27 July, 2009
Arf of the week
It's not often I'd defend the head of the Equalities & Human Rights Commission, but that's what I found myself doing on Saturday night while doing the paper review with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. She launched into a full scale attack of Trevor Phillips and accused him of playing the race card (I just about stopped myself laughing) as he defended his stewardship of the Commission. She also reckoned he is a closet Tory. She has launched a vicious attack on him in this morning's Independent.Well I appreciate that under the circumstances you did the polite and gallant thing in the Great Lady's presence, Iain, but as an uncouth racist thug I feel no such restraint:
"She launched into a full scale attack of Trevor Phillips and accused him of playing the race card..."I think I'll have to go and have a little lie-down.
Arf! Arf! Arf! LOL! ROTFFLMFAO. Fighting breaks out between pots and kettles. Police attemd but conclude matter is 'too sensitive' and may inflame extremists. Home secretary funds new initiatives to reduce inter-utensil tensions. Trev and Yaz apply for chairmanship of quango set up to manage the funds. Fight breaks out at interview. Post awarded to Richard Barnbrook. Trev retires to Guyana in disgust. Yaz visits Zanzibar for indefinite period to make amends to locals for suggesting Arab slavers were nasty bastards. Old Holborn's New Model Army marches on Downing Street. Comrade Brown deposed. Shortage of free lampposts in Parliament Square briefly delays revolution. England wins Ashes. Nation rejoices.
Taking a little responsibility for your own survival
Still, the matter is in the hands of the police and in due course the coroner. What prompts me to post on the subject is the following bit of distasteful opportunism:
Concerns were raised by union leaders in Brighton over cuts to services, which they say led to two near misses of people being found asleep in commercial bins.
Robert Macey, organiser for the GMB union, said: “This was obviously a tragic accident and we would wish to express our condolences both to the family of the deceased and the employees who found him.
“Since the Conservative administration began cutting the budget for the refuse service and introducing communal bins, we have been warning that that this was an accident waiting to happen.
“Whether the bins are owned by the council or private contractors, measures now need to be taken to ensure that all communal bins in the city are made safe and secured in a way that prevents people entering them and putting their lives at risk.”
What exactly are the GMB proposing? The return of the old-fashioned cylindrical bins, thus creating a requirement for extra dustmen to carry each individually to the wagon? Or failing that, the appointment of watchmen (GMB-represented of course) to guard over the communal bins to ensure that passing vagrants,, children, care-in-the-community nutters and out-of-their-head drunks/druggies do not endanger themselves by climbing inside?
Ultimately, (a) shit happens and (b) we have to take a bit of responsibility for our own actions. Assuming that no foul play was involved, Mr Williams regrettably lost out on both counts. People know what happens to wheelie bins. If they choose to sleep in them then they risk the consequences.
GMB rep Mr Macey's political opportunism in the wake of this unfortunate event is disgraceful.
23 July, 2009
But I don't even own a pornograph
Needless to say, I was tempted to skim the names of the banned sites. Most of them are porn sites, and some have names that suggest child pornography, which is a crime. But that’s what we have courts for. The Australian blacklist wasn’t written by a court; there was no hearing where evidence was brought that these sites were criminal sites. A group of busybody human rights activists simply wrote the blacklist. Sounds Canadian, actually.Actually http://www.vanbokhorst.nl is a driving school — my Dutch being marginally less rusty that the Canadian lawyer's, it would seem. However, I have made enquiries and am entirely satisfied that no forklift trucks were traumatized during the creation of their website. The proprietors must be puzzled at the sudden worldwide interest in their business.
Many banned sites are merely offensive, but not illegal. And some sites are perfectly innocuous. For some secret reason, the web site www.vanbokhorst.nl is on the blacklist. If you’re not in Australia, feel free to give that one a click. It’s not a pornographic site. My Dutch is rusty, but it appears to be a web site for a forklift rental company in Holland.
How did Van Bokhorst get on the blacklist in Australia? Nobody knows because the process was kept secret, even from Van Bokhorst. It’s unlikely that Van Bokhorst had any Australian customers. But that’s not the point. Someone is making these clandestine decisions about what Australians can or can’t see.
Perhaps the over-enthusiastic web censors had been been morally affronted by the erotic possibilities of of the twelve-inch carrot and were taking no chances. After all, we all know about the licentious tendencies of the Dutch! Nudge nudge, wink wink.
With luck, all this bollocks will come to nothing. I shall offer up a prayer of thanks to the God I do not actually believe in for the occasional serendipitous outcomes of bureaucratic incompetence.
A slippery slope
There is a obvious good sense in calling on specialist knowledge within the police force, and unless they are completely paralysed by their own political correctness-induced terror, one would expect the police to apply common sense in deploying such resources. But making it a formal victim-driven service strikes me as the top end of a slippery and inexorable slope.
The new service will not allow victims of crime to prevent a white officer taking on their case.
However, they can ask for a Sikh officer to be involved and, if required, be their contact with the police.
