Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not real economic grievances – Vox


This was so brilliantly put, I am going to paste the article in full. The source can be found at the bottom.

Just one day after the results of Brexit, Britain’s vote to leave the EU, were announced, we’ve already begun to see some disturbing reports from Britain. Specifically, troubling stories about xenophobic incidents have been popping up across the country.

Protesters with banner "Stop Immigration; Start repatriation" outside a morrisons store in Newcastle

Racists given political legitimacy.

Racists in Birmingham

Racists in Birmingham

This isn’t surprising. The pro-Leave camp claimed that Britain needed to quit the EU to close its borders to more EU migrants, that the country had reached a “breaking point,” and needed to shut its doors. Pre- and post-election polling suggests that this was the pro-Leave argument that most resonated with British citizens, and was in large part responsible for Leave’s victory.

Now some pundits are suggesting that the real lesson of Brexit is that ordinary Britons are bearing an unacceptable economic cost from immigration, and that elites should heed that lesson and think about restricting immigration to other Western countries to prevent a similar populist backlash.

There’s just one problem: this narrative isn’t actually true. Data shows that Britain wasn’t suffering harmful economic effects from too many new migrants.

What Britain was suffering from too much of, however, was xenophobia — fear and hatred of immigrants. Bigotry on the basis of national origin.

That’s not something you give into, and close the borders. It’s something you fight.

British xenophobia is not rational

Immigration has surged in the UK in recent years: the number of foreign-born people living in the UK has gone from 2.3 million in 1993 (when Britain joined the EU) to 8.2 million in 2014. This is a new thing for the UK, as you can see on the below chart:

 (Office of National Statistics)

The surge was a result (in part but not in whole) of EU rules allowing citizens of of EU countries to move and work freely in any other EU member country.

Pro-Leave campaigners, and sympathetic observers in the media, argued that this produced a reasonable skepticism of immigration’s effect on the economy — and Brexit was the result.

“The force that turned Britain away from the European Union was the greatest mass migration since perhaps the Anglo-Saxon invasion,” Atlantic editor David Frum writes. “Migration stresses schools, hospitals, and above all, housing.”

Yet there’s a problem with that theory: British hostility to immigrants long proceeds the recent spate of mass immigration.

Take a look at this chart, from University of Oxford’s Scott Blinder. Blinder put together historical data on one polling question — the percent of Brits saying there were too many immigrants in their country. It turns people believed this for decades before mass migration even began:

 (Scott Blinder)

Brits believed there were “too many immigrants” even when there were too few to have appreciable effects on the British economy. If Britain’s backlash to immigration were really about immigrants taking their jobs, then you’d expect hostility about immigration to be correlated to the actual level of immigration. But it’s not.

That’s not the only reason to believe Brexit was about xenophobia.

Torsten Bell, director of the UK economic think tank Resolution Foundation, set out to test the hypothesis that “areas hardest hit by the financial crisis, or those where migration is said to have held down wages, voted heavily to leave.”

In other words, he tested the exact argument the pro-Leave camp is making: that people who voted to leave made a rational decision based on the real economic effects they’ve suffered from the rise in immigration. If that were the case, you’d expect places that have gotten poorer in the past decade (when mass migration took off) would have been the places that voted most heavily to leave the EU.

But that’s not what Bell found. In fact, he found no correlation at all between areas where wages have fallen since 2002 and the share of votes for Leave in the referendum:

 (Torsten Bell)

“Some areas with big pay boosts voted to leave (such as Christchurch in Dorset),” Bell writes. “Some that have done very badly out of the last decade and a half still voted to stay in the EU (such as Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire).”

Another point. Support for staying in the EU was concentrated among the UK’s young, whose wages were hurt most by the 2008 recession. Support for leave was concentrated among older Britons, who had less reason to fear wage competition from immigrants.

So there are lots of reasons to be skeptical that British voters’ concerns about immigration are a rational response to the effect immigration is having on the economy. Instead, it seems, British opposition to immigration stems from a long-lasting, deep-seated hostility towards new people coming into their country.

The word for that is xenophobia.

Immigrants didn’t hurt native-born Britons

French Border Police Ban 250-Vehicle Aid Convoy To Calais (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Pro-migrant activists in London.

The key assumption of the “rational concern” thesis is that immigrants are actually hurting the British economy. It only make sense to see hostility to immigration as rational if immigrants are actually harming native-born Brits.

