School denies it but fires the teacher anyway! One of the stranger examples of a British "fudge"
A teacher has been sacked after parents claimed that their children were forced to pray to Allah during a religious education lesson. Alison Phillips was accused of giving two pupils detention after they refused to kneel down and 'pray to Allah' during the class. However, an investigation by the school concluded that there was no truth in the allegation.
Parents were outraged after stories emerged that the two boys, aged 11, were allegedly punished for not wanting to take part in a practical demonstration of how Allah is worshipped. They said children should not be forced to take part in the exercise, which included wearing Muslim headgear, was a breach of their human rights. But governors at Alsager High School, near Stoke-on-Trent, denied Mrs Phillips made pupils pray or that two boys were put into detention for refusing to do so.
The school suspended the teacher last July after receiving complaints and a lengthy disciplinary process was carried out. A statement released on behalf of the school by Cheshire East Council said: 'It can be confirmed that following a long and rigorous disciplinary process, a member of staff at Alsager School has been dismissed from her post. 'The member of staff was suspended in July 2008 following parental complaints and newspaper reports relating to an RE lesson.
'In reaching this decision, the governing body wish to make very clear that they were completely satisfied that at no point did that member of staff make children pray to Allah or put boys in detention for refusing to do so. 'The RE lesson in question contains an element of role play which complies with acceptable practice.'
At the time of the alleged incident, one parent - Sharon Luinen, said: 'This isn't right, it's taking things too far. 'Being asked to pray to Allah, who isn't who they worship, is wrong and what got me is that came away thinking they were being disrespectful.' Another parent, Karen Williams, said: 'I am absolutely furious and I don't find it acceptable. 'I haven't got a problem with them teaching my child other religions and a small amount of information doesn't do any harm. 'But not only did they have to pray, the teacher had gone into the class and asked them watch a short film and then said "we are now going out to pray to Allah".'
The grandfather of one of the pupils in the class added: 'It's absolutely disgusting, there's no other way of putting it.' Parents had claimed that their children were made to bend down on their knees on prayer mats which the teacher had got out of her cupboard.
10,000 penpushers a year are hired by British local councils
And guess who pays for them?
Town halls have hired more than 30,000 extra staff over the past three years, figures revealed yesterday. The workers, mostly penpushers and bureaucrats, were also given higher pay rises than teachers, policemen or firemen.
According to a breakdown of council finances, between 2006 and 2008 the number of teachers employed fell but the number of ‘other local government staff’ increased by 31,000, from 1,084,000 to 1,115,000. They also enjoyed the highest pay rises of any council group, up by 7.6 per cent in 2006, 7.2 per cent in 2007 and 3.3 per cent in 2008, the Department of Communities and Local Government figures showed.
‘Other local government’ workers include school support staff and others whose jobs directly serve the public. However, town halls also employ highly-paid managers and a growing army of equality officers, outreach workers and sustainability advisers.
Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Councils need to get back in touch with what people want and start focusing on delivering better frontline services and cutting back bloated administrations.’
And Tory local government spokesman Caroline Spelman said: ‘It is very telling that under Gordon Brown the number of teachers being employed is falling while the number of people employed to deal with red tape and bureaucracy is soaring.’
NHS Doctors have cashed in on new bonus scheme but it 'has not helped patient care'
A lucrative bonus scheme for GPs has done nothing to improve patient care, a study claims. Performance-related pay could even be detrimental to the NHS, with GPs chasing targets 'at the cost of the quality of care given to patients'. The bonus scheme was included as part of GPs' 2004 contract, which has seen pay rocket by 55 per cent to almost £108,000.
Ministers introduced the scheme, which accounts for a third of doctors' salaries, with the aim of driving up the quality of care. But a study in the British Medical Journal indicates that in some cases it has made no difference whatsoever - despite costing taxpayers millions.
Researchers at Birmingham University compared the level of diabetes care at 147 surgeries covering one million patients across the country. They found that while there were significant improvements every year in the three years up to the start of the bonus scheme, these improvements then stagnated after it began. It is suggested this could be because GPs stop trying for further improvements once they have achieved the maximum amount of money allocated to diabetes patients.
