Friday, May 30, 2014

Doctor who told undercover reporter he could arrange female genital mutilation to be carried out on two girls aged 10 and 13 could be struck-off

A doctor faces being struck off after he told an undercover reporter that he could arrange for female circumcision to be carried out on two girls aged 10 and 13.

Dr Ali Mao-Aweys was caught on camera discussing female genital mutilation (FGM) with a female investigator, who posed as an aunt asking about the procedure for her nieces.

The practice, which in its most extreme form can involve the almost complete sewing up of a girl's vagina, has been illegal in the UK since 1985.

Dr Mao-Aweys denied offering to assist in arranging female genital mutilation, and was released without charge by police following an investigation.

However, a fitness to practise panel at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester today ruled that he had offered to help the undercover reporter, and will now consider whether he should be allowed to continue to work as a doctor.

Dr Mao-Aweys, who has private clinics in Birmingham and Haringey, north London, was targeted in an undercover Sunday Times sting masterminded by 'Fake Sheikh' Mahzer Mahmood in April 2012.

The Somalian national was filmed discussing the barbaric procedure on a camera hidden in the handbag of an unknown female investigator.  Posing as a patient 'Ms A', the reporter told the GP she wanted her two fictional nieces, aged 10 and 13, circumcised during a visit from Ghana.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 made it an offence to carry out the procedure on a British female anywhere in the world.

Mao-Aweys was arrested along with Birmingham dentist Omar Addow in May 2012 following the publication of the story on the investigation in the Sunday Times.

Both were released without charge, but Addow was struck off by the General Dental Council last year after he was found to have offered to perform circumcision on the girls.

Mao-Aweys, who denied the charges, is now facing the same fate after the fitness to practise panel ruled against him today.

'The panel decided that the recordings indicate that Dr Mao-Aweys initially considered doing the operations himself,' said chairman Dr Anthony Morgan.  'Even if Dr Mao-Aweys did not understand the English word 'nieces' he quickly established the ages and genders of the children to whom Ms A was referring.

'He then described an FGM procedure by drawing a diagram, which he referred to as a pharaonic cut [the most extreme form of FGM].'

Dr Morgan added: 'It is clear that Dr Mao-Aweys knew that all FGM operations are illegal in the United Kingdom by the references he made to this fact in the consultation and by the comments of it being 'dangerous' with the possibility of going to jail.

'At no point in the consultation did he raise the issue of safeguarding children or any objections on his part to FGM.

'He did not seek to dissuade Ms A from continuing with her plans and only suggested that it would be safer (in the sense of not being illegal) for her to go abroad to have the operation carried out.'

The panel saw video footage from two consultations at Mao-Aweys' Birmingham clinic as well as the transcript from a phone call made by the journalist.

When asked about the procedure, sometimes referred to as 'cutting', he can be heard to say: 'Ah yes. I can help you.'  At one point he also said: 'A Girl. Yes I do girl.'

During their meetings Mao-Aweys offered to assist the investigator in her efforts to have two girls circumcised and said he knew a doctor in Birmingham who could help.

He told her it was a very short procedure, lasting less than ten minutes, as well as explaining the potential psychological problems and risks if the girls talked to friends or teachers.

At times the doctor seems reluctant to discuss performing the operation and warns the reporter of the legal ramifications if caught.

He said: 'In Gambia, Somalia - my country - it's no problem, but here they talk too much,' adding: 'I think it's best you go to Africa.'

When Mazher Mahmood phoned Mao-Aweys on April 21 to put the allegations to the doctor he denied offering to assist in FGM.

He continued to deny the claims in interviews with police after he was arrested on 4 May 2012 and said he thought the reporter was referring to boys when she said nieces.

During the hearing, Mao-Aweys, whose first language is German, claimed he had been 'entrapped' by the journalist and had thought he was discussing a legal FGM 'reversal' procedure or circumcision on boys.

He failed to mount a full defence case when he walked out of the hearing after splitting with his legal team and losing a string of legal challenges to halt proceedings, claiming he had racked up around £250,000 in legal fees since the allegations emerged.

The panel found his version of events was 'not credible or reliable' and that the recordings show he quickly established they were talking about females.

'Dr Mao-Aweys' own account of the tone of the consultation with Ms A appears to be at odds with what is seen and heard in the video footage,' said Dr Morgan.

The panel will now decide if his fitness to practise is impaired due to misconduct before considering what sanction to impose.


Prizes for none? Organisers of Edinburgh Marathon refuse to publish results 'out of respect' for runners

Angry runners have lashed out at organisers of Edinburgh's Marathon for not allowing them to see a complete list of winners and losers - because they are being 'respectful'.

The race organisers for one of the major events in Britain's sporting calendar have only announced times and placings for the top three in an event that featured almost 10,000 runners.

But other entrants have been told by GSi Events, a company that specialises in fundraising projects, that their achievement will be 'exclusively available' to them and published only if they give permission.

This comes as furious runners threaten to boycott future events amid questions that hard-earned times and placings would not count if they were not officially published.

Simon Hart, a 50-year-old from Brentwood in Essex, ran the race in 2 hours 38 minutes and finished fourteenth.

He said: 'To find out that my result would not be published is disappointing in the extreme. Unless the policy changes, I will not be participating in events run by GSi Events again, and would advise other club runners to avoid as well.'

A Scottish Athletics spokesman said: 'It is a matter of concern. We're acutely aware of it and in discussions with the company, trying to get to the bottom of it.'

GSi Events, have not given a comment or responded to online criticisms on the marathon's own Facebook page.

But the marathon's website says: 'All your personal data and information, including your running times, are treated with great respect. Your result information is exclusively available to you.

'We will only openly publish the top three finishers of each race. You will need to log in to get your times, splits and finishing position within the race. You can then choose to share this information as you see fit.'

Ian Kiltie, a veteran runner from Derby, was amazed he could not access a friend's result.

He said: 'What next - no one is allowed to watch in case they see how people did? Stop televising the London Marathon, Great North Run, etc.?'

Such a policy is virtually unheard of - and runners yesterday were claiming it breaches International Amateur Athletics Association rules and could endanger Edinburgh's status as a recognised event.

The IAAF rules state clearly: 'Official results for all participants should be made available on the race's website within the shortest possible time.'

It is unclear who wanted the policy of not publishing results, but the supposed confidentiality is undermined by the event's own photographs section, where runners can enter anyone's name and see a selection of pictures of them in various amounts of distress, along with their finishing time.

Edinburgh runner Hector Haines said: 'Not having results after the race devalues the whole event.


Proof that tougher sentences DO work: 3% drop in crimes after post-riots crackdown

Tough punishments really do deter criminals, an academic study of the London riots of 2011 shows.

Researchers found that firm sentences handed down in the wake of the disorder cut crime for months afterwards across the capital and elsewhere around the country.

The effect of the harsher punishments was to reduce crime levels by 3 per cent in the months after the summer riots. There was a fall-off in burglary, criminal damage and crimes of a violent nature.

The report compared crime rates before the riots with those six months later. There was a drop in crime even in London boroughs far away from the disorder and in areas of England and Wales which had not been involved. Researchers said this proves the threat of prison is a powerful deterrent.

The study found that six months after the riots, there was still a ‘significant’ drop in crime in all areas of London. ‘We observe a decline in crime even in London areas located far from the riot incidents and in police force areas in England and Wales that were not affected by the riots,’ said the researchers.

‘This is consistent with the operation of a deterrence effect from tougher sentencing.’

The researchers from University College London and Oxford University said that usually crime rates change too slowly to be able to work out the effects of tougher sentencing.

However, the riots offered an ample opportunity as 4,600 rioters were arrested and 2,250 were brought to court over a short period.

They were given longer sentences by judges who decided that those who took advantage of public disorder needed harsher treatment.

Up to 15,000 people took part in five days of rioting that followed the shooting of Mark Duggan by the Metropolitan Police.

There were five deaths and more than 5,000 crimes were committed, mainly burglary, criminal damage and violent crimes such as assault.

The study, published in the Economic Journal, found that rioters brought to court were almost three times more likely to be jailed than people with a similar profile who had committed similar crimes in 2010.

On average, their jail terms were two months longer than those handed down for the same kind of crimes in the previous year.

Among the most notable examples of firm sentences was the six-month term given to Nicholas Robinson by a district court judge for stealing six bottles of mineral water worth £3.50, and the ten months Danielle Corns received for stealing two left-footed trainers during disorder in Wolverhampton.

The researchers said that the fall in burglary, violence and vandalism was not the result of increased police presence – in fact, there were fewer police patrols after the riots  than beforehand.

Neither did the drop occur because the riot criminals were in jail, as crime fell in areas far away from where the jailed criminals had been active.

The report found there was a small increase in crimes untypical of riots, such as robbery.

Researchers suggested this also showed deterrence worked, as criminals turned to offences less likely to attract a long sentence.


Christian GP 'refused to help lesbian couple have a baby, saying he did not believe same-sex couples should have children'

A lesbian couple claim they were denied fertility treatment by a Christian GP practice that said they should not have children.

Lisa Gilligan and Amy Hyde say their doctor delayed a crucial application letter, while a manager told them staff ‘did not believe same-sex couples should have children’.

The couple, who have been together for seven years, tried to conceive with a sperm donor for two years before their GP Tom Accialini, of Lambeth Street  surgery in Blackburn, Lancashire, sent them to a specialist clinic.

But when tests showed they needed treatment, he did not send off their application for funding, they said.

Couples have three months from the time they are referred to get funding approved – and all letters must be signed by a GP.

Miss Gilligan, 30, said: ‘I kept ringing and ringing but no one would tell me anything. I rang the site manager, Mary Piper. At first, I was told the letter was on the doctor’s desk . . . but then she said they couldn’t do it. She said they were a Christian practice and . . . don’t believe same-sex couples should have children.’

Cornerstone Practice, of which Lambeth Street is part, has apologised and agreed to send the letter, more than two months after the couple say it was given to Dr Accialini. They have complained to the NHS.

Miss Gilligan said the delay was ‘heartbreaking’, adding: ‘We are just hoping it’s not too late, otherwise we’ll have to go through this whole process again.’

