Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Signs That The War On Drugs Is Failing…

A woman says she fears for the safety of small children after a fox attempted to snatch a bag of pills from her hands as she walked along the street.
Ruthless, strung-out junkie foxes. Undoubtedly brought up in a single-vixen den…
Mrs Buckingham said: “I have never been afraid of any animal with four legs, but that put the fear of God in me.”
Well, quite! Would you like to swap places with the people of Churchill, Mrs Buckingham?

Mad, Or Bad, Or Both..?

Ben Mawhood, 24, phoned police and threatened to shoot someone. He then pointed the starting pistol at the girl, a stranger to him, as he stood a short distance from her in Eboracum Way, off Foss Islands Road, York.
She didn't know it was a starting pistol, of course. Luckily for her, a passing motorist actually stopped his car and tackled him, restraining him until police arrive. Now there's a man (Philip Boaz is his name) who deserves a medal.
Mawhood, who had drunk half a bottle of vodka and taken illegal drugs, had two knives on him, and police later found a weapons hoard, including another imitation firearm, at his flat.
It turns out that, once again, as so often in these cases, there were plenty of warning signs:
In the months leading up to the incident, Mawhood had absconded from a mental health hospital and though he had later surrendered himself, he had been aggressive and smashed windows there, the judge said.
Indeed, so odd was his behaviour, the worried parents (and some NHS staff) were considering the ultimate sanction:
Defence barrister Nicholas Barker said that on May 3, Mawhood’s mother and community psychiatric professionals were so concerned about his behaviour they had discussed sectioning him under the Mental Health Act.
Unfortunately, that discussion never materialised into action. But surely, now he...

Two psychiatrists consulted by the defence declared Mawhood’s mental condition did not require him to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act, so the judge passed a prison sentence.
Three years. That’s what he got. And he’ll probably serve half that, if we’re lucky.

And, presumably, no treatment, unless on a voluntary basis?

Marketing FAIL!

Grieving parents of a young woman who died after taking a ‘legal high’ were appalled to be sent free samples in the post.
Her parents Margaret and Robin Moyle, of Cant Way, Braintree, were recently sent two sachets of a stimulant called Recharge from an online company that Sarah bought Ivory Wave from.
Mind you, it’s not like any company routinely checks the obituary column to see if its product has killed the customer yet, is it?
Mrs Moyle, 60, said: “We just can’t believe they had the audacity to send it through the post."
A courier would have been better..?

Monday, 29 November 2010

Post Title Of The Month

A new feature here, and I'm kicking it off with Leg-Iron's reporting of the news that Lidl has started to sell frozen reindeer steaks:

I Blame The Parents…

Two teenagers were arrested during a day of action against education cuts in Colchester town centre. College students blocked traffic in Colchester High Street and North Hill as they protested about government cuts.

At its peak about 500 to 600 students waving placards were in the town’s high street, bringing traffic to a standstill.
And yet, only two were arrested? I guess that spells doom for any whinging about 'lack of license to demonstrate' and 'our growing police state', then...
The crowd passed peacefully along High Street to Castle Park but once in the park, groups of demonstrators broke off and returned to the High Street to stage a sit-down protest outside the town hall. They remained there for about an hour until they were forced down West Stockwell Street by police on foot and horseback and back to North Hill where they eventually dispersed about 3pm.
Via the miracle of the Internet, we can hear first-hand from the parents of these students, disgusted at their disruptive behav…


Not ‘mumof4girls, stanway’ it seems:
I have just had to go and collect my daughter and her friend, both of whom were quite upset.

They are both studying for their A levels at the Sixth Form college and both are very bright, intelligent young woman.

They took part in the protest in the High Street and I was horrified to hear how they were treated by the so called people who are there to protect them. I sat in astonishment, while they told me how they were physically picked up and moved by the police. They were given a 5 second warning to get up.They were sitting peacefully protesting, which surely isnt a crime in itself. They were not being violent or causing harm to anyone. They were also told if they didnt get up they would be arrested, something which has horrified my daughter. They were also physically pushed by the Police and my daughters friend who had a sign reading "dont cut our EMA" was physically picked up and shoved him. In my daughter and her friends words, he was yanked about just because he had a sign.

I do NOT agree with violence in these protests and do not condone any sort of violence. I do however, feel maybe the police antagonise these young people sometimes. I am absolutely disgusted by the behaviour of violent silly students who spoil protests, but today I am equally dusgusted by the policeman who were supposedly protecting the peaceful students !
What did you think they were going to do, you dozy mare, when your spoilt little brat refused to move? Say 'Oh, OK then...' perhaps, and turn around to the waiting motorists with a shrug and a 'Well, we asked nicely..'?

I think we can see why they've grown up into obnoxious little hellions who believe the world owes them a living and they should never be forced to hear the word 'No' applied to them then...

And then ‘pinkish’ wades in:
As the parent of a student at the sixth form college who was also at the demonstration today, i take offence at the labelling of the demonstrators as spoilt and selfish. These young people, like the rest of us, have been let down and lied to by a government that the majority of us voted against. They are seeing their future opportunities and their right to an education snatched away from them, and they have every right to protest. It's those who are complaining about being slightly inconvenienced that are the selfish ones.
Yes, those motorists and shoppers and shop workers going about their lawful business should just sit down and shut up while a group of massively over-indulged and privileged-beyond-belief students create havoc over 'cuts' that won't even affect them...

And as Sam Duncan at 'Counting Cats...' points out, an education is NOT a 'right'. It's a privilege. Or, in their cases, yet another privilege...

Clive Stafford-Smith: In Favour Of Some Form Of Death Penalty, Then..?

Clive Stafford-Smith is in ‘CiF’ whining (yet again) about the US death penalty. This time, it’s the drugs used that rouses his ire:
Some find it counterintuitive that an anaesthetic can cause pain during an execution, but if the anaesthetic does not work, then the prisoner is first paralysed and then poisoned in a particularly painful way. Unfortunately, the probability of such a mistake is very high, no matter what the drug the executioner may use.
Doctors' ethics prohibit them from taking part in an execution, so the prison must ask one of its employees to mix up the drugs, and then "administer" them.
Simple answer, then. Point out to the doctors that their oh-so-principled policy is causing suffering, rather than alleviating it.
It is ironic that sodium thiopental was abandoned by veterinarians on both sides of the Atlantic some years ago, as it was consider unreliable, the side effects unacceptably painful. So, we currently kill people with drugs we would not use on animals.
So, now they are going to use a drug that IS used on animals instead. Has that made Clive happy?
Oooooh, no:
Perhaps this gave the Oklahoma authorities an idea: the condemned prisoners are, in populist parlance, no better than animals. Rather than look for more sodium thiopental, Oklahoma has chosen to turn to the vets for help. They have asked the court for permission to execute John Duty on 16 December – just in time for Christmas – with phenobarbitol, the drug the vets currently use to kill dogs.
It’s the humane thing to do…
One of the sidebars of the execution debate involves the people who design each method of execution. Dr Jay Chapman is generally credited with selecting sodium thiopental 30 years ago for use in executions. No great humanist, he is baffled by the suggestion that we cannot put prisoners to death as we put down animals: "If they have a bit of pain exiting this world, it is of no great concern to me."
Me neither. The animals are innocent. Not so these convicted criminals…

Oh. This chap’s offence? I’m glad you asked, because it’s never mentioned in Stafford-Smith’s little diatribe, and for (no doubt) good reason.

Thanks to a commenter, MoveAnyMountain, we can see that he killed a fellow inmate for kicks and with malice aforethought, and then wrote a letter to the lad’s mother, boasting of his crime.

So, I guess we can deduce from this that Stafford-Smith is rather blasé about convicts being subject to the death penalty when it’s administered by other convicts.

Post Of The Month

From Hogday at 'Hog Day Afternoon', on the curious coincidences that can crop up at traffic accidents:
I went and fetched the right leg from the side of the road and placed it in the body bag with the rest of the corpse. Although I'd picked them up a couple of times before, it always came as a surprise to me how heavy limbs are, even though I was expecting it to be...
Read the rest.

