Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stupid British attack on skilled migrants in trouble

A problem with lots of useless illegals? Keep out the useful immigrants! That's British brilliance for you!

There’s hope for skilled Indian migrants that fall under the highly skilled management programme (HSMP) category, who have been facing the threat of deportation after the British Government changed its rules in November A joint Lords and Commons Parliamentary Committee’s report termed the Government’s action as unlawful and unfair, criticised the Home Office for applying new rules retrospectively against thousands of the “bright and the best” encouraged to come to Britain to boost the economy. It urged Liam Byrne, the Immigration Minister, to change the rules to ensure that they apply only to new migrants, rather than the 49,000 who have already arrived under the HSMP.

The Committee pointed out Thursday that the changes breached the European Convention on Human Rights. The migrants came to the United Kingdom under a scheme that awarded points to people with the skills that Britain needed and offered them the prospect of permanent settlement. But the rules were tightened last year when the Government decided that settlement would take five years rather than four and changed the points system. Points were no longer awarded for work experience, significant career achievements and having a skilled partner. Instead they related to previous earnings, qualifications and age.

The MPs and peers quote an estimate from the Highly Skilled Migrants Forum that 90 per cent of the 49,000 migrants may be asked to leave the country. Amit Kapadia from the Forum said they had been trying to stall deportations by “fighting the rules legally and as well making representations to the Home Office”. “The Government lured migrants to come to the UK to benefit the economy, then they changed the rules. People have made sacrifices, selling property, abandoning careers and moving their families. These rules should not operate retrospectively,” Kapadia stressed.

Dr. S Ghosh, whose future hangs in the balance, said: “What a situation to be in! On the verge of being kicked out of the country after being made to sign a declaration that Britain would be my new home and taking all reasonable steps to fulfil my commitment to do so. No way of getting back my job in Bahrain. No hope of finding a job in India. My child’s future is in shambles.”


Girl dies of brain tumour after NHS doctor tells her 'headaches are caused by stress'

When I requested an MRI in Australia a couple of years ago, I got it next day. They were apologetic that they could not do it same day. But I have private insurance -- like about 40% of Australians. It's only 10% in Britain

A woman who had complained to her GP of severe headaches for almost a year collapsed and died of an undiagnosed brain tumour. Jennifer Bell, 22, had been told she was suffering from stress but after months of illness had finally been referred to a neurologist. She then faced a 13-week wait before a 'relatively urgent' MRI scan could be carried out. Three days before the long-awaited appointment she collapsed at home and died later in hospital.

Her parents, Colin and Joyce Bell, want to know why Jennifer's MRI referral was logged only as 'relatively urgent'. Yesterday at an inquest in Norwich, Coroner William Armstrong agreed that an early scan would have led to much faster intervention.

Jennifer, of Thorpe End, Norwich, developed severe headaches, nausea, a stiff neck and diarrhoea in August 2005. Her health became so poor she gave up her job as a passenger service agent at Norwich airport. She visited her GP for the first time on November 4, 2005. Between then and April 10, 2006, she had five GP appointments. She also had six physiotherapy sessions. Her GP, Dr Helene Barclay, of Thorpe Medical Group, had recorded her symptoms as stressrelated.

But eight months on and still no better, Jennifer was referred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. There a neurologist discovered that her periods had stopped, a symptom not usually associated with headaches and decided she needed a scan. But on July 3 last year - only three days before her appointment, Miss Bell collapsed at home. She was taken to the N&N hospital and then transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, where she died.

At the inquest, Dr Barclay defended her decision to prescribe painkillers and physiotherapy for Miss Bell's stiff neck. "She did not show any sensory symptoms and I feel the routine referral to the N&N was appropriate," she said. Dr Jeffrey Cochius, consultant neurologist and clinical director at the N&N, said it was a credit to the neurologist who had referred Jennifer for the MRI as many would not have asked questions about her menstruation.

Coroner Mr Armstrong recorded a narrative verdict, saying: "I think there is no doubt that the tumour caused her death but it is also quite clear that early detection would have resulted in medical intervention of some kind. "The expression 'relatively urgent' is inherently ambiguous and the hospital might consider whether its use is helpful or appropriate. "Jennifer died as a consequence of a progressive undiagnosed brain tumour of a rare type and location urgent is a dangerous term because it is a contradiction."


A British dentistry expansion that instead became a contraction

In the best tradition of bureaucratized medicine

The government's scheme to expand NHS dentistry led to fewer patients being treated by fewer dentists in the first year of operation, official figures revealed yesterday. Ministers had expected local NHS commissioners to buy extra capacity to make it easier for people to register for regular dental treatment. Dentists were put on a new contract that was supposed to let them escape the "drill and fill" treadmill and provide time for preventive work.

