Posts Tagged ‘Race Relations’
Study of any group of people or animals quickly enables one to focus on the top dog. Chickens provide a perfect example, in every run on the allotments a lot of pecking takes place as one of the girls uses her beak to establish herself as the undisputed head. In humans it is sometimes more subtle but the laws of nature ensure that one volunteer establishes supremacy, usually a product of a bossy trait overcoming the reluctance of most to accept responsibility or hassle. Amongst us codgers Albert has seized the unofficial crown and it doesn’t lie uneasy on the head of the world’s leading chatterbox.
This doesn’t bother the rest of us who, in retirement, seek nothing more than a quiet life. But what does infuriate us is the number of people who at a national level constantly presume to lecture the rest of us on how we should live our lives. Today we have Kamila Shamsie, the novelist, and Kate Mosse, the author and founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, demanding that parliament should be controlled by a quota system with no more than fifty per cent men.
To a man we codgers support the idea of women MPs. We are convinced that if the Commons was comprised mainly of women there would be far less ridiculous and phoney abuse, and proposals would be debated in a far more open and less partisan manner. But strict quotas are another matter altogether. For the vast majority of backbench members membership of the House has little attraction other than that of earning a decent living and long holidays. They are told by the whips how to vote, and their chance to change the lot of those they represent is near zero. Would the average woman want to devote her life to such a role?
For most women the way in which parliament functions would have to change to provide attraction. For the rest of us that is a great pity, can anyone imagine Blair duping a House dominated by women into sanctioning war on Iraq or anyone else?
To take a more up-to-date example can you imagine women having any truck with what we now know happened when officials from GCHQ entered the offices of the Guardian newspaper and proceeded to physically mangle hard drives, despite knowing that the paper had copies of the Snowden material stored elsewhere. We are here to teach you a lesson, they said. The ridiculous games that men like to play never cease to amaze us.
Another example of the bossy-boots emerged yesterday. It seems that some schools are refusing to “promote homosexuality”. One headteacher went on record to say that the staff are responsible for explaining sexuality in objective terms but not to “promote” it in any of its forms. This seems to us eminently sensible. Teachers have the unenviable task of explaining sex and reproduction of the species, why on earth would we expect them to “promote” any particular manifestation. Neither of course should they criticise, their role is to teach the facts of nature and to leave judgements to others.
We firmly believe that the big brothers, or sisters, should pipe down. Many of the appalling prejudices carried through life by many people were put there by others telling them what to think. The practice of constantly lecturing others about the importance of race relations is, we contend, a classic example of focussing attention on an issue that young people would otherwise take for granted and pay little attention to. The colour of someone’s skin is a total irrelevance, by constantly harping on about it we draw attention to a difference that doesn’t actually exist.
All men and women are created equal. If only those who presume to tell us what to think and do would desist from doing so we could all travel this journey as one. But the chance of that happening is the equivalent of flying pigs circling Big Ben!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY; ” One way to avoid war is to give Bush, Blair and Saddam a toddler each to look after with no help!”…Rory Bremner
Ye Gods! Now the gales are back and we were greeted by the sight of roof panels scattered across the allotments. But before Albert could begin his rant about global warming, I was quick to remind him that on this day of 2000 we had blizzards, flooding and utter chaos. He now believes that I qualify for Mastermind, sadly I only knew this thanks to my Letts diary. But our focus soon turned to headlines about the Metropolitan Police and yet more suggestions of institutional racism.
It is reported that a police constable is on ‘restricted duties’ after he was filmed allegedly kicking a 15-year-old black boy to the ground and then kneeing him while in the custody suite of an east London police station. That officer was present hours earlier when his colleague, PC Alex MacFarlane, was recorded calling another man a “nigger” when he was arrested on suspicion of drug driving.
The man, Mauro Demetrio, 21, recorded the abuse on his mobile phone. Mr Demetrio said he was subjected to a tirade of abuse at the hands of officers before he was taken to an east London police station. There, he reportedly saw the alleged assault on the 15-year-old boy which was captured by CCTV footage. The case was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commisssion, which investigated and this week handed over its report to the police for possible disciplinary action. The watchdog had sought advice from prosecutors to see if any criminal offence had been committed. The decision by the CPS not to bring charges has caused an uproar.
To his credit the head of Scotland Yard, Bernard Hogan-Howe, has spoken out. He has said that he will not tolerate racism which could be ” very damaging for public confidence”. But it will take more than words to cut out this cancer which recurs again and again. We all know that our society harbours racists, and it is crucial that the only protection society has must be free of any taint of prejudice. If the police tolerate racism how will society ever clean up its own act?
