Saturday, July 30, 2005

Little Jamie

Easily William McGonagall's best, perhaps his only poem which isn't instantly recognisable as the master's work. Straight from his heart - and straight to mine. You'll just have to take my word for it that the wild colonial boy below was once (aged three) a little Jamie-alike.

Ither laddies may ha's finer claes, and may be better fed,
But nane o' them a'has sic a bonnie curly heid,
O sie a blythe blink in their e'e,
As my ain curly fair-hair'd laddie, Little Jamie.

When I gang oot tae tak' a walk wi' him, alang the Magdalen Green,
It mak's my heart feel lichtsome tae see him sae sharp and keen,
And he pu's the wee gowans, and gie's them to me,
My ain curly fair-hair'd laddie, Little Jamie.

The laddie is handsome and fair to be seen,
He has a bonnie cheerie mou', and taw blue e'en,
And he prattles like an auld grandfaither richt merrily;
He's the funniest little laddie that ever I did see,
My ain curly fair-hair'd Iaddie, Little Jamie.

Whene'er that he kens I am coming hame frae my wark,
He runs oot tae meet me as cheerful as the lark,
And he says, faither, I'm wanting just a'e bawbee,
My ain curly fair-hair'd laddie, Little Jamie.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Gloria In Excelsis Deo

They seem to have caught all four 21/7 bombers.

I see one is described as "Somali-born UK citizen Osman Hussein". I think John B and Jonathan had better brace themselves - could he have sought asylum I wonder ?

And the great Dalrymple has a post up which echoes the call of a teaching union to reintroduce selection into education.

Dalrymple :

While it is pointless, short of instituting a horrible dictatorship, even to think of equality of opportunity, it is certainly not pointless to think about giving everyone at least minimal opportunity, by - for example - teaching them properly to read and write, and by trying to educate them to the best of their ability. The latter means an open and wholehearted acceptance of intellectual elitism: that some people, for reasons that will never fully be understood, will be able to achieve more intellectually than others. Such elitism is not snobbery or social exclusivity, as some pretend: it is, in fact, a precondition of the supposedly ultimate purpose of equality of opportunity, social justice.

Peter Morris (himself a comprehensive teacher who failed the 11-plus) :

"We must face up to the reality that children who are academically gifted should be given the same level of encouragement as those children who are slow learners."

Most 16-year-olds today would not gain good grades in the old O-levels, which were replaced in the 1980s by GCSEs, he said.

Mr Morris, from Bishop Gore Comprehensive School, Swansea, said: "Perhaps even more importantly standards of discipline have dropped with the introduction of comprehensive education.

"If a teacher spends too much time with low achievers then the high achievers become disruptive. The converse too is true."

Law And Order

From BBC News :

A Devon farmer has been arrested for trying to move travellers who camped on his land.

About 20 moved onto land belonging to Phil Walters at Broadclyst, near Exeter, damaging a field of organic grass worth thousands of pounds.

Mr Walters was arrested on Thursday after moving a mechanical hay bale lifter onto the field but the travellers said they felt threatened.

More Guardian Vacancies

Now executive news editor Albert Scardino has departed the Guardian.

Scott has more.

I am confident that this latest coup will resound across the mountain ranges of blogdom like a Swiss shepherd yodelling down the Liebenstal valley.

Saved From Bush's Gulag

Another son of Dewsbury is arrested in Africa :

The 30-year-old activist from Dewsbury was reported to have slipped into Britain a fortnight before the attacks and flew out hours before the four bombers struck. Senior security sources in Islamabad told The Times that they had been asked by Britain within days of the first wave of attacks for help in tracking down Aswat. British police are checking claims that he was in phone contact with at least one of the bombers who died in the July 7 attack.

OK, so he might have gone on to become involved in the killing of 52 innocents. But at least we can all be proud that we saved him from a US prison.

A month before the July 7 attacks were carried out, British authorities balked at permitting U.S. authorities to arrest Haroon Rashid Aswat, sources familiar with the investigation said Thursday.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Major Links Update ....

Since the broadband box moved to one room and the steam-powered 56K box with all my mail stayed in another, my links have been woefully neglected.