Miss Hyde, also 30, said: ‘Why, if it was against their Christian beliefs for us to have children, would they refer us for tests?’

Cornerstone Practice’s website states it has ‘a Christian foundation’ but ‘will not discriminate against anyone because of gender, sexuality, sexual preference, religion, race or age’.

NHS Lancashire said it was investigating, adding: ‘If a doctor is unable or unwilling to act for personal ethical reasons, he or she has a duty to ensure a patient can access another opinion.’

Katie Stanton of Cornerstone said it could not comment due to patient confidentiality.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Thursday, May 29, 2014

More multicultural wife-murder in Britain

A husband who strangled to death his pregnant wife two weeks after police arrested him for threatening to kill her with a hammer was sentenced to life imprisonment today.

Mohammed Badiuzzaman, 34, pleaded guilty to murdering mother-of-three Sabeen Thandi at the Old Bailey earlier this month.

Before the killing he told colleagues he planned to kill his wife, bragged that UK jail was ‘easy peasy’ and ranted about Oscar Pistorius.

He was today sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison by Judge Christopher Moss QC, who described the defendant as ‘manipulative, devious and controlling’.

Mrs Thandi was strangled at her home in Forest Gate, London, in July last year, a fortnight after she obtained a restraining order against her husband, and after police had arrested him for making death threats.

Police officers are now under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission for releasing Badiuzzaman before he went on to kill.

Badiuzzaman had forced Mrs Thandi into a Muslim marriage and had moved in with her two months after they began dating in November 2012.

He was controlling, preventing her from leaving the house alone, forcing her to throw away ‘revealing’ clothes and instead wear a hijab because otherwise she would ‘feel his wrath’.

The security guard even tried to sell her home by visiting an estate agents and pretending he owned the property.

Doctor’s receptionist Mrs Thandi grew sick of Badiuzzaman’s abuse and visited solicitors in Watford in June last year seeking a divorce. She took out an order from Watford County Court on June 17 against Badiuzzaman to prevent him from entering her home, as she feared for her children’s safety.

But two days later Badiuzzaman became enraged after discovering Mrs Thandi was in love with a man in Pakistan whom she had met on Facebook, named in court as only as Majid.

Badiuzzaman duped his wife into getting into the car with him on the premise of taking her to work, but instead he drove her around for three hours and threatened her.

He said he had a hammer in his car boot and that if she did not revoke the order against him she would never see her son again, and that police would ‘find parts of her body in bits in bin bags’.

Mrs Thandi pleaded with her solicitors to revoke the order, and they proceeded to call the police.  Badiuzzaman was arrested on suspicion of threats to kill and unlawful imprisonment. While being cautioned he made no comment and grinned at police, but he was later released.

In the early hours of July 7 police received two silent 999 calls from the home the couple had shared and were met by Badiuzzaman at the door who said his wife was at work. He was calm and made conversation with officers but when they searched the property they found her lifeless body under a duvet in the bedroom.

Badiuzzaman told police: ‘I’ve killed my wife.’ But when paramedics asked him to tell them what he had done so that they might attempt to save her, he said he did not know.

Mrs Thandi was taken to Newham University Hospital where she was confirmed dead, and a post-mortem gave the cause of death as strangulation.

Before the killing he had told colleagues he intended to ‘stab’ Mrs Thandi and had talked for an hour about high-profile domestic violence murder cases of Oscar Pistorius and Shrien Dewani. He told colleagues ‘they have got away with it’ and ‘jail in Britain is easy peasy’.

Sentencing Judge Moss said: ‘From all that I’ve heard about you I have no doubt that you are a manipulative, devious and controlling person with a serious anger management issue.

‘It’s clear from the way in which she died that you intended that she should die. You strangled her in her bedroom in her own home.’

He added: ‘You murdered your estranged wife in her own home which you were excluded from by order of the county court.

‘It’s clear from the evidence in the case that this was an order you deserved and which you had no respect for, indeed you resented it.

‘You have deprived those children of the love and care of their mother in their formative years of their lives. You had no conceivable defence.’

The judge said he took into some account the fact that the defendant had pleaded guilty one day before the case was listed, and that he had shown some remorse, but added: ‘I suspect you feel sorrier for yourself than those affected by your actions.’

Officer in the case, Detective Inspector Euan McKeeve said: ‘We are very satisfied with the outcome of the case. Domestic violence in all its forms is totally abhorrent and cannot be tolerated. There’s likely to be some learning from the IPCC investigation, but because that investigation is ongoing I am unable to comment further at this time.’

Hertfordshire Police and the Met Police are now being investigated by the IPCC in relation to the incident.

An IPCC spokesman said: ‘The investigation is nearing conclusion, with most lines of enquiry completed by investigators.

‘We have interviewed ten officers and a civilian staff member from the Metropolitan Police Service under misconduct caution, in relation to their contact with Mrs Thandi prior to her death on 7 July 2013.

Two officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary have also been interviewed under misconduct caution, in relation to their contact with Mrs Thandi on 19 June 2013.

‘We have also taken statements from several independent witnesses, and are keeping the family updated on the progress of our investigation.’


Fort Lauderdale Flash Mob A Masterpiece Of Not Noticing

My friend Eustace (not his real name, or even close) down in the Peninsular State told me his wife drove through this fracas with their infant child in the car.

Fort Lauderdale police believe hundreds of young people made their way to the beach for one reason this Memorial Day, to cause trouble. Police described a volatile scene Monday night as they had to arrest dozens of people that were part of unruly crowds . . .

Police said around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, hundreds of young people made their way to the beach for one reason this Memorial Day, to cause trouble. Fort Lauderdale Police were in riot gear as a large crowd of young people moved through A1A reportedly causing mayhem.

“We had several reports of individuals who were reaching into vehicles, striking drivers. We have reports [of] individuals who were jumping on top of taxicabs,” said Detective Deanna Greenlaw with Fort Lauderdale Police Department . . .

Fort Lauderdale Police officials said a group of young people came to the beach to fight and when police quickly broke it up, they scattered through the streets . . .  [Police Arrest Dozens During Memorial Day Ruckus By The Beach, by Carey Codd; CBS Miami, May 26th]

Eustace tells me his Missus was thinking the whole time about my “Talk” column.  He then added: “There is, of course, no mention of the singular, conspicuous characteristic of the ‘unruly crowd’.”

I replied thus:

Why, Eustace, I don’t understand. The descriptions seem perfectly clear to me. I actually tallied them all:  “young people”; “people”; “unruly crowds”; “young people”; “young people”; “individuals”; “individuals”; “young people”; “individuals”; “troublemakers”; “people”; “a young person”; “people.”

You can’t get more specific than that! Not in the United States of Not Noticing, you can’t.


We read elsewhere:  Arrests by Race: 118 black males, 58 white males, 9 black females, 6 white females

Ducking from the Truth:  The 'Gay Agenda' v. Liberty

   “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” –George Washington (Farewell Address, 1796)

For five decades, a relentless and insidious campaign to undermine faith and family, the foundational tenets of our Republic, has been on the rise. With the 2008 election of Barack Hussein Obama, the most faith-intolerant regime in the history of our Republic, the growth of that campaign has become a malignant battle for the hearts and minds of American voters.

Most of the participants in this battle are unwitting pawns of the political Left, believing that they are simply supporting individual rights. In reality, they are systematically eroding the ground beneath the two most critical pillars of Liberty: faith and family. In the end, the inevitable and irrevocable terminus of these actions is tyranny.

Though social research organizations consistently find that those with gender identity issues make up less than 3% of the population, that tiny minority has become the most vociferous enemy of faith and family – and has rallied a substantial political constituency. For that reason, few social and political commentators will even venture into this arena, fearing public vilification and removal of their public platform by Leftmedia print and TV outlets under pressure from weak-kneed advertisers.

No such fear here, but as a prerequisite for this analysis, let it be stated clearly that the central government has no constitutional authority to regulate sexual activity between consenting adults. However, our Republic most assuredly has a stake in protecting religious Liberty, and marriage as defined by the Laws of Nature.

The first target of the Left and their homosexual agenda constituency is the first clause of the First Amendment to our Constitution, which states simply, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

That succinct proscription notwithstanding, Leftist judicial supremacists, who occupy what Thomas Jefferson called “the Despotic Branch,” have adulterated the plain language of that clause to greatly suppress the free exercise of Liberty across the nation. They have succeeded in large measure to supplant Rule of Law with the rule of men – the rule of egocentric executives and legislators who believe they are the font of wisdom sufficient for ruling over their subjects.

The second pillar of Liberty targeted by the Left is the family – beginning with marriage. In the words of Justice Joseph Story, “Marriage is … in its origin, a contract of natural law. … It is the parent, and not the child of society; the source of civility and a sort of seminary of the republic.”

As you recall, in 2008 candidate Obama himself feigned disdain for same-sex marriage and asserted a pretense of faith: “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian … it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix. … I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage.” Of course, that was just another bald-faced election-year lie. A full 12 years earlier, while running for Illinois State Senate, Obama said this: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

Obama’s expressed sentiment therefore lasted only as long as the campaign. No sooner had he been elected than he began a concerted effort to undermine marriage by promoting “gay rights.” Most notably in 2010, just weeks before the “Tea Party Republicans” who had decimated the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections took control of the House, Obama signed last-minute legislation overturning the Clinton-era policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” thus subjecting military ranks to overt homosexuality.

What Leftist politicos understand, but most of their constituents do not, is that the deconstruction of religious Liberty and the family, starting with the redefinition of marriage, will ultimately result in the rise of an oppressive and dictatorial successor.

Occasionally, the Left attempts to merge both its assault on religious Liberty and upon the family into one battle, endeavoring to kill two birds with one stone – the first being the “Natural Law” contract of marriage, and the second being the objection to homosexuality by every religion on the planet.

Such was the case in May 2012, when homosexual advocates managed a successful coup d'état against one of the most faith- and family-centered organizations in the nation – the Boy Scouts of America – opening the door for homosexual members in order to open the next door for homosexual leaders.

