Saturday, May 20, 2006

Are you a cultural competent helping professional ?

Via Faceright, the Seattle School Board website in all its ghastly glory.

This may seem an extreme case, but the same principles are at work throughout the UK public sector, and have been ever since the principle of 'treat others as you'd like them to treat you' was abandoned as hopelessly ethnocentric, and replaced by 'to treat people the same you have to treat them differently'.

I was reading Susan's 'Nursing Times' the other day, and a midwife was describing how she was coping with the challenge of diversity. When introduced to a family she shook hands with the mother, but the father greeted her outstretched hand by putting his firmly behind his back and turning away.

Our heroine was quite miffed by this, but fortunately she discovered later that the clients came from a culture where a male could not touch a pregnant woman (our midwife was with child) to whom he was not related. So it was all right after all !

This would just about be justifiable if applied consistently. But imagine if the guy came from, say, a neo-nazi survivalist cult, and didn't want to shake hands because of her race ! No NHS treatment for you, scumbag !

Turns out in practice all cultures aren't equal. But the cultures you can discriminate against are limited to one ethnic group. Can't imagine why.

To quote this old post :

I was in a Government legal department a day or two ago. The walls and stairs were covered with anti-racist and 'diversity' posters, and as I awaited my appointment I could read the rules against discrimination of any kind on grounds of sex (sorry, gender), race, disability or sexual orientation.

During my interview I noticed a Bible on a shelf, used for swearing affidavits. 'Do you have a Koran ?' I asked. 'Oh yes', said the woman behind the desk, 'but women aren't allowed to touch that - I have to ask a man to get it.'

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cracking Stuff ...

Shuggy with a long, thoughtful, beautifully argued post on regime change in Iran. RTWT.

Shuggy's either
a) writing a lot in the evenings
b) during the day when he should be teaching
c) knocking this stuff out in his lunch break, in which case he's a genius

There's A Small Postette

At Biased BBC.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Satire Throws In Towel ....

"The under-fire Home Office has suffered a fresh blow with the news five illegal immigrants were found cleaning one of the department's offices in London.
The Nigerians were arrested after checks on their immigration status.

They were working for a firm which was contracted to clean Becket House, part of the Immigration and Nationality directorate (IND)."

Passport forgery law is repealed by accident.

The Home Office faced fresh controversy last night after ministers were accused of accidentally repealing the law which makes it an offence to have a forged passport.

In an extraordinary development, it was claimed that Labour's Identity Cards Act had repealed the existing laws before the new laws to replace them come into force.

One court case involving two men who were caught with forged passports has already had to be adjourned.

Peter Briffa channels Gary Younge (among many others) ...

"But this is Blair’s Britain, where black footballers are tolerated just so long as their white colleagues get all the limelight ..."

Joseph Harker, whose work I usually admire, beats him hollow ...

"I've been looking at the drivers of these flag-waving vehicles, and - OK, I admit this isn't exactly scientific - half of them are in white vans, and the rest are white, male, tattooed, pot-bellied 35 to 55-years-olds: exactly the type I've been seeing on TV for the past month complaining about "our houses going to the asylum seekers", or that "we're losing control of our country". I can't tell if these drivers come from Barking and Dagenham, where the BNP gained 11 seats, but that borough is just a short drive from where I live, so who knows?"

Followed by :

"There is a serious point to this."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

At Least They're Honest II

Former Home Office minister John Denham :

I think the real problem is that community cohesion ends the idea that a diverse society can be built without the white majority having to change very much.

The change-over from "they're a tiny minority - your fears are groundless" to "there are other cultures than yours - you might want to consider changing" (with its unspoken 'or else') is almost complete. Only compulsion is left to follow.

Denham's article is apparently (I couldn't find it) available at Catalyst, a tax-funded magazine produced by the Commission For Racial Equality. It also contains an entertaining article by one Rachel Pillai, bemoaning the tendency of some tabloids to "play loose and fast (sic) with the statistics they publish".

"In the lead-up to the last round of EU enlargement, one of the tabloids claimed that 1.4 million eastern Europeans were on their way to Britain – a completely unsubstantiated claim."

As she doesn't name either the tabloid or its publication date, her claim is also completely unsubstantiated. But let it pass.

In contrast to the evil tabloids with their right-wing agenda, the Home Office estimate was 5,000-13,000 - and this was backed up by the Guardian, quoting an unreferenced "new survey".

British fears of an influx of immigrants from eastern European countries joining the EU in May were rubbished in Brussels yesterday as a new survey found that total migration into existing member states after the EU's biggest ever enlargement is likely to be about 1% over the next five years. If correct, the figures mean there will be about 220,000 immigrants a year into all 15 current members. That suggests that the government's original "open-door" estimate of 5,000 to 13,000 a year coming to the UK is realistic and does not require limits on benefits, quotas or other restrictive measures.

