Political correctness, 2005.
Leicester Mercury brings back the black art of censorship
Mr Nick Carter, Editor of the Leicester Mercury, said that he woud give VERITAS equal press coverage for all the VERITAS candidates standing in his newspaper's circulation areas. They include:
Duncan Shelley - Rutland and Melton
Ken Rosebalde - Leicester South
Edward Spalton - Derbyshire South
Colin Brown - Leicester East
John McVay - Loughborough
Barrie Wilkins - Daventry.
There was just one tiny condition, however. The VERITAS candidates had to sign up to what was billed as an 'anti-racism declaration'. They looked at it and found that they could sign up to 99% of this declaration. But there was one sentence that they could not, in all conscience, sign up to. This was a sentence that committed them to actively promote the philosophy of multiculturalism.
That was strange indeed, given that the Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, wrote a long article in 'The Times' last year in which he state, emphatically, that 'multiculturalism is dead'. A few days later, the left-wing writer Polly Toynbee, in 'The Guardian', wrote a lengthy article agreeing with him. Labour Ministers like David Blunkett also came out and said that it was now time to promote Britishness, and the British identity. They proposed - and introduced - a citizenship ceremony to strengthen a feeling of Britishness and a commitment to Britain. David Blunkett said that all should speak English. Earlier, Sir Herman Ouseley had reported, with pessimism, about the serious breakdown of multiculturalsim in Bradford, following the Bradfrod riots.
Yet Mr Carter, because of the refusal of VERITAS candidates to agree to one sentence in his declaration, has banned all except minimal coverage of VERITAS in his newspapers in the General Election campaign. It is censorship. Claiming to stand up for multiculturalism, which he claims and hails as the 'basis of our society', Mr Carter is in fact doing the reverse. He is denying VERITAS British values of fair play and freedom of speech, the kind of things that hundreds of thousands of British servicemen gave their lives defending in two World Wars.
P.I. comment: How strange that a newspaper editor should want to stifle free speech and support something as divisive as multiculturalism. Has this man his own agenda? As usual, mindless political correctness has the opposite effect from that intended. If you feel this man is an *** then why not email and tell him so at:
NCarter@leicestermercury.co.uk (external - login to view)
or NickCarter@leicestermercury.co.uk (external - login to view)
Nazi salute costs a scientist £175
A British scientist was arrested after giving a Nazi salute to a worker at Frankfurt airport. Dr George Thorburn, 55, was surrounded by police after giving the salute and shouting, ‘Sieg heil!' in a row over excess baggage. All symbols of the Nazi era are banned in Germany. Dr Thorburn, of Straford-on-Avon, an agriculture specialist for the EU, was given a £175 spot fine and freed. ‘The police said if I had just called this rather stroppy supervisor an arsehole I would have got away with it,' he said.
P.I. comment: This may be the forerunner of things to come if we keep this government much longer or agree to the EU constitution!
BBC wastes £60,000 of your money on rubbish
To the uneducated eye, it is nothing more than the figure of a lonely little bird stuck on top of a pole. But according to artist Tracey Emin, it is a Roman Standard representing strength and femininity. Sadly for the television licence fee payer, it also represents a bill for £60,000. The BBC handed over the cash after commissioning the work for ‘art05', a celebration of culture in North West England.
P.I. comment: The BBC does it again. What has gone wrong with this once great organisation? They have lost their way. I don't mind if Charles Saatchi wants to waste his own personal money on buying Tracey Emin's juvenile offerings but the BBC was using licence payer's money and should know better.
Nanny State says pensioners can't sing along (from The Daily Mail)
Every Monday afternoon, scores of pensioners would gather at a seaside hotel to keep a great British tradition alive. They would take part in an old time music hall singalong, heartily giving voice to the popular tunes of yesteryear, accompanied by a professional singer and an organist. Now, however, they have been silenced after the local council said the event was karaoke and needed an entertainment licence. Hotel owner Janet Kirk was told she faced a £20,000 fine if any member of the audience joined in. The news has astonished the pensioners who regularly flocked to the Pier Hotel in Morecambe, Lancashire.
Mrs Kirk, 45, who started the singalongs after taking over the hotel in November, said: ‘I think what the council has done is disgusting. I got a compere who sings the old time songs and an organist in from Blackpool to try to do something for the older people in the town. At first there were only four people but then word spread and the place used to be packed. They would come from all over the North-West and even from Yorkshire. But then a couple of weeks ago four licensing officers from the council turned up and said the event was classed as karaoke. I was stunned. It is nothing like karaoke. It is a music hall-style free and easy where everyone has a good old-fashioned singalong. There are no backing tracks, no screens and no words'.
She added: ‘I don't think I will be able to afford an entertainment licence. You pay £315 up front for an application and then the council tell you what work needs doing and it is not cheap. I don't know what it will cost but I would have thought it will be around £3,000 a year because you need to look at all the electrics and damage to doors and disability access etc. Then you have to go to the police. The whole process takes months.'
Elsie Lake, 69, who attends the event every Monday with her husband Donald, 75, said: ‘I think the council is rubbish. We are not doing any harm. It is a great day out for us. We have friends who like to sing but have stopped coming because they can't. It is wrong.'
P.I. comment: Thanks Nanny for spoiling the pensioners fun. You can't say it is on safety grounds as it was held in a hotel and all was ok provided they didn't sing!
Is this why children are not taught how to read? (from The Daily Mail)
There is a scandal so huge that it ought to bring down the Government. Experts have discovered a way of teaching children to read which is far better than the one used in most State schools. But the Government supports a method which is dramatically worse, so condemning millions of children to dyslexia and illiteracy. It is actually even more unforgivable than that, but let us begin with the research. It revealed that what is nowadays known as ‘synthetic phonics' is hugely more successful than the so-called ‘mixture of methods' used in the Government's laughable ‘National Literacy Strategy'. In tests, primary school children using synthetic phonics were ahead of those using Government-approved schemes in every way. At 11, they were reading at levels expected of 15-year-olds. Their spelling was almost two years ahead. Significantly, boys – who lag behind girls when taught by Government methods – overtook girls. Doesn't the Government know this? Well, it does, and it doesn't care. The research, trumpeted last weekend was, in fact, a follow-up of work done five years ago which showed exactly the same thing. As far back as 1955, the English-speaking educational world was convulsed by Rudolf Flesch's book Why Johnny Can't Read, which showed synthetic phonics was best. In fact, though it wasn't called synthetic phonics, this method was used successfully all over the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Socialist-inspired new methods didn't really invade British primaries until the disastrous 1967 Plowden report endorsed ‘progressive' teaching. So why is this Government, which pretends to be so worried about education, flatly ignoring more than a century of experience combined with modern research? Because it supports the ‘progressive' education establishment which sees radical social engineering as more important than schooling. Real education is impossible without the things these ‘progressive' tyrants wish to destroy – discipline, authority, order, tradition, learning by heart, rigorous examinations, selection. Phonics is taught through discipline and repetition. For them, schools are machines for indoctrinating the young in radical ideas – hence their abolition of traditional history, the loaded new classes in ‘citizenship' and ‘Personal Social and Health Education', and the obsession with antimarriage sex education.
