Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year, All!

And here's to 2010!

Old Established English Firm Rocked By Allegations Of Criminal Behaviour

A Stockport-based law firm has been closed down and five solicitors have had their licences suspended amid claims of dishonesty.

Wolstenholmes, which opened in 1818, is being investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
It's terribly sad to see an old, established English name brought low...
The Legal Complaints Commission (LCC) is dealing with 116 complaints from customers who say they have lost money.
How could a reputable firm like this have been involved in dishonest dealings?
One of those suspended, Imran Hussain, apologised for the current situation and for distress caused to customers.

Helen Murgatroyd, Bobby Shabbir, Bilal Khawaja and Nasser Ilyas also had their licences suspended just before Christmas.
Ah. Never mind.

It Takes Two To Tango, Yasmin...

The Yazzmonster seems to want to kick off 2010 in the same fashion as she spent 2009; writing pointless, easily-fiskable columns for anyone who'll pay her.

Today, it's the 'Daily Fail', a paper she'd be happy to castigate as a right-wing rag should any other paper fill her hand with green stuff. And the subject? Those bastard men and how they wreck women's lives, of course:
You look at the photograph of Maisie Copland, aged only four, and you see a cheeky lass, eyes the colour of Minstrel chocolates, full of light and mischief and total trust.

She is in the arms of her mother, Julie Harrison, 40, who looks much younger as she welcomes the camera with an open and optimistic face.

Yet behind this joyful image lies a story of such unbearable sadness that tears well-up, even though these two are strangers to you.
Yes, it's the story of the brutal killing and suicide in Hampshire, which Yasmin has wrapped up for the 'Fail' with a nice ribbon of mawkish sentimentality.
For you know that Maisie's father, Andrew Copland, must have looked into those same eyes, seconds before he decided to gun her down, and as her mother watched before she, too, was fatally shot.

Then the finale: his own suicide, a grandstanding gesture at Christmas, and a fitting melodrama to sign off his nasty life.
Now, anyone else might also think to ask why, given that he was a known bad 'un with a long history of violence and obsessive behaviour, Julie Harrison looked at this specimen and thought 'Ah, yes! The perfect stud! I must let this man impregnate me. What could go wrong?'

But not Yasmin, of course.
This truth is, this period of colour and songs, feasts and affirmation, makes some go wild and vicious and others feel unable to carry on with fakery, secrets and lies.

People lose their inhibitions and self-control, raw emotions are exposed.

Empathy vanishes as the ego swells and rolls like a huge snowball, crushing hopes and the true meaning of Christmas.
If there's anyone who knows about rampant ego, it's Yasmin. As we'll find out in a minute...

But first, some more 'Men are bastards!' laced with a dash of 'War is hell!':
Two weeks ago, in response to an an article I had written about the meaning of Christmas, I received a hand-written letter from a young woman whose husband is in the Army and was expected home from Afghanistan for Christmas.

Sarah (not her real name) was terrified of what that would mean for her and her young children. The 24-year-old soldier is violent and drinks too much.
So, why is she still with him, putting her children in danger?
'I hope you can understand my feelings,' she wrote.

'I want him home, and alive. But I know he will go for me and our son and make this a miserable month. I can't leave him because he will kill me.

'You don't know how unhappy Christmas is for many of us wives in the Army.

'War makes them monsters and when the whole country is rejoicing they feel bitter and take it out on us.

'Last December, I ended up with a broken wrist and rib. He took the tree and burned it.
So, Yasmin gleefully uses this (presumably private) correspondence to plug her themes that war makes men brutes (hang on, Yasmin, I thought they were anyway?) and women cannot hope to escape violent and abusive relationships.

Sorry, but it doesn't really add up, does it? Did the Army make this man violent and abusive? If so, why hasn't it made everyone else violent and abusive?

And you won't leave someone who might come home and kill you because if you do, he'll...kill you? Doesn't compute. Not when there are refuges galore all around the country.

But here we come to the kicker:
Custody battles, separations, betrayals, confessions, commotion and extreme brutality erupt during the jolly season, the surge suddenly throwing homes into chaos and darkness.

I know that better than most. Twenty-two years ago, my son and I were handed an unforgettable present.

The perfect father and husband decided to tell us about his mistress as we were just getting into our Christmas celebrations.
Yes, you read that right; Yasmin is comparing brutal beatings and homicide with...being told your husband has a mistress.


So, what does Yasmin suggest is the reason behind these occurrences?
So what is it that fuels such despair?

It can be the worst of times because of high levels of stress, debt and alcohol intake. But an overwhelming sense that everyone else is ecstatic and living the perfect dream must play its part.

There is nothing more pernicious in life to the millions who are unhinged or troubled than the idea of others living lives of perfect contentment.
There you go. No-one must ever enjoy themselves in public, because it triggers murderous rage in society's inadequates...

Not so hard to understand now why her husband had a mistress, is it?

In The Same Way The Titanic Found It 'A Little Tricky' To Stay Afloat, I Presume..?

Quotes the 'Guardian' editorial feverishly declaring that all is not really lost for Labour, honest!:
Labour's upbeat claims could prove hard to sustain...

It's over, Grauniad. The fat lady is singing for Gordon...


A priest who advised poor people to shoplift was showered with a bucket of pasta for making the remarks, the Church of England confirmed today.
Now, there's direct action, and there's direct action...
Martin Stot, 48, thought the priest's comments could encourage young people to steal and decided to take action. He told York Press: "One theft could be on their record for 10 years. It would be difficult for them to get a job. I was just offended by what he said. I thought I would make my own little protest."
What size trebuchet would be required to launch a duck house, I wonder..?

I Wonder, Does It Have Seats?

Because, if it does, one might come in handy...

Another Slap In The Face...

Seen mentioned by a commenter at Inspector Gadget's botty concealment thread (an amusing read, up until then):
The senior Metropolitan Police officer who led the operation that ended with the death of Jean Charles de Menezes in south London has been honoured.

Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick was awarded a Queen's Police Medal for distinguished service.
That's almost as big a two-fingered salute to the British public as the news that, once again, there's nothing for Bruce Forsythe...

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Just How Gullible Do They Think We Are?

It's usually the case, when people argue for harsher sentences for criminals, or even the death penalty, that left wingers and bleeding hearts sneer that most crime is opportunistic, or spur-of-the-moment, or committed by the mentally unstable who are unable to plan ahead or recognise the consequences of their actions, and so therefore this would have little or no deterrent effect.

So, how come we are now supposed to believe that being forced to give up smoking while in prison does have a deterrent effect?
A brand new prison is taking credit for the plummeting crime rate in the Isle of Man.

But it is not the fear of being locked up that is making criminals think twice before stealing, fighting or trading in drugs.

The prospect of being forced to give up smoking is apparently far more frightening.
Yes, this is Europe's first non-smoking prison:
The £42million jail, which opened last year, is Europe's only non-smoking prison.

Inmates and guards are not allowed to smoke either in or outside the buildings.

