Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Missing Child

This story's been at the back of my mind ever since Friday morning. Probably the same for anyone with a child - the parental nightmare scenario. I pray they find him in one piece. And that his parents get back together. You can't smack a child in Scotland - that's abuse - but you can take a parent away and no-one bats an eyelid. Which harms the child more ?

UPDATE - they've found a body. That poor child. His poor parents.

Liberal Self-Censorship Part 742

Who killed Tracey Cullum ?

BBC - "Those involved in the incident, thought to number between four and five, are described as young black males.
The main offender who attacked Ms Cullum is believed to be aged 17 to 20, between 5ft 6in and 6ft tall and was wearing a dark hooded jacket."

The Sun - "The youth who hit Tracey is described as black, aged between 16 and 18 and around 5ft 4in to 5ft 6in tall."

Mirror - "Police are hunting four black youths aged 16-18 who were all wearing hoodies"

Times - "The four youths are described as black and were wearing hoods. The youth who hit Tracey is described as being aged 16 to 18 and 5ft 4in to 6ft tall."

Scotsman - "The attacker is described as a dark-skinned black male aged 17-20. He was of slim-to-proportionate build, with short hair and sideburns, and wearing a hooded top."

This Is Birmingham - "All four youths are described as black. Ms Cullum's attacker was aged between 16 and 18 and between 5ft 4in and 5ft 6ins."

The Guardian - "She had challenged the group of four teenagers more than a month ago for being rude while waiting for a bus in Birmingham city centre. One of them, said to be aged between 16 and 18, punched her as she stood in the bus queue with her 12-year-old son, a female friend and three other children."

And, surprisingly, the Telegraph - "She was telling off a group of hooded youths who had pushed to the front of the queue for the No 29 bus in the centre of Birmingham when one of them hit her in the face, knocking her to the ground and breaking her ankle."

And no Indie report. After all, no Americans were implicated in her death.

A Victorian Rude Boy

One student summer job was in a cold store as warehouseman. Bottom-of-the-heap jobs always attract some interesting characters - one of my fellow employees lived rough, sleeping on the local golf-course at night (he told me how to bend and pin down hedge branches and cover with polythene to make a sleeping place).

Another employee was a strapping, big-built girl of eighteen or nineteen, with whom another worker was hopelessly enamoured. "He sticks to her like a fly to a cow's a***", said someone in the canteen. But he stood no chance - she was having an affair with Dave, one of the forklift drivers, a wild chap built on the same heroic scale, with a wife and children at home.

Home time and Dave is clocking off on the old punch-card machine, she shouts across the room. "Dave ! Will you do me ?"

"Aye - I will tonight !" and they both roared with laughter.

They could have been the couple of cheerful pagans George Borrow met in the 1860s.

After an hour's walking I overtook two people, a man and a woman laden with baskets which hung around them on every side. The man was a young fellow of about eight-and-twenty, with a round face, fair flaxen hair, and rings in his ears; the female was a blooming buxom lass of about eighteen. After giving them the sele of the day I asked them if they were English.

"Aye, aye, master," said the man; "we are English."
"Where do you come from?" said I.
Wrexham," said the man.
"I thought
Wrexham was in Wales," said I.
"If it be," said the man, "the people are not Welsh; a man is not a horse because he happens to be born in a stable."

"Is that young woman your wife?" said I.
"Yes;" said he, "after a fashion" - and then he leered at the lass, and she leered at him.

"Do you attend any place of worship?" said I.
"A great many, master!"
"What place do you chiefly attend?" said I.
"The Chequers, master!"
"Do they preach the best sermons there?" said I.
"No, master! but they sell the best ale there."
"Do you worship ale?" said I.
"Yes, master, I worships ale."

"Anything else?" said I.
"Yes, master! I and my mort worships something besides good ale; don't we, Sue?" and then he leered at the mort, who leered at him, and both made odd motions backwards and forwards, causing the baskets which hung round them to creak and rustle, and uttering loud shouts of laughter, which roused the echoes of the neighbouring hills.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mo Mowlem

Hated her cosyness with 'babe' Gerry Adams, and couldn't work out why she got so many gushing tributes.

The Pub Philosopher shares memories and explains all.

Sick People

The usual vested interests crop up in the Guardian letters page today, on the subject of prison 'reform' (for which read abolition).

