Thursday, 30 June 2011

Revolving Door Justice…

At the first hearing, Adam O’Neill, 32, told magistrates he wanted to get off drugs and turn his life around.

Defence lawyer Ian Clift made an emotional plea for the bench to show leniency, claiming O’Neill accepted he was going nowhere and needed to get off drugs to improve himself.

O’Neill was desperate to avoid prison so he could start a drug treatment order, he added.

Magistrates, who heard his regular thefts were to fund a heroin addiction, took pity and handed him a drug rehabilitation order.
Oh, you just know what’s coming, don’t you?
But the good behavior O’Neill promised didn’t last long.

Just after 2pm the same day, he was caught stealing £46 of steaks from Marks and Spencer in Basildon town centre.
Where magistrates previously swallowed his story, this time they jailed him for 32 weeks.
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…
Franck Tomlin, councillor responsible for community saftey, said: “You could not make this up.

“The judiciary on the whole is far too soft. They should take action to put people on the straight and narrow who genuinely want help, but the judiciary as a whole is failing to protect public.

“This case is an example of initial poor judgement on the part of the court.”
Can’t really argue with that.

UK Jobs Market Welcomes Diversity…

…after all, those foreigners do a much better job than the natives:
Rescue dog Nancy's potential for herding flocks was discovered after she was adopted by a sheep dog trainer.
It’s just as well they are here to take the place of the lazy, incompetent native jobseekers:
Mrs Lippington, 54, said Ci instinctively wants to work the sheep, but is too scared.

"If they run away from him, he will go after them and act like a proper sheepdog, but the moment they turn and face him he runs away.

"Sheep can be quite aggressive if they think they have the upper hand – they stamp their feet and gang up in numbers and act like an army.

"The only way to make it work is for me to get behind them first and shoo them so they run away and then Ci joins in. It just means a lot more work for us to do," she added.

Now, There's A Question...

...another neighbour who did not want to be named, said: 'Who wants to look at a man's private parts every time they go out the house.'

This is, of course, not a man, but a tiny statue. Perhaps the neighbour thought it was an unfair comparison?

Good Choice Of Phrase…

A persistent pigeon feeder who tormented neighbours by attracting hundreds of feral birds to her home has avoided jail for breaching her antisocial behaviour order (Asbo).
And why?
The 55-year-old was handed an Asbo banning her from feeding wild birds in her back garden last October, but was arrested for a breach in April after being shopped by a neighbour.

She was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work at Croydon Magistrates’ Court on Monday, but lead magistrate Rose Thorn said she would not be jailed because of her mental state.
That goes to show just how useless ASBOs are.
The sentence was met with disgust by several of Foreman’s neighbours, who turned up at the court to hear the magistrates’ verdict.
I really don’t know how the reporter kept a straight face:
One woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’m spitting feathers….

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

I’ll Go With The ‘Reasonable Interpretation’…

A ‘big cat’ was captured on camera by a Burnley couple enjoying a day out in the Yorkshire Dales.
Yes, it is indeed a large cat, though it’s very very far from being a ‘big cat’:
Mr Eastham, who took a photograph of the creature, said it resembled a young panther or leopard.
It’s black and cat shaped. But it doesn’t resemble a panther otherwise…
“It was twice the size of a domestic cat and it was jet black with a long tail,” he said.

“It’s possible it could have been a domestic cat, but I don’t think so from the way it slunk along.

"Its walk reminded me of a young panther or leopard.

“My wife and I both looked at it through the binoculars and we were both convinced it wasn’t a domestic cat.”
Sadly, even the self-proclaimed ‘experts’ can’t bring themselves to get excited about this one, but they give it their best try:
Ian Bond, an ecologist and author of a book about big cats in Britain, was sent the photograph to identify the animal.
He said: “This is a very interesting photo. The animal is nothing like panther-size, but I wouldn’t disagree with the estimate of about twice the size of a domestic cat.

“Even more interesting points are the length of the tail and the shape of the head.

“The animal in this picture is clearly not an adult panther and I suppose the reasonable interpretation is that it is an outsized domestic cat.”
“I think this picture will create a lot of interest among those interested in the big cats in Britain community,” said Mr Bond.
Why? Since it isn’t a ‘big cat’, but a big cat?

Scaremongering Much, Mary?

The head of a teaching union today called on parents not to help keep schools open during the planned teachers' strike, saying they could put children "in danger".
Oh? How? Will they be running with scissors?
Mary Bousted, head of the normally moderate Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said well-meaning parents could do more harm than good if they volunteer to look after pupils while teachers take industrial action.
But hang on, these are their own children, aren’t they? What danger could they possibly be between 8:30 and 3:30, that they aren’t outside of those hours?
Ms Bousted said: "Some parents with the best of intentions could put themselves in danger and children in danger. They should not do it."
It’s not just the children at risk, but the parents themselves?

Come on, Mary, be a bit more specific, can’t you? Surely your £130k pay packet buys us that?

Quote Of The Month from 'Woman on a Raft' for this cracker on the Galliano trial:
"Note that the video provided via the Sun (who must have paid a pretty penny for it) is not of the incident which the court is ruling on, but an earlier ear-bashing he gave to an Italian pair of women. If it is his usual behaviour, he used English but in a cod French accent, following the convention set by Croft and Perry in 'Allo 'Allo. That's how drenched he got; his mouth spoke English and his brain heard French. Good Moaning."

Post Of The Month this one from Dick Puddlecote on the increasing incoherence and desperation of the anti-smoking brigade.

Blog Title Of The Month

...goes to Leg-Iron for this superb heading to a truly-inspired monstering of Damian Green's pledge to cut immigration:

Zero Tolerance For Domestic Violence!

Unless you’re an alcoholic. If so, go nuts!
An alcoholic has been spared jail for beating up his one-time ‘fame hunter’ partner a fourth and fifth time.
Yes, his partner’s also an alcoholic. Guess where they met?

No! Not the off licence:
Carl Anthony Britton, 38, attacked Dawn Barry in February and May.

The pair, who both have drink problems, had met in a rehabilitation unit.
Clearly, it didn’t work.
Miss Barry appeared on the TV programme, Come Dine with Me and was said to have been so drunk she passed out before she served the main course.
Need more info. Most episodes of ‘CDWM’ seem to end like that…
Miss Barry, 36, had told the bench Britton had left her scarred, but she loved him.

The defendant told the justices: “I love Dawn so much and to see her so upset like that has upset me.”
Well, sure. That’s what you say now
Britton admitted assault causing actual bodily harm on May 11 and assault, on February 23.

He has eight previous convictions, of which three relate to the victim.
Britton was given a 12 month community order with supervision and six months alcohol treatment.

He must pay £300 costs. Sentencing, the bench told him they had taken into account the pair’s ‘strong relationship’ which they both wanted to continue.
Perhaps it will, perhaps it won’t. Perhaps it’ll end in murder. Place your bets now, ladies and gentlemen...

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Why Send A Woman To Do A Man's Job?

Staff at Alfresco restaurant in Kings Road had called police at about 6.30pm when a man standing outside began exposing himself.

General manager Alexandra Lewis said: “He was about six foot five.

“We were surprised it was two female officers who went over initially.

“He was fighting with the air for about an hour before they arrived.”
Wow, back to Diversity Re-education Camp for you, Alexandra! How dare you imply that women aren't just as capable as men?

Oh. Wait:
When the two officers arrived they tried to arrest the man but both were punched.

One needed treatment for whiplash after he swung her by her hair.

Still, don't worry, ladies! There's backup available, right?
Drivers got out of their cars to help the officers before the PCs felled their attacker with pepper spray.

With the help of passers-by the women managed to subdue the man with Captor pepper spray and leg restraints.
No doubt the passers-by will get something for their trouble?
A passer-by who stepped in to help was also accidentally sprayed with the Captor spray.
OK. That wasn't quite what I meant...
Detective Chief Inspector Nev Kemp, of Sussex Police, said: “I am immensely proud of my officers because they were making an arrest and protecting the public from a dangerous individual.

