Saturday, April 09, 2011

Light Blogging ...

Unless I can find an internet cafe in the Innsmouth of Yorkshire. Taking a few days away.

Friday, April 08, 2011

"No Irish Need Apply"

The (American) liberal myth of 'No Irish Need Apply'.

The fact that Irish vividly "remember" NINA signs is a curious historical puzzle. There are no contemporary or retrospective accounts of a specific sign at a specific location. No particular business enterprise is named as a culprit. No historian, archivist, or museum curator has ever located one; no photograph or drawing exists. No other ethnic group complained about being singled out by comparable signs. Only Irish Catholics have reported seeing the sign in America—no Protestant, no Jew, no non-Irish Catholic has reported seeing one. This is especially strange since signs were primarily directed toward these others: the signs said that employment was available here and invited Yankees, French-Canadians, Italians and any other non-Irish to come inside and apply. The business literature, both published and unpublished, never mentions NINA or any policy remotely like it. The newspapers and magazines are silent. The courts are silent. There is no record of an angry youth tossing a brick through the window that held such a sign. Have we not discovered all of the signs of an urban legend?

As every Brit liberal knows, the streets of 1950s London were full of 'No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish' signs. Yet on the Web there's only one photo which looks as if it could be authentic - source unknown to me - and in an admittedly cursory trawl of the web I've not found any contemporary reports of them - just hundreds of "are we returning to the days of" blog posts and dozens of "my father came to London at a time when" pieces. You really would think that it might turn up in Hansard - I must take a look. Maybe it's yet another liberal myth aka libel against the native Brits. Not that there aren't similar signs to be seen in London to this day - only strangely, no one makes a fuss about them. Can't imagine why.

(cropped photo from ruskin51's photostream)

Now I've got no real problems with an Asian family wishing to share their house with people of their own culture or ethnicity - or even rent it. You want as tenants/lodgers people you can trust, and as the late Emperor Claudius puts it 'the knee is nearer than the shin'. For good reasons, people tend to trust people who are like themselves, and as Robert Putnam points out :

"the more diverse a community is, the less likely its inhabitants are to trust anyone – from their next-door neighbour to the mayor"
But these signs are presumably illegal under British law. I suppose the reason we're not seeing these cases in the court reports is that the law was designed to stop natives putting up these kinds of advert.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Mail :

"A massive surge in crimes committed by pensioners has sparked a 'grey crime wave' and seen the number of offences carried out by over 65s rise almost 50% in the last five years. OAPs have been charged with a variety of crimes which include carrying knives and guns, theft, fraud, shoplifting, drink-driving and sexual offences.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary today revealed that crimes have risen by a staggering 47 per cent for the age group since 2007."
Crime's a young person's - usually a young man's - game. Peak offending rates are I believe in the 15-21 years. But a small proportion of criminals will continue as they get older - especially in fields like selling stolen goods where contacts and trust are important.

Crime more than doubled between 1955 and 1965. A 20 year old in 1965 will be 66 now.

But look at the increases in the 70s, 80s (as the underclass grew) and early 90s. The over-65 crime rate has plenty of room for expansion as those generations age.

Those Damn Normans

Coming over here, slaughtering our nobles (who in their turn had slaughtered many Romano-British nobles), building their castles on our monastic cemeteries - and hanging onto their ill-gotten gains...

Telegraph :

"People with "Norman" surnames like Darcy and Mandeville are still wealthier than the general population 1,000 years after their descendants conquered Britain, according to a study into social progress. Drawing on data culled from official records that go back as far as the Domesday Book as well as university admissions and probate archives, Gregory Clark, a professor of economics at the University of California, has tracked what became of people whose surnames indicated their ancestors had come from either the aristocratic or artisanal classes. By studying the probate records of those with “rich” and “poor” surnames every decade since the 1850s, he found that the extreme differences in accumulated wealth narrowed over time. But the value of the estates left by those belonging to the “rich” surname group, immortalised in the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy, in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, were above the national average by at least 10 per cent. In addition, today the holders of "rich" surnames live three years longer than average. Life expectancy is a strong indicator of socio-economic status."

But not always :

"Throw up your chin a moment, so that I may catch the profile of your face better. Yes, that's the d'Urberville nose and chin—a little debased. Your ancestor was one of the twelve knights who assisted the Lord of Estremavilla in Normandy in his conquest of Glamorganshire. Branches of your family held manors over all this part of England; their names appear in the Pipe Rolls in the time of King Stephen. In the reign of King John one of them was rich enough to give a manor to the Knights Hospitallers; and in Edward the Second's time your forefather Brian was summoned to Westminster to attend the great Council there. You declined a little in Oliver Cromwell's time, but to no serious extent, and in Charles the Second's reign you were made Knights of the Royal Oak for your loyalty. Aye, there have been generations of Sir Johns among you, and if knighthood were hereditary, like a baronetcy, as it practically was in old times, when men were knighted from father to son, you would be Sir John now."

