Saturday, March 11, 2006

Free The Bromyard Three !

From This is Worcestershire, featuring guest appearance by 'political correctness gone mad'.

PROTESTERS picketed outside Bromyard Police Station this week demanding freedom for the gollies nicknamed the "Bromyard three".

The soft toys were confiscated from Donald Reynolds' shop, A & E Pettifers, under section 5 of the Public Order Act, after a complaint was made about them being displayed in the window.

Following national interest in the plight of the gollies, local businessmen now want to keep the town in the public eye by bringing out a Bromyard Golly, complete with criminal record, and a range of themed merchandise.

Local businesses also joined the campaign, displaying posters in the shop windows.

Mr Reynolds said: "The police have been very good about the protest, taking it in a light-hearted way. I'm amazed at the support I've received."

However, there was a serious note to the protest, with some people believing police should spend more time patrolling the streets not `arresting' soft toys. Beryl Badley said: "It's political correctness gone mad."

Sgt Nick Semper said gollies were offensive to some people. However, John Phillips, who described himself as "one of the few coloured people in Bromyard", disagreed and was happy to join in Monday's protest.

"I don't think it's an issue," he said. "There are more important things to worry about in the world. At the end of the day, everyone wants to live in racial harmony."

Like many residents, Mr Phillips said he was concerned about the level of crime and lack of a police presence.

Since the Malvern Gazette & Ledbury Reporter broke the gollies' story, Mr Reynolds has had orders for more than 400 and the Bromyard three will be auctioned for charity when they are returned.

That Unelected Bum Falconer

Says that having "two tiers of MPs" at Westminster would "promote separation".

What the hell does he think we've got now ? Welsh and Scots MPs vote on English education and health. What influence do English MPs have over Welsh or Scottish education and health ?

Lord Falconer agreed there was a "distinctive English agenda" in some policy areas but said it was "critical" to preserve the United Kingdom.

"The argument for devolution was that the Scots and the Welsh felt policies could be imposed upon them for which there was little or no support in Scotland or Wales. That's why devolution was popular," Lord Falconer said.

On point 1 - maybe you should have thought of that before you created the white elephants at Holyrood and Cardiff. If Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can have their own legislatures, why not England ?

Point 2 - England didn't vote Labour - yet we've got a Labour government.

Awa' we' ye ! And tak Lord Irvine alang as well !

Friday, March 10, 2006

More Links ...

Tottenham Lad - born and bred in North London and one of the shrinking band of surviving natives.

The Lone Voice - from that fair city on the Usk. Not what you'd call a bleeding heart liberal - makes Dumb Jon look like Antonia Bance.

He links to this story. Iraq sounds like it should have a lower crime rate than the UK in a few years.

""The competent authorities have today carried out the death sentences of 13 terrorists," the Cabinet announcement said.

Farid had "confessed that foreigners recruited him to spread the fear through killings and abductions," the government said.

A judicial official said the death sentences were handed down in separate trials and were carried out in Baghdad.

"The 13 terrorists were tried in different courts and their trials began in 2005 and ended earlier this year," an official of the Supreme Judiciary Council said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisal from insurgents.

In September, Iraq hanged three convicted murderers, the first executions of any convicts since Saddam's ouster in April 2003. The men, considered common criminals rather than insurgents, were convicted of killing three police officers, kidnapping and rape.

Capital punishment was suspended during the formal U.S. occupation, which ended in June 2004, and the Iraqis reinstated the penalty two months later for those found guilty of murder, endangering national security and distributing drugs, saying it was necessary to help put down the persistent insurgency.

The authorities also wanted to have the option of executing Saddam if he is convicted of crimes committed by his regime. Under the former dictator, 114 offenses were punishable by death. "

Bawbags. I haven't dared ask what it means in the local Clydebank dialect.

BBC - Propaganda as Truth

The time has come to strip the BBC of its status as a public service broadcaster

So say the Civitas think-tank, in a report on a BBC 'documentary' which turns out to be a bit of a travesty of the truth.

"A programme broadcast on 5 October 2005 called 'Little Kinsey' manifested such a distortion of its source material that we can no longer depend upon the integrity of the BBC's factual programmes."

