Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Right Honourable The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley comments on the latest effusion from Leaky Jonathan

I commented on Leaky Jonathan here yesterday. Comment below received by email from Lord Monckton [monckton@mail.com]

The scare: An article published in early February 2009 by Jonathan Leake, the environment editor of The Times of London, said "The ice caps are melting so fast that the world's oceans are rising more than twice as fast as they were in the 1970s." The Times said that "scientists" had used satellites "to track how the oceans are responding as billions of gallons of water reach them from melting ice sheets and glaciers", an effect "compounded by thermal expansion". The article said that in the past 15 years "sea levels have been rising at 3.4mm a year, much faster than the average 1.7mm recorded by tidal gauges over the past 50 years." A scientist was quoted as saying, "This rate, observed since the early 1990s, could reflect an acceleration linked to global warming." The article added that figures from the UK Meteorological Office suggested that sea level in the tidal reaches of the River Thames could rise by as much as 6ft 6in by 2100.

The truth: First, there is nothing new in this article. Ever since the TOPEX/JASON sea-level monitoring satellites began transmitting data in 1993, they have shown sea level as rising at a near-linear rate equivalent to 1 ft/century, compared with the 8 in/century previously estimated for the 20th century by the use of tide-gages. However, it is thought likely that the apparent increase in the rate of sea-level rise is chiefly an artefact of the change in mensuration from tide-gauges to satellites in 1993. Furthermore, in response to the very sharp global cooling of the last few years, the rate of increase in sea level appears to have slowed somewhat, though it is not yet clear whether the trend will continue, and no data from the JASON satellite has been published since the late summer of 2008. In 2007 the UN reduced its high-end estimate of sea-level rise from 3 ft to less than 2 ft over the 21st century. The mean rate of sea-level rise over the past 10,000 years has been 4 ft/ century, though The Times was very careful not to provide this perspective in its article.

There is little scientific basis for the article's assertion that "the ice-caps are melting fast". There has been some decline in sea-ice extent in the Arctic, but this decline is well within natural climate variability and cannot be attributed to anthropogenic "global warming", because the mere fact of warming (which, in any event, has not occurred for 13 years) tells us nothing of the cause of the warming. In the Antarctic, however, sea-ice extent has recently reached a record high, and the current accumulation of land-ice at the South Pole is 8850 feet deep, increasing annually. The Times somehow failed to mention the Antarctic in its article.

For most of the past 10,000 years - most recently in the Roman and medieval warm periods - temperatures were up to 3 Celsius degrees (5.5 Fahrenheit degrees) warmer than the present. Each of the past four interglacial periods was up to 6 Celsius degrees (11 Fahrenheit degrees) warmer than the present. Humankind cannot have been to blame. End of scare.

High-ranking British diplomat arrested over anti-Semitic tirade

There has long been a lot of antisemitism in Britain's Foreign Office. It may not be the case in this instance but in general, it is said to be a homosexual thing. Arabs understand concealed homosexuality and concealed homosexuality is said to be common in the FO. FO people mostly come from "Public" (fee-paying) school backgrounds, where homosexuality was traditionally tolerated

A high-ranking diplomat at the Foreign Office has been arrested after allegations that he launched a foul-mouthed anti-Semitic tirade. Middle East expert Rowan Laxton, 47, was watching TV reports of the Israeli attack on Gaza as he used an exercise bike in a gym. Stunned staff and gym members allegedly heard him shout: 'F**king Israelis, f**king Jews'. It is alleged he also said Israeli soldiers should be 'wiped off the face of the earth'. His rant reportedly continued even after he was approached by other gym users.

After a complaint was made to police, Mr Laxton was arrested for inciting religious hatred through threatening words and behaviour and bailed until late next month. The maximum penalty for inciting religious hatred is a seven-year prison term or a fine or both.

Mr Laxton, who is still working normally, is head of the South Asia Group at the Foreign Office, on a salary of around 70,000 pounds. He is responsible for all the UK's diplomacy in that area and for briefing Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who is Jewish. Mr Laxton has worked extensively in the Middle East - he married a Muslim woman in 2000 - and has been deputy ambassador to Afghanistan. The case could not have come at a worse time for the Foreign Office. Next week, Britain is hosting an international summit on combating anti-Semitism, with politicians from 35 countries.

