Saturday, July 03, 2004

Wicked Stepfathers

Polly Toynbee lets something slip as she pursues her campaign for the nationalisation of children. "An Englishman's home is a castle where his children are his to chastise. Never mind the complication that these days it's often stepfathers - with horrendous implications."

Horrendous implications ? Stepfathers ? Hang on a minute. I thought any arrangement of mum, significant other(s) and kids constituted a family these days. And children, as everyone knows, are far better off if their unhappy mum and dad split, rather than witnessing the rows and domestic abuse inseparable from the patriarchal unit of Mummy and Daddy. Surely only obscure Christian fundamentalists care about marriage or being brought up by your biological parents. After all, look at what a good job the state can do.

Back in the non-liberal world, of course, the evidence that children are best brought up by married parents is overwhelming. On every indicator they do best even after adjusting for income and social class.

I had a quick look at the Home Office's latest Domestic Violence research the other day. It's full of feminist fatuity (abuse can, for example consist of 'not getting your fair share of the household money'. A quick show of hands in my house revealed that husband, wife and four children all considered they were being abused on this definition) and I still haven't been able to work out whether their definition of rape includes having sex when you'd really rather not, but I'm presuming the figures are uncooked, if the presentation isn't.

Table 5.13 is the one - Prevalence of IPV (inter personal violence - doesn't include the household money) by marital status.

2% of married women experienced violence in the last year (so, interestingly, did 1.8% of married men)
Widowed 1.3%
Cohabiting 6.2%
Divorced 6.8%
Single 6.9%
Separated 14.5%

Now assume, as the survey does, that a large proportion (say half) of the 'Separated' figure consists of angry exes. You're still looking at a rate for singles/cohabitees three times that of the dull straights.

And a quick look at the single mums (of whom my mother was one) shows us an even grimmer picture. The rate for a single mother with children is up there at 14.9%, topping even the 'separateds'.

Stop Domestic Violence - Defend Bourgeois Marriage !

Friday, July 02, 2004

Is It All About Sudanese Oil ?

Neat post from Expat Yank on the BBC's Sudan coverage.

But it isn't necessarily just about "oil". Oh, no, it might be those pestering, fundamentalist Christians again ...

. . . Other issues are more likely to be driving Washington's policy.

One is the pressure from right-wing Christian groups in the US, who have taken up the cause of their fellow Christians in Sudan.

Their nagging - on the issues of slavery and the forcible imposition of Sharia law - helped get sanctions imposed on Sudan in 1997. .

"Nagging"? She actually wrote, "nagging." Well, darn it, but slavery and sharia tend to make the open-minded, democratic and, yes, even "right-wing Christians", a bit tense.

Lo, the BBC stealth editor strikes again. Expat blogs Thursday, by Friday pm 'nagging' has mysteriously changed to 'lobbying'.

This could be a win-win scenario for Guardianistas. Who needs geologists ? I predict liberals will discover oil in Sudan if Bush sends troops, but not if he doesn't.

So if he sends troops, he doesn't care about anything except oil. If he doesn't, it's because (unlike Iraq) there is no oil.

Anybody seen that trans-Afghanistan pipeline yet ?

Those Jewish Schoolgirls

Scotsman - Southerner is rude to Highlander.

Scottish Daily Record - Outrage as Southerners are rude to Highlander.

Independent - Schoolgirls rescued as three children die in Gaza.

Al-Jazeera - Zionist settlers take control of strategic mountain top.

Melanie Phillips - The tidal wave of anti-semitism that has swept over Europe is now lapping at the Cairngorm foothills.

Tam Dalyell - This illegal incursion was planned in advance by the secret neocon cabal led by Rabbi Burns - Nurse ! Nurse !

Polly Toynbee - Why won't Blair ban mountain walking ? And religious schools ? A sure-fire vote-winner. He must be mad not to listen to me.

John Pilger - For the girls of Beth Jacob seminary, hot cocoa and safety. For the girls of Yab Snamron primary in Nablus, a hail of cluster bombs, napalm and cruise missiles.

The Sun - The half-dressed girls held each other for warmth as their wet clothing clung tightly to their ...

