Archive for the ‘freedom’ Category

Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story

November 22, 2010

Martin Durkin does it again

We all remember Martin Durkin and his wonderful documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, that so thoroughly upset and embarrassed the ABC a couple of years ago. The ABC Collective was so outraged that, from memory, it was the first time they had issued a formal disclaimer that the documentary in no way reflected the views of the ABC …  ahem … as if the ABC has a particular view in the first place.

Anyway, Durkin has produced a new and timely documentary on Britain’s financial woes, Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story. According to James Delingpole in the Spectator, it is the most important programme to have appeared on British television this year. It has not, to my knowledge, been reviewed or discussed anywhere in Australia.

From what I have gleaned from the British press reviews and seen from the promos, it is quite a confronting piece, just as his Swindle was for believers in global warming. Whilst most of us know about debt and the shake up from the GFC, there is still much disquiet. In our hearts, most of us don’t really believe that it is all over, or that our leaders have much of a clue. Delingpole recons that unless David Cameron actually does something to reduce government spending, rather than just cutting the rate of increase of government spending, Britain will end up like Honecker’s East Germany.

Last year our government spent more in benefits than it raised in income tax. One third of households in Britain now receive more than half their income in state benefits. Yet our national debt now stands at £4.8 trillion — a figure so large it’s hard even to imagine. If you stacked that figure up in £50 notes, you’d have a pile reaching 6,500 miles into space. If you sold every single house and flat in Britain to try to pay off the debt, you’d still be £1 trillion short …

‘Ah,’ goes up the bien-pensant cry. ‘But if we cut government spending too drastically front-line services will suffer.’ Oh, really? Of the £700 billion-plus of our money currently being squandered every year by the government, only around £200 billion goes on doctors, teachers, police and other ‘key workers’. Most of it simply goes on administration, on diversity-outreach consultants, on climate-change advisers, on entirely pointless government ‘initiatives’ such as the various ones devised to cope with our failing education system: the Numeracy Task Force, the National Skills Academy, Early Learning Partnerships, Excellence Hubs, Learning Outside the Classroom, Parenting Early Intervention Pathfinders, The Framework for Personal and Learning Skills.

I wonder if our ABC intends to show this doco, even forgetting their bad experience with Durkin. The problem for them is that whilst Australia is at the moment in a more fortunate place than Britain, it will remind viewers very much of the Rudd/Gillard profligacy that Mr Swann, the Independents and almost all the commentariat are helping to justify, especially with their obstinacy over the NBN.

What Durkin, and many other international commentators like Niall Furguson are reminding us, is that our politicians, including Obama and the Fed in the US, just don’t seem to know what they are doing.

A delusion about Muslims

September 1, 2010

Moderate Islam. What exactly is it?

The debate over the mosque near Ground Zero in New York is taking wings. Largely a local concern for New Yorkers, it has ramifications for all of us. The dominant issue is about competing notions of tolerance and the centrality of  the concept of what exactly constitutes  a  “moderate”, and therefore tollerant Muslim.

A short piece by Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim appeared in The Australian today, extracted from a Wall Street Journal symposium on the question: What Is Moderate Islam?

Anwar made some very reasonable points; that “the quest for the moderate Muslim in the 21st century is akin to the search for the Holy Grail,” given that the association between Islam and terrorism is so wide spread and so constantly being reinforced by the fact of so many atrocities. He feels for ordinary Muslims, “whose identities have been drowned by events beyond their control.”

But some feel you cannot have the one without the other. Rod Liddle in last week’s UK Spectator, commented on the Ground Zero mosque debate. He dares to believe that there is a lot delusion on both sides when discussing issues of moderation and tolerance. Quoting from the illuminating 2006 Pew Research Centre study into Muslim attitudes throughout the world, he concludes rather pessimistically about those whom we in the West are eager to call mostly moderate;

The Pew study discovered that there was not a single Muslim country in the world where the majority of the population was able to accept that the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim, Arabic or anything other than part of the George W. Bush CIA-filthy Jew alliance. There is epic delusion on every side, in other words.