With just under 100 prisoners, there is plenty of room for more, with at least 40 cells empty.
A jail with empty cells? Ship a few over from the mainland then!

But is it really the smoking ban that does it?
The crime rate on the Isle of Man was already low, with experts saying it is down to 'low unemployment and high community spirit', but also that the criminal justice system takes a hard line on crimes, with even small crimes often resulting in imprisonment.
It couldn't possibly be that, could it?

Nah, must be the smoking ban. Just another nail in the coffin from BigGov in the relentless drive to portray smokers as the devil incarnate...

: Dick Puddlecote

Trends For 2010...

Augmented reality (AR) has had a quiet launch on mobile handsets but it set to explode next year, experts say.
Some interesting possibilities lie ahead for gadget fans and lovers of the new and cool:
"Instead of seeing people as they are you might well be able to see their Facebook profiles appearing as bubbles above them," said Mr Pearson.

Of course, we should always remember that such new innovations can be used for evil too...

YONA Alert

A teenage gang went on the rampage last night stabbing a 13-year-old in an “unprovoked” attack and hitting another over the head with a bottle.
So far, so 'yawn', but the next bit made me sit up:
In what some are saying is a territorial attack....
Eh..? Is Walthamstow the Serengeti now?
Police have now stepped up high visibility patrols in the area...
Perhaps they'd have come in handy before, rather than after?

Nah, that's obviously crazy talk...

Questions Asked By The 'Daily Fail'...

I really don't know. Where did you put them?

Make Up Your Minds, Will You?

An independent inquiry has been launched after an Afghan teenage prisoner committed suicide shortly after his release from police custody.
Yes, you read that right. Not 'during his time in custody'. After his release from custody...
Mohammed Safi was held on suspicion of immigration offences on 30 October.

The 18-year-old was found seven hours after his release in the River Thames at Southwark. He had drowned.
Not sure why the police should be investigated?

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will examine the circumstances around his arrest, questioning and release.

Rachel Cerfontyne, of the IPCC, said: "This is a very sad case where a family has lost a loved one and it is right that an independent investigation is undertaken to see if there was anything police could have done while Mr Safi was in custody to have avoided this outcome."
I suppose they could have not released him? Would anyone have had anything to say about that?

Oh. Right...

Exclusive: Trumpton Fire Station Faces Closure In New Year!

The Camberwick Green Newsshopper reports this morning that the Trumpton Fire Station is on a list of stations to be closed as a result of the Equality Bill being pushed by Labour's deputy leader, which will impose on all councils the duty to allocate fire protection on the basis of social class.

Trumpton has been classed as a 'middle class area', populated as it is by carpenters, florists, clockmakers and milliners, and so Captain Flack will be moving, along with his team (Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb) to a new station on the sprawling council housing estate on the far edge of Chigley.

The Mayor of Trumpton queried this move, pointing out that the move would place the fire station too far away to quickly serve known fire hazards such as Mickey Murphy the baker and Windy Miller's windmill, but officials were unmoved:
...ministers have admitted it also means fire chiefs will also have to prioritise the poor when drawing up plans.

The theory is poorer areas need better cover because they tend to suffer from a greater number of fires owing to the worse state of their homes and a lack of smoke alarms.
Lord Belborough of Winkstead Hall promised to raise the issue in the House of Lords, but it is considered that this will do little good at this late stage:
The decision to impose the same obligations on fire chiefs as councils was quietly slipped through last month when the Equality Bill was making its way through the Commons.

The Bill returns for its committee stage for three days in January, and officials say that Miss Harman is 'very determined' to see the legislation pass before the General Election.

When Tomcats Do This In My Garden... doesn't rate a news article in the 'Daily Fail':
The elusive aerosol painter has caused outrage by covering up a piece of graffiti that had remained untouched since it was painted in 1985.

Its creator, Robbo, a hugely respected graffiti artist (Ed: nope, me neither...), immediately retaliated by spraying his name over Banksy's painting of a workman on a wall in North London.
They are both just vandals, after all.
The row has sparked a war of words on photography website Flickr, where Robbo and his associates and artists from around Britain have voiced their disgust at Banksy's act of disrespect.
The enigmatic artist, whose identity is still unconfirmed, is now thought to be a millionaire thanks to his popularity amongst the art community and celebrities alike.

In 2005, Christina Aguilera bought an original depiction of Queen Victoria as a lesbian and two prints for £25,000.
Says it all, doesn't it?

Today's 'Huh!?' Photo Accompaniment From The 'Telegraph'...

Thanks, 'Telegraph'. I wasn't planning on going in to work today, and if I had been, I wouldn't have been travelling by tiger, but hey...

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Surely The 'Yellow Submarine Suite' Was Unaffected?

A luxury Beatles-themed hotel in Liverpool has been temporarily closed after a flood.

Hey, I Wonder Where All The Money Went..?

And in case you thought that the police obviously have all the time and money in the world, since they seem to be able to waste it on things that aren't even illegal, think again.

In the very same newspaper, they are pleading poverty:
Protesters from around the country are again preparing to descend on Sussex as cash-strapped police beg the Government to pay for their last major demonstration.
The protest? Well, it's in aid of the Palestinians. So, obviously, Brighton is the best place to do that...

Oh, and 'the government' doesn't have any money. So 'the government' won't be paying to police this little exercise in middle-class foot-stamping and screaming - the taxpayer will.
The event in Brighton is taking place as Sussex Police grapple with a massive budget shortfall...
You know what'd help with that, Sussex Police?

Concentrating on things that are a crime. Not things that aren't yet...

The Law? We'll Just Make It Up As We Go Along...

People caught with “legal highs” like mephedrone face being arrested and having their homes searched.
Say what..?
Senior officers say the chemicals will be treated as illegal until tests show otherwise as they try to protect young people from using dangerous drugs which have not been banned.
As the first commenter points out, how long until someone sues for wrongful arrest?
Where people are found with drugs, police say they will be arrested on suspicion of possession controlled drugs until tests show the substances are not illegal.
...or if they are found with a chalky substance or suspicious liquid. Like Coke. Or coffee.

Or just, presumably, if they feel like it.
The Home Office said mephedrone is being reviewed by the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

If experts recommend it should be banned, they could be made illegal by the end of next year.
Why even bother making it illegal at all? The police clearly don't give a stuff whether it is or it isn't...

When did the police get the idea into their head that they could do as they please?

Cruddy & Chuckles: The New Political Comedy Double Act


Ladies and gentlemen! The comedy stylings of has-been politician and up and coming star ethnic minority token!


Jon Cruddas and Chuka Umunna launch their new website (Tory Stories - and no, comments aren't allowed. A lesson they probably learnt after reading the ones to this article!) in 'CiF' and are currently getting savaged for such bons mot as:
The lukewarm attitude of Cameron's party to green issues is replicated nationwide: of the 51 councils that have signed up to the 10:10 climate campaign, only 11 are Conservative controlled.
According to the Conservatives' 2009 report, How Conservative Councils Are Helping in the Recession, Cameron has decreed that "the Conservatives will bring a culture of thrift to government".
Not to mention:
Tory-controlled Essex county council – led by Lord Hanningfield, who doubles up as Cameron's shadow business minister – has announced its intention to make £300m "savings" by 2012.
The less-than-dynamic duo believe all these things to be vote losers.

