No Way, E.J.
From the Scrapbook.
Jan 18, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 17
The BNP is on the rise because it is the only party that has dared mention immigration of late. Soames and Field warn, darkly but logically, that “failure to take action would be seriously damaging to the future harmony of our society.” The manifesto is backed by a surprising mix of politicians from left and right, including the Keynes biographer and historian Robert (Lord) Skidelsky and George Carey, a member of the House of Lords who was formerly the archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England.
Carey’s participation is stunning for several reasons. The Anglican church has been in the forefront of bien-pensant thinking on immigration and multiculturalism. Two years ago, Carey’s successor, Rowan Williams, controversially called for more sharia in British life. In a January 7 column for the London Times, Carey speaks in the same tone, welcoming “the contribution of both economic migrants and asylum seekers to our lively cosmopolitan culture.” But he goes on to profess disdain for Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s exclusive praise of such universal values as “tolerance, fair play and pluralism.” Carey likes those things as much as the next guy, but he thinks that what makes Britain British is British values and he calls on immigrants to “respect the Christian nature and history of our nation.”
This may sound minor to anyone steeped in the American culture wars. But in the context of the much tamer British debate, Carey’s participation in the Balanced Migration manifesto is a debate-changing defection from the consensus of the British cultural establishment.
Stealth Unionization Revisited
Readers who shared our wonderment at the state of Michigan’s bizarre unionization of home day care providers (see our December 28 issue) will be interested to learn the outcome of the lawsuit challenging the state’s move: The Michigan Court of Appeals last week dismissed it without explanation.
The practical effect is that tens of thousands of home day care -entrepreneurs will continue to have their pockets picked by the Michigan Department of Human Services. The department will continue to subtract “union dues” from the checks it sends to day care providers who look after children receiving a public subsidy so that their parents can work. These “dues” redirect nearly $4 million a year from the modest earnings of women who watch children to the coffers of the CCPTM, an entity ginned up by the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to extend their power.
The political effect? How about a campaign issue for whoever carries the Republican banner in this fall’s election to replace term-limited Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm? Sure, Michigan is a union-friendly state. But its voters can recognize a con. Sherry Loar, one of the day care providers on whose behalf the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation sued, is married to a union member. But she knows she personally never joined a union. How could she when she’s self-employed? By what right, she asks, does the government take “union dues” out of the reimbursements it owes her?
Whether or not the Mackinac Center decides to appeal, it’s an issue that just might resonate in a year replete with indications that voters are sick and tired of government highhandedness.
"Profiling” would seem like common sense—a Nigerian Islamist is more likely to try and blow up an airliner than, say, a Canadian grandmother. Of course that doesn’t mean you can just assume that the 83-year-old Canadian woman sitting next to you on the plane isn’t plotting to kill you. But you should be more concerned about the 23-year-old Nigerian sweating bullets on the other side of the aisle while he flicks his Bic in the vicinity of his underwear.
Right? Not so, said Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, on the website of the New York Times this week, which hosted a debate on the topic “Will Profiling Make a Difference?” “Profiling communities in counterterrorism efforts is ineffective,” Marayati asserted.
You would think it would be a major accomplishment in the fight against violent extremism (or whatever we’re calling it these days) if al Qaeda were suddenly forced to recruit from among Scottish Presbyterians or the Pennsylvania Mennonites. Al-Marayati, though, is only delivering the conventional left-wing message that increased scrutiny of suspicious looking men with suspicious sounding names is . . . suspicious.
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