Emboldened by that success, they began a national campaign to target Christian-owned pro-family businesses – small and large – endeavoring to break their support for marriage by way of legal injunctions against their expression of their faith. Finally, the coercive “gay lobby” campaign met its match.

A very high-profile failure was the homosexual assault on Chick-fil-A due to CEO Dan Cathy, and his very vocal Christian affirmation of faith and family. Cathy’s rejection of so-called “gay marriage” was the catalyst for an attempted national boycott against the restaurant chain, but the result was an outpouring of support for Chick-fil-A.

But homosexual advocates suffered a far more spectacular defeat just last month, as you undoubtedly heard, when the Arts and Entertainment network attempted to expel the patriarch of one of the most successful cable television programs in history, solely due to his expression of faith and support for marriage and family in a GQ magazine profile.

The details of the A&E defeat provide a useful case study in “David and Goliath” politics – grassroots activism versus huge media and political adversaries.

Phil Robertson, who heads the popular Duck Dynasty clan featured on A&E, was asked by GQ editors about sin and repentance, and he responded with a paraphrase from 1 Corinthians 6: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers – they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” Robertson added a few comments considered crude by “cultured” leftists, but reflective of the provincial language of his Louisiana culture.

As soon as the article was published online, Robertson was attacked by the two most influential national homosexual advocacy organizations – the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the so-called “Human Rights” Campaign – for making “anti-gay remarks” in the GQ magazine profile. Typical of how Robertson’s remarks were framed are these pathetic pontifications from GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz: “Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”

A&E, which previously asked the Robertson family to reduce its show’s references to guns and closing with prayer – requests the Robertsons refused – swiftly expelled Phil, noting, “His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.”

Within days of A&E’s decision, Sandra Cochran, CEO of Cracker Barrel, one of the largest family restaurant chains in the nation, announced with much fanfare that she was ordering merchandise connected to Phil Robertson removed from their shelves. Cochran noted, “We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture.”

As I wrote Cochran, “Nothing Phil Robertson said offends your ‘corporate culture,’ unless you are offended by the foundational sacrament of marriage between man and woman as defined in the Old and New Testaments of Christian Scripture – and every other major world religion.”

The nation’s largest retailer, Walmart, wisely kept its shelves loaded with Duck Dynasty products.

The execs of A&E, Cracker Barrel and the highest profile homosexual advocacy organizations assumed the rest of the Robertson clan was more invested in their lucrative contracts with A&E than their faith, and their viewers were more invested in the asinine antics of reality shows than the substance and world view of the characters in this particular show.

Bad assumptions. Neither the Robertsons, nor their fans, duck the truth.

In less than 48 hours, Cracker Barrel issued one of the most stunning corporate apologies on record. “When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done. You flat out told us we were wrong. We listened. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores, and, we apologize for offending you.”

Days later, after Phil Robertson’s family advised the network that they would not go on without their patriarch, A&E folded its hand. Apparently the network execs were more invested in their viewer share revenue than being “strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.” As some sort of recompense for their gender-confused audience, they announced, “We will use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty.”

This week, the Robertson family announced their new endorsement line of firearms, undoubtedly a source of additional heartburn for A&E.

This resounding defeat of the homosexual lobby is a case study in how grassroots Americans can successfully confront and crush the Left elite. By extension, it is also a strong indication that Patriots across the nation are poised to deliver the same humiliating defeat to leftists in 2014 that they did in 2010.

The bottom line is that a growing number of grassroots Americans recognize that the Chick-fil-A and Duck Dynasty showdowns are not about homosexuals, chickens or ducks, but about the suppression of faith expression and the undermining of Liberty. Phil Robertson is not a bigot, but those who suppress religious Liberty in the name of “tolerance and diversity” certainly are.

Those who support the “gay agenda” certainly think they do so for the right reasons. But they’ve been lulled into thinking that this issue has no overarching implications for the Liberty of future generations. They are wrong.


Is this hospital a miracle cure for the NHS? It has a Michelin chef, happy patients and is run by doctors and nurses. And shock, horror, it's operated at a profit by a private firm

Just imagine an NHS hospital whose standards match those of a top-quality hotel, with a welcoming reception area, polished floors, tasteful artwork on the freshly-painted walls, and menus inspired by a Michelin-starred chef.

A public hospital where the doctors and nurses — and even porters and cleaners — are free to decide what’s best for the patients, and to put good ideas into practice without waiting for the orders of some remote, out-of-touch mandarin.

Where the innovative working practices owe more to successful modern companies such as Toyota and Argos than a welfare state system created more than 60 years ago to cater for the needs of a very different Britain.

In a week when the failings of the NHS have again been laid bare, with hospital trusts begging for bail-out loans to pay for vital equipment, and discharging thousands of elderly patients during the small hours to ease the pressure on wards, it sounds like a pipe-dream.

Unlikely as it might seem, however, last week I visited just such a hospital.

For someone like me, who grew up during the halcyon days of social healthcare in the Fifties and Sixties and has lived through its decline with mounting despair, my day at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, was enormously uplifting.

And it was all the more remarkable because, barely three years ago, a health minister wrote off this same hospital as ‘a financial and clinical basket-case’, and placard-waving trade unionists were camped at the gates in protest against its seemingly certain closure.

Opened with great expectations in 1983 as one of the new wave of small, consultant-only hospitals, for a brief few years Hinchingbrooke had performed well enough.  But by the mid-90s, the quality of its service had faded along with its cheap, breezeblock façade.

John Major, the then-Prime Minister, was embarrassed by an acute bed shortage at the hospital just as he was proclaiming the NHS ‘safe in his hands’.

The hospital made headlines again soon after, when a supposedly dead woman came back to life in its mortuary; but as time marched on, and the Tories gave way to Labour, Hinchingbrooke itself seemed beyond miraculous revivals.

A few years ago, standards in some departments were among the worst in the country. In A&E, patients languished for ages in a dank, garishly-painted waiting room, and treatment, when it came, was so haphazard that one toddler was sent home with an undetected broken leg.

The colorectal unit was worse still. During one botched operation, a surgical instrument was stitched inside a woman patient.

Entering the unit now, it is hard to believe its grim recent history. The first thing that struck me was the cheerfulness of the nurses. Then, written on brightly-coloured stars pinned to the noticeboard, I read the patients’ own glowing tributes, copied from the feedback forms they must now receive before discharge.

‘So much care and attention . . . environment light, clean and airy . . . food is brilliant . . . fantastic! Everybody was great.’

The transformation was summed up by staff-nurse Leighann Shoebridge, who has worked at Hinchingbrooke for 14 years. ‘It wasn’t very nice coming to work, to be honest,’ she says, recalling the hospital’s darkest days. ‘We faced staff shortages every day, and there was no back-up if we needed help.

‘Patients’ bells weren’t answered; medication records were poor.

‘I feel so much happier now — this is a totally different place today.’

And while ward matron Joanne Dixon admits the unit’s problems ‘aren’t completely resolved’,

71-year-old Gillian Peacock, due to be discharged that day after recovering from an infection, told me she would gladly stay longer.

So how has this spectacular turnaround happened? How has one hospital managed to shake off its ‘basket-case’ tag and flourish, while dozens more are failing to cope?

What has happened at Hinchingbrooke only serves to confirm the inefficiency of the National Health Service’s hidebound bureaucrats, with their sclerotic systems and outdated ideology.

In truth, its fortunes have been reversed by the entrepreneurial vision and energy of Circle Partnership — the private equity health company handed a ten-year, £1 billion contract to run it as a franchise under the NHS ‘brand’.Mortality levels, waiting lists and treatment times are down; patient and staff satisfaction levels up.

Last week, the 235-bed hospital’s achievement was recognised when it was voted the best in the country for quality of care.

Visitors are greeted by landscaped grounds, facades of terracotta and smoked glass, and Scandinavian-style pinewood. A new critical care unit is on the way.

That Circle has come this far in just 27 months makes it all the more commendable. And it has done so while reducing its capital debts, and turning a £10million-a-year deficit into a predicted £2million profit this year — a figure expected to soar to £60 million by the end of their tenure.

Given that the NHS is expected to face a £30 billion shortfall by 2020, we might even think it is little short of miraculous.

When I asked Steve Melton, the company’s CEO, how it was done, the word most frequently on this 52-year-old former Argos, Faberge and Unilever executive’s lips was ‘empowerment’.

It was, he said, all about stripping away layer upon layer of management and red-tape that strangulates other NHS hospitals, and handing power back to the people who really understand the needs of the infirm: the frontline staff.

The average hospital trust is governed by a board of ten to 15 members, perhaps two of whom will be doctors or nurses — and often not practising. Between them and the clinical director are multiple tiers of middle-management through which front-line concerns and ideas permeate painfully slowly, if at all.

By contrast, 11 of the 15-strong board at Hinchingbrooke Hospital are practising clinicians, and there are no clipboard-wielding bureaucrats. 

In early 2012, when Circle — a John Lewis-style partnership of stakeholder workers and private investors — took the reins, it invited the 1,700 workforce to a half-day meeting and asked them to map out the hospital’s future.

Some 500 were too apathetic or sceptical about the company’s motives to attend. The majority showed up, however, and their goals, set out in a booklet handed to each staff member (or ‘partner’ as Circle prefers to describe them) now underpin the hospital’s ethos.

They include taking a pride in their work, striving to be the best, making the hospital safer and healthier, forging closer ties with the community they serve, and the ‘six Cs’: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

The manifesto also makes it the duty of every employee to call a halt to any procedure immediately and raise the alarm if he notices something awry.

Devised by Toyota workers to prevent faulty cars from leaving the production line, this measure, known as ‘stop the line’, has already prevented a repeat of the surgical instrument fiasco.

As a patient was about to be stitched, a theatre nurse spotted that a swab was missing and stopped the operation — an act that would have incurred the consultant’s wrath under the old regime. It was duly found inside the open wound.

Other buzz-phrases have become the norm among Hinchingbrooke’s evangelical staff. When someone wants to rectify some problem, or improve efficiency, they might ‘swarm’ it by brainstorming with colleagues, or call an impromptu group ‘huddle’.

