Posts Tagged 'Moral Relativism'

Open letter to the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu

Dear Lord Archbishop,

I read with great interest the report of your comments to the BBC on the subject of tax avoidance in the context of morality.

In your interview you said of tax avoidance that, ‘It is sinful, simply because Jesus was very clear; pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’  Perhaps, My Lord, you would care to give consideration to the fact that much of our wealth belongs to us and does not belong to today’s Caesar at all?  To accuse individuals and companies of being sinful for finding ways to ensure they only pay the tax for which they are legally liable, is frankly nonsense.

But there is an additional concern here, which is the notion you raise that by only paying the tax for which individuals and corporations are legally liable, they are  ‘not only robbing the poor of what they could be getting, they are actually robbing God, because God says “bring into my store house all the tithes”‘.

This is a disgraceful and outrageous assertion, My Lord.  Government policy throughout the world is far and away a greater cause of poor people being deprived than any other factor.  Your assertions seeks to position government as an absolute force for good, while ignoring the fact so much poverty in the world is caused by government spending decisions.  To lay the blame for poverty and hunger at the door of those people and businesses that do not wish to see the money they have earned squandered on electoral bribes, gerrymandering, servicing vested interests (including at local government level), and feathering the nests of powerful supporters, rather than directed at essential public services and infrastructure, is an appalling inversion of what should be considered as moral.

Where do you see government being ‘just’ or ‘walking humbly’ as it uses taxation as a tool of coercion and takes more than it needs?  Surely, by coveting their neighbour’s goods and taking what they are not owed, it is the government robbing God, the world and my neighbour.  Government has a duty to take only that which is needed, but it refuses to be bound by that covenant and abuses its power.  Why should taxpayers tolerate such abuses at the expense of them and the well-being of their families for who they have responsibility?

The Anglican Church, more than most other institutions, has good reason to doubt the moral credentials of the government, which increasingly interferes in matters of conscience and spirituality and undermines the practice of one’s faith in the pursuit of secular orthodoxy.  It would serve you well to remember that before presenting government as a moral authority only held back from good works because taxpayers strive to retain what is lawfully theirs.

For an educated and intelligent man, your comments point to a naivety and childish simplicity that while it may be touching for some, is profoundly disturbing and results in an articulated ignorance that does more harm than good.

Yours sincerely,

AM

Important question – If this is such a problem for Cameron, why isn’t this a problem too?

On Friday night the Telegraph ran a story about David Cameron’s comments to a group of factory workers in Wales, about food prices being increased to subsidise cheaper alcohol, explaining:

The Prime Minister claimed that “a family with a reasonable drinking habit” was “actually subsidising the binge drinker” because supermarkets were increasing the price of food to fund cuts in the cost of wine, beer and cider.

Tim Worstall challenges this by asking, ‘Even if it’s true, so what?‘  But there is a much more important question that should be asked.  If that increase in cost, to subsidise a real terms benefit to a minority of people who don’t need it at the expense of the majority, is such a problem for Cameron then why aren’t we reading something like the following in the papers…?

The Prime Minister claimed that “a family with reasonable energy consumption” was “actually subsidising super wealthy landowners and profitable renewables companies” because energy providers were increasing the price of electricity and gas to fund excessive tariffs that are paid for energy which is generated by wind and solar power.

If it is so outrageous and unacceptable for binge drinkers to benefit from food price subsidies footed by responsible ordinary consumers, why isn’t it equally outrageous and unacceptable that a small cabal of opportunist subdidy farmers benefit from artificially high tariffs for energy, also footed by responsible ordinary consumers?  If he feels so minded to have a cause, then why isn’t Cameron focussing on something almost identical that costs families significantly more money each year?

Perhaps the problem is that Cameron is a stinking hypocrite who not only exhibits the worst kind of moral equivalence but is also in thrall to environmental lobbyists; not to mention a band of influential wealthy people who play host to lucrative wind turbines while gifting money to fund his rapidly shrinking party.

UK Uncut protest is not about fairness, it’s about vindictive jealousy

Sarah Greene, a UK Uncut activist, said: “The Government could easily bring in billions that could fund vital services by clamping down.”

Autonomous Mind, a UK-based blogger, said: “The Government could also easily fund those vital services by not wasting money on grotesque subsidies for wheezes such as wind turbines, not sending billions of pounds of our hard earned cash overseas to be wasted on UN mandated eco-schemes that only benefit a small group of global corporate businesses, not funding accommodation, welfare and health provision for migrants who arrive here and make use of them without ever contributing a penny, and spending billions on funding a MoD that is actually larger than the armed forces and whose senior civil servants procure overpriced equipment with no practical use simply to enrich the arms companies they hope to work for after early retirement.

“Protesting about the financial effect of those scandals would be ‘fair’.  But fixing those wrongs won’t address the desire of these ‘progressive’ protesters to target their bile at those they are envious of and whose money they want to benefit from, without the inconvenience of having to work for it.”

Gilad Shalit, Hamas and the BBC-Guardian axis of bias

I intended to write a detailed blog post about the release of Gilad Shalit and the consequences of the prisoner swap in return for this kidnapped Israeli soldier.  But again the bias of elements of the British media dictate a change of focus.

That said it is wonderful that this young man is free again after being held hostage for so long and denied visits from the Red Cross.  But that said, Israel has just turned free a battalion of hardened terrorists who will resume waging death and destruction as soon as they can.

One wonders if those people who constantly accuse Israel of of human rights violations and mistreatment of Palestinians stopped for one moment today to compare and contrast the sight of the malnourished Gilad Shalit who has been violently kidnapped, with the fit and healthy Palestinian terrorists and criminals who has been arrested and put on trial before being sentenced.  One measure of a people is how it treats those in its prisons, and the Palestinians prisoners have clearly been well looked after.

The scene underlined the sheer inhumanity of Hamas. Yet here in the UK, the BBC and the Guardian, both of which publish so many stories that portray Israel in a negative manner while turning a blind eye to the viciousness and violence of Hamas, this was ignored.

Meanwhile, as Gilad Shalit was explaining how he hoped this exchange would help to bring about peace, the people responsible for snatching him from inside Israel and mistreating him for the last five years led the crowds in Gaza and the West Bank in chanting:

“The people want a new Gilad!”

