Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NWOBJ again

I've noted before the technical incompetence of the New Wave Of British JihadLaban Tall 2007).

The New Wave Of British Jihad is IMHO very poor quality compared with its illustrious predecessors. If the "Fantastic Four" were alive today they'd be turning in their graves.

I'd been wondering for a long time why science education was being dumbed down so much, to seeming government indifference.

The fact that these guys can't put anything that makes a bang together is a tribute to our education system. I understand now that Blair and Brown have been playing the long game - ensuring that anyone who hates them won't have the skills to do anything about it.

If those guys had gone to a decent privately run educational establishment - say a madrassa in Waziristan - they'd have been far more successful in their chosen career.
Now we see an engineering graduate of University College London who can't detonate military grade explosive. As Ross puts it :

The fact that an engineering alumnus from one of Britain's most prestigious universities can't even detonate an explosive is a damning indictment of our education system. It was one thing when an ex con retard like Richard Reid couldn't light up his shoes but this is absurd.

No wonder employers are increasingly critical of the quality of UK graduates.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Back New Year's Eve ...

Monday, December 21, 2009

"He should have claimed it was a protest against Israel that got out of hand"

The Dumb One on the only "case of Islamic violence that liberals don't support" - to wit the attack by Munir Hussain on one of the people who'd just been holding him and his family at knifepoint.

US Demography

In England 23% of primary school children are ethnic minority.

The figures are much higher in the States. Of course there were indigenous 'minorities' in what is now the United States before the British and European settlers arrived - and those settlers then imported (by force) a hefty black minority population. But the Hispanic element in the US population was pretty small, despite (or perhaps because of) the eventual US takeover of the former Spanish territories of Texas, California, Florida and New Mexico. Now the Reconquista is well under way.

The estimates found that nearly half (47 percent) of the nation’s children younger than five were a minority in 2008, with 25 percent being Hispanic.

Beautiful Nairn

A seaside town in the Highlands has been ranked in second place on a list of the world's top five "emerging" travel hotspots for next year.

Travel website Trip Advisor put Nairn, on the Moray Firth coast, behind first-placed Troncones in Mexico.

The former Victorian resort was described as a "perfect base" for exploring the Highlands.

It was ahead of El Chalten in Patagonia, Patara in Turkey and Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany.

Discerning travellers have been aware of Nairn's charms for a lot longer than tripadvisor's been around :

All ye tourists who wish to be away
From the crowded city for a brief holiday;
The town of Nairn is worth a visit, I do confess,
And it's only about fifteen miles from Inverness.

And in the summer season it's a very popular bathing-place,
And the visitors from London and Edinburgh finds solace,
As they walk along the yellow sand beach inhaling fresh air;
Besides, there's every accommodation for ladies and gentlemen there.

Then there's a large number of bathing coaches there,
And the climate is salubrious, and very warm the air;
And every convenience is within the bathers' reach,
Besides, there's very beautiful walks by the sea beach.

The visitors to Nairn can pass away the time agreeably,
By viewing Tarbetness, which slopes downwards to the sea;
And Queen Street is one of the prettiest thoroughfares,
Because there's splendid shops in it, and stocked with different wares.

And there's ornamental grounds, and lovely shady nooks,
Which is a great advantage to visitors while reading their books;
And there's a certain place known as the Ladies' Beach,
So private that no intruder can them reach.

And there's many neat cottages with gardens very nice,
And picturesque villas, which can be rented at a reasonable price;
Besides, there's a golf course for those that such a game seeks,
Which would prove a great attraction to the knights of clubs and cleeks.

The surrounding scenery of Nairn is magnificent to be seen,
Especially its fertile fields and woodlands so green;
Besides, not far from Nairn, there's Cawdor Castle, the ancient seat
Of the noble Thanes of Cawdor, with its bold turrets so neat.

And its massive proportions is very imposing to see,
Because the arched entrance is secured by a drawbridge and a fosse;
And visitors will be allowed all over the grounds to roam,
Besides shown over the castle if the Earl is not at home.

The scenery surrounding the castle is charming in the summertime,
And the apples in the orchard there is very fine,
Also the flower-beds are most beautiful to see,
Especially in the month of June, when the birds sing merrily.

Then there's the ancient stronghold of the Bays of Lochloy,
And visitors when they see it will it heartily enjoy;
And a little further on there's the blasted heath of Macbeth,
And a hillock where the witches are wont to dance till out of breath.

And as the visitors to Nairn walk along the yellow sand,
They can see, right across the Moray Firth, the Black Island so grand,
With its productive fields and romantic scenery,
And as the tourist gazes thereon his heart fills with ecstasy.

And Darnaway Castle is well worthy of praise,
And to oblige all visitors there are open days,
When they can see the castle where one thousand warriors in all
Oft have assembled in the Earl of Randolph's Hall.

And in conclusion I will say for good bathing Nairn is the best,
And besides its pleasant scenery is of historical interest;
And the climate gives health to many visitors while there,
Therefore I would recommend Nairn for balmy pure air.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"ya'll white guys are not tough enough"

Coach Chuck Evans tells it how he sees it to his hapless Worcester Wolves basketball squad :

Former head coach Chuck Evans has admitted discussing race with the team and has since resigned, although he denies being racist.

It is the first time details of the alleged two-hour exchange, which led to the British Basketball League club having to postpone all their December games, have been made public.

According to notes taken by the players immediately following the post-match analysis session on Sunday, November 22, Evans, a black American, blamed the team’s recent poor form on there being too many white players.

He is quoted in the players’ notes as saying: “I think I have figured out the problem with our team... looking at the last two teams that we have lost to Newcastle and Chester, they were mainly black guys and I just think we have too many white guys on the team who are not tough enough and too soft.”

He is quoted as going on to say: “I should have recognised a long time ago that you white guys are not tough enough. I’m just calling it like I see it.”

The players notes are here. Six white and two black players threatened to strike after the coach's two hour presentation and were then sacked by the club's owners.

.."bitch ass pass...that's my white guys for ya"

..."you see, you see, look at the two guys involved in making that turnover, two white guys, I'm not crazy"

..."Look at James Hamilton (African-American (Black) player from Chester) he just pushed you (Wolves Caucasian (White) player) out of the way... and said uhh, take that ****... and ya'll think I'm crazy, told ya'll I wasn't lyin"

..."**** this is basketball, I know the business, **** it, I'm gonna get fired at some point, whether it's form here, or my next job, so if I am, at least I'm gonna say how I feel about this ****."

..."See those three black guys (referring to three black player from Chester Jets that made a defensive steal from three white players from the Worcester Wolves), they just are tougher... took the ball, said gimme that ****, don't worry I will find a solution for this"

..."Look at my black guys (black player from the Wolves) their fightin, fightin for everything"

..."Look at this ****, look, boom, black guy (Shawn Myers, Chester Jets) dunking on our ass"

..."I just say it like I see it, baby, I can say what the **** I want to say cause I am the Coach, so I say it like I see it, this is basketball"

Now for all I know he may be right. Perhaps white men can't jump. But if a white coach said similar things about black players it would be all over the BBC - which report the story like this - and Guardian. Yet this ain't. As ever, I can't imagine why.

UPDATE - the Wolves are sponsored by the University of Worcester (formerly Dines Green Working Men's Club) - an organ of the State which hosts their home games. And apparently their players have been coaching in the local schools - who, to be fair to them, seem horrified that nothing they're teaching the kids about racism seems to apply should the perp be black and victim white.

From the comments on the story (emboldening is mine):

BBaynes, Evesham says...

