The Cost of Littering

You have to wonder when Revenue and Customs workers finally starting thinking something might be up. Charlene Ostle kept ringing them up and changing the number of children she had, thus entitling her increased benefits.

She told them she had three sets of twins and two sets of triplets, all before reaching the age of 26. At one point she had given birth to five children in three months.

Even though she knew what she was doing was wrong, she said her pride kept her from asking from help. What? She had no shame in claiming to have had all of these children out of wedlock and no shame in asking the Government for help.

It got her £30,000 in benefits and remarkably only a nine-month suspended sentence. She was spared jail in part because she is actually pregnant with her third child.

Extended Binge

In another spectacular failure for the Government, the introduction of 24-hour drinking laws has resulted in a trebling of drink-related cases in the A&E (ER) department at a London hospital.

In March 2005, there were 79 night time cases involving patients with an alcohol-related problem. By March 2006, there were 250.  In addition to this, there were 27 alcohol-related assaults treated in March 2005. In March 2006 there were 62.

This is just one hospital. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport says that it is not representative of the country. The DCMS seems to have missed this from last year:

A report by the Centre for Public Health said binge drinking is overloading hospitals, reducing life expectancy and fuelling violent brawls.

At the beginning of the year a survey found that hospitals were having to deal with a significant rise in alcohol-related injuries in the wake of 24-hour drinking laws.

It revealed that many casualty departments have seen a greater volume of patients hurt in booze-fuelled fights or accidents.

Accident and emergency units are also finding problems extending much later into the night – increasing the demands on already hard-pressed staff.

The Government said the open-all-hours approach would end binge drinking, because none one would need to quickly quaff before closing time. Instead, the binge just goes on longer. Too many British drinkers just have no self-control.

Radio

This week I have been showing most of my classes the same film. Under normal circumstance we don’t just show videos in RE – despite the reputation of the subject in some circles. And theoretically we shouldn’t show them in the last week of the year, as this detracts from the work ’em to the last minute ethic.

I was originally just going to show it to my Year 10s, but I realised that it has a message that all of my year groups could use and with only one lesson left to leave one message in their heads, I chose to show them Radio with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris. I wanted them to realise that they have the chance to make a difference to the world around them. They need to see a positive example of how the way we treat others can change us as well as them. And they can see that even someone who society might otherwise reject can make an impact on the world around them in a positive way.

Unfortunately I wasn’t surprised to learn that many of them cannot even sit and watch a movie without being unbelievably disruptive.  I had to abandon it altogether with one group because I couldn’t even get it started. Because it is longer than the lesson period, I offered to show it at lunch for anyone who wanted to finish it. I had some top set Year 9s take up that offer, but no others.

That doesn’t mean I’ve changed my view of the potential of the film. I’m trying to work it into my schemes of work in my new school. I think it deserves to be shown over two or more lessons, with opportunity for feedback and analysis.

If you are familiar with the film, you might be interesting in the page about James “Radio” Kennedy on the T. L. Hanna High School website, or the official site of Radio and Coach Harold Jones.

Thought Conviction

The thought police aren’t just out there, they’re getting convictions.

A Scottish man who made a website with sick jokes about blacks, Muslims, homosexuals, disabled peopled pleaded guilty to committing a racially aggravated breach of the peace by producing and managing the website.  He only avoided jail by having no previous convictions and quickly admitting his guilt. Instead he gave 160 hours of community service. That’s a month of full-time unpaid work. Plus, he forfeited 12 pieces of computer equipment.

He didn’t make fun of any specific people, other than Simon Weston, the disfigured Falklands War veteran.

I’ve just been reading up on that amorphous area of the common law called “breach of the peace” and even as ambiguous at it can be, I can’t see how the website breached the peace. Breach of the peace is a catchall that the police seem to use when they have nothing else to go on to accomplish their goal. In this case, Andrew Love seems to have done something people find really distasteful, but he didn’t actually do it to anyone.

No one is forced to see his website and they are certainly free to immediately surf away from it the moment they find something they don’t like. No children or animals were harmed in the making of the website.

 According to the Daily Telegraph, ‘Alistair McSporran, prosecuting, said officers found “numerous” items on the website “that had gone beyond the realms of bad taste”. These included a phoney Islamic jihad group and a picture which showed an American police officer being offensive to a young black child in a toy car.’ This is beyond the realm of bad taste?

While I don’t condone Mr Love’s choice of humour, neither do I think it should be a criminal offence.

New Definition of Failing Education

Some school are labelled failing because pupils aren’t getting an education. There are weaknesses in the quality of teaching or unsatisfactory progress in learning and abysmal exam results. Now they will be failing if they are white, unless they encourage children to mix with other races and religions.