The burka again: contempt for our openess

August 5, 2010

Burka is legal, but it’s about manners

A PERTH Muslim woman is now waiting for Perth District Court judge Shauna Deane to decide whether she can wear a burka while giving evidence in a case brought against Anwar Sayed, director of the Muslim Ladies College of Australia for fraud. Again, much ink and air time has been expended on this persistent, and very strongly felt issue.

Hugo Rifkind, a columnist for the British Spectator, recently wrote the best, most common sense, opinion about what should be done with the burka in Western countries in relation to the tricky problem of “rights”. Conjuring up the idea of wearing underpants on his head — any, his own, porn-star panties, Victorian bloomers — he explains that he has the right go into a Post Office, a Jobcentre, a school, a church or a mosque. “Such is my right, as a freeborn Brit, and nobody has the right to force me to take them off.”

But I don’t have the right to not be told by people who see me that I look like an idiot. I don’t have the right not to be asked if I wouldn’t perhaps mind growing the hell up, and taking them off.

When did the world suddenly decide that the right to do something necessarily entailed the right not to be politely asked to stop doing it? It’s a dangerous nonsense. None of this is about ‘rights’ at all. It’s about manners. Security concerns aside, of course, women should have the right to wear the burka, anywhere they like. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an inherently repellent garment, the wearing of which, in Britain, is basically just rude. So stop it.

So, getting back to the Perth woman; she was reported as saying “I’d like to make it very clear that … it’s a personal choice and we lead a very normal active life just like everyone else.”

Well I say that this is plain silly. How can she claim to lead a normal, active life with a sack covering her head? In Western countries it is simply not normal to cover your face and deprive everyone in public of seeing who you are, and then to expect to interact with you in a normal way. It is not normal to be an Australian women and feel uncomfortable showing your face in front of men other than your immediate family because you believe “intermingling” between the sexes encourages adultery.

Perth District Court judge Shauna Deane clearly has the judicial power to maintain her own standards of conduct and respect in her own court. Let us hope she has the courage, or the conviction, that to be hidden from view for personal reasons might just be considered to hold the court, the judge, the jury and the public in contempt.

The beauty of our system is that, in this case, the witness has the right to refuse to attend.

UPDATE

The Prime Minister has worked out which side her electoral bread is buttered.

BURQAS should be removed when the public interest overrides personal choice, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.

The Left and Israel

June 9, 2010

Unerringly, they always seem to back the wrong horse

Recently, I mentioned  the excellent book by Nick Cohen, What’s Left? How liberals lost their way, in which he asks why the international Left have an unerring propensity for supporting groups who, it would seem, contradict everything the Left stands for.

Spanish ex-politician, Pilar Rahola, a journalist and activist, also from the ideological left, feels even more strongly than Cohen about the absurd hypocrisy of the Western anti-Israeli Left and questions why it is indeed attracted to groups with fascist, totalitarian and anti-liberal impulses.

As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the Left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles. Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.

It is nice to hear a voice from the Spanish speaking world which also apparently has extensive influence throughout Latin America.

Spot the Afghan woman?

May 5, 2010

An old joke, but now a debating issue.


This was on old joke that at first glance appears to be cruel. However, with the debate on burquas in Europe taking off in earnest, people are facing up to what seems so self evident. The photo is indeed shocking. No surprise then that last year the French President Nicolas Sarkozy came out and said what most people think; that burquas are incompatible with equal rights for women.

But just as European jurisdictions are acting to destigmatise the treatment of women [from looking like rubbish bags] there has been condemnation from Muslim groups for … stigmatizing Muslims.

Muslims in the French city of Nantes, where a woman was fined for driving while wearing an Islamic veil, have expressed concerns over stigmatizing Muslims. “The Muslims of Nantes are worried by this systematic stigmatization which goes against the values of the Republic,” the collective of Nantes Mosques said in a statement on Sunday.

[Thanks to reader PG for finding the photo]

UPDATE:

A report from Italy via Andrew Bolt

A Muslim woman queuing at a post office in Italy has been fined £430 for wearing a burka in public.  Amel Marmouri was spotted by police and penalised in the first case of its kind in Italy.