I have always been puzzled by prejudice based on the colour of anyone’s skin. Not only is it cruel, it is utterly illogical. Last night I watched a recorded interview on BBC4 between David Frost and the one and only Mohammed Ali. The former star boxer and showman now suffers from Parkinson’s Disease but has lost none of his sharp intellect. Frost reminded him of comments he made some forty years ago, when he said that white folk are evil. Ali said that age has brought him to the realisation that he was wrong. There are evil people, he said, but the colour of their skin is irrelevant. Sadly there are evil white, black, brown and green people, was his summary.
But it would be optimistic in the extreme to imagine that the fanatics of every race will one day see the light as Ali has. We are a multi-racial society and idiots of all racial origins will always pose a source of social unrest. The key is to have a body in charge of law and order that shows no favouritism or prejudice.
In the interest of everyone now, and generations to come, the police need to clean up their act!
HAVE A GREAT EASTER BUT DON’T FLY!
Easter is only days away and the government has just realised that the Border Agency is undermanned due to staffing cuts.
Ministers are now weighing up the option of relaxing security checks at airports or of allowing massive queues to bring the system to a grinding halt.
If you wrote a book covering the events of the past few weeks the critics would condemn it as too far-fetched!
Another wretched morning on the allotments. Whether damage to hen-runs qualifies as the ‘structural damage’ so beloved by weathermen I know not, but either way our little world is in chaos. And to tip the balance in favour of emigrating to Australia, whoever controls the water tap up there has decided to turn it on again. Baths may be prohibited in Surbiton, up here in’t north you can have one without bothering to go inside. Mind you, the bankers of Surbiton probably bathe in champagne.
Despite all this we are all much cheered by the sight of justice being done at last in the Stephen Lawrence case, at least in trespect of two pof his ghastly assailants of eighteen years ago. One can only admitre his parents who never gave up in thir search for justice. It was no surprise that Stephen’s mother spoke out in condemnation of the police, whose perfromance has been truly appalling. And part of the explanation is the fact that many of the officers of the day were racists. Since logic dictates that anyone holding racist views is inevitably moronic that tells us a great deal about the quality of many of those to whom we entrusted the task of law and order. The Met? Keystone Cops!
It has always seemed to us indisputable that no one of even moderate intelligence can possibly believe that the colour of someone’s skin makes him superior or inferior to another human being. It simply defies logic. I recently travelled to an away match in support of a non-league soccer team and witnessed a classic example of the point. During the first half a small group of white louts constantly taunted a black player. At half time a formidible lady confronted them. She remarked that they clearly saw themselves as superior to the victim. He had just earned his doctorate in science and she asked how their degrees could posssibly be better. She, of course, knew the answer which was that they hadn’t a brain cell between them.
Many of today’s papers claim that the sad case of Stephen Lawrence changed Britain. I beg to differ. If anything, it made things worse in that it heralded an age of political correctness in which the implication was that all non-white skinned people are hard-working and beyond any allowed reproach. Illogical. The colour of our skins is an irrelevant fact of nature and conveys nothing about behaviour or character. As a long-term employee in the NHS I worked with people of every conceivable race, each one included good and kindly people and bad and unkind ones. The only route to sanity is to drop labels and to marginalise morons.
The whole subject seemed to me to have considerable relevance to the death of Ronald Searle, which was announced yesterday. The cartoonist was best known for his spiky comic drawings depicting the outrageous antics of the St Trinians girls, and for his illustrations of the Molesworth series. But he rightly wished to be remembered for much more than those. He created an alternative to the conformity of Harold Macmillan’s Britain and he ridiculed any form of authority or behaviour that we were supposed to accept and follow.
Searle gave the Britain of the 1950s a sense of anarchy, a healthy scepticism and a plea to think for ourselves and to do so in a logical way. Race relations had not then become an industry but had it done so there is no doubt that the great cartoonist would have found eye-catching ways to show the stupidity and illogicality of any importance placed on what coloured-skin this person or that was landed with.
I have yet to meet any sane person of even average intelligence who believes in superiority based on race. You may raise an eyebrow here and point to many powerful dictators who were, or are, driven by just that. But I did add the rider ‘sane’!
I must refrain from banging on about another freezing morning, and the problems of frozen water dispensers, lest you conclude that we allotmenteers are depressed. But I have to confess that we are sinking lower than a snakes belly. This morning it was a combination of a night spent watching the Australian batsmen belting England’s much vaunted bowling attack, followed by three of us having to chase a lot of irate hens who headed out whilst we wielded ice-picks. But when the papers arrived we discovered that, we who constantly moan about the mad political correctness brigade, have a new champion. Take a bow Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary and the Tory equivalent to two-Jags Prescott.
