Category Archives: Human Rights

That’s just not cricket

Another year, another immigrant being allowed to stay in the UK for the flimsiest of reasons. Last year we had the person allowed to stay because he went to the gym and before that the famous Bolivian-student-allowed-to-stay-because-they-owned-a-cat. Of course, the important thing about both of those cases is that those were not the reasons at all. The media – bless them – had just taken what they thought to be the most absurd reason for remaining (even, if in the case of the cat, whether it wasn’t even used as an argument) from each case and reported it as if that was the sole reason for the judge’s verdict.

Which brings us to today’s Mail Online headline: ‘Judge gives Bangladeshi student permission to stay in the UK… because he loves cricket’. Which actually means:

In what is being seen by lawyers as a test case, a trainee accountant from Bangladesh who came to Britain to study has been granted permission to remain in the country after successfully claiming that he had made friends and played cricket on Sundays.

While the Home Office turned down Abdullah Munawar’s initial bid to stay on in the UK after graduating, the courts overturned the decision on appeal and ruled that he could continue to enjoy a “private life” in this country under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

You can argue all you like about the ‘right to a private life’ enshrined under Article 8 of the ECHR, but let’s have those arguments like adults, rather than just screaming that X has been allowed to stay for one reason alone when they clearly have not. The right to a private life does kind of imply that every student on a 3-year VISA will be able to argue their case to a judge to be allowed to remain – after all, you would hope that most people would have established a private life over the course of living in the UK for 3 years. What this perhaps does is highlight how the UK currently expects to be paid handsomely by foreign students whilst they attend its universities, only to then remove them as soon as their education is over without question.

Again, newspapers are free to have this debate but it would be refreshing if for once they could just report the truth accurately and avoid dishonest headlines. The Daily Mail was recently bemoaning the apathy of young non-voters, yet at the same time this is the level of political debate that the newspaper engages in. There is clear scope for a proper debate over the right to a private life and what this ruling means for future cases. However, all people will be taking away from this article is the false impression that playing cricket is a surefire way that ‘they’ can stay in the country – just as if ‘they’ owned a cat.

Speaking of which, at least the Mail Online article didn’t dare mention the cat, unlike the Telegraph:

The case of the cricketing student now takes its place in the annals of unusual immigration decisions – alongside the “Bolivian cat man”, first exposed in these pages two years ago, who sparked a Cabinet rift at the 2011 Conservative conference.

Indeed, the cricketing student myth will now be regularly quoted alongside ‘Bolivian cat man’ by people unaware that they’ve just been lied to by their newspaper, again. Considering the absolute falsity of the ‘Bolivian cat man’ story it staggers me that the Telegraph – the article was written by David Barrett – has again proudly stood by it.

The new press regulator needs the statutory power to fine or flog any journalist who repeats a myth that has been publicly and convincingly shown to be false. Otherwise we just end up with millions of individual Wintervals damaging public understanding of how the world works.

David Cameron, Human Rights and the Daily Mail

There is a reason that I tend to focus on the Daily Mail – when I know they are not alone in wallowing in terrible journalism – and the reason is that the Daily Mail seems to wield significant political influence. This morning David Cameron said the following on the Andrew Marr show:

Prime Minister David Cameron said he agreed with Mrs May that the [Human Rights] act should be scrapped and replaced with a British Bill of Rights.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, he said that because of the coalition it would take longer to review this than he would like.

He also said he wanted to change the “chilling culture” created by the act.

He cited an example of a prison van being driven nearly 100 miles to be used to transport a prisoner 200 yards “when he was perfectly happy to walk”.

“The Human Rights Act doesn’t say that’s what you have to do. It’s the sort of chilling effect of people thinking ‘I will be found guilty under it’.

This is a story that I have already covered last week, and it has since had an interesting update that confirms my original theory that this was definitely not a human rights issue. It is very interesting indeed that David Cameron is using this example as evidence that Britain needs to opt out of the Human Rights Act, because had he read the article more closely he might have noticed that something else was in fact to blame:

Glyn Travis, of the Prison Officers’ Association, said: ‘This is a prime example of how the privatised system is a constant drain on public resources.

‘In the past police would have been able to walk him to the station themselves but now because of the contracts with private companies they are not able to do so’.