They are being told, in no uncertain terms, and by a wide range of political commenters, that they are actually vote winners.

Their petulant signoff is:
Cameron and Osborne frequently pilfer "progressive" language from the well of social democracy in order to clothe policies that are anything but. That they feel the need to do so demonstrates that Labour is far from the spent force many would have us believe.
In the best traditions of the pantomime season, the commenters roar back 'Oh, yes, it IS!"

Doctoring The Accounts...

Planning a charitable donation to a hospital, or taking part in a charity drive to get them a new scanner?

Well, think again. It's likely to go towards refurbishing the hospital manager's office or employing twelve new anti-smoking co-ordinators instead:
Under new rules coming into force in April, hospitals will have to list the income and assets from their charitable arms on their main balance sheet.

There are fears that this will see donations to health charities subsumed into the general health budget, which already faces huge strains due to Britain's soaring budget deficit.

The effect could be to deter people from giving money and put pressure on hospital bosses to channel donations designed for one thing into other areas of their budgets.
And that isn't likely to be anything useful...

So far, only the Lib Dems seem to be coming out against it:
Liberal Democrat spokesman Jenny Willott said: 'This could lead to hundreds of millions of pounds of charitable donations being effectively nationalised. 'The Government has no right to get its hands on any charitable NHS funds. People make donations on the understanding that it is up to charities to decide how to spend it, not ministers.'
Increasingly, charities are government and government is charity. You can see how they'd look at the funding as just one big pot, can't you?

Of course, this was specifically considered and rejected back when we had politicians who knew what they were doing...
Ministers were banned from counting charitable donations towards the central NHS budget under the legislation which created the health service in 1948.
That's Labour for you; never happier than when they can dismantle some prop from the apparatus of government...

Post of the Month

Last PotM for 2009 comes from Mr E, for this magnificent rant on the bizarre utterings of the Army's new bishop:
I suppose it would be too much to ask for the armed forces to have a chaplain or two who isn't intent on handing out maracas to these acid-throwing neanderthals and singing campfire songs? It's not your job to "understand" the Taliban, Padre, so stop acting like a cartoon Anglican; just bless the fucking rocket launchers and get out of the fucking way. Let's give their mothers something to cry about.

Suddenly, People Are In Favour Of Gunboat Diplomacy..?

So, China went ahead and did it, despite the combined weight of disapproval from these worthies:

Iain Dale:
"Sixty Minutes from now, the Chinese government will kill a mentally ill British citizen.

Wars have been started over less."

We'd start a war with China over them topping a drug smuggler caught bang to rights?

I think not...

The odious Clive Stafford Smith:
"Belmonte's pictures of an unshaven Akmal, sitting on a bench in a crumpled white suit and staring despondently across a homeless shelter, tell the story more eloquently than any lawyer could."
When even this man is reduced to whining about how pitiful the victim is rather than how he was innocent, you know the case against him is pretty watertight.

And not forgetting Gordon Brown:
"...appalled and disappointed that our persistent requests for clemency have not been granted. I am particularly concerned that no mental health assessment was undertaken. "
Of Shaikh?

Or of Gordon, thinking he had the slightest chance of influencing China to do anything?

Quote Of The Month

Last QotM for 2009 comes from MummyLongLegs for her closing paragraph to this post:
Yep, to pull off Top Trumps in 2009 you have to be able to prove that the phrase

"I felt frightened."

Tops more Trumps than the phrase

"Mum had been drinking and only stopped the late-night attack/punching when my 20-month-old baby sister started crying".
It doesn't get any better than that, does it?

Last Word On Abdullah And The Syringe Of Fire Goes To...

...the incomparable Rod Liddle:
"How can we best help them, these angry young Muslim imbeciles who want us all dead, but are too thick to do anything about it? Abdul Farouk Umar Abdullah, a Nigerian, is the “syringe bomber” who attempted to detonate a device on an aeroplane above Detroit on Boxing Day, but succeeded only in setting his balls on fire. Goodness, gracious, etc. You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain, etc. Hopefully he will end up sharing a cell with the fabulously cretinous “Shoebomber”, Richard Reid, who forgot to take a lighter with him and anyway couldn’t find his fuse. Or those doctors who spent year upon year planning to blow up Glasgow Airport but couldn’t even drive through the front doors. Or the other doctors who left a bomb in a car outside a nightclub in London but forgot to set it off. Christ alive. If Armageddon really is coming and we are headed towards the final prophesied conflagration, whose side would you rather be on?"
The best thing about it? Sunny Hundal's head will probably explode with far greater accuracy when he reads it...

Monday, 28 December 2009

How Long Before The Government Message Is 'Don't Have Nice Things In The First Place'..?

Anyone else sick of seeing those adverts where the couple are preparing for bed, and remind each other to make sure they've made it easier for thieves by leaving valuables around around the house and the doors unlocked?

They've run almost continuously over the Christmas period, and each time they come on, I grind my teeth at the hectoring tone, not to mention the underlying message: 'If you have nice things (and you shouldn't, you capitalist scum), it's only to be expected that if you don't hide them from sight, others will take them'.

Well, the Beeb are faithfully helping to plug this message now too:
People are being urged to do "simple things" to protect themselves from crime, such as locking doors and windows and hiding valuables.
Inside our houses. Inside our houses. We must hide our valuables away, otherwise they are too much of a temptation.

You there, the mother that bought her children a Wii for Christmas? Don't plug it into the telly and let them play with it in full view of the window, woman! What are you thinking? Pull the curtains now!

You, man with the iPhone! Don't use it to make calls in public, are you mad? Anyone can see it!

You, granny! Don't sit there admiring that silver photo frame your daughter bought you for your golden wedding anniversary. In fact, what are you doing putting it on the mantelpiece? You should hide it in a bedroom cupboard, and sneak the occasional peak at it, at night. Only once a month, mind. Don't get too greedy...

And in case you thought you could avoid this if you didn't watch tv (or if someone stole it), think again. It's going to be everywhere:
The campaign will include:

* Warnings to homeowners to keep their premises secure and not to leave items like car keys, bank statements and laptops on display.

* A collaboration with route planner websites, which will mean a final instruction - after the list of directions - telling drivers to remove any valuables from their car before getting out.

* Reminders on petrol pumps and car park barriers to motorists to lock their cars.

* Posters at bus stops, train stations and in shopping centres telling people to take care when opening their bags or using their mobile phones.

* Advice on shopping websites reminding people to keep their personal information secure and vary their passwords.
The effect of the message being to subtly reinforce the notion that if someone steals something from you, it's your own damn fault for not keeping it safe and out of sight...