So lets start with the big boys - Harry Hutton, who to my amazement links to me, and The Pooter of Geek - because they're both good, Clive Davis likewise, The Sharpener because they're all good bloggers (and they asked me to contribute ... they're still waiting), Once More ... (ditto).
Backword Dave and semi-skimmed - how did I leave them off ?

Then the evil bloggers of the Right :

Peter Glover, aka Wires From The Bunker - that rare thing, a Christian political blog.
Charlotte Wyatt, still obstinately refusing to die despite Portsmouth NHS' fears for their budgets.
John Bull, who reckons he's the most politically incorrect thing in the UK blogosphere. Has he read Barry Beelzebub ? John writes for the magazine Right Now, whose proprietor Taki is certainly a man of robust views.
A good one this - Curmudgeon Joy. One to watch.

The delightfully named Dead Cat Bounce, run by a hedge fund manager ('Sell privet ! Leylandii up 50 centimetres !')

Wardyblog - how can you not love a post which starts "David Aaronovitch is possibly the Most Reasonable Columnist In Britain. " Nice comparison between the Gilad Atzmon and Spearhead sites, too.

Occasional posts at the Captain's Table, run by the guy who started the Campaign for A Shorter Christmas.

Nothing like linking to a blog just as the writer packs up. Maybe NottsBlog will rise again. Fortunately Liam's World is still in existence, tales of golf and MySQL from Bracknell (hmm ... Bracknell - does he know any councillors ?)

A giant shout to Polygrafen, written entirely in Norwegian. Anyone know a Norwegian translation engine ?

And what about this Gothic blog, Road Of Entities 2, which links to me (I'm next to Green Fairy. Aiee !). Was it the Nico post ? The Cthulhu link ?

Another blogger who didn't get blown up last week, Room Twelve.

Intriguing one, this - What Is Liberalism ? I'm described as "British conservative" - reactionary ethical British socialism would be better, but there you go. But then I see spiked described as 'conservative', while the Virtual Stoa is - wait for this - "British conservative - God, democracy, anti-communism". Hmm ...

More intrigue - Progressive Viewpoint - "A journal of Classical Liberal and Neo-Conservative commentary". Longish, thoughtful posts.

Yet more intelligent writing at 80/20 Rule.

"The real problem here, and the frightening one, is how the police came to suspect that a Brazilian electrician, legally working and living in the UK, was a terrorist suspect. Or how they managed to get him confused with the real suspect.
In a intelligence led war, that is the crucial issue and the biggest failure."

Forget the legality (the guy had an expired visa and forged passport stamp) - he has a point.

Ther may be one or two more for later. Phew ! Now all I've got to do is get them on the sidebar and into my Bloglines feed.

Congo War

In my Bradford post I mentioned the very wonderful 'Congo War', 60's ska by Lord Brynner and the Sheiks. In those innocent days it was still permissible to smile at strange African names, and even (wryly) at slavery.

The actual conflict wasn't at all funny. Congo Mercenary by Mike Hoare will give you a flavour of the fighting, which as often as not consisted of massacres by one side or the other. The thing is, you can go back there now and it hasn't changed a bit.

It is sad but it exciting
When I read the newspaper
About what's happening
In the western province of Africa
Everybody fighting
To get their fortune and fame
But it is amusing
When I read all the bosses' names

Such as Kasavubu
And Antoine Gizenga
Fighting to gain power
Over Katenga
Colonel Mambutu
And Justin Bomboko
Rivalling Kosambo
To be boss over the Congo

My father made me to know
That my great great grandfather
Came from the Congo
In the Western province of Katenga
But I can't remember his name
Beacause it was so long
And if I call the name
I might happen to bite me tongue

All this Kasavubu
And Patrice Lumumba
Fighting to gain power
Over Katenga
Colonel Mambutu
And Justin Bamboko
Rivalling Kosambo
To be boss over the Congo

You can buy it here. There's even a sample.

More Criminal "Justice"

5 years for stabbing the babysitter ? Handed down in 1991 ? Out in 96 ? No - just go on 'Christmas home leave' in 1992 and don't come back.

Go to London and try to kill a policeman. 14 years for attempted murder ? Handed down in 1993 ? Let me see ... that makes it 2007 before he'll be out.

