Monday, August 06, 2007


Comment from Britain

I would be much more susceptible to the screams of the by now rather hysterical "climate change" maniacs if they would only make their minds up. Thirty years ago we were all being told to rush out and buy -thermal underwear for the coming New Ice Age. What happened to it? Two years ago we were assured that "global warming" would give us warmer, wetter winters but long, hot, dry summers. Is that what has been happening in Tewkesbury? Now we are told global warming has given us the wettest summer since records began. Maybe. But this year's downpour is just one inch more than nine other years and eight of them took place when there wasn't a car or jet engine on the planet. So what caused the broken records?

It is clear the climate is changing and man is a contributory factor. But as to man's exact percentage contribution, we simply do not know. Climate has simply billions of variables which even huge computers cannot solve. What?effect?on?-climate?does violent solar activity (in this area the sun has been going crazy for several years) have? And why do Pacific currents such as El Nino and La Nina have such a staggering effect on the entire global climate when they mal-function (as they both just have)? And why do they do it? We just do not know.

But we do know some things. We know that there have been rhythmic warmings?and?coolings?of?the climate. And we know they occurred when mankind had nothing to burn more than a few logs from the forest. We know that trees create moisture?which?becomes?rain?and changes the local climate for the better. In 1948, Palestine (contrary to fashionable propaganda) was nearly barren. I do not know how many millions of trees the Israelis have planted since then but today it is green and lush and the forests lure in the rain clouds.

We know that the Horn of Africa is a hell of dust and desert sand but once it was clothed in vast oak forests. The natives cut them down, burned them, never replanted and moved on. The wind blew away the soil that the tree roots had once held firm and turned forest into desert.

We know that scientists will soon produce the hydrogen-based fuel cell to power cars and houses. Until then we can generate electricity with nuclear fission and later fusion. Even later we will derive geothermal energy from the blazing core of the Earth to create steam to drive -turbines?and?make?electricity -without smoke or pollution.

No, I do not believe man is doomed. Nor do I believe he should behave as if he is insane. But I do believe our Big Brothers will use the headless chicken hysteria to rip vast quantities of money from our -pockets, shouting "save the planet, save the planet" while they gorge themselves on our sweat and labour.


Britain must face up to the truth on immigration

It is the perfect Gordon Brown summer holiday. Lasting less than 24 hours, his break on the South Coast was temporarily abandoned as he rushed back to London to continue his prime ministerial baptism by fire, flood and foot and mouth. Before he had time to remove his linen jacket (look, no tie) and unpack his bucket and spade, he was back chairing Cobra, directing the handling of his latest emergency....

One issue on the horizon encapsulates the scale of the opportunities and obstacles facing Brown. Immigration has gone "out of fashion" (the type of phrase our political class uses when it would rather not discuss an embarrassing issue of significant concern to voters). Outside the Westminster village it is number one, according to recent polling. Insecurity, uncertainty and confusion, those stalwarts of the human condition, are driving the opinions of a public in search of reassurance.

Last week's leaked memo to Brown was drawn up by Blair's favourite pollster Philip Gould. It was two years old, so even more prescient. He wrote: "There is no doubt the political landscape is changing: crime, terror, immigration and so on are now the dominant issues. Underpinning these concerns is a growing sense of the power of events beyond our control - globalised economies, international terror, community disintegration and so on. The public are increasingly aware of the forces of change that politicians find hard to affect."

The Government is well aware it is confronted by forces that voters fear, which is why it tries to deal with the issue on the quiet. The Sunday Telegraph reveals today that the Government is working on a back-door amnesty for 450,000 asylum seekers. No matter how it is spun, this is an acceptance by ministers that they are powerless to remove those among that number who have come to Britain for work and not, as they claim, for asylum.

The numbers related to immigration are astonishing. In excess of 600,000 eastern Europeans have arrived since their countries acceded to the European Union. In London last year, 53 per cent of births were to mothers who were not born in Britain; across England and Wales it was 22 per cent. It does not take a genius to work out that in 18 years, the capital's adult population will be even more diverse than now. Even modest population projections, from the Government's own actuary, put the UK population up seven million at 67 million by 2031. Others say it is an underestimate.