But this isn’t the case. Take Frum’s core claim — that immigration was ruining the British housing market. “The median house price in London already amounts to 12 times the median local salary,” Frum writes. “Rich migrants outbid British buyers for the best properties; poor migrants are willing to crowd more densely into a dwelling than British-born people are accustomed to tolerating.”

The logic of Frum’s argument is directly contradictory. He seems to be arguing that rich migrants are raising British housing costs, while poor migrants are lowering it by living in higher-density housing.

But setting aside this weirdness, the truth is that migrants aren’t transforming British housing in any meaningful sense. Most of British housing demand is domestic; foreign born-residents only make up about 13 percent of Britain’s population. And while migrants may live in different kinds of housing early on, that changes quickly. “The longer they stay,” a 2011 London School of Economics study finds, “the more their housing consumption resembles that of similar indigenous households.”

If anything, migrants have a positive effect on the UK housing market — specifically, because they’re both capable of doing critical construction work and actually willing to do it. “The Chartered Institute of Building points out that any caps on immigration will harm housebuilding rates, as not enough British-born nationals are either trained or interested in construction careers, and migrants have been filling the gap,” the Guardian’s Dawn Foster writes.

The debate over housing mirrors the broader debate over migration’s effect on Britons. Leave campaigners, for instance, frequently argued that migrants were taking British jobs. Nigel Farage, head of the far-right UK Independence Party, once infamously proposed a law that would legalize discrimination against foreign-born workers in favor of hiring out-of-work British citizens.

Yet when a 2016 study, also from the London School of Economics, analyzed this specific claim using new data, it found, conclusively, “that the areas of the UK with large increases in EU immigration did not suffer greater falls in the jobs and pay of UK-born workers.”

What about wages? Is Britain being flooded by low-skill workers from EU countries, willing to work for low pay and thus undercutting native-born Brits?

The new LSE study looked at that as well. “There is also little effect of EU immigration on inequality through reducing the pay and jobs of less skilled UK workers,” the LSE authors write. “Changes in wages and joblessness for less educated UK born workers show little correlation with changes in EU immigration.”

This is consistent with international studies on the effect of migration on wages in other places. “Most of…the literature suggests that the effect on native workers’ wages is neutral or positive,” my colleague Dylan Matthews explains.

“The Mariel boatlift, when Cuba unexpectedly sent 125,000 people to Florida, did not hurt employment or wages among native workers in Miami at all. A huge spike in Russian immigration to Israel in the early 1990s appeared to give existing workers a nearly 9 percent raise.”

Finally, Brexit supporters argue that migrants are taxing UK social services. EU migrants were coming to the UK to take advantage of its generous public benefits, they argued, and over-stretching the system. “EU migrants’ access to the UK’s welfare state has dominated debates about the EU membership,” a paper by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, notes.

That same Oxford paper actually examined some of the claims — and found little evidence that EU migrants were coming over to take advantage of British benefits.

“EU migrants are less likely to claim out-of-work benefits, such as Jobseekers’ Allowance and incapacity benefit, compared to their UK counterparts,” the Oxford scholars write. “In February 2015, people who were EU nationals when they registered for a National Insurance Number made up 2.2% of the total [Department for Work and Pensions] working-age benefits caseload, but were about 6% of the working-age population.”

The bottom line, then, is that there is no good evidence that immigration was doing serious harm to native-born Britons. British attitudes towards immigration once again appear untethered to a rational assessment of the costs and benefits of migration.

Brexit is xenophobia, and we should react as such

Political Leaders Respond To The UK's EU Referendum Result (Mary Turner/Getty Images)
UKIP leader Nigel Farage

Over the past 20 years, the percentage of Britons ranking “immigration/race relations” as among the country’s most important issues has gone from near zero percent to about 45 percent. Today, 77 percent of Brits believe that immigration levels should be reduced.

The best explanation is that Britain’s xenophobia over immigration is being activated. They see immigrants around them, and they start looking for ways to prevent more from coming in. It’s not about assessing the harm immigrants are doing to Britain; it’s about being terrified that they’re changing the “character” of Britain to be more “foreign.”

You can see this fear in the the language of anti-immigrant campaigners like Farage. Much of it is downright bigoted against immigrants of all kinds, from Muslims to Eastern Europeans.