And less than a week ago Khaled Mashal, Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, told the media:

“Those released will return to armed struggle.  It is a great national achievement.”

You will not find either quote anywhere on the BBC or in the Guardian.  They don’t want to show the true nature of Hamas, for whom they act as cheerleaders and propagandists.

Peace was what Gilad Shalit and many Israelis continue to hope and pray for.  But violence, terror and death is all Hamas are interested in as they pursue their aim of destroying the nation of Israel and driving the Jews out of the Middle East again.

Peace seems as far away as ever, and the BBC and Guardian will do their best to ignore the evidence in front of them to lay the blame for that at the door of Israel.  It is hard to feel anything other than utter disgust.

Secretive State serving its own interests

The Observer has a sickening story today about the actions of social workers and police in Kent who placed a 14-year-old girl into ‘foster care’ with a convicted paedophile, David Mason.

Having failed to complete the private fostering assessment and carry out statutory checks on the man’s background required by law – or even checking proof of his identity – the girl’s request to be allowed to stay with him was granted.  Mason, who had changed his name to David Matthews, went on to sexually abuse two boys and four girls aged five to 13, including the girl’s three younger siblings.

Then after leaving Mason’s home, Kent County Council’s social services department let her be fostered, aged 15, by her 21-year-old boyfriend, who claimed to have autistic spectrum disorder and who they knew was having sex with her.  The story, includes the admission that when the family had been moved into the area where the abuse took place, their case was not assessed due to staff shortages and high number of child protection referrals

But beyond this horrifying catalogue of failure, where presumably dozens of other high profile cases from which ‘lessons will be learned’ have not resulted in anything being learne at all, the story presents an even more shocking dimension to the case:

The “tragic story” of the council’s “deplorable breach of duty” has emerged from a high court judgment delivered behind closed doors last month, which has just been made public. The extraordinary case would have stayed secret had not the judge, Mr Justice Baker, decided in view of the “alarming matters” that emerged during the hearing to allow the “unusually extensive and troubling” wider issues it raises to be publicised.

Here we see the media with its prominent pulpit failing to go to the next level.  The anger, indignation and proposed solutions are left for non establishment figures such as humble bloggers to express.

In 21st century Britain, supposedly bristling with rules to ensure transparency and accountability, the Courts were content to cover up this litany of incompetence to hide the disgraceful failings of our so called public servants.  If it was not for this one Judge, an exception to a miserable rule choosing in determining that these failures should be publicised, the public would have no idea just how badly a group of vulnerable people have been treated.

What has been uncovered is not merely a story of sexual abuse, but another example of the lengths to which the authorities will go to hide their gross misconduct and just how far the system will go to shield them from scrutiny of their actions.  This is the system protecting itself rather than the people who pay for it to serve us.  That is more outrageous than anything else in this story.

To heap insult upon insult, we are once again served up the standard rhetoric from the public body (in this instance, Kent County Council) that has displayed negligence worthy of criminal prosecution, designed as usual to fob us off while business continues as usual:

What happened in this case is deeply regrettable and the council offers its sincerest apologies to the family. In recent months we have been absolutely focused on recognising our shortcomings and weaknesses and a plan to make sure substantial improvements are made to the services we provide to children in Kent is already being actioned.

These supposedly sincere apologies and empty promises to make improvements to reach the very minimum level of performance we should be able to expect are an insult.  They change nothing.

Things will only change when the refuge of secrecy in such cases is removed and those responsible for the welfare of vulnerable children who fail to do their job are properly held to account.  If it takes the threat of criminal prosecution to focus the attention of public servants on the proper discharge of their duties to vulernable people in their care, then our largely useless MPs should put it on the Statute Book.  Cases like this are all too frequent and MPs have the ability to put a stop to them.

We don’t need self serving apologies being trotted out that are designed to make those who have failed feel better and feel they have been excused, we need action taken to stop more failures.  We can but guess at how many similar cases have been covered up over the years and remain hidden from public view. It has to stop.

Light needs to be shone into the dark corners where the establishment lets its colleagues skulk and conceal instances of their rank incompetence.  We need to make the establishment serve our interests rather than its own. We need to end the establishment’s self serving secrecy.

Today Libya, tomorrow Saudi Arabia?

The UN Security Council has voted 10-0 with five abstentions to impose a no fly zone over Libya.

So the obvious question is, if and/or when Bahrain, Yemen or Saudi Arabia’s people decide to oppose their rulers in direct fashion as we have seen in Libya, will we see the United States, UK and France marching into the UN Security Council to demand the imposition of no fly zones over those countries?

Or are such actions only reserved for regimes with whom there are old scores to be settled?

Will we see this newly found principled approach trump the vested and strategic interests of the US and other western nations?  Will we see a surprising appetite for intervention to ‘level the playing field’ in potential civil conflicts between autocrats and the people they dominate?

The words ‘Yeah, right!” spring to mind.

Fair Trade, ethics and gesture politics

An exchange on Twitter with the free thinking and autonomous @untwining (Lisa Amphlett) who authors the excellent blog All About The Voluntary recently led to a decision that one of us would blog about Fair Trade.

This being the start of Fairtrade Fortnight, Lisa pointed me to a must-read piece in yesterday’s Telegraph by Philip Booth who makes a powerful argument that Fair Trade is neither fair, nor good for trade. Booth points out that ‘researchers sympathetic to fair trade have suggested that only 25 per cent of the extra price paid by consumers finds its way back to producers’.  He also points out that:

Fair trade is supposed to bring better working conditions to poor producers, together with higher prices and better social infrastructure. Questions have been asked about whether monitoring in the supply chain is sufficiently robust, and examples of unsatisfactory practice have been found. Furthermore, there are costs for producers. Poor farmers have to pay considerable sums to join up and often have to organise their businesses in particular ways: it is not suitable for all producers, especially in the poorest countries.