Under the scheme, known as the Quality and Outcomes Framework, points are awarded for the management of diabetes, including targets for controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. There are 1,000 points available annually for each practice, covering a wide range of different illness achievement targets. Each point is worth up to £124 and is then shared between GPs in that practice.
But experts say it is too easy for GPs to gain the maximum number of points and suggest targets need to be more challenging if patients are to see better care. Last year 96.8 per cent of doctors gained the maximum number of points and more than 600 practices achieved 100 per cent.
Dr Melanie Calvert, lecturer at Birmingham University's college of medicine and dentistry, said: 'Our work and that of others highlights the potential unintended consequences of the scheme and raises concerns that it may not have been as efficient in reducing inequalities in health in diabetes as was hoped. 'Although the management of patients with diabetes has improved since the 1990s, the impact of the pay-for-performance initiative on care is not straightforward.' She went on: 'If anything, improvements in care appear to have plateaued since the introduction. 'This may reflect increasing difficulties in target attainments in poorly- controlled patients, but could also suggest that targets for practices need to be more challenging if patients are to benefit.'
Last year a study by the Civitas think-tank found some GPs were putting more effort into treating conditions, including asthma and high blood pressure, that attract points while neglecting dementia and osteoporosis, which do not. Dr Calvert said: 'There is a risk that doctors are focusing on patients they can achieve incentives with and are not focusing on things like osteoporosis which isn't captured in the QOF. 'There is a risk GPs are focusing on tick boxes to meet targets but not focusing on other aspects of care.'
A Department of Health spokesman said: 'Independent research has shown that care for people with diabetes improved more rapidly after the introduction of the QOF. 'We want to see continuous improvements in QOF to support GPs in delivering high quality care for patients.'
British academics want to boycott visa 'snooping'
This is mostly just self-righteous posing that will collapse like a deflated balloon in due course. The Home Office has said that it will remove their accreditation to take overseas students if they do not comply and that would be a big hit to their revenues. Keeping records of attendance at tutorials is already common in some disciplines so extending that to all disciplines should not be onerous
University academics say they will boycott new visa rules for overseas students that would make them into "immigration snoopers". Delegates at the University and College Union's annual conference said they did not want to become a branch of the UK Border Agency.
Under the new rules universities are expected to monitor whether overseas students really attend their courses. The Home Office said such things were part of their normal duty of care. Institutions must also report concerns that a student could be involved in terrorism.
In a debate at the conference, in Bournemouth, delegates argued that the rules would place a strain on the relationship between staff and students from outside the European Union. General secretary Sally Hunt said: "UCU members are educators not border guards." She said later: "Politically, UCU is absolutely opposed to this legislation and we know that many members have strong and principled moral objections as members of society and as professional educators. "One of the more pernicious effects of this new system will be to turn our members into an extra arm of the police force, placing monitoring and reporting responsibilities onto academic and support staff."
One of the resolutions tabled for discussion said the new system "makes educators into immigration snoopers which could damage UK education irreparably". It deplored "this pandering to anti-immigration racism" and committed the union to "non-compliance with all such policing and surveillance duties".
But a Home Office spokesman said: "Educational institutions have a duty of care to all their students and checking that they are attending and making progress in their studies is part of that responsibility. "The records we expect education providers to keep are those which most will keep for their own purposes anyway."
Britain's anti-immigration party: The other side
Mainstream media comments on the BNP are uniformly vituperative and often misleading. In the interests of balance, therefore, I put a case for the defence, written by J. P. Straley
I’m not a Brit, but as an American and an avid internet observer of the British scene, I have been fascinated to watch the rise of what might be an effective nationalist political party in Britain.
The British National Party, under its leader Nick Griffin, has been touting Britain’s elections for Members of the European Parliament, to be held on June 4, as its breakthrough. It hopes to capture five MEP seats, with the possibility of a few more if all the cards fall its way. (Which seems to be happening, as the extraordinary U.K. House of Commons expenses scandal in Westminster engulfs ever more British MPs of all parties.)