Now, I believe in being sensible as much as the next person. I wouldn't dream of leaving my door unlocked or my car unlocked at a petrol station while I pay for the petrol (much good it'd do anyone if I did, as my immobiliser kicks in after about a minute).

But am I the only one who looks at all this 'helpful' advice with a rather jaundiced eye? It's not about public information. It's about public fear and guilt...

Overstepping Their Bounds?

Or just getting in some practice for when they make this legal and a normal part of policing?
Yesterday, as royals including Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, made their way on foot from Sandringham House in Norfolk to St Mary Magdalene church, a senior police officer confiscated dozens of cameras from the crowd.
Say what?

And the people just let him do it..?! Truly, we get the treatment we deserve from our 'public servants'...
Norfolk Police admitted the Royal Family had not asked them to act and said the move had been a mistake.
Jumped the gun, did you? Cretins...
A spokesman for Norfolk Police, said: 'An officer, in error, requested cameras from members of the public. We will be allowing the public to keep their cameras, in accordance with a long-standing agreement.'
You'll be 'allowing them', eh? How good of you...

I Can't Help But Wonder...

...if these two stories in the 'Mail' yesterday are somehow related...

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Slugs And Snails And Puppy Dog Tails...

Sometimes I look at a 'CiF' article and wonder if it's for real, or the loony Left's version of botfishing on Twitter.

So it is with Susan Bradley's article on trying (and failing) to raise a boy the radical feminist way:
Ten years ago, I plunged into parenthood in a state of pie-eyed optimism. Thinking that my newborn son was a blank slate, I foolishly thought that I would be able to influence his personality and determine his character.

The usual way, of course:
I thought that by restricting the types of programmes he watched on television, offering him mostly gender-neutral toys that had been designed to be educational and not allowing him to play with toy weapons of any sort, I would be able to instil in him my values of pacifism and gender equality.
Yeah, you can pretty much guess how that worked out, can't you?

She didn't bother to tell anyone else in her family and among her friends about this plan, as she thought she could get rid of any 'inappropriate' gifts unless the recipient was likely to notice. So, inevitably...
Soon, the toy box held as many trucks, trains and tools (Ed: no, me neither...) as it did blocks and educational toys. What was dismaying to me was that he strongly preferred the "boy" toys over the gender-neutral and educational ones from the word go. Offer him his Baby Whoozit or his green plastic race car and he would go for the race car every single time.
Boy, playtime must have been nonstop fun in the Bradley household....

But far worse was to come:
By the time he started attending day care at 14 months, I'd given up on gender neutrality in his toys, but I still clung to the belief that I would be able to raise a nonviolent child by banning toy weapons and even cartoon violence in videos. Picking him up one afternoon, about a month after he started at day care, I was informed that he and his buddy, Zach, had been in trouble that day for inappropriate play.
So, several things here. This mad cow was determined to raise a caring, sharing, gender-equal, non-violent child, but couldn't actually be bothered with the raising of him, preferring to dump him in day care instead?

And this is the sort of thing that counts as 'inappropriate play' in the day care gulag centre she did choose:
It seems they'd been using their thumbs and forefingers as pretend guns, pointing at the girls and yelling, "Bang! Bang!" I was gobsmacked.
Me too, Susan. Though I suspect for a totally different reason...
He'd never watched anything more violent than Teletubbies. How on earth did he have any concept of what a gun was or how to emulate one? It couldn't have been Zach's influence – Zach's parents were even more right-on lefty than me.
Baffling, isn't it, Susan?

Of course, she gave up, as most of the Left do when the going gets tough:
Over the past 10 years, I have come to the conclusion that my influence over my son is much more limited than I ever imagined it would be. I cannot mould my son into the type of person I want him to be, I can only guide and advise and hope that the decisions he makes will be good ones.
It took you actually having a child to realise that, you utter booby?

I've never had one, never wanted one, but I figured that out for myself with no problem...
He is a wonderful person – curious about the world around him, kind, generous, loving. He is exactly the sort of child I had hoped for 10 years ago, when I first held him in my arms. I just wish that I could take more credit for that.
I'm curious, Susan. Did you really want a child?

Or a project..?

'Policing On The Cheap' Has Failed...

Interesting to see that the Tories are raising hopes that scrapping the despised PCSOs may be on the cards.

One thing in the article struck me, however:
Earlier this year a report found that PCSOs accounted for more than half of all police staff gross misconduct cases during the last financial year despite only making up about a fifth of the workforce.
No clearer evidence exists that these people are precisely the sort you shouldn't give power to...

Just Wait For The Usual Suspects... be all over this one:
Police divers hunting for missing schoolboy Jordan Trowsdale recovered a body from the river on Christmas Day , near where the boy was last seen on Christmas Eve.
It seems there's always some tragedy over Christmas involving children - usually a hit and run, sometimes a fire, and the media go into misery porn over drive.

This one, however, will provide more red meat for the tabloids than usual:
Jordan, 13, said goodbye to his friends at a local skate park in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, late on Thursday afternoon with the intention of walking back to his home, less than half a mile away. The teenager had drunk four cans of strong cider during the day. His friends said he was in "high spirits".
Oh oh...
Taryn Steward, 16, who was with Jordan on the afternoon he went missing, said the teenager had been in a positive mood that day: "We are all devastated. He had a few drinks that night but he was having a great time," she said. "He normally drinks two cans but he did have a bit more than usual. He could normally handle it though. "

Jordan had allegedly been drinking 'K' cider, which is around 8% in strength.
Look for Jordan to be the poster boy for the anti-alcohol brigade in the New Year...

Is It Too Late...

...for the 2009 Darwin Awards?
Here's a story to round off the year: a murderous New York gangster tripped over his own baggy trousers last week and fell to his death. Hector Quinones, 44, was in the middle of an apparently drugs-related killing spree when his low-slung trousers fell down and tripped him up. One of his would-be victims fled on to the fire escape of her apartment block; Quinones yanked up his trousers and struggled after her, but no sooner had he reached the fire escape than they fell down again, and he toppled overboard.

Of course, remembering that the 'Telegraph' is a family newspaper, the reporter is compelled to say:
One would not, of course, wish such an undignified death upon anyone...
Au contraire, Jemima. One certainly would...

Sunday Funnies

Some adverts that won't be appreciated by Harriet Harman or Trevor Phillips...

Looks like the UK is the winner too! Who remembers that one? I do!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Compare And Contrast,,,,

NuLabour hatchetwoman:
Married Mrs King, who is in her early 40s, flatly contradicts Mrs Baird's claim she asked the station cleaner to clear up the mess. She believes the law chief should have been fined on the spot.

It is an offence if an owner doesn't immediately clean up after their dog has fouled land to which the public has access.

Mrs King is also furious the MP had 'no respect for the law' and instead of demanding an apology from a police community support officer who intervened, she should apologise to him and her.
Ordinary member of the public:
A dog owner has been fined £350 for not picking up after his pet when it fouled a children’s play area in Gravesend.