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Small But Perfectly Formed ...

Natalie Solent has a beautiful little item on the award of Most Islamophobic Media Personality to the Guardian's Polly Toynbee.

But give the self-styled Islamic Human Rights Commission, who present the 'awards', their due. I searched their site for 'Darfur', expecting, I confess, to find nothing. Instead among other things I found this.

We are saddened and outraged that even as the world focuses so much attention on conflicts in the Middle East, so little is spared for Sudan. Is this what the war against terrorism is about? That as long as the terrorised are Africans anything goes?

This campaign, which will stretch through the summer and fall, began on Saturday with a 24-hour vigil outside the UNHCR office in Millbank Towers. Friday’s protest will be the continuation of this campaign. We expect 300-600 people to participate.

I guess they couldn't resist a crack at the Great Satan - they could have asked 'is this what defending Muslims is all about ?' which might have been more apt. But I'm pleased they mention it at all. Let's see how much coverage the Guardian give the protests. My guess is sod-all unless they turn into 'evil US won't send troops' demos. For which, see my previous post.

UPDATE - David Clark, former Foreign Office adviser, on Darfur in the Guardian.

The Chomsky/Pilger left, which led the charge against the Iraq war, has been morally disarmed by its insistence that the use of force by the west must always, by definition, be wrong. Like Tony Blair and George Bush, it has nothing to offer the suffering of Sudan - so it affects not to notice them. This explains the silence.

Evil Americans Urged To Send Troops

There's an iron (self-hating) liberal law on the presence of US troops overseas. If there's any way in which their troops can be said to be defending US national interests, Yankee Go Home. If their soldiers are getting shot in the interests of some third party, send more - as many as you can (and we'll forget all about it before you can say 'Kosovo').

So while the presence of US forces in Iraq is an affront to the Guardian's Seamus Milne, their presence in Sudan may not be so unwelcome.

Human Rights Watch, who have been among the fiercest critics of US military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, have called on US Secretary of State Colin Powell to warn Sudanese authorities that the international community will protect the civilians in Darfur, if the Sudanese government fails to do so.

I'm presuming that by 'the international community' he doesn't mean the Dutch or Greeks.

Darfur is a sticky one for liberals. It wasn't so bad when Arabs were massacring black African Christians and animists in the forty years of ongoing war in the South (two million dead so far). That sort of violence, like that in the Congo, doesn't count.

But now they're massacring their fellow Muslims in a war that strangely hasn't caused outrage on the Arab street, Preston to be twinned with Darfur, or the Muslim Association of Britain to call for anti-war protests.

After all, everything bad in the world is caused by evil white men like Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell - so when Powell is greeted by Muslims as a saviour, best to just ignore it.

After visiting a refugee camp in northern Darfur, Mr Powell warned that the UN will take action ... - The Guardian

Secretary of State Colin Powell was mobbed by thousands of desperate Sudanese on Wednesday as he toured a camp in the western Darfur region for people forced to flee their homes by rampaging militias. -

Worse still for liberals, the violence reveals possible racism against black Africans by Arabs, and brings the other slavery to their attention. For a thousand years the African slave trade meant the Arab slave trade, as slaves were taken to the great markets at Cairo and Marrakesh, or shipped from Zanzibar. Best just stick to the Atlantic Triangle and West Africa, shall we ?

Along ancient Saharan trade routes, 1,300 years of shared history that have mingled the faiths, cultures and skin tones of Arabs and Africans has left another, more vicious legacy: Arab-African slavery that has endured as long as the two peoples have been together, leaving black Africans fighting perceptions of themselves as lesser beings, and of Arabs as the civilizing, conquering force.

Today, the old roles are playing out at their most extreme in Sudan's Darfur region, with murderous results: Arab horseman clutching AK-47s raze non-Arab African villages and drive off and kill the villagers, in what rights groups call an ethnic cleansing campaign backed by Sudan's Arab-led government.

Education - Black Culture Or White Racism ?

The debate continues in the Indie, after the news that some education authorities are sending children to school in Jamaica, where exam results are better despite much lower resources.

Racist teachers ?