This will be a new legal duty. White schools will have to “twin” with multi-ethnic schools. They will need to create events to brings parents from different ethnic groups together. If they don’t meet these obligations, Ofsted can have their governing bodies taken over by the local council or have the school closed altogether.

It’s multiculturalism and political correctness at any cost.

Keeping Chastity Out of School

Millais School must be an incredibly orderly school with lots of money. I have a hard time getting pupils to take off hoodies and pull up their ties. At Millais, if you are wearing a ring with a Scripture reference on it, they can pull you out of all your GCSE classes to study on your own. Since the school has an obligation to provide an education, I have to assume that they had provision for teaching and supervision in place.

As I mentioned last month, Millais student Lydia Playfoot went to the High Court to challenge the school’s policy, which allows for Muslim and Sikh jewellery and other non-uniform accoutrement. And now Millais need not worry about discriminating against Christians and their dastardly little sliver rings. The High Court has ruled against Lydia.

In response to the ruling, she said it would “mean that slowly, over time, people such as school governors, employers, political organisations and others will be allowed to stop Christians from publicly expressing and practising their faith”.

The headmaster characterised it differently: “Any suggestion that our school is anti-Christian is not correct. We have always respected Lydia’s right to hold and express her views and believe there were many ways in which it was possible for her to do this during her time with us.” It just not possible to do it in the same ways as those of other religions, of course. No one would dare tell them how to practice their faith, but Christians are different. Maybe they aren’t anti-Christian – just pro-Muslim and pro-Sikh. They probably aren’t anti-chastity – just pro-promiscuity and pro-STI.

This isn’t going to affect her personally. She’s taken her GCSEs and left Millais. (It will affect her father, who has been ordered to pay £12,000 in costs to the school.) In the future the school can be a chastity-free zone. If someone wants to express religious ideas of sexual purity, they can wear a hijab.

The New Secret Police

When children are removed from their parents due to false or unprovable allegations, it is becoming increasing unlikely that they will ever return.

The Government has set targets on the number of adoptions it wants to see. Local councils, responsible for social care, are paid millions of pounds in cash bonuses to see that goals are reached.

It is hard to report on these cases, because secrecy laws prevent any party from even identifying themselves in the press. However, despite this, one family came forward to the Sunday Telegraph. This is the way it works:

The family’s ordeal began in late 2005 when they took their first daughter to hospital with abdominal pains. Doctors concluded she had been sexually assaulted weeks before.

Three days later, vanloads of police officers arrived with social workers at the couple’s flat to seize the girl, who was placed with foster carers. When her sister was born just weeks later, she too was taken away.

Police launched an investigation, tearing apart the couple’s flat in the hunt for clues. Suspects included a babysitter, some of the mother’s relatives, and the couple themselves.

The parents even agreed to separate after they were told by social workers it would give the mother a better chance of getting the girls back. Yet even while the criminal investigation was going on, a family court judge agreed to a social services request for a forced adoption.

At the hearing last autumn, the judge concluded that the mother, who had been abused by her own family as a child, needed a year of psychotherapy before she could look after children safely, which, he said, would leave the girls in limbo for too long. He also told the children’s father that they could not live with him because he had left it too late to submit his application to the court. Police cleared both parents in January this year, telling them there was insufficient evidence to proceed. However, they have been told by social workers the outcome makes no difference.

That same month, the girls were moved from foster care to live with the prospective adopters, and the mother received a voicemail message from social workers telling her all visiting rights would cease. [All emphasis mine.]

There is clearly a case of abuse here. This is an abuse of so many areas of the legal system and foundational principles of law in this country that it boggles the mind. I have said in the past that the Government here is an elected dictatorship. This is the work of a totalitarian regime with no regard for the rule of law.

The Cost of an Education

Apparently getting a university education may contribute to the end of British civilisation as we know it. According to Melanie McDonaghan writing in the The Times, 40% of women graduates do not have a baby by age 35. If the Government succeeds in its goal of getting 50% of the population through university, this only asking for trouble, especially with more women than men now attending university.

A simple mathematics exercise indicates that with 60% of graduates being women (based on the current ratio of intake), 24% of women of childbearing age will be childless. If this is all childlessness by choice, it does not take into account the surge of barrenness that will result from the chlamydia epidemic, which the Health Protection Agency showed has infected 12% of young women 16 to 19 as of last year.

Britain’s birthrate is 1.87 children per couple. This is not a replacement rate and will place a huge tax burden on the tiny workforce to support the pensions of an ageing population that is living longer. However, compared to the rest of Europe this is almost a population boom. The average across the Continent is 1.37 children per couple.

Biblically, children are a blessing and barrenness is a curse. Post-Christian Europe may deny it, but it can’t avoid the consequences.