9.49 am Tue 15 Dec 09

I am the Head Teacher at one of the schools where the (sacked) Wolves Players coached as part of the team's community outreach programme. My pupils admired and respected Vid and his team-mates. To my children, the players symbolised all that is good about sports. We were horrified when we first learned of the sackings two weeks ago. How could I explain or even justify this action to my pupils? How could I explain that their heroes had lost their jobs for doing exactly that which we teach them to do - standing up to racist bullies? In primary schools today we take a very strong line against any sort of bullying, especially that which is motivated by racism, and all of us at school were deeply disturbed to find that Vid and his team-mates had been punished for standing up against racism. Since hearing about this, I have emailed and written letters to the manager of the team, the chair of the BBL and anyone else I could think of, hoping that reason and common sense would prevail and that these players would receive justice, rather than punishment. Hopefully this article will now begin to correct the dreadful injustice that has been done to them!
And finally, I, too, am American, like Mr Evans, and I am deeply saddened that his views might be taken to be representative of all my countrymen. Vid and his fellow team-mates WERE (and continue to be) excellent basketball players (just ask any of my pupils), regardless of the colour of their skin, or their nationality - what a pity Mr Evans was too short-sighted to realise this!

revanscook, Ashton Under Hill says...

10.09 am Tue 15 Dec 09

As an educator, one of our most important skills to pass onto our pupils is to stand up to racism. Therefore it was to my utter astonishment that these six players were sacked for standing up to a racist bully. We need to counter racism in our modern world so that we can live in harmony, regardless of creed, colour or background.

I salute these guys for standing up to racism and it is just unfortunate that there employers and the BBL did not applaud them for doing this as well. In my eyes they are the heros in this dreadful situation and I suggest the Worcester Wolves and the BBL should re look at there disciplinary procedures and give these men the justification that they truly deserve.

Apparently some of the schools have written to chairman Roger Clarke to ask for the players' reinstatement. And I do hope these educators rank reading, writing and arithmetic higher than 'standing up to racism' - because a) that's the primary function of a school b) it's a lot easier to stand up to anything if you're not illiterate and innumerate. Sometimes I worry they forget that.

Smashing the Heads of Political Opponents

Sad news ?

or something we'd all like to do (and then watch the video afterwards) ?

Conservatives .... a liberal view

Mad ?

Or evil ?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Breaking of the English Working Class

An experiment. Open this Mark Steyn piece on demography and Christian hoteliers (it turns out the Muslim lady who accused them was a (Christian apostate) convert).

Then put the cursor over the word 'immigrant' or 'immigration - you'll see it's double underlined.

Don't know about you, but where I am, up pops a picture of a middle-aged cleaning lady of indeterminate ethnicity, along with captions 'You have a Powerful Friend' and 'Want to know more about employee rights at work' ? Click the pic and you end up here - at the Directgov Pay and Rights Helpline.

"Not Getting The Minimum Wage of £5.60 an hour ?"

I can understand a desire among our rulers to recruit, say, dentists or real-time software engineers, although I would prefer to train up our own. But we have kept nearly a million on the dole through the 12 years of this government, while importing people to do the bottom-level jobs that pretty much any of us, no matter how uneducated, can do. Why ?

Jon Cruddas pointed out three years back that the govt "tacitly used immigration to help forge the preferred flexible North American labour market. Especially in London, legal and illegal immigration has been central in replenishing the stock of cheap labour across the public and private services, construction and civil engineering."

Immigrant labour "is the axis for the domestic agenda of the Government".

But it still seems crazy to me to leave people unemployed while importing others (thus raising demand for houses, services - not to mention the demographic challenge) to do the jobs the unemployed Brits should be doing. Why ?

The only answers I can think of are

a) the existence of an unemployed underclass keeps a lot of Guardianistas in employment who might otherwise have to get a proper job

b) it would also be a lot of hassle to get some of the Brit underclass back into work - easier to ignore them and get in compliant (for the moment - just like the Windrush generation and the early Muslim immigrants were) incomers.

c) to drive down wages. Without a couple of million low-wage incomers market forces might make a minimum wage unneccessary. As it is, Labour can say 'look what we've done for you'.

d) to split the working class - at which point racial and cultural divisions are actually quite useful. Low-wage workers are hard enough to organise as it is - even harder when they have nowt in common but their employer.

Any (printable) ideas ?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Night Music - You Heard It Here First

I think Jack Hobbs (alas no relation to the great man) has potential, potuntial and possibly potoontial. And he lists Vaughan Williams as an influence. I'd ignore the bio, which sounds like something you'd read on the back of a 1965 debut EP - maybe that's the idea.

'4 minute turnaround' is the one to check out on the Facebook music player. Confident sound for a first year student. I like the Jeffersonian/Fairportian guitar, and the guy can sing.

UPDATE - just found this - slushy strings, Mr Acker Bilk on clarinet, and the voice, the voice. Hidden away on Youtube, not one of her best ever songs but still magnificent, only 79 views in two months - Sandy Denny singing Full Moon.

The Scots Are Bastards Too (it's not just the Welsh)

Oh, alright - it will actually take some time before the majority of Scots are born outside wedlock, just as it will for the Welsh. But their 2008 births have hit that magic 50% total.

The latest ONS Population Trends stats (pdf) are out. Links to the 'historic' data as far back as 1997 are here.

Headline figure is that :

There were 170,834 births in England and Wales in 2008 to mothers born outside the United Kingdom, accounting for 24 per cent of all live births in England and Wales. This is the highest proportion since the collection of the parents’ country of birth at birth registration was introduced in 1969. The proportion of births to foreign-born women has increased every year since 1990 when it was just under 12 per cent, with a marked rise over the last decade: the proportion of births to mothers born outside the United Kingdom was 14 per cent in 1998 (Figure 7).
The replacement of the English continues apace. Table 1, page 88. 25% of births in England, 10% in Wales, 13% in Scotland - higher than I'd have expected - and 12% in NI.

In 1981, the Census showed that just over six per cent of the UK population had been born abroad. By 2001, this had risen to over eight per cent, and in 2008 people born abroad represented about 11 per cent (6.7 million) of the total UK population (see Figure 3A).
Add the 25% of babies born in England to foreign-born mothers, consider that in 2008 23.3% of English primary schoolkids were 'ethnic minority' - these demographic changes represent transformation on a massive scale.

The bastardy and childlessness figures are interesting. An overwhelming majority of births to the under-24s are outside marriage (fig 5 p88), and while the number of babies born within marriage is increasing, the number outside is increasing faster (fig 4). The Scots have at last caught up with the Welsh, with 50% of births outside marriage, while Wales accelerates into the distance with 56%. England, at 45% is third while NI trails at 39%.

And in Fig 3 p86 you can see the doubling in the number of childless women since the 70s. Be interesting to compare that rising graph against the number of women going into higher education.

Trends in true birth order (see Background Note 3) show that childlessness among women aged 45 has almost doubled over the last two decades.

To see exactly who is having the babies, Pop Trends 137 (Autumn) is probably more useful, as it shows births and fertility by local authority area.