"Ye don't say so!"

"In short," concluded the parson, decisively smacking his leg with his switch, "there's hardly such another family in England."

"Daze my eyes, and isn't there?" said Durbeyfield. "And here have I been knocking about, year after year, from pillar to post, as if I was no more than the commonest feller in the parish…"

Monday, April 04, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance Alert - Daily Mail Edition

In the Money section, Jonathan Portes (Gordon Brown speechwriter and author of the report "Migration: An Economic And Social Analysis", famously revealed by Andrew Neather as "aimed to make Britain more multi-cultural for political reasons") :

"There is not a single serious economic study that suggests immigration has had any significant impact on the employment of British workers. Immigration may have had some effect on wages, but not very much. A report last year from MigrationWatch found that unemployment is higher in those areas of England that have experienced the highest levels of immigration. True. But those areas had higher levels of unemployment to start with - so it wasn't the immigrants who caused it. Even more to the point, during the period MigrationWatch looked at, the areas with more immigration actually did better in terms of unemployment.

Nor are immigrants a drain on the state. Some immigrants claim benefits, use the Health Service, have children at school, commit crimes and so on. But they pay taxes too. And on average, they pay more in tax and use less in services than natives. This is hardly surprising since many, if not most, immigrants come here to work or study. So overall they reduce the tax burden on the rest of us. Fewer migrants will mean higher taxes or cuts in services."

Alas he gives no references for these remarkable claims. I point readers towards the ONS figures for unemployment by ethnicity.

Given that "Mr Portes remains an enthusiastic advocate of the benefits of immigration. He wrote a report for the Department of Work and Pensions last year rejecting claims that Eastern European workers had stolen the jobs of British counterparts, arguing Britons lacked the skills and motivation", I think we can probably take the attitude to his writings that Mary McCarthy took to Lillian Hellman's ("every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'").

I digress. In that same edition of the Mail, news section :

"Migrant crime wave revealed: Foreign arrests have almost doubled in just THREE years"

"The number of foreigners arrested for committing crimes in Britain has almost doubled in the past three years, police revealed today. Figures show that in 2010 more than 91,234 non-British nationals were held for crimes including murder, burglary and sexual offences. By contrast, only 51,899 foreigners were arrested in 2008 - meaning there has been a worrying increase of 76 per cent over the past three years."

Yes campaign denies it kept white actor off leaflets

(As seen in all papers.)

By Kunal Dutta

Monday, 4 April 2011

Tony Robinson: The actor's endorsement of the Yes campaign was printed on leaflets for the Home Counties, but not for London, where Benjamin Zephaniah was used instead.

Campaigners supporting the alternative vote have denied accusations that they "airbrushed" the white actor Tony Robinson out of leaflets distributed in London.

The campaign used Robinson's picture as an endorsement on literature in the Home Counties, Hampshire and Cornwall, but in London the leaflets featured the black poet Benjamin Zephaniah, prompting accusations from rivals that the Yes campaign was "ashamed" of the actor's backing.

A Few Cowslips From The Curate's Coppice

It's not going too well at Fukushima. I think the words "sawdust and newspapers were also used" are the giveaway - never words you want to hear in the context of a leaking nuclear reactor.

A complete history of radiation incidents - I see that Russian criminals seem to be able to get hold of radioactive sources, while in Taiwan and China people use them to attack their co-workers. Many remote Russian lighthouses are powered by radioactive sources - which foolish crooks try to steal for scrap - a usually fatal decision. But the scariest stories of all are the criticality accidents. You're experimenting with a ball of plutonium and accidentally drop a piece of metal too close to it - a blue flash and a wave of heat - you swipe away the metal, but in those seconds you receive a fatal dose of radiation.

I mentioned flight JAL123 the other day, in the context of the downside to Japanese acceptance of responsibility. What I didn't mention was that the Japanese pilots kept the plane in the air for 32 minutes (passengers wrote farewell letters), despite having lost ALL the main controls - rudder, ailerons, elevators. The only control they could exert was differential thrust on the wing-mounted engines. When pilots attempted similar control on simulators as part of the post-crash analysis, they couldn't match the performance of Captain Tamahaka's crew in terms of keeping the aircraft aloft.

JAL123 lost control near mountains and nearly all the passengers and aircrew died. When United Airlines Flight 232 lost all controls after an engine failure, they were over level country. Using only the engines to steer the plane (they could only turn right, so moved in a series of loops), they found an airport and crash-landed on the runway - the majority of passengers survived though over a hundred died. The cockpit recording transcript is as gripping as any novel, and Captain Haynes lecture at Edwards Air Force Base shows you one impressive character.

I missed this one - Julie Bindel treading carefully on the subject of Charlene Downes.

UPDATE - commenter Brian says : "The story of the radioactive boy scout isn't mentioned (in the radiation log - LT)."

Oh yes it is.