Friday, January 02, 2009

A Few Bits of Wrapping Paper From The Curate's Bedroom Floor

A happy, secure and prosperous New Year to you, although my head tells me it's more likely to be an 'interesting' one.

Just a few stories that caught the eye but no time to blog thereon :

The policy of fighting 'child poverty' by throwing extra benefits at low-income 'families' is certainly having an effect - as the least-educated mothers opt for more children.

The researchers then looked at fertility rates both before the reforms were announced and after, for a sample of 101,330 women aged between 20 and 45.

They found a large increase in the first year after the benefits were made more generous, particularly among women who had left school as soon as possible.

The results show a 15 per cent increase in the probability of having a baby in the "low education group", equivalent to an extra 45,000 births compared with 670,000 across Britain as a whole.

Overall there has been a steady rise in the birth rate since 2001, and although some of this is down to higher fertility among immigrants, even among women born in the UK it has risen from 1.68 births per woman in 2004 to 1.79 last year.


Well, even 'women born in the UK' will increasingly be the daughters of migrants. I'd love to see a geographic or ethnic split for the figures. We know already that the largest number of births are in the areas with the largest numbers of immigrants, and that the most educated women have fewest babies. This latter trend appears to have been reinforced by Labour's reforms. The full report (pdf) is here.

Surprise surprise. The massed ranks of Guardianistas in the Probation 'Service', as well as other liberal do-gooders, don't like the Government's latest vote-grabbing scheme (a scheme I agree with, while having no illusions about what's driving it).


Plans to make criminals wear high-visibility jackets while doing community punishments face being undermined by a probation service “institutionally on the side of offenders”, the Government’s neighbourhood crime adviser said.

Louise Casey said that she was afraid it would use health and safety reasons as an excuse for offenders not to wear the jackets, which will bear the words “Community Payback”. She said that it was a “no-brainer” to make offenders wear them, because they showed the public that there were consequences for criminals who were given non-custodial sentences. She said also that she wanted leaflets put through letterboxes to tell people the outcome of crimes in their area.

Ms Casey told The Times that she was astonished at the level of opposition within the probation service to the jackets idea. “[The plan] will have to be driven very, very hard, but this is just the beginning to opening up the criminal justice system. I think the other thing that will meet huge resistance is sharing information about what happens to criminals.”

She added that there was a huge gap in providing information to neighbourhoods about what had happened to suspects taken to court and the punishments handed down. If people were told more about what had happened in the courts, they would have more faith in the criminal justice system.

I didn't know HMG had tweaked the law a few years back to make it legal for bailiffs to break into your house. Where the hell were the Tories ?

Now they want the bailiffs to be able to beat you up as well.

The government has been accused of trampling on individual liberties by proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables.

Under the regulations, bailiffs for private firms would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders. They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts, such as unpaid credit card bills and loans.

The government, which wants to crack down on people who evade debts, says the new powers would be overseen by a robust industry watchdog.
From last year - a Muslim convert to Christianity gets full police support ...

A British citizen who converted to Christianity from Islam and then complained to police when locals threatened to burn his house down was told by officers to “stop being a crusader”, according to a new report.

Nissar Hussein, 43, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who was born and raised in Britain, converted from Islam to Christianity with his wife, Qubra, in 1996. The report says that he was subjected to a number of attacks and, after being told that his house would be burnt down if he did not repent and return to Islam, reported the threat to the police. It says he was told that such threats were rarely carried out and the police officer told him to “stop being a crusader and move to another place”. A few days later the unoccupied house next door was set on fire.

A blog wholly devoted to the great Dalrymple. He is published in so many places it's hard to keep track. The Skeptical Doctor is the place which does all the work, and so I forgive the American spelling.

Britons once had the right to bear arms just as did Americans. How did it disappear ?

In a salami stylee - a slice at a time. "All the way down the slippery slope" follows the history.

It's not just the jobs that Poles flock to the UK for. While our electronics and space manufacturing sectors may not be too hot (when did anyone last buy an item of consumer electronics made in the UK ?) our thriving abortion industry is a (admittedly tax-subsidised) world leader.


Ten thousand Polish women had abortions in Britain last year, it has been reported, in procedures which are thought to have cost the NHS between £5million and £10m.

Thousands of the women are thought to have come to Britain specifically for the procedure, which is illegal in Poland.

People coming to Britain as temporary workers are given a National Insurance number, which allows them to register with a doctor and have NHS treatment.

Britain is thought to be a particularly popular destination as terminations can be carried out as late as 24 weeks into a pregnancy. In several other EU countries, abortions can not be carried out after 12 weeks.

A pill given to women under nine weeks pregnant costs the NHS about £500 while an operation necessary for those further into pregnancy costs about £1,600 including after-care.