Oh no ... I forgot - you only serve half your sentence. The big number is just for the stupid public - just as 'life' means 10 years or so.

But he'd just been nicked for 'recklessly discharging a firearm' - surely he'd be inside ?

On bail - after all, it's not as if he had a criminal record or anything.

So he was free to break into cars. And stab to death the retired police officer who tried to stop him.

From the Daily Herald.

McNeill, who has the letters, "ACAB" (commonly known to stand for "all coppers are bastards") tattooed on one of his hands, was sentenced to 14 years at the Old Bailey in 1993 for the attempted murder of Martin Dudley, a London police constable, after stabbing him 10 times with a flick knife.
He was also imprisoned for five years in 1991 for assault to severe injury after stabbing a friend's babysitter.
Having gone on home leave from the then Dungavel prison in Strathaven at Christmas the following year, he had failed to return.
Another of his convictions was for attempting to gouge out an officer's eyes.
At the time of the attack on Ms Welden, McNeill was on bail while awaiting a court appearance on a charge of recklessly discharging a firearm, an offence for which he later received a sentence of four months.

A spokesman for the Crown Office said the decision to grant bail by the courts was dependent on the individual circumstances of the case.
Elizabeth Cutting, spokes-woman for SACRO, a voluntary organisation that works to cut offending, said: "In the circumstances where the defence applies for bail and the crown does not oppose that, then the judge has little option but to grant bail."

SACRO, of course, is not "a voluntary organisation that works to cut offending" but is, like its English homologue NACRO, a pro-criminal pressure group that works to cut punishment for criminals. Rather than being 'a voluntary organisation' its funding overwhelmingly comes from the state (although our old friend the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation also subs them).

The Glasgow Evening Times reports that the VICTIM'S family have been forced to move because of threats.

Let's remind ourselves again (and yes, I know Scotland has its own legal system) ... Home Office minister Hazel Blears :

"we are seeing much more cooperation from the courts in making sure decent people who are prepared to stand up and challenge this behaviour are properly protected."

That poor retired policewoman was well protected, wasn't she ? Never mind her family. Protected as well as Alwyn Jones. Or William Bird. Or Martin James.

And down in underclass country, the Magistrate is being nice to a poor single mum.

"I just wasn't prepared to send a pregnant woman to Holloway with the weekend looming"

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Horror ... The Horror ...

They forgot to mention the three-year sentence for mugging

Here and here. And here (particularly entertaining).

Laura: There was another paper on Breakfast news this morning.... can't remember which one... something like "His parents applied for asylum, this country granted that, provided work, education, and how does he repay us? By trying to blow us up."

Marcus: Doesn't take much for the fascist tendencies of the right-wing media to come out.

ROFL. I don't think the site's meant to be satirical. It's like the Modern Parents.

And here (suggesting that the Express is 'provoking' the bombers).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Demonising Single Mothers - Starter Pack

Read this by Jamie Whyte in the Times.

Why do parents instil in their children habits of hard work, self-restraint and consideration for others? Perhaps they believe these values to be intrinsically worthwhile. But they also have an economic interest in raising wellbehaved children. If your child grows up to be an unemployable slob, he will be an economic burden on the family.

Or, at least, he would have been in the past. Now, the economic burden is spread across all taxpayers. The same goes for teenage pregnancy. The families of the little twits who create the baby do not have another mouth to feed: taxpayers do.

The welfare policies pursued by successive governments in Britain and all around the Western world have the same effect. They transfer the economic cost of bad habits from the miscreants and their families to taxpayers. By reducing the cost of bad habits, these policies also reduce families’ incentive to resist them.

Then read this. Or this. Or this.

Kelly Ann Piggford claimed she left her three children at home and went on holiday to flee the pressure of being a full-time mother.

The 23-year-old, accused of getting a 15-year-old girl to care for the youngsters, said: "Everyone needs to let their hair down."

But she denied her kids Shauna, four, Stevie, two, and 11-month-old Michael had been abandoned as she lived it up on boozy nights in Turkish bars and clubs with friends.