Of course, privatisation is a favourite past time of the Conservatives ever since Margeret Thatcher introduced economic shock doctrine into the UK back in the 1980s. Perhaps this is what we have to look forward to when the NHS is slowly auctioned off to private companies in aid of ‘competition’ and the supposed efficiency magically generated by the ‘free’ market – you know, the system that has led to the generally terrible and still state-subsidised ‘private’ railway system we all ‘enjoy’ in the UK.

Still, rather than actually investigate just why the prisoner was driven such a short distance instead of walking – the fact that a private contract exists to deliver the service of prisoner transport, hence why the police felt they could not walk him or drive him; it is no longer their job – it was obvious the Daily Mail would blame ‘human rights’ as the real reason. Just as inevitable would be that at some point this story would enter the public discourse thanks to a politician – in this case the Prime Minister – who then uses this populist, simplistic bullshit to try and force through a policy change.

Is it any wonder political apathy is rampant in the UK when this is the level of public discourse, this is the intelligence level of our Prime Minister – basing policy on some made-up crap they saw in the Daily Mail?

It is also interesting to put one final chunk of the Mail article here:

A police spokesman said: ‘It may be possible for officers to assist with prisoner transport, as we work in partnership with the contractor.

‘However, every situation will need to be decided on its merits.’

So, here we have clearly conflicting statements being issued by the Police and the Prison Officers’ Association. The Prison Officers’ Association seem to believe that the Police cannot transport prisoners because of the private contract in place, whilst a Police spokesman believes that it ‘may be possible to assist with prisoner transport’. So, this situation could have occured for many reasons:

  • Police wrongly thinking that prisoner transport must be carried out by the Private Contractor
  • The private contractor could have made this seem the case and insisted on driving the prisoner the short distance because it was profitable to do so
  • The prison service / local courts could have believed that the contractor must be used at all times to transport suspects

Whatever the truth may be, what is certain is that this had nothing to do with the Human Rights act. As for David Cameron, he demonstrates once again that he is utterly unfit to lead the country. But he isn’t alone, most of our political class aren’t as long as they keep buying into the media agenda and in particular the agenda set by the Daily Mail (see the £250m set aside for weekly bin collections as a prime example of Daily Mail campaign becoming government policy).


Many thanks to Liz Church for pointing this out in the comments.

Human Rights wrongly blamed, again

Another day, another chance to blame Human Rights for something: ‘Prison van driven 96 miles to take defendant 60 YARDS to court as “walking will infringe his human rights”‘. The Mail claims:

A prison van travelled 96 miles to transfer a defendant just 60 yards from a police station to a court because walking would ‘infringe his human rights’.

Despite it being just a 30-second walk from Banbury Police Station to the dock, custody chiefs ordered a prison van for defendant Oliver Thomas, 27, which was sent from 96 miles away…

Judge Tom Corrie was told that to have taken the prisoner on foot from police cells to the dock would have ‘infringed his human rights’.

The transport was provided by GEOAmey which is contracted to ‘take defendants between custody and courts’. According to the Daily Mail the contract is worth £90m and they quote a GEOAmey spokesman to defend the decision to send a van:

He said: ‘Police wouldn’t expect us to turn up at Banbury and handcuff a prisoner and take him down the street and to the court. Generally speaking we don’t see that in this country.

‘It strays into the area of human rights. They have a right to have their identity protected. We normally cover Banbury from our Buckinghamshire vehicle base.

‘However, in this particular instance, the request to move this prisoner came late, by which time all our available Buckinghamshire-based vehicles and crews had been allocated to other routes and schedules.

‘As a contingency measure, in order to deliver the standard of service we are committed to provide, a vehicle and officers were deployed from our Eastleigh base.

‘This was not a ‘one-off’ run just to deliver this prisoner.

‘Our staff collected Mr Thomas from Banbury in the morning and assisted with duties at the court until mid-afternoon then delivered prisoners to HMP Bullingdon, Bicester, and on to other prisons.

He added: ‘The decision has nothing to do with Thames Valley Police officers based in the station.’

So, the spokesman mentioned it could ‘stray’ into human rights territory but it seems to me that he spoke as a contractor who is being paid to drive people between ‘custody and courts’, how would it look if the contractor made the accused walk? Would the Mail then complain that the contractor was on a government gravy train and providing a bad service? Is the contract charged individually, or as a whole? Was this a specific ‘waste’ of taxpayers money or did it inconvenience the contractor who is getting paid for the service provided as a whole, rather than individually invoicing for each journey?

