They have suddenly realized that the despised middle class have got a lot of votes and upsetting them is not wise
The use of lotteries to allocate school places is to be reviewed by the Government as it emerges that more than 20 per cent of children are failing to get into their first-choice schools in parts of the country. Competition for secondary school places has reached record levels this year, increasing anxiety for hundreds of thousands of families. A survey by The Times of 43 local authorities suggests that in many areas up to a fifth of children face disappointment. Families in London are the hardest hit Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is setting up an inquiry into the part played by lotteries, arguing that "in some areas, this is the fairest way of resolving a tiny minority of decisions".
This week is admissions week, when about 570,000 families will be receiving their secondary school offers. As the recession forces more parents to consider a state education rather than a private one for their child, early indications are that more than a third of local authorities have seen rises in applications for secondary school places.
This year, just 62 per cent of parents in Richmond upon Thames got into their first-choice school, down from 64 per cent last year. The council said the fall was after a rise in applications. In another London authority, Tower Hamlets, 72.1 per cent of parents got their first choice. In Leeds and Warwickshire 85 per cent were successful, in Derby it was 81 per cent, while in Wiltshire, Stockport and Lincolnshire the figure was 89 per cent.
In many authorities the figures are similar to last year. Exceptions include Brighton and Hove, which introduced a lottery system to allocate oversubscribed places last year. This year, it has seen a 3.5 per cent increase in the number of children gaining their first choice, bringing the total to nearly 88 per cent. However, more than 5 per cent of children in the area have been allocated a place at a school that did not appear among any of their choices. In Blackpool, there was a 7.4 per cent increase in the number of children gaining admission to their preferred school, bringing the total to 96 per cent. In several local authorities more than 90 per cent of children gained admission to their first choice of school, the highest being Stockton-on-Tees, with 96.9 per cent.
Mr Balls, accepted that nearly 20 per cent of parents in some areas would not obtain a place at their preferred school. "More than eight out of ten parents get their first choice, but until every school is a good school and there isn't a concentration of oversubscription in some, then there is going to be disappointment, so there is more to do," he said. "I have sympathy with the view that a lottery system can feel arbitrary, random and hard to explain to children in years five and six who don't know what's going to happen and don't know which children in their class they're going to be going on to secondary school with," he said.
Lotteries are being used, at the Government's own suggestion, by a small number of oversubscribed schools in around 25 local authorities. They were meant to prevent middle class parents from playing the system, by buying or renting homes close to the best schools.
Catholic Church slams new British code of conduct forcing teachers to promote Islam and gay rights
The Roman Catholic Church has severely criticised a proposed new code of conduct for teachers which it says will force Christian schools to actively promote Islam and gay rights. The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has warned the General Teaching Council, by the professional regulatory body, that many teachers will quit the profession because they will not be able to accept the revised code of conduct in good conscience. Their advisers say the code would also seriously undermine the religious character of church schools by imposing on them a hostile form of secular morality. The legally-binding code would discriminate against Christian teachers in recruitment and in the classroom, they say.
Principle 4 of the code demands that teachers `proactively challenge discrimination' and `promote equality and value diversity in all their professional relationships and interactions' before they can be registered. It means that campaigners can complain if teachers fail to observe the new demands and that teachers and schools can be punished if a complaint is upheld.
Oona Stannard, head of the Catholic Education Service, an agency of the bishops' conference, told the GTC in a written submission that `there was an understandable fear that the call to "proactively challenge discrimination" could be used to oppose faith schools per se, and the rights that they have in law, for example, to select leaders who are of the faith'. `This anxiety extends similarly to the direction to "promote equality",' Miss Stannard said. `It would be unacceptable to expect anyone to be required to promote something contrary to their own faith beliefs and, indeed, it would not be possible for a person of faith to promote another faith - this is a matter of conscience.'
Miss Stannard added that there were grave concerns in the Church over the question of whether Catholic teachers would in good conscience feel able to register under the new code. This means they would either quit the profession or would be dissuaded from entering in the first place, heightening the recruitment crisis already afflicting many schools. The code proposed by the GTC would be binding on all schools, including the 2,300 primary and secondary schools run by the Catholic Church and the 4,660 run by the Church of England.