Farage has called some Muslims a “fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us.” He once warned Britain of a “Romanian crime wave” sweeping the nation. His party officially debuted this poster to warn of the dangers of letting in more migrants, which was actually reported to the police for resembling Nazi propaganda:

 (UKIP)

This is not the language of a rational immigration skeptic. It’s the language of a fearmonger.

The rhetoric became so heated that some native-born, non-white Britons are now worrying that xenophobia whipped up by Farage and others will end up targeting them.

“After an appalling referendum campaign, dominated by daily front-page scare stories regarding immigration, we’re wondering if people will again be questioning if we should be going back to our ‘own country,’” Joseph Harker, the Guardian’s deputy opinion editor (and a black man), writes. “It seems only a matter of time before the intolerance that has been unleashed, reinforced and normalised, looks for the old, easy targets of people who look different. People like me.”

Its perhaps understandable why xenophobic rhetoric appealed to some Brexit supporters. Resolution’s Bell found that even though pro-Brexit voters weren’t from places that had recently gotten poorer since the mass immigration wave, they were from places that had historically been poor — going back to the 1980s. These people have good reasons to be angry about the status quo. They’re looking for someone to blame, and immigrants are an easy scapegoat.

But the fact that their bigotry is comprehensible doesn’t make it any less bigoted. Nor does it excuse the politicians who catered to it — nay, encouraged it — over the course of the debate over Brexit.

Understanding this as bigotry matters. If the issue were that immigration hurt native-born populations, then it might make sense to talk about restricting immigration as a way of preventing this kind of destructive sentiment from rising to the fore again.

“Is it possible that leaders and elites had it all wrong?” Frum asks, rhetorically. “If they’re to save the open global economy, maybe they need to protect their populations better against globalization’s most unwelcome consequences — of which mass migration is the very least welcome of them all?”

But if the Brexit vote was rooted in xenophobia, rather than rational opposition to immigration, then the conclusion should be very different.

Civil rights prompted a racist backlash from Southerners, yet nobody seriously believes the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the 1965 Voting Rights Act were mistakes. You don’t give in to bigoted pressure to restrict people’s rights — in this case, the right for people to live where they want. You fight it.

That, not Frum’s kowtowing, should be the real response to the Brexit vote. British voters made an unjustifiable and irrational decision, grounded in fear of people who spoke different languages or whose skin was darker than theirs. The response shouldn’t be to restrict immigration further. It should be to figure out how better to make the case for the fundamental human right to migrate.

Source: Brexit was fueled by irrational xenophobia, not real economic grievances – Vox

Updated by on June 25, 2016, 4:07 p.m. ET

Advertisements

Getting rid of TAs will save £4 billion, says Gove. One Teacher has this letter to Mr Gove re Teaching Assistants. Please RT.


via Letter to Mr Gove re Teaching Assistants. Please RT..[1]

I’m halfway through a BA (Honours) History so that when my children are all (I have 3) in full time education, I can start teacher training and do a job that’s actually needed rather than back to a thankless admin role which bored me rigid and had no real meaning or purpose other than to make money for somebody else. Is there going to be a job once this clown has finished destroying state education to the point where the only viable option is private education for our children? (They tried it once during the 80s and 90s while I was at school) What Gove has done so far has proven he isn’t qualified to so much as boil water. His own lack of basic British history proves he should not be legislating the curriculum (so much for ‘small government’, Cameron), especially his ignorance that the first English bible was NOT the KJV but was written by John Wycliff and followed 150 years later by William Tyndale. Even Tyndale’s version predates the KJV version by almost a century. The money wasted on making sure ‘every school had one’ amounted to £370,000.  How many special education units would that have funded? Or maybe, replenished School library facilities? [2]

They also plan to fast track ex-service men into teaching positions. Where will that leave those who have an actual calling and see it as more than a highly paid babysitting role? Gove want’s military discipline in the classroom? [3]  In  1933, so did someone else. Thing is, servicemen will follow their orders whereas teachers fight back when something is going to be harmful. Despite his obvious lack of historical knowledge, Gove wants a 1950s style of rote learned facts (with no understanding of context because due to the quantity there won’t be time to teach it) which promotes a pro-imperial, nationalistic version of British history.  He wants a ‘return to’ a romanticised version of school life which probably never existed. He wants to return to the style my parents endured which is completely unsuited to a modern Britain and he MUST be stopped.  His new history ‘curriculum’ will not include the effects that Britain had on the rest of the world, because that “isn’t British history” (obviously, that renders context and effect irrelevant </sarcasm>). Instead of the broad critical analysis and skills – skills which, once learned, will last them a lifetime and across all aspects of their life- based history, he wants our children to have learned ‘facts’ of his choosing and not have time to look outside his narrow little view. (He doesn’t want informed freethinkers because they won’t grow up to vote for the Tories once they’re 18).