Magistrate quits because "he recently jailed an offender for six months but saw him walking about the town just six weeks later".


Dr Soper said: 'My greatest frustration and that of my colleagues is the very early release of prisoners.'

He said virtually all offenders are released automatically halfway through their sentences, while emergency measures to tackle prison overcrowding means many have another 18 days knocked off their sentences. Yet the judges and magistrates who heard their cases have no say over their early release.

Dr Soper said magistrates considered 'very hard' how to punish criminals, and added: 'It is frustrating when that careful thought seems to be undermined. It has certainly reduced my confidence in the system.'

Community service and unpaid work have been trumpeted by ministers as punishments to help ease jail overcrowding, but Dr Soper said his own research locally showed only 60-65 per cent of offenders bothered to turn up.

Police were increasingly preferring to deal with offenders through cautions and on-the-spot fines rather than charging them and sending them to court, he said - undermining the principle of public and media scrutiny of justice.

Dr Soper said: 'It is not just minor cases they deal with - theft and violence are included and this court recently had a violent offender who had previously been cautioned by the police for causing grievous bodily harm.'

In his years as a JP, Dr Soper said, the number of courts in West Suffolk had dropped from six to three - and will soon be cut to just one.

'The idea of local justice, one of the strengths of the system, is disappearing fast,' he said.

'Now I hear that the courts budget is to be cut further, so what next?'

Blimey. When Micael Portillo, who lost his political stomach in 1997 and has since reinvented himself as touchy-feely Mr Nice Guy, says "Britain has lost the stomach for a fight" I think we should take notice.

It raises questions about the stamina of our nation and the resolve of our political class. It is an uncomfortable conclusion that Britain, with nuclear weapons, cruise missiles, aircraft carriers and the latest generation of fighter-bombers, is incapable of securing a medium-size conurbation. Making Basra safe was an essential part of the overall strategy; having committed ourselves to our allies we let them down.

The extent of Britain’s fiasco has been masked by the media’s relief that we are at last leaving Iraq. Those who have been urging Britain to quit are not in a strong position to criticise the government’s lack of staying power. Reporting of Basra has mainly focused on British casualties and the prospect for withdrawal. The British media and public have shown scant regard for our failure to protect Iraqis, so the British nation, not just its government, has attracted distrust. We should reflect on what sort of country we have become. We may enjoy patronising Americans but they demonstrate a fibre that we now lack.

But be fair. One of the strange contradictions of NuLabs regime is the willingness to upset Muslims overseas while bending over backwards to avoid upsetting them in the UK (apart from the said overseas upsets). The retreat from Basra would at least be a mark of consistency, of bringing foreign policy into craven line with domestic, were it not for the fact that the withdrawal is almost certainly aimed at facilitating an additional troop movement into Afghanistan. Our boys will go from being blown up in under-armoured vehicles, short of body armour and helicopters, in Iraq, to being blown up in under-armoured vehicles, short of body armour and helicopters, in Afghanistan - all so that little Nooria can go to school.



24 comments:

Hugh Oxford said...

We may enjoy patronising Americans but they demonstrate a fibre that we now lack.

But for how long will America demonstrate that fibre? America's civilisational confidence is a product of a Protestant work-ethic and moral certainty (and I say that as a Tim).

As the warm Catholic waters of the population Gulf stream coming up from Mexico mingle with with the cool Protestant waters, will America become a bit more tepid?

As an aside, your comments on Odone/Portillo on CiF echo my thoughts (my analysis of Odone's article was a couple of lines below yours). I would add Clifford Longley to that list. They seem to exist so that the Guardian and BBC can roll them out to undermine the positions they purport to represent.

Laban said...

Sounds about right for Odone. Same with John Taylor for the Tories. A self-styled Tory, he's only ever rolled out in the media to answer the question 'exactly how racist are the Tories ?'. To be fair to him, he may have other views on other things, and perhaps the media don't want to ask him about them.

TDK said...

While our electronics and space manufacturing sectors may not be too hot (when did anyone last buy an item of consumer electronics made in the UK ?

Well I grant your general point but we were in the recent past famous for high end Hi-Fi. Some remain like Linn and Rega. Obviously we lost the mass market stuff years ago but it is only recently that we lost Wharfedale, Quad, Mission, Audiolab and Castle Acoustics. All well regarded audiophile brands.

Anonymous said...

As an aside, your comments on Odone/Portillo on CiF echo my thoughts (my analysis of Odone's article was a couple of lines below yours).

Eh?

The Portillo piece was in the Times. Where is the CIF article?

Anonymous said...