Despite facing violence and being assaulted they were able to hang on to him, with some help from the public, and detain him.”
Really? Sounds to me as if, without that help from the public that you grudgingly acknowledge, they'd have got their a***s kicked. Even more than they already did.

Still, never mind. Just so long as you have a nicely diverse collection of officers of different shapes and sizes and colours, eh? Just don't ask them all to meet the same standard of fitness, whatever you do...

Once Again, Shouldn’t You Leave The Inevitable Excuses To The Defence Brief?

Police were called to the entrance to the Reliance Way estate, off Cowley Road, at about 11pm on Sunday to what officers described as violent disorder involving a “large group” of people.
A large group of unidentifiable people?
Thames Valley Police spokesman Chris Kearney said: “The neighbourhood team have been in the area going house to house asking if people saw anything.

They will also be working with the community to see if there are any underlying tensions that may have caused this.”
Really? That’s a police job, now, to look for excuses and play ‘community negotiator’?

Today’s Really, Really Pathetic Excuse…

An “absolute menace” with 178 previous offences to his name stole an Oxford City footballer’s car – and drove it at up to 100mph around the city.
Sorry. What?
with 178 previous offences to his name
Damn, thought I misheard…
The 38-year-old, who has a 20-page criminal record containing 43 convictions for 178 offences, was arrested in Harefields, in Cutteslowe, after crashing into a tree.

He was jailed for 32 months at Oxford Crown Court on Friday after admitting burglary, aggravated vehicle-taking, dangerous driving and driving without insurance and while disqualified.
I just can’t wait for the inevitable excuses…
Lucy Tapper, defending, said her client had “suffered an awful lot of sadness in his life”.
‘Suffered it..?’ Sounds to me as though he mostly dished it out.

But carry on with the sob story, by all means:
She said his partner of 10 years died two years ago and their son had previously died of cot death.
And that led him off the rails? Really? He had a great life up until then?
She said Nutt, who has epilepsy, hepatitis C and cannot work, was previously a drug addict.

“It was probably his epilepsy medication that caused him to drive in such a manner,” she added.
Errr, yeah. If you say so, love. Did it also make him commit the burglary too?
Judge Mary Jane Mowat said: “Despite your personal difficulties, the court’s primary concern is the safety of the public. You clearly are an absolute menace on the roads.”
Nutt was banned from driving for 10 years.
Given he’d only just got out of prison a few days before stealing again, I’m sure he’ll heed that, Judge….

Sooooo, About Those 'Lessons You Planned To Learn'...

...didn't take so well, I guess?
Two police dogs - one of them just a puppy - have died after being left in a locked car with the windows shut as temperatures soared yesterday.

An inquiry has been launched by Scotland Yard after the two animals were found inside a private vehicle belonging to a Met police officer.
Let's see, hot day, two dogs, private vehicle, idiot police officer...

Check, check and check! All we need now is for this one to have learned the lessons that claiming depression and OCD will get you a six month conditional discharge and it won't have been in vain after all!

Well, except for the poor bloody dogs, of course...

Update: Since drafting this post, a further report from the 'Mail' just puts the bloody tin hat on it:
It is the second time he has been responsible for the death of a dog left in a vehicle.

He was disciplined over the loss of a spaniel at the Metropolitan Police's prestigious dog training centre in July 2004 – but went on to be promoted.
Sack him (when he recovers from his tactical 'suicide attempt'), and sack the men responsible for failing to sack him the first time...

Monday, 27 June 2011

Having Their (Taxpayer-Paid) Cake And Eating It…

Coun Martin McCaughran was contacted by a disabled resident of Broughton Street, Darwen, whose grey bin had been set alight and destroyed.

He was told that Blackburn with Darwen Council now charges up to £30 to replace bins due to budget cuts.
Yes, even if it’s not your fault it was destroyed. Nice little racket, eh?
Coun Faryad Hussain said: “We always advise people to bring in their bins as soon as their rubbish has been collected, or to ask a neighbour to do it for them, due to the possibility of vandalism."
Excellent! Just what a pensioner or disabled resident can manage, I suppose?

But in comments, an interesting point is raised:
useyourhead, great harwood says...

littlejobby wrote:
I've been told the bins are the councils and even though mine have been damaged during emptying it's my problem and I've to pay for replacements!!!

If the bins are the councils then they are their responsibility, can't have your cake and eat it!
Indeed you can’t. Unless you’re a council worker.

An Interesting Excuse For MONA…

Police attended Grange Estate in response to calls of ten males attacking one other male at around 10.30pm.

One male victim, aged 15, was found on the junction of Leopold Road and High Road with eight stab wounds to the buttock and kidney area. Another male victim, also aged 15, was found at St Pancras Court with a stab wound to the left leg and his buttock.

The pair were rushed to hospital where their injuries were deemed non life-threatening.
Ten to one? Lovely.
Four boys, three aged 15 and one aged 14, have been arrested and are in custody.

Police are still searching for the weapon and believe more suspects could have been involved in the attack.
Wouldn’t some descriptions help, then?
Detective constable Charlie Pulling, the officer in charge of the case, said: "Due to the distressing nature of the attack, the details provided by the victims are not sufficient for us to identify further suspects at this moment, so we are appealing for any members of the public who know about the incident to come forward.”
How very convenient…

It’s Not Just The Lights…

New street lights across the borough will be dimmed to help reduce energy costs.
This will contribute to the council’s aim to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, which are currently 2,273 tonnes for street lighting.
Clearly, there are other dim things in Kingston…
From 2012 the council will have to pay for every tonne of CO2 it emits.
Who couldn’t see decisions like this coming, as a result of the insanity of ‘AGW’ and the ‘sustainability’ crap?

Still, it could have been worse; it could have been all down to the bats.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Failure To Dot The ‘I’s And Cross The ‘T’s…

Anna Raccoon has done sterling work identifying the abuses perpetrated by the Courts of Protection, and their most notorious screw-ups are appalling indeed.

But sometimes, the care authorities are placed in a near-impossible situation:
The Court of Protection has ruled that an 18-year-old man with autism and severe learning disabilities who was regularly placed in a padded seclusion room more than six times a day was unlawfully deprived of his liberty.
It's a sad story, because, in this case, it seems there's not a whole hell of a lot of alternatives:
Unlike the Neary case, in which all parties had already been publicly named before proceedings began and could therefore be named in the press, the local authority, primary care trust and school involved in C's care cannot be named to protect his identity.The details of the case were made public for the first time yesterday. C was described as a boy who has "aggressive and destructive traits" which put him at risk to both himself and his carers.
And not an 'assumed' risk, like Neary, either. This was a genuine, proven risk:
He suffers from a sensory impairment and often chooses to walk around naked because touch is a vital way for him to communicate. He often harms himself and has harmed his carers including one member of staff who suffered a detached retina.

Throughout 2010 C's behaviour deteriorated considerably and care workers came to rely on the blue room more and more often to control his actions.
What else could they do?

Still, presumably, if the judge has ruled it unlawful, it must surely be one of those mad cases where the law goes too far, right?

No, actually:
In a ruling in the Court of Protection at the High Court, Mr Justice Ryder described the case as "complex" and "tragic" but ruled that the use of the room was a deprivation of C's liberty and was unlawful because the special needs school had not sought a deprivation of liberty order through the court.
If only they'd asked, you see. The court would probably have agreed there was no other alternative.

But they didn't, and so now the lawyers start squabbling over the spoils like the vultures they are...
A further hearing to discuss damages and whether further rights were breached will take place at a later date.
Damages. To come out of the already stretched mental care budget. Imposed for not ensuring all the red tape was correctly tied, with a nice pretty bow, in their attempt to prevent C from damaging others, or himself...

Comparing Apples And Oranges...

Joan Smith gives tongue on the Levi Bellfield trial and the concern over questioning by the defence:
There is a problem here.
Well, Joan, at least you got something right, for once. Sadly, that's the only time.
First, no matter how ghastly Bellfield is, he is entitled to a defence.
A fact which, so far as I'm aware, no-one has denied. It's the conduct of that defence that has raised questions.

