Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Wonder ...

Could the Hilary Beach, Labour Mayor of Chepstow, who asked if the Rifles could possibly leave their rifles behind ("I am very much against guns and think they are awful things") for the Remembrance Day parade, be the Hilary Beach who "currently works with and is known to the Gypsy Traveller families living on the local authority sites in South Gloucestershire."

If so, no wonder she doesn't like guns.

What's The Hebrew For "Chutzpah" ?

This story made me smile. Magnificent.

Lord Levy, the man who was at the centre of "cash-for-honours" allegations, has called for a change in the way political parties are funded.

In a speech at Cambridge University, former PM Tony Blair's fundraiser said he wanted a £50,000 cap on donations.

(Yes, I know. But that made me smile too.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hmm ...

Ekklesia, the Christian-lite Guardian-at-prayer outfit, note Trevor Phillips' co-option of the Rev Joel Edwards, head of the Evangelical Alliance, onto the board of his super-equality quango, calling it "a historic opportunity for evangelicals to shift toward full acceptance of the equalities agenda."

I'd hope it was "a historic opportunity for soi-disant 'equality' campaigners to shift toward full acceptance of the evangelical agenda", myself. But there you go.

What's more worrying is if it's an attempt to get the good Reverend on board the Boat of Sin for a trip down the Tunnel of Debauchery, with optional excursions to yodel down the Valley of Love. Dr Edwards is a chap who talks an inordinate amount of good sense.

"Politicians are happy to embrace the pragmatic benefits of Britain’s faith communities who now have a seat at every conceivable table of policy making in Britain. But this is happening precisely at a time when the volume of legislation is going against the values of religious communities on a whole range of moral issues from abortion and human sexuality to family life and education. Public servants want our goods but not necessarily our gods."

Are they attempting to "stop his mouth with (taxpayer) gold", in the style which has been so effective with ex-firebrand Lee Jasper, once never off the radio as representative of this or that two-men-and-a-fax anti-racist organisation, now grown fat and somnolent on a rich diet of taxpayer dosh courtesy of Ken Livingstone ?

Will the Reverend stick to his guns or be bought off ? We shall see. Pray for him.

More Torture In The Community

Torturers and murderers - Craig Dodd (left), aged 17 and Ryan Palin, aged 15

Victim - David Atherton

That's the third trial this year in England of people for torturing and killing "vulnerable individuals". The other two are here.

The court heard Ryan Palin, of Grasmere Avenue, Orford, and Craig Dodd, of Lisguard Close, Runcorn spent months systematically abusing the victim, who had severe learning difficulties, in a process they nicknamed 'terroring'.

They regularly broke into his council flat on St Katherine's Way, Howley, where they wrote graffiti on the walls, burnt his hair and daubed his face with paint. On the night of his death in May 2006, the boys were seen by neighbours beating him with planks of wood until he bled. Days later his body was discovered floating in the River Mersey in Westy, Warrington.

Nice chaps. Originally sentenced to "life", whatever that means, Judge Rix (must be Brian Rix, although apparently his name is Bernard. His decisions are certainly farcial enough) reduced them to a minimum of three and three and a half years.

You can see a whole pageful of the cretins who take such decisions here. Curse them, and may they pay for their crimes - for such they are.

They're reserving the long sentences for the really dangerous guys.

via Martin Kelly

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Couple of Cold Gusts From The North

We've already seen primary age kids on speed, heroin and methadone.

Now cocaine ?

A police investigation has been launched after a five-year-old boy was rushed to hospital having swallowed a cocktail of illegal Class-A drugs. The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was taken to Dundee's Ninewells Hospital on Saturday night after he was feared to have eaten cocaine and amphetamines at a property in the city. The drugs had allegedly been lying around in the flat in Dundee where he lives with his parents. He was released from hospital the same night after treatment. A police spokeswoman confirmed a criminal investigation was under way.

In other news, "prescriptions issued in Scotland for anti-depressants have risen more than four-fold in less than 15 years". No word on the number of kids who end up taking them, although a friend who works in a Glasgow practice can tell terrible tales of temazepam.

South of the Border there are also a few health problems. What amazes me about this story is that it doesn't seem to be big news any more. 116 deaths in three years from C. difficile and MRSA. And what about this statement ?

Mr Astley said: "Through monitoring mortality, we have been able to report death rates which other hospitals may not have had available. Our rates are comparable with the national average where C. difficile is known to have a mortality rate of between 6% and 12%. Through keeping a watchful eye on this we can take quick and appropriate action should rates begin to rise, but also learn from what we are doing well to help bring the rates down further."