Yes, OK, but I wonder how long that restriction is going to last. How long will it be before each "community" is policed by its own, presumably with competing and partisan mixed teams of officers investigating "intercommunal crime"?
— White officer: Festus obviously did the mugging; he was caught with the White kid's mobile in his pocket.As I say, knowing when to use specialist knowledge effectively is an integral part of any profession, not just policing. But turning it into yet another documented customer right is, in this case at least, a dangerous move.
— Black officer: Yeah, but he was provoked by the boy's disrespectful white-ness, man.
Ain't diversity wunnerful?
12 July, 2009
I wonder if the sub who chose that particular Last of the Summer Wine publicity photo as an appropriately stereotypical northern illustration for the piece appreciates the irony of his choice. Of the actors portrayed, Bill Owen (Compo) and Peter Sallis (Clegg) are both Londoners, while Brian Wilde (Foggy) was born in Lancashire but brung up in the south.
09 July, 2009
Griffin plays the Camp of Saints card
But it certainly serves to bring the issue into the open. Currently the response of European governments to clandestine entry is hypocritical, be it in the face of pitiful boatloads of hopeful Africans beaching on the Canaries, Lampedusa or Malta, Africans climbing over each other trying to scale the border fences of Ceuta and Melilla, or the hundreds of hopefuls camping out at Calais waiting on the chance of sneaking into the Promised Land of England in the back of a lorry.
The effective response of European governments is neither one thing nor the other: neither enforcement of our borders nor the opening of them. For public consumption, the rhetoric is one of immigration controls and impenetrable borders. The reality is a border which is little more than a rather dangerous obstacle course; if the aspiring clandestine manages to negotiate it, he's accepted, as if he were no more than a successful contestant in a reality TV show winning a prize.
That is the unsatisfactory and ultimately self-destructive contradiction which Griffin in his heavy-handed way has highlighted. It is not, as the Righteous would have it, the hateful racist intransigence of the European authorities that puts immigrant lives at risk. It is their two-faced indecisiveness.
Either we open our borders — close down the passport controls and allow anyone who wishes to live and work here to arrive openly by safe organized public transport. Or we enforce our border controls. What does that mean? It means that when someone manages to breach the controls, by clandestine entry, by visa fraud or by turning up on the beach, then they should be sent back.
If they claim asylum, intern them until their claim can be judged. If for one reason or another they cannot be promptly repatriated, intern them until they can be sent home, indefinitely if necessary. Why all this internment? Illegal migrants come to Europe almost entirely for economic reasons. If you wish to deter them, you must ensure that they derive no economic benefit from the exercise. Firstly by ensuring the certainty of timely removal. Secondly by ensuring that while they are here they earn nothing.
The existing arrangement boils down to:
— No, sorry, you can't come in.Hypocrisy, in other words.
— Oh, you've managed to sneak in anyway. Tsk! Tsk! Look, you shouldn't really be here, but if you speak to that nice man over there he'll give you a job at £1.50 an hour, no questions asked.
— Er, next!
One thing or the other. Open the borders or secure them. To paraphrase 1066 and All That, Griffin is "Right but Repulsive". Sooner that than "Wrong but Wromantic".
Afterthought (10 July)
The following post in the Guardian Unlimited Talk thread on the subject* is informative:
MajorWhipple - 09:55am Jul 9, 2009 GMT (#68 of 144)
20.Mar.09: 17 people have drowned and 50 are missing after a rubber boat carrying them from Libya to Italy sank in the vicinity of the Tunisian island of Kerkennah. 33 passengers were saved by the Tunisian Navy after receiving distress calls from some of the passengers. (source: lasiciliaweb.it) noborder.org
29.Mar.09: at least 200 migrants drowned after their boat sunk in bad weather three hours after it left Janzour, 15 km west of Tripoli. only 20 of the 257 people on board the ship survived the accident. According to the Libyan authorities 100 bodies of the migrants washed up on the beaches west of Tripoli. (source: reuters) noborder.org
16.Feb.09: at least 21 North African migrants, drowned in sight of bathers as their overcrowded boat capsized 20 metres off a beach near the town of Teguise on Lanzarote. Swimmers and surfers tried to reach the migrants as they struggled in rough waters before Coast Guard boats arrived. Six people were rescued and 18 bodies have been recovered while three more had been sighted in the water. (source: Reuters AlertNet) noborder.orgIt was their screams I heard that night...
19.Feb.09: According to the Spanish marine Rescue Service the body of another migrant has been retrieved from waters off Lanzarote, bringing to 22 the number drowned when a boat capsized 20 metres off a beach near the town of Teguise on the 16th of February. (source: The Canadian Press) noborder.orghttp://blogs.ya.com/paseoporelmundo/files/blog_patera.jpg
I think I should provide a warning with this next image...but it's what Mr Griffin would like to see more of: http://blogs.lavozdegalicia.es/carlosagullo/files/2008/07/patera_1-1.jpg
I could go on, but it's far too depressing.