Going after History in particular was a political strategy and going after TAs is another: he doesn’t want teachers to have the time or resources to circumvent his plans. Schools like this teacher’s are vital to give children with specific needs as fighting chance to an education and a life, rather than just an existence in an institution. What he is doing will destroy the progress special education has made in the last 13 years. He is showing his true colours and his ignorant, bullish approach and glib attitude to those qualified to teach, not to mention the children who will suffer so he can follow a political agenda for the future of his party, has sickened me to the core. He has no empathy, no consideration for the real effects and, more importantly’ no qualification in teaching or child development and as far as I am concern those should be the very least required for the position of Minister for Education, or we’re going to keep getting accountants who fail to see ‘value’ in people.  Feel free to re-blog this.

Sources

  1. 38 Degrees Petition
  2. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/why-should-soldiers-be-fasttracked-into-teaching-8651058.html
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9267291/King-James-Bible-21000-copies-sent-to-every-state-school-in-England.html

Brief background of the 1st amendment.


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Historically, the first amendment was written to protect the church from secular interference and to break away from the situation which was still endemic in Europe at the time: secular leaders (which at the time only meant non-clerical) had for centuries appointed relatives and supporters to positions of authority within the church. It served their interests as it guaranteed church support -in most respects- for their decisions. In 1777 the founding fathers saw a Europe that was about to explode under its own weight (the nobility were supported by the clergy and vice versa and most nations had established churches which served the interests of the ruling powers) and decided to take measures to prevent this. The situation which resulted in the 1st French revolution in 1789 (there was more than one battle: actually a prolonged series over 10 years) was imminent and they feared it would spread to the colonies: England had already undergone a revolution when James II was deposed. .

Also the church, was at the time, still the most convenient means of law enforcement and tax collection (e.g. there was also no police service in the UK until Queen Victoria took direct action over the high crime rate). For this reason the relationship between the estates of nobility and clergy was, in the main, mutually beneficial. They both claimed to be working to protect the spiritual and physical interests of the commons (peasantry and rising middle classes by the 1750s) but in practice it was not the case. At the time that amendment of the US constitution was written, society had really only just begun moving from a feudalistic/agrarian one to one with condensed urban centres and the commons and peasants were –and in a lot of cases still are – regarded as a disposable, cheap labour force and virtually the property of the landed and ruling classes.  I must emphasise here, serfs were not slaves.  Serfs were bound to the land they lived on (not to a master.  If the land was sold, the serfs stayed put), and lived rent free on their lord’s land in return for working it or providing other services. They fed themselves through subsistence farming.  Ordinary peasants were not bound and lived self-sufficiently off the common land.  Taxation of the peasant classes into starvation, and the debts owed by the king and nobles, supported by the church, had bankrupted France (France as we know it did not exist until after the Napoleonic wars).

Christians’ denial of the separation between church and state merely demonstrates their complete and wilful ignorance of history as well as their unsuitability to take an active role. What might also be a pertinent point at this juncture is that the first pilgrims were not actually fleeing persecution  in England (England was under a Protestant Queen Elizabeth I then a Protestant James I). They left England because they had not been allowed to retaliate against their persecution under Mary I (they weren’t allowed to persecute Catholics). Initially they had moved the mostly Protestant Netherlands but there was still a high proportion of Catholics there, mostly in the nobility or positions of power (re Dutch revolt) so they left the Netherlands too and claimed land that was already inhabited after the native population had saved them from starving to death. That’s gratitude for you.

 

Other Sources


Fanstastic. Informative, interesting and well argued as always.

Futile Democracy

I have previously pointed out – here – that one of the major inaccuracies in the entire Bible is the suggestion that the Ten Commandments – the very foundation of Christianity – are unique to Christianity, or originated with Christianity. They didn’t. They originated with a pre-Pharoah tribe of Egypt called the Kemet, whose concept of truth, law and justice was consolidated into a theory called ‘Ma’at’. The ten commandments of the Bible are derived from the 42 principles of Ma’at.

