Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Racist" British TV Update

Jade Goody -- pictured above in a pic from a website devoted to her -- was the main source of the racist remarks against Indian actress Shilpa Shetty noted previously by me on 19th. She has now been voted off the show by the audience. That seems appropriate justice to me.

The difference in style between the two women should be obvious and presumably explains a lot.

Anti-Christian Discrimination Dropped

We read:

"British Airways is changing its uniform policy to allow all religious symbols, including crosses, to be worn openly.

BA announced a review last year after a row erupted when Heathrow check-in worker Nadia Eweida challenged a ban on her visibly wearing a cross necklace. The airline now says it will allow religious symbols such as lapel pins and "some flexibility for individuals to wear a symbol of faith on a chain".

BA had banned crosses on chains, but allowed hijabs and turbans to be worn.


The mealy-mouthed comments by BA on the matter are rather sickening.


Britain shows the way

Rail commuters travelling at peak periods should expect to stand even if they have paid 5,000 pounds for an annual season ticket, according to the head of railways at the Department for Transport. Mike Mitchell was condemned by rail unions and passenger groups for saying that it was acceptable to stand for up to half an hour in peak periods. He said that it would be too expensive to provide seats for everyone and that commuters who did not want to stand should avoid the peak, which now extends from 6.30am to 10am on many lines. The Government predicts that passenger numbers will increase by 30 per cent over the next decade, but it has no plans to increase significantly the number of trains on busy lines.

Giving evidence on January 8 to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, Dr Mitchell admitted that the railways were busier now than at any time since 1946, with more than 1.1 billion passengers carried last year. Dr Mitchell said: "If you are travelling a relatively short distance, I do not think that it is unacceptable to expect to stand in the peak." Asked by Richard Bacon, MP for Norfolk South, what he meant by a short distance, he said: "Perhaps half an hour."

Mr Bacon then asked: "Standing for half an hour is acceptable even though you are paying your local train operating company 5,000 a year?" Dr Mitchell replied: "It has to be said that there are alternatives . . . if one travels off-peak." He added: "The cost of providing sufficient capacity to enable everyone to get a seat would expand the railway budget way beyond anything we have here."

The DfT said that Dr Mitchell travelled to work either on foot or in standard class. Tom Harris, the Rail Minister, supported Dr Mitchell yesterday. He said: "It's not realistic that passengers get a seat for every journey." He said that trains might be lengthened "in the long term", but refused to give any date, and would not rule out further above-inflation fare increases.

Gerry Doherty, of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association, said: "Dr Mitchell is arrogant and out of touch if he thinks it is acceptable for commuters not to get a seat when they are paying 5,000 a year to commute into London.



Pressure from an influx of children from East European immigrants has forced a council to draw up plans to build four new primary schools. Bradford council in West Yorkshire, where nearly 5,000 workers arrived last year, is one of many local authorities experiencing a shortfall of places in inner-city areas. Yesterday education chiefs there said two of its existing primary schools would need to be expanded and four new ones built to cope with the increased demand for new places. Bradford has the second highest birth rate of any part of Britain outside London, and coming on top of that, immigration has left its school system struggling, it said.

A council report said the high number of births 'has caused a shortfall in places in some parts of the district when combined with large numbers of Eastern European workers who are also moving into the district, sometimes bringing their families with them'. It added that it had been 'impossible to predict the increase in numbers of newcomers' and finding places for them is 'becoming much more difficult'.

Bradford is just one of many local councils reporting that it is under strain as a result of record levels of immigration from Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe. One in five primary school children are now from an ethnic minority, and some councils have been faced with massive bills to fund extra support such as interpreters as they are legally obliged to admit children from European Union member states. At least 27,000 school-aged youngsters have arrived with their parents in the UK since ten countries - including Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic - joined the EU on May 1, 2004.

Elsewhere in the country, Wrexham in North Wales has reported that its schools are facing a similar pressure - around 50 Polish children started school there in September. Agnieszka Tenteroba, a Polish teacher working with the newcomers, said: 'First it was the husbands coming to work. People who want to stay then bring their families so we will have more and more Polish children in Wrexham.'

Meanwhile in Slough, Berkshire, the council has reported that an influx of an estimated 10,000 Poles has left it facing going 15 million pounds in the red, with nearly 900 school pupils from non English-speaking backgrounds. And in Peterborough, where there were just 22 children of economic migrants enrolled in secondary schools in January 2004, that has risen to more than 100 with one secondary school warning it was being 'overwhelmed'.

The Government does not collect figures for the number of children brought with them by immigrant workers, so officials in Bradford are having to base their estimates on the number of new National Insurance permits being issued - 4,650 last year.

The council's executive will now be asked to recommend research into how to expand school provision to cater for the increased number of children. Colin Gill, executive member for children's services, said: 'In those areas of the district where there are substantial changes in population size and distribution, we will need to make alterations to ensure that we provide the right number of primary school places in the right locations.'

Bradford's birth rate, according to the latest figures, is the fourth highest in Britain, after Birmingham and the London boroughs of Newham and Hackney, with much of the growth thought to be within the city's more established immigrant communities


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