This is a consequence of Fair Trade’s structure that seems to be swept under the carpet or simply unknown to people who want to feel they are doing something ethical and playing a part in tackling poverty by choosing to buy products labelled as Fair Trade.  Booth’s piece also highlights an anti-competitive element of Fair Trade as he explains:

Fairtrade schools and parishes have to commit themselves to selling Fairtrade products. This is unfortunate for producers – who may be as poor – for other schemes, such as the Rainforest Alliance or Bird Friendly, that are designed to protect the environment.  And, of course, if we transfer our allegiance to a fair trade producer from a non-fair trade producer in a poor country, what happens to the farmer who loses his customer base?

It appears that despite these justifiable concerns, the government is pressing ahead with a supposedly ethical Fair Trade policy at the expense of taxpayers who have no way of holding politicians to account for it.  The plan is to introduce a requirement to purchase a minimum of 50% Fair Trade tea and coffee, and it will apply to central Government departments, prisons and the armed forces under Government Buying Standards.  This was confirmed in a written answer from DEFRA in Parliament yesterday… (click to enlarge)

What really stands out here is that last paragraph, where there is a clear recognition that the policy will result in increased costs to the taxpayer and that the decision has been taken without prior evidence of equivalent costs having been submitted by the Fairtrade Foundation.  Convinced by the righteousness of the policy government is pressing ahead regardless.  The public is entitled to evidence based policy making which is not happening.

It should be a matter of concern to everyone that government is engaging in gesture politics at taxpayer expense to follow a supposedly ethical policy, that research shows has the capacity to harm people in poorer countries, by selecting produce generated within a system over which there are question marks that do not appear to have been critically evaluated.

Perhaps it is time for voters whose parish, borough or city councils have imposed a Fair Trade procurement policy to challenge their authority for evidence of the benefits to producers in poorer countries of Fair Trade – rather than anecdotes – and write to their MPs asking for the same to justify the additional cost being passed on to us.

Bile, hatred, moronic comments and the apologists of the Guardian

This could be a long one. Sometimes events occur that stir feelings and reactions in oneself that lead to a tipping point where frustration or annoyance spills over into genuine rage and the loss of self control. That has happened this afternoon.

I’m not given to writing profanity, but on this occasion perhaps it is understandable. Forgive me. Or don’t. At this moment in time I really don’t care. I’ll try to write in a lucid way but if the words make no sense try to understand I’m in a temper and writing this is an attempt to regain control.

The events in question put the puerile bollockspeak of a showboating moronic wanker like David Cameron into its proper context. Readers may recall Cameron’s grandstanding to the audience and his wooden theatrics when he declared that:

it makes me physically ill to contemplate giving the vote to prisoners.

Really?  We are to supposed to believe that Cameron felt the physical sensation of nausea in reaction to the prospect of prisoners getting the vote? Oh fuck right off. If you believe that bullshit there’s no hope for you. If something like that made Cameron feel ‘physically ill’ then no one should provide him with the details of what happened in Cairo to CBS television reporter Lara Logan. He will probably puke up all over this bloody Downing Street cat that seems to be the political story of the week. God knows, the details have made me feel physically ill. And unlike that useless sack of shit I’m not saying that for bloody effect.

For a couple of days the news has been circulating that Logan is recovering in hospital in the US after she was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob while covering the Egyptian protests.  The words beaten and sexually assaulted covers a wide range of injuries and completely sanitises the extent of what happened.  Read on if you’ve got the stomach for it:

“60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan was repeatedly sexually assaulted by thugs yelling, “Jew! Jew!” as she covered the chaotic fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo’s main square Friday, CBS and sources said yesterday.

The TV crew with Logan, who is also the network’s chief foreign correspondent, had its cameras rolling moments before she was dragged off — and caught her on tape looking tense and trying to head away from a crowd of men behind her in Tahrir Square.

“Logan was covering the jubilation . . . when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration,” CBS said in a statement. “It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into a frenzy.

“In the crush of the mob, [Logan] was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.

“She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning,” the network added. “She is currently in the hospital recovering.”

A network source told The Post that her attackers were screaming, “Jew! Jew!” during the assault. And the day before, Logan had told Esquire.com that Egyptian soldiers hassling her and her crew had accused them of “being Israeli spies.” Logan is not Jewish.

In Friday’s attack, she was separated from her colleagues and attacked for between 20 to 30 minutes, The Wall Street Journal said.

Her injuries were described to The Post as “serious.”

If these details are accurate, she was dragged away, terrified, by a hate filled mob in full view of the public, she was mercilessly beaten as they screamed ‘Jew’ at her and she was brutally raped time and again during that 20-30 minutes.  This is the the sort of story that makes someone feel physically ill.  We cannot begin to imagine what that poor woman went through, the fear, the pain, the violation, the loss of her dignity, the not knowing whether she would even survive.

But the revulsion I feel has been compounded by an American journalist darling of the left called Nir Rosen.  This self important bastard took to his Twitter account to indulge his desire to spew his bile and demonstrate what a free thinker he is, without knowing the facts.  This is a sample of what he is reported to have said:

The initial tweet by Rosen stated, “Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson [CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, who had recently been roughed up and threatened with beheading by a similar Egyptian mob]. Where was her buddy McCrystal.” From this tweet he went further, writing that he would have been amused if Anderson Cooper had also been sexually assaulted.

“Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don’t support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too,” wrote Rosen.

The two comments gave way to more. Rosen called Logan a “war monger” and expressed doubt that she was actually assaulted.

“Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger” wrote Rosen

He carried on, probably after being cautioned by other Tweeters:

“Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than [sic] I’m sorry.”

Rosen clarified his initial reference to former American commander in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal, writing that the assault should serve as a reminder of Logan’s “role glorifying war and condemning Rolling Stone’s Hastings while defending McChrystal.”

Then came a quasi-apology by Rosen: “ah fuck it, I apologize for being insensitive, it’s always wrong, that’s obvious, but I’m rolling my eyes at all the attention she will get.”

Oh yes, he’s sorry now, after that grudging and mealy mouthed excuse for an apology.  He wouldn’t have said it if he had realised how serious it was apparently.  Maybe he shouldn’t have said it in the first place.  Attention seeking wanker.  What a sick bastard he is, only thinking about his jealousy at the likely attention Logan would receive.  He clearly has some kind of mental issue. Needless to say this vicious and arrogant smear of shit has subsequently lost his job as fellow at the New York University Center on Law and Security.  Quite right too.  His comments are utterly indefensible.