We don’t know, the Daily Mail probably doesn’t know and definitely doesn’t care as long as they get a cheap headline, a good photo op and some easy copy attacking a favourite target.

Put it another way: if we bother going through the expense of hiring vans with blacked-out windows to transport the accused from custody to court anonymously, how can it ever be right to strip the accused of public anonymity by walking them under guard and in handcuffs to court just because it means moving a van around at short notice? As the spokesman said: ‘Generally speaking we don’t see that in this country… They have a right to have their identity protected’. It is, after all, innocent until proven guilty and everyone is equal regardless of whether they might rack up a larger van bill on the day.

Which is the final point, the Mail makes a big fuss trying to work out just how much this trip cost, completely ignoring the fact that the contractor worked the journey into the schedule of the van so that it was well used by more than just this one person. Funnily enough the Mail ignores this rather less catchy headline: ‘contractor paid for by YOUR MONEY rearranges court van at short notice as efficiently as possible’.

I wonder if Richard Littlejohn will find room for this in his column tomorrow…

Dystopian futures

‘The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering — a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons — a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting — three hundred million people all with the same face.’ George Orwell, 1984.

Whenever I read a dystopian novel I wonder how such a future could ever come to pass when democracy – even the limited, elitist and monied political class currently labelled as ‘democracy’ in the UK – seems to have such a firm grasp on our national conscience. Then you start to realise how successful certain media narratives are. Recently the Mail’s campaign for the rejection of universal human rights currently enforced by the Council of Europe (not the ‘EU’ as is commonly thought by journalists) has highlighted just how willing people are to vociferously wish away their own rights.

I overheard one mother – copy of Mail in hand – agree that human rights should be scrapped because thanks to human rights schools no longer checked for nits and instead parents were simply sent letters and had to check and arrange their own treatment. Seems a petty reason to give up your universal human rights. But she isn’t alone; any visit to any website comment section reveals the contempt a substantial proportion of people have for ‘Yuman rites’ (another gem we have Richard Littlejohn to thank for) largely because they are perceived to be only used in fatuous cases or by hardened criminals ‘playing the system’.

The media specialises in only covering universal human rights in cases that they think are either absurd (someone claims something deemed innocuous by the press is infringing on their human rights) or outrageous (any criminal who decides to use human rights law for any reason – they ‘take advantage of’ human rights law). The stories are rarely – if ever – balanced and more often or not human rights are wrongly blamed for the lack of a clear conviction or a criminal not being deported (the truth is often complex and journalists simply prefer to blame ‘yuman rites’ irrespective of whether human rights law was a significant factor in any decision made).

The Daily Mail’s James Slack recent article on human rights just about sums up the way the tabloid press views the universal rights of a human being: something worthless that doesn’t really apply to us. The headline makes this clear: ‘How ten human rights cases clog up our courts EVERY DAY’. Human Rights cases ‘clog up our courts’ presumably because we can all access such universal rights if we feel the need, and clearly a significant number of people do feel the need to access this right. The headline clearly tries to create anyone involved in a human rights case belongs to an outgroup, they are ‘others’ who ‘clog up our courts’, they are not like us and their actions are making us worse off.

The article furthers this argument in the very first paragraph as it identifies the kind of people it deems unworthy of having human rights (i.e. the people that James Slack views as not human):

More than 5,000 individuals – including illegal immigrants, hedge fund managers, foreign criminals and ‘neighbours from hell’ – have used the Human Rights Act to defend themselves, it emerged last night.

According to James Slack you relinquish your human rights if you move countries, have a career as a hedge fund manager, commit a crime (and have the added temerity to be foreign) or are deemed as being a bad neighbour. According to this Mail article there have been ‘an astonishing 5,107 human rights cases in the first ten years of the Act’, a number that doesn’t sound particularly astonishing to me – given the amount of human beings living in the UK and the 10 years in which they could have used the act. Naturally we are not given any balance as to what kind of cases have involved human rights law, instead we are given a pretty standard tabloid case study:

Among those to take advantage of the Human Rights Act is Iraqi asylum seeker Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, who knocked down Amy Houston and left her to ‘die like a dog’ under the wheels of his car.

Complete with an emotive picture of the young girl for good measure. An horrific case, but not one that is in any way representative of the average human rights case or applicant. However, its worth is clear in the comments under the article:

Human Rights

I want to try and clarify a few points to James Slack and others who want to remove our universal human rights – governed by an independent, non-judicial institution not tainted by an individual country’s politics or governance – simply because they don’t like certain people having rights.

