Thursday, 31 July 2008

It’s For The Chiiillldddreeeennnn! (Part 657)

Yesterday the news broke of the attempts by the government to propose regulation of social networking sites (blogs, Facebook, etc) – covered by Tim Worstall, the Devil, Longrider, LFAT and Iain Dale, among many others.

Now they’ve set their sights on YouTube and are using the MSM to whip up a moral panic to assist their efforts:
The video-sharing website YouTube is failing to do enough to protect children from the ‘dark side’ of the internet, MPs warn today.

They criticise it for not effectively screening videos for sexual and violent content, which in one case led to film of an apparent gang rape not being taken down until it had been seen by hundreds of users.

And the all-party Commons culture committee said it was ‘unimpressed’ that YouTube made no attempt to vet clips posted by users.
Anyone unfamiliar with the Internet and YouTube will be horrified by the above – though not perhaps if they were able to grasp that ‘hundreds of users’ can see YouTube content in seconds and that it would be impossible to vet everything posted to YouTube due to the sheer volume of material.
The MPs said they were shocked to find material containing child abuse could take up to 24 hours to remove.
Hmm, I wonder what the respose rate is for invalid information to be removed from government websites? I bet you could measure it in weeks, if not months…
Committee chairman John Whittingdale called for the industry to block websites which promote suicide, in the same way that it does for child pornography sites.
A totally futile call, given that most of that material is overseas anyway and outside of UK regulation, or would simply shift to forums, Facebook entries and webchat...
Urgent action was needed following the deaths in Bridgend, South Wales, which he said may have been affected by suicide websites.
Eh..? I haven’t seen any proof yet that these contributed to the rash of suicides!? What, is it ‘moral panic’ week this week? This sounds like the ‘Child’s Play/Bulger Killers’ affair all over again…
The MPs said websites should make it easier to report offensive videos, such as by having a screen link to law enforcement authorities.
As if the police don’t have enough to do already…
The industry should also be encouraged to age classify sites and even impose watersheds like TV, so offensive material could not be viewed before a certain time.
Jesus wept….! I’d laugh hysterically, if it wasn’t so pathetic as to make me cry. This, from people who must already know in their hearts that the existing TV watersheds don’t have the slightest effect anyway...

And all you harmless roleplayers out there, they’ve got plans for you too:
Mr Whittingdale, a Conservative, expressed concern over the virtual world websites. He said there were cases of two adults entering these imaginary worlds, one as an adult and one as a child, and then having virtual sex.
I’m a little out of the loop, is ‘virtual sex’ even a bloody CRIME..?!? Oh, wait, no, it isn’t. But it might lead to one, apparently:
Mr Whittingdale said the committee had heard from police experts that such people were likely to go on to commit real child sex offences.
Ahh, police ‘experts’. Who no doubt can see some cushy overtime heading their way….

Most (if not all) of these ‘proposals’ are just pie-in-the-sky reactive, authoritarian nonsense. Which is to be expected from the rag-tag bunch of useless, technologically-challenged reprobates that passes for our political ‘masters’ these days.

But as we can see from the example of the cretinous Whittingdale, the opposition isn’t likely to be much better, is it?

Going To Hell In A Handcart…

PARENTS and young children had a lucky escape after stone-throwing yobs smashed a bus window.

The safety glass in the side window of the number was splintered as 29 Arriva bus travelled between Wen-ham Drive and Gains- borough Drive, Southend.

Passengers leapt off the bus after the driver stopped in Fairfax Drive at 1.10pm on Tuesday, and gave chase to a gang of teenage yobs who were spotted throwing the stones.

They saw one of the boys, who is thought to be the ringleader, run into a house and then told police where he was.

Officers have arrested a 13-year-old boy on suspicion of criminal damage.
So far, so typical. But the response of those interviewed for the incident showed a worrying attitude:
Matt Halton (lives in Fairfax Drive and went to investigate):“There were babies and children sitting behind that window and it could have been really dangerous.

“The bus was pretty full and everyone was stood about on the pavement looking concerned. The driver was quite shocked.

“You don’t expect things like this to happen, but it’s because the kids have nothing to do around here.”
Sgt Les Hawkins, at Leigh police station: "...youngsters need to be aware of the consequences of their actions and the fact they could get arrested.

He said: “The possible implications of throwing stones at a bus don’t bear thinking about. Even at low speeds, a distracted bus driver could easily hit another vehicle, pedestrian or house.

“With the school holidays there is more chance of things like this happening.

It’s just a case of making youths aware there are things to do in the town.
Martin Terry, Independent councillor for West-borough ward: “It’s that type of community spirit we need to see.

The youths don’t have enough to do and we need more funding for children’s activities.”
No, No, NO!!! You idiots

It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with ‘boredom’, and throwing more money at these yobs is not the answer. God, I’d really expect nothing more from a councillor or even a local police officer, but even the member of public they interviewed was spouting the same tired old cliché.

Thankfully, the ‘Echo’ website allows reader comments, and theirs are far, far more sensible, and refuse to accept the mealy-mouthed excuses of their elected representatives and law enforcers. No wonder the powers-that-be are so keen to censor the Internet! Post on that coming soon…

Bergerac Would Have Gotten To The Bottom Of It!

Officers investigating decades of abuse at the home have discovered the partial remains of at least five youngsters but say there is unlikely to be a murder inquiry because they are unable to tell when exactly the children died.
They probably also can’t tell when the coconut snuffed it either….
More than 100 human bone fragments were also found at the site with one piece identified as coming from a child's leg and another from a child's ear.

Tests showed some fragments were cut while others were burnt, suggesting that murders had taken place and the victims' bodies had possibly been cremated in a fireplace.
Not quite true. Suggesting that ‘burning and cutting of bodies’ had taken place, surely?

It’s equally as possible that the remains are the results of attempts to cover up accidental deaths as they are murders. Criminal, yes, but not therefore ‘evidence of murders’.

Further details and analysis of this enquiry for those not inclined to follow the tabloid line down the road into moral panic can be found at the excellent Richard Webster’s blog site.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

A Challenger Emerges!

David Miliband is urging the Labour Party to radically change amid growing signs that he is positioning himself to take over from Gordon Brown as Prime Minister.
Oh, this summer promises to be fun… :)

Taking Pictures: Not For Citizens (Especially When They Depict Police Actions)

The Picture Police strike again. And once more, our old friend the Terrorism Act 2000 is in the frame:
A passer-by was questioned under terrorism laws for taking a picture of a police car he thought was illegally parked.

David Gates saw the patrol car parked at a bus stop and snapped it on his mobile phone.

But the 42-year-old was spotted by officers, who asked him - under the Terrorism Act 2000 - why he took the photo, claiming it could pose a security threat.

Mr Gates was told his details would be kept for a year after he got trigger-happy in Portsmouth. .
Well, quite! After all, we need to keep tabs on dangerous criminals who might take photos of police!
'The two officers could find no closer place to park to the property than in the bus lane,' said Supt Neil Sherrington.

'It is reasonable for the officer to have made reference to the act and been suspicious as to why the photograph had been taken.'

He added police were attending a domestic dispute and parking in the spot was not illegal.
Well, Mr Sherrington, whether it is ‘reasonable’ or not is really not your call, is it? You’ll find it very difficult to find someone who agrees that the public can’t take photographs of your officers when it believes they are in the wrong, particularly given the fact you are always trumpeting the efficacy of CCTV cameras monitoring us and whoring yourselves out to TV crews to make thinly-veiled publicity programmes.

Still, at least the incident proved there is one Lib Dem with some common sense:
Mike Hancock, Liberal Democrat MP for Portsmouth South, said: 'I don't have a problem with them parking at the bus stop, but I do have a problem with them using this legislation for something trivial like this and keeping it for a year. The whole thing is quite bizarre.'
Not really that bizarre, Mr Hancock. You see, some people can’t be trusted with a little bit of authority over others and will abuse it. The key is not to give it to them in the first place…

Keep Taking The Pills, Mr Pin. No, Really Keep Taking The Pills..!

A crazed knifeman who believed he was the Messiah and stabbed his best friend to free him from the devil is back living just yards away from his victim.
I bet he’s living absolutely nowhere near the judge who freed him though!
Pin walked free from the Old Bailey today (July 28) despite admitting the attack.

After a two-day trial of issue, Judge Gerald Gordon directed a jury to find Pin not guilty of attempted murder on the grounds of temporary insanity.