At least I would have thought they were.  But no.  In my ignorance of the depth of camaraderie among left wing journalists I hadn’t reckoned on some other self important left wing blowhard acting as an apologist for Rosen and spewing forth in an attempt to deflect attention from Rosen on to someone else by way of an attack on a vicious and spiteful right wing blogger, Debbie Schlussel, for her own equally sick diatribe at Logan.

Step forward apologist in chief Michael Tomasky of the Guardian.  Quelle fucking surprise.  What is it about the people that work at that bloody paper?  It is a cesspool of disaffected, self satisfied hubris furthering its insipid agenda with a level of spite that exceeds human comprehension.

I expected you’ve heard the hideous news that Lara Logan of CBS News, above, was sexually assaulted in Cairo. And I expect you’ve heard that Nir Rosen, the left-leaning journalist who is like Logan a war correspondent, distastefully joked about it on Twitter. You’re probably less likely to have heard about Debbie Schlussel’s comments, more on which later.

Yeah that’s right. What Tomasky is saying is Rosen is evil, but look, I’ve found a right winger who is even worse. So you can’t be too hard on my fellow traveller.  He dribbles on:

Rosen, who has written for Rolling Stone, the New Yorker and various other publications, lost a prestigious fellowship at the New York University Center for Law and Security because of his tweets. He has been issuing apologies left and right, most notably in this interview with Media Bistro, where he went far beyond the usual bromides:

Oh stop, he was clearly so wonderful and all this is so unfair and you’re breaking my fucking heart. No one forced him to open his gobshite mouth.

There’s a great deal more in that vein. A great deal.

Rosen has some controversial views, but he is a reporter who goes into war zones.

You are fucking kidding me, right?  He goes into war zones?  So this gives him some kind of free pass to make the vicious, spiteful and contemptuous comments he did about Lara Logan?  Onto the Guardianista moral equivalence then:

Schlussel is a right-wing blogger whose specialty is fulmination, I believe from Michigan, about the subhuman qualities of Arabs.

And this lessens the sheer depth of bile Rosen doled out on Twitter does it?  Only a Guardian based conceited apologist wanker could have the brass neck to offer this up:

Rosen (whom I know very slightly, and ran into in the BBC Washington office not long ago) said some deeply unconscionable things and deserves a healthy stretch in the penalty box. But at least he’s remorseful about what he said. Schlussel is plainly an egomaniac and in an update to her original post just laid it on even more thickly.

So that’s alright then.  You ran into him at the BBC – where else would left wing tossers like you be? – so you’re qualified to act as his PR.  Both deserve equal condemnation, but the moral equivalence here is digusting.  And to defend him you have to draw parallels with a hate filled woman?  Doesn’t that tell you something?  No, you’re probably so far up your own arse you can’t rationalise that.  That’s why you have to resort to bullshit like this to defend your pal while attacking a competitor of the Guardian, a competitor of the BBC and a competitor of the New York Times, you opportunist bastard:

We live in an age in which every instant thought can be sent out into the world. Some people try to learn from it. Others take advantage of it for the purpose of spreading their name. What odds should I lay down that Murdoch properties Fox News or the New York Post, where Schlussel appears, will make her submit to any penalty?

Rosen is incapable of controlling himself but you try to defend him.  This is the kind of stuff that makes one feel physically ill.  Not one word of concern for Lara Logan from Tomasky, just a biased agenda to pursue.  I’m still feeling the nausea now. If there is a hell I hope the scum like Rosen, Schlussel and Tomasky end up there. Cameron can go there too for his pathetic exaggerations that cheapen the impact of stories of real suffering.

My thoughts and best wishes are with Lara after the appalling trauma she has suffered.  I hope that when her body has healed the psychological pain will be the least it possibly can be.

Mehdi Hasan – what an unpleasant piece of work

Watching Mehdi Hasan on television has long given me a sense of the man’s intolerance for anyone who disagrees with him.

But that intolerance has previously manifested itself in a different way, something I was unaware of.  The clip below demonstrates Hasan’s casual bigotry and disdain for non Muslims, and his misplaced sense of moral superiority.  What a thoroughly unpleasant individual.

He may use his frequent BBC appearances spout the usual buzz words such as ‘equality’, ‘diversity’, ‘multi-culturalism’ and ‘Islamophobia’ but we can now see what exists behind the carefully moderated public face. No wonder he is the pride of the New Stateman.

(Hat tip: commenter in another thread)

Did Brigstocke offset his carbon emissions?

There is a superb, laugh out loud post on Biased BBC about the insufferable antidote to comedy, Marcus Brigstocke.  The lack of self awareness of such pontificating buffoons like Brigstocke is staggering.  I had to lift it in its entirety for full effect, but do visit the original posts and enjoy the comments…

My Life in Travel: Marcus Brigstocke, comedian

Best holiday?
I went to the Maldives the year before last… I’ve also had some of my happiest holidays in Mallorca with family and friends. It’s a very beautiful island. We stay in great place called Camp de Mar near Andratx. So it’s a toss-up between the opulent, unforgettable paradise of the Maldives and calamari by the beach, waterskiing and nightclubbing in Mallorca

What have you learnt from your travels?
I have learnt that I am incapable of packing the right amount of clothing, probably because I start 10 minutes before I’m supposed to leave; and that I truly hate airports. I rarely fly, for environmental reasons more than anything else.

Where has seduced you?
I went to China for a brief working visit and I thought that Shanghai was interesting, but Beijing totally grabbed me

Worst travel experience?
My son, sister, niece and I were sea kayaking in Mexico and got caught in a rip tide

Worst hotel?
A resort hotel in Varadero, Cuba.

Dream trip?
I have never been to India.

Favourite city?
New York. It has great restaurants and is a part of the US that you can enjoy as a liberal Brit.

Marcus Brigstocke will be performing at Altitude at Volvo Snowbombing from 4-9 April in Mayrhofen, Austria

Perhaps he is merely in search of an audience that finds him funny?

