Minegraft

This is an interesting illustration of where priorities lie:

The Queensland Government has called for mining company CEOs and union representatives to attend an urgent safety forum this Wednesday after the death of another mining worker.

On Sunday 27-year-old Jack Gerdes suffered fatal head injuries at the Baralaba North coal mine, west of Gladstone.

He was found “entangled in an excavator access ladder” about 2:00am, the Department of Mines and Energy said.

Six hours later, another man in his 50s was seriously injured in fall at a mine in Collinsville in the Bowen Basin.

The death takes the fatality total to six over the last year — making it the worst year for mining deaths since 1997.

If you’re in the developed world (i.e. equipment and work methods are modern) and you’re having an unacceptable number of workplace accidents there are two things you need to improve: training and supervision. When my outfit in Russia was having a lot of minor injuries and near misses to do with scaffolding back in 2006, they stepped up the training and awareness (with a focus on the daily toolbox talks) and increased the number of supervisors. As a result, the safety statistics improved. This is what needs to happen in these Queensland mines. However:

Shortly before the State Government headed into crisis talks this afternoon, it was revealed a mining safety committee has been idle for six months because it could not reach a gender quota — during which time four miners have died.

This situation is laughable, but the absence of some taxpayer funded talking shop is not the cause of the accidents. What it does tell you, though, is how the government views workplace safety and what it chooses to prioritise. It’s also a tacit admission that this committee isn’t really concerned with safety. If it were, it would have met regardless of the gender quota.

Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane said it nominated two female candidates for the committee six months ago, but they were knocked back by the Government.

I can’t even begin to imagine how bad a blatant diversity hire would have to be to get knocked back for inclusion on a state-level safety committee. Then again, maybe something else is going on here which I can’t see. But I found this LinkedIn post interesting:

I’m not sure who Penelope Twemlow is but she seems to have made a decent career from simply being a woman “in business”, and her LinkedIn profile reads as though an algorithm trawled a year’s worth of Accenture presentations and spat out the most commonly found words. Although to be fair she has been a principle health and safety consultant for a whole four months, which is presumably why she’s weighing in on this.

What seems pretty clear is she doesn’t know a lot about mining, which is why she’s so confident there are “plenty of incredible women” working in the industry. What she thinks makes a woman “incredible” are probably those attributes she likes most in herself, i.e. staggering levels of self-belief, ambition, and self-promotion, but these likely differ from what those who run mines want when they’re looking for a safety rep. There will be some decent women in the Australian mining industry, but there won’t be “plenty” and the ones who are genuinely good won’t want to sit on some pointless government committee. However, you can be sure that Penelope Twemlow knows a few hundred women who would love such a tenure and all think they’re incredibly brilliant. Hey, some of them might even know the difference between a coal mine and a land mine. But what they really need is some decent on-site supervisors and safety training.

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The Lives of Others

This article is primarily about France’s descent into authoritarianism under Macron, but this passage caught my eye:

A recent poll found only 18 percent of Germans feel they can speak freely in public. More than 31 percent did not even feel free to express themselves in private among their friends. Just 17 percent of Germans felt free to express themselves on the internet, and 35 percent said free speech is confined to small private circles.

Whether this is related to the fact that for the past 14 years Germany has been presided over by someone who not only grew up in East Germany but seemed to do rather well under it I leave as an exercise for the reader.

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Those in peril on Form C

Remember the story of the RNLI volunteers being sacked for upsetting some bureaucrat? Well now the Coastguard have got in on the act:

The coastguard sacked two volunteers after they rescued a car from a cliff edge — because, despite not being used, the agency’s Land Rover was still on the scene.

Richard Clarkson and Ian Pedrick had more than 60 years’ of life saving experience behind them when they were fired from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) after the incident in Bolberry Down near Salcombe, Devon.

Richard and Ian, who followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by becoming a member of the coastguard 42 years ago, were part of a team sent to the scene of a runaway car.

But when they got there the crew stood down because the vehicle had stopped further down the slope and no lives were in danger.

The pair decided to change out of their coastguard uniform and used Richard’s personal Land Rover and equipment to tow it back from the cliff edge.

But because the coastguard vehicle had not been brought back to the station they were both still on duty and moving the car was not in their remit.

They were deemed to have committed a technical breach even though they has not used the coastguard’s Land Rover or any supplied equipment.

Ian said: ‘We have been dismissed with immediate effect.

