Sunday, 31 July 2011

Because Some People Just Don’t Learn Their Lesson…

A West Sussex man who was banned from keeping dogs after one of his pets mauled his niece to death has been fined for breaching the court order.
Yes, it’s this charming fellow again.
Urfan Ahmed, 33, admitted the charge at Haywards Heath Magistrates' Court, and was fined £500 after police found five dogs at his Crawley address.
No doubt the dogs were destroyed, but I can’t help but feel the wrong conscienceless beast got the needle…
Ch Insp Steve Curry, commander of the Crawley district, said: "Sussex police takes breaches of court orders very seriously.

"These orders are put in place for a good reason and people who breach them should expect to be brought to justice."
Or whatever approximation of it we have in this country….

Did They Sack Her For The Assault...?

...or because she was eating all the profits?
Jennifer Schwenker went into the McDonald's in Marietta with her sons Ben and Sam and their service dog Barkley to get some lunch on July 12.

Allen, who was off-duty at the time, became angry that the dog was inside and told the mother that it was not allowed, the warrant states.

Mrs Schwenker explained that it was a service dog that was allowed in public places by federal law and offered to show a permit for the dog.

But surveillance footage shows Allen then following the mother around the restaurant and down the hall to the restroom.

As Mrs Schwenker tried to leave the restaurant she dropped her drink on the floor, accidentally splashing Allen, as she looked for one of her sons.

The video shows McDonald's employees trying to restrain their co-worker as she appears to fly into a rage, before allegedly punching Mrs Schwenker in the face in the parking lot.

Tiffany Denise Allen, folks, give her a big, errr, hand...

McDonalds have sacked her and are 'co-operating fully with the investigation'. Which is only what you'd expect them to do, isn't it?

It does rather cast an awkward light over their hiring practices...

Sunday Funnies

If reincarnation does exist, I want to come back as a pen-tailed tree shrew...

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Bin Men Unite! Your Bacon Butty Depends On It!

So, the bin men are revolting in Brighton and Hove as well, not just in Southampton. Albeit for a much different reason:
A protest was staged by the ‘disgusted’ workers when their canteen removed bacon butties and lamb chops from the menu.

The veggie day was part of Brighton and Hove Council Green Party’s successful election manifesto in May.
And it clearly went down like a cold cup of sick…
One worker said: 'As a result of potential grievances and general disgust at being told no meat would be served in the staff canteen, the policy has been abandoned and they will return to serving meat every day from now on.'
Bin Men 1, Green Fruitcakes 0…

So, are they giving up? Reader, they are not:
Despite the pilot scheme failing to impress binmen, Brighton and Hove has not given up on the idea and is talking to other departments about introducing the policy.

A council spokesman said it was disappointing, but ‘we’ll work to communicate the benefits better and work more closely with the workforce in any future plans’.
People don’t give a damn about the supposed ‘benefits’, they’d rather make their own choices on what to eat. That’s what people like you really can’t abide, isn’t it?

And just what is ‘work more closely with the workforce’ code for?
Green central services cabinet member Jason Kitkat said: “We are not looking to force this on staff. The idea is to get staff and people to talk about the issue. We will continue to have conversations with staff to find out ways to take this idea forward.”
In other words ‘We’ll hector and cajole and threaten until these uppity peasants are forced to accept this!’.

An Everyday Story Of Underclass Folk Part II…

A mother got so drunk after putting her 18-month-old daughter to bed she fell asleep and failed to wake when the girl climbed out of a window and fell off the roof.
But when the 39-year-old mother was eventually told by police what had happened, her reply was 'Little b*****r, ! I'll f*****g kill her!'
Is there a handbook? ‘Underclass Scum Etiquette for Dummies’? If so, she must have memorised it…
The child is now staying with her grandmother in a flat nearby in an arrangement approved by social services.

Her mother has daily access to her daughter and eventually hopes to have her back with her.
And almost certainly will, the poor little mite.
Philip Sutton defending told the court 'She is in need of help more than punishment' .
No. No, she really, really isn’t…
He added 'This was a piece of neglect which fortunately did not result in far more serious consequences, either because of the fall or because she wandered out into the street'

He said she was not an alcoholic but someone who was a heavy drinker 'from time to time'.
Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday….
Passing sentence Judge Donald Moss acknowledged the mother had an 'unhappy background'.

He said 'This happened because she was careless rather than because she was evil.'
Why is it that people said to have had an ‘unhappy background’ don’t seem to be able to do the things that would prevent another such ‘unhappy background’? Or so it seems, when you study the news reports…
He told her 'There but for the grace of God your daughter might have been really seriously injured or even worse.
I thought the courts were supposed to take the place of God’s wrath, judge? We’ll have to hope he keeps his eye on her, and doesn’t get distracted by any falling sparrows, eh?
'If she had fallen on her head it could have been appalling.'
When did you fall on your head, judge?
He said he wasn't sure why she had said what she said to the police when they knocked at her door.

Adding: 'I can't believe you meant it in earnest.'
I’ve got a bridge to sell this guy!
He gave her a 12 month community order and she will be subject to a three month curfew when she must remain at home between 7pm and 7am.

She will be electronically tagged for the period.
Which, as a commenter points out, is utterly useless since she was at home when it happened

I despair.

An Everyday Story Of Underclass Folk…

Stefanie Hawkins, 18, of Gunell Close, Croydon, said she attacked Toni Sear after hearing she had described her deceased father as an “idiot”.

The incident took place at Parkway Health Centre, in New Addington, on June 14.

While waiting in the reception area, the defendant, who was with her mum, punched her victim in the face before following up with a volley of blows to the head – in front of shocked patients.
Yes, well, I suppose what better place to start a brawl…?

And in case you were thinking she was just the black sheep of the family:
Two boys, who were with Miss Hawkins, also traded blows with another man who had stood up for Miss Sear.
Lovely. I wonder what she was at the doctors for..?

Still, at least the full might of our criminal justice system will come down on her now, right?

Croydon Magistrates, sitting on Monday, said they sympathised with her “emotional state” and handed her a £75 fine.

We’ll be paying that, then, I expect?

Friday, 29 July 2011

I Thought It Was Up To The CPS To Charge..?

A drunken yob with more than 25 convictions narrowly dodged a prison sentence after assaulting two policeman and a doctor in St Helier Hospital.
Warren Abel, from Purley Way, Croydon, attacked the three men as they were trying to give him treatment at the hospital on May 18.

The 23-year-old told Croydon magistrates' he had drunk 16 pints of lager and taken dozens of diazepam tablets.

After kicking out at the two policeman Abel then spat at one officer before racially abusing the other.
Well, he's (finally) in for a long stretch, I assume?
Fortunately for Chelsea fan Abel, the doctor dropped the charges.
Wait, what..?

Never mind 'why' (admittedly, a damned good question!), how..? I didn't think it was up to an individual to 'press charges' over here..?
Magistrates told the defendant, who admitted two charges of assault and one of racial abuse: "These are three offences connected with your appalling behaviour are sufficiently serious to merit a custodial sentence."

Blog Title Of The Month

...goes to DumbJon for this header to a post on the Murdoch Hearing:

Quote Of The Month

This, from Leg-Iron on the new porn-addicts helpline:
The service includes live telephone sessions with trained counsellors and 'accountability' software that monitors online activity and sends a list of viewed x-rated websites to users' therapists.

So they'll know your phone number and internet IP address and they'll get a list of the hottest sites direct from your own browsing history. Log on to Sluts-R-Us and someone will call you to tell you you've been very naughty and must be spanked. You know, I don't think that's going to work very well.

Post Of The Month

This month, the award goes to MummyLongLegs for this epic dismantling of the NHS government health experts advice to parents on exercise for children under five.

The Selfishness Of Youth

A video showing a woman eating dog mess has been launched in protest
Another campaign against dog fouling?

Oh, no. Something a little more squishy and unpleasant:
against people putting dog fouling before young people's issues.
During the three minute film, youth worker Melissa Knight appears to eat dog mess in Mayow Park in front of horrified onlookers.

Miss Knight, of Ommaney Road, New Cross, said: “Dog poo takes up a lot of time at local assembly meetings.

“It is an important issue and is horrible but young people are more important than dog poo.”
Clearly, the ‘old people’ (we call them adults) don’t think so.

This is how a representative democracy works, you see; people complain to their councillors about the things they think are important, and those councillors discuss them.