P.I. comment: The Labour Party don't care about the education of normal children otherwise they would never have abolished the Grammar Schools in the mid 1960s. This was the one route that allowed poorer children to advance themselves. Now all those children whose parents are poor or can't manage to live in the right areas are left to sink. Remember that when you vote!
Road to pension disaster (from The Daily Mail)
Welcome to two-nation Britain. While private pensions have been seriously damaged by New Labour's £5 billion a year raid, featherbedded public-sector provision roars ahead. Pensions for the growing army of civil servants and other state employees will cost nearly £700billion in the decades ahead. There is no money to meet this unprecedented demand. Every penny will come out of your pockets. Yet the unions resist every attempt to restore sanity. They claim public sector workers deserve their handsome, unfunded pensions to compensate for lower pay – even though they earn more on average than private employees. In the long term, these figures can't make sense. The public sector is in danger of swamping the wealth-creating parts of our economy. Unless those on the public payroll pay more for their pensions or work longer, Britain is on the road to disaster.
P.I. comment: One wouldn't mind if these pension went to those in the front line services (Police, Fire, Doctors and Nurses) but most will go to those employed in ever increasing numbers to do the dark deeds of New Labour and the EU, the beaurocrats and the meddlers that poke their noses in to every aspect of our lives.
‘Darkie Day' parade is investigated for racism (from The Daily Mail)
It is a tradition which has been played out for two centuries. Twice a year, locals in the Cornish fishing port of Padstow have taken part in the so-called Darkie Day processions. In what is thought to be a tribute to slaves who sang and danced on their quay side in the 18th century, they black up their faces and perform traditional ballads while organising collections for charity. But now the revels are being investigated by the police for signs of racism. Dozens of officers turned up at one of the processions – held on Boxing Day and New Year's Day – equipped with video recorders to film evidence which might be used in a prosecution for racial hatred. Their tape has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will decide whether there is a case under the Race Relations Act. Inciting racial hatred carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years. Anyone taking part in the procession could be considered for prosecution.
In a tourist town with a negligible crime rate, the expenditure on the case – not to say the sudden arrival of so many extra officers – has baffled locals. Padstow's town clerk Marian Sedgwick said: ‘The police have consistently turned down the council's calls for more police officers, on the grounds that the crime rate is too low. ‘We get kids hanging around the bus station who can be a nuisance, but when we ask for extra police we're told there isn't enough crime.' Devon and Cornwall police sent four police vanloads of officers to patrol the last New Year procession, which raised money for St Petroc's, the parish church. Linda Reynolds, a 50-year-old newsagent whose partner is black, said there was nothing racist about the festival, which is described by tourist chiefs as a ‘traditional Cornish custom'. ‘I have always gone out to Darkie Day. It's a tradition I grew up with,' she said. ‘If it was even vaguely racist I would be the first one to stand up and shout about it. I can't think of anybody who has a racist thought on Darkie Day.'
A pub landlord, who plays the accordion at the event but did not want to be named, said locals were outraged by the police's behaviour. ‘Having a police presence at the festival is completely unnecessary,' he said. ‘It just makes you wonder where taxpayers' money is going.' District councillor Sarah Townrow said Padstow residents were ‘fed up with being pushed around'. She said Britain was becoming a ‘nanny state', adding: ‘Nobody has got any malice in them. I am sure there is no more trouble goes on at Darkie Day than at any other celebration in any town in the country. We just want to be left alone to enjoy it.'
P.I. comment: Come back George Orwell - all is forgiven. This is only the tip of the iceberg to what will happen when the new super quango 'The Commission for Equality and Human Rights' gets going and uses its sweeping powers to police and enforce human rights. It will be empowered to investigate allegations of discrimination, force people to give evidence and set rules to be adhered to by companies and voluntary organisations. The body will protect equal rights for women, ethnic minorities, the disabled, the elderly, homosexuals, transsexuals and religious and belief groups (costing us taxpayers £200 million a year for the privilege). It will promote human rights – both those set down in law and ‘other' as yet undefined rights – and harry public bodies that pay too little attention to them. And it will churn out regular reports on how well society is obeying its rules. Thanks for warning us Mr Orwell!
Early-release prisoners ‘send crime rate soaring'
Letting thousands of prisoners out of jail early has led to soaring levels of reoffending and huge numbers of avoidable crimes, it was claimed last night. Almost six out of ten adults released from prison are convicted of another offence within two years – significantly more than when Labour took office in 1997, figures show. More use of early release on probation or electronic tagging schemes means thousands of offenders now spend less time behind bars. Critics claim the strategy is simply a way of easing severe jail overcrowding. The Tories blamed the Government's wholesale expansion of early release schemes. Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: ‘This is a direct consequence of the Government's failure on prison policy, which has resulted in thousands of unnecessary victims. Labour's answer to prison overcrowding is to release prisoners early – denying them adequate rehabilitation.' Mr Davis said the Tories would build more prison capacity and fund 20,000 more treatment places for hard drug addicts ‘to ensure prisoners serve the sentence they deserve but also receive the rehabilitation they need'. Serial criminal Manny Davis was released from prison 15 months early – and within a year killed a woman by running her over with her own car. In August 2000 he was jailed for stealing £12,000 from a house then smashing into a police car as he fled. He assaulted a police officer, drove off in his car and crashed into a truck, causing its driver serious head injuries. Davis had 13 convictions for burglary, aggravated car theft, driving while disqualified, and had served several prison terms. But he served only two years of a three years and three months sentence and within months of his release in August 2002 he was wanted for burglary offences. Then in July 2003 he hijacked June Everitt's car, dragging her under its wheels to her death. Davis, 30, a heroin addict, struggled with the 52-year-old businesswoman near her Luton home. He was brought to justice only after DNA samples from Miss Everitt's key fob matched a sample from the police database. Davis, from St Albans,was sentenced to life for murder, with a recommendation he serve at least 18 years.
