Europe’s Great White Hope

Remember all that fuss over the A380 (mainly from Leftists)? The great threat to Boeing? Europe’s arrival as a global power house? The end to evil US domination of the skies (by a single US company)?

THE new chief executive of Airbus today outlined a vast restructuring plan for the ailing aircraft maker that could involve major job cuts and shifting more production out of Europe.

The presentation came a day after Airbus suffered another setback when European and US aviation authorities said the A380's powerful wake meant that other aircraft would have to keep a greater than usual distance between themselves and the giant plane.

This could led to more congestion at airports, and thereby reduce the appeal to airlines of the A380, which can carry 840 people and will be the biggest civilian airliner when it enters service next year.
If it enters service next year. . .

The A380 is of vital importance for the reputation of Airbus amid a fierce battle for orders with US rival Boeing.
Mmm – thinks – who would I be betting on in this great, ideological struggle between the massed European forces for socialist goodness and wonderfulness, and a single US company (force for capitalist badness and awfulness)?

EADS, a Franco-German group, owns 80 per cent of Airbus, with the remainder of the company held by BAE Systems of Britain.
Go France and Germany, you dynamos, you! Beat that evil Yankee company! Show them who’s boss!

BAE chief executive Mike Turner, whose company is seeking shareholder approval to sell its 20 per cent stake in Airbus to EADS, said on September 13 that EADS might seek a fresh cash injection from shareholders because of the Airbus crisis.
Seems BAE might have lost some of that European loving feeling. . .

"Pommy" Still Allowable -- Just

(Australians have a mildly derisive name for the English: "Poms" or "Pommies". It has been in common use for around a century, if not more, but it now seems to be under threat as being "racist". Since most Australians and most English are still of the same race (however you cut it) that is pretty crazy but since when did these things make sense?)

It's OK to call a Pom a Pom at the cricket this summer - as long as it is in good humour. Cricket Australia has given the green light to Aussies chastising the enemy during the Ashes series, but not if it's nasty. According to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the word Pom or Pommy itself is not offensive -- it depends on how it is used. The origin of the word Pom is unclear, with theories ranging from a short form of pomegranate to an acronym for Prisoner of her Majesty.

Cricket Australia anti-racism officer Peter Young said he did not expect Test fans to be kicked out of the MCG for calling the English Poms. "But if it was used to denigrate, demean, disparage or be offensive to another person on the basis of their race or culture, then it is a problem," he said. "People will use the word Pommy, players will use the word Pommy. But our view is, and has always been, that we take a zero-tolerance approach to racism in cricket, whether it is on the field or off the field, whether it is at an elite level or whether it is in the local school yard. "There is no place for racism in cricket."

A Barmy Army [English fans] spokesman said they didn't feel there were any problems with being called Poms. "As long as being called a Pom isn't accompanied by anything abusive then the Barmy Army has no problem whatsoever," he said. "We have been called it on the last three tours and we see it as a bit of harmless banter. "The Barmy Army likens it to calling Australians convicts, it is just a bit of fun and humour."

Under the International Cricket Council anti-racism code adopted this week, fans found guilty of racial abuse at matches could face lifetime bans.



Britain's absurd government health service

Two current articles below


And kills them!

A coroner has criticised a hospital for offering "despicable" and chaotic treatment after hearing that four elderly patients died in painful and degrading circumstances. John Pollard, who conducted inquests into all the deaths on the same day, said that he would be raising his concerns with the management of Tameside General Hospital in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. He condemned as "absolutely despicable" the treatment of Watkins Davies, an 84-year-old war veteran, who went into hospital with a fractured hip and contracted MRSA, the hospital superbug, The inquest was told that Mr Watkins, a widower, was the victim of a catalogue of failures in basic nursing care. When he fell out of his chair, while trying to wash himself, no X-ray was carried out to assess any additional injuries.

His family claim that he was left to lie in his own waste and was in severe pain for hours because of shortages in nursing staff. His meals were left up to 6ft out of his reach. Relatives told the inquest that they repeatedly had to ask a nurse to help him. Ivor Davies, his son, said: "My father did not receive adequate medical and nursing care. There was a lack of communication between nursing staff and us. "I went in one day and my dad was lying in excrement. God only knows how long he was like that. I asked whether the infection was MRSA, only to be told it wasn't. A couple of days later I was told it was MRSA after all."

Mr Pollard recorded a verdict of accidental death. He also heard that Hilda Douglas, 75, died at the hospital from a heart attack after fracturing her pelvis. The family of Mrs Douglas, a voluntary worker from Droylsden, near Manchester, said that she broke her hip when she fell from a hospital trolley without sides. There was no record of the fall. Edward Douglas, her son, said: "There was one nurse per three beds and the nurse said she could not cope." He said that medication had been left on the floor.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, the coroner said he found this astonishing. "What if that had been vital medication?" he asked. "It is absolutely chaotic." A third inquest heard that Raymond Lees, from Ashton-under-Lyne, who died in May, contracted MRSA after undergoing a knee replacement operation. During his time in the hospital his waist shrank by 14 inches. John Lees, his son, said that it had taken him three hours to discover that his father had not been bathed and that hospital staff did not appear to know his name. "The nurse said, `He gets himself up, dresses himself and does his own teeth'," Mr Lees said. "In fact, he was wearing the same pyjamas he had been wearing for three days. The nurse was cruel and cynical."

A fourth inquest was told that James Kelly, a pensioner from Stalybridge, Tameside, was recovering from surgery but died from pneumonia after he was left sitting in his dressing gown in a draught. Mr Pollard said: "In most of the issues, the nursing care, not the operations or the general medical staff, but the basic care of people, has been in question. I shall be contacting the chief executive and looking at all future deaths at Tameside General Hospital very carefully."

Andrew Burnham, a Health Minister, said: "I understand that the hospital trust has in place a range of measures to ensure that patients receive the high-quality nursing care they have every right to expect. These include daily rounds by matrons to check on patient care, including nutrition and hydration, all of which are reported back to the director of nursing, who has ultimate responsibility for the standard of care." A spokesman for Tameside and Glossop Acute Services NHS Trust said: "These cases are being investigated internally and the trust will act on the results of these investigations."



Too white, probably. That many Canadians and Australians died for England in two world wars apparently deserves no gratitude or recognition from England's present Leftist government -- regardless of the offence that causes to Canadians and Australians

As many of you know my wife and I have recently emigrated to the UK from Edmonton, Alberta. My wife is a Canadian nurse with a first class degree in nursing from an English speaking university, and she herself is a native English speaker. In fact it is her only language, though, like many English-speaking Canadians, she does have 'cereal packet French'.

Before coming to the UK we had to travel down to Calgary, some 300km away, in order that she could sit an British Council English exam (cost $400), which is a prerequisite for 'foreign' nurses coming to work in the NHS (perhaps unsurprisingly for a native English speaker with a degree from an English-speaking university she passed the six hour ordeal - spoken English, understanding spoken English, written English and reading - with a 100% pass mark). Canadian nurses have to go through this costly ordeal in order to get professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, bizarrely EU nurses do not.

Upon getting here she understood that she would have to be retrained to 'NHS standards', which in itself is laughable due to the fact that Canadian nurses are trained to a much higher level than the average UK nurse. But still, we accepted that this was the price (œ300 to be precise) that we would have to pay.

The whole moving and shipping process took some time, as you can imagine, and when we arrived in the UK and phoned the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) we were informed that it was not really worth her while retraining and applying to register as a nurse in the UK because the Government had just changed the rules of engagement between health sector employers and foreign nurses. Essentially employers, if they wanted to employ a foreign nurse, had to prove that there was no British or EU nurse that could fill the role. Consequently she would be unable to get a job. Tears.

Eventually, after several weeks enquiry, and in the face of ongoing and insistantly negative NMC advice, a man at the Foreign Office informed us, as we expected, that it was illegal to discriminate against anyone with a valid UK work permit (which of course we obtained when we were in Canada). The bureaucracy of the NMC (a body created by Nu Labour); their general incompetence and bad advice; added to the fact that retraining courses for foreign nurses are now very difficult to come by because foreign nurses are actively discriminated against and no longer come here, means that by the time she can get on a course and retrain she will have been out of work as a nurse for six months. And incurring retraining costs along the way.