Is he saying that between 1 in 19 and 1 in 8 NHS inpatients will die of a hospital-contracted infection ? Or does that mortality figure apply to people who get C. difficile ? I hope so.

Si Con Chavez !

If you know what's good for you.

Gunmen in Venezuela have opened fire on students returning from a peaceful march in Caracas against President Hugo Chavez's planned consitutional reforms.

Suicidal Scots

Double the English rate of homicide. Getting on for that in suicide, too (pdf) - 50% higher for men and almost double for women.

While the rate is high in some crime hotspots like Glasgow, there are whole swathes of rural Scotland (as well as Wales and rural England) where the rates are high. Agricultural policy ? Easily available 12-bores ?

The Ghost Remains

I dreamed I saw Enoch last night

Alive as you and me

Said I, "Enoch, you're nine years dead"

"I never died", said he

"I never died", said he

"a whiff of the lynch mob"

In such understated tones doth the BBC's Jon Dymond (21:39 in, RealAudio) report from Italy this morning on expulsions of Romanians, mostly gypsy Roma, from Italy.

I paraphrase : "none of the men have jobs - the women make a living by begging".

Just the kind of work the Italians won't do ... though in fairness he does visit a construction firm with lots of Romanian employees.

EU officials say Italy is acting within its rights provided it respects the union's criteria for expulsion of EU citizens and does not target a group. Under European law, EU countries can expel EU citizens who pose a public threat or who lack sufficient income. Italy is deporting some Romanians under a new decree aimed at tackling crime.

"It is possible to expel citizens of another [EU] state if they don't fulfil the [residency] criteria or represent a threat to public safety or public health," EU justice affairs spokesman Friso Roscam Abbing said on Monday.

Funny - in the UK, our judges decide that we can't deport Italians convicted of murder - or any other criminals from within the EU. They must have a different EU law over there - or could they have different judges.

Back to the banks of the Tiber :

The situation, already tense, reached a critical point in late October, when Nicolae Romulus Mailat, a Romanian citizen, was charged with the murder in Rome of Giovanna Reggiani.

Romanian authorities describe Mailat as an ethnic Roma (Gypsy). He had been living in an illegal shanty town at Tor di Quinto on the edge of Rome, inhabited mainly by Roma. Italy demolished the shacks there at the weekend.

At the time of EU enlargement Migrationwatch worried about how many of Eastern Europe's I.5 million Roma would turn up here. Expect a concerted Guardian campaign to entice this demonised and oppressed people to a country which has already shown it can deliver a warm welcome.

A Berkshire town has been struggling to cope with nearly 90 children who have arrived unaccompanied from Eastern Europe. The Roma children, one as young as ten, have apparently paid someone in Romania to send them to Slough. The Borough Council does not know why it has been singled out but has been forced to set up a special team and spend £150,000 helping the children. It has called for more government help to offset the strain on other services.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"What gets you respect over there is disgrace over here"

I've heard of parents sending the kids back to Jamaica or India for schooling, now Africa beckons :

Isaac, 17, from Norwood, in southeast London, said he became involved in gangs and stealing before his parents sent him to Ghana. After four years at school in Accra he is softly spoken and articulate and hopes to sit international GCSEs at the end of this academic year before returning to Britain for A-levels.

When they first arrive the teen-agers are often “a lot wilder”, said Amoo-Gottfried, but with time and discipline they become “domesticated”. He puts the troubles of the British pupils down to a lack of good role models - a reason many West Indian families cite for sending their children to school back home.

“In London father has run off to work early in the morning, mother the same. So you find the children left to themselves and, as they say, the devil finds work for idle hands. Here they see professional people – lawyers, doctors – whereas in the UK most of the Ghanaians are blue-collar workers.”

The list of consistent A, B and C grades on a results sheet pinned to the notice board is a source of pride and several of Amoo-Gottfried’s former pupils are now at British universities.

Michelle Asante, 23, attended Archbishop Porter girls’ school in Takoradi, Ghana, and went on to complete a sociology degree at Sheffield University before going to drama school.

“The school I was attending in Plumstead [southeast London] wasn’t great and my mum felt I wasn’t being challenged. There was a lot of fighting,” said Asante, who is now an actress. “Education is so important in Ghana – people take it as their only means of escaping poverty. With education you can do anything, no matter how poor you are.”

The pupils at Faith Montessori agree discipline in Africa can be tough but also see their lives changing for the better. Abena and “the London boys”, which includes James, 16, from Edmonton Green, north London, also admit that while they are benefiting from a Ghanaian education, they miss home and look forward to going back to A-levels and university.The years of mischief are behind them, Isaac said: “What gets you respect over there is disgrace over here.”

