Saturday, February 03, 2007
Plus, Hasmik Poghosyan, Armenian Minister of Culture, should be invited to become British culture minister.
She declared: “It is unacceptable for us that someone who is considered a national treasure in Britain would bring such low-quality art to Armenia.
“We honour the high art of British theatre and are sure that from the Queen to ordinary Britons the greatest pride and treasure is Shakespeare. It appears that the English perception of treasures has been drastically devalued and Nigel Charnock is its best evidence.”
Charnock is an exponent of physical, transgressive, challenging etc etc DV8-style modern dance - the kind that gets Guardian reviewers all hot under the studded collar.
Ms Ghulyan acknowledged that some in the audience had been offended by sexually suggestive movements during the performance. Charnock had wrapped a Union Jack around his loins and then draped the Armenian tricolor over his naked torso.
So far, so Arts Council. But cultural sensitivity - nul points. Charnock was apparently unaware that treading on the Armenian flag is a criminal offence.
Charnock, on his first vist to the country, had placed Armenian and British flags on the stage and danced on them before an audience at the Stanislavsky State Theatre, in Yerevan, on Wednesday.
Mrs Poghoysan, 46, who was not at the performance, ordered a second show to be cancelled and accused Charnock of committing a criminal offence punishable by up to a year in prison.
Mrs Poghosyan said that she was not censoring artistic expression but acting to prevent disrespectful treatment of Armenia’s flag.
“Charnock may treat the British flag as he likes. He can drop it on the floor, step on it, chew it or swallow it, but it is unacceptable and punishable by law to treat the Armenian flag that way,” she said.
At a press conference called swiftly by the British Council, a chastened Charnock, 45, offered his “unconditional apologies”. He told reporters: “All I’m trying to do is communicate love.”
Friday, February 02, 2007
"As the Fatah team left the peace negotiations they came under fire. Two bodyguards were wounded."
I think you could describe a truce as 'fragile' when you've just signed one and the other side are shooting at you as you leave the building.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
(and the Birmingham Post illustrates some reactions - if those three are female I'll eat my hijab)
Cartoon by Matt from the Telegraph. Thanks to Blognor Regis.
But overzealous police officers turned the tables on Nicholas Tyers, 46, and his son Lee, 20, treating them as criminals and taking their fingerprints after the boy complained.
Mr Tyers and his Royal Marine son were charged with kidnap for holding the boy for up to six minutes and told the maximum sentence was life in prison. During the six months that followed, Mr Tyers was forced to sell his shop and lost his faith in justice.
OK, so the Judge John Dowse (pbuh) chucked the case out. But what sort of signal does the arrest and investigation send ?
What was it Peter Hitchens said ? The criminal justice system now enforces 'the letter of a bureaucratic law rather then the spirit of an agreed and respected moral code'.
“With the other hand, he grasped her cheeks, turned her face toward him and pressed his lips to her lips, while inserting his tongue into her mouth, all without her consent.”
Haim Ramon, 56, faces up to three years in prison after a court rejected his defence that his kiss with the 21-year-old was consensual.
Now let's face it, that's not the act of a gentleman. He should have had his face slapped. But isn't this a bit OTT ? I know one or two chaps who got more than they bargained for when an older (and chardonnay-soaked) female colleague gave them a Christmas kiss, but you have to weave the coarse thread into life's rich tapestry somehow.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Security sources say the gang was going to video him pleading with Tony Blair to pull troops out of Iraq before beheading him. The serviceman, in his twenties, is now under police guard.
Not very nice, is it ? Still, if lots of religious bookshops are flogging DVDs of Russians having their throats cut by the Glorious Chechen Resistance, I suppose it's only a matter of time before someone in Brum or Dewsbury decides that home video is where it's at.
What would worry me even more would be if the victims were random natives. Quite apart from the victim's sufferings, you'd have an exodus of the few remaining Brummies from the Sparkhills and Small Heaths of this world. Instant segregation.
And there's a whole lot more, some I would have thought potentially libellous, at Abolish The GMC.
A glance at the BBC news pages is enough to reveal the hideous sexism and racism of the medical profession - against white males, as it happens.
Researchers at Oxford University say white men, who make up 44% of the UK population, accounted for 26% of new medical students in 2001.
They said medicine is increasingly dominated by white women and people from ethnic minorities, particularly those from the Asian community.
He wants to scrap presidential term limits and rewrite the constitution to build what he calls "socialism for the 21st Century". Officials say he has no intention of turning Venezuela into a communist state, arguing that freedom of speech and religion will all be safe.
