Thursday, 6 June 2019

BBC brainwashing Britain

This blog has previously commented on the undisguised political bias of the BBC that is vocal in its support of politically correct and leftist orthodoxies http://bit.ly/1t9YjmJ. A recent book, BBC Brainwashing Britain?, written by the blogger David Sedgewick, has examined in some detail the extent to which the BBC distorts the presentation of news to conform to its deeply entrenched ‘progressive’ political outlook. Given the mendacity with which the BBC can sometimes operate in pursuit of its political objectives, the question mark in the book’s title ought to be replaced by an exclamation mark.

The book contrasts the high ideals of the BBC to ‘be seen as by far the most trusted and impartial news provider in the UK’, with the reality according to Sedgewick in which the BBC practises the ‘very dark art of brainwashing – wilful, deceitful and incessant’. He makes repeated comparisons between the BBC distortion of the news to suit its own agenda with the methods employed by the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s 1984.

Sedgewick believes that the BBC has succumbed completely to cultural Marxism, which can be summarised as the gradual process of destroying Western traditions, beliefs and culture whilst simultaneously suppressing diversity of opinion, in order to mould society into a collectivist utopia in which everyone publicly conforms to the dominant leftist political narrative. This is achieved by promoting subversive and irrational ideas under the guise of attaining social justice and greater equality. The process rarely involves reasoned argument, debate or discussion, but instead relies heavily on attacking and isolating opponents through abusive and pejorative name-calling.

The leftist ‘progressive’ group-think permeates all levels of the BBC, and employees quickly get to understand the difference between wrong-think and right-think. As one critic observed BBC staff are a ‘mass of conformists’ who adopt the BBC corporate model ‘by degrees varying from unreflecting acquiescence to the most full-blown commitment’. Anyone slow on the uptake will soon find themselves marginalised and ostracised. Another critic discovered that ‘what is most scary about the BBC is the almost complete absence of any kind of dissent.’ Sedgewick compares BBC employees to members of a cult where the ‘uncritical acceptance’ of its dogma is the ‘single most ubiquitous feature’ in which ‘even the slightest challenge to group-think will not be tolerated’.

So what constitutes BBC right-think? Some examples of the more deleterious notions currently in vogue include blind support for mass immigration from the third world regardless of the consequences; the belief that same sex attraction is always completely normal, intrinsically virtuous and thus worthy of celebration; that the feminist critique of the ‘patriarchal’ society, and the predatory nature of male heterosexuality, must always be upheld; that white society’s treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, in particular Muslims, is invariably motivated by unthinking base prejudice; that men who believe themselves to be women are merely making statements of fact which only the most bigoted would feel the need to question; and that the earth is on the brink of a climate emergency caused by fossil fuel emissions which only the most drastic action can avert. There are of course many more issues too numerous to mention which the BBC seeks to impose the self proclaimed rightness of its viewpoint on British society.

So how does the BBC carry out its brainwashing? It does so by repeatedly presenting as objective and impartial what in reality is an often distorted view of events. This is done by selectively presenting one side of an argument whilst ignoring or minimising any facts which might conflict with the propaganda message. The book gives a long list of topics which are subject to this process; with the aim of ensuring that right-think is always presented in a positive way, whereas wrong-think is invariably portrayed negatively. This process is repeated endlessly on a daily basis, with the ultimate result that the familiarity of the right-think message becomes subconsciously accepted as the only valid and legitimate opinion that any reasonable and fair minded person would ever want to hold.

A similar brainwashing technique is also carried out during interviews. When interviewing a wrong-thinker, he (it will disproportionately be a he) will be aggressively confronted with a comment from a speech or social media to which, after extensive trawling, the BBC takes exception. The interviewee will then be placed on the defensive, having to respond to a hostile line of questioning, deliberately intended to blacken his reputation. In contrast when the BBC interview what they deem to be a right-thinker, it will be carried out in full-on ‘amigo’ mode in which the interviewer will adopt a supportive tone, fielding sympathetic questions thus allowing the interviewee to be portrayed as either a caring enlightened individual, or alternatively someone who has been the victim of an injustice, preferably at the hands of a wrong-thinker.

Brainwashing Britain goes on to provide many more examples of the techniques the BBC uses to promote its agenda and demonise its opponents. Because of its institutionalised bias UKIP has proposed scrapping the licence fee and replacing it with a subscription service and advertising. However, this will not solve the problem. The same bias and group-think is also shown by commercial broadcasting rivals. Worst still, most of their output can only be described as degenerate, vacuous or vapid garbage, much of it laced with a heavy dose of political correctness.