The GTC is insisting that all teachers will have to sign up to the new code before they can practice. The code will then be used by the GTC to assess cases of serious misconduct by teachers and trainee teachers. However, it will also be used by school governing bodies and local authorities in recruitment and disciplining of teachers; universities in assessing candidates for teacher training and by employment tribunals assessing claims of unfair dismissal.
Many Christians already fear that equality and diversity rules are being used against them. Caroline Petrie, a nurse, was suspended by North Somerset Primary Care Trust, for failing to `demonstrate a personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity' after telling a patients she would pray for her, while marriage registrar Lillian Ladelle, disciplined for refusing to preside over same-sex civil partnerships, lost her case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal after the panel ruled in favour of the Islington Council's `commitment to equality'.
Brighton Council also withdrew funding from Pilgrim Homes, a Christian care home, after staff refused to quiz elderly residents over the sexual orientation in keeping with `fair access and diversity' policies.
The Christian Institute, a non-denominational charity, says that the GTC code means that universities might ask applicants about their willingness to promote gay rights and Islam. If a teacher was asked at interview if he or she was willing to use materials designed by gay rights groups, the teacher could be rejected for declining because he or she would be in breach of Principle 4. If a pupil asked an RE teacher if Jesus Christ was the only means to salvation and the teacher replied yes, a non-Christian parent could complain to the GTC over a breach of Principle 4.
Ofsted inspectors would also be able to criticise schools for promoting the Christian vision of marriage, while teachers who say they will pray for troubled pupils could be suspended for failing to `value diversity'. Colin Hart, Christian Institute director, said: `Respect for people as people is not the same as respecting or valuing every religious belief or sexual lifestyle. `Forcing this on Christian teachers is to force them to go against their conscience,' he said. `Teachers are there to teach not to be diversity officers.'
The GTC consultation on the new code closed last Friday.
Britain shivers through its coldest winter for 13 years... and another big freeze is on the way
It's what we suspected as the deep freeze set in and the country was hit by heavy snow. Now forecasters have confirmed that Britain shivered through the coldest winter for more than a decade. The last three months have been the chilliest for 13 years, with an average temperature of only 37f (2.9c). The winter temperature has been calculated up to February 23, but it would have needed an impossibly high average temperature in the last few days for this winter not to be the coldest since 1995-1996. Although we are now in March, the recent mild weather is not expected to last. Wintry conditions are about to return with a vengeance.
The warmer temperatures in the last two weeks of February coaxed daffodils and crocuses to make an appearance, adding a splash of much-needed colour to the countryside. But after a wet and windy day tomorrow, a biting north-westerly wind will blow in on Wednesday, bringing flurries of sleet and snow across England. Met Office forecaster John Hammond said daytime temperatures will drop as low as 41f (5c). 'We have had mild winters recently so this one is the coldest since 1995-1996,' he said. 'We had a very cold start to February and temperatures will fall again from Tuesday due to low pressure. There will be wintry showers across the country with the possibility sleet and snow for all regions. It won't be as cold as it was at the start of February - but it will certainly feel cold.'
Heavy snowfall hit much of the country at the start of February. The South-East suffered its heaviest snow for 18 years, bringing much of the region to a standstill. Transport networks ground to a halt and schools, hospitals and businesses also closed. The blizzard is estimated to have cost the British economy up to 3billion because a fifth of the workforce was unable to get to work.
Parts of Kent enjoyed February's warmest weather, with Canterbury reaching 62f (16.9c). The lowest temperature was -1f (-18.4c) at Aviemore, in Inverness-shire. Meteogroup Forecaster Julian Mayes said: 'Although we remember the cold first two weeks, and there's no doubting the effect that had, it was actually followed by a mild second half of the month. 'In a way if you blend that together you get quite an average month.'
Britain's hate-filled Leftist social workers again
They despise ordinary people. There is no way they could have been unaware of what they were doing in the matter below. Social work schools are one of the chief sources of political correctness and all the inverted values that go with that -- such as favouring criminals at the expense of victims and ferals at the expense of middle-class people.
Social workers failed to warn foster parents about sexual offences committed by a teenager placed in their care who went on to rape their two-year-old son and abuse their nine-year-old daughter. The youth, 18, attacked the children within months of being welcomed into the family, a court was told yesterday. An inquiry was ordered as the director of social services for Vale of Glamorgan Council apologised for what he admitted was a serious error of judgment in placing the youth in a home with young children. The youth was ordered to be detained indefinitely, after admitting rape and sexual assault.