Questions which may well be unanswerable to everyone's satisfaction, but nevertheless, ones that we are entitled to ask.
Second, the "extremely personal" matters raised by his barrister, Jeffrey Samuels QC, were distasteful but relevant in a trial which turned on misogynistic attitudes to women. As well as looking at the movements of known sex offenders who lived near Milly's home, detectives would have been remiss if they had not scrutinised the behaviour of people close to her.
Indeed, they would. And people would rightly be scathing of them if they did not consider him a suspect, because it often is the case that the 'nearest and dearest' turn out to be the killer.
They became suspicious of Bob Dowler when the following facts emerged: he kept pornographic material at the bottom of a chest of drawers in his bedroom; Milly was hugely distressed when she came across a magazine containing "probably extreme pornographic material... a fetish nature... latex and bondage" a few months before her disappearance; Dowler lied to detectives about his movements on the day of his daughter's abduction, failing to tell them that he stopped at a motorway service station to view pornography; he kept further "extreme" material in a desk in the hallway and in a sitting room; he kept bondage gear in a box in the loft, including a rubber hood and a ball-shaped gag.

Even if Milly hadn't disappeared, it is hard to see why possession of such material by the father of two teenage daughters should ever be treated as an entirely private matter.
In the initial police investigation, maybe. In the subsequent defence, however, it's quite another matter. Particularly when Bellfield had no intention of taking the stand himself...

But Joan has a hobby horse, of course, of course...
Looking at extreme pornography and acquiring restraints for use during sex are worrying behaviours, and it isn't hard to imagine circumstances – a custody battle, for example – in which they might even be interpreted as potentially abusive.
'Worrying' for whom? And yes, during a custody battle, all things would be open. Such as whether the wife was a willing participant is such matters.

But of course, our Joanie glosses over that. That doesn't take her where she needs to go.
Indeed, what is so extraordinary about the outpouring of sympathy for Bob Dowler is that so many commentators have been willing to overlook what this might imply about his feelings towards women, while rightly denouncing Bellfield's misogyny in the strongest possible terms.
That's because the vast majority of people can draw a distinction that seems to escape you (and those of your ilk, such as Harriet Harman, Vera Baird, Julie Bindel...); there's a vast gulf between, shall we say, less-than-vanilla-tastes in sex, and serial rape and murder.
Bellfield's hatred of women and violence towards them was well-known among his partners, acquaintances and co-workers.
While Mr Dowler kept his own personal tastes hidden from his daughters and was distraught when they found them. Can't you even see the blatant contradiction here when you've written it down?

Or are you so blinded by your own ideology you plan on riding your hobby horse into a wall?

No, Olivia, The Kids Aren’t Alright…

Olivia Heath is a journalism graduate from Kingston University. She’s also pretty angry about, guess what, yoof issues:
Flicking through the tabloids and broadsheets, watching prime-time TV news and trailing through web content, I realise that we have a problem – a big one.
Spelling and punctuation..?
The youth of today are suffering from age discrimination.
Ah. Right. Of course they are, love.
Stamped with the "hoodies" or "chav" label and thought of as an unruly, disrespectful and dangerous bunch, we are simultaneously marginalised and stigmatised, turned into a blurry, menacing entity that does not reflect our lives.
Sadly, for many on sink estates, it does reflect them, all too well.
While it is true that some individuals conform to the stereotypical youth image and make it somewhat worse for others, we are still vastly misrepresented. However, it is not necessarily about the way news is constructed, but about the news selection process itself. Why print a story about a young person's individual success when one can print more popular stories of grim teen failures?
Well, you're a journalism graduate. Shouldn't you know?
I am not oblivious to what the public wants; after all, for a lot of journalists "bad news is good news".
Ah. She did learn something, then...
But good news for whom? Surely not for teenagers, who have little or no power to speak out in their defence.
Pardon? Here you are in a national newspaper, broadcasting to the nation, in fact, to all nations with a Internet connection.

And that's before we get to the plethora of agencies and fakecharities lobbying on their behalf.
Even though the media's role and impact on the issue should not be dismissed, I suppose this argument is aimed at people who rely on news to be informed and form their own opinions. They should be recognising the positive contributions that young people make in communities, and listening to their concerns too.
Or else..?
The public's perceptions need to change. A more open-minded approach to individuals would hopefully stimulate less fear amongst others.
The public's perceptions will change when the reality changes.

When we start seeing fewer vicious little animals on their 99th court appearance getting yet another slap on the wrist. When they see their 80 year old grandmother can go to the shops without needing to watch her back for the roving packs of yoof looking to knock her to the ground and steal what little she has. When kids on sink estates aren't having kids of their own at 15.

Why spend so much time and effort worrying about perceptions, and next to nothing dealing with the problems themselves? Are they too hard to tackle, require too many difficult choices, force the progressives to confront too many failed assumptions?

And I was curious - why was this article written?
The Youth Tell Us series has been commissioned by Comment is free in conjunction with You Press Partnerships, a youth-led social enterprise that promotes and explores the opinions of young people through media partnerships.
Ah. I wonder who Olivia plans to work for in the future...?

Sunday Funnies

Clearly, this is one for Longrider, Hogday and Richard...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Hey, Flytipping Is Suddenly Legal!

Well, only for a certain demographic:
Travellers have left residents fuming after allegedly dumping rubbish when they vacated an illegal camp in Colchester.
Ooooh, flytipping’s bad, right?
Police were alerted, but say no crimes were committed.
Martin Goss, borough and parish councillor for Mile End, said: “These people clearly have zero common sense or brains when it comes to ingratiating themselves in society.

“Pitching up and tethering a horse to the middle of a roundabout near the new busy A12 is a decision taken by someone who has limited intelligence.

Starting a fire next to a field is also pretty stupid and again shows a complete lack of respect for fellow residents.”
Who’s surprised?
Dev Dhal, of Cater Walk, Colchester, said: “It is ridiculous – they just come along, leave a mess and push off.

“We work to pay our taxes.
And they’re very grateful you do, Mr Dhal. Otherwise they’d have to work for a living…

Unusual In This Circumstance?

The family of a murdered mother-of-three have been praised for their “dignity” during the trial of her killer.
Is this so unusual? Does it require the comment?
Djemaa, 23 and a student at the College of North West London, had denied murder but admitting killing Jacqueline with a fire extinguisher and then kneeling on her neck.

He told the Old Bailey trial he had lost his temper after an argument, during which he said Jacqueline abused his religion.
Ah. I begin to see why it requires that comment….

If You Go Down In The Woods Forest Of Dean Today...

A former councillor in the Forest of Dean said it is "inevitable" someone will soon be shot
Blimey! Are they getting serious about litter dropping..?
as wild boar poaching is so rife.
Ah. Personally, I prefer them roast...
Alistair Fraser, a former district councillor, keeps four orphaned boar at his home Smallbrook Farm, near Woolaston, and is a staunch supporter of the breed.
Me too! They're delicious!
He said: "These poachers are bloodthirsty and they will shoot anything that moves.

It's hard to know what's what at night.

"It is inevitable that sooner or later someone will get shot."
He said: "It is now a police matter.

"There are some nasty people out there, and they need to be stopped. I've seen people with guns, and the bullets they use go a long way.

"I would urge anyone thinking of walking in the woods late at night to be careful."
Wow! The usually-cautious authorities must be sweating, then.

But wait. It seems that they aren't:
Kevin Stannard, deputy surveyor of the Forestry Commission, said work is ongoing to control the numbers, but poaching must be stopped.

But he refuted the claim that people's safety is at risk.

He said: "I certainly would not agree that it is 'inevitable' someone will be shot – despite the seriousness of the issue, I am confident that the true risk to the public is negligible.

"We do liaise with the police over this matter, and we are confident that the police take the subject very seriously."
Who is right? Time will tell...