Piggford, who was arrested as she returned to Britain yesterday, told Closer magazine: "My kids want for nothing. They have a wardrobe full of clothes and an attic full of toys".

Despite being on benefit, Piggford has spent just seven days in the past five weeks at home with her children.

Piggford added: "I took Shauna on the first holiday and left the youngest ones with Melvyn but I didn't want her to miss more nursery. People can judge me and think I am a terrible mum for what I did but no one knows what I went through.

"Before I left I did a £60 shop I left money for electricity and gas bills, and clean clothes. I have been selfish but I needed to get away. To be honest, I have hardly gone out since I got here."

Piggford stayed abroad while her children were removed by social services two weeks ago, claiming she did not have a credit card to alter her £219 return flight.

But she managed to enjoy the delights of the resort's Beach Club, Vegas and Seaside bars, downing free booze before getting up late for an English breakfast as she prepared for another night on the town.

Piggford, claims £186-a-week in benefits.

She admitted she only spoke to her children once while she was away, from a phone box.

More Cake Wanted

By Libby Purves, top Times witterer, who echoes my post of a day or two back.

Libby thinks that if only we HAD a culture to asssimilate to, Muslims might assimilate.

"... what Muslims want and respect is not so very unlike what the despised “Middle Britain” wants. Islam — like Christianity — sets great store on family, self-control, support of the weak and respect for tradition. And in many parts of Britain they do not see those things. In a YouGov poll at the weekend a third of Muslims agreed that “Western society is decadent and immoral, and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end”. Only 1 per cent approved of violence, but all the same the figure betrays a failure of integration in them, and a failure of proper pride in us."

All very true. But Libby, having chucked out the cultural bathwater, you can't put the 'respect agenda' baby back in.

"Ziauddin Sardar wrote yesterday that “the moral values that guide (Muslims) do have a place in Britain”. Up to a point: on homosexuality and women’s place we will always differ."

There we are. The bedrock of British values as seen by Libby - the unnegotiables. Uphill gardening lessons in school and children raised (when not aborted) by anyone except their mothers. After you to the barricades, ma'am. With every extra sentence she weakens her argument.

"But many Muslim values are eerily similar to the lost social consensus that made Britain the open, generous, free country that it basically is. Bombast is not the answer. But neither is shrugging self-disgust. Muslims and Middle Britain could fight some good fights, hand in hand."

The social consensus that made Britain a good place was created by 1600 years of Christiainity, 900 years of Parliament, 150 years of trade unionism and democracy. Plus a reasonably homogenous population. All except democracy are dead or dying. Dream on, Libby.

No Comment

I await the vigorous protests of Rasputin and the Church of England ...

"The three women faced threats from a yelling mob of 150 fundamentalists during a court appearance in West Java last week. It is claimed that the women were teaching lessons in reading and writing to mixed classes of Christian and Muslim children, taking them on trips to parks and swimming pools, and rewarding them with treats such as pencils for memorising Christian prayers and Bible verses. Many of the alleged offences took place at a special Happy Week earlier this year, although the lessons began in 2003.

A claim of “Christianisation” was made against the women by a chapter of the Indonesian Council of Muslim Clerics, which alleged that they enticed Muslim children to participate and that they had tried to convert the children to Christianity by giving them gifts.

The three, Rebekka Zakaria, Ratna Mala Bangun and Ety Pangesti, have been held in prison since May, charged under Indonesia’s criminal law with using lies, deception or enticement to change a child’s religion."


The BBC and Guardian seem to have discovered the concept of 'Londonistan' a little late. But the PM programme has been interviewing French and American commentators who say that London is a haven for Islamic extremists, many of whom are supported by State benefits.

There is no way that the British ruling elite could have foreseen this sinister trend. It has slipped under their radar, having received no publicity at all - other than the frequent headlines in Britain's most popular newspapers, the Sun and the Daily Mail.

However, this is all changing, according to the Guardian. Apparently we're going to extradite to France an Algerian accused of financing the 1995 bombings of the Paris tube network (bombings obviously carried out because of Iraq).

He's not all bad, though. You can listen to his "letters filled with poetry, descriptions of the Sahara, and discussions about English literature" on Radio Four FM tonight. Sweet.