• The highest fertility level among the Government Office Regions of England in 2008, as represented by the TFR, was in the West Midlands where there was an average of 2.09 children per woman. The lowest was in the North East with 1.86. See Explanatory Note 8

• The highest level of fertility among the Government Office Regions of England in 2008, as represented by the GFR, was in London with 69.4 live births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, followed by the West Midlands (66.4). The lowest GFR was in the North East (58.7)

• The London borough of Newham recorded the highest GFR among local authorities in England with 96.5 live births per 1,000 women aged 15–44. The London borough of Barking and Dagenham and the unitary authority of Slough share the second highest GFR of 94.0. The lowest GFR was in Durham county district (39.4)

• Of the local authorities in England, Boston had the highest TFR of 2.81 children per woman, followed by Barking and Dagenham (2.80). The lowest TFR was in Westminster (1.21), followed by Camden (1.26)
I haven't got Excel out on these figures yet, but I'd imagine the scene looks very much as it did in 2006.

A quick Excel sort gives us the following top ten local authorities, ignoring Rutland, where a woman having quads seems to have distorted the figures.

Blackburn with Darwen
Barking and Dagenham

Merry Christmas - and God bless us, every one.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What Is To Be Done ?

Various lefties are panicking about the great Tory Scythe of Government Jobs which they foresee.

Laban thinks - along with the rest of the sentient world - that they're inevitable no matter who gets in. Cast your minds back to the last Labour government to hit a really big, global crisis - the 1929-31 MacDonald administration. When the crisis hit then, the options, not mutually exclusive, were

a) come off gold standard. Today’s equivalent - letting the currency fall. This is happening now - but so much manufacturing has been destroyed - more than under Thatcher - that it’s having little effect on our balance of payments. So that weapon is blunted.

b) cut Govt spending. This broke Labour in half and led (via a run on the pound) to the National Government, which did make cuts. No party at the time considered printing money, which is how the current deficits are being funded. Whoever gets in will have to make cuts - the only question is whether we’ll need a sterling collapse/gilts strike to force them (Labour win or perhaps a hung Parliament) or whether they’ll be done straight off (Tory win).

c) introduce tariffs. Not many people know this, but the UK actually weathered the depression relatively well compared to the US. Tariffs plus ‘Imperial Preference’ did a pretty good job, considering. But it’s most unlikely we’ll do tariffs - we’re in the EU so we can’t, Labour are just as 'free' market as the Tories - and anyway, no Empire, and no ’sterling currency area’.

So we did all 3 in the 30s - and while it was bad, it could have been worse.

But now ? Cuts are the only option. We have no other choices bar the Weimar/Zimbabwe route.

Be great if it were otherwise and we could trade our way out of recession, selling our world-class machine tools to China and our hi-tech medical diagnostic equipment worldwide. (Joke).

But we don’t make things any more to trade with* !

* of course that's not strictly true. Exports are rising - it's just that imports are rising faster. But what manufacturing we do have is now mostly foreign-owned. See what happened to the steelworks at Teeside last week to realise what that means when times are tough. Indeed apart from Rolls Royce, the only hi-tech major industries that ain't been flogged yet are some of the defence industries - which are likely to be hit by government cuts. Personally I'd sack all the social workers and probation officers before cutting a single hi-tech job - they can retrain as prison officers for the massive expansion. I can dream...

Friday Night Is Muzak Night

Great lyrics and a very Wizard of Oz feel, this - and the plot of the 1949 musical whence it comes, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is pretty similar, with our American hero waking up in Camelot. The Bing Crosby version's even more 'wizardy'.

More gentle, half-forgotten 80s stuff. Always had a soft spot for this. How come Peter and Jeremy never made more - or did they and I missed it ?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some Fell On Stony Ground ...

Laban adds his four penn'orth to the Great Tiger Woods Debate, as channeled by Zoe Williams.

Surely if this affair tells us anything, it is that in 2009, in the Southern states of the USA, with Obama as President, a white person can still beat up a black man without charges being brought.

Was it for this that Rosa Klebb refused to give up her seat on the bus ?

It's wasted on them, I tell you. Wasted. Does Magna Carta mean nothing to them ? Did she die in vain ? I'll make an exception for commenter Col1000.

(something I didn't know - Rosa Parks was beaten and robbed in her own home by a young black man in 1994. She was 81. But they do things differently in the Land of the Free. Over here you can torture an old lady for two days then kill her, and you'll only get eleven years plus a free change of identity - in order to protect the baby you conceived on one of your many 'days off'. A 'minor crime' like hitting and robbing an old lady in her own home would probably be community service in the UK. Joseph Skipper got an 8 to 15. He was still inside when Rosa Parks died 12 years later. He's since been released and is on the rob again.)

Darwin Nominees

It's pretty much traditional now. Some young scallawags get killed doing things that are perhaps foolish, perhaps criminal, or perhaps both, and their friends who pop up to mourn the deceased are, to a man or woman, incapable of writing in English:

"at t end ov t day 2 young boyz av died , av u never wen u was young was daring n willing 2 do things tha no1 else wud do??"

Compare the comments - and the mourners, above, with the much poorer community Gwilym Rees Williams grew up in - and wonder what's happened to our culture - and our education system - in the last 50 years.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Amanda Craig (who she ?) in the Mail bemoans the tyranny of pink (for those of you who've been rightly ignoring it, some (childless) Labour dimwit called Bridget Prentice (nee Corr) thinks pink stuff for girlies is just socialisation by the partriarchy) :

Occasionally, I would get together with other pink refuseniks at the local mothers' club.

While our daughters squabbled over whose turn it was to use the glittery pink crayon, we would moan on about the tyranny of this repulsive colour.

Where had we all gone so wrong? If our children are born blank slates, as the scientist Stephen Pinker (no, I haven't made up his name) claims, then all this mania for a particular colour has to be culturally imposed, an addiction caused by nurture, not nature.

Alas, commenter Harry Storm of Vancouver (I think he made that name up) puts his finger on the flaw in the above :

Since Amanda Craig obviously hasn't read "The Blank Slate" by Stephen Pinker, she shouldn't be using it to make her point. In fact, the entire point of Pinker's book is that we're NOT born as "blank slates." Since she thinks it says the opposite, there are only two possibilities: a) she hasn't read the book, in which case she shouldn't use it to make a point, as it makes her look silly; or b) she's an idiot who doesn't deserve a column in a daily newspaper.

Underclass News

Last summer an Asian chappie cunningly disguised himself in "the paint-splattered overalls that were meant to make me look like a Pakistani immigrant doing odd jobs to survive in his new home" and went to hang out for a few months on the Southmead council estate in Bristol to make this BBC documentary about the hideous racism of the native inhabitants. I do hope he wasn't taking a flat away from a local ;-(

Now the point of it all was to show the dreadful racism etc etc. But this tremendous piece of reporting in fact reveals the young inhabitants to be dreadful full stop, despite the fact that the target appears to be (sigh) the Daily Mail.

The impulse to segregate was compounded by the messages that seemed to reinforce the idea that the treatment in Southmead reflected the mood and views of the rest of Britain. "Hundreds of thousands of migrants here for handouts, says senior judge". "Britain paying migrants £1,700 to return home BEFORE they've even got here" "The violent new breed of migrants who will let nothing stop them coming to Britain" These headlines were just three of many that were printed in the Mail, a right-wing daily during my time in Southmead. I don't usually take much notice of the headlines in the Sun and the Mail unless they are truly shocking, but in Southmead the headlines seemed to have an impact on the treatment we received. The level of low-level hostility from adults seemed to be directly linked to the content of the headlines. More outright hostility from younger adults and children followed a day or so later.

That's right. The Mail comes out, those adults who can read immediately start giving grief to incomers, and a day or two later, when the less literate natives picked up the message, they kick off as well. Puh-leese !

I wonder if they thought of going to the local paper shops and asking what the daily orders were ? Bet they didn't. I'll lay odds the Mail's not the Southmead paper of choice.