The 26-year-old Tunisian lives in Novara – 50km (30 miles) west of Milan – where the mayor brought in laws banning clothing that ‘prevents the immediate identification of the wearer inside public buildings, schools and hospitals’.

Husband Ben Salah Braim, 36, said: ‘We knew about the law and I know that it’s not against my religion but now Amel will have to stay indoors. I can’t have other men looking at her.’

I wonder if the European Human Rights commission would have any rules about involuntary imprisonment and whether it would care about the fate of Novara? By the logic of the husband, the wearing of the burka by his wife must also be a form of “visual” imprisonment, because he “can’t have other men looking at her”. The dreary conclusion of the apologists, that this woman will not be allowed out of the home because of the burka ban, will be interpreted as an oppressive Italian law.

The heartening news is that some Muslim groups in Italy DO NOT agree.

‘We have always said we are against face veils or coverings in Italy because the law of recognition has to be observed,’ said Imam Izzedin Elzir, president of the Islamic Community and Organisations Union in Italy.

Dhimmitude and cartoons

May 4, 2010

Western values being dhimminished by the day

The threat to submit to Islam is constantly with us. A type of dhimmitude is being imposed on all of us, not through superior logic, moral suasion, or appeals to our tollerance, but through brute force and physical intimidation. The 200th episode of South Park has been subjected to censorship, because Comedy Central responded to death threats for showing Mohamed disguised in a bear costume.

Janet Albrechtsen writes,

Whether you like it or not, South Park offers cutting-edge commentary on Western culture. Muslims are entitled to adhere to their religious rules. No one is forcing them to draw the prophet Mohammed. But that does not mean Western societies built on freedom of expression must do the same… Each time we step down from defending Western values such as freedom of expression, our retreat signals a weary acceptance that Islamic rules apply by default.

The rot of course started when British Muslims in their thousands marched down the streets shouting “Death to Rushdie” in 1989 over Salmon Rushdie’s new book The Satanic Verses. At the time it was against the law to incite murder. The police lined the streets and stood by, almost as a guard of honour.

Then came the Danish cartoons. The worst of it is that these threats to our freedom of expression are blatant,  conscious, political manoeverings to impose a form of dhimmitude on the West. Showing images of Mohammed has nothing to do with offence or insult. Just after the Danish cartoons were published in the Jyllands-Posten, six of them were reproduced in an Egyptian newspaper in October 17, 2005 with absolutely no reaction from local people. And it was Ramadan. It took months before a contrived and organised scandal was made of it.

Albrechtsen quotes the courageous campaigner, Hirsi Ali on CNN a few days after the South Park controversy,

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote the script for Submission, said van Gogh was dead and she was still alive because she was surrounded by security guards. “I still have protection,” she said. That will change only when more and more of us defend those values that have served us so well. Then: “There will be too many people to threaten and at that time I won’t need protection.” And the West will have reasserted itself as a confident culture, capable of defending freedom of expression.

PC gone mad

April 28, 2010

Belgians’ guilt for being White Men

Here we go again with more political correctness on race. The famous Tintin, Belgian artist Herge’s most loved adventurer, is being taken to court for having 19th century attitudes in the 21st century.

“This book contains unacceptable racist and xenophobic words which are designed to convey the idea that the black man is inferior,” Maitre Papis Tshimpangila, Mbutu Mondondo’s lawyer, told The Times.

The court was asked to study a series of scenes in which Congolese villagers fight over a straw hat, wonder how to add two and two or express admiration for the superior intelligence of their white rulers.”

What do people imagine that encounters with Africans were like one hundred years ago? That Belgians were arguably the most appalling colonists in Africa is well known, but what about the indescribable anarchy that exists today in the Congo, where millions have been raped and slaughtered in the most barbaric way.

It reminds me of all those period films where smoking is now disallowed, or the famous Beatle’s Abby Road album which has had a cigarette erased from one of the Fab Four’s hand. What about all those many documentaries on Hitler? Do they censor the appalling attitudes expressed by the Nazis towards Jews?


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