Firstly, human beings are judged for their actions in a court of law which punishes them in accordance with the law of the land. Any act committed by an individual – no matter how horrific – does not alter the fact that they are a human being and will be treated in the eyes of the law as such. It is not the job of a court to dehumanise the accused, but to ensure that their universal human rights are met and that they are tried fairly in accordance with the law. This process is what distinguishes us from those that commit horrific crimes, and what gives us the moral authority to punish them. Justice has to be seen to be fair, consistent and absolutely above emotive responses. This is the only thing that distinguishes the law-abiding majority from the law-breaking minority. Without it, anarchy.

Secondly, the constant argument that criminals somehow have more human rights than the victim of crime is a fallacious one. Yes, the criminal didn’t respect the human rights of the victim when they committed a crime, but human rights are not guaranteed on a person-to-person basis, they are guaranteed by the government. Sadly, the government cannot guarantee the safety of every individual, that is simply impossible. All they can guarantee is that every individual has fundamental, universal human rights irrespective of their race, religion, gender or indeed actions. If a criminal resorts to using human rights law is does not mean that they somehow have more rights than the law-abiding citizen, it just means that as a result of their actions they have felt the need to ensure their rights are being met. Those who have never needed to use human rights law this is probably a good thing, they shouldn’t feel left out, you should be grateful that you live in a society in which such rights are normally met without enforcement. Human rights are designed to protect us from governments and the dark sides of capitalism, not to protect you from other individuals – because that is impossible.

Finally, the above two arguments are based on the assumption that it is only ever criminals that use human rights law. Just because the media only ordinarily covers criminal use of human rights law does not mean that ‘law-abiding-individuals’ have never protected their own rights using the same system. It is a pretty shameful state of affairs when people argue that their own universal human rights should be scrapped because the media have convinced them that only criminals use the act and that this has somehow elevated the rights of the criminal above the rights of the ordinary system.

It is a depressing thing to realise that people are prepared to argue for the scrapping of their own human rights based on nothing more than an dishonest media narrative – essentially if your only knowledge of human rights has been gleamed from the tabloid press, then you have no knowledge. Dystopian futures are possible because human beings are often their own worst enemy. We don’t just give up freedoms, we actively scream out for them to be removed. Media agendas have consequences.

The Daily Mail and the Gay Agenda

/* This post originally appeared on my old blog on 30 April 2009. As part of the migration of content from my old blog I may occasionally post them here as a current post if I feel they are relevant. Due the the constant themes / narratives in the Daily Mail old posts often cover ‘new’ Mail articles. */

‘If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.’
Malcolm X

The Daily Mail has contained quite a few articles on ‘gays’ recently and the tone, content and spin of the articles is uniformly depressing – whilst the comments underneath the offending articles are shameful. Today’s effort skewers an incident so once again the ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay’ lobby are the aggressors, and the intolerant and bigoted are the victims of some kind of ‘gay agenda’.

It is an idea fomented by – amongst others – Richard Littlejohn; who sees teaching diversity in schools as a mission to ‘peddle’ or ‘force-feed’ ‘gay propaganda’ to children. So, in the world of the Daily Mail the very act of reaching for equality is seen as an act of aggression – in simple terms the gay agenda is not seeking equality but is actually intent on banishing heterosexuality and converting us all to homosexuality.

This article, like many others, pitches a god-fearing Christian teacher against an evil homosexual preaching ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’. The headline, naturally, is designed to raise the blood pressure of any Daily Mail reader: ‘What makes you think it’s natural to be heterosexual?': Christian teacher suspended over gay rights promotion row.

The basic story is:

A senior teacher has been suspended from his £50,000-a-year job after he complained that a training day for staff was used to promote gay rights. Kwabena Peat, 54, was one of several Christian staff who walked out of the compulsory session at a North London school after an invited speaker questioned why people thought heterosexuality was natural.

Now, this is essentially the crux of the ‘gay rights promotion row’, Sue Sanders appears to have asked a philosophical question: ‘what makes you think it’s natural to be heterosexual?’. Now, without context this does seem to be an odd question, but consider for a moment the question being used as a discussion point, which as this was training, seems likely.