But the Department of Health acknowledged that the reform did not bring quick benefits. It said 28.1 million people went to an NHS dentist in England in the year to March - 50,000 fewer than in the previous 12 months. And the number of NHS dentists fell from 21,111 to 21,038.

Health minister Ann Keen said the reform helped the NHS create services, citing examples in Cumbria, Lincolnshire and Cornwall. "Putting right nearly two decades of deterioration in NHS coverage is not the work of 12 months. It will take longer to develop services to a position where all primary care trusts are able to meet local requirements fully," she said.

But Liz Phelps from Citizens Advice said: "Even by the government's own estimate there are still two million people trying to get NHS dental treatment who can't find a dentist."

Peter Ward, chief executive of the British Dental Association, said: "This first year report on the new untested contract for dentists justifies our concerns and will do little to rebuild trust ... The government must start listening to the profession [What an optimist! Doesn't he realize that bureaucrats know best?] and patients if local commissioning is to provide the services that local communities deserve."


Secular fundamentalists are the new totalitarians

The article reproduced below says that militant secularists like Richard Dawkins are taking their revenge on believers for refusing to stay in the closet. It seems to me that atheists who attack Christianity are shaky in their own convictions. They attack Christianity to make themselves feel good. I am myself the most thorough atheist you will find. I do not even think that the word "God" is meaningful. But I greatly respect Christians and will always defend them

There's an aspiring totalitarianism in Britain which is brilliantly disguised. It's disguised because the would-be dictators - and there are many of them - all pretend to be more tolerant than thou. They hide alongside the anti-racists, the anti-homophobes and anti-sexists. But what they are really against is something very different. They - call them secular fundamentalists - are anti-God, and what they really want is the eradication of religion, and all believers, from the face of the earth.

In recent years these unpleasant people have had a strategy of exploiting Britain's innate politeness. They realised that for a decade overly sensitive souls (normally called the PC brigade) had bent over backwards to avoid giving offence. Trying not to give offence was, despite the excesses, a noble courtesy.

But the fundamentalists saw an opening. Because we live in a multiconfessional society, they fostered the falsehood that wearing a crucifix or a veil or a turban was deeply offensive to other faiths. They pretended to be protecting religious sensibilities as a pretext to strip us of all religious expressions. In 2006 Jack Straw and BA fell into the fundamentalists' trap.

But Britons are actually laissez-faire about such things. And so the fundamentalists deployed an opposite tactic. Instead of pretending to protect religious sensibilities, they went on the offensive and sought to give offence. The subsequent reactions to the play Behzti in Birmingham, to Jerry Springer the Opera and to the Danish cartoons were wheeled out as examples of why religious groups are unable to live with our cherished freedom and tolerance.

In recent years the nastier side of this totalitarianism has become blatantly apparent. It emerged with the hijab issue in France. With the hijab ban in French schools, a state was banishing religion not only from its corridors, but also from its citizens. It was an assertion that after centuries of the naked public square (denuded of religion referents) the public now too had to go naked. The former had been true tolerance, something exceptional and laudable. It allowed everyone to bring their own cosmic testimony to the square. But this new form of "tolerance" changed things. From everyone being welcome, it had become everyone but.

There's a background to all this. Since 2001, lazy intellectuals have been allowed to get away with repeating the nonsense that terrorism and war are the consequences of belief in God. Believers are ridiculed for being, in contrast to the stupendously brainy atheists, very dim. Listen to Richard Dawkins' comment on Nadia Eweida (the BA employee who refused to take off her cross): "she had one of the most stupid faces I've ever seen." Nice.

There's also the fact that we live in a cultural milieu dominated by postmodernism. Broadly speaking, it attempts to deconstruct power and its narratives. It tries to rescue the marginalised. A noble intent, but because it doesn't believe in truth, anything goes. The tyranny of orthodoxy has been replaced by the tyranny of relativism. You're supposed to believe in nothing, and hence nihilists and atheists are suddenly rather chic. Postmodernism has taken tolerance to the extremes, where extremists thrive. It's a dangerous form of appeasement.

The greatest appeasers, however, have been the believers. Until recently many hid their religion in the closet. They conceded that it was something private. Until a few years ago religion was similar to soft drugs: a blind eye was turned to private use but woe betide you if you were caught dealing. Only recently have believers realised that religion is certainly personal, but it can never be private.

The reasons for that "outing" of believers are complex. But what is certain is that wise agnostics pleaded with believers to take a public lead again, because the point about believers is that they are obeying (and disobeying) all sorts of commandments that the state doesn't see or understand. Because they are able to differentiate sin from crime, they have a moral register more nuanced than most. Even a wise atheist (and I've met a few of them in church, as they desperately try to get their kids into the local C of E school) knows that believers can deal with social anarchy much better than the state ever can.

