Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sinking ... poor white boys are the new failing class

British working-class white boys have taken over from their black counterparts as school under-achievers. Michael Collins explains why

If confirmation were needed that the urban white working class has moved away from the archaic image of a cockney cap-wearing armchair revolutionary, it came via a report published last week from the Social Justice Policy Group: a think tank created by David Cameron and chaired by the former Tory party leader Iain Duncan Smith. While liberals stand accused of demonising and disenfranchising the white working class, and new Labour legislates on the food that should go in their mouths and the words that should come out, the Conservatives have weighed in with news regarding this urban tribe’s rising generation. The prognosis isn’t favourable: things ain’t what they used to be. The report, entitled State of the Nation - Education Failure, casts the young of the tribe in an image that takes up the baton from Vicky Pollard of Little Britain and the chav industry that erupted a couple of years ago. It brings news of an illiterate underclass, spiralling towards drug dependency, crime and homelessness.

Apparently the rot begins with truancy and poor exam results. For the first time boys from white working-class backgrounds are performing less well in their studies than their contemporaries in any other ethnic group. Just 17% of white working-class boys achieve five good-grade GCSEs, 2% fewer than black boys and far below those from Indian and Chinese backgrounds.

If it's true that urban white boys have long since come to emulate the style, attitude and language of their black contemporaries, this latest development takes the transformation to the nth degree. Respect?

Throwing cash at the problem is not going to improve matters as, to paraphrase the report, the parents are to blame. A lack of parental interest in a child's education is listed along with parental drug and alcohol abuse for the underperformance of working class white lads.

Some of this was evident at some level in many urban neighbourhoods from the 1980s, a point the report fails to reflect on. What's happened in the past 20 years is that the problem has expanded and deepened. As GK Chesterton once said of writers trying to predict the future: "They took something or other that was going on in their time, and then said that it would go on more and more until something extraordinary happened."

According to the report, we are now in the throes of something extraordinary happening. But it strikes me that this is not exclusively a 21st-century issue. Just over 100 years ago, authors, anthropologists and reformers descended on working-class neighbourhoods. The class they were observing then was one that was said to exist without a voice, in the form of a political vote, and emerged as an identifiable crowd only when celebrating a patriotic victory, sporting or otherwise (at which point they were said to emerge like "rats from the sewers", sing drunken songs and attack each other with pigs' bladders).

Reformers put the emphasis on the need for education and thrift in order to lead the voiceless underclass from gambling, alcohol, licentiousness, vice and crime. Some were concerned that greater wealth might lead to further debasement. This is echoed today in those who believe the masses are destroying the planet with their fast food and holidays in Benidorm.

With the emergence of universal suffrage, healthcare and education, the white working-class profile altered. They became seen as salt-of-the-earth toilers, living out their lives in the same streets they'd been born in before a backdrop of factory, pub, market and betting shop and lots of communal singing, a dab of fisticuffs, and perhaps a bit of politics and patriotism thrown in.

In the early 20th century, working-class culture was localised and family based and, even if the emphasis wasn't on education, it largely valued working hard and doing well.

How things have changed. As well as highlighting the underachievement of white working-class boys, last week's report found that the young males who are doing best at school come from the Chinese and Indian communities, which have perhaps the most insular and inward-looking ethnic backgrounds. Iain Duncan Smith says in the report that boys from Chinese and Indian homes do well because "family structures are strong and learning is highly valued". He adds that marrying-in and keeping the faith are fostered.

The irony is that back in the 20th century, similar elements kept the white working class together in a tightly knit, localised culture. Once, it too had its own rituals and community cohesion. But that all changed and a social class that was, economically, already bottom of the pile was forced to experience more upheaval than any other social group. After the second world war and the bombing that had destroyed many of the old terraces and tenements in urban areas, so many people were rehoused in new concrete estates which broke down many of the old community ties. From the 1950s onwards there were incessant waves of immigration, with the white working class forced to share what were already cramped quarters with a huge influx of immigrants.

When they complained, they were dismissed by the chattering classes as Little Englanders and racists. The incessant attempts to accommodate an increasingly dense population scattered the white working class out of their original habitat. Many moved out to the suburbs, geographically fracturing the strong family networks and communities.

Before that the working class were born and bred in the place they would live for the rest of their lives. Existing cheek by jowl with family, friends and neighbours meant that everybody knew everybody else and their business. A lack of respect or a stepping out of line could haunt you for life; there was an incentive to keep your nose clean and do as you would be done by. That enforced morality and standard of behaviour began to unravel in the anonymity of the new estates.

Changing social mores also hit hard as teenage pregnancy and single mothers bred boys without father figures and dependent on benefits. Added to those problems are the increased awareness among the working classes of the lives of the rich: rather than living among their own kind, television provided a window to another way of living.

For many young lads, education seemed a long route to riches, particularly when huge sums were on offer to footballers or musicians, or lately to anyone who appears on reality television. Today's working-class lads are as clued up as anyone on what wealth is about and its signifiers. Burberry, anyone?