We get the wonderfully and aptly named Frances Crook of the Howard League For the Abolition of Punishment (arguing for less punishment), Steve Rolles of the Transform Drugs Policy Foundation (arguing for more money for drugs education), Lucy Gampell of Action for Prisoners' Families (arguing for less imprisonment), and a Pauline Campbell of Malpas, Cheshire.

Ms Campbell considers that "there is something cruel about sending sick people to places of punishment".

I think there's something even more cruel about harassing an elderly stranger accosted in a town centre, threatening to accuse him of rape unless he hands over money for drugs, then robbing him of his wallet and credit cards when he collapses and dies. Takes all sorts I suppose.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Low Intensity Warfare Part 21

Let's remind ourselves once more ... Home Office minister Hazel Blears :

"we are seeing much more cooperation from the courts in making sure decent people who are prepared to stand up and challenge this behaviour are properly protected."

Tracey Cullum challenged anti-social behaviour.

Just as did Michelle Wenden, or Alwyn Jones. Or William Bird. Or Martin James.

In related news, Victim Support (a nominally independent but overwhelmingly taxpayer-funded organisation- £31m out of £33m in 2004) are spending £100,000 on a study of "hate crime".

Not all "hate crime", of course. Kriss Donald, Ross Parker, Richard Whelan, Gavin Hopley won't qualify as victims.

"Because the extent of hate crime is so wide - including attacks against lesbians, gay men and transgender people, members of minority ethnic communities, disabled people, refugees and asylum seekers - the research will focus on the experiences and needs of black and minority ethnic people."

When they talk about "the growing phenomenon of hate crime" you'd think they might mean the 52 dead and 700 injured in the wave of religiously motivated attacks last month.

Apparently not. Most of them are the wrong colour to qualify.

Didn't people who discriminate like that used to be called racists ?

Big Bad Woolf

What is Lord Woolf saying ?

BBC - "Prisons Rethink"

Guardian - "New Approach To Law And Order"

Sun - "Lock Up Less Crims"

Dumb Jon - "I think the chutzpah meter just broke. Not two weeks ago these people were composing hymns to the seperation of powers. Now we get the full benefit of Lord Woolf's views on what the law should be."

Education x 3

Stephen Pollard :

Our book’s argument – the analysis which underpinned that campaign slogan - was that education is the great engine of social mobility. But instead of promoting meritocracy, it was doing the reverse.

For the first two thirds of the twentieth century, the high standards of grammar schools acted as a unique spring board, opening up all sorts of areas which had previously been the preserve of the elites, from an Oxbridge degree to a career in the professions.

Andrew (as he was then - now Lord Adonis) and I argued, however, that the final third of the century was very different. From the 1960s, Britain became a less socially mobile society.

Where on the social ladder a person was born predicted, with depressing accuracy, where they would end up. The reason? The decline in state education, with coincided with – and was in large part caused by – the shift from selective to comprehensive education.

Andrew Adonis is an intelligent chap. It pains me to hear the nonsense he now has to regurgitate as a Labour Minister.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Brother Roger Schutz

The 90-year old founder of the Taize community was murdered last night while at prayer. God rest his soul.

Times report here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More Racist Attacks

I've just watched the BBC TV news report of the disgusting attack on three Asian children in Oldham. For beating two children unconscious (as part of a gang of up to 100 people) James Peters has ben given 18 months. So he'll be out in 9. Makes you proud of British Justice, doesn't it ?

Of course it's the racial element that's crucial for such prominence in BBC news. Attacks like that are not normally reported on national news. Someone setting an 11 year old on fire, for example, will only just make the regional headlines.

We can be sure, however, that three white boys pursued and attacked by a non-white gang in Oldham would receive just as much publicity. Wouldn't they ? Especially if one was kicked to death. And robbed as he lay dying. And no-one was convicted of the murder.

Strangely, I can't remember hearing Gavin Hopley's name on BBC radio or television news. And I know it wasn't in Oldham, and he wasn't white, but I don't recall hearing anything about Tyrone Clarke either. Do we detect a pattern here ?

