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Saturday, 14 July 2007

Corrosive State Centralism fuels Islamic radicalism

An article in the Prison Service Journal provides a useful insight into the disproportionate number of Muslims in British jails. Muslims form some 2.7% of the general population, but some 8% of the prison population. Britain is not alone in this; in France, 60% - 70% of the prison population are Muslim (mostly North Africans) compared with an estimated 6% - 9% of Muslims in the general population. Belgium, too, shows this trend. But the reasons for the UK's large number of imprisoned Muslims are rather different.

The research suggests that our imprisoned Muslims are by and large of afro-Caribbean descent, and that many have converted to Islam whilst in prison. Many have low educational levels, and a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Interviews by the researchers also suggest that the strongest draw of Islam is the sense of community identity it provides. The following is worth quoting in full:
For many of the research participants, it seems that conversion to Islam has provided them with an identity and a sense of belongingness that was largely missing in their lives prior to religious conversion. The research participants articulated the notion that after converting to Islam they now feel that they are part of a wider community:

I was out in the world, not knowing anything, who I was yeah? And Islam sort of gives you the thing ‘you are a slave of Allah’. And what you’re here for on this Earth, partly why you are brotherhood, part of a believer, ummah is it?

Islam was seen by the participants as being inclusive of all, regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality:

In the Qur’an that’s what it says, it says brotherhood. It doesn’t matter what nation, it’s a religion for the world init? That’s one of the things I love about it because you go to the mosque and you see white, brown, black, you just see all the colours, that unity init.

The quotations above are perhaps unsurprising, given that social theorists have argued that in contemporary western society traditional social affiliations, based on family or social class, have been eroded, as evidenced by, for example, the reduction in union and party political membership (Bauman, 2004; Furedi, 1997). At the heart of these social and economic transformations is the anxiety that comes with a loss of a sense of ‘belongingness’, so that people look to find or establish new identities, which can, at least for a brief moment, make them feel that they are part of a ‘wider community’ (Bauman, 2004).

I have blogged extensively on the dangers to our nation of State Centralism - a corrosive and destructive undermining of the authority of all our intermediate institutions by a Leviathan all-powerful, all-knowing State that seeks to form a direct relationship with each individual. This is what Gordon Brown believes in. When he talks of a 'British identity' he means the identification of each individual with this Leviathan State. Local institutions - the church, local Political parties, clubs and organisations - as well as institutions such as regimental families, historic institutions of place, are all undermined and robbed by the State Centralists. Most pernicious is the undermining of the authority of the family. In this, Brown is as guilty as that mumping villian Rousseau, who would have removed children from their families in case the authority of the father challenged that of the State.

The conversion and radicalisation of those such as attempted shoe bomber Richard Reid owes much to Brown's Leviathan State. The radicalisation of the 21/7 bombers owes much to Brown's Leviathan State. The danger is not just the gradual destruction of our social fabric, but of terrorist bombs in our towns and cities.

True security will come not from powers that tighten the grip of the security agents of the State, but only from shrinking the State. This is counter-intuitive and will not be understood by dinosaurs such as Gordon Brown. He has neither the vision or the courage to loosen the grip of Whitehall on the soul of the nation. All his 'British' rhetoric will be just so much specious, empty puffery.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Hull £2.1m, Brian Haw £0.11m

News that Hull is to get just £2.1m to help clear up the flood damage that has blighted thousands. Good job the government keeps its money to spend on important things - such as the £111,000 cost last year of policing Brian Haw's protest outside Parliament.

Good to see our Parliamentary snouts are kept firmly in the trough to the exclusion of any actual spending on disasters and the like. The vanity of politicians is so much more important than families who have lost everything in the floods.
A Bachelor Tax - hmmm

Further to my piece on the UK's population growth below,
Don’t the environmentalists get out at all? Don’t they realise that there are only two classes in Britain for whom three or more children are an option – the rich, for whom mortgages don’t matter, and the poor, whose children are supported by the benefit system? The increase in the birth rate this year was largely accounted for by immigrants and older, richer mothers. One reason why there's such resentment – articulated by the Labour minister Margaret Hodge – among white working-class Britons about asylum-seekers with children getting social housing ahead of them is that the system seems to discriminate against couples who postpone having children until they can afford them in favour of ethnic minority communities with large families.
Melanie is all for measures that encourage native Brits to breed more, including, possibly, a tax on bachelors (following the Roman model). Hmmm.