"This study confirms the commission's view that fears of a huge wave of migration from the new member states will be proven to be unfounded," insisted Margot Wallstrom, commissioner for employment and social affairs. Pat Cox, the Irish president of the European parliament, was blunter. "The biggest flood we've had to date is not of humans, but the flood of ink on tabloid red tops," he said.

The actual number - according to the BBC, was about 329,000 over 18 months. The unnamed, unsubstantiated tabloid estimate was out by a factor of 7. The Government estimate was out by a factor of about 20. What a pity the CRE don't see fit to share those "unsubstantiated claims" with us.

It Gets Worse ....

I missed this - the reason why we've lost large numbers of foreign criminals. It's our old friend "management by target".

"The Home Office instructed immigration officers not to deport foreign convicts because of fears that they would claim asylum, a senior Whitehall insider has alleged. The policy was implemented more than two years ago as part of a wider, undisclosed strategy to reduce asylum claims so that the Home Office could meet Tony Blair’s target of driving down the number of applicants for refugee status.

This undermines claims by Blair and Charles Clarke, the home secretary, that a simple breakdown of communication between immigration and prison service officials was to blame for the fiasco."

So Blair's asylum promises of 2004, apparently so effective, are actually being produced like this. Reading councillor (now an MP) Robert Wilson went out on patrol with Thames Valley Police.

"Wilson, a councillor at the time, was stunned by what he saw that Saturday night. “The vast majority of people being picked up and processed by Thames Valley Police were not in the UK legally,” recalled Wilson. “That surprised and shocked me.”

At the time, police avoided his questions on the numbers of foreign nationals being arrested by saying they did not keep such statistics. Most of the drug-related crime in the area, Wilson was assured privately by officers, was being carried out by foreign gangs. He now claims police officers in any major town in England will have a similar story to tell."

"When he was elected to parliament as a Conservative MP for Reading East last year, Wilson pursued the issue with more vigour and more authority. In the course of investigating the level of foreign criminality in his constituency, the MP drew out comments from senior police officers and immigration officials. Their testimony has convinced him the Home Office is turning a blind eye to foreign criminals for an easier sweep-up of law-abiding individuals and families who have had their applications for asylum rejected."

Hence the Samina Altafs and Sarah Hatas of this world. It's just less hassle to get a mum and two kids on a plane than to sort out criminals.

“The immigration service has been told to pick the low-hanging fruit,” says the MP. “They have turned their back on anybody who could cause the least bit of difficulty.”

It makes a kind of perverted sense, I suppose. For thirty years now law-abiding natives have been left to fend for themselves while the people who make their lives a misery have had state funds, lawyers, social workers and safari holidays chucked at them. It seems only fair, and in keeping with previous policy, that the least offensive, and most law-abiding illegal immigrants should get the 5 a.m. knock on the door, while the real bad boys go untouched.

By now Wilson had made enough waves to generate a flow of information towards him. In a letter to the MP, one senior immigration official, who remains anonymous, confirmed that immigration officers were forbidden from going on police operations or dealing with immigration offenders arrested by the police unless they were failed asylum seekers.

The immigration service officer wrote that his colleagues’ hands were tied by orders to specifically target failed asylum seekers.

“Immigration service personnel are under instruction not to get involved in assisting the police with offenders unless they happen to be failed asylum seekers,” wrote the officer. “This is because these offenders are likely to claim asylum and tip the scales the wrong way. Thus are the figures massaged.”

“Reading is no different from any other town or city in the UK, every economic hub will have the same problems as we do,” said Wilson.

“The only difference is that I have uncovered police and immigration officers who are willing to give me the information that shows it is illegal foreign nationals who are involved in most of the criminality here.

“The police have done me that service because they fear for the public and the lives of their officers.”

Immigration - Don't Know, Don't Care

I think the full evidence will be worth a read when it turns up on the Parliament website. Notice in the BBC report the appearance of a new panacea.

"Mr Roberts said he could "understand the public's frustration" but the system would be tightened up when new "electronic borders" came into effect."

Electronic borders, eh ? The ID card will save us all !

Times - "The committee was told by the chief economist at the Department for Work and Pensions that between 200,000 and 300,000 national insurance numbers were issued each year to foreigners and that immigration checks were carried out on only 2 per cent."

BBC - "A senior immigration official has told MPs he did not "have the faintest idea" how many illegal immigrants there were in the UK.
David Roberts, of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND), added there was little point trying to hunt individuals who overstayed their visas."

Telegraph - "In the past, immigration officers went to addresses given by asylum seekers or potential illegal immigrants only to find they were not there."