P.I. comment: At the risk of repeating myself yet again, I will point out that while offenders are behind bars they can't commit further crimes. So for the vast majority of us - prison does work!
Defiant Livingstone still stands by his Nazi slur
Ken Livingstone still refuses to apologise last night over his Nazi jibe at a Jewish reporter. The London Mayor had accused Oliver Finegold of behaving like a ‘concentration camp guard'. Mr Finegood's 'crime' was to ask Mr Livingstone if he had enjoyed the party at City Hall marking 20 years since former Culture Secretary Chris Smith's decision to ‘come out' as the first gay MP. The event is estimated to have cost taxpayers about £4,000. The mayor has denied that this was a misuse of public funds. Yesterday a deputation of three concentration camp survivors arrived at City Hall expecting to hear Mr Livingstone say sorry. They delivered a petition accusing him of having ‘belittled' the Holocaust, making light of their suffering and abusing the millions who died.
P.I. comment: Will I disagree with most of what Ken Livingstone says, I still stand up for his right to say it. Remember that if he didn't come out publically with all this stuff then the public wouldn't know what an odious little twerp he was and might continue to vote for him.
Home Office take PC to new levels
To Tracey Barnes they were just a pair of routine passport photographs of her baby son. But when she sent them off to apply for the document she was astonished to be told that the pictures were ‘unacceptable' because Muslims might find them offensive. The reason given by the UK Passport Service was that seven month-old Lewis was not wearing a top. Last night, the 36-year-old housewife said she was furious and accused the Home Office agency of taking political correctness to bizarre new levels. Her view was backed by Muslim groups, who called the decision ‘ridiculous'. They accused officials of misinterpreting Islam, pointing out that rules of modesty only apply to Muslims when they reach adolescence.
P.I. comment: Again political correctness is applied on behalf of a group that obviously don't want it by officials that have been brow-beaten by PC seminars.
Home Secretary reveals his true views on immigration to Labour activists
Charles Clarke has insisted he wants more people to seek refuge in Britain. The Home Secretary said it was a ‘moral and legal duty' to encourage asylum seekers and economic migrants. His remarks, to Labour activists, were seized on by opponents as wrecking one of Tony Blair's key General Election pledges – ‘Your country's borders protected.' Unveiling it recently, the Prime Minister said his party should no longer be seen as soft on migration. But Tory home affairs spokesman David Davis said that the promise had been ‘completely undermined' by Mr Clarke. There were also fears that the Home Secretary's remarks will encourage millions to think Britain's borders are wide open.
P.I. comment: So now we know! Amazing what people will say when they think they are among friends. Don't vote New Labour!
More lottery madness
The new quango that distributes National Lottery money to worthy causes has handed £360,000 to a pressure group for ‘sex workers' – but turned down the Samaritans for a £300,000 grant. The Big Lottery Fund, successor to the Community Fund, ruled that the application by the Samaritans – who need an office for 120 volunteers in Sheffield – demanded too much money and had failed to do enough to meet the needs of ‘target groups'. The Samaritans said they were ‘disappointed' by the fund's decision and that they believed they were being penalised for their anonymous telephone befriending service, which does not discriminate between callers or require them to say which ethnic or social category they belong to. Sheffield Samaritans spokesman Isabel Blincow said she was told by a fund official that the Samaritans had ‘done well' on most aspects of the application but were ‘let down' in their explanation of who their work targeted. She added: ‘They explained there were five categories – the young, the elderly and their carers, ethnic minorities, asylum seekers and people disadvantaged by society. ‘If we had appealed to one or more of these groups specifically then we probably would have been awarded the grant, but because our work is across the board and does not target individual groups we failed.'
P.I. comment: I've commented on these silly PC grants before. The Samaritans do wonderful work and are responsible for saving the lives of countless suicidal people. But because they do not operate in a politically correct way they are refused funding. DO NOT BUY LOTTERY TICKETS!
The work shy British force boss to recruit Poles (from The Daily Mail)
A businessman has revealed that he has to recruit workers from Poland because English people on benefits have ‘given up on the work ethic'. Nick Warner, who runs a business supplying workers to pack boxes for supermarkets, said yesterday that 95 per cent of the 400 people on his books were Polish or Portuguese. Poles were the most reliable and displayed a ‘terrific attitude', he added. ‘They wish to work,' said Mr Warner. ‘You can ask them to work tomorrow and they will be waiting for you to pick them up in the morning. ‘The average English guy we are looking for has given up on the work ethic – there is just no incentive to find employment.'
Mr Warner, group general manager of Central London-based Good People Recruitment, added: ‘We work very closely with job centres to get people off Job seekers Allowance and into full-time employment. ‘But we have found that, with the other benefits they are often on, such as housing benefit and child support payments, they can earn more sitting on their backsides doing nothing than they can working 40 hours a week for us. ‘We have a great problem motivating these people.'
His comments were supported by Ruth Lea director of the Centre for Policy Studies, a Tory-leaning think tank. ‘Mr Warner is right – people respond to incentive, it is natural, but benefits cut this incentive,' she said. ‘The more we give without them having to work, the less inclined they will be to work.'
P.I. comment: Anyone who doubts that should read Jack Bartholomew's book ' The Welfare State We're In' which shows direct correlation throughout history of how over generous welfare benefits damage society.
How New Labour made 1,000 new crimes (from The Daily Mail)
Tony Blair came to power boasting he would be tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime. Eight years on, it appears that phrase could come back to haunt him. For Labour has invented more than 1,000 new crimes since their first General Election win. But far from being tough on those that matter, ministers have been swamping police and courts with five new offences a fortnight, according to the Liberal Democrats. These include crimes such as evasion of dental or eye treatment fees (maximum penalty £2,500). And, while it is feared the figures for serious offences could explode when 24-hour drinking is introduced, officers will be busy arresting criminals for trading in Royal Parks (maximum fine £1,000). Research reveals that the Government has created 1,018 new crimes since 1997.
The Home Office is responsible for a third of the laws, coming up with 367 offences. Second place goes to the Department for Trade and Industry, which has faced fierce criticism from business leaders for strangling firms in red tape. Official figures show it was responsible for creating 123 new crimes, followed by the Department for Transport, which has provided 113 offences – many aimed at motorists. New Labour has created a mountain of new rules and regulations and wasted a colossal amount of MP's' time and taxpayers' money in the process.