"Letters from Belmarsh

Thu 28 Jul, 20:00 - 20:30 30 mins

An extraordinary glimpse behind the bars of Belmarsh Prison, through the correspondence between a Scottish grandmother and a Muslim man fighting extradition to France. Rachid Ramda, accused of the Paris Metro bombing, sends letters filled with poetry, descriptions of the Sahara, and discussions about English literature"

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Absolutely Fascinating

Via Joe90 in the Pub Philosopher's comments, a link to a review of race relations in Bradford, written in 2001 (months before the major rioting) by the chap who was Race Relations Officer from 1984-1990.

As Joe90 says "very informative and doesn't pull any punches. It's neither bigoted nor 'right-on'."

I shall probably expand this post when I've digested the document. Here's just a sad snippet, illustrating the British cultural collapse which was happening (not coincidentally) as the early immigrants arrived.

There are three other areas for concern. They cannot be definitely proven but there are growing indications that they are real. They are the desire for Muslim only areas, the change in attitude from immigrant to colonist and the apparent collapse of family control over their young men.

Not all Muslims in Bradford want Muslim only areas. Traders, retailers, restaurant owners want and need a broad-based custom profile. However, there is a drive amongst the mosque-attending older generation who would like sharia areas. There is also the minority of highly disaffected young men who want to control their patches. These two opposite ends of the spectrum desire the same thing albeit for different reasons and it is likely that they will support each other in order to attain their goals.

The second issue relates to the first. It is less easy to pinpoint but evidenced by ways of life. The first generation of immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh came here as "immigrants". They came expecting and wanting to integrate to some extent into the existing community. The collection of photographs taken of the first generation by the photographic studio in Manningham Lane illustrates this. The first week’s wages went on a Burtons suit and the men proudly displayed watches, pens and radios, mostly supplied by the photographer.

Immigrants come to a country expecting to change their lifestyles. They can and often do maintain key elements of their culture for generations, particularly their religion, but in many ways they adopt the dominant culture in such aspects as work, dress, leisure, housing and family composition. Colonists do not, they come into a country to displace the existing culture and establish their own. Colonists impose their language and customs. Once these facets are established, further incomers become immigrants accepting the society they enter.

From colonist to immigrant is the dominant pattern historically, however, this process seems to be thrown into reverse in Bradford. The Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities now expect to recreate the environment of their country of origin. They have settled in village patterns which reflect their origins and they constantly reinforce this by bringing in new members from the country of origin. This, in turn, leads to spatial and social immobility, communities which are internalised on themselves and are relatively self-sufficient in social and cultural terms although reliant in many ways on the economic and government resourced infrastructure.

This internalised focus does not, however, bode well for future economic development of the community. Reliance on an internal economy is very restrictive, particularly when the community is poor and has little disposable income.

I feel for those guys, proudly wearing their Burton suits (perhaps made from cloth they had helped to weave in the Bradford mills) and watches, holding pens and radios. Like the Windrush generation, they came to partake in British culture - just as that the elite of that culture, aided by a host of suburban revolutionaries (mea maxima culpa) decided that British culture was essentially worthless, and embarked on the revolution which got us where we are today.

Given that, can you blame the elders for seeking to create the certainties of Mirpuri village life in Girlington or Great Horton ? What else is there ?

Not surprisingly, most young British-born Asians and West Indians would take no interest in the English culture being destroyed in front of them. What use is a culture despised by its own people ? There's an interesting parallel between the lives of young Afro-Caribbean and Muslim men (who don't get on in Bradford if shootings are anything to go by) - where the competing extremes are the gangsta lifestyle or the muzzein's call (though the parallel's not exact - the Christian Church is still strong in the respectable Afro-Caribbean community, as with the African).

You can see the loss of respect for British culture in the names of Jamaican or Trinidadian musicians. Back in the 1950s and 60s they took aristocratic names like Sir Lord Comic, Duke Reid, Sir Coxsone Dodd, Lord Brynner (whose 'Congo War' is unPC and very funny). By the 1970s the names were gangsters or spaghetti Western stars - Dennis Alcapone, Dillinger, Trinity, Clint Eastwood . Now the names are interchangeable with US rappers.