"I can resist everything...except temptation"

A head teacher has expressed anger at a holiday advert which he said tempted parents to take children out of school during term-time.
Because parents are children, after all, who can't be expected to resist when Big Business (Boo! Hiss!) dangles a shiny toy in their face...
The Butlins advert offers a free place to an adult paying the full price for a child in term-time.

Graham Browne, head of Tor Bridge High School, Plymouth, said taking children out of school disrupted learning.

Butlins has admitted the advert sent the "wrong message" and was aimed at families with pre-school age children.
There you go. All sorted. An advertising error, not some diabolical capitalist plot to wrench the kiddiewinks away from their mandatory, state-approved, diversity lessons...
Butlins said in a statement: "We unfortunately placed the wrong adverts in recent editions of the Asda and Tesco consumer magazines. This sent out the wrong message.

"The advert should have used our pre-school pictures and wording, making it clear that we were suggesting parents bring their tots for a break in quieter times when the big kids are in school.

"We've spoken to our advertising team to ensure they use the correct adverts in future."
Still, maybe I'm being a bit hard on Mr Browne. Maybe absences for holidays are the main problem in his area, and he needs to nip it in the bud?

Government statistics show that the percentage of pupils away from school has fallen over the last three academic years. Plymouth schools are now outstripping the national average for attendance.
So maybe Mr Browne just needed to get his name in the paper...

Happy World Femininity Day! Or...Is It?

Well, you can understand my confusion. Yesterday, over in CiF, they had this:

Ah, well, I thought, at least I got a pic. They'll have changed it soon.

Nope. This is today's CiF front page:

I guess it sums up the stupidity inherent in declaring something 'World Femininity Day' when you can't even get the date right...

Friday, 24 June 2011

Letting The MONA Side Down Somewhat…

A teenager has been arrested after two men were allegedly threatened with an imitation pistol in Epsom.

John Arthur, 39, of Worcester Park, and his friend Rob Betts, 42, were walking to catch a late night taxi in Epsom High Street on Wednesday, June 8, when the incident happened.

Mr Arthur said the assault took place near McDonalds shortly before 1am.

He said he managed to wrestle the man to the ground, although he subsequently escaped while they were waiting for police to arrive.

Mr Arthur said: “My friend screamed out for help so I grabbed his arm and put him in an arm lock and got him onto the ground.”
There’s no description of the assailant, so we…

Oh, wait.
Muzi Mguni, 18, from Rother Crescent, Crawley, has been charged with possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear.
That’s not how you play the game, ‘Kingston Guardian’!

'Nasty Party' Vs 'Irresponsible Party'...

Tom Clark (leader writer for the Guardian) on the awful unfairness of having to cut your cloth according to your situation….
No one believes you can raise a child decently on £3 a day, and yet the House of Commons today passed a law that will impose that hardship on youngsters across much of the south of England.
This prospect flows from a crude £26,000 cap being applied to all of a family's annual benefits, which will bite hard wherever households are large and rents are high.
There's a clue there to the solutions, then...
The rhetorical logic is ensuring that benefits should never exceed typical pay, and this line has been parroted in the Sun. But there is no real logic, since the whole argument rests on wilful misunderstanding.
Oh, really?
For one thing, the policy deliberately confuses average individual pay with family income. Only a truly nasty party would want to visit the sins of the fathers and mothers it deems to have too many children on the children themselves.
What's 'truly nasty' is expecting everyone to give in and open their own wallets (thus depriving their own children) when these families wave their children in front of themselves like some ghastly human shield.

When are people going to realise that 'no consequences' isn't the answer?
… for large families renting privately, there will be pain across great swaths of London and the south-east. The economist and active Liberal Democrat Tim Leunig has crunched the numbers for a couple with four children paying typical rent in Tolworth, an area branded "the scrag end of Kingston Borough" by London's Evening Standard. Even assuming the youngest children share a room, after footing their rent, council tax and basic utilities out of their capped £26,000, that family would be left with less than £3 per person per day.
Then move. It really is that simple.
No one can defend this position and yet, bizarrely, no mainstream politician is willing attack it.
Because they know that it's suicide.
Meanwhile, Labour knows the cap is crazy but doesn't regard this as a fight to pick.
There you go - even Labour have wised up! Doesn't that tell you something?
Many a concerned Lib Dem stayed silent, crossing fingers and trusting that the legion problems can be ironed out well away from the floor of the Commons.
Oh, they'll grandstand, I'm sure. But they know the reality just as well as Labour.
A week after the archbishop of Canterbury warned that the distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor was creeping back into our discourse, the whip hand in the debate over benefits is held by Vicky Pollard. While caricatures of welfare dependents reign unchallenged, pressing practical questions about how poor people can make ends meet are ducked.
Heh! It's always amusing when the dear old 'Grauniad' turns to the unimpeachable office of the archdruid, isn't it?
Instead of a failure to speak truth unto power, we have a failure on the part of power to speak the truth about this unwearable cap.
No, they have spoken the truth. You just prefer to stop up your ears...

No Truth Please, We’re Accringtonites!

Stuart Maconie, a BBC 6 Music presenter and a regular on TV, travelled to Hyndburn while writing Hope and Glory to retrace the history of the Accrington Pals, who fought in the First World War.

However, the book paints a less-than-flattering portrait of the town today, complaining of ‘pallid youths’, ‘chain-smoking women’, graffiti and the prevalance of shops like Cash Converters that offer payday loans.
Sounds a lot like Southend!
Maconie writes: “The main street is a crowded, unlovely hotchpotch of cheap shops, minicab offices and fast-food outlets that can fur your arteries just by looking at their logos and a few desultory and cheerless pubs.”
Oh, no, not really that much like it, then. We mostly have coffee shops…

But the description hasn’t gone down well with the worthies in Accrington:
Michael Whewell, a chamber of trade member and owner of Whewells of Accrington in Bridge Street, said: “I live and work in Accrington and it is not very comforting to have these sorts of comments from outsiders. It is insulting.

“The town centre has had its problems but we have tried to improve its image.

“Cash Converters is a national chain. We also have a Costa Coffee and a Marks and Spencer but I notice he doesn’t mention those.”
Wow! A Marks and Spencer AND a Costa Coffee! Accrington’s going up!
Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson added: “We would all like to be like Knightsbridge or Monte Carlo but we are a hard-working town that’s going through change to make it better.

“It is very easy to knock from the outside.”
The comments – usually vociferous in condemning the outside, are surprisingly in favour of Mr Maconie’s outlook, though...

Yet Another Unnecessary Fine

Southampton hospital bosses have been fined more than £2,000 for breaching single-sex ward rules.
Of course, we know it’s not true. The money comes out of the hospital budget, not directly out of their pay packets. Which, given it’s not their first offence, is what should happen:
This is triple the number of breaches the hospital was fined for in April.
No matter who wins, the taxpayer loses. When are we going to learn that, to have an effect, the fines should be docked from the chief exec's wages?

Facebook Status: Rape Liar

Terri Sproul, 19, stuck to the lie for six weeks as police brought in specialist officers, scoured CCTV footage and conducted a series of interviews.

They spent 147 hours investigating her claim.
It really shouldn't have taken that long, though...
...police soon grew suspicious of the claim when CCTV footage and witness statements failed to tally with Sproul’s account of the evening.
What a shocker! So, how deep did they then dig?
They inspected Sproul’s Facebook page and discovered a message she had sent after the night.

The message read: “Oi Oi sexy how are you? Listen if the police phone you I got out of the taxi on my own. Don’t say you came to mine.”
...when they asked her why she had lied she said simply because she wanted to seek help.
Sproul pleaded guilty to wasting police time by making a false report and was sentenced at Coventry magistrates court yesterday.
Eh..? Why this charge, when the last one was done for perverting the course of justice?

Naturally, her (no doubt legal aid) solicitor had the usual excuses to hand, with one new wrinkle:
Stefan Hunka, defending, said the reason for his client’s behaviour was the breakdown of her relationship with her parents and a £300 a day drug habit.

“It’s extremely fortunate for her that we don’t have a human victim in this case,” he said.
Note that: it's fortunate for her...