Critics argue that despite the flood of new laws, Labour is still failing to get a grip on spiraling violent crime. While much of the legal profession was agonising over how much force can be used on burglars, an offence of staging a concert in a church hall without a licence was introduced. The penalty, if caught, could be a £20,000 fine and six months in prison. Angry motorists, meanwhile, could be fined up to £1,000 for meddling with a wheel clamp. One of the oddest new laws concerns plant breeding. If you were to give wrong information to the Controller of Plant Variety Rights, you face a fine of £1,000.
P.I. comment: Oh the heinous crime of staging a concert in a church hall without a licence! Yes, we must let violent criminals get on unhindered and concentrate our efforts into stopping such madness. I suspect that most of these silly laws are EU inspired. We really have lost our way in this country.
New Labour funds Gipsy legal advice on how to beat planners
Taxpayers are funding a helpline which gives Gipsies legal advice on planning laws. One of the Government's leading quangos is running the service, despite growing fury at the way some travellers are setting up camps across the country in defiance of planning laws. While the helpline will not offer advice on how to circumvent the law, it will make it easier for travellers to discover and exploit any loopholes. Last night the service was attacked as a gross misuse of taxpayers' money and an affront to residents who have to meet their own legal costs when battling to remove travellers who have invaded their communities.
It also emerged that Housing Minister Yvette Cooper had misled Parliament over the helpline. In a written Parliamentary answer, Miss Cooper flatly denied that the Government provided any helplines specifically for Gipsies and travellers – a denial forcefully reiterated by her officials. But that defiance crumbled last night after it emerged that the Legal Services Commission – the quango which runs Britain's £2.1billion legal aid system – provides a ‘housing and planning law advice line for travellers and Gipsies'. Miss Cooper – who is one of John Prescott's deputies – said an ‘unintentional error' had been made about the matter of funding. But Tory local government spokesman Philip Hammond said: ‘It simply beggars belief that the Deputy Prime Minister did not know that the Government was funding travellers in these legal battles.' He added: ‘Taxpayers should not be funding an advice service which helps travellers abuse the planning system.
‘It is not fair that we should have one set of rules for travellers and another for everyone else.' In many areas travellers have legally bought fields, erected illegal encampments and used human rights legislation to resist attempts by local councils to evict them. Last night the Conservatives published evidence of other publicly-funded legal advice services for travellers. They highlighted how the Community Legal Service, part of the Legal Services Commission, has paid for a coordinator to ‘provide advocacy services for travellers' in Cambridgeshire. Government funding is also paid to the Community Law Partnership, which says it specialises in ‘housing law and advising travellers – especially around evictions, planning and site problems'. Communities blighted by travellers were outraged by the services on offer. ‘This is a government-funded assault on our community,' said Terry Brownbill, spokesman for the residents' association in Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, where hundreds of travellers have exploited loopholes in planning law to avoid eviction for two years. ‘It is aiding and abetting travellers in what is actually a property scam. I can't begin to say how stunned and appalled I am. It is completely unacceptable.' Rita Redfarn, who has suffered nearly 200 burglaries in seven years since travellers moved next-door to her home in Earith, Cambridgeshire, said: ‘It is outrageous that taxpayers' money is being used for this. ‘This is typical of how travellers are treated. They get everything, including help, for free and we get nothing.'
P.I. comment: There seems to be no limit to this politically correct government ineptitude. VOTERS PLEASE NOTE!
Storm over explosion in mobile speed cameras (from The Daily Mail)
Police and councils are masterminding a massive increase in the number of mobile speed cameras as fines from fixed yellow Gatso boxes level off. They hope the mobile traps will rake in enough income to subsidise their 35 safety camera partnerships which cover virtually every area of the country. But the revelation sparked an outcry with motoring organisations accusing the Government of increasing its ‘stealth tax' on drivers. A report to be published tomorrow will show that the number of roving units has soared by more than a third in just 12 months. There were 3,499 cameras hidden in police cars, vans and motorcycles last year, compared with 2,601 in 2003.
So many fixed cameras have been installed in the past decade – there are thought to be up to 6,000 – that the network is near saturation point and the authorities are running out of sites. Motorists are also growing wise to their locations, leaving some police and local authority partnerships with less revenue from fines than expected. The Department for Transport says static camera sites must have had at least four serious crashes in the previous three years. But the criteria for temporary sites are less stringent, making them an more attractive deal for police chiefs and local councillors.
A review of the 6,000 speed cameras in England and Wales ordered in June last year by New Labour revealed 743 sites ‘where casualties increased rather than decreased' after the installation of a camera. An earlier Transport Department check concluded that all 6,000 cameras were positioned to save lives rather than raise money – a sweeping verdict widely dismissed as ‘a whitewash'.
P.I. comment: As I have highlighted many times in this site, an over reliance on cameras and no police patrols lets drunk drivers and other road offenders have free reign on our roads. That reason alone shows that it is all about revenue and not safety.
Scotland Yard faces £1m bill for ethnic rethink
Scotland Yard is preparing to spend up to £1million changing the way it describes blacks and Asians. The Metropolitan Police wants to replace the phrase ‘visible ethnic minority' with the words ‘minority groups'. The proposed switch has already been criticised by black police officers, who have described it as politically correct and confusing. It emerged last night that the enforced changes to the Met's training procedures, stationery, publicity material and computers will cost the taxpayer ‘several hundreds of thousands of pounds'. Simply updating existing IT databases will cost £50,000 a time. If the same idea was adopted by the rest of the 43 forces in England and Wales, the final bill could run into several millions. The Yard has pioneered the change because it feels the phrase ‘visible ethnic minority' is out of date.
P.I. comment: Why do we need special expressions to describe any section of society anyway? Isn't this racist in itself? Surely they are just all 'the people of London' ? I suspect it won't be too long before some PC idiot deems that Scotland Yard has to be renamed Great Britain Yard on the grounds that Scotland is not inclusive enough!
High-risk rabbit hole! (from The Daily Mail)
For the members of Wigston Civic Society, it was a gentle ramble taking in a couple of churches, a canal and the tearooms. But for the functionaries at the community council it was a perilous escapade fraught with hazards such as ploughed fields, slippery grass, overhanging branches – and ‘high risk rabbit holes'. Faced with such dangers, they ordered the organisers of the popular annual Two Steeples walk to fill out a two-page risk-assessment form giving full details of the threats awaiting unsuspecting ramblers. The form – drawn up by the Leicestershire and Rutland Rural Community Council – demanded to know if those on the walk would encounter ‘hazards' such as rabbit holes, ploughed fields, overhanging branches or surfaces which were ‘slippery when wet'. It asked the bewildered organisers to say whether the rabbit holes and other hazards were low, medium or high risk. Another section solemnly counselled that if they entered a field containing cows they should ‘take a route that takes the walkers in a direction away from them'.
