Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's only "racist" if whites attack blacks

The other way around and the media is as silent as the grave about the races involved. The killing of a white British actor by stabbing has got a lot of attention in the British media in the last few days. The description of the murderer by the BBC is typical: "Unemployed Karl Bishop is accused of killing the teenager and with wounding five other people. Mr Bishop, of Carlton Road, Sidcup, will appear in Bexleyheath Magistrates Court on Tuesday". Below is the ONE report (and I have looked at many) which mentioned the race of "Mr Bishop" from the beginning. It is from the "Sun", which never seems to care much about political correctness. A day later, however, The Times also mentioned the forbidden word, "black", possibly because the BNP has been publicizing it:

A teenage Harry Potter film actor was murdered over a dispute involving an alleged mobile phone theft, according to a friend of the victim. Rob Knox, 18, died in a street attack around 1am on Saturday outside the Metro Bar in Station Road, Sidcup, Kent. Four other men were also injured. One was stabbed in the head.

A youth, who asked not to be named, said: "I was in the pub with Rob so I know exactly what happened. I was a friend of Rob and his brother Jamie. I wasn't drinking with them but I see them and I chatted to them during the night before the stabbing. "One of Rob's mates had his mobile phone stolen last week and he accused a black bloke in the bar of taking it. "There was a bit of trouble at the time but nothing serious. Then last night, earlier in the evening, this black bloke was in the bar again and Rob's mate went up to him "The black bloke went off and said he would be back. We knew there was possibly going to be some aggro but we never expected anything like that.

"It was around midnight when this car pulled up outside and I saw two black blokes get out and come into the bar. One of them was shouting something at Jamie and then he threw a chair at him. "The next thing it all went mad and there were several blokes fighting. I stayed inside the bar so I didn't really see what happened outside but I heard that one of the black blokes had two knives on him and he was stabbing anyone who went near him. "It seems crazy that a young bloke has lost his life over a mobile phone. Rob was a decent lad. I'm absolutely gutted that he has died."

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The insane priorities of socialist Britain

The first anger is for Khyra Ishaq, a small child apparently starved to death in a land of plenty, under the supposed care of a mother and stepfather. How far the social services are at fault is under investigation; but save a burst of fury too for Khyra's father, Ishaq Abu Zaire (known as Delroy Frances before his conversion). While blithely admitting he hadn't seen his children for a year he now blusters: "The authorities never lifted a finger... there are going to be consequences and repercussions I can assure you."

Look, Mr Abu Zaire, what part of the word "father" do you, a "religious" man, not grasp? In begetting children, you accept responsibility. Even if the mother shuts you out and you move away, you have a duty to check on them more than once a year. If you can't be bothered, then don't procreate. Public services are a safety net, not a spare parent.

Turning to the social services, though, one chilling observation was made by Eileen Munro, a child protection expert from the LSE. She said that serious neglect is common, but that social workers operating in poor areas simply miss the signs. "They get used to seeing low-level parenting. That then starts to look average. They fail to appreciate how much harm it is doing."

That, rather than more florid accusations, offers the most damning line yet about the state of social work, its understaffed overstretch, its chronic miscommunication. The weary resignation she describes is aggravated further by politically correct worries that make field workers nervous of seeming "racist". Who can forget the evidence in the Victoria Climbi‚ inquiry that officials put the child's visible terror and quietness down to "a culture of strict discipline in African families"?

Of course families bear prime responsibility, of course social work can't prevent every tragedy - but there are issues to be faced. One would think that governments would focus on them with relentless energy, driven by shame that a rich society should have welfare workers so used to seeing suffering children that they stop noticing that the parents are addicts, fanatics, mentally impaired or simply incompetent. And yes, there is poverty in Britain, but don't insult the merely poor: they aren't all neglectful. Many do heroically well.

Government seems not to feel this anger. Where little children are concerned, ministers - and here comes the satirical backcloth - are far keener on micromanaging those who are already perfectly OK. They like to impose their will on soft, law-abiding families rather than intractable and uncivilised ones. Take the current furore over the Early Years Foundation Stage, or EYFS, a national curriculum of 500 developmental milestones to be met by children under 5: 69 skills must be ticked off, box by box, by their carers. EYFS will be compulsory from this autumn - even for private nurseries, even for childminders (who are quitting, in droves, for fear of it).