Ah, yes. Freedom of speech will be as free as it can be in a country where there's no freedom of property.
Sophie's romantic(?) boys-meet-girl 'fic' isn't interactive, but she's up to Chapter 208 as I write.
I must admit I hadn't heard of this 'fic' thing ? Is it 'hot on the street (man)' ?. Are there thousands of fics ? Would Soph's work be 'chick-fic' ?
Anyone read the whole thing ?
"Overall, international migration is now the main driver of population change in the UK."
"The enlargement of the European Union (EU) in 2004 led to a greater than anticipated increase in the number of migrant workers. This came on top of a steady rise in the number and the diversity of foreign nationals coming to the UK to work, including many foreign students. While future numbers are inherently hard to predict, economic and demographic trends make it likely that a high level of migration for work and for study will continue for the foreseeable future."
"In all national and local surveys, employers are very positive about their economic contribution (Refs. 6, 7, 8 and 9). Recent macroeconomic studies consider that migrant workers are net contributors to the economy (Refs. 10 and 11) and have helped to keep wage inflation down in areas of skill shortage."
Doing a skilled job ? Pay more tax so that the council can train people to undercut you !
"The arrival of migrant workers has been welcomed by the government, the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress."
How about these two statements ?
"There is little evidence that the increased numbers of migrant workers have caused significant or systematic problems in respect of community safety or cohesion."
"Police forces are usually the first local services to notice and respond to change."
I wonder why that could be ?
"Local media can influence the tone of the debate by selecting particular stories and letters and writing editorials. Building good relationships with local editors, involving relevant media in discussions and identifying and promoting positive stories to local media can help ensure a more balanced tone."
It's handy that local government is a major advertiser in local papers then, isn't it ?
This line pretty much sums it up :
The unexpected speed and scale of change since 2004 means that migrant workers will continue to be an issue in an increasing number of areas, including those with little recent history of ethnic diversity or rapid population change.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
It seems they're less charitable, too.
A Syracuse University professor who studied economics at the famously demanding Rand Graduate School, Brooks has exhaustively reviewed a wide range of nonpartisan survey research, much of it university-based, to demonstrate the existence of a charitable divide between liberals and conservatives. He has determined, for instance, that the average conservative-headed household gives 30 percent more money to charity than the average liberal-headed one ($1,600 compared with $1,227), despite earning 6 percent less annually. Moreover, Brooks has found that of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average, George W. Bush won 24 in the 2004 presidential race. Perhaps there really are, to borrow John Edwards’s glib phrase, two Americas: one charitable, the other miserly.
Interesting to see that, as in the UK, the rich are more likely to be left-wing. Pretty much shows you where the People's Party gets its support from.
Brooks adeptly correlates charitable giving with four characteristics, all of which favor conservatives. They are religiousness, by far the most potent predictor of charity; employment (those on public assistance do not give to charity, in contrast to the working poor, who are especially supportive of churches); “strong families,” especially traditional two-parent families; and skepticism about government’s role in redistributing income. Those who favor governmental redistributive programs give less to charity and have, moreover, effectively used public discourse to equate their view with compassion.
Those are impressive figures though - Democrat or Republican. The average Dem's still giving £600 a year. I wonder what the UK figures would look like ?
Huntly House has received local authority funding since 1984.
However, councillor Peter Corbett said the council was under pressure to provide "wet" hostels where rules on alcohol are less strict.
Mr Corbett, councillor for Merkinch, said council officials have warned that the authority cannot continue funding Huntly House in its present form.
He said Highland was under increasing pressure to ensure care for all homeless people - including those who are disruptive because they may have addiction problems.
Mr Corbett said: "Huntly House will have to take that on board."They do have highly trained, highly qualified staff who work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so they do know how to deal with clients such as these."
So a home which tries to create a peaceful and safe environment will have to take disruptive p***heads - because hey, their lifestyle is as valid as anyone else's.
A few years back Robert Whelan of Civitas wrote The Corrosion of Charity, on how :
The emergence in the late twentieth century of a rights-based, universal welfare state has posed a dilemma for the voluntary sector. Unable to compete with the state in terms of resources or coverage, many charities have become little more than government sub-contractors, charging fees to provide services. As a result, charities have lost some of their independence, their capacity to be innovative, and their special significance as primary institutions of civil society, providing training grounds for good citizenship.
The Sally Army are still a lot more than Government subbies - for the moment. But they're supping with the Devil, and will need a lang spoon.