The demonisation of people for what they think

We are on a very slippery slope.  Today was the day the media reached a sickening new lows in its unjust and disproportionate treatment of people it makes the objects of supposed news stories.  The media has appointed itself the judge, jury and assassin of the characters of people for daring to say what they think.

Story One
Listeners to BBC Radio Five Live have endured near saturation coverage of what is probably being called ‘SkySportsGate’ behind the scenes.  At the time of writing the story of Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys and pundit Andy Gray engaging in some misogynistic conversation about Premier League linesman assistant referee Sian Massey and West Ham vice chairman Karren Brady remains the number two news item on the BBC News website.

It was the major news item this morning.  Then it became the hastily promoted discussion piece on Nicky Campbell’s phone in.  As the BBC’s editors salivated uncontrollably and developed moist loins at being able to put the boot in to Sky, the story rolled over into Victoria Derbyshire’s show. There the listeners were subjected to an all women prosecution, jury and judgement on the two men as speculation mounted about the appropriate punishment for this ‘offence’.

At this point Karren Brady was rolled out, without any hint of irony, to explain how these sexist comments made her ‘blood boil’ and castigate Keys and Gray for their comments.  This of course is the same Karren Brady who was so opposed to sexism she left her advertising job at LBC radio to work for pornography publishing baron, David Sullivan.  Not that La Derbyshire brought that up – although a number of listeners did via text and email. Being offended by sexism, it seems, is a selective condition in Brady’s case.

To say this is out of all proportion is the understatement of the century.  Were their comments inappropriate?  Were they laced with resentment at the spectacle of a female official?  Were they ungentlemanly or downright rude?  You know what, it doesn’t bloody matter because it was a private conversation between the two men.  They were not comments made for public consumption.  Yet some opportunist toad listening across the ‘talkback’ function before the coverage started made a copy of the comments; and instead of complaining to management, sent it to the press to turn it into a big story.

Nevertheless the BBC has lapped it up.  After all, it’s their big rival Sky, a part Murdoch-owned organisation that achieves commercially what the BBC dare not attempt.  The demonisation is total.  Having been admonished and making an apology, the BBC coverage has pushed Sky into a public relations corner and so Keys and Gray now face disciplinary action.  Not for a failure to do their job well, not for doing anything wrong on air, but for expressing their personal thoughts in a private conversation.  The BBC have gone hunting for scalps and will not be satisfied until Keys and Gray have lost their livelihood.  So now the two men are to be punished for what they think.  It is deeply disturbing.

Update: After another clip of Gray being offensive was released he has been sacked by Sky Sports. It was justified but the manner of this coming to light, via the leaking of a private conversation, remains of great concern.

Story two
Readers of the Belfast Telegraph in recent days will have experienced near saturation coverage of the tragic honeymoon murder of Michaela McAreavey, the daughter of three-time Tyrone All-Ireland winning GAA manager Mickey Harte.

A beautiful, popular and by all accounts talented girl, Michaela was killed by hotel staff when she caught them stealing from her and her husband’s room.  However the Belfast Telegraph’s intimate coverage of the story makes it feel like she has been elevated to the position of Northern Ireland’s Princess Diana.

The killers have been caught and made confessions.  Michaela has been repatriated and buried.  But still the Telegraph’s coverage continues unabated. To date, in the 13 days since the story broke, the Belfast Telegraph has published no less than 60 related articles about the killing, family grief, funeral, family background, calls for an inquiry etc. etc.  Maybe you could expect such a number over a period of time if the case was open and police were still trying to catch the killer.  But this case is all but over.

Not everyone appreciates the excessive coverage.  One such person is a 19 year old girl called Susanne Morrison.  Writing on her Facebook page, this witless kid – a part time photographer for an obscure paper in County Down:

ranted that she was “sick of hearing” about Michaela’s murder because she could not see “what makes her so special”.

Susanne also made other sickening remarks which we are not repeating.

Morrison’s comments are at best inelegant, and if her other remarks (removed from Facebook) are indeed ‘sickening’ then she is clearly unpleasant and inconsiderate as well.  But the reaction of the Belfast Telegraph gives great cause for concern.  Like the BBC in the casestudy above, the Telegraph has a self serving agenda.  It has gone after Morrison in a faintly sinister manner that is deeply disturbing.

Without any good reason, the Belfast Telegraph has told readers where Morrison lives, Rathfriland.  In a society where religious denomination is often denoted by the football team one supports, the BT tells readers that she supports Rangers and Linfield (predominantly protestant supported teams).  To help readers identify Morrison, the Telegraph goes on to name her employer, the Co Down Outlook – while inflaming the matter by pointing out the paper ‘circulates in the area where Michaela’s devastated widower John McAreavey plays football for the Down county side’.

Despite Susanne Morrison’s comments having nothing to do with her part time employment, the Sunday Life (from where the Telegraph picked up this story) contacted the Co Down Outlook’s editor Joanne Ross – who then issued a statement saying that they were horrified by the Facebook comments and the paper was investigating.  This is an example of the media attempting exact retribution by trying to harm someone’s career prospects and livelihood by dragging the employer into the story, where the employer feels compelled to take action for PR purposes. Why also is there any need to tell readers which High School Morrison attended and provide details of her HND qualification in photography?  The Telegraph appears to be making Morrison a target for abuse by going to extraordinary lengths to give as many details of her as possible, while including a large colour photograph into the bargain.

It is both cynical and vicious, but it is also personal.  For at the heart of the Telegraph’s determination to nail Morrison to the wall is her criticism of the Telegraph’s over the top and disproportionate coverage of the story.  It says that Morrison had already widely circulated her comments on the Internet. But there is no evidence this idiotic and mouthy youngster did anything other than make comments on her Facebook page to her 600 or so ‘friends’ – a very different circulation to the tens of thousands of people who read the Telegraph.

This is another example of the media trying to silence people through direct bullying and the threat of intimidation and the potential loss of employment.  It is an effort to dissuade people from expressing their thoughts and views, whether they are considered or obnoxious. It is by extension a form of censorship and attempt to stifle any opinion but that of the media outlet indulging its editorial whims.  It is unacceptable, but it underlines the loss of freedom of expression and the growing intolerance in our society.  It shows we are on a very slippery and disturbing slope.