The independent sector has now kicked up a fuss, not before time. The detail of EYFS "aspirations" is unnerving: take its IT targets, recently underlined by the Open Eye campaign and condemned in an authoritative paper by the psychologist Aric Sigman. Before 36 months a child must "use control technology of toys" and "talk about ICT apparatus", and before hitting five years old must use a mouse and keyboard, click on icons, "complete a simple program on a computer" and use "programmable toys" to support learning.

Why? Dr Sigman cites compelling research from Harvard on the risks of early overexposure to screens: serious educational, neurological and social problems have been identified, including a lack of ability to connect with people, and problems with short attention span. "The Government appears," says the campaign, "to have leapt on to an increasingly discredited IT bandwagon that is not only embarrassingly out of date but could well be harming a generation. Schooling is not compulsory until over 5, yet the Government is forcing nurseries and care-givers to follow its line on learning and development." Open Eye simply asks ministers to make the "goals" optional, and leave parents and carers some freedom of judgment.

But the irony here - whoops, red mist of rage returns - is that while we are a society that still has pockets of appalling parenting and children who die by gradual visible neglect, the kindly and reasonable majority of families are subject to endless authoritarian fiddling. While one child lies in filth and fear, taken out of school for ten weeks without a single visit from state authority, that same state authority beavers away to force every childminder to have "a range of programmable toys" and write down whether or not a three-year-old can work a keyboard and mouse.

On past form, it will be easier to avoid inspection if you leave your child bruised and starving on a heap of rags and don't answer the door, than it will be to avoid Ofsted if you are a childminder failing to make notes on the 69 early learning goals. Possibly because you were all too busy having fun in the sandpit.


English Motorist told English flag was racist

We read:
"A teenage motorist was told to remove an England flag from his car by a police officer because it could be offensive to immigrants. Ben Smith, 18, was driving back home to Ingram Road in Melksham on Thursday evening after filling up with petrol, when the officer stopped him on a routine patrol.

He checked the tax disc and tyres on his Vauxhall Corsa but when he noticed the flag of St George on the parcel shelf he told Mr Smith to take it down. Mr Smith, who works for G Plan Upholsterers on Hampton Park West, said: "He saw the flag and said it was racist towards immigrants and if I refused to take it down I would get a œ30 fine. "I laughed because I thought he was joking, but then I realised he was serious so I had to take it down straight away. I thought it was silly - it's my country and I want to show my support for my country."

PC Dave Cooper, of Chippenham Road Policing Unit, said he had never come across an officer asking someone to remove an England flag from their car because it could be racist. He added: "It all depends on the context of a stop. If they are going past a lot of Polish people, for instance, and abusing them, then we possibly would ask them to take the flag down."


NHS ordered to end care bias against men

The equality watchdog has ordered the National Health Service (NHS) to take urgent action to end anti-male discrimination in healthcare. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), headed by Trevor Phillips, has written to strategic health authorities warning them to ensure that doctors and hospitals in their areas give equal priority to men and women. The commission has legal powers to issue compliance orders to NHS trusts that persistently fail to provide equal care for men.

While the commission does not cite specific examples of discrimination, it details evidence of poorer male health. Other groups have pointed to male-unfriendly surgery opening hours. Men are twice as likely as women to die from the 10 most common cancers that affect both sexes and, typically, develop heart disease 10 years earlier than women. Men under the age of 45 visit their GP only half as often as women and are less likely to have dental check-ups.

On average, men die five years younger than women and 16% of men die while still of working age compared with 6% of women. Men are also three times more likely to commit suicide than women.

A new law, the gender equality duty, which came into force in April 2007, obliges all public services to ensure they care for both sexes equally. In March, Phil McCarvill, head of public service duties at the EHRC, sent warning letters to strategic health authorities, the bodies which manage local NHS trusts. cCarvill said: "We are writing to you specifically regarding the gender equality duty in response to particular concerns raised with us by the Men's Health Forum and the action we want you to take in response to this. We will view the failure to take any action as a result of this letter as a breach of your legal responsibilities in this area."

Research carried out by the forum found that men were unhappy with the service provided by their local GP surgeries. The forum points out that since men are twice as likely as women to work full-time and three times as likely to work overtime, it is more difficult for them to see doctors during conventional opening hours.