But no custodial, so clearly he was worth his hire:
Sentencing her to 16 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and 200 hours unpaid work, chairman of the magistrates bench Steve Old admitted they had been “swayed” by Mr Hunka’s defence.
And so it goes on and on and on...

H/T: staybryte in comments

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Another ‘Charity’ We Can Safely Ignore

Thousands of children under 16 are being held overnight in police cells every year, figures reveal.
You mean, unnecessarily?
… according to figures obtained by the Howard League for Penal Reform
Ah. Right. Well, to them, it's always 'unnecessary', isn't it?
The charity called the practice "evil" and urged that it be stopped.
I call this 'charity' evil, and though I wouldn't want to see it stopped (it helps to have the loons all in one place so they can be easily identified), I really, really with people would stop taking any notice of it...
Anita Dockley, research director for the charity, blamed failures in the referral process from police custody to local authority accommodation. "This referral process is a vital safeguard for children who are charged and whose bail is refused by the police. But police admitted to us that requests by them for local authority accommodation are often not met."
Well, then, what are they to do with them, Anita? Have you got room for a couple at your house?
Some police forces admit concern over the numbers and are trying alternative approaches. In 2006, Hull was third in a national league table of local authorities sending children under the age of 18 to custody. But it had little impact on re-offending, said commander Keith Hunter of Hull police. He introduced full time youth justice workers into his police custody suite. Now in its third year, the scheme steers away from the criminal justice system through age-appropriate alternatives, including counselling, supported return to school, anger management and alcohol awareness training. The programme has halved the number of child detentions in Hull.
Never mind the fact that it halved child detentions, what did it do for the crime rate? Did it have any effect?

Surely, if it did, it'd be trumpeted from the rooftops?
Andy Adams, speaking for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "As with adults, detention of children in custody is authorised for a number of reasons, including to further a criminal investigation, to uncover the identity of any suspects or because the disappearance of that person would hinder any prosecution. The rules for the detention of suspects are set down in law and on every occasion must be authorised by a custody officer.

"Detentions of both children and adults in police custody are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are being held in accordance with the law and not for any longer than required for police investigations."
The usual ACPO boilerplate...

Just Reinforcing The Stereotype Of Bingo Enthusiasts...

A bingo caller refused to stop a game despite a woman collapsing with a suspected heart attack, according to witnesses.

Staff continued to call numbers as an ambulance was called to Gala Bingo in Freshfield Road, Brighton.

Players shouted for the caller to end the game as the woman was being treated but said they were told it was “policy” to carry on.
The other players would probably have lynched them otherwise...
Aaron Casey, 22, was playing with his mother Joanne Wheeler, 43, on Wednesday at about 7.30pm when the woman collapsed during the second game.

The hairdresser said: “A customer shouted help but we thought she shouted house.”

My Son? No, Never, Not My Boy…

A boy aged 15 who crashed a stolen car through the front of a house causing up to £100,000 damage has been locked up.
I should think so! I doubt, however, it was a single offence.

And of course, it wasn’t:
The teen, who cannot be named because he is under 18, was sentenced to a 14-month detention order.

Yesterday, Harwich Youth Court heard the boy had also admitted making malicious phone calls to a girl, stealing an iPod from a shop, threatening a police officer and trying to steal computers from a school in Colchester. The offences were committed in the past year.
Clearly, Dad didn’t think the solicitor was up to the task of making up the usual excuses:
The boy’s dad made an emotional appeal for a lenient sentence.

He said: “We’re horrified listening to this list of things. It goes against what I recognise. When he’s with me, he comes to work and I hear nothing but good things.

“I don’t want his life ruined. He doesn’t realise what he’s done and needs to break the cycle.”
He doesn’t realise it’s not a good idea to burgle a house, steal a high-performance car and crash it into another house?

Well, maybe 14 months (yeah, like he’ll serve it all) will bring that home…

Not to be outdone by pater, his solicitor chipped in:
Roger Brice, mitigating, said: “Before last year, he had never been in court in his life. I know things have happened of a personal nature and that’s coincided with what’s happened here.
Hmmm, ‘troubled family life’ defence?

And can we know who he is?
The Gazette’s application to the court to name the boy was refused.
So, the next time some little s**t steals your car keys or crashes a stolen car into your house, just ask him if it all looks a bit familiar.

You probably won’t have to wait 14 months, either…

Mark Steel: Moron

How is the Government getting away with this idea that a public-sector pension is a "luxury"?
Because it is. Next!
One of the most infuriating arguments to justify cutting pensions is that private-sector workers don't have them, so why should anyone else? This is a strange way of assessing society, that if someone is badly treated everyone else should be as well otherwise it's not fair.
No, you’re missing the point, Mark. Private sector workers don’t have them and are paying in taxation for the public sector to have them….
… the public-sector unions asked their members if they wanted to take action against these cuts, and overwhelmingly they've said they do. It's argued by various politicians that the strikes are a stupid tactic as they'll make the unions unpopular. Presumably unions should adapt to the modern climate by no longer bothering with issues such as their members being asked to work three extra years for no money and instead bring in colouring books and grow watercress.
Or, they could go on strike and point out to people just how useless and unneeded they really are.

Ball’s in your court, chum.

Back So Soon..?

Rather than 'Silly Season', it must be 'False Rape Claim' Season...
The court heard that early on January 8, a 34-year-old taxi driver picked up the girl from a taxi rank in Farnworth after she had been returned by a colleague who suspected she would not pay her fare.

He took the girl to her home in the Bolton area and, when she admitted having no cash, agreed to retain her ring at the taxi base until the next day when the fare could be paid.

The girl returned home and told her mother she had been raped by the taxi driver.
And they never lie about this sort of thing, right, crackpot feminists?
Police were called and an investigation was launched.

The man was arrested and his car seized for forensic examination. CCTV footage from the taxi base was recovered and witness statements taken from the man's colleagues.

He was interviewed several times and spent 12 hours in police custody before being released on bail.

The girl was taken to hospital and had several appointments made for her to see a doctor and councillor at St Mary's specialist centre in Manchester.
Nothing is said in the report about just how they reached the conclusion that nothing had happened, and this was therefore one of those supposedly 'very rare' cases....
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted perverting the course of justice.

At Bolton Crown Court, she was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders institution.
Which, I'm sure you'll agree, is ample recompense for utterly shattering a life and endangering a man's livelihood, not to mention the wasted time and effort of the state in pursuing it...

Now, if I were a male cabbie, I'd think very long and hard about the wisdom of picking up lone females, as a result of this. Which might, of course, be a policy that leads to more real rapes, of course, as young females find it harder and harder to get home after an evening out.

Unintended consequences, Harriet Harman? What unintended consequences?

H/T: Curmudgeon via email

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Yet Another Special Identity Group Needs Resources!

Julie Bindel has identified another one desperately requiring special protection; female college students.

There's not a lot to say on it that hasn't already been admirably covered by Ross or Edwin, but I did like this little snippet from the end:
My friend Alice Vachss, a former sex crimes prosecutor who has done exemplary work in the US on campus sexual assault response, says that if she could change only one thing, it would be to increase the consequences for friends and allies of the sexual aggressor who harass, taunt and threaten women trying to come forward with a complaint.
Odd. I thought the one thing the progressives hated was any sort of consequence arising from one's actions. I guess it depends on who they are applied to...

They Must Have Pretty Tame Horror Movies In Pendle…

Two men clashed in a ‘pool rage’ incident at Pendle Leisure Centre in full view of schoolchildren.
Phil Storey, chief executive of Pendle Leisure Trust, which operates the centre, confirmed an ‘incident’ had taken place on Monday afternoon.

He said the matter had now been passed to police for an investigation to be carried out.
Very ominous. What is it about swimming that seems to incite aggression and unrest?

So, what actually happened?
It comes after an eyewitness said one of the men grabbed the other by the neck after the pair collided in the designated lane swimming area, at around 2.30pm.

The witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said the man appeared to throw the other swimmer over a rope separating the lanes from the rest of the pool.