If all this creates a rather cultish ambience, it is plainly working. In the well-equipped maternity unit, the standard induction drug, prostaglandin, costing £27.95 per dose, is seldom used these days.

Instead, women are offered reflexology, aromatherapy and acupressure to speed up difficult labours — a gentler New Age method devised by one of the midwives.

In orthopaedics, I met Mr Arpit Patel, who came to Hinchingbrooke as a junior doctor in 1997, and now doubles as a consultant surgeon and hospital board member.

Before Circle, he said, the hospital was riven with divisions: ‘We thought the managers were all useless, and they thought we doctors weren’t working hard enough.’

At first, he was among the sceptics where Circle was concerned. But he decided to try the business-style methods the company was proposing.

By listening to his own staff and adopting their simple suggestions to get patients on and off the operating table quicker, he can now perform four operations a day, not three, and sometimes hits six.

‘What people don’t realise is that if I do three knees, the hospital makes about £800; but if I do just one more, that increases to £3,000, and if I do five we make £6,000 or £7,000. That is because staff costs stay the same and my operating time doesn’t change.

‘The whole staff feel they can really do things now. The NHS could learn tremendously from Circle’s approach to management.’

The mood was similarly buoyant in A&E, where staff have opted to wear theatre ‘scrubs’ rather than nursing uniforms, and name-tags so patients can identify them.

They also use a colour-coded computer system (similar to that used to keep the tills working at Argos) to flag up outpatients who are waiting too long.

In the kitchen, head-chef Lisa Normanton, 46, cooks fresh, locally-sourced food instead of standard-issue frozen supplies, and takes inspiration from the company’s Michelin-starred head chef Andreas Wingert.

The restaurant-standard meals not only make patients happier. As ever with Circle, there is a financial benefit, too. Though they are more expensive — £10 a day as opposed to £7 — well-nourished patients tend to recover quicker and go home sooner.

Politicians on all sides are surprisingly reluctant to claim credit for Hitchingbrooke’s success. In a risible volte-face, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, who sanctioned the franchise during the last Labour government, now criticises it.

Why? Because the very idea that public services might operate more efficiently under private stewardship is anathema to Ed Miliband.

As for the Tories, who rubber-stamped the deal, they are under orders from their Australian election strategist, Lynton Crosby, to avoid at all costs the sensitive NHS debate and concentrate on the economy.

Were David Cameron to take a bold step and champion the wide-scale franchising of our failing hospitals, however, it could be a gamble worth taking —  revitalising, and perhaps even saving, the National Health Service



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who are the 'racists’ now?

Would-be immigrants from the old white Commonwealth are kept out by strict immigration controls, yet this is not deemed racist

The most vehement speech I have ever heard attacking Roma immigrants came last summer from the hard-working Romanian wife of an Italian restaurateur in a small town in Italy.

After we mentioned the nuisance posed by a horde of Roma beggars in the centre of Florence, she explained how angry she and other law-abiding Romanians feel over their country’s reputation being blackened by the antisocial behaviour of that racially distinct Roma minority that has long been such a problem in parts of central Europe, and is now fanning out across the EU.

It is impossible to discuss immigration rationally without recognising this particular problem, not helped by the efforts of the BBC and too many politicians to obscure it – as when the BBC reported on the trouble being caused by “Romanian” families in Belfast, carefully failing to explain that they were Roma.

Again, in light of the endless agitation over immigration, isn’t it odd how the BBC and others are so eager to brand as “racist” any talk about migrants from the EU, when by far the strictest immigration controls already in place are those rigorously enforced by both Labour and Conservative governments against would-be immigrants from the old “White Commonwealth”?

If it is “racist” to express concern about uncontrolled migration from the EU, why is it not equally racist to keep out people from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, let alone refugees trying to flee from genuinely racist persecution in Zimbabwe?


The real problem with welfare is not welfare parasites but Red Ed and the politicians who have encouraged people to believe the world owes them a living

By Richard Littlejohn

White Dee's sickness benefits may at long last be frozen after her drunken jolly to Magaluf, where she was pictured guzzling pints of beer, tequila shots and champagne.

And not before time. I've heard of benefits tourism, but this was ridiculous. Deirdre Kelly, Dee's real name, has become something of a minor celebrity since she 'starred' in the gruesome TV documentary series Benefits Street.

She has made a rap record, worked as a guest DJ in a Birmingham disco and been flown to Majorca for 'promotional work', including judging a wet T-shirt contest. All the time, she has continued drawing welfare payments, as she has done every week since she was sacked from her last full-time job for stealing £13,000.

This hideous, obese slattern has become the poster girl for Britain's obscene benefits culture, yet she is unrepentant. 'Blame the Prime Minister,' she replies when she is asked why taxpayers should support her life of amoral sloth and drink-fuelled debauchery.

She's right, too. Well, maybe not this Prime Minister, whose Government is belatedly trying to dismantle the scandalous system which bred the likes of White Dee.

But we can certainly blame Gordon Brown, who positively encouraged a festering culture of fecklessness and entitlement, which costs billions of pounds every year and helped bring this country to the brink of bankruptcy.

Brown's byzantine benefits regime, and his no-questions-asked generosity to claimants, institutionalised idleness and ensured that for millions work didn't pay. No wonder they concluded that they were better off on the dole.

Take the case of 34-year-old Portia Clarke, an aspiring 'glamour' model, who has never worked a day in her life. She has just kicked the father of one of her three children out of the taxpayer- funded home they shared so that she can receive more benefits to spend on 'luxuries'.

The money he brought in as a factory worker meant she was unable to claim the maximum handout from the State.

At her council house in Greater Manchester, she said: 'Paul only earned £800 a month and by the time we'd paid rent we didn't have much left. I couldn't buy myself nice clothes or go on holidays.' She now rakes in £17,000 a year from the taxpayer, via an assortment of benefits.

Has she ever thought about getting a job? 'Paul wanted me to get a job, but I knew I'd never find anything that paid decent money. I'm not flogging my guts out for low pay.'

Why should she, when the mug British taxpayer will provide? Pouting Portia, who at 34 is well past her prime potential as a 'glamour' girl, reckons she has £1,000 a month disposable income after all the bills have been paid.

Which is enough to provide her with a 50in flatscreen TV, nights out on the lash, the latest fashions and five-star holidays to Turkey.

Meanwhile, the man her children called 'Dad' has been given the order of the boot because he got in the way of Portia filling her boots with free money. So Brown's benefits bonanza didn't only turn a generation into dependency junkies, it breaks up families, too.

And until the heroic Iain Duncan Smith grasped the nettle and capped benefits, the unemployed weren't just living on run-down council estates, they were routinely billeted in some of the most desirable properties in town.

Never mind Benefits Street, some lucky claimants are still living on Benefits Boulevard. This week, Captain Hook, aka Abu Hamza, has been convicted of terrorism offences in America and will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

His family back home in England, however, will continue to live the life of Riley at taxpayers' expense. Hamza's wife and eight children live-rent free in a £1.25 million house in one of the more desirable streets in Shepherd's Bush, West London, popular with BBC types.

They are reported to receive £33,800 a year in handouts. What happened to the much-trumpeted £26,000 limit?

Four of Hamza's sons and a stepson have served time for terrorist crimes and are unlikely ever to secure gainful employment.

Who would give them a job? Is it any wonder that decent people who pay their taxes, ask for nothing and keep their noses clean are outraged?

Yet while Duncan Smith wrestles the welfare monster, his Coalition 'partner' Nick Clegg defends the right of the Hamza clan to live in subsidised luxury.

Self-proclaimed 'liberals' appear to have no problem with the widespread abuse of the system and the affront to decency created by cases like these.

They condemned Benefits Street as 'poverty porn' and consider the anger directed at the ghastly White Dee and her low- life companions to be the modern equivalent of bear-baiting.

Don't forget that Labour has opposed every single one of Duncan Smith's welfare reforms, while at the same time Ed Miliband  pretends to be on the side of 'hard-working' families.

The real problem here isn't White Dee, it's 'Red Ed' and all those Left-wing politicians who have encouraged millions of people to believe the world owes them a living while asking nothing in return.


Nature is not so warm and fuzzy

Bloodied and dazed after being slashed by the claws of a brown bear, a woman struggled to walk 2 miles along a curvy, hilly trail to find someone to help her. The woman, who has asked that her identity not be released, was hospitalized in stable condition Monday, a day after the attack on an Anchorage military base, officials said. She suffered lacerations to her neck, arms and legs.

The woman was jogging with her soldier husband Sunday morning on the northwestern part of the sprawling Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The couple became separated, and as she jogged down a hill near a bend, she came upon a bear leaving a trail at the same time. Air Force Maj. Angela Webb said they startled each other, and the bear, with two cubs in tow, assumed a defensive position in the largely wooded, remote area. “The bear attacked her, defending her babies, seeing her as a threat,” said Mark Sledge, senior conservation law enforcement officer at the base.

The bear knocked down the woman and took at least one swipe at her. Officials still haven’t interviewed the woman and don’t know if she was knocked unconscious or played dead until the animal left the area. Playing dead is the appropriate response when meeting a female bear protecting cubs, Sledge said

My Take - We have to disabuse ourselves of the idea that wild animals are Disney characters. They're violent and.....let's get this right......they will kill people, they will kill livestock, they will kill children, and they will kill pets. In short - settlers killed them when they moved into an area because they weren’t' safe to have around. Why is that so hard to understand?

A number of years ago there was a “nature is warm and fuzzy” nut by the name of Timothy Treadwell who proclaimed grizzly bears were all misunderstood and needed be embraced….because he did “research” that demonstrated “he could get close to bears with his gentle and non-threatening personality and communicate with them. Treadwell boasted that he could understand their communication and they could understand him. He claimed that he knew 21 bear vocalizations and various different body languages. He wanted to see if he could be accepted by 1,000 pound wild coastal brown bears.”

He was hyped by the leftist celebrity crowd and gained as substantial amount of notoriety. But it was like every other phony philosophical flavor of the day perpetrated on an unsuspecting public. His name wasn’t even Treadwell….it was Dexter…… and everything he said, and everything he said he did was a phony as his name. Well reality finally caught up to Dexter. Dexter and his girlfriend both died practicing his theories on real wild bears, in a truly wild environment, not with semi-tame bears in a national park. Apparently this was a bear that didn't speak the same language as Dexter, since this bear didn't understand - or care about - a thing he said.