So if ‘young people’s issues’ aren’t being discussed, then the people talking to their councillors don’t think your issues are as important. Sorry. Would some taxpayer’s money help?

Why, yes. I see it would.

Because if anyone other than local and central government is your main source of funds, I’ll eat my hat…

But clearly you think you should get money from the public too:
A group of nine teenagers from Sydenham and Forest Hill Youth Forum (SFHYF) helped to create the video ahead of the charity’s new fundraising campaign.

SFHYF is appealing for people to donate £2 a month where local organisations for young people can then bid for the cash.
I’m sure it’d be a wise investment.
Miss Knight, who has worked for the charity since 2008, said: “We really would like people who can afford it to give a couple of pounds a month and make a difference.

“For small organisations it means a secure replenishing pot of local funding which offers a security that their weekly workshops or groups won’t be subject to funding cuts.”
Hell, I’m sure £2 a month is a small price to pay to enable this charity to employ you to not submit returns and create YouTube videos to hector everyone, Melissa…
Chairman of Lewisham Council’s children and young people select committee, Councillor John Paschoud, said: “When I talk with young people and persuade them to participate in local assemblies I've heard the same complaint about what people's priorities seem to be, dog poo over creative activities.

“The Youth Forum's idea of many people subscribing small amounts to create a sizeable fund to support youth activities is a really good one, but it needs publicity and this sort of viral video may be just the thing.”
Yes, it’s certainly made me think twice about the value of ‘youth issues’.

Though not, I suspect, in the way you might have hoped…

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Your Data, Safe In Their…

…oh, I just can’t keep a straight face any more:
Details of police informants stored on a computer memory stick have been stolen in a burglary at the home of a Greater Manchester Police officer.

Still, at least the thieves will have to crack the sooper-dooper top secret government encoding, won’t they?
The stick, which is not thought to be password protected, was taken from the house in Oldham on 17 July.

Why would a government-issued memory stick not have any security?

A spokesman said the matter had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Information Commissioner.

Police said the stick does not belong to Greater Manchester Police but does contain sensitive information relating to the force.
Ahhh. Perhaps it wasn’t a government-issued data stick after all?

Methinks chummy has some explaining to do…

Laughing At The Law...

...and getting away with it:
A judge agreed to shorten a thief's night–time curfew after hearing that his dog could last only eight hours without answering the call of nature.
The probation service proposed that he should be subjected to a 9pm to 7am curfew at his home in Tuffley, Glos.

But Ian Fenny, defending, pointed out that
Hutton had a dog and lived alone. "As dog owners he and I have been discussing the difficulties of a curfew order," said Mr Fenny.
How cozy...
The judge admitted that he had owned dogs in the past and asked: "What times does his dog like to go out at night?"
OK, I'm struggling here. Does he have no garden wherein to let Fang do his nightly ablutions?

And what did he steal?
At a hearing in Bristol Crown Court on Jan 21, Hutton had admitted stealing cash from his ex–partner and was sentenced to a 51–week jail term suspended for two years with a condition that he carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

The case was back before the court yesterday because Hutton's ill–health had prevented him from completing more than six hours of the order.

A probation officer, Patrick Tracey, told the Recorder that as an alternative to unpaid work he was recommending a curfew as punishment.
And just how does a curfew 'repay the community', which is what community orders are meant to do?

And how about, as an alternative to the unpaid work, he does the 51 weeks of chokey instead?
Mr Fenny told the court that Hutton had been living in Cornwall at the time of the offence. He and his partner had decided to pool their resources to buy a £35,000 boat but Hutton backed out of the deal and left her, taking the money with him. His defence was that he thought he had taken only his half of the cash but had been mistaken.
Mr Fenny said Hutton was living in Gloucester because he was awaiting two operations on his ears to try to improve severe hearing difficulties. He had been treated by a surgeon in Cornwall, where he was living at the time of the offence, but moved to Gloucestershire because the surgeon was now there.
Oh, really? Not because his antics had finally exhausted the patience of the Cornish courts?

Just Pay Them The Money…

…and then deduct it out of your business rates.

I don’t see how they can possibly object:
A penny-pinching council left a shopkeeper stunned when it refused to hand over CCTV crime footage... because it would cost too much.
Amanda Wright, who runs Wright's Family Bakers in Walton on the Naze, Essex asked for the images after mindless vandals smashed the shop's front window.

But the baker was left gobsmacked when Tendring District Council bosses refused the request, saying it would be too expensive to retrieve footage.
Just why was she doing this herself anyway?

Surely if a complaint of criminal damage has been made, it should be the responsibility of the police to liaise with the council?

And would the council tell them ‘Sorry, no can do’..?
She said: 'What is the point of having CCTV if no-one can view it?’
Good point!
Lynda McWilliams, the councillor responsible for customer services, said: 'The footage is contained on a hard drive within the camera equipment itself.

'Therefore the council need to call in its contractor with a cherry picker to get at the footage and obtain a copy.'
Hey, Lynda, maybe you should have thought of that before you soaked the ratepayers for the money to put the useless bloody thing up in the first place?

Not Really Much Of A Skill, Is It?

David Haslam, a leading GP and chairman of the UK’s National Obesity Forum, says his fellow doctors can spot overweight children the minute they walk through the door.
Errr, yes...

Come to think of it, that's better than relying on the useless 'tick box' BMI.
His comments came in response to a study showing that most parents who receive letters about the health risks of their children being fat do very little about it.
That's because they can take a look at their child as it walks through the door too, and see that the letter is a pack of nonsense in a lot of cases.

So, is Dr Haslam going to campaign to stamp out use of the discredited BMI?
Dr Haslam, who is a GP in Hertfordshire, said: ‘Sending letters to parents like this is a waste of time. It’s the duty of the healthcare professional, doctor or nurse, when they see a patient whose weight is putting their health at risk to seize the moment – children’s lives are at stake.’
It appears not. Because 'It's for the chiiiiildreeeeen!'...
‘If a child comes into the surgery with a thorn in a finger, take out the thorn and then ask then what they’re doing about trying to lose weight and how can we help’ he added.
People come into doctor's surgery's with thorns in their fingers, do they? I'd have thought it'd be the vets...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Bad Dog? No, Bad Owner!

Now, I don't normally pay a lot of attention to squawking charities, especially ones with a vested interest in being the agents of control. But I think they've got a point here:
Three of the UK’s leading animal welfare charities – Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the RSPCA and The Blue Cross – have expressed their mounting disappointment and frustration at what they see as the Coalition Government’s apparent inability to address the country’s most pressing dog control issues.
Their main issue seems to be bull terrier breeds, currently clogging up pet rescue centres left and right as the recession bites and Stabby McChav finds it's a case of Stella or food for Fang, and makes the obvious choice.

But you don't have to wander too far through the local papers to find plenty of stories about people who have dogs and absolutely no bloody idea how to control them, usually because there are no financial or legal consequences for not doing so:
She said: “Like I would on any other day, I walked past lots of dogs with their owners. I saw a lady on a mobile phone with three dogs, a doberman, a great dane and another dog, who looked reasonably docile.”
Three dogs, two of which would be a handful for a full-grown man if untrained, and not even paying any attention to them..!

Not that men aren't equally as useless:
Ms Jones, 36, from Laitwood Road, Balham, is so traumatised by what happened to her beloved pet that she has decided to leave London.

She said: "She was just walking them past the Lido and she heard it coming towards them.

"It went for Leo and then Lily tried to defend him. But it let go of Leo and just turned on Lily.

"The owner came over and held the dog down on the floor. But it escaped and went for her again. He then just picked it up and said to the dog 'What did you do that for?' and walked off towards Aldrington Road without saying anything."
And then there are those who just don't give a damn at all:
Waterfall, 20, of Valley Road, Chilwell, was three hours late for yesterday's hearing at Nottingham Magistrates' Court. The case went ahead in his absence and he did not arrive until after it had finished.

The court heard he was repeatedly late for hearings in relation to Asbo and did not attend at all when he was given the control order.

That hearing heard Waterfall stood by as his dog attacked two of the animals, and that on one occasion he did not intervene because he did not want to get his trainers dirty.
The usual calls for dog licenses, for tougher police and court action, etc get made in comments. It seems that dog-on-dog attacks just aren't treated seriously, until a person is inevitably injured.