At least the BBC does provide an extensive platform for political debate, despite its unremitting bias, for which the more observant can make due allowance. It also produces a much greater amount of serious and high-minded programming about history, the arts, science, current affairs and period drama, albeit subject to contamination by BBC ideology. Abolishing the licence fee risks destroying what has traditionally made the BBC unique. The only answer is for the government to appoint senior managers with the priority task of restoring the BBC’s reputation for genuine impartiality, in which all well reasoned expressions of political opinion receive equal treatment.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Extinction Rebellion intimidation

For the past week the traffic in many parts of central London has been brought to a standstill by the activities of the group known as Extinction Rebellion. The pretext for their protest is fears over climate change, but the reality is that this concern is merely a front for a hard-line anarchist-Marxist agenda intent on destroying capitalism, similar to that of the Occupy movement. The mostly young activists taking part are easy prey to being manipulated because of their endless indoctrination by the educational establishment into the climate change hoax, together with the uncritical endorsement provided by the BBC, political parties, celebrity pundits and vocal leftist scientists.

The climate change hoax has previously been debunked by this blog post here http://bit.ly/1ZoyPMn . To repeat the facts, there has been absolutely no change to the climate since the end of the ‘Little Ice Age’ over 200 years ago. During the 20th century there were only minor fluctuations in global temperature, and since then temperatures have been flat except for a couple of short spikes due to the El Nino weather phenomenon. During this period there has been a significant increase in the trace gas CO2 but this has not led to any discernable change in global temperature. All the hysteria is based on a dubious discredited theory and alarmist predictions and projections. CO2 is not a pollutant as climate change activists ludicrously claim, but is essential for the continued existence of all plant life.

People have a right to protest, but what they do not have a right to do is to interfere with other people going about their daily business. The police response to the traffic disruption has been wholly inadequate. Over 700 protesters have been arrested but to date less than thirty have been charged. When he was London Mayor Boris Johnson purchased water cannon, but their use was later blocked by then Home Secretary Theresa May. As a result the police have had their hands tied; with the water cannon option open they could have soon ended these protests.

Extension Rebellion are not only intent on destroying capitalism but they also want to bring an end to our democratic system. In its place they are proposing a 100 strong citizens assembly, chosen randomly from the population at large. This is the theory but in practice we can be sure that this assembly, once established, would soon be packed with hand picked supporters of Extension Rebellion to rubber stamp their subversive agenda.

The protests we are now witnessing in London are the direct consequence of our political establishment uncritical acceptance of the climate change hoax over many decades. This credulity is being exploited by those intent on destroying our way of life. Politicians must now come to their senses and voice a clear repudiation of the climate change agitation, and recognise the deceit that lies behind it. Otherwise there will be nothing to prevent these kind of protests continuing indefinitely, until the malign objectives behind them have been achieved.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

David Steel & Cyril Smith

The former Liberal Democrat leader David Steel has recently been suspended by the Scottish party, who are carrying out an investigation into comments he made about the former MP Cyril Smith during questioning at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). This is a very disturbing development that ratchets up still further the paedophile hysteria, which according to reports has already resulted in vast amounts of stretched police time being taken up with investigating uncorroborated allegations of historic sexual abuse, often from many decades ago.

David Steel was questioned at the IICSA about allegations made against Cyril Smith in the magazine Private Eye which had originated in a local Rochdale newspaper article dating from 1979. The individuals making allegations were all apprentices aged 15-18 staying at a Rochdale hostel for which Smith was the secretary, during a period when he was also a Labour councillor. In these articles there were no allegations of sexual activity made against Smith, but had there been any this would have suggested Smith could be a homosexual, not a paedophile, given the age of those making the accusations.

The hostel closed in 1965 fourteen years before the 1979 media articles. The allegations were investigated by the local police in 1969 but there was insufficient evidence to bring charges. These allegations consisted of two instances of Smith beating youths on bare buttocks (this was a commonplace punishment at the time) and one of him touching a youth's testicles during an ‘intimate’ medical inspection, as part of a procedure which all adolescent males then underwent as part of an annual medical examination.

David Steel when party leader asked Cyril Smith about the 1979 media articles. Smith acknowledged there had been a police investigation into the allegations and that he had been cleared of any wrongdoing. No other allegations were made against Smith during the 20 years he was an MP, or until he died about 20 years later. The committee members of the Rochdale hostel confirmed to the local newspaper that to their knowledge no 'improper activities' had taken place there.