The whole thing is in fact a Daily Mail reader's underclass nightmare and could without much editing easily find a way into that mighty organ :

Hundreds of cans of high-strength cider littered the streets every Saturday and Sunday. I saw unemployed drunken youths accost shoppers in the mornings. The green spaces that looked inviting from afar were littered with used condoms, pregnancy test kits and the excrement of pitbull dogs that were popular pets amongst residents. In the daytime, teenage mothers pushed young children around the estate. I saw the partner of one young mother call a toddler a "****ing little ****" before smacking him hard enough on the back of the head to make the child drop to his knees and cover his head in the expectation of further violence. In the early evenings, young teenagers would sit at benches swigging from bottles of cheap alcohol...

A group of local girls, none older than 15, were talking to each other loudly. Amongst all the squealing, the only words I could make out were "****", "*******" and "****". Occasionally one of the girls would pull her skirt up at a passing car of boys and the others would cheer and hand her a bottle of brightly coloured liquor to swig from. Every now and again, one of the cars would stop and another girl might stand in front of the passenger window and pull down her top. The boys would try and persuade them to get in. Eventually, two of the girls got into a crowded little car with wide tyres and lowered suspension.

I had been absent mindedly watching the events in front of us. After the car drove away, the Sudanese father turned to his daughter and said; "That's what English girls are like. Never talk to people like that."

Roy Jenkins "civilising mission" is complete. The culture is FUBAR. Quite properly he don't want his daughter to be like a native. But what his son will make of the native girls may be different.

Just before they got on their bus, a group of teenagers outside the chip shop behind us proved the technicians' point by rounding on a passing elderly local.

"Look out, he's a perv," shouted one boy. Before another pushed the girl standing next to him in front of the old man and said, "I bet you wish you could **** her". They all then burst into laughter.

Poor chap. Old, white, male, straight, poor. Not a member of any designated victim group. No hate crime there. No help to be had. The BBC would never be so judgemental as to spend two months just to prove that Southmead has some very scummy youth therein. That would be picking on the most vulnerable in our society, after all (the chavs, not their victims).

Southmead is a locus classicus for the idea that you can make people better by throwing social workers at them. Remember the wise words of Charles Murray :

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Americans tried everything: pre-school socialisation programmes, enrichment programmes in elementary schools, programmes that provided guaranteed jobs for young people without skills, ones that provided on-the-job training, programmes that sent young people without skills to residential centres for extended skills training and psychological preparation for the world of work, programmes to prevent school dropout, and so on. These are just the efforts aimed at individuals. I won’t even try to list the varieties of programmes that went under the heading of “community development”. They were also the most notorious failures.

We know the programmes didn’t work because all of them were accompanied by evaluations. I was a programme evaluator from 1968 to 1981. The most eminent of America’s experts on programme evaluation — a liberal sociologist named Peter Rossi — distilled this vast experience into what he called the Iron Law of Evaluation: “The expected value of any net impact assessment of any large-scale social programme is zero.” The Iron Law has not been overturned by subsequent experience.
In fact these programmes go back before that. My hero Norman Dennis worked in Southmead in the 1950s :

He had lived on a notoriously bad housing estate in Bristol, Southmead, for more than a year in the 1950s. It was one of the two worst housing estates in the city. As part of his research, he had participated in local life, as well as interviewing people in their houses, often for hours at a time. He was the sociologist with the Bristol Social Project, which was designed to apply the techniques of improvement elaborated by the Chicago Social Area Projects of the previous 20 years or so...

Dennis' hindsight view was that 1950s Southmead 'by the standards of the early 1990s would have looked almost entirely civilized'.

The Bristol Social Project is also a bit of a locus classicus - run by a doubtless intelligent and competent public schoolboy (John Spencer, St Pauls and Balliol - his report is here) and a total failure :

The Bristol Social Project, which ran on the estate from 1953 to 1958 engaged in counselling, group work and community development on the estate and bequeathed a Community Centre and Adventure Playground, both of them still functioning. However Southmead’s fortunes did not improve significantly over the next 30 years and, by the end of the 1980s, social conditions had deteriorated to such an extent, that major disturbances were occurring in the streets of the old estate and Southmead was front page news.

UPDATE - not all of John Spencer's report on the Bristol Social Project is available via Google Books, but what you can read is pretty much 100% waffle (I liked the bit where they discovered that one of the local shopkeepers was also fencing stolen goods and running a moneylending operation. The locals on the Project wanted immediate action taken against him, whereas for John Spencer the discovery was 'an opportunity for learning and discussion on the variety of moral standards on the estate'. The locals were 'irritated' by this. I bet they were). No wonder he ended as Edinburgh's first Professor of Social Education.

The project was considered 'influential' - 'Bristol's experiments might well be followed elsewhere' said the Guardian, and Town and Country Planning noted the use of 'trained community workers, a relatively new shere of social work which is rapidly gaining recognition'. We're awash with the buggers now, and Southmead is still what it is (only worse) after 50 years of social work.

(via, of all places, Liberal Conspiracy)


If the Government just send their press releases straight to bloggers, or put them up on the web, maybe we won't miss the MSM as much as we thought.

Left-wing Guardian :

Pointing to recent convictions of white supremicists, and the broader rise in overt racism, Denham will say: "It is important that local Muslim communities do not feel that they are being singled out if other forms of extremism are a threat in the area."

Right-wing Telegraph :

Pointing to recent convictions of white supremacists, and a broader rise in overt racism, Mr Denham will say: “It is important that local Muslim communities do not feel that are being singled out if other forms of extremism are a threat in the area”.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Diversity Dissension

Commenter Tendryakov, who I think I've seen here, deconstructs Sarah Sands' gushing hymn to multicultural Britain.

Sands : "Queenie understands the drabness of Britain without immigration ... the real point of diversity, on television and in life, is not that is correct but that it is vibrant."

Ms Sands is a posh girl from Tunbridge Wells who lasted eight months as editor of the Sunday Telegraph, failing in her mission to make it 'like an Ipod'.

Tendryakov :

Have you got the message everybody? Before the 1960's, when mass immigration began, life was barely worth living in this country. Who knows? Yes, some woman from London who was born in 1961. I've heard it from several other people as well, Dominic Sandbrook, "social historian" frequently wheeled out on the TV, born in the 1970's. You see folks, up to then, the people of Britain languished in their misery for a couple of millenia, longing for the day when their lives would be enriched enough to make life tolerable. Up to the sixties, most people were engaged in stopping each other from committing suicide due to the unendurable grey reality of existence. There was no sunshine, no colour, no flowers, no fruit, nobody smiled. It was dreadful. Yes, in 1950's Britain, if you haven't already been told a million times, every window of every neighbourhood of every town and city in Britain had a notice saying "No blacks, no Irish, no dogs", in different variations.

Behind the doors of every corner shop there was a grubby abortionist, and on every street there were bunches of thugs beating up gay people, yes, all the time, 24 hours a day. Hell it was, to live through those times. I was born in 1947. I know. I had to endure a childhood in the 1950's. But hark, I understand from statistics that upwards of 2 million Londoners have abandoned the scintillating diverse wonderfulness of London in the past decade, and have gone to live not in Bradford or Birmingham, but, oh, yikes, places like Herefordshire, Dorset, Lincolnshire, where diversity is horrifically low. Oh, calamity. Oh, those ungrateful creatures! Quick,enrich their lives with diversity, somehow, anyhow. They can't be happy for long without it! Quick!
Add his small testament to my attempts to record those bearing witness to life before the Fall.

"He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."

