Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

The following article goes a lot of the way towards explaining what's wrong with the UK education system

Read it here

Pesach in Toronto

I'm spending Pesach in Toronto with my parents in law.

This is how they dispose of Chametz over here. Local regulations prohibit residents from burning fires in their backyard, so all chametz has to be burned in the Shul yard, under the watchful eye of the local fire department.

No doubt, 100 years from now, the tradition will become Jewish law. The Rabbis will ordain that all chametz has to be burned communally in the Shul yard. No one will remember where the law originated from.

Chag Sameach to everyone!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Red Ken shows his true colours

London's Mayor is on his first visit to China and already he's put his foot in it.... not for criticising the Chinese heaven forbid, but by comparing the Tiananmen Square massacre with the poll tax riot in Trafalgar Square in 1990. Not much difference when you think about it, give or take a few hundred deaths.

Yesterday he was unrepentant, telling reporters: "All countries have done terrible things. The question is what are we going to do in the future. We could stand here and discuss whether China’s human rights record is or isn’t better than anyone else’s."

He went on to say that Trafalgar Square too had seen its share of violence, for example the 1990 poll tax riots."I said that great squares in town centres have an interesting past. I suppose the nearest parallel would be the Peterloo Massacre."

Except that the 11 were killed in the Peterloo massacre and it ultimately led to universal sufferage, and the liberal democracy that we today take for granted. The Chinese authorities by contrast shot hundreds dead at Tiananmen Square and China has retreated from democratic change ever since, but these are only minor details to Ken.

The Mayor's comments tell you a lot about his attitude and the mentality of many on the political left in general, who seem to despise their own country and the West in general more than they despise despotism.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The lunatics are running the asylum

If you want to see a single example of what a madhouse Britain has become, take the case of a ten year old schoolboy who appeared in court this week for making racist comments to his classmate. Whilst the victim was called "Paki" and "Bin Laden", it emerged that the victim of the alleged abuse was cautioned for calling his tormentor "white trash" (although he wasn't prosecuted). The only person with an ounce of common sense during this whole sorry affair has been the presiding judge Jonathan Finestein:
"Have we really got to the stage where we are prosecuting 10-year-old boys because of political correctness? I was repeatedly called fat at school. Does this amount to a criminal offence? This is political correctness gone mad, it's crazy.

Nobody is more against racist abuse than me, but these are boys in a playground. I think somebody should consider reversing the decision to prosecute.

In the old days, the headmaster would have got them both and given them a good clouting. He would have said they had behaved like idiots, given them the slipper or whatever they used to get, and they would have gone away to shake hands."
The district judge said it was wrong for children to have racist views but he was "anxious to avoid the criminal conviction of somebody so young". Addressing the boys' parents, he said: "I'm not blaming you. Kids hear these things. But to refer to people as Pakis or refer to their race or religion is wrong. This is how stupid the whole system is getting. There are major crimes out there and the police don't bother to prosecute."

That the incident ended up in court is bad enough. But What really beggars belief is the number of people who have tried to defend it. Chris Kelly, general secretary of the headteachers' union NASUWT, said: "Judges have a responsibility to be aware of the impact of comments so close to local elections....What his comments have done is feed the pernicious agenda of the far Right, who are fielding candidates in many local elections."

I'm not quite sure how the Judge (who himself is Jewish) has fed the agenda of the far right, particularly as he made light of how unnacceptable racism is.

Judith Elderkin, national executive member of the National Union of Teachers, said she thought Mr Finestein was "a bit out of date" on the ways issues are handled in schools. "It is quite possible that the Crown Prosecution Service may want to take action - not necessarily because of that one case on its own, but because of the effect the message that they are taking action may have on others. Racist abuse, whether it be verbal, physical, psychological or on the internet, is not tolerated nowadays. Schools have to report it. They don't have any choice; it is a legal requirement. The judge needs telling that it's no longer within the control of the school to handle incidents of racial bullying. The CPS is abiding by guidelines."

So schools have to report racist abuse? Presumably child abuse is a crime too, but how often do schools report bullying to the police? It really doesn't add up.

So, the next time your house gets burgled, or if you're unfortunate enough to get mugged, please be patient when calling the police, they clearly have more important things to do.