Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stupid British immigration bureaucracy -- and "caring" Leftist politicians

"I'd have more chance of being allowed to stay and care for my frail mother if I was a foreign criminal"

All Deborah Phillips wants to do is care for her increasingly frail 80-year-old mother. She has no intention of claiming benefits and would save the taxpayer the cost of helping to look after another elderly woman. But because Miss Phillips was born in the United States, moving to England when she was three, she has been refused permission to stay and must leave the country with her seven-year-old daughter Alexandra by the end of April. When that happens her English mother Betty Phillips will be left alone.

Despite huge support from her local community and the backing of her MP, Immigration Minister Liam Byrne has rejected her request for residency.

Miss Phillips, 48, believes she would have a better chance of avoiding deportation if she was a foreign criminal or terror suspect facing the risk of persecution back home. She said: "Some of these people stay here with the help of human rights laws. What about the human rights of my English mother and her right to a family life? "Sometimes I feel like a criminal. I'm just a very soft target because I am doing everything by the rules. It is annoying because terrorist suspects are treated better and allowed to live here. I don't see the logic in that. We are not costing the Government a penny." Miss Phillips, who lives with her mother in Cottingham, near Hull, has a U.S. Navy pension and works part-time as a volunteer teaching assistant.

"We are not a burden on this Government nor are we criminals. I just want to be able to look after my mum. Once the Home Office gets rid of us, they will never let us back in. Then what would happen to this 80-year-old woman?"

Her mother lost her husband Phil, 77, who suffered from Alzheimer's, in May 2005. She has had two small strokes and suffers from arthritis, heart trouble and hypertension. She is also prone to stress and anxiety. Miss Phillips, who has been turned down four times for permission to live permanently in this country, insists her mother is too frail to take to the U.S. Her mother, a former teacher, is English and her late father was American.

Miss Phillips came here as a small child in 1963 when her father retired from the U.S. Navy. She speaks with an English accent, went to school and college in Hull and lived here until she too joined the U.S. Navy at 21 and went to sea. After leaving the Navy and working in the U.S. she decided to join her family in Yorkshire. Miss Phillips, whose brother David, 45, is a businessman in Kentucky, wanted to return to care for her parents and made the move in December 2003. "I always knew I could come back to England one day because this is my home," she said. "My parents needed looking after. I never knew it would cause this bother."

The divorcee misses out on automatic citizenship by 15 months after a rule change in 2003. Children born abroad to a British mother and foreign father after February 7, 1961, and before January 1, 1983, can now become British citizens through the maternal line. Miss Phillips missed out because she was born on November 5, 1959.

She first applied for residency in August 2005 but hit a mountain of red tape. In May 2006, Miss Phillips - and her daughter - were forced to leave Britain but returned in June last year aboard a U.S. military cargo plane after her mother's health deteriorated. "But I made no secret of what I was doing and applied again for permission to stay," she said. "Again I've been turned down."

The latest refusal from the Home Office gives one reason as "she (her mother) may also rely on friends and neighbours to some degree to alleviate her sense of loneliness and isolation". Miss Phillips said: "The day after receiving the notice one of mum's neighbours, they are all OAPs, was taken away in an ambulance. The Home Office doesn't even know who my mum's neighbours are."

Tory MP David Davis, who represents Haltemprice and Howden in East Yorkshire, said: "This decision is a disgrace when somebody born to a British woman is being threatened with deportation at a time when the Government cannot even deport foreign criminals. "This woman wants to stay in this country to care for her elderly mother and is actually saving the state money and making a positive contribution to society."


You There! Step Away From The Happy Meal, Laddie!

Post below lifted from Blue Crab. See the original for links

The increasingly authoritarian "liberals" in Britain are now working on banning the humble McDonald's Happy Meal. The people's republic city of Liverpool is set to enact a ban on the meals. It's for the children, of course.
McDonald's Happy Meals are to be banned in Liverpool over claims they are contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity. The city council is planning to outlaw the meals on the grounds that they are damaging the heath of children - particularly as they offer free toys in order to encourage parents to buy junk food for their children. The Liberal Democrat-controlled authority claims the credit for taking the lead in the campaign that led to the ban on smoking in public places.

