Saturday, April 23, 2005


We've had undercover TV crews filming the racist Mancunian filth and the racist BNP. All well and good.

But try secretly filming the disaster that is State education and hear the screams from the NUT.

Over a period of about six months, she went into 18 schools in London and the north of England as a supply teacher and secretly filmed in six of them.

She says she saw chairs being smashed, pupils fighting in class and that she was sworn at by pupils and was falsely accused of touching them.

Other bad behaviour by pupils included verbal abuse, general rowdiness and the use of mobile phones or CD players.

Teaching sometimes became impossible, she said.

Five's senior programme controller, Chris Shaw, said: "I hope this film will open every parent's eyes to the chaos that reigns in many classrooms and makes meaningful teaching almost impossible."

The National Union of Teachers condemned the programme, saying it was not right to film children secretly.

General secretary Steve Sinnott said: "Low-level disruption is a significant problem in our schools.

"We do not need underhand methods for a cheap documentary to expose the problem."

The union said the programme's methods were unacceptable and would not improve children's behaviour.

Look Not Upon The Wine When It Is Red

Jules at Attempting Escape reports on Bible-based drinking games. A pity the students of Stirling University aren't so inventive.

Friday, April 22, 2005

"a golden age of law and order"

Poll Pot on crime (the golden age, believe it or not, is 2005), opening with all the traditional liberal cliches.

"The universal myth of some golden age set in the imagined time just beyond what we can remember suggests the world has been in moral decline since time began."

"A vast industry of mendacity has a vested interest in scaring people witless with front-page shock, TV cops and doom-laden moral panic editorials."

"while we know how bad health used to be, attitudes towards crime are cloaked in nostalgic amnesia"

That's right. Anecdotal evidence and the official figures on health from before the NHS are gospel. Anecdotal evidence and the official figures on crime ? Well ... old people ... memories going ... mythical golden age ...

At which point let's have some anecdotal evidence to support that thesis. Sir Robert Mark describes an unruly offender in Manchester.

"One Friday night an enormous navvy pushed the head of a constable through a shop window and started quite a battle in which uniformed and plain clothes men cheerfully joined in ... it grew to quite serious proportions, stopping the traffic ... the crowd was jeering and becoming unpleasantly restive."

To Polly, "what he reveals in passing is a world where drunken riot was frequent, and sensibility about what crime is serious was very different. If a villain put a policeman's head through a window now it would be a major crime with a long sentence, not a bit of a laugh and a small fine. People hitting each other was more frequent and more acceptable than now. Yet 48% of "violent" crime reported in yesterday's figures caused no injury whatsoever. These shock-horror reports about bingeing Britain are certainly right about more booze consumed in these full-employment times, right that most violence is drunk young men hitting each other, but devoid of any historical perspective on street brawling. "

Alas I think it's Ms Pot who's devoid of any historical perspective. To anyone who spends time in city centre pubs nowadays, what's amazing about the Robert Mark story is that the crowd stand and watch the police scrapping with the offender. Today there'd be people joining in. They'd have to call out support.

Another difference is the class perspective. The labouring classes were the fighting classes who fought with the police or each other. Now violence is much more widely spread between classes.

And of course when drunk young men hit each other today, the one who hits the floor first is likely to find himself being kicked in the head. And it's not just drunk young men - innocent strangers suffer too. Maybe stories like this were common in the 1930s ?

Huzzah !

Someone outside the evil Religious Right has noticed.

Shuggy on Pope Benedict XVI

However, while this pontiff seems unlikely to be a unifying candidate, I'm wondering if it's right to suggest that the adoption of a more liberal theology - while desirable from a socially liberal perspective - will help stem the decline in Catholic congregations world wide because evidence for this seems rather scant: theological liberalism hasn't done either the Church of England or the Church of Scotland much good, whereas those branches of religion that have been relatively inflexible theologically appear to be experiencing considerable growth in various parts of the world. After all, Islam is the world's fastest-growing religion and in Latin America, the Catholic church has been plugging away with a liberation theology approach - only to have been outstripped by the huge growth in Evangelical Protestantism. It's a little reported fact that the congregation growth in that part of the world is the largest expansion in protestantism since the Reformation. It seems that doctrinal conservatism, combined with modern techniques in evangelism, is the key to success here.