Dartford magistrates were told how James Davis, of St Marks Avenue, Northfleet, was seen by a PCSO as he allowed his dog to foul the play area in Freeman Road.

Davis failed to clear it up and then walked away despite being asked by the PCSO to pick up his dog’s mess.

Davis was found guilty of not picking up after his dog. In addition to the fine he was ordered to pay £150 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Suffer The Little Children...

...because it's cheaper:
A boy of 11 who had been judged a serious risk to other children inflicted the most appalling sexual abuse on a classmate after he was secretly placed in a mainstream school.

The youngster, who was living in local authority care, had carried out sex attacks on children before but was never charged because he was too young.

Instead, social workers moved him into specialist care, where he should have been taught.

But despite a two-inch thick file on his disturbing behaviour, he was put in a mainstream school, where he began the chain of events that led to the attack on a nine-year-old fellow pupil.
The victim's devastated parents believe that this was done to save money.

The response from the authorities is as sadly predictable as it is inadequate:
MP Sir Alan Beith, chairman of the justice committee, called for an independent inquiry. He said: 'I'm not satisfied that all necessary steps have been taken to learn lessons from the case.'
You know what, Sir Alan? I don't think you really need an inquiry to tell you that, since, incredible as it may seem, he's since been placed in yet another mainstream school:
Last night, his victim's devastated parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said the move was an attempt by the council to save money.

And they demanded answers after it emerged the boy has since been placed in another mainstream school. They told how, despite complaining to officials, they felt ignored by authorities and were forced to remove their son after his attacker was allowed to remain in classes for eight months - even after admitting the offence to police.
It's like they are going full-out to top some of their atrocities from last year, isn't it?
Northumberland council said the boy was 'doing well with foster parents and at a new school'.
That's the future of the predator they are showing such concern for, by the way...

Does anyone think this creature would ever have been placed in a mainstream school if that school had been the one attended by the children of the local council's SS?

No. Me neither...

Friday, 25 December 2009

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Here's hoping everyone is having a great Christmas!

Normal service will resume on Boxing Day!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Twelve Plays Of Christmas: Day Twelve

And so we reach the last selection - and this one's really the Christmas sound of my childhood, as it's a particular favourite of my mother, and it always played at Christmas in our house - first on LP, then on tape, on CD, and now on MP3.

Take it away, Johnny!

'CiF' Comment Of The Year...

In a thread about the movie 'Precious' (note: not, by any stretch of the imagination, a feelgood movie), commenter RapidEddie asks:
* Warning - Spoilers Follow *

[Clears throat and adopts best Mrs.-Merton-Talking-To-Debbie-McGee tone]

So tell me The Guardian, what first attracted you to this movie about an obese, illiterate, black teen single mother with a mentally-disabled child, raped by her drug addict father before he goes on to die of AIDS, beaten by her mother and bullied at school, but who then finds inspiration from her lesbian teacher?

A Christmas Slap In The Face...

..from the state:
Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, 32, was banned from driving and awaiting deportation when he ran away with Amy Houston trapped under the wheels of his car.

But the Iraqi Kurd, who was jailed for four months, used the European Human Rights Act to avoid being sent home because he has since had two children here.
It beggars belief, but this is the reality of bowing to the whims of multiculturalism and the imposition of the HRA.
Her father, Paul Houston, said: 'I know
what it feels to have your family broken up, but the fact he has got to stay is an absolute travesty.

'They may as well give passports out in lucky bags because that is all they are worth. I cannot believe the judge's decision and that he thinks it is right for him to stay here. Is he on another planet?'
If he is, it's a bloody crowded one, jam-packed full of the idiots in wigs and gowns...

Oh, Those CRB Checks Work So Well, Don't They..?

Congratulations to staff at Norwood Manor Day Nursery, who spotted a convicted paedophile who had applied to work there after seeing him on a TV programme and alerting police.

Sadly, their efforts were in vain, as he was then placed in front of one of Coppersblog's mad judges, one Judge Christopher Hardy, who promptly gave him a suspended sentence:
Sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge Christopher Hardy said while it was “a serious matter” Smith had breached a ban from working with children given to him when originally jailed, he believed he had “not actively sought" to work with children.
Say what..?
The court heard there was "no evidence" of any "direct harm" to any child there and he had "tried to avoid contact with children”.
Apart from that whole 'applying to work at a nursery' thing, yes...

And how did he get past the CRB check? Simple. He didn't mention it. And they didn't check:
He had lied to Reed about not having a criminal record when he went seeking work following his release from prison, and the agency did not check him out further because he had a clean CRB check from when he worked with the agency in 2004.

The nursery did not check his record because it trusted Reed’s recommendation, the court heard.
And there we see the futility of relying on regulation.

And also the futility of imposing work restrictions on these people when no-one seems to care when they break them.

And yet, the justice system gets into a paddy when a washed-up 80s pop star released under license wants to take part in a reality show:
Alison Macdonald, O'Dowd's barrister, was refused permission by the judge to appeal against the ruling.

She told the court yesterday the probation service's decision was based on fears that it "would get another kicking" in the media.
And they don't think they would get one for this case?

"You don't bring a gun to a snowball fight..." chanted by the residents of Washington DC who were amazed to see an off duty detective draw his gun after his Hummer was pelted with snowballs.

However, if you fancy a snowball fight in Crystal Palace Triangle, you better be packing something more than frozen water:
A man was stabbed by a group of youths after he shouted at them for throwing snowballs.

The 20-year-old was stabbed in the leg shortly before 4.30pm on Monday, December 21, after getting involved in an argument with a group of at least four teenagers who had been terrorising the Crystal Palace Triangle, pelting shoppers with snow.
And for once, these aren't YONA:
Two of the suspects are described as black men aged about 18.
'Men' aged about 18. I do love the way the definition of 'men' and 'teenagers' and 'youths' is seemingly interchangable...

But what to make of this statement?
Police said they did not know if the victim was specifically targeted for violence by the gang.

Does it matter?

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Twelve Plays Of Christmas: Day Eleven

My all time favourite Christmas carol, and this is a particularly good version of it.

We Got You In - Now Where's Our Cut?

President Barack Obama has been forced to defend himself against accusations that he has not done enough for black people in America.
Ahh, how quickly they forget, eh..?

The Real Reason For The Failure Of Local Councils To Grit...

Last night local authorities admitted they used up their supplies of road grit in a series of equality and diversity workshops in August and whatever was left was used to fill small plastic bags that were then thrown at smokers.
Is it still satire when it's uncomfortably close to the truth?

I Guess He Shot The Odd Bottle Of Vodka, Too..?

Mr Fryer added: “The shotgun was an old one and was used to hunt birds and animals on the land surrounding his home to provide for his family.”
Yes, he was desperate for food for his family, so he turned to foraging for natural resources. Very 'Swiss Family Robinson'...

But he doesn't seem to have relied totally on living off the land: the end the strain proved too much and he turned to drink and crime.