But what if the glaring lie that the ten commandments were uniquely handed to Moses at the top of Mount Sinai, was not the biggest inaccuracy in the Bible? What if the biggest lie in the Bible was that Jesus existed at all?

Biblical historians generally agree that a man named Jesus probably did exist. Though, they never tend to give any strong evidence for his existence. Nothing written…

View original post 3,629 more words

Slaves at the root of the fortune that created Richard Dawkins’ family estate – Telegraph


Slaves at the root of the fortune that created Richard Dawkins’ family estate – Telegraph.

Richard Dawkins and Long-Dead Ancestor, Henry Dawkins...

“The ancestors of Richard Dawkins, the atheist campaigner against superstition, intolerance and suffering, built their fortune using slaves, it has been revealed.” Daily Mail style Headlines from the Sunday Telegraph

For starters, none of us are responsible for the actions of others (aside from the children in our care and that is relinquished once they are 18) – least of all our long dead ancestors – any more than we are entitled to take personal credit for their innovations.  For The Telegraph to take this stance, they must have been REALLY desperate for something to print.  How on earth did this epitome of demagogic hackery get past the editor of a national broadsheet?  Were they asleep on the job?  I was aware of this article prior to it’s release, as many others who read the RDF website were, and he reported the aggressive and accusatory approach of the ‘news-gatherer‘.  If the Telegraph values it’s reputation at all, it will offer a front page apology to Proff. Dawkins (for this shameful attempt to slander his character) written by the journalist who wrote it, retract the article and discipline the editor.  The comments on the Telegraph article have been disabled.  I wonder why.  This is NOT an awkward truth.  He has done nothing wrong by being related to a property owner; one among hundreds who owned slaves nearly 300 years ago.  For people to arbitrarily declare that he personally owes an apology for historical events, is both crass and and parochial and indicative of a much bigger problem.

“Plantation owners were not the only customers who wanted to buy slaves. Many people in the cities of North America, including New York, Charleston and Providence in Rhode Island on the east coast, employed enslaved Africans as domestic servants, sailors and construction workers.” – Portcities Website, ‘Plantation owners’


Lets go through some of it shall we?

Before I start, I am by no means justifying the existence of slavery.  I find the idea of owning someone abhorrent – and the fact that it continues to this day, even more so.  What I aim to do in this post is clarify the events without applying a my 21st century ideals.

The first mistake that should be mentioned is the deliberate omission from popular history of where and how the slave merchants obtained their stocks.  European access to Africa was extremely limited.  Where colonies of British and European settlers existed, they were confined to a handful of  coastal areas of West Africa and solely at the pleasure of the African Tribal leaders.  Africa is a continent, not a single country, a fact which the ignorant (the writer of the article), seems blissfully unaware of.  The individual kingdoms had their own leaders, their own customs, and where European presence was met with hostility and deemed unwelcome, this was not the universal rule.  The neighbouring kingdoms also had their own conflicts and tensions, so when the Europeans came along they saw an opportunity to gain an advantage over their neighbours through trade.

“He has railed against the evils of religion, and lectured the world on the virtues of atheism.

Now Richard Dawkins, the secularist campaigner against “intolerance and suffering”, must face an awkward revelation: he is descended from slave owners and his family estate was bought with a fortune partly created by forced labour.” 

The mistake people commonly make is confusing simplicity for stupidity.  The second mistake is to apply modern standards, and impose modern motives to figures and events of the past.  The Africa of the 17th and 18th century was extremely simple in comparison with Europe but that does not make them ‘primitive’ or inferior.  As I said, each region had its own laws and customs.  One of those customs was to either kill or enslave criminals (all crimes were capital) and prisoners of war. If they had a harvest to collect, prisoners would be put to work, if not, they would execute them.  What the Europeans did was alter the equation.  The letters of Lieutenant John Matthews of the Royal navy provide first hand evidence (4), that the presence of European traders on the coast, willing to buy slaves, inspired some African leaders to lead raiding parties into other villages for sale to slave traders on the coast in exchange for gunpowder, weapons and other items which would add to their prestige and give them an advantage over their neighbours.  For those demanding monetary regress between the descendants of planters, traders and slaves are extremely remiss in their adamant claims that blame lies entirely at the feet of the planters and their descendents.