In giving evidence Steel was justified in claiming that the punishment beatings were no different to that taking place at public schools at this time. This was perfectly legal then and Smith would be acting ‘in loco parentis’ in his role as Secretary of the hostel with a duty of care to the youths in his charge. One was caught stealing and both were given a choice of alternative punishments. With regard to the ‘intimate’ medical examination, the Rochdale newspaper article made clear that Smith was present at these with the consent of the medical examiner. Given the public hostility to homosexuals at this period, it is inconceivable that any youth in his mid teens would agree to this kind of examination by Smith outside a medical. In the police investigation Smith denied all the allegations and he was cleared of all criminal wrongdoing.

During the IICSA questioning David Steel was repeatedly and aggressively asked why he had not taken further measures to either discipline or suspend Smith after having read the Private Eye article. His response was that the beatings were common practice at the time, that they took place when Smith was not a member of the party, and that in any case the police had investigated all the allegations against Smith and he was cleared of any wrongdoing. In these circumstances David Steel was quite right to conclude that there was no justification in him taking any further action against Smith, since the matter had already been investigated and no crime was found to have been committed by Cyril Smith.

This blog has absolutely no time for the policies of the Liberal Democrats, but the Scottish party's suspension of their former leader appears to be both absurd and malevolent given the quite reasonable responses David Steel gave to the IICSA.

Friday, 1 March 2019

The Prescriptive Society

One of the more enduring myths today is that of the legacy of the permissive society which suddenly arrived in late 1960s Britain. It is widely believed that since the cultural upheaval of that time, we have all been living in a golden age of greater enlightenment in which individual liberty and freedom has flourished, freed from the stultifying conformist straitjacket of the preceding reactionary and repressive conservative society of the 1950s. This is an outlook that has been vigorously promoted since then by the Left to camouflage the true controlling nature of their ostensibly ‘progressive’ agenda. The first person to puncture this myth was the now almost forgotten writer Tibor Szamuely, in an article for the Spectator magazine from August 1970.

Szamuely argued that the ‘myth of the permissive society is no more than a confidence trick’, one in which people suddenly became aware that they were now allowed to ‘indulge in hitherto prohibited activities’. He noted that the reality was rather different, since what happened was ‘that certain activities are now prescribed for all, whilst others are prohibited’, and branded this trend as the ‘prescriptive society’, warning that ‘if we don’t watch out it may soon become a proscriptive one’.

He correctly identified that this new found permissiveness applied ‘almost exclusively to one area’ namely that of sex. His words have a rather quaint nostalgic ring to them these days when he declared ‘we are constantly exhorted to enjoy as much sex as possible’ which ‘we are told is good for us’. This was written just before vocal feminism would start to intrude into public consciousness. So in this climate, before the women’s libbers started to take control, there was no talk then amongst the permissive apostles of sexual freedom about the horrors of ‘sexual abuse’ or ‘inappropriate touching’, which in more recent times has caused so much anguish for ‘progressive’ thinkers.

Szamuely challenged the claim of ‘progressives’ that society cannot ‘legislate for individual moral standards’, by pointing out their double standard which had resulted in ‘a greater degree of overt and covert censorship than in the past 150 years’. He identified the principle field of this censorship to be that of race, declaring that ‘the people who impose it are, almost invariably, the proponents of untrammelled sexual permissiveness’. Moreover, he exposed their additional degree of hypocrisy by observing that ‘naturally racial distinctions are disallowed, even between consenting adults, only if they offend coloured people – insulting whites is respectable, even desirable’.

Szamuely then went on to catalogue the various forms of censorship employed by ‘progressives’. He denounced the Race Relations Acts as ‘naked political censorship’, and warned of ‘other kinds of censorship that are stealthier and more dangerous’ such as the attempt to ‘desperately stamp out any attempt at the scientific study of race and racial characteristics’. In this respect he claimed not to be a geneticist, but just wanted to see the pursuit of ‘scientific correctness’ rather than what he termed ‘ideological worth’. Other forms of ‘withholding unapproved views from the public’ resulted in a situation were ‘getting these into print these days is no easy matter’. However, when ‘blasphemous’ works did manage to get published ‘by someone bold enough to challenge the ultimate progressive taboo’, reviewers can still ‘prevent them from being read’. He cited as an example books which made the ‘impious suggestion that Africa is anything less than perfect, or colonialism anything other than satanic’, were usually ignored by reviewers and ‘thus consigned to oblivion’.