He was given a two-year community supervision order after the judge ruled "punishment is not appropriate".

Pin will now live just around the corner from his victim even though Mr Matheson asked for his attacker to be re-housed elsewhere.
What on earth made Mr Matheson think that he had any rights? He’s just the victim….
The court heard how Pin will be on medication for the rest of his life to deal with his mental illness.
Not quite. He’s been provided with medication. What happens when he stops taking it…?

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Another Nail In The Coffin….

Staff in children’s prisons have been forbidden to use physical restraint to control disruptive youngsters, after an Appeal Court ruling yesterday.

Three judges quashed a move to broaden the circumstances in which staff could restrain children in secure units, saying that this was a breach of their human rights.
So how exactly are they to handle the little darlings when they decide to be disruptive…? With kid gloves?
As a result of the ruling, officers in child prisons can use restraint methods only to prevent inmates escaping from custody, causing injury to themselves, damaging property or inciting another inmate to escape or damage property.
Bet it won’t be long before the usual suspects are lobbying to close those ‘loopholes’ too…

New Labour: Tough On Crime, Tough On….Oh, Let’s Just Forget That One..!

The new Ministry of Justice reforms to the law have been published
today and the demands made by the various feminists and penal system pressure groups appear to have been heeded:
According to the Ministry of Justice the reforms are an attempt to redress a centuries-old disparity in how the laws impact on men and women.

They say it is currently too easy for men to defend killing an unfaithful female partner, and too difficult for women with violent male partners to mount a similar defence.
New Labour – making life easier and less stressful for future killers. Great epitaph, Mr Blair and Mr Brown…
Harriet Harman, the Deputy Labour Leader and Women's Secretary, told the Daily Telegraph: "The lawyers call it the 'nagging and s*******' defence - men kill their partners and explain it away by saying that she was unfaithful or was planning to leave him.
"It's unacceptable if you've lost a sister, or a mother, to then be told it's her fault because she provoked him.

"Changing the law will end this injustice of women being killed by their husband and the injustice of them then being blamed. And it will end the injustice of the perpetrators making excuses saying it's not their fault.''
Except, of course, it won’t do any such thing. The law is just a piece of paper – it’s people who create it and bring it to life. And they haven’t done a bang-up job so far, have they?
Parents who kill a paedophile they catch molesting their child will also be among the select group able to plead not guilty to murder, under the shake-up. Rape victims who retaliate against a taunting attacker will also be able to legitimately claim they had been provoked, and plead manslaughter.

The Ministry of Justice also suggested that the defence could also be open to a person engaged in a long-running feud with a neighbour which ended in one being killed.
Terrific! Mr Jones next door borrows your tools and doesn’t return them, throws his snails over the fence into your cabbages, refuses to trim his laylandii…? Kill him and get a lesser sentence!
Maria Eagle, the Justice Minister, insisted that the "slow burn" defence in cases of long-term suffering would be given a high threshold.

She said: "This is a substantial change. But we would not want to introduce anything that would allow cold, calculating killers to get away with it."
Insist all you want, love. Once this law is brought onto the books, it’ll be the same bunch of CPS clowns, greedy lawyers and out of touch judges putting it into practice as before.

Monday, 28 July 2008

"‘Ello, ‘Ello, ‘Ello, What’s Been Goin’ On ‘Ere Then..?"

The country's top policeman is to be investigated formally over how a close friend won a series of lucrative contracts at Scotland Yard, it emerged last night.

An announcement will be made within days over setting up an official inquiry into how Sir Ian Blair's skiing companion Andy Miller was awarded more than £3million of police work.
Well, well, well…
The Daily Mail can reveal that the pressure on the Met Commissioner will intensify today when an emergency session of the Metropolitan Police Authority's professional standards committee will meet to discuss the affair.

It can also be disclosed that Mr Miller carried out work for Surrey Police when Sir Ian was chief constable there between 1998 and 2000.

As questions grow, a number of key officials believe that a formal inquiry is the only way to establish whether Sir Ian has acted inappropriately.

A police source said: 'There can be no cover-up, nor perception of a cover-up, over this issue.
Over other issues…? Oh, yes, but dodgy financial dealings? Why, we can’t have that….

And So It Begins….

Gordon Brown has caved in to unions, allowing a series of concessions - including an extension of the minimum wage - in a move that sent shudders through the business community.

Coming days after Labour’s humiliating defeat in the Glasgow East by-election, it also puts pressure on the Prime Minister’s weakened position.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, of course. The unions are just about the only people in the country still prepared to put money into the Labour Party. Guido and Tim Worstall have been saying this for awhile now, among others.
Unions are confident of securing further concessions.

One leader disclosed to The Times that ministers had agreed to another policy forum before the next election. “This is only half time, it is not the final whistle,” he said.

Business leaders gave warning that the measures, which include new rights to time off, would hit companies’ ability to compete during an economic downturn. Changes to the minimum wage in particular could cost businesses an extra £88 million a year.
The party also agreed to extend parental leave and to impose new limits on private contractors to the Health Service.

Officials negotiating on behalf of the party insisted that they had seen off the most controversial of the union demands, pointing out that there were no commitments to introduce less restrictive strike laws.
This time, comrades. This time. What happens when the Gordon Brown ship continues to founder…?

Friday, 25 July 2008

‘Go Home’ – Now A Racist Instruction…

…if the people you use it to can claim they believe it means ‘back to the god-forsaken third world hellhole of your ethnic heritage’ rather than ‘back to No 69 Chav Avenue’:
After being woken for the third time in one night by a group of drunken and noisy students, Jo Calvert-Mindell was at her wits' end.

The former policewoman got dressed, went outside and shouted at them: 'Why can't you go back to where you come from and make some noise there? I bet your families and neighbours wouldn't put up with it.

'You don't care about us and do just as you like. What gives you the right to frighten my elderly neighbours, cause damage and keep us awake at night?'

She also reported the incident to police, who came and dispersed the eight students.
So far, so ordinary. But then, it seems, the rights of people to sleep soundly in their beds pale into insignificance before the rights of students to drink and make noise, so two of the group promptly played the race card:
The 51-year-old grandmother was astonished when four months later she was arrested and accused of being a racist. It turned out that two Asians in the group had complained to the police.

In April, Miss Calvert-Mindell, who has never been in trouble with the police before, was charged with using racially aggravated threatening words or behaviour under section 5 of the Public Order Act.
Wow! Four months to decide if this case was worth pursuing. That’s some detecting. Obviously, Canterbury is the place to live – it must be a crime free paradise, if this is considered worth spending time over.

However, someone in the CPS must have had cold feet, or possibly an ounce of common sense, and deep-sixed the case at the 11th hour:
In May, she appeared at Folkestone Magistrates' Court in Kent, where she denied the charge.

The case hung over her until the Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop it last week, admitting there was little chance of conviction. Now she is filing a complaint about the way the police treated her.
I hope she wins.
Yesterday, Miss Calvert-Mindell, a Liberal Democrat councillor and community volunteer, said: 'The last thing I am is a racist.

'I have a totally inclusive attitude to different races and cultures - I don't care if you are black, white, green or a Martian.

'Their colour had nothing to do with it - it was their behaviour.

'I think there is something very wrong in our society when a resident can't go out and try and prevent crime and disorder and encourage the defendants to go back home and that they can then play the race card to completely absolve themselves of responsibility for that behaviour.

'The authorities today are so sensitive to being criticised for being racist that any claims of racism just raises their antennae, instead of using common sense.'
Sadly, that ‘sensitivity’ has been developed by the legions of liberals and race-hustlers, and the adopting of the approach that anytime someone thinks a statement is ‘racist’ it must be, no matter the clear and stated intent of the utterer of that statement. We aren’t quite at the stage yet where we are prepared to sack someone for using a perfectly normal word that happens to sound like a ‘forbidden’ word, but we might yet get there if this kind of knee-jerk action isn’t stopped.

No doubt no action will be taken against the two students, who will simply claim they ‘honestly believed’ she was being racist, and therefore be allowed to escape any censure. Likewise the police will adopt the ‘only following orders’, and indeed it seems they have:
Kent Police refused to apologise. Superintendent Chris Hogben said: 'An allegation was made that was fully investigated. A case was presented to the CPS and the decision was made to prosecute.