Try imagining six Birminghams, or the combined population of Wales and Scotland, landing on us in the decades ahead, and ask yourself if Britain's housing market, transport network, education system and NHS are built to cope. It is at this point that some idiots of the liberal-Left start using the "R" word to shut down rational discussion. Race has nothing to do with it: this is about the impracticality of what the Government proposes to let happen because it has lost any sense of how to stop, slow or manage it.

It might be just about possible to conclude that this boom is all to the good: dynamic countries attract migrants and dying societies do not. Those who come here are often the most ambitious and hard-working of their country's men and women. And it is also true that our record on immigration down the centuries is good. How arid British cultural life, in the arts, law and politics, would be without it.

But only a fool would say that the largest wave of immigration in these islands' history does not require calm, urgent examination. Do we think it wise when 5.1 million Britons sit on the economically inactive scrap-heap? And can we drop the suicidal fixation on multiculturalism and replace it with a multi-racial idea of a Britain not embarrassed to invoke the country's virtues in the name of unity?

Mr Brown senses an opportunity ahead and plans to be tougher in ways he has yet to work out in full. He know this is territory which David Cameron wants to avoid. All the evidence is that while voters agreed with Michael Howard's message at the last election, on managed migration and stricter border controls, they disliked the messenger. Now the feedback from Labour MPs to the Prime Minister emphasises just how worried voters have become since then in seats it would not take much for Labour to lose. Mr Brown's "Britishness" speeches were driven as much by these concerns as they were by his futile and, so far, unnecessary attempt to prevent the English remembering that he is Scottish.

But there is one rather large problem. There is, under our current arrangements with our EU partners and lack of border controls, very little the Government can do to control the flow. Tony Blair stumbled into this enormous social experiment with no plan, equating open borders with friendliness and modernity, and controls with so-called nasty Toryism.

Mr Brown wants to prove he is strong. He would be better being honest and admitting to the public that without a redrawing of the rules he can do little. It will require a brave leader to say it in polite but firm fashion: based on the evidence rather than the gut-instinct and crossed fingers of the last decade, this is the time for a reappraisal. Britain is a rich country and travel even for the world's poor is cheap, so we are a magnet. We should slow the numbers we allow in, and spend vastly more on controlling our island's sea-locked borders. For those of us already here, we will take the sensible view that the Americans took at the peak of their largest waves of immigration. A common language and respect for common institutions build a strong country best able to cope with upheaval.

Tony Blair wondered what his "legacy" would be, and it was in front of him all the time: a population explosion he did not plan for. Soon, we are all going to have to deal with the consequences.



I can't really disagree with this. Allowing huge vehicles into the narrow, congested steets of London where a small car would get you there as well does seem to require at least a charge. And anybody who can afford a monster vehicle should not be too victimized by such a charge

Britain is to be hit by its first "pollution charge" with owners of large cars taxed 25 pounds a day to drive into city centres. Up to a fifth of vehicles, including people carriers, 4x4s and luxury saloons, will be targeted by an emissions-based charge designed to penalise the highest-polluting vehicles. Smaller cars, such as diesel hatchbacks and hybrid vehicles that emit 120 grams or less of carbon dioxide per kilometre, will be exempt. Those emitting up to 225g/km would be charged 8 pounds Details of the new charge will be outlined this week by Ken Livingstone, the London mayor. It is set to be introduced in February.

The charge will be watched closely by at least 10 other cities considering their own levies, including Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester and Cambridge. Under current plans, drivers going into Manchester are likely to pay at least 5 pounds a day from 2012. Three borough councils in London have already introduced higher parking charges for fuel-inefficient vehicles.

The London congestion charge was introduced in 2003 to cut traffic but it has become less effective. Traffic fell 30% in the first year but is now only 8% below precharging levels. The levy is gradually being transformed into an environmental tax. Vehicle excise duty, the annual tax paid nationally by all drivers, has already been modified so high-polluting cars pay more.