Mr Laxton had gone to the London Business School's gym in Regent's Park after work on January 27. An onlooker said: 'I was in the gym around 9pm and I heard this guy shouting something about "f**king Israelis". 'This bald guy was cycling away on his machine in the middle of the exercise room. When another guy approached him he shouted "f**king Jews, f**king Israelis". 'The gym was pretty full and everyone looked totally shocked. ' That sort of racist language is totally unacceptable. The gym staff called security and I think the guy was asked to leave.'

Mark Gardner, deputy director of the Community Security Trust which monitors anti-Semitism, said: 'There were an unprecedented number of anti-Semitic incidents during the Gaza conflict. 'This alleged case is particularly shocking, given the position held by the civil servant in question. 'We must not allow an overseas conflict to cause racism here in Britain and especially not among civil servants. 'The Jewish community will be rightly appalled to hear of these allegations against such a senior figure. 'We hope that the appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken forthwith, as they would be if these comments had been made against any other section of society.'

A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'It is too early to comment in detail on a matter that is currently the subject of police enquiries. But we take extremely seriously any allegation of inappropriate conduct on the part of our staff and continue to follow developments closely.'

When contacted by the Daily Mail, Mr Laxton denied his comments were anti-Jewish but refused to answer when asked if they were anti-Israeli. The Oxford graduate joined the diplomatic service in 1993 and rose rapidly through the ranks. He ran the British High Commission in Pakistan for three years before moving to Afghanistan in 2001. He stayed in Kabul for two years, then returned to London. He was appointed head of his section last year. Mr Laxton is believed to be separated from his wife, a banker who is working in the United Arab Emirates.

The Israel page of the Foreign Office website says: 'The Government has a shared responsibility to tackle anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and prejudice'.


Never OK to say anything bad about blacks. But Jews -- now that depends

The writer below, Dominic Lawson, has not made his point as strongly as he might -- perhaps because he himself has some Jewish ancestry

In the normal course of events, it should not be difficult to distinguish between Pope Benedict XVI and Carol Thatcher. The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is a startlingly intelligent, multi-lingual ex-university professor; Carol Thatcher . . . isn't. Yet the two are now serendipitously linked as this week's joint occupants of the doghouse in which we place those deemed to have offended against public decency. While Margaret Thatcher's daughter has been sacked by the BBC from its One Show for referring, over a post-programme drink or three, to a mixed-race tennis player as a "golliwog", Pope Benedict stands accused of endorsing anti-semitism, by revoking the excommunication of a British-born bishop who espouses Holocaust denial.

The fact that Benedict is a German who, as a teenager, was an (admittedly unwilling) member of the Hitler Youth has lent this affair a similar potency to that generated here by Thatcher's own accidental connection with notoriety: in the British public sector (of which the BBC is part) her mother is widely considered as wicked as Adolf Hitler.

Enough has been said about whether Thatcher's remark was "racist in intent" or merely what in other circumstances we might describe as an off-colour joke. Having met her on a couple of occasions, I'm almost certain it was the latter. It doesn't matter what I think, however: by making such a remark in the heart of the BBC she was committing a monumental social faux-pas.

The controller of BBC1, Jay Hunt, justified her sacking by saying that the One Show prided itself on its production team's "diversity" - code for the fact that it strives to employ as many as possible from ethnic minorities. Some of those people were in the room as Carol Thatcher made her remark. In such circumstances one can understand the consternation it caused.

What is socially acceptable does not just depend upon the sensibilities of the age - The Black and White Minstrel Show is unlikely to return to the BBC's schedules - but also on the immediate audience. If Thatcher had made the same remark over a gin and tonic in a rural pub, it would scarcely have been noticed. If she'd said it in a bar in Brixton she might have found her next port of call was a hospital A&E department.