'If Miss Calvert-Mindell would like to discuss our response and the conduct of officers I would urge her to contact me direct.'
I don’t think it’s ‘discussion’ that is needed here. A large payout for false imprisonment or malicious prosecution might concentrate the minds of Kent Police a little better in future, except of course that then we, the taxpayers, would end up footing the bill.

Sadly, in current police leadership circles, such dedication to the progressive cause will only enhance Supt Hogben’s promotion prospects…

And Why, Exactly...?

Gordon Brown urges Labour to "have confidence" in itself after the party's Glasgow East by-election defeat.
Come again, Prime Minister? They've just lost an election that they previously carried with a 13000+ majority. Just what do they have left to have any confidence in?

Certainly not you!

'Anti-Knife Activist In Pointless Publicity Seeking Comment' Shock!

So, we have judges (well, at least one ..) with some common sense after all:
During the case, the 16-year-old accused of stabbing two youths at a party in Watlington, Oxon, admitted using a knife and claimed he only needed one hand to open it.

The judge replied that he had his own blade which needed both hands to open it, and then pulled it out of his pocket to the surprise of jurors and the bar.

He said: “It just so happens I have a folding pocket knife in my pocket. You need two hands to open it don’t you?”

When questioned by a lawyer, Judge Connor said it was perfectly legal for him to carry the knife in public because of its size.
A bit worrying the lawyer didn’t know the law… Still, good on the judge!

But of course, some people feel a need to get their name in the paper whenever the magic word is used, and the newspapers weren’t slow in finding someone brainless enough to make herself look an idiot by opening mouth before engaging brain:
Although the judge was within his rights to carry the pocket knife, Lyn Costello, the co-founder of Mothers Against Murder and Aggression, said: “We need to get tough on knives in this country and our judges should be handing out tough sentences — not brandishing their own.”
So, there you have it. It isn’t against the law, it was used for a perfectly reasonable purpose (that of increasing the chances of convicting a knife wielding thug), yet still this daft bat ignores all the facts and squawks ‘Knife! Knife!’ like a hysterical monkey spotting a prowling leopard.

Could you get a more perfect picture of the modern UK than that…?

It's A Beautiful Morning... Glasgow East :)
The Nationalists overturned a Labour majority of 13,507 to win by only 365 votes with a swing of 22.54%.
So much for all the pundits who declared Labour would win, because the voters would never desert them. Even Labour were incredulous at first:
The result was declared at Glasgow's Tollcross Leisure Centre in the early hours of Friday, after a re-count was requested by Labour, which won 10,912 votes in the contest.
Oh, dear...
Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond said of the result: "I don't think we will see an immediate exit for Gordon Brown from Downing Street. I think it is more likely he will change policy rather than change himself."
We'll see, won't we...?

Thursday, 24 July 2008

‘Burn Up’: Damp Squib

Well, the BBC taxpayer is certainly shelling out for some quality entertainment lately…

To be honest, it was exactly as might have been expected, and a pretty decent piece of switch-your-brain-off entertainment (if compared to the execrable ‘Bonekickers’) for the green generation, though I can only assume that the BBC Costume Department is being starved of funds, as they seem to have failed to outfit Bradley Witford’s character with the top hat, black cloak and Snideley Whiplash moustache his role so obviously requires.

Pretty decent production values (again, compared to the ghastly sixth-form drama school rubbish they usually churn out) except for the suspiciously quick healing (with no scarring!) of Neve Campbell’s and Rupert Penry-Jones’ hands after their abortive attempt to prevent the script’s token ‘ethnic’ environmentalist from perfecting her baked Alaska recipe at that press conference.

I expect it’ll get so much sillier in the final episode. But the greenies won’t care anyway…

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Someone Didn't Attend Their Diversity Course...

Julie Maynard was returning from a trip to Calais with 12-year-old Joshua when she was stopped and questioned about her relationship with her son.

When she insisted that he was her child, she was questioned for several hours and told: "It is obvious he has nothing to do with you".

Miss Maynard, a legal advocate from Ware in Hertfordshire, was taken to a separate detention room - leaving her son in distress - before eventually being released.
Ms Maynard's son is mixed-race, which she believes sparked the initial suspicion. Best of all, when she challenged this, the response was, well, a little less than ideal:
When she asked if she would be asked the same question if her son was white, she claimed that the officer replied: "Are you accusing me of being a racist?"

The family was then surrounded by 10 police officers, detained under the Terrorism Act and told to get out of their car.
Well, well, well, the 'Terrorism Act' again. What was that about it only being used in extreme circumstances and not for trivial matters? Not that child-trafficking is trivial, of course, but what would this family have been detained under before this Act came into play...?
She described the episode as an "unpleasant and frightening experience" and has now received compensation and an apology from Kent Police for their "lack of tact". The female detective constable handling the case was transferred to other duties.
Something 'non-customer facing', we can only hope...

The 'War on Terror' - Some People See It Everywhere...

...even in a bloody summer film about comic book superheroes:
...we have Batman as a sort of one-man US "war on terror". In the service of Gotham, Batman extraordinarily renders a chief suspect from Hong Kong – by terror flight. The Joker's crimes are all choreographed for maximum impact viewing on 24-hour television releases. Another of his tactics is to release Ken Bigley-style hostage videos in which his victims beg for release and urge Batman to withdraw. Batman's anti-terror tactics are like a publicity puff in defence of American techniques at Guantánamo...
Emily, sweetie, were you perhaps in the wrong cinema screen? Shouldn't you have seen 'Mamma Mia' instead, or maybe 'Kung Fu Panda'? A bit more your cup of tea, perhaps...

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Police Vacancies: Only Qualified Telepaths May Apply…

Police allegedly marched a rape victim who had been found crying in the street at 1am to a cab firm, and then made her pay the fare home.

The woman, said to be an executive who earns £70,000 a year, had been at a party on a Thames boat and was spotted by passers-by, slumped on a south London pavement.
Hmmm, crying in the street, partially clothed, at 1am, apparently unable to say ‘Excuse me, officer, I’ve been assaulted’. Do I suspect drink might have been taken..?

And what possible extra value to this story is the fact that she earns £70,000 a year? ‘Executives’ can act and behave like drunken, out-of-control sluts too. It isn’t a condition reserved just for teenagers from Romford on a hen night!
The woman reported the incident, which took place on 4 July, the next day but investigators fear important forensic evidence may have been lost.

A senior source said: 'It should have been clear that she may have been sexually assaulted. To top it off, they put her in a cab with another strange man.'
It ‘should have been clear’…? Why, exactly? With mindreading skills like that, the ‘senior source’ would be better of getting a gig at the London Palladium!

‘Senior’ source, eh…? I suspect he has no idea what some of our streets are like for his pavement-pounding colleagues at 1am.
The Met insisted the officers who were asked to help the woman were unaware she may have been raped.
Well, of course they were! You only have to read the police and ambulance blogs to know just how many women (and men) think that a brilliant evening is getting so blotto you stagger around the street unable to speak coherently or control your bodily functions – sadly, in some areas, this woman’s state would have been utterly unremarkable.

And that’s the crime here – not the failure to assume the worst on behalf of two police officers who’s only crime is that they aren’t blessed with psychic ability.

Democracy: It's Definition Is Flexible

The leader of Dudley Council claims town residents have been given a “smack in the teeth” after a planning inspector granted permission for the £18 million mosque and community training and enterprise centre.

Following a four-day public inquiry last month into the plans for the massive project in Hall Street, Bristol-based Government inspector Philip Asquith upheld Dudley Muslim Association’s appeal against rejection of the scheme by the council.

Council Leader David Caunt said the decision showed the Government did not appreciate the depth of local opposition - despite 22,000 residents signing a petition against the plans.
Of course they don’t appreciate the depth of local opposition! The government only counts opinions it finds in broad agreement with its own views and policies.
He added: “The people of Dudley have been given a smack in the teeth with this decision by a Labour-funded quango and in giving Dudley Muslim Association outline planning permission for their major development, they have shown they do not appreciate local feelings.

Local decisions should be left to local people,” he said.
Oh, no, Mr Caunt! That would never do…

There is light at the end of the tunnel for Dudley residents, though:
However, the scheme could still hit stumbling blocks as the DMA now needs to submit detailed plans to council planners for full planning permission.

Mr Caunt explained how the DMA had “freely entered" into a legal agreement in 2003 with the council which says that if the build is not substantially completed by the end of 2008, the council has the right to reclaim the land at the original price plus inflation.