Professor David Gillborn at London's Institute of Education believes that while this kind of programme can have positive effects, it doesn't address the main problem in Birmingham, which is low expectations on the part of teachers rather than bad behaviour by students.

Street Culture ?

Dr Tony Sewell, an educationalist and director of the Learning Trust, which runs Hackney's education department, says that part of the problem is the attitude of the children themselves. "It's the old story of British/American black culture celebrating sport, music, and, yes, violence," he says.
"There is a stereotype within the black community of what masculine black men are like, and it's not a great scholar. So white teachers are often afraid of black children, and this leads to a lack of discipline."

Our old mate Institutional Racism ?

Asif Afridi, of the Birmingham Race Action Partnership, is another person who thinks that the exchange scheme is not addressing the right issue. He believes that efforts should be concentrated on institutional racism in schools which is preventing black children from achieving. "Teachers and the LEA need to understand that they are working in a system that discriminates against pupils from certain groups," he says.
Dr Sewell disagrees. It's no good accusing teachers of racism, he says. That's a waste of time. "We need to support them in reducing their own anxiety and be clear about discipline. We need to set clear boundaries where students feel safe, not be full of liberal 'oh, we'll just come and sit next to you and talk to you now and rationalise your bad behaviour.'"

Black Pupils - Black Teachers (the Apartheid Approach) ?

A more radical solution still is put forward by Lee Jasper, race equality adviser to the Mayor of London, who thinks the answer lies in the racial profile of the teachers themselves. Black children need black teachers who understand the cultural needs of black children. That raises attainment, he says. "I don't believe these exchange schemes will be useful. It would be better to bring Jamaican teachers here."
For Professor Gillborn, the issue is less clear-cut. Black students do well when they are taught by teachers who have high expectations of them, he says. And that does not mean the teachers have to be black.
In the past, Jasper has called for all-black schools. He is not alone. Dr Sewell, however, argues that classrooms full of black pupils would be positively detrimental. "In fact, the black boys who do the best are the ones with non-black friends," he says. "The ones who do badly are in the 'mono' group."

Don't Ask Me, Mate ?

Trevor Phillips, chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, says that it's not simply a question of money.
"We could offer more support to schools with large numbers of African and Afro-Caribbean pupils," he says. "But why should we discriminate against Indian pupils who may be just as economically disadvantaged, but somehow have overcome that disadvantage, or white boys, increasingly among the lowest achievers and often among the poorest?"

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Exterminate ! Exterminate !

The Indie and the Guardian lash out like ... well ... like a 15-week old baby ?

No ! Take that scalpel away ! No ! Mummy ! Help Me!
15-week old 'insentient blob' (© J. Hari 2004)

Mark Steyn On Form ...

Reviewing Clinton's autobiography.

'The shaft of light from the dying sun through the Oval Office window caught the swell of her bosom as she slid the extra-large pepperoni across the desk. I knew it was wrong. I'd penciled in that evening for bringing peace to Northern Ireland, but what the hell, the two sides of that troubled island's sectarian conflict were separated by as deep a divide as the plunging cleavage now beckoning from her low-cut angora sweater. Ulster could wait.'

Link via the excellent Talking Hoarsely.

It's The Stag's Antlers

New blog Cabarfeadh, by an ex-member of what was once the Seaforth And Cameron Highlanders, looks promising. I think the name literally translates as 'big antlers' (thanks to Gaelic Dictionaries Online).

Author David Terron lives in Elgin, where the Tall family spend a day curling (great fun), skating and swimming each February half term as a break from skiing. We usually combine it with a trip to Lossiemouth, a pretty town with spectacular free daily air displays. And if you take a wrong turn onto the road which crosses the runway you're stopped politely, but at gunpoint (it was just before Iraq 2003, planes were leaving for the Gulf). The children were very well behaved that day ...

He's training to teach history. Good luck - we need teachers like you. I don't know about Scottish education, but in England history teaching is designed to make us feel bad about our evil past.

He's also the webmaster of the Highland Warriors website, devoted to the Seaforths, Gordons and Camerons.

Just imagine a totally devolved (or dismantled) UK. The English are a fine fighting race when roused, but in time of trouble I'd also like to have men like these on our side.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Dumb Jon ...