Well, the gayers, the Catholic priests and Cliff would no doubt be appalled by the suggestion, but would it really be that unfair? The celibate clergy all earn too little to be affected. Cliff wouldn't notice. And would a return to the days in which gay men married some complaisant woman 'for show', with no desire on either party's part for either conjugal relations or children, be so bad? It would release a lot of the pressure on housing - in London it is not unusual for 40% of dwellings to be occupied by single persons - and no doubt create some good through comfortable companionships.

On the other hand of course we could give meaningful tax breaks to married heterosexual couples, which would amount to the same thing ... now where have I heard that proposal recently?

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Raedwald's cunning plans

Even though I haven't paid any UK cigarette tax for the past eleven years (quite legally, making a shopping trip to France every six weeks or so myself, and buying only for myself) and have tried to drink as much French booze as possible, Gordon's tax thefts from me still aren't evened-out.

The main reason I haven't been taking 'Raedwald' across the ditch very often is the fuel cost; I have to get from Brighton to Calais across the Channel separation lanes at right angles and this costs more than the ferry does.
However, a bright friend has spotted a useful provision in April's budget. If you make less than 2,500 litres a year of Biodiesel yourself, you don't have to pay duty on it. Previously, even for a small coal-bunker size home Biodiesel plant, you had to fill in the forms for HMRC every month and send them off with a cheque. Now, Raedwald drinks about 4 litres an hour. That would give me 625 engine hours. If I moved her up to the Medway, that would give me 8 - 10 channel crossings a year on zero-tax fuel to buy fags, booze and groceries at French tax rates.

Making Biodiesel is easy peasy. Two of the raw ingredients - methanol and caustic soda - are not any great cost. The key ingredient - waste oil - is, however, a problem. Big firms have now sewn up the chip-shop market , and previously cheap industrial vegetable oils such as rape seed have shot up in price.
However, I have a solution to this, too.

The big oil collection firms have not yet realised the potential of the capital's council estates, on which every home is equipped with an Argos deep fat fryer. I intend to equip some young Pole with a 50cc Piaggio Ape fitted with a collection tank to tour the council estates offering free waste oil collection in return for packets of
'Iceland' turkey twizzlers (say one for every ten gallons). Lesser volumes could be rewarded with small packets of biscuits high in sugar and industrial fats. The surplus could be sold to other home Biodiesel producers and would meet the Pole's wages and the miserly running costs of the collection vehicle. It would be even better if I found an accountant who could find a way to claim the entire capital cost from the treasury ....

CRE condemns Tintin book

The Commission for Racial Equality has condemned a new English language edition of 'Tintin in the Congo', reports the Times, and has called for the book to be banned. Well done. The CRE has now given this book the sort of publicity that publishers only dream of, and has ensured that it will become a huge hit amongst teenagers.

As with many of my generation, the Tintin books in the original French were always a fun and valuable way of learning the language. Any exhibition of poor taste in their pages could be excused because, well, they were written by a Belgian.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Brown's insufferable arrogance shows through

Gordon Brown's dishonesty became almost transparent in an interview on R4's 'Today' this morning. He will publish his legislative programme, he said, in advance of the Queen's Speech because '..the British people have the right to be consulted'.

What arrant tripe. What piffling, fatuous drivel. The implication was somehow that the monarch was denying her subjects a say in government policy and Brown was improving democracy. If this dreary Presbyterian shit had an ounce of honesty in his bones he would have said:

"I don't believe the people of the United Kingdom should influence government policy once a government takes power. However, I know it's important that I give the impression of being influenced by public opinion. This is also a useful countervailing argument to media pressure on policy. By making a commitment to consulting the people, I'm making no promise to pay any attention to what they may say."
Should the UK have fewer children?