Update: Following the Belfast Telegraph’s successful witch hunt, Susanne Morrison has lost her job.  Her comments on Facebook were unpleasant but the Telegraph has twisted the story, claiming Morrison was criticising ‘the outpouring of grief’.  She was not, she was criticising the completely disproportinate and self serving saturation coverage in the media, particularly in the Belfast Telegraph which is now up to 62 articles covering every conceivable angle of the story and family’s private aftermath. After what are alleged to be spiteful comments by Morrison the Telegraph sunk to her level and was equally spiteful because she had pointed out the overblown coverage.

What have we allowed this world to turn into?  What have we allowed the self appointed elite to get away with?  Is there any way to redress the balance?

More EU verbal flatulence aimed at Russia

You may be familiar with the saying ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’. The thinking behind it was that where possible nations should use diplomacy to resolve a dispute and do not rush to confrontation. But by way of a last resort nations should have the ability and willingness to use force if those diplomatic and peaceful methods fail.

When it comes to the EU that old adage has been transformed into ‘Utter meaningless words and carry a big carrot’. Far from a stick and carrot approach to dealing with worrying developments, the craven EU employs a unique ‘carrot and bigger carrot’ approach.

This was evident after the Russian invasion of Georgia. French President Nicolas Sarkozy packaged up and delivered to Russia an EU peace plan to bring an end to the short, one-sided conflict with Georgia.  A quick scan showed the EU plan had more holes than a sieve and favoured Russia disproportionately.  Russia duly flouted the terms brazenly and the EU offered nothing more than a few limp words of disappointment. Within a few months and with Russian troops still on Georgian soil, the EU completed its ‘tough approach’ to Russia in typically hypocritical and unprincipled manner by opening up trade talks with Moscow.

Now the EU is at it again, this time uttering meaningless words and reaching for the carrot sack on the subject of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. As European Voice reported on Monday:

The European Union’s leaders have issued statements warning the Russian authorities about the treatment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has been convicted for a second time.

A court in Moscow announced on 27 December that Khodorkovsky, the former head of the Yukos oil company and sometime political opponent of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, had been convicted of embezzlement and money-laundering on top of his existing conviction from a trial in 2005. He has been in prison since the 2005 conviction and a further term of imprisonment is now expected.

Apparently the EU has said that the severity of punishment meted out to Mikhail Khodorkovsky could impact bilateral relations after Moscow courts found the oil tycoon guilty of embezzlement. Oh please. If the EU is capable of turning its collective back on Georgia and appeasing Russia in the self centred way it did in 2008, can we really be expected to believe it will do a damned thing to defend the interests of Khodorkovsky? Why do they bother with this theatre? It is gesture politics and Moscow knows as well as we that the EU will run away at the first hint of any back straightening in the Kremlin.

The EU is only capable of subverting democracy and eroding the rights of people living in its member states. The bureaucracy that thinks it’s a country is nothing but a paper tiger when it involves itself in matters on the world stage. Any entity that consists of more than a few north African tribesmen is just too strong to tackle.

History is repeating itself and Moscow will laugh off the Brussels bleating as the vacuous posturing it is. It would be no surprise if we see a repeat of a major EU power, such as France, announcing a major deal with Russia within a few short months.  The only question is, what does Russia want that the EU will fall over itself to hand over? In the meantime Brussels should do us all a favour and give up the histrionics.

David Laws’ return would be contempt of taxpayers

‘He was forced to resign as Chief Secretary to the Treasury over revelations about his expenses claims, but there was widespread sympathy for him at Westminster.’ That is the Daily Mail’s summary about the disgraced former Lib Dem minister, David Laws.

Just seven months after he had to resign for defrauding the taxpayer and lying about his personal circumstances over his expenses claims the political class is preparing to parachute David Laws back into a ministerial position as if he had done nothing wrong. It has been coming since the week he took his extended break from the front bench. There is no clearer example of the contempt in which the taxpaying public is held by the politicians in Westminster. There is no clearer example of the moral bankruptcy that permeates Westminster.

Where in the past dishonourable conduct and wrongdoing could have been expected to result in a shamefaced resignation from Parliament and a by-election, now it only attracts a short spell on the backbenches before a triumphant return to the trappings of power. It is seen as a minor inconvenience on a politician’s career path and the short suspension is merely a small and utterly resentful sop to the public. MPs think they are a special case. They have an arrogant sense of entitlement and convince themselves they are a special case and should live by rules that suit them.

In any other occupation David Laws would have been summarily sacked by his employer for knowingly claiming money to which he was not entitled and telling lies to make it appear his claim was within the rules. But in the Westminster bubble these pompous, overblown egomaniacs can do what they like and know there will be no consequences, or consequences so trivial they are not worthy of being applied.

£40,000 of taxpayers’ money was claimed fraudulently by David Laws. Regardless he kept his seat and MP’s salary and perks. Now it seems he will shortly get more money in salary and a ministerial car and have a degree of influence over people who have been honourable and not taken what is not theirs. It’s sick and it’s wrong.

It is time the Westminster swamp was drained and the parasites removed.

Cameron’s lies on the EU and Human Rights Act

An excerpt from a speech on Fixing Broken Politics delivered in May 2009 as reproduced on this blog in January 2010.

THE EU AND THE HRA

But the tragic truth today is that no matter how much we strengthen Parliament or hold government to account…

…there will still be forces at work in our country that are completely unaccountable to the people of Britain.

People and organisations that have huge power and control over our daily lives and yet which no citizen can actually get at.

Almost half of all the regulations affecting our businesses come from the EU.

And since the advent of the Human Rights Act, judges are increasingly making our laws.

The EU and the judges – neither of them accountable to British citizens – have taken too much power over issues that are contested aspects of public policy…

…and which should therefore be settled in the realm of democratic politics.

It’s no wonder people feel so disillusioned with politics and Parliament when they see so many big decisions that affect their lives being made somewhere else.

So a progressive reform agenda demands that we redistribute power from the EU to Britain and from judges to the people.

We will therefore hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, pass a law requiring a referendum to approve any further transfers of power to the EU, negotiate the return of powers, and require far more detailed scrutiny in Parliament of EU legislation, regulation and spending.