Here’s the problem. The sort of people who volunteer for the Coastguard and RNLI are goal-driven, meaning they are inspired to donate their time and efforts because they want to help others. By contrast, the sort of people who infest the middle management of modern organisations are process-driven, and are concerned only that the right steps in the procedure have been followed and their next promotion is locked in. Whether some poor sod being swept out to sea lives or dies is immaterial: they didn’t join the Coastguard because they wanted to save people from drowning. Note also that the person who made the decision remains anonymous, which is consistent with this weasel statement:

The MCA said it would be ‘inappropriate to comment at this time’.

Then a few days later we had this:

Two veteran volunteer coastguards have resigned after they say they were reprimanded for taking a teenager to hospital in a van instead of an ambulance.

The officer in charge (OIC) of Croyde Coastguard Rescue Team, in Devon, said he quit after being told he would have to start his training again.

He said a female colleague with 18 years’ experience also resigned.

The former coastguard said on Sunday 23 June at 01:00 BST his team was called to help an 18-year-old man who had drunk too much and was unconscious, cold and wet in the sand dunes.

They found him and together with a paramedic put him on a stretcher to wait for an ambulance.

“We had a couple of ambulances on route but they were diverted,” he said, adding that the paramedic said it could be two hours before an ambulance was available.

He said they put the young man in the back of his van with the paramedic and drove to hospital.

He was reprimanded the next day and told he would have to go back through the training process, he said.

The former coastguard said he accepted he did not follow the guidelines, but had acted in the best interests of the casualty.

There is no room for judgement or nuance in the modern organisation. It is follow the rules to the letter or face the consequences. This approach might work if you’re running an airline or an oil company, but not when you’re dealing with volunteer organisations. Volunteers by definition are driven by intrinsic motivators – a sense of purpose, responsibility, task ownership, task identification, self-esteem, etc. – rather than extrinsic motivators such as a salary. If you kill off those motivators then people simply won’t volunteer any more. I give it a generation before the likes of the RNLI and Coastguard are bereft of volunteers and begging the government for funds.

As a wise man once said, while processes and procedures are necessary for the efficient and effective running of an organisation, they must remain subservient to the organisation’s primary goals.

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Random Question

Here’s a random question for my readers concerning something which might become very important or perhaps not at all.

How easy is it for a Brit to get a US residency permit? Presumably the best way is to get a job with a US company willing to sponsor you, but how likely is that in the DC or north Virginia area? Is this something they generally do, or they avoid? Bearing in mind I’m a project manager/general manager with an engineering background. Anyone know?

Serious answers here, please folks. I know I could switch my name to something ethnic and swim the Rio Grande, but I’m looking at something more robust. And more studying is out of the question.

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Reaming, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic

Via a reader, this article:

The headteacher of Heavers Farm Primary School in South London suspended two 10-year-old Christian students after one of them asked for permission not to participate in an LGBT lesson during “Gay Pride Month.”

In the Middle East “respecting” Islam means participating fully in Ramadan or risking punishment. In British schools, “tolerance” for homosexuality means actively celebrating it.

The headteacher, Susan Papas, who obliged schoolchildren to participate in a “Gay Pride” parade last year, told the two children, who are both of African descent, they are “a disappointment to the school,” Christian Concern reported Monday.

Oh, they’re black. I’ve suddenly detected racism in Ms. Papa’s remarks.

On June 20, pupil Farrell Spence asked his teacher Alex Smith for permission not to take part in a lesson when Mr. Smith handed out LGBT material for coloring. The teacher denied the permission, insisting that the LGBT lesson was part of the curriculum.

This has nothing to do with tolerance and everything to do with indoctrination of the sort Section 28 was designed to prevent.

After class, Mr. Smith allegedly accused Farrell of using “homophobic language” and saying, “LGBT sucks and LGBT’s dumb,” which the child categorically denies.

Which is what children say about anything they don’t like.

The teacher asked Farrell where he was from and the boy responded that he was of “African Jamaican” heritage, and there “everybody is Christian and Catholic, so they don’t accept LGBT.”

If he’s capable of expressing himself like that perhaps he’s a little past colouring exercises? It would equally explain the reluctance of a 10-year old to take part as any in-built homophobia.

Later, head teacher Papas reportedly called in the two children and shouted at them: “How dare you? You are a disappointment to the school.”