The culture of political correctness and the widespread (and often accurate) view among many working-class people that every other social and ethnic group's needs came above theirs when it came to government resources bred resentment. From the 1980s the multiculturalists formed part of a breed within civic bodies, keen to erase evidence of the local heritage of the white working class and emphasise the historical presence of every other creed and colour. Had all this been done to any other ethnic or social group, its problems would not have remained so hidden. "If the experience of poor urban whites were happening to other groups, there would be an outcry, followed by inquiries, commissions, reports, and positive action plans," wrote one columnist last week. "But nothing of the sort will occur. The entire thrust of the state machine is to address the needs of ethnic minorities."

I would argue that divorcing today's young working-class lads from a sense of their own history and belonging has played a large part in their underperformance. When the poor academic performance of black boys became an issue, experts were quick to point to the causes: a lack of positive male role models, racism and history. The poor performance of black boys at school first became an issue in the 1970s. Nobody then mentioned what was happening to the likes of us. I left a comprehensive school with one CSE. Only a handful of my white working-class contemporaries went on to further education. Now, 30 years on, it is depressing to say the least that things have got even worse.


Christian Union under Threat, Students Prepare for Legal Action

Christian Unions across Britain are preparing to take legal action as they face increasing persecution from university authorities which deem them 'too exclusive'

Christian Unions across Britain are seeking legal advice after four university campus branches were banned from official lists of societies or denied access to university facilities and privileges. Now Christian Unions at Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Birmingham universities are seeking legal advice in the face of accusations that they are excluding non-Christians, promoting homophobia and discriminating against those of transgender sexuality.

The 150-strong Christian Union in Birmingham was suspended this year after refusing to alter its constitution to allow non-Christians to address meetings and to amend its literature to include references to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and those of transgender sexuality. Edinburgh University has banned an event run by the Christian Union called PURE which promotes a traditional biblical view of personal and sexual relationships.

The university defended the ban, saying that PURE was in breach of its equality and diversity policy because PURE claims that any sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage is not God-ordained. The pressure came principally from the Gay and Lesbian Society at Edinburgh University and follows the university's decision last year to ban copies of the Bible in its halls of residence after protests from the students' union.

The Lawyers' Christian Fellowship criticised the decision to ban PURE, saying, "This incident is an attack on freedom of speech in an institution where an open exchange of views and a search after truth should be strongly upheld. "In this instance the Christian Union is being denied freedom of expression because what they say and believe is uncomfortable for some groups in the university."

Christian Unions elsewhere are also coming under increasing attack. Christian students are threatening to take Exeter University and students' guild to court over human rights breaches after the university temporarily suspended the Christian Union from the official list of student societies on campus. The Exeter Christian Union - which has a 50-year history at the university - has also had its Student Union bank account frozen and has been banned from free use of students' guild premises or advertising within guild facilities.

Exeter University's student guild claims the Christian Union constitution and activities do not conform to its Equal Opportunities Policies, which have only recently been introduced.Exeter Christian Union told the university Thursday that it would take legal action after 14 days if it was not fully re-instated as a student society by the guild with full rights and was allowed to call itself the Christian Union. Emma Brewster, Christian Union worker at Exeter University said: "This is a fundamental issue of freedom of speech and of common sense. Legal action is the last thing we want to take, and we certainly don't relish it, but we are fully prepared to stand our ground for truth and freedom. "We want to be able to study in a university that allows students - of all faiths and of none - to freely express their views from whatever stance they might take, be able to disagree with one another, and yet to co-exist alongside one another. Surely that is a truly democratic society?

"The Christian Union here, as at almost every university in the UK, holds the orthodox Christian views which churches of all denominations have also held for 2,000 years. In 50 years, this is the first complaint about our name and what we stand for."The action currently taken by the guild does nothing to enhance the reputation of Exeter University, or its students to prospective employers, nor does it demonstrate that this university seeks to encourage all its students to freely develop their ideas, thoughts, values and beliefs."

The Lawyers' Christian Fellowship has provided informal legal advice to the students at Exeter but expects a wave of legal action to follow. "We haven't seen examples of this sort of discrimination against any other groups and we are puzzled by why Christian unions seem to be being singled out," said Andrea Minichiello Williams, public policy officer for the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship in The Times.

Meanwhile, the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF), the umbrella group for the 350 Christian Unions across Britain, said that the Christian Unions faced a struggle "unprecedented" in their 83-year history.Pod Bhogal, the fellowship's head of communications, said: "The politically correct agenda is being used to shut people up under the guise of tolerance when, in fact, you tolerate anything other than the thing you disagree with The UCCF has asked that as many people as possible write to the Principal of Edinburgh University to express their disapproval at the censorship of the Christian Union at the university.



British Airways has warned that businesses will quit Britain if the battle against global warming dictates the government's aviation policy and plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport are delayed.

Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive, said last night that millions of jobs would be affected if Heathrow was allowed to stagnate as an international flight hub. The department for transport is expected to update plans to build extra runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports when it publishes a progress report on its aviation white paper before Christmas.

Politicians and the environmental lobby have demanded action against the aviation industry, which is one of the fastest-growing contributors to carbon dioxide emissions and is under pressure to curb expansion plans. So far its response has been mixed. Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has described calls for aviation taxes as "the usual horseshit", while Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic airline is forming a green aviation body.

Mr Walsh said in a speech at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London that Heathrow was losing its competitive edge to European rivals such as Frankfurt. He said its cramped conditions were putting off travellers while other flight hubs offered access to international destinations with fewer delays. BA has asked the government to hold a public consultation next year on whether there should be a third Heathrow runway, with a view to building it by 2015.

"In 25 years, Heathrow could be an aviation backwater - as relevant to the world economy of the mid 21st century as London's former East End docks. Even if we focus solely on Europe, we can see the threat to Heathrow's position over the next decade if nothing is done to increase runway capacity," he said.

If the rate of competitive decline continued, Heathrow's network of destinations would be nearly half the size of that offered by airports in Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam, which would affect the British economy and threaten millions of jobs, he said. "Without convenient access to markets, suppliers and investors, businesses cannot grow - and will simply relocate to centres that offer them the connectivity they need. Under present constraints, that means out of the UK," he said.

A 2km runway would increase the number of flights to and from Heathrow to 700,000 per year, up from 470,000, said Mr Walsh. A forthcoming study by Oxford Economic Forecasting is expected to back the case for a third runway by arguing that expansion at Heathrow would boost the economy. A report by the Treasury published three years ago said increased capacity at the airport would contribute o7.8bn to British gross domestic product.

"We cannot hope to maintain London's status as a premier league business centre, supporting millions of jobs across the country, unless we provide the world-class air links that businesses need in a global economy," Mr Walsh said.

His comments met with immediate criticism from the green lobby. Tony Bosworth, aviation campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said the government must rule out expansion of Heathrow as part of any drive to reduce carbon emissions.

Aviation accounts for 5.5% of British carbon emissions, but that could rise to a quarter by 2050 if no action is taken to curb airlines' emissions, according to a recent report from Oxford University.

"Aviation is the fastest-growing source of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. More runways will mean more emissions at a time when we are trying to make big cuts. If the government is serious about tackling climate change it must abandon its airport expansion plans," Mr Bosworth said.

The DfT backed a third runway in an aviation industry white paper three years ago. However, it said the runway should be moved to Gatwick if Heathrow's owner, BAA, was unable to reduce noise pollution and cut concentrations of nitrogen dioxide around the airport.

The BA chief executive reiterated the company's support for the EU carbon emissions trading scheme, which will put a cap on aviation emissions and charge airlines that exceed their quotas.

He said that blocking all the airport expansion proposals in the white paper, which also advocated a second runway at Stansted, would have a minimal effect on global warming. If all the proposals were implemented, global carbon emissions would increase by 0.03% by 2030.



Like some overblown African dictatorship, the EU keeps confusing grandiose ego projects with sensible expenditures on defense; as a result of which Europe and Britain look increasingly vulnerable and defenseless. On the day after Milton Friedman's passing it is a reminder of the bizarre and self-destructive nature of politicized decision-making-- because that's the trouble, of course: Everything in the EU is political, and all large military projects are pork-barreled to ensure that enough bacon fat goes to France, Italy, Germany and Britain itself. It works about as well as nationalized health care.

Britain's MOD spent almost twice as much money for a German anti-artillery radar than a US version would have cost. More than five hundred million dollars were wasted on a failed effort to produce European anti-tank missiles, which then had to be purchased from the US anyway. An armored vehicle had to be dumped after spending about 75 million dollars because it was too big to go into Hercules transport planes.

The Defense Ministry has ordered 232 Eurofighters at more than 90 million dollars each for "an acknowledged Cold War relic." The Eurofighter can't perform ground support or other bombing missions, but the terrorists don't have fighter jets to knock out.

To top it all off, Europe has embarked an a completely unnecessary doubling of the US GPS system for navigation; since the GPS system is free to users all over the world, it's like building a second world-wide web

More here

Is Pornography Hate Speech?

British feminists say it is. "Pornography constitutes a type of hate speech in which explicitly anti-women messages are transmitted, and should not be defensible under freedom of speech".

It is views such as that which appear to behind the latest British legal assault on pornograhy. Possessing child pornography is already deeply criminal in Britain but bondage and sado-masochism are now in the sights of Britain's Leftist government. Most pornographic bondage and sado-masochist scenes are play-acted and harm nobody but that is not going to matter, apparently. Just possessing a portrayal of it will send you to jail. Why? Apparently the feminist reasoning above is behind it.

Details here.

No comments: