By Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch
March 3rd, 2014 Jill Posted in Political Correctness Comments Off
By Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch
By Leo McKinstry, Mailonline
The higher the flood waters rise, the lower the reputation of the Environment Agency sinks. The very organisation that should be protecting the public is partly responsible for the deepening crisis.
Like all too many quangos in modern Britain, it is unable to fulfil its essential duties because it is drowning in wasteful bureaucracy and fashionable dogma.
[...] This is a body that squandered £2.4 million last year on public relations activities but at the same time refused to spend £1.7 million on dredging work that might have prevented the terrible flooding that has engulfed the Somerset Levels.
The agency also managed to find £30,000 to sponsor a Gay Pride festival in Birmingham in 2009, even though the West Midlands had suffered serious flooding over the previous 18 months.
Justifying the decision, a spokeswoman declared that ‘the Environment Agency prides itself on being an equal opportunities employer and it has been named in the top ten employers in Britain for bisexual, lesbian, gay and transgender people’.
In the mindset of the agency chiefs, propaganda and gesture politics appear to be more important that basic public protection.
[...] The politically-correct spirit of the agency is embodied in its chairman, Lord Smith of Finsbury. A former Labour Cabinet Minister and Islington MP, Smith has long been a green radical, serving for 15 years as President of the Socialist Environment & Resources Association, a Left-wing pressure group.
[...] In addition to Lord Smith, who is on a salary of £97,365-a-year for a three-day week, the agency has 14 executives on salaries of more than £100,000, while it also has 6,600 vehicles, the vast majority of them company cars — one vehicle for every two employees.
The obsession with diversity — such a feature of today’s public sector — also runs through the organisation.
‘We believe that diversity is as important in the workplace as it is in the environment,’ declares the agency, which has developed ‘a programme of ‘“unconscious bias” awareness training’ for staff, as well as the establishment of ‘an Islamic fellowship’ to ‘complement our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and women’s networks’.
AM Comment: Readers may know that Lord Smith of Finsbury, former Labour Cabinet Minister, was the first MP to 'come out' as gay in1984 and has used his position to promote gay rights ever since, being instrumental in 'persuading' the then Prime Minister Tony Blair to lower the age of homosexual consent and repeal Section 28. Readers may also remember the spiteful harrassment by the Advertising Standards Agency, of which Lord Smith is Chairman, of blogger Cranmer for hosting a Coalition for Marriage ad, neatly summarised here. We wonder how many of the other quangos in which Lord Smith has an interest are putting taxpayers' money to such improper use.
by Dustin Siggins, LifeSite News
Coca-Cola has launched a series of TV ads in four countries portraying same-sex relationships as a counterweight to displays of "hatred.”
by John Bingham, Telegraph
An obsession with being “colour blind” left social workers and police in Rochdale unable to see glaring evidence of sexual grooming under their noses, official inquiry finds
A “dangerous” inability to recognise the importance of race meant social workers and police missed glaring warning signs about a gang of Pakistani men grooming white girls for sex in Rochdale, an official inquiry has concluded.
An obsession with being “colour blind” meant they failed even to notice the pattern of abuse going on under their noses, it found.
Although they carefully documented a spate of young white girls from troubled backgrounds in relationships with older men from a community they rarely otherwise mixed with, no one questioned what was going on, it said.
Had they asked why so many vulnerable white girls were striking up "friendships" with older "Asian" men they would have been able to stop the abuse much earlier, a serious case review finds.
The report focusing on six of the victims at the centre of one of the biggest child protection scandals of recent times concludes that a large part of the abuse could have been predicted and prevented if basic questions had been asked.
by Dominic Lawson, Mailonline
[...] The organisation (which this year has finally been split up and stripped of its banking regulation role) had become obsessed with the fashionable issue of ‘diversity’.
This did not mean that its staff were interested in differences of opinions on financial regulation: the term, in its bureaucratic meaning, refers only to sexual and ethnic identity. It was New Labour, under Gordon Brown’s chancellorship, which had foolishly moved banking regulation from the Bank of England to the FSA: as if in gratitude the FSA slavishly endorsed the so-called ‘equalities agenda’ which that government regarded as its social mission.
So the FSA began sending out voluminous questionnaires to banks, demanding to know about the sexual identities of their employees, and what they were doing to ensure that an appropriate proportion of their staff could be regarded as members of the ‘LGBT community’ — that is lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, for those unfamiliar with the terminology.
It was determined to set an example itself: its most recent (and exhaustive) ‘annual diversity report’ exults that ‘on sexual orientation, we rose to 109th out of the 376 employers across Britain who entered Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index. We were at 138th place the previous year and are pleased to have been recognised for the improvements we continue to make for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff.’
In this context, it is easy to imagine that the FSA would see the appointment of the Rev Paul Flowers as a wonderful example to set to the insufficiently socially aware financial services industry: the first openly gay chairman of a significant British bank.
The chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Tyrie, expressed incredulity when Flowers, appearing before him a few weeks ago, seemed to have no clue about the scale of the assets for which he had fiduciary responsibility.
Perhaps, instead of apologising, Flowers should have declared that although he had been wrong to say they had amounted to around £3 billion — approximately £44 billion below the true figure — he could answer any question Tyrie might like to put about the Co-op Bank’s stellar performance in responding to the FSA’s demand for greater ‘diversity’. On second thoughts, it was better that he didn’t.
The austere and forensic Tyrie is one of those old-fashioned types who thinks that banks should be run by those best qualified to do so, regardless of how many ‘equalities’ boxes might be ticked by the directors who have fouled things up enough to require interrogation by his committee.
In other forums, however, Flowers’s sexuality does seem to have afforded him some protection. I wonder if the Left-of-Centre press (not to mention the Reverend’s former colleagues in the Labour Party-affiliated Co-operative movement) would have been be so reluctant to criticise him if it had been female teenage prostitutes he had been cavorting with; or if it had been pornographic pictures of women that he had been ogling on his official laptop.
But as a member of the ‘LGBT community’, Flowers can somehow be seen as part of an oppressed minority, whom it would be politically incorrect to denounce as a sexual predator.
By Melanie Phillips, Spectator
Yet again, one particular question has formed on lips up and down the land. How in heaven’s name could so many people have failed to spot such a spectacular abuse of a public position?
We heard it first in the Jimmy Savile scandal, when the posthumous discovery of half a century of predation left people incredulous that so many had known about but done nothing to stop his serial depravities. Now a similar question needs to be asked about the Revd Paul Flowers, the disgraced Methodist minister and former chairman of the Co-op Bank who was filmed apparently handing over £300 to buy a stash of cocaine and crystal meth and also boasted of using ketamine, cannabis and a club drug, GHB.
The real scandal, though, is not just that he was a staggeringly incompetent bank chief who knew next to nothing about banking and presided over a bank that somehow fell into a £1.5 billion black hole. It is not even his predilection for cocaine, crystal meth and the occasional ‘two-day, drug-fuelled gay orgy’ (to use his words). The scandal is that no one spotted that he was spectacularly unsuited to the jobs he was given — or if they did, they chose to do nothing about it. Yet again, a public figure with his ethics pinned to his sleeve somehow existed beyond proper scrutiny.
In the frame alongside the deeply un-fragrant Flowers are various institutions which now have questions to answer.
Listen to the excellent interview with Melanie Phillips and Jesse Norman on the above link
November 19th, 2013 Jill Posted in Political Correctness Comments Off
by Gerald Warner, The Scotsman
THE War of Comrade Miliband generated much sound and fury, but all the belligerents and observers ignored its most salient aspect – that this imagined inquest on a supposedly dead creed was being conducted in the context of a society now dominated by Marxism.
The Party Line is currently termed Political Correctness, but the outcome is the same: the reconfiguration of language to police thought and impose an ideology, the harassing of religion, the destruction of marriage and the family, and the coercive remodelling of culture to accommodate a fanatical aberration that defies human nature itself.
Political correctness is cultural Marxism. The term was coined by Anton Semyonovich Makarenko, Lenin’s education guru and favourite wordsmith (he also invented the phrase “dictatorship of the proletariat”). From the beginning, Marxists recognised there was a lot more involved in imposing totalitarian social control than nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange. In Hungary in 1919, during the short-lived but murderous Communist dictatorship of Bela Kun, his deputy “commissar for culture”, Georg Lukacs, introduced a programme of “cultural terrorism” under which he imposed pornographic sex education on schoolchildren, promoting promiscuity, denouncing the family and encouraging pupils to mock their parents and religion. The question Lukacs posed was: “Who will save us from Western Civilisation?”
Four years later, Lukacs was one of the founders of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, from which emerged the obscenity known today as Frankfurt School Marxism, dedicated to the destruction of civilisation. Max Horkheimer, its sometime director, followed up Lukacs’ experiment by grafting Freudianism onto Marxism. In this he was followed by Herbert Marcuse, an admirer of the Marquis de Sade, who expressed his belief in “polymorphous perversity”. This was complemented by the cultural Marxism of Gramsci and other adherents such as Adorno. Whether or not the Frankfurt Marxists had become sceptical of the command economy as an economic instrument, their main target was “the culture”.
by Julian Mann, Heresy Corner
British secondary schools are now much tougher places for Christian teenagers than they were when I was at school in the 1970s.
Political correctness was an incipient ideology in that decade but it was not being enforced. Now it is and teenage disciples of Jesus Christ who articulate certain Bible-based ethical views, for example against abortion and same-sex marriage, face flak not only from their peers but also from their school authorities when, as is inevitable, such opinions generate complaints.
Ironically, the ideological atmosphere in British state schools is such that you are almost more likely to be abused as 'gay' for being an orthodox Christian than for being a homosexual.
Anyone conversant with teenage parlance knows that 'gay' is the new 'naff'. No amount of Stonewall enforcement is going to stop teenagers from using the term about anything from an uncharismatic police horse to a peer's new quiff. It is in widespread usage in schools and teachers cannot monitor every conversation. But any student concerned about their school record will be deterred by an accusation of homophobic bullying, so will think twice about using the term perjoratively against a peer who comes out as a homosexual.
By Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch
One thing you can count on with far too many of our politicians: they will keep coming up with really idiotic ideas. They would likely never try such foolishness out in the home, or the workplace, but they seem to think the political world is open slather for such moonbattery.
One of the more idiotic ideas which our social engineers in the Labor Party have come up with is a quota system for homosexuals in Parliament. I kid you not. At least that is what Bill Shorten wants to do if he gets his way. As one news report puts it:
“Labor leadership candidate Bill Shorten wants to introduce quotas to boost the number of gay and lesbian politicians in Parliament. Mr Shorten is continuing his pitch to the party membership, sending out a manifesto that calls for the introduction of quotas for politicians representing minority groups.”
So just how dumb is this idea? Well let me count the ways. First of all, quotas are never a good idea. Whether used for women, Blacks, or now homosexuals, it is a lousy idea and does not work. It is of course part of affirmative action programs which are meant to help various minority groups, but never actually do.
Black American economist Thomas Sowell has spent much of his life examining affirmative action programs and quotas. Indeed, he has written dozens of books on these and related topics. Simply mastering his important 2004 volume, Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study would do us a great deal of good.
He finds that not only do they not produce what they were meant to, but they are often counter-productive. As he wrote elsewhere, “At the heart of the affirmative action approach is the notion that statistical disparities show discrimination. No dogma has taken a deeper hold with less evidence — or in the face of more massive evidence to the contrary.”
All quotas do is bring in people to positions they may not at all be qualified for, forcing out others, and filling positions not on merit but on numerical quotas. That is not how we would run a business, and it is not how we should fill political offices. Those who are fully qualified and those whom the electorate want in office should be there, not those who meet some arbitrary quota system.
By Will Stroude, Pink News
Adoptions by gay and lesbian couples in York are on the rise, new figures have revealed.
Data from York City Council shows that 12.5% of all York’s adoption applications in 2013 have been from LGBT couples or individuals, with all applications proving successful. (Ed: emphasis ours – see note below)
The figure is up from 9% in 2012, while in 2009 there were no such adoptions by LGBT couples or individuals.
York City Council refused to reveal the number of applications made, saying that doing so could lead to families’ anonymity being infringed.
Editor's note: This is in marked contrast to the hoops through which married couples have had to jump in order to adopt for many decades, and the rejections on the most spurious of grounds.
by Denis Prager, National Review Online
I cannot count the number of times I heard liberal professors and liberal writers quote the phrase: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
The phrase is brilliant. There is actually no threat to America of fascism coming from the right. The essence of the American Right, after all, is less government; and fascism, by definition, demands ever larger government.
Therefore, if there is a real fascist threat to America, it comes from the left, whose appetite for state power is essentially unlimited. But because the Left has so long dominated American intellectual, academic, artistic, and media life, it has succeeded in implanting fear of the Right.
I have never written that there is a threat of fascism in America. I always considered the idea overwrought. But now I believe there really is such a threat — and it will come draped not in an American flag, but in the name of tolerance and health.