Quote Of The Month

From DumbJon at 'House Of Dumb' on the curious classification of British citizenship:
"So..... just checking my MSM scorecard here: seems like the fact some of the future guests of Club Gitmo once passed through Britain makes them British, but passing through a terrorist training camp doesn't mean they're terrorists. "

Sunday, 28 November 2010

It’s Their Money To Waste…

Shops that leave their doors open while keeping the heating on during the winter months could be using twice as much energy as necessary, a report claims.
And? So? This is a problem because..?
Murat Basarir, of the Engineering Department at Cambridge University, studied energy usage at two shops in the city – Rymans the stationer and the independent Cambridge Toy Shop.

Energy usage at Rymans was reduced by 54 per cent when doors were kept shut for a day, while the Cambridge Toy Shop saved 30 per cent.
Blimey! It took a study, by an engineer, to tell people that keeping the doors closed prevents heat escaping?

Did they think the shops didn’t know this? Why would they feel the need to tell them that?
A shop's carbon usage could be reduced by up to 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by shutting doors – the equivalent of three return flights from London to Hong Kong – according to the report.
Ah. Now I see…

Yes, indeed. It’s ecoloons again:
Jeannie Dawkins, director of the Close the Door campaign, which commissioned the research, said: “It's time for retailers to acknowledge the massive contribution they are making to energy waste and carbon emissions if they heat the street.

"By simply closing the shop door, carbon dioxide emissions dramatically decrease, energy bills are reduced, and customers and staff are made more comfortable. It’s a no-brainer.”
No, not quite. It’s a commercial decision, you see.

Shops are well aware that they are losing energy, but it’s a price they are prepared to pay in order to get people through the doors, where they will spend money. These are mainly drawn from the vast numbers of ordinary people who like to shop in warmth and comfort and who don’t mind if the doors remain open, indeed, they may welcome that warm rush of air as much as I welcome the cold blast you get on hot days.

If they wanted to entice in the tiny, tiny minority of hatchet-faced, mung-bean-eating cretins that would be impressed by this ostentatious display of obeisance to Gaia, they’d close the doors.

But they don’t. Because, when it comes right down to it, there’s not enough of you to keep a whelk stall in business!

Never mind a major multinational…

The Best Defence Is A Good Attack….

A bullying victim says her school has “done nothing”
about the “terrifying” abuse she has suffered from fellow pupils.
Name-calling? Facebook abuse?

No, a bit more serious than that:
This includes three fellow 13-year-olds and a girl from another school attacking her so viciously in Sutcliffe Park in Eltham last month that the police had to be involved.
Elle said: “The bullying started in Year Seven. Because I have buck teeth they used to call me ‘Bunny’, and since then it has just got worse and worse.

“I have been held up by my throat by two girls in the toilet while another one beat me up. I have been chased through the school and had to lock myself in a classroom to keep them out.

“The school has done nothing to help me. I feel unsafe in school. It’s terrifying. I dread break times because I know the girls are going to get me.”
Mrs Yaxley is now looking for another school, because her repeated requests to resolve this seem to be achieving nothing:
Plumber Mrs Yaxley said: “I have reported the bullying to the school many times but all they have done is talk to the girls involved. They haven’t done enough to stop them.”
And faced with a potentially embarrassing story in the local press, the school swings into action.

By blaming the victim…
A Beaverwood spokeswoman said Mrs Yaxley is “seeing incidents Elle may or may not have been involved in from a limited perspective” .
Well, yes, she’s the victim’s mother. It’s hardly surprising, is it?
The spokeswoman added: “Elle contributes to the numerous incidents she finds herself in. We do not regard her as a bullied child.”
What DO you regard her as, then? One of the bullies?
“As a school we have a bullying policy and are in contact with parents and various agencies when it’s necessary.”
But clearly not the police, or you’d know that a restraining order was granted against some of your pupils…
Mrs Yaxley called the school’s claims Elle is not being bullied “a load of rubbish” and said it is “just trying to sweep the whole thing under the carpet” .
Which is, presumably, why she’s been compelled to go to the local press, despite the likelihood that this may well make things worse...

Sunday Funnies

Stop worrying! It's always the unexpected that does for you...

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Department Of 20/20 Hindsight And Elephant-In-The-Room Avoidance…

As a gang of men were convicted of offences against vulnerable girls, an independent inquiry said agencies "missed opportunities" to help girls involved in the case.
Oh, really? Not that that's a surprise, mind you. It's just a little odd that the attention should focus on the victims, and not on how the perpetrators evaded capture for so long, isn't it?
After the abuse emerged in Operation Retriever, a serious case review was carried out by the Derby Safeguarding Children Board into two of the victims who were in local authority care.

Multi-agency reviews were also carried out into the 25 other girls involved, incorporated into the review.
Who, presumably, weren't in local authority care. What's the percentage there?
The review's executive summary, published on Thursday, said there were "missed opportunities" to help all of the women.

It said although it was difficult to know whether the sexual exploitation could have been predicted for the two girls in care, their background meant it was predictable they would become vulnerable adolescents at risk of abuse.
Wow! Talk about giving a dog a bad name! What predicted this for the other 25 then?
"Had there been earlier, concerted intervention in their lives to address their unmet needs, it is likely that they would have been less vulnerable as adolescents and therefore less likely to be abused," it said.
I can't decide if this is a desperate attempt to focus on something else to draw attention away from the multicultural elephant in the room, or a thinly-veiled threat of what will happen if more resources are not forthcoming.

Or both...
"These conclusions are mirrored in the findings from the multi-agency reviews. There were missed opportunities to assess significant concerns in relation to the other young women and comprehensive assessments were not completed.
Our world class welfare state, ladies and gentlemen...
"When they were completed, the quality of assessments was frequently poor, with little involvement of the young person and their family, and all the relevant agencies."
All we're missing from this is the 'lessons to be learnt' mantra.

Yet I can't help feeling the real lesson to be learnt is being scrupulously avoided at all cost. And that's starting to dawn on others too:
Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Lancashire-based Ramadhan Foundation, a charity working for peaceful harmony between different communities, has said: ‘I think the police are overcautious because they are afraid of being branded racist. These men are criminals and should be treated as criminals — whatever their race.’

In Derby this week, Shokat Lal, chairman of the city’s Pakistani Community Centre in the Normanton area — where many of the girls were taken to seedy flats and then sexually attacked by the gang – spoke out, too: ‘It is important that political correctness or fear of offending any particular group of people does not get in the way of protecting those who are vulnerable.
Can't wait to see how the progressives handle this. Their usual cries of 'racist!' and 'It's not a big problem!' aren't really going to wash, are they?
As Detective Superintendent Debbie Platt of Derbyshire Police said yesterday: ‘We were really shocked with the scale and extent of what we’d uncovered, but this is a very hidden crime.’
Well, yes. Everything's 'hidden' if you studiously look the other way, isn't it?

I Can Only See One Way To Avoid This…

…and that’s for newspaper editors to personally check out all massage parlours before accepting adverts:
After six weeks of confusion and delay, police insist they are poised to send a letter to more than 170 London newspapers outlining plans to crack down on editors who publish adverts for massage parlours that turn out to be brothels containing trafficked women.
It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it….

The saga of the letter however, isn’t so amusing. Nor is the consideration behind it:
In October, we exclusively revealed police plans to get newspapers to stop running sex adverts.
ALL sex adverts. Not just those later found to be fronts for trafficking.

And whatever reservations you might have about this trade, it IS a legitimate business.
This will start with a letter to editors asking them to co-operate.
‘Or else…’
If they do not comply it is believed police will attempt to prosecute editors and publishers whose papers run adverts for brothels found to contain sex slaves for aiding and abetting sex trafficking using new laws passed last year.
Really? They’ve got the resources to waste on this, have they?

Would they not be better spent, then, going out and finding those breaking the law?
At the time, police were known to be working on a letter to be sent to editors detailing their plans.

However, within days the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) press office was spinning the story, with the head of department Ed Stearns insisting to one editor that no letter existed.
I wonder why?

Cold feet, perhaps? Queries over the legality of – in effect - warning businesses that they cannot accept advertising for other legal businesses or they will be held responsible for any illegal acts by those businesses?

