Monday, October 22, 2007

One third of 'Londoners' born abroad

One in three people living in London was born abroad and at least another 10,000 foreign-born citizens are settling in the capital each month. Figures released today show that out of a total Greater London population of 7.4 million, about five million were born in Britain. The number of foreign-born Londoners increased from 2.3 million in June last year to almost 2.5 million 12 months later.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, show the biggest foreign-born communities include Indians (almost 200,000), Bangladeshis (115,000), Irish (113,000) and Jamaicans (108,000). There are now just over 100,000 Poles living in London and there are also large Nigerian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan populations.

Merrick Cockell, chairman of London Councils, said the true figures could be even higher and called for more funding to help pay for essential services. "London boroughs are struggling to meet the increasing population's demands for services such as social care and waste, while central government reaps all the economic benefits from international migration," he said. "The Government must distribute these benefits in a fairer way." Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Jeremy Browne stressed cultural diversity brought huge benefits to the capital.

"London is a truly international city with a constantly evolving population," he said. "The success of our financial markets and business climate are attracting a wide range of entrepreneurs and workers. "That is creating a social vibrancy but the Government needs to respond to legitimate concerns about pressure on public services in some areas."

Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said the amount of foreigners moving to Britain was "completely unacceptable" and called for an annual limit on the number of non-European Union migrants.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We know migration added about œ6billion to our economy last year and London has shared in the benefits." He said the independent Migration Impacts Forum would advise the Government on how migration affects public services and communities, both impact and benefits. A new points system, based on the Australia model, for immigration will be introduced next year.


UK whites a minority in London classrooms

White British-born children are now the minority in many London schools, official figures showed today. In Tower Hamlets, 15 per cent of primary school pupils are classed as white British, while 63 per cent of their classmates come from Bangladeshi families. Tories said the figures, released by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, showed the changes were putting pressure on schools, which had to make sure those who did not speak English learned as soon as possible. Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green said: "If they can't, and they are being taught in overcrowded classrooms, this makes it much harder for teachers to do their job."

While Asians now make up the majority of young children in several areas of London, others remain overwhelmingly white. In Newham, just under 12 per cent of primary pupils are white British, while the figure in Brent's secondaries is seven per cent, compared with 36 per cent who are classed as Asian, and 24 per cent black. Outside London, areas with the highest concentrations of ethnic minority pupils included Bradford, where 53 per cent of the primary school children are classed as white British.

In Blackburn and Manchester, less than 60 per cent of primary pupils were white British and in Birmingham the figure was 43 per cent. In Leicester, 41 per cent were white British, compared with 38 per cent of primary pupils who were Asian. Nationally, 21.9 per cent of primary school children were from ethnic minority backgrounds, up from 20.6 per cent last year. There was a similar rise in secondary schools.

In rural areas, the school population was almost entirely white. In Devon, 95 per cent of primary pupils were white British. The number of primary school pupils who do not speak English as their first language increased by about seven per cent on last year's figures to 447,000, or about one child in seven. Figures at secondary level showed a similar rise in pupils not speaking English as their first language to 342,000 in total.

When special schools are included, 798,110 pupils in England's state schools do not speak English as their first language. This is out of a total of 7.3 million children attending state schools. Schools minister Jim Knight said teachers were being given help to cope with children whose first language is not English.


NHS pays 225,000 pounds compensation for husband's 'squalid' death

A boy of nine has been given 25,000 pounds compensation after his father died as a result of hospital negligence. Today, the child's mother - who was awarded a further 200,000 - described the squalid conditions in which she claims her husband was treated and the catastrophic medical errors that she believes killed him.

Debra Luck, 44, said medics left her husband Ian to lie in agony for hours before he died from a heart attack after a duodenal ulcer ruptured. Medical experts say emergency surgery would have saved the 37-yearold but instead Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow treated him with drugs. Mr Luck, who was delirious with pain, had been left feeling suicidal by the conditions. A lack of nursing care meant he was forced to vomit on the floor and wet the bed as he lay dying.

He was so appalled by his conditions that he refused to let his son Ben, then four, visit him. The boy was so traumatised by his father's sudden death he had to see a psychologist.

Mrs Luck, from Waltham Abbey, launched a High Court action against the trust after her husband's death. The case was settled when the trust offered the payout without accepting liability. Mrs Luck said she decided to take the money because it would give her son a more secure future. However, she remains horrified by the trust's behaviour. "They never even said sorry and I feel they've got away with murder," she said. "Those last days of his life were a living nightmare I never believed I'd experience in a British hospital. "The lunchtime before he died he called me crying, saying he wanted to jump from the nearest window."