You've got it in one.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Created and hand-crafted in the traditional style by Blimpish. Go see.

And he's got even more visual goodies in store.

UPDATE - Tim Blair covers the Global Nazi Panic and reactions to Benedict XVI on the Guardian talkboards.

"Choose Death" - Says Justice Hedley

Picture from the picture's not there, go here).

Charlotte Wyatt, now eighteen months old, will still be left to die by Portsmouth NHS Trust if her condition worsens, following a judge's rejection of a second appeal by her parents. Charlotte Wyatt Blog has the details.

I don't get this. Good Christian Hedley delivers the October judgement. The Wyatts appeal in January. Hedley rejects. Appeal in April. Hedley rejects.

The judge said that he was delighted Charlotte had survived the winter, confounding predictions she was bound to succumb to a respiratory infection.
But he added that Charlotte’s chronic respiratory disease was still expected to be fatal and her neurological condition was as bad as it could be.

In other words "I made my original judgement on the strength of the medical evidence, which I'm delighted to say has been proved completely wrong. I will now make a judgement on the strength of the medical evidence."

The poor Wyatts seem to have been landed with a judge made on a Friday. Can't they get another one, or are they stuck with him ?

UPDATE - the Times report has a picture with the following rollover caption (alt parm for you techies).

"A revised Injunction Order has been made in the Family Division of the High Court, dated 27 September 2004, (Mr Justice Hedley) regarding Charlotte Wyatt. The order made is exceptionally wide, prohibiting any reporting, in words or images, that may lead not only to the baby's identification but also to her medical condition, any of her family, where she is being treated, her medical team, or the trusts and hospitals for whom they work. If in any doubt please consult a staff lawyer before publishing."

Quite an effective court order then, as the Times have a picture of Charlotte, describe her medical condition, identify Darren and Debbie, her loving parents, and state that she's at St Mary's Hospital Portsmouth. The only thing which does seem to be holding is that the Hippocratic assassins in white coats remain anonymous.

Even Lighter Blogging ....

A quick Google tells me that while the secret Government study revealing an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants has made India and Quatar, it's not been spotted by the Guardian, Independent or BBC websites. How odd. Even stranger when Jeremy Paxman was asking Mr Blair about the figures last night (he denied they existed).

In fact you'll find more coverage on Michelle Malkin's immigration blog than on the British Broadcasting Corporation.

I feel a gratuitous link to Migrationwatch coming on.

I'm naturally a cynical sort with little time for conspiracy theories. Cock-up wins over conspiracy every time (except the vast neo-con conspiracy to conquer all the oil-rich countries of course - places like Afghanistan). So I approached this story (not to mention the mystery leg)at Classical Values cautiously. After all, if there really was a Middle East - nay, Iraqi - link to the Oklahoma bombings, wouldn't GWBs boys have been shouting it from the rooftops a year or two back ? Or are those the very documents which Clinton's security adviser Sandy Berger had down his pants (don't bother looking for this story on the BBC either) ? Dunno mate. Read and ponder.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Light Blogging ....

Though there is a small post at Biased BBC.

Fortunately the new Manhattan City Journal is out, Blimpish approves of God's Rottweiler, and Marcus has an excellent post on the legacy of John Paul II.

Also recommended - Albion Blogger's view of Gordon Brown's "every child is precious" election broadcast.

One quarter of our precious children live in one-parent families.
Mostly, they have no fathers.

20% of our precious children aged 11 years old cannot read.

190,000 of our precious children were legally aborted in 2003. In that year, 1,171 of those abortions were to precious children themselves.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Charlotte Wyatt

Remember Charlotte Wyatt ? She's still alive, and her parents return to the High Court this Thursday to see if "good Christian" Mr Justice Hedley will change his mind about letting her die.

Friends and supporters have set up a weblog. Let's hope that as in the case of David Glass, the court finds against Portsmouth NHS Trust. Let's not see another Luke Winston-Jones.