That is why these fundamentalists are so in evidence. They're not only needled by their own hypocrisy; they are also furious that believers have broken the old pact to stay out of public debate. Witness, for example, Mary Riddell's astonishing sentence in the Observer last month (try replacing "religion" with "homosexuality" to get the point): "secularists do not wish to harm religion or deny its great cultural influence. They simply want it to know its place." In other words: get back in the closet.

Christians feel particularly aggrieved because we believe that Jesus invented secularism. Jesus's teachings desacralised the state: no authority, not even Caesar's, was comparable to God's. As Nick Spencer writes in Doing God, "the secular was Christianity's gift to the world, denoting a public space in which authorities should be respected, but could be legitimately challenged and could never accord to themselves absolute or ultimate significance". Christianity, far from creating an absolutist state, initiated dissent from state absolutism.

And so for centuries a combination of British agnosticism and pragmatism meant that believers were judged not by the causes of their belief, but by its consequences. Everyone could taste the fruits, even those who couldn't believe in a sustaining, invisible root. These new militants, however, believe themselves to be the only arbiters of taste; they want to eradicate the root and cause. They will dictate what you can wear and what you can say. That, after all, is what totalitarians do.


A very interesting 1999 screed from one of Britain's most influential political journalists -- David Marr of the BBC

He recognizes that tribalism and prejudice is normal and natural but believes that the power of the State should be used to crush it -- very Soviet. He basically makes himself the enemy of every normal person

Thanks to the luck of history and a certain accrued political wisdom from immigration, Britain is less racist than most countries. Yet the thugs, listening to the complaints of Mum and Gran about how things used to be better, are deploying an ignorant but natural threatened-tribe instinct the same thought-patterns as the young men in the Serbian defence force or the Hutu militias.

It's nasty and it's natural which is why I am, on the whole, against too much nature. 'Natural harmony', accurately investigated, means a bloody and unstable cycle of massacre and extermination. Though human experience happens inside nature, human progress also depends on surmounting it. The tools by which we do so include politics and taxation, as well as science and art. But it needs a whole nation to move, not simply pious exasperation directed at the lower orders. I think the silent, sullen 'complete ignoral' which greets establishment outrage about the Lawrence case is caused by too much 'natural instinct' on the part of impoverished, retreating communities, and too little political and economic sacrifice by the middle classes and the establishment itself.

Some people may feel it is downright offensive to focus at all on whites in the aftermath of the Lawrence inquiry. I can't see how things will ever improve unless we face the fact that, although life is worst in Britain for young blacks, it is pretty hellish for certain cut-off and economically abandoned white tribes too. Their self-pity may be smaller in scale than the grievance of black people, but it is, as it were, similarly shaped.

What then can be done? (Apart, of course, from widespread and vigorous miscegenation, which is the best answer, but perhaps tricky to arrange as public policy.) First, we need to raise still more taxes to help regenerate inner-city ghettos and to employ more young people, white and black. Tony Blair spoke very well on Wednesday, and Jack Straw has driven this process through with grim vigour. But this is a Gordon Brown issue too.

The next answer was given by Doreen Lawrence, welcoming the report's emphasis on education: 'I truly believe in education our history, our background, is what separates us.' But, though teachers are the most effective anti-racist campaigners in the country, this means more than education in other religions it means a form of political education. Only people who understand the economic forces changing their world, threatening them but also creating new opportunities, have a chance of being immune to the old tribal chants.

And the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain 'natural' beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off. The police are first in line to be burdened further, but a new Race Relations Act will impose the will of the state on millions of other lives too.

So it should - but not merely on the police, or the boys with spray-paint cans. Perhaps the big difference between working-class racism and middle-class racism is not that the former is more violent, but that the latter is more effective. The middle classes have sacrificed almost nothing to multi-racial pieties - often no more than smiling at the shopkeeper, inviting a black colleague for a drink or being pleased when your child knows as much about Diwali as Easter. That's the beam in our eyes -hypocritical abuse of the poor by people unwilling to pay higher taxes or review their own organisations and lives. We need a rethink in all big British institutions - venerable, liberal, conservative, commercial, public and educational - as they seriously ask themselves how eagerly porous they are to black people. Yes: employment quotas, publicly published numbers of ethnic-minority employees in annual reports. All that. They do it in America and South Africa. Until we start doing it here, why should anyone on the streets listen to a word, a single word, that the comfortable people have to say?