The 34-year-old of Hett Close, Ardingly, was arrested after police tried to pull over his Transit van in West Street, Lewes, on November 22.

Hudson was banned for drink driving and did not want to be caught behind the wheel.
So, what calibre do you use for a crate of Tennant's Extra and a gallon of unleaded? Is there a close season on Transit vans? Do you have to trap a young one in the wild and train it to bear you?

I'm not sure who is dumber, Hudson for trying this on, or the judge for not giving him extra jail time for such a lame excuse...

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The Twelve Plays Of Christmas: Day Ten

"...eyes full of tinsel and fire..."

Today, I Shall be Making...


Chocolate Rum truffles

2oz butter
4oz plain chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solid)
1 tablespoon of dark rum (yeah, right...maybe a bit more)
2 egg yolks
8oz sifted icing sugar
1oz ground almonds
1oz very fine cake crumbs (trifle sponges blitzed finely will do)
cocoa or drinking chocolate/chocolate vermicelli/dessicated coconut to coat

1. Put the butter in a basin with the broken up chocolate & stand it over a basin of hot water (NOT touching the bottom), stirring occasionally until both are melted.

2. Add the rum & egg yolks, mix well in. Then add a bit more rum. No, a bit more than that, it's Christmas! If the mixture is too wet, just add more cake crumbs or icing sugar.

3. Then sift in the icing sugar, ground almonds & cake crumbs gradually. You want a uniform brown colour, no white showing through, very stiff texture.

4. Turn out onto a plate, smooth down to about an inch & leave to chill for at least an hour & a half. Yes, it does look a bit like a giant cow pat, it's true.

5. Using teaspoons, scoop out small amounts. Form into small balls in your hands & roll in the chosen coatings while still sticky from the warmth of your hands. Pop into petit-four cases.

Who needs Ferrero-Rocher? You know exactly what went into these. You made it yourself...

Update: Mmmm, unsettlingly bovine...

The UK In 2009...

...where it's too snowy for reindeer:
As natives of the Arctic Circle, reindeer are pretty used to trotting about in wintry weather.

So you might not have thought a market town in the East Midlands would pose much of a problem for them.

But health and safety officers had other ideas after 12 were booked to entertain shoppers in Market Harborough.
Yup, it's Christmas, and we'll have no frivolity or enjoying oneself here.
They banned the animals from parading round the town square after ruling it was too dangerous --because it might snow.

Officials put up posters saying: 'There is a risk of slips and falls to attendees at the event, when the conditions get worse.'
They are aware that reindeer just live in snow, they don't actually bring it, aren't they?

And as the furious shopkeepers pointed out, it didn't make sense to cancel the festivities if it was going to snow anyway:
Malcolm Lever-Jones, independent traders' spokesman, said: 'It is health and safety gone barmy and completely ruined the festive mood.

'Hundreds of people had come from up to 40 miles away and were dreadfully disappointed.

'The council said there was a risk of snow and ice to pedestrians but with or without the reindeer the streets were still icy. None of the town centre was cordoned off. It just made no sense.'
It makes perfect sense when you realise that it isn't their money...
He estimated the cost to the taxpayer of cancelling Friday's event at around £10,000.
As Ranting Stan points out, this is now normal behaviour for local councils in the increasingly litigious UK, where to do nothing keeps them safe from claims, while to do something might put them at risk.
A Harborough Council spokesman said: 'Obviously, the reindeer would have loved the snow. But sadly we decided to cancel because of the possible danger to people, including young children.'
Ahh, yes. We must, after all, think of the children...

Dyslexic, But Want To Work At A Major Newspaper?

No problem! The 'Telegraph' is the paper for you...

Good grief...

Monday, 21 December 2009

The Twelve Plays Of Christmas: Day Nine

Still the very best version of this classic:

Update: And as it's blizzarding here now, eerily prophetic!

It's Bradford, They Can't Afford Three Coins...

The body of a man who is thought to have died in a freak accident was found trapped beneath the ice of a city centre fountain.

Two 13-year-old boys made the discovery as they walked past the fountain outside Bradford Magistrates' Court, which was frozen over, on Saturday afternoon.
Still, good job we have CCTV, isn't it?
Officers have scoured city centre CCTV and found footage of a man near the fountain on Friday night.

It is believed he fell through the ice and was unable to get back out of the water, and the freezing temperatures caused ice to form over his body during the night, leaving it hidden until the two boys spotted it.
Far be it from me to suggest that a few police patrols might actually prevent people drowning unnecessarily in monuments to councils' bloated budgets, rather than simply watching the edited highlights a day later...

"Aux armes, citoyens...!"

...cries pudgy global warming huckster Johann Hari in the 'Indy', exhorting us all to act because the politicians won't:
Buried deep in our subconscious, there still lays the belief that our political leaders are collective Daddies and Mummies who will – in the last instance – guarantee our safety.
Eh? What adult thinks that? Speak for yourself, Johann.

Oh, I guess you are...
Last week in Copenhagen, the conviction was disproved. Every leader there had been told by their scientists – plainly, bluntly, and for years – that there is a bare minimum we must all do now if we are going to prevent a catastrophe. And they all refused to do it.
And why..?

Because it was based on poor science and the people are beginning to see through it. And because it would have been political suicide. And because the people pushing it are the ones who stand the most to gain from the actions they are pushing on everyone.

But he's not finished with the poor science:
To understand the gravity of what just happened, you need to know a few facts about global warming that, at first, sound odd. The world's climate scientists have shown that man-made global warming must not exceed 2C. When you hear this, a natural reaction is – that's not much; how bad can it be if we overshoot? If I go out for a picnic and the temperature rises or falls by 2C, I don't much notice. But this is the wrong analogy. If your body temperature rises by 2C, you become feverish and feeble. If it doesn't go back down again, you die. The climate isn't like a picnic; it's more like your body.
Umm, it isn't any of those things; it's a vast, incalculable, unfathomable chaotic system.

But Hari isn't finished reading out plot points from the rejected script from '2012':
Two degrees is bad: 2C means we lose much of the world's low-lying land, from the island-states of the South Pacific to much of Bangladesh to swathes of Florida. But at every step up to and including 2C, if we reduce our emissions, we can stabilise the climate at this new higher level. If we go beyond 2C, though, the situation changes. The earth's natural processes begin to break down – and cause more warming. There are massive amounts of warming gases stored in the Siberian permafrost; at 2C, they melt and are released into the atmosphere. The world's humid rainforests store huge amounts of warming gases in their trees. Beyond C, they lose their humidity and begin to burn down – releasing them too into the atmosphere.

These are called "tipping points". Because of them, the world gets warmer and warmer beyond 2C.
I want some of what he's smoking...

And his heroes having let him down, Hari wants You! Yes, You! to pick up the slack:
At least we know now: scientific evidence and rationality are not going to be enough to persuade our leaders. The Good Daddy isn't in charge. Nobody is going to sort this out – unless we, the populations of the warming-gas countries, make them. Politicians respond to the pressure put on them, and every single politician at Copenhagen knew they would get more flak at home – from their corporate paymasters and their petrol-hungry populations – for signing a deal than for walking away.