For similar reasons the BBC thinks it perfectly acceptable for a comedian on Mock the Week to make a "joke" about the condition of the Queen's pudenda: it dismissed complaints with the statement that "the programme's audience have a very clear expectation of its bold and sometimes provocative humour". This is the BBC's way of saying: "Stop complaining, old farts, you wouldn't understand." The fact that the over-75s do not pay the licence fee might be partly responsible for this attitude, although the BBC would deny it.

So is the Pope, a German in his ninth decade, brought up in enthusiastically pro-Nazi Bavaria, equally unable to understand the mentality of the modern world? It's not nearly as crude, or as bad, as that. First of all, Benedict genuinely regards Holocaust denial as abhorrent. He has made a number of visits to Auschwitz. He spoke there of the "brutal massacre of millions of Jews, innocent victims of a blind racial and religious hate . . . I renew with affection the expression of my total and indisputable solidarity with our brother recipients of the First Covenant".

These are not the sort of words you could imagine being said by any of the bishops of the Society of St Pius X, whose excommunication was revoked by Benedict a week ago. The organisation was set up by the French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in opposition to the ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council. The official Catholic rapprochement with Judaism stemmed from that and is one of the doctrinal shifts that the Lefebvrists find abhorrent; Bishop Richard Williamson has not been the only leading figure within the Society of St Pius X to have given expression to antisemitic remarks of unreconstructed medievalism.

The cause of their split with Rome, however, was a refusal to abandon the old Tridentine mass and rituals, as they were ordered to do under the reforms of "Vatican Two". In this they do have the sympathy of the present Pope, who has an aesthetic preference for the old mass, and who has infuriated the "modernists" by making this clear. He has long wanted to entice back into communion with Rome the hundreds of thousands of ordinary members of the Society of St Pius X, and the revocation of the excommunication of their four bishops was an attempt to promote this.

It's equally clear, however, that the Vatican bureaucracy has been either appallingly lazy or stupid in its anxiety to satisfy Benedict's wish to bring the Lefebvrists back into the fold. This was horribly exposed when Swedish television broadcast last week an interview with Williamson in which he said the "so-called Holocaust" was a Jewish racket to extort billions from the gullible German state by way of reparations for something that never happened. This interview took place, most provocatively, in Regensburg - where Ratzinger spent many years as a professor and where as Pope he delivered a lecture that caused a furore in the Islamic world.

It is a criminal offence in Germany to deny the Holocaust, which helps to explain why Angela Merkel made the remarkable decision to demand that the Pope personally condemn Bishop Williamson and force the creepy Englishman to retract. The BBC failed to persuade Carol Thatcher to display contrition, but the Pope, amazingly, buckled to the pressure to conform to the purely secular requirements of politics (perhaps he had also read the leader in the conservative Die Welt, which pointed out with brutal realism: "Antisemitism is not only reprehensible; it is also social suicide").

The day after Merkel's demand, the Vatican declared that "the positions of Bishop Williamson on the Shoah are absolutely unacceptable and firmly rejected by the Holy Father . . . Bishop Williamson, in order to claim admission to episcopal functions in the church, must distance himself in absolutely unequivocal and public fashion from his positions regarding the Shoah, which were not known by the Holy Father when the excommunication was lifted".

Even if he didn't know, his advisers must have had some idea. Last March The Catholic Herald, aware of the negotiations with the Society of St Pius X, ran a front page story denouncing Williamson as a "dangerous antisemite" and revealing his endorsement (on an official Society of St Pius X website) of "the Protocols of the Elders of Zion", a notorious forgery which The Catholic Herald described as "a manual in Hitler's campaign to exterminate the Jews".

Now, you might be thinking insensitivity to Jewish feelings is characteristic of the most reactionary elements within Catholicism, but would be as unacceptable here as, well, referring to a black man as a golliwog; in which case you would need to explain why it's merely funny when Rowan Atkinson dresses up as a caricature of the malevolent Jew, Fagin, in the acclaimed stage revival of Oliver!. As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has noted, "the publicity posters on the London subway have the L from the Oliver logo refashioned into a long, protruding nose".

