Thursday, May 29, 2008

Church of England showing traces of Christianity shock

From last week's editorial in the Church of England newspaper :

If recent reports of trends in religious observance prove to be correct, then in some 30 years the mosque will be able to claim that, religiously speaking, the UK is an Islamic nation, and therefore needs a share in any religious establishment to reflect this. The progress of conservative Islam in the UK has been amazing, and it has come at a time of prolonged decline in church attendance that seems likely to continue.

This progress has been enthusiastically assisted by this government in particular with its hard-line multi-cultural dogma and willingness to concede to virtually every demand made by Muslims.

At all levels of national life Islam has gained state funding, protection from any criticism, and the insertion of advisors and experts in government departs national and local. A Muslim Home Office adviser, for example, was responsible for Baroness Scotland’s aborting of the legislation against honour killings, arguing that informal methods would be better. In the police we hear of girls under police protection having the addresses of their safe houses disclosed to their parents by Muslim officers who think they are doing their religious duty.

While men-only gentlemen’s clubs are now being dubbed unlawful, we hear of municipal swimming baths encouraging ‘Muslim women only’ sessions and in Dewsbury Hospitals staff waste time by turning beds to face Mecca five times a day — a Monty Pythonesque scenario of lunacy, but astonishingly true. Prisons are replete with imams who are keen to inculcate conservative Islam in any inmates who are deemed to be culturally ‘Muslim’: the Prison service in effect treats such prisoners as a cultural block to be preached to by imams at will. Would the Prison service send all those with ‘C of E’ on their papers to confirmation classes with the chaplain?! We could go on.

The point is that Islam is being institutionalised, incarnated, into national structures amazingly fast, at the same time as demography is showing very high birthrates. Charles Taylor’s new and classic work on the Secular Age charts the rise of the secular mindset and what he calls the ‘excarnation’ of Christianity as it is levered out of state policy and structures. Christianity is now regarded as bad news, the liberal elite’s attack developed in the 1960s took root in the educationalist empire, and to some extent even in areas of the church.

Today the Christian story is fading from public imagination, while Islam grows apace.

I've been saying for ages that nature abhors a spiritual or cultural vacuum.

The decline of Christian values is destroying Britishness and has created a "moral vacuum" which radical Islam is filling, one of the Church of England's leading bishops has warned. The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, claimed the "social and sexual" revolution of the 1960s had led to a steep decline in the influence of Christianity over society which church leaders had failed to resist. He said that in its place, Britain had become gripped by the doctrine of "endless self-indulgence" which had led to the destruction of family life, rising levels of drug abuse and drunkenness and mindless violence on the streets.

The bishop warns that the modern politicians' catchphrases of respect and tolerance will not be strong enough to prevent this collapse of traditional virtues, and said radical Islam is now moving in to fill the void created by the decline of Christianity.

His claims, in an article published in the new political magazine Standpoint, come just days after he accused the Church of England of failing in its duty to convert British Muslims to Christianity.

Dr Nazir-Ali claims in the new article that Britain, previously a "rabble of mutually hostile tribes", would never have become a global empire without the arrival of Christianity. But he said the Church's influence began to wane during the 1960s, and quotes an academic who blames the loss of "faith and piety among women" for the steep decline in Christian worship. He says Marxist students encouraged a "social and sexual revolution" to which liberal theologians and Church leaders "all but capitulated". "It is this situation that has created the moral and spiritual vacuum in which we now find ourselves. While the Christian consensus was dissolved, nothing else, except perhaps endless self-indulgence, was put in its place."

Yup. The cultural revolution did a great job on the old culture, but forgot to replace it with a new one.

The bishop, who faced death threats earlier this year when he said some parts of Britain had become "no-go areas" for non-Muslims, said Marxism has been exposed as a nonsense but went on: "We are now confronted by another equally serious ideology, that of radical Islamism, which also claims to be comprehensive in scope." Asking what weapons are available to fight this new "ideological battle", the bishop said the values trumpeted by modern politicians such as "respect, tolerance and good behaviour" are "hardly adequate for the task before us".

You've got it. No-one's going to the barricades for "tolerance".

"The consequences of the loss of this discourse are there for all to see: the destruction of the family because of the alleged parity of different forms of life together; the loss of a father figure, especially for boys, because the role of fathers is deemed otiose; the abuse of substances (including alcohol); the loss of respect for the human person leading to horrendous and mindless attacks on people."