He added: “The council is now seriously looking into this possibility, as the council has 13 weeks to determine an application for full planning permission and the association will need to provide very detailed plans including a site survey and a travel plan.”
So, the race is on, and Dudley Council now have to spend more council-tax money to fight off a development most of its residents don’t want. Needless to say, the decision has come as a vindication to some:
But DMA chairman Dr Khurshid Ahmed said they would “press ahead at full speed,” adding: “It is a victory for common sense in democracy.”

He added: “It is time for reconciliation. This decision has made my year.”
A strange use of the word ‘democracy’. Also ‘reconciliation’….

I think Dr Ahmad might need a new dictionary.

Monday, 21 July 2008

And Certainly No Surprises Here …

A householder who took photographs of hooded teenagers as evidence of their anti-social behaviour says he was told he was breaking the law after they called the police.
The story is a little misleading, as a police officer didn’t actually turn up. Oh, no, that would be too unbelievable!

It was our old friend, the PCSO, once again:
David Green, 64, and his neighbours had been plagued by the youths from a nearby comprehensive school for months, and was advised by their headmaster to identify them so action could be taken.

But when Mr Green left his £1million London flat to take photographs of the gang, who were aged around 17, he said one threatened to kill him while another called the police on his mobile.

And he claimed that a Police Community Support Officer sent to the scene promptly issued a warning that taking pictures of youths without permission was illegal, and could lead to a charge of assault.
But of course! Even though no such law exists, as the posting a few days ago on ‘Harry’s Place’ confirmed. And that was the brilliant legal brains of the PCSO team again too.
Last night Mr Green, a television cameraman, said he was appalled that the legal system's first priority seemed not to be stopping frightening anti-social behaviour by aggressive youths, but protecting them from being photographed by the concerned public.
But not surprised, surely, Mr Green? After all, why deal with a spitting, swearing out of control youth who might resist your words of advice when you can threaten a well-behaved member of the public, who’ll meekly complain to the media instead. Job done!
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the force had no record of the incident.
No, I just bet they haven’t….

No Surprises Here, Either…

A government edict to get tough on knife offenders is being ignored by police forces throughout the country, despite mounting public concern and a spate of killings.

Figures obtained by The Times show that in some areas as many as half of all adults caught carrying a blade receive a caution instead of being prosecuted.
So, the police are ignoring the orders given to them and carrying on with their usual approach regardless, are they? I wonder where they got that idea from…?
Gordon Brown has ordered police forces to stop giving second chances to people who carry knives. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said in February that there would be a presumption that knife offenders aged over 18 would be prosecuted rather than receive a reprimand.

The latest figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that many police forces were not doing so.
Oh, how they must hate that FOIA… :)
The Ministry of Justice said yesterday that the Government took tackling knife crime very seriously. Ministers have recently reemphasised the presumption to prosecute, which was extended to 16-year-olds last month.
Yeah, that’ll work…
However, police forces said that they would continue to give out cautions where they believed it was warranted. They pointed out that in some areas knife crime was relatively low and that cautions were an effective means of dealing with the issue. In Cumbria, there were 29 incidents during the three-month period.

A spokesman said that each case was treated on its merits. “If we feel a caution will act as a sufficient deterrent to that individual, then we will consider that as an option,” he said.
So there! After all, what can the government do about it? Fail to backdate their payrise again….?

No Surprises Here, Surely…?

Many Britons fear their prospects are being limited because of the pressure put on housing and schools by immigrants arriving in the UK, a new report warns.

The claims come as it emerged that £1billion is being spent on putting up foreigners in council houses – despite two million people waiting for a home.

The report, titled Immigration and Social Cohesion in the UK, uncovered a stark divide in how parts of the UK adapt to new migrants.
This report will, do doubt, be either ignored or attacked as ‘propaganda’ by the usual suspects.
Figures obtained by the Conservative MP James Clappson show that nearly £1billion is being spent on putting up foreigners in council houses – despite nearly two million households waiting for a new home.

Parliamentary answers show that 7,000 council houses were rented to foreigners from both inside and outside the European Union in 2006/7.

Given that it costs £134,000 to provide a council house, this means that £938million – including £430million of grants – is spent on providing social housing for foreigners.
It’s difficult to see how the government plans to spin these figures away, especially as they will undoubtedly be picked up by the BNP who already have form for pushing this agenda in areas like Barking and Dagenham.
However a report last month from the Department of Communities and Local Government claimed new migrants were not putting "significant pressure on social housing" because they are ineligible for council housing.
Ah, I see. The government’s response is to put its fingers in its ears and sing ‘la la la I’m not listening la la la’. Well, that’ll work….

And Here We Go….

A Christian policeman is taking his own force to an employment tribunal over claims that it "harassed" him because of his religious opposition to homosexuality.
So, the floodgates opened by Lillian Ladele are now well and truly open…

But this made me pause:
Graham Cogman, a constable with 15 years experience, is taking action against Norfolk Police as he claims he was victimised for refusing to wear a pink ribbon on his uniform to mark a "gay pride" event, and for questioning the force's stance towards gay men and lesbians.
Surely the whole point of these ribbons is that they are voluntarily worn to show support for the event in question, be it gay rights, breast cancer, heart disease or three legged donkeys?

Well, it seems they can’t and they didn’t:
His complaint stems from a circular email sent to officers in early 2005encouraging staff to wear a pink ribbon on their uniforms during Gay History Month.

After receiving the email, PC Cogman sent a reply to his fellow officers featuring biblical quotations about homosexuality being a sin.

He objected again the following year when a similar email was again sent to officers. He was subjected to a disciplinary tribunal and fined 13 days' pay.
So, PC Cogman isn’t being ‘harassed for his religious beliefs’ at all – he’s being (rightly) disciplined for sending chain emails…

UK Army Multitasking: Enraging PETA and The Muslims At The Same Time…

A team of dogs is being trained to accompany SAS troops on parachute missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has been reported.

It is thought the German Shepherds are being taught to jump from aircraft at 25,000ft, strapped to members of special forces assault teams.

With tiny cameras fixed to their heads, the animals will be sent in before their human partners to hunt for Taliban or insurgent hideouts.
Yes, I can’t see any problem whatsoever with this plan….
An SAS source told the newspaper: "The dogs will be exposed to very high levels of danger on these operations and you never know what's going to be behind a door. Nobody wants to see the dogs get killed but if it's their life or a man's it is obvious which the CO would prefer."
It’s hard not to agree with that, but just imagine the headlines for the first fallen canine soldier…

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Obama: "Whoa! Hold On..! Even I Don't Believe This Stuff I'm Coming Out With...!"

Barack Obama feels like he is carrying the hopes and dreams of people around the world on his shoulders – a burden his aides believe has created unrealistic expectations of what he can achieve if he becomes the first black president.
Heh. Yeah, who the hell gave them 'hopes' and 'dreams'..? Now it's "Look, I'm just a politician, I can't guarantee anything...what promises?...look, gotta run, thanks for voting!"

The wingnutosphere must be going into meltdown right about now... ;)

Shouldn't This Already Be Included In Their Duties...?

NHS surgeons are to be paid bonuses based on the number of lives they save, in radical plans being drawn up by hospitals across Britain.
Expect us to achieve notional immortality the second these new rules kick in! And anyone waiting for a transplant will have an even longer wait....

Saturday, 19 July 2008

"Bring Me Lunch. And Make It Snappy!"

Utterly amazing series of photos of a leopard killing a crocodile here.
Mr Brindley said: 'I asked many rangers in South Africa if they had ever heard of anything like this and they all said no.
I'm not surprised!

Friday, 18 July 2008

"Mob..? What Mob? We Don't Use Words Like 'Mob', Oh Dear Me No!"

Compare and contrast this article:
Two police officers are on sick leave after being attacked by a mob in south London after they asked a 15-year-old girl to pick up her litter.

One officer was dragged to the ground and kicked while the other was bitten by a girl who jumped on his back.

Up to 30 people took part in the attack, which happened in North End, Croydon, on Wednesday afternoon.
With this article, giving a better description of the 'mob' (Ed - Have I mentioned how much I love the new media?):
A violent mob attacked two police officers after they asked a teenage girl to pick up a piece of litter.

The incident occurred near to the Woolworths and Burger King in North End, central Croydon, at about 3pm on Wednesday.

It started when the unarmed male officers on patrol saw a teenage girl drop a fast food wrapper from a nearby takeaway and asked her to pick it up. She did so but immediately dropped it on the ground again.