You Read It Here First

For years Britain's occupational pensions were the envy of Europe, but they have been made uneconomic by Brown's tax, increased longevity and the stock market collapse. The pensions holidays taken by employers, many of whom are still not contributing even now, haven't helped either. (Of course they should have built up surpluses to protect funds against a rainy day - but a bit of Tory legislative wizardry in the 1980s made it uneconomical to do so. Thanks, Nige.)

So what is the Government's response ? In case funds go broke, they'll set up a special pot of cash which can bail out the poor pensioners. Brilliant idea ! And where will the cash come from ? From a charge on the pension funds ! And if more funds fail as a result of the charge ? - presumably increase the levy on the funds which still have cash !

It's possible to imagine a pyramid-style scenario in which one fund after another collapses, increasing the levy on those left, until at last the best-run and most prudent funds, milked by levies to compensate other pensioners, finally go under - leaving their pensioners uncompensated.

- this blog, July 2003. It transpired that the charge was to be levied not on the pension funds themselves, but on companies with final salary pension schemes. So the effects are slightly different - the companies close their schemes. The principle seems to be standing up well though.

Fresh doubts surfaced yesterday over the viability of the Government’s pensions lifeboat, after the fund received its second cash call in a fortnight and an influential ratings agency predicted that it would collapse under liabilities of almost £900 million a year.
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) said that the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) would quickly rack up its own deficit, forcing it to raise its annual levy on companies with final-salary pension schemes. “There’s a limit to the losses the PPF can shoulder without additional funding,” Jim MacLachlan, a director at S&P, said.

The CBI said that businesses would be infuriated by the prospect of having to pay even more than the annual £300 million that they have been told to contribute to the PPF from 2006.
Susan Anderson, at the CBI, said that increases to the levy would force more companies with final-salary schemes to close them. “It will come to a point where they’re killing the goose that laid the golden egg,” she said.

- The Times, April 2005.

Our Criminal Justice System (Again)

He attempted to rape a 90-year old at knifepoint. Obviously the right sort of candidate for early release - after only one year of a derisory three year sentence.

Golly - now he's trying to rape toddlers ! Who'd have thought it ?

What about the man who stabbed someone five times in the stomach - then jumped bail ?

He went on the run for nine months before he was re-arrested and sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to 100 hours' community work and two years' probation.

The sentence did little to change his behaviour.
You amaze me.

He then stole his sister's jewellery and spent the money on lager.

Magistrates deferred sentencing him for six months to give him a chance to stay out of trouble.

He was made the subject of a 50-hour community service order when he re-appeared at the same court in February last year and was ordered to pay the jeweller £25 compensation with £50 costs.

Keith Haggerty, his solicitor, told the court Hobson was attempting to turn his life around.

He said: "He knew taking his sister's rings was a terrible thing to do and he is glad they have been returned to her. He has an alcohol problem and needed the money to buy drink.

"He has been battling against his addiction and has managed to cut his drinking down."

Oh, drat ! Five months later he's only gone and killed four people !

UPDATE - and sit down before you read this.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Where's An ASBO When You Need One ?

I'm pretty sure that taking a leak in the street is an arrestable offence if you're not a dog or a toddler. What is the world coming to ?

I blame that Jane Horrocks myself.

Longbridge 2

So it's all over, the employees get the statutory minimum redundancy, the directors retire as rich men (see Tim Worstall for details of how to make profits from a company that's losing money hand over fist) and the Rover pension fund will be bailed out by the brilliant new Pension Fund scheme.

Scott at Blithering Bunny responded to my Longbridge post.

Britain is regulating itself out of a lot of business, just not as fast as Germany and France are doing. And a combination of a poor state education system and a new generation of useless civil servants means that we aren’t as good as we should be at competing on the “international stage” (and things are likely to get worse the longer watered-down socialism remains in favour). But these problems are all caused by the state having too much power. So the last thing we want is to pay any attention to calls for the state to step in and help Rover survive.

Nothing to disagree with there. I just see our failure to compete internationally as meaning that Britain's relative decline will continue despite (or is it because of ?) free trade. Free trade is very good for those countries with high levels of education, technical skills, infrastructure etc. All these things being relative of course. You also need an government that doesn't hinder, entrepreneurial ethic among some and a work ethic among many. Britain in Victorian times had all of these and so was naturally keen on free trade.