She (we) decided not to bother. The result is that the NHS, and the country, has lost a specialist paediatric nurse, a skilled immigrant, who can work to an extremely high standard to the benefit of us all. But this is not a story of complete woe; as soon as she decided not to persue a career in the NHS she was immediately snapped up by the private sector to fulfill a paediatric training role. She now earns about the same as she would as a nurse in Canada - 40% more than a UK nurse - but the problem is that she desperately wants to nurse; it is a vocation, not just a career. And to add insult to injury there is a chronic national shotage of paediatric intensive care nurses.

The result of all this is that I have on my hands a wife who is deeply embittered about the way she has been treated by the UK Government. I regret, and she regrets, that we came back, which is a crying shame as we moved here because we love England.

Anyway, I thought I would get that off my chest. In our dealings with government organisations (mostly the NMC) during this whole saga (which would take me a week to relate to you in full) we have found them to be, almost to a man and woman, completely incompetent and unhelpful. The one redeeming organisation was a non-governmental professional body called the Royal College of Nursing, the general secretary of whom is Dr Beverley Malone.

Dr Malone is an extremely politically astute woman, a credit to her organisation, who has railed against the Government's discrimination against foreign health workers. She objects, in particular, to the way the government cherry picked third world nurses from abroad, depleting those countries of their greatest natural resource, and now intends to pack them off against their wishes as soon as their work permit expires and their employers are forced to employ an EU nurse.

We have been the unfortunate victims of the Government's scramle to recruit foreign nurses and then their scramble to unemploy them in the face of criticism of falling standards, poor English, and third world cherry-picking. Wrong place. Wrong time. But our experience probably pales into insignificance compared to some poor souls.

Dr Beverley Malone now turns her attention to government discrimination against the English:

Under English law, patients in homes are entitled to state support for their nursing care but must foot the bill for "personal" care. In Scotland, by contrast, the whole bill is paid.

And there have been allegations that English patients have been subject to a "postcode lottery" caused by variations in interpretation of the rules around the country.

The Royal College of Nursing claimed the new proposals would fail to solve the problems. It called for a single national policy - and objected to plans to hand policy-making to local primary care trusts.

RCN general secretary Dr Beverley Malone,pictured, said: "It is nurses who are put in the impossible position of having to explain complicated and often unfair decisions to patients and their families.

"The RCN believes that anyone who needs nursing in a care home should get this care fully funded by the NHS. Nursing care is a fundamental part of healthcare and should be funded by the NHS.

Well said that woman. The sad fact is that we no longer have a national health service. It is, of course, beyond her remit to point out the constitutional and funding reasons why this might be so. But I have no doubt that she is aware of the facts.



Notes from an exile:

(photo taken near Roebourne, WA)

I used to read about ancient Romans and Chinese being sentenced to exile as a punishment and thought that the perp got off lightly.

Like hell. This green and pleasant land I'm living in is postcard-pretty, relatively safe (if one ignores the crime stats) and comfortable enough. But exile is a nagging, sad reality that has a surprising power to drain the colour and excitement from life, every day.

Just like I imagine a geriatric home must be, without the vicious nurses and chicken broth.

I miss the heat and the floods, the wild tropical storms and the wildlife of Australia, the Aussie bluntness and honesty. If I had to sum up New Zealand, it'd be "Cuba with dairy products".

Greenie politician disses sport, praises arty-farties

The arty-farties are overwhelmingly Leftist anyway so it is little wonder that conservative politicians give them little heed

The Howard Government MPs are philistines obsessed with sport at the expense of the nation's art and culture, says Labor MP Peter Garrett. He singled out PM John Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello and Health Minister Tony Abbott as the worst offenders. Ministers regularly turned down invitations to attend art and cultural events, he said, preferring instead to bask in the reflected glory of football and cricket stars.

The PM was a cricket tragic, but the Government did not have an equivalent theatre tragic, Mr Garrett said at Monash University. "Can you remember the last time the Prime Minister or the Treasurer offered up their view on the value of creativity, of encouraging expression, of the importance of telling our own stories," he said. "It is no secret that the number of unmet invitations to senior government ministers to arts events continues to pile up to the roof. "Yet attendance at the various football codes is de rigeur for pollies of all persuasions."

A spokeswoman for Mr Costello, an avid Bombers fan, rejected the former Midnight Oil singer's critique. "The Treasurer is a man for all seasons -- the cricket season, the football season, the racing season, and the literary season," she said.

Mr Abbott came in for special mention over his comment several years ago that parliament house's art collection was avant-garde crap. Mr Garrett said it was "as good an expression of philistinism as you'd ever see". The recent Picasso exhibition in Melbourne drew enormous crowds and showed up Mr Abbott's ignorance. A spokeswoman for Mr Abbott said he visited galleries from time to time. Although Mr Abbott was not a ballet goer he did recently attend a live performance of Dancing on Ice.

Mr Garrett, Labor's spokesman for the arts, said many artists earned as little as $17,000 a year and had to live hand-to-mouth, week by week.



Take that Supreme Court

The Senate on Thursday endorsed President Bush's plans to prosecute and interrogate terror suspects, all but sealing congressional approval for legislation that Republicans intend to use on the campaign trail to assert their toughness on terrorism.

The 65-34 vote means the bill could reach the president's desk by week's end. The House passed nearly identical legislation on Wednesday and was expected to approve the Senate bill on Friday, sending it on to the White House.

The bill would create military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects. It also would prohibit blatant abuses of detainees but grant the president flexibility to decide what interrogation techniques are legally permissible.

The Supreme Court nullified Bush's initial system for trying detainees in June, and earlier this month a handful of maverick GOP senators embarrassed the president by forcing him to slightly tone down his next proposal. But they struck a deal last week, and the president and congressional Republicans are now claiming the episode as a victory.

While Democrats warned the bill could open the way for abuse, Republicans said defeating the bill would put the country at risk of another terrorist attack.

Americans please take note; the Republicans are worried about terrorist attacks and Americans being murdered, while the Democrats are worried about possible abuse to terrorists.

"We are not conducting a law enforcement operation against a check-writing scam or trying to foil a bank heist," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "We are at war against extremists who want to kill our citizens."

After me, nothing. . .

Many among us tend to pride themselves on their love for humanity and for the community, their compassion, their philanthropy. They simply adore the race, working (generally via a ceaseless application of their vocal chords and little else of substance) tirelessly for the greater good, for justice and equality for all.

Every now and again, though, one is presented with the uglier face of this apparently selfless personality. All too often that grimacing visage belongs to your average Lefty. And all too often, it is the real face. I recently copped a dose of Lefty ‘humanity’ (and not for the first time). The relatively innocuous subject of child discounts came up (as the little ones were in clear evidence; often a highly provocative act when a Leftist intellect is holding court). 'That,' our childless Lefty protagonist responded, 'is us workers subsidising you people with children!'

'You people' indeed. . .

Who are 'we people'? We're the ones giving up our lives to raise our next generation. Yes, it's a decision we made. No, we didn't consult the broader community when we made it. Was it made selflessly for all that? Actually, yes, it was. We decided to give the greatest gift there is to give. We decided to gift a life. And we did it knowing our lives would never be the same again.

So what of our Lefty friend, so full of derision, so full of annoyance at being asked to contribute in some small way to this, our shared future; to their eventual doctors, nurses, artists, scientists, workers; to the vehicle for our culture and its future?

I received no reply when I posed this, just a slightly bemused look. How annoying I was to have responded at all. . .

The attitude I encountered is summed fairly easily, and features as the title for this post. It is, quite simply, about the most breathtakingly selfish attitude there could possibly be. Unfortunately, it is also quite typical. I have encountered it many times before. It speaks to a reality: 'I really don't care about the future or anyone else, no matter how much I claim I do’.