You’d certainly hope so, wouldn’t you?
A few days later, a member of his staff confirmed the existence of a letter and said it was being checked by the Met’s legal team.
Yeah, I’ll just bet it was…
But no letter was sent, with a range of reasons being suggested, from key people being on holiday to the need to get a large number of senior officers to sign it off.
Who, if this all goes tits up when it’s put into practice, will no doubt be looking for a large hole to hide in…
Two weeks ago, Mr Stearns called Newsquest’s group editor for south west London and Bucks, Andy Parkes, admitting to the existence of the letter and confirming it would be sent to editors on November 22.

But Monday passed with no letter, fuelling fears the police might be watering it down under pressure from the newspaper industry.
But this week the press office insisted the letter would be sent out imminently.

A spokeswoman said: "Officers have seen from a considerable number of their investigations that advertising in newspapers can play a key role in facilitating the exploitation of trafficked victims for sexual services, with organised criminal networks seeking to advertise this crime through local newspapers or advertising journals.

"As a result, SCD9 [responsible for vice crime] is writing to editors of local London newspapers to ask them not to allow advertising space to be used to promote these practices.

"For the Croydon Guardian to suggest the MPS has been delaying sending the letter out is simply not true.

"We are committed to reducing the opportunity for criminal networks to continue their illegal activities and their exploitation of vulnerable people.

"This is just one way in which we are tackling this issue. The letter will be issued when it is ready, which is likely to be in the very near future."
My goodness, but it’s taking you a hell of a long time to issue a simple letter, isn’t it?

Naturally, the sort of single issue loons who are usually driving this kind of legislation are cock-a-hoop. Mainly because they don’t have the brainpower to envisage the legal slippery slope they are building…
Denise Marshall, the director of charity Eaves Housing, which helps trafficked women, said: “We are really pleased that the police are committed to tackling editors who advertise brothels in their publications.

"By making it more difficult for men to buy sex, this initiative could have the power to reduce the number of women being exploited in prostitution.

"We fully support the police’s initiative and commend Newsquest’s commitment to the issue."
Just as prohibition never succeeded, trying to stop men buying sex is like trying to hold back the tide. It can’t be done.
A CCAT spokesman said: “The Croydon Community Against Trafficking is deeply encouraged by the action the police are taking to enforce laws relating to the exploitation of people in our town and country.

Human trafficking exists in our town, and indeed all around the UK and is largely evident in the exploitation of women, through sexual services they are forced to perform.”
Does it? Does it really? The evidence seems to point the other way.

Yet that doesn't seem to be halting the police in their drive to sidestep that pesky 'proof' business altogether, does it?

Friday, 26 November 2010

We Must Drive At 20MPH…For The Chiilllldreeeennnn!

Campaigners say research which suggests children cannot accurately judge the speed of cars travelling faster than 20mph has added weight to their efforts to reduce speed limits in York.
Bet you didn't see that one coming, eh?
The study measured more than 100 children’s ability to detect approaching cars in a road-crossing scenario.

It found adult pedestrians could make accurate judgments for vehicles travelling up to 50mph, but primary school-age children’s judgements became unreliable once the approach speed went above 20mph.
Maybe the adults are just the ones who survived to pass on their genes by not running out in front of cars, but rather using the crossings?

Nah. Too sensible...
Anna Semlyen, York’s 20’s Plenty campaign manager, said the research was “conclusive” evidence that speed limits needed to be lowered in York.
Well, yes, she would, wouldn't she...

I mean, if we just used this information to try to impress upon children how important it was to use the crossing, or on their parents to impress upon them how important it was to teach safe road skills, where would her hectoring little pressure group be then?
She said: “It’s no surprise to me that this is true. We cannot address child road safety by simply teaching them to pay more attention.”
No, indeed. That wouldn't satisfy your inner control-freak, would it?
“Child pedestrians can’t judge approach speeds as well as adults. It’s simplistic to blame children and suggest they ‘run out’ without checking.”
And it's pretty simplistic to assume there's only one possible way to use this information...
“But this study suggests it’s drivers going too fast that create errors, as it is then impossible for children to make correct judgments. It’s up to adult society to protect families through 20mph limits where people live and for drivers to obey the signs.”
We must all agree to a cut in our speed. It's for the children! Only a monster would disagree, surely?
Professor John Wann, who led the research, said the simplest solution was in traffic regulation.
Of course it was. It always is...
“This is not a matter of children not paying attention, but a problem related to low-level visual detection mechanisms, so even when children are paying very close attention they may fail to detect a fast-approaching vehicle. The vehicles that they are more likely to step in front of are the faster vehicles that are more likely to result in a fatality. Travelling one mile though a residential area at 20mph as opposed to 30mph will only add 60 seconds to journey time.”
So do it! Do it for the children!

And when they still get run over, albeit at a reduced rate? Well, there's always 15MPH to try. Then 10MPH. Remember, the ratchet only ever goes one way with these loons....

You Won’t Be Surprised To Hear It’s West Midlands Police. Again

A teenage girl has been arrested on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after allegedly burning an English language version of the Koran.

The 15-year-old was questioned and bailed by detectives last Friday after the alleged incident in the West Midlands.
Well, it would pretty much have to be, wouldn't it?
She is also accused of posting video footage of the burning booklet on Facebook.
That's a crime now? Destroying your own private property and filming it?

Naturally, a spokescreature was wheeled on to provide the usual justification for the hysterical overreaction and further debasement of our justice systen:
The spokesman for West Midlands Police added: 'The local neighbourhood team have strong links with the school and have been working closely with key partners from the community and the local authority to resolve the matter locally.

'West Midlands Police will investigate and monitor any crime reported by individuals who may have been targeted because of their disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender.'

Yes, we all remember how you swung into action to defend abuses of the Christian/Jewish/Seventh Day Adventist faith, don't we? Sadly, for the West Midlands Poliice, there's only ever one faith that can be guaranteed a response from the thin blue line.

And as legal blogger David Allen Green points out, the difference in the handling of this instance here, when compared to the same issue in America with its strong constitutional protection for freedom of speech, does not show us in a good light...

So congratulations, WMP! You have achieved at least one accolade. You are so uniquely bungling, biased and incompetent you've earned your very own blog tag for all your future screw-ups. You beat even the Met to that 'honour'...

Twisted Firestarter...

Blimey! Things are heating up in Brighton, aren't they?

It Clearly Runs In The Family

A hapless teenage motorist was caught driving without a valid licence after committing two driving offences outside Sutton police station on November 6.

What were these 'driving offences', then?
Jamie Fairbrother, 19, blocked off police trying to get out of the station by stopping in the yellow box junction at its exit.

He apologised to them, but then took a phone call on his mobile phone in front of them – from his dad wondering where his car was.
Amazed at what they had seen, the officers stopped him and found he only had a provisional licence.
I’m surprised he even had that

So, what prompted him to carry out this insane action in full view of a police car?
He told police he had only driven the vehicle to save his dad getting a parking ticket as his father had stopped illegally on the one-way system.

Fairbrother said he was in the front passenger seat when he saw a traffic warden coming, slipped into the driver’s seat and drove off.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

What That Degree In Journalism Will Lead To….

It’s not often I quote the whole article from a local on-line newspaper, but I’m going to make an exception for this one:
Passengers had to get off a bus in York after a safety alert.

The First York No1 service was heading from Holgate through the city centre yesterday morning when it was forced to stop at York Station after a light on the vehicle’s dashboard flashed on to indicate there was a possible technical problem.

It was taken back to the company’s depot and no fault was found. The passengers had to wait for the next bus on the route.
Yup, that’s it. That’s the sum total of this fascinating news item: ‘Bus driver notices warning light. Takes bus out of service’.

Imagine the enormity of the soul-destroying task of writing copy for the ‘York Press’ for any bright-eyed, bushy-tailed graduate who dreamed of becoming the next Woodward or Bernstein…

Students! Better not spend too much time raising hell at demos. Or this is what your ‘journalism’ degree may get you.

If you’re lucky…

Only Men..?

Men accused of beating their wives face being banned from their homes for up to four weeks – even if they have not been convicted of any crime.

Under ‘go orders’ police will have the power to stop alleged abusers returning home or having contact with the victim.

After that initial 48-hour order, the courts will be able to extend the ban for up to 28 days.
Why only men? Is this poor wording from the 'Mail', or are we really about to introduce a law that uniquely favours one sex over the other?