A few weeks ago this newspaper's theatre reviewer observed that "you might as well chuck in a black character who goes around eating watermelon, stealing chickens and grinning his head off". The show, naturally, must go on. I don't have a problem with that; but if so, let's not look down our own noses at Carol Thatcher and Pope Benedict XVI or deny that the causing of offence is about manners rather than morality.


Rise in illegal immigrants entering Britain

The number of illegal immigrants discovered hiding in lorries after entering Britain has more than doubled in two years. More than 3,300 were picked up in just an eight month period in 2008, compared with only 1,400 in an entire 12-month period in 2006/07.

Critics said the sharp rise pointed to a major weakness with Britain's border controls and warned that hi-tech lorry searches introduced at French ports seven years ago may have been undermined by bureaucracy and money-saving initiatives. Any illegal immigrant who makes it on to British soil can claim asylum, but those detected before they enter the country -- for example, at the French ports -- can be refused entry.

Between April and November last year, the UK Border Agency's office in Dover alone handled nearly 1,200 illegal immigrants who had been discovered in the UK hiding in lorries [heavy trucks]. A further 2,100 were received by other branches of the agency across England, Wales and Scotland.

The rise is believed to coincide with the privatisation of lorry searches carried out in French ports, which used to be conducted by British immigration officials using X-ray machines, heartbeat sensors and carbon dioxide monitors as part of a "juxtaposed controls" deal between the UK, French and Belgian governments. Some searches are now carried out by a private company. British search teams have also been banned from using X-ray machines in France on health and safety grounds, when French authorities made the bizarre demand that British officials should obtain written permission from stowaways before using the machines to detect them.

Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, who uncovered the figures, said: "For years our border controls have been shambolic, and the increase in lorry stowaways is just another example of the problem. "We need a joined-up national border force with police powers to ensure that only legal migrants enter the country." Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the Migrationwatch pressure group, said of the figures: "This looks like a very rapid increase and, of course, there will be many more who are not detected. "The Government's failure to remove illegal immigrants is clearly encouraging still more to try their luck. We need a virtuous circle of rapid and effective removal, not a vicious circle of declining effectiveness."

Adam Holloway, Conservative MP for Gravesham in Kent, who once spent a week living as a "refugee" at the now-closed Sangatte camp in France, said: "I think these figures are probably just the tip of the iceberg. "I would like the Home Office to explain in proper terms exactly what is happening, and talk us through the dramatic rise of people getting into this country illegally in the last 10 years."

Every night, hundreds of illegal immigrants sleep rough on waste ground on the outskirts of Calais, as they have done since the closure of the Red Cross hostel at Sangatte in 2002. The migrants, mostly young men including Iraqis, Iranians and Afghans, live on charity food handouts and making regular attempts to stow away on lorries heading to Britain. In 2007, searches and other measures such as passport checks before boarding ferries or trains led to 17,000 people being stopped, 12,000 of whom were caught hiding. Illegal immigrants who are discovered hidden in lorries, as well as those using other stowaway routes, are more likely to be placed in immigration detention at the Oakington centre near Cambridge, where their claims will be fast-tracked.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "We are committed to responding to every police request where they arrest people who have been smuggled into the UK in lorries. "We work closely with the police, through new Immigration Crime Partnerships, to target together the harm caused to Britain by illegal immigration. "We have one of the toughest border crossings in the world at Calais. Over the past five years we've stopped 88,500 attempts by illegal migrants to cross the channel, and searched nearly three million lorries."

Hauliers can face fines of up to 2,000 pounds for each illegal immigrant found in their vehicles. In 2006, the ringleader of one of Europe's biggest people-smuggling rackets was jailed for eight-and-a-half years after making millions of pounds smuggling an estimated 100,000 illegal immigrants into Britain over a decade. Ramazan Zorlu, 43, and his north London gang, packed six people at a time into a metal "coffin" measuring 6ft wide by 1ft deep which was strapped to the underside of lorries in a bid to evade the detection machines.


