Saturday, May 01, 2004

To Every Little Action, There Is A Reaction

How far from this :

(This image, tailored to suit your favourite soccer side and their rivals, is on sale throughout the UK as a rear window sticker for the car. A lot of people have them.)

To this ? :

The Mirror's report sounds remarkably like what happens in Britain every week or two.

"He looked "like an alien" after being kicked like a football."

"Another said he was completely unrecognisable."

"Lads were taking turns giving him a right going over, smashing him in the face with weapons and stamping on him."

"The three others hit and kicked Adam and urged her to do the same, so she punched him in the head, chest and legs as well as in the face."

"He could only speak a few words, pleading 'No, mister' . No, mister'."

"He curled up in a ball and wept as he was savagely beaten."

"The assault lasted about three hours, possibly slightly longer."

Cultural ambassadors or what ?

UPDATE - when the photos first came out, some people commented on their remarkably good quality. Speculation is growing that they may in fact be fakes, and that the Mirror, intentionally or not, may have produced an untrue story which will damage relations between Arabs and Brits and probably cost lives.

The BBC reports

"Sources close to The Queen's Lancashire Regiment believe many aspects of the photographs are suspicious.

They believe the pictures may not have even been taken in Iraq.

They believe the rifle is an SA80 mk 1 - which was not issued to troops in Iraq.

They say soldiers in Iraq wore berets or hard hats - and not floppy hats as in the photos.

They also believe the wrong type of Bedford truck is shown in the background - a type never deployed in Iraq"

The Telegraph has some background on the Queen's Lancashire Regiment in Iraq.

I hope the images ARE fakes - but of course the damage will have been done. The people who believe no Jews went to work in the Towers on 9/11 will say it's a cover-up led by the British State media, and the Guardian bulletin boards will be full of witticisms about the Queen's Own Torturers and the Royal Regiment of Abusers. While there are undoubtedly a fair number of people in the UK capable of such acts, I hope that the Army is still capable of turning them into good soldiers. Good soldiers don't do such things. And if they had eight hours to spare torturing some random individual, maybe our armed forces aren't as stretched as we thought.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


Shelby Steele with just the best thing I've read on the great marriage debate.
Gaberlunzie Man

"And verily, to mak' acquaintance with a man a-come from so far, from the land o' perpetual snow, as we may say, where wolves and wild boars and other dangerous animalcules be as common as blackbirds here-about--why, 'tis a thing we can't do every day; and there's good sound information for bide-at-homes like we when such a man opens his mouth."

"Nay, but ye mistake my country," said the young man, looking round upon them with tragic fixity, till his eye lighted up and his cheek kindled with a sudden enthusiasm to right their errors. "There are not perpetual snow and wolves at all in it!--except snow in winter, and--well--a little in summer just sometimes, and a 'gaberlunzie' or two stalking about here and there, if ye may call them dangerous. "

Thomas Hardy - The Mayor Of Casterbridge

Don't know who he is, except he's Scottish, is acquainted with the works of the great MacGonagall, and chose a hideous subtitle. I wonder if he likes AL Kennedy ?

Elsewhere this Australian site makes me wonder what education is like down under. Our school discos were never like this. Do I hear a cry of 'unfortunately' ? Link from Wendii's Blog.

UPDATE - Gaberlunzie links to the delightfully named Protocols Of The Yuppies Of Zion, which contains this joke :

(two men are moving priceless paintings from a museum)

1st. Guard: Man, this Hieronymus Bosch is heavy!

2nd. Guard: That's because he deals with man's inclination towards sin, in defiance of God's will.

1st. Guard: I didn't mean it like that.

Too Professional To Care

I've blogged before about the politically-driven decline in caring among nurses, but I think this nurse is taking it too far.

A hospital nurse accused of attempting to murder four elderly patients was motivated by a drive to free up beds, a court has heard.

Barbara Salisbury overstepped the line between humane nursing and callous dispatch when she tried to hasten their deaths, Chester Crown Court was told.

Prosecuting barrister Robin Spencer QC told the jury on Wednesday that Ms Salisbury was even heard urging one patient "give in, it's time to go", as she administered an overdose.

Nursing training since the late 80s has been designed to produce 'mini-doctors' for whom feeding, washing, cleaning, hand-holding, talking to patients or making beds is traditional 'women's work' to be avoided at all costs. Next month the Royal College of Nursing will debate the motion that nurses are 'too clever to care' and that the 'compassionate' part of the job should be carried out by healthcare assistants, the lowest form of NHS life.