What gets you respect over there is disgrace over here. It used to get you disgrace here, too - before we learned better.

"This says nothing about the neighborhood"

"This says nothing about the neighborhood," said Noreen McClendon, executive director of Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles.

We'll let you be the judge.

Unique Kiana Bishop has been convicted twice of burglary and once of petty theft in the last two years, police said. Her latest conviction came after a July 26 arrest for burglary in South Los Angeles. She spent 14 days in jail and was placed on probation after being convicted in the Norwalk branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Meanwhile, close to where the brawl started, friends and family of the dead woman gathered at a makeshift memorial Tuesday. The mourners said it was unlike the 22-year-old to be involved in a violent dispute. "If she would've had any idea what she was getting into, she wouldn't have come," said Brenda Rowry, Shontae Treniece Blanche's aunt.

At her childhood home in a neighborhood about three miles northwest of the fatal confrontation, Blanche's grandmother and cousin remembered her as a popular girl and bank worker who was determined to avoid trouble. "She would tell me, 'I'm not going to be like my mom,' " said Helen Hayes, 60, who raised her granddaughter.

According to Hayes, both of Blanche's parents had been in and out of prison since Blanche was a young child. Blanche, who was five months' pregnant and married to a man in prison, was looking forward to a future as a mother and to graduating from Cal State Northridge.


More Canaries ...

OPne always has to be wary of stuff in the CiF comments boxes. How do you know they're not just invented ? Of course the same can apply to some of the CiF articles ... in the end you just have to trust the instincts - which means the danger of picking the stuff that fits in with your theories/prejudices and ignoring the rest.

In which spirit, this comment from yet another 'root cause' debate.

Back in 1999 I was working with homeless young people, and a number of them converted to what seemed to me to be a fairly radical form of Islam. These were not young people from Muslim families, but white kids from Christian/ atheist backgrounds, mostly girls who then adopted veils ranging from headdresses to burkas or niqabs. I thought at the time the appeal was twofold. Firstly, they were being offered moral certainty and clarity for the first time in their lives. For many of the girls, they welcomed the veil because it gave them a chance to think of themselves as being defined by something other than their sexual attractiveness. The other appeal, however, was simply that it became fashionable. Those that were "in" formed an exclusive club, and those that weren,t felt they were missing out.

My point is that we can't address this issue until we recognise how little our desperately vacuous, morally empty, celebs'n'shopping culture offers to all our young people, and the powerful sense of importance and belonging conveyed by involvement in "jihad". By all means stop the hatemongers from preaching, but we also need to take a good look at our society, and the world we are making for our children.

I'm just remembering a couple I met twenty years back, hippy travellers who left a convoy to live in the sticks in their decorated caravan. Nice people, and she was a pretty girl who used to drive the local bikers crazy by turning up at the pub in a purple string vest top which made looking her in the eye during conversation a real test of will power.

One day they went off, pretty much on a whim, thirty-odd miles north to visit a Krishna community living in a stately home near Worcester. One of the other bikers had visited and said it was an interesting Sunday out. Next thing I know they're living there, and she's in a sari up to the neck, explaining to me why women are so much less spiritual than men, and her duty to serve her husband.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"I'm Not Having It"

The "Blair generation" will be the best educated in history, the school standards minister, David Miliband, promised yesterday.

Via the Reactionary Snob, this :

A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot - because players couldn't understand it. The Cool Cash game - launched on Monday - was taken out of shops yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won.

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing. But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme, called Camelot after failing to win with several cards. The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said: "On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn't.

"I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it. I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression - the card doesn't say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been misled.

A Camelot spokeswoman said the game was withdrawn after reports that some players had not understood the concept. She said: "The instructions for playing the Cool Cash scratchcard are clear - and are printed on each individual card and in the game procedures available at each retailer. However, because of the potential for player confusion we have decided to withdraw the game."

More than 15m adults in Britain have poor numeracy - the equivalent of a G or below at GCSE maths. Almost three times as many UK adults (15.1m) have poor numeracy - the equivalent of a G or below at GCSE maths - than with poor literacy skills, according to the government's Skills for Life survey.

Peter Hall, of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, said: "The concept of minus numbers is something we would cover with 11 or 12 year olds, and we would expect them to have come across it before".

Pope Has Audience With Saudi King

Decent of King Abdullah to grant an audience to the Pope, considering what a busy chap he must be.

Bombing Not Good

David Warren on Kosovo and air strikes.