The question seems to be designed to get participants questioning what is ‘natural’ – what does the concept mean and does the concept of natural differ based upon individual perception? The point probably being made is that for a gay person, to them being gay is perfectly natural; consequently, from the perception of a gay person, heterosexuality – for them – would be unnatural.

The important thing to remember is that this is a question, it is not a statement decreeing that heterosexuality is abnormal and homosexuality is normal. However, to properly engage with the question a person needs to be free of the common misconceptions about homosexuality. This is the difficult part for a Daily Mail reader as they are constantly being told that homosexuality is a perversion, a choice made by perverted people (hence the fear of education in schools, tell more people, more will choose to be gay).

Richard Littlejohn – as just one example – has grouped homosexuality with fetishes, and as I said at the time:

He… does not seem to understand that being gay isn’t really a choice. ‘Why a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender month, anyway?’ he argues, ‘Why not a Foot Fetishists, Spankers, Sadists and Masochists History Month?’. Littlejohn lists these fetishes for two main reasons: one; to make Gay, Bisexual or Transgender people sound as perverted as Mail readers assume those who practice those fetishes to be, and two; to make it seem as if being Gay is a behaviour that one can choose not to indulge in – with the implicit assumption that to indulge in such a behaviour is a perversion.

Littlejohn clearly wants to ferment the idea that homosexuality is a perversion and as we all know, a perversion is something considered outside of ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ sexual practice. Therefore, when the notion of what is ‘natural’ is placed in front of a Mail reader, they already harbour a strong prejudice against homosexuality.

Therefore the question allegedly asked by Sue Sanders will be met with horror, as homosexuality has already been labeled unnatural, so in the eyes of the Mail reader the perversion in this instance is the philosophical questioning of why heterosexuality is considered natural.

This is not the only problem with the. The article is also constructed to make the Christian teacher the victim, yet in many ways he seems to be the aggressor:

According to Mr Peat, Ms Sanders, herself a lesbian, said that staff who did not accept that being gay was normal had ‘issues’ they had to deal with.Mr Peat, a history teacher who is also a head of year, said he was upset that people who disagreed on religious grounds had no chance to respond.

He wrote privately to the three staff members who organised the session, complaining about Ms Sanders’ ‘aggressive’ presentation. In his letter, he cited the Bible and warned that practising homosexuals risked God’s ‘wrath’.

But the staff complained to the school’s principal that they felt ‘harassed and intimidated’ by the letter and, after an investigation, Mr Peat was placed on paid leave.

It does not seem unreasonable to state that staff who do not accept homosexuality as normal have issues they need to deal with. As we have already discussed the question asked by Sue Sanders seems a perfectly valid discussion point – that if properly considered by an adult mind helps to tease out why the concept of normality can apply to both heterosexuality and homosexuality. What does seem unreasonable is the response of Mr Peat, the supposed Christian.

You’d have thought a devout Christian would turn the other cheek, be tolerant or do unto others, but instead he preaches violence and intolerance as a perfectly acceptable solution to a problem he has. It seems to be significant that although the Mail claims that Kwabena Peat ‘was one of several Christian staff who walked out of the compulsory session’ this is never elaborated on; whilst what is a fact is that Mr Peat has been suspended after the complaints made against him by staff.

The Daily Mail sets Mr Peat up as the victim, yet the truth seems to show that he is an intolerant Christian being wheeled out as a martyr to the ‘gay agenda’. Not that this seems to have been realised by the majority of commentators on the article:

In answer to Ms Sanders, “What makes you all think that to be heterosexual is natural?” It’s bloody obvious, you’re here on the planet! If it wasn’t normal then the human race would have become extinct as it had failed to reproduce. Or would you even twist science and history around?

Again,the public are being force fed left wing political correctness, just to keep so called minorities ‘happy and in control,’ The scarey part is that they are allowed to be in schools to preach their views!!!!!

– David ex-pat, Perth, Australia, 26/4/2009 4:39

David – he is not alone, but I dare not copy and paste reams and reams of ignorant Mail commentators for the sake of some brevity – again, thinks that normal cannot ever apply to a homosexual. His argument is a biological one: homosexuality doesn’t allow for reproduction, therefore it is not natural. Yet, what he hasn’t the intelligence to consider, is that people are born gay.

It isn’t – as Littlejohn likes to believe – something we can be forced into or converted to by interacting with gay people, or by attending diversity or awareness sessions. Therefore, can it be concluded that as sexual preference is not a result of nurture, it must be the result of nature? This conclusion would mean that homosexuality is perfectly natural and must be biologically determined – making David ex-pat’s argument as bad as his spelling.