'Little Kinsey' was part of the 'Lost Decade' season, focusing on issues relevant to the period 1945-55. Its central argument was that the restrained attitudes towards sexual activity which would have been considered as typical of the era were hypocritical, that men and women were commonly adulterous, that family life was frequently unhappy, that many men used prostitutes and that homosexual activity was common. In fact, the archive, now housed at the University of Sussex, showed no such thing: it showed a society in which most people were still very conservative in their attitudes. Nor do official statistics back up the lurid picture painted by the BBC.

The Civitas press release is here, the full report (pdf file) here.

This is par for the liberal course - what I call the "Myth of the Myth of the Golden Age". The present must always be better than, or the same as, the past - so on crime, for example, we have the absurd claims over the last thirty years that crime hasn't risen - we're just suffering from 'moral panic' (see this post, which also links to other works of the report's author, the great Norman Dennis, sociologist of the respectable working class), or that we report crimes now that we'd have tolerated once.

Similarly with sexual conduct. Faced with the obvious outward evidence of changes in sexual morality over the last sixty years, the progressive has two (contradictory) options.

Option A - yes, things were different then. Marriages did last longer, children were brought up by both parents. But this came at a cost - the huge cost of domestic spousal and child abuse. The stability of society was paid for by the misery of milllions of individual women and children (the liberal is then faced with the interesting task of also claiming that 'domestic abuse' is increasing in today's world).

Option B - no, things weren't really different at all. Our forebears did just the things we did, only they were hypocritical and secretive about them. Usually due to the dreaded 'Victorian morality' - as if fidelity was discounted and bastardy tolerated in any other era of the last thousand-plus years (and the Restoration doesn't count - that was for the elite only).

With this programme (and the responses) we see option B in full effect.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Telegraph Bows To Political/Police Pressure ? Or Not

A couple of weeks ago the Telegraph published an interview by Alasdair Palmer with Patrick Sookhdeo, a Muslim convert to Christianity who among other things runs the Barnabas Fund, campaigning against the oppression of Christians in many countries.

The piece was titled "The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state" and was published here.

The Pub Philosopher among others quoted it.

I can't find the reason why it's been removed and the Telegraph don't seem to be saying. You can find links to it here and here, but I'd better post it while it exists (I disagree with his ideas about faith schools and accepting Britain's secular nature. Britain was until very recently in practice, and is still in theory, a Christian society).

UPDATE - the reason appears to be here. Mr Cock-Up once again triumphs over Ms Conspiracy.

"The Sunday Telegraph acknowledges that Dr Sookhdeo's remarks did not refer to The Noble Qur'an, A Rendering of its Meaning in English, but to a completely different translation. The Sunday Telegraph apologises for this mistake and for any offence caused by it."

As regular readers will know, I have a great deal of time for Islam and am quite a fan of the late Sayyid Qutb. I have therefore excised the incorrect name. It does not detract from the force of the argument, although it's always nice to get one's facts right. So I've been told.

Could I offer a warm welcome to readers from Conservative Home.

The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state By Alasdair Palmer (Filed: 19/02/2006)

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2006.

For the past two weeks, Patrick Sookhdeo has been canvassing the opinions of Muslim clerics in Britain on the row over the cartoons featuring images of Mohammed that were first published in Denmark and then reprinted in several other European countries.

"They think they have won the debate," he says with a sigh. "They believe that the British Government has capitulated to them, because it feared the consequences if it did not.

"The cartoons, you see, have not been published in this country, and the Government has been very critical of those countries in which they were published. To many of the Islamic clerics, that's a clear victory.

"It's confirmation of what they believe to be a familiar pattern: if spokesmen for British Muslims threaten what they call 'adverse consequences' - violence to the rest of us - then the British Government will cave in. I think it is a very dangerous precedent."

Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law.

"It is already starting to happen - and unless the Government changes the way it treats the so-called leaders of the Islamic community, it will continue."

For someone with such strong and uncompromising views, Dr Sookhdeo is a surprisingly gentle and easy-going man. He speaks with authority on Islam, as it was his first faith: he was brought up as a Muslim in Guyana, the only English colony in South America, and attended a madrassa there.

"But Islamic instruction was very different in the 1950s, when I was at school," he says. "There was no talk of suicide bombing or indeed of violence of any kind. Islam was very peaceful."