No posts yesterday due to bonfires and pyrotechnics. The garden's scattered with cardboard cylinders.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Respect Update

The SWP have the website, membership lists, passwords and email addresses. In short, most of the apparatus of the party.

The Gallowglasses have got the office, having changed the locks. Oh, and the votes, of course. The SWP shall not look upon their like again.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Great Enoch

Well, we know what happened to the last MP who said "Enoch was right".

2001 : "Labour has called on William Hague to expel a senior Conservative backbench MP, who made a speech attacking immigration. John Townend spoke of "Commonwealth immigration" undermining Britain's "homogenous Anglo-Saxon society" and said Enoch Powell had been right in making pessimistic forecasts about its impact. "

Now candidate Nigel Hastilow has fallen victim to the curse.

In his column for the Express and Star newspaper in Wolverhampton - where Mr Powell was MP at the time of the 1968 speech - Mr Hastilow wrote: "When you ask most people in the Black Country what the single biggest problem facing the country is, most say immigration. "Many insist: 'Enoch Powell was right'. Enoch, once MP for Wolverhampton South-West, was sacked from the Conservative front bench and marginalised politically for his 1968 'rivers of blood' speech, warning that uncontrolled immigration would change our country irrevocably. He was right. It has changed dramatically."

He also wrote: "They have more or less given up complaining about the way we roll out the red carpet for foreigners while leaving the locals to fend for themselves."

Well, at least we know what Mr Hastilow said. John Townend's speech was never made available on t'Web. BBC radio news said he'd denied the Britons were 'a mongrel race' (presumably a reference to the 'nation of immigrants' myth) while according to the Beeb site he was sacked for saying we were becoming one.

Let's just look at the relevant bit again.

"Enoch, once MP for Wolverhampton South-West, was sacked from the Conservative front bench and marginalised politically for his 1968 'rivers of blood' speech, warning that uncontrolled immigration would change our country irrevocably. He was right. It has changed dramatically."

What a ridiculous thing to suggest ! Racist !

Cabinet minister Peter Hain said Mr Hastilow's comments had revealed the "racist underbelly" of the Tory party.

When we get a reaction like this to the unquestionably correct assertion that immigration has changed the country dramatically, you've left the realm of politics and are in the world of religion - specifically that part which deals with heresy.

We're at a stage in the process of the natives becoming marginalised in their own land where the signs are impossible to ignore, as even people like Trevor Phillips recognise. But you can't say it in the same sentence as the word 'Enoch'. After all, he was burned at the political stake for his crime.

David Cameron seems to be going for Plan B when it comes to the ethnic minority vote (and Baroness Warsi's stuffing of BBC uber-liberal Jenni Murray on Woman Sour last week was a pleasure to listen to (RealAudio). More like her please). But the BNP in that neck of the woods must be rubbing their hands. Rowley Regis and still more Halesowen are enclaves of the old Black Country, much of which has indeed been changed irrevocably, by a combination of immigration and the manufacturing disasters of the last 30 years. Mr Cameron may have gained votes in Kensington or South Devon by this. I'm not sure he's improved his candidate's chances in this highly marginal seat. We shall see.

Unlike Mr Townend's or Mr Hastilow's you can still read the speech that started all the trouble at Sterling Times. I'm more impressed by the 1976 speech reported by David Conway of Civitas - trouble is he seems to be the only source. I wonder where the whole thing is.

‘The nation has been, and is still being, eroded and hollowed out from within by the implantation of large unassimilated and unassimilable populations … in the heartland of the state. … The disruption of the homogeneous “we”, which forms the basis of parliamentary democracy and therefore of our liberties, is now approaching the point at which the political mechanics of a “divided community” take charge and begin to operate… The two active ingredients are grievance and violence.

‘There is one factor which not yet been injected. That factor is firearms and explosives… with the escalating and self-augmenting consequences which we know perfectly well from experience in … other parts of the world. I do not know whether it will be tomorrow, or next year, or in five years: but it will come.

‘At first there will be horrified astonishment, and inquiry as to what we have done wrong that such things should be happening. Then there will be feverish endeavour to find methods to allay the supposed grievances which lie behind the violence.'

That does seem a fair description of 7/7 to me - especially the "inquiry as to what we have done wrong" and the search for appeasement.

(While Enoch's ghost still stalks the land, the Enoch of the title was quite a different creature. 'Great Enoch' was the sledgehammer wielded by General Ned Ludd, an early pioneer of direct action against excessive energy consumption.)

Fisk University

It sounds like the place Indie-readers (or bloggers) graduate from. Not so.