British school transforms pupils' behaviour by introducing 'Victorian-style' rules

Discipline works

A school claims to be transforming children's behaviour and results by introducing Victorian-style rules. Pupils at Neville Lovett Community School are encouraged to answer staff with a polite 'yes, Mrs Jones' rather than 'yeah' and stand respectfully behind their desks until the class teacher tells them to sit. They are also required to wait in the corridor in an orderly line before a lesson begins, say 'good morning Sir' as they file into the classroom, arrange their books and stationery neatly on the desk and stand when an adult enters the room.

Headmistress Julie Taylor, who insisted on the revival of old-fashioned good manners and politeness when she arrived in September 2007, says discipline and academic results are improving. Ofsted reported last term that attendance has improved and the number of pupils having to be sent home because of bad behaviour has fallen. Inspectors also said that pupils' progress in key subjects such as maths is improving and that 'attitudes and behaviour around the school and in lessons are good'. Last summer, a respectable 55 per cent of pupils at the school in Fareham, Hampshire achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE or vocational equivalent.

The new school rules are grouped under five headings - working together, following instructions, punctuality, good behaviour and completion of homework. Pupils receive stamps if they abide by the rules. As part of the new regime, pupils have also learnt how to shake hands properly, to take compliments and return them, to keep eye contact and to thank someone for a good turn.

While the school has resurrected some traditional school customs, it has left the harsher side of Victorian discipline to the history books - such as corporal punishment and making pupils wear dunces hats. Mrs Taylor said her emphasis on good manners reflected a fear that politeness was disappearing from society. 'We are teaching our pupils lessons for life because good manners will help them a long way,' she said. 'Good manners are something which was starting to disappear from our society but this school is helping to bring them back.' She added: 'Children line up quietly in the corridor before every lesson and say "good morning Sir or Miss" before they file in.

'Then they put all the things they need for the lesson neatly on the desk and stand and wait before the teacher tells them it's OK to sit down. 'It is all about respect and that is what I am trying to teach here. When any adult comes into the room they have to stand up and we expect them to answer in a clear and concise manner. 'When pupils answer a teacher they don't go "yeah, no or whatever", they answer properly with "yes, Mr Jones or no Mrs Smith". We don't put up with swearing either. 'Pupils have to show respect to teachers and to each other when they speak and it has really improved the learning environment at the school.'

Teachers put stamps in a booklet when they observe that children are following the school's five golden rules. The booklet is then taken home every day so parents can see how their child is behaving in lessons. Mrs Taylor said: 'Pupils know if they don't get enough stamps then they won't be allowed to the end-of-year prom or on school trips. 'When they go on outside excursions we have to be able to trust the pupils to behave in the correct manner.'

Attendance at the school has increased from 89 per cent to 93 per cent and Mrs Taylor believes the insistence on good manners will sson translate into further improvements to GCSE results.


NHS boss Lynda Hamlyn angry at organs for foreigners

Special treatment for the rich -- exactly what the NHS was founded to eliminate

A LEADING National Health Service hospital has come under attack from the government's transplant authority for giving livers from dead Britons to overseas European Union patients in private operations. More than 40 procedures using organs from British donors have been carried out on foreigners at King's College hospital, London, over two years. According to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the trade undermines Gordon Brown's œ4.5m attempt to increase organ donations and creates an "obvious potential conflict of interest". It accused King's of "a persistent lack of clarity" over the trade. The criticisms appear in correspondence released to The Sunday Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

Lynda Hamlyn, chief executive of NHSBT, wrote in one letter to the hospital: "This is the third specific issue of concern raised by UK Transplant [part of NHSBT] over the past four years about the transplantation of livers from deceased UK donors into nonUK residents undertaken on a private basis at King's. "People joining the organ donor register and families giving consent for organ donation need to be completely confident that UK residents . . . are treated fairly."

In one week following publication in The Sunday Times last month of figures on private transplants given to foreigners at King's, 22 people withdrew their names from the organ donor register in protest. Tim Smart, chief executive, denied King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had failed to give clarity. He said EU patients had the same legal entitlement as British patients to receive donated organs.


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