Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Are homosexuals gay or queer?

Once upon a time, in the slightly more rational past, the word "queer" was objected to by homosexuals as being highly derogatory. For a while homosexuals were "camp" instead but the word "gay" eventually became almost universally embraced as the "correct" term. Lots of Australians and Brits continued to call them "poofters" or "poofs" but that was wicked.

Now, however, we seem to have reversed gears. "Queer" seems to be OK now (as in the TV show "Queer eye for the straight guy"). But "gay" is so bad that even children will be pursued by the British police for using it:

"A father launched a furious attack against the police yesterday for investigating claims that his 10-year-old son had called a schoolfriend "gay" in an email. Company director Alan Rawlinson said he was astounded after two police officers arrived at his home in Bold Heath, Cheshire, to speak to his son George. The officers were called after a complaint from the parent of another boy at his son's school in Widnes.


Confusing, isn't it? What it DOES go to show is that the old Leftist obsession with changing the language is pointless. If something is disliked, ANY word used to describe it will become derogatory.

There was an interesting older instance of that in Australia. Just after the war, Australia got a lot of immigrants from war-torn Europe and Anglo-Australians were not at that time very impressed by them -- largely because the poor English of the immigrants created unaccustomed communication difficulties. Words like "dago", "wop", "wog" and "reffo" were commonly used to refer to the immigrants.

But the government decided that Australia needed the immigrants concerned and insisted that they be referred to as "New Australians". Very rapidly, however, the term "New Australians" came to be used disdainfully too.

And what I always think is the most amusing example of mealy-mouthed language is the way economically backward countries were once described. They started out "savage", then "backward", then "poor", then "underdeveloped" and then "developing".

At that point, people realized that "developing" was precisely what most of the countries concerned were NOT doing so we seem now to have settled on the term: "less developed". "Savage" would be a more informative description of many of them.

"Go back to where you came from" is racist?

It is in Britain:

"A man who shouted racist insults at Muslim worshippers outside a Cumbria mosque has been jailed for six months.

Bryan Cork shouted slurs including "proud to be British" and "go back to where you came from" outside Carlisle's Brook Street mosque.

He pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment on 30 November at the city's Crown Court on Tuesday. Judge Paul Batty, QC, told Cork, of Thompson Street, Carlisle, that racism in any form would not be tolerated.


Australians who encounter "whingeing Poms" (complaining Englishmen) among the people they meet are quite likely to tell the Pom concerned to "Go back to where you came from". While that remark is undoubtedly critical, it is hardly racist as the Australian concerned will himself most likely be of British descent.

But Muslims must not be criticized, of course.

Eco-warrior prefers a helicopter to get around

More evidence that Greenies regard others as inferiors who are fit only to be told what to do

It's one rule for them, and another for the rest of us. Trudie Styler, wife of Sting and self-styled eco-warrior, recently took a helicopter to travel 80 miles from Wiltshire to Devon, a journey that would have taken less than two hours by train. The actress and film producer is forever harping on about saving the environment, having set up the Rainforest Campaign in the late 1980s with her pop star husband. The Stings are known for eating only organic food, supposedly grown on their land, although one member of staff recently admitted to serving up nonorganic salad from the supermarket.

So what was Styler thinking as she clambered into her gas-guzzling chopper, off to stay with friend and fellow greenie Zac Goldsmith on his organic farm in Devon? Her own home, Lake House, a Jacobean manor in the Avon Valley, is conveniently located just six miles out of Salisbury, from where frequent trains run to the West Country. On Monday David Cameron announced plans to crackdown on domestic flights by slapping a green tax on them, so perhaps Styler is enjoying the luxury of a private helicopter while she can get away with it.

But this isn't the first time the Stings have been caught out. In 2000 the couple threatened the Ministry of Defence with legal action if a nearby airfield were to be expanded. It later emerged Sting had twice used the airfield in question from which to roar off in his private jet.


The new politically correct British police force is actually an office-worker force

Only one in 40 police officers on duty in some forces is available to respond to 999 calls, according to a study published yesterday. The report, from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), found that only 2.5 per cent of uniformed officers in one area were allocated to "response duties". This meant that out of 800 officers at work only 20 were free for emergency response, which included patrolling alcohol-scarred towns and cities at night. In another force, which was also unnamed, 50 officers were on duty but only three - six per cent - were allocated to "incident management".

The HMIC findings, in a report entitled Beyond the Call, will reignite the debate over bureaucracy and station-bound duties which keep the vast majority of the record 140,000 officers in England and Wales off the streets. The inspectorate now plans a study of bureaucracy, including a look at concerns that not enough experienced constables and sergeants are available to supervise a front-line presence of probationers and newly-qualified officers.

