Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Pedophile" hysteria

Men are being scared away from joining the teaching profession by a wave of "paedophile hysteria", a leading Tory has warned. Boris Johnson said school staffrooms are increasingly dominated by female teachers because men are afraid of attracting false child abuse allegations. He spoke out after figures revealed women now outnumber men by 13 to one in primary schools - which have been worst-hit by the male recruitment slump.

Mr Johnson, Conservative higher education spokesman, declared that young boys needed male role models to aid their intellectual development but "potentially brilliant" teachers were deterred from entering the profession because they feared being branded paedophiles. Even bumping into a child could cause them to run into difficulties, he warned.

Mr Johnson, speaking at a conference of the Independent Schools Council in London, insisted he "did not want to go into bat for paedophiles". But he claimed society may now be over-egging the problem as he recounted his own experience on a recent British Airways flight. He said a flight attendant had directed him to sit away from his children, apparently without realising they were his own. When she did, she apologised but said the airline did not allow lone men to sit next to children they were unrelated to. "I do think one problem we have got is that we do have a kind of paedophile hysteria in this country and I find it very worrying," he said. "I think the whole thing has been ever so slightly over-egged. I don't want to attack BA unnecessarily but I think it's pretty bonkers that a grown man can be asked to move away from his children. "I do think we are over-doing the whole thing and the result is that a lot of brilliant potential male teachers think 'do I want to go through all of that malarky about what I can and can't do'. "What happens if you bump into someone?

"The result is you have got a ratio of female to male teachers in state primary schools of 13 to 1 now. "That is a huge social change and the effects of that are very damaging, or potentially very damaging on young male minds. "Young male minds do need the intellectual inspiration of a male teacher, not because males are any better than females, but it may help them if there's a male model who can help them with their intellectual development." He added: "I don't want to go into bat for paedophiles but it is a factor in deterring male teachers from thinking about this brilliant profession."

The Mail revealed last year that fewer that 10 per cent of primary teachers are men in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, in the space of a generation, the proportion of secondary school male teachers has dropped from 55 per cent to 41 per cent. The figures prompted concern that the lack of male role models is having serious consequences for boys' performance in exams. Boys now lag behind girls in every major school examination. However teachers' leaders claim that studies show boys do just as well [at what?] when taught by women.



For Jewish students, Leeds university has for some time been a source of growing concern. Such students have been forced to run a gauntlet of anti-Jewish prejudice dressed in the familiar camouflage of anti-Israel sentiment, as in the notorious (and now beaten off) attempt to gag the Jewish society. Last week, a more significant controversy erupted there. A non-Jewish German academic, Dr Matthias Kuentzel, was shocked when his planned lecture, `Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East', was abruptly cancelled by the university along with two smaller scheduled seminars.

The university insisted its decision had nothing to do with freedom of speech; nor was it bowing to threats or protests from interest groups. The meeting had been cancelled on safety grounds alone, and because `contrary to our rules, no assessment of risk to people or property has been carried out, no stewarding arrangements are in place and we were not given sufficient notice to ensure safety and public order.' But there was no security risk. No threats had been received. The only ripple was a couple of protests from Muslim students, who claimed the lectures would increase hatred and threaten their `security and well-being' on campus. The university's excuse was absurd.

Indeed, Kuentzel delivered his speech outside the university twice without security problems. Although the university secretary Roger Gair claimed in a letter to the Times that these were the two seminars that were going ahead `as planned', Kuentzel says that, on the contrary, after the cancellation they were hastily convened by private initiative off campus, in Hillel and at a hotel.

Now, fresh information has reached me which reinforces the view that the cancellation was indeed designed to suppress Kuentzel's views. After meeting the university authorities the head of the German department, Professor Stuart Taberner, told his staff that, although he didn't think censorship was the issue, if Kuentzel were to be re-invited the university would have to `look closely' at the subject of his talk. `Having now found the text of what I take to be his talk on the web,' he said, `I'm convinced that the university would want to be reassured that it was striking the correct balance between free speech - the expression of ideas - and its obligation to be mindful of the language in which these ideas are framed'.

The real reason for the cancellation was thus laid bare. It was because of what Kuentzel was saying. The implication was that his language was somehow inflammatory. But his lecture - which he previously delivered in January at Yale - is merely a scholarly and factual account of the links between Nazism and Islamic antisemitism. He argues that the alliance between the Nazis and the Arabs of Palestine infected the wider Muslim world, not least through the influence of the Nazi wireless station Radio Zeesen which broadcast in Arabic, Persian and Turkish and inflamed the Muslim masses with Nazi blood libels laced with Arabic music and quotes from the Koran. Subsequently, this Nazified Muslim antisemitism was given renewed life by both the Egyptian President Nasser and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the intellectual inspiration for both Hamas and much of the current jihad against the west.

So what exactly is the `correct balance' that this account fails to strike? Indeed, Kuentzel makes the eminently balanced claim that this history shows there is nothing inevitable about Muslim antisemitism, which is merely Nazism in new garb. The link he makes is no more than the demonstrable truth. But clearly, it is not possible to speak this truth at Leeds university. And the reason for this is surely that it draws a straight line between today's Islamic world and Hitler's Germany.