Dr Sookhdeo's family emigrated to England when he was 10. In his early twenties, when he was at university, he converted to Christianity. "I had simply seen it as the white man's religion, the religion of the colonialists and the oppressors - in a very similar way, in fact, to the way that many Muslims see Christianity today.

" Leaving Islam was not easy. According to the literal interpretation of the Koran, the punishment for apostasy is death - and it actually is punished by death in some Middle Eastern states. "It wasn't quite like that here," he says, "although it was traumatic in some ways."

Dr Sookhdeo continued to study Islam, doing a PhD at London University on the religion. He is currently director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity. He also advises the Army on security issues related to Islam.

Several years ago, Dr Sookhdeo insisted that the next wave of radical Islam in Britain would involve suicide bombings in this country. His prediction was depressingly confirmed on 7/7 last year.

So his claim that, in the next decade, the Muslim community in Britain will not be integrated into mainstream British society, but will isolate itself to a much greater extent, carries weight behind it. Dr Sookhdeo has proved his prescience.

"The Government, and Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, are fundamentally deluded about the nature of Islam," he insists. "Tony Blair unintentionally revealed his ignorance when he said, in an effort to conciliate Muslims, that he had 'read through the Koran twice' and that he kept it by his bedside.

"He thought he was saying something which showed how seriously he took Islam. But most Muslims thought it was a joke, if not an insult. Because, of course, every Muslim knows that you cannot read the Koran through from cover to cover and understand it.

The chapters are not written to be read in that way. Indeed, after the first chapter, the chapters of the Koran are ordered according to their length, not according to their content or chronology: the longest chapters are first, the shorter ones are at the end.

"You need to know which passage was revealed at what period and in what time in order to be able to understand it - you cannot simply read it from beginning to end and expect to learn anything at all.

"That is one reason why it takes so long to be able to read and understand the Koran: the meaning of any part of it depends on a knowledge of its context - a context that is not in the Koran itself."

The Prime Minister's ignorance of Islam, Dr Sookhdeo contends, is of a piece with his unsuccessful attempts to conciliate it. And it does indeed seem as if the Government's policy towards radical Islam is based on the hope that if it makes concessions to its leaders, they will reciprocate and relations between fundamentalist Muslims and Tony Blair's Government will then turn into something resembling an ecumenical prayer meeting.

Dr Sookhdeo nods in vigorous agreement with that. "Yes - and it is a very big mistake. Look at what happened in the 1990s. The security services knew about Abu Hamza and the preachers like him. They knew that London was becoming the centre for Islamic terrorists. The police knew. The Government knew. Yet nothing was done.

"The whole approach towards Muslim militants was based on appeasement. 7/7 proved that that approach does not work - yet it is still being followed. For example, there is a book, [excised - LT] which is openly available in Muslim bookshops.

"It calls for the killing of Jews and Christians, and it sets out a strategy for killing the infidels and for warfare against them. The Government has done nothing whatever to interfere with the sale of that book.

"Why not? Government ministers have promised to punish religious hatred, to criminalise the glorification of terrorism, yet they do nothing about this book, which blatantly does both."

Perhaps the explanation is just that they do not take it seriously. "I fear that is exactly the problem," says Dr Sookhdeo. "The trouble is that Tony Blair and other ministers see Islam through the prism of their own secular outlook.

They simply do not realise how seriously Muslims take their religion. Islamic clerics regard themselves as locked in mortal combat with secularism.

"For example, one of the fundamental notions of a secular society is the moral importance of freedom, of individual choice. But in Islam, choice is not allowable: there cannot be free choice about whether to choose or reject any of the fundamental aspects of the religion, because they are all divinely ordained. God has laid down the law, and man must obey.

'Islamic clerics do not believe in a society in which Islam is one religion among others in a society ruled by basically non-religious laws. They believe it must be the dominant religion - and it is their aim to achieve this.

"That is why they do not believe in integration. In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future - and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate.

"Rather, concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures. The education system will be Islamic, the shops will serve only halal food, there will be no advertisements showing naked or semi-naked women, and so on."

That plan, says Dr Sookhdeo, is being followed in Britain. "That is why you are seeing areas which are now almost totally Muslim. The next step will be pushing the Government to recognise sharia law for Muslim communities - which will be backed up by the claim that it is "racist" or "Islamophobic" or "violating the rights of Muslims" to deny them sharia law.