.. yet again tells it like it is. Mr Cuthbertson is right behind him, if that's le mot juste.

Thoughtful people can disagree on the rights and wrongs of granting civil partnership rights to homosexual couples, but surely everyone can agree that same sex couples living together should be given the same rights whether or not they have sex?

Apparently not. Militant homosexual groups have denounced the whole idea as "deeply distressing". When the amendment was attached to the bill, the government refused to pass it.

Not so long ago it was all about love, about acknowledging a caring relationship between people. Only sad straights were hung up on who put what where. Small minded bigots.

But now apparently who puts what where is a bit more important. Can't just let any old couple join the party.

It seems a little unfair that two elderly sisters who have shared a house for years cannot be treated in law the same way as the two elderly teppich-fressers next door.

And what of Canon Elton John, who lives with his significant other, but has been celibate for many years ? Will Gordon Brown force him to do a spot of uphill gardening before he can pass on the house free of inheritance tax ? I say, Gordon, that's a bit stiff.

NOTE - some of the comments on the blogs above seem a trifle hysterical, implying the usual 'bigoted homophobia' mullarkey. I'd like to make it plain that if I describe an act as 'an unspeakable perversion suited only to the lowest gutter' that this is in no sense a perjorative description, and only a very narrow-minded person could take it as such. In my experience unspeakable perversions can often be tremendous fun.

Monday, June 28, 2004

The Final Call To (Black) Power

Johann Hari's been to a meeting of the Nation Of Islam and he's a worried man. The anger and sense of exclusion he encounters has left him fearful. Let me tell you all about it ...

It's not so bad as long as the target is those evil white men.

"Why is this area called Broadwater Farm?" he (Brother Hilary Muhammed) asks. "They don't call it the Hamptons. They don't call it a boulevard. What were the architects and the council thinking, when they called an estate for black people a farm?"

So far this all feels comfortable - stirring, even. There's nothing here a white liberal can't nod aggressively to.

I think that's par for the course.

The Hamptons are the holiday retreat of the American East Coast rich, whereas a Hampton is Cockney rhyming slang for a penis. What would the Brother have made of it if the estate had been called the Hamptons ? Broadwater Farm was named because it was built on the site of - guess what ? (And the farmer's daughter was an anti-slavery campaigner). The estate wasn't built "for black people" - we had to wait until 2004 for apartheid housing. It's not the Man's fault if the remaining Native Brits got out after the events of 1981.

But enough of this. The point is that someone comes out with a patently idiotic and culturally ignorant statement. And because of the skin colour of the speaker our self-described white liberal can 'nod aggressively'. Tell it like it isn't, bro !

Then leader Louis Farrakhan starts to depart from comforting liberal certainties.

"No Jewish person who reads their history will come away saying their hands are clean of the stain of slavery," he says, waving a book that has been widely discredited as an anti-Semitic screed. Children are crying in the hall now, and the air is ugly. People are cheering bizarre Jew-hating theories. Farrakhan reads sneeringly from the Torah. For the first time, these people I recognised - people I grew up with - look frightening.

An educated guess is that the book is either "The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews", an NOI publication, or The Jewish Onslaught, by Wellesley professor Tony Martin (no relation), both of which expand on the theme that Jewish merchants and Jewish capital played a major role in the transatlantic slave trade, a role which has up to now been concealed. The BBC website consider Martin acceptable enough - he has a piece in the Religion section on Marcus Garvey. Others link him with the sort of anti-semitic demagoguery that lead to the Freddy's and Crown Heights killings in New York.

And it hits me: if mainstream politicians don't deliver justice for ethnic minorities fast, this is our future. Smart, fascistic Farrakhans will develop messages of rage and hate nuanced for British ears. The ghettos of tomorrow will not be passive and defeated, nor should they be. They will be angry and fighting, and they may even have the distant scent of Nuremberg.

There are a lot of assumptions in these few sentences.