They then separated the girl from a 15-year-old girl with her who was being noisy and unco-operative.

When the officers asked her again to pick it up her friend became aggressive towards them.


A group of people then gathered around the officers and intimidated and attacked them. It is believed the crowd grew to about 30 people, made up of male and female teenagers and adults, with more people watching.

Police said all suspects were black.
And then with this article:
Inspector Simon Ellingham said officers were examining CCTV footage from the area.

He said: “We have heard from several retailers in the area who were horrified at the level of violence used by the crowd against the officers.

Whilst we would never use the word 'mob' which is an inflammatory word, we can confirm that eye witnesses have described their initial fear that officers were going to be seriously injured or killed.”
Now, several things occur to me.

Given that the police are appealing for eyewitnesses, why is the BBC so keen to avoid any kind of desciption of the mob?

And I think now we can see why the police are so keen to harass these people instead when it comes to litter.

And thirdly, when your officers have just been beaten and abused by an out of control mob, cavilling at the accurate description of them so as not to offend them isn't going to win you many friends, either among your officers, or among the members of the public.

Hat-tip: Staybryte, in the comments here.

The Difference Between Old Media And New Media

Take a look at this report of a two-car crash in Hayes:
A MOTORIST was taken to hospital after two cars crashed in Hayes last night (July 16).

The accident happened in Westmoreland Road at the junction with Pickhurst Lane when a blue Nissan Primera and a silver Subaru Impreza were in collision at 7.15pm.
An ambulance was called to take a 31-year-old man who was travelling in the silver car to the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough.

He was discharged shortly afterwards and then arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving.

The suspect is in custody at Bromley police station
So far, so uninteresting. Just another traffic accident. Most people, reading this bland statement in a dead-tree edition, would yawn and turn the page.

But the ‘Newsshopper’ site allows readers to comment. And what they have to say about the incident is a little more revealing...
Posted by: lee beardall, hates on 11:42am Thu 17 Jul 08No mention of the fact the man was climbed out of the car window and tried to leave the scene of the accident. He was then overpowered by members of the public until the police arrived at the scene, large quantitys of cash on his person and in the car.”

Posted by: William, London on 3:52pm Thu 17 Jul 08
Funny thing is, there was a very similar incident at New Eltham early yesterday evening as well, it also involved a burglar driving like a loon, a road rageee who gave the burglar a good tonking but got arrested himself for criminal damage and assault!”

Posted by: frank, Westmorland on 11:13pm Thu 17 Jul 08I was there at the scene of the incident, the man who was in the silver car drove through a set of red light, futhermore hit the nissan, and then hit a local man walking by, the driver of the silver car then tryed to escape on foot, however the man who was hit by the car called for help,a young man who was only metres away from the incident, took action immediately, he caught up with the man fleeing the scene and immediately restrained him. The man was found to of have thousands of pound hidden within his coat.
very brave actions taken by both of the two men, who helped prevent the driver of the silver car escaping.”

Posted by: paul on 11:40pm Thu 17 Jul 08what frank just said is all right, the boy who ran after the man and stopped him was my mate. he broke his hand while stopping him and has a bite mark on his arm.”

Who’s Life Home Is It Anyway…?

A teenager has died after being stabbed in south London.

The 18-year-old was found with a stab wound to the stomach by police called to reports of an assault in Guildford Road, South Lambeth.

He was taken to hospital, but died about an hour later. The area was sealed off and forensic experts have been examining a car in Guildford Road.
So far, so terribly ordinary for 2008 in the UK. But this struck me as highly unusual for a murder:
People living in the street where the victim was found have not been allowed back into their homes.
Come again? Just because you live on the same street where a murder has been committed, the police now have the authority to order the residents to leave their homes...?

Why, exactly - for their convenience? And who the hell gave them those powers?

More Bad News For Gordon…

Prudence has deserted him, and the vultures are circling his rotting carcase:
Gordon Brown's strict fiscal rules on borrowing are likely to be ditched as a result of the credit crisis, the Treasury has confirmed.

The Conservatives accused the Prime Minister of abandoning his reputation for economic competence, after officials said that the requirement for public sector borrowing to be kept below 40 per cent of the economy was being re-examined.
Trade Unions are to hand Gordon Brown a list of 130 demands as they increase the pressure on the Prime Minister to bow to more left wing policies.

In a co-ordinated move, general secretaries have compiled a set of policy proposals they wish to see implemented, including the right to take supportive strike action, scrapping NHS prescription charges and bringing all hospital cleaning back in house.
What’s that strapline for McDonalds again..?

Oh, yeah: “I’m lovin’ it!”…..

More Bad News For Sir Ian…

Sir Ian Blair is under renewed pressure over the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes after the release of a new report which criticises the hierarchy at Scotland Yard.

An 87-page review by the Metropolitan Police Authority says the shooting was a "tragedy that should never have happened, whatever the circumstances were at the time".

It criticises inward-looking and top-heavy management at the Met and calls for a "cultural shift amongst the senior ranks".
Pretty ironic that as youth knife crime shoots through the roof, Sir Ian’s enemies are preparing their own ‘Night of the Long Knives’…

What Ministers Really Think Of The Public….

Those who raised doubts about the cost of the London Olympics were dismissed yesterday by the Culture Secretary as 'whingers'.

Andy Burnham attacked those who flagged up concerns that the £9.3billion budget for the 2012 Games had spiralled to four times the original estimate, during questioning by the Commons' cross-party Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
Remember, they know how to spend your money far, far better than you.
He told the committee that once London Mayor Boris Johnson was presented with the Olympic flame during the closing ceremony of the upcoming Beijing Olympics there would be a 'surge of excitement, particularly among young people across the country'.

He added: 'We are going to immediately feel differently about the Olympics.'

……or else, presumably!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

‘Learning Lessons’. Just Not Implimenting Them – Part II

A cannabis-crazed maniac stabbed a Good Samaritan 100 times with scissors and knives as he tried to protect his elderly neighbour.

Rafiq Kashmiri, 50, launched the frenzied attack on Jon Cooper-Taylor after he rushed upstairs to help the 83-year-old woman after hearing the sound of crockery smashing in her flat.
Well, terrible and all, but how could anyone have possibly known this man posed a danger to the public…

Oh, wait:
The court heard Kashmiri was convicted of threatening his wife and children in 1996 and 1997 while living in New South Wales, Australia.

He was locked up in 2005 after walking in to a shop in Tooting, South West London, with an imitation handgun while a patient at the nearby Springfield psychiatric hospital.
So, no indicators there

Still, the might of the justice system swings into action:
Prosecutor Riel Karmy-Jones said: 'He has a lengthy history (of mental illness) due to many years of cannabis dependency and abuse….'

He has used a knife on a number of occasions. There is no sign of him giving up cannabis abuse and therefore he poses a significant risk in the future.'
Not quite accurate, Mr Karmy-Jones – ‘many years of the authorities standing idly by while he indulged in cannabis dependency and abuse’…

How long before he’s declared ‘sane’ and is roaming the streets again? I mean Kashmiri, of course.

‘Learning Lessons’. Just Not Implimenting Them…

Health professionals failed to assess the risk a mentally ill mother posed to her two young children, a report into their deaths has found.

Vivian Gamor, who was schizophrenic, killed her son and daughter in Hackney, east London, in January last year.

Months earlier she was detained under the mental health act after threatening her sister with a knife.
So far, so terribly normal when dealing with ‘health professionals’.
Passing sentence, Judge Peter Rook QC said: "On the face of it, this terrible tragedy could have been avoided if Gamor had not been allowed unsupervised access and the children's father's grave concerns had been given weight."
But where’s the phrase I’m looking for? Ah, there it is:
Alan Wood, director of children's services at Hackney council, said the case highlighted "how unpredictable mental illness can be and the dreadful impact it can have on families".

He said all recommendations of the report had been implemented and lessons had been learned.
So the next time a woman beats her daughters, claims she’s not their real mother and they must have been ‘swapped at birth’, they’ll be right on the case! Mr Ogunkoya isn’t convinced:
But Mr Ogunkoya attacked the report and said: "They're always learning lessons, but children are still dying.

"We should have been aware of the medical state of their mother - we should have been aware of this.

"It doesn't take a genius to work out that that there needs to be some sort of risk assessment done, you can't just throw the children in there and hope for the best.

"My children were living with me, they were taken out of a safe environment and... placed in to an unsafe one.