Wild Wales

Every holiday I look forward to reading - but there was a limited choice in this year's house. The owner's (late) mother was a big Dickens fan and I've never found him particularly digestible. The Mills and Boons I skipped, read a couple of dreadful thrillers before discovering George Borrow's Lavengro, The Romany Rye and Wild Wales. I'd read them all before but there's so much to enjoy nth time round.

Linguist, walker, passionate lover of poetry, the Anglican Church and good beer - what a life that man led. When he was summoned to London for an interview (the job, translating the Bible into Manchu, would take him to St Petersburg for two years) he walked from Norwich in twenty-seven hours.

Lavengro is fascinating autobiography, The Romany Rye is his record of his travels with gypsies, and Wild Wales records his epic walk from Chester to Chepstow via Llangollen, Anglesey, Bala and Swansea.

We had taken the scenic route to the coast via the Abergewesyn Pass to Tregaron, then down through Llandewi Brefi.

Nowadays the village is famous as the home of Daffyd, but its true fame comes from sixteen hundred years before. In Borrow's words :

It is not without reason that Llan Ddewi Brefi has been called a place of old renown. In the fifth century, one of the most remarkable ecclesiastical convocations which the world has ever seen was held in this secluded spot. It was for the purpose of refuting certain doctrines, which had for some time past caused much agitation in the Church, and which originated with one Morgan, a native of North Wales, who left his country at an early age and repaired to Italy, where having adopted the appellation of Pelagius, which is a Latin translation of his own name Morgan, which signifies "by the seashore," he soon became noted as a theological writer. It is not necessary to enter into any detailed exposition of his opinions; it will, however, be as well to state that one of the points which he was chiefly anxious to inculcate was that it is possible for a man to lead a life entirely free from sin by obeying the dictates of his own reason without any assistance from the grace of God - a dogma certainly to the last degree delusive and dangerous. When the convocation met there were a great many sermons preached by various learned and eloquent divines, but nothing was produced which was pronounced by the general voice a satisfactory answer to the doctrines of the heresiarch. At length it was resolved to send for Dewi, a celebrated teacher of theology at Mynyw in Pembrokeshire, who from motives of humility had not appeared in the assembly. Messengers therefore were despatched to Dewi, who, after repeated entreaties, was induced to repair to the place of meeting, where after three days' labour in a cell he produced a treatise in writing in which the tenets of Morgan were so triumphantly overthrown that the convocation unanimously adopted it and sent it into the world with a testimony of approbation as an antidote to the heresy, and so great was its efficacy that from that moment the doctrines of Morgan fell gradually into disrepute.

The Pelagian heresy, that man is basically good and perfectible, is what Rousseau taught and what hippies and Guardianistas believe. (Rousseau was indeed so good and perfectible that he dumped his five children in an orphanage as soon as they were weaned.)

Dewi later became the patron Saint of what is now the Land Of Bastards.

Editor Arrested Over Asylum Editorial

Alan Buchan, editor of the freesheet North East Weekly, has been charged with race hate offences under the Public Order Act.

According to Press Gazette, "the charges arise out of an editorial published on 16 June about alleged proposals create a new prison at Peterhead.

Under the headline "Perverts & Refugees", Buchan claimed the people of rural England were rebelling against the establishment of large refugee centres holding up to 5,000 immigrants "because they were fully aware that their communities would be swamped and turned into cesspools and ghettos where murder, rape, robbery, assault, break-ins and numerous other crimes became prevalent"."

Mr Buchan, whose freesheet serves the area of Aberdeenshire that bears his name, defends himself here.

His comments are obviously ridiculous. Fancy suggesting that areas with a high number of asylum seekers, like London, have more crime than Aberdeenshire. Has not the great Aaaronovitch said that "there is no greater propensity among immigrants towards crime, prostitution and anti-social behaviour than among the population at large" ?

Which must be why 10% of the UK prison population are foreign nationals.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Back Again ....

No papers - only Radio Four. What a Second Test - can the Third match it ?

It seems that nothing terribly exciting has happened. Blair and Blears have come out with the usual crowd-pleasing soundbites about deporting foreigners who hate us, and the ideas will either be dropped or overturned in the courts.

Today did pick up one vitally important story. Apparently somewhere in England there's a homosexual who would rather not be that way (RealAudio). Call the Thought Police !

More tonight ...

Resemblance ?

Ricky Ponting

Aussie Captain


Yankee Captain