Archives for posts with tag: violence

An emboldened Conservative government would indeed be good news for ‘Strong and Stable’ funeral directors, as:

  • air pollution continues unabated,
  • the health service deteriorates,
  • the incidence of adult depression and mental illness in children grows apace
  • ‘moral fibre’ rots: latest indication:10,000 Britons signed up to one of the world’s largest paedophile internet networks
  • and others are debt-ridden due to the daily onslaught of consumerist advertising,
  • sedated by inane, often BBC-provided TV quiz shows
  • or led astray by a violent TV/online diet.

Tom Young says May’s ‘Strong and Stable Government’: (is) More Than a Tagline – indeed it is and a Conservative stabilisation unit would, in future, see an increasingly  heavy workload.

New claimants with a disability have just been hit by a £30 a week cut in benefits to save the government £1bn over four years even though their living costs are higher because of the need for assisted travel, hospital appointments, extra heating, etc., and they are likely to take far longer to find a job.

A Hall Green friend who intends to vote Labour writes of his issue with the Labour message: “it remains too rooted in struggle and injustice, and not enough in giving people a reason to vote if they don’t suffer or struggle”.

But many well-placed voters are deeply concerned when seeing others in difficulties. And a far larger swathe of the population is struggling than he seems to think:

  • graduates in formerly secure jobs are being made redundant,
  • people in their twenties and twenties now see no option but to live with their parents,
  • many people are suffering from urban air pollution and miserable traffic congestion,
  • education cuts will affect their children as the Public Accounts Committee has warned,
  • in some areas people in need of healthcare are affected by a declining NHS service.
  • mental illness, no doubt in part due to one of more of these factors, is rising rapidly in both children and adults.

Professor Prem Sikka sees the positive, constructive Labour message; U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn plans:

  • to raise corporation tax by more than a third over the next three years and plough the £6bn proceeds into schools and universities,
  • restore maintenance grants for the poorest students,
  • abolish university tuition fees
  • guarantee that five, six and seven-year olds will not be taught in classes of more than 30.
  • creating a National Education Service to equip Britain’s workers for the post-Brexit economy,
  • extend free adult education to allow workers to upgrade their skills,
  • raise the cap on NHS wages, and
  • to build up to a million new homes, many of them council houses.

If ‘the sums don’t add up’, a standard Conservative knee-jerk reaction:

Withdraw subsidies from fossil fuel & nuclear companies and arms exporters, jettison HS2 and redirect investment to improving rail and waterway transport links.

Sikka rightly ends: People are our biggest asset and only they can build a nation. We have a choice: Tax cuts for the rich or investment in our future to enable people to realise their potential.

 

 

 

 

 

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prof m steven fish“Is Islam violent? I would say absolutely not,” Steven Fish said in an interview, according to the New York Times.

Professor M. Steven Fish, a political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, studies democracy and regime change in developing and post-communist countries, religion and politics, and constitutional systems and national legislatures. He is the author of Are Muslims Distinctive? A Look at the Evidence (Oxford, 2011), which was selected for Choice‘s Outstanding AcademicTitles in 2012: Top 25 Books.

It is the first major scientific effort to assess how Muslims and non-Muslims differ–and do not differ–in the contemporary world.

are muslims distinctive coverIn this book, he seeks to quantify the correlation between Islam and violence and found that murder rates are substantially lower in Muslim-majority countries and instances of political violence are no more frequent.

Using rigorous methods and data drawn from around the globe, it reveals that in some areas Muslims and non-Muslims differ less than is commonly imagined, and shows that Muslims are not unusually religious or inclined to favour the fusion of religious and political authority.

Zack Beauchamp (Brown University and the LSE], pilloried by American rightwingers as an anti-semitic leftist hipster, quotes from the book: “Predominantly, Muslim countries average 2.4 murders per annum per 100,000 people, compared to 7.5 in non-Muslim countries. The percentage of the society that is made up of Muslims is an extraordinarily good predictor of a country’s murder rate. More authoritarianism in Muslim countries does not account for the difference. I have found that controlling for political regime in statistical analysis does not change the findings. More Muslims, less homicide”.
Fish further fleshed out these findings, for example by re-running the numbers to exclude non-Muslim-majority states with extraordinarily high murder rates (Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Lesotho, South Africa, and Venezuela). Countries with lots of Muslims were still less murder prone by a pretty large margin.

Turning to the Google Books extracts differences are noted:

  • gender inequality is more severe among Muslims,
  • Muslims are intolerant of homosexuality
  • and democracy is rare in the Muslim world.

Other areas of divergence give Muslims the advantage:

  • less violent crime
  • lower class-based inequities.

Professor Fish’s research findings have vital implications for human welfare, interfaith understanding, and the foreign policies of the United States and other Western countries.

As Seumas Milne in the Guardian put it: “The perpetrators of one attack after another, from London 2005 to Boston 2013, say they’re carrying them out in retaliation for the vastly larger scale US and British killing in the Muslim world”.

Extracts from Are Muslims Distinctive? may be seen here and a more recent article in the Washington Post by Professor Fish here.