He identified that ‘the most frightening aspect of the clampdown on anti-consensus views is the absence of any conspiracy behind it’, regretting that there was no ‘sinister secret agitprop’ plot, but instead a ‘progressive’ establishment ‘that has conditioned itself to react instinctively to any possible challenge’.

Szamuely asked why should ‘sexual licence be encouraged’ whilst ‘anything that can be construes as racism is suppressed’. The answer ‘progressives’ gave was that racism, unlike pornography, provoked hatred, violence and civil discord. In response Szamuely then asked why this did not also apply to class hatred, citing the several million victims of Soviet and Chinese communism. He denounced the double standard whereby the works of Marx, Lenin, Mao & Guevara are widely admired by ‘progressive’ thinkers, without them being in anyway troubled that these Marxists writers can provoke hatred and violence.

He concluded the article by questioning ‘the whole issue of permissiveness’, noting that ‘progressives have abolished the censorship of pornography’ claiming that ‘the printed word has no evil effect on the reader’, but take a completely opposite view towards publications dealing with the issue of race, because they judge that in this case ‘the printed word can have the most profound evil influence on the reader’. He proclaimed that ‘the absurdity and dishonesty of this position is self evident’ concluding that ‘progressives’ get way with this double standard because it is the essence ‘which forms the basis of our present prescriptive society’.

Regrettably, Tibor Szamuely had only a couple more years to live so he was spared the kind of society he so presciently predicted. ‘Progressives’ would soon abandon their support for pornography, after militant feminists condemned it as inciting hatred and violence towards women. In time sexual permissiveness (for heterosexuals) would also come under attack for giving licence to the predatory male. The sin of racism would be joined by sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and transphobia, and there would be a whole raft of legislation, supported by all the major political parties, to enable the state to meddle in citizens’ personal affairs in order to appease those driving a bogus egalitarianism or selective victimhood, confined, of course, to the usual protected categories of individuals.

So we have now ended up with the proscriptive society (now known as the politically correct society) that Szamuely warned against, due to the failure to challenge the zealous ‘progressive’ agenda to control speech, beliefs, opinion and behaviour, at a time when it first manifested itself under the brief libertarian cover of the permissive society.

Friday, 15 February 2019

The 1970s climate dog that did not bark

Environmental issues in our society only became a mainstream concern in the early 1970s. In the decades after the war the main objective of Western governments was to deliver economic growth and expand world trade with relatively little regard to the environmental consequences. However, many people came to realise that this outlook was having a seriously detrimental impact on our planet, which if not addressed might well lead to irreversible damage. As a result a global environmental movement arose which resulted in the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held at Stockholm in June 1972, attended by delegates from virtually every country in the world, apart from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries.

The Stockholm Conference produced an action plan with over 100 recommendations aimed at addressing the main environmental issues that were identified at that time. The main concerns were pollution of the land, sea and air, the impact of human development on wildlife, biodiversity and ecosystems, the need to conserve finite natural resources and the population explosion. With the exception of the last of these, governments, at least in the West, have introduced a series of measures to address these problems, although many consider more still needs to be done. On the question of overpopulation, this was a matter of much concern at the time. However, even among environmental activists, relatively little interest in this issue now appears to be shown, probably due to the then predictions of mass starvation having failed to materialise. However, they were right about the numbers.

One subject which received scant attention at the Stockholm conference was the impact of human activity on the climate and weather. The only recommendation that had any relevance to this subject came under the heading ‘the environmental effects of energy use and production’, which required the monitoring of emissions, including carbon dioxide. However, the main concern appears to have been to assess the effect of genuinely polluting gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide on air quality, with the possible impact of emissions on weather and climate a much lower priority.

As a result of the burgeoning environmental movement, the monthly magazine The Ecologist commenced publication at the beginning of the 1970s. It makes interesting reading today since, during its first decade, very little mention was made about the possible impact of burning fossil fuels on the global climate. However, in the very first issue from February 1970 there was an acknowledgment that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had increased noticeably during the 20th century. It had been known since the end of the 19th century that carbon dioxide possessed greenhouse gas properties. So there was some puzzlement as to why global temperatures had been on a cooling trend since the early 1940s. The article acknowledged that there were a number of factors which could lead to changes in global temperature, of which an increase in carbon dioxide was one. It recommended that more research should be carried out but, in a note of realism absent today, concluded that little could be done to counter the increase in carbon dioxide emissions, because of the huge dependency of the world economy on fossil fuels, and the lack of any viable alternatives.