"If someone's been sectioned for violence - brandishing a knife - I don't see how that person can't pose a risk."
Me neither, Mr Ogunkoya, me neither….

OMFG! Deadly New Knife! Run For The Hills!!

Just in case people weren’t already aware of the threat of knife crime, the Met Police have decided to provide tabloids with even more headline articles by warning of ‘The Wasp’:
Senior police officers have been warned to look out for a new knife which can inject a ball of compressed gas into its victim that instantly freezes internal organs.

The 'wasp knife', which can deliver a ball of compressed gas capable of killing its victim at the press of a button, may be heading for Britain, the Metropolitan Police fear.

A needle in the tip of the blade shoots out the frozen ball of gas which instantly balloons to the size of a basketball, freezing organs.

The Metropolitan Police have told colleagues in the West Midlands to be on the lookout for the blade, which is designed to kill sharks and bears.
So, they must have evidence that these knives are in the country, then..? Well, no:
A source close to West Midlands Police said: "The Met is obviously concerned about this and that is why they have circulated the information.

"This knife will almost certainly kill and the Met must have intelligence that they are in circulation.

"I think it is only a matter of time before one of these is used because the internet makes it much easier to find and buy weapons like this."
Oh, the Internet! Is there anything it can’t do….?

So, if the Met has intelligence, let’s see it. Or are they just scaremongering? Perhaps they want funding to set up a new ‘Internet Knife Crime Monitoring Team’…

Of course, that doesn’t stop the usual rent-a-quote politicos from horning in to get their tuppence-worth of publicity:
Labour MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, Khalid Mahmood, said: "Weapons like this are absolutely disgraceful and there is no reason at all why people should be walking around the streets with them.”
Very true. But there’s also no evidence that people actually are walking around the streets with them either…

But then, ‘horrible knife not on streets of UK yet as far as we know’ isn’t going to sell any newspapers, is it….?

Proof The Property Slump Isn’t All Bad…

For millions of homeowners, the property slump could mean years of hardship.

For John Gizzi it could mean years of hard labour.

At the time of his sentence for fraud, he was ordered to pay back £2.6million he earned as a criminal or face an eight-year extension on his prison sentence.

To meet the bill, he has been trying to sell his nine-bedroom mansion. But the market crash has cut its value from £1.75million to just £900,000 - and a buyer is yet to be found.
Oh, dear. My heart just bleeds!
Gizzi's legal team are planning to return to court to ask the judge to take into account the plummeting value of his property.
Good luck with that… :)

“You ‘Orrible Little Men Stowaways!”

A group of illegal immigrants arrived in Britain after stowing themselves aboard Army vehicles, police have said.

The five men were discovered on Tuesday by soldiers at the Duke of Gloucester Barracks, in South Cerney, in Gloucestershire. They are now being held in a detention centre in the county, a police spokesman said.

The group is believed to have climbed aboard the convoy returning from Kosovo at Calais.
I wonder if the Army will be subject to the same penalties as hauliers and ferry companies for unwittingly accommodating stowaways…?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Work Here….

….but we think it should help.
Almost a fifth of MPs have suffered mental health problems at some time, a survey suggests.

The report criticises the law forcing MPs to give up their seats for life if they are sectioned for six months under the Mental Health Act.
I wonder: are they laying the groundwork for a ‘get out of jail free’ card for Gordon, should one of his enemies come up with a foolproof plan…?

You do have to wonder just how stupid some MPs are (if not certifiably bonkers) when they come up with drivel like this:

Joint chairman Sandra Gidley said work on "challenging stigma" was needed. Some 94 MPs took part in the survey.

One in three of them said colleagues' attitudes and the possibility of a hostile media reaction prevented openness about mental health issues.

If an MP is physically incapable of working for six months they would not have to stand down, whereas those sectioned for the same period would.
Well, Sandra sweetie, that’s because there is a big difference between breaking your hip chasing your secretary round the desk in your plush office, and pulling your underpants over your head, sticking two pencils up your nose and running naked into the street proclaiming yourself the Son of God.

Although, it might explain some of the recent policy problems plaguing the Labour Party…

Bonekickers: Worst BBC TV Show Ever…?

Well, I’ve given it two episodes now, mainly because the writers (Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah) also created the incomparable ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Ashes to Ashes’. And because I thought the first episode might just be a deliberate dud, designed to hook viewers and failing badly, and it might settle down and get better.

The first episode of the series achieved 6.8 million viewers, but I haven’t yet seen any figures for the second. I’m guessing about 4000 (and those mostly the production team’s friends and relatives).

But it is without a shadow of a doubt, the worst BBC tv production I’ve ever seen. And the thought that someone greenlighted this pile of childish cack for prime-time fills me with despair. Reviews have been uniformly hideous, and even though some poor soul has set up the inevitable fan site, the comments sections are deluged with irritated watchers demanding the heads of the writers for foisting such unadulterated, poorly-made, inconsistent rubbish on them.

I can only hope that the writers are playing an elaborate practical joke, designed to see just how much leeway their other smash hits have gained them with the Beeb, and the characters will break the fourth wall in the finale and say to the audience ‘Gotcha!’.

And with this series costing the BBC license fee payer god-only-knows how much (if it was more than £37 and a round of drinks for the camera crew, it was to much…), they certainly have….

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Southend Council – Blaming The Victims Of Graffiti

Victims of graffiti could face fines of £2,500 if they fail to remove it, under new proposals from Southend Council.
This….err…bold move stems from the ‘seven environmental issues’ highlighted in a draft ‘Environmental Enforcement Policy’ that has just been issued by the council and which they claim:
… aims to crackdown on persistent offenders.
Except, of course, it doesn’t do that, does it? It aims to crackdown on the poor sods plagued by persistent offenders.

Hopefully, the negative publicity this will undoubtedly bring the council will force them to rethink. Otherwise, it’s a good way to drive your business rivals out of business…

Or perhaps Jacqui Smith’s next bright idea might be locking up the victims of knife crime!

Third Time's The Charm Murder Charge

A man has been convicted of murdering his son by banging his head and shaking him when he would not stop crying.

The jury at Sheffield Crown Court took one hour to find Courtney Bryan guilty of the murder of 11-week-old Amaraye.

Bryan, 29, admitted the manslaughter of the little boy, but denied murder. He was told he must serve at least 20 years in prison.
So far, so unremarkable for our modern UK. But there's more:
Bryan, originally from Aspley in Nottingham, was also found guilty of cruelty to two other babies, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The court heard how Bryan had shaken these babies while he was in relationships with their mothers between 1998 and 2000, leaving them with broken bones.

The cases were investigated by Nottinghamshire Police but on both occasions Bryan was not prosecuted.
I bet those decisions don't look so wise now...

Sunday, 13 July 2008

No Angel, Then...?

A growing number of tributes was today being left at the scene where Sheffield teenager Tarek Chaiboub was killed in a suspected gangland shooting...

A "Spital Lane resident and mother" spoke about the pointless waste of life, while another message from a close friend, Sacha, read: "What can I say, baby, I never saw myself writing on flowers for you".
Hmmm, you'd think the fact he had just been released from hospital for surviving a stabbing might have tipped his friends off to his potential survivability, wouldn't you..?

Chief Superintendent Broadbent is looking on the positive side:
Mr Broadbent admitted the shooting was likely to have been gang-related and that the victim had been known to police "on a small number of occasions".

But he stressed members of the public are not at risk.

"We are quite satisfied the victim was the intended subject of the assault and he had been involved in some altercations previously. This city is still a safe place to live, work and visit."
I expect that's what Magda Pniewska thought about London...

Is This The Best They Can Do...?

So, the best the great thinkers in Labour can come up with is a plan to show teenage knife carriers where best to aim next time?
Young people who carry knives will be made to visit hospitals where stabbing victims are treated, in a bid to shock them into changing their behaviour.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said seeing "gruesome" injuries would be a tougher deterrent than sending all knife carriers in England and Wales to jail.
So, two things struck me. They aren't expecting a lack of victims anytime soon, because they think they'll always be plenty 'on tap' to be gawped at, and what are they going to do if victims say 'No thanks, I'd rather not...'?

Silly me. I don't suppose they were planning on asking them!

Friday, 11 July 2008

“I Love It When A Plan Comes Together Blows Up In My Face…”

Following the announcement from leading left-wing blog Harry’s Place that they had received a letter threatening legal action from a firm of solicitors acting for Mohammed Sawalha, it seems that that move to silence his critics via the UK’s legal system is having an unfortunate blowback effect on the speakers list for the event he is also heavily involved in, ‘Islam Expo’.

