September 10, 2007

Flogging a dead horse ....

Some things seem to be universal for politicians and civil servants everywhere in the world. In the extended post below is a very clever take on this from South Africa. And, having lived there and elsewhere now I can say without equivocation that I think it must be a genetic condition which predisposes people to become civil servants and politicians and to think in that way.

Do read the extended post and you'll see what I mean ....

Tribal wisdom.

Dakota Native American tribal wisdom, passed on from generation to generation, says: "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount and get a different horse."

However, in government, education and corporate Southern Africa, more
advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

5. Lowering the standards so that the dead horse can be included.

6. Reclassifying the dead horse as 'living impaired'.

7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.

9. Providing additional funding and / or training to increase dead horse's performance.

10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.

11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overheads & therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

And of course ....

13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position!

If you understand the above, then you are obviously a South African.

Posted by The Gray Monk at 09:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 16, 2007

Reform of child courts

Watching the news this morning on BBC TV (Breakfast) I almost dropped my coffee when they sat two people down for a short debate on reforming the way the chid protection inductry runs the legal system for children's courts in England. Quite apart from the fact that ten times the number of children taken from their parents on a "risk assessment" by a social worker are then whisked through an adoption process and never allowed to see their real parents again, it is the secrecy with which these so-called "courts" operate that is at last causing major concern.

The way it operates is this. An allegation is made by a social worker, teacher or even neighbour. The child is whisked into "care" while the charges are "investigated", often turning up nothing at all that could be used in any regular court. Then the whole fabric of "evidence" is spun out with "assessments" by a range of "social scientist" "professionals", none of which the accused parents are allowed to see. This is then placed before a closed "court" (Protecting the child's identity is given as the reason!) and the court rules on the future of the child and the fitness of the parent without ever hearing the parents case or allowing them to defend themselves against the slanders very often contained in the "assessments". On this basis one family had three children taken into care and put up for adoption - without the parents being aware of it - on the grounds that the social workers had "assessed" the parents as not being intelligent enough to bring up children!

The figures on this and the difference between England and the other parts of the UK are staggering. Four thousand children taken from their parents on the accusations of social workers - that right, four thousand children! - are not returned and are put up for adoption. Evene assuming that some of these are at risk, at least two thirds, if the same sample is taken in Scotland, are not!

Justice cannot be served behind closed doors. That way lies totalitarianism. Justice MUST be fair to all parties and it must be SEEN in order for it to be effective. The present system has seen so many miscarriages of justice with women accused by unqualified social workers of murder, neglect and abuse, which, whgen supported by medical professionals who should be less certain of their own unsupported and unresearched theories than any other part of our justice system. Why do we demand a standard of evidence that is so high it is almost impossible to fulfil when dealing with a terrorist - but then apply a different and totally unjust rule when dealing with parents and children?

I agreed totally with the gentleman demanding a reform. It is long overdue - and it should begin with the removal of powers from social services to "investigate" in secrecy. The Rules of Evidence must be the same in all cases. The accused has a right to see the full evidence against them, and a right to be heard. They also have the right to challenge the "experts" whose expertise is increasingly being seen as entirely self proclaimed.

I doubt though that it will happen in the short term. There are now too many untrenched "experts" in the lobbies of parliament and in parliament itself. They have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo - biased and unfair as it is. After all, it keeps them in power and in all the gravy sloshing out of the "child protection" gravy train. There is most certainly child abuse. It is not new, and it certainly is pernicious and takes many forms, but I, for one, doubt it is anywhere near as prevalent and widespread as the Child Protection lobby and the media make it out to be.

Time for less hype and more common sense - and proper justice in the family and childrens courts!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 02:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 07, 2007

A cautionary tale

Sometimes something comes across your horizon that is worth repeating. In the extended post to this there is a reproduced copy of "The Squirrel's Tale". It is a modern Fairy Story, but the trouble is that it is one of those stories which is so close to the bone that it could almost be a Press Release - with the individuals names replaced by those of animals and insects. It really does reflect what is happening in Britain - and not just under Labour, although it is the Socialist Disease - but under every government we have had since 1945. It really does reflect the fact that hard work and prudence in managing one's affairs does not pay. There will always be some group who will see your hardearned rewards as "ill-gotten gains achieved by depriving the downtrodden".

The root of that attitude probably lies in the inequality of rewards that stemmed from the early days of the Industrial Revolution and the manner in which the labouring classes were treated. No one wants to see a return to such inequalities, but, sadly, that does seem to be the path we are now being taken down by a steady progression of ever more restrictive labour laws and the punitive taxation of those who do manage to save a little for retirement. Gordon Brown and the Treasury's breathtaking raid on Pension Funds (£8 Billion a year!) and the barefaced denial that this has had a disastrous affect on peoples lives and incomes is one example of the disconnect between Whitehall and the rest of the populace. They are genuinely convinced that their raid has not affected anyone adversely, and when presented with proof retreat behind the old mantra of "well there are bound to be some losers for the benefit of others."