A body called the Optimum Population Trust has called for the UK's mums to limit themselves to two kids. John Guillebaud, professor of family planning and reproductive health at University College, London, made the call after figures from the office of national statistics showed 669,531 babies were born in Britain last year. 21% of these births were to women not born in the UK. He seems to base his argument on children being, er, environmentally unfriendly. (And presumably non-recyclable). You couldn't make it up. Story here.

Not my field, so any expert comments are welcome, but here's how I see it. If a population is in perfect equilibrium - neither shrinking or growing - births will equal deaths. The 'replacement rate' will require each woman, on average, to give birth to 2.1 children during her lifetime. If people start to live longer and the birth rate remains at 2.1, the population will increase. Indeed, the birth rate can even fall well below the replacement rate and the population will still increase if people are living increasingly longer.

This is what's been happening in the UK since 1901 (except for 1976). The annual 'surplus' of births over deaths has been nothing to panic about; natural change has rarely exceeded 150,000 a year and has often been very much lower, with 50,000 to 100,000 a year being the norm. The trend as we all know is for an increasingly old population with a greater proportion of national resources demanded for the health and welfare of older people.

Immigration levels have made the UK's natural changes in population almost irrelevant. Migration Watch suggests immigration, including illegals, has been 500,000 a year during Labour's term in office. Guillebaud (with a name that sounds like a data transfer rate) is in a spin because the UK's birth rate has risen to 1.87 - still well below the replacement rate. He is confused.

What the nation needs is not fewer native-born children, but a halt to immigration. This government's abject failure since 1997 to apply even basic border controls is criminal incompetence. Brown's inane 'Britishness' mantra is nothing more than a vacuous piece of spin whilst our borders are wide open. His policies are destroying the real United Kingdom.

Immigration must be radically controlled. Now.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Conservative policy paper tells an undeniable truth

The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable even by the radical feminist wing of the Labour Party. Children brought up without their biological fathers are a problem to themselves and to the rest of us. 'Civitas' amongst others has comprehensively presented the evidence. Lone parent families demand an unreasonable level of resources; they make higher demands on health, social services, the police, courts and schools and of course the welfare budget.

Children of families with biological fathers on the other hand do better at school, are healthier, offend less, better balanced, contribute to the economy and are likely to develop civic and social responsibility.

Why the heck would any responsible society discourage families and encourage lone parenthood? Well, apart from a core of socialist stupidity, I don't think it's been a deliberate shift.

I have previously commented on the proximate reasons for this situation having developed. 'The war between the Family and the State is of long standing. When one is strong, the other is generally weak'. The growth of the Centralist State, especially since 1979, and the increasing tendency of the State to form a direct relationship with each individual, the shift of responsibility from families and communities to the State, and attempts by the State to usurp by legislation the authority of the family, all done with a naive but crass and myopic desire to 'do good', have strengthened the State and weakened the family.

A tax allowance is not nearly enough. It won't work.

The State, and its reach into homes and communities, must shrink. If the role and primacy of the family is to grow, the authority taken by the State must be returned. Fathers must not be left as mere bystanders or spectators whilst the whole panoply of State Welfare steps in to undertake their responsibilities.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Maybe I won't buy Campbell's book after all

I previously predicted that I would be first in the queue for a copy of Alastair Campbell's autohagiography. After having read the extracts published in the Sunday Times yesterday, maybe I'll give it a miss. It appears to be little more than the self-deluded post hoc rationalisation that made Blunkett's tedious and risible tome such a flop.

That's the problem with these socialist Alpha Males. All bullying and bollocks. No depth, no real intellect, a lack of sound judgment, a misguided morality and above all the urge to convince themselves that they were right.

At the risk of a want of style with three italicisations in one brief post, have none of these dreary ideologues ever learned the dangers of hubris?

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Smoking ban: Dutch win, UK loses.