"There's already a Sharia Law Council for the UK. The Government has already started making concessions: it has changed the law so that there are sharia-compliant mortgages and sharia pensions.

"Some Muslims are now pressing to be allowed four wives: they say it is part of their religion. They claim that not being allowed four wives is a denial of their religious liberty. There are Muslim men in Britain who marry and divorce three women, then marry a fourth time - and stay married, in sharia law, to all four.

"The more fundamentalist clerics think that it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the Government to concede on the issue of sharia law. Given the Government's record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that."

Dr Sookhdeo's vision of a relentless battle between secular and Islamic Britain seems hard to reconcile with the co-operation that seems to mark the vast majority of the interactions between the two communities.

"Well, it isn't me who says Islam is at war with secularisation," he says. "That's how Islamic clerics describe the situation."

But isn't it true that most Muslims who live in theocratic states want to get out of them as quickly as possible and live in a secular country such as Britain or America? And that most Muslims who come to Britain adopt the values of a liberal, democratic, tolerant society, rather than insisting on the inflexible rules of their religion?

"You have to distinguish between ordinary Muslims and their self-appointed leaders," explains Dr Sookhdeo. "I agree that the best hope for our collective future is that the majority of Muslims who have grown up here have accepted the secular nature of the British state and society, the division between religion and politics, and the importance of allowing people to choose freely how they will live.

"But that is not how most of the clerics talk. And, more significantly, it is not how the 'community leaders' whom the Government has decided represent the Muslim community think either.

"Take, for example, Tariq Ramadan, whom the Government has appointed as an adviser because ministers think he is a 'community leader'. Ramadan sounds, in public, very moderate. But in reality, he has some very extreme views. He attacks liberal Muslims as 'Muslims without Islam'. He is affiliated to the violent and uncompromising Muslim Brotherhood.

"He calls the education in the state schools of the West 'aggression against the Islamic personality of the child'. He has said that 'the Muslim respects the laws of the country only if they do not contradict any Islamic principle'. He has added that 'compromising on principles is a sign of fear and weakness'."

So what's the answer? What should the Government be doing? "First, it should try to engage with the real Muslim majority, not with the self-appointed 'community leaders' who don't actually represent anyone: they have not been elected, and the vast majority of ordinary Muslims have nothing to do with them.

"Second, the Government should say no to faith-based schools, because they are a block to integration. There should be no compromise over education, or over English as the language of education. The policy of political multiculturalism should be reversed.

"The hope was that it would to ensure separate communities would soften at the edges and integrate. But the opposite has in fact happened: Islamic communities have hardened. There is much less integration than there was for the generation that arrived when I did. There will be much less in the future if the present trend continues.

"Finally, the Government should make it absolutely clear: we welcome diversity, we welcome different religions - but all of them have to accept the secular basis of British law and society. That is a non-negotiable condition of being here.

"If the Government does not do all of those things then I fear for the future, because Islamic communities within Britain will form a state within a state. Religion will occupy an ever-larger place in our collective political life. And, speaking as a religious man myself, I fear that outcome."

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2006.

Welsh Assembly Building In Attempt To Match Scotland

Well, it's been open all of a week. The architects may not have considered the possibility of rain in Wales.

Too Good To Miss

From Eskimo Fox in the comments :

Baa baa rainbow sheep
Have you any wool ?
Yes sir and/or madam
Sixteen kilos full

One for the ethnic minorities,
One for the differently abled,
And the rest for the persons of unknown status
Who should not, at present, be labelled.

Relating to this story about this charity with this idiotic mission statement.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dear Madeleine Bunting ...

Re your Guardian article "Our culture of contempt for parenthood".

“The fact that we still have as many births in the UK as we do is extraordinary”

“The point is that parenthood is against the grain of all the aspirations of our culture.”

That depends, I think, on who you mean by ‘we’ and ‘our’.

Yours seems to be a view which only takes into account the culture of the natives, rather than considering the many other cultures which make up Britain (particularly England) today.

It's true that 'we' don't value motherhood or the job of caring for and socialising children - hence the 'I'm only a housewife' syndrome, the fact that mothers caring for their kids are discriminated against by a tax system which rewards joint-earners and single parents over two parent/one earner families. Take a look at which social category (on the 2001 census) child minder and nursery nurse fall into. This culture, common to all Western nations, has been recently described with great insight by the (childless) writer Lionel Shriver in the Guardian and the Sunday Times.