He said: “He grabbed the other guy by the neck and started shouting ‘I’m going to kill you’ - it was unbelievable. ”
Sadly, these days, it's not...
“There pool was full of schoolchildren and they were so horrified, they were screaming and had to get out.

“It was like something out of a horror movie. I still can’t believe it.”
Really? My horror movies are usually much, much more horrific than that...

That's more like it!

Well, There Is Another Alternative…

Surrey County Council has been fined £120,000 after a series of blunders in which it emailed sensitive, personal information about hundreds of individuals to the wrong people.
Such as..?
The first breach occurred on May 17 last year when a member of staff working for one of the council’s adult social care teams emailed details relating to 241 individuals’ physical and mental health to the wrong group email address.

Recipients included a number of transportation companies including taxi firms, coach and mini bus hire services and as the information was not encrypted or password protected could have been viewed by a large number of unauthorised people.

After attempts to recall the e-mail failed, the council were later unable to confirm that all recipients had destroyed it.

A second blunder occurred on June 22 last year when confidential personal data relating to a number of individuals was mistakenly e-mailed to over one hundred unintended recipients who had registered to receive a council newsletter.

The last incident took place on January 21 this year when the council’s Children Services department sent confidential information relating to an individual’s health to the wrong internal group email address.

While the data did not leave the council’s network the breach led to sensitive and private information being circulated to individuals who should not have received it.
Ah. Yes, well, when you flout the law and fail to learn from your repeated mistakes, you can expect someone to come along and issue you with a stonking great fine.
A spokesperson for Surrey County Council said: “These incidents should never have occurred and we have apologised to the people involved.

“Immediate action has been taken to prevent this happening again.

“Measures have already been taken to reduce the risk of sensitive personal data being wrongly addressed and extra training on handling data securely has been given.

“We accept the commissioner’s findings but feel the money we were fined by another public sector organisation would have been better spent making further improvements in Surrey."
You know what? You’re quite right. It is indeed unfair that the taxpayer is once again on the hook.

So, let’s have sackings instead. You’ll do, for a start.

At Least This Time We Were Spared A Whinge About 'Wasted Police Resources'...

Aisha Mather, 19, ripped her tights, overturned a coffee table and pulled down curtains in an attempt to convince police she had been attacked at knifepoint and raped in her home.

And the motive for this one? Jealousy? Revenge on an unfaithful boyfriend?

No. She was about to be kicked off her university course:
She believed this would give her an excuse to leave her course and move back in with her parents, and kept up the pretence for eight days – even after police arrested a man who matched her detailed description of the tattooed black ‘rapist’.
What was she studying? Well, would you believe, law?
Yesterday, Mather sobbed in the dock as Judge Tony Mitchell described her actions as ‘mind-boggling’.

He added: ‘You had been playing the fool at university, got yourself into debt, and wanted your parents to dig you out without having to admit the truth. Your behaviour was utterly despicable.’
And was the sentence she got commensurate with the sentence an innocent man convicted of raping her might have got?
Mather, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, admitted perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to two years in a young offenders institute.
Well, at least she'll never be practising law in a town near you...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Who Knew 'Prisoner: Cell Block H' Was A Documentary?

A senior prison officer demanded that a frightened inmate perform a sex act with him, telling her "it's an order'', a court has heard.

Indeed. Because this was a women's prison.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, conducted a three-year relationship with acting governor Russell Thorne — at one point fearing she had fallen pregnant, jurors were told.

During this time, the officer allegedly became sexually involved with three more inmates at Downview Women's Prison, it was claimed, later apologising to the woman by buying her a ring and getting down on one knee, the court was told.
Clearly, an old-fashioned kind of chap...

Not, however, much of a genius:
...when they had sexual intercourse, contraception was not used, and she was left "paranoid'' she might end up pregnant, jurors were told.

Thorne provided her with laxatives in a bid to prevent this, she said.

H/T: Laurence via email

Blimey, Yaz, Want Some Cheese To Go With That Whine?

Every time I think Yaz has outdone herself, she goes one better:
Pictures of Kate Middleton appear daily on the front pages. Last week, she showcased clothes costing £12,000. Didn't she look lovely? She smiled and waved too – such an exhausting job, who would want it?
Listen to her pour bile into her syndicated newspaper column. Such an exhausting job, who’d want it?
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (what do these titles mean? Is a duke higher than a prince? Who bloody cares?) are preparing to visit Canada and the US for their first official overseas tour starting 30 June. Expect a flood of images, nauseating sycophancy, endless smiles and airhead fashionista commentaries.
Sounds rather like Obama’s inauguration, or his recent visit to the UK. Did you rail against those at the time, Yaz?
And the people are lapping it all up, like hungry cats round a cream bowl. The downturn? Economic hard times? Cuts and public sector strikes? All the people need are the diverting accounts of the undeserving rich to get by. Only the really curmudgeonly or perfidious Commies would say otherwise.
Errr, well, you said it, love!
Those of us who can't stand the circus are made to feel treacherous outsiders – a cold place to be.
Another thing that makes you feel like an outsider, Yaz? Is there anything, at this point, that doesn’t?
After the euphoria of the wedding, the phenomenal success of The King's Speech, the honeyed tributes to rude Prince Philip on his 90th birthday, I feel almost defeated. We republicans are losing the battle.
Awwww, shame. The majority ignores you on something else
In our flawed democracy, some are born to lord it over us, even if they are stupid, unattractive (in all senses), immoral, badly behaved, drunk, spoilt, adulterous, callous and irresponsible. Examples can be provided for all of these within the present lot of royals.
And the present (and past) crop of MPs too. What’s your point?
The point though is that even if they are perfect, they were handed status and wealth at birth and that is wrong.
The eternal socialist belief; ‘If I can’t be wealthy, then no-one else can!’
But, alas this country's not for turning. A cunningly managed restoration of popularity has ensured the future of the monarchy.
Ooooh, how that grates, eh, Yaz?
Charles will be King; then William. Kate, the millionaires' daughter, will beget an heir and they will live happily ever after. And the people will happily pay for them. There is never going to be a royals expenses row.
Well, no. And for a damned good reason...
Britain is barely recovering from economic depths it reached last year. More than 100,000 disabled children will no longer receive extra money to help them cope; many families are already living below the poverty line and more will join them as new rules are passed. Kate, meanwhile, wears a gown costing nearly £5,000 to raise money for charity. A fat donation without the costly extravaganza would have done more good and appeared less self-serving.
It doesn’t matter, you see, to the progressives, how something actually affects things, only how it appears.
Why aren't people more angry? They were with expense-claiming MPs who do long hours and put themselves up for tortuous elections.
Ah, well, you see, Yaz, thousands of tourists don’t flock to the UK each year to look at the private houses of MPs, or to witness Parliament passing laws.

They do, however, come for the pomp and pageantry of the Royal family. The monarchy brings in more money than it consumes, and so is a benefit, not a drag on the economy.
The furious brigade will send off missives about how I have no right to criticise "their" Queen. Let them remember she was my Queen when I was born under the imperial sun.
Here, though, most of the people consent to the most blatant symbol of inequality and celebrate it. Kate has given them more reason and the jubilee next year gives them another boost.
I wonder if she was in actual tears of disappointed rage when she wrote this, or if it’s just how it reads..?

Has The Strike As A Weapon Had Its Day?

That certainly seems to be Donald MacIntyre’s conclusion:
Whenever national strikes have been threatened in this century, ears have been pricked to detect the distant echoes of those in the last one – especially now that there is the prospect of industrial struggle against a Conservative government.
‘Industrial’? No, no, Donald, that’s not quite the case here.