Indeed, Kuentzel sees a seamless connection between Nazism and the jihad against the west. Hitler, he says, fantasised about the toppling of the skyscrapers of New York, the symbol of Jewish power. And the Hamburg trial of terrorists associated with 9/11 heard evidence that New York had been selected for the atrocity because it was a `Jewish city'.

For Islamists, however, such a connection threatens the image they have so assiduously cultivated for themselves as the victims of prejudice. For their appeasers, it destroys the illusion that Islamist extremism arises from rational grievances such as the war in Iraq or `Islamophobia'. Worse still, those on the left who march shoulder to shoulder with radical Islamists are thus exposed as the allies of Nazism.

The result is that Leeds has now joined the growing list of universities which have spinelessly given up the defence of free speech, and thus, in the great battle for civilisation against barbarism, run up the campus white flag.



Lloyd's of London, the world's biggest insurance market, on Thursday reported a pretax profit of 3.66 billion pounds (5.4 billion euros, US$7.2 billion) in 2006, a year of few global catastrophes. That reversed Lloyd's 2005 result of a loss of 103 million pounds (152 million euros, US$202 million) because of hurricane damage claims.

"During the year, we benefited from strong underlying conditions and an exceptionally low level of catastrophes," said Lord Levene, Lloyd's chairman. "However, it would be unrealistic to expect such a favorable claims experience this year."

The 2005 season was the most destructive in recorded history, with 27 named storms and 14 hurricanes, including Katrina, which devastated Louisiana and Mississippi in the U.S. and killed more than 1,300 people.



Thousands of prisoners are being given keys to their cells in the latest farce to hit the criminal justice system. They can roam in and out virtually at will under a scheme designed to give them more "respect and decency". The astonishing measure prompted a furious response from MPs last night, who warned that the human-rights culture was out of control.

It will provoke a furious public backlash at a time when prisons are overflowing and dangerous offenders are being tagged and freed into the community. Official figures revealed that 5,747 of the 9,577 offenders in Yorkshire prisons have keys for 'privacy locks' to protect themselves and their belongings. Although many of them are at open prisons and youth offenders' institutes, others are in standard closed prisons for those who have committed serious crimes such as muggings, burglary and theft. It also emerged that some youth prisons now call offenders 'trainees' or 'residents'.

Governors in other parts of the country are also understood to have introduced the key scheme. Shipley Tory MP Philip Davies accused the Government of "turning prisons into hotels". He said: "People will be horrified to know so many prisons give inmates their own keys. It will reinforce their views that the regime is far too lax and cushy. "These people are banged up for a reason. But the Government seems more concerned about the human rights of criminals than those of their victims, who are footing the bill to keep them in increasingly pleasant surroundings."

Blair Gibbs, director of the Tax-Payers' Alliance, said: "It is hard to believe we live in a serious country any more when you hear lunacy like this. Our politicians are clearly not capable of running anything that resembles an effective criminal justice system."

Home Office Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "It's mainly used for people who are soon going to be released or in open prisons. "It's all part of providing incentives to encourage them to take more responsibility for themselves, to give them a little bit more respect and decency." He stressed that the prisoners' locks could be over-ridden by staff keys and insisted: "There are no security issues about this. The keys are for their own cells and nowhere else."

The revelation will still reinforce concern that prisoners' 'rights' are increasingly being pandered to. In the financial year that ended last March, 8.8 million in compensation was paid out to prisoners - almost 15 times as much as just two years earlier. Cases included:

2.8 million for medical treatment for a prisoner who failed in a suicide bid.

750,000 for nearly 200 drug addicts who suffered withdrawal symptoms after they were forced to go 'cold turkey'.

80,000 for three illegal immigrant convicts who were not deported quickly enough, opening the door for hundreds of similar claims.

200 each for prisoners whose DVD players were taken away because they watched pornography.

There was also the case of Gerry Cooper, who sued the Home Office after falling out of a bunk bed in his cell. Inquiries by Mr Davies showed that of Yorkshire's 15 prisons, six give keys to all their inmates and three based the decisions on category of offence and personal circumstances. The six who deny them to all offenders, include top-security Wakefield, where Soham murderer Ian Huntley is serving life.

Governors at Hull Prison, where 50 per cent of inmates have keys, suggested the practice was there to help prisoners protect themselves from others. The prison said: "The facility is overridden by staff keys and is seen as of additional benefit to vulnerable prisoners by providing extra protection."

The inquiries also unearthed the fact that young prisoners at Askham Grange prison are called 'residents', while at Wetherby they are 'trainees'. Earlier this year, Derbyshire chief constable David Coleman was accused of 'madness' after refusing to release pictures of two escaped murderers amid fears it might breach their human rights. He claimed they posed 'no risk' to local people.


I have just put up another lot of postings from Chris Brand on his usual highly "incorrect" themes.

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