When Florence Nightingale invented modern nursing, life was more straightforward than it is today,” said Tom Murray of the RCN’s Exeter branch, which put the resolution.

“People knew what doctors and nurses were there to do. Since these far-off days events have moved on.”

Here's an idea. Find out which hospital Tom Murray works at. And try not to be sent there.

UPDATE - Tom Murray appears to be a senior lecturer in the 'faculty of Health and social work' at the 'University of Plymouth' - formerly Devonport Tech. He also seems to be a member of the NATFHE union. Why am I not surprised ?

The bad news is - he teaches nurses.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Another Human Rights Breakthrough

From This Is London:

Murderer Robert Hill has been awarded more than £4,000 by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, because the Home Secretary rather than unelected judges ruled on his unsuitability for release. I presume the taxpayer will have stumped up his legal fees.

His victim was unavailable for comment.

And the Commission For Racial Equality are investigating a disgraceful incident where a new sheltered housing development is for people from the majority community only.

It's not as bad as it sounds though. In Tower Hamlets the minority community is the English.

Grumpy Guardian

Today ... Aaronovitch doesn't like the good people of Portishead (suburban bigots), Joseph Harker wonders why Le Pen doesn't get the Louis Farrakhan treatment, and that great physicist George Monbiot attacks his fellow physicists Peter Hitchens and Melanie Phillips.

Monbiot asks :

1. Does the atmosphere contain carbon dioxide?
2. Does atmospheric carbon dioxide influence global temperatures?
3. Will that influence be enhanced by the addition of more carbon dioxide?
4. Have human activities led to a net emission of carbon dioxide?

All worthy questions. There's just one he doesn't ask :

5. Do global temperatures influence atmospheric carbon dioxide ?

You see the world is a funny, Gaia-like thing, with feedback going in all directions at once. The oceans hold a lot of carbon dioxide. Warm them up and you'll get more in the atmosphere. Which way does the link work ? Are the temperature rise and the carbon dioxide rise due to our outputs, or is higher temperature causing more CO2 to be present ?

Dunno - but it's worth asking. Were there higher levels of CO2 a thousand years ago, when the earth was warmer and the Vikings farmed Greenland ? If only John Daly was with us still.

UPDATE - the Divine Ms M strikes back. "It is always revealing when an attack merely comprises insults rather than a reply to the arguments", followed by "What's Monbiot ever done, except write drivel for the Guardian?" I do love that woman ...

But there is something to cheer us up though.

"All NHS psychiatrists and mental health nurses are to be put through a national retraining programme to root out the racist attitudes that have undermined the treatment of black and ethnic minority patients, it was disclosed yesterday."

As a psychiatrist, Theodore Dalrymple will doubtless be one of the retrainees.

"So rapidly has political correctness pervaded our institutions that today virtually no one can keep a clear head about race. The institutions of social welfare are concerned to the point of obsession with race. Official anti-racism has given to racial questions a cardinal importance that they never had before. Welfare agencies divide people into racial groups for statistical purposes with a punctiliousness I have not experienced since I lived, briefly, in apartheid South Africa a quarter of a century ago. It is no longer possible, or even thought desirable, for people involved in welfare services to do their best on a case-by-case basis, without (as far as is humanly feasible) racial bias: indeed, not long ago I received an invitation from my hospital to participate in a race-awareness course, which was based upon the assumption that the worst and most dangerous kind of racist was the doctor who deluded himself that he treated all patients equally, to the best of his ability. At least the racial awareness course was not (yet) compulsory: a lawyer friend of mine, elevated recently to the bench, was obliged to go through one such exercise for newly appointed judges, and was holed up for a weekend in a wretched provincial hotel with accusatory representatives of every major "community." Come the final dinner, a Muslim representative refused to sit next to one of the newly appointed judges because he was Jewish."

Soon the nation will be divided between those enlightened ones who work for the State and the suburban bigots who don't.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Big Ron

I didn't like his language - any of it. But Kevin Myers hits the nail on the head.

"We have created a politically correct linguistic apartheid, in which some people have a monopoly over certain words: homosexuals can say queer, the Irish can say paddy or mick, Bangladeshis can say Paki, and Afro-Caribbeans can say nigger or coon. And an Anglo-Saxon Englishman can say Sweet Fanny Adams."

For examples of which, see :

The late

This whiskey.