Ms. Papas, whose daughter Attie is a lesbian and the School Manager, next put the children in separate rooms and scolded Kaysey: “How dare you say that you want to kill LGBT people?”

In other words, you have an LGBT political activist masquerading as a teacher and abusing their position to indoctrinate children.

Heavers Farmer Primary School educates 750 pupils in a multicultural and multi-religious borough of South London. Along with the School Manager, the Assistant Headteacher Robert Askey is also openly gay.

Uh-huh.

The mothers of the two children complained to the Principal Officer, citing school regulations that state it is unlawful to suspend a student for “a non-disciplinary reason.”

The parents insist their children did not make homophobic comments and have accused the headteacher of failing “to eliminate discrimination based on religion or belief.” They also cited the European Convention of Human Rights, saying it requires that schools respect the manner in which parents seek to raise their children in accordance with their Christian faith.

And we’re back to where we were with the Muslim parents in Birmingham a couple of months back. Now normally it would be easy to dismiss these Christian parents as bigots, but with they’re being African it’s not so easy. Who wins this hand of victimhood poker?.

This is not the first run-in the school and its headteacher has faced over LGBT activism.

In June 2018, the school organized a “Gay Pride” parade in its playground, posting rainbow flags around the school, and telling students to wear bright colors for the event.

Ms. Papas also invited parents to watch the “Proud to be Me!” parade and join in celebrating “the rainbow of things that make them and their family special.”

At that time, 14 Christian parents complained that Papas was “forcing a very aggressive LGBT agenda on to young children in a manner which abuses parental rights and victimises parents.”

Well yes, it’s run by political activists. Welcome to compulsory state education.

In response, Papas declared she was standing against homophobia: “We stand by our decision to celebrate national Pride Month by teaching British values.”

The subject matter may be different, but these values sound more Soviet than British.

Izoduwa Montague, the mother of one of the students and a Christian, refused to allow her four-year-old son to take part in the parade and complained to the Education Secretary that the school had embarked on “systematic proselytism of its young and vulnerable pupils.”

Which is exactly what opponents of teaching children this stuff in schools predicted would happen.

Montague says she felt “bullied” after she complained that her child was “forced to take part in an event that goes against our Christian beliefs,” and later transferred her child to a Catholic school.

Where I expect they received a better education.

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Ticket to Pride

Last year we discovered that being the victim of domestic abuse anywhere in Latin America was enough to warrant an asylum claim in the USA. In Britain things aren’t a whole lot better:

Four newly arrived LGBT Syrian refugees will be able to openly express their sexual identity when they join the Pride celebrations in central London on Saturday.

The first thing desperate refugees do when they reach the host country is join in with a massive public jamboree?

They arrived in London on Thursday after waiting for more than two years to be airlifted to safety. Their situation was resolved after the Guardian highlighted the plight of 15 LGBT Syrian refugees stranded in Turkey this year. Others in the group were expected to follow soon.

Are gays persecuted in Syria? It’s an honest question: parts of the country are dominated by religious nutjobs now, but Damascus is still under the control of the Assad government and I don’t think he’s got much interest in hounding gays. His regime was pretty brutal to anyone who opposed him, but it was broadly secular and while I can’t imagine it was as accepting as Brighton, I’m not sure gays were put to the sword as a matter of course. Besides, these lot were in Turkey. Can you be gay in Turkey? Yes, you can, which is why the article must resort to woolly guff like this:

While some Syrian refugees who flee to Turkey are relatively safe, there were concerns over the safety of this group because of homophobic attitudes in the country. Same-sex relationships are legal but negative attitudes prevail and some refugees have reported being pelted by rocks, followed in the street and attacked if people suspect they were not heterosexual.

So they’ve been granted refugee status on the basis that, although homosexuality is legal where they are, “negative attitudes prevail”? Seriously? And have these individuals been pelted with rocks for being gay? Or are they claiming refugee status based on stories of what happened to other people?

Members of the Syrian group were forced to conceal their sexual identity and in some cases to live in hiding. Some received death threats because of their sexuality.

I’m wondering what any of this has got to do with Britain. And how much work is the word “some” doing in this case?

The refugees said they were at risk not only from the population at large but also from their own families, who in some cases did not know about their sexual identity.

His family doesn’t know he’s gay, but he needs asylum in Britain in case they find out.