The point I am trying to make is that gay people are not making a choice about their sexuality anymore than a straight person is. What equality is trying to achieve is the freedom for a person to be comfortable with whatever biological attraction they are born with. The message that being a homosexual is normal is being delivered because as a society we do not want people wandering around suppressing their nature in fear that they will be victimised or ostracised for simply being who they are.

In particular the issue is important in schools because we want to let children know that whatever they are feeling is OK. If they have an attraction to the same sex they should not feel like a freak, and they should not feel scared. Instead they should be given the opportunity to understand and embrace their biology, embrace what is for them natural and normal. The insidious implications in recent Daily Mail articles that ‘promoting homosexuality’ in schools is damaging children is to deny them their biological right to be happy.

It is assumed by bigots that children would all be happy heterosexuals if they didn’t hear about homosexuality through the ‘gay agenda lobby’, when in fact if they deny their basic urges or desires because they feel uncomfortable expressing them, is surely a recipe for unhappiness.

There is no such thing as a ‘gay agenda’ or ‘gay lobby’ that works on behalf of all gay people. To give gay people one voice is to homogenise, judge and dehumanise them. We are all individuals doing our best to make some sense of the world around us and our own emotions, it makes no difference whether an individual is gay, straight or bisexual.

Unless of course, you read the Daily Mail and other tabloid newspapers.

Duncan Bannatyne now wrong about the Equality Act in the Telegraph

Duncan Bannatyne wrote a piece of ill-informed outrage over the new Equality Act for the Daily Mail which was taken apart superbly by Darren Newman, an employment expert. Whenever you are knowledgeable about a certain subject you suffer the misfortune of knowing how terribly poor the media coverage is of that subject – and I’m sure it must be frustrating for Darren that newspapers would rather turn to celebrity businessmen than a real expert just because that businessman happens to parrot the media narrative. Duncan Bannatyne has now been offered some space in the Telegraph in which to demonstrate his knack for tabloid-friendly soundbites backed-up with very little substance.

Thankfully Darren has taken the time to blog about some of the problems – bit-by-bit - over on his blog and it makes enlightening reading. I heartily recommend you go and read it, not just because it corrects Bannatyne, but because it is about much more than one person’s ignorance. His post covers media coverage in general because, after all, it is the media that seeks out ‘experts’ that fit their agenda and it is this process that essentially censors the truth from the reader. The conclusion of the blog post is extremely timely and important:

I feel slightly guilty to be focussing so much ire on Duncan Bannatyne. Really he’s a symptom, not the disease. The standard of debate around equality law in the mainstream media is dreadful. Almost nothing I read is a fair summary of the law and what employers need to know. Too often the news is hijacked by those with an agenda, who want to use the introduction of the Equality Act as a hook to hang their particular issue on. HR professionals and lawyers know better than to get their information from the Daily Mail or the Daily Telegraph – but line managers, business owners and employees are vulnerable to misleading information of his sort.

Ultimately we are all victims of tabloid disinformation and Bannatyne accidentally touches on this in his article when he complains that the Equality Act:

encourages staff to cast themselves in the role of victim, no matter how trivial their complaint, and that leaves employers badly exposed.

As Darren points out:

What encourages people to regard themselves as victims is ill informed press reporting of employment rights, raising entirely false expectations of their chances of success and the riches they will gain as a result. If individuals think that they can raise trivial and ludicrous points and that the employer will be guilty until proven innocent, then the question is why do they think that? Is it perhaps because people like Duncan Bannatyne and the papers giving him a platform have told them so?

The sad truth is that Bannatyne has been given two huge platforms for his poorly-informed and woefully researched views on the Equality Act whilst a real expert has been left to correct these common misconceptions (or deceptions) in their spare time to a vastly smaller audience. Until this changes people will continue to see the Equality Act as a bad thing.

People actually view an act designed to ensure fairness and equality to all, irrespective of disability, race, gender, sexuality or religion as a bad thing. What kind of warped world are we living in?