The Future of Britain

“She doesn’t get detentions,” then with a sneer, “She’s a boffin.”

“When you grow up (assuming you do), do you know who you will be working for? Boffins.”

“I don’t plan on working.”

“Okay, let me rephrase. Do you know who is going to pay taxes to support you while you sit on the couch and watch Trisha?”

“Don’t care.”

Contempt

There are a lot of thankless jobs out there. Many people contribute to society being a better place and never receive any recognition.  However, when it comes to secondary education, I’m hardpressed to think of another profession where the people benefitting from it hold it in such contempt.

All public facing jobs endure a certain amount of abuse. There are plenty of anti-social nasty people out there. This society has bred more than it’s fair share. Police, for example, get a lot of grief from the criminal element, but then that’s not who they are serving, but rather from whom they are protecting others.

NHS staff deal with a lot of nasties, but they now have statutory protection. Abuse a nurse and you can find yourself without treatment. However, even then, they rarely face an entire waiting room of 30 patients showing open contempt and refusing to be treated when called. Nor do they daily face a constant stream of patients who are so disruptive that others can’t receive treatment.

 The Government has left teachers powerless. If someone refuses to leave a room, they cannot be grabbed by the arm and forced out. If someone tries to leave a room where they are supposed to stay, their exit path cannot be blocked.

How can the Government be surprised that crime figures continue to climb (while trying to manipulate the numbers to show that they haven’t) when they have created an environment where children are a law unto themselves? Is it any surprise that more than 50% of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are violated?

No More Money for Nothing

Record companies are not happy these days. CD sales are slumping. It is predicted that this will be the worst year in nearly three decades. Of course artists and record company executives will still make lots and lots of money. Obscene amounts of money. Just less obscene amounts.

Legal digital downloads are much less lucrative than CDs, especially because customers can download just the tracks they want. Band and artists can’t put out two or three really good tracks on a CD and expect to get the full whack for it.

And what’s got to really irritate the grey suits that are used to running the industry? Not listeners who file share, but bands who don’t need them any more. They have to wonder how many more bands like Arctic Monkeys are out there. We are in the midst of a serious paradigm shift.

And I didn’t mean to leave out file sharing altogether. Record companies weren’t so worried when file sharing was making a cassette copy of your vinyl, or even your CD, for a friend. Really, that’s all that’s happening now. The only difference is that people have a lot of friends, with the means to share with all of them, and they are completely unbounded by geography.

I think the record companies are eventually going to completely lose out on the file sharing argument. I’m not saying they have a valid position in intellectual property law, but what we have is a new way of thinking about intellectual property due to the realities of the information age.

It’s a bit like why am I going to buy Encarta when I can use (and even participate in) Wikipedia? Or newspaper websites that have tried to charge for the news – still trying to live in the age of the cover price. Most of the time, I can find someone else with the story for free. The Times recently revamped their website and tried to put the newspaper edition with all the stories behind a subscription. When I went to have a look just now to see how much a subscription to that edition is, I discovered that it is free again, even though they haven’t publicised this and you have to know which link to click on (BTW, it is the “Our Papers” link on the right-hand side of the top row of the menu).

Record companies executives are just going to have to come up with other ways of making money that are viable in the current marketplace. Otherwise, they are going to have to put up with less stratospheric salaries.

A* Results While Lacking Basic Skills

I have been saying it for a long time, even though many of my colleagues have denied it. Educational standards have declined to the point that even some of the best students lack basic literacy and numeracy.

The Qualification and Curriculum Authority (QCA) has been running research trials on new functional skills tests to be introduced in 2009 for English and 2010 for maths. These trials have shown that students predicted A* grades in their results next month cannot handle percentages and angles, or full stops (periods) and commas.

As noted in the Sunday Telegraph:

Ministers fear that if the new tests are included in revamped GCSEs, the proportion of pupils gaining good grades in the two subjects, currently about half, will plunge, exposing dire standards – and the genuine achievement level – among schoolchildren.

The newspaper also quote from a letter sent to the schools minister from the QCA chief executive:

Research undertaken during the second phase of the trial indicated that candidates with actual or predicted GCSEs at grade C or above did less well than might be expected in trial assessments for functional skill.

In other words, “Even though we write the National Curriculum and vet all of the national examinations, we were not prepared for just how illiterate and innumerate the brightest pupils have become.”

I know this is true from personal experience. I teach a subject which requires 14 to 16-year-olds to write essay answers. Getting past the problem that many of them have near-illegible handwriting (because that is a skill that has been abandoned for many years here), is it often nigh on impossible to read even after the words have been deciphered. Try reading an essay with only the occasional full stop, when there is no use of capitalisation to figure out where a new sentence might be beginning. Some students have heard of the comma, but appear blissfully unaware that the art of punctuation extends beyond these two marks. Admittedly. some are familiar with the one used for exclamation, because once they have discovered it, they can’t help but use it.