The next reference to climate came in an article from the January 1974 issue. It noted that between the years 1920 to 1940 there had been an increase in global temperature. This resulted in a 10% decrease in Arctic ice, receding glaciers, new land opening up for cultivation, an increase by two to three weeks of the growing season, and in these ‘increasingly genial conditions’, the spread of wild flora, birds and fish to new regions. The article then went on to observe that since 1940 a distinct cooling trend had emerged and that from 1960 ‘the cooling was particularly sharp’. This had the effect of reversing the earlier changes with glaciers now expanding, together with a retreat of wild life and the area of cultivation. This cooling trend was attributed to ‘the many new types of pollution put into the atmosphere by industrial processes, bomb tests, high flying aircraft, rockets and so on’. The article also introduced another factor that may have had an impact namely ‘a general decline in strength of the solar beam since 1945’. The article concluded that ‘there is probably no need for undue alarm about this because similar changes appear to have occurred many times before’ and that ‘what we are witnessing may be a recurring fluctuation of the solar output’. The alarm feared in this case was about the continuing impact of the cooling trend, as this would have meant that the ‘genial conditions’ resulting from a warming trend, might not occur again soon.

The final article on climate came in the July 1976 issue, which again was concerned about global cooling. It warned that ‘there is now a growing consensus amongst climatologists that the world pattern of climate has been changing’. Particular concern was voiced about the recent cooling trend since ‘when the high latitudes cool, the monsoons tend to fail’. This was considered to be especially important because ‘the high latitudes have been cooling in the last three decades, and the hungry half of the world is concentrated in the monsoon lands’. Moreover ‘cool periods of earth history are periods of greater than normal climatic instability’. The article backed up these claims by citing the adverse impact of earlier periods since 1900 BC when the climate had cooled. In contrast, during the warming trend of the early part of the 20th century when ‘the average temperature in the higher altitudes started to rise, the Indian monsoons became more reliable’.

The article continued ‘the amelioration of the climate ended in about 1945’ with the result that ‘the growing season in England has diminished by two weeks’ and ‘the frequency of droughts in northwest India has started to increase, the monsoon has gradually retreated towards the equator, culminating in seven years of famine’. There was also an adverse impact on other areas such as in ‘the Canadian Arctic which has had severe ice conditions compared with the past few decades’ adding that ‘the snow and ice cover of the Northern hemisphere increased by 13% and has remained at this increased level’. As a consequence of this cooling ‘we know that the world food grain reserves will prove inadequate if more years like the last few recur soon’. The article concluded that ‘this climatic change poses a threat to the people of the world that indicates major crop failures’.

It can be safely concluded that the issue of global warming leading to climate change was not an issued that much troubled the environmental movement in the 1970s. The 1979 manifesto of the Green Party (then called the Ecology Party) made no mention of the subject, nor did the manifestos of the major political parties where the main environmental concerns were pollution control, the need for greater recycling, the conservation of natural habitats and the need to conserve finite energy stocks. With regard to the climate the main concern, as the above articles show, was the adverse impact that might result from a cooling climate, and further evidence of this is given in this earlier post http://bit.ly/27RaoNr on fears about a possible new ice age.

It can be seen that 1970s environmental concerns targeted specific, real and identifiable problems such as pollution, the need to conserve natural resources and the protection of wild life, all matters where it is possible to measure the results of remedial action, and monitor whether progress is being made. As recorded above, climatologists from that time were also aware that a global cooling trend could have adverse consequences. But the consensus was that although there may be slight fluctuations in global temperature, sometimes lasting several decades, there was no need to fear any major change in the global climate. There was also an acknowledgement that as there were so many climate variables, there would be little point in making long term predictions about the climate of the future.

As we all now know, since the late 1980s, this pragmatic approach has been abandoned. The scientific world has become dogmatically obsessed with the belief that an increase in carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuels will lead to catastrophic climate change. This is all based on alarmist projections and exaggerated claims about the impact of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In practice during the past thirty years there have been only slight fluctuations in global temperature as was outlined in the 1974 Ecologist article. So attributing events, such as droughts, floods, heat-waves, polar vortexes, coral bleaching, the acidification of the oceans, etc, as all being due to climate change, is duplicitous nonsense since there has been no material change to the global climate to give rise to any of them. Instead, what there has been is a political hijacking of this issue by leftist agitators that has now become a religion substitute for the credulous which, alas, includes politicians of all parties, and Britain’s state broadcaster the BBC. When the true nature of the deception eventually becomes apparent they will all start to look increasingly ridiculous, and the credibility and reputation of scientific objectivity will take a long time to recover.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