He's just been convicted again, after he abducted and assaulted a seven year old.
I wonder what he'll do next time he's let out early ?
Commenting on why Sadiq Mohammed had not been deported, a Home Office spokesman said: "The government has made clear that public protection is the overarching priority of the Home Office."As part of this we have made clear that we will seek to deport foreign national prisoners who have committed a serious crime as early as possible in their sentence."
I do like their deadpan humour. The only asylum seekers who go back to Somalia are those wanted for murder - who leave of their own accord.
The city has also distributed projects over a much wider area of Paris. Officials from OPAC and other city agencies are working to ensure that all quarters contain 20 percent public housing, and they have announced that all new buildings in wealthier quarters must include at least 25 percent affordable housing in their programs.During last year's Paris riots a deal of attention was paid to the rings of isolated estates surrounding the city. It look as though they're going to try and distribute the inhabitants around the posh bits. An innovative strategy.
Architectural Record, perhaps unsurprisingly, seem to think the riots were caused by the "heavy, blocky, and still insensitively scaled" nature of "faceless, block-style" social housing.
Donald Pearce, 49, a pub landlord, had slept only three hours in the previous 24 as he drove from Stansted Airport after a night flight from Turkey in October, 2005.
On the A11 near Wymondham, Norfolk, Pearce fell asleep and his car drifted into a layby at 60 mph, hitting Zak Carr, 30, a champion UK time trials cyclist, as he cycled to his job on a building site. Pearce had denied causing death by dangerous driving but was found guilty at Norwich Crown Court earlier this month.
Banning Pearce from driving for seven years and ordering him to pay more than £2,000 costs, Judge Simon Barham told him that he should have been aware that he was likely to fall asleep at the wheel.
Now it's true it was a foolish thing to do. But five years ?
What do you get four years (you're eligible for release after two) for nowadays ?
Stabbing your husband to death, a neighbour to death, dropping heavy objects onto strangers from a motorway bridge, shaking a baby to death, smuggling dope for paramilitaries, locking a child in a skip and burning him to death (reduced to three years on appeal), killing a woman rather unpleasantly with a golf umbrella.
Obviously lesser offences than Mr Pearce's. Words fail me.
Monday, January 29, 2007
“Mashallah! what is the kafir afraid of? What crimes hath he committed, that he would have his pardon granted before he tells his story?” said the pacha to Mustapha.
“No crime toward your state, your sublime highness; but when in another country, I was unfortunate,” continued the man; “I cannot tell my story, unless your highness will condescend to give your promise.”
“May it please your highness,” observed Mustapha, “he asserts his crime to have been committed in another state. It may be heavy, and I suspect ’tis murder;—but although we watch the flowers which ornament our gardens, and would punish those who cull them, yet we care not who intrudes and robs our neighbour—and thus, it appears to me, your highness, that it is with states, and sufficient for the ruler of each to watch over the lives of his own subjects.”
“Very true, Mustapha,” rejoined the pacha; “besides, we might lose the story. Kafir, you have our promise, and may proceed.”
The Story Of The Greek Slave, from Captain Marryat's The Pacha Of Many Tales. Whether the depiction of the status of Jewry under Islam (among other things) is accurate, or whether it reflects the assumptions and prejudices of the writer, I do not know. The whole thing may be the most appalling stereotyping. But it's a right riveting read.
Liberal world view is based upon the idea that we are at a unique moment in human history when now, for the first time ever, a civilisation can get by without the family, a shared narrative, a code of honour, objective truth, a sense of consequences or, well, any of the other 871 things the Left sneers at whenever traditional values are mentioned. Apparently, every civilisation that has existed in the past 5000 years has been a ghastly mistake.
Well, now we've got a chance to test that hypothesis.
On 'victimisation' :
In her article for the Guardian, the Respect Party’s councillor for Birmingham, Salma Yaqoob, argues that Muslims in the UK today are “subject to attacks reminiscent of the gathering storms of anti-Semitism in the first decades of the last century”. Such comparisons to Nazi Germany are common. As far back as 1992, during the period of the Bosnian civil war, the Muslim writer Shabbir Akhtar wrote in Muslim News, “next time there are gas chambers in Europe there is no doubt concerning who’ll be inside them”.105 Speaking at the launch of their publication, Anti-Muslim Discrimination and Hostility in the United Kingdom 2000, the Chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), Massoud Shadjareh, said “unless something is done urgently at governmental level, Muslims in Britain face the same fate this century as Jews in Europe in the last”.