After me, nothing. . .

These people loudly proclaim their undying love for humanity. . .humans be damned.

Put away the carrots and look for a BIG stick

The United Nations Relief Work Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) does not provide beneficiaries with a list of known terrorists identified by the police or Israeli government, US Congressmen Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Steven Rothman (D-NJ) told US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a letter released for publication on Thursday.

In the letter, Kirk and Rothman cited a recently released United Nations Board of Auditors report which included a harsh assessment of UNRWA's management, efficiency and security.

UNRWA is charged with the mission of providing some services to Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza. US taxpayers are the most generous donors to UNRWA, contributing more than $100 million annually.

The Kirk-Rothman letter reports that UNRWA does not comply with federal anti-terrorism laws. Repeatedly, UNRWA refused to give names of staff that left their positions to run for parliament as Hamas candidates. While pledging to the State Department that they deny humanitarian assistance to terrorists, UNRWA does not check beneficiaries with a list of known terrorists provided by the police or Israeli Government.

"In the increasingly hostile environment of the Middle East, with the Palestinian Authority now controlled by the Hamas terrorist organization, we must upgrade our oversight of the more than $100 million US taxpayers contribute to UNRWA," said Congressman Kirk. "After an exhaustive review of the UN's own audit, it is clear UNRWA is wrought by mismanagement, ineffective policies, and failure to secure its finances. We must upgrade UNRWA's financial controls, management and enforcement of US law that bars any taxpayer dollars from supporting terrorists."

"US anti-terror law explicitly prohibits taxpayer dollars from supporting terrorists. However, we know that a number of UNRWA staff ran for parliament in the Palestinian territory as official Hamas candidates earlier this year. We know that Hamas supports the indiscriminate killing of civilians. We know that UNRWA cannot account for large amounts of money it has spent.

And we know that UNRWA does not check Palestinian beneficiaries against a list of known terrorists," said Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ). "With all of this information known, the United States must find out what is unknown: Are US tax dollars funding terrorists through UNRWA?"

The recently released report by the United Nations Board of Auditors shows that UNRWA fails to implement many recommendations from previous audits, did not fully disclose financial statements to the auditors, employs poorly qualified and inexperienced staff, lacks a human resources plan, fails to make results-based management decisions, unreliably collects data, and fails to match financial records.

The audit states that UNRWA does not track who records, deletes, or in any way manipulates financial information, and has no way of detecting foul play.

And I'll bet it's just the way the UN wants it, it is time to let this treacherous organization fend for itself.

No-one who knows the Queensland police well will be surprised by the report below

Drunken Aborigines can be hard to take but the police are supposed to be professionals, not goons. The black must have copped a hell of a hit to rupture his liver. Two official Commissions of Inquiry into Queensland police misbehaviour -- the Lucas Inquiry and the Fitzgerald Inquiry -- did not lead to any permanent change that one can see. As ever, almost all complaints against police are investigated -- cursorily -- by the police

A senior Queensland police officer lost his temper and repeatedly punched a drunk Aboriginal man before putting him in a police cell where he was left to die from his injuries, a coroner has ruled. After two years of investigation into what killed 36-year-old Palm Island man Mulrunji, Acting State Coroner Christine Clements yesterday found the island's top police officer Snr Sgt Christopher Hurley was responsible for the death. She also ruled Hurley was "callous and deficient" in not properly checking on Mulrunji's welfare in the island's watchhouse, where he died from internal bleeding due to a ruptured liver and portal vein at about 11am on November 19, 2004.

Attorney-General Linda Lavarch has referred the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether anyone should face charges. The State Government also has announced a "high-level response team" to advise Cabinet on the 40 recommendations of the report.

In delivering her findings, Ms Clements was scathing of the Queensland Police Service's initial investigation into the death, which she described as "lacking in transparency, objectivity and independence". She said the integrity of the investigation had been compromised by the involvement of local officers, some of whom knew Hurley personally and who dined at his home during the investigation.

The death sparked a violent community backlash and riots on the island during which the police station burnt to the ground. Hurley - a decorated officer credited with reducing crime on the island and helping locals - has vehemently and repeatedly denied he assaulted Mulrunji, who he met for the first time that day. But Ms Clements said she was not convinced Snr Sgt Hurley was telling the truth about events inside the station and accepted a witness account that Snr Sgt Hurley said "Do you want more, Mr Doomadgee, Do you want more?" during the incident.

Mulrunji, who had a blood alcohol content of 0.292 at the time of his death, was arrested for public nuisance after mouthing off at a police liaison officer who was helping Snr Sgt Hurley arrest another man. He resisted arrest and punched Snr Sgt Hurley in the jaw as he was being led from the police van to the watchhouse and the pair fell as they were walking through a doorway.

Ms Clements urged mandatory first aid training for watchhouse staff following evidence that Snr Sgt Hurley was not qualified in first aid and no officer attempted to resuscitate Mulrunji after it was discovered he may have died.

Multiple recommendations were also made to beef up training for officers in the area of watchhouse safety and arrest procedures. Ms Clements also found that Mulrunji's initial arrest by Snr Sgt Hurley was "not an appropriate exercise of police discretion" as he could have been dealt with by a caution or summons to appear in court. It is reprehensible that the detailed recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody should have to be referred to, so many years after the Royal Commission. The evidence is clear however that these recommendations are still apt and still ignored," she said.

Despite the damning findings, Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said there were no grounds to suspend any of the officers named in the report. [Extraordinary!!]



Australian Aborigines: need for INtolerance

In the Cape York town of Hopevale, where Noel Pearson grew up, there is every kind of gambling except one - cards. There is a social taboo against card gambling that lingers from the days when the Lutherans ran Hopevale mission, back when Aboriginal children like Pearson's father and grandfather were taught to read the Bible back to front and to write beautifully. "They never do card gambling at Hopevale," Pearson said on Friday. "They gamble on pokies, drink, fornicate, everything else, but there is a remnant social norm about card gambling."

Pearson, 41, the director of the Cape York Institute, likes the card gambling example because it "just illustrates the strength of social norms", the often invisible glue that creates social order and civility and protects the vulnerable. "That's why advantaged middle-class people don't have to worry about things like school attendance and school readiness," he says. By school "readiness", Pearson does not mean whether a child can recite the alphabet, tie shoelaces and cut along a straight line. He means the basic daily readiness of being fed, washed and well slept before coming to school.

Pearson aims to rebuild social norms that have disappeared over the past two generations from Cape communities. It is part of his plan to dramatically reform the way welfare is delivered, and tie it to behavioural benchmarks such as school attendance and responsible parenting. The Federal Government has contributed $3 million for a pilot project and he has just returned from a trip around Cape York to ensure the voluntary participation of the four communities of Aurukun, Hopevale, Coen and Mossman Gorge.

Pearson laments the situation in which the sacred bond of love between mother and child has been broken by substance abuse and the collapse of social norms. He openly declares he wants to reintroduce "intolerance" into his communities: intolerance of drugs, intolerance of alcohol, intolerance of sexual abuse, intolerance of domestic violence, intolerance of not sending your children to school every day.

Pearson's critics - mostly middle-class, progressive-left and social-justice romantics - say his plans to tie welfare payments to behavioural benchmarks are draconian. But they don't understand what it is like to live in a community without social norms, he says. He is determined that his welfare reform project will address the horrific abuse of indigenous children which has been reported this year with sickening regularity.

If parents are drug users, for instance, he asks why authorities hand back a child into such a known dangerous environment. He wants instead to take control of welfare payments as the tool to force irresponsible parents to clean up their act, to say: "If you don't agree to regular drug testing for two years and satisfy other benchmarks [such as school attendance] you will be on income management and you will not have the freedom of spending your money as you want." Instead, welfare payments will be managed for the parent and used to pay for rent, food, school supplies and other necessities. "It is a carrot and stick approach," Pearson says.