“One of his direct ancestors, Henry Dawkins, amassed such wealth that his family owned 1,013 slaves in Jamaica by the time of his death in 1744.” 

“The Dawkins family estate, consisting of 400 acres near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, was bought at least in part with wealth amassed through sugar plantation and slave ownership.”

 The Beckford family (5) were also made extremely rich by their sugar plantations. In fact they were the richest family in England for the best part of 200 years.  They did not do what they did illegally.  At the time their actions were all legal and considered acceptable.  As did, the Dawkins family.

“Over Norton Park, inherited by Richard Dawkins’s father, remains in the family, with the campaigner as a shareholder and director of the associated business.”

“Professor Dawkins, the atheist evolutionary biologist and author of The Selfish Gene, claimed associating him with his slave-owning ancestors was “a smear tactic”.

“One of the most disagreeable verses of the Bible – amid strong competition – says the sins of the father shall be visited on the children until the third or fourth generation,” he said.”

Even if inherited sin was not a disgusting guilt-tactic cynically adopted by the early church to maintain fear and through fear, control, the fact that 6 generations have now passed, cannot have escaped the ‘reporter’s’ notice.  It holds individuals responsible for actions they could not have possibly had anything to do with and condemns infants to answer for, and somehow atone, for the sins of not only their parents but their grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents.  This so-called journalist has appointed himself judge in this instance and demanded, that Dawkins answer for the ‘crimes’ (I will reiterate, that owning slaves was a legal and common practice in the 18th century).

“In 2010 Richard Dawkins wrote an obituary for his father, describing how John Dawkins had inherited Over Norton Park from a distant cousin and how the estate, in the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty, had been in the family since the 1720s. He omitted, however, to mention how previous generations made their money.

And why should he have done?  What business is it of ours?  If it had been him, personally, owning slaves and profiting from their labour, we would probably be rightly shocked. It wasn’t him.  It was the 18th century and most of the wealthy landowning class, DID earn their money that way. It wasn’t shocking.

He quoted Scripture – disparagingly – to insist: “I condemn slavery with the utmost vehemence, but the fact that my remote ancestors may have been involved in it is nothing to do with me.

“One of the most disagreeable verses of the Bible – amid strong competition – says the sins of the father shall be visited on the children until the third or fourth generation.”

Audibly irritated, he added: “You need a genetics lecture. Do you realise that probably only about 1 in 512 of my genes come from Henry Dawkins?”

Well the reporter called his house (twice) and accused him of being guilty of enslaving a thousand people who died 3 centuries ago.  Who wouldn’t be ‘irritated’?  For the last time, Dawkins is NOT responsible for the actions of  his ancestors.

“”For goodness sake, William Wilberforce may have been a devout Christian, but slavery is sanctioned throughout the Bible.”

Richard Dawkins’ sister Sarah Kettlewell, 67, is thought still to live on the estate, which has a farm shop and pedigree cattle. According to Companies House records which list Professor Dawkins as a director, Over Norton Park Limited made a £12,000 profit last year.”

For those outside the UK, £12,000 is less than one person would earn on minimum wage in a year. And weren’t most people Christians and church-goers in the 18th century?

He insisted: “The estate is now a very small farm, struggling to make its way, and worth peanuts. The family fortune was frittered away in the 19th Century. Such money as I have is scarcely inherited at all.”

He earns his money from his work as a biologist, writer and public-speaking.  The little his family estate is worth or makes is shared among his other relations.  I fail to see a problem with this.  He’s doing nothing illegal.

He is now facing calls to apologise and make reparations for his family’s past.

Esther Stanford-Xosei, of Lewisham, south London, the co-vice chairman of the Pan-African Reparations Coalition in Europe, said: “There is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity.

“The words of the apology need to be backed by action. The most appropriate course would be for the family to fund an educational initiative telling the history of slavery and how it impacts on communities today, in terms of racism and fractured relationships.”

The revelations come after a difficult few days for the campaigner.”