The Dawkins Delusion

Professor Richard Dawkins, the high priest of mechanistic rationalism, has attracted a lot of attention over the years which, alas, has been largely favourable, due primarily to the failure of organised religion to expound any credible guidance on the likely nature of the afterlife. Many of his books, including The God Delusion attacking religious belief, have been bestsellers. Some years ago in the Channel 4 programme Enemies of Reason Dawkins turned his attention to tackling ‘the epidemic of irrational, superstitious thinking which is blotting the light of logic and evidence’. Targets for his scorn included astrologers, water diviners, tarot card readers, aura photographers, faith healers, mediums and new age psychics.

Dawkins places great emphasis on scientific observation, reason, logic and evidence. However, his fanatical insistence that the mysteries of life can be explained entirely in terms of matter, and his rejection of a cosmic designer, leads him to shamelessly break his own rules whenever it suits him. For example, he believes, without a shred of evidence, in the sudden emergence from inorganic matter of a ‘self replicating molecule’ as the source of all life on earth, despite it being contrary to the most fundamental laws of both biology and chemistry. Yet Dawkins believes in its existence just as irrationally as those who claim that our personalities are determined by the conjunction of the planets.

Dawkins defines a monkey as a ‘machine that preserves genes up trees’, in the same way presumably as cars are machines for travelling along roads. However cars, unlike monkeys, are unable to move themselves without human assistance. Dawkins ‘explains’ the perfect order of the universe in terms of trillions of ‘multiverses’ in which our own universe, just by chance, happens to be the one that is so finely tuned that it functions correctly. Needless to say he provides no evidence for the existence of these multiverses, which instead are nothing more than the figments of his fertile imagination.

Dawkins is no doubt correct when describing many religious beliefs as superstition. However, at its core religion is unquestionably right in its belief in the existence of the soul. This can be defined as the permanent non material life entity or spirit which cloaks itself in matter, namely the physical body, in order to gain experience and provide a vehicle for self expression. This cannot be proved scientifically, but it appeals to reason and logic much more persuasively than Dawkins’ doctrine, also unproven, that living beings are nothing more than the molecules that comprise their bodies.

In a recent TV series Wonders of Life, fellow atheist Professor Brian Cox pondered the question of how life came into being. He put forward the theory that life first arose in ‘hydrothermal vents’ in the ocean. But he completely avoided explaining how the DNA code, the blueprint for the diversity of life, could miraculously become embedded in early cellular life which (also unexplained) mysteriously arose out of non living molecules. Neither Dawkins nor Cox appear in any way perturbed by this sleight of hand evasiveness, sticking to their evidence free dogma that DNA encoded cellular life arose spontaneously from inorganic molecules.

Returning to Enemies of Reason, Dawkins mischievously lumped together the obviously bogus with the genuine. So who was genuine? The answer must clearly be the medium linked to the Spiritualist church (but not the one at the psychic fair). Dawkins suggestion that his responses were the result of a supposed technique known as ‘cold reading’, (that is the asking of leading questions to elicit a favourable response), is nonsensical and ludicrous given the accuracy and specific nature of the messages that Spiritualist mediums regularly provide time after time. In the preparation of his TV programme Dawkins would, of course, have noticed this, but he is not such a fool as to destroy his reputation by admitting as much publicly. It is accepted that the response of our materialistic focussed society is dismissive towards Spiritualism, by individuals who have mostly never taken the trouble to investigate the matter for themselves. But there can be no justification for pandering to their collective ignorance.

Monday, 28 January 2019

The second Race Relations Act

Britain’s second Race Relations Act was introduced by Harold Wilson’s Labour government in 1968. It sought to make it unlawful to refuse housing, employment or public services based on a person’s colour, race or ethnic origins, granting powers to officials to investigate, and if necessary prosecute, individuals deemed to be in breach of the legislation. It also created the now superseded Community Relations Commission, tasked with the objective of creating ‘harmonious community relations’. The effect of this act would be to extend the reach of the authorities into the private conduct of citizens, and made criminal, matters that had previously been confined to civil disputes.