Another misleading headline about human rights

Daily Mail headlines are so frequently laughably inaccurate, just to secure the right amount of outrage as people rush straight to the comment section to shit-out their ignorant opinion. This is never more true than compensation paid out with even a vague mention of human rights. Take this top story for example:

Yuman rights

All that money for the loss of a filling? It’s PC-elf’n’safety-yuman-rites gone mad according to commenters. That is, unless you actually take about 1 minute of your life to read the article:

Michael Steele, one of the notorious ‘Essex Boys’ gangland murders, complained that being refused dental treatment left him in severe pain for years…

Soon after he was handed three life sentences, one of his fillings fell out at Belmarsh Prison…

[causing] almost seven years of agonising toothache

The irony is, of course, that if the prison had taken steps to properly safeguard the health of the prisoner (perhaps respected his human rights a little more…) then this whole expensive case would have been avoided. To those of you that might want to argue that as a murderer he deserves agonising pain for all those years I would merely point out that in this country we sentence people to prison terms; not to terms of agonising pain. Preserving the dignity and basic rights of everyone in society – irrespective of their actions – is what separates us from them.

What an utter ____: discuss

The story: ‘The curse of Fallujah: Women warned not to have babies because of rise in birth defects since U.S. assault‘.

The comment:

Here We Go, every evil PC liberal parasitic human rights lawyer in the UK will now be trawling Iraq and possibly Afghanistan looking for victims.

It’s my human right to say that because it’s true, they leech off others instead of earning a living productively.

Cases will be launched against the UK Government as they are more gullible than the US Government.

Pa Broon will apologise for the actions of the US and let the so called victims take as much as they want from the British tax payer, the evil Human rights parasitic lawyers will also dip in.

The lesson here is that the UK should never again get involved in a foreign land as we are not wanted, the people don’t want saving, they kill our troops then have the cheek to demand money.

For once, I agree with the Anti War Brigade, let’s withdraw from Afghanistan and protect our troops, to heck with the stone age people.

Let them kill each other, it’s in their nature, the Human Rights legals can then watch and bleat.

– Arkley Barnet, Back in the UK for now then back to NZ, 4/3/2010 10:10
Click to rate Rating 1

Surprise surprise, he seems to be an ex-pat, someone who is allowed to travel between countries and even live in another one. A privilege he doesn’t seem to want to grant to others. His views on human rights seem bang in line with the Daily Mail, and with the paper’s penchant for plagiarism I wouldn’t be surprised to see this comment tidied up and used as an editorial. There are many more reprehensible comments, but I don’t have the stomach to copy and paste anymore (particularly the numerous comments claiming that inbreeding is to blame). Why do ex-pats seem to be the worst offenders on almost every Mail article?

Daily Mail Readers on Asylum Seekers

This story: ‘UK Border Agency whistleblower: ‘Staff ‘made asylum seekers act out shootings and sang offensive “Um Bongo” song’‘ didn’t get a huge amount of publicity on the Daily Mail website – considering how often stories relating to immigrants appear as the lead story. Nor did it even justify a actual reporter to write it up, instead it was rehashed by the Daily Mail Reporter. It did though, manage to attract a few inhumane shitstains who delight in the cruel treatment of anyone not born in the UK – or should we be more honest and say: anyone with dark skin.

Here is a quote from the whistleblower:

‘I asked about the claimants and their [the staff member’s] thoughts and was told “If it was up to me I would take them all outside and shoot them”.

Here are some comments from Mail readers:

We need more of these people. Give them a raise!

– Dave, Birmingham, England, 3/3/2010 14:45
Click to rate Rating 262

Another idiot throwing the racist card wanting to be noticed

Vote BNP to save Britain

Then there will be no need for a UK Border Agency

– John Beatson, Sheffield England, 3/3/2010 9:33
Click to rate Rating 131

I think the people that work at the Boarder Controls are sick to the back teeth of seeing all these asylum seekers coming to our Country i know i would.

– wind, in the willows, 3/3/2010 10:37
Click to rate Rating 119

lets all cry racism!!!-makes me sick!!-dont like it,,then DO NOT try to enter this country illegally!!

– ukman, hampshire, 3/3/2010 10:07
Click to rate Rating 113

They can’t be that racially biased with so many getting through !

– trev, Brive France, 3/3/2010 10:39
Click to rate Rating 112

What a complete non story. Instead of concerning itself with this nonsense, the agency should explain to the British people why there are at least 1 million illegal immigrants in the UK. After all thats its job – protecting our borders. If it can’t do that, what is the point in having such a body.

– Ian McDougall, Edinburgh, 3/3/2010 10:30
Click to rate Rating 88

What is the point of this organisation;everyone knows that virtually all these foreigners are allowed to stay and claim Benifits so why bother.

