Sense from Libby Purves on the revolting French youths:
Much employment law is good and necessary. People have families, mortgages, commitments. It is not fair for richer and more powerful people to treat them cavalierly. But what the French proposal opens up is the idea that if you are under 26 you probably don’t have such heavy commitments and chiefly need to get a foothold and show your mettle (why else is there such a boom in unpaid “internships” that once would have been jobs?). Loosen up the regulation, and you might get a brave new world in which young employees lead a precarious but exhilarating life, proving themselves during their first couple of years. Or, alternatively, a cruel and snubbing world in which honest young things are repeatedly chucked on the scrapheap.
The hard fact is that sometimes a knockback, a sacking, a humiliation is salutary. My best bosses in early life were not the ones who were the kindest, but the ones who rejected articles or radio features and made me do them again. Alan Coren, I may shockingly reveal, was a holy terror: his “Nah! Not funny!” resonates in my ears to this day. As a freelance I have lost plenty of jobs; on each occasion the impulse is to mutter “ bastards!” but then work out just why they went off me.
It’s hard, being a young worker. Losing your job is awful. But it is worse not to have one in the first place. And if the system really did loosen up, creating ever more openings, there should always be another one to go to.
Quite. It would never occur to me to think that an employer owed me or my colleagues a job. If any of us consistently underperformed, there would be no company to employ us. Can't the French "youths" see this?
Nonsense from Prince "I feel your pain" Charles on Islam:
People who are reasonable and responsible and feel things in the heart need to work even harder, I think, and speak up louder about the vital importance of understanding that, at the end of the day, the three great Abrahamic faiths do share an awful lot more in common than perhaps people realise.”
He added: “It’s tolerance, it’s understanding of what other people hold sacred, which I think is so vital — the old wisdom that is contained within the scriptures of ‘do unto others as you would have them do to you’.”
Which bit of the Koran does that come from? Fundamental to Islam is the division between believers and infidels and the unequal treatment of the two groups. Charles - stick to talking to plants.
Sense from Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality and Monty Python fan, on the cult of victimhood:
It is ... unjust that by making equality a competition between entire groups of people, some individuals — whether defined by their race, gender or sexual orientation — seem to be doomed to oppression or failure. But not all women are underpaid, and not all African-Caribbean boys fail at school. Some ethnic minority business people I know are so successful that they write even larger cheques for charities than for political parties....
It would be easy to erect a Pythonesque league table of suffering. But that isn’t what Britain needs. We need to provide the skills to those who want to work but can’t, and the incentive to those who can but won’t. This is why those of us who have spent a lifetime in the equality business are having to think again.
Phillips has been talking a lot of sense lately. It is, of course, patronising to ascribe automatic victim status to certain groups. It also means that those who shout loudest get what they want at the expense of other, more deserving groups.
Nonsense from Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent, on Islam and apostasy:
THE Koran is contradictory on the fate of those who deny the truth of Islam.
Fourteen passages refer to apostasy and, of these, seven refer to punishment, generally to be given in the next life.
Sura 40 says that those who reject the scriptures will have iron collars and chains placed around their necks, be dragged into scalding water and burnt in the fire. Elsewhere the Koran seems to indicate a degree of tolerance. Verse 2.256 states: “There is no compulsion in religion.” Two further suras, 10 and 18, include passages indicating that people who do not wish to believe should not be forced to.
But the Hadith, or sayings of the Prophet, condemns unequivocally those who renounce their religion. One passage advises the death penalty for murder, adultery and apostasy. Another cites Muhammad as saying: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”
According to Mufti Abdul Barkatullah, senior imam at North Finchley Mosque, North London, Islam simply took over biblical tradition and practice in this regard. Jesus promised in John xiv,6: “No one comes to the Father except by me.” Several other passages in the New Testament condemn non-Christians to eternal punishment. Mufti Barkatullah cited the Inquisition as an example of Christian intolerance.
This is misleading. It ignores the doctrine of abrogation, whereby earlier, more tolerant Koranic verses were replaced by later, more violent ones. It downplays the importance of the Hadith, which are integral to Muslim belief. And the comparison with Christianity, where punishment for unbelief is strictly for the next world, is disingenuous. And the inquisition? Well, unlike the Monty Python team, I always expect the Spanish Inquisition in this context. How long ago was it? And what is the authority for it in the New Testament?
So there you are. Sense and nonsense in "The Times". And the nonsense is about Islam.
And now, as the Pythons might say, for something completely different. Slippers are no longer fashionable:
Grandad will be outraged. Slippers have been declared out of fashion by statisticians in an official audit of the nation’s shopping habits.
I have never worn slippers in my life. Slippers are for wimps. Barefoot is best, even outside. However, if I'm going somewhere really posh, I put my clogs on just to be sociable.