She rushed to see her husband but he urged her to go home to be with Ben. Two hours later she got the call saying he had suffered a heart attack. A trust spokesman said: "The trust is pleased the court has approved a settlement and offers Mrs Luck and her family best wishes for the future." [Smarmy scum!!]


Martin Amis: Another Leftist who has seen the light

Put your hands up, said Amis, if you think you are morally superior to the Taliban. When a minority of the audience did so, Amis muttered: `About 30 per cent.' His implication is that, in our current relativistic climate, it is taboo to assert your superiority to anything - even the Taliban. Anyone who values freedom, Amis says, should have a problem with Islamism. He graphically went through some of the feudal punishments that the Taliban metes out to women who step out of line. `We're in a pious paralysis when we can't say we're morally superior to the Taliban', he said. His attack on cultural relativism is welcome, and it certainly exposed moral sheepishness amongst the assembled at the ICA. But I couldn't help thinking: is that it? Is that what it means to be `Enlightened' and principled today - to be Not-The-Taliban? Amis didn't go any further on the matter.

Islam, in Amis' view, `is a religion that's having a nervous breakdown'. And Islamism is a variation on a death cult - an `ideology within a religion, a turbo-charge, steroid version of murderous belief'. He made some interesting points about suicide bombing, describing it as a `paltry' act, signifying nothing but a `besplattering' of the self. What the Islamic world needs, he said, is dramatic progress: `Martin Luther, John Calvin. religious wars, then Enlightenment, then you enter the modern world 300 years after that.' He argued that it is the Western world that is giving Islamism its power to commit atrocity, even helping to legitimise that atrocity, by trying to `understand it'. Society does not question or interrogate Islamist values openly out of fear of becoming the target. Amis, however, is the Dirty Harry of the literary world. Come on, mad mullah, make my day. `I want to be a target. There are no Switzerland positions here', he said.

Amis was particularly scathing in his assessment of certain Western liberals who, in the course of `listening' to Islamist grievances, end up treating the views of Osama bin Laden - and those who blow themselves up at his bidding - with respect. Bin Laden, he announced, `is the Che Guevara of the current age, the poster boy for this amoral doctrine'. Amis argued that some admire bin Laden's ascetic lifestyle. `He lives in a cave, drinks contaminated water, suffers.' It's eco-friendly, borderline holy. But in truth, Amis said, Osama and his crew are not only murderous criminals, they are completely ridiculous figures. `At one time', he said, all Osama's henchmen `had one eye. They are tin-legged zealots, amputeed mullahs, they're all in bits. Osama is a very stupid man. But he did at least have the wit to stay in one piece.'

John Pilger, the veteran investigative journalist, also came in for a hiding, as did London Mayor Ken Livingstone. Amis quoted Ken's words: `[T]he Palestinians don't have jet planes, don't have tanks, they only have their bodies to use as weapons. In an unfair balance, that's what people use.' Amis then puckered up his lips and blew a fully formed raspberry of disgust. Is blowing yourself up really going to help matters, he asked?

There are many problems with Amis' argument. It is juvenile to melt down Islamism with Nazism and Stalinism into one big cauldron of evil - first, because these are three very different things; and second because violent Islamism, certainly of the al-Qaeda variety, remains a pretty insignificant threat to the Western way of life. Nor can the threat of Islamism simply be countered by Western liberals telling the Islamic world what to do about it (`Luther, Enlightenment, wait 300 years', etc). Indeed, over the past 50 years Western intervention itself - in Egypt, the Middle East, Afghanistan - did a great deal to nurture Islamic zealots as a counterweight to genuinely secular and anti-imperialist mass movements. Some of the very zealots who Amis loves to hate are a product of not-very-Enlightened policies on the part of Western governments. I would rather trust the people of the Islamic world to sort these zealots out, rather than officials in London or Washington or notable authors seated on the stage of the ICA.

And yet, it is important that Amis is allowed to speak as freely and as radically as he pleases. And he is only made to look better by the petty attacks that have recently been launched upon him. Towards the end of the debate at the ICA, a curly-haired member of the back row asked Amis for his views on the Muslim Brotherhood. Was he saying they're all murderers? `I think Islamists subscribe to a murderous ideology', Amis replied. `So you mean they're all murderers?' demanded guerrilla comedian Chris Morris (for it was he!). `No, but I believe the ideology they subscribe to is murderous', Amis restated.

This went on and on - Amis sticking to his guns, while `TV's greatest satirist, the shaggy-haired Swift of our age' got more and more upset. `What about Palestine?' Morris wanted to know. Amis muttered something about Israel being surrounded by hostile countries but was instantly cut off with a wail from Morris: `Oh my God, he's defending Israel now!' It seems that in our era of bland consensus, even liberal medialand can't bear to hear anything that smells like an alternative view.


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