So, should the police take a firmer hand with out-of-control dogs attacking other animals?

It seems they don't take it as seriously as they should*, despite the clear public danger when owners and bystanders intervene:
A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: “The dog received minor injuries.

No members of the public were attacked or received injuries.

“The owners of both animals were spoken to by police.

No offences were reported.”
Or should it be merely a civil matter?


Sacré bleu!

I'm off to rural France on holiday 17 years after my last venture into those quiet villages bursting with geraniums and well-tended fields. We went when our little girl was six-months-old and our son, a cheerful teenager, was not quite into the Kevin phase.
Oh, how wonderful! La belle France, eh, Yaz?
It was a horrible holiday. The locals thought I was Algerian and so treated me like vermin. My baby touched the bright scarf of a woman in a shop and the Gallic bat screeched at us.
Whoops! Maybe not.
I know I'll miss Blighty and not only because there won't be an Indian or Chinese takeaway to nip into. I feel my sap of patriotism rising in France, and only in France – that sense of pride in being British.
I…. I just….

Anyway, I'm giving the French a chance to redeem themselves.
How kind of you…
Perhaps this time they will be as sweet as eclairs. If they do, I promise to put aside my frightful prejudices and even try and speak a little French. Mesdames et messieurs, let's end this spat. Be nice.
They usually are. Maybe they read your columns all the way over there, Yaz?

Is The Penny Dropping At Last?

Staff at Essex County Council will have to pay more to plug a £674million pensions blackhole.

The deficit was revealed in County Hall’s annual statement of accounts and will see employees having to make up most of the gap.

The figure is down from a shortfall of £800million revealed last year, mainly because councils can now link future pension increases to the consumer prices index, rather than the retail prices index, which knocked hundreds of millions of pounds off the deficit.
It looks as though they are starting to realise there’s no more money in the Magic Money Pot!
Across the county, councils are all struggling to plug the pensions gap.

Southend Council is £126million short, while Rochford Council has to find £18million.

Colchester Council has a shortfall of almost £60million, Braintree Council needs to find another £40million and Tendring Council has a pension gap of £37.85million.
As a result of this shortfall, many councils are looking at changes to staff conditions. So, can we expect union intransigence?

Surprisingly, no:
Ms Whitfield has told members: “If you reject the changes, the only way we can take this any further would be to enter into a formal dispute with the employer and one of the possible outcomes of this could be strike action.

“The branch is, therefore, recommending acceptance of these proposals as the best that can be achieved.”
Wonders may never cease!

Just Who Is Running This Centre..?

Clive Simpson, manager of planning services, said: “The drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre opened in June, but without formal planning permission.

“The operators originally thought they did not require planning permission.”
Really? Why? They aren’t from Dale Farm, are they?
“The council has not pursued enforcement action as this temporary breach of regulations does not warrant immediate action.

“However, this may be reviewed following the determination of the planning application.”
Yes, they’ve put in a retrospective planning application, which has angered the local residents, who don’t believe a suburban street is the best place for such an establishment.

They’ve got up a petition, and engaged the services of their local councillor, though his mealy-mouthed statement rather seems to indicate he’s twisting himself in knots to try to stay on the fence:
Labour ward councillor Daniel Munyambu is helping the residents and will be handing in their petition at the planning meeting when the application is decided.

He said: “If my residents come to me for help on a matter that concerns them, it is my duty to do all that I can to investigate that matter.”
Wow, don’t strain yourself, Daniel…

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

What The Hell Is It With Off-Duty Coppers?

An off-duty policeman who pulled a man out of a car by his neck has been given a community order by magistrates.
Blimey, there’s a lot of this going around!

Unlike that case, though, this report is devoid of details of just why he felt the need to do this…
PC Ian Collis, who works in Lewisham, was arrested following the attack in Crofton Road, Locksbottom, on November 16.

The 45-year-old, of State Farm Avenue, Farnborough, was visibly shaken and upset as he stood in the dock at Bromley Magistrates’ Court today (July 21).
The inevitable mitigation gives no clues either:
In mitigation, lawyer Alistair Williamson told the court how his client had been injured whilst in the course of duty and was suffering psychological issues after the death of his father, for which he had refused counselling.
If you are thinking ‘He doesn’t sound like someone who should be pounding a beat!’, well, he won’t be for much longer:
The court was told that Collis has suffered a “fall from grace” and was “going to lose everything”, with an upcoming disciplinary hearing expected to cost him his job.
Maybe if that gets reported we might find out why he decided to pull a man out of a car by his neck…

What Happened To 'I'll Follow You To The Ends Of The Earth!'..?

The Home Office rejects Zak's claim to stay, by article 8 of the European declaration of human rights, which guarantees the right to a family life, because "if we really love each other then I'd move to Afghanistan"?!
Well, Carina, why is that so unthinkable?
Is the Home Office seriously suggesting that a British Christian woman move to Afghanistan, with a man who is not from the dominant ethnic group, has no family and no livelihood to return to, when our own troops are withdrawing from a conflict that seems ever more intractable?
Well, clearly, it's far more sensible that the UK allow the unrestricted import of ever more exotic lovers for middle-class women to choose between, right?

I note your bio reads:
'Carina Crawford Rolt is a community organiser who advocates for changes to the asylum system.'
Hmmm, so you aren't exactly a naive young thing experiencing their first brush with the harsh reality of the immigration system, are you?

Which came first, I wonder, the exotic Afghan asylum seeking chicken, or the Open Borders egg?

Clearly the CiF editor is well aware how this column is going to play out, as it bears this legend in the comment box: 'Comments on this post will be held in a queue until they have been approved by our moderators.'

Never seen that one before...

Our Professional Criminal Justice System, Folks….

…keeping us all safe:
An “extremely dangerous” rapist has walked free after being prosecuted for a crime that does not exist.
David Shields, 58, was accused of stripping naked in front of a woman on a beach and sexually assaulting her.

The attack, last October, took place less than a mile from where he raped a 26-yearold woman in January 1992.

Shields was sentenced to nine months in prison for breaching a sexual offences prevention order given to him when he was released from his ten year jail sentence.
However, he was charged under outdated laws and has now been released from jail on a technicality after serving just two months of his sentence.
Don’t you just love loophole-seeking lawyers? Not that they had to scratch their heads too hard in this case:
In 2005, Shields was given a life-long sexual offences prevention order (Sopo) because of the risk he posed to women.

However, the charge he was tried for at Lewes Crown Court in March was breaching a “sex offender order” under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which is now an outdated offence.
Yes, our wonderful, devoted, professional CPS staff charged the bloke with the wrong thing.


Still, a mistake anyone can make, and at least they’ve owned up to…

The Argus can now report the judge’s decision after three appeal judges overturned Shields’ conviction and reporting restrictions were lifted.
Did they think they could hide it forever?
A CPS lawyer said another trial was “not in the interests of justice” as Shields has served at least part of his original sentence which was nine months.
In other words, the fact that he’s a dangerous individual is neither here nor there; he wouldn’t get a longer sentence anyway, so why bother to try?

Despite the fact that the more convictions he racks up, the greater the chance someone will finally say ‘He needs to be put away for a long time!’ at last?
A CPS spokeswoman said: “There was a technical error in the wording of the charge put before the court which regrettably no one spotted until it was too late to rectify.

“We have taken steps to ensure that this does not happen again.”
Have you sacked anyone? No?

Then why should they ever ‘learn lessons’?

The Anti-Status Dog…

A dog walker who claims he and his pet were repeatedly “dive-bombed” by an aggressive seagull on Bournemouth beach is warning families and pet owners to be on their guard.
His pet being…what? A Chihuahua? A peke?

Well, no…
Jasen De-Botte, 37, and nine-month-old George, a Staffordshire American bull dog cross
The unemployed labourer from Northcote Road told the Daily Echo: “A fairly large seagull started swooping down on George; at first it was quite amusing because he thought it was a game.

“But, after about 20 minutes, the novelty wore off.

“Unfortunately the gull was determined to carry on and by the time we got to Boscombe Pier we must have had at least 50 close encounters.

“The bird got so close to my face I could feel the rush of wind from its wings as it swooped down. Luckily I was wearing a hat but I was worried the bird would peck out George’s eyes.”
You were worried a bird might hurt your dog? Good grief, what sort of seagulls do they have there?
Jasen added: “Eventually I managed to scare the bird off by throwing stones.