As recent research has pointed out, only the very poor or the wealthy can afford large families - the biggest drop in births has been among those on average incomes.

But we should not confuse 'our' culture with that of all the UK. Other cultures are still having children, and therefore presumably still value them. The ONS birth statistics for England in 2004 showed that nearly 20% of births were to mothers born overseas - 50% of the births in London.

Other research showed that of these babies, half the fathers were born overseas.

In towns like Bradford, where I lived for many years, the ethnic minority population is projected to have tripled in the thirty years 1980-2010. Fifty percent of the current minority population is under eighteen.

I would imagine that if you asked the DFES for a breakdown of primary school numbers by ethnicity (recorded by each head and reported to the DFES) the figure would be 25%+ for ethnic minorities in England.

So the picture may be less bleak than you paint. As the anti-natalist culture continues not to reproduce, and other cultures do, the problem will solve itself. The anti-natalist culture will literally die out.

I had to smile last year, when commentators after the 7/7 bombings pointed to the low numbers of Pakistani and Bangladeshi (origin) women in full time employment as evidence of a disconnection from UK culture. Those women are working alright - they’re raising children.



Afterthought. Ms Bunting finishes with these words (on why we still have any children).

"I prefer a more romantic notion: that it's a form of popular rebellion by which the prevailing anti-natalist mores of a manipulative consumer capitalism are trumped by the innate understanding of millions of women (and men) of what really constitutes love and fulfilment - dependence, commitment, the pleasure of guiding enthusiasm and, above all, the privilege of nurturing innocence."

I think romantic is the only possible description of the idea that parents are making some kind of Naomi Kleinish 'No Logo'-type statement, having noted above that outside the rich, only the state-funded underclass can afford large families. Whatever's being nurtured there, innocence ain't it.

I was at a gathering last weekend with many teachers present. A pair from North London secondaries told me, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, that all secondary schools in the area had police permanently present. Then I talked to the head of a primary on a large council estate in a Northern town, discussing the limited options a school has when dealing with a damaged child (one of several, all different fathers, no set hours - or set anything - at home, brother dead of an overdose at sixteen).

"I'd say the majority of kids at my school come from homes like that"


(other Maddy-reaction at Norm, Clive Davis, Adventures In Capitalism, Jon Rowett.

A Small Postette

At Biased BBC.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How Many More ?

I said the other day you could blog just on 'early release' crime.

"The court heard Garner killed drug user Mr Tyman 13 months after he was released from prison having served 14 months of a three-year sentence for a near-fatal knife attack on his older brother. "

In other words, if he'd served his full sentence he'd have been inside, not killng people. And what sort of sentence is three years for a near-fatal knife attack ? Jeffrey Archer got four !

An Original

The poet and performer Ivor Cutler has died. We shall not look upon his like again - a modern equivalent would be quite, quite different.

There's a site here with audio clips.

UPDATE - John Junkin, who once seemed to be in every other comedy show on TV or radio, has also died.

More PC Indoctrination

via Majority Rights.

"Instead of singing “Baa baa, black sheep” as generations of children have learnt to do, toddlers in Oxfordshire are being taught to sing “Baa baa, rainbow sheep”.

The move, which critics will seize on as an example of political correctness, was made after the nurseries decided to re-evaluate their approach to equal opportunities.

Stuart Chamberlain, manager of the Family Centre in Abingdon and the Sure Start centre in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, told the local Courier Journal newspaper: “We have taken the equal opportunities approach to everything we do.

“This is fairly standard across nurseries. We are following stringent equal opportunities rules. No one should feel pointed out because of their race, gender or anything else.”

In keeping with the new approach, teachers at the nurseries have reportedly also changed the ending of Humpty Dumpty so as not to upset the children and dropped the seven dwarfs from the title of Snow White."

Surely if the nurseries want to be truly multicultural, they should use the nursery rhymes of today's street - like the versions by famously foul-mouthed rappers 2 Live Crew (you can look for the link yourself). They aren't afraid of Humpty's sad fate - far from it.