These claims can only be described as hysterical.
A lot of thought's gone into it - I'll update when I've read it all. But a few things catch the eye.
“Many of the problems in the world today are a result of arrogant western attitudes” is a statement agreed with by 58% of Muslims. But then 30% of the general population agree with that too. State education does teach something after all.
7% of Muslims and 13% of the 16-24 age group agreed that “I admire organisations like Al-Qaeda that are prepared to fight against the West”. A note references a 1971 survey of Germans, in which 5% (10% of the youngest age group) said they would shelter a Baader-Meinhof member for a night. Just goes to show.
Muslims are by far the most successful group in the United Kingdom, and probably in Europe, if population growth is the key criterion - as, at the last it must be.
The BBC would never touch the issue of Muslim fertility, but they do have a fair few pages on the European demographic crisis, cunningly disguised as 'the rise of the childfree' (note the authentic post-Christian view of children as a burden and expense, something one can be 'free' of). In Russia they're getting worried and bigging up babies - Germany too. The Russians also don't seem to value diversity as we do.
Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has said he will never allow a gay rights parade in the Russian capital.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Luzhkov described such events as "satanic".
Moscow banned a gay march in 2006, citing the threat of violence. People who ignored the ban were beaten up by counter-demonstrators and arrested.
Gay activists say the ban breaches their fundamental human rights. They say they intend to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
In Britain, 61% of Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal, as it was until 1967. The younger the Muslim, the more likely s/he is to hold that view.
About 1,000 Spanish youths have clashed with police during the night on the edge of the capital Madrid.
The youths said they wanted to take on criminal gangs of Latin American immigrants who they complained were dominating their neighbourhood.
Three people were hurt and seven held in the clashes in the Alcorcon suburb.
Police fired tear gas at the rioters, who wore balaclavas or scarves to hide their faces and pelted them with bottles and coins.
Some armed with baseball bats and knives shouted: "Let's go and get those Dominicans."
The riot is linked to an incident in the same neighbourhood on Saturday night in which a young Spaniard fought with a Dominican resident in what locals say was a clash between rival gangs.
A gang of mainly Latin American immigrants, calling themselves the Latin Kings, is active in Alcorcon.
But many Spanish locals said that despite the slogans, this was not a race riot but the result of delinquency in a neighbourhood with high unemployment, which they say is neglected by the authorities.
Meanwhile Latin American immigrants in the area told reporters they feared they would be the target of more violence in the coming days.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I posted the following comment, but I can't see the damn thing. They don't say the blog's moderated and I don't want to lose all that typing, so it can live here for now.
"Britain is undoubtedly a more civilised and harmonious country since the passing of the race and sex equality laws 30 years ago." said Gareth.
"Gareth, as someone who was there 30 years ago, I disagree. " said Tom.
"I’m sorry Tom, but I profoundly disagree with you that anti-discrimination laws have made the position of ethnic minorities worse" said Gareth.
But that wasn't what Tom said, Gareth. He disagreed with you that we are more civilised and harmonious than 30 years ago. I think he's right.
I must admit I can't see much in the way of conservatism in the Conservative Forum, but I can see where David Cameron gets his support from.
Two teensy pointettes. One is that the culture and law of the UK was based on Christianity until very recent times. (Just) within living memory, for example, a divorce or a conviction for a homosexual offence could wreck a public career.
We've jettisoned all that since 1960-odd. Historically this is highly unusual - most societies since history began have been religiously based.
The question is - is this secular, materialist society the wave of the future, of is it a historical oddity due to be sharply and painfully corrected ?
The second point is related. A materialist society will look at the poorest and assume them to be the least successful. But if the poorest do not share this assumption, they may be content to be labelled thus when grants and funding are being handed out, while in no way internalising the view of the materialists. A case in point being the Muslim community, who according to Keith Ajegbo's 'Britishness' pdf will in 10 years time comprise 15% of the workforce. In places like Bradford the Muslim population will have tripled between 1980 and 2010 - and half of it will be under 18. We saw in the recent Lozells disturbances that power on the streets has passed from the Afro-Caribbean community (who, for example, controlled the streets in the Handsworth riots of 20 years back) to the Muslim one. From a non-materialist perspective (or even the materialist perspective of Josef Stalin), this looks like an extremely successful community - and one whose success shows no sign of diminishing.
In the pained Government inquiries which followed July 7, much coverage was devoted to the lack of participation in the workforce of women of Bengali and Pakistani heritage, which was seen as adding to cultural seperation. This seemed to me to miss the point entirely. Those women were working alright - raising children - without creches or nurseries - the way we used to do.
