paragraphs of this post)

I think this translates as "an intensive course of political indoctrination". Doubtless we'll be taught about the "nation of immigrants", recent genetic work will be misused to support a political agenda - the usual stuff, only more of it. What was once only for the BBC and Guardian to propagate will be force-fed to the children. They're being prepared - broken in, as it were - for a world in which England will have fewer and fewer English in it. Note the figures on the map, which comes from the report.

I quote from the report :

As migration and technological change gather pace, governments – and societies – are faced with the challenge of engaging effectively with increasingly high profile issues regarding immigration and the issues that surround multiculturalism, diversity and difference. Yet the wider picture shows us that it was ever thus: the United Kingdom has historically been a multination state, and as a polyethnic state; the UK’s population has for centuries been periodically in a state of flux, with a large number of different ethnic and religious groups, particularly since the mass immigration after the Second World War. What’s more, many UK inhabitants have roots elsewhere in the world – even though they may not be aware of them.

The changing nature of the UK and potential for tension to arise now makes it ever more pressing for us to work towards community cohesion, fostering mutual understanding within schools so that valuing difference and understanding what binds us together become part of the way pupils think and behave.

Well, you can't say clearer than that.

(I do like the contradictions of 'it's always been like this, nation of immigrants, multiethnic Britain' with 'changing nature ... potential for tension to arise'. If it's always been like this, why are they so worried ?)

What we see here is a government who are aware that there are strange noises coming from the bowels of the ship, the odd rat making its way to the top deck - and they've decided on giving the crew a series of lectures on how ships always make strange noises and the importance of not giving way to panic.

Lets look back for a moment to the bad old days of the 1950s and the lost English heritage. When the black Marxist historian, cultural conservative and cricket-lover CLR James wrote this in 1962 he could not have foreseen the cultural wasteland that lay ahead for English children.

West Indians crowding to Tests bring with them the whole past history and future hopes of the islands. English people, for example, have a conception of themselves breathed from birth. Drake and mighty Nelson, Shakespeare, Waterloo, the Charge of the Light Brigade, the few who did so much for so many, the success of parliamentary democracy, those and such as those constitute a national tradition. Underdeveloped countries have to go back centuries to rebuild one. We of the West Indies have none at all, none that we know of. To such people the three W's, Ram and Val wrecking English batting, help to fill a huge gap in their consciousness and their needs.

We of the English have none at all now that we know of, either. And if Alan Johnson has anything to do with it we'll stay that way.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Abdul The Bulbul Emir

The sons of the Prophet are hardy and bold,
And quite unaccustomed to fear,
But of all, the most reckless of life or of limb
Was Abdul the Bulbul Emir.

When they wanted a man to encourage the van
Or to harass a foe from the rear,
Storm fort or redoubt, they had only to shout
For Abdul the Bulbul Emir.

This son of the desert in battle aroused
Could spit twenty men on his spear.
A terrible creature when sober or soused
Was Abdul the Bulbul Emir.

The heroes were plenty and well known to fame
That fought in the ranks of the Czar.
But the greatest of these was a man by the name
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

He could imitate Irving, play euchre or pool
And strum on the Spanish guitar.
In fact quite the cream of the Muscovite team
Was Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

The ladies all loved him, his rivals were few
He could drink them all under the bar.
Come gallant or tank, there was no one to rank
With Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

One day this bold Russian had shouldered his gun
And donned his most truculent sneer.
He went into town, and straightway ran down
Abdul the Bulbul Emir.

"Young man", quoth the Bulbul, "Is existence so dull
That you're eager to end your career?
Foul infidel, know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul the Bulbul Emir !"

"So take your last look at the sunshine and brook
And send your regrets to the Czar.
By this I imply you are going to die,
Mr. Ivan Skavinsky Skavar."

Said Ivan, "My friend, your remarks in the end
Will avail you but little, I fear.
For you ne'er will survive to repeat them alive,
Mr. Abdul the Bulbul Emir."

Then this bold Mamalouk drew his trusty skibouk
With a cry of "Allahu Akbar."
With murderous intent he ferociously went
For Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

They parried and thrust, they sidestepped and cussed
Of blood they both spilled a great lot.
The philologist blokes, who seldom crack jokes,
Say that hash was first made on that spot.

They fought all that night 'neath the pale yellow moon,
The din it was heard from afar.
And multitudes came, so great was the fame,
Of Abdul and Ivan Skavar.

As Abdul's long knife was extracting the life,
In fact he had shouted, "Huzzah!"
He felt himself struck by that wily Calmuck,
Count Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

The Sultan drove by in his red-crested fly,
Expecting the victor to cheer.
But he only drew nigh just to hear the last sigh
Of Abdul the Bulbul Emir.

Czar Petrovich too, in his spectacles blue
Drove up in his new crested car.
He arrived just in time to exchange a last line
With Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

There's a grave by the wave where the Blue Danube rolls,
And 'graved there in characters clear,
Is "Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul
Of Abdul the Bulbul Emir."