The form astonished Mary Essinger, the 63-year-old writer who has helped organise the walk around the historic village of Wigston Magna in rural Leicestershire since it was devised by the civic society in 2000 to mark the Millennium celebrations. An experienced rambler and leading light in the society, she was delighted to lead a group of about 25 members of the public on the ten mile walk which finishes at the 13th century All Saints Church in the village. ‘I thought the form was some kind of joke at first,' she said. ‘I actually wrote back and said they had forgotten to include stinging nettles and brambles. ‘But the lady from the council got back in touch and said it wasn't a joke and that we had to fill in the form.
‘In the 25 years I've been doing country walks I can't remember any accidents. I just wish people would realise everything you do has a bit of risk to it. You could just as easily fall over walking on the pavement but you don't need a risk assessment form for that.' She and co-organiser Colin Hames decided to withdraw their walk from the guide produced by the community council and advertise elsewhere.
P.I. comment: High risk rabbit holes? Don't think I will dare venture out of my house ever again! This country has lost its way.
New Labour Values
This contrast sums up a nation that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. A black soldier nicknamed ‘Bubba' by his comrades — a reference to a slow-witted character in the film Forrest Gump — wins almost £200,000 for racial harassment. Meanwhile, the families of soldiers who sacrifice their lives in Iraq are paid £27,000.
P.I. comment: Again political correctness in the guise of 'The Human Rights Act' makes a mockery of common sense.
Collapse of the classrooms as hooligans win power struggle
The shocking breakdown of discipline and standards of education in the country's schools was laid bare. The number of schools plagued by classroom hooligans has almost doubled in the last year, Ofsted figures revealed. More than 300 secondary schools are battling to control serious discipline problems – the worst figure since Labour came to power.
The collapse in classroom order, exposed in the education watchdog's annual report, is being blamed for a huge increase in the number of failing schools. The problem is being compounded by a hardcore of more than one in ten primary and secondary schools – around 2,000 in total – which are coasting and failing to make any progress.
The findings will damage many parents' faith in the state education system – dealing a major blow to Tony Blair ahead of the General Election. They are also a serious setback for new Education Secretary Ruth Kelly who attempted a pre-emptive strike on Tuesday by announcing a spate of fresh government measures to tackle ill-discipline, including more frequent inspections.
But David Bell, Ofsted's chief inspector of schools, yesterday warned Ministers against taking further short-term initiatives. He said: ‘The truth is we need a continuing focus in our schools and colleges on the things that bring about success – clear leadership, good teaching and high expectations and orderly environments.'
Tim Collins, Tory education spokesman, said Labour's education system had ‘finally been seen to fail the test'. He said: ‘Conservatives are convinced that schools which perform poorly in their teaching assessment are those with the worst disciplinary record. ‘It is therefore no surprise that Ruth Kelly has decided to raise this problem just weeks before an election – with the Government having ignored it for nearly eight years.'
Attendance is unsatisfactory in around a quarter of primaries and secondaries, says Ofsted. At primary level, heads are not being ‘supported sufficiently by parents in ensuring children attend regularly and punctually'. At secondary level, poor attendance is ‘often associated with poor achievement overall'.
The standard of teaching is deemed by Ofsted to be only satisfactory or worse in almost one in three schools. Inspectors say that schools are not doing enough to let pupils know how they can improve. There is a gap in achievement levels between a number of subjects.
Teaching is unsatisfactory in almost one in ten secondary schools and maths is ‘beset with problems'. Teaching is only good or better in this subject in around half of schools. There is a ‘pressing need' to tackle poor literacy and numeracy levels among children in their first year.
Oasis levels (from The Daily Mail)
An exam board has been accused of dumbing down as the Gallaghers are put on GCSE music syllabus. Pupils studying O-level music once had to analyse the symphonies of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart – and then perform their own compositions. Now, under a ‘Britpop' option being introduced at GCSE level, their successors can get away with listening to a few songs by Blur and Oasis. The move, by the Edexcel examination board, has been condemned by academics as dumbing-down to drum up ‘business' from pupils. Since 2001, when the board began to introduce more ‘populist' elements in its GCSE music paper, the number of pupils taking it has nearly trebled to 21,842. The number taking languages and science has fallen. Exam boards are private businesses and popular subjects are money-spinners. From September, students taking the ‘listening and analysis' paper will be played tunes such as Parklife by Blur and Wonderwall by Oasis. They will be expected to describe the pitch, tempo and rhythm of the pieces and ‘contextualise' them by writing about the rise of ‘Cool Britannia'. Pupils will no longer be required to perform their own compositions. Schools are happy for pupils to opt for ‘soft' subjects with high pass rates because it boosts their position in league tables. Last year the number opting for media studies, for instance, rose by ten per cent while those taking physics fell by more than six per cent.
P.I. comment: Eventually we shall be the most highly qualified people in nothing.
Brave PC tackles a violent drunk and ends up on an assault charge
When PC Lee Woolley saw a drunken squaddie brawling in the street, he knew he had to act before someone got seriously hurt. Powerfully-built Nick Szulakowski had pushed over a young woman and was fighting with several other men. CCTV cameras captured the moment when the 30-year-old officer tried to arrest the Royal Artillery soldier, who had a history of violence. The pair fell to the ground and PC Woolley got one handcuff on the other man's arm, but was forced to use CS gas as the struggle continued. The soldier staggered to his feet and was struck three times with a baton, in accordance with correct police procedure, on a nerve at the back of his leg. Szulakowski, who is in his 20s, was so drunk that he realised he had been hit only when he woke up the next morning in police cells and found lumps on his leg. But he still decided to file a complaint. And despite his own exemplary record, PC Woolley found himself charged with assault. The officer from Rotherham, who is married with a young family, was restricted to desk duties and spent the next 15 months under threat of a jail sentence.
When the case came to Sheffield Crown Court, however, the judge instructed the jury to deliver a not guilty verdict because of the flimsy evidence. Yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service faced severe criticism for prosecuting an officer who was ‘simply doing his job'. The case is estimated to have cost at least £30,000 in public money. After the case PC Woolley said: ‘I am certain I did my duty that night and I look forward to doing my duty for the people of South Yorkshire for many years to come.' Alison Kerr, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Lincolnshire, who made the decision, claimed the same rules were applied to police as ‘anybody else'. In the last three years four other officers from the same force have been charged and cleared of assault allegations involving baton use.