The problem extends beyond punctuation. You may recall I mentioned a few days ago that out of an entire class of middle-ability Year 10s, not one pupil knew what a prefix or a suffix was.

This is the group to whom many in the Government want to extend the right to vote when they reach the age of 16. I can only think their reasoning is that by dumbing down the education system, young voters will choose how to vote because they can read “Labour”, but “Conservative” will be too big a word with too many syllables.

Fred Has What Hillary Lacks

Hillary Clinton apparently has one big problem winning the Presidency: people don’t like her. According to a recent poll 56% of men have the good sense not to vote for her under any circumstances. They may not consciously be avoiding an Isaiah 3:12 situation, but they know a bad thing when they see it. In addition to that, she’s got 47% of women who won’t vote for her under any circumstance either.

She’s lacking what soon-to-be GOP front-runner Fred Thompson has by the bucketful: charm.

Thompson is so nice, even his ex-wife and former girlfriends are campaigning for him. They may not want to live with him, but they sure do like him.

Some commentators have suggested that women might not like the fact that his current wife (who he met many years after his divorce)  is 24 years his junior. Liberal bloggers and their combox choirs call it an “ick factor”. It probably doesn’t help that Jeri Thompson looks like she is 40 going on 25. I think the “ick” factor probably mostly comes down to jealousy. Programmed by TV and magazines, middle-aged women wish they could look as good as Jeri.

Of course the men who would never vote for Hillary would also like to high-five Fred.  Not that Fred would reciprocate, because he’s much to genteel and chivalrous and would not find it becoming of the lady’s honour.

I laughed reading liberal bloggers who otherwise have no moral values saying it looked “predatory” for Fred to have married such an attractive younger woman.  I can’t imagine a 35-year-old woman in a successful political career (she worked for the Senate Republican Conference and the Republican National Committee before become a political media consultant and all before marrying Fred) being preyed upon, just because her suitor is in his late 50s.

Fortunately the voting public isn’t particularly swayed by the rants of liberal bloggers. They do like charm, however.

Equal Pay for Unequal Work

This is the first year that the women’s champion will get the same payout as the men’s champion at Wimbledon. After her win yesterday, Venus Williams paid tribute to the first famous sporting lesbian Billie Jean King for fighting for this for years.

But has Venus really earned her money? She will get the same £700,000 for playing 15 out of a possible 21 sets of tennis. The men play a possible 35 sets, of which today’s finalist, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played 16 and 20 before meeting each other in today’s final. Thus Venus has been paid £46,667 per set, or if you want to give her credit for the possible 21, which she has completed in short order due to her superior skill, that’s £33,333 per set. By that calculation, Federer and Nadal can only make £20,000 per set. Today’s final went five sets, so on an actual per-set-played basis, Federer made the same as if every challenger had taken Venus to 3 sets.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love women’s tennis. I’ve always been a bigger fan of the women’s game than the men’s. They have much nicer legs. But if you want to talk about superior skill, Venus could pump up her biceps all she wants, but she could still not compete against the men. Not just the best of the man – any of the men. No woman has ever beaten a ranked men’s player.

For all of her talk about Billie Jean, remember that BJ beat Bobby Riggs when he was in his 50s and she was in her 20s. He had been the top tennis player in the world two years before she was born. It is often forgotten that Riggs beat then-No. 1 Margaret Court 6-2, 6-1 several months before he lost to Billie Jean.

The male players know the women shouldn’t make as much. British No. 1 Andy Murray is opposed to the equal pay and former No. 1 Tim Henman has called the women greedy. John MacEnroe favours equal pay, but openly admits the women don’t train as hard as the men. I clearly have a more favourable view than Pat Cash, who has called women’s tennis “two sets of rubbish”.

Clearly legs that look as nice as those of Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, or Michaëlla Krajicek are worth something, but £700,000?

Catholic Church Favours Birthing Hybrid Humanoids

I don’t know how I missed this when it was announced, but the Catholic Church in England and Wales has said women should be allowed to give birth to human-animal hybrids created in the laboratory. The bishops said this in a submission related to the Draft Tissue and Embryos Bill, which overhauls the law regulating fertility treatment and embryo research.

The bishops have said there should be no ban on implanting hybrid embryos in the womb of the woman who supplied the egg. According to their statement: “Such a woman is the genetic mother, or partial mother, of the embryo; should she have a change of heart and wish to carry her child to term, she should not be prevented from doing so.”

This is not to say that the bishops are in favour of hybrids. They oppose creating them, but say if hybrids (or chimera, as they are called) are allowed to be created then they have to be allowed to live. The Church had to make this distinction because one aspect of the legislation that is not up for change is the requirement that any embryos that undergo experimentation must be destroyed within 14 days of fertilisation.