This is sad. Your remarks re "all so that little Nooria can go to school" are deeply unworthy of you. As well say that we fought WW2 "all so that little Anne didn't have to live in an attic." Perhaps you're safe in your Gloucestershire fastness from the thing that prevented little Nooria from going to school. Perhaps you're not as smart as you make out.

No H/T required for the first item. You're welcome.

Horse said...

" Our boys will go from being blown up in under-armoured vehicles, short of body armour and helicopters, in Iraq, to being blown up in under-armoured vehicles, short of body armour and helicopters, in Afghanistan - all so that little Nooria can go to school."

That's the heart of the matter really. One of the things that crippled the British in Basra was the lack of a clear objective and justification for the war. Whatever happens in Iraq or Afghanistan is likely to be inconsequential to us in Britain, so why are we fighting for democracy in Iraq when the Muslims have made their feelings for us back home very clear?

But for people like Anonymouse these questions are best not answered. They appeal to visceral emotions (Weapons of Mass Destruction, "little Annie") to cajole us into war.

Meanwhile 10,000 Polish men and women ("cellular masses") have been destroyed in our abortion clinics.

This civilization is sick and evil--this "last best hope on Earth" according to Prophet Obama--I want it to die. And judging from the green movement, these modern day luddites, I'm not the only one.

The devil on your right shoulder said...

The government has been accused of trampling on individual liberties by proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables.

I expect the authorities will be more generous with regard to bailiffs using force against householders than they would be concerning householders using force against burglars.

Bastards.

paul ilc said...

Horse says: This civilization is sick and evil...I want it to die. And... I'm not the only one.

Well, I don't; and if that is your view, you need psychiatric help! Granted that there is much that is "sick and evil" in our society, there is much (more?) that is "sick and evil" in other contemporary societies and all past societies.

The crucial point about western civilisation is that it is a self-critical society, which can (and, probably, will) reform itself.

Meanwhile, join in the constructive societal self-criticism, or get yourself some prozac and/or therapy. Either way, grow up.

Laban said...

Anon - the reference to little Nooria refers to David Aaronovitch's Times piece of a year or so back, in which he argues that we should be in Helmand precisely so that Afghan girls can go to school.

I disagreed in my post "Arithmetic on the Frontier" and gave my reasons.

Horse said...

"Anon - the reference to little Nooria refers to David Aaronovitch's Times piece of a year or so back, in which he argues that we should be in Helmand precisely so that Afghan girls can go to school."

He's lost in his own little imaginary world. He doesn't have to fight does he? This is how it's been since the French Revolution - Imagine a NEW WORLD of abstract propositions and 'ism's (liberty, equality, fraternity, freedom, democracy), and then try to make it real. This totally unrealistic revolutionism has already been defeated three times, at Waterloo in 1815, in Berlin 1945, and again in Berlin in 1989.

"get yourself some prozac and/or therapy. Either way, grow up."

In the language of postmodernism, the use of psychiatry to reduce and obscure an intolerable point marks the entry of the real into the design - in other words you can't take it.

Here's something genuinely interesting - The Cult of the Supreme Being or as I would call it: Why Modern Politics Is So Fucked Up.

Anonymous said...

One of the strange contradictions of NuLabs regime is the willingness to upset Muslims overseas while bending over backwards to avoid upsetting them in the UK

Steve Sailer often points out that this is US policy as well.

"Invade the world, invite the world, in hock to the world."

Re probation service. I dont think all probation people are as in thrall to the progressives. Ive spoken to a few and while many have an instinctive liberal bias this is tested more and more the longer they stay in the job. Certain racial realities begin to become apparent for instance, they know it but they can't say it.

Anonymous said...

We didnt fight WW2 so that little Nooria could go to school. I doubt that a single living person in Britain or any white commonwealth country would have thought such a thing for a second.

Little Nooria can go to school in whatever muslim country she lives in, and if the powers that be there wont allow it I cant see that we can do anything about it. Certainly not importing little Noorias here.

Anonymous said...

Anon - the reference to little Nooria refers to David Aaronovitch's Times piece of a year or so back, in which he argues that we should be in Helmand precisely so that Afghan girls can go to school.

Yes, I know. But you are being either stupid or disingenuous to say that we are in Afghanistan so that girls can go to school.

If you maintain your belief that it has nothing to do with us and we should have nothing to do with it, I sugest further research on the origins of 9/11 (no, it wasn't Hamburg). Interestingly, if you ask British Muslims which event first radicalised them and brought the jihadis to Europe, they will tell you it was our do-nothing policy in Bosnia. So, good luck in your quest for a quiet life.

Anonymous said...

Our 'do nothing policy'. Hmmm.

Yet somehow we allowed jihadis from all over the place to infiltrate into Bosnia and there perform all sorts of ghastly atrocities.