There is a benefit to all of this.

First, he truly qualified for the Darwin Award. What's the criteria for nomination? The Darwin Award is presented - posthumously- to those who contributed to human evolution by self-selecting themselves out of humanities gene pool in the most sublime fashion, i.e., in the most idiotic manner, and secondly we can now dismiss all the misleading and dangerous horsepucky he promoted about bears.  Bears kill, that’s why they’re called “wild”.


Festival of Australia and NZ arts launches in London

I can't say I am much in favour of this groupy thing.  Australian cultural talents do quite well abroad on their own merits and under their own steam.  Emphasis on Australia as a location or a group seems more likely to revive a "cultural cringe" impression. 

And that Australians often need to go abroad to optimize their careers needs no apology.  The Australian population is relatively small and cultural products are very much a minority interest.  So exposure to large potential audiences is needed to achieve a critical mass of income. 

Why does anyone think that English theatre companies regularly tour the despised North?  Because they need the money of the Northeners.  And they won't get that money unless they go to where the customers are.  So even the trickle of cultural interest from the North needs to be grabbed

From time to time, Australia launches little cultural assault fleets back to the mother country.

One year it might be a Leo McKern, who ruled the Old Bailey in his television portrayal of Rumpole, tying a neat bow around the whole convict saga.

Another year it might be a John Pilger or a Julian Assange, doing the journalistic equivalent of selling ice to the Eskimos: a bolder, freer, cooler brand of ice, more sharp and uncomfortable than the usual Fleet Steet sleet.

And of course there are Clive James, Barry Humphries, Germaine Greer and, uh, Rolf Harris – the Gang of Four whose mega-talents allowed an allegedly indecent assault on swinging London. Indecently successful, that is, m’lud.

Some of these Aussie Vikings settled down, hung up their helmets and became part of the landscape. Others came back home, Patrick White-style, Tim Winton-style, with new perspective or homesick hearts.

Though ... it seems a little unfair. Do we really have to come cap in hand to Europe or North America seeking success and recognition, or some kind of  validation stamp in the career passport?

This month Australia launches a new, full-frontal literary invasion of London.

But the aim is not a reverse colonisation. Instead, according to Jon Slack, it is to demonstrate that no matter how far or how wide our writers roam … etc etc.

"Over here people have a very narrow view of what happens in Australia – the top-level, stereotypical view," he says.

"There’s some truth to stereotypes but there's so much more - writing talent, acting talent, film - there’s so much to show off."

Slack – ex-Adelaide, now a UK resident for just over a decade - is the director of a new, ambitious summer festival in the UK.

This Way Up, the Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts, boasts some of the two nations’ biggest talents, supported by some familiar international names, in 60 events over four days.

Tim Winton will discuss his new novel, Helen Garner talks about memory and imagination, Fay Weldon chats to New Zealand writer Paula Morris, other events feature Anna Funder, Greta Scacchi, Kathy Lette and Anita Heiss.

Clive James is doing a new one-hour show about his life in writing, and the festival closes with a new composition by composer Mark Bradshaw set to the biblical poem Song of Solomon, read by actor Ben Whishaw.

I meet Slack on a sunny day in Brighton. He says the idea grew out of a touch of homesickness. "I wanted to work out a way of connecting what I was doing here [in the UK] with back home [in Australia and New Zealand]. I was getting really out of the loop on everything that was happening back in Oz.

"There are so many festivals over here but having a country-specific focus was quite unique … There’s rivalry, affection, understanding [between Australia and the UK]. The more I looked into it the more sense it made."

There is a risk of backfire in attempting this kind of showcase. Last year London’s Royal Academy, to great fanfare, opened an exhibition of some of Australia’s best and most iconic works of art, from pre-colonisation to the present day.

Reviews were mixed. While few were as scathing as those of the Sunday Times, whose critic ended up musing that in Australia the wrong people became artists, some found the whole idea old fashioned. The Guardian said an exhibition whose "aim is the broad sweep of a country, let alone a continent" risked ending up as "potted history and pop-up content".

"I am not interested in what might constitute some sort of Australian artistic identity, because I doubt there is one," the reviewer wrote.

Another critic wrote in the Independent that "more than most countries, [Australia] has carried a baggage of hyper-sensitivity about its place in the world".

Slack says the reaction to the exhibition showed there was a lot of passion about Australia’s representation in the UK. He hopes the multi-event format of his festival will immunise against such criticism.

He does believe there is a character to Australian writing that will emergeduring the festival.

"If you watch a film from Australia or read a book or even just go back home, there’s something very intangible but you can sense it," he says. "There is such diversity … [but] the person who described it the best was Tim Winton."

In a speech in London last year, Winton said he found new perspective on what his home country meant to him when he lived in Paris in his late 20s – his first trip abroad.

He thought the difference would just be language and history, but "the moment that I stepped off a plane at Charles de Gaulle [airport] I knew I was not a European," he said. "[Australia’s] geography, distance and weather have moulded my sensory palette, my imagination and my expectations."

Winton found Europe's land and the sky less beautiful, even saccharine and closed. From afar he recognised Australia as the Neverland of Peter Pan – more wild, a place "more landscape than culture" where the night sky would threaten to suck you up into the stars.

"I was calibrated differently to a European," he said. "Everything we do in our country is still overshadowed and underwritten by the seething tumult of nature."

Slack says the Australian voice can vary widely – contrast Winton with Christos Tsiolkas – but at the same time sound alike.

"It’s very direct, it’s bold, it’s just in the character. Even though there’s a lot of bullshit, there’s no bullshit. That’s what people respond to over here."

Slack says Winton is still a little "under the radar" in the UK, despite the many highlights of his long career.

There is an ongoing question as to whether Australian writers do better if they make a more permanent move to the northern hemisphere, he says. It is even being addressed during the festival, in a "big debate" on whether the cultural cringe is over.

"It’s hard to deny that if you’re based here you’ve got that ongoing presence, it’s easier to have those meetings, do those events, have those conversations you need to have," Slack says. "The tyranny of distance is still a thing.

"There are some people who still make jokes about ‘cultured Australians, oxymoron’ ...People love and respect individual Australians, in films or writers, but I think there is still quite a long way to go. There’s definitely an ignorance of what’s going on ... Unless someone has been to Australia you just don’t get past the beach and the sport. It’s really hard for people to do that."

The festival has a "shoestring budget" in proportion to its scale, but Slack says in planning it became a "controlled explosion" as more people agreed to take part. The event has been part-funded by the Australia Council – which at one stage doubled its support when the project’s ambition grew. One of the council’s aims is to establish a reputation for Australia as an "artistically ambitious nation", says Jill Eddington, director of literature funding at the council.

But the festival is there, in a nutshell, to help the authors find their market, and the market to find the authors.

"The big challenge for all writers worldwide is discoverability in a huge global online market," says Eddington. "No, [writers] don’t need to move to the northern hemisphere. The old boundaries and borders are less and less relevant. The work of great Australian writers is relevant to readers anywhere in the world."

This Way Up is at Kings College, London, from May 29 to June 1.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Isla Vista shootings

In their usual brain-dead way, liberals are blaming the shootings on an inanimate piece of metal  -- a gun.  That the shooting was actually done by a person seems to have escaped them.  For anyone who is able to think, however, what made the person concerned do what he did is surely the crucial question. And the plain fact that he had long been psychologically unwell -- to the point of having undergone therapy several times -- is an obvious thing to point to.

But his ability to convince the police that he was a 'perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human'  indicates that he was not too bad.  Given different circumstances  he might have made something of himself.    So what were the circumstances that led him down the wrong road?  I think that is fairly clear.  Modern Left-based ideas of child-rearing and education teach that everyone is a star and everyone is entitled to win and have all they want without effort.  And it is certainly clear that Elliot Rodger did have a strong sense of entitlement.  He thought that success should come to him rather than feeling that its lack was his problem and that should go out and work for it.

If he had had an old-fashioned Christian upbringing, however, he would have learnt that man is a fallen and imperfect creature who has to work for his blessings and must be thankful for what he has.

In short, Leftist nonsense pushed a fragile man over the edge;  A Christian upbringing might have saved him and his victims.

I reproduce below two things:  An account of the terrible loss that this badly guided man inflicted and a commentary on the claims that more gun control is needed.  That three of the victims were knifed to death may undermine the anti-gunners a bit, though.  Do we need knife control as well?  It may be noted that in Britain, where only blacks and farmers have guns, fatal stabbings are common  -- but even the British have not attempted knife control, though it is talked about.

Father of Veronika Weiss, shooting victim, speaks

When Bob and Colleen Weiss learnt that their daughter may have been a victim in the Isla Vista shooting rampage, they immediately got in their car late on Friday night and drove from their home in Thousand Oaks, California to Santa Barbara.

But once they arrived in the Santa Barbara County coastal community around midnight, authorities were unable confirm whether 19-year-old Veronika Weiss was among those killed. It was hours before they heard back from sheriff’s officials.

"It was 4 o'clock in the morning and Veronika's not a 4 o’clock in the morning type of girl," Bob Weiss said in an interview on Sunday. "I'm not a fool. I knew what happened."

After a student riot broke out in Isla Vista in March, Veronika called her parents and told them, "I'm safe in my room. Don't worry about me."

This time she didn't call. They used her "Find my iPhone" app and her phone was in the middle of one of the crime scenes, her dad said.

Bob Weiss said his daughter was wise and mature beyond her years. He said he would go to her for advice sometimes if he was having a problem with her brothers, Cooper, 17, and Jackson, 15, or even a minor argument with his wife.

Weiss said his daughter was always a tomboy. She played four sports in high school, which is a rarity. She participated in cross country, baseball, swimming and water polo and she earned straight A's. Her strength was maths.

Starting at age six she loved playing softball, he said. Later she played baseball. He said she was the only girl out of 500 players in the Westlake baseball league.