“None of us were injured but I am now worried that smaller dogs, or even children, could be the next victim of this very feisty bird. I’ve seen seagulls attacking people in Spain which was very frightening.”
A Spanish seagull, then?
...a concerned cyclist, who often takes her two children to the beach, said: “Some of the gulls around Bournemouth this year are the size of small dogs.
“They are bigger and noisier than usual. I think they have moved here from the West Country where they will snatch pasties out of your hand.”
Oh, OK, a Cornish seagull then!

Hand back your man card, Jasen.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Well, That Didn’t Take Long!

Supporters of the English Defence League have blamed the Norwegian government’s immigration policies for the attacks that killed at least 93 people, provoking outcry from anti-fascist campaigners who are calling for the EDL to be classified as an extremist group.
So, who is it who’s striking while the iron is hot?

Well, it’ll come as no surprise, frankly:
Nick Lowles, director of anti-extremist campaign group Hope Not Hate, said yesterday that the decision not to classify the EDL as an extremist right-wing group “severely limits the capacity of the police to gather intelligence on the EDL, its members and its activities”.
Really? I think all those football hooligans and environmentalists and UKUncut loons might take issue with that idea.

Or should we ignore them the next time they whinge about excessive police surveillance, on the ground it can’t possibly be true, Nicky?
In response to the Norway attacks, the government has announced that the National Security Council, chaired by David Cameron, will meet today to discuss what lessons Britain can learn from the killings.
Since I rather doubt you’d get permission to own a Ruger Mini 14 semi-automatic rifle in order to go deer hunting, probably not a lot…

Luckily, some of our politicians have their heads screwed on:
When questioned yesterday on whether Britain had focused too much on Islamist terrorism and not enough on right-wing terrorism, the Foreign Secretary William Hague said al-Qa’ida inspired terrorism remained “the single biggest terrorist threat to the United Kingdom and our allies.”
Still, at least (unlike 9/11) no-one’s claiming that the Jews were really behind it all, are th…

Oh. Crap.

The media is scrambling to find ‘experts’ to fill news space. Some more successfully than others:
The problem is that much of the attention in the past has been devoted to the rise of radical Islam.
Errrr, well, yes. Understandably.
But this is not a new issue. Radical elements within the far right have been linked with terrorism since the end of the Second World War and through the past century. Perhaps we should we start learning something from European history.
Well, what a great idea! Clearly, you don’t know what. Or you’d have told us. So, where can we find one of these experts?

Oh. Wait…
The author is a historian at Kingston University, London, and an expert on European fascism and neo-fascism.

Still, trust the ‘Guardian’ to get right out in front and finding someone who was a Facebook ‘friend’ of the killer! What a scoop!
I'm not saying it's wrong to have opinions about immigration, or to protest against the people who really do want Sweden to allow Muslims to have their own courts and laws. I don't think it's right that our borders should be wide open, without any controls – but I utterly reject these reactions. Hatred breeds nothing but hatred.
What about contempt? Is that safer than ‘hatred’? How about exasperation?

Please tell us, sweetie, what emotions are OK, in the eyes of the left? I can’t sleep until I know what I’m permitted to feel…
There are many people like me – Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, and other Europeans – who had this person as a friend on Facebook. I wonder how they feel now.
Probably feel they shouldn’t just accept everyone who issues a request. Or maybe they shouldn’t be hooked on social media to the extent of real, live friends. So, he’ll have done them a favour…
Everyone who is critical of aspects of our immigration policies must wake up and realise what their endless talk about dangers and hatred can lead to.
Really? It’s the fault of everyone concerned about multiculturalism, is it? Are you sure about that?
There are two things we learned on Friday afternoon. One: extremists are found in all groups, and all are at least as dangerous.
Hmmm, well, we’ll see. I think you’ll find the Islamist loons are well ahead, though.
Two: hatred breeds hate. Never help to spread it unless you are ready to take the consequences. Did anyone – even you people who hate me for everything else, and belong to the far right – did anyone, even you, really want something this terrible to happen?
Well, of course they did! They are ‘right wing’, and so responsible for every evil in the world. While the left are responsible only for kittens, puppydogs and rainbows.

Stalin, Lenin and Mao couldn’t be reached for comment…

But, Clearly, Not A Good Neighbour..?

A family of dog lovers were devastated after their 15-month-old German shepherd died as a result of receiving over 100 bee stings.
Just an unforeseeable accident?
Sara had been let out into the communal gardens by Mrs Keeley Connolly, but the dog strayed into a neighbour’s garden and into an area where bees were kept.
Now, yes, the dog should have been supervised.

But whenever I’ve seen a beehive on communal or public land (Kew Garden’s hive springs to mind) it’s been fenced off. Indeed, this is considered sensible and ‘good practice’ by the BBKA themselves:
“The area should be fenced from livestock which may kick over hives.”
Or dogs, or toddlers straying in from a communal garden…
Now the family have handed in a petition with over 700 signatures on to have the bees relocated.

“The petition says we are not an anti-bee campaign, we just want them moved somewhere else,” added Keeley.
That seems excessive. Surely after this preventable tragedy, the beekeeper would want to do everything in her power to correct the open access to her hives?
Beekeeper and neighbour Sue Mowforth said that she sympathised with the family as until last year she had a dog which died of old age and knew what a wrench losing one could be.

“I understood her pain because dogs do get to be part of the family,” she said.
So, are you planning to remedy this by implementing the BBKA guidelines, Mrs Mowforth?

Or perhaps get together with the communal garden owners to discuss joint payment for fencing?
“I understand what it’s like to lose a dog, but it should not have been trespassing in my garden.

“My garden has never been fenced off from the communal garden.

“If they were worried about the bees they should have made sure their dog was monitored and didn’t trespass in my garden. ”
Ah. No. I see you are simply going to stick to your guns and claim it’s everyone else’s responsibility to protect themselves from the potentially deadly consequences of your hobby…
“Bees don’t attack, they defend. “The dog had pushed one of the hives nearly off its concrete blocks.

“The bees were only defending their home. That’s why it got stung.”
Well, yes, they are just insects after all. That’s why it’s incumbent on the people who want to keep them to take precautions.

Precautions you haven’t bothered to take, because – clad in your Cloak of Eco-Righteousness – you are exempt from such mundane niceties:
“And we need beesI’m sure you know how much good bees do in nature and how much we rely on them in our farms and gardens.

I feel I’m helping the environment by keeping them.”
Oh, of course! What’s a dog’s life, compared to that?

Should the neighbours be prepared to sacrifice a few more dogs to your Bee God? Maybe a first-born child or two?
“And although I’ve only had them for two years, I am a member of Andover Bee Keepers’ Association, done the courses, read the literature etcetera.

“In other words I’m a responsible bee keeper.”
Hmmm, maybe. I wouldn’t like to live anywhere near you, though.

It seems you’ve forgotten the first rule of beekeeping, as outlined in that BBKA document:
1. Consideration for the public.

The general public are often ignorant and frightened of insects. If they
become alarmed about the presence of bee hives, their complaints can
result in your bees being considered a ‘nuisance’ with the consequent loss
of apiary sites for yourself and other beekeepers.

Bees establish regular ‘flight paths’ en route to adjacent forage. Enclosing
an apiary with hedges or a trellis to lift them above head height is good
practice. This also reduces the visibility of beekeeper activity.

Avoid sites which border roads or public paths especially bridleways,
where mounted riders may pass.
Where’s your consideration, Mrs Mowforth?

Yes, We Really Need To Expand That ‘Thinking Skills’ Course…

A Burnley postman who stashed away more than 31,000 letters and parcels at his home has been spared jail.
Really? Must have had a damned good excuse then…
He apologised for his actions and said he deserved to go to prison after a judge gave him 'a chance' as he looked after his disabled wife and daughter.

He said: “Personally I think I should have gone to prison. I know I have done wrong and I am sorry.

“The judge obviously realised that I had to look after my family, they need me to be here and I am grateful I am able to still look after them.

“It was a very stressful and difficult time, I was looking after my wife and daughter and that in itself was a full-time job.

"There just weren’t enough hours in the day."
Awwww, poor guy! *sniff* I’m quite welling up here.