Members of Liverpool City Council's Childhood Obesity Scrutiny Group want a bye-law that would forbid the sale of fast foot accompanied by toys. Councillors say the promotional items are used to boost sales through the "Pester Power" phenomenon - children pestering parents for Happy Meal toys. The scrutiny Group has ordered a report from town hall officials that would pave the way for the bye-law that would be the first of its kind in the UK.

Lib Dem councillor Paul Twigger said: "The Scrutiny Group is recommending that a bye-law be enforced to stop the circulation of free toys associated with junk food promotions. "We consider it is high time that cash-hungry vultures like McDonald's are challenged over their marketing policies which are directly aimed at promoting unhealthy eating among children.

"Childhood obesity is a dire threat to the health in this country and it needs to be nipped in the bud urgently. "Children are directly targeted with junk food and McDonald's use the Happy Meals to exploit Pester Power of children against which many parents give in. "In most Happy Meals the toy is sold with a burgers containing four or five tablespoons of sugar, along with high-calorie fries and milkshakes. "These fattening meals are being shamelessly promoted through free toys and it is clear that it is going to take legislation to combat the practice.

The left has become much worse than what they rebelled against forty years ago. They now think their groupthink mentality is the only way to think and that decisions must not be made by anyone but them. The lovely "cash-hungry vultures" remark is especially telling. It just doesn't say what Mr. Twigger thinks it does. Nice jackboots, Mr. Twigger.

British Muslims criticise food company after it is revealed that some crisp varieties contain alcohol

Furious Muslims have heavily criticised Walkers crisps after it emerged that certain varieties of the manufacturer's products contain trace elements of alcohol. Some crisp types use minute amounts of alcohol as a chemical agent to extract certain flavours.

The report in Asian newspaper Eastern Eye, highlights concerns raised by shopkeeper Besharat Rehman, who owns a halal supermarket in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Mr Rehman told the paper: "A customer informed us that Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli and Doritos Chilli Heat Wave are not on Walkers' alcohol-free list. Our suppliers were unaware of this. "Even if it is a trace amount of alcohol, Walkers should make it clear on the packaging so that the customer can make an informed choice. "I feel frustrated and angry. I have let my customers down simply because such a big company like Walkers is not sensitive to Muslim needs. "Many of them were my daughter's favourite crisps. As soon as I found out about the alcohol in them, I called home to ask my wife to throw out all the packets."

Shuja Shafi, who chairs the food standards committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that he intended to investigate. "Certainly we would find it very offensive to have eaten food with alcohol." Masood Khawaja, of the Halal Food Authority, said that this was not the first time the issue had been raised with Walkers. "They should have looked into the matter and solved it instead of hiding behind labelling regulations. It does not matter what percentage of alcohol is involved. "Besides Muslims, there are a lot of teetotal people who would not like to consume alcohol in any form. As far as possible we try and lobby for halal symbols on popular products like Kellogg's cereals. "But we have always told Muslims to check the contents list even if a product is marked suitable for vegetarians. But to not mention it on the packaging is unfair."

However, a spokesperson for Walkers said that trace amounts of alcohol in crisps or bread are believed to be permissible for Muslims. "We do not add alcohol to our products. However, ethyl alcohol may be present in trace amounts in a very small number of our flavours. "It is used as a carrying agent for flavourings, and is found in many common food and drink products. "Foods like bread can also contain the same or higher trace amounts due to fermentation. "We are aware of the concerns from some Muslim consumers about the appropriateness of specific ingredients. We take the concerns of our consumers extremely seriously. "In previous assessments by Muslim scholars, foods and drinks that contain trace amounts of ethyl alcohol have been confirmed as permissible for Muslim consumption because of both the fact that the ingredient does not bear its original qualities and does not change the taste, colour or smell of the product, and its very low level."


Fair To Whom?

Post below lifted from Blue Crab. See the original for links

The Daily Mail hits at the "Fair Trade"certification in Britain again this morning. This time, they are reporting on the release of a study by the Adam Smith Institute that slams the entire fair trade movement as worthless marketing or something that is actually harmful to the most vulnerable people on Earth.
Last year, British consumers spent more than 300million pounds on Fairtrade products. But the report Unfair Trade claims that the organisation's "positive image appears to rely more on public relations than research". It adds:

Fairtrade helps only a very small number of farmers while leaving the majority worse off.