Commenters in the Brit political blogosphere predict anywhere from zero to five seats, with three as the most common guess. Any seats at all will produce public funding for the party, a very substantial boost, and will raise their visibility in Britain.
It’s happened before. Another small party, the United Kingdom Independence Party [UKIP], whose main plank is to take Britain out of the European Union, was very successful in the last MEP election. But UKIP contests few local elections in Britain. For the upcoming June 4 MEP election, polls show it losing ground. Part of this may be the difference in styles. BNP is a bit scruffy and makes a fuss, while UKIP appears to be much more urbane. Unhappy British voters—particularly former Labor voters—appear to like the fuss.
I know I’m not supposed to like the BNP. Because it openly states that ethnicity matters, the British press and TV treat the BNP as if it is toxic waste. The U.S. Mainstream Media follows suit, when it mentions the party at all. The BNP did rise out of the ashes of a more strident National Front Party, and some of its leaders allegedly have or have had radical links (sort of like Obama and Jeremiah Wright, although Griffin has distanced himself much more effectively). All I can say, at a distance of 3000 miles, what the BNP is actually saying and doing now looks rational, reasonable and pretty darn good to me.
Nationalist politics acknowledge the ethnic dimension of nations. Levelers assert there is no difference between peoples, and happily dilute—even replace—the heritage peoples of the West. Nowhere are they more active than in Britain.
I use the term "Heritage Peoples." This is intuitively obvious, but let us see what BNP says about being "British":
"We mean the bonds of culture, race, identity and roots of the native White peoples of the British Isles. We have lived in these islands near on 40,000 years. We were made by these islands, and these islands are our home. When we in the BNP talk about being British, we talk about the native peoples who have lived in these islands since before the Stone Age, and the relatively small numbers of peoples of identical race, such as the Saxons, Vikings and Normans, and the Irish, who have come here and assimilated."[BNP FAQ, 2007]
Indeed, in an April 23 quote, Griffin himself describes the ethnic quality of Britishness in plain language:
"We don't subscribe to the politically correct fiction that just because they happen to be born in Britain, a Pakistani is a Briton. They're not. They remain of Pakistani stock,' he added.
"You can't say that especially large numbers of people can come from the rest of the world and assume an English identity without denying the English their own identity, and I would say that's wrong.
"In a very subtle way, it's a sort of bloodless genocide.'[BNP Updates Language & Concepts Discipline Manual, BNP News, April 27, 2009]
Many whites in Britain appear to be self-haters, and are quite happy to trade Cotswolds country churches for mosques and minarets. So you can imagine the calumny thrown at Griffin over this remark!
Indeed, the "racist" epithet is thrown at BNP every day. BNP replies that it prefers a truly multicultural world where British people are clearly British and peoples from other countries are likewise unmistakable in their provenance. This is not an original policy with BNP, of course—in the second half of the twentieth century colonies of whites throughout the third world were encouraged to pack up and leave.
The BNP’s policies strike me as candid and accessible. Here, for instance, is BNP policy on immigration:
"On current demographic trends, we, the native British people, will be an ethnic minority in our own country within sixty years.
"To ensure that this does not happen, and that the British people retain their homeland and identity, we call for an immediate halt to all further immigration, the immediate deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants, and the introduction of a system of voluntary resettlement whereby those immigrants who are legally here will be afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin assisted by generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question."[Policies—BNP Website]
Here is a nationalist party that cherishes its Heritage People and states clearly the goal to retain the traditional ethnic balance of their nation. It recognizes the fact of the demographic tsunami—something even sensible observers in the U.S. shrink from doing. The BNP intends to halt the immigrant flood and roll back the replacement of its Heritage Peoples. What’s wrong with that?
Clever use of the internet has partially defused the uniformly negative media coverage of BNP. The BNP site offers fresh material daily, and it pulls no punches with its stories. There is certainly interest in the site. According to Alexa internet ratings, the BNP has far, far more traffic than Conservatives, LibDems, or Labor.