"All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put that fat m*****f***** back together again"

Or perhaps the Ice Cube version :

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
With a joint, drinkin some 8-ball
Three little pigs in a Coup de Ville
Lookin for, the wolf to kill
They're ****** up and they want revenge
Them and Humpty used to be friends
Now they're enemies cause he's a traitor
Pulled out the Uzi cruised by and sprayed him

The dwarves and Snow White ? Don't go there.

Two Neat Posts

David Holford on Rod Liddle and the Apollo programme. It is unbelievable that it's over 33 years since man last visited the Moon. Considering the progress in the years 1958-72, we should have made Mars by now.

Millionairesses For Tessa Jowell

Stevenage's MP Barbara Follett, 'one of the few other women Labour MPs who probably wouldn't notice if £350,000 dropped in her joint bank account' defends Ms Offshore Banking on the Today Programme (RealAudio).

There's a wonderful hypocrisy in the air as the sisters circle the wagons. Apparently, the spin goes, Tessa's getting rougher treatment than a man would.

What ? Just imagine a male Minister signing the offshore mortgage deeds at wifey's behest than playing the 'I know nothing' card. He'd have gone already. But if Ms Gender Equality reckons that "I leave all that money stuff to hubby" is a workable survival strategy you have to wonder what the alternative options were.

"You could tell yesterday, from the way that Patricia Hewitt and Margaret Hodge nestled supportively next to Miss Jowell during her Commons performance, with assorted female backbenchers protectively behind, that this was a demonstration of gender solidarity."

Or as I'd put it, as the wealthy diplomat's daughter and the millionaire heiress nestled supportively. Bessie Braddock those two ain't.

As Melanie McDonagh points out in the Telegraph, "Most of Labour's financial scandals involved men who were far less pretty than Miss Jowell but their treatment was, if anything, much more robust. The row about, say, Peter Mandelson's loan from Geoffrey Robinson for a house was rather more trivial than this scandal but the pursuit of Mr Mandelson by "sections of the media" was more fierce, and successful."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Another One Bites The Dust

World Weary Detective, a blogger who typed it as he saw it, has been terminated with extreme prejudice.

"It is therefore with deep regret and great sadness that I must announce that I will no longer be submitting posts to this blog. I cannot challenge New Scotland Yard. I am weary indeed and cowardice is my bedmate. The protection of my family must take precedence."

Fair do's. We've all got a living to make, bread to put on the table, bacon to bring home.

Let's leave with this post, which I repeat in full.

Two of Scotland Yard's finest recently appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee. Andy Hayman and Peter Clarke were questioned about the support given by the police to Tony Blair's efforts to substantially increase detention times for those arrested in terrorism cases.

The two officers, both high ranking members of the Anti-Terrorist Branch, criticised television drama for painting an unrealistic picture of the war against terrorism. Shows like 'Spooks' apparently make it harder for the public to understand the case for keeping someone locked up for three months without charge. TV drama makes it harder for the police to make their case apparently. In a stunning insight, Hayman noted that TV drama was based on entertainment.

They were then asked exactly what their case was. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) was mentioned. Hayman conceded that their backing for the 90 days detention was based on 'instinct'. He even conceded that this was a 'bit flaky'. Clarke then disclosed that a suspected terrorist cell actually communicated via the internet. One of his officers had actually had to spend time watching over an hour of footage on a DVD.

Clarke concluded by claiming that 60% of suspects arrested gave 'no comment' responses when questioned. This comment is obviously intended to suggest they are indeed guilty men.

So there you have it. Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch and ACPO lobbied for the ability to keep people in custody for three months without judicial oversight because they felt it was instictively right. That is the basis for the police supporting New Labour in their bid to introduce some of the most draconian legislation the country has ever seen.

Great Tessa Jowell Quote

"The first known case of a politician resigning from her family to spend more time with her job"

via Guido Fawkes.

More Links ...

Well, one - Quentin Langley, who lectures in PR but who doesn't necessarily write like a stereotypical PR man.

What is it that characterises poverty in the west? We have seen that it is not a shortage of calories. Food is available at a wide range of prices. Nor is it a shortage of transport. Cars are available at many prices, and there is a flourishing second hand market. In some urban areas such as London and New York people choose not to have cars, because the roads are congested and there are alternative ways to travel. But that is not a symptom of poverty – rich people make that choice too. There are low cost airline tickets and cheap cell phones. Poor people have televisions and washing machines.