Richard Evans, for the prosecution, told Cardiff Crown Court that the youth, who cannot be identified, abused the children over a period of several months until the older child told her parents what was happening. He said: “The foster parents’ daughter told them how he would come into her room, lie on top of her, kiss her and put his hands under her clothing. She said when she called out, he put his hand over her mouth. The girl confided in her parents after her little brother was raped by the teenager. It was an horrific abuse.”
The court heard that the foster parents had taken in the youth as an emergency case because he was homeless. They were not told that he had a history of sexual offending dating back at least five years, when he first faced allegations of inappropriate behaviour with a young boy. In 2005 he admitted exposing himself and sexually touching another young boy. Two years ago he was sacked from a job at a bowling alley after complaints that he was asking young girls for their telephone numbers. Last year he was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while she slept.
Nicholas Cooke, QC, the Recorder of Cardiff, said it was a matter of grave concern how the youth ended up with the family. He said: “In this case a tragedy ensued for a family who only wished to serve the community and who were let down by the system. They were unable to protect their own children because of a failure to provide them with information.” He told the youth he would be detained for a minimum of six years and would be released only when he was considered to be no longer a danger to the public. His name was put on the sex offenders register and he was banned from working with children for life.
David Pinnel, for the defence, said that the youth had been exposed to temptation through no fault of his own. “He was immature and in need of help but through no fault of his own was placed in an environment where he was afforded the opportunity to commit these terrible offences. The criminal responsibility is his, but it would not have happened if he had not been placed in that position.”
Foster parents have a legal right to all the information held by social workers on a child they take into their home. That was established in 2000 when the parents of four children sexually abused by a fostered teenager in Essex won a seven-year court case. Their case also established the right to sue the local authority in question.
The inquiry is to be overseen by the NSPCC, the children’s charity. Vale of Glamorgan Council confirmed that the inquiry will look at what should have been done to protect the children. It said: “The carers have been asked to play an important role in finding out what went wrong. Issues of professional practice and judgment highlighted during the initial inquiry have received an immediate response, including use of the council’s disciplinary policy.”
Phil Evans, Vale of Glamorgan’s director of social services, apologised yesterday to the family. He said: “The council deeply regrets the distress and harm caused to the family. Senior managers have met with them to apologise and to find out what support they may need now and in the future. “It has become clear there was a serious error of judgment. Staff are taking this very seriously. We are doing all we can to find out what went wrong and to ensure such events are never repeated.”
Another blow to fatherhood: British IVF mothers can name ANYONE as 'father' on birth certificate
Family values were under attack again last night with the news that single women having IVF will be able to name anyone they like as their baby's father on the birth certificate. New regulations mean that a mother could nominate another woman to be her child's 'father'. The 'father' does not need to be genetically related to the baby, nor be in any sort of romantic relationship with the mother. Critics said a woman could list her best friend on the birth certificate. The word 'father' may even be replaced with the phrase 'second parent'. The second parent, who will have to consent to being named, will take on the legal and moral responsibilities of parenthood. This raises the spectre of a legal minefield in which female 'fathers' will fight for visitation rights and be chased for child support payments if their fragile relationship with the mother breaks down.
The changes, due to come in on April 6, will apply to many of the 2,000 women a year who have IVF using sperm from anonymous donors. The regulations are part of the controversial Embryology Bill passed by Parliament last year. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said they will give lesbian couples in civil partnerships who undergo IVF the same rights as married heterosexual couples. An unmarried man whose girlfriend has fertility treatment will also find it easier to claim full parental rights.
The new rules state: 'The women receiving treatment with donor sperm (or embryos created with donor sperm) can consent to any man or woman being the father or second parent.' The only exemption is close blood relatives.
Critics said the change would lead to the role of father being downgraded to the one of godfather and warned that the child would be the one to lose out. Baroness Deech, a former chairman of the HFEA, said the practice would lead to the ' falsification of the birth certificate'. She said: 'This is putting the rights of the parents way above those of the child. It is absurd that anyone can be named as the father or the second parent.'
Dr Trevor Stammers, a GP and lecturer in healthcare ethics, questioned the strength of the relationships or friendships between the mother and 'father'. He said: 'There is no doubt from sociological evidence accumulated over the past few years that children do best in a two-parent married family with heterosexual couples being the married parents. 'It probably will be the child that is the loser but by the time we find that out, in 15 or 16 years, a huge amount of damage will have been done.'