P.I. comment: If I ran the CPS, I would want to investigate Alison Kerr and find out why her judgment is so flawed or perhaps biased.
Comprehensives widen class gap research suggests (from The Daily Mail)
The decline of grammar schools has deepened class divisions, research suggests. Bright children from poor backgrounds achieved a greater share of university places under the old 11-plus system. The findings debunk the view of Britain becoming more classless over the past 40 years. Whilst the switch from selective schooling to comprehensives from the mid-1960s onwards was intended to give greater opportunity to working-class youngsters, the research from the London School of Economics instead reveals a growing divide between the educational ‘haves' and ‘have nots'.
Social mobility has actually declined since the 1950s, with those born in the 1970s less likely to escape their parents' class. The findings follow an outright refusal by Education Secretary Ruth Kelly to countenance the creation of any new grammars. Labour has also excluded the remaining 164 grammars from a scheme to allow successful schools to expand more easily. The research tracked parents' incomes and their children's educational attainment over 20 years.
Among children born in 1958, 20 per cent from the richest families had completed a degree by age 23, compared to 6 per cent from the poorest backgrounds. Over the next 20 years, the social class gap widened, with the proportion of graduates from the richest homes rising to 46 per cent for those born in the mid-1970s, whilst the number graduating from poorer backgrounds crept up to just 9 per cent.
One of the report's authors, Professor Paul Gregg, an adviser to Gordon Brown, said the demise of grammar schools may have closed off a surefire route to success for bright but disadvantaged children.
P.I. comment: By having selection, (11+) we ensure that the best education goes to those pupils that will make the most of it. Not having selection means those with money will get the best education. Isn't this the opposite of what the PC brigade wanted? Again and again, political correctness succeeds in doing the exact opposite of what it sets out to do.
Misunderstood joke finishes Rodney Marsh's broadcasting career
Rodney Marsh has been sacked from his job as a Sky Sports presenter after making a joke that made a passing reference to the Asian tsunami disaster. Appearing on You're On Sky Sports on Monday evening, he joked that David Beckham had turned down a move to Newcastle United after hearing of the trouble with the ‘ Army in Asia'. The play-on-words referred to the Newcastle supporters' nickname, the Toon Army. Marsh, 60, known for his outspoken views on football, had his contract terminated yesterday after Sky Sports bosses decided his comments were ‘inexcusable'.
P.I. comment: How stupid can a Board of Directors be? The joke was about David Beckham being so thick that he mixed up 'Tsunami' with 'Toon Army' and was not a joke about the victims of the Tsunami. What a sad, humourless bunch of idiots the Board of Sky Sports are and what a sad reflection on the Politically Correct society we live in that it makes the Board of a multi-national company act like imbeciles. The sign of a truly free society is free speech - the sign of an unhealthy one is censorship by unelected groups.
The public sector is alive and well and breeding profusely (from The Daily Mail)
Gordon Brown's pledge to cull tens of thousands of civil servants has been dramatically undermined. Figures released recently show that in fact the Government created 260,000 public sector jobs in the year up to last autumn. While half could be doctors and nurses and teachers it is estimated that the rest will be bureaucrats. During the same period, the wealth-creating private sector lost 6,000 jobs. Public sector pay also rose faster, with an increase of 4.7 per cent last year compared with a 4.1 per cent rise in the private sector. The overspending could slash Britain's economic growth next year. The figures were issued by the Office for National Statistics. They were supported by research which showed that in the last six months alone, Government departments and official bodies advertised 5,750 vacancies in The Guardian. The total cost of salaries for those jobs – which are not for frontline posts such as nurses or teachers – was very nearly £210million. On this trend, 40,045 jobs would be advertised by 2008, at a cost of £1.45billion. Examples of spurious vacancies included a ‘workplace stop smoking adviser' for Islington NHS Trust, with an annual salary of £32,476 – double the pay of a qualified nurse. York City Council advertised for a job with the vague description of ‘neighbourhood pride manager' – for £30,654 a year. In a recent edition of The Guardian's Society supplement, 444 public sector jobs were advertised. The evidence of thriving public sector employment flies in the face of the Chancellor's vow to cull 84,150 civil service posts.
P.I. comment: This massive expansion of the public sector is storing up untold problems for the future. All these bureaucrats will get a pension that anyone in the private sector could only dream of and this will have to paid for by already hard pressed tax or council tax payers.
Police get heavy handed with real criminals
Heavy-handed police ran up a £10,000 bill for a helicopter, a plane and ten court dates to fine woman driver £60 for holding an apple. For 13 months, police battled to bring the offender to justice. To prove Sarah McCaffery's guilt, they commissioned photographic evidence taken from a helicopter, aeroplane and patrol car. An estimated £10,000 was spent to show that the 23-year-old nursery nurse was not in control of her vehicle. And her offence? Holding an apple as she turned left at a junction. When Miss McCaffery faced magistrates after the case had come to court no fewer than ten times, her lawyer bitterly criticised the police's over-the-top behaviour. Geoffrey Forrester said: ‘Nothing illustrates the nonsense of this case more than the resources that have been thrown at it'. He said the manoeuvre had been carried out ‘perfectly', the road was dry and there were neither cars nor pedestrians around. And he added that serious offences such as drug dealing, burglary or assault on children were not afforded such attention. Yet the court in South Tyneside ruled that Miss McCaffery was not in proper control and she was fined £60 and ordered to pay £100 costs. Last night she said: ‘No wonder people have no faith in the police. They should be catching real criminals.'
P.I. comment: The most bizarre aspect of this case is the tenacity with which the police pursued it. (I can't understand the necessity of the aerial photography either. Surely the only evidence that mattered is that of the police officer that witnessed the offence.) If only they used the same tenacity to deal with more serious crimes. The following letter seems typical of those you find in most papers (this one comes from the Daily Mail)
Are the police more interested in crime or cash? In June last year, a colleague's car was rear-ended, causing £1,000-worth of damage. The driver was an uninsured student who gave him false details. By his own investigation, my colleague discovered the real name, address and phone number and gave them to the police. When nothing had happened after four months, my colleague asked the police about progress and was told: ‘We will not pursue this at this time.'
Last July, I was on my way to work when I noticed a card-reading device on my local ATM. Having had my account emptied of £1,500 by a similar device two weeks earlier, I called the police. I waited 40 minutes for them to arrive and meanwhile saw the culprit removing the device. When the police finally arrived, I gave them times for CCTV footage, a detailed description and the man's car registration number. Two days later, the police told me the man had been daft enough to use his own car and they had everything they needed to arrest him, a non-English speaking Romanian. Then it all went quiet and I was eventually told the matter wasn't followed up, due to ‘a technicality'.
