Monday, November 26, 2007

Quote of the week

This actually appeared in last week's Spectator. Charles Moore's comments are worth quoting in full:
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain, was in the clerical party at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Day. I wonder what he was commemorating. The MCB consistently refuses to condemn the killing and kidnapping of British servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. The day before, Dr Abdul Bari said that Britain resembled Nazi Germany. In its recent report, ‘The Hijacking of British Islam’, the think-tank Policy Exchange revealed that among the various publications for sale at Dr Abdul Bari’s East London Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre (as well as one called Women Who Deserve To Go To Hell) is a multi-volume, Saudi-funded work called Islamic Verdicts. The book includes questions and answers. In one, a man seeks guidance because he lives with ‘Christian brothers’. The answer starts by saying that the phrase must be ‘a slip of the tongue’ because ‘there is absolutely no brotherhood between the Muslims and the Christians’. Dr Abdul Bari stood with Christian clergy in apparent fraternity in Whitehall on Sunday, yet when the Daily Telegraph on Saturday invited him to condemn the publications sold under his roof he defended them on the grounds that the bookshops are ‘independent businesses’. I rather think that if you could buy a book called, for instance, The Only Good Muslim is a Dead Muslim, in the Westminster Abbey bookshop, Dr Abdul Bari would (rightly) have something to say.

A victory for common sense

It is reassuring to see that just occasionally, common sense still prevails in this country. OfCom, the TV regulator have thrown out the complaints made by West Midlands Police about Undercover Mosque. (After an undercover documentary was made about extremism being preached from supposedly moderate mosques, the West Midlands Police rejected calls to take action against the preachers for stirring up racial hatred and instead pursued a complaint against the film-makers, accusing them of undermining community relations).

Perhaps the police will start doing what they're paid to do, protecting the local community against criminals (such as Imams preaching race hatred), rather than policing free speech. Unfortunately, this will not happen until the police are freed of political control. Too many of our public services are politicised, and are commandeered to serve a particular government policy rather than serving the public. The sooner we have elected police chiefs, answerable to the local community, the better.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The government tries to shut Amway down

It has been reported in the Times that the Government is taking Amway to court over its business practices.

I can't say I'm particularly surprised.

When representatives of Amway try to sign you up, they don't say a word about their products. Their sales spiel is all about "network marketing" and achieving your dream of financial independence: It works something like this. You build a network of sales people to whom supply Amway's products to, and each of them builds up another network of sales people that they supply to, and eventually, you have enough networks of sales people beneath you to earn a decent commission on all the accumulated sales. Each sales person only needs monthly sales of a few hundred of pounds, as the amount of points you accumulate from all the salespeople combined can translate into thousands of pounds.

Then there are the motivational books, tapes and seminars which all cost an arm and a leg. Just occasionally, the merchandise gets a mention.

Amway UK has responded to the government's investigation by imposing a three-month moratorium on recruitment of new distributors in the UK. Not sure how all their "associates" will make their money as their whole business model relies on the recruitment of new sales people.

Supporters of Amway will say their business model works. Attend any of their seminars and you'll hear dozens of testimonials from successful distributors (why do they always play "eye of the tiger" at motivational seminars?). The problem is, it's only the top 5% who make any serious money. For all the other poor sods at the bottom, it's nothing more than a dream, and an expensive dream at that.