"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Saturday, 14 February 2009

A Semi-detached Home Secretary: Weekly News Round Up, 8th-14th February 2009

The week that shamed Britain. However, the Geert Wilders debacle was far from the only thing in the news. Here is an overview of some of the more interesting stories from this week's UK newspapers.

1) 'Smith faces official probe over expenses scandal'

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is currently embroiled in a different kind of 'home security' issue; that is fraudulently securing funding for her second home allowance. Apparently she has been staying in her sister's spare room in London during the week (despite turning down a free grace-and-favour apartment which comes with her office), and claiming a second home allowance. That means she's walking away with a tax-free sum of at least £24,000 per year, which is about the average national income.

Nice to know one with such honesty and scruples is in charge of the criminal justice system.

2) 'Prescott launches online campaign against bank bonuses'

Former Deputy Prime Minister John 'Moneybags' Prescott has taken it upon himself to fight bank bosses who have been awarded large bonuses, despite the government ploughing millions of pounds of taxpayers money into propping up said banks after some spectacular failures.

In principle I agree with him, but I think a slightly more palatable crusader could have been found; this is man who was once nicknamed 'two Jags', and unlike anyone who writes at the Daily Mirror I do not think his authentic northern accent makes him some ambassador for the poor. However, I have one suggestion for his movement; maybe failed politicians could also be stripped of all financial perks and bonuses.

If you define 'fail' in the same way as the Oxford English Dictionary and me, then an awful lot of money will be saved.

3) 'Harry to be sent on a diversity training course'

Prince Harry is to be sent on something called a 'diversity course' after yet another controversy over racism in the Royal Family. Apparently, Harry told black comedian Stephen K. Amos 'he didn't sound like a black chap' after a performance at Prince Charles' 60th birthday celebrations.

Oh dear. This comedian was so bothered he took almost 3 months to say something, duly went to the newspapers at an opportune moment, then after several days of screaming headlines and controversy piped up again to say 'it was no big deal' and 'Harry's no racist'.

Well, someone has certainly got a first class publicist, that much is certain.

4) 'Geert Out: Far-right Dutch MP banned from Britain'

Dutch MP Geert Wilders made a splash in most newspapers this week after being banned from Britain. One person against the ban was Islamic cleric Anjem Chaudary, who said he would have welcomed an opportunity to engage Mr Wilders 'in an open debate about whether Islam offers a better solution than Capitalism.'

He didn't specify whether this was to be a 'Mohammed Bouyeri Vs. Theo van Gogh' style debate, however, one where success is measured by the number of stab wounds your opponent receives rather than the traditional 'rational argument' method.

I'm also not quite sure in just what field 'Islam' is supposed to be a better way forward than Capitalism. I would assume he's talking about economics and governance in general, but I must admit a glance at any particular Muslim country does not inspire me in either of those fields, or indeed any other. Certainly not when oil money is taken out of the equation.

But still, it's official. Anjem Chaudary is technically more open minded than the Home Secretary.
That or he just wanted an excuse to watch our city centres burn, not that one is usually required.

5) Kent Police, my local force, decided to celebrate 'LGBT History Month' by sending out poetry packs to school children urging them to 'think about how it feels to be gay' and 'what being gay might mean to them in the future'.

Isn't taxpayers' cash a beautiful thing? It can be put to almost any purpose, except of course that for which it was designated.

Personally I prefer to think about 'why crime is soaring yet the police are wasting time on such pointless trivialities' and 'Kent Police: is this nonsense really their job?'

6) This week it also emerged that a 13 year old boy has fathered a child with his 15 year old girlfriend.

I'm fairly certain anything I could possibly add after that sentence would be superfluous, and whilst that doesn't normally stop me, the situation simply leaves me at a loss for words.

However, it has now been revealed that this 15 year old girl has slept with so many males that the baby's paternity is in doubt, and the father of the 13 year old may have played up claims his son is the father for money.

Just makes you proud to be British, doesn't it?

7) Government professor Tony Nutt recommended that the illegal party drug ecstasy be downgraded from a Class A drug to Class B. To demonstrate his case, the eminent professor compared taking ecstasy to horse riding, because apparently they're responsible for a similar number of deaths each year. For most people that would be where the comparison ends, but not the aptly named Professor Nutt; to him, the activities are so similar in terms of risk, worth and moral standing, he coined the term 'equasy', a term allegedly supposed to be a playful word association.

Unfortunately for him, it just made him sound like a complete idiot, and pretty much discredited anything else he said beforehand. For which I thank him - it makes my job so much easier.

8) London Mayor Boris Johnson was caught going on a 'foul-mouthed tirade' at MP and professional passport salesman Keith Vaz. Good - it's about time someone did.

I'm sure if I had to deal with such people on a daily basis I too would snap. However, the circumstances do not damn Mr Johnson as the headlines would like; Vaz is the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee and is trying to justify the arrest late last year of opposition MP Damien Green.


Dr.D said...

"Just makes you proud to be British, doesn't it?"

I have to say, I think you are really grasping at straws to find this source of "national pride." Of course, the blacks in Africa do it all the time, so this just puts the British even with them, I would think.

Really, how low can a civilized society go?

I think that the values and morals of the immigrants usually are adopted by the native stock, resulting in a lowering of the standards of the natives. In England of fifty to one hundred years ago, this would not have been likely to happen. Today, I think we may see it repeated with some frequency (and in America as well).

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

An interesting comment. I was, of course, being sarcastic; the only plus side to this is the underclass is about the only section of society where indigenous birth rates are fairly stable.

However, I don't find anything to like in this scenario. Of course, the usual suspects are out in force; apparently more sex education would solve everything.

A lot on the left here criticise the American states which have abstinence-focused sex eduaction, because they have high teen pregnancy rates. But then Britain has the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, second highest in the West, and I can assure you from experience we have no shortage of sex education.

I think the problem is a lack of responsibility. I mean, the kids know the state will pay to raise their baby, so what do they care?

As for your observations on immigrant vs. native behavioural patterns, I'm inclined to agree from personal experience.

"Really, how low can a civilized society go?"

I fear we're both going to find out. Shame really, because America was my 'escape plan b' after Australia.

Dr.D said...

Just as a matter of curiosity, how does an Earl, even a 1st Earl, become "venerable"? I'm accustomed to hearing this as a title for an Archdeacon, and we have all heard of the Venerable Bede, but I don't quite understand how an Earl becomes venerable. Would you enlighten me, please?

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Dr. D:

I'm glad you asked. I use the term '1st Earl of Cromer' because he is the one I admire. His descendants still have the title, and I think today there's a 3rd or 4th.

You're right, in Anglican tradition venerable is an Archdeacon's title; however in Catholic tradition it is simply a stage of canonisation.

I feel Cromer is venerable for the work he did in Egypt preserving Christian heritage, trying to modernise Coptic Christianity and making sure they were seen as equal citizens.

Some say he had little time for the Copts, seeing them as 'too Egyptian', but he certainly shot down any official who tried to lionise the Muslims at their expense.