"The committee questioned other officials over the distribution of National Insurance numbers to foreign nationals. These are used by people who have no right to work in this country to prove they are eligible to do so.

Jonathan Portes, the Department for Work and Pensions chief economist, said NI numbers were not meant to prove entitlement to work, so Jobcentre staff issuing them made no checks about an applicants' immigration status.

Again, the MPs were nonplussed. Mr Denham said: "Given that there is very limited enforcement, would it not be sensible not to issue NI numbers to people who are not legally in the country?"

Mr Winnick said: "Has that thought never occurred to you? Millions will think it the most sensible thing to do."

But Mr Portes said it was the task of the Jobcentre interviewer to establish that the applicant was who they said they were. "It is not about ascertaining whether someone is legally in the country or has the right to work."

At another hearing, Sir Gus O'Donnell, the head of the Civil Service, said the release of foreign prisoners with no attempt to deport them was unlikely to result in the dismissal of any officials."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Scotland Attracting Economic Migrants

Well, Jack McConnell said he wanted fresh talent. Yesterday my wife had lunch with an old friend, whose elderly parents have just moved from Surrey to Banffshire - to avoid having to sell their home in old age to pay care fees. The fees are, of course, state-funded in Scotland.

South of the Tweed, England attracts younger, more vibrant migrants.

Baybasin first came to Britain in 1997 and claimed asylum. While his application was being considered, he was sentenced to three years for possession of a firearm and ammunition — although this was reduced to one year.

He was refused asylum but won his appeal and it is believed that the Home Office was appealing against his victory when he was arrested.

Abdullah Baybasin, who is said to have been responsible for 90 per cent of the heroin in Britain, ran an extortion racket in North London, terrifying Turkish and Kurdish businessmen with extreme violence, using petrol bombs, guns and machetes.

In 2002, the gang openly clashed with supporters of the Kurdish political party, PKK, on the streets around Green Lanes, North London. One man was stabbed to death in the fighting.

Scotland Yard was so concerned about the gang that armed patrols were put on the streets.

From Pole To Pole

I've been writing about the Poles off and on for a couple of years - ever since I realised who the student-looking chaps in the farmers portakabin down the road were. Nice chaps working on the farms, anaemic blondes staffing the Lidl tills - they're all over the place. Stories like this and this are popping up too.

The Sunday Times reckons some 350,000 in eighteen months. Blunkett's Home Office estimated some 13,000.

Coleman believes the only comparable migration was that of French Protestants, known as Huguenots, after the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685 ended their right to practise their faith at home.

An estimated 50,000 fled to Britain in the 17th century, adding about 1% to the country’s 5m population. The current Polish intake, although far greater in numbers, is a lower proportion.

Professor John Salt, of the migration research unit at University College London, agrees with Coleman’s view. “What we are seeing now . . . is something unprecedented,” he said.

Some Brits have welcomed these new migrants with open arms. The Telegraph's Tom Utley loves Marek and Anna - so pleasant and so affordable.

When a member of the English educated classes finds a polite, hard-working immigrant, it's the done thing to make a noise about it, like the inner-city teacher lauding Ghanaians ("the most polite and respectful society I know").

I'm a little more leery of what's happening. Firstly, many Poles are coming here to stay. They're bringing wives and kids. In the nearby market town a Polish deli has opened. Great news for a Catholic primary a tad short of the faithful (our first Polish kids start next term) - on a national scale, great news for Catholic educators, otherwise looking at vast areas, once the Irish immigrant hearts of our great cities, which are full of Catholic schools with 90% Muslim pupils.

I'm trying to take a long view on this. The fact that these new Brits are polite and hard-working, do not do crack or firearms, nor are they likely to blow up Tube trains, is a function of the culture they have arrived with. It tells us nothing about what their first and second generation descendents will be like after twenty years exposure to the cultural vacuum of the UK.

Before the borders were effectively opened in 1997 there had been three great waves of 20th century immigration into the UK - West Indians from the Caribbean, Pakistanis/Bangladeshis from what was then East and West Pakistan, Hindus and Sikhs from India and the Punjab.

All of these groups on arrival were intensely respectable and law-abiding. The Windrush generation were as good a bunch of people as you'd find anywhere, and their education in the 1940s/50s Caribbean was as British as anything taught over here. But they were coming to a Mother Country that had just stopped believing in itself, armed with a culture which turned out to have no value in its original home. Something happened to many of their children between 1957 and 1981 - and it wasn't good. You can see the cultural descendents of Windrush in the immaculately dressed families heading for Wandsworth churches on a Sunday - but you can also see street crime, shootings, a gigantic bastardy rate - what Robert Whelan called a warrior culture on the streets.