None of the threatened strikes are coming from coal miners and the like, are they? They are coming from the public sector.
Some Tory MPs, young enough to have been at primary school during the epic confrontation between Margaret Thatcher and Arthur Scargill's miners 27 years ago, must be asking themselves in irritation: didn't she see off all this for good?
Yes, she did. Many new rules were brought in to halt the sort of chicanery and secondary picketing and intimidation that we saw in the miner's strike.
From Peterloo to the poll tax riots, the resilience of the normally phlegmatic Briton has always had its limits. The territory is uncharted.
Yes, it has. But what 'ordinary Briton' are we talking about here?
European anti-austerity strikes, such as the one called for yesterday in Greece, could catch on.
They could, it's always possible. But I can't quite see it myself. We aren't Greeks. We don't do that sort of thing...
But neither side should assume the unions will be the blunt instrument that forces the Government to change course.
He's hit on something here.
… those of us who covered the big national public sector strikes of the 1970s and 80s can remember only a handful that were unequivocally successful, such as the miners in 1974 and the firemen in the long cold winter of 1977-78.
And the reasons why are obvious:
As both groups relied, in the face of real physical danger, on an unusually high degree of mutual aid and dependence in their working lives, they had no problem finding the same solidarity when on strike – whether in sometimes violent run-ins with the police, picketing in extreme weather, or facing financial hardship. Both groups had the support not only of other trade unionists but – to some extent – of the wider public.
As he points out, that is emphatically not going to be the case this time round:
Whether that last will be as easy to sustain among parents, patients and others hit by the stoppages now being planned by the unions in already hard-pressed services remains to be seen.
I don't think it will. The most successful strikes are those that resonate with the public, that call on that great British sense of 'fairness'. These strikes aren't going to do that.

Because they are emphatically NOT about 'fairness', but rather, its exact opposite:
If the most imminent stoppages are about preserving public service pensions intact, they may not be the most popular cause among those who don't work in the public services. If they are against job cuts, reduced services and the Government's management of the economy, can they stay the distance?
Are those 'job cuts' also going to be as unpopular as he supposes, though?

Did this strike have the public thinking 'Gosh, we can't have this. Such vital services!' or 'Who the hell are these people and why are we employing them in the first place?'..?

Interesting times ahead...

When The ‘Yuck’ Factor Costs Money…

Health experts said the incident would not have caused any harm to people in the city of Portland, who are supplied with drinking water from the reservoir.

They said the average human bladder holds only six to eight ounces, and the urine would have been vastly diluted.
And besides, don’t they know what fish, ducks and otters do in it?

But no, something must be done!
But David Shaff, an administrator at the Portland Water Bureau, defended the decision to empty the lake.

"There are people who will say it's an over reaction. I don't think so. I think what you have to deal with here is the 'yuck' factor," he said.
In other words, you have to pander to the simpletons, the idiots, the cretins who don’t realise that the Portland Water Bureau doesn’t just send an employee down to the water’s edge with a bucket to pour into the pipes taking that water to their homes and trailers. They chlorinate it first.
"I can imagine how many people would be saying 'I made orange juice with that water this morning.' "Do you want to drink pee? Most people are going to be pretty damn squeamish about that."
Most people are morons. Still, it’s your company’s money, so…

The operation is costing the state's taxpayers $36,000 (£22,000)

Someone’s taking the p…

Like A Breath Of Fresh Air!

The Judges Council said that, for some types of appeal, a staggering 85 per cent of cases did not have any ‘merit’.

They have either been ‘dreamt up’ by lawyers seeking to line their own pockets, or are a blatant last-ditch attempt to stop deportations taking place.
Good grief! Has someone crept into the chambers and administered a truth serum?

What with this, and the U-turn on automatic discounts for pleading guilty, I think (hope!) Ken Clarke's days are numbered...

Monday, 20 June 2011

Not Really The Underworld Percy Thrower, Is He?

Ben Harvey called officers after running to a neighbour’s house when people broke into his home last September 19, a court heard.
When they arrived, Harvey told officers he was scared...
Well, understandably. After all, that's likely to be the response of every law-abiding homeowner when...

Oh. Wait.
...because he grew his own cannabis and had been targeted by thugs before.
Unfortunately for the hapless Harvey, he was about as good at horticulture as he was at lawbreaking. Which is to say, not very...
Harvey then took a Pc to an outbuilding at his home address at Middle Watch, Swavesey, where 15 dead plants and 29 growing ones were stored. Police estimated the value of the drugs in the amateur factory at about £11,600.
Clearly not a man to listen to 'Gardener's Question Time':
However, Harvey's horticultural talents were so poor that the prosecution said the drugs would be worth much less. Many plants were afflicted with blight.
And it seems there's a clause in the law allowing leniency for incompetence:
Judge Haworth said: "You got yourself involved in cultivating cannabis in a set up which was far from sophisticated. That is against the law and merits a prison sentence." But he said in this case he would suspend that sentence as the cannabis was clearly for personal use only.
That's a shame. I'm sure he could have picked up some valuable tips working in the prison garden...

H/T: Jeff Wood via email

Oooh, A Maths Question!

A family of eight living in a three-bedroom house has been told there is no prospect of being moved to a bigger property any time soon.

Ex-soldier Simon Pennell, 32, and his partner, Kelly Tyler, 37, have six children, aged three to 16.
Right. And clearly, the social housing stock can’t supply homes of the size required?
… housing bosses say they do not have enough council properties big enough for the family.
Funny, they always seem to find them for others

But maybe Mr Pennell could have avoided this situation?
Mr Pennell, of Affleck Road, Greenstead, Colchester, said: “We understand there are not many council properties available and we have been as patient as possible, but we have been waiting seven years now and the situation has been desperate for a long time.”
*counts on fingers*

You’ve been waiting seven years, and your youngest child is three…?

*sympathy evaporating*

Time To Consider Moving, Normal Brightonians…

Faster action on traveller camps in parks and other public land has been demanded.

Leading Conservatives claim the Greens have “given the green light” for travellers from around the country to descend on Brighton and Hove.
Well, yes! Bang the ‘free dinner’ gong, and don’t be too surprised when the moochers come calling…
Simon Kirby the MP for Brighton Kemptown, spoke out in a Parliamentary debate yesterday, saying the city council’s new administration had “set a dangerous precedent” in its attitude towards travellers.
Something all normal people left in Brighton should heed. If I lived there, I’d be thinking about moving.
The council, which moved on a group of travellers at the Victoria Recreation Ground in Portslade yesterday, claimed there were no more travellers in the city than in previous years.

But Tory councillor Dee Simson said the word was spreading.
Well, of course it is. Isn’t that all part of the plan?

Of course, it’s not like there’s a large population of illegal squatters who are about to be thrown out of…

Oh. Right:
Coun Simson’s stance has been backed by Mr Kirby who yesterday called for stronger police powers to tackle travellers.

He also said statements by the new administration were creating unrest.

He said: “We shall see who is right, when a large group of travellers leaves Essex in the near future. Where will they go?

“To a council that is not sympathetic, or one, by the statements of its senior figures, that appears to be?

The Greens have set a dangerous precedent by their public attitude and comments and residents are genuinely worried at what may be about to be visited upon them in terms of nuisance and cost.”
There’s something to remember the next time they find themselves standing over a ballot box...
A council spokesman said: "There are no more travellers around this year than in previous years, under previous administrations.

“However the more prominent sites occupied and media coverage of travellers is giving people a contrary impression.

“The council has to obey the law in moving travellers on and this often entails undertaking welfare checks before evictions take place.”
It’s not ‘media coverage’ that’s giving people that impression of travellers. It’s the travellers themselves, and the mess they leave behind...

Karma, It’s A Bitch, Dawg….

A former member of the rap group So Solid Crew has 432,000 seconds to go before he has worked off his debt for attacking his teenage girlfriend.

Darren Weir, 32, known as Skat D in the group which made the hit song 21 Seconds, has been ordered to do 120 hours (432,000 seconds) unpaid work after hitting the 17-year-old girl in the face.
Hmm, that name rings a bell…

*snaps fingers*

Ah, of course!
A member of UK garage collective the So Solid Crew has been fined £1,500 by a court for assaulting a 15-year-old schoolgirl fan.