"And it hits me: if mainstream politicians don't deliver justice for ethnic minorities fast, this is our future."
The implication being that
a) ethnic minorities don't get 'justice'
b) that justice is something that can be delivered by mainstream politicians

Johann's being a bit disingenuous here, methinks, when he talks about 'ethnic minorities'. Does he mean the Jews ? The Indians or Chinese, who so outshine the Native Brits academically and economically ? The Irish ? Which of these minorities aren't getting justice ? And will Pakistanis join the Nation of Islam ?

He means of course one particular minority - Afro-Caribbean people with dark skin, whose ancestors were shipped forcibly across the Atlantic by Brits and others until the trade was stopped around 170 years ago, and who make up the overwhelming majority of the Nation of Islam's adherents. 'Back To Africa' isn't a slogan likely to inspire a recently arrived Ghanaian, though the BNP might be interested in adopting it.

To go into the question of justice will take more space and time than I have here. Suffice it to say that there are a number of commentators (like Tony Sewell in the UK and John McWhorter in America) who consider that the problems black people face are more caused by a self-destructive culture than by white racism, that white liberal guilt reinforces this destructive culture, and that change must come from within 'the black community' rather than being 'delivered' from outside.

The NOI may have an idiotic ideology, but one thing they've grasped that Johann Hari hasn't - the need to do it for themselves. NOI members reject the street, drug and criminal cultures, believe in education, monogamy, fidelity. Which community in Britain has the highest rate of single parenthood ? The lowest educational attainment ? The highest (by a terrifyingly large factor) rates of criminality and incarceration ? There is, of course, a black Britain outside of the crime reports. People like the spotlessly attired families heading for church on a Sunday. But they don't exist as far as popular black street culture or white liberals are concerned. The only times you hear in the media about a black kid with good grades and school attendance is when his poor mother's asked to come and identify the body. Stephen, Damilola, Kieran.

Smart, fascistic Farrakhans will develop messages of rage and hate nuanced for British ears.
Looking at this there's a hint of it already. My college professors rarely lectured flanked by guys in paramilitary kit.

Professor Martin speaking in London last year.

The ghettos of tomorrow will not be passive and defeated, nor should they be.

We're back in Patricia Hewitt country here - this recalls her celebrated and idiotic remark that the tragedy of the 1981 London riots was that the rioters were burning their own (poor) areas. When asked if she'd prefer her own (well-heeled) suburb to be burning she fell silent. After all, the degree of violence will be directly related to the degree of oppression - won't it ?

They will be angry and fighting, and they may even have the distant scent of Nuremberg.
Well, anything's better than being passive and defeated - apparently.

The fact that so many black Britons want to hear him should tell us something.
I'm still waiting to hear someone say that the existence of an audience for Nick Griffin or Jean-Marie Le Pen 'should tell us something' .

His foul radicalism must be met not by silencing him but with an authentic and progressive radicalism of our own. It would mean abolishing the racist practice of stop-and-search, investing heavily in schools in black areas, and introducing positive discrimination across the public services. We need to deal with black Britons' real grievances now - or they will mutate into ideologies we cannot appease.

Journeys end in lovers' meeting. We reach our preordained destination. Spend more. Discriminate against whites (who, of course, have caused this situation to arise). Abandon the streets - black and people will suffer from more crime and violence - but our hands will be clean. The word used for this is absolutely the correct one - appeasement.

Didn't you listen to the man ? "Would you like us to whimper and plead for your white liberal pity?" he snaps. From Lord Scarman's report after the 1981 riots through to the Lawrence enquiry, we've seen a hundred well-meant enquiries, confessions of racism, millions pumped into the inner cities, into schools, youth groups, social workers. Even as I write the BMA are the latest establishment body to confess their sins. White liberal pity has done all it can for twenty years now - with conspicuous lack of success.

You want more of the same ? All to stop the Nation of Islam ? You really think that the new school IT suite, given by the stroke of a pen in some council office, will raise academic achievement ? That taking the police away will stop street robberies ?

Dream on. How can a culture be changed from without ? It has to come from within. I would much rather see a black cultural revival that wasn't driven by hatred of whites and Jews. But that a revival is needed there's no doubt. And it isn't in your gift to give it, Johann - nor mine neither, nor Blunkett's nor Gordon Brown's. And for once, that is because of the colour of our skin.