A splash in the Black Sea one dark moonless night,
Caused ripples to spread near and far.
It was made by a sack fitting close to the back
Of Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

A Muscovite maiden her lone vigil keeps,
'Neath the light of the pale polar star.
And the name that she murmurs so oft as she weeps
Is Ivan Skavinsky Skavar.

Written by the Irish songwriter, artist and poet Percy French.

But It's A Myth, I Tell You !

Cultural conservatives are often accused of 'wanting to turn the clock back' and return to a mythical Golden Age - which of course, never existed.

Someone needs to tell these people.

The exodus of middle-class Britons to France is being fuelled by the desire to regain the lost social and community values of the 1950s, according to research presented to the Foreign Office.

Gervais-Aguer said: “A lot of these people come from urbanised areas. They are looking for an authentic experience that fits in with their dreams. Freshly farmed food, the security of a tight-knit community — all of these things people associate with a typical French village that they feel no longer exists in Britain. There is a nostalgia for the way British villages used to be 50 years ago.”

Some British families living in France agree that the values of the 1950s have survived. Lauren McMullen, 60, a sports marketing consultant who moved to Montcuq, near Cahors in southwest France, said: Things are like an England gone by. In the rural areas people’s manners are still lovely, the schoolchildren are beautifully behaved and the health service is fantastic.”

Gini Cook, 45, moved to Eymet from Britain with her family three years ago and now runs the Bizarre gift shop near the main square.

"There are all kinds of attractions which bring you right back in time, " she said. "There's very little crime, services like the post and transport work, and everyone is generally a lot more polite than in Britain".
Poor deluded fools. File this along with the rural lefties who don't quite like modern Britain enough to live in it and the liberal literati who prefer their festivals to be "miles away from inner-city crime ... we're safe here".

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Read The Whole Thing

Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre gives the Hugh Cudlipp Memorial Lecture.

CUDLIPP LECTURE - 22nd January 2007

Thank you Lady Cudlipp, Sir Michael, Dr Bridge, Paul Charman and students of the London College of Communication for inviting me here tonight…

All my life I have loved newspapers, been tantalised by that magic synergy of words, pictures and typography.

As a boy, the urgent 5am “file soonest” clattering of the ticker-tape telex machine in the corridor by my bedroom – my father was a New York Correspondent, a post I was later to fill – would captivate me.

At university, where my poetry tutor would fulminate against the Rothermere press, I edited the student newspaper and – in the first of countless collisions with official opprobrium that have characterised my career – transmogrified a staid and worthy product into a more than passable imitation of Hugh Cudlipp’s Daily Mirror. It included, I cringe to recall, Page 3 girls, albeit totally clothed, called “Leeds Lovelies.” Mr Cudlipp was to return the compliment when the paper was named Student Newspaper of the Year by the Daily Mirror which ran the student awards in those days.

From university, I became a junior reporter on the Manchester Daily Express. Unlike today, the presses were in the same building as editorial, and I can still remember the ecstasy of watching my first ever news story being laboriously set in hot metal on the stone by the printers or “inkies”, as we called them, who in those days often earned more than the journalists. Those were the days of typewriters and carbon paper, overnight pages and restrictive early deadlines. Little did I dream then, that one day, as an Editor, computers would give me the freedom to put together, in its entirety, a 128 page paper in three hours between seven and ten every night.

The year of my first news story was 1970. US troops were entering Cambodia. Heath had unseated Wilson. Strikes and inflation ruled. The Mail – all 16 broadsheet pages – cost 6d and, oh yes, a ruthless antipodean called Murdoch had just purchased for peanuts Cudlipp’s forlorn exercise in idealism – a leftish paper aimed at the middle market.

It was called The Sun. And in its new topless form – raw, rumbustuous and shamelessly downmarket – was to prove a staggering success. But then this was a country which devoured 24 million newspapers on a Sunday and nearly 16 every day of the week.

While on television, there was only BBC1, the newly arrived 2 and ITV, and on radio there was just Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4, Cudlipp’s Mirror, a passionately political Labour paper sold 4.7 million. The crusading Express, though rapidly losing Christiansen’s lustre, sold 3.7m and boasted that it could “dial the world” with its dozens of foreign correspondents. On Sundays, the News of the World sold 6.3m, the Sunday Pictorial 4.9, The People 5.2 and the Sunday Express 4.3. Truly, Britain had a gloriously free and diverse media.

And today? Well, clearly, the picture isn’t exactly rosy but it’s certainly not as gloomy as some would have you believe. Classified ads, those rivers of gold, may be leaching away to the web but Britain’s daily national newspapers still sell an awesome 12million copies every day.

The real losers have been the Sunday newspapers which have lost nearly half their 24 million sales. Elsewhere the picture is mixed. Cudlipp’s once proud Mirror is down to 1.6 million and falling but The Sun, though struggling, still sells 3 million. The Express, squeezed to death for profits by its pornographer owner, is down below 800,000.