One snippet of news this week brings a sloppy grin to my face. Calor gas could afford to be sanguine about the many news shots of patio gas cylinders over the past week. The company, owned by private Dutch company SHV Nederland, is anticipating excellent sales results from the UK in the future.

Christopher Booker reports in the Telegraph that Friends of the Earth's Tony Juniper has been reduced to apoplexy by British Gas' forecast that increased sales of patio gas following the smoking ban in England will lead to an additional 160,000 tonnes a year of CO2 being produced. This is about 10% of the CO2 reduction target to which the UK is pledged by Kyoto.

You can be assured that I will do my bit; in the garden of my local this lunchtime I shall insist on my personal patio gas heater being fired up to counter the slight chill under the umbrella. The experts assure me this is equivalent to the CO2 emissions from driving a 4x4 from London to Berkshire.
Swans and Baron Munchausen

Terry Gilliam's wonderfully baroque 'Adventures of Baron Munchausen' makes an impassioned plea for the place of romanticism in a dreary scientific world; the villain, the 'Right Ordinary' Horatio Jackson, played by Jonathan Pryce (left), to underline the besieged city's commitment to 'reason' (meaning uniformity and mediocrity), has a soldier who has just performed an act of outstanding bravery executed, on the basis that bravery is demoralising to the other soldiers.

Jackson exemplifies all the ideological tenets of New Labour. They are determined to crush meritocracy in our nation; it is not enough for the socialists that anyone, irrespective of age, colour, creed or sex, should have the opportunity to succeed based on their own merit. They would impose scientific quotas on every aspect of life. The Civil Service and public authorities must recruit and promote not on the basis of merit but to achieve a demographic mix in the workforce that equates to the general population. The result - the triumph of unexceptionality and mediocrity - will, of course, give us institutions not as efficient and effective as they should be, not displaying any veuve or esprit, dull, plodding, barely fit for purpose.

The same pernicious and corrosive influence is being exerted on our regiments. Brown's Labour will do their utmost to destroy any institutions that they see as competing in the direct relationship between the State and the individual. They would dearly love to abolish the ancient territorial designations, consign the old colours, crests and hackles to the incinerator and create amorphous units ' - the '1252nd Infantry Battalion' or whatever - that are so much easier for civil servants to manage. No longer will an officer spend his service life in the family of a single regiment; they will be rotated between units, never having time to allow dangerous competing traditions and loyalties to settle.

The Triumph of Reason. That rascal Rousseau would have been proud. Rousseau, who wanted even to remove children from their parents in case the authority of the father should compete with that of the State.

Brown urges us to be vigilant against those who would destroy our way of life; he means of course Islamist terrorists, but to many of us Brown and his centralist socialist State pose a threat to our way of life more dangerous than a few idiots with patio gas.

Hidden in the spin of Brown's Green Paper on constitutional reform are proposals to end not only the royal prerogatives that are by tradition delegated to ministers, but those old and rather quaint and romantic royal prerogatives that have been part of this nation's fabric for centuries. Swans. Whales. Dolphins. Treasure. There is no compelling pressure to change these things; they cost virtually nothing. Swan Upping is a tradition that adds a little colour and joy to our national life. The Queen's Keeper of Swans is probably paid no more than a trivial token sum from the public purse. Yet the 'Right Ordinary' Lord Protector would end it all. Swans would become the responsibility of the Wildfowl Department at DEFRA and a junior minister would assume responsibility for their protection, with no doubt the full panoply of a departmental equalities impact assessment, performance plan, diversity and human rights statement and a budget cost of ten thousand times the current arrangements. DEFRA's new Head of Welfare (Swans) will no doubt be recruited to fill some ethnic or sexual demographic quota under which a passion for swans will play no part.

The Age of Reason.
So why is it so important to Brown and his State Centralists that such minor things are swept away? It is indeed a battle between Brown's New Roundheads, a joyless, dreary and tedious collection of earnest do-gooders determined to pull down every aspect of our nation to a state of bleak, funereal mediocity, and we New Cavaliers who would maintain the freedoms, joys, colours and ancient identities and institutional loyalties of our British peoples.

Let battle be joined.