The welfare reform project complements the institute's work on education. Pearson outlined some of those achievements at an advisory group meeting on Friday in Cairns for the Every Child is Special project. It includes a successful pilot project at Coen primary school, in which the 15 least proficient readers were given intensive, systematic instruction in phonics for a year by specialist teachers from Macquarie University's MULTILIT (Making Up Lost Time In Literacy) program. The results, unveiled on Friday, were encouraging; the children, whose reading ability was three to four years behind the Australian average, gained an average 21.4 months in reading accuracy. The Higher Expectations program identifies the brightest primary school children and "works aggressively" to send them to elite boarding schools, Pearson says. The first candidate is at Brisbane Grammar this year, "and he's survived and done well". Another program supports indigenous students at university. This year there were 10 candidates, and next year another dozen. Pearson is proud that both programs are "completely privately funded".

Ann Creek, a Coen elder and mother of five who has been a driving force in improving literacy at Coen school, said at the meeting on Friday: "Kids absorb knowledge; they want to be part of it, they want to learn more. If given the chance they'll grasp it . We all want our kids to achieve so they can go on to further education. They want to make a name for their family, for their clan group and for their community."

Pearson's "Cape York Agenda" of economic and social development aims to build the "capabilities" of indigenous people, freeing them from the yoke of welfare passivity, empowering them with proper education so they have at least the same knowledge of Western culture and proficiency in English as their peers in the rest of Australia. He says he hopes to transform communities within a generation. But first he must re-establish social order, and that requires a "hard bottom line". "Enforcement of the Education Act, [taking control of the] family benefit payment is the draconian bottom line we think is part of the process. We have an escalation in place that means we hopefully never have to get to the bottom line. But without the bottom line there is not much hope of re-establishing social norms." And as Bernadette Denigan, the director of the Every Child is Special project, reminded the group: "The ultimate draconian bottom line is the removal of children by government and that does happen."



A defence of Muslims by a Leftist elitist

I very rarely bother to fisk Leftist articles. It is much more interesting to spend my time looking at articles that endeavour to consider all the facts of a matter rather than looking at the very selective attention to the facts that characterizes Leftist writing. A reader has however drawn my attention to a typical bit of Leftist hate by Australian columnist Amanda Blair and offered some comments on it. I reproduce both the column and the comments on it elsewhere. I thought however that I might make a few comments in passing on the column myself:

Our wonderfully caring Amanda is unhappy with the way senior members of the Australian government have repeately told Australia's Muslims that they should shape up or ship out (See e.g. here). In response to that, dearest Amanda puts forward the hoary argument that since not all Muslims are the same we should consider them only as individuals and not as a group. That most Leftist discourse consists of NOTHING BUT talk about groups ("The poor", "Minorities", "Women", "Zionists" etc.) does not of course embarrass Amanda one bit. And according to Amanda's logic we should all in fact be struck dumb -- since all words in our language are words for categories. There are for instance large dogs, small dogs, black dogs and white dogs, tame dogs and fierce dogs so obviously we should not talk of dogs -- right?

Allowance should of course always be made in official policy for the characteristics of individuals (something that Leftists seem to find extraordinarily hard to do) but Prime Minister Howard has repeatedly done just that -- stressing that the problem lies with a minority of Muslims only, not with all Muslims. And yet it is of Mr Howard that sad Amanda is most critical.

What would you say about someone who was careful to speak slowly and clearly to someone who appeared to be of immigrant origin? Would you describe them as polite, considerate etc.? Amanda does not. When Mr Howard did that she made the very large leap of saying that it showed him to be a "little Englander". Since he is Australian, not English, that would appear to be a snide accusation of racism. The irony of the fact that the original little Englanders of the 19th century were radical opponents of imperialism is of course quite lost on our Amanda. She appears to be one of that fortunately rare but very amusing ilk who like to use big words and expressions without really knowing what they mean. She is, most probably, the product of a modern journalism education.

She also seems to be claiming that Australians are much less happy with their immigrants than are Americans. Since Australia has had for around 60 years now a policy of deliberately encouraging immigration -- something that only Israel could rival -- that is as fact-free as the rest of her diatribe.

To say any more about her pathetic outburst would, I think, be to take it far more seriously than it deserves. I have however interpolated into her text a few more comments in italics here. Note that the "caring" Amanda turns into the arrogant Amanda when she starts to talk about working-class Australians.



Among the most heated debates of the last 40 years has been the debate over Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust. What did he do when the greatest evil of his day engulfed Christian Europe? Was he "Hitler's Pope," as the name of a widely read book about him charged? Was he too reticent in speaking out against Nazism and the Nazi extermination of Europe's Jews? Was he perhaps even a Nazi sympathizer? Or was he in fact a great friend of Europe's Jews who did whatever he could to save tens of thousands of Jews, especially in Italy, opening up the doors of Church institutions to hide Jews?

It is not my aim here to offer an answer to that debate. But the attacks on Pope Benedict XVI may help shed new light on some of the motives for the attacks on Pius XII. It is true that we have always known that most, if not all, of Pius's critics were/are on the political/religious Left. But this no more discredited their critiques of Pius than the fact that the vast majority of Pius's defenders were on the political/religious Right discredited their defense.

But recently the critics have lost credibility. If the same people who attack Pope Pius XII for his silence regarding the greatest evil of his time are largely the same people who attack Pope Benedict XVI for confronting the greatest evil of his time, maybe it isn't a pope's confronting evil that concerns Pius's critics, but simply defaming the Church.

After all, has not Benedict done precisely what Pius's critics argue that Pius, and presumably any pope, should have done -- be a courageous moral voice and condemn the greatest evil and greatest manifestation of anti-Semitism of his time? Take The New York Times editorial page, for example. It is written by people who condemn Pius for his alleged silence and now condemn Benedict for not being quiet. According to the Times, Benedict will only create more anti-Western Muslim violence. But that was exactly the excuse defenders of Pius XII so often offered for why Pius XII did not speak out more forcefully -- that he was afraid it would only engender more Nazi violence. Yet Pius's critics have (correctly) dismissed that excuse out of hand.


(For a scholarly demolition of the scurrilous accusations against Pius XII, see here. Pacelli (Pius XII) was an Italian and there has long been very little antisemitism in Italy. In the early days, Jews were even prominent in Mussolini's Fascist party).


Mark Steyn nails it:

"In Britain, they used to say that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, the sort of line it's easy to mock as a lot of Victorian hooey. But it contains an important truth. This present conflict will be won (if at all) in the kindergarten classes of America's grade schools, and Canada's, and Britain's and Europe's. Because the resolve necessary to win a war can't be put on and taken off like a suit of armour. It has to be bred in the bone, and sustained by the broader institutions of society. And the typical western education, even when it's not telling you that your country's principal legacy is racism and oppression, teaches history in a vacuum--random facts, a few approved figures, but no overarching heroic narrative. And, if the past isn't worth defending, why should the future be?"

(bold mine)

Exactly so. Every young person I speak to seems to be abysmally ignorant of the history of his or her country, totally unaware of the towering historical figures who shaped Western society.
The Greeks? "They have great food, don't they?" Spartans? "are they a rock group?"

The heroism of Rorke's Drift, of Guadalcanal or the seige of Leningrad----nothing. No awareness at all. The thousands dead at Normandy--nothing. Any time there's a tiny spark of recognition it's only because it's part of the narrative of white male colonialist oppression force-fed them by their rotten Marxist, incompetent and dishonest teachers.

Teachers? To describe the apparatchik indoctrinators as "teachers" is to demean the word. Most teachers now seem to be young women with as little idea of history as the poor young kids entrusted to their care. They're full of postmodern bullshit and self-esteem and desperately lacking in the equipment necessary to impart even minimal standards of literacy- let alone critical thinking-in their charges.
The products of these incompetent bimbos are what the West must rely on for its defence.

God help us.

I hope you all are sitting down for this.

Shock – Horror – who would have thought, best buy some stocks in companies selling plastic spines, I have a feeling there will be a noticeable pick up in sales.
Six weeks after the end of the Lebanon war, the militant Hezbollah group is facing little on-the-ground pressure to give up its weapons and disarm — despite a U.N. cease-fire resolution demanding just that.

