Bad news for comedians; the police are now vetting jokes. Anyone who tells a joke which isn't on the police's list of acceptable jokes faces the threat of arrest. No Joke. Shop keeper Bob Singh runs 2 shops in Port Talbot. He regularly suffers crime, shopliftings & assaults, the normal stuff shopkeepers have to put up with. He reckons the average delay between reporting a crime & the Old Bill turning up is between 24 and 48 hours. (That's not bad, in my force I'd say that was pretty prompt, lots of our victims have to wait a week or more)
Mr Singh has hit on a great way to get the police on his doorstep much quicker though; he simply puts a few jokes on his Christmas Special Offers flyer & officers turned up in a big van quicker than he could shout "I think it's a racist incident".
Bob has put jokes on his festive flyers for the last 10 years. He gets the jokes off the internet. He did the same this year and was warned that some of his jokes might be offensive. Presumably someone complained, either that or the SO25 Anti Joke Squad had a lucky break. He has been told to withdraw the leaflet by police officers. As a result he put up a sign in his shops saying: "We would like to apologise to anyone who may have been offended by the contents of our xmas leaflet. In future we will be more politically correct. Sorry"
Examples of the now banned jokes were:
What's the difference between a Welsh woman and a Welsh goddess? - An eight pack of Stella from Bob's
Why is it dangerous to let a bloke's mind wander? - It's too little to be out on its own
What is the technical name for three days of horrendous weather followed by bright sunshine? A Welsh bank holiday
What's the difference between a woman with PMT and a Pitbull? Lipstick.
How do you measure a blonde's intelligence? Stick a tyre gauge in her ear!
What do you call a sheep with no legs? A Cloud!
What do you get when you cross an elephant with a rhino? El-if-i-no!
What do you call a deer with no eyes? I have No-I-Dear.
What do you do if your wife staggers? Shoot her again.
South Wales Police said one officer, along with a support officer and a trainee support officer had attended. "The content of the promotional material which has been distributed has been brought to our attention as being potentially inflammatory and offensive," said the force. "The distributor has been appropriately advised and instructed to withdraw the leaflets from circulation."
Tory MP for Shipley Philip Davies, a patron of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, said: `I just think it's absolutely mindless that police are wasting time on this kind of stuff when there are so many violent offences being carried out in the country. `The police officer would have been better off telling the person who complained to develop a better sense of humour rather than going to call on a shopkeeper. `The jokes may not be very good, but that's a long way from being a criminal offence.'
Mr Singh said, "I couldn't believe my ears. I thought they were joking - but they were deadly serious. This proves the world has gone completely crazy. Why are the police getting involved in something like this?" Bob, I couldn't agree more.
A store boss whose joke- filled festive advertising leaflet led to a visit from the police has had the last laugh on whoever shopped him. Not only is Bob Singh's Landmark store in Port Talbot even busier than usual for Christmas but the leaflets themselves are almost becoming collector's items. Last week the Post reported on Mr Singh's unusual run-in with the law after he decided to give customers something to smile about by sprinkling jokes on his Christmas promotions leaflets.
Although he admitted one or two might be near the knuckle, he insisted the majority were inoffensive. But a mystery shopper thought otherwise and drew the matter to the attention of the police, claiming some of the gags were potentially offensive and inflammatory. Officers called to give advice to Mr Singh following which he withdrew the leaflets from circulation and put an apology in the window of the Water Street store in Aberavon. He also opened a special book which customers could sign to declare they were not offended by the jokes.
Since the Post ran the story, Mr Singh's tale has hit the national headlines in Britain and abroad. He admitted: "The publicity has definitely helped. "Trade was already doing well anyway. We did a massive price cut campaign for Christmas, but it's fair to say all this publicity has helped us somewhat more."
And it seems the problem leaflets are almost as much in demand as the bargains they are advertising. "We've had people travel here to ask if they can have one of the leaflets," said Mr Singh. "We have explained there have been issues with them, and that certain people said they were not happy. "But, with the proviso they sign the book to state they are in favour of the leaflets, we have been able to let them have a copy. "I don't know if they are collector's items but there is definitely quite a bit of interest in them."
Aberavon councillor Tony Taylor said Mr Singh had done the right thing by withdrawing the leaflets from general circulation. "He's a popular and respected businessman. I think he probably did make a mistake, realised that and made amends. "What is inoffensive to some people is offensive to others. This leaflet could have gone into old people's homes or been picked up children, so you do have to be careful." [Old people can't take a joke?? That sounds offensive to old people to me!]