There is only one way to change that dynamic: a mass movement of ordinary democratic citizens. They have made the impossible happen before.
Well, that's true.

But I don't think propelling Rage Against The Machine to the Christmas number one in opposition to poor Joe really means that we will offer to cut our own throats so that Al Gore can keep the lights running in his mansion 24/7/365, Johann...
The time for changing your light-bulbs and hoping for the best is over. It is time to take collective action. For some people, that will mean joining Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth or the Campaign Against Climate Change and helping them pile on the pressure. But those who can go further – by taking non-violent direct action – should do so. Every coal train should be ringed with people refusing to let it pass. Every new runway should be blockaded. The cost of trashing the climate needs to be raised.
Well, good luck with that, Johann.

But you should have looked at some other stories in the news while you were frantically flogging your ferret to the Copenhagen broadcasts. You should have paid attention to the fury over the proposed BA strike, the mounting anger at the unpreparedness of the councils for a bit of (well forecast) snow, and the bitterness being directed at the bungling Eurostar debacle.

You want to marshall your troops to further inconvenience the public in their travel plans?

Oh, boy. *gets popcorn* This'll be amusing to watch...

Missing The Point, Tories...

...missing it by a country mile:
Homeowners would be handed a licence to kill burglars by a Tory government.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling raised the election stakes on crime by promising law-abiding citizens extra rights to defend themselves.

If the Tories win the election, he said, they would tear up the law which lets householders use only 'reasonable force' to defend their families against intruders.
We don't, as a rule, want to kill burglars. The real scandal of the Hussein case wasn't that he was given a prison sentence. It was that he found himself in that situation in the first place.

It was the fact that Salem had racked up 54 convictions over the course of his career - and career it was - and was still free to burgle, steal and brag about being untouchable. And untouchable, it seems, is exactly what he was...

DumbJon points to another recent case of reaching the wrong conclusions for the right reasons. The problem is not the law. The problem is the people who are sworn to uphold that law, and yet find excuses and reasons to bend over backwards to be lenient to the people who break that law.

And who then profess disgust and shock at the perfectly-understandable reaction of the people who pay their wages to the Hussein case. And the pefectly-understandable contempt of those who see through a poorly-thought-out attempt to cherry-pick the quote to fit your own personal prejudices..

Rather than attempt to tear up laws and rewrite new ones (Ahem! Dangerous Dogs Act? Dunblane Gun Laws?), when they get in, the Tories should take a good, hard look at the people who are interpreting those laws.

Changing them, not the law iteslf, is the answer.

Why, Ruth, It's Almost As Big A Mystery... the ones in your novels, isn't it?
The author and life peer Ruth Rendell, who has campaigned against FGM for 10 years, said: "When I helped take the Bill through Parliament seven years ago, I was very hopeful that we'd get convictions and that would then act as a deterrent for other people. But that has never happened and my heart bleeds for these girls. This mutilation is forever; nothing can be done to restore the clitoris, and that is just very sad for them. I have repeatedly asked questions of ministers from all departments about why there has never been a prosecution and why we still do not have a register of cases. But while they are always very sympathetic, nothing ever seems to get done..."
Of course, when your campaign is spearheaded by muddle-headed people like this, Ruth, it's no wonder you are on a hiding to nothing:
Jackie Mathers, a nurse from the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, said: "These families do not do this out of spite or hatred; they believe this will give their daughters the best opportunities in life. We would like a conviction, not against the parents, but against a cutter, someone who makes a living from this."

Naturally enough, the government's response was incomprehensible bureaucratic doublespeak:
A Home Office spokesman said: "We have appointed an FGM co-ordinator to drive forward a co-ordinated government response to this appalling crime and make recommendations for future work."
Now, that's a high scoring sentence in Buzzword Bingo, for certain!

A Thing Of Wonder...

Good job, Mr Park.

In related, this. Quite wonderful.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Twelve Plays Of Christmas: Day Eight

I can still remember the first time I heard this on the radio, thinking 'God, this is a bit dire, who thought this was a great Christmas song?' then as it progressed thinking 'Oh, it's got a really good beat an...what did she just say?!'

It's now become one of the classic Christmas songs. How did they get away with it?

Thin-Skinned, Whiny, Self-Righteous, Insecure...

...why are none of the atheists and non-believers that I know like that, whereas no other sort ever seems to make the papers?
Olive Jones, a 54-year-old mother of two, who taught maths to children too ill to attend school, was dismissed following a complaint from the girl’s mother. She was visiting the home of the child when she spoke about her belief in miracles and asked whether she could say a prayer, but when the mother indicated they were not believers she did not go ahead.
Oh, for the love of..!
Mrs Jones was then called in by her managers who, she says, told her that sharing her faith with a child could be deemed to be bullying...
Well, if that is the case, it must be the single, solitary exception to the bullying rule then.

The one that says we don't take bullying seriously (unless it takes place among parents rather than children), but we'll sack anyone else who does or, if we can't sack them, we'll make them otherwise unwelcome on our premises.

And what do these people think will happen if someone offers to pray for them? If they don't believe in anything themselves, then nothing, right? So why the rush to complain? If Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormans show up at my door (always clean and immaculately dressed and polite, I might add), a polite 'No thank you' sees them off. I don't burst into flames, or feel the need to run upstairs to wash off the Jesus cooties...

And now, of course, lawyers are involved and the local authority is hastily backpedalling:
She said that although she was clear that she had been sacked, she had recently been approached by a senior education official who had said the complaint was still being investigated and had suggested a meeting.

She said she believed the approach had been triggered by the involvement of the Christian Legal Centre, and she was now taking legal advice about how to proceed.
The world's gone mad!

Sunday Funnies

Because even kids can see through these attempts with ease...

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Twelve Plays Of Christmas: Day Seven

Here's a particular Christmas favourite of mine (though not my all-time favourite Chris Rea song - I think that'd have to be this one); when I looked at the original video on YouTube, though, I decided on this version instead!

It only got to number 53 in the UK charts on it's first issue? That's a monstrous injustice!

So, for all those readers and linked bloggers doing taxi runs or relative visits by road this Christmas, this one's for you:


But last night the Government denied the charge that the ban had been put in place to ensure Muslims were not offended.

They said it was because they would be insensitive for criminals to have to pay fines in a room surrounded by tinsel.
You can just imagine some cluerless NuLab drone looking at the comments this is going to get and saying to himself in baffled exasperation: "Just what do these people want, then..?"

And it seems there's a sweepstake running in government for 'Most Barkingly Insane Official Quote'. If so, I think this chap will walk it:
Last night a source at the Ministry of Justice admitted that tinsel had been banned at the front-office counter at the Nuneaton office.