This enterprising entrepreneur

And Chris ("I am tired of niggers. I wish they would let me join the Ku Klux Klan. I'd do a drive-by from LA to Brooklyn.") Rock or any US rap artist.

No white entertainer would be able to make a career nowadays using G H Elliott's stage name. My mother saw him in blackface at the Swansea Empire when she was nine. She didn't appear to have been affected by it.

Still, at least Big Ron actually used the bad word. No, not the f-word ! God, some people get offended so easily ! Are you some kind of Christian ? The n-word ! And according to the Birmingham Sunday Mercury Big Ron also called Paul McGrath the c-word when he was Villa manager. No, not THAT c-word ! Don't be such a prude ! The G H Elliott word !

But in the States you can lose your job without using n- or c-words - for describing a budget allocation as 'niggardly'. John H. McWhorter, Professor of Linguistics at Berkeley and City Journal contributor, comments on this and a great deal more. Too complex to summarise but a great read. Recommended.
Free Speech For Tony Martin

Marcus at Harry's Place is disturbed by Tony Martin's latest contribution to political debate (urging people to vote BNP and UKIP), saying that he's revealed his 'true colours' at last. There's also debate at the Tony Martin Forum.

Marcus also finds it 'inexplicable' that Tony Martin became a cause celebre. I'm tempted to respond that if he doesn't understand, explanation won't help. But here are a few suggestions. Look at the burglary statistics. Consider they have risen by around 1000% (ten times) in the last fifty years, so there are people of Mr Martin's age who can remember when crime was low (my children asked me the other day - 'do you know anyone who hasn't been burgled ?' 'Grandma' 'Yes, but she was mugged'.) Look at the risible, pathetic clear-up rates. Look at the statistics on householders killed by burglars - I'm not sure if the Home Office keep figures on those killed by non-burgling 'intruders'. Read Theodore Dalrymple, as I know you do, but think about what it is like to live as a law-abiding person in the underclass world he describes. But enough of this.

Two points here. The first is that the question of whether he should have been imprisoned is nothing at all to do with his views. I'm surprised that Marcus (isn't he a lawyer ?) is able to ignore the distinction between opinion and action. The Birmingham Six were arrested while travelling to the funeral of a Republican activist. One of them after release gave a speech in Belfast urging republicans to send more British troops home in body bags. But vile as their politics may have been, it doesn't constitute proof that they killed twenty-four people in Birmingham in 1974. Only Government front-bencher Chris Mullin knows who did that - and he ain't saying.

The second is that Tony Martin has a perfect right to vote for and support any party he wishes. That's what being free is about. I support his right to be free and his right to self-defence. As far as I know he hasn't applied for a job as Professor of Politics.

"There is going to be a dictator in this country, but there are such things as benign dictators. Too much liberalism is worse than too little. The politicians as we know them are already anachronisms."

I agree with three-quarters of that, and even the first quarter ("There is going to be a dictator in this country") is an opinion which can be argued one way or the other. I certainly hope there isn't - although if there is, as Stephen Pollard reports, it's more likely to be of the Left than the Right.

Of course benign dictatorship is theoretically the best form of government - apart from the small difficulty of how you change them, and what you do if the dictator isn't as benign as you thought.

Just as democracy is the worst form of government - apart from all the others.

The Telegraph article also reveals that TM has no intention of voting himself.

Interestingly the BNP website has ignored this story despite Martin's undoubted popularity - when you're rebranding yourself as squeaky-clean, democratic and user-friendly, the last thing you want is a loose cannon on the deck arguing that he's supporting you and is waiting for a dictatorship. "Vote BNP And Give Britain A Dictator", as the Telegraph translates it, is not the marketing strategy I'd adopt.

TM's habit of speaking his mind means that he's likely to be a liability to any political party. And on a personal note, I was worried for him when he left prison as a celebrity. He struck me as not a worldly man, and I was somewhat concerned by reports of his being wined and dined by the author of "How To Join The Club Of The Rich And Famous" and wife of John McVicar, who has herself been acquitted of murder.

But he also struck me a the kind of chap who didn't suffer fools gladly - what the Americans would call an 'ornery' and 'cussed' type. Not bad qualities in today's world. It was probably always going to end in tears. I'd put money on any attempt to use him by the BNP, UKIP or NF ending likewise.

Stand as an independent, Tony ! In the immortal words of M. Poujade "Throw The Rascals Out !"