"She was tough," he said. "She was a big strong girl and she was tough."

On the water polo team at Westlake High School, which she graduated from, the coach always put her as the defence player against the top scorer on the opposing team.

He said she always organised events for her circle of friends. He described her friends as nerds and serious students. They would study every Friday night and it was not unusual for her to spend Sundays working on her advanced maths work. "She loved it," he said.

He said many of her friends went on to other prestigious schools such as Princeton and she wanted to go to the University of Washington. But the out-of-state tuition and financial situation made that prohibitive.

"She would always wear her purple and gold University of Washington sweatshirt," he said.

"She wanted to be a financial wizard, and use her high aptitude with complicated math."

He said her mother and grandmother belonged to the tri-Delta sorority so it makes sense that she would join it too at UCSB. She didn't know many people at the Santa Barbara campus but the sorority gave her a built-in circle of friends, he said.

He described her as being gregarious. She liked to laugh a lot, he said. She was loud and "she made everybody else laugh".

"She was happy all the time," he added.

She graduated high school with a high, 4.3 grade point average.

He said she would sometimes visit him at his office in Newbury Park. She would just come over spontaneously and bring him lunch and they would eat together. "Who does that? How many high school kids are thoughtful like that and want to spend time with their parents?"

Veronika and her parents had just gone snowboarding together two weeks ago. That was their last trip together. They had planned to spend Sunday together. Bob Weiss and his wife had planned to drive up to Santa Barbara to take her to lunch and go shopping.

He said he doesn't know what happened on Friday night but he does know that Veronika would have put herself in harm's way to help her friends or even the young man who shot her. "She always reacted to a situation quickly. She always wanted to help. She was very courageous."

"She will be an inspiration to me every day of my life," he said.

"There was never a day I wasn't proud of her. Never a single day."


Elliot Rodger is Proof that Gun Control Doesn’t Work!

By now, you have probably heard about the recent mass-shooting in Isla Vista, California.

First of all, I want to express my condolences to the victims and their families. This kind of senseless violence is absolutely deplorable and could shock everyone's conscience, regardless of political affiliation.

Unfortunately, the gun control advocates are at it again, arguing that if Federal and State gun control laws were just a little stricter, this tragedy could have been avoided. This couldn't be farther from the truth!

It didn't take long to get a statement from the shooter's family. Alan Shifman, the lawyer representing the family, announced that they were "staunchly against guns," support gun-control laws, and would devote the rest of their lives to stopping tragedies like this from happening again… In this press release, the family blamed the NRA and gun culture in America for allowing their son to arm himself.

Really? They are blaming the NRA because their liberal son bought three guns over a period of months and chose to indiscriminately shoot people? Is it just me, or does it seem like the family is blaming everyone except their own son?

Residents of California know how ridiculous it is to blame the state’s gun control laws. California's gun laws are the strictest in the nation and still, for a deranged and plotting teen who flew under the radar, they did nothing to stop him from arming himself. This shooting is a textbook example of how no amount of gun control laws can stop an individual hell-bent on causing harm to people.

Elliot Rodger was also able to buy all three of his handguns legally, which in California is no easy task. A prospective gun owner has to jump through a number of hoops before they are allowed to take ownership of a gun, let alone three.

If Elliot Rodger bought his weapons from a gun store, which is likely, he would have had to submit to a thorough background check that ran his criminal history, mental health history, and even the applicant's fingerprints. This costs $25. Then, the gun buyer has to wait exactly ten days before he or she is allowed to actually take ownership of the firearm (providing they passed the background check). This operates under the assumption that waiting 10 days to take ownership of a pistol will stop “crimes of passion.”

California also has a law prohibiting the purchase of more than one handgun a month, meaning that Elliot Rodger's would have to have built his collection of handguns over a three month period.

California prohibits citizens from carrying a loaded gun on their person or in their car unless they demonstrate an impossible to meet "good cause." Elliot Rodger broke the law when he took loaded pistols into his car.

California and Isla Vista also have laws against indiscriminately discharging firearms into crowds of people. Elliot Rodger, like other violent criminals, disregarded this law.

At every step of the way, gun control laws failed to stop Elliot Rodger from committing these murders. Even if they were successful at stopping Rodger from arming himself, the fact the first few victims were actually stabbed to death shows that this type of hatred will always find a tool to commit the crime.

Gun control advocate are chomping at the bit to introduce a piece of legislation that would have “prevented” the shooting. But the entire premise of putting words on a piece of paper to deter deranged killers is ludicrous. Elliot Rodger broke a plethora of gun laws. Suggesting that one more would have made a difference is ridiculous.

The only reason you aren't seeing gun control advocates like Dianne Feinstein calling for more gun control measures is because this happened on a weekend. You can rest assured that come Monday morning, these Liberals will be out in force trying to take away YOUR Second Amendment rights because of the actions of a liberal, disturbed young man in Commiefornia.


Five-month-old boy taken from loving parents and put up for adoption after father 'was hostile towards social workers'

Who wouldn't be?

A five-month-old boy who has not yet been given a first name by his parents must be put up for adoption, a judge has ruled.

Mrs Justice Parker said it was ‘emotionally harmful’ that the boy had not been named as she made the ruling at a Family Court hearing in Watford, Hertfordshire. 

The judge described the case as 'terribly sad' but said there was a high risk of the child suffering significant emotional harm and a possibility of him being caught up in violence.

She highlighted that his father had assaulted one social worker, by punching him several times in the face, and threatened to kill another after accusing workers of being 'invasive'.

She said the father could be 'dangerous' and accepted that the child's mother was in a vulnerable position as she had been diagnosed with a learning difficulty.

In her ruling, the judge said the father had been behind the decision not to name the baby but did not address the reason as to why.  She said: 'His father has refused to give him a name. I think ideally the mother independently would not have taken that view.  ‘Every child needs a name. I truly think that it is emotionally harmful not to give a child a name.’

The court heard the couple also have a two-year-old son, who was taken into care last year over similar concerns, and the mother has a third child who is currently being looked after by a relative.

Mrs Justice Parker said the man and his partner believed they did not need any help from the local authority and had become 'increasingly frustrated and intolerant' towards social workers.

Commenting on the case, she said: 'I think I'm a fairly hardy plant. But I have to say I found his simmering anger quite difficult to cope with.  'I think he can be dangerous.'  

She continued: 'I am in no doubt there is a high risk of significant harm to baby. Due to a combination of the vulnerability of the mother and the father's attitudes and behaviour.'

Mrs Justice Parker accepted that neither parent had set out to deliberately physically harm their sons.

'This is a terribly sad case because father and mother, each of them, have many excellent qualities,’ she said.  ‘It is absolutely plain to me that both of them love each of their sons, their boys, from the bottom of their hearts.'

She said as there was no family member available to care for the child, then it was 'quite clear' that adoption was the only answer.

Mrs Justice Parker ruled that the family could not be identified but Hertfordshire County Council who took the case could be.

The child's father and his partner have indicated that they will appeal the adoption ruling.


Race riot in Britain after Gypsy influx

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has called for tough police action after a violent street fight between rival groups of immigrants.

The Labour MP spoke out after Page Hall in Sheffield - part of his constituency - was consumed by violence on Monday, which led to several arrests and one teen needing hospital treatment.

He had warned last November that tensions between local people and Roma migrants in the are could escalate into rioting unless action was taken to improve integration.

Tensions came to a head when more than 25 people got involved in the mass disturbance which broke out in the residential area at around 8pm.

A 17-year-old boy suffered a suspected broken arm in the disturbance, which was watched by dozens of concerned residents who poured into the street to watch the clash unfold.

Several rang 999 after becoming concerned at the scale of the disorder and many have now called on the authorities to do more to help ease community tension.

Mr Blunkett said: 'We were all very apprehensive about the emergence of the long warmer nights, and recognise this was going to be a moment of pressure.

'The police have devoted sufficient manpower and expertise, but what is required is a clear, visible presence in the evening, so there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind about the determination to clamp down on any kind of unacceptable behaviour.

'It’s fine having the numbers but they have to be there at the right time. Those who perpetrate unacceptable behaviour need to understand the police mean business.

'The cause of the problem is believing they can behave in this fashion.'

One local said: ‘Members of the existing community are tired and quite frankly frightened at the swiftness of how the situation became enflamed.

‘Council and Government agencies need to be aware of the truth and how the decent residents of this troubled district need support and assurance that they are safe to walk the streets.’

South Yorkshire Police has not revealed the ethnicity of the 25 people involved in the disturbance but confirmed no arrests have yet been made.

A Section 60 order, which allows officers to stop, search and disperse individuals, was issued in the area to help ease tensions.

Inspector Richard Burgess said: ‘There was a police presence in the area throughout the evening to ensure no further issues developed and we will continue to provide a high visibility policing presence in the following days.

‘Officers are thoroughly investigating and are continuing with enquires. We are determined that those responsible for this outbreak of disorder will be held to account for their actions.’

Last year Mr Blunkett warned of potential rioting in the suburb which is plagued by unrest among ethnic groups.

The MP, who was born in the city, said the area could ‘explode’ in the same way that street warfare broke out in other northern towns between ethnic groups two decades ago.

‘We have got to change the behaviour and the culture of the incoming community, the Roma community, because there’s going to be an explosion otherwise,’ he said at the time.

He also accused the coalition Government of ‘burying their heads in the sands’ over the sheer scale of gipsy arrivals.

The Roma population in Sheffield is said to be between 2,000 and 4,000 and growing. More than 1,000 Roma patients are registered to two GP practices alone.


Fairtrade 'fails to help poor farmers': Damning investigation says profits sent to help in Uganda and Ethiopia do not reach much of the workforce
The Fairtrade scheme is not helping the poorest workers it was set up to support, a damning investigation has found.

Fairtrade goods, which include bananas, coffee and chocolate, generate annual UK sales of £1.78billion. Farmers signing up to the scheme must agree to meet social, labour and environmental standards set by Fairtrade International.

But research by the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies has found that on Fairtrade farms in Uganda and Ethiopia, profits failed to trickle down to much of the workforce.