This new race relations bill was introduced into the Commons by the Home Secretary James Callaghan. He considered the issue of race relations to be of great social significance ‘for our country and our children’, a subject which is ‘heavily charged with emotion’ and which could ‘fan the flames of suspicion and resentment or fear’. He sought to lead the country away from ‘a prospect of strife and enmity’ towards a society in which ‘we shall all live in freedom and peace’ regardless of race or colour. He thought it would be a denial of our own history if the freedoms we have won over time were not extended to ‘other groups who have come to live here as full citizens’. He added ‘the legislation which I am proposing does not seek to put any group in a privileged position’.

In fact, until the Labour government came to power, all British citizens enjoyed equal rights within the law. Instead this new act gave powers to the state to intervene on behalf of one party to a civil dispute. In practice this meant that the complaint of a ‘coloured’ person would carry greater weight than the judgement, opinion or decision of a white person. In other words black complainants would be placed in a ‘privileged position’. As a result white people would now have to prove, to the satisfaction of the authorities, that any decision they made relating to employment or housing, which affected a black person, was not motivated by racial prejudice or discrimination. As Enoch Powell observed in his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech this was a 'law which cannot, and is not intended to, operate to protect the white population, or redress their grievances, but rather is to be enacted to give the stranger, the disgruntled and the agent-provocateur the power to pillory them for their private actions.’

The Home Secretary continued ‘there is evidence that coloured people suffer from grave disadvantages on matters like housing and jobs’. However, he provided no evidence that this was caused by the behaviour of the wider British public. In any case, it should be remembered that black people came to Britain out of their own choice to seek work, and that white society broadly expected them to be prepared to do the most menial jobs. This was the justification made by the government and large employers to warrant the influx of ‘coloured’ workers on such a vast scale, carried out with disregard to the concerns of many white people. In practice this was a false argument as all that happened was to suppress the wages of white workers dependent on unskilled work, as the pool of labour available for this kind of employment expanded through immigration. The Home Secretary ended his speech by asking whether the Conservative opposition ‘believe that it is right to legislate to make discrimination unlawful?’

The shadow Home Secretary Quintin Hogg responded on behalf of the Conservative opposition. He considered that it would be inappropriate for political parties to ‘exploit or to gain political advantage from the deep feelings which are held about this topic’. He acknowledged that ‘this country is not self-evidently under-populated at the moment and thus strict control of immigration must continue to be imposed’. However, in practice both Labour and Conservative governments would for decades preside over a hugely lax ‘control’ of immigration. Mr Hogg went on to advise that ‘we should forget the colour of their skins and treat them as equals’ warning that ‘all the evils and sicknesses of a divided society are such as will bring a curse upon us if we do not take this, the only road to safety’. At least there is an acknowledgement here that uncontrolled immigration of people of widely different cultures can lead to social problems.

Mr Hogg explained the difference between criminal and civil law. The first ‘carries a penalty and is enforced in practice by a public body’, whilst the second ‘gives a remedy but not a penalty and is enforced in practice by a privately wronged individual’. He warned against adopting any procedure that would ‘give rise to an individual right to damages in such a way as to exasperate relations. In the field of race relations, this may be of importance’. From his experience at the Bar he knew ‘what a terrible weapon of oppression damages can be and how it can embitter both the complainant and the defendant for the rest of their lives’. He finished by proposing an amendment, ‘condemning racial discrimination and the need for steps designed to improve the situation’ but concluding that the Bill would ‘not in its practical application contribute to the achievement of racial harmony’.

A Labour MP idealistically dismissed the view, expressed in some newspaper articles, that ‘there is a natural incompatibility between peoples of different races and colours. We on these benches utterly reject that notion’. He added that ‘there is no problem of a clash of race or colour so long as there is equality of status and what used to be called parity of esteem’. The MP considered it to be ‘of the utmost importance that we pass the Bill now, because we are reaching a stage when children who were born here are now leaving school and coming on to the labour market. They are not discriminated against at school. There is no sense of race or colour among school children. But these young people may encounter discrimination when they apply for jobs’. The issue which he failed to address was how it could be ascertained whether the reason a black applicant for a job was unsuccessful was because he faced ‘discrimination’ or because, in the judgement of an employer, for a variety of possible reasons, he was unsuitable to fill the post. In other words, any official investigating a complaint would need to engage in a form of mind reading in order to reach a decision.