Other experts have pointed to the fact that, while there is a national screening programme for breast cancer, there is no equivalent yet for men for prostate cancer, although it claims a similar number of lives. Women are also screened for cervical cancer.

Peter Baker, chief executive of the Men's Health Forum, said: "The GP model doesn't work particularly well for men, particularly young men aged between 16 and 45 who GPs tend not to see unless there is something very seriously wrong with them. There is discrimination because these services are being underused by the group with the greatest need." The forum also suggests trusts offer health checks in venues frequented by men, such as work-places or sports clubs.

The Commons health select committee inquiry into health inequality will next month hear evidence that men are being discriminated against in the NHS.


Crazy NHS financial management

They have denied services to so many people that they now have a huge surplus

Hospitals and NHS managers were pressured into spending hundreds of millions of pounds before the start of the financial year to "hide" a 1 billion pound surplus. Opposition parties have accused the Government of encouraging NHS financial mismanagement after it emerged that some trusts had been ordering millions of pounds of equipment "as long as they could be invoiced before the end of March" - the end of the financial year.

Primary care trusts also advanced up to 400 million for future services to foundation trusts, which, as free-standing businesses, can keep the money. Some local councils have also been paid in advance for services. The NHS had forecast a surplus of 1.8 billion in March, but managers now suggest that the true figure was closer to 3 billion, with up to 1 billion being "hidden" by preordering. Some chief executives have been told that their bonuses could be jeopardised if they exceeded their "control totals" target, so have been using various accounting methods to reduce it.

Two years ago the NHS returned a deficit of 547 million, which was turned into a 515 million surplus in 2006-07. The steps taken to turn the service round have proved to be so effective that the surplus has risen to unprecedented levels in 2007-08. However, such a large surplus presents its own problems as patient representatives have criticised NHS managers for underspending while patients were still being denied vital treatments. Unions have also used the surpluses to argue for better pay for NHS workers, claiming that they have been generated by greater efficiency from staff.

Doris-Ann Williams, director-general of the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, whose members supply equipment to the NHS, told the Financial Times that members had received "a flurry of unexpected cash orders for capital equipment purchases as long as they could be invoiced before the end of March".

The Department of Health has said that all the surpluses would remain within the NHS. This has been possible since 1999, when Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, relaxed the rules on carrying forward surpluses from one year to the next. But last year the Treasury quietly clawed back unspent money from the Department of Health and there are fears that it may do so again if the surplus significantly exceeds its 1.8 billion target.

Stephen O'Brien, the Conservative Shadow Health Minister, said: "Labour's financial incompetence under Gordon Brown is making it boom or bust in the NHS - and this uncertainty does nothing to help patients and the hard working medical staff. If money allocated to the NHS is not going on patients then it should not be hoarded."

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: "We do have a crazy situation of substantial surpluses in many acute trusts. "One of the casualties is mental health services, which benefit from neither targets nor the PreBudget Report and have to negotiate block contracts with primary care trusts. They have suffered as acute trusts cash in. This creates a distortion in priorities."

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "Thanks to the efforts of NHS staff over the past year and half we are now in a strong and sustainable financial position, but also - importantly - we remain on course to deliver against our key pledges. The NHS and its staff have managed to achieve all of this at the same time as cutting waiting lists to their lowest ever. "NHS organisations are bound by strict accounting practices and are subject to a full audit at the end of each financial year."


Amusing that the British government is being blamed for something it didn't do (increased fuel prices) rather than things it did do (increased electricity costs, for instance)

Anger over Gordon Brown's failure to deal with rising fuel prices will boil over tomorrow in the first major new protest against sky-high petrol and diesel costs. Hundreds of truckers will descend on the capital for a mass rally to draw attention to a crisis that is hurting millions of motorists. With fuel prices going up every day, protesters will demand the Prime Minister cuts duty after having raked in millions in additional tax.

In scenes reminiscent of the 2000 fuel protests, demonstrators will gather at Marble Arch before a delegation marches on Downing Street to demand talks with Mr Brown. They hope to exploit his vulnerability in the wake of Labour's meltdown in the local elections and last week's humiliating by-election defeat in Crewe.

Motorists are already facing record fuel prices after crude oil last week hit 135 US dollars a barrel - its highest ever level. The pressure on motorists is underlined by a study showing that the cost of fuel for a typical bank holiday weekend away has soared by up to 74 per cent in just five years.

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