The bishop added that Christian hospitality has been replaced by the "newfangled and insecurely founded" doctrine of multiculturalism, which has led to immigrants creating "segregated communities and parallel lives".

He said many values respected by society, such as the dignity of human life, equality and freedom, are based on Christian ones. But he warned that without their Christian backbone they cannot exist for ever, and that new belief systems may be based on different values.

"Radical Islamism, for example, will emphasise the solidarity of the umma (worldwide community of the Muslim faithful) against the freedom of the individual. Instead of the Christian virtues of humility, service and sacrifice, there may be honour, piety and the importance of 'saving face'."

In an implicit criticism of the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent claim that the adoption of some parts of Islamic law is unavoidable, Dr Nazir-Ali said: "Recognising its jurisdiction in terms of public law is fraught with difficulties precisely because it arises from a different set of assumptions from the tradition of law here." He said that the Church of England must retain its importance in public life even if it does not remain privileged as the established church.

"It is necessary to understand where we have come from, to guide us to where we are going, and to bring us back when we wander too far from the path of national destiny."
It's funny how immigrants like the good Bishop, his colleague John Sentamu and Joel Edwards seem to have a better handle on what's happening than native Churchmen.

Parliament of Whores

Plans to eliminate Eurosceptics as an organised opposition within the European Parliament are expected to be agreed by a majority of MEPs this summer. They will vote to change the rules governing the political groupings formed by MEPs, which can be eligible for lavish funding. Current rules allow 20 MEPs from a fifth of the EU's member states to form a grouping, giving them a say in the parliament's administration and power structure. Under the changes, the threshold would become 30 MEPs from one quarter of the EU's member states.

Richard Corbett, a British Labour MEP, is leading the campaign to cut the number of groups in the Parliament next year.

The move would dissolve the pan-European Eurosceptic "Independence and Democracy" grouping, which includes the UK Independence Party. The result would be that the largest and pro-EU groups would tighten their grip on the parliament's political agenda. "It would prevent single-issue politicians from being given undue support from the public purse," said Mr Corbett. His proposals would also give the president of the parliament sweeping powers to approve or reject parliamentary questions.

Nigel Farage, the leader of the UKIP, said that the move went hand in hand with the denial of popular votes on the new EU Treaty. "Welcome to your future. This shows an EU mindset that is arrogant, anti-democratic and frankly scary," he said.

The Liberal Democrats, Greens, the far Left, Eurosceptics and other groupings have vowed to oppose the plans during a vote scheduled for July 9. But the proposals are expected to be passed with the backing of the parliament's centre-Left and Right groupings, which account for 64 per cent of MEPs, including British Conservative and Labour members.

The taxpayer money saved from the clutches of the Eurosceptics will then be available to fund more stuff like this :

To think our young men died in the hundreds of thousands for these people. I think a quote from A.G. MacDonnell's "England Their England" is in order. Our hero is in a country pub in the late Twenties :

"That war didn't do any of us any any good" said Mr Stillaway. "Nothing's been the same since."
"Yes, and what did we gain by it ?" asked Mr Young.
"Nothing" said Mr Davis.

Donald made a halting remark about Belgium and national honour and treaties, which the semicircle listened to attentively. Then Mr Stillaway, the impartial voter, replied :
"But can you tell me,sir, what national honour does for me ? I've worked on the land all my life, and the least I've ever earned is four-and-six a week and the most is twenty-nine shillings. It isn't a fortune, either of them. In 1914 a man comes down to the green here, and he makes a speech about just that national honour that you've been talking about. Mind you,sir, in 1914 the nation and all its honour was giving me twenty-two shillings a week and I was working seventy-eight hours a week for it. But I had to give three sons and eight grandsons to fight for the national honour. And three were killed and two lost legs. And what good did that do to them or to me or Mr Davis here or Mr Darley ? Cost of living is higher. Beer is more expensive and so is tobacco. And my grandsons, the ones that weren't killed, can't get work. And all that for what you call national honour."

"That's right." "Mr Stillaway's hit it." "That's as true as I'm sitting here." came as muttered applause.

Ancient Darley raised his venerable head once more.

"We fought on the wrong side," he whispered strongly. "Those Frenchies were never any use to us. My father saw the beacons on the downs of Sussex when Boney was on the other side. The Germans never did us any harm. It's all they Frenchies."

