G4S, everyone’s favourite agent of state-sponsored oppression, has been in the news again this week for its alleged policy of making asylum seekers live in houses identified by red doors. G4S “holds the Home Office contract for asylum seekers”, because obviously contracting a pirate security company to ‘look after’ foreign victims of civil war fleeing to safety isn’t at all inappropriate or sinister.
Several asylum seekers have reported attacks to their homes, including graffiti and excrement-smearing. G4S responded by writing letters of apology to those affected, which is basically more excrement smearing so it didn’t help much.
Amusingly, the whole episode took place in the Parliamentary constituency of ‘Redcar’.
The company, what we all fondly remember for failing to secure the Olympics but nevertheless having a great corporate song, denied that it had any systematic policy of painting refugees’ doors red, essentially playing the, “It was all a dreadful coincidence, honest guv!” card – much as David Cameron played the, “It was just a dreadful coincidence that that pig’s mouth was aligned with (Aaannnddd, move to the song. -Ed.)
Relocation, relocation, relocation
Parliament might have to move house (or should that be move Houses) for a few years to enable vital restoration works to take place in the Palace of Westminster.
A committee is currently considering options, which include “full decant” – which is where the contents Parliamentary port cellar are also moved out – and the temporary relocation of proceedings to a specially-built marquee in the Department for Health’s back garden. Which ironically is also what’s going to happen to most hospitals over the next five years.
One further possibility is for the House of Lords to move out, and the Commons to sit in the Lords chamber for a while (How come it’s OK to force displaced MPs to use red benches? Doesn’t that single them out? -G4S) (Pipe down. -Ed.)
There is concern about the ability of MPs and peers to integrate into the outside world should they be forced off the Westminster estate. “Anyone who wants to live in our country has to speak the language,” pledged David Cameron, confirming that politician refugees will be offered free classes on how to communicate with ordinary people.
Relocation, relocation, relocation: stop press
There has been movement! (Isn’t that the point of a relocation? -Ed.) Since the paragraphs above were written, the potential Parliamentary outing to the Department of Health has caused a massive scandal in the Daily Mail, which was enormously excited by the story: MPs banned from drinking due to Sharia Law!
It seems that, if the House of Commons has to move into the Department for Health, then because the building is leased from an Islamic finance consortium, they won’t be allowed to sell alochol on the premises. It’s almost as if it’s the Department for, you know, Health.
So the scandal in this case would actually put MPs into much the same position as everybody else in the United Kingdom, who – if their office relocates to temporary accommodation – tend not to have bars built for them in the new facility.
PJ gone mad
The headteacher of a Darlington school has gone viral after sending parents a letter asking them not to drop their kids off in pyjamas. “You can drop them off in a car or a Land Rover,” she wrote, “but dropping them off in pyjamas is just taking the pyj.”
Kate Chisholm, trunchbull-in-chief at the Skerne Park Academy, was faced with an unexpected form of civil disobedience, then, when a number of parents turned up in very ostentatious pyjamas (pictured left) as an act of protest against the intrusion into their private lives.
One family has apparently withdrawn their children from the school, while another told reporters:
I got stuck at home, my leg went into cramp and I didn’t want to be late dropping Holly off so I just grabbed my coat.
I bet the dog ate her homework, too.
However, the response hasn’t been entirely negative. Chisholm apparently spent most of Wednesday receiving “more than 150 supportive emails and ’phone calls” regarding her letter.
“I’ve had a number of headteachers from Darlington ringing me saying ‘well done for taking a stand’,” she added, “I’ve had an 85-year-old man ringing every 20 minutes every time something pops up on the news because he loves it. I’ve actually had to disable my Facebook account because it was being bombarded with friend requests.”
What she didn’t mention having done on Wednesday was, er, running a school. She’s employed, presumably, not to police parents’ clothing or mess about on Facebook or receive accolades from Telegraph readers or trigger national debates or chat to 85-year-old snobs, but to deliver education to the 500-odd children in her care.
A policeman’s lot’s a trigger-happy one
Sometimes, people make completely unjustified complaints. Sometimes, people whinge and whine about things that, on balance, are actually totally reasonable.
Here’s something the BBC reported last week:
Police in Coventry have been criticised on social media for entering people’s unlocked homes and tweeting photos.
I initially thought that the sentence order had been skewed and someone had written the article in the Object Subject Verb structure: “Surely,” I said to myself as I went about the place in the course of my duties as an impartial social commentator, “Surely they mean that police have criticised people on social media for entering unlocked homes.”
But no: it turns out that Chief Inspector Helen Kirkman had the bright idea of having the West Midlands Police wander round the streets of Coventry, pushing front doors to see if they were open, and if they were, wandering in and taking a few cheeky Instagram snaps #nofilterneeded, supposedly as a warning to householders to keep everything locked up in case one day the police come calling for a less kindly reason.
Chinsp Helen told reporters:
If neighbourhood teams find a door or window left open I think people would want officers to check everything is OK at that address and not to just walk on by.
Unfortunately the journalists present were all to busy picking their jaws up off the floor to make the obvious point that there may be a happy medium between the extremes of (i) walking on by an unlocked house with no action taken, and (ii) wandering in for a quick impromptu photoshoot.
Whose god is it anyway?
The Jewish News chose to mark Holocaust memorial week by publishing a letter. It was better than the one where the writer said that Jews shouldn’t support the absorption of refugees because “everyone seems to forget that they are Muslims”. But not that much better.
This letter was about just about the only policy of the current government which seems obviously right and unobjectionable, that of requiring faith schools to teach about at least one other religion so as to promote tolerance and understanding in society.
In the letter, Geoffrey Niman found said policy “highly objectionable”.
What are the guarantees that it will not be exploited as a vehicle for bringing missionary messages to the vulnerable?
Assuming Geoff also believes that Judaism shouldn’t be taught in Christian or Muslim schools because it would inevitably lead to a wave of brainwashed proselytes, that’s a very good question he’s asked.
Presumably the ‘other religion’ will be presented in a most positive manner!
Audible gasp! Presenting other religions in a positive manner, shameful. We haven’t spent this week learning about centuries of pointless bloodshed fuelled by interfaith ignorance, just to turn round in 2016 and accept that other religions aren’t the spawn of Satan.
I sometimes wonder what the world is coming to. Thank goodness for brave men like Geoffrey Niman, with the courage to stand against the crowd and speak up for intolerance and insularity.
People who enjoyed this light satire of the Jewish far right’s paranoia by Gabriel Webber also enjoyed Why would anyone pretend to support BDS?, a light satire of the Jewish far right’s paranoia by Gabriel Webber.
The New Indian Express has always been one of the best newspapers out there, and this week is no exception. A story appeared on Sunday:
Chennai policeman booked for marrying four woman [sic] and being in a relationship with fifth
The article went on:
Phwoar – lucky old city police commissioner.