Saturday, March 19, 2005

Zimbabwe traditional healer burnt by goblins

What a headline. The Sun and Daily Sport can't compete.

A self-styled traditional healer popularly known as tsikamutanda, was on Monday seriously burnt by a suspected goblin, which he was allegedly trying to get rid of during a cleansing ceremony at one of his client’s homestead in Lalapanzi.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Enriching Our Economy

There can be no doubt that mass immigration has reduced costs for employers drastically. Take what the Guardian calls 'sex work'. Foreign entrepreneurs are capable of finding people who will take on the jobs that the Native Brits don't want. In some cases, they'll even find employees who will do jobs against their will.

The girl was resold seven times, repeatedly raped and forced to work in brothels throughout Britain. She escaped only after enlisting the help of three local women at a Sheffield nightclub and ran barefoot, distressed and traumatised, to a local police station.
The flood of new workers has helped keep inflation low, and some prices have actually fallen. For example, last summer a Lithuanian teenager cost as much as £4,000. Within a few months, thanks to businessmen from Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo, the price had dropped to £3,000, then £1,500. Who says it's a difficult climate for businessmen in Brown's Britain ?

Elsewhere people are developing innovative methods to detect crime. How long before mermaid technology comes to Britain ?

A HARARE woman bought FIVE return air tickets to fly mermaids from London after a spirit medium told her they would help her recover her stolen car and money.

Zimbabwean authorities say this was a swindle and have arrested the spirit medium Edna Chizema, who is also a popular musician, charging her with theft by false pretences.

The bizarre details of the case were revealed when Chizema, better known as Ambuya Maduve, went on trial on Wednesday.

Magrate Mapfumo told a Harare magistrate how she turned to Chizema after her car and $150 million cash went missing from her home.

She said when she arrived at the singer’s home, a mystery voice told her that she had to buy air tickets for the mermaids (injuza in Ndebele, or an imaginary sea creature fabled to have a woman’s head and upper body and a fish’s tail) which would track down the thieves who had stolen her car and cash.

(I must say New Zimbabwe has some fantastic stories. From the same page, Witchcraft blamed as stones rain on family , Man grows female genital organ on face , Goblins burn traditional healer )

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Daily Mail Watch Watch

As we celebrate the loss of a million manufacturing jobs since 1997, Poll Pot on Britain, honesty and the Daily Mail.

"the Daily Mail's toxic talent for the breathtaking, punch-you-in-the-face untruth."

followed by
"The fabric of the nation is in better nick than for many a long year"

Polly also calls CBI Director-General Digby Jones 'the old fraud'.

Digby Jones is 49.

Polly Toynbee is nine years older, as well as apparently being descended from the 9th Earl of Carlisle.

One other Daily Mail moment - listen to Labour education committee chairman Barry Sheerman accuse the BBC (RealAudio - near the end) of getting a story (that Peter Vardy's excellent Emmanuel College teaches creationism) from the Daily Mail.

"Barry, Barry - it's a Guardian story"

"Oh, is it ?"

The Eighties Are Back

In music at Harry's, and in the Guardian, where Hugh Muir tells us that "gun crime will continue to rise while it remains the most accessible, rational career choice for so many young people ".

This was the new theme of the 1980s, as liberals who had previously denied the existence of rising crime ("Daily Mail ... more people have insurance ... more people have phones, so it's easier to report... people report crimes now which they would have accepted in past times ... the police are inflating the figures to justify demanding increased resources") suddenly accepted its existence and found a cause - that rising crime was due to poverty and injustice.

As I wrote a few years back

Suddenly there was an avalanche of theories designed to explain the rise in crime that had previously been denied. Bad housing, unemployment, the design of estates - all manner of physical, mechanistic explanations for crime. And the greatest of these was poverty. From the Church of England's 'Faith in the City' report in 1986 to the many reports of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Child Poverty Action Group, the message, put simply, was 'they thieve because they're poor'. And there was great political utility in this view during the Thatcher years. The same people on the 'left' who in the 1970s had characterised paid employment as soulless capitalist wage-slavery, the cause of alienation, suddenly decided that paid employment was a basic human right the ABSENCE of which caused alienation, of which crime was one symptom. Again put simply, the answer to the question 'whose fault was it, then ?' was 'THATCHER !'. So we have the third stage of denial - that yes, there is a lot of crime, but a) it's caused by poverty and our unjust society b) nothing can be done about it without relieving poverty/creating social justice.