We are a mixed bunch on the allotments, people of all religions and none. but we all enjoy Christmas. In fact the tree will be decorated any day now, the fact that it stays in situ throughout the year makes the task an easy one. We all share another sentiment too, we loathe the busybody PR brigade who have done so much to harm race relations in this country and who have the gall to believe that they have the right to tell everyone else what they can and cannot say or do. In recent years they have targetted Christmas or Wintermass as the ghastly crew insist on calling it.
This year has seen them scaling new heights in lunacy. Birmingham’s annual festival has been renamed Winterval and Lambeth council sparked fury when it ordered its Christmas lights to be renamed “winter” or “celebrity” to avoid upsetting “other faiths”. Rochdale Council provoked more rage when it decided to celebrate Eid and Diwali also, even though those Hindu and Muslim festivals have already come and gone. The lists goes on and on.
Now at long last a minister has had the guts to speak out. Yesterday Eric Pickles said that “we should actively celebrate the Christian basis of Christmas and not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalise Christianity and the importance of the birth of Christ”. He went on to warn Councils that ” The war on Christmas is over, and the likes of Winterval, Winter Lights and Luminous deserve to be thrown into the dustbin of history”. And he hadn’t finished at that. Eric went on to stress that shoppers want to see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, carol services and nativity scenes”.
Small wonder that John Midgely, founder of the burgeoning Campaign aginst PR, described Mr Pickles as a “breath of fresh air”. Small wonder too that his sentiments were echoed by leading church figures. The popular Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, believes that Christianity is being wiped out of public life in the name of equality. The bans on Christmas are, he believes, part of a drive to censor Christianity. And no one can accuse Dr Sentamu of being a racist!
I have yet to meet any member of the ethnic community who feels in the least offended by Christmas celebrations. They are not the people responsible for the ever growing chorus of disapproval. That is down to the nauseating busybodies who should shut up once and for all. I am sure that the vast majority of Brits treasure Christmas, and all it represents and entails.We needed a champion and big Eric is the man.
The Christmas story is the greatest story ever told. We sometimes forget that the calender we use is based on a birth that took place 2010 years ago. No story in the history of the world has influenced so much and so many. And one doesn’t have to be religious to acknowledge that irrefutable truth.
Whether we like it or not our country is now a multi-cultural one. But that doesn’t mean that we should change our treasured festivals or customs anymore than we should expect people of other faiths to change theirs. Tolerance should mean acceptance without interference and Eric Pickles may just have started a revolution in reverse. One in which we ignore totally all talk of political correctness.
In reality there is no such thing. Simple courtesy and an ethos of live and let live is all we need provided that the law is observed. And if it isn’t there should be no variation in the response of the authorities whatever the colour of the offender!
TIME TO TACKLE THE PROFITEERING POWER SUPPLIERS!
The Energy Regulator Ofgem has failed totally in its task of regulating the financial trickery of the privatised power companies. Many still remember the various privatisations of the Thatcher era when we were told that competition would drive prices down. In reality there has been an almost unholy alliance amongst the various suppliers and the customer has been robbed again and again.
At a time when many are struggling to meet their bills, and with winter here, the suppliers are announcing massive increases. Dismiss their lies about increased costs for gas, when those costs fell they didn’t pass any reductions on.
British Gas is a classic example. Its annual profit per houshold is now £90. As recently as September it was £65. Like the other suppliers they treat their customers with utter contempt and if Ofgem are not prepared to step in the government should appoint a new regulator.
BANKS ARE THE PITS OF THE WORLD!
Richard Brown is head of savings at HSBC and has staggered many by publicly chastising the public for its failure to save. Yesterday he remarked that only a minority are doing this and said that the public is “burying its head in the sand”.
Perhaps he should consider the possibility that because the rates now offered to savers are virtually zero, people have decided to hold the cash at home. The only advantage of saving with a bank is now security against burglary, there is no monetary case for saving.
I have an account with Barclays. The interest rate has just been reduced to well below 1%. I realise that, having won the green light from the government, the Banks have to find cash to fund their ever increasing bonuses and salaries, but they shouldnt be surprised when I and millions of others decide that we would rather fritter our cash away than help to fund their largesse!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. The United Nations 2. One of the states of India
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; Where did Charles Haughey become prime minister? 2. Which Asian country did the USSR invade in 1979?