Geraldine Smith, Labour MP for Morecambe, said a birth certificate should be a true record of a child's genetic heritage. She added: 'I don't think the state should collude with parents to conceal the true genetic identity.' David Jones, a professor of bioethics, likened the role of second parent to that of godparent. He added: 'This sounds like social engineering on the hoof.' Philippa Taylor, of Christian charity CARE, said: 'We are going to get to the point where a birth certificate is not going to be a true statement of anyone's biological heritage.'
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said a father played an essential role in the development of a child. He added: 'The present Government seems not to care a damn about families. 'Teenage pregnancy is on the increase, abortion is on the increase, family breakdown is at record levels and we have got a growing number of dysfunctional children that are the product of broken homes. 'The lesson seems to be loud and clear to me that fathers are required.' Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said the change would destroy the 'basic nature' of a man and a woman bringing up a child together as parents.
Other critics said that Labour's family and benefit policies support and reward single parents at the expense of couples and have sidelined marriage as a lifestyle choice with no value for children. The HFEA said it was unlikely for the actual sperm donor to be named on the birth certificate because the sample is normally obtained from a sperm bank. It added that the welfare of the child would always come first and any person nominated as a second parent would have counselling to ensure they understood the implications.
Big Brother Britain is a menace. The irony is, it's the civil liberties lobby who are to blame
Suddenly, a new political consensus appears to have emerged for the chattering classes. At the weekend, lawyers, celebrities, writers, politicians and lobbyists took part in a series of meetings across Britain, organised by the umbrella group Convention on Modern Liberty, to discuss their fears about the erosion of Britain's historic rights and freedoms by the 'surveillance society'. The convention brought together such stalwart Lefties as the human rights lawyer Baroness Kennedy with the former Tory home affairs spokesman David Davis - who resigned his post specifically to devote himself to campaigning on the civil liberties issue. Even the former Home Secretary David Blunkett, who is regarded as a security hawk through his strong backing for a national identity card scheme and tough anti-terror laws, warned of the danger of a 'Big Brother' state through data-sharing between public bodies. Like all bandwagons, however, this one needs a beady eye cast over it, not least because of its occasional note of hysteria.
Its claim that Britain is turning into a police state is clearly over the top (and reveals no small ignorance of what terrors a true police state inflicts). Its alarmism over closed-circuit TV and DNA profiling pays scant regard to their usefulness in catching criminals. And there's more than a whiff of an underlying agenda to paint Britain as worse than the tyrannies and rogue states that threaten its interests, with a corresponding anxiety to downplay the terrorism threat against this country.
Nevertheless, we should, indeed, be concerned about some of the ways in which freedom is being compromised. Some local councils are making wholly inappropriate use of anti-terrorist legislation to snoop on citizens, while other public bodies - such as the Charity Commission, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the BBC - are able to make deeply questionable use of further surveillance powers. There will soon be compulsory CCTV cameras tracking people as they shop in supermarkets for a bottle of wine, and pubs are being told they will only get a licence if they agree to train their security cameras on their customers.
The Coroners and Justice Bill will allow inquests involving matters of national security to be held in secret if ministers so decide. And the Home Office is planning a new 'Intercept Modernisation Programme' which will store details of every phone call, email and internet visit - a proposal condemned by Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, as 'a step too far for the British way of life'.
These are very real concerns. But despite them, the campaigners' argument is skewed. They claim that fear of terrorism has curtailed freedom. But this ignores the role played by the civil liberties lobby in bringing about this state of affairs in the first place. For many of those now howling about the erosion of our ancient principles are the very same people who were behind the introduction of human rights law.
It may be thought a curious irony that the Human Rights Act was introduced in 1998 to tackle precisely the concerns expressed last weekend of a slide into tyranny - and yet liberty has been seriously eroded in the past decade. In fact, this isn't curious at all. Although the campaigners would sooner cut off their hands than admit it, the one has followed directly from the other. The idea that human rights law expands freedom was always a serious mistake. It has the opposite effect.
One of the main reasons the State has resorted to gathering intelligence within Britain on such an alarming scale is the collapse of the ability to control our borders. And that was brought about by the systematic refusal by the courts, on human rights grounds, to keep out or deport a range of undesirables. The reason this country never had the identity card system common to so many European states was the fact that it used to have robust border controls. Once those barriers came down, the only way to protect the country's security became internal surveillance.