Toufique Hossain and Sheroy Zaq, of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, who launched the legal action, said: “These men have been forced to conceal an enormous part of their identity, not just in their country of origin but also in Turkey. The detriment they suffered as a result of their sexuality in Turkey simply could not go on any longer; we had to ensure that their resettlement was expedited through legal channels. We are elated that they will at last be able to be open about their sexuality in all walks of life, just in time for Pride.”

Well, I can at least understand why they’re up for a party. I would be too if I’d just pulled off a stunt like that. These people are not refugees in any meaningful sense of the word, and all it’s doing is hardening attitudes to people who face genuine, life threatening persecution. And isn’t it interesting to contrast the efforts expended to grant these individuals asylum with the British government’s decision to refuse it to Asia Bibi.

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Chief Correspondent

The New York Times is advertising for a Nairobi Bureau Chief:

Our Nairobi bureau chief has a tremendous opportunity to dive into news and enterprise across a wide range of countries, from the deserts of Sudan and the pirate seas of the Horn of Africa, down through the forests of Congo and the shores of Tanzania. It is an enormous patch of vibrant, intense and strategically important territory with many vital story lines, including terrorism, the scramble for resources, the global contest with China and the constant push-and-pull of democracy versus authoritarianism.

The ideal candidate should enjoy jumping on news, be willing to cover conflict, and also be drawn to investigative stories. There is also the chance to delight our readers with unexpected stories of hope and the changing rhythms of life in a rapidly evolving region.

The NYT puts itself out there as the journal of choice for American progressives, yet its view of Africa seems to be based on an encyclopedia printed in 1910 combined with the Instagram postings of some teenage airhead deployed with the Peace Corps. Unsurprisingly, Africans on social media aren’t too impressed and through them I found this rather amusing article: How to write about Africa.

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Death by a thousand suits

This is a good article on a merger in the 1990s which goes a long way to explain the organisational failures we’re now seeing at Boeing. The standout passage:

The key corporate protection that had protected Boeing engineering culture was a wall inside the company between the civilian division and military divisions.

Have a guess what happened? Then there’s this:

In 2005, Boeing hired its first ever CEO without an aviation engineering background, bringing in James McNerney, who got his training in brand management at Proctor & Gamble, then McKinsey

Uh-huh. I urge you to read the whole thing.

Staying broadly on topic, this Twitter thread is fun too.

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Grilling Machine

I was going to write a post about the recent appointments at the top of the EU, but I’m just going to post this video of Andrew Neil instead:


Andrew Neil is about the only senior journalist left in Britain capable of asking the right questions about those who would rule over us.

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Epilogue

Remember this story?

This is the international lawyer filmed ranting at Air India staff on a Mumbai to London flight after she was refused alcohol – leaving other business class passengers holding hands in terror.

Simone O’Broin, 50, was arrested after she was caught on camera shouting abuse at male and female cabin crew and demanding another glass of wine.

Sadly, there’s a follow-up:

A human rights lawyer jailed for abusing Air India cabin crew after being refused alcohol on a business class flight is thought to have killed herself at Beachy Head days after being released from prison.

Simone Burns, 50, was sentenced to six months in April after racially abusing and spitting at stewards during a flight from Mumbai to London last year.

She was released from Bronzefield women’s prison on licence on May 20 and was found dead at the foot of cliffs in East Sussex 13 days later.

This is desperately sad, and no doubt the media will focus on this bit:

A friend, who did not want to be named, said her “world fell apart” after her conviction and she became a target for internet trolls after the four-minute clip of her inebriated rant went viral on social media.

Burns was diagnosed with skin cancer 18 years ago, a condition that required multiple biopsies and surgeries. At the time of her court appearance she was waiting to get a prosthetic nose.

She seems to have been a troubled woman for quite some time, with her illness leading to mental problems. I like to make fun of women who go off to “find themselves” in Zen retreats, dye their hair turquoise, hang around Burning Man, and take up polyamory but the serious point is that many of them are suffering from serious mental issues which have gone untreated. As we have discovered, these are not lifestyle choices but coping mechanisms. So whereas it might have been the jail sentence and media attention which pushed Burns over the edge, what she needed was intervention and professional help a lot earlier. Unfortunately, modern society – particularly third wave feminism – tends to dissuade women from admitting they have problems, and instead encourages them to engage in degenerate behaviour which only makes things worse.

Burns was 50 when she died. Most of the women I’ve written about are between 30 and 40. We really don’t know what anguish they’re storing up for themselves, but we’re going to find out one way or another.

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