'Over the counter, yes, where sensitive business like fine payments takes place,' he said. 'For that reason. Otherwise there is tinsel and stuff elsewhere.

'Nothing was removed for religious or diversity reasons.

'One piece of tinsel was removed from a counter where it was getting in the way. The rest of the tinsel remains there as festive as ever.'

And he claimed: 'I have it on good authority that the court is one of the most festive places one could go, perhaps outside Lapland.'

One Goes Mad In CiF….

Jean Hannah Edelstein (Who? Some little-known author…) whines about the popularity of Enid Blyton in ‘CiF’:
My parents never bought me an Enid Blyton book, which is why (of course) I took such real subversive pleasure in finding some stacked in my grandmother's dusty bookshelves.
Didn’t do you any harm, did it?

Or, perhaps it did, since you are here whining about it…
My favourite Blyton title was The Put-Em-Rights, the story of a pious band of children from middle England who are inspired by a travelling preacher to do good works in their community; their well-intentioned efforts go generally awry and the overall message is that it's best to stick with your own kind, especially if you're working class. As it was in significant opposition to the liberal orthodoxy about inclusiveness I'd been taught at home and at school, I read it several times with complete consternation.
Isn’t that what kids do? Find something that throws into question everything their parents told them?

Admittedly, it’s usually punk rock, drugs, sex or booze, but hey. If you want to indulge your inner conformist, Jeannie, who are we to judge?
That was 20 years ago, and these books were already anachronistic. But as statistics released by released this week demonstrate, many British parents and grandparents appear to remain convinced of the benefits of Blyton for young readers: alongside obvious choices like Dan Brown, JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, Blyton is in the top 10 most purchased authors of the decade…
A list, I suspect, in which you will never feature.

And that’s what really rankles, isn’t it?
This poll of the most mainstream choices of British book buyers illustrates, I think, a collective desire for escapism, showing that our motivations haven't changed too much since the beginning of fiction. Even in this age of relative realism, we seem to be seeking out narratives that draw us away from the realities of contemporary life
People read for pleasure? And to escape the humdrum issues of their daily lives?

Well, I never! Here’s one for MummyLongLeg’s ‘No Sh*t Sherlock’ column
The enthusiasm with which these books have apparently been purchased for young readers in the past 10 years suggests more about their parents than them: that fear of the future, or even the present, is moving them to value for young people a familiarity with a comforting, simpler past, that is based on old-fashioned discrimination.
Yes. Parents buy Enid Blyton books not because they are simple, warm tales of friendship, but because they are secret racists and bigots.

Ever get the feeling some CiF columnists are just phoning it in..?

Friday, 18 December 2009

The Twelve Plays Of Christmas: Day Six

Although never intended to be a Christmas record, the mention of Christmas in the lyrics (and the fact it was therefore released in December 1980) took it almost to the top spot, and some believe it would have got there too, if not for the murder of John Lennon and the hasty release of two of his singles...

Pretty Much Par For The Course For SOAS…

Footage has emerged of a man being told he is "not welcome" after revealing his Jewish name at a School of Oriental and African Studies debate on Palestine.
The place is a snakepit at the best of times…
A spokesman for the London university said nobody broke hate speech rules.
Oh, that’s OK then.

Perhaps you need to look again at those ‘guidelines’? After all, if this is what they permit, exactly what would someone have to do to breach them?

A Big, Steaming Pile…

…of NuLabour arrogance, via Anna Raccoon:
A furious row developed which left the other woman close to tears and prompted a police investigation into the minister’s behaviour.

British Transport Police even seized CCTV footage of the row. Six weeks later, the investigation has finally been closed and Mrs Baird will not now face prosecution, but the affair is a big embarrassment for the senior MP.
No it isn’t.

Nothing embarrasses these people…
According to sources, Mrs Baird took great offence at being challenged by the woman and gave her a ‘complete mouthful’.

When a police community support officer turned up to deal with the altercation, a by-now furious Mrs Baird made it clear she felt she was being humiliated and allegedly said ‘don’t you know who I am?’.
Which is just the sort of attitude you would expect from a deputy of Baroness Scotland…

According to sources, a number of officers thought charges would be brought. But, after reviewing the evidence, senior transport police officers ruled that the case be dropped.

One source claimed they ‘lost their bottle’ because of Mrs Baird’s position.

What a shocker…

Last night Mrs Baird said the mess, caused by a new puppy, was later removed by a station cleaner.

She said: ‘My new puppy was unwell and made a mess on the platform at King’s Cross some weeks ago. A member of the public complained to me and she and I had an argument.

‘As it ended, a PCSO arrived and spoke to me. I complained to the BTP about his attitude.

‘I have received an apology from the BTP and as far as I am concerned the matter is closed.’

She's received an apology..?! The sheer breathtaking gall of this woman is as hard to stomach as the thought of her dog’s crap…
She added: ‘I asked for, and got, help from the station cleaner as it was not possible to pick up the mess.’
Why not? If you have a dog, you go equipped to pick up the poop. It isn’t rocket science, sweetie. Even you should be able to figure that one out.

The bitch should have had her nose rubbed in it. And no, I don’t mean the puppy…

Bad Apples In The Barrel..?

When I read this story in the ‘Fail’, I thought there must be a bit more to it than they were saying, else why would the fearsome PSD of Gadget and Copper’s Blog infamy merely issue such a mealy-mouthed statement:
A police spokesman said: 'The seriousness of Mr Folkes' allegations, and the need to avoid any repetition of the same, has been fully impressed upon Sgt Jones. '
Surely a senior police officer who really had abused his position to harass a disabled neighbour with whom he was in dispute would be facing far more serious disciplinary offences, if there wasn’t more to it than met the eye?

In fact, why would he still be in the police force?

Then I read this story:
An investigation into the treatment of a clergyman arrested on suspicion of child neglect has not been able to substantiate any of his complaints.
Those being:
After his arrest, during which Mr Blake claims he was assaulted by officers, the archbishop claimed he was locked without any shoes in a filthy cell with blood on the floor.

He said despite requests, the blood was not cleaned up and he was also refused toilet paper and a pen and paper.

And he claims his cell light was left on all night and he was refused access to washing facilities and to food and water in sealed containers.

After being detained for 24 hours, Mr Blake was released without charge.
But it was what they were able to substantiate that was worrying.
Because one of the cells in which he was held had no CCTV and the other had only poor quality video with no sound, there was no independent record of Mr Blake’s requests, which were not entered in the custody record.

However, the DPS did find discrepancies in Mr Blake’s custody record.

These included not recording Mr Blake had moved cells, nor that he had been taken from the cells for a meeting with his solicitor.

The record did show the jailer visited Mr Blake’s cell twice during the night to check on him and found him asleep.

But CCTV footage showed no visits were made.
So the records weren’t worth the paper they were written on.

Faced with that sort of discrepancy in an interview, what would any detective conclude about the honesty of those under investigation?

Exactly. So why should this not work both ways?
Mr Blake said he would also be taking civil action against the police.
Good luck to him…