Chimera are not true hybrids of the sperm of one species with the egg of another. This would still not be allowed under the draft legislation. The proposal allows for the introduction of non-human DNA, but the embryo would still be 99.9% human. Perhaps when they are allowed to be 1% non-human and then 5% non-human and then whatever percent can be technologically managed, the Church will have to modify its position. Or not. The current position of the bishops is based upon the view that “At very least, embryos with a preponderance of human genes should be assumed to be embryonic human beings, and should be treated accordingly.” So a 50.01% human should still be carried to term.

The full response to the draft bill can be downloaded from here.

Improving Access to Abortion

In light of the increasing medical evidence of how early the foetus shows signs of sentience  and the increasing number of abortions in this county, the British Medical Association voted yesterday to make abortions easier to obtain. Yes, that’s right.

Under the current law, two doctors have to sign off on the abortion.  the BMA wants to drop that requirement. It may have something to do with the fact that more and more doctors are refusing to do abortions. With more teens wanting to kill their babies and fewer doctors willing to serve as executioner, I suppose something has to give.

There was also a motion before the BMA annual conference to allow nurses and midwives to carry out abortions, but that was defeated on the grounds that they are not sufficiently trained to perform such a complex operation. This is just more evidence of the crisis.

There are 200,000 babies out there needing to be killed every year and no one seems to want to do the killing.  There has been some relief through the increased use of drug-induced abortion, but demand for surgical abortions is still outstripping supply. What is an immoral nation to do in such a situation?

Symbolic Justice

The case of Lydia Playfoot was argued before the High Court in London today. She is the 16-year-old girl who was banned by her school from wearing a chastity ring with “I Thes 4:3-4” inscribed on it.

This is a school which allows Sikh and Muslim jewellery, but not Christian.

Lydia eloquently put her view to the court in a written statement, much of which has been reprinted by the Guardian.

As a practical matter, Lydia has taken her GCSEs and left school, but the ruling by the court could affect others who not only want to wear chastity rings but other Christian symbols as well, in a culture that does everything to accommodate non-Christian faith practices. Even though a trial court ruling has no value in precedent (unless it is taken to, and upheld on, appeal) it will have a persuasive effect on other judges in similar cases and on schools facing litigation.

Teens, Sex, and Consequences

I’m sure it is coincidental that these stories appeared on consecutive days. Yesterday, we learned that teenagers have pushed the abortion rate to a record high in this country and are having a record number of abortions. Today, Department of Health said it had agreed “in principle” that Gardasil should be given to all girls in the first year of secondary school. Most readers will be aware that this is the vaccine against human papilloma virus.

According the Daily Telegraph:

Despite huge Government spending on contraception education, 19-year-olds are now the most likely of any age group to have an abortion, with 35 in every 1,000 having the procedure, according to Department of Health figures.

A total of 40,244 abortions were carried out on girls aged between 15 and 19 years, and 18,691 on girls aged under 18, including 1,042 on under 15-year-olds, 907 on 14-year-olds and 135 on girls under 14.

In total, 3,990 abortions were carried out on girls aged under 16 – the age of consent – last year.

 There were there were 193,737 abortions in England and Wales last year. This is an increase of nearly 4% over 2005.  And over 21% of these were carried out on babies with mothers 19 and under. (I have to disagree with the language used by the Telegraph – its not the mothers who are aborted.) Teens have now ousted the 20- to 24-year-olds as the biggest age group of aborters.

The Government spent £40 million in tax money on contraception education to bring down the abortion rate. Sadly, the one thing they don’t emphasise is that the only way to avoid pregnancy is to avoid sex. But how can they do that when political representatives are fornicators, teachers are fornicators, parents are fornicators, and the Government pays for entertainment programming on television and radio which openly and aggressively promotes fornication? How is any teenager going to keep their legs closed if everyone they know, see, and respect has theirs splayed open?

Now I am all for preventing cancer. Gardasil works best if it is introduced before girls are sexually active and especially before they are exposed to HPV. It is part of the sad commentary on teen sex that they have to get them at 11 in order to make sure they gotten most of them protected.

And I have to say I’ve no doubt it will serve as another green light to the safeness of sex as a game and a toy. That pubescent boys in an amoral society see it like this is no surprise, but that is exactly how it is viewed by many girls by the time they are even in Year 8 (7th grade).  By Year 10 (when the topics I teach include cohabitation, contraception, and abortion) many of them are aggressive about their sexuality and against any suggestion that there is any reason, moral or otherwise, to curb their appetites. It is truly frightening.