The fate of the Jews -- continued
I trod on thin ice recently in my reflections about the history and fate of Jews. But despite my reflections getting a couple of thousand hits, I got only one really hostile response -- so I am encouraged to continue the discussion. I am however going to let one of my regular Jewish readers do most of the work initially. I reproduce his email in full below:
A few disagreements or notes on what you wrote about Jews:
What would our numbers be without 6 million murdered..and of the remainder that survived Europe, how many were yet again dysfunctional, would not have children, committed suicide later on? Ok, we'd still be small in number, but not QUITE so small, given the one or two generations that would have survived and possibly thrived.
Religious Jews, the most "stiff-necked" of the bunch in terms of holding onto their Judaism, (and the most politically conservative), are the ones with big families. The problem is that the base is so small, that the overall numbers remain low, but in percentage terms, the one group of Jews growing is the Orthodox.
It is difficult to compare Britain, an island nation, with the stateless-until-a-short-time-ago "nation" of Israel. We were and remain an anomaly in history, a people that were interspersed among the nations. That made us the "stranger", always, and we were often forced into professions that were not looked upon in a god light, e.g. moneylending. We certainly see right now that financiers are heroes when times are flush, but even the honest ones are anathema when times go bad. And we certainly had no nation to hold onto, remained the great scapegoat of the nations. Was that because we were politically stupid?
NO. That's because we were weak and easy targets, and yes, we refused to fit in and go along with the rest of the population. We refused the easy terms of Christianity, so were reviled by Christians. We refused the paganism of Rome and Greece, and suffered accordingly. We refused to go along with the insane Mohammed, and now our no. 1 enemy in the world is Islam. Ok, so yes, we're stiffnecked, but to say it's because we were politically stupid....or should we just given in and lost our identity, should we have become Christians or pagans or Muslims, and just let Judaism go by the wayside of history?
So yes, our numbers are puny. But we outlasted the Third Reich, Stalin's Soviet Union, Torquemada's Inquisition Spain, ancient Rome and Greece, ancient Egypt..and all others who've tried to destroy us.
Now, I would agree that in the current day, and maybe ever since the Enlightenment, when we decided to "reform" and not be SO weird and stiff-necked, when we tried to blend in...we've become more and more leftist, and that HAS resulted in terrible problems for us. We don't even need to worry about Iran as we are fading away on our own, as the less stiff-necked amongst us don't care if their kids leave Judaism and marry others, or cheapen the religion in any number of ways; right now, I would agree that leftism is our dominant "religion" and it drives me crazy, as you know. It has caused us much grief and we are committing, I would also agree, our own suicide. But it is the strange people in the black hats, and the rabid "settlers' on the West Bank, and the families with the 10 kids, and those who worry about the picayune and strange rules of Halakhah, the religous, Orthodox "form" of Judaism, the form that is derived from the Rabbinic Judaism, that has the only real chance of keeping Judaism alive. THAT is not a new phenomenon, and was always thus.
Allies? Who should we have made allies with, without losing who we were? It's a valid question, but the answer is that we had no one to ally with. We had nothing or little to give...no lands, no titles...occasionally money and know-how to make money, for which we became court Jews and influential...but money, as it is wont to do, as often corrupted these Jews, as it does most people. Should we have allied with those who blamed us for killing their Lord, and who blamed us for poisoning the wells of Europe to bring about the Black Plague, which we often missed because of our rules of sanitation? Should we have allied with the Muslims who gave us dhimmi status at best, if not actively persecuting us for our lack of intelligence to convert to Islam?
I WILL be willing to grant we are not always smart as we are given credit for. I know a lot of Jews that irritate the hell out of me, and that I don't find so bright...but what percentage of science Nobels (not the meaningless and political ones like "peace" or "literature") are from Jews? That's another story and I know you know it.
So being alone and defenseless and insular and strange...it is a blessing and a curse. I'm well aware of the curse, but more need to understand the blessing. And what hurdles we've had to face. That we've overcome them is the miracle we'll celebrate, in part, tonight, the first night of Chanukkah. It is the anti-assimilation holiday, totally perverted by the reformed Jews, but the holiday is purely about maintaining our identity, our stiff-necked and crazy and insular persona, even in the face of hate and abuse.
And so it is 65 years since my grandparents were murdered by the animals, the Nazis, in Auschwitz. My 2 kids are religious, my sister's 5 kids and 7 grandchildren (I'm the slow one of the two!) are all religious or being raised religious. We haven't disappeared yet. But Hitler and his henchmen are gone, the Reich is gone. Yes, new enemies have arisen, and anti-Semitism doesn't go out-of-fashion, and yes, we can be total idiots...but we persevere, because we believe in what we are and who we are...not better than anyone, but maintaining who we are and what we do is important, EVEN IF WE DON'T EVEN ALWAYS UNDERSTAND WHY...: we are the group that gave the world the premier book about theodicy, the book of Job. It is who we are. We maintain faith though at times it seems absurd to do so. It is not always or maybe it is NEVER rational. But we've outlasted all the other folks who tried to do us in, and we believe that we'll outlast the Iranis and Hamas and Islam and all the rest of the murderers.