The leaders of a U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon say the job is not theirs. And Lebanon's ill-equipped army, some of whose soldiers wear tin-pot helmets and carry outdated M-16 rifles, shows no signs of diving into a confrontation with battle-hardened Hezbollah fighters.

For now, all sides say it's likely full disarmament will happen only in the future as part of a political solution — despite the U.N. resolution that ended the 34-day war on Aug. 14 and required disarmament.

The commanders of the U.N. force say that under the resolution, their job is merely to assist the Lebanese army in regaining control of southern Lebanon and to ensure the area cannot be used for launching rocket attacks into northern Israel.

Meanwhile, Lebanese security officials say the army's mission in the south is based on what they call an "understanding" with Hezbollah that the army will not search for and seize weapons, but only confiscate those shown in public.

Israel says the resolution makes clear that Hezbollah must be disarmed south of the Litani River. Mark Regev, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said of the current situation, "It's a process."
Yeah sure, its a 'process' alright, the buck passing will continue for months, its not us, its them, we don't want to inflame tensions, we have to vote, meetings, clip boards, we can’t be mean, dialogue, its not really their fault.

Give it time, Hizbullah will rearm, the world’s tax payers will pay millions for this UN force to waffle around and even more reconstructing Lebanon and eventually go home. After that Hizbullah will do something stupid and it’ll start all over again, the leftists will bray for proportionate reactions, insist the war is unfair till equal numbers are dead on both sides and call on the spineless UN to intervene.
Regev said Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, at a rally last week, "publicly stated that he is out to flout the will of the international community and to prevent the implementation of what was an unanimous resolution of the Security Council."
And flout he will, the useless UN is too busy applauding the hysterics of a Venezuelan buffoon and/or making preparations for the arrival of the twelfth imam.

A fool speaks

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called US President George Bush "the devil" in a speech to the United Nations, making the sign of the cross in a dramatic gesture and accusing him of "talking as if he owned the world."

"Yesterday, the devil came here," Chavez said, referring to Bush's address before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. "Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulphur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of."

Lest anyone wasn't listening, Chavez continued:
"Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world," Chavez said.

At the start of his talk, Chavez held up a book by American writer Noam Chomsky, "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance," and recommended it to everyone in the General Assembly, as well as to the American people. "The people of the United States should read this... instead of the watching Superman movies," Chavez later told reporters.

He called U.S. consumerism "madness," saying Americans have wasteful habits in using oil and energy. He held up a satellite photo showing the world at night, with bright light emanating from the U.S. and other wealthy countries.

I agree with Chavez on this point, Americans should cut their ‘wasteful’ habits, cut the spending on gas and switch off the lights, so all the world may remain in darkness, and just so this half-wit gets a little less of your dollar.

The United States continues to be the top buyer of Venezuelan oil, bringing the South American country billions of dollars in earnings that help fund Chavez's popular social programs.

How he continues to do business with this ‘devil’ beggars belief. I guess the hypocrisy is lost on such a half-wit and his supporters.

PM defends the Brethren

The Brethren have rightly identified and publicized the Australian Green Party as anti-Christian far-Leftists and the Greens hate them for it

The beliefs of the Exclusive Brethren Christian sect, which includes a refusal to vote, should be respected, Prime Minister John Howard said today. The sect has been criticised, particularly by the Greens, in recent times for its alleged activities in elections but Mr Howard says he has seen more fanatical groups in his time.

"The Exclusive Brethren as an organisation within the law, a Christian sect, is entitled to put its view," Mr Howard told ABC Radio. "I did make the observation that I've met a lot more fanatical people in my life than the Exclusive Brethren. "They have a different, a more disciplined, perhaps some would say a more narrow interpretation of the Christian religion than others, but I respect their right to have (this interpretation)."

Mr Howard, who yesterday said he had met with the group, said the more unorthodox views of the sect, such as not voting, did not means its members should be vilified. "I have to say that strikes me as what you might call an unorthodox Christian ... it strikes me as a little unusual, but that is their right and it should be respected," he said. "It shouldn't be the subject of some vilification campaign against them."



Arts centre funded by British big business shows up the rest

(The "City" is London's financial district. It is a very small part of London as a whole)

Should we be surprised that the best-run and most critically acclaimed arts centre in Britain receives not a penny from the Arts Council? Should we be astounded that, without the benefit of a single directive from the Government’s culture quango about the importance of multiculturalism, access, diversity, outreach — or any of the other new Labour buzzwords rammed down the throats of people in the arts for the past nine years — this arts centre should nevertheless be pulling in 770,000 socially diverse punters a year? And what does this say, by inference, about the stifling effect of the nanny state on less independent organisations?

These questions popped into my head last week as the Barbican Centre in London announced plans to celebrate its 25th birthday in March with 25 brilliantly devised “landmark events”, ranging from an Icelandic epic and an Islamic festival to glitzy concerts and a celebration of punk. At the same time its management unveiled the finishing touches to a £30 million transformation that has swept away the worst features of the once-derided architecture. The hopeless non-entrance, Kafkaesque corridors, baffling signs and dry-as-dust acoustics in the concert hall: all have been remedied, leaving the place looking sleek, chic, and fit for service for at least the next 50 years.

What makes this feat close to miraculous is that, only 12 years ago, the Barbican was a byword for fear, loathing and chaos. The Royal Shakespeare Company, then resident in the centre, was locked in perpetual war with the management, which was itself chronically dysfunctional. When an abrasive woman from the Milk Marketing Board was appointed to run the centre — on the grounds that if you can sell a full range of dairy products you can surely flog King Lear — the nadir was reached. Even the City of London Corporation, which built the place, seemed in despair about its future.

But in 1995 John Tusa, a former BBC mandarin with an insatiable taste for culture, was appointed managing director, and a quiet visionary called Graham Sheffield brought in as artistic director. They have wrought a renaissance. Today, the Barbican must rank as the world’s top arts centre — easily outclassing the Lincoln Centre in New York for adventurous programming and sustained quality.

Enough about Tusa and Sheffield, however. They aren’t short of cheerleaders. What interests me about the Barbican is its funding. Its £18 million subsidy comes not from the Government via its poodle, the Arts Council — with the mandatory clump of social-engineering strings attached — but from the City of London Corporation. Which, rather astonishingly, makes that local authority the third biggest funder of the arts in Britain.

I have my dozy moments, but I’m not so naive as to think that the City is coughing up such substantial dosh out of pure altruism. In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a war going on. The Square Mile, centre of the financial universe for so long, is facing competition not just from Frankfurt and Tokyo, but from an upstart on its doorstep — Canary Wharf. The battle to retain the big bank HQs and dealing-rooms is being fought on many fronts, not least the phallic rush to erect the tallest tower in town. But one vital area is “quality of life”. And the fact that the City has an arts centre that mounts 900 top-class events a year is a huge advantage.

But the City’s motives for funding the Barbican don’t really matter. What’s important is that it doesn’t interfere in how the centre is run. It appoints top arts professionals, then lets them get on with the job. It doesn’t try to micro-manage areas beyond its competence. It liberates those it finances, rather than stifling creativity with endless red tape and petty “accountability” procedures.

Well, you can see where I’m heading. The way the Barbican is run is in stark contrast not only to every other subsidised arts organisation, but to most other areas of public life in Blair’s Britain. What we have seen over the past nine years has been an unprecedented increase in the number of political diktats that attempt to regiment every facet of our existence — from health, diet and education to the law and liberty. At the root of this trend are power mania and arrogance. We are now ruled by people who not only want to control the smallest aspects of our lives, but who are vain enough to think that they know better than the experts in any field.

Of course I accept that, in a democracy, politicians must regularly scrutinise publicly-funded professions on our behalf. But it’s a question of degree. The endless, pointless meddling of recent years has simply stopped good people doing their jobs well. I see that Gordon Brown has promised more “devolved” decision-making in future. It’s hard to believe, since under his iron rule the Treasury has broken all known records for control-freakery and arrogant interference in areas that have nothing to do with the economy — a prime instance being the way that arts organisations operate. The Barbican is a shining example of the good things that can happen when politicians keep their clumsy fingers out of the pie. Let’s see more abstinence in future.