And the Mail? Well, I know you’ll all be extremely gratified to know, it’s doing pretty well holding its circulation and selling nearly 500,000 more copies than it did in 1970. Indeed by adding that increase in circulation to the circulations of the Mail on Sunday and Metro - launched in 1982 and 1999 respectively - Associated has actually added nearly 4 million copies to the national newspaper market over the past 36 years.

And what of the so called “quality papers” - a misleading term when you consider that the Mail titles have more quality readers than most of the “quality” papers put together?

Well, I’m sorry to p*** on their parade, but, with the honourable exception of the Telegraph, which, of course, is the only right-wing “quality” - The Guardian, The Independent and The Times are all losing money.

Such papers are effectively being subsidised.

So when The Times’s Ms Sieghart, the very embodiment of modern free-thinking women, holds forth on feminism, she does so courtesy of the topless girls in the still vastly profitable Sun. Equally, when The Guardian’s Mr Kettle vents his spleen on the excesses of the free market he does so courtesy of the fat profits made by that fine example of the free market – The Guardian-owned Auto Trader.

And while The Guardian’s Scott Trust is a magnificent construct that allows some gloriously elevated journalism – and praise be to God for that, say I, – let’s not beat about the bush: subsidised papers are, by definition, unable to survive in a free market. Their journalism and values – invariably liberal, metropolitan and politically correct, and I include the pinkish Times here, - don’t connect with sufficient readers to be commercially viable.

Ah, say the bien pensants, but such papers are hugely concerned for the common good. But there is a rather unedifying contradiction here. For the Subsidariat, as I shall dub them, are actually rather disdainful of common man, contemptuous even, of the papers that make profits by appealing to and connecting with millions of ordinary men and women.

How often do you read in the Subsidariat, or hear on Newsnight, contemptuous references to the tabloid press as if it was some disembodied monster rather than the very embodiment of the views of the great majority of the British people.

Fair enough, you might say. The tabloid press – and it’s getting confusing here, because The Times and The Independent are, of course, tabloids now – is big enough to look after itself.

Except I don’t think it is fair because such arguments ignore the ever burgeoning growth of the most powerful media organisation in the world. I refer, of course, to the hugely subsidised BBC.

And it’s my contention in this lecture that the Subsidariat, dominated by the BBC monolith, is distorting Britain’s media market, crushing journalistic pluralism and imposing a mono culture that is inimical to healthy democratic debate.

Now before the liberal commentators reach for their vitriol – and, my goodness, how they demonise anyone who disagrees with them – let me say that I would die in a ditch defending the BBC as a great civilising force. I, for one, would pay the licence fee just for Radio 4.

But as George Orwell said “to see what is in front of one’s nose requires constant struggle”. And what is in front of one’s nose is that the BBC, a behemoth that bestrides Britain is, as Cudlipp might have put it, TOO BLOODY BIG, TOO BLOODY PERVASIVE AND TOO BLOODY POWERFUL.

Firstly, consider the sheer vast size of the Corporation which is, despite its bleating about being underfunded, a conglomerate that employs 26,000 people, has a vast £3.2bn budget, and thinks nothing of paying £18m to a chat show host.

Then consider this: the BBC employs more journalists and their support staff, - 3,500 - and spends more on them - £½ billion - than do all the national daily newspapers put together.

Pervasiveness? Where there was once just a handful of channels the BBC now has an awesome stranglehold on the airwaves reaching into every home every hour of the day. Like an amoeba, that reproduces itself by fission, the Corporation just grows and grows.

On TV there’s BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, News 24 and BBC World. Then there’s Radios One, Two, Three, Four, Five Live, Five Live Sports Extra, 1Xtra, BBC6 Music, BBC7, BBC Asian Network and, of course, the BBC World Service. On the web, has a staggering 53% of the British online audience and the Corporation has just earmarked a £350m war-chest to expand into social networking on the internet.
The BBC has 15 regional TV services across England plus 40 local radio stations and now – in a move that has huge implications for newspapers - is considering launching over 60 local TV news stations across the UK.

No wonder Britain’s hard pressed provincial press complains it can’t compete against such firepower, our ailing commercial radio sector is furious that the market is rigged against it by subsidy, while our nascent internet firms rage they’re not competing on a level playing field.

No wonder ITV, admittedly aided and abetted by some pretty incompetent management, is reeling on the ropes, while ITN is a shadow of its glorious former self and – wrested from its traditional time slot – News at Ten has become News at When and barely manages an audience of 2m compared to the 10m in its glory days.

But it’s not the BBC’s ubiquity, so much greater than Fleet Street’s, that is worrying but its power to impose - under the figleaf of impartiality - its own world view.