"Ah ! Thats right," echoed every antique voice in the parlour.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Muslims Fear Backlash Part 39287

Following the latest comedy caper of the New Wave of British Jihad (© Laban Tall 2007), the BBC have terrible news :

Police have appealed to ethnic communities to work together following a bomb blast in Exeter. The Devon Racial Equality Council has said some local Muslims have reported instances of racial harassment.

Police said while there was no specific evidence of an increase in actual incidents, they were aware of emerging tensions in local communities.
Can't say the BBC don't get the big stories. The good news is that the police don't think there was any connection between the explosion and 'any one religion'.

Ch Supt Jim Webster said some local communities were "naturally concerned" and felt they were "under the spotlight. Additional patrols have been put on the streets of Plymouth to reassure local residents.

Mr Webster, who has been meeting MPs, councillors and community leaders to discuss the situation, said the investigation into the Exeter explosion in Exeter would be a "long inquiry". He added: "Terrorism isn't the product of any one religion or community - it is a crime."

It sure is a crime, Super. Although in this case not a very serious one. Your crimes against truth may be more serious for your nation than a poorly assembled weedkiller cocktail could ever be. Although most Muslims aren't terrorist (this chap - another slightly loopy convert - seems to have been shopped by a Muslim), there can be no doubt that in the UK, the vast majority of terrorist activity is alas motivated by the name of Islam. As the latest Europol terror survey (pdf - and is an EU publication) says :

The UK reported a 30 percent increase in arrested suspects. Although no affiliation could be assigned, UK authorities estimate that, out of the 203 persons arrested in 2007, the vast majority were in relation to Islamist terrorism.

(The EU police survey divides terrorists into the following categories - Islamist/separatist/Left Wing/Right Wing/Single Issue (e.g. animal rights). In terms of arrests, the Basque separatists, with 500+ arrests, keep the police busiest, although this is concentrated in just two countries - France and Spain. The Brit police don't categorise, but if we assume 75% as "the vast majority", the UK turns out to be the primary focus of Islamist terror in Europe, as measured by arrests.)

Doubtless our heroic police politico is following guidance from above. Our rulers are afraid. They are afraid. Fear is a very poor foundation for negotiation or action - especially in a situation where your strength is failing and your opponent's strength is increasing. If they cannot look the truth in the face now, for fear of 'the community', demographically heavy with fighting-age males, what will they not overlook when that community has doubled in size, only a few years from now ?

In the shorter term, the good news is that the NWOBJ seems to be keeping up the comedy competence of its illustrious predecessors :

A prisoner has pleaded guilty to making threats to blow up one of Europe's largest shopping centres with three limousines packed with explosives. Saeed Ghafoor, 33, of Southampton, made the threat to a prison officer while at HMP Haverigg in Cumbria on 7 February.

The former English teacher appeared via video-link at the Old Bailey charged with threatening to cause criminal damage at Bluewater in Kent. The court was told Ghafoor thought the shopping centre was in Exeter.

(For other BBC backlash fears, see here and here.)

Redditch ...

I was visiting the sick yesterday, and revisiting old haunts- up the M5 to Bromsgrove and along the old main road (now replaced by a hideous dual carriageway) through Finstall to Redditch, over the canal at Tardebigge. The Alexandra Hospital is where my mother was subject to unpleasant nursing care - not by all her nurses but a significant minority of the night shift - in her final months.

Parking's now £2.50 a throw - bad news if you're a pensioner visiting twice a day. It was about 80p five years back. The English NHS may not be able to afford drugs, but there's a new automated ticketing and barrier system for parking.

"Of course we don't pay at home" said my Welsh aunts.

On the way back I called in at Redditch's giant B&Q, built on the former site of a battery factory. There was a new construction on the roundabout. I wonder where the idea of naming the road after the founder of Pakistan came from ?

"Looks like a mosque" thought I. And it is. I don't know whether the application for lottery funding was successful, but it still needs a bit of money to make it look like this :

Well blow me down. The old place has certainly changed a lot since the early 60s. Prior to the building of the New Town it was a little market town, dominated by its church, and famed for its carnival - an annual childhood treat.

Which brings me, by a roundabout route, to this :

Prison officers at one of Britain's maximum security jails are losing control to Muslim gangs, according to a confidential report obtained by The Observer. An internal review of Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire warns that staff believe a 'serious incident is imminent' as several wings become dominated by Muslim prisoners.