What the Pope should have mentioned instead of stating "regret"

Predecessors of Ratzinger in the Vatican had to oversee actual battle against hosts of Islam. Coastal Italy was subject to repeated Arab maritime depredation between 652 and 1087. In 846, an Arab force of 11,000 men borne on 73 ships entered Rome through the mouths of Tyber. They freely plundered the suburbs of Rome and despoiled the basilica of St. Peter and Cathedral of St. Paul before nonchalantly returning to their ships. When Pope Leo IV came to office in 847, he dedicated himself to fortification of Rome. The entire Vatican area, where St. Peter's basilica stood, was walled to form Civitas Leonina or the "Leonine City".

Corsica and other places in Tuscan coasts were also fortified under Pope's direction. But the Arabs caught with the Romans in 849, before the fortifications could be completed. But as the Arab fleet launched from the island of Sardinia approached Rome, the allied fleet of Gaeta, Amalfi and Naples, led by Caesarius of Naples, came forward to Rome's defence. Blessed by Leo IV, it gave a decisive battle to the Arab fleet. Storm kept a date with Arab fleet, and the aggressors were routed. Many Muslim survivors were mercilessly hanged, while others were pressed into slavery to build the incomplete walls and towers.

Yet Rome was so endangered by Arab pirates that Pope John VIII (872-882) had to pay the Arabs an yearly bribe of 25,000 mancusi! .The abbey of San Vincezo and the great monastery of Monte Cassino were burnt and destroyed in 883-884, as were they abbeys of Farfa and Subiaco in 890. Arab bases materialized, dangerously close to Rome, at Ciciliano and Saracinceso on river Garigliano, from where they indulged in wanton plundering. It took an impressive and heroic Pope John X (reigned 914 - 928) to rally the Byzantines, Lombards, Gaeta, Capua, Salerno, Beneventum, and other Italian states against the Arab aggression. Pope John X was himself present on the battle field when his alliance, in August 916 CE, routed the Arabs beside Garigliano River.

But Arabs, emanating from their bases in Sicily and Barbary (North African) Coast, continued to harass southern Italy past 916. They took Reggio in 918; overran Calabria; and sold many of its captured inhabitants into slavery in Sicily and North Africa. Their piratical activities were a constant bugbear to the Christian maritime commerce on the Mediterranean, and they extorted ransom from coastal cities of Italy.

Finally, Genoa and Pisa decided to take the bull by its horns. In 1015 and 1016 CE, allied Genoese and Pisan fleets, blessed by Pope Benedict VIII, raided the Tyrrhenian base of Arabs in Sardinia. The Arab resistance literally collapsed in the face of this Italian resurgence, and Pisa occupied Sardinia. In 1034 CE, they took the offensive to Bona, the Arab base on Barbary Coast. The booty captured in the campaign was given away to monastery of Cluny, from which Moors had extorted enormous ransom in 972 CE after captivating its revered Abbot St. Maiolus.

In 1062 or 1063, Pisan made a daring raid upon Palermo, in Arab Sicily, and extorted a booty, whose one sixth went to making of Santa Maria Maggiore. In 1087, Pope Victor III inspired a coalition of Italian cities Pisa, Genoa, Rome, Amalfi to raid Mahdia, a dreaded piratical base on Barbary Coast with 30,000 men borne on more than three hundred ships. It was an immensely successful attack and the Arab prince Tamim doled out huge tributes in gold dinars, and granted Pisan and Genoese merchants free access to his territory. He released all Christian captives and promised to stop piratical raids. Their victory was attained on the feast day of St. Sixtus (August 6) and Pisans and Genoese constructed Churches dedicated to that Saint with tributes extracted from Mahida. Pisa and Genoa, had swept clean the western Mediterranean of Arab scourge, on the eve of the First Crusades

A resurgent scourge of Barbary Pirates between 16th and 19th centuries held Europe into ransom. In 1571, Pope Pius V Michele Ghisleri played a seminal role cutting down the western expanse of Islam. He inspired the `Holy League' of Christian states that under the command of Don Juan defeated the Turks in sea battle of Lepanto on Sunday October 7, 1571. Coincidentally, it was on Sunday October 7, 2001 the President George Bush launched the US-led coalition attack on Afghanistan. Miguel Cervantes, the author of famous `Adventures of Don Quixote', world's first novel, was disabled in his one arm fighting the battle of Lepanto.

But four years later Miguel and his brother Rodrigo, while returning in from Italy to Spain in galley El Sol, in September, 1575, were captured by Barbary Pirates. Miguel Cervantes spent the following his four years as a slave of Arraez Ali Mami in Algiers until he was ransomed back by the monks of Trinitarian order. There were tens of thousands of Christian/European slaves in Algiers (also in Tunis, Tripoli, Sale etc) and most of them were not so lucky.

Pope Ratzinger, instead of apologizing to Muslims for his anecdote on Manuel III Paleologues, should have reminded them of these indelible facts of history. And these are only fractions of the whole story of Islamic torture of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism etc.



Can we find a cliff?

An organization of 56 Islamic nations pressed Pope Benedict Tuesday to apologize for his comments linking Muslims and violence, keeping alive a two-week-old controversy. The group issued its statement a day after Pope Benedict assured diplomats from some 20 Muslim nations and the leaders of Italy's Muslim community that he respected them and was committed to dialogue.

It was the fourth time he had tried to make amends, without actually apologizing directly, for his Sept. 12 speech at a university in his native Germany.

Yeah what's up with the pope, Islam and violence, talk about a beat up... no wait, he may have a point.

A leading German opera house unleashed a furious debate over free speech Tuesday by pulling a production over fears it posed a security risk because of a scene featuring the severed heads of Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad.

Judging by the lack of violent reaction by Christians to Madonna's recent tour and my relaxed attitude when around Buddhists, I'd have to say the Germans are not worried about the Christians or the Buddhists.

Perhaps the Pope should, forward directions, to these lying rat bags, to a nearby cliff to do us all a favor.

Darwin must not be Associated with Hitler

Hitler's attachment to eugenics is surely one of the best known things about him. And that eugenics (deliberate selection) is a pretty obvious extension of Darwin's ideas about natural selection should not strain too many brains. Wanting to speed up a beneficial natural process was seen as kind and wise by most Leftists -- including American Leftists -- in the 1930s. See here

But a Christian TV program pointing to the connection between the ideas of Darwin and Hitler evoked lots of attacks even before it was aired last month. You must not bad-mouth Darwin, apparently.

Curiously, one of the chief attackers was Abe Foxman of the ADL. Rabbi Lapin points out how curious that is. Jews too believe that the world is a product of creation rather than of evolution so they surely have no particular brief for Darwin. Rabbi Lapin suggests that it is the anachronistic hatred that some Jews still feel towards Christians that lies behind Foxman's attack. Foxman often seems to side with the ACLU so that fits.


A Greenie dictatorship?

Every property in the Waverley local government area in Sydney [Australia] may be required to install solar roof panels under a plan being considered by the council to make it "a world leader in climate change solutions". The council's sustainability committee "will explore ways to integrate key environmental targets and initiatives throughout the organisation and the Waverley community". The committee will comprise councillors and experts on building sustainability and climate change.

The Mayor of Waverley, Mora Main, put up the idea in a mayoral minute, unanimously supported by councillors, directing the committee to advise on maximising solar energy. "Moving towards a 'solar Waverley' may soon see all our rooftops sporting solar panels," she said. The committee will advise on:

* A brief for a study to assess and characterise the total potential for rooftop solar energy in Waverley.

* The application of solar hot water and space heating, passive solar design and photovoltaics to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

* Changes to the council's planning rules to prevent overshadowing of useable solar-capture space on neighbouring structures.

* Regulation to ensure development applications maximise the uptake of solar power.