Now I don’t want to go over old ground. So let’s not dwell here on the fact that in the early days, manipulated by Campbell and Mandelson, the BBC was almost an official arm of New Labour. Just what was it doing holding special news events such as NHS Day which was nothing more than blatant Government propaganda. And if you don’t accept that just ask yourself this question: would the BBC ever hold a Private Health Day !

Put to one side how preposterous it was that two Labour stooges became Director General and Chairman, that the outgoing John Birt walked out of the Corporation straight into a post at No 10 and that the ex-head of the BBC’s Political Unit helped write Labour’s Election Manifesto.

Even if you like, ignore the fact that the BBC has, until recently, been institutionally anti-Tory.

The sorry fact is that there is not a single Labour scandal – Ecclestone, Mittal, Mandelson and the Hindujas, Cheriegate, Tessa Jowell and Prescott and Anshutz – on which the BBC has shown the slightest journalistic alacrity and has not had to be dragged into covering late in the day by papers like the Mail.

Such pusillaminity is especially shameful when you compare this to the almost indecent zeal with which the BBC pursued Tory scandals. How telling that it virtually ignored the Deputy Prime Minister’s affair with his secretary – a blatant abuse of his office – yet could hardly contain itself over the news that John Major had had an affair with Edwina Currie.

I recently had lunch with the BBC’s Director General and I don’t think it’s breaking a confidence to reveal that he told me that their research showed that the BBC was no longer perceived as being anti-Tory.

“That’s because you’ve broken the buggers”, I said laughing.

And it’s true. Today’s Tories are obsessed by the BBC. They saw what its attack dogs did to Hague, Duncan-Smith and Howard. Cameron’s cuddly blend of eco-politics and work-life balance, his embrace of Polly Toynbee – a columnist who loathes everything Conservatism stands for but is a totemic figure to the BBC – his sidelining of Thatcherism and his banishing of all talk of lower taxes, lower immigration and Euro scepticism, are all part of the Tories’ blood sacrifice to the BBC God.

Now, I’m not really worried about this. The Conservatives can look after themselves.
What really disturbs me is that the BBC is, in every corpuscle of its corporate body,
against the values of conservatism, with a small “c”, which, I would argue, just
happen to be the values held by millions of Britons.

Thus it exercises a kind of “cultural Marxism” in which it tries to undermine that conservative society by turning all its values on their heads. Of course, there is the odd dissenting voice, but by and large BBC journalism starts from the premise of leftwing ideology: it is hostile to conservatism and the traditional Right, Britain’s past and British values, America, Ulster Unionism, Euro-scepticism, capitalism and big business, the countryside, Christianity, and family values.

Conversely it is sympathetic to Labour, European Federalism, the State and State spending, mass immigration, minority rights, multiculturalism, alternative lifestyles, abortion and progressiveness in the education and the justice systems.

Now you may sympathise with all or some of these views. I may even sympathise with some of them. But what on earth gives the BBC the right to assume they are the only values of any merit.

Over Europe, for instance, the BBC has always treated anyone who doesn’t share its federalism – which just happens to be the great majority of the British population - as if they were demented xenophobes. In very telling words, the ex-Cabinet Secretary Lord Wilson blamed the BBC’s “institutional mindset” over Europe on a “homogenous professional recruitment base” and “a dislike for conservative ideas.”

Yet again, until recently, anyone who questioned, however gently, multiculturalism or mass immigration was treated like a piece of dirt – a strategy which effectively enabled the BBC to all but close down debate on the biggest demographic change to this island in its history.

Worse, the Corporation censors the news. A distinguished journalist who had revealed that a rise in HIV figures was little to do with the indigenous population but was caused by recent African immigrants being diagnosed with the problem had his interview pulled at the last moment. He was replaced by a minister declaring that UK teenagers wearing condoms would stop the rise in HIV.

Above all the BBC is statist. To its functionaries, inured from the vulgar demands of the real world, there is no problem great or small – and this is one of the factors in Britain’s soaring victim culture – that cannot be blamed on a lack of state spending and any politician daring to argue that taxes should be cut is accused of “lurching to the right”.

Thus BBC journalism is presented through a left-wing prism that affects everything – the choice of stories, the way they are angled, the choice of interviewees and, most pertinently, the way those interviewees are treated.

Freedom of Information enquiries tell us, and we should be very unsurprised here, that the BBC Newsroom has more copies of the statist Guardian delivered than any other paper and that 90% of the Corporation’s job ads are placed with that paper.

Thus are the values of a subsidised newspaper that sells 380,000 copies embraced by an organisation that reaches into virtually every home in Britain.

Like The Guardian’s, the BBC’s journalists, insulated from real competition, believe that only their world view constitutes moderate, sensible and decent opinion. Any dissenting views – particularly those held by popular papers – are therefore considered, by definition, to be extreme and morally beyond the pale.

Socially the BBC is snobbish. It is disdainful, in particular, of the values of the decent lower middle classes as they strive to raise their families, respect the traditions of this country, obey the law and get by on their comparatively meagre incomes.