The main losers under the new proposals will include thousands of drivers of larger vehicles living inside the congestion charge zone who are entitled to a 90% discount. In future, they would pay the same rate wherever they lived. This would mean someone living inside the zone and using a large car every day could pay 6,500 a year. A Transport for London spokesman said that "by making these changes to the congestion charging scheme we are encouraging people to take into account the impact of their choice of car on climate change."

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: "The objective was meant to be reducing congestion, but now the goalposts are being changed and you have to question whether motorists are getting value for money." Citroen, which has 23 models each generating less than 120g/km, would benefit the most. A spokesman said: "Customers will no longer have to buy an electric car or even a small car to avoid charges. Low emission engines mean family-sized models like the C4 are exempt."


British schools run by Islamic group Blair pledged to ban

Members of a radical Muslim group that Tony Blair promised to ban after the July 7 bombings have set up two schools in Britain to educate primary age children. The Islamic Shaksiyah Foundation, a registered charity that runs private schools in Haringey, north London, and in Slough in Berkshire, was established two years ago by female members of the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Between them, the schools educate more than 100 children. A 2005 Ofsted inspection report for the school in Slough was glowing about its work, stating: “The school’s provision for the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is very good.”

The schools’ curriculum contains elements of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s ideology, which calls for the union of all Muslim states into a worldwide empire, the khilafah (caliphate).

Hundreds of Hizb ut-Tahrir supporters were gathering yesterday at the Alexandra Palace in north London for a conference on how to realise the khilafah. The group is also planning a global convention next Sunday for which it has booked a stadium with a capacity of 100,000 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The group has an estimated 2,000-4,000 active supporters in Britain and continues to operate openly despite Blair’s promise to proscribe it. Although Hizb ut-Tahrir states it is nonviolent, the organisation has radicalised a number of British Muslims who have gone on to commit terrorist acts after leaving the group. One is thought to be Omar Sharif, the Derby-born Muslim who tried to blow himself up outside a bar in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2003. His partner, Asif Hanif, killed three people in the suicide attack.

According to the Islamic Shaksiyah Foundation’s curriculum document, children aged 7-8 are taught “our rules and laws come from Allah” and asked to contrast Islam with “other belief systems where human beings make rules”. At age 9-10 children should be taught: “There must be one khali-fah [ruler of the caliphate].” Tahir Alam, education spokesman at the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said he had seen the khilafah being taught as a historical subject, but never as an ideological principle. “I know a lot of schools up and down the country and I’ve never seen khilafah being taught [in this way] at any school,” said Alam. “We’re in Britain and we’re dealing with a curriculum that prepares you to be a citizen of this country so I don’t really see the relevance for why a school should have that scheme of work.”

The people running the schools, which opened about two years ago, have close links to some of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s most prominent members. Yusra Hamilton, proprietor of both schools and one of three members of the foundation’s board of trustees, has spoken at Hizb ut-Tahrir events and is the wife of Taji Mustapha, media spokesman for the organisation, whose name is Arabic for “party of Liberation”. Farah Ahmed, head teacher of the ISF’s Slough school and author of its religious curriculum, is the sister-in-law of Majid Nawaz, a British member of the party who was jailed and allegedly tortured by the Egyptian authorities in 2002 for spreading Hizb ut-Tahrir literature.

The author of the school’s history curriculum, Themina Ahmed, has previously written for Hizb ut-Tahrir about her hatred of western society and desire to see it destroyed. Ahmed wrote in the July 2001 issue of Khilafah Magazine: “The world will, insha-Allah [God willing], witness the death of the criminal capitalist nation of America and all other [infidel] states when the army of jihad is unleashed upon them.”

Anthony Glees, director of Brunel University’s centre for intelligence and security studies and author of a report on extremism on British campuses, warned: “This is a matter of grave concern. The government needs to take another look at proscribing Hizb ut-Tahrir.”