More here

A desperate attempt to keep the myth alive for two more years

Greenie scientists know from the solar data that it is really cooling that we face so they are now trying to set us up to ignore cooling events

SCIENTISTS predict temperatures will plateau [They have ALREADY plateaued --- since 1998] before climbing again to a succession of record-breaking highs, in the most detailed forecast of global warming's effects. Powerful computer simulations used to create the first global warming forecast suggests temperature rises will stall in the next two years, before rising sharply at the end of the decade. From 2010, they warn, every year has at least a 50 per cent chance of exceeding the record year of 1998 when average global temperatures reached 14.54 degrees.

The forecast, from researchers at Britain's Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre in Exeter, south-western England, shows that natural shifts in climate will cancel out warming produced by greenhouse gas emissions and other human activity until 2009, but from then temperatures will rise steadily. Temperatures are set to rise over the 10 years by 0.3 degrees. Beyond 2014, the chance of breaking the temperature record is even greater.

The forecast of a brief slump in global warming has been seized upon by climate change sceptics as evidence that the world is not heating. Climate scientists say the new high-precision forecast predicts temperatures will stall because of natural climate effects that have caused the Southern Ocean and tropical Pacific to cool over the past couple of years.

The forecast marks a shift in thinking by climate change researchers. Instead of using their models to look many decades ahead, they will focus on the very near future. [How wise!] The hope is that forecasts will be more useful to emergency planners in governments and companies by warning of droughts and other extreme conditions a year or two ahead. Previously, the models have been used to show that global temperatures may rise 6 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

"If you look ahead on a 50- to 100-year time frame, then global warming is the big thing for the climate," Doug Smith, a climate scientist at the Hadley Centre, said. "But if you're working on a project that is only designed to last for the next few years, that information doesn't make much difference to you." A team led by Dr Smith set computers working on the forecast after plugging in temperature measurements taken from the world's oceans and atmosphere. The team then checked the accuracy of the forecasts by getting it to predict climate change throughout the 1980s and 1990s - making "hindcasts".

Existing global climate computer models tend to underestimate the effects of natural forces on climate change, so for this analysis Met Office experts tweaked their model to better reflect the impact of weather systems such as El Nino and La Nina, or fluctuations in ocean heat and circulation.

So far, only forecasts of temperature changes have been released in the journal Science, but the models also calculate changes in rainfall, drought risk and other aspects of climate change that affect flood defences and other vital responses to global warming. "The people who can use long-term climate information are few and far between," Chris West, the director of the British climate impacts program at Oxford University, said. "It's fine if you're building a skyscraper or something else that's going to be in place for 100 years, but for most people it doesn't matter much. It's much more critical to know what is going to happen in the next year or two, and that is something climate scientists have always struggled with."


Graduating in history from a British High School may become a thing of the past

The future of history as an A level subject is at risk as pupils choose "soft options" such as media studies over traditional academic subjects, the head of an examiners' body has said. Katherine Tattersall, of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors, gave warning that the subject could disappear from some schools because it was no longer compulsory for pupils over 14. Ms Tattersall said that history was one of the subjects that was threatened by alternative A levelss such as media studies and photography, which are perceived to be more likely to lead to a job. However, the Department for Children, Schools and Families rejected the claim.

Nearly a quarter of a million pupils took history exams last year, a record number. However, take-up of the subject and others, such as modern foreign languages and geography, is likely to show a decline when A-level and GCSE results are published this month. Ms Tattersall said: "History is disappearing because it is no longer a requirement of the national curriculum for 14 to 16-year-olds. It is just one of the subjects that is at risk. History is also disappearing into the new citizenship [syllabus], which is being promoted by the Government."

Ofsted, the education inspectorate, said recently that two thirds of pupils dropped history at the age of 14. It also said that pupils lacked an overview of world history and that the subject focused too much on England.

Ms Tattersall rejected criticism that exams were being "dumbed down". She said: "Examinations are far more sophisticated and demand a greater range of skills than they used to, and kids have a lot more to do."" Heather Scott, chairman of the Historical Association secondary committee, said she feared that the status of history was being diminished. She said: "We remain particularly concerned by the growing number of secondary schools ending pupil statutory entitlement to Key Stage 3 history in Year 8 by collapsing the Key Stage into two years. In effect, time for history is reduced by a third and the age at which pupils no longer study the subject falls to 13."

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said that history was secure on the curriculum. He said: "We don't agree that history A level may `become a thing of the past'. Ofsted states that it is one of the best-taught subjects. Standards in history compare well with other subjects and are improving: at A level, 75 per cent of candidates achieved an A-C grade compared with an average for all subjects of 71 per cent."

Classical scholars persuaded the Government to prevent the scrapping of the only remaining A level in ancient history this year. The move by the OCR exam board to replace the subject with a "classical civilisation" alternative had caused an outcry among academics and students.


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