The Government-sponsored report claimed the scheme, established more than 20 years ago, has not effectively improved the lives of the poorest people.

It even concluded that wages on non-certified farms were actually higher than for those growing Fairtrade products.

Researchers also found evidence of ‘widespread use’ of child labour – with some workers as young as ten – when doing checks on 1,500 Fairtrade workers.

One of the report’s authors, University of London economics professor Christopher Cramer, said: ‘Wages in other comparable areas and among comparable employers producing the same crops but where there was no Fairtrade certification were usually higher and working conditions better.

‘In our research sites, Fairtrade has not been an effective mechanism for improving the lives of wage workers, the poorest rural people.’

The study found that some social projects funded through Fairtrade were found not to provide equal benefit to all.

In one example, modern toilets funded through the scheme were reserved for managers, while poor workers did not have access to proper facilities.

Meanwhile, when workers aged over 14 years were interviewed, ‘a very large proportion of them said they had been working since the age of 10, or even earlier’, the report said.

‘What is clear... is that very significant numbers of young, school-age children are having to work for wages in the production of agricultural export crops, including Fairtrade-certified commodities.’

The authors attacked a ‘combination of idealism and naivety’ to explain why Fairtrade did not reach the poorest people.

‘One possibility is that Fairtrade producer organisations are always established in significantly poorer, more marginalised areas where an accumulation of disadvantages means smallholder farmers are unable to pay even the paltry wages offered by smallholders in other areas without Fairtrade producer organisations,’ the report said.

‘Fairtrade attempts to support and subsidise co-operative groups of ‘smallholder’ producers on the remarkably naïve assumption that the benefits of this support are distributed evenly amongst the group. This assumption about egalitarian distribution is unwarranted.’

Fairtrade International said in a statement that the report was ‘unfair and generalised’.

A spokesman said:  ‘In several places it compares wages and working conditions of workers in areas where small-scale Fairtrade-certified tea and coffee farmers were present with those on large-scale plantations in the same regions,” it said in a statement.

‘The report itself identifies farm size, scale and integration into global trade chains as major factors influencing conditions for wage workers, but then its conclusions appear to be based on unfair and distorted comparisons between farms and organisations of dramatically different size, nature and means.

‘When comparisons are based more on like-for-like situations, such as the study’s own analysis of Ugandan coffee in small scale coffee production set-ups, it finds key areas where workers in areas with Fairtrade-certified farmer organisations in fact had better conditions compared with those in non-certified, such as free meals, overtime payments and loans and wage advances for workers.

‘This is in sharp contrast to the more generalised conclusions being presented by the School of Oriental and African Studies team.’

Fairtrade was founded by overseas development and consumer groups including Oxfam and the Women’s Institute - and has grown into one of the world’s most trusted ethical schemes.

It is involved with 1.24 million farmers and workers around the world, and the Fairtrade Foundation contributes to the funding of schools, health clinics and sanitation projects.

Farmers joining the scheme must agree to meet social, labour and environmental standards.

Fairtrade products are not only popular with individual consumers but also served by Starbucks, the House of Commons and airline Virgin Atlantic.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Monday, May 26, 2014

A multicultural wife killing

A Pakistani immigrant allegedly beat his wife to death with a stick for making him the wrong dinner, a court heard.  Noor Hussein, 75, believed he had the right to discipline 66-year-old Nazar at their apartment in Brooklyn, New York, his defense said.

But prosecutors claim he murdered her because she had made the mistake of cooking him a vegetarian meal made of lentils instead of goat meat.

At the start of Hussein's murder trial yesterday, a court heard the victim was left a 'bloody mess'.

Court papers quoted by the New York Post said: 'The defendant asked [his wife] to cook goat and [his wife] said she made something else.

'The conversation got louder and his wife disrespected defendant by cursing at defendant and saying motherf***** and that the defendant took a wooden stick and hit her with it on her arm and mouth.'

Defense attorney Julie Clark said Hussein admitted beating his wife but said that in his home country, beating your wife is customary.

She argued that Hussein, who met his wife in Pakistan before the couple married and moved to Brooklyn, is guilty of only manslaughter because he didn’t intend to kill her.

In her opening statements at the Brooklyn Supreme Court bench trial, Clark said: 'He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife.

'He culturally believed he had the right to hit his wife and discipline his wife.'

However, Assistant District Attorney Sabeeha Madni said: 'This was not a man who was trying to discipline his wife.'  She said neighbours would testify to the 'years of abuse' Hussein's wife suffered.

Madni said that on the day of her death, Hussein attacked his wife as she lay in her bed, leaving deep lacerations on her head, arms and shoulders, and causing her brain to hemorrhage.

Court papers state he beat her with a stick that the family had found in the street and used to stir their laundry in a washtub.

He then tried to clean up the blood that splattered onto their bedroom wall before calling his son for help, Madni said.


Tories talk about immigration reform  in response to UKIP victories

David Cameron is drawing up new immigration laws in response to rising anger over the number of EU migrants moving to Britain, The Telegraph can disclose.

The first details are expected in a Bill to be announced in the Queen’s Speech next week, a senior government source said.

Even stronger measures to block Europeans from poor countries coming to Britain for work are likely to be included in the Conservative manifesto for the general election next year.

The plans represent a concerted attempt to combat the rising popularity of the UK Independence Party which threatens to derail the Tories’ hopes of winning an outright parliamentary majority.

Measures under discussion include a law to discourage British-based companies from employing cheaper foreign workers, deporting unemployed Europeans after six months and a new “wealth test” to prevent vast numbers coming to Britain from the poorest EU countries.

News of the proposals emerged as senior Tories called for action on immigration after Ukip’s surge in last week’s local elections.

Nigel Farage’s party may also top the popular vote when the European election results are announced tonight.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, promised yesterday to “listen” and “respond” to public concern over the issue.

“We need to take the public anger about issues like immigration, jobs and welfare — and deliver answers that work,” he told a ConservativeHome conference in London.

Another senior Tory minister said that the party had to “demonstrate that we are listening”.

Labour had their own problems last night as there were signs that Ed Miliband’s allies were beginning to attack him.

A shadow cabinet minister said there were voters who named Mr Miliband as “a problem”. The MP said: “We have good policies and we are not communicating them. I don’t think we had a plan for the election.”

In other key developments yesterday:

 * A poll of 26,000 people in key marginal constituencies suggested Labour was on course to win the next election. The survey by Lord Ashcroft, the former Conservative Party vice-chairman, found a 6.5 per cent swing away from the Tories in 26 battleground seats. If the result is repeated next year it would give Ed Miliband a healthy majority of up to 70 in the Commons.

 * Mr Osborne called on Ukip voters to “focus” ahead of next year’s general election and said the “only choice” was between Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband.

 * Criticism of Labour’s local election campaign grew, with Frank Field, the former Labour Cabinet minister, warning that Mr Miliband faced “big questions” over his ability to connect with voters.

 * Ukip was embroiled in new turmoil after one of the party’s new councillors was alleged to have referred to gay people as “perverts” and African migrants as “scroungers”.

Dave Small, who was elected to Redditch borough council, is facing a party investigation.

He also attacked Clare Balding, the BBC broadcaster, and Sir Elton John, the singer, over their sexuality and referring to “our sworn enemies in the Muslim world” in comments on Facebook.

The Conservatives introduced a target to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by May next year.

However, according to figures last week, net migration — the difference between migrants arriving and leaving — rose to 212,000 last year, fuelled by an increase of 43,000 European migrants.

The Coalition has brought in controls on the number of non-Europeans entering the country and new rules that say European migrants cannot automatically claim benefits in Britain. The Tories now want to go further.

Some of their more radical plans – especially on reforming European laws – would be unlikely to win support from Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats and are expected to form part of the Tory manifesto for next year’s general election.

“We are in government with the Lib Dems so we are not going to be able to close borders,” a senior Conservative source said.

Plans being discussed by senior Tories include a new law to stop immigrants “undercutting” British workers looking for jobs.

Employers who failed to pay the minimum wage would face heavier fines under the reforms, with maximum penalties of up to £20,000 for each individual worker they have underpaid. The current highest fine is £5,000.

A plan is also being examined to deport European migrants who have been claiming benefits for six months and have no realistic chance of finding work.

Conservatives are considering replicating a German proposal to deport unemployed Europeans, regardless of whether they claim benefits. Another proposal is to extend the length of time EU migrants must wait before they can claim benefits, from three months to six months or longer. Despite legal difficulties in European courts, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is said to be working on the issue.

A fourth measure under consideration is a restriction on the number of European migrants who come to Britain from new EU member states, potentially including a “wealth test” banning migrants from the poorest countries until their economies improve.

This would require agreement in Brussels.

The plans for immigration reforms were already under way before the local and European elections.

The Cabinet has been shown a draft of the Queen’s Speech, which the Queen will present to both Houses of Parliament on June 4. “None of this is in response to these elections because the Queen’s Speech has already been agreed between the Coalition partners,” the minister said.

With one council election result outstanding yesterday, there was strong support for Mr Farage’s party, although Tories said the Ukip vote was 6 per cent lower than in last year’s local elections.

Ukip won 161 council seats in England, while the Conservatives lost 231.

The projected national share of the vote, compiled by the BBC, put Ukip on 17 per cent, Labour on 31 per cent and the Conservatives on 29 per cent, with the Liberal Democrats on 13 per cent.


Dave and Ed just don't get it: by branding Ukip racist they're damning millions of decent Britons

By Stephen Glover

Barring a last-minute bolt of lightning on the way to the polling station, I shan't be voting Ukip in today's Euro elections.  But, my goodness, over the past few weeks I have sometimes been sorely tempted to do so.

Anyone who has the remotest sympathy for the abused underdog will have felt for Nigel Farage as the major parties and much of the media have lined up to trash him.

This has been the smear campaign to end all smear campaigns. Nick Clegg has spoken about Ukip's 'fake solutions and dangerous fantasies'.

He has had the gall to suggest that it is 'unpatriotic' to call for Britain to leave the European Union. I wouldn't suggest that Mr Clegg doesn't love this country, so why impugn the patriotism of Eurosceptics?