What about battered husbands? They have to just put up with it?

And how's the law going to apply to gay couples, male or female?
The orders were made law by Labour Home Secretary Alan Johnson in one of his last acts in office, but were never brought into force. In August it was reported they had been scrapped as part of public spending cuts, which will see the Home Office budget cut by 23 per cent over the next four years.
And just when you thought sanity had finally reigned, along comes the new, shining hope in the Home Office to remind you that whoever you vote for, a politician gets in...
But they have been resurrected by Home Secretary Theresa May as part of a series of measures aimed at tackling violence against women.
I suspect that this is yet again another triumph for the coterie of poisonous feminists that seem to have the ear of the lawmakers.

After all, as Angry Exile points out, it's apparently OK with them to ignore blatent injustices as long as they are directed at the 'right' sex....

The Dreadful State Of Our Justice System

Well, it didn’t take long for the justice system to go into one of its self-correcting frenzies:
The most senior judge in England and Wales today freed a mother who had been jailed for retracting "truthful" allegations that she had been raped by her husband.
Note that the ‘Guardian’ has the sense to put the ‘truthful’ part in inverted commas.

It’s the last bit of common sense you’ll see, however…
Overturning her eight-month sentence, Lord Judge, the lord chief justice, criticised the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to prosecute the 28-year-old woman, who he accepted had been the victim of prolonged domestic abuse and been put under pressure by her husband to withdraw the allegations. Judge said there should be "a broad measure of compassion for a woman who had already been victimised".
So a judge can just decide this at the appeal, without having heard any of the testimony first-hand? Without any kind of trial of the husband?
It was, he said, "an extreme case" which he hoped would not be repeated.
Probably not, now. But it should be.
Though delighted at her release, the woman's family said she was distraught at being sent to jail away from her children.
"The system has failed her and she knows it," the woman's older sister told the Guardian. "She is devastated. She can't believe it ended this way."
Well, a lot of that was down to her, wasn’t it?
Campaigners described the ruling as a "turning point" but said it was wrong that the victim was the one left with a criminal record while her husband walked free.
Well, no. She has a criminal record because she committed a criminal act and was convicted of it, whereas he hasn’t faced a trial or been convicted of anything.

A professor of law will tell you tha…

Oh. Maybe not:
Clare McGlynn, professor of law at Durham University, said: "Where is the recognition that the woman is the victim here? How come a victim of domestic violence and rape is the one with a two-year community sentence and a criminal record?"
Because she’s NOT a ‘victim of domestic violence and rape’, is she? That hasn’t been proven in court. It’s just what she claims.

Since when did we start unconditionally accepting that whatever someone claims is the truth, without putting it to a test in a court of law? And since when have we paid the salaries of professors of law that don’t seem able to grasp this?
"What does this say about the way the authorities deal with rape victims? It's especially worrying given the climate over the last couple of months with the proposal to grant anonymity to rape defendants, which was underpinned by the belief that a high number of rape complaints made by women are untrue."
I’ve got about 57, and I’ve only been compiling them for less than a year, I think.

Also, I’ve only been noting the ones that make the papers…
Lisa Longstaff from Women Against Rape said: "While we are relieved the woman has been freed, we are outraged that the lord chief justice did not rule that she should never have been prosecuted in the first place. It is common for women and girls to be pressed to withdraw, by attackers, family members and/or police.

Imprisoning rape victims for supposed false allegations is discouraging other victims from reporting and encouraging rapists to carry on. It is a perversion of justice by the authorities."
Whereas making false allegations is…what?

Modern Conservatives....

...don't get up and sort things out for themselves. They just whine about 'unfairness':
The council said there would be no event in Chingford because of “budget issues” and problems with finding an appropriate space.

But critics accused the labour-led council of a politically motivated decision because the area is a Conservative stronghold.

Cllr Jemma Hemsted said: "This is yet another example of this Labour council's prejudices against Chingford, Highams Park and its residents because many of them vote Conservative.

“This is despite their populations making up a significant proportion of the population in this borough. This is blatant discrimination.”
So get a few businesses together and sort out your OWN celebration, Jemma! It's supposed to be the socialists that sit there and whine that no-one's doing things for them with other people's money, isn't it?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Hopeless Causes…

Damilola Taylor was only 10 when he was stabbed in the leg with a broken bottle and left to bleed to death in the stairwell of a south London council estate. The "lively and joyful" football-mad boy, who dreamed of being a doctor, had nothing to do with the gang culture that had been developing on Britain's streets. His death – 10 years ago on Saturday – finally stirred the nation into action. It led to public soul searching and a recognition that something must be done about a problem that had been largely ignored.
Actually, it didn’t lead to much of anything of the sort for the vast majority of people. It certainly exercised the chattering classes, but that’s about it.
"This tragedy is one... from which we have to draw very important lessons," the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw, said at the time. Yet, in the decade since, at least 138 other teenagers have died on London's streets as a result of gang violence or at the hands of other teens, an audit by The Independent on Sunday shows.
Labour in ‘we’ll talk and spend money like drunken sailors but totally fail to resolve the issue’ shock!
"Shanking" – stabbing someone – has become part of teen gang initiation ceremonies and many victims will not go to hospital.
That sounds like a self-correcting problem, to me…
Childcare experts fear youth violence is moving out of the cities and into the countryside.
If we get a lot of very, very slow-moving drive-bys, we’ll know they were right.
"Things have got worse over the past 10 years," said Camila Batmanghelidjh of the youth charity Kids Company.
Hmmm, the past ten years. Something familiar about that phrase…
"Guns and knives are now in the hands of teenagers as opposed to the adult drug dealers. And kids are no longer stabbing each other in the leg – they now stab to kill. "
Another self-correcting problem…

So all that money and resources and effort has only made things worse?
"I think it's the same really," said Carol Thomas, 51, a childcare assistant. "They've put new buildings up but it's not improved that much. There are still gangs going around. There was a stabbing outside the new Tesco, and I'm frightened to go there now."
That’s because it was never the buildings that were the problem…

However, any suggestion that it might be time that this gravy train got shunted into the sidings as a reward for dismal failure is meant with a collective ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!’ from the legions of people making a nice living out of it…
At first glance it seems the lessons Jack Straw talked about have not been learned, despite the myriad schemes, police crackdowns and knife amnesties. Yet among professionals there is optimism. Police, youth workers and local politicians agree that after 10 years, an understanding of why children become involved in gangs and how to tackle the problem has finally emerged.
Children have been forming gangs for millennia. Suddenly, they have figured out why?

And am I right in being a little suspicious of a strategy that demands ‘more money and resources!’ despite the fact that the last ten year’s worth haven’t done the trick?
It is a complicated solution based on long-term investment, early intervention with children as young as three and the much-heralded "joined-up thinking" with different groups learning to work together. Last week, for example, surgeons and the police announced a new collaboration after a successful pilot scheme in which more than 100 NHS hospitals share anonymous information about knife crime victims with police.
Not sure how that’s going to help, other than to bump up the figures and thus scare the wits out of potential Tesco shoppers even more…
But many agencies now fear that this progress could unravel as government cuts take hold. Local authorities, which pay for many youth clubs and youth workers, have already started to make cuts in order to achieve savings of more than £1bn dictated by the Budget.
Ahhh, yes. Just as you were on the cusp of being able to change lead into gold, the wicked old government is going to come and take all your resources away…
Gary Trowsdale, the head of the Damilola Taylor Trust, points out that 99 per cent of young people do not carry knives and are not involved in crime.
"There isn't enough investment in positive kids," he said. "I think the anti-knife crime industry has become part of the problem. If this industry is finding a cure it's not a successful one. We need to have youth clubs open. You can't have kids hanging about on street corners."
Those kids who would be inclined to stab others aren’t going to be drawn into youth clubs. If they are ‘hanging around on street corners’, it’s because they want to…
Sue Fish, Nottinghamshire Police's assistant chief constable, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers on knife crime and serious youth violence, said recent initiatives to share information are making a difference. "We now know that early intervention is where we have to start – that is completely different to 10 years ago. We are dealing with poverty, dysfunctional and violent families and poor education."
None of which – except maybe the violence – is within the remit of the police force, is it?
Damilola's father, Richard, says he now wants to move forward and establish a legacy worthy of his son. For him, this is the Spirit of London Awards. He is also adamant, however, that the battle against youth violence must continue. "The threat of cuts has to be addressed. This country is so blessed. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the whole world. The Government cannot cut funding when young people are dying on the street."
We funded it. For ten years. It didn’t work.
Let’s try something else, eh?
On Saturday, the 10th anniversary of Damilola Taylor's death, a celebrity awards ceremony will see dance troupe Flawless and Alexandra Burke gather at the 02 in London to celebrate the achievements of young people in the arts, music, sport and community activism.