Always piously claiming that all groups were equally to blame while consistently making sure the Serbians were portrayed as the bad guys.

The 'do nothing' policy is just the latest whine from a consistent whining victim group reinforced by their western liberal enablers.

Of course our policy re Bosnia was wrong. We should have decided what we wanted. A)Keep Yugoslavia as a multicultural entity and work for that. Or B) To admit that it was doomed and steer the breakup along ethnic lines with as little unpleasantness as possible.

Instead we (the west generally) wouldnt do A or B.

Laban said...

Anon - re little Nooria, if you read the whole post (and the linked posts) you'll see that I have no faith at all that Afghanistan can be turned into a secular democracy, or even a religious one. We can be there to trash training camps, show the Taleban what happens if they give hospitality to al Quaeda. What we can't do is create a democracy.

Democracy is being hollowed out at home, political engagement is weaker and weaker, electoral fraud at levels not seen (outside Ulster) for 150 years. Seems a strange time to try and export 'our values' to a country which we couldn't export them to when we were the most powerful nation on earth.

To quote "I thought that the Taleban were as good a government as Afghanistan could reasonably expect, modern Puritans. Relatively incorrupt, they brought an end to the capricious violence of the warlords who ruled in the post-Soviet vacuum. They also reduced the amount of heroin being produced. Sure, their views on women and homosexuals wouldn’t go down well in Islington, but by their lights they were a pretty good bunch.

Unfortunately they chose to support Bin Laden and so had to be overthrown – not because of their reactionary views but because after September 11 it was impossible for America to leave Al Quaeda’s bases untouched. The world – including any other leaders who might have been thinking about supporting, or turning a blind eye to, anti-US terrorists, had to be made aware of what the price would be."

Horse said...

"So, good luck in your quest for a quiet life."

There we go again. Reducing my views to mere psychological phenomena.

"Yes, I know. But you are being either stupid or disingenuous to say that we are in Afghanistan so that girls can go to school."

Au Contraire! That's one of the paramount reasons we are there. Freedom and democracy. Interestingly the Soviet regime placed a high value on the education of women. Which means the contemporary West (i.e. gnostic west) is the most ideologically driven power since the Soviet Union.

Go here to find out about the fundamentally Islamic nature of Jihad.

Watch this to find out a little something the war in Yugoslavia. It's as good a place as any to start.

This war for global democracy will fail for exactly the same reason WW1 did. Because the best the people who fight for it can ope for is coming home unharmed. That's it. Other than that there is nothing in it for them.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the Taleban were as good a government as Afghanistan could reasonably expect...Unfortunately they chose to support Bin Laden.

You make it sound like a non sequitur. It isn't.

And, just for reference, between the time of Churchill's derring-do and 1979's unfortunate events, Afghanistan had quite a reasonable system of government. It may have been prone to the odd coup and assassination but it had all the cool stuff like free elections, civil rights and universal suffrage. Kabul was one of the most open and cosmopolitan cities in the Middle East. So while the result of our intervention may not be ideal, Afghanistan has and can be again a sight better than the death-spewing basket case it became under the Taleban.

Anonymous said...

I think you will find democracy finished in Afghanistan before 1979.

There had been a communist govt there for a while in the '70s. The invasion of '79 was more a case of the soviets backing a faction and taking direct control of the war.

Horse said...

Who funded the Taliban?

America. It is no longer denied by anybody.

America uses Islam as a tool of foreign policy, both as provocateur and attack dog. The EU wants to use Islam, through mass immigration, to destroy the Christian nations of Europe.

Anonymous said...

I didnt realise that anyone had ever denied that the US backed the Taliban - and other anti-communist groups there.

Laban said...

It's true Afghanistan was quite bearable for many a long year. It used to be an exotic stop on the hippie trail to India (a student Jon Snow spent time there circa 1970).

But in those days neither Russia nor the West had flooded the place with modern weaponry, Islamism was dormant and "Afghan black" hashish didn't bring in the sort of revenue that heroin does now. It's easier to make a mess than to clean it up.

wildgoose said...

Q. Who funded the Taliban?
A. Pakistan.

The link given by horse is talking about the mujahideen, a completely separate set of people who became the "Northern Alliance" against the Taliban and backed by the US (again).

Mark said...

Laban
Re Afghanistan in the 70s, I think you'll find the great Theodore Dalrymple also went there in the 70s, and recalls the excursion fondly.

Wildgoose- technically it's correct to say the Taliban were financed by Pakistan.The CIA however used the ISI to channel funds to Gulbuddin Hekmetyar, their favoured Pushtun mujahideen leader. As an ISI operative famously observed at the time, the Pakistanis were the condom with which the US penetrated and agitated Afghan regime of the time .

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