Despite the efforts of Sandbrook, Sands and many others, this control is a difficut task for our rulers. There are simply too many people alive who can remember Britain in the 1940s, 1950s or even the 1960s (remember that the culture of the 1960s only spread in the 70s - and went mainstream even later, around the time Habitat stores opened everywhere. For an accurate picture of 1966 England look at the World Cup Final crowd - 95% in ties - ties ! and many also sporting hats). My son looked at the 1964 Panorama report on the Kop and asked 'where are all the black people ?' (he didn't ask where the women were - also conspicuous by their absence).

But these generations - the wartime generations - are dying and will soon be gone. Mortality is even now on the horizon of the post-war grammar school boys, the people - of whom I'm one - who destroyed the culture to which they were the heirs.

So it's important to record the lives and opinions of these generations, partly for their own sake, but partly to refute the arguments of those who believe (or have motivation to claim to believe) that the present is always better than the past.

UPDATE - the Curmudgeon :

"... now the dark ages are over, and the present age is yielding ever more to a bright future whereunder the benighting mist of the dullest and most hideous race on earth will finally lift to reveal a sunlit land..."

Professor murdered

"Richard T. Antoun, author of "Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Movements", was a caring and gentle man who spent his life trying to dispel stereotypes about different cultures, especially Middle Eastern cultures, his colleagues at Binghamton University said Friday."

It's unfortunate then that his death should reinforce them.

Saudi national Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani has been charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Binghamton University Professor Richard T. Antoun.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Another Sad Tale ...

From the Sri Lankan camps where several hundred thousand Tamil civilians were interned after the defeat of the LTTE :

“The Tigers killed between 20 and 30 people in the group I was with as we tried to run,” V. Sivalingam, one of the final Tamil detainees released on Tuesday, recalled. “There were four or five of them. At first they argued with us. Then the crowd around them grew bigger. They began to panic. People started to push past them. Then they opened fire. Close range. Waist high. Directly at us. It was chaos. The military were shelling us at the same time.”

Sivalingam, a cook from Mullaittivu, had miraculously survived, and succeeded in reaching the army’s lines with his wife of 20 years and five children after an epic flight that involved wading through neck-high sea water for ten hours. Within a matter of days he and his family found themselves interned by the authorities in a Zone 2 camp of the infamous Manik Farm complex, where they remained until Tuesday.

The Tigers didn't want the Tamil civilians to leave the shrinking zone where their fighters were holding out, leaving them open to shelling by the (mainly Sinhalese) army. In the camp Sivalingam spotted one of the LTTE men who'd shot at them.

“I did nothing. I told nobody of his identity. I could have had him arrested but I didn’t. The LTTE had fought long and hard for us. At the end of it all they did terrible things — we know that. But they didn’t have much choice.”
It's not that, though. It's this :

“I said goodbye to my wife of 20 years for good when I walked out of the camp gates,” he said. “We had been through so much together. We had escaped through the fighting knowing it could be the end of our lives. But we survived. I loved her. But in the camp she consorted with the military for extra rations. That association disgraces her. She’s gone to Jaffna. I’ll never have her back.”

Did she do it for the kids ? Who knows ?

Pass on his decision. You really have to be in the shoes, methinks. I can hardly imagine any of it, but I was reminded of the scene in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward where former Gulag inmate Kostoglotov tells a sympathetic medic (Vera Gangart?) what happened to his imprisoned wife. I paraphrase :

"On the first day the guards arrange for the new women to shower so they can take a look at them. Then they get told, you'll sleep with so and so, you'll live in this hut ... if they refuse, they'll starve them or work them to death as an example to the others ... I don't blame her. She did what she had to do to survive. But we both knew it was over for us."
Solzhenitsyn knew worse than that, of course.

When young women like Laurie Penny argue for the right to be pissed up, half dressed and completely safe on the streets I wonder if they realise how slender is the divide between civilisation and 'do what thou wilt' - and how fortunate we are and have been in this country for the last few hundred years. We've not had anything in England like 1947 India or 1945 Berlin for at least a thousand years, since the Norman Harrying of the North and before that the Danish/Viking invasions.

Historically, our relative peace and civilisation over such a long period is most unusual. My fear is that the utopians of the Cultural Revolution, in well-meaning attempts to turn good into best, are well on the way to restoring us to the historical norms.

Hmm ...

... looks like the days of Lord John Taylor being wheeled out on the Today programme to be asked the vital question 'exactly how racist are the Tories' ? may be drawing to a close :

A Tory peer has been caught using someone else’s home address to claim tens of thousands of pounds in expenses. Lord Taylor of Warwick, a 57-year-old former barrister, told the House of Lords that his main home was a terrace house in Oxford which he neither owned nor lived in. The property’s owner, Tristram Wyatt, a university academic, said he was unaware that his address had been used as the peer’s main home.

Taylor has lived in his family home in Ealing, west London, since 1995. By claiming his address was outside the capital he accumulated more then £70,000 in subsistence expenses between 2001 and 2007. When confronted earlier this year, Taylor claimed he had lived at his mother’s home in the West Midlands during those years. However, this claim was false as his mother died in 2001 and her house was sold that year. His former wife has also confirmed that he lived in London, and nowhere else, until their separation in 2003. The disclosures will be looked at by the police team investigating peers and MPs. Taylor declined to comment last week.

Hmm. He's toast.

UAF/EDL - Nottingham

Someone who went to the demo as an observer and took a fair bit of video here :

"....when discussing the EDL he was pretty adamant that the entire organisation were guilty by association with the more extreme element, yet when talking about the Muslim community his opinion was that nobody could have a complaint against them in general, only against very specific extremists. You can't have it both ways, demanding exceptions for your favourites and making generalisation about your enemies; either you're biased, or you've extra information that you're not sharing."

I agree with the general point. If you can't tar community A with the brush of the bad things some of their members have done (killing and injuring hundreds of people with bombs on buses and trains, for example, or in the case of some less competent members trying to), then you can't reverse the logic and use outliers of community B as typical of everyone in community B. Let's have some consistency here.

Someone of my age who joined the UAF protest here :

...we started to look for demonstrators among the crowds of shoppers, Goths, stall-holders, army families and British Legion members.

I spotted a small group of badge-wearers near the stone lions of the Council House. Cautiously I scanned the badges. This was just as well. They included a small enamal badge with the figures "18". It could have been an advertisement for a lucky Lotto number but I doubted it. I've known for years about the Combat 18 code by which 18 stands for A.H., or Adolf Hitler. There seemed some irony that a badge-wearer combined his "18" badge with a Churchill "V for Victory" badge, but I decided not to stay and point this out.

We wandered past the stalls of Neapolitan treats and olive oil and the British Legion veterans holding huge flags. Eventually someone ran up to us. "Anti-fascist demo?" he enquired. "Other end of the square."

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Way We Were ...

I noted a while back the memoirs of Frances Roper, (nee Hubbard), an upper-middle class Englishwoman of good Christian family, describing the first twenty-odd years of her life in Ealing, the Forest of Dean, and her aunt's orphanage in South London.

More comprehensive, and illuminating a totally different society, is Gwilym Rhys Williams - The Story of My Life. Lord knows what it's doing on a Canadian blog - did someone emigrate ? Ah yes - Ruth Hartnup, Aberystwyth to Vancouver. Nice family pictures here.