The awards are organised by the Damilola Taylor Trust. Its executive director, Gary Trowsdale, said: "What we're trying to do is show vulnerable kids that if they make the right choices they can get recognised and have a good life. You don't have to be a Premiership footballer."

No, clearly you can be an ‘X-Factor’ contestant or ‘community project worker’ instead.

Why not some doctors, lawyers, teachers, architects, instead of the ‘glamour’ (so-called) professions?

So, if not the endless streams of taxpayer cash, the resources, the interventions, the opportunities, the buildings, what could change things?

Well, a clue is in the round-up of the players in this little drama:
The brothers were convicted of the manslaughter of Damilola Taylor in October 2006 and sentenced to eight years in youth custody. Ricky Preddie, who was 13 at the time of the killing, was released in September after serving two-thirds of his sentence, including time in custody and on remand. On leaving Dovegate Prison in Staffordshire he was released into a probation hostel on the outskirts of London. The Home Office said he would be monitored closely. Danny Preddie, 12 at the time of the killing, is also serving a sentence for other offences committed in jail and is due to be released early next year.
I can see why things aren’t changing.

Can anyone else?

Boris Johnson’s Plan To Reduce London’s Population…

…isn’t going so well:
Emergency services were called at least 13 times to accidents linked to the Mayor'shire bikes during the first two months of the scheme, the Standard can reveal.
Oh noes! We’re slowly being whittled down one by one…

Wait. What’s the usual rate of accidents?
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 3,674 cyclists, or 10 per day, were killed or injured in London last year.

Panic over, then?

Oh, of course not. I was forgetting the vested interests:
National cycling organisation CTC said it supported the scheme but more could be done to improve safety.
Of course. More always could. But who’s going to pay for it?
Policy coordinator Chris Peck said that speed limits should be lowered, road design improved and Cycle Superhighways turned into more than just “blue paint on the side of a bus lane” .
Right. We are. Slower travel speeds, congestion, increased costs in getting goods to shops, increased taxes…
Ray Sadri, of think tank LondonSays, wants Boris bike users to get free helmets
‘Free’ helmets? I thought there was no such thing as a free lunch?
paid for by private firms. “Many of the Boris Bikers I spoke to resent the idea of having to fork out £30 on average for a decent helmet,” he said.
Ah. Of course.

That’s such an attractive outlook, Ray. ‘I don’t want to pay for safety equipment! Make someone else pay for it, you meanies!’
Cyclist David Ellis, who was knocked over by a trailer used to transport the Mayor's hire bikes between docking stations, today branded the vehicles“ludicrous” .
Well, when we’ve perfected the ‘Star Trek’ style transporter, we’ll have them beamed to their docking stations.

Until then, you’ll just have to look where you’re going, won’t you?
Mr Ellis, 37, said the trailers were “a danger to cyclists” because they are wider than the electric vehicle towing them.
We’ll stick ‘em all on a huge lorry then, and you can get a face full of diesel instead…
He called on the Mayor to improve safety among cycle hire scheme users byremoving them and encouraging users to wear helmets.
They already do. It’s not the Mayor’s fault that some people are idiots and ignore the recommendations, is it?

Yeah, You're Definitely Making A Mistake, Recorder Thomas Ashe...

...I mean, how much more indication do you need?
A man who breached his Asbo when he swore at hospital staff has avoided jail.
The court heard Carey, of no fixed address, went to the hospital on September 30 and said he had injured his wrist.

He was known to security staff and they asked him if he had any alcohol on him. He handed them a bottle containing what looked like cider.
Could have been cider. Could have been....let's not go there.
He was told he would get it back when he left, as alcohol was banned in hospital buildings.

Carey was in casualty being treated by a doctor, who discharged him when he started swearing at her.

Security staff were called, but they had to restrain Carey before police arrived, after he became abusive over the cider bottle.
It seems he was known to more than just the police (some of the officers involved had a film crew from Channel Five TV show 'Police Interceptors' with them when Carey was arrested on an earlier occasion, so I've probably seen him...) and the hospital security staff:
A 12-month suspended sentence had been imposed on Carey after he was seen drunk in a park off Mill Road, Colchester, only a day after being released from jail for another breach of his Asbo.
And his penalty for this latest escapade?

Recorder Thomas Ashe QC told Carey he was giving him a final chance to change his ways.

He said: “I’m going to take a risk and I may be making a mistake. Prove me wrong.”
Shouldn't take him long, chum. Don't bother to get changed, is my advice. You'll be sitting again before you know it...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


In a controversial move, the investigation into the scandal will clear probation officers of any individual wrongdoing in their supervision of Jon Venables… Sir David, in the ‘serious further offence’ inquiry, has concluded there were no flaws in the way Venables – who was on life licence – was supervised.
There’s a bit of a shocker, eh?
Sir David will, however, demand that ‘lessons be learned’ from the case.

If no-one did anything wrong, then what…

He will say that, with hindsight, Venables should have been subjected to far more regular psychological testing.
Of course. Right. Hindsight.

So will ‘the lesson’ be that this testing should then be applied to everyone released on license, regardless of risk or warning signs?

It’s the usual public sector way, after all…
He will say the state of the killer’s mind was such that, unless he was watched round-the-clock, he could not have been stopped from viewing sick images of child abuse.
Unless, of course, someone simply took his PC away..?

Nah. Too simple. Like the individuals running our ‘justice’ system.

Clearly, Councils Are Doing Their Best To Employ The Disabled…

…because what else, other than an enthusiastic drive to recruit the partially-sighted explains this complaint from serial litigator, Pauline Scanlon?
She accused a colleague of putting his hand on her thigh, displaying a soft porn calendar in his office and calling her ‘babe’.
Check out the photo in that link. I’ll wait…
Mrs Scanlon has won four separate payouts after accusing employers of discrimination or sexual harassment.
Indeed, she seems to have made quite a career out of it. Literally:
Mrs Scanlon, who lives in Saltburn, North Yorkshire, with her retired husband, joined the council in October 2002 as its £25,000 a year equalities officer.

But she was sacked two years later for refusing to co-operate and for having a poor working relationship with colleagues.

She was accused of being an equalities ‘zealot’ and ‘unhelpful’.
There’s a shocker, eh?
During her decade of claims Mrs Scanlon does not appear to have stayed in one job for more than 26 months.
Well, indeed not. If you are a wise fisherman, you don’t carry on throwing the hook into the pool after you’ve caught all the big fish. You move on.
In a statement released by her union, Unison, Mrs Scanlon accused Redcar and Cleveland council of destroying her career.
So, she’s now out of wo…

Oh. Silly me. Of course she isn’t:
The 46-year-old, who now works for the Department for Work and Pensions
If I was their law department, I’d be sweating a bit now.

Well, until I remembered that it’s only taxpayer’s money, after all….

Spreading A Little Christmas Cheer....

John Lewis, Christmas, heart-warming advert...what could go wrong?
The original 60 second advertisement shows a young boy approaching a dog lying in the snow on a blanket outside its wooden kennel, which is decorated with Christmas lights.
Everyone say 'Ahhhhh'...
The boy then hangs a stocking over the kennel and walks away toward the lighted, warm home - leaving the dejected dog, a Deerhound, staring back at him as he leaves.
Everyone say 'Ahhhhh', again.