Clearly, it all got too much for him, the poor, saintly, self-suffering ma…

Oh. Wait:
Tasker, who was to tell bosses he had sometimes been too drunk to do his round
Tasker, then a postman for 12 years, had been put under surveillance by the Royal Mail last September after reports from the public about mail not being delivered.

On the day he was observed, he didn't start on his round until noon at the earliest, finished about 2pm and had left more than 300 packets undelivered.

He later admitted he had left the Post Office at about 9am and had then done some shopping, gone home for his breakfast, had some cider, been to the bookies and was drunk.
*grinds teeth*
He was given 32 weeks in jail, suspended for a year, with 12 months' supervision and alcohol treatment and the Thinking Skills programme.

A Case Of Gamekeeper Turned Poacher?

A former psychiatric nurse has been locked up in a mental health unit after starting fires at a block of flats she had been evicted from.
Maybe it’s contagious?
Oyeronke Adigun, aged 47, used petrol cans to start three fires outside the flats in Main Road, Biggin Hill, on February 21, and damaged the intercom system with a hammer on February 14.
The damage to the intercom system seems to be out of touch with the ‘Oh, she’s mad, poor dear, can’t help herself, doesn’t know what she’s doing!’ attitude, surely?
Judge Peter Murphy made an order that Adigun, from Nigeria, cannot be released until doctors and the court are satisfied she no longer poses a risk of harm to the public.
Why can’t she just be deported back to Nigeria? Where she'd definitely not be any danger to the public?
Mr Clayton said Adigun had also tried to start fires at the flats on several previous occasions, travelling there via minicab from her home in Campshill Road, Lewisham, and stopping on the way to buy petrol cans.
He said she would make her attempts “in the early hours of the morning, when the tenants were asleep” and would “press the buzzer, trying to get into the block of flats”.
There’s a rather nasty element of planning in that…
Dr Janet Parrott, a consultant forensic psychiatrist at the unit, who is responsible for Adigun’s treatment, told the court she has a “serious mental illness” and suffers from paranoia and depression.
So why is this our problem?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Disabled Charities Say: "We Can't Handle The Truth!"

A drip-feed of statistics about claimants who have been denied benefits by the Department for Work and Pensions because they are deemed fit to work threatens the safety and quality of life of its members, says an alliance of 50 charities. The government is feeding a negative attitude towards people with disabilities, which, the charities warn, will ultimately end in violence.
Note that they aren't saying the statistics are wrong, miscalculated or in any way untrue; they are just inconvenient. They are dangerous.

They will (somehow) lead to ordinary, sane people to decide to go out today and kick a cripple.

Alice Maynard, the chair of Scope, who is a wheelchair user, said: "We just feel it is too much now. It is becoming such a frequent occurrence, it is likely to have some very serious negative effects. I think in the end it ends up in violence."

She added that a hardening of attitudes meant she now "thought harder" about going out at night in London.
So do I, but I'm not disabled. It's just that the breakdown of law and order means I don't feel as safe as I did 20 years ago. It's got nothing at all to do with anything else.

I mean, I'm not worried about being assaulted or mugged by ordinary people turned somehow feral beasts by government statistics, but by the usual underclass scum for whom there are no more consequences, and so do as they please unhindered.
Jaspal Dhani, chief executive of the United Kingdom Disabled People's Council, said: "The language portrays disabled people as scroungers, as lazy – a drain who are not playing their part and making a contribution. It has led to an increase in hate crimes against disabled people, victimisation and reinforcement of very old stereotypes and prejudices.

"In my experience as a disabled person in the last few months, when I have engaged strangers in conversation, they are surprised that as a wheelchair user I actually work."
Where the hell are you meeting people, Jaspal, and who are you talking to? I personally know of at least three who work, one of them in my own building, FFS!
Last night Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd said he had repeatedly raised the problem with the employment minister, Chris Grayling. "For many months now on the select committee and in the chamber I have been on the one hand supporting the government's general direction on the work programme, while at the same time demanding that ministers and the DWP use appropriate language for people who are on benefits. The phrases 'benefit cheats' and 'scroungers' – while we are trying to support people with disabilities back into work – are inappropriate."
What exactly do you suggest in place of 'benefit cheat' for those found gaming the system?

Get The Popcorn!

An ‘alternative’ private school is facing a £100,000 compensation bill after ignoring a whistle-blowing teacher’s complaint that her daughter had been assaulted.
Oh, boy! This’ll be good!
Jo Sawfoot, 42, worked at the fashionable Steiner school – where exams are considered harmful and pupils learn through gardening and playing with wooden blocks.

Her six-year-old daughter was also a pupil at the school.
It seems her daughter was less than a little angel, and some teachers only paid lip service to the school’s ‘hands off’ policy.
Miss Sawfoot claimed she was regarded as an ‘irritant’ at the school, giving her no option other than to resign and educate her child elsewhere.
And then claim a huge payout..
In May 2009 she complained that Miss Letts had grabbed her daughter by the arm after the child had refused to move. The child was left in pain by the ‘assault’, but the school failed to investigate – even though its policy stated that teachers should use physical restraint only as a last resort.
Maybe this was a last resort? Short of giving the little sweetie a shove?
And the next month, when school administrator Sandie Tolhurst reported the incident to social services, she claimed the girl was restrained for biting Miss Letts – whereas Miss Sawfoot claimed her daughter bit the teacher because she was being held.
Oh, well, that’s OK then?!
Employment Judge John Warren criticised the school for its ‘failure to investigate her grievance, and misrepresentations to social services’.
In other words ‘It’s payday!’
Speaking after the judgment, Miss Sawfoot said: ‘I am still passionately committed to the Steiner movement.

‘But my grievance was swept under the carpet by the school. Instead, I was subjected to a hostile working environment. They labelled me a bad parent and then a bad teacher.’
Sweetie, your little horror bit an adult in a position of authority.

Do you really think that makes you a good mother..?

Good Luck Drowning Them In The Bath, Mr Ellis…

A man has been banned from keeping animals after drowning his guinea pigs in the bath.
All animals?

Well, no:
David Ellis held the animals under water because he no longer wanted them.

Ellis, 57, from Millfield Court, Courtwick Lane, near Littlehampton, appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was banned for life from keeping any pets except for goldfish, which he was deemed not to be a risk to.

Sunday Funnies

And I bet Michael Bay has scripts ready for all of them...

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Andrew Mwangura Will Have Apoplexy…

Yes, the Seafarers' Assistance Programme spokesman won’t be happy at all:
The threat from pirates to British shipping is so great that UK-flagged vessels – including many that visit Southampton – will soon be able to employ armed guards as they navigate dangerous waters.
Let’s hope they won’t just fire in the air, either:
Shipping minister Mike Penning has indicated the Government is about to introduce new legislation which will change the present law and give the legal go-ahead for ships flying the red ensign to recruit armed guards.
About time!

What I Want To Know Is, Was It Human DNA..?

A woman was caught out by DNA on her lipstick after staging a hate campaign against herself and trying to frame her husband’s lover.
And if you’re trying to imagine why her husband took a lover, well…

My eyes! MY EYES!!
Lyn Kitching went to extraordinary lengths to gain revenge on her former friend Andrea Pearce, who had told her she was having an affair with her husband Jason, 39.

Kitching, 27, threw bleach in her own face, stabbed herself with a screwdriver, sent herself death threats and started a fire in her house during a nine-month campaign against her love rival.
Luckily, the police didn’t tyake her seriously and..

Oh. Wait.
The incidents were blamed on Mrs Pearce, a married mother, and reported to the police.

As a result Mrs Pearce was arrested four times and spent 20 hours in custody over incidents she had nothing to do with.
Eventually police discovered the truth by forensic detective work.

Well, that’s OK then.

Our Gene Pool Needs More Chlorine. Again…

A 12-year-old boy was arrested after he headbutted his girlfriend and burned her with a cigarette.
Yes, you might want to read that again…
Police said the youth and his girlfriend of the same age were arguing in Nancy Street, Darwen, when things turned aggressive.

The row was over her allegedly flirting with the boy’s brother.

He picked up a hammer and threatened her, before putting it down and headbutting her to the floor.

He then burned her with a cigarette, police said.

She called the police after the incident at 1.30am on July 15.
Dear god! Still, at least the little animal is now in whatever equivalent of Borstal we have in the…

The boy was arrested on suspicion of assault and given a final warning.

Wow, Ignorance Really Is Bliss!