Nothing to be Proud Of

As I was looking for something on Wikipedia today, I discovered that it is Autistic Pride Day. It is a day set aside to celebrate “neurodiversity”. Give me a break.

I’m sorry, but this can go in the bin with all the other “Pride” days. Why on earth is “neurodiversity” something to be proud of?

I have nothing against those on the autistic spectrum, if there is such a thing. I know there are even some kids who do have a wiring malfunction in their brain and are not just riding the cultural autism wave because they have been allowed to not behave in social situations and this is a way to explain away their sociopathy.

There certainly is neurodiversity. Everyone is wired a bit different. Big deal. Some people are wired so differently that they can’t function in normal society. That’s just the way they are. Inasmuch as they are disadvantaged, then we have a moral responsibility to take care of them. They shouldn’t be looked down upon. That’s just the way they are.

It’s just like I’m a cripple. I’m missing part of a leg. Normally people have two full-length legs with a foot on the end of each. Thanks to a very slippery road and my unfortunate placement between a stationary vehicle and one spinning out of control, I don’t. I can’t do some things now. I have pain a lot of the time. And I’m a strong advocate for increased access for the physically disabled. But I don’t there should be a “Mobility Impaired Pride Day”. I don’t there there should be some sort of special colour or ribbon or symbol.

Autistic Pride Day is the brainchild of Aspies for Freedom (AFF), a group of people with Asperger’s Syndrome – considered by some doctors and researchers to be a condition on the autistic spectrum, though how to classify it is a matter of some controversy.  AFF want autism to be given special minority status – thus joining the burgeoning number of other minorities (so many that I’m not sure there is a majority left). If anyone can achieve this it would be AFF, because once they set their mind on something. . .

(That was so un-PC. Maybe it will generate some comments. You know what they say, any blog traffic is good blog traffic. BTW, any AS readers can respond with something about cripples.) 

Just because you shouldn’t be ashamed of something does not mean it is something to be proud of. You are who you are. You play from the hand you’ve been dealt. “Pride” days do nothing for promoting diversity or incorporating differently-abled people into mainstream society. 

Leaving a Mark on Society

If you spank your child hard enough to leave a mark in this country, you can go to prison for five years. That’s the way the law was left in 2004 after an attempt to ban all chastisement whatsoever. But they’re back. The Government has announced a full review of the law.

There will be a public consultation period. It will include polling to assess whether attitudes to smacking – and the limits of state intervention in parenting – have changed in recent years.

A number of well-meaning completely misguided children’s charities favour a complete ban. Colette Marshall, the UK director of Save the Children, said: “Children are vulnerable and are currently treated unequally.”

The key piece of information Ms. Marshall is missing is that children are treated unequally because they are, in fact, unequal. Ms. Marshall is missing the very same information as a number of students I teach. I am sometimes told, “You can’t speak to me like that!” or “If you can this, so can I!” I frequently have to explain that I am an adult and they are a child; that I am a teacher and they are a pupil; that I’m in charge and they are not. This seems to come as a complete surprise to some. They seem incredulous that different rules apply to me than to them.

It is this idiocy – complete barmy lunacy in the face of empirical evidence – on the part of the left that has led to the smacking ban in schools and motivates the same move to ban it in the home. We might as well remove the age limits to buying alcohol and tobacco, for driving, and for voting as well. In fact, we probably put society in less danger by doing this than by furthering the smacking ban.

Putting Beliefs into Action

“We were shopping in Tescos, right, and these foreigners, right, got the last Cokes and put ’em in their trolley. My mum, right, took ’em out of their trolley and put ’em in ours. Why should they get everything? It should be English people first and then foreigners can have whatever’s left.”

There was not a single voice of disapproval in the classroom this morning, other than my own.

The Truth About Migrant Workers

For all of it’s wonderful rural positives, the Shire is a very ethnist (what the papers and the Government would erroneous call “racist”) place. Whenever the subject arises in lessons (and it often does, even when we are not particularly studying racism) large numbers of pupils have been programmed from home to say nasty things about migrant workers.

The other day, one of them said, “My dad said we shouldn’t buy local produce, because that just brings in more illegal immigrants.” When I said, “What illegal immigrants?” She didn’t know what to say. I noted that the Russians and Urkrainians work here under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme and the Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks are free to live and work here like any citizen of any EU country. In fact, because they are from the new A8 countries, they have to work. The French, Spaniards, Germans, and Belgians can show up and loaf about if they want, yet still enjoy all the benefits of the socialist state.

A 2005 study showed that the per capita revenue to the Government generated by immigrants (£7,203) was higher than that for the UK born (£6,861). The study went on to show that government expenditure per capita on immigrants was lower (£7,277) than for the UK born (£7,753). So the pay more taxes and they use fewer services.