The trees do not grow up to the sky. The past is not necessarily a guide to the future - but it's the best guide we've got. On current UK trends, the secular state is a short-lived phenomenon of transition.
Secularists wishing to combat these trends may find that when push comes to shove, those prepared to die for their faith prove stronger than those for whom death is the end of everything.
One last point, again related. Homosexual activists worried about Christian 'homophobia' should take a look at what happened to the 'sex workers' of Bradford and Balsall Heath more than ten years ago.
Links : Demography :
Sex Workers :
Silly of me.
Social workers are placing obese children on the child protection register alongside victims thought to be at risk of sexual or physical abuse.
In extreme cases children have been placed in foster care because their parents have contributed to the health problems of their offspring by failing to respond to medical advice.
The intervention of social services in what was previously regarded as a private matter is likely to raise concerns about the emergence of the “fat police”.
Some doctors even advocate taking legal action against parents for illtreating their children by feeding them so much that they develop health problems.
Two questions :
a) how the hell will that work ? Has Scotland got fiscal independence ? Can a Scottish court confiscate English or worldwide earnings ? What if the criminal moves to Berwick ?
b) How long before the first 'Comment Is Free' piece saying - "there goes war criminal Blair's profit then" ?
Campbell-Bannerman - Liberal, free grammar ("For centuries it was an integral part of the city's educational system, but in 1976, despite its high standing and achievements, it was closed when education in Glasgow was reorganised along 'comprehensive' lines.")
Asquith - Liberal, private
Lloyd George, Liberal - free parish school and home-educated;
Bonar Law - Conservative - free grammar, the same one that educated Campbell-Bannerman
Stanley Baldwin - Conservative, Harrow - fee-paying, private
Ramsay MacDonald - Labour, free parish school (he was a pupil-teacher at 15 - bright students were recruited as teachers and learned at the chalkface)
Neville Chamberlain - Conservative, Rugby - fee-paying, private
Winston Churchill - Conservative, Harrow - fee-paying, private
Clement Attlee - Labour, Haileybury - fee-paying, private
Sir Anthony Eden - Conservative, Eton - fee-paying, private
Harold Macmillan - Conservative, Eton - fee-paying, private
Sir Alec Douglas-Home - Conservative, Eton - fee-paying, private
Harold Wilson - Labour, State grammar
Edward Heath - Conservative, State grammar
James Callaghan - Labour, State grammar
Margaret Thatcher - Conservative, State grammar
John Major - Conservative, State grammar
Tony Blair - Labour, Fettes - fee-paying, private
For thirty three years, from 1964 to 1997, State grammar schools provided Britain with five successive Prime Ministers, before the previous public-school dominance was restored - ironically by a Labour Prime Minister.
A public-school education produced some pretty cool dudes, though - not that I'd ever thought of Harold MacMillan in that category before.
"During the Battle of the Somme, he spent an entire day wounded and lying in a foxhole with a bullet in his pelvis, reading the Greek writer Aeschylus in the original language."
UPDATE - Speccie interview with schools minister Lord Adonis.
The good :
The battle to reform state schools has been a bloody one for Tony Blair, on a battleground which his party regards as sacred. From the offset, Lord Adonis has been his chief adviser. Ten years ago he was a journalist writing about education in robust terms. He denounced the ‘comprehensive school revolution, which destroyed many excellent schools without improving the rest’. He deplored the end of grammar schools, a move ‘carried out in the name of equality but which served to reinforce class divisions’.
It’s the kind of stuff which is too hardcore for a Conservative manifesto these days. Yet its author tells me he still believes every word. ‘I have not changed my mind in ten years,’ he says. ‘If I could redo the 1960s and 1970s education policy, I’d do it very differently.
The frankly depressing :
But I think the debate has moved on from the abolition of the grammar schools. Nobody sensible, including today’s Conservatives, David Cameron or David Willetts, wants to turn the clock back.’
He maps out a three-pronged consensus: that education spending must rise, reform must continue and there must be no return to selection by ability. ‘The Conservatives have accepted that too. They’re not for bringing back grammar schools either. Put all this together and we have established a new consensus.’
So he thinks abolishing grammar schools was a disaster, and that's the way it's going to stay.
And could someone tell me what the point of voting Tory is again ?
UPDATE2 - "A telling hiss of heresy from Tony’s blue-eyed boy" says the Sunday Times.