Only due to the fact that few hacks in the media and (several in the cabinet), have been making claims that not only fly in the face of reason, but are completely devoid of truth.  Baroness Warsi, an unelected, token Muslim woman in the Conservative party, is not unknown for her spurious claims about non believers and has made no effort at all to listen when corrected.  Her comments, and Cameron’s,  about this country being ‘Christian’ and needing a resurgence of religious fervour is, in my view, a sinister distraction tactic.  I have little doubt that Cameron knows that his party is in trouble with public opinion.  He backed Osborne’s economic austerity measures and they have made the situation far worse and is now attempting a policy of divide and rule among believers and non-believers in order to retain favour with the white, male, business owners.  He has even put in plans to force people on JSA to work for nothing, or risk losing the £53 per week they live on now.

To add inventive this scheme, big companies are also exempt from offering any of the benefits or rights that their other employees have (including minimum wage).  The only thing that will do is allow businesses to take on unpaid temporary staff on a continual stream and avoid paying contracted staff overtime.  The only people who actually gain are the board members and the shareholders.  While slavery is being brought back by stealth and Cameron systematically dehumanises the poorest of the British public, the trash-news aided and abetted by the Telegraph find it prudent to publish the family history of a specific prominent figure who speaks out against religious privilege in an attempt to deprive him of support.  It doesn’t bode well…

On Tuesday 14 February, some critics branded him “an embarrassment to atheism” after what many listeners considered a humiliation in a Radio 4 debate with Giles Fraser, formerly Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, in which the professor boasted he could recite the full title of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”, then when challenged, dithered and said: “Oh God.”

Critics of the movement have always found an easy target in the shape of  Professor Dawkins and other outspoken atheists, viewing any opposition or contradiction to their beliefs as the height of rudeness.  The only thing we can do as a movement is to continue to push back and hold our ground.  It’s worrying enough that the British PM has begun pushing his Christianity and encouraging others to push theirs while complaining they are being marginalised by equality laws, but how long will it be before non-believers are more stringently penalised?  Our tax-funded faith schools already have the right to exclude the children of non-believers.  Let me make one thing quite clear, preventing one group of people from discriminating against another does NOT under any stretch of the imagination, amount to oppression, marginalisation, or persecution.  It amounts to fairness, where all people have equal rights under the law, without exception or privilege.


From the sublime to the ridiculous…

It gets worse.  On the 14th of February The Telegraph published and article applauding a former cleric and ‘Thought for the Day’ know-it-all, for rendering Professor Dawkins ‘speechless’ when he could not roll of the top of his tongue, the full title of Charles Darwin’s (going to be the name of my 3rd child if I have a third) ‘Origin of Species’.  It’s ‘On the Origin of Species by Process of Natural Selection‘ but as most copies are printed with the shortened title, including mine, it’s not surprising that most people don’t know it.  The fatuous challenge was issued after Dawkins pointed out that most people who call themselves Christian, cannot name the first book of the bible which is true.  However the point is more than about knowing what something is called.  It is about understanding the content.  The Rev. was not ‘stylish or mature.  It was a simple case of playground ‘I know you are, but what am I”, posturing. The second article uses their favourite ad hom – ‘militant secularists -against those of us who object to having the superstitions of other people foisted upon us by means of legislation.  When religious institutions start paying tax and making a real contribution to society, they can then start having a say on political reforms. Untill such time, can they shut up.

“We all hear about Muslim leaders issuing fatwas against homosexuals, preaching hate and the extermination of the Jews. But who hears of an Imam who is a credit to their religion?

And yet the extremists are merely a flipside of the atheists. Their actions, too, are entirely negative, aimed at winning plaudits from fellow atheists and in the process poisoning the rest of society against them.” – Stephen Pollard of The Daily Telegraph

The telegraph and the Independent have both gone downhill. It seems nationalist anachronistic crap now qualifies as reasonably objective and fashionable journalism to papers more concerned with sales than with quality and they are fast losing all credibility.


Related articles and Sources…

  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/feb/15/richard-dawkins-title-origin-species
  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/feb/19/richard-dawkins-disbelief-slave-trade-ancestor
  3. http://discoveringbristol.org.uk/slavery/people-involved/traders-merchants-planters/caribbean-plantation-development/plantation-owners/
  4. Matthews. J (1787-8), ‘Letters of John Mattews‘ in Gibbons. R (ed.) ‘An Anthology of Primary Sources‘, Manchester University Press, New York, (pp. 266-270).
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/articles/2007/03/06/abolition_fonthill_abbey_feature.shtml