This memoir incorporates descriptions of a boy’s memories of life in the colliery villages of Cymmer and Gwaun Cae Gurwen before the First World War; a remote Carmarthenshire farming community (Panteg) between 1914 and 1935; life as a Grammar School pupil in Carmarthen and a student at the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth 1925-29; a life-long teaching career at Llandeilo Grammar School (he probably taught some of my mother's relatives - LT); life and travels as a member of the Army’s Education Corps during the Second World War; and a description of a social life in Llandeilo centred around Capel Newydd; ending with a post-retirement period in Rhuddlan.
Here's some Original Sin from the early years in the 'Waun' :

These days there is a great deal of talk and press-reports about the increasing vandalism and lack of social conscience among children. It seems to me that there was little social conscience among the children of my childhood, even though, as I have mentioned before, parents had the Victorian attitude towards the up-bringing of their children. Children, indeed, may have been well-behaved at home, but once out of the sphere of its influence, moral standards were influenced by gang behaviour...

One example of vandalism in our childhood was the game of counting who had smashed the greatest number of what we called bottles on top of telegraph and electricity poles. One does not see bottles today. They were ceramic bottle-like fittings on the cross-bar of the poles, around which the wires conducting electricity were wound.

Another example of violence was the gang warfare between the boys of the Waun and the boys of Garnant. On many Saturday mornings, the Waun boys, equipped with rubbish-bin lids as shields and having a stock-pile of stones, stationed themselves on top of a viaduct facing another bridge, where the Garnant boys had congregated, similarly equipped. We then threw stones at each other. Sometimes the Garnant boys wilted and we were able to chase them as far as the bottom of the ‘cwm’. Once we had a serious problem on our hands. One of our boys had a facial injury, with a copious flow of blood, the result of being hit by a half-brick. The problem was how to carry him back to his home. I remember our trying to tie together some kind of stretcher, but I can’t remember whether we had any success.

I can also give more examples of behaviour which showed a lack of moral conscience These examples may give you, the reader, the impression that I am even now a man of doubtful moral and social conscience. No, I’m fairly convinced that children can go through this phase in childhood, and yet become responsible and morally sound citizens.

Looking back, I sometimes think that I should have been ashamed of certain irresponsible and inconsiderate tricks that we played. There was a sweets shop on the main road, not far from Gron Road. It was owned by the Hicks family, the son of which family, by the name of Haydn, I became very friendly with during my College days. There was a long passage leading from the shop to the kitchen. We were able to see through the glass door of the shop whether anyone was in the shop. If there was no-one there we assumed that the person on duty would be in the kitchen. We would then open the door a quietly a possible – there was no bell announcing an entry. There in front of us was a long row of glass-lidded boxes of sweets. So, before knocking for attention, we would lift the lids of several boxes and stuff our pockets with sweets. Then we knocked and when Dorothy – usually it was she who appeared – came to the shop we would ask for a pennyworth of sweets. A despicable act indeed! But did we have a conscience about it? Hardly, because it was repeated several times. It was no worse a crime than stealing apples from gardens!

There was another despicable piece of behaviour which was repeated several times. In a nearby street there lived on her own a woman, who was considered rather ’simple’ or ‘not quite sixteen ounces’. We used to play tricks on her, such as leaning a can full of water against her front door, and after knocking running round the corner to see what happened when the door was opened. Usually, the can of water tipped inside, accompanied by a loud scream. At other times we tied a black thread to the knocker, and pulled it from around a corner. As soon as she appeared and then closed the door, the knocker was pulled again – this being repeated several times.

He's right. Children have little social conscience and are much now as they were ninety years back - or a hundred and ninety, if it comes to that. And note the almost automatic compulsion to torment the weak (as in the memoirs of Frances Roper and Laurie Lee), or take advantage of the unworldly, not to mention the appeal of gang warfare (as in George Borrow). The difference between those days and our day is not in the way children are, but in the way adults respond to their behaviour.

How many more of these wonderful memoirs are out on the Web ? Please drop any you know of in the comments.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Tasteless, but ...

I didn't join in (on either side) the Jan Moir/Stephen Gately brouhaha of a month or two back, as while the general philosophy behind her argument seemed sound, wages of sin and all that, I wasn't at all sure that any of it should apply in the particular case, because :

a) the poor chap wasn't even buried - there's a time and place and before the funeral ain't it. Bad form.

b) there seemed no evidence that Mr Gately was a particularly degenerate chap as practising homosexuals go - his civil partnership seemed to imply some kind of desire for respectable coupledom.

While a still stands, b seems at least debateable.

Friday Night Is Music Night ... Classical Edition

... and how better to relax at the end of the week than with a cello quartet playing Grieg ?

or if you prefer something a little gentler :

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Where's Blair's Dosh ?

Presumably triggered by these two FT stories from a month back, the Guardian attempts to navigate the tortuous stream of Tony Blair's finances.

Blair has a complex web of structures involving 12 different legal entities handling the unprecedented millions he is receiving since he stepped down from office in 2007.

So mystifying are the former prime minister's financial structures – which involve highly specialised limited partnerships and parallel companies – that the Guardian today launches an open invitation to tax specialists and accountants to attempt to explain the motivation behind such structures. We have published the Companies House documents and other legal papers regarding the structure of the partnerships at and invite expert comment via our site at

There is no suggestion Blair is doing anything illegal. But he refuses to explain the purpose of the secretive partnerships.
Cry havoc and let slip the accountants of war ! Tally-ho !

UPDATE - Tax Research Blog thinks there's a loophole which means detailed accounts don't have to be publically filed, if I understand correctly.

The limited liability partnership is tax transparent. If it had Tony Blair as a member he would pay tax at the UK highest income tax rate. So two companies are put in his place as members, and because of the loophole in the limited partnership accounting regulations this is acceptable: it does not change the fact that the limited partnership will not have to file accounts.

And then the two companies are owned by nominees to hide the Blair involvement – it’s just a pity one set of accounts had to give it away that he was the beneficial owner or we might still be unaware of all this.

So what did Tony want? Just a bit of secrecy and his profits sheltered at corporate tax rates seems the superficial answer.

But hang on – this structure came at some price, and has some cost to run – five figures a year with a first digit of more than one I suspect. So why do that? Because the entity at the top of the pile – Windrush Ventures No 3 Limited Partnership now has what most people want from a secrecy jurisdiction – complete secrecy and lower tax than might otherwise be expected, and all onshore.

So there is an obvious question outstanding still. Just what is it that Tony is so keen to hide that he’ll go to this length and this cost to do so?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Sad Tale

I've mentioned (favourably) Lionel Shriver, author and chronicler of childlessness, before.

I'm sorry to hear that her brother has died - a death she foretold. The poor chap ate himself to death :

I write with some reluctance, because I feel protective of him. He's topping 330 pounds: 24 stone. He was once 5ft 7ins tall, but his vertebrae have compressed, and at 5ft 3ins I now look him straight in the eye. I used to look up to him in every sense. I ended our last two visits in tears. My brother breaks my heart...

Obesity exacerbates his emphysema, and he drags a portable oxygen tank with him like a faithful dog. Not long ago, the tank's battery died at a bus stop. My brother went into respiratory arrest, and only a good Samaritan who rushed off the bus got him to hospital in time to save his life. Every time I talk to my brother, I wonder if it's for the last time. Planning to see him during an author's tour in March, I'm counting the days, actively anxious that he won't still be with us three months from now.

Tweaking The Mangy Lion's Tail

Mr Miliband said: "This is a human story of five young yachtsmen. It's got nothing to do with politics, it's got nothing to do with nuclear enrichment programmes... it has no relationship to any of the other, bigger issues."