Shame… ;)

“Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!”

It seems the folks over at the Social Work Blog have just discovered the Hazel Blears white paper, and they aren’t happy at plans to give the proles any more of a say in community affairs.

Yelps Bronagh Miskelly:
Under the plans local authorities will have a duty to take petitions into account in service planning and other activities - even petitions with a couple of hundred signatures, according to reports. These could hold local officers to account forcing councils to hold public meetings to explain service provision.

They could also be used to trigger inspections in children's services. The Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills has announced that petitions will form part of a risk assessment that will determine the future the timing of inspections.
Oh noes! Inspections in children’s services! Yes, they’ve seen the future, and it scares them…

I’m tempted to say ‘If you’ve got nothing to hide….’, but it seems Ms Miskelly feels the main problem is that the proles just aren’t, well, educated enough to have this scary new power to hold people to account:
One of the problems is that people are rarely excited by local democracy - last time I voted in a council election I almost had to wake the two dusty-looking polling station officials….will it prove a tool for interest groups or even individuals with determination and an axe to grind….
Well, yes indeed, it might, as I thought to myself when I read the article the other day. But on the other hand, they’re taxpayers too, aren’t they?
…..A lot of thought must be given to what weight is given to the views expressed so that resources are not wasted on unnecessary reviews - when they could be used for improving services.
Ah, yes, we wouldn’t want ‘unnecessary reviews’, would we? Best if we just leave them to get on with the job and not ask too many questions. They’re experts, you see….

Suddenly, I think I like this white paper. It seems to be putting the wind up the right people.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Write A Story In Six Words...

Argh! Tagged, and by Mac The Knife, who no doubt came sneakin' ‘round the corner to do it... ;)

The post title explains it all. Oh, well, here goes:

...the tall grass shivered, concealing horrors.

I shall in turn pass this electronic contagion to fellow feline, Behind Blue Eyes.

You Can Have A Say…But Only If You Agree With Us

In yesterday’s flurry of blood-pressure raising articles, I missed the bit the ‘Daily Mail’ picked out of that Sentencing Advisory Panel report:
Victims could be allowed a say in the way criminals are punished in court – but only if they call for leniency rather than harsh sentencing.

For the first time, magistrates and judges could be ordered to listen to victims – or bereaved relatives – and be guided by their viewson how an offender should best be punished.

But, crucially, only messages of forgiveness would be taken into consideration.
So, you can have your say if you want, but we’ll feel free to disregard it if it doesn’t fit with our preconceptions of the point of this exercise, i.e. to provide even more reason for our desire to go soft on criminals?

And the possibility of witness intimidation rears it’s head again:
There are fears such a system could lead to some offenders intimidating victims into asking for a more lenient term for them.
Quite! Perhaps we should make victims anonymous too? Hell, let's just hold all trials in secret!
The proposals, unveiled in a report from the Sentencing Advisory Panel yesterday, acknowledges that the plans could upset victims ‘on the grounds that their views are only taken into account when they favour the offender’.
Yeah, no kidding…

Still, it’s the victims, after all, and who cares about them? It’s becoming increasing difficult to answer that without saying ‘no-one in the Justice system, that’s for sure’.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

"You Suck! No, YOU Suck!!"

The Barking and Dagenham Post (story not in online edition) reports on an unseemly bit of behaviour between two children:
"Little Liam admits telling little Susie 'You could do with losing some weight, you fat old cow'"
Shocking behaviour! But little Susie isn't above a spot of provocation:
"If she had been kind and courteous to me throughout the day, then I would have been the same with her, but instead she put two fingers up at me and started chanting 'four nil, four nil'"
Oh, wait! I've been reading it wrong.

It isn't about two children at all, it's actually about the unseemly spat between councillor Liam Smith, the deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham, and Sue Connelly, the mother of Conservative councillor Neil Connelly, on the night that the Conservatives took back the Chadwell Heath ward from Labour. Hence the 'four nil' chant, which according to the paper, refers to the number of times Labour candidate Margaret Mullane has lost seats she has stood for against the Conservatives.

Still, an easy mistake to make...

The paper reports that the incident has been reported to the council's Monitoring Officer and Neil Connelly is said to be intending to demand an apology at the next meeting of the Assembly on July 23rd.

And if that doesn't work, no doubt he'll be lying in wait for Liam behind the tuck shop!

“So, We’re Giving Up On That ‘Investigating’ Bit Then….?”

Every police force should set up a specialist squad to investigate rape allegations, a senior officer

John Yates, who speaks on the issue for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Ed – them again!), argues such teams would help raise standards of victim care.

They would also help improve conviction rates as rape inquiries are demanding and require specialist skills, he will tell a London conference on the issue.
Well, so far, so unsurprising. Government is being chivvied by women’s pressure groups on the rape conviction rate, and ACPO sees it as a way to improve specialisation career prospects for officers. But this bit caught my eye:
Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said the government was determined to improve rape conviction rates and acknowledged the crime remained under-reported.

He highlighted progress, including the introduction of specially trained officers and prosecutors and better guidance for police.

He added: "Every force has a responsibility to ensure that every single officer who comes into contact with a rape victim is supportive and believes the victim.

"It may only take the raising of an eyebrow to cause her to lose courage
So, how are they supposed to deal with rape claims, if the slightest attempt to do any investigation (especially in ‘her word against his’ cases) might cause the complainant to think that her word is being doubted?

Needless to say, the feminists are delighted at the proposals:
Women's equality group, the Fawcett Society, welcomed the government's drive to improve police responses to victims of rape.

But policy officer Sarah Campbell said: "The fact that only 5.7% of reported rapes lead to a conviction is a national scandal.

"The government needs to drive cultural change within the criminal justice system, to ensure that rape is given a high priority by every police force in the country and to invest in a national network of rape crisis centres."
How exactly is the conviction rate going to go UP if the police put through cases where the complainant’s word has been accepted uncritically? They’ll get torn to shreds by the defence!

No doubt plans to just dispense with the whole unnecessary trial business will follow….

‘Well, The ‘Lotto’ Is Popular With The Proles….’

Voters in English local elections could be entered into a "prize draw" in an effort to increase turnout at elections, says minister Hazel Blears.

She told MPs proposals to give people more of a say in local services, such as letting councils offer "incentives" to encourage voter registration.
You’d really think that the last thing Labour wanted in the current circumstances was to encourage more people to turn up at the ballot box. Unless she’s dim enough to believe that they’d automatically vote Labour. Still, it provided the Opposition with a chance for some fun:
For the Conservatives, Eric Pickles suggested the "booby prize" would be a Labour controlled council.
It wasn’t the daftest notion test-flown by Blears, though:
Others proposals include making councils pay more attention to petitions and transferring some council assets like swimming pools to neighbourhood groups.

And organisers of local petitions, often ignored by councils, will be given the opportunity of a full council debate on the issue if signatures amount to 5% of the local population.
So, if some utter crackpot gets enough real (or fake!) signatures on his or her petition, the council must then host a full debate on the subject, regardless of it’s validity…?

David Icke, come on down!

Not A Bad 'Wage' For A Few Days Work...

Coming directly on the heels of yesterday’s story, here’s yet another betrayal of trust:

A work experience sixth-former who stole thousands from one of the world's top international law firms has been jailed for five months.

Within three days of joining Freshfields, Titilayo Olaifa used their computer system to help generate a string of company cheques.
Having forged her boss's signatures she then paid them into her bank.
So far, so typical. But the disturbing part is here:
The teenager was identified, confronted with her "breach of trust" and promptly confessed.

But when questioned by police she refused to say what had happened to the money, none of which has been recovered.
Oh, well, the company will just have to chalk it up to experience, eh..?
Olaifa, now 19, of Chatsworth Road, Clapton, east London, pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one of "fraud by abuse of position" in June last year

She bowed her head in apparent shame as Judge Martin Beddoe told her: "I cannot accept you did not fully appreciate exactly what you were doing, how serious this was in terms of breach of trust, how serious in terms of the amount you were trying to engineer away and how serious the consequences could have been if the matters caught up with you.
I don’t think that was shame. I think she just didn’t want the judge to see her laughing.