Oh, wait. You at the back! What the hell are you saying?
The commercial, which first aired earlier this month after ITV1's X Factor, then finished with the message: “For those who care about showing they care.”
It featured a rendition of “Your Song” by Ellie Goulding and was set to run for five weeks in conjunction with two other 30-second adverts.
But the advertisement, created by advertising agency Adam & Eve, sparked anger among animal welfare campaigners and angry customers who accused John Lewis of “sending the wrong message” to children.
Sending the wrong....? The hell you say?
Julie Hill, from DogCast Radio, that is based in Stretton Hills, Shropshire, set up a Facebook site “stop the John Lewis Christmas Ad”.
Oh, my stars and garters, are you kidding me? Julie, sweetie, don't you have a life?
Dogs belong in the house with their people – not out in the snow in a ramshackle, doorless, bare kennel – even if it is adorned with fairy lights,” she wrote.
Mrs Hill complained to the chain, the Advertising Standards Agency and the Dogs Trust.
Good grief, where does she think a lot of working dogs - and a fair few family pets -live? For real?

It's outdoors, and they don't get fairy lights because they'd chew right through them and electrocute themselves!

It's an advert, FFS! And the beast in question is a deerhound, not a Mexican hairless. Not exactly unadapted to the rigours of a (comparatively mild) UK winter.
After originally defending the advertisement, a John Lewis spokeswoman admitted it had been changed following complaints.
“During the process of editing shorter ads, which continues once the initial 60-second ad has aired, we will always choose the scenes which work best,” she said.
“It is apparent that some people don't like the scene with the dog and we have used this opportunity to include other scenes that we shot but haven't yet used.
“We have taken the views of dog owners and dog welfare groups into consideration when editing our 30-second versions.”
It seems John Lewis don't feel much like swimming against the tide of stupid on this one. Can anyone blame them?

I Guess They Aren’t All Idiots At ACPO After All….

Assistant Chief Constable Adrian Whiting, the firearms spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said that the age at which children can legally apply for a firearms certificate should be brought down to the same age at which they can apply for a shotgun licence – currently 10.
Tell me more…
The difference in ages between firearms licences – which apply to rifles and pistols – and shotgun licences is an "anomaly", he said. Asked by Keith Vaz, the committee chairman, what he thought the age limit should be, he replied: "The minimum age would be 10."
And, incredible as this may sound, he based this opinion on ….

Wait for it….

…actual evidence:
"Because children as young as 10 have been able to shoot perfectly safely with a shotgun certificate, there is no reason to interrupt that. The evidence in relation to young people shooting does not give any cause for concern."

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a senior police officer stick to his, errr, guns and refuse to go down the easy route of what he believes ‘public opinion’ to be, before. This must be some kind of record.

Naturally, there are those who aren’t too pleased:
Mr Whiting's comments were condemned by anti-gun campaigners. Lucy Cope, the founder of Mothers Against Guns, said: "I'm thoroughly disappointed with this senior police officer. I don't think a 10-year-old is responsible enough to have a firearm."
Well, you’d be expected to say that, after all, you’ve said it before, albeit with a greater amount of hysteria.

Clearly, someone’s told you to tone it down a wee bit in future, because you come over like a hysterical ninny.
The committee also asked questions of other senior firearms officers, including Assistant Chief Constable Sue Fish, the Acpo spokeswoman for gun crime.
And – no surprises here – she fell into the cliché of exactly what we’d expect from an ACPO mouthpiece:
She was questioned about the influence of violent computer games on violence among young people. Ms Fish said: "The two are not incompatible. My sense is that I find [such games] extremely distasteful, and I cannot help but feel that they cannot help the situation."
Asked a serious question about the issue at hand, Whiting backs up his considered opinion with factual analysis of the issue.

Asked a frivolous question about a tangential issue, Fish witters on about how she feels things must be, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, because she either thinks that herself and is unable to separate her own opinions from the facts of the issue at hand, or she cynically suspects that that’s what the panel want to hear.

I’m afraid I’ve a feeling I know which one of these will prosper at ACPO…

Monday, 22 November 2010

I Don't Know Who Writes 'Mail' Headlines....

...but I'm pretty sure, under the circumstances, the Brits have the same chance of dying as everybody else down there...

Unless, maybe, they're smokers? If so, they must be doomed.

Tried It That Way, Didn't Work. Tried It The Other...

...and guess what?
Fariz Allili looked out at the decaying tower blocks he calls the "ghetto". Grafitti cakes his entrance hall, there is no heating, the lift has been broken for months and unemployed youths loiter with nothing to do.
Well, clearly they lack the skills to fdo anything about the heating or the lifts, but if they wanted to make a start, why not clean up that graffiti? Since they have 'nothing to do'?
Five years ago these estates in Clichy-sous-Bois on the edge of Paris exploded in riots that spread across France and led to a state of national emergency. The trigger for the violence was the death of two young boys electrocuted in a power substation while hiding from police.
Really? Are we sure it wasn't the pitiless Western society that forced them to...

But the root cause was the hopelessness of a generation of young French people, ghettoised in dismal suburbs, marginalised and jobless because of their skin colour or their parents' immigrant origins.
Whew! For a minute there, I wasn't sure if I really was reading the 'Guardian'...
But the president's anti-immigrant stance, aimed at securing him votes from the extreme-right Front National, is not so much about newcomers. It is about French society's problems coming to terms with its own diverse make-up.
It's 'diverse make-up'? Isn't that quite a recent phenomenon?
When Angela Merkel declared that multiculturalism in Germany had "utterly failed", some saw it as a vindication of the French integrationist approach. Under the republican model, multiculturalism is seen as taboo. In France, once a French citizen you leave cultural and ethnic differences at the border and are theoretically seamlessly assimilated into the republic. Everyone is equal before a state that is blind to colour, race and religion.
In other words, quite the opposite to the UK, where diversity is celebrated and enforced by printing of all council leaflets in a multitude of languages, and the proliferation of quangos and fakecharities ensures that no-one need consider themselves 'English' or 'British'.

And things are no better, are they?
Despite an outcry about the urban riots, some racially diverse estates in Clichy-sous-Bois still face over 40% unemployment for the under-25s. A recent study of French citizens with immigrant parents found that they suffered higher unemployment, fared worse at school and faced more discrimination than other French people. Over a third felt society did not accept them as being French.
And they are getting worse:
Another leaked report for the prime minister's office warned of a "ghetto effect" in some schools where integration had failed and children were identifying more with religion and immigrant roots than being French.
Sound familiar? It does to me:
Paradoxically these second- and third-generation French children, raised and schooled in the republican tradition, were less integrated than their often semi-literate immigrant grandparents who came from north and sub-Saharan Africa, Asia or southern Europe to work on building sites after the second world war.
Welcome to Clichy-sous-Bois; twinned with Leeds...

I Spoke Too Soon...

...surely in the 'Quintessential 21st Century Newspaper Headlines' stakes, this ought to be a front-runner too:

Adan Abobaker, 37, told today of the dramatic rescue but shrugged off praise for his heroism, saying: “I only did what needed to be done.”
Here's hoping the publicity at least does him some good.

The Quintessential 21st Century Local Newspaper Headline?


And it gets better. This chap clearly has identity issues:
The court was told Hollis-Pekkanen was sent a first warning letter by the council about his behaviour in August last year.

It was served by the police but he did not believe the officer was a genuine policeman and continued his campaign against both victims.
He got a suspended sentence, and the article doesn't mention whether the bizarre harassment has continued but I can assume it hasn't, or there'd be reference to it.

Sartre was right; hell clearly IS other people. Even those you might expect to show some understanding about what it's like to be different...

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Trying Just A Little Too Hard...

...for that coveted 'trendy vicar' accolade:
A prominent bishop has provoked a storm of outrage by likening Prince William and Kate Middleton to ‘shallow celebrities’ and predicting their marriage will last just seven years.

On his Facebook page, Church of England Bishop Pete Broadbent describes the Royal Family as ‘philanderers’ with a record of marriage break-ups who ‘cost an arm and a leg’.

He also denounces the ‘nauseating tosh’ surrounding the ‘national flimflam’ of the wedding and says the basis of the Monarchy is ‘corrupt and sexist’.
That's the way to bring people back to the Church of England, Peter...
When approached at his home by The Mail on Sunday yesterday, Bishop Broadbent said: ‘I’m not speaking to you. I really am not speaking to you. If you want to run a gutter story, run a gutter story. Bye.’
Yeah, it's a bit late for a dignified silence now, isn't it?

