Saturday, March 15, 2008

Outstanding Work by Camilla Cavendish, Journalist

Here are links to some of the excellent articles by Camilla Cavendish, journalist at the Times of London.

Guilty until proved innocent: the grotesque reality of family courts
John Sweeney, an investigative reporter and presenter on the BBC’s Real Story, describes reporting on the family courts as being as difficult as reporting from Zimbabwe. Of the seven child abuse cases he has covered in the criminal courts over the past few years, all have ended in the quashing of convictions. Some of the defendants — Angela Cannings and Sally Clark — have become household names. But of the five cases he has covered in the family courts, all have ended in the parents losing their children for ever. You will probably never know the names of those people. Their names must be changed and their faces blocked out, to “protect” the children. It is hard to expose miscarriages of justice when the stories are drained of human content.

Free the 'Grandfather One'
A man named Charles Roy Taylor has been sent to prison for 20 months for being in contact with his stepgrandson. Charles Roy Taylor is a 71-year-old with a heart condition. He knew that a jail sentence was the penalty he might pay if he did not take steps to avoid his stepgrandson. But this seems desperately unfair. The teenager, whom we shall call John, has been in care since his mother died of an overdose. He has been phoning his grandparents and running away to see them for some time. In the end, social services became concerned that the grandparents were “undermining the care plan” by continuing to see John. It does not appear to be clear to the grandparents what the care plan is. But it does not seem to include them, even though they could presumably be John's first port of call when he leaves the care system at 18.

The rank hypocrisy of family court judges
A few long-suffering readers may remember that this peculiar case concerns a woman whose baby was removed by social workers, not because the child came to any harm but because there was a suspicion that her father might have injured a child from his previous marriage. That suspicion was never proven, no charges were ever brought and the child of the earlier marriage was never removed. But a woman who everyone agrees is blameless has lost her only child – for ever – because she is deemed to be besotted with a man who may pose a danger.

British justice: a family ruined
Last autumn a small English congregation was rocked by the news that two of its parishioners had fled abroad. A 56-year-old man had helped his pregnant wife to flee from social workers, who had already taken her son into care and were threatening to seize their baby. Most people had no idea why. For the process that led this couple to such a desperate act was entirely secret. The local authority had warned the mother not to talk to her friends or even her MP. The judge who heard the arguments from social services sat in secret. The open-minded social workers who had initially been assigned to sort out a custody battle between the woman and her previous husband were replaced by others who seemed determined to build a guilty case against her. That is how the secret State operates. A monumental injustice has been perpetrated in this quiet corner of England; our laws are being used to try to cover it up.

Child protection? No, ruination
If you look up Hansard, the parliamentary record, you can read the name of a man I wrote about three weeks ago. Prisoner X, whom I called Hugh, was jailed for helping his pregnant wife and her son to flee the country to escape from social workers. An MP has named him in the House of Commons, to express concern at his treatment. But The Times still cannot print his name. It is a longstanding convention of British law that individuals who are incarcerated should be identified, and the charges against them made known. That is an age-old protection against tyranny. But today the “privacy of the child” trumps every other principle, whether or not the child in question wants his or her privacy protected. In this case it seems very unlikely indeed that the gag on everyone involved serves the interests of anyone except the authorities who put it there.

The Industrialisation of the Family

In previous articles, I have criticized the Left for its attack on the family, but the Right has also played a role in constructing the current mess.

During the Thatcher years of the 1980s, we saw profound economic changes in the UK. There was a significant decline in traditional manufacturing industry, caused partly by the inexorable winds of globalisation, but also exacerbated deliberately by the Thatcher government in order to overpower the trade unions. Coal mining, steel-making and other heavy industries were deliberately closed down or sold off, even when they were profitable, specifically in order to break trade union power.

At that time there was much talk from the government of the ‘flexible work-force’, which in practice meant that workers had almost no legal protection, and employers had all the power to hire or fire casual labour on a whim. With official estimates of three million unemployed, it was a buyer’s market. ‘There is a queue of people waiting outside, so if you don’t want the job, get out, and I’ll find someone else who does. Take it or leave it.‘

This climate was deliberately created by the Thatcher government for political and economic reasons. There is no doubt that the unions in the 1970s had been extremely powerful, and largely dominated by Marxists, and were not acting in the interests of the nation or the wider society, and something had to be done to rein them in. However, this had profound social consequences which we are still living with today.