A Conservative MP in opposing the proposal asked whether the supposed need ‘to act against racial discrimination is so strong a cause as to justify methods which, in my view, would not be contemplated for a moment outside this sphere’. He was concerned that ‘inquisitorial powers to investigate complaints or allegations of racial discrimination, not publicly but privately, will then determine whether legal processes can be brought against someone whom it is decreed has offended’. He added that such new powers ‘takes us some way beyond where the law stands now’, by suggesting that ‘the British people cannot be trusted to act properly and that now they must be coerced. We are passing a vote of no confidence on our own people, and I cannot accept that’. Unfortunately the views of ‘our own people’ counted for little when confronted with the liberal obsession over the concerns of ethnic minorities. The MP concluded ‘I do not believe that one can achieve justice for a minority by inflicting injustice on the majority, no matter how good and how noble the cause’.

Another Conservative MP asked the question ‘whether legislation can play a part in the amelioration of race relations’ and whether it is right for it to be so used. He believed that the proposals ‘would make very deep and damaging encroachments into the proper sphere of personal decision’, adding that ‘the trouble is that everyone thinks that his own particular concern is of unique importance that justifies this kind of interference with personal freedom’. This observation gets to the nub of the main issue raised by this kind of legislation namely, whether it is right that the state, in pursuit of its own collectivist egalitarian agenda, should be empowered to interfere with, and overrule the liberty of, citizens pursuing their own personal and private decisions with one another. The MP concluded that the aim of the Bill was not to grant full political and legal rights to citizens, since they already had these. Instead its purpose was ‘concerned solely and exclusively with the intention to achieve social equality’.

A Liberal MP disagreed with the utopian view that ‘there is nothing wrong with humanity, that people are nice, and will always behave in the right way provided we give them the right environment’. He considered that this was not necessarily true since we all have weaknesses and ‘certain innate tendencies which are less attractive than others. We are easily frightened, our security is easily threatened, and thus the whole problem of racial discrimination arises’. He concluded that ‘in this crucial field of human activity Parliament should give a lead and set a good example’. However, in response, it must be questioned whether it is really necessary to set up a state bureaucracy to police the behaviour of citizens ‘innate tendencies’ on this matter.

A Conservative MP who had recently been elected maintained that ‘while Governments can lead, they cannot in the end compel against the general will, unless they finally revert to totalitarian methods’. He observed that constituents who had raised the issue of immigration ‘recognise the objectives behind the Bill as humanitarian’, but believe that ‘it is misconceived and may well have an effect opposite to what is intended’. He concluded that ‘we cannot legislate to make people better humans in their hearts, but we can educate and lead them, and show them by good example. This is necessarily a slower process, but it is more effective in the end’. He did not know it but this Bill was only the start of a continuing government agenda on race aiming to compel people to become ‘better humans’, not by education and example, but by compulsion. However, another Tory MP took a different view declaring ‘we cannot alter human prejudice and make people tolerant by law. Nevertheless legislation can make a contribution. It can influence the way in which people behave although not the way in which they think and feel. It can certainly stop obvious acts of prejudice and it can remove the excuses’.

Reginald Maudling, Conservative deputy leader, wound up the debate for the opposition, claiming that his party was ‘just as opposed in principle to racial discrimination as the Government, and furthermore was not opposed to legislation on this subject. However, we are against this particular legislation since we believe that it will not, in practice, contribute to the achievement of racial harmony’. He added that ‘there are many frailties in the human mind and spirit which are morally wrong but cannot be made into crimes. Certain things which happen as a result of these infirmities can and should be dealt with by law, but there is a definite limit in practice where one can go in this direction’. He concluded that ‘the Bill will create more resentment than it will deal with and, in the long run, therefore, will not aid the cause we all have at heart but may, in fact, impede it’ since ‘it definitely encroaches on individual freedom and individual liberty, and will be unworkable in practice.’

David Ennals, the Home Office under secretary closed the debate. He believed that ‘there is evidence of a degree of racial discrimination and that the law can, within limitations, play a part’. He added that ‘we have to deal with the social problems involved in immigration’, fearing that ‘we may have a flashpoint in this country if we do not extend the field of legislation’. He disingenuously opined that the legislation ‘will apply to the whole population, and should one of white pigmentation believe himself to have been the victim of discrimination his right to lodge a complaint will be no less than that of a coloured citizen’. In practice, as he would have known, this eventuality scarcely ever happened. The minister concluded that ‘we cannot change men's hearts by law but we can outlaw the actions that can flow from prejudice. I believe that the very passing of law can influence the course of events and the course of thoughts in people's minds’.

Like the first Race Relations Act three years earlier, this Bill was supported by Labour and Liberal MPs and opposed by Conservative members. It became just one part of an incremental legislative creep in which the politically correct class increasingly sought to meddle and interfere in the private behaviour and relationships of ordinary citizens.