According to the Treasury, whilst foreign-born migrants make up 8% of the population, they generate 10% of our Gross Domestic Product. So they produce more that’s worth more. Where exactly is the problem?

They have substantially lowered the age profile in the Shire and in the country, because most migrants are between the ages of 18 and 34. This means there are more workers to pays the taxes that pay the pensions of all the UK born over 34s who will soon become over 65s.

If you go into the Hooterville city centre, you here lots of Russian, Polish, and various other Slavic-sounding languages. Why? Because they are spending money. They are investing in the local economy (or the economy of Tesco, M&S, Woolworths, and other national chains).

People complain because they nick stuff from shops. All the shops have shoplifting warning signs in multiple languages. A third of the shoplifting is reported to be by Eastern Europeans. This means that two-thirds is by UK born people. Of the proportion of prime shoplifting-aged people, this is probably fairly representative of the population. The difference is that of they are Russians or Ukrainians they can be deported. We’re stuck with the locally bred riff raff.

But despite all the positives migrant workers have brought to the community, you don’t have to ask around very much to find plenty of people more than happy to slag them off.

Finding Fertility

Britain may be below the replacement rate in the birth to death ratio, but at least things are moving in the right direction thanks to immigrant mothers. A fifth of all babies born in the UK last year were to mothers who were born outside of it. Many of these are to mothers of Eastern European origin, from societies that have not fully learned to treat children as a nuisance. They haven’t discovered that the important thing for women to do is smash through the glass ceiling and compete outside the home. Children should be had if and when they are convenient, because there are always IVF clinics out there to exploit older women and take thousands of those hard-earned pounds.

The other advantage for population is the higher birthrate amongst the Muslim population. It is three times higher than the national average. Mohammed (or Muhammad) is the second most popular boy’s name in the UK. It may soon overtake Jack as the the most popular.

According to the Daily Telegraph, “Mohammed” is the most popular spelling variation, with 2,833 registrations last year, followed by “Muhammad” is the second most popular, with 1,422 registrations. This also indicates that most Muslims in this country are non-Arab. Mufti Abdul Barkatullah explained that different spellings: “It is essentially about translating the sound of the Arabic into English. A non-Arab Muslim would have the name ending in -ed while an Arab Muslim would adopt the -ad ending.”

Muslims currently make up about 3% of the UK population. Without more Eastern European immigrants and native born non-Muslims having babies, that percentage will grow significantly.

It’s Not Fair

I have heretofore refused to say anything about that cranial vacuum known as Paris Hilton. However, yesterday’s antics were just too much.

I don’t even mean Paris’ own histrionics in the courtroom, though I have to say I don’t think I ever had a client behave like that when being sent down. You would think she was going to the scaffold, but even those facing death have almost always done it with more dignity. She has been sentenced to 45 days in an jumpsuit. I guess orange just isn’t her colour.

She is only going to jail because she was driving on a suspended license after two alcohol related convictions, the second of which resulted in probation, and both picked up within four months.  The only reason she was pulled over the third time, within six months of the first offence, was because she was doing 70 in a 35 in the dark with no headlights. Yet despite this she had to be dragged from the courtroom screaming, “Mom! Mom! Mom! It’s not fair! It’s not right!”

She is right – it’s not fair. She should have had more consequences sooner. It’s not fair that people with lots of money can buy their way to leniency. It’s not right that the sheriff was either conned or paid to let her out on a false medical pretence. No, Paris, life isn’t fair.

But that’s not the worst bit. Like I said, who should care about a rich little airheaded bimbo spending six weeks in the Gray Bar Hotel? No one. Certainly not every TV network. This is worse than when I was in the States at Easter and watched the coverage to find out who fathered Anna Nicole’s baby. I watched it because there was nothing else on. The eyes of the world were focused on finding the lucky fornicator.

The leaders of the seven richest nations (and their belligerent little Russian friend) are meeting in Germany to develop coordinated policy on a variety of world issues and the live coverage is about someone best known for their acting in front of bedside camcorder.

And it’s not like the UK is immune to this. Every newspaper and television news programme has covered this. Why? Why do people care? What does this say about the values of western society?

All Things in Moderation

In the waning days of his premiership, Tony Blair has decided that there aren’t enough moderate Muslims out there. He’s decided to help make more.

British universities are getting a small cash injection to help train moderate, British-born imams. Blair believes mosques are too reliant on foreign imams who may not understand British society or speak good English. They are partly to blame for the radicalisation of some British Muslims.

It’s not that there aren’t already university courses (degree programs) in Islamic Studies. Rather the problem appears to be that the courses only teach certain views of Islamic theology and focus particularly on the Middle East. Thus students on these courses who are energized by what they learn tend to violent radicalism. The money spent would broaden the content of these courses. With more exposure to less militant views, it is hoped that students will be influenced by them.