Last September, my wallet was stolen in a City of London pub. The thieves took it from my coat, removed the credit cards and returned the wallet before going on a massive spending spree. Luckily, a quick thinking credit card company limited the damage to a couple of hours' spending. I went to the shop where the credit cards had been used and went through their slips and CCTV footage with the manager until we found excellent shots of the thieves. I told the police the footage was there, cued up for them to look at. Two months later, the manager told me the police had never turned up.
In August 2002, when I was caught by a speed camera doing 38mph in a 30mph zone, I had just moved house and the address on my registration document was incorrect. An easy check would have revealed my new address in seconds but it wasn't done. In this case, however, the intrepid police didn't give up. More than two years later a bobby turned up on my doorstep with a warrant for my arrest. With ruthless efficiency, I was processed and issued with three points and a £180 fine. It must be all a big joke but the only ones laughing are the thieves, muggers, burglars and criminals. No wonder public confidence in the police has been eroded.
I rest my case. This sums up the public's perception of the modern police force. Why on earth are they like this? If anyone knows then please let me know! Recent figures show that as the police get more and more bound up by political correctness and government targets, only 1 in 100 crimes actually ends up in court. In this case we know what the 1 in 100 crimes was. I suspect the other 99 were more worthy of it!
Blair Broadcasting Corporation and/or Brussels Broadcasting Corporation?
The BBC has a ‘serious problem' with its news coverage of the European Union because of its failure to be impartial, a damning report revealed yesterday. The report – commissioned by the Corporation itself – found there was a ‘cultural bias' in favour of the EU and a ‘reluctance to question pro-EU assumptions'. It called for ‘urgent action' to address the impartiality, although it argued that it was not done deliberately or systematically.
The conclusions were endorsed by focus group research which found that the most knowledgeable viewers and listeners believed ‘the BBC is both pro-Labour and pro-EU. Indeed, they tend to feel that the BBC is in the Government's pocket'. Critics have long complained that the Corporation has an EU bias – a claim it has always denied. To tackle the criticism, it commissioned an independent report into the issue.
The inquiry, headed by former Cabinet Secretary Lord Wilson, says the problems are down to ‘institutional mind set, oversimplified polarisation of the issues and stereotyping, ignorance and omission'. The report declared: ‘We do think there is a serious problem. Although the BBC wishes to be impartial in its news coverage of the EU it is not succeeding.'
P.I. comment: Not succeeding seems an understatement to me! We had Peter Mandelson on recently reminding the BBC what happened last time they took on the Government. What arrogance from a twice resigned and failed New Labour politician. Since Alistair Campbell effectively neutered the BBC over the Dr David Kelly affair I really can't watch it. The sniveling brown nosing to Blair and Brussels makes me vomit. What happened to impartiality? I watch Sky News now, yet a few years ago I felt the BBC was the best news service in the world.
Voters robbed of the power to stop Gypsies moving in (from The Daily Mail)
Sweeping powers to impose Gipsy camps on communities have been handed to an army of unelected bureaucrats. With a staggering disregard for local democracy, John Prescott gave eight regional quangos in England the say so on how many travellers' sites there should be in a council's area. Local authorities will have to meet targets set by faceless bureaucrats who are accountable to no one. Thousands of caravans could be forced on villages and communities – whether councils want them or not.
The move has caused outrage at a time when the number of illegal camps has increased by 60 per cent in the last two years. Hundreds of travellers have dodged eviction by using human rights laws or clogging up the courts with planning appeals. The rules are buried in a Government document on the future of planning for Gipsy sites.
The Tories' local government spokesman Philip Hammond said last night: ‘Under Labour, our planning system is in crisis. John Prescott's response to travellers side-stepping planning laws is to let his quangos impose more camps on every town.'
A Tory spokesman said: ‘Whatever happened to local democracy? This is a blatant disregard for democratically elected councils. There was no mention of the rules when Labour outlined its proposals for Gipsy sites yesterday'. Mr Hammond said the Tories' approach would stop unauthorised developments, evict illegal occupiers and opt out of the Human Rights Act.
P.I. comment: It shows how much New Labour care about the poor people that have to live every day with the filth, intimidation, burglary and noise around these illegal sites.
I confronted a hooligan and ended up charged with assault
When army veteran Charles Mayall confronted a gang of yobs who had smashed his windows, police were swiftly on the scene. But Mr Mayall's relief turned to astonishment when he was handcuffed and arrested on suspicion of assault. He made three appearances in court and spent five months fearing he would go to jail before the prosecution against him was finally dropped. After learning the case had been discontinued due to ‘lack of evidence', 59-year-old Mr Mayall claimed his faith in the legal system had been destroyed. ‘People should be able to defend themselves,' he said. ‘We haven't got a justice system in this country any more. I'm just a decent, hardworking man who was protecting his property.' Mr Mayall, who suffered a broken thumb and bruised ribs, said: ‘I feared for my life. All I could do was defend myself. The police kept talking about reasonable force, but what's that? He came at me with a weapon. I'm 59 and wasn't even armed.'
His ordeal came amid the row over the law governing householders' rights to defend their property. Tony Blair eventually went back on his promise to give householders greater protection against prosecution when they use force against burglars.
P.I. comment: When this subject was being discussed on TV recently, I watched in disbelief as the government wheeled out all sorts of statistics to prove this sort of thing never happened. The Attorney General, Lord Forkbender said on the Frost programme that the law didn't need clarifying as it was clear that householders had a right to defend themselves.
Lottery grants awarded only on PC grounds (from The Daily Mail)
A mountain rescue team has been told it cannot have a National Lottery grant because it does not rescue enough asylum seekers, people from ethnic minorities and old folk.The volunteers applied for £200,000 to build an emergency response base. But they were informed by fund administrators that they did not meet its criterion of serving ‘the needs of those at greatest disadvantage in society'. It was explained that this meant those from ethnic minorities, refugees and asylum seekers, the disabled, the elderly or children. Paul Heap, fundraiser for the 45-strong Bowland and Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, based near Preston, described the decision as ‘crazy'. ‘I joined mountain rescue after I broke both my legs when I got caught in an avalanche,' he said. ‘I was pretty disadvantaged up there with no legs until those guys put their own lives at risk to rescue me.' He pointed out that his team was called out 69 times last year, including assisting the search for the Chinese cockle pickers stranded in the Morecambe Bay tragedy.