The report, written by the Prison Service's Directorate of High Security, says there is an 'ongoing theme of fear and instability' among staff at Whitemoor, where just under a third of the 500 prisoners are Muslim.

It claims: 'There was much talk around the establishment about "the Muslims". Some staff perceived the situation at Whitemoor had resulted in Muslim prisoners becoming more of a gang than a religious group. The sheer numbers, coupled with a lack of awareness among staff, appeared to be engendering fear and handing control to the prisoners.' The situation has become so acute that white prisoners are routinely warned about the Muslim gangs by staff on arrival.

Now what we're seeing here isn't some great Islamic conspiracy. It's just what happens when a self-confident, expanding culture meets a cultural vacuum. Most prisons are already run by the forbearance of the prisoners. The addition of a strong bond between some of the prisoners simply ups that pressure and gives them extra clout.

Did I say a cultural vacuum ? Can a vacuum cringe ?

The report says that apprehension about Muslim prisoners has potentially damaging consequences and is in danger of 'leading to hostility and Islamophobia'.
You have to smile at that point. Apparently the problem is not the gangs, but the potential reaction of the evil natives. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"a useful tool of cultural dismantlement"

Dalrymple on mass immigration, multicult, and the differences between the Muslims of France and the UK. France has its national myth, which the 68ers were unable (indeed they mostly did not wish) to destroy. In the UK, by contrast, the deconstruction of Britishness has been triumphantly successful :

Muslims in France also are much less distinguishable from the rest of the population by their mode of dress than is the case with their counterparts in Britain. In the Muslim areas in France, you may notice something different about the people, but you do not think, as increasingly you do in Britain, that the population of the North-West Frontier has moved en masse to the inner cities or suburbs. And this greater cultural assimilation is true notwithstanding the fact that Muslim areas in France, unlike those in Britain, are as physically separate from many of the towns and cities as the black townships were from the white cities of South Africa. There is another major difference between the Muslim areas of France and Britain, however: this time, to Britain’s advantage. The relative ease of starting a business in Britain by comparison with heavily regulated France means that small businesses dominate Britain’s Muslim neighborhoods, whereas there are none in the banlieues of France—unless you count open drug dealing as a business.
Yet the UK's liberal economics, while detested by the left, have enabled immigrants to succeed economically :

In France, the children of Muslim immigrants may not be as alienated from mainstream culture as are those in Britain; but the inflexibility of the French labor market results in a long-term unemployment that embitters them. In Britain, by contrast, relative economic success has not led to cultural integration: so you have riots in France and terrorism in Britain.

while remaining culturally separate :
The British notion that economic opportunity without a shared culture will result in a flourishing society is whistling in the wind; while the French idea that it is enough to teach Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity while obstructing the possibility of real economic advancement is asking for trouble.

Of course, the separation may not matter if not integration, but colonisation, is the outcome :

Migration figures for the country as a whole—emigration and immigration—suggest that its population is undergoing swift replacement. Many of the newcomers are from Pakistan, India, and Africa; others are from Eastern Europe and China. If present trends continue, experts predict, in 20 years’ time, between a quarter and a third of the British population will have been born outside it, and at least a fifth of the native population will have emigrated. Britain has always had immigrants—from the French Huguenots after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes to Germans fleeing Prussian repression, from Jews escaping czarist oppression to Italian prisoners of war who stayed on after World War II—and absorbed them. But never so many, or so quickly.
Which brings me to this, from Birmingham :

More than £40 million is to be spent on ensuring a "brighter future" for Birmingham's growing population of children and young adults.

The city is looking to provide greater investment in support for children at an early age and in preventative work to reduce the number of young people getting into trouble or developing more complex needs later on.

The initiative which goes before councillors on the cabinet procurement committee on Wednesday, aims to transform services for young people and families across the city.

The proposal to invest £41.7 million in redesigning children's services follows the approval of a Brighter Futures strategy earlier this year, developed by all agencies working with children in the city.

Outcomes were agreed around the areas of physical health, behaviour, emotional health, social skills, numeracy and literacy, and preparation for adulthood.

Coun Lawrence added: "If we can get these things right then our youngsters will achieve high standards in school which will prepare them for adult life.

"We have agreed on the most important aims for our children, such as being happy, intelligent, healthy, sociable and skilled for employment.

"The idea is to invest heavily now in order to reduce demand for services later."