Yesterday's report found that some patrol officers failed to make good use of their time on duty unless closely supervised by their sergeant. This was a "highly inefficient use of scarce resources", it said. It also found difficulties in the way forces handle the flood of 999 calls, which has risen steadily in recent years. It showed that police dispatchers routinely downgraded emergency calls. HM inspectors were told that patrol officers sometimes questioned why they were being sent on some calls. Some officers even failed to respond.

"In some cases, where patrols do not respond or make themselves unavailable, dispatch or control staff admit that they downgrade incidents in order to alleviate pressure on themselves," it said. "In other cases, they upgrade non-emergency incidents in the knowledge that only immediate and priority calls will have any chance of being resourced." The extent to which the police deal with callers only by telephone also emerged.

The report encouraged "telephone resolution" but warned that it has to be carried out in a way that does not leave the public dissatisfied. "A number of forces have developed strategies around telephone resolution, thereby releasing valuable resources to engage in emergency response or in longer-term, pro-active problem-solving initiatives," it said. "Some eight million incidents per year are being resolved without officer attendance."

The inspectors, who looked at 999 calls and other calls to police, amounting to 67 million a year, also criticised the way officers kept victims updated about progress on investigating crimes. Their report suggested continuing to use technology such as text messages and the internet to make improvements.

Police in England and Wales deal with 33 million incidents a year. Of those, 17 per cent are classed as emergencies requiring an immediate response, with 20 per cent as "priorities" requiring a response within the hour.

Yesterday's findings echo the conclusions of independent research for the Police Federation, and reported recently in The Daily Telegraph, that as few as three uniformed police officers were available to patrol the streets, respond to 999 calls and tackle night-time disorder in some towns. The federation research showed that officers were heavily diverted into work to meet Home Office targets and provide the Government with statistics.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "These alarming statistics prove what we have been saying all along - that as a result of constant Government interference and diktats our police are operating nowhere near as efficiently as they could."

The Liberal Democrat home affair spokesman, Nick Clegg, said: "This is what comes from tying up police officers in reams of paperwork and Government tick-box bureaucracy. Both the police and the public want our police officers ready and able to respond to emergency calls, not locked in a station filling out forms."


NHS hopeless with cancer

You could literally die waiting

More than half of all cancer patients needing lifesaving radiotherapy are waiting longer than the Government's "maximum acceptable delay" for treatment, according to a damning report. The Times has been told that the paper shows huge variations in the delivery of treatments around the country, with many "black holes" where services are extremely poor.

The study, by the National Radiotherapy Advisory Group, has not been published and ministers have not indicated that it will be. But Professor Karol Sikora, a cancer specialist, said that it should provoke "an outcry for better provision". It mirrors a survey by the Royal College of Radiologists which concludes that radiotherapy waiting times are "unacceptable" and delays "reduce the chance of a cure and worsen outcomes in some patients".

There has been an outcry over the availability of new cancer drugs but radiotherapy is often forgotten. "It's the unsexy part of cancer treatment," Professor Sikora said. "It's as good as the drugs but isn't thought of as being as exciting." The college's audit shows that only a minority of patients are treated within even the targets set by the Government. In 2005, only 47 per cent of patients needing postoperative radiotherapy got it within the "maximum acceptable delay" of four weeks. In Wales the figure was a mere 26 per cent.

The audit followed earlier ones, in 1998 and 2003, and shows that waiting times have become longer since 1998, when around a third of patients waited for more than four weeks. The delays worsened considerably between 1998 and 2003 and have improved slightly since then. The audit concludes: "It is imperative that waits for radiotherapy are reduced for all patients to maximise their chance of a cure." The authors, led by Michael Williams, of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, added that "achieving this will require a planned programme of investment in staff, training and equipment."

Professor Sikora, who has been clinical director of cancer services at Hammersmith Hospital and chief of the World Health Organisation's cancer programme, said: "Systematic delays abound. Three months' waiting time for radiotherapy is common."

Yet cancer is seen by the Government as one of its successes. Cancer mortality in people under 75 fell by 16 per cent between 1996 and 2004 and an extra 639 million pounds was invested in the three years up to 2004. "The year-on-year increase in funding has been staggering," Professor Sikora said, adding that far more is needed.

Professor Sikora has recently set up CancerPartnersUK, which is talking to hospitals about building a chain of privately-funded cancer care units with the aim of reducing the distance patients must travel. Maps based on population density and existing services show where the need is greatest. "Black spots" for cancer treatment (above) where people have to travel long distances, abound around the M25, the South Coast, in the North West and North East of England.


Britain rushes to deport Darfuris

The usual British irrationality. The Darfuris probably are genuinely endangered. But for bureaucratic convenience they get targeted while the country has any number of less-deserving "refugees". Sudanese refugees do however have a high rate of crime and dependancy on the taxpayer so their deportation is undoubtedly in Britain's best interests

Dawn had just broken when the bombs dropped on the village in Darfur where Amuna Ibrahim, four months pregnant with her second child, was tending to her young son. The air assault on Hamada was a prelude to an attack by the Janjawid, the Arab "devils on horseback", who left 105 people, more than half the village, dead. The horrors of that day, two years ago, have barely subsided. But, as Mrs Ibrahim sits barefoot on the floor of her home in Doncaster, she faces new horrors - the prospect that she and her two children, one born in Birmingham, are to be sent back to the land from which she fled.