Darren James Weir, 22, of Pimlico, central London, admitted breaking the girl's jaw on 27 December last Christmas after a concert by the group in Cardiff.
Oh, just lovely.
The judge said he was not handing down a jail sentence in order to preserve Weir's career prospects.
Hmm, was that wise? Just how are those prospects these days?
Michael Burdett, representing Weir, said he left So Solid Crew in 2004 and is now heavily in debt with his bank and receiving income support. Mr Burdett told the court Weir and his victim ended their relationship after he attacked her.

Clearly not.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

As Headlines Go, Not As Scary As ‘Hungry Velociraptors Are Escaping From Jurassic Park’…

Amorous peacocks are escaping from Holland Park to hunt for a mate.
Today residents were warned not to approach them and drivers were urged to be vigilant.

They’re just birds! Yes, I wouldn’t like to drive round a corner and find one in the road, but we aren’t talking about cassowarys here…

Oh, wait. Maybe we are?
Pc Angus Angus (Ed: whut?), of Kensington and Chelsea parks police, said: "Peacocks are highly strung and have no road sense. You can't herd or chase them as they get frantic. You can't pick them up because they have huge talons and the wings can cause injury."
‘Huge talons’?

My god, look at those...wait, that's not a peacock.

Ah, that's better.

"We get them back by leaving a peanut trail."
How do you get back your missing PCSOs, PC Angus? Leave a trail of doughnuts?

Better Order A New Carpet!

Because there's no more room under this one:
Ten men have been arrested in raids in Greater Manchester and Derbyshire as part of a major investigation into the sexual exploitation of children.
Can we know who has been arrested this time?

Reader, we cannot.

But the victims? Oh, yes. We can know about them:
"The youngsters themselves are predominantly white girls - as young as 14," Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, of Greater Manchester Police said.
Anyone else think there's something really, really wrong with a society that tries so damn hard not to face facts?

H/T: Curmudgeon via email

Did They? Why?

Because god knows, it might be their job, but I'd not break a sweat:
Staff attempted to save Aherne...
His crime? Glad you asked:
He had stabbed Mrs Ryder, later bragging about it to a friend, because she asked him to pick up a chip wrapper he had dropped in the street in February 2003.
The world just got a little bit more pleasant.

Brighton’s New Electorate Voice Their Thoughts…

A family who had their dead mother's home taken over by squatters have had to pay thousands of pounds to get them out.
Which they’ll never get back, of course…
Lisa Cockin and her family spent £100,000 on renovating her mother's house in York Avenue, Hove, after she died.

But on the first anniversary of the death of Mrs Cockin's mother, a group moved in, had house parties and left the new carpets ruined.
We should bring back the stocks, or forced labour at least.
Mrs Cockin, 40, said that the legal action and the use of a security firm has cost the family more than £5000.

She said: “We do feel let down by the system and wouldn't want this to happen to anyone else.

“Once they were in we had no rights to go and ask them to leave - we had no right to be in our own home. It left us feeling vulnerable and helpless.”
And of course, the sort of people that the ‘Anything Goes!’ Green administration is going to attract latch on to the most significant thing about this case: that they have nice things, and won’t share with others…
gheese77, hove says...

They can count themselves lucky - the property doesn't look like it been damaged much. They can also count themselves lucky that they can spend £100 k renovating a property that they can then afford to leave empty.
Because probate only takes a day at most, and builders can renovate a house in a fortnight!
Makhno, says...

Glad to see the standard of Argus 'journalism' hasn't changed. You repeatedly say "Hove squatters cost bereaved family thousands" yet the £5,000 was actually spent on a security firm, and a pretty bad one by the looks of it.

I guess security firm charge thousands for shoddy job doesn't sell so many papers.

Lisa Cockin have every "right to ask them to leave" and they may well have agreed to go if she'd spoke to them. Also they weren't stopping you form entering your "own home", they were using as their home a building you've left empty for a year.

How exactly had Mike Weatherly "supported them in their campaign"? Has he offered to pay the families court fees or is he merely going to try and further his political career of their backs?
There’s the attitude of so many of the rent-dodgers and scroungers that infest Brighton – leave something unattended, and it’s your own fault when someone makes use of it, right?

At least the next commenter chooses a correctly descriptive handle:
smelly anarchist, says...

i met these squatters. they were all really nice people.

Basically what happened was a bunch of people were homeless, found a building with an open window, went in and put up a section six. All completely legal. the police went there three times and never found any evidence of criminal damage.

the house had no for sale sign and didnt appear to be in use so it was only natural for people to think it was going to waste.

The company that the owners paid to secure the building were rubbish. the cockin's were fools to have paid them anything. the remainder of the 'thousands' could also have been avoided if they had just gone through the proceedure for a standard possession order rather than paying for the much more expensive interim possession order. it would have been cheaper still if they had just communicated directly with the squatters and come to a reasonable agreement. squatting is so hard in this town that squatters are desperate for a place to live and would have been grateful for an offer of only a few weeks while they looked for a new place. perhaps if the cockins had gone down this route the squatters would cleaned up after themselves even more. as it was there really wasnt very much mess, as these pictures show. if there had really been a squat party at this place the damage would have been a lot worse and there would have been noise complaints.

mike weatherly is just using the cockins and the argus as a tool for his ridiculous campaign against squatters rights which doesnt have a hope in hell of getting through parliament.
In other words ‘You deserve it for not rolling over and thanking us for relieving you of your property…’

There are some dissenting voices:
AmboGuy, Brighton says...

The views from smelly anarchist and a few others truly shows just how disgusting and selfish these type of people really are. They think the whole world owes them a living and that normal rules don't apply to them. This squatters rights law has to change - these people are simply criminals and deserve all they get.
Hard to disagree. Maybe this is one the coalition would like to take on? If all it achieved was to make the likes of 'smelly anarchist' look over their shoulder a bit more, it'd be worth it

Sunday Funnies

One for any US readers. And history buffs.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Ken Clarke Attempts To Ensure That The Last Few People In The UK…

…who don’t think he’s a complete and utter waste of oxygen will give in and say ‘OK, you’ve convinced me’
Child pornography pedlars could serve just half their sentences under a compromise being thrashed out between David Cameron and Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, it was claimed today.
Yes, that’ll work! Clearly, the public like them far more than they like rapists, don’t they, you raddled old trougher!
Intensive talks are still going on about which offenders will be eligible for a 50 per cent discount on prison sentences in return for making an early plea of guilty.
How about ‘none’? How about we increase sentences instead, and see if that works?
An aide to Mr Clarke said that was "speculation" and no decision had been taken yet. "There will be an announcement in the next few weeks," he said.
When you’ve found something that isn’t a total PR disaster, you mean? Good luck with that...
A report in today's Times said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is strongly backing Mr Clarke in a battle with Mr Cameron, who wants to scale back the so-called "soft sentencing" plan that has been condemned by Conservative backbenchers.
Another chance to humiliate Clegg? Don’t pass this one up, Dave!

And you can shut up as well:
Sadiq Khan, Labour's shadow justice secretary, said: "It is not right that people committing very serious crimes, including grievous bodily harm, possessing and distributing child porn and burglary, could still get away with half the time knocked off their sentence for pleading guilty early.

"There is no evidence this unjust policy will work and the Government should drop it in its entirety."
Riiiiighht, like Labour weren’t in the forefront of the ‘coddling criminals’ charge just a few years ago?

Politicians. They all make me sick.

So, Can We Put Swan Back On The Menu?

New York City plans to capture pesky geese that threaten planes flying in and out of airports and send them to Pennsylvania to be cooked for meals for the poor, city officials said on Thursday.
Hmmm, in light of this news, our swans had better cease and desist all attempts to interfere with transportation forthwith!
The city will pay for the capture and transport of the geese to facilities in Pennsylvania where they will be prepared for consumption and distributed to Pennsylvania food banks, a spokesman for the city's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said.

"Rather than disposing of them in landfills, we wanted to make sure they do not go to waste," the spokesman said.
Admirable, but why Pennsylvania?
According to the DEP, no suitable locations could be found in New York that were willing to take the geese as donations.
Do they taste that bad?