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming…

Fresh from telling the nation to avoid wasting food, Prime Minister Gordon ‘Calamity’ Brown now issues an edict to motorists to ‘exchange their petrol-driven cars for electric or hybrid vehicles and learn "eco-driving" techniques to cut CO2 emissions dramatically’. Quite where they are supposed to get the money for this in the teeth of a growing recession, or how manufacturers would cope with the demand, is anyone’s guess. Don’t ask Gordon, he’s just one for big ideas, not practicalities!

Those sterling minds at the Sentencing Advisory Panel are determined Brown won’t be the only one to raise the public’s blood pressure, they want to have a go too, suggesting that ‘criminals sent to prison for less than a year should be let off with a community punishment instead, and that there should be a presumption that thieves, burglars and anyone convicted of dishonesty should not receive a jail term’. Just what the public wants to hear. Great timing…!

Not to be outdone in the ‘who’s more out of touch’ stakes, Ann Owers, Chief Inspector of Prisons, has published a report decrying the ‘use of force’ at Dartmoor Prison (Ed – what are they supposed to use, Annie? Harsh language?) and highlighting ‘evidence of "institutional disrespect" with poorly furnished cells and too many inmates locked up’. I think the public would disagree on that last part…

I think this morning's papers were a ploy to get me to use all my labels in one post!

Still, there is some good news:
Two Fathers 4 Justice campaigners have climbed onto the roof of Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman, Scotland Yard said.

It is the second time in little over a month the group has staged a protest at Ms Harman's home in Herne Hill, south London.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

I Have The Perfect Solution To This Problem….

….replace poor Oink with a Cape buffalo one night. That should kill two birds with one stone:
Hi-tech help has been offered to the owner of a water buffalo at the centre of a series of attacks.

The buffalo, called Oink, weighs more than a tonne and has been the victim of harassment and injury on land in Darley Abbey village in Derbyshire.

Stones and bricks have been thrown at him, hay set on fire and washing up liquid put in his water.

Local resident Steve Lakin has donated a CCTV system to keep an eye on Oink and deter any other attacks.

Mr Lakin installed the cameras and some lights and hopes it will offer the animal some peace.
It’d be better than waiting for the police to help:
Derbyshire police said they were aware of the problems but could not be in the area all the time.
No doubt should one of the little wastes of oxygen get trampled to death one night, they’ll be round quick enough… to prosecute the owner for keeping a ‘dangerous’ animal.

“'Due Diligence'..? What's that?”

A pregnant council officer has been jailed for two years for stealing £110,000 and sending much of the money to her mother in Nigeria.

Bintu Tijani, 35, a children's services manager for Peterborough City Council, drew up fake invoices to steal 10% of her department's annual budget.
She doesn’t appear to have been exactly a model employee in other respects:
He said she was caught by council fraud investigators following her suspension from work on an unrelated matter in October 2007.

Tijani, responsible for an annual budget of £1.2m for child support strategy, was sacked a month later and the evidence was passed to police.
Ah, well, can’t be helped, really. I mean, how could the council know that they were employing a thief? Oh, wait:
She got the job at the council in May 2004, despite having disclosed a criminal conviction from 10 years earlier for credit card fraud.
So, she disclosed a criminal conviction for fraud, yet the council gave her a £1.2m budget to run…?

Epic fail, Peterborough council!

Still, it’s only taxpayers’ money, after all.

Who Says We Brits Don’t Assimilate Abroad?

Most men of retirement age play golf or take gentle country walks but Frank 'El Inglés' Evans prefers fighting bulls.
So far so good, but Frank is no spring chicken:
… Mr Evans is now coming back aged 65.

The English matador was forced to hang up his boots and cape on doctors' orders after undergoing a quadruple heart bypass and knee replacement surgery.
Not injuries inflicted by the bulls, though they did their best…
Pain clearly holds no fear for Mr Evans – he survived being gored in the bottom in 1984 and suffered internal bleeding and a damaged prostate.

He said: 'People always bang on about the anus injury but I've been gored all over the place.'

Another Manifesto Pledge Honoured!

London Mayor Boris Johnson has quashed the proposed rise in congestion charge for vehicles deemed the most polluting.

Former mayor Ken Livingstone planned to raise the daily levy from £8 to £25 from October, prompting car maker Porsche to bring a legal challenge.

Mr Johnson pledged in his election manifesto to scrap the £25 charge and said the move would save legal costs.
Keep it up, Boris!

Of course, there are always those who don't agree:
Mr Livingstone said the decision was "a further blow to the London as groundbreaking city to tackle climate change and improve the environment."

He added that rather than saving money "London will lose £30-£60m expected annual revenue from the scheme".
Would you like some cheese with that whine, Ken...?

Monday, 7 July 2008

”Hey, We Were All Riled Up For A Lynchin’ Here…!”

Boris Johnson was embroiled in a dispute
with the Church of England after scrapping plans for an inquiry into allegations that led to the resignation of his deputy, Ray Lewis.

Senior church figures expressed disappointment over the cancellation of the independent inquiry, which was to explore allegations of inappropriate conduct and financial irregularities.

The Church accused the Mayor of London of wasting an opportunity to bring all the issues into the open.
Sorry, your worships, but you had the chance a few years back to ‘bring all the issues into the open’ and you didn’t, preferring to handle it internally. Not exactly cricket to be whining about it now, is it…?
Chris Newland, chaplain to the Bishop of Chelmsford, said: “I'm very disappointed that they are not going to do a proper and thorough investigation.”

Mr Johnson's spokesman said that, in the light of Mr Lewis's resignation, it would have been inappropriate to spend taxpayers' money on an investigation into his past.
If Chris Newland is so confident of the need for a ‘proper and thorough investigation’, let’s see him make a complaint to the proper authorities.

Put up, or shut up.

They Grow Up So Fast These Days…

A ten-year-old boy allegedly tried to rob a nine-year-old girl at knifepoint for her games console.

The girl was said to have been walking from a friend's house to her grandmothers' when the boy allegedly pulled out a flick knife.

The primary school pupil, from Walthamstow, east London, has been charged with attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.
Of course, this tale wouldn’t be complete without an attempt by someone to avoid punishment on behalf of this little future headliner:
During the 15-minute hearing, the boy's solicitor, Elizabeth Neal, said the case should be dropped because the girl had not turned up to give evidence, it was reported.
Unhappily for Ms Neal, she found herself up against a judge who could tell which way the wind was blowing on the subject of knife crime:
But chairwoman Barbara Goss adjourned the case, ruling it was too serious to abandon.
Let’s hope this case isn’t allowed to fade into the general run of inner-city offences, or the next time, she may be more successful in her attempt to avoid consequences for her client.

At Last, Some Good News!

Thousands of people turned out to see a Cold War bomber's
first flight at an airshow in 15 years.

The Vulcan, which cost £7m to restore, flew in a five minute display at The RAF Waddington International Air Show in Lincolnshire on Saturday.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Soundtrack For A Modern Britain

Bless The Beasts, and The Children - The Carpenters

Another Brick In The Wall - Pink Floyd

Hey Mama - Kanye West

Food, Glorious Food! - 'Oliver' Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Gambler - Kenny Rogers

Lost - Plot. If Found, Please Return To ACPO...

In yet another pointless and unwarranted effort to bend over backwards to appease those who can never be appeased, the police are seriously considering ensuring that police sniffer dogs wear bootees when searching the homes of Muslims 'so as not to cause offence':
Where Muslims object, officers will be obliged to use sniffer dogs only in exceptional cases. Where dogs are used, they will have to wear bootees with rubber soles. “We are trying to ensure that police forces are aware of sensitivities that people can have with the dogs to make sure they are not going against any religious or cultural element within people’s homes.

It is being addressed and forces are working towards doing it,” Acpo said.
Once again, this is almost certainly driven by professional agitators, and not by the vast majority of muslims. Even an imam is baffled, and would like to see a bit of common sense applied:
Ibrahim Mogra, one of Britain’s leading imams, said the measures were unnecessary: “In Islamic law the dog is not regarded as impure, only its saliva is. Most Islamic schools of law agree on that. If security measures require to send a dog into a house, then it has to be done. I think Acpo needs to consult better and more widely.

“I know in the Muslim community there is a hang-up against dogs, but this is cultural. Also, we know the British like dogs; we Muslims should do our bit to change our attitudes.”
More common sense there from Mr Mogra than in a hundred ACPO diversity briefings.

Although the bit about saliva was a worry. Some policy wonk will be considering bibs for the dogs now...!