The council says each municipality has a responsibility to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. "As developments in solar technology take it ever closer to cost competitiveness with coal, distributed renewal energy becomes a realistic component of Australia's energy supply," it says in a background paper.

Waverley's move will not find favour with everyone. The Productivity Commission recommended in a report on energy efficiency last year that federal, state and territory governments and the Australian Building Codes Board should examine ways to stop local governments creating variations in minimum energy efficiency standards for buildings. The Federal Government has supported this finding. "Determining effective energy efficiency requirements for houses requires specialist knowledge that is more likely to be available to national bodies than to local governments," the commission said. "The effects of such requirements are predominantly experienced outside of the local government area. In addition, the costs associated with local government area-based variations in energy efficiency standards are potentially higher than for state and territory-based ones. This is because they can cause a higher degree of regulatory fragmentation and uncertainty."

In an earlier report on building regulation the commission warned against the erosion of national consistency of building regulation by local governments through their planning approval processes. A feature of an agreement being developed between the federal, state and territory governments on the building code will - "as far as practicable" - restrict any changes to the code to those arising from geographical, geological and climate factors. The agreement provides for state and territory governments to seek similar commitments from local governments. The Federal Government does, however, recognise the role of local government in developing and trialling new approaches to address climate change "in a context of cost-benefit assessment".

Source. For more Greenie nuttiness from Waverley, see here or here


British cemeteries going Muslim

A new cemetery is to have all its graves aligned with Mecca - making it the first council graveyard in the country to bury the dead in Islamic tradition, regardless of their religion. Headstones in the new 2.5 million pound High Wood Cemetery in Nottingham will face north-east - as Muslims believe the dead look over their shoulder towards Mecca. This is the way in which all followers of Islam in the UK are buried. But the move has upset the Church and led to complaints that the policy discriminates against the city's majority Christian population. The traditional direction of burial for Christians is facing east.

The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Rev George Cassidy, criticised the decision. He said: "This is a sensitive issue to all people. I hope the situation will be reviewed with wide consultation and a policy introduced that takes account of the needs of all." The decision was made by Steve Dowling, Nottingham City Council's Services Director for Environment and Public Protection, after liaising with the city's multi-faith Cemeteries Consultative Committee. He said: "For people of the Muslim faith this fits in with a religious requirement, but it will also ensure a tidy appearance for the site. People can choose to be buried facing another direction but if they do not specify that, they will be buried facing north-east. The vast majority of people do not express a preference."

But Brendan Clarke-Smith, Tory councillor for Clifton North, said: "I was totally bewildered when I read about this decision. I spoke to one of the local Muslim groups in my area and they were equally surprised by what had been done. It is utterly ridiculous and I know it'll create a lot of ill feeling both in Nottingham and the country generally." The clergy and critics of the policy at the new 40-acre cemetery are supported by Raza Ul Haq, Imam at the Madni Masjid Mosque. He said: "It is part of our religion for the dead to be aligned with Mecca. It is very important. But for Christians, if they want to face somewhere else we support them."

Last night a spokesman for the Institute of Cemeteries and Crematorium Management said it was the first time he had heard of any public cemetery in Britain choosing to have all its gravestones facing north-east, in line with Muslim tradition. "It is unusual,' he said. "It would seem appropriate if there was a large population of Muslims." In Nottingham, however, Muslims make up less than five per cent of the region's 500,000 population.

Nigel Lymn Rose managing director of A.W. Lymn Funeral Directors, and a past president of the National Association of Funeral Directors, said Mr Dowling had told him of the decision when he went to High Wood for a site visit and asked whether Muslims had been taken into account. He said: "I was astonished to be told, "Oh yes, we're burying everyone so they are aligned to Mecca. It will make things easier." "It's one thing to be buried facing north-east because that is the way the cemetery lies, or the plot within it - it is quite another thing to learn that you have been buried facing that direction because it follows Islamic law."

Brian Grocock, a councillor who took part in the consultation process, said: "I don't know how this has become such a big issue. "The consultations went on for three or four years. We had people of all faiths represented at the meetings - or they certainly had the chance to attend. Nobody I know had any objections to the plan." So far at Highwood there have been just six burials - of which three were Muslim.



The jihad against the Pope

Excerpts from Melanie Phillips

In fact, the Pope's real crime surely lay in speaking a truth that is denied by the many who claim that Islam is a religion of peace. On the contrary, Islam does indeed have a long history of imposing its faith on the world by the sword. The Emperor whose remarks sparked this furore had spoken in despair when his empire was under siege from the Ottomans. It is that religious tradition of holy war which is precisely what is driving the global Islamic terrorism that currently threatens us all. Which is why the Pope's observations were a contribution to a crucial worldwide debate which must be had.

Certainly, many Muslims who reject this tradition of violence are appalled by acts of terror in the name of their faith and insist that Islamic theology dictates that it is a religion of peace. It might also be argued that, contrary to the Pope's remarks, Christianity also spread itself by the sword before the Reformation ended its own religious wars.

The extent to which holy war is an expression of religious belief or politics - or a fusion of the two - is a perfectly legitimate debate. So it is obviously essential for people to be able to express their opinion about Islam and to criticise it, just as they should be able to criticise any other religion. But it seems that we are fast getting to the point where people are being intimidated into silence about Islam, since it appears that no one can criticise it without violence and mayhem breaking out. This deadly process of intimidation started in the West in 1989 with the fatwa calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie, after he was held to have insulted Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses.

Last year, the re-publication of Danish cartoons protesting at Islamic violence that included depictions of the Prophet Mohammed, which Muslims regarded as an insult, led to rioting, kidnap attempts, and the murder of some 140 people across the world. As with the Pope's remarks, the trigger for the violence on each occasion was the claim that Islam had been insulted. But religion generally provokes strong passions, and one faith almost inevitably gives offence to another. If all such offence is to be prevented, vital debate will be stifled, too - and if violence is used to bring this about, freedom itself will be brutally stamped out. For free expression lies at the core of a free society. Sure, it isn't absolute; some limits are placed on it, but only where such expression threatens fundamental human rights, such as the right to life or to live as a free and equal individual (which should surely mean that Mr Choudary should be prosecuted).

The warriors of the Islamic jihad wish to destroy that whole way of life. Which is why it is absolutely vital that we stand up for free speech and act as one in staunch opposition to murder and mayhem. Unfortunately, there are some in our society who are not prepared to do so but who seek instead to appease the aggressors and blame their victims....

The BBC, in particular, has behaved in a very questionable manner. As so often, it has given undue airtime to extremists, thus lending credence to the false interpretation of the Pope's remarks. In common with several newspapers, it wrongly said that the Emperor Manuel had accused the Prophet Mohammed of bringing into the world `only "evil and inhuman" things'.... And it wrongly reported in news bulletins and on its website that the Pope had apologised - rather than merely expressing regret for the misinterpretation of his remarks - thus helping Islamic extremists believe that the forces of intimidation had cowed the Pontiff and scored a notable victory in the war against western civilisation.

Our greatest danger comes from those in the West who, in these and other ways, have mentally surrendered to the irrationality and false logic of those who accuse the West of aggression simply because it defends itself against Islamic holy war. This surrender has already resulted in a degree of self-censorship and back-to-front thinking, with accusations of ` Islamophobia' hurled at those telling the truth about the violence practised by some Muslims in the name of Islam.

If we are ever to defeat the global jihad against free societies, it is vital to tell that truth - that it is the West that is under attack. It is in that context that the Pope's remarks must be seen - defending Christianity and western civilisation from an onslaught that has not just snuffed out many innocent lives, but seeks to snuff out freedom and truth itself.

More here


Greetings and salutations to all

I’m back home now, flew in on Sunday night, still tired, jet lagged and groggy in the mornings, wide awake in the middle of the night though. I’m so over plane rides, this one was particularly painful, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t find a comfortable position, the in-flight entertainment was not entertaining. Grateful to have a stiff tail wind on the way home, fastest I’d ever been on a Boeing 747, 1081 km/h, belting it across this vast land.