She is among scores of Darfuris summoned in recent days by the Home Office. The sudden rush to deport them - some are due to be flown back tomorrow - comes before a crucial Court of Appeal ruling that could stop Britain from sending them back to Khartoum, the seat of the government that sent the murderous horsemen and bombers to wreak havoc on Darfur.

Mrs Ibrahim grabbed her son, Omar, and fled the Janjawid attack. When she returned, at the end of the day, Hamada was burnt-out and littered with the corpses of women and children. Mrs Ibrahim, 33, who arrived in Britain 18 months ago, is among 60 Darfuri asylum-seekers who have received letters in the past week, ordering them to report to immigration officials. At least two dozen more, who were in the process of making fresh asylum claims, have been taken into detention in preparation for their deportation - against the explicit advice of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who insists that Darfuris are at risk if returned to Khartoum.

Lawyers and campaigners say that the unprecedented flurry of activity is the Government's attempt to meet deportation targets before the Khartoum route is closed to it. John Bercow, the former Conservative frontbencher who raised the issue in the Commons this week, called on the Government to suspend the deportations until after the judicial ruling. "It is unacceptable for the Government to steamroller ahead with a policy that may be very soon judged out of order," he told The Times. "By returning them, the Government is exposing vulnerable people to possible imprisonment, torture or death."

His comments came after revelations about a Darfuri deported from Britain to Khartoum who was tortured on arrival by intelligence agents. They had apparently been made aware of his return by Sudanese embassy officials in London who had worked with the Home Office to deport him. A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We constantly monitor the situation in Sudan and in line with current case law continue to consider that it is safe to return Sudanese nationals, including those from Darfur, found not to be in need of international protection."

Mohammed Abdulhadi Ali, who fled to Britain three years ago after his village in Darfur was burnt to the ground, is due to be deported tomorrow. He received a letter eight days ago summoning him to an immigration interview where he was told that his asylum application had failed because he was unable to prove that he would be at risk in Khartoum, despite proving he was a Zarghawa, a member of the Darfuri tribe routinely targeted as enemies of the State. He spoke to The Times shortly after officials handed him his plane tickets. "If I have to go, I will be killed the moment the plane lands," Mr Abdulhadi said tearfully. "I am a Zarghawa. There is no future for me if I go back."

His lawyer has argued that the Home Office omitted to consider crucial evidence, including tribal scars that mark him out as a Zarghawa. It is not what the victims of "ethnic cleansing" expected from Britain. "Britain gave me the feeling I could be safe here. Now they are sending me to my death. Is this human rights?" asks Mr Abdulhadi.


Britain: Allegedly revamped immigration agency gets to work

A revamped immigration agency that is more accountable to the public was launched on Monday. The Home Office's Immigration and Nationality Directorate started work under the new title of the Border and Immigration Agency and with its officers wearing new uniforms. Staff will have a visible presence at all ports with uniformed immigration officers and new signage. It is part of a widespread shake-up of immigration services, and comes after a string of crises at the Home Office.

Last year, then Home Secretary Charles Clarke was forced out of office after it emerged 1,000 foreign prisoners had been released without being considered for deportation. John Reid took over from Clarke, but has struggled to keep the huge department out of the headlines.

Beginning a UK-wide tour to meet frontline Border and Immigration Agency staff, chief executive Lin Homer said the new agency aimed to be "more responsive to the communities it serves". "It will engage with a whole range of partners from police, local councils and agencies to deliver the sort of service that the public expects," he said. "It will be more open and accountable with clear, published targets, so the public can see whether it is delivering -- putting us in a stronger position to deliver the transformation we have promised." The new body will focus on local-level immigration, with six regional directors responsible for delivering a range of day-to-day immigration services. The six regions are: Scotland and Northern Ireland; North East, Yorkshire and Humberside; North West; Wales and the South West; London and the South East; and Midlands and East of England.

Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said the number of asylum seekers had fallen to the lowest level since 1993 and deportations were at an all-time high. But he added: "We want to give the Border and Immigration Agency freedom not only to work globally delivering border security, but act locally tackling local immigration policing priorities." Earlier this year, Byrne unveiled measures to give immigration officers new powers to arrest smugglers or criminals at airports and harbours.

Under the Borders Bill, which must clear parliament, foreign prisoners will also face automatic deportation if they have committed a serious offence, such as crimes against children, terrorism or drugs offences and been sentenced to imprisonment. Foreign nationals living in Britain will also be required to hold an identity card with biometric data such as fingerprints in a bid to crack down on illegal working. The identity card scheme will be rolled out in 2008.


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