According to Charlie Taylor, the Government's new behaviour tsar, the “clear” advice (just 52 pages long in comparison to previous, more weighty tomes) should put a stop to teachers living in fear of litigation if they touch a child.

The simplified advice explains teachers can use ‘reasonable force’ to break up fights, stop children attacking classmates or teachers, and to remove disruptive kids from lessons, if necessary.
And what could be more welcome? A return to proper discipline?
But is a more aggressive approach the way to empower our teaching staff?
Well, certainly the ‘let’s be soft on disruptive kids’ approach isn’t working, and we’ve tried it long enough to know, surely?
Child and educational psychologist Teresa Bliss, who has spent 20 years running units for children with behavioural difficulties, thinks taking too harsh a line does more harm than good.
*sigh* Well, yes. She would, wouldn’t she?
“When a school continually punishes those who get into fights, with detentions and exclusion, it’s like plugging in a volcano – the kids erupt.

Instead of harsh punishments, your response must address the underlying issues that lead to the conflict, or give a young person strategies for dealing with the cause.

Otherwise that child will become more and more angry, and things will never get better.”
Whereas if you don’t punish them or exclude them, everything will be just fine?

I guess Teresa doesn’t spend a lot of time in modern classrooms…
“Reading through the guidance it looks as though our schools are a war zone,” she says.
Yup, she definitely doesn’t.
Although the numbers may sound dramatic, Bliss points out that if 1,000 students are being suspended each day, as a percentage of the 8,923,400 being educated in England and Wales, that’s less than 0.001% of all students.

“The danger is this new guidance gives teachers who are not good classroom managers – and who are confrontational with pupils – carte blanche to continue with that behaviour,” she highlights.
‘Classroom managers’. My, that’s a telling phrase, isn’t it?

And fancy being ‘confrontational with pupils’…

Next, they’ll be expecting to be able to get away with telling them to sit down and shut up! Quelle horreur!
“Being able to restrain kids if they’re lashing out is perfectly sensible,” says Lee Jackson, who began his career as a youth worker, and now gives advice to teachers on how best to motivate young people.

“But I think the idea of searches, like in an airport, is ridiculous.

“We shouldn’t go down that road. You’re presuming everyone is guilty.”
But if its acceptable in an airport, where terrorist incidents are rare, why is in somehow not acceptable at a school, where assaults and other crimes are routine?
In Jackson’s view, the best way to encourage good classroom behaviour is a combination of strong teaching and earning kids’ respect.

“I tell teachers that in ‘Generation Y’ you have to have a good relationship with pupils before they’ll listen to you.

“That’s why it never works having a string of supply teachers. The kids don’t have time to form a relationship with them.”
Teachers aren’t supposed to be everyone’s mate!

I thought we’d got away from that flawed policy?


Well, it's looking like the perp is a home-grown, 'right wing' nutcase, and the palpable sighs of relief at the 'Guardian' and 'Independent' are audible.

Yesterday evening, on Twitter, those who heard hoofbeats and thought 'Oh, oh! Horses!' were reminded that occasionally, there are zebras in the mix too.

As Dumbjon points out, suddenly the colour of the hair of the initial suspect seemed to be the most important thing of all. And at 'Harry's Place', suddenly, as first commenter 'DocMartyn' points out, there's no rush to ' understand the root cause' of the bomber, or demand that it's the fault of the West for not listening to his grievances and acting on them, or changing our culture.

Which is right. Of course, you cannot give in to terrorism.

So, why, when the terrorism comes from other sources, are we treated to the unedifying sight of so many people falling all over themselves to do so?

Because - as we now see - that very attitude seems to be breeding its own brand of crazy...

Friday, 22 July 2011

"You need hands to show that you're sincere..."

A series of adverts for a range of women's hygiene products by Summer’s Eve have sparked a massive backlash from viewers.
A ‘massive backlash’? Are viewers writing in in their thousands to demand the ads are pulled? Are they boycotting the product?

Or are they just bitching and whining on the Internet?

Well, the latter. As far as I can see. But what’s the problem?
The use of ‘talking’ hands of black, white and Latina women to represent female genitalia was always meant to be provocative, but have been branded racist by some.
What?!? Why? Surely if they hadn’t used a variety of hands, they’d be accused of lack of diversity?

Well, it’s not the hands themselves at all. It’s the voiceovers:
Hundreds of negative comments have been posted online, with some arguing that the distinctive voice-overs adhere to racial stereotypes.
Yes, that’s right. The black hand has a black accent, the Latina hand has a Spanish accent, etc, etc…

And the Internet mob is OUTRAGED!!!
MsAngrybutterfly wrote on YouTube: ‘This is the single most offensive thing I have ever seen. The “Hispanic" one managed to be racist, sexist and vaguely religiously stereotypical, without coming right out and saying it, of course!’

Kduxwhat agreed, writing on the video-sharing service: ‘These commercials certainly adhere to racist stereotypes. Not pleased.’

Not everyone commenting is a loon, though:
… sofiastry is adamant they’re not racist at all. She wrote on YouTube: ‘I love how accusations of "racist" are thrown around when the company hires a black voice-actress and she speaks in the way that black women often speak.
Well, quite. If they didn’t, some idiots would whine they weren’t ‘authentic’…

You just can’t win, can you?

H/T: Tattyfalarr in comments

Why Don’t They Just Buy Euromillions Tickets?

Hundreds of millions of pounds of Essex taxpayers’ money will be invested in banks previously considered too risky.
Not the headline – they are ’forced’ into this.

By whom?
Essex County Council has agreed to invest its reserves in some of the nation’s financial institutions which are currently on a “negative watch” list.

Negative watch means a company’s credit rating is under review and was therefore suspended from the list of acceptable places to invest, under the council’s treasury management strategy.

However, this strategy has now been changed and the head of finance can now invest in companies on this danger list, ratified by the full council earlier this week.
The rules are too restrictive? Well, change the rules, then.

That’s politics for you.

Damning With Faint Praise…

Agnes Bolsø (associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology) raves about Norway’s quota system for female representation on company boards:
The impact on company profits can be debated, but the effect on gender equality is clearly positive in the Norwegian case.
In a research project on gender in the boardroom I have led – funded by the Norwegian Research Council – we have interviewed board members about their experiences since the quota was introduced. We found that the new make-up did influence the decision-making process.
Wow! OK, so, how, exactly?
Greater female representation seems to make meetings a little more pleasant, the preparation material is tidier and more comprehensive, and the processes more formal. Our respondents call it professionalisation.

Wait, that’s it? Seriously?

All it appears to have done is make meetings a little more pleasant and better organised?

It is very hard to analyse the impact on profitability, and research on the economic effect of more women on boards is inconclusive.
I take it the statement ‘it is very hard to analyse the impact on profitability’ is wackademic-speak for ‘Christ, I can’t find a single shred of data that supports my hypothesis!’..?

And if there’s no evidence that this barmy policy is helping profitability or the economic position of the company – which let’s face it is a businesses’ raison d’être – why on earth shouldn’t it be scrapped forthwith?

Topsy-Turvey Britain…

Can you sexually harass another person while at work and get away with it? No, but it seems you can get a pretty big payout.

Wait. What?
A BBC picture editor who was sacked for waging a campaign of gay harassment against a colleague has been awarded £4,000 compensation - because the corporation failed to take account of his bipolar disorder.
Ummm, what?

So, they shouldn’t have sacked him?

Well, no. Even the Tribunal couldn’t say that:
He lost his claim for unfair dismissal after a tribunal found the BBC was within its rights to sack him.

But he was awarded £4,000 after the tribunal found BBC bosses should have made "reasonable adjustments" under the Disability Discrimination Act.
What sort of ‘reasonable adjustment? The mind fair boggles…
The Central London tribunal accepted the BBC had "no real alternative" but to dismiss Steer after his behaviour "became more than just unwelcome, reaching the point it was threatening".
If they had no alternative, then why award him the money?
After the hearing Mr Steer said: "I'm happy to win my tribunal for discrimination of my bipolar condition. But I'm still saddened by the lack of understanding and humanity shown by the BBC towards my mental health condition."
Should they have abandoned their duty of care to the other employee, then, in order to accommodate you?

I’ve got a horrible feeling that the answer might well have been ‘Yes’. Still, it’s not the Beeb’s money, is it..?

Make Up Your Mind!

Grizzly or black bear? FFS, it can't be both!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

It’s Not Just Those Institutions, Is It?