You see, those outside Guardianista country are completely unaware of the "polarisation of our society into the haves and have-nots, the connected and the disconnected". It's not a concept we've come across before, having been asleep for twentyfive years, and we need people like Hugh to tell us about it. Apparently there's a "parallel universe of deprived communities, where the concerns and norms of mainstream Britain scarcely register" . I think he's talking about the UK underclass.

The wonderful thing is how the Guardianista worldview has trickled down into even the criminal underclass, providing a moral underpinning, a justification, for the criminal lifestyle. Never mind the fact that their victims are usually as poor and 'deprived' as they are themselves. Ever since the 1980s and the rise of the yuppie we've heard the refrain that "they see all this wealth on the TV which they haven't got - what do you expect ?".

"They see a lot of things happen on TV, famous people, rap stars, gold, big cars, houses; they all want it but everyone ain't got the same means of getting it, so they are going about getting it in other ways."

"Most of the criminals out there, they're not stupid, they're smart people, they just ain't had opportunities ... it's just, they do the easiest, like, the easiest thing that's there. Like me, for example, it was robberies and that. Robberies are easy, easy stuff. I could have done much, I could have maybe been a doctor, I could have been a lawyer, but it's just the way I grew up."

You see, it's all our fault. We don't "support families", whatever that means - I'd have thought we subsidise single parenthood rather successfully. We don't apparently educate the children ("better schools") and we don't provide "access to skills and role models", whatever that means. Perhaps we could bus males into sink schools and say 'this, Kyle, is called a father. He lives with his kids. Take a good look, 'cause you don't see many round here'.

Nowhere does he address the issue that at other times, or other parts of Britain (see my post on the high-crime constituencies), people have been poor yet have avoided crime as a solution to poverty.

Instead we get this.

"We are required to show personal responsibility, but ..."

Monday, March 14, 2005

A Wilted Crocus From The Curate's Garden

Still lagged from the trip to Murrayfield - 700-odd miles in 32 hours !

Highlights - the run from Moffat to Peebles via the Grey Mare's Tail and St Mary's Loch on a beautiful Sunday morning.

The large number of Welshmen in kilts.

The immaculately observed silence in memory of Douglas Elliot.

The haddock at Brattisani's. And the child-friendly waitress, who cheered up a tired seven year old girl.

There was a rugby match too, of which I will say little, in respect to the Scot I watched the game with. Let it suffice that he had his head in his hands after ten minutes, and when he was late back with a drink at half time I was concerned lest I find him cutting his wrists in the toilet ...

Enough. Have a look at this, from Faut De Mieux, checking Blimpish and shoeing Madeleine, whose historical howler this week is that a strong sense of English identity was a 19th century invention. I suppose she could be referring to a certain kind of European nationalism - but the whole glory of English nationalism is that it was never like the nationalisms of Europe, just as England was never like Europe.

Let me quote a great Victorian, writing in the aftermath of the Armada's defeat.

Come the three corners of the world in arms,
And we shall shock them.
Nought shall make us rue,
If England to itself do rest but true

How To Encourage Business

I was talking a year or two back to a chap who has a couple of small engineering businesses in the area, and asked him how the enormous increases in employers liability insurance, fuelled by the compensation culture, were affecting him.

He told me that, in common with perhaps 200,000 other small firms, he was operating without any. When I raised a metaphorical eyebrow at this (it's a legal requirement for any business other than a sole trader), he told me that the cost of cover was so high as to make the business uneconomic - it was a case of either running without cover or closing the company.

I thought of this when a correspondent brought this story to my attention - another classic from Scallyland.

A teenage boy who fell through a roof while he was trespassing on private property has received £567,000 in compensation.

Carl Murphy, now 18, sued the owner of a warehouse after suffering serious head injuries when he plunged 40ft to the floor as a nine-year-old in 1996.

Victims of crime groups yesterday reacted angrily to the payout, which is 50 times more than the family of a murder victim can expect to receive from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

He's receiving the compensation because the head injuries he sustained have caused him to behave an a most uncharacteristic fashion for a young Merseysider from a good home.

Mr Murphy is currently living with his grandmother because his mother Diane and her boyfriend, Kevin Parsons, both 36, are serving three years in prison for setting up a heroin and crack cocaine business from their council house.

He was expelled from his primary school in Bootle within a week of returning after the accident, given a home tutor, but that ended when he threatened her with violence. He missed ten months of school before being enrolled at Nugent House, Billinge, a school for children with behavioural problems, in November 1998, but was expelled 18 months later.

It's obvious that the blame for this behaviour lies with Container Care of Bootle, who failed to provide fencing capable of keeping out a young Liverpudlian.

I saw the local businessman again a month or so ago, and was pleased to hear that he will no longer be operating a UK factory without the mandatory insurance cover. He's moving production to China.