Ah yes - the Danegeld theory of crime again. Spend enough money on them, and they won't be criminals. And the idea that you can improve levels of happiness or intelligence by spending cash on social workers ... remember, Brum is not Labour-controlled - it's a Con-Lib Dem coalition. But it's this bit - remember Birmingham is Britain's second city :

This is in anticipation of future pressures resulting from Birmingham's population already being the youngest of any major European city.

Already some 37 per cent of the city's population is under 25 and the average age is continuing to fall. The number of under 19 year olds is expected to reach almost 300,000 within the next decade.

Coun Les Lawrence, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: "We want Birmingham to be the best place for children to grow up in. That means thinking ahead and not being afraid of some radical changes."

37% under 25 ! There really will be no need for integration at this rate, any more than a modern arrival in Australia needs to integrate to Aboriginal culture.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Great News for Cameron

Senior Labour figures have rallied around Gordon Brown following the party's crushing defeat in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election.

The agony will be long drawn. I listened to Brown on the radio yesterday. He simply hasn't got what it takes. It's tragic, but given what he's done I have to repress the urge to feel sorry for him.

It is always a bad sign when your opponents regard your leader as their greatest propaganda weapon.

Soggy Trimmings From The Curate's Hedge

(Thank heaven I got the grass done yesterday ...) .. a few snippets from Brum this wet Sunday morning.

Yet more allegations of postal vote fraud.

The West Midlands Police economic crime unit is in the middle of a bitter postal vote fraud row between Liberal Democrat and Labour rivals in the Aston ward. The row surrounds allegations of intimidation of voters, candidates handling ballot papers and impersonation of voters in the hotly contested Aston ward.

The Liberal Democrat Cabinet member Coun Ayoub Khan successfully defended his seat with a 352 vote majority. In a tit-for-tat row both sides are hurling accusations of vote rigging and smear campaigns and each has referred cases to police. There is a history of controversy in Aston going back to the 2004 election when two Labour councillors were sacked for their part in the fraud.

You come to Britain from Somalia to claim asylum. You discover that the Government will give you millions of pounds to look after other asylum seekers. But even in Eden there was a serpent.

A Birmingham charity which is the biggest in the country for providing housing to asylum seekers is facing closure after losing Government contracts worth £11 million in the wake of a fraud inquiry. Astonbrook Housing Association based on Moseley Road, Highgate, is being investigated by police following allegations of misuse of public funds. The Charity Commission - a watchdog that regulates UK charities - put the association under the interim management of Birmingham accountants Baker Tilly last year. On Wednesday, 15 people were dismissed by the accountancy firm which also terminated Astonbrook’s lucrative five-year contract with the Home Office this week, effectively cutting off its income.

Last night the Astonbrook - most of whose 150 staff are Somalian - hit back claiming it had been victimised by the Charity Commission because it was a black-run charity.

Always a useful card, the old racism claim (inter alia, white working class Brummies feel that "the availability of social housing now favours new immigrants, especially Somalis, at the expense of people who were born and brought up in the UK"). Mind, I have more sympathy for their other complaint.

It also accused Baker Tilly of siphoning off £1 million in fees while overseeing its destruction and stressed no charges had been brought despite a year-long investigation.

Saeed Omar, director of Astonbrook, said: "It is the biggest charity to be run by black and ethnic minorities. We have been discriminated against. We feel the Charity Commission took our charity and gave it to someone who sucked out our money.

"They sucked out our money without doing anything. Baker Tilly ran the company for a year. Their duty was to look after the charity and preserve it until new trustees were appointed. They have destroyed the charity and nobody will speak about the £1 million they have taken".

It's a well-known phenomenon, the receiver who makes more money from the company than the creditors get. Only a million in fees ? Frankly, I stand amazed at their moderation.

“The police have become an extension of the government.”
Harriet Sergeant on law and disorder.

Violent crime carried out by children and teenagers, for example, has increased by one-third over three years. At the trial of the five teenagers accused of her husband’s murder, Helen Newlove described how police failed to do anything about local gangs despite numerous complaints from residents.

The police are clear why this is happening. Rather than concentrating on persistent and violent youth offenders, they are busy creating crime to government orders. Minor crime, a retired inspector explained, is going on all the time. Police merely “pluck something out of the air”, searching the pockets of a student for cannabis, for example, in order to detect a crime and so fulfil targets. Another officer said: “We are bringing more and more people to justice - but they are the wrong people.”