Now we don't have the education system (with the implication for future technical skills), the government or the work ethic. Having a free market won't solve at least two out of three of those. After all, if it was possible to simply move into new areas easily, they'd have been able to make cars that people wanted to buy. Cars are as hi-tech an item as any these days, so if we can't make those what's suddenly going to make us turn out memory sticks or holographic videos ?

Conversely, with the right culture, technology and education, you can be successful with some pretty unfree markets. Japan 1960-1985 was protectionist and institutionally corrupt, but raised its game over that period from cheap plastic toys to the best cars, cameras and electronics in the world.

There's a quote from Adam Smith which I'll dig out tonight, of which the gist is : "Without the appropriate cultural setting, free markets are useless".

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bristol Police - Determined To Tackle Stereotyping

Nice to know - crime is so low in Brissle the police have time to take a dig at Barry Beelzebub. If only they were 'determined to tackle crime'. Stereotyping isn't a crime - yet.

I thought the column was spot-on, actually. Judge for yourself.

Time's Revenges

I've written before that Guardianistas, for whom immigration is just another weapon in the struggle to destroy the existing culture, are importing millions of Theodore Dalrymples into the UK.

I like the style of this Respect supporter.

'The election is important because we have a chance to change what is happening now,' Abdul tells me. Like his colleagues he is bearded, and wears a hat, but is in Western clothes. 'We have sex education that promotes sex because young children should not be exposed to these things; kids below 11 years are dressing up like adults, young boys and girls are doing obscene things. This never happened before sex education. Look at abortion - Britain has the highest abortion rates in Europe. Look at gay and lesbian rights ... this is not natural. And then you have television and movies and computer games promoting violence. Galloway shares the same moral values as us, he sees that religion is a stepping-stone to a moral society.'

Tell it like it is, brother ! Much more like that and I'll be voting for them myself.

Two Stories ...

From the Sunday Times.

The BNP Sikh :

“The BNP! But they want all immigrants driven out of Britain, Mr Singh.”


“But you’re an immigrant yourself.”

“Not immigrant! Thirty-three years I am living in Great Britain, paying income tax, voting Labour, listening to Queen’s speech on Christmas Day. I am number one British citizen and patriot. Also, like all Sikh peoples, I am working night and day and raising one family of the most respectable order. My son is chartered accountant, graduated and certified. In our family, integrity is there, respectability also. Why should we be compared to all these layabout fellows?”

And the Brick Lane Bangladeshi :

“In Bangladesh, yeah, when one person gets a job, everyone else like gives up their job and lives off ’im. They’ve got this mentality, innit. ‘I don’t af to do nafing; let my brother pay for everyfing.’

“The coupla times I’ve been back there, yeah, my relatives, yeah, they says to me, ‘Oi! Mr Ali. Give us some cash!’ So I tell ’em, ‘F*** off, yeah! Make it yourself!’ I’m telling you, them bustards wouldn’t last five minutes ’ere. Any’ow, ’Er Majesty, yeah, she shouldn’t let ’alf of them in.”

UPDATE - Ali's take on Bangladeshi society echoes precisely S.J. Masty's piece in the Social Affairs Unit blog. Jarndyce at Pseudo Magazine called it 'barmy nonsense', but the coincidence of views with Ali is striking.

Of the middle-class extended families that I know in South Asia, about one fourth of the men in each are incompetents and layabouts, while the rest of the men work themselves half to death in order to support the others. But if one brother dares to suggest that Anwar get off his backside and wash windows, if need be, the entire assembly of women attacks like killer bees.

In lands without so-called social safety nets (dole), this ensures that those unable to work are housed and fed - along with those who are unwilling to work. In return for this informal insurance-policy, the family takes a group decision on who you marry, where and what you study, and where you work. And if you rise through luck, brains or effort, they tell you who to hire - usually a spotty second cousin. Opting out means life without family in places where such a life is not worth living.

I have to disagree with Jarndyce on this one. There are some cultures where his question "would you as individuals, or a collective, like to have a say in how you are governed ?" would be pretty meaningless, but "whose man are you ?" would be instantly understood. Afghanistan for one, IMHO.