Mr Miliband does what he's best at, back-pedalling. Is this the same chap who only the other day was telling the Pakistani government and military what 'we want' them to do ?

Either Tehran can decide to play the incident down and let the sailors go, or it could turn this into a full blown diplomatic crisis.

Note that it's all about what Iran's likely to do. We're just prisoners of events. Doubtless if Iran get stroppy we'll huff and puff for domestic consumption then resume backpedalling. It's what we do.

When Gordon Brown asked the Libyans to be discreet about the release of Abdel Bassets Allsorts (you know, the convicted Lockerbie bomber with only three months to live) in August, Gaddafi arranged a huge welcome party at the airport complete with Scottish flags, an event shown on TV world wide. Brown's response to this humiliation was to cancel a visit by the Duke of York !

This isn't something that just started on Gordon Brown's watch. Mark Steyn on the last Iranian hostage crisis in 2004 - or was it the last-but-two or three ? I think the last one was two years ago, when I was in the States.

Britain's boys got hijacked and taken on a classic Rogue State bender. And the version being broadcast throughout the Muslim world is that Teheran swatted the infidel and got away with it.

That's what matters: getting away with it. Do you think Mr Straw, fretting over the "complications" of Anglo-Iranian relations, will make the mullahs pay any price for what they did? And, if he doesn't, what conclusions do you think the Islamic Republic will draw from its artful test of Western - or, at any rate, European - resolve? Right now, the British, French and Germans are making a show of getting tough on Iran's nuclear ambitions. Is that "tough" as in "Go ahead, imam, make my day"? Or is it "tough" as in that official's "one-way conversation"? Just a bit of diplo-bluster. If you were the mullahs, you might well conclude that the Europeans don't mean it, that they've decided they can live with a nuclear Iran, and you might as well go full speed ahead.

A nuclear Iran is a lot closer now.

Me No Understand

Indie, reporting on yet another asylum route - the "Saudi adulteress gambit".

Last year, the House of Lords ruled that the SFO's decision to drop the corruption investigation into the £43bn Saudi arms deal with BAE Systems was unlawful.

In a hard-hitting ruling, two High Court judges described the SFO's decision as "an outrage".

One of them, Lord Justice Moses, said the SFO and the Government had given into "blatant threats" that Saudi intelligence co-operation would end unless the probe into corruption was halted.

"No one, whether within this country or outside, is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice," he said. "It is the failure of government and the defendant to bear that essential principle in mind that justifies the intervention of this court."

How come all those Irish terrorists were let out after the Good Friday Agreement then ? Isn't that interference with justice ?

I see, they passed another law to let them out.

So all we need is the Serious Fraud Office (Saudi Arabia) Bill 2009 and we're laughing. Is that OK?

(my views on the BAe/Saudi bribery brouhaha are here.

I'd recommend anyone commenting on this issue to take a look at Anthony Sampson's book The Arms Bazaar. Bribery and large arms contracts have been together for a very long time. If we don't bribe others will. Even senior people in Western democracies can be bribed.

Now it's not unreasonable to say - no. We shouldn't bribe. Let others do it - we won't. Fine. If you don't want to bribe, get out of the arms trade. Which means closing a large chunk of what remains of Britain's technically advanced manufacturing industry. And in this case it also means a rupture with a powerful (we've sold them all that kit) oil-rich nation bordering Iraq. You can see why HMG might blink at this.

UPDATE - Jeremy Warner on doing business 'out there' :

Anyone with any experience of trading in the Middle East knows that the moment you tread further south than Marseilles, the law of contract becomes – how shall we put it? – somewhat pliable. For instance, it is relatively common place for clients in the Gulf to freeze payments to contractors. For us that may be breach of contract, but for them it is merely part of the hard ball of negotiation...

What's going on at Saad Group in Saudi Arabia is in some respects a great deal worse. Much of the money seems to have gone walk about, with local creditors being given preferential treatment over international lenders.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Domestic Violence As A Source Of Amusement ...

Imagine a man who finds his wife is unfaithful and attacks her.

Now imagine he attacks her with a golf club - a potentially deadly weapon.

Imagine she flees the house in terror, bleeding from head injuries, drives away, but because of her injuries crashes the car just a hundred yards away, while her husband follows, club in hand, to smash the car windows.

What would Cath Elliott say ? Or Laurie Penny ? Or the Stroppers ?

I dread to think what punishment would be deemed suitable for the offender - you all know I'm more of a rehabilitation type myself.

It's strange, but reverse the sexes of the protagonists, and both men and women find the idea* hilarious.

(* the idea, not the facts of the Tiger Woods case, which are obscure. Best of order in the comments please)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

And Now We Come To The End Of Broadcasting For Today ...

... this station is closing for the night, and we'll be back with you tomorrow. So for now we'll leave you with some going-to-bed music. Did I mention that I love female voices ?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Night Music

As Barack Obama tells it :

More than once, my mother would point out: “Harry Belafonte is the best-looking man on the planet.”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Enfants de la Patrie (again) ?

I've written about this sort of thing before. Now even the Indie is noticing :

"No," he said. "I'm not watching the match. I never watch France play football. The team disgusts me because they are not really French."

What did he mean, I asked (although I knew exactly what he meant). My neighbour mumbled something about not liking the team because they didn't sing the Marseillaise before matches (something that has not been true for more than a decade). What he really meant was that there were too many non-white faces in the line-up (seven out of 11). I pointed out that every single France player in the now infamous main de Dieu World Cup qualifying team was born in France and mostly in Greater Paris. He looked embarrassed, made a "so what" hand gesture and walked away.

That same night thousands of young people from the poorer suburbs of Greater Paris poured on to the Champs Elysées to celebrate the fact that their country had qualified for the World Cup finals in South Africa next summer. These were French kids, born in France, but they were not celebrating France's morally-challenged victory over Ireland. They were celebrating – boisterously, and at times violently – Algeria's victory over Egypt in Algiers.

Guardian :

As the evening went on, more than 12,000 Algerians poured on to the Champs Elysées, which was closed to traffic as youngsters danced on the roofs of cars, chanting "One, two, three, Vive l'Algérie", and throwing fireworks into the dank November night. "I can't believe it," I was told by Samia, a 20-year-old student. "I've never seen anything like it. It's not just about football. It has to be about something else."

About midnight it became clearer what that something else might be. Armed police had by now gathered around the Arc de Triomphe, trying to break up the crowds. They were met with taunts, stones and fireworks. The party soon degenerated into a riot and the cries of "Vive l'Algérie" were replaced by the familiar battle cry of "Nique la police" (**** the police). The police responded with teargas and baton charges.

There were 60 arrests, and similar scenes in Lyon and Marseille. The violence carried on and by Friday morning the police reported that more than 200 cars had been burnt in the suburbs of Paris.
You have to remember that the same night France had cheated their way past Ireland to qualify. Yet the centre of Paris belonged to (violent) young French citizens who identified as Algerian.

Couldn't happen here, of course :

"You can cry now miserable Egyptians! We proudly defeated and humiliated you and we have now qualified for the worl cup 2010 in South Africa. You are the most hated people in the Arab world! Worse than jews."

Mr Indie - a chap called John Lichfield - seems to have been mugged by reality :

I have lived in France for almost 13 years. I adore France and I adore the French. I have to admit, however, that I have found the events of recent days – Sarko's crusade, Henry's handball, my neighbour's comments, the celebrations by French-born Algeria fans and the brutal response of the CRS – rather unsettling.

Eleven years ago, I was one of those who wrote admiringly of the Brown-White-Black France which won the World Cup. I, and many others, suggested that their victory might soften race relations in France; that other brown and black French kids might be encouraged to feel French; that white French kids would grow up with brown and black French heroes.