It favours producers in better-off nations such as Mexico, rather than poor African countries.

It holds back economic development, paying inefficient cooperative farms and discouraging diversification and mechanisation.

Supermarket chains profit more from the higher price of Fairtrade goods than farmers.

Only a fifth of produce grown on Fairtrade-approved farms is actually purchased at its guaranteed fair price.

Tom Clougherty, policy director of the Adam Smith Institute, says: "At best, fair trade is a marketing device that does the poor little good. "At worst, it may inadvertently be harming some of the planet's most vulnerable people."

Most damning of all, the report claims that Fairtrade is hurting the poorest group of all in the production process of its goods - the casual labourers hired by farmers to pick the bananas, coffee and cotton.

The UK executive director of Fairtrade whines that the report is beating them up for trying. (It's all about the good intentions, don't you see?).

Actually, the study, as reported in the story, isn't beating them up for trying. It is beating them up for what they are doing wrong. Is making sure that farmers get a fair shake a laudable effort? Well, maybe, although that is a subject that is debatable. But forcing collectivism is the surest way to ensure that they all get treated equally badly. The "fair trade" activists insist on only dealing with collectives. Winston Churchill's famous quotation applies here: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." The report indicates that the "fair traders" are very good indeed at making everyone miserable.

This Bishop is no Pawn

Most readers will remember the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali, who has been notably outspoken on the topic of Islam and the Islamization of Britain - especially when one compares him with the Archdhimmi of Canterbury.

Dr. Nazir-Ali's most famous and controversial statements concerned urban neighborhoods of the UK which have become virtual "no-go areas" to non-Muslims. The bishop has taken a lot of flak from the chattering classes, especially those within the Anglican hierarchy. According to today's Telegraph, however, he's not backing off from his assertions:

Bishop of Rochester reasserts `no-go' claim

In his first interview since his controversial comments, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali vows not to be forced into silence

Michael Nazir-AliThe Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, who received death threats for airing his views on Islamic issues, has vowed that he will continue to speak out.

His claim that Islamic extremism has turned some parts of Britain into "no-go" areas for non-Muslims led to fierce rows between political and religious leaders over the impact of multiculturalism on this country.

Those comments were followed soon after by the Archbishop of Canterbury's suggestion that the adoption of aspects of sharia law in Britain was "unavoidable".

The bishops' views in The Sunday Telegraph sparked a storm of criticism and raised questions over the role of the Church in society but, most seriously for Dr Nazir-Ali, led to threats that he and his family would be harmed.

Yet, in his first interview since the sinister calls were made to his home, the Bishop of Rochester remains steadfastly defiant. He will not be silenced. "I believe people should not be prevented from speaking out," he says. "The issue had to be raised. There are times when Christian leaders have to speak out."


Threats were made warning that he would not "live long" and would be "sorted out" if he continued to criticise Islam.

Dr. Nazir-Ali originally fled from Pakistan to escape death threats from Muslims, so the irony of his current circumstances is not lost on him:
However, it's not the first time that his life has been endangered.

Shortly after being made a bishop in Pakistan - at 35 he was the youngest in the Anglican Church - he was forced to flee to Britain to seek refuge from Muslims who wanted to kill him.

He says that he never expected to suffer the same treatment in Britain and expresses concerns over recent social developments.

He continues to speak out, and is more concerned about the civilizational crisis within the West than he is with Islam itself:

"The real danger to Britain today is the spiritual and moral vacuum that has occurred for the last 40 or 50 years. When you have such a vacuum something will fill it.

"If people are not given a fresh way of understanding what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be a Christian-based society then something else may well take the place of all that we're used to and that could be Islam."

Dr. Nazir-Ali is daring to give voice to sentiments that many thousands of his fellow Britons hold, but which are denied utterance by the rubrics of political correctness:

Just over a year ago Abu Izzadeen, an Islamic radical, heckled John Reid, the former home secretary, as he tried to deliver a speech on targeting potential extremists. "How dare you come to a Muslim area," Izzadeen screamed.

There was widespread dismay at the outburst, but nobody had dared to try to suggest that these views were entrenched across the country until the bishop spoke last month.

In warning of attempts to impose an Islamic character on certain areas, for example by amplifying the call to prayer from mosques, he seems to have tapped into the fears of a large section of society.