But then, the BBC is consumed by the kind of political correctness that is actually patronisingly contemptuous of what it describes as ordinary people. Having started as an admirable philosophy of tolerance, that political correctness has become an intolerant creed enabling a self-appointed elite to impose its minority values on the great majority. Anything popular is dismissed as being populist which is sneering shorthand for being of the lowest possible taste.

The right to disagree was axiomatic to classical liberalism, but the BBC’s political correctness is, in fact, an ideology of rigid self-righteousness in which those who do not conform are ignored, silenced, or villified as sexist, racist, fascist, or judgmental. Thus, with this assault on reason, are whole areas of legitimate debate – in education, health, race relations and law and order- shut down.

“Four legs good, two legs bad” chanted the sheep in Orwell’s Animal Farm - that study in totalitarianism – and what is in front of one’s nose is that the BBC, which glories in being open-minded, is, in fact, a closed thought system operating a kind of Orwellian Newspeak. This, I would argue, is perverting political discourse and disenfranchising countless millions who don’t subscribe to the BBC’s world view. Told repeatedly that their opinions are not considered respectable or legitimate these people are disconnecting – one of the reasons, I would suggest, for the current apathy over politics.

How instructive to compare all this with what is happening in America. There, the liberal smugness of a terminally worthy, monopolistic press has, together with deregulation, triggered both the explosive growth of right-wing radio broadcasting that now dominates the airwaves and the extraordinary rise of Murdoch’s rightwing Fox TV News service.

In Britain, regulators would not currently allow such “opinionated” broadcasting -
though, of course, there’s nothing more opinionated than the BBC’s journalism. But democracy needs a healthy tension between Left and Right and nature abhors a vacuum. If the BBC continues skewing the political debate there will be a backlash and I predict that what has happened in America will eventually take place in Britain.

And here I wish to digress for a moment and address an issue that should deeply worry all those who believe in press freedom: Britain’s judges – whose dislike of much of the media should not be underestimated – are itching to bring in a Privacy Law by the back door. Under the Human Rights Act we are witnessing the development, at a frightening pace, of an aggressive judge-made privacy law over which Parliament has no control. Indeed, had you told me 36 years ago that a cuckolded husband didn’t have the right to speak about his wife’s adultery, that a paper would be banned from referring to royal indiscretions contained in a round-robin journal distributed to scores of people and that the media cannot reveal the identity of a Labour ex-Education Minister who sends her child to private school – three issues that have come up recently on the privacy front - I would have simply disbelieved you.

Yes, there are excesses by the media and they need to be curbed - but as Northcliffe said, the power of the press is great but not as great as the power of suppress.

Add to a privacy law in which judges are to be the sole arbiters, the Data Protection Act which, in theory, makes it illegal to obtain ex-directory phone numbers, proposals to restrict access to coroners’ courts, the use of anti-terrorist legislation to seize journalist’s records, and the cynical undermining of the Freedom of Information Act – the one potentially counter balancing right for the media - and Hugh Cudlipp’s credo of “publish and be damned” is being replaced more and more by the ethos of “don’t publish unless the lawyer says you can”. Such restrictions are not conducive to producing adventurous journalism but, the judges, I fear, are all part of a movement by a liberal establishment to curb what they see as the excesses of the press. Indeed there was a recent movement, spearheaded by a philosophy don and taken up enthusiastically in the Subsidariat, to argue that the irresponsibility of Britain’s media was making good governance all but impossible.

What was needed was more civic journalism.

This argument, while being a brilliant defence of such newspapers as Pravda, profoundly misunderstands the nature of Britain’s popular press. Such papers need to be sensational, irreverent, gossipy, interested in celebrities and human relationships and, above all, brilliantly entertaining sugar coated pills if they are to attract huge circulations and devote considerable space to intelligent, thoughtprovoking journalism, analysis and comment on important issues.

Yes, in an ideal world, Britain’s press should be more civic minded though, I for one, passionately believe that newspapermen – while beholden to behave responsibly - should be outsiders and not part of any process, civic or otherwise.

But we do not live in Utopia. We live in a world where, frankly, many electors are more interested in Celebrity Big Brother than in affairs of state. And any paper that manages both to entertain and engage millions of readers with brilliantly written serious journalism on the great issues of the day is playing an important role in democracy and the judges and the Subsidariat ignore the sugarcoated pill argument at their peril.

Of course, the British press, pretty much all of it, has flaws: under the pressure of
deadlines it is, regrettably, too often careless, too often insensitive and clumsy in its headlong rush for a story; it over-states and over-simplifies; it prefers the dramatic to the mundane, the sentimental to the compassionate. Above all it lives for the day and is often risibly short term in its view of things.

But I also believe passionately that the popular press has great virtues.