[...] Take tolerance.
Last week, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that an event photographer’s refusal on religious grounds to shoot the commitment ceremony of a same-sex couple amounted to illegal discrimination.
The photographer had never objected to photographing gays. She did not, however, wish to be part of a ceremony that she religiously objected to. In America today, thanks to myriad laws and progressive justices, one can be threatened with jail time for refusing to participate in an event he or she has religious objections to.
This is what happened to a florist in Washington State who had always sold flowers to gay customers, but refused to be the florist for a gay wedding: sued and fined.
This is what happened to a baker in Oregon who had always sold his goods to gays, but refused to provide his products to a gay wedding: sued and fined.
This is what happened in Massachusetts, Illinois, and elsewhere to Catholic Charities, historically the largest adoption agency in America. Their placing children with married (man-woman) couples, rather than with same-sex couples, was deemed intolerant and a violation of the law. In those and other states, Catholic Charities has left adoption work.
In the name of tolerance — fighting sexual harassment — five- and six-year-old boys all over the country are brought to the police for innocently touching a girl.
In the name of tolerance — girls’ high school teams in California and elsewhere must now accept male players who feel female.
In the name of tolerance – businesses cannot fire a man who one day shows up on the sales floor dressed as a woman.
For the Left, tolerance does not mean tolerance. It means first, acceptance. And second, celebration. That is totalitarianism: You not only have to live with what you may differ with, dear citizen, you have to celebrate it or pay a steep price.
by Stella Morabito, MercatorNet
Victory in the war of ideas often hinges more on the conditions of battle than on the quality of arguments. You know this instinctively if you’ve ever been shouted down, smeared, or ignored when you were simply trying to state a point. Truly civil public discourse becomes much harder when our dialogue is hijacked by thought policing—euphemistically referred to as “political correctness,” or PC.
Political correctness has cultivated an illusion of support for laws that undermine fundamental institutions of society, including marriage and family. The only way to dispel this illusion, and to reverse the damage these laws will do, is to revive true civil discourse. To do this, we must motivate ourselves and others to overcome the reticence to speak our minds. It is a process that has to begin one-on-one and face-to-face. As people feel less alone in their views, they will be more inclined to speak out.
Political correctness feeds on the fear of speaking views that diverge from PC “truth.” Although the primary forces behind political correctness are those who develop and convey ideas—college professors and administrators, Hollywood producers and directors, celebrities, mainstream news anchors, and so on—we all perpetuate political correctness when we succumb to the fear of contradicting PC “truth.”
By John Bingham, Telegraph
Michael Gove’s drive to speed up the adoption process has borne fruit with a sharp rise in the number of children given permanent homes, official figures show.
But while the number of toddlers and young children placed with stable and secure families has hit a 36-year high, the number of babies being adopted remains stubbornly low.
It suggests that red tape and delays in the court process are still taking their toll.
And fewer older children – who are considered harder to place as they often have more complex problems – were adopted last year than at any point since records began.
Overall the number of children adopted in England and Wales has jumped by 10 per cent in a single year to 5,205 in 2012, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.
More than six out of 10 of them – or 3,161 children – were between the ages of one and four, a proportion which has more than doubled since the late 1990s.
by Ann Widdecome, Daily Express
AT last measures will be taken to block online pornography, the economy is looking up, welfare scroungers are finally getting their comeuppance, schools are about to teach a proper history curriculum and Chris Grayling is doing some unsung work on making prisons a bit more purposeful.
[...] …there is something else Conservatives always promise and which now needs to be made a reality: a smaller, less intervention-prone State.
So let us begin with a slap on the wrist for Maria Miller who thinks it her job to act as arbiter of sexism.
This interfering busybody grandstands about a men-only golf club but says nothing about women-only clubs such as the WI and the University Women’s Club.
She bellyaches at the BBC for not taking John Inverdale sufficiently to task as if the poor man has suffered nothing for his comment about a tennis player’s looks.
Tell me, Maria, do you think David Cameron’s candidates’ A-list is sexist? If so will you please write to him in the same terms that you wrote to the BBC?
By John Bingham, Telegraph
It is a phrase used for centuries by couples pledging to be faithful to each other.
But as Gary and Louise Lidington, from London, made final preparations for their wedding last weekend, they received an urgent telephone call from council registrars warning that they could not legally say the words “in sickness and in health”.
Officials in Tower Hamlets, east London, said that the phrase, which is used around the world, was too “religious” for a civil ceremony.
The couple, were forced to rewrite their vows, which they chose because of their traditional ring, just hours before the wedding, which took place on Saturday.
The phrase “to have and to hold” was also deemed too Christian, because of its echoes of the marriage service in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
But, after discussion, the council ruled that to it would be acceptable to say “to hold and to have”.
And they were allowed to replace “in sickness and in health” with “in sickness and when we are well”.
By Damian Thompson, Telegraph
British schools are helping to boost Islamism with politically correct lessons that tell black pupils that slavery was entirely the fault of English and Americans, and omit the long and vicious history of Arab slave trading, according to an influential Church of England bishop.
In an exclusive interview for our Telegram podcast, which goes live later today, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali – a Pakistani-born scholar who resigned as Bishop of Rochester in 2009 in order to train Christians facing persecution – says "the Churches have generally capitulated to secular culture and therefore cannot bring a distinctive voice to public debate".
They have neglected human relations, especially the family, in favour of "welfarism" that teaches that the state should provide all the goods that citizens need. All this adds up to the slow death of people's sense of themselves as spiritual beings – and this affects "even people who go to church".
Bishop Nazir-Ali, a theological conservative who opposes the ordination of actively gay clergy, is now president of Oxtrad, which "prepares Christians for ministry in situations where the Church is under pressure and in danger of persecution". He claims that, in addition to ignoring the current persecution of Christians in the Islamic world, secular Britain brushes aside historical evidence of Muslim aggression.
"If you ignore what really happened to give a lopsided view of history in the interests of political correctness, you can't blame [young] people if they move to something else that has a less critical view of itself," he says. Christianity appears so apologetic that students naturally gravitate towards self-confident Islam. Meanwhile, "the Churches' engagement with the secular world becomes capitulation to it".
By Claire Carter, Telegraph
Religious leaders and campaigners said the rejection of religious discrimination claims by three Christians will have a ‘chilling effect’ on people’s right to their beliefs and raised concerns about the future persecution of Christians.
Campaigners warned the decision by the European Court of Human Rights could see more cases where Christians lose their jobs because of their religion, following David Cameron’s gay marriage bill.
The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali said he thought the decision by the court not to take the cases of Lillian Ladele, Shirley Chaplin and Gary McFarlane further, raised fears of a “systemic exclusion of people” from public roles because of their beliefs.
Marriage registrar Miss Ladele was disciplined by Islington council for refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies when they were legalised in 2004, and Mrs Chaplin, a former nurse, was transferred to desk duties after she refused to take off a crucifix. Mr McFarlane was dismissed as a relationship counsellor at charity Relate after he said he was prepared to counsel same sex couples but not to discuss sexual issues.
All had their claims of religious discrimination rejected by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg earlier this year and judges have now rejected their request to take their appeal to the Grand Chamber of the Court.
The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester, said: “I think the real worry is that this could mean the systemic exclusion of people from certain roles in public life, simply because they hold their beliefs.”
He said he felt an “opportunity has been missed” in the case to recognise people who did not want to carry out certain tasks because of their conscience, or beliefs, and added: “My experience in other countries is that exclusion and discrimination leads to persecution.”
The beheading of a British soldier in his own country has long been threatened by some of our home-grown Islamists, but such a barbaric act occurring on the streets of London has been quite literally incredible, unimaginable, inconceivable. Yes, there are gruesome 'religious' decapitations all over YouTube, but that sort of bloody horror is peculiar to the shady fiefdoms of Mogadishu, Chechnya or the Sudan. It just doesn't happen in England. Not to a 20-year-old young man wearing a 'Help for Heroes' charity T-shirt, walking peacefully in the warm London sunlight of the merry month of May.
There appears to be some unfortunate attempt at media censorship going on, and this will help no-one: indeed, it is more likely to increase suspicion over motives and inflame anger. One of the killers, speaking in a recognisable saarf-Laandan accent, was recorded on video. He said:
"We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. I apologise that women have had to witness this today, but in our land our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don't care about you."
The Muslim Council of Britain rushed out a swift statement, washing its hands of the murder, repudiating utterly any link with Islam: "A barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly," they said.
May 18th, 2013 Jill Posted in Political Correctness Comments Off
by Joseph Backholm, Family Policy Institute of Washington