Many Christians - not least some of the leaders of the major Protestant denominations - seem to think that Christian morality always requires the faithful to submit without resistance to any form of violence. Dr. Nazir-Ali, however, believes the time has come for Christians to stand up for what they know is right.

To many, he has become a champion of traditional Christianity and its importance to Britain at the same time as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been attacked for suggesting the adoption of aspects of sharia law is "unavoidable" in this country.

While the archbishop received widespread support from within the Church, Dr Nazir-Ali found himself isolated from his colleagues.

"I don't court popularity. If I say something it's because I think it's important enough to say it. What I said was based on evidence, and that has been strengthened as a result of overwhelming correspondence."

The moral cowardice that his been so evident of late within the Anglican Church is not lost on him, although he is circumspect about addressing it directly:

He wishes the Church would be more vocal on issues of multiculturalism and sharia law, but refuses to criticise his colleagues, although it is clear he is baffled by their silence.

"I can't guess why they haven't talked on the issue. I'm not responsible for other people's consciences." Is it due to cowardice? "You'd have to ask them."

Above all he is opposed to the adoption of any form of sharia for Muslims in the UK:

"People of every faith should be free within the law to follow what their spiritual leaders direct them to, but that's very different from saying their structures should replace that of the English legal system because there would be huge conflicts." In particular, he points to polygamy, women's rights and freedom of belief as areas in sharia law that would undermine equality.

There is a danger that the archbishop's remarks could become a reality unless Britain quickly regains a sense of its Christian heritage.

"Do the British people really want to lose that rooting in the Christian faith that has given them everything they cherish - art, literature, architecture, institutions, the monarchy, their value system, their laws?"

As a Pakistani-born immigrant who has suffered racist abuse - he was called a "Paki papist" by Anglican clergy - he has gained an army of admirers who appear grateful to have someone brave enough to address controversial topics. He has vowed the latest threats will not change how he and his family live.

"The recovery of Christian discourse in the public life of this nation is so important. It's that discourse that will allow us in a genuine way to be hospitable to those who come here from different cultures and religions."

It's ironic that a bishop of Pakistani and Muslim background should be the most visible defender of Christianity and British tradition.

Maybe it's easier for someone coming in from the outside to see what we've got that's worth saving.



European consumers shunning imported food supposedly to limit climate change should not make African farmers a scapegoat, a Brussels conference has been told. In Britain, several supermarkets have begun labelling products flown into the country with stickers marked "air-freighted," to reflect concern about the contribution of aviation to global warming.

But Benito Mueller, a director at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, dismissed the concept of food miles as "an extremely oversimplified indicator" of ecological impact. Saying he was "really angry" with the implicit message that agricultural produce from Africa should be avoided, Mueller claimed that less greenhouse gas emissions are often emitted from the cultivation and transport of such goods than they would be if grown in Europe. Strawberries imported from Kenya during the winter, he maintained, have a lower "carbon footprint," a measure to ascertain the effect of a method of production on the environment - than those grown in a heated British greenhouse, even when their transport by air from Africa is taken into account. Mueller argued that African farmers should not suffer because of efforts to cut discharge of carbon dioxide, the main gas triggering climate change. Britain, he added, is responsible for 50 times more greenhouse gas emissions than Kenya.

Efforts to increase the use of biofuels were also called into question at a February 13 conference organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation, a body dealing with relations between Europe and some 80 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The European Union has set itself a target that biofuels should provide 10 per cent of the energy needed to power cars and other modes of transport by 2020, despite growing doubts over whether it is wise to rely so heavily on these fuels.

Two new papers published in Science magazine have calculated that production of the most popular forms of biofuels causes a major increase in greenhouse gas emissions because of land clearance. Palm oil, a key biofuel used in European cars, is produced through the deforestation on lands rich in peat. It would take an estimated 840 years to claw back the amount of carbon dioxide released from that process, according to scientists, through the eventual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions caused by using biofuels rather than conventional petrol or diesel.

Mark Rosegrant from the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute cited worries that land that should be used to grow food for the poor and hungry is instead being used for biofuels. "The continued expansion of biofuels is increasing food prices and increasing malnutrition in a number of developing countries," he said.


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