This is not some evil Nazi fantasy eagerly pounced upon by a waiting liberal media. This is what is already happening on the seas around Europe. And when the Righteous have finally recovered from their wankfest over Griffin's choice of language, it will still be going on.
Some will argue that an open-door policy is the answer. That's a discussion for another time. But since Europe has chosen a policy of immigration control, of restricted and qualified settlement only, then it needs to address the consequences. One of the consequences is that the desperate will resort to desperate means to circumvent those controls.
If the policy is to be that borders must be defended, then the only consistent, moral and humane response is that "desperate means" must have minimal chance of success. Desperate people will pool the family's small wealth and pay thousands to unreliable traffickers to drive a young man across the Sahel and the Sahara, where they risk being abandoned at the trafficker's whim, to make a risky sea crossing to the Promised Land in boats both unsuitable and unseaworthy. They do this because there is a real chance of success. If 30% eventually get through, the game is worth the candle. But if only 0.1% get through...
I doubt whether Griffin would really wish to see migrant boats sunk by the Navy; his language is more likely to be hard rhetoric. Short of a true Camp of the Saints situation — an outcome not beyond the bounds of plausibility in my opinion — I doubt that the public would stand for such a policy in any case. But I'll leave the final interpretation of Griffin's words to the drooling hordes of the Righteous since they seem to be so sure of themselves.
What is clear is that a firmer response is required. The practice introduced by Berlusconi, that darling of the Left, of intercepting migrant boats at sea and towing them back to Libya, is a good start. But firm action in returning landed illegal migrants is also needed. Only if the message gets back that even if you get to Europe you will be repatriated, forcibly if necessary, will the tragic and unnecessary deaths described in the GUT post quoted above cease.
Love 'em or loathe 'em, the likes of Griffin, Maroni, Bossi and Berlusconi at least have the balls to face up to reality.
* I haven't linked to the thread. GUT threads are unpredictably evanescent, and if you are reading this more than a few days after its posting the GUT thread may (or may not according to moderator whim) have disappeared. If you are quick, you might find it under UK News -> The EU should sink boats carrying illegal immigrants...
08 July, 2009
Is Sunny completely losing it?
07 July, 2009
The mystery of St Wacko
Finishing my libation I set off for home. A question troubled me:
Why is a nutter who spent much of his later life unsuccessfully trying to convert himself into a White man such an icon for the "Black Community"? Do they, like many Indians, secretly wish they were White too?
I blame the atomic bomb, myself.
An act of wanton cruelty
The tree was given to the city in 1942 as a birthday gift from Hitler to the then-head of the town council, said 80-year-old Kazimierz Polak, who was an eyewitness to the planting. Local politicians have called for the tree to be removed.If the tree actually remembers Mr Hitler, despite being presumably barely more than an acorn at the time, then it is clearly a sentient and intelligent being and must not be subjected to this vicious act of arboricide.
“The tree remembers the biggest criminal in the history of mankind,” Jaslo mayor Maria Kurovska told a Polish newspaper. She has ordered the oak to be chopped down and publicly burned.
There is a serious breach of arboreal rights here. The ECAR must rule on the issue.
SAVE THE JASLO ONE!
02 July, 2009
Department of gratuitous jokes: a shaggy rabbi story
You know the old adage about the cobbler being the worst shod person in the town, well despite spending 25 years as a — no laughing at the back there — IT professional, spending altogether too much of my time banging on about the need for regular backups and prioritizing data integrity over performance despite the objections of my customers, not only did I fail to make a precautionary rollback image before running the Service Pack, but when it came to picking up the pieces I found that my last C: drive image was the one made after initial post-purchase configuration of this machine in November 2007. Oh the shame of it.
And so fate took its revenge and Service Pack 2 froze, mid install, leaving the machine in an interestingly unpredictable state — interesting in the "Chinese" sense.
Actually, I suspect my "professional" experience may have been actively unhelpful. You get used to working with standard builds and a "burn and build" approach to restoring the operating system and core application set of a failed box before reloading the data. Perhaps there are reasons why the cobbler goes ill-shod.
So while no "actual" data was lost — that never lives on the C: drive and does get backed up obsessively — I've had a happy few days reinstalling and configuring applications (and doing checkpoint images!). The silver lining is that I now have a clean, more reliable machine without all that crap that seemed like a good idea at the time.
Anyway, there were two old men in deckchairs...
No, no, no. Not that one. Have you heard about the latest idea in sustainable, green energy: the Greenwood Patent Rabbinical Generator?
1. Visit a Jewish cemetery and locate the grave of a deceased rabbi. The rabbi should have been of the Orthodox persuasion, the more Orthodox the better.
2. Attach necessary generating paraphernalia — rotor, stator, cables, etc — as necessary.
3. Place a ham and cheese roll at each side of the grave.
4. Wait for the late rabbi to spin up to speed.
5. Connect to national grid.
6. Replenish ham and cheese rolls from time to time.
Ah the joys of kashruth and the rods people make for their own backs.