I have been an Editor now for 17 years and in that time turned down the editorships of The Times and The Telegraph. One reason I did so is that I glory in the total freedom and absence of interference the Rothermeres give their editors. Another was that I really do believe that the popular press, by connecting with millions of people, has a vital role to play in British life and can, as the Mail did in the case of Stephen Lawrence, make a difference.

At their best, popular papers – that are far more sensitive than politicians and opinion polls to national moods - articulate the anxieties, apprehensions and aspirations of their readers. Genuinely democratic – I mean, you try persuading people to fork out 45p for a paper on a rainy day - they give voice to millions of ordinary people who don’t have a voice. And, because they have this symbiotic, almost tactile responsiveness to their readers, such papers are often able to identify and highlight great truths - truths that are often uncomfortable to a ruling class that is increasingly dismissive of ordinary people’s views.

It might sound pious to say, but with a weakened second chamber and a still-untested Opposition, popular papers are sometimes the only counter-foil to arrogant – and increasingly corrupt – politicians, hugely powerful but unaccountable quangocrats, an out-of-touch judiciary and a ruling class that too often thinks it knows how to run people’s lives better than they do themselves.

Which brings me back to the BBC. It, of course, prides itself on having that civic responsibility referred to earlier. But let’s pose this question: what if a civic BBC finds itself dealing with an administration that does not behave in a civic way ? An administration that manipulates news organisations and the news agenda, that packs Ministry Press Offices with its supporters, that chooses good days to bury bad news, that favours news bodies that give it positive coverage and penalises those who don’t, that fabricates Health and Education figures and concocts dodgy dossiers – an administration that, in Campbell and Mandelson, thought nothing of engaging in
systematic falsehood.

Is the BBC’s civic journalism – too often credulously trusting, lacking scepticism, rarely proactive in the sense of breaking stories itself – up to dealing with a political class that too often set out to dissemble and to deceive ?

The bitter irony, of course, is that when, for once, the BBC was proactive in its journalism and did stand up to the Labour Party by breaking a genuine story, the Corporation and its craven governors all but imploded under pressure from a rabid Campbell.

And what is interesting is that this contrasted with the ruthless support for the Iraq war that Rupert Murdoch imposed on his papers and their equally ruthless suppression of any criticism of the invasion whether it involved the Attorney General’s malfeasance, virtually ignored in The Times, or Dr Kelly, all but hung drawn and quartered by The Sun.

Indeed, I would suggest that the intimacy and power-brokering between these two papers and No 10 and the question whether Mr Blair would have got away with his falsehoods and misjudgements over Iraq – indeed, whether Britain would have gone to war at all - without the support of the Murdoch empire, is a brilliant doctoral thesis for some future media studies student.

So I started with the question, does Britain still have a gloriously free and diverse media ? Well, I suppose the answer is, up to a point, Lord Copper... Yes, the BBC is, in many ways, a wonderful organisation. But the fact remains that it depends for its licence fee on the British population as a whole yet only reflects the views of a tiny metropolitan minority. This is an abuse of the position of trust it should occupy and if it continues with its political and cultural bias then the British people will withdraw their consent and the Corporation will fall into discredit which would be a great pity.

Yes, Murdoch is the media genius of his age. His Wapping revolution led to a renaissance of the British press and the birth of papers that now routinely villify him, but the way he imposes his proprietorial views, and his manipulation of governments is worrying and what a terrible comment on the cowardice of senior British politicians that not one of them has spoken out against his 18% holding in ITV.

Yes, daily newspapers still sell a glorious 12m copies and contain much glorious journalism but too many are losing money, and an over-powerful Subsidariat, dominated by the BBC behemoth, is skewing the political debate. And, yes, Britain still has a reasonably robust, commercially viable and democratic popular press but it is, as I’ve argued here, under siege as never before. Circulations are slipping. Traditional revenues are migrating. Distribution is becoming more problematic. But the greatest threat comes from an ever-more centralising, an ever-more controlling establishment that is becoming increasingly intolerant of any form of dissent.

If we want to avoid the day when headlines and bulletins all recite the same mantra “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad” we should all of us, particularly those who care deeply about press freedom, be very, very vigilant. To see what’s in front of one’s nose requires constant struggle.

And what’s in front of one’s nose is that Britain needs greater freedom, plurality and diversity in its media.

Demography Is Destiny

I get bored with writing about race and demography. I get cheesed when those who don't like black or Asian people assume that I agree with them. I worry that some of the remarks in the comments threads will put off the people I want to attract to the blog - lefties who've got the odd niggling doubt as to whether all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, and who might be prepared to look at evidence to the contrary. I worry that this blog's getting a bit monochrome in its choice of subjects. As an ex-lefty, I look with my old eyes and see a swivel-eyed single-issue merchant.

But I'll carry on - because I see it as the most important issue facing Britain, and the one with the greatest possibilities for danger. Continuing to import large numbers of peoples and cultures into Britain - mostly into England - while making no attempt to integrate them (indeed, no longer having a strong culture to integrate to) seems to me, no matter how pleasant individual members of those cultures may be, to be asking for trouble. When at the same time the native population is in demographic decline, unlike the fecund newcomers, phrases like 'busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre' seem apposite.