Since then, we have learned better.
Guardian ditto :

The sourness surrounding the Algerian victory seemed such a long way away from the famous "rainbow" French team of 1998 that beat Brazil in a glorious World Cup final at the Stade de France... This moment was hailed as the beginning of a new era in French cultural life. Eleven years later, that moment seems to belong to a very distant past. Indeed, the divisions in French society seemed to have hardened since then.

Laban doesn't think the lessons to be drawn are any different from last time :

So what, you may say. Why should we care about what happens in a far-away country of which we know little ?

Because their problems are ours. There's a terrible symmetry between the children and grandchildren of immigrants to France, much more radicalised, violent and discontented than their grandparents, and those to the UK.

Reality 1, Satire 0 (Again)

It's got to be the number one item on every prisoner's Christmas wish-list - their freedom.

But there was incredulity today when it emerged that one convict is actually going to have their wish granted - as first prize in a raffle.

The lucky inmate whose ticket is drawn in the £1 draw will be able to spend a day on the outside, enjoying themselves to their heart's content.

It is a reward being offered at Kirkham open prison in Lancashire in return for helping to prepare a Christmas dinner for elderly residents at a nearby day centre.

More 'Education'

a sad but by no means unusual tale via (of all people) Stephen Fry. No, I don't subscribe but enough people do.

But it's the comments that strike me.

Anyway, I'm one of those supply teachers, freshly arrived from Australia with a few years under my belt and a sense of freedom to supply teach. I ended my first week with a stiff drink and let go of the breath I was holding in for the whole week.
Wow. Didn't expect the utter lack of discipline, planning and chaos that I've so far seen at EVERY school i've been to.
My only slight objection to this very real piece of writing is when you mention about teachers who arn't afraid of taking charge. While I am only speaking on my behalf as a teacher I can see in this day and age when panic and pandemonium about our children's safety is at ridiculous level, teachers hands are, literally, tied behind our back.
I was warned, do not touch a child not even if they are in danger when I went for my interview. Excuse me?! I haven't followed that advice, especially in the half or dozen times so far I have physically squeezed myself in between two boys out and out fighting in the classroom and pulled one off the other.
I think the problem is, there is an absolute disrespect for teachers and the job they do. Students fight back with you, say the most horrible things to eac other explode wit anger at the smallest thing and constant endanger themselves and others with vicious fights and taunts right in front of my face. Now as a supply teacher I take it with a grain of salt, I mean everyone knows when your "proper" teacher is away its time to play, and I employ EVERY behaviour management technique in the book. Most of the time it works, once or twice though its been shaky and then what?
Its hard to control a child's behaviour when he has no respect for the situation or te boundaries, when they would rather hurtle themselves in a blind fit at another student in the class over them answering a question before they could.
The pent up anger and agression that is shown in students is a very worrying thing for me to witness, and I think before we worry about test scores and multimillion dollar equipment and classrooms we need to look at what sort of support can we give these children, and what sort of home are they coming from.
I as always feel sorry for the half or more of the class who have to sit and deal with this daily occurrance, and think what is it like for you??

I am (was) a teacher but found that many of the schools that I did work in it was just as you had described - crowd control and prevention of fights or breaking up fights. I loved teaching but due to physical health problems could not cope with 'THAT' kind of teaching so I now work in a bank!! I so wanted to teach those that wanted to learn - who had a thirst for it and an ever inquisative and enquiring mind - children who constantly questioned - these are the children who needed me - not the ones who could not be bothered or had no interest.

There are schools in inner London which have multiple playgrounds separated by skin colour. The pupils separate themselves this way, and the school has no choice but to supervise the 'black' playground with black staff and the 'white' playground with white staff, otherwise severe disruption occurs.

While I believe my own school isn't as bad as this, I see some of the things you describe regularly. The real trouble-makers are not tackled early enough or with sufficient seriousness. The result is the layer of kids that misbehave because they see others doing it - and would stop if their examples were excluded - remains. And yes, the easy targets are often picked on by some staff instead. I am a teacher. I regard myself as a professional, but the institution that is Education clearly does not agree. I teach in a culture of blame - it's not 'the management' that's at fault, it's those of us at the chalk face. I suspect all the 'good' teachers left the school you refer to a long time ago, probably fed up with the same thing I am.

I currently work as a bus driver. The level of abuse that myself and my colleagues have to tolerate on a daily basis from school children in our local area is obscene. If these renegade bullies talk to their elders in such a manner, what hope to the more vulnerable children in the classroom have?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Calm Down, Yazza !

Yazza has two personas for her two main media outlets

Indie : "I blame white men"

The world only feels right when women are removed from the public space. We know that is what the Taliban believes. The discouraging truth is that all nations would dearly like it if women went back indoors again to seek and find total fulfilment in babies and baking and these days 24-hour sexual availability.
Chance would be a fine thing. But not 24 hours. One wouldn't like to be doing a 10-hour day and worrying about the Home Front.

But of course, on the big picture Yazza is right. Throwing acid in the faces of schoolgirls Taleban-style is exactly like criticising the appointment of Baroness Ashton as EU foreign minister.

Daily Mail : "I blame the permissive society"

(And I love persona 2 as much as I hate persona 1)

But it's not just Belle de Jour who (for a good price) gives the punters what they want, is it ?

(via Julia M)

Monbiot - "Phil Jones Should Resign"

I presume readers are already aware of "Climategate", the leaking of a large number of emails from the University of East Anglia's servers - which mails reveal a pattern of highly dodgy activity among professional warmists, particularly Phil Jones of the Climate Research ("then hide the data or tweak it") Unit. Refusing 'unbelievers' access to the raw data, including attempts to work round FOI, trying to get editors sacked and sceptical researchers' access to university resources withdrawn - that is just appalling. My emboldening below :

At 09:41 AM 2/2/2005, Phil Jones wrote:

I presume congratulations are in order - so congrats etc! Just sent loads of station data to Scott. Make sure he documents everything better this time ! And don't leave stuff lying around on ftp sites - you never know who is trawling them. The two MMs [McKitrick, McIntyre] have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? - our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind. Tom Wigley has sent me a worried email when he heard about it - thought people could ask him for his model code. He has retired officially from UEA so he can hide behind that. IPR should be relevant here, but I can see me getting into an argument with someone at UEA who'll say we must adhere to it ! ...

UPDATE - all the mails and files (and many news stories) linked to from here.

I'm not an AGW sceptic, btw, but an agnostic. That doesn't mean I think that chucking large amounts of CO2 into the air is a wise thing to do without knowing the possible consequences. And I agree that the consequences could be apocalyptic (the fate of Mars, which it is now believed once had huge oceans, is ever before me), so a precautionary approach is wise. I'm sure human activity makes a difference - the crucial question is 'how much difference' - and 'how much difference compared with 'natural' changes' ?

In the Guardian, noted warmist George Monbiot :

It's no use pretending this isn't a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I'm dismayed and deeply shaken by them.

Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.

Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign.

and in the comments :

I apologise. I was too trusting of some of those who provided the evidence I championed. I would have been a better journalist if I had investigated their claims more closely.


But if the science is that "settled," why refuse to disclose the data? If global warming so obvious and incontrovertible, why be in such a panic about FOI, why talk openly about re-defining "peer review", why threaten to (or actually) delete data?

I agree. It is exactly for those reasons that Phil Jones should resign. There's a word for his lack of openness and control of the data: unscientific.