And we will introduce a British Bill of Rights to strengthen our liberties, spell out the extent and limit of rights more clearly, and ensure proper democratic accountability over the creation of any new rights.

These are the words and promises of David Cameron when in opposition. In government Cameron has:

To quote Cameron:

‘It’s no wonder people feel so disillusioned with politics and Parliament when they see so many big decisions that affect their lives being made somewhere else.’

Too true. And also when they are lied to by a deceitful, two faced hypocrite like him, who will say anything to achieve personal power then break those cast iron promises because he had no intention of ever honouring them. Quisling bastard.

One for Lauren Booth to consider

The journalist sister-in-law of Tony Blair, Lauren Booth, recently revealed she had converted to Islam. It’s her choice. But in response to questions raised asking how she could square her new Islamic faith and the subjugation of women with her views on women’s rights, Booth wrote:

So let’s all just take a deep breath and I’ll give you a glimpse into the other world of Islam in the 21st century. Of course, we cannot discount the appalling way women are mistreated by men in many cities and cultures, both with and without an Islamic population. Women who are being abused by male relatives are being abused by men, not God. Much of the practices and laws in “Islamic” countries have deviated from (or are totally unrelated) to the origins of Islam. Instead practices are based on cultural or traditional (and yes, male-orientated) customs that have been injected into these societies.

Booth readily admits to not having read the Qur’an so her knowledge of Islam is negligable. But on the basis of her fanatical fondness for and relationships with some Palestinians she offered the comment above.

Now watch the video below. Just to be clear, as the reporter says before the clip is played, the Governor of Khartoum said this woman had been punished under Sharia Law – not a cultural or traditional custom, but a tenet of the Islamic faith. There is no justification for this kind of barbarism, certainly not the ‘crime’ of wearing trousers under one’s proscribed garments.

United Nations focuses on China’s human rights record

But not in the way you might imagine…

We learn via UN Watch that the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva today hosted a massive photo exhibit extolling China’s human rights record and its alleged respect for Uyghurs, Tibetans and other minority groups, displayed next to the U.N. human rights office event marking international Human Rights Day. (Hat tip: Helen)

UN Watch’s story goes on to add that:

Under photos showing Chinese deputies voting at a ballot box, the U.N. exhibit says that “China’s Constitution and laws guarantee citizens’ freedom of speech, publication, assembly, association, procession and demonstration.” China’s laws mark “the gradual perfection of the legal system” where “the rule of law is generally realized in the country’s economic, political, cultural and social life.”

This obscene piece of appeasing propaganda has been timed to coincide with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, who remains imprisoned by the Chinese authorities for ‘subversion’ – namely campaiging for democratic reforms in China and an end to the one-party communist state. In addition to Mr Liu, dozens of others have been detained or threatened to prevent them going to Oslo to collect the award or to speak with journalists. So much for freedom of speech, association and demonstration.

The UN consistently shows itself to be an insipid, corrupt and morally bankrupt organisation whose only aim is to satisfy the special interests of large corporations and the political class. Like other bureaucracies it is now engaged in its own project to assume the role of world government that can demand national governments to follow particular courses of action or hand over money to the UN for it to spend as it sees fit.

Britain’s slow self destruction – Binyam Mohamed allowed to live in UK

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, a cause célèbre of the BBC because of his story of torture under interrogation, has been granted permanent residency in Britain.

Despite possessing a story about his movements so full of holes a colander is watertight in comparison, and despite trying to return to Britain (where he was already seeking asylum) from an extended trip to the heroin and jihadist training capital of the world (Afghanistan and Pakistan) supposedly in order to get off drugs (stop laughing a the back) he attempted to use a forged passport (although allowed into Britain with his own). Now despite this questionable activity this Ethiopian Islamist has been granted permission to remain permanently in the UK.

But for a tiny molecule of common sense from a judge, we would not even know about this decision as Binyam Mohamed’s legally aided team of lawyers sought an injunction to keep the decision secret from the British public.

What kind of insane desire to self destruct leads a country to give people, who offer nothing but a threat to its citizens, the right to live among them?

Committing a criminal act as serious as using a false passport to enter Britain should have instantly excluded Binyam Mohamed’s existing asylum claim. It raises serious questions about what his intentions were, something that has never been explained. With Afghanistan already being in a state of sustained conflict in 2o02, Mohamed’s reasoning for going there in the first place doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The media focus on his claims of UK complicity in his alleged torture while in US custody has ensured Mohamed’s own actions have largely been ignored.

In just about every civilised country the first responsibility and priority of a government is the protection of its citizens. In Britain the protection of the citizenry comes some way down the priority list. Instead in Britain the slavish adherence to nonsensical human rights laws and the pervasive influence of the sopping wet liberal bleeding heart guilt mongers, who feel they must atone daily for our history of colonialism and further their desire to sweep away national borders, sees decisions such as this handed down on a regular basis.

Make no mistake, these decisions are made by an out of touch elite that can afford to live well insulated from the effects of those decisions. An out of touch elite that views Britain as a small, insignificant country with delusions of power and influence that is crass and insulting to their supposedly enlightened and internationalist worldview.

So it is that Britain continues to self destruct. So it is that the Britain of just two generations ago, where the population was bound by common values and identity, is transformed into a haven for the world’s flotsam and jetsom – many of whom despise our values and have no interest in sharing our identity. So it is that Britain leaves itself wide open to attack from those extremists who seek to speed our destruction, while the authorities sweep away the privacy and rights of the host population.

Such insanity cannot be allowed to continue. But our political class is not interested in addressing these concerns because what matters to us does not matter to them. As such we will continue to be exposed to avoidable risks. So we can expect to see more examples of this insanity as Britain slowly unspools and loses all vestiges of what defined it as a sovereign nation.

Gamu – now the emotional blackmail starts

Any hope that the immigration case of Nokuthula Ngazana – mother of X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu – would remain a simple visa issue has evaporated with a News of the World article where Gamu pleads:

A firing squad’s waiting for us.

Gamu, photographed in a series of tearful poses, goes on to say that:

“I’ve been in the public eye now and people there know I’ve fled Mugabe’s regime. They will punish us if we go back. They’re going to know where we are.