I'm pleased to see that Christopher Hitchens understands.

The most alarming sentences that I have read in a long time came from the pen of my fellow atheist Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, at the end of a September Los Angeles Times column upbraiding American liberals for their masochistic attitude toward Islamist totalitarianism. Harris concluded:

The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization.

As Martin Amis said in the essay that prompted Steyn’s contempt: “What is one to do with thoughts like these?” How does one respond, in other words, when an enemy challenges not just your cherished values but additionally forces you to examine the very assumptions that have heretofore seemed to underpin those values?

Two things, in my experience, disable many liberals at the onset of this conversation. First, they cannot shake their subliminal identification of the Muslim religion with the wretched of the earth: the black- and brown-skinned denizens of what we once called the “Third World.” You can see this identification in the way that the Palestinians (about 20 percent of whom were Christian until their numbers began to decline) have become an “Islamic” cause and in the amazing ignorance that most leftists display about India, a multiethnic secular democracy under attack from al-Qaida and its surrogates long before the United States was. And you can see it, too, in the stupid neologism “Islamophobia,” which aims to promote criticism of Islam to the gallery of special offenses associated with racism.

The second liberal disability concerns numbers. Any emphasis on the relative birthrates of Muslim and non-Muslim populations falls on the liberal ear like an echo of eugenics. It also upsets one of the most valued achievements of the liberal consensus: the right if not indeed the duty to limit family size to (at most) two children. It was all very well, from this fatuously self-satisfied perspective, for Paul Ehrlich to warn about the human “population bomb” as a whole, just as it is all very well for some “Green” forces to take a neo-Malthusian attitude toward human reproduction in general. But in the liberal mind, to concentrate on the fertility of any one group is to flirt with Nuremberg laws. The same goes for “racial profiling,” even when it’s directed at the adherents of an often ideological religion rather than an ethnic group. The Islamists, meanwhile, have staked everything on fecundity.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Black And White Unite And Fight

From the Romford Recorder of Jan 15 :

UPMINSTER'S streets erupted this week when feuding gangs of up to 150 youths clashed leaving several wounded and residents and shopkeepers terrified.

The scenes of bedlam outside Upminster Bridge Station, in Upminster Road, started when mobs of warring black, Asian and white youths, brandishing knives, wrenches and lumps of wood, clashed at 4pm on Tuesday.

The huge brawl, which left one 27-year-old man with a stab wound to the lower back, another with broken ribs and others with minor injuries, caused chaos for commuters as the Underground station was cordoned off by forensic teams until 10.30pm that evening.

Nearby roads were also closed as yobs spilled into residential streets to continue fighting.

John Read, who works at Wagstaff &Sons - next door to the station said: "They were all tooled up carrying knives, metal wrenches and lumps of two-by-four (wood) up their sleeves.

"We watched the first few fists fly but then they all crowded round and you couldn't see a thing.

"There must have been something big brewing because there's been a couple of bust-ups recently and to see this level of violence and weapons it must have been planned."

(Hat-tip - Julia M)

More Racism ?

A sobering tale from Jasvinder Sanghera.

“What about Zainab Singh? Her mother caught her at the bus stop, talking to a boy. That was three weeks ago and Mira hasn’t let her out of the house since. I said to her, ‘Mira, you have only yourself to blame. Let her mix with white girls and she will pick up white girl ways’.”

The worst thing you can say to an Asian girl is that she is behaving like a white person. We weren’t allowed to mix with white people because Mum said they didn’t have any morals or self-respect. She said whites were dirty people with dirty ways. That’s what all the women I called Aunty thought too, and everyone else in our community.

An Asian boy might have a bit of fun with white girls — “white meat”, they’d say — while he was growing up, but when it came to settling down, his family would find him a good Asian bride.

If an Asian girl went out with a white boy that was different. Her brothers or her uncles would find him and beat him up and then they would beat her, too, for bringing shame on the family. Then she would be ruined; no decent Asian man would ever want her. Everyone knew that. I knew it by the time I was eight.

Now I think people should be able to hold such views (without the beatings-up, of course) - but imagine what a row there'd be if this attitude was the norm among working class natives !

We see here a culture which at base is totally unintegrated and which actually despises the native culture. I can understand that - I despise it too. But it's not necessarily a pointer to community harmony - and these people (Sikhs) are generally thought of as the good guys.

Only one worry about her story. Here she says :

“But then if you look at the recent BBC poll for the Asian network they asked 15 to 24-year-olds if they could justify an honour killing, and more than 50% said they could.”

The figures (pdf) look like 8% to me, not 50%.

Carnival Of The Hypocrites

I've really tried to ignore this, I really have. But ...

Let's start with the Sun.