The party has operated in Britain since the mid-1980s but it is part of a much larger worldwide movement, founded in Palestine in 1953, that claims up to 10m supporters in 40 countries from Malaysia to Scandinavia. It is banned in Germany, Russia and throughout the Middle East because of its antisemitism and its stated aim to establish a global Islamic state. It also calls for the destruction of Israel and the reunion of all lands that were ever under Muslim rule — including parts of southern Spain — through jihad if necessary.

Until a month after the July 7 bombings, when the group became far more cautious following Blair’s pledge, it was possible to obtain antisemitic literature on the group’s British websites. One leaflet stated: “The Jews are a poisoned dagger thrust into the heart of the Islamic [nation], an evil cancerous gland which spreads deep within the Islamic countries.” A short paragraph with the heading “What can Muslims in Britain do to reestablish the khilafah” went on to state that Muslims in Britain “should not become integrated into the corrupt western society and accept their diseased notions of democracy freedom and capitalism”. Recently, it was claimed Hizb ut-Tahrir had tried to recruit one of the suspects in June’s alleged terrorist plot against targets in London and Glasgow.

One parent whose child had attended the Islamic Shaksiyah school in Haringey said most parents knew the teachers were from Hizb ut-Tahrir. Despite this parents enrolled their children because it was “very well run”. The parent said that even though the school gave a rudimentary education in Hizb ut-Tahrir, children were not pressurised into joining the group. She said teachers often invited parents to Hizb ut-Tahrir events and discussions to try to recruit them. Neither the foundation nor Hizb ut-Tahrir would reply to questions put to them. In a previous statement Hamilton has said the curriculum was a result of “comprehensive research” and denied that either school sought to propagate the views of Hizb ut-Tahrir. The Home Office said the issue of whether to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir was under “constant review.


Only a government body could be this dumb

The number of maternity beds available for expectant mothers has fallen by almost 20 per cent over the past decade, despite an increase in the number of births on hospital wards. There are now about 1,900 fewer hospital beds for women giving birth than there were in 1997 in England, according to official figures obtained by the Conservatives and released yesterday.

Ten years ago there were 10,781 maternity beds, but in 2005-06 there were 8,883. The 18 per cent reduction cannot be explained by a small increase in the number of home births in recent years, as the number of hospital deliveries also rose; from 585,000 in 1997-98 to 593,400 in 2005-06. The statistics lend weight to claims that maternity services are becoming dangerously overstretched as they fail to keep pace with rising birth rates and an ever-increasing number of Caesarean sections.

Ministers have already admitted that the number of midwives fell last year – now, for the first time, the national reduction in maternity beds during the past decade is revealed. The Government was forced to deny that there was a maternity crisis this year when the National Patient Safety Agency examined 60,000 maternity ward errors in a three-year period ending last year. It found that 17,676 women had been injured, about 1,000 of them seriously.

Eight out of ten heads of midwifery say that they do not have sufficient staff to cope, according to the Royal College of Midwives. “We have seen too many service cuts, too many midwives lost, and too many mothers and babies getting a service that should shame the fourth richest country in the world,” Dame Karlene Davis, the RCM’s General Secretary, said this year.

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, released the figures as he promised a “bare-knuckle fight” to save local district hospitals threatened with closure because of NHS reorganisation. “There are 40 maternity units currently under threat and 90 accident and emergency units under threat,” Mr Cameron said on a visit to a hospital in his constituency yesterday. The Conservatives have chosen to take the battle over the future of local district hospitals to Gordon Brown after the man he selected to review the NHS suggested that many district hospitals should close. “We need fewer, more advanced and more specialised hospitals,” concluded Professor Ara Darzi after an investigation into London’s healthcare that he is now carrying out nationally.

A spokesman for the Department of Health denied that the review would lead to “wholesale closures of district hospitals”. “The NHS is also looking at the safest and most effective way of delivering care,” he said. “This does not mean wholesale closures of district general hospitals but it does mean that NHS clinicians and managers need to work with local communities to decide on the best organisation of services for patients in their areas. “Any decision on significant changes to services will be made only after full public consultation with local people.”


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