Norman Tebbitt, Thatcher’s Employment Secretary, famously stated that when his own father was unemployed in the 1930s, he didn’t riot; instead he got on his bike and he looked for work. This turned out to be a powerful metaphor for what followed. People were encouraged to travel in search of work.

The other buzz-word of the Thatcher years was ‘the transition to a service economy‘. No-one I know works in manufacturing. They are lawyers, teachers, social workers, management consultants, IT or financial services staff, or, perhaps the lowest rung of all, call centre agents. The decline in heavy manufacturing was matched by an enormous rise in the knowledge and service based sectors. The paradigm case of the worker today is not the farmer or factory-hand of the Soviet hammer-and-sickle, but the educated middle-class professional. Rather than getting on his bike and trailing around the factories and ship-yards looking for work, he (or she) will put up a brass plaque outside the office door (or more likely a web-site) and wait for clients. This is a profound cultural and economic shift in work-patterns in less than a generation. Needless to say, this has had far-reaching effects on family and community life.

London has a large population of young, single professionals who have gravitated to the Capital, from every corner of the world, in search of work. In most cases, they have left their families behind, and are on their own. Just like the disenfranchised black youth I wrote about previously, these workers form groups, surrogate families, for mutual support.

The astronomical rise in property values means that the indigenous families have been driven out of the neighbourhoods, to be replaced by professional tenants. Many of them, even people in their thirties with professional jobs and good salaries, are living in flat-shares like college students, because they cannot afford a place of their own. The flat-share is one of the obvious routes into a surrogate family, the adult gang. The middle-class adult gang is vastly more numerous than the violent street gang, and although a good deal less destructive, it is still a significant social phenomenon, worthy of consideration.

People enter into short-term tenancy agreements, and tend to move on after a year or two, often going back to their home country. These workers, although in many ways model citizens, have little or no emotional investment in their local community. Usually, they have never even met their neighbours. When Mrs. Thatcher said that ‘there is no such thing as society, there are only individuals’, in this sense she was quite right. But a transitory population with no investment in its community, which values houses and streets only in financial terms, is not good for social cohesion. The lack of community in such areas, the lack of solidarity among the adults, is one of the reasons why the street gangs are able to flourish unchallenged. The corporate-capitalist Right has created this economic and social landscape. This is where the Left steps in.

By encouraging this geographical mobility, many of the economic forces unleashed by the Right during the 1980s tend to militate against community and family life. It is surely the job of the Left to counter these forces, to try to ameliorate the worst effects by caring for those at the bottom. But the Left has absolutely abandoned its responsibilities in this area. The two things that might help to bind communities together, the family and the education system, have been systematically sabotaged by the Left.

Driven by a feminist agenda, it argues that marriage is an outdated relic of the 1950s, that the family is an antiquated institution designed to oppress women, and that all family structures are equally good. ‘All family structures’ includes a teenage mother living off state hand-outs. That, apparently, is ‘just as valid’ as a married couple working to support their children. This position is complete nonsense on every level.

From the point of view of the single mother herself, she is vastly worse off than her married sister. She herself is more likely to live in poverty, more likely to suffer health problems, more likely to commit suicide, and her children are more likely to be abused, more likely to fail at school and more likely to grow up to be delinquents.

From the State‘s point of view, she is a net liability rather than an asset. The married couple work, pay taxes, raise new citizens and contribute to community cohesion. For the single mother, the State has to support her so-called ‘alternative family’, and pay for the resulting fallout for decades, in terms of increased health-care and crime, keeping her adult sons in prison, and her adult daughters in the same miserable position as herself.

Feminists never tire of saying that single mothers do a great job. They do not. They may do their best, but that does not constitute doing a good job. Most of them do a terrible job, leaving a trail of social wreckage for decades. Her sons today are the gang-members of tomorrow. Her daughters today are the teenage mothers of tomorrow. The taxpayer picks up the tab.