Bigotry Brother

January 20, 2007

SANITY has prevailed. Thank Heaven for that.

Jade Goody went into the Big Brother house appearing to be simply a fun-loving working-class girl canny enough to have made millions from her 15 minutes of fame. It was all a meticulously manufactured lie.

She has left the house with her true personality laid bare: A vile, pig-ignorant, racist bully consumed by envy of a woman of superior intelligence, beauty and class.

Incredible as it may seem, last night’s vote was the most important in Britain since the last General Election.

OK, it’s just a reality TV show. But it became a referendum on whether our nation, with the eyes of the world on us, was prepared to back a home-grown yob over a dignified Indian actress.

We weren’t and the result has restored faith in the British public.

Hopefully Jade will now slither back under the rock from where she crawled before her debut on Big Brother in 2002.

As for her two spineless, sniggering sidekicks . . . let’s hope they join her.

"a fun-loving working-class girl", eh ? Otherwise known as toilet-mouthed, ignorant-and-proud-of-it slapper - the authentic middle-class idea of a working-class girl, all the chav stereotypes in one.

Two giant hypocrisies here. First the usual what-does-this-tell-us-about-our-society nagombi. In Hari Kunzru's words "it holds a mirror up to national attitudes".

The bad deeds of Brits reflect upon us all, "us" being the native Brits; the bad deeds of others tell us nothing about the "other" community, whichever it be. Last week also saw a fifteen-year old boy in a hospital bed, held down by a gang while his head was smashed with a hammer - but that, of course, is the work of a few isolated thugs, while Jade and Danielle lay bare, in Trevor Phillips' words, "the dark heart of private prejudice that all too often sits behind the public veneer of tolerance". Dark heart ? That sounds like racist language to me.

Jermaine Jackson's delineation of the girls as "white trash", accurate but as racist as anything Jade's come out with, seems to have slipped off the radar. And Vir Sanghvi reports from India that :

The rest of the housemates comprised what the Indian press has gleefully taken to describing as white trash: a gay singer from a teen band, a disgraced beauty queen (she slept with the judge and now sleeps with football players), a columnist for the popular press, a small-time American TV star of yesteryear etc etc.

Chandan Mitra, in an interesting piece, points out that :

Very often Hindi films caricature Englishmen in a bid to elicit some laughs from viewers. How would we like it if Whitehall were to take this lampooning as an affront to Britons and register official complaints with our Government ?

Secondly the class thing. Columnists have been falling over themselves to point out how superior a middle class person is - if she's not British.

I've seen so much stuff on the theme of "Shilpa is beautiful, cultured and intelligent, speaks six languages and can cook. Jade, by contrast, is an ignorant slob. No wonder she hates the fragrant, classy Shilpa, who she can never emulate and who is so far above her."

Just imagine how this would have played if Shilpa Shetty was plain Sally Smith, a working class girl who'd emerged from grammar school with a hatful of A levels, beautiful English and good manners.

We'd have heard acres of stuff on the lines of how "the authentically working-class Jade" was slapping down the pretensions of a middle-class wannabe.

Cultural theorists from ex-polytechnics would be wheeled out on Radio Five to explain that "what Jade is doing is defending traditional working-class culture against someone who, although from her own class, is rejecting that culture".

Unlikely parallels would be drawn between Sally and Blair's Labour Party, each having sold their soul for capitalist gold. Jade would be a Guardian heroine.

Implicit in all of this would be the notion that to be authentically working class is to be an incontinent, foul-mouthed lumpen, not only ignorant but glorying in it - a travesty of working class people.

Guardianista Alan Bissett, would be at the front of the queue to support Jade.

It was Jackiey Goody - the Lenin to Jade's Stalin - who first shook the upper layer of the Big Brother House. With her exit came Jade's ascent, and their working-class coup was complete.

Jade's anger is not unjustifiable - there is no justice in a world which affords Shilpa such opportunity and those of Jade's ilk so little ...
(only free education, healthcare, libraries, sports facilities - the sort of stuff 90% of the world's population don't get - LT)

Working-class women loved Jade because she represented their emancipation and spirit.

If only Shilpa had been white !

UPDATE - the Dumb One nails it.

Still, there is one other factor: the totally surreal debate over what one of those chavs actually said to the Indian lass. Liberal witch hunters allege that he told her a p***, while the chav in question maintains that he merely called her a c***.

The distinction might not be obvious the folks in the real world, but to Liberals it is all-important. The first version of words sealed his reputation as a Liberal hate figure, while the second is proof positive of working-class authenticity. Indeed, as much effort as Liberals are currently spending denouncing the chavs for their alleged racism, they spent previously telling us obnoxious behaviour was the hallmark of genuine working class culture.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Well ...

You have to admire her taste.

A Muslim woman police officer refused to shake hands with the head of the Metropolitan Police on faith grounds.

I quite see her point - I haven't got any faith in him either.