“We’re going to be very unsafe. People have already been approaching our family members.

“We think they could be working for Mugabe. And we know how brutal he can be. I would be in danger, it’s blatantly obvious. My family would be in danger.”

Those with a careful eye will have already noted in the media the story of how Gamu and her siblings ended up in the UK. There was never any suggestion that Gamu was brought to the UK to flee Mugabe’s regime. The mother went to Scotland on a visa in search of a former lover, took a job as a nurse and undertook a degree, calling for the children to join her. She didn’t come to the UK seeking asylum and when her visa expired she merely asked for leave to remain. Again, there was no application for asylum or indication of any threat to the family. As such the family has no right to remain in the UK.

Today, threatened with repatriation because the request for leave to remain was turned down, Gamu makes her heart-wrenching appeal to be allowed to stay employing the emotive comments noted above. It is emotional blackmail and it is deeply cynical.

No doubt the lawyers acting for the family and the myriad of immigrant support groups who try to circumvent our immigration rules have had a hand in crafting this new approach. But that is the way the game is played now. If ‘Reason A’ fails, change your story and present ‘Reason B’. If that fails, some kindly campaigner will help you generate ‘Reason C’ and assist you in keeping up the pressure until the authorities finally cave in for a quiet life and add to our growing immigrant population.

What is the point of issuing visas to people like Nokuthula Ngazana when they abuse their temporary right to stay and engineer a permanent relocation?

This is not personal, it is just an frustrated call to stop the system being so obviously abused in this way. Cases like these happen every day and this has only been thrust into the public eye because Gamu was a popular contestant in a TV singing show. It would be wrong for the authorities to cave in to such a cynical and manipulative campaign to make an exception and set aside the rules.

Gamu Nhengu’s family has no right to remain in Britain

It is no suprise to see the ‘great unthinking’ and the terminally ignorant serial campaigners who join every passing bandwagon, jumping up and down demanding that Nokuthula Ngazana and her family – including X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu – be allowed to remain in Britain.

It took nanoseconds for some of these people to start screaming allegations of racism in the treatment of Mrs Ngazana.  It only took a few moments more for the misplaced emotional blackmail attempts to begin, decrying what an injustice it would be to send poor Gamu and her family back to Zimbabwe.  They argue that compassion demands the family be allowed to stay in Britain because of the conditions in Zimbabwe and the fact it has a vile dictator as its head of state.

What is clear is that to these people the facts do not matter.  The fact is Gamu Nhengu’s mother chose to come to Britain to study for a nursing degree and post degree experience in that field. She didn’t come here as a desperate refugee seeking asylum from Mugabe’s despotic rule in a failing country, but on a student visa to undertake an educational course. The terms of the visa were clear, at the end of the alloted time, she would have to return to her home country with her family.

Mrs Ngazana made a conscious decision to study here and by securing the visa knew, understood and agreed that when it expired she would return to Zimbabwe. She knew her family would have to be uprooted and leave behind what they had come to know in their young lives. She had already uprooted them once to bring them to Britain to further her education.

I have no idea who funded the costs of Mrs Ngazana’s study, her living expenses, cost of accomodation and the cost of bringing up her children. What does seem clear from her representatives is that she was advised by the Inland Revenue that she was entitled to claim Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and that it was aware of her immigration status. This despite the British public repeatedly being told by government ministers that immigrants and those coming here as students are not entitled to benefits funded by the taxpayer. But that is a matter for another time. The issue here is whether a student should be allowed to change their status with no good reason to remain in this country – breaking the terms of the visa that was issued to them.

The matter is clear cut. So it is with simmering anger I learn this morning that solicitors representing Mrs Ngazana (costs being picked up by whom?) are seeking a judicial review (taxpayers funding the cost of defending the case and the court costs) in an attempt to allow the family to remain here, thus undermining the concept of visa terms and bypassing correct immigration processes. The only reason this is happening is that Gamu has a pretty voice and was a popular contestant on a television show created to make its star – Simon Cowell – richer still.

This case sums up the decay in this country of ours. Abandoned values, the blurring of right and wrong, falling respect for the law, failure to follow the rules and the moronic cult of celebrity are combined here to present us with a story for the dumbed down media to milk for all it’s worth.

Had Mrs Ngazana come here seeking protection from persecution – real not imagined – I would have no qualms about allowing her to remain. If she had come here because of the fear of revenge for opposing the Mugabe regime, no problem. But she didn’t. She came here in the knowledge is was on a temporary basis to gain a qualification. That has been achieved and it is time for her to go home. It is time Mrs Ngazana and her new found representatives and bandwagon of hangers on who are already looking for the next bandwagon to hitch themselves to, understood and accepted that and stopped wasting taxpayers’ money in an effort to circumvent the rules she signed up to.

A rocket attack the BBC could not ignore

No apologies here for continuing on the theme of selective reporting by the BBC about the escalation in violence against Israel over the last 10 days.  As this blog has pointed out in recent days, the recent rocket attacks against Israel have been ignored and only referred to when the BBC reports on Israeli retaliation.

Today however the BBC rushed to report about a rocket attack on the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat.  Not because of any shift in editorial approach, but because the terrorists who launched the attack managed to hit the Jordanian port of Aqaba, injuring civilians thereby making it newsworthy.  Most likely it would have otherwise been ignored like the attacks further north.

Rockets and mortars are being launched at Israel indiscriminately from Gaza and now from the Egyptian Sinai peninsula.  These are not just of the homemade variety casually dismissed as trivial by the media, but military munitions such as the Grad.  As you can see from the damage it causes in the image above, the Grad is not to be taken lightly.

As if these attacks did not demonstrate with sufficient impact that Israel continues to suffer from murderous violence from outwith its borders, the terrorist group Islamic Jihad has now announced it is to renew suicide bombings inside Israel, attacks that are being planned in the West Bank.

Perhaps if the BBC was more willing to present the full picture of the violence being waged against Israel, people would understand the actions Israeli carries out in response.  While painted as an aggressor, the Israelis are just doing what any free state would do to neutralise the architects of the attacks and deny them materials and operating bases from which to launch their terror.


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