Mrs. Thatcher’s grand plan of a transition to a knowledge-based economy depended crucially on education. Having been made redundant from heavy industry, the idea was that workers would re-train for the new economy. For many, including myself, education was a traditional route out of poverty, something the Left should encourage. Instead of that, they have systematically undermined education for the last forty years, undermining the authority of teachers, decrying educational excellence as elitist masculine thinking. This was based on nothing more than envy, with humanities graduates resenting the fact that science and engineering were held in higher esteem than literature and art history, and feminists resenting the fact that men succeeded in these fields better than women. The Left’s response was to tear educational values down. This has given rise to a kind of adolescent ‘too kool for skool’ attitude, that it is cool not to do your homework, and cool to stick two fingers up behind the teacher’s back. This juvenile impulse has been given free-rein by a Left which seeks to undermine all social authority, particularly male authority

Our broken families and sabotaged schools are ideal factories for turning out hoodies, and that is exactly what they are doing. A society in which the streets are dominated by gangs of teenage boys is a frightening place to be. One of the few things which teenage boys are likely to respond to is male authority, yet male authority has been forcibly abolished. The fault for this lies squarely with the feminist-dominated Left.

With the Left and Right jointly responsible for undermining family and community, Mrs. Thatcher’s service-based economy has stepped in to fill the gap. In the broken society of individuals, people now have to pay for services that they once got from their family. This constitutes in effect, the industrialization of the family.

Once upon a time, there was no difficulty in finding a baby-sitter. There was always an aunt or a grandmother willing to step in and help. Nowadays, hard-working parents have to pay for professional childcare, which is not only expensive, but is often less effective, and ideologically driven.

The single mother receives her economic support from the State, rather than her husband. The family courts and social services arbitrate in family disputes which would once have been settled in private. The police are getting involved in school discipline. Women are being sold insurance policies promising to carry out repairs to their house, or to change a wheel on their car, services they would once have got for free from their husbands.

At the same time, globalization and the collapse of the Soviet bloc has given rise to an influx of foreign prostitutes, helping to fuel the rise of a commercial sex industry. It should come as no surprise to find that many men are paying for services that they once would have got from their wives. Feminists of course, are all in favour of state-funded childcare, but against prostitution. They are all for the industrialization of the family whenever it suits them, and against it when it does not.

Not only have many aspects of family life been commercialised, but in many cases, these services are being provided by the State. In other words, the taxpayer. I do not share the Thatcherite aversion to the concept of tax, but I see no reason why I should pay for someone else's self-indulgence, and if we must pay for their reckless mistakes, I would prefer that the money was spent up-front in educating them, rather than on keeping them in poverty after the damage has been done.

And what of those poor white families driven out of their traditional communities and workplaces? New Labour has no interest in them, because they are not a recognized ‘Victim’ group, as defined by a post-1968 agenda imported from the USA. Neither wealthy nor glamorous, they do not provide many good photo-opportunities for smarmy politicians like Blair. The middle-class feminists like Harridan Harmmen cannot bear to admit that some men in society are more in need of support than they are. It is ideologically unthinkable for them to give support to 'white families'.

Completely abandoned by the political establishment, many poor white communities are turning out to be a fertile breeding ground for neo-fascists. The British National Party is the only party that shows the slightest interest in them. This does not bode well for the future. Beset by the street gangs, poor and poorly educated, they are largely powerless to help themselves, and they have only two realistic choices. Embrace the gang culture yourself, or listen to the neo-Nazi message that the problem with street gangs is that they are black, and the reason why you struggle to find a house and a job is because of all the foreigners taking them. This was a seductive message for many in the 1930s, and, for some, it still is today.

The feminists are no better than the neo-fascists. The same simple-minded message can be heard from both sides. It’s their fault, their fault. It’s all the fault of immigrants. It’s all the fault of men. The difference is, the neo-fascists are not the ones in power.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Interview: High-class Prostitute

In this video interview, a 26-year-old, college-educated prostitute describes how she charges $3000 per hour, makes half a million a year, and hopes to retire by the time she is 28. Doesn't really fit in with the feminist story, does it? Where are the evil people traffickers? Where is the destitution? Where is the exploitation? Where is the violence? I just don't see any.

The fact is this: Feminists don't want men to be able to go to prostitutes, because it undercuts them. Prostitution undermines middle-class feminists' grip on the price of sex. That is why they tell so many lies about it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Power of Nightmares

Another excellent BBC documentary series from Adam Curtis, writer of The Century of the Self is The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear, describes how those who seek power invoke fear in the population in order to present themselves as the rescuers. "All men are rapists and that's all they are" is a good example of that tactic in use.