Similarly, a lifeboat crew have been refused National Lottery cash because they don't save enough ethnic minorities, asylum seekers or elderly people. The Severn Area Rescue Association needs £5,000 to replace a 14-year-old Land Rover used to launch its lifeboats. It applied to the lottery's Awards for All scheme, a part of the Community Fund which gives grants to voluntary groups fitting specific criteria. But because the crew could not prove the social background of those they rescue, their grant was turned down. ‘It's political correctness gone bonkers,' said Dave Walker, chairman of the station at Upton-upon- Severn, Worcestershire. ‘The criteria for the awards makes it nearly impossible for us to qualify. ‘Our job is to rescue people. We don't check their nationality, age, disabilities or where they live.'
P.I. comment: Well I think both organisations should continue to do their good work and never buy another lottery ticket again. If they had been awarded the money then they would have probably had to promise to spend 45 minutes filling in a form as to the person's ethnic background before they could rescue them (just as the police have to do each time they stop someone).
February is national gay month in schools (from The Daily Mail)
Schools are being urged to advertise gay lifestyles to children in a Government drive to ‘challenge homophobia'. In an attempt to clamp down on supposedly homophobic language, the guidelines say teachers should be reported if they refer to boys as ‘sissies', accuse them of standing around ‘like a mothers' meeting' or call them a ‘bunch of girls'. Staff are asked to put up flyers for Gay Pride marches and Mardi Gras festivals. They are told that promoting a ‘positive stance' on homosexuals and lesbians can help tackle homophobic bullying. The guidance, which applies to all ages from nurseries upwards, drew a furious response from Church leaders and family campaigners who said it went too far. The booklets, which were sent to every local education authority this month, also urge schools to: invite in gay visitors and speakers to act as ‘sexual minority role models' where there are no homosexual members of staff; keep written records of every homophobic phrase used, either by staff or pupils and to form a ‘homophobia working party' to increase awareness of homophobic bullying, teach pupils about homosexual public figures such as MPs and entertainers and to avoid generic language that assumes parents and staff always have partners of the opposite sex. The Reverend Rod Thomas, of the conservative Church of England Reform movement, said: ‘Church schools would have a huge amount of difficulty with this and I don't think any would feel at ease promoting a Gay Pride event. This takes anti-discrimination measures too far into the realm of positive discrimination.'
Suggested Alternative Curriculum General Activities were:
Stage gay-oriented fashion shows
Re-enact church blessings of same-sex couples
Hold a gay Valentine's dinner for school staff
Hugh McKinney, chairman of the National Family Campaign, said it was time the Government redressed the balance in favour of the family. ‘It is absolutely unacceptable and completely outrageous that the Government should spent a disproportionate amount of taxpayers' money on gay and lesbian activities and at the same time be restricting the topic of teaching on marriage in schools.'
P.I. comment: While I have no problem with people living alternative lifestyles, I do not see any need for schools to actively promote them. The married family unit still remains the most stable way of bringing up well balanced children and I wish this politically correct government spent as much time promoting marriage as it does promoting minority issues.
Middle-class offenders face paying bigger fines (from The Daily Mail)
The middle classes will be forced to pay bigger fines under plans to link penalties to an offender's income. Higher earners could face a fine of up to £15,000 for an offence such as driving without insurance – three times the current £5,000 maximum. The means-tested penalties are contained in a Government Bill which allows magistrates to use an offender's income to work out fines. Ministers claim it will help rebuild public trust in a system which is regularly flouted by offenders.
Magistrates can already use some limited means-testing in awarding fines by reducing the size of a penalty if an offender cannot afford to pay. The courts will now take details of an offender's income and use a formula – which takes into account ‘average' outgoings like a mortgage, food and utilities – to calculate the person's ‘daily disposable income' up to a maximum figure of £75 a day. The magistrate will then use this figure to work out the fine according to the severity of the crime.
There are five levels of offences with the most minor including crimes such as driving with a child who is not wearing a seatbelt or being drunk in a pub. Someone who commits one of these offences will see their daily disposable income multiplied by ten – resulting in a maximum fine of £750 compared to the current £200. At the other end of the scale, the court will multiply daily disposable income by 200 for offences such as driving without insurance, meaning fines of up to £15,000.
Critics have compared the scheme to the disastrous ‘unit fines' system, which was introduced by the Tories in 1993 but quickly scrapped. Under that scheme, one man was fined £1,200 for dropping a crisp packet. On another occasion two neighbours were fined for driving without insurance with one paying just £75 and the other £1,500.
P.I. comment: At present, one third of all fines go unpaid. The middle classes tend to pay theirs as they are easily traceable and have assets which can easily be sequestrated. I will leave it to your imagination to work out who doesn't pay. This is just yet another cynical New Labour ploy to make the good guys pay for the bad.
Harry's Nazi gaffe (from The Daily Mail)
Prince Harry was forced to issue a groveling apology last night for going to a party dressed as a Nazi and wearing a swastika. It came after his choice of outfit was condemned as insensitive and tasteless by shocked Holocaust survivors. Harry, 20, was a guest at a fancy dress party thrown by Olympic show jumper Richard Meade. Sources said he was accompanied by his brother Prince William. It is not known if William was also in fancy dress.
Both boys are friends with Mr Meade's son Harry, who was among a group of pro-hunting activists that invaded the Labour Party conference in Brighton last September. According to fellow huntsmen, the Meades are renowned for the parties they throw at their home near Chippenham, Wiltshire – and last week's event was no exception. Harry, who has been dogged in recent years by drink and drugs scandals, was photographed by a fellow guest, who then sold the incriminating pictures to a tabloid newspaper.
Jewish groups last night reacted with fury at Harry's ‘insensitivity' at a time when they are remembering the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Labour peer Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: ‘I hope that on reflection Prince Harry will regret what was an insensitive and tasteless act.' A spokesman for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: ‘It's not a joke to dress up as a Nazi, especially as we come up to the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. ‘It is important that everybody remembers the evil that the Nazis were responsible for.' A million Jews were killed at Auschwitz, the death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, before it was liberated by Allied forces in January 1945. Many thousands of Jews were gassed.
Last night, in a statement issued by Clarence House, Harry said: ‘I am very sorry if I have caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologise.'
P.I. comment: The politically correct media frenzy over Prince Harry's choice of fancy dress costume is unbelievable. Even publications that should know better have engaged in some pretty unbelievable hypocrisy. Surely everyone has lost sight of the fact that Prince Harry is a 20yr old boy and this was a FANCY DRESS PARTY. Whatever costume you wear, it doesn't mean that you approve of whatever t