Of course, this runs wholly contrary to the historic principles of English liberty. But that is the inevitable outcome of human rights law - which has ridden roughshod over those principles - because many of those now campaigning against the erosion of liberty also claim that 'universal' human rights principles trump Britain's own. Under that law, judges have been handed the power to balance rights against each other. And time and again, they have come down in favour of the rights of terror suspects, illegal immigrants and common criminals against the rights of indigenous, law-abiding people. So it's a bit rich for the liberty campaigners to claim that fear of terrorism has eroded human rights.
And it's even more hard to take when such campaigners claim they are passionate about defending the English common law. This is, indeed, the bastion of our liberties by holding that people are free to act unless the law expressly prohibits them from doing so. But the human rights law these campaigners foisted upon us has taken a judicial axe to that principle by making judges the arbiters of our freedoms. In doing so, they deliberately transferred power from Parliament to the courts. And the inevitable consequence of that has been that MPs lost power to the judges. This weakening of Parliament has enabled the Labour Government to use Parliamentary procedure to short-circuit debate and force through legislation without proper scrutiny.
A more robust Parliament would have prevented the Government passing those laws which threaten our fundamental freedoms. But over the past few years, Westminster has had the stuffing knocked out of it by a series of measures, including human rights law, whose purpose was to destroy this country's constitutional settlement and powers of democratic self-government.
Devolution took away Parliament's power to decide many laws for Scotland and Wales. Above all, EU membership - whose impact upon Britain has greatly increased during the past decade - has taken away more and more powers of self-rule and made Parliament increasingly irrelevant.
Most of today's liberty campaigners are also supporters of this constitutional revolution. That's because the dominant creed in such progressive circles is the belief that the historic values of this nation should be superseded by international laws and institutions - which will apparently usher in the utopia of the brotherhood of man. In fact, this is profoundly anti-democratic and anti-freedom because it upholds the rights of some preferred groups against others. As such, it is responsible for the real curtailment of our liberties through anti-discrimination laws and codes against 'hate speech', hijacking freedom by deciding who is or is not entitled to have it.
Accordingly, such liberty campaigners have been notably silent over, for example, the banning from Britain of the Dutch MP and anti-Islamism campaigner Geert Wilders. They have been silent over the erosion of the rights of men accused of rape to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. They were silent when a Christian was forced off an adoption panel because she opposed gay adoption. Such selectivity undermines their claim to be the true defenders of liberty.
Some of the concerns they are now raising are valid. This country's bedrock principles of freedom and democracy are, indeed, being eroded. But the campaigners should look in the mirror if they want to know who is to blame.
Material success and social failure?
More junk epidemiology below. The authors find less social dysfunction in Nordic countries and in Japan and say that is because incomes are more equal there. So, like nearly all epidemiologists, they make causal inferences from correlational data -- which you cannot logically do. They allegedly spent 30 years arriving at their conclusions so I am sorry to say that it took me approximately two minutes to see an alternative explanation for their findings: ethnic diversity. Japan to this day has few immigrants and the Nordic countries have only recently begun to have a large immigrant population. And as Robert Putnam has famously shown, social homogeneity expands trust and co-operation. So there is less social dysfunction because people feel happier and safer and more co-operative in a country where most people are like them.
And, without looking at it in detail, I am guessing that the same applies to U.S. States. States with the largest minority populations (the South?) have the highest level of social dysfunction.
How nasty of me to undermine so quickly conclusions that so suit the prejudices of the Left! But even if all of the explanation that I have just given is wrong, the point still stands that "correlation is not causation". You learn that in Statistics 101 but if you are a grand epidemiologist, you are allowed to ignore that, apparently. And BOTH of us could be wrong. There could be some third process at work generating the numbers concerned. Assigning causes from epidemiological data is always mere speculation
It is common knowledge that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Likewise, large inequalities of income are often regarded as divisive and corrosive. In a groundbreaking book, based on 30 years' research, Richard Wilkinson, Emeritus Professor at The University of Nottingham together with co-author Kate Pickett from the University of York, go an important stage beyond either of these ideas to demonstrate that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them - the well-off as well as the poor.
Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett forcefully demonstrate that nearly every modern social and environmental problem - ill-health, lack of community, life, violence, drugs, obesity, mental illness , long working hours, big prison populations - is more likely to occur in a less equal society, and adversely affects all of those within it.
The remarkable data the book presents and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare the conditions of different societies. It reveals that if Britain [Which has always received lots of immigrants and which as a consequence now has a large and troublesome minority population] became as equal as the average for the four most equal of the rich countries (Japan, Norway, Sweden and Finland), levels of trust might be expected to increase by two-thirds, homicide rates could fall by 75 per cent, everyone could get the equivalent of almost seven weeks extra holiday a year, and governments could be closing prisons all over the country.
The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, shows us how, after a point, additional income buys less and less additional health, happiness and wellbeing. The issue is now community and how we relate to each other. This important book explains how it is now possible to piece together a new, compelling and coherent picture of how we can release societies from the grip of pervasive and schismatic dysfunctional behaviour, a picture which will revitalise politics and provide a new way of thinking about how we organise human communities. It is a major new approach to how we can improve the real quality of life, not just for the poor, but for everyone.
Huge negligence episode by the NHS being ignored by the British government
Report just released on use of contaminated blood by the NHS. HIV and Hep C were the contaminants concerned. The following quote from the Archer Report tells you most of what you need to know. "By the mid 1970s it was known in medical and Government circles that blood products carried a danger of infection with Hepatitis and that commercially manufactured products from the USA were particularly suspect. By the mid-1980s there were warnings of a similar situation in respect of HIV. But the products continued to be imported and used, often with tragic consequences."
For the victims and their families who have had their lives decimated by ill-health for up to two decades because of contaminated blood, an apology is long overdue and much wanted. But the bottom line, which successive governments have done their utmost to avoid, is the need for compensation.
The Archer inquiry does not put a figure on the financial support needed by people who have lost their jobs, lost their health insurance and, as has so often been the case, lost the breadwinners in their families. But the report concludes that compensation equivalent to that offered by the Irish Government — which equates to around 400,000 Euros a person — should be a starting point. Money should not be assessed on a means tested basis, but on the facts of each individual’s case, it states. With more than 4,000 people affected by ‘bad blood’, the current Government’s silence is perhaps understandable. The compensation required would be in the billions. But that is no excuse for trying to sweep the issue under the carpet.
To date, the Government has offered no financial support to the inquiry, which has fought hard to keep its cost down to under 75,000 pounds. Lord Morris of Manchester, who first called for an inquiry in December 1988, set up the privately-funded review after successive governments resolutely resisted holding a public inquiry — preferring in-house inquiries at the Department of Health, dealing only with narrowly-defined aspects of the disaster, with no opportunity for afflicted patients, bereaved families, or even former ministers to be heard.
Lord Morris felt an independent inquiry, held in public, was the only way for the views of those most affected to be heard, and the only way to restore public confidence in the safety of blood product supplies. He petitioned potential donors — who gave anonymously — and raised sufficient funds for it to be carried out. The results — a 112-page document summarising two years of evidence — is now with Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary. The inquiry has no legal status compelling action from the Government (it was not even able to compel witnesses to come before it, as shown by the ever-absent Department of Health).
But the haemophilia community, and the wider public, are rightly concerned about how the most horrific of NHS treatment errors is addressed, the chapter closed, the lessons learnt. And to do this requires — demands — a positive, forthright and active government response.
Naughty Harry again
Looks like he takes after his grandfather, Prince Philip, who is well-known for speaking his mind
"Prince Harry's sins against multicultural orthodoxy just go on multiplying. The 24-year-old second son of the heir to the British throne is currently a lieutenant in the British army, having graduated from Sandhurst Military Academy in 2006. He has recently been in hot water, since being seen, on an old video, calling fellow Sandhurst cadets "Paki" and "raghead." (The former colleague was from Pakistan, the latter had camouflage netting on his helmet.)
Now, in a new outrage to our sensibilities, black comedian Stephen Amos has told the world that the prince said, on first meeting him, "You don't sound like a black chap." The prince's commanders, having been revived with smelling salts, ordered him to attend an "equality and diversity" course--his second, as British military training routinely includes such a course. This second course, we are assured, will be "more intensive" than the first. Perhaps the prince will be waterboarded until he screams out his eagerness to celebrate diversity.