Targets also miss the point of what the public want. The Home Office judges each police force by how many crimes it detects and clears up. The public want something different. They do not want crimes happening in the first place. They believe, like Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the Metropolitan police, that “the test of police efficiency” is “the absence of crime and disorder”. It is not “the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them”.

I would be interested to know the figures for under-18s convicted of homicide each decade from say, the 1950s to the Noughties. I would guess that it's risen at a much higher rate than the general homicide rate.

I can't understand it. It must be because of Labour's punitive policies, banging up so many poor misunderstood youth when they could be spending the money on social workers. At least that's the view of former social work professor Rod 'The Master' Morgan, as expressed on the Today programme (RealAudio, 11'52" in) and the anti-punishment crusaders at the taxpayer funded Centre for Crime and Justice Studies.

Yet vast streams of dosh are targeted at poor urban yoof.

Thousands of Birmingham teenagers are set to benefit from a £6.38 million cash package for a wide range of activities from car building to sports facilities. The cash, delivered over the next three years, is aimed at increasing things for teenagers to do in a bid to keep boredom at bay and cut problems with anti-social behaviour.

The Youth Opportunity and Youth Capital funds will pay for one-off activities such as trips to museums or activity holidays.It will also fund projects such as anti-bullying schemes and car maintenance courses and even sports equipment and minibuses.

This extends a scheme which was launched in April 2006 and has already funded a total of 1,110 youth projects. Teenagers themselves are being involved in the crucial decisions, such as how and on what to spend the money.

City cabinet member for children, young people and families Coun Les Lawrence said: "The young people of Birmingham have benefited in many ways from the introduction of the Youth Opportunities and Youth Capital Funds. The huge number of supported projects and improvements that have been made to the city’s youth provision are enhancing the lives of young people, while tackling fears of anti-social behaviour."

That'll stop them committing crime ! I don't know about you, but it strikes me that doing things for kids out of fear is always going to be self-defeating. Good deeds are good - but not when motivated by what the youth might do unless ...

The initiative received full support from the city cabinet.
And this, remember, is not a Labour council. Don't expect criminal justice miracles from an incoming Tory administration just as wedded to the Danegeld theory of youth crime as any criminology lecturer.

Not that any of them believe it themselves, in their heart of hearts. After all, if it's lack of "things to do" that causes youth crime, how come only inna-city kids get the moolah ? There's a damn sight less to do out in the sticks. Ah, but they're not poor, say the liberals. Oh yes they are.

Perhaps (whisper it) there might be other factors at work :

More than 30% of the men in our prisons are from care homes, yet only 0.6% of our children have ever been in care.

Stand by for increased council tax bills. Not only are there all those non-contributory, final salary, index-linked pensions to pay for, but the bill for the Male-Female Social Engineering Act is due.

City council bosses could be landed with thousands of employment tribunal cases from staff facing salary cuts under the controversial new pay and grading system. City unions are drawing up legal claims on behalf of those members who have lost money as a result of the Single Status pay deal introduced last month.

Up to five thousand of the council's 40,000 staff have suffered pay cuts under the new contracts designed to comply with equal pay regulations. The tribunal cases are based on unfair dismissal as the unions claim old contracts were ended without consultation and new ones imposed.

Caroline Johnson, branch secretary for Unison, said: "We are preparing legal cases on behalf of those losing out." Meanwhile talks over the controversial pay and grading deal are "inching in the right direction", according to union chiefs. The council has now agreed to discuss the thorny issue of pay progession, increasing salaries with time served, which had previously not been up for negotiation.

This follows the remarkable employment tribunal rulings, since confirmed by the courts, that it's not just sufficient to pay all your carpenters the same, be they male or female, and likewise for your lollipop people. If one set of people get higher wages - lets say carpenters - and are mostly male, while another in equivalent jobs, who are mostly female, get less - then you've got sex discrimination which must be addressed.

So who decides what are 'equivalent jobs' ? Once it was done by a thing called 'the market' - if you couldn't get enough carpenters you increased wages until you filled the posts. Admittedly in council Direct Labour organisations (DLOs) this became institutionally corrupt, some people got more money than ever they'd get from a private employer, and you had to 'know someone' to get a job. Apparently a tribunal or council committee will now decide whether a cook is the same as a plumber.

This led to lots of well-paid ("male") jobs being deemed to be "equivalent" to lots of lower-paid "female" jobs. It would have cost the councils a fortune to implement and the council tax increases would be enormous - so they cut the male wages !