What is it that they don’t have? They don’t have good schools. They don’t have police protection. They don’t have decent housing. They don’t have proper healthcare. In fact, while they have everything that the private sector provides, they entirely lack the things that government has either taken over completely or seeks to provide to poor people.

The very things which governments seek to provide because otherwise the poor wouldn’t get them, are exactly the things that poor people don’t have. The things we leave to the market are provided, like food and airline tickets, at every possible price to suit rich and poor alike.

I'd agree up to a point - on schools and police protection. Not so sure on housing (I remember the neat, new, housing built for low income families in my last village, and the shattered wreck the first tenants has made of it by he time they were thrown out, a year and a long, expensive legal process later), or on healthcare. Ask any GP and they'll tell you the class which takes up most of their time. But maybe he DOES have a point - a private landlord wouldn't tolerate such a tenant, unless the government were paying him the housing benefit direct.

"So, yes, there is one thing the government could do to cure poverty. The government could stop causing it. It could start by pulling out of education, health, law and order, housing and pensions. That would be a start."

Hmmm - law and order ? Privatising that would break a cardinal rule of the economist P.J. O'Rourke.

"Never let the people with all the money and the people with all the guns be the same people".

UPDATE - and another - Dangerously Subversive Dad, the only man crosser than the Devils Kitchen.

Taking responsibility for the kids

I've got little love for Anthony Walker's killer - were there any justice he would have been hung for his crime. Mrs Walker is a fine and saintly person - I could never react like that.

But I'm still dubious about the news that they want to throw out the Barton family, hideous though they may (or may not) be, from their home.

Mr Taylor added: "Any act of crime or anti-social behaviour by a tenant or a member of their household constitutes a breach of their tenancy and will result in us seeking to repossess their home.

"We believe this policy sends out a very clear message to the community that no form of criminal activity or antisocial behaviour will be tolerated."

I don't think it's a bad idea - it's just the lack of consistency that gets me. If a crime committed by a family member resulted in the whole family's expulsion from 'social housing', whole estates would be emptied of half their current inhabitants. Rather than 'deprived areas', they'd suddenly become nice places to live.

I'd be interested to know if any other murders carried out by tenants children, as opposed to tenants, have resulted in the expulsion of the family.

Dumb Jon is on the case in style.

"It can’t be just the fact it’s a murder case ... what about another well-known group of killers ? When the July 7 bombers were identified, liberals didn’t want to put their families on the street, they wanted to give them pride of place at the memorial service."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Tax Avoiders Unite In Defence Of The Jowell Family Inc.

This has been the main Radio 4 news story for the last few hours - David Miliband's defence of the Jowells.

Mr Miliband, cabinet minister for local government, said: "The best and biggest test for any cabinet minister is whether they are good at their job.

"And what has been remarkable about the last three or four weeks is that no one at any stage has said anything but that she is doing an outstanding job.

"Anyone who knows Tessa Jowell and her husband will know that they are a devoted couple with a family anyone would be proud of.

"One can only imagine the anguish they have being going through that has led them to the decision they took."

I guess there must be a deal of fellow-feeling there, as while he may not be up there with a pro like David Mills, he's no slouch on the tax avoidance front himself.

"David Miliband, the schools minister, and his brother Ed, the chancellor’s economic adviser, are set to avoid paying thousands of pounds in tax through an Inland Revenue loophole which the Labour party pledged to close. "

The Sunday Times has learnt that after Ralph Miliband, the Marxist father of David and Ed, died in 1994, he transferred almost all his assets, including homes in London and Oxfordshire, to his wife.

However, after taking professional advice, the family is understood to have posthumously rewritten his will to give 20% of the London home to both David and Ed.

David has declared a “20% share of family home in London” on the MPs’ register of interests since 2002.

This scheme is called a “deed of variation” and was highlighted by the chancellor in opposition as an unacceptable way in which the wealthy avoid paying death duties.

Paying tax ? That's for the little people. Oh, and don't forget to shop that cash-only plumber, will you ?

Insensitive Golliwog Display Horror

The BBC report is pretty deadpan - you have to see the linked BBC video to get the full horror.

"West Mercia Police said the toys were seized under section 5 of the Public Order Act which makes it an offence to display anything which could be deemed as threatening, abusive or insulting."

Section 5 is the law which did for the late Harry Hammond, God rest his soul.