I have commented on "The Squirrel's Tale" before this, but, given the recent report by the Timesonline regarding Middle Class tax evasion, it is worth commenting on it again. The scary part of this is that every example used in its compilation has a parallell in reality. Every instance has been drawn from something that has actually happened in recent years in this country. That is what makes you really sit up and take notice.

With a little luck, one day Whitehall and the gravy train passengers of Westminster might actually pay a little attention and learn something - hopefully before the entire edifice collapses about us.

A Squirrel's Tale


The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building and improving his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed.

The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.



The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed.

A social worker finds the shivering grasshopper, calls a press conference and demands to know why the squirrel should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like the grasshopper, are cold and starving. The BBC shows up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper; with cuts to a video of the squirrel in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food.

The British press inform people that they should be ashamed that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so while others have plenty. The Labour Party, Greenpeace, Animal Rights and The Grasshopper Council of GB demonstrate in front of the squirrel's house. The BBC, interrupting a cultural festival special from Notting Hill with breaking news, broadcasts a multi cultural choir singing "We Shall Overcome". Ken Livingstone rants in an interview with Trevor McDonald that the squirrel got rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the squirrel to make him pay his "fair share" and increases the charge for squirrels to enter inner London .

In response to pressure from the media, the Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The squirrel's taxes are reassessed.

He is taken to court and fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as builders for the work he was doing on his home and an additional fine for contempt when he told the court the grasshopper did not want to work. The grasshopper is provided with a council house, financial aid to furnish it and an account with a local taxi firm to ensure he can be socially mobile. The squirrel's food is seized and re distributed to the more needy members of society, in this case the grasshopper.

Without enough money to buy more food, to pay the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, the squirrel has to downsize and start building a new home. The local authority takes over his old home and utilises it as a temporary home for asylum seeking cats who had hijacked a plane to get to Britain as they had to share their country of origin with mice. On arrival they tried to blow up the airport because of Britain 's apparent love of dogs.

The cats had been arrested for the international offence of hijacking and attempt bombing but were immediately released because the police fed them pilchards instead of salmon whilst in custody. Initial moves to then return them to their own country were abandoned because it was feared they would face death by the mice. The cats devise and start a scam to obtain money from peoples credit cards.

A Panorama special shows the grasshopper finishing up the last of the squirrel's food, though spring is still months away, while the council house he is in, crumbles around him because he hasn't bothered to maintain the house. He is shown to be taking drugs. Inadequate government funding is blamed for the grasshopper's drug 'illness'.

The cats seek recompense in the British courts for their treatment since arrival in UK .

The grasshopper gets arrested for stabbing an old dog during a burglary to get money for his drugs habit. He is imprisoned but released immediately because he has been in custody for a few weeks. He is placed in the care of the probation service to monitor and supervise him. Within a few weeks he has killed a guinea pig in a botched robbery.

A commission of enquiry, that will eventually cost £10,000,000 and state the obvious, is set up.

Additional money is put into funding a drug rehabilitation scheme for grasshoppers and legal aid for lawyers representing asylum seekers is increased. The asylum seeking cats are praised by the government for enriching Britain 's multicultural diversity and dogs are criticised by the government for failing to befriend the cats.

The grasshopper dies of a drug overdose. The usual sections of the press blame it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity and his traumatic experience of prison.

They call for the resignation of a minister.

The cats are paid a million pounds each because their rights were infringed when the government failed to inform them there were mice in the United Kingdom .

The squirrel, the dogs and the victims of the hijacking, the bombing, the burglaries and robberies have to pay an additional percentage on their credit cards to cover losses, their taxes are increased to pay for law and order and they are told that they will have to work beyond 65 because of a shortfall in government funds.


Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 22, 2006

Social responsibility

Wandering around the blogosphere briefly while checking some facts and waiting for someone to finish a late running lecture session, I stumbled on something the Rev'd Mike recently posted and got to thinking. Though the quote from his blog below was written with the US specifically in mind, it extrapolates rather too readily into the present state of Britain. We have become a nation which expects "someone else" to sort out the lack of discipline in children, the lack of respect for another persons rights, the breakdown of morality and the collapse of the entire edifice on which our society is built.

We laughed at the John Cleese, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett sketch which lined up the three comedians in order of size and began with the toffee accented John Cleese saying "I look down on him because he is ... " and finished with little Ronnie Corbett saying "I look up to him because ..." Since then the liberationist movement has successfully undermined every single facet of family, school, and political life to the point where we have all become suspicious of authority, surly when told to do something and entirely to ready to shrug our shoulders and say "someone else" should deal with it.