The holiday was a quick and at times, a hectic 3 weeks, South Africa has changed a lot, in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse, some of the people are prospering, others are still struggling. Such a beautiful country, with so much promise, but as we know, it will take a lot of hard work and sacrifice. It’s a different world altogether, living behind electric fencing and iron bars, familiarizing yourself with alarm codes and ‘panic button’ locations. Locking your doors and watching your back as you drive around, reminding oneself not to make any sudden or fast movements around nervous security personnel and police.

Good to see the blogging has been going thick and strong, no quarter for the leftists..

Tiberius, I finally got ‘Godless’, along with a lot of other reading material, so it’ll be a while, looking forward to it though. There was a minor incident at Singapore, a passenger didn’t turn up after check-in, and we had to wait while the airport staff helped themselves to his/her luggage, so thankfully I didn’t have to find alternate uses for the steel pen.

Since we could only get CNN and BBC, I didn’t keep up with much on the news front apart from hearing that new oil was discovered somewhere in the states and Tony Blair was being chastised for his spine by many from behind Jihadist skirts. I also read, in one of the local papers, about the growing chorus/whining for the Pope to apologize to Muslims for implying that Islam is a violent religion. How ironic that alongside this story was another about a dentist being tried in the UK for his part in an honor killing, guess what religion.

Was happy to see the Aussies giving it to the Indians, West and East, I feel sorry for the batsman who has to dig in as Brett Lee comes thundering down the field looking for scalps, damn he’s good and its good to be home.

Politically correct British police raid a serious criminal

They regularly ignore complaints about "Yobs", and Muslims can do as they please but a cat with one flea is a serious matter

Pet owner Robert Emberson was stunned as two cops swooped on his home - to seize his KITTEN. The bobbies went round after pet charity workers were tipped off that the moggy missed a routine appointment. Robert had adopted the rescue kitten named Plume.

But Cat Protection workers swooped to demand it back - and called in a police escort in case there was trouble. Horticultural student Robert, 18, accused the charity of being heavy-handed. He said: "They were so rude - barging in without warning. I was horrified." It followed an earlier visit by a Cat Protection worker who claimed to have seen a SINGLE FLEA on the cat. Robert, of Canvey Island, Essex, agreed to treat Plume. But he was waiting for his pay from his part-time job.

He said: "The flea treatment cost me a day's wages, but I paid for Plume to be vaccinated and everything. "I missed just one treatment, but they said they might take Plume away." The charity - criticised for refusing to let a man with an artificial leg adopt a cat - refused to comment. Robert was eventually allowed to keep the cat.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: "We are frequently asked by other agencies to support them when there could be public order issues." [Fierce cat?]



"Incorrect" fez

Racism complaints have forced Transperth to withdraw taxpayer-funded ads showing a gorilla wearing a fez. The Public Transport Authority confirmed that the campaign, which cost about $7000 and depicted an ape wearing what is sometimes considered an Islamic cap, was stopped after three complaints.

"The gorilla first appeared on July 22. We did not receive any feedback from the public until this week, when three complaints were lodged," PTA spokesman David Hynes said. "The complaints said the depiction was culturally insensitive and offensive. We responded to the complaints by removing the posters immediately. "There was a 2m by 4m poster and two smaller bulkhead posters at the Esplanade Busport and three 1.3m by 1.3m posters at our InfoCentres. "We printed 5000 pamphlets . . . they have also been withdrawn." He said Transperth did not intend to offend with the ads.

The WA Ethnic Communities Council said an apology would have been more appropriate. And passers-by said removing the ads was political correctness gone mad. "They are not offensive and I think there's too much of this type of carry-on about what's culturally sensitive," said Donna, 52, a public servant. Perth florist Natasha, 30, said: "I don't think they are offensive to Muslim people because a fez doesn't have to be a Muslim hat."

ECC president Ramdas Sankaran said the fez-wearing gorilla was not the type of image that should be used in a multicultural society. "Given the current Islamaphobia around the place, it's rather unfortunate that thoughtless ads like this are floating around," he said. "(But) an explanation and an apology for the unintended consequences would have been more appropriate."

The fez, which originated in the Moroccan city of Fez and was popularised by the Ottomans in the 1800s, is often seen as Islamic, even though European soldiers have worn them. Mr Hynes said research had indicated that the fez's origins were non- religious. He said the ad graphic was part of a fantasy campaign that also had a giant squid attacking a ferry on the Swan River and a satellite that had fallen in front of a bus. "(They) are intended to highlight a key benefit of TravelEasy . . . getting up-to-the-minute online messages about unexpected changes in public transport," he said. "Putting a fez on the gorilla was intended to suggest it was an escaped circus animal. No offence was intended."


Above is a picture of some Canadian Shriners wearing fezzes -- as Shriners do. I wonder if the Shriners were offended? They are certainly not Muslims because of the fezzes. (Shriners are a colourful offshoot of the Masons devoted to hospital charities). The fez is in fact mostly associated with Egypt (hence the Shriner interest) rather than with Muslims generally. Putting a rag hat on a gorilla would have been a much clearer Muslim allusion. And the man below is no Muslim. He is the famous British comedian, Tommy Cooper, who almost always wore a fez during his shows. He would no doubt be very "incorrect" if he were still alive today

Transfer? It's Time!

By Arlene Peck

I'm much too young to be a political pundit but the fact is that, for more years than I care to remember, the thought of transfer, the enforced movement of the Arab population from their homes to Arab countries, has been criticized as irrational, immoral and impossible to implement. However, after the past two years of living through the horror of sometimes-daily terror attacks, almost fifty percent of the Israeli public supports transfer.

Despite that fact, the only party advocating it in the Knesset is Moledet. With only one representative in the Knesset, they are continuously held back by politics. Since transfer has gained so much support among the Israeli public, it is unconscionable that the politicians do not reflect that position. Unfortunately, the peoples' voice is drowned out by the Israeli political system. A system that so far refuses to accept the fact that it would eliminate the Arab demographic threat to Israel.

I remember having long dialogues with Rabbi Meir Kahane twenty-five years ago. At that time he prophesied: "At the rate that the Arabs are populating the Jewish state, they won't beat us with bullets. No, they'll beat us with ballots. Who but the Jews would put the enemy in power to vote them out? The average Israeli family has two children while an Arab family has five ."

Today it is easier to see that the transfer Kahane advocated would solve that problem immediately and the Jewish state would no longer have to concern itself with the Arab population doubling itself every sixteen years. At this point in time, the 22 Arab states have 289 million people and their numbers are soaring worldwide. By the year 2020 they will have 410 to 459 million. Even now, they are growing up violent and illiterate and taking over much of Europe. Today, many of the European countries are finding their cultures changed. Churches are being removed and mosques are being built in their stead.

Do you really think that the Arabs who walked away from 97% of everything on their `wish list' in the misplaced leadership of Ehud Barak would be satisfied with the land they've received from Gaza, Judea and Samaria? Pu-lezzz! The present day Arab considers the entire state of Israel as "Historically Palestinian." It's interesting how the world sees nothing wrong with uprooting over a quarter of a million people from lands that they have been residing in for almost forty years. Where do they think the Jews living in the `settlements' come from? Did they drop out of a pineapple tree? What about making it possible to have all the Jewish residents of Israel return who were chased out of any of the Arab countries 'return' to claim their property? If the despots in Iraq, Saudi Arabia or any of the surrounding Arabs states had not been keeping the Palestinians as an excuse for their efforts to destroy the Jewish state, they would have resettled their Arab brothers fifty years ago. Instead they have allowed the Palestinians to grow up for generations in the filth of the Palestinian dream.'

Knowing the Jewish mentality as I do, I am confident that Israel would be the first one to assist in building a Palestinian state on Arab land, helping their neighbors in in terms of agriculture, finance, industry and trade and all the other trappings of statehood. Which, considering if the situation was reversed, the Arabs wouldn't be happy until every Jew is dead and all of their historical sites renamed after Mohammed.

More here