I think it is a bit of a long shot.

Hands Down

Reading the Mail on Sunday while traversing the English Channel yesterday, I was lead to believe that Education Secretary Alan Johnson said I shouldn’t have students raise their hands to answer questions any more. I looked at the DfES website tonight and – whew! – what a relief – it appears this only applies to primary schools. It appears that the omniscient apparatchiks who feed Johnson the wisdom he’s supposed to share with us still find it okay have pupils raise their hands once they reach age 11.

However, before they arrive at big school, letting children raise their hand and give an answer to a question is damaging. Not so much to the hand-raiser, but to the “invisible children”. This does not refer to a belief in some sort of incorporeal presence of multiple learners – though there are loonies at DfES who might believe in such things – but rather to those who are not as eager to participate in the didactic process.

What the DfESians must not realise that a classroom teacher knows best what works for their groups. Most teachers do spend some of class discussion time calling on those who are less willing to volunteer. However, they shouldn’t take away from those who are more actively involved in the lesson. Otherwise you will just end up with lowest common denominator lessons. But I suppose that is the point of socialism: if you can’t pull everyone up, then drag everyone down. Equality is all that matters.

But it gets worse.

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Clarkson’s Driving Offence

Where political correctness abounds, thankfully Jeremy Clarkson is there as the antidote. Newspaper commentator and host of the premier car telly programme Top Gear, Clarkson just says what he means. I don’t always agree with him, but I’m glad for his frankness.

On an episode of the show last year, Clarkson opined that the Daihatsu Copen was “a bit gay.” He actually only repeated the words of a member of the studio audience, but then he added, “Yes, very ginger beer.” This is apparently Cockney rhyming slang for queer. So Ofcom, the media watchdog (whatever that means), have ruled that he criticised the car by describing it as homosexual. Apparently you cannot describe a car as homosexual. I can only guess this is because same-sex attracted cars are offended by this.

Ofcom said, “In the context, there was no justification for using the word in this way.” That’s because in this country you aren’t allowed to just say what you think. You have to justify your choice of words to the PC police.

And cars not being able to speak for themselves because of their lack of, well, speech mechanisms, gay people special interest groups have had to come to their defence.   A spokeslesbian for Stonewall said, “We’re glad to see that Ofcom has censured Jeremy Clarkson for the use of the word gay, in what was clearly meant in a derogatory way.”

“There was no doubt that it was being used in the sense of ‘homosexual’ and was capable of giving offence,” said Fraser Steel, the BBC head of editorial complaints.

Clarkson’s reported response shows just how seriously he takes this: “It wasn’t a gay car – it was actually a bit lesbian.”

The Politics of Sin

We tend to think of Republican administrations as being more beneficial for big business. This is not always the case. There is at least one industry that wants Hillary in the White House.

Making Sense of It All

I’ve been waiting to see a newspaper front pages that doesn’t have a picture of, or story about, Madeleine McCann.

In The Times, David Aaronovitch finally says the sensible things no one else will say.

Odd One Out

Okay, let’s play “Odd One Out” (familiar to those who watch Have I Got News For You) or “One of These Things is not Like the Others” (for those more familiar with Sesame Street):

symbols.jpg

Yes, that’s right. The odd one out is the cross. Headteachers in Croydon schools have been instructed by the council to ban the wearing of crosses in schools.

The only religious items allowed to be worn are (clockwise from the bottom left) a rakhi, the cotton bracelet worn by some Hindus; a taweez, the religious locket worn by some Muslims; and a kara, the Sikh metal bracelet. This is because schools need to be sensitive toward those of other faiths. According to a council statement, crosses are not to be allowed in schools because “it is not compulsory to wear a cross, it is a personal preference and it can be taken off”. A taweez isn’t compulsory either, but no matter.

Once again, the Muslims are on the side of the Christians. The Muslim Council of Britain education spokesman Tahir Alam said, “I support my Christian colleagues on this point. If these items are important to children and have religious significance for them, there should be no issue at all about that.”

What disturbs me further is that these guidelines were issued by the Croydon’s Standing Advisory Committee for Religious Education (SACRE). Every local authority has a SACRE which sets the curriculum for RE in that area. If the SACRE don’t want students in schools wearing crosses, what must they be doing to the RE syllabus? I wonder if Croydon has a real problem with the legislation that requires the RE curriculum to be at least 50% Christianity.

Because they are not exempted from the jewellery ban, it would seems that chastity rings are forbidden as well. There is already a case before the High Court involving a girl at a school in West Sussex who wears a purity ring as a symbol of her religious faith it’s in role in her decision to not follow the lifestyle choices of her peers.

This is no doubt offensive to those who teach that sex is for when you feel ready, not when God says it is appropriate.