Likewise the parents and grandparents of those who torched Manningham, "protesting against the BNP" by attempting, 600-strong, the mass murder of 22 elderly white Labour Club members, were a law-abiding bunch who came here expecting to become Brits. I've posted on this previously.

The first generation of immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh came here as "immigrants". They came expecting and wanting to integrate to some extent into the existing community. The collection of photographs taken of the first generation by the photographic studio in Manningham Lane illustrates this. The first week’s wages went on a Burtons suit and the men proudly displayed watches, pens and radios, mostly supplied by the photographer.

Two great migrations - two serious sets of problems twenty years down the line. What's the secret of the Sikhs and Hindus, whose migration was around the same time as the Muslims yet after twenty or thirty years here still aren't setting fire to other people or their property, but instead are becoming richer and better educated ? Is it that they, of all immigrant groups, have effortlessly translated themselves into the middle class ?

I'm really not sure - I'll have to ask Sunny. Family values will account for some of it - but Muslims have those too. My gut feel is that the Hindu community are perhaps the most economically valuable, and also the most portable. Were things to go terribly pearshaped here we might well find their marketable skills and capital heading elsewhere.

Some of the new immigrants since the borders were opened - Kosovans, Albanians, Somalis - came from countries with an existing culture of violence. Poland has been at peace, whether it wanted it or not, for sixty years.

Under Communism, the Catholic Church became the soul of Poland and centre of resistance to Soviet occupation. To be a Polish Catholic was to be a Polish patriot.

Then the Wall - and the Soviet Empire - fell. I don't know what that's done to church attendance back home, but there are about 300 Poles, mostly under 30, living within a four-mile radius of our church. You can count the Polish attendees at Mass on the fingers of one hand.

These people - and more their children - will not have the faith or the memory of oppression which sustained their parents and grandparents. They will have TV, a UK State schooling, cultural vacuum, and the Welfare State. It may well be that their children won't fancy a Portakabin and a fiver an hour. It's a bit early to celebrate the Poles - about 25 years early.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Think Of It Always - Speak Of It Never

There are some political truths that are better not uttered. Take terrorism and the Iraq war, for example. You know, I know, the cat knows that overthrowing Saddam made a terrorist attack, home-grown or sourced overseas, more likely. IMHO that's just one of those crosses we have to bear.

Some on the left love to remind us of this basic truth - particularly in its home-grown variant. The Government, for eminently sensible reasons, shy away from it like an alcoholic sighting a pink elephant.

The BBC, for some reason, really likes to play the 'if you upset them they'll riot/blow things up' angle, often mixed 50/50 with 'really nice people/religion of peace'.

I can only assume that for the left, and for the BBC, the tolerance and good nature of the natives is a given that they can presume upon, no matter what is inflicted upon them. Their first reaction to 9/11 was to ask 'what have we done to upset them ?', so they assume that the mass of Brits will react likewise to 7/7 and any future slaughters.

Here's a BBC piece on the proposed new Britishness lessons, in which one 'Harris Bokhara' (sounds like a tweed rug to me), of the Muslim Association of Britain, tells it bluntly.

"What was the reason why these people actually committed these disgusting acts?

Unfortunately it was our foreign policy, it was the issue of the illegal war, the illegal occupation of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the continuing abuses of the Palestinian people, the illegal occupation of Palestine by the Israeli state.

So I think until the government actually addresses these issues unfortunately we'll keep on having these problems in the UK particularly."

Can't put it straighter than that. The MAB spokesman's message is simple :

"Change British foreign policy or more British Muslims will try to kill you. You may not like it, we may not like it - but that's the way it is."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Soggy Clippings From The Curate's Lawn

Tim Worstall says the necessary on the Kill The Sick Bill.

Computational Racism ?

BBC News 24 interview not the planned guest, but his taxi driver.

Good news for some :

The poor state of the economy is having an effect on infrastructure
Zimbabwe's inflation rate has surged past the 1,000% mark signalling that the African country is struggling to keep its economy functioning normally.

Not the poor Zimbabweans, but for those who (up to the last budget) avoided tax via offshore loans.

It was rather beautiful if you like that sort of thing. Instead of being paid for your work, you worked via a company (usually in the IOM or Channel Islands) who the client paid. They then didn't pay you much, but they gave you a large, repayable loan in a carefully chosen foreign currency. Carefully chosen from a range of basket case economies so that by the time repayment was due the loan was worth about a fiver. Zimbabwean currency was a favourite. When you got the loan, of course, you immediately converted it into a solid currency at whatever the going rate was.

I wonder on what grounds the IR are challenging ? Presumably if the rate of interest was non-commercial ?