I quote the Rev'd Mike's blog verbatim as he has written under the title "Are you pulling this wagon; or pushing it?"

Twenty years ago, Neuhaus correctly saw that the chief threat to our republic was not communism (as many thought at the time), but “a collapse of the idea of freedom and of the social arrangements necessary to sustaining liberal democracy.” But he seemed reluctant to follow his own analysis to its natural conclusion. Though he mentioned in passing the “lethal liberationisms that reached their apex in the late ’60s and early ’70s,” he did not explore what that social revolution was doing to the cultural foundations of our republic. Though insisting, as did many of the Founders, that our regime of ordered liberty requires certain moral qualities in its citizens and statespersons, Neuhaus held back from pondering the condition of the principal settings where those qualities are acquired. It is now clear that the years of adult “liberation” took a dreadful toll on children, and on the nation’s principal seedbeds of character and competence: families and their surrounding communities of memory and mutual aid.

What many Americans now seem to want is for other people to be “incorrigibly religious” (or at least to behave as if they were). They want other people to cultivate the self-restraint that makes social life possible, other people to hang in there when family life gets tough, other people to be ethical in business dealings, other people to pay taxes, and other people to provide children with attention and discipline. While Neuhaus was urging free citizens to claim their rightful places in public life, we were becoming a nation of free riders, coasting along and spending social capital that is rapidly running out.

Neuhaus had it right, society is falling apart precisely because the liberationists have lost sight of the key point about a truly liberal democracy - it's called personal responsibility and it is the glue that holds any society together. Unless we all accept responsibility for our own welfare, our own actions, our own growth and development - and yes, our own failures - society rapidly becomes first an oligarchy and finally a dictatorship. Britain is now run by Whitehall and Westminster along the same lines as a Nanny running a nursery. We are not trusted to know how to take care of ourselves because, thanks to the cultivation of the victim menatlity and the dependency of social handouts, we are frankly in the main capable of looking after ourselves. Parents cannot discipline chil;dren any longer because Nanny says its not good for them, thus Nanny is now promoting indiscipline and contributing to the further degradation of society.

In the US many have turned to fundamental Christianity in response to the growing collapse of morality they perceive about them, here even more seem to have turned to Football Mania, Pop Star worship or the nurture of "saint" cultures such as the one surrounding the late and largely unlamented Princess of Wales. If you look back in history you soon recognise the pattern, ours is a dying culture - and perhaps that may not be a bad thing in the longer term - it will be hell for those of us living in the short term!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 12:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 11, 2006

Airbrushing out history

After reading the news at the weekend, I have had to introduce a new category to my postings on this blog. The item that first got me going was the news that one of Merseysides feminist Labour apologistas has managed to score what must rate as a huge own goal. Her proposal to airbrush out of the City of Liverpool the names of some of the city's traders who made it one of the wealthiest cities in the Empire - because they were slave traders - is about to erase the street made famous by the Beatles. Penny Lane is named after a ship owner whose ships were used in the slave trade, so it is one of the many streets about to get new names if this politically correct nonsense goes ahead.

The point that got me going on this is not that I agree or disagree with what the people who took part in this trade did or did not do, they are a part of our history and these stupid and mean minded attempts to airbrush them from our memory are as moronic as is the mindset that demands that we apologise for everything that some sections of the politically correct pundits don't like. Everything that is from the discovery of vaccines (by testing them on a servant girls son) to the fact that we settled and built infrastructures in parts of the world that didn't want to trade with us. As I discussed with a friend recently, the colonial settlements initially grew out of the fact that having sailed in unseaworthy ships three quarters of the way round the world to trade with someone, getting there to find that he'd attack you and steal everything you had before refusing to give you anything in return was likely to ensure that the next expedition had the force to make the trade swing the other way - and had the means to make sure it didn't happen again!

The real root of this lunacy is the obsession so ably developed and fostered by the liberal left in this country for the last hundred years or so of the "victim" of European aggression and evil Christianity being everyone who was colonised or forced to move out of the stone age. This Victim Culture is even now fostered and nurtured by the PC brigade who see every minority as a "victim" of an oppressive society - and to hell with the truth that they generally chose to become minorities by either moving to that country or by cutting off their particular "culture" in a ghetto of their own creation. It is not our history we should be ashamed of, it is the attempts to rewrite it in the most negative manner possible that should excite our disgust and raise our resistance.

The most damning thing these PC morons always overlook is that it was our sense of morality which brought about the demise of slavery in the West - a Judeo/Christian morality. It was our Royal Navy which brought an end to the slave trade from West Africa and other areas, and it is the very cultures the PC lunatics wish to promote as superior to our own that still practice slavery. Let's see them speak out against that for a change!

Posted by The Gray Monk at 08:57 AM | TrackBack