The Very Definition of Blasé...

...comes from the mouth of an unnamed spokeswoman from the Miami-Dade County Pre-Trial Detention Center:
'I just looked at him. I see a lot of stuff. It didn't really bother me.'
Wow! Just....wow!

Well, I Suppose It Makes A Change From...

...'I got drunk and thought I'd better come up with an excuse!' or 'I wanted to get back at my boyfriend/girlfriend/parents':
Richard Stevens, prosecuting, said: ‘She said she had a drugs debt of £3,000 involving crack cocaine. The dealer had told her to accuse the victim of rape and it was her hope that doing so might wipe her debt.’
18 months in jail might do something to cure that drug addiction. Or not...
Merry uses the nickname Sexy Sam on her Myspace page on which she writes: ‘Before I met my boyfriend I wanted to get in to some kind of modeling [sic]’.

She adds that her ambition is to meet Katie Price.
Well, it's really down to whether Katie keeps her nose clean for the next 18 months, then....

The man in the case? Well, at least he wasn't named, this time:
Her victim was arrested in front of his partner and their children at 4am and driven to a police station where intimate swabs were taken and he was held in a cell for 23 hours.

He remained on bail for 15 weeks with the threat of a lengthy jail term hanging over him while officers investigated the allegations.
It took them 15 weeks to find the CCTV that proved he couldn't have done what she claimed?

Sunday Funnies

In light of the last fortnight's Twitter shenanigans, this one's useful advice as well as funny...

Saturday, 20 November 2010

If They Escape Responsibility For The Things They Do Do...

...is it then OK when they are told they have a responsibility for things they couldn't possibly foresee?

I don't think so.

Yesterday, the blogosphere was aghast at the overturning of the conviction of Mark Andrews - Anna Raccoon, Patently and Counting Cats... all posted very good reasons for seeing this as yet another nail in the coffin of public confidence in the police, and I agree with all their conclusions.

And on the same day, I read this:
Two Gwent police officers who assisted a deaf man who fell ill in the street and later died failed to exercise a proper duty of care to him, the Independent Police Complaints Commission found.
Oh? In what way? Did they ignore him? Did they assault him?

No. Their only offence, it seems, is that they failed to be psychic...
...should not have left him alone at his Newport home without ensuring a friend or relative had been informed or seeking medical aid for him themselves.
And how had he come to the attention of the police in the first place?
An inquest into Mr Lewis’ death heard he was found clinging to a lamp post in Jeffrey Street, Newport, by his friend Mark Williams on October 20, 2009, complaining of leg problems.

The hearing was told Mr Williams flagged down a passing police car driven by PC Simon Richens who asked Mr Lewis if he wanted to go to hospital, to which he replied no.

He then decided to take him home and called for assistance.
Yes. That's right. The police drove him home and attempted to give him every assistance possible.

Assistance which was REFUSED by the man himself:
The court heard PC Richens checked Mr Lewis’ mobile phone for a family contact number but could not find one.

He then asked Mr Lewis if he was OK, explained he was leaving and gave him a thumbs up, a gesture which Mr Lewis repeated.
And any other time, that'd be that. Man assisted, job done.
Two weeks later on November 3, Mr Lewis was found dead in his arm chair by his mum Dorothy Lewis.

A definite cause of death could not be established due to the condition of the body...
They've no idea why he died.

He could have made his own way home, and died, but no-one would be at fault for that.

However, because the police stopped and gave him a lift home (which I'm pretty sure isn't in their remit for normal duties, or they'de be forever driving drunks around the streets...) they are now found culpable for not overruling his wishes and taking him to A&E.

So, what's the end result of this? The police, fearing for their jobs, will now haul every drunk, drugged, ill person they meet into a crowded, overstretched A&E to make sure they are not holding the parcel when the music stops.

This is supposed to be a good thing?
... a statement from pathologist Dr Andrew Davies said that without evidence of injury or foul play, death was most likely through natural causes caused by heart disease.
Any reasonable person would have left it at that. But perhaps the Gwent Coroner has been issued too many speeding tickets, or had burglaries go unattended:
Recording an open verdict, Gwent Coroner David Bowen said he could not be sure that Mr Lewis' death would have been prevented had police taken him to hospital.

He said that while he had little doubt the officers acted with good intentions, it was not admirable to leave a person in those circumstances alone and unattended, at least until a friend or family member had been alerted, especially when that person was vulnerable.
Aha! There's the magic word: 'vulnerable'. Was he 'vulnerable' because he was deaf? Or was he 'vulnerable' because he was ill?

Or was he 'vulnerable' because we don't yet have the precognitive facility of the Precrime Department?

This Christmas: For The Concerned Eco-Worrier Who Has Everything….

…give him/her the gift of agonising about the diet of zoo animals:
Sea lions and penguins at Edinburgh zoo are changing diet to help save threatened fish stocks
Do they know this?
They are in the vanguard of a push by the Marine Stewardship Council encouraging zoos to follow retailers and restaurants in using only sources it has certified as sustainable.
Providing there's no animal welfare issues - and I'd hope the zoo staff wouldn't do anything stupid like join up to this scheme if that was the case, but you never know - you might ask, 'Why not?'...
Uncertified herring are no longer disappearing down the throats of Sofus and Miranda, the zoo's sea lions. They have been replaced by MSC-approved stocks from Scottish waters. The zoo's 200 penguins will be soon guzzling certified South African hake instead of blue whiting from the Pacific if trials prove them a suitable substitute.
And when that starts to run out? Tofu?
Darren McGarry, animal collection manager for the zoo, said: "We're really pleased that the Patagonian sea lions have taken to their new feed. Zoo animals can be very picky about what they eat but they've taken to the MSC-certified feeds straight away."
They don't care. They're animals. They'll eat whatever tastes good or soothes their hunger.

Only people worry about this sort of thing.

Do Students On Bikes Have A Death Wish?

Police launched their Lights on Bikes campaign at the beginning of November to coincide with the clocks changing and dark nights drawing in.

Cyclists caught breaking the law are given the opportunity to avoid the fine if they show police a receipt for new lights within seven days.
That's awfully generous! I wonder if you or I were caught with bald tyres or a defective exhaust if they would be quite so accommodating?

Still, it's nice to see a good story about police and public for once. How are the students treating this generosity?

But bike shop staff revealed some people, particularly students, were returning to the store to get a refund after they had shown officers their new lights.
Good lord, how pricey are bike lights, for heaven's sake?

Well, a quick glance in Halfords shows they are....not very much at all.

Certainly, not worth the risk of disappearing under the wheels of a goods lorry who can't see you in the dark...
Jim Tanner, of Bike Zone, in Market Street, Oxford, said: “The police have tried to stop it by stamping the receipt. We’ve had people who try to cut the police stamp off.

“The police have said, if they ask for a refund, we should ask for their name and the police will reissue the fine and double it. But this time of year we are now refusing all bike light refunds.”
Not sure about the legality of that, but FFS, how dim are these kids?
Road safety officer Pc Mark Pilling said: “The initiative is now running 365 days-a-year and legally the force is unable to stop shops from offering refunds, but if the receipt has been stamped it will have been used to prove purchase of a set of cycle lights and avoid paying a fine.

If anyone would rather ride without lights after dark they should expect to either get injured or repeatedly stopped and fined.”
Or killed.

So what is it, a macho thing? Is it considered uncool to ride with lights? Is it a rebellion against authority?

I really, really cannot see what's to the student's advantage in doing this....

Friday, 19 November 2010

Strange View Of ‘Equality’….

Sandra and Roger Long claim their daughter, Jade, was turned away from Thomas Lord Audley School yesterday because they objected to the way it proposed to discipline her for a playground brawl.
Well, it wouldn’t be the first time a school had sought to do such a thing. But that’s not necessarily the story here:
Mr and Mrs Long, of Monkwick Avenue, complained to the secondary school last week after learning the 12-year-old was to receive a different penalty to the other child involved in the fight.
Fights, like tangos, take two – but usually one leads.

So, that being the case, why shouldn’t the penalties be different?
Their daughter was to be isolated while the other child was to receive a detention.

The couple said when they complained, saying the school should punish both children equally, it increased their daughter’s punishment to one day’s exclusion.
Perhaps the school felt that some of the fault here lay with the example the couple were giving to their daughter over this, and that, on reflection, they’d been too lenient with her?