David Cameron, who has a track record of saying rude things about Ukip members, has excelled himself by referring to Ukip's 'appalling' views.

That presumably means that he thinks the millions of people who will vote for the party today are 'appalling', too.

The Prime Minister has also declared that Ukip represents 'the politics of anger'. But what on earth is wrong with being angry if so many things are going wrong with your country?

A bit more genuine anger from Mr Cameron would be welcome. For his part, George Osborne stirred the pot yesterday by suggesting that Ukip (though he didn't actually name the party) presents a threat to the economy. Come on!

They haven't got a single MP, and yet somehow they are a danger to our economic well-being.

Meanwhile, Ed Miliband has described Mr Farage's remark that he would feel 'uncomfortable' if Romanians moved in next door as a 'racial slur'.

I happen to believe the Ukip leader did go too far on that occasion - though he has since apologised - but what he said hardly amounted to a slur, racial or otherwise.

Much of the media has obediently been doing the work of the three main parties. The BBC's normally admirable political editor, Nick Robinson, interviewed Mr Farage in  the tones one might employ for a convicted international war criminal.

Most newspapers of Left and Right (though not the Mail) have depicted Ukip as an extremist party inhabited by fruitcakes, crooks or dangerous lunatics.

The normally Eurosceptic Times and Sun have been among Mr Farage's most unforgiving critics. Of course, Ukip harbours some undesirable characters, and the media would be failing in their duty if they did not expose them.

But I suspect that the majority of Ukip members are solid types who are not racist, and I am sure the same can be said for most people who will vote for the party today.

But here is the extraordinary thing. Despite this barrage of insults from the political class and much of the media class - surely unprecedented in scale in modern times - Ukip still rides high in most opinion polls, and it seems likely that it will outdo the Tories in today's vote, and very possibly Labour, too.

In other words, Ukip's support has remained remarkably resilient to the all-encompassing scare stories, and the insinuations that the party is almost literally diabolic. Why should this be so?

I suggest it is because many people can see that what Nigel Farage says about uncontrolled immigration reflects their own experiences.

They know that the influx of foreigners has put enormous strain on housing, hospitals, schools and, in some cases, on the availability of jobs.

And these people who are tempted by Ukip can also understand Mr Farage's argument that, so long as we stay within the EU, we will remain powerless to control our borders, and to stem immigration from any of the other 27 member states.

Tories, Labour, and even the Lib Dems when the wind is blowing in a particular direction claim they understand people's anxieties over immigration, but of course they don't. If they did, they would not describe Mr Farage and his party as racist.

Because in doing so they are effectively describing the millions who vote for Ukip today as racist - the decent working-class voters, especially in northern England, who are deserting Labour, and the former Tory stalwarts who don't like or trust David Cameron and his clique.

To characterise such people as racist or extremist amounts to one of the greatest acts of political idiocy I can remember.

To be fair, one or two people in the main parties have recognised the danger. Lord Glasman - Labour's so-called 'guru', and an occasional adviser to Mr Miliband - has said it is wrong to 'abuse' Mr Farage for saying what he thinks, and that people are 'genuinely entitled to feel concerned about immigration'.

The trouble is that Lord Glasman is an exception. For the past few weeks have served to prove, if we did not already know it, that the leaders of the three main parties are as lofty and detached from the experiences of ordinary  people as they are steeped  in condescension.

There's a huge political lesson here. If I am right, and Ukip triumphs in the polls, the three major parties must change their game.

It is no longer good enough to rubbish Ukip. It doesn't work. The parties will have to show that they want to find solutions to the problems worrying many people.

And the lesson that scare-mongering usually backfires should be extended. The tactics that have been employed so disastrously against Ukip are similar to those visited upon the Scots.

Brethren north of the border have been bombarded with every threat you can think of short of pestilence, and every attempt to terrify them seems to weaken support for the Union.

George Osborne is said by some to be a brilliant political strategist, but if he is the brains behind the negative attacks on Ukip and the blood-curdling threats to the Scots, I beg to suggest that he may not be the genius he is cracked  up to be.

In the end I shan't be voting Ukip, and I'll tell you why. It's too much of a one-man band. It only has two thought-out policies - on Europe and immigration. Nigel Farage's unnecessary remarks about Romanians living next door also made me wonder about his judgment.

It was a silly thing to say, as he seems now to realise. Shabby And I don't like his wild way with figures, though he's certainly not the first politician to be fast and loose in this respect.

For example, it turns out that Ukip's assertion that 92 per cent of cash machine crime in London is committed by Romanians is based on the experience of one policeman. That's not good enough.

Moreover, if you believe, as I do, that this country's membership of the European Union must be put to a referendum, we should be realistic.

It is only going to happen if the Tories win the next general election. But it should be said that over the past few weeks, Mr Farage has eclipsed his rivals, and made them look shabby, devious or lightweight.

The Ukip leader is an old-fashioned political campaigner - courageous, brimming with as much enthusiasm as his counterparts have negativity, and full of conviction.

If I am right, he is about to deliver a shock to the established parties such as they have seldom experienced.

And they will be little short of certifiably insane if their main response is to continue to maintain that he and his millions of supporters are racist.


The man who can't even eat a bacon butty

A "butty" is a Northern word for a sandwich and in the North and among the workers generally chip butties and bacon butties are popular food.  I myself am quite partial to a late-night bacon  butty.  But in a typical display of Leftist elitism, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband  showed that he had no idea how to eat one.  He looked as if he were being poisoned.  I guess it was not much like his mother's gefilte fish

This should have been one of the best weeks of Ed Miliband’s career. In fact, it has been by far the worst. Disaster followed disaster.

Having made the ‘cost of living crisis’ the centrepiece of his local and Euro election campaign, the hapless Miliband suggested that his family’s weekly shop cost around £70 or £80 — a figure most commentators agreed was a woeful underestimate, suggesting that he didn’t really know what he was talking about.

Then the man who lives in a London house worth £2.5 million announced rather coyly that he is only ‘relatively comfortably off’.

Worst of all were those pictures of him clumsily scoffing a bacon-and-ketchup sandwich in a desperate attempt to look like a man of the people. Those images, above all, will remain in the public’s minds.


Abortion Clinic Traumatizes 15-Year Old Girl

We live in a country where women are allowed to choose whether to have an abortion or not. Now, I wish that wasn't the case. I wish that the rights of the unborn were protected as well. We should do everything in our power to protect the rights of the unborn, but for now, abortion remains legal across the country.

But what if women aren't even allowed to choose? What happens when ideology or simply the bottom-line forces abortion clinics to compel patients to get abortions? What do we do when abortion clinics literally kidnap young girls and refuse to let them go until they agree to go forward with the procedure?

That is exactly what happened in one Buffalo abortion clinic!

A 15-year old girl (who will remain nameless) went to a Buffalo, New York clinic for a routine ultrasound. Her controlling boyfriend would not let her visit the local pregnancy clinic, so she sought out an ultrasound at the abortion clinic in her area. After talking with nurses, it became clear to the girl that the clinic wasn't interested in performing an ultrasound... They were determined to pressure her to abort her pregnancy. When the young girl asked to leave the facility, the clinic refused to let her go and locked her in the room until she would agree to the procedure. The girl's hysterical mother was forcibly removed from the premises and it actually took a call to 911 to force the abortion clinic to get this traumatized girl released.

Stories like this happen across America as young and vulnerable women are forced to get abortions by clinics eager to make a profit. This Buffalo clinic is just the first in a new trend of combining birth centers with abortion clinics. The goal for organizations like Planned Parenthood is to make their facilities the one-stop-shop for all pregnancy procedures. As a result, they will be able to access government funding previously cut off from them and be able to funnel it into their abortion side of the business.

When presented with the option to either carry a baby to term or abort it, these clinics will always push women to choose the latter for ideological and financial reasons. That is why we have to stop these clinics from merging with birth centers and cut off their funding all-together!

What happened to this young girl in Buffalo is absolutely despicable. Yes, the kidnapping/detainment itself was horrible, but that seems to be a rather rare occurrence. What isn't rare, however, is abortion clinics trying to "up-sell" pregnant women to agree to have an abortion.

You have women who go to these facilities looking for an ultrasound or a simple OB-GYN visit and they end up being pressured by nurses and the staff to just get an abortion instead. This 15-year old Buffalo girl wanted to see her ultrasound, but the staff refused to show it to her. Why? Because they know when a women is given the opportunity to see the life that is forming within her, she is much less likely to agree to kill it.

That hurts clinics like Planned Parenthood's bottom line.

That is why many states have tried to mandate ultrasounds for anyone seeking an abortion. This isn't too much to ask, is it? Is it too much to ask abortion recipients to first look at the life that they plan to snuff out?

Unfortunately, while these clinics do advertise ultrasound services, this is usually nothing but a bait-and-switch. That's how they got this 15-year old girl to walk through the door and this happens every day across the country.

These abortion/pregnancy clinics receive taxpayer funding. They receive YOUR money. In many cases, federal funding cannot be used for abortion related procedures or advertising, which is ludicrous. Not because abortion should be publicly financed, but because these restrictions do nothing to stop abortion clinics from moving the money around once they receive it.

The new trend is to combine abortion clinics with birth centers. This gives the illusion that abortion is a natural part of the birthing process, but it also allows these centers to receive more federal funding because they provide more non-abortion services. But when it comes down to it, these centers cannot quench their thirst for money and their ideological support for abortion.

This 15-year old girl is just one of the many stories of women going into clinics for simple check-ups only to be pressured into terminating their pregnancy. And the worst part of this is, YOU are paying for this! You are allowing this bait-and-switch to happen!

Life is our most precious commodity. It should be protected at all costs, not stamped out. Yet today, pregnancy centers are treated like some door-buster sale on Black Friday: whatever it takes to get them through the door so nurses can "up-sell" abortion procedures. Women and girls come in seeking normal check-ups and, in the case of the Buffalo girl, are kidnapped until they agree to terminate their pregnancy.

This should offend the conscience of mankind. Abortion, the murder of the unborn, is deplorable at any level. However the fact that this type of bait-and-switch is funded in part by YOUR tax dollars is absolutely unacceptable!



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here