Dr Nicholas Newcombe turned a blind eye while his wife, Dr Jill Newcombe-Buley punched, slapped and smothered the three children and hit one with a stiletto and another with a dustbin lid.
Not their own children, oh no.

These were adopted children, placed with them – unbelievably – by Cheshire SS.
A review of the case discovered that social services had ignored the warnings of one of the children and it was only when a consultant paediatrician intervened that the abuse was uncovered.
The case beggers belief in so many ways…
Cheshire East Local Safeguarding Children board found that the institutions that should have protected the children had been blinded by 'perceptions and assumptions' about the couple's social standing.
In other words ‘No, they are middle-class doctors, pillars of the community, they’d never do such a thing!’.

So what was the point of all those advertising campaigns telling people that abuse is found in all sorts of families? Especially if it seems it was never included in your own training material…?
Mr Brabbs said: 'The children went from being "rescued" from the exposure to significant harm within their birth family only to end up being placed in another abusive situation where they were subjected to repeated and systematic physical abuse, emotional harm and neglect.

'The specific nature of the abuse, and the manner in which it was carried out, by adults who chose to adopt vulnerable children, is hard to comprehend.'
Quite. And this was across the board, not one institution’s failing, but that of several:

Chris Brabbs, author of a report by a serious case review panel came to the 'inescapable conclusion is that the children were badly let down by all four schools who failed to record, or act on, their direct observations of a number of indicators of possible physical neglect and/or emotional abuse'.

Adding that the children had built up 'enormous resilience' and staff struggled to make sense of the contradictory evidence of the children doing well at school.

School friends had also tried to raise the alarm, and for this they were praised, but again social services failed to act saying there was not enough evidence to support their claims.

He concluded by saying that alarm bells should have rung at Stoke-on-Trent social services when it was revealed that the couple had never lived together, they had huge work pressures and a lack of experience around children.

Alarm bells shouldn’t have been ringing, because they should never, ever have been offered these children in the first place!

So, why were they?
'The adoption panel allowed itself to be sucked into the attractiveness of the fact that these applicants were offering a rare and highly sought after commodity - a willingness to take a sibling group of three,' Mr Brabbs said.
I suspect they’d have offered them the children even if they’d smoked! No, wait, let's not go too far.

But the justice system seems to have been ‘blinded by 'perceptions and assumptions' about the couple's social standing’ as well, given the utterly pathetic sentences:
In October 2010 Dr Newcombe-Buley was given a four year prison sentence for child cruelty while her husband was given a 12-month suspended sentence after admitting neglect.
Out, and no doubt working in a town near you. Maybe even your GP?

But it’s not his fault, oh no. He’s the victim here, along with his bitch of a wife.

They shouldn’t have been given the children, you see…
Dr Newcombe, who has since moved to Macclesfield, has said he was too busy to meet Mr Brabbs adding that he was 'still finding the whole situation extremely upsetting' adding that he, Dr Newcombe-Buley and the children were 'badly let down' by social services.

He claimed they were negligent in placing three young children with two parents with almost no experience of looking after children, and that they did not provide sufficient practical and emotional support.
Did it not occur to you or Ilsa The She-Wolf to say ‘No’?

And just what sort of ‘practical and emotional support’ did you, an educated man, need in order to not treat your children like a barely sub-human savage…?

Well, At Least They Are Respecting Diversity…

…employing as they do selectively-deaf officers:
Police were drafted in after an English Defence League football match was organised on a pitch normally used by Asian youths.
So..? Is possession nine-tenths of the law?
Nicholas John Smyth, 26, of Sherwood Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to using racially-aggravated threatening behaviour.

He was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £85 costs.
And what led to this?
Jonathan Taylor, defending, said Smyth had gone to play football with a few friends.

He realised there were members of the EDL there, although he was not a member of the organisation.

Mr Taylor said when the Asian males arrived they tried to take over both pitches, which led to tension.
Well, quite!
“It seems that normally this area is exclusively used by Asians,” said Mr Taylor.

Words were exchanged when the Asian males tried to get on the pitch where the white males were playing.

“My client heard racist comments coming from the Asian males and he accepts that he responded.

He says he can’t understand why the police officers seemed unable to hear the comments coming from the other side.”
Can’t he? I certainly can…

Not So Much ‘Away In A Manger’…

…as ‘Dog In A Manger’:
A row has blown up over prayers held before council meetings in Ryedale.

Currently a vicar is brought in by the leader of the council, to lead a few minutes of prayer before the full council meeting starts.

Now Liberal Democrat councillors, Coun Tommy Woodward and Coun John Clark, have put forward a motion that prayers should be moved from the council chamber to take place prior to the meeting in a separate room.
Oh, here we go.

If there’s anything more tedious and irritating than the religious, it’s the vehemently anti-religious…
Coun Woodward, an atheist, said: “I am also a liberal, so I don’t think the prayers should be stopped altogether, just stopped from being held in the council chamber, when all the councillors are present and held prior to the meeting in a separate room.

I don’t see why those of us who aren’t religious should have to be there while they’re taking place. I could take it upon myself to walk out of the room, but that draws attention to me at every meeting.”
Right, two things. Firstly, what do these clowns think will happen if they are present in a room where prayers are said? That they’ll catch a nasty dose of religion?

And the second thing, if drawing attention to yourself is to be avoided, why go running to the local newspaper with this?
Canon John Manchester, who was chaplain to many of the council’s chairmen, said: “Whether it is Parliament or local government, those elected people need to remember that they are also answerable to a higher authority.”
And you can just shut up as well!
But Coun Woodward said: “The only people I’m answerable to are the people that elected me. He may feel he’s answerable to a higher authority, but I don’t.”
I’m pretty sure that you don’t feel yourself answerable to the people who elected you, either. God knows, if you did, it’d make you pretty unique.

So why this particular storm in a teacup, anyway? Don’t they have more pressing matters to deal with in Ryedale?
“There are a few things that happen on this council because that’s the way it has always been done, including that if you don’t have a majority, the largest party takes the chairmanship of the overview and scrutiny committee, which is the way it should be. If they can get rid of other things, I can get rid of the prayers.
Ahhh, I see. You’re doing it not because you have some deep conviction, but simply because you can.

How very adult of you.

Yes, Alan, They Are Nearly As Bad As Politicians….

A council call for police to enforce Oxford’s 20mph speed limits has been rejected.

A senior officer spoke out after Oxford City Council passed a motion urging Thames Valley Police to crack down on speeding drivers.
It seems they have far better things to do.

And they made it plain right from the start:
A 20mph limit was brought in on almost all residential roads and some main routes in September 2009 but police said from the outset they would not be actively enforced.
Which didn’t please the local councillors:
Liberal Democrat Alan Armitage, who put the motion, said: “It doesn’t say much for the police that they don’t give a damn what the people think. ”
And councillors, Mr Armitage? How much do they care what the people think?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

‘Nation Shall Speak Consensus And Majority View Unto Nation’

Climate change sceptics will get less of a hearing on the BBC because they are at odds with the majority view among scientists, a report reveals.
Can they possibly get less..?

The mind boggles.
The BBC Trust report, out today, is in part based on an independent review of the broadcaster’s coverage by Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London.

He is understood to find no evidence of bias in the corporation’s output, but suggests that on issues where there is a ‘scientific consensus’ – also including the MMR jab and genetically modified crops – there should be no need for the BBC to find opponents of the mainstream view.
What happened to that ‘impartiality’ the Beeb is supposed to display, then?

And since an overwhelming majority would like to halt immigration and bring back the death penalty, does that mean the Beeb should reflect that in their broadcasting? Or is the hallowed ‘should never be criticised’ tag only applicable to scientists?

It seems it’s the latter:
Corporation sources admit climate change is unlike most other areas of science in the passions it arouses and the political debate that surrounds it.

But a BBC insider close to the report said that when an issue had moved from ‘hypothesis’ to ‘consensus’, the broadcaster now needed to reflect that in the weight it gave to the different sides of the debate.
Well, a few hundred years ago, the consensus was that the earth was flat and ‘bad humours’ were responsible for many illnesses, so it’s not like that’s much to rely on, is it?

‘When they are minority views, the BBC is entitled to give them less weight rather than present it as “half the world thinks this and the half the world thinks that” ,’ the source said.
Yes, clearly, the Beeb should never bring us any news on what people think. It should never, ever be allowed to colour their reporting.