That is, after all, the risk you take, when you say ‘Hey! This isn’t fair! I demand a review!’.

Isn’t it?
Mrs Long, 35, said: “I understand the school can’t allow that behaviour, but if they think isolation is the appropriate punishment, then both children should have received it.

“In that instance we would have gone along with it, but she received a harsher punishment than the other child. Now, because we have complained, it is punishing her for our actions – that’s totally out of order.”
It might be ‘punishing her for your actions’, and it might not – and since when was it ‘fair’ to give an initial aggressor no more punishment than their victim, if that is the reason for the discrepancy?
Mrs Long added: “When she came back from school yesterday with her dad, she was in tears.

“She is really upset about it, as one of her goals this year was 100 per cent attendance.

“That’s gone out of the window now and even if that doesn’t go on her record, she has missed out on lessons.”
It’s almost as if – to Mrs & Mrs Long - these consequences aren’t down to her own behaviour in getting into a fight, and rather are only down to the school’s actions, isn’t it?
Jonathan Tippett, executive headteacher of the Stanway Federation, which includes Thomas Lord Audley School, said: “If any parent feels a school has acted unreasonably by excluding their child from school, they have a right to make their views known to the governing body.

“Mr and Mrs Long have now exercised that right and they will be given the opportunity to make their representations to the governing body in the near future.”
Maybe if they lose here, they’ll all get the cane!

If Only Fiona Pilkington Had Set Fire To A Poppy Wreath...

...instead, she set fire to herself and her disabled daughter, after years of torment from scum.

As Tim Worstall points out, it could have been so different:
Because yes, even scum get the protection of the State from the mob.
Only if your face fits, Tim, only then...

Does This Qualify As 'Teasing The Animals'?

Kelabu has found something new to sink her teeth into this Halloween - the Sumatran Tiger has found an appetite for pumpkin.
No, she just thinks - briefly - that someone's been kind enough to toss her a human head...

"There are brains in here? Right?"

Well, This Is Going To Get Awkward...

...the next time the police rock up to a messy domestic and the wife is standing there, bleeding from a cut head and with a huge shiner, and the husband blusters that she did it herself by 'walking into a heavy door'...

The police are jubilant, unaware (or uncaring?) of the public mood.

As Fuel Injected Moose points out:
"They hold us in the same contempt I have for them. If we don't like it we should move to a country where the coppers are a bit worse."
The options seem to be diminishing daily.

Greater ‘Courage And Leadership’ From Politicians?

Yeah, good luck with that, ecoloons:
Politicians need to show greater courage and leadership if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a panel of eminent environmentalists said last night.
Translation: ‘Crikey, the peasants don’t fancy toiling in the fields before coming home to a mud hut and shivering round a fire eating turnips! Better see if their feudal rulers will force them into it…’

Sorry, chaps. We have elections now.
Consumers, however, must acknowledge they are not only the "victims" but the "villains" of global warming and work towards a dramatic shift in life style.
Oh, yeah? We must, eh?

Who will make us? Politicians, who have to be elected by us?

‘Vote for me, I’ll make your lives harder and more stressful, for the glory of Gaia!’. It’s not really a rousing election campaign strategy, is it?

Needless to say, the tiny handful of ecofreaks attending this shindig were all in favour of electing a new populace, since the old one shows no signs of bending to their will:
Tom Burke, of green think-tank E3G said: "We have no shortage of the technology we need to sort out this problem. This really comes down to politics. We are not getting anything like the political leadership we need."
The problem is, Burke, that the technology you’ve so far come up with turns out to be utterly useless. Wind power? Wave power? Solar power?

None of them do the job…
Julian Rush, environment correspondent for Channel 4 News said: "If you are going to try and change social attitudes to energy consumption, you are on a very, very long-term project.

"People in Africa, India and China living very poor, very difficult, very rough lives, see our lives and think: 'I want some of that'. It is going to be very, very hard to convince them they should have a different ambition."
Indeed. How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm, once they’ve seen gay Paree, eh, Julian?

Some home truths did emerge, however:
David Hone, Shell's senior climate change advisor, spoke about its controversial exploitation of the tar sands in Alberta, Canada. "The public questions why we go to oil sands, but it is also a public that demands more energy and lower energy prices," he said.
Quite! And the reaction of the ecoloons is to insist that the public need to change to suit their narrow vision, or Armageddon will surely be upon us.
Mr Burke added: "[The public] are both victims and villains. We have to come up with complicated answers to what is quite simply a question of why are we doing something as stupid as tar sands."
He’s just told you. Because the public needs to buy the oil to heat their homes, run their cars and businesses, etc.
Others simply whine that the only grown-ups at the affair shouldn’t be allowed to speak at all, because it spoils their fun:
Tom Jackson of the Manchester Climate Action group said: "It is pretty outrageous that Shell is involved in this discussion at all... given its environmental track record."
Newsflash, Tom: even Obama’s White House spinmeisters couldn’t sustain that particular fiction when it applied to BP for long.

So why should we believe you about Shell?

And why should we listen to you when it’s patently obvious that the leading lights of your organisation are the ultimate hypocrites, expecting us all to accept a lower standard of living in fear of a non-existent threat while they themselves do no such thing?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Irresistible Force Meets Immovable Object

Yes, it’s French travellers vs RyanAir:
No-one, it appears, warned the French of the airline's uncompromising reputation.
More than 100 passengers staged a sit-in in one of the company's airliners on Tuesday night after their flight, which had been destined for Beauvais in northern France, was diverted to Belgium.
The angry customers, mostly French tourists on their way home from holidays in Morocco, refused to leave the aircraft after it landed in Liege at 11.30pm and spent four hours in their seats in protest.
It wasn’t just the abrupt termination of their flight that aggravated them, though:
Having already been agitated at taking off in Fez three hours late, the passengers on flight FR5222 were not in the most understanding of moods and demanded to be flown the rest of the way.
Unfortunately, RyanAir then deployed the tactics that usually work for acquiescent Brits:
The pilots and cabin crew stayed onboard the jet for an hour, trying to convince the frustrated band of men, women and children to disembark. The airport authorities also offered the passengers food and drink in a departures lounge, and it was made clear to them that the coach journey would be free.
How very good of them!
But realising they were not making any progress, the crew eventually decided to leave the airliner themselves – and, according to the passenger Reda Yahiyaoui, locked the lavatories as they went.
Naturally, they fall back on the ‘Ooooh, we were scared that these people we’d jerked around so much might do something violent!’ approach:
A spokesman for Ryanair said that the crew had only left after the passengers became "disruptive". Christian Delcourt, a spokesman for the Liege airport, said that some of them were "very aggressive, very rude," adding: "It was a very tense situation."
Well, they’d paid for a flight, and they expected to get one. It’s really no wonder they were a ‘bit tense’, isn’t it?

More disgruntled RyanAir passengers; must be a day ending in ‘Y’.

The 'Telegraph' Obituary Page

It can, on occasion, be utterly fascinating. On Tuesday, the man of the day was the Reverend Roger Holloway:
Roger Graham Holloway was born on November 24 1933, the youngest of six children of a civil servant. The family was a military one, and while a small boy in his high chair he discovered that every time he hummed the National Anthem at the dinner table, all would rise; in such a fiercely patriotic family this became very trying.
I'll just bet...

Clearly not a man who wished to spend his years on earth in quiet contemplation; we are informed that he 'led a life of rich and unusual variety as a soldier, big game hunter, international wine and spirit merchant and Anglican priest'!
He was once leading a night-time patrol in the forest when he cannoned into a Mau Mau insurgent, and shot him dead. On another patrol his unit was charged by a buffalo, which Holloway also dispatched; the animal's stuffed head was mounted above his bed in his London flat.
Presumably, the Mau Mau head wasn't of sufficient size to be worth bothering to mount...
Holloway was always thoughtful when selecting gifts. Visiting friends on a remote Kenyan farm who were worried about being attacked, he handed his hostess a box. She opened it, then shouted in delight across the landing to her husband: "Oh look, darling! Roger has brought us some grenades."
They really, really don't make them like that any more, do they? More's the pity...