The BNP forces are also masters of the You Tube media. A single Y-T inquiry with key word "BNP" yielded forty pages of listings, albeit there were many dissenting views such as the one with the uncivilized title, "BNP Are C_nts". Whichever side of the BNP divide you stand on, if you like your material in movie-form, it’s ready for you.
By no means is BNP a wholly electronic communicator. In those area that offer promise, BNP organizers canvas door to door with pamphlets and face-to-face explanations why BNP says, "Britain first!" This year, for the European Parliament election, it has sent out 29 million pieces of mail!
British race-relation quangos and their fellow travelers in government are well-aware of the BNP and Griffin. In December 2004, he was arrested after a covert taping (by a BBC i.e. tax-funded operative) of a speech before a private gathering. BNP and Griffin identify the increasing Muslim population in Britain as one of the chief threats to the country, and in the December 2004 meeting he was captured on tape as suggesting that Islam was a "…wicked and vicious faith." He knew that he was treading the edge of the draconian Race Relations law, and further said he could possibly get seven years prison for such a statement. Government pursued just that course, charging four counts of "incitement to racial hatred." Griffin was eventually acquitted on all counts. Not surprisingly, the BNP proposes to abolish all restrictions on free speech, absent only "…common law restrictions on incitement to violence…"
Another grim reminder of official antipathy: BNP membership—that is, membership in a democratic and legal political party—is grounds for local governments to sack police and teachers. In the fall of 2008 the party membership list was leaked, and many such firings occurred.
Is BNP a one-issue anti-immigration party? Widening its scope seems to have been a part of Griffin’s leadership. The issues of EU membership (out now, please), trade (mild protectionism), job protection (part of the immigration and guest worker issue), crime (unshackle police, allow persons to resist an intruder without penalty), defense (small, competent forces, avoid foreign wars), energy (develop alternative fuels and energy, promote advanced nuclear power), environment, education, and health are all covered in the manifesto. All told BNP’s policy seems to be fairly conventional nationalism, bent on internal improvement and de-emphasizing foreign involvement, with an added tinge of social democracy. Voters certainly have a choice—BNP policies are a rather stark contrast to the Lib-Lab-Con party line.
BNP strategy seems to be to build the party in disaffected regions (London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, and Burnley northeast of Liverpool are examples), and let success in electing members to local offices (town and city "councilors") increase the appeal of their brand. BNP is eager for councilors to render good service to constituents, though of course some do poorly in the event—an artifact of governing versus merely opposing government) Electing local councilors builds the party machinery and provides experience in actual government for members, as well as building a positive picture to combat negative propaganda.
There are no BNP Members of Britain’s Parliament at this time. It takes determination, organization, and grit to make an election-winning party from scratch. But the BNP is making progress:
Total votes in General Elections
Make no mistake, the BNP remains very much a minority party. The ’05 results represent only 0.7% of the total voters, country-wide. But the 2007 Welsh showing was 4.3% of the vote, and in the ’08 London Mayoral contest more than 5% of voters went BNP. The party has discrete areas of strength, and these are where it means to win MEP seats.
The stakes are high for Britain. Shall it retain its traditional identity, or become a collection of synthetic citizens, whose opinion is perhaps better polled as mere consumer preference?
It would be interesting to see a country-wide nationalist political party in the US so straightforward in its platform, and so effective in its party-building effort. If BNP are successful on June 4, it will be a lesson to patriots throughout Europe and the US.
Stay tuned, June 4 will be here before you know it!
Britain: "Hitler" image turns out to be Lenin
One hopes that somebody learned something from that:
"A customer complained that the image on the underwear resembled the Nazi leader saluting as planes passed overhead. Next said that it had investigated the complaint and found the image, among a series of cartoons, was inspired by a picture of Lenin, the former Soviet leader.
But a spokesman told The Sun it was withdrawing the remaining 5,200 pairs of the underwear anyway. He said: "The complaint came in today and by the end of the day all 5,200 will be withdrawn. "We have checked with the designer who confirmed the image was inspired by Lenin. Nonetheless, if even one customer is offended or upset we are happy to withdraw the range."
There are pictures of Stalin using the "Fascist" salute too. Scroll down here