– Brian Powell, neath Wales, 3/3/2010 10:37
Click to rate Rating 78

I hate to think what accusations would be levelled at the UKBA if they were actualy doing their job properly.

– Robert, Croydon, 3/3/2010 10:39

Who cares ?

– Harry Bluenapp, Surrey, 3/3/2010 10:17
Click to rate Rating 78

Most of these comments bear little relation to reality – the implication that this somehow isn’t racism, that they’ll all get benefits and let in etc. They only reflect the world created by the tabloid press, in which asylum seekers and immigrants are so evil that they deserve all the bad treatment they encounter. The constant misinformation published about migration and asylum has led to people treating outsiders as little better than animals. I don’t like to casually invoke the Nazis, but as they seem to be the bogeymen we can all compare situations to, I think it is obvious to point out that dehumanisation was pretty central to their attempted extermination of an entire religious group (and gypsies, of course, which no doubt pleased Richard Littlejohn).

Certainly the tabloid propaganda campaign creating such intense hatred should rightly be compared to the lies told about the Jews by Der Sturmer. The only difference is Der Sturmer was one weekly paper, not a collection of daily national tabloids.

Disabled Bastards Wasting Parking Spaces, Says Mail

There are not many minority groups that the Daily Mail haven’t attacked and disabled people are no different. Today – in a wonderful example of what has become of investigative journalism – the Mail have uncovered the shocking truth about disabled parking bays: ‘Revealed: Why all those disabled bays stay empty‘.

The article seems to sum up everything that makes the Daily Mail and its readers such a depressing force:

Hundreds of thousands of prime parking spaces in shopping centres are unused because of a legal obligation to provide four times as many disabled bays than are actually needed.

Supermarkets, shopping centres and leisure centres must allocate up to 6 per cent of their parking bays for disabled badge holders – even though just 1.4 per cent of the population is registered disabled.

This means the priority spaces – which must be near to an entrance to shops – are rarely full, while millions of mothers and fathers with young children must fight for a meagre number of designated ‘ parent and child’ spaces.

The Daily Mail turns legislation designed to ensure disabled people have access to adequate parking facilities in carparks into the chance for parents and others to whinge about how they don’t receive similar treatment. Last time I checked having children wasn’t a disability and was still a choice people made. I understand parents might want bigger spaces because they have young children and prams etc to get in and out of the vehicle. However, supermarkets do allocate spaces for parents and children and the actual need for this would pale into comparison with someone who is disabled.

The comments are pretty depressing, as is the fact that the article has already attracted 476 of them. This to me sums up the world view of the Daily Mail and its readership. Give them a story about say the need for investigation into whether Britain was complicit in the torture of terror suspects and they manage a paltry 6 comments (most of them barely intelligible rants about how human rights should be scrapped). A cheerful story about the first Winter Olympic gold Britain has won for 30 years and you only get 100 odd comments – and just look at some of them:

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The comments on the disabled parking story are pretty soul destroying, some of them from self-righteous, selfish arseholes who smugly claim they have always parked in disabled bays and now they’re even more glad they always did. Others come from people disgusted that ‘positive discrimination’ is allowing disabled people to park nearer to supermarkets than law-abiding-middle-class-families.

If I had to try to specify one quality that the majority of Daily Mail readers have – and I do try to avoid crass generalisations – then I would say it is that they love to whinge and they want to whinge. They buy the Daily Mail so they can read this kind of bullshit and have a bloody good whinge about how unfair the world is when the chap down the road with severe disabilities can struggle into his wheelchair, get himself and it into his car and then drive straight into a parking space almost RIGHT OUTSIDE THE STORE. THE JAMMY, LUCKY BASTARD. IT’S SO UNFAIR ON ME, A TAXPAYER WHO ISN’T LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE DISABLED AND HAS TO PARK IN A SPACE NOT QUITE AS BIG OR AS CLOSE TO THE STORE.

I am extremely thankful that I am fairly fit and healthy and I don’t mind walking across a carpark, in fact I’m grateful that I can. If parking slightly further away from a supermarket means I am guaranteeing that someone less fortunate than myself can park a little closer, have room to get out of the car and into a wheelchair etc, then I’m more than happy to do so. If you don’t feel the same way as I do, then you’re a ignorant, selfish, lazy twat and probably a Daily Mail reader.