Can we take away their public funding now?

In Which I Absolve Social Workers Of Blame…

…at least, this time:
Barry Thomas, 64, said he blames social workers for the horrific abuse his 26-year-old daughter Zara suffered from her evil husband David Bell.
Really? Only yesterday, it was somehow all the fault of the employers of this stupid woman…
Mr Thomas added: “…If they had continued to see Zara every month, especially when the baby was born, they would have seen all the bruises.”
And if she’d told them she got them falling over?
Mr Thomas said: “Whenever social services were there, he just took over.

“She was so frightened she never would have said anything to them about the abuse and they never ever saw her when she was on her own.

“Bell was always there watching everything she did and said.”
She had numerous opportunities to tell people what was going on. She didn’t.

Since we don’t currently employ mind-readers as social services staff, I fail to see how they could have prevented this.
When a health visitor called at the couple’s home in Brackley Crescent, Pitsea, to check on the health of mum and her newborn daughter, Bell repeatedly turned them away. He claimed Zara was out when, in fact, she was locked in the couple’s bedroom.
If the SS owe anyone a duty of care, it’s the child in this case. Not the adult.
Zara’s father said: “They need to answer our questions about why they failed to do their job properly.”
Great! Ask away.

But who’s asking Zara why she seems to have no personal responsibility in this herself?

Is It ‘Cos I Is ….?

A shop had its licence revoked following an unauthorised royal wedding street party which ended in a shooting.

Lewisham Council’s licensing committee saw CCTV footage showing the flashes of gunfire on April 29, sending around 600 revellers fleeing down Upper Brockley Road.

Following the melee, pictures showed one man walking calmly down the street, carrying what police claim was a gun.

The Met claims that the road’s Super Cuts shop helped organise the party and cabling was running from the store to power a massive soundsystem.
Naturally, the shopkeeper is incensed at this blackening of his good name:
Super Cuts, whose manager Claudius Johnson laughed throughout the hearing, denied having anything to do with the party and says it will appeal.
Strange, to place so much fail in a justice system you’ve just ridiculed…
Afterwards, Councillor Duwayne Brooks, who was at the party, said he was “disgusted” with the decision.
Hmmm, is that name familiar, or..?

*snaps fingers*

Well, of course!
Cllr Brooks said: “Everything they spoke about is nonsense.

“There’s nothing that shows the shop was involved.”

He added: “Whenever it’s black people, there’s always talk about violence and intimidation.
One of life’s little coincidences, Duwayne..?

Sympathy Evaporating…

An off-duty policeman was mown down by a motorist he had confronted about sounding his horn at 6am.

Detective Inspector Peter Howarth collapsed in a driveway screaming 'Don't let him kill me' after 22-year-old Nathan Phipps ran him over and then reversed back over him in a revenge attack.
How terrible, how awful, how….

Wait. Just how did he ‘confront’ him?
The jury heard Phipps had driven to an address in Wanstead, east London, at about 6am where his girlfriend was staying after the couple split up.

After driving up and down the street repeatedly sounding his horn to get his girlfriend's attention, he was challenged by Mr Howarth along with several other neighbours.

Mr Howard asked Phipps to wind down his side window but fearing the driver was reaching for a weapon, smashed the glass and pulled him from the vehicle.



Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Nowhere Does It Say How This Would Be Achieved….

…so just another pointless soundbite?
Men with a record of domestic violence would be prevented from using the internet to meet unsuspecting women under plans being considered by the Home Secretary, Theresa May.
Oh, for…
The Home Office said yesterday that the Police National Database could be used to keep watch on contacts made by men with violent pasts.
How? Never mind anything else, just how is this supposed to be done? With all those cuts to the police that are going to have to be made?
The announcement is in response to a campaign led by the former Labour cabinet secretary, Hazel Blears, after the murder of Clare Wood, 36, in Salford, Lancashire, in 2009. Ms Wood met her killer, George Appleton, through Facebook. He had used a series of aliases on dating websites and had a long history of sexual violence.
So, if he used a series of aliases, just how are the PND details supposed to be of any use whatsoever?

Is everyone insane? Surely, the ConDems aren’t bound by any nonsense thought up by the former government, are they?

Stop Press! Girls Not Necessarily Free Of Slugs, Snails Ands Puppy Dog Tails…

…at least, according to dear old Yaz:
If there was real gender parity, I said last week, women would be able to be brilliant and total failures – great and not so great, heroes and anti-heroes, just like men. It was at a lively debate on women in politics at the House of Commons.

Too blasé, methinks now, simplistic, an ethically dubious position when one considers recent examples of atrocious female behaviour.
Oh, it’s the recent examples that have swayed you?
The Human Trafficking Foundation has just revealed that it is mainly women who are entrapping and forcing young, trusting lasses from abroad into the most bestial forms of prostitution in the UK.
Fancy! That’s never happened before, Yaz?
In India, Pakistan, Japan, China and elsewhere there have always been women who prostituted their own daughters, or connived to capture innocent girls and groom them.
So, it has. So why did you say it was a revelation?
In the past five years, we have been forced to open our eyes here, as women, often in trusted positions, have been convicted of grotesque acts on babies, infants and teenagers.
Yes, in the fine old traditions of Myra Hindley, Mary Bell, etc. All of them a lot longer ago than five years….
I have been writing about female genital mutilation for more than two decades. In all that time I have not met a single man who matched the pitiless fervour of the mothers, aunts and grandmothers, all of whom held on to the conviction that the slashing, maiming and closing off of a young girl's sexual parts was not only necessary, but noble.
So you’ve been writing about it for twenty years, yet it’s a sudden conversion?

Yaz, you’re all over the place, aren’t you?
We feminists, with our neat critiques of male dominance, are pathologically unable to deal with the fact that females are, sometimes, more sadistic than men and can and do viciously hurt their own sex. Who dares within the sisterhood to revise the assumptions on which so much of that belief system rests?
‘We’..? You’ve swallowed it as well, in the past. Don’t go sniping at others.
If we say that women must not be judged as harshly as men when they destroy those who are vulnerable, or that a woman must have the right to be as evil as a man, what kind of world is that?
The kind I thought you wanted to make?
Perhaps I am coming round to the view that no, women shouldn't behave as badly as bad men, and when they do, they should be judged more harshly. Equality is essential, but morality is more fundamental; it has to be, surely.
Judging them more harshly is equality..?

Good grief! Even by Yaz’s normal dismal standards, this is a dreadful column.

Sorry, But This Isn’t A Business Responsibility…

A woman, who was savagely beaten by her husband and held prisoner in the loft of her own home, has said more needs to be done to help victims of domestic abuse.
Oh, do tell?

Zara Bell, 26, was repeatedly beaten by her violent husband David Bell, also 26.

She was held captive in a tiny attic alongside her one-year-old daughter over a three-week period while her bodybuilder husband went out to the gym.
Held incommunicado for three weeks?

Well, no. It seems she was just locked up there for the duration of his gym visits, because she was – incredibly – allowed out to work.

We know this, because it’s her chief whinge:

Zara would repeatedly arrive for work covered in bruises, but bosses did nothing to help and instead sacked her because her bruises “put off customers”.
OK, sacking her was a bit much (though we've only Zara's word for that), but really, what was the point in showing the bruises to her employers and expecting them to do something about it?

What was stopping her from doing something about it herself?

She urged anyone who suspects a friend or colleague is suffering at the hands of a partner to listen and then report their concerns.

She said: “I would have welcomed someone in a position of authority, like my boss and employer, offering me help and telling me my husband was in the wrong and I didn’t have to put up with him. ”
Someone in authority needed to tell you this for you to believe it? You’re supposed to be an adult, for god’s sake! Act like it.

“If there is anyone out there who suspects their employee or colleague is being abused by their partner, then don’t be frightened to say something to them and offer them help.

“You could be the person who helps that victim get away from their situation.”
Or, they could. Think about it.

Of course, the bandwagon always has room on it for a passionate believer in the ‘It’s someone else’s responsibility!’ concept:

Lyn Headley, chief executive officer of the Basildon Women’s Aid, urged businesses to support staff if they go to police, or even logging details of injuries they come into work with if they are unwilling to report abuse.
For what possible purpose? And just how is the DPA going to cope with that one?

The mind boggles....