Said with proper passion.
He misses my point a bit, however and I admit that I should have spelled it out more. The thrust of my remarks was not at all that Jews should always have sought allies. I agree that allies would have been rarely available. My point is that Jews should be cultivating their allies NOW -- while such allies (American fundamentalist Christians) are available. Fundamentalist Christians are strong people in the face of the hostility of the world and have therefore remained supportive of Israel despite the scornful attitude that many Jews seem to have towards them -- but changing churches is an American tradition and church doctrines themselves have undergone a lot of changes even in my lifetime. My old Presbyterian church is still an oasis for the old gospel but many other churches are not. So nobody should take fundamentalist Christians for granted. Their support might not always be available. Note that already outside America fundamentalist Christians are often little focused on Israel. So from a British perspective it is stupid of Jews not to value, support and encourage American fundamentalist Christians.
And the reason I mentioned Britain was to point out that even a great and powerful nation has always seen a pressing need for allies. So if the Brits have always thought that they needed allies, might not people who are in a much weaker position also need them?
My comments on the Biblical description of Jews as "stiff-necked" as an explanation for Jewish political folly could probably also be expanded. I did note that I myself probably deserve that description. My point, however, was that obstinacy and defiance has both strengths and weaknesses. And I think that Jews are a good example of that. It gives Jews an independence of mind but also generates hostility towards them. Even The Lord himself did not like it! And I have NO expectation that it will ever change much. If Moses and the Hebrew prophets could not change it, who could?
Again, however, I think the British offer a safer example -- a way of handling others that any target of hostility should find thought-provoking. The Brits are experts at deflecting hostility. They don't succeed entirely at it of course but their historic civility and their ability to find allies shows that they are pretty good at it nonetheless. And their way is what outsiders often condemn as "British hypocrisy". But it is not really hypocrisy. It is just an attempt to respect the sensitivities of others. And the tools for doing that are compromise and the "fudge". You almost have to be British to understand what a fudge is and probably the best way of finding out is to Google "British fudge" and read some examples of it. It it is basically a partial retreat or concession that is disguised as not being a retreat or a concession. So it means something like "an evasive compromise", "handling a dilemma by vagueness" or "concealing what is really going on by vague or misleading words". It might not be too unkind to describe the whole of British politics as one big fudge. I doubt that the word is capable of precise definition but precision is, after all, anathema to it. There are some good examples of it here (Scroll down a little).
And I did make the point that the relatively small population of Jews in the world is essentially the result of persecution. That was really my starting point. I went on to ask WHY Jews have been so persecuted. And given their present demonstrable unwisdom politically, I suspect that they have always lacked political wisdom -- with "stiff-neckedness" being a major fount of that unwisdom. But my British heritage means that I speak as someone who not only respects compromise but also understands the "fudge". Nobody respects the "fudge" -- but they do it rather than perpetuate hostility.
Illegal immigrant tries to flee Britain SIX times... and costs taxpayers $500,000 to keep him there
More British bureaucratic insanity
Like thousands of others arriving here, Rashid Ali dreamt Britain would be a land of opportunity. But when he failed to gain asylum, he just wanted to go home to Morocco. With no money, job or passport, the illegal immigrant resolved to flee Britain by stowing away on cargo ships. Yet after six failed attempts he is still there - because the UK authorities have forced him to stay. He was supposed to have been deported in 2005 after he was caught stowing away for the fifth time and was jailed for stealing a coat and some food. But instead the 30-year-old was then held at an immigration detention centre for three years - at a cost to the taxpayer of $500,000.
Now he could be jailed again after being caught hiding on another boat two days after being released. Yesterday a judge said it beggared belief that the Home Office had failed to repatriate him. At Bristol Crown Court, Judge Michael Hubbard, QC, vowed to 'kick some backsides', saying: 'The sooner he gets back to Morocco, the better for everybody. 'We will write to the minister for the relevant office and see if we can have a senior civil servant here to explain the situation.' Ali arrived in Britain in 2004 claiming to be Algerian, because he thought he would have a better chance of gaining asylum. When his claim was rejected, he was unable to go home because he had torn up the identity documents proving he was Moroccan.
Desperate to get back, he squatted in an abandoned factory by the docks at Avonmouth, Bristol, and tried to find a passage home on ships. But four times his stowaway attempts were thwarted - the furthest he got was Ireland - and he found himself back in Bristol. After being returned to Avonmouth for a fifth time, he stole some food and a coat to keep warm. He was jailed for nine months and a magistrate ordered that he be deported after serving his sentence. Instead, on his release he was sent to a detention centre for almost three years.
In October this year he was finally freed - and two days later police found him hiding on a sixth boat leaving Bristol. He was charged with stealing a mobile phone and jacket and damaging a door at the docks, which he admitted. Judge Hubbard adjourned sentencing and remanded Ali in custody until January 31 in the hope of getting an explanation from immigration officials. The judge said: 'It beggars belief that during that time in detention it wasn't sorted out for him to return home. Can we not use this court to kick some backsides and have something done?'
Healthy pay: NHS doctor gets $500,000
A hospital doctor is earning more than 290,000 pounds from his National Health Service salary and a series of bonuses, including a 40,000 supplement to be on call. Figures obtained by The Sunday Times under the Freedom of Information Act suggest hundreds of NHS consultants earned more than 190,000 in the financial year ending in March – more than Gordon Brown – putting them in the top 1% of earners. By contrast with highly paid workers in the private sector, who now face widespread unemployment, they also enjoy full job security.
Previously NHS consultants turned to private work for extra income. The figures show they can now more than double their basic salaries by sticking with the health service, thanks to bonuses inflated by incentives to meet government targets to cut waiting lists.
The generosity of the NHS towards its senior staff may anger patients who have recently been deprived of modern cancer or osteoporosis treatments because they have been deemed too expensive. The consultant who earned more than 290,000 in the last financial year is a breast surgeon at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust in Lancashire and Cumbria. On top of his 120,000 basic salary he is paid an annual bonus of 90,000 as a “merit award” or “clinical excellence award”. These extras, given for exceptional contributions, are paid to thousands of consultants every year. The surgeon was also paid 40,000 for overtime shifts and a 40,000 supplement for being on call.
A doctor at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust earned about 130,000 in extra payments, including 50,000-55,000 to run a regional service and 35,000-40,000 to bring down waiting lists.
Another consultant, working for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, was paid a supplement of 77,000 in the last financial year for carrying out extra shifts to meet a target of giving all patients treatment within 18 weeks.
Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association, said: “It is unethical for the medical profession to line their pockets in this way knowing that NHS trusts are being forced to cut services. Patients are being left in pain. “Doctors are always complaining about how underpaid they are. The reverse is the case. They are being given bonuses for what should be part of their day jobs.”
A spokesman for the Morecambe Bay NHS trust said: “The consultant is highly productive and provides a high quality of care. The trust is fortunate to have his skills, knowledge and experience.”
Last month The Sunday Times reported that an NHS nurse had broken the 100,000 barrier for the first time. The nurse consultant in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, doubled her basic salary of 50,000 by working overtime to bring down waiting lists.
The health department has already been accused of awarding unduly generous new contracts to NHS employees without achieving better treatments for patients. A report by the public accounts committee found that a contract for consultants boosted their pay by 27% without any measurable improvement in productivity.
British cop behind arrest of politician issues grovelling apology for attack on Conservatives
The head of Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command was forced to issue a grovelling apology tonight after accusing the Tories of corruption. Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick had sensationally suggested David Cameron was trying to undermine his investigation into Damian Green. Mr Quick was the senior officer who ordered the controversial operation to arrest the Tory frontbench MP last month.
His attack on the Tory leadership came after it emerged that Mr Quick's wife operates a luxury wedding car hire business from their home, raising questions about a possible security risk. The revelations in The Mail on Sunday prompted an extraordinary outburst from Mr Quick, who recently failed to make the final shortlist to succeed Sir Ian Blair as Metropolitan Police Commissioner. He said: 'The Tory machinery and their Press friends are mobilised against this investigation in a wholly corrupt way, and I feel very disappointed in the country I am living in.' He added: 'I think it is a very spiteful act, possibly to intimidate me away from investigating Mr Green, and I feel it has put my family at risk.'
His suggestion the Tories were responsible for the revelation of his wife Judith's business interests caused amazement at Westminster. It is unusual to have a senior police officer issue such politically charged accusations. A party spokesman called on Mr Quick to retract the claims. He said: 'The Conservative Party played no part whatsoever in the publication of this story. Assistant Commissioner Quick's claims of corruption and intimidation are absurd and wholly untrue. 'As the officer leading the inquiry into the arrest of Damian Green, Assistant Commissioner Quick should display objective professionalism and not make baseless, political attacks.'
Minutes later Mr Quick issued a statement from Scotland Yard. He said: 'I regret and wish to retract my comment regarding corruption. 'The comment was made as I was in the act of having to move my family out of our home to a place of safety following the article in the Mail on Sunday.'
Detectives have asked the Crown Prosecution Service whether the inquiry into Mr Green should continue. Lawyers at the CPS are considering a highly critical report into the MP's arrest to decide whether it would be in the public interest to investigate further or bring charges. The move was interpreted in legal circles last night as a potential exit strategy for the Met.